The Joy of the Gospel

Jorge Mario Bergoglio (Pope Francis): Apostolic Exhortation “Evangelii Gaudium” of the Holy Father Francis to the Bishops, Clergy, Consecrated Persons and the Lay Faithful on the Proclamation of the Gospel in Today’s World (Holy See; other languages: de, es, fr, it, pt)

No to an economy of exclusion
53. Just as the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” sets a clear limit in order to safeguard the value of human life, today we also have to say “thou shalt not” to an economy of exclusion and inequality. Such an economy kills. How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape.
Human beings are themselves considered consumer goods to be used and then discarded. We have created a “throw away” culture which is now spreading. It is no longer simply about exploitation and oppression, but something new. Exclusion ultimately has to do with what it means to be a part of the society in which we live; those excluded are no longer society’s underside or its fringes or its disenfranchised – they are no longer even a part of it. The excluded are not the “exploited” but the outcast, the “leftovers”.
54. In this context, some people continue to defend trickle-down theories which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world. This opinion, which has never been confirmed by the facts, expresses a crude and naïve trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system. Meanwhile, the excluded are still waiting. …
No to the new idolatry of money
55. One cause of this situation is found in our relationship with money, since we calmly accept its dominion over ourselves and our societies. The current financial crisis can make us overlook the fact that it originated in a profound human crisis: the denial of the primacy of the human person! We have created new idols. The worship of the ancient golden calf (cf. Ex 32:1-35) has returned in a new and ruthless guise in the idolatry of money and the dictatorship of an impersonal economy lacking a truly human purpose. The worldwide crisis affecting finance and the economy lays bare their imbalances and, above all, their lack of real concern for human beings; man is reduced to one of his needs alone: consumption.
56. While the earnings of a minority are growing exponentially, so too is the gap separating the majority from the prosperity enjoyed by those happy few. This imbalance is the result of ideologies which defend the absolute autonomy of the marketplace and financial speculation. Consequently, they reject the right of states, charged with vigilance for the common good, to exercise any form of control. A new tyranny is thus born, invisible and often virtual, which unilaterally and relentlessly imposes its own laws and rules. Debt and the accumulation of interest also make it difficult for countries to realize the potential of their own economies and keep citizens from enjoying their real purchasing power. … In this system, which tends to devour everything which stands in the way of increased profits, whatever is fragile, like the environment, is defenseless before the interests of a deified market, which become the only rule. …
No to the inequality which spawns violence
59. Today in many places we hear a call for greater security. But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence. The poor and the poorer peoples are accused of violence, yet without equal opportunities the different forms of aggression and conflict will find a fertile terrain for growth and eventually explode. … This is not the case simply because inequality provokes a violent reaction from those excluded from the system, but because the socioeconomic system is unjust at its root. … We are far from the so-called “end of history”, since the conditions for a sustainable and peaceful development have not yet been adequately articulated and realized.
60. Today’s economic mechanisms promote inordinate consumption, yet it is evident that unbridled consumerism combined with inequality proves doubly damaging to the social fabric. Inequality eventually engenders a violence which recourse to arms cannot and never will be able to resolve. It serves only to offer false hopes to those clamouring for heightened security, even though nowadays we know that weapons and violence, rather than providing solutions, create new and more serious conflicts. Some simply content themselves with blaming the poor and the poorer countries themselves for their troubles; indulging in unwarranted generalizations, they claim that the solution is an “education” that would tranquilize them, making them tame and harmless. All this becomes even more exasperating for the marginalized in the light of the widespread and deeply rooted corruption found in many countries – in their governments, businesses and institutions – whatever the political ideology of their leaders.

Amy Goodman, Juan González, Matthew Fox, Roy Bourgeois: The Pope Slams “Tyranny” of Capitalism and “Idolatry of Money,” But Opposes Shift on Women, Abortion (Democracy Now)

Pope Francis has used his first major written work to attack capitalism as a “new tyranny,” while urging global leaders to fight poverty and inequality. In a document published Tuesday, Pope Francis denounced the ‘idolatory of money’ and “trickle-down” economic policies, as well as consumerism and a financial system which he says rules rather than serves. The Pope urged politicians to guarantee all citizens “dignified work, education and healthcare.” However, the Pope rejected change in two other areas: the ordination of women to the priesthood and the church’s view on abortion. We speak to two dissident priests. Matthew Fox is former Catholic priest who was first stopped from teaching Liberation Theology and Creation Spirituality, then expelled from the Dominican Order. Father Ray Bourgeois is a Catholic priest and the founder of the School of Americas Watch.

Libya | South Korea | NSA

Pamela sent this link:
Robert Newman: There is no population explosion on this planet (Guardian)

Yoav sent this link:
Patrick R. Keefe: Buried Secrets (New Yorker)

How an Israeli billionaire wrested control of one of Africa’s biggest prizes

General Võ Nguyên Giáp has passed away:
Chris Ray: Giap: the General Who Defeated the US in Vietnam (CounterPunch)

Chris Stephen, Abdalle Ahmed, David Smith: Libya demands explanation for US ‘kidnapping’ of al-Qaida leader al-Liby (Guardian)

Libya has demanded an explanation for the “kidnapping” of one of its citizens by American special forces, hours after a separate US military raid on a terrorist target in Somalia ended in apparent failure and retreat.

Spencer Ackerman: White House defends al-Qaida capture in Libya as US ponders legal options (Guardian)

AP: South Korean lawmaker charged with plot to overthrow government (Guardian)

South Korean prosecutors have charged a leftwing lawmaker with plotting a pro-North Korea rebellion to overthrow the government. …
(MP) Lee (Seok-ki) argues that the charges were fabricated to divert criticism from allegations that the national spy agency smeared the main opposition candidate in the last election.

Reuters: South Korean troops kill man trying to swim to North (Guardian)

South Korean troops have shot dead a man who attempted to enter North Korea by floating across a river that runs near the heavily militarised border, according to an official in Seoul.

Shobhan Saxena: NSA planted bugs at Indian missions in D.C., U.N. (Hindu)

Two of the most important nerve-centres of Indian diplomacy outside the country — the Permanent Mission of India at the United Nations and the embassy in Washington, DC — were targets of such sophisticated bugs implanted by the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) that entire computer hard disks might have been copied by the American agency. The U.N. Mission building in New York and the embassy premises, including its annex, in Washington were on a top-secret list of countries and missions — many of them European allies of the U.S. — chosen for intensive spying.

Lizzy Davies: Pope condemns idolatry of cash in capitalism (Guardian)

Pope Francis has called for a global economic system that puts people and not “an idol called money” at its heart, drawing on the hardship of his immigrant family as he sympathised with unemployed workers in a part of Italy that has suffered greatly from the recession.

Lisa O’Carroll: Seymour Hersh on Obama, NSA and the ‘pathetic’ American media (Guardian)

Seymour Hersh has got some extreme ideas on how to fix journalism – close down the news bureaus of NBC and ABC, sack 90% of editors in publishing and get back to the fundamental job of journalists which, he says, is to be an outsider.
It doesn’t take much to fire up Hersh, the investigative journalist who has been the nemesis of US presidents since the 1960s and who was once described by the Republican party as “the closest thing American journalism has to a terrorist”.
He is angry about the timidity of journalists in America, their failure to challenge the White House and be an unpopular messenger of truth.

Satoko Oka Norimatsu, Narusawa Muneo: An Interview With Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick (CounterPunch)