Thursday, December 29, 2011

Food Inc. [2008] (watch the full movie)

Food Inc. from PC_Alim on Vimeo.

The more people become aware of how our food is produced, the more people will not allow companies like Monsanto and Tyson to continue with the kinds of horrendous abuses of people, animals, and our environment they are currently getting away with.

These companies may have the money to influence and buy our elected officials, many of whom are former members of the very corporations they are supposed to regulate, but once people learn the truth about how these greedy, deceitful manipulators operate, they will act in unison to put the fuckers out of business for a manner similar to the way the tobacco industry has been crippled.

The masses are awakening!

from the movie:
If you take feedlot cattle off of their corn diet, give them grass for five days, they will shed 80% of the E. coli in their gut 
But of course that's not what the industry does. The industry's approach is -- when it has a systematic problem like that -- is not to go back and see what's wrong with the system, it's to come up some high-tech fixes that allow the system to survive.
those who make obscene amounts of money off of a system, will do everything in their power to see to it that the system continues working in their favor, in order for them to continue to grow and maximize their profits. government regulations on the oil and gas industry, or the banks, or any other for profit business, are only temporary measures that can easily be undone by future administrations through corporate lobbying.

we must all question and change the very system itself, and indeed ourselves for being complicit in such an unjust and immoral arrangement that would allow an individual or corporation to commit acts of grievous harm upon another sentient, feeling being in the name of financial gain. for if we do not, then as jeff spicoli might say, "we'll just be bogus too", and we will all deserve and suffer the consequences of our thoughtless, cruel, and ignorant actions.
As an environmentalist, it was pretty clear to me that business was the source of all the pollution, business was the source of basically all the things that were destroying this world.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Kyoto and Canada — We are Better Than This by David Suzuki

from the David Suzuki Foundation:
Dear friends of the David Suzuki Foundation,

Like all of us at the Foundation, you are likely heartbroken by our government’s reckless decision to break its international commitment to the Kyoto Protocol. Coming on the heels of Canada’s attempts to scuttle the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, earlier this month, this decision may also leave you feeling angry and ashamed of our leaders. We feel that way, too.

We all understand that our future and that of our children and grandchildren hangs in the balance now and that the scales could be tipped by the resolve--or indifference--of the world leaders who recently came together, for the most part, to figure out ways to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions and slow climate change. The world’s scientists have been telling us this for decades, and the growing evidence of our warming biosphere, and its increasingly catastrophic impacts, are now the daily fodder of newscasts and weather reports.

The Kyoto Protocol was not perfect, but it was leading to progressive action on climate change. Greenhouse gas emissions have been going down in Europe, and many countries are shifting from polluting fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources. Awareness has grown worldwide about the threat of climate change. Successive Canadian governments, with their focus on a tar sands economy, ensured that we did not meet even the weak targets that they set. In fact, Canada’s emissions have risen by 30 per cent over 1990 levels, leaving us way above our target of reducing levels by six per cent by 2012.

And, make no mistake, the world has been watching.

Canada’s poor performance at the climate talks in Durban and its decision to become the first country to pull out of the international legal agreement have drawn criticism from people worldwide--and rightly so. That our government would be willing to sacrifice human lives and our future for the sake of short-term profits from a polluting and non-renewable resource is a slap in the face not only to Canadians but to people everywhere.

This is not hyperbole. Climate change and its disastrous effects--droughts, heat waves, flooding, spread of disease--are already killing 300,000 people a year and driving many more into poverty. Hundreds of thousands are becoming refugees as such impacts make their homelands uninhabitable. Experts believe that up to a billion people could become refugees in coming years if the trend continues. Many plants and animals--crucial to our own health and well-being--are going extinct as climate change wreaks havoc on their habitat.

But Canada is much more than its federal government. And our economy is much more than just the oil industry. Canada is you and me and provincial and municipal government leaders. It is businesspeople and union members and retired people and children. It is all of us. And we are making a difference. Some provincial governments have implemented plans to reduce emissions, spur economic activity in the green energy sector and slow climate change. B.C. and Quebec have implemented carbon taxes, Quebec is planning to cap and reduce industrial emissions, and Ontario has its Green Energy Act, a game-changing piece of legislation. Some municipal governments are taking climate change seriously, too. Vancouver’s Greenest City Action Plan includes policies to increase the number of people who cycle or use transit rather than cars and to make homes and buildings more energy efficient.

And you have worked with organizations like the David Suzuki Foundation to put the focus on knowledge and solutions. With your support, we’ve encouraged governments at the municipal and provincial levels to take action, and we’ve worked with opposition parties to speak up for the majority who want a cleaner and healthier future. We’ve also teamed up with the Canadian Academy of Engineering and a range of interested parties, for the Trottier Energy Futures Project--an extraordinary initiative to analyze Canada’s energy sources and options and identify ways to slash emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, through wiser energy choices. And we’ve been working with a wide range of Canadians, including young people and new Canadians, reaching out in different languages to share new ideas and discuss solutions.

You’ve all been a big part of this work, through your amazing support. You’ve written letters, signed petitions, taken part in forums, volunteered, talked to each other, and donated money. Equally important, you’ve walked the talk--taking transit, insulating your homes, buying local, and modelling other behaviour attuned to a sustainable future.

Please stay the course with us.

Canada’s government may be turning its back on the global fight against climate change, but that makes it all the more important for us to take up the slack. We know that reducing emissions and combatting climate change is not just about human health--although that’s important, both from the standpoint of climate change and pollution. We know that our government’s inaction on climate change means more missed opportunities to become part of the burgeoning global green economy, with its focus on clean energy technology and knowledge. And we know that if our government is not willing to listen to the majority--and yes, we are the majority--if it cares more about keeping its friends in the fossil-fuel industry happy, then we must do all we can to make a difference.

In the coming days and weeks, please take action to affirm your convictions. This will embolden others to express their views and act as well. For example, you could:
  • Comment on this letter
  • Write to your elected representatives: municipal and provincial as well as federal, demanding to know “What is next?” in the wake of our withdrawal from Kyoto
  • Deepen your connection to our efforts by becoming a monthly donor or giving what you can. Your donations help us press harder and speak louder.
  • Talk to your friends and family about the Canada we envisage: one that acts on the understanding that we are interconnected and interdependent with nature
Together, we can mobilize many more Canadians in defence of our biosphere, and once again be proud of our country.
Thank you again,

David Suzuki, on behalf of the entire David Suzuki Foundation team

comment by dwdeclare:

unfortunately, from what i see living in alberta, the majority of people just don't give a damn. they still drive their massive pickup trucks or SUVs; many leave their vehicles idling (even when it isn't cold out); they still buy coffee and fast food garbage in disposable containers, adding to our already overfilled dumps, and very often toss the trash on the ground (tim hortons being the garbage of choice most often seen); they believe they are doing their patriotic duty by continuing to eat meat, even though the cattle industry is a huge greenhouse gas contributor (not to mention ethically indefensible), and will proudly display an, "i heart alberta beef" bumper sticker on their truck to boast about it.

yes, we are more than our government, but our flawed electoral parliamentary system put these jokers in power (even though 60%, of the 61% who bothered to cast a ballot in 2011, voted against them) and unfortunately, they represent this country. and from my experience, as long as people have a car to drive, a home to put their stuff in, and a tim hortons disposable coffee in their hand, they don't care who's in power.

it's not the canadian government's fault kyoto wasn't adhered to, it's the canadian people's fault. millions of people doing little acts of ignorance and thoughtlessness make the world a nasty polluted place.

the opposite could be true if we all did little acts of thoughtfulness and considered the impact we have on our natural world with the way we choose to feed, clothe, house, and transport ourselves, but honestly, i don't see that happening.

it's going to take a real consciousness raising for it to change, and as much as i love the nature of things (now in its 50th season), it depresses the hell out of me when i go outside and it's back to reality breathing car exhaust; listening to how we all must serve our god the economy with jobs and spending to buy more crap; and seeing fast food garbage strewn about the ground.

the exploiting 1% is certainly a problem, but i blame 99% percent of people for destroying this planet.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Somniferous Waves, Goodbye [original song]

Snow Spider [original song]

snow spider
snow spider yea yea

something is crawlin'
out in my backyard
when the flakes have fallen
i wonder what you are

snow spider
diggin' your company
snow spider
steppin' out over me

jumpin' around him
all the young girls scream
but he can't hear them shoutin'
he's caught up in his scene

snow spider
diggin' your company
snow spider
steppin' out over me

after the meltin'
i didn't see you here
don't know what happened
baby you disappeared

snow spider
diggin' your company
snow spider
steppin' out over me

snow spider
diggin' your company
snow spider
steppin' out over me

snow spider
snow spider yea yea
snow spider
snow spider yea yea

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Forest [original song]

i was breathing the forest and drinking some "tea",
then decided to lie by a sibilant stream.
as the colors around me were starting to change,
i heard this song once, then twice over again.

i wondered aloud, "from whence does it come;
from the east or the west, from below or above?"
well long about then passed a grizzly bear cub
with a mouthful of berries and bowlful of grubs.

i said, "do you mind, may i have some to eat?"
he gave me a smile as he shat on my feet.
but there in the mixture of blueberry poo
was a diamond and emerald. he said, "they're for you".

i stood with a start. i was flattered and floored.
a bear never gave me some jewels before.
i said, "that's so kind, i have nothing for you,
except all my love so undying and true."

well wouldn't you know, he was taken aback.
he arose on two feet and then roared with a laugh.
he said, "i'm so happy. i'm loved, i am loved!"
then we sang and we danced and embraced with a hug.

but soon the time came when we had to take leave.
me back to the city and he among trees.
we promised each other that we'd stay in touch,
as we said our good-byes and our see-yas and such.

but that was the last that i saw of my friend.
sometimes i do wonder what happened to him.
i donated both of those jewels he gave
to a group that keeps all of our forests in place.

as more and more habitat's lost for the bears
to greed, and consumption, and those unaware
of the damage we do to our good planet earth,
we must stop all our harm, and start to preserve.

this planet belongs to our animal kin
with two legs or more, or no legs or fins.
it belongs to the flowers, the grass, and the shrubs,
the trees of the forest, and grizzly bear cubs.

this tune from that day is so deeply ingrained,
as it whirls and wriggles around in my brain.
i never did find from the whence it did came,
but i love this song once, and twice over again.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fuck You BP!

i saw this ad on msnbc today and i was left dumbstruck when it was revealed who sponsored it:

REALLY? this is how bp is spending their money? on bullshit PR campaigns about how great the gulf coast is now, and how everything is wonderful and back to normal? FUCK YOU! these sons-of-bitches are responsible for one of the worst environmental disasters in recent memory and now they expect us to believe everything is hunky-dory and back to business as usual?

"come spend your money (and continue to burn oil while you do it)...and don't forget to thank bp for all they've done to make the world a better place for you and your children". when you fuck up the environment, destroying wildlife and people's livelihoods, don't come back to shit in people's mouths and call it a sundae.

all your fucking money won't buy you forgiveness, no matter how you wrap it up. you, along with all the other oil and gas companies have done enough harm to this planet and quite frankly, we have had enough of it. NO MORE! Fuck you BP, Fuck you very much!

the corporatocracy has the audacity to call those who try and stop the destruction of our natural world by blocking bulldozers or sitting in trees to prevent them from being cut down, "ecoterrorists". but when oil and gas companies are polluting our land, air and water, and causing the deaths of both people and wildlife, who are the real ecoterrorists here?

from democracy now headlines, thu, jan. 26, 2012:

Whistleblower: BP Sought to Alter Cleanup Data

A former employee is accusing the oil giant BP of firing him for refusing to alter data about the cleanup of the 2010 Gulf Coast oil spill. In a lawsuit filed in Louisiana, August Walter says he was subjected to "a malicious campaign" after voicing concerns that BP was defying the cleanup requirement mandated by government officials. Walter says a BP executive informed him of "people watching him" to ensure he would not interfere with BP’s plans. According to Walter, BP officials hid data from the U.S. Coast Guard to avoid having to clean up certain areas. Walter was fired from BP last month. He is seeking compensation under the Louisiana Environmental Whistleblower Statute.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Dr. Cornel West Speaks at Occupy Seattle 11-16-2011

cornel west gives his critical examination of free market fundamentalism, aggressive militarism and escalating authoritarianism in american society today, and how the occupy movements around the country and the world are offering hope against plutocratic control, through the great democratic tradition of civil disobedience, where "the condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak".

(thank you to OccupyTVSEA for uploading this wonderful video to youtube)

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Keystone XL Pipeline and Other Injustices of the Corporatocracy

the decision as to whether the keystone xl pipeline will be constructed was to be delayed until early 2013, until after the american election. but the republicans in their infinite shadiness and greed, and the democrats in their infinite spinelessness, have passed a bill linking a two month extension of the payroll tax cut to an expedited decision on the pipeline by late february 2012.

this pipeline would carry dirty bitumen from alberta to texas to be refined there. it would greatly expand tar sands production in northern alberta, meaning increasing destruction of an already devastated wild nature in canada's boreal forest. it would mean pumping more co2, methane, and other greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, and more toxins into the athabasca river, poisoning those who live downstream. already the people of ft mackay and ft chipewyan have elevated levels of cancer and other illnesses because of tar sands operations.

the proponents of the pipeline, industry and the alberta and canadian governments, have two very untenable arguments in support of it. the first is claiming it will offer energy security. this is total backward thinking, because if half the money used for oil and gas exploration and extraction were used for advancing wind and solar technology for example, we could be well on our way to much safer and cleaner energy security within a few decades, if not just a few years even. and this is far more sustainable than a few decades worth, at most, of dirty, expensive bottom of the barrel, tar sands bitumen, that the new conservative premier of alberta, alison redford is so fond of. meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

the second argument used to justify the pipeline's construction is touting all the economic benefits it will bring. ah yes, the famous jobs ploy. so despite all the environmental damage that is already occurring because of the tar sands (air pollution, leaking tailings ponds, deforestation, killing of wildlife) which would increase and worsen with the new pipeline, not to mention the very real possibility of pipeline spills, this is all somehow acceptable to them because there's money and jobs involved?

funny how even though something is causing a lot of harm to people, wildlife and the environment, government and industry will always praise it so long as there is a vast amount of money to be made. but when you consider that practically all that money is funneled to the top, you realize pretty quickly that they're main concern is not for the welfare of the average laborer, or even his safety for that matter. hell, they're even trying to take away the people's right to collectively bargain. the only thing these corporate executives and their government puppets really give a damn about, is how the workers can fill their already overstuffed pockets with even more cash. this jobs argument then becomes nothing more than the deceptive blatherings of dishonest and greedy scoundrels.

this is all very typical of the canadian government's approach however. whether it's destroying the environment and first nation's livelihoods with the tar sands, or expanding an asbestos mine in quebec to export 200,000 tons of the carcinogenic chrysotile (95% of which is shipped to asia and other mostly poor countries), or clubbing baby seals to sell to the european union, which has recently banned seal products from canada, the canadian government fights tooth and nail to keep these destructive, harmful and downright barbaric practices up and running because all of them have proven to be profitable, and that's all that seems to matter to them. shameful and despicable!

as much as these folks like to praise any industry that is extremely lucrative, there is one area where the lauding is still there, but not quite so overt. that being, the business of crime. let me explain.

there is a new $569-million mega-jail being built in the edmonton region which will house over 2,000 inmates and will cover an area larger than 26 football fields (cfl size football fields i suppose). it's expected to employ over 800 people when it's completed. and with all the construction and other jobs that go along with a project of this magnitude, that's a lot of employment to be had. looks like these criminals who are making this project "necessary" are real job creators. let's applaud them for that.

(audience rises, cheers and applauds)

i guess crime does pay. look at how many people make a living off of it: jailers, judges, police, lawyers, ems workers, and all the other satellite jobs connected with those: office workers, secretaries and so on. would spokespeople from the government and the prison industrial complex like to go on the corporate controlled media and be so bold as to say that crime is a good thing and virtuous because of all the employment it produces? i seriously doubt that.

but why not? could it be because of the harm that we associate with crime? well what about the harm associated with the oil and gas industry? from toxic oil spills to flammable water, from cancer causing emissions to climate change, people are getting sick and dying from this noxious industry. but for some reason, these companies and their bribed government officials, who both stand to make huge profits from contaminating our environment, are always extolling its most blessed merits for the sake of jobs, jobs, jobs and all that yummy money it will bring in. you can just see the dollar signs sparkling in their eyes. as texas governor, and republican presidential nominee, rick perry might say..."gold is good!". yea, but at what cost?

i think the frances mcdormand character, margie, from near the end of the movie fargo, sums it up best when she rebukes one of the two men responsible for the kidnapping and murder of jerry lundegaard's wife, by saying "there's more to life than a little money, you know. don'tcha know that?" well quite frankly, i don't think they do know that. yes, jobs are important, so we can feed, clothe, house, transport and enjoy ourselves. but if our jobs are based upon the destruction of our natural world, and people and wildlife getting sick and dying, then we are one sociopathic lot. just as sociopathic as our friend from fargo, who axed his partner to death and shoved the body into a woodchipper for refusing to give him half the money for the tan sierra. literally, we are mentally ill if we believe that our jobs are more important than our environment and people's lives.

it would be utterly ridiculous to suggest that we don't try to reduce crime by addressing the conditions that often encourage such behavior, because of the large number of people who will financially benefit from crime continuing. but that seems to be precisely what we are doing. we spend billions of dollars on "fighting crime", but we do absurdly little to try and understand and eliminate its root causes, where poverty and the grossly unjust distribution of wealth, lack of education, drug and alcohol abuse, and violence in the home play no small roles.

punishing criminals is big business, and big business means big profits, and big profits mean bigwigs like to keep things the way they are. so sure, let's fight crime...but let's not delve too deeply into why people engage in criminal acts in the first place, we may just discover how to stop it, and that's bad for our current way of doing business.

if the business of this country is business, and nothing more than pandering to the corporate elites whose only purpose is maximizing their own bottom line, then genuine democratic principles, which have at their very core civil disobedient struggle, and noncompliance with illegitimate forces trying to command people's lives, will be annihilated by these mendacious oligarchs even as they profess to be upholding them in the interest of public safety and national security. they will then use all the available tools of physical and psychological control that the state has at its disposal, to forcibly silence any dissenting voices expressing fresh new ideas running counter to the prevailing doctrines of this inequitable system, and the powerless citizenry will be bludgeoned into submissive obedience.

who would not agree that our society would be much better off without everyone having to worry about, and collectively spend billions on, protecting our property or ourselves from the victims of a society that allows all the wealth to accumulate for those near the top, while the rest feed upon the scrapheap? all those who formerly found employment taking advantage of this kind of system will just have to put up with a crime free world and find other ways to make a living. perhaps we can spend more time growing our own healthy food and being satisfied with having less in this new harmonious world where crime has been eradicated.

and our approach to crime is the same as our approach to health care. here again, billions are spent on fighting sickness and disease, but yet we remain incredibly inept and largely ignorant about how to cure these things. how little we know of probably one of the most important factors in reducing health problems...proper nutrition. we eat shit and then wonder why we feel like shit.

imagine if we put all our efforts into real prevention of crime and into real prevention of illness, by educating ourselves and trying to acquire the wisdom and compassion to understand the socioeconomic issues and lifestyle choices contributing to them; by targeting the causes and not the effects. but then that would mean less people to imprison, so less people employed in the field of punishment; it would mean less people getting sick, so less people employed in the pharmaceutical industry; it would mean a disruption and complete overhaul of our present unjust and immoral private property based system which values consumerism, profit and distractive entertainment over sharing, charity and critical examination, so less control for the plutocratic dictators who are currently in command.

if an individual is kept in the dark and unaware of the machinations driving the corporatocracy toward more profit and more power, he will abide, merrily dazed, in mute servility to them, even as they strip the last can of who hash from his scrawny fingers in the name of god and country, and he will patriotically rise and sing along as they do it. but when one is bombarded by a media, culture, and society that is nothing more than an advertisement for commerce, and a salute to empire and might based largely on narrow-minded bigotry and unwarranted fear, what do you expect?

as ridiculous as it would be to suggest that we should not get to the root causes of crime and sickness and attempt to eliminate them all together, because of jobs and economic advantage, it is just as ludicrous to propose that we don't try to prevent the ecological devastation being wreaked by the oil and gas industry, and all the health problems they cause, because of the employment these companies provide.

everyone would be far better off living in a world where the air is cleaner, and the water is uncontaminated, and the land is allowed to remain in its pristine natural state, flourishing with all the plants and animals that call it home. and surely there will be jobs available as we use our brains to come up with greener alternatives in our efforts to live more sustainably with our natural world.

reducing crime, pollution, and harnessing cleaner energy sources, will not be easy. but rarely, nothing worthwhile ever is. we're not demanding a perfect world, just a better one. one where we don't have to rely upon the suffering of another in order to make a buck.

sooner or later we are all going to have to come to the realization that our business as usual attitudes are causing far too much misery and injustice on our planet to allow us to continue on such a misguided and perilous course. crime and pollution are not beneficial things. despite all the money that can be made by allowing them to persist, we are going to need to find ways to reduce them with the eventual goal of trying to eliminate them. we really don't have a choice here, unless of course we like living in fear that someone will steal or damage our stuff, or try to hurt or kill us, or we enjoy breathing poisoned air and consuming contaminated food and water. we will make the world a kinder, cleaner and more ethical place for all, but we are running out of time. so we better, in the words of jean luc picard, "make it so".

(cue closing credits theme for star trek the next generation)

Friday, November 11, 2011

We Are Exploited, We Exploit

the exploiter doesn't care about the interests and feelings of those who he takes advantage of. to him, they are unworthy of his consideration. he is in a position of power. how he has achieved this power is immaterial. what is important is that he is unwilling to relinquish it, and has the means and the money to maintain it.

to him, those who he uses are his inferiors, and are more often than not vilified and ridiculed by him. which then of course makes their troubles easier to ignore, and perhaps in his eyes, even somehow...deserved.

even if the oppressed have adequate food, shelter and entertainment to keep them preoccupied, they must still live in the shadow of their master who has control over their well-being. one false move, and punishment will be swift and doled out at his discretion.

it may perhaps be easier and simpler to live our lives following orders and doing what we're told, all the while accepting our situation as normal and immutable. responsibility then falls upon those who give the commands, our hands being clean should any problems arise. "i was just doing my job", is the familiar refrain of the obedient lackey when the finger of blame is pointed in his direction.

but we have a deep seated revulsion to having our freedom stripped away and being forced to subjugate ourselves to another, in a way that goes far beyond our human roots, extending well back into our evolutionary past.

and so sooner or later we rise up, either alone or in groups, against our oppressor, be it an unjust man made system or an individual abuser. eventually our boiling point is reached and we demand an end to their tyranny. we are willing to take whatever measures are necessary and accept whatever consequences may come our way, in order to extricate ourselves from their cruel unrelenting domination.

but how many of the abused are also the abuser? how many of the exploited are also the exploiters? we complain bitterly when we are treated unfairly and without respect, but we needn't look any further than our own mirrors to see how we are responsible for causing similar distress to others. where if it were perpetrated against us, we would most assuredly denounce it as unacceptable and an affront to our liberty.

when we discover that our actions have been detrimental to someone else, we usually take the appropriate steps to change our behavior and cease, or at least lessen, the harm we are causing. failing to do so would place us squarely into the realm of the unempathetic, or the sociopathic. what would make us think that we deserve to have our grievances addressed if we cannot, or will not, consider the sorrows of another?

often the excuse we use for why we continue to exploit another is the same as the one used against us. "they are not worthy; their interests must be subordinated to mine because i am more important". why are our feelings more important than theirs? why should our suffering be perceived as somehow more significant?

if we all have the capacity to suffer, both physically and emotionally, and we view it as something misery-inducing and repugnant when it happens to us, how can we in good conscience continue a lifestyle where our actions inflict a similar sort of torment upon another?

here we are, demanding our rights with one fist, while pounding into submission the rights of someone else with the other. we must stop thinking in a hierarchical, vertical fashion where one's position on the ladder is of greater importance than another, and start thinking in horizontal terms of all being united in our ability to feel joy and grief, in our capacity to experience pleasure and pain, and in our lives where our individualities may grow and develop to their fullest potential through careful attention and thoughtful learning, or be allowed to wither and die through reckless ignorance and unmindful neglect.

when we say we demand equality, what do we mean? we mean that as living, feeling beings capable of experiencing a good life or a bad life (that is to say, a life where things can fair well for us, or a life where things can fair poorly for us), to deny a good life for someone else so that we may have one, is grossly unjust. and not only unjust, but flagrantly immoral as well.

the exploiter takes away a good life from the one he exploits. he has chosen to suppress any feelings of empathy regarding the well-being of the one he enslaves, in order to maintain his oppressor status and all the advantages that go along with it. we would most certainly not want to find ourselves on the receiving end of his despotic whims. and we would be just as reprehensible as any tyrant we are struggling to defeat, should we find ourselves holding on to our current lifestyles and luxuries knowing that doing so, denies a good life for another.

so who are we responsible for enslaving? whose rights to exist free of our oppression do we violate? the cultural evolution of humanity is at a point now where we believe, at least in theory if not in practice, that to treat another human being as a slave is to commit a grievous injustice upon him. for some reason however, we still choose to accept the idea that being held in economic servitude as "wage slaves" is somehow permissible because it bolsters our system of production, distribution and consumption.

but there are yet others who we rarely even think about when it comes to our conduct toward them, namely those nonhuman animals who share the planet with us. for as we feast upon the scorched flesh of our murdered animal kin, to satisfy not our need for necessary nourishment, but rather our own petty, gluttonous pleasures of the palate; or as we engage in tortuous experiments upon their sentient bodies, without consent or any restitution for the untold agonies we impose to serve our purposes; or as we confine them for our amusement, as they idly lie or pace back and forth imprisoned in zoos before our gawping eyes; or as we chase and harass them in barbaric exhibitions of shameful entertainment, we exploit them for no other reason than that we falsely believe our interests are of a superior kind to theirs.

we are blindly following without critical examination that most contemptible of tenets which states, "might makes right". a world where people choose to ignore and bury their empathy for the suffering of another, and only obey their selfish desires for personal acquisition and egoistic fulfillment, pitting each against all in a ruthless competition to see who can consume and usurp the most, is a world without peace, a world without caring, and indeed a world...without love.

if we want to stop the choking hands of oppression asphyxiating our freedom and aspire to create a more just and benevolent world, we do so not by emulating our pitiless persecutor, but by opening our hearts and minds to more fully recognize the suffering of another, and imagine what it is like to be in their situation. it is through sympathy, compassionate wisdom, and long experience, that we gain a sense of fairness and justice. and it is through loving kindness and empathetic understanding that our notions of liberty and equality will mature and bloom.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Message From Tim DeChristopher

 below is a tweet from TarSandsAction october 30, 2011:
and here is that message:
As much as I'm enjoying my time in prison, I'm a little jealous of the folks who get to participate in the uprising that's happening right now. If I wasn't here, I'd probably either be on Wall Street or Freedom Plaza in DC. But on November 6th, I would definitely be outside the White House to show Barack Obama how many people are committed to stopping the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. There's a deep instinctual sense of intimidation that comes from being completely surrounded, and that might be healthy for our president right now.

The date, one year before the election, should be a not-so-subtle hint to Obama that his job is on the line. Dr. James Hansen said that if this pipeline is built and the rest of the tar sands developed, it's "game over" for the climate. That means game over for any young person who would like a livable world to grow old in. If he's willing to risk game over for us, he should know that it will definitely be game over for his presidency.

There's another reason to link hands outside the White House on November 6th. It's an opportunity to meet the people you will be linking hands with in front of a bulldozer if Obama actually signs off on this misguided pipeline. We know that the White House has had plenty of visitors from the fossil fuel industry who have been pushing Obama to allow the Keystone pipeline. If any of those lobbyists happen to be paying a visit on November 6th, they will get a preview of the view from their bulldozers: all of you linking arms. The message should be clear that we're not giving up on our future, even if it's difficult, and we need a president with similar courage.

Have fun storming the castle!

- Tim DeChristopher

Friday, October 28, 2011

Blood on the Tracks: The Life and Times of S. Brian Willson

s. brian willson, a vietnam veteran, who after witnessing the aftermath of a massacre of villagers in vietnam, many of whom were children, realized he could no longer support this idea of war and suppress feelings of empathy for the suffering of others any more. he became a staunch peace activist.

in 1987, he along with fellow activists, attempted to block a train that was carrying weapons and supplies to be shipped to nicaragua to be used against the people who were standing up to the brutal and repressive american backed regime.

the train did not stop. it ran over willson, who as a result lost both of his legs. this democracy now interview from october 28, 2011, tells the story of this remarkable man.

he explains how through tapping in to our ancient archetypes of empathy, mutual respect, cooperation, and equity (our sense of fairness), which despite adopting ideologies that attempt to suppress them, that pretends they're not there, we can recover our humanity and change the world for the better.

his book, blood on the tracks, was released earlier this year.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Walking Through the Leaves [original song]

i'm just walking through the leaves
and staring at the ground
no one to bother me
no one at all around

Monday, October 17, 2011

Citibank Arrests Customers For Withdrawing Money

if citibank thinks they are going to get away with this, they've got another thing coming. capitalist tyranny takes on a whole new meaning here.

Anger Makes The World Go Around

they say anger makes the world go 'round. actually they don't say that, but i do. there are a lot of things to be upset about. i'm no positive spokesperson for any movement, i'm just an angry asshole. here are some things, arranged according to height and popularity, that piss the fuck out of me:

1) fracking. flammable water is not natural, like the alberta government would have you believe. gas companies shitting chemicals into the ground and blasting rock to retrieve the trapped gas releases methane and other carcinogenic concoctions into aquifers and seriously fuck up your well water and the well-being of the community. the alberta government and the oil & gas companies ought not be surprised when someone like wiebo ludwig comes along to stand up against them. you can only poison peeople and lie to them for so long before they take matters into their own hands and say, "enough is enough".

2) the tar sands. air, water, wildlife, your health. if you like one or more of these things, you will be angry at the existence of the tar sands for destroying it.

3a) tim hortons. they don't give a fuck about the environment. if they did, they would not give away those goddamned disposable cups and trays that morons don't even think twice about using.

3b) all fast food disposable shit

4) idling vehicles. really? you're not even in your car asshole. don't be such a thoughtless fuck. it's bad enough you have to drive a fossil fuel burning car, do you have to leave the motherfucking thing running and polluting the air? the worst offenders are pick up truck drivers and bus drivers, both school and city buses, at least around redneck alberta anyway.

5) meat eaters. (see also #17) you may love your dog or your cat or the robin in your birdbath, but the slaughter of a cow, pig or chicken, who is just as sentient, does not seem to faze you as you stuff your fat ugly face. you just can't seem to connect the fuck you.

6) advertising. fuck you and your brainwashing bullshit here, there and everywhere and using every medium known to man to sell, sell, sell in an effort to get people to consume, consume, consume.

7) walmart. (see #13 and also #19) the high cost of low prices. they treat their employees like shit and they treat the people who make the crap that stocks their shelves like shit.

8) paying for education. that shit should be free from the cradle to the grave (see also #13). a smart society is a thoughtful society.

9) soldiers. (see also #20) support our troops? fuck that, they're the ones who do the killing. without them, war is over and tyrants are powerless.

10) soldiers getting the shaft. so a guy goes off to fight for his country because he believes, erroneously, that he is doing the patriotic thing, gets injured, and then can't even get the proper medical attention he needs when he gets back home? that's fucked up.

11) mob mentality. i didn't say simon says...morons. groups of people working together can do good, but mostly they do warming is a prime example.

12) the 99%. wow, i bet you weren't expecting that. too many people in the world means overcrowding and too much consumption. it means destruction of the natural world, and 99% of us are responsible for that. i would even make that number higher, 99.9999%. there are maybe .0001% in the world who are compassionate, caring, thoughtful, honest, genuine and decent. peter singer is one, michael moore is a good guy, but he needs to lay off the meat (which i understand he is trying to do) and amy goodman...there are others but i figured i'd just list three out of the possible 700,000 in the world...which quite frankly, seems a bit high.

13) greed. and all its attendant corrupt symptoms and systems: capitalism; centralized communism; corporatism; greed; slavery, etc. people more interested in making money than in seeing to it that the needs of everyone are taken care of. maybe that .0001% of decent people would be higher if most of the world didn't live under a system that drives people to kill for profit.

14a) bigotry. xenophobia, homophobia, patriotism, racism, sexism, religious dogmatism etc...all that shit that divides people, pitting them against one another instead of focusing on how we are all feeling, living beings with a right to exist on this fucking planet.

14b) ignorance. lack of understanding and hatred is what causes ignorance. love gives us wisdom because true love uses compassion and reason to see and understand all. whoever said love is blind is full of shit.

15) lack of government transparency. what the fuck are you guys up to? we elected your ass, we pay taxes, we have a right to know!

16) struggling for fairness. why do we have to struggle for what is right and good and just and kind and decent?...that's bullshit. what kind of world is this anyway? it should just be automatic.

17) not considering how your actions will negatively impact another. from minor incidences like bringing your baby into a movie theater who's gonna start crying, to allowing your dog to bark outside day after day, to major ones like supporting stores who use sweat shop labor, to driving while's all part and parcel of the same lack of consideration for others, which sometimes can have fatal results.

18) hypocrisy. saying one thing and doing another. criticizing with one hand while propping up with the other. it's hard to not be a hypocrite in some aspects of your life, but we ought to reduce it to a minimum as best we can. now of course, you can hold some pretty nasty and wicked views on a subject and not be a hypocrite about it, but that in no way makes you a noble person because of it.

19a) exploitation and abuse. of people and nonhuman animals. particularly disturbing is when the person (or animal) does not even have the ability to defend themselves. that's fuckin' evil shit!

19b) rednecks. with their barbaric rodeos, a most foul display of exploitation and cruelty.

20) "i was just doing my job". yea well, how convenient. that completely takes away any responsibility you may have then doesn't it. as long as someone else higher up gives his command, all you need to do is be an obedient, brainless robot and comply. and it doesn't matter who may be harmed or killed in the process, because you were just doing your job. just stick the needle into troy davis's arm. brutal! be continued...

Sunday, October 16, 2011

We Are All Each Other

we want a better world. one that's kinder, more fair and just, and one that considers the needs of all people. we want a world where people respect the environment, a world with clean air, water and land. how each of us consumes plays a huge part in how polluted our world is.

but how can we demand positive changes in the world, if we display a rote disconnect between our actions and a crumbling ecosystem . buying tim hortons disposable coffee cups may seem like a small thing, but millions of people doing "a small thing" can create a huge garbage problem. we all need to consider the impact our actions are having on our planet. and it all starts with you and me and our local community.

how we choose to feed, clothe, house and transport ourselves can go a long way toward creating a better world, or creating one that is much worse.

right off the bat, if we eat meat, we don't care about the well being of nonhuman animals. whether we are talking about so called free range animals, or those raised on factory farms, we are condoning the killing of sentient beings to satisfy our pleasures of the palate. the reduction of suffering is of paramount importance for a kinder world, and for that reason, factory farms, with their overcrowded and inhumane conditions  should be boycotted.

but even free range animals are eventually killed, and for what? surely killing, if not done in strict self defense, is an abhorrent evil as well. not only robbing the life of a creature with an emotional existence, but at the same time suppressing that better part of our humanity, namely, empathy for another feeling being.

subsistence hunters, like those in many first nations communities, live that way for their survival, and have done so for thousands of years. but now, thanks to western lifestyles, that native way of life is becoming as extinct as the animals that sustained them. the vast majority of us however, are not subsistence hunters. for us, it is for reasons of gluttony and greed that we raise animals for food.

one might argue that raising animals for food provides jobs, just as, for example, the tar sands provides jobs. but jobs are not an end in themselves. people who steal, injure and murder others provide jobs for police, lawyers, judges, jailers etc, but no one would suggest that we shouldn't lessen the amount of crime in our neighborhoods because it employs people. and why? because these things cause harm to others and our goal as an ethical, thoughtful, caring society is to reduce the amount of harm we cause to others who have the capacity to suffer.

if we want to create a better world, we need to start with one that respects the right of living, breathing, feeling beings to exist without being exploited by us for profit or to fill our bellies.

reducing our consumption, garbage and the pollution we produce, must play pivotal roles in our lives if we are to struggle for improvement in this world. for those who don't do it voluntarily, we must tax the abusers or substantially fine them. polluters like the tar sands would pay heavy fines indeed and owners of huge gas guzzling pick up trucks and SUVs would be taxed so high they couldn't afford to drive them. if a system like capitalism is antithetical to reducing consumption, then we must modify it or dismantle it altogether.

let us occupy the world, but please, let us at the same time be good examples and role models for others to follow, and alter how we choose to live our lives by making more considerate, compassionate and ethical choices. that means not buying coffee in disposable cups, in a disposable bag, placed on a disposable cup holder. we are being overrun with garbage in our consumer based disposable society. consumption and unlimited growth may be good for the economy, but it is terrible for our ecology.

we must begin to care about the other beings we share the planet with, by not raising them for food, or destroying wild habitat because of our growing population.

there are evil external forces beating down upon us that keep us in subjection, just as we keep many nonhuman animals oppressed. maybe they ought to be holding occupy demonstrations against us, but they can't, so we continue our arrogant behavior of "dominion" over them.

oil and gas influencing our government and policy making while quashing attempts to find cleaner, more sustainable energy alternatives is a huge problem today. one that, unfortunately, we are all complicit in. anyone who drives, heats their home, or cooks their food, is a fossil fuel junkie only feeding the beast that is destroying our world.

yesterday at occupy edmonton, there were people on stationary bikes that were hooked up in such a manner to power speakers and a microphone. very cool. if these occupy demonstrations here and around the globe are to mean anything, and are to have a lasting impact, they must not only seek to get rid of the corporate influence in politics and our judicial system, but also implant in everybody's mind the idea of living more ethically and thoughtfully.

the narrative is already changing as issues of the grossly iniquitous distribution of wealth, or money controlling elected officials, or reducing our greenhouse gas emissions, are being discussed around dinner tables all across this country. now we need to translate these discussions into positive and considerate actions. then millions of people doing seemingly small things, like for example, going vegan, or cutting down on the amount of throw-away products that are purchased, or simply driving less, will have a huge impact toward fashioning more loving and mindful communities.

it's not about creating perfection, it's about striving to make the world a better place.

finally, let's remember the words of john lennon, "i am he, as you are he, as you are me, and we are all together". what is it that traces the insuperable line between "they" and "we"? are we not all each other, capable of experiencing a life where things can fare well or ill for us? if we are all troy davis, then we are also all his executioner. we should not deny and hide the worst aspects of ourselves, but rather confront and overcome them through compassion, empathy, understanding...and love.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Occupy Edmonton 10-15-2011

Some sights from Occupy Edmonton, October 15, 2011

We Are The 99%!

We Will No Longer Remain Silent!

gathering in churchill square

a great sign from one of the beautiful people

this one really sums it up

i like that, "kick the fossils out of politics". government by, for and of the people...not by, for and of the oil and gas companies

alberta and canada have turned into a petrostate

good to see linda duncan there. NDP MP for my riding in edmonton strathcona...YAY! the only non-tory riding in alberta

capitalism is an evil system

take the corporate influence out of politics

"We must realize that growth is but an adolescent phase of life which stops when physical maturity is reached. If growth continues in the period of maturity it is called obesity or cancer. Prescribing growth as the cure for the energy crisis has all the logic of prescribing increasing quantities of food as a remedy for obesity." ~ American physicist Albert Bartlett


the people have awoken

on the march! We Are The 99%!

anonymous dude

end corporate captivity...and i would add, wage slavery as well

these guys were generating a lot of favorable responses from passing motorists

people of all ages having fun in the new revolution

 let's move beyond our polluting addiction to oil toward clean, renewable energy sources

everybody's getting along

a wonderful diversity of people

clean land, air and water belongs to everyone. let's be responsible stewards and care for this planet and all its inhabitants.

one gets the feeling that anything is possible now. from minor reform to total revolution. OccupyTogether!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

EnCana Bastards

you're not going to get away with poisoning people. the alberta government may be on your side but the people are against you and will fight back. we will not rest until you stop! that is a promise.

to all companies fracking our land, you are not welcome! you will be resisted.

the video below is in eight parts and about 80 minutes long. it was Filmed at the POWERS (Protecting Our Water and Ecological Services Society) workshop, held on September 10, 2011, in Cochrane Alberta. Filmed and edited by Will Koop, Coordinator, B.C. Tap Water Alliance and Stop Fracking British Columbia.

it tells the story of jessica ernst in her own words. she describes how her life, near the small southern alberta community of rosebud, has been turned upside down by gas companies using a method called hydraulic fracturing to extract gas from shale. her water has been poisoned with methane and other chemicals as a result of this fracking. yet the government of alberta, who is supposed to regulate these oil and gas companies, has only defended industry.

one good thing about people, they have a tendency to band together in solidarity for those who have been treated unjustly. no one likes it when their own government lies to them and defends a company's interest in making money over the well-being of the community.

Stop Fracking Up Our World!

Andrew Nikiforuk, author of Tar Sands: Dirty Oil And The Future Of A Continent, gives a talk at POWERS (Protecting Our Water and Ecological Resources Society) workshop on Fracking in Alberta, Cochrane Roundhouse, Cochrane Alberta, September 10, 2011.

in 9 parts. duration 1:22:21

Everything you ever wanted to know about the dangers and harm caused by hydraulic fracturing is presented in this lecture, with particular focus on what is happening in Alberta. The province has a horrific environmental record, with government agencies and elected officials using dishonesty, deception and secrecy to defend industry when they should be telling everyone the truth about the effects of oil and gas exploration and extraction. but doing that would mean losing a lot of money...wouldn't it? good to see where your priorities lie alberta. profits over people is your mantra.

Thank you to WillKoop who uploaded these videos to youtube.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Private Property Strips our Freedom and Destroys our Future

recently, ambassador, author of the pamphlet time for outrage, and concentration camp survivor, stephane hessel, appeared on democracy now! and was asked why there is such an anti-immigrant sentiment in many countries of the world and what impact this has on uniting people. he replied:
I think the word "security" is one of the most dangerous words that can be used by governments. They say, "For reasons of security, we cannot accept this, we cannot do that, we cannot do the other." Security is all right, but freedom is even more important. 
and why do we need all this security? to protect private property and personal ownership. accepting the idea of private property and ownership is why people tolerate democracy restricting security measures. we believe our right to personal ownership and the constant buying and consumption of things makes us free. but how can we be free when we are constantly living in fear of someone else who is out to hurt us and take our stuff?

for some reason we have allowed our slavery to property, and all its concomitant violations of freedom, to trump democracy.

yes, funneling wealth to the top does create jobs. jobs for those who maintain this unjust system based on inequality and greed. how much time, effort and money is spent on police, lawyers, judges, jailers, armies etc., all in an effort to protect our things, instead of seeing to it that the needs of all are taken care of? imagine how much brain power and resources we would have available for education, health care and creating clean, livable communities if we weren't so worried about protecting our stuff.

executive director of the labor and worklife program at harvard and member of the democratic socialists of america, elaine bernard, has stated:
Medieval life, was a collectively lived life. It was a brutish, nasty affair. But there was a collective responsibility. People belonged to the land; the land did not belong to people. And in this European world, people, farmed the land in a collective way, because they saw it as a commons.
Beginning with Tudor England, we began to see a phenomenon emerge, and that is the enclosure of the great commons by parliamentary acts in England, and then in Europe. And so, first we began to take the great land masses of the world which were commons and shared, and we reduced those to private property. Then we went after the oceans, the great oceanic commons, and we created laws and regulations that would allow countries to claim a certain amount of water outside their coastal limits for exploitation.
In this century we went after the air, and we divided it into air corridors that could be bought and sold for commercial traffic for airplanes.
With deregulation, privatization, free trade, what we’re seeing is yet another enclosure and if you like private taking of the commons.
One of the things I find very interesting in our current debates is this concept of who creates wealth. That wealth is only created when it’s owned privately.
What would you call clean water, fresh air, a safe environment? Are they not a form of wealth? And why does it only become wealth when some entity puts a fence around it and declares it private property? Well, you know, that’s not wealth creation. That’s wealth usurpation.
the destruction of our ecology, where private industries and multinational oil and gas companies are polluting the air and water and destroying the land and stripping away native hunting rights for indigenous people, is not only a usurpation of what belongs to all beings now, it is also a usurpation of what rightfully belongs to all those who will come after us.

a clean environment is the commons belonging to all creatures of this planet, and we are destroying it in the name of ownership and private profit. we believe we have a right to take and keep, in other words steal, what rightfully belongs to all. and it belongs to all because all are the inhabitants of earth and need a clean, healthy world to survive.

the fact that there are so many fossil fuel burning vehicles on the road, pumping poisonous emissions into the atmosphere, illustrates how we believe we have a right to destroy what belongs to all because of this god-like notion of worshiping private property and personal ownership.

french anarchist pierre joseph proudhon in his book what is property writes:
Then I commenced a most laborious investigation. It was necessary to arrange informal notes, to discuss contradictory titles, to reply to captious allegations, to refute absurd pretensions, and to describe fictitious debts, dishonest transactions, and fraudulent accounts. In order to triumph over quibblers, I had to deny the authority of custom, to examine the arguments of legislators, and to oppose science with science itself. Finally, all these operations completed, I had to give a judicial decision. I therefore declared, my hand upon my heart, before God and men, that the causes of social inequality are three in number:

1. Gratuitous appropriation of collective wealth;
2. Inequality in exchange;
3. The right of profit or increase.

And since this threefold method of extortion is the very essence of the domain of property, I denied the legitimacy of property, and proclaimed its identity with robbery.
property is not only theft, it is destruction. it is destruction of our external world and it is destruction of the internal world of our minds as well. we are witnessing how our desire to own, to make a profit, to accumulate more and more, is causing horrendous stresses on our atmosphere due to industrial pollution, which then has adverse effects on people's health, with increasing cases of cancer for example . it is causing untold suffering in the form of poverty and wildlife habitat loss.

but it is also destruction of the better part of the human mind. the mere fact that we have come to accept the very idea of it as normal and live our lives by it, only serves to allow greed to flourish. greed may or may not be a natural trait, but it doesn't matter, it is harmful to our own and to another's well-being and should be kept in check, not encouraged by systems like free market capitalism. it suppresses our other more beneficial and positive sentiments of sharing and empathy for the suffering of another.

the idea of private property is also destroying our ability to think beyond our current economic arrangements, toward a system of personal governance and social responsibility, where the world's wealth is more equitably distributed among everybody.


we now view, at least in theory if not in practice, the ownership of humans as immoral and unjust because it robs the slave of his freewill and well-being (one day we will also come to the realization, as many already have, that to enslave sentient, thinking and feeling nonhuman animals is wrong as well). but if we do not abolish the idea of taking and keeping for ourselves the essentials of what another requires to live (eg. land, food, water, shelter, clothing, access to transport, tools of communication etc.) then we are still holding people in subjection. 

if others do not have access to what is required to sustain their lives or give it meaning because we own it, then we rob them of their lives. we are thieves. we are either forcing them into a position of servitude toward us so that we may give them a few metaphorical table scraps to keep them going, or we are forcing them to unite and take from us, by whatever means necessary, what rightfully belonged to them, what rightfully belonged to all, in the first place.

both slavery and ownership are two sides of the same evil coin. either a person is free to have access to clean air, land, water and nutritious food, without taking away those same things from another, or he is a slave to the ones who have claimed ownership of them.

as humanity grows and matures we will no doubt find fairer and more just ways of distributing the world's wealth, in addition to building cleaner, more sustainable local economies based upon healthier, renewable energy sources. it is not that we don't have enough for everyone, we do. the problem is our reluctance to share because of a system that values and encourages personal fortune and greed over the well-being of all people and taking care of this planet, which all of its denizens call...home.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Slavoj Zizek at Occupy Wall Street 10-09-2011


They are saying we are all losers, but the true losers are down there on Wall Street. They were bailed out by billions of our money. We are called socialists, but here there is always socialism for the rich. They say we don’t respect private property, but in the 2008 financial crash-down more hard-earned private property was destroyed than if all of us here were to be destroying it night and day for weeks. They tell you we are dreamers. The true dreamers are those who think things can go on indefinitely the way they are. We are not dreamers. We are the awakening from a dream that is turning into a nightmare.

We are not destroying anything. We are only witnessing how the system is destroying itself. We all know the classic scene from cartoons. The cat reaches a precipice but it goes on walking, ignoring the fact that there is nothing beneath this ground. Only when it looks down and notices it, it falls down. This is what we are doing here. We are telling the guys there on Wall Street, "Hey, look down!"

In mid-April 2011, the Chinese government prohibited on TV, films, and novels all stories that contain alternate reality or time travel. This is a good sign for China. These people still dream about alternatives, so you have to prohibit this dreaming. Here, we don’t need a prohibition because the ruling system has even oppressed our capacity to dream. Look at the movies that we see all the time. It’s easy to imagine the end of the world. An asteroid destroying all life and so on. But you cannot imagine the end of capitalism.

So what are we doing here? Let me tell you a wonderful, old joke from Communist times. A guy was sent from East Germany to work in Siberia. He knew his mail would be read by censors, so he told his friends: “Let’s establish a code. If a letter you get from me is written in blue ink, it is true what I say. If it is written in red ink, it is false.” After a month, his friends get the first letter. Everything is in blue. It says, this letter: “Everything is wonderful here. Stores are full of good food. Movie theatres show good films from the west. Apartments are large and luxurious. The only thing you cannot buy is red ink.” This is how we live. We have all the freedoms we want. But what we are missing is red ink: the language to articulate our non-freedom. The way we are taught to speak about freedom— war on terror and so on—falsifies freedom. And this is what you are doing here. You are giving all of us red ink.

There is a danger. Don’t fall in love with yourselves. We have a nice time here. But remember, carnivals come cheap. What matters is the day after, when we will have to return to normal lives. Will there be any changes then? I don’t want you to remember these days, you know, like “Oh. we were young and it was beautiful.” Remember that our basic message is “We are allowed to think about alternatives.” If the rule is broken, we do not live in the best possible world. But there is a long road ahead. There are truly difficult questions that confront us. We know what we do not want. But what do we want? What social organization can replace capitalism? What type of new leaders do we want?

Remember. The problem is not corruption or greed. The problem is the system. It forces you to be corrupt. Beware not only of the enemies, but also of false friends who are already working to dilute this process. In the same way you get coffee without caffeine, beer without alcohol, ice cream without fat, they will try to make this into a harmless, moral protest. A decaffeinated process. But the reason we are here is that we have had enough of a world where, to recycle Coke cans, to give a couple of dollars for charity, or to buy a Starbucks cappuccino where 1% goes to third world starving children is enough to make us feel good. After outsourcing work and torture, after marriage agencies are now outsourcing our love life, we can see that for a long time, we allow our political engagement also to be outsourced. We want it back.

We are not Communists if Communism means a system which collapsed in 1990. Remember that today those Communists are the most efficient, ruthless Capitalists. In China today, we have Capitalism which is even more dynamic than your American Capitalism, but doesn’t need democracy. Which means when you criticize Capitalism, don’t allow yourself to be blackmailed that you are against democracy. The marriage between democracy and Capitalism is over. The change is possible.

What do we perceive today as possible? Just follow the media. On the one hand, in technology and sexuality, everything seems to be possible. You can travel to the moon, you can become immortal by biogenetics, you can have sex with animals or whatever, but look at the field of society and economy. There, almost everything is considered impossible. You want to raise taxes by little bit for the rich. They tell you it’s impossible. We lose competitivity. You want more money for health care, they tell you, "Impossible, this means totalitarian state." There’s something wrong in the world, where you are promised to be immortal but cannot spend a little bit more for healthcare. Maybe we need to set our priorities straight here. We don’t want higher standard of living. We want a better standard of living. The only sense in which we are Communists is that we care for the commons. The commons of nature. The commons of privatized by intellectual property. The commons of biogenetics. For this, and only for this, we should fight.

Communism failed absolutely, but the problems of the commons are here. They are telling you we are not American here. But the conservatives fundamentalists who claim they really are American have to be reminded of something: What is Christianity? It’s the holy spirit. What is the holy spirit? It’s an egalitarian community of believers who are linked by love for each other, and who only have their own freedom and responsibility to do it. In this sense, the holy spirit is here now. And down there on Wall Street, there are pagans who are worshipping blasphemous idols. So all we need is patience. The only thing I’m afraid of is that we will someday just go home and then we will meet once a year, drinking beer, and nostaligically remembering “What a nice time we had here.” Promise yourselves that this will not be the case. We know that people often desire something but do not really want it. Don’t be afraid to really want what you desire. Thank you very much.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Greed Sows the Seeds of Its Own Demise

a capitalist economy and protection of our natural world are inimical to one another. the former demands us to consume more and continue spending so it can prosper and grow, while the latter requires us to reduce our consumption so it may flourish.

this free market economy is destroying our clean air, water and soil, all in the name of profit, and in so doing it will ultimately destroy itself and us, not to mention countless other innocent creatures in the process. greed sows the seeds of its own demise and it doesn't care who it takes down with it.

stop the wholesale destruction of the natural world which belongs to all beings, not just human, by saying enough is enough. the way we are living now is not sustainable nor is it healthy or conducive to the well-being and happiness of all.

private industry and big business shaping government policy has had its day. it is now time to create a different world, one that is cleaner, juster and more socially responsible to the needs of all.

We Are Part of the 100%

thinking differently
connection to the world
and around

the silence and the music
and rebounds like a century plant

this could be the time
like a dream in the mind
that lasts outside
much longer than the blink of an eye

fading away
with a smile on his face
then smelling a redolent tune

its orange but more
as he opens the door
to begin where a daisy once bloomed

from the small to the large
on a beach near and far
where the ammonite's soul interjects

but when we went back
there was no need to ask
it was plain that all property's theft

and as the bacon lay dead
from its once living flesh
we mutilate life for the taste

what right do we have
to rob sentience and laugh
away actions we cannot erase

while on the way home
they were laughing and cold
'cause all beauty is ugly and gone

so used to the way
that we work and we play
but now something's horribly wrong

thinking differently
occupation of the world
and around

the silence and the drumming
and rebounds like a century plant

this could be the time
it is real in the mind
that lasts outside
much longer than the blink of an eye

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Naomi Klein on Real Limits and Scarcity vs. False Limits and Scarcity

from democracy now! 10-06-2011

This is one of the contradictions of capitalism, is that it is so destructive that it destroys its own base, whether that’s its base of consumers able to buy its own products, which is why you have to feed them cheap credit, which then becomes a bubble that pops and destroys the economy, or whether it’s the destruction of the ecosphere, I mean, whether it’s the destruction of the natural systems on which we depend. And this is why I think we need the economic and ecological crisis as absolutely intertwined, if not the same crisis, that has their roots in unfettered greed and an inability to say, enough, and an inability to understand that there are limits; that there is such a thing as scarcity in the natural world. And this is one of the things—-there is such a thing as a limit in what our atmosphere can absorb in terms of the pollution that we put out.

Our understanding of limits is so twisted, because we don’t understand those limits. We don’t understand the real limits imposed on us by physics and chemistry, but we impose these absolutely false limits, when it comes to economics. This is one of the themes that really struck me talking to demonstrators yesterday at the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations, was the theme of false scarcity, that we are living in this age were everybody is told there’s not enough. There’s not enough money for people to have decent health care. There’s not enough money for people to have decent housing. There’s not enough space in the country for immigrants because there’s not enough. We’re told this all the time. We live with this, and that’s what is so powerful and so symbolic about the decision to go to Wall Street, to go to this space of abundance and expose the lie of scarcity. But, at the same time as we expose that lie of scarcity, and to show yet, no, actually this is an abundant society, we have a crisis of distribution in this society, we also have to recognize where there are real limits. The limits of our natural systems to absorb the tremendous stresses that we’re putting on them, and climate change is only one part of those stresses.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

The Occupied Wall Street Journal

Click On Pictures To Enlarge 

download a pdf copy here
download 2nd edition here 

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

The Dying Remains of Free Market Capitalism

there are those who are always on the side of the system. there to support prisons, police, jailers and judges. there to praise industry, corporations, bosses and bigotry. perhaps out of fear or maybe out of ignorance, citing tradition as a justification for keeping things the way they are. but the main reason, i believe, that many people want to keep propping up a cruel and corrupt system, is because they think that it works for them, and they believe they can count on it to protect what they have, or would like to have, namely piles and piles of money.

but for the most part, the vast majority of people don't have piles and piles of money and nor are they ever likely to have it. but they cling to this idea that our current economic arrangement will make them rich, with a tighter grip than a gambler's hand on a one armed bandit. and just like that gambler, they are oblivious to the reality of what's going on around them. so mesmerized are they with the ringing bells of riches, and the promise of profit that their dazed mind keeps them transfixed on that ever elusive pot of gold at the end of the capitalist rainbow.

and as they keep plugging their time and energy into this economic slot machine, that may spit out a nickel or two here and there to keep them coming back for more, the real winners in all of this are the wall street casino swindlers and the multibillion dollar transnational corporations. they're the ones who have the power and the cash to influence our elected officials and even our judicial system, with a quid pro quo contract, whose only purpose, it would seem, is to make it easier for these rapacious plutocrats to accumulate even more money.

but as the chasm between the rich and the rest grows deeper and wider, the chances of making that leap to luxury grows more and more difficult. not only that, but by busting our asses with longer hours for less real money as we continue to make our employers wallet fat, we only prop up a system that has no concern for us and our day to day lives, or the homeless person on the street, or our rapidly disappearing natural world. no, the system we prop up only serves to regard the interests of the wealthy, the interests of the consuming greedy.

when prices on everything from groceries to gas, from electricity to earmuffs keeps rising bit by bit, month by month, and year to year, our wages never seem to keep pace. but surely the labor of millions of people must be making somebody a lot of money somewhere. it sure is, but it sure ain't 99% of us.

you want to go to school, work hard, have a rewarding career and make a decent dollar, i think that's great. unfortunately, that is getting harder and harder to accomplish as more and more people are drowning in debt from such things as ridiculously high student loans. and with no guarantee of a decent job even after completing years of university.

but hey, if you can accomplish this "american dream", more power to you. maybe the system works in your favor. but as one person takes, another has something taken away, and that's just not right.

"well i'm successful, they can be too. all they have to do is work hard. they're just lazy and want a handout."
really? is that what you think? fuck you! yea that's right. fuck you, you arrogant piece of shit! just because somebody is poor or hasn't achieved your level of success, that doesn't mean they're lazy or want a handout from you. but if you want to talk about people begging for handouts, then let's mention the billions of dollars in corporate welfare bailout money that the banks and auto makers received in 2008.

there are many working poor in this country who have multiple jobs to try and make ends meet. there are many more who cannot find work through no fault of their own. there are many with mental illnesses who are literally thrown out of heath care facilities for lack of funding, and are forced out onto the street with no friends or family and nowhere to turn.

not everybody was born into a situation that enables them to have the success of others because their basic human needs are not met. they don't have enough to eat, they don't have the same access to quality medical care that you or i may have. and if a person is hungry and sick they have difficulty concentrating in school and so their education suffers. perhaps there is violence in the home or substance abuse.

everyone is different and everyone has different needs. we don't all act the same under similar circumstances. but if we try and level the playing field and attempt to understand the needs of all individuals of all backgrounds, and appreciate how our choices and actions affect the well-being of others, perhaps we can eradicate this cancer called poverty from not only this country but across the whole world.

but when corporations and environment-destroying industries are pulling the strings controlling our politicians, concern for social programs, education and health care, which serves the needs of all the people and is the whole reason for having a government in the first place, suddenly becomes less of a priority. then it is no longer a government of the people, by the people and for the people, but a government of private industry, by private industry and for private industry.

it takes compassion, understanding and sharing to resolve the world's problems, not wars, secrecy and holding fast to a system that doesn't benefit all of its citizens. if one person suffers because of our unjust economic arrangement, then that's one too many and we need to change it, not make excuses or devise ways to maintain it.

as countries across the world struggle with trillion dollar debts, and austerity measures near and far put a deeper bite into people's lives, and banks are getting bailed out with billions of dollars to keep them operating while the CEOs receive millions in bonuses, people are fed up. they are demanding a fairer distribution of wealth that serves everyone, not just the upper 1%. they are angry and they are voicing that outrage in the streets. it is time we all join together and become the conscientious objectors of an inequitable economic system. we must all heed the call to create a juster, cleaner, kinder, more radiant and democratic world, that will flourish upon the dying remains of free market capitalism.