Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Way of the Spider - Web of Support by Louis Evan Palmer

Break the
Grip of

By Helping

This is the first of "The Way of the Spider" articles dealing with how the corruption is maintained and how it's vicious grip can be broken.

Many years ago, before the Internet, before the brazen nonsensical ravings of the leaders of the world's only superpower, before blatant pseudo-wartime censorship, it was easier to believe that corruption, real corruption, endemic and soul-destroying corruption, was a thing that lived in foreign countries, poor, ignorant backward countries but not here in the First World, at least not in any serious way.

Of course, that was one of the biggest lies in a festering swamp of lies. Corruption has come to roost in the free world. It's now in your face and "what are you going to do about it?" and omnipresent - you don't even have to look for it.

The many faces of corruption are simply the many faces of vice and sin and abuse. It is merely grown large and indiscreet yet not so indiscreet as to not want to suppress knowledge of its existence, to poke out the eyes of those who would scrutinize it.

It is partly being able to answer certain questions in a certain way. Being able to say that you could kill a given number of people if you could get away with it and make a lot of money; that you could abuse a position of power for sexual favours. The questions and answers go on and on and it is important to state that we are not talking about ordinary temptation - we are talking about non consensual, about force and threat, and about tricks and falsity.

Again, its favourite breeding ground is secrecy and it is towards its exposure that we can turn for some victories in what we should regard as our endless struggle for a fair & fine society.

The call is to set up a Foundation which citizens can fund to provide money and benefits to bona fide whistle-blowers. This would allow them to break the salary & pension shackles which bind so many. It must be generous, especially for the early years, so as to allow the brave people stepping forward not to have to suffer for telling the truth, for trying to better society and preventing subversion of the law and justice. It would have to cover medical insurance and similar costs. Relocation, personal safety and other witness-protection-type costs must also be addressed. When required, legal costs must be covered.

It would all be worthwhile.

Would it have been worth paying for 3 or 4 or 20 whistle-blowers to blow away the subtrefuge and bloodshed of Afghanistan and Iraq? Even now, to stop the hideous aggression and murder and mayhem.

It is worth it times infinity.

We must build a new safe world out of this shambles and it is from the spider that we see the way - each strand from one source, connected over and over to every other strand, affecting the whole web, supple and strong, swaying in the breeze.

The Way of the Spider - Web of Support, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


Saturday, September 23, 2006

Righting an Unfair Taxation System by Louis Evan Palmer

Creating & Using
Tax & Other Laws
and Regulations
to Avoid
Contributing to

In the area of taxation as with many other areas of public policy and governance, we are firmly in the grip of a tyranny of half-truths: the true part is used to propagandize, silence opposition and cudgel dissent; the false part is used to accrue power & influence and to cheat and steal from the public and other purses.

The cheating & stealing can be of an active kind where existing resources, in particular, money and other highly liquid assets, are somehow appropriated; or, more subtlely, a kind of theft that is apparently passive - where assets that are due are not paid, are not paid in full, are not paid on time, or are transferred in full or in part to other parties, especially the public trust in its multiple guises.

An important half-truth in the taxation area, specifically corporate taxation, is that which claims that tax avoidance for specified publicly-sanctioned reasons is a "Good" and therefore, within certain discretionary limits, is to be encouraged.

Valid studies which can assert in unambiguous terms that such-and-such tax exemption worked and how well it worked are few and far between. The key factor, that tax exemptions are a different form of tax credits but without transparency or solid governance, is conveniently omitted.

Also, lost in the rampant rush to grab as much as possible from various tax exemptions, is the fact that very often no limits are set on how much can be claimed in a given year, or over a set number of years. Where individual tax forms are careful to circumscribe deductions for everything, the bounds on corporate tax exemptions are often generous to the point where major corporations pay no tax, or very little, for years.

The proffered reason, more an article of elitist faith than anything, is that society gets back all, or much, of that lost tax revenue and other benefits. Typically, there's no proof and no pudding for these and other similar assertions.

The recommendation is for all forms of tax avoidance and exemption legislation to be removed from the law books and other supporting regulations & advisories. This includes RRSP regulations which are realistically only available to a more financially privileged segment of the population and are therefore unfair.

Economic remedies must be instituted as programs which are auditable and subject to public review & debate. As well, minimum taxation levels must be set for all reporting entities, in particular corporations and their wealthy executive offspring.

All reporting entities should be paying a fair share of the monies required to keep the system & infrastructure running and improving and, where necessary, expanding. It is grossly unjust that some major corporations and their directors, that arguable are benefiting the most from our society, should squirm and wriggle their way out of paying their fair contribution back to that society.

Claims, usually more the privileged bleating of obscenely over-paid corporate executives, that zero taxes are somehow fair and right, should be treated with the same firmness and alacrity that the Tax authorities seem to reserve for those lower down on the food chain.

All benefit, All pay.

Righting an Unfair Taxation System, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


Thursday, September 21, 2006

No Guns in Cities by Louis Evan Palmer






Gun-Free Zones

Canadian cities, all cities, should be free of guns, all guns. Meaning all persons including police and army personnel - other effective means of control are available for them. The demarcation lines for these gun-free zones should generally match the city limits. The sign stating the name of the city, its population, will just add the words “This is a gun-free zone”. No guns means no guns – no short guns, long guns, concealed guns, non-concealed guns, single-shot guns, automatic guns, semi-automatic guns, etc. etc. – none!

The various reasons proffered for the necessity of bearing arms are not convincing. Self-defence is one of the mainstays. The main threat in this scenario is that someone else is threatening you – bear-spray or mace would be very effective in that circumstance and would not endanger others or yourself. In a surprising number of situations, the gun is wrested from the owner and used on them – even police. A loud screeching alarm is also effective. To the extent possible, avoiding dangerous places or situations is a huge factor. Having a dog with you. Having one or more friends with you. Having all your senses – that is, not being impaired.

Arguments made in favour of bearing guns that center on the deterrent effect this has on would-be dictators are also not convincing. Huge sweeps of existing weapons would be conducted. Weapons would have to be hidden away after the fact of a coup, not before. A lot of the weapons acquired by insurgencies are stolen from the occupation forces or smuggled in from abroad – unless they are stashed secretly in anticipation of a defeat or occupation. Not the same animal at all compared to everyday life in a large modern city.

Police don't need guns. They have many alternatives and more research and experimentation can expand the non-lethal arsenal quickly and effectively. There should not be an argument for having guns outside of army bases if they are inside city limits; better yet, move the army bases outside city limits. In any case, an army base should not be considered part of the city proper as access to it is restricted.

Guns clubs, shooting ranges and the like should likewise relocate outside city limits. Privately owned guns must be stored there. Collectors have to dismantle, and lock away, key working components of their guns to keep them within city limits and this should be limited to older, vintage-type weapons. It's safe to say that a peaceful modern society should not be allowing citizens to keep powerful new weapons as collectibles in their home or within city limits.

Let's make this a step towards a more peaceful society and mindset – no guns in cities, period!

No Guns in Cities, Louis Evan Paler, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


Sunday, September 17, 2006

Non-Lethal War & Weaponry by Louis Evan Palmer

Best used


Defensive Purposes

There has been a push into non-lethal weaponry recently but only as a complement to lethal weapons rather than as a substitute. That substitution will take a leap in principles and morality that the present crop of armies are unwilling to make.

We still have some "experts" advocating neutron bombs which preserve buildings and other structures and only kill people. We have other people pursuing ethnic-specific bio-weapons based on genetics so that again we kill only people and just the ones we target.

The research and nascent implementation on non-lethal weapons has a seeming focus on domestic crowd control or the subjugation of restive occupied populations. Worse, some of the implementations seem to have taken what was originally non-lethal and cranked it up several notches into the lethal, even highly lethal, range.

However, the benefit of being able to deploy effective non-lethal weapons would be tremendous. It would revolutionize and humanize international relations. It might seem ironic in that it would allow for increased aggressiveness due to its smaller impacts and implications. It would increase the demand for handling prisoners of war and medical treatment. Overall though, the impact is all to the good - less suffering, death and destruction.

Looking into the future, non-lethal weapons will be the norm. It will make war criminals out of nations that still kill when they wage war. It will make it much more difficult to be an aggressor in that you have to deal with other countries and their people rather than violently remove them. It will transform policing and return police somewhat back to the days of unarmed bobbies when deadly force wasn't regarded as a normal means of control.

An example of non-lethal weaponry are various types of high-energy beams that have been sporadically reported in the media. Of special interest was a x-ray type beam supposedly invented by a Canadian in North Bay which could fry electronic circuits, in particular, incapacitating planes and missiles. If feasible, this single weapon would obsolete entire arsenals. No wonder, that story has vanished.

Individuals, groups, political parties, nations have to start demanding that these types of weapons become available and that we make as fast a progression to them as possible. The tipping point will be when non-lethal weaponry can defeat conventional weaponry and that day is quickly approaching. The People must be on the lookout for it and insist that they are taken up in place of deadly weapons.

Non-Lethal War & Weaponry, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

World War One - Targeting Empire by Louis Evan Palmer

The Bid To
Counter &

At the beginning of World War One, Europe had a Russian, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman and German Empire. At the end, none of them remained. The British Empire, the "winner" of this bloody game was seriously wounded and would begin its own descent but, at that moment of Triumph, on November 11, 1918, it appeared that they were supreme.

That's how it looked at the highest level, Britain countering European pressures and attacking their weaknesses, and after much to-ing and fro-ing and lying and killing, emerging victorious. The price, however, was so high that it soured the Brits, and everyone else, on war as a solution to anything - for a few years.

The desire for vengeance by Britain & France who had as much as anyone sought the conflict was hypocritical and ferocious. The British blockade of Germany was continued for many months after the war had ended with the result that many thousands of Germans starved or died of diseases brought on by malnutrition. The Treaty of Versailles extracted heavy penalties and reparations and ensured that resentment would fester in the subjugated countries for decades even if much of the money and goods demanded by the Treaty was not paid in full.

The helplessness of the masses was exposed yet again as the machinations of a few in the elite dragged the rest of society into the dreadful maw of war. Who could stand up to that Juggernaut of violence and its lashing armies and police?

Politicians, so-called statesmen, and generals vied with one other as to their mettle, their willingness to shed other men's blood or to massacre innocents, to risk damnation in the tribunals of the afterlife. This was one reason that the victors had so few left to cheer in the parades - their great men had sent them all to die in the deep unforgiving mud of Europe.

But again, look at the highest level, at the before and after to see the motivation for these crimes of nations battling. The British Empire triumphed, the American Empire drank at the European trough, the rivers and seacoasts absorbed the blood that paid for their conquests and dominion. That was the primal reason for it - pure and simple.

World War One - Trageting Empire, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


Saturday, September 09, 2006

What is a Conspiracy? by Louis Evan Palmer

Planning & acting
secretly - usually
in a unlawful or
harmful plot

This old-style vanilla definition is from a "Concise Edition" of a Webster's New World dictionary 1975 long before more recent neocon rewrites which add that key pejorative term - "theory" as in mere speculation or guess.

The term "conspiracy theory" being part of a continuing propaganda campaign to denigrate dissent and the arduous work of moving towards criminalizing it. Hate laws fit into this as well as they introduce judicial grounds for thought crimes - something that harkens back more to a medieval inquisition than to the Magna Carta.

Let's look at this bland definition - "planning and acting" - that occurs all the time and can apply to any number of organizations including an ordinary family.

"Planning and acting together" introduces the additional requirement that some outward coordination must happen, the actions of more than one person is needed. So all the actions that are the result of a single person are by definition not conspiratorial and therefore generally regarded as less serious and threatenting. Hence, the big push to attribute various significant criminal acts to the "lone nut" - no conspiracy here, no need to look further. This also explains why the focus always is exclusively on the acting component and the planning aspect is ignored. This is important as "lone nuts" are not known as master planners and if not them, then who?

Going back to the "together" component - even the most complex actions might require various members to perform some planning and acting on their own. Here the "together" aspect refers to the end goal - it's the same. This is a perspective that can tie seemingly disparate threads into a single endeavour - your little piece might stand on its own but if performed within a given time and location will contribute towards the larger scheme. Or, even simpler, some of your contribution is with others and some is yourself alone but towards that greater goal.

At this point, it's safe to say that we have an enormous amount of "planning & acting together" going on. In fact, it's a distinguishing mark of human society. No argument there.

The next requirement is secrecy as in "planning & acting together secretly". Now, is the requirement for complete secrecy or will partial secrecy if substantive qualify. That is, can a bona fide conspiracy have both public and private components? Would we regard the public components as not being part of the overall conspiracy even if they contribute to its goal.

If material parts of a given plan are secret then most people would generally consider it conspiratorial. That is, the public objective is stated as one thing but the secret objective is something else; or the public objective is an objective but not as significant as the secret objective.

The element of deceit is part of the equation even where it's not clearly unlawful or harmful although there would be a degree of that in almost every case. One would think that lying, or misrepresenting the truth, in and of itself, should be considered "harmful". Lying does in effect throw a mantle of secrecy over the truth and, for that reason, is a crucial tool in advancing a conspiracy. You won't look for something that we've convinced you doesn't exist just as you won't look here if we've tricked you into looking over there.

Organizations that involve high degrees of secrecy such as certain branches of government like Foreign Affairs and intelligence agencies, police and armed forces would be expected to be more prone to conspiracies. So too would corporations where secrecy is needed and/or practiced. And other organizations like the Mafia or the Freemasons where secrecy is an integral part of their affairs. The idea being that secrecy by itself creates a corrupting pressure towards self-serving action which is often deceitful, unlawful or harmful (to someone else!).

Naturally, secrecy is also achieved by limiting or censoring what information is available to the great unwashed herd. This is the way you take public information and make it secret - you make it unavailable. This is always done in the service of some objective. This type of action involving the mass media would constitute a high-impact conspiracy. War-time censorship would fit into this category but would be considered by the home population as required - but, the other side to whom this censorship is directed would consider as part of a general state of hositilies. Or looking at it in a different way, conspiracy is a type of warfare or an aspect of warfare.

Another discussion revolves around the meaning of "harm". In our often zero-sum world, one person's or organization's good is typically someone else's "harm" - which can mean a diminishment or a reduction of increase or some kind of "pain". So, if we can argue persuasively enough, that no "harm" has been done, then can we also claim that, by definition, no conspiracy can exist. As in, nothing to look at here, move along.

This moves us into the "government knows best" area. You will be told if harm is being done and what that harm is which then moves us nicely into the area of the law and what is or isn't lawful. Unfortunately, as we discover time and again, "the law" is a very mutable concept and because of that, "our" conspiracies aren't and "your" planning and acting together is. And, since conspiracies are acts of war, we may have to attack you to put an end to it. Despite the fact that while conspiracies occur within the context of a war, a conspiracy of itself may not lawfully trigger an attack if we're talking about sovereign countries.

This put us into the worse of worlds in that we have a proliferation of conspiracies in our own countries which are not recognized or reported or dealt with and, conversely, conspiracies in other countries which may or may not be conspiracies but which are used as pretexts for acts of aggression up to and including military invasions. Conspiracies using other conspiracies to advance their causes. No wonder everything's so difficult to unravel.

Again, the threat is secrecy. It is the driving force. It is the true enemy.

What is a Conspiracy?, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright Louis Evan Palmer 

He lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have been published in numerous publications. 


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Adaptability by Louis Evan Palmer

"It is not the strongest of the species that survive,
nor the most intelligent,
but the one most responsive to change."

Charles Darwin

The "most responsive" description was used in the context of the "best" or "fittest" to its environment which has been twisted by those who did not really understand what Darwin was saying into some kind of amoral, neocon, capitalistic free-for-all where "losers" are strewn every which way as the "might makes right" victors stomp their way to more booty.
Darwin called this adaptation mechanism "natural selection" and many have been struck by the simple profundity of his summary of his observations and the humble beautiful name he gave to it.
There is no implication of "progress" in the mechanism and although there does seem to be a movement towards organisms of greater complexity, there can just as easily be a movement toward simpler organisms if that's what a changed environment demanded.
Change elicits more change; change affects everything around it; any new equilibrium is short-lived. It can lead us, this realization of change and its effects, to contemplating the non-living world as well and how it might adjust itself to a different environment. Is there a selection process going on with regards to the whole of the planet and perhaps, the universe? The Gaia theory is step in that direction.
Now Darwin's theory is the norm and other theories arouse antipathy when only a short time ago, Darwin himself was the subject of derision.
There must be some studies or theses on what creatures are best "fitted" to the toxic urban environments we're inflicting on this planet beyond cockroaches inheriting a radioactive wasteland or vast armies of rats consuming dead people and mountains of garbage.
We need herculean efforts towards discovering and outlining what adaptations are needed to save our habitat and species? We desperately need action and real-live projects like Iceland's plan to go all hydrogen within a short time. We need to spur recalcitrant nations like America by demonstrating that the world economic model has changed and adaptation is mandatory.
We might be surprised to learn that work has been ongoing for some time on exactly that endeavour. It sure feels that way!

Adaptability, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,

Copyright Louis Evan Palmer


Monday, September 04, 2006

Philosopher Laureate by Louis Evan Palmer

Putting those
To Work

Although this implies that that Philosophy Bachelors, Masters and Doctorates are short on work, that is likely a mistatement because the rigour that a Philosophy grad brings to bear on problems and areas requiring analysis is needed almost everywhere. And this is the main thrust of this article - we desperately need the skills and knowledge of a mature Philosopher in our government.

To this end, and similar to the position of Poet Laureate, the proposition is to create a position of Philosopher Laureate. The position should be awarded by an independent body and be either a longer fixed term like 10 years or for life or until retirement. It would likely go to a university professor.

The position should have its own guaranteed funding and authority to request information as required. The office - the Laureate & staff - would issue documents that outlined the philosophy of the country, its means of governance, their reasons & purposes, and the objectives and measuring criteria for its various programs.

In a manner similar to the judicial branch, the Philosopher Laureate's Office, could pass judgement on new bills as to their reasonableness and likely efficacy. Emotions and faulty logic like those that have recently allowed so-called anti-terrorist legislation to pass in most of the purported advanced world would get caught by the Philosopher Laureate's Office and exposed.

An Office of this type would also highlight deficiencies and injustices. The consistency of programs and initiatives would come under expert scrutiny in a methodical fashion not just here and there as political demands dictate.

A Philsopher Laureate could stand as a bulwark for democracy and bring all of society up regarding its terms of reference, its logic and the whole demeanour of its government, law and regulation.

Philosopher Laureate, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,

Copyright Louis Evan Palmer