Friday, February 29, 2008


Missionizing the Mission

With the closure of New College of California, some are asking how it was that a board of trustees with deep pockets and well-heeled connections could be so flaky. I think part of the answer lies in how they viewed themselves and their fiduciary appointment. Given the marketed image of poverty counseling -- including legal and family counseling clinics -- along with Latino-centric teacher education, the trustees likely saw themselves as akin to missionaries, or in terms more appropriate to the Mission District where they operated, as patrones.

Unfortunately, as we know all too well, missionaries are just another form of colonizer--in this case colonizers of the mind. By exploiting the populations they ostensibly served, the trustees of New College were no different than other hustlers who've looted poverty programs since the 1960s. Like the HUD scandals, the New College scandals involved using minority fronts to rip off minorities, as well as idealistic white young people. The only difference was that New College trustees actually bragged about their incompetence and intention to break the rules. All part of the defiant posture of piety I guess.

One of the most stupid of the trustees I met was the chair of the board, Cathrine Sneed, a black woman who made her career teaching felons gardening. Fine in itself, but embarassing when she went on KPFA community radio announcing New College gave away degrees to prisoners in San Quentin for their life experience--a claim that wasn't true, but was nevertheless widely-circulated as an example of how flaky the institution was. Oddly, the white boys running the place -- Martin Hamilton and Peter Gabel -- thought this was clever marketing.

It's hard to say how much cocaine abuse or growing up rich affected the attitudes of some of the New College trustees, but the arrogance of thumbing their nose at the laws enacted to prevent fraud in the use of federal Department of Education funds was clearly influenced by lifetimes of skating on misbehavior due to their political influence. Trustees Peter Gabel and James Sweeney in particular.

Gabel's father-in-law, Agar Jaicks -- a Democratic Party national committee member -- was probably responsible for the $400,000 in political pork Pelosi shoveled New College's way during her run for office, and maybe this high-level connection helped protect the school from the wrath of WASC for a while, but eventually even peepless Pelosi couldn't save them from themselves. After 30 years of flaunting higher ed regulations, the house of cards simply had to collapse.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008


Exposing Crime a Crime?

Listen to interviews of Pulitzer winner James Risen, recently subpoenaed for exposing NSA and CIA crimes under the Bush administration.

Monday, February 25, 2008


Whistleblowing Netwar

Wikileaks fights on for truth, justice, and the American way!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008


Human Sacrifice

The Marines have a program called Young Marines that encourages parents to sign up their children in elementary school for drill practices, militarized outings and indoctrination. ... the US Army Surgeon General issued an order telling military counselors to stop helping Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans fill out paperwork required to seek psychological assistance.
Recruiting Kids to Kill

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Real News

Breaking the monopoly of faux news

Monday, February 11, 2008


Politics of Entertainment

The ultimate culture jam for my generation was arguably the Black Power Salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Mexico City Olympics. While 300 protesting students were murdered by Mexican army and police ten days earlier, Smith and Carlos reminded the world that white power was built on slavery.

Four decades later, as we approach the Olympics in Beijing, slave labor and human rights is still an issue of world concern. Indeed, while Third World children and virtual slaves labor away in sweatshops to produce such items as Nike athletic wear, Chinese writers are being imprisoned.

Meanwhile, in Vancouver, First Nations are opposing the theft of sacred lands by the government of Canada in order to produce the mindless spectacle of the coming winter Olympics. If sports fans find this disturbing, then maybe we can start talking about the politics of entertainment.

Friday, February 08, 2008


New College Cover-up Continues

Last August, New College Independent Alumni Association called for an investigation into financial fraud at the school. To date there has been no accounting of the gag-order payoffs to trustees, their family members, fired faculty, or the accountants and money managers who left in the September stampede. With last night's TV coverage of the financial crisis, we have to ask why the feds are allowing the cover-up to continue.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Hard to Imagine

Yesterday, the Seattle Times ran an article about tribal healing projects undertaken to deal with the multi-generational community trauma resulting from the brutality of American Indian boarding schools in the US. Three years ago, the Canadian government appropriated $5 billion for a similar project to help First Nations survivors of the schools in Canada. Australia, which also stole children from its aboriginal population for the purpose of indoctrination in white supremacy, has yet to put any money where its mouth is.

Canadian aboriginals, of course, had to fight in court to get their government to discover its humanity. American original peoples have so far chosen not to pursue claims in the judicial system. For all three of these modern states, founded as English colonies, we find it hard to understand why there is any reluctance at all to voluntarily remedy the harms done to the internally displaced and abused native children. Perhaps the collective conscience of white society just can't handle it.

I mean, it's one thing to steal land. But children? That is hard to imagine.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


Time Warp

For some reason, these photos from Occupied Palestine reminded me of an exhibit from Occupied Northern Ireland twenty years ago. Children playing in the snow behind ghetto walls, soldiers harassing teenagers and old people.

For that matter, it could be Occupied Warsaw 1939.

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