AMURIKAN IDIOCY: Thirty-seven Percent of Amurikans are Absolute Idiots! / Mark Morford

Dunce. . . A whopping 24 percent [of Americans] believe dinosaurs and man hung out together. Eighteen percent still believe the sun revolves around the Earth.

Do you believe in angels? Forty-five percent of Americans do. In fact, roughly 48 percent – Republicans and Democrats alike – believe in some form of creationism.

In sum and all averaged out, it’s safe to say about 37 percent of Americans are just are not very bright. Or rather, quite shockingly dumb. Perhaps beyond reach. Perhaps beyond hope or redemption. Perhaps beyond caring about anything they have to say in the public sphere ever again. Sorry, Kansas.

Did you frown at that last paragraph? Was it a terribly elitist and unkind thing to say? Sort of. Probably. But I’m not sure it matters, because none of those people are reading this column right now, or any column for that matter, because reading anything even remotely complex or analytical is something only 42 percent of the population enjoy doing on a regular basis, which is why most TV shows, all reality shows, many major media blogs and all of Fox News is scripted for a 5th-grade education/attention span. OMG LOL kittens! 19 babies having a worse day than you. WTF is up with  Justin Timberlake’s hair?!?

It is this bizarre, circular, catch-22 kind of question, asked almost exclusively by intellectual liberals because intellectual conservatives don’t actually exist, given how higher education leads to more developed critical thinking (you already know the vast majority of university professors and scientists identify as Democrat/progressive, right?) which leads straight to a more nimble, open-minded perspective. In short: The smarter you are, the less rigid/more liberal you become.

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PRISON-INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX: “The Shame of America’s Gulag” / Chris Hedges

The Shame of America’s GulagIllustration by Mr. Fish

If, as Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote, “the degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons” then we are a nation of barbarians. Our vast network of federal and state prisons, with some 2.3 million inmates, rivals the gulags of totalitarian states. Once you disappear behind prison walls you become prey. Rape. Torture. Beatings. Prolonged isolation. Sensory deprivation. Racial profiling. Chain gangs. Forced labor. Rancid food. Children imprisoned as adults. Prisoners forced to take medications to induce lethargy. Inadequate heating and ventilation. Poor health care. Draconian sentences for nonviolent crimes. Endemic violence.

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SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: FFRF / “God Fixation Won’t Fix This Nation”

[…]

“This is an equal-opportunity message to both political parties and all public officials. Essentially, we secularists, who comprise nearly a fifth of the U.S. population, are telling government officials that it’s time to get off your knees and get to work!” said FFRF Co-President Dan Barker.

“God fixation won’t fix our nation, or any nation. A preoccupation with religion in government and a political fear of offending religious lobbies is holding back our nation scientifically, intellectually and morally,” added Annie Laurie Gaylor, who co-directs FFRF.

[…]

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SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE: Andrea Stone / “R. Martin Umbarger, [Indiana] National Guard General, Accused of Ethics Violation for Endorsing Christian Group”

The head of the Indiana National Guard recorded a fundraising video for an evangelical Christian organization — an act that violates the constitutional separation of church and state, a watchdog group argues, and that is grounds for dismissal, one of the nation’s leading military law experts says.

In the video, Maj. Gen. R. Martin Umbarger, adjutant general of the Indiana National Guard, endorses Centurion’s Watch, an Indianapolis-based sectarian Christian nonprofit that offers marriage counseling to military families. The video was first noted by freethoughtblogs.com.

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CATHOLICISM: Catholic Cardinal Says Church Is Willing To Let Poor People Starve In Protest Of Contraception Mandate (MUST WATCH VIDEO)

Cardinal Timothy Dolan has made it very clear that he doesn’t like President Obama’s contraception mandate. And apparently, he and the Catholic Church are prepared to let poor people starve to death if President Obama doesn’t give in to their demands.

In an appearance on Martin Bashir on MSNBC on Tuesday, Dolan said that the Church would abandon Jesus’ effort to help the sick and feed the poor in protest of the contraception mandate that only applies to insurance companies and not the Church itself.

“If these mandates kick in, we’re going to find ourselves faced with a terribly difficult decision as to whether or not we can continue to operate,” Dolan said. “As part of our religion — it’s part of our faith that we feed the hungry, that we educate the kids, that we take care of the sick. We’d have to give it up, because we’re unable to fit the description and the definition of a church given by — guess who — the federal government.”

Bashir then pointed out that the Catholic Church had taken a staggering $2.9 billion from the federal government to pay for the charitable efforts the Church provides. “They don’t seem to bristle at the hand of government when it comes to money, do they,” Bashir commented.

Continue reading, and watch video . . .

Greta Christina: Why Atheists Have Become a Kick-Ass Movement You Want on Your Side

Atheists are becoming a force to be reckoned with. They are a powerful ally when inspired to take action — and a powerful opponent when they’re treated like dirt.

Why would any organization or social change movement want to ally itself with a community that’s energetic, excited about activism, highly motivated, increasingly visible, good at fundraising, good at getting into the news, increasingly populated by young people, and with a proven track record of mobilizing online in massive numbers on a moment’s notice?

If you need to ask that — maybe you shouldn’t be in political activism.

And if you don’t need to ask that — if reading that paragraph is making you clutch your chest and drool like a baby — maybe you should be paying attention to the atheist movement.

Continue reading . . .

Will a Militarized Police Force Facing Occupy Wall Street Lead to Another Kent State Massacre?

[May 3d] is an ugly anniversary in American history: 42 years ago, National Guardsman opened fire on anti-Vietnam protesters at Ohio’s Kent State University, killing four students. Ten days later, Mississippi police fired on civil rights protesters taking refuge in a women’s dormitory at Jackson State University and killed two more students.

Four decades later, as police across the country deploy paramilitary tactics developed for fighting foreign terrorists on Occupy and some May Day protests, and as campus police ratchet up responses to tuition hike protests, we must ask, is this where things inevitably are headed—toward deadly confrontations between overly armed police and angered protesters, or just as likely, innocent bystanders caught in a crossfire?

[…]

The Kent and Jackson State anniversaries underscore many questions. When and where will a fatal police overreaction take place? Who will be the victim? What will be the reaction, including from politicians who helped to unduly militarize the police? 

This scenario is not an accident waiting to happen. Police use undue force all the time, where the consequence is the armed police shooter kills an unarmed victim. It has happened many times in 2012, according to statistics compiled by the government, just not yet at an Occupy or student protest.

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Noam Chomsky: U.S. and Europe ‘committing suicide in different ways’ (VIDEO)

In an interview with GritTV’s Laura Flanders, author and MIT professor Noam Chomsky discussed the potentially bleak future facing both the United States and the European Union. Both, he said, are facing historic crises and are going about trying to resolve them in exactly the wrong ways.

According to Chomsky, we are currently living in a period of “pretty close to global stagnation” but that the world’s great powers are reacting to the lack of growth in exactly the wrong manner. “The United States and Europe are committing suicide in different ways, but both doing it.”

[…]

It’s also a mistake, he said, to treat the Republican Party as a genuine political party rather than the “lock-step” policy arm of the superrich. Of course, the wealthy can’t sell the idea of a plutocracy to the population outright, so they mobilize the socially conservative base by stoking the so-called “culture wars.”

Chomsky has a new book, Occupy, about the Occupy Wall Street movement, what it says about society and humanity’s way forward through this time of economic and social stagnation. He calls OWS “the first major public response to 30 years of class war” and believes that the movement’s greatest success has been the introduction of the inequalities of everyday life into the public dialogue.

The nearly half-hour discussion ranges over a number of topics, but keeps coming back again and again to the importance of individual engagement in society and the political system, and the power of Occupy as a force for social and political change.

Watch the full interview here . . .

Noam Chomsky: May Day

Zuccotti Park Press, a project of Adelante Alliance, a Brooklyn-based immigrant advocacy group, is releasing Occupy, a new book by Noam Chomsky, on May Day.

People seem to know about May Day everywhere except where it began, here in the United States of America. That’s because those in power have done everything they can to erase its real meaning. For example, Ronald Reagan designated what he called “Law Day” — a day of jingoist fanaticism, like an extra twist of the knife in the labor movement. Today, there is a renewed awareness, energized by the Occupy movement’s organizing, around May Day, and its relevance for reform and perhaps eventual revolution.

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