Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Making Money from Misery

While jailing immigrants for money is part of the larger issue of privatized incarceration in America, immigrants differ from other incarcerated people in that their only crime is trying to escape desperate poverty or life-threatening human rights abuses in their home countries--much of it caused by U.S. economic and military aggression. While the increase in deportations of asylum seekers and refugees has increased under Obama, the law mandating that 34,000 immigrants be held in the 250 detention centers around the country -- passed in 1996 by Congress -- is apparently a means of making money from immigrants' misery.

Given that half the 250 detention centers in the US are privatized prisons, this law -- complemented by Free Trade laws that cause economic displacement in Latin America -- is arguably one of the most cynically inhumane pieces of legislation elected U.S. officials have ever churned out. Real News interviews Catalina Nieto of Detention Watch Network about the reality of immigrant detention in the US, and how U.S. policy around the world creates forced migration.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Secular Satanic Panic

As Bruce Wilson reports, 14th Century beliefs about demon possession are resurging in the US, especially among young people. While commonly associated with the Evangelical subculture, this "satanic panic" has moved into the secular mainstream.

In addition to public opinion polls cited by Wilson, religion monitors like Military Religious Freedom Foundation have documented that literature associating Jews with the devil is now being distributed by chaplains on U.S. military bases and naval ships.

While right-wing Christianity is primarily responsible for the increasing belief in demons, sensationalist mainstream media contributes to this mental health problem, that in turn feeds such phenomena as homophobia. Combined with U.S. Treasury funding to churches, religious schools and non-profits, this ideological virus -- made lethal by the Pentecostal New Apostolic Reformation -- is now infecting society at large.

Friday, October 25, 2013

True Friend of Public Good

Long overdue, we'd like to recognize a true friend of Public Good Project, Eric K. Ward. When the chips were down, Eric was always there at our side.

Thank you, Eric!

A Chance to Blossom

Paul Jay at Real News talks with Black Agenda Report editor Glen Ford about the history of Black media in the United States, and how it transformed Black grassroots leadership.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

MoFo Monsanto

Lee Camp's video on Monsanto demonstrates how news media can be more engaging.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Pro-Property Anti-Indian

In her current article at Whatcom Watch titled How Property Rights Can Become Property Wrongs, reporter Sandra Robson cites an article I wrote for Intercontinental Cry Magazine, as well as my memoir Blind Spots and a Public Good Project special report. One focus of Ms. Robson's article is the Citizens Equal Rights Alliance/Tea Party/Property Rights axis campaign promoting anti-Indian resentment as part of its pro-Gateway Pacific Terminal propaganda.

This pattern -- repeated in anti-Indian battles elsewhere (see Charles Tanner's article on the Klamath River dispute) -- while initially electoral in nature, inevitably leads to vigilantism. As noted by Robson, in Whatcom County, Washington, this pattern historically includes cooperation between white supremacist militias and property rights groups that in the 1990s led to federal indictments for explosives and firearms violations.

In the 16 April 2013 op-ed A History of Violence, Cascadia Weekly noted the onset of the anti-Indian hate campaign led by CERA, the Tea Party and property rights organizers, as well as the historical connection between property rights groups and Christian Patriot militias. On 5 May, I elaborated on this background in an IC Magazine article titled White Power on the Salish Sea: The Wall Street/Tea Party Convergence, which I updated and expanded on 11 October 2013 under the title Wall Street v. Coast Salish: Cherry Point conflict enters electoral arena.

As I noted in the recent IC publication People Land Truth 2013 (see Anti-Indian Hate Campaign), 

"Noticeably absent from Wise Use, CERA and Tea Party propaganda is the notion that treaty rights are indeed property rights. While they are collective rather than individual rights, the land, water, fish and environment that supports Northwest American Indian culture and society is very much their property. As the supreme law of the land, along with the U.S. Constitution, Indian treaties explicitly delineate tribal properties that cannot be damaged. When industrial and other development projects impair treaty-guaranteed tribal property, the federal government is obligated to intervene on their behalf."

Fighting Indians thus involves fighting the federal government, and as we know from reading history, that hasn't worked out so well for the property rights/militia milieu.

Sunday, October 20, 2013

JP Morgan Guilty

The $13billion settlement agreed to by JP Morgan and the U.S. Government might sound like a lot, and it is, unless one compares it to the trillions of U.S. Treasury dollars used to bail out Wall Street banks that caused the 2008 economic meltdown. While it is fitting that the U.S. Department of Justice continue investigating criminal wrongdoing by America's largest financial institutions, one has to ask why it took until 2012 for the Obama administration to begin its investigation.

Cynical viewers might reasonably ask if this report by FRONTLINE is responsible for moving things along. 

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Foundational Colonial Violence

Eric Ritske's op-ed on settler state foundational colonial violence toward Indigenous peoples is worth reading.

Friday, October 18, 2013

The Angry Right

Contrary to popular wishful thinking, the Tea Party isn't over. As Josh Eidelson reports at Salon, they'll be back.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Church and State Series

My three-part essay Church and State takes a close look at religious hysteria in America and the spiritual warfare of Puritanical conservatism against socialism and the Indigenous Peoples Movement.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Wall Street v. Coast Salish

This essay was originally published as two articles in People Land Truth 2013–White Power on the Salish Sea, and Anti-Indian Hate Campaign. Although comprised of news articles and op-eds that ran this spring in IC Magazine, it has current relevance in that it ties them together in a way that makes the topic more coherent and comprehensible. As noted in the Cascadia Weekly yesterday, Pacific International Terminals and Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad are now laundering funds through the Washington Republican Party to donate to pro-coal candidates for Whatcom County Council–-the body that will decide whether the coal export facility proposed for Cherry Point will receive the necessary permits. The background on the key players in this escalating conflict between Wall Street and Coast Salish nations seemed worth revisiting.

Saturday, October 05, 2013

Crippling America: The Tea Party Plan

As Bruce Wilson notes, creating economic chaos as a political window of opportunity is behind Ron Paul's Tea Party and the determination to shut down the U.S. Government. As observed by the U.S. Treasury, another financial crisis as a result of shutdown -- perhaps worse than the economic meltdown of 2008 -- is in the making. Indeed, Tea Party strategists readily admit that destroying Social Security and Medicare follows the Tea Party central premise of monumental political transformation through systematic bankruptcy.

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Blood for Oil

Evo Morales calls out Obama for crimes against humanity.