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Sam1

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Hometown: fly over country
Member since: Sun Aug 14, 2005, 08:23 AM
Number of posts: 411

Journal Archives

Charlie Hebdo & French ‘Secularism': Does it really just privilege White Christians?

This is a rather interesting and thought provoking essay on the understanding of secularism.

Commentators in France and elsewhere have taken the recent terrorist attacks in Paris as an occasion to reflect more broadly about Muslims in France. Many read the attacks as a sign of French Muslims’ refusal to integrate. They’ve asked whether Muslims can be fully secular and expressed doubt as whether one can be both Muslim and French.

Even as we try to make sense of what happened, however, we should be wary of myths about French secularism (laďcité) and French citizenship being spun in the aftermath of the attacks.

France understands itself and is often accepted as a preeminent secular nation that fully separates church and state and restricts religion to the private sphere.

The reality is more complicated, as more than 10 years of research on this issue have taught me.


http://www.juancole.com/2015/01/secularism-privilege-christians.html

What Charlie Hebdo says about laughter, violence, and free speech

But comedy – especially satire – has historically been used by the socially marginalized and powerless to deftly critique, deflate, and humanize those in power. Every royal court had its jester. Jonathan Swift made a modest proposal. Cartoonist Thomas Nast challenged the corruption of Tammany Hall. And nightly, many tune in to The Daily Show.

Laughter, therefore, is most effective when it comes from below to mock and diminish the powerful. Yet when laughter comes from above (the powerful) – and is aimed at the powerless – it often comes across as mean-spirited bullying. In this respect, the description of Charlie Hebdo as a bunch of “white men punching down” is an accurate characterization of the periodical’s cartoons – along with the anti-Irish, anti-black, and anti-women editorial cartoons we’ve seen throughout history.


This however is what lead me to post the essay.

Recently I was teasing my eight-year-old daughter, thinking I was being playful and celebrating what she had gotten wrong in an adorable way. She hit me in the leg and I reminded her that in our house “we use words, not hands.” She said she didn’t know what to say. Unable to carry on the conversation, she responded with a different language: violence.


http://theconversation.com/what-charlie-hebdo-says-about-laughter-violence-and-free-speech-36057

An interesting article on Henry Ford and the 5 dollar wage

This Day in Labor History: January 5, 1914

January 5, 2015 | Erik Loomis

On January 5, 1914, Henry Ford announced his famous $5 a day wage to his workers. Ford is often lauded for his efforts here and he was surely forward-thinking in creating this salary. But this post will also challenge his reputation as a good employer, for Ford expected plenty in return from those employees, far more than any employee should have to accept.



http://www.lawyersgunsmoneyblog.com/2015/01/day-labor-history-january-5-1914

Book Review: Gregory Wood: Retiring Men: Manhood, Labor, and Growing Old In America, 1900-1960


December 21, 2014 | Erik Loomis

Gregory Wood’s Retiring Men examines the intersection between masculinity, work, and retirement in the first six decades of the twentieth century. He argues that the crisis over retirement in a changing economy shaped connections between manhood and work during these years, an issue of real importance in the unstable economy of the New Gilded Age.

At the core of Wood’s book is the desperation of older workers in the American workplace of the early twentieth century. Work has long been at the center of identity for American men. Men have long held the single-income household dear, however fleeting in reality. Even more dear is the ability to support oneself and not have to rely on family or charity. But as industrialization became more intensive and mechanized in the early twentieth century, with faster machines and larger factories requiring hordes of young, strong workers, older men found themselves out of work. That included men as young as 40. And there was simply nowhere for many of them to go. Wood’s book is filled with the words of desperate men, despairing over their economic plight. With work considered the proper state for men, the lack of work meant the lack of manhood. The many letters and statements Wood quotes from the aging and unemployed are heartbreaking. Railroad conductor MS Thornton was finished at 47. He told a reporter, “Premature white hair told heavily against me. At 35 I was gray and at 40 I suppose I looked like a man of fifty.” His boss fired him and gave his job to a younger man. Some men dyed their mustaches and hair, but in this period, the quality of dyes were so bad that they could damage the skin or poison you. In 1902, the Los Angeles Times published a letter on a hair dye ingredient. It included “sugar of lead,” “tincture of cantharides,” “lac sulphur,” ammonia, and other fun things.

China’s Pivot toward Europe may Cut USA out of Deal

from Informed Comment.


By Pepe Escobar | (Tomdispatch.com) —

November 18, 2014: it’s a day that should live forever in history. On that day, in the city of Yiwu in China’s Zhejiang province, 300 kilometers south of Shanghai, the first train carrying 82 containers of export goods weighing more than 1,000 tons left a massive warehouse complex heading for Madrid. It arrived on December 9th.

Welcome to the new trans-Eurasia choo-choo train. At over 13,000 kilometers, it will regularly traverse the longest freight train route in the world, 40% farther than the legendary Trans-Siberian Railway. Its cargo will cross China from East to West, then Kazakhstan, Russia, Belarus, Poland, Germany, France, and finally Spain.

You may not have the faintest idea where Yiwu is, but businessmen plying their trades across Eurasia, especially from the Arab world, are already hooked on the city “where amazing happens!” We’re talking about the largest wholesale center for small-sized consumer goods — from clothes to toys — possibly anywhere on Earth.

The Yiwu-Madrid route across Eurasia represents the beginning of a set of game-changing developments. It will be an efficient logistics channel of incredible length. It will represent geopolitics with a human touch, knitting together small traders and huge markets across a vast landmass. It’s already a graphic example of Eurasian integration on the go. And most of all, it’s the first building block on China’s “New Silk Road,” conceivably the project of the new century and undoubtedly the greatest trade story in the world for the next decade.


http://www.juancole.com/2014/12/chinas-toward-europe.html

Close this chapter of America’s use of torture (it’s over). Look ahead to the next chapter.

The debate has ended. Next comes the squawking by politicians and policy gurus, which serves important purposes. Members of the outer party (i.e., the kind of people that write and read these kind of posts) need entertainment and a sense of participation. The news media need clickbait to get readers, and content to fill the space between ads. “It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Cut to the chase; this summary can help us remember the key points:
1.Under Bush Jr our high government officials authorized torture.
2.The CIA tortured (incompetently) but gained little or nothing of use.
3.Medical and legal professionals violated the canons of their profession to assist.
4.We, the citizens of America, knew about it but did nothing (a large fraction applauded).
5.Our leaders stopped torturing at their discretion, and remain unapologetic about it.
6.The only person punished was John Kiriakou, the CIA operative who blew the whistle (and went to jail for it).
7.President Obama approved it by hiring those responsible for high office (e.g., John Brennan) and shielding everyone responsible from punishment.

To see the future we turn to John Brennan — senior CIA officer under Bush and Obama, vocal advocate of torture, who ran the “extraordinary rendition” program that sent people to be tortured abroad. A man who knows about these things. When asked about future use of torture at his December 11 press conference, he gave us a word salad — with a clear meaning.

With identity crisis in police, more Fergusons inevitable

Recent social unrest across the country protesting the police shooting death of Michael Brown in Ferguson and the police chokehold death of Eric Garner in New York has reopened wounds and revealed deeply rooted tensions between citizens and police, especially in ethnic minority communities.

These incidents of real or perceived police misconduct followed by social unrest and riots are not new. In the 1960s there were the Watts Riots. In the early 1990s there were five days of rioting in reaction to the videotaped Rodney King beating.

An examination of the history of policing shows that this cyclical pattern can be explained by fundamental changes in policing over the past century.


The comments on "asshole control" are especially noteworthy.


http://theconversation.com/with-identity-crisis-in-police-more-fergusons-inevitable-35237

In Light of Eric Garner - by Ian Welsh

What you will hear defenders of the police say is “he was non-compliant.”

Non-compliant.

If a police officer tells you to do anything, you do it immediately. If you do not, anything that happens to you, up to and including death, is your problem.

The legal system exists, today, to ensure compliance.


http://www.ianwelsh.net/in-light-of-eric-garner/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+IanWelsh+%28Ian+Welsh%29

Hillary Clinton’s Continuity Government Versus Elizabeth Warren’s Voice for Change

By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: October 27, 2014


The contrast between Wall Street’s continuity government in Washington under another Clinton in the White House and the charismatic populist voice of Senator Elizabeth Warren as she stumps for Democrats in the midterms, is awakening millions of Americans to the idea that there may be choices after all in the 2016 presidential election.

Columnist Eugene Robinson said it best last Monday in the Washington Post, writing that Senator Warren’s “swing through Colorado, Minnesota and Iowa to rally the faithful displayed something no other potential contender for the 2016 presidential nomination, including Hillary Clinton, seems able to present: a message.”


http://wallstreetonparade.com/2014/10/hillary-clintons-continuity-government-versus-elizabeth-warrens-voice-for-change/

Republicans Welcome Ebola (Satire)

Giggling, the Chairperson of the Republican Party could barely contain himself when he learned a major hurricane was headed for the east coast of the United States. “Can anyone tell me if it’ll hit any blue states hard? We can always use some extra help I guess, but with ISIS and ebola, maybe that would be piling on. We live in great times.”

Documents show that the entire Republican midterm strategy is based on creating a perfect storm of fear in the U.S., combining over-reaction and panic over ISIS with growing fears of an apocalyptic ebola epidemic sweeping through the nation’s gun shows. “Friends,” the chair continued, “This could be like the election after Watergate, when the Dems could have run nearly anyone, even a nut job like Jimmy ‘James’ Carter, and won. We just need to tie Obama a little bit more directly to the ebola thing


http://wemeantwell.com/blog/2014/10/25/republicans-welcome-ebola-satire/
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