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Exile on Peachtree Street - Christmas Puzzle by Kenneth Weene

Exile on Peachtree Street - Christmas Puzzle by Kenneth Weene | Upsetment | Scoop.it

A short story of Christmas, puzzles, and noir.

Kenneth Weene's insight:

Hope you enjoy this piece of my noir.

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What Cities Lose When an Alt-Weekly Dies NY City's Village Voice will no longer be in print.

What Cities Lose When an Alt-Weekly Dies NY City's Village Voice will no longer be in print. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
As the Village Voice stops its print edition, the alternative-weekly era officially ends.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
What a deep sense of loss and regret this news elicits. I loved the voice when I lived in New York. Heck, I love newspapers and hate to see them disappearing. Besides lining birdcages and wrapping fish, they kept us informed, amused, and aware. 
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'I am very optimistic': Hopeful Afghans praise Trump's pledge to keep American boots on the ground

'I am very optimistic': Hopeful Afghans praise Trump's pledge to keep American boots on the ground | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Afghans met Donald Trump's pledge to keep American boots on the ground with hope Tuesday.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Good lord, more stupidity in Washington and Kabul combined than I thought the intelligence community could muster. First, about 1/4 of Pakistan is Pashtun dominated and indeed they are about 1/4 of the total population. Second, the Taliban is primarily a Pashtun movement drawing on a religious justification but still about that people's aspirations for a return to their historic greatness. Third, the country that most shares our desire for a stabilized Afghanistan and a control of the Taliban is Iran followed by Russia, two countries with which we don't work and play well. 

Drawing on Iran, which many of the Afghan people look to as a great country even though most Afghanis are Sunni and Iran is of course Shia, a peace could possibly be negotiated. That peace would have to guarantee the safety of those who wished to not be under that central Pashtun authority, possibly by adding territory from Pakistan in the east and setting up a small country in the west for non-Taliban adherents. Of course, this would require a major expense in moving some people, but considering how little they have it wouldn't be that great a migration. Since many of those choosing to go to the smaller country would be Shia, Iran would have a major role in offering it guarantees. It should also have a border with Turkmenistan, not only because there is a small minority of Turkmen in Afghanistan but because that would also help maintain Russia's concern level. 

The specifics of the deal would take some working out, but it could be done a lot more easily than continuing the madness of this endless military adventure. 
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Saudi plane for Qatari pilgrims waits on Doha for landing rights: airline

Saudi plane for Qatari pilgrims waits on Doha for landing rights: airline | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Saudi Arabia's state carrier said on Sunday it had been unable to send planes to transport Qatari pilgrims to the kingdom because it had been unable to get permission to land at Doha airport amid a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Saudi Arabia does not want to cut off pilgrims for the haj. To do so would offend Muslims everywhere, for it would be claiming that the worldly government of Riyadh has control over the Islamic faith. According to the religion, all true believers are equal before Allah and all have the obligation to make the haj at least once in their lifetime. On the other hand, Qatar doesn't want to play into Saudi Arabia's hands and make it look like that country is somehow in the right in their dispute. Hence, this strange standoff in which the willingness to supply planes is welcomed while the actual aircraft are not. If the word Byzantine to describe politics still has a use, it would be in the Middle East; a bit or irony there. 

Meanwhile, to my Muslim friends who are taking this sacred pilgrimage I would say, 
                                                  قد الحج الخاص بك تجلب لك أقرب إلى الله
May your pilgrimage bring you closer to god. 
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Who are you calling crazy? A dilemma in Japan

Who are you calling crazy? A dilemma in Japan | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Just as the Japanese were getting used to dealing with one unpredictable nuclear-armed leader ... along comes another
Kenneth Weene's insight:
From the perspective of the Japanese, there are two nut cases rattling sabers and potentially putting their island nation in the crosshairs. The only question for them is which of the two is more dangerous. Hopefully, when this is latest crisis is over, Tokyo will do some serious rethinking of their national policy. My guess, part of that will be to arm and part will be to push the US out of bases that could attract aggression from North Korea or China. 
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Lawmaker Pens Bill Requiring Trump To Undergo Mental Health Evaluation

Lawmaker Pens Bill Requiring Trump To Undergo Mental Health Evaluation | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.) isn't a psychiatrist, but she wants to make the president see one.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While I have great questions about Mr. Trump's competency, I have even greater question about a bunch of psychologists and psychiatrists being competent to judge. Not only would their recommendations be open to question, but the entire process would make a sham of the system of government. This representative is trying to trample on the separation of powers and the proper function of the legislative branch in impeachment. Why? Obviously he doesn't expect his bill to pass since if he did the House would already be talking about impeachment. He is playing to the far left base with the same lack of concern for good government that all demagogues demonstrate. 

And, let's get one thing straight. Mike Pence is going to be just as difficult for people like Zoe Lofren to swallow as POTUS as is Trump. However, if she takes her meds, this lady from California might make it through her madness. 

Speaking of madness, have you read Memoirs From the Asylum? If you want to talk mental health and illness, you really should. Here's the link.
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Trump Administration Reverses Bottled Water Ban In National Parks

Trump Administration Reverses Bottled Water Ban In National Parks | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The move reverses an Obama-era policy put in place to encourage national parks to end the sale of bottled water. The aim was to cut back on plastic litter.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Okay, on this one I have to tentatively support the Trump administration. The problem with the ban—actually it was more a suggestion to the park concessionaires—was that it didn't stop sales of sodas and other bottled drinks. While the result may have been a slight decline in plastic bottles in the parks, that was offset by an increase in purchases of those other, often much less healthy sodas, etc. as people who weren't prepared with reusable water bottles or who wanted something cold went with the what's available option. In the end, government should not be micromanaging as much as it should be helping people to make wiser decisions. Bureaucracy is not the best system. 
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Palestinians may be on verge of charting new political path

Palestinians may be on verge of charting new political path | Upsetment | Scoop.it
It appears that President Mahmoud Abbas wants to convene the Palestinian National Council, after a hiatus of more than 20 years, which would allow the Palestinian movement to move toward a change in leadership.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It would be a great change if the Palestinians could find one voice in dealing not only with Israel but with the entire world. Sadly, the divisions in the Arab world seem to pull this small and suffering population apart. As an American of Jewish background, I am rooting for the Palestinians to succeed in creating a state that can take care of its people and work together with other countries toward a better and more peaceful world. 
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Who was responsible for the violence in Charlottesville? Here's what witnesses say

Who was responsible for the violence in Charlottesville? Here's what witnesses say | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Here are several first-hand accounts of the violent events in Charlottesville, Va., collected from journalists, protesters and far-right ralliers who have published their accounts.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I have said before that I abhor violence and that means on either side. That's why I share this story from the L.A. Times in which we get a sense of what actually happened in Charlottesville. While I agree with the counter protesters, it would appear that both groups came prepared for a fight. Perhaps the protesters more so since they came with military tactics already practiced and with equipment. On the other hand, the armed members of the counter group remained in a different park more ready to step in if needed than participating. Clearly, the driver of the car that killed and maimed was the exception in a confrontation that thankfully otherwise ended with little bloodshed. 

As I read these reports, two things are clear. Rhetoric and name-calling helped to heat up the situation and seem to be an integral part of the division that is wounding our country. The second is that the police in Charlottesville didn't do their job very well. For one thing, they left an entire side of the park in question open. Market Street became in effect the place where the fire could begin. Why that street was left open and unattended only the person in charge of the cops can tell us. It was a dreadful mistake. 

Of course, in the end it is the counter protesters who got what they wanted out of the situation. If only because of the crazed act of that driver and the resulting mayhem, cities and other governments across the country have been motivated to remove monuments before new confrontations occur. Last night, for example, Baltimore removed four monuments. 

Now, I think there are far too many Confederate monuments in this country, many in places where they are really historically irrelevant. As I've made clear before, I don't want to obliterate history, only to limit monuments to what is meaningful for remembering and I want to add some that have been neglected. My big issue: Where are the monuments in the South that remember the slaves and the share croppers? How can a community in which Lee, for example, never set foot justify a monument to him and not have one to those people of color who suffered there? 

Finally, a word about Mr. Trump. I have a sense that he and I are more in agreement on this subject than I would have expected. The problem is that he is so bloody inarticulate and so given to expressing himself in the words of a "tweet" that he has failed to articulate the larger issue,  which is that division and violence are not the way for a democracy to solve its issues. Of course, he is also playing to a base that includes many bigots and racists; but he is right that not all those who were protesting were necessarily hate-filled and let's be fair, not all the counter protesters were put in heart. 

It was about 8 years ago that Mr. Obama made a horrible mistake, one which I honestly thought would cost him re-election and which I think was one of the reasons that Hillary was starting from a much weaker position than she realized. It was the way he handled the confrontation between the police officer(s) and the Black Harvard Law School professor. Mr. Obama failed to clarify what the real issue was, namely the right of the professor's privacy versus the offers' reasonable cause to investigate. It was never actually about race at all. However, Mr. Obama allowed the press to define the narrative and we all know that conflict leads will intelligent discussion gets relegated to the opinion pages. 

Mr. Trump is sadly dealing with a similar if even more contentious issue. Once again the press is making this about race more than about how we as a society deal with our history. From my perspective, we are still fighting the Civil War (War Between the States; War of Norther Aggression) and still hiding from the realities of post-Reconstruction segregation. 

We need to have a national dialog about race. We need it now and we need it to move us towards a unified view of ourselves. As long as any group feels threatened and abused, the pain will go on. Sadly, both political parties have their reasons for keeping the anger flowing. Which is one of the reasons I again call for a new party. I may be a Broody New Englander but I can still find hope. 
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Demonstrators Pull Down Confederate Monument In Durham

Demonstrators Pull Down Confederate Monument In Durham | Upsetment | Scoop.it
"No Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA!" the protesters chanted as they tore down the statue.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I know that many will find my response to this event puzzling; I find it so myself. First, I support the removal of the monuments that glorify the confederacy and its soldiers, especially its leaders. As a Broody New Englander I was brought up to believe the cause of the South was wrong, that the union was not divisible, that the economic realities would not have been changed by succession, and most importantly that slavery was and continues to be inherently evil and wrong. 

However, I also know that the men who fought for succession did so believing they were right. I know that the families who lost loved ones and who had the maimed return to them did so not because they wished their communities to do wrong but to keep their faith in the world as they understood it. While I would happily tear down monuments to the generals, with the caveat that they perhaps one statue remain celebrating their military skills, perhaps each one in his own home town or maybe on a preserved battlefield. Similarly, I would allow towns such as Durham to preserve one monument to the soldiers. I might not want it so tall or so decorated as this one that was toppled, but I do not want to deny history. When we deny people the right to remember, we offend our very belief in democracy. 

During the post-reconstruction years, supporters of racism and bigotry and some people who were devoted to the cause of the South and truly believed in its right to secede erected not those few perhaps worthy monuments but as many as they could. Some in states where there was no reason, indeed places that were far removed from that war between brothers. This was a rewriting of history, which is as unacceptable to be as trying to make believe that nobody on the Southern side deserved honor. 

As we look to countries like South Africa or Northern Ireland, we see that reunification and peace are reached not by rejecting history nor by vilifying it but by remembering, forgiving, and working to more forward. After all these years, can America not find its way forward? 

While we're on the subject, I know that recently there has been conflict between Russia and Poland over statues of Stalin. I would take the same stance there. Take down all but one statue, but leave that where the Poles choose to remember both Stalin's role in the liberation of Poland from Germany, his selling Poland out to Germany before that, and of course his decision to dominate that country after the war. In other words, let us remember history and its makers, but that doesn't mean glorifying that which we know to be evil. 

So, what about the North? There we find few monuments except those remembering the soldiers from each community. 

There are, however, some statues missing. The ones that have never been erected in the South, the ones to the men and women brought to America from Africa, brought in chains and enslaved. Just as they have never been given the full-measure of economic opportunity they have never been given the full-measure of historical recognition. Isn't it time to recognize those who have suffered?
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Jordanian king’s Ramallah visit more than morale booster

Jordanian king’s Ramallah visit more than morale booster | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Jordanian King Abdullah's two-hour visit to Ramallah was meant to send a number of signals to multiple parties.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
To put it more clearly, King Abdullah needs to push the two state solution while it is still possible. If Palestine doesn't find its way to an effective government, Jordan will be forever burdened by both its security responsibilities for places like the Al-Aqsa Mosque and its de facto role as mediator between Israel and the Palestinian people. The problem is that he and the Palestinians have failed to establish a solid leader for that second state. An old man with failing health and limited following, Abbas is hardly the leader that a fledgling state would need nor is he a person that the Israelis will respect and with whom they would negotiate. I wonder if the good Jordanian king can find somebody with whom he could actually team up, a new voice for the Palestinians. 
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White supremacists carry torches and chant Nazi slogans at rally in Virginia

White supremacists carry torches and chant Nazi slogans at rally in Virginia | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Hundreds of white supremacists carrying burning torches and chanting Nazi-era slogans rallied in Virginia on Friday night before violently clashing with counter-protesters.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I know there are far more decent Americans than assholes. Still, there are the haters and they are despicable. I know many of the White supremacists are terrified that they will fall into the chasm of irrelevancy and impotence. However, their way out of that fear and depression is not to rage against other groups but to work towards their own self-improvement, for example through real and useful education. The first part of that education, if it is to really make a difference, is social science including realistic history so  that will help them to understand the tensions of today's society and to understand how the issues of race and income need to be addressed.
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Hard Lessons in Living Off the Grid

Hard Lessons in Living Off the Grid | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A family tried to build its own sustainable paradise in Hawaii. Then Tesla’s batteries came to town.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Many of us have dreamed of living off the grid. Take Putnam Williams, my main character in Broody New Englander, wasn't that what he wanted. What he learned and one of the things I hope my readers learn is that we are interconnected. One of the most basic connections in the modern world is electricity. Relying on solar power may actually make it even more sensible to remain on the grid than to try to live off it. Read this article and find out why. Meanwhile, I will iterate something I've said many times: In the end it will all be about the batteries. Who is going to find the best way to quickly store sufficient energy for us to give up fossil fuels?" 

To read more of Putnam's story, visit http://www.kennethweene.com/excerpt---broody ;
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PLANE ACCIDENTALLY EMPTIES TOILET TANK OVER CRUISE SHIP, 23 INJURED – NativeAmericanApache

PLANE ACCIDENTALLY EMPTIES TOILET TANK OVER CRUISE SHIP, 23 INJURED – NativeAmericanApache | Upsetment | Scoop.it
"Holy Shit!" Beyond that, what is there to say?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
"Holy Shit!" Beyond that, what is there to say?  

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Building the Afghan Air Force Will Take Years

Building the Afghan Air Force Will Take Years | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Building the Afghan Air Force Will Take Years « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If we are committing to another 5-10 years to build an effective air force in Afghanistan, then that must mean we don't actually see an end to this crazy war. Absent the civil war, what other reason would there be for such a buildup of that force. 

Meanwhile, the plans to modernize that air force have demonstrated how clearly unready Afghan society is for modernity and how totally useless the American effort has been in helping that preparation. For example, after all our efforts one female pilot. After all our efforts too few would-be pilots who can communicate in English and even fewer American service people who can speak in Pashto or the other local languages. 

Please, let us end the farce.
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The cost of running for Congress has risen 500 percent since 1984.

The cost of running for Congress has risen 500 percent since 1984. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The cost of running for Congress has increased more than 500 percent since 1984. Here's an interactive look at how campaign expenditures have outrun inflation, health care, and even the rising cost of college
Kenneth Weene's insight:
In an ideal democracy people should be able to run for office based on their ideas, character, and intelligence not the size of the bankrolls backing them. However in the last 35 years the cost of running for congress has gone up about four times faster than the cost of living, even more than the cost of healthcare. Check out the reality and I'm sure you'll be as horrified as I. How do we change this madness? It seems that advertising, which should IMHO be relatively unimportant, has become the tail that wags the political dog. Are we that unsophisticated and uneducated that ads really have a large effect on how we vote? If so, what does that say about us? 
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In Berlin, neo-Nazis, counterprotesters take to the streets

In Berlin, neo-Nazis, counterprotesters take to the streets | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Neo-Nazis marched in the streets of Berlin on Saturday as counterprotesters assembled to meet them, a week after a white supremacist rally turned deadly in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The dungbeetles of the world are coming out from under their stones. This group were commemorating the death of Rudolf Hess, whose famous words were, "I do not regret anything". Hess was, of course, one of Hitler's earliest supporters, even helping to write Mein Kampf while they were in jail together. Only Gõering and Hitler were above him in the Third Reich's power structure. At any rate, my thoughts go out to the counterprotesters even as I recognize the right of these thugs to have their opinions. Free speech is sacred to me, but so to is the right to protest that speech and to stand for the values in which we believe. 
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Lost WW2 warship USS Indianapolis found after 72 years - BBC News

Lost WW2 warship USS Indianapolis found after 72 years - BBC News | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The warship's sinking, weeks before WW2's end, remains the worst US naval loss at sea in history.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
We must never forget the suffering that war brings not only to enemies but to our own country. With that memory fresh always in our hearts, let us strive to make peace the first objective. We must never forget the honor that those who died serving our nation deserve. With that memory fresh always in our hearts, let us strive to never accept cowardice as a way of life. 

PEACE WITH COURAGE. 
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Anti-racism protesters totally eclipsed Boston's right-wing Free Speech rally

Anti-racism protesters totally eclipsed Boston's right-wing Free Speech rally | Upsetment | Scoop.it
You can’t really see the Boston Free Speech rally in the aerial shot of counter demonstrators
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I'm glad to see that so many anti-racist people in Boston turned out to oppose the right-wing free speech rally. I am also glad to see that the Boston police and city administration decided to handle the rally and the protest in a careful and professional manner. On the other hand, I wonder at limiting the number of people permitted for the rally while not limiting the number of protestors is really the right way to go. I don't know how many supporters of the right would have shown up on Boston Common if the city had not set a limit. Are we really respecting the right to assemble and to speak when our governmental agencies are setting the parameters this way? 

Yes, let's avoid violent confrontation, but in the end we do have to allow all sides their say so that we can have meaningful conversation and hopefully resolution. Of course, in my heart of hearts I believe that the arc of the universe bends towards justice. 
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The scientific case that America is becoming more prejudiced

The scientific case that America is becoming more prejudiced | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Charlottesville shows that white supremacists are emboldened. We shouldn’t be surprised.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It is interesting to me that the authors start by assuming that America is the White population that might feel threatened by the change in demographics rather than the entire nation of people. What is real? Demography is history and the numbers are clearly in. Whether it will be in a few more or less years, at some point Whites will stop being the majority. At some point they may also no longer be the largest group. Why are these things changing? Immigration is one reason, but there are two others. First, Whites have fewer children than other groups. Partly, that's because immigrants have more children as a rule than those who have lived here. Another is that some cultures and religious beliefs encourage having children while European Protestantism and even the Catholicism of the White communities encourage having few kids who receive more opportunities. Finally, there is the breakdown of the traditions (and racist laws) that kept people from marrying across color lines. 

As the White numerical superiority declines, there has also been a growing awareness of issues of privilege on all sides. That may seem counter-intuitive, but in fact this growing awareness makes ultimate sense. One thing we know about groups is that they become more aware of difference and more given to resentment of one another as the mix changes from one in which a minority is relatively small till it reaches a seemingly critical mass. Usually, the key point in a community's development is when a minority reaches 15%  of the total. That's when the violence starts. That's when the competition for control becomes a real possibility. 

Historically, the majority groups in most communities have handled demographic change by redefining who "WE" are as opposed to "THEM." For example, in Boston Irish became White as Italians moved in. Italians and Jews became White as Blacks and Hispanics became larger parts of the region. Strangely, in places like Lewiston, Maine, French have become Whites as Hispanics and Muslims have increased in numbers. 

Another technique of maintaining clear majority is to keep "THEM" divided, for example by keeping Blacks and Hispanics from recognizing common cause. And especially by keeping Whites who have been discriminated against from recognizing their common cause with Blacks and Hispanics. Just ask the poor Whites of the South about that one, but expect to have them react badly to the idea.

But, some of those poorer Whites have gotten the idea, as have Blacks and Hispanics and Asians and people from the Middle East. Ironically one factor that contributes to that growing awareness has been the virulence of the White rage that has been erupting in places like Charlottesville. Those who in effect form the gangs of thugs in any population are not very appealing people. They drip hate, resentment, and bespeak their own failure to achieve. While they may for a while take the front stage, in the end  demography is history. 

More importantly, the media, no matter how much the Far Right will declaim against Fake News shows us the reality that we can live together. Be it MLK or Barack Obama or whomever, we can see that the color of a person's skin doesn't determine their character. We can see, as a nation, that the history that was written may not have been accurate, that, for instance, the Confederacy was not about high ideals but rather about race, hating creditors, and a form of regional nationalism. Most importantly, through the media we can recognize that those who came here as slaves were worth our respect and that those who now come here to pick our crops or to find new homes far from sectarian violence are not enemies but reenactments of our own ancestors' lives. 

In my deepest heart, I believe that in the end the demographic reality is that we are already all one. Strangely, while the purveyors of hate and bigotry often hide behind Christianity, they ignore one of the basic teachings of Jesus and of that faith. First reflected in the parable of the Good Samaritan and then again in the decision of Paul to preach to the gentiles was the belief that true goodness was not the right of one group but rather was to be found in the souls of men and women everywhere. If the Tower of Babel teaches us one thing, it should be that underneath we are all one, that it is a challenge from God that we strive to overcome that difference and find our way back to cooperation. At least, that's what I make of the myth; what about you? Are we all one or do you believe that the color of skin somehow should separate us one from the other? 


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Canada united, America divided on NAFTA as negotiations begin

Canada united, America divided on NAFTA as negotiations begin | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Polls show Canadians have few partisan divisions when it comes to free trade with the United States, but polarized politics south of the border could be a big complication.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
What is the real problem with NAFTA? For one thing, it probably hasn't helped US economic growth as much as it's helped Canadian and Mexican growth. In small part that's because from the get-go the US provided a better market for what those two countries want to sell than they provided for American exports. However, the real problem in America is how the advantages of the trade deal have been distributed. While jobs have gone south, particularly typically-union, manufacturing jobs, the new opportunities that have opened here have been more in finance, tech, and other fields for which working class Americans weren't ready, jobs that often require major educational investment and experience. On the up side for the average American has been a stabilizing of some prices compared to what would otherwise have happened. Those lower wages in Mexico, for example, do get reflected in our markets. However, while the individual can look at the size of their paycheck, they really can't evaluate the cost of living. Also, often those lower prices have been accompanied by shopping in what can best be described as less pleasant places. (OK, I admit it; I detest going into a Walmart.) 

One of the biggest problems is that the economic growth that NAFTA has provided—and yes there has been some because of the larger market and the use of the relative advantages of the three countries, for example my allowing more Canadian soft wood into the states NAFTA has encouraged house building. (Yes, which means American loggers are unhappy, but overall it's good for the economy.)—that economic growth has not been shared for the good of all. In Canada with its strong social safety net, single payer healthcare system, excellent educational programs, and low military expenditure, people are better off from the growth. In Mexico, where desperation has been the rule, any improvement is felt everywhere simply because there is a flow of money. However, in the US, the growth has gone to increase the wealth of the few and to encourage the ever more spending on the military-industrial-espionage complex. The average family in Cleveland, Omaha, or Des Moines isn't seeing anything. 

It is time for national policy here to be redirected towards making our society more equitable if we want to have agreement on economic policies such as trade. Of course, I don't know that either party actually wants agreement on anything, not when their ongoing battle allows them both to prosper. Hey, yesterday I only received three requests for money from the Democrats. I keep saying take my name off your lists, but I don't know there's an end to those lists. LOL. Maybe I should write back and ask them to send me money instead. 
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Why Tensions Are Rising Between Vietnam and China

Why Tensions Are Rising Between Vietnam and China | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Vietnam now appears to be an outlier in its vociferous opposition to China’s push for control over the South China Sea.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
To what degree is China determined to turn the  South China Sea into their own national lake? To what degree are the other countries of the region determined to keep that from happening? Ultimately, what role is the United States destined to play as China moves toward preeminence in the world. Are we the fading empire destined to fail at trying to rein in the new kingdom or can a detente exist that will avoid war? One thing that could hardly imagine fifty years ago is that the United States and Vietnam would be building an alliance. 

It all goes to show that push and pull of international affairs is based on quicksand. 
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Right-wing rally goes ahead in Seattle — despite violence in Virginia

Right-wing rally goes ahead in Seattle — despite violence in Virginia | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The organizer said he would urge his supporters to remain non-violent during the "Freedom Rally" and planned counter-protest at Westlake Park.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Clearly the police of Seattle were better prepared than those in Charlottesville. Also, clearly, if the microphones are opened to everyone, there will be an interesting blend of speeches at any public event. I do think that the organizer of the "Freedom Rally," who is from the pro-Trump group Patriot Prayer, said something worth citing. He said  that he was against white supremacy and wanted everyone to have his or her chance at the microphone. If that is the real goal of a rally no matter who organized it, I would not support a counter-protest. Would you? 
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CEO Quits White House Council Over Trump's Charlottesville Response — And Gets Attacked By Trump

CEO Quits White House Council Over Trump's Charlottesville Response — And Gets Attacked By Trump | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Instead of denouncing neo-Nazis, Trump denounces a CEO criticizing him for not personally denouncing neo-Nazis.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
When Mr. Frazier of Merck resigned, Mr. Trump tweeted this clearly barbed comment: Now that Ken Frazier of Merck Pharma has resigned from President's Manufacturing Council,he will have more time to LOWER RIPOFF DRUG PRICES!

So, the question I would like the POTUS to answer is, "Was Mr. Merck a ripoff artist when you brought him onboard with fulsome praise or are you sucking lemons because he's called you on your failure to stand against bigotry and hate.?" 

Meanwhile, I am wondering if anyone has established who started the violence in Charlottesville. Arg least they do know who ran a car into a group of pedestrians, a clearly planned act of domestic terrorism. I wonder of in all his tweets, Mr. T. is going to say something about violence using automobiles.

I don't know that Hillary Clinton would have been able to stem the rising tide of hate and violence in this country, but I'm damn sure that Mr. Trump isn't going to tweet us out of danger. For years I have warned that the battle would come, that the efforts to suppress social and racial justice would eventually bring the battle to the streets. Now, the only question is whether those who have always used race as the dividing factor will be able to continue to do that to keep the forces of change fractioned. Part of me hopes that they will succeed as I really don't want to see barricades and blood. Part of me hopes that they fail because I would love to see a new American birth of freedom and equality before I die. 

So, what will it be a battle or the whine of those who suffer. OR, perhaps, just perhaps, we can join together to work towards a new party that will move America forward. Yep, I still hope we can find it within ourselves to create that new party, one committed to social justice, reasonable economic growth, concern for the environment, and support of people in other lands in their quests for a better life but without trying to impose our military might. 

You caught me out: I'm an idealist, which I'm sure will make many people laugh at me. That brings up the last goal of any new party that I would want: A commitment to helping the people of America to laugh. For in laughter there is hope. 
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Plan to institute military oath against suicide could backfire, some experts say

Plan to institute military oath against suicide could backfire, some experts say | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A congressman who served in Afghanistan is championing an idea to request departing servicemembers sign an oath not to harm themselves, as a method to deter veteran suicides. But some suicide prevention experts contend the plan is likely to do the opposite.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Some ideas are just plain bad and some are worse than that. This one is really shit dumb. Soldiers who become depressed, especially if that is a symptom of PTSD, are ashamed of that depression. Getting them to share their suicidal thoughts should be a real priority, one that uses the best therapeutic practices. Such a pledge wouldn't get a depressed soldier to feel more open but rather more ashamed. Maybe, what the military needs to do is recognize that the approximately 10% of all soldiers who end up with PTSD and related symptoms need to be encouraged to know that they are heroes and respected and that we—all of us—are there for them. For one thing, we could start improving the VA and its psych services. We could cut back on the VA and military's use of pain meds that foster depression. We could have leadership talk about their own emotional struggles. We could actually give incentives to those who look for help instead of often reclassifying them in negative ways. 

By the way, you might enjoy this sound version of one of the chapters from Tales From the Dew Drop Inne. It's called In the Army. https://soundcloud.com/kenneth-weene/in-the-army ;

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Eggs containing fipronil found in 15 EU countries and Hong Kong - BBC News

Eggs containing fipronil found in 15 EU countries and Hong Kong - BBC News | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Fifteen EU countries as well as Hong Kong and Switzerland are said to have received tainted eggs.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Obviously, it's good to know that these contaminated eggs have been taken off the market and that the EU and hopefully the Dutch and other governments are taking action. And, no, none of the eggs were shipped to the states that we know of. So why bother to share this story? Because it's important to remind everyone why we as individual consumers need government. When even upstanding Dutch farmers will ignore the safety of their customers in order to cut costs and make more profit, don't we need proper government agencies to oversee? It is too easy to dismiss government as getting in the way of business and as making it too difficult to make money, but we as consumers need government to protect us, our environment, and to take good scientific looks at products, processes and the like. 
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