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Showing posts from 2013

The Operating System and Beloved Community

The operating system is the thing that controls. It is the hierarchy in the clouds, the invisible tribe, the pantheon of gods and goddesses. The father of humilities like “mine is not to reason why, mine is just to do or die” or blind obedience to whatever is “trending”. It has many devices at its finger tips to persuade us that events are governed by public opinion, and that we are to blame for the state of the world even if we are powerless to change it.
Through the ages there have been recognizable power elites, such as kings, emperors and empires who came, who saw, who conquered. But they are not the operating system – merely the interests that learned how to use the system to their advantage.
The operating system is invisible, nameless and exploitative. It has no reflective capacity, no feeling or sentiment. It is not interested in culture or science, because it has no interest in life. 
The operating system is not to blame for the violence of the ages,  it simply enabled it. Hum…

Bill Moyers on The Spectacle of Illiteracy

We are not short of wisdom, leadership and prophets in this age. But to watch mainstream media you would think we have become a species of abundant stupidity and despotic ignorance.  Who would benefit by this portrayal?

Increasingly, as witnessed in the utter disrespect and not-so-latent racism expressed by Joe Wilson, the Republican congressman from South Carolina, who shouted “you lie!” during President Obama’s address on health care, the obligation to listen, respect the views of others and engage in a literate exchange is increasingly reduced to the highly spectacular wed embrace of an infantile emotionalism. This is an emotionalism that is made for television. It is perfectly suited for emptying the language of public life of all substantive content, reduced in the end to a playground for hawking commodities, promoting celebrity culture and enacting the spectacle of right-wing fantasies fueled by the fear that the public sphere as an exclusive club for white male Christians is in …

Wealth Inequality in America

Published on Nov 20, 2012 Infographics on the distribution of wealth in America, highlighting both the inequality and the difference between our perception of inequality and the actual numbers. The reality is often not what we think it is.

References: CategoryNonprofits & Activism

An article worth reading: Sorry 'Catching Fire,' Kids Hunger for Real Rebellion

"The dichotomous world in which we live is becoming more dramatic everyday, so naturally it gets dramatized in the form of film and television. The subterranean pressure that moves culture and people isn't all that easy to see, except for when it comes popping up in movies and TV shows. Like some malignant and massive mycelium that stretches around the globe, it makes both toadstools and movies. It might seem like it just magically sprouted overnight, but there is a vast network of lines of control just beneath the surface of things."

Dorothy Woodend, Today, The Tyee.

Dark Politics: the effect of power on living systems

The best article I have read which explains to me that general feeling of dread I have about the future, is written by Heather Morgan on rabble.

Morgan says that Dark Politics is an ideology "which seeks to obfuscate, misinform, change the rules of conduct and flourishes most when no light of truth is shone upon it."

While Rob Ford appears to be pathetic, Morgan questions his actual role as a political clown.

Reasonable people may think our political representatives should have a code of behavior that inspires us, or a sense of responsibility towards the people he or she serves. But the mainstream media says he still has supporters, which suggests that there is a block of citizens who are willing to trade in honesty, sobriety and service for low taxes.

Ideas such as the notion that the role of government should be increasingly inched towards the ultimate goal of doing little more than reducing taxes while begrudgingly still paying for things like the military and a few othe…

Desire, Design and the Operating System

It appears to me that human history and all its inventions dwell within a circle of power.  The glorification, the use and abuse of power interacts with our human endeavours mostly beyond our control. There are nations and people who possess power but not forever.  Anyone who has had power over others or things fears they cannot hold their control forever.  As individuals and institutions we create laws, culture (media) and ideology in order to maintain an illusion of control, to protect ourselves from chaos.  If I were to say this is the truth - it would be my attempt to wield power over this instant.  If I were to study philosophy, science, law and culture to the breadth and depth of my capacity it would be in order to influence the world.  It's too late in my life to attempt this even if I could, and even if I achieved it (500 years after William Shakespeare), it would be for a brief moment in time and place, and it would be a call for the next player to deconstruct this theor…

The Inescapable Network of Mutuality - by Martin Luther King Jr.

We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny.
Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.
There are some things in our social system to which all of us ought to be maladjusted.
Hatred and bitterness can never cure the disease of fear, only love can do that.
We must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression, and retaliation.
The foundation of such a method is love.
Before it is too late, we must narrow the gaping chasm between our proclamations of peace and our lowly deeds which precipitate and perpetuate war.
One day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek but a means by which we arrive at that goal.
We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.

We shall hew out of the mountain of despair, a stone of hope.
(Singing the Living Tradition. Beacon Press, Boston. 1993)

Civil Society Dying Slowly and Painfully

Listening to CBC radio this morning I heard someone say that the federal government would not openly challenge Rob Ford in a call to dislodge or demand he resign as Mayor of Toronto because his supporters commonly termed "Ford Nation" are the same base as the "Harper Nation." 

Chantal Hébert writes in the Toronto Star"There is a jarring disconnect between the Conservatives’ punitive judicial agenda, their much proclaimed law-and-order principles and their efforts to look away from the public transgressions of the man who runs Canada’s biggest city and the disruptions to Toronto’s municipal life that result from them."  

What kind of people support political representatives who appear to have a contempt for their responsibility to uphold the laws of Canada? 

What qualities do those in the Ford or Harper nation possess?  What is their world view besides repeating the mantra "low taxes" and "the economy"?

Are they addicted to a drug-like n…

Extracting the Poetry from Power and Politics

Ten Tips on How to Save the World

I’ve used popular jargon for the title, because, as you’ll notice below, this is not political science, or any science at all. This is a riposte against the endless hours of brutal entertainment that suggests only might makes right. To save the world might be a heroic endeavour but I don’t believe it requires a Napoleonic campaign. It does, however, require the engagement of an alert mind and open heart. 
The instructions are simple. Learn from the bees, use your caring mind to gaze at the world, reclaim your power, reclaim your nature, hold onto curiosity, celebrate your creativity, give up blaming, live from a place of love, acknowledge your political self, and honour your spirit.
1. Learn from the bees. Marilyn Hamilton, CEO of Integral City, told a children’s story not long ago, that is easy to remember.  Three key strategies enable bee hives to survive, which can teach us how to sustain the human hive  – take care of you, take care of others, take care of this place. Our ancesto…

As of Today

Yesterday I attended a memorial service for a man who was, and still is, loved among family, friends, and members of the congregation he helped to build.
From the time he knew his death was approaching to the planning of the memorial and the actual celebration of his life, the lives of about thirty people were consumed into creating this event.  People who held off sleep, housekeeping and other rituals of their life to think about, write, communicate, select, travel, arrange chairs and tables, cater, and clean up afterwards.  For the closest members of the family, including the man whose life was celebrated, the effort was extraordinary.  In a way it took whole life times across generations to come to this. Learning, striving, struggle, fear and joy, and ultimately the conclusion of this celebration was proof of the abundance of love.
As I think about the interdependent web in which I live, I see the same elements, the many celebrations of life, the art of living.  These include the…

Who Will Stand With the Innocents?

By Sam Hamill"Fifty years ago, I found myself in the war-ravaged former nation of Okinawa, where some of the fiercest battles of the Pacific War had taken place, and where I began to learn of the true atrocities of the atomic bombing of Japan. I also heard there from fellow Marines first-hand accounts of the race wars in my own country, about lynchings, about Bull Conner’s dogs set on nonviolent civil rights marchers, stories I had known only from brief news accounts. I learned about how the impoverished people of Vietnam had driven out the imperialist French and now faced a growing American presence as they struggled toward their own democratic self-rule. President Eisenhower had spoken of our need “to protect our investments in tin and tungsten.”" Read more ... Writing for Peace - a message from Sam Hamill


Last night I watched the news.  Images of children burned in what was reported as a chemical weapon attack.  The image of Bashar Al-Assad speaking in his own language, apparently claiming he did not use these weapons. A report from British Prime Minister David Cameron saying that the House of Commons does not support military action in Syria. Representatives of the UN unable to find out conclusively that the Al-Assad regime used these weapons. The White House threatening to take action but unwilling to say how much.

After all the news coverage on this issue I cannot decide what is true and what is propaganda.  There are two things I can perceive however. One, is that the turmoil in the Middle East is overwhelming and families of all faiths are suffering unimaginably and will continue to suffer even after the violence stops. Two, is that no-one is winning except the military industrial complex.

As I think about this I am reminded of all the wars that have happened over the centuries a…

Mulcair's Reply to Proroguing Parliament Letter in which NDP was cc'd

Thank you for your past email. I really appreciate hearing your feedback and comments - please know that I do take your input seriously as it helps to inform my work.

First, regarding prorogation, Parliament is the one place where the federal government has to respond to questions - and now Mr. Harper has even shut that down. Since the Duffy-Wallin senate expense scandal exploded in May, the prime minister showed up to Question Period only 5 times. It is quite clear that Stephen Harper and his Conservatives are again doing whatever they can to run away from accountability.

Canadians deserve better.

I am proud of all that the NDP team has accomplished this Parliamentary session - we worked really hard right up to the end to ensure that we got some meaningful results for Canadians. I'd like to take this opportunity to share some of this work with you.

One of our most significant victories was the House of Commons' adoption of our landmark motion on transparency - a very…

Proroguing Parliament - open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper

Rt. Honourable Prime Minister Stephen Harper Prime Minister of Canada 80 Wellington Street Ottawa, ON K1A 0A2
Dear Prime Minister
I write to you today because I am really concerned about what is happening in Canada. 
Since coming to Canada in 1965 I have learned a great deal about civil society. It is the spirit of caring that has enabled me to move beyond cynicism and apathy, and that spirit which also makes me really concerned about our future.
Every day I meet well informed Canadian citizens who love this country, who work hard to do their job to the best of their ability, who spend hours contributing to community, for the greater good. Among friends, colleagues and acquaintances I have observed an ethic of citizenship and social responsibility which has inspired me to think beyond my own self interest. Or better yet, to see that my self interest is located in the interest of all.
For people to be the best they can be, they need a society which inspires and acknowledges this …

Interrogating the White Race

Trayvon Martin, Reza Aslan and Jesus are linked, not just because they have been in the news lately but because there seems to be, thanks to Fox News, a lot of noise around race, religion, good and evil. Most of it a disconnected framing of beliefs built on prejudice.

Rather than moving away from bigotry, right-wing media seems to want to inflame it. Is this a strategy to keep public fears and prejudices chained to hierarchy and oppression?

In an article titled Who Owns Jesus? Tasbeeh Herwees interrogates the interview between Fox News' Lauren Green and Reza Aslan. Tasbeeh says "The insinuation underlying Green's questions was that a Muslim writing about Jesus was not just outlandish, but inconceivable without some kind of hidden agenda."

How dare Aslan write about Jesus when he is not white? That would be the question among many people who are informed only by popular propaganda.

Who knew, without having read Herwees article, that middle eastern people were found to…

Prison Industrial Complex

The Economics of Blood

With Zimmerman, the Scandal Is What’s Legal (Andrew Rosenthal - The New York Times Taking Note)

...  because  in Florida you can carry a gun in public, follow an innocent stranger and then stand your ground. Can this happen in Canada? Is it possible that some time in the future the laws here will be the same as in Florida? What will make it easy for gun laws such as this to be entrenched in law? What can we do to avoid it?

A reply from Bob Lane ...

1. Yes,
2. Possible.
3. Vote conservative.
4. Vote Green. Pay attention. Be diligent.

Elizabeth May: this is what a leader looks like

The leader of the Green Party is an example of what a leader is. She focuses on the issues. She informs Canadians about what she is doing, what needs to be done, and why. Visit her website for well written and easy to read articles.

There is so much trivial noise created from various interests that the really important issues don't get the coverage they deserve.  But if you want to find out more about why things happen, their causes and what we can do about them visit the sites that inform.

A good leader knows that our collective survival is built on social justice not popularity.

Other leaders include, David Suzuki, Council of Canadians, staff at Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives , Karen Armstrong, and Thomas Mulcair.

The New Bourgeoisie

Is the new bourgeoisie a rising middle class who will bring about creative destruction - turning the world away from capitalism toward environmentalism?

The shocking images of rail cars full of petroleum blowing up and burning down the town of Lac-Megantic in Quebec, as tragic, and scary as it is, is only a fraction of how unregulated capitalism has wiped out the common wisdom of social responsibility for the extreme wealth of a few.  

In other words, work safety, living wages, health, social costs, justice, and standard of living, are all irrelevant arguments because life (nature) is irrelevant in the current pursuit of profit.  To care about humanity is naive and sentimental.  The mainstream media daily provides us with an inventory of examples. 

Weather, once the topic of polite society, has become political, with every extreme event being an indicator that we are not in control. Heat waves, cyclones, droughts and floods threaten to end the Anthropocene.  Yet the anthro-hyenas refuse …

How to Win the War

Foyle's War is a TV drama written by Anthony Horowitz that takes place during and shortly after WWII.

So far I have only seen up to 1944 but I am impressed with the high quality of this production because of several reasons.  First the characters are not simply foils to the plot - they are written and acted as real people living in difficult conditions. Second the program does not stray from the context of that time. Third what is revealed is the many ways in which war oppresses people, even those who are rational, ethical, well educated, living in highly developed societies.  Each episode reveals the destruction by showing us how the characters deal with the difficult situations.

The most heart breaking episode is "Broken Souls" which tells the story of the mental health of soldiers and civilians.  It focuses on a psychiatrist who is operating at a very compassionate level even though he has lost his home and family.  Coming from Poland to England he works with ex-mil…

Things I cannot prove

While I agree it's good to have facts back up our beliefs there are some that cannot be proven no matter how much research I do.  It is part of my experience to be perceptive, to sense what is happening around me, and after many years of dismissing many of these perceptions because of a lack of proof, I believe they have some element of value. 
For example I cannot prove that Jesus, who, according to scriptures, was nailed to a cross – died for our sins, not to save us from our sins as the Christian doctrine says.  Certainly these doctrines have been studied by scholars and priests for many centuries, and for whom I would never doubt their intelligence, but there is a theme in these teachings that reach me in a very deep and disturbing way.
The meaning of this story, comes from my first impression as a child. It is a warning of what happens to those who challenge authority. The imagery is so powerful it hardly needs thinking about.  The son of man (and woman) nailed to a cross, …

Fear Won. Civil Society Lost.

"In this election Adrian Dix and his campaign hit lots of precise if small notes that a political journalist like myself might keep track of and tally, but overall the New Democrats apparently neither summoned enough fear of their opponents nor struck the themes or meme-like policy ideas that summoned enough inspiration. Campaigns are not PowerPoint presentations. They are emotional narratives. You would think that journalists like me, who describe ourselves as story tellers, would have better sensed where this tale was taking people in the late chapters." David Beers, The Tyee.

The results are in.  The majority of voters do not care enough about their society to learn how power works against them.  They are happy to believe the slogans paid by wealthy transnational interests rather than think about how this affects the quality of life for them and their family.  They want to believe in their own superiority, their natural common sense, rather than find out how the operating…

400 PPM and Beyond

"Last week the world's most important CO2 observatory recorded a daily average of above 400 PPM for the first time in history. The challenges are growing, and so our movement must keep growing as well."

Free CBC of political interference

Dear Friends, Thank you so much for your email about the Conservative government’s plans to take control of the CBC’s operating budget. I agree that the CBC must remain an impartial and independent body. Bill C-60, the Budget Implementation Act. 1, tabled last week, states that the Conservatives may interfere in the bargaining process of the CBC, a Crown corporation that has been independent for 80 years. They will now be able to dictate the wage conditions of journalists whose job it is to monitor the government. As well, Bill C-461, An Act to amend the Access to Information Act and Privacy Act (disclosure of information), currently before Parliament, is a direct attack on the independence of the CBC and journalistic sources. In Reporters Without Borders’ (RWB) latest Press Freedom Index, Canada has sadly fallen from 10th to 20th place. This report states that Canada is now behind Costa Rica, Namibia, Andorra and Liechtenstein. The RWB has blamed the Conservative gove…