When Nazi planes dropped bombs on London, Edward R. Murrow climbed to the rooftops. Despite personal risk & the fear his signal would lead bombers straight to him, he brought the horrors of Hitler’s war to the ears of listeners around the world.
[Stand Up Ideas: Founded by Evan McMullin, & Mindy Finn to strengthen Americans’ commitment to democratic ideals & norms through civic education & leadership development.]
Is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang—in a revolution or military coup—but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, by electing Trump, we have already passed the first one.
Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die—and how ours can be saved.
Enlightening & educational interview with Dave Davies speaking to the importance of identity, community & purpose, combined with vulnerability. Excellent dialogue.
‘A Former Neo-Nazi Explains Why Hate Drew Him In — And How He Got Out’
“…after eight years as a neo-Nazi, Picciolini began to question the hateful ideology he espoused. He remembers a specific incident in which he was beating a young black man. His eyes locked with his victim, and he felt a surprising empathy.
It was a turning point. He withdrew from the movement and in 2011 co-founded Life After Hate, a nonprofit that counsels members of hate groups and helps them disengage.
So it was the fear rhetoric. … I can tell you that every single person that I recruited or that was recruited around the same time that I did, up to now, up to what we’re seeing today, is recruited through vulnerabilities and not through ideology.
In fact, I had never in my life engaged in a meaningful dialogue with the people that I thought I hated, and it was these folks who showed me empathy when I least deserved it, and they were the ones that I least deserved it from. I started to recognize that I had more in common with them than the people I had surrounded myself for eight years with — that these people, that I thought I hated, took it upon themselves to see something inside of me that I didn’t even see myself
Here we are in 2018 and we have a lot of hallmarks coming from political figures, the administration and policies that are very similar to what we espoused 30 years ago. … It is a white supremacist culture that is being pushed.”
[A couple of weeks before the end of President Obama’s White House, Life After Hate received a $400,000 grant to continue their work. After the new administration took office in 2017, the grant was rescinded. Comedian Samantha Bee brought awareness to the situation and helped raise $500,000 for the organization.]
His last sermon, on the evening before he was shot down outside the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. offered a conclusion that serves well as starting point for 2018. After declaring that America was sick in 1968, facing troubling times, King made this resolution:
Now, let me say as I move to my conclusion that we’ve got to give ourselves to this struggle until the end. Nothing would be more tragic than to stop at this point in Memphis. We’ve got to see it through. And when we have our march, you need to be there. If it means leaving work, if it means leaving school—be there. Be concerned about your brother. You may not be on strike. But either we go up together, or we go down together.
Nothing would be more tragic than to turn back now, because we have seen the real possibility that, in the middle of this dark night of the American story, a Third Reconstruction is possible. “We made the world we are living in,” James Baldwin said, “and we have to make it over.” Imperfect though we are, we can do this work together in 2018 and move forward toward the more perfect union of our common creed.
Fifty years after Dr. King and many others launched a Poor People’s Campaign to demand a Marshall Plan for America’s poor, inequality in our nation has reached extremes we have not seen since the Gilded Age. As the Dow climbs and the wealthiest Americans get a massive tax break, 15 million more Americans are poor today than in 1968. In the same time period, the rate of extreme poverty has nearly doubled. Because of the systemic racism of voter suppression, which has been implemented in 23 of the nation’s poorest states since 2010, our political system is held captive by extremists who deny workers health care and a living wage, undermine the equal-protection clause of the constitution, attack public education, and encourage poor white people to blame people of color and immigrants for their problems. All the while, more and more of our collective resources are dedicated to a war without end.
-Rev. Dr. Barber
Develop leaders with a clear progressive moral vision for leadership in the 21st century. Crate modern prophetic crate and consciences. Develop local leaders/clergy who can withstand the sirens of opportunism and neoconservatism while remaining true to a principled approach to eliminating poverty and racism.
[Science of Mind]
Educate the public about the deep connections between shared religious faith traditions and public policy, deeply rooted in our Constituions and the moral values of justice, fairness and the general welfare.
[The Rev. Dr. William J. Barber, II is the president and senior lecturer of Repairers of the Breach. An author, preacher, and professor, he is the chief architect of the “Forward Together Moral Movement.”]
At the 2018 Golden Globes ceremony, the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced two grants of $1 million each to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) and the Committee To Protect Journalists.
The grants, which came less than eight weeks after the groundbreaking Paradise Papers investigation by ICIJ, will go toward supporting investigative journalism and providing better protection for journalists.
‘“There’s never been a more important time to safeguard the truth by supporting investigative journalism,” said ICIJ director Gerard Ryle. “We are extremely grateful to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association for its great expression of support for the ICIJ and for the important work being done by the Committee to Protect Journalists.
“Truth is under attack, both politically and economically, and the brutal reality of recent years is that journalists routinely risk their lives just for doing their jobs, even in countries once thought safe.
“One of the main aims of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists is to bring accountability on a global scale. We bring journalists together to safeguard the truth and to safeguard each other. Along the way, we bring a new kind of scrutiny to world events and complex problems – using data and document-supported facts that cannot easily be dismissed.
“By joining giant teams of journalists and news organizations from all over the world to work together on issues of global significance, we are able to achieve results and impact that no one outlet could achieve independently. “
This is the first time a donation announcement has been made during a live telecast of the event.’
What I know for sure is speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.
“Thank you all. Ok, Ok. Thank you, Reese. In 1964, I was a little girl sitting on the linoleum floor of my mother’s house in Milwaukee, watching Anne Bancroft present the Oscar for best actor at the 36th academy awards. She opened the envelope and said five words that literally made history: ‘The winner is Sidney Poitier.’ Up to the stage came the most elegant man I had ever seen. I remember his tie was white and of course his skin was black, and I had never seen a black man being celebrated like that and I tried many, many times to explain what a moment like that means to a little girl, a kid, watching from the cheap seats as my mom came through the door bone tired from cleaning other people’s houses. But all I can do is quote and say that the explanation is in Sidney’s perforce in Lilies of the Field: ‘Amen, amen.’
In 1982, Sidney received the Cecil B. DeMille Award right here at the Golden Globes and it is not lost on me that at this moment there is some little girl watching as I become the first black woman to be given the same award. It is an honor and it is a privilege to share the evening with all of them and also with the incredible men and women who inspired me, who challenged me, who sustained me and made my journey to this stage possible. Dennis Swanson who took a chance on me for ‘AM Chicago’, Quincy Jones who saw me on that show and said to Steven Spielberg, ‘Yes, she is Sophia in The Color Purple.’ Gayle who’s been the definition of what a friend is and Stedman who’s been my rock, just a few to name.
I’d like to thank the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, because we all know the press is under siege these days. But we also know that it is the insatiable dedication to uncovering the absolute truth that keeps us from turning a blind eye to corruption and injustice. To tyrants and victims and secrets and lies. I want to say that I value the press more than ever before as we try to navigate these complicated times.
Which brings me to this: What I know for sure is that speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have and I’m especially proud and inspired by all the women who have felt strong enough and empowered enough to speak up and share their personal stories. Each of us in this room are celebrated because of the stories that we tell, and this year, we became the story. But it’s not just a story affecting the entertainment industry, it’s one that transcends any culture, geography, race, religion, politics or workplace.
So I want tonight to express gratitude to all the women who have endured years of abuse and assault because they, like my mother, had children to feed, bills to pay and dreams to pursue. They’re the women whose names we’ll never know. They are domestic workers and farm workers. They are working in factories and they work in restaurants and they’re in academia and engineering and medicine and science. They’re part of the world of tech and politics and business. There are athletes in the Olympics and soldiers in the military.
And there’s someone else: Recy Taylor. A name I know and I think you should know too. In 1944, Recy Taylor was a young wife and a mother. She was just walking home from a church service she attended at Abbeville, Ala., when she was abducted by six armed white men, raped and left blind folded by the side of the road coming home from church. They threatened to kill her if she ever told anyone but her story was reported to the NAACP where a young worker by the name of Rosa Parks became the lead investigator on her case. They sought justice. But justice wasn’t an option in the era of Jim Crow. The men who tried to destroy her were never persecuted. Recy Taylor died 10 days ago, just shy of her 98th birthday. She lived, as we all have lived, too many years in a culture broken by the brutally powerful men.
For too long women have not been heard or believed if they dared to speak their truth to the power of those men. But their time is up. Their time is up! Their time is up. And I just hope that Recy Taylor died knowing that her truth, like the truth of so many other women who were tormented in those years and even now tormented those marching on. It was somewhere in Rosa Parks’s heart almost 11 years later that she decided to stay seated on that bus in Montgomery, and it’s here with every woman who chooses to say ‘me too’ and every man who chooses to listen.
In my career what I’ve always tried my best do to, whether on television or on film, is to say something about how men and women really behaved. To say how we experience shame, how we love and how we rage, how we fail, how we retreat, persevere, how we overcome. I’ve interviewed and portrayed people who withstood some of the ugliest things life can throw at you, but the one quality all of them seem to share is the ability to maintain hope or pride of mourning even during our darkest nights. So I want all the girls watching here and now to know that a new day is on the horizon!
And when that new day finally dawns it will be because of a lot of magnificent women, many of whom are right here in this room tonight and some pretty phenomenal men fighting hard to make sure that they become the leaders who take us to the time when nobody never has to say ‘me too’ again.
[Oprah Winfrey, Cecil B. DeMille Award Acceptance Speech, 2018, Golden Globes]
James cataloged one type of experience: the personal; the intimate. The subtitle, “A Study in Human Nature,” is perhaps a more accurate reflection of its contents. James’s subject was not theories of heaven nor different types of congregations; it was each congregant at 3 a.m., staring at the ceiling, alone. His sensitivity was to the reasons we feel compelled to believe — among them our “conscience,” “helplessness” and “incompleteness” — and how belief might reward those reasons.
In Praise of William James
by John Williams, NYTimes
A psychologist and philosopher (and oldest brother of the novelist Henry), James was not a follower of any church, and had little academic interest in institutional religion, but he was obsessively curious about the inner experiences of believers.
“Is there in life any purpose which the inevitable death which awaits me does not undo and destroy?” (Leo Tolstoy)
To James, the very broad category of religious experience was inextricably human, and to attempt to argue people out of it would have struck him as similar to trying to argue someone out of right-handedness. “Taking creeds and faith-states together, as forming ‘religions,’ ” he wrote, “and treating these as purely subjective phenomena, without regard to the question of their ‘truth,’ we are obliged, on account of their extraordinary influence upon action and endurance, to class them amongst the most important biological functions of mankind.”
We have three days.
AT&T has promised to ‘be good’ if the FCC overturns Net Neutrality rules. The problem is, we can’t trust AT&T. Or Verizon. Or Comcast.
If the five-member FCC commission votes on Thursday, Dec. 14th, to overturn Net Neutrality, consumers will eventually be asking, “What just happened?’ Slate Magazine gives us some clarity to the usually glossy-eyed Net Neutrality complexity.
What will an internet without Net Neutrality be like? We can look to other countries for the answer.
<The scary part is that it might happen piecemeal, with one free service here and one slower website there.>
“…studies suggest that providers can find many ways to extract fees from subscribers, steer their buying habits, and charge websites and online platforms to get priority access to internet users.
In many countries without net neutrality, mobile plans are the worst culprit. Take what happens in Guatemala, for example. “Many people will have two SIM cards there because on one SIM card they can access WhatsApp for free, and on another SIM card you access Facebook for free,” says Renata Avila, a senior adviser at the Web Foundation. If you buy a small amount of data that gets used up quickly, WhatsApp will still be accessible after the cap is reached, but not the rest of the internet. If you do try to access other websites or apps, you’ll be prompted to pay more. Similar mobile internet plans exist in Balkan countries, Avila said, but there you might buy a SIM card that favors Viper, a popular messaging service in that region.
This practice is also common throughout the European Union. The EU has net neutrality laws, but they don’t outright prohibit mobile plans that allow users to only access certain apps without cutting into their data plans. Rep. Ro Khanna, a Democrat from California, described the situation in Portugal in a tweet that went viral in October. The tweet showed a page from Meo, a mobile and home internet provider in Portugal that offers various packages made up of websites and apps that don’t cut into your monthly data plan.
Beyond not charging for access to particular websites or apps, there are also cases of internet providers straight-up blocking access to certain kinds of apps. In Morocco in 2016, multiple internet providers agreed to block voice over internet services, like Skype or WhatsApp, potentially in an effort to push users to subscribe to phone plans. Unhappy Moroccans heavily protested the ban, which was lifted months later.
In a particularly egregious case in Canada in 2005, the telecom company Telus blocked access to a union website that promoted a labor strike against the internet company. In 2012, AT&T announced it would block U.S. users’ access to FaceTime on iPhones unless they paid for a higher data plan, but it reversed course after consumer advocates sent complaints to the FCC.
The internet could become more homogenized in turn, as fewer people continue to contribute to niche communities.”
Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that the plan to roll back net neutrality is “worse than one could imagine.” She wrote an op-ed piece for the LATimes titled, “I’m on the FCC. Please stop us from killing net neutrality.”
Killing net neutrality, she adds, is “a lousy idea. And it deserves a heated response from the millions of Americans who work and create online every day.”
“Your broadband provider could carve internet access into fast and slow lanes, favoring the traffic of online platforms that have made special payments and consigning all others to a bumpy road. Your provider would have the power to choose which voices online to amplify and which to censor. The move could affect everything online, including the connections we make and the communities we create. This is not the internet experience we know today. Americans should prevent the plan from becoming the law of the land.”
3 Republicans (all men) are expected to vote along party lines against Net Neutrality — 2 Democrats (both women) are in favor of keeping Net Neutrality.
The chair, Ajit Pai, appointed to the commison by President Obama ini 2012 on the recommendation of Mitch McConnell, was appointed to chair this year by DT. He is leading the ‘end Net Nuetrality’ charge. Verizon is being targeted, a call-to-action explains, because Pai “is a former top lawyer for Verizon, and the company has been spending millions on lobbying and lawsuits to kill net neutrality so they can gouge us all for more money.”
Here’s what we can do:
CALL Ajit Pai, FCC Chairman
Hi, my name is [NAME] and I’m a concerned customer from [Hailey].
[IF FCC]: I’m calling to express my disapproval that the FCC is trying to kill net neutrality and the strong Title II oversight of Internet Service Providers. Preserving an open internet is crucial for fair and equal access to the resources and information available on it. Thank you for your time and attention.
[IF LEAVING A VOICEMAIL: please leave your full street address to ensure your call is tallied]
We only have 3 days to fight the FCC & the repeal of #NetNeutrality! Thanks to John Oliver there’s a SUPER easy way to do this. Here’s what you can do – takes less than a minute. 1. Go to gofccyourself.com (the shortcut John Oliver made to the hard-to-find FCC comment page) 2. Click on “express” 3. Hit “enter” after you put in your name & info so it registers. 4. In the comment section write, “I strongly support net neutrality backed by Title 2 oversight of ISPs.” 5. Click to submit, done. – Make sure you hit submit at the end! If you want to spread the word write “congratulations” in the comments so that FB’s silly algorithm puts it at the top of feeds.
‘In Peter Turchin’s research, two of the big factors that predict the fall of a civilization are rising debt and declining or stagnating living standards of the masses. The new Republican tax bill pushes us in the wrong direction on both counts.’
[Haidt is a social psychologist at NYU-Stern, and author of The Righteous Mind, reflections on how social & moral psychology can improve companies, universities,and societies.]
Peter Turchin: Entering the Age of Instability after Trump
Why social instability and political violence is predicted to peak in the 2020s
The presidential election which we have experienced, unfortunately, confirms this forecast. We seem to be well on track for the 2020s instability peak. And although the election is over, the deep structural forces that brought us the current political crisis have not gone away. If anything, the negative trends seem to be accelerating.
Until Congress passes legislation to make Net Neutrality permanent, we must join as a national collective to keep the town square of the 21st century democratic and assessable to all citizens. Remember, this fight effects all other fights, e.g. tax reform, health care, freedom of information.
FROM F R E E P R E S S
Sign Up to Join #TeamInternet
The Trump administration and FCC Chairman Ajit Pai have joined forces with the biggest broadband providers to try to roll back our online rights. They want to destroy Net Neutrality — and we need to stop them.
We’re launching a bold plan to combine people power with technology to build an unstoppable volunteer grassroots network of Net Neutrality activists.
Together we’ll push back against threats to internet freedom.
Team Internet will be made up of people like you. We’ll provide you with insider campaign updates, access to organizers, connections to like-minded volunteers and the training and support to take your activism to the next level. Will you join #TeamInternet?
We see a future where we have the media and technology our communities want and need to answer hard questions, build collective power, and organize and advocate for the issues that matter. Together we can ensure the internet is a tool for our collective liberation.
We can win this fight. We have the facts, the law and the internet on our side — now we just need the right people to help make this plan a success.
The open internet is under attack, and we want you on the team to help protect it. Sign up to join #TeamInternet!
To join “Team Internet”, follow the link: http://act.freepress.net/signup/team_internet/?source=fptwitter
Here’s an easy to follow graph/flow chart to better understand the effects of Net Neutrality.
I, along with many Americans, have been posting about this for months, writing letters, calling, and emailing. And still weakening/eliminating Net Neutrality is moving forward…rapidly…with the announcement from the FCC today. We must keep trying to preserve freedom and access of information on the Internet. An email address is provided at the end of this post for you to contact FCC Chair Ajit Pai.
What is net neutrality? Why does it matter?
Net neutrality is the principle that Internet providers like Comcast & Verizon should not control what we see and do online. In 2015, startups, Internet freedom groups, and 3.7 million commenters won strong net neutrality rules from the US Federal Communication Commission (FCC). The rules prohibit Internet providers from blocking, throttling, and paid prioritization—”fast lanes” for sites that pay, and slow lanes for everyone else.
We are Team Internet. We support net neutrality, freedom of speech.
Nearly everyone who understands and depends on the Internet supports net neutrality, whether they’re startup founders, activists, gamers, politicians, investors, comedians, YouTube stars, or typical Internet users who just want their Internet to work as advertised—regardless of their political party. But don’t take our word for it. Ask around, or watch some of these videos.
I voted against Ajit Pai (DT appointed FCC Chair) for this very reason. If the FCC adopts this proposal, it will imperil the engine of California’s economy and the platform for our entrepreneurship and creativity.
@AjitPaiFCC, I’ve led teams creating innovative new tech on the Internet. Everyone who’s done so knows that killing net neutrality is bad for society — not just because it harms tech innovation, but because it compromises our civil rights.
It may already be too late to save
#NetNeutrality, but we’ve got to try. Call your congressperson, using the script here: https://www.battleforthenet.com And tell them to push the FCC commissioners to vote to save Net Neutrality on December 14.
@anildash not only destroys @AjitPaiFCC in this #thread but rightly points out the most grave danger of dismantling #NetNeutrality is how it will limit both civil rights and free speech. #SaveNetNeutrality
I stand with millions of American consumers, innovators, and entrepreneurs against
@AjitPaiFCC’s plot to gut #NetNeutrality. RT if you’re ready to resist this appalling attack on our free and open internet.
Kinda surprised at the lack of awareness in the
#NetNeutrality situation. This is pretty much the last push before everything changes for the worse or remains the same. There’s no benefit for consumers if it changes so it behooves you to fight for your internet rights.
Netflix supports strong
#NetNeutrality. We oppose the FCC’s proposal to roll back these core protections.
It’s this simple. NO ONE wins by killing
#NetNeutrality except mega corporations. Democracy dies in the shadow of information control.
If you don’t fight for
#NetNeutrality now, here are the questions you will ask later… Why is my internet so slow? Why is my bill so high? Why can’t I view this page? If you lose your mind because the internet is down or slow for 10 minutes, imagine if it was permanent.
If we repeal
#NetNeutrality then this is what it’s going to look like. This isn’t a left/right issue. This is a freedom issue. The internet is the one of the last things we have that isn’t controlled by the Gov. Don’t let them censor us
Update: Time is running out. Chairman Pai has released a draft order of his plan, that if adopted, would undo net neutrality. Make a call to Congress now to save net neutrality.
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Pai plans to announce a vote on November 22 to allow major corporations – like Verizon and Comcast – the power to block mobile apps, slow websites, and even control which news outlets we can access. Hearing enough strong disapproval from Congress could persuade him to stall this disturbing plan.
Call your members of Congress today and tell them you oppose Chairman Pai’s plans to dismantle net neutrality.
Enter YOUR phone number (including area code). Make sure this phone is near you now. We’ll route your call to your members of Congress.
Science’s Next Frontier? It’s Civic Engagement
by Louise Lief
‘…scientists’ problems run deeper. According to a number of recent surveys, there has been a rapid decline in knowledge about and sympathy for scientists and the institutions where many of them work, particularly among Republican and Republican-leaning voters. Politicians from the same party who now govern in over 32 states, the White House, and Congress are aware of these sentiments.
These developments point to an urgent need for the scientific community to rethink the enterprise and reintroduce science to the public as a trusted, non-partisan civic actor, a collaborator that can help communities address their problems, and partners in a dialogue where each party brings its unique lived experiences to the table. Scientists need to create more portals to the public, and the citizen science community may be best situated to lead this transformation.
There is evidence that the public is hungry for such exchanges. When Research!America asked the public in 2016 how important is it for scientists to inform elected officials and the public about their research and its impact on society, 84 percent said it was very or somewhat important — a number that ironically mirrors the percentage of Americans who cannot name a scientist.
Recently, I have focused on civic engagement, studying how communities try to identify and address collective problems and apply collaborative problem solving. There is a central role for scientists in this effort.
To better introduce themselves to the public, it makes sense for scientists to work with civic institutions the public already trusts. Arizona State University’s efforts to partner with local public libraries is one such step that helps root citizen science programs in communities, creating a natural alliance of knowledge seekers, science, and public engagement, and establishing community feedback loops. (Full disclosure, Cavalier is the PI of this initiative, supported by the Institute for Museum and Library Services.)
Scientists need to be present at these tables, and practice those deep listening skills. At a minimum you will meet new people and gain new insights. But you may also make valuable new connections, find new collaborators, and most important of all, forge stronger bonds with your community. Don’t underestimate the power of the data you collect and create to impact community decision making.
News note: During the height of the Cold War, Esalen launched the Soviet-American Exchange Program, and a series of Soviet-American citizen diplomacy gatherings, organized by Michael and Dulce Murphy and others. At these meetings held at Esalen, Joseph Montville coined the phrase “track-two diplomacy”, which is now a well-recognized diplomatic method. This work led to the first spacebridges which enabled Soviet and American citizens to speak directly with one another via satellite communication, along with multiple other projects. The following article was written by Joseph Montville for Stratfor Enterprises, LLC and republished with their permission.
Former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev recently wrote an op-ed that, amid the many conflicts brewing around the globe today, recalls an era of diplomacy worth revisiting. In the Oct. 11 column, he expressed fear that the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty he signed with former U.S. President Ronald Reagan in December 1987 is at risk of collapse. Though 80 percent of the nuclear weapons that the United States and the Soviet Union accumulated during the Cold War have been decommissioned and destroyed, and both sides have complied with the deal’s strategic weapons clauses, the INF faces stiff opposition in each country today.
“Track two diplomacy is a process designed to assist official leaders to resolve or, in the first instance, to manage conflicts by exploring solutions out of public view and without requirements to formally negotiate or bargain for advantage. Track two diplomacy seeks political formulas or scenarios which might satisfy the basic security and esteem needs of the parties to a particular dispute. On its more general level, it seeks to promote an environment in a political community, through the education of public opinion, that would make it safer for political leaders to take risks for peace.”
Treading Where Diplomats Cannot
As today’s headlines make clear, the American public is becoming increasingly concerned that Trump’s policies on North Korea could precipitate a disastrous conventional war capable of destroying Seoul and its millions of citizens, along with tens of thousands of Americans living in South Korea. Many worry that Japan, too, may become a target of Pyongyang’s short-range nuclear missiles.
In an Oct. 22 interview, Carter showed some sympathy for Trump while reiterating his recent offer to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The former president has a history of intervening in tense conflicts. He went to North Korea in 1994 to head off a potential war, reportedly annoying then-President Bill Clinton. Later that year, he persuaded Haiti’s leaders (this time with Clinton’s approval) to peacefully leave the country in order to fend off a U.S. invasion. Of course, Carter has never felt bound by strict instructions from the White House if he believes they reduce the chances of a peaceful resolution to conflict. His chief focus is eliminating violence; that’s the way he is.
North Korea has already been the subject of many Track Two initiatives, even if the North Korean participants in those talks could never be considered unofficial. According to journalist M.J. Zuckerman’s major cover story “Track II Diplomacy: Averting Disaster,” published in 2005, the Carnegie Corporation of New York supported several “Track 1.5″ meetings that eventually yielded a deal to resume formal negotiations among the six-party nuclear group made up of North Korea, South Korea, China, Japan, Russia and the United States.
I now realize that properly done Track Two does not seek to ‘get in the way’ of Track One diplomacy, as those in office sometimes fear, but rather to complement it, often by going to places where Track One is unable to tread and by tackling subjects it cannot approach.”
In January 1898, the famous author Emile Zola wrote a stinging indictment of French leadership and its embrace of anti-Semitism for political ends. The scourge was, he wrote, a moral outrage, with powerful men embracing a deeply harmful, and potentially violent, ideology for short-term political gain.
Titled “J’accuse,” Zola’s public letter to the president of the republic – the immediate cause of which was to protest the military leadership’s anti-Semitic attacks on an officer named Dreyfus – still stands, more than a century later, as the gold standard for public intellectuals seeking to hold morally bankrupt political figures to account.
“What a cesspool of folly and foolishness, what preposterous fantasies, what corrupt police tactics, what inquisitorial, tyrannical practices!” Zola opined. “What petty whims of a few higher-ups trampling the nation under their boots, ramming back down their throats the people’s cries for truth and justice, with the travesty of state security as a pretext.”
I ACCUSE YOU, DONALD TRUMP, OF USING FEAR TO DIVIDE NEIGHBOR FROM NEIGHBOR. I ACCUSE YOU OF PLAYING RUSSIAN ROULETTE WITH AMERICA’S PRESENT STANDING AND ITS FUTURE POSITION IN THE WORLD. I ACCUSE YOU OF USING YOUR OCCUPANCY OF THE WHITE HOUSE NOT TO IN ANY CONCEIVABLE WAY IMPROVE THE GENERAL WELL BEING, BUT TO FURTHER YOUR NARCISSISTIC, VAIN, AND CRUEL FANTASIES.
During the election campaign, I attempted my own “j’accuse,” for the progressive web site Truthout, detailing the numerous ways in which candidate Trump was committing a form of moral treason – stoking up fears and hatreds that would be impossible to contain once unleashed. During that election season, Trump accused Mexican migrants of being drug peddlers and rapists, talked of banning all Muslims from entering the country, fueled rage against journalists and used crude racist and sexist rhetoric whenever the opportunity presented itself.
Since the election, Trump’s behavior has only gotten more appalling. We now have the grotesque, almost pornographic, spectacle of the most powerful man on earth using his platform to urge police forces to beat up suspects. Using his platform to denigrate immigrants as “animals” who like to torture young women. Using his platform to marshal the forces of the federal government against refugees.
Using his platform to personally attack private citizens. Using his platform to promote his nepotistic, almost Mafia-like web of family and business and political interests. Using his platform to attack programs that encourage racial and economic diversity in colleges.
Using his platform to hold Nuremberg-styled rallies using barely adolescent Boy Scouts as a background prop – a spectacle as creepy, and as redolent of insecurity, as that of a grown man boasting of his sexual exploits to gain street cred with a gaggle of awkward middle school kids.
Using his platform to urge states to make it ever harder for poor, especially nonwhite, Americans to access the ballot box. And most recently, allowing the North Korean leadership to draw him into a potentially apocalyptic, public game of nuclear bluff.
I could, of course, go on. But it is for unsavory lists like this that the convenient phrase “etc.” was invented.
Trump, in his full-fledged bullying, scaremongering, blustering cretinitude, is not just “un-presidential,” whatever that somewhat nebulous phrase means. He is actively and aggressively unhumane.
He scorns empathy and humility as weakness, curiosity about other cultures as effeteness, and actively embraces a might-is-right rhetoric (witness his snarling speeches in September 2016 and again a week after his inauguration in which he argued that America should have seized Iraqi oil, telling his audience “to the victors belong the spoils”) last employed in “the western world” that he claims to be saving from barbarian hordes by the expansionist Nazi regime from 1933-1945.
He has surrounded himself, domestically, by sycophants and propagandists who can serve as props to his fragile narcissism – witness the extraordinary spectacle of his first full cabinet meeting, much of which was taken up in outlandish expressions of praise for the president; and, internationally, by dictatorial buddies such as Erdogan, El-Sisi and Duterte, who are as far from embodying liberal, enlightenment values as are any modern-day leaders on earth.
Were Trump just a temporary distraction, one could perhaps choose to ignore him, or to minimize his importance by presenting him simply as a bizarre, reality-TV, outlier. A plastic president for a plastic age.
But there’s nothing temporary about Trump’s project. His vision, as laid out in his sickening “American carnage” inauguration speech, is to fundamentally reshape America as a nasty, brutish, ethno-nationalist citadel. I doubt that in the long run he will succeed in achieving this, not least because in addition to being a monstrous narcissist he is also chronically, dementedly, cartoonishly inept. Trump, the uncouth and uncultured businessman-president is, quite simply, a fiasco of a manager.
But what this Joker-like figure is far more likely to accomplish is the permanent wrecking of America’s unique status as the “indispensable nation” serving as glue for a liberal, pluralist, open international order. What he is far more likely to preside over is a permanent reduction in America’s global standing, as populations the world over look at his behavior and his actions and his values, look at the chaos he has unleashed, and the politics of fear that he has ridden to power in the United States, and turn their backs in contempt and shock.
And that is why I say, again, “j’accuse.” I accuse you, Donald Trump, of using fear to divide neighbor from neighbor. I accuse you of playing Russian roulette with America’s present standing and its future position in the world.
I accuse you of using your occupancy of the White House not to in any conceivable way improve the general well being, but to further your narcissistic, vain, and cruel fantasies. You are a morally puny man, Donald Trump, a bloated fellow who feels big only by making others feel small.
You puff up your chest and urge the police to beat up suspects, and urge the military to show no mercy on the enemy, and urge intelligence agents to torture those thought to be terrorists, not because any of this this will really make America safer but because in your twisted understanding of the world strength is shown only through violence.
And I say “j’accuse,” too, to the GOP leaders in Congress and in statehouses around the country who know exactly how toxic and unstable Trump is, yet continue to tolerate his banalities and his politics of fear in order to get their way on tax cuts, deregulation and judicial appointments.
Shame on the whole sorry lot of you. In tolerating a madman in office, you are permanently diminishing the country, you are scarifying its vital democratic edifice, you are coarsening the culture and playing havoc with the lives of millions of vulnerable people. The history books are never kind to men and women of such craven attitude. You are collaborators in Trump’s vile passion play.
SASHA ABRAMSKY’S 2013 BOOK,“THE AMERICAN WAY OF POVERTY,’ WAS LISTED BY THE NEW YORK TIMES AS ONE OF THE 100 NOTABLE BOOKS OF THE YEAR. HIS NEW BOOK,”JUMPING AT SHADOWS: THE TRIUMPH OF FEAR AND THE END OF THE AMERICAN DREAM,” WILL BE PUBLISHED BY NATION BOOKS IN SEPTEMBER. HE CAN BE REACHED AT SABRAMSKY@SBCGLOBAL.NET.
Set in the rural American South during World War II, Dee Rees’ Mudbound is an epic story of two families pitted against one another by a ruthless social hierarchy, yet bound together by the shared farmland of the Mississippi Delta. Mudbound follows the McAllan family, newly transplanted from the quiet civility of Memphis and unprepared for the harsh demands of farming. Despite the grandiose dreams of Henry, his wife Laura struggles to keep the faith in her husband’s losing venture. Meanwhile, Hap and Florence Jackson – sharecroppers who have worked the land for generations – struggle bravely to build a small dream of their own despite the rigidly enforced social barriers they face. The war upends both families’ plans as their returning loved ones, Jamie McAllan and Ronsel Jackson, forge a fast but uneasy friendship that challenges the brutal realities of the Jim Crow South in which they live.
I arise in the morning torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it.
Bodhisattvas live in compassionate service to humanity.
Bodhisattva is a Sanskrit word for those who are committed to the spiritual awakening; we postpone our personal enlightenment to aid others in reaching it first.
Living in compassion and service is is in ‘complete contrast to the excessive individualism of some cultures.
Bodhisattvas believe happiness comes from tending to those who are suffering, helping them overcome their despair.
What can we do when we hear the news of poverty, inequity, war, terror, injustices or environmental destruction? It is easy to slip into despair and go numb.
Bodhisattva philosophy and living invites us to turn toward instead of turning away from the pain.
To begin, we learn to quiet our mind and find the peace that resides in our collective hearts. Only when there is peace on the inside can we bring the benefit of this to the outside world. We are not separate, but are interconnected and interdependent with all beings.
Life is suffering. (Buddhism) And happiness often comes of being devoted to the well-being of others.
We need not be a Kuan Yin, a St. Francis of Assisi, a Mother Teresa or the Dalai Lama. Simply, being congruent with our outer actions in alignment, or balance, with our inner desires, we able to be a blessing to the people we are with, and situations we find ourselves living in.
[Science of Mind Magazine/November]
VETERAN’S DAY 2017
Action without a name, a ‘who attached to it, is meaningless.’
‘Eduard Kornfeld was born in 1929 near Bratislava, Slovakia. He was taken to Auschwitz and several other concentration camps. On April 29, 1945 he was freed by American troops from the Dachau camp in Germany, weighing only 60…’
[Shared by the Aspen Institute]
Ben Schreckinger had just experienced the dinner most journalists would die for — especially in light of recent events — and still he was seriously considering law school.
The intrepid young reporter had spent the summer of 2013 as a fellow of the GroundTruth Project, a program to provide young journalists with foreign experience. In Schreckinger’s case, that meant traveling north up the Burma Road through Myanmar to report on the country’s reopening. Yet even as Schreckineger and his fellows were sharing a meal with freedom fighter–turned–lawmaker and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, he remained undecided — until GroundTruth founders Charles Sennott and Kevin Grant found him in the hotel pool later that night.
The nonprofit GroundTruth Project is devoted to narrative storytelling around the world. Its new offshoot, Report for America, is designed to reignite local journalism in the U.S.
“We were talking over a beer and Charlie made me promise that I would give journalism two more years,” Shreckinger, the political correspondent for GQ magazine, tells OZY. “I said, a year — that I would do another year.” It took two before Schreckinger went to Politico, where he covered the Trump campaign and then wrote for the publication’s magazine — and he still took the Law School Admission Test. But in the end, “I owe it all to that promise I made to Charlie in that pool in Burma.”
Now Sennott and Grant, former editors of the news website GlobalPost, want future Schrekingers in places like Youngstown rather than Yangon. Starting in early 2018, Report for America, a spin-off of the GroundTruth Project, plans to grant about 1,000 early-career journalists fellowships over the next five years to work for depleted news organizations in undercovered regions of the U.S. Think Teach for America with a press pass.
THE AD-SUPPORTED, FOR-PROFIT MODEL FOR JOURNALISM IS ON ITS WAY OUT — 95 CENTS OF EVERY [AD] DOLLAR SPENT IS GOING TO GOOGLE OR FACEBOOK.
KEVIN GRANT, REPORT FOR AMERICA EXECUTIVE EDITOR
“Although the shrinking of newsrooms is primarily financially driven, even when local newsrooms do have the budget to hire, they have a tough time recruiting and retaining talent,” Grant says. “Our DNA is global — we’ve been pursuing the big stories around the world — but last year around election time we realized our own country was in crisis. Much as the way we would respond to a crisis in Egypt, we needed to respond to the one in the U.S.”
Hammered by the decline of print advertising, local and regional newspapers have been hemorrhaging jobs for years. A 2015 study by the American Society of News Editors reported that there were 32,900 journalists at nearly 1,400 daily newspapers — a 10.4 percent one-year decline, and down from a peak of 56,900 in 1990. (In the past two years, ASNE declined to release employment figures because of a lack of reliable data.) The remaining jobs, and new ones from digital outlets, are concentrated in coastal cities: The share of American reporting jobs that were in New York, Washington and Los Angeles went from 1 in 8 in 2004 to 1 in 5 in 2014, according to federal government figures. Even in New York, local journalism took a significant blow last week when popular websites DNAinfo, Gothamist and their offshoots were shut down by billionaire owner Joe Ricketts, in part because the journalists voted to join a union.
“The ad-supported, for-profit model for journalism is on its way out — 95 cents of every [ad] dollar spent is going to Google or Facebook,” Grant says. “We found this with GlobalPost before GroundTruth and have the personal experience, as well as the personal sting.” GroundTruth’s solution to keep emptying newsroom cubicles full? Foundation money.
GroundTruth started as a nonprofit division of GlobalPost in 2011. In 2015 — the year after its correspondent James Foley was beheaded by ISIS terrorists in Syria — GlobalPost was acquired by Boston public media producer WGBH. Public Radio International and other public journalism brands started picking up stories from GroundTruth, which is backed by the likes of the Ford Foundation, the MacArthur Foundation and the Henry Luce Foundation.
While GroundTruth publishes on international platforms, Report for America is locally driven. It will connect young, aspiring journalists with newsrooms that request the help. RFA will pay half of a fellow’s $40,000 salary package, with the newsroom and local donors picking up the rest. The fellow will work in the local newsroom for one year; the newsroom picks up more of the tab if it keeps the journalist longer.
ProPublica, the Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative news site, and other organizations have started similar partnerships. ProPublica’s Local Reporting Network funds salary and benefits for reporters at up to six partner news organizations in cities with populations of less than 1 million.
Substantial questions remain about whether this model is sustainable. More than half of Teach for America recruits leave their initial placements in low-income schools after two years, and only 14 percent remain in their original schools by their fifth year. RFA’s backers don’t proclaim that they will save journalism, just as Teach for America can’t save education and the Peace Corps hasn’t brought about global unity. But GroundTruth did save both Schreckinger and Qainat Khan from law school.
Khan, a native of Tanzania who bailed on Northeastern Law after a year, is now on the road with GroundTruth’s Crossing the Divide project, assisting five early-career journalists from five states to report stories related to a larger national theme. “Local journalism is like providing a public service, and for me, it’s about doing meaningful work — to encounter people I would have never had a reason to encounter,” Khan says. “I’m not an economist and I don’t deal with the business side. But it makes sense to share the risk and share the cost. Perhaps collaboration will save local newsrooms. Otherwise, who are you competing with? It’s like a race to the bottom.”
On Broadway, Springsteen Channels His Inner Springsteen
Springsteen has said that the show was inspired by an acoustic concert he performed in the East Room of the White House in late 2016, for around two hundred and fifty people, an earnest parting gift to the Obama family. The night was heavy on storytelling, which loosely mirrored the chronology of his memoir, itself a kind of ur-American story—a rise from nothing to very, very much. In the nineteen-seventies, at the birth of his career, Springsteen often performed with the E Street Band at small night clubs (such as the Bottom Line, then on West Fourth Street, or the Stone Pony, in Asbury Park, New Jersey), bolstering those concerts with gripping and colorful yarns that drew on memories of his childhood along the Jersey Shore—his parents, his home town, old loves.
Springsteen has described “Springsteen on Broadway” as “a solidified piece of work,” a show in the old-fashioned sense. It is performed on piano, guitar, and harmonica, and Springsteen—arguably one of the most energetic and effective bandleaders in all of rock and roll—is alone, save for a glass of ice water and a brief appearance by his wife and musical partner, Patti Scialfa…
Our reactions to political commentaries are often cerebral—we argue, we grasp for evidence, we espouse, we agree, we get angry. He’s trying, instead, to reach the parts of us that are not so close. Springsteen’s mission has always been to be a useful conduit—to reflect or articulate something back at us. But he is a model, too, and “Springsteen on Broadway” contains suggestions on how to age: admit your flaws and inconsistencies, your put-ons, your masks, your fears and humiliations. Make room for them. Find freedom in the revelation. Let it lead to more art.
Startling and revealing. Bee continues her investigative reporting, this time with a focus on the ease of US election hacking, brilliantly framed in satire and humor.
Last week, we learned that Georgia officials destroyed election data in the midst of a lawsuit alleging that they had ignored warnings that the state’s electoral system was vulnerable to hackers. In light of this new information, Samantha Bee dedicated a segment of Full Frontal to election hacking—and bumped up the production value in the process. Bee partied like it was 1999 by making the entire segment a not-very-timely Matrix parody, assuming a vaguely Neo-like role to learn more about potential foreign interference in U.S. elections.
Incredibly well reported and researched. And deeply moving.
First aired on 9.25.17
‘Now What Am I Known For?’ Trying to Find Oliver Sipple’s Legacy
by Latin Nasser
Our latest episode tells the story of Oliver Sipple, a Vietnam vet who went for a walk one day, and ended up saving then-President Gerald Ford from an assassin’s bullet. A day later, renowned gossip columnist Herb Caen – in conjunction with the activist Harvey Milk – outed Sipple as gay. Sipple hadn’t told his family. The revelation made national news and he eventually sued several newspapers for invading his privacy.
Trying to capture something so evanescent as a reaction to a headline forty years after the fact is no small challenge, but we started calling up some organizations we thought might be able to help. Turns out, we didn’t have much luck. But in all those calls, we did talk to two people who shared what Sipple and his story meant to them. And – although we had to cut them from our story for time – we still wanted to share snippets from those conversation.
More on reporting privacy with a focus on the digital age and the ease of exposing privacy with massive and often debilitating effects.
What is ‘doxing’?
Or that man who was wrongly identified as the Boston Marathon bomber?
These were all examples of how making someone’s personal, and sometimes private, information public on the internet led to intense harassment.
Today, each of the cases could easily be termed a form of doxxing—shorset for “dropping documents.” In the last few years, doxxing has increasingly been used as an online weapon to attack people. People’s “documents”—records of their addresses, relatives, finances—get posted online with the implicit or explicit invitation for others to shame or hector them.
But while doxxing may seem both creepy and dangerous, there is no single federal law against the practice. Such behavior has to be part of a wider campaign of harassment or stalking for it to be against the law.
This week I wrote about “doxxing” among the more extreme elements of the country’s political left and right, a world of zealotry and paranoia and anger and worry. Over the course of my reporting, the subject of my article got doxxed herself.
It was all fascinating and disturbing, and I think leaves people, myself included, with a lot to think about concerning doxxing—its effectiveness and appropriateness both. Reporters, after all, have been doing a form of doxxing for decades.
But to hope of thinking clearly about doxxing, it always helps to better understand it and its practitioners.
So, how do doxxers dox? They use public records, like property records, tax documents, voter registration databases; they scour social media, real estate websites, and even do real-life surveillance to gather information. Then, they publish the information online.
For some, doxxing is morally troubling. Law professor Danielle Citron is one. “It provides a permission structure to go outside the law and punish each other,” she says. “It’s like shaming in cyber-mobs.”
Then, there is the matter of doxxing the wrong person.
Here’s an example: After the infamous “Unite the Right” protest in Charlottesville, an attendee wearing an “Arkansas engineering” shirt was identified as Kyle Quinn, a professor at the University of Arkansas. Except Kyle Quinn wasn’t in Charlottesville. That didn’t stop the internet, and so when “Kyle Quinn” was doxxed as one of those torch-bearing protesters in Charlottesville, Quinn spent a weekend in hiding due to the amount of online abuse he subsequently received. The real protester, a former engineering student named Andrew M. Dodson, later apologized.
In some cases, people doxxed after taking part in white supremacist marches have been arrested, lost their jobs, or allegedly been disowned by their families.
Other experts question whether doxxing white supremacists is a useful tactic. “Is this an effective means of challenging racist views?” ask Ajay Sandhu and Daniel Marciniak, researchers at the University of Essex in the United Kingdom. They argue that doxxing simply isolates people, forcing them into smaller parts of the internet. “You don’t really challenge them, you allow them to exist in those isolated spaces,” Sandhu says.
How do you protect yourself from doxxing? The short answer is: You probably can’t fully. But we have a few tips that will help make the information you want kept private more secure.