Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Human Soul with Capitalist Face

John Hatton, Vaclav Havel, Zuzana Čaputová  ...New York Times op-ed:  What It Means to Worship a Man Crucified as a Criminal, by Peter Wehner (Ethics & Public Policy Center):
A God who allows suffering is a mystery, but so is a God who suffered. ...
The Episcopal priest Fleming Rutledge has written that until the accounts of Jesus’ death burst upon the Mediterranean world, “no one in the history of human imagination had conceived of such a thing as the worship of a crucified man.” And yet the crucifixion — an emblem of agony and one of the cruelest methods of execution ever practiced — became a historical pivot point and eventually the most compelling symbol of the most popular faith on earth.
As a non-Christian friend of mine put it to me recently, the idea that people would worship a God who is compassionate toward us is one thing, but to worship a God who suffers and dies — as a condemned criminal, no less — is distinct to Christianity. In my friend’s understated words, “When you think about it, it is a little strange.”
Perhaps the aspect of the crucifixion that is easiest to understand is that according to Christian theology, atonement is the means through which human beings — broken, fallen, sinful — are reconciled to God. The ideal needed to be sacrificed for the non-ideal, the worthy for the unworthy.

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 Australian politicians including the Prime Minister and Opposition Leader risk being kicked off China's largest social ...

Britain is once again the sick man of Europe Martin Wolf, FT
Journalist shot dead during rioting in Derry RTE and Four ATMs stolen in Meath, Antrim and Armagh overnight RTE. “It brings to at least 15 the number of ATMs stolen on both sides of the border in recent months, five of those south of the border.” Hmm. A little self-financing

Men’s beards carry more germs than dog fur, according to science MedicalXpress

Pew Research Center, Growing Partisan Divide Over Fairness of the Nation’s Tax System:

Big four forced to split UK consulting, auditing arms - The Australian Financial Review via Richard Murphy Blog
How to Analyze People: The Complete Psychologist’s Guide to Speed Reading People – Analyze and Influence Anyone through Human Behavior Psychology, … ,conversation skills,small talk).

DAVID SOLWAY: Life in the Biodome: Capitalism for All Its Shortcomings Has Found a Way to Work with Human Nature. “I could not help reflecting that the biodome was in a certain sense a metaphorical surrogate for Western civilization, evolving through a long history of trial and error into a comparative haven for its cultural and national species. It provided a favorable environment for human flourishing, bestowing a degree of shelter, sustenance, leisure and freedom never before seen for those who would otherwise have found themselves in a state of nature where life, as Thomas Hobbes famously wrote in Leviathan, is “solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short.” The Greeks gave us the idea of the sovereign human mind and the Judeo-Christian nexus bequeathed the idea of the infinitely precious human soul. These gifts were the materials from which the biodome of the West was gradually assembled.”

Given The Hype: Mueller Report Soars To Top Of Amazon Bestseller List

There’s a solid history of such books — the Starr Report and the 9/11 Commission Report were bestsellers; the latter was a National Book Award Finalist.” – CNN

Governance of the Special Broadcasting Service Corporation

Auditor-General Report No.35 (2018-19)

IRS Apologizes For Aggressive Scrutiny Of Conservative Groups.

Bradley, Christopher G., The Consumer Protection Ecosystem: Law, Norms, and Technology (March 8, 2019). Denver Law Review, Vol. 97, 2019. Available at SSRN: or
Roll Call – Computers on wheels raise thorny questions about data privacy: “If you’re driving a late model car or truck, chances are that the vehicle is mostly computers on wheels, collecting and wirelessly transmitting vast quantities of data to the car manufacturer not just on vehicle performance but personal information, too, such as your weight, the restaurants you visit, your music tastes and places you go. A
“Consumer law provokes fierce policy debate on issues from identity theft to online privacy, from arbitration clauses and class action lawsuits to Americans’ accumulation of debt and the unsavory practices sometimes used to collect. Pervasive technology in every aspect of consumer transacting has opened up many new fronts in these battles. Scholars, policymakers, and advocates have responded in kind, devoting increased energy to this area of law, which affects every single one of us, every single day. Despite its prominence, however, confusion persists regarding what consumer protection really is or does. The realities of social and technological change have not been integrated into legal analyses of consumer transactions.

'Slip of the tongue' or slippery slope?

Sarah Sanders' credibility is on the ropes.

Should Sarah Sanders be fired? Should she resign? Or was she just doing her job?

One of the secondary stories to come out of the Mueller report was the revelation that the White House press secretary has lied to the media. One specific example was May 10, 2017, when Sanders told reporters that “countless” FBI agents said they had lost confidence in James Comey, who had been fired as FBI director the day before. But the Mueller report says Sanders made that up. She said it was a “slip of the tongue,” although she said it on more than one occasion, as ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos noted during a contentious interview on Friday’s “Good Morning America.”

Should Sanders be fired? Should she resign because she no longer has credibility? NBC News THINK contributor Kurt Bardella believes she should lose her job. He wrote:

“It is not an understatement to suggest that Sanders’ willingness to flagrantly and frequently lie to the American people is corrosive to our American way of life.”

He continued: “If we cannot trust Sanders to tell us the truth about things like the firing of the FBI director, how can we trust her when she’s briefing the American people about a school shooting or a hurricane or an adversarial foreign power’s effort to undermine our elections? Why should any reporter believe any statement she gives ever again?”

On CNN’s “Reliable Sources,” host Brian Stelter was more direct in setting up a panel discussion that, essentially, called for Sanders’ job. Stelter said, “Sarah Sanders is a press secretary with zero credibility. Why does she still have a job?”

Certainly Sanders is not the first press secretary to lie to the media. Sometimes it might even be necessary to lie to keep from putting lives in danger, such as when talking about military maneuvers or certain foreign relations. In the case of Sanders, however, her lies appear to have been about pushing the president’s agenda, not protecting national secrets.

As the New York Times writes, her “slip of the tongue” would normally be a problem, but perhaps not in Donald Trump’s administration.

'It depends ...'

Taking information from the Russians? Using stolen campaign material? Eh, says Trump lawyer.

President Donald Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani waves to people on the South Lawn of the White House. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik, File)

The biggest shake-your-head question-and-answer exchange of the weekend came on NBC’s “Meet the Press” when host Chuck Todd interviewed Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.

Todd: “So it is now OK for political campaigns to work with materials stolen by foreign adversaries?”

Giuliani: “Well, it depends on the stolen material.”

That barely beat out the second-most head-shaking exchange, which was Giuliani telling CNN’s Jake Tapper that there is “nothing wrong with taking information from Russians.”

As veteran journalist Soledad O’Brien tweeted: anyone who puts Giuliani on the air from now on should remember that statement.

Ambush or appropriate?

The Twitterverse exploded with comment after this reporter attempted to interview Robert Mueller.

In this screenshot, MSNBC reporter Mike Viqueira questions Robert Mueller as he's leaving church on Sunday.

MSNBC reporter Mike Viqueira asked all the right questions of Robert Mueller. He asked Mueller if he was going to testify before Congress. He asked if it was anybody but the president, would he have been indicted. He asked why Mueller didn’t make a recommendation to Congress. He asked if the attorney general accurately characterized Mueller’s position about President Trump.

No one can argue these were pertinent questions to ask. The debate is where and when Viqueira asked the questions: as Mueller tried to get into his SUV on Sunday following Easter services.

Was Viqueira doing his job as a dogged journalist? Or did he cross a line by pestering someone trying to enjoy and observe Easter?

Twitter was flooded with those criticizing Viqueira, calling him classless and disrespectful and saying his questions were an “ambush.” Many thought Viqueira was out of line for pursuing Mueller outside of church on Easter Sunday.

But Viqueira was doing his job. Mueller just completed one of the most important investigations in U.S. history. He was standing on a public sidewalk. He has not spoken publicly in two years.

Mueller chose to say “no comment,” which is his right. And a man who just spent two years investigating the President of the United States and the Russians certainly can (and did) sidestep the reporter. Mueller’s Easter was hardly ruined by 30 seconds of questions that he basically ignored. And Viqueira’s questions were certainly responsible — journalistically and ethically.

A lesson in context

This Texas TV station caught national heat for airing a segment that many thought was anti-Muslim.

A TV station in Odessa, Texas, is under criticism for airing a piece that some felt promoted anti-Muslim biases. KOSA-TV, a CBS affiliate, ran a story last week where two white European women spoke to the Midland County Women’s Republican Club. The women — one from England and another from Sweden — spoke of how Muslim immigration has impacted their countries and could potentially impact the United States.

Several national journalists criticized the report, including New York Magazine contributor Yashir Ali, who called the story “despicable” and HuffPost editor-in-chief Lydia Polgreen, who said the story was “shocking.”

KOSA issued a statement to Newsweek regretting the story:

"KOSA-TV aired a story regarding the Midland County Republican Women and Midland County Republican Party inviting Katie Hopkins and Elizabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff to give an anti-Muslim speech to local residents. Our report did not provide pertinent information on the speaker's backgrounds for context. We regret the information was not included and have discussed with news management to ensure that future reporting on such issues meets our journalistic standards."

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Special counsel Robert Mueller arrives at his office on April 16, 2019, just before his redacted report was released. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)