Saturday, April 16, 2011

Gilbert Mercier doesn't quite explain how U.S. Empire "Exceptionalism" = Genocide, Rape, and Slavery for Everyone who isn't a Rich, Christian, White, Het Man, and not the "liberty, egalitarianism, individualism, or justice for all" CRAP

image is from here

When white het (or not-het) men write critically about the U.S., they rarely to never speak about it as a patriarchal nation-state. They rarely to never speak about it as a misogynistic-racist-heterosexist-genocidal breeding ground which only benefits wealthier white het men, and mostly Christian ones at that. Why is that, do you think? Does "Empire" not have a gendered political purpose--to perpetuate the rule of men over women, and males over females? Does it not have a particularly lethal agenda for all Indigenous people? Does it promote lesbian existence as anything other than existing for het men's sexxxist entertainment? For which population is focusing on such matters a distraction or irrelevancy? You have one guess.

What follows is from News Junkie Post. Please click on the title below to link back.

US Empire: American Exceptionalism Is No Shining City On A Hill

The concept of American exceptionalism is as old as the United States, and it implies that the country has a qualitative difference from other nations. This notion of been “special” gives Americans the sense that playing a lead role in world affair is part of their “natural” historic calling. However there is nothing historically exceptional about this: the Roman empire also viewed itself as a system superior to other nations so did the British and the French empires more recently.

On the topic of American exceptionalism, which he often called “Americanism”, Seymour Martin Lipset noted that “America’s ideology can be described in five words: liberty, egalitarism, individualism, populism and laissez-faire. The revolutionary ideology, which became American creed, is liberalism in its eighteenth and nineteenth-century meaning. It departed from conservatism Toryism , statist communitarianism, mercantilism and noblesse- oblige dominant in monarchical state-church formed cultures.” Naturally identifying America’s system as a unique ideology, just like calling its successful colonial war against Britain a revolution is a fallacy. For once, America was never based on social equality, as rigid class distinctions always remained through the United States history.

In reality, the United States has never broken from European social models. American exceptionalism implies a sense of superiority, just like in the case of the British empire, the French empire and the Roman empire. In such imperialist systems, class inequality was never challenged, and, as matter of fact, served as corner stone of the imperial structure. In American history, the only exception to this system based on social inequality was during the post World War II era of the economic “miracle”. The period from 1945 to the mid 1970s was characterized by major economic growth, an absence of big economic downturns, and a much higher level of social mobility on a massive scale. This time-frame saw a tremendous expansion of higher education-from 2.5 million people to 12 million going to colleges and universities, and this education explosion, naturally, fostered this upward mobility where the “American dream” became possible for the middle-class.

Regardless of  real domestic social progress made in America after the birth of the empire in 1945, for the proponents of American exceptionalism- this includes the entire political class- the myth of the United States defined as a “shinning city on a hill” has always been a rational to justify the pursuit of imperialism. Recently, in his address to the nation to justify the military intervention in Libya, President Obama said that “America was different”, as if the US had a special role in history as a force for good. In “Democracy In America”, Frenchman Alexis de Tocqueville was lyrical in his  propaganda-like adulation of American exceptionalism, defining it almost as divine providence.

“When the earth was given to men by the Creator, the earth was inexhaustible. But men were weak and ignorant, and when they had learned to take advantage of the treasures which it contained, they already covered its surface and were soon obliged to earn by the sword an asylum for respose and freedom. Just then North America was discovered, as if it had been kept in reserve by the Deity and had risen from beneath the waters of the deluge.” wrote de Tocqueville.

This notion originated by the French author, and dully amplified ever since, defining the United States as the “divine gift” of a moral and virtuous land is a cruel fairy-tale. It is mainly convenient to ease up America’s deep guilt. After all, the brutal birth of this nation took place under the curse of two cardinal sins: the theft of Native American land after committing a genocide on their population; the hideous crime of slavery, with slaves building the immense wealth for the few, in a new feudal system, with their sweat, tears and blood.

Also from Gilbert Mercier, please see this:

Tax Day: A Third Of Your Tax Money Is Spent On Wars And Security

Julian's note: "Security", here, means the racist-misogynist, oil-hoarding, ecocidal bombing of human beings in Central Asia and North Africa. Just in case the word "security" doesn't quite make that clear.

Join the Anti-Genocide Action: Religious Ceremony at Sogorea Te (aka, Glen Cove). Help Block and Stop the White Man's Bulldozers Destroying Sacred Ground

image is from here

What follows is from Censored News, with thanks to Brenda Norrell. Please click on the title below to link back.

Glen Cove: Native Americans occupy sacred place

As Bulldozers May Arrive Any Day at Ancient Burial Site, Native Americans To Occupy Sacred Land at Glen Cove in Vallejo
Spiritual Ceremony and Occupation Beginning Friday, April 15, 2011 at 8 am
Press statement
Vallejo, California (April 14, 2011) – Faced with the imminent arrival of bulldozers at the Native American sacred burial site at Glen Cove, Vallejo, members of the local Native American community will hold a religious ceremony to commence an occupation of Sogorea Te, otherwise known as Glen Cove, in the City of Vallejo beginning at 8 am on Friday, April 15, 2011. Native Americans and their supporters have vowed to physically block bulldozers or any other work that would desecrate the burial site.

Native American activists consider this to be the last stand in a struggle that has been going on for over a decade, since the Greater Vallejo Recreation District (GVRD) first proposed plans for a “fully featured public park” including construction of a paved parking lot, paved hiking trails, 1000 pound picnic tables and a public restroom on top of the 3500 year old burial site.

On Wednesday, April 13th, Sacred Site Protection and Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSP&RIT), a Vallejo-based community organization, filed an administrative civil rights complaint to the State of California alleging that the City and GVRD are discriminating on the basis of race in threatening to destroy and desecrate significant parts of the Glen Cove Shellmound and burial site, for harming Native Americans’ religious and spiritual well-being, and effectively excluding Native Americans from their right to full participation in decision-making regarding the site.

The history and cultural value of the site has never been disputed. Human remains have been consistently unearthed as the area around the site has been developed.  Native Americans continue to hold ceremonies at Sogorea Te just as they have for thousands of years. The Glen Cove Shell Mound spans fifteen acres along the Carquinez Strait.  It is the final resting place of many Indigenous People dating back more than 3,500 years, and has served as a traditional meeting place for dozens of California Indian tribes.  The site continues to be spiritually important to California tribes. The Glen Cove site is acknowledged by GVRD and the City to have many burials and to be an important cultural site, yet they are moving forward as early as Friday with plans to build a toilet and parking lot on this sacred site and to grade a hill that likely contains human remains and important cultural artifacts.

SSP&RIT have asked GVRD to reconsider their plans to grade the hill and build toilets and a parking lot at the site.

Glen Cove is located near the intersection of South Regatta and Whitesides Drive in Vallejo.
For more information and directions:
Norman “Wounded Knee” Deocampo 707-373-7195
Corrina Gould 510-575-8408
Mark Anquoe (415) 680 0110
Morning Star Gali (510) 827 6719

Anti-Genocide and Indigenous Action Alert: Treaty 8 First Nations in Oil Sands Region: Traditional livelihoods threatened

photo of Chief Allan Adam (Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation) is from here
Please click on the title below to link back to the source where I found this, at Censored News. With thanks to Brenda Norrell.

Treaty 8 First Nations in Oil Sands Region: Traditional livelihoods threatened

Draft Land Use Plan Infringes Treaty 8First Nations in Oil Sands Region say that the Lower Athabasca Regional Plan does not protect enough land and resources to sustain their traditional livelihood and creates legal risk for Alberta

By Chief Allan Adam, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
April 8, 2011, Fort McMurray

On April 5, 2011, Alberta Government’s Department of Sustainable Resource Development, headed by Minister Mel Knight, released the draft Lower Athabasca Region Plan (LARP).  The draft plan proposes a 16% increase to conservation areas in the oil sands region, which is significantly less than the recommendations from the Regional Advisory Council (RAC), who advised up to 32%, and considerably less than recommendations from First Nations.

The Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, who has aboriginal and treaty Rights throughout the LARP area are left wondering how they will sustain their traditional livelihood and protect their cultural existence on what amounts to scattered, small parcels of land.  According to Chief Allan Adam the LARP represents “… an economic assimilation of our people.  How can we maintain our culture, protect our livelihood and continue practicing our treaty rights under these conditions.  LARP is an infringement of our Rights and the government has a duty and obligation to ensure that we have the ability to practice and maintain those Rights now and into the future.”

Chief Adam explained that “Alberta is doing more of the same thing and expecting a different result.  The provincial government consistently fails to meet even our basic needs when it comes to air, land and water within the region and fails to meaningfully engage First Nations in land management decisions in accordance with our aboriginal and treaty rights.  Until Alberta makes meaningful efforts to protect land, regulate industry and ensure that First Nations are at the table as full partners to develop solutions to the serious environmental challenges that government and industry are creating, they can count on our opposition to further development within the region.”  

The ACFN depends on the environment in order to sustain their protected treaty right to hunt, fish and trap.  The government has a duty and obligation under Treaty 8 and the Constitution Act to ensure that the environment will be protected in ways that are sufficient to sustain First Nations use of the ecosystems.  The goal of Chief Adam is to ensure that the members of the ACFN have the ability to practice their treaty rights.  With the inadequate process that was used to develop LARP, it is clear that the ACFN’s voice was not heard.  The ACFN submitted numerous documents to the RAC regarding the environment, sustainability and the importance of the practice of the rights and culture to ACFN’s wellbeing.  

At a community meeting held with the GOA in Fort Chipewyan on January 18, 2011 the ACFN membership unanimously agreed that the consultation on the LARP process was unfair.  Lionel Lepine, member of the ACFN is worried about his ability to maintain his way of life and the ability to continue practicing his treaty rights.  According to Lionel, “…the LARP will be a cultural annihilation. As the land continues to be developed, where will I go to teach my children their cultural way of life?”  Leslie Cardinal another ACFN member stated that “The government of Canada formally endorsed the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples in a manner that is consistent with Canada’s Constitution and laws.  The UN Declaration is clear that Indigenous people have the right to maintain and strengthen their distinctive spiritual relationship with their traditionally owned or otherwise occupied and used lands, territories, waters and other resources and to uphold their responsibilities to future generations.  The LARP is not consistent with the international or Canadian laws.”  According to Chief Adam, “It is obvious that the ACFN was not heard and that the government is not listening.  One thing is clear, we will be reviewing the LARP and what it means to our continued use and practice of our rights and make a decision on how to proceed due to the infringements.”

ACFN will be completing a detailed review of the draft LARP over the next 60 days and will continue their attempts to have Alberta consult them in a meaningful way on land and resource use planning and decision-making in the oil sands region.  Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation traditional lands and treaty rights extend throughout the Lower Athabasca oil sands region.  The ACFN signed Treaty 8 in 1899 at Fort Chipewyan on Lake Athabasca.  Today, the majority of members reside in Fort Chipewyan and Fort McMurray.

For more information contact:

Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation
Chief Allan Adam, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation

Economic Justice Action Alert: Michael Moore: "The Execs at GE Are Laughing at What a Bunch of Suckers We Are for Filing Our Taxes -- Let's Make Them PAY!"!!!!!!!!!

image of Michael Moore is from here
I'm not a fan of Michael Moore but nor do I jump on the "despise Michael Moore" bandwagons either. To me, he is a white het male supremacist who is also a progressive liberal when it comes to U.S. economic and military policies. He doesn't ever name patriarchy (or misogyny) as a problem, never addresses the horrific depth of white supremacy, nor does he see heterosexism and anti-Indigenism as foundational to the existence of the U.S.

That said, he gets some good points across in some media precisely because he doesn't do any of the above. Even his movie on capitalism has to make it sound as though he likes capitalism.

His politics need to be radically reworked into a more pro-feminist, pro-Indigenous, anti-heterosexism policy or series of campaigns, but let's hear what he has to say on an upcoming tax-day related action.

What follows is from AlterNet. You may click on the title to link back.
The joke's on us, folks. GE and tons of other corporations will have a tax bill for 2010 of ZERO.
Do you wonder (like I do) what the tax accountants and executives are doing over at GE this weekend? Frantically rushing to fill out their IRS returns like the rest of us?

Hardly. They're taking the weekend off to throw themselves a big party and have a hearty laugh at all of us. It must really crack them up to see us like suckers scurrying around to make sure we report everything to Uncle Sam -- and even send him a check, if necessary.

The joke's on us, folks. GE and tons of other corporations will have a tax bill for 2010 of ZERO. GE had $14.2 billion in profits in 2010. Yet they will contribute NOTHING to the federal government while every last dime is soaked from us.

In the latest budget deal, our politicians could have tackled the deficit by stopping the flow of these ill-gotten billions to corporations. Instead they cut billions from "wasteful" programs that do "wasteful" things, like create new jobs, drive economic growth, and help the needy and our nation's children. It's Democracy in reverse and it sickens me.

GE spends $20 million a year to lobby Congress to throw themselves this party. But do you know what speaks louder than $20 million? 20 million votes! 20 million people, and more, standing together and taking to the streets. That starts now, with you.

This coming Monday, April 18th is Tax Day -- and that's the day when "we the people" will demand our country back from these corporations in events all across the country. You can find the nearest event to you here.

MoveOn members -- along with union, community, and environmental allies -- will gather outside the headquarters and local offices of the biggest corporate tax dodgers to deliver tax bills from the American people. And we'll demand that our leaders make these corporate deadbeats pay.

We're doing this because we don't buy into the Big Lie: that greedy teachers caused the crash on Wall Street! That the selfish firefighters sent millions of jobs overseas! That pregnant woman, infants, and children are sending us into deficit!

No, it was the big corporations that did this. It was the CEOs and the top 1% of the country. THEY brought on the mortgage crisis. THEY made off with trillions of dollars from our economy. THEY are systematically destroying the middle class. And THEY have bought and sold the very people elected to represent us!

On Monday, we will have something to say to Exxon, Chevron, and the big banks that crashed our economy and got billions in bailouts, like Citigroup and Bank of America, who pay little or no federal income tax. In fact, the IRS will likely give them a tax REBATE. If that doesn't boggle your mind then nothing will.
The Tax Day events are about sending this message: We are coming after you, we are stopping you and we are going to return the money, jobs, and homes you stole from the people. This is your tipping point, Corporate America. And I, for one, am glad it's going to happen this Monday.

If you've never been to an event like this before, this is the time. And don't go alone, because none of us can win this fight by ourselves. Plus, it's more fun and exciting to go along with friends and family to be part of real democracy in action -- not the store-bought kind Big Business gets on Capitol Hill.
I really hope you can make it. This is our chance, my friends. Take the time on Monday to
make your voice heard. I can guarantee you I will. Please join me.


Michael Moore
Michael Moore is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker and author. He directed and produced Roger & Me, Bowling for Columbine, Fahrenheit 9/11, and Sicko. He has also written seven books, most recently, Mike’s Election Guide 2008