Monday, October 13, 2014

Columbus Day

Lifted from AK Press:
It seems there are still some people out there who celebrate Columbus Day. If you happen to know any of them, please share this description from Bartolome de las Casas of the sort of civilized and heroic behavior Columbus brought to the "new" world:
"And the Christians, with their horses and swords and pikes began to carry out massacres and strange cruelties against them. They attacked the towns and spared neither the children nor the aged nor pregnant women nor women in childbed, not only stabbing them and dismembering them but cutting them to pieces as if dealing with sheep in the slaughter house. They laid bets as to who, with one stroke of the sword, could split a man in two or could cut off his head or spill out his entrails with a single stroke of the pike. They took infants from their mothers' breasts, snatching them by the legs and pitching them headfirst against the crags or snatched them by the arms and threw them into the rivers, roaring with laughter and saying as the babies fell into the water, 'Boil there, you offspring of the devil!' Other infants they put to the sword along with their mothers and anyone else who happened to be nearby. They made some low wide gallows on which the hanged victim's feet almost touched the ground, stringing up their victims in lots of thirteen, in memory of Our Redeemer and His twelve Apostles, then set burning wood at their feet and thus burned them alive. To others they attached straw or wrapped their whole bodies in straw and set them afire. With still others, all those they wanted to capture alive, they cut off their hands and hung them round the victim's neck, saying, "Go now, carry the message," meaning, Take the news to the Indians who have fled to the mountains. They usually dealt with the chieftains and nobles in the following way: they made a grid of rods which they placed on forked sticks, then lashed the victims to the grid and lighted a smoldering fire underneath, so that little by little, as those captives screamed in despair and torment, their souls would leave them...."
For more on the history of Christopher Columbus' voyage, check out this article by William Loren Katz.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Oregon GMO Labeling

From the Institute for Responsible Technology:
"Oregon voters are being hammered with a huge disinformation campaign about Measure 92 funded by the likes of Monsanto, PepsiCo and Dow to the tune of $5.45 MILLION."  
If they want to poison our food supply, they can own up to it with proper labeling.  They can pretend it's about "freedom" of choice for consumers (to "choose" to eat chemicals, genetically modified organisms and cheap sugar substitutes and food "enhancers" that make us fat and sick), but what they really advocate is the freedom of corporations to bully independent farmers and put whatever crap in our food they want if we're stupid, desperate or uneducated enough to pay them money for it.  If you believe the purpose of food and food production is for the sustenance and health of all people, not for corporate profit, speak with your ballot.

Vote yes on Measure 92.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Charity vs Justice

This article is old, but still applicable, and addresses the curious phenomenon of the right-wing American Catholic - some snippets:
“I see people mixing up charity with social justice,” says Ernest Revoir, director of the Diocese of Metuchen, New Jersey’s Office of Social Justice. “Someone’s hungry, you give them food. That’s good, but charity doesn’t get to the root cause.”  
"Or people get lost in thinking that the only social justice question is the right to life, when it’s really the dignity of human life in all its stages.” 
 Marianne Majewski, director of Catholic Charities in the Metuchen diocese, says she’s constantly surprised by how many Catholics don’t understand church teaching on social justice and how many don’t even believe that people have the right to food or shelter, for instance. 
In the words of Pope Francis,  "An authentic faith always implies a deep desire to change the world."