This is what I mean by the Theocratic Right’s aggressive program to convert armed services personnel. Lawrence Wilkerson is a retired United States Army colonel, and former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell. Wilkerson is an adjunct professor at the College of William & Mary where he teaches courses on US national security. He also instructs a senior seminar in the Honors Department at the George Washington University entitled “National Security Decision Making.”
WILKERSON: Right. Well, one group in particular–and you can just Google them and you can see what they’re about, called the Dominionist. This is a group that believes that its mission is to take over the Armed Forces of the United States and then use them in a crusade against all those who don’t believe in Christ in the world. Mikey’s clientele now is over 32,000, some 90 percent of whom are Protestant or Catholic. So you’ve got mostly Christians who were looking to Mikey’s organization to protect them against the chain of command in their own military unit.
WILKERSON: They’re everything from I’ve been ordered to go to a prayer breakfast to I’m being proselytized by my commanding officer or by my platoon leader or by my NCOs to be a Christian; or worse, if you will, on the other side of that coin, people being derided and even kept from promotion and from advancement, education, and training, and so forth because they’re not the kind of Christian they should be, this sort of Dominionist Christian.
This is good news. The military, perhaps because it is a centralized command structure, often adopts progressive positions before general society. The military integrated long before the rest of America. It became a gender, race, and religion neutral meritocracy — an evolution in which I played a role — well before this was the norm. So the military’s adaptation of noncarbon energy is the latest in a line of accomplishments.
I didn’t plan on spending six years covering the war in Afghanistan. I went there in 2007 to make a film about the vicious fighting between undermanned, underequipped British forces and the Taliban in Helmand, Afghanistan’s most violent province. But I became obsessed with what I witnessed there—how different it was from the conflict’s portrayal in the media and in official government statements.
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In February 2013, on his last day at the helm of NATO forces in Afghanistan, General John R. Allen described what he thought the war’s legacy will be: ‘‘Afghan forces defending Afghan people and enabling the government of this country to serve its citizens. This is victory, this is what winning looks like, and we should not shrink from using these words.’’
The US and British forces are preparing to leave Afghanistan for good (officially, by the end of 2014), and my time in the country over the last six years has convinced me that our legacy will be the exact opposite of what Allen posits—not a stable Afghanistan, but one at war with itself yet again. Here are a few encapsulated snapshots of what I’ve seen and what we’re leaving behind.
Does violence spread like a disease? Epidemiolost Gary Slutkin of Cure Violence says the issues has been misdiagnosed, and instead created science-based strategies that aim to stop violence before it erupts.
Why Snake Oil is the Drug of Choice for Ayn Rand Wannabees
Attached are two important papers, one by Stephanie Kelton and the other by Paul Krugman, arguing that it is time to consign austerity economics to the dustbin of history. Both are variations on a theme and are spot on, IMO.
The fundamental problem tamping down the American recovery is excessive debt in the private sector, NOT the government sector. Yet austerity economics ignores this reality and argues speciously for reductions in government spending. The sequester has taken this nonsense to the level of policy lunacy by legislating an abdication of government’s primary responsibility –i.e., to make policy decisions, in to law. As Krugman points out there is method to the austerity madness, however.
But madness it is. The attached chart, which I have distributed before, uses Federal Reserve Data to place the real debt problem into a long term perspective. Note the vertical scales are IDENTICAL! Bear in mind, the chart is about 1.5 years out of date and it does not reflect the recent, pre-sequester reductions in Federal Debt discussed below.
Although those of us in the developed nations take potable water for granted the fact is for several billion people it is a major matter of urgent stress. Here is a new technology that may help relieve this problem. Source: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Biopolymer-reinforced synthetic granular nanocomposites for affordable point-of-use water purification, PNAS, Published online before print May 6, 2013, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1220222110
I have written extensively about the bias of the media and, particularly, the use of false equivalencies. (For a discussion of this see my esssay: False Equivalencies and the Mediocrity of Nonlocal Consciousness Research Criticism: http://www.explorejournal.com/article/S1550-8307%2813%2900059-1/fulltext)! . Here is proof of my argument. Click through to see the charts which accompany this piece. They will appall you when you see how incredibly compromised American corporate media has become.
It is amazing how an inexpensive technological development can render irrelevant billions of dollars of investment. In this case the security apparatus of Homeland Security. When I did the original 3-D printing story about three years ago the printers cost $50,000. Just a few weeks ago, when these printers hit the news big time the printers were $8,000. In this story the printer used was $2,600. I predict, within a year 3-D printers that can print guns will be less than $1000. Clearly dealing with terrorism requires new strategies, a different approach than asking people to surrender their civil liberties, and billions spent on building a huge intrusive security apparat. Click through to see the many pictures which will add to your understanding of what this issue involves.
Anyone who reads SR regularly knows my views on religious fundamentalism in general, and the threat posed to America by the Christian version particularly. Here is the latest. Notice the universals of fundamentalism of whatever faith: Deeply distorted views on sexuality, the suppression and subordination of women, the emphasis on guilt, and the commitment to willful ignorance.
“The Christian home school subculture isn’t a children-first movement. It is, for all intents and purposes, an ideology-first movement. There is a massive, well-oiled machine of ideology that is churning out soldiers for the culture war. Home schooling is both the breeding ground – literally, when you consider the Quiverfull concept – and the training ground for this machinery. I say this as someone who was raised in that world.”
Below is a very interesting summary of the political tensions among secularism and religion and modernism and tradition in Tunisia. I think the author, who I do not know but whose writings I have followed, is one of the most knowledgeable observers of the Arab Spring.
THE SPARK THAT ignited the Arab Spring over two years ago came from Sidi Bouzid in Tunisia. For 28 days people across the country revolted against the repression and corruption of the 23-year authoritarian regime of Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. Finally, on Jan. 14, 2011 Tunisians celebrated their victory and resilience over tyranny and oppression when Ben Ali fled the country. But if getting rid of the dictator was relatively short and easy, the dismantling of his regime and its corrosive effects on society has proven to be very challenging indeed.