“When will the madness and killing and destruction stop? I hear about places like Syria, Russia, Israel, Iraq and Iran. The U.S. When will it stop? I believe that no one wants another mushroom cloud to poison the Earth. I believe no one wants the poison, worse than Fukushima’s, which, in itself, is probably too much for this whole race (which includes everyone, by the way, whether they’re black or white or whatever color they are, we’re all part of the same race, so stop thinking you’re better than someone else because you look different than they do or just because they look different than you) but Fukushima may be too much for everything that is trying to live on this planet, which is the only planet they have to live on. After that, then what? You see what I’m saying? We struggle to turn toward beauty, but, when we do, we are met with ugliness. We need to banish the ugliness and work toward giving the human race what it needs to co-exist with everything else on the planet, before we destroy it all. Why is there endless fear of anihilation? I hear it day in and day out. On the news. On the radio. Television. Who profits from this and how is it possible that they are allowed to do it and that they are not stopped and replaced with something more …….. sustainable and ……… profitable ……… to all?”
“This country has dangled the sword of nuclear holocaust over the world for more than half a century and claims that someone else invented terrorism.”
Paraphrased from “If Not Empire, What?: A Survey of the Bible” by Berry Friesen and John K. Stoner
Today’s New York Times reports that after the Asian nation’s leader, Kim Jong-un, announced that preparations for testing an intercontinental ballistic missile were in their “final stage,” President-elect Donald J. Trump responded on Twitter, writing: “It won’t happen!”
What right does he have to say things that might provoke and enrage a world leader and incite that world leader with nuclear capabilities to use weapons of mass destruction? HE HAS NO RIGHT.
Aren’t his actions grounds for stifling him in any way we can? Grounds for taking away his presidential elect status?
Aren’t his bullying actions of a childish nature and not something of the nature we want in our White House?
“… The compromise involved Democrats who controlled the House of Representatives allowing the decision of the Electoral Commission to take effect. The outgoing president, Republican Ulysses S. Grant, removed the soldiers from Florida. As president, Hayes removed the remaining troops from South Carolina and Louisiana. As soon as the troops left, many white Republicans also left, and the “Redeemer” Democrats took control. They already dominated most other state governments in the South. What was exactly agreed is somewhat contested as the documentation is scanty.
“Black Republicans felt betrayed as they lost power and were subject to discrimination and harassment to suppress their voting. At the turn of the 20th century, most black people were effectively disenfranchised by state legislatures in every southern state, despite being a majority in some.”
From Clarence Darrow’s The Story of My Life:
“Neither government nor political economy is an exact science. They concern the arrangement of human units. If it were possible to demonstrate what sort of an arrangement would be best for the individuals of the state, it would be of no avail. Humans cannot be controlled like inanimate objects, or even like the lower animals. Each human unit is in some regard an independent entity with his own ideas, his hopes and fears, loves and hates. These attitudes are constantly changing from day to day, and year to year. They are played upon by shrewd men, by influential newspapers, by all sorts of schemes and devices which make human government only trial and success, and trial and failure. Human organizations are simply collections of individuals always in motion and always seeking for easier and more harmonious adjustment, and never static …
This is a changing world, and still it must maintain a certain amount of consistency and stability or the individual units would separate, and chaos would make any co-operation impossible. “
For more information, visit The Compromise of 1877, or the Tilden/Hayes Compromise
Antonio Guterres took the reins of the United Nations on New Year’s Day, making it clear that his top priority will be preventing crises and promoting peace, Edith M. Lederer of The Associated Press reports.
“As Guterres begins his five-year term facing conflicts from Syria and Yemen to South Sudan and Libya and global crises from terrorism to climate change, U.S. support for the United Nations remains a question mark.”
This is something that enrages me more than anything else. When The AP equates what Donald Trump says with what America thinks!!! No, the U.S. does NOT think the U.N. is a place where people get together and talk. Continue reading “Does the ‘U.S.’ question the worth of the U.N. because Donald Trump says something stupid? Donald Trump is not my spokesperson. What Trump says does not equate with what America thinks.”
Reality Check: So the New York Times, one of the oldest newspapers in the world, is telling its readers that “Mr. Trump promised to dismantle parts of the government and certain legislation if elected.” They’re creating a list of things Trump said during his campaign and feeding it to their readers to ponder. Seriously? Why? Do they not know that EVERYONE LIES TO GET ELECTED??? Why are they feeding us a list of lies to ponder? Why are they wasting their time and ours on this Bullsh#$%???? So we can hold him accountable? Please.
I heard in a news story today on the radio, probably, NPR, that there are 15,000 people living in tents in South Sudan and 1,500 children have been abducted as child soldiers and many have died from starvation and disease. I couldn’t help but ask myself, is there any hope here? Is there any hope in the story of the 1-year-old boy whose name translates into “wholeness,” because, as his mother states, ‘while they’re fighting out there, we’re whole family in here.’
Then I found this ::: Clowns Without Borders was founded in Barcelona in July 1993. The idea began when Tortell Poltrona, a professional clown in Spain, was invited to perform in a refugee camp in Croatia. This performance unexpectedly attracted audiences of more than 700 children, proving to Poltrona that there is a great need for clowns and entertainment in crisis situations. He founded Clowns Without Borders to offer humor as a means of psychological support to communities that have suffered trauma. Read the UNHCR interview with Tortell Poltrona.
You might think that clowns are scary or silly, but check out Clowns Sans Frontiers’ Code of Ethics:
Code of Ethics
The objective of this code is to provide a series of written guidelines of ethics for all clowns and artists who collaborate with Clowns Without Borders.
- The clown or collaborating artist will hold as fundamental objectives to better the situation of children who live in crisis situations of whatever type (conflict, natural disaster, social inequalities, etc.) in whatever part of the world.
- The main beneficiaries of CWB projects are children living in situations of crisis and the clown or collaborating artist will make no distinction between them for reasons of race, age, religion, culture, social situation or any other categorization when offering his/her work.
- For clowns and collaborating artists participating in CWB projects, volunteerism is the general rule.
- In respect to the clown/artist’s public image, he/she will not use the participation in humanitarian activities as a means to promote their professional career, separating clearly at all times such activities and not using his humanitarian work for publicity purposes or to promote his/her professional career.
- The clown or collaborating artist will not use their humanitarian activities to impart personal ‘points of view’ to the destination populations of the projects and will limit themselves to sharing their artistic activities. The artist will not attempt to “educate” the population, refraining from any “evangelical” activities.
- The clown or collaborating artist, when choosing the contents of his/her performances and workshops, will consider the sensibilities of the destination population, taking into account their culture as well as the delicate situation in which they are living.
- The clown or collaborating artist when working with CWB projects sees and shares difficult situations. Their work does not end when they return home. They should testify in the measure possible all situations of injustice that they have witnessed.
- When participating in a project, during our performances and in our contact with the public, we remain clowns and artists, and this is the sole method with which we express and experience the validity of our actions.
- We remain vigilant and attentive that the name, logo, and identity of Clowns Without Borders will not be will not be used as a vehicle for remuneration.
- In the matter of seeking financial support, we remain attentive to the ethical values and the respect of human rights of our sponsors and partners.
Learn more about this amazing group here: About Us ⋆ Clowns Without Borders
Kurt would love irony. I love the irony. This is why my writing is sometimes sardonic.
The BP oil spill turned five years old on Monday, and as my colleague Tim McDonnell reported, we’re still paying the price: There’s as much as 26 million gallons of crude oil still on the floor of the Gulf of Mexico. But the story of the Deepwater Horizon wasn’t just about environmental devastation—it was also a story about regulation.
The more we repeat the language of equality, freedom and social responsibility, the more those ideas come to dominate the public conversation. In turn, the character of public discourse determines what the news media promote and criticize, and what the candidates for public office must pay attention to. In this way, speech is political action.
What are some other deep truths we can promote through words? That individual initiative is possible only with the infrastructure and human capital the American public has provided for all of us. That health care is inseparable from life. That education is far more than taking tests or competing in the global economy; it is what makes us free and equal. That the environment is not just outside; it is inside us, with polluted air and water and pesticides destroying our health, now and tomorrow. That women’s rights are human rights. That great disparities in wealth destroy opportunity.
From such speech, political action can flow. The State of the Union on Tuesday is an opportunity for Obama to make the link, to show how particular policies emerge from general truths, to move us from hope to responsibility.
But in the end, only we as citizens can force the president and Congress to act.
How? By speaking out.
For more on this story, visit: Obama’s speeches are not just words — they are political action – The Washington Post.
What if foreign policy officials suddenly told the truth? 1. “We’re never gonna get rid of our nuclear weapons.” 2. “We don’t actually care that much about human rights.” 3. “There’s not going to be a two-state solution.” 4. “We like being #1, and we’re going to stay there just as long as we can.” 5. “We do a lot of stupid things in foreign policy. Get used to it.”
For more on this story, visit: What if foreign policy officials suddenly told the truth? | Stephen M. Walt.
What can the 44th president really achieve in his second term? Here are 10 ideas.
If you were to print out all the white papers, op-eds, and think-tank reports urging U.S. President Barack Obama to do this or that in his second term, the sheer amount of paper produced would probably require chopping down the Amazon rain forest. There’s a reason these well-intentioned ideas generally sit on the shelf: They’re unrealistic. Wave a magic wand, and the president can do everything from make peace in the Middle East to reshape the entire world economy in America’s favor. What follows is something different: advice he can actually implement.
For more on this story, visit: The Second Coming | Foreign Policy.
By Robert Scheer
I suppose that he can’t be much worse than Timothy Geithner, but that should be scant cause for cheer over the news that the president has nominated Jack Lew as Treasury secretary. Both championed the financial deregulation craze of the Clinton administration, and both are acolytes of Robert Rubin, the former Clinton Treasury secretary who unfettered Wall Street greed and then took his own considerable cut of the action.
Rubin went to work at Citigroup, the world’s largest financial conglomerate whose legality was enabled by legislation he advanced while in government. He made off with a salary of $15 million a year during his decade at that bank, which specialized in toxic mortgage derivatives and had to be bailed out by taxpayers to avoid bankruptcy.
For more on this story, visit: Robert Scheer: The Inconvenient Truth About Jack Lew – Robert Scheer’s Columns – Truthdig.
We’ve been churning out Lowdowns each month for nearly 13 years now, and while we offer a lot of information in our four pages, we often hear back from readers that they especially appreciate the smallest feature we include in each issue: The Do Something section. Lowdowners tend to be doers. You don’t merely want to stew over the economic, political, and cultural outrages that afflict our society, but to connect with others to take action, or at least to find more information about possible fixes.
For more on this story, visit: Hightower Lowdown | Five ways we can make government work for We the People in 2013.
Today marked the end of the 112th Congress. Thanks to almost unyielding Republican obstructionism, the 112th Congress was the least productive in decades. And thanks to what this group of historically partisan Republicans did do or at least tried to, it was also the most unpopular Congress in history.
For more on this story, visit: The Worst | ThinkProgress.
Looking for a job where being unproductive and ineffective won’t hurt your chances of getting a raise? Try being a member of Congress!
Despite getting less done than any previous Congress since the 1940s, President Obama issued an executive order Thursday that would give pay raises to every member of the House and Senate, as well as federal workers, beginning March 27, 2013. This marks the first pay increase for Congress in more than three years.
For more on this story, visit: Do-Nothing Congress to Get Pay Raise – Truthdig.
The Obama administration’s trade negotiators have been quietly assembling a massive trans-Pacific trade agreement as reactionary as anything Mitt Romney’s team would have proposed.
What can be confidently reported about the TPP is that, in terms of trade flows, it would be the largest free-trade agreement yet entered into by the United States—and, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service, that the ministers negotiating the agreement “have expressed an intent to comprehensively reduce barriers in goods, services, and agricultural trade as well as rules and disciplines on a wide range of topics” to unprecedented levels. Yet despite these grandiose ambitions, details of the negotiations and drafts of the text have been purposefully withheld from Congress and American citizens.
For more on this story, visit: The TPP: A Quiet Coup for the Investor Class | FPIF.
Michigan is no longer a state. It is now “Michiganistan,” an autocratic czardom in the hands of Emperor Rick Snyder.
Formerly the Republican governor, Snyder has been enthroned by the GOP’s lame-duck, legislative supermajority to rule with an iron fist — democracy, rule-of-law, fairness, and the people be damned.
Ironically, voters had given Snyder and his cohort of right-wing corporate ideologues a spanking for this kind of nastiness in a November referendum.
For more on this story, visit: Welcome to ‘Michiganistan’ | Common Dreams.
“What matters is that we push the leadership of the NRA off to the far sidelines of the American playing field, while the rest of us fight for our better future.”
It’s time for America to wake up to a new reality — that for more than a generation, a radical fringe group has held sway over the American political process, a cadre that now traffics in conspiracy theories as loony as many militias or “Patriot” groups, that has with no evidence accused the president of planning to grant himself dictatorial powers while embracing “black helicopter”-style tropes about the U.S. surrendering its power to the United Nations, a posse that’s clashed with America’s police chiefs over issues like so-called “cop killer” bullets and has thwarted all efforts to eliminate weapons that are only good for committing mass murder.
This is not about the millions of decent, law-abiding American gun owners who are not only responsible in handling their weapons but who overwhelmingly support reasonable steps toward preventing violence. No, this is about the leadership of the National Rifle Association — a group that has veered far, far away from its 20th century origins as a sensible gun-safety group — and about their allied merchants of death who’ve learned that paranoia can be profitable, and about a handful of radical foot soldiers who pretend to speak for all.
For more on this story, visit: Will Bunch: How to Marginalize an Extreme Fringe Group Called the NRA.
“The worst problem of modernity lies in the malignant transfer of fragility and antifragility from one part to the other, with one getting the benefits, the other one unwittingly getting the harm, with such transfer facilitated by the growing wedge between the ethical and the legal.”
For more on this story, visit: Having ‘Skin in the Game’ | Common Dreams.
One country refused to bail out its derelict banks and slash social spending amid the financial crisis. And guess what? Unlike the eurozone and the United States, it’s making a sturdy comeback.
Iceland’s stock market plunged 90 percent in 2008. Inflation reached 18 percent, unemployment shot up ninefold and its biggest banks failed. This was no recession. It was a full-blown depression.
Since then, the country has steadily improved. By September of this year, it repaid its IMF rescue loans ahead of schedule. Unemployment dropped by half and its economy will have grown by roughly 2.5 percent by the beginning of 2013.
So what’s Iceland’s secret? According to the editors at Bloomberg News, it’s a refusal to do what virtually every other nation that was pummeled by the crisis did: adopt policies of economic austerity.
For more on this story, visit: Truthdiggers of the Week: Iceland’s Leaders – Truthdigger of the Week – Truthdig.