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Gender: Do not display
Hometown: New England, The South, Midwest
Home country: USA
Current location: Chicago
Member since: Sat Mar 5, 2011, 12:32 PM
Number of posts: 18,782

About Me

Human. Being.

Journal Archives

Kanye West’s "Yeezus 2020" Campaign Commercial! Do It For The Human Race!

I'm taking a break from the burning intensity of primary issues, to give a shout out to one of my all-time favorite artists.

I'm not being ironic here, either, even if the New Yorker is.


Shooting Reported at Delta State University

Source: Mother Jones

The victim has been identified as history professor Ethan Schmidt, according to Bolivar County Deputy Coroner Murray Roark.

One person is dead after a shooting at Delta State University in Mississippi, the school confirmed on Monday. The Clarion-Ledger reports the victim is a professor of the school. Approximately 4000 students attend the school in Cleveland, Miss.

As of this time, the shooter remains at large and the school is under lockdown.

Read more: http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2015/09/active-shooter-reported-delta-state-university


Garrisoning the Globe: How U.S. Military Bases Abroad Undermine National Security and Harm Us All

More on the military from Chris Hedges.

I've brought up the idea that American civilians and their presidents have lost command and control of the U.S. military. From what I can tell, since I've seen no evidence to the contrary, our military also runs our foreign policy narratives -- of containment, exceptionalism, terrorism, regime change, etc. Here, Hedges explains the massive network that our tax dollars are buying worldwide.

I also see that our miltary's narratives have infected our civilian leadership such that our own "homeland" is really one big miltary base, with all the martial weaponry sitting in nationwide police stations, with our country legally becoming a "battleground" per the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act.

I can't recall reading that any DU'ers have been exposed to U.S. military life -- either from living on bases, serving or now being veterans, so I've wondered whether our exposure is insufficient. I'd say the more we know about what we own and pay for running, the more we get a handle on runaway defense contractors.

Our 800 bases outside the 50 states and Washington, D.C., come in all sizes and shapes. Some are city-sized “Little Americas”—places like Ramstein Air Base in Germany, Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, and the little known Navy and Air Force base on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. These support a remarkable infrastructure, including schools, hospitals, power plants, housing complexes, and an array of amenities often referred to as “Burger Kings and bowling alleys.” Among the smallest U.S. installations globally are “lily pad” bases (also known as “cooperative security locations”), which tend to house drones, surveillance aircraft, or pre-positioned weaponry and supplies. These are increasingly found in parts of Africa and Eastern Europe that had previously lacked much of a U.S. military presence.

Although the military vacated about 60% of its foreign garrisons in the 1990s, the overall base infrastructure stayed relatively intact. Despite additional base closures in Europe and to a lesser extent in East Asia over the last decade and despite the absence of a superpower adversary, nearly 250,000 troops are still deployed on installations worldwide... Since the start of the Cold War, the idea that our country should have a large collection of bases and hundreds of thousands of troops permanently stationed overseas has remained a quasi-religious dictum of foreign and national security policy. The nearly 70-year-old idea underlying this deeply held belief is known as the “forward strategy.” Originally, the strategy held that the United States should maintain large concentrations of military forces and bases as close as possible to the Soviet Union to hem in and “contain” its supposed urge to expand.

By my very conservative calculations, maintaining installations and troops overseas cost at least $85 billion in 2014—more than the discretionary budget of every government agency except the Defense Department itself. If the U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Iraq is included, that bill reaches $156 billion or more.

While bases may be costly for taxpayers, they are extremely profitable for the country’s privateers of twenty-first-century war like DynCorp International and former Halliburton subsidiary KBR. As Chalmers Johnson noted, “Our installations abroad bring profits to civilian industries,” which win billions in contracts annually to “build and maintain our far-flung outposts.”

Meanwhile, many of the communities hosting bases overseas never see the economic windfalls that U.S. and local leaders regularly promise. Some areas, especially in poor rural communities, have seen short-term economic booms touched off by base construction. In the long-term, however, most bases rarely create sustainable, healthy local economies. Compared with other forms of economic activity, they represent unproductive uses of land, employ relatively few people for the expanses occupied, and contribute little to local economic growth. Research has consistently shown that when bases finally close, the economic impact is generally limited and in some cases actually positive—that is, local communities can end up better off when they trade bases for housing, schools, shopping complexes, and other forms of economic development.

Oops! Forgot to link it! http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/us_military_bases_abroad_undermine_national_security_and_20150914

From Prince Ea -- Dear Future Generations: Sorry

We have the nerve to call this destruction "progress"...

... this future I do not accept it.
Because an error does not become a mistake
Until you refuse to correct it.
We can redirect this.

...If a farmer sees a tree that is unhealthy
They don't look at the branches to diagnose it
They look at the root.

So like that farmer we must look at the root
And not to the branches of government
Not to the politicians run by corporations
We are the root
We are the foundation, this generation
It is up to us to take care of this planet
It's our only home.

We must globally warm our hearts
And change the climate of our souls
And realize we are not apart from nature
We are a part of nature
And to betray nature is to betray us
To save nature is to save us.

Because whatever you're fighting for
Racism or poverty, feminism, gay rights
Or any type of equality
It won't matter in the least
Because if we don't all work together
To save the environment
We will be equally

Chris Hedges: The Enemy Is Within

This essay is a warning.

You've heard about "The Golden Rule" = Those who got the gold make the rules, right? Well, "The Gun Rule" trumps the golden rule -- Those who got the guns make the rules.

Since the Kennedy coup d'etat in 1963, we have lost civilian command of the military. It's NOT "our" military. It hasn't been for 51 years. Because the military stole our command from us, and because in 2013, Congress named its own country a "battleground" that allows total military control under any commander-in-chief.

Those who care about the Constitution continuing as the law of the land must care about the finalizing of that coup by 2013. The Military Code is nowhere near the same as civilian law. Read up on it.

As undeclared wars (from Korea to Iraq) have circumvented the War Powers Act, so too has undeclared martial law circumvented civilian justice.

One of the most important recent comments made by a fellow DU'er here (I'm sorry I forgot your name!) is that under George W. BushCo.'s pre-crime Patriot Atrocity, here's the gift that Congress gave to the military:

1. There are secret laws.

2. You can unknowingly break those unknown secret laws;

3. You can be charged with breaking those laws you didn’t know existed, and you’re not allowed to tell anyone;

4. You can be tried in a secret court for breaking the secret laws you didn’t know about, and you’re not allowed to tell anyone;

5. You can be indefinitely detained -- effectively "disappeared" from the face of the earth -- and no one will be allowed to know why, where you are, who/what caused your disappearance.

Are we so frightened by the Patriot Act, NDAA of 2013 and our constant undeclared war imperialism that we can't even talk about this? Are we too frightened to conduct our own research into this?

The real enemy is not the left, right, foreigners, the uneducated, ignorant, immigrants or even gun nuts. The enemy is the military that brand you -- me -- or any of us as enemy or insurgent if/when any of us even try to impose -- nevermind regain -- civilian command.

Climate change is important. Taking money out of politics is important. Education and politics are important. But until we regain civilian command of the entire Military Industrial Corporate Complex -- Military Schools, War Colleges, The Pentagon, Defense Contractors -- we won't ever change any those things except by military endorsement. That's why an issue like climate change can recently be labeled a "national security" issue.

This is why Hedges' essay is important. Especially during Labor Day Weekend.


Get Ready, DU: Cornel West Speaking in the "Prophetic Tradition"

Highlights on "Niggerization," Revolution, Unity, Honesty, Leadership, Poverty

DU must recognize.

Please take the time to understand the underpinnings of both black and white Democratic Socialism that brings Bernie Sanders and Cornel West together.

For the brothers who spoke so eloquently...resilience, resistance...I could see Nat Turner and John Brown...and 220 rebellions the night that Martin Luther King was shot down like a dog one year after he gave his Beyond Vietnam speech to bring poor people together, to bring a critique to bear on the viciousness of American imperialism.

Forty years later we come back to commemorate this struggle against the historical backdrop of a people who've been so terrorized, traumatized and stigmatized that we've been taught to be scared, intimidated, always afraid, distrustful ... and disrespectful of one anothe

But the Atticus rebellion was a countermove of that direction...I call it the "niggerization" of a people -- not just black people because America been niggerized since 9/11. When you're niggerized, you're unsafe, unprotected, subject to random violence, hated for who you are. You become so scared that you defer to the powers that be and you're willing to consent to your own domination.

And that's the history of black people in America... Anytime you look the terror in the face and you deal with the trauma -- even if all you could do was sing a song... in 1971 you had a whole context ... that same year... but the counterrevolution is winning!....

...it started on the chocolate side of town but it spilled over into the vanilla side and the yellow side and the brown side, too...oh yes, you got to have the unity but you got to be honest about how the powers that be dividing and conquering.

In this revolutionary moment when the counterrevolution is winning...now it's coming back...and the young people are hungry and thirsty but the young people are thirsty for truth...and the problem is that most of our leaders have either sold out, caved in, gave up; they don't want to tell people the truth. They're too concerned about their careers. They're too concerned about success. Too concerned about just winning the next election. Or their status.

In l971 the Attica brothers told the truth. But they weren't the only ones. You had a whole cacophony of voices telling the truth! ... the condition of Truth is to allow suffering to speak! You don't talk about poverty, you're not telling the truth. You're not talking about working people you can push against the wall when corporate profit's high, you're not telling the truth. If you're not talking about the criminal activity on Wall St. and not one person gone to jail yet, you're not telling the truth!

The only thing that will keep you going is you better have some love in your heart for The People...the long distance runner got enough love in their hearts to talk about The People, about poverty, about suffering, about struggle and be able to look...not just presidents...to tell their truth

We gone have a New Wave...of truth telling...witness bearing...we gone teach the younger generation that these brothers didn't struggle in vain just like John Brown, Nat Turner, Marcus Garvey and Martin King...and we shall see what happens...we might get crushed, too, but you know what? Then you just go down swinging like Ella Fitzgerald and Muhammed Ali!

Bottom Line on Trump: Sizable Number of Whites Don't Want to Face the Future as a Minority.

I've been reading The New Yorker for thirty years, and as far as I can remember, this is the first time in many years that I've seen TNY attempt to tap into right wing thinking in the present. Sure, it's examined past right wing activity, but not present.

Putting my mocking of Trump's campaign slogan aside, this article represents, to me, a sitting up and taking notice by the East Coast intelligentsia. ( I hope my excerpts below don't exceed the allowable.)

More to the content: Donald Trump has tapped into not only racist sentiments within his party, but also deep dissatisfaction in the base over Republican neglect of their interests. This article opens up ideas held by conservatives about what a future America might look like. While the title hints at the "fearful and the frustrated," there is a signal optimism presented about conservative politics that bears examining.

Trump’s constant talk of his money, his peering down on the one per cent (not to mention the ninety-nine), has helped him to a surprising degree. “I love the fact that he wouldn’t be owing anybody,” Nancy Merz, a fifty-two-year-old Hampton Republican, told me.

Trump’s fans project onto him a vast range of imaginings—about toughness, business acumen, honesty—from a continuum that ranges from economic and libertarian conservatives to the far-right fringe. In partisan terms, his ideas are riven by contradiction—he calls for mass deportations but opposes cuts to Medicare and Social Security; he vows to expand the military but criticizes free trade—and yet that is a reflection of voters’ often incoherent sets of convictions.

Trump became the top choice among Tea Party voters, supplanting (and opening a large lead over) Senator Ted Cruz, of Texas, and Governor Scott Walker, of Wisconsin, both Tea Party stalwarts. According to a Washington Post /ABC News poll conducted last month, the “broad majority” of Trump’s supporters hailed from two groups: voters with no college degree, and voters who say that immigrants weaken America. By mid-August, Trump was even closing in on Hillary Clinton. CNN reported that, when voters were asked to choose between the two, Clinton was leading fifty-one per cent to forty-five.

On July 20th, three days before his trip to Texas, Ann Coulter, whose most recent book is “¡Adios, America! The Left’s Plan to Turn Our Country Into a Third World Hellhole,” appeared on Sean Hannity’s show and urged fellow-Republicans to see Trump’s summer as a harbinger. “The new litmus test for real conservatives is immigration,” she said. “They used to say the same thing about the pro-life Republicans and the pro-gun Republicans, and, ‘Oh, they’re fringe and they’re tacky, and we’re so embarrassed to be associated with them.’ Now every one of them comes along and pretends they’d be Reagan”...

Ordinarily, the white-nationalist Web sites mock Republicans as Zionist stooges and corporate puppets who have opened the borders in order to keep wages low. But, on July 9th, VDARE, an opinion site founded to “push back the plans of pro-Amnesty/Immigration Surge politicians, ethnic activists and corrupt Big Business,” hailed Trump as “the first figure with the financial, cultural, and economic resources to openly defy elite consensus. If he can mobilize Republicans behind him and make a credible run for the Presidency, he can create a whole new media environment for patriots to openly speak their mind without fear of losing their jobs.” The piece was headlined “WE ARE ALL DONALD TRUMP NOW.”...

Griffin, a thirty-four-year-old who writes an influential blog under the name Hunter Wallace... told me that he embraced white nationalism after reading Patrick Buchanan’s “Death of the West,” which argued, in Griffin’s words, that “all of the European peoples were dying out, their birthrates were low, and you had mass immigration and multiculturalism.” Griffin once had high hopes for the Tea Party. “They channelled all that rage into electing an impressive number of Republicans in the South, but then all they did was try to cut rich Republicans’ taxes and make life easier for billionaires!” he said. “It was all hijacked, and a classic example of how these right-wing movements emerge, and they’re misdirected into supporting the status quo.”

Griffin had recently told his readers that his opinion of Donald Trump was “soaring.” He sees Trump’s surge as a “hostile takeover of the Republican Party. He’s blowing up their stage-managed dog-and-pony show.” Griffin is repelled by big-money politics, so I asked why he spoke highly of Trump. “He’s a billionaire, but all of these other little candidates are owned by their own little billionaires.” He mentioned Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers. “So I think Trump is independent.”


Cornel West on Thomas Paine, Greatest Revolutionary In American History, Our Political Forebear

On the occasion of Cornel West's endorsement of Bernie Sanders, here is a basic understanding of why West endorses our guy. Thomas Paine is not only Bernie's but our forebear, too.

West's understanding of Paine's views of religious and ideological dogma clarifies the best of America's revolutionary sensibility for The People. As they all indicate, we have an uphill struggle before us.

I highly recommend the rest of the video, but want to foreground West's words here for Bernie supporters.

Attempted transcript of Cornel West's thoughts on Paine. Watch from the 3:19 minute mark to the 9:29 minute mark:

"...his conception of himself at 37 was that he was willing to die to endure that he would act honorably, think critically...

...that was revolution in form...spoken in The People's colloquial style... we don't have today are intellectuals who haven't been seduced by the professional managerial (?) as a subculture of the university who are fundamentally committed to the plight and predicament of ...everyday people... poor people...and who view their calling, not their career as an organic connection with their struggles...no matter how strong...or weak... Now there are some intellectuals who do that...fewer and fewer.

Why? Because what Thomas Paine didn't have to deal with is the backdrop of impending ecological catastrophe, the backdrop of possible nuclear catastrophe, the fashionable character of being cynical and despairing even as you are highly, professionally approved and recognized...no willingness to pay a cost, no willingness to take a risk, no willingness to cut radically against the grain.

And of course he suffered the consequences... He died...six people at his funeral, two of them black because of that critique of African slavery, the first piece he wrote...it was fundamentally committed to a critique of white supremacy, very rare among highly visible white intellectuals...

Brother Chris is rare, Rick Wolff is rare...I'm not just talking about a symbolic gesture, I'm talking about fundamentally committed to your analysis where white supremacy is an integral factor among other crucial factors and then you make the connection among your organic connections.

That's the kind of brother Thomas Paine was. And it is very, very difficult to build on his legacy even though we have to acknowledge just how crucial that challenge is.

President Obama's Press Conference On the Iran Deal

Oh, the awesomeness!

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