Plan BK: The Solutions Presents... A Minifesto, an Email, an Attack, and an Invite :-)
Friends, Showmen, and Countrymen, (and of course Women), Please Lend Me Your Ears...
Just a shoutout to let you all know about an incredible event I am fortunate enough to be a part of this Sunday, March 12th: the Artists Against War Pro-Peace Arts Festival. It takes place from 1 - 6 pm at Metro Hall, at the south-east corner of King and John Streets in downtown Toronto.
Over 50 amazing artists are donating their time and effort for a jam-packed feel-good pro-peace event, and helping to put an end to war as we know it. Bring the folks, bring the kids, and bring yourself, and help the billions of people around the world who want to live in peace stop this and future wars.
After all, if we don't, they will continue. And that would suck.
The flyer is attached so you can see the talent in advance, and it's going to be a wonderfully energizing chance to collectively experience passionate Canadians doing their best to enlighten and engage your own passionate desires to make a better world for yourself, your friends, and your family. It’s also a prelude to the anti-war rally taking place on March 18th, marking the 3rd anniversary (if you want to call it that) of the War in Iraq.
Drop by, say hi and enjoy the efforts of those helping to bring about peace. And the next day, I dare you not to have the best Monday you've had in a while... :)
Peace by peace...
Black Krishna Brand
Philosophy - http://blackkrishna.blogspot.com/
Music - http://www.soundclick.com/bands/0/blackkrishna.htm
P.S. Having researched this stuff for a while, I thought I'd put together some analysis for you. I'm pretty good at consulting on anything, but have a special interest in systemic issues that bug nearly all of us today. Feel free to use any of the ideas here for your own needs, and forward this to anyone you want to help them understand why the world is screwed up. They can compare it to their belief system, and see which set helps them better act out of "hope" or "fear". If you question something just "Google it", and use your best judgment on the quality of the information you find as opposed to having either blind faith in or a blind disdain for the source.
Plan BK: The Solutions Presents... A Minifesto
While ignorance is bliss and knowledge is power, half-knowledge is a dangerous thing, and that's what most of us are fed today. We're given information without context, problems without solutions, stories without endings, tragedies without healing, and subtly sold the inevitability of societal decay through our own powerlessness.
"What can we do?" I've heard, or "Where's today's Gandhi?" as another rejoinder. This merely needs to be contrasted with what we know: there are literally millions of people working for organizations that defend the rights and freedoms of ordinary people, or "activists", as a loaded term.
We all know a few or at least know of a few, and yet despite being ordinary people who are extraordinarily committed and knowledgeable, they are largely invisible in mainstream discourse unless they are being demonized. We are told they represent "special interests", when in reality they represent the interests of everyone. Their interests are also usually not to the exclusion of their peers, and given the opportunity and resources they could help create a better world for everyone to share. We are being taught to fear, hate, and dismiss their actions as ineffective, unimportant or harmful to discourage us from supporting them, and yet without them we would all be slaves getting worked to death in a Dickensian nightmare.
Don't believe it?
Look at how hard big corporations fight to destroy unions, the environment, workers rights, equal rights, safety regulations, and any other restrictions that protect people from their institutionally sociopathic actions. And look at the sweatshops both here and around the world where they've happily succeeded.
I've learned to trust people who make the best arguments for "people" instead of simply justifying the actions of those in "power", which is the majority of self-destructive mainstream logic sold by those in "power" for us to use against each other. We shouldn't worry about "people" wrecking our societies based on the functioning of "powerful" institutions, after all, they're "powerful", they'll be fine, and they are much better at operating in the best interests of all with checks on their actions.
If the answer to "why are you saying what you're saying or doing what you're doing?" is for any construct of power, then you're screwing the rest of us – whether you know it or not. If it's for people alone, then you're our salvation.
I've also learned to trust myself, and in my ability to evaluate the "quality" of information and analysis as opposed to just trusting any source based on their reputation. Since “The New York Times” or “the paper of record” got the “WMD’s” story so wrong it helped launch an illegal war, I figure everything’s up for grabs. Much like good workmanship on a pair of Italian loafers, I can tell good workmanship in a story or series of arguments, and believe we all can. It's not that hard, and once you get the hang of it you can avoid regurgitating lazy sources who merely reprint from wire services as opposed to offering constructive analysis. Plus you can start to see patterns and history, and when individuals or institutions have proven they’ve lied in the past, it's best to avoid automatically trusting them in the present – no matter how loudly the echo-chamber asks you to.
The search for heroes in the 21st century will be crucial in maintaining our collective sanity and hope, and as long as they exist in history and in our minds in principle, then we need to practice finding, encouraging and appreciating them today. It's not hard, but it's also hard not to be cynical, often in creative defense of our own inaction. Still, we have to decide which of these people we want to be: slaves of our fears, or servants of our desires. We have to understand which of these approaches actually makes us "feel" better, since all practical philosophy must be based on self-interest. Once we figure out that middle-management intelligence operates cynically out of "fear" while upper-management intellgence operates optimistically out of "hope", then we can see which set of management tools we want to use to manage our own lives.
Even the “tin-foil hat” crowd long disparaged in the media inevitably have a point, and now have a medium for widespread verification, cross-referencing, and information dissemination in the internet. It’s about time that “conspiracy theorists” had their moment to shine based on how many awful conspiracies governments have been involved in, and it’s great that ordinary people are suddenly able to connect and discuss extraordinary questions that could lead to important answers.
A “conspiracy” is when two or more people get together to discuss doing something illegal or immoral, and since that’s the case every one of us has at some point been involed in discussing some sort of “conspiracy theory”, whether we went through with it or not.
I don’t know everything about them, but I know this much for absolute certain: as long as they have peers, persistance, and proof, then they’ve always stumbled upon “questions” that need “answers”. We can crap-on them as much as we want, but even a cursory scan of mainstream insanity reveals nothing stranger than truth, and nothing stranger than assuming all else to be fiction.
We need to start thanking them for sticking their necks out instead of chopping their heads off, after all they usually find truth before anyone else does and help force the issue into the mainstream. It’s not like they are always right, but they’re always right in asking a hell of a lot of questions, and often find a hell of a lot of answers to share. Based on their desire to study information most of us have never heard of nor would take the time read, they deserve to have their investigations taken seriously for all our sakes until they are proven wrong.
I used to watch the “X-Files”, and the idea of secret agents investigation strange occurences always appealed to me on a deeper level, like even though it was a fantasy it resonated with my basic understanding of government’s obsession with secrecy. While I don’t even pretend to know exactly what’s happening at the Area 51 top-secret military installation in the Nevada desert (I just “Googled” it to find out it was in the Nevada desert) and it’s not an area I’ve looked into at all, I picked this extreme example merely because I think on principle we have a right to know what they’re up to for sure.
Maybe they’re baking cookies? Maybe they’re baking brownies? Maybe they’re baking alien shortbread? I honestly have no idea. But I know that movies like “The Matrix” resonate for a damn good reason: we know we’re being lied to all the time, and when someone asks what the government is doing with the billions of tax dollars they often have a damn good reason to.
Besides, when someone has never lied to you before and isn’t asking for any money, you’d do well to offer them a clean slate and an open mind. We all have examples of both the government and mainstream media lying to us repeatedly, and yet very few of us can prove that conspiracy theorists are. We often assume they are without looking into any of it ourselves – despite the fact that makes absolutely no sense. Anyone who works hard enough to study official documents, investigative journalists, history and the history of deception should be given the benefit of the doubt and a great big “Thanks!” by those of us who don’t care to spend the time to.
I’m afraid we currently have it backwards, and I’m afraid we have been taught to think this way on purpose. In reality we should trust those who are swimming against the tide of disdain to get to the bottom of a mystery we all share. After all, beyond a desire to expose the truth at all costs, including their reputation, why they hell else would they do it?
Having met hundreds of people around the world in my lifetime, I can truly say that we're not that different, and that we're basically all "peers". Given access to the same great information we would come to the same basic empathetic conclusions, and settle on arguing over a few nuances on how exactly how to move forward. The facts are currently buried in an avalanche of fear, but a little creative shoveling can help dig through the snowjob of disinformation.
How do we know which facts to trust?
A simple Latin phrase: "Qui bono?"
Or: "Who profits?"
As any good cop will tell you, to find the crime, follow the money.
With respect to information, if the logic used is justifying the profits of "power" at the expense of "people", then you have your answer as to why you're hearing it.
After all, implicitly or explicitly, why else would it be promoted?
And for what purpose?
And by whom?
To wit: the "military-industrial complex", a term first coined in 1961 by President Dwight D. Eisenhower as a warning to all of us during his final speech in office, has somehow been paid enough money to produce enough nuclear weapons to destroy the world 10,000 times.
At what point did any government say: "You know, we can only destroy the entire world 2000 times... Dammit, we need more nuclear weapons!!!"
We come up with the dumbest logic sold to us by the (supposedly) smartest people to justify the dumbest decisions in the history of the world, including the above. We can see it playing out every day, we can see 3 billion people live on less than $2 a day, and we can see that nearly 25 years after LiveAid – 25% of Africa has AIDS.
We think we hear enough "bad" news to know how "bad" things are, and are somewhat satisfied by our permanent indigestion. Yet, despite the compassionate bonafides earned by casual criticism, we clearly don’t understand who's responsible for the problems, how these issues are being worked on, or the various ways we can contribute to solutions. That's where the failure of our collective discourse hits the hardest, and that's where we'll need to figure out how to cheer up and Save The World.
Peace by piecing it together...
BONUS: "Heil Harper!"
May as well start practicing and start local, and see how Canada, the world's multicultural role-model of relative social democratic peace and harmony, a nation committed to universal healthcare, environmental standards, education, immigration, workers, womens, minorities and other rights, among many other liberal (nee: human) values, has all of a sudden taken a hard-swing towards the Right.
Or have we?
Professor Noam Chomsky has noted how "public policy is often radically to the Right of public opinion", and while polls show what people really care about, governments somehow manage to do the exact opposite.
Strange but true.
In dismantling national daycare programs, Harper has promised each family a bonus of $1200 per child per year instead, ensuring "Canadians can do what they want with their money" instead of trusting the government to screw it up. So, let me get this straight: we're dumping federally subsidized daycare and giving families $100 a month to pay for private daycare? And exactly how much daycare is $5 per day going to give your kid? And exactly why wasn't this simple math discussed more in pointing out how unbelievably stupid this plan is?
With the cold, dead-eyes of a shark and the genial smile of a pedophile, Harper has conned the public into believing he's changed, and that he's left his radical Reform Party roots, an organization that took over the Conservative Party by being, well, "more" conservative. Much of the media bought it – begrudgingly or not, virtually declaring Harper the winner 2 weeks before the election and setting the stage for our easy acceptance of it.
They also declared in many ways that Left-leaning NPD candidate Jack Layton "couldn't" win. Not "shouldn't". Not "wouldn't". But "couldn't".
Some "democracy", eh?
Since then Harper’s taken aggressive moves to consolidate power in the Prime Minister's office, virtually daring anyone to take issue with his (now not so hidden) neo-con and neo-fascist agenda, and aggressively dismissing any critics as “partisan”.
It's going to be a rough ride, and we've only just begun...
There is a long-standing myth about the Left vs. the Right, or conservative vs. liberal ideology, and that is that the "Right" is better at managing the economy and government spending of "your" money.
It's a lie, and examples prove that over and over again.
We’re going to find out the hard way, as despite the "sponsorship scandal" being a relatively small $100 million boondoggle when compared to the normally wasteful mismanagement of taxpayer dollars, the corporate pro-Harper media enraged Canadians about it, and now Paul Martin and the Liberals are out of office and out of luck. Unfortunately the Conservatives will do at least 10 times that much damage to the Canadian economy – as felt by the average Canadian, because the "Right" historically sucks at running a government.
The last Conservative Premier of the province of Ontario, Mike Harris, aggressively cut social spending and healthcare programs causing pain to millions of Ontarians, and yet still left the province with a monstrous and hidden $6 billion debt – one which his administration coyly lied about in suggesting it was around $2 billion. Current Liberal Premier Dalton McGuinty had to readjust his goals once he got in power to deal with the massive debt and is getting savaged for it, and yet had he been a Conservative he probably would've just ignored and added to it.
President Ronald Reagan massively increased America's debt by trying to outspend the already bankrupt Soviet Union with huge gifts to the military-industrial complex, further strengthening their existing stranglehold on public policy. Current President George W. Bush’s administration has (incredibly!) managed to spend more money than ALL the U.S. Presidents in history COMBINED, refusing to veto any pork-laden bills in the Republican-controlled Congress, and taking the country from a $5 trillion surplus under President Bill Clinton to a now nearly $9 trillion debt – mostly foreign owned, and currently dragging down the entire U.S. economy.
Mark Green, co-author of “The Book on Bush”, has noted that the American economy since The Great Depression has grown 2 to 3 times faster under Democratic Presidents than under Republicans. In fact, unemployment goes down, interest rates go down, and nearly everyone does better under Democratic Presidents, especially the poorest 20%, while only the top handful of the wealthiest Americans do better under Republican leadership.
However, many of them control the corporate media, hence the myth persists.
Paul Craig Roberts is a former editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and former Assistant Treasury Secretary in the Reagan Administration, a bonafide old-school “conservative”. He’s well respected worldwide, and the French even inducted him into the Legion of Honor, one of his many accolades. He recently said on Air America Radio that according to the official numbers from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, America needed to create 9 million jobs over the last 5 years to keep pace with inflation, and actually created only 2 million – an incredible 7 milllion-job shortfall, and many of those were lower-wage.
He also said because of this America would probably be a Third World country in 10 years. And he wasn’t kidding. Poor Sam Seder, the host of “The Majority Report” with Janeane Garofalo, had nothing to say.
The Harper Boys have taken careful note of how the Bush Boys operate, and how they sell their particular brand of neo-conservative fascism. While they can't use the exact same tactics of Bush consigliori Karl Rove, ones originally pioneered by Joseph Goebbels, the Nazi Minister of Propaganda, they can use a version of the same here.
It's already happening.
The plan is to simple-speak in strong terms with a generically fake smile on his face, just like Dubya, and trust that the corporate media will find creative ways of justifying radical policies that benefit only a handful of Canadians – or fail to properly analyze and expose their potential impact.
Harper even recently said he refuses to "cut and run" from Afghanistan, and that he “expects all Canadians to support the troops”. He’s begun stealing hackneyed Bushisms that play to our basest and most cowardly desires to wage war on invisible enemies using our kids as toy soldiers from the comfort of our couches. We’re also, after hearing them repeated just south of us, getting quite used to hearing them ourselves.
Despite the fact that over 2000 Canadian troops have been deployed in Afghanistan for a while, we’ve barely heard about it – until now. Bush’s rhetoric succeeded in dumbing-down much of the American electorate – and convincing them they were smart in repeating it, and much the same will happen hear now that “military pride” is on the line. Harper’s begun embracing the military, long an embarrassment for Canadians (“Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry” anyone?) to prove what a strong leader he is. Will he soon start parading around in military uniforms like dictators such as Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Saddam – and until recently, no U.S. President except for George W. Bush? With special “War on Terror” graphics appearing more frequently in various mainstream news outlets, it appears we’re hell-bent on becoming a part of the paranoid insanity. Harper with his dictatorial ambitions nakedly flaunted is the perfect candidate to make Canada into a new war-monger, and please his partners in crime in the Bush Administration.
Make no mistake, fascism will be tough to recognize since our historical appreciation of it extends to jackboots’n’swastikas. Harper will balance out sweeping rhetoric and cosmetic improvements with a massive undercuttting of social services and healthcare, all the while ramping up the police state by chasing after potheads, gays, dissidents, protestors, and other undesirables. Canada is already a world leader in DNA database technology, we're forging ahead with RFID chips, and with cops, cameras, metal-detectors and random searches already underway in high schools, our kids are being raised to consider this the “normal” way our Canadian society is supposed to function.
He’ll continue strengthening ties with the growing neo-con fascist takeover of the United States. We won’t notice it, but when the rolling-blackouts arrive, when gas prices spike up to $1.50 per litre, when universal healthcare gets a lot less universal, and when poverty is further demonized and other cracks in the social safety net start widening to allow more Canadians to fall through them and turn to crime, we’ll all start to feel the crunch of a society in decay.
You know, much was made about the Liberal campaign’s “Stephen Harper will have soldiers in our streets commercial”, the actual text of which said:
The original ad, which Liberals say was pulled before it ever ran on television, opens with the sound of a military drumbeat and Harper's blurred face in the background.
As the face comes slowly into focus, a voice warns ominously:
"Stephen Harper actually announced he wants to increase military presence in our cities. Canadian cities. Soldiers with guns. In our cities. In Canada. We did not make this up. Choose your Canada."
SOURCE - http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/WeirdNews/2006/01/12/1391231-cp.html
While it was quickly mocked as being farcical despite being based on actual statements Stephen Harper had made, few stopped to think about how it incredible it was that it was actually produced at all.
This wasn’t some random quip by a drunken Liberal strategist at a party, nor a verbal faux pas by an unwitting MP in front of the cameras. This was an idea that was obviously discussed and debated by many strategists, and had to pass by several sets of eyes and ears to get to the final production stage.
They had plenty of time to stop making it if it wasn’t true.
They all thought it was a reasonable warning.
They were right.