Archive for March 2011

GE: They bring bad things to life

March 29, 2011

It’s lucky for GE that they did not exist in the 18th century for they would have been taken to Tyburn and hung.

GE who gave the world Ronald Reagan, Charlie McCarthy’s dummy for the wealthy also has given the world the best in war materiel and nukes and now makes most of its profits from GE Capital as an “unregulated lender”, last year made profits of $14.2 billion and admitted to $5.1 billion of the total came from its operations in the United States. And taxes paid? Nada, zip, zilch.and how’s this for chutpah. GE claimed a tax benefit of $3.2 billion. So much for sharing the pain in a time of recession.

In the mid 50s corporations paid 30% of federal revenue and today it is 6.6 %. This pretty well tells you who is running the USA today. and who is getting screwed on a daily basis.

So who beter to advise President Obama than Jeff Immelt GE’s CEO.He will now be the liaison between the business community and the Oval Office.

You can’t make this stuff up.

Human Rights are indivisible

March 26, 2011

The Holocaust was once owned by Jews and the Shoah was indeed catastrophe for European Jews innocent and the victims of a virulent antisemitism and an anti-Judaism , the poisonous legacy of the Christian churches.
Sadly the shoah was used by Israel and its great backer the United States to mute any criticism of the Jewish state in its ethic cleansing of Palestinians. This has been documented by great Jews like Tony Judt, Norman Finklestein and latterly by former speaker of the Knesset Avram Burg in his book The Holocaust is Over.

Well apparently not.

The Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg with a Harper appointee in charge attempted to place the Shoah front and centre and exclude other examples of genocide in the 20th century.

Not so fast said the Ukrainian Canadian Civl Liberties Association. They asked and legitimately so, What about the Holodomor”, the 3.3 million Ukrainians starved to death by Stalin in 1932-3. Also mentioned was the first 20th century genocide of the Armenians at the hands of Turkey.

Nanos did a poll and Canadians rejected the Shoa-centric emphasis for a “one exhibit/all genocides” approach.

This makes sense.

The Shoah taught us a universal; lesson: Never again to anybody.All humans are precious.

Archbishop Dolan, affable bloviator

March 22, 2011

Archbishop Tim Dolan probably delighted Catholic bloggers with his jovial bantering with Morley Safer on Sunday’s 60 Minutes. He readily admitted the depth of the sex abuse scandal but shied away from the pathetic enabling of his brother bishops and he prided himself on “the contant teaching of the Church”—no break with celibacy, women priests etc.It was sad. As if Catholic teaching never changes and as if he were “the teacher” from the bully pulpit of New York.

Dolan like many other prelates in big Sees is following Vatican orders that he is “the teacher”—but this is impossible unless he consults the huge number of baptized Catholics through whom the spirit blows—and most would not agree with the affable Dolan. And he has no interest in listening to the “sensus fidelium”.

This is not a leader at all.He is a sad apparatchik who takes orders from far away as millions leave the Catholic church because of the hubris of their so called leaders.

Even Pope JP ll had it right in 2004:

Certainly this will involve a conscious effort on the part of each bishop to develop, within his particular Church, structures of communion and participation which make it possible… to listen to the Spirit who lives and speaks in the faithful.”

There are no “structures of communion” in New York. Monologue, even in a folksy manner is no substiute for dialogue.

Obama loses mojo in Haiti

March 18, 2011


What in God’s name with Obama? Did this brother have a mojo and if he did where did he lose it?

As deposed Haitian president the overwhelming voice of the Haitian people got on the plane to take him from exile in south Africa to his home in Haiti, his lawyer revealed that Obama had implored President Zuma of South Africa not to let him go!

Every democrat of any stripe should be disgusted at this.

Why is the USA so terrified of a man who embodies the essence of democracy, a man so overwelmingly elected by his own people—and so cruelly ousted by a US coup?

The answer is simple: The USA is always terrified of anybody who actually represents the poor of the country…witness the visceral hatred and illegal activity of the CIA and State Dept in country after country—Chile, Nicaragua, Cuba, Guatemala,El Salvador,Venezuela and poor, poor Haiti
Aristide was accompanied by that consistent champion of the disenfranchised actor Danny Glover who said:

“The State Department has said essentially that President Aristide left voluntarily from Haiti seven years ago. He did not leave voluntarily. We all know that; history recounts that, what happened.”

Aristide said before his arrival in Port au Prince:

“I think that the Haitian people are very happy, happy to know that we are on our way heading to Haiti, happy to know that finally their dream will be fulfilled by things on the ground because they fought hard for democracy. They always wanted the return to happen and now it is happening. I share their happiness, I share their hope and I renew my commitment to serve them in the field of education, once we move together towards [such a goal]. And I also thank so many of our other friends of the Haitian people that share the same goal. I thank them on behalf of the Haitian people.”

We should fear for his safety.

As for Obama, a massive disappointment.

Lent: wild beasts and angels

March 14, 2011

40 days in the North American desert.A requisite for any serious Christian.
Maybe we can take the 40 days of Lent and put part of each of them into our workaday lives, busy as they are.

No matter, the Church’s rhythm is an important idea, like the Sabbath.
So this Lent we begin with the brilliant Q midrash stories (in Matthew and Luke) of the temptation of Jesus.

The same temptations are around today—the omnipresent “False consciousness” (Marx) and the “false self” of Thomas Merton.

Like the tsunami that tore into Japan, we now have the tsunami of bull shit invading the lives of our precious young people.500,000 ads by the time they are 17, all inviting them to become consumers and those who self identify with their possessions and as they grow older, their status.

A remedy is at hand!

Mark’s original story has it all in miniature: He was with the wild beasts and the angels waited on him.” Mark 1:13

The God life, the still point in the turning world, the temporary divorce from the madness of the consumer imperative(”the wild beasts”) is always there wiating for us.

Ignatieff caves on Israel

March 11, 2011

Is Michael Ignatieff so out of it on Israel and Israel Apartheid Week or is he really so desperate for the Jewish vote. Nick Day rector at Queen’s University answered Ignatieff’s bizarro statement in an open letter.This predictably got him in hot water with Queen’s President Daniel Woolf. Such is the craven nature of university leadership in Canada today.You may contact Mr. Woolf at

Principal@QueensU.ca

Dear Mr. Ignatieff,

Your statement of March 7, 2011 re: Israeli Apartheid Week is deeply unethical. I say this not simply because of your unethical support for Israel, but because the statements you make in condemnation of Israeli Apartheid Week betray a deep lack of intellectual integrity.

The first paragraph of your statement states, “Israeli apartheid week… is a dangerous cocktail of ignorance and intolerance.” However, the critique of Israeli apartheid is informed by data, observation, scholarship, and UN resolutions and reports. Scholars, activists, international advocates, civil society leaders and UN officials have observed that the occupation, checkpoints, walls, relocations, and home demolitions committed by Israel in Palestine have created a system of racial separateness and dominance. Thus, they have applied the term “apartheid” because of its obvious and internationally recognized applicability. Therefore, it does not reflect ignorance. If you were ignorant of these facts, I understand why you made the mistake you did in your statement. Now that you know, please rescind your statement and issue an apology or retraction.

Why does your party believe that Israeli Apartheid Week reflects intolerance? Israeli Apartheid Week seeks to raise awareness about a system of separateness and dominance as well as its policies and violence. It is a critique of the policies and practices of a state, it is not a critique of Jewish people. When you equate it with “intolerance” you reflect the ignorant and anti-Semitic view that the State of Israel is the same entity as “Jewish people” or the global Jewish Diaspora. Of course, it is not. Israel is a state, Zionism is a political ideology/movement, and many Jewish people worldwide staunchly oppose the policies and practices of Israel. There is a movement of called “not in my name,” founded in South Africa by former Anti-Apartheid activist of Jewish origin Ronnie Krasils, that is critical of Israeli occupation. The existence of this movement proves that Zionism does not automatically speak for Jewish people, and that to criticize Israel does not automatically implicate one in anti-Semitism. Please explain to me, then, the basis of your claim that criticism of Israeli apartheid is a cocktail including intolerance against Jewish people.

On the Liberal Party website you are quoted as having said, “By portraying the Jewish state as criminal, by demonizing Israel and its supporters, and by targeting Jewish and Israeli students for abuse on our university campuses, the organizers and supports of Israeli Apartheid Week tarnish our freedom of speech.”

Israel is committing criminal acts, according to the International Court of Justice, the General Assembly of the United nations, and most recently 14 out of 15 security council members who voted that the settlements in the Occupied Territories are illegal. Israel targets civilians in military engagements, imposes collective punishments on the entire Palestinian population, builds civilian settlements on occupied land, operates a discriminatory judicial system in Palestine, and has constructed a “separation barrier” establishing a structured apartheid in the West Bank. How does it “tarnish freedom of speech” to foster open dialogue on these criminal acts, bringing these violations of human rights and international law into the realm of public debate?

In your view, drawing attention to the criminal acts of Israel is intolerant and tarnishes freedom of speech. But please tell me — what if the State of Israel does commit these crimes? How can we fight to stop injustices if it is automatically anti-Semitic to talk about them? Do you actually mean to say that it is OK for a state and government to side-step criticism by writing off its detractors as racists? Do you actually mean to say that it is ok for a government to ignore the real content of a critique, using morally-charged rhetorical grandstanding to distract from the real substance — in this case, the charge that criminal things are happening in the occupied territories? Do you actually oppose the right of Canadians to talk openly? If Israel is, as you claim, innocent of the charges, then why must the accusations be silenced? can’t they be engaged with? If you are against “portraying the Jewish state as criminal”, what is your response to the internationally condemned crimes of the State of Israel?

I have attended several Israeli Apartheid Week events and I have never heard an anti-Semitic word, a single act or speech of hatred, nor anything even approximating an incitement to “target Jewish and Israeli students for abuse on our campuses.” What I have heard are systematic, rational, and well-researched analyses of what is going on in the Occupied Territories and Israel. Therefore, when I read your sweeping claims about the safety of students on campuses, I cannot help but feel that you are being deliberately hyperbolic for political purposes. For that reason, and for all the other cheap tricks of poor logic and manipulative rhetoric employed in your official statement, I accuse you of deploying simplistic truisms and rhetoric to mobilize frenzy, stifle debate and insulate Israel, an internationally recognized violator of human rights, from criticism. I cannot speculate as to why you would do this, but the implications of your actions are serious.

If you continue to condemning critique of the genocide happening in Palestine, you and the party you lead are complicit in that genocide. This makes you an active and powerful accomplice in a human rights tragedy, perhaps the biggest human rights tragedy of my generation. Many have brought this to your attention, including leading Canadian scholars and activists who will be speaking publicly this week at Israeli Apartheid Week in Toronto. You have every opportunity to educate yourself. Therefore, history will not permit you the defence of ignorance or innocence.

I was elected to represent the approximately 20,000 students of Queen’s University. If I ever used the influence of my office and the power of my public voice, as you have, to insulate from criticism the perpetrator of a mass-slaughter, I would have a very difficult time sleeping at night. Please reconsider your position and come down on the right side of history. Use your voice to support the brave scholars and activists, Jewish and non-Jewish alike, who are using their voices and bodies to speak out against genocide and injustice in Palestine. Attend Israeli Apartheid Week in Toronto and listen with an open mind. You may suffer politically; however you will finally have a reason to be proud of yourself.

Thank you in advance for reading carefully and responding thoughtfully to my questions and concerns.

Sincerely,

Nick Day

Rector

Queen’s University at Kingston

Teachers for Palestine fights blood money

March 9, 2011

The Ontario Teachers Pension Plan (OTTP) invests on behalf of those who have served in this most noble of professions. Over the years several teachers of conscience has challenged this adamantine group about where and who our ension money is going. One would think that teachers would not wish to prosper on the backs of others who suffer. If you thought that you would be wrong. Sadly most teachers are unaware or simply do not care to know where their money is invested.

The latest enbarrassing revelation raises its ugly head once again in April when the OTTP convenes at their annual general meeting in April.It turns out that the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan has over $582 million invested in corporations that maintain Israeli apartheid. That is a lot of blood money on the conscience of those of us who stood in fear and trembling as moral agents in front of young people as teachers.

This is being challenged by Teachers for Palestine, a grassroots movement of public and Catholic teachers.These teachers are responding to the onging call from Palestinian civil society for Bocott, Divestment and Sanctions.

Since Teachers for Palestine launched its petition calling for the Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan to divest from Israeli apartheid, 120 OTPP members have signed.  This is a grassroots group without formal union affiliation, so we really depend on word of mouth to raise awareness of the brutal corporate practices funded by teachers’ money.

http://www.caiaweb.org/tfp/Welcome.html

Hobo returns to Palestine

March 1, 2011

Hobo Holmes, aka Fr. Bob, SMC i954, former jock from Blessed Sacrament parish in North Toronto is the itinerant peacemaker who said mass for us on Sunday and then on Monday he was off to Palestine as a Christian Peacemaker. He will not be staying at the Jerusalem Hilton but on the dirt floor with three others in At- Tuwani the  500-year-old Palestinian village of 150 people in the south Hebron Hills. We visited this village with Hobo last summer.

Here the CPTers and Hobo walk children home from school where they are regularly terrified by the American thugs in Havat Ma’on an illegal settlement since 1980. Often the IDF’s supposed security is late and allow this disgusting charade to continue. To them it is a big joke—terrorizing children.

The Middle East Monitor describes these religious misfits in these terms:

Havat Ma’on, originally an army outpost, is inhabited by 300-400 fanatical settlers, some originating in places as far as Moscow and Baltimore. Indoctrinated in the Jewish messianic ideology, the settlers are considered among the most criminal elements of the settler movement. They believe they have a mandate from God to harass, torment and kill “goyem” or non-Jews.

“Criminality is the mindset of these people. They think that their practice of Judaism is measured in proportion to the amount of persecution and aggression meted out to their Palestinian neighbors,” say Ahmed al Hreini, a resident of Tuwani.

“I think there is a clear collusion between the settlers at Havat Ma’on and the Israeli army and government. Their common goal is to harass the Palestinians to leave in order to expand the settlement,” said one CPTer from the United States.

“I can say that the settlers operate in sync with the Israeli army, they are more or less two sides of the same coin.”

Does Hobo need all this grief? At 74 shouldn’t he be chillin’ out watching the Leafs or sitting in the Florida sun? What got into this brother?

The Gospel he read on Sunday  Feb.26 26 defines his life:

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? … “And why do you worry about clothes? …So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’…But seek first his kingdom and his justice, and all these things will be given to you as well.  Matt.6: 24 ff

Bon voyage, Hobo.

 

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