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FourScore

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Member since: Thu Mar 16, 2006, 02:07 PM
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Inspiring images of over 1000 Muslims forming 'ring of peace' around Oslo synagogue

Sun Feb 22, 2015 at 03:16 PM PST
Inspiring images of over 1000 Muslims forming 'ring of peace' around Oslo synagogue
by Ian ReifowitzFollow


If ever a photo was worth a thousand words


That is a beautiful image. Over the weekend, more than 1000 Muslims gathered to form a ring of peace around a synagogue in Oslo, Norway. They both offered a human shield—in the best sense of the term—protecting one of the most visibly Jewish locations in their city, and condemned the murder last week of Dan Uzan, a Danish Jew, at a Copenhagen synagogue. That murder was committed by Omar El-Hussein, a Danish-born son of Palestinian immigrants, as part of an attack that also included shooting up a forum discussing free speech that featured Lars Vilks, who has been the subject of death threats and even assassination plots for having published cartoon depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. Although Vilks escaped unharmed, one person attending the forum died. El-Hussein was pursued, shot, and killed by Danish police.

These Oslo Muslims brought a message of peace and tolerance, one that rejects hate. They chanted: "No to anti-Semitism, no to Islamophobia." Zeeshan Abdullah, who helped organize the event, told the Muslims and Jews gathered together outside the synagogue:

"Humanity is one and we are here to demonstrate that. There are many more peace mongers than warmongers. There’s still hope for humanity, for peace and love, across religious differences and backgrounds."


Seeing these images, I can't help but agree...More photos from the event.







Originally posted to Ian Reifowitz on Sun Feb 22, 2015 at 03:16 PM PST.
Also republished by Kitchen Table Kibitzing.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/02/22/1366149/-Inspiring-images-of-over-1000-Muslims-forming-ring-of-peace-around-Oslo-synagogue

The Daily Show - Congressman turns THUG - a thing of BEAUTY!!!

(Sorry if this is a dupe. It is a few days old. I haven't had much time for the internet lately, so it may have already made the rounds. Enjoy.)

Florida Representative Turns Thug And DESTROYS Texas During Congress Hearing! Fun
Feb 6, 2015

Alcee Lamar Hastings is the U.S. Representative for Florida. During a recent congress hearing, things between him and a representative from Texas got a little heated and Alcee went total thug. He laid into the Lone Star State, calling it ‘crazy’ and saying he’d never live there and all sorts. And when he’s asked to apologize, he flat out refuses. He might just be the coolest politician you’ve ever seen…



http://fun.boredombash.com/alcee-hastings-thug-life/

Cenk Uygur: My Ironic Defense of Brian Williams

Mon Feb 09, 2015 at 08:13 PM PST
My Ironic Defense of Brian Williams
by Cenk Uygur

First, let me say very clearly from the beginning that I am biased in this case because I know Brian Williams a tiny bit and he has always been fundamentally decent to me.

On the other hand, I'm the guy who wrote the piece Why Brian Williams is Irrelevant. The current controversy surrounding him ties in well with that article I wrote many years ago. People think that Brian Williams is the problem because he exaggerated a war story about Iraq? Are you kidding me? The whole war was based on a monstrous lie that almost the entire media enabled and perpetuated. That's the real problem.

If the rest of the press scapegoat Williams and feign righteous indignation over his lie, as they are in the middle of doing now, it will be unbearable. Where were all of those people when we were being sold a bill of goods on Iraq? Oh I know, on air. They sold us those lies en masse. So, please don't pretend you have integrity now. Please don't pretend that the real problem is an exaggeration about a tiny story in the middle of the war.

Sixty-nine percent of Americans believed that Saddam Hussein was personally responsible for 9/11 when we invaded Iraq. That is the biggest failure of the media I have ever seen. Has anyone apologized for that yet? Has anyone been fired for that yet? If you want to fire all of the executives and editors who let that lie be sold to the American people through their media outlets, then I'm a 100% with you. Then we can also fire Brian Williams.

Don't get me wrong, Williams was definitely part of that media machine. His much bigger issue is that he never told his audience that he had generals on the air who are being paid by defense contractors to push more war while they pretended to be objective analysts. That's a firing offense! But then you'd have to fire almost everyone at NBC, wouldn't you?

While we're firing people, find me the MSNBC executives who got rid of Phil Donahue and Ashleigh Banfield for speaking out against the war. You fire those guys and Brian Williams at the same time and you've got a deal. But their offense was a thousand percent worse and there was never even a discussion about firing them.

The American people are allowed to be outraged at what Brian Williams said; the people who fought against the lies that got us into the Iraq War are allowed to be outraged; but the establishment press who are part and parcel of that system can go ahead and spare me their contrived, bullshit outrage.

This is how the system covers up for their gross failures. Every once in awhile we are offered a sacrificial lamb on a small issue that is a distraction rather than the heart of the matter. Then the media gets to walk away self-satisfied, with an unbearable smug look on their face -- as if they have ethics. Your ethics amuse me. Your faux concern over this issue is vomitous.

If there is someone in the mainstream media that didn't cheerlead for far more egregious lies that got us into the Iraq War, let them be the first to pick up a stone. The rest of you sitting in your giant glass house, either fire yourselves or shut the fuck up.

Watch The Young Turks Here

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/02/09/1363481/-My-Ironic-Defense-of-Brian-Williams

Blurring the Lines of News and Entertainment, Fact and Fiction

Mon Feb 09, 2015 at 10:50 AM PST
Blurring the Lines of News and Entertainment, Fact and Fiction
by AmBushed

Salon.com published an excellent article today, written by Steve Almond, titled "Our dangerous macho delusions: Brian Williams’ fraudulence — and our own". It is by far the best analysis I have read regarding the Williams saga because Almond actually goes to the heart of the problem by exploring the responsibility we, the people, bear.

...the national chorus of indignation over the vain, clumsy lies that Williams told is, in fact, a direct measure of our own neurotic impulses. Americans consume more violence—both real and imagined—than any other nation on earth. Yet as a population, we move about our daily lives with almost no threat of actual violence from enemies abroad.


Almond argues that Williams was not the only one to sell us a war as entertainment, yet now that the curtain has been lifted on Williams and his stories have been exposed as fraudulent, we are all shocked, shocked by the betrayal. Yet, we knew it all along; we knew the whole thing was one great, big lie. Not just the basis for war (although that as well), but also in the daily coverage - we were shown a war with no visible dead bodies, no combat footage, no coffins. There was no prime time news outlet questioning the wisdom of war, no real journalistic exploration of the actual cost - neither financial nor human - nor the problems we'd face in the aftermath. It was sold as just and moral; we were the liberators! It was entertainment.

To howl about how Brian Williams has a “credibility problem” because of his famous fibs is to miss the true nature of his fraudulence: that he and his team were happy to render the Iraq War as a form of entertainment, a righteous crusade in which badass high-tech G.I. Joes defend the holy Christian homeland by slaughtering and eventually civilizing Islamic savages.

I don’t mean to single Williams or NBC out. With a few notable exceptions, the television coverage of the war was carefully stage-managed by Department of Defense. We were shown approved footage of rolling tanks and magical bombs, and precious little in the way of dead bodies, American or Iraqi.


Almond comes to the heart of his argument in his conclusion:

But what happens when we define physical courage—in the absence of moral consideration—as our highest good is that we deplete our capacities for mercy. This, in turn, allows our leaders to peddle any invasion or torture program or drone strike, no matter how ill-conceived, no matter how destructive to other human beings, no matter how degrading to our basic sense of decency, as necessary to “the national interest.”

Does America’s civilian culture even understand what war is anymore? That it’s not just some proving ground for the masculine ego, but an experience by which thousands of human beings—many of them women and children—are systematically killed, maimed, traumatized, and displaced? Is Brian Williams really the only American confused on this point? Or is he just the most famous one?


Due to fair use, the quotes must remain limited, so I encourage everyone to follow the link. Almond's article is a must-read, and I think he is absolutely correct in his analysis, but I would venture to take it even further. The blurring of fact vs fiction and entertainment vs news has had a profound effect on our country. Science is rejected and "experts" with clear financial ties are given a stage to voice their fantasies unimpeded as if they were fact. Global warming, vaccinations, torture, death panels...the list is endless. One would expect Hollywood to blur the lines of truth with entertainment, they do it all the time. Still, at what point is it propaganda? That is the question that continues to swirl around the portrayal of Chris Kyle in Clint Eastwood's film "American Sniper."

I don't have the answer. I have watched this phenomenon with horror for years now, and worried about the effects such blurring has on a society. There are websites, of course, that work toward combating the misinformation. Although, for every good website, there is a bad one peddling more lies. If any good were to come from Brian William's fall from grace, it would be for journalists to wake up and start doing their job, for news outlets to demand they do their job, and for Americans to insist on it. Sadly, I don't think that's going to happen.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/02/09/1363319/-Blurring-the-Lines-of-News-and-Entertainment-Fact-and-Fiction

Excellent article -- Our dangerous macho delusions: Brian Williams’ fraudulence — and our own

Monday, Feb 9, 2015 07:00 AM EST
Our dangerous macho delusions: Brian Williams’ fraudulence — and our own
The NBC anchor's fibs run deeper: He sold us war as entertainment, chicken-hawk fools as heroes. We all bought it.

Steve Almond

...If Brian Williams wanted to display genuine courage—if he was interested in actual journalism, as opposed to the elaborate construction of war propaganda—he might have spent his time in Iraq questioning the motives, costs, and intended goals of our invasion. In fact, as the bright public face of a huge journalistic army, Williams might have questioned the unctuous and ultimately bogus justifications our leaders offered for invading Iraq in the first place.

To howl about how Brian Williams has a “credibility problem” because of his famous fibs is to miss the true nature of his fraudulence: that he and his team were happy to render the Iraq War as a form of entertainment, a righteous crusade in which badass high-tech G.I. Joes defend the holy Christian homeland by slaughtering and eventually civilizing Islamic savages.

I don’t mean to single Williams or NBC out. With a few notable exceptions, the television coverage of the war was carefully stage-managed by Department of Defense. We were shown approved footage of rolling tanks and magical bombs, and precious little in the way of dead bodies, American or Iraqi. Our leaders made promise after promise about how the occupation would proceed, nearly all of which proved false...

SNIP

...Does America’s civilian culture even understand what war is anymore? That it’s not just some proving ground for the masculine ego, but an experience by which thousands of human beings—many of them women and children—are systematically killed, maimed, traumatized, and displaced? Is Brian Williams really the only American confused on this point? Or is he just the most famous one?

http://www.salon.com/2015/02/09/our_dangerous_macho_delusions_brian_williams_fraudulence_and_our_own/

GOP Releases Health Care Plan to Replace Obamacare

As a veteran, I see ‘American Sniper’ as dangerous, but not for the reasons you’d think

As a veteran, I see ‘American Sniper’ as dangerous, but not for the reasons you’d think
Brock McIntosh
February 3, 2015


Bradley Cooper as Chris Kyle in “American Sniper.” (Warner Brothers)

After watching the movie “American Sniper,” I called a friend named Garett Reppenhagen who was an American sniper in Iraq. He deployed with a cavalry scout unit from 2004 to 2005 and was stationed near FOB Warhorse. I asked him if he thought this movie really mattered. “Every portrayal of a historical event should be historically accurate,” he explained. ”A movie like this is a cultural symbol that influences the way people remember history and feel about war.”

Garett and I met through our antiwar and veteran support work, which he’s been involved with for almost a decade. He served in Iraq. I served in Afghanistan. But both of us know how powerful mass media and mass culture are. They shaped how we thought of the wars when we joined, so we felt it was important to tell our stories when we came home and spoke out.

I commend Chris Kyle for telling his story in his book “American Sniper.” The scariest thing I did while in the military was come home and tell my story to the public — the good, the bad and the ugly. I feel that veterans owe it to society to tell their stories, and civilians owe it to veterans to actively listen. Dr. Ed Tick, a psychotherapist who has specialized in veteran care for four decades, explains, “In all traditional and classical societies, returned warriors served many important psychosocial functions. They were keepers of dark wisdom for their cultures, witnesses to war’s horrors from personal experience who protected and discouraged, rather than encouraged, its outbreak again.”

Chris Kyle didn’t view Iraq like me and Garett, but neither of us have attacked him for it. He’s not the problem. We don’t care about the lies that Chris Kyle may or may not have told. They don’t matter. We care about the lies that Chris Kyle believed. The lie that Iraq was culpable for September 11. The lie that there were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The lie that people do evil things because they are evil...

http://wagingnonviolence.org/feature/focus-chris-kyle-distracts-real-problems-american-sniper/

"This pediatrician is not putting up with it."

Roald Dahl's Heartbreaking Take on Vaccines

Fri Jan 30, 2015 at 11:57 AM PST
Roald Dahl's Heartbreaking Take on Vaccines
by tmservo433

With so much debate around the seeming return of Measles - in part spurred by those who were not vaccinated, and putting more at risk, many friends have reminded me of this statement about the impact of Measles on child author Roald Dahl.

http://www.roalddahlfans.com/articles/meas.php

Olivia, my eldest daughter, caught measles when she was seven years old. As the illness took its usual course I can remember reading to her often in bed and not feeling particularly alarmed about it. Then one morning, when she was well on the road to recovery, I was sitting on her bed showing her how to fashion little animals out of coloured pipe-cleaners, and when it came to her turn to make one herself, I noticed that her fingers and her mind were not working together and she couldn't do anything.

"Are you feeling all right?" I asked her.

"I feel all sleepy," she said.

In an hour, she was unconscious. In twelve hours she was dead.

The measles had turned into a terrible thing called measles encephalitis and there was nothing the doctors could do to save her. That was twenty-four years ago in 1962, but even now, if a child with measles happens to develop the same deadly reaction from measles as Olivia did, there would still be nothing the doctors could do to help her.

On the other hand, there is today something that parents can do to make sure that this sort of tragedy does not happen to a child of theirs. They can insist that their child is immunised against measles. I was unable to do that for Olivia in 1962 because in those days a reliable measles vaccine had not been discovered. Today a good and safe vaccine is available to every family and all you have to do is to ask your doctor to administer it.

It is not yet generally accepted that measles can be a dangerous illness. Believe me, it is. In my opinion parents who now refuse to have their children immunised are putting the lives of those children at risk. In America, where measles immunisation is compulsory, measles like smallpox, has been virtually wiped out.

Here in Britain, because so many parents refuse, either out of obstinacy or ignorance or fear, to allow their children to be immunised, we still have a hundred thousand cases of measles every year. Out of those, more than 10,000 will suffer side effects of one kind or another. At least 10,000 will develop ear or chest infections. About 20 will die.

LET THAT SINK IN.

Every year around 20 children will die in Britain from measles.

So what about the risks that your children will run from being immunised?

They are almost non-existent. Listen to this. In a district of around 300,000 people, there will be only one child every 250 years who will develop serious side effects from measles immunisation! That is about a million to one chance. I should think there would be more chance of your child choking to death on a chocolate bar than of becoming seriously ill from a measles immunisation.

So what on earth are you worrying about? It really is almost a crime to allow your child to go unimmunised.

The ideal time to have it done is at 13 months, but it is never too late. All school-children who have not yet had a measles immunisation should beg their parents to arrange for them to have one as soon as possible.

Incidentally, I dedicated two of my books to Olivia, the first was 'James and the Giant Peach'. That was when she was still alive. The second was 'The BFG', dedicated to her memory after she had died from measles. You will see her name at the beginning of each of these books. And I know how happy she would be if only she could know that her death had helped to save a good deal of illness and death among other children.


As the parent of an autistic child, I wanted to add a little something to this - more below the fold.

Over the last few years, a pervasive hysteria has grown, linking the use of vaccines to maladies without any scientific basis or real study. This linkage has led seemingly rational people to make irrational decisions. More importantly, for those of us in the autism community, anti-vaxxer advocates have done considerable harm to real research that may help those with autism.

http://healthland.time.com/2014/03/04/nothing-not-even-hard-facts-can-make-anti-vaxxers-change-their-minds/

“Disease Risks” and “Autism Correction” had slightly better results, but neither seemed to convince parents. And while “Autism Correction” proved to some parents that there’s no link between vaccines and autism, it produced a strong backlash in others that just reinforced their sense that vaccinations are a conspiracy theory. Only 45% of the already anti-vaccine parents said they would vaccinate after they saw the “Autism Correction” message, compared to 70% of the control group.


Autism is a baffling and difficult to grasp problem that causes many a parent a sleepless night. The need to find a reason - any reason - for autism is gutwrenching, a question parents ask each other: 'why did this happen'. The fixation on conspiracy theory laden anti-vaccination themes, though, is one of the most harmful for real research.

By portraying autism as a matter of a modern fluke, due to vaccines that have been around for decades without similar results we aren't just anti-vaccine, we start to be anti-finding real answers.

Because the range of autistm is very wide - thus why we call it a spectrum - the inbuilt need to equate all of it as having a single root forces far too many autistic parents to step back and say 'no, it wasn't a vaccine', and it puts too many children in the role of being seen as 'permanently damaged' by those who want the vaccine theory to be true.

Think about this: the anti-vaccine movement is telling you they would rather risk the death of their child rather than an unbelievable longshot - even in their own, non-scientifically supported view - of autism. Even those who believe that vaccines=autism acknowledge that in their fever dream of non-science that the impact is a small percentage. But that small percentage is so scary to them that their child's death is OK to avoid it. Talk about a stigma to put on those with autism.

There is a saying amongst Scientologists - yes, those kooky L Ron Hubbard followers - "If it isn't the truth for you, it isn't true for you." This circular argument basically means: if you don't believe it, no matter how many people tell you it is the truth, you have no reason to accept it.

But any parent who has read James and the Giant Peach, or any of Dahl's other works can appreciate a man who lost his child due to an illness we can now prevent.

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2015/01/30/1361224/-Roald-Dahl-s-Heartbreaking-Take-on-Vaccines

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