Slavic Saturday

Slavic people are today mostly seen as “white” to the point that a Polish game developer was in USA criticised for making the computer game Witcher 3 without any people of color that could be recognized as such in modern world. Similarly a few years later a Czech developer was criticised for the same thing in a game Kingdom Come: Deliverance, deliberately set in medieval Bohemia and made as historically accurate as possible.

Whilst I understand all the arguments for the importance of diversity in representation, I think all these critiques were misguided, because they were targeted at the wrong target – they criticised products of one culture from the perspective of another culture with entirely different roots.

Slavs are indeed white when you look at the color of their skin, and by Gob do we have an awful lot of white supremacists and neo-nazis today. However a white nationalist or even a neo-nazi Slav makes about as much sense as white nationalist or neo-nazi (or Trump loving) Jew.  After all, Jews have white skin too. And after all, how many Jew-hating Arabs and Arab-hating Jews know that both Jews and Arabs are in fact semitic tribes? I would venture a guess that many do not, or they do but don’t care. People are perfectly capable of being misguided, misinformed, bigoted and downright willfully ignorant and hold contradictory ideas in one head, so there is that.

Historically Slavs migrated in the Europe from east and north, displacing come celtic and germanic populations. As a result they lived mostly in the woodlands and mountains of north, central and East Europe and they were comparatively poor. They had no written language that we know of, so very little is in fact known about their culture or religion. Some knowledge can be derived from linguistics, some from written reports by neighbouring nations, some from archeology, but Slavs established themselves in Europe during the dark ages and knowledge is therefore scarce.

However it is sometimes alleged that their own name for themselves – Slovan (originating from the word sloviť=to speak) might have been the origin of the word sclavus (Lat), and later on Sklave (Ger) and  slave (En) . Because these poor people were popular sources of cheap slave labor for neighbouring Germanic and Italic tribes through the early history of Europe way over to the Ottoman Empire in Middle East later on.

And even apart from slavery, a lot of the time right from Ancient Rome and the Middle Ages until very recently most Slavic nations were second-class citizens in countries led by people of other nationalities. Only Russians have managed to be oppressors and not oppressed in this period, and ironically they mostly oppressed and sometimes even tried to exterminate other Slavs. Both Czechs and Poles did not have any independency right until the end of WW1, after which they had few short decades to get the taste of self-determination before being swept into the bloody cauldron of WW2.

Under the Third Reich the Slavs were seen as barely people. They were not targeted for outright extermination like Jews and Roma, but the intent was to put them back into their proper place – slavery (that is why I think that a neo-nazi Slav is an ignoramus and a completely daft person – if nazis got their way, he would think scrubbing floors with his own toothbrush is a posh job).

After the WW2 all slavic nations ended up being wrapped behind the Iron Curtain under the not-so subtle hegemony of USSR. This time at least it was not overtly attempted to obliterate local cultures and languages (not here anyway). But whilst the Russian rule did try and manage to instill some sense of Pan-Slavic belonging, they also managed to instill some anti russian sentiments along the way (in Poland on top of the hundreds of years long grudge Poles held against Russians from the time of the Russian Empire). And the sense of always being second class, not being allowed anything truly ours, pervaded.

In this sense, sprouting of some nationalism after the fall of the Iron Curtain was perhaps inevitable, what with the nations trying to finally re-assert themselves for good. I do think white nationalists are going about the business the wrong way, proclaiming your superiority over others is not the right thing to do and it is also demonstrably false. But I also think that Polish game developers who make a PC game packed with people who bear the typical facial features of contemporary Poles, with architecture and ornaments of medieval Slavic kingdoms and based on Slavic mythology, or Czech game developers making a game set in a very distinct and specific area of medieval Kingdom of Bohemia with focus on historical accuracy are doing nothing wrong and are indeed going about it the right way. And even though these works of art have managed to succeed on an international stage, their creators were in no way obliged to fall in step with USA culture and reflect USA racial make-up.

Those who criticised these two games for a lack of representation of POC have failed to realize that they were essentially trying to bully others into giving their own culture away and let the USA to appropriate said culture the way USA likes it. In fact, they should take these games as an opportunity to learn that “white people” are not a monolith and that outside of USA there is a lot more that defines your ancestry and your culture than the color of your skin. This way said critics were – probably unwittingly – perpetuating the USA collonialism ad absurdum, by requiring everyone everywhere to reflect contemporary social ills of USA.

We do not need nor want to do that, thank you very much. We have our own social ills to deal with.

Happy Indigenous Peoples Day.

In celebration of Indigenous Peoples Day, have a book! Nothing like some good reading. Give As We Have Always Done by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson a read, you won’t be sorry! Ms. Simpson’s site is here, Peter d’Errico reviewed here, and the book can be purchased direct from UMN press.

Repeating: 6 Banal Defenses of Columbus Day, And How You Should Respond to the Moron.

Photo courtesy starpulse.com

Photo courtesy starpulse.com

We’re going to go back in time a bit, to an article Simon Moya-Smith wrote in January this year. He’ll help you out with Columbus apologists. Happy Indigenous Peoples Day!

Glaring contradictions. Stupid fucking lies, and good ol’ American bullshit.

Yes, folks today we are talking U.S. history, and there’s nothing more politically correct than American History. It’s RIFE with soft language to spare the feelings of fuckers who desperately want to believe their homesteading great-grand-pappy wasn’t a murdering, raping, thief.

OK. So today let’s hit on the numbskullery surrounding Columbus Day. “Why in January?” you ask. Well because Colorado State House Representative Joseph Salazar, a democrat, is currently working to repeal the foul thing from the state’s list of recognized holidays. And lately he has received an onslaught of hate mail from dipshits who don’t seem to understand the seemingly elusive concept of logic and facts.

Recently, Rep. Salazar has been forwarding me these messages, and they range from fucking hilarious to seriously fucking delusional. They’re more on the seriously fucking delusional side, though.

So, I thought I’d share with you some responses you can use against the common, hackneyed pro-Columbus Day arguments you will surely continue to encounter for as long as you engage the willfully blind. Feel free to share the following with your friends or family, or maybe just that fucker who sits at the end of the bar incessantly defending the bullshit American narrative as written. (Remember: The American narrative HATES to be fact-checked. So fact-check that goddamn thing any time you can.)

Okey dokey, here’s what you can say to those dullards spewing trite claims and arguments about Columbus and Columbus Day, and let us start with the most common and least accurate:

[Read more…]

Repeating: The Lie That Is Columbus Day.

ict_editoon_100716-2

© Marty Two Bulls

Other posts from last year:

The why of the “holiday”.

A Rapist, A Murderer, Deserves No Holiday.

Columbus Didn’t Kill Us All: Taino Daca.

For Indigenous Peoples Day, Write to Columbus.

Moron Bingo!

A New White Excuse: “I Was At Standing Rock!”

Courtesy Wind Over Fire Healing Arts Center/Facebook
A New Age “ghost dance” held in southwestern Minnesota has many indigenous people wondering just when the cultural appropriation will end.

White “aggrieved entitlement” people. They never seem to run out of excuses for their bloated sense of entitlement, of helping themselves to the least little thing; of exploiting marginalized peoples. It’s damn near a way of life for many white people. When it comes to “new age” rites, seems to me there’s a wealth of pagan history to mine, gosh, you might even find some you’re related to in some way.

Towards the later days at the No DAPL camp, I wasn’t quiet about all the entitlement-minded white people there, who had no use for the rules laid down by the people running things. Because of course, rules, they are never for white people are they? I wasn’t quiet about all the white protest/event tourists, either. People who were there to honestly provide support and help, no problem. As usual though, they weren’t the ones making a fuss or making it all about them, because they knew it wasn’t about them. They knew that in the end, they would go home, and not have to deal with it all.

In Minnesota, there’s a group who recently held their 2nd annual “Ghost Dance”. When called on this, they denied it was a ghost dance. They said it was a “Ten Moons” dance. Then they decided to go with “Ghost Dance isn’t exclusive to Indigenous people! Lots of cultures had ancestor dances! China! Africa! So it isn’t indigenous in nature.” Oddly enough, their not indigenous at all dance is decidedly indigenous in appearance, and specifically so. The history of the Ghost Dance is a dark one, once the colonials got terrified and started up more wholesale slaughter, and brutally oppressed indigenous peoples all the more out of fear. It’s not a toy for white people to play pagan. It’s not yours. It’s not your culture, it’s not your history. If non-indigenous people ever wonder why various rites and dances have been closed to outsiders, look no further.

“It would be great if everyone just joined together,” said Laven, discontented by the scrutiny of their ceremony and the charges of cultural appropriation. “We have enough crap. I was at Standing Rock, and I hear the Native Americans, and I had heard them.”

Oh my. What a fine example of white entitlement. There’s really nothing else like it. Golly, white people have had enough crap! It’s just like everything indigenous people have gone through! And now, Standing Rock is the latest excuse. Fuck you, Ms. Laven. A universe of fuck yous. You have not heard one godsdamn thing. You don’t give one little shit about indigenous people or their struggles. All you care about is exploiting them to make money. I hope you are bad-mouthed from here to the end of the galaxy, because that’s the very least of what you deserve.

Full story at ICTMN.

DAPL Approval Illegal, Judge Finds.

Trump on DAPL. © Marty Two Bulls.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers violated the law in its fast-tracked approval of the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL), a U.S. District Court Judge in Washington D.C. has ruled. Judge James Boasberg said the Corps did not consider key components of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) in granting the Lake Oahe easement under the Missouri River when directed to do so by President Donald Trump shortly after his swearing-in.

The Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, with the Cheyenne River Sioux as interveners, had challenged the approval on the grounds that adequate environmental study had not been conducted. Boasberg agreed on many points, though he did not rule on whether the pipeline should remain operational. It has been carrying oil since June 1.

“Although the Corps substantially complied with NEPA in many areas, the Court agrees that it did not adequately consider the impacts of an oil spill on fishing rights, hunting rights, or environmental justice, or the degree to which the pipeline’s effects are likely to be highly controversial,” Boasberg said in his 91-page decision. “To remedy those violations, the Corps will have to reconsider those sections of its environmental analysis upon remand by the Court. Whether Dakota Access must cease pipeline operations during that remand presents a separate question of the appropriate remedy, which will be the subject of further briefing.”

A status conference will be held next week, according to the environmental law firm EarthJustice, which is representing the tribes in this case. Energy Transfer Partners, the pipeline’s builders, did not respond to requests for comment by press time.

“This is a major victory for the Tribe and we commend the courts for upholding the law and doing the right thing,” said Standing Rock Sioux Chairman Dave Archambault II in a statement. “The previous administration painstakingly considered the impacts of this pipeline and President Trump hastily dismissed these careful environmental considerations in favor of political and personal interests. We applaud the courts for protecting our laws and regulations from undue political influence, and will ask the Court to shut down pipeline operations immediately. ”

Indian Country Today has the full story.

Where there’s the smallest good news, there’s always bad news, and in this case, it comes in the form of Zinke:

“I think, talking to tribes, they’re very happy,” Zinke said of his proposal, adding that he “talked to all parties, and they’re pretty happy and willing to work with us.”

But this is not so, according to tribal representatives. In a June 12 press call hosted by U.S. Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM), the vice-chair of the Senate Committee on Indian Affairs, Navajo Nation Attorney General Ethel Branch said the tribe’s leaders have “maintained a consistent position that they support the monument designation.

“If there is any happiness,” Branch said,” it’s probably that the monument remains intact as of now.

“I think [the ‘happy’ characterization] is probably just a characterization coming from Trump,” Branch added.

Natalie Landreth, a lawyer with the Native American Rights Fund who represents the Hopi, Zuni and Ute Mountain Ute Tribes on Bears Ears issues, said during the Udall call that the proclamation that set up Bears Ears as a national monument had already formed a structure in which five tribes, known as the Bears Ears Inter-Tribal Coalition, work together to co-manage the monument.

“It’s unclear exactly what the secretary is suggesting, so until we know more details about what he’s talking about, it’s difficult to have a view on it,” Landreth said. “Our initial reaction on behalf of the three tribes we represent is that this was really a cynical effort to distract Indian country from the devastating blow of reducing the size of the monument.”

Landreth said that some of her impacted tribal clients told her as of June 12 that Zinke had not been in touch with them on this matter.

“We don’t know who he’s talking to and what they may have said,” Landreth said.

Full story here.

From Integrity to Trumpery.

The crest, right, that President Trump displays at his American properties is a coat of arms, left, that British authorities granted to another family. Click for full size.

LONDON — At the Trump National Golf Club outside Washington, which hosted the Senior P.G.A. Championship this weekend, the president’s coat of arms is everywhere — the sign out front, the pro shop, even the exercise room.

The regal emblem, used at President Trump’s golf courses across the United States, sports three lions and two chevrons on a shield, below a gloved hand gripping an arrow.

A different coat of arms flies over Mr. Trump’s two golf resorts in Scotland. The lions on the shield have been replaced by a two-headed eagle, an image the company has said represents the “dual nature and nationality” of Mr. Trump’s Scottish and German roots.

But this emblem was not just about honoring his heritage.

The British are known to take matters of heraldry seriously, and Mr. Trump’s American coat of arms belongs to another family. It was granted by British authorities in 1939 to Joseph Edward Davies, the third husband of Marjorie Merriweather Post, the socialite who built the Mar-a-Lago resort that is now Mr. Trump’s cherished getaway.

[…]

In the United States, the Trump Organization took Mr. Davies’s coat of arms for its own, making one small adjustment — replacing the word “Integritas,” Latin for integrity, with “Trump.”

Joseph D. Tydings, a Democrat and former United States senator from Maryland who is the grandson of Mr. Davies, learned that Mr. Trump was using the emblem, at least at Mar-a-Lago, when he visited the property. Mr. Trump had never asked permission.

“There are members of the family who wanted to sue him,” said Mr. Tydings, a lawyer who wears his family’s coat of arms on a ring. “This is the first I’ve ever heard about it being used anywhere else.”

[…]

The College of Arms, which oversees coats of arms in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, provided more detail. The emblem originally submitted in 2007 by Mr. Trump to Britain’s trademark office matched one that had been granted to Mr. Davies, an American of Welsh descent who once served as ambassador to the Soviet Union.

“It couldn’t be a clearer-cut case, actually,” said Clive Cheesman, one of the college’s heralds, who oversee coats of arms, their design and their use.

“A coat of arms that was originally granted to Joseph Edward Davies in 1939 by the English heraldic authority ended up being used 10 or 15 years ago by the Trump Organization as part of its branding for its golf clubs,” said Mr. Cheesman, a lawyer by training. “This got them into difficulty.”

The White House referred questions to the Trump Organization, which did not respond to requests for comment.

The organization has trademarked the Davies coat of arms in the United States, which has far less attachment to such symbols. It is used on the company’s website and is a prominent branding detail of Mr. Trump’s many American golf courses and resorts — emblazoned on golf balls, shirts and bottles of body lotion.

When the Trump Organization created a Civil War memorial at the golf course near Washington commemorating a battle and a “river of blood” that never occurred, a plaque marking the fictitious event was embossed with the coat of arms.

The NYT has the full, sordid story. There is not one thing which is genuine when it comes to Trump, he’s a cheap plastic shell surrounding a vacuum of screaming ego. #Trake – If It’s Trump, It’s Fake. You can see some of the choice tweets over this matter here. My favourite:

Kicking Kirchmeier.

Oceti Sakowin Camp. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

There’s a petition, and yes, I know people get petition tired, but please click on over and sign this one, to remove the murder-minded and incompetent Kirchmeier from his position as Sheriff of Morton County. Kirchmeier took a brutal stance from the beginning, and as some of you will recall from the Standing Rock posts, he spread misinformation and outright lies from the beginning, and never stopped telling lies, either. He used all the climate justice warriors as an excuse to spend outrageous amounts of money on military equipment, so he could play a latter day Custer, obviously hoping for better results. In the end, his unholy alliance with the oil companies worked out just fine for him, giving him equipment to oppress and harm, all while lining his pockets. Please help out by adding your name to the petition.
 
Remove Sheriff Kyle Kirchmeier, of the Morton County Sheriff’s Office.

South Fucking Dakota.

Terry LaFleur, Argus Leader.

Terry LaFleur, Argus Leader.

South Dakota, always to be counted upon when it comes to being draconian, stupid, and embarrassing. In this case, the cringe-inducing embarrassment is brought to you by one Terry LaFleur, who isn’t the least bit interested in the state where he has decided to run for governor.

More than 1,500 miles from Mexico, a South Dakota man has launched an effort to crowdsource funding to build President Donald Trump’s border wall.

Terry LaFleur, of Sioux Falls, said he’s frustrated by gridlock in Congress and the lack of action among Republicans in passing a tax to pay for the wall.

So he’s taking the issue to the people.

“It’s every American’s responsibility to make sure our sovereignty is unviolated,” LaFleur said. “He needs our help. He absolutely has to have our help to get it done.”

No, dipshit, the Tiny Tyrant does not need our help. He needs that cheap, gold-plated ass of his kicked to the damn curb. What a fucking joke, having the nerve to talk about sovereignty, with a sovereign nation right there under your nose, one you asshole white men make sure to screw over as often as possible. (sDakota is home to Pine Ridge Rez.)

LaFleur, who is running as a non-establishment Republican for South Dakota governor, said Monday that it is imperative that U.S. citizens raise money to help construct the wall in order to prevent illegal immigration.

He filed paperwork with the secretary of state’s office earlier this month to incorporate a nonprofit charity and said he is prepared to accept donations.

None had been received through the first week of publicizing the campaign.

Five members on the group’s board of trustees will oversee the fundraising efforts and ensure that funds sent to the group only benefit the wall’s construction.

Uh huh. Given how many sDakota citizens are busy being screwed over by Trump right now, I don’t think you’re gonna be raising a whole lot of money, given more important things, like fighting Keystone XL.

Libby Skarin, policy director of the American Civil Liberties Union of South Dakota, condemned Trump’s proposal to build a wall and said local officials would be better off focusing on South Dakota priorities.

“Rather than focusing on policies that undermine civil liberties and fracture border communities hundreds of miles away,” Skarin said, “we would encourage all South Dakota politicians to craft policies that strengthen civil rights and civil liberties for all who call this state home.”

Libby Skarin has it right. LaFleur is a fucking idiot in a field of idiots. There are no democrats running for governor, and the current democratic governor cannot run again because of term limits. At least the others haven’t come up with level of utter shite. Yet.

Full story at the Argus Leader. Raw Story also has it.

15 Million Dollars.

Chemical warfare, Turtle Island, Oceti Sakowin Camp, November, 2016. © C. Ford, all rights reserved.

New York Daily News writer Shaun King obtained audio where Energy Transfer Partners freely admitted that they worked closely with the Sheriff’s Association, and wow, did they ever. They became one and the same.

Water protectors who lived at camp can attest to ETP and law enforcement’s collusion and fraternization, but the record speaks for itself.

The Sheriffs’ Association has a $3.46 million dollar budget, according to tax forms. Some of this funding comes from corporate sources, like TigerSwan. TigerSwan maintains offices in Iraq and Afghanistan. TigerSwan’s CEO is a former adviser to the multinational private security firm, Blackwater. Blackwater was founded by Erik Prince, a Trump campaign donor and the brother of Betsy DeVos, the U.S. Secretary of Education. Besides funding the Sheriff’s Association, TigerSwan is in charge of Dakota Access intelligence and supervising overall security for the company. Tigerswan works for Dakota Access, while funding and partnering with the Sheriffs’ Association.

The Sheriff’s Association purchased military gear from the U.S. Department’s Defense Logistics Agency thanks to the Defense Department’s 1033 program. Think corporate welfare for the defense industry.

Wait, there’s more. Energy Transfer Partners CEO Kelcy Warren offered to reimburse North Dakota and Morton County for costs due to defending the Dakota Access Pipeline.

So why are U.S. taxpayers forking over $15 million dollars to North Dakota?

Despite the fossil fuel industry’s wishes, America is not an oil company with an army. We should not be bankrolling our own oppression.

Incidentally, the Dakota Access Pipeline is not even operational yet, and it’s already sprung a leak in South Dakota, just southwest of the Lake Traverse Reservation. End this foolishness.

Ruth Hopkins at Indian Country Today has the full story.

Those Primitive Indians Just Don’t Understand, No.

Obama Legacy; Bears Ears National Monument.

The Fight for Bears Ears has been going on for a very long time; people have been happy with Pres. Obama’s protective national monument status. Now the GOP is arguing that us dumb Indians, gosh, we just don’t understand. If places are declared national monuments, it will seriously impact our primitive lives, and we wouldn’t be able to do native stuff, like gather firewood, so um, just give us the land, and everything will be great! There really isn’t deep enough mockery for these arrogant colonialists.

Speaking alongside Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke about the Trump administration’s order to review — and potentially shrink or eliminate — nearly 30 national monuments, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) said Native Americans were “manipulated” into their support for the 1.35 million acre Bears Ears National Monument southeastern Utah.

“The Indians, they don’t fully understand that a lot of the things that they currently take for granted on those lands, they won’t be able to do if it’s made clearly into a monument or a wilderness,” Hatch said on Sunday. “Once you put a monument there, you do restrict a lot of things that could be done, and that includes use of the land… Just take my word for it.”

Oh, right. We should just take the word of a white man. Gosh, that’s worked so well in the past.

Hatch’s dismissal of native voices is not only condescending, it is incredibly inaccurate in the case of Bears Ears. Protections for Bears Ears were nearly 80 years in the making. Most recently, the Bears Ears Intertribal Coalition, which brought together five tribal nations, pushed for the protection of the Bears Ears region. After the group received no substantial response from the Utah Congressional delegation about protecting the area, the group opted to propose that President Barack Obama should create a national monument, which he did in December 2016.

[…]

But variations of Hatch’s argument have been routinely made by critics of the national monuments — namely, Republican politicians in Utah. Gov. Gary Herbert (R) has long purported that a national monument would get rid of critical tribal activities, such as firewood gathering. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) similarly stoked fears that the federal government would seize native American land for the monument. Utah state legislator Mike Noel (R), who is looking to join the Trump administration, launched an investigation into the tribal support of a Bears Ears National Monument, calling it a “charade.”

These accusations are part of a continued misinformation campaign targeting tribal members that started during the lead-up to the monument designation. In the summer of 2016, flyers meant to antagonize local Navajo were found posted around towns adjacent to the now national monument. One of the flyers impersonated an Interior Department press release that claimed the government would be taking over four million acres of Navajo reservation land. Others suggested the national monument would ban firewood gathering and Native American access.

Think Progress has the full story.

#Hints You Are In Hell.

The U.S. Forest Service is not happy. They have very good reason for that, too. Some reading on the destruction to come:

Trump to sign executive order putting two decades of national monuments in jeopardy.

Trump’s order on national monuments decried as corporate ‘give-away’.

Via Raw Story.

Ruth Hopkins Sums Up.

Putting Oil CEO Kelcy Warren on a Parks & Wildlife Board is ludicrous. Its like giving Darth Vader a spot on the Jedi Council.”

Yep. Who better to be a steward of wild spaces? Think Progress has the full story.