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Blinded By Your Protest

0cb53eEver stand up close to a tree?  I mean so close that all you can see is the bark and whatever little crawling things happen to be there. The truth is, you can’t see anything. You’ve taken so much interest in the tree in front of you that you’ve blinded yourself to the forest that the tree is part of. You’ve succumbed to what I like to call myopic-distanciation. This accomplishes two things of great importance.

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Prospects For Democracy

The Internet is an odd edifice, sort of a public square that only exist insofar and as long as we will it. It isn’t real in the traditional sense, it doesn’t require presence, attendance and yet it remains there, somewhere in the ephemeral ether of caffeine and insomnia fueled consciousness. We log in and out, completely unaware that we are participating in the life, death, and internetrebirth of society, community and democracy itself. The internet is our Zen moment and the point at which our mortality strikes with all the same force that the dawning of the nuclear age struck our predecessors. Everything. Has. Changed.

Today everybody is talking about the fact that we live in one world; because of globalization, we are all part of the same planet. They talk that way, but do they mean it? We should remind them that the words of the Declaration [of Independence] apply not only to people in this country, but also to people all over the world. People everywhere have the same right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. When the government becomes destructive of that, then it is patriotic to dissent and to criticize – to do what we always praise and call heroic when we look upon the dissenters and critics in totalitarian countries who dare to speak out.
~ Howard Zinn, Artists in Times of War and Other Essays

The Case For Taxing God

Why aren’t churches taxed? This seems like a legitimate question.

The First Amendment says this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

We often only pay attention to the negative aspect here, that government shall make no provision for a state religion, that the state and the church shall remain separate. But the positive is just as important, that the people shall be “free” to exercise religion or, interestingly as an attached clause, the freedom of speech. No where does it enunciate or establish the acceptable content of either religion or free speech, yet it extends it protection. “Free” is an essential and necessary stipulation in this case. It establishes that in fact churches have always been exempt from taxes; taxes being a method of state control.

The casual and almost fatalistic acceptance of collateral damage as a doctrine of both war and economic reform by many epitomizes the institutionalization dehumanization. The elimination of the innocent, either through violent means or the more insipid, malicious method of class warfare by tax code manipulation and institutional discrimination further entrenches the disassociative plague that is rugged individualism upon a free society.

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Catastrophism As Leadership

Look at the tyranny of party — at what is called party allegiance, party loyalty   — a snare invented by designing men for selfish purposes — and which turns   voters into chattles, slaves, rabbits, and all the while their masters, and   they themselves are shouting rubbish about liberty, independence, freedom of   opinion, freedom of speech, honestly unconscious of the fantastic contradiction;   and forgetting or ignoring that their fathers and the churches shouted the same   blasphemies a generation earlier when they were closing their doors against   the hunted slave, beating his handful of humane defenders with Bible texts and   billies, and pocketing the insults and licking the shoes of his Southern master.
– “The Character of Man,” Mark Twain’s Autobiography

The Fear Factor Of American Evangelicalism

Inherent to the human condition is a narcissism that co-opts the Good News of redemption, of reconciliation and tells us it’s only value is imagesCAEKGW9Sin what have you done for me lately, that whispers in our ears that God helps those who help themselves. It’s no wonder that we’ve become moralists, that we testify to the worthiness of Christianity by pointing to the project of western civilization as an alchemical wonder wrought by spiritual powers. We’re scared, scared that a visible loss of our influence in the culture of the Greatest Nation on Earth is a witness that stands accusing the truthfulness of our story of the human condition.