May 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm (culture, ethics, history, Independent film, life, movies, politics, random, Uncategorized)
Tags: blogs, crime, culture, documentary, film, Indpendent film, men, random, rant, rape, society, The Invisible War, US Military, values, vent, violence, women
Okay, I surrender to the ghost in this machine and refuse to fight the edit blog post battle any further today. While I’ve narrowed down the search for causes of earlier frustrations in blogland to this specific computer at my end, the reasons for such remain elusive. So instead of trying to force the program to do its editing duty properly, I’m just going to yap in this post instead.
Yes, it’s been very quiet in my blogcasa since round one of “Breakfast Special.” I confess that I’ve been wondering if further courses of “Breakfast Special” might be of interest to anyone wandering by. Would anyone care to put in an order?
Frankly I think I’ve ranted, vented and held forth over time on most items broiling in my brainpan. Yet when Dirk Kirby’s documentary “The Invisible War” aired on my local PBS station via Independent Lens last night it supplied some motivational electro-shock therapy which prompted my earlier attempt at a blog post regarding the rape epidemic in the U.S. Military. I’d been aware of this issue for several years, but had no idea of the current ongoing scope and depth of the issue until viewing Kirby’s film. While I’m aware that the violent crime of rape is widespread, under-reported and under prosecuted in America, I’d had not any idea just how callous the entire U.S. Military’s attitude is towards the crime in its own ranks. Is this a logical consequence of the innate nature of the military itself as a vehicle for training people for combat that requires the death and destruction of other humans? Perhaps it is.
If so, why would any parent who puts forth the effort to raise children to be decent, caring, intelligent adults ever encourage their children to enlist in any military force? Why would parents want to have their children destroyed by a system which does not value human life?
I am at a loss for any rational answers to those questions and the host of others I have in regard to the specific issue of rape in the military and the institution in general. It appears that being an “officer and a gentleman” is nothing more than illusion created by smart uniformed propaganda images.
Rape outrages many people when news of it surfaces in the media. The rapes of women in India have garnered world-wide attention. People are appalled by rapes of children. Rape is recognized as a war crime. No one seems to condone rape. Yet it is a widespread violent crime which knows no social, political, economic nor religious boundaries.
Does the U.S. Military view the victims of rape within its ranks as simple collateral damage that is an acceptable byproduct of their own culture of acceptable violence?
Is this just a military problem or is it a human nature problem? If it’s human nature working out its dark side then what does it say about US?
Considering the recent issues regarding the Violence Against Women Act I wonder if we live in a culture which somehow deviously nurtures the act of rape.
Such is the current state of my brainpan stew. This is more or less the gist of the content which inexplicably vanished from my earlier post when I hit the “Publish” earlier today.
Anyone have any answers?
May 14, 2013 at 6:35 pm (culture, ethics, history, Independent film, journalism, life, movies, politics, random, Uncategorized)
Tags: crime, culture, ethics, film, Independent Lens, Kirby Dick, men, miltary, movie, PBS, poltitics, random, rape, The Invisible War, training, values, violence, women
PBS Independent Lens –The Invisible War–
Due to technical difficulties some content is currently MIA.
February 19, 2013 at 8:35 pm (creative writing, culture, education, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, Indigenous People, Lakota, Native Americans, Pine Ridge Indian reservation, politics, publishing, random, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: 1973, American Book Award, Amnesty International, Before Columbus Foundation, Book, Brave Bird, civil rights, girls, history, Indigenous, Lakota, Lakota Woman, Mary Crow Dog, Maze of Injustice, memoir, random, review, Rosebud, South Dakota, teenagers, Trail of Broken Treaties, women, Wounded Knee, Writing
Young Indigenous women are some of the most invisible and unrepresented people on Earth. That is one reason to read Lakota Woman by Mary Crow Dog, nowBrave Bird, with Richard Erdoes even though it was published in 1990. Another reason is that it won the American Book Award in 1991. Yet another reason is for the insight it provides into some of the tough issues young women on reservations continue to confront: violence, rape, alcoholism, drug abuse, racism, exploitation, poor education, grinding poverty. This is not a calm, quiet memoir of a certain time and place written by a woman looking back in nostalgia with some polite veneer of wisdom gained by mature hindsight. Lakota Woman offers the perspective of a very candid, blunt spoken, tough, and passionate young woman who makes no apologies for anything. This is a woman who now knows who she is, where she came from, and why. Part of her story includes giving birth to her first child during the siege at Wounded Knee in 1973 after refusing to leave in spite of the increasing danger. While Lakota Woman does not offer any in-depth analysis of the American Indian Movement, the Trail of Broken Treaties or the Native American Church, it does offer a no punches pulled, first person female perspective based on direct experiences with all of them– a young Lakota female perspective seldom encountered in the mainstream American culture.
I am a iyeska, a breed, that’s what the white kids used to call me. When I grew bigger they stopped calling me that, because it would get them a bloody nose. I am a small woman, not much over five feet tall, but I can hold my own in a fight, and in a free-for-all with honkies I can become rather ornery and do real damage. I have white blood in me. Often I have wished to be able to purge it out of me. As a young girl I used to look at myself in the mirror, trying to find a clue as to who and what I was. My face is very Indian, and so are my eyes and my hair, but my skin is very light. Always I waited for the summer, for the prairie sun, the Badlands sun, to tan me and make me into a real skin. (p.9)
Such are the words of Mary Brave Bird of the Brule Tribe from the Rosebud Reservation in South Dakota. Consider the memoirs current teenaged women of Rosebud, Pine Ridge, Standing Rock and the Cheyenne River Reservations might share–if anyone dared put them into print. Lakota Woman might offend some, might make some very uncomfortable, and distress others. It certainly won’t bore anyone. It definitely offers a great deal to think about regarding women, culture, family, history, spirituality, politics, and values.
Mary Crow Dog/Brave Bird online http://marycrowdog.com/index.html
Wikipedia list of American Book Awards http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Book_Award
American Book Awards – Before Columbus Foundation http://www.beforecolumbusfoundation.com/about-bcf.html
Maze of Injustice, the failure to protect Indigenous Women from sexual violence in the USA, PDF file of Amnesty International http://www.amnestyusa.org/pdfs/MazeOfInjustice.pdf Perhaps this report offers one explanation for the legistative difficulties faced by the VAWA. Why would non-Native men want to start allowing arrest and prosecution of the non-Native men who rape Indigenous women on reservations? No rocket science required.
February 11, 2013 at 9:50 pm (art, culture, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, Independent film, Indigenous People, life, movies, nature, photography, politics, Uncategorized)
Tags: "Water", alternative energy, Canada, climate change, David, documentary, ducks, Eco Watch, Energy, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, film, First Nations, fish, Glaciers, health, independent, Independent film, Lavallee, mining, movie, natural law, nature, Oil, ponds, random, rivers, safety, tailings, Tar Sands, values, video, White Water Black Gold, Wind turbines, wolves
View entire film on Eco Watch http://ecowatch.org/2013/white-water-black-gold/
Eco Watch featured David Lavallee’s very accessible film White Water, Black Gold and I could not resist sharing after viewing it online. It does more than bring the toxic waste of Canada’s Tar Sands into view because it also presents some clean green alternatives that are already being successfully utilized not just in Germany, but ironically in Canada as well. What are the rest of us waiting for? For the Big Oil Companies to milk out all the profits possible while creating waste toxic waste dumps that destroy fresh water all living things depend upon for life? We cannot drink oil. Oil cannot make food crops grow. Plants need water. No wheat crop means no bread.
Make no mistake that Big Oil and corporations like Monsanto do not comprehend the situation despite their public relations denial spins. They do indeed and they want to use it to serve their own ends. There are reasons that Monsanto wants to patent all seeds for their own profit. There are reasons some Americans are NOT allowed to “catch” rainwater in barrels for gardening. The reasons are profits for those who want to control all the natural resources that are basic to all forms of life. If ducks could pay taxes then they’d be taxed for swimming in ponds. Deer would be taxed for eating plants. Wolves would be taxed just for being alive. I suspect the predatory human population feels an innate threat from wolves who don’t care for domestication by humans as dogs do. Wolves don’t need or want us humans. I don’t wonder why not. Perhaps it’s their independence which has set off the curent war on their very existence in the states. Could be. Wolves don’t give a damn about the corporate human economy. They’re bound only by the laws of nature. Oh, come to think of it, so are humans. Because in the end–it will be natural law which decides the survival of our species. It’s about time we all came to terms with that reality. Denial will not change outcome.
Gee, it appears I’ve gotten off the Tar Sands water usage and energy alternatives track of White Water, Black Gold. It may appear so. But since everything is connected–and we are all ‘related’–then I haven’t really gone off track. I’ve just followed a stream of thought. Continuing downstream . . . .
What this boils down to is values. Yes, what do we value? Our lives? All living things? Clean air? Clean water? Oil? Gas? Our oil dependent modes of transportation? What matters most to each of us? Why should each of us consider such questions? Because we’re the ones who will either change our ways for the betterment of all living things or we won’t. Whatever the politicians and corporations do amounts to their choices. We are responsible for ours, what we think, what we do, what we say. Does the state of the Earth reflect our values or those of someone else? Positive change is possible. We can make it. We may have to work very hard for it though. What are we waiting for?
I think we need to do more than get the President of the United States to shut down the Keystone Pipeline. The Tar Sands in Canada need to be shut down. Big Oil needs to be shut down everywhere. It’s time for a healthy change.
For more Tar Sands, Keystone and environmental news from Eco Watch http://ecowatch.org/2013/white-water-black-gold/
February 1, 2013 at 10:11 pm (culture, education, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, journalism, life, politics, publishing, random, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: "Wandering Ghosts", Book, Civilians, crimes, current events, Democracy Now, ethics, Geneva Convention, history, human life, interview, Kill Anything That Moves, miitary, My Lai, National Archives, news, Nick Turse, policy, politics, publishing, review, values, video, Vietnam, war
Recently I shared with some friendlies that I was reading Nick Turse’s Kill Anything That Moves, The Real American War in Vietnam. So far only one friendly has responded to my friendly email and that was basically to share the information that they had already read some of the many books on the Vietnam War–hence, implying that they weren’t interested in reading another tome. So I thought, yes, why indeed would anyone whose has attempted to make some sense out of a seemingly senseless waste of lives want to read Turse’s latest book? Why? I believe the answer involves the Vietnamese Civilians all too often callously dismissed as Casualties of War. Damn this sounds familiar. Care to insert Afghanistan Casualties of War? Iraqi Casualties of War? Pick any war and couple it with casualties. Civilians as totally expendable human resources is not a new concept. It’s been around a very long time. By the way, if you think this doesn’t pertain to you in any way, shape or form, please do think again. Why? Because unless you are part of the military forces you are indeed a civilian to be treated with absolute contempt by those with no regard for the tenets of the Geneva Convention–that nice little old-fashioned little agreement about how to treat people during any modern war. Somehow I doubt the Geneva Convention agreement is part of either a drone’s programming or of the human charting its course. It certainly has no value to those who send soldiers to wars. Hmm. Might it be helpful to consider the military forces at work in Vietnam as precursors to current drones? Perhaps. But there are serious limitations to drones conducting military strikes as drones are incapable of rape and torture. At least I think they are –so far. Have no doubt that some computer programmer somewhere is hard at work solving these drone limitations. Too bad that creative brainpower isn’t invested in something like combating pollution.
Now back to Turse’s tome which is all about the standard operating procedure of murder, rape and torture of Vietnamese civilians whose “hearts and minds” were supposedly being saved from the communist menace. Why read this book?
In Vietnam, where the “lives” of the deceased are believed to be inextricably intertwined with those of the living, it is thought that those who die a “bad death” may be forced to suffer as “wandering ghosts,” trapped in a limbo between our world and the land of the dead. In this shadow land, they forever reexperience the violence that ended their lives, unable to attain peace until the living truly acknowledge them and the fate they suffered.3 The idea of such wandering ghosts is an unfamiliar one for most Americans, but we should not be too quick to dismiss it. The crimes committed in American’s name in Vietnam were our “bad death,” and they have never been adequately faced. As a result, they continue to haunt our society in profound and complex ways. (p. 261)
Turse makes the case that it’s high time Americans quit turning a blind eye to the dark side of our history in war, politics and business. It’s time we all took a long hard straight on look at the military industrial complex that strives to rule the world with an iron fist. With knowledge, however nasty and unpleasant it may be, comes power. There’s a very important war emerging in the world involving everyone on the Earth. It helps to know one’s enemy. The enemy has left quite a few revealing footprints. Some of them lay in the history of the war waged on the children, women and men of Vietnam. There are older footprints, newer ones and ones currently underway. What will it take for “us” to change how we view casualties of war–and war itself? What will it take for “us” to refuse to play the game of murder, rape, torture of our fellow human beings just because some power-hungry egomaniacs demand we play? Don’t forget “we” are all totally expendable–our sons, husbands, wives, daughters, mothers, fathers, all our relations are absolutely of no account in the war games.
So yes, read Nick Turse’s book – and learn why the Winter Soldiers threw their medals at Congress. It’s not a fun read. It’s not enjoyable. It’s not a “feel good” book. It is an important book.
Democracy Now! www.democracynow.org
Written transcript of interview http://www.democracynow.org/2013/1/15/kill_anything_that_moves_new_book
Geneva Convention http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geneva_Conventions
January 26, 2013 at 2:26 am (culture, education, environment, ethics, history, Indigenous People, Lakota, life, Native Americans, nature, politics, random, Uncategorized)
Tags: "Water", 141, 148, 149, 150, Bills, Black Hills, bond requirements, clean up, Clean Water Alliance, Dakota Rural Action, education, In-Situ, Jarding, Lakota, legislation, legislature, Lilias, Mine, mining, monitoring, Native Americans, natural resources, penalities, Powertech, radiation eposure, Senate, South Dakota, tailings, update, Uranium, video, violations
This post concerns ”Much Ado about in-situ leach uranium mining, Powertech, clean water, mine bonds, the environment and Bills.” No, not tax bills, not Mr. Bill, but bills of legislative import in South Dakota–the land of Powertech Potential Profits without accountability. Well, Lilias Jarding, who plays very nicely with the Clean Water Alliance of South Dakota, has a few activist proposals for the citizens of South Dakota concerned about the potentially nasty toxifying effects of in situ uranium mining touted by Powertech and their other foreign–and American grown–cohorts. Without further ado, please take a gander at Lilias’ list of not to be missed Bills.
From the cyber-desk of Lilias Jarding, Clean Water Alliance of South Dakota,
Senate Bills 148. 149, 150–and 141.
There are now three bills in the S.D. Legislature that we need to work to support! This is great news, but now the work begins. This message contains information on how to contact your legislators to say you support the bill and information on each bill. Please read to the bottom and take action today.
The first bill, Senate Bill 148, would return state regulatory authority over in situ leach uranium mining. This is the authority that was taken away in 2011 by the bill that Powertech Uranium authored. We are FOR this bill. We want the state to regulate this type of dangerous mining, not just some distant federal officials. And we want regular monitoring of the construction, operation, and water quality at ISL mines. Without state monitoring, this regular oversight will not occur.
The second, Senate Bill 149, would change the current law. The current law gives uranium companies 30 days to report environmental violations without any penalty. Instead, under this bill, the companies would have to report environmental violations within 24 hours. We are FOR this bill. We want companies who do this dangerous type of mining to be responsible for their spills and leaks. We want problems to be reported quickly, so that corrective measures can be applied quickly.
The third bill, Senate Bill 150, is the longest. It provides additional protections that: (1) require uranium companies to return water to baseline conditions after they mine, (2) let the Secretary of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources determine if it is feasible to mine safely in a particular place, (3) allow a mining permit to be denied if the company cannot demonstrate that restoration of water will work, and (4) require full restoration of water quality after mining. We are FOR this bill. We want full protection from the problems that in situ leach uranium mining has caused in other places. The mining companies say they can mine safely and without contaminating groundwater. This bill simply holds them to their word.
These are important bills, and we are lucky to have strong supporters like Senator Bradford and Representatives Heinert and Killer, who introduced these bills and will work to support them. So please take a moment to thank them. And plan to support these bills by going to Pierre, when they are up for hearings. This could happen with only a couple days’ notice, so have your gas money set aside! We’ll help arrange carpools, when the time comes.
Right now, please contact your area’s legislators and urge them to support each of these bills. You can find out who your legislators are at http://legis.state.sd.us/who/index.aspx
You can e-mail legislators at http://legis.state.sd.us/email/LegislatorEmail.aspx You only have to write a message once and change the legislator’s name at the top and in your “Dear ___” line. If you have more than a few minutes, please contact every legislator and ask for their support.
We will be targeting the members of specific committees, as soon as the bills are assigned to committees. So watch for that.
Thanks for all you do. As usual, let me know if you have questions
Senate Bill 141
Here is another bill we need to support. It’s Senate Bill 141. It would increase the bond requirements for mining companies and would apply to Powertech Uranium’s proposed mine. The text of the bill is here: http://legis.state.sd.us/sessions/2013/Bill.aspx?File=SB141P.htm. Before they start mining, companies have to post a bond to insure that the mine is cleaned up, especially if the company goes bankrupt or leaves the state. These bonds are usually way too low. This bill would require a higher bond.
Please contact the bill’s sponsors — Senators Adelstein, Rampelberg, Kirkeby, Lucas, and Tidemann and Representatives Sly, Kopp, Hunhoff (Bernie), and Shrempp — and thank them for sponsoring the bill.
Please contact your district’s legislators — and as many others as you have time to contact — and tell them you support this bill. We support this bill because we want to be sure that the state’s natural resources are protected and that South Dakota taxpayers are not left paying to clean up messes left by mining companies, as has happened so often in the past.
You can write one e-mail and send it to multiple legislators easily. To e-mail legislators, go to http://legis.state.sd.us/email/LegislatorEmail.aspx
Thanks to all who have been writing legislators. Please also remember to spread the word to your lists.
And here is where you can find the text of each bill –
Thanks to Sabrina King with Dakota Rural Action for this information.
Dakota Rural Action Legislative Action Update #2
Ready, Set, Action!
Oh and everyone please take notes for when Powertech Uranium Corporation–or some version thereof–comes to visit your state sniffing for uranium and such.
What? You want VISUALs?
January 19, 2013 at 5:21 am (culture, education, ethics, history, life, politics, publishing, random, Uncategorized, Writing)
Tags: Book, Democracy Now, ethics, history, human nature, interview, Kill Anything That Moves, Nick Turse, politics, publishing, video, Vietnam, war, Writing
I confess I’m not really wanting to read Kill Anything That Moves, The Real American War in Vietnam, because it sounds like a truly horrific book, yet I feel a sense of obligation to read Nick Turse’s work. Truth needs telling. Just from watching Democracy Now!’s interview of Nick Turse it’s pretty clear this is about the dark side of human nature and that’s not pleasant ever to encounter. Too often we think of war being an arena in which everything is allowed. Why is that? Why is it permissible for people to commit horrible transgressions against other human beings–women, men, children–during a state of war? Suicide is condemned in many cultures. To take control of one’s fate and decide whether or not one wishes to continue living is generally frowned upon. Yet–it is acceptable to kill OTHERS–just not yourself. Why is it “Okay” to kill other people during war or at other times? Why is it okay to rape and torture other people during war? Turse’s book delves into the atrocity as norm character of the Vietnam War. I fear it reveals a great deal about human nature that we’d rather turn a blind eye to. Yes, it’s been a long time since Vietnam. But there are ongoing wars. Has the conduct of war changed? Somehow I doubt it. I’m waiting for the time when some politicans declare war and everyone refuses to fight, thereby putting an end to the insanity.
Nick Turse site http://www.nickturse.com/books.html
Democracy Now! www.democracynow.org
Review forthcoming after I get my not so eager hands on Turse’s tome. If anyone out there has already read the book–no fear of spoilers–feel free to hold forth on it via the comments.
January 18, 2013 at 6:03 pm (art, culture, education, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, Indigenous People, life, politics, random, religion, Uncategorized)
Tags: art, Canada, channel, Chief Ruben George, Earth, Elahogiant, environment, First Nations, Ft. Randall, Gathering to Protect the Sacred, Indigenous, Indigenous Environmental Network, Keystone XL, Native Americans, news, people, Protect the Sacred, South Dakota, Tar Sands, video, Yankton, YouTube
January 15, 2013 at 4:02 pm (education, environment, ethics, exploring interconnectedness, history, Indigenous People, life, politics, random, Uncategorized)
Tags: "Water", Black Hills, Black HIlls Wild Horse Sanctuary, Canada, Clean Water Alliance, Clement, death, Dewey-Burdock, Geiger counter, In-Situ, Marie Curie, miners, Navajo, Powertech, radioactivity, scientist, South Dakota, Uranium
via Ryhindor on YouTube
I don’t blame anyone for wondering just what stew is simmering in my brainpan after the my post regarding the big fan of uranium mining aka Richard F. Clement of Powertech fame. Dropping dots is perfectly understandable when juggling like crazy.
dot–uranium is a radioactive and toxic metal used for nuclear energy and weapons.
dot–Powertech Uranium Corporation wants to extract uranium from the Dewey-Burdock area in South Dakota.
dot–Richard F. Clement is CEO of Powertech Uranium Corporation.
dot–Mr. Clement has previous experience working for other uranium mining operations in places like New Mexico.
dot–Many Navajo, and non-Navajo, uranium mine workers have died and/or experienced serious health complications.
dot–Marie Curie died from cancer as the result of exposure to radioactive materials during her scientific research.
dot–The Dewey-Burdock uranium extraction project is located about 20 miles from the Black Hills Wild Horse Sanctuary.
dot–The Dewey-Burdock project acreage alone covers 17,800 acres.
dot–Powertech intends to use In-Situ mining in the Dewey-Burdock Project.
dot–In-Situ involves forcing water into sandstone to dissolve uranium in order to bring it to the surface for extraction and then sending the fluids back into the “wellfield”.
dot–Massive amounts of table water are required for In-Situ mining. The Clean Water Alliance has done the math for how much water Powertech’s uranium mining would consume : http://www.sdcleanwateralliance.org/
dot–The uranium mined will be exported out of the USA for the energy interests of OTHER countries.
dot–Powertech is a Canadian Company.
Who will benefit from uranium mining in the Dewey-Burdock area? Not Americans. The “product” and the profits will leave America. This project will not reduce unemployment in the area. This project will consume valuable water resources. This project has the potential to contaminate several major sources of water with a single spill/leak/accident.
So why should the project go forth?
Clean Water Alliance has a great deal of information, links, contact etc. http://www.sdcleanwateralliance.org/
Yeah, I think I dropped a few other dots along the way. . . .
Get your Gieger counters ready.
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