Sunday, July 11, 2010

Absolute power corrupts absolutely

I would venture to guess that the majority of people agree with this statement.  (Or maybe I'm wrong; if someone disagrees, please leave a comment -- this topic might need a separate thread!)  While I do not believe that anyone is innately evil, nor do I believe that man is ultimately depraved at heart, I do believe that extreme concentration of wealth and power affects people in negative ways.

On a smaller scale, I'd be willing to bet that most people reading this have personally known someone who either came upon a large sum of money, or who was promoted to a position of power and who, as a result, had a big change of personality.  And the MSM certainly loves to bombard us with stories of people who gain fame and/or a large fortune and either burn-out, go crazy or die from it.  Then, of course, on the world scale there are the numerous situations in history whereby a small group of people (i.e. government, oligarchy, monarchy, religious group, etc...) has endeavored to control another group of peoples.

So assuming most would agree that absolute power corrupts absolutely (yes, I'm building a house of cards -- sue me!) then why do many of these same people scoff at the idea of a coming police state, a New World Order, or a concerted effort by the Powers That Be to control the world's population?

Okay, so let's argue that governments in the Western World are truly only giving themselves the freedom to do such things as perform warrantless searches and wiretaps on its citizens, unlawfully detain people who the government arbitrarily deems to be a "threat to national security", capture all of its citizens' movements using CCTV and IDs with embedded RFID chips, all simply because they are concerned about threats of "terrorism".  Let's also argue that the government has (or should I say, had) absolutely no intention whatsoever of making use of these new "freedoms" against regular citizens who have nothing to do with "terrorism" (whatever that is).  If you believe these things, then please explain to me: What stops governmental,  military and law enforcement groups from abusing those powers going forward? And not only the current government, but future governments for which you may not have even voted?  For example: Self described right-wingers in the US might have been okay with it when Bush's administration started the "Patriot" Act, but how are they feeling knowing that the "socialist" Obama now has those same powers and has even extended them?  And even though self-described left-wingers might console themselves with the thought that Obama will not abuse such powers, what if the GOP gets back into office in 2012? 

Let's be honest: Everyone works in an office where there is at least one Machiavellian, sociopathic douchebag (if not several), so why would we expect those in positions of power within governments, armies or police forces to be any different?  And I would even argue that people who run for political office or who decide to take on some sort of security or law enforcement position will tend to have a higher percentage of douchebaggerie among their ranks -- after all, the very nature of said positions is to wield power over, to make decisions for and to enforce rules and regulations upon other fellow humans.

So, to get back to my point:  Even if we believe that the intent of "Patriot" Acts and the like are being implemented for our protection, therefore the loss of some civil liberties are okay, who is to say that some powerful douchebag, or group of powerful douchebags, isn't going to eventually abuse these powers?  Even if all the world's wars were to come to an end and all "terrorists" were wiped off the face of the Earth, what governing body do you think would ever give those powers back?  Do you really think your government would say "Phew!  Glad that's over!  I guess we can take this security act off of the books now..."

I mean, come on.  I've worked in the telecom industry for over a decade and I know of employees who have checked their boyfriends'/girlfriends'/coworkers' text messages and call lists; I been told of people checking in on coworkers who have called in sick by pulling their cell tower location to see if they were actually at home; I've caught dealers activating fraudulent accounts for friends using their dead grandfather's ID, and that's just stuff that I have personally been aware of and I don't think the company I work for is any different from most corporations.

So again, I ask you:  If we accept IDs containing RFID chips, if we accept subjecting ourselves to dangers of scanners such as these when exercising our common law right to travel,  if we allow ourselves to be under the constant watchful eye of CCTV, then are you really going to be surprised if someone or some group of individuals decides to use this data against us even though we don't consider ourselves to be in anyway close to a "terrorist"?  Are you really going to be surprised if they use this data and these new "freedoms" in a way that they claimed they never would -- like this, or this, or this, or this, or this, or this or these ways?  Do you really trust politicians, banksters, corporate oligarchs and their military/security personnel any more than the people you work with?

I also find it interesting how (at least in the Western world) there seems to be a common sentiment that if there were no government or no laws and regulations telling us how to live then our lives would descend into bedlam and violence causing us to live out some dystopian nightmare reminiscent of Mad Max.  I have two questions for people who believe this:  #1)  Are you telling me that the only reason you that you don't steal, rape and pillage is because there are laws preventing you from doing it?  #2) If you truly believe that Man is ultimately an evil sinner that cannot control itself and that, if left unchecked and unconstrained by outside laws and regulations, Man would descend into chaos and turmoil, then how does it follow that the solution to this problem would be to allow a some small minority of humans to make decisions for and to enforce rules upon the much larger majority?  Do proponents of this opinion think that there actually is an elite group of people out there who are better than most humans and who really know what's best for the rest of us?  A group of people who, by some stroke of luck, have none of the evil and inevitable propensities to rape, steal, and pillage that the rest of us do?  And doesn't that sound an awful lot like how the masses were "saved from ourselves" by the various monarchies/religious oligarchies of history -- saved by blue bloods who knew what was best for us, the slovenly masses, because somehow they were "blessed by the divine" to be better than us?  I mean, who is really wearing the tinfoil hat in this debate?

I've also had people tell me that they have a hard time believing that there are people out there so evil and cruel as to want to create such an oppressive state.  Really?!  Do I really have to give the plethora of examples in human history where a small group of individuals has abused and subjugated its populace?  I get the impression that when people tell me "I just can't see that happening" what they are really saying is "I don't want to believe that can happen".  It's like closing your eyes, putting your hands over your ears and saying "La la la, I can't hear you..." I don't want to believe something so horrible either, but the fact that I don't want to believe it has nothing to do with whether or not it is an actual possibility.

If you think the idea of an attempt by the PTB to create some sort of oppressive, fascistic world government is impossible, just because you have a hard time believing that there are people out there who would be so evil and cruel, and yet you acknowledge that there are "paranoid conspiracy theorist losers living in grandma's basement" who are imagining this stuff, then why is it so hard to believe that rich and powerful paranoid losers could be imagining the same stuff from their meeting rooms?

And if you think the idea of an elite group of industrialists and bankers conspiring together to create a global fascist state is just some tinfoil hat-wearing craziness, consider this:  It was already attempted in the US during the Great Depression -- Check out this radio broadcast from the BBC.  (Or if you don't have the RealPlayer installed you can listen to it here on YouTube in 3 parts.)  And here is another article on this plot which originally appeared in 1995 in the magazine History Today.  And given the power that the banksters have been abusing around the world long after WWII, do you really think they've given up on this idea since then?

Large government is wrong for the same reason that large corporations like Walmart are wrong: The extreme concentration of power and ultimate detachment that those in power have from the people.  Cutting a couple hundred thousand jobs in nothing to them.  We are no longer flesh and blood beings, we are numbers on a computer screen.  To them we are nothing more than voters, tax payers, money makers and resource wasters.  Plus it could easily be argued, especially in the States, that large corporations are the government since not only do they wield massive lobbying power, but the last few administrations, from both the so-called right-wing and left-wing, have been riddled with banksters and other corporate agents.

And as much as we in the Western World like to tout how great our "freedoms" are, when it comes down to it, what is more important to us, our freedoms or our security?  I'm hoping it is the former, but the way things are going these days, particularly in the US, Australia, the UK and in Canada (see my post on the G20) I'm beginning to think that the majority of the populace finds security to be more important.  Which is sad, because once we lose our freedoms we no longer have any security.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Toronto G20

What a horrendous, predictable and well orchestrated mess that was!  I can't say that I was sad to be out of the province that weekend, but I was very sad to see the destruction of property, the inconveniencing and abuse of innocent people and the erosion of our civil liberties, all taking place in a span of a few days in Toronto.

And who could honestly say that they were surprised?  Leading up to the G20 summit, the mainstream news, politicians and police did nothing but prepare us for violence, and **gasp!** violence happened!

And isn't it funny that in all of the interviews and televised meetings which took place in the days leading up to the G20, there was no mention made whatsoever by the government nor the police that a little-known, and very disturbing act known as the Public Works Protections Act (PWPA) would be enacted that weekend in order to basically institute a state of martial law within the vicinity of the G20 conference?  And isn't it funny that Chief Blair "mistakenly" told the public (which the MSM reported repeatedly) that people travelling within 5 metres of the outside the security fences could be arrested if they failed to show ID or consent to a search by police? The truth was that these powers were only available to the police in an area inside the fence. Chief Blair went on to admit, days after the summit ended, that the five-metre rule never existed.  (For more on the imaginary 5 metre perimeter check out this article from the Globe and Mail.)

The PWPA, first drafted back in 1939, was apparently meant to be applied to "public works", and has most often been applied to courthouses.  The thing is, as per the act the definition of a "public work" includes "any other building, place or work designated a public work by the Lieutenant Governor in Council."  So basically, as long as a building is officially declared a "public work" this then allows law enforcement officers within the vicinity of such a space the power to arrest and detain people who refuse to identify themselves, whether or not they have committed any crime.  This act also allows people, who are not normally licenced to be law enforcement officers, to be appointed such a position -- like police from outside of Ontario or even security personnel.

Under this act the right to privacy, freedom of assembly, freedom of the press, presumption of innocence and probable cause all get thrown out the window.  People who were peacefully demonstrating and people who were in the area just to watch the demonstration and even reporters were beaten and arrested.  And yet, on several news sites the majority of the comments I read was "the protesters got what they deserved", "if you don't want to get arrested, don't smash windows", blah, blah, blah...  So arresting peaceful, undisguised individuals, practicing their right to free speech is justified by the actions of a small group of people of people dressed in black?  Punching reporters and threatening to arrest them if they don't leave is justified by the actions of a few people with black bandannas and sticks?  Take a good look at the footage of people being arrested and make note of how many of those people are wearing all-black.  The people being arrested were not the so-called Black Bloc.

I find the whole alleged "Black Bloc" phenomenon quite suspicious.  Firstly, to call them "anarchists" is an extreme misnomer: Anarchy does not equal wanton destruction -- far from it; anarchy means being a responsible human who is able to set their own limits and contract with other human beings, as opposed to having laws imposed upon them by a third party who may or may not be looking out for their best interests.  In fact, anarchists want nothing to do with government, so it would seem to me that the last thing they would want to do is participate in a political demonstration.  But this is all assuming that this Black Bloc is a legitimate organisation of some kind...

I also find it uncomfortably contradictory that the same people who wear things to cover their faces -- presumably so that they can cause destruction with anonymity -- choose at the same time to wear the very recognisable Black Bloc "uniform" (i.e. all-black) so that they are easily identified in a crowd.  And why do we always have great video footage of these people vandalising property, seemingly unmolested by anyone, including law enforcement, despite the fact that their clothing makes them stand out and therefore easily tracked by the police?  And why did the police drive their cars into the middle of the street then abandon them with the keys in the ignition after repeatedly warning the public about possible violence and vandalism prior to the summit?

Let us not forget that there were obvious police officers dressed in the black bloc "uniform" who were trying to incite violence during the protests held at the SPP conference in Montebello, Québec in 2007 -- this was later admitted by the Sûreté du Québec.  And in a community meeting held in Toronto prior to the G20, I remember noting the discomfort that George Tucker displayed when Dan Dicks of Press for Truth asked him whether or not the Toronto Police planned on using agent provocateurs like those used by the Sûreté du Québec in 2007; watch George rock back and forth just as he answers the question and how he doesn't make any sort of statement that the Toronto Police would never use such a tactic or had no plans to at the G20.  You can watch the entire meeting here, and you can see that George never shifted in his seat during the rest of the meeting like he did when Dan asked him that question.  You will also note that in this video George makes sure to mention 9/11 and then ties this into the idea that increased security is now needed due to "certain members of society." (Now who would they be? Hmmmmm...)  Then at the end of this subsequent video he talks about how most demonstrators are peaceful, but that there are some who cause mischief.  He then directly reinforces his statement about "certain members of society."  (Got that? 9/11 = more security measures to protect us from "certain members of society" and "certain members of society" = G20 protesters.....What?)

So what truly went on during the G20 protests?  Were there angry people there just looking for a reason to wreak havoc?  It's very possible.  Were there actions taken by the police to ensure that some of that havoc would occur?  It seems just as possible to me.  Then the next logical question would be: Why?  Why would the police want to incite acts of vandalism and violence only to crack down on innocent protesters and the press?  And why do a bunch of world leaders, who are so worried about their own personal security, all choose to come together in one spot every year -- putting themselves at serious risk and costing the host city millions of dollars -- when they could all have easily met by video-conference?  I'll leave you to answer that for yourself, but if you've read my previous posts or visited my YouTube channel you probably know where my position is on that...

There may be one upside to all of this, though: The actions of the police may well backfire on them, because innocent, unassuming people like this lady or this guy or the people in this video or these people -- people who might not have otherwise had any opportunity in their lifetimes to be handled by police nor to question the law -- got to see first hand how unfair the police can be (hardly "innocent till proven guilty"...) And now these people will spread the word to their family and friends who might not have believed the same story had it come from the mouth of a so called "anarchist."


For many more videos related to the G20, including testimony from both reporters and others who were abused and/or arrested during the G20 demonstrations, checkout my Toronto G20 playlist on YouTube.   I've also found a link to a report published by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association who had many of its own observers present during the events of the G20, some of whom were arrested and detained themselves.