May 2009 Links

May 20, 2009

Noam Chomsky has recently provided us with another essential analysis of the ways of the American empire. The decisions by the Obama administration to leave much of the torture aparatus intact should not be a surprise–especially when we realize that the commitment of the empire to torture long pre-date the Bush adminstration.

Another essential analyst is Andrew Bacevich. Here he is on “Farewell to the American Century.”

A third indispensable chronicler of the 21st century is Mike Davis. In a recent essay he gives us an authentic picture of present-day Mexico.

James Carroll, a perceptive reporter on American social and political affairs–and a lifelong Catholic and former priest, offers some perceptive reflections on the controversy over President Obama’s recent visit to Notre Dame. And he connects some broader religio-political dots. Here are further reflections on the context for Obama’s speech.

The American military continues to (mis)use biblical materials in the name of violence and imperialism.

May 13, 2009

People who care about human rights have to be quite discouraged about the level of acceptance of torture in our country.  Partly, this was heightened by concerted marketing efforts by the Bush administration.  Recent polling has indicated that 62% of the people who identified themselves as evangelical Christians believe torture can “often” or “sometimes” be acceptable compared to 40% of the people who never attend religious services.  Here’s one brief analysis of these data.

Besides being immoral and doomed to make things worse, the U.S. military interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan are setting up an on-going legacy of pain, suffering and violence for all too many of those young people sent over there on this fool’s errand.  “Post Traumatic Stress Disorder” spreads this legacy widely.  And how is our military dealing with increasing PTSD among those still part of the services?  Drug them up and send them back to war.

One alternative to our current self-destructive, profit-driven banking system is the credit union–the one healthy segment of the financial services system.  Sadly, our federal government is not yet willing to pay much attention to this model.

As always, economist Dean Baker has wise words to offer–here he’s challenging the scare tactics that are gathering steam concerning the “problems” with Social Security funding.

President Obama is making some hopeful noises about changing nuclear weapons policies–here’s the latest.

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