A Message from Viggo at Perceval Press

Viggo News (6 June 2004 - 31 May 2006)

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A Message from Viggo at Perceval Press


Source: Perceval Press
Categories: Politics



Thanks to Viggos Knight for the heads up on this message from Viggo at Perceval. At first, I thought it was just another publishing of his speech at SLU because it contains much of the same material...but...upon careful reading, it is a more indepth and edited treating of the subject matter that should not be missed.
Quote:
People cannot be mentally focused, positive and actively engaged citizens if they are constantly worried that the only thing keeping them from financial ruin is to dangerously delay seeking or altogether deny themselves and their dependents necessary medical attention. It seems that many in the political arena seem content to have citizens not able to focus too much on monitoring the government's operation and ethical conduct. It is certainly easier for political and corporate operators to steer the average citizen's attention, through costly public relations stunts, away from truly pressing issues ((like health care) when that citizen is preoccupied with scrambling financially to cope with illness and the natural consequences of physical and mental aging in his or her family. Daily concern about health care costs is, unfortunately, a significant problem for most people in the United States. Additionally, the debilitating distraction of worrying that one literally cannot afford to become seriously ill undoubtedly adds stress that can increase one's chances of becoming ill -- a vicious cycle indeed.
Read the entire comprehensive piece from Viggo at Perceval Press.

© Perceval Press/Viggo Mortensen.

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A Message from Viggo at Perceval Press


Source: Perceval Press
Categories: Politics



Thanks to Viggos Knight for the heads up on this message from Viggo at Perceval. At first, I thought it was just another publishing of his speech at SLU because it contains much of the same material...but...upon careful reading, it is a more indepth and edited treating of the subject matter that should not be missed.
Quote:
People cannot be mentally focused, positive and actively engaged citizens if they are constantly worried that the only thing keeping them from financial ruin is to dangerously delay seeking or altogether deny themselves and their dependents necessary medical attention. It seems that many in the political arena seem content to have citizens not able to focus too much on monitoring the government's operation and ethical conduct. It is certainly easier for political and corporate operators to steer the average citizen's attention, through costly public relations stunts, away from truly pressing issues ((like health care) when that citizen is preoccupied with scrambling financially to cope with illness and the natural consequences of physical and mental aging in his or her family. Daily concern about health care costs is, unfortunately, a significant problem for most people in the United States. Additionally, the debilitating distraction of worrying that one literally cannot afford to become seriously ill undoubtedly adds stress that can increase one's chances of becoming ill -- a vicious cycle indeed.
Read the entire comprehensive piece from Viggo at Perceval Press.

© Perceval Press/Viggo Mortensen.

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Why It's Over For America


Source: The Independent
Categories: Politics
Quote:

by Noam Chomsky



An inability to protect its citizens. The belief that it is above the law. A lack of democracy. Three defining characteristics of the 'failed state'. And that, says Noam Chomsky, is exactly what the US is becoming. In an exclusive extract from his devastating new book,"Failed States: The Abuse of Power and the Assault on Democracy," America's leading thinker explains how his country lost its way.



    The selection of issues that should rank high on the agenda of concern for human welfare and rights is, naturally, a subjective matter. But there are a few choices that seem unavoidable, because they bear so directly on the prospects for decent survival. Among them are at least these three: nuclear war, environmental disaster, and the fact that the government of the world's leading power is acting in ways that increase the likelihood of these catastrophes. It is important to stress the government, because the population, not surprisingly, does not agree.

    That brings up a fourth issue that should deeply concern Americans, and the world: the sharp divide between public opinion and public policy, one of the reasons for the fear, which cannot casually be put aside, that, as Gar Alperowitz puts it in America Beyond Capitalism, "the American 'system' as a whole is in real trouble - that it is heading in a direction that spells the end of its historic values [of] equality, liberty, and meaningful democracy."

    The "system" is coming to have some of the features of failed states, to adopt a currently fashionable notion that is conventionally applied to states regarded as potential threats to our security (like Iraq) or as needing our intervention to rescue the population from severe internal threats (like Haiti). Though the concept is recognized to be, according to the journal Foreign Affairs, "frustratingly imprecise," some of the primary characteristics of failed states can be identified. One is their inability or unwillingness to protect their citizens from violence and perhaps even destruction. Another is their tendency to regard themselves as beyond the reach of domestic or international law, and hence free to carry out aggression and violence. And if they have democratic forms, they suffer from a serious "democratic deficit" that deprives their formal democratic institutions of real substance.

    Among the hardest tasks that anyone can undertake, and one of the most important, is to look honestly in the mirror. If we allow ourselves to do so, we should have little difficulty in finding the characteristics of "failed states" right at home.
Read the rest of the Chomsky excerpt here.

© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited.

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Reform The System Or Lose The Democracy


Source: truthdig.com
Categories: Politics
Quote:

By Molly Ivins

Posted on May 30, 2006


HOUSTON, Texas-A Houston jury convicted both Ken Lay and Jeff Skilling, despite the fact that Kenny Boy packed his Bible to the courtroom every day.

Since it is a long and noble Texas tradition for the accused to fight all allegations by finding Jesus, this indicates a major degree of guilt. (While on trial for murder, T. Cullen Davis, the Fort Worth millionaire, not only found Jesus but also threw a big party to celebrate at the mansion, with piles of shrimp and BBQ and a soundtrack that announced over and over throughout the grounds that night, 'The son of Stinky Davis has found the son of God.")

Meanwhile, Houston reacted as though the Rockets had won the NBA championship.

Many a thoughtful analyst has given us to understand that Lay and Skilling are guilty of arrogance and hubris. Actually, they were convicted of fraud-massive, overwhelming and monstrous fraud. They also stole money and looted pension funds. They rigged energy markets and almost drove California (seventh-largest economy in the world) into bankruptcy.

And all along the way, this monstrous fraud was connected to government. Enron bought the politicians who bent the rules that let them steal, con and gyp. Lay and Skilling talked state after state into following the California model and deregulating electricity. Happy summer, everyone.

And then, of course, there was the thumbing-the-nose thievery, the offshore partnerships tricked out with the clever names so insiders would know how slick they were.

As the late Rep. Wright Patman Sr. observed: 'Many of our wealthiest and most powerful citizens are very greedy. This fact has many times been demonstrated.'

The interesting thing about Lay and Skilling is they weren't trying to evade the rules, they were rigging the rules in their favor. The fix was in-much of it law passed by former Sen. Phil Gramm of Texas, whose wife, Wendy, served on the board of Enron.

Where does that sense of entitlement come from? What makes a Ken Lay think he can call the governor of Texas and ask him to soften up Gov. Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania on electricity deregulation? Not that being governor of Texas has ever been an office of much majesty, but a corporate robber wouldn't think of doing that if it were Brian Schweitzer of Montana or Bill Richardson of New Mexico.

The extent to which not just state legislatures but the Congress of the United States are now run by large corporate special interests is beyond mere recognition as fact. The takeover is complete. Newt Gingrich and Tom DeLay put in place a system in which it's not a question of letting the head of the camel into the tent-the camels run the place.

It has all happened quite quickly-in less than 20 years. Laws were changed and regulations repealed until an Enron can set sail without responsibility, supervision or accountability. The business pages are fond of trumpeting the merits of 'transparency' and 'accountability,' but you will notice whenever there is a chance to roll back any of New Deal regs, the corporations go for broke trying to get rid of them entirely.

I'm not attempting to make this a partisan deal-only 73 percent of Enron's political donations went to Republicans. But I'll be damned if Enron's No. 1 show pony politician, George W. Bush, should be allowed to walk away from this. Ken Lay gave $139,500 to Bush over the years. He chipped in $100,000 to the Bush Cheney Inaugural Fund in 2000 and $10K to the Bush-Cheney Recount Fund.

Plus, Enron's PAC gave Bush $113,800 for his "94 and "98 political races and another $312,500 from its executives. Bush got 14 free rides on Enron's corporate jets during the 2000 campaign, including at least two during the recount. Until January 2004, Enron was Bush's top contributor.

And what did it get for its money? Ken Lay was on Bush's short list to be energy secretary. He not only almost certainly served on Cheney's energy task force, there is every indication that the task force's energy plan, the one we have been on for five years, is in fact the Enron plan. Lay used Bush as an errand boy, calling the governor of Texas and having him phone Tom Ridge of Pennsylvania to vouch for what swell energy deregulation bills Enron was sponsoring in states all over the country.

It seems to me we all understand this is a systemic problem.

We need to reform the political system, or we'll lose the democracy. I don't think it's that hard. It doesn't take rocket science. We've done it before successfully at the presidential level and tried it several places at the state level. Public campaign financing isn't perfect and can doubtlessly be improved upon as we go. Let us begin.

© 2006 Truthdig, L.L.C. All rights reserved.

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New Alatriste Trailer at FOX


Source: 20TH CENTURY FOX.
Found By: Targul
Categories: Alatriste
Alatriste5a.jpg
© Estudios Picasso / Origen Producciones.
Many thanks to our good friend Targul for surfacing this newest (and fabulous) Alatriste trailer from FOX.

20TH CENTURY FOX

© Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation. Images © Estudios Piccaso / Origen Producciones.


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Last edited: 20 September 2012 11:30:10