Posts Tagged ‘bill’

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.

Bill C-38: A Mockery of Democracy

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

Conservative ethos tends to embody efficiency, which can be highly effective in the business world. When it comes to handling democratic rule, being too efficient brings the people on par with dictatorship.

Why even waste precious time debating and voting on issues when it’s so much easier to just have one guy make the final decision? Way less red tape that way.

The Tories Omnibus bill is a fine example of this mentality. Slash environmental protections, supersede food safety, gut the fisheries act, bilk old age security, change dozens of laws, then wrap it all up under the pretense of pertaining to the budget. Fast track it through parliament and voila! A more corporatist Canada without all the fuss.

Over the next few days, something like 1000 amendments will be voted upon – the oppositions’ vain protest over the bill – while we get to watch as they all get shot down one-by-one by the majority government, our democracy violated with every silenced critique.

But don’t just take my word for it. Listen to none other than Stephen Harper himself, who in 1994 criticized the use of Omnibus bills saying:

I would argue that the subject matter of the bill is so diverse that a single vote on the content would put members in conflict with their own principles. How can members represent their constituents on these various areas when they are forced to vote in a block on such legislation and on such concerns?

The bill contains many distinct proposals and principles and asking members to provide simple answers to such complex questions is in contradiction to the conventions and practices of the House. Dividing the bill into several components would allow members to represent views of their constituents on each of the different components in the bill.

Eloquent words. If only Harper would listen to his younger self.

 

Big Brother in the Great White North

Friday, June 8th, 2012

We protested. We rallied. We petitioned. They didn’t care. No matter how vocal we Canadians have been against ludicrous surveillance bills and privacy eroding legislation, corporately-owned politicians like Vic Toews refuse to quit their attempts to force unwanted rulings into Canada’s law books.

What is it this time, you ask? None other than our old nemesis Bill C-30. Except now that it’s been reanimated, it has extra ghoulish powers, like giving warrantless surveillance not just to Canadian agencies, but also to US authorities who would then have access to our private information.

The bill is not without it’s dissenters. According to OpenMedia.ca, “nearly two-thirds of opposition MPs” stand against Bill C-30, a number sure to grow the more noise the public makes.

Still, as Law Professor Michael Geist points out in a lengthy yet insightful posting, the Intellectual Property Lobby tends to ignore facts in favor of ideology, looking at counterfeiting and piracy as vile evils to be fought at any expense.

But, as pointed out by myself and others, the fight against file-sharing stems from a few behemoth media companies sporting archaic business models that won’t adapt to today’s market. So they do the only thing they can: try to pass laws that protect their bottom line no matter the greater cost to society.

It’s sad and scary to think our elected officials are working so feverishly to screw us all over. Worse still, if the public keeps shutting down individual bills, the Tories might just cram them all together into next year’s omnibus budget bill and then ram it through parliament.

Just 3 more years. 3 more years? Oh man.

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.

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.

Worth Watching: Being an Eternal Optimist

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

The world today can be especially distressing, considering all the economic turmoil and ongoing global conflicts. But we’ve more reasons than ever before to be hopeful, if we just take a moment to reflect.

Global poverty is at an all time low. War deaths are the lowest in modern human history. Technology is moving ahead faster than ever before bringing us the cheap, effective solutions we need to solve most of the world’s problems.

A decade or two could be all it takes to transform ourselves into an advanced species, having ended all wars, eradicated poverty, and overcome the limitations of our biological tyranny.

But don’t just take my word for it. Watch as proponent of social justice and equity Angela Blackwell and veteran journalist Bill Moyers discuss the state of modern events and why it is entirely logical to be more optimistic with each passing day.

Omnibus Bill: Pumping Prison Profits

Monday, March 5th, 2012

Suppose you own a number of giant prisons and you’re looking to expand your annual earnings. How exactly could you do that?

Well, you could cut maximize efficiency and minimize overhead, like any good corporation would do. As well, considering how you’re housing a massive population of inmates with practically no rights, it would be best to put them to work for slave wages. (more…)

Bill C-30: Yay for Now

Saturday, February 25th, 2012

Canadians can breathe a sigh of relief, albeit a temporary one. Bill C-30 – the legislation to give police unwarranted access to every Canadian’s online activity – has been shelved!

Don’t, however, take this as a reason to become complacent. The forces trying to cram C-30 down our throats will not rest, so neither can we. It is up to us to stay vigilant against the encroachment of the police state and further erosion of our freedoms.

On the bright side, at least now we know that our voices will still be heard, as long as we speak up together.

Bill Maher: Dropping the Ball

Monday, February 6th, 2012

Funnyman Bill Maher has long been a voice of the people, daring to speak what few others would risk saying, and he does it all on national TV. His ‘New Rules’ segment, often timely and inspiring, usually place Maher’s insights on the forefront of the progressive movement.

However, it can be extremely frustrating to see him consistently fall into the trap of the two-party dictatorship. Time and time again, Bill Maher will lament about his precious Democrats standing strong, only to crumble at the last minute. And, no matter how much Obama strays from the liberal agenda, Maher still pledges die-hard support behind his guy.

Maher fails to recognize that both Democrats and Republicans are two sides of the same coin, offering the public the illusion of choice, while the super-rich and the corporations run away with the political system. Or maybe he does realize this, and, as a super-rich guy himself, he’s okay with it.

Case and point, a few weeks back Bill Maher openly supported SOPA without even researching what the draconian legislation would entail. He just blindly stated that whatever stops file-sharing is a good thing, no matter how bad liberties and internet freedoms get squashed. Talk about missing the mark.

And now, on his latest episode, Bill Maher spoke out against the people’s uprising, calling the Occupy protesters “Douchebags” who need to “Get A Job”.  Wow, Maher sure has fallen prey to the mainstream media’s framing of the narrative.

Little does Bill Maher know, the Occupy movement grows stronger with every new day. Never has there been more numbers involved, and those who are involved are more organized, mobilized and better focused than ever before.

Time will tell if Maher does an about face to rejoin the progressive movement. If he doesn’t, then he risks being amongst the rest of the greedy oligarchs who get ostracized when the impending revolution is finally realized.

Bill Clinton Supports Occupy Movement

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

Add one more prominent figure throwing their support behind the Occupy Wall Street movement. This time, it’s former US President Bill Clinton, who offered his praise to the people’s uprising while answering questions at a book signing.

“I think what they’re doing is great,” Clinton said. “Occupy Wall Street has done more in the short time they’ve been out there than I’ve been able to do in more than the last eleven years trying to draw attention to some of the same problems we have to address.”

Yes! Occupy has most definitely changed the discussion. But more than that, the movement represents a huge step in the process by which humankind will reclaim control over the planet. Finally, the people are starting to unite and fight back!

For thousands of years, a small but vocal segment of the population has chimed about the persistent, institutionalized injustices. But now, as these same messages get refined and encapsulated into an easily consumed form ready for the general public, the stage is set for what keeps our global establishment’s elites up at night: the thought that dissenting ideas will go viral.

Yet this is exactly what is already happening. Now, there will be no stopping humankind from tearing down the corrupt house of cards to build up a far more just global civilization.