Security Specialist, Abolitionist, Anabaptist
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George H.W. Bush To Vote For Clinton

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Sources close to 92-year-old former president George H.W. Bush have confirmed he has expressed his commitment to vote for Hillary Clinton in November. What do you think?

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toddgrotenhuis
2 days ago
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Of course he will. Clinton 2 is cut of the same political cloth as Obama, Bush 2, Clinton, and Bush 1.
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Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal - Augmented Reality

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Hovertext:
I actually do wonder how this sort of thing will work when someone inevitably creates the 'everyone is naked' filter.

New comic!
Today's News:
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toddgrotenhuis
2 days ago
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Indianapolis
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I Just Wish NFL Players Could Find A Way To Protest Without Starting A National Dialogue

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Like so many Americans, I was shocked and disgusted when I first saw San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sitting down for the playing of our national anthem as a protest against social injustice. In the weeks since, it seems like every time I turn on my TV to watch football, there are more and more NFL players sitting, kneeling, or raising their fists during “The Star-Spangled Banner.” And while I certainly respect the right of these players to protest, I just wish they could find a different way to do so that doesn’t start any kind of national dialogue.

Before I go any further, I want to make one thing clear: I completely understand that as African Americans, these players are frustrated with what they perceive as targeted police brutality against minorities. I realize that they are directly affected by racially motivated discrimination, unfair treatment, and institutional oppression ...

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toddgrotenhuis
4 days ago
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Teens Throwing Rocks At Overgrown, Long-Vacant Supreme Court Seat

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WASHINGTON—Trading legends they had heard about the old chair as they gathered together a safe distance from the abandoned, dilapidated structure, a group of neighborhood teens reportedly stopped while passing through Capitol Hill this afternoon and spent several minutes throwing rocks at the heavily overgrown, long-vacant Supreme Court seat. “I heard that’s where old man Scalia used to sit until he keeled over dead!” said local resident Randy Wilcox, 14, after grabbing several stones off the ground and whipping them at the derelict chair, whose rotting wood had begun to warp and whose leather surfaces had cracked and grown discolored with time. “My older brother told me that no one can sit there ever again because it’s cursed. He said everyone who’s tried has disappeared without a trace. I dare one of you to go up there and touch it. Come on, don’t be a ...

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toddgrotenhuis
4 days ago
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God's Servant for Your Good: Part 3, Political Theology in a Land of 911

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To get where I'm coming from in this post it is essential that you watch Gary Haugen's TED Talk about the Locust Effect that I posted yesterday. Please wait to weigh in if you haven't taken the time to watch that video.

Again, in this series I'm struggling with my feelings about Romans 13, where Paul describes the nation state as "God's servant for your good" because the nation state does not "bear the sword in vain" as "the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer."

As an anarchist-Anabaptist leaning pacifist that text from Romans 13 gives me a lot of heartburn. In my political theology I've tended to see the principalities and powers, the nation state chief among them, as a force of wickedness in the world rather than as God's servant for our good.

But Gary Haugen's TED Talk about the locust effect, about the plague of everyday violence the poor face in the world, especially women, sent me into a deep, deep think about Romans 13.

What really struck me in Gary Haugen's talk was the 911 call, the terror and vulnerability we'd face if 911 suddenly was unavailable, as it is in much of the world, especially for women.

Worldwide, what happens when there is a vacuum of law enforcement? Thugs take over. The strong take advantage of the weak. Without 911 you have the locust effect, the plague of everyday violence that ruins all our charitable attempts to help the poor throughout the world, especially women.

What interrupted me about Gary Haugen's TED Talk is that I do my political theology in a land of 911. I rant and rage about "empire" in a land where it is taken for granted that a woman, if faced with a violent intruder, can call 911.

So what I'm struggling with is the social location of my political theology.

In a land of 911, am I missing how Romans 13 would sound to a woman in a failed state in Africa, vulnerable to the violent thugs in her remote village?

Would that woman, if she lived in a land of 911, endorse Paul's claim that the sword of the state is God's servant for our good?

And if she would, if she would experience Romans 13 and a land of 911 as "good news," then does not the preferential option for the poor tell me that I must adopt her reading of Romans 13 rather than my own?
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toddgrotenhuis
5 days ago
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"Thugs take over. The strong take advantage of the weak."
Of course, monopolizing violence in the hands of the state doesn't mean that the strong stop taking advantage of the weak. It just means it becomes systematized.
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Time to Deprogram From the Cult of National Unity

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People don’t like seeing their gods blasphemed, and the backlash against Colin Kaepernick’s refusal to stand for the national anthem has revealed the completely religious nature of American patriotism.

Tomi Lahren, whose views on racial matters are about what you’d expect from a “conservative commentator” on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze, has been on a nonstop outrage jag ever since Kaepernick’s stance made the news. As the protest movement of variously sitting, kneeling and raising fists during the national anthem has spread, Kate Upton has joined Lahren’s social media campaign to make football games a safe space for hyper-sensitive patriots. The complaints, predictably, reached fever pitch on 9/11. Upton responded to the decision of several Dolphins to kneel during the anthem by chiding: “You should be proud to be an American. Especially on 9/11 when we should support each other.” The most egregious comments though, which get right to the heart of the national unity cult, came from Lahren: “We aren’t white & black, we are red, white & blue.” “[W[e are Americans and we stand together.”

Howard Zinn ably deconstructed this idea that our common identity as Americans is somehow more important than race or class differences:

“[Our present leaders] bombard us with phrases like ‘national interest,’ ‘national security,’ and ‘national defense’ as if all of these concepts applied equally to all of us, colored or white, rich or poor, as if General Motors and Halliburton have the same interests as the rest of us, as if George Bush has the same interest as the young man or woman he sends to war.

“Surely, in the history of lies told to the population, this is the biggest lie. In the history of secrets, withheld from the American people, this is the biggest secret: that there are classes with different interests in this country. To ignore that — not to know that the history of our country is a history of slaveowner against slave, landlord against tenant, corporation against worker, rich against poor — is to render us helpless before all the lesser lies told to us by people in power.”

The cult of national unity is an old one, and it exists for a reason. It dovetails with, and reinforces, a number of other patriotic American myths. Among them is the myth of “American Exceptionalism” — i.e., that America is the uniquely “indispensible nation” in promoting “peace and freedom” around the world, and is entitled to maintain military forces larger than the rest of the world combined, and unilaterally define as a “threat” or “aggressor” any country that defies American dictates, because of this beneficent role.

Another myth associated with the cult of national unity is the American Dream. We see this in the belief by the majority of Americans that they are “middle class.” The myth encourages Americans to believe that wealth is just a matter of hard work and ingenuity, and to identify with the “53%” of “taxpayers” and “makers vs. takers” against class warriors like Occupy, in the belief that someday they too may hit it big.

It also commonly appears in conjunction with the cult of The Troops as guarantors of “our freedoms,” as illustrated by Upton’s Instagram comments on 9/11. The anthem, she said, “represents honoring the many brave men and women who sacrifice and have sacrificed their lives each and every single day to protect our freedom.”

All this despite the hard realities that America’s wars have been overwhelmingly fought to secure capitalist access to the land, natural resources and markets of the world, and the rich get the great majority of their wealth by extracting rents from the rest of us with the help of the state.

America is “exceptional” among the developed Western nations in that it is the world’s biggest settler state, created by European colonists supplanting and exterminating the indigenous population on a continental scale, and in the role that slavery played in building our economy. It is exceptional, probably not unrelated to the previous fact, in the size of its prison system and the way its culture glorifies police and soldiers. It is “exceptional” only to the extent to which its people have been successfully inculcated with myths of a “Shining City on a Hill” and a “Classless Society.” These myths obscure the criminal reality of America’s role in the world; America’s reality is hidden behind the official idealistic facade.

Thanks to this whole complex of quasi-official ideologies, America has attained the unique status of global enforcer of class rule. It is equally unique in concealing the very existence of class conflict from a significant part of its domestic population.

Fortunately, as evidenced by the rise of Occupy and Black Lives Matter, and the protest movement inspired by Kaepernick himself, the spell of this patriotic cult is wearing off. Power, ultimately, depends on consent. And consent depends on deception and ignorance. Once people begin to see through its legitimizing ideologies, the system of power is doomed.

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toddgrotenhuis
5 days ago
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