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ID: 153979
Uid: 4699
Author: 4
Category: 0
Title: The Preacher Whose Statue Was Booted for Reagan
Source: The Daily Beast
Body: <p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Although many patriots die on battlefields, the Reverend Thomas Starr King may be the rare patriot who died on the speaker’s circuit.</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">President Abraham Lincoln considered King the man most responsible for keeping&nbsp;<a href="https://books.google.co.il/books?id=q8JdcXNyz00C&amp;pg=PA468&amp;lpg=PA468&amp;dq=%2522peace+what+it+would+cost+us%2522+king&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=7fOeLnrWOV&amp;sig=DW4CYYbcwHalC8R6ZOroJ_PK6QI&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiQ8t72mIDWAhVFOBQKHT78BwoQ6AEIPDAG#v=onepage&amp;q=Thomas%2520starr%2520king&amp;f=false" style="transition: color 0.15s ease; background-color: transparent;">California in the Union.</a>&nbsp;King also helped keep California free and united defying pro-slavery Southern Californians threatening to bolt. Giving the small, sickly King an audience and a cause roused him. “<a href="https://books.google.co.il/books?id=2-smDwAAQBAJ&amp;pg=PA50&amp;lpg=PA50&amp;dq=thomas+starr+king+Though+I+weigh+only+120+pounds&amp;source=bl&amp;ots=5vyhaEq8Cl&amp;sig=v4UIHCMejrQwpQD64UzAlDuEltg&amp;hl=en&amp;sa=X&amp;ved=0ahUKEwiswrik2oLWAhUH2RoKHaoZAs8Q6AEIPjAF#v=onepage&amp;q=thomas%2520starr%2520king%2520Though%2520I%2520weigh%2520only%2520120%2520pounds&amp;f=false" style="transition: color 0.15s ease; background-color: transparent;">Though I weigh only 120 pounds</a>,” he acknowledged, “when I’m mad, I weigh a ton.”</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);">Amid America’s ugly brawl over slavery, King never let his patriotism turn harsh, defensive, pinched, or xenophobic. His patriotism was lyrical, expansive, idealistic, charitable and redemptive. Just 10 years ago, Ronald Reagan’s statue replaced King’s in the Capitol’s National Statuary Hall. In this age of Monumental musical chairs, let’s move the marbleized figure of this big-hearted patriot into Donald Trump’s Oval Office—immediately...</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, &quot;Times New Roman&quot;, Times, serif; background-color: rgb(255, 255, 255);"><a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-preacher-whose-statue-was-booted-for-reagan">Read whole article on the Daily Beast.&nbsp;</a></p>
ID: 153980
Uid: 31615
Author: 19
Category: 0
Title: Payng for Big Storms
Source:
Body: <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size: 12.0pt">Paying for Big Storms</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Hurricane Katrina cost our country, our people, over $100 billion. Hurricane Sandy cost $75 billion. Hurricane Harvey will also be in that range, and may become the </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/01/upshot/cost-of-hurricane-harvey-only-one-storm-comes-close.html?_r=0"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">most expensive storm</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt"> in American history. Each one of those storms cost the US more than any storm before. </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Between 1980 and 2012 there were 5 storms a year that did </span><a href="https://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/billions/overview"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">$1 billion in damage</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> in the US. From 2013 to 2016, the average was a bit more than 10. Through 8 months </span><a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/the-us-has-already-been-hit-with-9-other-billion-dollar-natural-disasters-in-2017-so-far-2017-8"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">this year</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, there have already been 10. Ten of the 11 costliest Atlantic hurricanes have occurred </span><a href="https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_costliest_Atlantic_hurricanes"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">since 2004</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">. Smaller storms are also becoming </span><a href="http://nca2014.globalchange.gov/highlights/report-findings/extreme-weather#intro-section-2"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">much more frequent</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt">. Compared to the average for 1900-1960, there were 20% more “heavy precipitation events” in the 1980s, 35% more in the 1990s, and 40% more in the 2000s.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Lives, livelihoods, possessions and homes have been lost. One million housing units were damaged or destroyed by </span><a href="http://www.datacenterresearch.org/data-resources/katrina/facts-for-impact/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Katrina</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, 650,000 by </span><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/10/29/hurricane-sandy-impact-infographic_n_4171243.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Sandy</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, and at least 100,000 by </span><a href="https://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/hurricane-harvey/harvey-threatens-tip-houston-s-working-poor-destitution-n798321"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Harvey</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">. Harvey destroyed about a </span><a href="https://www.cnbc.com/2017/08/29/a-half-million-flooded-cars-and-trucks-could-be-scrapped.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">half a million cars</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt">. Most of these losses are not covered by insurance. Standard homeowners policies </span><a href="http://money.cnn.com/2017/09/01/news/hurricane-harvey-cost-damage-homes-flood/index.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">do not cover damage</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt"> from rain or flood waters.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">You don’t have to be listening very carefully or paying much attention to know that something is changing. Climate scientists have been saying for years that warming will probably mean </span><a href="http://www.climatecentral.org/news/bill-downpours-texas-future-19116"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">more and bigger storms</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">. The “probably” is important: they are not as sure as about the fact of warming itself, but the evidence points strongly in that direction. In the case of </span><a href="https://www.vox.com/energy-and-environment/2017/8/28/16213268/harvey-climate-change"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Harvey</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, warming has raised sea levels (meaning higher storm surges) and raised air temperature (meaning more water in the air and more rain).</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Harvey washed away whole neighborhoods. It is also pushing aside the curtain on the politics of storms. As the costs of big storms have risen sharply, Republicans have been trying to cut federal funds for disaster relief. After Katrina and Sandy, Republicans in Congress were </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/cost-of-cleaning-up-harvey-will-bring-new-test-of-governance-for-trump-and-gop/2017/08/27/9ce55456-8b95-11e7-84c0-02cc069f2c37_story.html?utm_term=.8374488a2932"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">reluctant to send aid</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> to New Orleans and New York. In both cases, they insisted that any new funds for relief be offset by cuts in programs they don’t like, such as Amtrak funding and Medicare. Texas Senators and Representatives opposed legislation to provide relief after Hurricane Sandy, as did current White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, then a Representative from South Carolina, and Paul Ryan, delaying relief funding for months.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Republican leaders in the House have now proposed a budget that </span><a href="https://www.bostonglobe.com/news/nation/2017/08/30/house-republicans-spending-bill-includes-fema-cuts-fund-trump-border-wall/VSf07WfdiwyhOFOoOKZ7pL/story.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">cuts FEMA disaster funds</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> by $876 million. This amount is instead intended to begin building Trump’s wall. Trump’s own budget blueprint calls for cuts of $667 million, mostly from the </span><a href="http://www.newsweek.com/harvey-trump-fema-budget-disaster-preparedness-hurricane-657237"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, which spends money now to reduce future expenditures. His budget eliminates the National Flood Insurance Program, which provides affordable flood insurance that private insurers won’t offer.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Trump’s proposed budget makes big cuts to research about the climate changes which are connected to these increasingly big and expensive storms. Budget director Mulvaney said, “We’re not spending money on that any more. We consider that to be a </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/post-politics/wp/2017/03/16/mulvaney-defends-proposed-cuts-to-climate-research-poverty-programs-deeming-them-wasteful-or-ineffective/?utm_term=.28d9577e41f7"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">waste of your money</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt">.”</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">In their broad attack on all kinds of “regulations”, the Trump administration just eliminated an Obama-era regulation that required federally funded housing rebuilt after disasters to be able to </span><a href="http://jalopnik.com/trump-rolled-back-flood-protection-regulations-for-infr-1798515551"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">withstand these critical flood events</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">. For an additional 1% in building costs, many times that would be saved in the future.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">At the state level, Republican ideology also makes disaster recovery more difficult for the most vulnerable Americans. A new law passed by Texas Republicans makes it easier for insurance companies to </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/posteverything/wp/2017/08/31/poor-texans-are-going-to-suffer-the-most-in-harvey-thanks-to-state-politics/?utm_term=.8ee179e3aa3e"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">avoid paying off</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt"> on their policies and harder for homeowners to get paid.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Those are the facts. Not fake: everything above can be found in hundreds of places. Not really news: mostly old stories or back page reports.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Only an ideologically immovable force like the current Republican Party could ignore the mounting crises caused by our changing weather systems. In their rigid insistence that big government is America’s biggest problem, Republicans consistently ignore the human costs of the crises, where only big government can provide solutions. In their refusal to acknowledge the basic facts of climate change, Republicans in Congress and the White House put Americans at risk of losing everything.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Right now, Republicans like Senator Ted Cruz, who didn’t want to pay for the damage done by Sandy, are rushing to promise money for Texans. Let’s see whether they also acknowledge that increasing weather crises are the greatest danger to American life.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Steve Hochstadt</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Springbrook WI</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Published in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, September 5, 2017</span></p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> 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ID: 153981
Uid: 341
Author: 40
Category: 0
Title: Baseball, the Brooklyn Dodgers and Me
Source:
Body: <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Branch-Rickey-biography-Murray-Polner/dp/0451123867/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1504726912&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=Murray+Polner.+Branch+Rickey.+A+Biography"><img src=" /sites/default/files/153981-book.png"></a></p><p><i>Murray Polner is an HNN blogger and the author of "Rabbi: The American Experience," "Branch Rickey: A Biography" and co-author of "Disarmed &amp; Dangerous," a dual bio of the Berrigan brothers.</i></p><p>"Surely God must have been with me when I picked Jackie," Branch Rickey said after he looked back at his unprecedented signing of Jackie Robinson to a baseball contract in 1947.</p> <p>When Robinson died in 1972 of diabetes and hypertension, some white sports columnists wrote that his coming was no big thing and would have happened sooner or later.&nbsp; 0thers, more cynical, described Rickey's motive as greed.&nbsp; But the fact is that before Rickey no one had done it or even seriously proposed doing it.&nbsp; That's his legacy. </p> <p>And I guess it's mine too since when I received a publisher's contract to write a <a href="https://www.amazon.com/Branch-Rickey-biography-Murray-Polner/dp/0451123867/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&amp;ie=UTF8&amp;qid=1504726912&amp;sr=1-1&amp;keywords=Murray+Polner.+Branch+Rickey.+A+Biography">biography of Rickey</a> I knew I had to find out why&nbsp; so believing and trusting a Christian conservative and Republican supporter of Cold War policies would dare to change the game he revered forever. Very quickly I understood the central role his religious faith played. And for most of his post-Jackie life he peppered his speeches with references to the absence of fairness and justice for Black people and other minorities.</p> <p>"Why is there an epidemic of racism in the world today"? he began a talk on one steamy summer day in the late fifties in Buffalo to stomping, cheering NAACP delegates. &nbsp;When visited by Rutgers University philosophy professor Houston Peterson in his suburban Pittsburgh home, he called out "Let's go to church."&nbsp; They then drove to a black church and when the 76 year old Rickey entered, cane in hand, congregants stood and shouted "God Bless you, Mr. Rickey," while Peterson told me the minister shouted 'Amen.'" </p> <p>I was born in Brooklyn, NY. When I entered my early teenage years little mattered but baseball, the Brooklyn Dodgers, and Ebbets Field, which opened in 1913 and drew scores of unique and unusual fans like Hilda Chester ringing her cowbell (immortalized in SABR by Rob Edelman's first-rate portrait of her), a harebrained and annoying fan constantly yelling "Cooookie," for third baseman Lavagetto, and the atonal, amateurish Dodger Sym-phony, which paraded around the lower stands between innings. A few priests occasionally blessed the team, even though their prayers went unheeded for years and the Catholic Church pressured baseball in 1947 to ban Durocher for a year for his supposed immoral behavior.</p> <p>Actually, we lived a myth, namely that Brooklyn was an ethnic paradise of mutually tolerant Irish, Jews, Italians, Scandinavians, Blacks. In reality, we lived separate lives but still it was a community of Dodger-obsessed fans who happily accepted Robinson's arrival if not their sons' infatuation with baseball. In Peter Levine's "Ellis Island to Ebbets Field,” he quotes Abraham Cahan, a Jewish immigrant from Russia and editor of the Yiddish language Jewish Daily Forward newspaper answering a question from a father complaining about his son playing ball. 'I want my boy to grow up to be a mensch, not a wild American runner," the father wrote. To which Cahan, an assimilationist and dedicated American patriot, replied: &nbsp;"Let us not raise the children that they should grow up foreigners in their own place."</p> <p>Until then, Ebbets Field was my cathedral and passion for the Dodgers my faith. One thing about Rickey was that he understood the extraordinary hold the team had on its fans. When he was forced out by Walter O'Malley --he who kidnapped the team and fled to LA (0ld joke: An armed Brooklyn man enters a bar and sees Hitler, Stalin and 0'Malley: Who does he shoot?) -- he wrote about his years in Brooklyn.</p> <p>"They were wonderful years. A community of over three million people, proud, hurt, jealous, seeking geographical, social, emotional status as a city apart and alone and sufficient. 0ne could not live for eight years in Brooklyn and not catch its spirit of devotion to its baseball club, such as no other city equaled. Call it loyalty and it was." </p> <p>He was referring to a tradition where speed and technology could never quite supplant his ingrained nineteenth century deep-seated belief that baseball, and the profound city-loyalties it fostered, symbolized continuity in a world fractured by irreparable disruption and unforgivable high crimes. How, he once asked in a speech, can anyone explain the murders of one and a half million Jewish children by the Nazis and their allies?</p> <p>In 1936 I saw my first Brooklyn Dodger game with my Hebrew school class, shepherded by our rabbi's brother, sadly a Yankee fan. Bucky Walters, a Philly third baseman converted into a pitcher with a windmill motion faced my favorite, Fred Frankhouse, the idol of Port Royal, PA. After the game I broke loose from my classmates and planted myself near the door to the Dodger clubhouse and cornered Frankhouse for his autograph. He signed my scorecard and told me I was a nice boy. In 1989 when I read he had died I sent his family a sympathy card and audaciously signed it, "a loyal Brooklyn and Frankhouse fan since 1936." </p> <p>By the next year or so, with money I had earned as a delivery boy for a delicatessen and a Garment Center company, and regularly fortified with a sandwich and banana provided by my mother who had somehow begun to understand what baseball meant to me, I took the subway to Ebbets Field and sat alone in the bleachers. &nbsp;</p> <p>I've never forgotten certain special players now ancient history like Gene Hermanski, the first Dodger to welcome Robinson and whose photo appears with Rickey on the cover of my hardcover book and who tried unsuccessfully &nbsp;to get all the players to wear Robinson's number 42 because of threats against his life; slugger and Hall of Famer Joe Medwick who came from the Cardinals in a trade pushed by cheapskate Cardinal owner Sam Breadon and executed by cheapskate Cardinal GM Branch Rickey and was promptly accidentally beamed by Cardinal pitcher Bob Bowman; third baseman Joe Stripp, dubbed without imagination by a sportswriter "Jersey Joe" because he came from New Jersey and whose major contribution was being traded for four players for Durocher; catcher Babe Phelps who was afraid to fly and preferred trains and buses; Luis 0lmo, the team's first Puerto Rican position player; Ralph Branca, who surrendered the infamous homerun to the Giant's Bobby Thomson in 1951 (the Giants stole the Dodger catcher's signal by telescope, as the Wall Street Journal reported a half century later), and was an early supporter of Jackie Robinson; Canadian outfielder Goody Rosen and Brooklyn-born pitcher Harry Eisenstat, my favorite Jewish players (there weren't many but Branca later revealed he had a Jewish mother) and Chris Hartje, an obscure backup catcher in 1939, who hit a double before leaving baseball forever, drafted into the Army preparing for WWII. </p> <p>To keep up on all their doings I was a voracious reader of two gossip, scandal-drenched and loud-mouthed tabloids, the NY Daily News owned by the New Deal &amp; FDR- hating Joseph Medill Patterson, and the other Hearst's Daily Mirror, sketchy and shallow, which- featured Walter Winchell, who I admired until he became Joe McCarthy's ugly echo. Both papers though were blessed with opinionated columnists, as did the Brooklyn Eagle, which to its everlasting credit hired Walt Whitman for a two-year stint as its editor in 1846.</p> <p>When the Dodgers won the pennant for the first time in 20 years in 1941, the Eagle spread a 12 pt."WE WIN" across Page 0ne and Peewee Rosen and I played hooky to cheer on the players as they were driven by in open cars in downtown Brooklyn.</p> <p>&nbsp;And then there was the Daily Worker, perpetually blind to Stalin's monstrous crimes while falsely claiming that its Party and sports writers had played an important role in persuading Rickey to sign Robinson. That Rickey, an inveterate anti-Communist and Cold Warrior paid any attention to Communists is not believable and there is no evidence that he ever listened to them. Then, too, he would never have accepted what a non-Communist writer, the late leftist Jules Tygiel, erroneously wrote, namely that the Party and especially the Daily Worker "had played a major role in elevating the issue of baseball's racial policies to the level of public consciousness," a deeply flawed conclusion with little or no supporting confirmation.</p> <p>In my opinion, the best article on the subject &nbsp;disputing Tygiel's inaccurate judgment remains Henry D. Fetter's definitive study, "The Party Line and the Color Line: The American Communist Party and the Daily Worker and Jackie Robinson," which puts the alleged contribution of the Communists to rest. In truth, as I also found long before, was that Rickey's faith-driven dream and Robinson's great courage led the way to the historic end of racial segregation in baseball.</p><p>My baseball. A bucolic game, endless and timeless. Slow, unchangeable and reactionary even as it struggles nowadays to absorb the challenge of analytics and sabermetrics. I know: It's excessively commercial, subservient to corporate control, silent about pointless American wars and gravely harmed by an inexcusable imbalance between the haves and have-nots. I know, I know. But it's still baseball, my baseball. And now, it's my Mets too.</p><b></b>
ID: 153982
Uid: 341
Author: 40
Category: 0
Title: The Vietnam War: An American Crime
Source:
Body: <i>Here I reprint my 2008 article in anticipation of Ken Burns's forthcoming multi-series TV documentary about the Vietnam War. I hope he and his collaborator will not whitewash the American role. </i><p><i>“Our government has no right to send American boys to their death in any battlefield in the absence of a declaration of war…and no war has been declared in Southeast Asia, and until a war is declared, it is unconstitutional to send American boy to their death in South Vietnam or anywhere else in Southeast Asia. I don’t know why we think, just because we’re mighty, that we have the right to substitute might for right. And that’s the American policy in Southeast Asia.”</i></p> <p>--Senator Wayne Morse, who with Senator Ernest Gruening, were the only two senators who voted against the Gulf of Tonkin</p><p>&nbsp;resolution, which gave the U.S. and President Lyndon B. Johnson a free hand to wage war.</p> <p>More than a half a million U.S. troops were sent to serve in what was in reality a civil war. B-52s dropped as many or more bombs on rural North Vietnam than they did on Nazi Germany.&nbsp; 58,209 American servicemen and women were killed, a disproportionate number of them conscripts, and 153,303 were wounded, many forever damaged in body and mind.&nbsp; Millions of Southeast Asians died or suffered grievous wounds. </p> <p>The U.S. was defeated by a largely guerilla force. </p> <p>Historian Robert Schulzinger’s shrewd judgment in his book <i>A Time for War: The United States and Vietnam, 1941-1975 </i>cannot be easily dismissed:“Had all American leaders not thought that all international events were connected to the Cold War, there would have been no American war in Vietnam” And no Vietnam Memorial.</p> <p>The U.S. supported post-WWII France as it sought to retain its Southeast Asian colonies. That is, until 1954, when the French occupiers, having been badly defeated by the Germans and everyone else since the Napoleonic wars, were just as badly beaten by the North Vietnamese at Dien Bien Phu. They quickly abandoned their colony, leaving in their wake the U.S. as its imperial successor. A conference at Geneva divided North and South Vietnam at the 17th parallel and a pledge by the conferees to hold elections. The southern ruling circles, many of whose leaders had served in the French army, and Eisenhower’s pugnacious Secretary of State, John Foster Dulles, balked at any election, leaving their erstwhile allies in the south to shape a viable government, which they never could. </p> <p>Still, in May 1961, Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson, as most American politicians who traveled to Saigon would do—that is, until the final American defeat in 1975-- chatted with US Generals living in air-conditioned comfort, and then pontificate to the press and the nation that victory was just around the corner. Most Americans and the mass media agreed with him. For them, ignorant and indifferent, the war was justified. LBJ also came away praising Ngo Dinh Diem, the American puppet, as the “Winston Churchill of Asia” though this ersatz version of Churchill would be assassinated in 1963 in a CIA-supported coup. By the time President John F. Kennedy was killed in November 1963, he had dispatched 16,000 U.S. military “advisors” to Vietnam and a few more to Laos. After 1965 more and more American troops poured in while, with very few exceptions virtually all VIPs, congressmen and the Capital’s pro-war hawks saw to it that their draft-eligible sons avoided active military duty. During Dick Cheney’s 1989 confirmation hearings as Secretary of Defense he was asked why he had requested five draft deferments, which kept him safely at home. “I had other priorities in the ‘60s than military service,” he answered.&nbsp; “I don’t regret the decision I made…Was it [the war] a noble cause? Yes, indeed, I think it was.” </p> <p>In the Congress, political courage was rare. The post-World War II rise of anti-colonialism was drowned out by the obsessive and paranoid anti-Communism of every U.S. President and nearly every politician. Kennedy’s gift to his successors in the White House was Vietnam, where as early as 1963, the North had virtually won the war.</p> <p>One year later the House of Representatives voted unanimously to approve the Tonkin Resolution, which allegedly resulted from two North Korean torpedo boat attacks against two U.S. destroyers near the North Vietnamese coast.&nbsp; Before too long this dubious incident—much like the sinking of the Maine in 1898 and the post- 9/11 fabrication about Saddam Hussein’s Iraq having weapons of mass destruction -was used by Johnson Administration hawks to urge on a somewhat reluctant President what they avidly desired: a land war on the Asian mainland, against which many military experts had long warned.&nbsp; It was also used to persuade—and frighten-- the American people that distant, insignificant, and rural North Vietnam posed a major threat to their country and the western world. </p> <p>Even so, two Senatorial dissenters emerged: Wayne Morse of Oregon and Alaska’s brave and principled Ernest Gruening, who would always vote against spending for a war he detested. And in the White House circle, senior advisor and Under Secretary of State George Ball stood alone as he warned against going to war, accurately predicting that a disaster lay ahead, only to be overwhelmed by Johnson’s inner circle and the capital’s foreign policy “elite” panting for war.</p> <p>Cheered on by most Americans and the media who had been schooled to believe that the Soviets were out to conquer all and only the U.S. stood in their way, the Domino Theory was dreamed up by American theorists (that all of Southeast Asia and more would fall if Hanoi wasn’t stopped; of course, no dominoes ever fell) and &nbsp;became the unquestioned mantra until 1967-68, when at last a growing and articulate antiwar movement began taking shape, especially after Johnson’s pro-war Republican presidential successor, Richard Nixon, and his principle advisor Henry Kissinger arrived. </p> <p>By 1968, popular opposition to the war at home was widespread and it seemed as if the nation was undergoing a nervous breakdown, especially after the murders of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert Kennedy and later, in 1970, the killing of Kent State and Jackson State students.&nbsp; When the Vietnam Memorial was dedicated and became a sacred shrine to the dead, no one in political authority who had helped dream up this colossal bloodletting were ever held legally accountable, thereby insuring that few if any lessons would be learned in the decades ahead as we charged into Iraq and the Greater Middle East. </p> <p>“Now I hate every Memorial Day, no matter which president presides over it,” wrote Philip D. Beidler, a Vietnam combat vet and lieutenant of armored cavalry and now a professor of English at the University of Alabama, in his unflinching book <i>American Wars, American Peace:</i> “I’m fed up with hearing speeches from people who don’t know any better, profaning the memory of people who most always, at least as I remember it in the decades since I came home, died scared and alone holding their wounds, or with piss and shit running down their legs, or with chunks of them blown off—or even drowned in an overturned tank.”</p> <p>Vietnam was, to paraphrase General Omar Bradley when he famously criticized America’s decision to go to war in Korea in 1950, “the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time.” It was yet another defeat after Korea, which however, granted more Americans in the years ahead the courage and independence of mind to publicly question whether there are limits to American military power. Should such an admirable skepticism ever take hold our children and grandchildren will never again be mere cannon fodder, playthings for home front warriors. </p> <p>-</p>
ID: 153983
Uid: 4699
Author: 4
Category: 0
Title: The One-Armed Orphan Who Brought Human Rights To The World
Source: The Daily Beast
Body: <p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">The human wrongs many experienced during the twentieth century—individually and collectively—spawned today’s human rights movement.</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">Even the Thomas Jefferson of human rights, John Peters Humphrey, was a one-armed orphan bullied in private school. After working in the United Nations for twenty years, he concluded that this hope of humanity had become an “organization of shame.” His greatest achievement, drafting the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, was ignored for decades as the movement’s George Washington—Rene Cassin—won the Noble Prize and its Paul Revere—Eleanor Roosevelt—became America’s liberal saint.&nbsp;</p><div class="teads-inread" style="overflow: hidden; height: 0px; transition: height 0.5s; box-sizing: content-box; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;"><div style="margin-bottom: 0px !important; position: relative;"><div class="teads-ui-components-label" style="color: rgb(170, 170, 170); margin-bottom: 0px !important; font-family: Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif !important; font-size: 11.5px !important; text-align: center !important; text-transform: uppercase !important; height: 21px !important; line-height: 21px !important; letter-spacing: 0.3px !important;"></div><div class="teads-player" id="teads0" style="margin-bottom: 0px !important;"></div></div></div><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">The origins of John Peters Humphrey’s commitment to human rights are so cinematic, even Hollywood would fear constructing such obvious psychological motives. Born in New Brunswick, Canada in 1905, Humphrey had the kind of childhood that could have produced a criminal—or a do-gooder. His father died before he turned one.&nbsp;Doctors amputated his left arm, after his clothing caught fire, when he was six. Then, his mother died, when he was eleven...</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;"><a href="http://www.thedailybeast.com/the-one-armed-orphan-who-brought-human-rights-to-the-world">Read whole article on The Daily Beast</a></p>
ID: 153984
Uid: 341
Author: 40
Category: 0
Title: Loose Talk of Nuclear War
Source:
Body: <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="/sites/default/files/153984-nuke-cloud-large.png" alt="153984-nuke-cloud-large.png"></p><p><i>Murray Polner is the author of </i><a href="https://www.amazon.com/No-victory-parades-Vietnam-veteran/dp/0030860113"><i>No Victory Parades: The Return of the Vietnam Veteran</i></a><i>,</i><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Branch-Rickey-Biography-Murray-Polner/dp/0786426438/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8"><i> Branch Rickey: A Biography,</i></a><i>&nbsp;and co-editor of&nbsp;</i><a href="https://www.amazon.com/We-Who-Dared-Say-War/dp/1568583850"><i>We Who Dared Say No To War</i></a><i>.</i></p><p>"So that you and your children will live." &nbsp;–&nbsp; Nuclear Freeze movement poster 1980s</p> <p>In October 1962 a friend and I stood silently near the UN's Isaiah Wall anxiously awaiting news of the Russian ships loaded with nukes heading for Castro's Cuba.</p> <p>Two decades later we were still at it, our Cold War administrations and foreign policy elites urging us to prepare for a possible Russian nuclear attack. The US Postal Service faithfully complied when it announced plans to issue emergency change-of-address cards to its patrons, which presumably could prove useful after our power grids were destroyed by nuclear bombs along with our homes, neighborhoods, hospitals, schools, water and food suppliers-- all turned to ashes. &nbsp;</p> <p>The US National Security, Presidential Review memorandum #19, June 1977, estimated to a distracted majority of Americans that 140,000,000 people would die if the US and Russia chose to fight it out with nukes. My hunch is that somewhere today in the bowels of an obscure federal agency or think tank study estimates of deaths are more up to date and even greater in number, especially in East Asia and the Middle East. I imagine that such revised guesstimates now take into account the misery and unrelieved suffering that will follow nuclear war with men, women and children screaming to be killed to relieve their suffering, a snapshot of civilizations approaching their end.</p> <p>We also told school kids to hide under their desks after the sirens went off and that apartment houses need to set aside their basements as bomb shelters We were reassured by a State Department consultant's article in 1980 in the journal Foreign Policy that a nuclear war could only kill about 20 million people, "a level compatible with survival and recovery."And in 1982, Thomas K. Jones, Deputy Under Secretary for Strategic Nuclear Forces, told Robert Scheer of the <i>LA Times</i> we could survive a nuclear attack if we dug a hole and covered it with enough dirt. Meanwhile, the Express in Great Britain recently published an article, "How to survive a nuclear attack? What to do when a nuclear missile strikes"&nbsp;– yet another hawkish delusion by our overseas friends.</p> <p>But more sophisticated and sure-fire techniques are apparently still needed. The <i>New Yorker</i> ran a piece about how some of our ultra-rich are building what they hope will be nuke-resistant homes very very far from urban enemy targets. Their assumption seems to be that after LA, Seattle, Miami. Washington, Chicago and New York lay in ruins they will still be alive, their kids still catching school buses and their commuter trains on time &nbsp;– &nbsp;a living testimony to Trump's fictional Great America.</p> <p>And so our never-ending wars continue &nbsp;– &nbsp;years after year, decade after decade. I've been absorbed by the Ken Burns-Lynn Novack epic TV documentary, "The Vietnam War," which details &nbsp;our criminal adventure against South East Asians and the American cannon fodder about whom I wrote in 1971 in <i>No Victory Parades: The Return of the Vietnam Veteran</i>:</p> <p>"Never before in American history have as many loyal and brave young men been as shabbily treated by the government that sent them to war, never before have so many of &nbsp;them questioned as much... the essential rightness of what they were forced to do."&nbsp;</p> <p>And now it's time for Kim Jong-un and his feral twin Donald Trump, two alleged tough guys threatening millions of us, sounding much like end-times lunacy. Our doves and middle of the roaders are silent, forgetting that "Silence" as &nbsp;Dr. King rightly warned us decades ago, "was betrayal." </p> <p>Watching the Burns-Novack film, I think of Bao Ninh, once a 17 year old North Vietnamese combat soldier and later novelist (<i>The Sorrows of War</i>) who says of the killing he experienced:&nbsp; "Only a stone would not be terrified"&nbsp;– &nbsp;though the majority of Americans, non-combatants, supported the war to the very end while allowing other parents' sons and daughters to be sacrificed for a cause few appreciated or understood.</p> <p>&nbsp;Among the few US survivors of Vietnam's &nbsp;Hill 825, some soldier&nbsp; in the documentary eerily echoes&nbsp; the remaining troops at WWI's &nbsp;bloody Battle of the Somme when so many on both sides died for a few pieces of worthless land, saying, "we accomplished nothing," even while a majority of unquestioning and patriotic Americans circled the wagons and believed what their lying leaders told them.</p> <p>In the film LBJ listened to General Westmoreland's endless requests for more and more troops, including a growing numbers of draftees, and always seemed to ask, before giving way, "Where does it all end?" In defeat, Under Secretary of State George Ball once prophetically answered years earlier to LBJ and &nbsp;a deaf foreign policy elite audience eager to save Southeast Asia from communism. </p> <p>Back in October 1962 my friend and I stood at the Isaiah Wall, obviously relieved when a radio report &nbsp;announced that the Russian ships had turned back, a diplomatic solution apparently reached. Still, it left us with no real protection against a future nuclear war save our national fantasy of being indestructible. As we left, I turned to my friend and recited Isaiah's subversive aphorism about beating swords into plowshares.&nbsp;</p>
ID: 153985
Uid: 31615
Author: 19
Category: 0
Title: The Health of the Senate
Source:
Body: <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The Senate is about to vote on legislation affecting the health and welfare of millions of American families. Even the disastrous hurricanes, which changed the lives of so many people, won’t have the broad impact of the vote to replace the Affordable Care Act with the latest version of Republican health care thinking.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The outcome is uncertain. This new law could stand or fall by one vote. It’s a Republican-only bill, designed without public hearings or Democratic input, and they can spare at most 2 “no” votes. So all the attention is on the possible “no” Senators. What is swaying them one way or the other?</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">There’s no reason to mention their names. They have gotten enough attention to their political and moral agonies. What about the 50 or 49 other Republican Senators who are all in?</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Barely anyone in America likes this legislation outside of Republican politicians. For most of its life, a </span><a href="http://www.kff.org/slideshow/us-public-opinion-on-health-care-reform-2017/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">majority of Americans</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> have expressed opposition to “Obamacare”. Its approval rating has been below 40% since 2011, the year after it passed. But in March, </span><a href="https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/3/22/15021762/gop-health-care-polling"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">approval reached 49%,</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> finally beating out disapproval. At that time, a majority of Republican respondents approved of its major provisions and favored spending more money on health care.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">In June, many polls showed that Americans rejected the “replace and repeal” version passed by the House, called the American Health Care Act (ACHA), by a </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/to-your-health/wp/2017/06/30/fresh-polls-find-republicans-health-care-proposal-is-still-a-clunker/?utm_term=.64222eb45dfa"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">more than 2-1</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> margin. Only about one third of Republican voters approved.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Another detailed survey, which informed respondents about current and proposed laws, found that one quarter of Republican adults found the Republican health care bill “</span><a href="http://www.vop.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Healthcare_Quaire.pdf"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">unacceptable</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">”. Combined with overwhelming Democratic and Independent rejection of the legislation, a majority of voters even in the most Republican districts said “unacceptable”.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">In July, another poll found that people </span><a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/page/2010-2019/WashingtonPost/2017/07/16/National-Politics/Polling/question_18946.xml?uuid=a-FkemnbEeeUq1sfD_RZ3w"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">preferred Obamacare</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt"> to the Republican alternative 2 to 1. Nearly three times as many people preferred that our government “provide coverage for low-income Americans” rather than “cut taxes”.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">More directly personal, a poll found that </span><a href="http://www.businessinsider.com/jeff-flake-approval-rating-senate-health-care-bill-vote-2017-8"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">more than half</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> of Arizona voters were less likely to vote for Republican Sen. Jeff Flake because of his support for various Republican plans. A majority approved of the opposition to Republican health care by the other Senator from Arizona, John McCain.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The only poll thus far about public reaction to the latest version, the Graham-Cassidy health care bill, shows </span><a href="https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/9/22/16349470/polling-graham-cassidy-not-good"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">less than a quarter</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt"> of Americans like it. Another way of putting that is that ordinary voters </span><a href="http://www.savemycare.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/nationalresults.pdf"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">reject it by 2 - 1</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt">, with another quarter still unsure. Big majorities understood exactly what Graham-Cassidy would do: costs for most people would rise; fewer people would be covered; protections for people with pre-existing conditions would be scaled back. By 3 - 1, people wanted Congress at least to wait for a detailed analysis by the Congressional Budget Office. By an amazing 5 - 1 margin, Americans agreed to two principles: “no one should be denied lifesaving healthcare coverage for themselves or their families because they can't afford to pay,” and “changes to the health care law should be bipartisan and should include hearings that take into account the views of experts, patients, and providers like doctors.” Even most Trump voters agreed with those ideas.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The unanimous voices of the people who take care of our health have consistently rejected the Republican bills. In </span><a href="http://www.npr.org/2017/03/09/519450642/medical-hospital-groups-oppose-gop-health-care-plan"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">March</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Nurses Association and the American Medical Association scorned the AHCA. In </span><a href="http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/9-organizations-react-to-senate-gop-healthcare-bill.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">June</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, the AMA, the American Hospital Association, the Association of American Medical Colleges, and the Federation of American Hospitals opposed the Senate bill that later died. Now all major </span><a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2017/09/do-no-harm/540333/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">organizations of doctors</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">,the whole </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/20/us/politics/insurers-oppose-obamacare-repeal.html?_r=0"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">health insurance industry</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, plus </span><a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/health-care-system-hates-new-obamacare-repeal-bill_us_59c2e7c7e4b06f93538c4d0a"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">organizations of hospitals</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, the Catholic Health Association, the AARP, and dozens of other organizations oppose Graham-Cassidy.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The health care numbers can be confusing, especially when each side chooses the numbers they talk about. So let’s get specific about my demographic, old people. The CBO explained in May how the AHCA would affect people over 64 who earn </span><a href="http://www.politifact.com/florida/statements/2017/jun/02/chris-king/does-ahca-increase-health-care-premiums-low-income/"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">$26,500 a year</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> in 2026. That’s the median income of seniors. Instead of paying $1700 a year in insurance premiums under current law, premiums would rise to </span><a href="http://www.cbo.gov/system/files/115th-congress-2017-2018/costestimate/hr1628aspassed.pdf"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">over $13,500</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt">, more than half their income. For a person with an income of $68,000, the numbers are very different: premiums fall from $5100 to under $2000 for a 21-year-old; from $6500 to under $3000 for a 40-year old; and remain about the same for a 64-year-old. Unless you are well off, you would be deeply hurt.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Why don’t most Republicans in Congress worry about voting for such an unpopular policy? It’s not voters who matter, but donors. Senator Cory Gardner of Colorado told his Republican colleagues, “</span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/22/us/politics/republican-donors-obamacare-repeal.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Donors are furious</span></a><span style="font-size: 12.0pt">. We haven’t kept our promise.” Big Republican donors are angry that the Republican majorities have accomplished little. Republican politicians are worried about money they could raise for the 2018 elections, not about depriving millions of their health care. Their donors want to slash Medicaid, so that’s what they’ll vote for. Republican senators apparently </span><a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2017/09/only-right-wing-billionaires-like-the-latest-trumpcare-bill.html"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">don’t even know in detail</span></a><span style="font-size:12.0pt"> what their bill contains.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">The devil is in the details. Will the billionaires win, while the rest of us lose?</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Steve Hochstadt</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Springbrook WI</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:12.0pt">Published in the Jacksonville Journal-Courier, September 26, 2017</span></p> <!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:TrackMoves/> <w:TrackFormatting/> <w:PunctuationKerning/> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas/> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:DoNotPromoteQF/> <w:LidThemeOther>EN-US</w:LidThemeOther> <w:LidThemeAsian>X-NONE</w:LidThemeAsian> <w:LidThemeComplexScript>X-NONE</w:LidThemeComplexScript> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables/> <w:SnapToGridInCell/> 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ID: 153986
Uid: 78629
Author: 46
Category: 0
Title: Now is Not the Time to Reduce America's Havana Embassy
Source:
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mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-font-family:Cambria; mso-ascii-theme-font:minor-latin; mso-hansi-font-family:Cambria; mso-hansi-theme-font:minor-latin;} </style> <![endif]--> <!--StartFragment--> <!--EndFragment--></p><p class="MsoNormal" style="text-align: center;"><img src=" /sites/default/files/153986-cuba.png"></p><p class="MsoNormal"><i>Joseph Gonzalez is Associate Professor of Global Studies and Interdisciplinary Studies at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina<o:p></o:p></i></p><p class="MsoNormal">On Friday, the <a href="http://www.cnn.com/2017/09/29/politics/us-cuba-sonic-attacks-pulls-out-diplomats/index.html">U.S. State Department announced a 60% reduction in the staff of the U.S. Embassy</a>.&nbsp; At the same time, the Trump administration also warned Americans against traveling to Cuba.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal">The reason?&nbsp; Officially, the State Department is concerned for the welfare of embassy employees and their dependents. According to U.S. officials, twenty-one diplomats and family members have experienced “sonic attacks” during the last year in their homes.&nbsp;</p><p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">These attacks have provoked a variety of symptoms, including headaches, dizziness, and hearing loss in their victims. Some </span><a href="http://nypost.com/2017/09/14/mystery-of-health-attacks-on-us-diplomats-in-cuba-deepens/"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; background:#FEFEFE">Canadian diplomats and their families also reported the same symptoms.</span></a></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">Initially, the Trump administration responded by expelling two Cuban diplomats, </span><a href="https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-17/urgent-top-diplomat-says-closing-us-embassy-in-cuba-under-review"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; background:#FEFEFE">while publicly speculating about closing the embassy</span></a><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">. Though the embassy remains open for now, the reduction will impair the ability of staff to assist both Americans in Cuba and Cubans wanting to come to the United States.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">But what else could the administration have done?</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp; </span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">Shouldn’t the U.S. government protect its diplomats and citizens from attacks that threaten their health?</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">Absolutely.</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp; </span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">At the same time, we must ask ourselves: Is reducing the size and capacity of the U.S. Embassy in Havana, which in turn reduces travel and cultural exchanges between the U.S. and Cuba, in the best interest of the United States and Cuba?</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">The answer is no.</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">In fact, these measures appear to be one more step in the Trump administration’s campaign to reverse the reforms of the Obama administration.</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#262626;background:#FEFEFE">In June </span>President Trump <a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article156561089.html">announced new travel restrictions</a> attempting to sharply decrease the number of Americans going to Cuba. <span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#262626;background:#FEFEFE"><a href="http://www.cnn.com/2017/06/16/politics/trump-cuba-policy/index.html">“The previous administration's easing of restrictions of travel and trade does not help the Cuban people,” said President Trump in a speech in Miami in June, “They only enrich the Cuban regime."<o:p></o:p></a></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">Any sustained improvement of relations, warned the President, required the Cubans to institute more democratic reforms. More than </span><a href="http://www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/world/americas/cuba/article149813304.html"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; background:#FEFEFE">600,000 Americans</span></a><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;"> visited Cuba during 2016</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#262626;background:#FEFEFE"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">Clearly, President Trump wishes to punish the Cuban government. But it is not clear that the Cuban government played any role in these attacks.</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#262626;background:#FEFEFE"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">Publicly, </span><a href="https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2017/09/cuba-embassy/541548/"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; background:#FEFEFE">the Cuban government has denied any responsibility for the attack</span></a><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">. What is more, rather than escalate the confrontation, the Cuban government has responded with restraint, even allowing the </span><a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2017/09/29/us/politics/us-embassy-cuba-attacks.html?mcubz=1"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; background:#FEFEFE">U.S. to bring the FBI to Havana to investigate</span></a><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">.&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">Why the restraint? Quite simply, the Cuban government has no incentive to worsen relations with the Trump Administration, much less drive Americans away from Cuba.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">The Cuban government needs Americans to come to Cuba. The government depends on tourists to populate not only hotels and tour buses, most of them state owned, but also the private houses and private restaurants that now populate every city and town.</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp;</span></p><p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">Attacks on U.S. diplomats and their families will only make tourists less likely, and less able, to come. It will also make removing the embargo and other travel restrictions impossible.</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp; </span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4923458/US-doesn-t-believe-Cuba-mysterious-sonic-attacks.html"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; background:#FEFEFE">So, who is to blame for these attacks</span></a><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254); background-position: initial initial; background-repeat: initial initial;">? Speculation runs from rogue elements of Cuban intelligence services, answerable to hardliners who oppose a rapprochement with the U.S., to foreign powers now at odds with Washington. It bears noting that both Russia and North Korea have embassies in Havana.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">And it may also be true that President Trump and his State Department are using these attacks to further curtail American travel to Cuba.</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:#262626;background:#FEFEFE">The embargo and travel restrictions, after all, </span><a href="http://www.politico.com/story/2016/03/poll-should-us-end-cuba-embargo-221033"><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; background:#FEFEFE">are not popular with Americans</span></a><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#262626;background:#FEFEFE">. But sonic attacks that provoke headaches and other health problems? &nbsp;Who wants those? <o:p></o:p></span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">No one . .</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp; </span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">. and I wonder if that is what the Trump Administration wants. Are they betting that threats of sonic attacks will deter Americans in ways legal threats will not?</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp; </span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">Not to mention a half-staffed embassy unable to help American travelers in need.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">Call me cynical, but I am guessing the answer is yes.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">But now is not the time to curtail contact between Americans and Cubans.</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">Now is the time for increased travel and trade with Cuba . . . if, that is, you truly care about promoting the political and economic changes now underway in Cuba.</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">But I am guessing that President Trump cares more about votes from Cuban-Americans in Miami than the welfare of Cubans in Havana.</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">Again, call me cynical.</span><span style="color: rgb(38, 38, 38); background-color: rgb(254, 254, 254);">&nbsp;</span></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><br></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#262626;background:#FEFEFE">In my next blog post, I will discuss how a new class of entrepreneurs, reliant on tourist dollars, is thriving in Cuba.&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></span></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><i><span style="mso-fareast-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;;mso-bidi-font-family:&quot;Times New Roman&quot;; color:#262626;background:#FEFEFE"><o:p>&nbsp;</o:p></span></i></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><span style="font-size:20.0pt">&nbsp;</span></p> <!--EndFragment-->
ID: 153987
Uid: 78565
Author: 38
Category: 0
Title: Country Guitarist Changes His Mind on Gun Control after Vegas: Why That's Not Surprising.
Source:
Body: <div style="text-align: center;"><img src=" /sites/default/files/153987-caleb.png"></div><p><i>Caleb Keeter is a member of the country group that was performing on stage the night a shooter began&nbsp;spraying the area with bullets fired from guns equipped to work like a machine gun. &nbsp;</i><i>In the hours after the shooting Keeter&nbsp;took to Twitter to explain that he had changed his mind about gun control. Now he supports it. &nbsp;This blog post, by Rick Shenkman, the editor of HNN, explains why we shouldn't be surprised by Keeter's change of heart. &nbsp;The&nbsp;article&nbsp;is drawn from Shenkman's book, &nbsp;</i><a href="http://stoneagebrain.com" target="_hplink">Political Animals:&nbsp; How Our Stone-Age Brain Gets in the Way of Smart Politics&nbsp;</a><i>(Basic Books, January 2016).</i></p><p> We believe human beings are naturally empathic. We take pride in our capacity for empathy. It’s what keeps us human. But our capacity for empathy is limited. Most of the time empathy only works under four restricted circumstances:</p><p> 1. When a story tugs at our heart. <br> 2. When we are face-to-face with someone in pain or jeopardy. <br> 3. When somebody is going through something we ourselves have experienced. <br> 4. When we identify with a person in pain, either because we know them or their group, or we are members of the same group. </p><p><a href="https://www.amazon.com/Political-Animals-Stone-Age-Brain-Politics/dp/0465033008/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 "><img src="/sites/default/files/160130-PA-shenkman-sm.png" "="" style="float:left;margin:15px;"></a> We have the bomber pilot’s problem. We don’t feel anything for the victims. We need to see people face-to-face for our emotional system to become fully engaged. In experiments in the lab social scientists have found that people are far more generous when playing the Dictator Game, in which an individual splits a pot of money with another player, when they can see the other player than when they cannot.</p><p>We think we can count on our own empathy to provide us with the necessary warmth and humanity to address issues we face as citizens in a democracy. But we can’t. Our inability to do so skews public debates. It gives the advantage to the side wanting to take action to achieve a goal that inconveniences, harms, or kills people we don’t know. Once we settle on a goal, believe it’s just, and become convinced that we can get results, there’s nothing that inclines us to pause and consider the effect our efforts are having on the victims, who remain largely invisible to us.</p><p>This pattern can be seen in lots of public policy debates. When Republicans in 2013 moved to drastically cut food stamps, they focused on the cost of the program. For them, it was a dollars and cents issue. The federal government is going broke, they said. Therefore, we need to make cuts somewhere, and this seems like a good place to start. Cut food stamps and help America! Some murmured that cutting the program would even be good for the recipients. It would strengthen their backbone. But the recipients were never more than an abstraction. They weren’t real human beings. They were a foil, used to build support for the cuts by appealing to voters’ resentment at people who are supposedly lazy cheats.</p><p>On conservative talk radio shows the hosts lambasted the recipients for using food stamps to buy everything from organically raised meat to wild salmon. One Texas state senator featured in a clip on The Daily Show said flatly that food stamps should only be permitted for the purchase of essentials like ordinary meat and &nbsp;our.</p><p>In a debate like this where the humanity of the people who will be most affected by our actions is not acknowledged, can a fair debate be said to have taken place? That doesn’t seem likely. How can you debate a public policy and not take the measure of its impact on the human beings who are most affected? You can’t. But that is how our debates go for the most part.</p><p>Not even factual evidence that our efforts are failing stops us. We fought the drug war for decades. Failure was obvious. But did we stop? No. Prisons filled up during the drug war. The United States’ incarcerated population doubled over a few short years to two million—the highest of any country in the entire world. And still people continued taking drugs. Pleas to change the law and show empathy for drug offenders went nowhere. Almost certainly, voters would have felt differently about the drug war if they them- selves or someone they knew had ever been sent to prison for drug use. That would have made the policy personal. But how often do we have personal contact with the people policies directly affect? Not very often at all.</p><p>And when we do? We see things differently.<br></p>
ID: 153988
Uid: 4699
Author: 4
Category: 0
Title: The Teen Killer Who Radicalized the NRA
Source: The Daily Beast
Body: <p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">Harlon Carter, “Mr. NRA,” the man who turned America’s national rifle club into its formidable gun lobby, knew guns could kill people—including the 15-year-old Mexican kid he blew away with a shotgun when he was 17.&nbsp;</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">Believe it or not, the National Rifle Association began in 1871 committed to “Firearms Safety Education, Marksmanship Training, Shooting for Recreation”—according to the sign displayed for years at its national headquarters. Its famous&nbsp;<a href="http://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2014/05/nra-guns-second-amendment-106856_Page2.html#ixzz4ufi3I5F6" style="color: inherit; transition: color 0.15s ease;">lobby sign</a>&nbsp;with the edited version of the militia-less Second Amendment—“… the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed”—only came a century later.</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;">Founded by two Civil War veterans embarrassed by Northern soldiers’ inferior marksmanship, the NRA helped pass America’s first gun control laws in the 1930s. Harlon Carter, a tough, bullet-headed conservative, hijacked this nationwide sporting club in 1977 with convention floor machinations immortalized as The Cincinnati Revolt...</p><p style="line-height: 29.5px; margin: 0px 0px 15px; font-size: 17px; color: rgb(2, 20, 31); font-family: Georgia, Cambria, 'Times New Roman', Times, serif;"><a href="https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-teen-killer-who-radicalized-the-nra">Read whole article on the Daily Beast.</a></p>