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Bruce Plante | Endangered Species / editorialcartoonists.com

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2016: How Truth Was Destroyed So You’d Buy The Government’s Propaganda

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In the very near future — without hawk-like vigilance — dissenting opinion and reports accurately depicting corruption endemic in government may become a thing purely of the past.

Claire Bernish, Activist Post

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January 2, 2017 | “We’re an empire now,” Karl Rove nefariously asserted in 2004, “and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality —  judiciously, as you will — we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”

Rove might have said that 12 years ago, but the words hauntingly describe our situation in 2016 — Oxford Dictionaries, incidentally, named “post-truth” the international word of the year — with facts seemingly relative, truth debatable, and a falsely-premised war on fake news, Orwell must be rolling in his grave.

Claire Bernish writes for TheFreeThoughtProject.com.

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A Bad Year Ends, a Worse One Begins: What Will You Do With 2017?

"I don't know where I'm going from here, but I promise it won't be boring." -- David Bowie

William Rivers Pitt, Truthout

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http://www.truth-out.org/images/images_2017_01/2017_0101wp_.jpg In the face of a more brutal new year, we cannot be rabbits gone "tharn" -- frozen at the sight of oncoming headlights. (Photo: jayRaz / Flickr)

Sunday, January 01, 2017 | Richard Adams, author of the incredible Watership Down, passed away on Tuesday at age 96. He joined among the departed of 2016 Harper Lee, Daniel Berrigan, Joseph Medicine Crow, Muhammad Ali, Rob Wasserman, Prince, Debbie Reynolds and her daughter Carrie Fisher, Pat Conroy, Vera Rubin, Cyril DeGrasse Tyson, George Michael, David Bowie, Rashaan Salaam, Edward Albee, Glenn Frey, Michael Ratner, Maurice White, Pat Summitt, Umberto Eco, Michael Cimino, Toots Thielemans, Patty Duke, W.P. Kinsella, Gordie Howe, Keith Emerson, Greg Lake, Morley Safer, Janet Reno, Tyrus Wong, Gary Shandling, Harry Wu, Ralph Stanley, Mose Alison, Melvin Laird, William Trevor, David Meltzer, Phife Dawg, Geoffrey Bowie, Paul Kantner, Alvin Toffler, Gwen Ifill, Eli Wiesel, Ursula Franklin, Bobby Hutcherson, Gene Wilder, Arnold Palmer, Leonard Cohen, John Glenn, all but three members of Brazil's Chapocoense soccer team and the entire Alexandrov Military Ensemble of Russia.

That's only a portion of the list. It's the best I can do without grinding my teeth.

Richard Adams invented a word, did you know that? "Tharn." The word describes what a rabbit will do when it gets pinned down by headlights in the middle of the road. Rather than flee or fight, the rabbit will freeze on the spot, eyes wide, ears laid flat, and await in despair the onrushing lethality of contact. "Going tharn," Adams called it. I don't know if it qualifies as onomatopoeia, but as far as words go, it sure sounds like what it is.

William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co-written with Dahr Jamail, is available now.

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A third of the homeless people in America are over 50. I’m one of them.

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  • I never thought I’d be living in my car at age 66.
  • Related: 10 things everyone should know about what it’s really like to live on the street.

CeliaSue Hecht, Vox 

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Jim Fuller

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Sep 29, 2016 | Nobody ever tells you about the sleep deprivation.

At around 4:30 am, while the rest of the world is still asleep, I wake up and get moving under cover of darkness. Quiet spots with some degree of tree cover, or the occasional hospital or church parking lot, are typically where I sleep for the night. Still, there’s always the risk that someone will spot me and I’ll wake up with police blaring a flashlight into my eyes.

CeliaSue Hech’s writing work has been featured in more than 40 local and national newspapers and magazines, on her dog travel blog, in newsletters, and in five romantic travel guides. She has traveled around the world and has written and led seminars and workshops in the US and Europe. Her travels have included about 245 cities.

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Homeless%20Person%20on%20Street%20in%20Cold%20Weather.jpg 10 things everyone should know about what it’s really like to live on the streets, Evelyn Nieves, AlterNet / Salon 

  • Since the recession, San Francisco's wealth gap has become a yawning chasm. The city's homeless tell their stories. 
  • Related: America Keeps People Poor On Purpose

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Tef Poe | Trump and World Order / scontent-ort2-1.xx.fbcdn.net

  • Ron Thibodeau 'Diapers and politicians. Both need to be changed for the same reason.' Mark Twain
  • This Norwegian cartoon was banned on Twitter. Feel free to like it and repost.

 

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The Real Nuclear Threat, by Mistake

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Part 1: World War Three, by Mistake 

Harsh political rhetoric, combined with the vulnerability of the nuclear command-and-control system, has made the risk of global catastrophe

Part 2: The Real Nuclear Threat 

The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest 

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Part 1: World War Three, by Mistake 

Harsh political rhetoric, combined with the vulnerability of the nuclear command-and-control system, has made the risk of global catastrophe.

Eric Schlosser, the New Yorker

 

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader/contributor Jay Kvale for this contribution.

http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/12/Schlosser-OnNuclearWarfareByAccident-2-690.jpgA dilemma has haunted nuclear strategy since the first detonation of an atomic bomb: How do you prevent a nuclear attack while preserving the ability to launch one? Photograph by Andy Cross / the Denver Post via Getty 

December 23, 2016 | On June 3, 1980, at about two-thirty in the morning, computers at the National Military Command Center, beneath the Pentagon, at the headquarters of the North American Air Defense Command (norad), deep within Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado, and at Site R, the Pentagon’s alternate command post center hidden inside Raven Rock Mountain, Pennsylvania, issued an urgent warning: the Soviet Union had just launched a nuclear attack on the United States. The Soviets had recently invaded Afghanistan, and the animosity between the two superpowers was greater than at any other time since the Cuban Missile Crisis.

U.S. Air Force ballistic-missile crews removed their launch keys from the safes, bomber crews ran to their planes, fighter planes took off to search the skies, and the Federal Aviation Administration prepared to order every airborne commercial airliner to land.

Eric Schlosser is an American journalist and author known for investigative journalism, such as in his books Fast Food Nation, Reefer Madness, and Command and Control: Nuclear Weapons, the Damascus Accident, and the Illusion of Safety.

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Part 2: The Real Nuclear Threat 

The “Titanic Effect” is a term used by software designers to explain how things can quietly go wrong in a complex technological system: the safer you assume the system to be, the more dangerous it is becoming.

Lawrence M. Krauss, the New Yorker    

http://www.newyorker.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Krauss_Nuclear-Weapons-320.jpgThe first test of a hydrogen bomb, on Enewetak Atoll, in 1952. Photograph by Los Alamos National Laboratory / the New York Times / Redux

October 13, 2016 | Donald Trump’s candidacy has been a source of anxiety for many reasons, but one stands out: the ability of the President to launch nuclear weapons. When it comes to starting a nuclear war, the President has more freedom than he or she does in, say, ordering the use of torture. In fact, the President has unilateral power to direct the use of nuclear weapons under any circumstances. Cabinet members may disagree and even resign in protest, but, ultimately, they must obey the order of the Commander-in-Chief. It’s all too easy to imagine Trump issuing an ultimate, thermonuclear “You’re fired!” to China, Iran, or another nation—and perhaps to the whole human race.*

Richard Nixon, famously, conducted his foreign policy according to the “madman theory”: he tried to convince enemy leaders that he was irrational and volatile, in an attempt to intimidate them. But this was a potentially useful approach to foreign policy only because it was an act. Trump, on the other hand, genuinely seems to be a man who speaks and acts without significant forethought. He’s also someone who—as his debate performances have shown—responds to slights by lashing out against adversaries irrationally and without thinking about the consequences. And Trump has done little to reassure us about nuclear weapons specifically. He has expressed an affinity for massive bombing, proposing to “bomb the shit” out of oil fields in Iraq to counter isis. During a March interview with MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough, he said that he would consider using nuclear weapons in Europe, of all places. More generally, he’s disengaged from the realities of international affairs. In August, Trump vowed that, as President, he would prevent Russia’s Vladimir Putin from invading Ukraine—“He’s not going to go into Ukraine, all right? You can mark it down. You can put it down”—apparently not knowing that Russia is already there. He’s also announced a plan to back out of our current nuclear-weapons accord with Iran without any stated replacement for it. Trump’s ignorance is already dangerous; it becomes even more so with nuclear weapons in the mix.

Lawrence M. Krauss is an American theoretical physicist and cosmologist who is Foundation Professor of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at Arizona State University, and director of its Origins Project. 

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TomDispatch | Rebecca Gordon, No "New Normal"

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  • Life Under Trump
  • Night Terrors and Daytime Hopes

Rebecca Gordon, TomDispatch

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http://evergreenedigest.org/sites/evergreenedigest.org/files/Rebecca%20Gordon%20%7C%20American%20Nuremberg.jpgNovember 20, 2016 | At 72, I experienced election night with a 103-degree temperature, so it was literally a fever-dream for me.  And in a certain sense, it’s remained so ever since.  Now that a white supremacist has just been made the next president’s closest White House adviser, and the president-elect has called conspiracy theorist Alex Jones of Infowars to thank him and his followers for their part in his election victory, we have reasonable confirmation that we are indeed in a fever-dream America. 

Hate incidents are on the rise.  It’s easy enough to imagine the Bundy brothers being let loose in the West.  A climate change denier is running the Trump environmental policy transition.  The candidate himself will arrive in Washington with an enemies list already in formation (beating Dick Nixon to the punch by years).  The mainstream media have tied themselves in apologetic knots for believing the pollsters on Hillary’s “victory” and not bothering to talk enough to the white working class voters who came out for Trump (and whom Clinton abandoned for white millionaires and billionaires).  And the new president is being normalized by the old one, who previously excoriated him in the name of democracy, while mainstream pundits and journalists desperately look for signs that Donald Trump will be a pragmatic, recognizable American president once he takes the mantle of power. 

Rebecca Gordon, a TomDispatch regular, teaches in the philosophy department at the University of San Francisco. She is the author of American Nuremberg: The U.S. Officials Who Should Stand Trial for Post-9/11 War Crimes. Her previous books include Mainstreaming Torture: Ethical Approaches in the Post-9/11 United States and Letters from Nicaragua.

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George Takei- "Welcome to the Resistance"

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  • So welcome to the resistance. It’s where the next heroes of our movement will emerge. Be ready. Be vigilant. Be strong.
  • Related: Time to Fight Like Hell 

George Takei, Advocate

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http://www.advocate.com/sites/advocate.com/files/2016/12/20/george_takei_approvedx750.jpegThe Resistance is where the next heroes of our movement will emerge. Be ready, be strong, and be vigilant, says George Takei.

December 21 2016 | In the wake of Donald Trump's election victory, many have written to me asking how to move forward. It is understandably difficult for our community to accept this setback, from the risk of our hard-won rights being eroded to the fear that dark forces of hatred and intolerance are now emboldened and have begun to strike. Our concerns are not diminished by the president-elect’s reassurances over marriage equality, particularly as he continues to name some of the most outspoken bigots to important posts within his cabinet and inner circle — and as we consider the record of his vice president, Mike Pence, while governor of Indiana, or Jeff Sessions, an enemy of equality he has nominated to head the Justice Department.

As both an Asian-American and an LGBT American, I have borne witness to some of the most egregious injustices and tragedies of our national history, where both the public and the politicians turned against us to devastating effect. Many know that I grew up in internment camps where we were held without trial or even charge for years, simply because we happened to look like the people who bombed Pearl Harbor. Fewer remember that, as a young man, it was illegal for me in many states to marry a Caucasian person due to antimiscegenation laws. And as a gay man, I stayed deeply in the closet out of fear that I would not find work as an “out” actor. That same fear rendered me silent even as the scourge of the AIDS epidemic in the '80s and '90s took so many of our community, while the government turned a blind, callous eye. 

George Takei is an actor, entrepreneur, activist, and social media supernova and the recipient of the 2014 StartOut Leadership Award.

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Related: 

 

Time to Fight Like Hell , Clara Jeffery, Mother Jones <http://www.motherjones.com>

 

 

 

December 15, 2016 | There is no way to sugarcoat it. The election of Donald Trump is a brutal affront to women, people of color, Jews and Muslims, and all who value kindness and tolerance. a road map for a lasting presence as a disruptive opposition … . (W)e have … handed (white nationalists and other political predators) the keys to the Oval Office, and the nuclear codes.

The threat of authoritarianism requires all hands on deck.

Related: Here’s What Has To Happen (By December 19)

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