Category Archives: Law

Democracy on the streets… of America!

Wisconsin Protests, Madison Saturday, Feb. 26 Andy Manis/AP

Around the world, ripples of defiance are resonating and turning into something bigger. People are waking up to the big scam. It isn’t people in far off lands that we should be fighting. They have the same problem; a degenerate global economy run by unscrupulous, billionaire bastards.

The people who run our economies our driven literally insane with greed. Like Gaddafi and Mubarak and Putin and Berlusconi, they are not happy with 10 million dollars it has to be 10 billion. When they collapsed the economy they didn’t bow out with dignity and let us fix it. They then enacted ‘the biggest heist in history’. The tax payer’s bailout of the banking system took billions from ordinary people and gave it back to the sinister puppet-masters who are not just accumaulating grotesque amounts of wealth; they also own the corporations that are consuming the biosphere.

It has all just kicked off in Wisconsin USA where the Republican governer has attempted to remove collective bargaining rights for public sector workers. This is the last straw and people have now been on the streets for two weeks. Below is the inspirational speech delivered at Wisconsin Capitol in Madison, March 5, 2011  by Michael Moore.

People around the world are waking up to the fact that together we have far more power then the twisted money men. Even taking into account their vast, sick arsenals. Osborne, Cameron, Clegg… brace yourselves… your time is coming and don’t be so sure the police will be as eager to use their batons when they realize you sold them down the river… just like everyone else.

Videos via Misty Oldland

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Open Letter to the Costa Rican Ambassador on Shark Finning

Credit: Paul Hilton

Hi Shark Lovers,

Many people have been in touch saying that they would love to join us on the 3rd but can’t and want to know if there is anything else they can do. Well there is!

Costa Rica is a major centres for the shark finning trade and a major tourist destination. Copy and send the text below to their Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mrs Pilar Saborio at  info@costaricanembassy.co.uk

This approach may work  for other shark finning nations.  In order, the top 10 Shark fining nations are: Indonesia, India, Spain, Taiwan, Argentina, Mexico, Pakistan, United States, Japan, and Malaysia.

Dear Pilar Saborio,

I am writing to express my concern at the practice of shark-finning in Costa Rica.

Costa Rica has an enviable record of conservation, and has a deserved reputation for leadership shown in areas such as action on climate change and the protection of biodiversity. It is therefore a huge surprise that your nation allows itself to be a world centre of an industry which is decimating shark populations worldwide; causing intolerable cruelty to one of the planet’s most ancient and beautiful species and threatening the ecosystems of the oceans on which so many people depend

Every year, over 70 million of sharks are killed for their fins, often thrown back into the sea alive, yet bleeding to death. This unsustainable assault on our oceans and must be stopped. I am aware that Costa Rica has taken legal steps to try and tackle this problem, but there is evidence that laws are not being enforced and that the industry continues unabated.

I therefore ask you and your Government to take urgent and meaningful action to put an end to shark-finning, including the proper enforcement of your laws and the prosecution of those that flaunt them. Until such action is taken, I will not consider travelling to Costa Rica as a tourist, and will do all I can to encourage others to do the same.

Yours sincerely,

Credit: Alex Hofford

Credit: Paul Hilton

www.alexhofford.com

Big Oil is the dirty boot of an out of control sociopath committing ecocide

Oil burns during a controlled fire in the Gulf of Mexico, May 6, 2010 (REUTERS)

It is time to wake up and freak the fuck out. BP and the American government want you to sit tight and imagine that this environmental catastrophe is being fixed by responsible people. Don’t worry. Keep calm and carry on. Do not adjust your television. Go back to sleep.

The truth is that we are being lied to on many levels and responsibility was flushed out to sea a long time ago along with our grandchildren’s destiny.  The reality is that this is an unprecedented rupture of one of the planets most pressurized wells.  An engineer with 25 years of experience writes

Aerial view of the oil leaked from the Deepwater Horizon wellhead, May 6, 2010. (REUTERS/Daniel Beltra)

They go out where the ocean is 5,000 feet deep and drill another 30,000 feet into the crust of the earth. This it right on the edge of what human technology can do. Well, this time they hit a pocket of oil at such high pressure that it burst all of their safety valves all the way up to the drilling rig and then caused the rig to explode and sink. Take a moment to grasp the import of that. The pressure behind this oil is so high that it destroyed the maximum effort of human science to contain it. Now they’ve got a hole in the ocean floor, 5,000 feet down with a wrecked oil drilling rig spewing 200,000 gallons of oil a day into the ocean. The only piece of human technology that might address this is a nuclear bomb.

A pod of Bottlenose dolphins swim under the oily water, Louisiana, May 6, 2010. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Obama says he is going to aggressively pursue the costs of the oil leak; as if any amount of money can compensate for dolphins dieing slowly in our toxic shit, dugongs drowning in sludge or whole coral reef systems being eradicated. However, the horrendous truth that we ignore at our peril is that this vast aberration is just the dirty boot of an out of control sociopathic giant that is stomping across our planet leaving nothing but death and devastation in its wake.

Humanity's dark side is out of control

The psychotic beast that terrorizes nature and endangers our grandchildren’s existence is growing more powerful every day. He assaults every known ecosystem on the planet. He knows no mercy. He thrives on young plump flesh and howls with glee as he snuffs out of existence the billions of humans that may now never live.  Look in the mirror, nice and close and you might glimpse him staring back at you out of the dark heart of your beady little eye.

Corporate Baby

We might wish this evil behemoth was extraterrestrial. This would be an easier foe to confront. Indeed it might even lead to the long awaited unification of the human species. The truth is far harder to accept. We have created this monster. Indeed it is a manifestation of our ugliest characteristics; our greed and vanity.

Of the world’s largest 150 economic entities, 95 are corporations. Wal-Mart, BP, Exxon Mobil, and Royal Dutch/Shell Group all rank in the 25 largest entities in the world, above countries that include Indonesia, Saudi Arabia and Norway.

'Honest Logo-bp' from http://www.b3ta.com

The corporate giants we have created, as well as being bigger then nations, are far more focused and efficient in their endeavours. Whereas nations are composed of millions of people who are all doing different things a corporation is structured entirely around its modus operandi. Most corporations have linear business models. They extract natural resources, convert them into products and sell them to consumers who eventually discard the product as harmful waste back into nature. A Corporation’s profits (and power) increase with the increasing efficiency and scale with which they convert natural capital (forests, mountains, fisheries) into human capital (cars, cities, cloths).

Amazonian Deforestation: resource extraction for products

So what actually are these enormous entities that are altering the composition of the oceans, the atmosphere and even the building blocks of life itself? The Corporation is a bizarre, ancient construct. In medieval times entities like churches and local governments were ‘incorporated’ so that they could survive longer than any particular members allowing them to exist in perpetuity. Despite not being natural persons, corporations are recognized by the law to have rights and responsibilities like actual people. A key feature of a corporation is limited liability which enables corporations to socialize their costs (e.g. pollution) whilst privatizing their profits for the benefit of shareholders.

Altered BP Ad

Early companies used rivers to remove waste from factories. In developed countries this came under control when people downstream were harmed by the pollution and brought a case to court. However, to this day, no organism, ecosystem or indeed, nature as a whole, has ever been afforded a legal right, despite their role in sustaining civilization. This is a new and important front for environmentalists (for example: Wild Law, The Universal Declaration of Planetary Rights & Earth Jurisprudence).

A Typical Business Leader

Critiques of the modern corporation highlight its pathological self-interest, amorality, and voracious appetite for more. Historically corporations have cut deals with any style of government – from Nazi Germany to despotic states today. They influence policy for their own interest despite the social cost for example by consistently lobbying for weak environmental policy. They also concentrate unprecedented wealth in the hands of men who are, by and large, greedy, immoral and myopic.

Great Film: The Corporation

The exceptional film The Corporation evaluates the contemporary corporation’s behaviour towards society and the world at large as a psychiatrist might evaluate an ordinary person. The film’s assessment is effected via Robert Hare, a University of British Columbia psychology professor and a consultant to the FBI who compares the profile of the contemporary profitable business to that of a clinically-diagnosed psychopath.

The psychopaths may have run amok unchecked were it not for a new crime of a scale never before seen. The crime, like the corporations committing it, is bigger than anything ever achieved before by man, thus requiring a new word; Ecocide: the extensive destruction, damage to or loss of ecosystem(s) of a given territory, whether by human agency or by other causes, to such an extent that peaceful enjoyment by the inhabitants of that territory has been severely diminished. A campaign for the United Nations to accept “ecocide” as a fifth “crime against peace”, which could be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC), alongside genocide and crimes against humanity – was being launched in the UK this year by environmental barrister Polly Higgins.

Ecocide in the Niger Delta; guess who's behind it...

Ecocide is now happening all around the world. 10 ecocide hotspots include: Texaco Chevron dumping roughly 18.5 billion gallons gallons of crude oil and toxic waste waters into the Amazonian jungle over two decades; Vedanta Resources , a British company, planning to dig an open-pit bauxite mine in the forest’s of the ’sacred’ Niyamgiri mountains in India; Royal Dutch Shell in the Alberta Tar Sands referred to as the most damaging project on the planet which of course will now be overtaken by BP’s holocaust in the gulf of Mexico.

It is time for the green movement, civil society and any independent minded beings out there to wake up see what’s happening and take the fight to the source. Humanity’s survival depends on reining in the out of control behemoth that is disemboweling Mother Nature right in front of our unseeing eyes. The psychotic corporate machine is literally moving mountains, poisoning the sea, changing the atmosphere and making the planet in inhospitable. It must be stopped.

Photos from the gulf: http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2010/05/disaster_unfolds_slowly_in_the.html

Ten worst ‘ecocides’ in pictures: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/gallery/2010/may/04/top-10-ecocides

Protest in Washington, 11th May 2010 (photo: Chris Eichler)

Home is a giant spaceship with a rejuvenating supply of psychedelics onboard for all the crew!

The Spaceship Earth

As humanity has extended its reach the planet has seemingly shrunk giving rise to the concept of ‘Spaceship Earth’. If you have to go journeying through the cold, black void you really couldn’t really do better then our 6 star vessel. This baby comes equipped not just with the essentials (forests to produce oxygen, fungi to break down dead things etc) but with all manner of lush, decadent add-ons that have snuck into existence.

Creatures like the blue whale, snow leopard, giant salamander and lantern fish reveal the mad exuberance that the life-process is capable of.

Japanese Giant Salamander

From a species perspective, our home is the whole planet and we are nestled within a complex global ecosystem. So it may not come as a surprise that the term ‘ecology’ (coined in 1873 by the German zoologist Ernst Haeckel) is derived from Okologie, from Gk. oikos “house, dwelling place, habitation” + -logia “study of.”

Assuming humans can grow up and stop crapping all over the play pen, our home, Spaceship Earth could provide for our physical needs for 2.3 billion years (until the sun goes red dwarf on our collective asses). This may be enough time to develop intergalactic travel allowing our descendents to go and find fresh pastures. Luckily, there is so much going on aboard our mother ship we are unlikely to get bored over this vast stretch of time. However, in case we do nature abounds with a range of powerful and magical compounds that offer a means to radically change our perspectives. That’s right! Spaceship Earth provides for our mental and spiritual wellbeing as well as physical. Psychedelic compounds are produced by nature in a vast array of forms on every continent.

For millennia indigenous peoples all around the world have ceremonially and recreationally ingested Mother Nature’s finest and reaped a range of benefits. From San Pedro using shamans, Ayahuasca drinkers in the Amazon, the Mazatec who use hallucinogenic mushrooms, and the Huichols who use Peyote; hallucinogenic plants have been used as religious sacrament, healing medicine, and spiritual guides. The Aztecs called them “the flesh of the gods” and Siberian shamans used them to enlighten their path to the spirit world. In Europe the psychedelic experience was extremely common, whole communities would trip out when their crops where infected with Ergot.  and Celtic warriors are known to have consumed a psychedelic potion derived from mushrooms before entering into battle.

In the preliterate world entheogenic substances were an important part of everyday reality and were highly respected for their ability to bring forth the divine. Often entire tribes would partake in rites and rituals used as an initiation into adulthood, for healing, to help guide the community in the decision process, and to bring the direct religious experience to anyone seeking it.

Maya Mushroom Moon

The potential of these compounds is broad and mysterious. Shamens who use Ayahuasca in the Amazon report being able to enter new worlds and dimensions beyond our own. In his extraordinary book The Cosmic Serpent Jeremy Narby presents the case that Amazonians’ encyclopedic, specific knowledge of pharmacology derives not from arduous testing of thousands (millions) of species of plants  (there may not have been enough time for this to have worked) but from direct communication with the plants themselves whilst in hallucinogenic trance.

A record of ancient hallucinogenic mushroom cults symbiotic relationship with fungi is found in prehistoric rock art in the Sahara Desert dating back to 9000-7000 B.C.  However, it is highly likely that humanoids will have used psychedelics for far longer than this. Given the long and illustrious ethno-botanical relationship of humankind with naturally occurring, hallucinogenic compounds the modern taboo and laws against ingesting them seem retrograde at best and at worst a deliberate, self-induced lobotomy on our collective mind. Indeed the industrial decimation of the biosphere, genocide of indigenous tribes and homogenization of culture may be more closely linked to our collective denial of Dream Time then we might think. Terence McKenna, in Whole Earth Review (1989) writes:

“Re-establishing direct channels of communication with the planetary other, the mind behind Nature, through the use of hallucinogenic plants is the last, best hope for dissolving the steep walls of cultural inflexibility that appear to be channeling us toward true ruin. Careful exploration of the plant hallucinogens will probe the most archaic and sensitive levels of the drama of the emergence of consciousness.”

This is in stark contrast to the drugs currently prescribed by contemporary doctors in the US, which are designed precisely to normalize behavior and maintain the ‘walls of cultural inflexibility’. For example, the noisy, impulsive, outspoken (fun) kids in school are labeled as having ADHD and placed on Ritalin. Ritalin aka Methylphenidate’s pharmacological effect on the central nervous system is almost identical to that of cocaine and may prevent free thinking children from asking pesky questions like ‘why are we being taught this bullshit’. Ritalin is currently prescribed to approximately six million people in the US. 75% of these are children, with boys receiving Ritalin about four times more often than girls.

Pill Head

In the United Kingdom the use of antidepressants increased by 234% in the 10 years up to 2002.[28] In the United States a 2005 independent report stated that 11% of women and 5% of men in the non-institutionalized population take antidepressants.[29] For severely depressed people these interventions may be useful. However, for many it may avoid proactively making the changes to their lives which are necessary to improve well being for example, seeking out meaning in life, finding creative outlets and connecting with others on a profound level. Most worryingly of all is the prospect that it is precisely the materialist, atomized dystopia we have created that causes depression which has now led to the new profitable industry of corporations reducing the symptoms with their synthesized chemicals. In this Brave New World the people lulled into their Soma-like druggy happiness will never stand in between an ancient woodland and a JCB saying ‘the line stops here… we don’t need any more roads, malls or car parks’. We can drug ourselves happy while we pave over paradise. It is either nonsensical or purposely repressive to treat natural psychedelics like other drugs. McKenna again:

“The pro-psychedelic plant position is clearly an anti-drug position. Drug dependencies are the result of habitual, unexamined and obsessive behavior; these are precisely the tendencies that the psychedelics mitigate.”

Furthermore, our governments seriously endanger the wellbeing of young people by automatically banning anything non-corporatized and failing to accurately communicate the relative risks. Professor David Nutt was recently sacked as the chairman of the government’s drugs advisory panel for saying that taking E was no more dangerous than riding a horse. This may rankle Middle England but if your child is determined to get high wouldn’t you rather they were taking E then a harmful drug like crack or smack?!

From the paucity of information emerges worrying trends. Kids in the UK are increasingly turning to Ketamine for their high which is cheap and readily available. What these kids do not know is that regular use attacks their bladders and they may end up needing a catheter . Prof David Nutt, suggested that Ketamine should be upgraded from a class C drug due to the harm it can cause users but since the government sacked him this is unlikely to happen. Meanwhile, naturally occurring magic mushrooms are rated as a class A drug whilst being non addictive with widely reported beneficial effects.

It is, of course, an awful irony that the US which leads the world in corporate drug pushing (which is now so out of control that we are seeing widely reported sex reversal in frogs as an effect of drugs in the environment ) also leads the world in the ridiculously named War on Drugs. The War on Drugs seems to exist mainly to mask the U.S. counter-intelligence and paramilitary presence abroad and contribute to the cyclic creation of a permanent underclass.  Whilst their government fights an endless war with another fabricated, intangible enemy millions (70 % non-white) of Americans waste their lives incarcerated in dehumanizing prisons.

Sheriff Arpaio Prisoners

In the UK some enterprising people found a legal loophole allowing them to sell fresh magic mushrooms.

Camden Mushroom Company

As recently as 2005 the my friends and I would stroll down Portobello road and visit the Camden Mushroom Company and enjoy regular trips with close friends. These happy, fun times in the park came without a hangover normally accompanied with profound insights and plentiful giggling.

On discovering the legal loophole enabling good citizens to legally trade these highlights of nature’s bounty a dark and evil force was again extended from the government and within 2 years the good times were over. The 2005 Drugs Act labeled mushrooms a class A drug (like crack cocaine and heroin) with a 7 year jail term for possession.

This draconian step feels like a totally disproportionate intrusion into my life. On whose authority do these law makers act? What right do they have to ban us from intimately connecting with nature and extending our own conscious reach? Making something illegal that grows out of the ground is exactly the kind of perverted authoritarian distortion you would expert from leaders who think they can persuade the people you can bomb a country to avoid a war.

Dark and Evil Force

Are these law makers the same people who lied to take the nation to war wasting billions of our tax pounds to invade and control a distant sovereign state illegally? Are they the same people have spent all our money bailing out banks in what has been termed the greatest swindle of all time with money that should be paying for the transition to a sustainable society? Are they the same people who finally lost any moral credibility and were been rumbled with their hands in the till ?  If so I will defer to my own moral judgments rather then following knee jerk laws written by suited, drab, automatons operating in parliamentarian bubble.

Houses of Parliament

As the human species grows up there will be an ever growing range of narcotics knocking around. Those who seek to control the supply would be better off regulating and raising tax revenue rather then banning with all the subsequent problems of drugs being controlled by the black market and global underworld. Decriminalization and regulation is the only way to control drugs and protect the young. Furthermore, if the government is going to regulate drugs why not do so according to the harm they cause as established by scientists?

Whilst the government sorts out its perverse legislation the good citizens of this country needn’t worry. They can ban but they can’t exterminate. So in the mean time the rest of us can head out to those special patches in the English countryside where our slimy mushroom friends push their pretty heads out of the dark Earth and together celebrate the mad journey us life forms are on. It is a difficult thing for many people to get their heads around, but the fact remains home is a giant spaceship with a rejuvenating supply of psychedelics on board. Let’s enjoy the trip!

Why bikes shouldn’t have to follow the rules of the road

Bike salute at Buckingham PalaceWhen you cycle in London you have to do so using road and traffic infrastructure designed for the car. Traffic lights and lanes are designed for large, heavy, metal box’s to manoeuvre in. The laws too are designed for cars. It is currently presumed that cyclists in London should use the roads like cars and follow the same laws, like cars. In other words bikes should stop at red lights and stay off the pavements.  This is dangerous and disingenuous. It is time for cyclists to make the case for a totally different set of rules to apply for them… to make cycling easier, safer and more popular.

Cars are far heavier and bigger then a person. This means that when they hit a pedestrian things get messy; often involving broken bones and pools of blood. Many incidents are fatal. This is not the case with bikes. The reason why cars MUST stop at red lights is because a miscalculation on the driver’s part and people may die. If a cyclist comes to a red light and looking from side to side sees no traffic there is little risk to her continuing. Indeed if the cyclist has a blind spot and cycles straight into a pedestrian it is likely to be embarrassing but nothing worse. A sincere apology should make amends.

Waiting at a red light is very dangerous for a cyclist. Especially if the cyclist intends to turn left and a lorry comes up behind also wanting to turn left. When the lights change the lorry turns left crushing the cyclist against the metal grill ‘pedestrian protector’. The cyclist is slowly pushed through the grill like scarlet mash potato; a nasty walk to work for the passers by. More female cyclists then males are killed at red lights. The reason for this is that men are more likely to jump the reds.

Cyclists surround a taxi that just rode over a bike on Critical Mass

Cyclists are safer to carefully go ahead of traffic and jump reds because this makes them more visible to cars. Making this illegal endangers lives. If it is legal for pedestrians to cross a road anywhere irrespective of lights… why can’t cyclists? We are of comparable size and shape and weight. The cyclist and the pedestrian are actually interchangeable. Simply by jumping off the bike and pushing it you become a pedestrian. So having laws that insist that cyclists wait at red lights in front of a moaning heap of polluting metal which is itching to spill forward and break your bones seems sadistic at the state level.

Cars have so taken over London’s streets that there are some areas that it is almost impossible to cycle. The cars are backed up spilling out fumes at dangerous levels. The drivers are getting mad and start switching their cars from lane to lane in such a way that a cyclist can be slowly crushed to death at any moment. At times like these the logical and safe response for a cyclist who wants to one day be old is to get off the road and slowly and carefully cycle past the section of road in which death hovers above like a giant stale mist. When completing this action occasionally an anti-progress-pedestrian, probably obese and a proud car owner will block your way and rant in your face about obeying the law. Is this person serious? Are they seriously suggesting that following an inappropriate law is more sensible then staying alive? Who made these laws? Presumably the same people who thought it was a good idea to fill our most densely populated urban settlements with metal machines that kill and pollute.

Cycling culture in London

If pedestrians have issues about not having enough space, which is totally valid, take it up with the corpses riding around in their motorized coffins. They are the ones using up all the space. I might add:

Yo freakoid! I don’t want to ride on the pavement, I want to ride on the road, but if you haven’t noticed it’s full of maniacs who think they look ‘sporty’ sitting in traffic in an SUV. If you are allergic to the odd cyclist getting to work using the pavement, take it up with the people in cars. If we get 90% of private cars off the roads of London, think how much space there would be. We could have more markets, and play grounds and sports pitches. There would be more space for inner city kids to get some exercise. We could grow trees and food, cleaning the air, cooling the city and reducing the city’s eco-footprint. The benefits of taking the cars out of London goes way beyond improving health, reducing congestion and saving lives. It is an absolutely crucial step towards building a climate change resilient city which will still be habitable centuries from now.

Unfortunately by this point the anti-progress-pedestrian has shuffled off to the high street to buy more plastic tat to hoard in their cluttered little warrens before sending it off to landfill and buying more.

Cycling in a group is safer

People who want to ‘crack down’ on cyclists are failing to see that the fossil fuel and industrial era is over (almost). Human powered transport (walking, cycling, scooting, whatever) will become the main way of moving around cities (after mass public transport). Eventually, we will have the appropriate investment in this mode of transport to ensure there are bike lanes and bike traffic lights and suitable infrastructure for the most efficient mode of transport yet invented. Until this point let’s give the people trying to get around London in a clean and safe manor a little leeway. Building a safe and sustainable future for our children is hard enough without having to fight a constant rearguard action against post industrial-luddites who are desperate to cling to their internal combustion engines. Step aside… or go suck a tail pipe, human powered transport is taking over this city!