PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “America’s Reproductive Slaves” / Chris Hedges ☮

On Wednesday, the day it was announced that the U.S. birthrate fell for the fourth straight year, signaling the lowest number of births in 32 years, Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey signed into law the most draconian anti-abortion lawin the country. That the two developments came at the same time could not have been more revelatory.

The ruling elites are acutely aware that the steadily declining American birthrate is the result of a de facto “birth strike” by women who, unable to afford adequate health insurance and exorbitant medical bills and denied access to paid parental leave, child care and job protection, find it financially punitive to have children. Not since 1971 have births in the United States been at replacement levels, considered to be 2,100 births per 1,000 women over their lifetimes, a ratio needed for a generation to replace itself. Current births number 1,728 per 1,000 women, a decline of 2% from 2017. Without a steady infusion of immigrants, the U.S. population would be plummeting.

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ATHEISM: “The Utility of Religion” / Atheist Experience / Tracie Harris and Clare Wuellner ☮

Tracie Harris & Clare Wuellner

INDEPENDENT GLOBAL JOURNALISM: “Who are the Real Terrorists in the Mideast?” / truthdig / Danny Sjursen ☮

Back when I still wore the uniform of a U.S. Army officer, and well before many of my former brothers in arms labeled me a traitor, I taught freshman (“plebe”) history at West Point. I loved asking my cadets provocative questions, the sort of queries they never heard in high school Advanced Placement U.S. history courses. Consider just one. At the end of the class on World War II, I always asked: “What is the moral difference between flying three planes into the Twin Towers and Pentagon—killing 3,000 civilians—and using hundreds of U.S. planes to firebomb Tokyo on March 9, 1945—killing some 90,000 civilians?” Suffice it to say that most cadets didn’t like this question at all.

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HAPPY HITCH DAY! “The Hitch” / Documentary / Christopher Hitchens ☮

PROGRESSIVE INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM: “Reign of Idiots” / Chris Hedges ☮

The idiots take over in the final days of crumbling civilizations. Idiot generals wage endless, unwinnable wars that bankrupt the nation. Idiot economists call for reducing taxes for the rich and cutting social service programs for the poor, and project economic growth on the basis of myth. Idiot industrialists poison the water, the soil and the air, slash jobs and depress wages. Idiot bankers gamble on self-created financial bubbles and impose crippling debt peonage on the citizens. Idiot journalists and public intellectuals pretend despotism is democracy. Idiot intelligence operatives orchestrate the overthrow of foreign governments to create lawless enclaves that give rise to enraged fanatics. Idiot professors, “experts” and “specialists” busy themselves with unintelligible jargon and arcane theory that buttresses the policies of the rulers. Idiot entertainers and producers create lurid spectacles of sex, gore and fantasy.

There is a familiar checklist for extinction. We are ticking off every item on it.

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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.

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