Monday, August 8, 2011
From: Bill Quigley, Attorney for Father Roy Bourgeois, Quigley@loyno.edu
7214 St. Charles Avenue, Campus Box 902, New Orleans, LA 70118
August 8, 2011
Our brother, Father Roy Bourgeois, needs your immediate solidarity. The Maryknoll community has taken another step towards expulsion of Father Roy for speaking out in favor of the ordination of women priests. Father Roy has said that, as a matter of conscience, he must speak out against the exclusion of women from the priesthood both because it defies faith and reason and because the exclusion is rooted in sexism. Despite the threats to expel him, Father Roy refuses to recant.
It is time for people of good will to take action. Please contact Father Ed Dougherty, the Superior General of Maryknoll, and ask him not to expel Father Roy Bourgeois for advocating for women priests. Here is how to contact Father Dougherty:
Father Edward Dougherty
PO Box 303
Maryknoll, NY 10545-0303
Fax: 914.944.3600 or Phone: 914.941.7590
I am one of the lawyers on the team working with Father Roy. Below is a link to the letter Father Roy recently received from Maryknoll. It is the official second and perhaps final notice threatening to immediately expel him from the community.
Below is a link to Father Roy’s response to Maryknoll. You can read it and see where he stands. His letter is a simple direct invitation to dialogue about inclusion of women in the priesthood and a call for the protection of conscience – key foundation principles in any institution which respects human dignity. Contrast his letter with one from Maryknoll and judge which best reflects the spirit of hope, justice, respect and love.
Father Roy's Letter to Maryknoll:
Maryknoll Letter to Father Roy:
Father Roy has been a priest for 39 years and a member of Maryknoll for 44 years. We cannot allow Maryknoll, pushed hard no doubt by fundamentalist forces of the institutional church in Rome, to silence a prophetic voice of conscience and justice. Galileo was silenced by the church in 1633 for saying the earth revolves around the sun and they did not admit their error and apologize until 360 years later in 1992. Truth and justice cannot be expected to wait that long. Hundreds of priests already publicly support Father Roy’s right to speak his conscience. Thousands more women and men across the world support this issue and Father Roy as well. Maryknoll cannot and should not be party to a modern day silencing.
Thank you for your action and solidarity. Please send me a copy of what you send Maryknoll and I will make sure Father Roy knows of your support.
Peace and justice,
Wednesday, August 3, 2011
This last challenge of the caravan was carried out to enthusiastic chants of “Cuba si, bloqueo no!”, “Cuba is not our enemy” and “Lucius Walker vive, la lucha sigue, sigue!” while banners read “Love is our License” and “We don't want to imagine a world without Cuba!” Immigration officials tried to question caravanistas about their stay in Cuba; caravanistas exercised their constitutional rights and politely but firmly refused to answer their questions. After the crossing was completed, the seven computers which were seized by U.S. officials when the caravan crossed from the U.S. into Mexico were returned, and a group of caravanistas promptly walked them back across the border into Mexico, from where they will be shipped to Cuba.
While in Cuba, caravan participants were able to see the island for themselves through an exciting educational and cultural program. This year's caravan was dedicated to celebrating and honoring the achievements of Cuba's young people, and the program of the Caravan in Cuba highlighted their daily lives and experiences, as well as visits to organic gardens, health centers, urban and rural communities and schools.
“Our late founder, Rev. Lucius Walker, always said that U.S. foreign policy is much too important to be left in the hands of the State Department,” said Ellen Bernstein, acting co-director of IFCO. “With this project, we are enacting a 'people-to-people' foreign policy that is based in mutual respect and solidarity. We will continue reaching out to our Cuban sisters and brothers, without asking permission from the US government; and we will continue working to build the better world that we know is possible.”
IFCO acting co-director Rev. Thomas E. Smith affirmed, “Our caravans will continue with this challenge as long as the cruel and immoral blockade continues, and until the Cuban 5 political prisoners held in U.S. jails are freed!”
The Caravan to Cuba's reverse challenge coincides with two other Cuba travel challenges returning to the U.S. The Venceremos Brigade will be returning to the US on August 1st via Canada and another large travel challenge group will also be returning to Puerto Rico today.
This year's caravan was also a tribute to the life and spirit of Rev. Lucius Walker, Jr., the founding director of IFCO/Pastors for Peace, who for 20 years gave prophetic and visionary leadership to our caravans to Cuba in defiance of the US blockade. Rev. Walker died peacefully in September 2010.
Friday, July 29, 2011
Monday, July 25, 2011
Assuming increased productivity due to technological advances allowed Dad the luxury of spending more time with the family also assumes that Dad shared in the surging profits resulting from increased productivity. But apparently, the same authors who could envision commuting to work via jet pack never imagined a world where American corporations wouldn't share the windfalls of technology-driven efficiencies with their employees.
The fact is, corporations haven't. Even factoring in the latest recession, businesses are turning record profits. The trend over time has been upward ever since the end of the Great Depression. But not the median income of American workers. That has been stagnant for many, many years.
Redistribution of wealth is a socialist concept. So the authors of those films back in the 50s must have been socialists, right? How else could they explain the average Joe and his family living in such luxury? Not by working longer hours.
While most Americans back then certainly didn't think of themselves as socialists, they still believed in the commonwealth. They believed in sharing the wealth. They understood the concept of the greater good. They realized the true promise of E Pluribus Unum (out of many, one). The people of the 1950s understood the value of investing in research and infrastructure. They benefited from the G.I. Bill, and their parents benefited from the New Deal.
Today, E Pluribus Unum has been replaced with Ego, vero, me, meae (I, Me, Mine). It signifies the death of the American Dream, which was built on the premis that together, there is nothing we can't accomplish. A rising tide no longer lifts all boats.
Maybe the Dream was always just that. Maybe it was just a cynical creation of the leadership of the time to replace religion as the opiat of the masses. The great irony of all of this is that those who have adopted Ego, Vero, Me, Meae are the ones waving the American flag with the most vigor, while they disavow the basic principles that can make the Dream a reality.
They say we don't remember most of our dreams. Maybe some day, our children won't remember this one either.
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Friday, July 8, 2011
Once again, mission accomplished.
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
Tuesday, July 5, 2011
Now that the Anthony jury has delivered their verdict, maybe we can get back to paying attention to stuff that might actually have a significant impact on our lives.
Saturday, June 25, 2011
- You think a gay scout master is going to turn your son gay.
- You think allowing your daughter to visit her friend and her "two moms" will turn her into a lesbian.
- You think the gay guy at your gym is going to hit on you.
- You think that allowing gay people to marry will "destroy the fabric of society."
You see, while I have some gay friends and relatives, and I love them all, I could never, ever imagine myself having a gay sexual encounter. Not that I think there is anything wrong with it, I just physically can't imagine it. It's easier for me to imaging jamming a pen in my eye. Those I know who play for the other team have told me that they feel pretty much the same way about having heterosexual relations.
So, when I talk to narrow-minded homophobes who are afraid that gay people will influence their children, or somehow destabilize their comfortable little reality, I can't help but think they can imagine being "turned gay." And if so, I figure they already are and they just haven't accepted it yet.
Get over it! Your friends will still love you and if not, they're not your friends.
Most of all, stop trying to limit the rights of those who have accepted who they are.
New York finally figured it out. How about you?
*Thanks (or apologies) to Jeff Foxworthy
Thursday, June 16, 2011
What is a stimulus? It's an infusion of cash into the economy. Supporting our involvement in WWII was the reason for infusing a huge amount of cash into the economy in addition to what was added to fund the various work programs and infrastructure projects. This proves that if FDR's oringinal "stimulus" didn't work, as the Republicans claim, it is because it was too small. The same logic applies today. While it is inaccurate to say that Obama's stimulus failed, history tells us that it would have had a much greater positive impact if it was larger.
But this morning on the news, I heard a pundit say that Obama's in a bad position right now because he can't do another stimulus. They failed to mention that the only reason he can't is because the Republicans won't let him. They made sure the original stimulus was too small to be sufficient. Why would they add to it now?
All this is just another tactic in their battle to defeat Obama in 2012. But there is collateral damage: jobs for the middle class. And that's OK, because the Republicans can twist logic even further to blame Obama for that, too. Mission accomplished.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
On second thought, screw the guy who just spent his hard earned money to learn how to fish. You can increase your profit margin if you just sell him fish you buy overseas, where they cost you next to nothing.
Wednesday, June 8, 2011
I hope u had an xelent nite.I know some of my readers may doubt the validity of my claim, but all you need to do is go to Wikipedia and look it up— just give me 15 minutes to get there first.
I no I did. Wen nxt in town,
we shall resume r heated discussion.
Thursday, June 2, 2011
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Let's put on our CTGs (critical thinking glasses). First, let's look at the numbers.
Notice how the unemployment rate rose by 1.1% the same year that the Bush Tax Cuts took effect. Notice how they haven't come down much since. I know. The Republicans will blame that on 9/11, the assault on the traditional family, or gun control, but the numbers don't lie.
You may be surprised to learn that the Small Business Administration defines small businesses as those making annual receipts anywhere from a few thousand dollars to over $35 million in some industries and hiring from a few to 1500 employees.
So, let's talk to a "small business man." From 1996 through 2008, I co-owned a small business. We never broke a million dollars in sales, and in our best year, we had two full-time employees. We were incorporated as an "s-corp," which among other things meant we were responsible to pay personal income taxes on the company's profits.
My business partner and I got into the habit of having our accountant project our tax liability each year in November. Then, we would spend like crazy so that by the end of the year, we wouldn't have as much of a profit on which to be taxed. We invested that money in equipment, software, marketing, and when we could justify it, we invested it in people.
Bottom line? If the choice is paying company profits to the government or investing it in the company, I think most business owners would choose the latter. Of course, when the Republicans offer a third choice— take the money and run, that's what will happen. So much for adding jobs.
Monday, May 30, 2011
The United States Department of State unilaterally imposed sanctions against Venezuela's state-owned oil company, Petróleos de Venezuela, S.A. (PDVSA), for its alleged relations with the government of Iran. The sanctions are a desperate and weak attempt to link Venezuela to Iran's nuclear energy program as part of an ongoing campaign to justify further aggressive action against the South American oil producing nation.
As citizens of the United States, we unequivocally reject this latest attempt of our administration to demonize the Venezuelan government and undermine the vibrant democracy of the Venezuelan people. The Venezuelan government of Hugo Chavez has already been victim of a coup d'etat in 2002, backed by Washington, which briefly ousted the President from power. Fortunately for the health of Venezuela's democracy, the people fought back, rescued their President, and reinstated constitutional order. Then, as now, the United States stood alone in its support for hostilities against Venezuela's democratically-elected government.
The government of Hugo Chavez has used its oil wealth to invest heavily in improving the wellbeing of its people. Currently, more than 60% of oil industry profits are directed towards social programs in Venezuela, including free healthcare, education, job training, community media, grassroots organizations and subsidized food and housing. The results are notable. Poverty in Venezuela has been reduced by over 50% during the Chavez administration, illiteracy has been eradicated and free, universal healthcare and education are available and accesible to all. These policies of social justice have extended well beyond the borders of Venezuela to the United States though programs that supply free, discounted or subsidized heating oil and fuel to low income neighborhoods, indigenous peoples' communities and homeless shelters throughout the nation.
More than 250,000 US citizens in 25 states and the District of Columbia have benefited to date from the Venezuelan government's subsidized heating oil program, which is run through PDVSA's subsidiary in the United States, CITGO. No other oil company in the world - including US companies - has offered to help low income families suffering from the inflated cost of heating oil during the past six years, except for CITGO. Venezuela's solidarity with the people of the United States has enabled thousands of families to survive through these difficult economic times.
We find it outrageous that the United States government would attempt to demonize the one company, and country, that has been there for our neighbors, putting people before profits. And we call on our representatives in Washington to suspend these sanctions against Venezuela immediately.
Friday, May 27, 2011
Lyrics to an 1868 tune by this man began, “Guten Abend, Gut Nacht, Mit Rosen Bedacht”
Two contestants answered, "Wagner." Of course, the correct answer is Brahms. But that got me to wonder what a Wagnerian lullaby would sound like. I would have assumed it would have large-breasted, armor-clad viking women, demons and lots of thunder and lightning in it. But as it turns out, he actually did, and the lyrics are quite nice:
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Republicans are saying, "we need to do something." They're saying, "the Ryan plan was just a start." Well, last I checked, you don't vote on a bill until it's finalized, and the Republican majority in the House was pretty excited about voting on it in its original state. Marco Rubio said that to do nothing is the same as being in favor of destroying Medicare. Of course, he is implying that the Democrats are doing nothing.
But the Democrats have advocated for changes that will make a difference. They have suggested that Part D (the prescription benefit) should be reorganized so that lower drug prices can be negotiated with pharmaceutical companies, just as the Veterans Administration does. This would realize significant savings. Remember, Part D was George Bush's unfunded "entitlement."
Democrats have also suggested that we eliminate subsidies to Big Oil and let the Bush Tax Cuts on the top 2% expire. That's a "start," too. It's not drafted as a bill yet, because it really is just a start. Democrats have always come to the table from a position of compromise (too often, in my opinion).
So once again, I would ask that you listen to the Republicans' reframed, repackaged message with a critical ear. You will realize that they haven't heard 70-80% of the American people who have resoundingly denounce the Ryan Plan, because they are too busy listening to their own constituencies— Big Oil, Big Pharma, and millionaires.
You can wrap a cow pie in gold leaf, but if you scratch the surface... well you know what it smells like!
Sunday, May 15, 2011
Fast forward to the 1970s. In the movie Network, Arthur Jensen is chairman and chief stockholder of the fictitious Communication Corporation of America (CCA). Jensen's news anchorman Howard Beale seems to have cracked the shell of the American public's apathy by rallying them around his declaration on the news one evening that he is "mad as hell" and he's "not going to take it anymore."
Jensen ignores the nightly rants, in which Beale defines "it" as a myriad of injustices perpetrated against the American middle class by the "powers that be." But when Beale's spotlight on a shady international oil deal leads to its demise, Jensen informs him in no uncertain terms that he has "meddled with the primal forces of nature." In the monologue that follows, Jensen declares, "There is no America. There is no democracy. There is only IBM and ITT and AT&T and Dupont, Dow, Union Carbide and Exxon. Those are the nations of the world today."
Fiction? In today's New York Times, Mark Mazzetti and Emily Hager write that Blackwater founder Erik Prince has been contracted by the United Arab Emirates to "put together an 800-member battalion of foreign troops." The article goes on to say,
The force is intended to conduct special operations missions inside and outside the country, defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from terrorist attacks and put down internal revolts... Such troops could be deployed if the Emirates faced unrest in their crowded labor camps or were challenged by pro-democracy protests like those sweeping the Arab world this year.Let's "get fictional" for a moment and imagine that events play out in the UAE as they have in Egypt, Syria, Jordan and Libya. And now let's assume that the proponents of democracy in the UAE were being slaughtered by an "800-member battalion of foreign troops." Do you suppose America would come to the rescue? In this totally speculative universe, maybe there is no America. Maybe there is only IBM and ITT and AT&T... and Blackwater.
Milo Minderbinder or Erik Prince. Is there actually a difference between fiction and reality?
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Those last two are addressed by the social safety net we've managed to cobble together over the past 70 years. Today, that safety net includes Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, and federal unemployment insurance. These are what the Republicans refer to when they talk about cutting "entitlements."
But we are "entitled" to them. That's nothing to be embarrassed about. They aren't handouts. We pay for them out of every paycheck we earn. Before entitlements are put on the block, we need to squeeze every non-essential penny out of defense, eliminate corporate welfare, and force the elite to pay their fair share.
Friday, May 6, 2011
I suppose that as the Republicans keep moving to a more extreme conservative position, the middle appears to be leftist. It's an optical illusion.
For those of you who think CNN or the network news shows are liberally biased, I would urge you to watch Democracy Now and the Thom Hartman Program online. And if you don't mind actually reading, check out The Nation.
Then tell me the mainstream media is liberal.
The DBD advocates are either uninformed, or they're trying to pull fast one on us. The only ones who will benefit from the resumption of offshore drilling near our national shoreline, or in the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge are the multinational oil corporations. I think they do quite well already.
Instead of advocating for the most profitable corporations in the world, the Republicans should be advocating for us. But since that isn't going to happen, we should be compelling our leaders in both parties to give significant tax breaks for the purchase of electric and hybrid cars, solar panels for the home, and mass transit. We should be insisting that funding for our infrastructure be increased and include the development of high-speed rail with access from rural communities to regional economic centers.
Don't drink the DBD Kool-Aid. There's nothing good in it for you.
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
Sunday, May 1, 2011
It was no accident that the World Trade Center was one of the targets, along with the Pentagon and the White House. What is it about our international trade policies and foreign relations that would foment so much hatred? There is no justification for taking innocent lives. None. But not to ask why is simply irresponsible.
If you are willing to ask the question, here are some books that might help with the answer:
Blum, W. (1995). Killing Hope: U. S. Military and CIA Interventions
Since World War II. New York: Common Courage Press.
Kwitny, J. (1986). Endless Enemies. New York, New York: Penguin.
Perkins, J. (2005). Confessions of an Economic Hitman. New York: Plume.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Thursday, April 28, 2011
So this morning on Morning Joe (MSNBC), the pundits are criticizing Obama for addressing the situation at all-- that he shouldn't be dignifying the topic with his attention.
It reminded me of a joke I heard Jesse Jackson tell years ago:
The Pope and Jackson are in a boat on a lake. The press corps is in a boat next to them. The Pope's beanie flies off in the wind and Jesse gets out of the boat and walks on water to retrieve it. The next day, the headlines read, "Jesse can't swim."