DN Thursday, December 23, 2010: Please answer two of the following questions:
- Choose one of the headlines that interests you and research it further. In your google search, try to avoid the mainstream media by how you phrase your query.
- WikiLeaks Cables Reveal U.S. Sought to Retaliate Against Europe Over Monsanto GM Crops: The Santa Cruz Sentinel has an article about a local organic farmer who’s won a million-dollar appeal against a Colorado-based brussel sprouts agricorporation because their pesticides contaminated his crop. Should a company in Colorado be allowed to cause contamination in Santa Cruz? What problems do you foresee in enforcing this verdict? What similarities are there between the situation in France and in Santa Cruz? Do you think the SC government gets funding from out-of-county commercial farmers?
- FBI Expands Probe into Antiwar Activists: What do you think about the raids on protesters? The Electronic Intifada is one of the few organizations that gives verbal (not material) support to the right of armed resistance. If Israel is at war with Palestine, then Palestine has a right to defend itself. If Israel is not at war with Palestine, then Israel’s attacks are terrorism. Do Palestinians have the right to defend themselves in war but not against terrorism? Looking at their website, why do you think they would be targeted?
- After GOP Blocks DREAM Act, Where is Immigration Activism Headed?: Obama says that children “shouldn’t have to pay for the wrongdoings of their parents.” Was it necessary, do you think, for Obama to insult immigrant parents, who risked everything and worked in fields and factories to give their kids an “American” life? In this week’s Foreign Policy in Focus, John Feffer writes, tongue in cheek, about The Baby Trade: Americans are responsible for nearly five times the global average for per-capita carbon emissions. Even the most environmentally responsible Americans have a carbon footprint twice the size of the global average. In other words, our consumption of things – not their production of babies – is the problem. The solution to climate change, therefore, is obvious. The countries that have the smallest carbon footprints should adopt U.S. babies. We should send our children to Cambodia, Guatemala, and Moldova where they won’t have such a damaging effect on the global environment. Reverse the baby trade now!” Could the same be true for immigration? Should US students “school” with indigenous communities in Peru, Liberia, or Australia so their generation doesn’t have to “pay for the wrongdoings of their parents?”
DN Wednesday, December 22, 2010: Please answer two of the following questions:
- Choose one of the headlines that interests you and give a little more background from another source. Explain why you chose that one.
- Regarding districts and representatives: Why do you think that the “Founding Fathers” created both a House and a Senate? Did this double the amount of representation that the people had or undermine their power? Why? Look at the Third Paradigm episode “Was the Constitution an Act of Treason?” as you consider your answer.
- Was slavery the cause of the Civil War? Referencing the above 3P episode, cite one fact that contradicts this. Could slavery have been ended sooner if the States had not become a consolidated government? What did the Constitution do for slaveowners that wasn’t legal before?
DN Tuesday December 21, 2010: Please answer two of the following questions:
- Of the three WikiLeaks revelations in the DN headlines, pick one and give some more background from another source.
- Local Community Radio Act Passes in Congress: The UniverseCity is planned to be a network of sovereign microversities, joined by a common curriculum. The best of independent audio could be delivered to an internet radio station. This could be re-broadcast by any low-power FM station, and overridden when they wanted to broadcast their own material. Discuss how this protects their sovereignty while using the strength of networking.
- Part II…Feminists Debate Sexual Allegations against Julian Assange: Jaclyn Friedman says, “Everybody who’s participating with somebody else sexually has a responsibility to make sure that their partner is enthusiastic with what’s happening. I mean, really, in a practical sense, would you want to have sex with someone who is not enthusiastic? None of us would, I think, if we’re not sexual predators.” My question is, if no one ever initiated sex without making sure their partner was enthusiastic, would the human race have died out by now? Friedman also says “people are only having sex with people who are enthusiastic about what they’re doing at all times and enthusiastic about the circumstances. If you are pressuring your lover into something…if you are coercing them, if you are having sex with them without consent when they are asleep, that is not a moral actor.” As a bonus holiday question, do you consider the circumstances of the song, “Baby It’s Cold Outside” to be coercive?
DN Monday, December 20, 2010: Answer two of the following questions:
- S. Korea Conducts Live-Fire Military Drill: Research how many people were killed in North Korea during the US-backed Korean War? Out of a population of how many? What’s the approximate ratio of how many killed to how many total?
- Chris Hedges: Obama is a “Poster Child for the Death of the Liberal Class”: Do you agree that Obama is leading us into neo-feudalism? What is feudalism, and what would be the new form of it? Citing another source, discuss the strengths or weaknesses of the US “liberal class.”
- Naomi Wolf vs. Jaclyn Friedman: Feminists Debate the Sexual Allegations Against Julian Assange: What do you think? Are the allegations legitimate? Should Julian Assange be extradited to Sweden? Who made the better points, in your opinion?
DN Thursday, December 16, 2010: Please answer two of the three questions:
- New York City Consultants Charged in $80M Waste, Fraud Scheme: Who is Michael Bloomberg and what’s his history? Where does he rank in world wealth and how did he make his money?
- As WikiLeaks’ Assange Freed on Bail, Alleged Military Leaker Bradley Manning Imprisoned under Inhumane Conditions: Are there conditions under which whistleblowing (revealing secrets a corporation doesn’t want exposed) or espionage (revealing secrets a government doesn’t want exposed) would always be legitimate? Can you give an example from history of a time when everyone would agree that it was the moral thing to do? How do those circumstances compare to the present?
- Reps. Rush Holt and Raúl Grijalva on House Democratic Opposition to Obama’s Tax Deal with GOP: Is Social Security an insurance, where you get back what you pay for when you need it, or is it a welfare system? Should the government be required to pay back into Social Security what they “borrowed” from it, and to account for where it’s going currently?
DN Wednesday, December 15, 2010: Please answer three questions:
- Attorney: Swedish Case is a “Holding Charge” to Get Julian Assange Extradited to U.S.: Florida representative Allen West said, “Here is an individual that is not an American citizen, first and foremost, for whatever reason, you know, gotten his hands on classified American material and has put it out there in the public domain. And I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled him to be able to do this and then also supported him and applauded him for the efforts. So, that’s kind of aiding and abetting of a serious crime.” According to the Constitution, who does the government work for? If your employee kept secrets from you, all the while reading your email and listening to your conversations, how would you feel? Would you pay them to continue, and allow them to manage your money? Should we the people fire the government for insubordination?
- Report: Halliburton to Pay $250M in Nigeria Bribery Case: KBR, the Halliburton subsidiary owned by Dick Cheney, has pled guilty to charges of corruption and bribing Nigerian officials. Should Dick Cheney face criminal charges in the US, and be suspended from any office or government dealings while the trial is pending? What bail would be appropriate for a billionaire facing such major allegations, if an average person not wearing a condom warrants $300,000 in cash? Should the oil deal be considered void and be subject to renegotiation? What percentage is this of Halliburton’s profit from the Nigerian oil deal?
- The Wikileaks music video says, “If you’ve got nothing to hide, you’ve got nothing to fear.” How has this phrase been used by the US government? Does it also have a historical precedent? What do you think of the video, and of DN’s new video project?
- Richard Holbrooke Dies at 69: Remembering Veteran Diplomat’s Overlooked Record in East Timor, Iraq and the Balkans: Are you shocked by the role that Richard Holbrooke played in Serbia and these other places? What titles did he hold during his tenure, and which administrations did he work for? When he says that he’s in favor of declassification, how does it compare to what Julian Assange has done?
DN Monday, December 13, 2010: Please answer all questions:
- In the headlines, what three foreign situations did WikiLeaks just reveal? Give one sentence describing each. Rank them in terms of how illegal or unethical the actions of the foreign heads of state were. Then rate the US response as one of the following: actively destabilizing, passively destabilizing, nonintervening, or supporting stability.
- Bernie Sanders Denounces Obama-GOP Tax Cut in 8.5-Hour Senate Speech, Says U.S. Becoming “Banana Republic”: What is a filibuster? What are the rules for it? What is an oligarchy or oligarchic society? What do you think of Bernie Sanders’ speech and his emphasis on the children in the US?
- Climate Deal Reached in Cancún: Will the Agreement Help Save the Planet?: The agreement authorizes a $100 billion fund, held by the World Bank, to help developing countries cope with climate change starting in 2020. How difficult would it be for an LDC (least developed country) to turn away from this money, which could do so much good in their country? Does this divide them internally – between their poor, who depend on money, and their indigenous peoples, who depend on resources? Are you surprised that Claudia Solerno deserted Pablo Solon? Is this consistent with Ecuador’s position on REDD, as articulated by Raphael Correa?
DN Thursday, December 9, 2010: Please answer #2 plus 2 other questions:
- In the previews, Rafael Correa says of Obama, “I know he’s a very good person but the system has his own agenda…” Is Correa a structuralist or a functionalist? Define these terms. Which are you?
- Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa on WikiLeaks, the September Coup, U.S. Denial of Climate Funding, and Controversial Forest Scheme REDD: Correa says, “You have to control the American, but you can use the American.” There’s a great deal of conflict between Correa and the indigenous people of Ecuador. Does he seem angry and dismissive when questioned on this topic? Can corporate money be used without giving them control? Indigenous Peoples Issues has put together a reader on REDD here. They write: “This collection of articles reveals how REDD is being used to establish a new set of tradable property rights based on trees and other environmental services, while at the same time propping up extractive industries. From an environmental perspective, REDD will not save the climate nor protect forests, nor will it stop dangerous emissions levels. In fact, REDD will offer polluting industries a way to avoid emissions reduction through cheap REDD offsets and allow them to actually increase pollution. From an indigenous and human rights perspective, REDD criminalises the Peoples who protect and rely on forests. Furthermore, there are no enforceable REDD safeguards at the national or sub-national level that would guarantee protection of the rights of Indigenous Peoples and forest-dependent communities. Meanwhile, carbon traders eager for the large sums of money offered by REDD schemes are already forcing Indigenous and forest-dependent Peoples to sign away their land rights. Several examples of how this is already happening are highlighted in this reader.” Referencing this document, present an example of how this has affected a community. Which side are you on? Can money compensate for land in the long term?
- Do you think that Jane Goodall considers an indigenous tribe – with its unique language, culture, and community – a species worth protecting? World Bank President Robert Zoellick says that the WB will focus on charismatic and iconic endangered species that require lots of land. Should people be penalized because they’re not as cute as koala bears? Is the world becoming a theme park where animals have value as zoo icons?
- Offsetting Emissions or Pollution Profiteering? Debating the Surge of Cap-and-Trade Carbon Market: Henry Derwent says, “You might wish it were otherwise, but if you don’t actually give an economic reason for people to do something other than disfoliate their forests and chop them down in order to put soybeans or cattle or just take the timber and then leave the rest by the most careless and environmentally damaging mechanisms, then it’s going to carry on.” Is this true? If there’s not an economic incentive, will people plunder the forests? Is this true whether it’s corporations or people who’ve lived there for generations?
- Michael Dorsey explains that if forest preservation is a commodity, it will change with the market. Does that mean that an indigenous community’s land has no fixed value, except to them? The director of Greenpeace, Kumi Naidoo, emphasizes that money and religion will need to be on board for a solution. Have these historically been on the side of ecology?
DN Wednesday, December 8, 2010: Answer 3 of the 4 questions please:
- Attorney: WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange Endangered by Bail Denial in London; Still No Charges Filed in Sweden: In a poll yesterday of Washington Post readers, 60% voted that they support Julian Assange. Has he interfered with diplomacy, on behalf of people in various countries, or has he interfered with people’s confidence in their own governments? When State Department spokesperson P.J. Crowley says “In our view, he has done substantial damage to the interests of the United States and the interests of other countries,” are those the interests of the government officials or the people?
- The US government, which receives involuntary money from citizens, has prevented WikiLeaks from receiving voluntary donations from people who want transparency and truth-telling. Which is the real government that’s protecting their interests. Is there a way that US citizens could stop funding a government that doesn’t? Could local sovereignty be claimed over our tax dollars?
- Should those who call for Julian Assange’s assassination be prosecuted for incitement to violence, as his lawyer suggests?
- Youth Activists Protest Exclusion from U.N. Climate Summit in Cancún: In Kari Fulton’s speech, she says, “We are also here to say, where will you be in 2050? I know where I will be, and I want to live in a just and clean, sustainable world.” She suggests that those who won’t experience the effects of climate change, because of age or privileged status, shouldn’t be allowed to control the process of addressing it. Do you agree? Can you negotiate with someone else’s future, whether it’s youth or indigenous communities? Was the action of the youth at the conference effective? Was it worth being excluded from the conference? Were they naive to think they could walk out dramatically and just walk back in the next day?
DN Tuesday, December 7, 2010: Please answer three questions:
- Glenn Greenwald on the Arrest of Julian Assange and the U.S. “War on WikiLeaks”: Since Assange is not a US citizen, can he be extricated on espionage charges from another country? Does this mean that everyone who gives secret information about one country can be intercepted by Interpol, and delivered to the country they informed on? Can Hilary Clinton be tried by Korea for her orders to diplomats to steal secret information from Ban Ki-moon?
- If Assange is providing information to the public about governments that serve their interests, but the information contradicts that, are these public officials traitors to the public who employs them?
- U.S. Climate Envoy Refuses to Answer Democracy Now!’s Questions on WikiLeaks Cables’ Account of Summit Manipulation: Did US Envoy Todd Stern answer Amy Goodman’s question? Was he inadvertently giving us a clue that the climate debt issue – lesser-developed countries asking for money – is paving the way for systematic bribery?
- Guardian Environment Editor John Vidal on WikiLeaks Cables and U.S. Manipulation of Climate Talks: Vidal says that WikiLeaks “lifted the lid on arm-twisting and blackmail.” He continues, “The surprising thing is, it’s not surprising, in a funny way. We always suspected that this is how America operates and now we know. So our information was good at the time.” Does WikiLeaks change the burden of proof? Before, journalists and investigators were on the defensive where officials could merely deny, but now they have evidence on their side. How does this change things?
- Bill McKibben: Climate Talks So Weakened by U.S., Major Polluters that Walkout Could Be Good News for Planet: McKibben says that Obama did little at Copenhagen except get the other countries to do as little as the US. But physics and chemistry, McKibben says, are working against him. Even though all civilization depends on it, he says, “I don’t know if we’re going to win.” How does this differ from Derrick Jensen’s view that you should do whatever it takes, and keep all options on the table?
- Nigerian Environmental Activist Nnimmo Bassey Wins Right Livelihood Award: He talks about agrofuels, GMO crops, and land grabs, and proposes putting climate crimes on trial as crimes against humanity. Can you talk about some examples of this kind of abuse?