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It Takes a Life Cult to Beat a Death Cult

Civilization and Barbarism

 
We have to address the political grievances terrorists exploit.
                 - Barack Obama
 
All week, the bully-in-chief of cable news, Bill O’Reilly, has been passionately recruiting American clergy of all ethnic and supernatural inclinations to preach from their pulpits this weekend for US troops to lead what he sees as a holy war declared by ISIS. "The problem is Islamic fanatics who want to kill Christians and Jews." The goat that gives him his vein-popping urgency is President Barack Obama who is determined to never make a reference to religion in his call for international propaganda war against the ISIS phenomenon -- to accompany his current bombing campaign and any other military action he may lead.

While Mr. Obama is guilty of a host of national security state sins and is not without blood on his hands, the president’s rhetoric is smart when he emphasizes that ISIS is a “death cult” with incredible influence that should be engaged by the forces of civilization. The problem is the fine rhetoric seldom translates into action. Policy always falls back on our runaway national security state and its deep terror of losing some aspect of its power and self-image of exceptionalism.

Bill O'Reilly takes up holy war with ISISBill O'Reilly takes up holy war with ISIS
 

The question that needs to be asked -- and answered forthrightly and courageously for the American people -- is why ISIS is so successful all of a sudden in the geographic arc made up of the Middle East, Southwest Asia and North Africa. Ordinary Americans should realize this is a serious question that has less to do with messiahs and theological beliefs about the afterlife than it has to do with frustrated human aspirations and the power of a death cult. It's true that comforting afterlife fantasies certainly constitute fuel for a death cult; in fact, it's the religious component that makes them that much more deadly and frightening.

What we’re talking about is ideas that coalesce as mobilizing thought in the mass human mind. Think of a school of fish or a swarm of birds moving as one. In this sense, then, what exactly is a death cult? My dictionary defines cult as “a misplaced or excessive admiration for a particular person or thing.” As for the adjective in this case, death, in line with his long 1930 essay Civilization And Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud might have defined a death cult as a group focused on a mythic and psychological obsession with Thanatos, the Greek mythic personification of death, or what he called the death instinct -- versus its counterpart, Eros, or the life instinct. The latter drive overcomes difference and pulls things together, while the former accentuates difference and tears things apart. This is how Freud put it:

I feel like I should send you a poem or something

Guest poet:

 

Something about how life or God or who ever is behind the curtain of
all things pulling all our strings,
the strings that jerk us up out of the void and into the light and
heat and cold and make us put on
our boots and start walking and talking and eating cornflakes for
breakfast and slaps us around and
dumps us in the middle of deep dark holes of despair and desperation
where monsters come out of the night
and gobble up our happiness when we aren't looking and then throws us
in the ocean of self doubt and confusion that dries up the
next minute and leaves us spread out like dead butterflies on the
specimen table of alienation...
Only to have the phone ring and someone tell us that the person we
love most in the world just died
and now we have to look at the sunrise and wonder what we ever thought
was beautiful about it and if it will
ever look beautiful again. . .
And how wonderful it is that after all that happens Life or God or
who ever it is that is behind the curtain of all things pulling
our strings now Jerks up out of the void the most incredible being
that says, "Look at me! I'm going to start it all over again.
And I'm so beautiful none of what has come before me matters a flea's
butt because I bring with me the promise that
life can be different and nobody can deny that who looks at my tiny
fingers or by big bright eyes and the way I wiggle my toes
at the cosmos because I'm alive and that's all that matters and if
there's anything
at all close to pure being it's me!”
 
 
  -- Frank Asch
 
 
This poem was offered to ThisCantBeHappening! by Frank Asch, the noted children's book author/illustrator. He lives in Hawaii. (It is copyrighted may not be reprinted without permission of the author.)

Grinding my ax

new poem

 

My ax is grinding
All by itself!
I can hear it giving itself to the grinding wheel
Every day when I wake up,
Most nights when I go to bed.
 
I am just grinding it.
 
What would I use it for?
To cut down my enemies to size?
To swing against the foundations of the NSA?
To destroy the diabolical machinery
That is excavating the tarsands in Alberta?
To obliterate all the missiles and missile silos
In the US and Russia and China?
To chop through all the walls that Israel has built
Over the years of its morally bankrupt occupation?
To use the butt-end to smash through
The prejudice and thickening armor
That our politicians weld
Around their hearts and minds?
To slice through the artery
That sluices our tax dollars into the military machine?
To sever my connection with all of the dysfunction
Of my paranoid, backwards nation?
Or just to chop through the gate
That keeps the pony of my spirit
Pastured where the grass has long since died?
 
 
   -- Gary Lindorff

Sea Change In US-Cuba Relations Makes Waves Deep In Desert

US Backed Repression

 

Tinduf, Algeria -- News about the historic change of relations between the United States and Cuba triggered cheers across the five Sahrawi refugee camps located near this Sahara Desert city located 1,100-miles southwest of Algeria’s capital of Algiers on the Mediterranean Sea.

That news elevated hopes among many Sahrawi that the major changes in relations between the U.S. and its longtime, bitter enemy Cuba would lead to the U.S. pushing for changes with its longtime ally – Morocco.

Morocco is the country that has illegally occupied the Western Sahara, the ancestral homeland of the Sahrawi, since a 1975 invasion. Morocco controls 80+ percent of the Western Sahara, including its mineral rich inland region and coastal fisheries that generate billions of dollars in exports annually -– money that helps fund Morocco’s expensive occupation.

Since 1991, when Morocco and the Polisario Front (which represents the Sahrawi) ended a 16-year long war over Morocco’s invasion, America's major ally in North Africa has repeatedly reneged on its agreement with the United Nations to hold a voter referendum in the Western Sahara where residents would decide their future through a democratic vote.

"We woke up very happy with the historical announcement of President Obama establishing new relations with Cuba. We hope that Mr. Obama will take another historic position and enforce international law on the Western Sahara. We are tired of waiting," Adda Ibrahim said.

Ibrahim is the governor of Smara, the largest of the five Sahrawi refugee camps surrounding Tindof. Over 160,000 Sahrawi live in those camps, many ever since they fled Morocco's 1975 invasion. Other camp residents were forced to flee over the years from Morocco's brutal occupation of the Western Sahara. All camp residents live in bleak conditions on barren desert land where summer temperatures frequently hit 130 degrees.

Sahrawi refugee camp in Algeria, and Morocco's not-so-great wall fencing of the Polisario-controlled zone in Western SaharaSahrawi refugee camp in Algeria, and Morocco's not-so-great wall fencing of the Polisario-controlled zone in Western Sahara
 

'Gagged' by the Government: a Police State Story

I couldn't tell you about it and couldn't tell you why

 

For the past three months, I and other leaders of the organization May First/People Link have been under a federal subpoena to provide information we don't have. During that time, we have also been forbidden by a federal court "gag order" to tell anyone about that subpoena, although we had already announced it and commented on it before the order was sent. Finally, we were forbidden from telling anyone about the gag order itself.

It all sounds comical but any laughter would end if we violated that "gag order," because that would be a felony and we could face prison sentences and huge fines.

We were silenced by our own government in a case we had nothing to do with and over information we didn't have...and we couldn't tell anyone about any of it.

The flag they should be flying!The flag they should be flying!
 

The court order has now expired as of December 18 and I am now free to talk about it.

Charles M. 'Chuck' Young (1951-2014)

The ThisCantBeHappening! news collective loses a founding member

 

The ThisCantBeHappening! collective has lost a friend and a perceptive and peerlessly witty analyst of the American political and cultural scene, while Rock& Roll has lost its leading critic. Charles M. Young (Chuck to his friends), has died, following a year and a half of battling an aggressive brain tumor.

When Dave Lindorff decided back in the Spring of 2010, to convert his thiscantbehappening.net blog into a collectively-owned and collectively-run news site, he immediately contacted three friends and journalistic colleagues--John Grant, Linn Washington, Jr. and Chuck Young. All three immediately jumped for the idea. But Chuck's response was classic Young. His lip curling up in a sign that cued a listener that he was about to crack a joke, he said, "Wait, let me get this straight: a newspaper that has no editor? It sounds like a dream come true! Sign me up!"

Charles M. 'Chuck' Young, Presente!Charles M. 'Chuck' Young, Presente!

 

An Interview with Charles M. Young

The latest 'ThisCantBeHappening!' Show on PRN.fm

 

Journalist Charles M. Young talks with Dave Lindorff, host of PRN.fm's new program 'This Can't Be Happening!" about the Occupy Wall Street Movement, New York's last mayor, Michael Bloomberg, the NYPD vs. the LAPD, music & politics, getting groined by Hunter Thompson and interviewing Noam Chomsky.

You can hear the podcast of Wednesday evening's show by clicking on the image below:

Hear Dave Lindorff on 'This Can't Be Happening!' every Wednesday at 5 pm Eastern Time on PRN.fm or on the web at www.PRN.fmHear Dave Lindorff on 'This Can't Be Happening!' every Wednesday at 5 pm Eastern Time on PRN.fm or on the web at www.PRN.fm

Gentle Things

Even in Los Angeles

 

            In brutish, crass, profanity-spitting L.A., in developer-ravaged $2500-a-month “elegant density” L.A., in have-and-have-not ethnically separated L.A., in get-out-of-my-way-asshole, hit-and-run texting-and-primping-while-driving L.A. . . .

            Gentle things still happen.

            She sat at the front table at Papa Cristo’s, the Greek place at Pico and Normandie in the so-called Byzantine-Latino Quarter. Across the street from St. Sofia’s Greek Orthodox Cathedral and St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church, or, more appropriately considering that masses come with mariachis, Iglesia Santo Tomas Apostol.

            “This is excellent!” she said, and, really, it was amazing she could say anything at all, let alone in a clear, commanding voice. The withered and dry autumn leaves on the sycamore trees in the neighborhood were stronger. This was, to be indelicate, a corpse that hadn’t gotten around to officially dying. Stick limbs, prune skin, sunken cheeks. Talk about frailty, thy name is woman. . .

            “Okay, Babe,” said her companion, a young guy with brown curls pulled back in a pony tail. “I’ve got you.” And he steadied her as he removed her walker, and then helped her ease into a wooden chair at one of Papa Cristo’s wobbly tables. She didn’t seem comfortable.

            “Does your butt hurt?” said her companion.

            What butt, I wondered. Nothing there but bones.

Esther Cicconi, lifetime Communist and icon of LA's left fringe, says 'hello, not goodbye'Esther Cicconi, lifetime Communist and icon of LA's left fringe, says 'hello, not goodbye'

ThisCantBeHappening! is Finally Ready for the Small Screen

Hey Kids! News that's nutritious and hardhitting, delivered right to your phone

 

Great News! After three years stuck on computer screens, ThisCantBeHappening! has been refigured to both load faster, and to be viewed on smartphone screens.

Now you don't have to wait until you are at your computer to get the latest honest take on the most important news. You can just go to your iPhone or Android phone and check us out.

If you're not a subscriber, send us your email (we have a secure list, except of course for the NSA, over which we have no control, sadly, and will never share or sell your information). You'll get an email (no attachments ever), with a link to click that will bring you straight to the latest story posted.

ThisCantBeHappening! It IS happening.
Here's our new look on smartphonesHere's our new look on smartphones

It's Time for Our Readers to Step Up and Suppport ThisCantBeHappening!

Real journalism is not free:

We are proud to announce that ThisCantBeHappening!, on the eve of its anniversary for completing three years of publication, that we have passed the 3.5 million mark of readers visiting this news site. That's a 50% increase over last year, and a sign that we are really being valued for what we are doing. It's also just a small fraction of the people who are getting our news reports, analysis and commentary, since most of our articles are picked up and run by sites like Counterpunch, Common Dreams, OpEd News, Smirking Chimp, NationofChange.org, etc. We are also linked to by many sites, from Rense.com to Antiwar.com to DissidentVoice. Add 'em all up and we're probably reaching half a million readers a month.

Make a $50 donation and get this great all-cotton T-shirt as a gift!Send us $5, or make a $50 donation and get this great all-cotton T-shirt as a gift!
 
 

The reason: where else can you find a report about how the FBI Houston Office had information about a plot by an "identified" organization that planned to use photo surveillence to tag the leaders of Occupy Houston, and then use "suppressed sniper fire" to execute them, but then did nothing about it? Where else can you learn that the Obama White House was notified by Turkish forensics experts that American 19-year-old peace activist Furkan Dogan had been murdered at point blank range by Israeli commandos in their shipboard raid of a Gaza Peace flotilla, but hid that report from the American public? Where else can you learn that the federal government paid journalists in Miami to trash five Cuban's on trial for espionage so as to help win a conviction? Where else can you get the kind of inside reporting on the Occupy Wall Street action that we had from Manhattan TCBH! journalist Chuck Young?

Okay so we know you appreciate the uniqueness of what we are doing, but what we don't understand is why ya'll don't fork over a little money to help us do better. There is a core of people who regularly pony up anywhere from $5 to $50 to support us, but it's a small group. We appreciate what they do, but our model was to have every reader send in $5 per year. That is a tiny contribution. About what you spend on three cups of coffee (one fancy coffee at Starbucks!) or half a movie. It can be made by sending cash, or a check made out to Dave Lindorff/TCBH at POB 846, Ambler, PA 19002, or by clicking on the Paypal button at the top of this page.

If even half of the roughly 100,000 people who are regular readers of this site each give that $5 annual donation, we in the TCBH! Collective would all be able to devote full time to this endeavor of bringing you the news that even the rest of the alternative media ignore.

So to those of you who are not supporting us, but who keep reading our work, why aren't you sending us that little but important donation?

Please make this model of journalism a success! At a time that a fascist cult of secrecy and police-state spying threatens to overwhelm our democracy, we need fearless journalism, and that is what ThisCantBeHappening! is offering.

For all our sakes, support us!

Thank you!
The TCBH! Collective

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This is the video tape of Davis in Lahore police custody


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Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at livestream.com

Live Stream of the Occupation of Wall Street! The Revolution will be filmed after all! (Courtesy of Globalrevolution)
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Fightin' Cock FlyerFightin' Cock Flyer

Listen as Chuck, John, Dave and Linn Join Prairie Radical Mike Caddell of the Fightin' Cock Flyer on Radio Free Kansas

Here's the link to prairie radio radical Mike Caddell's Radio Free Kansas program, where you can hear the podcast of the whole group interview that was conducted on Saturday, May 8.

Also, listen to Dave Lindorff on Chris Cook's Gorilla Radio on CFEV Radio in Victoria, Canada.

Donate $50 to ThisCantBeHappening.net and get a free signed copy, postage paid, of Dave's classic tome The Case for Impeachment (St. Martin's Press, 2006). Just click on the cover image to go to the Paypal payment page, make your payment, and send a note to Dave calling his attention to the payment, and giving your mail address and the name you want the inscription addressed to.

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by Dr. Radut