Archive for November, 2011

Iceland Recognizes State of Palestine

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011

When the global economy crashed in 2008 and their country went Bankrupt, the people of Iceland remained defiant, refusing to pay for the mistakes of a financial monopoly. They boldly rejected the European Union and IMF, with 93% of the population voting against repayment of the debt created by unregulated bankers.

Not content with just sticking it to the banks, Icelanders drafted a whole new constitution, one that would free the country from the exaggerated power of international finance and virtual money.

Now the Icelandic people have once again set the bar for the rest of the world to follow, becoming the first Western European nation to formally recognize the Palestinian State.

The mostly symbolic gesture by Icelandic parliament recognizes Palestine based on the 1967 borders and “urges Israelis and Palestinians to seek a peace agreement on the basis of international law and UN resolutions.”

At a time when nations like Canada are officially turning their backs on the Palestinian people, it’s nice to see we still have members of the international community who support justice and human rights for all and not just those who can afford it.

Shameful Conditions in First World Canada

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

(‘So a baby seal walks into a bar…‘)

Over a month ago in northern Ontario, Chief Shawn-A-in-chut Atleo from Attawapiskat First Nation declared a State of Emergency. Living conditions had consistently declined for two decades, placing the 2000-member community on the brink of a “humanitarian disaster.”

The response from the Government of Canada has been slow, leaving the ball to be picked up by a group that should be out helping the rest of the world – the Red Cross. Yet Ottawa’s sluggish response stems less from their lack of belief about the dire conditions, and more from the pressing fear of what might happen should other First Nations expose their own appalling conditions

What an embarrassment it would be for Canada! On top of being seal-clubbing, cancer-spreading, earth-rapists, we’ll also bear the international humiliation of a neglected indigenous population. Dreadful.

On a related note, in the third world, out of the countless millions living on the brink of starvation, tens of thousands of humans die every single day. So, not to trivialize the plight of Canada’s poorest people, but labeling what we see in Canada as ‘Third World Conditions’ does a disservice to the world’s truly poorest, who must endure the absolute worst that modern life has to offer.

And now that I’ve gone off on a tangent, I may as well end up on a soapbox.

Canada has been spending over $8 Billion a year for programs and policies for aboriginal peoples, which is clearly proving inadequate. Not that more money is the only solution. Surely the whole branch of government could use a shake-up and maybe trim off the life-sucking bloated bureaucracy.

But compare that spending to the nearly $20 Billion Canada invested to bomb liberate the poor, hapless people of Afghanistan, or the $26 Million in Canadian taxpayer funds used for the humanitarian mission to execute Gaddafi, and one wonders where Canada’s priorities should lie.

Don’t get me wrong. I am all for making the world a better place, and the more diverse our strategy the better. But if the goal is to help humans live better lives, we might find our efforts better placed in areas where armies aren’t a necessary part of the plan.

Plus, until we Canadians get our shit together back home, we really have no business intervening militarily in the affairs of other nations.

Leaked Memo Reveals Riot Police Gameplan

Monday, November 28th, 2011

A detained member the Occupy Wall Street protests happened upon an internal memo from NYPD’s Disorder Control Unit. The 20-point bulletin, seen modified above, reads like a how-to manual of freedom suppression: Don’t think for yourself. Don’t act on your own. Just follow orders, look big and scary, and stay together.

Of course, this is to be expected. These riot police aren’t being paid to think, they are paid to protect. But they aren’t there to serve the general public or even to save private property. Rather, the ultimate purpose served by these heavily armed thugs is to shelter the establishment from forces seeking regime change.

The electoral system in the United States – the 2 party dictatorship – has moved so far away from where the people stand that they’ve had to form their own party. This is why we can see uprisings over the streets of America. Just like many places on earth, Americans have grown sick and tired of being ignored by the powers that be, and are now seizing new opportunities to rise up in droves and finally be heard.

If the riot police and security forces can be labelled a “Disorder” patrol, then the Occupy movement (and the various global counterparts) should be considered a “Reorder” patrol, meaning that we – the world’s people – are rallying to restructure humankind’s wealth and power into a more just system for all.

NATO Gets Boot for Misplaced Bombs

Sunday, November 27th, 2011

Once again NATO missiles have fallen way off mark. This time, instead of exploding innocent children, NATO slaughtered two dozen Pakistani border patrols.

In response, Pakistan has closed a vital supply line for US forces in Afghanistan, as well as ordered all NATO troops out of the Shamsi airbase – where the Americans reportedly control their remote killing machines.

This goes to show the ease with which soldiers are willing to unleash certain death. The process is so detached, so dehumanized, that enemies and allies and little kids all start to blur together, until it’s just black and white figures being rendered into smoldering body parts.

With bomb-laden UAVs becoming the latest in must-have weaponry, more and more innocents stand being accidentally executed by some bonehead keyboard warrior.

Relying on violence as a tool for peacebuilding is inherently flawed, which is why we need to unite as a species and rally against the military industrial complex. It is time for the whole world to see that war is going away for good!

US Gov’t Declares Civil War on Population – Naomi Wolf

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

The zeitgeist is up in arms over Naomi Wolf’s latest article claiming the United States Department of Homeland Security – with congressional backing – helped coordinate a nationwide crackdown on the Occupy encampments. While the accusations seem somewhat tenuous, there is at least some corroborating evidence supporting the notion, meaning, in effect, the US Government has begun to openly wage war on their own population.

Naomi Wolf describes her discovery of Occupy’s agenda, something America’s information gathering agencies would have seen coming months ago:

The No 1 agenda item: get the money out of politics. Most often cited was legislation to blunt the effect of the Citizens United ruling, which lets boundless sums enter the campaign process.

No 2: reform the banking system to prevent fraud and manipulation, with the most frequent item being to restore the Glass-Steagall Act – the Depression-era law, done away with by President Clinton, that separates investment banks from commercial banks. This law would correct the conditions for the recent crisis, as investment banks could not take risks for profit that create kale derivatives out of thin air, and wipe out the commercial and savings banks.

No 3 was the most clarifying: draft laws against the little-known loophole that currently allows members of Congress to pass legislation affecting Delaware-based corporations in which they themselves are investors…. In recent years, members of Congress have started entering the system as members of the middle class (or upper middle class) – but they are leaving DC privy to vast personal wealth.

It is for these very reasons, argues the author, that Congress is engaging in violent militarized reactions against its own peaceful constituents. This leads Wolf to declare the start of civil war:

So, when you connect the dots, properly understood, what happened this week is the first battle in a civil war; a civil war in which, for now, only one side is choosing violence. It is a battle in which members of Congress, with the collusion of the American president, sent violent, organised suppression against the people they are supposed to represent.

Sadly, Americans this week have come one step closer to being true brothers and sisters of the protesters in Tahrir Square. Like them, our own national leaders, who likely see their own personal wealth under threat from transparency and reform, are now making war upon us.

These Occupy protests do indeed represent a pressing danger to the powers that be. In fact, if the people’s uprising isn’t silenced soon, far too many Americans will realize they are living under a 2 party dictatorship that only serves a corporate sponsored plutocracy. And when that happens, the whole corrupt house of cards will come toppling down, freeing the way for a more just global civilization to emerge.

Or so we can hope.

America’s War Machine Comes Home

Friday, November 25th, 2011

(Come and see the violence inherent in the system!)

Americans are finding themselves surrounded by more and more members of the armed forces. Unfortunately, this isn’t due to the US withdrawing from Iraq or Afghanistan – the Military Industrial Complex will surely find more hapless victims to brutalize for as long as the American people allow it to continue.

No, when I say that the US population is being increasingly exposed to a military force, sadly, I’m referring to their local police departments. Peaceful protesters met with heavy handed tactics and civilly disobedient students being nonchalantly pepper sprayed has got citizens everywhere asking ‘How could this happen in America?

Of course, some have been sounding the alarm bells for decades now, trying to awaken the rest to the looming threat of totalitarianism. But most have remained oblivious to the reality, caught up the bubble of modern day living. Now, as the establishment faces a serious threat in the Occupy movement, the ugly face of a militarized police force comes into the light.

Fortunately, it is not too late to fix this. It will take a concerted effort on the part of many individuals, but police departments will fall into check as long as there is enough public pressure to warrant them doing so.

This puts the onus on you, people who like freedom. Stand up and be counted. Speak out against police brutality. Make noise whenever you see armor clad goons crushing unarmed activists. If you want your country to stay free, you need to stay vigilant against tyranny wherever it lies.

Greenwald on Never-Ending War

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

Once again, champion of the people Glenn Greenwald has taken the fight to the powers that be, this time setting his sights on what is perhaps the greatest blight on our planet: the military industrial complex.

In a timely article on Salon, the former civil rights litigator begins his assessment by showing how the vastly expanded Security State – justified in the name of 9/11 – will not be going anywhere despite a recent announcement that the terrorist group Al-Qaeda has been defeated. This prompts Greenwald to sarcastically quip the following:

I’m sure we can all agree that we must endure years more of civil liberties assaults, endless war, bulging military budgets, suffocating government secrecy, a sprawling surveillance regime, and the slaughter of countless more Muslim children in order to save ourselves from [extremist threats]. And that’s to say nothing of the fact that endless war, drone attacks, occupying countries, and engineering regime change is precisely what causes and fuels these threats in the first place. In other words, what little Terrorism does exist is caused directly by our own actions — the very actions justified in the name of stopping Terrorism.

The author goes on to highlight the defining mentality of never-ending armed conflict, stating:

The key trick of Endless War is to permanently maintain two contradictory official premises: (1) we’re on the verge of Victory!; and (2) the threat is grave and we cannot let up. Without both of those premises, the citizenry will wonder why endless war is necessary or wise.

Finally Glenn, ever the teacher, offers further reading regarding the seemingly endless cycle of war:

There are four articles from yesterday that I highly recommend: (1) This, from The Atlantic‘s Conor Friedersdorf, about progressives who praise President Obama “as if his civil liberties abuses and executive power excesses never happened”; (2) this, from Eric Lewis in The New York Times, on the various ways Obama has shielded torture crimes from all accountability and the consequences of his doing so; (3) this, from The Guardian, on the latest emerging Obama foreign policy “success” to be soon celebrated by Democrats: his efforts to overturn the global ban on cluster bombs (which I wrote about a couple weeks ago here); and (4) this, from Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi, linking Endless War and the mentality it spawns to the UC-Davis pepper-spraying incident.

Greenwald’s frequent output of eloquent, poignant, and well-researched articles is nothing short of remarkable. Here’s hoping that Glenn Greenwald, much like Snoop Dogg, can “somehow, someway keep coming up with funky ass shit like every single day.”

An Occupy Manifesto

Wednesday, November 23rd, 2011

The Occupy movement is a leaderless collective demonstrating against overlapping grievances, with the majority of the people demanding some form of reform in government.

While there is no one goal or single concrete agenda for all to follow, many beautiful visions of a potential future are emerging, as evident by the following statement of principles arising from the Occupy Wall Street’s General Assembly:

We Envision:

  1. A truly free, democratic, and just society;
  2. where we, the people, come together and solve our problems by consensus;
  3. where people are encouraged to take personal and collective responsibility and participate in decision making;
  4. where we learn to live in harmony and embrace principles of toleration and respect for diversity and the differing views of others;
  5. where we secure the civil and human rights of all from violation by tyrannical forces and unjust governments;
  6. where political and economic institutions work to benefit all, not just the privileged few;
  7. where we provide full and free education to everyone, not merely to get jobs but to grow and flourish as human beings;
  8. where we value human needs over monetary gain, to ensure decent standards of living without which effective democracy is impossible;
  9. where we work together to protect the global environment to ensure that future generations will have safe and clean air, water and food supplies, and will be able to enjoy the beauty and bounty of nature that past generations have enjoyed.

Wow. What an incredibly just global civilization we could have if every nation internalized these values into the heart of their constitutions.

Well, there’s no time like the present for seizing the day. Take action now! The better world we’re dreaming of won’t arrive without our help.

Breaching Barack’s Bubble

Tuesday, November 22nd, 2011

A protestor handed President Barack Obama a note during a meet and greet in New Hampshire today. The note (pictured above) reads as follows:

Mr. President: Over 4000 peaceful protesters have been arrested while bankers continue to destroy the American economy. You must stop the assault on our 1st amendment rights.  Your silence sends a message that police brutality is acceptable. Banks got bailed out. We got sold out.

Unfortunately, even if the President wanted to do something, his hands are tied… bound by the forces which allowed him to become Commander in Chief in the first place.

See, the American political system is structured to prevent any truly revolutionary figure from getting elected. Only those willing to cater to the oligarchs could ever raise the finances needed to see the White House.

This is precisely why Americans are out in the streets in the hundreds of thousands – because their 2-party dictatorship has failed them. Lacking any other option, they must forge an entirely new channel through which to reclaim their democracy.

And this is why, if you aren’t going to take to the streets yourself, you should at least lend support to the protestors. Power to the people!

Bank Lobbyists Terrified of Occupy Movement

Monday, November 21st, 2011

Lobbying firm Clark Lytle Geduldig & Cranford sent a proposal to the American Bankers Association, offering to implement an $850,000 strategy to undermine the credibility of the Occupy Wall Street protesters. The plan was leaked to MSNBC host Chris Hayes, who made the memo available on the net.

The authors of the proposal have exposed just how scared the banking industry really is. Should the Occupy movement co-opt the Democratic party in the same way the Tea Party did the Republicans, according to the lobbyists, such events could “have very long-lasting political, policy, and financial impacts on the companies in the center of the bullseye.”

The document goes on to caution that Tea Party protesters could potentially join forces with Occupy Wall Street because “well-known Wall Street companies stand at the nexus of where [OWS] protesters and the Tea Party overlap on angered populism. [...] This combination has the potential to be explosive later in the year when media reports cover the next round of bonuses and contrast it with stories of millions of Americans making do with less this holiday season.”

Of course, for less than a million dollars, how much could the lobbyists really hope to accomplish? JP Morgan Chase dumped $4.6 million directly into the NYPD, and so far the cops have only exasperated the situation.

But, like you’ve read here many times before, the occupy movement will not be stopped. There is too much at stake, and too much already wrong with our system for us to simply give up. The point of no return has been breached and now we cannot stop until we’ve reclaimed democracy for the world.