Proud Americans: Patriotism in Times of Government Terror

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I know many people will disagree with me about this, being the awesome radicals that they are, but I feel like its important people understand where I am coming from.

I don’t hate America. I would even say I don’t entirely hate my government either. But it cannot be denied that there are terrible forces at work within our country that will, if left unchecked, ultimately destroy it. Despite this, I still call myself a patriot and a proud American. Why?

Because:

pa·tri·ot

noun

1.

a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.

2.

a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.
 
In this case, I tend to think the 2nd definition fits me more, but there is something to be said about country. Country is where you live and, despite people who say they are citizens of the world, most people are connected with a certain small part of this place called Earth in certain ways more than other ones.
 
You cannot expect people to stop self-identifying with pieces of land no matter who it belonged to at one point because history is–well–history. It is less about geography and more about culture. For me it’s Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and American folk music. For others, it might be guns and the military but I don’t feel like I should have to apologize for being American because I didn’t ask for this government. And no–I didn’t vote for Obama.
 
That said we all have a right and responsibility to empathize and take care of all people of the world which is only left difficult by hatreds and politics that has nothing to do with 99% of us.
 
Our countries people are just as important as Afghanistan’s people, Iraq’s people, Russia’s people, China’s people, and all of the people of the world. The people who realize this are true patriots, because it protects our interests as well as theirs when we stand up to the government for everything from drone attacks and dumb laws.
 
Woody Guthrie wrote ‘This Land is your Land’ because he thought that ‘America the Beautiful’ completely missed the point. The lyrics show what kind of American and patriot he was and what kind I am.
 

Suit and Helplessness: How to Avoid Apathy

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Julian Assange, along with Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman, and others, have filed suit demanding that journalists be given access to proceedings that are secretive and unconstitutional.

I don’t think the US Government intends to open this trial up even if the Queen of England sued. Perhaps the plaintiffs have the view that any publicity they can grab will help and–for better or for worse–Assange is the biggest name on that list.

There is something to be said for the helplessness that many supporters of Bradley Manning feel when it comes to the US governments attempts to shut everyone out of this process. It is frustrating to think that we are alone in our views and in our knowledge of what is going on. That is not just true of Bradley Manning but of many recent, unconstitutional and scary shit that is going on.

But the fact is we are not alone. It just seems like that because of our media. There are many people out there who believe that Manning should be freed. Americans are living in a bubble that exists outside reality, for the most part

So how do you avoid becoming an apathetic, disillusioned person in the face of these things? Here’s a few tips:

1. Take a break!

Life isn’t all about politics and negative shit. We all need to take a break once and awhile. Relax: drink some bourbon, watch mindless television, and play Call of Duty Modern Warefare while ignoring the ironic feelings associated with the latter.

2. Remind yourself that there’s only so much you can do. . .then proceed to do those things.

3. Have friends who have similar beliefs.

There is nothing more frustrating then trying to talk to someone about important stuff and they couldn’t care less. So I would suggest finding someone, anyone who takes an interest in these kinds of things. But tread carefully because a lot of people are scared of the truth.

That’s all for now.

Secret Witnesses in Bradley Manning Trial

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In addition to the secret testimony of John Doe, there will be three other secret witnesses for the trial of Bradley Manning called 1, 11, and 22 and their testimony will be classified as ‘Secret’.

Their testimony will concern the so-called ‘CIA Red Cell Memos’ which are titled Afghanistan: Sustaining Western Support for Nato-Led Mission: Why Counting on Apathy May Not Be Enough , What if Foreigners See the United States as an Exporter of Terrorism?, and Wikileaks.org–An Online Reference to Foreign Intellgience Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?

These documents were the only ones released that coincided with his time in Iraq where he leaked them.

According to Judge Lind, these documents were not lawfully public and that it could jeopardize the witness safety as well as harm national security. However, it is also unconstitutional at least in theory and according to the sixth amendment

“In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.”

 

The United States cannot hope to make exceptions to the constitution and expect that everything will go their way without question.

 

Welcome to the American Nightmare

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Today marks the 100th day of a hunger strike in the infamous Guantanamo Bay prison. Activists have submitted a petition to the US government that was signed by around 370,000 people, in the hopes that somebody in the government would listen.

I’ve never been a huge fan of petitions. The responses to these petitions have been, at best, unsatisfactory if not outright insulting to our intelligence. However for issues such as these, we need to use any tool within our means to help prevent these historic and unprecedented imprisonment of suspected “terrorists”. According to ACLU statistics, most of them were turned in by fellow countrymen for millions of dollars and many are still being held although they’ve been cleared for release.

But when a United States prison exists outside of prying eyes and the reach of the rule of law, what do you expect to happen? It is morally outrageous that such a thing is allowed to exist, yet it continues because people cannot see what their imprisonment has to do with them. It is extremely short-sighted to not realize that all these things are connected; from Guantanamo to an indefinite detention clause in the NDAA to Bradley Manning and to the Department of Justice spying on the Associated Press.

We are fighting a permanent War on Terror with an enemy who we don’t really know. We expect that this will keep us safe when it does the opposite. Glenn Greenwald recently wrote an excellent article for the Guardian about this in which he said:

 

“It is hard to resist the conclusion that this war has no purpose other than its own eternal perpetuation. This war is not a means to any end but rather is the end in itself. Not only is it the end itself, but it is also its own fuel: it is precisely this endless war – justified in the name of stopping the threat of terrorism – that is the single greatest cause of that threat.”

 

Woe is us that the American people are too concerned with videos of cute cats and the latest episode of Real Housewives of New Jersey to care about our government’s crimes.  The American Dream will die to the tune of a reality television jingle. Obama will wipe his ass with our constitution and nobody will do anything because he is the president.

Welcome to the American Nightmare.

 

 

 

 

There is no hope. . .except for hope

message of hope from anne frank

I don’t care if its the state of our country or the state of World Wrestling Entertainment: you can make deductions based on certain patterns of behavior.

I’m assuming if you’re reading this blog, you have at least a basic understanding of the patterns that are emerging from our government i.e. a willingness and ability to get away with spying on journalists, jailing whistle blowers etc.

And because, as humans, we are blessed with the gift of logic, we can use these deductions to come to the conclusion that the state of our country is fucked up. Which leaves two choices: do something about it or do nothing.

Right now, most people are not doing shit. The exception to this are independent journalists, volunteers, activists, and perhaps a couple politicians. None of these people, however, have the reach that the mainstream media has over the minds and opinions of the majority of people. Because of that, nothing will change.

Which leaves us with a question: how do we fix that?

The sad truth is that there might not be any way to. Although the world is not going to fix itself, there is only so much you can do as an individual or even as a group. Change within government requires a certain kind of change of attitude in society. Since everything is fluid, attitudes change when things happen that cannot be ignored. For example, 9/11 had a profound affect on the dismantling of basic constitutional rights. The individual though may need something slightly smaller like how Bradley Manning was prompted to act based on observations he made in Iraq or how some people were turned into full-time activists because of Occupy Wall Street.

The world makes big changes through smaller, individual changes. I have the philosophy that we are all part of one big soul, and therefore the things the individual does ultimately affect society as a whole. If you follow this way of thinking, the only reasonable thing one can do is to inform and to learn, which is why I want to be a journalist.

I have a message to those reading this who are discouraged about the state of world affairs: don’t despair. Things come, and things go. Every generation has it’s own battles and moral choices to be made. But if you really want to help, share information, share articles; hell–share this blog (please); but never, ever, ever give up hope. It’s all we got at the moment.

With that said, I will leave you with an inspirational video from none other than Charlie Chaplin:

Why Is the Government Spying on the Associated Press?

 

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Things just keep getting scarier and scarier.

The Department of Justice had seized phone records of AP reporters and editors, possibly pertaining to a leak that a would be bomber was planning on attacking a US airliner around the anniversary of Osama Bin Laden’s death. However, the “bomber” turned out to be a US spy.

Oops.

Matthew Miller defended the actions taken by the Department of Justice:

“This is how leaks get investigated. Leaking classified information is a crime, and there are usually only two parties who know who committed the crime, the leaker and the reporter. Getting access to phone records allows investigators to see who the possible source might have been and confront them with evidence of a crime.”

Well, that’s great Mr. Miller. After all, what could possibly go wrong with silencing journalist’s sources?

Although the Obama Administrations is not exactly well known for upholding first amendment rights, this will probably just add fuel to a growing a scandal. However, since many of our friends at CNN and FOX will probably howl for journalist blood (despite them presumably being journalists themselves), we can expect that the majority of the United States population to be sedated and ignorant as to our new rapidly deteriorating democratic society.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/13/ap-phone-records-doj-leaks_n_3268932.html

Why I Support Bradley Manning

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I support Bradley Manning because he brought us the gospel of truth. Some high government and military officials didn’t want us to see the truth, so now they want him to pay—perhaps with his life.

 

This is wrong on all sorts of different levels but many people a lot brighter than me have pointed out all the possible consequences of this trial. But what is it about who he is and what he did that make people want to support him, even while most Americans don’t know who he is?

 

I can only answer for myself, but I would say that it is the truth. The truth is precious, sometimes cruel, but it is needed to make judgments about moral behavior and decisions that don’t just affect you, and to learn and grow from the education that it gives.

 

Some of us may know things that many other people don’t know. Those other people may know more than us on certain topics. . .But I believe it is inherently admirable to fight for truth and justice. That is why much of human culture is knee deep in heroic characters who do just that. “Truth, justice, and the American way.,” as Superman put it.

 

We are at a crossroads as a nation. We will either have to make decisions about our obvious problems or choose to do nothing—but we will have to face the consequences either way.

 

But to me its an obvious choice because I do not want to live in 1984. I want to live in a country where truth and justice are still noble pursuits, not just words that mean nothing anymore. I want to be treated as I deserve, not as my money or lack thereof can purchase from others.

 

Bradley Manning embodies everything that I stand for and much more. He is a hero, and I can only hope to one day be as admirable as him. He was willing to give up everything for truth and justice. I don’t believe you can be any more heroic than that.

 

That is why I support Bradley Manning.

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