Thursday, June 30, 2011


Understanding American Politics

I always said that the best field of academic study to understanding American politics is theatre arts. After handing over the keys to the U.S. Treasury in the bank bailout, Obama is now decrying tax breaks for the wealthy.

While on the surface that may seem incongruous, it actually makes perfect sense. Obama knows Congress -- also in the pocket of the aristocracy -- will do nothing to upset their benefactors. Thus, by exhibiting false bravado, Obama deflects criticism while providing cover for his next betrayal.

Were Obama not so obvious in his performances, he might avoid accusations of fraud, but his repetition of this pattern of misbehavior and dishonesty makes it difficult for all but the infantile and ignorant to believe anything he says. Unfortunately, that describes a lot of Americans.

Monday, June 27, 2011


Dreams of Humanity

The success of the rule of law depends on who is making the law, or breaking it. The failure of the rule of law occurs when those people are one and the same.

The failure, dramatized in the WTO Ministerial in Seattle and numerous gatherings by lawless milieux since, demonstrate only a continuity of the rule of force--the underpinning of the distribution of power in most domestic and international institutions today. Changing the relationships between forceful and peaceful peoples, especially between indigenous nations and industrial states, can thus not be accomplished through existing venues.

In order to reconcile current conflicts and achieve meaningful resolution of power imbalance requires new methods, new attitudes, and new ideas. Naturally, those ideas will not come from those who rule by force; to accomplish the dreams of humanity, they will have to step aside.

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Willful Ignorance

Steven T. Newcomb recalls a conversation with U.S. Supreme Court Justice Scalia.

Saturday, June 25, 2011


Every Last Drop

Scott Thill examines the privatization of the United Nations.

Friday, June 24, 2011


Drug War Report

While the U.S. drug war in Latin America might not -- as in Iraq -- have routinely misplaced pallets of shrink-wrapped bundles of U.S. currency used to bribe officials and informants, the accounting for U.S. drug war funds is anything but transparent. In the wake of the international drug commission report that concluded the drug war has been a colossal failure, one that dramatically increased violence without significantly decreasing the flow of drugs, the Pentagon is having difficulty persuading Congress to continue pouring billions into the program. Even if it weren't for the fact that the drug war is replete with scandals, the outsourcing of accounting as well as mercenaries leaves some members of the U.S. Senate wondering what else they don't know.

Thursday, June 23, 2011


Perspective Proportion Design

In his article at Indian Country Today, Duane Champagne discusses academia's propensity to pay lip service to Native American studies without allowing it to flourish from the perspective of Native American students, scholars, and intellectuals.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011


The Price of Petroleum

In this short video, Melina Laboucan-Massimo of the Lubicon Cree in Northern Alberta discusses the destruction of their way of life by the Government of Canada and the oil and gas companies it has collaborated with in decimating the Cree homeland. Once the type of story associated with what were considered third world peoples in former European colonies like Nigeria, the toxic wasting of the Fourth World, or First Nations in Canada, vividly demonstrates the connection between industrial human rights atrocities and the consumer demand for fossil fuels. In a morbid poetic sense, every barrel of tar sands crude represents a dead Canadian Indian, for that is now part of the price of petroleum.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011


Tyranny in Blue

In The Policing of Political Speech: Constraints on Mass Dissent in the U.S., the National Lawyers Guild examines the preemptive disruption of free speech and assembly, the misuse of grand juries, and the media cover for police violence against peace and freedom activists.

Monday, June 20, 2011


Vast Values Divide

When Crystal Willcuts says being respectful, truthful, and caring is un-American, she is observing the vast values divide between indigenous peoples and American culture, which she describes as immature, greedy, and deceitful. Of course, our culture is not static, and while Willcuts’ description is generally accurate, we are now two generations into a revaluation that began with the hippie counterculture in the 1960s.

While the rich and powerful maintain their privileges through the corruption of governance in mainstream American institutions, the undercurrent of dissatisfaction with the dominant model, that impoverishes the rest of us, is pulling our society away from the values void promoted by politicians and their parasitic patrons. Navigating that current toward a more generous, sustainable future is perhaps our greatest challenge, but making the vacuum of values a primary topic of discussion is an integral first step in revitalizing a landscape that was once fabulously wealthy in authentic lives.

As America the ugly collapses, perhaps America the beautiful will arise.

Sunday, June 19, 2011


Recreating Reality

When it comes to writing and storytelling, we’d all like to be the next N. Scott Momaday, Leslie Marmon Silko, Ray A. Youngbear, or Sherman Alexie. But the reality is that most of us won’t win the Pulitzer Prize or other esteemed honors for literature. What we can do, like Momaday and Silko, is tell our stories. Thus contributing to the web of consciousness, we can honor what’s important to us, and maybe at the same time participate in recreating our mutual reality. There is a lot of work to be done in rewriting the script of humanity, and contributions both great and small are required. So I encourage writers to share whatever gift you have; every little bit helps.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Indoctrination in Dominance

Anyone not in a coma knows American culture is overwhelmingly one of violence. Drug wars, religious wars, oil wars; you name it.

The US military is larger than the rest of the world combined. ACLU graphics on US incarceration are startling: 5% of the world's population with 25% of the world's prison population. Mostly for non-violent offenses. Predominantly black.

While we watch schools closed in order to build more prisons, close libraries to open offensives against immigrants, or simply hand over the keys to our public treasuries to thieves on Wall Street, one has to wonder how long our culture of violence can last. Or will our indoctrination in dominance simply acculturate us to mount little American flags on the cardboard boxes we soon will call home?

Thursday, June 16, 2011


A Predatory Process

In Steven Newcomb's critique of a doctrine of reconciliation, he reviews the Christian domination paradigm, and the assimilation/reconciliation process. As a destructive legacy of church and state domination, says Newcomb, it is senseless to speak in terms of reconciliation with such illegitimate religious ideologies.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


FBI v The People

Democracy Now interviews activist Scott Crow and ACLU spokesman Mike German about FBI harassment of activists nationwide.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


A More Holistic Tradition

In the beginning, it must have puzzled indigenous peoples why the Europeans were so aggressive and ungrateful. Later, having gotten to know more about Christianity and corporations, indigenous societies came to realize the Europeans -- for whatever reason -- had chosen the wrong fork in the road, opting for the values of greed over those of generosity. After that, the ambience of European cultures could do little other than act out aggression and ingratitude repeatedly -- generation after generation -- around the world.

Now, as this aggression and greed are bringing about social and ecological collapse, even Europeans are rejecting this aspect of their heritage. Some are even turning to their indigenous roots in order to discover a more holistic tradition--one with a more harmonious ambience.

While it might be tempting to be smug about having surpassed the ignorance of capitalistic dinosaurs, it does us no good if we don't commit to removing these throwbacks from positions of leadership. Until we replace them with people devoted to enacting our vision of governance and accountability, we will be forced to continue fighting just to keep our values alive.

Friday, June 10, 2011


State Secrets

FRONTLINE looks at the biggest story on the planet, the tension between transparency and secrecy, and how Wikileaks is changing the world.

Thursday, June 09, 2011


Global Justice Networks

In the current issue of the International Journal of Communication, Patrick McCurdy discusses media-oriented practices by social movement actors within global justice networks.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


Counter Surveillance

As peace and freedom activists across the world encounter growing surveillance by national security states, protecting digital security and privacy online is a priority in keeping friends and allies out of jail. Toward that end, Security in a Box goes a long way toward getting activists thinking and acting in ways that help prevent state infiltration, disruption, and repression of social movements. With the criminalization of dissent in what are considered democratic countries like the US, UK and Canada, deploying counter surveillance measures is the only way to reestablish freedom of expression made illegal by national security policy.

Monday, June 06, 2011


Social Identity

Social identity on the Internet is widely recognized as integral to today's social movements. In this issue of First Monday, Sandy Schumann and Francois Luong introduce a framework of mechanisms that can enforce a transfer of online actions off-line.

Sunday, June 05, 2011


Disaster Recovery

The 6 stages of Disaster Recovery

Time: 0
Disaster! Marked by total loss of information, in state of shock and confusion

Time: 10 hours (the day of)
Slowly the dawn of a new prospect emerges in the collective psyche of the affected community

Time: 100 hours (3-4th day)
Solidarity and sense of support peaks among disaster victims, amidst influx of workers, aid and volunteers

Time: 1,000 hours (1.5 month)
Reconstruction effort begins

Time: 10,000 hours (1 year)
Livelihood pattern stabilizes; rebuilding life, work, family and community begins

Time: 100, 000 hour (10 years)
Post-disaster recovery & reconstruction effort reaches completion

Source: "The Relief Volunteer's Pocket Guide to Disaster Stress Management and Mental Health," by Shin SUGOK

Saturday, June 04, 2011


No Nuclear

No Nukes Action Committee plans an anti-nuclear conference and teach-ins for September in the Bay Area.

Friday, June 03, 2011



Industrial culture, where everything and everyone is a commodity to be consumed, does not concern itself with sustainability or morality. What was once sacred -- be it a river, mountain or forest -- is simply a resource to be bought and sold.

Indigenous culture, which forms the bedrock of our consciousness and heritage as a species, has become yet another commodity. When they no longer exist, due to climate change and other manifestations of industrial life, they will be consumed in museums and pageants commemorating the extinction of sacredness.

As extinction of cultures and species proceed apace, memory will become another worldly project archived on CDs, DVDs and hard drives, curated for the benefit of generations no longer able to experience unpolluted landscapes, food, or ideas. Busy battling starvation, toxic waste and plagues, these novelties will no longer serve to inspire, but rather serve as quaint distractions from what will be an infested wasteland.

Thursday, June 02, 2011


Institutionalized Aggression

Institutionalized aggression can take many forms; in the UN, agencies like the World Bank and the Security Council reward economic and military aggression with positions of privilege vis-a-vis other states. Indeed, nuclear arms play a key role in determining which states have the greatest influence in world affairs. Legitimizing aggression with the UN imprimatur allows NATO and its member states to exercise unilateral violence against states contesting this hierarchy of the new world order.

Political violence by the UN against indigenous nations involves confiscation of Fourth World properties without their consent, rationalized by philosophies of dominance like the Doctrine of Discovery, plenary powers, and national security. While charges of racial discrimination are levied against member states by the Human Rights Council, the UN itself practices exclusion based on forms of social organization; even as the global body celebrates cultural and biological diversity and bestows human rights on indigenous peoples, it simultaneously funds development programs intent on both ecocide and genocide.

Yet, despite the hypocrisy of the UN, the states and nations of the world need a place to talk about our mutual future. The fact that that future is imperiled by the institutionalized aggression there may be cause for cynicism, but it should not be an excuse for inaction. There is simply too much at stake.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011


Death's Door

Two years ago, when I began receiving MediCal benefits, my physician had me evaluated by the physical therapy center of our local hospital. Based on that and my records for the ten years he'd been seeing me, he prescribed a course of treatments to manage my chronic back pain and low energy. Unfortunately, none of these are covered by MediCal.

Two weeks ago, MediCal sent me a letter informing me I can no longer see my physician of the last twelve years, and am now required to limit my medical care to the local community clinic. I suppose this is part of the plan to eliminate health maintenance for low income people, leaving them with only drugs and emergency room visits when they're on death's door.

Apparently, the choice we now have is between food, shelter and medicine. At present, I can only afford two of the three.

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