No matter where you grew up, no matter what you think about me or the world we share, I want you to understand that I love you. You are human and you deserve to be loved, no matter what. We have all absorbed ideas from the world around us and many of these ideas were designed to prevent us from appreciating one another and to promote a false narrative of scarcity that is used deliberately against us all. It doesn’t matter who is ultimately responsible for this, because we don’t need that information to solve this problem. Lets begin with the understanding that I love you as we approach any disagreement we may have.
When I stumble onto a comment thread full of insults and anger, I don’t engage in order to feel superior or prove others wrong. I’m not trying to make them think the same way I do. I’m hoping to convince them to think more deeply about the source of our conflict. Even if we are ideological enemies, I acknowledge they have enough intelligence to engage in the issues and real compassion or they wouldn’t be there in a struggle to make the world a better place. We both want to fix what it broken and that suggests we can find common cause.
If you want to solve the problem of human suffering, it helps to ask the question “who benefits?” from conflict that has been manufactured by the power structure. There is a game the “ruling class” has been winning for centuries and it is called Polarization; a.k.a. “divide & conquer the peasants, keep them busy fighting for the scraps that fall from your table while you grab all the wealth their labour has created and abscond to your bunker on a private island before they figure out how you’ve deceived them and come after you with torches, pitchforks and a noose or a guillotine.” Read history and you will see this play out over and over again when corruption gains a toehold and infects a government.
Greed leads to corruption, inequality and injustice, which causes increasing suffering which can then erupt in revolution which may lead to positive change or create a police state. Fear is the ultimate weapon that is used to keep people under control. The one force that is powerful enough to overcome this vicious cycle is human compassion, as we’ve seen in every successful revolutionary movement in the past century. Solving human suffering requires compassion, which is why polarization and maintaining conflict is so important to the powerful forces of greed, corruption and tyranny. I am learning everyday how to reject ideas that are designed to weaponize fear and preserve the dysfunctional status quo. Whenever I catch myself feeling smugly superior to another person, I stop and think: “How am I allowing polarization tactics prevent me from appreciating this person’s unique gifts and finding common cause with them?”
You may find this hard to believe, but when I engage a person who appears to be ‘troll,’ I can de-escalate from an argument to a conversation just by refraining from insulting them. When I stick to ideas and ignore the results of social conditioning, I can even find common ground – yes, actual agreement on many important issues. My experience tells me we can defeat the powers of corruption, fear, greed and tyranny by weaponizing love and human compassion. If you want to see evidence of how this works, just observe those who care for others.
Think about how conflict is encouraged within and between all kinds of groups:
- Liberals vs. conservatives vs. environmentalists
- Natives vs. colonists vs. immigrants vs. refugees.
- Men vs. women vs. MRAs vs. feminists
- Middle class vs. low wage workers vs. unemployed vs. homeless
- International banks vs. developing nations vs. transnational corporations vs. planet Earth
It is amazing to watch what happens when we start paying attention to what we all have in common. We’re all human and we want life, health and happiness for ourselves and our families and friends. We all want to get along with our neighbours. We want to offer help to those who need it, just as we hope help will be available to us when we need it. We didn’t get to the top of the food chain by defeating larger predators in single combat, but by working together for mutual benefit. If you have more than you need, consider building a longer table instead of a higher fence because human progress is based on cooperation, not competition.
Imagine a world where people are worth more than profits and justice is more important than ‘shareholder value.’ Imagine a world where every institution respected human dignity and the fundamental rights of all people to life and health. Imagine dismantling institutions that poison, maim and kill. Imagine people everywhere sharing their gifts and strengths to end corruption and build a better system based on cooperation instead of competition. Imagine how we can use the power of social media to organize people instead of anesthetizing them.
Do your own research. Learn about anti-corruption legislation. Learn about alternatives to consumerism, like libraries that lend toys, tools and kitchen appliances. Learn about seed banks and urban agriculture. Consider joining a credit union. Every problem has a solution, most have several and you don’t have to pick just one. When you find a idea that you think will make your world a better place, share it with others, because we’re all like neurons in a global brain, transmitting important knowledge far and wide. We can solve all our problems by working together, so lets end polarization. The drums of war are beating, but I have no fear because I have the one defensive weapon that can never be overcome, not even by my death. I have love.
World War 3 has already begun, but you won’t hear about it on the evening news because it is not conventional on most fronts. The combatants on either side of the line are not nation-states. On one side you have a population realizing their votes don’t count and that they’ve been lied to for decades by their government and the corporate media. On the other side, a handful of greedy billionaires, extracting wealth from the rest of us by raping the planet to death.
The primary battlefront is at Standing Rock, but skirmishes are taking place along the entire route of the Dakota Access pipeline. Additional skirmishes are happening in front of U.S. embassies and the offices of investors who have the opportunity pull their money out on January 1st, 2017, provided no oil has been pumped through the pipe by then. At this point, only one side is armed and the other is using peaceful methods to fight for all of us. The truth is that we don’t need another pipeline anywhere and building them only ensures a further delay in the necessary transition to clean energy.
If you’ve been waiting for a sign before you get off your sofa and join the Water Protectors, THIS IS IT. The Obama administration has finally taken steps to protect the water, but the incoming Trump administration doesn’t even accept the science of climate change. We are running out of time. There are no comic-book superheroes coming to save the world for us. If we love our children and their children, WE need to take action NOW. Investors can bail if no oil flows by Jan 1, 2017, so lets keep hammering the banks: NO EXTENSION for DAPL!
Throughout December we need to be telling the planet-killers LOUDLY and OFTEN that we are not having it. We need YOUR voice to make our collective shout loud enough to echo throughout the distant halls of power. Its time to take our power back by using our local networks to implement laws protecting the planet and criminalizing corruption in all its myriad forms. Please help in whatever way you can: spreading awareness using social media is one way to help, despite known censorship issues. Participating in demonstrations and/or writing letters to editors and elected representatives are both important tactics. Donating to the Water Protectors is another way to help. One day you will be able to tell your grandchildren about how you helped save the world in December 2016.
(Note: Revised Dec 4, 2017 due to announcement that permits were cancelled.)
Lots of people have great ideas about how to save the biosphere, but how do we figure out which ones are going to work best? After studying the issue intensely for a couple of years, I keep coming back to politics. We cannot hope to change human behaviour on a massive scale without using legislation to break our fossil fuel habit. The problem with making better laws is that Big Oil has bought so much influence over public policy that they currently have power to veto any attempts to transition the economy away from fossil fuels. We need a democracy that will respond to the will of the people to save the biosphere. Trashing Citizens United is not enough because both parties have become so thoroughly corrupt that a revolutionary shift is needed.
The best plan I’ve seen for how to do this is via anti-corruption ballot initiatives that will get the dirty money out of politics. Better still, Represent.Us is already using this approach successfully, but don’t expect to hear about this on the evening news. It is clearer than ever that the corporate media is useless, so spreading this information via social media is crucial. Don’t let anyone tell you ‘slacktivism’ is futile – that’s a lie Big Oil wants you to buy. Every problem has a solution, most have several, and you don’t have to pick just one. Deciding to share good ideas is a great place to start. If I may make a suggestion, this link is full of excellent ideas and is worth sharing widely and often: How to Fix America’s Corrupt Political System
This image pretty much sums up how greedy billionaires are destroying the biosphere. (If Clinton won, George Soros would have been pulling the strings, just like he’s been doing for Obama.) We can’t save the planet until enough people wake up and realize they don’t live in a democracy anymore. Hitler was absolutely evil, but everyone knew it. Charles and David Koch are cut from the same cloth, they have way more power than they should, and worse, they wield it in secret. They aren’t the only evil douchebag puppet-masters controlling government policy, but they are certainly among the most destructive.
If you want to learn more, here’s an article:
… and a documentary:
Plus great site for research:
Evidence is emerging that there has been a quiet coup and counter coup in the United States, quite apart from the corporate coup that has already turned the former democracy into an inverted totalitarian Oligarchy.
Corporate “news” outlets lie like rugs and their election predictions cannot be trusted. This is the year that a third-party vote matters the most and can really make a difference. However, you cannot expect the media to give any indication that there is a groundswell of support for alternatives to the two-party system.
Trump is a climate denier, but Clinton has failed to speak out against fossil fuel extraction and will also allow fossil fuel companies to continue destroying the biosphere. This is why it is so important to vote for somebody, else in this election if you can do that without causing worse damage. However, it is important to understand that if you want your vote to count, you have to consider political demographics. Where you live has an impact on whether your 3rd party vote would be wasted.
Bernie Sanders’ supporters can hope that he is appointed the nominee, in the unlikely event Clinton resigns prior to the election. Depending on where you live, writing in Bernie Sanders might take electoral college votes away from Clinton and Trump, in several states including California. However, if Sanders supporters split the vote in California, they may regret it.
The Green Party is the ONLY one to prioritize saving the biosphere and the ONLY one to stand with Standing Rock and Jill Stein has picked up a large slice of Bernie Sanders’ supporters who are angry that the Clinton camp cheated.
If you not in a swing state, you can help boost a third party over 5% in the popular vote, which gives them ballot access in 2020. If you believe the whole game is rigged, voting for a third party is even more important because a solid showing in the popular vote now can send a message to the “duopoly” that their days are numbered.
The most important thing is to STAY AWAKE after the election, no matter who wins, and demand ANTI-CORRUPTION laws that will give the people enough power to stop corporations from destroying the planet.
I stand with Standing Rock because I recognize they are at the front line in the war to save the biosphere from greedy corporations. People need to learn the truth about who really has the power today, and why the truth is hidden. That is why I’m building AWAKEupedia, to build a collection of IMPORTANT LINKS WORTH SHARING. #ILWS is a hashtag people can use to spread awareness about any issue, including DAPL.
It is important to understand that solving any of the life-or-death problems we face requires us to ACT to take our power back. Americans will not enjoy democracy again until they dismantle the corrupt two party system controlled by Oligarchs. If you are sick seeing no progress while greedy billionaires continue raping the planet to death, consider sharing and discussing these ideas with your friends and family:
- Giving the Senate to democrats means Bernie Sanders becomes chair of the Budget Committee.
- If you think climate change is a big deal, even Ron Paul thinks you should vote for the Green party
- Don’t buy the narrative of ‘inevitability’ the media promotes. It is a lie.
- Don’t get important information from corporate media sources, they spew propaganda.
- Don’t lose sleep about who ends up in the white house this time around, the secret government is real.
- The way to take democracy back is to by-pass the whole corrupt political system using ANTI-CORRUPTION ballot initiatives, starting at the municipal and state level.
- The way to save the biosphere is to establish ANTI-ECOCIDE laws at the local, federal and international level.
I attended the town hall meeting on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in Toronto on June 15, 2016, along with hundreds of other concerned citizens, despite a lack of publicity. I recall only two people standing up to say anything in favour of the TPP and they both represented ‘industry groups’ which is a nice way of saying they were corporate shills. Everyone else was vehemently opposed, citing a variety of serious problems with the deal, particularly the odious Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, which would allow even more transnational corporations to sue Canada than they already do under NAFTA. This 6000-page agreement was negotiated by corporate lobbyists in secret and isn’t about trade so much as consolidating even more money and power in the hands of the billionaires who hide behind opaque, undemocratic, unaccountable transnational corporations while they rape the planet to death, destroy democracy and shove more and more people into poverty. The TPP is NOT the ‘New Deal’ we’re looking for, and it is so clearly contrary to the interests of our nation that ratification should be considered an act of treason.
The Honourable Minister Chrystia Freeland wrote a book about Plutocrats, so she understands as well as anyone how the ultra-rich control public policy. Although we pride ourselves on being ‘better off’ than Americans whose government has been so corrupted by money they don’t even have a democracy anymore the truth is Canadians should be worried about the state of our democracy too. In our Westminster system we have this odd feature called ‘party discipline‘ which means elected representatives, with rare exceptions, have to vote the way the leader of the party says, no matter what their constituents want. This means plutocrats don’t have to bribe loads of MPs, just use the access money affords in order to influence the handful of people at the top of the party in power.
The billionaires behind the corporations that are trying to shove the TPP down our throats travel in the same circles as the Prime Minister, his cabinet and other influential advisers who are not elected. These people often have connections that are not transparent. They may have gone to school together, their spouses may be friends, they play golf together. Plutocrats have access to power and opportunities to exert influence that the rest of us cannot even see. This is the reason that our politicians don’t keep their promises.
In her 2013 TED talk about plutocrats, Chrystia Freeland placed blame for rising income inequality on abstract factors like technology and globalization, exonerating the “new global super-rich.” No wonder her Rosedale neighbours elected her to parliament. Although she calls for a “new New Deal” Freeland fails to recognize that the gains in working conditions and living standards were not gifts from politicians or generous plutocrats.
Workers fought for decades in the struggle for dignity and justice. Thousands were beaten and jailed, well over a thousand died in America, including some striker’s wives, as well as 62 children murdered in the Italian Hall disaster. The 1919 Winnipeg General Strike, resulted in 2 deaths, over 30 injuries and a virtual city-wide military occupation, in which the striker’s newspaper was shut down and it’s editors arrested. History makes it clear that the ultra-rich are not going to give up their ill-gotten gains voluntarily.
American billionaire venture capitalist Nick Hanauer issued a warning in his 2014 TED talk:
“I have a message for my fellow plutocrats and zillionaires and for anyone who lives in a gated bubble world: Wake up. Wake up. It cannot last. Because if we do not do something to fix the glaring economic inequities in our society, the pitchforks will come for us, for no free and open society can long sustain this kind of rising economic inequality. It has never happened. There are no examples. You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state or an uprising. The pitchforks will come for us if we do not address this. It’s not a matter of if, it’s when.”
Reports out of North Dakota suggest America is morphing into a dystopian Police State, not unlike Toronto’s experience during the G20. Canadians are notoriously tolerant and polite and we really don’t want to light torches or raise pitchforks, but we do need to teach plutocrats the meaning of the word “ENOUGH.” We have to take back our power so we can solve income inequality, the climate crisis and a host of other problems.
If the landmark study “Testing Theories of American Politics” by Gilens and Page was replicated in Canada, I believe the results would be the same. Canadian voters have no hope of having our voices heeded unless and until we reclaim democracy through meaningful electoral reform. I am sick and tired of my vote being wasted in a first-past-the-post system and sick to death of having my trust betrayed by elected representatives who serve the interests of plutocrats. I know I’m not alone in this, as evidenced by the volume of applause and cheering at the TPP town hall for the many speakers who trashed the TPP in no uncertain terms.
The gist of this message was originally sent to the parliamentary committee charged with ‘consulting Canadians’ about the TPP. I’ve lived long enough to have seen so many broken promises that I do NOT trust the government to heed the clearly expressed wishes of the electorate. Although the official consultations have now closed, I REFUSE to shut up about this. The more you learn about the potential impacts of the TPP on your life, the more horrified you will be. We need to tell our elected representatives LOUDLY AND OFTEN that ratification of the TPP would be considered an act of TREASON and that party discipline is no excuse. You can help by sharing this, emailing your own MP and encouraging your friends and family to do the same.
(Updated Nov 7, 2016)
I just watched the trailer for “Before the Flood” and spotted a serious error made by one of the talking heads interviewed in Leonardo DiCaprio’s latest documentary. The interviewee says:
“Politicians will do what the people want them to do. Once the American people are convinced, the politicians will fall in line very quickly.”
This fundamental error is the reason climate change is still getting worse. Gilens and Page wrote a paper that demonstrated in 2014 that although politicians respond well to the wishes of billionaires, the average voter has “little or no independent influence” on public policy. This is a difficult fact to accept, as is the reason people have not been shouting louder about the climate crisis.
Ten years ago Al Gore tried to convince us of “The Inconvenient Truth” (2006) that climate change was the most pressing issue of our time. Gore was correct, but his ideas were attacked and marginalized by organized right-wingers. The documentary “Merchants of Doubt” (2015), based on a book of the same name, unmasks the climate deniers, but fails to appreciate the role the corporate media plays in controlling the narrative. For that you have to go back to “Manufacturing Consent” (1992), to learn how the Propaganda Model works. The consolidation of media ownership is part of an even larger problem described in “The Corporation” (2003) which makes the case that if a corporation was a person, they would be considered a psycho.
This is the fundamental root problem of climate change. The biosphere is not under threat because you ate a hamburger this week (although it would be better if you didn’t). The problem is that the greed of billionaires is out of control. The climate scientists are not experts in the politics of power. The mainstream media produces propaganda instead of journalism. Corporations are abusing eminent domain not for public good, but for private profit because the Supreme Court condoned their behaviour. Politicians on both sides of the party divide are beholden to their major corporate donors. The average voter is learning that, worse than being ignored by elected representatives, even if their vote is accepted, it may not even be counted at all. Once we finally realize that the root cause of climate change is a lack of democracy, the way forward becomes clear.
When a critical mass of people wakes up, our peace officers will stop acting like rent-a-cops doing dirty deeds for greedy billionaires. Anti-corruption laws, driven by grassroots action and ballot initiatives, can take government out of the hands of corporations and Wall Street banks, and restore it to the people. Electoral reform can break the corrupt two-party system and ensure that paper ballots are used to audit electronic voting machines. The debate system can be opened up so smaller parties are not unfairly marginalized. When the people take back their power they can stop greedy corporations from destroying the biosphere and solve all kinds of problems.
Every problem has a solution, most have several and you don’t have to pick just one. If you want to be part of the solution, share these ideas with your friends, family, co-workers, clients, classmates and neighbours. Don’t wait until it’s too late.