Wishing a Happy Holiday season to my ePluribus Media family & friends. I hope each and every one of you have a stellar Christmas and that 2012 is the best year yet! Put Kenny G's Holiday album on (nothing better than good sax), pour a glass of wine and let's toast the end of 2011.
Occupy Movement: Next Step Convergence
Joel S. Hirschhorn
There is a growing convergence of thinking about where the US Occupy movement should go as a next step to turning its values, concerns and commitments into changing what most Americans see as broken government under control of corporate interests. When it comes to political and social movements, history shows us that they usually fail not because they disappear, but rather because they become marginalized, unimportant despite a core group of committed people and groups.
An ongoing series sponsored by the Native American Netroots team focusing on the current issues faced by American Indian Tribes and current solutions to those issues.
I'm not a Native American. I did not grow up on a Reservation. For the longest time, I had only been dimly aware of the extent and level to which Native Americans have been exploited, abused, repressed & discriminated against.
Even now, my awareness likely only begins to scratch the surface, and yet what I've learned over the past few years has brought anger, grief & frustration as my awareness of both past and present bureaucratic b.s. and institutionalized standards of cultural genocide has grown.
Recently, NPR put out a 3 part series called Native Survivors of Foster Care Return Home. (You can watch all three which are linked in the title.) Not too long ago, Metro Times posted a story called Chain of Sorrow that also speaks of the impact and legacy of Indian Boarding Schools.
It's a legacy of pain and sorrow that our nation should be ashamed of.
While reading the latter piece, a paragraph jumped out at me which can be read more than one way. The first way it occurred to me is likely due to my less-informed perspective - but, because of that, it may also be a reflection of a more wide-spread misunderstanding.
Here's the paragraph, with the emphasis on the phrase that stuck out for me:
"It wasn't just the boarding schools that brought this about. From the time Columbus landed in the New World, the assault on Indians, their culture and their religious ways has been relentless. Their sacred lands taken, the people murdered, the women raped and, at times, subjected to forced sterilizations, the deprivation of reservation life, the scourge of alcohol — all these had combined to cause his people to lose so much."
When I first read the paragraph, it didn't sit right - I couldn't understand what was meant by "the deprivation of reservation life" - it first processed in my mind as "children removed from the rez would be deprived of the quality of life on the rez"...which, in the article, was cited as being the reason ~why~ some parents let their children be taken in first place. So, my initial reaction/interpretation was - I hope - incorrect. It wasn't that a child was being deprived of life among their people on the reservation - it was the fact that conditions on the reservation itself were usually harsh and oppressive, becoming yet another aspect of the type of harm done to Native Americans as part of an ongoing (if not always externally recognized) way to continue the same cultural genocide that had begun so many years before.
In either interpretation, however, the paragraph itself was both damning and dismal.
What dismayed me and prompted me to write this article was the thought that immediately followed: what if my first reading of the phrase was the intended interpretation?
That would be pretty sad - for it would present an unchallenged view of the reservation as false equivalent of a way to preserve cultures and traditions.
Sure, there is some of that in reservation life - but, for peoples who were forcibly relocated to unwanted expanses of real estate and who previously harbored little concept of "personal property" the way the settlers conceived of it - how much of their cultural heritage was already compromised? And how much was destroyed in the process of "re-settling" them, or in the subsequent efforts to get them to conform & integrate?
It may be the only current place where the traditions are able to be upheld, but if the belief that it's "good" (versus a way to avoid total cultural extinction) is prevalent, then efforts to improve any relations or conditions are doomed...if not to failure, then to any sort of substantial reform without an awful lot of effort.
Efforts to undo (and prevent further) the whitewashing of our national history with regard to the treatment of Native Americans already have a tough row to hoe. If perspectives - and the associated Overton Window that helps frame them - are still predominantly akin to what my first reading of that paragraph came away with, then there's a very long way to go before beneficial change (for Native Americans, in their perspective) can occur.
A parting thought, also from the Metro Times piece:
"The realization of just how much was stolen from these people begins to set in. It wasn't just their land, or even their way of life. What was taken was their sense of self, leaving them spiritually wounded.
And it was done, in no small part, by taking their children."
Help spread the word & increase awareness: share the links to the Metro Times & NPR pieces. And share a link to Native American Netroots, too: there, people can find a great deal of information - both historical and current - about cultures, customs and ongoing issues.
Cross posted from Real Economics.
Without issuing a single concrete demand, the Occupy movement has already scored a significant victory: it has shifted the political discourse in USA back in a more progressive direction, examining real problems. Less than two months ago, most Americans watched morosely as USA elites “debated” the debt ceiling and vied to come up with the most “acceptable” program of austerity, including cuts in Social Security and Medicare at the federal level, and education and police and fire protection at the state and local levels.
Now, the focus of political discourse are the inequalities of wealth and income, and how they cripple our economy and democracy by allowing the rich a disproportionate role in setting national policies.
That is a monumental shift in political direction. Especially considering the billions of dollars the rich and wealthy have poured into trying to dominate the political process and public perceptions, such as by astro-turfing the so-called Tea Party.
Many people have wondered just who is behind the Occupy movement. If you don’t know, the idea of occupying Wall Street was first proposed by the Canadian culture-jammers, Adbusters. I have known about Adbusters for a few years now, because of their excellent work on revealing the darker sides of economic neo-liberalism, and our consumerist culture. (One of the best articles attacking neo-liberalism was Adbusters’ November 2007 take-down of leading economist Gregory Mankiw, Economic Indoctrination.)
Here is the Hartford Chief of Police in his own words, earlier today:
Now, police may want to do this and may go ahead and do this BUT... They should not do this. Both because there is clear legal precedence on this and because it just is not a smart political move for them. (More below the fold)
bumped - luaptifer
As U.S. energy companies blow up Appalachian mountaintops in search of coal, the nation’s lawmakers yawn with indifference.
By Donald R. Soeken, Ph.D., and Tom Nugent
“West Virginia is the template for what happens when corporations take over democracy.” blew up a mountain in the Berkshires or the Catskills or California or Utah, you would go to jail or a place for the criminally insane. --Environmental Activist Robert Kennedy, Jr.
Charleston, W. Va. – Ever wondered what would happen if an invading power suddenly attacked the gorgeous, summer-green mountains of Appalachia with massive bombs that together equaled the explosive power of the Hiroshima A-bomb, each and every week?
Amazingly enough, that stark scenario is happening right now in West Virginia, with hardly a whimper of protest from federal government regulators or the state politicians in Charleston.
During the past ten years, in fact, mountaintops all across Appalachia have been blowing up one after another, creating rock-strewn “moonscapes” which now include more square miles than those contained in the entire State of Delaware.
Fact: As of July 1, 2011, more than 500 Appalachian mountaintops have been destroyed by these bombers . . . who are now using more than 3 million pounds of explosives each day in West Virginia alone.
An environmental catastrophe? You bet it is. Hour by hour and day by day, we’re witnessing the ongoing destruction of our oldest and perhaps most beautiful mountain chain. And yet most of our politicians – along with most of our news media – seem to be totally unconcerned about the bombing campaign against America.
Maybe that’s because the “invading powers” now blasting away at the steep ridgelines of West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky aren’t foreign countries, after all.
They’re actually giant U.S. energy companies – hugely powerful industries that long ago became accustomed to dictating energy policy in Washington D.C. and in the state capitals of Appalachia.
How bad is the wholesale destruction now being caused by the ruthless bombing-and-digging technique known as “mountaintop removal mining,” all across the once-forested and once-life-abundant region that was America’s first frontier?
Via Think Progress,
Last week, ThinkProgress reported that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) believes that Medicare and Social Security are unconstitutional. Turns out, he’s not he only one. At a town hall in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) appeared to embrace Perry’s claim that providing for America’s seniors is unconstitutional:
QUESTION: With more and more cuts in Medicare and Medicaid on the horizon, I’m really worried about protecting our frail elderly in the Medicare and Medicaid facilities. So I would like to know how Congress proposes to balance the budget and still make sure our frail elderly in these facilities are protected and have trained care staff.
COBURN: That’s a great question. The first question I have for you is if you look in the Constitution, where is it the federal government’s role to do that? That’s number one. Number two is the way I was brought up that’s a family responsibility, not a government responsibility.
The video is embedded below.
Think Progress provided a good rebuttal - check it out at their link.
And treat this as an Open Thread.
Note: Please do not front-page this. This is my own opinion, and shouldn't be FP'd as it might set the stage for potentially painting a default perspective of ePM's board and editors. This piece does ~not~ necessarily reflect the stance of ePluribus Media, her board or directors. It's the sole opinion of a jaded cyber-avatar. Thank you. -- GH
We've got a lot to worry about. Not only are the Republicans at war with reality, but we've also got a real-world incarnation of a corrupt religious nut gone politic in the form of Rick Perry, who appears to be the targeted potential presidential candidate that the GOP & its sycophants are hoping will rise to the top of the barrel of rotten choices and give them a clear shot at regaining the absolute power they lost when BushCo went belly-up.
Don't do it, folks. Rick Perry is bad mojo. The GOP & Tea Party have obstructed any and all attempts to fix the mess that the GOP made when it had both Congress & the Presidency. Throw the bums out face-first and stop letting them stab our nation in the back while gutting it from the front.
If you agree with this sentiment, by all means pass it along. Thank you. - GH
The ongoing game of charade in DC is continuing apace, with what appears to be the umpteenth act in a never-ending saga of "kabuki theater in a Potemkin village" over raising the debt ceiling.
The GOP has decided to use this as a tri-blade tool to finish the job of gutting the economy in their efforts to blame the collapse upon the Obama Administration, in spite of the facts & evidence that this whole fiasco began (and accelerated) under the previous Administration with the help of a GOP majority in both houses of Congress.
Unfortunately for them, the video of their efforts to avoid precisely what they're doing now exists - Think Progress posted about it.
Now we just need people to share it widely, and shout down those who are arguing about "compromise" - there needs to be a clean bill, no strings, and not for the short term.
Then the other hypocrisies can be dealt with.
Let's take our nation back and return control of it to the masses.
In Sunday's Abbreviated Pundit Round-up, Daily Kos editor and front-page contributor Mark Sumner notes via an excerpt from Byron Williams that the problem with our deficit isn't what pundits and politicians are making it out to be - and nobody appears to be listening:
Byron Williams says President Obama isn't standing his ground.
According to the Congressional Budget Office, the bipartisan federal agency that provides economic data to Congress, more than half the current deficit is attributed to the tax cuts during the presidency of George W. Bush and the two wars that were financed on borrowed dollars during the same time period.
It's not health care legislation, it's not TARP, nor is it the stimulus package -- the troika with which most seem obsessed -- it's the tax cuts and wars that many who sit at the table negotiating with the president supported, but have irresponsibly drawn a line in the sand in opposition to any revenue increases.
Republicans sank the economy and ran up the debt, now they're looking to capitalize from their own destruction. Don't let them.
If you're familiar with the title and premise of Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, then you're familiar with how extreme - and dangerous - the current antics of conservatives and the Republican Party in general are to the well-being of our nation.
Contact your local news media (unless, of course, you're stuck with Fox) and demand that they start pointing out the realities behind the current fiscal issues. Recommend that they read Byron's column. Demand that they stop catering to the dialog that the politicians are refusing to correct. We need EVERYONE who can to work with us to force the media and the politicians (the ones who are still listening) to start driving the debate on getting actual issues addressed, instead of permitting the ongoing smoke-and-mirrors that characterizes what has become the typical game of "kabuki theater in a Potemkin village" that our Congress has engaged in.
Our nation, and our people, can't take much more of this idiocy.
Originally posted 2011-07-04 23:17:58 -0400; bumped across the midnight meridian by GH.
The citizens of the United States have excellent judgment. They have shown it consistently over time. When that judgment shifts briefly allowing a failed policy, it is a result of the vilest forms of propaganda by a small clique of liars. (Image: PS-OV-ART)
The people were right about the invasion of Iraq
We know that the plan to invade Iraq began just days after Inauguration Day, 2001. The opportunity to launch the most disastrous and costly military effort in our history came on 9/11. The destruction of the World Trade Center towers and attack on the Pentagon became the pretext for war. The manipulators launched their fraudulent storyline in earnest with confidence that they would get their war.
But in December of 2002, the public wasn't buying it. The people didn't have access to all of the information. They knew one thing for sure -- the invasion was a very bad idea unless Iraq posed an imminent threat to the country with weapons of mass destruction. An in depth Los Angeles Times public opinion poll asked this question:
Back in May of 2010 Sarah Palin went on Fox news with Bill O'Reilly and called for U.S. law to be based on the Christian Bible.
Palin is reportedly considering a run for the White House in 2012 and has millions of supporters here in the United States.
During her interview, Palin gushed: “I think we should keep this clean, keep it simple, go back to what our founders and our founding documents meant,” adding, “They’re quite clear that we would create law based on the God of the Bible and the Ten Commandments."
The Constitution was originally written to say,
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
Also in the United States Constitution (Article 6, paragraph 3) states that "no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States."
In addition there was Thomas Jefferson's letter to the Danbury Baptist Association in 1802 wherein he describes the "wall of separation between church and state," and explains to the Danbury Baptists that the federal government cannot and will not favor one religion over another or declare an official state religion for the United States of America.
So, our founding fathers said that Congress cannot make any laws that are based on any Gods or any religious books or any religious dogma and Sarah Palin turns around and says that our founding fathers intended that all of our laws would be based on the Christian God and the Christian Bible and Christian dogma.
So, glossing over the fact that Sarah Palin is either dishonest enough to lie about America’s founding fathers or stupid enough to actually believe that America’s founding fathers wanted a Christian theocracy, can you imagine how deranged it would be if we did as Sarah Palin says and re-wrote American law so that it was based on the Ten Commandments?
Now, most Christians can’t even tell you what the Ten Commandments are. And I’m certain that Sarah Palin’s millions of sycophantic groupies aren’t any smarter. So as a free educational service I’m going to tell you what all ten of the commandments are and I’m going to explain why it would be disruptive, chaotic and illogical to make them the basis for America’s legal system.
A message from My Fellow American:
Muslims are our fellow Americans
They are part of the national fabric that holds our country together. They contribute to America in many ways, and deserve the same respect as any of us. I pledge to spread this message, and affirm our country’s principles of liberty and justice for all.
Too often, the politics of hate and fearmongering are used without care or consequence to achieve goals that are anything but consistent with our nation's founding principles.
Thank you, to My Fellow American, for sharing this with us and giving us the opportunity to help bring more attention to it.