Hate Groups, US Citizenship & Risch

I am waiting for my case to come up 
and I am waiting 
for a rebirth of wonder 
and I am waiting for someone 
to really discover America 
and wail.

—Lawrence Ferlinghetti

 

“Our yearly report on the state of extremism in America has found that the number of hate groups grew for a third straight year in 2017 — a year that saw white supremacists energized by the Trump presidency and black nationalist groups rising in response.

We’ve identified 954 hate groups — a 4 percent increase.

Find out where these hate groups are on our Hate Map.

The radical right started 2017 on a roll, with allies in the White House. But then came Charlottesville, and white supremacists faced a backlash. Still, Trump’s rhetoric and the country’s changing demographics continue to energize them.

Here are the highlights:

  • For the first time since 2009, hate groups were found in all 50 states.
  • Neo-Nazi groups were up 22 percent, from 99 to 121.
  • Anti-Muslim groups rose for a third straight year. After tripling in 2016, they added 13 more chapters last year and now have 114.
  • Black nationalist groups expanded from 193 to 233 chapters in reaction to Trump and the rising white supremacist movement.

We hope you’ll take a few minutes to read the full report.

Now, more than ever, your part in this fight against extremism is critical.”


The Intercept

US Citizenship and Immigration Services Will Remove “Nation of Immigrants” from Mission Statement

Ryan Devereaux

THE LEAD U.S. AGENCY tasked with granting citizenship to would-be Americans is making a major change to its mission statement, removing a passage that describes the United States as a nation of immigrants. In an email sent to staff members Thursday and shared with The Intercept, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director L. Francis Cissna announced the agency’s new mission statement.

It reads:

U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services administers the nation’s lawful immigration system, safeguarding its integrity and promise by efficiently and fairly adjudicating requests for immigration benefits while protecting Americans, securing the homeland, and honoring our values.

USCIS’s previous mission statement, still available on the agency’s website Thursday, read:

USCIS secures America’s promise as a nation of immigrants by providing accurate and useful information to our customers, granting immigration and citizenship benefits, promoting an awareness and understanding of citizenship, and ensuring the integrity of our immigration system.

In a written statement sent to The Intercept after this story was published, Jonathan Withington, USCIS Chief of Media Relations, said the new mission statement is “effective immediately.” Asked if USCIS had changed its view on whether the U.S. is a nation of immigrants, Withington wrote, “The statement speaks for itself and clearly defines the agency’s role in our country’s lawful immigration system and commitment we have to the American people.”

An academic, friend who lives in Canada, just emailed and wrote that the new language, ‘sounds like Hitler’s manifesto.’

https://theintercept.com/2018/02/22/u-s-citizenship-and-immigration-services-will-remove-nation-of-immigrants-from-mission-statement/


Also from The Intercept:

IT DIDN’T GET much notice, but Sen. Jim Risch made extremely alarming remarks on Sunday at the Munich Security Conference, in which he said President Donald Trump is prepared to start a “very, very brief” war with North Korea that would be “one of the worst catastrophic events in the history of our civilization.” Trump would go to these extraordinary lengths, the Idaho Republican said, in order to prevent the government of Kim Jong-un from developing the capacity to deliver a nuclear warhead to the U.S. via an intercontinental ballistic missile.

[…]

Risch will likely become chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, if the GOP maintains control of the Senate and the current chair, Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., retires. Risch said he and Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. — who was sitting next to him on stage at the conference in Germany — had “drilled down with the administration” on its North Korea policy. Risch emphasized that the Trump administration was not bluffing.
As DT’s mouthpiece, and his loyalty, Sen. Risch is being gifted a seat with Ivanka’s delegation heading to South Korea for the Olympic’s closing ceremony:
Joining Trump in the US delegation are White House press secretary Sarah Sanders; Idaho’s GOP Sen. James Risch, the chairman of Senate Foreign Relations Subcommittee on Near East, South Asia, Central Asia, and Counterterrorism; Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of United Nations Command, Combined Forces Command and US Forces Korea; Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy Seoul Mark Knapper; and Sgt. Shauna Rohbock, a former Winter Olympian, current Team USA coach for the bobsled team and a member of the US National Guard.
-CNN
Full article:
https://theintercept.com/2018/02/21/gop-senator-says-trump-is-ready-to-start-war-with-north-korea-that-would-be-one-of-the-worst-catastrophic-events-in-history/

Sen. Risch has proven less than a reasoned intellect since his tenure in Idaho. He is loyal to party only, repeatedly putting party over country. He has served in Idaho politics since 1974. He is a poster boy for term limits.

 

Democracy, Media Literacy, Civic Engagement

“The Americans are very impressionable people; they see what they want to see. I have a lot of respect for them. I am not upset at all that I ended up on this list. If they want to see the devil, let them see him.”

Russian Oligarch Yevgeny V. Prigozhin, one of 13 Russians indicted by a federal grand jury on Friday, February 16th, 2018, for interfering in the American election.

Full Indictment:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/02/16/us/politics/document-The-Special-Counsel-s-Indictment-of-the-Internet.html

“Facebook, Twitter and Google have all identified the Internet Research Agency as a prime source of provocative posts on divisive American issues, including race, religion, gun laws and gay rights, particularly during the 2016 presidential election. Facebook found, for example, that the agency had posted 80,000 pieces of content that reached more than 126 million Americans.” [NYTimes]

Tedx Wandsworth/2.8.18

Imagine a world where democracy lives up to its lofty promise… where problems are solved by debate and compromise rather than vitriol and internet trolls. A nice thought isn’t it?” asks Brian Klaas. As a scholar of democracy and authoritarianism, he’s seen fear-and-division politics rising across the world, but says we’re more powerful than we think in reversing this trend. Beyond the uncomfortable stats of our civic shortcomings; he shares moments with those he’s met risking their freedom and their lives for a democratic choice; and offers five concrete ways we can start changing what we don’t like.

Thoughts from Brian Klaas:

Democracies around the world are dying. Remember: Being a citizen is a full time job.

V

O

T

E

#2018

People who say, “my vote doesn’t matter”? Wrong.

Politicians pander to those who vote. (Who votes in majority? Older white males.)

Democracies are dying. One man in Russia who was being followed by the secret police told Klaas, “You don’t know how lucky you are.”

“There are these two young fish swimming along and they happen to meet an older fish swimming the other way, who nods at them and says “Morning, boys. How’s the water?” And the two young fish swim on for a bit, and then eventually one of them looks over at the other and goes “What the hell is water?”

-David Foster Wallace

We need to remember how powerful we are.

Of the people.

By the people.

For the people.

Ongoing paradox: People are unhappy with the system, but not many do much to understand it…or do anything.

In the midterm election in 2014, 36% of registered voters voted. 64/100 didn’t bother.

In the 2016 presidential election? 60% voted. And the current president was voted in by 30% of the US population. Apathy voted a candidate into the Oval Office.

80,000 people tipped the election…enough to fit into a football stadium.

We get the candidates we deserve.

P  A  R  T  I  C  I  P  A  T  I  O  N

Our collective power to save democracy:

  1. Vote in every election…local and national, because the local candidates become national candidates.

  2. Before the election talk to 10 people before voting.

  3. Be the boss to your politicians; they work for us. Whether they agree with you or not, tell them how you feel.

  4. Reach out to someone who believes completely differently from what you believe. And listen.

  5. Run for office or organize a new political group.

Actions become ripples and those ripples become tsunamis.

Think about it. If women waited for an invitation, we still wouldn’t have the right to vote.

2018 is ours. And the youth? They are activating.

︶⁀°• •° ⁀︶

Go see it. It will give you hope. (Stay until the very final credit rolls.) ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆

Spiritual Warriors

There is a beautiful Tibetan myth that helps us to accept our sadness as a threshold to all that is life-chaing and lasting. This myth affirs that all spiritual warriors have a broken heart—alas, must have a broken heart—because it is only through the break that the wonder and mysteries of life can enter us.

 

So what does it mean to be a spiritual warrior? It is far from being a soldier, but more the sincerity with which a soul faces itself in a daily way. It is this courage to be authentic that keeps us strong enough to withstand the heartbreak through which enlightenment can occur. And it is by honoring how life comes through us that we get the most out of living, not by keeping ourselves out of the way. The goal is to mix our hands in the earth, not stay to stay clean.

 

I keep breathing deeply through the breaking my heart. In daily ways, we are judged, discounted, and even pitied for glories that only we can affirm. In the end, life is too magnificent and difficult for us to give away our elemental place in the journey.

 

 

At some point in our lives, almost every one of us will have our heart broken. Imagine how different things would be if we paid more attention to this unique emotional pain. Psychologist Guy Winch reveals how recovering from heartbreak starts with a determination to fight our instincts to idealize and search for answers that aren’t there — and offers a toolkit on how to, eventually, move on. Our hearts might sometimes be broken, but we don’t have to break with them.

-Guy Winch, author “How to Fix a Broken Heart”

 

Grace under pressure.

A valentine to Elizabeth and Susan.

Remembering their earlier struggles, Anthony closed her letter: “And we, dear old friend, shall move on the next sphere of existence—higher and larger, we cannot fail to believe, and one where women will not be placed in an inferior position, but will be welcomed on a plane of perfect intellectual and spiritual equality.” The sentiment was timelier than anyone expected. Stanton, who had been homebound and in ill health but still publishing commentaries, died before the letter was published on October 26, 1902, two-and-a-half weeks before her birthday.

In her letter, Anthony sounds optimistic, despite her lament that only in death will they experience equality. She seems confident in the suffrage movement’s new leaders. There is a sense that things can only move forward for women.

-Humanities Magazine, by Katy June-Friesen, Volume 35, Number 4

https://www.neh.gov/humanities/2014/julyaugust/feature/old-friends-elizabeth-cady-stanton-and-susan-b-anthony-made-histo

“…surely not alarmed enough.”

“Complacency is much more dangerous than fatalism.’

New York Magazine:

There’s a lot of scientific debate about the future of climate change. But have you ever considered the worst case scenario? David Wallace-Wells gives us one terrifying glimpse into the future after consulting experts from various fields.

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html

But no matter how well-informed you are, you are surely not alarmed enough. Over the past decades, our culture has gone apocalyptic with zombie movies and Mad Max dystopias, perhaps the collective result of displaced climate anxiety, and yet when it comes to contemplating real-world warming dangers, we suffer from an incredible failure of imagination. The reasons for that are many: the timid language of scientific probabilities, which the climatologist James Hansen once called “scientific reticence” in a paper chastising scientists for editing their own observations so conscientiously that they failed to communicate how dire the threat really was; the fact that the country is dominated by a group of technocrats who believe any problem can be solved and an opposing culture that doesn’t even see warming as a problem worth addressing; the way that climate denialism has made scientists even more cautious in offering speculative warnings; the simple speed of change and, also, its slowness, such that we are only seeing effects now of warming from decades past; our uncertainty about uncertainty, which the climate writer Naomi Oreskes in particular has suggested stops us from preparing as though anything worse than a median outcome were even possible; the way we assume climate change will hit hardest elsewhere, not everywhere; the smallness (two degrees) and largeness (1.8 trillion tons) and abstractness (400 parts per million) of the numbers; the discomfort of considering a problem that is very difficult, if not impossible, to solve; the altogether incomprehensible scale of that problem, which amounts to the prospect of our own annihilation; simple fear. But aversion arising from fear is a form of denial, too.


To The Best of Our Knowledge:

There’s a lot of scientific debate about the future of climate change. But have you ever considered the worst case scenario? David Wallace-Wells gives us one terrifying glimpse into the future after consulting experts from various fields.

https://www.ttbook.org/interview/how-bad-can-climate-change-really-get


The Call of the Earth
by Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee
‘The search for meaning.’

And while many people are working to try to counter this imbalance, most are approaching it with the very same mind-set that has created this predicament. Before we can begin to redeem this crisis, we need to go to the root of our present paradigm—our sense of separation from our environment, the lack of awareness that we are all a part of one interdependent living organism that is our planet. This can be traced to the birth of the scientific era in the Age of Enlightenment and the emergence of Newtonian physics, in which humans were seen as separate from the physical world, which in turn was considered as unfeeling matter, a clockwork mechanism whose workings it was our right and duty to understand and control.

While this attitude has given us the developments of science and technology, it has severed us from any relationship to the environment as a living whole of whose cycles we are a part. We have lost and entirely forgotten any spiritual relationship to life and the planet, a central reality to other cultures for millennia.1 Where for indigenous peoples the world was a sacred, interconnected living whole that cares for us and for which we in turn need to care—our Mother the Earth—for our Western culture it became something to exploit.

But there is an even deeper, and somewhat darker, side to our forgetfulness of the sacred within creation. When our monotheistic religions placed God in heaven they banished the many gods and goddesses of the Earth, of its rivers and mountains. We forgot the ancient wisdom contained in our understanding of the sacred in creation—its rhythms, its meaningful magic. For example, when early Christianity banished paganism and cut down its sacred groves, they forgot about nature devas, the powerful spirits and entities within nature, who understand the deeper patterns and properties of the natural world. Now how can we even begin the work of healing the natural world, of clearing out its toxins and pollutants, of bringing it back into balance, if we do not consciously work with these forces within nature?

Nature is not unfeeling matter; it is full of invisible forces with their own intelligence and deep knowing. We need to reacknowledge the existence of the spiritual world within creation if we are even to begin the real work of bringing the world back into balance. Only then can we regain the wisdom of the shamans who understood how to communicate and work together with the spirit world.2

While there may be a growing awareness that the world forms a single living being—what has been called the Gaia principle—we don’t really understand that this being is also nourished by its soul, the anima mundi—or that we are a part of it, part of a much larger living, sacred being. Sadly, we remain cut off, isolated from this spiritual dimension of life itself. We have forgotten how to nourish or be nourished by the soul of the world….3

We cannot return to the simplicity of an indigenous lifestyle, but we can become aware that what we do and how we are at an individual level affects the global environment, both outer and inner. We can learn how to live in a more sustainable way, not to be drawn into unnecessary materialism.

We can also work to heal the spiritual imbalance in the world. Our individual conscious awareness of the sacred within creation reconnects the split between spirit and matter within our own soul and also within the soul of the world: we are part of the spiritual body of the Earth more than we know.

The crisis we face now is dire, but it is also an opportunity for humanity to reclaim its role as guardian of the planet, to take responsibility for the wonder and mystery of this living, sacred world.

 

Full article:

https://parabola.org/2018/01/10/the-call-of-the-earth-by-llewellyn-vaughan-lee/

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