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And, yes, I DO take it personally: 06/24/2012 - 07/01/2012
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And, yes, I DO take it personally

Friday, June 29, 2012

So, where are the posts...?


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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

What a concept! Catholic nuns are actually living Christ's message in the Gospels...

i'm a product of catholic elementary and secondary school and spent my freshman year of college at a catholic university... from my time in elementary school, i remember some outstanding sisters as well as some petty, mean and outright physically and emotionally abusive ones, the latter the object of much scorn and spoofing in later years... they were also no small source of clientele for therapists...

i was 14 years old when vatican ii was held in 1962... the reforms and enlightened thinking it spawned were both a relief and a breath of fresh air to most all catholics except the dyed-in-the-wool, hide-bound conservatives, who were much like the ones you hear so much about today, led on by cardinals defending child-abusing priests and a pope with his head firmly up his ass...

interestingly enough,  ones who took vatican ii most seriously and used it as an opportunity to fully embrace christ's message in the gospels were nuns... even though i am decades removed from my early catholicism - and from religion in general - and even though some negative experiences with nuns in my youth are still crystal clear in my memory, i've done a complete 180-degree turn and have been in total support of the sisterhood for years now... nuns are doing the kind of social justice work that is written into my heart and my dna, the kind of work that should be both welcomed and supported by all, regardless of their faith or lack thereof... to see the warped and twisted church authorities trying to mute their voices and deflect them from such all-important work is more than an embarrassment to one of the world's major religions, it is a rejection both of christ's teachings and of the basic principles of humanity... for shame...

from raw story...
Tuesday night on Current TV’s “The Young Turks,” host Cenk welcomed Sister Diane Donoghue of #NunsOnTheBus, a group of progressive Catholic nuns who are traveling coast-to-coast by bus. The women are bucking the Catholic church’s male hierarchy and spreading what they hope is a message of social and economic justice by protesting the slew of federal cuts to programs for the needy proposed in the Republican budget outlined by Wisconsin Congressman Rep. Paul Ryan (R).

Their plan has sparked an uproar among conservatives, who are accustomed to the Catholic Church and its adherents being staunchly on their side. Right wing AM radio host Jan Mickelson asked Rep. Tom Latham (R-IA) in an interview if there was a plan in place “to pull the nuns on the bus over and pistol whip them?”

Uygur asked Donoghue how she would answer allegations that the rebel nuns are instigators who “threw the first punch” in the fight for the rights of the poor.

“We’ve been doing this a long time,” Donoghue told him, saying that nuns have been on the forefront of all human frontiers of exploration and settlement, bringing aid and comfort to the needy and helping the sick and helpless.

“We are based in Washington, DC,” she said, “but we work for social justice.”

“Sister Diane,” said Uygur, “There’s something weird in this country with Republicans who claim they have the mantle of Christianity on their side and yet, when you go to help the poor, they say, ‘How dare you!’” He asked if he was wrong in his reading of the New Testament of the Bible. Didn’t Jesus care a lot about the poor?

“Jesus talked about sheltering the homeless, clothing people, feeding people, and always with compassion,” Donoghue replied, adding “He spent more time with poor people than anybody else, and that’s what we want to be able to do in terms of saying, ‘This is not fair.’ We want to turn it around."

 damn straight...

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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali speak with Julian Assange

recorded at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London...

 from rt...

A surprise Arab drive for freedom, the West's structural crisis and new hope coming from Latin America. That's the modern world in the eyes of Noam Chomsky and Tariq Ali, two prominent thinkers and this week's guests on Julian Assange's show on RT.

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Monday, June 25, 2012

We now operate in a world in which we can assume neither competence nor good faith from the authorities

chris hayes taken from his book, Twilight of the Elites: America After Meritocracy excerpted at In These Times...
We now operate in a world in which we can assume neither competence nor good faith from the authorities. The consequences of this simple, devastating realization define American life. The failure of the elites and the distrust it has spawned is the most powerful and least understood aspect of current politics and society. It structures and constrains the very process by which we gather facts, form opinions, and execute self-governance. It connects the Iraq War and the financial crisis, the Tea Party and MoveOn, the despair of laid-off autoworkers in Detroit to the foreclosed homeowners in Las Vegas and the residents of the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans: nothing seems to work. All the smart people fucked up, and no one seems willing to take responsibility.


Three decades of accelerating inequality in America have produced a deformed social order and a set of elites who cannot help but be dysfunctional and corrupt. Most of us don’t see it that way, because we get elites wrong.

We don’t acknowledge that our own most fundamental, shared beliefs about how society should operate are deeply elitist. We have accepted that there will be some class of people that will make the decisions for us, and if we just manage to find the right ones, then all will go smoothly.

To recover from the damage inflicted by this crisis of authority, we must reconstruct and reinvent our politics, a process that has, in a sense, already begun. Andrew Smith, an organizer with Occupy Wall Street, told me one fall evening in 2011 that the movement is not “Left or Right, but up or down.” Amid drums and whoops and chants of “We! Are! The 99 percent!” he leaned in and said, “I realize that’s scary for some people.”


By waging a sustained assault on the establishment responsible for perpetuating the Vietnam War, patriarchy and racial discrimination, the social movements of that era permanently transformed American society for the better.

In place of the old WASP establishment, America embraced meritocracy, an ideal with roots that reach back to the early years of the Republic. By opening the doors to women and racial minorities, while also valuing youth over seniority and individual talent over the quiet virtues of the Organization Man, it incorporated the demands of the social movements of the 1960s. But whatever the egalitarian commitments of the social movements that brought about the upheaval of the time, what emerged when the dust had settled was a model of the social order that was more open but still deeply unequal.


At its most basic, the logic of “meritocracy” is ironclad: putting the most qualified, best-equipped people into the positions of greatest responsibility and import. You certainly wouldn’t want surgeons’ licenses to be handed out via lottery, or to have major cabinet members selected through reality TV–style voting.

But in our near-religious fidelity to the meritocratic model, we overestimate its advantages and underappreciate its costs, because we don’t think hard enough about the consequences of the inequality it produces.


So the obstacle to more equality is not widespread public opposition to a more egalitarian society. The obstacle is simply that people and institutions who benefit most from extreme inequality have outsize power they can use to protect their gains from egalitarian incursions. The most pressing challenge for those who desire a better functioning, more representative nation is conceiving not of policies that will ultimately enhance equality, but of mechanisms by which the power of the current elite might be challenged and dramatically reduced.

Because the meritocratic winners are reluctant to part with their power, they must be convinced that the current status quo is unsustainable. Normalcy is what keeps the system moving and its inequities unaddressed—so normalcy must be disrupted. The social distance between the current beneficiaries of our post-meritocratic social order and its victims must be annihilated.

interesting perspective... i had never before framed our situation in terms of a "meritocracy" but it certainly makes sense...

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The poor have to help the poor because the ones who make the money are helping the people with money

chris hedges...
[W]omen and men who rise up in the pockets of poverty and despair ... resist not because they will succeed in reversing the corporate onslaught against them, or even save themselves or their communities from poverty, but because it is right. They wake each day to defy, often in small, unseen acts of revolt, the intractable poverty, the despair and violence, by nurturing life. They often can do little to protect the lives, especially the lives of children, that are daily crushed and destroyed. But they refuse to bow before the forces of oppression or neglect. And in that defiance they achieve grandeur.

the above is just a small excerpt and omits the very personal and moving story in which chris hedges documents the hard life of one woman on the mean streets of camden, new jersey...

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Another Euro Zone country falls to its knees

from the ft...

Cyprus requests eurozone bailout

Cyprus has become the latest eurozone country to seek a bailout amid mounting economic problems and fresh challenges for its banks after a credit rating agency downgrade.

Bowing to eurozone pressure, the government of President Demetris Christofias said it had asked for help, just days before a deadline to recapitalise one of the country’s largest banks.

Cyprus is seeking financial help from the European Financial Stability Facility or its successor, the European Stability Mechanism, a government statement said on Monday. “The purpose of the required assistance is to contain the risks to the Cypriot economy, notably those arising from the negative spillover effects through its financial sector, due to its large exposure in the Greek economy,” the government said.

they're dropping like flies...

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Two NYT op-eds that point to a precipitous decline in U.S. moral authority that nobody seems to want to accept

as usual, glenn is all over it...
Two Op-Eds in The New York Times this morning both warn of the precipitous decline of American credibility on matters of human rights and peace ushered in by the Obama presidency.

the first op-ed glenn cites is on cyber-warfare written by misha glenny...

A Weapon We Can’t Control

THE decision by the United States and Israel to develop and then deploy the Stuxnet computer worm against an Iranian nuclear facility late in George W. Bush’s presidency marked a significant and dangerous turning point in the gradual militarization of the Internet. Washington has begun to cross the Rubicon. If it continues, contemporary warfare will change fundamentally as we move into hazardous and uncharted territory.

This is one of the frightening dangers of an uncontrolled arms race in cyberspace; once released, virus developers generally lose control of their inventions, which will inevitably seek out and attack the networks of innocent parties. Moreover, all countries that possess an offensive cyber capability will be tempted to use it now that the first shot has been fired. . . .

the second is on extra-judicial assassination by former president jimmy carter...

A Cruel and Unusual Record

THE United States is abandoning its role as the global champion of human rights.
Revelations that top officials are targeting people to be assassinated abroad, including American citizens, are only the most recent, disturbing proof of how far our nation’s violation of human rights has extended. This development began after the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and has been sanctioned and escalated by bipartisan executive and legislative actions, without dissent from the general public. As a result, our country can no longer speak with moral authority on these critical issues.

Many American pundits and foreign policy experts love to depict themselves as crusaders for human rights, but it almost always takes the form of condemning other governments, never their own. There’s no end to self-styled U.S. human rights moralizers who will oh-so-bravely (and inconsequentially) write one screed after the next about the oppressive acts of Syria, or Russia, or China, or Iran (the targets of their wrath are not just foreign governments, but usually ones serving the role as Current Enemy of the U.S. Government).

But when it comes to the human rights violations they can actually do something about — the ones committed (or enabled) by their own government: the government for which they vote and to which they pay taxes and over which they are supposed to act as adversarial watchdogs — they are largely silent.

the u.s. stand on human rights has been seriously compromised from the native american genocide that accompanied the founding and the growth of the country up through the more recent horrors unleashed by the school of the americas right up to the present day... i am of the opinion that our trampling of human rights hasn't necessarily gotten worse, merely more visible, and with visibility comes the opportunity to step out of our national denial and do something about it...


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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Sunday with Mr. Fish - An elephant walks into a bar

mr. fish...


(click on image for slightly larger version)

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