Tag Archives | Politics

The Vanquished Light

Michael Welton writes at CounterPunch:

From its founding, America has cast itself as a kind of redeemer nation unlike other nations (see E. Tuveson, Redeemer Nation: the Idea of America’s Millennial Role (1968) and J. Axtell, The School Upon a Hill: Education and Society in Colonial New England (1974)). The first emperors—Alexander the Great and the Roman Caesars—created myths of their descent from the gods. Alexander was “great” because he was descended from semi-divine beings. Augustus declared himself a son of a god. He raised a statue to his adoptive father, Julius Caesar, on a stage alongside Mars and Venus—not bad company. The USA engages in the same sort of myth-making. The Puritans came with an “errand in the wilderness” to build the New Jerusalem. They had no doubt that eradicating the indigenous people was within their god’s will, part of the divinely-promised land.

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Military court: Army must not refer to WikiLeaks leaker Manning as a male

"Chelsea Manning with wig" by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use of copyrighted material in the context of Chelsea Manning">Fair use via Wikipedia.

Chelsea Manning with wig” by Source (WP:NFCC#4). Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

David Kravets via Ars Technica:

A military appeals court on Thursday ordered the government to refrain from referring to WikiLeaks leaker Pvt. Chelsea Manning as a male.

Formerly known as Bradley Manning, the private was court-martialed last year and sentenced to 35 years for forwarding a cache of classified documents to WikiLeaks.

After the August 2013 espionage conviction for leaking more than 700,000 documents and video, Manning announced that she would live as a woman with the name Chelsea going forward. She also appealed the conviction. A non-military judge approved the name change last year. Hormone therapy, which she is now getting, is assisting her transition. Manning has been diagnosed with gender dysphoria.

“Reference to appellant in all future formal papers filed before this court and all future orders and decisions issued by this court shall either be neutral, e.g., Private First Class Manning or appellant, or employ a feminine pronoun,” the US Army Court of Criminal Appeals ruled Thursday.

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Everything I know about homelessness I learned from SimCity

David Blackwell. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

David Blackwell. (CC BY-ND 2.0)

Via Aaron Sankin at Kernel Mag:

In October 2012, a gamer posted a provocative comment to a forum run by Electronic Arts about its beloved, long-running SimCity franchise.

“There is one area I’d like to see as future expansion … the homeless,” gamer IanLoganson wrote. “Most cities have homeless … Some of the world’s biggest cities now are in the rapidly developing countries and one big problem [they] seem to have is slums. Let’s say you have a thriving commercial city full of landmarks, high-end jobs and high-end housing. Such city lights draw the dispossessed in search for hope and if there aren’t enough low-end jobs, low-end housing, or a social safety net, they end up on the street.

“A small homeless problem is no big deal, but as it gets bigger it brings down property value and discourages tourists,” IanLoganson continued. “You need to think of helping them with aid, providing more jobs/housing for them, or getting the police to kick them out of the centre.

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The Ideological Babelfish

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Saudi king gives prize to Islamic scholar who says 9/11 was an ‘inside job’

"Dr Zakir Naik" by maapu - Source Link. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Dr Zakir Naik” by maapuSource Link. Licensed under CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Ishaan Tharoor Via Washington Post:

Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman awarded a prestigious prize to Zakir Naik, a televangelist and religious scholar from India, heralding him as “one of the most renowned non-Arabic-speaking promulgators of Islam.” Naik, a trained doctor, founded the Peace TV channel, which supposedly reaches an audience of 100 million English-speaking Muslims. His popular YouTube stream includes videos titled “Who is deceived by the Satan, Christians or Muslims?” and “Does eating non-vegetarian food have any effect on the mind?”

Naik’s creed is an expansive one. “Islam is the only religion that can bring peace to the whole of humanity,” he said in a video biography aired at the ceremony.

The preacher is not short of controversy. His orthodox, Wahhabist views — affiliated closely with the Saudi state — are polarizing in India, which is home to a diverse set of Muslim traditions and sects.

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Warren Buffett Says Elizabeth Warren is Too ‘Angry’ and ‘Violent’ With Rich People

"Warren Buffett KU Visit" by Mark Hirschey - Work of Mark Hirschey. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Warren_Buffett_KU_Visit.jpg#mediaviewer/File:Warren_Buffett_KU_Visit.jpg

“Warren Buffett KU Visit” by Mark Hirschey – Work of Mark Hirschey.
Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Bryce Covert via Nation of Change:

In an interview Monday morning with CNBC, Berkshire Hathaway CEO and billionaire Warren Buffett was asked what he thinks of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and her views of Wall Street.

“I think that she would do better if she was less angry and demonized less,” he responded. “I believe in hate the sin, love the sinner, and I also believe in praising by name and criticizing by category.”

He continued that while there are “plenty of other candidates” whose political style he doesn’t agree with, “I do think it’s — I think it’s a mistake to get angry with your, with people that disagree with you,” he said of her. “In the end we do have to work together… And it does not help when you demonize or get too violent with the people you’re talking to.”

Sen.

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Fear is the Mind Killer

Fear-is-the-mind-killer-Dune

Via Don Hazen at AlterNet:

“Fear is the mind-killer” – Frank Herbert, Dune

People cannot think clearly when they are afraid. As numerous studies have shown, fear is the enemy of reason. It distorts emotions and perceptions, and often leads to poor decisions. For people who have suffered trauma, fear messages can sometimes trigger uncontrollable flight-or-fight responses with dangerous ramifications.

Yet over time, many interlocking aspects of our society have become increasingly sophisticated at communicating messages and information that produce fear responses. Advertising, political ads, news coverage and social media all send the constant message that people should be afraid—very afraid.

In addition, television and film are filled with extreme violence and millions of fictional deaths, far out of proportion to what happens in real life, as researchers have pointed out. And more recently, we have witnessed the massive militarization of local police departments with equipment, gear and attitudes that treat citizens as if they were terrorists, as recently evidenced by events in Ferguson, Missouri.

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Astrology could help take pressure off NHS doctors, claims Conservative MP

4159029688_ff2df14e26_o

Hartwig HKD (CC BY-ND 2.0)

 

Via The Guardian:

A Conservative MP has claimed that astrology could have “a role to play in healthcare”.

David Tredinnick said astrology, along with complementary medicine, could take pressure off NHS doctors, but acknowledged that any attempt to spend taxpayers’ money on consulting the stars would cause “a huge row”.

He criticised the BBC and TV scientist Professor Brian Cox for taking a “dismissive” approach to astrology, and accused opponents of being “racially prejudiced”.

The MP for Bosworth, in Leicestershire, who is a Capricorn and in 2010 paid back £755 he had claimed in expenses for software that used astrology to diagnose medical conditions, told Astrological Journal: “I do believe that astrology and complementary medicine would help take the huge pressure off doctors.

“Ninety per cent of pregnant French women use homeopathy. Astrology is a useful diagnostic tool enabling us to see strengths and weaknesses via the birth chart.

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Google Becomes Ministry of Truth

Carlos Luna (CC BY 2.0)

Carlos Luna (CC BY 2.0)

There’s no way this can go horribly wrong, right?

Jon Rappoport via War is Crime:

“…if all records told the same tale — then the lie passed into history and became truth.” (George Orwell,1984)

The New Scientist has the stunning story (2/28/15, “Google wants to rank websites based on facts not links,” by Hal Hodson):

“The internet is stuffed with garbage. Anti-vaccination websites make the front page of Google, and fact-free ‘news’ stories spread like wildfire. Google has devised a fix — rank websites according to their truthfulness.”

Great idea, right? Sure it is.

The author of the article lets the cat out of the bag right away with his comment about “anti-vaccination” websites. These sites will obviously be shoved into obscurity by Google because they’re “garbage”…whereas “truthful” pro-vaccine sites will dominate top ranked pages on the search engine.

This is wonderful if you believe what the CDC tells you about vaccine safety and efficacy.

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‘The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one’

thierry ehrmann (CC BY 2.0)

thierry ehrmann (CC BY 2.0)

Robert Frisk writes at The Independent:

Uri Avnery is without doubt the most intellectual, philosophical, prescient leftist Israeli seer I have ever met. Like TS Eliot, he has a habit of using the fewest words to tell the greatest truth. Every essay he writes, this reader always says the same thing: Exactly! Yet, for the first time in 40 years, I disagree with the great man.

He has just suggested that Benjamin Netanyahu’s agreement to address the US Congress at the invitation of Republicans tomorrow– two weeks before an Israeli general election – and Barack Obama’s decision not to see the old rogue, has destroyed Israel’s bipartisan support in America. For the first time, says Uri, Democratic politicians are allowed to criticise Israel.

Absolute Tosh.

Congressmen of both parties have grovelled and fainted and shrieked their support for Bibi and his predecessors with more enthusiasm than the Roman hordes in the Colosseum.

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