Thursday, January 29, 2009

And These Guys Were Ex-Excommunicated !

Maledictus should call his renegade ex-excommunicated priests and bishops to order! (Or is he secretly pleased that they are denying the reality of the Shoah?)

Prete lefebvriano: "Camere a gas per disinfettare" Rabbini cancellano l'incontro con i cattolici - esteri -

TREVISO - "Io so che le camere a gas sono esistite almeno per disinfettare, ma non so dire se abbiano fatto morti oppure no, perché non ho approfondito la questione". Sono parole shock quelle pronunciate, in un'intervista alla Tribuna di Treviso, da don Floriano Abrahamowicz, capo della comunità lefebvriani del Nordest. Le dichiarazioni del religioso - che rifiuta però di definirsi antisemita - riaccendono la polemica sul negazionismo nonostante il mea culpa pronunciato dal leader del movimento tradizionalista Bernard Fellay addolorato dalle parole del vescovo Williamson.
Pope Gesture to Traditionalists Outrages Jews - Washington Post

One of the four, the British-born Richard Williamson, has made statements denying the full extent of the Nazi Holocaust of European Jews, as accepted by mainstream historians.
In comments to Swedish television broadcast on Wednesday and widely available on the Internet, Williamson said "I believe there were no gas chambers" and only up to 300,000 Jews perished in Nazi concentration camps, instead of 6 million.

Healing Schism, Pope Risks Another - The New York Times

On Saturday, he said he would welcome back into the fold the four members of a sect founded in opposition to the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s. The bishops are members of the St. Pius X Society, which was founded in 1970 by a French archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre, in opposition to Vatican II reforms. They were excommunicated by Pope John Paul II in 1988 after Archbishop Lefebvre consecrated them in unsanctioned ceremonies.
The most contentious of the four is the British-born Bishop Richard Williamson, who in a recent television interview said he thought the “historical evidence” was against six million Jews dying in Nazi gas chambers.
Some saw the pope’s decision as part of a trend, or at least an indication of his priorities.
“There is obviously a theological strategy, but the repercussions on the public opinion
field beyond the church are obviously only secondary in priority,” said Mordechay Lewy, the Israeli ambassador to the Vatican.
The move baffled Alberto Melloni, a professor of church history and the director of the liberal Catholic John XXIII Foundation for Religious Science in Bologna, which produced a history of Vatican II. “What is very inexplicable to me is how it’s possible to not calculate the consequences. This is abnormal,” he said.
Abnormal is the least you can call it. Maledictus may well be reactionary, purely reactionary!

++++ And this on the consistent revisionsim of the de-excommunicated Pius Society!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

One Voice Fewer

In Memoriam
March 18, 1932 – January 27, 2009
A writer of American literature at its best has left us.

You can also watch him discuss his craft at the following link to a video:
A Conversation with John Updike, published by the New York Times, January 27, 2009:
In October 2008, John Updike spoke with Sam Tanenhaus, the editor of the NYT Book Review, about the craft of fiction and the art of writing.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Holocaust Memorial Day

On this day in 1945, the Soviet Army liberated the concentration camp at Auschwitz. This is a date on which all mankind must pause and recall what horrors man is capable of. With the liberation also came a responsiblity for humanity to prevent such from ever happening again.

Auschwitz survivors mark camp's liberation
IHT - The Associated Press, January 27, 2009
OSWIECIM, Poland: Dozens of Nazi death camp survivors gathered Tuesday in the southern Polish town of Oswiecim — which the German occupiers called Auschwitz — to remember the horrors they lived through and celebrate the acts of humanity or randomness of fate that kept them alive.
Survivors and government officials marked the 64th anniversary of the day the advancing Soviet army liberated the camp in 1945. The anniversary has been established as an annual Holocaust remembrance day by the United Nations.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in the centre of Berlin is Germany's central Holocaust memorial site, a place for remembrance and commemoration of six million victims.
The Memorial consists of the Field of Stelae designed by architect Peter Eisenman and the underground Information Centre and is maintained by a Federal Foundation."

Monday, January 26, 2009

Don' Think the World's Not Watching !

Many of us are watching Russia and dismayed by what we see as we seek the advancement and protection of human rights and essential liberties all around the world.
Freedom of the press is essential, and hard to achieve in Russia as the thugs are let loose to silence anyone who speaks up against the machinations of the machine, or, as in this recent case, to kill a lawyer who defended those fighting for their rights in Russian courts.
RUSSIA is a great country, but POOR if it continues to trample liberty and justice! We will not look the other way! Russian gas cannot buy everybody!

Thousands in Chechnya Protest After Lawyer Is Killed
The New York Times

A masked gunman shot the lawyer, Stanislav Markelov, in a brazen daylight attack on Monday not far from the Kremlin. Anastasia Baburova, a journalist who was with Mr. Markelov, was also killed. Officials have not identified any suspects. [...]
Mr. Markelov spent more than a decade involved in contentious human rights cases, and counted among his clients those who claimed to have suffered torture and other abuse under Mr. Kadyrov’s [of Chechnya] government.
“Investigators believe that the murderer could have been a professional hit man or a single criminal who disagreed with Markelov’s public statements in the course of his human rights work,” said Vladimir I. Markin, a spokesman for the prosecutor general’s investigative group.
L'avocat d'une Tchétchène abattu dans les rues de Moscou
Le Figaro
Feue Anna Politkovskaïa avait salué en Me Markelov le premier avocat des victimes de crimes de guerre dans la république insoumise du Caucase. Parmi ses clients, figurait aussi Viktor Beketov, journaliste et opposant au maire de Khimki, une banlieue de Moscou, sauvagement tabassé récemment.
Justice, Moscow-style
The Guardian
The assassination of human rights lawyer Stanislav Markelov is a message to Russians: don't count on the law.
The assassination on 20 January of Stanislav Markelov, the human rights activist and advocate who represented many victims of lawlessness, administrative pressure and nationalist violence in Russia, is yet another blow to hopes for a happier future for this country.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Thank You, Mr. President !

For so long I have been demanding that Guantánamo be closed, that those in favor of water-boarding be labeled no-brainers and forbidden to continue their torture of suspects, that the United States adhere to its own and international principles of the rule of law and maintenance of justice in all necessary efforts to stop terrorists, who, as I have also long maintained, seek to destroy precisely that system of justice and freedom we must defend and which the bushbaby was all to ready to abandon.
Therefore I must here state how enormously grateful I am to President Obama for signing these executive orders to close Guantánamo, to cease the operation of secret CIA prisons in other countries, and to forbid the use of torture.
It will be difficult, because of the illegal torturing of many of those suspects, to bring them to trial; this is the legacy of the bushbaby playpen. Therefore it is all the more important to adhere to the rules of the legal system in future so as to be able to bring suspects to trial, determine guilt or innocence, and properly punish the guilty.
It is a delight to see the playpen dismantled and the rattlers of power removed from the hands of its denizens! Mr. Obama is fulfilling his promises!

Obama Reverses Key Bush Security Policies
The New York Times, Washington, January 22, 2009

President Obama reversed the most disputed counterterrorism policies of the Bush administration on Thursday, declaring that “our ideals give us the strength and moral high ground” in the fight against Al Qaeda. [ ... ]
Mr. Obama signed executive orders closing the detention camp at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, within a year; ending the Central Intelligence Agency’s secret prisons; and requiring all interrogations to follow the noncoercive methods of the Army Field Manual.
“We intend to win this fight,” he said. “We are going to win it on our own terms.”
Barack Obama décrète la fermeture du centre de détention de Guantanamo d'ici un an
LE MONDE 22.01.09
Le président américain a décrété, jeudi 22 janvier, la fermeture du centre de détention de Guantanamo d'ici un an. Le camp, qui compte actuellement 245 détenus, avait été ouvert sur la base militaire de Cuba après les attentats du 11 septembre 2001 pour détenir ce que l'administration Bush classait comme des "combattants illégaux". Dès mercredi, au lendemain de l'investiture de M. Obama, deux juges militaires ont suspendu, à sa demande et pour 120 jours, les procédures judiciaires en cours à Guantanamo.
Dans un autre décret, Barack Obama a également imposé que les Etats-Unis se conforment aux conventions de Genève sur les prisonniers de guerre. "Le message que nous envoyons au monde, c'est que les Etats-Unis ont l'intention de poursuivre le combat engagé contre la violence et le terrorisme, que nous le ferons avec vigilance, que nous le ferons avec efficacité, et que nous le ferons dans le respect de nos valeurs et de nos idéaux", a-t-il dit. Les Américains savent, "comme je l'ai dit lors de mon investiture, que nous ne perpétuerons pas le mauvais choix entre notre sécurité et nos idéaux", a-t-il ajouté.
Bush's 'War' On Terror Comes to a Sudden End
The Washington Post, January 23, 2009; Page A01
President Obama yesterday eliminated the most controversial tools employed by his predecessor against terrorism suspects. With the stroke of his pen, he effectively declared an end to the "war on terror," as President George W. Bush had defined it, signaling to the world that the reach of the U.S. government in battling its enemies will not be limitless.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Six médias appellent à la vigilance démocratique !

Six médias appellent à la vigilance démocratique

Le droit à l'information, à la libre expression et à la libre critique, ainsi qu'à la diversité des opinions est une liberté publique fondamentale. C'est un droit des citoyens et non pas un privilège des journalistes: sans information libre, sans une presse indépendante et pluraliste, il ne saurait y avoir d'authentique délibération démocratique.
[ ... ]
Tous ensemble, défendons la liberté de l'information! Nous vous donnons rendez-vous, vendredi 30 janvier, au Théâtre du Châtelet, à Paris.
Charlie Hebdo, Les Inrockuptibles, Marianne, Mediapart, Le Nouvel Observateur, Rue 89,
avec le soutien de Reporters sans frontières.
- Prochoix, la revue pour le droit de choisir, dirigée par Caroline Fourest et Fiammetta Venner

The 44th President !

President Barack Obama's Inaugural Address

And today he can get to work and begin to fulfill the promise to repair what a rampant playpen has broken. The road is one, with thought, to justice for all, freedom, social responsibility, caring, cooperation, light.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Hopeful Congratulations !

As this day begins, I would just like to wish Barack Obama success as he is inaugurated 44th President of the United States and perserverence in upholding principles of justice, international cooperation, and human rights as he assumes the duties of that office.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Close It ! Close IT ! CLOSE IT !

An essential task for President Obama to begin tackling immediately after the Inauguration!

The New York Times, January 17, 2009, Editorial
Closing Guantánamo

In a long series of valedictory speeches and interviews, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney have been crowing about Guantánamo Bay, secret prisons and abusive interrogations, claiming they met the highest legal standards and that no prisoner had been tortured. Fortunately, the truth broke through the noise, in the words of some of the very people ordered to carry out the policies.
In an interview in The Washington Post, Susan Crawford, the retired judge who runs the military tribunals at Guantánamo, said that harsh interrogation methods had endangered the life of Mohammed al-Qahtani, a Saudi national accused of planning to take part in the 9/11 attacks. Authorized by then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, they included sustained isolation, nudity and prolonged exposure to the cold.
“We tortured Qahtani,” Judge Crawford said, adding that she was therefore unable to prosecute a man who seemed to pose a real threat to the United States.
Judge Crawford was not the only one speaking out. Major David Frakt of the Air Force Reserve, who was assigned to defend another Guantánamo prisoner, told MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow that he and all the other defense lawyers in the system consider the tribunals “unfair, rigged” and unconstitutional. He noted that his client’s prosecutor resigned to protest the lack of evidence in the case.
That is the real nature of Mr. Bush’s grotesque legacy: abuse and torture at an outlaw prison where hundreds of men — many of whom did nothing — have been held for years without real evidence or charges. And truly dangerous men were treated so badly that it may be impossible to bring them to justice.
It will be hard enough to close down Guantánamo as Barack Obama has vowed to do, but the legal burdens Mr. Bush is dumping on his successor are much greater.
[ ... ]
We recognize that this is a daunting agenda, and that to succeed, Mr. Obama’s White House, Justice Department and Pentagon will also have to rebuild demoralized legal divisions where professionals were replaced with apparatchiks whose mission was to twist the law to justify their masters’ decisions.
This work is essential to restoring the rule of law. It is essential to restoring this country’s reputation around the world. And it is essential to restoring Americans’ faith in themselves and in their government. That is the only way to move forward.
This is necessary for a restoration of American ideals and for renewed conformity with those of the enlightened world: LIBERTY AND JUSTICE FOR ALL !

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Beautiful Vulnerability

Suspendus (critique), Théâtre de Nesles à Paris - Les Trois Coups

La beauté des vulnérables
Traiter d’un sujet aussi grave que le mal-être et le désarroi face au sida, avec une philanthropie pleine d’espérance et de poésie, tel est le projet de « Suspendus » de Franck-Olivier Laferrère. Un très beau texte à entendre au Théâtre de Nesle.
L’histoire se passe dans un petit village de Provence. Jean-François (Jean-Claude Falet), la soixantaine, partage sa vie entre ses parents qui vivent à deux pas, son jardin, ses regrets de l’homme qu’il a aimé mais n’a pu accompagner dans les derniers jours de sa maladie, la maladie… et l’accueil de jeunes plombés à qui il offre un havre pour se reconstruire. Et voici que déboule Louise (Héléna Soubeyrand), du haut de ses vingt ans, déjà aigrie, meurtrie tout autant par le virus qu’elle a chopé que par la désillusion d’un idéal et d’un amour qu’elle n’a su rencontrer.
[ ... ]
Cette pièce fait se rencontrer deux êtres recroquevillés qui s’ouvrent l’un à l’autre, exposent leurs fêlures, dévoilent leur histoire. Parce qu’ils se rendent accessibles l’un à l’autre, ils rendent possible une rencontre et une parole authentiques. Ils s’ouvrent à la vie, s’ancrent, s’épaulent.

Olivier Pradel
Les Trois Coups

Thursday, January 15, 2009


On January 15, 1919 - 90 years ago today - Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht were arrested by Berlin Freicorps troops, interrogated and tortured in their headquarters in the Hotel Eden, across the street from the "Elephant Gate" to the Berlin Zoo, drug across the street into the Tiergarten Park and murdered, Liebknecht with three extremely shortrange shots, and thrown into the canal there.
They were both committed to human rights, social welfare, and freedom for all, extremely internationalist, and were deemed a clear threat to the ultranationalistic elements rising to become the Nazi murderers of Europe. Their murder was the beginning of the downfall of the first democracy in Germany. Their memory later often misused by the GDR's SED central party, Rosa Luxemburg's slogan - "Freedom is always the freedom of someone with a different opinion" - was long forbidden, and its reappearance at demonstrations in 1988/89 marked the beginning of the end of the GDR and the people's rejection of limitations on their rights.

Die Ermordung von Rosa Luxemburg und Karl Liebknecht
Am 15. Januar 1919 - vor genau 90 Jahren - Freikorpssoldaten der Garde-Kavallerie-Schützen-Division verschleppten Rosa Luxemburg und Karl Liebknecht in das Hauptquartier des Freikorps im Hotel Eden in Berlin, wo sie sie verhörten und schwer mißhandelten. Dann erschossen sie Liebknecht im Tiergarten mit drei Schüssen aus nächster Nähe, ermordete Luxemburg ebenfalls und warfen Leiche in den Landwehrkanal.

"Freedom is always the freedom of someone with a different opinion!"
"Freiheit ist immer Freiheit des Andersdenkenden!"

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

EU Seeks Cross-Border Recognition of Gay Civil Unions and Marriages

Today, the European Parliament passed, with a vote of 401 representatives voting yes, 220 no, and 67 abstaining, a report calling for progress on basic human rights in member countries in several areas, including excesses in the fight against terrorism, CIA activities in the EU, women's reproductive rights, living wills, discrimination against Roma, immigration and integration, regional languages, and homosexual rights.
The latter is the particular subject of this posting, although I indeed welcome the entire initiative. Excerpts from the EU Parliament Press Release follow in three languages:

The House calls on Member States to take legislative action to overcome discrimination experienced by same-sex couples by recognising such relationships. Member States with legislation on same-sex partnerships are invited to recognise provisions with similar effects adopted by others.
Das Recht gleichgeschlechtlicher Paare auf Freizügigkeit innerhalb der EU solle unter den gleichen Bedingungen Anwendung finden, wie dies in Bezug auf heterosexuelle Paare der Fall sei. Das Parlament fordert diejenigen Mitgliedstaaten, die Rechtsvorschriften hinsichtlich gleichgeschlechtlicher Partnerschaften erlassen haben, auf, die von anderen Mitgliedstaaten angenommenen Bestimmungen, die ähnliche Auswirkungen haben, anzuerkennen und Leitlinien für die gegenseitige Anerkennung der bestehenden Rechtsvorschriften in den Mitgliedstaaten festzulegen.
Diskriminierende Bemerkungen in Bezug auf Homosexuelle, die religiöse Würdenträger sowie Persönlichkeiten des sozialen Lebens und Politiker äußern, schürten Hass und Gewalt. Daher fordert das EP die jeweils verantwortlichen Gremien auf, diese Äußerungen zu verurteilen, und unterstützt zugleich "voll und ganz" die französische Initiative zur weltweiten Entkriminalisierung der Homosexualität; Homosexualität ist in 91 Ländern nach wie vor eine Straftat und in einigen Fällen sogar ein Kapitalverbrechen.
Dans ce rapport, le Parlement appelle les Etats membres à prendre des mesures législatives contre la discrimination dont sont victimes les couples du même sexe, et à en reconnaitre les unions. Les Etats membres disposant d'une législation en matière de mariage homosexuel sont invités à reconnaître les unions équivalentes existant dans d'autres Etats membres.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yes, Time to DO Something - Finally

I for one just want to see EVERY effort made EVERY day as diligently as possible to bring about the closure of Guantánamo and ALL other illegal detention centers as quickly as possible. The announcement of a pending executive order is merely the first, but an important, step towards restoring JUSTICE and the rule of law in the United States and bringing the United States back into accordance with recognized international law!
With this, President Obama can begin to prove that he meant what he said during the campaign ...

Obama’s Plan to Close Prison at Guantánamo May Take Year -

President-elect Barack Obama plans to issue an executive order on his first full day in office directing the closing of the Guantánamo Bay detention camp in Cuba, people briefed by Obama transition officials said Monday.
But experts say it is likely to take many months, perhaps as long as a year, to empty the prison that has drawn international criticism since it received its first prisoners seven years ago this week. One transition official said the new administration expected that it would take several months to transfer some of the remaining 248 prisoners to other countries, decide how to try suspects and deal with the many other legal challenges posed by closing the camp.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Time Travellers can also speak English...

I just got back from the Firing Range Center. Botched some at first (tired, short of breath), and then I was precise. Some American poet or other, I've forgotten which, once wrote these two lines: "a nice quite paradise / over the shambles". That's my state of mind when I'm training. Up there, if I manage to think as little as possible, there's blue sky, luminous quiet. Down below, exlosions and tears.
I focus on the word "word". I see it over there in my sights. It's breathing a little, growing; that's what I aim at, what I want to hit and pierce WORD. Add a single letter and you get WORLD. In French you'd have MOT and MORT. I fire at the world, I fire at death. Just a little joke, but it helps. My neighbor in the stand, Viva, congratulates me for hitting the target. I don't know anything about what she does, nor does she know what I do. We just smile at each other. That's enough.
[My own English rendition of the two paragraphs Sollers chose to represent his new novel on the back cover of the nrf Gallimard edition which has just appeared, as I noted a couple of posts down. Perhaps the translation will need revision after I have read the whole work, but this is what you get without knowing the context. A cover blurb you could call this, but one directly from the narrative. I hope it might make more people in the English speaking realm aware that French culture is far from dead and that they might be missing something when publishers don't offer them such works in translation. Your only hope: Learn French !]

By the way, "some American poet" is Ezra Pound and those verses are the 49th and 50th from Canto CXVI (1969), one of the last of his Cantos. I don't know why Pound was immediately my idea, but after only a little research I was able to verify it. Perhaps that's part of the power of Sollers' writing! (And Pound's!)


In a new play running in Paris by Franck-Olivier Laferrère, life is suspended, the characters just hanging on...
Here, the "trailer" for the production in Théâtre de Nesle from January 7 through February 14. If you're in Paris, take advantage of the chance to see it !

Friday, January 9, 2009


Just out and received today, the long awaited and already highly praised new "novel" by Philippe Sollers:

Les Voyageurs du Temps

Here's the short excerpt taken from page 18 which Sollers himself chose for the back cover:
« Je viens du Centre de tir. Quelques bavures pour commencer (fatigue, souffle court), et puis précision. Je ne sais plus quel poète américain a écrit ces deux vers : “Paradis calme/Au-dessus du carnage”. C’est mon état d’esprit à l’entraînement. En haut, si j’arrive à penser le moins possible, ciel, bleu, calme, lumineux. En bas, explosions et larmes.
Je me concentre sur le mot “mot”. Je le vois là-bas, dans la ligne de mire. Il respire un peu, il grandit, c’est lui que je vise, que je veux toucher et trouer. MOT. Avec une lettre de plus, c’est MORT. En anglais, ça ferait WORD et WORLD. Je tire sur la mort, je tire sur le monde. Petite plaisanterie, mais qui fait du bien. Ma voisine de stand, Viva, me félicite d’avoir mis dans le mille. Je ne sais rien de ses activités, ni elle des miennes. On se sourit, ça suffit. »

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Trial to Look Forward To !

Sollers devant la Justice
- Par Grégoire Leménager (Billet du jour / Nouvel Observateur)

Avec ses petits trafics d'influence et ses tropismes avoués pour le maoïsme, le sadisme, le papisme, le tabagisme et autres sollersismes, il agace si bien son monde depuis tant d'années que cela devait finir par arriver: un tribunal se réunira le 29 janvier prochain pour juger le fondateur de «Tel Quel». Des témoignages accablants auraient été rassemblés. De quoi accuser Sollers «d'attentat à la sûreté de l'esprit, d'association de bienfaiteurs en vue d'une action culturiste et d'atteintes aux bonnes mœurs».
[...] pour inaugurer une série qui aura vocation à «promouvoir les livres et les écrivains, en attirant aussi l'attention sur de jeunes auteurs» [...] «L'idée du ‘‘Livre en procès'' est née en septembre dernier, dans un café, pour répondre à ceux qui prétendent que la culture française est moribonde. Tous les trimestres, un nouvel accusé comparaîtra, mais ce pourra aussi être un thème: la rentrée littéraire, par exemple, où l'on pourrait consacrer une minute à chaque livre pour en démonter le système».

I hope they record it on all possible internet video channels. An author defending his work against charges of "attacking mental security and conspiring to form a group of benefactors for culturist activities and attacks on good morals". This will be a brilliant day for all interested in the human mind and what it is capable of thinking! This could become the best series of tribunals ever!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

First '09 Wednesday

In the headlines:
  • Natural gas pipelines from Russia to the rest of Europe through the Ukraine enable the latter to snub the former's demand for payment and contracts for natural gas delivery by filching from the transit pipelines what was supposed to go to Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, etc.
  • Most of western Europe is cold and snow covered.
  • Many Palestinians are dying in the Gaza Strip because of a few idiotic Palestinians blindly firing rockets at Israel which responds with typically over-reactive, if necessary, massive bombardment to protect the lives of Israelis and stop radical Hamas. Daniel Barenboim of the Staatsoper Berlin, with his Israeli-Palestinian youth orchestra Divan, is one of the few these days to stress the obvious: these people MUST live together. As he puts it: it is their blessing or their curse; which is up to them to decide.
  • Knut likes the weather in Berlin these days.
  • Adolf Merckle, a German billionaire, has killed himself as a result of speculation losses in the course of the financial crisis, relevant only because this loss (of life and money) affects his gigantic corporate empire of pharmaceutical and building material firms.
  • Europe wonders why Obama is saying nothing about the current Israel-Gaza Strip conflict; a few recall that he is not yet president.
  • The governing CDU-CSU-SPD coalition in Germany is nearing agreement on a second economic recovery package of some €50 billion, mostly with infrastructure investment measures and some tax relief and social insurance payment reductions, coupled however with a legal requirement to avoid deficit spending under normal economic conditions.
  • The West-Eastern Divan Orchestra will hold two concerts in the Berlin Staatsoper next Monday to replace the concerts for the opening of this year's tour scheduled in Cairo and Katar, but canceled because of the current situation in Gaza. Daniel Barenboim conducts. The first is already sold out.
  • Putin is visiting Berlin next week for the first time as Premier.
  • Tourists continue to flock to Berlin, setting another record last year, and I for one seem to encounter hardly anyone else on the 100 or 200 buses in the city.
  • Most shops here are offering sales with huge discounts on almost everything.
I suggest smiles, negotiations, recognition of common humanity, more cultural activities, refraint from violence as good means to ensure a good year.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

The End COULD Be a New Beginning...

Take the time to read these two articles in full. The madness of the Wall Street casino and the fatal agony caused by forgetting everything and everyone for money, profit, return MAY provide us a chance to recenter mankind's thinking on what is good for the human race!

Op-Ed Contributors - The End of the Financial World as We Know It -
Incredibly, intelligent people the world over remain willing to lend us money and even listen to our advice; they appear not to have realized the full extent of our madness. We have at least a brief chance to cure ourselves. But first we need to ask: of what? ...
The Madoff scandal echoes a deeper absence inside our financial system, which has been undermined not merely by bad behavior but by the lack of checks and balances to discourage it. “Greed” doesn’t cut it as a satisfying explanation for the current financial crisis. Greed was necessary but insufficient; in any case, we are as likely to eliminate greed from our national character as we are lust and envy. The fixable problem isn’t the greed of the few but the misaligned interests of the many. ...
Op-Ed Contributors - How to Repair a Broken Financial World -
Stop making big regulatory decisions with long-term consequences based on their short-term effect on stock prices. ...
End the official status of the rating agencies. Given their performance it’s hard to believe credit rating agencies are still around. There’s no question that the world is worse off for the existence of companies like Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. There should be a rule against issuers paying for ratings. Either investors should pay for them privately or, if public ratings are deemed essential, they should be publicly provided.
Regulate credit-default swaps. ... The most critical role for regulation is to make sure that the sellers of risk have the capital to support their bets.
Impose new capital requirements on banks. ... Another good solution to the too-big-to-fail problem is to break up any institution that becomes too big to fail.
Close the revolving door between the S.E.C. and Wall Street. ... As it happens, the most critical job, chief of enforcement, now has a perfect candidate, a civic-minded former investor with firsthand experience of the S.E.C.’s ineptitude: Harry Markopolos.
The funny thing is, there’s nothing all that radical about most of these changes. A disinterested person would probably wonder why many of them had not been made long ago. A committee of people whose financial interests are somehow bound up with Wall Street is a different matter.
Another name for this could be "A Modest Proposal", but this time not ironic and certainly more likely to help eliminate hunger and poverty for the masses.
Let's get started.
(Another hint for assistance: F.D.Roosevelt's FIRST Inaugural Address, from 1933. When you read or hear that today, you will surely notice how little has changed (or was changed back after the reforms FDR introduced to protect people against business).)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Reading TINA while waiting TINA in print

Here you can peruse some literature you'll hardly find elsewhere.

And it's enjoyably edifying!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Year for The People !

Let's all make PEOPLE, humanity, the focal point this year, not profits or business or stocks, but PEOPLE, humanity in all its creative potential, people in all their needs and ability to share with each other to fulfill the needs of all, people, with all their rights and respect for the rights of one another, people in a great expression of solidarity for humanity, humanity in its unique ability to think, to consider, to reflect on being there, here and now, and on the responsibility we alone bear for the condition of the so beautiful world we inhabit, for the thoughts that we alone can think. Let us think and every day and everywhere promote peace and well-being for all people.