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A little history to remember - the Other 9-11: Chile under Pinochet

by delicatemonster Sat Sep 11th, 2010 at 02:21:52 PM EST

Of course, for the U.S., September 11th marks an anniversary of terrorism and mindless violence perpetrated against a largely innocent population. But it's not only the Twin Tower attacks in New York city that has an anniversary on 9/11, that date also marks the 1973 coup d'etat in Chile by one of the most brutal dictators of the 20th century--Augusto Pinochet.

With the implicit support of the United States' Central Intelligence Agency, on  September  11, 1973, the government of President Salvador Allende was overthrown by the Chilean military led by General Augusto Pinochet.

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John Updike, RIP

by delicatemonster Tue Jan 27th, 2009 at 10:16:26 PM EST

If you hit google news right now (01/27/2009, approx. 7:45 EST), you would see the"Death of John Updike" ensconced between a headline heralding  "Obama Visits Capitol to Press Republicans on Stimulus Plan" and another far more crude declaring "Man Kills His Wife and 5 Children".

Updike would find his obit caught thus between the proverbial rock of a politics he never really liked or understood (he was much more conservative than liberal) and the hard place of the brute philistine of human nature (he was a soft spoken gentleman of letters who was both hospitable as well as charming) par for the course.

 He had a knack for being caught between those extremes.

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Winter Blogging with The Snow Man

by delicatemonster Sat Jan 19th, 2008 at 06:58:42 PM EST

Inspired by recent discussion about Wallace Stevens, and few snow flakes today falling in Richmond, VA, where they are fairly rare, I put together a little snow blogging piece you might enjoy.

With apologies to Wallace Stevens.

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A Word or Two about Petraeus

by delicatemonster Mon Sep 17th, 2007 at 12:39:41 AM EST

Note: I know this isn't terribly Eurocentric, but I saw the other Petraeus diary and thought there might be some interest...

That General Petraeus has been shucking and jiving about Iraq for the last 3-4 years is probably pretty well known for those of us who follow these things. As one accute commentator put it, "He is the man the president chose for the public to believe in, now that they are done believing in George W. Bush."

What's less well known --and what's a far more serious matter than his obvious prevarications and fudging of casuality statistics-- is that General Petraeus's policies have been fueling the disastrous civil war in Iraq.

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Americanism, Part IV - American Religiosity

by delicatemonster Thu May 24th, 2007 at 07:59:57 AM EST

Underlying both American's sense of innocence and the idea of an exceptional destiny and purpose is America's religiosity. Has ever a country been more religious? According to Samuel Huntington writing for a recent American Heritage Foundation report overwhelming majorities of Americans affirm religious beliefs.

When asked in 1999 whether they believed in God, or a universal spirit, or neither, 86 percent of those polled said they believed in God, 8 percent in a universal spirit, and 5 percent in neither. When asked in 2003 simply whether they believed in God or not, 92 percent said yes. In a series of 2002-03 polls, 57 to 65 percent of Americans said religion was very important in their lives, 23 to 27 percent said fairly important, and 12 to 18 percent said not very important. In 1996, 39 percent of Americans said they believed the Bible is the actual word of God and should be taken literally; 46 percent said they believed the Bible is the word of God but not everything in it should be taken literally word for word; just 13 percent said it is not the word of God.

From the diaries - afew

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Americanism, Part III- American Exceptionalism

by delicatemonster Sun May 20th, 2007 at 10:29:26 AM EST

Closely tied to the notion of American innocence is a sense of our exceptional character. We believe we are an exceptional people, as George Will is often at pains to point out, we're the only country founded on an ideal--actually a series of ideals. G. K. Chesterton put it this way:

"America is the only nation in the world that is founded on a creed. That creed is set forth with dogmatic and even theological lucidity in the Declaration of Independence."

Seymour Lipset has noted that this 'Creed' is really "liberalism in its eighteenth- and nineteenth-century meanings". It was "essentially the rebellion . . . against the monarchical and aristocratic state--against hereditary privilege, against restrictions on bargains." He argues, that the spirit of America was essentially--and exceptionally -- anarchistic.

"It was anti-State."  

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Americanism - Part II, American Militarism

by delicatemonster Wed May 16th, 2007 at 08:49:59 PM EST


Note: I initially planned the Militarism section to be the last portion of the Americanism series, however, the untimely death of Andrew Bacevich's son in Iraq warrants some commentary. I thought his father's own words on the 'New Militarism' which I quote heavily in this essay might be appropriate.

Boston University Professor Andrew J. Bacevich is, in Steven Clemon's words ...

"a brave, thoughtful public intellectual who has tried -- in reserved, serious terms -- to challenge the legitimacy of the Iraq War. He has been one of the most articulate leading thinkers among military-policy dissident conservatives who have exposed the inanity of this war and the damage it has done. He authored the critically-acclaimed book, The New American Militarism: How Americans are Seduced by War."

Now his son by the same name who was serving in Iraq as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom is dead -- announced today by the Department of Defense

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Americanism - Part I, American Innocence

by delicatemonster Mon May 14th, 2007 at 02:44:02 PM EST

`Americanism' the term and the concept has a relatively old pedigree. Generally it's seen as a belief system that implies American values are the most ideal of cultural values or an attitude that gives special importance to the United States of America. It became a more `formal' term when Pope Pius IX decided to define the concept as  a heresy. I can only imagine what the Knights of Columbus thought of that. This declaration apparently occurred when America was coming into its own as the quintessential imperial melting pot and, as such, it couldn't very well maintain a `state religion' no matter what the Catholics might think. For those interested in that particular moment, Wikepedia has a good write up
here .

The main gist of the disagreement was the idea that Americans would embrace their constitution over their religion. The call for a separation of church and state embedded in the US constitution and a founding principle of our country was considered a heresy by the Catholic popes.  What's most interesting is that the term has now come full circle...

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Deconstructing D'Souza - Part I

by delicatemonster Tue Mar 6th, 2007 at 09:22:00 PM EST

Part I-in which we discredit D'Souza's main premise...

You know it's bad when the only rationale you can come up with for attacking a liberal world view is that it's inconsistent with a jihadist's world view. What's worse is when you can't even get the facts straight about those Islamic folks you wrongly believe are on your side.

But let's begin at the beginning....

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Earthships Sailing to France

by delicatemonster Fri Feb 2nd, 2007 at 10:29:25 AM EST

I was planning on writing this article for awhile when I stumbled upon this link to Europe's first residential  Earthship to have a building permit in Normandy, France. For those of you unfamiliar with Mike Reynolds and Biotecture, here's a link for http://www.earthship.com/learn/earthship-france.php.

There's a more detailed introductory piece beneath the fold...

From the diaries ~ whataboutbob

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DC Anti-war March, view from the bottom rail

by delicatemonster Tue Jan 30th, 2007 at 10:51:56 PM EST

A few days ago a Eurotrib commentor asked for a report on the January 27 March on D.C. : specifically how it might impact American politics, its relevance. I realize it's a bit late, but I was there and can perhaps offer a refreshing perspective.

Any fair minded article on the January 27th  march on D.C. might have noted the extraordinarily good weather and might have even tossed in that journalistic cliché, "a sun drenched" crowd. It might have hinted at the wide diversity of the political views represented and the effort by many on the ground to make their congressional representatives responsive to the people's 2006 electoral mandate against the war. Any fair minded article might also have made note of the celebrities out in force, Jane Fonda who said, briefly, "silence was no longer an option" and Jesse Jackson who said less briefly the war must end. Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins also made an appearance. A fair article might have noted the demographic range, from 8 to 80 as one octogenerian put it to me.  

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Gerald Ford, East Timor Genocide and Golf, another view of the Ford Presidency

by delicatemonster Fri Dec 29th, 2006 at 05:08:06 PM EST

Gerald Ford is now being lauded as a fair minded and even handed President in the U.S. press and even some liberal quarters are giving him the benefit of the doubt. This is understandable as a kind of human defect: we tend to want to say the best about an individual at their passing, yet with Presidents it's important to enumerate the good as well as the bad because the historical record is being made --especially in the United States where an historical sense lasts usually no more than fifteen minutes. Thus it is with some regret that I bring up, amid all the cloying, hagiographic nonsense surrounding our golf loving, football playing bud, the fact that he was responsible for the slaughter of approximately 200,000 individuals--none of whom he probably even knew. But responsible, none the less.

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