Bless this post.
…[some] may not remember what made Iran-Contra such an extraordinary scandal. The Reagan administration “raised money privately” by selling weapons to a sworn enemy of the United States. Why? Because it wanted to fund an illegal war in Nicaragua. And when I say “illegal war,” I mean that quite literally—Congress told the Reagan administration, in no uncertain terms, that Reagan could not send money to the Contras. Period. The Reagan administration, unrestrained by laws and the Constitution, did so anyway, and much of the president’s national security team ended up under indictment.
Reagan knew everything. However, I bet this Time magazine piece doesn’t get into the juiciest part of Iran-Contra, which is that in the 1980s the CIA put into operation a crack cocaine pipeline to import narcotics from Central and South America and distribute it in US inner cities. This is not a “conspiracy theory”, this is a documented conspiracy, most rigorously researched and reported by Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Gary Webb, whose series in the San Jose Mercury News and subsequent book “Dark Alliance” literally got him killed. To me, that’s the story of Iran-Contra: not that Reagan sold weapons to Iran, but that the US government imported and sold crack to Black America, as part of an arms and drugs trade which funded war in the Third World and which devastated lives and filled prisons in the USA.
i really dig this
The statistics don’t lie: Barack Obama has become the deportation president.
The number of people thrown out of the U.S. for lacking proper immigration documentation started growing from the late 1990s through the 2000s, but it hit a peak during the Obama years. As the New York Times reported:
In four years, Mr. Obama’s administration has deported as many illegal immigrants as the administration of George W. Bush did in his two terms, largely by embracing, expanding and refining Bush-era programs to find people and send them
homeback. By the end of this year, deportations under Mr. Obama are on track to reach two million, or nearly the same number of deportations in the United States from 1892 to 1997.
The Obama White House defends its record, claiming that rather than a general crackdown, the Department of Homeland Security under Obama has just been highly successful in making “[deportation] of criminal aliens the top priority,” according to the Times. The message is that the federal government is focused on getting rid of the “bad guys.”
In fact, immigrant rights activists point to studies showing that the government is still deporting huge numbers of people whose only “crime” was to enter the country without documentation. Even among deportees with a criminal record, the offense was minor in many cases. In a report last year, the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency admitted that over one-quarter of “criminal immigrants” deported from the U.S. in fiscal year 2011 had been convicted of traffic violations.
But the case of Santos Reyes shows why the Obama’s administration deportation injustices extend even to immigrants with felony convictions.
Santos was finally freed from prison this year after spending 15 years behind bars as a victim of California’s draconian “three strikes and you’re out” law. He was convicted of a minor and completely nonviolent offense—taking a California drivers’ license test in the name of his cousin to help him get a license—but because he already had two felony convictions, he got a 26-years-to-life sentence.
This year, Santos finally won his long struggle against the cruel three-strikes sentencing law and was ordered released. But he then suffered another injustice—on March 28, ICE agents were waiting for him at the prison when he was released, to deport him to Mexico immediately because he was undocumented.
This society owes Santos the many years he spent unjustly imprisoned. Instead, the federal government is kicking him out of the country.
what’s even crazier is the other side of that coin: how many people have actually immigrated to the US from Mexico in the last year?? ZERO.
It can hard to see wealth. Sure, there are markers of it everywhere: homes, jobs, cars. But the true indicators of wealth, like home equity, retirement savings, and a family’s investments aren’t usually on public display. Now, a new infographic from United For a Fair Economy is trying to expose just how deeply divided our nation’s wealth is along the lines of race. And those divisions have grown even starker since the economic recession began in 2008.
“This infographic draws attention to the intersection of housing as both a globally-recognized human right and as a commodity in a global stock market controlled by the wealthy,” wrote Mazher Ali, the organizations communications coordinator. “We urge readers to acknowledge the history behind the long-standing racial wealth divide and to consider the interplay between federal housing policies and risky financial practices and their impacts on the divide.”
More than 10,000 years ago, Eskimos constructed the first kayaks from stitched seal and other animal skins by stretching them across a wood or whalebone-skeleton frame. Called skin boats, they used them to hunt on the inland lakes, rivers and coastal waters of the Arctic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, Bering Sea and North Pacific Ocean.
Today, kayaking is one of the fastest growing sports in North America, with nearly 8 million active participants in the U.S. alone, up from 3.5 million just 10 years ago, according to the National Sporting Goods Association. With its rising popularity, David Michael Karabelnikoff (Aleut/Athabaskan) noticed kayaking equipment was primarily being mass-produced. So, in August 2012, Karabelnikoff established Qayaq Co-Op with co-founders Julian Jacobes and Martin Leonard III.
The Co-Op’s mission is twofold, Karabelnikoff explains: To inspire a movement in Southeast Alaska to revitalize canoe building and paddling, while encouraging youth to learn science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), and to produce top quality kayaks that elite athletes would seek for their own use on the water. While the nonprofit embraces traditional Native craftsmanship, it also updates the kayaks, canoes, and skin boats with digital manufacturing and fabrication technology.
Karabelnikoff explains that the first aim, “is to provide high quality digitally fabricated and individually customized Qayaqs. We do this by providing high school and college apprenticeship programs to be mentored by master boat builders in digital fabrication and traditional boat building, which will help in placing jobs for the apprentice.” These apprentices, or young Qayaq builders, measure the person who will be using the boat with a biometric model produced with a 3-D printer. This allows the apprentice to produce a digital fabrication. After this digital fabrication has been created, the apprentice selects materials and constructs the Qayaq according to the measurements gathered. According to Karabelnikoff, this process provides rich opportunities for learning in all 4 STEM areas.
In addition to working with young apprentices, the company provides kits to schools so that students can assemble their own Qayaqs. Learners can use the process of designing and modeling, as well as the construction of materials, to develop STEM skills. Providing kits to schools also encourages the revitalization of cultural skin boat skills. Karabelnikoff says he wants to match the level of traditional skin boat revitalization that he says is taking place in Greenland.
Karabelnikoff, 31, is focused on helping young people harness their future success. “We provide a culturally relevant context to digital fabrication,” he says, “which improves apprentices’ self-esteem, and establishes a basis for long-lasting success. By learning the skills needed to build a Qayaq, the apprentice will earn the pieces needed to build his or her own skin boat - the skeleton pieces, the paddles, and the skin. We provide the opportunity for building on a long line of successes.”
Qayaq’s second core mission develops equipment suitable for top-tier elite kayakers. Qayaq’s Bio-Metric personalized kayaks will allow the company to compete for elite customers willing to pay top dollar. He claims his Qayaq’s are not only customized to the buyer’s size, they are also socially responsible because they engage young people in positive work, and are environmentally responsible because kayaks encourage traditional boating.
While young people in local schools and who work as apprentices have benefited from association with Karabelnikoff’s non-profit, Qayaq Co-Op has put together a Kickstarter campaign to train at-risk youth, especially Alaska Native youth. With funding from the campaign, Karabelnikoff wants to develop a culturally relevant social enterprise. This initiative would provide workforce development training and digital fabrication training for at-risk youth, particularly those who are Alaska Native. As is the case with Qayaq Co-Op, this Kickstarter campaign also aims to demonstrate a positive image of Alaska Native cultures to the broader community.
In addition to targeting at-risk youth, Karabelnikoff wants to jumpstart the development of an Anchorage-based maker space, a community-oriented, physical place, where people can collaborate on Native projects. He also needs to purchase digital manufacturing tools and secure space for prototyping and fabrication. With these initiatives in place, Karabelnikoff hopes to generate support for building community-based businesses related to kayaking. Currently, Qayaq’s Kickstarter campaign, which ends Friday, May 18, is about $20,000 short of its goal.
Karabelnikoff says, “Apathy is a difficult one to overcome, especially in meager beginnings. The cynical say that there are not enough young people interested in our traditional skin boats, that aluminum skiffs with power motors are the only thing youth are interested in.”
The Qayaq Co-Op is determined to show the world how hungry urban Alaska Natives are for culture and a connection with the technological understandings of their ancestors. Karabelnikoff says the Qayaq Co-Op is about more than business. “Aleuts are Survivors. We are descended from one of the longest lasting civilizations on the planet, spanning thousands of years. In less than 50 years the population went from 20,000 to 2,000. Now we stand in the doorway between oblivion and revitalization; at times I do feel that the place where I come from doesn’t exist anymore. Then I hear the call from the future generations and answer it with the only prayer I know, one to be guided by my ancestors.”
Goolge invested $10.7 Mio in Drone Startup Airware
Along with Andreessen Horowitz, one of Silicon Valley’s most prominent venture capitalist, Google is investing $10.7 million in Airware, a Californian start-up that develops operating systems for commercial drones. Airware’s software is already being used in drones flying over Kenya’s Ol Pejeta game reserve. […]
The man behind Airware is Jonathan Downey, who built drones at Boeing before starting his own company in 2011. Airware already had 20 customers in nearly a dozen countries and expects to bring in revenues of $4 million this year. With a new era of ubiquitous drones on the way, the company is flying some very friendly skies.
- The Republic by Plato.
- The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels.
- The Rights of Man by Thomas Paine.
- Common Sense by Thomas Paine.
- Democracy in America by Alexis de Tocqueville.
- The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli.
- Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriett Beecher Stowe.
- On Liberty by John Stewart Mill.
- Das Kapital by Karl Marx.
- The Wealth of Nations by Adam Smith.
- Guerilla Warfare by Che Guevara.
- The Canterbury Tales by Geoffrey Chaucer.
- Lady Chatterley’s Lover by DH Lawrence.
- Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri.
- The Complete Works of William Shakespeare.
- Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.
- Moby Dick by Herman Melville.
- 1984 by George Orwell.
- Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.
- Iliad and Odyssey by Homer.
- Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes.
- A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.
- Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert.
- The Arabian Nights Entertainment by Andrew Lang.
- War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy.
- The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupry.
- The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho.
- Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank.
- Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi.
- The Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft.
- The Second xxx by Simone de Beauvoir.
- A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf.
- Walden by Henry David Thoreau.
- A Dictionary of the English Language by Samuel Johnson.
- Philosophae Naturalis Principia Mathematica by Isaac Newton.
- The Interpretation of Dreams by Sigmund Freud.
- On the Origin of Species by Charles Darwin.
- Silent Spring by Rachel Carson.
- Geographia by Ptolemy.
- The Meaning of Relativity by Albert Einstein.
- The Bible.
- The Qur’an.
- The Torah.
- The Tibetan Book of the Dead.
- The Analects of Confucius.
- The Summa Theologica of St. Thomas Aquinas.
- The Bhagavad Gita.
- I Ching.
- Tao Te Ching.
- Bartleby by Hermann Melville.
I have read fully 11 of this list, and couple others, only partially.
21/50. Not bad considering I always feel like I’m way behind in my reading.
Wow. I’ve read up to 29. Then only 37, 41, 42, 47. I’ll fix that.
Following his release from Guantanamo Bay, Sami Al-Hajj, a (former) Guantanamo Bay detainee, dashes towards his eight year old son Mohammad and swoops him up in his arms, hugging him and planting tender kisses on his face in their first reunion after seven years.
After being imprisoned in Guantanamo Bay for seven years, during which he was repeatedly interrogated and tortured, including being physically, sexually, and psychologically abused, Al Hajj was released without any charges held against him.
Al Hajj, a journalist for the Al Jazeera network, was arrested in Pakistan in 2001 while on his way to do camerawork for the network concerning the war that had recently broken out in Afghanistan. It has been speculated by both Al Hajj’s lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, and Reporters Without Borders that the main reason that he was incarcerated for so long was due to the US Miliary’s desire to make him an informant against Al Jazeera, as most of Al Hajj’s interrogations consisted of American interrogators questioning him about the (Al Jazeera) network.
While in Guantanamo, Al Hajj wrote a poem titled Humiliated in Shackles to his son Mohammad:
When I heard pigeons cooing in the trees,
Hot tears covered my face.
When the lark chirped, my thoughts composed
A message for my son.
Mohammad, I am afflicted.
In my despair, I have no one but Allah for comfort.
The oppressors are playing with me,
As they move freely around the world.
They ask me to spy on my countrymen,
Claiming it would be a good deed.
They offer me money and land,
And freedom to go where I please.
Their temptations seize
My attention like lightning in the sky.
But their gift is an empty snake,
Carrying hypocrisy in its mouth like venom,
They have monuments to liberty
And freedom of opinion, which is well and good.
But I explained to them that
Architecture is not justice.
America, you ride on the backs of orphans,
And terrorize them daily.
The world recognizes an arrogant liar.
To Allah I direct my grievance and my tears.
I am homesick and oppressed.
Mohammad, do not forget me.
Support the cause of your father, a God-fearing man.
I was humiliated in the shackles.
How can I now compose verses? How can I now write?
After the shackles and the nights and the suffering and the tears,
How can I write poetry?
My soul is like a roiling sea, stirred by anguish,
Violent with passion.
I am a captive, but the crimes are my captors’.
I am overwhelmed with apprehension.
Lord, unite me with my son Mohammad.
Lord, grant success to the righteous.