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Books, Literature & Ideas

Books, Literature & Ideas

Happy as a Hangman

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  • Those who do not carry out acts of rebellion, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, are guilty of solidifying and perpetuating these crimes. Those who do not act delude themselves into believing they are innocent. They are not.
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  • Stop These Wars Or We'll Fill Your Jails
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  • Real Hope Is About Doing Something
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Chris Hedges, TruthDig.com

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Paul Rozycki

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Two Iraqi men detained by Americans in 2006. AP / Jacob Silberberg

Innocence, as defined by law, makes us complicit with the crimes of the state. To do nothing, to be judged by the state as an innocent, is to be guilty. It is to sanction, through passivity and obedience, the array of crimes carried out by the state.

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To be innocent in America means we passively permit offshore penal colonies where we torture human beings, some of whom are children. To be innocent in America is to acquiesce to the relentless corporate destruction of the ecosystem that sustains the human species. To be innocent in America is to permit the continued theft of hundreds of billions of dollars from the state by Wall Street swindlers and speculators. To be innocent in America is to stand by as insurance and pharmaceutical companies, in the name of profit, condemn ill people, including children, to die. To be innocent in America is refusing to resist wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that are not only illegal under international law but responsible for the murder of hundreds of thousands of people. This is the odd age we live in. Innocence is complicity.

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Stop These Wars Or We'll Fill Your Jails, David Swanson, OpEdNews.com

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  • You may not die for the Pentagon, but if you do not it will be your children or grandchildren. Would you rather go to jail for a few hours with a bunch of friends or see your grandchildren killed?
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  • Veterans for Peace (VFP) to Take a Stand for Peace at the White House Dec 16
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Real Hope Is About Doing Something, Chris Hedges, TruthDig

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Faces along the bar cling to their average day:
The lights must never go out, the music must always play,
All the conventions conspire to make this fort assume the furniture of home;
Lest we should see where we are, lost in a haunted wood,
Children afraid of the night who have never been happy or good. - W. H. Auden

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Stop These Wars Or We'll Fill Your Jails

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The Economy is Sacred, Stupid

The society we live in, and indeed the political landscape for the foreseeable future, is populated by voting citizens who idolize financial success and believe that a free market and the pursuit of individual wealth is ordained by a God who favors the rich over the poor, free market over social justice, capital investment over government services.

Gary Laderman, Religion Dispatches

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According to early reports, Black Friday, the annual start of the holiday shopping season, was only modestly better than last year. Many are hopeful that today, Cyber Monday, will offer a more reassuring sign that Americans continue to have faith in the economy by sacrificing their hard-earned cash during this season of giving. Time will tell whether holiday shopping has any significant impact on the sluggish economy, but you can bet that a door-busting pile of reports, commentaries, and opinions will surface over the next few weeks about the mood and spirit of the nation’s shoppers. Shopping and buying, selling and spending—mundane, prosaic activities, or a matter of national life and death?

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his Christmas, the haunting spector of impending economic calamity will compete with the candlelit nativity scenes representing the glorious birth of Christ. Indeed in this light, the recent “shellacking” of Democrats—as President Obama put it—in the midterm elections points to an obvious yet underanalyzed dimension of political life today: the economy is sacred, and “free enterprise” is a religious commitment of the highest order to most Americans when the chips are down and the recession is deep. Forget social services, forget education, forget sexual orientation, forget health care, forget the environment, forget the forgettable arts—anything that keeps Americans from their hard-won incomes and dreams of financial freedom in a free market is a disgrace, if not downright devilry.

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Olbermann Special Comment on the deal on the wealthiest Americans tax-cut extension

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  • In exchange for this searing and transcendent capitulation the President got just 13 months of extended benefits for those unemployed for less than a hundred weeks, and they got nothing, absolutely nothing, for those unemployed for longer, the 99ers.
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  • (It is) not disloyal to say Obama (is) 'Goddamned Wrong,' Republicans (are)  'Treasonous'.
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  • Mary Landrieu (D-LA): 'Obama-McConnell Plan' Is 'Almost Morally Corrupt'
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Hissyspit, Democratic Underground

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski
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In exchange for selling out a principle campaign pledge and the people to whom and for whom it was made...

In exchange for betraying the truth that the idle and corporate rich of this country have gotten unprecedented and wholly indefensible tax cuts for a decade...

In exchange for giving the idle and corporate rich of this country two more years to accumulate still more and more vast piles of personal wealth with which they can buy and sell everybody else...

In exchange for extending what he spent the weeks before the midterms calling 'tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires' to people who have proven without a scintilla of doubt, without even a fig leaf of phony effort to make it look like they would do otherwise, that they will keep the money for themselves...

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Mary Landrieu (D-LA): 'Obama-McConnell Plan' Is 'Almost Morally Corrupt', Ryan Grim, Huffington Post
Sen. Mary Landrieu, a conservative Democratic from Louisiana, lashed out Tuesday at President Obama's deal with congressional Republicans that allows tax cuts for the wealthy to be extended for two years.

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In Defense of the Public

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  • What does it say about our world that the most basic of human comforts—a park, a fire, a place to sit—are assumed to be inaccessible to the average person?
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  • We must not let the commons be privatized.
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  • The Myopic Selfishness of Libertarians
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Eve Ewing, In These Times

At a time when corporations are buying up elections – not to mention the 24-hour-news cycle – help ensure that a source for truly independent journalism lives on. Support Evergreene Digest  today by using the donation button in the above right-hand corner.

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On a recent weekend evening graced with unseasonably warm weather, I invited a few friends and family members to spend the twilight hours at the public park near where I live on the south side of Chicago. The park, situated on a tiny promontory that juts into Lake Michigan, is well-used thanks to its beautiful views of the skyline and proximity to the lakefront bicycle path. We brought a picnic dinner and sat on stone benches encircling a fire pit, where we built a small fire and enjoyed the warmth, light and camaraderie offered by the makeshift hearth.

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Fires were a catalytic invention in human evolution. Not only did they allow us the physiological benefits of cooked food, but they also brought us together in a shared reliance on common resources, laying the foundation for cooperative social structures. Whenever I sit before a fire, I imagine what our earliest ancestors must have felt as the heat drew them close, providing refuge from the threats of the night in those times before man was the conqueror of all he saw.

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The Myopic Selfishness of Libertarians, David Horsey, Seattle Post-Intelligencer | WA
One way or another, if the problems of a city, a state or a nation are neglected, those problems will spread and eventually end up on everyone's doorstep. Forget empathy, generosity, humanitarianism or Christian charity. Be selfish, but still grasp this hard truth: Taxes are anarchy insurance, the fee we pay to guarantee we don't lose it all.

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Take Off the Blindfold. Don't Be Afraid to See the Truth!

Americans continue like the lemmings in that Apple ad that flopped during the 1985 Superbowl. They are being led blindfolded up to the edge of an abyss and then are, one by one, falling off. The ad was so stark that it flopped. But if no one takes their blindfold off and stops this insanity, we will all simply fall over the cliff.

Coleen Rowley, Huffington Post
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Do we have to laugh so as to not cry?

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Unfortunately, the US corporate PR machine is again triumphing. The naked emperor shoots the little boy trying to yell the truth. About 70% of Americans, misled by their politicians, now declare that ignorance is bliss and they want to see Assange assassinated and WikiLeaks taken out. Only a tiny fraction of critical-thinker-Americans recognize that what they don't know can hurt them.

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The last time an administration got 70% of the country to believe a false proposition (that Iraq was behind 9-11), we launched an unending war that has already killed over a million and, in so doing, we shot ourselves in the foot. So unless Americans are willing to take their heads out of the sand, that's about to happen again. We find ourselves in such an Orwellian tragedy, that if we don't laugh, we'll cry.

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