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Author: Common Dreams

Slave-patrols and the Second Amendment: How Fears of Abolition empowered the idea of an armed militia

“Give me liberty or give me death.” — Patrick Henry Article 1, Section 8, of the proposed Constitution had southern slave owners concerned about the future of their economy. Slavery can exist only in the context of a police state, and the enforcement of that police state was the explicit job of the militias. If the antislavery folks in the North could figure out a way to disband those southern militias—or even just to move the militias out of the states—the police state of the South would collapse. And, similarly, if the North were to invite into military service...

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From Fortnite to Call of Duty: U.S. military is recruiting youth from a game console near you

After two years working under the radar, the U.S. Army’s latest Verhoevenian effort to recruit young people through online gaming, streaming, and a full embrace of digital culture has finally gotten in some hot water. Though they have paused their nearly-daily streams of popular games like “Warzone” over accusations of censorship, bait-and-switch giveaways that lead to recruiting forms, and other deceptive messaging, the U.S. Army Esports project has only just begun. Parents beware: U.S. military recruiters are coming to a game console near you. The U.S. Army Esports Team Twitter account is rife with anime gifs and heart emojis....

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Tactic of an Autocrat: Trump is provoking a replay of the pre-Civil War conflict over federal authority

Federal agents poured into Portland, Oregon in July to crack down on anti-racism protests. They beat up peaceful protesters and fired impact munitions at demonstrators, seriously injuring one of them. They drove around the city in unmarked vans pulling people off the street. Oregon officials at every level—the city, the state, and congressional representatives—have demanded that these agents of the Department of Homeland Security, the U.S. Marshals Service, and other federal authorities leave Portland immediately. The state has even filed suit against these federal agencies. The ACLU calls it a constitutional crisis. President Trump is doubling down, not backing...

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Bradley Foundation bankrolled rushed effort to reopen Wisconsin as COVID-19 cases skyrocketed

The Milwaukee-based Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, a major source of funding for right-wing groups with over $854 million in assets, gave grants to FreedomWorks Foundation and the Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce Foundation this year to specifically assist with their efforts to rapidly reopen the economy amidst the coronavirus pandemic. The political pressure generated by the lobbying and litigation efforts of Bradley-funded groups and President Trump led many states to prematurely roll back stay-at-home safety measures and reopen businesses. As a result, the three-day average of COVID-19 cases has more than doubled over the past three months, from 20,316...

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No help for the poor but funds for war: Americans overwhelmingly support cutting the Pentagon budget

Anti-war groups vowed to keep fighting to slash the bloated Pentagon budget after the House of Representatives on July 21 to reject a proposal to cut U.S. military spending by 10% and invest the savings in housing, healthcare, and education in poor communities. The United States is a world leader in new coronavirus cases, unemployment remains sky-high, and COVID testing and protective gear for health workers are scarce once more. But instead of sending desperately needed help, Congress is prepared to send $740 billion to the Pentagon. These priorities are desperately out of touch, and Americans know it. A...

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A Mafia State: The ruling class has destroyed our capitalist democracy

The ruling elites no longer have legitimacy. They have destroyed our capitalist democracy and replaced it with a mafia state. What the Roman philosopher Cicero called a commonwealth, a res publica, a “public thing” or the “property of a people,” has been transformed into an instrument of naked pillage and repression on behalf of a global corporate oligarchy. We are serfs ruled by obscenely rich, omnipotent masters who loot the U.S. Treasury, pay little or no taxes and have perverted the judiciary, the media and the legislative branches of government to strip us of civil liberties and give them...

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