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Slavery - [21 December 2008 @ 11:56pm]

extascene
"Many feel that sex slavery is particularly revolting—and it is. I saw it firsthand. In a Bucharest brothel, for instance, I was offered a mentally handicapped, suicidal girl in exchange for a used car. But for every one woman or child enslaved in commercial sex, there are at least 15 men, women, and children enslaved in other fields, such as domestic work or agricultural labor"
-http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4173

This article is horribly disturbing. It talks about modern day slavery - there are more slaves currently than at any other moment in human history. And not just because the global population is much higher. We need to do something. I'm not sure what yet, but I'm plagued by all of these things I'm seeing and hearing. How can I live and travel freely and at peace when I know that I have resources and privileges that others don't have and never will have.

I took a class called international law and human rights last semester. I'm not sure what I want to do with the rest of my life, but I know that I want to help people. I really do want to make a difference. I want to travel places and see what conditions are really like for people around the world. Awareness is a good thing, but I feel like there is already a lot of awareness in the public. A lot of awareness maybe, but also a lot of ignorance. Everyone knows about the starving children in Africa, everyone knows about the underpaid workers who make our products. But no one seems to care. Or they care, but they economically feel like they have no options. And government intervention does not seem to be helping much anyway. What is one to do? I guess that is the big question of our time. There are so many problems and issues, it seems impossible to do anything to make a difference.

I suppose that the major things I can do right now are simple. I can read, listen, pay attention and think. I can educate myself as much as possible now, while I'm still a student at a university, about social conditions around the world, and even in my neighborhood. And I can start from home. I can volunteer my time at a homeless shelter, I can tutor poor children, I can work at various community outreach centers. All these things I would love to do. I'm researching these things now.

Change must happen at home, in our own communities. I'm an advocate for sustainable agriculture and economics. I'm far from being an expert, but I'm totally willing to learn and educate myself, and I would love to work/volunteer at a local community garden, etc. But I do want to do more, eventually. I'm looking for organizations that really do make a difference. Not necessarily a major difference, we're so far away, we're going to need to take small steps. Even if I only manage to rescue one person from slavery, or stop one child from starving to death, it would totally be worth it.

There is so much I want to do, but I feel like my hands are tied. I hate this, and I would give my possessions, time and talents to worthy causes that are making positive changes in my community and the world. Everything just seems so complicated sometimes.
cmnt

From the Beginning [14 November 2008 @ 10:47am]

redwoodpecker
Talking about politics, or rather trying to educate someone politically, especially Americans is mind numbingly difficult if not altogether impossible.  In large part because we live in the only society in history to ever have an empire that the majority of the populace doesn't know about.

The reason is simple enough, every other empire in history has had to use military force to expand their realm of influence.  Which we certainly do, but our first resort is to share crop whole nations through the IMF, giving them loans to build infrastructure that are set up in a way that they can never be repaid.  Then we go to collect the debt from these nations, and of course since they can't actually pay off the debt, we tell they have to vote with us on a piece of legislation, or support our war efforts elsewhere, or more often than not we force them to privatize their natural resources such as oil or electricity and hand them over to American companies.

We secure their obedience and natural resources without having to fire a single shot.  Now if the leader of one of these countries doesn't go along with this, we simply either overthrow their government through clandestine means, such as we did with Iran in the 50's, or attempted to do in Venezuela more recently.  Or if that fails we simply assassinate the leader in question, often in a plane crash.

Iraq is a perfect example of this.  First we tried to overthrow their government.  When that didn't work we had a CIA asset by the name of Saddam Hussein attempt to assassinate the then leader.  That also failed, but we were able to simply place Saddam in power through other means. 

Saddam is a strong man, which we like, but he wasn't cooperating with our agenda.  However being familiar with the methods we used, he was able to prevent both overthrow and assassination by using methods such as body doubles.  So we sent the military in as a warning in the early 90's to garner his obedience.  Even that didn't work, and eventually we had to go in full force and take him out.  We actually wanted to find him, unlike Osama, so of course we did.

Our nation is a profit driven imperial machine.  Industry, defense contractors, the military, and corporate greed drive our foreign policy.  Not the will of the people.  This is why we didn't get to vote on the war.  This is why even though the majority of people oppose it we're still there.  This is why candidates who oppose war are vilified and ridiculed, and how we always end up with a choice between two imperialists.  Because the corporate forces which dictate our foreign policy are the same corporate influences that fund our politicians, which are the same as the corporate sponsors which support our mainstream media. 

When a news corporation supports itself with advertising revenue, it is the companies that buy those ads who are their customers, not you.  You are the product being sold to these companies.  Distracted by pop sensationalism and meaningless flashy rhetoric so they can sell you diet coke. 

But these are just meaningless words to the masses who not only have no idea what's going on in our own country, they certainly have no awareness of our foreign policy, and almost never any kind of historical perspective.  Their vision of politics and the world is comprised of $500 haircuts, prostitution scandals, blow jobs, and Britney Spears children.

So they don't know anything, but unfortunately still feel entitled to their opinions.  Opinions which are comprised entirely of speculation and propaganda.  They don't listen, nor do they try to learn these things for themselves.  They simply reflexively oppose anything that doesn't fit into their narrow world view.

Some people can't grasp the complexity of the corrupt system as it exists today, and so they turn to shadowy organizations, jews, or aliens controlling things from behind the scenes.  They do so because it's simple and easy to understand.  The same reason that people who don't know anything use straw man arguments about secret puppetmasters and JOOZ to dismiss ideas and information that are too complex for them to grasp.

I guess if I had to summarize my point it would be to say that it's impossible to educate someone unless they already have at least some base of knowledge to put things in context, which of course they often don't.  The problem is not that people need to be educated by others, but that people need to educate themselves.  Something they are woefully unwilling or unable to do.

It's very depressing to want to discuss these subjects intelligently only to find that the only subjects people have enough awareness of to discuss is whether Obama is a secret muslim, or how many houses McCain has, while they almost never have any awareness of their actual views, which differ very little. 

The problem with proles is that you can't get them to ever be anything more, because they don't know they are proles, or even what a prole is.  And why should they care?  They work, fuck, breed, die, and watch some football in between.  They are nothing more than batteries for the machine.  I believe they have the capacity to be real people, but that most of them never will be.

So rejoice over your glorious new leader.  Embrace the change and hope that will surely come.  In the end nothing of significance will change, but if ignorance is bliss, then happiness is one natural resource America will never run out of.
read (2) cmnt

Elitism out of control [24 September 2008 @ 11:06am]

redwoodpecker
So I had a chance to have a political discussion with a couple of educated and well informed individuals over the last few days, something which I was really looking forward to since people generally can't hold a discussion outside of whether or not they think Palin's daughter secretly had a kid.

After getting into a heavy discussion primarily with the male, what I discovered, rather than the intellectual comparison of ideas I had hoped for, was the same arguments offered by every half wit redneck that ever ventures to oppose something I say, but wrapped in prettier language.

First, on the subject of Libertarianism, which neither could define other than that they had this idea that it was no government anywhere, which is already known as Anarchy.  I attempted to explain to them what my ideal form of government would be, which is socialist libertarianism, and also that to be fair, that there was no clear definition of Libertarianism.  There are some basic tenets, but as to how a Libertarian government should be composed, there are a wide range of opinions ranging from as little government as possible on any level, to a government which has socialized programs such as health care and welfare, but which are administered on a state level.

Not that I ever got to that point, as upon trying to explain the varying definitions and understandings of Libertarianism, I was told that I didn't get to define what Libertarianism was.  Which I wasn't, I was just trying to explain the brand of Libertarianism I espouse, but that didn't matter.  Their argument, which had nothing to do with the subject at hand, was that I was trying to define Libertarianism for everyone, and anything I actually tried to explain was disregarded.

The other argument was that Libertarianism as a form of government is unworkable because Libertarians were mostly white kids.  I'm not sure how that works exactly, but somehow the fact that it's mostly white males that go out to campaign for libertarianism and against the war,  who despite trying to make a difference for something they cared about, were simply being foolish.  Apparently because they had never been pulled over for being brown they didn't have the right to protest the administration or the war. 

The other argument against libertarianism was that apparently it's responsible for slavery.  Libertarians support smaller federal government, the federal government was responsible for abolishing slavery, and therefore all Libertarians are racists who just want to own slaves.  I wonder how they would feel on that issue if the south had won the civil war and slavery had become a federal mandate.  Not to mention that Libertarianism doesn't have anything to do with slavery, but that's no reason you can't make a false correlation then argue against it. 

Again, at no point did they display any understanding of what libertarianism was, nor did they feel they had to, since clearly all libertarians were racist uneducated white kids who didn't appreciate the stability our imperialism offers in that we can eat better out of a garbage can here than people eat in Somalia.  I kid you not, that argument was actually proffered.  Apparently as long as we can eat Big Macs out of the garbage, war, wiretapping, imperialism, reduction of civil liberties, and torture are all ok.

The final arguments, if you can call them that since they were never arguments against anything I was actually proposing.  Instead they were either straw man arguments, or arguments based on what kind of people supposedly shared those beliefs, or rather, what kind of people they decided shared those beliefs based on some stereotype they created.  That is much easier after all than trying to understand or listen to the ideas they're proposing.  Why listen when you can label and dismiss.

Anyway, the final argument seemed to be that thinking that you in any way could imagine a better form of government.  That any individual could suggest an area where clearly we are doing something wrong and suggest an improvement was just them being a hopeless idealist and elitist.  This for example was applied to the idea of libertarianism as a form of government, or Anarchy, which is what they decided was my belief because it was easier to argue against and faster than actually listening to me describe my belief.  The suggestion was that I believed that we should have a libertarian government, and immediately there would be no such thing as the FAA, and we would start rounding up brown people and putting them into cages.

Now, as far as my idealism goes, what I actually believe is that even if we somehow got a libertarian candidate into the presidency, they would be able to accomplish absolutely nothing.  What is clear is that we need to reduce the power and scope of the federal government, and in addition we need some sort of counter influence to our two corporatist parties who both support greater federal powers, which essentially translates to greater power for their corporate influences and supporters.  That's why I voted for Ron Paul in the primaries, not because I thought he would change our entire form of government, but because he would have at least been an opposing voice, and spoken truth to power and the need for less federal control over our lives.

Clearly any kind of realist knows that government is never an ideal representation of it's basic principles, and that it will always be a struggle between opposing forces such as the struggle between populism and corporatism, between more taxes and less, those who think we should have more socialized programs, and those who think we should have less.  The problem now is that we don't have that opposition, we have varying degrees of corporate support with very little representation of the people themselves on any level.  The solution is to set up some kind of actual opposition party to keep this corporatism in check.  Getting a Libertarian party in power would not result in a libertarian state, it would simply serve to help balance the currently existing fascist one.

Personally, I think the idea that you can just vote for Obama and hope that changes things is hopelessly naive and idealistic, but as he put it, Cynthia Mckinney has crazy eyes, and Nader is obviously crazy too.  Clearly he had spent a lot of time comparing and weighing the value of their policy ideas. 

So altogether wholly disappointing, stupid, and no different from arguing with anyone else who has no real understanding of the issues.  Me suggesting any kind of change that would benefit people as a whole was me being an elitist.  Which is actually a Neo Liberal argument that comes from the same people who redefined fascism, a form of government where the federal government doesn't regulate corporate power, but does support it, as the free market.  Anyone who is famliar with the principles of the free market knows that what they are prescribing is nothing like the free market. 

This happened in the early 1900's when corporate and banking interests created arguments which switched populism and corporatism by arguing that populists were just elitists who thought they knew better than everyone else what they needed, and that corporations were the true populists, because they offered the public so many democratic choices and therefore more freedom.  That is you have a much freer democracy from corporations than voting because you can choose whether to buy pepsi or coke, cheddar cheese or monterey jack, Reebok or Nike shoes on a daily basis.

But the overriding argument was that there was no need to argue any of my ideas or present their own because what did I know anyway.  No one should have opinions because that makes them an elitist, and we should in general just accept the way they are, regardless of how bad they get, because proposing anything different is simply the individual being an elitist and trying to impose their beliefs on others.  Again, a perfect example of neo liberalist thought.

A great deal of time would have been saved had they simply presented their arguments in entirety right up front.  Namely, "What do you know?", and "This is Amurca, if you don't like it, move."  Hyuk Hyuk Hyuk.  Whether it comes from a flannel jacket, or a tweed, it doesn't sound any less ignorant to me.

My question is, if you dismiss any opinion which differs from your own, not based on the merits of the ideas themselves, but because anyone who presents ideas is immediately labeled an elitist, then who's really being the elitist?



cmnt

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