PACIFIST FIGHT CLUB

We will fight for peace, but we will do no violence.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Are You Living In A Dystopian Society?




If your Government is one of the largest military forces on the planet, you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If your Government spends more on the military than the other 8 largest nations on the planet, you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If your Government is spying on your phone calls, email, and text communications,  you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If your Government executes its own citizens without a trial or even formal criminal charges,  you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If your Government imprisons journalists who attempt to expose their war crimes,  you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If your Government has been at war for 214 years out of the last 235, then you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If your Government hires, or threatens journalists in order to have them write false news stories, and even film fake execution videos that advance their propaganda,  you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If your daily news shows are filled with a combination of trivial entertainment and stories about why you should remain fearful of a variety of dangers all around you,  you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If your nation currently imprisons more of its citizens than any other nation on the face of the planet,  you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If your local police are carrying automatic weapons, driving armored military vehicles and indiscriminately killing innocent, unarmed people on a daily basis,  you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If more people in your nation are currently on anti-depressant medications than any other nation on earth,  you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If more than 50 percent of the children in your nation are living below the poverty line,  you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If large corporations have more power over the laws, the policies, the courts, and the politicians than you - a tax paying, registered voter,  you might be living in a Dystopian Society.

If the most popular "news" source for most people in your country is actually a comedy show that routinely exposes the truth about your Dystopian society,  you might be living in a Dystopian Society.




Monday, March 2, 2015

Wake Up America.

America is a place where more people will condemn a movie than the president's recent request to send ground troops back to Iraq. We're a nation where a racist Tweet will send hundreds of thousands into righteous indignation, without ever wondering why 27.4% of African-Americans and 45.8% of black children (under the age of 6) in America still live in poverty. American outrage is why Brian Williams has been demonized, but Bill O'Reilly's lies have increased his ratings. We don't like liars, except when the people we agree with are doing the lying.

We don't like war, but 40% of Americans still favor sending other Americans off to fight; even after over a decade of two wars where American soldiers have been in combat longer than at any point in U.S. history. In a truly Orwellian state of being, we're more concerned with the notion of a movie being a propaganda ploy (to make us more warlike), without ever questioning why we've sent U.S. Special Forces to fight in 133 countries in 2014.

We'll also condemn the loss of innocent lives in terrorist attacks, but shrug our shoulders at the over 1,000 innocent lives who've died in our drone strikes. If it feels good, we'll take action (write a short Tweet or post something on Facebook), but if it requires asking why "terror" hasn't been defeated after 6,845 American deaths, close to 1 million Americans injured, and close to $6 trillion, we for some reason just can't muster up the energy.

Why ask questions when you too could be the next person beheaded by ISIS? After all, of the 17,891 deaths from terrorism in 2013 according to the State Department, 19 (including the Boston bombing) were American. The murders of James Foley, Steven Sotloff, and Kayla Mueller were horrendous, but ISIS doesn't represent an existential threat to the U.S. Far more Americans have died in mass shootings than ISIS terrorism, but Fox News never confuses mass shootings with being a greater threat than "terror."

There's also a reason why two deranged terrorists who didn't belong to ISIS managed to kill three Americans and injure hundreds of others in Boston, but again, let's not question whether fighting them "over there" will keep us safer at home. ISIS might invade our shores with their navy tomorrow and behead all of us, and only another war will stop this threat. Just watch Fox News to see why we should send even more American soldiers to the Middle East, even though recent wars have failed to end the scourge of extremism.

[READ THE FULL STORY WITH VIDEO HERE]

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Friday, February 13, 2015

DEBATE: "It's Just War": Christian Perspectives From Both Sides

 
On March 28, 2014, Anchor-Cross Publishing and Followers of the Way sponsored a debate on the subject of just war. We sought to bring leading thinkers together to discuss the issue in historic Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston. Speaking of behalf of just war were Dr. Peter Kreeft (professor of philosophy at Boston College) and Dr. J. Daryl Charles (Berry College). Speaking against just war and for biblical nonresistance were David Bercot and Dean Taylor.

BLACKLISTED: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You A Terrorist

The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.


“If reasonable suspicion is the only standard you need to label somebody, then it’s a slippery slope we’re sliding down here, because then you can label anybody anything,” says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent with experience running high-profile terrorism investigations. “Because you appear on a telephone list of somebody doesn’t make you a terrorist. That’s the kind of information that gets put in there.”








The fallout is personal too. There are severe consequences for people unfairly labeled a terrorist by the U.S. government, which shares its watchlist data with local law enforcement, foreign governments, and “private entities.” Once the U.S. government secretly labels you a terrorist or terrorist suspect, other institutions tend to treat you as one. It can become difficult to get a job (or simply to stay out of jail). It can become burdensome—or impossible—to travel. And routine encounters with law enforcement can turn into ordeals.






READ MORE AT: THE INTERCEPT

Monday, February 2, 2015

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Dear Officer: We See You.


Please watch the video linked here. I want to say a few things about it and you'll need to have watched it to understand everything I'm trying to say.

Watched it? Good. Here's my response:

First of all, I agree with much of it. Honestly, being a cop is a difficult, challenging, and largely thankless job. Anyone willing to put themselves in harm's way to "protect and serve" on a daily basis is worthy of our support and respect.

There was once a time in my life when I wanted to be a cop. Largely because of what I had been exposed to in TV and Movies. 

I thought being a police officer would be exciting and fun.

But then I read a book that was a colletion of interviews with actual, real-world police officers and that changed my mind in hurry. These guys talked about walking into houses where people had been dead for weeks and how the smell nearly suffocated them. They talked about getting calls to dangerous neighborhoods in the middle of the night and discovering that it was a trap and there were guys with shotguns waiting to kill them when they entered the dark warehouse. They talked about cleaning the brains of their partner off their uniforms after a deadly shoot-out.

That's when I decided that I should stick to writing.

Police work is more difficult and challenging than most of us will ever - ever - know.

Having said that, there is much in this video that I disagree with. Actually, a whole lot.

Those who created this video have done so largely as a response to "those who crucify (cop's) character while minimizing (their) cause", and by that they mean people who make up the "very vocal and sparse opposition (who) flood social media with their misplaced passions and their idea of justice." [To quote the video above]

The incidents they are referring to, no doubt, include the recent shootings of unarmed black men (and women) by police officers over the last year or so. For more specifics on who those people were and how many, you can see a short summary here.

What I object to is the suggestion that those who are critical of the specific police officers who shot and killed these unarmed black people are guilty of "crucifying" the character of every other police officer.

Question: Would it be "crucifying the character" of every school teacher to criticize the few school teachers who (about every other month it seems) get caught having sex with their under age students? 

Would you accuse someone who spoke out about priests who sexually molest children in their congregations of having "misplaced passions" or "wrong ideas of justice?"

Yet, whenever someone (like me) shares a link on Twitter or Facebook about yet another police officer shooting involving an unarmed black man or woman, the response is often a very vocal "Shame on you!" for daring to even mention such behavior in a negative light - much less write an actual blog article (like this one).

Furthermore, would we be ok if those teachers were caught molesting our children on video, and yet a Grand Jury decided not to prosecute them, and then they were put back into the classroom again where they could continue to harm more children? Would that be ok?

With priests, isn't it true that we hold them to a higher standard of accountability simply because of the authority and trust we put in them as people who are sworn to integrity and honor? And when evidence of widespread abuse of that authority by church leaders comes to light, are we not outraged about that and moved to action? Don't we want those people to be put on trial, and for justice to be done and for the victims to have a voice?

So, why is it that when a police officer - someone who is equally held in high esteem and honor within our society - breaks that trust, commits a crime, or kills an unarmed person, we suddenly look down on anyone who cries out for justice, or stands up for the victims, or speaks out?

The video clip does make a few good points about policemen: Most are good, hard working, conscientious people. They love their children. They love their wives and husbands. They love their dog and they laugh and cry and bleed just like every other person on the planet.

What I would like to challenge, however, is the idea that every police officer is automatically "honorable...courageous..." and "...worthy of a nation's support".

Really? What about Christopher Dorner? He was a US Navy officer who served honorably and received several commendations for his service in Bahrain, and then went on to join the LAPD. Soon after, he was fired for attempting to blow the whistle on another officer who was using excessive force. After that termination, he went on a shooting spree and killed several innocent people until he was eventually cornered and shot.

Even the most ardent supporter of police officers would have to admit that there are some police officers who are not worthy of the badge.

And if we really want people to trust the police officers in our community, and to reasonably teach our children to do so, then we need to start seeing abuses of power dealt with and punished - not covered up and shouted down.

Not every police officer is automatically "honorable, courageous and worthy of a nation's support."

Neither is every school teacher automatically a great person, or a wonderful member of society.

Nor is every member of the clergy someone that every one should respect and honor.

The only people worthy of our honor and our respect are those who are actually honorable.

If a police officer shoots and kills an unarmed 12 year old, he is not honorable or courageous or worthy of our support.

If a school teacher sexually assaults a student, he is not worthy of our respect.

If a priest or a pastor takes advantage of a child, he is not someone we should honor.

We even hold NFL football players to higher standards than police officers. That's insane.

Back to the video clip above: I won't even try to get into the fact that this video features a cast of 23 white people and only 2 African Americans, or argue with their statistic that "Every 53 hours an officer is killed in the line of duty"  - which is totally false and can easily be refuted with a quick Google search. (Actual numbers are about half of that).

At one point the narrator says, "I wish I knew how to fix it." But what she wants to "fix" isn't the seemingly endless barrage of unarmed black people shot by police. Nope. What she wants to know how to "fix" is the way police officers are perceived in the media, and by the American public. Specifically, she wants to stop people from criticizing police officers, regardless of why they criticize them.

One idea: Start eliminating "bad cops" who use excessive force. Stop punishing "good cops" who try to blow the whistle. Start weeding out applicants at the Police Academy level who tend to be bullies who can't wait to get that badge and gun. Start putting police officers who use excessive force on trial for their crimes. Start prosecuting cops who choke people to death on the sidewalk, or who shoot 12 year olds dead in the park, etc.

Any of those ideas would be a great start. But it's much easier to just make a video.

I'm all in favor of honoring the good cops who genuinely care about the people they protect and serve. Let's do all we can to help them. We need their tribe to increase.

But at the same time, let's please also do all we can to eliminate the bad cops who give those good cops a bad name.

Why would anyone be against the idea of doing both?

**
MORE STATISTICS
Out of roughly 400 reported police killings annually, an average of 96 involved a white police officer killing a black person.

African-Americans and the mentally ill people make up a huge percentage of people killed by police.

27 police officers were killed in 2013, according to the FBI.

In Germany, there have been eight police killings over the past two years.

In Canada — a country with its own frontier ethos and no great aversion to firearms — police shootings average about a dozen a year.