Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Distracting The Public From Real News: Boobs

The front page of Yahoo News today was positively shocking!!! I have never been so appalled in my life. The nerve of those reporters....  just tasteless and tacky if you ask me.

Hey. I learned something today. Wanna know what? 

Yahoo!, MSN, and AOL need more boob pictures to further 
distract the public from the real issues which we should be discussing!   

What? You don't like boobs? You don't think they should be on the front page of every major news source online or in paper format? Well, I disagree with you. We should be working with human nature and not against it. So the next time a reporter, publisher, or wise neighbor has something really profound to say and they want to get your attention they need to flash them if they've got them and if they don't(hairy cave-man chests aren't sexy, sorry) then they need to find a picture of some and paste it next to the title! Hell, use little boobie icon pictures like commas and semi-colons.

Of course GirlsGoneWild's profits my take a plunge once pubescent teenagers become desensitized but... I think that's just something they're going to have to suck up and take for the team called Humanity Cares.

Because we do care. But with all the hustle and bustle and politically cherry picked stories of the day, we really don't get a chance to see the truth for what it is. The truth isn't always pretty and a lot of times the cleavage isn't punctuated with perky bits- it's scarred and pocked with indecency; but not from the indecency from being what it naturally is- indecency from what it's become because of us. A rock is just a rock but once you throw it then it becomes a weapon.

Let's make love not war. Let's not make it a cliche, let's make it a real thing by daring to get up and show just how much we love our freedom.

Let's use breasts as weapons. The next time you see an article which is obviously a frivolous page filler to distract you from what matters spam the crap out of the comments area with "WE NEED TO SEE MORE BREASTS! Why are you depriving us of the necessity of seeing breasts?! We demand to see them now!" or some other such inane nonsense that you can think of on the fly. Doesn't really matter because they're feeding us shit so let's let them know that we know they're feeding us shit and hand it right back to them. Call them out on their asshat behavior.

Haven't you noticed that rarely, if ever, a news story exists for more than six hours in the public domain before the audience members turn on one another, nit picking, splitting hairs, spitting insults, calling every fifth person a filthy atheist who is going to aych-ee-double toothpicks, and after everyone is aware that Suzy12q3w5 can't spell worth a shit and failed every spelling test she ever took, the mob then finally turns to the real culprit because everyone knows what it's all REALLY about-- whether our current president was born in Hawaii or Kenya. Or, "Bush did it!" 

Grow up. Grow a pair. Then wave those suckers around and yell, "I let it happen!" because ultimately that is what happened. We all let it happen. We were in a daydream. So what are we going to do about it?

Me? I blog. I spread the word to every family member and friend who will still talk to me about politics and/or religion.

Do you know that when I moved to Florida I missed being able to vote in the last presidential election by only a week? I changed over my driver's license a week too late. Shucks. But now, looking back, I don't feel so bad. I would have felt like an even bigger douche bag for voting the way I would have. Not like we're being given much of a choice, though. I guess we're just lucky that we didn't have any more pregnant chads showing up this time around. We would have had to throw welfare money at them for daring to show their promiscuous selves.

I'm not voting this November.  I'm not even going to the voting booth. I'd be tempted to flash my own breasts with a red-white-and-blue finger painted sign saying, "WMD for Peace." So yes, let us use breasts for peace.

Want to join in the good fight for freedom for all those who want to breast feed in public, don't want to have to worry about what third-world country our country is currently plundering, and/or just plain hates the unemployment rate? Here are a few logos you can slap on your own website.

Canada: Squarely in the Red stands for the 'in the red'(DEBT!) status of the country itself and it's pissed off students who were recently told that it was now illegal (Law 78) to protest at all. That's a good Canuck. Just roll over and play dead.... no. They're not taking it and neither should we. So show your support and spread the word. They're out there banging pots, painting body parts, and screaming at the very police officers who are told to enforce an illegal mandate from the Canadian court system. Let's show our neighbors to the north that their fight is our fight too!

The 99% is, as 99% of the world probably knows by now, the formal slogan for Occupy. Occupy Wallstreet, Occupy your local government offices, Occupy around the lake with the swans and ducks... we actually did that here. It was a nice turnout. Just Occupy. Occupy your own spiritual and physical space and ask the big bold questions: "Where would my children work tomorrow if they had to put a roof over their head and while they're working there could they hold their head up high or would it be lowered in shame from the immoral things they're being told to do on a daily or weekly basis? Can my child feel like they are part of something decent and humane or something which should be broken apart and never seen the likes of again?"

Why Does He Love Puns So Much?

Today my little gift from the All was tickled in my ear this morning: "Now don't be alarmed but...." 

*BEEP*BEEP*BEEP*BEEP*BEEP*BEEP*BEEP!*   My alarm clock went off and I woke up laughing and slapped the Off button. Yeah. Alarmed. Ha ha.

He has such a ridiculous love of puns. He loves playing with our language idiosyncrasies. Double entendres give him endless pleasure. Tongue twisters are his second love, I think. Or.. maybe sappy love ballads. It's a toss up, really. Those are the ones he throws at me the most, anyway.

I'm afraid that I don't have a very good answer as to exactly why the All loves puns so much but I do have a guess. My guess is that they're simple enough to slip into our consciousness on a whim and a quick way to give us a hug. He doesn't always need to lead us in technicolor dreams in crazy collages to communicate- a pun or play on words is a quick but simple way to nudge us awake while letting us know that he is there is enough sometimes.

Be fearless. Embrace the absurdly funny. There's nothing wrong with it. 

A Drunk Text Message to God

A fellow gnostic(Night Caravan's Green Monk) embedded this YouTube video from George Watsky in his own blog and I've decided to mirror it here for you. Freaking hilarious and so irreverently... relevant(!) to gnostics it made me just about laugh myself to death. We are 'heretics' to the literalist faiths. We are the ultimate heretics. We're not pagan. But we do announce that Jesus laughed and gosh darn it- we want to laugh with him! This life is anything but boring. George puts it all into a nice neat little package for us with his poetic rant. Caution for bad language.

This kind of passion is what the world needs more of. I totally get where he's coming from. Gnostic revelation isn't simple. A lot of times it's messy chaos rantings in our head that we can't quite enunciate except to make parallels with other messed up stuff. But... I don't know about that resurrecting the dead hamster bit. I had a hamster once who used to play dead quite frequently. My vet said in the end that he was narcoleptic. So. That solves that mystery. LOL

Glad we won't have zombie hamsters scurrying around.

I've decided to take his advice on not deleting our 'work-in-progress' writings. We need to see those little landmark achievements someday. Or maybe someone else will need to see it so that they recognize the stage of gnosis they are in themselves. Blogs are the best therapy. I've had paper diaries but the urge to destroy it was always too strong. Now I really do wish I had them.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Red Squares for Canadian Support

Quebec is in an uproar and the university students are refusing to go to class. They even had to end the semester early. Why? They're fed up with their current economic crisis(raising tuition AGAIN!) and the career choices they have to look forward to(bleaker than hell). That sounds awfully familiar. So what are they doing that we're not?

Alternet posted an article two days ago about the student strike and so far it is amazing! We need to support our neighbors to the north and do the same here; we could certainly do more than what Occupy has done. We need to get loud and colorful and definitely more organized. If something like Law 78 was to be passed here in the US you can bet your sweet cheeks we'd be out in force. This really was the tipping point for the Canadians. Get the word out. Mirror this article, tweet it, RE it to your friends, and any other imaginative thing you can think of.

The core issues at stake here are the same ones that students and workers around the world are facing right now: austerity and the increasing privatization of education. 

On Wednesday night in Montreal, we shared a long dinner with student organizers, discussing everything from police tactics in Montreal and New York to the necessity of an anti-racist and anti-colonial framework for our movements. Our hosts noticed that, around the time that the nightly 8:30 p.m. march was supposed to begin, we were getting nervous about missing it. They laughed and said, “Don’t worry, it will go on until 2 a.m.” Or at least they normally do.

By midnight, after peacefully and joyfully marching through the city for hours, the police charged our march of about 4,000 people with batons and pepper spray. In a moment the scene became one of chaos and confusion. Many in the crowd turned around and ran, but there were police behind us, too, coming straight at us with their batons out as people were pepper sprayed and thrown to the ground. Eventually, we found our way out of the melée and asked our Canadian comrade what had happened to provoke the police. “Nothing,” she answered. “They just got tired of us.”

We had been lucky. Moments after the police charged us, they surrounded a group of 506 protesters and arrested everyone in what became the largest single mass arrest since the indefinite student strike began here in Quebec 103 days ago.

The student movement in Quebec is growing. On Tuesday, an estimated 300,000  to 400,000 students, workers and supporters took to the streets to protest tuition hikes and the passing of the new, draconian anti-protest law — Law 78 — as well as to celebrate the 100th day of the student strike. But state repression is also growing. Last night’s mass arrest and other forms of police violence bear witness to the new climate of fear and repression that the Charest government is trying to create in order to break the student movement.

The passing of Law 78 is a direct attack on the freedom of assembly and the right to protest. It not only bans unpermitted marches or any unpermitted gathering of more than 50 people, but the vaguely worded “special law” also threatens to levy enormous fines against organizers, unions and potentially anyone who participates in an unpermitted assembly. The law comes in response to the growing popularity of the student movement and can be read as as symptom of the government’s inability to control the movement; it is a sign that in some ways the students are winning. In fact, since its passage last Friday, the nightly marches have only gotten larger as more people see the struggle expanding from the single issue of university tuition to a broader one that includes the right to protest and the suppression of dissent.

The media in the United States have hardly noticed the Quebec student strike, despite it being the longest and largest in the history of North America. Those of us who have been following the movement have been amazed by the sheer numbers that these mass demonstrations have mobilized, with hundreds of thousands taking to the streets on major days of action. What is less known, but equally important, is that every single night for the past month there have been marches of several thousand protesters. These high-energy marches snake their way across the eastern side of the island for hours, through residential and commercial neighborhoods. People in bars, restaurants and apartment windows shout back, wave flags, chant with the protesters and cheer them on, even banging their pots and pans, in reference to the Latin American tradition of cacerolazo protests. The breadth of politicization and the everyday forms of solidarity in Montreal is formidable to witness.

“This didn’t happen overnight”

The prevalence of the red squares that symbolize the student strike is stunning: pinned in the hair of a girl on the metro, worn as earrings by another, attached to a baby carriage, or duct-taped on backpacks, shoes, bike helmets and cell phones. But most of all the small, red felt squares are safety-pinned to people’s jackets or shirts, a visible expression of the crushing student-loan debt that Canadian students face — on average, $27,000, according to the Canadian Federation of Students. They’re derived from to the expression “carrément dans la rouge,” literally translated as “squarely in the red.” They are everyday reminders of the increased burden of debt that will come with increased tuition. So many people are wearing the red squares, some claim that the dollar stores where the red felt is bought are running out of it.

When we express disbelief that one of the biggest universities in Canada, the Universitité du Montréal, has been forced to cancel classes and end its semester early because of the strike, and when we are amazed at the prevalence of red squares, people simply say, “Yes, but we have been working for two years to get here.” And it is true. The tuition hikes have been on the table since 2010, when the tuition freeze ended. In March 2011, Quebec announced its plan to raise tuition by $325 a year over 5 years. In response to this, protesters occupied the finance minister’s office.

When we ask how, over that time, so many students have been mobilized and politicized, the answer is both simple and complex. As student organizer Myriam Zaidi said, “We’ve been standing on corners handing out leaflets and having conversations with people about this for years. Just opening up that space of conversation has been hugely important. This didn’t happen overnight.” These basic forms of disseminating information about the tuition hikes and fostering debate about these issues have been pivotal in mobilizing massive on-the-ground support behind their call for a strike.

But the more complicated answer to our question lies in the organizing structure and history of student unions at universities in Quebec. Organized at a variety of levels — from that of the whole Quebec Province all the way down to individual departments — these unions provide a way for students to organize politically, granting them both legitimacy and power. Longer-term mobilizing strategies include campaigns to build strike votes at general membership meetings, carefully navigated negotiations with governments and university administrations, and coalition-building between the various unions. These have been pivotal in securing a unified front during the current strike. This current round of protests are also only the most recent expressions of a much longer history of radical student unionism in Quebec, which dates back to the 1960s.


All in all this has meant that when, on February 14, the student unions at the Universitié du Montréal called for a strike, they already had a very strong base level of support. From there, picket-lines were organized in front of classrooms, and efforts to shut down the university required constant organizing and action. As one student organizer told us, “In those first few weeks, it was very tedious. We knew the class schedule, and we would stand outside the classrooms with signs … Many students would know this was going on and just stay home … One conservative history professor charged the picket line once.”

The university didn’t take these actions lightly. Our friend went on to describe how, in March, fed up with the picket lines and the strike, the university hired a notorious strike-breaking security firm. Armed guards patrolled its hallways, interrogating people about why they weren’t in class, stopping professors and students alike to bully and harass them. This, however, only lasted a few days until widespread outrage from faculty of all political leanings forced the administration to withdraw the guards. Unbroken, the strike continued to the present, and now the provincial government has called for an early end to the semester in yet another attempt to break it.

There are varying levels of support at different universities and in different parts of Quebec. At the English-speaking, elite McGill University, support has not been as widespread, and an attempted student strike there has not been successful (despite having had an occupation of the administrative offices there in the winter). In some ways, this is emblematic of historic divisions between the French-speaking and English-speaking communities in Montreal and Quebec, and of the way that these divisions also fray along class lines. Occasionally this has meant that the protests have a nationalistic flavor to them, with people carrying the Quebec flag and chanting things like: “A qui le Québec? A nous le Québec!” (Whose Quebec? Our Quebec!)

These nationalist undertones have been increasingly contested by student organizers of color who have been actively working to articulate an anti-racist and anti-colonial analysis within the movement, while also combating the false view that the movement is dominated by white students. These efforts are increasingly successful, as shown by the creation of the students-of-color and anti-racist coalitions that had a presence at Tuesday’s march. (Listen to an interview with one of the organizers here, starting at 23:00.)

During these marches, or while banging pots on street corners with our Montreal comrades, the question often on our minds is how we as students in New York City can stand in solidarity with them. The first answer, of course, is to build our own movement and to build it in explicit connection with the one happening here in Montreal. We too are facing tuition hikes at public schools, from New York to California. We too are met with repression and violence when we express dissent. And, fundamentally, the core issues at stake here are the same ones that students and workers around the world are facing right now: the implementation of austerity measures, the increasing privatization of education and (to use Prime Minister Charest’s unapologetically Thatcherist language) a “cultural revolution” in the way we think of education. What was once a common good is being purposefully transformed into an elite commodity available to only those who can afford it.

Last night, as we marched in Montreal, it was with the knowledge that hundreds of our Occupy Wall Street comrades in New York were marching in solidarity for the third time. (Here is video of the first.) Occupy Wall Street itself grew out of solidarity with the Tunisian and Egyptian and Spanish and Greek uprisings, after people began asking themselves, “How do we do that here?” Our generation of students in the United States has yet to mobilize on a mass scale, but after watching what’s happening up here in Quebec, perhaps that will change.

Manissa McCleave Maharawal is a doctoral student in the Anthropology department at the CUNY Graduate Center and a New York City based activist.
Zoltán Glück is PhD student in Anthropology at the CUNY Graduate Center. He is also a full-time student organizer and activist based in New York City.

Falun Gong: A Positive Update

We finally have a reason to smile for our gnostic friends in the East. According to an article by the Epoch Times Chinese citizens are standing up against the brutal religious oppression of the peaceful gnostics who call themselves the Falun Gong. I'd written a bit about them in the past but at that point it looked pretty grim.

My prayers go out to them and all those who are sheltering and supporting them in this dangerous time.

By Rona Rui,  Epoch Times Staff

Chinese lawyers and the public are increasingly more willing to oppose cases of Falun Gong practitioners being persecuted by authorities, after an incident in Hebei Province where 300 villagers signed their names on a public petition calling for the release of a detained fellow villager.

Wang Xiaodong, a teacher in Zhouguantun village near Butou city, Hebei province, was arrested in late February by plainclothes police after they discovered in his home compact discs with information about Falun Gong and its persecution. They also took 20,000 yuan (US$3,200) from him. His elderly mother and 7-year-old son were left to fend for themselves.

Following the arrest, 300 villagers signed their names and put their fingerprints on a petition for Wang’s release. But shortly thereafter the villagers were ordered to retract their statements and became the objects of repression by authorities, reportedly on direct orders from the powerful Political and Legislative Affairs Committee.

Guangdong lawyer Tang Jingling told The Epoch Times on the telephone that the incident is “a fight between good and evil. Using political or legal terms, it’s about the establishment of freedom and democracy,” he said.

People must stand up and raise a united righteous voice against the regime, Tang said.

Shaming Officials

According to Tang and other lawyers, the Chinese public is increasingly more willing to stand up against human rights abuses, particularly those targeting the Falun Gong mediation practice, also known as Falun Dafa, whose adherents espouse the values of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance. Falun Gong practitioners have been persecuted in China since July 1999.

A Beijing lawyer, who wished not to be named, told The Epoch Times on Friday that he would be willing to accept Wang’s case if it were presented to him.

He said, aside from the villagers publicly standing up for him, Wang Xiaodong’s case is not unique. Numerous Falun Gong practitioners have been illegally sentenced, with the prosecution and judges designing charges that have previously never existed, or have questionable legal standing; in other cases evidence is apparently fabricated by police. Most of the time the legal system is bypassed, with practitioners instead directly sent to brainwashing centers or labor camps.

The lawyer added that there have been positive developments in Wang’s case because the villagers’ petition has shed unfavorable light on local Chinese Communist Party (CCP) officials. He also knows of reports stating that the upper echelons of the CCP, including Politburo members, have questioned the reasoning behind the political campaign against Falun Gong.

Meanwhile, the lawyer said the Supreme People’s Procuratorate, the highest legal office in China, has handed the case back to the local Butou police bureau because of lack of evidence.
Liu Yan, a local government official, verified in a phone call on Saturday that the case had indeed been sent back to the police bureau for lack of evidence.

For Wang and his family, this could be a favorable development, the Beijing lawyer said, because his family can then request that he be released on bail. The lawyer added that there is a good likelihood that Wang might be released because it is an opportunity for officials with the police station to save face in light of public scrutiny.

Wang could also be cleared of all charges, but this is a more difficult feat to accomplish, the lawyer said.

The Epoch Times called the government in Butou, and local officials said they would consider the villagers’ petition.

But according to a number of local people The Epoch Times talked to, the government has been harassing villagers who signed the petition.

When Chongqing’s former top cop, Wang Lijun, fled for his life to the U.S. Consulate in Chengdu on Feb. 6, he set in motion a political storm that has not subsided. The battle behind the scenes turns on what stance officials take toward the persecution of Falun Gong. The faction with bloody hands—the officials promoted by former CCP head Jiang Zemin in order to carry out the persecution—is seeking to avoid accountability for their crimes and to continue the campaign. Other officials are refusing any longer to participate in the persecution. Events present a clear choice to the officials and citizens of China, as well as people around the world: either support or oppose the persecution of Falun Gong. History will record the choice each person makes.

Sorry honey, no tuna helper tonight!

Just when I wanted to whip up a great batch of chilled tuna helper with peas(strangely yummy combo) for dinner tonight I find this article on MSN: Tuna Carry Fukushima Radiation Across Pacific to US.  The article is pretty funny if you just had your head in the cabinet and were contemplating opening up a few cans of the stuff and then you remember seeing those articles about traveling radiation on those alternative news sources that have been popping up for MONTHS....then it all makes sense. See, this is how the FDA is going to break the news to us gently-- we're fucked.  

First it's the tuna. Then it's the clams and shrimp. And oh no *dramatic gasp* however could we foresee that it would affect the dolphins and sharks?  Oh well. I guess we'll have to roll out the story about the tuna we tested 'today.' 
"We were frankly kind of startled," said Nicholas Fisher, one of the researchers reporting the findings online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Really, Nicholas? You're startled that radiation will travel through a large body of water like the Pacific Ocean which has such powerful currents? Here in Florida we're always startled by the pollen, sand storms, and hurricane spawning winds coming over from Africa during certain times of the year and yet somehow we know to expect it. We have calendars and we're not stupid. 1 + 1, my friend. It always equals two.

I am finding that alternate news sources from the mainstream have proven to be pretty reliable in forecasting what the future holds for corporate media. So now when I read about something on say, Yahoo or MSN, I can chuckle to myself and say, "What a coincidence." 

As of today I am adding a module of links to the side of the blog titled "Alternative News." I'd like to thank the members of for publishing such a fine compilation series of books as well as keeping up the work on a daily basis. Their website and books are amazing and I recommend them to anyone wanting to know the real story of what journalists are seeing but are not allowed to publish in the national papers.