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20score

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Member since: Fri Jul 4, 2008, 02:39 PM
Number of posts: 4,601

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But They’ll Never Take - Our Freedom!!! (As long as you have nothing to hide.)

And the definition of freedom is tweaked.
And we don’t mind having our every move watched and tracked.
And we’re fine with the elimination of privacy.
And the left and the right agree to having some of the trappings of authoritarianism.
And we promise to keep paying more attention to reality shows than reality.
And we don’t have any objections to having all of our written and phone conversations recorded.
And we accept having security guards look at us naked in order to travel on any type of mass transit.
And we’re happy to let companies and the government track everything we read, buy or watch on video.
And we’re willing to self-censor our speech as to not offend someone in the government.
And we completely trust our government at all times to never misuse any information collected about any of us, no matter who is in charge.
And we’re willing to give up any future right to petition the government or peaceably assemble, anonymously.
And we’re cool with making the first, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh and ninth amendments as irrelevant as the third.

Okay, never mind. They can take our freedom. We’ll gladly give them that.
But, They’ll Never Take Our False Sense of Security, Our Hypocrisy, or Our Fear!!! (Those are ours to keep.)
Okay then… Hope you’re inspired.

By 20score

BBC-Guardian Exposé Uses WikiLeaks to Link Iraq Torture Centers to U.S. Col. Steele & Gen. Petraeus

Democracy Now!

http://www.democracynow.org/2013/3/22/new_expos_links_torture_centers_in



A shocking new report by The Guardian and BBC Arabic details how the United States armed and trained Iraqi death squads that ran torture centers. It is a story that stretches from the U.S.-backed death squads in Central America during the 1980s to the imprisoned Army whistleblower Bradley Manning. We play extended excerpts of "James Steele: America’s Mystery Man in Iraq," which exposes the role the retired U.S. colonel James Steele, a veteran of American proxy wars in El Salvador and Nicaragua, played in training Iraqi police commando units. "We spent maybe six months trying to track down young American soldiers who served in Samarra," says the film’s executive producer, Maggie O’Kane, who notes the investigation was sparked by memos found in the Iraq War Logs released by WikiLeaks. "But many were too frightened because of what happened to Bradley Manning." A Pentagon spokesman told The Guardian it had seen the reports and is looking into the situation. "As you know, the issue surrounding accusation of abuse and torture of Iraqi detainees is a complex one that is full of history and emotion," said Col. Jack Miller. "It will take time to work a thorough response."

Take Your Dogma With You.

The Catholic Church has always suffered from a split conscience, a duality that has made it an enigma to many for centuries. That split between good and evil, hypocritical and honest, power-hungry and gentle, dogmatic and humble, is best represented by the feud between The Nuns on the Bus, and the Church hierarchy that tried to silence them. Of course the degree to which the division and its players are separated pales in comparison to the past, but the thought processes and character traits of those involved are the same. And it should go without saying that there has also always been some overlap, both within individuals and between the two sides of the Church throughout history.

The constant division between the side that represents forgiveness and helping one’s fellow humans, and the side that represents harshness and judgmentalism could be said to be as old as the New Testament itself. Jesus was shown to have been forgiving, didn’t judge harshly and preached about love. In the Old Testament, there were very harsh judgments, capital punishment for insignificant crimes and being pious was sometimes more important than how one treated others. And whatever ones beliefs are, there is no reason to have a savoir and a sacrifice without original sin and the Old Testament; so the two books are very much intertwined.

There are records going back centuries before the Crusades of priests molesting children and the Church covering it up. But society’s tolerance of such acts and the power of religious leaders have changed since those early days. In the fifth century a man who was later named a saint, Cyril, tortured and killed the philosopher Hypatia because she wasn’t Christian, or thought for herself… whatever the motivation, it was an inexcusable act. About a century later another man who was made a saint, Eligius, spent his money and time buying slaves in mass and freeing them. He took the bodies of executed prisoners and gave them a burial. The two saints could not have been more different from each other. Same church, different philosophies.

At the same time that those participating in the Inquisition were burning innocent women, torturing Jewish people and free-thinkers and keeping the entire populous living in fear, there were priests and monks fighting for social justice and trying to end genocide and slavery. Many who were sent by the Church and the King to the new world to convert and control those who were already living there, ended up trying to end slavery and stop the cruelty. Friar Bartolomé de las Casa started out in what is now Mexico supporting the system set up by the Conquistadores, then he changed to wanting to help the native population and end the enslavement of the natives and give them freedom. Unfortunately he then advocated bringing slaves from Africa. He then evolved further and moved into the actual moral realm and opposed all slavery and devoted his life to the humane treatment of others.


What’s going on now with Benedict’s resignation, the Church’s ongoing molestation scandal and those who want to help others as their calling is nothing new. Sister Simone Campbell led a group of nuns that toured part of the country last year trying to bring awareness to the plight of the poor and needy. For trying to help those in need, they were protested by right-wing Catholics, hate radio DJ Jan Mickelson joked about having the nuns pistol-whipped, they were disparaged in articles and blogs and many said they should be excommunicated. While some Catholics are devoting their lives to helping the sick and the poor, others are devoting their energies to restricting birth control access, denying rights to homosexuals and pushing other dogmatic parts of their church’s doctrine. Obviously over the centuries the fight for what’s right is slowly being won by those on the side of empathy and being more Christ-like. But there are ebbs and flows. Under Benedict the focus has moved away from social justice and towards dogma. With a new pope, one less restricted by dogma, maybe that trend will reverse.

As a lapsed Catholic and devout secularist, one might wonder why I care what the pope feels about where the Church should devote its time and resources. The reason I have for caring is the same reason everyone should have. Does one want the powerful, rich and extremely populous Catholic Church devoting its resources to supporting fringe Republicans, restricting the rights of others and trying to limit access to birth control, thus increasing unwanted pregnancies? Or is it better for the country if they use their considerable resources to take care of those in need? I’m with the Nuns on the Bus.
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