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10 Hilarious End of the World Signs

10 Hilarious End of the World Signs | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Great news! If you are reading this article, then the world didn't end.
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Taibbi: The Democrats Need a New Message

Taibbi: The Democrats Need a New Message | Upsetment | Scoop.it
After another demoralizing loss to a monstrous candidate, Democrats need a reboot.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If you're interested in American politics, this article is well worth your reading. Personally, I see the two parties as being less and less connected to the rest of us. The GOP maintains its connection to certain key constituencies such as the NRA and ALEC and even to connect with others such as AIPAC. And the Democrats try to maintain their connection with the unions and the remnants of the Civl Rights movement. However, for the most part, both of the parties are primarily about their own internal machinations aimed at maintaining power and obtaining financial connections. There is no vision for the country, her people, or the future to be found between them. Much as happened to the Soviet Union, we have become a country in the hands of party apparatchiks. Remove them, as Mr. Trump has tried to do, and we see the chaos beneath. The Trump era seems to me to already be very much like the Yeltsin years in Russia. Without a new vision from a new party, I see us moving—just as Russia did—towards a new authoritarian era. 

The great sadness for me is that the Democrats could have found a vision and could have tried to reach out to the American people as a whole. Sadly, just as Gorbachev couldn't find a way to distance himself from the past and lead his country out of the economic and spiritual morass of a militarized state, so also Obama failed to find a way to lead the United States away from its preoccupation with guns and wars and towards a new set of goals of domestic tranquility. 

Will the future record the Obama—Trump segue of American history as a time when old dreams ended or when new ones began? 

As for the thrust of the attached article that the Democrats have lost to some horrible GOP candidates, while that has been true in some places, especially places with huge differences in party enrollment and commitment, I would guess that there are some good examples of when it has been the Democratic candidate with a questionable record who has been elected. Quite simply, that is one of the problems with established parties; people vote for their candidates no matter how good or bad they may be. 

Which brings us to a fascinating paradox in American politics. The parties are not interested in the people, but many people have continuing allegiance to the parties. That's often why we end up with those undesirable candidates who win and why we end up with parties that are more concerned with their own inner workings than with America's future. 
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Donald Trump’s Ramadan statement is filled with references to terrorism

Donald Trump’s Ramadan statement is filled with references to terrorism | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Trump released a Ramadan statement that couldn't stop referencing terrorism
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Typically such statements about specific religious holy days are intended to reach out to the adherents of the religion involved, to assure them of American respect for their beliefs. However, this document is clearly intended to reach out to Mr. Trump's followers here in the states. Sadly, he represents the worst of our  closed doors and minds. 

That said, we do live in dangerous times and terrorism is a real issue, especially that emanating from the Middle East. For example, we have the Saudi connection In Times to Try the Soul of Man. Check it out at: https://www.amazon.com/Times-Try-Soul-Kenneth-Weene-ebook/dp/B00VYSQ1VO/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
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Iraqi troops torture and execute civilians in secret videos

Iraqi troops torture and execute civilians in secret videos | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Elite unit was once praised by U.S. military officials
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When you break something, you become responsible for it. Sadly, the more the US tries to be involved in Iraq the more we break it. The elite army units that we helped to create are vicious thugs engaged in the same kind of behavior that occurs under the Taliban or ISIS. If these are our allies, why are we bothering to fight? Shame on them and shame on us. (Warning, the story contains very upsetting videos)
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GOPer Gianforte Wins Montana House Race, Apologizes For Alleged Assault

GOPer Gianforte Wins Montana House Race, Apologizes For Alleged Assault | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Republican Greg Gianforte on Thursday night won the special election to fill the lone U.S. House seat representing Montana.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
I am still wondering how his assault on the reporter, which he now admits was wrong, affected the voting. Do you think he turned people off or made him seem somehow better, stronger? I think that question in turn reflects a key divide in our society these days, the divide of feminism and inclusiveness versus the rugged manliness of the American male. Having grown up watching Westerns and having been nurtured on stories of war-time courage and the like, I often find myself being the chauvinist and valuing the rough and tough, accepting that boys will be boys and all that goes with such thinking. 

On the other hand, I also grew up on the songs of the Weavers and other folksingers and took part— albeit to a small degree—in protests against the bomb, Vietnam, and for racial equality. I grew up in the shadow of the Holocaust and knowing of the senselessness of hate and war. I cheered for GAY liberation and thought Harvey Milk a national icon. 

Things have become confusing in our society. Nowhere is that confusion clearer than the subject of gender. As a psychologist, I worked with many transgender clients. I took great pride in helping them to figure out who they were and what they wanted in their lives even as I understood the anguish that their family members felt. I supported young gay and lesbian clients to assert their identities even as I understood that their parents and sibs might be less than happy when faced with the reality of loved-ones' sexual decisions. 

There is probably no better symbol of that division than the use of bathrooms. In a world in which billions of people are squatting over holes dug in the ground, we in America argue over who can go into which of the millions of restrooms at our disposal. 

I know it must feel like I've taken a great leap to go from an election in Montana to the issue of transgender use of bathrooms, but I think that much of the current explosion of right-wing political clout in the US reflects a counter-revolution against the inclusive and accepting politics of feminism. We are watching the macho side of our culture fighting back against the inclusiveness and acceptance of feminism. 

In the process of this reactionary movement is a serious question of whether Americans, particularly our men, can find a balance between the masculine and feminine sides of ourselves. Can we find a balance between yin and yang, between animus and anima? 

What's your take? 
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Greg Gianforte, Montana G.O.P. Candidate, Is Charged in Attack on Reporter

Greg Gianforte, Montana G.O.P. Candidate, Is Charged in Attack on Reporter | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The incident, after questions about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, brought police officers to the event and sent the reporter to the hospital for X-rays.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Sadly, there are so many early voters in this election that we won't see the actual effect of this kerfuffle. I want to know whether Gianforte's actions will turn Montana voters off and make them recognize the importance of a free and active press or will it turn them on and impress them with his "Trumpian manliness." No matter, how they vote. IMO, the man is too impressed with his own material success to respect others, in other words the embodiment of the Trump me-first values that won the last election cycle in America. Just to heighten the dramatic quality of this special election, the Democrat, Mr. Quist, is best known as a folksinger. If somebody had created this contest of carricaures  in a novel, we'd all be laughing. Since, it is real life and will say something about the direction our country is heading, I, for one, am taking it quite seriously. 
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President Trump's Budget Includes a $2 Trillion Math Mistake

President Trump's Budget Includes a $2 Trillion Math Mistake | Upsetment | Scoop.it
President Trump's budget includes simple accounting error that adds up to a $2 trillion oversight.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Sadly, once again the current administration shows its inability to govern properly. This time in the most fundamental area, the handling of its own budgeting plans. Not only is the Trump budget harmful to our people, at least those who aren't wealthy, and to the arts, sciences, and education, but it is also fiscally incorrect. You can't say we're going to replace these dollars of current income (A) with these others to come (B) and then spend that same amount (B) for other things. It's just the kind of sloppy math for which any competent businessman would fire an apprentice.
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Why does the right want more poverty?

Why does the right want more poverty? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
What is the thinking behind cuts on reproductive services and health care for the poor? 
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I must admit confusion over the long-term goals of the right when it comes to women and especially to reproduction. Clearly, new laws in Texas and Iowa are a war not only on Planned Parenthood but the availability of contraceptives for poorer women. ( http://tinyurl.com/mn7jw8g ) At the same time, the Trump budget drastically cuts services to the poor and especially Medicaid ( http://tinyurl.com/mqv9eqv ) while the administration clearly disavows public education. 

The only logical conclusion of these combined steps will be a great many children born into poverty and minimal educational and vocational opportunities. What will become of them? Is the goal to create a new serf or even slave caste? What are we going to do with this growing underclass? 

Of course, there is one clear possibility, endless war. We can create a warrior class. We have seen at least one country, North Korea, go in that direction. Is that what the far right wants? Is that why we invaded Iraq and stayed so long in Afghanistan? Was that why we got so crazily enmeshed in Vietnam? Assuredly, it is the stuff of bad dreams and apocalyptic visions. 

In the end, as Jesus said, "the poor we have with us always." Yet, is the goal to have more of them, more poverty, more sad souls to be saved? Let us hope not. 
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Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts

Arctic stronghold of world’s seeds flooded after permafrost melts | Upsetment | Scoop.it
No seeds were lost but the ability of the rock vault to provide failsafe protection against all disasters is now threatened by climate change
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The goal of the seed vault in Norway is to protect seeds so that in the event of disaster mankind can start over. Of course, who doesn't realize that it is mankind that is the greatest potential disaster. Perhaps the travelers from some far-off planet will want some earth seeds. Will it be for an extraterrestrial arboretum, something like Kurt Vonnegut's zoo, or will they actually make use of those plants to make their world better. At any rate, I hope that there are good examples of maize, beans, and squash: what the Indians called the three sisters. That would be the great irony if we were to give those most basic foods for survival to space colonists from the future. 

At any rate, as the Bible says, "Vanity, vanity, all is vanity." 
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The War of 1812 Could Have Been the War of Indian Independence - Indian Country Media Network

The War of 1812 Could Have Been the War of Indian Independence - Indian Country Media Network | Upsetment | Scoop.it
What did the War of 1812 mean for America's indigenous people?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I loved history as I kid, but even then I knew that it is written by the winners, especially when the losers have no particular history of writing. So, of course, I wasn't surprised to learn that the Native tribal rights and claims were a big part of the War of 1812, not just the impressment of sailors and blockading trade with the continent. Interestingly, being a Broody New Englander, I hadn't been taught about those Indian issues, that explain why the rest of the colonies eventually went along with Mass, Rhode Island, and New York where seagoing trade was seriously affected by the British. At any rate, the war was fought and the big losers were the indigenous people. No wonder Andy Jackson was so prepared to just kill them off; hadn't that been what he was fighting for in New Orleans? 
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Trump Told Russians That Firing ‘Nut Job’ Comey Eased Pressure From Investigation

Trump Told Russians That Firing ‘Nut Job’ Comey Eased Pressure From Investigation | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The conversation reinforces the notion that President Trump dismissed him primarily because of the bureau’s investigation into possible collusion between his campaign and Russian operatives.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Since this is the official White House document, I guess we have to accept it, but WOW! Even if saying this to the Russians was in his mind for some kind of bargaining chip, it goes to show that the man is totally off the reservation. I am beginning to think that it is falling on Mr. Pence to save us via the 25th amendment before the madness gets totally out of control. 
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White Tulsa Officer Is Acquitted in Fatal Shooting of Black Driver

White Tulsa Officer Is Acquitted in Fatal Shooting of Black Driver | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The shooting of Terence Crutcher by Officer Betty Jo Shelby is one of several cases that have prompted a national debate about race relations and the police’s use of force.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I am usually a strong supporter of Black Lives Matter. In the context of that issue, this is a bad decision. Obviously, Terence Crutcher didn't need to die and the result of this trial would probably be different were he white. On the other hand, we have an obvious second issue that has to be recognized, the role of drugs. Crutcher was acting erratically and we now know that was because he was high. Again, were he white, it is unlikely or at least less likely  that Officer Shelby would have fired that weapon. However, was it a question of Black lives having less value to the police than differential reaction to drug situations based on race? Part of the war on drugs has been race driven; we know that from the differences in incarceration rates. We know it from the different penalties for crack versus powder cocaine. And, we should recognize that same racial differential when it comes to the interplay of law-enforcement and drugs, especially when it comes to the petty drug offenders. We cannot ask Officer Shelby or other police personnel to stop and ask themselves, "Would I do the same thing is this person were white?" However, we as a society should be asking just that question. Since the end of the Civil War a black man with a bottle has been seen as a threat or a "boy" while I white man with a bottle has been a harmless drunk or a kid. 

I don't have an easy set of answers, but I do know that law enforcement is important, that black lives matter, that equal justice is crucial, and that America has a long way to go. 
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Saudi Arabia working to dazzle Trump in busy overseas visit

Saudi Arabia working to dazzle Trump in busy overseas visit | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Saudi Arabia working to dazzle Trump in busy overseas visit
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Will Mr. Trump be able to tone-down the Islamic extremism the emanates from Saudi Arabia or will he become a tool to be used by the Wahhabis in their quest for religious purity and the Sunnis in general in their antagonism towards Iran and the rest of the Shia world. He's not just playing with the big-boys here (no women leaders in this gang) but with the most ideological. Just to start things off, he will have to deal with Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who would  rather kill somebody who disagrees with him on Sharia law as sit down and parlay. And weapons sales to Saudi Arabia; how will that go over with Israel to say nothing of the folks in Tehran who might look to Russia or even North Korea for a counterpunch? Some tricky waters for Mr. Trump to navigate coming up in the Saudi desert. 
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A Remote Pacific Island Awash in Tons of Trash

A Remote Pacific Island Awash in Tons of Trash | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A survey of uninhabited Henderson Island in the South Pacific estimated that about 17.6 tons of debris had washed ashore, endangering wildlife and blighting beaches.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
We humans are such destructive slobs. If there's one thing this Broody New Englander learned as a kid, it was to clean up properly. Sure, we did dump stuff in a landfill, but at least it was properly burned and buried and not just strewn around the world. To this day, I try to avoid using plastic when I can, and I don't like to buy plastic articles that are one-use. How about you, do you try to lower your plastic footprint? 
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Trump 'complained to Belgian PM of difficulty setting up golf resorts in EU'

Trump 'complained to Belgian PM of difficulty setting up golf resorts in EU' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
US president said his view of Europe was based on experiences trying to do business, according to account of Brussels meeting
Kenneth Weene's insight:
What do you call somebody who can only understand the world in terms of their own experiences? Some might call them narcissistic, others might say self-centered. Sadly, in the US we are expected to call him Mr. President. I was hoping that as a businessman he might understand how to deal with and communicate with others of importance. Guess I got that one wrong. 
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Here’s why you didn’t get that job: your name

Here’s why you didn’t get that job: your name | Upsetment | Scoop.it
If you're applying for positions and not hearing back, it might not be your fault.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Research suggests that the ethnic or racial sound of an applicant's name affects whether they are called in for an interview. Should companies be required to evaluate resumes without names to identify them? Or, is this kind of institutional racism acceptable? Or, do you have a different take? 
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Rumors on WhatsApp Ignite 2 Mob Attacks in India, Killing 7

Rumors on WhatsApp Ignite 2 Mob Attacks in India, Killing 7 | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Seven men were beaten to death last week by mobs stirred up by false reports of child kidnappers, underscoring the lawlessness that still plagues India.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This is one of the most dramatic and clearest examples of how easily rumors can spread in the age of social media. Remember what Abe Lincoln said, "Even if you read it on the social media, it may still not be true." Or, as Ben Franklin put it, "Twitter, Twitter, bullshit meter." So, please take time to check out supposed information before taking action. It's one thing to share a story on Facebook without being sure of the facts, but it's another to start beating people to death.
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Alternative Facts and Critical Thinking. 

Alternative Facts and Critical Thinking.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
There's a crucial difference between starting with conclusions and reaching them after analyzing the information.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I see many of my Trump-supporting friends justifying the assault by the GOP candidate in Montana on a reporter who asked about healthcare. They suggest that the reporter must have been too pushy, shoving his microphone in the candidates face, and the like. 

Tape evidence and eyewitness reports don't support these alternative facts. Sadly, extreme groups in this country look not for facts that can be corroborated but for alternative facts that fit with their views. 

Therein lies a serious issue about education. For years teachers have assigned essays in which students are to use the "research" material provided to support conclusions the teacher has picked. That's preparation for debate not thought. In critical thinking, first one analyses the information available and then reaches conclusions. Sadly, Americans are moving away from that skill and towards justification and rationalization. 
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US army 'lost track of $1bn worth of arms'

US army 'lost track of $1bn worth of arms' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Amnesty International urges the US and other countries to stop arms transfers that could fuel atrocities.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I know that to the Pentagon a billion is chump change, but imagine how many school lunches that would provide. About 350 million. How many years of the NEA would it fund? Over 7. Well, you get the picture. And last week the news was how the Pentagon was overcharging the services for gas so they could fund projects that the congress hadn't given money. Yeah, nothing wrong here folks, just move along. 
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Madoff fund has paid millions to administrator, zero to victims

Madoff fund has paid millions to administrator, zero to victims | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A firm hired by the U.S. to distribute $4 billion to victims of Bernard Madoff’s Ponzi scheme has racked up $38.8 million in billings over four years. The investors are still waiting for their first checks, though.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Did you ever read Bleak House? Remember Jarndyce and Jarndyce, the never-ending law case? In the end when there was a clear legal right, there was nothing left of the estate. Gone in a puff of probate as it were. Did you think Dickens was making the whole thing up? Well here it is again in a new and better form. Those who were fleeced by Madoff are now being fleeced again, this time by the legal process. Is it time for serious reforms of our legal and economic systems? Of course. Will they occur? Not likely. 
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Oil prices and the White House

Oil prices and the White House | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Oil prices dropped on the White House plan to sell off half of the nation's 688 million-barrel oil stockpile from 2018 to 2027 aims to raise $16.5 billion and help balance the budget.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
How stupid is this plan? First, it will go against the efforts of the Saudis and other Arab nations, a group of countries that Trump has just been courting and that need a rise in oil prices. Second, it uses this reserved oil that is supposed to be available in case of a serious shortage of petroleum to pay off short-term bills, which is just another way of borrowing to pay those bills and shows a lack of business sense. Only a corporate raider sells off assets at low prices to gin up the current books. Seriously, we have found our way to idiocracy here.
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As Trump Prepared For Riyadh Visit, Saudis Block US On Terrorist Sanctions

As Trump Prepared For Riyadh Visit, Saudis Block US On Terrorist Sanctions | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Saudi Arabia, the oil-rich kingdom touted by President Donald Trump as a key ally in the fight against the Islamic State, has helped block a Trump administration proposal to impose sanctions against a Saudi branch of the terrorist group, documents show.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Here's the thing, is it wise to enter into security deals with a country that is more concerned about its reputation than about reality?

"Acceding to the U.S. proposal could have resulted in "reputational risks" for the kingdom, possibly including losses in tourist revenue and higher insurance premiums, the official said."

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia is the center of the Arab and to some degree the Muslim world. It was the homeland of the 9/11 attackers and is still the home of some of the most extreme Islamic ideas. 

No, I don't want to overthrow the monarchy there, but I'm not so sure we should consider them our allies. So far, the Saudi offers to take part in a war on terror have mostly been about bombing people in Yemen who are pro-Iran. 


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When Your Child Is a Psychopath

When Your Child Is a Psychopath | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The condition has long been considered untreatable. Experts can spot it in a child as young as 3 or 4. But a new clinical approach offers hope.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Over the years I practiced as a psychologist I met a few kids who were psychopaths and lacked the capacity for real emotional connect but who could understand how to function in the world. They happily manipulated other people to get whatever they could. Then there were the few who did not seem able to find pleasure or happiness without the excitement of hurting others. Could they learn to suppress that motivation and learn that there were other, better ways to find pleasure? My guess only to a limited degree. Which raises powerful ethical and political issues: At what point does a person place themselves outside the limits of the human community? And, if they do,  what are we then to do with them? 

I had a friend years ago who recommended that we use deserted islands to house the less-than beings; something like Escape From New York except isolated rather than contained. Or do we blow them away as if they were zombies after the apocalypse? Finally, how do we decide who they are?

In a sense, we may yet have to return to the Soviet Union's notion of psychiatry, when the politically unaccepted were diagnosed. Oh, but wait; then would that include LBGT people? Would it include those who supported a particular political candidate? Which one? 

Sometimes, it is just damn difficult to be a rational and caring human. "Off with their heads," screams the queen, who is so not amused. 
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The real implications of the law

The real implications of the law | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Does the law protect fetuses or limit abortions?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There is a new law in Arizona: Care for Fetuses Born Alive SB 1367 is a regulation on how doctors most offer care to fetuses that are born alive during an abortion. At or beyond 20 weeks, neonatal emergency equipment will be available for a trained staff to ensure the baby’s survival. The belief is that if the fetus is alive at the time of an abortion, then it is a living being. 

Sounds simple and clear. That fetus has a right to live if it is born alive. Who could oppose that goal? The problem is that the law requires that abortions after twenty weeks be performed only in facilities with extensive and expensive equipment and staff available. How many hospitals can meet those requirements. In effect, the goal of this law is not to save that extraordinarily rare surviving infant but to make it more difficult for women to obtain abortions after 20 weeks. And, since in most cases there is uncertainty about the date of conception, to be on the legal safe side for the doctors that would be more like 18 weeks. 

Of course, most women who obtain abortions do so way before their second trimester and this law won't affect them. Usually, the women who seek second trimester terminations do so because of medical concerns (although for a very small number it is for other issues such as the father dropping out of the picture). It is unlikely that a woman seeking an abortion that late in the pregnancy would be indifferent to her fetus's potential life. However, this is just one way for the state to force a particular religious/political view on people, just one way to wage war on women who want control over their reproductive lives.

I know that many of my friends and social-media followers want to stop abortions. The reality is that I know of no-one who actually wants to see the number of abortions go up. However, we all know that the best way to stop abortion is not by making life harder for the mother but by providing sex education, mental health assistance, birth control, quality prenatal care, and by protecting women from predators—form outside and those within the family. We all know that women who feel in control of their lives and with positive futures ahead are less likely to have unwanted pregnancies and are far less likely to resort to abortion. 

If we want to limit abortions, why don't we work at helping women rather than insisting on a government's right to control them? In the end, the best way to fight abortion is to encourage women's liberation. 
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Ramapough Told by Town to Dismantle Pipeline Protest Camp - Indian Country Media Network

Ramapough Told by Town to Dismantle Pipeline Protest Camp - Indian Country Media Network | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Ramapough Lenape Nation is appealing for help as the surrounding town of Mahwah, New Jersey, orders anti-pipeline camp dismantled.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
So we have sunk to a place where Native Americans have to get local planning board permission to erect tipis on their own ceremonial lands? Does anybody believe this would be an issue if the oil pipeline weren't involved? If somebody wasn't pushing against the right of the Ramapough to protest? Or, perhaps, it is just that government apparatchik see the world differently from the rest of us. Perhaps they have a need to control everything. Either way, this story raised my hackles. I say leave the tipis be. How about you? 
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Analysis | Nancy Pelosi’s claim that ‘seven million veterans will lose their tax credit’ under the GOP health bill

Analysis | Nancy Pelosi’s claim that ‘seven million veterans will lose their tax credit’ under the GOP health bill | Upsetment | Scoop.it
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi glossed over the nuances of this issue, so we explain the facts.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There is much wrong with the GOP revisions and replacement of Obamacare, just as Obamacare had is flaws. However, one thing that will not help is distortion and distraction. Absolutely, veterans deserve special consideration and the VA is not the only method to provide that consideration. The provision in question certainly has merit and did apparently help some veterans. However, as with way too many things and by far too many politicians, Rep. Pelosi has distorted the issues for political reasons rather than clarifying it so the American people can better understand what is going on. I'm sure this distortion will find its way to my mailbox as yet another reason I should send money to the DNC. Someday, perhaps, politicians will become more concerned with telling us the clear truth than with raising money. I have the feeling that the day after that revelation six horsemen will come a-riding. 
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