Monday, December 28, 2015

Just how would YOU respond?


Kelly Williams's photo.
 
A pastor transformed himself into a homeless person and went to the church that he was to be introduced as the head pastor at that morning. He walked around his soon to be church for 30 minutes while it was filling with people for service. Only 3 people said hello to him, most looked the other way. He asked people for change to buy food because he was hungry. Not one gave him anything. 

He went into the sanctuary to sit down in the front of the church and was told by the ushers that he would need to get up and go sit n the back of the church. He said hello to people as they walked in but was greeted with cold stares and dirty looks from people looking down on him and judging him.

He sat in the back of the church and listened to the church announcements for the week. He listened as new visitors were welcomed into the church that morning but no one acknowledged that he was new. He watched people around him continue to look his way with stares that said you are not welcome here. 

Then the elders of the church went to the podium to make the announcement. They said they were excited to introduce the new pastor of the church to the congregation. "We would like to introduce you to our new Pastor." The congregation stood up and looked around clapping with joy and anticipation. The homeless man sitting in the back stood up and started walking down the aisle. 

That's when all the clapping stopped and the church was silent. With all eyes on him....he walked up the altar and reached for the microphone. He stood there for a moment and then recited so elegantly, a verse from the bible.....

“Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’ “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for the least of my brothers and sisters, you did for me.’


After he recited this, he introduced himself as their new pastor and told the congregation what he had experienced that morning. Many began to cry and bow their heads in shame. "Today I see a gathering of people here but I do not see a church of Jesus. The world has enough people that look the other way. What the world needs is disciples of Jesus that can follow this teachings and live as he did. When will YOU decide to become disciples? 

He then dismissed service until the following Sunday as his sermon had been given.

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Thursday, December 17, 2015

End of a Surreal Year


Earthquakes, floods, landslides, political messiness... Three very dear women taken from us... two so suddenly that it left most of us gasping... And yet, I now have a permanent visa, we have a permanent home in a lovely city, and as the year ends, our son is about to present us with a grandchild.

I am even more confirmed that all of us are afraid, afraid for our lives, afraid for our fragile and corrupt crumbling environments and infrastructures, and the political and social institutions that seem to be incapable of resolving the problems that threaten to engulf us all. So many are afraid that we are loosing the gains that we worked so hard to achieve. I see that.

And yet...

And yet, I see so many people rising out of this morass... Most notably, my team in Nepal, they lost hundreds of friends, neighbors, family members and colleagues and yet are thriving... producing research, checking in every day or so... all of this when the political situation there is impossible. I see my students, colleagues and family members here in Brasil that despite the rancor, and hateful dialogue, hug you, reach out, open the door, say hello... I am grateful to my amigos in the States who check in and share their jokes and love. I am deeply grateful and honored to call you all friends, family, amigos!

What these trips and living abroad have shown us is how now more than ever, just how very fragile everything is, and yet at the same time, this fragility gives us the opportunity to see in people we meet, such grace, such talent, such strength, such light!  I am absolutely sure that we are all one people. That we have so much, much, much more in common than what we perceive, as are our curious differences.

This year, more than ever, has shown us just how fragile things are, yet it is this light, that seems to shine in each one of us, that allows us to give our humanity a chance. It is the hundred little simple things we can all do to fight back, to not give into the darkness, that gives us our humanity... opening a door, picking up some liter, greeting your neighbors, showing up on time, giving a seat to someone else on the bus, saying hello and smiling to everyone... 

This is the one of the best forms of protest, and the best way I know that keeps the darkness at bay.  Each small act can and will become a butterfly effect…

Daniel Orey, Ph.D.
Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais

Via Collective Evolution / FB:


ATHENIANS AND VISIGOTHS: NEIL POSTMAN'S GRADUATION SPEECH

**********************************
ATHENIANS AND VISIGOTHS: NEIL POSTMAN'S GRADUATION SPEECH

By Joe Carter  [6.20.09]

While it could be argued that youth is wasted on the young, it is indisputable that commencement addresses are wasted on young graduates. Sitting in a stuffy auditorium waiting to receive a parchment that marks the beginning of one's student loan repayments is not the most conducive atmosphere for soaking up wisdom. Insight, which can otherwise seep through the thickest of skulls, cannot pierce mortarboard.

Most colleges and universities recognize this fact and schedule the graduation speeches accordingly. Schools regularly choose speakers who are unlikely to motivate, inspire, or provide advice that will be remembered after the post-graduation hangover. That is why graduates are subjected to such deep thinkers as Linkin Park guitarist Brad Nelson (UCLA), comedian Ellen DeGeneres (Tulane), and Vice President Joe Biden (Wake Forest).

Although he had been forced to sit through dozens of such speeches, the late communications theorist Neil Postman was never invited to provide a commencement address. He did prepare some remarks, though, that he planned to use if ever given the opportunity. In typical Postman fashion he even provides it as a true open source document: "If you think my graduation speech is good, I hereby grant you permission to use it, without further approval from or credit to me, should you be in an appropriate situation."

Postman's graduation speech is good. Too good, in fact, to be wasted on the young:

Members of the faculty, parents, guests, and graduates, have no fear. I am well aware that on a day of such high excitement, what you require, first and foremost, of any speaker is brevity. I shall not fail you in this respect. There are exactly eighty-five sentences in my speech, four of which you have just heard. It will take me about twelve minutes to speak all of them and I must tell you that such economy was not easy for me to arrange, because I have chosen as my topic the complex subject of your ancestors. Not, of course, your biological ancestors, about whom I know nothing, but your spiritual ancestors, about whom I know a little. To be specific, I want to tell you about two groups of people who lived many years ago but whose influence is still with us. They were very different from each other, representing opposite values and traditions. I think it is appropriate for you to be reminded of them on this day because, sooner than you know, you must align yourself with the spirit of one or the spirit of the other.
The first group lived about 2,500 years ago in the place which we now call Greece, in a city they called Athens. We do not know as much about their origins as we would like. But we do know a great deal about their accomplishments. They were, for example, the first people to develop a complete alphabet, and therefore they became the first truly literate population on earth. They invented the idea of political democracy, which they practiced with a vigor that puts us to shame. They invented what we call philosophy. And they also invented what we call logic and rhetoric. They came very close to inventing what we call science, and one of them-Democritus by name-conceived of the atomic theory of matter 2,300 years before it occurred to any modern scientist. They composed and sang epic poems of unsurpassed beauty and insight. And they wrote and performed plays that, almost three millennia later, still have the power to make audiences laugh and weep. They even invented what, today, we call the Olympics, and among their values none stood higher than that in all things one should strive for excellence. They believed in reason. They believed in beauty. They believed in moderation. And they invented the word and the idea which we know today as ecology.
About 2,000 years ago, the vitality of their culture declined and these people began to disappear. But not what they had created. Their imagination, art, politics, literature, and language spread all over the world so that, today, it is hardly possible to speak on any subject without repeating what some Athenian said on the matter 2,500 years ago.
The second group of people lived in the place we now call Germany, and flourished about 1,700 years ago. We call them the Visigoths, and you may remember that your sixth or seventh-grade teacher mentioned them. They were spectacularly good horsemen, which is about the only pleasant thing history can say of them. They were marauders-ruthless and brutal. Their language lacked subtlety and depth. Their art was crude and even grotesque. They swept down through Europe destroying everything in their path, and they overran the Roman Empire. There was nothing a Visigoth liked better than to burn a book, desecrate a building, or smash a work of art. From the Visigoths, we have no poetry, no theater, no logic, no science, no humane politics.
Like the Athenians, the Visigoths also disappeared, but not before they had ushered in the period known as the Dark Ages. It took Europe almost a thousand years to recover from the Visigoths.
Now, the point I want to make is that the Athenians and the Visigoths still survive, and they do so through us and the ways in which we conduct our lives. All around us-in this hall, in this community, in our city-there are people whose way of looking at the world reflects the way of the Athenians, and there are people whose way is the way of the Visigoths. I do not mean, of course, that our modern-day Athenians roam abstractedly through the streets reciting poetry and philosophy, or that the modern-day Visigoths are killers. I mean that to be an Athenian or a Visigoth is to organize your life around a set of values. An Athenian is an idea. And a Visigoth is an idea. Let me tell you briefly what these ideas consist of.
To be an Athenian is to hold knowledge and, especially the quest for knowledge in high esteem. To contemplate, to reason, to experiment, to question-these are, to an Athenian, the most exalted activities a person can perform. To a Visigoth, the quest for knowledge is useless unless it can help you to earn money or to gain power over other people.
To be an Athenian is to cherish language because you believe it to be humankind's most precious gift. In their use of language, Athenians strive for grace, precision, and variety. And they admire those who can achieve such skill. To a Visigoth, one word is as good as another, one sentence in distinguishable from another. A Visigoth's language aspires to nothing higher than the cliche.
To be an Athenian is to understand that the thread which holds civilized society together is thin and vulnerable; therefore, Athenians place great value on tradition, social restraint, and continuity. To an Athenian, bad manners are acts of violence against the social order. The modern Visigoth cares very little about any of this. The Visigoths think of themselves as the center of the universe. Tradition exists for their own convenience, good manners are an affectation and a burden, and history is merely what is in yesterday's newspaper.
To be an Athenian is to take an interest in public affairs and the improvement of public behavior. Indeed, the ancient Athenians had a word for people who did not. The word was idiotes , from which we get our word "idiot." A modern Visigoth is interested only in his own affairs and has no sense of the meaning of community.
And, finally, to be an Athenian is to esteem the discipline, skill, and taste that are required to produce enduring art. Therefore, in approaching a work of art, Athenians prepare their imagination through learning and experience. To a Visigoth, there is no measure of artistic excellence except popularity. What catches the fancy of the multitude is good. No other standard is respected or even acknowledged by the Visigoth.
Now, it must be obvious what all of this has to do with you. Eventually, like the rest of us, you must be on one side or the other. You must be an Athenian or a Visigoth. Of course, it is much harder to be an Athenian, for you must learn how to be one, you must work at being one, whereas we are all, in a way, natural-born Visigoths. That is why there are so many more Visigoths than Athenians. And I must tell you that you do not become an Athenian merely by attending school or accumulating academic degrees. My father-in-law was one of the most committed Athenians I have ever known, and he spent his entire adult life working as a dress cutter on Seventh Avenue in New York City. On the other hand, I know physicians, lawyers, and engineers who are Visigoths of unmistakable persuasion. And I must also tell you, as much in sorrow as in shame, that at some of our great universities, perhaps even this one, there are professors of whom we may fairly say they are closet Visigoths. And yet, you must not doubt for a moment that a school, after all, is essentially an Athenian idea. There is a direct link between the cultural achievements of Athens and what the faculty at this university is all about. I have no difficulty imagining that Plato, Aristotle, or Democritus would be quite at home in our class rooms. A Visigoth would merely scrawl obscenities on the wall.
And so, whether you were aware of it or not, the purpose of your having been at this university was to give you a glimpse of the Athenian way, to interest you in the Athenian way. We cannot know on this day how many of you will choose that way and how many will not. You are young and it is not given to us to see your future. But I will tell you this, with which I will close: I can wish for you no higher compliment than that in the future it will be reported that among your graduating class the Athenians mightily outnumbered the Visigoths.
Thank you, and congratulations
-----------------------------------
Addendum: Before the historical nit-pickers complain that Athenians weren't such brilliant linguists or that the Visgoths weren't so . . . I don't know, viscous? . . . keep in mind that Postman used them as metaphors. It's intended as a graduation speech, not a Wikipedia entry, so historical accuracy wasn't the primary objective.
----------------------------------------
 
Brief Biography
Neil Postman (1931 - 2003) was an American critic and educator. Postman received his B.S. from the State University of New York at Fredonia and his M.A. and Ed.D. from Columbia University. He was the Paulette Goddard Chair of Media Ecology at New York University and chair of the Department of Culture and Communication. His pedagogical and scholarly interests included media and education, as can be seen in many of his seventeen books, including Amusing Ourselves to Death (1985), Conscientious Objections (1988), Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (1992), and End of Education (1995). Postman died in 2003 of lung cancer.
 
From FIRST THINGS  --  SEE http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2009/06/athenians-and-visigoths-neil-postmans-graduation-speech/ ] 

The Decemberists - Make You Better (Official)


Via STCaucus / FB: John Dewey


Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Via Alternet: Here’s What a Man Who Studied Every Suicide Attack in the World Says About ISIS’ Motives

Despite the existence of a good deal of research about terrorism, there’s a gap between the common understanding of what leads terrorists to kill and what many experts believe to be true.

Terrorist groups like ISIS and Al Qaeda are widely seen as being motivated by their radical theology. But according to Robert Pape, a political scientist at the University of Chicago and founder of the Chicago Project on Security and Terrorism, this view is too simplistic. Pape knows his subject; he and his colleagues have studied every suicide attack in the world since 1980, evaluating over 4,600 in all.

He says that religious fervor is not a motive unto itself. Rather, it serves as a tool for recruitment and a potent means of getting people to overcome their fear of death and natural aversion to killing innocents. “Very often, suicide attackers realize they have instincts for self-preservation that they have to overcome,” and religious beliefs are often part of that process, said Pape in an appearance on my radio show, Politics and Reality Radio, last week. But, Pape adds, there have been “many hundreds of secular suicide attackers,” which suggests that radical theology alone doesn’t explain terrorist attacks. From 1980 until about 2003, the “world leader” in suicide attacks was the Tamil Tigers, a secular Marxist group of Hindu nationalists in Sri Lanka.

According to Pape’s research, underlying the outward expressions of religious fervor, ISIS’s goals, like those of most terrorist groups, are distinctly earthly:
What 95 percent of all suicide attacks have in common, since 1980, is not religion, but a specific strategic motivation to respond to a military intervention, often specifically a military occupation, of territory that the terrorists view as their homeland or prize greatly. From Lebanon and the West Bank in the 80s and 90s, to Iraq and Afghanistan, and up through the Paris suicide attacks we’ve just experienced in the last days, military intervention—and specifically when the military intervention is occupying territory—that’s what prompts suicide terrorism more than anything else.
ISIS emerged from the insurgency against the US occupation of Iraq just as the Al Qaeda network traces its origins to the Afghan resistance to the Soviet occupation in the 1980s.

This view differs from that of Hillary Clinton and others who believe that ISIS “has nothing whatsoever to do” with Islam, as well as the more common belief, articulated by Graeme Wood in The Atlantic, that ISIS can be reduced to “a religious group with carefully considered beliefs.” It’s a group whose outward expressions of religious fervor serve its secular objectives of controlling resources and territory. Virtually all of the group’s leaders were once high-ranking officers in Iraq’s secular military.

Pape’s analysis is consistent with what Lydia Wilson found when she interviewed captured ISIS fighters in Iraq. “They are woefully ignorant about Islam and have difficulty answering questions about Sharia law, militant jihad, and the caliphate,” she recently wrote in The Nation. “But a detailed, or even superficial, knowledge of Islam isn’t necessarily relevant to the ideal of fighting for an Islamic State, as we have seen from the Amazon order of Islam for Dummies by one British fighter bound for ISIS.”
But how does the notion that terrorists are intent on getting powers to withdraw from their territory square with the view that the group’s shift to terrorist attacks in the West is designed to draw France and its allies into a ground war in Syria? Writing at theHarvard Business Review, Northeastern University political scientist Max Abrahms argues that these analyses are contradictory. But Pape says that it’s important to distinguish between ISIS’s long-term goals and its shorter-term strategies to achieve them:
It’s about the timing. How are you going to get the United States, France and other major powers to truly abandon and withdraw from the Persian Gulf when they have such a large interest in oil? A single attack isn’t going to do it. Bin Laden did 9/11 hoping that it would suck a large American ground army into Afghanistan, which would help recruit a large number of suicide attackers to punish America for intervening. We didn’t do that – we used very limited military force in Afghanistan. But what Bin Laden didn’t count on was that we would send a large ground army into Iraq to knock Saddam out. And that turned out to be the most potent recruiting ground for anti-American terrorists that ever was, more so than Bin Laden had ever hoped for in his wildest dreams.
So if your goal is to create military costs on these states and get them to withdraw, you’ve got to figure out a way to really up the ante. And the way that you really up the ante is to get them to overreact. You try to get them to send a large ground army in so that you can truly drive up the costs. That’s what ISIS is trying to sucker us into doing.
Another theory holds that ISIS—and Al Qaeda—set their sights on France in order to polarize mainstream French society against its Muslim community. As University of Michigan historian Juan Cole put it after the Charlie Hebdo attacks, “The problem for a terrorist group like Al Qaeda is that its recruitment pool is Muslims, but most Muslims are not interested in terrorism. Most Muslims are not even interested in politics, much less political Islam.” In Cole’s formulation, if violent Islamic fundamentalists “can get non-Muslim French to be beastly to ethnic Muslims on the grounds that they are Muslims, it can start creating a common political identity around grievance against discrimination.”

Make the jump here to read the full article on Alternet

Via Anti-Republican Crusaders / FB:


Via FB:


Sunday, December 6, 2015

Via I take liberty with my coffee / FB: 50 Million Muslims Start Peace Campaign and Openly Denounce ISIS

nu6



Each time the Islamic State, al-Qaeda or another terrorist group commits violence in the name of Islam, a familiar refrain arises: What’s the Muslim world doing about it?

In fact, anti-extremism efforts abound in the global Muslim community: Muslim leaders and scholars have denounced the Islamic State group, the U.K.’s Muslim Youth League has declared “ideological holy war” against extremism, and YouTube has even tried to recruit American Muslims to counter extremist content.

And in Indonesia, home of the world’s largest Muslim population, a massive anti-extremism movement is underway.

Nahdlatul Ulama, or NU, is the largest independent Islamic organization in the world, with 50 million members. Part religious body, part political party and part charity, it was founded nearly 90 years ago, in 1926, as a response to another Sunni movement, Wahabbism.

Wahhabism is the ultra-conservative reform movement based in Saudi Arabia that advocates for puritanical laws from the time of Islam’s origins. It rejects the modern notion of “religion as a purely private activity” and the separation of church and state. The Islamic State is highly committed to Wahhabi principles, using its religious textbooks and embracing its hardline tradition of killing unbelievers.

NU’s stated goal is to “to spread messages about a tolerant Islam in their respective countries to curb radicalism, extremism and terrorism,” which, it claims, “often spring from a misinterpretation of Islamic teachings.” It launched its global anti-extremism initiative in 2014. 

Its work was recently magnified by the Paris terror attacks, which Indonesia’s Vice President, Jusuf Kalla, who serves on the NU Advisory Board, condemned at a three-day conference last week in Malang, Indonesia. The conference was held by the International Conference of Islamic Scholars, another Indonesian anti-radicalism project that its Foreign Ministry started in 2002, in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks. Kalla said, “There is nothing religious about such attacks because Islam never justifies them.”

NU is setting its sights globally. In December 2014, it created an American nonprofit called Bayt ar-Rahmah in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, to serve as headquarters for its international activities. 

It is planning “an international conference and cultural event in Washington, D. C.” in Spring 2016, NU General Secretary Yahya Cholil Staquf told the Huffington Post.

Make the jump here to read the full article

Via ZIMBABWE KID / FB:


JFK: The Speech That Killed Him




Kennedy's knew the danger of the Zionist Lobby. That is why they both (John and Bobby) both tried to force Zionist Lobby to register as foreign agents. If Kennedys managed to force the registration then they would not be able to use the Bankster money to manipulate our political system. Each time they requested

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Via Robert Reich / FB

 
 
Wealth is now more concentrated than it's been since the 1890s. According to a new report from the Institute for Policy Studies (you can find it at: www.ips-dc.org/billionaire-bonanza/):

-- America’s 20 wealthiest people (a group that could fit comfortably in the single Gulfstream G650 luxury jet pictured below) now own more wealth than the bottom half of the American population combined, a total of 152 million people in 57 million households.

-- The wealthiest 100 households now own about as much wealth as the entire African American population in the United States.

-- The wealthiest 186 members of the Forbes 400 own as much wealth as the entire Latino population of the United States.

-- With a combined worth of $2.34 trillion, the Forbes 400 own more wealth than the bottom 61 percent of the country combined, a staggering 194 million people.

Via The New Yorker / FB:





Today’s Daily Cartoon by Benjamin Schwartz. Find more cartoons here: http://nyer.cm/NoXPQmZ

Friday, November 20, 2015

Via JMG: Major Insurer Threatens To Leave Obamacare

UHC

UnitedHealthcare, which reported a net income of $8.4 billion this year, says it’s not making enough money with Obamacare and may leave the system within two years.
“In recent weeks, growth expectations for individual exchange participation have tempered industrywide,” said Stephen Hemsley, the company’s CEO. “Co-operatives have failed, and market data has signaled higher risks and more difficulties while our own claims experience has deteriorated, so we are taking this proactive step,” he said. The company’s statement said it will be “evaluating the viability of the insurance exchange product segment and will determine during the first half of 2016 to what extent it can continue to serve the public exchange markets in 2017.” It also projected that its fourth-quarter revenue will be $425 million less than expected — amounting to 26 cents in earnings per share. The company also announced it has “pulled back” on marketing plans for 2016.
 From a UnitedHealthcare press release issued this summer:
UnitedHealth Group today reported second quarter results, highlighted by strong, continuing growth. “We are seeing consistent growth in response to our continuing focus on improving the ways we serve people and the health care system as a whole – making processes simpler, information more accessible and easier to use and mitigating costs, all to improve affordability and performance for customers and consumers,” said Stephen J. Hemsley, chief executive officer of UnitedHealth Group.
Consolidated first half 2015 financial results reflected consistency and balanced performance across the Company. First half 2015 revenues of $72 billion grew 12 percent year-over-year and consolidated earnings from operations of more than $5.5 billion grew 20 percent, as UnitedHealthcare and Optum each produced double digit percentage increases in revenues and earnings from operations over the six-month period, driven by organic growth.
The Company has updated its 2015 financial outlook to include the anticipated Catamaran Corporation combination, which is expected to close during July. UnitedHealth Group projects 2015 revenues of approximately $154 billion, an increase of $11 billion from the previous outlook.
Make the jump here to read the original and more at JMG

"Somos Mas Americanos" " Los Tigres Del Norte" By: Alfredo urrutia Aka Chicken


Via Alternet: This Is Why They Hate Us: The Real American History Neither Ted Cruz Nor the New York Times Will Tell You

We talk democracy, then overthrow elected governments and prop up awful regimes. Let's discuss the actual history.



Photo Credit: AFP

The soi-disant Land of the Free and Home of the Brave has a long and iniquitous history of overthrowing democratically elected leftist governments and propping up right-wing dictators in their place.

U.S. politicians rarely acknowledge this odious past — let alone acknowledge that such policies continue well into the present day.

“I think we have a disagreement,” Sanders said of fellow presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. “And the disagreement is that not only did I vote against the war in Iraq. If you look at history, you will find that regime change — whether it was in the early ’50s in Iran, whether it was toppling Salvador Allende in Chile, or whether it was overthrowing the government of Guatemala way back when — these invasions, these toppling of governments, regime changes have unintended consequences. I would say that on this issue I’m a little bit more conservative than the secretary.”

“I am not a great fan of regime changes,” Sanders added.

“Regime change” is not a phrase you hear discussed honestly much in Washington, yet it is a common practice in and defining feature of U.S. foreign policy for well over a century. For many decades, leaders from both sides of the aisle, Republicans and Democrats, have pursued a bipartisan strategy of violently overthrowing democratically elected foreign governments that do not kowtow to U.S. orders.

In the debate, Sanders addressed three examples of U.S. regime change. There are scores of examples of American regime change, yet these are perhaps the most infamous instances.

Iran, 1953
Iran was once a secular democracy. You would not know this from contemporary discussions of the much demonized country in U.S. politics and media.

What happen to Iran’s democracy? The U.S. overthrew it in 1953, with the help of the U.K. Why? For oil.

Mohammad Mosaddegh may be the most popular leader in Iran’s long history. He was also Iran’s only democratically elected head of state.

In 1951, Mosaddegh was elected prime minister of Iran. He was not a socialist, and certainly not a communist — on the contrary, he repressed Iranian communists — but he pursued many progressive, social democratic policies. Mosaddegh pushed for land reform, established rent control, and created a social security system, while working to separate powers in the democratic government.

In the Cold War, however, a leader who deviated in any way from free-market orthodoxy and the Washington Consensus was deemed a threat. When Mossaddegh nationalized Iran’s large oil reserves, he crossed a line that Western capitalist nations would not tolerate.

The New York Times ran an article in 1951 titled “British Warn Iran of Serious Result if She Seizes Oil.” The piece, which is full of orientalist language, refers to Iranian oil as “British oil properties,” failing to acknowledge that Britain, which had previously occupied Iran, had seized that oil and claimed it as its own, administering it under the auspices of the Anglo-Persian Oil Company, which later became the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, and eventually British Petroleum and modern BP.

The Times article noted that the U.S. “shares with Britain the gravest concern about the possibility that Iranian oil, the biggest supply now available in the Near East, might be lost to the Western powers.” The British government is quoted making a thinly veiled threat.

This threat came into fruition in August 1953. In Operation Ajax, the CIA, working with its British equivalent MI6, carried out a coup, overthrowing the elected government of Iran and reinstalling the monarchy. The shah would remain a faithful Western ally until 1979, when the monarchy was abolished in the Iranian Revolution.

Guatemala, 1954
Less than a year after overthrowing Iran’s first democratically elected prime minister, the U.S. pursued a similar regime change policy in Guatemala, toppling the elected leader Jacobo Árbenz.

In 1944, Guatemalans waged a revolution, toppling the U.S.-backed right-wing dictator Jorge Ubico, who had ruled the country with an iron fist since 1931. Ubico, who fancied himself the 20th-century Napoleon, gave rich landowners and the U.S. corporation the United Fruit Company (which would later become Chiquita) free reign over Guatemala’s natural resources, and used the military to violently crush labor organizers.

Juan José Arévalo was elected into office in 1944. A liberal, he pursued very moderate policies, but the U.S. wanted a right-wing puppet regime that would allow U.S. corporations the same privileges granted to them by Ubico. In 1949, the U.S. backed an attempted coup, yet it failed.
 
In 1951, Árbenz was elected into office. Slightly to the left of Arévalo, Árbenz was still decidedly moderate. The U.S. claimed Árbenz was close to Guatemala’s communists, and warned he could ally with the Soviet Union. In reality, the opposite was true; Árbenz actually persecuted Guatemalan communists. At most, Árbenz was a social democrat, not even a socialist.

Yet Árbenz, like Mosaddegh, firmly believed that Guatemalans themselves, and not multinational corporations, should benefit from their country’s resources. He pursued land reform policies that would break up the control rich families and the United Fruit Company exercised over the country — and, for that reason, he was overthrown.

President Truman originally authorized a first coup attempt, Operation PBFORTUNE, in 1952. Yet details about the operation were leaked to the public, and the plan was abandoned. In 1954, in Operation PBSUCCESS, the CIA and U.S. State Department, under the Dulles Brothers, bombed Guatemala City and carried out a coup that violently toppled Guatemala’s democratic government.

The U.S. put into power right-wing tyrant Carlos Castillo Armas. For the next more than 50 years, until the end of the Guatemalan Civil War in 1996, Guatemala was ruled by a serious of authoritarian right-wing leaders who brutally repressed left-wing dissidents and carried out a campaign of genocide against the indigenous people of the country.

Chile, 1973
September 11 has permanently seared itself into the memory of Americans. The date has also been indelibly imprinted in the public consciousness of Chileans, because it was on this same day in 1973 that the U.S. backed a coup that violently overthrew Chile’s democracy.

In 1970, Marxist leader Salvador Allende was democratically elected president of Chile. Immediately after he was elected, the U.S. government poured resources into right-wing opposition groups and gave millions of dollars to Chile’s conservative media outlets.

The CIA deputy director of plans wrote in a 1970 memo, “It is firm and continuing policy that Allende be overthrown by a coup… It is imperative that these actions be implemented clandestinely and securely so that the USG [U.S. government] and American hand be well hidden.” President Nixon subsequently ordered the CIA to “make the economy scream” in Chile, to “prevent Allende from coming to power or to unseat him.”

Allende’s democratic government was violently overthrown on September 11, 1973. He died in the coup, just after making an emotional speech, in which he declared he would give his life to defend Chilean democracy and sovereignty.

Far-right dictator Augusto Pinochet, who combined fascistic police state repression with hyper-capitalist free-market economic policies, was put into power. Under Pinochet’s far-right dictatorship, tens of thousands of Chilean leftists, labor organizers, and journalists were killed, disappeared, and tortured. Hundreds of thousands more people were forced into exile.

One of the most prevailing myths of the Cold War is that socialism was an unpopular system imposed on populations with brute force. Chile serves as a prime historical example of how the exact opposite was true. The masses of impoverished and oppressed people elected many socialist governments, yet these governments were often violently overthrown by the U.S. and other Western allies.

The overthrow of Allende was a turning point for many socialists in the Global South. Before he was overthrown, some leftists thought popular Marxist movements could gain state power through democratic elections, as was the case in Chile. Yet when they saw how the U.S. violently toppled Allende’s elected government, they became suspicious of the prospects of electoral politics and turned to guerrilla warfare and other tactics.

Modern example: Egypt, 2013
These are just a small sample of the great many regime changes the U.S. government has been involved in. More recent examples, which were supported by Hillary Clinton, as Sanders implied, include the U.S. government’s overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq and Muammar Qadhafi in Libya. In these cases, the U.S. was overthrowing dictators, not democratically elected leaders — but, as Sanders pointed out, the results of these regime changes have been nothing short of catastrophic.The U.S. is also still engaging in regime change when it comes to democratically elected governments.

In the January 2011 revolution, Egyptians toppled dictator Hosni Mubarak, a close U.S. ally who ruled Egypt with an iron fist for almost 30 years.

In July 2013, Egypt’s first democratically elected president, Mohammed Morsi, was overthrown in a military coup. We now know that the U.S. supported and bankrolledthe opposition forces that overthrew the democratically elected president.

Today, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, a brutal despot who is widely recognized as even worse than Mubarak, reigns over Egypt. In August 2013, Sisi oversaw a slaughter of more than 800 peaceful Egyptian activists at Raba’a Square. His regime continues to shoot peaceful protesters in the street. An estimated 40,000 political prisoners languish in Sisi’s jails, including journalists.
 In spite of his obscene human rights abuses, Sisi remains a close ally of the U.S. and Israel — much, much closer than was the democratically elected President Morsi.

In the second Democratic presidential debate, when Sanders called Clinton out on her hawkish, pro-regime change policies, she tried to blame the disasters in the aftermath in countries like Iraq and Libya on the “complexity” of the Middle East. As an example of this putative complexity, Clinton cited Egypt. “We saw a dictator overthrown, we saw Muslim Brotherhood president installed, and then we saw him ousted and the army back,” she said.

Clinton failed to mention two crucial factors: One, that the U.S. backed Mubarak until the last moment; and two, that the U.S. also supported the coup that overthrew Egypt’s first and only democratically elected head of state.

Other examples
There are scores of other examples of U.S.-led regime change.
  • In 1964 the U.S. backed a coup in Brazil, toppling left-wing President João Goulart.
  • In 1976, the U.S. supported a military coup in Argentina that replaced President Isabel Perón with General Jorge Rafael Videla.
  • In 2002, the U.S. backed a coup that overthrew democratically elected Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. Chávez was so popular, however, that Venezuelans filled the street and demanded him back.
  • In 2004, the U.S. overthrew Haiti’s first democratically elected president, Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
  • In 2009, U.S.-trained far-right forces overthrew the democratically elected government of Honduras, with tacit support from Washington.
The list goes on.

Latin America, given its proximity to the U.S. and the strength of left-wing movements in the region, tends to endure the largest number of U.S. regime changes, yet the Middle East and many parts of Africa have seen their democratic governments overthrown as well.

From 1898 to 1994, Harvard University historian John Coatsworth documented at least 41 U.S. interventions in Latin America — an an average of one every 28 months for an entire century.

Numerous Latin American military dictators were trained at the School of the Americas, a U.S. Department of Defense Institute in Fort Benning, Georgia. The School of the Americas Watch, an activist organization that pushes for the closing of the SOA, has documented many of these regime changes, which have been carried out by both Republicans and Democrats.

Diplomatic cables released by whistleblowing journalism outlet WikiLeaks show the U.S. still maintains a systematic campaign of trying to overthrow Latin America’s left-wing governments.
By not just acknowledging the bloody and ignominious history of U.S. regime change, but also condemning it, Sen. Sanders was intrepidly trekking into controversial political territory into which few of his peers would dare to tread. Others would do well to learn from Bernie’s example.

Ben Norton is a politics staff writer at Salon. You can find him on Twitter at @BenjaminNorton.

No country For Anyone Not Already Here


Thursday, November 19, 2015

Via WGB: A Random Act of Kindness...


 
With all the craziness that is the world we live in today, it is great to see a random kind gesture take place and restores my faith in humanity just a little.

Pictured above: "This heartwarming picture of an elderly man teaching a young stranger how to tie his tie while waiting for the train has gone viral.

The older man's wife spotted the young man sitting on a subway bench in a shirt and suit trousers, but struggling to tie his tie.

It was uploaded by Redd Desmond Thomas, from Atlanta, who spotted the compassionate moment at the city’s Lindbergh Center.

‘The young guy sitting down was struggling with his tie,’ he explained in the post.

‘The woman in the red coat noticed, and asked “Do you know how to tie it properly?” The young guy said “No ma’am”.

She encouraged her elderly husband, in a fleece and flat cap, to 'come over here' and help him.

‘She taps her husband and says “Come here and teach this young man how to tie his tie.” The older gentleman moved without hesitation and game him a step-by-step tutorial; then afterward the older gentleman watched the young gentleman repeat the steps and show him that he had it.’

Thomas added: ‘I love this!’

One Facebook user concurred, writing: ‘I absolutely love this! It’s the small things that make the biggest impact. Finally, some positivity!’

Another added: ‘Imagine how many lives we can touch and differences we all could make if we just sacrificed a few minutes of our time for someone in need.

The Facebook photograph has been liked more than 300,000 times and shared nearly 130,000 times since it was uploaded yesterday."
(Source)

Bernie Sanders Talks Socialism at Georgetown University (11-19-15)


Sunday, November 8, 2015

Via Robert Reich / FB:


Republican candidates have morality upside down. They're obsessed by private morality -- what happens in bedrooms between consenting adults, gay marriage, access to contraceptives, and when and how women can choose to terminate a pregnancy. But they don't give a fig about public morality -- the corruption of our democracy by big money, suppression of the votes of minorities, soaring CEO pay while average workers get pay cuts, insider trading on Wall Street, misclassification of employees as "independent contractors," and corporate criminal behavior that never results in jail terms for executives.Yet it is the deplorable condition of public morality -- the growing abuses of political and economic power -- that pose the gravest threat to the future of our society. We must demand a higher standard of behavior from corporate executives, Wall Street bankers, and the politicians who collude with them -- and leave private morality alone.  What do you think?


Posted by Robert Reich on Sunday, November 8, 2015

Saturday, November 7, 2015

RACE BAITING 101

The books I am recommending in this video are PEOPLE'S HISTORY OF THE UNITED STATES by Howard Zinn and THE NEW JIM CROW by Michelle Alexander. PLEASE SUBSCRIBE TO THIS CHANNEL!




Tuesday, October 27, 2015

John Cleese in conversation with Eric Idle at Live Talks Los Angeles

Publicado em 22 de nov de 2014
We hosted John Cleese and Eric Idle at Live Talks Los Angeles on Nov. 18. The occasion: Cleese' memoir, "So, Anyway..." The venue, a sold crowd at the Alex Theatre. For more information on Live Talks Los Angeles, visit: www.livetalksla.org




Sunday, October 25, 2015

Via Nicole Olivier / FB: BERNIE SANDERS IS NOT THE PRESIDENT FOR ME

Bernie Sanders is not the president for me and let me tell you why.
I am years past college age so having a tax on Wall Street to pay for tuition-free university doesn’t affect me. I’m also not on any form of Social Security so his plan to raise the salary cap in order to increase Social Security has no bearing on my life. His criminal justice reform is an admirable, if not lofty, goal but, as a middle class white female, I have little to nothing to do with that system.

I like his high scores on environmental protection but I wont be around in 100 years so it doesn't affect my life if there are still trees or not. Hell I don’t even have kids, and my drinking water seems okay today so, again, not a game changer for me.

I’m self-employed so a minimum wage hike, family medical leave or strengthening the Unions will not affect my day to day life either. As far as equal rights, yes thats still a problem but again, I am a white, middle class woman who won the right to vote many years ago, and I set my own wages because I run my own business so I don’t really play a part in that fight either.

No Bernie Sanders is not the President for me.

He is the President for my parents scraping by on social security and out of control drug prices. He is the President for my nieces and nephews and friends kids who want to believe in the dream that if you work really hard you can go to college and contribute great things to this world. He is the President for our black brothers and sisters who have somehow been reduced to a less-than people by egregious headlines and political agendas until when a white person sees a black person dying in the street they see the color of their skin and not the red of the blood as it leaves their body. He is the President for the people working two and three jobs without benefits or fair pay so their slave masters can buy their third yacht or seventh home. He is also the President for the Latinos that have been born in America, raised in America and whose parents have contributed to the fabric of America through hard work in the same fields that provide our daily food but for a fraction of what would be considered fair pay or safe work conditions. He is the President for the gay kid in school getting beat up because his parents watch news stations that teach hate and division and make no mistake, kids learn that, and he IS the President for any person that cares about changing these horrific aspects of our great country and making this world we live in a better place.

He IS the President for the “We The People” that the Constitution of the United States was written for, and written about and he IS the President and he IS the Leader and he IS the Statesmen that the United States of America needs right now and thats why I am voting for Senator Bernie Sanders.

He is not the President for ME. He is the President for all of us.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Via JMG: Money Rolls In For Hillary After Benghazi Hearing


hillmoney

The Clinton campaign broke their own fundraising record last night immediately upon the conclusion of Benghazi hearing farce. The Hill reports:
Clinton’s director of communications, Jennifer Palmieri, told a gaggle of reporters after her boss’s speech to a Democratic National Committee women’s forum Friday morning that Clinton had her best hour of online fundraising during the entire campaign so far. The record money poured in between 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. Thursday, just after the daylong hearing on the 2012 Benghazi attacks had ended, Palmieri said. “People were apparently paying attention and were moved by it [the Benghazi hearing],” Palmieri said, without specifying a dollar figure for the amount of money raised. Asked whether the Clinton campaign team had been using the former secretary of State’s Benghazi testimony to solicit cash on Thursday night, Palmieri said it had not. “We had, like, a hashtag ‘I’m with her’, and show you’re with her, show you’re staying with Hillary … but we didn’t ask for money.”

Make jump here ot read the full article at JMG

Feel the Bern!

A presidential campaign should be about the issues. Bernie's been right on the issues early and often.1962: As the Civil Rights Movement grew, Bernie led a sit-in to desegregate off-campus student housing at the University of Chicago1983: In the midst of public vitriol against gay rights, Bernie endorsed the first Gay Pride Day in Burlington, Vermont, calling it a civil rights issue1991: In his first term in Congress, Bernie voted to oppose the federal death penalty, and has opposed the death penalty his whole career1993: President Clinton promised hundreds of thousands of new jobs from NAFTA, but Bernie voted to protect American jobs by opposing the trade agreement.1996: Bernie voted against the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act in order to stand up for legal rights of LGBT Americans.1999: While Congress rushed to deregulate Wall Street, promising new wealth for the country, Bernie opposed the effort, correctly predicting that it would lead to further concentration of power in our country2001: Bernie opposed the Patriot Act in spite of an overwhelming majority in favor of passing the bill that reduced civil liberties.2003: While President Bush and Congress rushed the country to war with Iraq, Bernie Sanders opposed the war, saying it would result in anti-Americanism, instability, and more terrorismAnd Bernie has always stood up for working families against the interests of the wealthy. We need a president who is right on the issues, not just now, but throughout their career.We want to know which issues you care about. Tell us what matters to you. Take our survey. Click here
Click here to take our survey:
https://go.berniesanders.com/survey
 



Copyright 2011 by Daniel C. Orey All rights reserved. No part of this website may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the author.