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Welcome to the Sixteenth Century, Eureka

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I had to reprint this article from Firedoglake:


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Welcome to the Sixteenth Century

By: masaccio Sunday November 30, 2014 10:57 am

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113014_Damned-to-Hell-Demons Please don’t murder us in the streets. We work hard so we should be paid a living wage. Bankers should be treated as equal before the law. Please stop spying on us. We’ve lived here all our lives, don’t deport us to a foreign country. Please stop killing people everywhere in the world. We are entitled to be treated like other people. Please stop poisoning the dirt that grows our food and the water we drink and the air we breathe. The minimal nature of the demands of millions of protesters measures the decrepit state of our nation. It also tells us that the rich people who run this country loathe and despise us.

We killed your kids with impunity. Take that tiny paycheck, and supplement it with government benefits, and punch out before you clean up your work station. Bankers are the engines of prosperity and if they get a bit greedy, it can’t be prevented without destroying capitalism. We spy on you to protect you from immigrants with Ebola and sharp swords. Get back into that closet. You’ll eat and breathe oil and you’ll love it. OK, you noisy group can get married. Now aren’t you happy? Remember, we have the guns, the tanks, the tear gas, the pepper spray, the kettles, the rifles, the humvees, the assault rifles, the MRAPs, and the drones, and we have your data and your phones and your computers and your emails and your facebook pages and your tweets, and we know who you are. And just ignore those thugs on the roofs, those plain-clothes men with AR-15s, they’re either our regular troops or our irregulars, our vigilantes, just out to protect our private property.

As bad as this is, the worst part is that there are millions of people who aren’t elites, who aren’t rich enough to financially survive a lost job or a divorce or a sick kid, but who think this is just fine. Those people vote for the system not just in elections, but by their hatred for their neighbors. Who could have predicted so many citizens would enjoy watching their neighbors thrown out of their houses rather than figure out some way to help? Who would have thought so many citizens would be thrilled to see families broken up and deported? Who would have thought so many citizens would be happy to drink oil instead of water for any reason? Who would have thought that so many citizens would prefer not just to let corporations pay so little to their neighbors, but also to support cutting off all government benefits to those workers? Who would have thought so many citizens would be happy to have some government agent collecting their phones and email and internet search histories?

The optimists among us point to a bunch of liberal issues on which a plurality of citizens agree according to pollsters. That’s great, and it may even be true. But the fact is that our Constitution is set up to prevent government action against the will of a small minority. It gives tiny Red States plenty of 19th Century Senators who under Senate rules can block any action they don’t like. The House is thoroughly gerrymandered, so that the will of the majority isn’t even represented. Presidential candidates must win the money primary, insuring that they will support the interests of the richest and most retrograde among the top .01% who own 11% of the total wealth of the nation. The Supreme Court has always protected property at the expense of every other interest or value, so even if a decent piece of legislation passed, the five conservative hacks on the Court will strike it down.

It seems to me that this nation is infected by a nameless, faceless dread, a fear of something awful just beyond our ability to grasp. The media, right-wing politicians and demagogues, acting on behalf of their filthy rich patrons, actively exploit that fear to get what they want: a divided nation at war with itself. You don’t have to watch Fox News or listen to Rush Limbaugh or worse to get this; you can feel it in the air, and get all the examples you need from The Daily Show or Colbert or Oliver. Where does this come from? This is a country rich in resources, armed to the teeth, with a powerful technological infrastructure that should allow a lot of material progress and solutions to any real problems. And yet there’s this:

As of 2014, it’s estimated that nearly half of Americans — 49 percent — say natural disasters are a sign of “the end times,” as described in the Bible. That’s up from an estimated 44 percent in 2011.

How do you explain technological marvels sitting alongside this kind of pre-Enlightenment fright? One explanation comes from @Billmon1, a great Twitter follow. He says that a large part of the US missed the Enlightenment altogether. That part, largely the Red states, but all over the country, is embedded in the 16th/17th centuries:

To be more specific: rooted in 16th/17th century British isles — Scotland, English border lands & Ireland, to be precise. “Celtic fringe.”

About as backwoods, parochial, & religiously bigoted part of W. Europe as you could have found in that era — an era of religious bigotry.

We have a great recent example of this culture in Northern Ireland. After a century of war with itself and its Catholic neighbors, Northern Ireland has turned from religious bigotry to racial bigotry. There are plenty of problems in Ireland, many of which are the result of unbridled capitalism like the short-sighted decisions of the leaders to pay off all depositor loses caused by Irish banks and the outrageous tax schemes that enable the likes of Apple to screw the US out of needed tax revenues. But really, a few immigrants are the problem?

It’s a mirror image of the US. The “Other” is the problem. It isn’t the unjust distribution of wealth, it isn’t the exploitation of the worker by the filthy rich, it isn’t unequal schools, it isn’t poverty or any other structural condition. It’s witches. It’s demons. It’s unholiness. It’s impurity. It’s smoke.

It isn’t fixable. The most you can hope for is bottling up that rage and fear in fewer and fewer people. Instead the media stokes those fires. Self-ordained ministers tell people that it’s sin that cause fires and floods and earthquakes and eclipses. Rage freaks like O’Reilly and Limbaugh and the incomparably stupid Hannity tell their listeners that the end times are coming. Politicians like Lindsey Graham shriek that terrorists are coming to kill them while they sleep. These pre-moderns are now in control of both the House and Senate, and the Supreme Court.

I’m thinking about being a bit fearful myself.

Photo by Georges Jansoone under Creative Commons license


–Joe

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The Brownshirt Solution is a Real Life Tragedy

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Where it all starts: The Brownshirt Real Life Tragedy as they touch REAL people with Totalitarian Solutions.

In the 150 years or so since the Civil War you would naturally believe, after all the World Wars, all the fighting and dying, all the sacrifices that were paid for the right to be free men and women we would be living in a modern utopia of glutinous freedoms and liberties, with universal justice. Rather than living in a world of barbaric cannibals daily gorging themselves on – eating our rights to be free and independent citizens charting our course in this life to all our unalienable rights, i.e.,

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

What we get, and this is a good example, of the real time social barbarism and terrorist philosophy that drives or empowers such dark age beliefs. In America the victims are just thrown into solitary confinement for life – a form of tortured murder or execution. It’s called indefinite detention without trial, in some cases. These beliefs are then translated into laws that justified some of the worlds most abhorrent despots and murderous tyrants. Today millions of Americans are incarcerated and for what? Not being white? How many innocent people were forced to plead to a police frame-up that stupid or racist jurors and corrupt judges rubber-stamped into prison?

I’m talking about this blog and this particular article: “Another tragic incident, with a pitiful outcome well short of Justice” – Be sure to read the comments to get the full impact.

It all seems innocuous enough, right. Just conversation trying to work out a reasonable solution.

What makes this serious for everyone is how this kind of conduct extrapolate into real life and dramatically affects our social community to its everlasting detriment. You can’t spit on the sidewalk without committing a felony. The police are lawless in their own right and replicate that attitude when dealing with everyone. When was the last time anyone challenged Humboldt Superior Court Judge Dale Reinholtsen for that position or any other Superior Court Judge?

Knee-jerk justice speaks for itself. Extreme knee-jerk laws tend to create injustice. You can’t cure a disease by trying to treat the symptoms.

When I first read this article I accidentally reblogged it as a test of the feature. When it didn’t show up on my Blogger Page I assumed it didn’t work. WordPress Reblog only works on WordPress Blogs. When I noticed it had worked I decided to leave it with an additional caveat. I wouldn’t want anyone to think I was supporting a Brownshirt blog.

–Joe

The Way of the White Man – MacLeod Cartoon

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The Way of the White Man

Rush Limbaugh and Sandra Fluke

So goes “The Way of the White Man’s Rights” – Doesn’t look too good, does it?

A local blogger puts it this way in his latest posting: Nothing About Witchcraft? This is his take on South Carolina Republican’s “rights” to exclude certain types, including “And obviously you can’t be a contraceptive-advocating college student slut!” – His obvious reference to Sandra Fluke.

Here’s a good example of “witchcraft” wizardry at its best.

[Source – MacLeod Cartoons]

–Joe

9/11 Ten Year Anniversary a la MacLeod Cartoons

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This says it best:

Great essay in New York Magazine by Frank Rich on the ten years since 9/11. It all seems very clear with hindsight, but the smoke signals were ambiguous on that day. PZ Myers here and Glenn Greenwald here.

[Source]

–Joe

MacLeod Cartoons: Lame Duck Dems

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WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 22, 2010

Lame Duck Dems

via MacLeod Cartoons: Lame Duck Dems.

 

 

Click on the images to enlarge.

[UPDATE :: THURSDAY, December 23, 2010]

Obama undergoes miraculous transformation

 

 

 

–Joe

Written by Joe Blow

December 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm

Regards to the Opinionator Assassinator

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This is a post by Digby posted here in it’s entirety. In view of the latest “As It Stands” Times-Standard opinionated article on this subject we wanted to add Digby’s thoughts to the discussion.

The Suggestibility Of Bradley Manning

by digby

I haven’t written much about Bradley Manning’s treatment in his military brig, since Greenwald has done a great job along with many others who are following the story carefully. There seems to be a lot of controversy over whether or not he is being tortured. In my opinion, locking up someone who has not presented any kind of threat to other prisoners and who has not been convicted of a crime for months on end in solitary confinement under tight restrictions is torture. It’s horrible enough to do it someone who has been convicted, but using these techniques on someone you are trying to get to testify against someone else cannot be seen in any other light.

As we well know by now, the line between interrogation and torture has become indistinguishable among far too many people and many of these more suspect interrogation techniques are likely to produce the same kind of false information you get from torture. So one aspect of the Manning story stuck out at me as being pretty damning evidence and that’s the fact that he’s being awakened every five minutes during the day and if the guards “need” to assure themselves that he’s ok, they wake him up at night. Keep in mind that this is a guy who’s completely isolated and has no access to anything unauthorized, not even a real blanket and pillow. (Apparently, he’s got some strange device that makes him miserable.)

Sleep deprivation is well known to enhance “suggestibility” and is commonly used in interrogations:

A person’s suggestibility is how willing they are to accept and act on suggestions by others. Interrogators seek to increase a subject’s suggestibility. Methods used to increase suggestibility may include moderate sleep deprivation, exposure to constant white noise, and using GABAergic drugs such as sodium amytal or sodium thiopental.

There’s no evidence that they are using white noise or the drugs mentioned, but it sure sounds as if they employing moderate sleep deprivation to increase “suggestibility.” And we know what they are suggesting, don’t we?

Months and months of sleep deprivation and isolation cannot be justified for security reasons. This fellow isn’t a commando. He isn’t a professional spy. He’s just some grunt who uploaded some electronic files. The only reasonable explanation for his treatment is that they are trying to get him to implicate someone else in his alleged a crime. And that’s the oldest reason for torture in the books. In the old days, they wanted their subjects to implicate Satan. Today it’s Julian Assange.

What is going on here is truly an assault on this nations’ manhood and womanhood.

–Joe

American Sharia

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[UPDATE Below]

When you consider teaching American Christians that Yoga, “the stretching and meditative discipline derived from Eastern religions is not a Christian pathway to God” you also see the same fundamentalist, literalism rendered to Islamic Sharia Law. When you look at the regressive, Dark Age dogma coming from the “born again” religions in this country, I see no difference. Yahoo News produced: Southern Baptist leader on yoga: Not Christianity today. This demonstrates the bigoted thinking and belief of patently NON-Christians. These Southern Baptists sound like Jehovah’s Witnesses. This “leader,” Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler, says,

Mohler said he objects to “the idea that the body is a vehicle for reaching consciousness with the divine.”

“That’s just not Christianity.”

The arrogant and self-righteous judgments embodied in these statements fly directly in the face of Jesus’ teaching regarding his “Way of thinking” and more specifically his instructions about judging. More importantly, someone that has “reached consciousness with the Divine” know that what Mohler says is nonsense. He would NEVER assume such assertions if he had actually experienced such a reality. People that actually reached “consciousness with the Divine” know one another. They are the living Truth. They expose the ignorance in such statements and teachings. The problem is, there are so very few of them and some many of the pretenders.

It would be good for religious fanatics to remember Jesus’ admonition to John regarding this matter:

John spoke up, “Master, we saw a man driving out demons in your name, and we told him to stop, because he doesn’t belong to our group.” “Do not try to stop him,” Jesus said to him and to the other disciples, “because whoever is not against you is for you.” – John 9:49, 50.

Then there is this accompanying account:

John said to him: “Teacher, we saw a certain man expelling demons by the use of your name and we tried to prevent him, because he was not accompanying us.” But Jesus said: “Do not try to prevent him, for there is no one that will do a powerful work on the basis of my name that will quickly be able to revile me; for he that is not against us is for us. For whoever gives you a cup of water to drink on the grounds that you belong to Christ, I truly tell you, he will be no means lose his reward. But whoever stumbles one of these little ones that believe, it would be finer for him if a millstone such as is turned by an ass were put around his neck and he were actually pitched into the sea.” – Matthew 9:38-42.

Perhaps, if Mr. Mohler and his kind demonstrated an actual Christian way of being, compatible and consistent with Jesus’ documented teachings, he might have some justification for what he teaches. The proof is in the “being.” His stand against yoga denies that Christ-like “being.”

We’re told that America and the Western Christian World is at war with Islamic Extremist. You can well understand these kinds of teaching lay the root cause of war right at the feet of people like R. Albert Mohler. History reveals it’s really two fundamental extremists at one another’s throats, claiming God is on their side.
[Source]

[UPDATE :: Friday, October 8, 2010]

A Texas town under Sharia law.”

–Joe

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