America

Buried in History…?

by mgopin on February 5, 2015 · 0 comments

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“Onlookers sometimes fired rifles and handguns hundreds of times into the corpse while people cheered and children played during the festivities. Pieces of the corpse were taken by onlookers as souvenirs of the event [5]. Such was the case when James Irwin was lynched on January 31, 1930. Irwin was accused of the murder of a white girl in the town of Ocilla, Georgia. Taken into custody by a rampaging mob, his fingers and toes were cut off, his teeth pulled out by pliers and finally he was castrated. It still wasn’t enough. Irwin was then burned alive in front of hundreds of onlookers (Brundage, p. 42). No one was ever punished for this barbaric killing. Black victims were hacked to death, dragged behind cars [6], burned, beaten, whipped, sometimes shot thousands of times, mutilated; the savagery was astonishing. How could ordinary people participate in such brutality?”

So these

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http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/06/15/us-iraq-usa-security-idUSKBN0EQ0UH20140615

Graham last week said American air strikes in Iraq will be needed to halt the advance of militants.

His comments about Iran broach an even more sensitive topic – putting the United States in potential collaboration with a country it suspects of developing nuclear weapons and supporting its own militant groups in places like Lebanon.

Iranian officials, closely allied with Maliki and watchful over the Shi’ite population centered in southern Iraq, have also been alarmed at the sudden seizure of territory by the ISIL.

 

The logic of intending to bomb a country like Iran in one part of the year, and then contemplate an alliance in the next year to defend Baghdad really needs to be defined and exposed. On one level, it is perfectly reasonable. if a year ago, allies Israel and Saudi Arabia were convincing us that Iran is the primary mortal threat, then we decide to …

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Prejudice: Is It So Bad?

by mgopin on April 23, 2014 · 0 comments

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In this hysterical video, and this great follow-up video, the actors bring to light how quick we are, even when seeming to be liberal, to put people into entire categories of their interests based on the shape of their eyes or color of skin. Then again, the second video makes fun of the first and calls into question how mean the video is to the white guy. Lots of amusing mixed messages here that I urge you to study here. You will certainly see  yourself in one form or the other.

In many ways, the fun poked in this video could only make sense in a country of immigrants like America. It is still after all a grand experiment in putting dozens of ancestries together and saying, ‘here, make a coexisting democracy’. The experiment is still an awesome one and has implications for the future of a planet …

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Rational Americans are surprised that no one sees the danger of underestimating domestic right-wing terrorism by the general public. In this recent article, CNN rightly documents why this is so illogical and dangerous, why domestic terrorism is a far more significant threat. Yet no one is locking down major cities like Boston when such domestic terrorist events occur.

The answer to why Americans are like this is as simple as it is dangerous. We are always felled by the Devil we know, because he is one of us, and we are taught from childhood to trust ‘us’ and fear ‘them’. Depending on who has raised you, the categories of ‘them’ and ‘us’ will change. But everyone, as a normal part of human maturation, has an ‘us’ and a ‘them’, a safe world and a world that is unknown and possibly dangerous. But most domestic violence, most murder, will be by …

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I was about to publish the piece below one day ago. It was based on a press conference of the Iranian Foreign Ministry on Sunday, July 21, 2013. But just two days later, the same Foreign Ministry spokesperson contradicted his own statement that America had been invited to the inauguration. This is a highly unusual development that I will analyze below, and the story may still be unfolding. But first read this piece:

 

Return the Gesture: Invite President Rowhani of Iran to the White House 

Hasan RowhaniThe Foreign Ministry of Iran has invited the European Union and the United States
to attend the inauguration of President Rowhani on August 4. The evidence of history suggests that the smart thing for the United States to do is seize the moment and quickly return the friendly gesture. The White House should invite President Rowhani to the White House on September 21, the …

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Please read this amazing proclamation from 1870 by an amazing American woman, Julie Howe. I grew up with the Battle Hymn of the Republic ringing in my ears, played on so many patriotic occasions, and so very violent. You come to define patriotism and your national spirit by a very few cultural artifacts that are most familiar to you. But so often, digging deeper into history, it turns out that those selections had an agenda at the hands of someone who wanted to define a  country in one way, with one spirit, in this case a very militant spirit. I lost that sense of patriotism due to the bad taste that Vietnam and the Cold War left in my young mouth. But I did not have to lose patriotism, I just had to contest its formulation exclusively with ante bellum Julia Howe, and not the whole Julie Howe. We need …

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THE BOSTON EFFECT AND THE AGE OF OBAMA

by mgopin on April 21, 2013 · 8 comments

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Some observers have claimed that terror won the day in Boston because it managed to shut down an entire modern city of the United States. This is a misreading of the entire episode from beginning to end, and a misreading of the age and legacy of President Barack Obama. Let me digress from Boston to what I am calling the Age of Obama and then return to the Boston terror episode.

Although President Obama has proven to be weak in confronting the worst corruptions of the war on terror, such as Guantanamo, and a slew of illiberal laws in place, the fact is that from the beginning of his aspiration to the presidency he made it clear that war reduction was his priority, and he has followed through on that in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The most important shift he has made, however, from the Age of Bush is to replace …

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Romney’s Bain Capital invested in companies that moved jobs overseas – The Washington Post.

The reports demonstrating Bain and Romney’s deep involvement in aiding the steady demise of American jobs for poor people by shipping them overseas and making enormous profits is a tale in American conflict generation. A society first and foremost must be a based on a social contract between in its richest and poorest citizens that they will all do their share for the increased prosperity and welfare of the society. This creates social harmony, this unifies and it is the basis of the peaceful vision of capitalism that Adam Smith had which required a moral sense, intuitions of empathy and compassion that accompanied the profit motive.

But this is nowhere to be found in the Wall Street of today which has no comprehension of Adam Smith’s Wealth of Nations. Bain and Romney symbolize this world …

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From the explosion of Osama Bin Laden into our consciousness on that terrible day in 2001, all the way to his death, feels like a frame of existence, a distinct period of our history and fate as an American community. There have been many deadly wars since then that America has participated in or supported. As an American Jew and a veteran peacebuilder in the Middle East, I also feel like this decade has been a whirlwind of violence, from Iraq to Lebanon to Gaza, and now to Arab countries in which I had worked, especially Syria where I put my heart and soul.

Every war, every massive act of violence, always makes me reflect anew on the origins and nature of human violence, and on its opposites, empathy, compassion, and love. We humans have made so many efforts through the millennia to create one political arrangement after another in …

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He was racing in a Humvee with four other soldiers, having arrived there just days before, 19 years old. The day he got there his best friend was shot in the head, boom, gone in an instant. Now he was racing along this road when a missile directly hit the cab of the vehicle. One guy’s legs were gone and another was killed right away, and the missile flew right by his head, just missing him. He seemed uninjured, but he was, and now he is back in Boston.

It was a sunny August afternoon in Boston as I leaped into a cab. I had just finished attending a conference of great religious educators at Boston University, and I was feeling very good about my presentation. I thought it was a home run because I really connected with the message and the people.

The 50-something Irish cab driver, whose presence …

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