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Member since: Fri Sep 17, 2004, 03:59 PM
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BOSTON GLOBE Opinion Piece: "The world of threats to the US is an illusion."



WHEN AMERICANS look out at the world, we see a swarm of threats. China seems resurgent and ambitious. Russia is aggressive. Iran menaces our allies. Middle East nations we once relied on are collapsing in flames. Latin American leaders sound steadily more anti-Yankee. Terror groups capture territory and commit horrific atrocities. We fight Ebola with one hand while fending off Central American children with the other.

In fact, this world of threats is an illusion. The United States has no potent enemies. We are not only safe, but safer than any big power has been in all of modern history.


Feeling threatened strengthens group solidarity. Some thinkers have gone so far as to suggest that since societies become more united and resolute in the face of enemies, those that have none should find some.

“It is always possible to bind together a considerable number of people in love,” Freud wrote, “so long as there are other people left over to receive the manifestations of their aggressiveness.” Nietzsche believed the nation-state’s “profound appreciation of the value of having enemies” produced a “spiritualization of hostility.” A young country especially, he said, “needs enemies more than friends: in opposition alone does it feel itself necessary.”

When Americans see threats everywhere, we fall into this trap. Believing we are besieged is strangely comforting. To recognize how safe we are would require a change of national mindset that we seem reluctant to make.


Ready For Hillary?


"Fuck Your Breath"

Video shows Tulsa man’s last moments alive after accidental police shooting (WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT)



It was a mistake.

That’s the blasé explanation Oklahoma officials gave after the fatal shooting of an unarmed black man by a white deputy who accidentally pulled his gun when he meant to use his Taser.

The botched encounter was captured on a disturbing video released by police on Friday — nine days after the fatal Tulsa shooting.

“He shot me! He shot me, man. Oh, my god. I’m losing my breath,” Eric Harris says as he struggles on the ground following the April 2 shooting, which flew under the radar until video emerged a week later.

“F--- your breath,” a callous officer can be heard saying. “Shut the f--- up!”


another video:

"The South surrendered at Appomattox, and the North has been surrendering ever since."

"The South surrendered at Appomattox, and the North has been surrendering ever since."

Catastrophic success.


After World War II, a state of war endured into the 1950s in the occupation of Japan and Germany. And in the recent wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the United States military’s work had barely begun when the fighting stopped — and the work continues, in the hands of American-backed locals, today.

While it is tempting to blame the George W. Bush administration for these recent wars without end, the problem lies deep within Americans’ understanding of what wars are. We wish that wars, like sports, had carefully organized rules that would steer them to a satisfying end. But wars are often political efforts to remake international or domestic orders. They create problems of governance that battles alone cannot resolve.

Years after the 1865 surrender, the novelist and veteran Albion Tourgée said that the South “surrendered at Appomattox, and the North has been surrendering ever since.” In so many wars since, the United States won the battlefield fighting but lost ground afterward.

With the benefit of hindsight, we can learn, as Grant did, the dangers of celebrating too soon. Although a nation has a right to decide what conflicts are worth fighting, it does not have the right to forget its history, and in the process to repeat it.


the rest - god save america from itself:

Racist NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre: ‘Eight Years of One Demographically Significant President is Enough’

Racist NRA CEO Wayne LaPierre: ‘Eight Years of One Demographically Significant President is Enough’
Posted by: Josh Kilburn in Election 2016, Gun Nuts in Action, Most Popular on AATTP, Racism in America, TEApublicans in Action, The Gun Control Debate April 11, 2015

Wayne LaPierre has a message for America: while addressing a crowd of Second Amendment advocates at the NRA’s 144th annual meeting, the NRA’s CEO and Executive Vice President said, “eight years of one demographically symbolic president is enough.”

Or, to translate from racist code to English: we’re tired of these uppity minorities; let’s make the White House white (and male) again.


Fear Monger


Don't tell me they aren't sentient --- Look at those ears flap!


Me-Bai, a juvenile elephant in Thailand, reunited with her mother, Mae Yui, earlier this month. It had been more than three years since the young elephant was taken from her mother, trained and then hired out to perform for tourists.

When she lost too much weight to keep working, the Elephant Nature Park -- an elephant conservation and rehabilitation nonprofit -- persuaded Me-Bai's owner to turn her over.

"When first arrived, she was quite nervous and we took care to feed her well until she was healthy again," the Elephant Nature Park writes in a blog post about the reunion. "We also began to search what had become of her mother. We found that her mother was working in the trekking camp."

After a bit of persuading, ElephantNews explains, " agreed to retire her from trekking business," allowing the mother and her daughter to reunite in the sanctuary.

There's only one word for this reunion: elephantastic.

"The heart-touching story about the reunion of a mother and baby elephant illustrates beautifully the incredible memories and love elephants have for one another," Joyce Poole, an expert in elephant behavior told National Geographic of the video. "It is with this science-based understanding of elephants as empathetic beings that we ask to protect elephants from brutal capture, separation from family, and export to zoos."


Chimpanzee reacts to surveillance drone

I don't know if this is sad or funny...

I don't know if this is sad or funny...

The backstory is that tens of thousands of people have been demonstrating in the streets of Montreal against the austerity regime being imposed on them (yea, where's that press coverage, eh?), and of course the cops are sent out...

This #Montreal #cop is wearing stickers (on his riot helmet) protesting cuts to his #pension.



Abolish the Police. Instead, Let’s Have Full Social, Economic, and Political Equality.

Abolish the Police. Instead, Let’s Have Full Social, Economic, and Political Equality.
Mychal Denzel Smith on April 9, 2015 - 4:10 PM ET


We don’t consider the abolition of police a viable position to take because we believe they’re the only thing standing between upstanding citizens and the violence of the deranged. We’re afraid of being attacked on the street, of having our homes shot at, and being left without access to equally violent retribution. But does this mean we want police, or safety and security? Safety and security are ideas, ones that may never be fully achieved, and the police are an institution that have proved themselves capable of only providing the illusion of safety and security to a select few. The bulk of their jobs has nothing to do with violence prevention. They spend most of their time doing things like Slager did in his initial contact with Scott—stopping people for broken taillights. Writing for Gawker, David Graeber of the London School of Economics says:

The police spend very little of their time dealing with violent criminals—indeed, police sociologists report that only about 10% of the average police officer’s time is devoted to criminal matters of any kind. Most of the remaining 90% is spent dealing with infractions of various administrative codes and regulations: all those rules about how and where one can eat, drink, smoke, sell, sit, walk, and drive. If two people punch each other, or even draw a knife on each other, police are unlikely to get involved. Drive down the street in a car without license plates, on the other hand, and the authorities will show up instantly, threatening all sorts of dire consequences if you don’t do exactly what they tell you.

The police, then, are essentially just bureaucrats with weapons. Their main role in society is to bring the threat of physical force—even, death—into situations where it would never have been otherwise invoked, such as the enforcement of civic ordinances about the sale of untaxed cigarettes.


Ninety percent of an officer’s time isn’t devoted to our safety, but rather to things we may find annoying (or in the case of things like untaxed cigarettes, create a black market for goods that threaten the profits of businesses), inserting the potential for violence where there is cause for none. And when it comes to preventing heinous acts of violence (or holding the perpetrators accountable) that should be condemned by all, like domestic violence and sexual assault, the police are largely ineffectual. The police are not performing the function we say they are, and there are real ways to achieve a world with less violence that don’t include the police. We simply haven’t tried. Until we invest in full employment, universal healthcare that includes mental health services, free education at every level, comprehensive sex education that teaches about consent and bodily autonomy, the decriminalization of drugs and erasure of the stigma around drug use, affordable and adequate housing, eliminating homophobia and transphobia—things that actually reduce the amount of violence we witness—I don’t want to hear about how necessary the police are. They are only necessary because we are all too willing to hide behind our cowardice and not actually put forth the effort to create a better world. It’s too extreme.

When I say, “abolish the police,” I’m usually asked what I would have us replace them with. My answer is always full social, economic, and political equality, but that’s not what’s actually being asked. What people mean is “who is going to protect us?” Who protects us now? If you’re white and well-off, perhaps the police protect you. The rest of us, not so much. What use do I have for an institution that routinely kills people who look like me, and make it so I’m afraid to walk out of my home?


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