Saturday, December 31, 2011


To Lead an Authentic Life

As the Occupy movement begs for definition, the struggle to lead an authentic life, that began with the counterculture movement in the 1960s, remains relevant. So, too, does the larger narrative that examines more fundamental aspects of identity.

On November 9, CWIS associate Taiaiake Alfred spoke at the University of Ottawa on The Psychic Landscape of Contemporary Colonialism. Recounting his own intellectual preparation in understanding the struggle for self-knowledge, self-governance, and maintaining integrity, Taiaiake examines the transformative power of pathways to wisdom. As a collective activity in the pursuit of happiness and the good way of life, Professor Alfred asks the most pertinent question–Who are you?

Friday, December 30, 2011


Semper Fi

Psychological warfare, deployed by major corporations against American communities that try to protect themselves from the environmental ravages and public health disasters foisted on them, is nothing new. CBS 60 Minutes even did a segment on it back in 1992. Today, however, corporate mercenaries with prior psywar experience in the US military are being deployed to carry out the tasks of harassment and extortion previously carried out by industry thugs. That may seem like a minor distinction to some, but in light of the recent US legislation to authorize military detention of US citizens without access to civil courts or attorneys, it might be something to take into account.

Thursday, December 29, 2011


Turtle Champagne

UCLA professor Duane Champagne always has something interesting to say about indigenous peoples and their struggle for self-determination. His new book, Notes from the Center of Turtle Island, promises to be a stimulating discussion about indigenous identity, community, and relations between indigenous nations and modern states.

Monday, December 26, 2011


Letter to the Editor

In response to the 1968 federal indictment of eight political dissenters for conspiracy to promote disorder, a host of noted American liberals wrote a letter to the editors of the New York Review. In that letter, luminaries like Susan Sontag and Noam Chomsky observed that the law against dissent was the foundation of a police state in America.

Since that day in the aftermath of demonstrations at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago, dissent has not gotten any easier. Peace activists are still infiltrated, harassed and incarcerated by the US Government; pro-democracy demonstrators are still pepper-sprayed and beaten by police.

As Congress and the White House recently approved the use of the US Army against anti-globalization protestors, we know the battle against fraud and militarism is far from over. Those on the front line of the war for democratic renewal could use a little help, even if it's only a letter to the editor.

Sunday, December 25, 2011


Stormy Sunday

Spray over the seawall. Waves crashing on the beach. Wind howling through the trees.

Good time to make tea and see how friends are doing around the world.

Saturday, December 24, 2011



Witness provides Tips for Filming Protests, Arrests and Police Conduct.

Friday, December 23, 2011


A Beloved Community

Rebecca Solnit discusses displacement, democracy, and the generosity of the Occupy movement. Impressed by the striking learning curve of dispossessed Americans, Solnit discerns that those engaged in revitalizing citizenship have become what activists in the Civil Rights era termed a beloved community.

Thursday, December 22, 2011


Money for Murder

Reminiscent of the Reagan era, Central America is again the target for US-funded state violence against socialists and indigenous peoples. This time around, however, the Obama Administration is promoting the privatization of military death squads once embraced by his ideological mentor Ronald Reagan.

As US State Department Secretary Hillary Clinton prepares to finance privatized vigilantes to murder opponents of globalization, transnational corporations -- reaping the harvest of murder for money -- carry on a long tradition in what once were called the banana republics. After two centuries of genocide by other names, the current US initiative looks more and more like the arrogant belligerence made famous by US President Theodore Roosevelt.

Apparently, the mold of US militarism has been altered little in that timeframe.

Sunday, December 18, 2011



In the 1971 book Crimes of War, Robert Jay Lifton described theatrical militarism as the inevitable conclusion of US dominance. Looking at the role militarism plays in today's media, it's not surprising that mainstream news is mostly noise generated to drown out other points of view.

As Lifton explained, the collective psychic trauma and delusions of dominant society are fostered by prior atrocities (the most egregious of which were perpetrated against indigenous peoples). Violently defended illusions of benevolence and an inability to come to terms with either defeat or loss of status are symptoms of this psychosis.

With the end of the American Dream, the indistinguishable corporate media and government propaganda respond by not only distorting the news, but by literally searching out and destroying all dissenting perspectives.

Saturday, December 17, 2011


The Shooting in Baghdad

As Americans reassess the military misadventure in Iraq, Real News examines the German documentary on the Pentagon versus Bradley Manning. As Manning goes to trial for releasing the video of a US gunship gleefully murdering civilians, reporters and children in Baghdad, fascist politicians and pundits in the US call for his execution. After suffering the torture of solitary confinement in Quantico, the question now is whether murdering the messenger will be the final act of the Pentagon's inhumanity in Iraq.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Death Wish

Watching the cinematic essay Silhouette City last night, I recalled encounters with American religious fanatics seeking political power and influence in the 1990s. Some of them succeeded, others martyred themselves in confrontations with law enforcement, but their apocalyptic beliefs and murderous ideology live on.

In seeking world conquest for Christ, the Dominion movement and its soldiers have steadily infiltrated and corrupted the US military and other federal institutions. Perhaps even more alarming, the movement has infected mass media and other markets to the point that blatant bigotry is accepted as a normal aspect of American life.

As the documentary conveys in its coverage of the continuity of Christian intolerance that arrived on our shores with both Columbus and the pilgrims, the culture they embraced and nurtured through the centuries is nothing but a death wish. As a lethal social pathogen that corrodes all healthy relations, it is likely the greatest obstacle to democracy and peace on the planet. As such, it needs to be confronted and contained, if not eradicated.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Monster of Militarism

As suggested in the media recently, turning the US military against the American people may be a sign of social collapse, but the American empire has a long way to go before it even remotely adheres to the international human rights regime. If history is any lesson, then wanton destruction across the globe on behalf of Wall Street is likely to escalate before the American main street can get a grip on the reins of power. Even if that happens, it will still be a monumental task to undo two centuries of militaristic madness and the mindset it has imbued in the American psyche. Some earlier European empires made democratic transitions with the aid of their military leaders, but in the United States, the corrosion of the Pentagon by transnational corporations and Christian fundamentalists makes that scenario unlikely. Realistically, we should expect to see considerable shedding of innocent American blood on the streets of America before the monster of militarism is tamed.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011


Axis of Evil

Readers might recall that a year ago, responding to Obama’s July 2010 decision to lift the US funding ban for Indonesian death squads, Indonesia’s elite forces began assassinating indigenous Papuan spiritual leaders. Survival International ran a story on that last December. Today, Intercontinental Cry reports on the massive Indonesian military offensive (supported by Australia) against the West Papuan independence movement.

If one is looking for an example of the unity of modern states and transnational corporations in opposition to the world indigenous peoples’ movement for self-determination, West Papua would certainly stand out. The fact that two of the four states in the world that opposed the 2007 UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples are funding the current atrocities in West Papua should come as no surprise.

Wednesday, December 07, 2011


First Step

In his post at Fourth World Eye, Rudolph C. Ryser likens the climate change talks in Durban to a ghost dance. As a glaring example of the failure of modern states to meet the needs of humanity, the death of the Kyoto protocols signals the beginning of a new dark age. As we come to terms with the ravaging of Earth and every living being in order to satisfy the insatiable appetite of Wall Street, we will need new tools and ancient wisdom to see us through. Abandoning faith in institutions and markets is a good first step.

Monday, December 05, 2011


Myth and Mayhem

Ten years after the US invasion of Afghanistan, protests in Kabul against the American occupation join in solidarity with the Occupy protests around the world. As a criminal enterprise, the Pentagon’s Afghan adventure ranks right up there, and while the atrocities might not yet compare with the American military misadventures in Vietnam, the hypocrisy of fundamentalist allies become enemies and allies once again is tough to top. Independent Media Center — the folks who treated us to the truth in Seattle in 1999 — reports on the myth and mayhem of liberating Afghanistan.

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