Rudderless and without a compass, the American ship of state continues to drift, guns blazing.

Read. This. Article.

The hate toward the Muslim community was intense amongst us. To us they were a plethora of derogatory names that made them seem like sub-human beings, unworthy to walk amongst us. They were the epitome of evil, and they needed to be eradicated from our world if we ever wished to live peacefully again.

“They,” “Them,” “Us,” these words, these collectivist ideals penetrated deep into our culture, and when these ideas climaxed we no longer saw them as human beings. They became less.

The tipping point, for me, came while I was in Afghanistan interacting with “Them”: the evil doers. I saw for myself what evil looked like, and the most disturbing realization was that I did not see the evil in the people of Afghanistan, but in the mirror.

I learned that “these people” were not evil, and they were not a threat to my family and friends back home. I learned that they were human beings just like me: they loved their families and busted their backs every day to put food on the table. I learned that they were more peaceful than the American people wanted to believe. I learned that the American military was occupying their homes and destroying their crops and livelihoods. I learned that they had absolutely nothing to do with what had happened 8,000 miles away and nine years prior.

The moment a man enlists in the United States armed forces, his chances of being sexually assaulted increase by a factor of ten. Women, of course, are much more likely to be victims of military sexual trauma (MST), but far fewer of them enlist. In fact, more military men are assaulted than women—nearly 14,000 in 2012 alone [38 per day]. Prior to the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2011, male-on-male-rape victims could actually be discharged for having engaged in homosexual conduct. That’s no longer the case—but the numbers show that men are still afraid to report being sexually assaulted.

Military culture is built upon a tenuous balance of aggression and obedience. The potential for sexual violence exists whenever there is too much of either. New recruits, stripped of their free will, cannot question authority. A certain kind of officer demands sex from underlings in the same way he demands they pick up his laundry. A certain kind of recruit rapes his peer in a sick mimicry of the power structure: I own you totally. "One of the myths is that the perpetrators identify as gay, which is by and large not the case," says James Asbrand, a psychologist with the Salt Lake City VA’s PTSD clinical team. "It’s not about the sex. It’s about power and control."

Just a reminder: If Hillary Clinton is elected in 2016, by the end of her first term in 2021, just three families (the Bushes, Clintons, and Obamas) will have controlled the White House for 32 years.

c4ss:

An anonymous group of Gazan students wrote this in 2011. It sadly remains as relevant today as before.
 
"Fuck Hamas. Fuck Israel. Fuck Fatah. Fuck UN. Fuck UNWRA. Fuck USA! We, the youth in Gaza, are so fed up with Israel, Hamas, the occupation, the violations of human rights and the indifference of the international community!
 
We want to scream and break this wall of silence, injustice and indifference like the Israeli F16s breaking the wall of sound; scream with all the power in our souls in order to release this immense frustration that consumes us because of this fucking situation we live in…
 
We are sick of being caught in this political struggle; sick of coal-dark nights with airplanes circling above our homes; sick of innocent farmers getting shot in the buffer zone because they are taking care of their lands; sick of bearded guys walking around with their guns abusing their power, beating up or incarcerating young people demonstrating for what they believe in; sick of the wall of shame that separates us from the rest of our country and keeps us imprisoned in a stamp-sized piece of land; sick of being portrayed as terrorists, home-made fanatics with explosives in our pockets and evil in our eyes; sick of the indifference we meet from the international community, the so-called experts in expressing concerns and drafting resolutions but cowards in enforcing anything they agree on; we are sick and tired of living a shitty life, being kept in jail by Israel, beaten up by Hamas and completely ignored by the rest of the world.
 
There is a revolution growing inside of us, an immense dissatisfaction and frustration that will destroy us unless we find a way of canalising this energy into something that can challenge the status quo and give us some kind of hope.
 
We barely survived the Operation Cast Lead, where Israel very effectively bombed the shit out of us, destroying thousands of homes and even more lives and dreams. During the war we got the unmistakable feeling that Israel wanted to erase us from the face of the Earth. During the last years, Hamas has been doing all they can to control our thoughts, behaviour and aspirations. Here in Gaza we are scared of being incarcerated, interrogated, hit, tortured, bombed, killed. We cannot move as we want, say what we want, do what we want.

ENOUGH! Enough pain, enough tears, enough suffering, enough control, limitations, unjust justifications, terror, torture, excuses, bombings, sleepless nights, dead civilians, black memories, bleak future, heart-aching present, disturbed politics, fanatic politicians, religious bullshit, enough incarceration! WE SAY STOP! This is not the future we want! We want to be free. We want to be able to live a normal life. We want peace. Is that too much to ask?” …

Radley Balko on the Militarization of America’s Police Force: VICE Meets

libertymaniacs:

 

In terms of whether parental aggression (spanking) decreases aggression in the child, the answer is no. In fact, spanking tends to increase child aggression. “Spanking predicted increases in children’s aggression over and above initial levels [of aggressive behavior]” and “in none of these longitudinal studies did spanking predict reductions in children’s aggression over time” (p. 134). Instead, spanking predicted increases in children’s aggression.