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Fri, 22 Feb 2019
The World for People who Think

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America: The Silence of a Nation

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© MindCrimesInc
Excerpts from a speech by Chris Hedges.

The author spoke at the Revolution Books Town Hall Meeting at Ethical Culture Society on January 13, 2009 condemning Israel and USA complicity in Israel's murderous destruction and genocide of the innocent men, women and children of GAZA and the West Bank.

Dedicated to the children of GAZA.


Alarm Clock

In Defense of Our Children

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© Desconocido
There's been little discussion about the euphemistically-named full-body "pat downs" taking place in US airports as they effect children.

We've put up numerous videos now of very young children being stripped searched in public, touched against their will, and, in any other place and under any other circumstances, molested by TSA screeners.

Parents are counseled to tell their children that these "screenings" are a game.

The US news media's comment on this?

Deafening silence.

Instead they ask us if we aren't being "too sensitive" and tell us there needs to be a "balance between security and privacy." Children are being taught that anyone in uniform has free access to their bodies...that they can't say "no"...and that their parents are unable to protect them. In turn, parents are being taught that they cannot protect their children. The only word that comes to my mind to describe this enterprise is "criminal."

Crusader

JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters

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© Desconocido
Review of James Douglass' Book

Despite a treasure-trove of new information having emerged over the last forty-six years, there are many people who still think who killed President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and why are unanswerable questions. There are others who cling to the Lee Harvey Oswald "lone-nut" explanation proffered by the Warren Commission. Both groups agree, however, that whatever the truth, it has no contemporary relevance but is old-hat, history, stuff for conspiracy-obsessed people with nothing better to do. The general thinking is that the assassination occurred almost a half-century ago, so let's move on.

Nothing could be further from the truth, as James Douglass shows in his extraordinary book, JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters (Orbis Books, 2008). It is clearly one of the best books ever written on the Kennedy assassination and deserves a vast readership. It is bound to roil the waters of complacency that have submerged the truth of this key event in modern American history.

It's not often that the intersection of history and contemporary events pose such a startling and chilling lesson as does the contemplation of the murder of JFK on November 22, 1963 juxtaposed with the situations faced by President Obama today. So far, at least, Obama's behavior has mirrored Johnson's, not Kennedy's, as he has escalated the war in Afghanistan by 34,000. One can't but help think that the thought of JFK's fate might not be far from his mind as he contemplates his next move in Afghanistan.

MIB

Young, old visit Dealey Plaza to mark anniversary of JFK assassination

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© Unknown
This photo was taken during the 40th anniversary of the day America died.
The memory of what happened in downtown Dallas 47 years ago today is still fresh for John Todd.

Now he wants to pass those memories on.

"When I asked my grandkids [to come], they immediately said yes," Todd said this morning near the spot where President John F. Kennedy was slain by a sniper's bullet. "So here we are."

The Todds had plenty of company: Dozens of people - tourists and locals, young and old - visited the site where the president's motorcade passed the Texas School Book Depository.

USA

Coffee, Tea, or Should We Feel Your Pregnant Wife's Breasts Before Throwing You in a Cell at the Airport and Then Lying About Why We Put You There?

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This morning I'll be escorting my wife to the hospital, where the doctors will perform a cesarean section to remove our first child. She didn't want to do it this way - neither of us did - but sometimes the Fates decide otherwise. The Fates or, in our case, government employees.

On the morning of October 26th Mary and I entered Portland International Airport, en route to the Las Vegas wedding of one of my best friends. Although we live in Los Angeles, we'd been in Oregon working on a film, and up to that point had had nothing but praise to shower on the city of Portland, a refreshing change of pace from our own suffocating metropolis.

At the security checkpoint I was led aside for the "inspection" that's all the rage at airports these days. My shoes were removed. I was told to take off my sweater, then to fold over the waistband of my pants. My baseball hat, hastily jammed on my head at 5 AM, was removed and assiduously examined ("Anything could be in here, sir," I was told, after I asked what I could hide in a baseball hat. Yeah. Anything.) Soon I was standing on one foot, my arms stretched out, the other leg sticking out in front of me à la a DUI test. I began to get pissed off, as most normal people would. My anger increased when I realized that the newly knighted federal employees weren't just examining me, but my 7½ months pregnant wife as well. I'd originally thought that I'd simply been randomly selected for the more excessive than normal search. You know, Number 50 or whatever. Apparently not though - it was both of us. These are your new threats, America: pregnant accountants and their sleepy husbands flying to weddings.

Attention

TSA Has Met the Enemy And They Are Us

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© David Goldman/AP Photo
Passengers move through the line at a security checkpoint at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in Atlanta.
How did an agency created to protect the public become the target of so much public scorn?

After nine years of funneling travelers into ever longer lines with orders to have shoes off, sippy cups empty and laptops out for inspection, the most surprising thing about increasingly heated frustration with the federal Transportation Security Administration may be that it took so long to boil over.

Even Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who is not subjected to security pat-downs when she travels, understands the public's irritation. She, for one, wouldn't want to go through such scrutiny.

"Not if I could avoid it. No. I mean, who would?" Clinton told CBS' Face the Nation in an interview broadcast Sunday.

The agency, a marvel of nearly instant government when it was launched in the fearful months following the 9/11 terror attacks, started out with a strong measure of public goodwill. Americans wanted the assurance of safety when they boarded planes and entrusted the government with the responsibility.

Bad Guys

The Attack on Human Dignity

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The human being is made in the image and likeness of God. He or she has the Spark of the Divine "within" him or her. He or she is the primal and primary Temple of God on earth. Each person therefore deserves from the other and gives to the other not just respect, but reverence. The destruction of a fellow human - whether it be in mind, soul, body or spirit - is therefore the desecration of the Great Temple on earth, the place in time and space where the Living God chose foremost to reside.

The sublimity, dignity and transcendental value of each human being make it a grave violation of the Presence of God and of God-given human dignity to treat a person as a thing, a widget in some one's grand illusion, a means to be used, manipulated, abused, lied to, and/or crushed to serve another's agenda. Violate is derived from the same Latin word as violence, violare. To violate a reality is to do violence to that reality. To violate a reality is to treat it in a way that is not in accordance with its nature, e.g., to treat a sentient human being as if he or she were a non-sentient rock violates the reality of the human being. To treat a human being who is the living Temple of God on earth and who is infinitely loved and valued by this same God, as a tool, as a thing, as a person of no real significance beyond my utilitarian need for him or her in some grandiose plan I have concocted, rather than with the reverence, love and value that he or she intrinsically and forever possesses, as a son or daughter of my God and his or her God, of my Father and his or her Father, of the One God, is to violate him or her, to do violence to them. And, a violation of a person's intrinsic, God bestowed human dignity and transcendent value is evil regardless of how normalized it has become, how culturally acceptable it has become, how "holy" it has become or how legal it has become.

In most case most of the nefarious processes by which government does what it does are utterly hidden from the eyes of the public, who are only given a contrived packet of PR lies leading up to and after the fact of implementation. This is what is meant in the well-known line attributed to Bismarck - well known because everyone inherently recognizes its truth, even though most live in personal and communal denial of it - Laws, like sausages, cease to inspire respect in proportion as we know how they are made.

Card - VISA

It's Official: Rich Declare War on the Middle Class

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© Unknown

For the past thirty years the rich have been waging war on the middle class. It's been astonishingly effective, partly because it has been undeclared. But even that pretense is now being abandoned. The President's National Deficit Commission has effectively declared that the rich will now go after what is left of working and middle class wealth and will take whatever steps are necessary to seize it. If allowed to succeed, their plan will reduce Americans to a state of serfdom.

Ronald Reagan began the war on the middle class with his "supply-side" economics. Its very purpose, according to David Stockman, Reagan's Budget Director, was to transfer wealth and income upwards. It cut the marginal tax rate on the highest income earners from 75% to 35% while dramatically expanding spending for war. The results were two-fold: massive federal debt and an astonishing rise in the share of income and wealth going to those who were already the wealthiest people in the world.

The national debt quadrupled between 1980 and 1992. George W. Bush would repeat Reagan's policies and double it again between 2000 and 2008. Meanwhile, the share of national income going to the top 1% more than doubled, from 9% to 24%. The share going to the top one-tenth of 1% of income earners more than tripled. We now have the most unequal distribution of income in the developing world and the inequality is growing rapidly.

Star of David

Mystery of who funded right-wing "radical Islam" campaign deepens

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In the heat of the 2008 presidential election, an obscure nonprofit group called the Clarion Fund made national news by distributing millions of DVDs about radical Islam in newspaper inserts in swing states.

The DVDs, 28 million in all, were a boost to Republican candidates who were trying to paint Democrats as weak on terrorism -- and they arguably helped fuel the anti-Muslim sentiment that boiled over in the "ground zero mosque" fight last summer. The film, Obsession: Radical Islam's War With the West, was widely criticized for its cartoonish portrayal of Muslims as modern-day Nazis.

But who put up the money to send out all those millions of DVDs?

Clarion, which has strong links to the right-wing Israeli group Aish HaTorah and is listed in government records as a foreign nonprofit, would never say.

Indeed, the group does not have to release detailed donor information because of its nonprofit tax status. We knew only that there was serious money behind the effort: Clarion spent nearly $19 million in 2008, the year it sent out the DVDs.

Crusader

Is Warped Christianity Threatening Our Democracy?

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© Flickr/Leoncillo Sabino
133 C St. SE
A misguided view of Christianity is chipping away at fundamental American principles, according to a new book about a shadowy religious/political organization in Washington, D.C.

Jeff Sharlet, in the new book C Street: The Fundamentalist Threat to American Democracy, shows how the group known as "The Family" influences foreign policy, the military, and other key elements of our government.

Based on personal experience, I would say a C Street-like mindset has invaded our courtrooms and corrupted our justice system at all levels. We also suspect that many boardrooms, and even universities, are infected with a values system that gives elites exalted status over everyday folks. In the end, this bastardized form of religion might pose a greater threat to America than Osama bin Laden ever could.

This is Sharlet's second book about C Street. In 2008, he wrote The Family: The Secret Fundamentalism at the Heart of American Power. In an interview about his new book, with Scott Horton of Harper's, Sharlet provides some frightening insight into the C Street mindset. Much of it is based on a relatively obscure passage from the Bible, Acts 9:15: "This man is my chosen instrument to take my name... before the Gentiles and their kings."

The original passage was about the Apostle Paul. But members of The Family evidently think it applies to them. Horton asks, "How do the men who gather at C Street interpret this passage?" Replies Sharlet: