Saturday, May 31, 2008


Voting and Democracy

Democracy in Russia means the wealth formerly monopolized by apparatchiks is now plundered by mafia. Democracy to peasants in Romania means being able to do what they want, like murder Gypsies. Democracy in Kosovo means they can now smuggle heroin and AK-47s. Still, they can all vote, so that's democracy, right? But wait, they got to vote when they were communists.

Maybe it's having more than one political party to bribe for kickbacks that makes them a democracy. That would make the definition universal.

Friday, May 30, 2008


Free Trade in Peru

On behalf of transnational corporations, President Garcia attempts an end run around the Peruvian constitution in order to undermine laws protecting communal indigenous property from hostile takeovers.

Thursday, May 29, 2008


Marines as Missionaries

Christian evangelical US Marines are intentionally humiliating residents of Fallujah by proselytizing this community previously destroyed by bombardment and chemical warfare in revenge for the killing of four Blackwater USA mercenaries.

(For more on Blackwater and Christian fascists in the Department of Defense, see The Second Civil War and The Enemy Within.)


Travel by Train

Peter's Paris today features photos of Gare de l'Est, our point of arrival Summer of 1999. His post also has a map of the six stations, including Gare de l'Nord where we departed. Peter kindly includes a brief history of Parisian train stations, like the d'Orsay, which is now a delightful little museum across the Seine from the Louvre, as well as the opera house, which can be viewed at leisure from an enchanting outdoor cafe nearby.

What impresses me, though, is that the stations and routes are continually improving, with 200 mph service to all corners of France every day. Imagine what that would be like!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008


The Second Civil War

Fascism is the logical outcome of a privatized state--an outcome US corporations have already achieved. Blackwater USA, a private military founded by right-wing Christians, provides the bulk of the 100,000 unaccountable mercenaries used by the Pentagon in Iraq and Afghanistan. Armed with machine guns, Blackwater thugs were also used by the federal government in stopping Blacks in New Orleans trying to escape the Hurricane Katrina flooding from walking over a bridge into a white suburb.

Real News TV features Jeremy Scahill's report on Blackwater, The Shadow Army.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008


Eliminating Diversity

Removal of the unusual and exclusion of the non-conforming is the primary purpose of state-sponsored education. Aboriginal knowledge centres, on the other hand, stress the importance of making a place for everyone and everything.

Promoters of superficial education like to pride themselves on the practicality of career-oriented institutions of higher learning, but one look at the world they have created should make one pause to think.

As aboriginal cultures understand, knowledge cannot be fast-tracked. The path to wisdom is a slow, arduous undertaking; as more of us are beginning to realize, short cuts in learning are literally dead ends.

Monday, May 26, 2008


New Categories

Novellas, poetry, screenplays, and short stories have been added as sidebar categories.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Trail of Tears 170 Years

The ethnic cleansing of the Cherokee by the US government, made use of the orderly practice established by its parent empire England in its first colony of Northern Ireland. Ironically, this custom of legalizing state-sponsored atrocity with the appearance of fair, albeit asymmetrical exchange, is what now gives the indigenous of former English colonies legal standing for their land and resource claims. Out of habit, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and the US are still trying to weasel out of bargains they struck in bad faith, but treaties are contracts, and betraying them today exposes perpetrators to charges of racial discrimination under international law--a consequence even bigots try to avoid.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Walk About

When we were residing in Portugal nine years ago, gasoline was $4/gallon. Most people took public transit or walked, no one drove SUVs. Our elderly landlord took his daily morning walk to the market, where he got what he needed for the day--an amount he could easily carry home.

We, too, avoided the expense of petrol by riding trains and buses and walking, which incidentally provided us the opportunity to meet interesting people and learn about local history, as well as find places to enjoy local cuisine at non-touristic prices.

Watching my American neighbors drive by in their SUVs to the market or to their health club for a workout, passing me and my dog on our way to the park, always amuses me; they could get so much more for so much less by just walking out their door.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Unclean Ungreen

According to Pacific Institute, the plastic for bottled water in the US in 2006 required the equivalent of 17 million barrels of oil. Now that's worth fighting a war over!


Sentimental Solemnity

American rituals entail a solicitous sentimental solemnity, exhibiting neither a sacramental sense of ceremony, nor a customary habit of practiced precious protocols--by and large thoughtless occasions.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


The New Slavery

Kathy Kelly asks, "Who are the criminals in this country?" Real News TV interviews Kelly on the new slavery--the prison industry, a "self-reinforcing system" where 1 in 9 Blacks between the ages of 20 and 34 are imprisoned.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


A Day to Remember

Palestinian citizens of Israel last week observed Israel's Independence Day with their own ceremonies commemorating Nakba (Catastrophe), by walking their children in extended family groups to the sites of their former villages destroyed by Israel to erase the evidence of Palestinian civilization. While this day of observance took place in hundreds of locations across the Jewish state, it was near Nazareth this Independence Day that mounted Israeli police charged into the Palestinian families with batons, firing stun grenades and tear gas indiscriminately into the peaceful procession of remembrance--an event the young children present will no doubt remember.

Monday, May 19, 2008


The Enemy Within

Military Religious Freedom Foundation takes on Christian Fascists in the US Department of Defense. Real News TV takes a closer look at the enemy within.


Invasive News

The UN figure of displaced Iraqis is 4.9 million, and nearly half of those have fled the country. A UNHCR/IPSOS survey of Iraqi refugees in Syria in March found that only 4% were planning to return to Iraq. Oxfam International claims another 4 million are in serious need of emergency aid without which they will probably die. On 12 April the Iraqi parliament urged the government to reallocate $5bn earmarked for investment in infrastructure and services to social welfare programmes and a functional food rationing system for nearly 2.8 million internally displaced persons.

A study in The Lancet in October 2006 estimated the number of Iraqis who died as a direct result of invasion and occupation to be 655,000 or 2.5% of the population. This figure (now very out of date), plus the number of displaced Iraqis and those in need of emergency aid, means nearly 10 million of 27 million citizens are dead or displaced or living in the worst conditions.

--Dahr Jamail Le Monde Diplomatique

Saturday, May 17, 2008


Self Reliance

The UN Human Rights Council is a state-oriented body housed in a state-oriented institution. And even though the Human Rights Council’s own reports acknowledge the complicity of member states and transnational corporations in perpetrating the worst human rights abuses in the world today, depending on state-oriented governance structures (like the UN) to challenge these First World abusers is illogical. Self-reliance is indeed a much more dependable approach for Fourth World nations in resolving grievances over land and bigotry.

Friday, May 16, 2008


Spirit of Reconciliation

I was remarking the other day to a friend how odd it was that there are no tribal colleges in California, despite the fact it has the largest Native American population in the United States. Part of this, no doubt, has to do with the devastating effect of greed exemplified by the Gold Rush and other forms of forced displacement (like Yosemite National Park) that made many California Indians homeless refugees.

But the tragic undermining of California's indigenous cultures that might have given rise to such things as colleges precedes the American settlers and governments in the form of the Spanish missions, in which a recent article revealed Catholic church records that documented atrocities rivaling Nazi forced-labor death camps. The inter-generational community trauma of this system of conquest by the Dominican and Franciscan orders must have had lasting impacts on California's indigenous society.

Returning to the present, it would seem that the beneficiaries of the indigenous wealth usurped by the Catholic Church, the State of California, and the United States of America might want to see some degree of restitution begun in a spirit of reconciliation. Perhaps a joint effort to establish a tribally owned, designed, and managed institution of higher education would be a good initial step in that process.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Injustice at Justice

Readers might recall a year ago the purge of US Attorneys by the Department of Justice. In today's article, Indian Country Today notes that five of the eight fired were active members of the DOJ Native American Issues Subcommittee, and were known as strong advocates for legal justice on reservations.

John Dossett, general counsel for the National Congress of American Indians, said, ''We've never really been given a reason why so many people who were so strong on Indian legal issues were let go.''

In September, the United States was one of four countries in the world to oppose the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. Maybe these events are in some way related.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008


Quakers v Torture

American Friends Service Committee holds conference to abolish solitary confinement in US prisons. As a form of torture under international law, isolation units in US prisons are used primarily to remove the mentally ill from prison populations--not to control inmate violence.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008


Inherently Evil

Modern states are not benign institutions. Indeed, they were formed for the express purpose of concentrating political power. Over the last few centuries, this form of social organization has proven adept at coercion, domination, and warfare. In fact, this consolidation of power to plunder and pillage -- sometimes worldwide -- is precisely why indigenous nations, all along, have opposed both the form and the process of the modern state as inherently evil. Evil in the sense that power corrupts, and thus must be dispersed widely in order to prevent community harm.

With the advent of widespread economic and environmental crises brought on by policies and practices of modern states and transnational corporations working in tandem, the effectiveness (let alone morality) of the modern state is now called into question.

At the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Nations this week, indigenous delegates discussed methods for implementing the 2007 Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, at all levels of governance and society. Part of that strategy includes building a record of grievances -- something long neglected by modern states, corporations, and mass media -- in order to make this human rights agenda part of everyday discussions worldwide. In this way, people of conscience -- indigenous or otherwise -- can take a stand in solidarity with aboriginal peoples, and help them to finally disperse the power they warned us about long ago.

Monday, May 12, 2008


Killer Coal

Tom Dispatch clarifies the climate change crisis: live simply or die--now. No new coal-fired plants, no more gas guzzlers; trains, not planes. And we have two years to change, or it's all over. After that it's Mad Max.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


Southern Cousin

I bumped into this Southern cousin two years ago. It seemed like a good day to introduce her as well.
Hi Jay,

I appreciate the trouble you went to in finding me. As I said
before I stumbled on the "Spartacus O'Neal" site and didn't
understand that "Jay Taber" was who I was looking for. I apologize.

Anyway, greetings to you. I'm always pleased to meet relatives and
meeting one from the "O'Neal" lineage is a first.

As for my research, I'm currently involved in the quite painful
process of finding my grandmothers. As you most likely know
women weren't stated on census' (or much of anything) before 1850
so I'm plugging along the "digging process". By the way, I didn't
have the ship list. Thanks! My O'Neal research has been stagnant
due to lack of info on my Grandmother Thana Dickey who married James
Benton O'Neal, brother to William, your ancestor. They married
sisters, Thana and Suzanna Dickey. I've a digital picture of
Suzanna's tombstone taken last Sept. in Ms. if you'd like me to send
it to you. I've family there still and enjoy a visit now and then.

Again, I appreciate you searching me out and I enjoyed your lineage
articles especially "Living with Ghosts". It's how I feel also. If
you've any info that you'd like to share it would be greatly
appreciated. Nice to meet you!



Surprise Descendant

This letter came in last summer, and is definitely from a long lost cousin. The connections are starting to come together.

Through googling the name "Shane O'Neal," I found your "Tir Eoghan" comments of March 10, 2006. It was a nice surprise to read about another descendant of the O'Neals.

My family believes John and Margaret O'Neal arrived in Charleston in February 1768 with five children, including a baby of less than a year, not listed in the passenger records. Her name was "Amy," and she married my g-g-g-g-grandfather. By 1790, they had moved to Georgia and eventually settled in Bulloch County with their four children. In the next three generations, we have several instances of the names John, Margaret, Jane, and Alice.

Recently, I found Vivian Davis Bornemann's "Hy-Niall Encyclopedia" and learned that a branch of the O'Neal family migrated to Mississippi. I'm guessing this branch is yours.

It was interesting, also, to read that your mother and her sister have black hair and dark eyes. My son, one of my first cousins, and I all share these characteristics.



Privileged and Proud

Somehow I missed this comment last summer, but since it comprises the first contact from kin in Ireland, I'm reprinting it
verbatim. FYI, Art and Hugh were notable Gaelic
leaders 400 hundred years ago, and Dungannon was their political headquarters.
(In 1768,
my family arrived in the colony of South Carolina on the brig Dungannon.)

Hi Spartacus O'Neill,

Time, energies and finance were against me, but I tried searching a few
years ago, inspired by the fact that the late
John "Dean" Quinn of
Dungannon told my late father, that we were desecended from Turlough MacAirt og O'Neill. The
name MacAirt being anglicised into "Arthur's son" and then Arthurs.

John "Dean" Quinn, was Dean of Dungannon in the late 60's early 70's. An Irish Scholar, and as Vicar Capitular and
Vicar General of the
Arc-Diocese of Dungannon, was the right hand man of the Cardinal.

Coincidence not, we have direct official tracing of our family tree back to early 1800's, always in Donaghmore
Parish area's of Drumbearn
and Dernaseer (outside Dungannon). This is a few miles from Carnteel, as the crow flies.
I still live in Dungannon.
Dean Quinn said, our surname in Irish i.e "MacAirt", was the source of and determining
factor for his interest and his results.

If any of you wish to close a few gaps, on this for me, please do. Or similarly, if you would like to dispell this,
pls feel free.

Many Thanks !!!

p.s. the Castle Hill in Dungannon was re-openned to the public, as of last weekend, Friday the 7th Sept 2007.
You literally can see ALL of Ulster laid out in front of you for 60
miles 360 degrees. e.g. as far as the Cooley
Mountains in Louth.

The town partied all weekend, and Irish Music was once again heard from the top of the hill, at Hugh's birth-place.
We all feel very privileged and proud.

Caomhghin Mac Airt | 09.16.07 - 10:05 am

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Bolivian Elite

Real News TV reports on the neo-fascist, "virulently anti-Indian," landed elite strategy of violence against democracy and land reform in Bolivia. In another segment, Real News exposes the U.S. Agency for International Development contributing $125 million to support the white oligarchy of Bolivia now attempting to steal 97% of Bolivia’s natural gas reserves.


Glass Houses

The U.S. Agency for International Development is currently sponsoring democracy and voting education programs in Kosova and other Eastern European states. According to UNPO, the programs are aimed at "building civil society through meaningful citizen participation in the electoral process."

We hope it works out better there than it has in the US.


Unceasing Desire

Three years ago I created Skookum in an attempt to meet people for social and political purposes, as well as to archive my own thoughts for future reference. I haven't been disappointed.

Generous souls like Seesaw in Sarajevo and Carlos in Lisbon actually went out of their way to post memorable photos of my personal requests, and I even located four distant cousins -- three in the US and one in Ireland -- who shared family history and photos I'd never known. I've also made several new acquaintances who've contributed much-appreciated comments on my writing and ideas. Occasionally, I stumble across mutual participants or keen observers from events deep in my past who offer the opportunity for me to put them into new, more meaningful perspective.

To all, I am eternally grateful, and look forward to preserving and developing these and other relationships made possible by the unceasing desire to communicate. Who knows what tomorrow might bring?

Friday, May 09, 2008


Real Activists

Maybe it's because the Northern Irish know a thing or two about occupation armies that they have more chutzpah than their American anti-war counterparts, but whatever the reason, the action against the arms giant Raytheon by Derry activists puts US war protesters to shame.


Isra-pedia Kaput

A covert operation by the American right-wing, pro-Israel group CAMERA to infiltrate and take over key administrative positions at Wikipedia has been sunk by exposure of the stealth plan on Electronic Intifada news. Nice work EI!


Increasing Moral Community

Nation-states have a vested interest in educating their citizens to develop loyalties and commitments to the central government. Of all of the methods used to accomplish this, formal education is the most critical. Leaders like to believe their citizens are in agreement with the cultural and political rules of the nation, and therefore most citizens will not resist education that interprets history and supports the culture of that nation. However, since indigenous peoples do not share the fundamental cultural philosophies of the history and culture of the nation-state, they are often unwilling participants in the nation-building processes of formal education.

The concept of freedom dominates Western intellectual thought and is inherent in modernization theory, as well as post-modern and post-colonial theories, that continue to focus on political marginalization of groups (like indigenous peoples) and give little attention to their own cultural interpretations, understandings or goals. The Western interpretations assume that freedom is also the goal of indigenous individuals and nations.

Freedom, however, is not a central core theme in the teachings of indigenous peoples. There are sometimes evolutionary themes, but those themes, such as among the creation teachings of the Navajo or Pueblos, focus on lessons of gaining increasing moral community and knowledge about how to sustain spiritual balance among tribal members, other peoples, and the powers or spirits of the cosmic order. Spiritual balance, the golden rule, moderation, working within ritual and life constraints, fulfilling ceremonial duties, maintaining individual and community moral commitments, and accepting individual and community responsibility for proper moral and ceremonial relations are core values for indigenous communities.

--Indian Country Today

Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Happy Face Colonialism

Indigenous leaders confront World Bank's carbon market fraud as corporate profiteering at their expense. Transnational corporations and institutions accused of colluding to steal remaining indigenous resources through market-driven climate change scams.

Monday, May 05, 2008


Reflecting Reality

Ecuador advances a plurinational state, citing need to protect indigenous communal values of reciprocity and solidarity from market forces.

Thursday, May 01, 2008


Biofuels Obliterate Biodiversity

Biofuels boom propelling attacks on indigenous people. Plantations devastating forests. Native people denounce the destruction at the UN.

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