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We, the people are violent and filled with rage: A nation spinning apart on its Independence Day

  • School shootings, hatred, capitalism run amok: This 4th of July, we are in the midst of a tragic public derangement.
  • Howard Zinn’s July 4 Wisdom: Put Away Your Flags

Jim Sleeper, Salon

american_murderers.jpg Friday, Jul 4, 2014 | Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Concord Hymn,” 1837

By the rude bridge that arched the flood,

Their flag to April’s breeze unfurled,

Here once the embattled farmers stood

And fired the shot heard ’round the world.

For centuries most Americans have believed that “the shot heard ’round the world” in 1775 from Concord, Massachusetts, heralded the Enlightenment’s entry into history. Early observers of America such as G.W.F. Hegel, Edward Gibbon and Edmund Burke believed that, too. A new kind of republican citizen was rising, amid and against adherents of theocracy, divine-right monarchy, aristocracy and mercantilism. Republican citizens were quickening humanity’s stride toward horizons radiant with promises never before held and shared as widely as they were in America.

The creation of the United States really was a Novus ordo seclorum, a New Order of the Ages, a society’s first self-aware, if fumbling and compromised, effort to live by the liberal expectation that autonomous individuals could govern themselves together without having to impose religious doctrines or mystical narratives of tribal blood or soil. With barely a decorous nod to The Creator, the founders of the American republic conferred on one another the right to have rights, a distinguished group of them constituting the others as “We, the people.”

Jim Sleeper is the author of Liberal Racism (1997) and The Closest of Strangers: Liberalism and the Politics of Race in New York (1990)

Full story … 

Related:

Howard Zinn’s July 4 Wisdom: Put Away Your Flags, Howard Zinn, The Progressive

  • In a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves. 
  • Trying to Feel Patriotic on the Fourth of July
  • Noam Chomsky | America's Real Foreign Policy

 

A Band-Aid Approach to Fixing the V.A.

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  • Despite promises from the Bush-43 administration that the Iraq War would pay for itself, the price tag keeps soaring with the predictable impact on V.A. hospitals struggling to care for wounded warriors. But the political solution has been to make a change at the top.
  • Veteran Affairs scandal in context

Paul R. Pillar, Consortium News

obama-veteran-300x200.jpg President Obama signs the prosthetic arm of Marine Sgt. Carlos Evans during a tour of the White House for wounded veterans on March 6, 2012. (White House photo by Pete Souza) 

July 2, 2014 | With a change of leadership at the Department of Veterans Affairs, we will have a test of how much difference a top leader makes in how well a large organization functions. Will Robert McDonald get the department to have better reviews than it did under Eric Shinseki?

Maybe, but my guess is that if this happens, it will have more to do with the natural ebb and flow of recriminations in Washington than with anything having to do with the leadership skills or acumen of the person at the top.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is now a visiting professor at Georgetown University for security studies.

Full story … 

Related:

Veteran Affairs scandal in context, Liberation Radio

  • Budget cuts to the VA amid war profiteering by corporations and politicians
  • Here's The Simple Reason Congress Hasn't Fixed The VA

 

Howard Zinn’s July 4 Wisdom: Put Away Your Flags

  • In a nation like ours -- huge, possessing thousands of weapons of mass destruction -- what might have been harmless pride becomes an arrogant nationalism dangerous to others and to ourselves. 
  • Trying to Feel Patriotic on the Fourth of July
  • Noam Chomsky | America's Real Foreign Policy

Howard Zinn, The Progressive

Howard%20Zinn%20bandw.png?itok=ImZodnZVJuly 03, 2014 | The Progressive Editor’s Note: Historian and activist Howard Zinn, a World War II bombardier, was the author of the best-selling "A People's History of the United States.” This piece was distributed by the Progressive Media Project in 2006.

On this July 4, we would do well to renounce nationalism and all its symbols: its flags, its pledges of allegiance, its anthems, its insistence in song that God must single out America to be blessed.

Is not nationalism -- that devotion to a flag, an anthem, a boundary so fierce it engenders mass murder -- one of the great evils of our time, along with racism, along with religious hatred?

Howard Zinn: historian, activist, writer and speaker

Full story … 

Related:

Trying to Feel Patriotic on the Fourth of July, Gary G. Kohls, Duty to Warn, Evergreene Digest

Anyone who honestly reads Howard Zinn, Martin Luther King, Noam Chomsky, and  Chris Hedges can’t help but become disillusioned with America’s history and the massive propaganda by which the vast majority of us Americans have been duped into sometimes very sincerely believing that the US is the new shining light of the world, working courageously and endlessly for justice and peace.

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Noam Chomsky | America's Real Foreign Policy, Noam Chomsky, TomDispatch

How Washington Protects Itself and the Corporate Sector 

 

 

 

Hobby Lobby ruling: The crux of the problem is employer-provided health insurance

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The court’s latest ruling … gets us no closer to what really matters: ensuring that all Americans have access to health care.  Let’s acknowledge our mistake in not getting rid of the employer-based base for our health insurance and get on with building a new foundation that will serve us in the future.

Louis D. Johnston, MinnPost

Starbuck%27s%20Cafe%20Latte%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpg If you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.

imce-images/3772943398_e38d3fbcdd.jpg (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons / Public Citizen)  

07/01/14 | In Monday's Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that closely held private companies are not required to provide contraceptive coverage in their employees’ health insurance plans. The basis for the decision is the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, “which prohibits the “Government [from] substantially burden[ing] a person’s exercise of religion even if the burden results from a rule of general applicability.”  The court once again applied the idea of a person to a company, in this case “closely held corporations” (to quote the decision).

I’ll leave the person/corporation debate to the lawyers, political scientists, philosophers, and anyone else who wants to debate the point. Here, I want to focus on the crux of the problem: our employer-provided health-insurance system. In particular, the Supreme Court’s decision makes it clear that America’s experiment with employer-provided health care is a failure and that we need to move to either a single-payer system or a voucher system and remove employers from the health-insurance business.

Louis D. Johnston writes Macro, Micro, Minnesota for MinnPost, reporting on economic developments in the news and what those developments mean to Minnesota.

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US Supreme Court Behaving Badly, July 1, 2014

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  • Justice is supposed to be blind to such things as sex, race, religion, or income status, but what she really is blind to are the violent and outrageous crimes committed by the 1%.
  • Part 1: SCOTUS gets Hobby Lobby horribly wrong: Why this isn’t a “limited” ruling
  • Part 2: SCOTUS’ other huge ruling today: Court picks the 1 percent over workers

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

I%20Want%20You%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpgIf you like reading this article, consider joining the crew of all reader-supported Evergreene Digest by contributing the equivalent of a cafe latte a month--using the donation button above—so we can bring you more just like it.



Part 1: SCOTUS gets Hobby Lobby horribly wrong: Why this isn’t a “limited” ruling

If you think Monday's decision won't affect you, you haven't been paying attention

Katie McDonough, Salon

Rob Rogers 

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 | In a 5-4 decision, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that Hobby Lobby can ignore federal law and deny its employees comprehensive health insurance because of its “sincerely held religious beliefs.” Analysis of the case has so far called this a limited ruling because it only applies to closely held corporations and “only” impacts contraceptive coverage. But this framing completely ignores the fact that more than 90 percent of corporations in the United States are closely held, and that the court just effectively ruled that it’s fine for employers to discriminate against half of the labor force. There’s nothing limited about it. As Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg noted in her powerful dissent, far from being narrow in its ruling, the high court just “ventured into a minefield.”

So what does the decision actually mean? In the immediate term, it means that women who work at Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood Specialties are paying for health coverage (insurance is part of their compensation package, it’s not some gift bestowed upon them by their bosses) that their employers have decided that they can’t have. That’s really what this comes down to in the most blunt terms imaginable. The religious owners of these companies have medically inaccurate ideas about contraception and abortion, and they now get to impose those ideas on the the people who work for them. In the majority opinion, five male justices argued that the Department of Health and Human Services can fill in the gaps in coverage created by this ruling by including for-profit companies in the accommodation system created for religious nonprofits and other explicitly faith-based organizations. Women’s health, it seems, has become someone else’s problem.

Katie McDonough is an assistant editor for Salon, focusing on lifestyle.

Full story … 



Part 2: SCOTUS’ other huge ruling today: Court picks the 1 percent over workers

Harris v. Quinn hurts vulnerable workers and their clients, and weakens -- but doesn’t gut -- public union rights

Joan Walsh, Salon

Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Anthony Kennedy (Credit: AP/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Monday, Jun 30, 2014 | Although Harris v. Quinn stood in the shadows of the Hobby Lobby case this session, both decisions dealt with women’s rights, since the home healthcare workers affected by it are disproportionately low-paid women. The Supreme Court’s decision in the case Monday made life harder for unions representing some of the lowest-paid workers in one of the fastest-unionizing sectors, but left most of public sector collective bargaining law intact.

At issue was an Illinois decision to let home care workers who are paid by clients with public funds be represented by a union. Workers doing such jobs in hospitals and other institutional settings have union representation, but with a growing consensus that care at home is more humane and less expensive, the number of home care jobs is projected to jump 70 percent in the next decade.  Individuals working in private homes had no way to unionize, and no larger “employer” with whom to negotiate pay and working conditions, so a growing number of states have made a public agency their “employer of record.”

Joan Walsh joined Salon in 1998 to become the first full-time news editor and became editor in chief in February 2005. At the end of 2010, she became editor at large, to write full time. In the last couple of years she's had the privilege of debating conservative zealots on TV, from Bill O' Reilly to Dick Armey to Pat Buchanan.

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A Strange, Soulless Man And His Utterly Failed Presidency

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  • We perhaps can never know what has motivated Obama’s behavior as President.  Is he, as some in his own party have suggested, simply not up to the job? (Or) is he merely responding to the fact of the awesome power of America’s unelected government? 
  • The Leader Obama Wanted to Become and What Became of Him

John Chuckman, Countercurrents.org

Thank%20You%20%28Lg%29%20w%3A10%20yr%20banner.jpg This article is made possible with the generous contributions of all reader supported Evergreene Digest readers like you. Thank you!

Obama_Nope.jpg06 May, 2014 | How vividly I remember the photos of Obama in Berlin during his campaign in 2008: streets literally flooded with people keen to get a glimpse of a promising young politician, expressing for us all how exhausted the world was with the most ignorant and contemptible man ever to have been a president. Reporters said a quarter of million turned out to see a man who was a junior senator and had no claim yet to being a world figure. It was intoxicating to think this bright, attractive figure might replace the murderous buffoon, George Bush, and his éminence grise, Dick Cheney, a man who might comfortably have served any of the 20th century’s great bloody dictators.

A few years later, in 2013, an estimated 4 to 6 thousand showed up for a major speech by then-President Obama, and one is surprised even that many showed, but then there is always a set of people who just want to be able to say they saw a celebrity. After all there are inexplicable people who travel to places associated with genuine monsters, notorious murderers and torturers, and have snapshots of themselves taken standing in front as though they were at the Grand Canyon or Disneyworld. 

John Chuckman is former chief economist for a large Canadian oil company. He has many interests and is a lifelong student of history. He writes with a passionate desire for honesty, the rule of reason, and concern for human decency. 

Full story … 

Related:

The Leader Obama Wanted to Become and What Became of Him, David Bromwich, TomDispatch.com

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  • The fatal strategic flaws that undermined the potential for a transformative presidency
  • How Obama Became a Publicist for His Presidency (Rather Than the President)
  • What the Hell is Barack Obama's Presidency For?

 

Cops Behaving Badly, June 28, 2014

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  • Search  on the internet "police brutality" or "police excessive force."  If you search YouTube, there are many videos of cops acting WAY beyond their limits.
  • Part 1: A SWAT Team Blew a Hole in My 2-Year-Old Son
  • Part 2: US police departments are increasingly militarised, finds report
  • Widespread Police Misconduct and an Expanding Prison Population

Compiled by David Culver, Ed., Evergreene Digest

 

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Part 1: A SWAT Team Blew a Hole in My 2-Year-Old Son

Flashbang grenades were created for soldiers to use during battle. Officers threw a flashbang grenade in my son's crib, and left a hole in his chest. It gets worse.

Alecia Phonesavanh, Salon

screen_shot_2014-06-24_at_10.14.38_am.pngJune 24, 2014  |  After our house burned down in Wisconsin a few months ago, my husband and I packed our four young kids and all our belongings into a gold minivan and drove to my sister-in-law’s place, just outside of Atlanta. On the back windshield, we pasted six stick figures: a dad, a mom, three young girls, and one baby boy.

That minivan was sitting in the front driveway of my sister-in-law’s place the night a SWAT team broke in, looking for a small amount of drugs they thought my husband’s nephew had. Some of my kids’ toys were in the front yard, but the officers claimed they had no way of knowing children might be present. Our whole family was sleeping in the same room, one bed for us, one for the girls, and a crib.

Alecia Phonesavanh wants "justice for my baby, and that means making sure no other family ever has to feel this horrible pain."

Full story … 



 

Part 2: US police departments are increasingly militarised, finds report

  • ACLU cites soaring use of war zone equipment and tactics
  • Swat teams increasingly deployed in local police raids
  • Seven civilians killed and 46 injured in incidents since 2010
  • Widespread Police Misconduct and an Expanding Prison Population

Ed Pilkington, Guardian (UK)

%2522%40%2522%20Logo%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpg To stay on top of important articles like these, sign up here to receive the latest updates from all reader supported Evergreene Digest.

1403552477606/ca29770c-e6a2-4551-8b3e-3b502fe4c9ba-460x276.jpeg Heavily militarised equipment, such as APCs and flashbang grenades, are increasingly entering police arsenals. Photograph: Marcus Donner/Reuters 

Tuesday 24 June 2014 | At 3am on 28 May, Alecia Phonesavanh was asleep in the room she was temporarily occupying together with her husband and four children in the small town of Cornelia, Georgia. Her baby, 18-month-old Bou Bou, was sleeping peacefully in his cot.

Suddenly there was a loud bang and several strangers dressed in black burst into the room. A blinding flash burst out with a deafening roar from the direction of the cot. Amid the confusion, Phonesavanh could see her husband pinned down and handcuffed under one of the men in black, and while her son was being held by another. Everyone was yelling, screaming, crying. “I kept asking the officers to let me have my baby, but they said shut up and sit down,” she said.

justice190v.jpg Ed Pilkington is the chief reporter for Guardian US. He is a former national and foreign editor of the paper, and author of Beyond the Mother Country.

Full story … 

Related:

Widespread Police Misconduct and an Expanding Prison Population, Ed Griffith, New Progressive Alliance

  • Search  on the internet "police brutality" or "police excessive force."  If you search YouTube, there are many videos of cops acting WAY beyond their limits.
  • Jim Hightower | The Absurdly Dangerous Militarization of America's Police

 

 

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