Hope Is An Act of Will … Courage Means Acting With Heart

Preface: Many people are exhausted or overwhelmed right now. So I am re-posting two essays I wrote almost a decade ago to help energize and re-kindle the fire …

Hope In a Time of Hopelessness

Several long-time activists have told me recently they are overwhelmed, worried, and think that we may be losing the struggle ….

One very smart friend asked me if there is any basis for hope.

But hope is an act of will, not a passive mood. Admittedly, things are easier when circumstances bring hope to us, and we can just receive the hopeful and inspiring news.

But if we care about winning, we have to be able to decide to have hope even when outer circumstances aren’t so positive.

I have children who are counting on me to leave them with a reasonably safe and sane planet. As I’ve said elsewhere, “I care too much about my kids and my freedom to be afraid. I care enough about them that it gets my heart beating, connects me to something bigger than myself, and that gives me courage, even when the chips are down.”

If I allowed myself to lose hope about exposing falsehoods, about protecting our freedom and building a hopeful future, I would be dropping the ball for my kids. I would be condemning them to a potentially very grey world where bigger and worse things may happen, where their liberties and joys are wholly stripped away, where every ounce of vitality is beholden to joyless and useless tasks.
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The Mainstream Media is Asking for a Government Bailout Via Censorship

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

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The current controversy is different. Many people in Washington are irate over Wikileaks — not because the email were untrue but because they proved what many had long suspected . . . that Washington is a highly corrupt place full of truly despicable people. For people who make their living on controlling media and information, it was akin to the barbarians breaching the walls of Rome. So the answer is to call for government regulation to combat what will be declared “fake” news or propaganda. It is only the latest effort to convince people to surrender their rights and actually embrace censorship. 

– From Jonathan Turley’s: Washington Post Issues Correction To “Fake News” Story

Watching Hillary Clinton attack “fake news” and calling for legislative action against free speech she doesn’t like got me thinking. Why is she doing this? Yes, it’s obviously related to her notorious personality trait of never taking responsibility for anything and attaching herself to an invented controversy in order to deflect blame for her monumentally embarrassing loss to Donald Trump. But there’s more going on here. A lot more.

To set the stage, we need to examine the types of people who are most jumping on the “fake news” meme. What you’ll find is that it’s a who’s who of the most contemptible and corrupt people in America. As Glenn Greenwald so accurately noted in his piece published earlier today:
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Posted in Media, Politics / World News, propaganda | 1 Comment

Why U.S. ‘News’media Shouldn’t Be Trusted

Eric Zuesse, originally posted at strategic-culture.org

The great metascientist and statistician Nassim Nicholas Taleb headlined on November 22nd a devastating takedown of U.S. ‘news’media and academia, “Syria and the Statistics of War”, and he began it by exposing the highly honored Harvard fraud, Dr. Steven Pinker, but then went pretty much through the entire U.S. ‘intellectual’ Establishment, including all of its major ‘news’ media, as being untrustworthy on the part of any intelligent person. (Regarding Professor Pinker specifically, Taleb linked to this scientific paper that Taleb had co-authored, which shredded one of Pinker’s highly honored and biggest-selling books. Taleb and his colleague mentioned there an article that had appeared in Britain’s Guardian raising serious questions about Pinker’s work, and they were here offering statistical proof of the fraudulence of that work.)

The scenario of exposing intellectual fraud is so common: the only reason why it’s not better known among the public is that usually the disproofs of highly honored work have no impact, and fail to dislodge the prejudices that the given established fraud has ‘confirmed’. Another good example of that occurred when the University of Massachusetts graduate student Thomas Herndon issued his proof of the fraudulence of the extremely influential economics paper by Kenneth Rogoff and Carmine Rinehart, “Growth in a Time of Debt”, which had been widely cited by congressional Republicans and other conservatives as a main ‘justification’ for imposing Draconian economic austerity on the U.S. and other nations during the recovery from the 2008 economic crash. Years later, that graduate student is still a graduate student (i.e., unemployed), while Kenneth Rogoff remains, as he was prior to his having been exposed: one of Harvard’s most prominent professors of economics, and a member of the Group of 30 — the world’s 30 most influential and powerful economists. Carmen Rinehart likewise retains her position also as a Harvard Professor. Previously, the Harvard Economics Department had guided communist Russia into a crony-capitalist (or fascist)  ‘democracy’, but then Vladimir Putin took over Russia and got rid of the worst excesses of Harvard’s “capitalism” and so became hated by the U.S. aristocracy and its ‘news’ media — hated for having tried to establish Russia’s national independence, Russia’s independence from the U.S. aristocracy (which expected, and still craves, to control Russia). And now after Donald Trump’s victory against the super-neoconservative hater of Russia, Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Establishment, through its voices such as the Washington Post, is trying to smear — like Joseph R. McCarthy smeared America’s non-fascists back in the 1950s — the tiny independent newsmedia that had been reporting truthfully about U.S.-Russian relations and America’s coups and invasions trying to weaken and ultimately to conquer Russia even if that means nuclear war

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Black and Foreign Lives Matter: Ending Gun Violence Requires Ending War

Happy Human Rights Day, and what ever happened to the right to life?

We need to stop imagining that when wars come home to the land of their creators that the suffering created is something separate from war. And we need to stop imagining that racist cruelty at home doesn’t fuel the distant wars.

Imagine a country in which people condemn gun violence and police violence while actively pushing for a new cold war with Russia or urging the bombing of Syria or cheering a string of drone murders and tolerating the expansion of the U.S. military presence to darn near the whole globe. Or a peace movement that condemns foreign drone murders while failing to focus on the higher number of murders creating by U.S. police officers.

Weapons dealing is an integrated global enterprise that feeds on racist, bigoted, violent, and macho ideologies wherever it can find them. Trying to defeat it with separate anti-gun and anti-war movements not united in their work won’t succeed. Most of the guns are sold abroad, many of them deployed against U.S. fighters in the wars. Many gun owners’ fantasies are closely related to war.

When local police are given weapons by the U.S. military and training by the militaries of the United States and other nations, and when they employ veterans of the military, which employs veterans of the police and prison industries in turn, demanding that the warlike behavior that results on our streets and in our homes be restricted to foreign wars will not work, not practically and not morally. It makes as much sense as a protester asking that an oil pipeline be rerouted somewhere else. The damage to the earth will still be done, no matter the route. Donald Trump says he’ll have less war but more military spending. That’s like having more ice cream to lose weight.
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Rolling Back the Empire: Washington’s Proxy-Army Faces Decisive Defeat in Aleppo

By Mike Whitney. Originally published at CounterPunch (republished with permission of the author).

Photo by yeowatzup | CC BY 2.0Photo by yeowatzup | CC BY 2.0

Syrian Army helicopters dropped leaflets on parts of eastern Aleppo on Sunday warning anti-government fighters to surrender while they still had the chance. Hundreds of jihadists have already laid down their weapons and surrendered while a hardline corps of deadenders continue to fend off the  rapidly advancing army.

The situation is looking increasingly hopeless for the ragtag group of insurgents that have lost  more than half the territory they held in just the last week. Every attempt they’ve made to break through Syrian Army lines has been repelled leaving them to defend a few shrinking districts where they will either surrender or die.

On Sunday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov delivered an ultimatum to the remaining militants that clarified the position of the Syrian government and its allies. he said:

“Those groups which refuse to leave eastern Aleppo will be treated as terrorists.  By refusing to walk out from eastern Aleppo they will in fact go ahead with armed struggle. We will treat them accordingly, as terrorists and extremists, and support the Syrian army in its operation against such armed gangs.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry has made every effort to stop the fighting to protect US-backed jihadists that are trying to topple Syrian President Bashar al Assad. Unfortunately, a proposal that was accepted by both Kerry and Lavrov concerning the withdrawal of fighters in Aleppo, was rejected by higher-ups in the Obama Administration ending the prospects for a negotiated settlement. Lavrov expressed his frustration in comments to the media where he said:
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Military Recruiting in the United States, and Planning its Decline and Fall

This text is the foreword to a new book by Pat Elder called Military Recruiting in the United States.

Most people in the United States are far from aware of the full extent of military marketing, advertising, and recruitment efforts. We run into movies and comic books and video games and toys and school worksheets and science fairs and television shows and websites all the time that have been funded by and created in collaboration with the U.S. military. But we don’t know it. Or we know it, but we have so internalized the idea that the most expensive and extensive military the earth has ever known is simply normal, that we don’t think of its role in our educational and entertainment systems as in any way questionable. We don’t even think of the military’s marketing as being aimed at recruitment, much less ask each other whether that’s a good thing or being done in a proper way, or whether we ourselves should be forking over some $600 million a year just for the military’s advertising budget.

Even more people are unaware of the work of counter-recruiters, of individuals and organizations that work to increase awareness of military recruitment and to counter it with inconvenient information — that is, information that may be inconvenient to recruiters but highly useful to potential recruits. Counter-recruiters bring veterans into schools to talk about their regrets. Counter-recruiters warn young people of the dangers of false promises and of contracts that will be binding only on them, not on the military. Counter recruiters lobby for policy changes that prevent the military from obtaining information on students without parental consent.
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Congress Member Introduces Bill to Stop Funding Terrorists

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard – a combat veteran, and member of the House Armed Services Committee – has just introduced a bill to stop funding terrorists:

What a novel idea!

Posted in Politics / World News | 5 Comments
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