Let’s shun the multinational monsters’ festival of Olympic McSports

  The People’s Republic of China are torturing, culture-smothering and democracy-crushing bastards. But then so was Germany in 1936. And Britain in 1908 and 1948. And the Soviet Union in 1980. And the USA in 1984 and 1996. Then there was the massacre of hundreds of Mexican demonstrators to pave the way for the games of 1968. In fact the history of the modern Olympic movement is one long, sad litany of imperialism, racism, exploitation and oppression. But that’s not why I think we should boycott the Olympics. And I do think we should boycott them. Not just the Beijing games. All of...
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Two Guys from Gary, Indiana: Michael Jackson and Karl Malden

  They were both from Gary, Indiana and died within a few days of each other. And that’s where the comparison ended. I refer here to the American actor Karl Malden and the Michael Jackson, the dysfunctional “King of Pop”. Malden died at 97 surrounded by loved ones, a wife of 70 years and several great-grankids. Jackson died surrounded by sycophants including doctors who acceded to his every crazy whim. Both came from minority communities striving hard to achieve the American dream. Malden (born Sekulovich) was the son of Czech and Croatian parents. Jackson was the son of...
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Summer reading on Israel-Palestine

  Here are a number of very good books that came out last year and that you won’t see reviewed in the mainstream press, because they are not by liberal Zionists. (Do you think I am kidding? In June, the New York Times Book Review had books by two liberal Zionists, Benny Morris and Amos Oz, and reviews by two liberal Zionists, Jeffrey Goldberg and Liesl Schillinger. Phil Weiss put those reviews in perspective here.) They are mixed bag, ranging from scholarship to analysis to reportage to memoir. Bernard Avishai, The Hebrew Republic: How Secular Democracy and Global Enterprise Will Bring...
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Shaping the Soul

  Every major spiritual tradition knows as one of its core experiences a period of major divestment, of total renunciation of that which shaped a person before he or she began the great spiritual quest. In this period, the seeker considers the meaning of life and death, of the spiritual and material, of Earth and its beyond, of the soul in contact with the great soul within. This is the period when we evaluate everything we have come to know about life and look for a dimension above the things of this world, for the sake of what is yet to come. The search means, then, that we strip ourselves of...
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Caritas in Veritate

  Pope Benedict’s encyclical Caritas in Veritate, released on 7 July 2009, builds on the seminal work of Paul VI’s Populorum Progressio, published over forty years ago in 1967. Upon re-reading Populorum Progressio (‘On the Development of Peoples’) now, I am so taken by its relevance today and by the works of justice yet to be done that I feel the need for action rather than for another Papal letter. But having read Caritas in Veritate, I am glad to have taken the time to contemplate the learned discussion and the updated description of global social developments that it...
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