2013_12_09

Now Is The Time!

Continuation of 2013_12_07 (previous entry)

11. Fraudulent Election

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2013/05/25/confirmed-canada-2011-polls-fraudulent/

12. Harper is a warmonger

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/harper-and-obama-want-firm-response-to-syria-attack-1.1365457

http://www.theblackvault.com/m/news/view/U-S-backed-plan-to-launch-chemical-weapon-attack-on-Syria-and-blame-it-on-Assad-s-regime#.UhbQYeXD81g

13. Harper bullies Canadian public to get bitumen pipeline built

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/08/18/harper_government_unfairly_limits_public_input_on_enbridge_pipeline.html

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorials/2013/08/18/line_9_assessment_process_is_undemocratic_editorial.html

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/harper-says-keystone-will-spur-jobs-despite-obama-claims-1.1372626

14. Harper gov’t tries to bypass Prov. gov’ts and ram through Senate “reform”

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/07/31/harper-government-senate_n_3684548.html?utm_hp_ref=canada-politics

15. Despite proof Harm Reduction works, Harper gov’t remains ideologically opposed

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Evidence+trumps+ideology+over+public+health+benefits+Insite/8704065/story.html

16. Harper gov’t lax on Oilsands environmental protection enforcement

Quotation is from following article-link: “Both the Energy Resources Conservation Board and its federal counterpart, the National Energy Board, rely on oil companies to let them know when something goes wrong. The regulators rarely follow up themselves, and usually only if they know of a series of problems.”

http://globalnews.ca/news/571507/watching-the-pipelines-how-good-are-albertas-energy-regulators/

http://globalnews.ca/news/571494/introduction-37-years-of-oil-spills-in-alberta/

17. Harper gov’t dismantling social programs

http://www.scribd.com/doc/114206787/Harper-Destroys-Social-Programs-2012-09-26

http://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2011/11/07/Harper_Dismantles_Safetynets/

18. Harper gov’t approves use of information obtained by torture

http://www.scribd.com/doc/103860809/feds-give-rcmp-cbsa-green-light-to-use-torture-tainted-information

19. Harper gov’t monitors online politics chat room discussions

http://www.scribd.com/doc/103795959/Harper-Government-Monitoring-Online-Chats-About-Politics-News1130

20. Harper gov’t stifles freedom of speech

http://www.scribd.com/doc/98526742/Harper-Government-Stifles-Freedom-of-Speech

21. Harper gov’t turns back clock on women’s rights

http://rabble.ca/columnists/2010/02/harper-runs-roughshod-over-womens-rights

22. Harper gov’t “loses” $ 3.1 Billion

http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/canada-can-t-account-for-3-1b-in-anti-terror-funding-ag-finds-1.1303999

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2013_12_07

Mandela (and Harper)

For fighting the heinously racist South African policy of apartheid (racial segregation), Nelson Mandela endured 27 long years in prison. On Thursday, 5 December 2013, the venerable 95-year-old world-renowned leader passed away. Because he’d steadfastly refused to forsake his political stance, he had become a symbol of staunch resistance to ethnic oppression, a characterization well-deserved and appropriate. His difficult struggle inspired many songs, and likewise uplifted many people’s lives.

Following this solemn declaration, in levelling political criticism at Prime Minster Stephen Harper and his government, it’s nearly impossible to avoid being perceived as an opportunist. Notwithstanding, I shall proceed.

I take exception to Harper’s speech marking the occasion of Mandela’s death. It opens with the statement, “The world has lost one of its great moral leaders…”

Intrigued, I was curious as to what qualified Harper to be a judge of moral character. So, I reprised some of the “moral milestones” of the Harper government.

1. Broken Promises of Affordable Housing

http://www.thestar.com/opinion/commentary/2013/11/18/broken_promises_on_affordable_housing.html

2. The Secretly-Negotiated, Corporate-Rights-Giveaways Trade “Deals” CETA and TPP

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/yves-engler/ceta_b_4227933.html

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/06/26/stephen-harper-tpp-canada_n_3492531.html

3. The Ever-endearing Senate Scandal

http://www.edmontonsun.com/2013/10/30/house-of-the-whopper-pm-has-spun-such-a-web-of-deceit-he-should-resign-or-be-dismissed

http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/2013/11/07/canadas_senate_scandal_isnt_over_yet_walkom.bb.html

Had enough? Wait, there’s more!

4. Overseeing the Ascendancy of Spying on Canadians via CSEC

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/canadian-spy-agency-sued-for-allegedly-violating-charter-1.2158884

5. Neglecting Climate Change

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/canadas-credibility-in-question-as-countries-seek-new-climate-change-treaty/article15371986/

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/oil-industry-successfully-lobbied-ottawa-to-delay-climate-regulations-e-mails-show/article15346866/

6. Neglecting Canada’s Veterans

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/veterans-plan-silent-protests-of-government-policies/article15371603/

(transcript of the following) http://globalnews.ca/news/856562/transcript-episode-3-sept-22/

http://globalnews.ca/news/856503/lt-gen-leslie-blasts-conservative-governments-treatment-of-veterans/

7. Doing 10 Disservices to Canadian Consumers

http://www.broadbentinstitute.ca/en/blog/10-things-remember-about-stephen-harper%E2%80%99s-consumer-unfriendly-record

8. Condoning Canadian Human Rights Oppression

http://bsnorrell.blogspot.ca/2013/10/mikmaq-warriors-denied-all-rights-in.html

http://rabble.ca/blogs/bloggers/pamela-palmater/2013/08/harper-seeks-to-blame-indigenous-women-their-own-disappearanc

http://rabble.ca/news/2010/04/harper%E2%80%99s-hitlist-human-rights-taken-out-commission

9. Censoring Canada’s Scientists

http://www.cbc.ca/news/technology/muzzling-of-federal-scientists-widespread-survey-suggests-1.2128859

10. Taking Canada to the Political Far Right

http://www.scribd.com/doc/190136863/Whither-Canada

Wait, there’s even more! …  (Okay, I sense a fatigue setting in; some other time, perhaps…)

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2013_12_05

“The cost of our empire of illusion is not being paid by the corporate titans. It is being paid on the streets of our inner cities, in former manufacturing towns, and in depressed rural enclaves. This cost transcends declining numbers and statistics and speaks the language of human misery and pain. Human beings are not commodities. They are not goods. They grieve and feel despair. They raise children and struggle to maintain communities. The growing class divide is not understood, despite the glibness of many in the media, by complicated sets of statistics, lines on a graph that chart stocks, or the absurd, utopian faith in unregulated globalization and complicated trade deals. It is understood in the eyes of a man or woman who is no longer making enough money to live with dignity and hope.” (boldface mine)—Chris Hedges, Empire of Illusion, Chapter V: The Illusion of America, pp. 159-160, 2009

 

Obama declares income inequality a ‘defining challenge of our time’

By Jim Kuhnhenn, The Associated Press, 4 December 2013

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama prodded Congress to raise wages and secure the social safety net as he issued an overarching appeal Wednesday [4 December 2013] to correct inequalities that he said make it harder for a child to escape poverty. “That should offend all of us,” he declared. “We are a better country than this.”

Focusing on the pocketbook issues that Americans consistently rank as a top concern, Obama argued that the dream of upward economic mobility is breaking down and that the growing income gap is a “defining challenge of our time.”

“The basic bargain at the heart of our economy has frayed,” the president said in remarks at a non-profit community centre a short drive from the White House in one of Washington’s most impoverished neighbourhoods.

Though he offered no new initiatives, Obama blended a call for Congress to act on pending short-term economic measures with a long vision aimed at correcting a growing level of income inequality in the United States. The speech came amid public doubts over Obama’s stewardship of the economy, as his overall approval ratings sink and as he seeks to move past the health care troubles that have consumed his presidency in recent months.

He acknowledged his administration’s “poor execution” in rolling out the flawed website that was supposed to be an easy portal for purchasing insurance, while blaming Republicans for a “reckless” shutdown of the government.

“Nobody has acquitted themselves very well these past few months,” Obama said. “So it’s not surprising that the American people’s frustrations with Washington are at an all-time high.” Worse for Americans, he added, are their growing difficulties in trying to make ends meet no matter how hard they work.

The speech coincided with growing national and international attention to economic disparities — from the writings of Pope Francis to the protests of fast-food workers in the U.S. The president cited the pope’s question of how it isn’t news when an elderly homeless person dies from exposure, but news when the stock market loses two points.

And he noted that in the United States, a child born into the bottom 20 per cent of income levels has less than a 5 per cent chance of making it to the top income levels and is 10 times likelier to stay where he is — worse than other industrial countries such as Canada, Germany and France.

House Speaker John Boehner blamed Senate Democrats and Obama for the lack of action on jobs-related legislation. He said bills passed by the Republican-controlled House that would help the economy and create jobs have been blocked in the Democratic-controlled Senate. “The Senate and the president continue to stand in the way of the people’s priorities,” he said on the House floor.

Obama conceded that “the elephant in the room” is the political gridlock that has prevented congressional action. He said issues of inequality of upward mobility would not likely be resolved even over the next five years. But he pointed to the health care law as one example that he said is already helping families by providing insurance coverage to more Americans and by pushing down the costs of health care.

Obama specifically called on Congress to increase the federal minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour. A Democratic bill by Sen. Tom Harkin of Iowa would raise the threshold to $10.10 an hour in three steps and tie automatic annual increases to changes in the cost of living.

A vote in the Senate is not expected in December, when the chamber will mostly focus on stalemates over the budget and other issues. Whenever it is debated, the measure seems unlikely to win the 60 votes it would need to clear the Senate due to GOP opposition.

Obama also pressed Congress to extend jobless benefits to 1.3 million long-term unemployed people. The benefits are set to expire just three days after Christmas. The additional weeks of benefits have been extended each year since 2009, but a senior Republican lawmaker, Rep. Tom Cole of Oklahoma, said Tuesday that Republicans oppose yet another extension. (italics, boldface mine)

Associated Press writer Alan Fram contributed to this report.

Follow Jim Kuhnhenn on Twitter: http://twitter.com/jkuhnhenn

 

RA: Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper continues to play with his… scandals.

Harper is merely a corporate puppet. He is negotiating trade deals in total secrecy (because he cannot bear to divulge that these are corporate bills of rights and nothing more). At the same time, his government is moving to crush all opposition originating with Labour. The public hears nothing about CETA and TPP, while the obnoxious scandals upstage the media centrestage.

More information can be found at these links:

Why CETA is Little More than a Corporate Bill of Rights:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/yves-engler/ceta_b_4227933.html

Trans-Pacific Partnership: 11 Things Harper Doesn’t Want To Reveal About Uber-Secretive Trade Pact:

http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/06/26/stephen-harper-tpp-canada_n_3492531.html

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2013_12_01

A Polemic Against Corporatist Dehumanization

Believe it or not, avarice—the striving for accumulation of wealth—is not a virtue. This is not a new idea. The essence of 1 Timothy 6:10 is, in part: “For the love of money is the root of all evil…” And at its core, avarice results from the love of money.

How did we end up here, where our society revolves around “the almighty dollar”? What are the causes of this too common modern malaise?

We live in a consumerist society. Television programming—a near mainstay of our culture—conditions us to consume. It bombards us with endless advertisements inveigling us to buy, Buy, BUY!

Try this simple experiment sometime. Visit a mall with plenty of stores. Walk around in it for an hour and see if you can come away empty-handed. The odds are heavily against you. Everywhere you turn, you are confronted by bargains, discounts, and sales galore cajoling you to open your wallet. If you exit unscathed (and yes, only buying a coffee does count!), you indeed possess a steely resolve.

Where did we go wrong? Could it have started as far back as the Phoenician empire, with its invention of currency? Or how about at the onset of the Industrial Revolution? (That is, was the real reason that Ned Ludd and his followers were so upset at the usurping of human endeavour by the “dark Satanic mills” because in these they could see the seeds of dehumanization from which would grow our age of insouciance?) Or was it at the fin de siècle of the nineteenth century when—by some insane trick of legal skullduggery—corporations were given the legal status of “persons before the law”? Probably all of these are incrementally responsible.

In the title of this polemic, by “corporatist dehumanization” I mean that at present workers are forced to operate in “survivalist mode,” constantly overshadowed by the dominant societal efficacies of the corporate motive of “profit at all costs.”

Is our inability to generationally improve our standard of living due to the consequences of the corporatist dehumanization which has long permeated our society?

Why don’t we care about mitigating the difficulties of securing stable worthwhile employment while at the same time we do care about buying goods and services at reasonable prices? Why don’t we care that CEOs “earn” more in one minute than average workers earn in one year? Why don’t we care that corporations are endlessly granted special privileges (e.g., as evidenced by our continually lowering their taxes or by our negotiating for them secret trade deals which are in actuality merely corporate bills of rights) while in return they do not create new jobs as promised and instead fight tooth and claw to have unions decertified?

Why don’t we care that over the past 40 years the effective working class wage rates remain the same while at the same time CEO salaries have skyrocketed? Why don’t we care that inequality has become so deeply entrenched in our society that homelessness is now unmitigated and widespread? Why don’t we care that approximately one out of every five children live in poverty, that they are too often members of obviously neglected minorities, that single parent families do not receive sufficient consideration compared with, say, the consideration accorded to the rich?

Why don’t we care enough about life-saving professions (such as those of fire fighters or doctors or nurses, to name a few examples) to accord them appropriate remuneration (compared with, say, that accorded to relatively less useful professions such as those of sports players or movie celebrities or media personalities)? Why don’t we care that the slant of our culture—with its disproportionate emphasis on the cult of personality, on the “importance” of being rich, on the “importance” of achieving success (in the eyes of others)—is decidedly anti-intellectual? Why don’t we care that our news media feed us lies of omission, blatant censorship, and shameless sensationalist tripe?

Or perhaps we do care, deep down, yet we are afraid to speak out because of whatever the fear at that moment happens to be, such as ridicule or censorship or retaliation.

Perhaps we haven’t lost sight of our humanity, haven’t drifted so far off course from realizing our true selves (i.e. we are still able to emote, to empathize, to sympathize), in spite of the reckless and unchecked acceleration of the speed of modernization.

Perhaps the urge to manifest our humanity—occasionally well expressed by our enacting large scale human rights treaties or by our cooperating on environmentalist activities, to name a couple of examples—constantly wells up in us in the same manner as a sacred spring flows from the earth, a symbol of eternal youth and renewal. For are we not all basically young at heart? Do we not all fight against the callousing of our souls, the hardening of our personalities, the closing of our minds? We all have that much in common: it is the reason for our compassion, our inclination to rally around just causes, our readiness to respond to victims of large scale disasters. “There, but for the grace of God, go I.”

So, how did corporations—in addition to gaining economic powers equivalent to, or even exceeding, the economic clout of many countries—acquire legal status as “persons before the law”? This idea was proposed as early as 1793. In 1886, the US Constitution’s 14th Amendment (originally enacted to protect the rights of freed slaves) was modified to also apply to corporations. The purposes were (1) to transfer legal liability from the directors of the corporation to the corporation itself, so that the directors could no longer be held personally accountable (2) to put it on an “equal” footing with persons suing it (because beforehand legal judgments were skewed in favour of the human plaintiffs) (3) to allow for corporate ownership in perpetuity of property and monies, effectively making corporations “immortal persons.”

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As recounted in his visionary 2004 book, The Corporation, author Joel Bakan classifies corporations as pathologically psychopathic in nature. He asks, “If corporations are ‘persons before the law,’ what kind of persons are they?” He answers that they are identical to human psychopaths in that: they are irresponsible, because in an attempt to satisfy the corporate goal, everybody else is put at risk; they are grandiose, always insisting, “we’re the best.”; they exhibit a lack of empathy and asocial tendencies: “their behaviour indicates they don’t really concern themselves with their victims.”; they often refuse to accept responsibility for their own actions and are unable to feel remorse: “if they get caught breaking the law, they pay big fines, and continue doing what they were doing before.”; and, they relate to others superficially: they present themselves to the public in an appealing way, but may not actually be representative of what they really are.

We sense this to be true. We have enough real world examples to justify this reasoning. Take, as one example of this behaviour, the corporate destruction of our planet. Case in point: fracking.

Fracking extracts natural gas from shale or coal deposits. However, during its course, water tables are destroyed, i.e. water is rendered undrinkable. It can be so bad, in fact, that sometimes one can put a match to the contaminated drinking water and set it on fire!

Our skewed priorities are such that the psychopathic activity of destroying our planet is protected by the authorities, while at the same time people who correctly object to this (as is currently happening in Elsipogtog, New Brunswick) are oppressed by the authorities. Furthermore, reporting by the news media in such situations is either abjectly inadequate, or is deliberately slanted in favour of the authorities.

Noam Chomsky - quote

Tutu Desmond - Re social justice fighting

Ignorance is bliss? “Ignorance is strength”? I don’t think so! Ignorance is no excuse, for we have brought it upon ourselves, if not wilfully, then by tacit compliance with the status quo, which is to say, with whatever best agrees with our corporatocracy cum neofeudalist technocracy. (I rather think it is more the former because whiffs of fascism already are apparent, as one might well expect since corporatism is rotting our democracies. Consider: when the police protect corporate interests instead of people and/or our planet (Elsipogtog), what does that smell like to you?)

early warning signs of fascism

Corporatism

If corporations are psychopathic, what is their attitude regarding jobs? As could be expected, people are of no concern. They are sacrificed to the corporate bottom line of “profit before all else.” A terrifying example of this can be found in one of Michael Moore’s early films, Roger & Me. In Moore’s hometown of Flint, Michigan, USA, General Motors—which makes billions each year in profits—shut down a number of plants and moved the jobs to the maquiladoras of Mexico, where labour and manufacturing cost less. Thirty thousand jobs were lost and Flint spiraled into a catastrophically severe economic decline. (The scenes in the movie of the devastating economic desolation which beset Flint are heartrending.) That in itself would be enough of an indication as to what importance corporations allot to providing jobs, i.e. none (provided, of course, that you accept that this attitude is common to all corporations). However, the epitome of this attitude, in my view, occurred when “Moore also turns his camera to the residents of the more affluent suburbs such as Grand Blanc, who display rather classist and naïve attitudes when it comes to the economic hardships of the city (at a Roaring 20’s themed party they are hosting, Moore takes note when they hire laid off workers to be Human Statues).” (boldface mine, quotation is from IMDB.com) Strangely enough, though, one can picture that the party organizers actually were trying to be helpful albeit in the only way they knew how. Such is the inherent limitation of the aforementioned status quo of our society.

SPOCK

Homeless

In 1934, President Roosevelt brought in the New Deal as his response to the economic ravages of the Great Depression. As one result, the powers and influences of corporations were restricted. Subsequently, Keynesian economics—whereby government is utilized in economic management, particularly in setting fiscal policy to ensure best possible employment, and in limiting government reliance on free-market forces. (A Dictionary of Canadian Economics, David Crane, 1980, p. 193)—became the order of the day. From 1950 to 1970, corporations felt the yoke of this economic ideology and, still chafing from the “oppressive” New Deal policies, sought ways to “free” themselves from Keynesianism so that they could operate unhindered. Enter economist Milton Friedman and his new baby, neoliberalism. This consisted of privatization, deregulation/free trade and drastic cuts to government spending (The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, Naomi Klein, 2007, pp.194-5). I presume the primary reason neoliberalism appealed to those who had then attained government power (Reagan, Thatcher, Mulroney) was that it advocated government spending cuts at a time when such spending seemed to be out of control. However, I’m not ruling out that these three were mere corporate puppets purposely fostering the growth of corporatism (a distinct possibility especially when one considers the suspect results of recent federal elections (manipulated by whom and/or by what and for what reasons?)).

Powell memo - Corporatism in action

Canada - Privatize everything

(An aside: In 1976, Friedman was awarded a type of Nobel Prize in Economics for his efforts. His acceptance speech was revealing, as illustrated by this excerpt: “Delighted as I am with the award, I must confess that the past eight weeks have impressed on me that not only is there no free lunch, there is no free prize. It is a tribute to the world-wide repute of the Nobel awards that the announcement of an award converts its recipient into an instant expert on all and sundry, and unleashes hordes of ravenous newsmen and photographers from journals and T.V. stations around the world. I myself have been asked my opinion on everything from a cure for the common cold to the market value of a letter signed by John F. Kennedy. Needless to say, the attention is flattering, but also corrupting. Somehow, we badly need an antidote for both the inflated attention granted a Nobel Laureate in areas outside his competence and the inflated ego each of us is in so much danger of acquiring. My own field suggests one obvious antidote: competition through the establishment of many more such awards. But a product that has been so successful is not easy to displace. Hence, I suspect that our inflated egos are safe for a good long time to come.” (boldface mine) Here, Friedman manages to slip a nugget of his personal philosophy into his banquet speech, namely, “There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.” Ironically, his speech and the presentation of his award took place on 10 December 1976, the 28th anniversary of the signing of the United Nations Universal Declaration Of Human Rights. Its Article 25 states: “Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.” It is the very antithesis of the founding principles of the economic ideology of neoliberalism, which Friedman developed and studied, and which was subsequently adopted—due to prevailing corporatist economic pressures—by governments all over the world.)

In their ruthless and pathological pursuits of profits, corporations are intent on eliminating all impediments to such ends, by for example lowering wages. This latter action includes fighting the influence of unions, which by their very presence raise average wage rates.

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The result is that for today’s potential employees, desperation taints their search for gainful permanent employment. They are not happy campers. To reiterate, this is what I mean in the title of this polemic by “corporatist dehumanization”: That today’s employees should have to operate in survivalist mode, bowing to the dominant corporate motive of “profit at all costs.” Because of this latter, a race to the bottom (in terms of workers’ wages, rights, benefits, privileges, etc.) has ensued over the past 25 years, so that now two-income families are not uncommon. That is to say, in order to keep the same standard of living as their parents had (with its nuclear-family, one-breadwinner structure), both heads of the family are now forced to work, with the concomitant result of degradation of quality of family life.

the 99 percent needs a raise

Idle No More - just woke up

On the one hand, wages for the average worker are not keeping pace with progress. On the other hand, wages for heads of corporations, CEOs, have skyrocketed. (At one point during this corporatist madness, CEOs were being rewarded for slashing jobs. (Google “Chainsaw Al.”) Not exactly meeting their promises to create more jobs in return for the lowering of their taxes and the accordance to them of other special privileges.)

Bloated CEO salaries

corporate profits minimum wage

“Somewhere nearby a woman was dying in an abandoned car. The shadows were full of her bruises, of the weeping flesh and bloody shirts of the dispossessed, of eyes fixed on ghosts. I know that for each of these desolate souls there are millions more, and that we have no faith or conviction, no theory or compassion, nothing to improve their lot. The truth is we live in a mental ruin. Tourists or beggars, security personnel administering an abandoned archeological site, a Palenque or Tikal, we dream our frenzied dreams of Progress and Profit, of Efficiency and the Free Market, all that dead wood from the nineteenth century. (italics mine) The voters sense that. We all know that Mulroney, Bush, Thatcher, the whole dreary crew are merely branch-plant managers in the bankrupt Empire of Usury.” (Gentleman Death, Graeme Gibson, 1993, p. 76)

An economic system which promotes the degradation and exploitation of workers in foreign countries is not fair. It betrays our humanity. We should en masse organize as much as possible to boycott goods manufactured in countries which condone child labour, unsafe factories, poor working conditions, subsistence wages, and all other accompanying violations of human rights, until such time as these countries enact and enforce labour standards at least equivalent to our own. To not do so makes us willing participants in the lowering—by corporations—of moral standards.

Corporatism is not sustainable. It drastically needs reforms. At one time, I thought that ripping out corporations’ legal definition as “persons before the law” would start the ball rolling. However, the corruption by them of our democracies has proceeded too far for this alone to suffice. We need to enact legislation to force the redistribution of some of their massive wealth to real people who are less fortunate than most, and to force the separation of corporate influences and the state. Anything less will not work, because if corporations remain unchecked in their accumulation of power and wealth, if worldwide corporatism is allowed to proceed on its current path, its culmination will be in corporate neofascism wherein corporations will directly rule the world. Consequently, world peace will be unachievable.

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2013_11_30

Arrest God?

The Appointed Day arrived. Jesus came to Earth a second time, to herald The Day Of Judgment. Only nobody was listening.

Hmmm, thought Jesus. How do I get mankind to hear to My message?

He booked an appearance on The Gong Show. It was the only way He could get any kind of media exposure without being a politician. (He’d considered youtube and ruled it out. In this day and age, He thought, His message would have to be set to music for it to reach the widest possible audience, and He didn’t think that would be dignified. Not to say that The Gong Show was much better…)

When it was time for Him to make His appearance, He began. “Humans, today you will stand before My Father and be judged…” Offstage, the producers of The Gong Show looked at Him askance. “Get this guy off the air,” they frantically whispered to each other. They called the police. Rather than “gong” Him, they went to dead air.

The police arrived. “Sir,” they said. “Would you come with us, please?”

“What about My message?” asked Jesus.

“Ohhhh, your ‘message.’” the police gave each other knowing looks. “Well, you’ll be able to give your ‘message’ at the station. Now, if you’ll come along, please.”

“Very well,” Jesus patiently replied, and followed them out to their police car.

Jesus and the officers arrived at the station. He looked around. “Where are the television cameras?” He asked. “How am I supposed to give My message to the world without unduly alarming it?”

By way of reply, the senior officer indicated an interview room. “Right this way, sir,” he said.

Jesus entered the room. “Please be seated,” said the officer. He pointed at the camera mounted in one corner. “See? There’s a camera. By the way, do you have a lawyer?”

Jesus took a chair and shook his head. “No.” he said.

“Okay, we’ll get one for you. Wait right here.”

Jesus was silent. He waited. Eventually, the lawyer arrived.

“Who are you?” asked the lawyer.

“I am the Son of God.” replied Jesus.

“Jesus Christ!” said the lawyer. “Yes,” replied Jesus.

Then Jesus said, “How shall we proceed? I don’t mean to rush things. However, Judgment Day is now and My Father will not brook human artifice.”

“Well, Jesus,” said the lawyer, “There’s this thing, you see. The Gong Show is pissed. They’re going to sue your ass.”

Jesus looked mildly perturbed. “What do you recommend?”

Oh, good, thought the lawyer, he’s playing along. He sighed imperceptibly. “Countersue!” he advised.

Jesus paused. “To what end?”

The lawyer continued, “There’s a shitload of money waiting to be won, here!” he said, salivating at the prospect.

“Money?” queried Jesus. “You want Me to delay Judgment Day so that I may obtain gold?”

Jesus_034

“Not just you,” said the lawyer. “Us. After all, how am I supposed to be paid?”

Jesus looked at the camera, then at the lawyer. “Is the camera recording this?” he asked.

“Yes,” replied the lawyer. “It’s the law.”

“Very well.” said Jesus, pushing back from the table and standing up. “Please be certain My message is properly relayed. After all,” he said, “I wouldn’t want to repeat myself.”

“Okay,” nonchalantly said the lawyer, who would have agreed to anything at that point, because he was anxious to launch the lawsuit.

Jesus continued, while looking at the camera. “Humans, you have been tried and found wanting. It’s been 2,000 years since last I was here, and still you have not managed to learn how to live in peace. I had hoped for better from you. I only gave you one Commandment: that you love one another. My Father and I fail to see how you could misconstrue this.” He smiled gently. “You shall have a chance to account for yourself. We will hear from each of you individually, and weigh your life. If you have been well-intentioned, you will be rewarded.”

Jesus continued. “You have one Earth day to prepare to meet your Maker.”

Jesus began to radiate light, more and more brightly, until He shone as does the sun. Then He disappeared.

The lawyer frowned, and said to nobody in particular, “What about my money?”

The End.

love greater than money

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2013_11_27

From True Stories by Margaret Atwood

 

A CONVERSATION

The man walks on the southern beach

with sunglasses and a casual shirt

and two beautiful women.

He’s a maker of machines

for pulling out toenails,

sending electric shocks

through brains or genitals.

He doesn’t test or witness,

he only sells. My dear lady,

he says, You don’t know

those people. There’s nothing

else they understand. What could I do?

she said. Why was he at that party?

 

[excerpt] THE ARREST OF THE STOCKBROKER

Then suddenly you’re in there,

in this mistake, this stage, this box,

this war grinding across

your body. You can’t believe it.

Rolf Auer - suddenly youre in there

Albert Camus - where truth

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2013_11_26

Well, John the Baptist after torturing a thief

looks up at his hero, The Commander In Chief

saying, “Tell me, great hero, but please make it brief

is there a hole for me to get sick in?”

 

The Commander In Chief answers him while chasing a fly

saying, “Death to all those who would whimper and cry”

and dropping a barbell, he points to the sky

saying, “The Sun’s not yellow, it’s chicken!”

 

Mama’s in the factory, she ain’t got no shoes

Daddy’s in the alley, he’s lookin’ for food

I’m in the kitchen with the tombstone blues.

—Bob Dylan, “Tombstone Blues”

IMG_2423

peace symbol on a beach

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