Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Solstice/New Years Greeting

New Years Poem 2009 (for Ruby)

Blessed be the Solstice and blessed is the Hanukkah and Holy the returning Light
As we sing we dance and as we eat we drink so as to celebrate the quickening night

God and Goddess bless your home and hearth under starry sky and Earth each year
We join together in a spirit of redemption that is marked by celebrations of good cheer

As the snow lays crisp and even we find it easier believing in the cycle of rebirth
Like our metaphor for blindness we must cultivate our kindness towards mother Earth

Memory as a river filled with human interaction and in singular direction it flows
Just remember every season has it's own time and reason and so the cycle ever goes...

Happy 2009 (Common Era)
In the Hebrew Calendar 5770
4707: The Year of the Ox
The Year Eight in the Decade of OS X
($99 iPhone w/ $19.95 fee, make it so!)
Our Egyptian calendar tells us the year is 32,953 (it's Lunar)

Peace and Love from Valerie C. & Leigh R. Wolf

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

United States' New Fascism: Old Blackwater

Murder and Mayhem from the (George W.) Bush League
Have Bush and Company Perfected a Perpetual War Machine?

After three centuries of domestic genocide, and the previous century of manifest destiny, the United States has begun to show signs of wear and tear. Perhaps the Philippine genocide of 1902, when the United States killed, depending on your source, from one to two million Moslems over a three year period was the true beginning of the end. This small war led to the colonization of the island state that is still politically and militarily intact today. Perhaps this was the beginning of the end, or possibly the middle of the end, but we are still nowhere near the end of the end as regards the United States' homicidal activities.

The deal is thus: traditional thinking in the United States is that to achieve peace you must prepare for war. Unfortunately, preparing for war means that every so often you must actually have a war so as to make it all make sense. The citizens of the U.S. have become very good at war and routinely provide the many ancillary supplies and services needed to keep a global superpower in fighting shape. Speculation is that fifty percent of the U.S. GDP is war or warfare-related which, if accurate, defines the US as a "war-like" country. Not all citizens, perhaps 53%, are co-dependent with modern warfare while the other 47% are currently just flirting with a corresponding third-party supplier.

The passive-aggressive fascism of American brand imperialism can be called Fascism Lite™. That's when you are being oppressed but your oppressor first wants you to like them and appreciate their efforts at keeping you down and out. Citizens of the United States may want to oppress me but first they want me to understand that their oppression is in my best interest. This is similar to landing in Iraq and then force feeding the population Coke and Skittles until they puke and later wondering why everyone's teeth are falling out. My unique interpretation of the "Bush Doctrine" aside, in a previous piece I referred to this political strategy as "democratizing faciitis" and wondered if this wasn't the core of the current administration's role in the region.

The bully, himself, did not implement the attack of Sept. 11th, 2001 but ultimately he has exploited both justice and revenge on behalf of his Yankee heritage. He sounds Texan but Bush is 100% East Coast, Ivy League, Brooks Brothers mentality, Yale slash Skull and Bones, Yankee banker with a penurious streak that demands he make a profit from the 9/11 tragedy. Unfortunately for him, and us, the convergence of our current mortgage and banking crisis, morally the equivalent of war, that could ultimately cost out at 10 Trillion dollars plus his own Oil War that has cost, officially, 660 Billion and growing, which will cost Bush any positive legacy and cost millions of U.S. citizens their homes and jobs. Everyone on the planet now knows that as a business manager, George W. Bush shall be known as the living countenance of true incompetence. .

His ultimate reason for invading Iraq may be in controlling the dispersal of Iraqi oil and the process through which it is traded. Many millions of barrels of Iraqi oil are being sold through agencies favourable to United States' interests, using U.S. currency, which continues to help prop up a corrupt economy for a few more years or minutes, but the inevitable decline has begun for Empire Americanus and signs of a downward trend are poised everywhere. Bush the Younger has, almost, left us a host of deadly legacy issues and like his (matinee) idol Ronald Reagan, young Bush's typically ignorant and selfish actions and policies will continue to haunt the world. The best news in years is that the U.S. has recently agreed to leave Iraq by Dec.31, 2011 but this will be predicated with "caution and flexibility" from the U.S. government in terms of schedules and deadlines.

At this moment in time, our very survival as a planetary species is threatened by our own intransigence and the greed of a handful of technologically advanced western nations and their multi-national offspring. The vast majority of people on this planet may have never heard of Exxon, Union Carbide, or Blackwater but they have certainly felt the effects of their criminal behaviour. Although there are so many to choose from, one of the ugliest ramifications of Bush's Iraq strategy is his use of the private mercenary army known as Blackwater Worldwide. Similar to how Clinton's tacit approval of oral sex stemmed from his classic denial, "I did not have sex with that woman... blah, blah." Bush has left behind a nasty legacy when he declared the market for counter-insurgency, political assassination, and other military plots for hire, wide open and available to the highest bidder.

In reality, Blackwater, a privately held corporate entity controlled by former Director of the CIA's Counter-Terrorist Center (CTC) J. Cofer Black (whose friends must have called him "covert Cofer" behind his back), and founder Erik Prince (aka the heir to a fortune), are now able to carry out US covert policy initiatives without their operatives being linked directly to any US government agency. This is a very enticing weapon for any President, or the intelligence community at-large, to access and although President-elect Barack Obama stands as a figure who would never invoke such a precedent, the century is fresh and there are many more waiting who may use their "Executive Power and Privilege" to eliminate both domestic and foreign enemies. The idea of guns-for-hire mercenaries being linked with national policy is a recipe for a perpetual war machine and would indicate a very disturbing turn.

Recently, on Dec.8th, the U.S. Justice Department charged 5 Blackwater Worldwide employees with a 35-count indictment that charges the private soldiers used machine guns and grenade launchers in an attack on unarmed civilians that killed 17 Iraqi citizen non-combatants. The defence team is currently trying to have the entire proceeding occur in Utah for reasons that should be obvious to anyone that has actually traveled through that state of anxiety. So as a warning to any younger people considering joining any army or becoming a mercenary, please re-consider your options, go home, rent the films Galipoli, Johnny Got His Gun, and Dr. Strangelove. Watch them and you will never again wish to make war on anyone, ever. I have posted this poem for your enhanced edification.

Old Blackwater Keeps On Rolling

In the dirty black water of the great dismal swamp
Is worldwide headquarters of a threat to all democracy
It's a private learning institution that teaches how to stomp
It hardly matters who or why which enhances street legitimacy

Our duty to explore the facts behind their failing wall
Our confidence is set too high by the fallen as they fall
Security consulting used to be the next big growth industry
Money must be protected from those who want to set it free

Our royalty, one Erik Prince, was trained a US Navy Seal
They taught him how to live to kill and never to forget to feel
Like a cancer inside America his private power is vast and real
He can field a brigade or send an assassin inside to seal the deal

Plexocratic nationalist he needs a steady war
Autocratic capitalist seeks out death by the score
Aristocratic warrior leading his own mercenary force
Progressive individual is never really the case, of course

Their duty to believe and ignore the blood and gore
"Let's show these natives what a ground force is for!"
They did it for their country first, for the Navy and the Corp
Now they're doing it for big money and all they want is more

In Iraq and in Afghanistan they augment American might
Murder and mayhem do not contribute to efficiency in a fire fight
The unbalanced thing about their darkness is the absence of any light
No matter what they ever say, they will never go quietly into the night

Protection of the highest so the mission statement read
Counter-veiling blow back cost many more than 30 dead
The job was filled with casual kills much like the wild west
They overstayed their welcome putting government to the test

US foreign policy cannot be ascribed to a mercenary force
His company cannot be allowed to influence history's course
He will not offer sympathy nor admit his regrets or any remorse
There's a deadly sickness in the land and blackwater is the source

Plexocratic nationalist he needs a steady war
Autocratic capitalist seeks out death by the score
Aristocratic warrior leading his own mercenary force
As if a knight in courtly pose astride a great white horse

© 2008 Leigh R. Wolf

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Unending Resistance In This Town

Strength in Numbers: Fearless City (DTES)
A salute to an idea about ending oppression...
(Racial, Gender, Economic, Sexual, Drug, and Cultural Oppression)

The idea was independence from the tyranny of despots and freedom of spiritual practice. The idea was timely and as it swept around the world, populations began to evolve around basic ideas of human rights that we now recognize as the right of every child, woman, and man on the planet.

Over the centuries, as the idea grew so did people mature socially and politically. Phases and ideologies shifted through the last century when Socialism, Democratic Socialism, Communism (Russian), Communism (Chinese), Communism (Marxist-Lenin), Capitalism, and State Fascism after going head to head for decades have blended together (post-corporate-media/pre-Internet mega-mix) into a wretched pastiche of humility, hypocrisy and flop sweat where basic issues like individual self-determination, equal human sexuality, a fair and share financial system, proportional representation, sane and safe environmental policy, the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction, and the abolishment of handguns have never been seriously considered. (This blending of systems occurred when digital technology made every government big brother and transformed the distribution process. Ultimately, technology defeats ideology when it doesn't matter if a civil servant is observing your behaviour in Beijing, San Diego, Munich or Moscow. The results may differ in words and process but the effect will be the same.)

Declarations of freedom and independence are tossed around like confetti at New Years by the world's meanest regimes as if somehow using the word "democracy" bathes them in a credibility that machine guns and jackboots just can't provide. They use the term in an Athenian sense where rich men owned slaves and controlled the vote and not in the Jeffersonian sense of the term where rich men owned slaves, occasionally freed them when they died, and controlled the vote. But there are barbarians in every civilized country ready to assume control under martial law with the nod of a head, a wink coming from the right person's eye, and the flick of a political switch. Some crazy long hair (TJ) once said, "The price of freedom is eternal vigilance." The proof of his thesis is that now after having slept through Reagan, Bush, Clinton, and Bush we are in deep economic, environmental, and ethical trouble.

Our vigilance has wavered and we now have iPhones that can be wire-tapped without a warrant. People can now be held for extended periods without due process (no lawyer, no phone calls, no hope). The U.S. has broken away from the Geneva Conventions and routinely tortures captive combatants in overseas prisons so as not to contaminate United States' soil much less US minds.. The truly vigilant in the U.S. have been shunned and marginalized by a corporate media that directs the public agenda in an escalating fashion with a profoundly right wing perspective. The work of corporate media, to terrify the populace, has been so successful that the public perceptions are, in my town, that crime is a steadily rising tide although statistics prove that the overall crime rate has actually fallen in each of the last seven years. It remains easier to peddle fear than it is to inspire life/love but in this society capital will always genuflect towards fear.

This is due, I believe, to the influence of network television where it becomes increasingly difficult to separate fantasy from fact. Traditional formats have failed, commercials appear anytime anywhere, news self-parodies as entertainment, celebrities become news, news becomes meaningless and a rightened agenda is pushed insidiously, exhaustively. Every night is a cavalcade of death from above, below, and all other angles complete with gore in tight, close-up focus. On every channel people are being cut-up, exhumed, autopsied, burned, beaten and buried in an unending effort to control social, societal, intercourse through terror. It is no wonder that humans exposed to mass amounts of violence in their living rooms, bedrooms, and dens have every right to believe it is actually happening outside, right now. Since the Imperial Presidency, and Nixon's Law and Order Campaign and his War on Drugs, (including the birth of the DEA) the growth of police in the U.S. has been many times faster than general population growth and as a result the U.S. is the now biggest jailer in the western world.

This is not due to some KKK fantasy of mixed races creating more criminals. Canada, Australia, and other countries have fully integrated, "mixed," societies and the incarcaration statistics are nowhere close. The hard corporate stance of U.S. society has created a system where your proximity to incarceration is enterirely about your education, your neighbourhood, and the colour of your skin. This is the handiwork of, if not the KKK, then an educational and economic structure that elevates white-skinned folks ahead of darker-skinned people to the disadvantage of everyone. If you are a young, black or brown person living in the ghetto you have a better chance of dying by misadventure than of old age. And this is also true of Aboriginal North Americans who, if they are unlucky enough to be living on a reservation are addicted to gasoline, alcohol, meth, crack, and tobacco simultaneously because there really is nothing to do and no opportunity exists. If an First Nations person is unlucky enough to live in an urban environment, like Vancouver's downtown east side, they are subject to all of the above mentioned addictions plus random violence, racial intolerance, and even fewer opportunities.

And as true as these statements could be, the opposite conditions are also where reality interjects. My aboriginal neighbours raise their kids to be decent and respectful. I live in a tough part of town but most of the trouble here is caused by idiots from outlaying areas who come into the city core to cause trouble and pick up an infection to take back home to the wife. The local schools have less money to operate with due to a shrinking tax base but the teachers and staff are compassionate, concerned, and gentle with children who have strikes against them (poverty, learning difficulties) before the even start school. The greatest truth about my neighbourhood is the same as every other neighbourhood planet wide. We all want to live in safe, clean, homes with decent food to eat and to share this with our family and friends.

In this spirit, I have written an introduction of sorts to my neighbourhood and some of the conditions and challenges that many inhabitants face daily. Check out the piece and if you want more information on Vancouver's D.T.E.S. (Down Town East Side) please visit http://fearlesscity.ca/

Forbidden Zone Primer

Psychedelic wolf, time to travel fractal to flow
I now know I know very little but the little I do know
Is the story of a part of town both famous and unknown
I've been working on this primer of a dark forbidden zone

The zone was always cropping, sirens always edging close
Wardrobe comes in mocking style but no one could care less
The zone is dosed in needle death and massive mental illness
He understood the motives of the mendicants who willed this

He would, over time, learn to love his hooker neighbours
Who worked on back and knees offering up sacred labours
Their flavours not so calming for the turdies nor the nerds
Who would favour the embalming of all the bees and birds

For coffin nail women are out patrolling their stroll
Another ricochet rocket their immediate obsession
Keeping soul alive inside but buried true down deep
They have secrets of mankind that they manage to keep

They know that men are afraid and that man is a liar
They know the bed's unmade and the kitchen is in flames
They know how to take a flier - when to fall to the floor
They eat the real naked lunch as is the job of the poor

For coffin nail menwomen tuck it back between thighs
She can never let him near it knowing just how he'd fear it
They're aware of their position and the nature of the game
Sharpened psychic, so into it, make card throwers look lame

They all know for the process that the pleasure is so fleeting
They know most men are married and all of them are cheating
They are actors in a play about abuse performed at every meeting
They're players in a living mind game that's stuck on re-repeating

The zone is late at night some services offered only in the day
Social workers that try to help will end up torturing their prey
Newspaper reporters have been turned into night time predators
They haunt the stroll with sex the goal submitting to their editors

That newly built tall tower is a powerful symbol for the zone
Soon rent will be destabilized by people with the right to own
Graffiti tells a tale of the poor hustled out by the middle classes
Bankers send the poor to hell - sit back and enlarge their assets

We know that people are afraid and that human is a liar
We know the bed is still unmade and the house is now on fire
We can learn to take a blessing - learn to toughen up inside
If we're lambs off to slaughter we won't take that shit in stride

The poorest of the poor are always moms and women elders
Who are all two weeks away from living inside a shopping cart
The heartless government worker hands out the quarterly treats
Not ever starving, she does her best work staying off the streets

The children and their mothers on the tether of starvation
Television feeds their eyes with lies of relative deprivation
They dedicate their lives to helping every each and one another
That corpse found in the alleyway was a sister and a best friend

The essence of community is put hard to the test
Hustling twenty hours a day leaves no time for reflection
Tempers light the fuse but cheap alcohol is the primary fuel
Behaviours are reminiscent of free-for-alls in primary school

Heroes on the ground are busy fighting drug oppression
Compassion Clubs are filling holes attending those in need
The Action Needle Drop-In Center is saving lives with fact and hope
Both are teaching their clients how to best buy and use their dope

We know everyone's afraid these days which makes nobody a liar
We know that the bed's unmade and we all know there's a fire
How well will we remember when the stakes are getting higher
How best can we defend ourselves when governments conspire

© 2008 Leigh R. Wolf

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

War, Disorder, and Bad Government

Canada's Motto: Peace, Order, and Good Government
Crisis in Canada: PM Architect of His Own Misfortune?
May You Live in Interesting Times: an old Chinese curse

The current Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, finds himself in a political pickle. His brand, the Conservative Party, are approaching the economic crisis as a time of restraint when budgets should be pared down and everyone should just tighten their belts, roll up their sleeves, and get to work making profits for our betters. Although this plays well in the heartland it sounds like Dickens to the urban electronic electorate who have, so far, denied the minority government any seats in Canada's three largest cities.

Interestingly, on the same day that the U.S. officially declared itself to be in recession, apparently since December '07, and Obama unveiled his National Security team with Hilary Clinton his nominee for Secretary of State, in the number three position in the Chain-of-Command, the earth shifted in the Great White North. On a day of remembrance, when President-elect Barack Obama has crafted a coalition Cabinet reflecting his belief that the U.S. is more unified than ever before, three Canadian politicians have presented a coalition of their own and are attempting to toss the ruling Tories (Conservatives) out of power.

It's a complex scenario to grasp if you are unfamiliar with parliamentary procedure but I will attempt to elucidate. In our system whenever a minority government is elected, without enough seats to pass their agenda, as is the current case, their feet are held to the fire by the idea that their opposition can unite to create a majority and vote against, or defeat them at any time. This is pure political science since the only time anything like this happened in Canada was almost 100 years ago. For this democracy, only 141 years old, a coalition government, not uncommon in Europe, is extremely unusual.

The three politicians are the respective leaders of three national opposition parties, The Liberals (who are actually fairly conservative), the NDP (who are democratic-socialists {lefties}), and the Bloc Quebec (a separatist {lefty} party). The Liberals are the official opposition and with the New Democratic Party (NDP) have crafted an agreement to make a motion of non-confidence in the Conservative government and have informed the Governor General of Canada, the Queen's representative, that they can form a government. They are, in fact, declaring that they have enough votes in the House of Commons to defeat the current government on a matter of confidence and form government with the support of the N.D.P. and the Bloc Quebec (who really are the wild card given their agenda of splitting from Canada).

As the TV's talking heads keep saying, as if repeating a mantra designed to relieve our collective stress, "We certainly do live in interesting times." Indeed this decade is shaping up to be the collected weirdness of the last century coming back to haunt us. As if the sins of the last century have piled up and are all being delivered at the same moment. This "perfect storm" of crisis converging has presented a now unified opposition a whiff of weakness in a previously efficient and ruthless minority government. Smelling fear from across the chamber, the opposition has its teeth firmly planted in the government's behind and can only hold on until shaken off or until the government falls.

The back story behind this brouhaha was, initially, that the Conservatives were typically pinching pennies and threatening to cut off $30 Million in legislated funding for all of the federal political parties. This must have seemed clever incarnate to the people close to the PM, who rules his party like a Grand Pasha. They could seriously hurt their opponents, broke from a recent election and in typical disarray, who would be unwilling to repeat the last election which was pretty much the same result as the election two years prior to that. Harper has, as a strategy to appear more "American," passed legislation that fixed a date for federal elections. That notwithstanding, he called a sneak election that took place seven weeks ago in oder to get the electorate to the polls before Nov.4th and the mellowing, or conservative blowback, that would follow after Obama's victory. What happened was that the same minority scenario played out and Harper tried to diminish the opposition in victory and is now paying the price with his leadership in the balance.

Basically, The Conservative Party of Canada as government decided to rule the country,for the next little while, as if they actually had a majority while the opposition was broke, defeated and rudderless. It must have looked like the perfect time to deal their enemies a nasty blow that would all but formalize a majority in the next election since the government would be the only ones with any money. This kind of punitive strategic thinking is the hallmark of current Conservative political thought, specifically reflecting Prime Minister Stephen Harpers' personality. Harper is a pernicious academic who enjoys the game far too much for the taste of the Canadian public who prefer their leaders quietly self-depracating as opposed to quietly self-agrandizing.

This plan woke up the opposition parties and prompted the initial feelers towards a possible coalition. I'm guessing that, given the Conservative distaste for deficit, the three parties found fertile ground for agreement in opposition to the governments' perceived inaction in the face of a global economic crisis. Canada is, apparently, well positioned to ride out the tumult and all three parties are willing to borrow billions to spend their way out of this recession, which seemed to erupt in the late stages of the last campaign and is now a story increasing in importance on a daily, some say, hourly basis.

The Conservative government of Stephen Harper is about to fall because they are out of touch with the moment. Which is why the wise and patient Canadian electorate have chosen a minority government, during these uncertain times, so that the direction of the country could be quickly, efficiently, and legally changed. The last part about legally is the tricky part where the Government can ignore the opposition, dissolve the House and call another election to thus thwart the oppositions attempt to form the government.

But, and this is where Stephen Harper is truly hooped, this would only be a short-term solution and Harper has nothing to take to a weary electorate that would, out of rancour and perceived gross inefficiency, spank him and his party for a long-time. By forcing a Canadian Winter election in a time of crisis, after George W. Bush's result in the recent U.S. federal election, can anyone appreciate the concept of losing by a landslide. Harper, who has been aligned with Bush in the past, is caught between forcing a result that would kick his party out of both Quebec and Ontario forever. or doing nothing.

And if he does nothing he will be the official leader of the opposition sometime next month. If this is the case do not look for him to retain his leadership for long, as it is well known federal lore that the Conservative Party eat their own. Isolated in the West, his party would lose whatever national credibility it ever had and would remain a regional, perhaps separatist leaning, voice in the western wilderness. Thus is Stephen Harper choked as conditions seemed to have converged with the coming of age of three opposition leaders who have crafted their boat and must now attempt to make it sail. The winds are spooky and nothing is known about future storms except that they are coming.

Perhaps we can take some comfort in the idea that when faced with profound crisis a coalition of Canadian leaders, from various political viewpoints, came together to provide some vision where we have lately known only limited blindness. Huzzah for our Parliamentary democracy where a change in leadership can occur over a cup of tea with Her Excellency, the Governor General. Given the will of the Canadian electorate to put forth successive minority governments it is inevitable that, at some point, everyone gets a chance to govern.

Interesting times, indeed.

© 2008 Leigh R. Wolf