July 27, 2008 archive

Action: Rescind Wounded Knee Medals of Dis Honor

Petition: Medals of Dis Honor

Twenty-three soldiers from the Seventh Calvary were later awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for the slaughter of defenseless Indians at Wounded Knee.

We are asking that these Medals of DIS Honor awarded to the members of the 7th Calvary of the United States Army for the murder of innocent women children and men on that terrible December morning be rescinded.

Credit & permission for image to & by www.myspace.com/removewoundedkneemedals


Weekend News Digest

Weekend News Digest is an Open Thread

From Yahoo News Top Stories

1 Islamic group claims India blasts that killed 45

By MATTHEW ROSENBERG, Associated Press Writer

2 minutes ago

AHMADABAD, India – An obscure Islamic militant group warning of “the terror of Death” claimed responsibility for bombings that killed at least 45 people and authorities stepped up security Sunday after India’s second series of blasts in two days.

The city’s police commissioner, O.P. Mathur, said that 30 people had been detained for questioning, but there was scant information about the Indian Mujahideen, the little known group that took credit for the bombings in western India.

“In the name of Allah the Indian Mujahideen strike again! Do whatever you can, within 5 minutes from now, feel the terror of Death!” said an e-mail from the group sent to several Indian television stations minutes before the blasts began.

Midnight Thought on How not to talk to Progressive Populists during the campaign


I know that it is all the fad to use the term “progressive” in the American radical left, moderate left, and moderate right. But sometimes its used in a way that really cheeses me off.

The Secret Ballot in New York, early 1900’s

I first encountered references to progressive populism while in High School in the 70’s, while in college in the early 80’s realized that I am a progressive populist, and indeed some of my time and effort in graduate school in the early 90’s was spent in mastering the basics of the American Institutional approach, which was originally established on the foundation of the American Pragmatism that provided the philosophical underpinnings of American Progressivism.

The 17th Amendment

Someone who argues that the differences between Senator McCain and Senator Obama are not big enough to justify voting for Senator Obama may be a leftist, they may be a radical, they may be a Liberal (in the American as opposed to European/Australian sense), they may be a whatever-you-wanna-callit … but I cannot fathom how anyone can style it as “progressive”.

So, if you are talking to a Progressive Populist during the campaign, trying to talk them into voting for Nader (or trying to talk them into voting for Barr, since pragmatically it means the same thing), don’t do it by first presuming that you are speaking for all progressives. Not unless you are sketching out a pragmatic political strategy for making progress.

Wafer Thin

I recently watched a documentary on HBO about an at risk school struggling to meet the demands of No Child Left Behind.

Hard Times at Douglas High and I noted on the boards at HBO there was a lot of “this is depressing” commentary or some general lashing out against poor people. A few teachers weighed in to echo similar experiences.

One of the dominant themes of addressing poverty in this country is to focus in on “what is wrong” with poor Americans rather than what it is structurally, culturally, and economically wrong with our country that consistently produces an under class. Now I am not arguing that we can climate poverty by tinkering with social programs although I think we can reduce it. First we have to examine our attitudes toward poverty, our disdain and fear.

A common meme is that the poor make “bad decisions” and that can account for their status but what is missing from that approach is the admission that the middle class and wealthy make bad decisions as well. When middle class and wealthy people make bad decisions they frequently have a broad safety net that cushions the impact composed of either access to funds or family and friends who are willing to “invest” in their problem to correct it. When a middle class kid gets involved in drugs or violence we are also far more likely to forgive them or ascribe it to some outside “bad influence” but when a kid from a bad section of Memphis gets involved in the same activity we dismiss them as “gang bangers” who can’t be helped or we assume they are already “bad kids”. We expect poor kids to behave badly and it simply emphasizes our already ingrained opinions and we still have some capacity to be vaguely shocked or disturbed when a middle class or wealthy kids act out in anti-social behavior. We assume poor people in general already have a capacity for inappropriate behavior because we have already decided “what is wrong with them”. It never occurs to us that poor people have jobs, raise their kids with some wisdom or decency and have the same dreams for them as the middle class do for their kids. We assume they want or aspire to less and feel perfectly comfortable seeing them assigned less as a result.

Indeed in the current political campaign there is much discussion about what can be done to help the middle class primarily as an impulse to prevent them from becoming poor or rebellious but little about how to create structures to help poor people either join the middle class or have a decent manageable life as poor people because of course being poor itself is something to be ashamed of.

Post Traumatic Stress Research

PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder): An anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to a terrifying event or ordeal in which grave physical harm occurred or was threatened. People with PTSD have persistent frightening thoughts and memories of their ordeal. They may experience sleep problems, feel detached or numb, or be easily startled.

TBI (traumatic brain injury): Also called a concussion.

ASR (acute stress reaction): The immediate aftermath of a traumatic incident in a combat zone. The military describes it as normal reactions among troops confronted by abnormal situations.

CID (critical incident debrief): The Army’s term for a mandatory session that takes place 24 to 72 hours after an event that may be sapping a soldier’s will to fight.

National Institute Of Mental Health

Embrace your inner misfit

I can’t imagine two people who have had a bigger impact on the struggles of the left than Tom Hayden and Naomi Klein. Would you be interested in knowing what motivated them to become activists? Or hear them have a conversation on topics like:

Something worth giving your life to

Making ripples

Blending journalism and activism

Online activism and street activism

Walking towards the fear

Embracing your inner misfit

Thanks to the work of This Brave Nation, that’s possible. Here’s the video of that conversation.

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective


Peter, Paul and Mary…and John Denver:  Leaving on a Jet Plane

Pony Party: Sunday music retrospective


Peter, Paul and Mary…and John Denver:  Leaving on a Jet Plane

How not to talk to Progressives during the campaign.

Barack Obama has clinched the Democratic Party’s nomination to run for president, and because this is a crucial election year it is only natural for Democrats to try to win over progressives — especially the disaffected variety turned off by your candidate’s hard right turns.  If you plan to do this, choosing to ignore Obama’s strategy of pandering to right-wing and bigot voters who’ll never cast ballots for him, good for you.  But there are a few tips you’ll want to keep in mind as you venture forth.

1.) Whatever you do, don’t threaten people with a McCain victory if they don’t vote for Obama.  For one thing, people don’t like to be threatened; for another, if a voter isn’t convinced that your candidate will govern any better than McCain, it’s a fairly useless thing to do anyway.  It’s best if you avoid doing this altogether.

2.) Whatever you do, do NOT bash Ralph Nader or any third party candidate.  Criticize if you will, but do NOT attack.  The reason for this is that true progressives, while partisan in a broader ideological sense, are not so in terms of supporting specific political parties.  More often than not, we vote for individual candidates who have the records to back up their rhetoric than we are to vote along party lines.  If you must criticize Ralph Nader, focus on this argument: “it takes an organized political party to win power, starting from the ground and working up, and though I respect Ralph I don’t think he’s going about this the right way.”  Don’t mention ego or stealing Democratic votes (ballots belong to no political party), even if that’s what you think, because neither argument is true and it has a tendency to turn people off who might otherwise consider your candidate.

3.) Listen to what people’s concerns.  Remember, Obama is running as the pseudo-change candidate.  Even if true progressives feel compelled to vote for him out of misguided notions of pragmatism, they still care about the issues that matter.  Don’t brush them off or try to convince them that once Obama is elected they needn’t worry, because they have every reason to worry.  Don’t be condescending; listen to people.

4.) Finally, talk about the issues, know them by heart, and have solid responses to questions — especially those coming from Nader or McKinney supporters.  Obama MUST be able to address their concerns.  If he can’t, and if you can’t, you’re better off not bothering.

That’s pretty much it.  If you follow these steps, you might succeed in swaying a few progressives.  If not, don’t complain when you receive the proverbial cold shoulder.

NN08 – Part III – Good Germans

If you haven’t seen them you might want to check out Parts I and II.  NN08 – Part I – Old Friends/New Friends has lots of pictures of kossacks and Netroots Nation, but I particularly recommend NN08 – Part II – Where’s our goddam impeachment Nancy?


Sunday Morning Over Easy (More pics Updated)

I spent the better part of yesterday at a Rock Party at Arrowhead Alpines. You know you’re getting old when your Rock Parties involve actual rocks, and you don’t smoke any of the exotic buds you bring home.

They have an enormous amount of plants and exotics. Worth visiting the link, if you love gardening.

It was marvelous. I am such a flower child in the most literal fashion… and yet, as my friend Kate said the other day when she moved this huge rock my husband brought home for me, (pics follow)

“Jesus, why can’t you bring her flowers like a normal husband?”

He knows I’d rather have the rocks. 🙂

Ahh, thanks Mr. Petty, now back to the pictures and story.

Docudharma Times Sunday July 27


Going To

Supermarket and

Looking For

Sausage and Votes

Just Ends Up

In A Whine

Sunday’s Headlines:

Obama to McClatchy: Goals in Afghanistan should be modest

Beijing’s haze thickens even with pollution controls in place

Olympics threatened by Islamic separatists

Silvio Berlusconi: The padrone is back and he means business

How one careless phone call ended Radovan Karadzic’s liberty

Iran executes 29 in jail hangings

Turkish warplanes bomb PKK targets in Iraq  

In Zimbabwe Talks, Who Will Get the Real Power?  

Key to feeding Africa called better farming

Guanajuato’s mix of mines, mummies, music


This Time, It’s Different

Global Pressures Have Converged to Forge a New Oil Reality

By Steven Mufson

Washington Post Staff Writer

Sunday, July 27, 2008; Page A01

The two events, half a world apart, went largely unheralded

Early this month, Valero Energy in Texas got the unwelcome news that Mexico would be cutting supplies to one of the company’s Gulf Coast refineries by up to 15 percent. Mexico’s state-owned oil enterprise is one of Valero’s main sources of crude, but oil output from Mexican fields, including the giant Cantarell field, is drying up. Mexican sales of crude oil to the United States have plunged to their lowest level in more than a dozen years.

Shiite Militia in Baghdad Sees Its Power Ebb  


Published: July 27, 2008

BAGHDAD – The militia that was once the biggest defender of poor Shiites in Iraq, the Mahdi Army, has been profoundly weakened in a number of neighborhoods across Baghdad, in an important, if tentative, milestone for stability in Iraq.

It is a remarkable change from years past, when the militia, led by the anti-American cleric Moktada al-Sadr, controlled a broad swath of Baghdad, including local governments and police forces. But its use of extortion and violence began alienating much of the Shiite population to the point that many quietly supported American military sweeps against the group.


Justice, 64 years later

‘Long-overdue vindication’ comes for 28 black soldiers cleared in a 1944 lynching.

By Kim Murphy, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

July 27, 2008

SEATTLE — It was a crime so improbable that many had trouble believing it could have happened at all: Three black soldiers stood accused of lynching an Italian prisoner of war, found dangling from a wire on an obstacle training course at Ft. Lawton in the middle of World War II.

The subsequent trial of the three men, along with 40 other black enlistees charged with rioting, became the largest and longest Army court-martial of the war, and the only recorded instance in U.S. history in which black men stood trial for a mob lynching.

By the time it was over, 28 men had been convicted on rioting charges and two of them were also found guilty of manslaughter in connection with the 1944 hanging.

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