By Chris Hedges/truthdig –
Those who use violence to shape the world, as we have done in the Middle East, unleash a whirlwind. Our initial alliances—achieved at the cost of hundreds of thousands of dead, some $3 trillion in expenditures and the ravaging of infrastructure across the region—have been turned upside down by the cataclysm of violence. Thirteen years of war, and the rise of enemies we did not expect, have transformed Hezbollah fighters inside Syria, along with Iran, into our tacit allies. We are intervening in the Syrian civil war to assist a regime we sought to overthrow. We promised to save Iraq and now help to dismember it. We have delivered Afghanistan to drug cartels and warlords who preside over a ruin of a nation where 60 percent of the children are malnourished and the Taliban is poised to take power once NATO troops depart. The entire misguided enterprise has been a fiasco of gross mismanagement and wanton bloodletting. But that does not mean it will be stopped.
More violence is not going to rectify the damage. Indeed, it will make it worse. But violence is all we know. Violence is the habitual response by the state to every dilemma. War, like much of modern bureaucracy, has become an impersonal and unquestioned mechanism to perpetuate American power. It has its own internal momentum. There may be a few courageous souls who rise up within the apparatus to protest war’s ultimate absurdity, but they are rapidly discarded and replaced. The state rages like an insane King Lear, who in his madness and desire to revenge himself on his two daughters and their husbands decides that:
It were a delicate stratagem to shoe
A troop of horse with felt. I’ll put ’t in proof.
And when I have stol’n upon these sons-in-law,
Then, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill!
And kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill is the mantra chanted with every new setback in the Middle East. How many times have we rejoiced at the murder of those we demonized—Saddam Hussein, Osama bin Laden, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and dozens of others. But as soon as one hunt for the fountainhead of evil ends, another begins. Those we kill are swiftly replaced. Fresh terrorist groups take the place of the old. TheKhorasan Group, the U.S. government assures us, is a more sinister and deadlier version of the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), which was once touted as a more sinister version of al-Qaida. We cannot extinguish our enemies. They spring out of the ground like the legion of hostile warriors that rose up when Cadmussowed his dragon’s teeth. Our violence spawns violence and never-ending configurations of enraged militants. We will keep spawning them until we stop occupying the Middle East.
Endless war, which results in endless terror, leaves the arms manufacturers and generals giddy with joy. It is a boon to the state, which is possessed of an excuse to extinguish what few liberties we have left. It fuels the militancy and hatred that fanatics need to justify their slaughter and attract recruits. But it is a curse to humankind.
The barbarism of modern industrial warfare creates complex bureaucratic mechanisms that exist to perpetuate and manufacture death. We are hostages to those mechanisms. “The soul that is enslaved to war cries out for deliverance,” Simone Weil observed, “but deliverance itself appears to it an extreme and tragic aspect, the aspect of destruction.” Continue reading…
This is going to ramble a bit so I apologize to you up front. After all of these years I still haven’t been able to put how I feel about this into a concise and easily understood explanation so I’m going to just start and promise that it does make sense AND it ties into the midterms too. I also say that my thoughts are my own.
When I was a toddler after a trip to an ER my parents were given the news that I had an inoperable brain tumor. After many tests the surgeon said that I had about a week or less to live and to just take me home. The family got together and discussed this and there were those that said try anyway even though my prognosis as to a normal life was poor even if I should survive. The survival rate was a whopping 1 or 2 percent back in the mid- fifties. I think it’s up to 8 now. My mom pleaded with the surgeon and he agreed to try. Long story-short version- I’m here, yes, I have issues that I’ve had to deal with but all in all I amazed the entire staff and I was told later my surgery was written up in some medical journal for use on others. I think that is cool because I hope it helped others.
The point of this doesn’t have much of anything at all to do with me other than to tell you that coming from a pre-Vatican II Italian Catholic family the older women in the family, foremost among them my Gramma insisted from my earliest memories that God had spared me for some special reason. First off let me tell you- never place that sort of burden on a child, EVER. I can tell you that I never felt special and as I became older and realized just how many kid die every damn day in hospitals all over the world that knowledge can really dump a load of guilt on a kid. When I was in grade school almost every adult, especially my teachers knew about the surgery. I was so clumsy and always had scabby knees, legs, elbows and hands that they needed the reason why. I didn’t like it. I wanted to fit in. by high school, few people knew until my family doc yanked me out of gym before I ended up a permanent fixture in his office or the ER. I didn’t like that either.
The point of this is;
We have a congresscritter here in my state that is running a variation of the one he ran to be elected the first time round. He is a conservative Republican and he has voted that way. Nary a concern for the regular folks or anyone else for that matter, but business- oh he loves him some big business.
This commercial shows him with his little kids with his voice over and a photo of him with one of his kids as a baby. He tells us once again about the rare form of cancer he had at that time, and how we have the best medical system and he wants it to continue and then it (of course) tells you to vote for him.
Well now, I am truly glad he survived but I’m here to tell you (and him) that surviving doesn’t mean you should be in government. Surviving is the luck of the draw unless he believes that God spared him to lead in which case he should be tossed out NOW. People die. Kids die. I can say this-
All people take something away for experiences like this. A few people have an epiphany and their behavior can change drastically. Most of us go on normally but always knowing that we were one of the lucky ones. It can make many of us a lot more empathetic and compassionate but I get royally pissed off when I see someone using it for sympathetic GAIN.
If his experiences had something concrete to do with his job in Congress I might look more kindly at his use of them in his campaign ad. Even Santorum’s use of his severely handicapped daughter had a direct link to his anti-abortion stance. I still wouldn’t vote for the man but I could understand his use of her story in his numerous runs for Senator and President; just as I can understand sharing personal stories of abortions or military service. To just say in this man’s ad that he wants our medical system to continue is an excuse to tell voters that he survived cancer.
This man, nope, this is such a blatant pitch for sympathy and a subtle pitch aimed at his evangelical base that truly might buy into that old “God spared you for great things, a special purpose…”
Perhaps God spared him to be a shoe salesman or a worker at a factory. Maybe God just wanted him to be a good dad to his kids.
Me, I still say it’s the luck of the draw and the skill that day of the surgical team. And to –
You might want for the sake of the rest of the survivor’s club-
Pull the damn ad
Peace and vote
“Come mothers and fathers throughout the land,
and don’t criticize what you can’t understand.
Your sons and your daughters are beyond your command.
Your old road is rapidly agin’.
Please get out of the new one, if you can’t lend your hand,
for the times they are a-changin’.”
- Bob Dylan
From http://expertjoints.com/ – Lazy Pothead versus Prescribed Patient. Total Burnout or Highly Functional. Chronic Doper against Cannabis Consumer. Useless Stoner to Successful Smoker.
A question was posed the other day. “What do you call someone who smokes marijuana?” Truth be told, the answer really lies in who is responding. As marijuana goes mainstream, attitudes and perceptions are being forced to evolve as well.
Recent Gallup and Angus-Reid polls suggest around sixty percent of North Americans are now in favour of legalizing cannabis to some degree. Business is waking up too, as Colorado’s medical marijuana dispensaries brought in over $200 million in revenues in the first six months post legalization alone. With projections of more than $60 million collected in annual state taxes, let alone possible savings, it’s no wonder more states and governments are watching extremely closely. Even the 2014 Emmy Awards could hardly go one skit, song or acceptance speech without a weed joke or two. We were flattered to see Sarah Silverman had read ‘Evolution? Revolution?‘ before heading out for the night, and planned accordingly.
Mom & Dad might never fully accept the faded facts and may always think smoking pot only equates to video games in the basement, insatiable cases of the munchies, uncontrollable laughter, harder drugs, the wrong crowd, and generally smoking your life away. You can’t really be too hard on them; for ninety years we’ve been lead to believe what happens when you catch the reefer madness. Being unfairly branded illegal for a century has a way of conditioning the thinking. Continue reading…
Photographs byGraham Turner/theguardian.com/ – From the ancient Aztecs to Woodstock hippies, mind-altering plants have been used by different cultures for thousands of years, for everything from shamanic rituals to staying awake. A new exhibition at London’s Kew Gardens looks at some of the most popular. It runs until 12 October 2014
By Diana May-Waldman.WWH/CJE -I grew up in a middle class neighborhood. If we were poor or had less than our neighbors I didn’t know it. Our fathers went off to work every morning. Our mothers sunned themselves in the backyard while reading books by Marilyn French and we played kickball and ran through the sprinkler.
When September came and it was time to go back to school, we got new school clothes, new shoes and school supplies. We had bikes and food on the table. Thanksgiving was always a feast and Christmas had plenty of presents. I never went hungry and I always had clean underwear.
When I was a kid I guess I really didn’t have much interest in what my parents were doing. My father was a machinist, that much I knew. My mother was a hairdresser.
Sometimes my parents had two cars and sometimes they shared one. I remember my mother piling the four of us — me, my sister and two brothers — into the Oldsmobile before the sun came up. We would be piled on top of one another in the backseat with our pajamas still on, clutching our pillows, still half-asleep, when my mother had to drop my father off at work.
The trip back to pick him up was the interesting part. When she went to pick him up we were wide awake and we were always excited to begin the countdown to when the five o’clock whistle would blow. As soon as the whistle blew the men would filter out, jumping off docks and racing toward the parking lot. It always reminded me of stepping on an ant hill. You’d step on it and the ants would surface and go in every direction. That was what it looked liked — all those men in navy blue work uniforms with metal lunch boxes, pouring out of the factory like ants. My mother would scoot over and my dad would drive home. We would be bouncing around, daring one another to duck when Dad’s arm flung into the backseat to knock one of us upside the head. Then Dad would adjust the radio and we would listen to the music on the way home.
Dinner in our house was always at 5:30 p.m. As we got older it didn’t matter where we were. We had to be home for dinner. We had to say our prayers before meals, and we had to be asked to be excused from the dinner table when we were done. After dinner my brothers took out the trash and my sister and I did the dishes. We had chores and we never questioned it.
We didn’t question a lot of things. We didn’t know how much money our father or mother made. We didn’t know how much the house payment was or how much groceries cost. We only knew that we had a roof over our heads and food in our bellies. read more…
Again or still? Who knows or remembers at this point? Now, there is a new name on the ever growing list of terrorists. Yes, they are barbaric. Yes, they are murdering people every day. Are they a credible threat to us? I’m not really sure. Do they cramp our oil business over there? Yep. We’ve been at war almost continuously for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS! What has the root cause of most of those years been? Oil and greed and western arrogance, you bet!
Now, if you want to say we are at WAR AGAIN, because of humanitarian concerns, then where was that concern when arms and legs were being chopped off and women were being ganged raped?
What, limbs being lopped off and women gang raped and wholesale genocide isn’t as gruesome as journalists and aid workers being beheaded?
Me? I don’t have answers and I don’t know who is telling the truth and who isn’t. I saw a refugee woman interviewed last night and she wanted to know why we weren’t there a year ago when it might have prevented so many deaths and displacements. Who knows? I don’t. I do have a lot of QUESTIONS. A lot of us do. Which, is more credit than I can give most of us than during the genocide, in Rwanda.
Peace and vote