Facades

When walking past a house after dark, it’s always the big windows that are lit. Is this diversion or hubris? Governments display these same traits.

What’s unseen… what’s underground? What’s behind the facade, the empty room, the well-lit space?

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More to come.

Samurai Scissors

Why does Japan’s Emperor Akihito want to quit?

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Did he just fall on his sword (or cut his own guts out) by acquiescing to the International Order? (Those hand signs are really disconcerting.) Will there even be another emperor, or will the son turn out to be another Obama or Trudeau, a young(er) and popular sell-out to globalism and world parliament?

Maybe the son is a war-hawk, and Emperor Akihito disagrees that Japan’s military should be used elsewhere than in defense of Japan. Japan just decided the issue of ‘collective defense‘. This is all after Trump accused Japan of not paying its fair share for American defense. (The Yen isn’t enough reparations for having been bombed into the stone age? /s)

Has Japan been castrated?

Continue reading “Samurai Scissors”

Thomas Hobbes #3

“…for such men, (commonly called Slaves,) have no obligation at all; but may break their bonds, or the prison; and kill, or carry away captive their Master, justly.”

-Thomas Hobbes, ‘Leviathan’

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[I must add here that the message is NOT that if you feel like a slave, you may kill your boss, justly. Murder is murder and should not be belittled or glorified. Were these Medieval times, my opinion might differ. Bonds, however, must be broken – the level to which depends on the force needed to defend, against that applied.]

The question is, “Is your freedom worth your life… and your family’s… and all your brothers’ and sisters’?”

Is the cost of your bondage worth your contribution, to your masters?

We will always have to pay the land-owners. If every man cannot have his plot of land, and no more, there will always be serfs.

We trade liberty and privacy for safety and convenience, each generation, successively, excessively, continuously. We may have come to a state of “Full Pussy“.

Young men have always needed to prove themselves in battle. The young men of today’s slaves have not have that necessity, for some time. Are they then men? Do they feel like men? Is there something missing which superheroes and action stars supply?

On Sea World:

If it weren’t a whale; what if it were a man? If you kept a man in a cage, even a big comfortable cage, and told him to do tricks for you, and if he didn’t do the tricks he would go back into his cage without any food, he’d probably do the tricks; and if you asked him if he was happy to do tricks for his food, he would thank you for the privilege, and bow to you, and speak highly of you, and curse you ’til the day he dies.

How could he do otherwise? You will have taken the world from him.

There is nothing further to say on this subject.

There is, however, plenty to say on the subject of modern slavery, but more on this elsewhere, soon.

Can We Both Be Right?

I had an exchange with a climate alarmist the other day, an exchange for which I felt the need to apologize. I sent him an email today. The subject line read: “Apology”.

Yesterday, we had exchanged opinions and facts about climate change and couldn’t agree about any of it. Today, the day after our exchange, I found myself bothered by it. I wondered why we couldn’t get along? He is a damn good researcher; how could he be so wrong. Maybe he thought the same of me.

I was going through an article I had recently written, looking at a graph which showed temperature and CO2 levels over the past several hundred million years. I saw that both CO2 levels and global temperatures had very rarely ever been this low, and I thought that surely this would lead to desertification. After all, the tundra is a desert, despite its low temperature. How could he think that this natural uptrend after near-record cold was anything but normal, anything to be worried about, anything unexpected? It had since leveled-off, so no problem, right? Why did he look at it as record highs when it was clearly (near) record lows?

My short answer was that he must only have been looking at the local US surface temperature record over a very short time span, and I was looking at satellite data as well as long term data covering more of the history of the earth, and this is what led to his distorted view. If the charts start in the sixties, it’s been getting warmer. If the charts start six-hundred million years ago, brrr. On a planetary level, however, no big deal. This seemed to explain away the problem as well as all the sub-problems like sea-level rise, Arctic ice extent, storm activity, etc. etc. etc. He was the American alarmist who took the ‘nothing outside our borders matters’ and the ‘we have the best equipment so everyone else is wrong’ view, and I was the voice of reason with a view to the world. Typical US-Canada relations.

I went for a walk to clear my head. Why was this still bothering me? I had figured out the problem; I had my answer. But there was more to it than that. There was something missing. As I walked around my neighbourhood, I thought about power structures and relationships, I thought about hegemony and what it can do to one’s perspective, I thought about the philosophy behind the situation when it hit me: Hegel – Mondrian – binary code. What if we were both right?

Continue reading “Can We Both Be Right?”

Harper, the Niqab, and the Concept of Hijab

There has been much talk about the niqab as it relates to the swearing-in portion of citizenship ceremonies. Everyone seems to be missing the point on this subject, especially Stephen Harper.

First, let’s get the facts straight; identification is done through paperwork, not facial recognition. Yes, there is an aspect of facial recognition to the identification process, but ultimately, it comes down to documentation. This is very simply demonstrated with the example of triplets at the border; they don’t all use the same passport simply because they look alike.

Second, the swearing-in ceremony is a chance for people who are new to the country to present themselves as they are. It is an opportunity to introduce themselves to their peers, and if the goal is to be recognizable, then their appearance must reflect who they are even moreso than what they look like. They will not be forced to go through the procedure for a second time should they fall victim to a disfiguring injury, for example. They must, therefore, present their public face. Whether that face is veiled or not, it is their own personal choice and it reflects their own personal identity.

Third, the niqab is not a disguise. Wearing a mask at a protest march is a change in one’s public face in order to hide one’s identity. Wearing a niqab (or a burqa, chador, dupatta, tichel, snood, babushka, or veil) is a celebration of one’s cultural identity, not a duplicitous attempt to conceal it.

Fourth, there are some who would say that because some women are forced to wear such coverings by the males in their social groups, this behaviour should not be encouraged. However, this is not the issue at hand. Surely women who are oppressed by men have avenues available to them in order to help them break free from these bonds. Replacing such bondage by governmental oppression is not an acceptable option.

Fifth, a person should have the right to personal freedom of expression. Furthermore, a person should have the right to adorn one’s body as one sees fit, and to practice the religion of their choice, if this is the case. Be it cultural garb, mandated medical procedures, abortion, prostitution, or euthanasia, a person should have exclusive rights over their bodies and the way these are portrayed, displayed, treated, and cared for. If wearing something cannot be forced upon us, not wearing something should not either.

Sixth, the right to determine one’s own lifestyle should never rest with the state.

A final thought – when a government equates a form of dress with a certain pattern of behaviour, be it overtly or not, that is a form of discrimination and has no place in a modern society. Whether it is stated directly or not, equating the idea of a niqab with a sense of fear from terrorism is no different than identifying a religious group with a special ‘brand’ in the hopes of generating the same feelings of uneasiness. We should all be disgusted that some feel this debate is necessary or even appropriate.

Update – Zunera Ishaq just took the oath of citizenship while displaying her niqab-adorned ‘public face.’ This represents a victory for human rights in Canada, although, the court decision risks being overturned when a new government is elected.

Sex and the Disabled

Should prostitution be legalized? This question has always been met with controversy, but here is an example of the good prostitutes can do for the less fortunate.

Disabled people have always been subject to social stigma and discrimination. Be it for issues of work, mobility, or equal rights, handicapped people have it rough. It is much more difficult for them to hold down good jobs and to participate in society on an equal footing with the rest of the able-bodied population. Does this mean that many of them should die virgins, without ever having experienced what some would describe as the summum bonum of human relations? They have enough hardship as it is; why should they be denied sex given that they must obviously have a very difficult time finding people interested in having a relationship let alone wooing people into their bedrooms?

What a woman (or any consenting non-minor) does with her body is still a topic of debate within several subjects such as: abortion; wearing of the niqab/burqa; euthanasia; mandated medical treatment; and, of course, prostitution. Only religion (despite its good intentions) and government and their historical and cultural significance can be shown to object to this most fundamental human principle. Of course people should have a right to decide their own futures as long as they are not coerced.

The Netherlands considers sex a human right and prostitution legal. This combination has led to legislation which allows for and pays for, in some cases, the services of a prostitute for the disabled of their country. Should this modern attitude towards mercy not be available in more places? It’s only human, after all.

Putin and the UN – Is Change in the Air?

Based on a recent interview with Charlie Rose, Vladimir Putin made some subtle comments regarding the status of the UN and what the future might hold in store. This is simply speculative interpretation, but did he hint at the possibility of an overhaul of the foundations of global governance? The BRICS association analogy may be a valid comparison to draw at this point.

“…I will have to say a few words about…the fact that the United Nations remains the sole universal international organisation designed to maintain global peace. And in this sense it has no alternative today.”

This is an interesting comment. Of course, everybody knows that the UN is unique, so why mention it here? Is there a plan amongst the developing economies to overhaul the UN, or is the plan to replace it with a less partisan body? His qualification of the comment with the word ‘today’ leads one to believe that tomorrow might be a different story. With Russia being a founding member (since its inception at Yalta after WWII,) and if Russia can convince the other members of the BRICS countries to follow suit, they could withdraw from the UN and create their own body to uphold international law without granting the US veto power over all its decisions. On the 25th of September, Putin met with the other members of the UN’s security council to discuss the situation in Syria, as well as current domestic policy issues. One wonders what these issues might be, but given recent comments by Putin (such as those given at Valdai) as well as those given by Assad (here and here,) not to mention the rift which is developing between Germany and France against the US over NATO’s involvement in the Ukraine and US involvement in Syria indicate that the world’s opinion about the US and its activities in the middle-east and elsewhere are changing (or worsening, depending on your point of view.)

“It is also apparent that it should adapt to the ever-changing world, which we discuss all the time: how it should evolve and at what rate, which components should undergo qualitative changes. Of course, I will have to or rather should use this international platform to explain Russia’s vision of today’s international relations, as well as the future of this organisation and the global community.”

It is very clear, based on these statements that the UN is an ever-evolving entity, but it is also clear, given the prevalence of this comment at the beginning of the interview, that there is a will amongst the participants (not including the US) to reform the role of the UN in the near future.

“…in my opinion, provision of military support to illegal structures runs counter to the principles of modern international law and the United Nations Charter. We have been providing assistance to legitimate government entities only.”

This comment was clearly meant to demonstrate US support for the forces opposing Assad – ISIS/ISIL et al. – and its illegality. Will the international community continue to allow the Western forces’ ‘carte blanche’ towards the middle-east, and will it stand idly by as Syria is turned into Libya v2.0? It would not appear to be the case. China has also decided to support Assad’s forces by sending its navy to the port at Tartus in Syria. Has the BRICS military coalition started?

“There is only one regular army there. That is the army of Syrian President al-Assad.”

And in another quote from a past interview,

“It’s my deep belief that any actions to the contrary in order to destroy the legitimate government [of Syria] will create a situation which you can witness now in the other countries of the region or in other regions, for instance in Libya, where all the state institutions are disintegrated. We see a similar situation in Iraq,” Putin stressed.

“There is no other solution to the Syrian crisis than strengthening the effective government structures and rendering them help in fighting terrorism. But at the same time, urging them to engage in positive dialogue with the rational opposition and conduct reform.”

The Russian leader stressed that US-led coalition partners need to understand that only the Syrian people are entitled “to decide who should govern their country and how.”

With this, Putin is upholding the democratic process by which Assad was elected, and legitimizes his presence in the discussion.

That which the future holds, only time will reveal, but clearly the winds of political change are blowing squarely in the face of the US, its official policies, NATO, and the UN.

*Update* Given what the Kazakh president said at his speech to the UN, there are more massive changes coming to the ‘International Order’ as we know it. Buckle up!