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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, Michigan
Home country: Citizen of the world whose address is in the U.S.
Current location: Detroit, Michigan
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 65,989

Journal Archives

Greece first, Spain next?

“Syriza, Podemos – venceremos,” chanted Podemos’s Pablo Iglesias into the microphone on Sunday, his voice rising as he hit the last word: we will win. In the packed bleachers of this rally of the party faithful in Valencia, a Greek flag waved as thousands joined in his chant.

Few followed the elections in Greece as closely as Spaniards, many of whom saw in the electoral race a preview of looming elections in their country. As news broke on Sunday that Syriza had ousted the establishment to become the first anti-austerity party to gain power in the eurozone the leader of the far-left Podemos party, Pablo Iglesias, revelled in the news.

“I think that the victory of Syriza will provoke something that’s new in the political panorama of Greece – they’re going to have a real Greek president, not a delegate of Angela Merkel whose interests will rank above those of the country and its people,” he told La Sexta news channel on Sunday night.

Austerity had been dealt a blow by democracy, he said, giving his nascent movement in Spain a foothold that could prove crucial in the coming year as municipal, regional and general elections pit Podemos against the bipartisan political system that has ruled Spain since the death of Franco. ..................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/jan/26/spain-podemos-syriza-victory-greek-elections

Chris Hedges: Killing Ragheads for Jesus

from truthdig

by Chris Hedges

“American Sniper” lionizes the most despicable aspects of U.S. society—the gun culture, the blind adoration of the military, the belief that we have an innate right as a “Christian” nation to exterminate the “lesser breeds” of the earth, a grotesque hypermasculinity that banishes compassion and pity, a denial of inconvenient facts and historical truth, and a belittling of critical thinking and artistic expression. Many Americans, especially white Americans trapped in a stagnant economy and a dysfunctional political system, yearn for the supposed moral renewal and rigid, militarized control the movie venerates. These passions, if realized, will extinguish what is left of our now-anemic open society.

The movie opens with a father and his young son hunting a deer. The boy shoots the animal, drops his rifle and runs to see his kill.

“Get back here,” his father yells. “You don’t ever leave your rifle in the dirt.”

“Yes, sir,” the boy answers.

“That was a helluva shot, son,” the father says. “You got a gift. You gonna make a fine hunter some day.”
The camera cuts to a church interior where a congregation of white Christians—blacks appear in this film as often as in a Woody Allen movie—are listening to a sermon about God’s plan for American Christians. The film’s title character, based on Chris Kyle, who would become the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history, will, it appears from the sermon, be called upon by God to use his “gift” to kill evildoers. The scene shifts to the Kyle family dining room table as the father intones in a Texas twang: “There are three types of people in this world: sheep, wolves and sheepdogs. Some people prefer to believe evil doesn’t exist in the world. And if it ever darkened their doorstep they wouldn’t know how to protect themselves. Those are the sheep. And then you got predators.”


Kyle insisted that every person he shot deserved to die. His inability to be self-reflective allowed him to deny the fact that during the U.S. occupation many, many innocent Iraqis were killed, including some shot by snipers. Snipers are used primarily to sow terror and fear among enemy combatants. And in his denial of reality, something former slaveholders and former Nazis perfected to an art after overseeing their own atrocities, Kyle was able to cling to childish myth rather than examine the darkness of his own soul and his contribution to the war crimes we carried out in Iraq. He justified his killing with a cloying sentimentality about his family, his Christian faith, his fellow SEALs and his nation. But sentimentality is not love. It is not empathy. It is, at its core, about self-pity and self-adulation. That the film, like the book, swings between cruelty and sentimentality is not accidental.


The culture of war banishes the capacity for pity. It glorifies self-sacrifice and death. It sees pain, ritual humiliation and violence as part of an initiation into manhood. Brutal hazing, as Kyle noted in his book, was an integral part of becoming a Navy SEAL. New SEALs would be held down and choked by senior members of the platoon until they passed out. The culture of war idealizes only the warrior. It belittles those who do not exhibit the warrior’s “manly” virtues. It places a premium on obedience and loyalty. It punishes those who engage in independent thought and demands total conformity. It elevates cruelty and killing to a virtue. This culture, once it infects wider society, destroys all that makes the heights of human civilization and democracy possible. The capacity for empathy, the cultivation of wisdom and understanding, the tolerance and respect for difference and even love are ruthlessly crushed. The innate barbarity that war and violence breed is justified by a saccharine sentimentality about the nation, the flag and a perverted Christianity that blesses its armed crusaders. This sentimentality, as Baldwin wrote, masks a terrifying numbness. It fosters an unchecked narcissism. Facts and historical truths, when they do not fit into the mythic vision of the nation and the tribe, are discarded. Dissent becomes treason. All opponents are godless and subhuman. “American Sniper” caters to a deep sickness rippling through our society. It holds up the dangerous belief that we can recover our equilibrium and our lost glory by embracing an American fascism. .............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/killing_ragheads_for_jesus_20150125

Bill Schuette, mondo asshole

from the metro times:

Schuette continues to fail to come up with argument defending gay marriage ban in guest 'Free Press' column
Posted By Lee DeVito on Sun, Jan 25, 2015 at 3:10 PM

The Detroit Free Press gave Michigan attorney general Bill Schuette a guest column on Saturday to defend his decision to uphold Michigan's same-sex marriage ban — and as has been typical of the ongoing saga Schuette once again fails to come up with anything resembling a solid defense.

In fact, Schuette spent his 600 or so words avoiding the topic completely, never once analyzing the constitutionality of Michigan's same-sex marriage ban. In essence his response can be boiled down to "well, that's procedure" — a procedure that has cost his office at least $40,000 so far.

Toward the end the column he briefly mentions that it's "important to always remember that there are good people on both sides of this debate. Democracy is never advanced by demonizing either side." Which is funny, because in last year's same-sex marriage trial — another prime example of Schuette grasping at straws — he enlisted Canadian economist Douglas Allen to deliver closing remarks in support of the ban. When asked if the "consequence of engaging in homosexual acts" would result in "eternal damnation," Allen didn't miss a beat, replying “Without repentance, yes.” (If that's not "demonizing" a side, we're not sure what is.)

The thing is, Schuette seems to be acutely aware of the changing tides. A federal judge recently ruled that the 300 same-sex marriages briefly performed in Michigan must be recognized, and the U.S. Supreme Court has recently decided to hear a Michigan same-sex marriage case — which could help rule the issue of marriage equality nationwide once and for all. In closing, Schuette admits, "... laws can change. Court rulings can be overturned. Both of those events happen every day in America." ..........(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.metrotimes.com/Blogs/archives/2015/01/25/schuette-continues-to-fail-to-come-up-with-argument-defending-gay-marriage-ban-in-guest-free-press-column

Funny how the party that doesn't think the Greek people should endure ......

* 25 percent unemployment (60 percent for young Greeks)
* 30 percent reduction in wages
* Hundreds of thousands of lost public sector jobs
* 300,000 households (in a country of about 11 million) have no electricity

...... is constantly referred to as "radical", whereas the cabal that imposed these conditions on them is not.

How far down the neoliberal rabbit hole have we fallen?

David Cameron, go Cheney yourself

David Cameron has warned that the victory of a radical anti-austerity party in the Greek elections will “increase economic uncertainty across Europe”, as British left-wingers celebrated.

Some claim the election result, which saw Alexis Tsipras's Syriza party sweep the ruling centre-right New Democracy party from power, will plunge the euro into a fresh crisis. He has promised to renegotiate the terms of Greece's Ł179bn international bailout deal to strip out clauses requiring the Government implements policies of austerity.

In a message on Twitter, the Prime Minister said: “The Greek election will increase economic uncertainty across Europe. That's why the UK must stick to our plan, delivering security at home.”

However Peter Hain, the shadow Welsh Secretary, said it was a “fantastic Syriza win”. ..............(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/greece-elections-david-cameron-warns-of-greater-economic-uncertainty-across-europe--but-russell-brand-says-hed-vote-for-syriza-10001772.html

Exit polls say that the leftist, anti-austerity Syriza party.....

..... wins, and wins big, in Greece, according to my huffpost updates on fb.

Why can't a snowstorm just be a snowstorm? It has to have a name.


I blame the Weather Channel.

New Study Shows More Than Half of Abortion Clinics Face Threats

Before Dr. George Tiller, an abortion provider in Wichita, Kansas, was shot to death by an anti-abortion extremist in 2009, he faced persistent threats and intimidation. Anti-abortion radicals stalked him and his family, harassed him at home and at his church (where he was eventually killed) and plastered "wanted" posters—featuring his name, photo and address—all over town.

At that time, a little more than one-quarter of abortion clinics reported similar kinds of threats and intimidation by anti-abortion extremists. But now, according to data from the Feminist Majority Foundation's 2014 National Clinic Violence Survey, those numbers have shot up to nearly 52 percent of clinics.

"The spike in serious threats and coordinated intimidation by extremists is of grave concern," says duVergne Gaines, director of the Feminist Majority Foundation's National Clinic Access Project. "We know there is a connection between threats like wanted-style posters, residential targeting of physicians and serious violence, because these types of threats preceded the murders of doctors in the '90s and Dr. Tiller in 2009."

The survey of 242 clinics by FMF (publisher of Ms.) shows that nearly 18 percent of clinics found that their doctors' pictures and personal information had been posted online, while 8.7 percent of clinics reported that doctors had been stalked.
Twenty-eight percent of responding clinics reported that pamphlets featuring photos of their doctors and clinic staff had been distributed, including some titled "TheKillers Among Us," and the use of wanted-style posters was reported by7.7 percent of clinics. .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/28713-new-study-shows-more-than-half-of-abortion-clinics-face-threats

Midtown Detroit: Professional Plaza Saved: Rehab Plan Calls For 75 Apartments


Professional Plaza has been saved. Long targeted for demolition by the new medical building rising next door, the Free Press reports that Professional Plaza was snatched from the fire by Roxbury Group, which plans a renovation into a 75-unit apartment building called The Plaza. Of course, there will also be street-level retail.

When the demolition plan was first announced in 2013, tipsters speculated that Professional Plaza's original glass facade had been neglected to the point of needing total replacement. Turns out, they were right: The plan calls for a brand new glass facade, which should make the Plaza Apartments an especially shiny place to live.

Overall, the rehab plan is an undeniable win over the original vision, which saw the mid-century landmark demolished to make room for a three-story parking garage. Total costs are pegged at $20M, and we're told to look for construction sometime closer to mid-year.

Slavoj Žižek: The Urgent Necessity of a Syriza Victory in Greece

from In These Times:

Slavoj Žižek: The Urgent Necessity of a Syriza Victory in Greece
Only a split from the European Union by Greece can save what is worth saving in the European legacy: democracy, trust in people and egalitarian solidarity.

BY Slavoj Žižek

Critics of our institutional democracy often complain that, as a rule, elections do not offer a true choice. What we mostly get is the choice between a center-Right and a center-Left party whose program is almost indistinguishable. Next Sunday, January 25, this will not be the case—as on June 17, 2012, the Greek voters are facing a real choice: the establishment on the one side; Syriza, the radical leftist coalition, on the other.

And, as is mostly the case, such moments of real choice throw the establishment into panic. They paint the image of social chaos, poverty and violence if the wrong choice wins. The mere possibility of a Syriza victory has sent ripples of fear through markets all around the world, and, as is usual in such cases, ideological prosopopoeia has its heyday: markets have begun to “talk,” as if they are living people, expressing their “worry” at what will happen if the elections fail to produce a government with a mandate to continue with the program of fiscal austerity.

An ideal is gradually emerging from this European establishment’s reaction to the threat of Syriza victory in Greece, the ideal best rendered by the title of Gideon Rachman’s comment in the Financial Times: “Eurozone’s weakest link is the voters.” In the establishment’s ideal world, Europe gets rid of this “weakest link” and experts gain the power to directly impose necessary economic measures; if elections take place at all, their function is just to confirm the consensus of experts.

From this perspective, the Greek elections cannot but appear as a nightmare. So how can this catastrophe be avoided? The obvious way would be to return the fright—to scare the Greek voters to death with the message, “You think you are suffering now? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet—wait for the Syriza victory and you will long for the bliss of the last years!” .................(more)

The complete piece is at: http://inthesetimes.com/article/17561/zizek_greece_syriza

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