People with privilege often engage with the world as saviors, and leave devastation behind. The world does not need more heroes, we need systemic solutions to racism, patriarchy, colonialism and capitalism.
Award-winning journalist Jordan Flaherty brings us inside the dark and politically twisted mind of the savior. Starting with Brandon Darby, an FBI informant whose rise within radical circles showed how movements are susceptible to a particular style of political heroism, Flaherty introduces us to would-be liberators and the damage they cause. We meet the young and idealistic college graduates who join Teach For America and displace unionized African American teachers. We hear anti-sex-work crusaders and the marginalized women their programs put behind bars. We see Red Cross coffers grow at the expense of local communities who consistently do more with less. And we also see a growing response to these dynamics: grassroots and street-based uprisings like those in Ferguson, Missouri, creating accountable movements focused on real, systemic change.
Insightful and unsparing, No More Heroes is an indispensable tool for social justice activists, reminding us that charity is not solidarity: saviors need not apply.
Jordan Flaherty has produced news and documentaries for Al Jazeera’s Fault Lines, The Laura Flanders Show, and Democracy Now. He is an award-winning journalist who has appeared on television and radio shows including Anderson Cooper 360, CNN Headline News, and News and Notes on NPR. He is author of Floodlines: Community and Resistance from Katrina to the Jena Six.
From Our Archives
GENE LOGSDON (1931 – 2016)
The Contrary Farmer
When farmers started telling me that they were getting rid of their machinery and putting their entire farms into pasture, I thought, “Yeah, right.” But when they led me around their farms more or less by the nose to prove it, I became a believer. After five years of experimentation, I, like thousands of farmers now, know that meat, milk, eggs and other farm products can be raised without annually cultivated crops, sometimes even without barns. In most American climates, grazing animals need only a wood lot or windbreak for shelter, will harvest grass and legumes themselves for their feed, and will control most weeds and spread their manure for fertilizer for free.
At the Bruce and Lisa Rickard farm near Mount Vernon, Ohio, there are about 25 beef cows and calves, 600 head of sheep and not a stalk of corn or soybeans. The only barn is a shearing shed. “Eventually,” Bruce said, “we think we can perfect rotational grazing to the point where we can graze year-round and get rid of the haying machinery, too.” “You can dynamite all those stupid silos, too,” added Bob Evans, a lifelong cattleman near Gallipolis, Ohio. With improved plants, he has proved that he can raise beef on pasture year-round.
From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic
One hundred years after Christ had died suppose some one had asked a Christian, What hospitals have you built? What asylums have you founded? They would have said “None.” Suppose three hundred years after the death of Christ the same questions had been asked the Christian, he would have said “None, not one.” Two hundred years more and the answer would have been the same. And at that time the Christian could have told the questioner that the Mohammedans had built asylums before the Christians. He could also have told him that there had been orphan asylums in China for hundreds and hundreds of years, hospitals in India, and hospitals for the sick at Athens.
Here it may be well enough to say that all hospitals and asylums are not built for charity. They are built because people do not want to be annoyed by the sick and the insane. If a sick man should come down the street and sit upon your doorstep, what would you do with him? You would have to take him into your house or leave him to suffer. Private families do not wish to take the burden of the sick. Consequently, in self-defence, hospitals are built so that any wanderer coming to a house, dying, or suffering from any disease, may immediately be packed off to a hospital and not become a burden upon private charity. The fact that many diseases are contagious rendered hospitals necessary for the preservation of the lives of the citizens. The same thing is true of the asylums. People do not, as a rule, want to take into their families, all the children who happen to have no fathers and mothers. So they endow and build an asylum where those children can be sent—and where they can be whipped according to law. Nobody wants an insane stranger in his house. The consequence is, that the community, to get rid of these people, to get rid of the trouble, build public institutions and send them there.
Thanks to Bruce
Well, you can stake that claim
Good work is the key to good fortune
Winners take that praise
Losers seldom take that blame
If they don’t take that game
And sometimes the winner takes nothing
We draw our own designs
But fortune has to make that frame
We go out in the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
That’s the way that lady luck dances
Roll the bones
Why are we here?
Because we’re here
Roll the bones
Why does it happen?
Because it happens
Roll the bones
Faith is cold as ice
Why are little ones born only to suffer
For the want of immunity
Or a bowl of rice?
Well, who would hold a price
On the heads of the innocent children
If there’s some immortal power
To control the dice?
We come into the world and take our chances
Fate is just the weight of circumstances
That’s the way that lady luck dances
Roll the bones
Get busy with the facts
No zodiacs or almanacs
No maniacs in polyester slacks
Just the facts
Gonna kick some gluteus max
It’s a parallax…you dig?
You move around
The small gets big
It’s a rig
So who’s afraid
Of a little abstraction?
Can’t get no satisfaction
From the facts?
You better run, homeboy
A fact’s a fact
From Nome to Rome, boy
What’s the deal?
Spin the wheel
If the dice are hot…take a shot
Play your cards. Show us what you got
What you’re holding
If the cards are cold
Don’t go folding
Lady Luck is golden
She favors the bold
Stop throwing stones
The night has a thousand saxophones
So get out there and rock
And roll the bones
Roll the bones
Why are we here?
Because we’re here
Roll the bones
Why does it happen?
Because it happens
Roll the bones
From Sam Harris
The following is part of a speech that I think Hillary Clinton should deliver between now and November. Its purpose is to prevent a swing toward Trump by voters who find Clinton’s political correctness on the topic of Islam and jihadism a cause for concern, especially in the aftermath of any future terrorist attacks in the U.S. or Europe.—SH
* * *
Today, I want to talk about one of the most important and divisive issues of our time—the link between the religion of Islam and terrorism. I want you to know how I view it and how I will think about it as President. I also want you to understand the difference between how I approach this topic and how my opponent in this presidential race does.
The underlying issue—and really the most important issue of this or any time—is human cooperation. What prevents it, and what makes it possible? In November, you will be electing a president, not an emperor of the world. The job of the president of the United States, even with all the power at her or his disposal, is to get people, both at home and abroad, to cooperate to solve a wide range of complex problems. Your job is to pick the person who seems most capable of doing that.
In the past, I’ve said that groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda have nothing to do with Islam. And President Obama has said the same. This way of speaking has been guided by the belief that if we said anything that could be spun as confirming the narrative of groups like ISIS—suggesting that the West is hostile to the religion of Islam, if only to its most radical strands—we would drive more Muslims into the arms of the jihadists and the theocrats, preventing the very cooperation we need to win a war of ideas against radical Islam. I now see this situation differently. I now believe that we have been selling most Muslims short. And I think we are all paying an unacceptable price for not speaking clearly about the link between specific religious ideas and the sectarian hatred that is dividing the Muslim world.
The New York Times took notice recently of the role that so-called “think tanks” play in corrupting U.S. government policy. Their review of think tanks “identified dozens of examples of scholars conducting research at think tanks while corporations were paying them to help shape government policy.”
Unfortunately, and perhaps predictably, while their investigation demonstrates well that the US is even more corrupt, though its corruption is better disguised, than the many foreign countries whom we routinely accuse of corruption, it failed to identify the most egregious form of corruption in our system. That is, those think tanks that are constantly engaged in the sort of activities which the DOD identifies as “Information War” when conducted by foreign countries who are designated by the US as an enemy at any given moment.
Those are activities using disinformation and propaganda to condition a population to hate a foreign nation or population with the intent to foment a war, which is the routine “business” of the best known US think tanks.
There are two levels to this information war. The first level is by the primary provocateur, such as the Rand Corporation, the American Enterprise Institute, and the smaller war instigators found wherever a Kagan family member lurks. They use psychological “suggestiveness” to create a false narrative of danger from some foreign entity with the objective being to create paranoia within the US population that it is under imminent threat of attack or takeover.
Once that fear and paranoia is instilled in much of the population, it can then be manipulated to foment a readiness or eagerness for war, in the manner that Joseph Goebbels understood well.
The measure if success of such a disinformation and propaganda effort can be seen when the narrative is adopted by secondary communicators who are perhaps the most important target audience. That is because they are “key communicators” in PsyOp terms, who in turn become provocateurs in propagating the false narrative even more broadly and to its own audiences, and becoming “combat multipliers” in military terms.
It is readily apparent now that Russia has taken its place as the primary target within US sights. One doesn’t have to see the US military buildup on Russia’s borders to understand that but only see the propaganda themes of our “think tanks.”
From The Archives
ROBERT INGERSOLL (1833 – 1899)
The Great Agnostic
EACH nation has created a god, and the god has always resembled his creators. He hated and loved what they hated and loved, and he was invariably found on the side of those in power. Each god was intensely patriotic, and detested all nations but his own. All these gods demanded praise, flattery, and worship. Most of them were pleased with sacrifice, and the smell of innocent blood has ever been considered a divine perfume. All these gods have insisted upon having a vast number of priests, and the priests have always insisted upon being supported by the people, and the principal business of these priests has been to boast about their god, and to insist that he could easily vanquish all the other gods put together.
These gods have been manufactured after numberless models, and according to the most grotesque fashions. Some have a thousand arms, some a hundred heads, some are adorned with necklaces of living snakes, some are armed with clubs, some with sword and shield, some with bucklers, and some have wings as a cherub; some were invisible, some would show themselves entire, and some would only show their backs; some were jealous, some were foolish, some turned themselves into men, some into swans, some into bulls, some into doves, and some into Holy Ghosts, and made love to the beautiful daughters of men. Some were married—all ought to have been—and some were considered as old bachelors from all eternity. Some had children, and the children were turned into gods and worshiped as their fathers had been. Most of these gods were revengeful, savage, lustful, and ignorant. As they generally depended upon their priests for information, their ignorance can hardly excite our astonishment.
These gods did not even know the shape of the worlds they had created, but supposed them perfectly flat Some thought the day could be lengthened by stopping the sun, that the blowing of horns could throw down the walls of a city, and all knew so little of the real nature of the people they had created, that they commanded the people to love them. Some were so ignorant as to suppose that man could believe just as he might desire, or as they might command, and that to be governed by observation, reason, and experience was a most foul and damning sin. None of these gods could give a true account of the creation of this little earth. All were wofully deficient in geology and astronomy. As a rule, they were most miserable legislators, and as executives, they were far inferior to the average of American presidents.
From Thom Hartmann
In recent days, President Barack Obama and much of the Democratic establishment have doubled down in support of the TPP, especially in light of Donald Trump’s measured speech yesterday about his plan to cut taxes and renegotiate America’s trade deals.
But it’s time to get something straight, this isn’t a partisan issue.
So-called free trade is bad for the American middle class, and it has been ever since Ronald Reagan, the Republican savior himself, declared that “Almost all responsible economist, … are unanimous. They agree that free and fair trade brings growth and opportunity and creates jobs. And they warn that high trade barriers, what is often called protectionism, undermines economic growth and destroys jobs. I don’t call it protectionism; I call it destructionism.”.
It’s been just over 30 years since Reagan proclaimed that, and every president since then has followed the religious belief that so-called “free trade” will save us all. And 30 years later, it’s pretty clear that Reagan was dead wrong about trade, and so are the Democrats today who are saying the same thing.
The fact is, sweeping trade deals like NAFTA, the TPP, and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership only benefit the CEOs of the corporations that are at the negotiating table. Democratic proponents of so-called free trade make it seem like the options are either antiquated tariff-based protectionism or forward-thinking globalist “free trade” deals.
But Democrats have historically been the party that opposes these sort of sweeping corporate-managed trade deals and supports the kind of tariff based, or VAT tax based, trade that made America the most powerful manufacturing powerhouse that the world had ever seen. The truth is, the only way that countries can really benefit through trade is if the two countries have different resources or different specialties, what economist David Ricardo called “comparative advantage”.
For example, the soils in France are well-suited for growing grapes for wine, and the soils in Scotland are better for growing barley and wheat. By applying human labor to fields and grapes and grains, both countries would have used their comparative advantage, their soil and climate, to produce a product to trade with that benefits citizens of both nations. Everybody in both countries can eat bread with their wine.
But what happens if France starts growing wheat in a big way, in addition to making wine? What happens if they can grow it cheaper than Scotland? In a ‘free trade” scenario, that would lead to Scottish farmers getting wiped out by French wheat exports, which could then lead to hungry, poor Scots fleeing Scotland for the relatively more prosperous France, producing a challenge for both nations.
From Michael Moore
Over the past few days, a number of polls have come out showing Hillary Clinton leading Donald Trump nationally by double digits, including in blue collar states like Michigan (10%) and Pennsylvania (11%). If you are a Clinton supporter and have felt a sense of relief when you saw these numbers, your shoulders suddenly relaxing and an audible “phew” coming from your mouth, if you got excited that your belief system was now reassured that there was no chance your fellow Americans will vote for a narcissistic misogynist, then you just became part of the problem — and why Donald J. Trump could actually win on November 8th.
Please do not think for a second this election is over or in the bag. There are three long months to go. If you think that all we have to do is just let Trump keep shooting himself in the head – that “Trump will beat Trump” and the rest of us just have to sit back and watch with glee – well, you are playing with fire. And you’re looking for a way to get out of doing any work. Clearly you’ve forgotten this election is not about whether there are more people “for” Hillary or Trump. Of course there are more people for Hillary! She will lead in the opinion polls from now until Election Day.
AND IT DOESN’T MATTER.
Because this is not a popularity contest decided by polls (or in this year’s edition, a contest over who you dislike the least). As I’ve said, if people could vote from their sofa via their Xbox or remote control, Hillary would win in a landslide. But this election is only about who SHOWS UP to the VOTING BOOTH on November 8th (or to early voting or by absentee ballot). The election this year is not being held as usual on the first Tuesday of November; it’s happening in the second week of the month, so if you live in the top half of the country, that means a greater chance for snow or icy rain — and that means a lower turnout. A lower turnout helps Trump.
Over the last year there has been a recurrent refrain about the seeming bromance between Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. More seriously, but relatedly, many believe Trump is an admirer and would-be emulator of Putin’s increasingly autocratic and illiberal rule. But there’s quite a bit more to the story. At a minimum, Trump appears to have a deep financial dependence on Russian money from persons close to Putin. And this is matched to a conspicuous solicitousness to Russian foreign policy interests where they come into conflict with US policies which go back decades through administrations of both parties. There is also something between a non-trivial and a substantial amount of evidence suggesting Putin-backed financial support for Trump or a non-tacit alliance between the two men.
Let me start by saying I’m no Russia hawk. I have long been skeptical of US efforts to extend security guarantees to countries within what the Russians consider their ‘near abroad’ or extend such guarantees and police Russian interactions with new states which for centuries were part of either the Russian Empire or the USSR. This isn’t a matter of indifference to these countries. It is based on my belief in seriously thinking through the potential costs of such policies. In the case of the Baltics, those countries are now part of NATO. Security commitments have been made which absolutely must be kept. But there are many other areas where such commitments have not been made. My point in raising this is that I do not come to this question or these policies as someone looking for confrontation or cold relations with Russia.
Let’s start with the basic facts. There is a lot of Russian money flowing into Trump’s coffers and he is conspicuously solicitous of Russian foreign policy priorities.
I’ll list off some facts.
From Obama to Black Lives Matter, everyone is talking about structural racism—something Trump’s supporters don’t want to own.
Despite the talk of “Make America Safe Again” at the Republican National Convention, the real message in Cleveland was that Obama is to blame for growing racial divisions that are weakening America.
Darryl Glenn, Republican candidate for Senate in Colorado, called Obama “the divider-in-chief” and said the country is “more racially divided today than before he ran.” House Speaker Paul Ryan castigated “the other party” for “always playing one group against the other as if group identity were everything.” Texas Rep. Michael McCaul alleged, “Obama and Hillary apologized for America and allowed jihadists to spread like wildfire.” Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions rebuked Obama for capitulating to lawlessness in not cracking down on undocumented immigration.
In accepting the Republican presidential nomination, Donald Trump himself emphasized this theme: “The irresponsible rhetoric of our president, who has used the pulpit of the presidency to divide us by race and color, has made America a more dangerous environment for everyone.”
The Obama era has changed how many Americans look at race.
These claims are dubious at best. But the Republican Party exists in an elaborate fantasy land ruled by group hatred and fear of the other. It wants to lay on Obama’s doorstep centuries of racism, as well as the deteriorating race relations of late. In effect, the right blames Obama for the results of its own racist arguments, which picked up steam in the 2008 election when they slammed him as a Muslim “palling around with terrorists.”
From Neil Carter
Godless In Dixie
Here on the eve of the start of the Republican National Convention, I’ve finally turned a corner in my understanding of what Donald J. Trump is up to. I know a ton of my friends have been saying this for months, but I’ve been withholding judgment because it seemed to me that a megalomaniac driven by ego as much as the short-fingered vulgarian from Queens would actually want to occupy the highest office in the land. Surely a person as hungry for power and attention as Trump would want to be Commander-in-Chief, right?
No, I really don’t think so. I’ve changed my mind. I don’t think Trump wants to be president. I think U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg hit the nail on the head last week when she remarked:
He is a faker…He has no consistency about him. He says whatever comes into his head at the moment. He really has an ego.
How has he gotten away with not turning over his tax returns? The press seems to be very gentle with him on that.
She later said she regretted speaking her mind in the middle of an election season, but I cannot help but agree with her diagnosis. Trump is faking his way all the way to November.
I think he wants to win the election, but I’m not sure he has any intention of actually serving as president. Let me explain what I mean, and what finally made things click for me.
Of course most of you will answer “No way!”, and I do, too, but accommodationists and science-friendly believers make this argument often. Here are a few specimens:
“. . . the very notion of physical law is a theological one in the first place, a fact that makes many scientists squirm. Isaac Newton first got the idea of absolute, universal, perfect, immutable laws from the Christian doctrine that God created the world and ordered it in a rational way. Christians envisage God as upholding the natural order from beyond the universe, while physicists think of their laws as inhabiting an abstract transcendent realm of perfect mathematical relationships.”—Paul Davies, “Taking Science on Faith“, New York Times.
“Moral laws are promulgated by God for free creatures, who have it in their power to obey or disobey. The laws of nature, on the other hand, are promulgated for the inanimate world of matter; physical objects don’t get to decide to obey, say, Newton’s law of gravity. In each case, however, we have the setting forth or promulgation of divine rule for a certain domain of application. It is important to see that our notion of the laws of nature, crucial for contemporary science, has this origin in Christian theism.” —Alvin Plantinga, Where the Conflict Really Lies, p. 276
“Indeed, a distinctive feature of the Scientific Revolution is that, unlike other scientific programmes and cultures, it is driven, often explicitly, by religious considerations: Christianity set the agenda for natural philosophy in many respects and projected it forward in a way quite different from that of any scientific culture. Moreover, when the standing of religion as a source of knowledge about the world, and cognitive values generally, came to be threatened, it was not science that posed the threat but history.” —S. Graukoger, The Emergence of a Modern Scientific Culture, p. 3
“faith in the possibility of science, generated antecdently to the development of modern scientific theory, is an unconscious derivative from medieval theology.” —Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, p. 19.
“Recent scholarship, most of it conducted by secular academics, has established that religious belief was entirely compatible with scientific progress, even encouraging it in many cases.”—K. Giberson and F. Collins, The Language of Science and Faith
Inevitably accompanying these claims is the assertion that because many early scientists (e.g., Newton, Galileo, Copernicus, and Maxwell) were Christians, Christianity must claim some credit for science. Other faiths too take credit; it’s common for accommodationist Muslims to point out that the real scientific achievements of Islam, coupled with bogus exegesis of the Qur’an, show that Islam was important in encouraging science.
From Media Lens
Last week, seven years after the Iraq Inquiry was set up, Sir John Chilcot finally delivered his long-awaited report. Although it stopped short of declaring the Iraq war illegal, and although it failed to examine the real motives for war, the report was not quite the whitewash that had been feared by peace campaigners.
Lindsey German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, gave a succinct summary of the Chilcot report, listing four of the main findings (each followed by our own comment):
1. There was no imminent threat to Britain from Saddam Hussein, so war in March 2003 was unnecessary.
In reality: utterly devastated by war, bombing and 12 years of sanctions, Iraq posed no threat whatsoever towards Britain or the US. The idea that there was any kind of threat from this broken, impoverished country was simply a lie; a propaganda fabrication by warmongering cynics and corporate hangers-on eager for a piece of the pie.
2. The existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq was presented with a certainty that was not justified. It was never ‘beyond doubt’ that the weapons existed. None have been found in the subsequent 13 years.
In reality: it was completely clear, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the whole ‘weapons of mass destruction’ issue was a propaganda fabrication; a way of suggesting a ‘threat’ where none existed. Iraq only ever possessed battlefield biological and chemical weapons that were of no conceivable threat to the West. Iraq didn’t even use them when the West attacked the country in 1991. Not only that, but UN weapons inspectors had overseen the near-complete destruction of even these tinpot devices between 1991-1998; only ‘sludge’ remained: a known fact. Iraq was of no more threat to the West in 2002-2003 than Thailand or Iceland; that is all that needs to be said. Almost everything else is superfluous: cynical propaganda which was, and is, manipulated by violent Western leaderships that think nothing of smashing other countries to bits for whatever reason they declare ‘necessary’.
‘The War You Don’t See’ (2011) is a powerful and timely investigation into the media’s role in war, tracing the history of ’embedded’ and independent reporting from the carnage of World War One to the destruction of Hiroshima, and from the invasion of Vietnam to the current war in Afghanistan and disaster in Iraq. As weapons and propaganda become even more sophisticated, the nature of war is developing into an ‘electronic battlefield’ in which journalists play a key role, and civilians are the victims. But who is the real enemy?
John Pilger says in the film: “We journalists… have to be brave enough to defy those who seek our collusion in selling their latest bloody adventure in someone else’s country… That means always challenging the official story, however patriotic that story may appear, however seductive and insidious it is. For propaganda relies on us in the media to aim its deceptions not at a far away country but at you at home… In this age of endless imperial war, the lives of countless men, women and children depend on the truth or their blood is on us… Those whose job it is to keep the record straight ought to be the voice of people, not power.”
[We were led into yet another illegal war by 2 devout Christians: Blair and Bush… ds]
“Tony Blair broke politics,” wrote The Guardian reporter Anne Perkins after the long-awaited Chilcot Report on the Iraq War was released Wednesday.
The report is more than 6,000 pages, contains more than 2.5 million words, cost 10 million pounds ($12.9 million) and took seven years to write and publish. The investigation was led by Sir John Chilcot, who introduced the report Wednesday by saying that he and his team concluded that the U.K. decided to go to war before peaceful options were “exhausted” and that the information surrounding Saddam Hussein’s alleged possession of weapons of mass destruction was “presented with a certainty that was not justified.”
The Guardian summarized some of the report’s most important points in the following list:
Six things we can learn from Northern Italy’s Emilia Romagna region, where cooperatives drive the economy.
Picture a day like this: You wake up and head to your job at a small company you own and manage together with your fellow workers, doing high-tech, advanced manufacturing that’s too specialized for bigger factories. For lunch, you swing by a restaurant owned by another worker cooperative, this one a national-scale firm that serves millions of customers each year. Back at work, you’ve got a meeting with a local agricultural co-op that’s contracted your company to help design some more efficient processing material for the food they produce and export across the world. Afterward, you meet up with your partner, who works in a social cooperative jointly owned by caregivers and the elders who live and receive care there. The two of you swing by the local grocery store—part of a national chain owned by its millions of customers—and pick up a bottle of co-op-produced wine. This is a day in the life of the cooperative economy in Northern Italy’s Emilia Romagna region.
Emilia Romagna, a region with nearly 4.5 million people whose capital is the medieval university city of Bologna, has one of the densest cooperative economies in the world. About two out of every three inhabitants are co-op members, together producing around 30 percent of the region’s GDP.
Doing business through co-ops is one of the clearest ways to democratize our economic institutions. But as anyone who has developed or worked in a cooperative will tell you, co-ops aren’t magic. Building institutions that go against the grain of corporate capitalism while managing to survive in the markets it creates is not easy to pull off. There’s plenty of room to fail, and even more room to do better. While cooperatives in the United States claim about 130 million memberships, these are by and large within consumer- and producer-owned co-ops, not cooperative workplaces. Only around 7,000 people nationwide are part of worker co-ops.
Impressive argumentation while driving…
“If I could conceive that the general government might ever be so administered as to render the liberty of conscience insecure, I beg you will be persuaded, that no one would be more zealous than myself to establish effectual barriers against the horrors of spiritual tyranny, and every species of religious persecution.”
– George Washington, letter to the United Baptist Chamber of Virginia (1789)
“Question with boldness even the existence of a God; because, if there be one, he must more approve of the homage of reason, than that of blindfolded fear.”
– Thomas Jefferson, letter to Peter Carr (1787)
“In regard to religion, mutual toleration in the different professions thereof is what all good and candid minds in all ages have ever practiced, and both by precept and example inculcated on mankind.”
– Samuel Adams, The Rights of the Colonists (1771)
“Persecution is not an original feature in any religion; but it is always the strongly marked feature of all religions established by law. Take away the law-establishment, and every religion re-assumes its original benignity.”
– Thomas Paine, The Rights of Man (1791)
“Congress has no power to make any religious establishments.”
– Roger Sherman, Congress (1789)
“The way to see by faith is to shut the eye of reason.”
– Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanack (1758)
“I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people build a wall of separation between Church & State.”
– Thomas Jefferson, letter to the Danbury Baptists (1802)
“To argue with a man who has renounced the use of reason is like administering medicine to the dead.”
– Thomas Paine, The American Crisis No. V (1776)
Note: You can read Paine’s whole pamphlet, where he expresses his atheistic beliefs, here.
“Our civil rights have no dependence on our religious opinions, any more than our opinions in physics or geometry.”
– Thomas Jefferson, A Bill for Establishing Religious Freedom (1779)
“Christian establishments tend to great ignorance and corruption, all of which facilitate the execution of mischievous projects.”
– James Madison, letter to William Bradford, Jr. (1774)
“There is nothing which can better deserve our patronage than the promotion of science and literature. Knowledge is in every country the surest basis of public happiness.”
– George Washington, address to Congress (1790)
“During almost fifteen centuries has the legal establishment of Christianity been on trial. What has been its fruits? More or less, in all places, pride and indolence in the clergy; ignorance and servility in the laity; in both, superstition, bigotry and persecution.”
– James Madison, General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia (1785)
From Jeff Cox
Organic Food Guy
You’ll never guess who’s selling out your right to mandatory GMO labeling.
According to Food Democracy Now! we’re being betrayed in Washington D.C. by a group of donation-hungry Senators and a handful of corrupt organic corporations that have just brokered an outrageous deal behind our backs in an effort to kill mandatory GMO labeling and make sure that Vermont’s first-in-the-nation GMO labeling bill never takes effect this Friday.
Monsanto and Whole Foods’ new fake labeling bill (sometimes called the Monsanto Dream Act or the DARK Act) would not only preempt Vermont’s bill from taking effect this week, but all provisions of the bill are optional. The language is so poorly written that it would not include 85 percent of the current GMOs on the market. Additionally, the deal brokered by Senators Stabenow (D-MI) and Roberts (R-KS) would not provide any penalties for non-compliance, so cannot even be inforced if these companies refuse to label!
Besides Monsanto and Whole Foods, other companies behind the bill include DuPont, Stonyfield Farms, General Mills, Organic Valley, and Smucker’s.
In the past week, the American GMO labeling movement has been rocked by the most outrageous betrayal imaginable. While you and your friends have been fighting for mandatory GMO labeling, the giant corporate organic companies that are owned by parent conventional food companies have climbed into bed with Monsanto. According to a Politico story that came out last week, Whole Foods CEO Walter Robb joined his friends at Stonyfield, Smucker’s, and Organic Valley in selling out the American food movement.
Robb says it’s an “incredible thing” that senators came together and compromised during a dysfunctional time. He said he hopes that lawmakers can soon move on to other things. Incredulously, he went on to claim that “we need to…talk about much bigger issues.”
From George Monbiot
Roots in the Rubble
The decision to leave the EU is a disaster, but also a great opportunity for renewal
Were this vote to be annulled (it won’t be), the result would be a full-scale class and culture war, riots and perhaps worse, pitching middle class progressives against those on whose behalf they’ve claimed to speak, permanently alienating people who have spent their lives feeling voiceless and powerless.
Yes, the Brexit vote has empowered the most gruesome collection of schemers, misfits, liars, extremists and puppets British politics has produced in the modern era. It threatens to invoke a new age of demagoguery, a threat sharpened by the thought that if this can happen, so can Donald Trump. It has provoked a resurgence of racism and an economic crisis whose dimensions remain unknown. It jeopardises the living world, the NHS, peace in Ireland and the rest of the European Union. It promotes what the billionaire Peter Hargreaves gleefully anticipated as “fantastic insecurity”.
But we’re stuck with it. There isn’t another option, unless you favour the years of limbo and chaos that would ensue from a continued failure to trigger Article 50. It’s not just that we have no choice but to accept the result. We should embrace it and make of it what we can.