Monday, December 31, 2007

'No, it is not ancient history to the Lakota'

I wonder if Tom Brokaw knew what was happening on the nine Indian reservations in his home state of South Dakota in 1968. I seriously doubt it.
 
On December 29, 1968, as they have done for many years, the Lakota people were gathered around the mass grave at Wounded Knee to pray. And on December 29, 1990, they would gather to mourn the 100th anniversary of the massacre of their people.

To the non-Indians of South Dakota and the rest of America, December 29, 1990 was another day. But to the Lakota people, December 29 was a day they commemorated every year since 1890. It was a day when nearly 300 of their relatives were shot to death in cold blood by the enlisted men and officers of the 7th Cavalry. Ironically, 21 members of the 7th Cavalry were awarded Medals of Honor for this horrific slaughter of women and children.

White people ask why we Lakota still talk about Wounded Knee as if it was not ancient history. If something terrible happened to your grandmother -- that's right, your grandmother -- something so heinous that it became a part of American history, would you still consider that to be ancient history? I think not. A grandmother can never be ancient history or you wouldn't be able to ride over the river and through the woods to her house on holidays.

Consider this. On December 29, 1890, my grandmother, Sophie, was a 17-year-old student at the Holy Rosary Indian Mission, a Jesuit boarding school just a few miles from Wounded Knee. She was called out with the rest of the students to feed and water the horses of the soldiers of the 7th Cavalry that had just rode on to the mission grounds chasing down survivors that had escaped the slaughter. My grandmother recalled seeing blood on their uniforms and she overheard them bragging about the mighty victory they had just scored at Wounded Knee.

That's right, my grandmother, who is now deceased, remembered. Now does that make the Massacre at Wounded Knee ancient history to me? You bet that it does not. Many other Lakota still living today had grandmothers and grandfathers that were either killed or survived the massacre...

continue reading:

'The Lakota will Never Forget Wounded Knee 1890' by Tim Giago

"since genes thrive by promoting copies of themselves"

" ... THE UNITED States currently confronts foreign policy challenges involving such highly disparate foes, friends and in-betweens as North Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Jordan, Morocco, the Congo and the Philippines. All these countries, however, possess one striking common denominator. Although dynasticism is supposed to have died and been buried by meritocracy, these countries are all led by the children of former heads of state.

The same is true of America, whose president is not just the son of a president, but also the grandson of a senator and brother of a governor. Americans tend to be willfully blind to the crucial subject of nepotism. We disapprove of it, so we feel we ought not to think about it--a dangerous illusion as we pursue a more activist foreign policy that brings us in touch with cultures that approach the topic quite differently.

The return of family rule should not surprise us. Nepotism and its more formal offspring dynasticism have provided the basic organizing principles of politics for much of human history. For example, in the early 20th century, the ruling aristocracy of Mongolia, which comprised 6 percent of the population, still consisted of the descendants in the direct male line of Genghis Khan, even though he had been dead for almost 700 years.

Indeed, Genghis Khan, who was known as The Master of Thrones and Crowns, was so successful at propagating his lineage, both by fathering countless children and granting some of his heirs enormous and enduring political privileges, that his genetic footprint on a vast swath of Asia from the Pacific to Afghanistan leaps out at population geneticists today. A 2003 study of male Y-chromosomes discovered that about 16 million living men are his direct patrilineal descendants. That's a level of dynastic success, in the Darwinian sense of the term, approaching one million times greater than that of the typical man who was alive back then.

As ferociously exemplified by The Mighty Manslayer, this urge to help copies of one's genes survive and spread is the basis of nepotism, which biologists define as altruism toward kin. It encourages human beings to help their offspring and relatives achieve power and prosperity.

The recent book In Praise of Nepotism by Adam Bellow (son of Nobel Laureate Saul Bellow) documents how the great English biologist William D. Hamilton's 1964 elucidation of the genetic reasons behind altruism toward kin formed the plinth upon which the field of sociobiology was built. Hamilton's paradigm became more widely known from Richard Dawkins' 1976 bestseller, The Selfish Gene. A more accurate, if still anthropomorphic name, would have been The Dynastic Gene, since genes thrive by promoting copies of themselves in others.

Of course, biology can explain only the rudiments of the manifestations of family feeling in the political world. Further, scientists have barely begun to consider the flip side of the desire to establish a dynasty--the widespread desire to he ruled by one. Evidence for the resurgent importance of dynasticism and nepotism is everywhere. In a broad swath of southern Asia, running from Pakistan, through India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Indonesia and on to the Philippines, the dynastic urge has often worked in conjunction with the democratic impulse. In each, voters have chosen widows or daughters to carry on from their late men-folk the family business of running the country.

Some of these women entered politics to avenge the killing or overthrow of their husbands or fathers. For example, Corazon Aquino was elected president of the Philippines following her husband's assassination by dictator Ferdinand Marcos' goon squad. Benazir Bhutto ruled Pakistan after the downfall of General Mohammad Zia Ul-Haq, who had overthrown and hanged her father. Indonesian president Megawati Sukarnoputri is the daughter of the former leftist ruler Sukarno. Sheik Hasina, prime minister of Bangladesh from 1996-2001, is the daughter of the founder of independent Bangladesh, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, who died in a military coup in 1975.

In India, the Congress Party chose as their leader in the 1999 election Sonia Gandhi, widow, daughter-in-law and grand-daughter-in-law of prime ministers. She lost party control, though, after leading Congress to merely a second-place finish. Runner-up is considered a disgraceful performance for anyone bearing the magic name of "Gandhi." The high hopes invested in Sonia were testimony to the glamour of the dynasty. Without the Gandhi name, Sonia--a Roman Catholic Italian who doesn't speak a single Indian language terribly well--would have been just about the least likely person to become head of a major Indian party. ... "

From: 'Revolutionary Nepotism - book review' by Steve Sailer

Police in thought pursuit

27 Dec 2007
 
" ... Congress is perched to enact the "Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 20007 (Act)," probably the greatest assault on free speech and association in the United States since the 1938 creation of the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC). Sponsored by Rep. Jane Harman, California Democrat, the bill passed the House of Representatives on Oct. 23 by a 404-6 vote under a rule suspension that curtailed debate. To borrow from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, California Democrat, the First Amendment should not distract Congress from doing important business. The Senate companion bill (S. 1959), sponsored by Susan Collins, Maine Republican, has encountered little opposition. Especially in an election year, senators crave every opportunity to appear tough on terrorism. Few if any care about or understand either freedom of expression or the Thought Police dangers of S. 1959. Former President John Quincy Adams presciently lamented: "Democracy has no forefathers, it looks to no posterity, it is swallowed up in the present and thinks of nothing but itself."
 
[ ... ]
 
The Act inflates the danger of homegrown terrorism manifold to justify creating a marquee National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Ideologically Based Violence (Commission) in the legislative branch. Since September 11, 2001, no American has died from homegrown terrorism, while about 120,000 have been murdered.
 
[ ... ]
 
The commission's Big Brother task is to discover ideas and political associations, including connections to non-U.S. persons and networks, that promote "violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism, and ideologically based violence in the United States." And "violent radicalization" is defined as "the process of adopting or promoting an extremist belief system for the purpose of ideologically based violence to advance political, religious, or social change."
 
Under the Act, William Lloyd Garrison would have been guilty of promoting "violent radicalization" for publishing the anti-slavery Liberator in 1831, which "facilitated" John Brown. Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton would have been condemned for assailing laws disenfranchising women and creating an intellectual atmosphere receptive to violence. And Martin Luther King, Jr. would have fallen under the Act's suspicion for denouncing Jim Crow and practicing civil disobedience, which "facilitated" H. Rap Brown.
 
The commission will certainly hold choreographed public hearings. Witnesses will testify that non-Christian ideas or vocal challenges to the status quo promote "an extremist belief system" that facilitates ideologically based violence. Internet communications, the media, schools, religious institutions and home life will be scrutinized for promoting pernicious thoughts.
 
Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes observed in Gitlow v. New York (1925): "Every idea is an incitement. It offers itself for belief and if believed it is acted on unless some other belief outweighs it or some failure of energy stifles the movement at its birth. The only difference between expression of an opinion and an incitement in the narrower sense is the speaker's enthusiasm for the result."
 
Lengthy lists of persons, organizations and thoughts to be shunned will be compiled. Portions of the Holy Koran are likely to be taboo. The lives of countless innocent citizens will be shattered. That is the lesson of HUAC and every prior government enterprise to identify "dangerous" people or ideas — for example, the 120,000 innocent Japanese-Americans herded into concentration camps during World War II. ... "
 

War Tax Boycott 2008: Withhold from War, Pay for Peace!

via : PeaceWork Magazine

Authors: Ruth Benn

Ruth Benn is the coordinator of the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee.

Over the past five years, we have voted, lobbied, marched, and taken direct action to end the war in Iraq. Courageous soldiers have refused to fight the war, and many of their family members have demanded an end to the war. But the Administration and Congress continue to appropriate money to carry on this illegal, immoral war, and a military attack on Iran - unthinkable to most of us - could happen in the coming months.

It's time for taxpayers - who bankroll these militaristic policies - to join together in nonviolent civil disobedience and show Congress how to cut off the funds for war and redirect resources to the pressing needs of people.

The Withhold from War/Pay for Peace: 2008 War Tax Boycott is a new campaign launched by the National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC) and endorsed by Voices for Creative Nonviolence, the War Resisters League, the National Campaign for Nonviolent Resistance, and the Nonviolent Direct Action Working Group of United for Peace and Justice. Veterans for Peace has agreed to promote the campaign, we're partnering with CODEPINK's “Don't Buy Bush's War" campaign, and other groups are encouraged to sign on.

The idea for the boycott developed out of a survey of peace activists conducted by NWTRCC over the last couple years. More than 60% of the respondents indicated that they would join a tax boycott if it were part of a larger campaign. The 2008 War Tax Boycott encourages people who may never have considered war tax resistance before to do it this one time, during the next tax season, at a level that feels comfortable to them. People could choose to resist $100, or they could resist a percentage, such as 7%, representing the percentage of the federal budget that is going to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. People who reduce their income to refuse to pay for war can also sign on to the campaign.

In addition to the power of saying "no!" the boycott campaign is encouraging participants to redirect tax resisted money to one or two projects: Electronic Iraq's Direct Aid Initiative (DAI) providing health care among Iraqi refugees in Jordan and Syria; and the Common Ground Heath Clinic in New Orleans providing care to survivors of Katrina. Some may choose to give to a humanitarian project of their own choosing.

Money talks. Refusing to willingly turn over 100% of your tax dollars is a protest the government will notice - especially if it is linked with the refusal of hundreds or thousands of others. Numbers and names (when approved) of signers will be announced publicly through the internet, ads, and press conferences in the coming months as the boycott builds.

To Get involved

Register and prepare for the April 2008 boycott:

Visit www.WarTaxBoycott.org

Contact the campaign at:

National War Tax ResistanceCoordinating Committee
PO Box 150553
Brooklyn, NY 11215
800/269-7464, nwtrcc@nwtrcc.org

 

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