Monday, August 27, 2012

2012 US Elections: Obamney vs. Rombama

War, economic collapse, and personal devastation await Americans no matter who they vote for - and what we should do instead.

By Tony Cartalucci

August 25, 2012 "Information Clearing House" ---- A vote for Obama will bring war with Syria, Iran, and eventually Russia and China. The economy will continue to suffer in order to bolster the interests of off-shore corporate-financier interests, while the collective prospects of Americans continue to whither and blow away. A vote for Romney, however, will also bring war with Syria, Iran, and eventually Russia and China. The economy will also continue to suffer in order to bolster the interests of off-shore corporate-financier interests, while the collective prospects of Americans continue to whither and blow away. Why?

Because the White House is but a public relations front for the corporate-financier interests of Wall Street and London. A change of residence at the White House is no different than say, British Petroleum replacing its spokesman to superficially placate public opinion when in reality the exact same board of directors, overall agenda, and objectives remain firmly in place. Public perception then is managed by, not the primary motivation of, corporate-financier interests.

It is the absolute folly to believe that multi-billion dollar corporate-financier interests would subject their collective fate to the whims of the ignorant, uninformed, and essentially powerless voting masses every four years. Instead, what plays out every four years is theater designed to give the general public the illusion that they have some means of addressing their grievances without actually ever changing the prevailing balance of power in any meaningful way.

The foreign policy of both Obama and Romney is written by the exact same corporate-financier funded think-tanks that have written the script for America's destiny for the last several decades.

Bush = Obama = Romney

As was previously reported, while the corporate media focuses on non-issues, and political pundits accentuate petty political rivalries between the "left" and the "right," a look deeper into presidential cabinets and the authors of domestic and foreign policy reveals just how accurate the equation of "Bush = Obama = Romney" is.

Image: Professional spokesmen, representative not of the American people but of Fortune 500 multinational corporations and banks. Since the time of JP Morgan 100 years ago, the corporate-financier elite saw themselves as being above government, and national sovereignty as merely a regulatory obstacle they could lobby, bribe, and manipulate out of existence. In the past 100 years, the monied elite have gone from manipulating the presidency to now reducing the office to a public relations functionary of their collective interests.

George Bush's cabinet consisted of representatives from FedEx, Boeing, the Council on Foreign Relations, big-oil's Belfer Center at Harvard, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), Circuit City, Verizon, Cerberus Capital Management, Goldman Sachs, and the RAND Corporation, among many others.

Image: The Henry Jackson Society is just one of many Neo-Conservative think-tanks, featuring many of the same people and of course, the same corporate sponsors. Each think-tank puts on a different public face and focuses on different areas of specialty despite harboring the same "experts" and corporate sponsors.


His foreign policy was overtly dictated by "Neo-Conservatives" including Richard Perle, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Paul Wolfowitz, James Woolsey, Richard Armitage, Zalmay Khalilzad, Elliot Abrams, Frank Gaffney, Eliot Cohen, John Bolton, Robert Kagan, Francis Fukuyama, William Kristol, and Max Boot - all of whom hold memberships within a myriad of Fortune 500-funded think-tanks that to this day still direct US foreign policy - even under a "liberal" president. These include the Brookings Institution, the International Crisis Group, the Foreign Policy Initiative, the Henry Jackson Society, the Council on Foreign Relations, and many more.

Image: A visual representation of some of the Brookings Institution's corporate sponsors. Brookings is by no means an exception, but rather represents the incestuous relationship between US foreign and domestic policy making and the Fortune 500 found in every major "think-tank." Elected US representatives charged with legislative duties, merely rubber stamp the papers and policies drawn up in these think-tanks.


Obama's cabinet likewise features representatives from JP Morgan, Goldman Sachs, the Council on Foreign Relations, Fortune 500 representatives Covington and Burling, Citi Group, Freedie Mac, and defense contractor Honeywell. Like Bush's cabinet, foreign policy is not penned by Obama sitting behind his desk in the Oval Office, but rather by the very same think-tanks that directed Bush's presidency including the Council on Foreign Relations, RAND Corporation, the Brookings Institution, the International Crisis Group, and the Chatham House. There are also a myriad of smaller groups consisting of many of the same members and corporate sponsors, but who specialize in certain areas of interest.

Image: Obama, not a Marxist. A visual representation of current US President Barack Obama's cabinet's corporate-financier ties past and present. As can be plainly seen, many of the same corporate-financier interests represented in Obama's administration were also represented in Bush's administration.

And with Mitt Romney, "running for president" against Obama in 2012, we see already his foreign policy advisers, Michael Chertoff, Eliot Cohen, Paula Dobrainsky, Eric Edelman, and Robert Kagan, represent the exact same people and corporate-funded think-tanks devising strategy under both President Bush and President Obama.

While Presidents Bush and Obama attempted to portray the West's global military expansion as a series of spontaneous crises, in reality, since at least as early as 1991, the nations of Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Syria, Libya, Sudan, Somalia, and many others that previously fell under the Soviet Union's sphere of influence, were slated either for political destabilization and overthrow, or overt military intervention. While the public was fed various narratives explaining why Bush conducted two wars within the greater global "War on Terror," and why Obama eagerly expanded these wars while starting new ones in Libya and now Syria, in reality we are seeing "continuity of agenda," dictated by corporate-financier elite, rubber stamped by our elected representatives, and peddled to us by our "leaders," who in reality are nothing more than spokesmen for the collective interests of the Fortune 500.

Image: The International Crisis Group's corporate sponsors reveal a pattern of mega-multinationals intertwined with not only creating and directing US, and even European foreign policy, but in carrying it out. ICG trustee Kofi Annan is in Syria now carrying out a ploy to buy time for NATO-backed terrorists so they can be rearmed, reorganized, and redeployed against the Syrian government for another Western-backed attempt at regime change - all done under the guise of promoting "peace."

No matter who you vote for in 2012 - until we change the balance of power currently tipped in favor of the Fortune 500, fed daily by our money, time, energy, and attention, nothing will change but the rhetoric with which this singular agenda is sold to the public. Romney would continue exactly where Obama left off, just as Obama continued exactly where Bush left off. And even during the presidencies of Bill Clinton and Bush Sr., it was the same agenda meted out by the same corporate-financier interests that have been driving American, and increasingly Western destiny, since US Marine General Smedley Butler wrote "War is a Racket" in 1935.

What Should We Do About It?

1. Boycott the Presidential Election: The first immediate course of action when faced with a fraudulent system is to entirely disassociate ourselves from it, lest we grant it unwarranted legitimacy. Boycotting the farcical US elections would not impede the corporate-financier "selection" process and the theatrical absurdity that accompanies it, but dismal voter turnout would highlight the illegitimacy of the system. This in many ways has already happened, with voter turnout in 2008 a mere 63%, meaning that only 32% of America's eligible voters actually voted for Obama, with even fewer voting for runner-up John McCain.

Ensuring that this mandate is even lower in 2012 - regardless of which PR man gets selected, and then highlighting the illegitimacy of both the elections and the system itself is the first step toward finding a tenable solution. People must divest from dead-ends. Presidential elections are just one such dead-end.

Focusing on local elections and governance first, not only emphasizes the primacy of local self-determination, but affords us a grassroots-up approach to transforming our communities, and collectively our nation back into something truly representative of the people.

2. Boycott and Replace the Corporate Oligarchy: The corporate-financier interests that dominate Western civilization did not spring up overnight. It is through generations of patronage that we the people have granted these corporate-financier interests the unwarranted influence they now enjoy. And today, each day, we collectively turn in our paychecks to the global "company store," providing the summation of our toil as fuel for this oligarchy's perpetuation.

By boycotting the goods, services, and institutions of this oligarchy, we steal the fire out from under the proverbial cauldron - the very source of the current paradigm's power. While it is impractical to commit overnight to a full-spectrum boycott, we can begin immediately by entirely boycotting corporations like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Kraft, Unilever and others by simply supporting local businesses and our local farmers market. This "voting with one's wallet" is a form of democracy that unlike elections, will undoubtedly shift the balance of power toward a system more representative of the people's interests.

By creating self-reliant communities independent of the machinations of corporate-financier interests, we provide ourselves with the greatest form of insurance against instability and uncertainty - an insurance policy placed solely in our own hands.

3. Get Educated, Get Organized: Leveraging technology is a necessary step in eliminating dependency on other corporate-financier interests - such as big oil, big defense, big-agri, big-pharma, and the telecom monopolies. To leverage technology, people at a grassroots level must get organized, educate themselves, and collaborate to create local business models and solutions to systematically replace large multinational holdings.

A recent interview by geopolitical analyst Eric Draitser with Seth Rutledge, featured on Stop Imperialism, explored the possibilities of developing local broadband networks. Community spaces dedicated to technological education, collaboration, and resource pooling are also an emerging phenomenon. Called "maker spaces" or sometimes "hacker spaces," these grassroots initiatives serve as incubators for innovative, local small businesses.

Technology will eventually provide solutions to problems generally "solved" by government subsidies. Medicare, for instance, is a government subsidy to address the expenses and subsequent inaccessibility of medical care. Medical care, in turn, is expensive because the means to provide it are scarce. The supply of doctors, hospitals, treatments, biomedical technology, and many other aspects of modern health infrastructure are vastly outnumbered by demand.

Until technology can better balance this equation, people must organize to either defend as temporary stopgap measures, national programs that provide care to those who can't afford it, or create local alternatives. To cut programs people depend on for the sake of saving an economy plundered by special interests, to specifically preserve these same special interests is unconscionable.

An organized political front that demands the preservation/reformation of these programs as well as investment in the development of permanent technological solutions, needs not pass the hat around to the working or even productive entrepreneurial classes of society, but rather level taxes on parasitic financial speculation and market manipulation - thus solving two problems in a single stroke. Geopolitical analyst and historian Dr. Webster Tarpley has already enumerated such an approach in his 5 point plan for international economic recovery (.pdf) by specifically calling for resistance to austerity and a 1% Wall Street tax.


Undoubtedly people realize something is wrong, and that something needs to be done. To ensure that the corporate-financier elite remain in perpetual power, a myriad of false solutions have been contrived or created out of co-opted movements, to indefinitely steer people away from influencing the current balance of power and achieving true self-determination.

By recognizing this and seizing the reins of our own destiny, we can and must change the current balance of power. In the process of doing so, we must recognize and resist attempts to derail and distract us by way of the incessant political minutia now on full display during the 2012 US Presidential Election. For every problem faced by society, there is a permanent, technological solution. For hunger there was agriculture, for lack of shelter, there was architecture, and no matter how daunting today's problems may seem, there lies similar solutions.

We must realize that by endeavoring to solve these problems, we jeopardize monopolies as insidious as they are monolithic, constructed to exploit such problems. If we fail to recognize and undermine these interests through pragmatic activism, we will be resigned to whatever fate these special interests determine for us, no matter how cleverly they sell us this fate as one of our own choosing.

This article was originally published at LandDestroyer

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Amnesty International is US State Department Propaganda

Amnesty International is US State Department Propaganda

Amnesty run by US State Department representatives, funded by convicted financial criminals, and threatens real human rights advocacy worldwide.

By Tony Cartalucci

Image: From Amnesty International USA's website, "Free Pussy Riot." "Help Amnesty International send a truckload of balaclavas to Putin." This childish stunt smacks of US State Department-funded Gene Sharp antics - and meshes directly with the US State Department's goal of undermining the Russian government via its troupe of US-funded "opposition activists" including "Pussy Riot." That Amnesty is supporting the US State Department's agenda should be no surprise, it is run literally by the US State Department's Deputy Assistant Secretary for International Organizations, Suzanne Nossel.


August 22, 2012 - Mistakenly considered by many as the final word on human rights worldwide, it might surprise people to know that Amnesty International is in fact one of the greatest obstacles to real human rights advocacy on Earth. In its most recent 2012 annual report (page 4, .pdf), Amnesty reiterates one of the biggest lies it routinely tells:

"Amnesty International is funded mainly by its membership and public donations. No funds are sought or accepted from governments for investigating and campaigning against human rights abuses. Amnesty International is independent of any government, political ideology, economic interest or religion."

This is categorically false. Amnesty international is indeed funded and run by not only governments, but also immense corporate-financier interests, and is not only absolutely entwined with political ideology and economic interests, it is an essential tool used for perpetuating just such interests.

Amnesty International's Funding

Finding financial information on Amnesty International's website is made purposefully difficult - specifically to protect the myth that the organization is "independent." Like any organized criminal operation, Amnesty separates compromising financial ties through a series of legal maneuvers and shell organizations. Upon Amnesty's website it states:

"The work carried out through Amnesty International's International Secretariat is organised into two legal entities, in compliance with United Kingdom law. These are Amnesty International Limited ("AIL") and Amnesty International Charity Limited ("AICL"). Amnesty International Limited undertakes charitable activities on behalf of Amnesty International Charity Limited, a registered charity."

And it is there, at Amnesty International Limited, where ties to both governments and corporate-financier interests are kept. On page 11 of Amnesty International Limited's 2011 Report and Financial Statement (.pdf) it states (emphasis added):

"The Directors are pleased to acknowledge the support of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the Oak Foundation, Open Society Georgia Foundation, the Vanguard Charitable Endowment Programme, Mauro Tunes and American Jewish World Service. The UK Department for International Development (Governance and Transparency Fund) continued to fund a four year human rights education project in Africa. The European Commission (EuropeAid) generously awarded a multi-year grant towards Amnesty International’s human rights education work in Europe."

Clearly then, Amnesty does take money from both governments and corporate-financier interests, one of the most notorious of which, Open Society, is headed by convicted financial criminal George Soros. In March, 2012, it was reported that a Bloomberg's report, "Soros Loses Case Against French Insider-Trading Conviction," indicated that an appeal based on a "human rights" violation against Wall Street speculator George Soros had been rejected by the "European Court of Human Rights."

Soros, whose Open Society also funds Human Rights Watch and a myriad of other "human rights" advocates, literally attempted to use the West's human rights racket to defend himself against charges of financial fraud in perhaps the most transparent illustration of just how this racket operates.

Soros, who was convicted and fined for insider trading in 2002 regarding French bank Société Générale shares he bought in 1988, has built an empire out of obfuscating global criminal activity with the cause of "human rights." His support, as well as that of the British and European governments, of Amnesty International aims solely at expanding this obfuscating.

Amnesty International's Leadership

Amnesty's leadership is also telling of its true agenda. Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director of Amnesty International USA, for instance was drawn directly from the US State Department - again, utterly contradicting Amnesty's claims of being "independent" of governments and corporate interests. Nossel continued promoting US foreign policy, but simply behind a podium with a new logo, Amnesty International's logo, attached to it. Amnesty International's website specifically mentions Nossel's role behind US State Department-backed UN resolutions regarding Iran, Syria, Libya, and Cote d'Ivoire.

Image: Same lies, different podium. Suzanne Nossel previously of the US State Department, is now executive director of Amnesty International USA. Her primary function of dressing up aspirations of corporate-financier global hegemony as "human rights advocacy" has not changed.


It has been documented at great length how these issues revolve around a decades long plan devised by corporate-financier interests to divide, destroy and despoil these nations who are seen as obstacles to US global hegemony. In the case of Syria specifically, it was revealed that the current "human rights" catastrophe stems back to a malicious 2007 conspiracy documented by "New Yorker" journalist Seymour Hersh, between the US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia which sought to purposefully fund, arm, and deploy sectarian extremists to undermine and overthrow the Syrian government - this knowing full well the human tragedy that would unfold.

Nossel's "contributions" then are simply to dress up naked military aggression and the pursuit of global corporate-financier hegemony with the pretense of "human rights" advocacy.

A glance at reveals that each and every front the US State Department is currently working on and has prioritized is also coincidentally prioritized by Amnesty International. This includes rallies and campaigns to support US State Department-funded Russian opposition groups (currently fixated on "Pussy Riot"), undermining the Syrian government, toppling the government of Belarus, and supporting the Wall Street-London created Aung San Suu Kyi of Myanmar (still called by its British Imperial nomenclature of "Burma" by Suu Kyi herself).

Amnesty International Betrays Real Human Rights Advocacy

Amnesty does indeed cover issues that are critical of US foreign policy, toward the bottom of their websites and at the back of their reports. Likewise, the corporate-media selectively reports issues that coincide with their interests while other issues are either under-reported or not reported at all. And it is precisely because Amnesty covers all issues, but selectively emphasizes those that are conducive to the interests of immense corporate-financiers that makes Amnesty one of the greatest impediments to genuine human rights advocacy on Earth.

Images: Manufacturing Dissent. "Free Pussy Riot" (above). Ironically, FIDH is directly funded by the US State Department via the Neo-Con lined US National Endowment for Democracy (NED) as well as George Soros' Open Society. "Russia: Stop Arms Transfer to Syria!" (below). If the US State Department wants it, be sure that US State Department-run Amnesty International will stage a demonstration for it - and regardless of size or legitimacy of the demonstration, expect the corporate-media to make it headline news.


Ordinary people are given the false impression that "someone is watching out" for human rights abuses, when in reality, all Amnesty and other organizations like it are doing, is managing public perception selectively of global human rights abuses, fabricating and/or manipulating many cases specifically to suit the agenda of large corporate-financier interests. This can be seen when entire reports out of Amnesty or Human Rights Watch consist solely of "witness reports" compiled from accounts of US-backed opposition groups.

In the rare instance that a report includes references to actual photographic, video, or documented evidence, such as Human Rights Watch's 2011 "Descent into Chaos" (.pdf) report, deceptive language is intentionally included along with throwaway passages to enable selective reporting and spinning by not only the Western corporate media, but by a myriad of faux-NGOs funded and run by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch's sponsors and affiliates. The Descent into Chaos report, regarding Thailand, was promply and amply spun and manipulated by US State Department-funded faux-NGO and "rights advocate" Prachatai.

When people erroneously believe that credible organizations are handling "rights advocacy" they will not only become complacent, they will become negligent of their own responsibilities to objectively examine potential abuses and speak out against them. Wall Street and London's corporate-financier interests have filled a void - that should be occupied by their greatest opponents - instead with a large advocacy racket of their own creation. Not only are they given a free pass to abuse human rights globally, they've actually used their controlled opposition to attack their opponents.

It is clear that Amnesty International is by no means an "advocate" of human rights, but rather an affront to human rights advocacy. It goes without saying that it should be boycotted out of existence and at the very least, identified as illegitimate and fraudulent - from its funding to its compromised leadership.

Additionally, we the people must tackle real violations of each others rights at the grassroots - because it is absolute folly to believe that global spanning organizations, funded by corporate-financiers, echoing the agenda of governments driven by special interests has our best interests and rights in mind.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Interfaith Dialogue in South Korea

By the Revd Dr Guen Seok Yang (Anglican Church of Korea)

1. General Context

Colonialism, cold war confrontation and developmentalist despotism were the three stages of last century of Korean history. Most Korean political, economic, cultural and religious conflicts are very much in debt to those historical experiences. For the majority of responsible thinkers in Korea, the crucial concern for their intellectual endeavour is how to overcome the heritages descended from those three historical experiences of perversion. Even in the overwhelming advance of globalisation, such a historical recognition is neither abandoned nor outdated by them. Rather, I believe, it is continued to be refined as a more elaborate idea, particularly within the Korean peoples' struggle against the ruthless appetite of neo-liberal capitalist globalisation.

The Christian history, particularly protestant history of Korea, has followed the same trajectory of the rather sad history of transaction with Western modernism. Under the colonialist formation of power relations, in which unequal communications were legitimised and the denial of Koreans interpretative potentials was socio-culturally generalised the protestant Christian mission was started. Because of the already formed colonial relations, Christianity could avoid an excessive burden to be a prime suspect of anti-Korean culture, and Christianity could compete and collaborate with Japanese colonialism under the common recognition of the inevitability of the unequal colonial power relationship with Koreans. The cold war in Korea has left not only several millions of victims but also deep scars of division. The atrocious antagonism between ideologies, and between religion and ideology, was the experience of the cold war confrontation. Through the war, Christian churches had experienced the oppression and antagonism by the communist ideology of North Korea. It was time for them to arm with anti-communist spirit. The exclusive and antagonistic attitude against the ideologies, cultures and religions became a socio-cultural character of the divided country. Exclusivism and dogmatism were the principles of cold war confrontation, not only for religions but also for political ideologies. Under the development of military dictatorship, this religious and ideological dogmatism was combined with the capitalist spirit of competition. It is not too excessive to say that this deliberate combination of religious ideological dogmatism and the capitalist spirit of competition is the main reason for the rapid economic and religious growth in Korea.

With the beginning of more democratised civil government and the end of the cold war system of the world in the 1990s, Korean society is experiencing unexpected confusions. For the development of democratic society and for the reunion of a divided country, Korean society demands a more tolerant and dialogical attitude of all segments of society. Korean society is waiting for the emergence of the new vision for humanity and community. I believe Korean peoples are expecting religions including Christianity to respond and to co-operate with others for the new vision of humanity and community. However, Korean religions including Christianity are not very ready to commit themselves to dialogue with others, particularly just to satisfy the peoples' expectation.

The overcoming of negative heritages of colonialism, cold war, and military dictatorship, and the participation to the constructive and co-operative dialogue with the other religions and ideologies, are both the basic contexts of Korean inter faith dialogue and for a Christian theology of religions.

2. The Social Practices of Inter Religious Co-opertion

In spite of the history of conflict and division, there have been experiences of inter-religious co-operation for social and national issues. The most foundational experience of inter-religious co-operation for national issues was the "March 1st movement", in which all the Korean religions including Christianity had co-operated in the independent movement against Japanese colonialism in 1919. Until now, this experience has become the foundational reason for why all the religions should co-operate with each other on national issues.

Although the reason is not very clear, the Anglican Church of Korea has been known as a church truly respecting Korean traditional culture. Perhaps it maybe the distinctive church building styles following Korean tradition. But as on reflection, the most important Anglican missionary experience for the inter-religious co-operation was the 1960's mission for coal miners. According to Bishop John Daily's diary, this mission was started very accidentally. One day, he was searching for missing students in mine villages. They were students who were arrested and sent to the mines by military government. As he was going to leave one village student camp failing to find his missing students, one of those students in the camp, asked the bishop to pray for them. Most of the students were not Christians. The bishop's translator, he was also a Buddhist, translated their request. When the bishop hesitated ho to do so, the Buddhist translator sincerely asked him to pray for them. Bishop John Daily remembered the experience as on eof the most exciting moments of his mission in Korea. Several months later, he started his mission for coal miners in that place. This mission has been known as the beginning of Korean industrial mission of the Christian church. Furthermore, he wanted to build an octagonal hall as a church building at the village. He planned to provide the eight different corners of the octagonal hall to different Christian denominations and other religions including Buddhism. Although his dream was not achieved, his experience has become a very important heritage of Anglican ecumenical and inter-religious co-operation.

Recently, the inter-religious co-operation for social issues and each of the religion's intended efforts to so-operate with other religions is clearly expanding. Many Buddhist temples are pronouncing congratulatory messages at Christmas. Some Christian churches, particularly Roman Catholic Churches, are celebrating the birth of the Buddha with Buddhists. But the most exciting experience, which will be remembered for a long time, was the 'three steps and one bow' protest journey that was organised very spontaneously in order to stop the national government's land reclamation project. This journey led by Buddhist and Christian leaders continued for sixty-five days. Finally, it succeeded in gainig the co-operation of most of the religions in Korea, and temporally achieved its goal of stopping the land reclamation project. With the success of this very religious protest journey for an environmental issue, the inter-religious co-operation for social issues becomes a much more widely and easily accepted agenda for Christian churches in Korea. We can expect that this developing and widening co-operation among religions in Korea will be advanced into a deep spiritual and theological dialogue.

3. Historical Experience of Inter Faith Dialogue

The history of inter faith dialogue in academic groups has to go back to the first encounter between 18th century Korean Confucian scholars and Christian literature, which was published as the result of 17th to 18th century Jesuit mission in China. This Christian literature includes the Chinese translation of Christian texts and Christian or non-Christian Chinese scholars' texts about Christianity. Through this encounter, a very spontaneous Confucian-Christian community has been established without any direct intervention from Roman Catholic missionaries in China. Although this pre-colonial and very voluntary acceptance of Christianity by Koreans has not been seriously reflected by official Roman Catholic historians or even by Korean scholars of mission studies, I believe this historical experience tells us many things about the present discussions about inter faith dialogue and Christian mission. Here I would like to talk about just one point. It is about what kind of process Confucian scholars had taken to understand Christianity. This small group of young Confucian scholars' main concern was to find a new way of self-discipline and governing of people (or community relationship), which are key themes of Confucianism. They had voluntarily read Christian texts. Their reading of Christian texts was not confined to intellectual and doctrinal understanding. They tried to practice Christian liturgical and spiritual teachings. They used to their own style of comparative method to read Confucian and Christian texts cross-scripturally as well as top practice the self-discipline methods of Confucianism an Christianity very cross-religiously. Through these readings in liturgical or spiritual practices, they wanted to carefully work out what changes were made in their mind and soul, and they wanted to find what kind of help the Christina teaching could give for the new way of self-discipline and community relationship. One interesting thing was that this experimental study had been carried out in the Buddhist temple by a group of sincere Confucian scholars. These Confucians' voluntary encounter with Christianity had given deep influences for the reformation of Confucianism and one of the results of the encounter was the voluntary formation of Christian community in Korea. However, Roman Catholic missionaries in China criticised the leaders of this community as sinners who profaned God and the church, furthermore, the Korean Confucian government suppressed them as heretics. I believe this pre-colonial experience of the encounter between Confucianism and Christianity tells us many things about today's issues, like '"What is the foundational motivation for inter faith dialogue?", "What kind of process has been taken in inter faith dialogue, particularly in relationship to various aspects of religious practices?", "What is Christian mission in the situation of inter faith dialogue?", "What is an equal and creative dialogical relationship among partners?".

Even after the beginning of protestant mission at the end of 19th century, this kind of comparative approach by Christian and non Christian Korean intellectuals has been continued. however, the present situation of inter faith dialogue, particularly after Christianity became one of the dominant religions in Korea, is not very easy. Rather, the Christian churches' narrow and triumphalistic attitude looks likely to suppress the sincere dialogue among religions.

4. The Present Disputes on Inter Faith Dialogue

In this final section, I would like to introduce the theological conflicts between church leaders and theologians involved in inter faith dialogue. In order to avoid too much theoretical discussion, I am explaining a discussion among church ministers, theologians and a Buddhist scholar, which was organised and publicised by one of the representative Korean theology journals, "Theological Thought". This dialogue shows us a development of the discussion of inter faith dialogue in Korea. As many Asian theologians know, Korean Christian churches except Roman Catholics were very antagonistic towards inter faith dialogue. Most Christian church leaders have regarded inter faith dialogue and pluralism as the most serious potential threat to Christianity. So, two eminent scholars from a Methodist Theological seminary had been expelled from their teaching position by Methodist church leaders. Some Presbyterian scholars has also been expelled or threatened with expulsion. But this situation is changing slightly since the middle of 1990s. With the development of the social experiences of inter-religious co-operation and public opinions' strong criticism of Christian exclusivism, the situation has advanced toward a more or less positive direction. The dialogue in the theological journal reflected such a changed situation.

In this dialogue, church ministers tried to put their emphasis on inter-religious co-operation for social issues rather then theological dialogue, and theologians did their best to persuade them of the need for theological dialogue. Here, what we have to look at is what kind of theological rhetoric and logic is used against intellectual and theological inter faith dialogue by church ministers. There is no change in their position that the inter faith dialogue, which is advocated by theologians, is paralysing the belief and the church membership of individual Christians as well as the mission and the very existence of Christian church. If I may summarise their assertions, in spite of the danger of over simplification, firstly, they consider that the inter faith dialogue promotes relativistic attitudes threatening the absoluteness of Christian truth. For them, all thoughts rejecting the absoluteness of Christian truth are anti-Christian. Secondly, they consider that Christians cannot devote themselves to mission without conviction about the absoluteness of Christian truth. Therefore, they assert that the pluralistic approach of inter faith dialogue is negating the inherited nature of the Christian church as a missionary community, and in the end it is destroying the foundation of the existence of the Christian church. Thirdly, they assert that theologians who are involved in inter faith dialogue are not in the position to decide the relationship among religions. Looking from their point of view, theologians' ideological and transcendental attitude pursue only what should be done without considering the living relationship with religions and religious individuals. Therefore, they ask theologians to reflect the living relationships instead of sticking to the ideological presuppositions. In this point, some of the contextual theologians support the church ministers' assertion. They also complain that inter faith dialogue in Korea is not very contextual, rather it is very western in its subjects and concerns. Fourthly, they assert that the problem of truth and the issue of co-operative practices for social issues have to be differentiated. Furthermore, they consider that co-operative inter-religious social practices have to precede theoretical and intellectual practices. Here, the church ministers advocate the reductive method of contextual theology, particularly of Minjung theology. Fifthly, they assert that the theologians do not have any concern for the development of the church and the concrete life of church members. They think theologians are people who judge the Christian church from outside the churches. They consider that is why theologians do not give any alternative suggestions about the issues that churches are facing in this secularised world of relativism. Although the assertions are expressed roughly and are rather church centred they clearly show the theological agendas that interfaith dialogue has to solve.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Corporate culture stunts and maims the young generation

Friends, as this forum is for thinkers I am reproducing one paragraph from an article published in TRUTHDIG, one written by Chris Hedges about the U.S.. It is beautifully written and encapsulates much of my own thinking which has featured in many of my posts.

The Perversion of Scholarship

“Corporate culture, which now dominates higher education, shares the predatory culture of the military. These cultures are about subsuming the self into the herd. They are about the acquiring of technical, vocational skills to serve the system. And with the increasing budget cuts, and more craven obsequiousness to corporate donors, it will only get worse. These forces of conformity are hostile to the humanities that teach students to question assumptions and structures, that prod them to seek a life of meaning and an ethical code that challenges the blind, utilitarian obedience to power and profit that corporations and the military instill. We will, I fear, continue to turn out the intellectually stunted and maimed, those who know school football records but no philosophy, drama, art, music, theology, literature or history. The goal of an education is not, in the end, to tell students what to think but to teach them how to think.”

The sentence which I believe has most import for today I have outlined in bold. Probably I would take ‘theology’ out of the list because surely it is irrelevant in 2012 (unless it is examined objectively and historically as evidence of how easily most humans can be conned). The saying that: ‘There’s a sucker born every minute’ is true in every respect!

‘Intellectually stunted and maimed!” Yes, folks, if you go to college or university and get only vocational training, it’s no wonder that you end up as cannon fodder for the Corporations and the Military and the Politicians.

If your mind has never been exposed to the great philosophers and their wise, profound thoughts about life and you’ve only been exposed to the Corporate Robber Barons and their miserable little deformed, grasping perspective on life then you are stunted for life.

And what is the effect if a student has nil exposure to psychology, sociology, and biology, etc, and the works of famous writers who weave amazing stories about humans and the bleak human condition and human cruelty and depravity and bravery and courage. You are handicapped for life!

And what about the importance of being educated to see the pros and cons of different political and economic systems, to examine them, to evaluate them, and to be taught how to change them when they fail to provide equality of income or representation or become misused by psychopaths and warmongers.

Surely each graduate should leave his place of learning with this basic knowledge otherwise he or she is not educated (able to question) but is an unthinking human robot who can be manipulated at will by the Oligarchs and Politicians and Shonks that infest our world.

Universities in Australia, the same as those elsewhere, are being turned into Corporate entities because of funding pressures. The rationale is: ‘You give us the graduates we want (who’ll do as they are told and make us a lot of money) and we’ll give you lots of BIG donations!’

But even worse, one top Australian University, Sydney, is in the process sacking staff and closing down courses so it can afford a swimming complex! WTF?

So, fellow thinkers, what do you think about the Hedges paragraph and my few elaborations. Is there truth there perchance? Are we educating a society full of morons, human robots, and sheeple? What will be the eventual result: a totalitarian government, BIG BROTHER, nuclear annihilation…?