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The Three Most Dangerous Words a Soldier Can Hear: “Support Our Troops”

  • Those who want to support our troops should work to bring them home. We can no longer make our soldiers protectors of our denial about the profound impacts of war. We can no longer sweep their anguish and the shame of our immoral wars under the carpet of heroism and adulation.
  • How Memorial Day Glosses Over the Real Horrors of War
  • Will We Pay Our Debt to Our Vets?

Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer and J. Michael Orange, Evergreene Digest

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

Another Memorial Day is behind us and with it the bombardment of superficial signs of veneration of the troops even as soldiers themselves are chewed up, spit out, and abandoned to joblessness and despair. The phrase, “support our troops,” is among the most potent of lies. It’s used to stifle legitimate dissent and mobilize public support for unjust wars, criminal presidents, and war profiteers who benefit at the expense of soldiers and civilians alike. If truth is the first casualty of war then soldiers are the second. “Support our troops” offers a source of cheap grace for people who can’t be bothered to examine the actual causes of war, the deadly consequences of U.S. foreign policies, or the relationship between war and our domestic problems.

The Iraq war, with little fanfare and less self-reflection, ended officially in December 2011, but costs and casualties will continue rising for generations to come. A Wall Street Journal article estimated a $4 trillion price tag. Nearly 4,500 U.S. soldiers died in Iraq and many of the 32,000 wounded will need a lifetime of care. More than 600,000 U.S. veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars qualify for disability. They and many others face economic hardships and physical and emotional traumas. Veterans are disproportionately homeless, and the unemployment rate among young vets is 30 percent and rising.

Hidden in these tragic figures is war’s dirty secret. As historian and former U.S. Army Colonel Andrew Bacevich clearly states, “War is a source of enormous wealth and power [that delivers] profit, power, and privilege to a long list of beneficiaries.” These beneficiaries find it expedient and surprisingly easy to sell war and militarized priorities to a reluctant public using deception, fear, and patriotism.

Two foundational myths further undergirded Militarized America: American exceptionalism and belief in the usefulness of military power. As retired Lt. Colonel William Astore writes:

We wage war because ... we’ve come to believe that American wars can bring good to others.... Most Americans are not only convinced we have the best troops, the best training, and the most advanced weapons, but also the purest motives.... [O]ur warriors ... are seen as gift-givers and freedom-bringers, not as death-dealers and resource-exploiters. Our illusions about the military we “support” serve as catalyst for, and apology for, the persistent war making we condone.

We must confront many serious problems that can’t be addressed through military means. There are solutions—but no military solutions—to inequality, unemployment, rising health care costs, debt, climate change, poverty, and terrorism and yet we devote 58 cents of every dollar appropriated by the U.S. Congress to militarism and war (see www.mnasap.org).

Those of us who want to thank soldiers should be willing to say “thank you for your sacrifice.” They are the one percent who took an oath to defend the Constitution; an oath that demands tremendous sacrifice from them and from those who care for them.

Although it should trigger our outrage, it’s no surprise that about 30% of veterans of the Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan conflicts develop long-term debilitating post-traumatic stress disorder. Veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts between the ages of 20-24 are about three times as likely to commit suicide as their civilian peers. As you read this, reflect on the Army Times report that, on average, 31 veterans will try to kill themselves today and 18 of them will succeed. Over the past few years, more troops have died by their own hands than on our two main battlefields.

We believe the violence of suicide is linked to moral injuries they received fighting illegitimate wars in Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. For many, the most toxic wounds are from witnessing or causing harm to civilians. According to the International Red Cross, “Civilians have borne the brunt of modern warfare, with ten civilians dying for every soldier in wars fought since the mid-20th century.” The experience creates a psychic poison, whether a soldier pulled the trigger or served the war machine from an air-conditioned office.

Those who want to support our troops should work to bring them home. We can no longer make our soldiers protectors of our denial about the profound impacts of war. We can no longer sweep their anguish and the shame of our immoral wars under the carpet of heroism and adulation.

 



Minneapolis resident, Jack Nelson-Pallmeyer, is Associate Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at the University of St. Thomas and the author of 13 books including Authentic Hope: It’s the End of the World as We Know It but Soft Landings Are Possible (Orbis Books, March 2012). Michael Orange lives in West St. Paul. As a Marine in Vietnam, he experienced combat in numerous search-and-destroy missions and patrols during his tour of duty (1969-70). In 2001, he published a memoir of his experiences, Fire in the Hole: A Mortarman in Vietnam. He teaches a class on the history of the Vietnam War at venues including the University of Minnesota's Compleat Scholar Program.

Related:

How Memorial Day Glosses Over the Real Horrors of War, Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch.com

  • It's likely that few Americans have spent time thinking about what the “memorial” in Memorial Day is about.
  • Memorial Day 2012

Will We Pay Our Debt to Our Vets? Katie Drummond, the Fix

  • Soldiers are coming home from our two wars with a staggering rate of invisible brain injuries—and the addictions that go with them. With treatment estimated to cost $1 trillion, will America really meet their dire needs?
  • US Army Delays Counseling Program
  • The Three Most Dangerous Words a Soldier Can Hear: “Support Our Troops”
     

Suppress the Vote!

  • Ohio Republicans want to disqualify voters’ ballots for the mistakes poll workers make.
  • GOP War on Voting Targets Swing States
  • Florida Telling Hundreds of Eligible Citizens They Are Ineligible to Vote
  • Policy Brief on the Truth About “Voter Fraud” Analysis

Dahlia Lithwick, Slate Magazine

If you like reading this article, consider contributing a cuppa jove to Evergreene Digest--using the donation button in the above right-hand corner—so we can bring you more just like it.

Should ballots be disqualified because of poll workers' mistakes? Photograph by J.D. Pooley/Getty Images.

So much ink has been spilled on how vote suppression will affect the 2012 presidential election, one hesitates to write another word. Ari Berman has done terrific work uncovering the ways in which the new voting laws have aimed at suppressing the votes of elderly, minority, student, and other voters—particularly in swing states—who tend to vote for Democratic candidates. Wendy Weiser of the Brennan Center for Justice has an indispensible primer on the 22 new laws and two executive actions that will severely restrict voting in 17 states in November. These laws, often modeled on draft legislation from the American Legislative Exchange Council(ALEC), a consortium of conservative state legislators, will have the effect of disenfranchising millions of voters, all in order to address a vote fraud “epidemic” that should be filed somewhere between the Loch Ness Monster and the Tooth Fairy in the annals of modern fairy tales. As Weiser notes, none of this is casual or accidental: “If you want to find another period in which this many new laws were passed restricting voting, you have to go back more than a century—to the post-Reconstruction era, when Southern states passed a host of Jim Crow voting laws and Northern states targeted immigrants and the poor.”

Full story...

Related:

GOP War on Voting Targets Swing States, Ari Berman, Rolling Stone
On March 7, 1963, civil rights activists were brutally beaten by police in Selma, Alabama, during the infamous "Bloody Sunday" march, for advocating for the right to vote. This week, forty-seven years later, today's civil rights leaders retraced the march from Selma to Montgomery, protesting what NAACP President Ben Jealous calls "the greatest attack on voting rights since segregation."

Florida Telling Hundreds of Eligible Citizens They Are Ineligible to Vote, Judd Legum, ThinkProgress
Scott's purge of fully eligible voters from the voting rolls could be enough to tip the balance in Florida and, perhaps, the presidential election. In 2000, the final (disputed) margin was just 537 votes.


Policy Brief on the Truth About “Voter Fraud” Analysis, Brennan Center for Justice

  • Claims of voter fraud should be carefully tested before they become the basis for action.
  • Suppress the Vote!



 

Wisconsin Recall Elections: Are the 20 Year-old Methods of Ralph Reed and the Christian Coalition Coming to Fruition?

Or: How Fascist-Leaning (or Christ-like, for that matter) are Your Candidates and Their Paymasters?

Gary G. Kohls, MD, Duty to Warn

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

”It (the Christian Coalition’s political agenda) is like guerrilla warfare. If you reveal your location, all it does is allow your opponent to improve his artillery bearings. It’s better to move quietly, with stealth, under cover of night. You’ve got two choices: You can wear camies and shimmy along on your belly, or you can put on a red coat and stand up for everyone to see. It comes down to whether you want to be the British army in the Revolutionary War or the Viet Cong. History tells us which tactic was more effective.” -- Ralph Reed, (Los Angeles Times - 3-22-92)

“I want to be invisible, I do guerrilla warfare. I paint my face and travel at night. You don’t know it’s over until you’re in a body bag. You don’t know until election night.” -- Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson’s successor as leader of the Christian Coalition, admitting his intent on using deception regarding the Christian Coalition’s true aims (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, 11-9-91)

Note: By the time this column gets published in the Reader, the recall election of Scott Walker will be over. It should have been clear to all that the fundamentalist preacher’s kid (likely to have been heavily influenced by the agendas of the Christian Coalition – as have hundreds of other Republican politicians and governors like ex-Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty) are controlled and bankrolled by obscenely wealthy, anti-Christic, right-wing corporate elites who are based outside of the state of Wisconsin (and therefore their lobbyists and their anonymous smelly money, thanks to the “Citizens United” Supreme Court ruling of 2010) should be treated similarly to the undocumented aliens that Walker et al want to treat so harshly.

Walker et al’s agenda is also that of the odious anti-democracy, pro-corporate, right-wing think tank called the American Legislative Exchange Council that has so many sponsors that are among the 1% – see www.alecexposed.org for the sobering details.

Also see http://www.justice.org/cps/rde/xbcr/justice/ALEC_Report.pdf  for a shocking list of ALEC’s ghostwritten sample legislative bills and the billionaires, Big Businesses and  politicians who are financially and politically funding the think tank.

Even though this column will be too late to influence the Wisconsin vote, I submit it because of the important historical facts that need to be understood before the planned anti-democracy coup d’etat of the NeoCons and TheoCons (see www.theocracywatch.org) is completed and the Koch Brothers’ opponents are in Ralph Reed’s body bags.

Most people have their own methods of evaluating political candidates and their parties during campaign season, when we finally have to start deciding which candidate is the least bad for the future of our fellow sentient beings with whom we share the planet (not to mention the safety, availability and affordability of the air, soil, water and food supplies). The candidates we elect are the ones that will be making the life or death decisions that determine the fate of the earth, the children and the other living things that ruthless corporations have little or no concern about.

The most important strategy that I use is fairly straight-forward. It does require some effort, some luck and some knowledge of history, especially the politics of extreme right-wing pro-corporate conservatism otherwise known as fascism.

What we need to find out about political candidates before voting for them.

These are some of the questions I would like answers from the declared candidates and their political parties:

1)      "Where on the political spectrum would this candidate have been if he or she had run for political office in the 1920s and 30s in Nazi (fascist) or pre-Nazi Weimar Germany (an experiment in democracy that was destroyed by the right-wing and centrist political parties and their corporate supporters)? Would he or she have leaned left (pro-democracy, pro-labor, antiwar, socialist) or right (fascist, nationalist, pro-war, pro-corporate, pro-monarchist)?"

2)      “What are the political, racial, economic beliefs of this candidate and his or her party? In 1930s Germany, would those beliefs have made him or her, upon gaining office, a fascist-supporter, an anti-fascist resister or a fear-ridden, silent bystander? Is the candidate (or his supporters) a fear-monger when it comes to dealing with oppressible minorities like foreigners, non-Christians, non-whites, gays, etc?”

3)      “Would this candidate have been recruited by the Nazi Party to serve Hitler’s right-wing, pro-war agenda or would he have had the courage (a la Paul Wellstone) to be willing to risk his life fighting against fascism and corporatism in the battle to overthrow Hitler and his war-profiteering supporters?”

4)      “What are the candidate’s theological and religious beliefs? Does the candidate’s religion preach hatred, fear and “holy” homicide against ‘the enemies of their nation or their religion’ (like the so-called “Positive German Christian Church” that Hitler set up to usurp the Protestant church) or does the candidate’s religion teach peaceful co-existence? Does the candidate’s religion teach that, contrary to all scientific evidence, the earth is only 10,000 years old, that the end of the world is coming soon, (therefore making irrelevant the concept of care of the earth for the benefit of future generations) or that non-Fundamentalist Christians who are fingered a being “heathen” deserve to be starved, imprisoned, tortured, murdered or “left behind”?” I would also like to know before I vote if the religion of the candidate teaches that there is nothing wrong with book-banning or book-burning (which, historically, is a prelude to burning human “heretics”)?

Getting answers to these questions usually makes voting decisions easier were it not for the fact that there is often only very small differences between the candidates of the two major political parties, both being essentially a single war party that has two wings, one wing essentially center right and the other extreme right, although most politicians and their parties are clever enough not to reveal what they or their paymasters are planning behind closed doors. Developing critical thinking skills is important.  The ability to “read between the lines” and not automatically trust people or groups that want your vote or your money is essential.

The dangers to democracy of the 2010 Citizens United decision

If the candidate’s previous voting records are available, sincere citizens need to vote against the candidate with the most proto-fascist qualities and/or the one that is being supported by corporations with anti-democracy, pro-war or wealth-extracting agendas. (Alarmingly, the infamous Supreme Court “Citizens United” ruling in January 2010 by the 5 ultra-conservative activist judges and corporate lapdogs on the bench, allows unlimited, anonymous campaign contributions to political parties, their candidates and assorted nefarious groups that pay for million-dollar attack ads on TV and radio and guarantee that nobody will be able to find out who are the people or corporations that are behind the dirty tricks! (It should be noted that the money being spent on attack ads is currently going against Democrats, 7 to 1.)

It shouldn’t have to be stated that intelligent and thoughtful voters who remember the irreversible damage done to the US Constitution and the nation by the Cheney/Bush/Rove administration should be supporting candidates that oppose racism, economic oppression and militarism (the triple evils of Martin Luther King) and who work for the altruistic causes of true democracy, equality, fairness, peace, justice, reconciliation, liberation of the oppressed and relief of human suffering.

The main problem of course is that America’s two major political parties (with the exception of the few who are in the still-existent, but marginalized, left wing of the Democratic Party) are bought and paid for; and their owners are corporate lobbyists and the big money that finances their campaigns. The worst of them are firmly in the back pockets of the biggest business going, the mother of all deficit-spenders, the Pentagon. Every Republican and nearly every Democrat in Congress, and every president since the Vietnam War was finally de-funded, has cowardly and reflexively voted for virtually every exotic and unaffordable weapons system that the war-profiteering corporations have demanded be built: the primary cause of the fiscal and ethical quagmire that the US is in today.  

America’s moral and fiscal bankruptcy and Pentagon spending

How could the problem - and the solution - be more obvious? Ongoing fiscal crises are to be expected when the Pentagon spends about 2 billion dollars a day with no visible “return on investment” for the taxpayers.

It needs to be pointed out that the Pentagon budget is over $700 billion a year, soon approaching a trillion dollars annually when the bill for the hundreds of thousands of permanent service-connected disabilities and incurable war wounds of the traumatized combat veterans comes due. Pentagon budgets have been massive drags on the economy during the Vietnam War and continuing a decade later with the Reagan/Bush era when military spending on America’s criminal nuclear arsenal, went through the roof - as did the national debt, which rose an additional $4 trillion dollars by the time Reagan left office.

Our politicians have turned into obedient lapdogs for the bloated, too-big-to-fail (and too-big-to-criticize) 800-pound gorilla Pentagon that treats peace-promoting civilians with disdain. It must be said that if the US is ever going to be able to balance its budget, the warmongering politicians and pro-war political parties favored by the military-industrial complex need to be challenged, de-funded and voted out of office.

German fascism and lessons unlearned for America

For those with some knowledge of world history, especially the history of German fascism, here are some more pointed questions to ask about specific issues and beliefs when preparing to vote:

1) Do the candidates have traits that resemble the cunning silver-tongued propagandist Joseph Goebbels (Nazi party leader and Minister of Propaganda and Public Enlightenment) who had iron-fisted control over the German media, including the movie and radio industries, who brutally repressed opposition points of view? The broadcasting of pro-democracy, anti-fascist information was prohibited by the socialist-hating, leftist-hating and liberal-hating Nazis.

2) Are the candidates blindly pro-militarist and pro-war in their voting records or proclamations, as was true for the WWI flying ace hero, and ruthless Luftwaffe-creator Reich Marshall Hermann Goering, who was at one time Hitler’s second in command. (Goering had no compunctions about ruthlessly plundering, for the war profiteering corporations, the natural resources of the conquered and the colonized, especially oil and cheap, conscripted soldiers and factory workers, several of the essential ingredients for conducting modern wars.)  

3) Are the candidates or their families on the payrolls of wealthy industrialists or corporations whose main interests are profits, “free” markets and stealing foreign resources through police state coercion - as was the method of Fritz Thyssen and many other captains of industry?  (Thyssen was the wealthy industrialist who was an early financial supporter of the Nazi Party, as was the wealthy anti-Semite Henry Ford and George W. Bush’s grandfather Prescott Bush, among many other American industries such as Standard Oil and IBM, who profited from their German investments. The fascist  multi-millionaire Thyssen made timely “investments” and saved the Nazi party from a likely extinction after the 1929 US stock market crash and the resultant world-wide depression.)

4) Are the candidates supported by corporations that benefit from war and military spending such as was the infamous House of Krupp and their many steel-making armaments factories? (The powerful Krupp family was the legendary German weapons manufacturing group that, for centuries prior to Hitler’s reign, had made enormous fortunes by producing the best high-grade steel weaponry that the world had ever known, which they then very profitably sold to all sides of whatever potential war was threatening at the time. Krupp Industries ruthlessly chewed up tens of thousands of non-German slave labor during WWII. In testimony at the Nuremberg war crimes trials, it was revealed that Krupp had profited enormously from the slave labor at thier automatic weapons plant at Auschwitz.)

5) Do the candidate’s political agendas discriminate against minorities? Will the candidate support wars or the occupation of weaker sovereign nations for economic advantage (as did Hitler’s henchmen)?

6) Has the candidate shown support for the secret police, the use of torture, "preventive detention" policies or pre-emptive military strikes, which were popular with the likes of the odious Heinrich Himmler and the many infamous party functionaries and bureaucrats who made the concentration camps, prisons and transportation systems run smoothly?

7) Is there a history of disregard for human rights or the refusal to effectively deal with justice issues like starvation, refugees, the abuse of prisoners of war, degradation of the environment, the exploitation of workers and the withholding of adequate healthcare for all? Is there a disregard for displaced and impoverished people, those often labeled as “untermenschen”, ”vermin” or “cockroaches” who, through such stigmatization, become easy targets for all forms of violence - including genocide - which was the strategy of the architects of the holocaust, well-exemplified by right-wing government bureaucrats like Adolf Eichmann?

8) Is the religion of the candidate compatible with the organized, indiscriminate mass slaughter that is modern war? Is the candidate’s god a violent, wrathful, punitive god (which blesses war and makes the slaughter “holy”) or is the candidate’s god an unconditionally loving, forgiving god that commands mercy and the Golden Rule and forbids homicidal violence? Does the church that the candidate belongs to, if he professes to be a follower of Jesus, abide by the ethical nonviolent teachings in the Sermon on the Mount? Is the candidate a member of a church like the racist, xenophobic, nationalist and anti-Semitic “Positive German Christian” church that Hitler established to usurp the Confessing churches of German Protestantism? (Ludwig Muller, an inept Nazi military chaplain was handpicked by Hitler to be the new Protestant bishop at the national synod conference in September of 1933.).

Could it happen here?

Many concerned observers of the current political scene in America have seen alarming trends in the noisy radical right-wingers that have usurped power in the once respectable Republican Party. Book burnings and police state totalitarian rule began in earnest soon  after German fascists drowned democracy in Hitler’s bathtub. It could happen here.

The main thing that American fascism seems to lack is a screeching dictator, but ruling class fascism that is hidden behind corporate boardroom walls can be equally evil. The American form of fascism, which has been called “Friendly American Fascism” may come about by a slow, rolling, bloodless coup almost invisibly brought on by a whole bunch of smiley-faced, good-looking spokespersons (even including sexy-looking blondes and brunettes in short skirts and professionally coiffed hairdos.) This group won’t look anything like the snarling Nazis that are so easy to loathe.  

Many of those in the lower 99%, most of whom have been living in poverty for decades or even generations (or are barely clinging to an uncertain and rapidly evaporating middle class existence), are being hypnotized by a diverse group of misleaders that are spouting their propaganda all over the mainstream media, but most of whom haven’t really experienced the American brand of racism, militarism and economic oppression, that the impoverished, the homeless, the jobless, the starving and the discriminated-against have been suffering for generations.

Simple suspicion that a candidate might be a devotee of fascist-leaning politics or economics should be a good-enough reason to withhold ones vote from that politician and to withhold ones purchases from his supportive corporate entity until more is known about the hidden agendas. We all should regard such entities as being “guilty until proven innocent” of treason, corruption or malfeasance. Ruthless entities do not deserve the benefit of the doubt.

With practice, applying the advice above can help to make one’s voting decisions, as well as one’s consumer decisions, more easily made.

For more information about fascism, check out Professor Lawrence Britt’s important article, titled “Fascism Anyone?” originally published in Free Inquiry magazine, Volume 23, Number 2. It can be accessed online here.

What the Nuns’ Story is Really About

  • The problem with the Vatican approach is that it places the nuns squarely on the side of Jesus and the Vatican on the side of tired old men, making a last gasp to save a crumbling kingdom lost long ago for a variety of reasons.
  • Some MN priests differ with Catholic church over marriage amendment
  • Chris Hedges | The People’s Bishop

Fr. Doug Koesel, Pastor, Blessed Trinity Catholic Church, Cleveland, OH

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Roger Dick for this contribution.

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

Many of you have asked me to comment on the recent investigation into the US nuns. Here goes. In short, the Vatican has asked for an investigation into the life of religious women in the United States. There is a concern about orthodoxy, feminism and pastoral practice. The problem with the Vatican approach is that it places the nuns squarely on the side of Jesus and the Vatican on the side of tired old men, making a last gasp to save a crumbling kingdom lost long ago for a variety of reasons.

One might say that this investigation is the direct result of the John Paul II papacy. He was suspicious of the power given to the laity after the Second Vatican Council. He disliked the American Catholic Church. Throughout his papacy he strove to wrest collegial power from episcopal conferences and return it to Rome.

One of the results of the council was that the nuns became more educated, more integrated in the life of the people and more justice-oriented than the bishops and pope. They are doctors, lawyers, university professors, lobbyists, social workers, authors, theologians, etc. Their appeal was that they always went back to what Jesus said and did. Their value lay in the fact that their theology and their practice
were integrated into the real world.

The Vatican sounded like the Pharisees of the New Testament;— legalistic, paternalistic and orthodox— while “the good sisters” were the ones who were feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned, educating the immigrant, and so on. Nuns also learned that Catholics are intuitively smart about their faith. They prefer dialogue over diatribe, freedom of thought over mind control, biblical study over fundamentalism, development of doctrine over isolated mandates.

Far from being radical feminists or supporters of far-out ideas, religious women realized that the philosophical underpinnings of Catholic teaching are no longer valid. Women are not subservient to men, the natural law is much broader than once thought, the OT is not as important as the NT, love is more powerful than fear. They realized that you can have a conversation with someone on your campus who thinks differently than the church without compromising what the church teaches. (For example, I could invite Newt
Gingrich here to speak. You’d all still know what the church teaches about divorce in spite of him) Women religious have learned to live without fear (Srs. Dorothy Kazel, Maura Clark, Ita Ford) and with love (Mother Teresa). And the number of popes and bishops and cardinals following in their footsteps, Jesus’ footsteps, is_____?

This is what annoys American Catholics. The Vatican is  hypocritical and duplicitous. Their belief is always that someone else needs to clean up their act; the divorced, the gays, the media, the US nuns, the Americans who were using the wrong words to pray, the seminaries, etc. It never occurs to the powers that be that the source of the problem is the structure itself. We can say that now with certainty as regards the sex abuse crisis. It was largely the structure of the church itself, the way men were trained and isolated, made loyal to the system at all costs and not to the person, that gave us the scandalous cover-up.

US nuns work side by side with the person on the street. They are involved in their everyday lives. Most cardinals spent less than five years in a parish, were never pastors, are frequently career diplomats.

Religious women in the US refuse to be controlled by abusive authority that seeks to control out of fear. They realize that Jesus taught no doctrines, but that the church, over time, developed what Jesus taught in a systematic way. Nuns have always tried to work within the system. This time their prophetic voices may take them out of the system. They may take a lot of Catholics and a lot of their hospitals, schools, colleges, orphanages, prison ministries, convents, women’s shelters, food pantries and, of course, the good will they have  earned over the centuries with them.

This investigation is not about wayward US nuns. It is the last gasp for control by a dying breed, wrapped in its own self-importance. It is a struggle for the very nature of the church; who we are, how we pray, where we live, who belongs, why we believe. The early church endured a similar struggle. The old order died. The Holy Spirit won. Happy Pentecost Sunday!

Related:

Some MN priests differ with Catholic church over marriage amendment, Sasha Aslanian, Minnesota Public Radio

  • "Back then (during the Civil Rights era), nobody told me I had to support a civil rights plank or had to speak out for it. It was a matter of conscience," said Paul Mohrbacher. "I call for similar restraint today on the part of church leaders: people of faith can be opposed in good conscience to this amendment."
  • MN Star Tribune defends rejection of priests' anti-marriage-amendment letter

Chris Hedges | The People’s Bishop, Chris Hedges, Truthdig
Packard bears the weight of the war. His life is a form of atonement. He does not fear arrest or jail or defying police in the streets; he fears not doing what is right. He is determined to make amends.

 

Series | Behind the Amazon.com smile: Part 4

  • In a four-part series, the Seattle Times gives readers a glimpse behind the Amazon smile.
  • Part 4: Amazon warehouse jobs push workers to physical limits
  • Series | Behind the Amazon.com smile: Part 3
  • Series | Behind the Amazon.com smile: Part 2
  • Series | Behind the Amazon.com smile: Part 1
  • The Morning Call’s Amazon Sweatshop Probe
  • My dearest Amazon, our divorce is final

Hal Bernton and Susan Kelleher, Seattle (WA) Times

On an average day, 51-year-old Connie Milby covered more than 10 miles in her tennis shoes, walking and climbing up and down three flights of stairs to retrieve tools, toys and a vast array of other merchandise for Amazon.com shoppers.

She filled online orders for more than a decade, working through summer heat and winter chill inside the company's south-central Kentucky warehouse.

One constant was the pace that Milby tried to keep to avoid write-ups from her supervisors that could put her $12.50-per-hour job at risk.

Full Story...

Related:

Series | Behind the Amazon.com smile: Part 1, Amy Martinez and Kristi Heim, Seattle (WA) Times

  • In a four-part series, The Seattle Times gives readers a glimpse behind the Amazon smile.
  • Part 1: Amazon a virtual no-show in hometown philanthropy

Series | Behind the Amazon.com smile: Part  2, Amy Martinez, Seattle (WA) Times

  • In a four-part series, the Seattle Times gives readers a glimpse behind the Amazon smile.
  • Part 2: Amazon.com trying to wring deep discounts from publishers
  • Series | Behind the Amazon.com smile: Part 1

Series | Behind the Amazon.com smile: Part  3, Jim Brunner, Seattle (WA) Times

  • In a four-part series, the Seattle Times gives readers a glimpse behind the Amazon smile.
  • Part 3: States fight back against Amazon.com's tax deals
  • Series | Behind the Amazon.com smile: Part 2
  • Series | Behind the Amazon.com smile: Part 1
  • Amazon.com series draws torrent of negative reaction online

The Morning Call’s Amazon Sweatshop Probe, Ryan Chittum, Columbia Journalism Review

  • Spencer Soper’s terrific piece of reporting goes around the company, which wouldn’t respond to his interview requests, and uses interviews with twenty workers as well as open records requests to show how the company ran a modern-day sweatshop. Literally.
  • An excellent investigation exposes poor conditions at a big Pennsylvania warehouse.
  • Tell Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos that you won't stand for these and other miserable working conditions.

My dearest Amazon, our divorce is final, David Rask Behling, Minneapolis (MN) Star Tribune
It's just plain wrong to cheat all the local businesses who collect sales taxes.


 

Section(s): 

WI Rise Up: Why Next Week’s Recall Matters for National Politics

  • Unfortunately, the DNC and OFA are too shortsighted to see the long-term effects (meaning several months hence) of this recall election. The real elephant in the room is if Governor Walker can pull this off, will the rumors be true: Walker for President?
  • What Happens If Scott Walker Wins Is No Good at All
  • DNC Betrays Wisconsin

Liz Novak, In These Times

As next week’s landmark Wisconsin recall election approaches, the Democratic establishment is still struggling to grasp its significance. In a lackluster attempt to ward off criticism that the Democratic National Committee (DNC) has failed to commit support for the recall effort, DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) is campaigning for gubernatorial candidate Mayor Tom Barrett in Wisconsin today (May 30).

It’s odd that Wasserman Schultz has staged a visit to Wisconsin—including hosting a fundraiser in Milwaukee for Mayor Barrett—five days before the recall election, when in an interview on C-SPAN’s “Newsmakers”  on Sunday (May 27) she dismissed the importance of the state-level battle.

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What Happens If Scott Walker Wins Is No Good at All, Charles P. Pierce, Esquire
Right now, if nothing else changes, it looks very much like Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, is going to keep his job. If that's the case, and assuming he doesn't go down in the ongoing John Doe investigation in Milwaukee, I predict that he will have an "exploratory committee" set up in Iowa within the month, and he will suddenly discover a deeply held desire to spend a lot of time in places like Nashua and Manchester. Make no mistake: If he hangs on, he will be the biggest star in the Republican party. Chris Christie yells at all the right people, but has he ever faced down the existential threat that schoolteachers and snowplow drivers brought to bear on Walker? Marco Rubio? Has he withstood the wrath of organized janitors and professors of the humanities? If Walker wins in June, it wouldn't take very much effort at all for Fox News and for the vast universe of conservative sugar-daddies and their organization to decide that Walker should be the odds-on choice for 2016.

DNC Betrays Wisconsin, Matthew Rothschild, Progressive

  • The DNC tightwads are making life difficult for the recall effort.
  • RNC Goes All In to Defend Wisconsin's Walker, but Where's the DNC?
     

Obama's Kill List Reveals Gangsta Mentality in the Oval Office

  • Obama has mindfully charged well to the right of the homicidal idiot from Texas whom we all thought was as bad as it could get.
  • Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will

Dennis Trainor, Jr.,

Submitted by Evergreene Digest Contributing Editor Kevin Zeese

President Obama in the Oval Office with Thomas E. Donilon, left, the national security adviser, and John O. Brennan, his top counterterrorism adviser.

If President McCain was looking at photos and bios and deciding who to kill next, people would say he is a deranged killer. With Obama as the killer-in-chief 80% of Americans support drone strikes. Filmmaker Dennis Trainor, Jr. says it well in this video.

Transcript...

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Related:

Secret ‘Kill List’ Proves a Test of Obama’s Principles and Will, Jo Becker and Scott Shane, New York (NY) Times
This was the enemy, served up in the latest chart from the intelligence agencies: 15 Qaeda suspects in Yemen with Western ties. The mug shots and brief biographies resembled a high school yearbook layout. Several were Americans. Two were teenagers, including a girl who looked even younger than her 17 years.

America's murderous drone campaign is fuelling terror, Seumas Milne, Guardian UK

  • Obama's escalation of a war that's already caused thousands of deaths will only destabilise his own allies and bolster al-Qaida
  • Obama's Kill List Reveals Gangsta Mentality in the Oval Office
  • Drone Warfare ~ Madea Benjamin
     

Reform of the US Monetary System: Message of 12 Year Old Victoria Grant

  • Out of the Mouths of Babes: The government can borrow money that ultimately comes from private banks, which admittedly create it out of thin air, and soak the taxpayers for a whopping interest bill; or it can borrow from its own bank, which also creates the money out of thin air, and avoid the interest.
  • Support a public bank for YOUR state.
  • How the Bailout Killed Local Lending

Ellen Brown, Global Research

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

The youtube video of 12 year old Victoria Grant speaking at the Public Banking in America conference last month has gone viral, topping a million views on various websites.

Monetary reform—the contention that governments, not banks, should create and lend a nation’s money—has rarely even made the news, so this is a first.  Either the times they are a-changin’, or Victoria managed to frame the message in a way that was so simple and clear that even a child could understand it.

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Related:

How the Bailout Killed Local Lending -- And How Some States Hope to Bring It Back, Ellen Brown, OpEdNews.com

  • "Wall Street banks have cut back on small business lending... [by] more than double the cutback in overall lending.... [Small business] options just keep disappearing." -Elizabeth Warren, Chair of the TARP Congressional Oversight Panel
  • The Bailout that Missed Main Street
     
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