Atlas Fugged: Why Ayn Rand Is Making Me Boycott Lululemon

Excerpts from a lovely blog find; read the rest of it here: Atlas Fugged: Why Ayn Rand Is Making Me Boycott Lululemon

“Earlier this month, pricey yoga pant and cheesy sentiment pushers Lululemon started putting the phrase “Who is John Galt?” on their bags.

Then they posted a blisteringly insipid entry on their blog to explain how a quote from Ayn Rand’s epic heap of political science excrement, Atlas Shrugged, had become the new “drink eight glasses of water each day.”

Lululemon founder, Chip Wilson, an intellect who usually spends his time contemplating the deep philosophies of the Landmark cult apparently first read Atlas Shrugged when he was 18 and was recently inspired to dig into the greater meaning of the book. (This Ayn Rand Appreciation Trajectory, I would like to point out, is the exact opposite of any rational person’s.)

“Only later, looking back, did he realize the impact the book’s ideology had on his quest to elevate the world from mediocrity to greatness (it is not coincidental that this is Lululemon’s company vision)” writes lulu blogger Alexis (emphasis hers, sadly

Ayn Rand
Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinov’yevna Rosenbaum, February 2 [O.S. January 20] 1905 – March 6, 1982) was a Russian-American novelist, philosopher, playwright, and screenwriter. She is known for her two best-selling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged and for developing a philosophical system she called Objectivism.



How to Apply for a NASA Summer Internship

“I’ve had a lot of questions from students regarding the application process for NASA’s summer internships. To answer most of your questions, NASA has prepared the following instructions for students. These instructions apply to any opportunities you may find on the NASA One Stop Shopping/ SOLAR website at Remember, most applications must be received no later than February 1, 2012… so apply today!

If you are interested in applying for a NASA internship during 2012, please follow the detailed instructions here:

How to Apply for a NASA Summer Internship.

Taiwan Envoy Detained in US for Abusing Filipina Maid

A Taiwanese envoy to the United States, now detained in Kansas City, faces a prison term and a penalty over allegations that she maltreated her Filipina helper.

Taipei Times reported yesterday that Jacqueline Liu, director of the Taipei Economic and Cultural Office (TECO) in Kansas City, has been detained since November 10 and faces charges of forcing her Filipina maid to work excessively long hours, paying her less than promised, keeping her in virtual isolation and taking her passport.

According to court documents, the Filipina maid had escaped from Liu’s home, and the envoy had then tried to look for her and have her deported.

The report quoted the prosecutors as saying that Liu had also maltreated her previous maid, and had even physically abused her. Read the rest here.

United States in Asia

Visiting United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Wednesday faced a grilling from Filipino students, as the United States scrambles to counterbalance China’s growing power in Asia.

I thought this made it a good time to republish this piece by radical nationalist Joel P Garduce, as background.


KEEP THE FIRE by Joel P. Garduce
(published in Cebu’s The Voice, February 5, 2010, page 6)

Yesterday, February 4, marked the 111th anniversary of the beginning of what still stands as the bloodiest war in the history of the Filipino people. On that day in 1899, open hostilities broke out between invading U.S. troops and soldiers of the first republic in Asia.

Uncle Sam at the turn of the 20th century

The war came to be known in history classes and textbooks as the Filipino-American War. It’s a misnomer, really. Calling the war this way invokes an image no different from a boxing fight, where protagonists do battle as an end in itself, where there are no aggressors to speak of and no justice to be had. Which is obviously not the case with this war.

It would be more accurate and honest to call it the First Great Patriotic War of the Filipino People. For indeed, it was the first war waged by a newly born nation, the first patriotic war in Asia in fact to defend a republic against an invading army of 20,000 imperial troops (that eventually ballooned to 120,000 throughout the war) intent on taking out so soon a people’s freedom freshly gained from centuries-long colonial rule.

It was a war that was as ugly as it could get, a signal tragedy where both the peoples of the Philippines and the US lost their respective republics. On the Filipino side, more than a million Filipinos were killed to regain colonial oppression, most as victims of the barbaric “scorched-earth” policy of the U.S. armed occupation, employed via torture, hamletting, food blockades, and massacres of entire towns, including children.

Wounded granny during the Philippine-American war

On the American side, the victorious U.S. subjugation of a new foreign race consolidated the vicious rule of the robber barons, at a cost of 8,000 American lives and racism, workplace abuse, corruption and oppression running rampant in the homeland. Through systematic indoctrination of succeeding generations, this war, “among the cruelest conflicts in the annals of Western imperialism” as one American author put it, would be gutted out of the historical memory of both Americans and Filipinos.

Filipino civilians being interrogated at the start of American colonial rule.

Well, almost. Were it not for the effort—among others—of Americans of conscience like historian Howard Zinn, who died last week, the outstanding war crimes against the Filipino people may well have been entirely forgotten. Thanks to him and his most popular book, “A People’s History of the United States”, arguably the biggest-selling book on the full U.S. history, today’s generation in the U.S. has been made aware of a bloody and disdainful history of U.S. empire, and of the continuing epochal class struggle of the American people against it.

“A People’s History” was hugely successful. By the time Zinn collapsed fatally from a heart attack last January 27, it had already sold two million copies and gone through six editions since it was first published in 1980 with only 5,000 copies.

A 2008 graphic adaptation he co-authored with Mike Konopacki and Paul Buhle, called “A People’s History of American Empire”, would go further and boldly parallel the U.S. atrocities against our forefathers more than a hundred years ago to the human rights outrages that attended the U.S.-led war of terrorism ongoing since 9/11.

A 2009 TV docu titled “The People Speak” and based on Zinn’s book brought his views to a far-wider audience. Narrated by actor and his former neighbor Matt Damon, it featured readings and performances by various U.S. celebrities, like Viggo Mortensen of the “Lord of the Rings” fame, black actors Morgan Freeman and Danny Glover, Oscar winner Marisa Tomei, and musicians Bruce Springsteen, Eddie Vedder of Pearl Jam, Bob Dylan, Pink, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, and John Legend. That a nontraditional take of U.S. history would gain much mainstream acceptance and admiration proves that the time for Zinn’s progressive standpoint and viewpoint has clearly come.

Zinn’s work complements efforts by select Filipino historians to speak historical truth to power. Half a decade before “A People’s History” first came out, anti-imperialist author Renato Constantino had already made the case for a people’s perspective in writing history with his acclaimed twin history volumes “The Philippines: A Past Revisited” and “The Philippines: The Continuing Past”. Then there’s the seminal “Philippine Society and Revolution” (PSR) written by Professor Jose Maria Sison using his nom de guerre Amado Guerrero. What may well be the most well-known history book in the Philippines, specially among the majority who remain downtrodden, PSR came out a full decade before “A People’s History”. (This year marks the 40th year since its publication.) In it, Sison tersely outlined Philippine history and society from a standpoint of an oppressed people daring to make history and change society.

A picture of a “water detail,” reportedly taken in May, 1901, in Sual, the Philippines. “It is a terrible torture,” one soldier wrote. Picture found in “The Water Cure”, Paul Kramer,, Feb 25 2008. Original photograph attributed to Corporal George J. Vennage c/o Ohio State University Rare Books and Manuscripts Library.

Zinn, Constantino and Sison all firmly believe the authentic heroes of history are the unlettered masses and that we ought to champion their hopes and aspirations if we intend to usher in a world of justice and social progress. We are honored to have them remind us all the need to intensely study history to reexamine seemingly unwanted but terribly vital memories, and unearth its lessons pregnant with guidance towards a bright future bereft of ugly and unjust wars, empires of greed, widespread misery and shackled freedoms—a bright future Filipinos, Americans and humankind at large truly deserve. ##

Joel Garduce is with the Concerned Artists of the Philippines (CAP). This and previous contributions can be viewed online here.

View these historical photos:

Watch this:
(for the footages, but ignore some parts of the commentary, which can be wrong)

Watch this:

The Hunger Games Official Trailer

The Hunger Games” trailer is out, and it promises action and heartache, set in a world that’s both gritty and surreal.

Read the New York Times review of Suzanne Collins‘s 2008 book “The Hunger Games”.

Check out the trailer of the 2000 film  “Battle Royale

The won­drously gruesome Japanese novel that has been spun off into a popular manga series. Here’s a fan site

“A Maidservant’s Lot in Early Modern England” — Parallelisms

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

A few days ago, news linking Dominique Strauss-Kahn to a high-profile probe of an alleged prostitution ring at a luxury hotel in Lille broke, causing the story of how a New York hotel  maid had accused him earlier this year of rape to resurface.

Charges have since been dropped, even as DSK was forced to quit as head of the IMF and to shelve his aspirations to become the next French president. But the story of DSK’s accuser — called just that until the moment she came out, or alternately, “the DSK maid” — reminds us of how Filipina maids are at all times vulnerable to all forms of abuse — emotional, physical and sexual.

I thought I’d republish excerpts of this history article here as a way to contribute to the better understanding of the lot of thousands of Filipina maids in foreign lands.

By doing so, I hope to shed light on the power relations between females in subservient levels of society and their “masters” — something that many of my British friends seem to forget, as they are now accustomed to thinking of maids as Filipinas. Watch this episode of BBC’s Harry and Paul:

For me, it’s clearly an issue of power: Not much has changed between then and now; only the nationalities of the maids and their masters involved have changed.


Author: R.C. Richardson

Title: “A Maidservant’s Lot in Early Modern England”

Publisher: History Today

Date: Volume: 60, Issue: 2

Pages: 25-31

“The life of a maidservant in early modern England was one fraught with perils with young girls often prey to the advances of their masters. In 1693 the London newspaper The Athenian Mercury carried the story of a manservant who, with his employer’s active encouragement, married a maidservant in the same household, only to discover that she was already pregnant with the master’s child. The employer said he was grateful to have ‘such cracked ware [taken] off his hands’ and gave financial compensation to the couple. Most maids made pregnant by their employers were not so fortunate.

“Servant-keeping was a ubiquitous and defining feature of society in the 16th to 18th centuries — around 60 to 70 per cent of 15 to 24-year-olds, the majority of them female, were employed in domestic service even in poor households as pauper servants. Most of them lived, worked and slept in close proximity to their employers, sometimes in the same room. Privacy even in great houses with features such as corridors and backstairs was often impossible to achieve. Poverty was an endemic aspect of life in service. There were many like the ‘poor maid’ in a 1567 Canterbury court case who possessed ‘nothing but her personal apparel and 16 shillings a year wages and no other goods.’

“Maidservants therefore were often precariously positioned both physically and economically. This made them sexually vulnerable to the whims of their masters and other men of the house as well as to lodgers, guests, manservants, and apprentices. Some would-be maidservants newly arrived in London were procured by pimps or by patrons of disreputable labor exchanges almost as soon as they set foot in the capital.

“There were maidservants too who exploited their sexuality to gain advantage. An early 17th-century Somerset maid giving evidence in a court case unwittingly revealed she was flattered when she attracted the advances of her employer and ‘did not tell her dame because her master promised her new clothes.’ Much later in the following century Jonathan Swift in his satirical Advice to Servants (Dublin 1745) advised housemaids on how to strike the best bargain when their sexual favors were solicited by their masters. At all costs, Swift urged the eldest son of the house should be avoided ‘since you will get nothing from him but a big belly or a clap and probably both together.’ In 1763, Mary Brown a maidservant in Glamorganshire, was still blackmailing Dr Morgan, her former employer, who had fathered her illegitimate child six or seven years previously.

“Church court records are filled with cases involving illicit sexual relations between master and servant. At the beginning of the 17th century, Edward Glascocke from Enfield, Middlesex found himself in court since he had been discovered in bed with his maidservant as well as his wife. In the same period church wardens in Stoke St. Mary, Somerset were scandalized by disclosures of an employer’s open preference for his maidservant over his wife. When they went to work in the fields the maid rode on horseback, while the humbled wife was made to walk. The master and maidservant slept in the same bedroom while the mistress of the house was consigned to another.

In Glamorganshire in 1763, the death of a master produced revelations about his ‘vile life’ in keeping a maidservant as his concubine ‘to the great disturbance of his house and to the great grief and vexation of his loving wife.’ A London moralist J. Moir warned parents in 1787: ‘You had better turn your daughter into the street at once than place her out to service. For ten to one her master shall seduce her or she shall be made the confidante of her mistress’s intrigues.’

“Masters would often consider it their right to molest their maids. It was made clear to a London maidservant in 1605 that providing sexual favors to the master on demand was simply part of her job. She was told: ‘Thou art my servant and I may do with thee as I please.’ ”

And check out this blog on how Lebanese employers perceive the sexuality of Filipina maids, which reads:

Filipina women, compared to their Ethiopian and Sri Lankan counterparts, are seen as fairer, sexually more attractive, and promiscuous. These images of Filipina women legitimate employers’ tight control of their bodies and persons…Just in case you’ve been wondering why some families lock the doors on their maids when they leave home.

Or, alternately, you can google the words Filipina, maid, rape. I got more than 2 million results.

Do Filipina maids form the base of the new slave trade?