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99th_Monkey

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Gender: Male
Current location: Potlandia
Member since: Fri Sep 28, 2007, 04:39 PM
Number of posts: 10,166

Journal Archives

How Our Culture's Insistence on Calling Soldiers Heroes Deadens Our Democracy

I was just thinking about this very thing this morning, about how probably many a school yard bully "grows up" to become a gun-totting military and/or police professional. Not that ALL military and police fall in this category, but still, it just makes sense on the face of it. The epidemic of murderous police violence against unarmed often innocent citizens comes to mind, along with fact that policemen are something like twice as likely to be a perp of domestic violence.

I don't know the answer to all this, but do know that it's seriously fucked up. The entire system of military and police related institutions needs to be completely re-imagined and re-designed to foster peace, reconciliation, and harm-reduction. It is daunting to think about, and not very likely to ever happen IMHO. I wish there was something to do besides lament how FUBAR it is.

Thoughts on this anyone?

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How Our Culture's Insistence on Calling Soldiers Heroes Deadens Our Democracy
Forced troop worship and compulsory patriotism must end.
November 10, 2014 * Alternet / Salon * By David Masciotra

Put a man in uniform, preferably a white man, give him a gun, and Americans will worship him. It is a particularly childish trait, of a childlike culture, that insists on anointing all active military members and police officers as “heroes.” The rhetorical sloppiness and intellectual shallowness of affixing such a reverent label to everyone in the military or law enforcement betrays a frightening cultural streak of nationalism, chauvinism, authoritarianism and totalitarianism, but it also makes honest and serious conversations necessary for the maintenance and enhancement of a fragile democracy nearly impossible.

It has become impossible to go a week without reading a story about police brutality, abuse of power and misuse of authority. Michael Brown’s murder represents the tip of a body pile, and in just the past month, several videos have emerged of police assaulting people, including pregnant women, for reasons justifiable only to the insane.

It is equally challenging for anyone reasonable, and not drowning in the syrup of patriotic sentimentality, to stop saluting, and look at the servicemen of the American military with criticism and skepticism. There is a sexual assault epidemic in the military. In 2003, a Department of Defense study found that one-third of women seeking medical care in the VA system reported experiencing rape or sexual violence while in the military. Internal and external studies demonstrate that since the official study, numbers of sexual assaults within the military have only increased, especially with male victims. According to the Pentagon, 38 men are sexually assaulted every single day in the U.S. military. Given that rape and sexual assault are, traditionally, the most underreported crimes, the horrific statistics likely fail to capture the reality of the sexual dungeon that has become the United States military.

Chelsea Manning, now serving time in prison as a whistle-blower, uncovered multiple incidents of fellow soldiers laughing as they murdered civilians. Keith Gentry, a former Navy man, wrote that when he and his division were bored they preferred passing the time with the “entertainment” of YouTube videos capturing air raids of Iraq and Afghanistan, often making jokes and mocking the victims of American violence. If the murder of civilians, the rape of “brothers and sisters” on base, and the relegation of death and torture of strangers as fodder for amusement qualifies as heroism, the world needs better villains.

It is undeniable that there are police officers who heroically uphold their motto and mission to “serve and protect,” just as it is indisputable that there are members of the military who valiantly sacrifice themselves for the sake of others. Reviewing the research proving cruelty and mendacity within law enforcement and the military, and reading the stories of trauma and tragedy caused by officers and soldiers, does not mean that no cop or troop qualifies as a hero, but it certainly means that many of them are not heroes.

http://www.alternet.org/culture/you-dont-protect-my-freedom-our-childish-insistence-calling-soldiers-heroes-deadens-real

Uncle Sam’s Making a List, Checking it Twice & You Might be on It

Uncle Sam’s Making a List, Checking it Twice & You Might be on It
By Hina Shamsi and Matthew Harwood * Nov. 7, 2014 * Informed Comment (Juan Cole)

It began with an unexpected rapping on the front door. When Wiley Gill opened up, no one was there. Suddenly, two police officers appeared, their guns drawn, yelling, “Chico Police Department.”

“I had tunnel vision,” Gill said, “The only thing I could see was their guns.” After telling him to step outside with his hands in the air, the officers lowered their guns and explained. They had received a report — later determined to be unfounded — that a suspect in a domestic disturbance had fled into Gill’s house. The police officers asked the then-26-year-old if one of them could do a sweep of the premises. Afraid and feeling he had no alternative, Gill agreed. One officer remained with him, while the other conducted the search. After that they took down Gill’s identification information. Then they were gone — but not out of his life.

Instead, Gill became the subject of a “suspicious activity report,” or SAR, which police officers fill out when they believe they’re encountering a person or situation that “reasonably” might be connected in some way to terrorism. The one-page report, filed shortly after the May 2012 incident, offered no hint of terrorism. It did, however, suggest that the two officers had focused on Gill’s religion, noting that his “full conversion to Islam as a young and pious demeanor is rare.”

The report also indicated that the officer who entered the house had looked at Gill’s computer screen and recalled something “similar to ‘Games that fly under the radar’” on it. According to the SAR, this meant Gill “had potential access to flight simulators via the Internet.” Gill suspects that he was probably looking at a website about video games. The SAR also noted earlier police encounters with Gill, in his mosque and on the street. It recorded his “full beard and traditional garb” and claimed that he avoided “eye contact.”

In short, the Chico Police Department was secretly keeping tabs on Gill as a suspected terrorist. Yet nowhere in the SAR was there a scintilla of evidence that he was engaged in any kind of criminal activity whatsoever.
http://www.juancole.com/2014/11/making-checking-might.html

Should Sen. Mark Udal (D-CO) "go out with a bang" by releasing "Torture Report"?

I say, "Hell yah!". Go for it Mark. Hats off for transparency on torture.


How Mark Udall Can Get The Torture Report Out To The Public
By Susie Madrak * November 10, 2014 2:00 pm * Crooks & Liars

Transparency activists say Sen. Udall should go out with a bang and put the Senate intelligence committee’s torture report into the congressional record.

Mike Gravel is one of the more interesting ex-members we have, and I hope he talks Udall into releasing the report:

Article 1, Section 6 of the Constitution establishes an absolute free-speech right for members of Congress on the floor or in committee, even if they are disclosing classified material. It states that “for any Speech or Debate in either House, they shall not be questioned in any other Place.”

Within hours of Colorado Senator Mark Udall losing his reelection bid last week, transparency activists were talking about how he should go out with a bang and put the Senate intelligence committee’s torture report into the congressional record. The report is said to detail shockingly brutal abuse of detainees by the CIA during the George W. Bush administration, as well as rampant deception about the program by top officials. But the Obama White House is refusing to declassify even a summary of the report without major redactions. And Republicans take over the Senate in January.

Udall is one of two senators — along with fellow Intelligence Committee member Ron Wyden — who have consistently demanded greater transparency from the intelligence community. If he made the report public on the Senate floor or during a hearing, he couldn’t be prosecuted.

The last time any senator did anything nearly so grand was in 1971, when Mike Gravel, two years into his 12 years representing the state of Alaska, entered 4,000 pages of the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record just before the U.S. Supreme Court lifted an injunction on publishing them in the press.
http://crooksandliars.com/2014/11/how-mark-udall-can-get-torture-report-out

Ring of Fire: "THE BLUE DOG DEMS SIGNALING A PURGE LIBERAL DEMS FROM PARTY" ??

This is so fucked up, I don't have words. It's shit like this that forces Progressive Dems to think about 3rd parties and such.

THE BLUE DOG DEMS BEGIN THEIR PITCH TO PURGE LIBERAL DEMS FROM THE PARTY
Posted on November 8, 2014 * by Joshua De Leon * Ring of Fire

Joe Manchin (D-WV) is a coal-backing, right-wing-minded Democrat and a conservative sellout. Crooks and Liars reported that Manchin stepped down from NoLabels, a club for other, like-minded Democrats who sell out their own party.

Democrats like Manchin not only make their party weak, but they also make the party look desperate for votes by pandering to the Republican, conservative voters. Manchin pushes coal production, bashes the Affordable Care Act, and knocks the president every chance he gets. He feels that by doing so, he will appeal to Republican voters thus sealing a spot in Congress for a Democrat. That logic is beyond broken.

According to Time Magazine:

Manchin, one of the most conservative Democrats in Congress, could fill a key role next year as the Senate Republican majority tries to implement its agenda, including authorizing the Keystone XL pipeline and raising the Affordable Care Act’s workweek from 30 hours to 40 hours—two proposals that Manchin supports and believes have enough bipartisan support to reach 60 votes for passage. He called a Keystone vote a “slam-dunk,” and he considers the Obamacare fix crucial despite a nonpartisan congressional report that found it would reduce the number of people receiving employment-based coverage by about 1 million people and increase the deficit by about $25 billion over the next five years
.


Democrats like Manchin only weaken the party and the liberal movement. Democrats like Manchin are why the party bungled this year’s midterms, even losing blue states to the Repubs. Crooks and Liars noted that Manchin “just wants to see the Senate work. And if it works with Republicans at the helm, passing lots of right-wing corporate agenda items, that’s totally fine with him.”

http://ringoffireradio.com/2014/11/the-blue-dog-dems-begin-their-pitch-to-purge-liberal-dems-from-the-party/

Capitalism Sucks: So what is the alternative?

Henry A. Giroux asks the same question here, but does not really provide an answer:
Capitalism Is a Tumor on the Body Politic: What's the Alternative? Beyond Mid-Election Babble
http://www.truth-out.org/opinion/item/27273-henry-a-giroux-capitalism-is-a-tumor-on-the-body-politic-what-s-the-alternative

This question -- finding and articulating a sustainable alternative to rotten-to-the-core capitalism -- is both timely and important for Democrats to wrestle with, especially in light of the Dems recent "drubbing" at the polls. As the Democratic party sorts out a collective strategy for winning in 2016, it desperately needs to include some solid "alternative economics" platform planks to stand on. Otherwise, all Dems have to offer is Capitalism-lite, which does not seem to impress voters, at least not in a good way.

The term "economic justice" needn't be an oxymoron; rather it can and should be a guiding light leading out of the stinking swamp of vulture capitalism. Enter Richard Wolff, speaking here for 30 minutes with Bill Moyers, on this very topic:
http://billmoyers.com/segment/richard-wolff-on-capitalisms-destructive-power/



I truly believe Prof. Wolff is spot-on with his analysis and recommendations for how to morph current-day capitalism into an alternative way to do economics that is much more humane, more community-friendly and more sustainable over the long haul, and it's name is WORKER OWNERSHIP.

Worker-owned Cooperatives represent a powerful business-ownership model for curbing, defanging and humanizing our run-away vulture capitalism, hopefully once-and-for-all. This is no pie-in-the-sky pipe-dream. This is already happening, just not on a large enough scale yet to influence mainstream capitalism very much. However, this model has been successfully demonstrated as viable in many countries, including our own during the early labor movement in the late 1900s, but especially in the Basque region of Spain.

Mondragon: Spain's giant co-operative where times are hard but few go bust

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2013/mar/07/mondragon-spains-giant-cooperative
More on Mondragon:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mondragon_Corporation

I'd love to have a serious conversation with any peeps on DU who would like to perhaps start a group or forum on this, and/or simply share info about worker ownership and related topics. Hit me up if that's you.

Oh boy.

Crap. I got the dreaded pre-emptive "You have been blocked" to the Obama-Right-or-Wrong Forum:

"You have been blocked from participating in the Barack Obama group by one of its Hosts."


I had never even been to this Forum before. Oh, and .. am I not supposed to be posting about this?
... like in this OP? Are there things we cannot discuss on DU?

I just learned about the existence of this Forum a couple of daze ago, but had NEVER BEEN THERE before today.

Whatever, I think this forum is probably a good idea for those who find it useful to only want to look "on the bright side". I'm totally cool with that.

I'm pretty-much OK with being excluded too. I would probably not have lasted there very long anyway, but now I'll never know for sure.

For the record, I have been on DU for over a decade under various monikers; and love what goes on here. I've grown to trust Skinner's sense of how to structure things to adapt to where we find ourselves from election to election.

So Rock On Obama Forum!! You have my heart-felt blessings.

The People have spoken

TX GOP Photo ID Voter Suppression Working as Hoped, Keeping (Dem) Voters From Voting

TX GOP Photo ID Voter Suppression Working as Hoped, Keeping (Certain) Voters From Voting
By BRAD FRIEDMAN on 11/1/2014, 6:38pm PT * BradBlog

Congratulations, Texas Republicans! Mission accomplished! Ya'll kept this guy from being able to cast his vote this year!...



The TX GOP has also kept a 93-year old veteran from being able to vote (because, ya know, fuck him and his "freedom") along with a whole bunch of others this year that we'll get to in a moment, thanks to their new polling place Photo ID law which was found to be both "purposefully discriminatory" and an "unconstitutional poll tax".

Unfortunately, despite the U.S. District Court judge's well-documented findings after a year-long trial process, the U.S. Supreme Court is allowing the law to be implemented this year anyway. Their apparent reason: the lower court struck down the law due to illegalities and unconstitutionalites of the Photo ID scheme, but that determination happened just too close to this year's elections to be allowed to stand this year.

But that 93-year old vet and the man pictured above, Eric Lyndell Kennie, are hardly the only ones losing their right to vote in the Lone Star State election this year due to the Republican voter suppression scheme. The unconstitutional law, for now, replaces the state's previous Voter ID law which had already required every single voter to present an ID at the polls before voting. That's right, that was already the law since 2003, and during the trial, state Republicans were only able to demonstrate two cases of polling place impersonation over the past decade out of 20 million votes cast in the same period.

Nonetheless, with the new, much more draconian version of the law threatening some 600,000 legally registered voters who do not have the new type of ID required to vote, all sorts of disenfranchisement is already underway.

Let's start with Kennie's story, since it's both amazing and heart-breaking, even if, we fear, not particularly unusual right about now...
MORE: http://www.bradblog.com/?p=10912

Brad Blog is Ablaze With GOP Election Fraud Red Flags

Just Sayin' ... where there's this much smoke, there's bound
to be a little fire somewhere.
http://www.bradblog.com

This much is clear: we have been well-played. Shame on us.

The M$M lead-up ad nauseum about some "inevitable" GOP US
Senate take-over, did effectively lay groundwork for a smooth
as silk faux "electoral" coup, including MSNBC's "Democratic coverage".

Big missing piece = absolutely NO .. ZERO .. coverage ANYwhere about
ANY issues or problems voters have had in casting their vote.

We would probably never even learn about this if it weren't for Brad Blog, et. al.
doing the heavy lifting to document the multiple issues cited there.

Hats off to Brad Blog


Please provide party ID when posting election results.

Some don't know all the names in play in all the states.


Thank you.
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