'Poverty is the worst form of violence.'A friendly reminder from Notes From Underground.
Catch y'all in a couple days.
KUALA LUMPUR (Reuters) - In keeping with her mood and to reflect the world crises she tackles daily, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice plans to play a somber piece of music to her Asian colleagues in Malaysia this week.Well isn't that special.
The Association of South East Asian Nations has a tradition of ministers performing usually silly skits at a gala dinner, but Rice, an accomplished pianist, said she was more at ease playing a serious, reflective piece, possibly by the composer Brahms.
"It is not a time that is frivolous. It is a serious time. I will play something that is in accordance with my serious mood," said Rice, who had just attended a conference in Rome aimed at helping resolve the Lebanon crisis.
Rice said she would not be comfortable singing show tunes.
The other world leaders arrive that evening, and the official summit begins with a lavish feast. The dinner is something out of a Fellini epic, staged at the magnificent Peterhof Palace, built by Peter the Great. The scene is a uniquely Russian mix of historical grandeur, political power and touristy kitsch. The Russians offer a seven-course meal including caviar and beef stroganoff (maybe Chirac has a point), served by waiters wearing powdered wigs. Outside, a bear dressed in a green tutu with pink polka dots performs tricks.And finally, a little blast from the past to drive the point home.
For 5,000 years, the ruling class has cultivated, rewarded, and amplified the voices of those storytellers whose stories affirm the righteousness of Empire and deny the higher-order potentials of our nature that would allow us to live with one another in peace and cooperation. There have always been those among us who sense the possibilities of Earth Community, but their stories have been marginalized or silenced by Empire's instruments of intimidation. The stories endlessly repeated by the scribes of Empire become the stories most believed. Stories of more hopeful possibilities go unheard or unheeded and those who discern the truth are unable to identify and support one another in the common cause of truth telling. Fortunately, the new communications technologies are breaking this pattern. As truth-tellers reach a wider audience, the myths of Empire become harder to maintain.Some food for thought.
The struggle to define the prevailing cultural stories largely defines contemporary cultural politics in the United States. A far-right alliance of elitist corporate plutocrats and religious theocrats has gained control of the political discourse in the United States not by force of their numbers, which are relatively small, but by controlling the stories by which the prevailing culture defines the pathway to prosperity, security, and meaning. In each instance, the far right's favored versions of these stories affirm the dominator relations of Empire.
The imperial prosperity story says that an eternally growing economy benefits everyone. To grow the economy, we need wealthy people who can invest in enterprises that create jobs. Thus, we must support the wealthy by cutting their taxes and eliminating regulations that create barriers to accumulating wealth. We must also eliminate welfare programs in order to teach the poor the value of working hard at whatever wages the market offers.
The imperial security story tells of a dangerous world, filled with criminals, terrorists, and enemies. The only way to insure our safety is through major expenditures on the military and the police to maintain order by physical force.
The imperial meaning story reinforces the other two, featuring a God who rewards righteousness with wealth and power and mandates that they rule over the poor who justly suffer divine punishment for their sins.
These stories all serve to alienate us from the community of life and deny the positive potentials of our nature, while affirming the legitimacy of economic inequality, the use of physical force to maintain imperial order, and the special righteousness of those in power.
It is not enough, as many in the United States are doing, to debate the details of tax and education policies, budgets, war, and trade agreements in search of a positive political agenda. Nor is it enough to craft slogans with broad mass appeal aimed at winning the next election or policy debate. We must infuse the mainstream culture with stories of Earth Community. As the stories of Empire nurture a culture of domination, the stories of Earth Community nurture a culture of partnership. They affirm the positive potentials of our human nature and show that realizing true prosperity, security, and meaning depends on creating vibrant, caring, interlinked communities that support all persons in realizing their full humanity. Sharing the joyful news of our human possibilities through word and action is perhaps the most important aspect of the Great Work of our time.
Changing the prevailing stories in the United States may be easier to accomplish than we might think. The apparent political divisions notwithstanding, US polling data reveal a startling degree of consensus on key issues. Eighty-three percent of Americans believe that as a society the United States is focused on the wrong priorities. Supermajorities want to see greater priority given to children, family, community, and a healthy environment. Americans also want a world that puts people ahead of profits, spiritual values ahead of financial values, and international cooperation ahead of international domination. These Earth Community values are in fact widely shared by both conservatives and liberals.
On Wednesday,An Israeli air strike 'hit a truck carrying medical and food supplies donated to Lebanon by the United Arab Emirates, killing its Syrian driver and wounding two others, security sources said. The truck was destroyed just a few kilometres from Lebanon's eastern border with Syria in the town of Anjar. '
A truck full of medical and food supplies?
"He knew who I was, at that time, because I had a reputation as a writer. I knew he was part of the Bush dynasty. But he was nothing, he offered nothing, and he promised nothing. He had no humor. He was insignificant in every way and consequently I didn't pay much attention to him. But when he passed out in my bathtub, then I noticed him. I'd been in another room, talking to the bright people. I had to have him taken away."
-Hunter S. Thompson on meeting George W. Bush at his Super Bowl party in Houston in 1974.
During today’s Senate debate on S. 403, a bill on abortion parental notification laws, former physician and One Who Should Know Better, Sen. Tom Coburn, argued that by distributing condoms in schools, we were rationalizing risky behavior to teenagers. “You know, the moral rationalization is if you make a mistake there’s no consequences. I’ve seen the consequences. Condoms and teenagers work about 50% of the time, if you count all the studies up,” said Coburn (emphasis mine).If you have a MySpace or Friendster account, I bet this would make a great bulletin to post for all the Oklahoma teens to see. Nothing creates activism like righteous anger, especially when you're the one getting poked in the eye.
1. Which Middle Eastern country has three times invaded its neighbors?
2. The leader of which Middle Eastern country “bears personal responsibility” for the brutal massacre of civilians buried in mass graves by bulldozers in the 1980s?
3. Which is the only Middle Eastern country that has developed biological, chemical and nuclear weapons?
4. Which Middle Eastern country has violated the most UN resolutions?
5. Which nation is responsible for the following acts of terrorism: assassination of foreign leaders, skyjacking a civilian airliner, shooting down a civilian airliner, bombing cities, markets and apartment buildings?