Russell Means: Native American Warrior

Russell Means-Native American Warrior

by D.S. Mitchell

Russell Means & Dennis Banks Prominent Militant Native American Activists Talk to Press

Champion of Native American Rights

Russell Means was a champion of Native American civil rights. Means drew public attention to the mistreatment of native people “with audacious and controversial actions that were equal parts protest and theater,” said biographer Michael Ray.

Charismatic Leader 

From the 1970’s thru the early 2000’s Russell Means was as famous as Sitting Bull. Means, tall and ruggedly  handsome with long traditional braids was a charismatic Native American actor, activist, painter, politician, musician and writer. Means was born in 1939 on South Dakota’s Pine Ridge Reservation. His Lakota name “Wanbli Ohitika” means “Brave Eagle.” His mother was a Yankton Dakota Sioux and his father an Oglala Lakota Sioux.

A Harsh Life

His parents left the reservation in 1942 at the beginning of WWII to escape the poverty and depression of the reservation. They settled in the San Francisco Bay Area where his father worked in the shipyards. In his 1995 autobiography Russell Means described a harsh life with his alcoholic father and abused mother. He himself describes how he fell into “years of truancy, crime and drugs”, before finding purpose in the American Indian Movement.

In 1964 Means Joined His Father And Other Indians To Occupy Alcatraz for 24 hours

1964 Alcatraz Occupation

Means and his father joined a protest occupation of Alcatraz Island, in San Francisco Bay, CA. in 1964. The protest lasted a mere 24 hours. Native Americans were protesting against the U.S. government for treaty violations. In his autobiography Russell Means remembered the 1964 Alcatraz event as the catalyst for a life time of activism for protecting the rights of Native Americans.

The American Indian Movement

In 1968 Dennis Banks, Clyde Bellecourt, Eddie Benton Banai, and George Mitchell came together to form the American Indian Movement. AIM was a militant American Indian civil rights organization.  The goals expanded quickly, broadening to “turn the attention of Indian people toward a renewal of spirituality which would impart the strength of resolve needed to reverse the ruinous policies of the United States, Canada, and other colonialist governments of Central and South America.” AIM’s goals were economic independence, revitalization of traditional culture, protection of legal rights, and most especially, autonomy over tribal areas and the restoration of lands that they believed had been seized illegally.

Dennis Banks, Russell Means, and Clyde Bellecourt in 1971 the Heart of AIM

Dennis Banks, Russell Means, and Clyde Bellecourt in 1971 the Heart of AIM

A New Voice
Into a violent and turbulent times Russell Means emerged as the voice of AIM. In 1970 he became the first National Director of the American Indian Movement. Aim became involved in many violent and highly publicized protests in reaction to abhorrent government policies toward American Indians during this time.

Modern Day Warriors

Means’ and other AIM members cultivated a tough persona which they felt was necessary to face the “dark violence of police brutality and the voiceless despair of Indian people.” The view of these activists as “warriors” was essential to the movement.

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I’m All Busted Up, Broken Bones & Nasty Cuts

In 1993 Green Day released their album “Dookie”. On that album was the song, “Pulling Teeth”. It was eye opening for me. Sounding like their typical happy-go-lucky Skate Punk, the lyrics detail a case of domestic abuse against a man. In this world of #MeToo it is important to remember that abuse can happen to anyone. Any one of us can be a victim. Support all survivors of abuse.

The Long, Hard Fall Of Julian Assange

The Long, Hard Fall of Julian Assange

by T.K. McNeil

 

Julian Assange Has Been Living At The Ecuadorian Embassy In London

Rogue Hacker Julian Assange Has Been Living At The Ecuadorian Embassy in London

It Is All In The Perspective

The difference between a “terrorist” and a “freedom-fighter” is essentially one of goals. One area where terms make a difference is the world of hacking. Used freely, and inclusively by the mainstream news media, “hacker” is little more than a general descriptor. All it really means, is someone who uses non-standard means to enhance their experience with technology.

They Wear Hats

If you have ever used a video-game cheat code or made non-factory improvements to your computer, congratulations, you are a hacker. The hacker world is diverse. The simplest distinction is between so-called “Black Hat” and “White Hat” hackers. Also known as “the criminal minority and the rest of us.” Though just as very few in the hacker community are nefarious, shadowy criminal types, equally few are virtuous, “White Hat” “Hacktivists.”

I Said It Was All Relative

Julian Assange Computer Programmer, Hacker, Activist and Wikileaks Founder

Computer Programmer, Hacker, & Founder of Wikileaks

As with the rest of humanity most are somewhere in-between. For most, hacking is surfing. Experimenting and testing to see what can be done with no particular goal in mind. Julian Assange is a “White Hat”. At least until recently. “Recently” being 2016 but like I said, everything is relative. Rather than being “done” as many have suggested Julian Assange and his notorious info-dumps are back in the news and not in a way many could have imagined.

Gray Hat

Assange is a lightning rod for controversy. Can you truly be controversial and popular?  Assange has never achieved popularity, but he has reached world-wide fame. I’d wager that even the most news ignorant of the populace have at least heard his name. His closest associates have said he is barely tolerable, and they continue to engage with him only because they believe in the importance of the work. Bringing truth to the world and bringing light to the dark places. Apparently forgetting that Lucifer was the bearer of light before the Fall.

Before The Fall

Julian Assange Was Accused Of Espionage And Theft In His Native Australia

Personal failings aside, Julian Assange was, and likely still is, a brilliant hacker. One of the best. This is after-all, the guy who figured out how to use and decode government data wires while still in his teens. He was however, “ratted out” and was charged with espionage (originally treason) and was tried in 1996 in a Melbourne, Australia.

Intellectual Inquisitiveness

He was convicted of 24 counts of “hacking” for crimes dating back nearly a decade. He received  leniency. The judge speaking to the matter said Assange’s “intellectual inquisitiveness” was extremely dangerous, however he “did not seek personal gain” and that was given weight. Assange was unique. He was a kid who had attended 37 different schools, lived in a cult with his restless mother and faced daily unpredictable circumstances growing up. But by the age of 15 he was sophisticated and expert enough to attack military computers, at a time before most Americans didn’t even have a personal computer.

Dr. Alina Polyakova Believes The Russian Government Is In Fact Using Wikileaks

Dr. Alina Polyakova

Motive

Another thing that was never at question was Julian Assange’s motives. The biography website Biography.com lists him as a “Computer Programmer, Hacker and Activist”. This was not to last long however, his uncompromising drive and near-pathological hatred of government (nearly being charged with treason will do that), shaded that white hat a distinctive shade of gray. Alina Polyakova, Director of the Eurasia Center volunteered this, “In his attempt to bring ‘transparency’, he ends up siding with the very regimes that deny transparency and human rights. That’s the irony of my enemy’s enemy is my friend.”

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Trust In Government In Trump’s America

Trust in Government in Trump’s America 

Just My Opinion: By Brett Kondratiew

From The Outside Looking In

The Trump Supporters Were Looking For A Return To The Past

The Trump Supporters Were Rowdy and Often Violent In Response To Trump’s Rhetoric

At the outset, I am not an American, instead I live in Australia but I have an interest in American Politics. Pretty much because its brutality is unlike anything I have ever seen. However under Donald Trump, it has reached unprecedented ferocity. Is trust in government a victim of Trump intention and rhetoric? Or, a reaction to five decades of government disregard for a growing disgruntled and distrustful electorate?

Controversy And Division

To witness a presidential candidate, openly condone the physical and often violent behavior by his supporters, certainly piqued my interest. Yes, the battlegrounds of immigration and race will always cause controversy and division but when used as an explicit, electoral “plan of attack”, was extraordinary to watch. So here we sit, some two years into the Trump Administration and the question is, “Has Trump’s America altered our trust in government”?

Statistics May Have The Answer

As an observer I would say yes, America has lost faith and trust in her government. Statisticians examining and correlating their numbers all have reached a somewhat different conclusion. Fewer than three-in-ten Americans express faith that their government will do the “right thing.” This distrust in government has been consistent in survey after survey since 2007. So, increased distrust in government is not just a phenomenon of Trump. Perhaps Trump’s election was more about the lack of trust in government than we will ever understand.

How Low Can We Go

Eugene Scott Gives Depressing Numbers On The Numbers of American Citizens That Trust Government

Eugene Scott Reporter For Both The Fix and The Washington Post Presents Startling Numbers on Americans Trust In Government

Confidence and trust in Trump, the man, is also staggeringly low. Eugene Scott, a writer for The Fix and the Washington Post, presents the following figures.  In Sept 2018, only 36% of people approved of Trump’s job performance. When questioned further, less than 30% believed that Trump would do the “right thing”.  This is the lowest figure seen over the earlier 10 months. Factor in the following stats; more than 50% of men believe that the media have more credibility than the government. It is significant that only 8% of African-Americans  trust Trump. His trust numbers among women are dropping so fast it is hard to get an exact number. Taking all groups together the average of expressed trust in government is at an all time low of 19%.

Is Trust in Trump a Ship that has already sailed?

I like to have a bet on horses but there is no way that I would put any of my hard-earned on someone with so little support. When I decided to write this editorial, I was given a copy of Bob Woodward’s new book “Fear- Trump in the White House.” I did not expect that so early into the read, I would find a man so ill-informed and totally unsuitable to be the “world’s most powerful individual”. Bob Woodward is a highly respected journalist and his book is based on many hours of interviews with multiple firsthand sources. The material presented doesn’t surprise me. Nor, does it surprise me that Trump has refused to comment, other than to call Woodward a “liar” and his book a pack of “lies.”

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Hi, I’m Brett Kondratiew

Hi, I’m Brett Kondratiew

Calamity Politics is happy to welcome a new contributor, Brett Kondratiew.  Brett was lucky enough to grow up on Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach. I so envy the beach life. Brett now 58, lives on the Gold Coast, Queensland, Australia. Brett obtained his BA at the University of Technology in Education; with a dual major, English & Physical Education. Brett is married and has 2 boys, ages 18 and 21.  Of course, there is 7-year-old English Staffy dog. In his time off, Brett fishes and kayaks. Watch for Mr. Kondratiew’s article entitled, “Trust in Government In Trump’s America,” scheduled for release 12/5/2018.

Affordable Housing: When?

Affordable Housing: When?

By Jones William and D.S. Mitchell

Struggling Families

HUD Is One Of The Most Important Departments Of The U.S. Government

HUD Is One Of The Most Important Departments Of The U.S. Government

HUD is one of the most important departments of the federal government.  A primary function of HUD is to provide subsidized housing for the nation’s poorest citizens. One-in-four poor Americans receive a housing subsidy. Through rent subsidies HUD turns “un-affordable housing” into “affordable housing”. Most people receiving housing subsidies are the elderly and/or disabled. Without government help low-income people are in danger of eviction, and homelessness.

Affordable Housing Under Ben Carson

Ben Carson Plans On Raising Rents On All HUD Tenants

Ben Carson Plans On Raising Rents On All HUD Tenants

HUD Secretary Ben Carson will  through budget requests and accompanying legislation, increase rent burdens for everyone in HUD subsidized housing. The timing for this action is difficult to understand. “As homelessness increases and affordable housing and the housing crisis intensifies in communities across the country, the administration is focusing its efforts on increasing rents and other burdens for the lowest income and most vulnerable households,” said Diane Yentel, president & CEO NLIHC (National Low Income Housing Coalition) in a Feb. 5, 2018 editorial.

An Uncomfortable bed

As The U.S. We Have An Unacceptably High Number Of Homeless Citizens

For A Country As Wealthy As The United States We Have An Unacceptably High Number Of Homeless Citizens

Affordable housing in America has become both a social and economic crisis, with those on the lower socio-economic strata being forced to bear the brunt of the suffering. The most recent estimate of homelessness in the United States is 553, 000. That’s about the size of Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Location, Location

Cities such as New York, Seattle, and San Francisco have higher than average living costs. In Seattle the minimum wage is $13.00 per hour.  Despite such a high minimum wage it would still require $26.00 per hour just to keep up a modest one bedroom apartment under the 30% established affordable housing threshold.

The New Minimum Wage

An American Worker Must Earn No Less Than $20.30 Per Hour To Afford Even Modest Housing

An American Worker Must Earn No Less Than $20.30 Per Hour To Afford Even A Modest Unit

An American worker must earn no less than $20.30 per hour to afford even a modest two bedroom apartment and not pay more than 30% of his income on rent and utilities. Take note, that is triple the federal minimum wage. It means the worker earning the current minimum wage “would need to work 16 hours a day, every day of the year to be able to afford a basic two bedroom apartment. If someone is sleeping eight hours a night, they would only have time to work or sleep-and that would be it” says Andrew Aurand, V-P for research at the National Low Income Housing Coalition which is responsible for the study. This may be just one of the reasons that Bernie Sanders found such a devoted coalition among voters old and young.

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