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“No civilization would tolerate what America has done”

  • (We) have … been programmed into cruelty and apathy by (our) schools, churches, families, politics, and pop culture(.)
  • Institutional racism. Rampant income inequality. A broken justice system. America may never be a great society.
  • Torture Is Who We Are

David Masciotra, AlterNet / Salon

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102512-1.jpg (Image: Lance Page / Truthout; Adapted: Sean McMenemy, Paula Bailey

Monday, Dec 29, 2014 | It seems police can get away with anything: choking men who have surrendered; shooting unarmed teens; knocking pregnant women to the ground. While the issues involving race, civil rights and the relationship between law enforcement and communities are essential for examination and correction, few are talking about how all of this fits into the larger pattern of America’s cultural decline and decay. America has become a society addicted to violence and indifferent to the suffering of people without power. Whenever there is a combination of a culture of violence and an ethic of heartlessness, fatal abuse of authority will escalate, and the legal system will fail to address it.

Critics are right to condemn the criminal justice system for its embedded inequities and injustices, but they are hesitant to condemn the actual jurors giving killer cops get-out-of-jail-free cards. These jurors are representational of America: ignorant and cold. They hear testimony from eyewitnesses claiming Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown while he had his hands in the air, and set Wilson free without trial. They listen to reports of three officers choking Robert Saylor, an unarmed man with Down syndrome who wanted to see a movie without a ticket, and they send the police back to work. They watch video footage of police choking Eric Garner in New York, and of two police officers brutally beating Keyarika Diggles, a woman in Texas, and they decline to make them pay for it.

David Masciotra is the author of Mellencamp: American Troubadour (forthcoming, University Press of Kentucky). He writes regularly for the Daily Beast and Splice Today.

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Related:

Torture Is Who We Are, Peter Beinart, Atlantic 

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A country, like a person, is what it does.

Being a cop showed me just how racist and violent the police are.

There’s only one fix.

Redditt Hudson, Washington (DC) Post

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2014-12-04T003205Z_01_JEY901_RTRIDSP_3_USA-NEWYORK-CHOKEHOLD.jpg&w=1484Police officers drag away a protester to take him into custody during a demonstration against the grand jury decision. (Jim Young/Reuters)

December 6, 2014 | As a kid, I got used to being stopped by the police. I grew up in an inner-ring suburb of St. Louis. It was the kind of place where officers routinely roughed up my friends and family for no good reason.

I hated the way cops treated me.

But I knew police weren’t all bad. One of my father’s closest friends was a cop. He became a mentor to me and encouraged me to join the force. He told me that I could use the police’s power and resources to help my community.

Redditt Hudson, a former cop, works for the NAACP and chairs the board of the Ethics Project. The views expressed here are his own.

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Chris Hedges | A Society of Captives

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The murder of unarmed citizens by police is not only about racism. It is an example of the omnipotence of the corporate state and the evisceration of the rule of law. 

Chris Hedges, Truthdig

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hedgescaptives_590.jpgProtesters conduct a “die-in” Dec. 6 at Grand Central Station in New York City as police watch. The demonstration opposed a grand jury’s decision not to indict a police officer in the death of Eric Garner. AP/John Minchillo

Dec 7, 2014 | 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.

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Pope issues scathing critique of Vatican bureaucracy in pre-Christmas meeting

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Pope Francis said while the Curia is called to "always improve and grow in communion," it is also prone to "disease, malfunction, and infirmity" like every human institution.

Joshua J. McElwee, National Catholic Reporter  (NCR)

Thanks to Evergreene Digest reader Jogues Epple for this contribution.

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Curia2.jpg?itok=zAZnXFjyPope Francis leads an audience to exchange Christmas greetings with members of the Roman Curia on Monday in Clementine Hall at the Vatican. (CNS/Paul Haring)

Dec. 22, 2014 | Pope Francis on Monday used an annual pre-Christmas meeting with the cardinals and bishops of the Vatican bureaucracy -- normally an exchange of good wishes and blessings -- to issue a scathing critique of them, warning against 15 separate "diseases" in their work and attitudes.

Saying he wanted to prepare them all -- including himself -- to make "a real examination of conscience" before Christmas, Francis said while the Vatican bureaucracy was called to "always improve and grow in communion," it was also prone to "disease, malfunction, and infirmity" like every human institution.

Joshua J. McElwee is NCR Vatican correspondent. 

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The enduring wisdom of 'A Charlie Brown Christmas'


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Everybody hurts. That's the point.

Paul John Scott, Minneapolis (MN) StarTribune

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December 19, 2014 | ‘A Charlie Brown Christmas' has reached its 50th season. The animated holiday classic based on the popular “Peanuts” comic strip first aired on Dec. 9, 1965.

It was sponsored by Coca-Cola, and pre-empted a 7:30 p.m. Thursday showing of “The Munsters,” and the preview had disappointed the suits at CBS who had ordered it. The late Charles M. Schulz, the son of a St. Paul barber and creator of the beloved characters, had pushed for novel elements that his collaborators — the television producer Lee Mendelson and the former Disney animator Bill Melendez — didn’t quite understand.

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Paul John Scott is a writer living in Rochester, MN.

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We are f***ing sadists: We are not decent, and we are not a democracy

The torture report requires us to look in the mirror -- and accurately assess the monster that we see.

Patrick L. Smith, Salon

torn_us_flag.jpg (Credit: MoreISO via iStock)

Tuesday, December 16, 2014 |  “You’ll comment on the torture report?” a friend in London asked just after the Senate’s revelations came out last week.

“No, everybody and his in-laws will be on it within hours. Besides, I do foreign and there’s no angle.”

Wrong times 10.

True enough, better thought than this space could offer has come out in the past few days, not least from Salon’s Elias Isquith. Read it here and here. “Now that we know some of the harrowing details of what was done in our name,” Isquith wrote with acuity, “it’ll be easier for us Americans to step a bit closer to the mirror and see what we’ve become.”

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Patrick L. Smith is the author of “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century.” He was the International Herald Tribune’s bureau chief in Hong Kong and then Tokyo from 1985 to 1992. During this time he also wrote “Letter from Tokyo” for the New Yorker. He is the author of four previous books and has contributed frequently to the New York Times, the Nation, the Washington Quarterly, and other publications.

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Related:

Noam Chomsky | The Long, Shameful History of American Terrorism, Noam Chomsky, Alternet

  • It's official: The U.S. is the world's leading terrorist state, and proud of it.
  • Torture Is Who We Are
  • Take%20Action%20Today%20button.jpgRevelations in Senate torture report demand prosecutions.

 

 

Giving the Torturers a Pass

  • During Watergate, senior U.S. officials went to jail for lying and obstructing justice. Many politicians have gone to prison for taking bribes and for corruption. But it's somehow unthinkable to prosecute Bush administration officials implicated in torture and murder.
  • Revelations in Senate torture report demand prosecutions

Marjorie Cohn, OpEdNews

Cuppa%20Java-lg%20with%2010%20yr%20banner.jpgJournalism with real independence and integrity is a rare thing. All reader supported Evergreene Digest relies - exclusively!- on reader donations. Click on the donation button above to make a contribution and support our work.

crimes%20are%20crimes%20mugshot%20button.jpg12/16/2014 | Reading the 499-page torture report just released by the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence was a disgusting experience. Even after many years of writing books and articles about the Bush torture policy, I was unprepared for the atrocious pattern of crimes our government committed against other human beings in our name.

One of the most hideous techniques the CIA plied on detainees was called "rectal rehydration" or "rectal feeding" without medical necessity -- a sanitized description of rape by a foreign object. A concoction of pureed "hummus, pasta with sauce, nuts and raisins" was forced into the rectum of one detainee. Another was subjected to "rectal rehydration" to establish the interrogator's "total control over the detainee." This constitutes illegal, cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and a humiliating outrage upon personal dignity.

Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law and immediate past president of the National Lawyers Guild. She is author of  'The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration, and Abuse, and Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law and co-author of Rules of Disengagement: The Politics and Honor of Military Dissent. Her anthology, The United States and Torture: Interrogation, Incarceration and Abuse. Her articles are archived at www.marjoriecohn.com.

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Related:

Revelations in Senate torture report demand prosecutions, The Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR) 

  • Take%20Action%20Today%20button.jpgTake Action. Join CCR and demand that the Department of Justice act now
  • Please take action, share these materials widely, and help us build a groundswell of support for prosecuting those who torture and those who protect torturers!
  • 10 appalling findings in the Senate’s torture report

Only crusty, bitter, old, out-of-touch Cuban-Americans still support embargo.

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But like every other one of the GOP's demographic woes, fact is, support for the embargo is (literally) dying off as I type this. The country is finally moving on, despite the wailing and teeth gnashing of the Rubios and Menendezes, two of the most crusty old fucks of the world, and the new generation of Cuban Americans is leading the way.

kos, Daily Kos

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RTR4IF30.jpg?1418836301Aid worker Alan Gross arrives in Maryland after being released from Cuban imprisonment as part of a deal loosening trade and diplomatic between Cuba and the United States.

Dec 17, 2014 | With news that the president has brokered detente with Cuba, expect the crazy right-wing Cuban-American community to lose its head. Marco Rubio has predictably lost his, but Democratic Sen. Bob Menendez's hissy fit this morning has proven that idiocy can certainly be a bipartisan affair.

But here's the thing—the Cuban-American community is not monolithically in favor of keeping the failed embargo strategy alive. Quite the opposite, in fact. The only people left supporting failure are the crusty old fucks who can't get past having lost the war half a century ago.

Every year, Florida International Univerisity polls the Cuban-American community in South Florida. And the results are quite clear.

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kos is a contributor to Daily Kos

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