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Dispatches From the Culture Wars – Bite the Bullet edition

Red face in a high place; Militarism now; Inside the militia; Hungarian ultra-right in power; LA left losses

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The Great Failure of the Indians Mascot Debate? Thinking Of It Only as Racism

By Sterling HolyWhiteMountain
October 26, 2016

When I think about the Cleveland Indians I think about growing up on the Blackfeet Reservation in northwest Montana. I had some sense that I was an Indian, in particular Blackfeet, and the goofy iconography and name were familiar. The name of our high school basketball team is simply the Browning Indians. Kids on this reservation, like kids on many reservations, grow up hearing older people refer to themselves as Indians, though it is becoming more common now for people to refer to themselves by their respective tribal names, in their respective languages, those indigenous languages that precede the arrival of English in North America by millennia. And Wahoo-like imagery is still not uncommon in Indian Country, though it is typically used for humorous or ironic purposes -- our way of turning the stereotype on its red face.

Bombing Us Back to the Drone Age

By Scott Beauchamp
October 26, 2016
Village Voice

Inundated with election chatter, you might not realize there are major defense issues looming just beyond the headlines: Our nascent "lily pad strategy" has dotted the globe with tiny strategic bases to facilitate constant, low-level war anywhere in the world. There is no public accounting of how many of these bases currently exist. Our role as the world's number one arms dealer is never brought up. Drone warfare and our inevitable use of autonomous weapons has been pushed to the periphery of the campaign.
All these are symptoms of a dramatic shift from twentieth-century ways of conducting war. Since 2001 the Pentagon has used the Authorization for Use of Military Force (or AUMF), a resolution signed by Congress granting the president legal power to prosecute the global war on terror indefinitely and anywhere with only perfunctory oversight. The result has been America waging perpetual war.

I Went Undercover With a Border Militia. Here's What I Saw.

By Shane Bauer
November/December 2016
Mother Jones

Becoming a militia member began with opening a new Facebook account. I found and "liked" militia pages: Three Percenter Nation, Patriotic Warriors, Arizona State Militia. Then Facebook generated endless suggestions of other militia pages, and I "liked" those too. Within a couple of days, I had more than 100 friends, and virtually any militia member who looked at my page would likely find that we had at least one friend in common.
Then I came across the Three Percent United Patriots' private "Operation Spring Break" Facebook group. I requested access, and when it was granted I saw a post asking who was coming to the operation in April. I replied, "Yes." The purpose of the operation wasn't posted anywhere because it was understood implicitly—to catch illegal immigrants and drug smugglers. Eventually, the coordinates for the forward operating base inside Arizona's San Rafael Ranch State Park were posted. No one asked me anything about myself. All I had to do was show up. The list of required equipment was extensive, including weapons, medical supplies, and body cameras. The idea was that video footage would disprove anyone making false accusations against the militiamen. I used my body cam to capture what I saw and heard. No one raised an eyebrow.

Polish Women Vow to Step Up Pressure Over Abortion Restrictions

By Christian Davies
October 25, 2016

Leaders of a growing women’s rights movement in Poland have vowed to keep up the pressure on the country’s ruling rightwing government with ongoing protests against proposed restrictions on abortion.
Thousands of women demonstrated in the streets of Warsaw, Gdańsk, Łódź, Wrocław, Poznań and other cities and towns across the country on Sunday and Monday.
Demonstrators chanted “We are not folding up our umbrellas” in a reference to the wave of protests earlier this month when tens of thousands of Poles gathered in grisly weather to challenge a proposed blanket ban on abortion, forcing Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party (PiS) to throw out the proposals.

Stanley Sheinbaum, Tom Hayden and the End of an L.A. Leftist Era

By Harold Meyerson
October 25, 2016
Los Angeles Times

It’s been an emotionally tough couple of months for the Los Angeles left. In September, Stanley Sheinbaum, anti-Vietnam War activist and faux-grumpy host of countless liberal gatherings, died in his Brentwood home at 96. On Sunday, Tom Hayden, author of the seminal document of the ’60s New Left, died in Santa Monica at 76.
In Los Angeles, Sheinbaum was for decades the chief financial supporter and on-call adviser to the local ACLU. In the wake of the Rodney King beating, then-Mayor Tom Bradley appointed Sheinbaum to head the city’s police commission, where he promoted some long overdue reforms and helped engineer the ouster of Daryl Gates — last in a line of L.A. police chiefs who saw their charge as brutally suppressing the city’s minority communities.
Hayden and his then-wife, Jane Fonda, established the Campaign for Economic Democracy — a group of left activists who campaigned within the Democratic Party for environmental and economic reforms, advocating a shift to solar energy and winning rent control in a number of California cities. They also elected some of their own to state and local offices, most notably Hayden himself, who represented the Westside in the state Assembly and then the state Senate from 1982 through 2000.