Monday, November 30, 2009

Archaic Torso of Apollo - by Rainer Maria Rilke

We cannot know his legendary head
with eyes like ripening fruit. And yet his torso
is still suffused with brilliance from inside,
like a lamp, in which his gaze, now turned to low,

gleams in all its power. Otherwise
the curved breast could not dazzle you so, nor could
a smile run through the placid hips and thighs
to that dark center where procreation flared.

Otherwise this stone would seem defaced
beneath the translucent cascade of the shoulders
and would not glisten like a wild beast’s fur:

would not, from all the borders of itself,
burst like a star: for here there is no place
that does not see you. You must change your life.

Artist: Filippo Lauri
Title: King Midas Judging The Musical Contest Between Apollo And Pan

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Afghan security forces get 40% pay hike

29 November 2009
By Yara Bayoumy in Kabul

AFGHANISTAN yesterday increased the pay of police and soldiers by nearly 40 per cent as Western countries aimed to increase the size and quality of Afghan security forces so their own troops can go home.

Interior Minister Hanif Atmar said monthly salaries would increase by $45 to about $165 for a new recruit. At present, there are about 95,000 Afghan soldiers and 93,000 police – a fraction of the number needed to fight the Taleban.

Atmar said: "We have an Afghanistan that will be able to defend itself with its own national security forces."

Afghanistan depends on funds from the US and other Western countries for large budgetary expenses, such as military and police salaries.

The commander of US and Nato troops in Afghanistan wants the numbers of Afghan security forces dramatically increased, perhaps to as many as 240,000 soldiers and 160,000 police – goals that will take years to achieve.

A new Nato training mission is working to expand the Afghan army to 134,000 soldiers by October 2010. In addition to increasing the numbers, the quality of the forces also needs to be improved, especially the police force, which is plagued by corruption, desertion and high turnover.

Under the new pay scale, police officers will be eligible for pay increases throughout their careers, and those serving in dangerous areas will earn a bonus, the statement said.

"This will help improve recruiting, increase retention of those professionals in the force today, and it will also help reduce attrition," US Lieutenant-General William Caldwell, commander of the Nato training mission, said in the statement. Gross domestic product per person is about $300 per year in Afghanistan, or $25 a month.

US President Barack Obama is expected to announce next week a strategy that involves sending tens of thousands of extra troops to Afghanistan to quell a growing Taleban insurgency.

A top priority for Obama's plan is to accelerate the training of Afghan security forces to take over responsibility from US and Nato troops.

Afghan president Hamid Karzai said Afghans would be able to take over security of the country in five years

US backs SHAM Honduran election: Zelaya supporters have sustained wounds in confrontations with the police and many others have been detained


Police fire tear gas to break up a protest in San Pedro Sula, Honduras, November 29.

Police fired tear gas and water cannons at supporters of deposed President Manuel Zelaya as polling was underway during the Honduran election.

Some Zelaya supporters have sustained wounds in confrontations with the police and many others have been detained.

Reports say the police is using a heavy hand in controlling the hundreds of demonstrators in the northern city of San Pedro Sula who have boycotted Sunday's post-coup presidential election.

The protesters called for Zelaya's return to power. He has been holed up in the Brazilian Embassy in the Honduran capital Tegucigalpa since secretly returning to the country in September.

Zelaya has dismissed the country's presidential election as an “electoral farce” and has criticized the United States for supporting the vote.

The country's de facto leaders hope the election will turn a page on the country's five-month crisis, sparked by a June 28 coup. But the military clampdown, led by Roberto Micheletti, has been severely criticized by human rights groups.

The two leading candidates, Porfirio Lobo and Elvin Santos, two prosperous businessmen from the political old guard, are from right-wing parties that have traded the leadership of Honduras for years and have close ties to the military.

Hondurans remain bitterly divided by the coup, which was the first in Central America for more than 20 years.

FTP/HGL and the EFF successfully fight back against bogus FBI subpoena is happy to announce that we've managed, after nearly a year of legal action on our behalf by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), to successfully fight back against a bogus subpoena request issued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in conjunction with a grand jury investigation. The request demanded we turn over all IP address logs for a day in June of 2008 - not only did object to this blatantly illegitimate and overly broad request, but, per accepted Indymedia best practices, we do not keep such logs in the first place, in order to maximally ensure the privacy of our site users. Also troubling was the fact that the sysadmin who received the subpoena was also bound by its gag order provision, making her unable to discuss the legal issue with the broader network of collectives cooperating on the site. We're happy that the EFF was ultimately able to get this demand for silence shown to be illegitimate as well --- one can only wonder how many ISPs silently capitulate to similarly broad and unconstitutional requests.

More information: From EFF's Secret Files: Anatomy of a Bogus Subpoena --- How the Government Secretly Demanded the IP Address of Every Visitor to Political News Site | Interview with Indymedia sys admin Kristina Clair | Interview with EFF lawyer Kevin Bankston | List of previous incidents of legal repression of Indymedia centers | US-Behörde wollte illegal an Nutzerdaten von gelangen


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cindy & Ralph

Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox Blog
Cindy Sheehan’s Soapbox
Nov. 27, 2009

On the Supposed “Silence” of the Anti-war Movement by Ed Ciaccio


November 27, 2009

Eight is (More Than) Enough: End the Wars!

We are not silent.

We have never been silent.

Our outrage, far from silent, continues.

That the corporate/warmonger media refuse to report the full extent of our protests, phone calls, Congressional visits, letters, emails, postcards, vigils, marches, demonstrations, civil disobedience, and fasts does NOT mean these acts of resistance have not taken place; only that they have been conveniently ignored by the ruling class’s main propaganda institution. If a protest takes place but is not reported, does that mean it didn’t happen?

Of course, it has always been in the best interests of the ruling class to minimize any opposition to their policies, and the corporate media, long ago abandoning its responsible, necessary role in a democracy of helping to keep citizens well-informed, are only too willing to go along with ignoring any true reporting which may present an unsettling view of reality to “consumers.” Michael Jackson’s death? A full week of coverage. The “balloon boy” hoax? Days of coverage. Casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan? A few seconds if they are U.S. or NATO; even less if they are Iraqi or Afghani civilians.

Dedicated strictly to making mega-profits using/abusing OUR public airwaves (so generously allowed by Democratic and Republican administrations, in spite of our protests), the last thing corporate media want is an accurately-informed citizenry. They fear that, if we were ever allowed to glimpse the truth about the serious, destructive, anti-democratic deceptions perpetrated upon us to keep the ruling class in power, the streets may be filled with angry citizens demanding true justice and democracy. After 45 years of activism in a culture which is nearly 100% dedicated to, as Neil Postman warned us, “amusing ourselves to death,” I’m no longer persuaded that the streets would be filled, especially if there’s a football game or “American Idol” show on TV that day. More importantly, so many of us are struggling with unemployment, under-employment, crushing mortgage payments and property taxes and health care bills and credit card payments, or even foreclosures, that we have less and less time and energy to be active citizens, all to the continued delight of, and advantage to, the ruling class and its propagandist media.

As for President Barack Obama, he has neither surprised nor disappointed many of us in the movement because, to so many of us, Obama has never been “our man”. Those of us who paid close attention to Obama’s voting record did NOT support him. Instead, many of us voted for candidates such as the Green Party’s Cynthia McKinney, who truly represented us, and still does.

Today, more and more progressives, liberals, independents, and former Obama supporters are finally waking up as the scales fall from their eyes and they finally begin to see Obama, and most Democrats, clearly for the first time. Gore Vidal told us long ago that the United States has one major political party, the property party, with two right wings. The reality is bitter, but must, finally, be faced: the warmongering ruling class will not allow anyone near such a high office who hasn’t been thoroughly vetted by them to assure their continued control of our economy, media, health care, and national “security” (a.k.a. fear-mongering, war-making) apparatus. The U.S. National Security State, firmly established by Democratic President Harry Truman in 1947, continues to grind on unrelentingly, growing more powerful and insane every day.

The last nail in the coffin of our constitutional republic, hardly ever a true democracy to begin with, was pounded in when the five Republican fascist (NOT “conservative”) Supreme Court “Justices” unconstitutionally selected George W. Bush as President in December, 2000, and Al Gore and most other Democrats meekly went along with that bloodless coup d’état .

Everything that has happened since then has been nearly inevitable, including Obama’s continuation and worsening of the Bush/Cheney unconstitutional policies and illegal wars/occupations, if not the expansion of them. His continuation of warmonger Bush’s “Defense” Secretary Robert Gates in office; increase of the War Budget (Federal welfare for war profiteers) by 4% more than Bush’s previous record high; Afghan war/occupation escalation; enlargement of the secretive “Guantanamo East” torture prison at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan; continuation of the Clinton/Bush renditions as well as the Bush/Cheney Patriot Act and Military Commissions; refusal to sign the treaty banning land mines; continued bailout of the Wall Street Banksters; more taxpayer welfare for the Health Insurance/ Big Pharma parasites under the guise of “health care reform”; and failure to do anything meaningful or significant about global warming/climate chaos are no surprise to many of us who have been clear-eyed all along. The true surprise would have been Obama challenging any of these authoritarian, predatory/corporate-capitalist policies.

Obama’s smooth, eloquent rhetoric has, thankfully, begun to wear thin even to many of his former supporters who are painfully, reluctantly learning the lesson which must always be applied to all leaders: pay close attention to what they do, not to what they say.

Obama has done very little to significantly make the U.S. into a more fair and just, law-abiding state truly carrying out policies consistent with respect for human rights and international law. Contrary to the self-deluded who still claim that he has “only” been in office 11 months, in reality, he has had more than enough time to set our nation on a truly more moral course (ask those still dying or being maimed in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Colombia, for starters). To begin with, his refusal to appoint a prosecutor for the many war crimes of the Bush/Cheney junta signaled Obama’s willingness to ignore Constitutional and international laws and be complicit in those crimes as an accessory after the fact. His continuation of the illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, spreading to Pakistan, made him an active participation in those war crimes. His support for expansion of the U.S. global military empire into Honduras, Colombia, Africa, the Republic of Georgia, Bulgaria, and Romania is merely more evidence of his being well-vetted by the Imperial U.S. Ruling Class to be their latest attractive, distracting figurehead.

What can we do to change a morally corrupt political-economic system completely controlled by “lawmakers” who benefit handsomely by that corrupt status quo and who, with very few exceptions, will always fiercely resist any significant and necessary systemic changes, paying real attention to us only when they want our votes? What can rescue a culture devoted nearly mindlessly to “amusing itself to death” (or, at least, to complete ignorance and distraction)? I honestly do not know. “Hope” is nice, but is too often itself a distraction, if not a delusion.

What we do have, however, is even more valuable: determination.

We do not intend to stop our opposition to the inhumane, anti-democratic U.S. Empire for Global Domination, no matter whose face is the front man/woman for it. Obama’s arrogant, ultimately disastrous escalation of the U.S./NATO war on the people of Afghanistan, a people among the poorest on earth and who have known nothing but war and occupation for more than 30 years, ignores not only opposition to that war/occupation by a majority of Americans, but also the lessons of the history of previous empires doomed in Afghanistan, and of our own history in Vietnam.

Demonstrations and protests against Obama’s Afghan war escalation will occur Sunday, Nov. 29, Mon. Nov. 30, Tues. Dec. 1, and Wed. Dec. 2, throughout the U.S.

They will continue as long as warmongers, corporate or otherwise, run our government and rule our nation.

Regardless of being ignored by corporate media, our outrage at injustice and violence here and abroad, especially the U.S. state/corporate-inflicted violence of war (war is terrorism with a much bigger budget) and anthropogenic climate chaos, will not cease.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Amy Goodman grilled at Canada border crossing

Officials demanded to know what she would say publicly about 2010 Olympics
U.S. broadcaster and author Amy Goodman said she is concerned a journalist would have to undergo an interrogation while trying to enter Canada.
U.S. broadcaster and author Amy Goodman said she is concerned a journalist would have to undergo an interrogation while trying to enter Canada.

U.S. journalist Amy Goodman said she was stopped at a Canadian border crossing south of Vancouver on Wednesday and questioned for 90 minutes by authorities concerned she was coming to Canada to speak against the Olympics.

Goodman says Canadian Border Services Agency officials ultimately allowed her to enter Canada but returned her passport with a document demanding she leave the country within 48 hours.

Goodman, 52, known for her views opposing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, told CBC News on Thursday that Canadian border agents asked her repeatedly what subjects she would cover at scheduled speaking engagements in Vancouver and Victoria.
'You're saying you're not talking about the Olympics?'—Canadian border agent
Goodman said she told them she planned to speak about the debate over U.S. health care reform and the wars in Asia.

After much questioning, Goodman said the officials finally asked if she would be speaking about the 2010 Olympics.

"He made it clear by saying, 'What about the Olympics?'" said Goodman. "And I said, 'You mean when President Obama went to Copenhagen to push for the Olympics in Chicago?'"
"He said, 'No. I am talking about the Olympics here in 2010.' I said, 'Oh I hadn't thought of that,'" said Goodman.

"He said, 'You're saying you're not talking about the Olympics?'"

"He was clearly incredulous that I wasn't going to be talking about the Olympics. He didn't believe me," Goodman said.

The CBSA declined comment on the incident Thursday.

Searched car, computer and notes

Goodman said her car was searched and the officials demanded to look at her notes and her computer.

Goodman is best known as the principal host of Democracy Now, a U.S. syndicated radio broadcast.

She was coming to Canada as part of a tour to promote a new book, Breaking The Sound Barrier.

"I am deeply concerned that as a journalist I would be flagged and that the concern – the major concern – was the content of my speech," said Goodman.

Denmark approves new police powers ahead of Copenhagen


Controversial legislation gives police sweeping powers of 'pre-emptive' arrest and extends custodial sentences for acts of civil disobedience.

The Danish parliament today passed legislation which will give police sweeping powers of "pre-emptive" arrest and extend custodial sentences for acts of civil disobedience. The "deeply worrying" law comes ahead of the UN climate talks which start on 7 December and are expected to attract thousands of activists from next week.

Under the new powers, Danish police will be able to detain people for up to 12 hours whom they suspect might break the law in the near future. Protesters could also be jailed for 40 days under the hurriedly drafted legislation dubbed by activists as the "turmoil and riot" law. The law was first announced on 18 October.
The Danish ministry of justice said that the new powers of "pre-emptive" detention would increase from 6 to 12 hours and apply to international activists. If protesters are charged with hindering the police, the penalty will increase from a fine to 40 days in prison. Protesters can also be fined an increased amount of 5,000 krona (671 Euros) for breach of the peace, disorderly behaviour and remaining after the police have broken up a demonstration.

The Danish police also separately issued a statement in August (pdf) applying new rules and regulations for protests at the climate conference, warning that "gatherings that may disturb the public order must not take place".

Earlier this month, the Guardian published a letter by environmental activists that described the new law as "deeply worrying" and called for the Danish government to uphold their right to legitimate protest.

Tannie Nyboe, a spokewoman from campaigning group Climate Justice Action in Denmark, said the new law was designed to control civil disobedience during the summit. "These laws are a big restraint in people's freedom of speech and it will increase the police repression for anyone coming to Copenhagen to protest.

Denmark normally boasts of how open and democratic a country we are. With this law we can't boast about this anymore.

"It will increase the repression of any protester or activist coming to Copenhagen. This law creates an image of anyone concerned about climate change being a criminal, which will of course also influence the general treatment of any activist who comes into contact with the police or other authorities."

A Danish justice ministry confirmed that the laws had been passed today and would come into effect before the climate conference starts on 7 December.

Day After Thanksgiving Observance: Native American Heritage Day

by: StuartH

Native American Heritage Day
Friday, the day after Thanksgiving

Most people aren't aware of this, but last June, President Obama signed into law a joint resolution of the House and Senate, sponsored by Rep. Baca of California and Sen. Inouye of Hawaii, naming the Friday after Thanksgiving Native American Heritage Day, "to honor the achievements and contributions of Native Americans to the United States." 

The general truth, that we little understand the implications of what we celebrate, and that we should become more aware of our history and how others view it, is very appropriate to carry in our thoughts on this supposedly contemplative occasion.

Day After Thanksgiving Observance: Native American Heritage Day
My family origins are with an ancestor who came over from England in 1680.  Nearly a century later, a descendant of his fought in the American Revolution.  My great grandfather learned a portable trade growing up in Litchfield, Connecticut, as a wheelwright, and made it all the way West - to Albion, NY.  Despite the long history of my family in America, I largely am an expert in the ignorance of Mainstream America in this subject area, beyond the Disneyfied bubble many of us have lived in. I feel I should comment from my attempts to overcome this.  '
So, as a non-expert, how to get across some things about American Indian ways of life that enrich us?  There are so many ways one might go about this.  A list of things like corn, so much a staple of our diets that our bodies are nearly identical to corn in chemical analysis?  Quinine?  The insight into political process and governance that Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson gained from meeting and talking with councils of the Six Nations confederacy?  

Given the spiritual and family nature of this holiday for many people, maybe it would be interesting to explore something most people might not consider.  

Several years ago I was living on the main campus of the Navajo Nation's tribal college, in Tsaile, Az (derived from the Navajo word for a place where water enters the canyon) at the head of Canyon de Chelly in a stunning setting on the flanks of the Chuska (Ch'osgai - white spruce) Mountains, high up at 7200 feet.  

I thought I was going to a public lecture, but found myself in a large meeting convened on the Navajo Nation by many medicine men, tribal college leaders, tribal government and legal experts and others concerned about the issue of spreading water from sewage treatment onto the slopes of a sacred mountain.  This was approved by the National Park Service under Bush.  Fake snow  for ski tourism on the mountain near Flagstaff.

The purpose was to review  the legal strategy for opposing the Park Service action before the appellate court and possibly the Supreme Court on behalf of the Nation, and some fifteen other tribal entities as well.  

Harry Walters, a well known expert on Navajo culture, a teacher at the college and a tribal elder, explained the difference between "Western" viewpoints on issues such as this and "Indian" ways of seeing it, thus to explore the problem of translating the issue into language useful in a courtroom.  

I should mention that Dine' College was founded on the principle that Indian youth could best be prepared for a future as leaders for the Nation, and successful people in the larger culture, through an education that honors traditional Indian views of life, as well as the accreditation requirements for US colleges.  The educational philosophy uses an ancient wisdom tradition description, Sa'a N'yae Bikeh Hozhon.  It isn't translateable directly.

This is the sort of issue at the heart of the cultural divide between the two different traditions.  Language is a real limitation when it really represents different ways of thinking.  

Specific breaking down into atoms, molecules or logical bits that can be categorized is the "Western" gift to mankind.  It creates science and the benefits derived therefrom.  It also creates problems when people and cultures are subjected to compartmentalized thinking that allows them to be dismissed as less than human or irrelevant.  This is the source of war and horrible legacies that we know all too well, unless we dismiss the truth of history as many do - also made possible by compartmentalized, limited, left brain thinking.  

The more fluid, open and right brained intelligence welcomes more subjective experience as truth.  Poetry and art are more congruent than, say chemistry.  More comfort with ambiguity.  Less comfort with regimentation.

Walters drew a line and a circle.  More or less, straight line logic that sees things in terms of a continuum, such as a timeline or a process is one way of looking at the world, and a circle, where all things are seen as a gestalt with no beginning or end is another.

One might compare this to an Eastern, maybe Buddhist philosophy.  But it goes further.
The wisdom to be found in American Indian philosophy cannot be separated from ancient experience of place.  This is why land issues are so vastly crucial.  Dine' people, especially in the very center of the Nation, have the fortune of living on land that direct ancestors walked going back at least into the fifteen hundreds.  Maybe further back.

The reason that there is a dispute over the sacred mountain is that there is no distinction between the time of Creation - back then in ancient times - and now.  The figures in the myths of origin, notably the Yei, are still alive and present within the four sacred mountains that define the Dine' world.  These are deities.  Peeing in the baptismal font, as it were, is not only disrespectful, but could harm balance on a profound level and cause a drift into negativity across the land, increasing criminal thinking, drug and alcohol abuse, and bad public leadership.  Maintaining balance in the world is the essential issue.  

One could talk about this in terms of String Theory.  Time exists all in one place and we live in a dimension of it, not able to experience beyond what our senses are designed to process.  We are limited beings who cannot take in more than a small amount of reality.

We live in very limited ways.  We need some kind of help with enlarging into our potential as individuals and as a society.  What we seek, that we may lack, is proper balance.  Calibrating balance is the larger work of consciousness leaders.  The ideal is what is meant by the word, "beauty."

The insight that we live in a landscape that we ought to open ourselves to having
reverence for, is a valuable insight.  Heedless existence that has no respect for Others, is completely selfish and allows unchecked consumption of everything without respect for any consequences in the future is the opposite of balance, of beauty.

Navajo families gather in the fall and winter for Yei Bi Chei ceremonies.  These may be open to the public, with hand painted signs visible along roads pointing to them.

Traditionally, they last for nine days.  People do take off work, telling supervisors that they must go to a family ceremony and this is acceptable, with compromises.  There are now short form ceremonies lasting maybe only a day or so.  But there are still very lengthy observances among the most traditional folks.  

I attended a Christmas Eve Yei Bi Che a few years ago, up the road a few miles at Lukachukai, as it happens, an historic center of ceremonialism.  Here's an image:

The elaborate ceremony involved a specially built ceremonial Hogan (an eight-sided log house) a lighted area out front, four ceremonial bonfires in a line on either side of a dance runway leading out into the sagebrush, and a large area for parking in an adjacent field.  The medicine man conducting this performs a long series of complex songs that are the equivalent of a libretto for a long opera, and executes sand paintings and other rituals in private, in the hogan.  He also manages and oversees everything so it is all done right.

A line of dancers comes in from the field, approaching the patient, seated in front of the hogan.  At night, the area between the bonfires is lit, and the dancers enter from complete darkness.  Out here, there are no city lights.  No lights at all.  Only stars, which are bright and close enough to almost touch in the high altitude air far from traffic or smokestacks.  It was cold.  Fifteen degrees.  No one in the large crowd was complaining about it, so I didn't remark on it either. But I did get some hot chocolate from the guy in the trailer with the fry bread, Navajo tacos (mutton in fry bread) and coffee.  

I contemplated, among other things, the license plates on about a hundred pickup trucks and cars, some idling with people inside warming up.   When the call goes out, family gathers as they might for a wedding, driving in from everywhere imagineable.  

Navajos are unified by a strong sense of family, clan, community.  It is a healthy support system.  For those who participate in this, resources can be shared that might help get someone through a distant college,  create a great network of caregivers for children, even capital for business investment.

The line of dancers, dressed in white body paint and the unique masks representing the Yei, move through the ritual in stages, calling out in the strange hooting that evokes supernatural utterance.  At some point, the dancers may be "possessed" (a western term that will have to do) by the actual Yei who enter them and bring healings and blessings.  This is one reason so many people are so dedicated to dropping what they are doing and driving however many miles they have to in order to make it.  

In "The Web of Life" Fritjof Capra points out the work of physicist Ilya Prigogine, who won a Nobel Prize for postulating systems theory.  In this "New Physics" everything is connected to everything, in a giant web, and not in straight line sequences.  The world wide web is an example.  The Gaia system is another.  I guess one could say String Theory extends this.

The first Europeans to come to these shores, like the Pilgrims, did not understand ecology.  (anybody talking about String Theory back then would have been accused of blasphemy, or worse.)  They believed in Man's Dominion over Creation.  A sense of reverence for all things, seen or not seen, understood or not understood, a sense that man does not have the right to dominate but is an equal part of the whole web of life -  is an essential indigenous wisdom.  This is ancient human heritage for all cultures, but it has been a lost wisdom through the European Christian era, with its war on the indigenous world of Europe, brought here by the settlers.

Perhaps one of the great gifts of the meeting of the "Western" and Indigenous minds can still be a rediscovery of that deeply ancient wisdom which might be relevant to our future survival as Homo Sapiens.  

Last Thanksgiving, or around then, we had a dinner guest from Lukachukai, a graduate faculty member in the education department who had lived for some years in San Francisco and was on his way to an Ivy League university to do a lecture.  I remember him saying, "We have no wisdom to share with anyone. Look at us.  We are a devastated people.  We live in poverty.  Look at the alcohol, the domestic violence, people leaving the reservation for jobs a long way away."

You can certainly see a lot of cultural devastation and the history is full of causes for grieving.  But on deep reflection, I believe that if the core of indigenous experience is ever lost, all mankind will suffer from that in ways we may never grasp.  I prefer to take what opportunities there might be, to honor what wisdom I might be able to comprehend.  That isn't an easy process, and yes, it is full of contradictions.  
A line came to me for a poem once:  "we will be shown what we can see."

Wisdom begins with being fully open to the idea that we may not know everything or understand everything, but we might do better at that if we try, in time.  

What I am saying is that the differences between perspectives have in the past led to killing and huge conflict.  We should contemplate, instead, the ways that we can learn to open our minds to new dimensions of understanding and gain new ground in the process.  That is something to consider and give thanks over - for the future.

Hozho Nahastle
Hozho Nahastle
Hozho Nahastle
Hozho Nahastle  (May there be Beauty)  

The Massacre For Which Thanksgiving Is Named

Thanksgiving Day Celebrates A Massacre William B. Newell, a Penobscot Indian and former chairman of the Anthropology department at the University of Connecticut, says that the first official Thanksgiving Day celebrated the massacre of 700 Indian men, women and children during one of their religious ceremonies. "Thanksgiving Day" was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637 to commemorate the massacre of 700 men, women and children who were celebrating their annual Green Corn Dance...Thanksgiving Day to the, "in their own house", Newell stated.

- small snip -

-----The very next day the governor declared a Thanksgiving Day.....For the next 100 years, every Thanksgiving Day ordained by a Governor was in honor of the bloody victory, thanking God that the battle had been won."

Without having the book or being able to see it online, the proclamation appears, according to Richard Drinnon, to have come from William Bradford. I'll be buying the book. "'Thanksgiving Day'" was first proclaimed by the Governor of the then Massachusetts Bay Colony in 1637," as from Newell, which was John Winthrop.

But "William Bradford became the governor of Plymouth after the first governor died in 1621."
And in "1631, John Winthrop (1588-1649) became the first elected official in America-governor of the Massachusetts Bay Colony."

They were both Puritans, they both probably said it.
Facing West: The Metaphysics of Indian Hating & Empire Building The original Thanksgiving was marked by prayer and thanks for the untimely deaths of most of the Wampanoag Tribe due to smallpox contracted from earlier European visitors. Thus when the Pilgrims arrived they found the fields already cleared and planted, and they called them their own.
- snip -
He was inspired to issue a proclamation: "This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots." The authentic Thanksgiving Day was born.
The following source cites Drinnon in the next paragraph, so I assume the following came from Drinnon as well.

Source Jump 129 years to 1621, year of the supposed "first Thanksgiving." There is not much documentation of that event, but surviving Indians do not trust the myth. Natives were already dying like flies thanks to European-borne diseases. The Pequot tribe reportedly numbered 8,000 when the Pilgrims arrived, but disease had reduced their population to 1,500 by 1637, when the first, officially proclaimed, all-Pilgrim "Thanksgiving" took place. At that feast, the whites of New England celebrated their massacre of the Pequots. "This day forth shall be a day of celebration and thanksgiving for subduing the Pequots," read Massachusetts Bay Governor John Winthrop's proclamation. Few Pequots survived.
The first Official Thanksgiving was gratitude for genocide in 1637, and in 1676 - 1677 "a day was set apart for public thanksgiving," because nearly all of them were exterminated by then. 3 See Sylvester, op. cit., ii, p. 457, for expedients adopted by Massachusetts to obtain money to defend the frontiers. Yet the number killed and sold, along with those who escaped, practically destroyed the warring Indians. According to the Massachusetts Records of 1676-1677 a day was set apart for public thanksgiving, because, among other things of moment, "there now scarce remains a name or family of them (the Indians) but are either slain, captivated or fled." In their victory, the settlers launched an all-out genocide against the remaining Native people. The Massachusetts government offered 20 shillings bounty for every Indian scalp, and 40 shillings for every prisoner who could be sold into slavery. Soldiers were allowed to enslave any Indian woman or child under 14 they could capture. The "Praying Indians" who had converted to Christianity and fought on the side of the European troops were accused of shooting into the treetops during battles with "hostiles." They were enslaved or killed. Other "peaceful" Indians of Dartmouth and Dover were invited to negotiate or seek refuge at trading posts - and were sold onto slave ships.
- snip -
After King Philip's War, there were almost no Indians left free in the northern British colonies. A colonist wrote from Manhattan's New York colony: "There is now but few Indians upon the island and those few no ways hurtful. It is to be admired how strangely they have decreased by the hand of God, since the English first settled in these parts." In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a "day of public thanksgiving" in 1676, saying, "there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled."

Fifty-five years after the original Thanksgiving Day, the Puritans had destroyed the generous Wampanoag and all other neighboring tribes. The Wampanoag chief King Philip was beheaded. His head was stuck on a pole in Plymouth, where the skull still hung on display 24 years later.
Furthermore, the continuing historical context of the Massacre for which Thanksgiving is named was in the context of "slave-producing wars in New England."
The war consisted of two battles: the Mistick Fight, and the Swamp Fight. In the first of these two events, but seven captives were taken.1 In the second, the Swamp Fight, about one hundred and eighty captives were taken.2 Two of the sachems taken in the Swamp Fight were spared, on promise that they guide the English to the retreat of Sassacus. The other men captives, some twenty or thirty in number, were put to death.3 The remaining captives, consisting of about eighty women and children, were divided. Some were given to the soldiers, whether gratis or for pay does not appear. Thirty were given to the Narraganset who were allies of the English, forty-eight were sent to Massachusetts and the remainder were assigned to Connecticut.4  

During the years 1675 and 1676, one finds mention of the sale of Indians in Plymouth in groups of about a hundred,2 fifty-seven,3 three,4 one hundred and sixty,5 ten,6 and one.7 From June 25, 1675 to September 23, 1676, the records show the sale by the Plymouth colonial authorities of one hundred and eighty-eight Indians.8     In the Massachusetts Bay colony a similar disposal of captives was accomplished. On one occasion about two hundred were transported and sold.9 There is extant a paper written by Daniel Gookin in 1676, one item of which is as follows: "a list of the Indian children that came in with John of Packachooge." The list shows twenty-one boys and eleven girls distributed throughout the colony.10
Hence, the continuing historical context of the Massacre for which Thanksgiving is named: "In Massachusetts, the colonists declared a 'day of public thanksgiving' in 1676, saying, "there now scarce remains a name or family of them [the Indians] but are either slain, captivated or fled."
A cold question arises about whether "the sale of Indians in Plymouth" was at least silently appreciated by the colony. Did they? Were they glad "the Indians" were almost exterminated? They never actually said they were far as I know.

Source It all began when Philip (called Metacom by his own people), the leader of the Wampanoag Indians, led attacks against English towns in the colony of Plymouth. The war spread quickly, pitting a loose confederation of southeastern Algonquians against a coalition of English colonists. While it raged, colonial armies pursued enemy Indians through the swamps and woods of New England, and Indians attacked English farms and towns from Narragansett Bay to the Connecticut River Valley. Both sides, in fact, had pursued the war seemingly without restraint, killing women and children, torturing captives, and mutilating the dead. The fighting ended after Philip was shot, quartered, and beheaded in August 1676.
How many were glad Saddam Hussein was hung? How many would be glad if all the perpetrators of 9-11 were shot? One last question, how many realize that then and now,  colonialism always brings more violence as "a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction."  

Puritans, Indians, and Manifest Destiny. p.75 - 76 ...But tribal rivalries and wars were relatively infrequent prior to Puritan settlement (compared to the number of wars in Europe)...Neither would have increased if it were not that a colonizing European nation was asserting political jurisdiction, in the name of God, over indigenous New England societies...When thus threatened with the usurpation of their own rights, as native tribes had been threatened years before by them, Puritans came to the defense of a system of government that was similar, in important ways, to the native governments that they had always defined as savage and uncivilized...
Some have lost careers over stating the obvious: the US brings it upon itself.

Howard Zinn. A People's History Of The United States. p. 682. We are not hated because we practice democracy, value freedom, or uphold human rights. We are hated because our government denies these things to people in Third World countries whose resources are coveted by our multinational corporations. That hatred we have sown has come back to haunt us in the form of terrorism.
"And in secret places in our minds, in places we don't talk about, we can't handle the truth."

That is true now, and it was true then. Genocide and slavery "saved lives," just the lives the dominant culture wanted to live. And for that, the dominant culture (a mind set) is grateful.

http://www.republicoflakotah.c... William Bradford, in his famous History of the Plymouth Plantation, celebrated the Pequot massacre:
"Those that scraped the fire were slaine with the sword; some hewed to peeces, others rune throw with their rapiers, so as they were quickly dispatchte, and very few escapted. It was conceived they thus destroyed about 400 at this time. It was a fearful sight to see them thus frying in the fyer, and the streams of blood quenching the same, and horrible was the stincke and sente there of, but the victory seemed a sweete sacrifice, and they gave the prayers thereof to God, who had wrought so wonderfully for them, thus to inclose their enemise in their hands, and give them so speedy a victory over so proud and insulting an enimie."
"William Bradford, the author of Of Plymouth Plantation (c. 1630, c. 1646), has been hailed as the father of American history."- He sure as hell is.

The timeline itself along with basic knowledge of the Pilgrim's Puritan's religious beliefs exposes the fact that historically speaking, Thanksgiving was literally about gratitude for genocide.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Evo: "There are only two ways: moving forward in support of change or going back to the past, going back to neoliberalism"

by Arleen Rodríguez Derivet

LA PAZ.—Evo Morales Ayma, the man who, four years ago, changed the history of Bolivia and shook the racist protocol of Western diplomacy, is virtually not sleeping in La Paz at the moment.

Despite huge distances and appreciable differences in height and climate among the country’s nine departments, the president is touring them without a break, and with more intensity as December 6 approaches. This is the day that could guarantee the progress of changing or re-founding the nation, for centuries one of the most impoverished of the hemisphere but today, one that has been able to confront the impact of the world economic crisis with the most success.

Evo’s reelection is a fact not even contested by the right. Surveys give him a 34-point advantage over the closest of the other aspirants. In line with this figure, the most conservative result, the president will be returned with 52% and his nearest rival will barely reach 18%.

Even so, Evo appears at a different point of Bolivia’s complex geography every day. The last time he was seen driving a heavy tractor at the front of an enthusiastic and large convoy of supporters, no less than in Santa Cruz, considered up until the day before a right-wing bastion.

"After hearing and seeing the huge concentrations of people all over the country, I feel that we have already been elected for another five years," affirmed the president in an exclusive interview for Cuban Television’s "Roundtable" program.

What Evo is seeking on those tiring tours to the heart of the country is to take the brakes of the changes imposed by the right in the Senate over the last four years, a period throughout which he had to govern hard by decree in order to overcome the criminal opposition of the opponents of change.

Now Evo is taking the time to talk with the majorities, to explain why not to post a "crossed" vote (voting for him but not for MAS candidates to the Plurinational Assembly. The battle of the charismatic 50-year-old leader is currently focused on winning two thirds of the seats; "Over the last four years, what was most damaging to us was the Senate. The people do not have the majority there," he says and explains to us that that mal comes from the 1980s when, for once, the left won and the right did not allow it to undertake its program. Hernán Siles Suazo had to cut short his mandate.

But traveling into deepest Bolivia is also an opportunity to approach and hear directly from the people what they do from day to day in this country. "We are obliged to visit, to listen to the campesinos who have given us their vote."

Impressed by the atmosphere of peace and prosperity, of joy, that can now be felt in La Paz and other regions, where barely 12 months ago, confrontations provoked by USAID and the U.S. ambassador made people fear for the process, we asked if that fact that one is not longer there and the other has been checked has had an influence, but his response is more profound:

"Whether it is the expulsion of the ambassador, reining in USAID and thus reining in the right, the most important thing is the people’s awareness. I am impressed by many sectors. I think that, in the first year, many people thought: the Indian isn’t going to make it, so: ‘We have to do something against the Indian; they tried to revoke me, they tried everything… That’s where the strength of the CONALCAM (National Coordinating Committee for Change), of intellectuals, students, comes in… Some people said, ‘I don’t like the president’s face, but I do like his politics. This Indian is giving us dignity."

"When I see luxury cars on my campaign convoys, I ask myself what’s going on, but reviewing the candidates’ programs for December 6, ours is the most realistic. You can see clearly that there are two ways: moving forward in support of change or going back to the past, going back to neoliberalism. So many people are joining it. The people aren’t stupid, people can see. That is the program of the people, the one that is only opposed to criminals – those who have lived off robbing the people – and the fraudsters…

"You still can’t decolonize the minds of all Bolivians. There are still opposition groups. And there is a right to an opposition, but there are violent groups, terrorists, who are trying to destroy the homeland, to destroy life."

In this interview, during which the president also talked about the economic crisis and the challenges that climate change is imposing on nations like Bolivia, he affirmed that the installation of military bases in Colombia "is not an aggression toward Colombia, it is an invasion of South America," and predicted that that imperialist policy will be short-lived. •

Translated by Granma International

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Books, Not Bombs, By Amy Goodman

Posted on Nov 24, 2009

By Amy Goodman

California campuses have been rocked by protests this past week, provoked by massive student fee increases voted on by the University of California Board of Regents. After a year of sequential budget cuts, faculty and staff dismissals and furloughs, and the elimination of entire academic departments, the 32-percent fee increase proved to be the trigger for statewide actions of an unprecedented scale. With President Barack Obama’s Afghanistan war strategy—which, according to one leak, will include a surge of 35,000 troops—soon to be announced, the juxtaposition of education cuts and military increases is incensing many, and helping to build a movement.

As I traveled throughout California this past week on a book tour, I was, coincidentally, in the midst of the regents’ vote and the campus protests. At UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UC Santa Barbara, UCLA, Cal State Fresno, UC Davis and Cal State Chico, students approached me with stories of how the fee increases were going to price them out of school. Students were occupying buildings, marching and holding teach-ins. At UC Davis, several young women, among the 52 arrested, described to me how they had been attacked by campus police, shot with Tasers. Students there also protested the Saturday closure of the libraries, showing up at the president’s university-provided house to study there, since the library was closed. He let them in to study rather than spark a confrontation that probably would have ended with police action and arrests.

Blanca Misse, a UC Berkeley graduate student and organizer with the Student Worker Action Team, was among those who’ve been organizing. She told me, “We are striking because we care a lot about public education, and we care about another kind of public education, maybe, than the one they offer, a real public education out of the corporate model.”

Laura Nader (Ralph Nader’s sister) is a professor of social cultural anthropology at UC Berkeley, where she has taught for nearly 50 years. Earlier this year she co-authored a measure approved by the UC Berkeley Academic Senate calling on the school’s athletics program to become self-sufficient and stop receiving subsidies from student fees. She is a critic of the increasing power that corporations such as BP and Novartis have over the universities, and she has a long personal history fighting for public education. She teaches general-education classes that attract hundreds of students—noting that students these days, taught to take tests, “are great at choosing answers on a multiple-choice test, but have never heard of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.” Her focus on the basics reflects her concern of the attack on public education in this country: “It isn’t something that just happened, and it isn’t something that was unplanned,” she told me. “People really do adhere to the model that this shouldn’t be a public good. And if we continue in this direction, there’s going to be a two-class system: those who go to college are going to be those who can afford it, and those who don’t are going to be the middle class.”

The movement’s centerpiece is a strong coalition that includes students, workers and faculty. Bob Samuels is president of the University Council-American Federation of Teachers, the union representing non-senate faculty and librarians of the University of California. Although California is facing a serious budget crisis, Samuels told me the UC system has more than sufficient funds: “It doesn’t have to raise student fees. It doesn’t have to fire faculty. It doesn’t have to cut courses. They’re talking about eliminating minors and majors. They’re talking about moving classes online. They’re doing these drastic things. And what we’re seeing is just basically undergraduate students are subsidizing research, they’re subsidizing administrators, they’re subsidizing things that have nothing to do with undergraduate instruction.”

During the Bush administration, military recruiting faced an all-time low. Now, after the economic collapse of late 2008, recruiters are having no problems. President Obama seems committed to increasing the size, and thus necessarily the duration, of the war and occupation in Afghanistan. One of the most popular university professors in California, Anaya Roy of UC Berkeley, offers a summary that President Obama should heed: “In this context of inequality, one doesn’t need radical instruments of redistribution. One only needs a few things, like decent public education or access to health care or some sort of reasonable approach that says enough of this massive spending on war.”

Denis Moynihan contributed research to this column.

Amy Goodman is the host of “Democracy Now!,” a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on more than 750 stations in North America. She is the co-author of “Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times,” recently released in paperback.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Portland’s Cannabis Cafe is the First Marijuana Coffee Shop of Its Kind in the Country

The Cannabis Cafe, which opened this month in Portland, Oregon is the first marijuana cafe of its kind in the country. Although it doesn’t sell marijuana on the premises, the Cannabis Café allows any of Portland’s estimated 21,000 licensed medical-marijuana users a space to consume marijuana in a social setting. We speak with Madeline Martinez, executive-Director of the Oregon chapter of NORML—The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws—which runs the Cannabis Café.

We’re broadcasting from Portland, Oregon which this month became home to the first marijuana café of its kind in the country. Although it doesn’t sell marijuana on the premises, the Cannabis Café allows any of Portland’s estimated 21,000 licensed medical-marijuana users a space to consume marijuana in a social setting.

The Cannabis Café’s debut comes a month after the Obama administration said it would stop pursuing cases against medical marijuana patients. Reversing the Bush administration’s stance, Attorney General Eric Holder said, “it will not be a priority to use federal resources to prosecute patients with serious illnesses or their caregivers who are complying with state laws on medical marijuana.” Fourteen states have adopted laws allowing the medical use of marijuana.

We are joined in Portland by Madeline Martinez. She is Executive-Director of the Oregon chapter of NORML—The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which also runs the Cannabis Café.

Madeline Martinez, executive director Oregon chapter of National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, which earlier this month opened the Cannabis Cafe, the state’s first.

Monday, November 23, 2009

US builds up its bases in oil-rich South America

From the Caribbean to Brazil, political opposition to US plans for ‘full-spectrum operations’ is escalating rapidly

By Hugh O’Shaughnessy, Special Correspondent, The Independent (U.K.)

The United States is massively building up its potential for nuclear and non-nuclear strikes in Latin America and the Caribbean by acquiring unprecedented freedom of action in seven new military, naval and air bases in Colombia. The development – and the reaction of Latin American leaders to it – is further exacerbating America’s already fractured relationship with much of the continent.

The new US push is part of an effort to counter the loss of influence it has suffered recently at the hands of a new generation of Latin American leaders no longer willing to accept Washington’s political and economic tutelage. President Rafael Correa, for instance, has refused to prolong the US armed presence in Ecuador, and US forces have to quit their base at the port of Manta by the end of next month.

So Washington turned to Colombia, which has not gone down well in the region. The country has received military aid worth $4.6bn (£2.8bn) from the US since 2000, despite its poor human rights record. Colombian forces regularly kill the country’s indigenous people and other civilians, and last year raided the territory of its southern neighbour, Ecuador, causing at least 17 deaths.

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who has not forgotten that US officers were present in government offices in Caracas in 2002 when he was briefly overthrown in a military putsch, warned this month that the bases agreement could mean the possibility of war with Colombia.

President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela, who has not forgotten that US officers were present in government offices in Caracas in 2002 when he was briefly overthrown in a military putsch, warned this month that the bases agreement could mean the possibility of war with Colombia.

In August, President Evo Morales of Bolivia called for the outlawing of foreign military bases in the region. President Manuel Zelaya of Honduras, overthrown in a military coup d’état in June and initially exiled, has complained that US forces stationed at the Honduran base of Palmerola collaborated with Roberto Micheletti, the leader of the plotters and the man who claims to be president.

And, this being US foreign policy, a tell-tale trail of oil is evident. Brazil had already expressed its unhappiness at the presence of US naval vessels in its massive new offshore oilfields off Rio de Janeiro, destined soon to make Brazil a giant oil producer eligible for membership in Opec.

The fact that the US gets half its oil from Latin America was one of the reasons the US Fourth Fleet was re-established in the region’s waters in 2008. The fleet’s vessels can include Polaris nuclear-armed submarines – a deployment seen by some experts as a violation of the 1967 Tlatelolco Treaty, which bans nuclear weapons from the continent.

Indications of US willingness to envisage the stationing of nuclear weapons in Colombia are seen as an additional threat to the spirit of nuclear disarmament. After the establishment of the Tlatelolco Treaty in 1967, four more nuclear-weapon-free zones were set up in Africa, the South Pacific, South-east Asia and Central Asia. Between them, the five treaties cover nearly two-thirds of the countries of the world and almost all the southern hemisphere.

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), the world’s leading think-tank about disarmament issues, has now expressed its worries about the US-Colombian arrangements.

With or without nuclear weapons, the bilateral agreement on the seven Colombian bases, signed on 30 October in Bogota, risks a costly new arms race in a region. SIPRI, which is funded by the Swedish government, said it was concerned about rising arms expenditure in Latin America draining resources from social programmes that the poor of the region need.

Much of the new US strategy was clearly set out in May in an enthusiastic US Air Force (USAF) proposal for its military construction programme for the fiscal year 2010. One Colombian air base, Palanquero, was, the proposal said, unique “in a critical sub-region of our hemisphere where security and stability is under constant threat from… anti-US governments”.

The proposal sets out a scheme to develop Palanquero which, the USAF says, offers an opportunity for conducting “full-spectrum operations throughout South America…. It also supports mobility missions by providing access to the entire continent, except the Cape Horn region, if fuel is available, and over half the continent if un-refuelled”. (”Full-spectrum operations” is the Pentagon’s jargon for its long-established goal of securing crushing military superiority with atomic and conventional weapons across the globe and in space.)

Palanquero could also be useful in ferrying arms and personnel to Africa via the British mid-Atlantic island of Ascension, French Guiana and Aruba, the Dutch island off Venezuela. The US has access to them all.

The USAF proposal contradicted the assurances constantly issued by US diplomats that the bases would not be used against third countries. These were repeated by the Colombian military to the Colombian congress on 29 July. That USAF proposal was hastily reissued this month after the signature of the agreement – but without the reference to “anti-US governments”. This has led to suggestions of either US government incompetence, or of a battle between a gung-ho USAF and a State Department conscious of the damage done to US relations with Latin America by its leaders’ strong objections to the proposal.

The Colombian forces, for many years notorious for atrocities inflicted on civilians, have cheekily suggested that with US help they could get into the lucrative business of “instructing” other armies about human rights. Civil strife in Colombia meant some 380,000 Colombians were forced from their homes last year, bringing the number of displaced since 1985 to 4.6 million, one in ten of the population. This little-known statistic indicates a much worse situation than the much-publicised one in Islamist-ruled Sudan where 2.7 million have fled from their homes.

Amnesty International said: “The Colombian government must urgently bring human rights violators to justice, to break the links between the armed forces and illegal paramilitary groups, and dismantle paramilitary organisations in line with repeated UN recommendations.”

Palanquero, which adjoins the town of Puerto Salgar on the broad Magdalena river north-west of the capital, Bogota, is one of the seven bases that the government of President Alvaro Uribe gave to Washington last month despite howls from many Colombians. Its hangars can take 100 aircraft and there is accommodation for 2,000 personnel. Its main runway was constructed in the 1980s after Colombia bought a force of Israeli Kfir warplanes. At 3,500 metres, it is 500 metres longer than the longest in Britain, the former US base outside Campbeltown, Scotland. The USAF is awaiting Barack Obama’s signature on a bill, already passed by the US Congress, to devote $46m to works at the base.

Many Colombians are upset at the agreement between the US and Colombia that governs – or, perhaps more accurately, fails to govern – US use of Palanquero and the other six bases. The Colombian Council of State, a non-partisan constitutional body with the duty to comment on legislation, has said that the agreements are unfair to Colombia since they put the US and not the host country in the driving seat, and that they should be redrafted in accordance with the Colombian constitution.

The immunities being granted to US soldiers are, the council adds, against the 1961 Vienna Convention; the agreement can be changed by future regulations which can totally transform it; and the permission given to the US to install satellite receivers for radio and television without the usual licences and fees is “without any valid reason”.

President Uribe, whose studies at St Antony’s College, Oxford, were subsidised by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, has chosen to disregard the Council of State.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Saturday, November 21, 2009

If Ralph Nader were to be elected to the Senate from Connecticut it would not be long before we saw a newspaper article looking something like this: WASHINGTON – Senator Ralph Nader issued subpoenas today for the CEO’s of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Timothy Geithner, Henry Paulson…

by John Murphy

Ralph Nader: Rightwingers hate him.  Establishment liberals despise him (proving their political idiocy). He remains the most underappreciated statesman in America.
Ralph Nader: Rightwingers hate him. Establishment liberals despise him (proving their political idiocy). He remains the most underappreciated statesman in America.

THERE IS A WORD; a name actually. The very pronunciation of which sends a deathlike chill down the gelatinous spinal column of the self-styled “progressive” Democrat. Democrat media talking heads have even a more violent reaction. A reaction that is similar to that of the mythical, bloodsucking, soul-destroying vampire when confronted with the light of day.

There is a very good chance that Ralph Nader may run for US Senate in Connecticut in 2010. Ralph told Politico reporter Glenn Thrush “You can’t believe the number of people asking me [to run]… Right now I’d say I’m agnostic”.
The long whispered rumor began to take on greater credibility as far back as April when an article by Keith Burris first appeared in “The Norwich Bulletin” — Norwich, Connecticut. Back then the driving force was the anger that Connecticut voters felt towards Senator Chris Dodd.

Connecticut voters finally realized Dodd is a do-nothing corporate Democrat for whom they have been voting pretty much out of mindless habit. However, now that most cognizant voters realize that it was the repeal of The Glass-Steagall Act (which separated commercial and investment banking firms) that was the root cause of our current economic crisis, voters everywhere, Connecticut being no exception, are taking a hard look at corporate Democrats from Barry The Bomber on down.
Connecticut voters finally realized Dodd is a do-nothing corporate Democrat for whom they have been voting pretty much out of mindless habit. However, now that most cognizant voters realize that it was the repeal of The Glass-Steagall Act (which separated commercial and investment banking firms) that was the root cause of our current economic crisis, voters everywhere, Connecticut being no exception, are taking a hard look at corporate Democrats from Barry The Bomber on down.

Chris Dodd represented Wall Street and the banks when he should have been representing the people of Connecticut and protecting them from the predatory practices of the financial world. As it turns out, it was Chris Dodd himself who engineered the Glass-Steagall repeal. Senator Dodd’s only comment on this incredibly heinous deed was that he really didn’t mean to destroy the banking system! He blames the regulators but of course the regulators did not repeal the 1933 legislation; that was done by Chris Dodd and cheerfully signed by Bill the Stain Clinton.
The Big Five
Adding insult to injury, Senator Dodd is also one of the top 5 recipients of Wall Street bucks. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, “The finance, insurance and real estate sector has given $2.3 billion to candidates, leadership PACs and party committees since 1989, which eclipses every other sector. Nineteen percent of total contributions from the employees and political action committees across all sectors came from the financial sector.” Dodd has been the happy recipient of $752,698. He is the fourth largest leech being eclipsed only by Senator Charles Schumer (D-NY) at $2,167,300; Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) at $1,173,400 (yes, she’s the one who replaced Hillary Clinton in more ways than one) and coming in at number three is Harry Reid (D-NV) at $1,038,210.

Democrats all! Yes, the lesser evil party which has done so much to oppose the right-wing in the last 30 years it would take a volume at least the size of an entire postage stamp to enumerate.

Dodd is hardly the paradigm for the Democrat Party’s acquiescence to corporatism.  The Democrats have been slopping out the corporate trough ever since the early 1980s when Tony Coelho convinced them that they should be dialing for the same corporate dollars as the Republicans. If there was little difference between the Democrats and Republicans prior to the 80s it was completely gone by the time William the Stain was elected in 1992.

Democrats follow the Republican lead in more than just corporate money. Advertising has replaced substance and when “Brand Obama” was put on the market the Democrats never bothered to ask “where’s the beef”. Now even Democrat strategists like David Swanson are saying that the Obama administration is no better than a third Bush administration. So much for the myth that “Anybody is Better than Bush”.
Lemons for Clunkers
Imagine the experience someone has after having dumped their old clunker for a new car only to discover they bought a lemon! Suddenly even the old clunker begins to look good! Pardon the Biblical excursion but Jesus really captures the Obama-following-Bush experience quite prophetically: “When a demon goes out of a man, it travels through the desert, seeking rest, and finds none. Then it says, ‘I will return to my house from which I came.’ Then it goes and takes with it seven other demons more wicked than itself, and they enter and dwell therein; and the last state of that man is worse than the first. So shall it also be with this wicked generation.” In other words, for those who thought Bush was bad, Obama will make him look like a schoolyard bully. Obama has already dropped three times as many bombs on innocent Pakistani men, women and children in one year than George Bush did in his last three years! And it took a Democrat to attack women’s rights in the recent health care spectacle not even Bush did that!

Nevertheless the so-called progressive Democrats are beginning to raise a troubled eyebrow. No, they will never vote for anyone other than a Democrat for President; that would be asking way too much. But they may just have lost enough enthusiasm to stay home next November in some states or in Connecticut they may actually realize that choosing “the lesser of two evils” is morally correct only when there is no “good” choice. The overwhelming majority of Democrats have never been able to rise to that moral level in the past but Connecticut may give them the opportunity to obtain absolution for the sins of their entire party in 2000, 2004 and 2008. Whether they can ever be absolved for the lies they told about “Nader taking votes from Gore” is questionable. They may have to serve years in political hell to cleanse their political souls of that obscenity.
Caution: The Green Party
The Connecticut Green Party has already announced that it would welcome Ralph Nader into the 2010 race for U. S. Senate and thinks he would have a good chance to win against current Senator Dodd.

A Connecticut Green Party spokesperson said, “Since the media reports began in local and national web sites last week, we have seen hundreds of responses urging him to run. With Dodd losing in many polls to the Republicans who have announced, we think Nader could be a clear choice to many who have lost faith in Dodd and his scandals with the banking and financial industries. To win, Nader would have to raise $3-5 million, which he has done easily in past campaigns and build an army of hundreds of volunteers for the race.”

In meeting with Green Party officers, nevertheless, Ralph should wear a large chain of garlic and carry the largest cross available since the Green Party sees itself as nothing more than a special interest group within the Democrat Party. Instead of backing Nader in 2004 and 2008 it gave indirect support to the Democrat candidate even rigging its own convention so that Nader could not possibly win the nomination. Nevertheless, the Greens are in perhaps greater need of absolution than the Democrats. Absolution is, after all, part of the last rites. Even with a Nader candidacy it is doubtful that the Green Party will see Resurrection Day.
The Corporate Parties
At least three Republicans have announced their intension to run against Dodd! They think he can be defeated too. Connecticut, despite Lieberman and Dodd, is nevertheless a liberal stronghold and it would be difficult for a Republican to win unless the Democrats (as may very well happen) stay home in droves.

The Democrat Party of Connecticut seems unable to come up with a viable primary challenge to Dodd, leaving the door open for Ralph Nader to run as an independent. Of course, Ralph could run as a Democrat. Sure he could, and the Pope could become an Anglican!
The Nader Virus
When I ran for House of Representatives as an independent, a newspaper reporter asked me, “given that the Congress is dominated by two parties what could I, as an independent hope to achieve since I was critical of both parties”. I responded that the human body has trillions of cells yet one simple virus can bring the entire organism to a halt. Imagine what someone like Ralph Nader could do in the United States Senate! Sure, the mainstream media will do everything possible to ignore him and minimize his achievements but even the corporate media cannot completely ignore a United States senator especially when he holds the corporate feet of both parties to the fire.


Nader as a senator could not only put the lie to Obama’s mindless rambling about why single payer will not work in the United States, he would be the only member of Congress telling the truth about why we are in Iraq and why we are murdering innocent men, women and children in Afghanistan and Pakistan. He could speak out against the genocide being committed by Israel on the Palestinians and the Zionist’s plans to create a new Holocaust for Islam and how the whole operation is being financed by American taxpayers. 

He could beat the Corporate Democrats over the head with “Cap and Trade” and point out why we need a carbon tax instead. He would be the only member of Congress talking about The Basic Income Guarantee (BIG), taxing stock transactions, eliminating the federal income tax for anyone making under $100,000, restoring the progressive income tax and repealing Taft-Hartley.

To be trite: a bull in a china shop.

You may say that I’m a dreamer

If Ralph Nader were to be elected to the Senate from Connecticut it would not be long before we saw a newspaper article looking something like this:
WASHINGTON Senator Ralph Nader issued subpoenas today for the CEO’s of Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan Chase, Timothy Geithner, Henry Paulson…
John Murphy was the independent candidate for House of Representatives in the 16th Congressional District of Pennsylvania in 2006 and 2008. He is one of the founding members of the Pennsylvanian Ballot Access Coalition where he represents the independent candidacy of Ralph Nader. Before leaving the Green Party, he served as a member of its National Committee. He can be reached at:

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