…redskins, profits for some; penury for the others…

…and we do know who the ‘others’ are…

Ralph Nader burnishes his credentials further as social activist, with his article on the use of a word considered perjorative by American Indians. In his article over at common dreams, ‘Redskins’: More Than Just a Name, he gives the state of play on the topic, and dates it from his activism days as student at Harvard Law School.

In the mid-1950s I visited several tribal areas in the west, including the Blackfeet and Crow Reservations. The poverty, despair and cultural devastation were everywhere. In 1956, as a Harvard Law Student, I researched and wrote a long article titled “American Indians: People Without a Future” in the Harvard Law Record. So infrequent were such reports that the Indian Health Service ordered 10,000 reprints.

[snip]

…Our culture today pays far more attention to ethnic, racial and gender slurs (many of them fortunately phased out of most public conversations) than to the brutal conditions of penury, discriminating violence, addiction and repression that represent contemporary reality.

 A very sobering article from a man of proven substance and social conscience, which is complemented well with another by Rob Hotakainen of McClatchy news, Tribes want Congress to ban Redskins’ trademark. The article draws on history to demonstrate the fate of these First Nations, with a copy of even the proclamation of extermination against these people.

WASHINGTON — When Indians were declared the enemy of King George II in 1755, colonists got an offer of 50 pounds for the scalps of Indian males over the age of 12 as a way to exterminate them.

By 1863, they were more valuable, with a Minnesota newspaper noting that the state reward for a dead Indian had risen to $200. The money would pay “for every redskin sent to Purgatory.”

[Bold added for emphasis]

Again, blogs and news media less beholden to the implicit establishment agenda continue to strip away the myths still prevalent in the US. In this case we have the benevolent Puritans and Pilgrims. These noble folk were depicted as the ones who would gently guide the ‘naked,ignorant savages’ away from their ‘godlessness’ (and their lands) to the loving arms of Christianity (and extermination or endemic poverty and destitution). Plymouth Rock and all that fiction.

These two articles should inspire contemplation with the advent of the puzzling tradition of ‘pardoning the turkey’, a ritual that is visited annually upon a patient populace of the US and the bemused populations of the world. That dreaded day of ‘looking in the mirror’ is fast approaching.


…columbus, 1492. 2013, epiphany of the long obvious…

In the US, among the unaffected, Columbus Day celebrated with marches and sales. In the rest of the hemisphere the day is commemorated as one of genocide, slavery, exploitation and theft of livelihoods, lands and resources; and one for renewal of determination to recover, protect and strengthen rights. Quite a contrast. Yet the times are achangin’.

Increasingly voices of dissent have been receiving sympathetic ears, and active and vocal support against the travesty. One voice eschews niceties to describe the much celebrated US national day. Over at truth-out Paul Bucheit argues that Columbus Day Is the Official Endorsement of White European and US Conquest of Indigenous Peoples  His opening is unsparing with the conveniently forgotten,

Columbus Day is a good day to consider American exceptionalism, in the broad sense of superiority. Columbus embraced the doctrine from the start, writing about the Arawak Indians in Haiti: “Great multitudes of men came to the shore, all young and of fine shapes and very handsome…I could conquer the whole of them with fifty men and govern them as I pleased.”

Conquer them he did, forcing them to find gold for the Spanish explorers, cutting off their hands if they failed.

The myth of the benevolent Columbus is contrasted with another discredited, not yet discarded, myth.

In the realm of US sports, the long obvious to most on the planet is being discovered. This time with vehement call for action, but not to disrupt the flow of profits. In Washington, DC, the name of the US-football team, from  its inception, has been Washington Redskins. And from the players, very highly remunerated, there has never been any public opposition to the name. It would take the opposition of the much abused American Indians and their rapidly increasing legions of supporters to bring the issue to a head.

Over at truth-out a posting from The Thom Hartmann program is similarly scathing toward the uncontrite racism with Columbus Raped the Redskins … Time to Change the Name

The fact is Native Americans have never once referred to themselves as “Redskins.”

That derogatory and racist term dates back to the early years of the discovery of the Americas.

In 1492, Columbus was on a manic hunt for gold when he set sail, and eventually landed on an island known as Hispaniola, which today is the home of Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

While Columbus didn’t find much gold on Hispaniola, he did find something as good as it: people.

And, it was these indigenous people or “redskins” that Columbus thought would make great slaves.

And after some decades, an exceptional name may well have to undergo an exceptional change, quite likely with neither apology nor show of contrition. After all, the team’s owner has suffered long enough. And the game must go on.

The year, 2013, increasingly exceptional.


Truth is coming, and the unraveling begins…

“Truth is coming and it cannot be stopped.”

That is the fateful prophesy made by Mr Edward Snowden that set in train the events that would rip away the façade of a Potemkin democracy to reveal an Orwellian state in which collude for their own collective and separate interests the very groups that should be adversarial to ensure the best interests of the people are faithfully and honestly served. The solicitous, reassuring culprit in the façade of deception is the corporate media, breathless in its duplicitous appearance of ‘truth teller’.

The complete unravelling of the duplicity of the corporate media would start with just one question from a so-called TV journalist in one of those shows meant to promote The Manifest Destiny of the United States. With no effort at pretense, Mr David Gregory asked of Glenn Greenwald, “To the extent that you have aided and abetted Snowden, even in his current movements, why shouldn’t you, Mr. Greenwald, be charged with a crime?” And that would be the incriminating question that would reverberate throughout Youtube and the blogsosphere, definitely not through the ‘mainstream media’.

For those who came in late, i.e., those who tend to trust the corporate media from which little information, truth or honesty ever emanates, Glenn Greenwald is a columnist for The Guardian and former constitutional lawyer (a real one) and former blogger at salon.com – The Guardian for its deeds would be soon derisively described as a ‘small newspaper’ by the long discredited Washington Post. Greenwald and The Guardian, historically more recognised and respected than WaPo or NYT, set the ball rolling when they not only broke the news on the comprehensive spying on the citizens of the United States, but also conducted the first part of an interview with the heroic whistleblower, Mr Edward Snowden, former employee of Booz Allen Hamilton, contractor for the National Security Agency (NSA) and of the very NSA.

With the monomaniacal obsession of an Ahab Read the rest of this entry »