Wednesday, November 29, 2006


Let the Mockery Begin

U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein (D)--San Francisco sponsors bill to make activism against corporate criminals illegal. Could civil disobedience ever be so sweet?


Just Passing Through

I came to the world through love and by chance, and I want to leave it the same way.
--Pedro Sanchez
from the novel Just Passing Through by Paco Ignacio Taibo

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Consider the Following

A friend of mine once remarked to one of his students that property is theft. While the nuances of that comment are easily conflated, his point that most accumulated wealth in the world was obtained through murder, slavery, and larceny remains an undisputed fact of human history.

But in his attempt to stir thoughtful collegial discussion, my friend was not limiting his observation to the past. At the time, he was addressing Clinton's NAFTA, but he could just as easily have been critiquing Bush's CAFTA, or whatever bipartisan EVERAFTA the future might bring.

Intending to rouse his dreary prospects from compliantly accepting economic brutality as a fait accompli, this benign mentor was also prompting them to consider the roots of a system that rewards theft and punishes honesty, to explore for themselves the moral dimensions of criminality as a way of life, and the impact this is likely to have on the human spirit.

Monday, November 27, 2006


Whitewashing the Green Zone

FAIR has some great links on NPR and the phony blame game. Christian Science Monitor on the free fraud zone and Village Voice on how the Iraqi Green Zone Government is simply carrying on.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Victory in Deceit

CBS News reporter Lara Logan's cultivated image of tough news correspondent is apparently valued in the scripted confrontation over making Iran a scapegoat for the American failure in Iraq. Read or watch the interview with General Abizaid.

The internal melodrama between State and the Pentagon, externalized in the Times and on 60 Minutes, seems designed to prepare Americans for utter failure of our military misadventure in Iraq, as well as for bombing Iran as a form of catharsis. In the closing scene of Mesopotamia, we suspect all will be forgiven to a chorus of good intentions.

Failure, however, depends on one's point of view. If you owned stock in Chevron, Halliburton, Honeywell, or Lockheed, it was a very enterprising war.

Friday, November 24, 2006


Mapuche v Chile

Pinochet's police state may be history in Chile, but for the 600,000 Mapuche Indians, their fight with Spanish-Chilean aristocrats continues. Repeated incarceration and torture of Chief Juana Calfunao and her family for protesting ethnocidal policies and road-building through their land has forced the Mapuche Nation to bring their plight before the UN.


Already Dead

For all the contrived complexities of commerce taught in business schools, economics boils down to getting what you need versus what someone else wants. There exists no better illustration of this than the global struggle of indigenous peoples to prevent states and corporations from laying waste to the entire planet in the pursuit of luxury goods.

Attempting to arrest economies of wanton destruction from tearing the heart out of Mother Earth and leaving behind toxic radioactive waste, however, is not so simple as appealing to common sense or requesting simple respect for sacred beliefs. As living remnants of free peoples and authentic lifeways, the aboriginal nations that have survived annihilation by hoarding economies now find themselves facing down an insatiable world system of plunder.

Conscious of their history, they know this is the final battle. They also know they need our help. As the Mayan of Mexico lately observed, "We are already dead."


Yellow Dirt

Navajo organize indigenous world summit against uranium mining.

Thursday, November 23, 2006


Dancing the Rebellion

With her novel The Grass Dancer, Susan Power joins an elite circle of American Indian authors--including Sherman Alexie, Leslie Marmon Silko, Simon Ortiz, N. Scott Momaday, and Ray A. Young Bear.


Social Infrastructure

There is, of course, a difference between moral theatrics and moral sanction. Consolidating a cultural base of support inevitably requires both intellectual development and spiritual growth.

J. Alva:
Exactly the case. The anti-war movement fizzled after that awful open letter from the putative leaders. It had the appalling stink of celebrity showboating and selfish, disingenuous abrogation of responsibility. No baseline means no place to plant your feet and grow.

One of my mentors once observed that my exemplary yet tragic activism served as a cautionary tale to others considering whether or not to become directly involved in public affairs. Judging from the price we and others like us paid, it is not unreasonable to conclude that principled participation is an inherently bad experience to be avoided at all costs.

Assuming this is how dutiful citizenship is viewed by those sympathetic to our sacrifice and gallantry, how might we construct social support infrastructure that would enable meritorious community service to withstand the inevitable adversity and personal hardship encountered in this arena?

J. Alva:
I think that that kind of community support can't be built outside intentional communities, indigenous groups and some religious affiliations, most of which already have that as an essential component of the face they present to the world. Building it from scratch on a nation-wide level is an ambition worthy of a fool, or many such. I am hoping that Lohmann, who has studied this
intensively, and done work in the area, will post soon on the topic -- because I am out of ideas.

A network of affinity groups, associated scholars, institutionalized organizations, is certainly a different organism than a clan, tribe, or aboriginal nation, but as anomalies in a vastly dysfunctional society, it's what we have to work with. Likewise, the synergy created and symbiosis developed may not be as strong or majestic as an extended family with millenia of experience together, but it's better than nothing.

J. Alva:
The thing, then, I conclude from your comment is that time would be better spent networking affinity groups. I have to look more closely now at the CWIS, among others.

Having chosen to express and act on sympathies in opposition to the dominant society, we can hardly expect to be rewarded by mainstream organizations.

With the Internet, self-determined people previously isolated can now connect. It's always nice to have friends and colleagues close enough to meet face-to-face, but that isn't always an option. I think I mentioned once that individuals with exceptional abilities and ideas aren't that hard to find. They are usually doing or saying something publicly, and if we strike up a correspondence, we might find a mutually beneficial result.

For the decade I was able to affect local politics with other members of my community, I enjoyed a more tangible prestige and sense of belonging. The subsequent trauma as a result of our community's disintegration, and our individual scattering thousands of miles apart illustrated for me just how fragile our communal relationships are. My former activist partners are still part of my network, as are my new online associates, but the relationship is now reflective--not active.

I don't miss the level of stress involved in sustained community organizing amidst intense social conflict--ten years of that is enough. So my role has changed, but my methods remain. My more socially rooted indigenous and religious colleagues continue to inform my theses, as well as keep me connected and involved. With luck that might once again lead to more intimate forms of exchange.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006



Reading Mona's recent report from Gaza, I am reminded of the siege of Sarajevo. I can also understand how she and many Palestinians have lost all faith in international institutions to protect human rights.


Beacons of Peace

Action taken collectively


No Reason to Kill

"A nonkilling society can be defined as a human community from the smallest to the largest in which (1) there is no killing of humans and no threats to kill, (2) there are no weapons for killing humans and no ideological justifications for killing – in computer terms, no hardware and no software for killing, and (3) there are no social conditions that depend, for maintenance or change, upon the threat or use of killing force.”
--Glenn Paige

Tuesday, November 21, 2006


Breath of Fresh Air

Juli Meanwhile asserts that Americans are insulated more by ignorance than by any other buffer. I would add that they are also accustomed to consuming rhetorical discussions that deal with symptoms but not causes. My experience in the public arena is that when a knowledgeable participant introduces accurate information and coherent analysis to these venues, it is like a breath of fresh air for many observers.

Monday, November 20, 2006


Noncooperation with Evil

Catholic Worker Movement


Murder as a Way of Life

Challenging murder as a way of life isn't going to be tidy. Nor is mobilizing School of the Americas type disruptions at munitions and weapons factories a simple task, despite all those brave-hearted Catholic Workers.

The fallout from displacing our imperial economy portends misery any way you cut it. Internal violence will ensue.

Sunday, November 19, 2006



It's tough enough out there with the GOP and the Minutemen capitalizing on xenophobia, without CBS 60 Minutes helping them. In tonight's program, all the RNC lies about undocumented immigrants went unchallenged. Not one word about US-backed dictators destroying Latin American countries. No mention of the horrors of NAFTA and US-trained death squads still murdering campesinos and indigenous peoples.


The Common Enemy

Book the film

Friday, November 17, 2006


Little Big Apple

Resistance teach-in


Indigecide Compact

US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand governments derail United Nations Human Rights Council in its effort to prevent extermination of indigenous peoples. Botswana joins the four former British colonies in seeking loophole allowing ethnic cleansing against aboriginal nations.

Thursday, November 16, 2006


Democrats on Roll

U.S. Senate Majority Leader elect Harry Reid of Nevada hits the ground running with bipartisan bill to force Shoshone tribes off treaty lands. Bribes to Senator Reid from mining companies apparently paying off, as fraudulent Indian panel used by Reid to subvert lawful tribal governments assists Congress in perpetrating massive land swindle.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006


We're All in this Together Kid

Having seen Terry Gilliam's movie classic Brazil many times since it debued during the Iran-Contra scandal two decades ago, I still notice new audio and visual effects that warm my rebellious heart. Just so I don't spoil anything for someone who hasn't yet seen this cinematic treat, the spirit of the season now only a month off holds the clue to my recent discovery.

To that there is no rebuttle.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006


Psychic Capitulation

I feel a psychic malaise that is something quite new, and, well, a few years ago I began noticing in public speaking that there was a great deal less response on the part of audiences. You would get audiences that would sit there quite passively looking at you as if you were on television. And if questions came, they were very likely to be questions such as "Tell us what to do". ...And I began hearing about it from other people who are involved in public speaking and then finally I read a whole section about it in Noam Chomsky's latest book. He has exactly the same experience of audiences, and all of these experiences begin around 1989, 1991.

What I think has happened to us is not just TV. TV is just a symptom. So, what's happening is a kind of cognitive collapse around this single world. When people no longer feel a possibility in the world, a possibility of another position, then they become consciously opposed to the one. And conscious opposition is extremely difficult in an atmosphere that's completely poisoned by media such that no oppositional voice is ever really heard. Unless you yourself make the effort to get down to the alternative media, where that voice is still feebly speaking, then you're left simply in this one world of sameness and separation.

Sameness -- everything is the same; separation -- every individual is separated from every other individual; complete alienation, complete unity. And I think that on the unconscious level, on the level of images, on the mythological level, on the religious level if you wanna put it that way, this is what's happening, especially in America. I can't really speak of other places to the same degree. I've traveled in other countries, but one never has the sense of other countries the way one has the sense of one's own country. But I would imagine that it's a world-wide phenomenon -- this kind of capitulation to the mono-culture on the deepest psychic level.
--interview with Hakim Bey

Monday, November 13, 2006


Prologue Revisited

2007 will mark the 40th anniversary of the Guy Debord classic Society of the Spectacle, roundly acknowledged as the most incisive and influential cultural analysis of the twentieth century. It will also mark the 50th occasion observing his remarks on the early development of a culture of imbeciles. We expect the Bureau of Public Secrets will make the most of the coming celebration of the profoundly earth-shaking assemblage known as the Situationist International, which adroitly addressed the prologue to our present confusion.

Friday, November 10, 2006


Grand Tour

We could hardly believe our good fortune; nor could we sleep that night, so we watched an Italian phone-in TV program on which a woman dressed as a fortune teller took calls and read fortunes from tarot cards to watchers who happily used their credit cards to know how their lives would turn out...

Read more from Zimbabwe Jane

Thursday, November 09, 2006


Wishful Thinking

Is Human Rights Watch capable of objective analysis, or is it merely cast in the role of professional protagonist in the state-sponsored spectacle of moral theatrics on a global stage?


Back to Basics

Personal inquiries via e-mail since Tuesday suggest a need for a brief refresher on public interest. Suffice to say that impeachment, peace, and recovery of assets through prosecution of profiteering are basic requisites at this point.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Somebody Publish This Guy

"And even although I was only six and in the first grade, by that time I had attended quite a number of them. This due to my parents separation and divorce and the usual too-ing and fro-ing that went with that sort of thing in those days. In reality I believe they were trying to sort out who was going to get stuck with me but this is only a supposition on my part and has never been definitely proven. But, as I mentioned before, my father lost and had to take me. And seeing as how this was not very practical, a small boy is about the last thing you need in a construction camp, I ended up in a tent, in a forest full of bears, with a very loving grandmother with a big cook stove and without hardly trying, had managed to get myself excused/expelled from school. How much better could it get?"

--from the Biographical Notes in progress of Darryl E. Bowles, a Colville Indian and retired Baltic salvage tug operator now living on the Costa del Sol.


Gate of the Sun

Reading Gate of the Sun, Elias Khoury's epic novel of the Palestinian Odyssey, one is impressed with the fatal sense infused in the soul of the indigenous inhabitants and exiles of Palestine by the many empires that have come and gone from their landscape. More importantly, perhaps, is the prophesied destiny of the latest conquerors whose sullied souls, in the end, are likely to destroy themselves. Their brutal carnage--like that of other empires--is destined to end, and amends must be made; if not with the victims, then with themselves.

Monday, November 06, 2006


The Right to Connect

For people like Mona El Farra in Gaza or Delegado Zero in Mexico, their connection to life is defining. For those of us exempt from daily struggle to survive annihilation, this connection is less tangible.

But even Dr. Farra and Subcomandante Marcos would tell you the connection to life is all one struggle, be it to humans or forests or other species under 24/7 assault by the destroyers who live on our blood, and that the important thing is to make that living connection and then to do what you are able to nurture and protect it.

With the Internet and mass media, we are connected to too much death; without a connection to life, the sacred wonder of awareness is wasted. We must fight for the right to connect.

Sunday, November 05, 2006


Bulwark Against Humanity

Freeport-McMoran considered as a socially responsible business is, by itself, enough to make my head explode. The BSR also appears to be mining CWIS for resources they can twist into perception management.
--J. Alva Scruggs

True, BSR is a commercially-driven public relations enterprise comprising a membership that includes many transnational corporations better known for their felonious conduct than for good neighborship. The irony is that by promoting fraudulent or half-hearted cooperation with indigenous peoples they elevate awareness of the moral and legal issues they frequently violate.

Scanning their site, they are not surprisingly oriented toward global institutions that have the ability to overpower stateless nations, and undoubtedly see it to their advantage to bolster these state-oriented structures as a bulwark against grassroots mobilization such as seen in Mexico's Other Campaign.

Always good to know what your opponents are up to.


Cult of Tenacity

"Several lines of evidence demonstrate the inability of the individual to realize the imminence of catastrophic change; adjustment to such change is not made with appropriate swiftness. Rather, mechanisms of self-protection against full realization of danger are most conspicuous. Outstanding are the victims' adherence to familiar scenes and activities and their persistence toward established goals, even though the familiar has become fraught with danger and the attainment of established goals is no longer possible."

--from the chapter Personality Under Social Catastrophe in the anthology Personality in Nature, Society, and Culture edited by Clyde Kluckhohn

Saturday, November 04, 2006


Beit Hanoun

Gaza's Wounded Knee

Friday, November 03, 2006


Fight to Survive

Much has been written here of late, as well as reported elsewhere, about the valiant last-ditch efforts by indigenous peoples around the globe to protect themselves from the accelerating predations and pollutions of the Free-Market. Sometimes characterized as a movement for self-determination, this unified struggle by stateless nations to prevent capitalism run amok from destroying every last inch of earth, drop of water, and breath of air on planet Earth, might very well pose the question our ruler posited five years ago: Are you with us, or against us?

And if you're with us: What will you do to help?

Thursday, November 02, 2006


Nuclear Negligence

Yakama Nation pursues Superfund claim to restore environment of Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Radioactive waste already entering Columbia River.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


Absolute Evil

Values Voter Summit--Listen in.


Fools Gold

The Powder River Basin of northern Wyoming and southern Montana is bounded by the Big Horn Mountains to the west, the Black Hills to the east, and the Yellowstone River to the north. Within this area today are Devils Tower National Monument (Bears Lodge), and the Northern Cheyenne Indian Reservation. The Powder, the Tongue, and the Little Big Horn rivers that flow through these grasslands from the Bighorns to the Yellowstone wash over the sites of some of the fiercest battles between the U.S. Army and the nations of Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapaho as the War Department and Department of the Interior between the 1850s and 1870s completed the ethnic cleansing of the Great Plains.

The impetus for the scorched earth campaign by Sherman, Sheridan, Crook, and Custer was initially to remove the Indians from the rich grasslands where they hunted buffalo and antelope to replace them with white ranchers, but in the end it was the yellow gold of the Black Hills that forced the final solution on the Plains Indians and sacrificed the Seventh Cavalry at the Little Big Horn.

Today, the sacred Black Hills that lie just across the Bad Lands from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation, and the Powder River Basin that still echoes with the names of Red Cloud, Sitting Bull, and Crazy Horse is again under attack by the United States--this time for fools gold.

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