Archive for August 2007

Why I believe in Football, God and War.

August 30, 2007

Iraq War veteran Robert P. McGovern’s new book All American: Why I Believe in Football, God, and the War in Iraq makes the case that

“As a lawyer, a soldier, and a graduate of four Catholic schools, I believe that nations are legally and morally obliged to prevent injustices like genocide, military aggression and threats to civilians.”

Wow—as a Catholic McGovern justifies the unholy mess of Iraq as a “just War.” I must have been out of town when the last two popes condemned the war absolutely.And the Vatican secretariat for Peace and Justice slammed this debacle as “immoral, unjust and illegal.”

Not that Catholics have been loathe to join the madding crowd and cheer on the home side whether the targets were Dresden or Hiroshima. With the traditional authoritarian structure of the Church, it has always had its lion share of cops and soldiers who love to take orders. But surely the Just War has just about had its day.

Maybe in the good St.Augustine’s day (4th century) there was a good reason to mitigate the horrific violence which attends every war—and flies in the face of the Galilean’s absolute non-violence. And the Church while proclaiming the Just War has yet to bring forth in its moral pantheon, the “just abortion.” Catholics have moved beyond their immigrant cheerleading for war, particularly in the USA, but Mr. McGovern is not alone in his fascination with Mars. Remember when those good Republicans George Weigel, the papal biographer and Michael Novak went to Rome and tried to convince JP ll to change his mind. Luckily for humanity, Woytyla had seen a lot more war than these guys.

Brother Mcgovern seems more in synch with Methodist Hilary Clinton who is ready to nuke Iran but he’s all wet about Iraq.

Why I believe in Football, God and War.

August 30, 2007

Iraq War veteran Robert P. McGovern’s new book All American: Why I Believe in Football, God, and the War in Iraq makes the case that

“As a lawyer, a soldier, and a graduate of four Catholic schools, I believe that nations are legally and morally obliged to prevent injustices like genocide, military aggression and threats to civilians.”

Wow—as a Catholic McGovern justifies the unholy mess of Iraq as a “just War.” I must have been out of town when the last two popes condemned the war absolutely.And the Vatican secretariat for Peace and Justice slammed this debacle as “immoral, unjust and illegal.”

Not that Catholics have been loathe to join the madding crowd and cheer on the home side whether the gtargets were Dresden or Hiroshima. With the traditional authoritarian structure of the Church it has always had its lion share of cops and soldiers who love to take orders.But surely the Just War has just about had its day.

Maybe in the good St.Augustine’s day (4th century) there was a good reason to mitigate the horrific violence which attends every war—and flies in the face of the Galilean’s absolute non-violence.And the Church while proclaiming the Just War has yet to bring forth in its moral pantheon, the “just abortion.” Catholics have moved beyond their immigrant cheerleading for war, particularly in the USA, but Mr. McGovern is not alone in his fascination with Mars.Remember when those good Republicans George wegel, the papal biographer and Michael Novak went to Rome and tried to convince JP ll to change his mind..Luckily for humanity, Woytyla had seen a lot more war than these guys.

Brother Mcgovern seems more in synch with Baptist Hilary Clinton who is ready to nuke Iran but he’s all wet about Iraq.

Israel-a Third World country?

August 28, 2007

According to a new Associated Press report, the US is offering Israel
a record $30-billion 10-year military aid package.

Did you know that Israel was a Third World country? Neither did I?

With all the incredible human need out there and given the cheapskate nature of The USA (the lowest donor of all democratic capitalist countries at 0.14 % of its GDP), there’s something radically wrong here.

This amounts to about one quarter of US aid in any given year.

This is unconscionable to give such a developed and sophisticated country with the world’s fourth most powerful military such a break when there is so much human need.It amounts to a subsidy of about $7,500 per Israeli as Arab citizens will not get a penny.

Everybody understands that this simply bolster’s Israel’s military overkill and does nothing foe peace in the region.

I ask:where is the Catholic voice in the USA which tolerates such an insult to a cardinal principe of Catholic social teaching, the common good?

Writer Dave Lindorff asked another question-to his fellow Americans:

‘Looked at another way, this aid to Israel represents a gift of $100
worth of money and weaponry from every man, woman and child in America
to the people of Israel.

Think about that the next time you are scraping together the money to
make your next mortgage payment or rent check.”

Iggy

August 26, 2007

“America’s empire is not like empires of times past, built on colonies, conquest and the white man’s burden. We are no longer in the era of the United Fruit Company, when American corporations needed the Marines to secure their investments overseas. The twenty-first century imperium is a new invention in the annals of political science, an empire lite, a global hegemony whose grace notes are free markets, human rights, and democracy.”

Michael Ignatieff has taken a well-deserved slagging for his pseudo-apology on the Iraq invasion. Particularly to the point were articles by Joey Slinger, Haroon Siddiqui and Rick Salutin

Ignatieff stunned progressives here with his shocking apologia for the Empire. For a public intellectual to hitch his wagon to such a crew seemed simply unfathomable. Unless Iggy was the type who saw the neocon wave rising and wanted to ride the wave. One wonders to what end? To be in the “inner ring” like David Frum? At least one knew where Frum was coming from. But Ignatieff with his royal blood lines, and Canadian background, what gives? Could he be this craven?

One could not say he was stupid. His education was stellar. Did he really believe those words he penned in 2003 and embarrassed progressive Canadians when he wrote about America as Empire lite, “whose grace notes are free markets”, an America that was not as crude as that which suborned Guatemala in 1954. Did he really believe America was interested in human rights in Iraq? No mention of oil and control of the same? Free markets as grace notes? Did the man have such a poor grasp of history—particularly with people like Wolfowitz, Cheney, Abrams and Rumsfeld running the show?

The cynical Karl Rove

August 23, 2007

After the sycophants, the utilitarians, finished praising Karl Rove it was left to Bill Moyers to dissect one of the most cynical political operatives ever…

Bill Moyers: There is, of course, more to be said. What struck me about my fellow Texan, Karl Rove, is that he knew how to win elections as if they were divine interventions. You may think God summoned Billy Graham to Florida on the eve of the 2000 election to endorse George W. Bush just in the nick of time, but if it did happen that way, the good lord was speaking with a Texas accent.

Karl Rove figured out a long time ago that the way to take an intellectually incurious draft-averse naughty playboy in a flight jacket with chewing tobacco in his back pocket and make him governor of Texas, was to sell him as God’s anointed in a state where preachers and televangelists outnumber even oil derricks and jack rabbits. Using church pews as precincts Rove turned religion into a weapon of political combat – a battering ram, aimed at the devil’s minions, especially at gay people.

It’s so easy, as Karl knew, to scapegoat people you outnumber, and if God is love, as rumor has it, Rove knew that, in politics, you better bet on fear and loathing. Never mind that in stroking the basest bigotry of true believers you coarsen both politics and religion.

At the same time he was recruiting an army of the lord for the born-again Bush, Rove was also shaking down corporations for campaign cash. Crony capitalism became a biblical injunction. Greed and God won four elections in a row – twice in the lone star state and twice again in the nation at large. But the result has been to leave Texas under the thumb of big money with huge holes ripped in its social contract, and the U.S. government in shambles – paralyzed, polarized, and mired in war, debt and corruption.

Rove himself is deeply enmeshed in some of the scandals being investigated as we speak, including those missing emails that could tell us who turned the attorney general of the United States into a partisan sock puppet. Rove is riding out of Dodge city as the posse rides in. At his press conference this week he asked God to bless the president and the country, even as reports were circulating that he himself had confessed to friends his own agnosticism; he wished he could believe, but he cannot. That kind of intellectual honesty is to be admired, but you have to wonder how all those folks on the Christian right must feel discovering they were used for partisan reasons by a skeptic, a secular manipulator. On his last play of the game all Karl Rove had to offer them was a hail mary pass, while telling himself there’s no one there to catch it.

What was Iggy thinking?

August 22, 2007

“America’s empire is not like empires of times past, built on colonies, conquest and the white man’s burden. We are no longer in the era of the United Fruit Company, when American corporations needed the Marines to secure their investments overseas. The twenty-first century imperium is a new invention in the annals of political science, an empire lite, a global hegemony whose grace notes are free markets, human rights, and democracy.”

Michael Ignatieff has taken a well-deserved slagging for his pseudo-apology on the Iraq invasion. Particularly to the point in Toronto media were articles by Joey Slinger, Haroon Siddiqui and Rick Salutin

Ignatieff stunned progressives here with his shocking apologia for the Empire. For a public intellectual to hitch his wagon to such a crew seemed simply unfathomable. Unless Iggy was the type who saw the neocon wave rising and wanted to hitch his star to it. One wonders to what end? To be in the “inner ring” like the sad David Frum was? At least one knew where Frum was coming from. But Ignatieff with his royal blood lines, and Canadian background. Could he be this craven?

One could not say he was stupid. His education was stellar, his intelligence formidable.Did he really believe those words above which he wrote in 2003 and embarrassed progressive Canadians when he wrote about America as Empire lite, “whose grace notes are free markets”, an America that was not as crude as that which suborned Guatemala in 1954. Did he really believe America was interested in human rights in Iraq? No mention of oil and control of the same? Free markets as grace notes? Did the man have such a poor grasp of history—particularly with people like Wolfowitz, Cheney, Abrams and Rumsfeld running the show?

Ignatieff fslls within that sad group we know as “la trahison des clercs”-the treason of the intellectual class.Missing in his mea culpa was the staggering suffering of the Iraqi people.

Unlike Robert Fisk, the great Independent war correspondent from England, Iggy should have got out more. An academic perch in the heart of the empire is hardly the place to see what is really going on.

Like all of us, Iggy messed up, Can he renew the Liberal Party? Time will tell.

Goldman Sachs and the Gospel

August 17, 2007

To understand catastrophes like Iraq and the US role in it, one needs to understand the Coantsantinian arrangement with Christianity, the supposed religion of America. As Walter Wink stated, the real religon is redemptive violence, the idea that bigger is stronger and winning is everything. To go to war to control the world’s oil resources is to admit that it is perfecty right for 5% of the global population (USA) to consume 25% of the world’s energy resources. That is our divine right and religion sanctifies this right. Christianity , any brand, is powerless to tamper with this secular myth. Don’t mess with this tribal god and the myth which gives us meaning.

The preaching against the Iraq war in Catholic churches is abysmal despite the model of the nonviolent Jesus. The Christ myth would, and does, go down to defeat next to the tribal myth of “our country”, God’s elect. Too many American Christians would be upset if the flag were removed from the sanctuary. The Cross could probably go first.

Naomi Klein in the following capsule tells exactly what’s wrong with proclaiming radical values in the belly of advanced capitalism:

“I don’t think our problem is money, lack of resources to act on these basic ideas. Now, at the risk of being accused of economic populism, I would just point out that in this city, the employees of Goldman Sachs received more than $16 billion in Christmas bonuses last year, and ExxonMobil earned $40 billion in annual profits, a world record. It seems to me that there’s clearly enough money sloshing around to pay for our modest dreams. We can tax the polluters and the casino capitalists to pay for alternative energy development and a global social safety net. We don’t lack ideas. Neither are we short on cash.”

Iraq

August 14, 2007

Just Foreign Policy Iraqi Death Estimator

Dissing Colin Powell

August 10, 2007

There’s an old saying in the days of slavery. There are those slaves who lived on the plantation, and there were those slaves who lived in the house. You got the privilege of living in the house if you served the master. Colin Powell was permitted to come into the house of the master. HARRY BELAFONTE

With this shot across the bow, Harry Belafonte who took risks to his career for a higher cause in the Civil rights era, dissed Colin Powell (and Condoleeza Rice) as tools of the Man. For Belafonte it was not hard to do. Liberals had a little more trouble with the self serving career of Powell who has always and everywhere taken orders from the establishment. It was only in the BUsh admin that he looked like “the great Black hope,” a sane influence in a neocon nuthouse. It was naive to expect Powell to do anything other than what he’s always done—be a good soldier and take his marching orders—like he did when he helped cover up My Lai and Iran Contra.Then his absolute fall from grace when he drank Bush’s Kool Aid at the UN and disgraced himself, peddling the lies about WMD.

Now insiders are wondering whether he may be working on a book exposing further the rot within the system. Some opine it would be his last chance at redemption.All he now has is his $50,000 per speech from corporate America.

Given his track record as a rather prosaic Yes man, we should not hold our breath. And liberals should get over a man’s colour, wondering whether it would be OK to criticize a black man.Harry Belafonte was not afraid and neither should anybody else. Ask yourself why so few know of Powell’s lacklustre performance as a truth teller. Truth and corporate media hardly ever intersect.



Iggy and Constantine: a lesson

August 6, 2007

Michael Ignatieff has recanted. Iraq now was a mistake.

One remembers those days when the Canadian neocons had their little march down Bay St urging PM Chretien to sign on this slam dunk in Iraq. Steve Harper, Ralph Klein, David Frum, Ernie Eves and other Harrisites all thought we should be there. Ignatief safe in his Harvard perch had become the darling enabler of the war. Privileged white guys gung ho to send the uneducated and misinformed to die for empire and her friends. Iggy sniffed the prevailing wind and joined the chorus. Canadians have never trusted him since.

War of course is always a catastrophe, particularly in the Middle East today, releasing long pent up demons which consume so many. The dogs of war are always rabid and unpredicatble. Now it’s contrition time.But what a massive failure of judgment. Da Little Guy from Shawinigan knew the one important thing: If Bush was for it, it would be a disaster. What the hell did he know about the Middle East?

For Christians it may be another chance particularly in the heart of empire) to see the catastrophe which Constantine has laid on the Body of Christ. Scottish theologian Alistair Kee got it right:

“But there is one conquest made by Constantine, the effect of which still continues to the present day, his most surprising yet least acknowledged… He conquered the Christian church. The conquest was complete, extending over doctrine, liturgy, art and architecture, comity, ethos and ethics… But this achievement, unheralded then, unrecognized now, represents Constantine’s greatest conquest, the one which has persisted largely unchallenged through the centuries in Europe and wherever European Christianity has spread…

To be declared heretical by the norms of orthodox Constantinian Christianity may be a source of relief and encouragement to those who seek to follow Christ

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