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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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Could This Be True?

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Is the U.S. Government UNDER reporting their war dead? If you’re shot on the battlefield, but only die on the way to a medical treatment center or post evacuation you’re NOT counted. So says this report:

Iraq War Deaths Exceed Vietnam War Number

Department of Veterans Affairs Reports 73 Thousand U.S. Gulf War Deaths

By Gary Vey for viewzone

This is the report’s supporting this article:

I know you probably will think this is another conspiracy theory — I did when I first heard about this — so please read the original report for yourself. [Source: http://www1.va.gov/rac-gwvi/docs/GWVIS_May2007.pdf Note: Sometimes this link is not active so we have posted the pdf file on viewzone 393 kb.]

Just a note: The release date of this report was June 30, 2007 – FOUR YEARS AGO! Interestingly, there is no publish date on the web article either. Make one wonder if this is, as posted, just another “CONSPIRACY THEORY.”

The real cost of war always seems to be the truth.

–Joe

Written by Joe Blow

June 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm

Osama Bin Laden Killed; the Impact? – MacLeod Cartoon

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I just couldn’t pass this one up.

It’s been my opinion for some years now, that at some point the world population will get over their governments love affair with America and will stop tolerating the American assault on sovereign rights and begin to enforce the American-style (Osama bin Laden) Justice on individual Americans. Probably why I think the cartoon is so appropriate. The question is, was this the match that lights that fire?

–Joe

Osama Bin Laden Killed; the Reaction – MacLeod Cartoon

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MacLeod Cartoon

It’s not just the media that wants to see this. It a whole lot of American too.

Glenn Greenwald puts forth a rather more practical perspective despite the wanton orgy. For the complete article and update on Salon.com click the title-link.

Killing of bin Laden: What are the consequences?

He starts by saying:

The killing of Osama bin Laden is one of those events which, especially in the immediate aftermath, is not susceptible to reasoned discussion. It’s already a Litmus Test event: all Decent People — by definition — express unadulterated ecstacy at his death, and all Good Americans chant “USA! USA!” in a celebration of this proof of our national greatness and Goodness (and that of our President). Nothing that deviates from that emotional script will be heard, other than by those on the lookout for heretics to hold up and punish. Prematurely interrupting a national emotional consensus with unwanted rational truths accomplishes nothing but harming the heretic (ask Bill Maher about how that works).

And concludes by saying:

In sum, a murderous religious extremist was killed. The U.S. has erupted in a collective orgy of national pride and renewed faith in the efficacy and righteousness of military force. Other than that, the repercussions are likely to be far greater in terms of domestic politics — it’s going to be a huge boost to Obama’s re-election prospects and will be exploited for that end — than anything else.

Read the complete article.

–Joe

U.S. Uses Chemical Weapons in Iraq?

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Chris Floyd posted this report January 4, 2011, and must be repeated. Mondo Inferno: The Endless Echoes of America’s WMD Atrocity

The article begins:

For years, I have been writing about the American use of chemical weapons in the savage assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in late 2004. The results of this deployment of WMD began emerging a few months later. The clear evidence of chemical weapons damage among the civilians of the city — uncovered by Iraqi doctors working for the American-backed government — was scorned and dismissed at that time, including by many stalwart anti-war voices, apparently frightened that such “extremist” charges would somehow detract from their own “reasonable” opposition — perhaps even cost them their perches in the mainstream media.

(Oddly enough, my own pieces on the matter were also appearing in the mainstream media — the pages of The Moscow Times, the decidedly centrist, pro-business, English-language newspaper in the Russian capital, which supported my column from all attacks, including heavy hints from the American embassy that it should be dropped.)

In any case, the evidence of American WMD in Fallujah kept mounting, year after year, until finally, in mid–2010, even the BBC’s most respected voices were reporting on the effects of the chemical weaponry — primarily on the children of Fallujah, some of whom were not yet born when the attack was launched.

Even without the WMD, the attack itself was one of the most horrific events of the still-unfolding act of aggression in Iraq. Presented in the U.S. press as an old-fashioned, gung-ho, WWII-style “battle,” it was in fact a mass slaughter, largely of trapped civilians; almost all of the “terrorists” and “insurgents” in the city had long escaped during the months-long, oddly public build-up to the assault. It seemed clear that the intent was not to quash an insurgent nest, as stated, but to perpetrate an act of condign, collective punishment — primarily against civilians — in order to terrorize the rest of Iraq into submission.

Click this link to read the complete article. All American’s are responsible for what their military does and here is a good example laid out in spades for everyone to see.

Mondo Inferno: The Endless Echoes of America’s WMD Atrocity

The question I ask is, “Who were and where are the embedded reporters of this battle?

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–Joe

Living With Dignity

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[Update :: Thursday, August 12, 2010:  New article posted in response to latest comment: “Fixation or Obsession?]

How can anyone accept the finality of death with dignity if they’ve NEVER lived with dignity? Even more so, what gives such a person the authority to tell other people what it means to either live or die with dignity?

Once again our great North Coast Opinionated Conjecturer lays bare his ‘I know I’m right’ syndrome or being stupid and proud of it’ in his latest Sunday, August 8, 2010, rather convoluted masterpiece “Accepting Death Is Unacceptable To Many Americans.”

Dignity is defined:

1. bearing, conduct, or speech indicative of self-respect or appreciation of the formality or gravity of an occasion or situation.
2. nobility or elevation of character; worthiness: dignity of sentiments.
3. elevated rank, office, station, etc.
4. relative standing; rank.
5. a sign or token of respect: an impertinent question unworthy of the dignity of an answer.                                                                                                                                                                                                     

Such  a person would never come on this blog, assert foul unsubstantiated accusations, and then repeatedly ask a totally unrelated question that was already answered at least twice in his vain efforts to get me to give him standing. Dave Stancliff’s level of character, self-respect and measure of standing is demonstrably revealed in all its glory within the pages of this blog for everyone to see.

Life is far too valuable to be squandered by living the way regressive, self-righteous, arrogant and admittedly stupid dark-age believers would dictate. Death is not my master and neither are these people.
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–Joe

Written by Joe Blow

August 10, 2010 at 8:01 pm

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