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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

The Year

The Year

By Ella Wheeler Wilcox
About.com
December 31, 2014

What can be said in New Year rhymes,
That's not been said a thousand times?

The new years come, the old years go,
We know we dream, we dream we know.

We rise up laughing with the light,
We lie down weeping with the night.

We hug the world until it stings,
We curse it then and sigh for wings.

We live, we love, we woo, we wed,
We wreathe our brides, we sheet our dead.

We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear,
And that's the burden of the year.



Ella Wheeler Wilcox (November 5, 1850 – October 30, 1919)
was an American Author and Poet.

http://poetry.about.com/od/poemsbytitley/l/blwilcoxtheyear.htm

Monday, December 29, 2014

Seeds

Seeds

By Roseanne Marie
December 29, 2014

They tried to steal my friends and family and because of this I
gained thousands of new friends ...

They tried to steal all of my money, so I learned to live happily
with less ...

They tried to steal my sanity, instead I became motivated,
relaxed and focused ...

They tried to steal my health so I became incredibly aware of
nature's protections ...

They tried to steal my self worth and that pushed me into the
greatest role of my life ...

They tried to steal my good name so I went out and demonstrated
through action exactly who I am ...

They tried to steal my love for mankind but it only grew instead ...

They tried to bury us, but they didn't realize that we were seeds ...

Sunday, December 28, 2014

A Christmas Sermon on Peace

A Christmas Sermon on Peace

This sermon was delivered by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,
at Ebenezer Baptist Church, on Christmas Eve, 1967.

By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
EcoFlourish.com
December 28, 2014

This Christmas season finds us a rather bewildered human race.

We have neither peace within nor peace without.

Everywhere paralyzing fears harrow people by day and haunt them
by night.

Our world is sick with war; everywhere we turn we see its ominous
possibilities.

And yet, my friends, the Christmas hope for peace and good will
toward all men can no longer be dismissed as a kind of pious dream
of some utopian.

If we don't have good will toward men in this world, we will destroy
ourselves by the misuse of our own instruments and our own power.

Wisdom born of experience should tell us that war is obsolete.

There may have been a time when war served as a negative good
by preventing the spread and growth of an evil force, but the very
destructive power of modern weapons of warfare eliminates even
the possibility that war may any longer serve as a negative good.

And so, if we assume that life is worth living, if we assume that
mankind has a right to survive, then we must find an alternative
to war and so let us this morning explore the conditions for peace.

Let us this morning think anew on the meaning of that Christmas
hope:

"Peace on Earth, Good Will toward Men."

And as we explore these conditions, I would like to suggest that
modern man really go all out to study the meaning of nonviolence,
its philosophy and its strategy.

We have experimented with the meaning of nonviolence in our
struggle for racial justice in the United States, but now the time
has come for man to experiment with nonviolence in all areas of
human conflict, and that means nonviolence on an international
scale.

Now let me suggest first that if we are to have peace on earth,
our loyalties must become ecumenical rather than sectional.

Our loyalties must transcend our race, our tribe, our class, and
our nation; and this means we must develop a world perspective.

No individual can live alone; no nation can live alone, and as long
as we try, the more we are going to have war in this world.

Now the judgment of God is upon us, and we must either learn to
live together as brothers or we are all going to perish together as
fools.

Yes, as nations and individuals, we are interdependent.

I have spoken to you before of our visit to India some years ago.
It was a marvelous experience; but I say to you this morning
that there were those depressing moments.

How can one avoid being depressed when one sees with one's own
eyes evidences of millions of people going to bed hungry at night?

How can one avoid being depressed when one sees with ones
own eyes thousands of people sleeping on the sidewalks at
night?

More than a million people sleep on the sidewalks of Bombay
every night; more than half a million sleep on the sidewalks
of Calcutta every night.

They have no houses to go into. They have no beds to sleep in.

As I beheld these conditions, something within me cried out:

"Can we in America stand idly by and not be concerned?"

And an answer came: "Oh, no!"

And I started thinking about the fact that right here in our country
we spend millions of dollars every day to store surplus food; and I
said to myself:

"I know where we can store that food free of charge? in the
wrinkled stomachs of the millions of God's children in Asia,
Africa, Latin America, and even in our own nation, who go
to bed hungry at night."

It really boils down to this: that all life is interrelated.

We are all caught in an inescapable network of mutuality,
tied into a single garment of destiny.

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.

We are made to live together because of the interrelated
structure of reality.

Did you ever stop to think that you can't leave for your job in
the morning without being dependent on most of the world?

You get up in the morning and go to the bathroom and reach over
for the sponge, and that's handed to you by a Pacific islander.

You reach for a bar of soap, and that's given to you at the hands
of a Frenchman.

And then you go into the kitchen to drink your coffee for the
morning, and that's poured into your cup by a South American.

And maybe you want tea: that's poured into your cup by a Chinese.

Or maybe you're desirous of having cocoa for breakfast,
and that's poured into your cup by a West African.

And then you reach over for your toast, and that's given to you at
the hands of an English-speaking farmer, not to mention the baker.

And before you finish eating breakfast in the morning,
you've depended on more than half of the world.

This is the way our universe is structured, this is its
interrelated quality.

We aren't going to have peace on earth until we recognize
this basic fact of the interrelated structure of all reality.

Now let me say, secondly, that if we are to have peace in the
world, men and nations must embrace the nonviolent affirmation
that ends and means must cohere.

One of the great philosophical debates of history has been
over the whole question of means and ends.

And there have always been those who argued that the end
justifies the means, that the means really aren't important.

The important thing is to get to the end, you see.

So, if you're seeking to develop a just society, they say, the
important thing is to get there, and the means are really
unimportant; any means will do so long as they get you there?

They may be violent, they may be untruthful means;
they may even be unjust means to a just end.

There have been those who have argued this throughout history.

But we will never have peace in the world until men everywhere
recognize that ends are not cut off from means, because the means
represent the ideal in the making, and the end in process, and
ultimately you can't reach good ends through evil means, because
the means represent the seed and the end represents the tree.

It's one of the strangest things that all the great military geniuses
of the world have talked about peace.

The conquerors of old who came killing in pursuit of peace,
Alexander, Julius Caesar, Charlemagne, and Napoleon, were
akin in seeking a peaceful world order.

If you will read Mein Kampf closely enough, you will discover that
Hitler contended that everything he did in Germany was for peace.

And the leaders of the world today talk eloquently about peace.

Every time we drop our bombs in North Vietnam,
President Johnson talks eloquently about peace.

What is the problem?

They are talking about peace as a distant goal, as an end we seek,
but one day we must come to see that peace is not merely a distant
goal we seek, but that it is a means by which we arrive at that goal.

We must pursue peaceful ends through peaceful means.

All of this is saying that, in the final analysis, means and ends
must cohere because the end is pre-existent in the means, and
ultimately destructive means cannot bring about constructive
ends.

Now let me say that the next thing we must be concerned about
if we are to have peace on earth and good will toward men is
the nonviolent affirmation of the sacredness of all human life.

Every man is somebody because he is a child of God.

And so when we say "Thou shalt not kill," we're really saying that
human life is too sacred to be taken on the battlefields of the
world.

Man is more than a tiny vagary of whirling electrons or a wisp of
smoke from a limitless smoldering.

Man is a child of God, made in His image, and therefore must be
respected as such.

Until men see this everywhere, until nations see this everywhere,
we will be fighting wars.

One day somebody should remind us that, even though there may
be political and ideological differences between us, the Vietnamese
are our brothers, the Russians are our brothers, the Chinese are our
brothers; and one day we've got to sit down together at the table of
brotherhood.

But in Christ there is neither Jew nor Gentile.

In Christ there is neither male nor female.

In Christ there is neither Communist nor capitalist.

In Christ, somehow, there is neither bound nor free.

We are all one in Christ Jesus.

And when we truly believe in the sacredness of human personality,
we won't exploit people, we won't trample over people with the
iron feet of oppression, we won't kill anybody.

There are three words for "love" in the Greek New Testament;
one is the word "eros."

Eros is a sort of esthetic, romantic love. Plato used to talk about it
a great deal in his dialogues, the yearning of the soul for the realm
of the divine.

And there is and can always be something beautiful about eros,
even in its expressions of romance.

Some of the most beautiful love in all of the world has been
expressed this way.

Then the Greek language talks about "philia," which is another
word for love, and philia is a kind of intimate love between
personal friends.

This is the kind of love you have for those people that you get along
with well, and those whom you like on this level you love because
you are loved.

Then the Greek language has another word for love, and that
is the word "agape."

Agape is more than romantic love, it is more than friendship.

Agape is understanding, creative, redemptive good will toward
all men.

Agape is an overflowing love which seeks nothing in return.

Theologians would say that it is the love of God operating in
the human heart.

When you rise to love on this level, you love all men not because
you like them, not because their ways appeal to you, but you love
them because God loves them.

This is what Jesus meant when he said, "Love your enemies."

And I'm happy that he didn't say, "Like your enemies," because
there are some people that I find it pretty difficult to like.

Liking is an affectionate emotion, and I can't like anybody who
would bomb my home.

I can't like anybody who would exploit me.

I can't like anybody who would trample over me with injustices.

I can't like them.

I can't like anybody who threatens to kill me day in and day out.

But Jesus reminds us that love is greater than liking.

Love is understanding, creative, redemptive good will toward
all men.

And I think this is where we are, as a people, in our struggle
for racial justice.

We can't ever give up.

We must work passionately and unrelentingly for first-class
citizenship.

We must never let up in our determination to remove every vestige
of segregation and discrimination from our nation, but we shall not
in the process relinquish our privilege to love.

I've seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and I've seen
hate on the faces of too many sheriffs, too many white citizens'
councilors, and too many Klansmen of the South to want to hate,
myself; and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great
a burden to bear.

Somehow we must be able to stand up before our most
bitter opponents and say:

"We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to
endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force.
Do to us what you will and we will still love you. We cannot in all
good conscience obey your unjust laws and abide by the unjust
system, because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral
obligation as is cooperation with good, and so throw us in jail and
we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children,
and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your hooded
perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour
and drag us out on some wayside road and leave us half-dead as
you beat us, and we will still love you. Send your propaganda
agents around the country, and make it appear that we are not fit,
culturally and otherwise, for integration, and we'll still love you.
But be assured that we'll wear you down by our capacity to suffer,
and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom
for ourselves; we will so appeal to your heart and conscience that
we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double
victory."

If there is to be peace on earth and good will toward men, we must
finally believe in the ultimate morality of the universe, and believe
that all reality hinges on moral foundations.

Something must remind us of this as we once again stand in the
Christmas season and think of the Easter season simultaneously,
for the two somehow go together.

Christ came to show us the way.

Men love darkness rather than the light, and they crucified him,
and there on Good Friday on the cross it was still dark, but then
Easter came, and Easter is an eternal reminder of the fact that
the truth-crushed earth will rise again.

Easter justifies Carlyle in saying, "No lie can live forever."

And so this is our faith, as we continue to hope for peace on earth
and good will toward men: let us know that in the process we have
cosmic companionship.

In 1963, on a sweltering August afternoon, we stood in Washington,
D.C., and talked to the nation about many things.

Toward the end of that afternoon, I tried to talk to the nation
about a dream that I had had, and I must confess to you today
that not long after talking about that dream I started seeing it
turn into a nightmare.

I remember the first time I saw that dream turn into a nightmare,
just a few weeks after I had talked about it.

It was when four beautiful, un-offending, innocent Negro girls
were murdered in a church in Birmingham, Alabama.

I watched that dream turn into a nightmare as I moved through
the ghettos of the nation and saw my black brothers and sisters
perishing on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast
ocean of material prosperity, and saw the nation doing nothing
to grapple with the Negroes' problem of poverty.

I saw that dream turn into a nightmare as I watched my black
brothers and sisters in the midst of anger and understandable
outrage, in the midst of their hurt, in the midst of their
disappointment, turn to misguided riots to try to solve that
problem.

I saw that dream turn into a nightmare as I watched the war
in Vietnam escalating, and as I saw so-called military advisors,
sixteen thousand strong, turn into fighting soldiers until today
over five hundred thousand American boys are fighting on Asian
soil.

Yes, I am personally the victim of deferred dreams, of blasted
hopes, but in spite of that I close today by saying I still have a
dream, because, you know, you can't give up in life.

If you lose hope, somehow you lose that vitality that keeps life
moving, you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you
go on in spite of all.

And so today I still have a dream.

I have a dream that one day men will rise up and come to see
that they are made to live together as brothers.

I still have a dream this morning that one day every Negro in this
country, every colored person in the world, will be judged on the
basis of the content of his character rather than the color of his
skin, and every man will respect the dignity and worth of human
personality.

I still have a dream that one day the idle industries of Appalachia
will be revitalized, and the empty stomachs of Mississippi will
be filled, and brotherhood will be more than a few words at the
end of a prayer, but rather the first order of business on every
legislative agenda.

I still have a dream today that one day justice will roll down like
water, and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I still have a dream today that in all of our state houses and city halls men will be elected to go there who will do justly and love mercy and walk humbly with their God.

I still have a dream today that one day war will come to an end, that men will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, that nations will no longer rise up against nations, neither will they study war any more.

I still have a dream today that one day the lamb and the lion will
lie down together and every man will sit under his own vine and
fig tree and none shall be afraid.

I still have a dream today that one day every valley shall be exalted
and every mountain and hill will be made low, the rough places will
be made smooth and the crooked places straight, and the glory of
the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

I still have a dream that with this faith we will be able to adjourn
the councils of despair and bring new light into the dark chambers
of pessimism.

With this faith we will be able to speed up the day when there will
be peace on earth and good will toward men.

It will be a glorious day, the morning stars will sing together, and
the sons of God will shout for joy.



Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)
was an American Pastor, Activist, Humanitarian, and Leader in
the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known
for his role in the advancement of Civil Rights using nonviolent
civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.

http://www.ecoflourish.com/Primers/education/Christmas_Sermon
.html

Friday, December 26, 2014

Where We Are Going

Where We Are Going

From Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 1967 Book "Where Do We Go
From Here: Chaos or Community?"

By Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Friday, December 26, 2014

In the treatment of poverty nationally, one fact stands out:

There are twice as many white poor as Negro poor in the
United States.

Therefore I will not dwell on the experiences of poverty that derive
from racial discrimination, but will discuss the poverty that affects
white and Negro alike.

Up to recently we have proceeded from a premise that poverty
is a consequence of multiple evils: lack of education restricting
job opportunities; poor housing which stultified home life and
suppressed initiative; fragile family relationships which distorted
personality development.

The logic of this approach suggested that each of these causes
be attacked one by one.

Hence a housing program to transform living conditions, improved
educational facilities to furnish tools for better job opportunities,
and family counseling to create better personal adjustments were
designed.

In combination these measures were intended to remove
the causes of poverty.

While none of these remedies in itself is unsound, all have
a fatal disadvantage.

The programs have never proceeded on a coordinated basis
or at a similar rate of development.

Housing measures have fluctuated at the whims of legislative
bodies.

They have been piecemeal and pygmy.

Educational reforms have been even more sluggish and entangled
in bureaucratic stalling and economy-dominated decisions.

Family assistance stagnated in neglect and then suddenly was
discovered to be the central issue on the basis of hasty and
superficial studies.

At no time has a total, coordinated and fully adequate program
been conceived.

As a consequence, fragmentary and spasmodic reforms have
failed to reach down to the profoundest needs of the poor.

In addition to the absence of coordination and sufficiency, the
programs of the past all have another common failing -- they are
indirect.

Each seeks to solve poverty by first solving something else.

I am now convinced that the simplest approach will prove to be the
most effective -- the solution to poverty is to abolish it directly by a
now widely discussed measure: the guaranteed income.

Earlier in this century this proposal would have been greeted
with ridicule and denunciation as destructive of initiative and
responsibility.

At that time economic status was considered the measure
of the individual's abilities and talents.

In the simplistic thinking of that day the absence of worldly
goods indicated a want of industrious habits and moral fiber.

We have come a long way in our understanding of human
motivation and of the blind operation of our economic system.

Now we realize that dislocations in the market operation of our
economy and the prevalence of discrimination thrust people into
idleness and bind them in constant or frequent unemployment
against their will.

The poor are less often dismissed from our conscience today
by being branded as inferior and incompetent.

We also know that no matter how dynamically the economy
develops and expands it does not eliminate all poverty.

We have come to the point where we must make the non-producer
a consumer or we will find ourselves drowning in a sea of consumer
goods.

We have so energetically mastered production that we
now must give attention to distribution.

Though there have been increases in purchasing power,
they have lagged behind increases in production.

Those at the lowest economic level, the poor white and Negro, the
aged and chronically ill, are traditionally unorganized and therefore
have little ability to force the necessary growth in their income.

They stagnate or become even poorer in relation to the larger
society.

The problem indicates that our emphasis must be two-fold.

We must create full employment or we must create incomes.

People must be made consumers by one method or the other.

Once they are placed in this position, we need to be concerned
that the potential of the individual is not wasted.

New forms of work that enhance the social good will have to be
devised for those for whom traditional jobs are not available.

In 1879 Henry George anticipated this state of affairs when he
wrote, in Progress and Poverty:

"The fact is that the work which improves the condition of mankind,
the work which extends knowledge and increases power and
enriches literature, and elevates thought, is not done to secure a
living. It is not the work of slaves, driven to their task either by the
lash of a master or by animal necessities. It is the work of men who
perform it for their own sake, and not that they may get more to
eat or drink, or wear, or display. In a state of society where want is
abolished, work of this sort could be enormously increased."

We are likely to find that the problems of housing and education,
instead of preceding the elimination of poverty, will themselves be
affected if poverty is first abolished.

The poor transformed into purchasers will do a great deal on their
own to alter housing decay.

Negroes, who have a double disability, will have a greater effect on
discrimination when they have the additional weapon of cash to use
in their struggle.

Beyond these advantages, a host of positive psychological changes
inevitably will result from widespread economic security.

The dignity of the individual will flourish when the decisions
concerning his life and in his own hands, when he has the assurance
that his income is stable and certain, and when he know that he has
the means to seek self-improvement.

Personal conflicts between husband, wife and children will diminish
when the unjust measurement of human worth on a scale of dollars
is eliminated.

Two conditions are indispensable if we are to ensure that the
guaranteed income operates as a consistently progressive measure.

First, it must be pegged to the median income of society,
not the lowest levels of income.

To guarantee an income at the floor would simply perpetuate
welfare standards and freeze into the society poverty conditions.

Second, the guaranteed income must be dynamic; it must
automatically increase as the total social income grows.

Were it permitted to remain static under growth conditions,
the recipients would suffer a relative decline.

If periodic reviews disclose that the whole national income has
risen, then the guaranteed income would have to be adjusted
upward by the same percentage.

Without these safeguards a creeping retrogression would occur,
nullifying the gains of security and stability.

This proposal is not a "civil rights" program, in the sense that
term is currently used.

The program would benefit all the poor, including the two-thirds
of them who are white.

I hope that both Negro and white will act in coalition to effect this
change, because their combined strength will be necessary to
overcome the fierce opposition we must realistically anticipate.

Our nation's adjustment to a new mode of thinking will be
facilitated if we realize that for nearly forty years two groups
in our society have already been enjoying a guaranteed income.

Indeed, it is a symptom of our confused social values that
these two groups turn out to be the richest and the poorest.

The wealthy who own securities have always had an assured income; and their polar opposite, the relief client, has been guaranteed an income, however miniscule, through welfare benefits.

John Kenneth Galbraith has estimated that $20 billion a year would
effect a guaranteed income, which he describes as "not much more
than we will spend the next fiscal year to rescue freedom and
democracy and religious liberty as these are defined by 'experts' in
Vietnam."

The contemporary tendency in our society is to base our
distribution on scarcity, which has vanished, and to compress
our abundance into the overfed mouths of the middle and
upper classes until they gag with superfluity.

If democracy is to have breadth of meaning, it is necessary to
adjust this inequity.

It is not only moral, but it is also intelligent.

We are wasting and degrading human life by clinging to archaic
thinking.

The curse of poverty has no justification in our age.

It is socially as cruel and blind as the practice of cannibalism at
the dawn of civilization, when men ate each other because they
had not yet learned to take food from the soil or to consume the
abundant animal life around them.

The time has come for us to civilize ourselves by the total,
direct and immediate abolition of poverty.



Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968)
was an American Pastor, Activist, Humanitarian, and Leader in
the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known
for his role in the advancement of Civil Rights using nonviolent
civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs.

http://www.drmartinlutherkingjr.com/wherewearegoing.htm

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

12 Days of Christmas Apologies

12 Days of Christmas Apologies

By Paul Buchheit
Common Dreams
December 23, 2104

If Christmas magic were real, America's political and business
leaders, the people with power and money, would speak on
behalf of the nation they've debased:

1. To Our Most Neglected Citizens

By the time the Koch brothers wake up on Christmas morning,
the wealth the two men will have accumulated throughout the
night could get a room for the night for every one of the
633,000 homeless Americans.

To Americans without a place to live, we apologize for a society
that allows almost all of its new wealth to be redistributed to
people who are already rich.

2. To Our Most Vulnerable Citizens

Eight years ago 2 out of every 100 children were homeless.

Now it's over 3 out of 100, a stunning 50% increase.

At the other end of society, elderly people are the most
unequal group among us.

Even though almost all the new wealth from 1989 to 2007 went
to people 55 and older, almost half of retirees report less than
$10,000 in savings.

3. To the "Broken Windows" Victims

The rationale is that punishment for trivial offenses will
discourage more serious crimes.

In New York City in 2012, the most common offense was drinking
alcohol in public, and 85 percent of the citations were given to
Blacks and Latinos.

Bank executives don't break windows.

Their crimes are a billion times worse.

Yet not a single banker was prosecuted for contributing
to the mortgage collapse.

4. To Our Students, the Newest Products of Business

Numerous studies have shown the importance of pre-school,
where social and emotional needs are first nurtured in a
peer environment.

But pre-school funding has been drastically cut.

In its place, business leaders see profits in our children, especially
if education can be automated, standardized, and commodified.

5. To Our Soldiers

We celebrate you in TV commercials, at football games, in holiday
parades. But we should be saying "sorry" instead of "thank you."

Bill Quigley puts the facts together for us:

One out of twelve Iraq/Afghanistan veterans with PTSD

57,000 homeless vets

Veterans much more likely than the general population to commit suicide

Unemployment much higher among post-9/11 vets

6. To the Victims of Our "Exceptionalism"

Greed knows no boundaries.

Our history of disregard for weaker nations seems never to end.

Drone strikes by 'pilots' at computer terminals have killed
hundreds of civilians in Pakistan alone.

The use of torture, once considered inhuman and un-American,
is now standard procedure to many of the people in power.

It gets even worse.

Thanks in part to the xenophobic emotions stirred up by
government and the press, the American public shows
widespread support for both drone strikes and torture.

How can we ever apologize for that?

7. To Those To Whom Nothing Ever "Trickled Down"

Perhaps the biggest scam in economic history is the contention by
Arthur Laffer, gleefully adopted by the super-rich, that lower taxes
on the wealthy would stimulate the economy and eventually lift the
fortunes of everyone.

But even though the wealth gap in our country is worse than ever
before, and despite ongoing present-day evidence that Laffer was
wrong, the big winners unapologetically continue their charade.

8. To People Who Believe in Society Over "Winner-Take-All"

One of our country's greatest needs is public infrastructure repair.

But the super-rich have little reason to support mass
transportation, as long as their pilots and chauffeurs
aren't significantly delayed.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce estimates that $8 trillion in new
infrastructure investment will be needed from 2013 to 2030.

This is the same amount by which U.S. wealth has increased each
year since 2011, but most of it has gone to America's richest 10%.

9. To the Victims of Free-Market Capitalism

After 35 years it's clear that poorly regulated free-market
capitalism doesn't work, except for people who know how
to manipulate the system.

We've been duped by Ronald Reagan's "Government is the problem,"
and by the "starve the beast" mentality that followed, which left
government underfunded and inept, and drove American citizens
into the clutches of the "invisible hand" of the free market.

Big business is largely unregulated.

It prospers through its partnership with Congressional members, who have fallen out of touch with average Americans.

Charles Koch, one of the major beneficiaries of government subsidies, had the temerity to say:

"This growing partnership between business and government is
a destructive force, undermining...the very foundations of our
culture."

10. To the People Who REALLY Built the Technology Industry

Economist William Lazonick says it well:

"The iPhone didn’t just magically appear out of the Apple campus
in Cupertino. Whenever a company produces a technology product,
it benefits from an accumulation of knowledge created by huge
numbers of people outside the company, many of whom have
worked in government-funded projects over the previous decades."

11. To Those Who Have To Defend the Best Government Programs
in U.S. History

It has been estimated that the richest 1% increased their wealth by
at least $3 trillion last year, far more than the budget for Social
Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and the entire safety net.

Social Security and Medicare have worked for decades,
keeping nearly half of our seniors out of poverty.

But these vital programs are continually under fire by many of
the same people who grabbed a chunk of that $3 trillion last
year.

12. To the Most Generous, and Least Appreciated, Among Us

These are lower-income households, making $50,000 to $75,000 per year, who give 7.6 percent of their income to charity, while those earning $100,000 or more give just 4.2 percent.

Yet inordinate attention is paid to big-money philanthropists who
get tax breaks for supporting operas, art museums, symphonies,
and alma maters.

Good causes all, but of little value to Americans worried
about food and rent.

And If the Super-Greedy Refuse to Apologize and Make
Amends for Their Treatment of Less Fortunate Americans?

Let Visions of Occupy II Dance in Their Heads.



Paul Buchheit is a college teacher, an active member of US Uncut
Chicago, founder and developer of social justice and educational
websites (UsAgainstGreed.org, PayUpNow.org, RappingHistory.org),
and the editor and main author of "American Wars: Illusions and
Realities" (Clarity Press).

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2014/12/22/12-days-
christmas-apologies

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Christmas Truce of 1914

The Forgotten Christmas Truce of 1914 and the Unlearned Lessons That Could Have Prevented the Century of War 1914 - 2014

By Gary Kohls
Lew Rockwell.com
December 21, 2014

It was exactly 100 years ago this month when the Christmas Truce
of 1914 occurred, when Christian soldiers on both sides of the
infamous "No Man’s Land of the Western Front" recognized their
common humanity, dropped their guns and fraternized with the
so-called "Enemies" that they had been ordered to kill without
mercy the day before.

The truth of that remarkable event has since been effectively
covered up by state and military authorities (and the embedded
journalists at the time) because they were angered (and
embarrassed) by the breakdown of military discipline.

In the annals of war, such “mutinies” are now unheard of.

The generals and (as well as the saber-rattling, chest-thumping
politicians and war profiteers back home) rapidly developed
strategies to prevent such behavior from happening again.

Christmas Eve of 1914 was only 5 months into World War I, and
the cold, weary, homesick soldiers found themselves not heroes,
as expected, but rather miserable, frightened and disillusioned
wretches living in rat and louse infested trenches.

Most of them had dreamed heroic dreams when they had signed up
to kill and die for King and Country a few months earlier, and hey
had been fully expecting to be home for the holidays.

Lower echelon officers on both sides of No Man’s Land, who were
suffering right along with the troops, allowed a lull in the war, just
for Christmas Eve.

Then they allowed the troops to sing Christmas hymns, and many
of the not-yet hardened soldiers started to recognize the humanity
of the demonized “other” that had been fingered as sub-humans
deserving of death.

And so the merciful spirit of the season came upon them; and they
disobeyed orders that forbade fraternizing with the enemy by laying
down their weapons and mingling with them in the area between the trenches.

Unknown to the higher echelon commanding officers, who were
enjoying good food and drink in their warm bunkers out of the
range of the artillery barrages and machine gun bursts, the grunts
on either side of the battle line suddenly sensed the stupidity of
killing someone that was just like them and who had never done
them any harm.

Many of the men that experienced the moment knew that
something deeply profound had happened: a spiritual experience
of mutual respect and love that epitomized their mutual Christian
upbringing and they refused to fight and kill when the war was
ordered to re-start.

Some soldiers were punished for their disobedience and many of
them had to be replaced with fresh troops that had been in the
reserve trenches the day before (corporal Adolf Hitler was among
the ones who did not experience the front line fraternization.)

The Christmas Truce of 1914 had come close to ending the futile
and ultimately suicidal war that destroyed 4 empires and an entire
generation of young men that had been bamboozled into joining up.

The truce had occurred at various places up and down the triple
parallel lines of trenches that stretched through France for 600
miles from Belgium to Switzerland.

The vast majority of the soldier that experienced the unauthorized
truce did not survive the war.

Many of them had just experienced a bloody battle that had killed
tens of thousands of troops on either side, with essentially no
territory being gained by either side, and they now knew that they
were in for a long war of attrition.

They would not be home for Christmas.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/2014/12/gary-g-kohls/the-christmas-
truce-of-1914

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Torture Impunity and Police Shootings

Torture Impunity and Police Shootings

A danger from the “war on terror” was always that it would
encourage the spread of an authoritarian U.S. state, ignoring
international law abroad and constitutional rights at home, a
process that is now growing more apparent with impunity for
both torturers and police who kill minorities.

By Nat Parry
Consortiumnews.com
December 16, 2014

The international fallout from last week’s long-delayed release of
the Senate Intelligence Committee’s 500-page executive summary
of its still-classified 6,000 report on CIA torture could hardly be
more intense, with calls coming from the United Nations, foreign
governments and the human rights community for prosecutions
of those who carried out or authorized the torture techniques
described in the report, including senior officials from the Bush
administration.

But judging from the self-assured comments of CIA and former
administration officials, there is no real concern over the possibility
of any criminal liability, a lack of accountability which has led to a
palpable arrogance among those who would be behind bars if laws
were actually enforced on an equal basis in the United States.

The above-the-law sense of entitlement was perhaps most clearly
on display in former Vice President Dick Cheney’s appearance this
Sunday on “Meet the Press,” stating that when it comes to using
torture, “I’d do it again in a minute.”

When presented with gruesome details from the Senate report on
torture – for example the newly revealed “enhanced interrogation
technique” of “rectal feeding,” i.e., anal rape – and asked for his
definition of what might constitute “torture” in a legal sense,
Cheney retorted that torture is “an American citizen on his
cellphone making a last call to his four young daughters shortly
before he burns to death in the upper levels of the Trade Center
in New York on 9/11.”

Short of this rather high bar, nothing, by definition, that
the United States does to its detainees could conceivably
be considered torture.

Similarly, when asked about the large number of innocent people
(26 out of 119 CIA detainees, according to the report) who had
tragically been detained and tortured in error, for example
Gul Rahman – a victim of mistaken identity who was chained to
the wall of his cell, doused with water and froze to death in
CIA custody – Cheney stated indifferently that these individuals
essentially don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

The only problem that Cheney had was “with the folks that we
did release that end up back on the battlefield.”

“I’m more concerned with bad guys who got out and released
than I am with a few that, in fact, were innocent,” he said.

Taken to its logical conclusion, Cheney’s reasoning would seem to
hold that it is preferable to indefinitely detain and torture a million
innocent people than to allow one “bad guy” to slip through the
cracks.

The implications of this logic are, needless to say, chilling (not to
mention completely at odds with the legal principle of presumed innocence).

A Courtroom Defense

At times, watching Cheney make these cold rationalizations on
“Meet the Press,” it may have occurred to viewers that the more
appropriate venue for this interview would have been on the
witness stand of a courtroom.

After all, what Cheney was defending was not just controversial
policy choices, but clearly defined crimes of torture and murder.

Although he was sure to emphasize that “All of the techniques
that were authorized by the President were, in effect, blessed
by the Justice Department,” the fact remains that providing the
cover of law to a crime makes it no less of a crime.

This is a point that UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights
and Counterterrorism Ben Emmerson specifically made last
week following the release of the report.

In a statement, Emmerson said, “The fact that the policies
revealed in this report were authorized at a high level within
the U.S. government provides no excuse whatsoever. Indeed,
it reinforces the need for criminal accountability.”

Emphasizing that all individuals responsible for “the criminal
conspiracy” described in the Senate report “must be brought to
justice, and must face criminal penalties commensurate with the
gravity of their crimes,” Emmerson noted that “international law
prohibits the granting of immunities to public officials who have
engaged in acts of torture.”

Judging from Cheney’s arrogant display on “Meet the Press,”
however, there appears to be very little appreciation for the
niceties of international law such as its expressed prohibition
on official immunity when it comes to the crime of torture.

He seems to be quite confident, indeed, that official immunity is
unnecessary when there is an implied unofficial immunity that is
granted to public officials in the United States, this being the case
whether it pertains to CIA torture or police brutality.

Police Shootings

The same arrogance that Cheney is so casually displaying can also
be seen in the closely paralleled story of the recent spate of police
shootings and killings of innocent or unarmed African-Americans,
and the remarkable wave of demonstrations that has taken hold
across the United States in response.

With large-scale protests happening in most major American cities
over the past month – particularly since grand juries decided not
to indict the police officers who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson,
Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York City – one might think that
cops would be extra careful these days not to come across overly
arrogant or obdurate.

This, however, would not be the case.

In response to the NFL’s Cleveland Browns’ wide receiver Andrew
Hawkins taking the field on Sunday wearing a T-shirt protesting
recent police shootings in Ohio – reading “Justice for Tamir Rice
and John Crawford” on the front and “The Real Battle for Ohio”
on the back – Jeff Follmer, president of the Cleveland police union,
claimed the shirt was disrespectful and he disparaged the very
idea of athletes holding opinions about anything other than sports.

“It’s pretty pathetic when athletes think they know the law,”
Follmer said in a statement. “They should stick to what they know
best on the field.” In other words, keep your opinions to yourself,
boy, and just play football.

Follmer also demanded an apology from the Clevelend Browns
organization, which to their credit, the Browns did not extend.

Instead, the Browns fired back with a statement saying the
organization endorses the rights of players “to project their
support and bring awareness to issues that are important to
them if done so in a responsible manner.”

Hawkins also weighed in with comments to the media that
revealed, in fact, a deep knowledge and understanding of
what law and justice mean (or should mean), contrary to
Follmer’s condescending remarks.

“Justice,” he said, “is a right that every American should have.
Justice means that the innocent should be found innocent. It
means that those who do wrong should get their due punishment.”

His six-minute locker-room monologue to reporters ended with him
choking up while drawing a parallel between his own young son and
the tragic death of Tamir Rice, the 12-year-old boy shot by police in
Cleveland on Nov. 22 while holding a toy gun.

“My number one reason for wearing the T-shirt was the thought
of what happened to Tamir Rice happening to my little Austin.
And that scares the living hell out of me,” he said.

Protests and Fears

This genuine, personal fear of police violence is one that has
been widely expressed over the last several weeks of protests
taking hold across the country.

As Democracy Now’s Aaron Maté reported from New York’s “Millions
March” on Saturday, one of the dominant themes being expressed
on the streets was “a sense of not feeling safe, not feeling safe
themselves and not feeling safe for their loved ones, people of
color in heavily policed communities.”

Interviewing protester Darrell Greene, Maté asked him to explain
his sign, which read “Me, my father, my son. Who’s next?”

Greene responded, “At this point, I know I’m a productive citizen,
and I don’t feel safe in my own community. I’ve never been in
trouble with law enforcement. And from what I’m seeing on the
news and what’s been going on, I really wonder: Am I next?
I’m wondering if the people in my community are next. We’re all
productive citizens, and we’re in fear for our life. We feel like it’s
open season on all minorities, and we want to know if we’re really
safe.”

Protester Nilan Johnson echoed these sentiments.

“I’m here because Americans, period, are being preyed on, right
now,” he said. “African-Americans are once again fighting for the
right to be human, and I think that’s horrible.”

Asked whether he feels, as a person of color, whether he is unsafe
in his community, Johnson replied, “That’s – I feel that daily, so
I feel that’s a preconditioned nature now. I feel threatened and
marked and cornered. And everybody here feels the same way.
And we’re trying to keep our humanity.”

If not a direct byproduct of the war on terror’s excesses and the
impunity that law-breakers at the highest levels of government
enjoy, this feeling of powerlessness, insecurity and injustice is
certainly closely related.

Indeed, as far back as 2007, civil rights leaders were drawing these
connections, in particular in a report prepared for the United
Nations entitled “In The Shadows Of The War On Terror: Persistent
Police Brutality and Abuse of People of Color in the United States.”

Since 9/11, the report explained, “there have been dramatic
increases in law enforcement powers in the name of waging
the ‘war on terror,’” while simultaneously, counter-terrorism
policies have “created a generalized climate of impunity for
law enforcement officers, and contributed to the erosion of
what few accountability mechanisms exist for civilian control
over law enforcement agencies.”

This has led to an erosion of public discussion and accountability
with respect to the use of excessive force against people of color,
while at the same time, “systemic abuse of people of color by law
enforcement officers has not only continued since 2001 but has
worsened in both practice and severity,” according to the report.

As a representative of the NAACP put it, “the degree to which
police brutality occurs … is the worst I’ve seen in 50 years.”

Troubling Trend

Even establishment publications such as the Wall Street Journal
have noticed the troubling trend of rising police violence and its
connections with the war on terror.

As a feature article in WSJ put it in August 2013, “the war on drugs
and, more recently, post-9/11 antiterrorism efforts have created a
new figure on the U.S. scene: the warrior cop – armed to the teeth,
ready to deal harshly with targeted wrongdoers, and a growing
threat to familiar American liberties.”

This threat to liberties is compounded when the justice system
fails to hold accountable those who break the law and violate
people’s rights.

Whether it is Eric Garner in New York or Gul Rahman in
Afghanistan, the victims of injustice must have redress,
and “those who do wrong should get their due punishment,”
in the words of Cleveland Browns wide receiver Andrew Hawkins.

As human rights advocates and civil libertarians have warned since
the early days of the “war on terror,” human rights violations of
terror suspects will eventually set the United States on a slippery
slope in which authorities deem it optional whether to respect the
human rights of anyone, including U.S. citizens.

At that point, anyone is fair game, and all of us, including
law-abiding Americans, may find ourselves at the mercy of
an unsympathetic authoritarian state.



Nat Parry is the co-author of Neck Deep: The Disastrous Presidency
of George W. Bush.

https://consortiumnews.com/2014/12/16/torture-impunity-and-
police-shootings

Friday, December 12, 2014

"I Can't Breathe"

"I Can't Breathe"

By Tony Whitcomb
December 12, 2014

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy is choking me.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy makes me live in poverty.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy is raping me.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy makes my life a misery.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy is shooting me.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy makes me look like the enemy.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy is dropping bombs on me.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy makes a living by killing me.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because you say I am supposed to love and pray for my enemy.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy obviously does not love and is obviously not praying for me.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy truly hates me.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy wants to live in a world without me.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy just won't let me.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy only wants to bring about the death of me.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" because my enemy will always be a threat to me.

Lord, "I Can't Breathe" unless you please, please, please, help me.

Lord, in the last and in the final words of brother Eric Garner, Lord:

"I Can't Breathe."

"I Can't Breathe."

"I Can't Breathe."

"I Can't Breathe."

"I Can't Breathe."

"I Can't Breathe."

"I Can't Breathe."

"I Can't Breathe."

"I Can't Breathe."

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Masters of War

Masters of War

By Bob Dylan
Metro Lyrics
December 11, 2014

Masters of War

Come you masters of war
You that build the big guns
You that build the death planes
You that build all the bombs

You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks

You that never done nothin'
But build to destroy
You play with my world
Like it's your little toy

You put a gun in my hand
And you hide from my eyes
And you turn and run farther
When the fast bullets fly

Well like a Judas of old
You lie and deceive
A world war can be won
You want me to believe

But I see through your eyes
And I see through your brain
Like I see through the water
That runs down my drain

You fasten all the triggers
For the others to fire
And then you sit back and watch
When the death count gets higher

And you hide in your mansion
All the young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud

You've thrown the worst fear
That can ever be hurled
Fear to bring children
Into the world

Oh for threatening my baby
Unborn and unnamed
You ain't worth the blood
That runs in your veins

How much do I know?
Oh to talk out of turn
You might say that I'm young
You might say I'm unlearned

But there's a one thing I know
Though I'm younger than you
That even Jesus would never
Forgive what you do

Well let me ask you one question
Is your money that good?
Oh will it buy you forgiveness
Do you think that it could?

I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul

And I hope that you die
And your death will come soon
I'll follow your casket
By the pale afternoon

And I'll watch while you're lowered
Down to your deathbed
And I'll stand over your grave
Till I'm sure that you're dead



Bob Dylan is an American singer-songwriter, artist, and writer.

http://www.metrolyrics.com/masters-of-war-lyrics-bob-dylan.html

Monday, December 8, 2014

Silent Killer

TV Propaganda And The Mind Control Culture

By 21wire
21st Century Wire
December 8, 2014

Few subjects present an undisputable window into modern society
than the electronic version of reality that is dispensed through
television broadcasts.

This technology does not require interactive skills or critical
thinking acumen.

Just watch and fall into a daydream trance.

TV is the stealth killer that penetrates 114.7 million American
households.

According to the Nielsen ratings organization, the 2012 Universe
Estimate (UE), reflects a reduction in the estimated percent of
U.S. homes with a television set (TV penetration), which declined
to 96.7 percent from 98.9 percent.

Should this turn down suggest promise or is it merely a result
of internet substitution?

With the proliferation of cable channels and 24 hour programming,
the landscape of TV addiction vastly impacts perception and
dramatically excludes normal interpersonal relations.

Researcher Melissa Melton cites the following in her article,
TV: Your Mind. Controlled.

“According to last year’s Nielsen report, the average American over
the age of two years old watches more than 34 hours of television
per week, plus at least three more hours of taped programming.
The report also noted that the amount of time we spend watching
television increases as we get older.”

This overwhelming intrusion into and over personal time and space
are often called entertainment.

Broadcasts that bill themselves as news or business shows claim to
provide useful information.

Sport coverage makes no pretense of presenting socially significant
content.

Yet, vast segments of the public are wrapped up in the childish
exercise of false hero adoration.

TV AS A POLITICAL AND SOCIAL ENGINEERING TOOL

Television’s reporting on politics is miserable by any coherent
standard of journalism.

The business of television has little to do with an accurate chronicle
of events or the meaning of decisions and actions.

In order to understand the objectives of the content producers and
the basic purpose behind the cultural soothsayers, a review of Mind
Control Theories and Techniques used by Mass Media, which is a
well documented source that outlines how the mass media really
operates, is useful.

Examine the specifics and draw your own lessons.

“Mass media is the most powerful tool used by the ruling class to
manipulate the masses. It shapes and molds opinions and attitudes
and defines what is normal and acceptable. This article looks at the
workings of mass media through the theories of its major thinkers,
its power structure and the techniques it uses, in order to
understand its true role in society.”

The conclusion of this account is a valid summary.

“Lippmann, Bernays and Lasswell have all declared that the public
are not fit to decide their own fate, which is the inherent goal
of democracy. Instead, they called for a cryptocracy, a hidden
government, a ruling class in charge of the “bewildered herd.”
As their ideas continue to be applied to society, it is increasingly
apparent that an ignorant population is not an obstacle that
the rulers must deal with: It is something that is DESIRABLE
and, indeed, necessary, to insure total leadership. An ignorant
population does not know its rights, does not seek a greater
understanding of issues and does not question authorities. It
simply follows trends. Popular culture caters to and nurtures
ignorance by continually serving up brain-numbing entertainment
and spotlighting degenerate celebrities to be idolized. Many
people ask me: “Is there a way to stop this?” Yes, there is.
STOP BUYING THEIR CRAP AND READ A BOOK.”

Such a sensible solution as turning off the misinformation screen
is not an option for most of the typical dullards that think of
themselves as normal and informed citizens.

Society is populated with marginally functional and enthusiastic
compliant serfs.

Contentment is judged by actions not merely by sentiment.

An unquestioning and obedient populace perpetually distracted
from serious issues and unaware of comprehending the linkage
and ultimate aims behind world events, has always been the
goal.

The most profound use of these media techniques usually deal
with War & Peace: Media and War.

Stanford University publishes this account by Johnnie Manzaria &
Jonathon Bruck, Media’s Use of Propaganda to Persuade People’s
Attitude, Beliefs and Behaviors.

“Propaganda is so powerful because everyone is susceptible to it.
This is true as explained by Robert Cialdini, an expert in influence,
because people exist in a rapidly moving and complex world. In
order to deal with it, we need shortcuts. We cannot be expected
to recognize and analyze all the aspects in each person, event,
and situation we encounter in even one day. We do not have the
time, energy, or capacity to process the information; and instead
we must very often use our stereotypes, our rules of thumb, to
classify things according to a few key features and then to respond
without thinking when one or another of these trigger feature are
present (Cialdini 6). While this makes people highly susceptible to
a propagandist who understands persuasion, in general it is the
most efficient form of behaving, and in other cases it is simply
necessary. Additionally, propaganda includes the reinforcement of
societal myths and stereotypes that are so deeply embedded within
a culture that it is often difficult to recognize the message as
propaganda.”

The attitude that such practices are “most efficient form of
behaving, and in other cases it is simply necessary”, is most
disturbing and certainly fits the mold of how TV operates.

The examples cited in this case study deal with foreign policy
issues. However, the summary on How to Defend Against
Propaganda, is worth a look.

“As a result of our increasing sophistication and to build our
civilization, we have created and environment so complex, so
fast-paced, and information-laden, that we must increasingly
deal with it in the fashion of the animals we long ago transcended.
Thus, from the case studies on how the media uses propaganda,
we can understand that the media does more than presentation
facts and information. The media has the ability to exploit
persuasive tactics to the specific definition of propaganda:
the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose
of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person.”

Now ponder the disclaimer from this academia project:

“We are not advocating that propaganda is wrong; we have tried
to show, that overall it is usually helpful to respond to messages
mindlessly, and that the truly only way to defend against it is to
be more aware of the tactics being used.”

Also referenced in this study is Phil Zimbardo.

1) Be aware of the general perspective that others use to frame
the problem or issue at hand, because accepting their frame on
their terms gives them a powerful advantage.

2) Be sensitive to situational demands however trivial they may
seem: group norms, group pressures, symbols of authority, slogans,
and commitments. Don’t believe in simple solutions to complex
personal, social, and political problems.

3) In the end, it must be remembered that it is not enough to
dissent vocally — one must be willing to disobey, to defy, to
challenge, and to suffer any ensuing consequences of these
actions.

Relate this thinking to the television broadcasts and series
that occupy the gratuitous viewing of the general-public.

It may be functionally realistic not to expect current event
discernment from the mediocre crowd, but what motivates these
distraction deprived viewers from absorbing the brainwashing
message?

Escape from reality probably is the most adept answer.

Nonetheless, the dependency on relinquishing individual
responsibility and living under the principle of personal
integrity is too difficult for most.

The easy way out is to believe the junk fed from the TV screen.

Newspeak has become the dominant culture and TV is the chief
vehicle for spreading the lies and deceit.

Jack Blood provides a succinct summary in, TV = Mind Control
(Why do you think they call it Programming?)

“Once again the system is at work, knowing how easy it is to
control the minds of a dumbed down population that has been well
trained, and some might say socially engineered, to never question
authority, never think outside the box, never seek accountability
and never think for itself.

Easily manipulated, millions of people are conditioned to believe,
from a very early age, that anything emanating from television is
sacrosanct.

Thus, everything they watch is reality and anything they hear is
truth.

Anchors and reporters become trusted personalities voicing reticent
opinions whose veracity are seldom, if ever, questioned.

The Establishment has perfected its machination of propaganda,
creating the realities it wants into society, forming whatever truth
that will be of the greatest benefit, not to society, but to itself.

Whatever reality it wants to create and disseminate is quickly
absorbed by a population eager to feed off the mammary glands
of television.

The Establishment, the corporate world and government have for
years told us how and what to think, how to act, who to obey and
where to follow, condemning our minds to obedience, our lives to
conformism and silent acquiescence.”

Is it not time to make a clean break from this self-induced
imprisonment of images and sounds that spills out of the
television machine?

http://21stcenturywire.com/2014/02/11/silent-killer-tv-
propaganda-and-the-mind-control-culture

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Paradox of Our Times

The Paradox of Our Times

By The Dalai Lama
Swaraj.org
December 5, 2014

The Paradox of Our Times

Is that we have taller buildings, but shorter tempers.

Wider freeways, but narrower viewpoints.

We spend more, but we have less.

We have bigger houses, but smaller families.

More conveniences, but less time.

We have more degrees, but less sense.

More knowledge, but less judgement.

More experts, but more problems.

More medicines, but less wellness.

We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values.

We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

We have learned how to make a living, but not a life.

We have added years to life, but not life to years.

We've been all the way to the moon and back.

But have trouble crossing the street to meet the new neighbor.

We have conquered outer space, but not inner space.

We've cleaned up the air, but polluted our soul.

We've split the atom, but not our prejudice.

We've higher incomes, but lower morals.

We've become long on quantity but short on quality.

These are the times of tall men, and short character;

Steep profits, and shallow relationships.

These are the times of world peace, but domestic warfare.

More leisure, but less fun; more kinds of food, but less nutrition.

These are the days of two incomes, but more divorces;

Of fancier houses, but broken homes.

It is a time when there is much in the show window,
and nothing in the stockroom.

A time when technology can bring this letter to you.

And a time when you can choose.

Either to make a difference .... or just hit, delete.



- His Holiness The Dalai Lama

http://www.swaraj.org/paradoxdalai.htm

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Activism: Quality, Not Quantity

Activism: Quality, Not Quantity

By Mickey Z
Counterpunch.org
November 30, 2014

In the Vietnam War protest song “Five to One,” Jim Morrison
of The Doors sings:

The old get old/And the young get stronger
May take a week/And it may take longer
They got the guns/But we got the numbers
Gonna win, yeah/We’re takin’ over

In my youth, I took solace in the whole “we got the numbers” thing
but it eventually became crystal clear that the ones with the guns
have had it all figured out for a very, very long time.

Philosopher David Hume, in 1758, explained it this way:

“As force is always on side of the governed, the governors have
nothing to support them but opinion. It is, therefore, on opinion
only that government is founded and this maxim extends to the
most despotic and most military governments as well as to the
most free and most popular.”

“The corporate grip on opinion in the United States is one of the
wonders of the Western world,” added Gore Vidal.

“No First World country has ever managed to eliminate so entirely
from its media all objectivity, much less dissent.”

This potent combination of muscle and misinformation manifested
itself in the events leading up to the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.

On Feb. 15 of that year, tens of millions of earthlings marched and
carried signs to declare their unambiguous disapproval of America’s
plan to drastically ratchet up what had essentially been a 12-plus
year war against the people of Iraq.

But…

* The massive global protests were ignored by the elites.

* The shock-and-awe invasion went on as planned.

* The occupation, violence, and despair continue to this day.

Doesn’t say a whole lot for “having the numbers,” huh?

“We” have had the numbers time and time again since then.

Even at the overhyped climate parade in September 2014,
roughly 125,000 humans marched in NYC.

But, as long as America’s ruling elite has no intention of changing
the dominant paradigm, we remain on a runaway train to ecocide
— no matter how many of us show up.

In these and countless other cases, “we” have had the numbers.

“We” still have the numbers.

Morrison’s “they,” however, give no indication they’ll be
surrendering their guns any time soon.

As a result, dissent in America is pretty much limited to permitted
marches, protests, boycotts, petitions, candlelight vigils,
documentaries, free speech zones, the occasional vote for a third
party candidate, and articles like this one.

All of these methods (at least in their safe-for-mass-consumption
versions) are deemed “legal” by those with the guns and, in their
own way, legitimize the power held by those with the guns.

Thus, all such tactics are ultimately futile in terms of provoking
systemic, long term change.

If you don’t believe me, ask yourself why you haven’t taken your
rebellion beyond the methods listed above.

Your answer is likely the same as mine:

“We got the numbers, but they got the guns.”

Maybe author Derrick Jensen had it right when he said:

“We still think we have something to lose. That’s what’s
stopping us. As soon as we realize we have nothing left to
lose we’ll be dangerous.”

After all, in “Five to One,” Jim Morrison also sang:

“No one here gets out alive.”



Mickey Z. is the author of 12 books, most recently Occupy this
Book: Mickey Z. on Activism.

http://www.counterpunch.org/2014/11/28/activism-quality-not-
quantity

Friday, November 28, 2014

I Stopped Caring Today

I Stopped Caring Today

Via - Charlie Delta
By Lt. Daniel Furseth
November 28, 2014

Today, I stopped caring about my fellow man.

I stopped caring about my community, my neighbors, and those
I serve.

I stopped caring today because a once noble profession has
become despised, hated, distrusted, and mostly unwanted.

I stopped caring today because parents refuse to teach their kids
right from wrong and blame us when they are caught breaking the
law.

I stopped caring today because parents tell their little kids to
be good or “the police will take you away” embedding a fear
from year one.

Moms hate us in their schools because we frighten them
and remind them of the evil that lurks in the world.

They would rather we stay unseen, but close by if needed,
but readily available to “fix their kid.”

I stopped caring today because we work to keep our streets safe
from mayhem in the form of reckless, drunk, high, or speeding
drivers, only to be hated for it, yet hated even more because we
didn’t catch the drunk before he killed someone they may know.

Nevertheless, we are just another tool used by government
to generate “revenue.”

I stopped caring today because Liberals hate the police
as we carry guns, scare kids, and take away their drugs.

We always kill innocent people with unjust violence.

We are called bullies for using a Taser during a fight, but are
condemned further for not first tasing the guy who pulls a gun
on us.

And if we do have to shoot, we are asked “why didn’t you just
shoot the gun out of their hand?”

And when one of us is killed by the countless attacks that do
happen (but are rarely reported in the mainstream media) the
haters say, “Its just part of the job.”

I stopped caring today because Conservatives hate us as we are
“the Government.”

We try to take away their guns, freedoms, and liberty at every
turn.

We represent a “Police State” where “jackbooted badge-wearing
thugs” randomly attack innocent people without cause or concern
for constitutional rights.

We are Waco, Ruby Ridge, and Rodney King all rolled into one
lone police officer stopping to help change an old lady’s tire.

I stopped caring today as no one wants us around, but instantly
demands answers, results, arrests, when a crime takes place.

If a crime isn’t solved within the allocated 60 minutes it takes CSI
on television, we are inept, incompetent, or covering something
up.

If we do get “lucky” it was just that and everyone with a Facebook
account can post wonderful comments of how “they” would solve
the case and how “we” are not nearly as clever.

I stopped caring today because a video of a cop six states away,
from a department that you never heard of, screws up and forgets
his oath of honor, thus firing up an internet lynch-mob of cop haters
even though 99% of us work twice as hard not to end up in the news
and to still be “the good guys.”

We are “militarized” because we wear body armor and kevlar
helmets when shots are fired or rocks thrown at us and carry
scary looking rifles even though everyone knows that they
are easier to shoot and are more accurate than a handgun or
a shotgun.

I stopped caring today because the culture of today’s instantly
connected youth is only there to take and never give back.

To never accept responsibility for ones actions, but to blame
everyone else instead of themselves.

To ask “what is in it for me?” versus “what can I do for you?”

To idolize gangsters, thugs, sexually promiscuous behavior,
and criminals over hard work, dedication, and achievement.

To argue that getting stoned should be a right, yet getting
a job or an education is a hassle.

To steal versus earn.

To hate versus help.

Yes, I stopped caring today.

But tomorrow, I will put my uniform back on and I will care again.



Daniel Furseth is a Lieutenant with the DeForest, Wisconsin Police Department.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Confessions Of A Saint

Confessions Of A Saint

Via - Thomas Martini
By Benjamin Watson
November 26, 2014

At some point while I was playing or preparing to play Monday
Night Football, the news broke about the Ferguson Decision.

After trying to figure out how I felt, I decided to write it down.

Here are my thoughts:

I'M ANGRY because the stories of injustice that have been passed
down for generations seem to be continuing before our very eyes.

I'M FRUSTRATED, because pop culture, music and movies glorify
these types of police citizen altercations and promote an invincible
attitude that continues to get young men killed in real life, away
from safety movie sets and music studios.

I'M FEARFUL because in the back of my mind I know that although
I'm a law abiding citizen I could still be looked upon as a "threat"
to those who don't know me.

So I will continue to have to go the extra mile to earn
the benefit of the doubt.

I'M EMBARRASSED because the looting, violent protests, and law
breaking only confirm, and in the minds of many, validate, the
stereotypes and thus the inferior treatment.

I'M SAD, because another young life was lost from his family, the
racial divide has widened, a community is in shambles, accusations,
insensitivity hurt and hatred are boiling over, and we may never
know the truth about what happened that day.

I'M SYMPATHETIC, because I wasn't there so I don't know exactly
what happened.

Maybe Darren Wilson acted within his rights and duty as an officer
of the law and killed Michael Brown in self defense like any of us
would in the circumstance.

Now he has to fear the backlash against himself and his loved
ones when he was only doing his job. What a horrible thing to
endure.

OR maybe he provoked Michael and ignited the series of events
that led to him eventually murdering the young man to prove a
point.

I'M OFFENDED, because of the insulting comments I've seen that
are not only insensitive but dismissive to the painful experiences
of others.

I'M CONFUSED, because I don't know why it's so hard to obey
a policeman.

You will not win!!!

And I don't know why some policeman abuse their power.

Power is a responsibility, not a weapon to brandish and lord over
the populace.

I'M INTROSPECTIVE, because sometimes I want to take "our" side
without looking at the facts in situations like these.

Sometimes I feel like it's us against them.

Sometimes I'm just as prejudiced as people I point fingers at.

And that's not right.

How can I look at white skin and make assumptions but
not want assumptions made about me?

That's not right.

I'M HOPELESS, because I've lived long enough to expect
things like this to continue to happen.

I'm not surprised and at some point my little children are going
to inherit the weight of being a minority and all that it entails.

I'M HOPEFUL, because I know that while we still have race issues
in America, we enjoy a much different normal than those of our
parents and grandparents.

I see it in my personal relationships with teammates,
friends and mentors.

And it's a beautiful thing.

I'M ENCOURAGED, because ultimately the problem is not
a SKIN problem, it is a SIN problem.

SIN is the reason we rebel against authority.

SIN is the reason we abuse our authority.

SIN is the reason we are racist, prejudiced and lie to cover
for our own.

SIN is the reason we riot, loot and burn.

BUT I'M ENCOURAGED because God has provided a solution for
sin through the his son Jesus and with it, a transformed heart
and mind.

One that's capable of looking past the outward and seeing what's
truly important in every human being.

The cure for the Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Tamir Rice and
Eric Garner tragedies is not education or exposure.

It's the Gospel.

So, finally, I'M ENCOURAGED because the Gospel gives mankind
hope.



Benjamin Watson is an American Professional Football Player for
the New Orleans Saints.

Monday, November 24, 2014

The Solomon Islander Who Saved John F. Kennedy

The Solomon Islander Who Saved John F. Kennedy

Via - Debbie Tolson
November 24, 2014

On Aug. 2, 1943, a Japanese destroyer rammed a U.S. torpedo
boat patrolling a strait in the Solomon Islands.

A fireball lit up the night sky, and the Navy recorded
Lt. John F. Kennedy and his 12-man crew as dead.

But Kennedy and 10 others had survived the crash, and they swam
for hours—with the young lieutenant towing a mate by gripping the
man’s life jacket strap in his teeth—before reaching dry land.

Yet those heroics would have gone for naught without Eroni Kumana
and Biuku Gasa, two Solomon Islanders who found the crew three
days later, subsisting on coconuts on a small island.

The pair took an SOS message from Kennedy, which he scratched
onto a green coconut, and paddled their dugout canoe nearly 40
miles through hostile Japanese territory to an allied base.

The crew, and the future president, were rescued on Aug. 8, 1943.

Born in the Solomon Islands, then a British protectorate, Kumana
“never knew precisely how old he was,” said The Boston Globe.

He was a teenager when he started working as a scout for the Allies
during World War II, tracking Japanese movements around the
South Pacific archipelago.

It was a dangerous job—locals who collaborated with the Allies
risked torture and death, and Japanese patrols “often used the
native canoes as target practice,” said The Times (U.K.).

Kennedy never forgot the risks taken by Kumana, and Gasa,
to save his crew.

He kept the engraved coconut on his White House desk
and even invited the two men to his inauguration.

“But they were reportedly prevented from attending by
colonial officials embarrassed by their homely appearance.”

“Kumana had hoped to see Kennedy again and was devastated
to learn of his assassination in 1963,” said The Washington Post.

“My sadness was great,” he said.

In 2002, Kumana was visited by the president’s nephew,
Max, and burst into tears when he was presented with a
bust of Kennedy that became his most treasured possession.

Max said Kumana’s son translated their conversation and
told him his name was John Fitzgerald Kennedy Kumana.



Eroni Kumana (1925–2014) passed away at the age of 96
on August 03, 2014 in his native village of Kongu.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Day The World Changed

The Day The World Changed

By Christopher Bollyn
November 23, 2014

Why does the murder of President John F. Kennedy still matter?

It matters because the murder of President Kennedy was not only a conspiracy but a true coup d’état.

The powers behind the assassination took control over the government and orchestrated the cover-up.

It matters because a coup d’état that is successfully kept secret in a democratic country means, by default, that the succeeding government is illegitimate.

It matters because the American government is still lying about the Kennedy assassination, which essentially means that the powers that killed John F. Kennedy are still in charge to this very day.

Therefore, the Kennedy assassination is NOT just an historical event of a distant past.

It is an event that changed the course of history and set the stage for the political situation of today.

In short, it has affected all our lives to some extent, but we do not know exactly how or why.

http://www.bollyn.com/14972

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Violence And Resistance In Palestine

An African American Perspective on Israel/Palestine

By Ajamu Baraka
Dissident Voice
November 19th, 2014

For the many thousands of tourists who fly into Israel/Palestine
every year, landing in the modern Ben-Gurion airport in Tel Aviv
marks the beginning of a great adventure in the “holy land.”

But for members of the “African Heritage” delegation, flying into
Ben-Gurion was fraught with tension and foreboding.

Before departing the U.S. on October 27, our delegation rehearsed
how we would move and act, role-playing what to say and what to
avoid when we would face Israel’s first line of defense – its custom
officials at the airport.

The normally simple act of landing, showing that prized blue book
that is the U.S. passport and passing effortlessly through customs
and into the country, was something that we understood might not
be automatic for us.

And indeed it wasn’t – within an hour of our landing our
delegation’s co-leader, a young Palestinian woman, was
detained.

We later found out that she was interrogated, held overnight,
and deported the next day.

As our delegation slowly made its way through Israel’s entry process
those first couple of hours at the airport, we did not quite grasped
that our experience at the airport would not be the first of the
strange dualities that we would experience and witness of life in
Israel/Palestine.

The gaggle of wide-eyed excited tourists that were happy to be in
the country greatly contrasted with our already lived experience of
Israel as a police state on guard against all threats, real and
imagined.

The Delegation and Program:

The African Heritage delegation was made up of activists,
educators, journalists, clergy, students and folks representing
the full spectrum of African American life in all of its diversity.

Sponsored by the Interfaith Peace Builders, an organization of
dedicated young activists experienced in organizing delegations
to Israel/Palestine, the individual members of our delegation had
various positions and motivations for being a part of the delegation.

But a genuine feeling of solidarity with the plight of the Palestinian
people and a desire to better understand the situation in order to
share what we observed with our constituencies where we lived and
worked emerged as the common denominator that united most of
us.

Our ambitious agenda included meetings and visits that
took us across the country.

From East Jerusalem to “Israel proper” through to the West Bank and down to the Negev desert, we met with peace activists, political activists, clergy, the settler community of Hebron, Palestinian-Arab Bedouin women, and lived with Palestinian families in Bil’in and the Deheisheh refugee camp.

It was an exhilarating and emotionally exhausting experience that touched us all in very personal ways.

The never ending conflict?

The deeply troubling impression that I came away with was that a negotiated, relatively “peaceful” resolution of the conflict is impossible and that those individuals who believe that the Israeli state would grant sovereignty and respect the human rights of Palestinians within the context of either a one or two state solution are either naive regarding the nature of Israel’s settler project or fundamentally dishonest.

The obscene level of investment in the infrastructure of repression in the occupied territories along with the most aggressive settlement policies since the 67 war clearly demonstrates that the Israeli state has no interest in a negotiated settlement with Palestinians.

Indeed the “facts on the ground” all point toward policies of permanent control of Palestinian life and land.

Those facts include the over six hundred thousand Israeli settlers in the West Bank and settlement expansion into Palestinian East Jerusalem, the so-called security wall that is more an enclosure wall to expropriate Palestinian land, and the emergence over the last 15 years of a right-wing, militarized Israeli civil society symbolized by the popular support given to the governing coalition anchored by the right-wing Lukid party.

These facts coupled with the complete collapse of what is referred to as liberalism within Israel, suggest that the current political alignments and power relations shatter any illusions that a domestic constituency strong enough to counter the hegemony of the Zionist positions exist anywhere in Israel.

On the Palestinian side, there are deep divisions among the leadership of Hamas and Fatah, the two main Palestinian organizations, despite the so-called unity government that was established in June of this year.

I was struck by the number of people who have lost all faith in the Palestinian authority created out of the Oslo process. Yet at the level of the “people,” Palestinians living in the occupied territories are still united in their steadfast commitment to resist the occupation.

Unity on the issue of Palestinian resistance stems primarily from the daily indignities of life under military occupation and the repressive brutality that is a permanent feature of Palestinian life.

Our delegation observed and experienced, if only briefly, life under military occupation as we moved through military checkpoints throughout the country but especially in the West Bank.

In the village of Bil’in, a community in resistance that was documented in the Academy Award nominated film Five Broken Cameras, our delegation was hosted by the village’s popular resistance committee.

As part of our visit we were taken down to the separation wall or what many of us call the apartheid wall.

Without provocation or warnings of any kind, the delegation suddenly found itself on the receiving end of a barrage of Israeli gas grenades.

After having to run back to our cars through gas, we were informed by our hosts that since the authorities were aware that internationals were in the town for the night we should be aware that there was a possibility that soldiers might raid houses that night to arrest us, something that has happened before.

Two days later, we once again experienced the duality of experiences reflected in the lives and positions of Palestinians.

In the morning we met with the Holy Land Trust, an organization that is committed to developing what it calls a spiritual, pragmatic and strategic approach to the ongoing conflict.

It sees its work of reconciliation between Palestinians and Jews as a viable model for realizing a joint community that respected each other and was committed to justice, political equality and peaceful coexistence.

That evening, however, we stayed in the Deheisheh refugee camp, a camp located near Bethlehem that was established after the expulsion of the more than 750,000 Palestinians in the war of 1948 that resulted in the creation of the state of Israel.

Our hosts at Deheisheh were clear that for them, peaceful coexistence was impossible in a settler-colonial context that did not allow them to recoup all of the land that they argue was stolen by the Israeli state.

A week after returning from the super-charged, repressive environment that is Israel/Palestine, it is not surprising that Jerusalem is now being consumed by an intensification of violence.

From what I observed, the allegations that Israeli settlers lynched Yousuf al-Ramouni, a Palestinian bus driver in Jerusalem that then sparked the retaliatory killing of four Israeli’s, is not surprising nor beyond the realm of possibility.

Settler and state violence are central components of the colonial project.

And violence as part of Israel’s colonial project has always been strategically deployed.

It is used as a means of social control but by manipulating issues to evoke Palestinian resistance it is used to support Israel’s narrative as victim.

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon adroitly used this device to provide the pretext for destroying the last vestiges of the Oslo process and the functionality of the Palestinian Authority.

In the aftermath of the disastrous assault on Gaza that resulted in a public relations defeat for Israel and has even led to some European governments to recognize a Palestinian state, it appears that the government of Benjamin Netanyahu has gone back to the Sharon playbook.

The closure of the A-Aqsa Mosque a few weeks ago had the predictable results of Palestinian Muslim resistance that Israel is attempting to use to its advantage.

The consciously provoked violence in Jerusalem also has another effect. It diverts attention away from political and material basis of the “conflict” – Israel’s brutal occupation and illegal theft of Palestinian land.

As one activist framed the political conundrum: “if a two state solution in which Palestinians were offered the 28% land mass of historic Palestine with borders between this state and Israel that approximated the 67 green line and a just solution to Palestinian refugees as part of the Oslo process in the 90s, it would have been hard to accept but it might have been viable.”

But for this activist and many others in Palestine, it is now clear that the Israeli state never intended to seriously consider establishing a viable Palestinian state or resolving the issue of Palestinian refugees in a just manner.

Difficult as it was, traveling to Palestine and seeing first hand the realities on the ground was a political necessity and an eye opener.

One can read about the repression, the growing expressions of racism, and see images from time to time of Israeli brutality, but nothing really prepares you for being thrust into that oppressive reality.

And for those of us who reside in oppressive communities where our lives and dignity are also under constant attack, we can feel the humiliation and degradation experienced by Palestinians which after a few days becomes emotionally overwhelming.

During my activist life I have traveled to many of the counties that Western colonial/capitalist leaders characterized as despotic totalitarian states – the old Soviet Union, North Korea, Cuba before 1989 – but in none of those states did I witness the systematic mechanism of population control and scientific repression that I witness in “democratic” Israel.

The security walls, towers, checkpoints, and armed settlers created an aura of insecurity and impending assault on one’s dignity at any time.

I left that space wondering how anyone with a modicum of humanity and any sense of morality could reconcile living in that environment from the spoils of Palestinian dispossession and degradation and how any nation could support the Israeli political project.



Ajamu Baraka is a long-time human rights activist and veteran of the Black Liberation, anti-war, anti-apartheid and Central American solidarity Movements in the United States.

http://dissidentvoice.org/2014/11/violence-and-resistance-in-palestine