Tuesday, December 28, 2010

from Kathleen

Clipped from www.yesmagazine.org

Reclaiming Our Freedom to Learn


Gustavo Esteva

posted Nov 07, 2007

Read this article in Spanish. Lea este artículo en español


A primary school in the Zapatista village of Oventic, the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico. Photo by Aaron Cain.

A primary school in the Zapatista village of Oventic, the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico.
Photo by Aaron Cain.

Years ago, we started to observe in villages and barrios, particularly among indigenous peoples, a radical reaction against education and schools. A few of them closed their schools and expelled their teachers. Most of them avoided this type of political confrontation and started instead to just bypass the school,

Read more at www.yesmagazine.org


Clipped from www.truth-out.org

2011: A Brave New Dystopia

Monday 27 December 2010

by: Chris Hedges  |  Truthdig | Op-Ed

2011: A Brave New Dystopia

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / t r u t h o u t; Adapted: ZakVTA, Jeremy Brooks)

The two greatest visions of a future dystopia were George Orwell’s “1984” and Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World.” The debate, between those who watched our descent towards corporate totalitarianism, was who was right. Would we be, as Orwell wrote, dominated by a repressive surveillance and security state that used crude and violent forms of control? Or would we be, as Huxley envisioned, entranced by entertainment and spectacle, captivated by technology and seduced by profligate consumption to embrace our own oppression? It turns out Orwell and Huxley were both right. Huxley saw the first stage of our enslavement. Orwell saw the second.

Read more at www.truth-out.org

Friday, December 17, 2010

Does information matter? Dirty little secrets?

what if the public in 2003 had been able to read "secret" memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the "facts" he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched -- or rather, wouldn't there have been calls for Cheney's arrest?

Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange

By Michael Moore

Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.

Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.

We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.

So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top:

**Sen. Joe Lieberman says WikiLeaks "has violated the Espionage Act."

**The New Yorker's George Packer calls Assange "super-secretive, thin-skinned, [and] megalomaniacal."

**Sarah Palin claims he's "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" whom we should pursue "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders."

**Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: "A dead man can't leak stuff ... there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch."

**Republican Mary Matalin says "he's a psychopath, a sociopath ... He's a terrorist."

**Rep. Peter A. King calls WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization."

And indeed they are! They exist to terrorize the liars and warmongers who have brought ruin to our nation and to others. Perhaps the next war won't be so easy because the tables have been turned -- and now it's Big Brother who's being watched ... by us!

WikiLeaks deserves our thanks for shining a huge spotlight on all this. But some in the corporate-owned press have dismissed the importance of WikiLeaks ("they've released little that's new!") or have painted them as simple anarchists ("WikiLeaks just releases everything without any editorial control!"). WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There's no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don't want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept ... as secrets.

Read more at www.michaelmoore.com

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ain't we got fun...

William Rivers Pitt:

"The speech delivered by Mr. Sanders on Friday ranks among the most important I have ever heard in my life, certainly the single most pertinent expression of fact and outrage that has been delivered in this current climate of "compromise" and collapse. He told more truth in his eight hours than many of us have heard from an elected official in the last ten years, and it would be a disgrace if his eloquence faded into the background without the study and reflection it deserves."

For study and reflection, two important if not characteristic American skills.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Presidential Medal of Freedom?


Hateful Days

by: William Rivers Pitt, t r u t h o u t | Op-Ed

Protesters outside of the groundbreaking of the George W. Bush Presidential Center. (Photo: Ian Aberle / Flickr)

There is a great deal of hate in my heart today. Not the healthiest condition to find myself in, but these things sometimes cannot be helped. The hate is a free-flowing thing, expanding in all directions because, simply put, there is something to revile and despise in virtually every direction I turn. Sarah Palin's ridiculous reality show was a ratings blockbuster. Hateful. George H. W. Bush is getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom, because Mr. Obama just can't help sucking up to the very Republicans who are about to make a project out of throttling his administration. Hateful. There will be no punishment for those who destroyed CIA evidence of rampant torture during the Bush administration. Wildly hateful.

Read the rest here

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Surprised by the elections? You shouldn't have been

Whether you are surprised or not, take a minute to check out these two articles by Matthew Rothschild:

1--Crushed by Feingold’s Defeat
MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD | "How ironic it is that Feingold, who more than any other Senator tried to limit the poisonous influence of corporate money in politics, succumbed to that very disease."

2--Nov. 2: The Death Knell of Corporate Liberalism
MATTHEW ROTHSCHILD | "Obama lived by corporate liberalism, by petty gradualism. And on Tuesday, Democrats around the country died by it."

So, we all hoped for FDR, but that was never the promise. "Change" comes in many sizes. The Obama promise like the policy is clearly small change and now that the Supreme Court has protected corporate speech, I can't imagine any other kind.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Guns in Bars

"Tennessee is one of four states, along with Arizona, Georgia and Virginia, that recently enacted laws explicitly allowing loaded guns in bars. (Eighteen other states allow weapons in restaurants that serve alcohol.) The new measures in Tennessee and the three other states come after two landmark Supreme Court rulings that citizens have an individual right — not just in connection with a well-regulated militia — to keep a loaded handgun for home defense."

Of course it would be Arizona.

But you can't smoke....

Friday, October 1, 2010

Michael Moore's ideas to save the elections

Five Ways the Democrats Can Avoid a Catastrophe and Pull Off the Mother of All Upsets

Friday, October 1st, 2010


The election is one month from tomorrow and, yes, it looks hopeless. November 2nd -- the day the Dems are expected to crash and burn.

Sadly, it's a situation the Democrats have brought upon themselves -- even though the majority of them didn't create the mess we're in. But they've had over a year and a half to start getting the job done to fix it. Instead, they've run scared ever since they took power. To many, the shellacking they're about to receive is one they deserve.

But if you're of a mindset that believes a return to 2001-2008 would be sheer insanity, then you probably agree we've got no choice but to save the Democrats from themselves.

Memo To: President Obama and the Democratic Party Leadership

From: Michael Moore

Subject: 5 Things Dems Can Do to Turn It Around by November 2nd

1. Immediate Wall-to-Wall TV Ads, Internet Videos, and Appearances Hammering Who the Hell Put Us in the Misery We're In.
We Americans have very short attention spans (Quick: Who Won the Oscar for Best Picture last year? The World Series? Exactly.). People need to be reminded over and over that it was the REPUBLICANS who concocted and led the unnecessary invasion of two countries, putting us in our longest war ever, wars that will eventually cost us over $3 trillion. Bush and Co. also caused the biggest collapse of our economy since the Great Depression. I don't know a single person in Hollywood who wouldn't shoot and produce those spots for you for FREE. Dems: Do not pull a single punch on this. Quit being a bunch of wusses and let the bastards have it! The public will be astonished that you've found your courage and your spine. We expect you to be Muhammad Ali, not Ally McBeal.

2. Indict the Criminals.
Announce that the Justice Department will seek indictments against both those who caused the economic collapse and those who became war profiteers. Call it for what it is: organized crime. Use the RICO statutes. Use the basic laws that make fraud of any kind a crime. Get in the face of those who stole the billions, make them pay for it -- and the people will love you. We want Dirty Harry, not Dirty Dancing.

3. Announce a Moratorium on All Family Home Foreclosures.
Last month (August) there were more home foreclosures than in any month in U.S. history. Worse than any month in the worst year ever, 2009. The bleeding hasn't stopped -- it's only gotten worse. And now, this week, two of the largest crime organizations who are throwing hundreds of thousands of people out of their homes (GMAC and JPMorgan Chase) have been forced to momentarily stop doing this. It turns out, they don't really have the paperwork to prove they actually own these houses! It's madness. So if you do one thing for the middle class this week, do this. It will take an hour of your time to draw up the decree and issue it. We'd rather watch "It's a Wonderful Life" than "Poltergeist."

4. Announce a New 21st Century WPA.
"Who's hiring? THE GOVERNMENT IS HIRING!" Put together a simple plan to hire enough people to repair our roads, fix up our aging schools, and rebuild our infrastructure. Fund this by taxing the richest 1% who have more financial wealth than 95% of Americans combined! Unemployment will drop to 5%. Can you pass it? Well, you sure can't unless you try! And as you're trying, announce that you will force the Republican senators (who until now simply have had to say they "intended" to filibuster in order to kill a bill) to have to actually filibuster! Make them stand on the floor of the Senate and read from the phone book 24/7. They won't last a day. And America will see them for who they really are.

5. Declare That No Democrat Will Accept ANY Wall Street Money in the Next Election Cycle.
Pick a day in the coming week. Have all your fellow Democrats in Congress stand in front of the Capitol (with President Obama) and pledge that if America allows you to retain control of Congress, none of you will take a penny from Wall Street for the 2012 election. Instead, promise to accept donations of only $2, $5 and $10. You will also pledge not to take a job as a lobbyist or lawyer for ANY corporation for ten years after you leave Congress. The message will be a powerful one to the average American fed up with corrupt political hacks. Act like Honest Abe, not Fast Freddie -- and see what happens.

And here are two bonus suggestions: Use what sense of humor you have and go after these candidates and their agenda with all the hilarious ridicule they deserve. And quit complaining about "the base" not doing enough to help you. You want help? Do something this week to earn it. I've offered five suggestions. I'm sure the rest of "the base" has a few more.

Michael Moore

Thursday, September 30, 2010


So much talk about democracy today. "Our democracy threatened, saved," ad nauseum. This is not a democracy. It is a country with elections. A democracy requires education, relatively equal opportunity, institutions, rule of law. Here, we have none of those basic elements. Beauty contests are elections; they are not democracies. This is a nation of beauty contests.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Mugabe cancels trip to Ecuador to receive bogus degree

By Lance Guma
27 September 2010

"Robert Mugabe has been forced to cancel a scheduled trip to Ecuador to receive an honorary doctorate, after extensive media coverage exposed the fact that the Bishop who had conferred him with the doctorate was a bogus character, previously arrested for supplying arms of war to rebels in Colombia.
Despite claims from Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu that Mugabe cancelled the trip because of pressing government engagements at home it’s thought the revelations about Bishop Crespo’s shady life have diminished the propaganda value of the doctorate.... "

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The Land of Failed Fathers

I’ve known men, I swear,

Whose children tended toward honor.

Gringo men, with frozen hips,

Genetic enemies of tropical moves.

Well, maybe I lie. Probably they were

Really Latinos, holding the hand

Of a golden child on a tropical sidewalk.

A child, straining upward, so proud of her meaningless father.

What is it that goes wrong

Just north of here? What makes

The same child in northern version

So indifferent? So Jesus I don’t need you cold?

A few degrees of latitude and things go to hell.

When I die, I think, you’ll miss me

But the truth is to the north.

The truth is no, not, never, in this life.

I never got your approval, was never

Good enough. But you were, I insist.

There are geraniums above on the balconies

And heaven somewhere above those.

And there, maybe there, I will dance for you

Hips loosened as if by surgery. Heart open

As if I could fly to that iron-railed balcony

Or beyond. Or above. In some circular flight.

But meanwhile, I am tied to this dream of tropical life…

Friday, July 2, 2010

When I learned that I had died

I had been missing for years.
That was my plan discovered so late in life.
My children were children at the time.
Indifferent in that modern way.

And then I felt the cold floating
Over things that had belonged to me.
Things that looked so different from above
That they were hard to recognize.

The clay tile roof that I had only seen from the ground
The top of my blue Toyota on a cracked strip of driveway.
The lush mango tree, its trunk hidden forever.
The lighted swimming pool next door.

Only the dead see things from this odd angle
And it takes a moment (are there moments here?)
To sort out what it means. The dog seems to know
And watches curiously me as I hover.

My children will be shaken from their indifference.
They might even scream, though I don’t know what I can hear.
I want just a minute more to explain my absence
But as was in my life, I don’t seem capable of sound.

Monday, June 28, 2010

I want my own Canadian

Passing this along:

In her radio show, Dr Laura Schlesinger said that, as an observant Orthodox Jew, homosexuality is an abomination according to Leviticus 18:22, and it cannot be condoned under any circumstance.

The following response is an open letter to Dr. Laura, penned by a US resident, which was posted on the Internet.

Dear Dr. Laura:

Thank you for doing so much to educate people regarding God's Law. I have learned a great deal from your show, and try to share that knowledge with as many people as I can. When someone tries to defend the homosexual lifestyle, for example, I simply remind them that Leviticus 18:22 clearly states it to be an abomination ... End of debate.

I do need some advice from you, however, regarding some other elements of God's Laws and how to follow them.

1. Leviticus 25:44 states that I may possess slaves, both male and female, provided they are purchased from neighboring nations. A friend of mine claims that this applies to Mexicans, but not Canadians. Can you clarify? Why can't I own Canadians?

2. I would like to sell my daughter into slavery, as sanctioned in Exodus 21:7. In this day and age, what do you think would be a fair price for her?

3. I know that I am allowed no contact with a woman while she is in her period of Menstrual uncleanliness - Lev.15: 19-24. The problem is how do I tell? I have tried asking, but most women take offense.

4. When I burn a bull on the altar as a sacrifice, I know it creates a pleasing odor for the Lord - Lev.1:9. The problem is my neighbors. They claim the odor is not pleasing to them. Should I smite them?

5. I have a neighbor who insists on working on the Sabbath. Exodus 35:2 clearly states he should be put to death. Am I morally obligated to kill him myself, or should I ask the police to do it?

6. A friend of mine feels that even though eating shellfish is an abomination, Lev. 11:10, it is a lesser abomination than homosexuality. I don't agree. Can you settle this? Are there 'degrees' of abomination?

7. Lev. 21:20 states that I may not approach the altar of God if I have a defect in my sight. I have to admit that I wear reading glasses. Does my vision have to be 20/20, or is there some wiggle-room here?

8. Most of my male friends get their hair trimmed, including the hair around their temples, even though this is expressly forbidden by Lev. 19:27. How should they die?

9. I know from Lev. 11:6-8 that touching the skin of a dead pig makes me unclean, but may I still play football if I wear gloves?

10. My uncle has a farm. He violates Lev.19:19 by planting two different crops in the same field, as does his wife by wearing garments made of two different kinds of thread (cotton/polyester blend). He also tends to curse and blaspheme a lot. Is it really necessary that we go to all the trouble of getting the whole town together to stone them? Lev.24:10-16. Couldn't we just burn them to death at a private family affair, like we do with people who sleep with their in-laws? (Lev. 20:14)

I know you have studied these things extensively and thus enjoy considerable expertise in such matters, so I'm confident you can help.

Thank you again for reminding us that God's word is eternal and unchanging.

Your adoring fan.,

James M. Kauffman, Ed.D.
Professor Emeritus, Dept. Of Curriculum, Instruction, and Special Education University of Virginia

(It would be a damn shame if we couldn't own a Canadian :)

Monday, April 26, 2010

Visiting Schools

Today, during the most uninspiring visit to a public school, I thought of Yeats:

Among School Children


I walk through the long schoolroom questioning;
A kind old nun in a white hood replies;
The children learn to cipher and to sing,
To study reading-books and histories,
To cut and sew, be neat in everything
In the best modern way - the children's eyes
In momentary wonder stare upon
A sixty-year-old smiling public man.


I dream of a Ledaean body, bent
Above a sinking fire. a tale that she
Told of a harsh reproof, or trivial event
That changed some childish day to tragedy -
Told, and it seemed that our two natures blent
Into a sphere from youthful sympathy,
Or else, to alter Plato's parable,
Into the yolk and white of the one shell.


And thinking of that fit of grief or rage
I look upon one child or t'other there
And wonder if she stood so at that age -
For even daughters of the swan can share
Something of every paddler's heritage -
And had that colour upon cheek or hair,
And thereupon my heart is driven wild:
She stands before me as a living child.


Her present image floats into the mind -
Did Quattrocento finger fashion it
Hollow of cheek as though it drank the wind
And took a mess of shadows for its meat?
And I though never of Ledaean kind
Had pretty plumage once - enough of that,
Better to smile on all that smile, and show
There is a comfortable kind of old scarecrow.


What youthful mother, a shape upon her lap
Honey of generation had betrayed,
And that must sleep, shriek, struggle to escape
As recollection or the drug decide,
Would think her Son, did she but see that shape
With sixty or more winters on its head,
A compensation for the pang of his birth,
Or the uncertainty of his setting forth?


Plato thought nature but a spume that plays
Upon a ghostly paradigm of things;
Solider Aristotle played the taws
Upon the bottom of a king of kings;
World-famous golden-thighed Pythagoras
Fingered upon a fiddle-stick or strings
What a star sang and careless Muses heard:
Old clothes upon old sticks to scare a bird.


Both nuns and mothers worship images,
But those the candles light are not as those
That animate a mother's reveries,
But keep a marble or a bronze repose.
And yet they too break hearts - O Presences
That passion, piety or affection knows,
And that all heavenly glory symbolise -
O self-born mockers of man's enterprise;


Labour is blossoming or dancing where
The body is not bruised to pleasure soul.
Nor beauty born out of its own despair,
Nor blear-eyed wisdom out of midnight oil.
O chestnut-tree, great-rooted blossomer,
Are you the leaf, the blossom or the bole?
O body swayed to music, O brightening glance,
How can we know the dancer from the dance?

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Nine Myths about Socialism in the US --Bill Quigley

Glenn Beck and other far right multi-millionaires are claiming that the US is hot on the path towards socialism. Part of their claim is that the US is much more generous and supportive of our working and poor people than other countries. People may wish it was so, but it is not.

As Senator Patrick Moynihan used to say “Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. But everyone is not entitled to their own facts.”

The fact is that the US is not really all that generous to our working and poor people compared to other countries.

Consider the US in comparison to the rest of the 30 countries that join the US in making up the OECD – the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. These 30 countries include Canada and most comparable European countries but also include some struggling countries like Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Korea, Mexico, Poland, Slovak Republic, and Turkey. See www.oecd.org

When you look at how the US compares to these 30 countries, the hot air myths about the US government going all out towards socialism sort of disappear into thin air. Here are some examples of myths that do not hold up.

Myth #1. The US government is involved in class warfare attacking the rich to lift up the poor.

There is a class war going on all right. But it is the rich against the rest of us and the rich are winning. The gap between the rich and everyone else is wider in the US than any of the 30 other countries surveyed. In fact, the top 10% in the US have a higher annual income than any other country. And the poorest 10% in the US are below the average of the other OECD countries. The rich in the U.S. have been rapidly leaving the middle class and poor behind since the 1980s.

Myth #2. The US already has the greatest health care system in the world.

Infant mortality in the US is 4th worst among OECD countries – better only than Mexico, Turkey and the Slovak Republic.

Myth #3. There is less poverty in the US than anywhere.

Child poverty in the US, at over 20% or one out of every five kids, is double the average of the 30 OECD countries.

Myth #4. The US is generous in its treatment of families with children.

The US ranks in the bottom half of countries in terms of financial benefits for families with children. Over half of the 30 OECD countries pay families with children cash benefits regardless of the income of the family. Some among those countries (e.g. Austria, France and Germany) pay additional benefits if the family is low-income, or one of the parents is unemployed.

Myth #5. The US is very supportive of its workers.

The US gives no paid leave for working mothers having children. Every single one of the other 30 OECD countries has some form of paid leave. The US ranks dead last in this. Over two thirds of the countries give some form of paid paternity leave. The US also gives no paid leave for fathers.

In fact, it is only workers in the US who have no guaranteed days of paid leave at all. Korea is the next lowest to the US and it has a minimum of 8 paid annual days of leave. Most of the other 30 countries require a minimum of 20 days of annual paid leave for their workers.

Myth #6. Poor people have more chance of becoming rich in the US than anywhere else.

Social mobility (how children move up or down the economic ladder in comparison with their parents) in earnings, wages and education tends to be easier in Australia, Canada and Nordic countries like Denmark, Norway, and Finland, than in the US. That means more of the rich stay rich and more of the poor stay poor here in the US.

Myth #7. The US spends generously on public education.

In terms of spending for public education, the US is just about average among the 30 countries of the OECD. Educational achievement of US children, however, is 7th worst in the OECD. On public spending for childcare and early education, the US is in the bottom third.

Myth #8. The US government is redistributing income from the rich to the poor.

There is little redistribution of income by government in the U.S. in part because spending on social benefits like unemployment and family benefits is so low. Of the 30 countries in the OECD, only in Korea is the impact of governmental spending lower.

Myth #9. The US generously gives foreign aid to countries across the world.

The US gives the smallest percentage of aid of any of the developed countries in the OECD. In 2007 the US was tied for last with Greece. In 2008, we were tied for last with Japan.

Despite the opinions of right wing folks, the facts say the US is not on the path towards socialism.

But if socialism means the US would go down the path of being more generous with our babies, our children, our working families, our pregnant mothers, and our sisters and brothers across the world, I think we could all appreciate it.

Bill Quigley is Legal Director at the Center for Constitutional Rights and law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. There is a version of this article with footnotes for those interested. Quigley77@gmail.com

Monday, January 25, 2010

Henry Miller

Sometimes late at night
Full of dark Panama rum
I curl myself into a tiny ball--
Fetal, the doctors would say.

And all rolled up, I enjoy the cool tile floor,
The bright bathroom lights,
Clinical and soothing and mirrored,
Like the green room into which I was born.

There is little safety in this green place
Outside the womb and a diffident mother’s embrace
So very little that is secure or wanted or sweet--
Nearly nothing that matters in the night.

I was in love yesterday, for example.
During the day and the evening,
Drinking coffee in a bar with a green tiled floor.
Even the necktied waiter enjoyed that love.

And tonight I curl into this space
While the music pounds on the street.
There is nothing to hold here
And less to want outside.

There are pictures in the travel agent’s window
That promise something more upright:
Some Grecian light and sea and air--
Henry Miller returned to life.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Dying in Panama

Dying in Panama is a technical error
A busted taxi trapped in traffic
An rusted ambulance that doesn’t arrive
A problem of noise and streets to be remedied.

Doctors are the priests here, in charge
Of keeping me from the afterlife.
Insurance premiums the modern indulgences
that we pay and pay to not go anywhere special.

Heaven just redefined is not only possible.
It is here and sinfully green.
It includes still iguanas and waxy orchids.
So much better than we were told in the Catholic school.

There are no corny Austrian harps,
No cloud banks turned into chairs.
The apartments have tile floors and there is salsa
With trumpets and damning drums.

Recreation is the point of this tropical life:
We can recreate everything and at all times.
Ourselves, our lives, our loves—
Doctor willing. Kyrie eleison