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Posts Tagged ‘Politics’

When wildlife researchers want to study the migration habits of specific animal species, they frequently implant, or tag, a member of the species with a tracking device. Now imagine a corporation wanted to understand the movements of humans.  Is this the same thing? Should data on our individual locations at any given time be accessible to a corporate entity, like a phone company? If your answer to this question is “yes” or “I don’t care,” ask if you would like the government to know your whereabouts at all times? If you answer “yes” or “I don’t care,” then I think you are completely irrational. Either that, or you feel that you can gain something from being tracked, recorded, analysed, manipulated, or monitored.

No government or corporation should be given the right to monitor us to the extent that computer and telecommunications companies today do. This amounts to a startling precursor to potential mass social control; it really is akin to dystopic science fictions like “Minority Report,” “1984,” or “THX1138“.If you haven’t seen these films, then get them and see some of the negative implications and possibilities of living in such a society.

Having recorded data on any individual with a cell phone is a very powerful thing. It can reveal your life patterns and your daily schedules.  It could so easily be abused for monetary gains or an uneasing new brand of law enforcement. It effectively amounts to a form of imprisonment. It gives people with access to such information a certain power over you that many may not fully realise. Do you really want some strange company who works with government security agencies to know who you are, where you are, who you are with, when you were where, what you are likely doing at any given time? Not to mention, these same companies have access to our Internet searches, our communications, our social networks. It is rather naive to think that companies with access to such powerful information would completely neglect using it for some aim to their own benefit.

More important to ask than “What are these companies doing with our information?” is “What capabilities do they have?”

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In my view, the answer to the question, “Why should one culture destroy another?” is short and simple: It should not. Why do humans repeatedly destroy the diversity that exists in this world? We kill off entire species of animals. We kill off entire human cultures. We commit genocide and ethnocide. We replace diverse crops with mono-crops. The picture that this creates is nightmarish. Are we really that apathetic that we continue to do these things day in and day out, year after year? What is at the heart of this evil?

In every instance named above, the answer points to power, money, and human greed, lawlessness, and injustice. Species of animals like the buffalo were nearly all killed for their hides–dolphins are killed at incredible rates today in Japan. Native cultures were consciously killed for their lands. Cultures are still vanishing today for land and resources; for instance, indigenous groups in Ecuador are being displaced by oil firms. The Nazi’s killed millions of Jews; the Jews now displace the Palestinians. Monsanto and other agricultural giants make mono-crops replace crop diversity. All these things relate back to a desire for power and money by a relatively small group. Meanwhile, the rest of us allow it to happen. We complain about over taxation; complain about the prices of goods and services; complain about unemployment and poverty; complain that minimum wage is not enough. The whole time, the majority allows the minority to rape the earth in the majority’s name.

We need change. We need to learn to respect. We need just laws and just people to live up to them. The time has come to re-evaluate our collective actions and reorient ourselves. Capitalist globalization threatens world diversity. We cannot have more of the same. The Earth’s diversity is vanishing because we allow it to happen. An alternative to Capitalism and its exploitative methods MUST be peacefully appropriated. The rich must not be allowed the fortune of excess; and the poor must not be allowed to die for our inaction any longer. The time has come for humanity to awaken and evolve. We need to realize who controls mass public opinion and how they do it. We need to learn to ignore what the most powerful responsible for the rape and pillage are saying to us; but we need to stop ignoring what they are doing to our planet and it’s inhabitants. The time for change is now. But how can we do it safely? How can we do it without violence? How can we do it and still remain safe from harms way? What type of system must replace the flawed one that now has hold of the world? These questions need to be answered first or the project is futile; greedy in and of itself; meaningless and dangerous. But to go back to the question that started this blog posting: I answered that we should not allow one culture to kill another. We must find a way to allow capitalism and capitalist culture to exist as well. However, we must not let it destroy everything in its path along the way.

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In the 1980’s a group of Canada’s business elite set out to destroy government ownership of business and resources. This same group funded Brian Mulroney’s election campaign. Effectively, over the last several decades, the Washington consensus has taken a strong hold on our lives. The upper class that is so few in number fund our universities, our think-tanks, authors, the mass media…and in so doing, they effectively undermine what is best for the greatest number by educating the population that what benefits the upper class most, benefits the rest in society. This is a sham. Neoconservative and neoliberal ideologies make up the vast majority of what is there to choose from when it comes to voter choice. And when the population is socialized by those with the resources (and thus the power) to think the way that these elites want them to think, there is a SERIOUS problem with the efficacy and legitimacy of democracy as a government by the people for the people. Good government in a democratic nation ought to be contingent upon what is best for society as a whole and not just what is best for a small group with power and influence (the business elite).  As long as the population is educated to think that we must look out for the richest of the capitalist class first and foremost, society itself is on a path for disaster. Deregulation, as has happened increasingly throughout the world for the past several decades, is a path for disaster and it needs to be put into the forefront of world debate and discussion now before it is too late. Bailing out the upper class so they can remain rich at tax payers expense, when they make irresponsible financial decisions, is not good democratic government; it is a tyrannical oligarchy. The fact that there is still unsettling employment data speaks to the fact that even though the majority bailed the few out at the majority’s expense, the wealthy few are still unwilling to take some of the hit by employing  the people who lost their jobs because of the economic elite’s own negligence. We need to rethink this system; because it is not working fairly.  Why should a small few get rich if it results in a larger number growing poor?

~Justin Allen Philcox

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When government spies and internet giants pool their money together it should turn some heads. It is 2011 and 1984 is just entering the month of February. Google and the Investment Branch of the CIA, NSA, and FBI etc. (In-Q-tell) invested in the same company together. Want to know what they are up to? Follow this link down a bit of a rabbit

hole to an article full of other links to really get you thinking about the future we are heading towards: Financial Post

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With tensions rising in the Middle East, especially with Libya (an oil rich nation) on the brink of possible civil war, the price of crude is rising once again. It is unclear how high oil prices will go but if the first half of 2008 was particularly hard on your pocket book, expect another shock.

Prices have increased by nearly 7 cents/L since the beginning of this month and that number is expected to increase unless tensions in the Middle East are soothed. Libya supplies the world with roughly 2% of its oil daily. With the taps currently closed off due to civil unrest, 2% there means increases in oil pricing here.

Fears are on the rise that other oil producing nations in the region could follow a similar path to the instabilities shocking Libya. In Canada, where the price of oil is particularly high due to intense taxation on oil by our government, increases in the price of gas at the pumps means less in our already nearly empty pocket books.

It’s a shame that in times like these our government doesn’t give us a floating tax rate to keep the prices of gas at a relatively stable level. If gas were to stay for a 5 year period at a single price–say $105/L by adjusting the amount of tax placed on gas–our citizens might feel more secure. It would work this way: If gas is priced higher on the international market, it is taxed less here at home–if it is priced lower on the international market, the government could tax it higher here to maintain an even price at the pump for any given amount of time.

People need to be able to plan out their finances to stay afloat–especially in Canada where the average debt to earnings ratio is increasing. Many people rely on their own transportation to get to and from work. If people cannot be sure how high gas prices are rising or when they will rise then changes like the ones we are seeing now can become particularly burdensome and stressful to many Canadian taxpayers.

If you agree that a floating tax rate at the pumps will help many Canadians to stay afloat, copy this article and send it to your local MLA and your local MP.

~ Justin A. Philcox

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Tunisia, Jordan, Egypt, Bahrain, Yemen, Iran, revolution in the Middle Eastern and African regions is spreading. Perhaps the biggest question that arises today is: What will happen with Iran? For years, the west has been at odds with the Iranian government. There has long been the possibility of war between Iran and the US (and US ally Israel). Now, the people themselves are taking to the streets in the tens of thousands: All the while, there is a very real threat that the Iranian government will deal with these protests by killing the leaders of the opposition who unite these crowds. How might this uprising progress in Iran?

It could go several ways: The Iranian government could put an end to the dissent right now by killing the protesters–making any who dare to rise up against the regime think twice; if this happens, this would provide a case in favor of foreign military intervention. Another scenario that could occur is civil war in Iran, where the people begin arming themselves to fight back against the government forces. Yet another possibility is that the people take to the streets en masse as has occurred in Egypt, and topple the current government by the power of numbers alone. If the current regime agrees to change to accommodate the protesters, they may be able to hold onto power.

Many things could happen but the question is: What scenario is most likely to occur? There is always the risk that a writer who makes a hypothesis like this will turn out to be wrong. I am, therefore, skeptical to make a guess. But, nonetheless, I will venture an opinion. I think the most likely outcome will begin with more Iranians taking to the streets, first. Next, the Ahmadinejad government will use the armed forces to round-up opposition leaders and execute them and many found supporting them. This will result in anti-Ahmadinejad sentiment in world media–giving fuel to US, Israel, NATO and the UN to intervene. Many in Iran will begin to hate Ahmadinejad’s regime even more than now. The US, for years, has been looking for an excuse to go into Iran: If the people are not able to topple the government themselves, there is no better time for military intervention. The war in Iraq has wound down significantly; though there is still US military presence there. The war in Afghanistan is seemingly beginning to slow with a gradual hand-over of power to Afghan security forces expected shortly in the future. Soldiers could be redeployed to Iran to aid the people in taking down a perceived hostile regime.

It is unclear how the scenario in Iran will unfold but I have, reluctantly, stated my opinion regarding the possibilities. There is a good chance that I am drastically wrong and the protesters there might all go home this evening and forget about the whole “freedom” thing altogether. Given the way revolution has spread in these regions so fiercely over the past few weeks, I think it is unlikely that we will see an end just yet.

~Justin Allen Philcox

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The other day I was tired and I could not find the energy for working on anything. I was in no particular mood for another mindless TV episode, nor did I have the desire to watch another pointless movie. I found myself digging through documentary films: a balance, I felt, between work and rest. It has been three days since I did so and the documentary that I decided on has left a searing impression on me ever since.

“Home” (2009), is a documentary that is both aesthetically wondrous and scorchingly eye opening. It is a film about the history of our planet; its growth, its evolution, its various inhabitants; plants, animals, and HUMAN. It is the history of life on our planet–from beginning to our present predicament. I found most scathing, the last 50 years: Humans have changed the face of this planet in ways that I was never, fully, able to realize until I watched this film. We have damaged our home in ways never before imaginable in the entire known history of the planet. I say all this and yet find my words greatly understate just how dire the situation has become.

It is not, as most documentary films of the sort have become, a demonstration of hopeless doom and apocalyptic gloom. Rather, this film shows possibility for human growth–promise for our future and our home before it is too late.

If there is one film you watch this year (only one film) this NEEDS to be it.

The internet has many places where you can find a free copy of it. There is ABSOLUTELY no excuse for not turning your attention to the place we all call home for a couple of hours. Sometimes, we all have to do a little house cleaning and this is, more than at any time in the history of the planet, the time we need it most. We are all responsible for the place we live. The project is immense, but this film offers us a glimpse and a rough road-map of the chores that NEED to be done.

If there is one little thing that I can do now, it is to stress the importance of this film as a wake-up-call. Please, if you have not yet seen this film take the time to view it as soon as you can. Please spread the word to other people to watch as well.

Thank-you for helping to make our home a better place,

~Justin Allen Philcox

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