Monday, May 31, 2010


Obstructing Justice

After Israel's attack on Gaza in 2008, the UN appointed a Fact Finding Mission to investigate alleged war crimes. The mission, led by renowned South African jurist Richard Goldstone, produced a report that accused both Israel and Palestinian militias of war crimes.

The UN human rights council referred Goldstone's report to the UN General Assembly in Washington for follow-up, but under US pressure, the report never reached the Security Council for possible referral to the International Criminal Court. The Canadian government joined the US in denouncing the report.

On Thursday Amnesty International accused the US and European states of obstructing justice by using their position on the UN Security Council to shield Israel from accountability for war crimes committed in Gaza.

--Paul Jay, senior editor, The Real News

Sunday, May 30, 2010


Battling the Power Elite

In a previous post, I didn't mean to give the impression that our achievements were without a human cost. Some of us were in the position of protectors who did battle with the community's power elite that wanted to run us all out of town. A few became journalists, a few became elected officials, some started alternative schools. Many remained committed to an alternative economy and lifestyle, and started businesses that reflected that.

As time went on, this network of individuals -- nurtured in the hippie temporary autonomous zone -- participated in such projects as sanctuary for refugees and human rights for indigenous peoples. A handful went so far as to do field research on vigilante groups and crooked cops.

This "harder variety" was and remains a small minority undeterred by conflict, but their base of support in the legal, religious, and political milieus -- comprised of individuals who'd internalized the hippie values in earlier years -- was vital to their success. Indeed, this support solidified the credibility of the fighters, who would otherwise have been easily marginalized or destroyed by the power elite. Without a constituency, their heroism would have been largely tragic.

Saturday, May 29, 2010


New College Notice

Due to lack of continued interest, the New College Independent Alumni Association website has closed. The website Stop Systems of Silence, which was a repository of documents related to the loss of accreditation and closure of the school in 2008, also has closed. Links to news stories, reports and publications about the demise of New College of California can still be found here and here.

Friday, May 28, 2010



As noted in a San Francisco Chronicle half-page ad last week, 100,000 underage girls in the US are trafficked for sex each year via Craigslist. Pimped in the Adult Services section, these enslaved children net $36 million a year for Craigslist. The Rebecca Project video about this cyberslavery helps answer some basic questions. Further information and resources are available at Prostitution Research and Education.


Imperial Imperatives

ACLU attorneys are the target of Congress for defending prisoners of war illegally tortured by CIA operatives.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Cooperative Attitude

As hippies in the early 1970s, we established cooperatives to meet our needs without ordinary jobs. Over time, the food cooperative, flour mill, housing trust, and community gardens we started grew and were replicated elsewhere. All were assisted by our alternative newspaper in reaching others sympathetic to our world view.

As some of us became community leaders, elected and otherwise, this cooperative foundation enabled us to be more effective in pressing for public investment in programs of communal benefit.

The point I'm trying to make is there is a place for everyone to contribute if you begin with a cooperative attitude.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


No Progress

Charles Davis explains why no progress on climate change will ever come from Washington.


Non-Confrontational Environmentalism

Green poohbahs stuck in muck.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Law and Disorder

There's been a lot of crankiness of late regarding the dissembling of American society under the Obama regime. As noted by Jack Crow,
the dismantling of the welfare state must either proceed at an increasing pace, so that the state can return to direct management of populations through isolation and violence, thus safeguarding the accumulated assets of the ruling class, or it risks collapsing before those same ruling classes can properly corral subject and captive populations into new zones of control, buffer and instability.

But crankiness is only worthwhile if it propels one to do something useful toward subverting the law and disorder of the two-party, single-owner, corporate state. (Writing and discussing are good first steps.)

As a tool of thievery, this state has perfected privatization on behalf of the aristocracy, private equity in this case being the enemy of social welfare. Since the individuals comprising the private equity elite are known, it only makes sense to channel our crankiness in ways that hold them accountable for stealing our livelihoods--ways that force them to return our money.

Given the absolute failure of our government to do this, it befalls us to find ways to protect ourselves.



When I first made a foray into the arena of social conflict, I attended soirees with like-minded locals where we grilled and chilled around the campfire discussing the politics of our community. Some were into research, others into speaking at public hearings or writing letters to the editor. Over time, some of us ran for local office, some started non-profits to watchdog local government.

None of us were party hacks or careerist do-gooders, but through attending government functions and debriefing at our regular socials, we were able to shake things up considerably. A couple of us started alternative newspapers as well.

Eventually we went our separate ways across North America, but we stayed in touch, and two of us archived some of the lessons we learned on a website. After I began blogging, we started getting requests for consultations all over the country. Since we do this as a volunteer activity, we're limited in what we can do, but we've had some success.

We've also met some remarkable people with the ability to make a difference in the world, but many have fallen by the wayside through isolation or attrition. What I'm suggesting is that local chapters of an association focused on our governance aspirations, that met regularly for food and fun, might be worthwhile.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Association for Democracy

The common thread of these affinity groups is, of course, pro-democracy. Creating or defending democracy requires researchers, analysts, and activists; sustaining their work requires organization.

Having filled one or more of these roles over the last forty years, I've noticed the most successful organizations institute respect for each, and devote adequate time to discussing strategy as well as tactics. Unfortunately, the lack of political infrastructure to recruit, socialize, and nurture leadership development often puts us in the position of watching our best and brightest drop by the wayside through isolation and attrition.

Archived memory and informal mentoring help, but these networks of organizations and individuals would benefit immensely from a politically-oriented association that could offer ongoing support to those who want to mix it up in the streets, the courts, and the halls of power. Democracy is a process, not an event.


Aiding Apartheid

US investment in the infrastructure of Israeli apartheid isn't all military, sometimes it's as mundane as roads.

Sunday, May 23, 2010


Active Cooperation

In March 1996, Public Good Project directors Paul de Armond and Jay Taber participated in a conference hosted by Rudolph C. Ryser. After a year of sharing research, Public Good began active cooperation with the Center for World Indigenous Studies.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Becoming Human

In February 2001, Dr. Rudolph C. Ryser and guests spoke at the University of Washington about the history of human rights and its application to indigenous peoples.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Unrealized Dreams

As Tom Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network observes, leadership on protecting Mother Earth is emerging from indigenous communities and their movement associates in civil society. Opposed to this movement is the United Nations, its member states, and the transnational corporations engaged in corrupting them. What Tom has not discussed, are the transitional steps required to transform this movement into a working political system that has the capacity to translate the aspirations of its participants into the power necessary for sustainable social change.

Dispersing global political power into a democratic framework that respects Mother Earth, indigenous peoples, and humanity itself already has a common spiritual foundation; building the political infrastructure that can recruit, socialize and nurture leadership able to successfully challenge the entrenched corruption now destroying Mother Earth is a vital corollary to the community activism underway.

As the indigenous elders and others have said, it is holistic governance we need and seek; until we accomplish that, global conservation, reciprocity, and generosity remain unrealized dreams.


Can't Be Trusted

Global Guerrillas discusses the loss of legitimacy due to the White House/BP campaign to cover up the true scope of the Gulf oil spill crisis.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


A Sure Thing

In To Rob a Country, The Real News examines twenty years of fraud in US banking.


Acting in Concert

Acting in concert to improve one's community, unfortunately, requires dealing with political parties. Political parties, even as corporate fronts, control the public purse, and can thus frustrate independent good deeds.

The US electoral system may be essentially corrupt as the aristocracy it protects, but ceding the field of conflict seems a poor strategy for reform. Better to organize independent parties to challenge the corrupt and initiate change.

Build influence and power locally, especially keeping in mind that cannot be sustained without some type of political infrastructure to recruit, socialize and nurture an ongoing pool of new leadership. Mixing things up electorally and otherwise needs the continuity and funding that only a party provides. Activism that eschews governance is doomed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


California Redwoods

If you've never been to Redwood National Park or the other old growth redwood forests of Northern California, it's an experience you won't forget. This photo from Del Norte shows me in front of a big one (fifteen feet diameter), but there are larger. Jedediah Smith State Park has a grove you can walk through that feels like passing between mammoth elephant legs. Richard Preston's book The Wild Trees is fascinating.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


A Multinational State

As Argentina prepares to celebrate its independence from Spain, indigenous nations there are mobilizing cross-country tours to promote a multinational state. Along with supportive social organizations, they are demanding that Argentina fund pro-indigenous policies that will protect their languages and resources.

Sunday, May 16, 2010


Whole New World

The problem is that in a mediated, audiovisual communications culture, the price of broadcast communication access is prohibitive to popular participation. Once dazed by this overwhelming medium, consumers are so pulverized they need to go through a cultural rehab in order to even imagine an alternative translation. As usual, creativity and resourcefulness, such as that seen in independent blogging, contribute to the process of rerouting our collective imagination.

Were video podcast to eclipse corporate broadcast, it would be a whole new world.

Saturday, May 15, 2010


Our Generation

Our Generation is a ground-breaking documentary about the deep-seeded hypocrisy of Australia's indigenous relations.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Dealing with Derelicts

I've written before about the perils of dealing with delinquent landlords, but as we've been economically forced out of the self-contained studio apartment market into the house share market, we've encountered a new problem: derelict housemates. Being new to this low income housing sector, I'm not sure how broadly our experience applies, but I suspect that it is not all that unusual. Living in what amounts to an informal hostel, where those one step from living in their cars try to have a somewhat normal life, I suppose it is inevitable that we will have to deal with an ongoing carousel of people with legal, emotional, and substance abuse problems.

Maybe we'll get lucky and find another private unit we can afford, but the long-term prospects for many in our income bracket aren't good.

Thursday, May 13, 2010


Imperial Doldrums

Reading the headlines today, President Obama's request for a supplemental $33 billion for warmongering in Central Asia vied with the new record of 40 million Americans living on foodstamps.

Monday, May 10, 2010


Sacred Trust

When I was in college forty years ago, I did medical research to help activists stop the Washington Public Power Supply nuclear plant boondoggle. Twenty years ago, I was involved in producing research to protect environmental activists from industry-sponsored vigilantes. Today, as official thievery thrives under the Obama Administration, earlier research on the threats of nuclear contamination and energy industry corruption come in handy, but they are only useful if communicated in a way that mobilizes effective organizing and community action.

As my generation gears up to save Social Security from Obama's thieves, we will have our hands full. Understanding that what Wall Street steals from seniors will be used to fight young people trying to save our planet, adds another dimension to our mutual responsibilities.

Ending violence against nature and humanity is a battle that is one and the same. The sacred trust invoked by this mission of peace should unite young and old.

Saturday, May 08, 2010


Stealing Social Security

Obama's Fiscal Commission, supported by media sycophants and think tank frauds, escalates the campaign to steal Social Security reserves. As elite thievery goes, this pending heist is only overshadowed by the bank bailout and private equity raid. In the first segment on this colossal coup, Real News looks at some of the players, and the mechanics of their scam.

Friday, May 07, 2010


Private Equity Predations

With the big bad bankers hogging the headlines, America's aristocracy has seen smooth sailing for hedge funds and other private equity predations. We've noted this blind spot before, but with political illiteracy at an all-time high, it seemed worth repeating.


My Money

Social Security is the largest source of income for most elderly Americans today, but Social Security was never intended to be your only source of income when you retire. You will also need other savings, investments, pensions or retirement accounts to make sure you have enough money to live comfortably when you retire.

Saving and investing wisely are important not only for you and your family, but for the entire country. If you want to learn more about how and why to save, you should visit, a federal government website dedicated to teaching all Americans the basics of financial management.

--from What Social Security Means To You, an SSA publication

Thursday, May 06, 2010


Dancing the Salmon Home

The Winnemem Wintu tribe from near Mount Shasta is seeking assistance from New Zealand in restoring their Chinook salmon run devastated by the US government.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010


Wild Salmon Are Sacred

The Wild Salmon Are Sacred campaign on Vancouver Island seeks to end marine industrial net-cage feedlots in British Columbia. Removing fish farms, say First Nations, is crucial to restoring their traditional abundance of wild salmon.

Monday, May 03, 2010


The Role of Tribalism

Recent op-eds in the progressive press on tribalism and indigeneity reveal ongoing misperceptions. Perhaps this brief discussion on the role of tribalism in the world today will help.

Sunday, May 02, 2010


Harmonious Ends

The metaphor of a collision course could be improved on. The capitalist system has been devouring the natural order for centuries; the human and environmental disaster is not something over the horizon.

More importantly, the only alternative social system with a track record of success in achieving harmonious or holistic ends preceded capitalism by thousands of years, and is reemerging within the World Indigenous Peoples’ Movement. As evidenced by the recent conference in Bolivia, the principles, practices and laws of the natural order are not new or incomprehensible, but have been continuously articulated and pursued by indigenous societies on all continents from time immemorial to the present.

The roots of all humanity are governed by these relationships, even as many have been led astray by the temptations of consumerism. As explicitly enumerated in the communications from Cochabamba, as well as in the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the mysteries of the universe and all living things are governed by these relations or laws like generosity, conservation and reciprocity; we violate them at our peril.

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