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Nate Beeler | Obama Messaging / TruthDig<www.truthdig.com>

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The Mainstream Media Is Now Obsolete

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  • If we need anything at this point in history, it is the citizen journalist. We need not one corporately sponsored message, but millions of independent voices all searching for the truth in their own unique way. Only then can we retrieve our American identity, and achieve a legitimate sense of justice in this country. Great changes begin with a revolution of ideas, an individual will, and a multitude of open eyes. The internet is a catalyst for such an event, the kind that occurs perhaps once in a millennium. We cannot allow it to be vilified by swindlers or dominated by tyrants under any circumstance, otherwise, we will lose our initiative, and along with it, our voice.
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  • The American Media Misdiagnosis
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Giordano Bruno, Pakalert Press

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

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The progression of human society relies upon the steady distribution of information. The quality of that information, its accuracy and its honesty, determines the overall health of the cultures we create. When a source of information becomes compromised by unhealthy political ambition, social dogma, or the strangling hands of elitism, it’s like a poison well, spreading plague and pestilence throughout the nation, or even the world. Widely disseminated lies inspire delirium and madness in the masses faster than typhoid fever.

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In America today, the person searching for a pure source of truth in the media inevitably stumbles across many poison wells.

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Even if they are not yet actively pursuing alternative outlets of information, many people are aware, at least intuitively, when someone is trying to swindle them. You can present us with the assurance of delectable sirloin steaks on ornate silver platters, but if our faces are struck with the sickly stench of decay, we aren’t going to bite. Through its dishonesty and its distinct lack of substance, the mainstream media has turned up more noses than any putrid slab of unkempt beef ever could. The raw data is merciless in regards to the implosion of the MSM…

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The American Media Misdiagnosis, Robert Parry, ConsortiumNews.com
It’s widely agreed that there are a number of factors dragging down American newspapers, but a reason rarely mentioned is that the national news media failed in its most important job – to serve as a watchdog for the people.

Are Americans as Stupid as the Media Think They Are? (Maybe), Marty Kaplan, AlterNet
There are "poll numbers that pretty convincingly correlate believing idiotic things with having less education, and not believing idiotic things with having more education."

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Updated | Keith Olbermann: Libya and the five-second rule

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    \r\nThe longer we go, President Obama, without a clear and compelling argument for why we are doing whatever we are doing, and how soon you are going to stop doing it, the more room there will be for explanations such as those provided by Congressman Ed Markey, and by the Dictator Qaddafi himself.

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  • Transcript: Special Comment: Libya, Obama, and the Five-Second Rule
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pink-o, Democratic Underground

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So great that Keith still has a voice--and in unrestricted media!

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Transcript: Special Comment: Libya, Obama, and the Five-Second Rule, Keith Olbermann
(for video please see the top of the page)
Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Lydia Howell

We all know “the five second rule.” Drop food on the floor and if you pick it up before that span of time elapses, and it’ll still be “good.” There is also a life-and-death version of this: the five-day rule, by which we have surrendered to any U.S. President the right to kill people in our name, provided he only does it for a couple of days.

I’m not defending this policy, I am simply stating that at some point in the last 60 years it has been established. And from the Bay of Pigs, to Reagan’s Trophy War in Granada, to President Clinton’s bombing of Iraq, to President Clinton’s bombing of Sudan, to President Clinton’s bombing of Libya — “the horse of undeclared war” has pretty much left the barn.

Nevertheless. After that Imperial period of a few days, a President – this one included – is required to either call it off, or justify why it must continue, or maybe even follow the Constitution and get approval from Congress by explaining the threat to this country that rationalizes the continuing action. Especially when we now have American pilots bailing out over hostile territory.

Not only have not yet we gotten this from President Obama about Libya, but five days into our involvement in bombing, what we are getting is a series of extraordinarily mixed messages. And none could be more stark than what he said, compared to what his Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said:

From the President, Monday [Mar.21] — quoting: “It is U-S Policy that Qaddafi needs to go.”

From the Chairman, Sunday [Mar. 20]— quoting. “It’s not about seeing him go,” unquote. He added that the mission might be accomplished even if Qaddafi stays in power.

And from the President’s War Powers letter to Congress… quoting: “United States forces are conducting a limited and well-defined mission in support of international efforts to protect civilians and prevent a humanitarian disaster. Accordingly, U.S. forces have targeted the Qadhafi regime’s air defense systems, command and control structures, and other capabilities of Qadhafi’s armed forces used to attack civilians and civilian populated areas.”

So. This is about making sure Qaddafi goes. Except, it’s not about making sure he goes. Except it’s about making sure he can’t attack his own civilians.

If, Mr. President, you some day want to announce “Mission Accomplished” about this, there is no easier route than to identify two mutually exclusive outcomes as the Mission.I wish the conflict in goals ended there, but it does not. Your War Powers Message also included the news that “we will seek a rapid, but responsible transition of operations to coalition, regional, or international organizations that are postured to continue activities as may be necessary to realize the objectives…”

Except this seems to be news to those “coalition, regional, or international organizations.” The British Prime Minister, Mr. Cameron, said responsibility would be transferred to NATO. The French Foreign Minister, M’sieu Juppe, said the Arab League would not accept control of the operation being given to NATO. But Turkey opposed the use of force by NATO and was promptly excluded from a NATO meeting to plan that use of force. In case the situation is not confused enough, the Turkish Prime Minister Mr. Erdogan said Turkey did not object to NATO’s participation, providing the organization could assure him the action would be brief and there would be no occupation – which simply seems to send us right back to where we were earlier with the “five-second rule” of when and for how long it’s ok to kill people.

The metaphorical five seconds has expired, Mr. President. We are not clear why we are fighting, who exactly we are fighting with, who the ‘rebels’ are that we’re fighting for, what a No-Fly Zone accomplishes with a dictator who has ground troops, how long we are to be there, to whom we are to “hand-off,” and why, Sir, if we are intervening on behalf of civilians at risk, why we did not do so in Egypt, why we are not doing so in places like Bahrain, and – if the local government were to somehow screw-up the containment at the Dai-Ichi nuclear plant, if this new doctrine would somehow permit us to go in and try to take over Japan.

The longer we go, President Obama, without a clear and compelling argument for why we are doing whatever we are doing, and how soon you are going to stop doing it, the more room there will be for explanations such as those provided by Congressman Ed Markey, and by the Dictator Qaddafi himself.

The latter, Mr. President, said “We will not leave our oil to America or France or Britain or the enemy Christian states that are aligned now against us.” The Brookings Institution helpfully translated this phrase tersely. It means either he intends to blow up Libya’s oil infra-structure, or he intends to wait us out, and then if he prevails, to give all his nation’s oil business to countries who stayed out of this, like, say…China.

The less crazy summary of this came from Congressman Markey. Seven words: Quote: “We are in Libya because of oil.”

This, Mr. President, is not the impression you want to leave with the people of this country.

Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News – of all of those people – just recounted the story of how a previous President vowed to handle Qaddafi after a previous external outrage – and at just about the same time of year. He bombed Tripoli, then went off to throw out a first pitch at the opening game of the baseball season. One of the players at the game told that President that he was worried about Qaddafi and the Libyans. That President told the athlete not to be worried. He supposedly pointed to the bench in the dugout and said of Qaddafi, quote, “We ought to nail his (privates) to that log over there and push him over.”

That President was Ronald Reagan, and this was after the Berlin Disco bombing, and thus the 25th anniversary of empty, vague, and unfulfilled threats against Qaddafi happens next month. Qaddafi has outlasted four presidents, going so far as to con the last of them, George W. Bush, into actually saying that Qaddafi had ‘renounced terrorism’ and merited immunity from the lawsuits over the Lockerbie bombing, plus a visit from Condi Rice, and the home version of the “Play the U.S. like a two-dollar banjo” Game.

Now — as ever — Libya is enticing yet a fifth U-S President to try to have his cake and eat it, too – before he drops it and the five-second rule applies. He will not commit to war, he will stand as far back from war-like actions as he can, and he believes it’s about Qaddafi “going” while his Joint Chiefs Chair says it isn’t.

Chairman Mullen said something else which kind of sums this quagmire up. Quoting again: “The goals are limited.” This is the fifth Administration for which that’s been true. Once again, it’s just too bad that we don’t really know…. what the goals are.

Mr. President, it’s time you made those goals clear… and then let us decide whether or not we agree with you.

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Series | Rebooting the American Dream, Part 9

11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country: Back to the Future
Part 9: They Will Steal It

War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.  - John F. Kennedy

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Thom Hartmann, truth-out

(Image: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Edited: to)

Truthout is proud to bring you an exclusive series from America's No. 1 progressive radio host, Thom Hartmann. Starting today, we'll be publishing weekly installments of Hartmann's acclaimed new book, "Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country." We invite Truthout readers to join us over the next 12 weeks as, chapter by chapter, we explore these groundbreaking ideas for national transformation. We continue today with....They Will Steal It!

In 1981, in the midst of a wide-ranging conversation during a night flight across the Atlantic, I got one of the biggest foreign policy insights of my life. Ever since I heard it, it’s filtered my observations of the behavior of virtually every country in the world, particularly ours.
I’d gone to Uganda in 1980 to help start a program to feed the tens of thousands of people starving as a result of the 1978–1979 war, started when Uganda’s neighbor to the south, Tanzania, finally said “Enough!” to the atrocities perpetuated by Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and invaded the country. They drove Amin out (he went to Libya first, then to Saudi Arabia, where he lived to a ripe old age in a palace, courtesy of the king and our oil dollars), but the Uganda-Tanzania War produced a disaster for the people of Uganda.

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Who's in hell? Pastor's book sparks eternal debate

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  • In the book, Bell criticizes the belief that a select number of Christians will spend eternity in the bliss of heaven while everyone else is tormented forever in hell. "This is misguided and toxic and ultimately subverts the contagious spread of Jesus' message of love, peace, forgiveness and joy that our world desperately needs to hear," he writes in the book.
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  • Gospel Nonviolence and The Church: A Challenge to Christendom in Times of War
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Tom Breen, Associated Press/CBSNews

This article is made possible with the generous contributions of readers like you. Thank you!

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In this photo taken March 17, 2011, Rev. Chad Holtz poses for a photo in Durham, N.C. Holtz was fired from his position as pastor from a church in Henderson, N.C. after posting on his Facebook page a defense of a forthcoming book by megachurch pastor Rob Bell, in which Bell challenges millions of Christians’ understanding of the afterlife. (AP Photo - Sara D. Davis)

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When Chad Holtz lost his old belief in hell, he also lost his job.

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The pastor of a rural United Methodist church in North Carolina wrote a note on his Facebook page supporting a new book by Rob Bell, a prominent young evangelical pastor and critic of the traditional view of hell as a place of eternal torment for billions of damned souls.

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Two days later, Holtz was told complaints from church members prompted his dismissal from Marrow's Chapel in Henderson.

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"I think justice comes and judgment will happen, but I don't think that means an eternity of torment," Holtz said. "But I can understand why people in my church aren't ready to leave that behind. It's something I'm still grappling with myself."

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Gospel Nonviolence and The Church: A Challenge to Christendom in Times of War, Gary G. Kohls, MD, Duty to Warn/Evergreene Digest
Sadly, post-Auschwitz Christianity is still ignoring Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence. Part of the problem is that essentially no mainstream seminaries teach courses on the history, the theology or spirituality of Christian nonviolence. Most American churches are therefore essentially silent about the ravages of war and the enormous suffering of innocent and unarmed Iraqi and Afghani civilians and children in the current American wars in the Middle East.

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Gospel Nonviolence and The Church: A Challenge to Christendom in Times of War

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Sadly, post-Auschwitz Christianity is still ignoring Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence. Part of the problem is that essentially no mainstream seminaries teach courses on the history, the theology or spirituality of Christian nonviolence. Most American churches are therefore essentially silent about the ravages of war and the enormous suffering of innocent and unarmed Iraqi and Afghani civilians and children in the current American wars in the Middle East.

Gary G. Kohls, MD, Duty to Warn/Evergreene Digest

Low Income Readers:  If you are on a tight budget, don't send cash! Just forward articles to your friends - and non-Progressives too ;) - and we need help building our Evergreene Digest community, you can invite your Facebook friends, that's a big help too. We are proud to have you with us.

There is no question that the Christian church of the first 3 centuries regarded itself as a nonviolent community. It makes perfect sense. Jesus clearly taught and modeled the nonviolent love of friend and enemy, and his earliest followers tried to do so also. And by and large they succeeded, despite terrible persecutions from Rome, under whose brutal domination being a Christian was a capital crime for most of the first 3 centuries.

The first Christians tried to be faithful to Jesus' commandments to "put away the sword," ”do not repay evil for evil,” “do unto others that which you would have them do unto you,” "do good to those who persecute you," "pray for those who despitefully use you," "love your neighbor as yourself," "turn the other cheek," "love your enemies" and "love as I have loved you."

Jesus’ earliest followers regarded the human body as the holy temple of God here on earth, and, knowing that violence to a holy place was considered an act of desecration (and therefore forbidden), they refused to kill or maim other children of God, and therefore they also refused, out of conscience, to become killing soldiers for Rome. Martyrdom, in the first three centuries was regarded as the ultimate act of social responsibility. And the church flourished!

Constantine’s Corruption of Christianity

The Roman Emperor Constantine first recognized Christianity as a valid religion around 311 CE and he made Christianity the official state religion within decades. He showered the now-legal church with the goodies of the Empire and the Christians accepted them, not aware that property, dominative power, wealth and the tight connections to militarism were eventually to become curse for the church. Before long Christians began endorsing, and then participating in, un-Christ-like acts of homicidal violence in war.

The dark history of Constantinian Christianity's use and abuse of power and wealth is painful to relate. In 311 CE, you could not be a Christian and be a killing soldier in Rome’s army. By 416, you couldn’t be in the Roman army unless you were a Christian! It had all turned around in 105 years, and Christianity has been a war-tolerating religion ever since. Fights for dominative power within the church hierarchy soon came to be the norm. Accused "heretics" on all sides of theological issues excommunicated each other.

Massacres of non-Christian “infidels” in the Crusades were soon followed by massacres of fellow Christians. In the Middle Ages, the organized church actively persecuted, tortured and murdered millions of women who were feared as intellectuals, midwives and "witches." The Inquisitions over a period of 600 years, burned Jews and heretics at the stake; and bloody counter-Reformation wars between Catholics and Protestants were cruelly waged -- with the blessings of the Pope, Luther, Calvin and King Henry VIII.

The use of atomic bombs against the civilian targets of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was perhaps the spiritual low point in Christendom's history of un-Christ-like cruelty and inhumanity to man. It is a little known fact that ground zero for bomb 2 was the largest Christian church in the Orient. The Nagasaki Urakami Cathedral and most of its members were vaporized in 9 seconds by an all-Christian bomb crew on August 9, 1945, and American Christianity remains unrepentant.

And then there was the horrific example of the German Christianity, easily nazified because of its historical connections to Prussian militarism, and therefore allied to Hitler’s policy of perpetual war! Many “good Germans” had good-paying healthcare-related jobs but they found themselves obediently participating in the extermination of the mentally and physically deformed “useless eaters”. Many “good Germans” earned their livings participating in the oppression and extermination of gypsies, homosexuals, trade unionists, liberals, communists and Jews; and many churches consented to those atrocities by their silence. The Jewish Holocaust occurred in part because the German churches had, for centuries, falsely blamed the Jews for killing Jesus (a myth), ignoring Jesus’ commandment to "love as I have loved you."

What most church leaders and their followers in Germany did not "get" back then (a reality that seems to be commonly true today as well) was that the "neighbor/enemy" who was to be loved (and not maimed or killed) included outcasts like Jews, gays, lesbians, immigrants, foreigners and others among “the least of these”.

Hitler needed the church's neutrality for the genocide to go smoothly, and he got it.

Germany needed, but didn't have, an established faith-based peace movement. Germany didn’t have prophetic and charismatic leaders like Gandhi or Martin Luther King. Dietrich Bonhoeffer and Martin Niemoller barely got started in their antiwar activism, but it was too late and too little. Not many clergy or lay leaders in Germany understood, much less taught, the nonviolent ethics of Jesus, and there were even fewer that were willing to lead and suffer for the cause. War was a taboo subject in German churches. Instead, Germany had Martin Luther's legacy, and his rabid anti-Semitism, and it had the the Catholic church’s hatred of Jewish leftists, socialists and liberals, all of which contributed to the church’s complicity in the war against the Jews. Hitler needed the church's neutrality for the genocide to go smoothly, and he got it.

Nobody knows what would have happened if a grassroots movement of nonviolent resistance to evil had been in place a few generations prior to the rise of the German Empire. If German Christianity had operated out of a peace church tradition leading up to WWI, instead of following the “Christian Just War” tradition, Germany’s military age sons might have refused to participate in any of Kaiser Wilhelm’s or Adolf Hitler’s unjust atrocity-generating wars. Young Germans might have obeyed Jesus’ command to “put up the sword” if they had been carefully taught about gospel nonviolence. Conscripting German boys into the military might have been met with a courageous “No Sir” and a refusal to kill the so-called enemy because of a heightened conscience.  Perhaps, if the church had been preaching the full gospel of love, the baptized Catholic Adolf Hitler might not have been an anti-Semite or a warmonger or a Nazi.

Nazism could not have flourished if the German churches had been peace churches. The movements of Gandhi, King and Jesus, as well as a multitude of other examples of successful nonviolent, faith-based resistance movements throughout history, are proof that nonviolence can work, but they are only for the faithful and the courageous. Far more courage is demanded of unarmed resisters who may be forced to jail or to their deaths, than is asked of modern super-patriotic warriors who do battle using highly lethal, high-tech weaponry that almost guarantees their physical survival.

Sadly, post-Auschwitz Christianity is still ignoring Jesus’ teachings on nonviolence. Part of the problem is that essentially no mainstream seminaries teach courses on the history, the theology or spirituality of Christian nonviolence. Most American churches are therefore essentially silent about the ravages of war and the enormous suffering of innocent and unarmed Iraqi and Afghani civilians and children in the current American wars in the Middle East.

Questions for the Just War churches

Is the church - since Constantine - so tied up in the property, power, prestige and privilege protected by our secular rulers that it doesn't even recognize its disobedience to Jesus’ clear commands about love? Is it so frightened of losing the good graces (e.g. tax-free status) of its political rulers that it is willing to participate in, and even bless, the indiscriminant homicidal realities of war? Is it so afraid of losing members that it cannot proclaim the radical Gospel of love? Is its propaganda-induced fear and hatred of "the enemy" so ingrained that it doesn't recognize those two impulses as being anti-Christic?

When will American Christians recognize and repent of their participation in the immorality of what Martin Luther King called the “triple evils” of militarism, racism, and poverty (economic oppression)? Shouldn’t the abolition of the triple evils be job # 1 for the church? 

The answers to these questions have serious implications for the churches, and solutions won’t come easily. But if the American churches started to faithfully teach what Jesus taught, and then lived that way (ie, nonviolently), the world would receive unexpected blessings. Peacemakers, many of whom have given up on hypocritical “Just War” churches may return to the folds if churches returned to their ancient peace church origins. Apathetic or disillusioned lay people may even find themselves energized by the participation in the powerful, joyful and fulfilling mission of peacemaking.

Christian nonviolence seems to be an unknown reality in churches that focus on personal salvation, "believing in" (as opposed to "believing") Jesus, and "glory to God" religiosity. These practices may indeed be valid expressions of faith, but they are insufficient if the Christian takes seriously Jesus’ call to love – and not harm - “the other”. But the historical "non-peace" churches don't seem to trust the radical peace message in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5, 6 and 7). Some followers may not be absolutely sure that Jesus was serious when he commanded his followers to love their enemies. Most churches don’t trust what is said in the Last Judgment passage (in Matthew 25:31-46) where the author of that gospel proclaims that mercy offered (or not) to the least of God's children is mercy offered (or not) to Jesus, with radical consequences for the unmerciful. According to this passage, indifference to relievable human suffering is radical evil.

Daddy, what did you do during the wars (that bankrupted America both spiritually and economically)?

The Gospel is supposed to be good news to the poor – but also to the suffering victims of oppression who are made hungry, thirsty, poorly clothed, ill and imprisoned.

The earliest Christians knew Jesus and his radical teachings best. They were the ones who understood that gospel nonviolence and love of enemies was practical. They lived out those ethical teachings, and the early church flourished. How a message of such clarity in the gospels could be a non-issue for the modern church is a wonder.

Does the modern church have the courage to confess its faithlessness and then repent? Does it have the courage to start anew and live and love the way Jesus and the early church lived and loved? Can it adopt the Peace Plan of God as revealed in the Sermon on the Mount? Can it start living lives of Christ-like love -- the love that is unconditional, merciful, forgiving, nonjudgmental, non-retaliatory, sacrificial and nonviolent?

The answers to those questions are of critical importance.

Let’s hope that the churches will, in faithfulness to the gospels, do the right thing and say yes to those questions, for the survival, not just of the errant churches, but of our traumatized, militarized and poisoned police state planet demands it. And the children of the church and state, who are destined to suffer tremendously if things stay the same, will some day demand answers to the classic question: “Mommy and Daddy, what did you do during the wars (that bankrupted America both spiritually and economically)? Did you try to stop them?”

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Maher: GOP governs like “a meth addict”

"Governing this country with the Republicans is like rooming with a meth addict," he said. "You want to address real-life problems like when the rent is due, and they're saying, 'How could you even think of that stuff when there's police scanner voices coming out of the air conditioning unit?!'"

Kase Wickman, Raw Story

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Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Thomas Sklarski

Bill Maher chastised Republicans for focusing on "useless distractions."

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"Fantasies are for sex, not public policy," he said on his show, Real Time, Friday night.

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One such "fantasy problem," he said, was "Michelle Obama's war on desserts. For Christ's sake, she's just trying to get you to eat a carrot, not stick it up your ass."

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"Governing this country with the Republicans is like rooming with a meth addict," he said. "You want to address real-life problems like when the rent is due, and they're saying, 'How could you even think of that stuff when there's police scanner voices coming out of the air conditioning unit?!'"

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Series | Rebooting the American Dream, Part 8

11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country: Back to the Future
Part 8: Cool Our Fever

We live in a democracy and policies represent our collective will. We cannot blame others. If we allow the planet to pass tipping points...it will be hard to explain our role to our children. We cannot claim...that “we didn’t know.” - Jim Hansen, Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies

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Thom Hartmann, truth-out

(Image: Berrett-Koehler Publishers; Edited: to)

Truthout is proud to bring you an exclusive series from America's No. 1 progressive radio host, Thom Hartmann. Starting today, we'll be publishing weekly installments of Hartmann's acclaimed new book, "Rebooting the American Dream: 11 Ways to Rebuild Our Country." We invite Truthout readers to join us over the next 12 weeks as, chapter by chapter, we explore these groundbreaking ideas for national transformation. We continue today with....Cool Our Fever!

II have taken the four-hour train ride from the airport in Frankfurt, Germany, to the Bavarian town of Stadtsteinach in the Frankenwald often enough to know it by heart. I look out the window and see the familiar sights - the towns, the rivers, the houses.

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I have visited Stadtsteinach many times over the past 30 years, working with Salem International, a relief organization headquartered in that town. The community for abused kids that Louise and I founded in New Hampshire is based on its family-oriented model, and we have helped start Salem programs in Australia, Colombia, India, Israel, Peru, Russia, and Uganda, among others. So at least once a year I’ve made it back to Germany, and we lived there for a year in the mid-1980s.

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