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Pat Bagley | Still Killing Fascists / truthdig.com

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Syrian conflict exposes America’s "Axis of Evil"

  • The people of the world should be very thankful to Syria. For in this agonizing time, the conflict-torn country is revealing an important truth. From the bloodshed, ravages and mayhem that the Syrian people are enduring, the world is empowered to see with crystal clarity a crucial fact - the fact of who, and what, is the real cause of violence.
  • And this real cause of violence is not just afflicting Syria, but right across the globe.
  • NATO's Presence Does Not Benefit Afghan Women.
  • US-Iran confrontation enters dangerous new stage.

Finian Cunningham, Global Research

Forget about oft-repeated Western admonishments against Islamic extremists, rogue states, corrupt regimes, authoritarian superpowers as being “the enemy” of freedom-loving people. It is the American government and its allies who are the real “axis of evil” confronting the world.

It is the system of capitalist corruption, elite exploitation and enrichment, and its corollary of imperialist warmongering that the US and its allies uphold - that is what is driving Syria and the rest of the world into poverty, conflict and the brink of catastrophe.

Full story...

Related:

NATO's Presence Does Not Benefit Afghan Women, Jodie Evans, AlterNet

  • Amnesty International-USA's Executive director Suzanne Nossel appears to be taking a major human rights organization in an inhumane direction.
  • Why I Had to Challenge Amnesty International-USA's Claim

US-Iran confrontation enters dangerous new stage, Peter Symonds,  World Socialist Website

  • These menacing moves against Iran, even as the US and its allies threaten military intervention against Iran’s ally, the Syrian regime of President Bashir al-Assad, have transformed the Middle East into a dangerous powder keg.
  • Global Opinion of Obama Slips
     

I Do! Believe in the Freedom to Marry!

Catholics and friends celebrate faith, family and marriage

Catholics for Marriage Equality MN

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When: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 (7:00-8:30 p.m.)

Where: Loring Park (1382 Willow St., Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403)

Catholics for Marriage Equality-MN invites all Catholics and friends to join in a celebration of faith, families, and the freedom to marry.

Join us for a musical, soulful event and demonstrate your belief that love is love – it belongs to everybody.

Help reassure Catholics they can be faithful and in opposition to the proposed amendment.

Come to pray together, sing together, and through fun, improvisational comedy, learn how to listen to and talk with family and friends about this issue.

The evening will also feature the special premiere of the music video, “For All the Children,” written by David Lohman and sung April 28 by more than 300 people who lifted their voices in love to inspire all people of faith to vote NO!

To RSVP, visit our Facebook event page.

Please Note: Parking is available on the west side of the Basilica in the parking lot under the freeway ($2.00) and in the MCTC ramp east of the church ($5.00), or street parking surrounding Loring Park. There is also parking on N. 17th St. just west of the Basilica.

Rain venue is St. Mark's Episcopal Cathedral at the southwest corner of Loring Park (across from the Walker Museum).

Ending Moral Exclusions

  • Minnesota native Marisa Egerstrom, who is pursuing a Ph.D. at Harvard University in early American religion, debunks this false moral means testing in our latest installment of Activated Voices.  
  • Occupy Wall Street looks like church to me.

Tom Niemisto, Minnesota 2020

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Conservative policy justifies disinvesting in public services and health care by using a moral exclusion argument—i.e. people who depend on these services must be deserving in some moral way to qualify for them.

Minnesota native Marisa Egerstrom, who is pursuing a Ph.D. at Harvard University in early American religion, debunks this false moral means testing in our latest installment of Activated Voices. 

Full story...

Related:

Occupy Wall Street looks like church to me, Marisa Egerstrom, CNN
In the movement that's making campgrounds out of city squares across America, it might seem there's little religion happening. But Occupy Wall Street, and its local offshoots springing up everywhere from Boston to L.A., has described itself more clearly in the language of “soul” than in the language of federal financial regulation policy.

 

Climate Change: 'This Is Just the Beginning'

  • If our news media, including—or especially—the meteorologists, continue to ignore the essential link between extreme weather and climate change, then we as a nation, the greatest per capita polluters on the planet, may not act in time to avert even greater catastrophe.
  • Do You Change the Weather When You Change the Climate? Yes!

Amy Goodman with Denis Moynihan, Democracy Now!

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

Evidence supporting the existence of climate change is pummeling the United States this summer, from the mountain wildfires of Colorado to the recent “derecho” storm that left at least 23 dead and 1.4 million people without power from Illinois to Virginia. The phrase “extreme weather” flashes across television screens from coast to coast, but its connection to climate change is consistently ignored, if not outright mocked. If our news media, including—or especially—the meteorologists, continue to ignore the essential link between extreme weather and climate change, then we as a nation, the greatest per capita polluters on the planet, may not act in time to avert even greater catastrophe.

More than 2,000 heat records were broken last week (June 24-30) around the U.S. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the government agency that tracks the data, reported that the spring of 2012 “marked the largest temperature departure from average of any season on record for the contiguous United States.” These record temperatures in May, NOAA says, “have been so dramatically different that they establish a new ‘neighborhood’ apart from the historical year-to-date temperatures.”

Full story...

Related:

Do You Change the Weather When You Change the Climate? Yes! Jim Naureckas, Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting

  • Scientists can tell you whether we'd be more or less likely to have any given type of weather with an unaltered climate. And with droughts and forest fires, the answer is clear: We'd be having less of them.
  • This Is Your Ocean on Acid
     
Section(s): 

Anti-Tyranny Quotations for These Times

  • Historical Quotations of Wisdom
  • “It’s frightful that people who are so ignorant have so much influence.” -- George Orwell – 1940

Compiled by Gary G. Kohls, MD, Duty to Warn

Joe Heller

I recently came upon a quote from Henry David Thoreau, who many regard as the father of nonviolent civil disobedience. Thoreau’s writings on the subject of active, nonviolent resistance to authority inspired Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King and innumerable other proponents of non-violent resistance to tyranny, including today’s Occupy Wall Street movement. If Thoreau had been writing and living his truth 2000 years earlier, he would probably have been in league with Jesus of Nazareth, who also qualifies as a major advocate and model for living an ethical, fearless life of civil disobedience to the greedy and violent powers-that-be.

In a time (the middle of the 19th century) when the US military was committing another criminal act (one that, a century later, would meet the definition of an international war crime and crime against the peace) Thoreau objected to the armed invasion, illegal occupation and bald-faced theft of that part of Mexico north of the Rio Grande River, and he responded by speaking out against it.

And, not surprisingly, in a country that has a long habit of silencing, persecuting and imprisoning its most altruistic and peace-loving citizens, he wound up in jail for his resistance. Noting that the Mexican War represented another act of homicidal violence by America’s military he wrote, “Thank God men cannot fly, and lay waste the sky as well as the earth.”

Of course, Thoreau was living in another, perhaps more innocent time. He was commenting in an era long before there was any inkling of a German Luftwaffe, a British Royal Air Force, a United States Air Force, the American development, testing and deployment of nuclear weapons, guided missile technology, the perpetual war predictions of the Cheney/Bush/Rumsfeld/Rice/Rove administration, the criminal drone wars of Bush and Obama and the Pentagon’s stated aim of “full-spectrum” global domination of sea, land and space.

Thoreau lived in a time before there were so many warmongering militarists [and their obedient and often misled warrior class], so many ChickenHawk politicians [and their dumbed-down pseudo-patriotic voter-supporters], so many war-profiteering corporations and so many billionaire financiers [and their blindered, amoral investor class wanna-bees that had hopes of becoming one of them]. Thoreau’s America in the 1840s “only” ruled over the earth and the sea - and not the air.

I have collected a number of wise sayings from a number of other historical figures that were fulfilling their duties to warn about tyrants and tyranny. I call the list below “Anti-tyranny Quotes for These Times.” Let the reader apply these lessons from history to effectively resist the tyranny and the tyrants who are surrounding us now and threatening the planet and its creatures, whether the tyranny is coming from corporations, the billionaires, the banksters, Wall Street, the ruling elite, the secret services, the military, the police, religious leaders or local thugs. As Jesus said, “he who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

“As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there is a twilight when everything remains seemingly unchanged. And it is in such twilight that we all must be most aware of change in the air – however slight – lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness.” -- Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas

"The things that will destroy us are: politics without principle; pleasure without conscience; wealth without work; knowledge without character; business without morality; science without humanity; and worship without sacrifice." -- Mohandas Gandhi

"You assist an evil system most effectively by obeying its orders and decrees. An evil system never deserves such allegiance. Allegiance to it means partaking of the evil. A good person will resist an evil system with his or her whole soul." -- Gandhi

"Cowardice asks the question - is it safe? Expediency asks the question - is it politic? Vanity asks the question - is it popular? But conscience asks the question - is it right? And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular; but one must take it because it is right." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.   

“If you see injustice and say nothing, you have taken the side of the oppressor." -- Desmund Tutu,.South African Anglican Archbishop

“When a well-packaged web of lies has been sold gradually to the masses … the (actual) truth will seem utterly preposterous and the speaker (of the actual truth), a raving lunatic." -- Dresden James

“Those who take oaths to politically powerful secret societies cannot be depended on for loyalty to a democratic republic.” -- President John Quincy Adams

"Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities."
-- Voltaire

“Anyone who has proclaimed violence his method inexorably must choose lying as his principle.” -- Mikhail Gorbachev

“If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy.  Of all the enemies to public liberty, war is, perhaps, the most to be dreaded because it comprises and develops the germ of every other...  No nation could preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare." -- James Madison, Chief Architect of the Constitution 

"I have sworn upon the altar of God, eternal hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man." -- Thomas Jefferson, September 23, 1800, as inscribed on the Jefferson Memorial
 
"The greatest tyrannies are always perpetrated in the name of the noblest causes." 
-- Thomas Paine

“Of all the tyrannies that affect mankind, tyranny in religion is the worst.” -- Tom Paine

“Knowledge makes a man unfit to be a slave.” -- Frederick Douglass

"Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet depreciate agitation, are men who want crops without plowing up the ground. They want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its waters. This struggle may be a moral one; or it may be a physical one; or it may be both moral and physical; but it must be a struggle! Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did, and it never will. Find out just what people will submit to, and you have found out the exact amount of injustice and wrong that will be imposed upon them; and these will continue until they are resisted with either words or blows, or with both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress." -- Frederick Douglas

“He that would make his own liberty secure, must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty, he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself.” -- Tom Paine

"The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"
-- Edmund Burke (British Statesman and Philosopher, 1729-1797)

”A patriot must always be ready to defend his country against his government.”
-- Edward Abbey (1927-1989)

“The most important topic on earth: peace. What kind of peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, the kind that enables men and nations to grow and to hope and to build a better life for their children — not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women — not merely peace in our time but peace for all time.”
-- US President John F. Kennedy, speaking at the American University commencement address, June 1963. (Five months later Kennedy was assassinated by assassins other than the patsie Lee Harvey Oswald.)

"Wars throughout history have been waged for conquest and plunder and it is the working class who fights all the battles, the working class who makes the supreme sacrifices, the working class who freely sheds their blood and furnishes their corpses, and it is they who have never yet had a voice - in either declaring war or making peace. It is the ruling class that invariably does both. They alone declare war and they alone make peace. They are continually talking about their patriotic duty. It is not their duty but your patriotic duty that they are concerned about. There is a decided difference. Their patriotic duty never takes them to the firing line or chucks them into the trenches." -- Eugene V. Debs

“War is the terrorism of the rich. Terrorism is the war of the poor!” -- Peter Ustinov

"When you let people do whatever they want, you get Woodstock. When you let governments do whatever they want, you get Auschwitz." -- Doug Newman 
[From The Fountain of Truth: http://www.thefot.us]

"There is no scientific evidence . . . " is supposed to mean, "They have looked for it and it has not been found," instead of, "They have not looked for it and, therefore, it has not been found." -- Dr. Hans Moolenburgh from: “Fluoride: The Freedom Fight” (pp. 157)

“A tyrant must put on the appearance of uncommon devotion to religion. Subjects are less apprehensive of illegal treatment from a ruler whom they consider god-fearing and pious. On the other hand, they do less easily move against him, believing that he has the gods on his side.” -- Aristotle

"Military power is as corrupting to the man who possesses it as it is pitiless to its victims. Violence is just as devastating to the soul of the perpetrator as it is to the body and souls of those who are victims of it." -- American Friends (Quakers) Service Committee

Following are some anti-tyranny quotes from antifascist author George Orwell (1903 – 1950). Orwell is most famous for Animal Farm (1945) and Nineteen Eighty Four (1949), in which he is warning his readers about Fascism.

Ed. Note: It is worth mentioning that Orwell “put his money where his mouth was”. He risked his life going to Spain in 1936 to fight with America’s Lincoln Brigade against the fascist, anti-democracy general Francisco Franco and his army in the Spanish Civil War.

”In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.“ -- George Orwell

“When the white man turns tyrant, it is his own freedom that he destroys. “ -- George Orwell - 1936

We are living in a world in which nobody is free, in which hardly anybody is secure, in which it is almost impossible to be honest and to remain alive.” -- George Orwell – 1937

“It is not possible for any thinking person to live in such a society as our own without wanting to change it.” -- George Orwell – 1938

“It’s frightful that people who are so ignorant have so much influence.” -- George Orwell – 1940

“If liberty means anything at all, it means the right to tell people what they do not want to hear.” -- George Orwell – 1945 (in one of Orwell’s introductions to Animal Farm that was not published until 1970, 20 years after his death)

“A society becomes totalitarian when its structure becomes flagrantly artificial: that is, when its ruling class has lost its function but succeeds in clinging to power by force or fraud.” -- George Orwell – 1946

Power-worship blurs political judgment because it leads almost unavoidably, to the belief that present trends will continue. Whoever is winning at the moment will always seem invincible.” -- George Orwell – 1946

Below are Seven Quotations from Nineteen Eighty-Four, which is about a conscienceless state/corporate tyranny (whose laws are ruthlessly enforced by obedient police/military goon squads).

“War Is Peace; Freedom is Slavery; Ignorance Is Strength. (the Party's slogans inscribed on the Ministry of Truth building).”

“Until they become conscious they will never rebel, and until after they have rebelled they cannot become conscious.”

“War hysteria increases in intensity as one rises in the social scale. Those whose attitude toward the war is most nearly rational are the subject peoples of the disputed territories. To these people the war is simply a continuous calamity which sweeps to and fro over their bodies like a tidal wave.”

“Will you understand, Winston, that no one whom we bring to this place ever leaves our hands uncured? We are not interested in those stupid crimes that you have committed. The Party is not interested in the overt act: the thought is all we care about. We do not merely destroy our enemies; we change them.”

“We shall crush you down to the point from which there is no coming back. Things will happen to you from which you could not recover if you lived a thousand years. Never again will you be capable of ordinary human feeling. Everything will be dead inside you. Never again will you be capable of love, or friendship, or joy of living, or laughter, or curiosity, or courage, or integrity. You will be hollow. We shall squeeze you empty, and then we shall fill you with ourselves.”

“There will be no loyalty, except loyalty toward the Party. There will be no love, except the love of Big Brother. There will be no laughter, except the laugh of triumph over a defeated enemy.... Always, at every moment, there will be the thrill of victory, the sensation of trampling on an enemy who is helpless. If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face — forever.”

 

Privatize the Empire

  • We already privatized our elections and Congress. Why not the Empire?
  • US-Iran confrontation enters dangerous new stage
  • Americans Love a Good Killer

J. Michael Orange, Evergreene Digest

RJ Matson

With the patriotic Fourth of July and Memorial Day commemorations of our wars now behind us, it is also a time to ponder the terrible costs of war. As an ex-Marine who served in Vietnam, I know of them first hand. I offer a solution that will halt injuries to our troops and please conservatives: Privatize the Empire.

Conservatives argue that the private sector is inherently more efficient than the public sector. Since the Reagan Administration, they have stepped up efforts to privatize aspects of the traditional “commons”—schools, airports, police and fire services, parks, the postal service, health care, public works projects, prisons, etc. War is no exception. Private contractors and mercenaries have consistently outnumbered US troops fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. I say outsource them all so our troops can come home to defend this country.

Obviously, the government sector is inefficient at waging war. Our war on Iraq resulted in a devastated corrupted country, hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, millions of refugees, trillions of wasted dollars, and death and trauma to our own troops. One in five Iraqi children dies due to disease, malnutrition, and unsafe water.

A private sector cost-benefit analysis would have dismissed these wars against our enemy—al-Qaida (a private sector entity) as folly from the start. The vast majority of al-Qaida leaders have been “fired” not by the gross hammer of our military (which creates enemies faster than they can kill them) but by the surgical precision of our intelligence services. Years ago, Mafia kingpins dominated the FBI’s Most Wanted list, but we never invaded Sicily under the slogan of “We're fighting them there, so we don't have to fight them here.”

We spend more on the military than all other countries combined. If the Pentagon scaled back to what it needs for actual defense, imagine the savings! It could sell the 737 bases we maintain in foreign countries and have a fire sale worth trillions in surplus planes, ships, tanks, and explosives—everything the oil industry, for example, would need to take over the job of securing their private supply lines. Why waste time on diplomacy when the industry can afford to buy whatever political influence it needs—just as it does here. I’m sure the countries that have “our oil under their sand” would prefer to deal with CEOs directly and avoid the risk of regime change by a fickle public sector middleman like a US President.

Conservatives say they hate public subsidies because they create an uneven playing field. The oil industry is the richest in history yet the most subsidized. Why not eliminate their dependency on the public dole and unleash their gung ho competitive spirit in their own defense.

Conservative journalist, Eric Margolis, writes of bin Laden, al-Qaida’s CEO, “He repeatedly asserted that the only way to drive the U.S. from the Muslim world and defeat its satraps was by drawing Americans into a series of small but expensive wars that would ultimately bankrupt them. [We] ... rushed right into bin Laden’s trap.” So let’s get out! Privatize before they further radicalize.  

The hundreds of thousands of troops eligible for benefits already overwhelm our VA hospitals. The Army Times reported that, on average, 31 veterans a day try to kill themselves and 18 of them succeed. Over the past few years, more troops have died by their own hands than on our two main battlefields. Let’s privatize before more troops are traumatized.

We already privatized our elections and Congress. Why not the Empire?

 



As a Marine in Vietnam, Michael Orange 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:

US-Iran confrontation enters dangerous new stage, Peter Symonds,  World Socialist Website

  • These menacing moves against Iran, even as the US and its allies threaten military intervention against Iran’s ally, the Syrian regime of President Bashir al-Assad, have transformed the Middle East into a dangerous powder keg.
  • Global Opinion of Obama Slips

Americans Love a Good Killer, John Grant, In The Mindfield

  • The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer. --D.H. Lawrence
  • The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations … where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket … where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practicing. --Raymond Chandler
     

The Painful Price of Numbness

  • The drug war is fueled by many things, and maybe the worst drug of all is money, to which so many are so addicted that they can never get enough. It’s a drug for which they will kill, destroying communities and ecologies, even societies, whether for the sake of making drones, Wall Street profits, or massive heroin sales. Then there are the actual drugs, to which so many others turn for numbness.
  • Decriminalization of Drug Possession Doesn't Increase Drug Use, New Report Finds
  • The ‘Busy’ Trap

Rebecca Solnit, TomDispatch

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ssoosay (CC BY 2.0)

Dear Mexico,

I apologize. There are so many things I could apologize for, from the way the U.S. biotech corporation Monsanto has contaminated your corn to the way Arizona and Alabama are persecuting your citizens, but right now I’d like to apologize for the drug war, the 10,000 waking nightmares that make the news and the rest that don’t.

You’ve heard the stories about the five severed heads rolled onto the floor of a Michoacan nightclub in 2006, the 300 bodies dissolved in acid by a servant of one drug lord, the 49 mutilated bodies found in plastic bags by the side of the road in Monterrey in May, the nine bodies found hanging from an overpass in Nuevo Laredo just last month, the Zeta Cartel’s videotaped beheadings just two weeks ago, the carnage that has taken tens of thousands of Mexican lives in the last decade and has terrorized a whole nation.   I’ve read them and so many more.  I am sorry 50,000 times over.

Full story...

Related:

Decriminalization of Drug Possession Doesn't Increase Drug Use, New Report Finds, Ernest Drucker, Huffington Post

  • Just like ending alcohol prohibition, making the current crop of drugs legal simply means changing the laws. But changing the laws has been turned into a bloody legal and political battle that is about everything except drugs.
  • The Power and the Beauty of Portuguese Drug Policy
  • The Ugly Truth of Mandatory Drug Sentencing

The ‘Busy’ Trap, Tim Kreider, New York (NY) Times
Our frantic days are really just a hedge against emptiness.

 

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