“Punting the Pundits” is an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.
Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.
Wednesday is Ladies’ Day
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Laura Finley: Building a Peaceful Future for Our Children
Guns. Media. Mental Illness. Lax Security. All these and more have been offered as explanations for the tragic mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary on Friday, December 14 that left 26 people, including 20 children, dead. And all of those things may have played a role. But none are the cause of the problem. And heated debate about them, while important, serves to obscure some other very important conversations about the root issue, which is that the U.S. is a violent, militaristic culture that, in virtually every institution, demonstrates violence as a means of solving problems. [..]
I recognize that this won’t be easy. Radically changing a societal ideology as hegemonic as militarism is never easy. But how many more people, how many more children, do we need to lose before we say better to work hard, engage the difficult conversations, and build a more peaceful future for our children?
I woke up just past midnight with a bolt. My six-month-old son was crying. He has a cold – the second of his short life-and his blocked nose frightens him. I was about to get up when he started snoring again. I, on the other hand, was wide awake.
A single thought entered my head: Chief Theresa Spence is hungry. Actually it wasn’t a thought. It was a feeling. The feeling of hunger. Lying in my dark room, I pictured the chief of the Attawapiskat First Nation lying on a pile of blankets in her teepee across from Parliament Hill, entering day 14 of her hunger strike.
I had of course been following Chief Spence’s protest and her demand to meet with Prime Minister Stephen Harper to discuss the plight of her people and his demolition of treaty rights through omnibus legislation. I had worried about her. Supported her. Helped circulate the petitions. But now, before the distancing filters of light and reason had a chance to intervene, I felt her. The determination behind her hunger. The radicality of choosing this time of year, a time of so much stuffing – mouths, birds, stockings – to say: I am hungry. My people are hungry. So many people are hungry and homeless. Your new laws will only lead to more of this misery. Can we talk about it like human beings?
Mairead Maguire was awarded the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize for her actions to help end the deep ethnic/political conflict in her native Northern Ireland.
On Thursday 13th December, 2012, I visited Julian Assange, Editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, in the Ecuadorian embassy, Knightsbridge, London. It is six months now since Julian Assange entered the Ecuadorian embassy and was given political asylum. He entered the embassy after the British Courts shamefully refused his appeal against extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning accused of sexual molestation (no criminal charges have been made against him). [..]
I believe the UK/Swedish/USA governments are all complicit in this mental torture of Julian Assange, and I appeal to the Australian government, Human rights defenders, brave media, and people who love freedom and truth to break the ‘silence ‘ and stand up for the rights of Julian Assange to assurance he will get the change to answer all accusations against him in uk or Sweden and the assurance he will not be extradited to USA where he could meet the same ‘cruel and inhuman’ treatment as pt. Bradley Manning. The least we can do is raise our voices to protect JulianAssange (and Bradley Manning) who made such brave attempts, at the cost of their own freedom, to try to protect all our freedoms and democracy.
Chief Theresa Spence is now on Day 13 of her hunger strike. Too weak to leave the teepee she is living in on Victoria Island, a mere stone’s throw from Parliament, she called for a round dance yesterday at 24 Sussex Drive in Ottawa, Prime Minister Harper’s residence.
Throughout the duration of her hunger strike, Harper has maintained a chilly silence around the grassroots Indigenous movement now widely known as Idle No More, taking to Twitter instead to share his jokes about bacon with the Canadian electorate. What started as a string of emails between four Saskatchewan women back in November in protest of Bill C-45 eventually became a hashtag on social media, snowballing over time into a global movement for Indigenous rights.
Chief Spence is starving herself for her home community of Attawapiskat where there is a dire housing crisis, but more broadly for all Indigenous peoples in Canada, many of whom have rallied around her. Spence is asking for a meeting with the Prime Minister, Governor General and other leaders, and will fast until she gets it.
Rebecca Solnit: 2013 as Year Zero: For Earth and For Us
This last year put the crisis in perspective, this coming year our battle begins
As this wild year comes to an end, we return to the season of gifts. Here’s the gift you’re not going to get soon: any conventional version of Paradise. You know, the place where nothing much happens and nothing is demanded of you. The gifts you’ve already been given in 2012 include a struggle over the fate of the Earth. This is probably not exactly what you asked for, and I wish it were otherwise — but to do good work, to be necessary, to have something to give: these are the true gifts. And at least there’s still a struggle ahead of us, not just doom and despair.
Think of 2013 as the Year Zero in the battle over climate change, one in which we are going to have to win big, or lose bigger. This is a terrible thing to say, but not as terrible as the reality that you can see in footage of glaciers vanishing, images of the entire surface of the Greenland Ice Shield melting this summer, maps of Europe’s future in which just being in southern Europe when the heat hits will be catastrophic, let alone in more equatorial realms.
Michigan’s new right-to-work law has has struck a savage blow to America’s labor movement in its heartland. Unions across the state have thronged to Lansing to oppose the attack, which makes union membership optional and thus reduces labor’s bargaining clout. But tucked into the legislation are subtle exemptions for particular workers-police and firefighters, who have historically played by a different set of rules, creating political divides in the labor movement.
But in this case, it seems that many members of Michigan’s police and firefighters unions-about 1,700 bargaining units altogether-are standing in solidarity with other public-sector unions to oppose the law.