Tuesday, September 28, 2010

De Facto Slavery

In his working paper on the Swedish prostitution law that criminalizes only those buying and selling prostitutes, not those being bought, Max Waltman examines such topics as the connections between pornography and prostitution, as well as the voids in the social safety net that contribute to the continuity of this form of de facto slavery. Noting that legalization in nearby Holland resulted in an increase in child sexual abuse and sexual harassment, Waltman reminds us that the inherently unequal institution is every bit as abominable as the form of slavery abolished in the Western world two centuries ago. If our laws on prostitution reflect the ambience of our society, then the traumatic harms resulting from such institutionalized violence should concern us all.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Church and State

Frederick Clarkson discusses the evolution of conservative political infrastructure in the US.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Sanity and Humanity

Revisiting the 1990 film Uranium, Intercontinental Cry features this National Film Board of Canada documentary on the nuclear contamination of indigenous peoples. Narrated by Buffy Sainte-Marie, and showcasing a younger rising leader by the name of Winona LaDuke, this remarkable film also includes a translation by native film star Gary Farmer, who, like La Duke, has continued to inspire and mentor indigenous artists and environmental activists across North America. As someone who came of age during the anti-war, anti-nuclear movement of the 1960s and 70s, the continuity of promoting peace by such honored elders as Sainte-Marie — who was once blacklisted for her peace songs — is a poignant reminder that the struggle for environmental sanity and harmonious humanity are one and the same.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mobilizing Resentment

At Public Good Project, we have archived under Special Reports and on this blog documentation and analysis of the mobilizing of anti-democratic resentment. When we began in the mid 1990s, our focus was on combating militias and Anti-Indian vigilantes.

In our report Wise Use in Northern Puget Sound, as well as in his report Racist Origins of Border Militias, former Public Good research director Paul de Armond demonstrated the value of research as an organizing tool. Rather than reacting to vigilantism with moral platitudes, our response, was to investigate the network established to channel discontent, and bring the force of law to bear on their criminal activities.

By focusing on gathering evidence, we were able to deny political futures to the worst, deprive others of funding, and send eight of the most dangerous to federal prison. As an aside, we found mainstream media a hindrance in comprehending the movement as it unfolded; only after felony charges were filed did it begin to resemble a coherent medium. Perhaps most importantly, we also discovered that this phenomenon of armed vigilantes as a political pressure group in the US had recurred ten times in the last ninety years.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Meaning of Place

In his talk Indigenous Resurgence and Traditional Ways of Being, University of Victoria Professor Gerald Taiaiake Alfred examines the fundamental challenges facing indigenous peoples and their friends in confronting the nation-state and the corporations that fund it. Foundational to his vision of decolonization is the restoration of community through overcoming individual fear of confronting the colonialism within ourselves, part of which is comprehending how institutional power has patterned indigenous peoples.

In his distillation of the collective wisdom of indigenous communities, Taiaiake emphasizes that strengthening connection to a place is crucial to fortifying emerging coalitions, connections and networks devoted to universal justice. As a person who is committed to living in a respectful way, Professor Alfred implores us to engage in this spiritual battle with an awareness of the meaning of place in our own cultural heritage.

With all the forces amassed to pull us in other directions, staying on the pathway of peace and righteousness, says Taiaiake, requires re-rooting ourselves in order to mentor others for the long struggle. As he reminds us, "The struggle's not over".

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Dewey Returns

Duane R. Clarridge, Mr. Death Squad, returns to help Obama take it to Pakistan.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

An American Hero

Friday, September 10, 2010

Staying on Target

When Melissa Farley of Prostitution Research and Education was doing research in 2006 on domestic and international trafficking in the United States, the Public Good Project network assisted with her report to the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Office. As a co-sponsor of the July 2010 international protest against facilitating online trafficking of women and children, Public Good helped PRE in holding Craigslist accountable, which led to the recent removal of adult services from its website.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

The Ethics of Ethanol

A consortium of indigenous peoples and NGOs pressures the World Bank to cease funding monoculture palm oil plantations used in ethanol production. Expansion of plantation development to meet the ethanol demand, created by the U.S. Congressional mandate, has fueled both deforestation of indigenous territories and genetically modified organism mono-cropping that drives a new wave of forced evictions of tribal peoples from their traditional territories.

Sunday, September 05, 2010

The Ponzi Pattern

When it comes to political con artists, the two main obstacles to Ponzi pattern recognition are illiteracy and immaturity. Illiteracy obscures the fact that temporary public windfalls from Ponzi prosperity are doomed to fall like any pyramid scheme; immaturity deludes the gullible into believing that somehow this time it will turn out differently.

An obvious example of the above can be heard in Democratic Party circles, media and astroturf fronts lauding the good times under Clinton that Bush undermined. What this myth is intended to disguise is that -- like any Ponzi -- there comes a day of reckoning, when the pyramid finally collapses. Clinton set in motion the deceitful deal-making crudely initiated by Reagan, and Bush put them into overdrive. They were all on the same page or team if you will, and now Obama is in charge of cannibalizing the residue in preparation for the next Ponzi. As Barack himself said during his campaign, his hero was Ronald Reagan, and privatization of public assets (like education, Social Security and Medicare) is his mission.

The madmen of Madison Avenue who concocted Brand Obama as a candidate of hope and change knew just how gullible American voters are, and how easily US citizens can be manipulated into supporting con men like Obama. Like the illiterate and immature elsewhere, they desperately want to believe rainbow sparkle ponies will be in their Christmas stockings this year, even though they've always recieved a lump of coal in the past. So it goes.

Friday, September 03, 2010

A Christian Idea

In Native Nations, Shawnee law professor Robert J. Miller discusses Manifest Destiny, U.S. law and the Doctrine of Discovery with Umatilla television’s Philosopher Seed.