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“Bad News on the Doorstep…”

2014 December 18
by Citizen Journalist Exchange

54[1]By Sherry Pasquarello,WWH/CJE

Yep, there’s nothing but bad news in my morning papers. Killings, here and there and in Afghanistan! People here, getting half a story or false ones. War criminals going on talking head shows and trying to justify their crimes while the T.V. listings advertise their “guests” in a bid for higher ratings. Cops, looking really guilty ( and with good reason) in a majority of our eyes and good cops being smeared and looked at like potential murderers. Yeppers, bad news, a mumps outbreak in the hockey leagues. Guys coming down with a disease that they were vaccinated against AND had booster shots. Whooping cough cases popping up in babies and toddlers. Flooding and mudslides and droughts and fires and on and on and on!

I have few suggestions and even less answers. All I can say is to take a deep breath and look for those small bright moments and hold fast. We have a long road ahead.

Peace

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A Society of Captives

2014 December 17
by Citizen Journalist Exchange
Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges

By Chris Hedges, Truthdg – Mayor Bill de Blasio’s plans to launch a pilot program in New York City to place body cameras on police officers and conduct training seminars to help them reduce their adrenaline rushes and abusive language, along with the establishment of a less stringent marijuana policy, are merely cosmetic reforms. The killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island was, after all, captured on video. These proposed reforms, like those out of Washington, D.C., fail to address the underlying cause of poverty, state-sponsored murder and the obscene explosion of mass incarceration—the rise of the corporate state and the death of our democracy. Mass acts of civil disobedience, now being carried out across the country, are the only mechanism left that offers hope for systematic legal and judicial reform. We must defy the corporate state, not work with it.

The legal system no longer functions to protect ordinary Americans. It serves our oligarchic, corporate elites. These elites have committed $26 billion in financial fraud. They loot the U.S. Treasury, escape taxation, drive down wages, break unions, pillage pension funds, gut regulation and oversight, destroy public institutions including public schools and social assistance programs, wage endless and illegal wars to swell the profits of arms merchants, and—yes—authorize police to murder unarmed black men.

Police and national intelligence and security agencies, which carry out wholesale surveillance against the population and serve as the corporate elite’s brutal enforcers, are omnipotent by intention. They are designed to impart fear, even terror, to keep the population under control. And until the courts and the legislative bodies give us back our rights—which they have no intention of doing—things will only get worse for the poor and the rest of us. We live in a post-constitutional era.

Corporations have captured every major institution, including the judicial, legislative and executive branches of government, and deformed them to exclusively serve the demands of the market. They have, in the process, demolished civil society. Karl Polanyi in “The Great Transformation” warned that without heavy government regulation and oversight, unfettered and unregulated capitalism degenerates into a Mafia capitalism and a Mafia political system. A self-regulating market, Polanyi writes, turns human beings and the natural environment into commodities. This ensures the destruction of both society and the natural environment. The ecosystem and human beings become objects whose worth is determined solely by the market. They are exploited until exhaustion or collapse occurs. A society that no longer recognizes that the natural world and life have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic value beyond monetary value, commits collective suicide. Such societies cannibalize themselves. This is what we are undergoing. Literally.- Continue reading…

The Rank, Reeking Horror of Torturing Some Folks

2014 December 16
by Citizen Journalist Exchange

Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives. I think we’re being run by maniacs for maniacal ends and I think I’m liable to be put away as insane for expressing that. That’s what’s insane about it.

– John Lennon

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

By William Rivers Pitt, Truthout | Op-Ed – Let me put it plainly: these people do not belong on my television. They belong in prison, for the crimes of theft, torture and murder. They shattered the lives of thousands of American soldiers and millions of Iraqi civilians. They savaged the American economy paying for it all, and several of them got very rich in the process. They should be in orange jumpsuits and fetters, picking mealworms out of their gruel while shuttered in very small, very grim, very inescapable metal rooms.”

I wrote that back in June of this year because I thought I knew the whole deal. I saw all the pictures from Abu Ghraib, knew about the so-called “Black Sites” where innocent prisoners were sent to be torn apart, read all the books, and listened to the words of those who endured these seven hells and lived. Quite a crowd of people, including several prisoners who cannot be accounted for to this day, did not survive to tell their tale.

I thought I knew, I really did, and then the Senate dropped their Torture Report, and we all got to hear about a guy whose dinner of hummus, pasta and nuts was pureed and then blasted up his anus in an act of violence and humiliation that isn’t even the worst of what was reported. They tied prisoners to beds and made them stand on broken legs for dozens of hours. A description of one photograph of one waterboard – there were others, of course – called it “well worn.” Several of the people tasked to deliver these horrors are described as having “issues” that should have disqualified them from government service altogether, including “histories of violence and mistreatment of others.”

In my name. In your name. In our name.

And, oh, P.S., all this brutality delivered pretty much absolutely nothing: “The Senate Intelligence Committee reviewed 20 cited examples of intelligence ‘successes’ that the CIA identified from the interrogation program and found that there was no relationship between a cited counterterrorism success and the techniques used. Furthermore, the information gleaned during torture sessions merely corroborated information already available to the intelligence community from other sources, including reports, communications intercepts, and information from law-enforcement agencies, the committee found.”

The Senate report, in an all too typical act of mutual political back-scratching, claimed that George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and the rest of the usual suspects were duped by a defensive and dysfunctional CIA. The “mainstream” news media, which is just as culpable for all this as those who ordered it and those who performed it, seized upon this and predictably leaped to the defense of the Bush administration they spilled so much ink propping up and protecting. The New York Times – former homestead of Judith Miller, who did as much as anyone to deliver this bag of Fail to us all – led the charge. Continue reading…

Lace Up Those Walking Shoes

2014 December 15

By Sherry Pasquarello,WWH/CJE – 

The time seems to have come round again. Marches, sweet hippies, marches! This weekend showed the way back to the beginings.

Hope, that’s what blossomed this weekend. Hope, and the spirit to try again. The powers that be may have thought they had us beaten down but it looks like they were wrong and that this is just the beginning! That’s the thing about a big multi- city event, especially when it includes D.C. it’s a crack in the dike of oppression of every sort. And, there’s a lot of oppression in that dike. I know that this weekend can be the start of the people rising up and remembering their power.

We let them take away that belief, that knowledge in the power of the people but it’s not too late! Sadly, there are a myriad of causes to fight for and oppression to fight against. All we have to do is look around us. The injustices are threatening to crush us but our spirits are strong. Watching these marchers and listening to their words gave me hope. When the people rise up and our feet hit the pavement even the robber barons and their pet congresscritters are going to have to listen.

RIGHT ON, sisters and brothers, all people of justice, truth and love,

MARCH ON !

Peace

WikiLeaks whistle blower Chelsea Manning was tortured using shamed CIA techniques, her Welsh relatives claim – Wales Online

2014 December 14
by Citizen Journalist Exchange
In this photo provided by the US Army, Chelsea Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick, which she emailed to his military therapist in a cry for help

In this photo provided by the US Army, Chelsea Manning poses for a photo wearing a wig and lipstick, which she emailed to his military therapist in a cry for help

From walesonline.co.uk/ – Welsh relatives of jailed Chelsea Manning have claimed she was tortured by US authorities – using some of the shamed CIA techniques exposed in a damning report made public this week.

They spoke out as calls grow for an inquiry into what the British authorities knew about the extent of the use of barbaric interrogation techniques used by US interrogators.

Welsh relatives of Manning – who attended Tasker Milward school in Pembrokeshire for four years – have told Wales on Sunday how she was subjected to the humiliation of being stripped naked and kept in solitary confinement.

Manning, who was jailed for 35 years after she leaked secret cables to WikiLeaks, is now facing the grim prospect of seeing in her 27th birthday behind bars.

Her Welsh aunt Sharon Staples, from Haverfordwest, and Wales-born mum Susan Manning, who now lives in the US, have spoken of their love and support for the imprisoned whistleblower.

But they also echoed claims in 2012 by UN special rapporteur Juan Mendez that the cruel treatment suffered by Manning after her arrest amounted to torture.

Speaking to WalesOnline, Manning’s aunt Mrs Staples said: “What really hurt me was the treatment Chelsea received in Quantico two years before the trial: stripped naked, kept in solitary confinement, made to stand in a corner, everything taken away.”

Ms Manning was locked up for up to 23 hours a day over a period of 11 months during solitary confinement, it has been reported.

Mrs Staples added: “Chelsea has been punished for releasing information [to WikiLeaks] , but whatever happened to the people responsible, the people in that helicopter gunship for instance – were they punished? That always plays heavily on my mind.”

Read more via WikiLeaks whist blower Chelsea Manning was tortured using shamed CIA techniques, her Welsh relatives claim – Wales Online.

Growing up in a Hippie Commune: Part One | Abby Pingree

2014 December 14
by Worldwide Hippies
My father and I (2 years old)

My father and I (2 years old)

By Abby Pingree,HuffPo – I was born on a sunny Sunday afternoon in August 1977 in a community house owned by the Church of Jesus Christ at Armageddon also known as the Love Israel Family in the Queen Ann Hill neighborhood of Seattle, Washington. This community or commune was formed in 1968, and was a prominent alternative community in the Seattle area during the 70s and 80s. These are my experiences of growing up in the Love Israel Family and my understanding of the communitys practices and customs.At its peak the Love Israel Family owned several properties in Seattle, a homestead in Alaska, a house in Hawaii, a cannery in Yakima, Washington and a 300 acre ranch in Arlington, Washington. We primarily lived on the ranch in Arlington. My parents joined the community in 1974 with an infant girl and a toddler boy in tow -my older sister and brother.Some joined the Love Israel Family because they sought a spiritual life, some joined because they thought it was a “far out” experience, some joined for the free drugs and sex, and some joined because they believed the ideals of the Familys frequently quoted declarations: “love is real”, “now is the time”, “we are one” and “love is the answer.” My father told me of his desire for a spiritual life with simple responsibilities and an emphasis on mediation and yoga -this the Love Family promised. There were many reasons why people joined and at its peak there were some 350 people in the Love Israel Family.It was the mid 70s, near the end of the Vietnam War and my father longed for relief from the disillusionment he experienced after being drafted and serving in the first National Guard unit to be sent to Vietnam. He longed for something better. He was hopeful that joining the Love Israel Family would be a much sought escape from the modern American culture that he was raised in, but no longer felt that he belonged to. He came back from the war like so many others, embittered. The hippie movement had been in full swing for some time and both my parents identified strongly with the desire to shake off the traditional societal structures of the previous generations. My father believed he had found the solace he sought in the Love Israel Family community.

Read more via Growing up in a Hippie Commune: Part One | Abby Pingree.