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The United States of Cruelty

  • We are cheap. We are suspicious. We will shoot first. It does not have to be this way. Like Lincoln before us, it is time to do something about it.
  • GOP Descent into Mindless Meanness

Charles P. Pierce, Esquire

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83769218-614.jpg Detroit / Getty Images

June 24, 2014 | A while back, we noted the story of the toddler who was severely injured when, during a drug raid, a local SWAT team came busting in and someone threw a flash-bang grenade into his crib. Well, his mother has written a chilling first-hand account of what happened to her son, and to her, during their encounter with one of our insanely militarized police forces.

My husband's nephew, the one they were looking for, wasn't there. He doesn't even live in that house. After breaking down the door, throwing my husband to the ground, and screaming at my children, the officers - armed with M16s - filed through the house like they were playing war. They searched for drugs and never found any. I heard my baby wailing and asked one of the officers to let me hold him. He screamed at me to sit down and shut up and blocked my view, so I couldn't see my son. I could see a singed crib. And I could see a pool of blood. The officers yelled at me to calm down and told me my son was fine, that he'd just lost a tooth.

Charles P. Pierce is a writer at large of Esquire magazine.

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Feature Article | GOP Descent into Mindless Meanness, Lawrence Davidson, ConsortiumNews.com

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  • Since the days of Richard Nixon’s “Southern Strategy” – a crass appeal to angry pro-segregationist whites – the Republican Party has descended into a political nastiness that has corroded the foundations of American democracy.
  • Beyond the war on science: Why the right embraces ignorance as a virtue.

 

 

The US Gun Culture, June 27, 2014

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  • America is living under the gun. America has lost its mind.
  • Part 1: 9 Signs of Dangerous Gun Nut Craziness in 2014
  • Part 2: Santa Barbara Shooter's Father Pens Open Letter: 'We Have to Stop This'
  • Gun nuts are terrorizing America: The watershed moment everyone missed.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest



Part 1: 9 Signs of Dangerous Gun Nut Craziness in 2014

  • America’s obsession with guns is hitting new levels of craziness and public disgust.
  • It goes beyond open carry activists displaying their firearms in restaurant chains. Even the NRA seems perplexed.

Steven Rosenfeld, AlterNet

nra-scotus-620x412.jpg (Credit: chinahbzyg via Shutterstock

Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 | The recent news has been filled with anything but acceptable behavior by gun nuts. A Montana man sets a trap for burglars and  executes a teenage intruder. A Virginia man strapping on a holster shoots himself in the penis. So-called open-carry  activists keep walking into Texas malls and restaurant  chains with assault rifles. And federal airport screeners say 2014 will set a record for travelers  forgetting they are carrying guns.

In response, millions of women  protested the misogynist rampage near Santa Barbara that killed six, placing violence against women in the national spotlight. In 2014, five states  passed laws limiting domestic abusers’ access to guns, and several bills allowing guns on school grounds were blocked. Longtime gun defenders know that the ghastly  statistics on gun violence against women is a powerful avenue for control advocates, yet they can’t stop their side’s fanatics from taunting the public with assault rifles.

Steven Rosenfeld covers national political issues for AlterNet, including America's retirement crisis, the low-wage economy, democracy and voting rights, and campaigns and elections. He is the author of "Count My Vote: A Citizen's Guide to Voting"

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Part 2: Santa Barbara Shooter's Father Pens Open Letter: 'We Have to Stop This'

Andres Jauregui, Huffington Post

n-ELLIOT-RODGER-VIDEO-large.jpg06/27/2014 | The father of Santa Barbara shooter Elliot Rodger has penned an open letter calling for an end to mass shootings.

Peter Rodger's letter, which was written for ABC News and published today, calls for mental health reforms and "a change in the culture" that allows such violence to perpetuate.

Andres Jauregui: Editor at the Huffington Post. Crime, Weird News, truth, justice and the American way.

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Gun nuts are terrorizing America: The watershed moment everyone missed, Rick Perlstein, Salon

  • From Cliven Bundy defeating the cops to "open carry" movement's menace, the left's timidity has spawned a nightmare.
  • The US Gun Culture

 

Gun nuts are terrorizing America: The watershed moment everyone missed

  • From Cliven Bundy defeating the cops to "open carry" movement's menace, the left's timidity has spawned a nightmare.
  • The US Gun Culture

Rick Perlstein, Salon

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lapierre_miller_bundy-620x412.jpg Wayne LaPierre, Jerad Miller, Cliven Bundy (Credit: Reuters/Chris Keane/AP/Reuters/Jim Urquhart)

Monday, Jun 23, 2014 | Here is a truth so fundamental that it should be self-evident: When legitimately constituted state authority stands down in the face of armed threats, the very foundation of the republic is in danger. And yet that is exactly what happened at Cliven Bundy’s Nevada ranch this spring: An alleged criminal defeated the cops, because the forces of lawlessness came at them with guns — then Bureau of Land Management officials further surrendered by removing the government markings from their vehicles to prevent violence against them.

What should be judged a watershed in American history instead became a story about one man’s racist rants. Even as two more Nevada lunatics, inspired by their stint at Cliven Bundy’s ranch, allegedly ambushed and mowed down two police officers and killed a bystander after crying, “This is the start of a revolution.” And now, an antigovernment conspiracy theorist named Douglas Cole recently shot at two police officers in Nevada County, California (though you may not have heard about that, because the New York Times hasn’t found the news yet fit to print).

Rick Perlstein is the author of "Nixonland: The Rise of a President and the Fracturing of America" and "Before the Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus"

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The US Gun Culture, Wednesday, June 11,2014, Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • America is living under the gun. America has lost its mind.
  • Part 1: Lt. Col. Robert Bateman challenges the NRA
  • Part 2: That's It. I am Coming Home. 
  • The US Gun Culture, Tuesday, June 10, 2014

 

Henry M. Paulson Jr. | The Coming Climate Crash

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  • Lessons for Climate Change in the 2008 Recession
  • Focus on Power Plant Rule's Health Benefits Could Build Wider Support Among Public

Henry M. Paulson Jr., New York Times 

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Jogues Epple for this contribution.

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0622Environment-master675.jpg Carbon dioxide emissions like those from coal-fired power plants should be taxed to spur energy innovation. Credit Luke Sharrett for New York Times.

June 21, 2014 | There is a time for weighing evidence and a time for acting. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my work in finance, government and conservation, it is to act before problems become too big to manage.

For too many years, we failed to rein in the excesses building up in the nation’s financial markets. When the credit bubble burst in 2008, the damage was devastating. Millions suffered. Many still do.

We’re making the same mistake today with climate change. We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environment and economy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked.

 

Henry M. Paulson Jr. is the chairman of the Paulson Institute at the University of Chicago and served as secretary of the Treasury from July 2006 to January 2009.

 

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Related:

Focus on Power Plant Rule's Health Benefits Could Build Wider Support Among Public, Andrea Vittorio, Bloomberg BNA

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  • Public health is one of the few climate change storylines that engages different types of Americans.
  • Acting On Climate

 

They Can’t Represent Us: a riveting defense of democracy

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  • They Can’t Represent Us by Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzellini is a fiery indictment of electoral politics and a riveting defense of real democracy.
  • Marina Sitrin and Dario Azzellini (2014), They Can’t Represent Us: Reinventing Democracy from Greece to Occupy (with a foreword by David Harvey). London and New York: Verso.
  • The Democrats’ New Fake Populism

Jerome Roos, RoarMag.org

LoLlamanDemocracia.jpg June 16, 2014 | A lot of ink has already been spilled on last month’s European elections. Most commentators lament the rise of the far-right; some celebrate the rise of the radical left — but almost everyone has focused their attention on the rearrangement of the deck chairs, missing the grumbling sounds of discontent emanating from below, deep down in the bowels of the ship. As it turns out, only 43% of eligible Europeans actually showed up to vote; the rest couldn’t even be bothered to make the short trip to the polling station. Grand hypotheses are already being staked upon the numbers pulled out of the ballot box, but if numbers still mean anything in this world we should be looking not at the marginal success of leftist parties but at the hundreds of millions who have long since given up their faith in the sham of a democracy we are currently presented with.

The representative institutions of capitalist democracy are facing a profound legitimation crisis. According to the European Commission, 68% of Europeans do not believe that their voice counts in Europe, while a recent Eurobarometer survey revealed that public confidence in the EU has fallen to historic lows. Meanwhile, a major study by the Pew Research Global Attitudes Project finds that the mistrust is far from limited to EU institutions: “compounding their doubts about the Brussels-based European Union, Europeans are losing faith in the capacity of their own national leaders to cope with the economy’s woes.” José Ignacio Torreblanca of the European Council of Foreign Relations remarks that “both debtor and creditor countries basically feel that they lost control of what they are doing,” and concludes that most European citizens “now think that their national democracy is being subverted by the way the euro crisis is conducted.”

Jerome Roos is a writer, activist and filmmaker. He studied at University College Utrecht, the University of Bologna, Sciences Po Paris and the London School of Economics, and is currently a PhD Researcher on the European Debt Crisis at the European University Institute in Florence. He is the founder and editor of ROAR Magazine, an online journal of the radical imagination.

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The Democrats’ New Fake Populism, Shamus Cooke, Workers Action

It’s doubtful that many people have been fooled by the “left turn” of the Democratic Party. But on a deeper level the politics of “lesser evilism” still haunts labor and community groups, and keeping these groups within the orbit of the Democratic Party is the ultimate purpose of this new, more radical speechifying. Until these groups organize themselves independently and create their own working class political party, the above politics of “populist” farce is guaranteed to continue. 

 

 

The Democrats’ New Fake Populism

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It’s doubtful that many people have been fooled by the “left turn” of the Democratic Party. But on a deeper level the politics of “lesser evilism” still haunts labor and community groups, and keeping these groups within the orbit of the Democratic Party is the ultimate purpose of this new, more radical speechifying. Until these groups organize themselves independently and create their own working class political party, the above politics of “populist” farce is guaranteed to continue. 

Shamus Cooke, Workers Action

May 30, 2014 | It would have been hilarious were it not so nauseating. One could only watch the “New Populism” conference with pity-induced discomfort, as stale Democratic politicians did their awkward best to adjust themselves to the fad of “populism.”

A boring litany of Democratic politicians — or those closely associated — gave bland speeches that aroused little enthusiasm among a very friendly audience of Washington D.C. politicos. It felt like an amateur recital in front of family and friends, in the hopes that practicing populism with an audience would better prepare them for the real thing.

Shamus Cooke is a social service worker, trade unionist, and writer for Workers Action.

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Don’t Give Us This Balderdash, Mr. Obama

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  • In view of Obama's volte-face it seems America's Military Industrial Complex (which virtually runs the country) is still calling the shots; another Cold War is in the offing; and in the coming years, the world is going to be a more dangerous place than today; and durable and just peace will remain as elusive as ever.
  • Special Project | US Wars and Covert Actions Around the World: Week Ending June 15, 2014

Taj Hashmi, Countercurrents.org

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Graphic%20%7C%20Arms%20at%20the%20Statue%20of%20Liberty.jpg 09 June, 2014 | The celebration of the seventieth anniversary of the D-Day on Friday June 6 th at Normandy was very interesting and significant. Scores of World War II veterans from the US, Britain, Canada and elsewhere graced the solemn ceremony. We expect a fewer number of WWII veterans will show up at Normandy next June before the whole bunch of these brave heroes will leave this world for ever. The seventieth celebration of the “Longest Day” in modern history – which signalled the beginning of the end of Nazism by liberating France – was very interesting and significant this year because the world witnessed some dramatics performed by presidents Obama, Putin, Hollande and president-elect Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine. Although Putin's presence was embarrassing for many, including Putin himself, but he had to be there to represent Russia, which played a very important, if not the decisive, role in the defeat of Hitler.

I am not going to discuss here how embarrassing it could be for President Hollande to host some of his mutually estranged guests at the solemn ceremony of the D-Day celebration. Hollande made Obama and Putin sit at the same table, which eventually made the two estranged leaders informally talk to each other, mostly on Ukraine. The congregation also made Putin and Poroshenko exchange pleasantries to each other, which would possibly make some headway towards a meaningful dialogue between Russia and Ukraine to resolve their differences over Crimea and pro-Russian secessionist movements in southeastern Ukraine. One has, however, no reason to believe that the Obama-Putin chance meeting will lead to any rapprochement between Russia and America. In the backdrop of the growing Russophobia in America, or which could be a reflection of Washington's not-so-hidden desire to resuscitate the Cold War, Russia is not going to be re-admitted into the G-8 in the foreseeable future.

World%20Map%20%26%20Bomb.jpg Photo Credit: Shutterstock.com

Taj Hashmi teaches security studies at Austin Peay State University at Clarksville, Tennessee. Sage has published his latest book, Global Jihad and America: The Hundred-Year War beyond Iraq and Afghanistan. 

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Special Project | US Wars and Covert Actions Around the World: Week Ending June 15, 2014, David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

  • For decades beginning during the Cold War, US policy in the Islamic world has been aimed at suppressing secular reformist and leftist movements. Beginning with the CIA-engineered coup against a secular democratic reform government in Iran in 1953 (it was about oil), Washington has propped up dictators, coaching these regimes in the black arts of torture and mayhem against secular liberals and the left. 
  • 10 New Items including:
  • Rachel Maddow Warns Against A New American Attack On Iraq
  • Tom Engelhardt | A Record of Unparalleled Failure
  • Ukraine, U.S., and big bad Putin: Who's the bully?
  • “False Flag Terrorism” to Sustain America’s “Humanitarian” Agenda
  • The Myth of America’s Global Peacekeeping Past
  • Take Action: End U.S. Military Aid to Colombia's Army
  • Agents of Destabilization in Venezuela: The Dirty Hand of the National Endowment for Democracy
  • Ann Jones: Star-Spangled Baggage
  • Barack Obama Pulls A George W. Bush: Lies, Misinformation and Chemical Weapons
  • Halt Momentum Toward War in Ukraine

 

 

 

Obama's Iraq 'nap' represents who we are: sick of being the world's policeman

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  • Critics of a foreign policy of 'neglect' are still living in George W Bush's fever dream of rage and fear. The public is fickle, but we're willing to be patient about war again
  • Iraq War Drums -- Again!

Ana Marie Cox, theguardian.com

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The percentage of Americans who believe their country should 'mind its own business internationally' is the highest it’s been in a half-century. Photograph: Pete Souza / White House via Flickr

Monday 16 June 2014 | Conservative critics of Barack Obama's foreign policy are right: it's vague when articulated and contradictory when enacted. He refuses to act decisively and tunes out the rhetorical bravado of foreign leaders. And if the United States is to avoid another round of pointless bloodshed in the Middle East, that's the kind of foreign policy our country needs right now. Indeed, it's the one we want.

On Sunday's Meet the Press, Mitt Romney added to the existing critique of Obama as feckless-bordering-on-fey. The president, his former challenger asserted, was not just ineffectual in his stance toward Iraq and Syria – he was also ignorant. The president, said the former one-term governor of Massachusetts, has "repeatedly underestimated the threats" posed by chaos in Iraq – or "Russia or Assad or Isis or al-Qaida itself".

Ana Marie Cox is political columnist for the Guardian US. The founding editor of the blog Wonkette, she has written about Washington and national politics for a variety of outlets.

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Iraq War Drums -- Again! Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene DigestWar%20on%20Iraq%20Banner.jpg

  • The United States simply cannot be sucked into another round of war in Iraq.
  • sign-btn.png Sign our petition. Tell President Obama and Congress: No New U.S. War in Iraq!
  • Part 1: Obama Weighs 'All Options' for Iraq as Hawks Revive War Drums
  • Part 2: No New U.S. War in Iraq!
  • Tom Engelhardt | A Record of Unparalleled Failure

 

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