Saturday, December 15, 2007

Bryan Mulroney and "The Liars Club" by Louis Evan Palmer

Mulroney, like Reagan a great communicator, highlights the danger to any democratic society of the smooth talker with at-the-ready solutions and aspirations of power. They can get away with just about anything!

Ancient cultures esteemed eloquence and in the absence of recorded histories, these orators cast the myths and legends of the people (to some extent in their own image) and were honoured and respected for it.

However, in modern societies, the orator is more a menace than a blessing as they are able to subvert and hide their wrongdoings, and that of their confederates, more easily; they also are more able to set societies against themselves as they seduce their supporters into an unwavering allegiance that inevitably slips into confrontation and disunity with others more skeptical and less enamoured.

The most skillful liars are smart, oily, manipulative and narcissistic. The very best liars don't even think they're lying and no polygraph would ever detect their untruths.

When asked under oath at a previous inquiry if he had dealings with Karlheinz Schreiber, Bryan Mulroney replied: "Well,from time to time, not very often. When he was going through Montreal, he would give me a call. We would have a cup of coffee, I think, once or twice."

No amount of contextualization can change the fact that this is a bald-faced lie. There were three envelopes of cash that went from Schreiber's hands to Mulroney's, probably without any coffee involved, one of those times in New York and another in Zurich. Even if this is a commonplace for Mulroney, it should certainly have been mentioned in his reply. Referring back to Mulroney's answer: it was more than twice, more than in Montreal and more than just coffee. It was also more than Mr. Schreiber calling Mr. Mulroney if it is true than Mr. Doucet contacted Schreiber on Mulroney's behalf. This short reply by Mr. Mulroney overflows with misrepresentation and evasion.

Frank Moores is another member of this Liars Club. Moores stated more than once that he had no involvement in what became known as the Airbus affair. However, in November 2007, the Globe & Mail, produced proof of Mr. Moores involvement in the form of a copy of a letter to Franz Josef Strauss, chairman of Airbus. Again, the most egregious of lies.

A probationary member at this point is Fred Doucet. Mr. Schreiber filed an affidavit which alleges that the former Mulroney adviser asked him to transfer Airbus funds to Mulroney's lawyer in Geneva. As with his mentor, Mr. Doucet denies this. He is quoted as categorizing it as a "fabrication".

Mulroney denies having had a lawyer in Switzerland but then adds "...except to defend himself.." There never seems to be a straight, simple answer with Mulroney or his cronies. And these contexts and backgrounds that are brought out only under duress and in dribs and drabs, almost always change the reply substantially, in fact, in many cases reverse it. So, we will wait and hope to see the truth emerge and see if "no Swiss lawyer" becomes "except when I did have one for.." and "no Airbus monies" becomes "except for those that went through Frank Moores lobbyist company" at which point they presumably ceased being Airbus monies and became Government Consultants International (GCI) monies.

It is likely that there are other Mulroney & company lies that stretch across the border into the States, to do with the FTA, to do with Meech Lake, almost anything you can think of. Anomalies that are currently on the table - the burglary of PC records involving possible offshore Schreiber-related funding for Mulroney's treacherous unseating of Joe Clark; the sale of publicly-paid-for furniture from 24 Sussex & then the hurried reimbursing when it was revealed in the newspapers; the appearance of large amounts of cash in Mulroney's possesion that was used to pay for renovations at Mulroney's Montreal abode after he left office supposedly in financial straits (while Mulroney professed surprise at Schreiber's use of cash).

Admittedly there will be a time when Mulroney's noxious personality will no longer soil his legacy and his achievements, if they are still regarded as achievements, will stand alone on their merit but it won't be any time soon. Until then, the promised public inquiry is a must and a charge of perjury should be levied for Mulroney's previous answer about his dealings with Schreiber.

Bryan Mulroney and "The Liars Club", Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

Breaking Free of the Money Tyranny by Louis Evan Palmer

There are alternatives to money and the more and better they are, the stronger our collective liberty will be: for there is no doubt that money is the key to the now creeping, now galloping, enslavement we find with us and all around us. As with everything, there are good alternatives and problematic alternatives.

For example, Liberty dollars, issued by the National Organization for the Repeal of the Federal Reserve Act and the Internal Revenue Code, have been targeted by the US Justice department as illegal. You may not want to get too deep into that source of value even though they're mostly made of silver and backed by silver and gold.

Company script is another option although one that has seen its share of abuse especially in company-run towns of the type made infamous by the Ernie William's song "Sixteen Tons". For those who may not have heard about this, it's where you have a one company town, usually resource-based, and everything in the town is owned and operated by the company; in addition, everything is paid for in company script - food, clothes, shelter, etc. Of course, if you have a monopoly, you're going to get robber-baron prices and the workers ending up owing the company money so they can't even quit. If we did this to prisoners, they'd never get out!

There are other types of script from stores, usually chains, or "destinations" like Disney where you can spend their money in their stores and parks and ships. The city of Toronto has an alternative money called "Toronto dollars". Several American cities also have their own type of script or "dollars".

As long as these alternatives don't encompass much of the economy, they won't attract the wrath of the government. However, when they do, such as the above mentioned "Liberty" dollars, then the government can be expected to act. There is something profoundly wrong with this though. Some countries will allow foreign currency, say American dollars, to circulate either officially or without protest. With currencies trading across borders, countries have given up a measure of control to persons and entities that have, and can move, large amounts of currency quickly.

With other financial instruments such as Bonds and Stocks, the government has permitted themselves, corporations, other governments and various money managers to inject supply into the system as these instruments must at some point translate into dollars or yen or euros, etc.

Then there are any and all types of credit cards and debit cards and checking accounts with overdraft privileges. All ways of creating money. So, there shouldn't be an issue with ordinary citizens taking some control and benefit for themselves.

In theory there is nothing to stop a group of like-minded individuals from setting up a trading & supply organization that is sufficiently large enough to be able to provide for all the necessities of life and issues its own trading vouchers. For people working within that trading block, they can be paid in these vouchers and pay for everything they need from within it. To some degree, they will have broken away from the official economy although they will have to accrue official currency or credits for it to pay taxes and the like but aside from that they will be autonomous.

Alternate systems of exchange are happening on a widening scale and with the right push here and there, it can become the mainstream way of running things. At the very least, it will serve as a brake and a check on the runaway robber-baron system we currently have.
Breaking Free of the Money Tyranny, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


The "Non-Lethal" Deception by Louis Evan Palmer

The ACLU states that a person has died every 600 times pepper spray has been used by the police. It's front page news, although not enough it appears, when people die from tasering. There are arguments about whether these so-called non-lethal weapons are non-lethal or used properly or necessary. The key premise underpinning everything is whether police forces should be allowed to kill people under any circumstances. The euphemism "use of lethal force" is a ruse to get us to avoid re-evaluating that fundamental premise. If it's not to be allowed anymore then most of the debates melt away. Anything that can be expected to kill someone would not be permitted. After that, strict usage guidelines on permitted non-lethal weapons based on independent testing must be enforced to ensure public safety.

Hospitals face irrational and violent people on a daily basis and are able to effectively deal with these people in a non-lethal, usually non-violent, way. In a democracy police forces are subject to society's control and direction. We can't allow the agenda to be usurped by weapons-makers and apologists for the new arms-length policing.

The advent of the so-called non-lethal weapons has seen an increase in police violence. It would be interesting to see if police shootings have even declined in numbers. Part of the game is to control statistics so the public can't discover the truth and draw its own conclusions. It's a certainty that many previously ordinary situations have escalated into taserings or pepper-sprayings. We read about children and the elderly being tasered. This reflects a lazy, me-first and the public-be-damned type of policing that is taking hold.

The most common police motto is "To serve and protect". That is the noble tradition to be upheld. It should have nothing to do with killing anyone and the way to make that happen is for society as whole to declare that that's the way it's going to be. Then the vast ingenuity of all our societies can become focused on truly non-lethal weapons that, in some cases, would be wielded by specialist forces with validated cause. For the rest of the situations, police should be trained and compelled to use old-fashioned approaches and techniques like talking to people and the simple & fast use of pressure points and the twisting & grappling of limbs.

Police work can be dangerous because you may be called upon to confront and deal with dangerous violent people. That doesn't mean you get carte blanche to "serve & protect" yourself or your colleagues. It's not about "us and them" or declaring war on broader and broader swaths of society. It also doesn't mean that society should allow weapons-makers to taint the testing and accreditation process and to foist weapons on the public via police forces and ex-officers turned shills. It goes without saying that any and all mercenary "for hire" type forces are strictly prohibited.

Yes, this would mean no guns, tasers or pepper spray for the police. We need a return to face-to-face hands-on policing and a new no-killing-ever philosophy. We need serious research and development into truly safe, non-lethal weapons with independent testing and non-police-affiliated oversight and transparent decision-making. This would be real progress. What we have now is a quickening descent into fascism.

The "Non-Lethal" Deception, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Monday, November 12, 2007

When Loyalty is Everything by Louis Evan Palmer

Loyalty can be anything you want once you get into the breathtaking variety of things one can be said to have loyalty to or the ways one can express loyalty. But this article is more of an exploration of what loyalty should be in its best sense.That is, it is about "good" loyalty; more, it is about the kind of loyalty that ennobles living or can even redeem a life.

That kind of loyalty calls to mind the unswerving faithfulness of Penelope in the Iliad and Odyssey. It might also make us think of a comrade-in-arms who risks or gives his life to protect others in their unit. It is an expression of a personal relationship. It may be a one-way relationship which might be considered as "bad" loyalty in that it is likely to be infantile or imagined versus a mutual loyalty in which each person, or being, bonds at some level with the other. "Being" is introduced to account for bonds of loyalty between people and animals.

Good loyalty is between one being and another and is an expression of allegiance to higher values. It is not swayed by considerations of money or favour. It will endure hardships in the defense of a given person or upholding their interests or reputation. Good loyalty has a duty to a higher good as expressed in a given person and their relationships.

When times are difficult, when dangers abounds, the premium on loyalty climbs. It is probably evenly split in those trying circumstances between "bad" loyalty and "good". Between loyalty wrapped in fear and food and survival and loyalty founded on deep connections and affection. Then who is loyal is a matter of life and death. One who lives because of the loyalty of another will carry an obligation. Loyalty is the feeling that something is owed, that something must be paid.

We know that loyalty is a good because someone who was devoid of it would not be recognized as truly human; their dealings would be flawed and it would be noticeable that they could not be trusted. Yet, it is not a slavish deference or catering. It is often best expressed as what it is not - it is not betrayal, abandonment or deceit. It does not countenance diminishment or insult.

Let us end our look at loyalty with dogs: the expression "a dog is man's best friend" to a great extent reflects their loyalty and their "by your side" reliability and genuineness. Loyalty is what makes your best friend best. In a world gone bad, it might be the only good thing left.

When Loyalty is Everything, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be, --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Saturday, November 03, 2007

Ban Genetically Modified Organisms by Louis Evan Palmer

The horrible truth about GMOs beyond anything that anyone does or claims is that creating a GMO is always a roll of the dice and we cannot survive a single loss. The reason it's a roll of the dice is we understand very little of the intensely complex and long-reaching relationships between the various organisms and environments and their associated chemistries and physics. Once we make a mistake in this sphere, it's in play, it starts replicating and interacting and altering its environment, our shared environment. We don't know enough to play this game. We may never know enough. We only have this one Earth and if we lose it then we're doomed.

There are already stories of how close we have come to obliterating ourselves. It's a certainty that for every story that makes it into the public domain, however briefly or tangentially, there are ten others that don't, that happened but knowledge of which is blocked by non-disclosure agreements, by the inability of people to lose their income, by threats or actual violence.

One such roll of the dice goes by the non-descript acronym of SDF-20. It is different from SDF-15 which is a normal regular baterium called Klebsiella planticola. We are told that SDF-20 is "genetically engineered" which implies that we know what we're doing. It's a lie. We know how to modify certain bacterium but we have only the sketchiest of ideas on how it fits into everything else which is where it's being placed.

It almost doesn't matter why SDF-20 was created, the basic reason is always the same, to make money. In this particular case, the object was to create more ethanol out of farm waste. It would also use the fermentation residues on the farm soil as a fertilizer. The testing used sterile soil as all testing does. Here was a huge error. This was caught in time by a Phd candidate at Oregon University who decided that testing should also use normal soil. All the plants in the test in normal soil died. SDF-20 had coated the plants' roots with deadly concentrations of ethanol.

There were various presentantions before government agencies such a one in New Zealand. The New Zeland scientists argued like their next paycheck depended on Monsanto. But none of the INs and OUTs of their nuances and point counterpoint matter. This could have slipped through and killed all living plants because we don't completely and profoundly know what we're doing and that is what is required. We can't outsource this or 80/20 it or anything else.

The GMO danger is immense. They must be banned immediately!

Genetically Modified Organisms, The Way It Can Be, Louis Evan Palmer,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Sunday, October 28, 2007

The Rise of Agriculture, The Fall of Hunting & Gathering & Humanity's Uncertain Future by Louis Evan Palmer

Rather than repeat the various claims as to agriculture's superiority over hunting & gathering, perhaps we can illustrate the situation better by exploring relevant facts & claims regarding hunting & gathering as a way of life and see how they measure up versus agriculture.

Let's begin with an interesting observation made by Timothy Earle in "How Chiefs Come to Power" - the population in north Denmark went down after they took up agriculture! This is not an isolated observation but contrasts with the often cited ability of agriculture to support a larger population with fewer producers; a fact given as one of the key reasons why agriculture supplanted hunting & gathering. Yes but maybe not right away.

However, it is difficult to properly compare the two societies because hunting & gathering societies existed for some two million years for homo erectus, and some one million years for homo sapiens, while an agriculture-based lifestyle has been with us not much more than ten thousand years. If the current agriculture-based approach falters because it is not sustainable then being able to support a huge population increase for a relatively short time will be irrelevant.

Hunting & Gathering provided a wide variety of natural seasonal foods. This resulted in better nutrition which resulted in men and women being taller in hunter-gatherer societies. A critical marker in assessing societies, particularly pre-historic ones, is average height. In this regard, hunter-gatherer was a better way to go.

Another plus for hunter-gatherer societies was that they were more egalatarian. Because they were mobile, hunter-gatherers were less subject to attack than sedantary agricultural communities. Of critical importance, hunter-gatherer groups were far less subject to disease. Major epidemic diseases like smallpox and tuberculosis are almost exclusively nurtured and confined to agriculture-based societies.

A hunter-gatherer life is often portrayed as precarious and difficult but, in fact, in good environments, it was a surprisingly leisurely life, 3 or 4 hours and you were done for the day. Much is made of the inability to store food but that also is not accurate: dried strips of meat & fish were stored and carried and a staple during hunting forays, or the winter months in colder climates; dried fruits, nuts & honey would also keep and were easily transported.

Some early cities unearthed in the Middle East were based on hunting & gathering and reached sizes of several thousand. They had some artisans and other non-food-producing members.

Distinction in a hunter-gatherer society was based more on personal attributes than on possessions - someone was a good speaker or storyteller, a good hunter, a good forager, very strong or brave or fast. The kind of things that we still value when we can think about it for long enough in the midst of the rat race we've created for ourselves.

Time will tell if people can truly make the transition to a sustainable post-agricultural society. In the meantime, it may be worth comtemplating two striking charteristics of hunter-gatherer societies: their satisfaction with less and their faith in the ability and willingness of their enviroments to sustain them. With the way our world is going, we may be back to that worldview and life sooner than we realize.

The Rise of Agriculture, The Fall of Hunting & Gathering & Humanity's Uncertain Future, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,

Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Concept of Innocence by Louis Evan Palmer

"" gives the definition of "innocence" as:..The state, quality, or virtue of being innocent, as: Freedom from sin, moral wrong, or guilt through lack of knowledge of evil; Guiltlessness of a specific legal crime or offense; Lack of knowledge or understanding; ignorance; Freedom from harmfulness..."

It can be used to imply other levels of creation or existence, in that, someone or something that is innocent can be innocent by virtue of not being of this world, or not participating in it, or only now emerging into it. Their innocence is in this existence.

Most often associated with the concept of innocence is a baby. What blame can be affixed upon a baby? We can ascribe various powers to a baby or think that it may serve as a vehicle for future fulfillment but that is not the baby, it is someone or something acting upon the baby in that same way it could act on any one of use. To lose that innocence, we would have to be able to form some kind of intent. The same arguments run towards any good that may issue from a baby, if it is innocent, then there is none other than what is inspired within each of us.

This concept reaches out to impinge on other ascertations like one used for abortions that have to do with rape. The wrongfulness of the rape itself is levied against the by-product, a living entity. Can we truthfully place blame on an unborn baby? Not if we believe in innocence and what it confers on its holders.

Crimes committed against the innocent are always more abhorrent to us because of their blameless state. In wars and the many crimes that come from that cauldron of hate, the crimes against babies and young children arouse our deepest repulsion because they have no possible excuse and every possible condemnation - because they are innocent.

In courts of law, the concept is more restricted, in that it refers only to a specific offence with which a person is charged. It asks us to ignore everything else that is known about that person and consider only the offence in question with the presumption of innocence. It is a more difficult application of that concept but it again serves the ideal of acting correctly and fairly.

We care about our animal friends partly because of this presumption of innocence on their part. Innocence always implies closeness to True Nature and to Truth. The concept of innocence is deeply-seated in our psyche and ennobling. As a society, we must strive to understand and preserve it and from that, to protect and nurture those innocents in our midst.

The Concept of Innocence, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,

Support his art, ideas and worldview, Order books by Louis Evan Palmer

Order via Kindle link above or at right of screen

Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Move UN Headquarters to Auckland, New Zealand by Louis Evan Palmer

The headquarters for a world governance body should not reside in the territory of the hegemon of the day or in the cities of any of the major powers. It compromises its independence and, over time, impairs its functioning.

It should reside in a country and city that can accomodate a key global organization, that is sufficiently advanced culturally and technologically, and that is not aligned in a significantly binding way in any alliance. It should also move physically closer to the majority of the world's population in Asia. Such a country exists in New Zealand, with the suitable city being Auckland.

The United States, through a variety of spokespersons, has stated on numerous occasions that it does not support the United Nations, that it would like to see the UN Headquarters move out of New York City, and the like. It is a country that has embarked on many wars of self-interest and has demonstrated an increased belligerence and lawlessness in its actions. Its main interest in any world bodies is in using them to further its own narrow self-enriching aims.

A move could serve as an impetus for other needed changes like adding India to the permanent security council. Perhaps adding the European Union as a single member and dropping the United Kingdom and France. It can also be used to strongly move against illegal spying and eavesdropping. A country like New Zealand will be less susceptible to blackmail and behind the scenes deal-making which should make the operation of the UN headquarters more transparent and less corrupt.

Let's settle on a date. How about January 1st, 2012 as the inauguration of the new UN Headquarters in Auckland, New Zealand? Start sending your letters and petitions now to make it happen.

Move UN Headquarters to Auckland, New Zealand, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,

Support his art, ideas and worldview, Order books by Louis Evan Palmer

Order via Kindle link above or at right of screen

Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.

O.J. Simpson and "What's Mine is Mine" Syndrome by Louis Evan Palmer

From Dictionary.Com, the definition of "syndrome" is: "A group of symptoms that together are characteristic of a specific disorder, disease, or the like."

In his latest publicly-disclosed brush with the law, O.J. Simpson continues his obsession with what he thinks is "his" and his willingness to use any means to keep or retrieve it.

To think that someone with his past and his means would care about a bunch of trashy mementos to the extent of organizing a criminal enterprise to take them back is difficult to fathom. Rather than call the auction people involved directly or initiating a lawsuit, Mr. Simpson decided to go with his posse and take back what was his. Flimsy excuses about a lack of response from the police since his dodge of murder charges don't hold water as he should have gone through a lawyer not the police.

What this incident does illustrate in the boldest terms possible is that O.J. Simpson did kill his former wife because the thinking and feelings behind that crime are very much the same as those behind this stupid escapade. That is, O.J. Simpson was so filled with rage at losing what was "his" that he was willing to do anything to get her back or to prevent anyone else from having her. The racial aspect of it all only serves to intensify the emotions.

There is always a point where a normal feeling becomes pathological; where it leaves the realm of reason and ordinary emotions and becomes obsessive and delusional. Sometimes great things come of that pathology but, more often, terrible things come of it.

I don't think O.J. Simpson could have been clearer in declaring his guilt than by engaging in this crime. He admitted everything but with the self-serving excuses that are typical of this type of mentality. He may end up behind bars after all.

O.J. Simpson and "What's Mine is Mine" Syndrome, The Way It Can Be, Louis Evan Palmer,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Baseball, Statistics & Disappeared Histories by Louis Evan Palmer

It's apparent that Barry Bonds took steroids and as a result of that there is a steady chorus from those who wish to ostrasize him and to asterisk his record. They are probably the same folks who wanted to put an asterisk beside Hank Aaron's home run record. But really if you want to scratch the surface of these records you'll find that we should putting asterisks beside all the records because there's something wrong or peculiar with all of them.

Babe Ruth's home run record of 60 was set in 1927 not long after rules were introduced that resulted in a harder baseball and shorter outfields. That's one asterisk. In Babe's day, there were no brown-skinned players in the majors yet teams from the negro leagues won about half of the exhibition games they played against the white majors teams. There were also no hispanic players. In other words, many of the best players were not in Babe's major league. That's two asterisks. There also can be no doubt whatsoever that the calibre of player back then was lower than the calibre of player now. Just looking at the Olympic records will confirm that observation. That's three asterisks. In 1920 the spitball was banned but pitchers who were using it could continue. That obviously had a huge impact on hitters and home runs. Asterisk #4. Scuffed balls or foreign substances like pine tar were also banned in later years.

In light of the above, statements to the effect that "the 1927 Yankees was the greatest baseball team ever" are unadulterated balderdash.

The other glaring truth of the matter is as Mark McGwire stated, in baseball it was not specifically against the rules to use steroids. That came in 2002. Steroids are legal for medical purposes. In 1990 in a very politicized debate, the USA put steriods on its schedule III even though it did not meet the requirements of that designation - that is, being addictive. In 2005, "prohormones" were added to that prohibition. In most other advanced countries, steroids are legal with a prescription but if found in possession of them without a prescription, it is not a serious offence (no jail time involved). Barry Bonds started his major league career on May 30, 1986. Mark McGwire started his career in 1987.

The other truth is that you can put all the muscles you want on someone without talent and it will not enhance their performance enough for anyone to notice - their physique but not their ability.

Barry Bonds deserves his records just as much as Roger Maris and Hank Aaron. It's doubtful Babe Ruth would have been very successful today with all his drinking and womanizing, he probably wouldn't have gotten the chance. Also, against much better players from all over the world and from the old negro leagues, he definitely wouldn't have fared as well.

The rules and evironment of a given sport are always in flux - in baseball, for example, the composition of the balls, the bats, the dimensions of the field, permitted and banned substances. We care about these things because we care about the games we play and watch and we care about their histories. Yet, vast swaths of them are illusions. The negro baseball leagues had many of the best players and yet records are hard to come by and while they are getting cobbled together, it's painfully slow. It's another of the disappeared histories of which we as a society seem to bury with remarkable frequency.

Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire were caught up in the heavily politicized and phony war on drugs. Steroids is not even close to crack. However, it's a convenient way to denigrate a current player's achievement and to harken back to a misrepresentation of a past.

Baseball, Statistics & Disappeared Histories, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Why Iconic Cities are under Threat by Louis Evan Palmer

Everyone has a soft spot for certain places - the city you grew up in, the location of a particularly memorable vacation, your years at university and that sweetly familiar Alma Mater; but aside from those highly personal attachments, there are other places that seem to rise above all that; places, often cities, which merit attention from all quarters for a variety of reasons - those unique cities that are considered "iconic" and are also referred to as "world" cities or "global" cities, sometimes as "Tier 1" cities or "Alpha", "Beta" or "Gamma" cities although this article would argue that "iconic" is a category all on its own.

Typically, it is a feeling that we have that a city is iconic (or vital or magical) even though the definition of "iconic" will vary and the usefulness of the term itself will be disputed. Without that feeling, most of us would not consider a given city to be iconic.

What then makes for an iconic city and why can that make it a target?

A key quality of an iconic city is that it evokes emotion. You immediately feel something. For example, merely the word "Paris" is powerful. The book "Is Paris Burning?" used the power of that city and its name to great effect in its title and the true story of the German General in charge of the city's occupation who could not bring himself to destroy that great city as they retreated. This evocation calls to mind the belief of the ancients in a city's spirit - that a true city is more than a collection of buildings and public places. It touches the collective soul. Its inhabitants are a marriage of person and place. You can tell if someone's from there, from Madrid, Montreal or New Orleans.

Another quality of an iconic city is that it exudes a personality and a philosophy. Cities like "Venice" or "Vienna" come to mind. You feel as if you've made an acquaintance with a sentient being. You sense the "being" of the place and you like it, you want more of it. There is a sense that things are different here and that difference is important to the world consciousness and that it is precious and to be protected. This spirit of guardianship ties one to the iconic city.

An iconic city will also embody an attitude and an approach to life. Cities like "Rio", "London" or "Barcelona" exemplify this. A city like "Rio" conjures up an intoxicating carefree approach to life with an emphasis on energy and fun - exuberance! A city like "London" projects its zeitgeist of cultured, duty-bound, world-weary administrators of empire - the usually faceless accountants and bankers and soldiers while "Barcelona" radiates that it is radical and ferociously artistic and independent and unpredictable.

So we have the proposition that iconic cities evoke emotion, exude personality, and embody an attitude. To that we should add "on a grand scale". This scale would manifest itself in architecture and public places such as parks and plazas and in public events and displays. A bonafide iconic city will also give "something" to the world on a continuous basis. While it is uncommon, this "giving" can mean that an iconic city could include ancient unearthed cities like "Pompei" or "Troy" or even a lost city like "Atlantis" (especially if it's ever found) - cities which have critical physical connections to our shared past and which have made seminal contributions to our present psyche and mentality.

The other aspect of iconic cities worth touching on is their reach. While this focus is on cities that have a global impact, there can be situations where a city is iconic within a given country or region but doesn't impact much outside of that sphere of influence - say, cities like "St. Petersburg" or "Dresden". Or cities or places that affect followers of a particular religion or belief but not others - for example, "Jerusalem", "Medina", or "Chartes".

Another crucial factor in the impact of a given city is how many expatriates hail from there, proudly claim roots from there, or still have relatives there. This is relevant for cities like Hong Kong, New Delhi or Dublin.

The big four of global cities are typically listed as: New York, London, Paris and Tokyo. Another listing of cities that matter posits: Milan, Vienna, Paris, Shanghai and London. A city like Rome has many claims - the former capital of an important empire, the current headquarters of a large religion, the cultural and philosophic fount for much of the western world. Other cities associated with successful empires both more recent and ancient: London, Paris, Madrid, Vienna, Moscow, Beijing, Venice, Istanbul, Mexico City, Athens, Baghdad, Cairo.

What does any of this have to do with iconic cities being targets?

Psychological warfare is action that attacks an enemy's resolve and attempts to paralyse their will and demoralize. It aims to increase defeatism and negativism and to impair judgement. It wants to induce fear, excite tensions to the point of dysfunction, and produce widespread and continuous anxiety.

Pyschological operations, or PsyOps, strives for economy of effort and would like to present no inkling of their secret directed forces. PsyOps also wants to maximize the effect of a given operation. To do all those things, it must choose the most suitable target. Those types of targets are invariably "iconic". Attacking icons produces the largest dislocation in the target populations. This is why iconic cities (or places or people) are under threat - they are the best targets for PsyOps.

The countries of most interest at this point are those that are at war either as aggressors or as resistance groups. This would bring up the USA, the UK, Afghanistan and Iraq as key flash points. If planning groups were aiming at the USA and attempting to figure what types of attacks would have the most impact and be the most demoralizing, they would consider "iconic" American cities. New York and Washington would fit that designation but have been attacked. They may be subjected to more attacks but if fresh cities were desired then other cities would have to be selected. New Orleans is iconic but it also has been "attacked" in a way. Other iconic American cities that have not been attacked as yet - San Francisco, Miami, Houston, Los Angeles and Boston. Of these cities, probably only San Francisco would be considered to have a signficant impact outside the US as a world-level city.

Fortunately and unfortunately, psyops is an inexact art. It also requires a lack of morals or ethics and the ability to turn away from the deaths of thousands by your remote-controlling hand.

Society must reject these pseudo-scientific assaults on decency and outlaw attacks on non-miltary targets and non-belligerent opponents. To embedded objectors, collect evidence and go public. To the general public, support authentic whistle-blowers.

Why Iconic Cities are under Threat, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be;
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Homeless (and Sleepless) in Toronto by Louis Evan Palmer

Homeless in Jakarta is a reflection of abject poverty and high-level thievery.

Homeless in Toronto is a reflection of wilful neglect and high-level thievery.

The main difference between "have" countries and "have not" is that there's enough left over after the elite has taken their cut to fund a sizable middle class. However, when the middle class disappears, as is happening in the USA, then the gap will close and there is no more vicious animal than one whose sustenance has been taken away.

The great lie in the debate about homelessness is that they are on the streets by choice. It is obvious to even a casual observer that many homeless people have mental problems. Estimates run as high as one third of the homeless being mentally unbalanced to the degree that they are impaired. Another major issue for the homeless is drug and/or alcohol addiction. On its own, or as a result of the above, many of the homeless have physical health problems.

There is risk and danger to the homeless and to the people around them. Living on the street is a health and hygiene issue, a law and order issue, a public safety issue. To leave these people to the ministrations of angels of mercy and/or organs of the city health department is short-sighted and negligent.

To have levels of government haggling over the costs of necessary services - these are NOT frills! - is disheartening and maddening. The address is Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Each of those jurisdictions has a role to play.

While respecting their rights and dignity, the homeless cannot be allowed to jeopardize themselves and others, laws should be passed that will enable various authorities and agencies to remove people from the streets. Some belong in mental health facilities, others in hospitals or clinics. All need free or cheap (but decent) housing.

There are sufficient resources given the political will. We need effective management of the housing, strict security and safety for the tenants, access to programs and make-work programs as required. We've got to break the cycle and just leaving people on the streets won't do it. From a purely selfish point of view, society is only hurting itself by not dealing with homelessness.

Homeless (and Sleepless) in Toronto, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Saturday, August 18, 2007

Bets & Debts - Market Money "Phones Home" by Louis Evan Palmer

The despicable financiers have had their day again. Note how the bulk of the money flow is back home to the corporations and their (mainly American) home bases. So much for "act locally".

Obvious obligations have been brazenly neglected: bond agencies have suddenly discovered that the ratings they gave to bond packages containing subprime mortgages were misleading, maybe even criminally erroneous; complex misunderstood derivatives funds have been allowed to operate and even grow by regulators and banks; hedge funds have been permitted to grow and expand and disrupt the market. All of the forgoing in the pursuit of obscene profits and zero oversight.

What is the disguising of subprime mortgages except fraud? It is a form of money laundering where one hides bad debt in with the good, divides it up and spreads it around so it can't be found, and then turns that risky debt into AAA debt and sells it globally. It was never about spreading the risk around, it was always about hiding the risk, adulterating good debt with bad and making millions before the scheme crashed as it must.

What is the cancerous growth of hedge funds and derivatives anything other than greed triumphant and out-of-control speculation?

The regulation and oversight of financial institutions is woefully inadequate. We don't have the required expertise in place or the political will. We need much more control of financial instruments especially those that constitute the creation of credit. We need to implement tax-based controls on the movement of money and credit and strict regulations to limit and civilize speculation. To quote Richard C. Cook: we need the "recognition of credit as a public utility, part of the societal commons, not the private playground of the financiers.." There is good speculation and there is bad (most) speculation! It is suicidal for societies to allow rampant "bad" speculation and its associated accoutrements to reign supreme. Boom and bust is the inevitable result where the short boom is for the few and the long bust is for the rest.

Bets & Debts - Market Money "Phones Home", The Way It Can Be, Louis Evan Palmer,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.


Friday, August 10, 2007

Globe & Mail's Neil Reynolds calls on birds to protect Canada by Louis Evan Palmer

"Birds, after all, have economies, too."

The United States will not have to look hard to find its slavish supporters in the journalistic corps as Neil Reynolds continues his misleading fusillades in favour of the Security & Prosperity Partnership (SPP). There is little doubt that a fully implemented SPP would cement into place a one-sided, disadvantageous relationship in favour of the US and would lead to the dissolution of any Canada recognizable to its current citizens. It's clear to anyone with a dollop of sense (or not blinded by ideology) that a 98 pound chimp will enjoy few, if any, rights in the house of the 800 pound gorilla.

Mr. Reynolds, although it most certainly caused him great discomfort, called on the restive spirit of John Kenneth Galbraith to support his grovelling on the part of his SPP masters. Mr. Galbraith, Reynolds asserts "never wavered in his conviction that economic globalization was an essential advance". Since Mr. Galbraith lived until he was 97 and wrote and was interviewed extensively, you could probably get almost any quote you want from him. Like the following in conversation with Asimina Caminis, Senior Editor of Finance & Development, Mr. Galbraith was quoted: "I'm an advisor to the American Heritage Dictionary on language use and I will not allow the word globalization. It is a very ugly term! That we will have closer international relationships in such areas as economics, culture, the arts, travel, and communications I strongly hope..." Hmmm? Maybe it was another John Kenneth Galbraith that Mr. Reynolds had in mind? But no, Mr. Reynolds go on by putting these further words into Mr. Galbraith's mouth "globalization simply expanded and extended co-operation among countries". Yes perhaps, except without the word "globalization"! I'd say that Mr. Galbraith was fairly clear on that.

Mr. Reynolds continues his parade of misquotes and faulty logic by claiming (one must assume with a straight face) that "economic integration in no way necessitates political integration". I guess all those other commentators and political leaders (and basically the whole world) got it wrong. The absurdness of this statement is breath-taking. Of course, economic integration leads to political integration. That's precisely what it leads to.

Professor Branislav L. Slantchev of the Department of Political Science, University of California, says in a lecture in his course "Introduction to International Relations" that: "The highest state of economic integration is the common market, which adds the free movement of labor and capital to the customs union freedom of goods and unified external tariffs. A common market is deepest and involves the largest loss of sovereignty, eventually requiring the relinquishment of important policy tools for controlling financial flows and stimulating the economy. Common markets are very rare." Don't be fooled by Mr. Reynolds rantings, SPP is no other than a different name for "common market".

Mr. Reynolds' trust in international institutions is as touching as it is naive and misplaced as John Perkins has made abundantly clear in his expose "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man". Institutions like the World Bank and the IMF (International Monetary Fund) have been co-opted, mainly by US interests, and are mainly used to indebt third world countries. David C. Korten elaborates on this in his widely-acclaimed book "When Corporations Rule the World": "The World Bank has served as an export-financing facility for large Northern-based corporations. The IMF has served as the debt collector for Northern-based financial institutions. GATT has served to create a corporate bill of rights protecting the rights of the world's largest corporations against the intrusions of people, communities, and democratically elected governments."

As befits a manifestly beneficial endeavour, the SPP has not been brought to Parliament, has not been debated or brought to committee. It has been snuck around in luxurious hide-aways attended by invitation-only members of the elite. Its shadowy Orwellian name "Security & Prosperity Partnership" calls to mind the raft of similarly falsely named laws & campaigns from Bush-Cheney's Amerika like Iraqi Enduring Freedom and Patriot Act.

When Gordon Laxer, a professor of political economy and director of the Parkland Institute at the University of Alberta, tried to address the energy aspects of the SPP "at a meeting of the House of Commons' international trade committee earlier this month, Leon Benoit, the Conservative chairman, ordered me to stop my presentation as an invited witness. My remarks, he ruled, were not relevant. When his decision was successfully challenged by other members of the committee, Mr. Benoit adjourned the meeting and left the room.

"For example, in researching how Canada's energy security would be affected by exporting more energy to the United States, I learned that Canada has no plans, or enough pipelines, to get oil to Eastern Canadians in the event of an international supply crisis. I asked if Canada, as a member of the International Energy Agency, will establish a Strategic Petroleum Reserve. The IEA was created to counter OPEC's boycotting power; its 24 members are supposed to maintain 90 days of emergency oil reserves.

"The NEB replied that Canada 'was specifically exempted from establishing a reserve, on the grounds that Canada is a net exporting country whereas the other members are net importers.' But that doesn't make sense. Canada may be a net exporter, but it still imports 40 per cent of its oil - 850,000 barrels per day - to meet 90 per cent of Atlantic Canada's and Quebec's needs, and 40 per cent of Ontario's.

"Of course, we don't even have the pipelines to fully meet Eastern needs and, rather than address that domestic deficiency, five more export pipelines are planned."

The above appeared in an article in the Globe & Mail in May of this year.

Yes, Mr. Reynolds, the SPP sounds just fine if you're content to see Canada disappear. In the meantime, please leave the birds out of it.

Globe & Mail's Neil Reynolds calls on birds to protect Canada, Louis Evan Palmer, The Way It Can Be,
Copyright 2007 Louis Evan Palmer lives in Ontario Canada. His short stories have appeared in numerous publications.