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From the Archives | “No civilization would tolerate what America has done.”

  • (We) have … been programmed into cruelty and apathy by (our) schools, churches, families, politics, and pop culture.
  • Institutional racism. Rampant income inequality. A broken justice system. America may never be a great society.
  • Related: Torture Is Who We Are
  • Related: Altruism and Sadism in Public Policy

David Masciotra, AlterNet / Salon

 

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Monday, Dec 29, 2014 | It seems police can get away with anything: choking men who have surrendered; shooting unarmed teens; knocking pregnant women to the ground. While the issues involving race, civil rights and the relationship between law enforcement and communities are essential for examination and correction, few are talking about how all of this fits into the larger pattern of America’s cultural decline and decay. America has become a society addicted to violence and indifferent to the suffering of people without power. Whenever there is a combination of a culture of violence and an ethic of heartlessness, fatal abuse of authority will escalate, and the legal system will fail to address it.

Critics are right to condemn the criminal justice system for its embedded inequities and injustices, but they are hesitant to condemn the actual jurors giving killer cops get-out-of-jail-free cards. These jurors are representational of America: ignorant and cold. They hear testimony from eyewitnesses claiming Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown while he had his hands in the air, and set Wilson free without trial. They listen to reports of three officers choking Robert Saylor, an unarmed man with Down syndrome who wanted to see a movie without a ticket, and they send the police back to work. They watch video footage of police choking Eric Garner in New York, and of two police officers brutally beating Keyarika Diggles, a woman in Texas, and they decline to make them pay for it.

David Masciotra is the author of Mellencamp: American Troubadour (forthcoming, University Press of Kentucky). He writes regularly for the Daily Beast and Splice Today.

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Related:

Torture Is Who We Are, Peter Beinart, Atlantic

A country, like a person, is what it does.

Related:

Altruism and Sadism in Public Policy, David Swanson, davidswanson.org

  • https://i1.wp.com/davidswanson.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/Stop_deportations_poster.jpegThere are three things that are almost always underestimated: the U.S. military budget, altruism, and sadism.
  • http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Editor%20Comment%20icon_0.jpgRemarks at Peace Resource Center of San Diego, June 23, 2018.
     

 

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Series | A Nation Under Trump, Week Ending July 28, 2018

  • Part 1: Trump’s incompetence: Secret weapon?
  • Is this terrifying bumbler the GOP’s secret weapon?
  • Part 2: Your rage at Trump is justified.
  • Your rage at Trump is justified: Don’t let scolds like the New York Times shame you for it.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

Part 1: Trump’s incompetence: Secret weapon?

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  • Donald Trump’s staggering incompetence: Is this terrifying bumbler the GOP’s secret weapon?
  • From the Muslim ban to zero tolerance and kids in cages: An inept president can still be an authoritarian.

Heather Digby Parton, Salon

June 22, 2018 | President Donald Trump has now been in office for a year and a half. By this time, presidents who are unfamiliar with the ways of Washington (and that is not uncommon) have gotten past the rough spots, settled into the job and figured out how to work the levers of power. Some are naturally better at it than others and some take a while to get their bearings.

Some always seem to be in the middle of political drama, while others just seem to stay placid and even-keeled, almost to the point of being boring. (The contrast between Bill Clinton and Barack Obama comes to mind.) But however they start out, a year and half in they have settled into whatever their groove is going to be, and are operating at a high level of competence. It's the presidency of the United States, after all.

Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon <>. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

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Part 2: Your rage at Trump is justified.


http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Robert%20De%20Niro%20at%20the%2072nd%20annual%20Tony%20Awards%20%28AP%3AMichael%20Zorn%29.jpgRobert De Niro at the 72nd annual Tony Awards (AP/Michael Zorn)

  • Your rage at Trump is justified: Don’t let scolds like the New York Times shame you for it.
  • There’s a myth that goodness exists independent of rage. It’s a lie to keep those being held down from rising up.

Mary Elizabeth Williams, Salon

June 22, 2018 | When they go low, we go high. But even at an elevated altitude, there's plenty of breathing space to vent. Justifiable outrage isn't rude. And beware of anyone who tries to silence you by suggesting otherwise.

It's really been something to watch staunchly decorous institutions like The New York Times flail to grasp the profound repulsiveness emanating from the current administration. It's the aristocratic friend who has fallen on hard times, eating macaroni and cheese off the best china, naively wondering why their venerable family name doesn't impress the person taking their job application at Walmart. This, after all, is the same paper that recently went ahead and presumed that owning a Kate Spade handbag was "a coming-of-age ritual for a generation of American women."

Mary Elizabeth William is an American writer and commentator. She is a staff writer for the online magazine Salon. She has also written for The New York Times, The Nation, and other publications.


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Chris Hedges: Know That If We Resist We Keep Hope Alive

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  • “Accept sorrow—for who cannot be profoundly sorrowful at the state of our nation, the world and our ecosystem—but know that in resistance there is a balm that leads to wisdom and, if not joy, a strange, transcendent happiness. Know that if we resist we keep hope alive.”
  • Related: Don’t let the Democrats censor the real resistance, Gloria La Riva, Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)

Christopher Smiley with Chris Hedges, Dandelion Salad

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Jun 3, 2017 | “We may feel, in the face of the ruthless corporate destruction of our nation, our culture and our ecosystem, powerless and weak. But we are not. We have a power that terrifies the corporate state. Any act of rebellion, no matter how few people show up or how heavily it is censored, chips away at corporate power. Any act of rebellion keeps alive the embers for larger movements that follow us. It passes on another narrative. It will, as the state consumes itself, attract wider and wider numbers. Perhaps this will not happen in our lifetimes. But if we persist, we will keep this possibility alive. If we do not, it will die.

“Dr. Rieux in Albert Camus’ novel “The Plague” is not driven by ideology. He is driven by empathy, the duty to minister to suffering, no matter the cost. Empathy, or what the Russian novelist Vasily Grossman called “simple human kindness,” becomes in all despotisms a subversive act. To act on this empathy—the empathy for human beings locked in cages less than an hour from us [here in Princeton], the empathy for undocumented mothers and fathers being torn from their children on the streets of our cities, the empathy for Muslims who are demonized and banned from our shores, fleeing the wars we created, the empathy for poor people of color gunned down by police in our streets, the empathy for girls and women trafficked into prostitution, the empathy for all those who suffer at the hands of a state intent on militarization and imposing a harsh cruelty on the vulnerable, the empathy for the earth that gives us life and that is being contaminated and pillaged for profit—becomes political and even dangerous.

Christopher Smiley: YouTube documentary producer

http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Chris%20Hedges_0.jpg Chris Hedges, a weekly columnist for Truthdig, is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist who has reported from more than 50 countries, specializing in American politics and society.

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Related:

Don’t let the Democrats censor the real resistance, Gloria La Riva, Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL)

https://d3n8a8pro7vhmx.cloudfront.net/psl/pages/713/attachments/original/1491013353/17499584_10154643405722515_5895804635282924565_n.jpg?1491013353The censored version of the PSL poster from the Democratic Party's tweet

  • Building the Anti-TrumpResistence
  • Related: Be Wary Of The Democratic Wing Of The Protest Movement
     

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Joe Heller |

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Section(s): 

Obstruction of justice, presidential immunity, impeachment: What you need to know

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Richard Nixon in the Oval Office. (National Archives)

Unlike the judicial system, impeachment is ultimately a political process. A majority of lawmakers, rather than a jury or a judge, is charged with determining what constitutes a high crime or misdemeanor. And given that Republicans control both chambers for now, any impeachment of Trump seems unlikely.

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Louis Jacobson, John Kruzel, PolitiFact


http://static.politifact.com.s3.amazonaws.com/politifact/photos/Trump_fires_comey_letter.jpg The termination letter from President Donald Trump to FBI Director James Comey is photographed in Washington, May 9, 2017. (AP Photo/Jon Elswick)

Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 | Americans are hearing a lot of comparisons these days between Richard Nixon and Donald Trump, particularly after news reports revealed the existence of contemporaneous notes taken by soon-to-be-fired FBI director James Comey during his conversations with Trump.

The news reports hinted at further notes that could be subpoenaed by either Congress or law enforcement, fueling speculation that these materials could help lay out a case that Trump committed obstruction of justice by seeking to quash probes  into his campaign’s alleged ties to Russia.

Louis Jacobson is the senior correspondent for PolitiFact and a staff writer for the Tampa Bay (FL) Times.

John Kruzel  is a staff writer at PolitiFact. He previously covered politics at ABC News, where he received an Emmy nomination for his work on 2016 presidential debates. He has written about politics, law and national security, and contributed to numerous outlets, including Slate and The New Yorker.

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Ralph Nader: The Democrats Are Unable to Defend the U.S. from the “Most Vicious” Republican Party in History

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Ralph Nader in Washington, D.C. in 2008. Photo: Stephen Voss/Redux

There are some people who think the Democratic Party can be reformed from within by changing the personnel. I say good luck to that. What’s happened in the last twenty years? They’ve gotten more entrenched. Get rid of Pelosi, you get Steny Hoyer. You get rid of Harry Reid, you get [Charles] Schumer. Good luck.

Jon Schwarz, the Intercept

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https://theintercept.imgix.net/wp-uploads/sites/1/2017/06/ralph-nadar-button-1498254164.jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&q=90&w=1024&h=680 June 25 2017 | The Democratic Party is at its lowest ebb in the memory of everyone now alive. It’s lost the White House and both houses of Congress. On the state level it’s weaker than at any time since 1920. And so far in 2017 Democrats have gone 0 for 4 in special elections to replace Republican members of Congress who joined the Trump administration.

How did it come to this? One person the Democratic Party is not going to ask, but perhaps should, is legendary consumer advocate and three-time presidential candidate Ralph Nader.

https://theintercept.imgix.net/wp-uploads/sites/1/2018/03/Jon-Schwarz_avatar_1521505999-1521505999..jpg?auto=compress%2Cformat&q=90 Before joining the Intercept, Jon Schwarz worked for Michael Moore’s Dog Eat Dog Films and was Research Producer for Moore’s “Capitalism: A Love Story.” He’s contributed to many publications, including the New Yorker, the New York Times, The Atlantic, the Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones, and Slate, as well as NPR and “Saturday Night Live.” In 2003 he collected on a $1,000 bet that Iraq would have no weapons of mass destruction.

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Anthony Kennedy Did Not Swing!

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  • He is, in fact, a standard Reagan era, corporatist, racist, misogynist judge, who happened to write a couple of opinions that reflected one small area of decency in his work.
  • Related: Anthony Kennedy, You Are a Total Disgrace to America.

Tom Hall, LA Progressive

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Sunday, 1 July 2018 | It’s time to stop saying Anthony Kennedy was a “swing justice” on the United States Supreme Court. He told students at Harvard Law School, years ago, that he didn’t see himself as a “swing justice.” And any review of his decisions bears that out. He is, in fact, a standard Reagan era, corporatist, racist, misogynist judge, who happened to write a couple of opinions that reflected one small area of decency in his work.

Anthony Kennedy did deserve respect for the opinions he wrote on gay rights and same sex marriage. But giving that respect also means understanding the context in which those opinions and his underlying views were formed. Kennedy went to law school when many law schools still resisted admitting non-whites and women. He went from law school to private practice in San Francisco and Sacramento, and then on to the bench in San Francisco. His brief private practice was with all white Republican power brokers while Reagan was governor.

https://www.laprogressive.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/tom_hall_2.jpg Tom Hall is a family lawyer in West Los Angeles. He is from Boston, and was raised in Friends Meeting at Cambridge (Quakers) to think that religion was a progressive force. During the Vietnam War, he organized draft counseling centers and worked with groups training people in techniques for disciplined nonviolent demonstrating. After the war, he became just another yuppie working to make a comfortable life. The Bush administration shocked him back into social concerns.

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Related:

Anthony Kennedy, You Are a Total Disgrace to America. Michael Tomasky, Daily Beast / Reader Supported News

  • https://img.thedailybeast.com/image/upload/c_crop,d_placeholder_euli9k,h_1440,w_2560,x_0,y_0/dpr_2.0/c_limit,w_740/fl_lossy,q_auto/v1530484046/180701-tomasky-kennedy-hero_lojlx1No one expected Kennedy to allow Donald Trump to pick his successor. But he has. And it should forever taint his legacy as a jurist.
  • Related: Anthony Kennedy Did Not Swing!
     

 



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Rendezvous with Oblivion

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  • A liberal commentator offers his scathing take on contemporary American politics and culture.
  • Essays by Thomas Frank
  • Special Report | The Coming Collapse of the US Empire

Kirkus Review
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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/default/files/Thomas%20Frank%20%7C%20Rendezvous%20with%20Oblivion.jpgOne of the results of the shocking election of Donald Trump has been the political commentariat’s reassessment of the state of the nation. In that vein, Frank (Listen, Liberal, 2016, etc.), a former columnist for the Wall Street Journal and Harper’s and founding editor of the Baffler, assembles a series of essays that originally appeared in various publications from 2011 to 2018. The essays, asserts the author in his introduction, “all aim to tell one essential story”: the dissolution of the common bonds of American society as the rich and powerful accumulate more power and the rest of the citizenry is forgotten.

Frank proceeds to paint a dystopian picture of struggling fast-food workers, greedycollegesand universities, and politicians’ disregard for the common folk, all culminating in the election of Trump, “the very personification of this low, dishonest age.” To his credit, the liberal author (he supported Bernie Sanders in 2016) acknowledges Trump’s appeal to the working-class and rural voters whom Democratic Party elites have all but abandoned. Moreover, several of his arguments should resonate with Americans of all political stripes. Is there any doubt, for example, that a factor in the skyrocketing cost of a college education is “the insane proliferation of university administrators”?

Thomas Frank is an American political analyst, historian, and journalist. He co-founded and edited The Baffler magazine. Frank has written several books, most notably What's the Matter with Kansas? and Listen, Liberal.

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Related:

Special Report | The Coming Collapse of the US Empire, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • Part 1: Noam Chomsky: The Decline of the U.S. Empire
  • Noam Chomsky on the decline of the U.S. empire in an interview with teleSUR.
  • Part 2: The Coming Collapse by Chris Hedges
  • It is impossible for any doomed population to grasp how fragile the decayed financial, social and political system is on the eve of implosion.



 

A Brief History of U.S. Intervention in the Countries of Origin of Central American Asylum Seekers

 

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Despite the repressed memory of U.S. intervention in Central America, it’s time to insist that accepting Central American refugees is not just a matter of morality or American benevolence (but) … a matter of reparations.

‪Mark Tseng-Putterman‬, Medium

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https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/max/800/0*wW5fDgvDHgkua117Anti-war marchers cross the Memorial Bridge in Washington, D.C., on their way to the Pentagon for a rally to protest U.S. military involvement in El Salvador, on May 3, 1981. Ira Schwarz / AP

June 20, 2018 | A national spotlight now shines on the U.S.-Mexico border, where heartbreaking images of Central American children being separated from their parents and held in cages depict the enforcement of the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance policy,” on unauthorized entry to the country, announced in May 2018. Under intense international scrutiny, Trump has now signed an executive order seeking to keep families detained at the border together, though it is unclear when the more than 2,300 children already separated from their guardians will be reunited.

Yet, Trump’s promise that keeping families together will not prevent his Administration from maintaining “strong—very strong—borders” makes clear that the crisis of mass detention and deportation at the border and throughout the U.S. is far from over. Meanwhile, Democratic rhetoric of inclusion, integration, and opportunity has failed to fundamentally question the logics (and violence) of Republican calls for a strong border and the nation’s right to protect its sovereignty.

https://cdn-images-1.medium.com/fit/c/60/60/1*r20TpFbuVoFE41wvcmewnQ.jpegMark Tseng-Putterman‬: Writing on Asian America, racial capitalism, and empire's amnesia. PhD student at Brown. Words in Truthout, HuffPost

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