Mercury Rising 鳯女

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Archive for the ‘peace’ Category

The hate of men will pass, and dictators die…

Posted by Charles II on December 20, 2011

Via Occupy Wall Street, the speech that the American people need to hear:

BTW, for this and things like it, he was driven out of America.

Posted in peace | 3 Comments »

Important words from Juan Cole

Posted by Charles II on January 30, 2011

[Added: Sharif Abdel Kouddous is blogging Egypt]

In analyzing the situation in Egypt, Juan Cole says something very important that US policymakers and politicians seem to have forgotten. It’s at the core of why I have stood so strongly against US interventions in Latin America. Although Juan Cole credits Max Weber for the insight (see here or here for a more precise expression of Weber), it’s really just common sense:

Why has the Egyptian state lost its legitimacy? Max Weber distinguished between power and authority. Power flows from the barrel of a gun, and the Egyptian state still has plenty of those. But Weber defines authority as the likelihood that a command will be obeyed. Leaders who have authority do not have to shoot people. …

Authority is rooted in legitimacy. Leaders are acknowledged because the people agree that there is some legitimate basis for their authority and power. In democratic countries, that legitimacy comes from the ballot box.

The urban sector has thrown up a few multi-millionaires, but many laborers fell left behind. The enormous number of high school and college graduates produced by the system can seldom find employment suited to their skills, and many cannot get jobs at all. Urban Egypt has rich and poor but only a small “middle class.” The state carefully tries to control labor unions, who could seldom act independently.

The state was thus increasingly seen to be a state for the few.

The Nasserist state, for all its flaws, gained legitimacy because it was seen as a state for the mass of Egyptians, whether abroad or domestically. The present regime is widely seen in Egypt as a state for the others– for the US, Israel, France and the UK– and as a state for the few– the Neoliberal nouveau riche. Islam plays no role in this analysis because it is not an independent variable. Muslim movements have served to protest the withdrawal of the state from its responsibilities, and to provide services. But they are a symptom, not the cause.

In modern parlance, the words for “power” and “authority” as Cole is using them might be “hard power” and “soft power” (in Weber’s theory, “authority” is actually defined as the basis on which a command is viewed as legitimate or illegitimate, rather than the actual likelihood that it will be obeyed, which he calls “imperative control.” “Power” is the likelihood that the will of the commander will prevail, with or without resistance.)

Let us compare this to what is going on in the United States.
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Posted in Conflict in the Middle East, history, Media machine, peace, Pentagon | Comments Off on Important words from Juan Cole

Obama Talks Peace With Abbas

Posted by Phoenix Woman on November 18, 2008

From AFP via TPM:

US president-elect Barack Obama on Tuesday called Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and vowed to continue pushing Middle East peace efforts, a senior official said.

In their first conversation since the November 4 US elections, Obama also reiterated his strong support for a Palestinian state living alongside Israel, top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erakat told AFP.

But of course he’s evil and not to be trusted, never ever ever ever.

Posted in 2008, Barack Obama, Good Things, israel, Middle East, peace | 3 Comments »

Rosh Hashanah’s call to repentance

Posted by Charles II on September 30, 2008

Ray McGovern, Consortium News, published a piece that touched my heart:

In Judaism’s oral tradition Rosh Hashanah is the day when people are held to account. The wicked are “blotted out of the book of the living,” while the righteous are inscribed in the book of life.

Those in the middle are given 10 days to repent, until the holiday of Yom Kippur — the solemn Day of Atonement.

If that has a familiar ring to it…, we heard it in as many words at Mass last Sunday in the first reading, from Ezekiel 18: “If one turns from wickedness and does what is right and just, that one will live.”…

At Rosh Hashanah the ram’s horn trumpet blows to waken us from our slumber and alert us to the coming judgment. Rabbi Michael Lerner has been a ram’s horn for me. On Sept. 28, he sent a note addressing forgiveness and repentance.

He encourages us to find a private place to say aloud how we’ve hurt others, and then to go to them and ask forgiveness.

“Do not mitigate or ‘explain’ — just acknowledge and sincerely ask for forgiveness,” says Rabbi Lerner. He suggests we ask for “guidance and strength to rectify those hurts…

The piece is about the Iraq War and Joe Biden’s part in it, but the explanation of Rosh Hashanah applies to all of us. It is a promise that our commitment to truth and justice is not cast away: that our dedication to these is the very source of life. It is a warning that those who rely on injustice and falsehood vanish from existence, even in memory. And it is guidance to not merely seek forgiveness with words, but actively repair the wrongs we may have done.

Posted in anti-truth, Good Things, peace, religion | Comments Off on Rosh Hashanah’s call to repentance

Tutu No, Coulter Yes?!?

Posted by Phoenix Woman on October 5, 2007

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now that pressure from a small right-wing group (which deliberately confuses criticism of Israeli policies with anti-Semitism)  not only cowed the University of St. Thomas into axing a planned visit by Desmond Tutu, but also caused the demotion of a faculty member who protested the axing. (Meanwhile, Ann Coulter came to speak there a couple years ago and the same people who axed Tutu were either silent or cheering.)

Jewish Voice for Peace (h/t to AlterNet) is asking concerned citizens to contact the Tommies and ask them to let Bishop Tutu speak — and to reinstate Professor Cris Toffolo, who had opposed the censoring of Bishop Tutu and who was then punished for her opposition, as the chair of St. Thomas’ Justice and Peace Studies program. It’s the right thing to do.

Posted in ACLU, First Amendment, Minnesota, peace, speaking truth to power, WTF? | Comments Off on Tutu No, Coulter Yes?!?

Mandela’s Gift

Posted by MEC on July 19, 2007

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Nelson Mandela celebrated his birthday yesterday by, well, by being Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela celebrated his 89th birthday Wednesday by joining with other Nobel peace laureates, politicians and development experts to form a council of elders dedicated to fostering peace and resolving global crises.

The Council of Elders:

  • Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa
  • Jimmy Carter, former president of the United States
  • Former Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa
  • Kofi Annan, former United Nations secretary-general from Ghana
  • Aung San Suu Kyi, Nobel Peace laureate, under house arrest in Myanmar
  • Ela Bhatt, women’s rights campaigner from India
  • Gro Harlem Brundtland, former Norwegian prime minister
  • Li Zhaoxing, former envoy to the United Nations from China
  • Graca Machel, campaigner for children’s rights from South Africa
  • Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland
  • Muhammad Yunus, economist from Bangladesh

Posted in heroes, Nelson Mandela, peace | 3 Comments »

Cause And Effect 101 With Mark Shields

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 23, 2007


(Stolen from

In his latest column “Who Lost Iraq?“, Mark Shields, the great dispenser of what passes for Beltway Media Liberalism in this day and age, states the following:

Still, the high political stakes of the continuing debate over funding the war in Iraq were starkly put by Republican Sen. Kit Bond of Missouri: “If we pass legislation that loses the war, then the people who vote to pass the legislation that ends the war are going to own it. That failure will be their (read, Democrats’) failure.”

Remember Vietnam and the electoral price paid by Democrats who led the national effort — with increasing public support — to get U.S. troops out of that long war in Southeast Asia? Democrats, who have held the White House only 12 years since the tumultuous antiwar campaign of 1968, remember painfully that, following the fall of Saigon, tough-talking Republicans prospered at the polls by pointing fingers at antiwar Democrats for the “loss ” of Vietnam.


Democrats actually did well in 1974, the year they defunded the war: They picked up 49 seats in the House and three seats in the Senate. If that’s paying an electoral price, it’s one I’m sure they’d love to pay again in 2008. Granted, they had the fall of Nixon via Watergate to help them out, but it was their own decision to push the hearings and impeachment process that made this possible.

Ah, you say, but Saigon fell in 1975! Yeah, and guess what? The Democrats won the White House, picked up a seat in the House and kept the same number of seats overall in the Senate. The crummy economy under Ford and his pardon of Nixon were enough to convince most Americans to vote for Carter despite his many gaffes — or what the press reported as ‘gaffes’. If Republicans ever really “prospered at the polls” because of the Democrats’ moving to end the Vietnam War, there sure doesn’t seem to be much evidence of this, at least not in 1974 or 1976.

Posted in 2008, Democrats, Iraq war, mythmaking, peace, Republicans, Vietnam | 2 Comments »

Happy Mothers’ Peace Day!

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 13, 2007


christine_lahti.jpegalfre_woodard.jpeg ashraf_salimian.jpeg

In honor of Mother’s Day, here are some Mothers for Peace.

Why?  Because this day was intended to be a peace holiday, not as a way to enrich florists and greeting-card companies.

Posted in Iran, Iraq war, peace, women's issues | 1 Comment »

Green Peace?

Posted by MEC on March 29, 2007

I have to be skeptical of this report, because the source is the Washington Times and I can’t find any other report. But I want it to be true, because it’s brilliant.

A massive peace symbol has sprouted on the lawn in front of the west steps of the Capitol.

A U.S. Capitol Police officer deduced that anti-war activists carefully sprinkled fertilizer to create the slightly darker green shape on the lawn.

“That’s one of the smartest things I’ve seen the protesters do,” the officer said.

— S.A. Miller, Capitol Hill correspondent, The Washington Times

If you find yourself near the Capitol, take a look and let us know whether it’s true, would you?

Posted in antiwar movement, peace | 4 Comments »

And in Other News…

Posted by MEC on March 27, 2007

I don’t expect that in the United States this item got anywhere the news coverage that the results of Anna Nicole Smith’s autopsy got, but really, it’s a Very Big Deal.

Ian Paisley and Gerry Adams had a face-to-face meeting on sharing power in Northern Ireland.

The picture of Belfast’s two commanding political figures, flanked by their senior lieutenants, carried a subliminal but unambiguous message: after 3,700 deaths the Troubles are over and real politics can begin.

The two warriors of the Troubles believe they can work together. The statements they delivered in the ornate surroundings of a Stormont dining-room were exquisitely crafted to avoid giving anyone offence.

The big news they contained was that Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party will be going into government together, launching a new era and underpinning the peace process with a political foundation.

While George W. Bush threatens to expand his warmongering into Iran, in Northern Ireland the Good Friday Accord bears fruit.

The Good Friday accord, in case your local news didn’t cover it, was a landmark agreement in 1998 brokered by former U.S. Senator George Mitchell under the auspices of President Bill Clinton.

The “immoral” president makes peace. The “man of God” makes war. Irony is dead.

Posted in Good Things, history, Ireland, peace, world news | 2 Comments »

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