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Karl Rove’s Dark Money Group Promised IRS It Would Spend ‘Limited’ Money on Elections

Karl Rove’s Dark Money Group Promised IRS It Would Spend ‘Limited’ Money on Elections | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Crossroads GPS, which has spent tens of millions from secret donors on elections, told the IRS in its 2010 application that its efforts would focus on education, policy-making and research.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Karl Rove lied. Stop the presses. Who would have thought it? Seriously, is anyone surprised?

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Is Obama Shortchanging Middle East Democracy?

Is Obama Shortchanging Middle East Democracy? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
President Obama says America stands with civil society in the Middle East, but declining funding for democracy and governance there tells a different story.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
American policy "has gone back to prioritizing overly militarized relationships with repressive regimes in exchange for short-term security. In 2013, President Obama launched his “Stand with Civil Society” initiative, pledging that the U.S. government would back firmly those in civil society facing pressure, harassment, and threats from their government. But his administration has mostly watched silently as the government of Egypt, the second-largest recipient of U.S. foreign aid globally, has been steadily wiping out its vibrant community of independent human rights organizations." 

While it is not the responsibility of the American government to impose our values on other countries and it is certain folly to engage in regime change, it would be good to see clearer American support for those regimes and movements that value democracy and humanity over repression and autocracy. Too often it seems that the American military is running the show and that there is way too little concern with diplomacy or democracy in our foreign policies. 
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The rate of species decline is 'no longer safe' for humans

The rate of species decline is 'no longer safe' for humans | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Animal and plant species are declining so quickly that world biodiversity loss is no longer within a “safe limit” and could start to threaten much of the planet’s ability to support humans, according to a major new study. Experts analysed nearly 2.4 million records about more than 39,000 species at 18,600 different places around the world. They discovered that for 58.1 per cent of the world’s land surface the loss of biodiversity was serious enough to call into question its ability to sustain the 5.3 billion people who live there.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Is it possible that in the end we humans will end our term on earth not with a bang but the whimper of ecological collapse? No, Henny Penny, the sky is not falling, but our biodiversity is being overwhelmed by human activity. 
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Things to Avoid Saying to People With Mental Health Problems

Things to Avoid Saying to People With Mental Health Problems | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Recovery from a mental health condition is a complex and difficult journey that can be a full time endeavour. It’s not a a linear process; but full of blips and struggles as well as triumph and success. Recovery can be hard enough without unhelpful (even if well meaning) comments or conversations. Here is a collection of the types of things people in recovery wish you wouldn’t say to them! This list was compiled initially thinking about recovery from an eating disorder, but a lot of the comments apply to other conditions as well.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
After you read this excellent blog, if you want to understand more about mental illness and what people experience in its throes, pick up my book, Memoirs From the Asylum. Available in print, e-book, and audible book. 
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Jailer Chokes Inmate to Death on Video But Still Hasn’t Been Charged

Jailer Chokes Inmate to Death on Video But Still Hasn’t Been Charged | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Darius Robinson was locked up in an Oklahoma jail when officers pepper sprayed him and crushed his windpipe in what was ruled as a homicide.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Mental illness is not a crime, but we have so many mentally ill in our jail, people who should be receiving proper treatment. That there are guards who have no idea what mental illness is working in our jails only compounds the problem and reminds us how far we have drifted from such values as compassion and understanding. My heart weeps for this unnecessary death and rages at a system that does not do better. To make it worse, the system lies and tries to blame the victim. Isn't it time that the criminal justice system take a better look at itself? 
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10 Unbelievable Wildfire Photos - ODDEE

10 Unbelievable Wildfire Photos - ODDEE | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Wildfires—unpredictable, deadly, and sometimes beautiful. Check out these ten incredible images of fires and the stories behind them.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Nothing makes me sadder than pictures like this of our forests burning. Yes, some fires are part of the natural cycle, but we are living in a time of horrendous wildfires and human behavior is increasing the risk. 
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Kabul Bombing Adds New Layers of Agony for Afghanistan’s Hazaras

Kabul Bombing Adds New Layers of Agony for Afghanistan’s Hazaras | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Ethnic Hazaras gathered on a hilltop cemetery near Kabul to mourn nearly two dozen relatives and friends, among at least 80 killed in a bombing claimed by the Islamic State a day earlier.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
We seem to live in a world that specializes in creating sadness, often by means of religious bigotry. Until people can understand that no god would want them to destroy the image in the mirror there will never be a true humanity. 
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Violent arrest of teacher caught on video; officers face...

Violent arrest of teacher caught on video; officers face... | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Officials are investigating an Austin police officer’s violent arrest of an African-American elementary school teacher who was twice thrown to the ground during a traffic stop for speeding and comments by a second officer who told her police are sometimes wary of blacks because of their “violent tendencies.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If you think this would have happened to a white person, then you are living in a different planet. If you think this officer was properly dealt with, what world are you in? Wait, even the second cop admits that this is about race as he makes it clear that cops have a different attitude towards Blacks than Whites. 
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Fact-checking Donald Trump's convention speech: A dark vision based on specious stats

Fact-checking Donald Trump's convention speech: A dark vision based on specious stats | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The dark portrait of America that Donald Trump sketched in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention is a compendium of doomsday stats that
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Mr. Trump certainly told us that we have lots to worry about, but his facts are wrong or distorted. Here's a good job of fact checking by one newspaper. 
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“It’s like a nightmare that just won’t go away”: The Corinthian Colleges scam demonstrates the madness of student debt

“It’s like a nightmare that just won’t go away”: The Corinthian Colleges scam demonstrates the madness of student debt | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Victims of Corinthian still find themselves hounded by collectors to repay loans deemed fraudulent in federal court
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Should bankruptcy protect a person or a corporation against repayment of monies taken through fraud? I certainly don't think so. Should buys of fraudulent loans, especially if they buy them after they are declared fraudulent, be allowed to collect from the debtors? At what point should the law be clarified to protect the victims of fraud instead of their being hounded by scum who seek to profit on the misfortune of others? Once upon a time, we had tar and feathers for people like these, now we have endless harassment for their victims. Is that the rule of law? 
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What some Republicans are saying about race and criminal justice reform

What some Republicans are saying about race and criminal justice reform | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Some prominent Republicans are engaged in a conversation about race and policing that may signal a strengthening bridge between how Democrats and Republicans approach reforming the criminal justice system.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Possibly in the midst of the madness that is overtaking America's race relations and policing there is a ray of light as some Republicans see a need for criminal justice reform. Now, if we can get them to also publicly recognize what the vast majority of us know, that justice has not been color blind but needs to be. 
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3 police officers killed, 3 wounded in Baton Rouge; gunman dead

3 police officers killed, 3 wounded in Baton Rouge; gunman dead | Upsetment | Scoop.it
With the circumstances of the shootings unexplained Sunday night, a community already numbed found itself searching for new words to describe its horror and despair.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Each death becomes not a warning but an incitement as we tumble towards the chaos of a war between Blacks who have been too long mistreated and police who show no evidence that they understand the grievances of the citizenry. It is not a question of #BlackLivesMatter, or #AllLivesMatter, or #BlueLivesMatter but that justice must matter. 
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Attacker in Nice is said to have radicalized ‘very rapidly’

Attacker in Nice is said to have radicalized ‘very rapidly’ | Upsetment | Scoop.it
ISIS claimed responsibility for the rampage though its exact role remained unclear. Five people have been detained by French investigators.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Once again the press, trying to make sense of what it doesn't understand, misses the point of the behavior or such a sick mind. A failure who was rejected by even the thieves and lowlives around him, this guy looked for a way to tell the world, "Hey, I matter. Hey, I'm here." Moreover, like all losers, he wanted to blame somebody else for his personal failures. This were his motivations. Recent events and the emphasis on them in the mass media gave his the language, or what I would call the idiom of distress, that he would use, terrorist style carnage. Sadly, we can only expect more of such deranged behaviors and efforts to get even bigger death tolls by the similarly mentally ill. Three suggestions I would make: 1) Do not mention the name(s) of such pathetics, but rather use pejorative terms to report about them. 2) Any who are caught alive should be summarily placed in longterm psychiatric care, on locked wards and if possible on forced medication. 3) This is the most difficult for me to write, but downplay the dead. Of course we want to memorialize them, and in some cases they are particularly worthy of that process, be they the parishioners in Atlanta, the cops in Dallas, of the many kids in Nice, but in the end, the more we can take these horrors in stride the less meaning we are giving to this horrific modern twist on mental illness. 

By the way, have you read Memoirs From the Asylum? You really should. 
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Sunday’s police riot in Baton Rouge: anti-brutality protests met with brutality

Sunday’s police riot in Baton Rouge: anti-brutality protests met with brutality | Upsetment | Scoop.it
They “started charging into the crowd and tackling people," said Max Geller, who was injured and arrested by cops
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Will law enforcement be held accountable? Will the city of Baton Rouge change its ways?  Settling law suits are not enough, there must be real change in attitude. That is part of the change that must come in America if we are to achieve our greatest potentials. 
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This policy would help poor kids more than universal pre-K does

This policy would help poor kids more than universal pre-K does | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Unfortunately, children who attend Head Start do no better in school than equivalent children who do not.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Wealth transfer is definitely a way to improve early childhood health for those kids whose parents would use the money properly, for decent shelter, food clothing, and opportunities for their kids. Of course, much of the cost of such a policy change would be borne by bureaucrats who are now overseeing the pre-k programs that are not producing real school gains. If, instead of simple grants of money, the money was tied to clear parenting and child development markers, such as proper nutrition and sufficient exercise so that parents were being reimbursed for the quality of care they were giving their kids, the use of such payouts would be even more efficient. And, a caveat: In the end every program only can be partially effective. More of one thing doesn't necessarily make it better. Similarly, many programs may give small improvements that then wash away with time or expansion. At least part of the problem is found in families adapting to take advantage of programs so they don't have to put the effort in. For example, the mother who previously was finding a way to feed her kid breakfast is freed from that task when the school gives her child that meal. If that means a few extra dollars for family activities or the like, that will lead to not only nutritional gain but broader improvement, but if that money goes to buying unhealthy comestibles, such as soda, or cigarettes, or drugs, or if the mother now sleeps in instead of interacting with the kid, then the positive effects are lost. The same if we give money; the question is always how it will be used. In the end, life seldom affords simple solutions.
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O'Reilly Melts Down Over Criticism Of His Comments On 'Well Fed' Slaves

O'Reilly Melts Down Over Criticism Of His Comments On 'Well Fed' Slaves | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Fox News host Bill O'Reilly on Wednesday night defended his comments from earlier this week that the slaves who helped build the White House were "well fed," lashing out against his critics.

During his show on Wednesday night, O'Reilly said that his comments on the slaves who helped build the White House were "100 percent accurate" and provided "context" to First Lady Michelle Obama's speech at the Democratic convention. He said that it was "not a defense of slavery."

"For doing that, I was immediately attacked by smear merchants," he said. "It is a given that slavery is an abomination, but reporting the story behind Mrs. Obama’s very valid points does not diminish the horror of enslavement as these dishonest critics allege."
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The problem at Fox News is that they believe what they say and have no capacity to accept that they may be in error. O'Reilly may want to defend his erroneous remarks, but that only makes the situation worse. Who are we going to believe, Bill's somewhat questionable scholarship or Abagail Adam's written observation made at the time? The culture war is slowly drawing to a close, and Fox is on the losing side,. Combining that with the recent sexual revelations, and the question is will Fox survive. Perhaps they can get some new less fire-breathing and more thoughtful staff to stage a comeback. 
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Revealed: the £1bn of weapons flowing from Europe to Middle East

Revealed: the £1bn of weapons flowing from Europe to Middle East | Upsetment | Scoop.it
AK-47s, machine guns, explosives and more travel along new arms pipeline from Balkans to countries known to supply Syria
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Is anybody surprised that there is a flow of weapons to all sides of every conflict in the Middle East? There are arms dealers waiting to make a buck everywhere. That the countries of Eastern Europe want to get their share of the business shouldn't surprise us any more than the fact that the United States is the biggest arms dealer of all. That countries like Saudi Arabia support their surrogates on the battle fields shouldn't surprise us either. Once again, the US has more surrogates than anyone. Everyone says they want peace, but there are dollars to be made in war. Everyone says they believe in peace, but their are resources to control. Everyone says "Peace be with you," but there are jealous gods to be served. Meanwhile, all over the region—and through out the world—Mars is the only god who seems to matter. 
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Series of scandals rocks Israeli Orthodox Zionism

Series of scandals rocks Israeli Orthodox Zionism | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The gay-hate speech of Rabbi Yigal Levenstein, past statements by IDF Chief Rabbi Eyal Karim and the indictment of Gen. Ofek Buchris on alleged rape must drive Orthodox Zionism to do some serious soul-searching.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When we are condemning Islam for the treatment of women in many Islamic countries, let's not forget our "allies" in Israel; many of whom hold views about sexuality and women that are every bit as offensive. 
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Fact-checking the first night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention

Fact-checking the first night of the 2016 Democratic National Convention | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Here's our roundup of claims made on the opening night of the Democratic National Convention.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
So you tell me, how did the Democrats do yesterday in terms of the facts and telling them. My view, not badly, but a bit of exaggeration and my biggest problem is that they are not telling us the good news, they are trying to make us angry just in a different way than the Republicans. I want vision not recrimination. I want positive politics not the politics of dissatisfaction. Anyway, I think it a good thing to know who's saying what. 
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Is The GOP Trying To Destroy The Earth?

Is The GOP Trying To Destroy The Earth? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Republican party casts doubt on climate change, rejects the Paris Agreement and calls coal "clean."
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If a political party serves not the wellbeing of the people but the growth of corporations, then it cannot give proper concern to climate and environmental issues. Hopefully, the Democratic platform will be more in touch with the evidence of science and the needs of the future. Denial ain't a river in Egypt; last week it changed course and inundated Cleveland.
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Drought 'shuts down Amazon carbon sink' - BBC News

Drought 'shuts down Amazon carbon sink' - BBC News | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A recent drought shut down the Amazon Basin's carbon sink by killing trees and slowing trees' growth rates, a first-of-its-kind study shows.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
One of the things we haven't really recognized in discussions of climate change is that many environmental problems have their own multiplier effects. Drought in the Amazon region affects the capacity of the earth to recycle CO2, which means more climate change and more periods of drought. Maybe we should start really worrying and taking serious action as a species and stop worrying about who is going to get the better part of the deal. In the end, it won't matter, not if nobody is left alive. 
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Waste fears as Afghan soldiers cash in on spent ammo

Waste fears as Afghan soldiers cash in on spent ammo | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Zahir Jan, a scrap metal dealer in the southern Afghan province of Helmand, pays about 175 Afghani ($2.55) per kilo of spent cartridge casings and has no trouble finding supplies from poorly paid soldiers and policemen looking for extra cash.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
After fifteen years, they've finally figured out that there's a lot of waste in Afghanistan?! The entire war has been a waste and still the farce continues. In this case I don't know whether to laugh that ammunition is being shot off for no other purpose than the recycling of the casings or to cry that the US and the military-industrial-espionage complex has found such an inefficient way of providing extra money for Afghani soldiers. Meanwhile, of course, the rest of the shells, the bullet part, will remain as a pollutant in their land for their grandchildren. 
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GOP Rep: Whites Better Than ‘Sub-Groups’

GOP Rep: Whites Better Than ‘Sub-Groups’ | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Says they made more contributions to society.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I do wish somebody would give this guy my essay, Checkers Anyone, to read. Not that anybody this dumb would understand it or anything else about racism. I can only hope that the people of Iowa will be as sickened by him as I am. Meanwhile, if you want to send him a copy of my essay or perhaps read it yourself, here's the URL http://www.kennethweene.com/#!checkers-and-race/cbls  
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Clean energy won’t save us – only a new economic system can do that

Clean energy won’t save us – only a new economic system can do that | Upsetment | Scoop.it
It’s time to pour our creative energies into imagining a new global economy. Infinite growth is a dangerous illusion
Kenneth Weene's insight:
A thought provoking article about the sustainability of our way of life. Perhaps it is climate change and global warming  that we should fear but the growth of an economy that is beyond sustainability.
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Poll: Majority of Americans think race relations are getting worse

Poll: Majority of Americans think race relations are getting worse | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A Washington Post-ABC News survey finds that twice as many people trust Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump to address race relations.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
What do you think? Are race relations getting worse in the US? What do you think needs to be changed to make them better, if that is something you want? Of the major candidates, which do you more trust to move in that direction? And lastly, how important is the state of race relations to you; is it one of your top issues, mid-range, or not important at all? My answers, worse. We need to make sure that Black and Hispanic citizens see that their wellbeing is important by dealing with police, poverty, education, and most importantly recognizing that white privilege is a real issue. Sadly, of the two, I think Secretary Clinton has the better chance, but I don't have a lot of faith in her doing so. And it is in my top issues, because if we don't find a way to a more civil society, we cannot hope to have ongoing prosperity, justice, or growth. 
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This Is What Istanbul Was Like on Night of the Turkey Coup

This Is What Istanbul Was Like on Night of the Turkey Coup | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A TIME reporter chronicles a night on the streets of Istanbul, where an attempted coup in Turkey is playing out bloodily.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It is unsettling when a major country is shaken by a coup attempt. Such attempts suggest that a country's government is not fully representative of its people, and that certainly appears to be true of the Turkish government. On the other hand, and this is important to remember, military coups seldom end with a country's people being better served or represented. If the government in Ankara is going to be overthrown, let's hope it is by the people of Turkey and not my a group within the armed forces. 
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