Thursday, November 26, 2009

Emotion, Genocide, and Thanksgiving

Sometimes, I am unable to describe the emotions which persistently overwhelm my soul. I am told that emotions are a hindrance to success. If one cares too much about something in which he or she cannot significantly impact, then the individual is doomed for failure. Failure is purely subjective, and in this case relates to society: If I don't play the "game" of society (continuing my education, finding a career, etc.) then I am in essence a failure of society.

Have you ever been part of a faith or religion and then stopped believing in it, yet still kept going to the worship services, only to feel alone and out-of-place? Well, I am part of a culture that I no longer believe in. I have lost faith and feel out of place, yet I am still taking part in this culture, at least thus far.

The holiday of Thanksgiving magnifies my distaste for what takes place in this culture. We, the nation of America, spend an entire day feasting on crap--not even food, but crap. Everything is genetically modified, shot up with hormones or steroids, overpackaged, full of preservatives, and unhealthy.

Thanksgiving is a holiday to give thanks. Give thanks? What the hell does giving thanks do? Does celebrating this holiday in a traditional fashion help feed the billions of hungry bellies across the world? No, it certainly does not. Does it heal the wounds caused by the genocide of the Native Americans across this continent? No. In fact, it seems more like a way of "rubbing it in" to the losers, the Native Americans. It seems to be the culmination of a contest in which the winner, industrial civilization has ruthlessly spread its ideals across an entire continent through the means of heartless, mass murder.

"But Ted, we cannot change the past! Giving thanks is good. It is good to be appreciative for what you have. You are a very fortunate boy."

Giving thanks for having a loving family is commendable, but how can I be thankful for what I materially have, knowing that what I have was obtained, either directly or indirectly, through the means of theft, slavery, and abuse? My family and friends have not consciously stolen what they own, but the opportunity for them to acquire this wealth is only possible through the abuse of other peoples.

When I was in kindergarten, I once cheated on a game of geometry bingo. I said I had a square when it was really a rectangle, which got me a bingo. I didn't tell anyone and later felt awful about it. I cheated, yet was rewarded with a piece of candy.

Thanksgiving is kind of like the celebration of receiving this piece of candy. Sure, I cheated to obtain it, but it is good tasting and makes me feel good about myself as long as I disregard the notion of breaking the rules. Nonetheless, knowing that I and those before me cheated to obtain this wealth is sickening. Not only did my culture support a genocide, but they also continusouly value monetary gain over human and environmental health, thus degrading the well-being of the Earth and its inhabitants.

Putting money first supppresses emotions which increases the likelihood of inaction, and the continued "business as usual" mantra that I so-readily hear. Evidence of this notion is clear when my culture supports slave-wage labor. This allows us to buy monetarily cheap products at the expense of people who slave away to make them. Do we want to see people working their butts off while making our t-shirts? Of course not! As long as we do not physically see these people, our emotions remain suppressed, which allows this cruel process to continue. The same thing goes for eating factory farmed meat. No one wants to see how gross factory farms are. If they did, they would not eat meat.

I do not want to cheat anymore.

Tonight, on Thanksgiving night, I cry. I cry for those who have been exploited by a cruel and emotionless society. I cry for those in this society who have been lulled into ignorant apathy. I cry for my loved ones who I have given great grief because of my views. I cry for our slowly dying planet. I cry for the watered-down, noncreative desires of this dominant culture and for all of those who desire to leave it, but do not have the courage to do so.

On this Thanksgiving night I vow to be a societal failure. My success will come through other means--means which will not facillitate cheating.

Hello, tomorrow.

- Teddy Grahams

Sunday, November 15, 2009

The Great Speech of Sitting Bull

"The railroad was completed in 1883. Some of the owners thought it would be 'unique and interesting' to have an Indian speak at Northern Pacific's Golden Spike ceremony, and so requested a soldier bring in Sitting Bull. Sitting Bull deviated from his ghost-written speech to say in his native tongue, 'I hate you. I hate you. I hate all white people. You are thieves and liars. You have taken away our land and made us outcasts, so I hate you.' History does not record whether the translator hesitated before reciting instead the 'friendly, courteous speech he had prepared.'"

- Derrick Jensen, The Culture of Make Believe

Words From the Wise: Globalization

 The role of globalization is to homogenize all cultures, and to turn them into commodified markets, and therefore, to make them easier for global corporations to control. Global corporations are even now trying to commodify all remaining aspects of national cultures, not to mention indigenous cultures."

- Jerry Mander

"Since trade ignores national boundaries and the manufacturer insists on having the world as a market, the flag of his nation must follow him, and the doors of the nations which are closed against him must be battered down. Concessions obtained by financiers must be safeguarded by ministers of state, even if the sovereignty of unwilling nations be outraged in the process. Colonies must be obtained or planted, in order that no useful corner of the world may be overlooked or left unused."

- Woodrow Wilson

"In considering how human rights might serve as a 'guiding value' in American foreign policy, one should not dismiss the historical record, which is ample. There is indeed a close relationship between human rights and American foreign policy. There is substantial evidence that American aid and diplomatic support increase as human rights violations increase, at least in the Third World. Extensive violations of human rights (torture, forced reduction of living standards for much of the population, police-sponsored death squads, destruction of representative institutions or of independent unions, etc.) are directly correlated with US government support. The linkage is not accidental; rather it is systematic. The reason is obvious enough. Client fascism often improves the business climate for American corporations, quite generally the guiding factor in foreign policy. It would be naive indeed to think that this will change materially, given the realities of American social structure and the grip of the state ideological system."

- Noam Chomsky

"This is a role our nation has taken. The role of those who make peaceful revolution impossible by refusing to give up the privileges and pleasures that comes from the immense profits of overseas investments. I'm convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin to shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights are considered more important than people; the giant triplets of racism, militarism, and economic exploitation are incapable of being conquered."

- Martin Luther King Jr.

Chilling Deformities in War-Torn Areas

 "Doctors in Iraq's war-ravaged enclave of Falluja are dealing with up to 15 times as many chronic deformities in infants and a spike in early life cancers that may be linked to toxic materials left over from the fighting.

The extraordinary rise in birth defects has crystallised over recent months as specialists working in Falluja's over-stretched health system have started compiling detailed clinical records of all babies born.

Neurologists and obstetricians in the city interviewed by the Guardian say the rise in birth defects – which include a baby born with two heads, babies with multiple tumours, and others with nervous system problems - are unprecedented and at present unexplainable.

A group of Iraqi and British officials, including the former Iraqi minister for women's affairs, Dr Nawal Majeed a-Sammarai, and the British doctors David Halpin and Chris Burns-Cox, have petitioned the UN general assembly to ask that an independent committee fully investigate the defects and help clean up toxic materials left over decades of war – including the six years since Saddam Hussein was ousted."

Article continued at:

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Nature's Beauty

"I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps, unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all."

- Ogden Nash

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

How the Media Twists Global Warming

A very informative video about how a climatologists' words are taken out of context to support anti-global warming propagandists in the media.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Disregarding the Lives of Birds

‘The pitch of the engine said it all,’ said plane-spotter Juergen Kienast, who took these dramatic pictures.
‘It was like sticking a bit of metal pipe into a blender.’

The firm of Curry & Kerlinger, LLC (who serve as “consultants to the wind power industry on birds and other wildlife issues”) has an interesting set of stats about the various ways that birds are killed each year:

Deaths annually from (descending ranking):

* Glass Windows: 100 to 900+ million
* Electrical Transmission lines: “up to 174 million"
* House Cats: 100 million
* Hunting: 100+ million
* Autos/Trucks: 50 to 100 million
* Agriculture: 67 million
* Communications Towers: 4 to 10 million
* Oil and Gas Extraction: 1 to 2 million
* Power line electrocutions: >1,000

Peace Train

Although I find it essentially impossible these days, my heart still dreams...

Saturday, November 7, 2009


"I finally figured out what e-mail is for. It's for communicating with people you'd rather not talk to."

- George Carlin

Wednesday, November 4, 2009



"A fast-paced musical documentary that visualizes the words of Arundhati Roy, specifically her famous Come September speech."

This is one of the best videos I have seen in quite some time. It singlehandedly portrays the problems of our time, tying them back to a single source: greed. I highly recommend it.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Attaining Peace Through Education

"Dispatching more troops to Afghanistan would be a monumental bet and probably a bad one, most likely a waste of lives and resources that might simply empower the Taliban. In particular, one of the most compelling arguments against more troops rests on this stunning trade-off: For the cost of a single additional soldier stationed in Afghanistan for one year, we could build roughly 20 schools there.

It’s hard to do the calculation precisely, but for the cost of 40,000 troops over a few years — well, we could just about turn every Afghan into a Ph.D.

The hawks respond: It’s naïve to think that you can sprinkle a bit of education on a war-torn society. It’s impossible to build schools now because the Taliban will blow them up.

In fact, it’s still quite possible to operate schools in Afghanistan — particularly when there’s a strong “buy-in” from the local community.

Greg Mortenson, author of “Three Cups of Tea,” has now built 39 schools in Afghanistan and 92 in Pakistan — and not one has been burned down or closed. The aid organization CARE has 295 schools educating 50,000 girls in Afghanistan, and not a single one has been closed or burned by the Taliban. The Afghan Institute of Learning, another aid group, has 32 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan, with none closed by the Taliban (although local communities have temporarily suspended three for security reasons).

In short, there is still vast scope for greater investment in education, health and agriculture in Afghanistan. These are extraordinarily cheap and have a better record at stabilizing societies than military solutions, which, in fact, have a pretty dismal record."

- Nicholas Kristof

Column in its entirety: