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Sunday, October 21, 2012

Civilised Man v Savage - Going Colonialist on the Subway

Americans are being urged to go colonialist and support the 'civilised man' against the 'savage'. Yet there are international laws against colonialist agression; not that the law has ever stopped Israel!

Ride the metro in New York or Washington DC and you are likely to see a poster that reads:

'In any war between the civilised man and the savage, support the civilised man!
Support Israel. Defeat Jihad'.  

The poster has been put up by the American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), led by Pam Geller and approved by the U.S. Supreme Court.

What is civilised? The nation that has military superiority? The nation that uses military weapons to attack civilians? Having bigger bombs and a more organised army does not make for a 'civilised man'.

What is a savage? The American Indian? The Australian aborigine? Each of these had rich cultures and had developed law, language, art, hunting, marriage rites, religion, war and defence. They were no more savage, than their colonisers. In fact, their colonisers were brutal and had no concept of humanity as they dehumanised the indian, the aborigine.

Of course, the poster is referring to any nation that stands up to Israel as being the 'savage'.

Some Palestinians have been known to use throw rocks at Israeli settlers and soldiers. Some Palestinians have fired, wildly inaccurate home-made rockets at Israelis. The weapons may certainly be more primitive than what the Israelis use, but does that make the Palestinians savages? Israel responds by using jet fighters and military helicopters, killing thousands of Palestinians. Israel uses military grade weapons on civilian populations. Does that mean they are not savages? Use of better technology does not make a nation 'civilised'. Israel is far more brutal than the Palestinians have ever been. Palestinian terrorism has been a direct response to the genocidal actions of Israel as it continues to de-Arabise the area by ethnic cleansing and constructing illegal settlements. Israel sees all Palestinians as criminals, terrorists and obviously, savages.

The poster is no doubt also referring to Iran as the savage. Israel has been beating the drums of war over Iran, wanting to wage a pre-emptive strike in the name of 'self-defence'. Using the same logic, Iran would have grounds to wage a pre-emptive strike on Israel in order to defend themselves. Israel is concerned that Iran is manufacturing nuclear weapons. Yet Israel has flouted international law and developed nuclear weapons. So who is the savage?

The poster exemplifies colonialism and typifies the attitude of Israel towards Palestinians.

Israel was created and colonised by Europeans during the 20th century. And of course, over the last few centuries it was the Europeans who colonised the world at the point of a gun and cannon, who slaughtered those who dare opposed their 'right to rule' mentality.

Israel literally stole land from the Palestinians. The UN established borders in 1948, yet even before the resolution was passed, Israel was invading land outside of those borders. The following maps graphically illustrate the illegal land grab by Israel. These aren't just colours on a map, the reduction of green areas represents the loss of thousands of Palestinians lives and destruction of Palestinian culture and society. This is a graphic depiction of the ethnic cleansing that Israel has been undertaking since at least the 1940s.

The real savage is not one who does not have such a sophisticated social construct as another. The real savage is the one who destroys another's social construct. That is what European colonisation did in throughout the Americas, it is what happened in Australia, it happened in India and throughout the Middle East. It is continuing now in the Palestinian territories, as Israel blockades and prevents Palestinians from accessing their own lands, accessing clean water, accessing hospitals and schools, accessing their workplaces. It prevents them from establishing their own effective government. It is not the Palestinians who want to destroy Israel, it is Israel who wants to destroy Palestine, and in fact, IS destroying Palestine.

The AFDI posters take this a step further by stating 'Defeat Jihad'. Jihad is generally interpreted in the West to mean 'holy war' waged by Muslims. Yet who is waging the holy war? Israel is the one who claims that the land was given to them by God, and it is this belief that underpins their 'right to rule' mentality. Israel started the war and continues the war, in the name of God. The Palestinians are not waging this in the name of God, they are fighting in the name of self-defence for their lives, livelihoods and long history in this land.

The AFDI took their fight to the U.S. Supreme Court in order to display the posters. Would the Supreme Court have also granted approval if the posters were pro-Palestinian and pro-War! Imagine if the posters read:

'In any war between the native and the coloniser, support the native'.
The posters make bold assumptions about what is a civilised man. Yet, war between 'civilised' man and the savage has usually been waged because the civilised man has invaded the territory of the 'savage'. These wars have been perpetrated by the civilised man who has raped, persecuted and murdered the 'savage' during these invasions. According to the AFDI posters, this is good and should always be supported.
Ethnic cleansing, genocide and military assaults against civilians are illegal and should never be supported.

In the war between the civilised man and the savage, take the side of the savage. They are the ones whose existence is being threatened.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Billy Graham & biblical values: polygamy, genocide and neglecting the poor?

Billy Graham & biblical values: polygamy, genocide and neglecting the poor?

... because nothing says 'traditional' like polygamy!

If legalising same-sex marriage could result in legalising polygamy, then why is acclaimed evangelist Billy Graham, backing Mitt Romney who is of a religion that actively practices polygamy? Why oppose abortion, and then oppose policies that protect the child once born? Why declare that your worshiop the God of love and justice and then back the genocidal policies of Israel?

The Arch-Bishop of Evangelism, Billy Graham, has publicly endorsed Mitt Romney for President of the United States of America, urging all Christians to base their electoral decision on 'biblical values and support for the nation of Israel'.

A copy of the advertisement can be seen at the bottom of this page.

The advertisement focuses on three things:
  • traditional marriage (aka opposition to same-sex marriage);
  • sanctity of life (aka opposition to abortion);
  • support for Israel (aka opposition to Palestine, Iran or any nation that criticises Israel).
These are hardly riveting policies on which the potential Leader of the Free World should base his campaign.

Firstly, it is interesting that Billy Graham has publicly endorsed Mitt Romney, who is a Mormon. Not that Mormons shouldn't participate in all aspects of society, but up until Thursday (18 October 2012), the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association website stated that Mormons belong to a cult. This was removed by the time Billy Graham announced, later that day, that Christians should support the biblical values of Mitt Romney, a Mormon. I guess that 'cult' thing is not as important as stopping a Democrat who is interested in providing health care to the poor.

On to the three policies that underpin the Billy Graham endorsement.

Billy Graham policy # 1: Traditional marriage

Billy Graham and his right-wing followers claim to support traditional marriage.  Which means that they strongly oppose same-sex marriage.

Much of the fear-mongering from the religious right regarding same sex marriage includes such bold statements as 'legalising same sex marriage will result in legalising of polygamy' (or bestiality or marriage with plushies ... or any number of things).

Mitt Romney is a Mormon, which is an actively polygamist religion, and Romney grew up in a polygamist community. His grandparents were polygamists who fled the United States because of its persecution of polygamy.

So, if there is genuine concern that same-sex marriage will lead to polygamy, why is it acceptable to endorse a member of a polygamist religion. Surely, there would be concern that he would legalise polygamy? Imagine if a Muslim was running for President. Critics would fear the introduction of polygamy, after all, Shi'ite men can marry up to four women. Or imagine if a Mormon was running for the Democrats. Would right-wing Christians be quite as welcoming? Would they make an issue of polygamy as they do when criticising same-sex marriage?

Graham calls for support of 'traditional marriage'. Nothing says 'traditional' like polygamy, after all, it has been a tradition for thousands of years, particularly in patriarchal societies.

Graham urges Christians to 'support the biblical definition of a man and a woman'. Like 'tradition', nothing says biblical like polygamy. After all, King Solomon, the wisest man in the biblical world, had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

Billy Graham policy # 2: Sanctity of life

Billy Graham urges Christians to vote to 'protect the sanctity of life' (of course this is only while that life is in the womb). Once born it is on its own and there is no way that any politician who supports welfare and compassion for those who are born poor could possibly be supporting biblical values. I think that's what they are saying. Romney's policies negatively impact the poor and favour the rich. He will roll back Obamacare and give greater tax breaks to the rich than to those earning minimum wage.

Billy Graham policy # 3: Israel

Graham also urges Christians to vote to 'support the nation of Israel'. Yet, Israel has been the subject of hundreds of United Nations resolutions which condemn its treatment of Palestinians and its unwarranted use of force and military weapons on civilian populations. Israel has used depleted uranium and white phospherous in built-up civilian areas, and forcibly imprisoned almost the entire population through illegal 'security' barriers. Israel's agression and treatment of Palestinians over decades is tantamount to ethnic cleansing. Yet, Graham and other right-wing Christians never speak up about this; they fail to defend the victims of Israel's ethnic cleansing policies. Their God is supposed to be one of love and justice. Their God never gave Israel carte blanche authority to exterminate another people group.

Separation of church and state

Right-wing Christians criticise government intervention and push for smaller government. Yet, they are the ones who intervene in government matters. They are the ones who want government to pass  fascist laws to control society in the manner that suits their twisted interpretation of the bible.

Churches and religious organisations obtain massive financial benefits from the government in the form of low or no tax, yet want to greatly reduce the power of government and implement archaic policies in the name of 'morality' or 'biblical values'.

For a nation to be truly free and to represent the best interests of all members of its society, there must be separation of church and state. There must not be one interest group, (religious, business or other) which is favoured over another.

The reasons that Billy Graham gives for supporting Mitt Romney are weak, hypocritical and have nothing to do with running a presidential campaign or governing a nation. The endorsement is purely based on Romney being a Republican, a member of the right-wing, not on his 'biblical values'.

Graham should not be encouraging the easily-influenced and gullible on how to vote. It is not the role of the church or influential preachers to intervene in the leadership of government or in the democratic process.

If preachers are going to preach politics then they and their churches should pay taxes.

Billy Graham's ad calling for Christians to vote for Mitt Romney.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Who made who? A tale of greed and need.

The Welfare State: who's fault is it? Who's responsibility is it? Uber-capitalists have created the need for a strong social safety net, while condemning social welfare in favour of corporate welfare. 

Capitalistic greed has created a society of self-centred individuals, who think more about themselves and less about contributing to society, who place the individual above the good of society.

Individualistic importance is the cornerstone of capitalism. It is on this that the notion of uber-capitalism has grown. The type of capitalism that has placed big business over government and in many cases, replaced government by privatising services. It is no secret that businesses exist for profit. Why would they invest in unproductive activities such as caring for the poor?

The push to privatise government services results in services being undertaken for profit, rather than for the good of society. Government will always have unprofitable services to deliver. These services may be unprofitable, but they should not be seen as unproductive because productivity should not be measured in profit, but in benefit to society. For instance, the funding of public hospitals, public education, public housing and even safety nets in the form of welfare for those who have no way to meet their basic needs.

Capitalists claim that welfare recipients 'expect' a living from the government, yet it is the rich who expect tax breaks. Who has the welfare mentality? Business-owners or the unemployed? Ask any business-owner how much of their expenses are claimed as tax deductions. Many will claim deductions on things that should never be allowed. Why should the public purse subsidise tax deductions on luxury company vehicles, or business-class and first-class travel, or business lunches in expensive restaurants?

It is the rich who 'expect' tax breaks and who believe that they don't have an obligation to share the wealth for the good of society. They complain about rising crime, when there is not enough government money to fund police, education, public housing or even the dole... all those things that can lead to crime as people MUST meet their needs, such as food, clothing and accommodation.  At the very least, ALL members of society must have their needs met.

Capitalism favours the few at the expense of the many.

Who made the 'entitlement' mentality? It originally came from the upper-class who believed they were 'born to rule'. From this came colonisation, which saw less-developed nations conquered, raped and pillaged by more technologically advanced nations. Now, big business is engaging in commercial colonisation, by conquering, raping and pillaging smaller businesses and workers. To make this more palatable, they market the dream of wealth to all, market the 'born to rule' mentality and rights of the individual over the rights of society. This marketing includes victimising the victims of commercial colonisation, labelling the unemployed as parasites on society.

The victims are the scapegoats.

The real parasites, are those who feed off society and who get rich at the expense of everyone else.

The right wing sees social welfare, or socialism, as a redistribution of wealth from the rich to the poor. However, capitalism, is not just redistribution of wealth from the poor and middle class to the rich, it is often wealth by extortion, through charging ridiculous prices for necessities. Capitalism depends on cultivating greed and fostering a 'want' mentality, in which people are conditioned to buy the latest and greatest thing, whether they 'need' it or not.

Who created the need for welfare?

The capitalists, the right-wing, the economic rationalists, blame the unemployed for the situation that they are in. They say that they should 'take responsibility' for themselves. Yet the majority have found themselves in that state through economic rationalisation, through the obscene profit-making of the big companies, with their record profits and 'job rationalisation'.

Who made who?

The unemployed didn't make the welfare state. Greedy, self-centred capitalists made the unemployed in their pursuit for profit. And of course, the more unemployed the greater the 'burden' on the tax-payer as government's provide welfare. The more people who are unemployed, the less money being spent on big business through our consumerist society. So it becomes a double-whammy for government, not only providing welfare to the unemployed, but also to businesses who demand government support during times of 'low consumer sentiment'.

Big business is the one who is expecting government to give to them. It expects government to give them tax-breaks, a free market, less red-tape in order to conduct nefarious business dealings without accountability. All of this comes at the expense of society, yet it is marketed as benefiting society. This has legitimised capitalistic extortion, by essentially stealing from the people.

Big business contributes to the 'working poor', by employing people part-time or casual and by paying the minimum wage legally allowed.

The capitalist theory of trickle-down economics, is fanciful at best, with few who truly benefit from it while most others suffer. The theory goes that the more money big business has, the more money will 'trickle-down' to everyone else. Yet, how often do we really see that? We have seen examples of businesses posting record profits, and then announcing mass-sackings of workers. For example, in Australia, Westpac bank announced a record $7 billion profit for 2011, and then on 2 February 2012, announced the sacking of 400 staff. Trickle-down economics at its finest.

There is no respect for the worker, while importance is placed on big business. Businesses certainly have a right to trade and exist, but they are nothing without their workers. Rather than exploiting workers, they should be cultivating loyalty.

Capitalists, the right-wing, blame the unemployed and other welfare recipients for the downfall in society. Yet, it was greed that caused the Global Financial Crisis, not workers, not the unemployed. It was the governments that had to bail out the capitalists who caused the crisis, by providing the ultimate in corporate welfare; providing far more than the combined payments to social welfare recipients.

So who is responsible for the downfall in society? Is it those who receive unemployment benefits and family supplements, or those who refuse to contribute towards social welfare, those who refuse to pay taxes while maximising obscene tax-breaks, those who campaign against public health, schools and so on, those who push for the wealth of the individual? Making some individuals wealthy at the expense of the community is the biggest threat to society.

Earning more money than someone else is not a problem. After all, there are those who are more entrepreneurial or higher qualified, but this does not mean that they should not pay their share of taxes or contribute to the good of society.

Prioritising the individual over community removes our responsibility to each other. No person is more important than another, yet the greed of capitalism takes a very Darwinian approach to society through 'survival of the fittest'. Greed is a natural human behaviour, and that is why it is so important that government exist to temper this greed. It is also natural for some people to be stronger than others. However, this is not the jungle, we must take care of the weaker members of society.

People complain about escalating crime and lack of respect for each other, while indulging their most selfish desires. People complain about the treatment of the elderly in nursing homes, yet most have had their elders institutionalised, rather than taking on the responsibility of caring for their parents in their homes. We used to live in a society where the extended family was revered. Where multiple generations lived in the one house. Now, we are more interested in our own needs, than those of our immediate family members.

This care for each other, isn't human rights, it is human obligation, as summed up by Soviet dissident, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, when he said, 'It is time in the West to defend not so much human rights as human obligations'.

Capitalism has demonised the concept of social welfare, making scape-goats out of its victims. The importance of the individual has been marketed so well by uber-capitalists such as Milton Friedman and Ayn Rand, that even some churches believe that Jesus was a capitalist who opposed government and didn't advocate social responsibility. Remember, it was Jesus who said 'render unto Caesar's the things that are Caesar's' ... and it was Jesus who said, ' ... for I was hungry and you have me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me'.

Helen Keller said, 'Until the great mass of the people shall be filled with the sense of responsibility for each other's welfare, social justice can never be attained'.

With the rampant greed of uber-capitalists, now, more than ever, we need to ensure that every member of society is cared for.

We should never prioritise ourselves over the good of society, or exploit others to benefit ourselves.