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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 World Loves Snowden

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121813_Snowden-HeroPerson of the Year – Edward Snowden

Black Agenda Report

Freedom Rider: Edward Snowden: Person of the Year

Wed, 12/18/2013 – 10:27 — Margaret Kimberley
Edward Snowden is vilified as a “traitor” by politicians of the American political duopoly, and hunted like Public Enemy Number One by the global imperial apparatus. However, for a large proportion of Earthlings, Snowden has made the singular contribution to humanity of the year 2013.

There is not very much democracy left in America, a country which endlessly brags about how democratic it is. Every now and again we are pleasantly surprised when the people and their interests are served instead of the 1% and their factotums in government. Those moments are few and far between but when they take place it is always because an individual decides to take on the system directly. In 2013 Edward Snowden was the person who risked his freedom to tell every human being with access to modern communications that they were under United States government surveillance.

Click here to continue:

[Source]

–Joe

The NEW Meaning for “Second-Class Citizen”

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[UPDATE Below]

America redefines the meaning of being a Second Class Citizen.

US Kills Anwar al-Awlaki, a US Citizen

The “Rule of Law” ?


[UPDATE :: Tuesday, October 18, 2011]

Joe Blow and the Unpeople

Noam Chomsky connects the dots and identifies the root cause of war. Here is an excerpt posted on Democracy Now:

MIT Professor Emeritus Noam Chomsky, the world renewed linguist and political dissident, spoke Monday night at Barnard College in New York City about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, just hours before Israel and Hamas completed a historic prisoner exchange. “I think [Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit] should have been released a long time ago, but there’s something missing from this whole story. There are no pictures of Palestinian women, no discussion, in fact, in the story of, what about the Palestinian prisoners being released? Where do they come from?” Chomsky says. “There is a lot to say about that. For example, we do not know — at least I do not read it in The Times — whether the release includes the elected officials who were kidnapped and imprisoned by Israel in 2007 when the United States, the European Union, and Israel decided to dissolve the only freely elected legislature in the Arab world.” Chomsky also discussed the recent U.S. assassination of U.S.-born cleric Anwar al-Awlaki in Yemen. “Almost all of the critics, of whom there were not many, criticized the action or qualified it because of the fact that al-Awlaki was an American citizen,” Chomksy says. “That is, he was a person, unlike suspects who are intentionally murdered or collateral damage, meaning we treat them kind of like the ants we step on when we walk down the street — they’re not American citizens. They are unpeople, therefore, they can be freely murdered.”

Then there’s this: U.S. Accused of Killing 16-Year-Old American Citizen in Yemen Drone Strike – More Unpeople.

In news from Yemen, the U.S. government is being accused of killing a 16-year-old U.S. citizen in a drone strike last week. The teenager — Abdulrahman al-Awlaki — become the third American killed in Yemen in a U.S. drone strike in the past three weeks. He was the son of Anwar al-Awlaki, the U.S.-born cleric assassinated in a separate drone strike last month. Initial news accounts reported Abdulrahman al-Awlaki was 21 years-old, but his family says he was only 16. They said he was born in Denver in 1995. Nasser al-Awlaki, the boy’s grandfather said, “To kill a teenager is just unbelievable, really, and they claim that he is an al-Qaeda militant. It’s nonsense. They want to justify his killing, that’s all.”


–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

The Law and the Lawless – Are We Barbarians?

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David Mizner on Daily Kos has a very thought-provoking article where he raises some timely and important questions ALL Americans need to confront in: Don’t Apologize, Greenwald. Don’t Back Down. Here he steps up to support Glenn Greenwald’s efforts to confront the criminal conduct of this country and its leaders, as he says:

“But I think he chose his words with utmost care. They were designed to expose in stark terms the shaky moral and legal footing of the U.S’s claim that it can basically do whatever the hell it wants in the name of FIGHTINGEVIL.

And he should be able to do so without progressives claiming hysterically and dishonestly that he’s “comparing” Obama to OBL. Even mass murderers have rights, and even the United States is bound by international law, or should be.”

As someone that also supports Glenn Greenwald’s strong critique of “American exceptionalism” this is an issue that needs to be emphasized on this Report.

Here is another interesting link with the following excerpt about the interview of Lew Rockwell: 200. Rule of Law? We Don’t Need No Stinkin’ Rule of Law – Brian Wilson interviews Lew Rockwell on WSPD

Government is not exempt from moral law. Murder, kidnapping, theft, prison, torture, execution, assassinations, corruption of judges, and telling the big lies followed by cover up are all business as usual for our elective dictatorship regime. Rather than baying at the moon and dancing in the streets painted blue, white and red, over what might have been the take down of Osama bin Laden, more Americans should get skeptical about government blather. Most may not really want liberty, but thinking minorities accomplish everything. Ron Paul’s newest book Liberty Defined gives us the unstoppable weapon – the truth.

These are the kinds of issues that we think need to be emphasized. Why? Because what goes around ALWAYS comes around.

–Joe

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

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

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