High on the Hague: the Philippines in Deep Waters following the High Court Ruling


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Chinese citizens took to the streets last week to protest KFC, Apple and McDonald’s following an international court ruling attempting to resolve a longstanding land dispute in the South China Sea between the Philippines and China. The Hague court’s landmark case ruled in favor of the Philippines, deciding that the area in dispute fell within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.  So what does KFC, Apple and McDonald’s have to do with the Philippines and their exclusive economic zone exactly?  Well, it all stems from China’s accusation that the United States has instigated and embroiled an already heated dispute over what is known as the Scarborough Shoal off the coast of the Philippines.

While the U.S. has stated that its bolstered presence in the region has only been to re-establish a balance of power between neighbors, the Chinese response to the U.S. and more recently, the Hague have been less than desirable.  Chinese citizens are now protesting and demanding that U.S. companies like KFC and McDonald’s be immediately removed from the country, while simultaneously calling for the boycott of all imported Philippines products. The Chinese government was quick to comment on the situation, publicly denouncing the protests, referring to them as “jingoistic and ultimately a bad representation of national patriotism”, but while their public statements condemn the protests, China’s contradictory political maneuverings have long engaged in dissident behavior towards the West and their Southeast Asian neighbors.

While China’s political maneuverings this week are focused on the Philippines, they are not the only country whose borders have been encroached upon by the Chinese.  Most of Southeast Asia including Japan has been disputing the territories that fall within what is known as China’s “Nine Dash Line”.  A seemingly arbitrary line spanning across the entirety of the South China Sea, a line whose creation was solely determined by the Chinese government in 1947, but has still yet to be corroborated by the international community.  China’s Nine Dash line challenges not only the geographic claims of it’s neighbors but in addition, it also challenges international maritime law, both of which serve to illustrate China’s consistent record of disregard and disrespect for both international law and the international community at large.

Despite China’s blatant disregard for the international community the question still remains, what exactly is driving the dispute?  Why all the attention to a series of uninhabitable land masses in the middle of the South China sea?  The Philippines has suggested that the region is rich in oil, giving better insight into China’s recent obsession with the area.  Despite the apparent economic gain there is still no international consensus concerning the ownership of the area and the Hague court’s recent ruling ultimately calls into question China’s claims, inevitably having lasting implications for the other regional disputes in the South China Sea.

Not surprisingly though, China’s government officials were quick to denounce the Hague court rulings, explaining they would “not accept, not participate and not recognize” the legal proceedings of the court, referring to the arbitration and the court as an illegitimate tribunal whose findings are of no real consequence. It is clear that no matter whether China is silencing citizen protests or disregarding the legal claims of international neighbors, they consistently show their disdain for dissenting opinions, while stubbornly maintaining their own. The question plaguing the U.S. and the Philippines right now is to what lengths will China go to maintain control of the disputed regions within the nine dash line?

Over the weekend reports coming out of the the Philippines shed further light on China’s intentions concerning the dispute over the Scarborough Shoal.  The Governor of Zambales in the Philippines,  Amor Deloso told the Manila Bulletin Saturday that the Chinese military is currently present in the Sta. Cruz municipality of Zambales.  He went on further to explain that they are inhabiting an area of 500 hectares previously sold to the Chinese, by former Governor Hermogenes Ebdane, Jr. and ever since the Hague ruling, a United States warship has been watching over the area in question.   With an increased Chinese military presence now in and around the Philippines, it is clear how China intends to maintain control of the Scarborough Shoal.  While the future of China’s “Nine Dash line” is unclear, what is clear is how they plan on maintaining their control of it.  China’s increased presence and their unwavering dedication to disputing claims of the waters and land within the South China Sea implies a willingness to escalate if necessary. Whether it be through compromise or conflict, China seems poised to act accordingly, and with the United States in deep waters defending its interests in the region, it would seem that the Philippines may be in the center of a battle far greater than its squabble for the Scarborough Shoal.

 

by: Justin Blush        July 25, 2016

 

The Idea of Open-Source Politics and Crowd-Sourcing Leadership


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http://www.mediaroots.org/open-source-politics-an-inquiry-into-the-crowdsourcing-of-leadership/

The hallowed halls of a once respected US government are now filled with the hollow promises of an impotent governing class. In a political landscape riddled with indecision, political pageantry and growing despotism, the people are hungry for a leadership that represents them. Instead, we are faced with a corporatocracy – one hellbent on the consolidation of wealth and power rather than the proliferation of freedom and justice.

Believe it or not, there was a time when representative government worked on behalf of its people, but those days have long succumbed to the political distortions of misguided leadership. Thus, the age old questions remain: If it is possible to revitalize the self-governing power potential of the ‘We the People’, then what might be a viable alternative or how might we augment the current system to provide the proper infrastructure for a change of guard? Perhaps by looking to the revolutionary ideas of the internet and the co-creative force of its users and developers we can begin to find answers to those difficult questions.

One of the groundbreaking ideas that the internet has provided is that of open-source development, which promotes the universal access to a product’s design as well as redistribution of that design. This developmental model set by programmers and software developers exemplifies the highest order of free trade, and serves to utilize the best ideas for the overall benefit of the system. If we are to apply a similar model as the framework for government, we begin to see parallels between open-source programming and the ideas put forth by America’s founding fathers.

Unfortunately, the fundamental ideology of the US political system has been absent from view for quite some time. The growing disconnect between the people and their representatives has led to a lag in public representation, thus resulting in a severe lack of people’s interests and ideas being properly expressed by US legislation and leadership.

A recent example of this contrast is illustrated in the debate over the legalization of marijuana, where an overwhelming public support for legalization has not been echoed by the government, nor the legislation regarding the issue. However, the ‘War on Drugs’ is only one of many examples which illustrates the delay we are experiencing in our current democratic process.

In a world where efficiency and speed are essential to human progress, it’s unfortunate that our legislative powers have become cumbersome and inefficient. However, the internet’s crowd-sourcing concept could provide us with the possibility to facilitate some level of autonomy, where the average individual has the ability to exercise their right to self-representation.

The idea of crowd-sourcing was first referenced by Jeff Howe of Wired magazine, and can be best understood as the purposeful re-appropriation of resources for achieving a particular goal by an indeterminate group of individuals.  Much like open-source programming which relies upon a multitude of contributors, so too does crowd-sourcing rely upon the involvement and contributions of the collective.

There are many examples of crowd-sourcing being used throughout the internet today.  Chemists have crowd-sourced protein folding techniques, YouTube has done so with entertainment, Facebook with different language versions of it’s site, while politicians and artists alike have crowd-sourced funding for their campaigns and projects. If this is a successful tool for science, entertainment and finance, could it also be possible to crowd-source political leadership?

Endless possibilities could present themselves once we focus the “spare processing power of millions of human brains” towards the evolution of political representation. For example, a truly participatory system could unfold which no longer relies upon single individuals to represent the will of many, but instead allows all people to become micro-leaders in a process of collective representation. Although this idea may seem farfetched, it’s not far from the framework that helped to build this country’s political system.

The founding fathers believed that public office should be held by its citizens, to act as contributors as well as beneficiaries in a collective effort to provide society with a fair and just governing body. As we continue to evolve socially and intellectually, it’s the hope that our leadership would incorporate the enlightened ideas of the past as well as those that propel us into the future. If they don’t, ‘We the People’ can and will find ways to represent ourselves through active participation in the political process.

As more and more people wake up to the corruption of the current system and the lack of political reflection on a federal level, passive acceptance of oligarchical rule will end, soon to be replaced by an active contribution in the political progress of this country, and ultimately, the world.

Written by Justin Blush for Media Roots

You can Follow @Justin_Blush on Twitter

Justin writes for Media Roots News with Abby Martin and you can read more of his content at mediaroots.org

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The State of Surveillance and Our Fight for Freedom | MEDIA ROOTS – Reporting From Outside Party Lines


The United States surveillance state has grown to a level never witnessed before in history. Following the revelations of Edward Snowden, the world is now privy to the lengths to which the U.S. government has been watching every single one of us in the global community. International governments caught off guard by the breadth of the United States spying program are now questioning to what extent they want their internet traffic funneling through U.S. servers and ISPs.

In all aspects of the global contemporary life, the U.S. government has found its way into the far reaches of personal space. From NSA email and phone spy programs, to FBI surveillance drones, the airwaves are filled with the prying eyes of our so-called protectors. These discriminating eyes which have creeped their way into every facet of our lives continue to intensify their surveillance efforts across the planet…..

Read More of Justin Blush’s article on the Surveillance State at Media Roots

Media Roots is a citizen journalism project that reports the news from outside of party lines while providing a collaborative forum for conscious citizens, artists and activists to unite.

via The State of Surveillance and Our Fight for Freedom | MEDIA ROOTS – Reporting From Outside Party Lines.

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Incarceration: a New American Pastime | MEDIA ROOTS – Reporting From Outside Party Lines


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Media Roots is a citizen journalism project that reports the news from outside of party lines while providing a collaborative forum for conscious citizens, artists and activists to unite.

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A Pattern of Tyranny & the War Machine of the West


 

 

 

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The political game of the United States has become a spectator sport for the People of a once great country.  We watch in the comfort of our homes as our politicians feign leadership, while wielding a war machine that was never meant to be.   On the heels of shattered promises, we find ourselves in familiar territory as President Obama makes his case for war once again.  A case that eerily echoes the controversy of Bush’s WMDs and Iraqi despotism at the beginning of this dysfunctional story.

 

But unlike the coalition of his predecessor in 2003, Obama’s recent, seemingly strong, coalition of support now wavers in the wake of a devastating defeat in the halls of the British Commons. Britain’s lawmakers have decided not to follow us into our attack on Syria.  So why the change of heart?  Could it be Britain and the rest of the world have begun to recognize the inconsistencies of United States regurgitated rhetoric.  Or maybe it is due to the deplorable decision-making of our so-called democratic practitioners.

 

In either case the world now waits for the evidence we hold against Syria.  All of us have been promised this evidence, a so-called proof that has apparently laid the groundwork for these future strikes on Syria, but in our foolish anticipation for the smoking gun, what we shall soon find is that the United States is the only one whose finger is on any trigger. A lone gunman, on a global stage, in a perilous drama of playback politics, and recycled rhetoric. It’s players, playing for an audience of fools and fanatics, acting out the script given to them and those who came before. A bitter cast of thugs and thieves driving a war machine that no longer represents the best interests of the American People and the world.

 

The People of the world are waking up and recognizing that United States aggression around the globe is not rooted in heroism but hubris. In our fight for Freedom, it is not Freedom we dispense but rather it is tyranny, a tyranny that continues to impose its will upon the world in the pursuit of selfish gain.  A tyranny that represents the worst parts of human nature and neglects to nurture the best aspects of what humans can be.

So let the dogma of United States democracy, no longer close its doors to dissent, and let us stand in opposition to the warmongering tactics of our lost leaders.  Protest war proliferation, call your Congress, speak out against attacking Syria , stand up for Liberty and fight against the despotism of overgrown military establishments such as this one. If our capacity for peace was developed as well as our capacity for war, just imagine what we might achieve. John Lennon once said “War is Over if You Want It.”  The Fight for Freedom is ours to fight, We the People have the power to drive the decisions of our Leaders but it requires action and to win the fight we must break our silence.

Just. B.

“Overgrown military establishments are under any form of government inauspicious to liberty, and are to be regarded as particularly hostile to liberty” George Washington.

 

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Politics, Protests and the People: An Evolution of Political Influence


Taksim Square Protest

The recent events of NSA spying, the scandal of IRS targeting, Obama’s drone wars and the Taksim Square protests in Turkey have only helped to further illuminate the growing rift between the global political system and it’s People. We the people of the world have become a caged bird squawking at our freedom through the bars of our conditioning.  The People’s hopes have been hung out to dry, becoming tattered and torn in the winds of a so-called “change”. In the ashes of our disappointment, a renovated “hope” will once again rise to be sold in its place. Continuing the conversation and further sustaining our controller’s financial and political pursuits for another 4 to 8 years. Faced with this disappointment there are still many conditioned citizens, fiends of a fraudulent Freedom, which continue to be doped up and addicted to an illusion of social progress, awaiting their next fix of political heroes and heroines.  And while many will likely rush out to the polls next election to get a fix of gender equality, as female hopefuls like Hillary Clinton and others make their way to the main stage, there is fortunately a growing number of individuals that have begun to recognize the political pageantry and posturing put forth by our so-called leaders of the free world.  How long will we allow these pushers of pre-packaged progress to hold sway over our ideas and beliefs?

This culture of corruption in the world has climbed to new heights and has begun breaking down the controls and conditioning that have captured the hearts of the people for far too long.  The credibility of our controllers has become laughable and the people are beginning to look to their leaders with disdain and disbelief, rather than with pride and praise.  Everyday we come ever closer to the realization that no one can represent us, in the same way that we can represent ourselves. A new evolution in human consciousness is upon us and we look to new ways to break old molds.  Information will be our saving grace in our pursuit for true democracy, in this political landscape which hinges upon the deceptive practices of its contributors.

As the democratization of information continues to revolutionize the cultural constructs of yesterdays past, we stand on the cusp of a new epoch in the intellectual development of the human species and thankfully 2 Billion plus people around the world are now apart of a global conversation.  A conversation which informs, entertains, and documents the story of the people.  The technological manifestations of our intellect are changing the ways with which we interact with each other and the world.  American engineer and Intel entrepreneur Peter Diamandis has explained that new technologies will soon democratize production globally, leading to a new paradigm of abundance. In this same thread we are seeing a democratization of political power and influence as well, which is leading to an abundance of information and innovation. The death of history lies on the horizon as the global village begins to document their own story, narrating their own past, present and future, free from the hands of a dominant class.

While this normalization of power proliferates, it continues to present new and unexpected challenges for the political paradigm of our global society. We as a collective are beginning to realize the true nature of our influence and are beginning to exercise that influence as a path to political, social and economic change. Modern finance is evolving as we attempt to free it from the bondage of banking institutions and government controls with the advent of new money technologies like that of Bitcoin.The internet is developing new voices which have never before been heard, that now echo across the airwaves and inhabit the brainwaves of street rats and fat cats alike.

Change is in the chatter, so let us join the conversation and evolve. Our growing collective is manifesting new realities by the minute which we then reinvent, refine and re-define for the global community.  This global conversation is projecting new ideologies everyday into the ether of the internet for each of us to consume, transform, and re-innovate for further reproduction.  We are living on the cusp of an intellectual infinite where every person on the earth will have the ability to access information, incorporate innovations, and proliferate their own progress into the human story being laid out in front of us all. We are here to bear witness to a great revolution in the human spirit where a change of guard awaits us, in a future of self-representation and self-expression. So let us create our place in the hallways of history, by speaking the Truth, fighting for Freedom and collectively developing a reality which reflects the true nature of our ideals.  Tune out of the Tyranny, turn onto the Truth and drop out of a system that has nothing to do with who you are.  Stand for yourself and for those around you, and let us change the world.

Just. B.

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