Priests walk between a line of riot police and protesters barricades (not pictured) on Grushevsky Street near European square in central Kiev on January 28, 2014. Ukrainian lawmakers scrapped on January 28 draconian anti-protest laws that have angered the opposition, in a move aimed at bringing a deadly two-month standoff to an end. Applause broke out in parliament including from opposition benches after the vote, which passed with 361 deputies in favour and two against. AFP PHOTO / GENYA SAVILOV
“The overall and enduring atmosphere on the square is peaceful non-violence,” reports Nazar. “There is no alcohol allowed. There is prayer every hour. There is no retaliation for the violence — and now five killings — by the special forces, except the stones to keep them at a distance. You really have to be impressed with the nature of this revolution.”
I don’t know which says more about the state of our society: the fact that this horrific killing happened or the fact that a jury acquitted the killers, presumably because they were wearing uniforms and just “doing what they were trained to do.” This comment by a random person at theFullerton Ragsums it up:
Police have rights that normal citizens do not. The news mentioned that they were in line with their training. As a Marine and veteran of Iraq, I know what my training did, but it was “all right” because it was within my Rules of Engagement to kill. When the difference between what is legal and what is right, allows for death of someone that does not deserve it, something needs to change. Usually this means the people that created that difference are punished. Since this did not happen, we ought to look higher. This “training” that allowed someone to die, in the way Thomas did, is horrible and wrong and should change. I am curious and hopeful the FBI investigation proves fruitful.
Here is a great analysis at The Atlanticabout the shock and confusion over the verdict. But should we be so shocked? This is what happens in a police state! The Rules of Engagement change! This is happening because the mindset and mentality of militarism, which we project abroad, is coming home to roost. See: Do we live in a police state?
This is a beautiful song and a well done video. Pray for the victim and his tormentors. I can’t find much background on the homeless victim Kelly Thomas, but reports say he was a veteran of the war in Iraq.
Pray for Kelly Thomas, his family, and his murderers.
The following photo of a 37-year-old schizophrenic homeless man named Kelly Thomas was taken in the hospital by his father Ron Thomas, a former Orange County Sheriff’s Deputy. Thomas was fatally beaten by Fullerton Police officers on July 5, 2011 following attempts to search his backpack due to reports of someone “looking into cars” in the area.
We can always expect the Super Bowl to be packed with sentimental troop worship and pro-military propaganda for the masses. See our post on Fascism and Football and the Budweiser commercial above. In the background, I believe JennaAnne is singinga revised version of “I’m Coming Home” by Diddy:
I’m coming home, I’m coming home. Tell the world I’m coming home. Let the rain wash away, I’ll the pain of yesterday. I know my kingdom awaits, and they’ve forgive my mistakes. I’m coming home, I’m coming home. Tell the world I’m coming.
Trapped inside this cage I’m living in. My wings hide, my palms are worn and thin. But if you set me free, don’t live and let me be, I’ll return back to you. But my real home needs me too.
Chorus: written by J. Cole
Verses: written JennaAnne
“…the Pentagon conducted an astonishingly vigorous and comprehensive public relations campaign that provided it with public visibility and with a familiar, readily accepted presence across a wide array of popular cultural activities. During the Bush administration this included a program specifically designed to encourage Americans to support US troops, and to create among US military personnel an impression that their efforts and sacrifices are valued back home and that the American public stands behind them as they continue the occupation of Iraq and the indefinite war on terror. This double-edged sword aimed at both a public and a military audience was called America Supports You (ASY).” —“Support the Troops”: Populist Militarism and the Cultural Reproduction of Imperial Power, Mark Rupert, Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
We think coming home is a great idea, but how about letting the troops come home for good? That’s something we could get behind. Check out Come Home America. Their effort aims to unite the political Right and political Left against war: “Americans united in their alarm about the destructive consequences of our country’s runaway militarism.” You may not have heard of them though, because, as far as I know, unlike the Pentagon, Come Home America does not have the funds to procure a multimillion contract with a big time public relations firm. Also, Come Home America has, as far as I know, exactly zero “major corporate sponsors.”
The Church teaches us the Way of holiness by pointing us to the truth. The government tries to brainwash us by spending millions of dollars on public relations and advertising campaigns.
Pope Pius XI’s words in his encyclical on the power of the motion picture, Vigilanti Cura, are of particular note here (television advertising could also be considered moving or motion pictures in short form):
…there does not exist today a means of influencing the masses more potent than the cinema. The reason for this is to be sought for in the very nature of the pictures projected upon the screen, in the popularity of motion picture plays, and in the circumstances which accompany them.
The power of the motion picture consists in this, that it speaks by means of vivid and concrete imagery which the mind takes in with enjoyment and without fatigue. Even the crudest and most primitive minds which have neither the capacity nor the desire to make the efforts necessary for abstraction or deductive reasoning are captivated by the cinema. In place of the effort which reading or listening demands, there is the continued pleasure of a succession of concrete and, so to speak, living pictures. This power is still greater in the talking picture for the reason that interpretation becomes even easier and the charm of music is added to the action of the drama. Dances and variety acts which are sometimes introduced between the films serve to increase the stimulation of the passions.
And then there’s Hitler in Mein Kampf:
“To whom has propaganda to appeal? It has to appeal forever and only to the masses! It has to make use of small and smallest minds. . . . Propaganda has to be directed at the great masses and its efficiency has to be measured exclusively by its effective success.”