Just a Little Common Sense

For a life based on reason, ethics, literature and art.

Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category

More Than Just “Occupy” Wall Street!

leave a comment »

Occupy Wall St.
Protesting the fact that Banks are abusing the current social-economic system is absolutely necessary, and I’m glad it’s happening. But the only thing that really scares the shit out of bank CEOs and managers is when their profits are under threat.
Of course, threatening banker profits is not an easy thing to do, but one thing every single one of us is capable of is to vote with our feet and take our savings to businesses with less of a cut-throat attitude. What I am talking about are Ethical Banks. While still being privately run businesses, these banks are above all distinguished by being transparent and selective about the projects they finance. They will happily invest in projects that have social and/or environmental aims, but shun companies who pollute or exploit. In essence, they sacrifice profit margins for a secure and fond clientele that doesn’t hate them.

The arrival of Ethical Banks threatens to change the game. If they can become major players they might outstrip traditional banks – because just as people are willing to pay more for milk from happy cows, many are happy also accept marginally lower interest on their savings in exchange for the knowledge that those savings will not be used to steer global economy further into a huge ocean of shit.

So, here is what I suggest we do: Let’s take our money out of the savings accounts, and move it to one of the ethical or green banks.

Granted, ethical banks are still banks. I do not kidd myself into believing that they are responsible because their CEOs are such good-hearted people – But responsibility has become a product, and the demand is growing rapidly. The laws of their own game will force them to stay transparent and responsible in order to stay in play. It is in our power is to change the market. If we succeed, we will simply force conventional, irresponsible take-no-hostages-bankers out of business.

Personally I do not think that this is the cure to our problems; but it sure is exchanging the disease for a more benign one, giving us some air to look for alternatives.

So, go to wikipedia and take a look at its small but growing List of Ethical Banks. Perhaps join the Bank Transfer Day on facebook. Take your money out of irresponsible and greedy hands, and trust your savings to (however slightly) more responsible people. If possible, do it on november 5th, because the more people do it on the same day, the bigger is the chance of wide-spread media reports.

Don’t tell yourself that it won’t make any difference. I can guarantee it won’t do any harm. So, if nothing else, just humour us. There is a lot to gain, and nothing to lose by trying.

Written by Phil

October 19, 2011 at 21:03

Pope Speaks, Germany Protests

leave a comment »

After some struggle and public controversy, the pope was allowed to speak at the Bundestag in Berlin. It was a small victory for him though, as over one hundred delegates chose not to appear as a gesture of protest.
I feel with them: For anyone with modern values it must be painful to watch Europe’s last absolute monarch speak at the very heart of our democracy – The pope is the head of the only western state that has yet to ratify the international Bill of Human Rights.

Anyhow, the ruling conservative politicians just couldn’t have that. And so they chose to initiate what I view as one of the most pathetic moments in Germnan politics of (at least) the last two decades: They filled the empty seats with extras.

Which, by the way, I think ought to have consequences. The absent delegates in this case perfectly fulfilled their function of representing the German public. Masking this fact to the media (as well as to the pope!) is to lie to the people they are supposed to represent, in order to make a guest feel welcome who is unwelcome to half of the people here.

Anyhow. Meanwhile, more than 20.000 people went to the streets, making their anger at this blatant disregard of our constitution known. Among the many groups reporting the protest were, among others, several Human Rights organizations, the “Black Block” of the left-extremist AntiFa (anti-fascist initiative) and of course numerous feminist and gay groups. Here’s some pictures:

The Pope’s reaction to the protests, of course, was consistently in line with his churches’ policy: He ignored them.

Written by Phil

September 26, 2011 at 00:45

Ethical Journalism: You’re Doing It Wrong

with 6 comments

CNN - Doing Breivik's bidding.

I’d like you to pay attention to the caption beneath the picture at the top of the screenshot. Here’s what it says:

Anders Breivik’s purported manifesto says he planned every detail of his rampage, down to this photo being released to media. [Emphasis added]

It appears that somebody waltzed into CNN.com’s editor’s office, said something along the lines of ‎”Hey look, there’s this guy who’s just murdered almost 100 people. And here’s some pictures he’d like us to publish. I’ve got a great idea: Let’s publish them, along with a deep, insightful and understanding story on what motivated him, telling the world exactly all those things he wants us to tell the world. Let’s regurgitate his propaganda, word by word. Let’s quote him a lot. Don’t you think that’d make a great story?” – and was applauded all around.

There’s a German word for this: Leichenfledderjournalismus. It’s a compound word that translates to corpse-stripper journalism, describing the kind of journalism that will report anything that sells, completely free of ethical considerations and without any concern or sense of responsibility for the consequences. It’s usually reserved for those selling stories by using unnecessary close-ups of starving children, mortal wounds or giant puddles of blood, but I think it’s quite fitting here.
It’s sickening beyond words to see the world’s big Media outlets being tossed a manifesto explaining in detail how the mass-murderer wants them to behave, just to follow his instructions word-by-word. They publish his pictures, they propagate his views. Anything the star of the hour wishes.

Breivik was to appear in a hearing this monday, the 25th, to “explain” his motives. The residing judge (who apparently has no name) ordered the proceeding “closed for security reasons”, disabling that sicko from propagating his views further. I applaud him. It’s merely a gesture as the mainstream media are doing a better job of spreading Breivik’s propaganda than he could possibly have hoped for, but it’s a gesture of common sense and decency.

PS: I’ve deliberately cut off the picture in question, and just as deliberately I’ve failed to provide a link to the source of both the screenshot and my anger. I do not doubt anybody willing to view the picture won’t have any trouble finding it, but at least they’ll have to do so without my help.

Written by Phil

July 28, 2011 at 10:11

So Osama is Dead. Happy Now?

with one comment

Suddenly there’s an entire nation celebrating. And not only america is stoked: the heads of other nations are already sending their congratulations. It’s a celebration of a victory that doesn’t exist, of the murder of yet another human being. The death of Osama bin Laden will not change a thing. The situation in Iraq will not improve, the soldiers won’t be in any less danger, none of the 9/11 victims will come back to life. NOTHING has been accomplished here.
All it is is a disgusting display of people’s primitive lust for vengeance, and it makes me sick to my stomach.
Seriously. It’s been a few thousand years since we thought that tit-for-tat made for actual justice. One should think that now that we’ve been to the moon, we might have left this preposterous primitivism behind and developed more sophisticated ways of dealing with wrongdoings.

“Osama plotted the killing of a few thousand americans, let’s kill him 3000 times to get even…” What a load brainless shit. Again, what has been accomplished here? Terrorism is just a symptom, not the disease. The diseases that cause it are called “poverty”, “bad government” and “desperation”… Those are the problems that need to be dealt with. The only way to win the “war on terrorism” (oh how fucking ridiculous that term is!!!) is by eleminating the need for it: By improving the living conditions of the people within the “rogue states”, by tracking down the sources that furnish organizations like Al Quaida with money and weaponry, by helping the people to establish a fair and stable government. Only desperate people support fundamentalists – Terrorist would not find much support among a nation of educated and well-fed citizens.
I realize how high those goals are, but please don’t tell me that there is no way of accomplishing them given the incredible amount of money and resources that we choose to spent on expensive toys for our generals to play with instead.

Written by Phil

May 3, 2011 at 00:28

A Ban On Atheist Advertisement?

leave a comment »

I’m all for it. In fact, ban all  public advertisement. I want the right to walk out the door and not being told by giant billboards everywhere what I have to buy, whom I have to vote for, and what I have to think.

It is one thing to be offering “product information” on the airwaves, where it is my free decision to access or ignore it. Nobody is forcing me to watch TV – and if I do, I’ll accept the commercials as a collateral, knowing stations have to finance their programme somehow.

It is a different matter altogether to shove your ads in my fucking face, every single day, on my way to work.
Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Phil

November 28, 2010 at 17:57

Much Ado About Nothing

with one comment

My local catholics are playing dress-up again, walking the streets chanting and carrying candles. I left my window open for just a minute too long, and now my whole fucking room stinks of fucking incense. I am seething. Just what gives them the right to rub their silly rituals in my face like that?
If I’d run through public streets at this hour being as loud and producing as much smell, I’d be arrested within minutes. From noise pollution to disturbance of public peace, scandalization and what-not, I’d be charged with a variety of stuff and it’d end up being a very expensive prank. Plus, if I was wearing as silly a costume and a funny hat while annoying the shit out of people for no reason, I’d probably be put straight into the mental ward. And rightfully so, because that is where people who engage in this kind of activity belong. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by Phil

November 14, 2010 at 19:34

On ‘Darwinism’

with 2 comments

I am not a ‘Darwinist’, and you aren’t, either. Period. First of all, the fact of Evolution by Natural Selection ought not to get too tied up to the person of Charles Darwin. Calling yourself a Darwinist implies a reverence of the person, rather than acknowledgement of the hard evidence in support of his theory. As much as Darwin is rightfully admired for one of the most important discoveries in the history of science, his person as such is completely irrelevant for the validity of the theory.

More important though is the use of the suffix -ism: It is nothing but creationist propaganda. -isms are worldviews, matters of opinion. Evolution by Natural Selection is not. Creationists started to call scientists who dared to point out the silliness of their beliefs ‘Darwinists’, in order to imply that they were a bunch of people sharing a common belief (as opposed to a bunch of people acknowledging the facts), people who have an agenda, people who probably have a evil conspiracy running to rid the schools of god. Because they hate god, those Darwinist do. Or so organizations like the Discovery Institute keep telling me.
It goes without saying that the same holds true for ‘Evolutionism’. You wouldn’t call yourself a ‘Newtonist’ or a ‘Gravitist’ just because you acknowledge the general explanation for why things are falling down. Even if Intelligent Falling were a serious movement rather than a (brilliant) parody, calling yourself a ‘Newtonist’ to show your opposition to it is destructive to your cause. Falsely calling scientific facts -isms is useless at best, but passing fact for opinion and acknowledging a controversy where there really is none at worst. Please don’t do that.

The ID-crowd should be viewed as the bunch of loonies they are, and safely be ignored. If you must address the ‘controversy’ at all, please don’t use terms that they made up. Taking them seriously can only leave the impression that their views actually have substance, which is simply not the case.

%d bloggers like this: