We the People

A Little Gratitude

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While a follow-up piece around Tim Snyder’s book On Tyranny was planned for this week, given the tragedy unfolding in the Houston area (and the general tragedy occurring in the U.S. in general), perhaps we should pause and give thanks for some instances of Good and the people who initiated them.

Jennifer-Hofmann (small)This week, on her weekly Action List, under the “Acts of Gratitude” section, Jen Hofmann posted the following entries (appearing here verbatim, but be sure to check out Jen’s list).

Acts of Gratitude
Get out your stamps, postcards, and sparkle markers for some gratitude mail.
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Are We Prepared?

Make no mistake about it – enlightenment is a destructive process. It has nothing to do with becoming better or being happier. Enlightenment is the crumbling away of untruth. It’s seeing through the facade of pretense. It’s the complete eradication of everything we imagined to be true.      ~ Adyashanti


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Naomi Klein: “The worst is yet to come!”

What happens when disaster strikes?  What do we do when all normalcy ceases?  To whom do we turn when events like the recent Manchester bombing, the Paris attack or events like those on the morning of September 11th, 2001 in New York occur?  In her new book, No is Not Enough, activist and author Naomi Klein encourages us to be prepared for such disasters—which she calls “shock” events—not so much for the event itself but for likely actions by the U.S. government in the wake of these occurrences.

In the video below, Amy Goodman of DemocracyNow! interviews Naomi Klein about her book Naomi Klein Interview.PNGand the general proposal that in the wake of a cataclysmic event, the U.S. government is likely to invoke a series of actions designed to tighten control of the general public.  Under the guise of national security relative to a shock event, the government is likely to suspend civil liberties, human rights and the right to privacy.  (Part 2 of the interview begins at approximately the 2:20 minute mark and lasts about 15 minutes).  In addition to the usual question and answer format, the interview presents a video within the video.  In the internal video, produced by the Intercept, Naomi describes a five step preparedness toolkit. She urges us to anticipate inevitable crises, at which times we need to be prepared to mobilize rather than comply with the government’s attempts to  contain us—to keep us in our homes, for instance, “for our own safety”.  We need to be mindful of the history of the previous U.S. government’s uncharacteristically freedom-destroying responses such as internment of Japanese-Americans during WWI, deportation of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans in the early 1930’s and abandonment of freed slaves in the wake of the Civil War. (more…)

Monitoring News Bias

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You want to know the “truth”, right?  As such, surely you spread your reading across news sources of varying political perspectives, right?  One can only hope your quest for truth is, indeed a quest and not self-administered salve to soothe intra-psychic fears about your future and the future well-being of those you hold dear.  “Truth” is larger than that.

Should you venture into the wild, attempting to get differing perspectives on current events, how can you know if what you are reading is valid?  If understanding the political leaning of any given site is important to you, check out Media Bias / Fact Check.

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More from Jen Hofmann

We have not referenced Jennifer Hofmann’s activist site for a while.  She is still at it, going strong with her action lists posted weekly.  If you want to do something to shape the country and the world toward your definition of Good, check out her list and blog.

For example, here is just one of the postings from Jen’s April 30th list:

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I believe in a government led by qualified, trustworthy representatives.

Action: Advocate for a special commission to investigate 45-Russia ties.
Newly-confirmed Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein can approve a special prosecutor or commission, but has previously hedged on this action. Speak up.
Call: Dept. of Justice comment line 202-353-1555
Postcard: USDoJ, 950 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20530-0001
Script: I am among the 58% of Americans who want an independent commission to investigate Trump-Russia ties. Trust in the four current investigations is compromised, and the Attorney General’s credibility is tarnished. Only an independent commission or special prosecutor will restore confidence.

[Note: “45” refers to the 45th President of the United States]

Jen posts other such actions on her site as well.  There are links to express gratitude (for elected officials who have been doing a “good job”, for instance).  There are also suggestions for actions to maintain good psychological and physical health in these uncertain times.

Most of all, Jen’s lists—by their very existence—are encouragements to stand up and be counted.  Her lists stand as weekly reminders that we all are members of the group “We, the People” and that we all—that is ALL: red or blue, Republican, Democrat, liberal, conservative, Libertarian, Anarchist, other—we all should express ourselves as the natural exercise of free people in promotion of a free society.

Make a call. Write a letter. Offer encouragement to another. Read a good book—and tell someone about it.  Do whatever you think other people should be doing or what you would want them to do relative to you. Celebrate your freedom!

 

 

 

 

An Interview with Noam Chomsky

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In a 70-minute Democracy Now! interview with linguist and political theorist Noam Chomsky, Mr. Chomsky addresses a wide range of topics, including the current U.S. presidential administration’s tactics, healthcare, Russian involvement in the 2016 presidential election, as well as issues related to North Korea, China, Syria, and Israel.

Mr. Chomsky offers what, for some, will seem startling statements regarding the rise of neo-liberalism during the late 70’s.  While the term “liberalism” often connotes “openness” and “freedom”, the interests of advocates of neo-liberalism (perhaps better referred to as laissez-faire economic liberalism) come into conflict with the very notion of democracy—that is, free participation of the general public in its own governance.

On many social issues, proponents of this form of liberalism might be at odds with what many might call right wing or conservative.  However, these neo-liberal factions began to see open democracy as “out of control”, posing a “threat” to the achievement of a neo-liberal agenda.  According to Mr. Chomsky, these socio-political elements called for stronger indoctrination in neo-liberal ideas through educational institutions, a more heavy handed control of mass media and the overall pacification of the general public.

Along the way, Mr. Chomsky also touches on topics such as (1) why Americans are led to believe Iran poses the greatest threat to world peace while world opinion sees the U.S. as the true threat, (2) the surprising increase in mortality among white Americans (particularly men, due to diseases of despair), and (3) the disparity between actual U.S. governmental policies and the well-being of middle and lower income portions of the American electorate.

Agree with him or not, as always, Mr. Chomsky offers interesting and provocative ideas worth considering.


Noam Chomsky is a US political theorist and activist, and institute professor of linguistics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). For decades, Mr. Chomsky has remained a staunch critic of American foreign policy, the neo-liberal advocacy of globalism, the empire-building hegemony of the United States and the manufacture of public consensus by the so-called mainstream media (MSM).

Noam Chomsky’s website

The full collection of Mr. Chomsky’s appearances on DemocracyNow!