Friday, December 31, 2010

Tis The Season Of Cognitive Dissonance

A Belgian Catholic priest and would-be Nobel Peace Prize holder has admitted that he sexually abused an eight-year-old boy 40 years ago.

The case only came forward when his cousin, the sister of his victim, came forward in reaction to a campaign to nominate Francois Houtart for the accolade.

She told the Belgian church authority that looks into child abuse, the Adriaenssens commission, that the abuse on her brother happened in 1970 while he stayed at their house.

Houtart, 85, was a prominent third world activist and chairman of a development agency that he founded in 1976, Center Tricontinental, until he resigned from the board in November in light of the allegations.

He is currently in Ecuador and was not responding to phone calls or emails.

Houtart told the Belgian newspaper Le Soir that he twice touched 'the intimate parts' of his cousin, an incident he called 'inconsiderate and irresponsible.'

She details the abuse of her brother, which she describes as 'rape,' by an unnamed priest.

But the victim's sister says the priest, who was a friend of her father, entered her brother's room twice 'to rape him.'

'Before the third time, my brother went to tell his parents, who kept him in their room,' she is quoted as saying in the report.

The priest said he spoke to the victim’s parents to see if they wanted him to quit as a priest but they told him to speak to a professor in Brussels.

They advised him to stay in the priesthood and concentrate on his academic work in religious sociology.

I know, I know, posting a story about a Catholic priest who fondles children is about as shocking as saying "the sun rose this morning."

What I find interesting is that this little chunk of Cat'lic indiscretion has been completely ignored by the anti-pedophile folk over at Rigorous Intuition.

Hmmmmm....that's so odd isn't it?
The RI crew seem to spend 90% of their lives in front of computer screens, eagerly searching for the tiniest whiff of exposed toddler genitals.
Catholic priests with roving hands & priapic peckers seem to be a special favorite for faux moralizing and outraged finger pointing.

Yet Father Houtart seems to have slipped through the RI compound floorboards.

Oh, I found a few old threads mentioning Father Houtart that can be encapsulated in this quote:

The last sitting took place before a 'jury of conscience' that included author Arundhati Roy and Francois Houtart who participated in the Bertrand Russell War Crimes Tribunal on U.S. Crimes in Vietnam.

But that's all.

It's a mystery, isn't it?

Well, not really. Not when you take the RI forum ambiance into consideration.

For example, these bits of Houtart wisdom would be wonderfully at home on the RI forum. In fact, I've read variations of them dozens of times.

Q: What about your Utopology?

A: The struggle for Utopia is a struggle for hope, and that means that it is not a struggle for something impossible to attain. (Unlike unrestrained toddler genital fondling which is inexplicably frowned on) Capitalist logic is killing all Utopias. That is why Mrs. Thatcher said –"There is no alternative," and Francis Fukuyama speaks about the end of history. That means that any utopia is impossible! What can you hope for in a world of inequalities and oppression?

Struggle against the type of globalisation that we have today is fundamental for the definition of Utopia and the struggle for Utopia is also fundamental for the opposition to the present day globalisation. It is the search for another type of globalisation. (The one where fondling toddler's genitals is not frowned upon.)

Q: What sources inspire you most in this Utopian thinking?

A: The struggle for Utopia is a struggle for hope, and that means it is not a struggle for something impossible to get, but with the idea that “something which does not exist today could exist tomorrow”. (Like see-thru Huggies) So that is the way that I define Utopia. A French Protestant Philosopher Paul Ricoeur, talks about necessary Utopia because of the fact that globalisation of capitalist logic is killing all Utopias. There are alternatives possible. (Like toddler genital fondling. I've never been happier or more fulfilled doing anything else) Otherwise it is pointless to talk about Utopias .In the World Social Forum we have discovered that alternatives exist in all sectors of the collective human life. That is extremely important. We can talk about three levels of alternatives, the long-range (this would involve repeated bouts of genital fondling followed by oral pleasures), middle-range (this involves the occasional bout of genital fondling in the Sacristy) and short-range (this is a drive by fondle done in the dead of night while the toddler slumbers blissfully unaware). There are alternatives and there are people working for alternatives. That means that the Utopia is possible and it is not just a dream.

We must also find enough motivating force to struggle in order to realise Utopia (For me, photos of children's genitals have never had the OOMPH of a real live genital fondle). There may be various types of sources of such force. One would be the humanist perspective that we find in many people committed to struggling for justice. This is a very fundamental basis for Utopia. Marxist militants, people who believe that it is possible to transform society, find motivation for commitment from this humanist conviction. (This is especially powerful humanism dovetails with human children's genitals) If we take the believing community, for example, in Christianity, it is clear that the Bible reflects a process of liberation, and that the prophets speak about a possible future. In the Gospel we see the struggle against injustice and the hope in the Kingdom of God. (Of course, there's all manner of outre sexuality on display. Which is a good for a genital fondler such as myself) All of this is very coherent. It means that we have to believe in Utopia. The next step is to be committed to the search and the struggles for such a Utopia.

Q: What is the relationship between reconciliation and liberation from a socio-political and a theological point of view?

A: From a political point of view, in order to have real reconciliation and reconstruction, which is a social process, there have to be conditions. Otherwise it does not work. One of the main conditions is the recognition of the wrong done, as I have said. (As long as the recognition doesn't lead to any real consequences. Otherwise I'd be in jail fondling my smelly cell-mate's genitals, which, I must say, would be no fucking fun at all.) If this does not happen, after one or two generations the matter will come up again. (Or 40 years. Whichever comes first) We see this, for example, in Turkey with the genocide of the Armenians at the beginning of the 20th century, more than one hundred years ago. Turks always refused to admit that there was genocide and now with the third or the fourth generation the matter is coming back again. We see this also in Latin America. After the military dictatorships came the laws of amnesty. Well, this did not solve anything because it was like saying that nothing had happened. In fact, things have happened and as long as this is not recognised and condemned, the matter will never die but will remain in the memory of the people. (We also saw this in my little cousin's bedroom but I won't go into that.) So, from the purely political point of view, in order to solve such situations, it is necessary to go through a social process of recognition of the wrongdoing and legal condemnation. After that, reconciliation can take place. But you cannot pardon something, which has not been recognised. You can pardon it if it has been recognised as a wrongdoing by the people who are responsible. Then you can say okay, in order to build society we have to bring about a process of reconciliation. That means the possibility of living together again. (I would really like to live together with a few toddlers) Let us consider the example of co-operation between the Germans, the French and the Belgians after the Second World War. New Germany recognised the wrongdoing and paid for it. Now the relationship between Germany , France and Belgium in spite of all that has had happened is excellent, and it has been possible to build on a reconciliation process. That is from a political point of view.

From the ethical point of view and even the theological point of view, this is all the more true. Because there is also, you see, an ethical aspect; reconciliation is a value recognised in the Gospel and is found in other religions as well. Such an ethical value has a special meaning for Christians in the work of constructing the reign of God. So it has a very fundamental dimension. But, again, this dimension is possible on the condition that the party who has been guilty has an ethical attitude. (It also helps if the offended party is a family member who will willingly sweep the offence under the rug) For example, the military in Argentina , South Korea , the Philippines and Haiti all refused to recognise any wrongdoing. How can you reconcile? In this sense reconciliation from an ethical point of view is meeting the same goal as from the political perspective. Finally, reconciliation means also a certain type of compensation; it may be material or it may be moral, but compensation is also necessary.

The victims can eventually renounce material compensation if they want to, but they have to decide, not the ones who were responsible in the past or the state. Of course, from the Christian perspective, pardon is very fundamental and very important and it is only possible when the wrongdoing has been recognised.

So it would appear that the RI folk have a blind spot when the priestly pedophile is an avowed anti-corporate, anti-globalist Marxist who spouts the same rhetoric as a typical RI forum sycophant.

I guess that the "truth-seekers" at the RI forum aren't all that interested in airing dirty laundry when the laundry was soiled by one of their own.

It all makes me wonder if, over the years, they've conveniently excised other uncomfortable facts from their rigorous inquiry into truth.

(GASP) that possible? Please, oh please, say it isn't so Joe.

Actually, this is not without precedent. The RI bloggers seem to have a soft spot for The Secret Sun blog. Christopher Knowles, the blog's creator, has a soft spot for Jeffrey Kripal, who is a Professor of Religious Studies and Chair of the Department of Religious Studies at Rice University.

Mr. Kripal, in his book The Serpent's Gift, shares this bit of decidedly odd spirituality in his effort to explain why the dissociation brought on by sexual trauma can be a good thing.

Consider, for example, the one class of readers who have most deeply understood and appreciated my work on sexual trauma and mystical states: women and men who have themselves been sexually abused as children or young adults and later found themselves entering, often spontaneously, into extremely positive and healing altered states of consciousness. Such readers do not "accept" or "understand" what I am trying to communicate. They know. Their readings are based on excessive life events, on the most troublingly delightful movements of their own minds and bodies. And they are perfectly aware that very few people will ever understand them, that others cannot possibly "get it."
How could they? They have not been through the same life-altering experiences and had their consciousness and energies permanently shifted into other dimensions of knowing and being. One might as well try to explain an orgasm to a 5 year old.

"Troublingly delightful" indeed. If I would have only known, decades ago, that sexual trauma is a quick ticket to esoteric shamanism, I might have dressed a bit more saucily when I was a tot. Oh well, another missed opportunity.

In conclusion, I leave you with a bit of Houtart pontification that never once mentions toddler's genitals.

Teaser alert: With my next post I plan on giving y'all a well thought out and heartfelt expose on the reasons why Utopia would be incomplete without the occasional bout of toddler genital fondling.

Stay tuned or be ruined.

He's intently watching your kid's genitals.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

More Christmas Cheer

On December 22 both houses of the U.S. Congress unanimously passed a bill authorizing $725 billion for next year’s Defense Department budget.

The bill, the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011, was approved by all 100 senators as required and by a voice vote in the House.

The House had approved the bill, now sent to President Barack Obama to sign into law, five days earlier in a 341-48 roll call, but needed to vote on it again after the Senate altered it in the interim.

The proposed figure for the Pentagon’s 2011 war chest includes, in addition to the base budget, $158.7 billion for what are now euphemistically referred to as overseas contingency operations: The military occupation of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.

The $725 billion figure, although $17 billion more than the White House had requested, is not the final word on the subject, however, as supplements could be demanded as early as the beginning of next year, especially in regard to the Afghan war that will then be in its eleventh calendar year.

Even as it currently is, the amount is the highest in constant dollars (pegged at any given year’s dollar and adjusted for inflation) since 1945, the final year of the Second World War. With recent U.S. census figures at 308 million, next year the Pentagon will spend $2,354 for every citizen of the country at the $725 billion price tag alone.

Last year’s Pentagon budget, by way of comparison, was $680 billion, a base budget of $533.8 billion and the remainder for operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In July of this year Congress approved the 2010 Supplemental Appropriations Act which contained an additional $37 billion for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Next year’s defense authorization of $725 billion compares to, according to the Center for Defense Information, a Pentagon budget of $444.6 billion in 1946; $460.4 billion in 1968, the highest yearly amount during the Vietnam War; and $443.4 billion in 1988, the highest during the eight years of the Ronald Reagan administration’s massive military buildup. (Numbers in 2004 constant dollars.)

The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute estimates American military spending for 2009 to have accounted for 43 percent of the world total. Carl Conetta, co-director of the Project on Defense Alternatives, earlier this year estimated the 2010 U.S. defense budget to constitute 47 percent of total worldwide military expenditures and to amount to 19 percent of all American federal spending.

In addition, Pentagon spending has increased by 100 percent since 1998 and “the Obama budget plans to spend more on the Pentagon over eight years than any administration has since World War II.”

With 2.25 million full-time civilian and military personnel, excluding part-time National Guard and Reserve members, the Defense Department is the U.S.’s largest employer, outstripping Walmart with 1.4 million employees and the U.S Post Office with 599,000.

“Add in what Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs, and the Energy departments spend on defense and total US military spending will reach $861 billion in fiscal 2011, exceeding that of all other nations combined,” according to Todd Harrison, senior fellow for Defense Budget Studies at the Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments.

In April Robert Higgs of The Independent Institute advocated that the budgets – in part or in whole – of the departments of Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security, Energy, State and Treasury and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) should be calculated in the real military budget, which would in 2009 would have increased it to $901.5 billion.

“Adding [the] interest component to the previous all-agency total, the grand total comes to $1,027.8 billion, which is 61.5 percent greater than the Pentagon’s outlays alone.”

It's nice to know that, even in tough times when kids are asking Santa for winter coats instead of Barbie dolls, old Saint Nick still finds the time to be generous to our bloodthirsty hired kill...oops...I mean our saintly freedom defending boys in uniform.
Thankfully this bit of HOLIDAY CHEER came to my attention just as the last microscopic shred of Christmas spirit in my possession threatened to die an ignominious & solitary death.
Not anymore.
Now I feel that I can HO HO HO with the rest of the Christams whores, and I can do it with enthusiasm & heartfelt gusto.

So here's a big holiday cheer for the Pentagon.


But, most importantly of all, an ear drum shattering YOWZA for the biggest ho of them all:


Afghani insurgents roasting on an open fire,
Depleted Uranium nipping on your nose,
Funerealtide wailings being sung by the bereaved,
And teenagers dressed up like Rambos.

Everybody knows a drone and a missile too,
Help to keep the population slight.
Tiny tots with their dads freshly slaughtered,
Will find it hard to sleep tonight.

They know that Santa's on his way;
He's loaded lots of weapons & black ops on his sleigh.
And every mother's child is going to spy,
To see if their neighbors wave their Stars & Stripes on high.

And so I'm offering this simple phrase,
To kids from one to ninety-two,
Although its been said many times, many ways,
A very Merry Christmas to you

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ho Ho Ho Mother Fucker

More kids asking Santa for necessities this Christmas

U.S. Postal Service workers who handle the millions of letters addressed to Santa say this year's batch contains more heartbreaking pleas from children for basic necessities like shoes and coats instead of new toys.

More than 20 post offices log these wish lists and ask the public to respond with toys and letters in a program called "Operation Santa," USA Today's Donna Leinwand reports. This year, unemployed parents and their kids in New York and Chicago are asking for boots and clothing they can't afford.

One 7-year-old wrote: "This year my moom don't have much money to spend on Christmas gifts so I'm writing to you. It would make us very happy if you and your elves would bring us toys and clothes."

One in four American children are supported by food stamps, and enrollment in the program has skyrocketed.

Food Stamp Use Soars, and Stigma Fades

MARTINSVILLE, Ohio — With food stamp use at record highs and climbing every month, a program once scorned as a failed welfare scheme now helps feed one in eight Americans and one in four children.

It has grown so rapidly in places so diverse that it is becoming nearly as ordinary as the groceries it buys. More than 36 million people use inconspicuous plastic cards for staples like milk, bread and cheese, swiping them at counters in blighted cities and in suburbs pocked with foreclosure signs.

Virtually all have incomes near or below the federal poverty line, but their eclectic ranks testify to the range of people struggling with basic needs. They include single mothers and married couples, the newly jobless and the chronically poor, longtime recipients of welfare checks and workers whose reduced hours or slender wages leave pantries bare.

While the numbers have soared during the recession, the path was cleared in better times when the Bush administration led a campaign to erase the program’s stigma, calling food stamps “nutritional aid” instead of welfare, and made it easier to apply. That bipartisan effort capped an extraordinary reversal from the 1990s, when some conservatives tried to abolish the program, Congress enacted large cuts and bureaucratic hurdles chased many needy people away.

From the ailing resorts of the Florida Keys to Alaskan villages along the Bering Sea, the program is now expanding at a pace of about 20,000 people a day.

There are 239 counties in the United States where at least a quarter of the population receives food stamps, according to an analysis of local data collected by The New York Times.

The counties are as big as the Bronx and Philadelphia and as small as Owsley County in Kentucky, a patch of Appalachian distress where half of the 4,600 residents receive food stamps.

In more than 750 counties, the program helps feed one in three blacks. In more than 800 counties, it helps feed one in three children. In the Mississippi River cities of St. Louis, Memphis and New Orleans, half of the children or more receive food stamps. Even in Peoria, Ill. — Everytown, U.S.A. — nearly 40 percent of children receive aid.

While use is greatest where poverty runs deep, the growth has been especially swift in once-prosperous places hit by the housing bust. There are about 50 small counties and a dozen sizable ones where the rolls have doubled in the last two years. In another 205 counties, they have risen by at least two-thirds. These places with soaring rolls include populous Riverside County, Calif., most of greater Phoenix and Las Vegas, a ring of affluent Atlanta suburbs, and a 150-mile stretch of southwest Florida from Bradenton to the Everglades.

From "Shaky Ground," a study recently released by The Rockefeller Foundation:

These repeated snapshots convey a powerful picture of Americans standing on
shaky ground, rocked by economic tremors whose consequences include not
just worry and anxiety but severe economic hardship. Economic shocks were
strikingly widespread in 2009.
In the 18 months from March 2008 to September 2009, fully 93 percent of
households experienced at least one substantial decline in their wealth or
earnings or substantial increase in nondiscretionary spending, most often for
medical needs or assistance to family members.
Nearly seven in ten households saw their earnings substantially fall or their
nondiscretionary expenses substantially rise.
During this 18-month period, 23 percent of households reported a drop of at
least a quarter of their annual household income. This confirms the findings
of the Economic Security Index (ESI), an integrated measure of economic
security based on publicly available statistics. Projections based on the ESI
show that the share of Americans experiencing large income losses was
higher in 2009 than at any point in the last quarter century.
Though intensified by the downturn, Americans’ economic insecurity has been
growing for years, and it appears to have little diminished since 2009.
While public concerns about job security rose dramatically as the economy
weakened, worries about other risks to economic security—debt, retirement
savings, medical costs, health insurance, and even housing stability— were
already as common in 2007 as they were in the depths of the recession.
According to separate opinion surveys, concerns about retirement savings and
medical costs did not diminish at all between the summers of 2009 and 2010,
and concerns about the job market declined only slightly.

Economic instability leads not just to uncertainty but to anxiety and economic
hardship. This hardship is experienced not just by those at the bottom of the
economic ladder but also by those squarely in the middle class.
By the spring of 2009, 78 percent of Americans were quite worried about at
least one risk to their overall economic security.
Households experiencing major economic dislocations are, on average, three to
four times more likely than otherwise comparable households to report being
unable to meet multiple basic needs, such as food, shelter, and medical care.
More than half of families with incomes between $60,000 and $100,000 that
experience employment or medical disruptions report being unable to meet at
least one basic economic need.
Households with dependent children appear to be more at risk of
experiencing problems in the face of economic instability than do households
without children.
Looking forward, Americans appear extremely vulnerable to future economic
shocks, in part because of the wearing down of their basic household “buffers”
against economic risks, such as personal wealth and the potential to borrow
from family and friends.
By the fall of 2009, roughly three in ten Americans appeared highly vulnerable to
additional shocks; perhaps as many as half appeared at least partially vulnerable,
in the sense that their buffers against economic instability were limited.
Buffers against economic instability are eroded by persisting and clustered
economic shocks, depleting the security of even previously prepared
economic households.
While economic shocks are broad-based, the private buffers that households
have against economic risks are much weaker for less affluent and less
educated households than for higher-income and well-educated households.
Economic instability is so disruptive because shocks frequently persist over
time, come clustered together, and occur at roughly the same time in multiple
domains (employment, health care, family, and wealth).
About half of all the economic shocks experienced in 2008 reoccured in the
same households in 2009; these “persisting” shocks are associated with higher
levels of unmet need.
In a given domain, households often experienced repeated shocks in close
succession. For example, more than a third of households that experienced a
shock in employment or medical expenses experienced multiple shocks in the
same area.
Of those Americans who reported persisting disruptions of employment,
three-quarters also experienced persisting shocks in at least one of the other
three domains of economic life.
economic security

Friday, December 3, 2010

A Tough Week For Pluto & Crew

CELEBRATION, Fla. – The owner of a failed security business barricaded himself in his soon-to-be foreclosed home, shot at deputies and then killed himself in this well-groomed Central Florida town built by Disney.

The 14-hour standoff came just days after the town's first-ever homicide, unsettling residents who moved to the community for its safety and small-town values. Authorities said the two deaths were not connected.

I know, I know, big tragedy. Shocking really. The thought of the town that Tinkerbell built becoming infected like this. But this is America folks, where the weaklings & losers are weeded out. The opening sentence tells us all we need to know about this guy:

"The owner of a failed security business..."

In other words, the mook was a FUCKING LOSER.

Can't have those parasitic little bastards running around now can we?
They may upset the upward trajectory of the winners by wheedling their way into the bleeding hearts of all those whiny left wingers who look for any excuse to malign unfettered greed and the all American principle of


I'm sure that Celebration residents are well aware of this little sociopathic tenet that hides in the subtext of the Pledge Of Allegience since Celebration "boasts some of the highest median incomes in the area."

After all, the motto of the upwardly mobile has always been, "Too bad for your bad luck buddy." They say this right before they run over you with their Mercedes.

Then again, maybe the guy discovered this bit of antique Walt Disney ephemera and, being an obedient little company town dwelling company man, he saw no choice other than emulating Celebration's spiritual granddaddy.

Maybe if he would found this one instead:

things might have ended differently.

It's a good thing the media keeps to their rigorous standards of cheerleading & obfuscating the fact that we're pretty much screwed. Otherwise this would probably be more common.

I suppose it could all be dismissed as an anomaly, a bit of Charles Fort's damned data.

Except a few days previously the happy go lucky fairy dust laden home that is Walt's peon to artificially manufactured small town illusions had another big bucket of cold water dumped right on its collective head.

Celebration, Florida experienced its first homicide since its fourteen-year existence Tuesday.

Celebration, located just five miles south of Disney World, is a picturesque, Disney-developed town in central Florida. For the first time ever, police are investigating the only homicide reported in Celebration.

According to, Osceola County police responded to a phone call after a neighbor found 58-year-old Matteo Giovanditto dead in his home.

Police statements revealed that based on the evidence found at the scene, police classified Giovanditto's death as a homicide.

Peter Rummell, of Disney Development Corp., in a letter to then-CEO Michael Eisner, said regarding the community:

"[Celebration] would be a wonderful residential town east of I-4 that has a human scale with sidewalks and bicycles and parks and the kind of architecture that is sophisticated and timeless. It will have fiber optics and smart houses, but the feel will in many cases be closer to Main Street than to Future World."

It's the kind of town where people give Christmas gifts to their favorite Starbucks barista, where welcoming wooden rocking chairs sit lakeside on a sidewalk without being stolen, where neighbors tend to get suspicious if they notice you're not around.

Gee, it sounds so bucolically Mayberry that I bet their deputies are modeled after this guy:

One has to love America's nostalgic return to that Illusory "small town Eden," where bunnies danced Irish jigs, where teens were polite & drug free & where "salt of the Earth Americans played their tedious "God & Country" mantras over & over even as God & country were poised to abandon them to the wolves.

I doubt that any of these upscale weenies have the faintest concern for what has really happened to small town America.

Let's look.

Geez, this "reality" shit is depressing, isn't it? No wonder these folk have sacrificed personal choice to their corporate landlords. The Disney dream masters are field tested bullshit shoveling magicians who can take any 3-Dimensional hunk of a normally dark & disturbing reality and cobble together a nice shiny illusion that manages to gloss over everything that's dark & disturbing about it. Come to think of it, they're just like every other branch of the corporate American propaganda wing.

What's really twisted about this is that Celebration City's illusion of small town America is, itself, based on an illusion. Anyone familiar with Michael Lesy's book, Wisconsin Death Trip, knows that small town America had its own litany of horrors. While I'd recommend finding the book, this bit will have to do.

Having said that, I think it's time to sing:

Hi Ho Hi Ho it's off to hell we go.
Hi Ho Hi Ho we're most assuredly fucked y'know?

Again, I've nothing particularly new to say. We've always been demented & fragmented & homicidal & suicidal & sick to the core of our souls, the only difference now is we're much better at lying to ourselves about ourselves.

But you already knew that, didn't you?

In Medias Res from RaHu SolNter on Vimeo.