PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “U.S. Hypocrisy Creates Perpetual Enemies and Forever War” / MAJ Danny Sjursen ☮

In foreign policy, Americans like to keep it simple. Good countries versus bad countries. Democracies versus dictatorships. Of course, as Ronald Reagan reminded Americans, we are a “shining city upon a hill,” one of the goodies. What no one seems to ask is whether idealistic Americans have a clear view of the world as it is, or how their worldview affects the United States’ global image. Surely, as the U.S. enters its 17th year of perpetual war, these might be questions worth pursuing. Problem is, the truth can be disturbing.

So humor me for a moment and join me on a tour of American hypocrisy and naiveté, from Africa to the South Pacific.

Continue reading . . .

WHITE EVANGELICAL CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIAN CULT: “Is the Trump Presidency a Religious Cult? / Reza Aslan” ☮

Are fundamentalist Christians a dangerous religious cult? Possibly. The controversial author and religious scholar Reza Aslan posits that President Donald Trump has much of his evangelical fan-base believing that he’s somehow been anointed by God to become President. Nevermind the Russian election scandal, his affairs with porn stars and unwarranted sexual acts towards women, or his inability to remember even a single Bible verse when asked. Evangelical Christians are abandoning their core moral beliefs to follow, as Reza suggests, someone who exhibits every trademark of a cult leader.

INTELLECTUALISM: “Why Populism is the Greatest Con in America” / Martin Amis / MUST WATCH ☮

here is no substitute for thinking—although modern-day America may have you believing otherwise. Novelist Martin Amis attributes the recent surge in anti-intellectualism to the populist politics sweeping the United States. “Populism relies on a sentimental and, in fact, very old-fashioned view that the uneducated population knows better in its instincts than the over-refined elite. That leads to anti-intellectualism, which is self-destructive for everyone.” The rejection of rationality and analysis is something politicians can easily capitalize on, and Amis refers to President Trump as a plutocrat in populist’s clothing. “It’s profoundly hypocritical because his policies do not favor the working man… It’s an act, populism. Always an act.” Are the American people being conned, and is a return to elitism the answer? Martin Amis is the author of The Rub of Time: Bellow, Nabokov, Hitchens, Travolta, Trump: Essays and Reportage, 1994-2017.

IN MEMORIAM: “Atheist Stephen Hawking Fed Homeless People in Church During His Funeral” ☮

When Stephen Hawking passed away, some Christians jumped at the chance to slam the world-famous cosmologist for his outspoken atheism.

I wonder how they’d feel after learning that, as his last act on this Earth, he fed 50 homeless people in a church and donated money to feed even more.

Hawking and his family arranged for dozens of homeless people to be fed during his funeral at the Wesley Methodist Church in Cambridge. The three-course meal included a note that said it was a “gift from Stephen.”

The scientist’s daughter Lucy Hawking contacted the charity, Food Cycle Cambridge, to tell them the family planned to make a donation so that people would be sitting down for a “hot meal on Stephen” while the funeral took place, the charity said.

A Food Cycle spokeswoman said the donation would, in fact, go towards far more meals than the 50 provided on the day, but she would not disclose how much cash was donated.

“The guests on Saturday were so surprised and touched by the family’s gesture and raised a glass to Stephen before tucking into lunch.”

That’s right, religious fundamentalists eager to use the brilliant theoretical physicist’s death to promote your own beliefs: Hawking’s legacy will include acts of kindness and respect, regardless of religious or spiritual differences, and charity to those who are less fortunate. It almost sounds like something a certain Middle Eastern carpenter might do.

Hawking took the high road on the way out of this world. It’s too bad his critics are stuck in the gutter.

So next time you are in a tough ethical quandary, just ask yourself: What would Hawking Do?

h/t: Friendly Atheist

PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “And Terrorism for All” / MAJ Danny Sjursen ☮

 

Sure, bloodbaths in Orlando, Las Vegas, Sandy Hook and Parkland grab media attention for days and weeks at a time. Only that’s not what most people fear or the focus of the national security state. The real enemy, we’re told, the one generating all the hysteria, is “terrorism.” So let’s dig into a quick comparison of the two threats.

Continue reading . . .