Over the course of my career as a practitioner and researcher in the field known as “peacebuilding,” I have worked alongside thousands of people in conflicted societies, including in Iraq, Burma, Lebanon, Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, the Balkans, and elsewhere. In this article, I explore a dilemma I see in the field, namely the increasingly singular emphasis on grand narratives of peace, known as “Peace Writ Large.” I fear that this frame, while valuable in many ways, may have the unintended consequence of actually undermining inquiry into and support for the powerful micro interactions that occur in even the most polarized conflicts. I argue that we must not lose sight of the power embodied in “peace writ small.”Since the mid-1990s, approaches to theory-building, policy-making and intervention in conflict have increasingly emphasized macro, long-term societal changes, first under the rubric of “conflict transformation” and now “peacebuilding”.
via Peace Writ Small: Reflections on “Peacebuilding” in Iraq, Burma, Israel and Palestine, Northern Ireland, Rwanda, the Balkans and Beyond « Jeffrey C. Goldfarb’s Deliberately Considered.
It is the first sitting week in parliament. Somewhere up north, a man draws lewd cartoons of the prime minister. It is compulsive, self-pleasuring behaviour. He simply cannot stop himself. Closer to home, a deposed leader accepts a role on breakfast television. No, he says with a tight smile, he is not planning another challenge to the leadership. Everyone should take a very long cold shower. The new prime-ministerial glasses open their own Twitter account. Countless column inches are dedicated to the fact that too many column inches have been dedicated to the new prime-ministerial glasses. The press brays from the gallery. It is chaos in there – chaos! – and they have the anonymous sources to prove it.
In an anteroom by the prime minister’s office, a group of seven women sits around a table. They appear to be enjoying each other’s company.
via Julia Gillard and the women in cabinet Critical Mass | Anna Goldsworthy | The Monthly.
I just love this group of strong, brave women. To think that Australians want to vote them out and cote the silly team of Abbott in! Just crazy!!
The left may have a host of number crunchers, graph bloggers and fact checkers, but as the conservative political machine knows best, you don’t need the truth on your side to win an argument, writes Jonathan Green.
The conventional wisdom has it (a wisdom somewhat sensitive to the aspirations of Labor, it must be said) that the ALP’s great electoral deficiency lies in its inability to sell a compelling message.
If only, the argument goes, the Australian voting public could glimpse the abundant good works of this Government. If it could but feel the width of the legislation, the solidity of the economic management, the vaulting agenda of constructive social reform … if voters could truly see these things, how could they contemplate any vote other than a Julia Gillard vote?
via The facts won’t speak for themselves – The Drum – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).
Finance minister Penny Wong has rejected reports suggesting the Government will resort to spending cuts to balance its budget bottom line.
The Government’s monthly financial statements reveal an underlying cash deficit of $22.3 billion.
That is significantly higher than the $19.8 billion deficit previously flagged by Treasurer Wayne Swan
via Wong rules out spending cuts to boost budget – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation).
My father used to say:
“If tell someone long enough that they are an idiot they will believe they are.”
(He was condemning those parents who spoke to their children in such a manner.)
You would have to have been living under a mushroom not to notice over the past two years the repetitive slogans and words such as “liar” and “lie” that Abbott et al have repeated ad nauseum in every single Question Time, Parliamentary debate, door stop, TV/radio interview and every press release.
Of course, it is quite deliberate.
But not only that, it is designed.
Conservative think tanks in America have been working on linguistic programming based on neuroscience for the past 40 years in order to “frame” specific wording into their political narrative — in order to brainwash you.
And, oh, how successful they have been.
via Wake up, Australia! You're being brainwashed by the right | Independent Australia.
AlterNet Radio: Lynn Parramore, Ed Kilgore and Tina Dupuy Talk About Romney Picking Paul Ryan
This week on the AlterNet Radio Hour, it’s all about Romney-Ryan — the Bain/ Pain ticket.
First up, AlterNet’s Lynn Parramore talks about charges that Paul Ryan profited from inside knowledge of the 2008 bank bailout — a story that many in the progressive media have ignored, or even “debinked,” but appears to be solid. Lynn explains.
via AlterNet Radio: Lynn Parramore, Ed Kilgore and Tina Dupuy Talk About Romney Picking Paul Ryan | Alternet.
Two conservative nonprofits, Crossroads GPS and Americans for Prosperity, have poured almost $60 million into TV ads to influence the presidential race so far, outgunning all super PACs put together, new spending estimates show.
These nonprofits, also known as 501(c)(4)s or c4s for their section of the tax code, don’t have to disclose their donors to the public.
via Two Dark Money Groups Outspending All Super PACs Combined | NationofChange.
That the rise of super PACs has given a small number of wealthy donors an outsized level of influence in our political discourse isn’t a secret.
After all, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich wouldn’t have even been in the Republican primary game if it wasn’t for a supportive super PAC funded by casino magnate Sheldon Adelson. And super PACs supportive of Mitt Romney have kept him within financial shouting distance of President Obama in critical swing states like Florida and Virginia
via How 17 people funded Republican super PACs — in one chart – The Washington Post.
The prevailing political wisdom says that a U.S. president should win re-election if gasoline prices are stable, the stock market is climbing and monthly jobless numbers are declining.There is some logic to this: Such indicators affect our pocketbooks and our psyches, whether or not the president has much control over them. Yet short-term economic fluctuations are not what make the nation strong or a president great.Enlarge image Presidential Economic PerformanceData: U.S. government statistics and “The President as Economist: Scoring Economic Performances From Harry Truman to Barack Obama,” by Richard J. CarrollA president is a success economically if he can help steer the country onto a longer-term path of broadly shared economic growth, and if his policies lay a foundation for sustainable prosperity for the future. Although it isn’t easy for voters to determine if a president is contributing to long-term economic success, they can do better than base their decisions on gas prices.
via Democratic Presidents Are Better for the Economy – Bloomberg.
The scarlet letter is the letter A, worn for life by an adulteress in seventeenth century Boston. Her story is fictional. Julia Gillard’s story is real. Her scarlet letter, the media informs us, is T — T for trust. Her more rabid media critics, like Alan Jones, say the scarlet letter is L – L for liar – and even ironic observers like Mr First Dog perpetuate the foxy Juliar.Murdoch’s News Ltd invented the ‘issue of trust’ for Gillard, and it has been taken up by Fairfax journalists like Shaun Carney and Michelle Grattan. There was never an ‘issue of trust’ for John Howard over the introduction of the GST, or for other political leaders who changed their mind.
via Witches and demonisation: The Scarlet Letter – Julia Gillard | Independent Australia.