Archive for 2013

Demand Transparency

Thursday, August 1st, 2013

So many of the faults which plague systems of governance around the world could be solved if only we had the means to hold those in power accountable for their actions. And there is no better tool to do this than transparency.

Malevolence, corruption, cruelty… this things can only persist in the shadows. Out in the open, under the scrutiny of a watchful global eye, the weight of the world’s people will inevitably stamp out these injustices.

Imagine if cops and soldiers, while they were working, had to wear an always-on camera that streams the video to a publicly controlled database. The feed could be delayed, but will eventually be made – unaltered – to the public.

An ever watching lens could be doubly beneficial to police, helping to hold wrong-doers accountable while weeding  weed out abuses of power. The military could also be helped as streaming cameras ought to deter crimes against humanity, capture their acts of bravery, and show the public what the true face of war is.

Or suppose we demanded that governments account for every single dollar taxed and spent. Lay it all out for us online, make it easy to navigate and simple to understand – not because politicians and civil servants want to, but because we demand it. Mismanagement of funds and institutionalized corruption will be excised as it becomes glaringly evident as to who is taking far more than what they’ve earned.

The same goes for the US Healthcare system. Why not completely expose what’s been going on? It would be a great way to fix the problem. Institutionalized corruption. Collusion between health care elite, insurance companies and the government,  all maximizing personal profits at the expense of the public.

We have the technological means to make these things happen. The only reason it hasn’t arrived yet is because there isn’t enough will among the people.

Politicians? The Mainstream Media? Few of them are going to spearhead a ‘show everyone in the world what we are doing behind closed doors’ platform, so it’s up to the rest of us.

Spread the word, make our demand for transparency a part of everyday discussion.

It Is Time to Start Suing the Defense Industry

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

On behalf of the soldiers who continue to lose their lives, their livelihoods or their sense of well being, discarded after use by a for-profit enterprise built on bloodshed.

On behalf of the children who continue to lose their lives, their families, their sense of wonder at the world, because some group somewhere else gave themselves the authority to remotely execute other humans without due trial, oversight or accountability.

On behalf of the richest and most powerful global population to date, torn apart by an industry whose very existence depends upon our staying divided as a people, when the money being wasted on warfare could finally lift the entire human race out of the grips of desperate poverty.

It is time to enact The World’s People V The World’s Top 100 Defense Earners, for all the pain and suffering they continue to enable. They can still make arms all they want, but the trillions they’ve been reaping in profits will be forfeited.

LifeBox : a 3D printed basic provider of life

Sunday, May 12th, 2013

If you are looking for a great reason to feel optimistic – another truly legitimate rationale for believing our world is undergoing remarkable and rapid transformations for the better – then consider the LifeBox.

The LifeBox is a deployable mini-building that provides the basic necessities of modern life: water, food, electricity, internet and a 3D printer. This single self-contained building, the size of a garden shed, can sustain and improve the lives of everyone nearby.

LifeBox uses both wind and solar energy to drive the entire unit along with public power outlets. Inside an atmospheric extractor and purifier creates several gallons of drinking water a day. As well, tanks housed within automated greenhouses grow Spirulina, a protein-rich, highly nutritious whole food. Of course, the entire unit doubles as a wifi-hotspot, connecting to the Internet as well as all nearby LifeBoxes.

The best part of the LifeBox concept is how the entire life-saving building can be constructed using nothing but local materials and a 3D printer, anywhere in the world. All it takes are the plans (which get updated from free sites on the web), access to a 3D printer, and the gumption to build your own.

Just imagine the impacts on global poverty and instability when, on every street corner in the worst slums or in even the most remote, despondent villages, these seemingly magic boxes – day in and day out – churn out the tools needed by those on the bottom rung to rise out of their dire circumstances.

This is exactly what our world craves! So much of the world’s conflict stems from societies living in desperate conditions, where people are at risk of starving to death every day. This desperation fuels the feelings that lead to violence, and it breeds the soldiers to carry it out.

When we could create a world where every single human has access to the most basic means of life – which will exist when everyone can get the things provided by a LifeBox, then we are set to see a world where wars get exposed as the unnecessary and unwanted travesty that they are. Peace can finally take hold of our world.

All the pieces are falling into place. Affordable, consumer-level 3D-printers are already on the market and producing incredible objects. Solar and wind generators are getting cheaper by the day. The Internet is forever expanding.  And the need for a LifeBox on every corner is as urgent as ever.

The end goal is in sight. How long it takes to get the basic necessities of life to each person on earth really depends on us. 5 years? 10 years? If we pushed hard it could happen. But no matter what, the day when every single human can get access to what’s in a LifeBox is clearly within our future.

Bill Maher Speaks Out Against War Machine

Sunday, April 14th, 2013

Hooray! A prominent voice from the US mainstream media finally spoke out against their Military Industrial Complex. And it was none other than the illustrious Bill Maher, someone who I once disparaged on this very blog.

Maher pleaded with the American people to do some well needed self-reflection on their own warmongering. After two centuries of perpetual war, it’s time Americans realized “We’re the gun country. Come on, we’re the war people.”

After breaking down the history and concluding the problem lies with America itself, Maher went on to say “America needs to start defining peace as strength. Do you know who the role model for every president should be? Jimmy Carter. He was the one out of all of them who figured out how to sit in office for four years and never fire a shot. And every president’s negative example,” he concluded, “should be Dick Cheney, who even shot his friends in the face.”

I cannot express how thrilled I was to hear these words on an influential US show. When a population of 313 million people – most of whom are surrounded by strife and a crumbling infrastructure – look to their sputtering economy, more and more people need to actively point out the giant elephant in the room.

Right now, America’s military industrial complex devours half of its government’s spending. It doesn’t take a rocket  surgeon to see that drastic cuts in military spending would likely yield equally drastic improvements for American families across the land.

But, for the most part, politicians and mainstream media sources remain chillingly silent. This is, as you may well know, due to the entrenched talons of the Military Industrial Complex itself. With billions of dollars to throw around, the war machine can buy both political parties and align all the major news channels, effectively keeping enough anti-war rhetoric from the ears (and off the lips) of the American public.

So, as with all great movements, the struggle to rid our world of war falls on the shoulders of those outside the established seats of power. While it’s great when the Bill Maher’s and John Stewart’s of the world finally vocalize some anti-war sentiments, until there are millions and millions of us doing this every single day, the war machine will keep on rolling.

Fortunately, uniting against war is exactly what we are doing. All it will take is the right spark, the right catalyst, and a Occupy-esque movement can rise against the Military Industrial Complex, and the struggle towards peace will become the latest trendy battle for the masses, maybe even earning the privilege of being trivialized by the mainstream media.

Drive-By Politics

Friday, April 5th, 2013

This week the US passed an emergency bill to avert the looming threat of sequestration. Tucked away in the 500+ page bill were several last-minute additions, one which dealt a pre-emptive strike against anti-gun legislation,  the other – dubbed the Monsanto bill – worked to limit restrictions on GMOs. These secretive laws were penned anonymously from behind closed doors unbeknownst to most of the senators who signed the bill into law.

A handful of politicians/corporate shills sneaking through undesirable laws, hidden by the fog of an urgent bill which was only made into an emergency by the institutionalized ineptitude known as the US political system.

Here in Canada, we face a similar tact by the conservative party. They take all their new laws and roll them up into a giant turd called an omnibus bill. By slow-feeding the media key talking points and ensuring all their party is on board, they get this growing ball rolling, gaining momentum up to the point when the deadline nears. Then, even though people will point out the many pieces of crap legislation being passed through without due discussion, the whole thing is moving with such inertia that no one is able to stop it lest they be covered in shit.

It’s ridiculous. This isn’t democracy. At least not as good as democracy can get. In the age of the Internet and social media, governance could be so much more than it is today. We could have way more transparency. Way more accountability.

The sad part is, every time government makes some baloney move that chips away at our individual freedoms and it goes by without an uproar from we the public, they gain power while we lose it.

And our silence is all the consent they need.

 

 

Epidemic of Silence

Sunday, March 31st, 2013

Why does it seem like people in positions of power are too scared to speak their minds? Is it the same reason the vast majority of us don’t always stand up for what is right? There are these tremendous tasks ready to be accomplished, yet no one seizes the reigns. Reigns which are just waiting there idle, well within anyone and everyone’s willing grasp.

I speak to these blights on our world which, if we had our shit together as a species, would have been eradicated decades ago. Extreme poverty. Mass starvation. A behemoth industry that profits off the very war it creates. This faux-democracy perpetuated by businesses and their puppets within the political system.

We cannot afford to wait.

Especially when millions of lives are hanging in the balance daily, and the only ingredient missing is enough people willing to take action. We have the resources. We have the know how. But we don’t yet have the get-off-our-assedness enough to breach the threshold.

Take modern warfare, as an example. It is completely unnecessary  It serves no purpose, other than charging entire nations billions of dollars to kill a high percentage of our fellow global citizens. We don’t need it in our world to survive. In fact, it’s pretty much the opposite of what our world needs. Yet war, as so often is the case, remains absent from mind and mouths of the mainstream media, politicians, and most importantly – we the people. We know it’s wrong but we haven’t risen to the occasion and stopped it.

And speaking of war, the war on drugs is a proven failure which – thanks to conservative governance – we continue to pursue with greater ferocity than ever. What the hell, people? It’s like in the movies where a boulder or car is barrelling down from behind, and our only inclination is to run faster in the same direction when a step to either side would see our problems end.

The evidence is overwhelming. Making drugs illegal has done nothing to stem the harm they can cause society. If, on the other hand, drug prohibition is a means to institutionalize racism, reinforce poverty, and bolster a militarized domestic police force, then the war on drugs has been a resounding success.

But I digress. My point is that all of these institutionalized mistakes can be readily fixed, if only enough of us were to speak our minds. Just look at Women’s rights and minority rights. It works for them. And right now LGBT rights are at the crux of their struggle for same rights on Facebook and elsewhere. Plus, marijuana legalization is making some great headway.  All this happens because a big enough collective  of people found ways to share their voice.

It’s not that these injustices went unnoticed for generations. It’s that we regular people have been too scared to campaign against them with enough determination to make change. Only now, when for years just a handful of brave souls would dare to make noise, does the majority hop on board and then make what’s right become integrated into society as a whole.

Still, we have yet to reign in the banks, gain way more accountability over global corporations, clean up the collusion and corruption in the news media, end the war on drugs and then dismantle the whole war machine for good. And… oh yea, I’m gonna need us to go ahead and end world hunger while offering every human, at the very least, the most basic necessities for life. That’d be great.

These goals are quite clear. The sooner we get them done, the better. So what the hell are we waiting for?

Crashing America’s Military Drones

Friday, February 8th, 2013

3500 humans have been snuffed out since 2004 by unmanned US aircraft. Many of these were innocent civilians (children included) caught in the cross-hairs of a war machine run amok.

Even though Americans will not be made safer by manufacturing new generations of people to hate them, their government insists upon expanding the militarized drone program. They see it as the future of warfare – it’s faster, cheaper and offers less short-term risks than a boots on the ground war.

The US Defense Department doesn’t care that the program wont make Americans safer, for that’s not actually their objective. Instead, they work to protect their own job security, and the millions employed in their death-dealing business. Stir up the hornets nest, keep poking those bears. Anything to conjure up some fright-inducing yet easily subdued foes to scare up the US population. This way the billions and billions of taxpayer dollars keep rolling in while the war-profiteers can stay fat and happy atop the growing pile of bodies.

The ruling class of America don’t want any wars to stop, and drones offer a new frontier of ongoing bloodshed. Just watch the video above, as protesters expose the suffering inflicted upon fellow humans… the rest of the attendees kept their heads down, in silent shame.

You shouldn’t be able to just kill people with no due process – not on any just and civilized planet. They know it’s wrong, but they do it anyway. That’s why there is so much secrecy surrounding the drone program.

Were too many Americans to find out what their government is doing – engaging in long distance mass murder –  the outpourings of dissent might overcome the corrupting influence of an entrenched military industry. Then they will have no choice but to stop cease their crimes against humanity, and peace will gain a stronger foothold over our planet.

While this may be bad for those whose livelihoods depend upon ongoing conflicts, for the rest of us it will be awesome. So let’s keep working to make it happen. Be involved in the movement. Keep spreading awareness about the drone program and give support to others who do the same.

Wars have been on the decline for centuries. A few more years, with enough people involved, war as we know it will be done away with for good.

Why Aren’t Americans Ending War?

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Americans spend trillions of dollars on warfare every single year. This is an absurd amount of money to spend on anything, let alone using it to blow up your fellow humans on an industrialized scale. With that kind of cash, you could end extreme poverty the world over, give every person a home and an education, and dramatically lift the tide which raises all ships.

Ask the average person in America, and they would tell you they want the fighting to stop. The barely-adult people sent overseas to kill or be killed would sure as shit rather be home with their families and friends. And the people in Yemen and Pakistan? I imagine they could stand fewer innocents being killed by drone assassination.

The financial costs are an incredible burden, and the emotional scars would take generations to heal even if war ended this very second. The longer these large scale conflicts get prolonged, the worse off our entire world is.

So why aren’t Americans ending war? If the US people, much like the rest of us, just want to live and prosper in peace, why don’t their politicians listen to them and give them what they want?

The sad truth is that they can’t.

The entire American system has, to the detriment of the world, fallen victim to what can only be described as a parasitic entity, a beast that has been around in one form or another for thousands of years.

Whether through anesthetizing concepts like pride and security, the unfettered power of wealth, or, when all else fails, brute force, the war machine of which I speak has been able to keep countless populations within their grasp – and right now their prey is the American public.

In the United States, mainstream newsanchors all dance around the issue ending war, and ‘radical’ concepts like bringing home the troops rarely arise. Politicians are no better, for they too are in the pockets of the military industry, as made evident by a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate who intentionally escalates wars around the world.

So even when the vast majority of Americans want peace, a political system which is mostly theatre combined with a deliberate lack of guidance from the media makes it hard for the anti-war movement to gain the momentum needed to make a significant impact.

But peace-loving Americans won’t stay down for much longer. They simply cannot. Fueled by a crumbling economy, driven by global awareness, and united by social media, a multi-million person strong movement will prove more powerful than the entire military industrial complex. Or so we shall hope.

The world is changing faster than even those who sit atop can control. Unprecedented technology is causing new concepts like transparency and global solidarity to crash down on our world. As the old guard falls away, a newfound democracy is sure to bring to fruition the civilization our species has been cultivating for eons.