Archive for May, 2012

The Whole World is Watching Montreal

Thursday, May 31st, 2012

109 days. That’s how long they’ve been protesting in Montreal. Over 3 incredible months. What started out as a demonstration against an impending 80% tuition hike has now blossomed into a full-out fight for civil rights.

Now, whether you’re Canadian or an unCanuck (a term I’ve never heard used until just now), there are many great reasons you should be paying attention to what is happening in Quebec. Here’s three:

Reason 1: It’s massive. Over 400,000 people – 1/4 of Montreal’s total population – have been out in simultaneous protest.

Reason 2: It’s about more than tuition fees. The movement has always targeted the systemic corruption in government, highlighting the way powerful corporations and big business get taxpayer-funded benefits while taxpayers themselves get the shaft.

But now that Premiere Charest clumsily stifled the right to protest, the movement morphed into protecting individual liberties, saving our precious democracy, and, most importantly, sending a clear message that we will not stand idly by while civil rights get violated.

Reason 3: The Montreal uprising is just a sign of things to come. Humans everywhere on earth are undergoing a great awakening. The internet is fostering a social revolution, shifting unprecedented powers into the hands of the masses. Governments, corporations and other major institutions will prove no match for millions of coordinated humans working together in real time.

A new day is coming, where actual democracy gives everyone a voice. With this newfound solidarity we will build a more just global civilization. People will take priority over profits, cooperation will supersede competition, and a brighter, more secure future will be upon us.

Global Voting System Drawing Closer

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

A few years ago I put forth a proposal for a Global Voting System, which is a tool for democracy that runs on all internet enabled devices, giving anyone a way to put forth ballots (either local, national, or international) and then let everyone else vote on the issue.

Of the few responses I received, only a few were positive. Most people didn’t see the potential, or worse, they saw the idea as pointless, irrelevant or impossible.

Now, it seems, a Computing Science Professor, Jeremy Hansen of Vermont, has seen the light and has announced his run for VT State Senate on a platform of digital polling and direct democracy. Hansen:

Having read pretty heavily on the topic, weighed the pros and cons, I wondered why an elected representative couldn’t use online and in-person polling of constituents to decide the way he or she votes. Though we are living in the ‘information age’ and have rich communications media and opportunities for deep and accessible deliberation, we are getting by (poorly) with horse-and-buggy-era representation. In the spirit of science and because I think it’s legitimately a better way of doing things, I recently announced my candidacy for Vermont’s State Senate in Washington County.

Amazing! Could it be that I’m not crazy after all? Maybe I’m just ahead of the curve. At least that’s what I like to tell myself when it comes to my bold predictions of world peace by 2020.

Obama’s DoubleSpeak Redefines Term Militant

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

Are you male? Aged 13-60? Living in the Middle East or North Africa? If you answered yes to all three questions, then congratulations, you are now officially a militant in the eyes of the United States of America!

‘But I haven’t done anything!’ you may cry, but to no avail. The instant you get blown up by an American drone strike, you immediately become known as a militant, regardless of who you actually are.

This is all part of President Obama’s strategy to downplay civilian casualties. By considering ‘all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants‘, it makes the number of murdered innocents seem far lower, and somehow makes the war more palatable to the public.

Forget due process, facts, or your own personal story. If the American government cared about any of that they’d never have begun using remote controlled assassins, let alone allowed drone use to escalate to daunting new heights.

If this keeps up, anyone who gets obliterated by American bombs – men, women, and children alike – will be considered enemies of the state. Their crime? Being dead innocent human beings, which is damaging to the image of the war. Ergo, they are threats to the US, and therefore deserving of the bombings they had just received.

Bill 38: Bad for Canadians, Terrible for Canada

Monday, May 28th, 2012

The Tories’ Omnibus Budget Bill 38 has been called ‘sneaky’ and ‘undemocratic’ earning it the nickname ‘The Trojan horse bill’. But that is a bit of a misnomer. It’s more like a Trojan horse stuffed with even more Trojan horses.

A whopping 450 pages, this behemoth piece of legislation lumps about 60 bills into one giant bill, making a mockery of Canada’s parliamentary system. No discussion, no debate. Just a majority government trying to ram through sweeping reforms without considering the burden of our democratic process.

One section of the bill seeks to undo decades of environmental protection laws while silencing Canadians who try to defend Mother Earth. Changes include weakened protection for fish and species at risk, a less comprehensive environmental assessment law, broad decision making powers for Cabinet and Ministers, and less accountability and fewer opportunities for public participation. So now when they want to build pipelines through pristine land they’ll just do it.

Another section of Bill 38 takes aim at Canada’s social safety nets, like employment insurance and old age security. The plan is to make it harder for Canadian’s to get money from the government, forcing people to work below their skill level while moving the age of retirement from 65 to 67. Typical conservative policies here, but that doesn’t make it any easier to swallow.

The omnibus bill also attacks Canadian labor, enacting fundamental changes to the power balance between employers and employees — all to the detriment of workers. One line in the bill states ‘The Fair Wages and Hours of Labour Act is repealed,” offering no explanation why. These 10 words will wipe out a 1985 law compelling contractors bidding on federal contracts to pay “fair wages” and overtime,  all without any say from Canadians.

Worst of all, this bill threatens nothing less than our precious Canadian sovereignty, paving the way for American law enforcement to patrol Canadian soil. Great, a few more years under the Conservatives and our skies will be like they are south of the border -  filled with weaponized drones.

All in all, Omnibus Bill 38 is an awful piece of legislation loaded with unvetted laws and reforms. But, even as opposition comes from within the party itself, the Tories remain hell-bent on passing it.

The only option we have left is for public outcry to reach such deafening levels that the government has no choice but to capitulate. This means contacting MPs, filling out petitions, taking part in protests and even marching in the streets.

Otherwise the damage done to Canadian law by this bill could take decades to fix using proper democratic channels. And the devastation dealt to our environment and to Canada as a whole might never be undone.

Montreal Protester Crippled, Comatose

Sunday, May 27th, 2012

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q8zEdYa1bt8

(This is the edited, slow-speed version. Original copy here.)

One of Montreal’s protesters is now in hospital with brain damage, severed spine, broken vertebrae and little chance of recovery, according to reports.

As seen in the video above, the unidentified man has a brief scuffle with an officer, apparently holding on to the officer’s bicycle for a few seconds. Almost instantly, the man is full-speed tackled to the ground by another officer, striking the protesting man in the back of the neck with a police baton. The violent collision sent the man’s limp body to the ground where his head walloped against the concrete.

After this, numerous police swarmed the unconscious man, keeping a knee on the back of his neck. He was jarred around while police searched and handcuffed him. Over 30 minutes passed as paramedics finally tended to the comatose man.

All this took place over a week ago. The mainstream media remains utterly silent. The identity of the man still has not surfaced.

This begs the question, what will happen to the police officer who all but killed a guy? Repercussions must be dealt to this bad cop, otherwise police will think they can get away with it. And so far it seems as if they are going to.

People are different. Humans are the same.

Saturday, May 26th, 2012

Something to think about.

It Has Happened! US Weaponizes Domestic Drones

Friday, May 25th, 2012

For many years the United States has been murdering foreigners using remote controlled aircraft. Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan are just a few of the nations targeted by assassination robots sent by America’s clandestine war on the world.

Countless times, myself and others have warned Americans to stand up against the use of these murder-machines before they get used on the American people themselves.

Well, it’s too late. You didn’t listen. And now automated death-from-above has come home to United States soil. That’s right. Drones flying over the US will no longer just be for surveillance… they will now be weaponized.

At first they’ll just use tear gas and rubber bullets. But, as long as the American population remains relatively silent, the path will be cleared for lethal drones to hover overhead.

Bureaucrats and law enforcement given the authority to execute citizens with the push of a button. A chilling notion indeed. If this trend progresses unabated any longer, American’s may find themselves in a situation where protesting against the use of drone strikes becomes an offense punishable by drone strike.

Quebec People Respond to Government Encroachment

Thursday, May 24th, 2012

(The police demand prior knowledge of rally routes. This is what they get!)

Quebec Premiere Jean Charest is in hot water. A few days ago he passed some short-sighted, heavy-handed emergency laws. These laws, when applied to their full extent, could easily cripple free speech. This misstep has only aggravated Quebec’s youth rebellion. Now, instead of just having to deal with pissed-off students, Charest now has to contend with most of the province being mad at him.

Seeing their precious freedom being infringed upon, Quebeckers sprung into action by the hundreds of thousands. They do not like what Charest has done, and they seem intent on banging pots in the streets until their voice gets heard.

The problem with the contested legislation – Bill 78 – is that it puts the right to protest directly under the control of the police. Anyone demonstrating without prior approval from a police department will face stiff fines or worse, like some entitled security thug punishing offenders with impunity. Yes, I’m talking about you, Canadian Pepper Spray Cop!.

Another problem with Bill 78 is that special provisions target coordinators of so-called ‘unlawful’ protests, who can also be punished whether they partake in the actual demonstration or not. So now anyone who spreads reasons to be disgruntled with government and dares to call for action could end up fined or arrested.

As much as it sucks to see heads of Canadian office trying to force ridiculous laws, witnessing the people’s response more than makes up for it. Clearly, they are as mad as hell and they aren’t going to take it anymore.

Right on! Hopefully Charest buckles sooner than later, and every single Canadian politician gets a reminder as to the power of the people.

Montreal Marches On

Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012

It may have been the largest display of civil disobedience in Canadian history. Several hundred thousand people took to the streets, showing solidarity with Quebec’s youth movement while standing against Jean Charest’s draconian anti-protest laws.

Awesome stuff! During the massive Occupy rallies in New York and Oakland,  I recall lamenting about Canada’s lack of similar demonstrations. Well, no longer. Canadians will not be excluded from this great awakening taking place all over the world.

It’s not just about tuition hikes and the Charter of Rights. There is something much more fundamental at stake. It’s the world’s people coming together to stamp out the inherent injustice and inequalities of a flawed global establishment.

Expect to see more protests, more rallies, and more outpourings of dissent over the coming months and years. And as our numbers grow into the millions, the multi-millions and even billions, no one – no business, no government, no empire – will stop us from creating the just civilization we now know is possible.

Peace is Better than War

Tuesday, May 22nd, 2012

War is horrific, costly and ineffective. The only reason it sticks around in such massive quantities is because businesses are making huge profits. Without this trillion dollar institution enabling and proliferating conflicts on an industrialized scale, wars would not persist as they do today.

Fortunately, the Internet is revealing this truth to us. We are coming together like never before and we’ll soon see how unnecessary and unwanted war has become. Gradually, we will take steps to do away with it, like taxing the shit out of the worst of the war-profiting corporations.

Eventually our emerging global society, with priorities shifting towards healing our planet instead of hurting each other, will see the world’s war budgets dry up as a new era of peace envelops our world.