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Mississippi's Governor Has Some Bad Ideas

Mississippi's Governor Has Some Bad Ideas | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Mississippi’s governor comes out with some bad ideas for women. Michelle Goldberg reports.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Yup, those conservatives sure know how to help women. Consider Mississippi, a state so backward that it is more like a third world country than the rest of the United States. Consider its governor, Phil Bryant, another exemplar of misogyny Republic style.

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As Trump addresses NRA, some gun owners concerned about going too far

As Trump addresses NRA, some gun owners concerned about going too far | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The week Trump becomes the first president to address the NRA in more than 30 years, a new poll shows a majority of gun owners do not support some of the gun lobby’s more aggressive positions.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Is the NRA no working against the views of the majority of its membership? Has the Democratic Party taken the wrong tack on guns? Can we come together on a gun policy that encourages reasonable ownership by the many while providing safety from the irrational, incompetent, and criminal? What do you think is reasonable? For me it is background checks, concealed carry permits administered by the states (not the federal government), prohibition of silencers without a permit, limiting magazine size, and encouraging the development of safe guns, which have a protection against being fired by anyone not on the device's data base. I also believe that while exposure of children to guns and gun use should be part of education, those who endanger—whether intentionally or by neglect—should lose their right to have guns at least until there are no children in their homes and vehicles or likely to visit their homes. 
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Trump complains Saudis not paying fair share for U.S. defense

Trump complains Saudis not paying fair share for U.S. defense | Upsetment | Scoop.it
President Donald Trump complained on Thursday that U.S. ally Saudi Arabia was not treating the United States fairly and Washington was losing a “tremendous amount of money” defending the kingdom.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The blunderbuss POTUS seems to have little notion of the effect his words can have on foreign relations. While I support pushing for more money from those countries on which we rely for defense, the fact is that Saudi Arabia has its own fairly decent military and that many of its weapons are bought from the United States. And, when we attacked Iraq (2 times) the Saudis gave us support by allowing us to use bases and by providing help with logistics. I'm not a big fan of Riyadh, but this is not the way to move forward with an ally whose help we want in the fight against ISIS. How about simply asking them to pay more for specific services or contributions  especially if we are to help them in Yemen (a questionable endeavor which will exacerbate our relationship with Iran) on the basis of American being overextended. We certainly should push to get more from them, but not in a churlish manner. 
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Berkeley paradox: Birthplace of free speech now offended by it

Berkeley paradox: Birthplace of free speech now offended by it | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The uproar over Ann Coulter's scheduled talk underscores a shift in public understanding about freedom of expression – particularly on college campuses. The talk, set for April 27, has been called off.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I do not like Ann Coulter. However, I respect her right to speak and the right of those who wish to listen to what she has to say. As somebody who grew to manhood during the days of Vietnam and Civil Rights protests, I am appalled that students are shutting down the dialogue that is so essential to not only the body politic but also to their own growth. Do you agree that all sides should have access to the microphone? 
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Mnuchin Can’t Guarantee That Middle Class Won't Pay More In Taxes (VIDEO)

Mnuchin Can’t Guarantee That Middle Class Won't Pay More In Taxes (VIDEO) | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin on Thursday could not guarantee that middle class families would not pay more under the White House’s detail-free tax proposal. Mnuchin evaded the question multiple times in an interview with ABC’s George Stephanopoulos. “This is about middle-income tax cuts,” Mnuchin said, asked how the proposal he announced Wednesday with National Economic Director Gary Cohn would affect a family of four earning $60,000 a year. “And although we’re not releasing the specific numbers, this is about creating economic effects and tax cuts for the middle class.” “But don’t the details matter?” Stephanopoulos asked. “Why can’t you say how this is going to affect a middle class family?” “The issue is that we are working with the House and the Senate, and our objective is to turn this into a bill that will pass, and the President will sign,” Mnuchin said. “Can you guarantee that no one in the middle class is going to pay more?” Stephanopoulos asked. “That’s our objective, absolutely,” Mnuchin said. “Is it a guarantee?” Stephanopoulos asked. “I can’t make any guarantees until this thing is done and on the President’s desk, but I can tell you that’s our number one objective in this,” Mnuchin said. Mnuchin similarly evaded Stephanopoulos’ questions about upper income taxes. The host asked repeatedly about the alternative minimum tax, without which Trump would have saved tens of millions of dollars in 2005, the most recent year for which some of his tax returns were made public. Trump has proposed repealing the alternative minimum tax. “Let me just say this isn’t about President Trump’s tax returns; this is about the American public’s tax returns,” Mnuchin said. The interview recalled the roll-out of the plan Wednesday — just in time for Trump’s 100th day in office, on April 29 — in which Mnuchin and Cohn handed out a one page outline of the tax plan to reporters, but offered virtually no information otherwise. Pressed repeatedly about Trump’s tax returns, Mnuchin refused to pursue the topic. Eventually, though, he assured Stephanopoulos that the White House was meeting with some important stakeholders in the effort to reform individual and corporate taxes. “We’ve met with hundreds and hundreds of business executives who have had input into this,” he said. Watch the exchange below via ABC:
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Just read the last five lines of this article and you'll see where we the people stand when it comes to this administration's concerns about taxes. I wonder if Joe the Plumber would like to ask Mr. Trump a couple of pointed questions. And that before we get to how the deficit will affect our nation, and there would be a bigly deficit with this "plan(?)"! 
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United Airlines Passenger Was Violent in Removal, Police Report Says

United Airlines Passenger Was Violent in Removal, Police Report Says | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Thomas Demetrio, left, and Stephen Golan, lawyers for Dr. David Dao, along with Dr. Dao’s daughter, Crystal Dao Pepper, spoke with the media on April 13 in Chicago. Newly released documents from police say Dr. David Dao flailed his arms and fought with an officer, a claim his lawyer called “utter nonsense.”

Kenneth Weene's insight:
Meanwhile, United has failed to meet several deadlines imposed by Washington lawmakers to answer questions about the matter. Can anyone else smell a whitewash here? This is a case of assault. That assault was perpetrated under the direct responsibility of United Airlines, which is a person according to Citizens United. For such an assault, there should be prison time, at least a year. Obviously, we can't send a corporation to prison, but we can shut it down for a year or, and this would be my choice, we can take an amount equal to the profits that would normally be made during that sentence time. In this case, I think justice would be served by taking one year's income from United Airlines and giving it to Dr. Dao. Of course, that's predicated on United having profits. If they claim to not, I would simply look at revenues for a year and give him that amount. How do others feel about such justice towards corporations. After all, SCOTUS has given them personhood so that implies responsibility. 
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The Play-by-Play of Trump's Call to Space That You Were Waiting for

The Play-by-Play of Trump's Call to Space That You Were Waiting for | Upsetment | Scoop.it

President Trump got the opportunity to call the International Space Station to congratulate station commander Peggy Whitson and makes an incredible faux pas.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
File this under OMG: Forget that Trump thinks it is his military and ignores that the Space Station belongs to other nations as well, the real faux pas of his phone call is "I have to say there's tremendous military application in space, We're rebuilding our military like never before." With those two sentences he appears to be abrogating a treaty of fifty years, one which prohibits the militarization of space. Of course, we may well be planning to break that agreement, and other countries may also. However, if that is the secret plan, then he has just revealed to secret military information, which would be treason. Can anybody stop the mouth that will start a war? How dangerous is he? 
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Canada vows to fight ‘unfair and punitive duty’ as Trump slaps tariff on softwood lumber

Canada vows to fight ‘unfair and punitive duty’ as Trump slaps tariff on softwood lumber | Upsetment | Scoop.it
U.S. President Donald Trump has intensified a trade dispute with Canada, in a move that drew swift criticism from Ottawa, which vowed to sue if needed
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This will make American lumber companies happy, especially those that have taken a hit from the decline in newsprint production. However, it will drive up costs for consumers. Get your seatbelt fastened before you head off to HomeDepot. More to the scary point for me is the implicit call that American lumber companies be allowed to cut in national forests. That is the hidden agenda when such cutting is called an unfair advantage for Canadian producers. As he heat us a trade war with one of our closest friends and allies, Mr. Trump moves us away from one friend that has consistently worked with us in foreign affairs. Anybody want to take bets on how the court case will end up? My guess, the US will lose and will end up facing a bigly fine along with reparations. Of course, if Mr. Trump is still in the White House, he'll try to refuse to pay and to settle for pennies on the dollar. IMO, America is becoming the home of the shyster.
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Afghan war costs US $1 trillion, hastening retreat

Afghan war costs US $1 trillion, hastening retreat | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Afghanistan war has cost the U.S. taxpayer nearly $1 trillion and billions more is at stake after involvement officially ends this month.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Whether we blame Bush W or Obama, the simple fact is that a hell of a lot of money has gone down the river under their combined watches. Worse, it apparently has bought nothing either for America or for the people of Afghanistan. Sadly, many people just don't get it; but IMHO constantly spending on military adventurism is about as sensible as allowing our infrastructure to fall apart or our educational system to deteriorate. In other words, this money could have been better spent and in the process good jobs for Americans would have been created. I am not saying that we don't need some military; of course we do, but just as the Roman Army eventually led to the downfall of the republic and just as the British navy couldn't keep the sun from setting on the empire, so too the United States' military is not going to save the American Century. That can only be accomplished by diplomacy and innovation. 
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'I Dreamed Of Africa' Author And Conservationist, Shot In Kenya

'I Dreamed Of Africa' Author And Conservationist, Shot In Kenya | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Kuki Gallmann, the conservationist and author of the book that became a film starring Kim Basinger, was shot Sunday in Kenya. Tensions continue to boil between land owners and cattle herders there.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While it is too early to know and in fact we may never know who shot this renowned conservationist, it is clear that such attacks on conservation are growing in number and brazenness in Kenya. While drought is part of the reason, it is not the only one. Big money has become involved in the raising of cattle. Many of the conservationists and the preserves they run have always allowed local cattle herders to use the protected range as long as it is done with care and the numbers are reasonable. However, with the new business approach to raising cattle for beef, Kenya's traditional herders are being replaced by a different style of irresponsible herding. Just as shortsighted American ranchers developed a grass for our cows at any cost attitude, the African herders want to kill off the wildlife that might eat some of their animals' fodder. Sadly, of all animals the human is the greediest and perhaps the first to destroy its own environment. 
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Trump: 'We are very happy to have Aya back home'

Trump: 'We are very happy to have Aya back home' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
President Donald Trump hailed the return of Aya Hijazi, an Egyptian-American aid worker, in the Oval Office on Friday, telling the American charity worker she showed "great strength" in her ordeal.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While it is always good to have hostages set free, we must remember that the taking of hostages—even under the cover of a criminal charge—is unacceptable. In this instance, as is so often the case, the idea of the foreign government involved was to have a bargaining chip or at least a way to buy-in to the game. "See, we're ready to do business with you," is the message that hostage release implies. But, is that an acceptable message to receive. Should the US or any government not say, "If you hold one of our citizens hostage, we will take one of yours"? I am not suggesting that we go back to the days of extra-territoriality, the days when colonial powers would deny other countries the right to hold and try citizens. But, clearly, in this case, there was no real criminal charge. 

Which brings us to a major problem in the world today and with our thinking in foreign affairs. Governments have become so interdependent and the world so small that stability has become the goal rather than justice and growth of humanity. While stability is a good thing for systems, much better than entropy, it is not a sufficient goal. Perhaps, what we need is an international tribunal that can oversee claims of hostage taking and one with enough teeth to actually make such moves or similar acts such as assassination, no matter by what country, untenable. 

I know the internationalism is frowned upon by many these days, especially among Mr. Trump's supporters, but we may yet need to find a way to have stronger international courts and law enforcement even as we maintain national sovereignty and even an increase in local nationalism against the unification see in the EU or previously in the USSR. 

Sadly, managing the human species is difficult. Once there was the fantasy of a Holy Roman Empire. Then a Pax Britannia, then Universal Communism, then the American century. Will we ever figure it out? 
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Sources: Mattis tells Hill Trump budget won't rebuild military

Sources: Mattis tells Hill Trump budget won't rebuild military | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Defense Secretary James Mattis has privately told Congress the Trump administration's Pentagon budget request isn't sufficient to cover the cost of rebuilding the military as President Donald Trump has vowed to do, four sources familiar with the conversations told CNN.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Thankfully, here's another topic on which Trump will not be fulfilling his campaign promises, on which he has changed his mind. At lest this time, it was a promise to spend recklessly on something of which, IMHO, we have way too many of, weapons.  
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North Korea issues stark warning as US plans next move

North Korea issues stark warning as US plans next move | Upsetment | Scoop.it
North Korea issued a threat after Rex Tillerson said the U.S. was looking at ways to bring pressure to bear on North Korea over its nuclear program.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I still think that North Korea is more interested in selling weapons than in using them, especially since in the end they can't hope to prevail given the absence of food and energy. However, clearly the "Great Leader" will not back down in the face of threats. Our best route is to pressure the Chinese to cut off trade from the Hermit Kingdom. With 80% of all North Korean trade going through China, that would make a real difference. The best way to get China's cooperation is to make it costly for Beijing to not cooperate, both by placing some trade restrictions in place and be pointing out that in the future it may well be more a question of North Korea using those weapons on its neighbor to the north. In addition, China might be enticed by some carrots such as support against Japan in the argument about some islands and even support in its efforts to end an autonomous Taiwanese state (something I really don't want to see happen). Hopefully, somebody with some "bigly" skills will take over this process and make it work. When and if it does, I wonder how amazed the people of North Korea will be to find themselves in the real world. 
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The great dairy trade war that will test President Trump

The great dairy trade war that will test President Trump | Upsetment | Scoop.it
75 family farms, and $150 million, hang in the balance.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The American dairy industry has been overproducing for years, but I will be very sad to see family dairy farms disappear. Growing up in Maine, there was a small farm just across the lake. I remember bringing kids there to pet cows and learn about milk. One day, one of the kids asked the farmer, a man named Berry, what the word was for the cows udders from which he was extracting the warm rich milk. "Don't know what you call them in the city," Mr. Berry said, "but up here we call 'em tits." Anyway, there is something wonderful and homey about farms and farming. I never actually worked on a farm or even lived on one (except for a summer at age 3). However, my love of them has found its way into my writing. Here's a poem I wrote for the Berry's daughter Rheeba Jane:

Rheeba Jane's big tits stood attention
tight beneath her cross-tied blouse,
and we young lads who would be men
worshipped her each time we came.
She was a local farmer's daughter
who smelled of horse and sweat;
and we, all city boys, agreed
she was the prettiest girl we'd me.
"Rheeba Jane," we'd call out to her
whenever we rode past her house;
and she would greet us with a wave
that made those lovely tits stand out. 
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Conservative presidential candidate paints bleak picture of Iran

Conservative presidential candidate paints bleak picture of Iran | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Ebrahim Raisi expressed support for economic policies that led to high inflation in Iran.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I cannot help but wonder if there is an opportunity here for better American-Iranian relations, perhaps through trade and manufacturing. That may seem like a strange notion, but perhaps it is time for the US to reach out and suggest some economic ties. One way would be for American small business—especially those businesses that serve our growing Islamic community—to begin importing Iranian food, especially lamb and goat. How about offering investment in plant to produce products that will be needed in the Middle East, for example getting Carrier or another air-conditioning company to start manufacturing. The US government could push some of our reluctant allies, like Saudi Arabia, to import those air-conditioners which might even help move Sunni-Shia relations. Isn't it time to call in some of our chits to make the world a little better. I want Iran to once again be a friend to America rather than an enemy. The shah is long dead and it is time to work to bury the enmity. 
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Trump says he'll revisit 'horrible' US-South Korea trade deal, demands payment for missile defenses

Trump says he'll revisit 'horrible' US-South Korea trade deal, demands payment for missile defenses | Upsetment | Scoop.it
"I informed South Korea it would be appropriate if they paid. It's a billion-dollar system," Trump said. "It's phenomenal, shoots missiles right out o
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I guess being POTUS is a little more complicated than Mr. Trump figured. First, there is the issue of free trade. Does he really think that tariffs work for the betterment of America? Second, there is the question of mutual defense and who pays for what. I do agree with him that it is time for South Korea to bear some of the cost of its own defense. Providing land is hardly sufficient. However, we can't sell our best defensive weapons, not even to an ally. Of course, this may be an opening salvo for negotiations, but I fear that he doesn't get the process. Meanwhile, in Seoul, his words have consequences that may poison our relationship with another ally. Subtlety, thy name is not Trump. 

My suggestion, negotiate a new defense treaty with clear financial contributions from Korea in return for our presence. Otherwise, we could start removing our personnel and weapons. My guess is that Seoul doesn't want that to happen. 
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White House: Military Preparations 'Underway' for North Korea

White House: Military Preparations 'Underway' for North Korea | Upsetment | Scoop.it
President Trump has determined a course of action for responding to North Korea's continued nuclear missile development program.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
George W. Bush identified an axis of evil, Iraq, Iran, and North Korea, which had to be addressed. Bush attacked Iraq and we know how wonderfully that has gone. Obama negotiated with Iran and while there are certainly issues, things have been going decently and Iran might even become an ally in the fight against ISIS as well as a market for American-built airplanes. So, now is it time for Trump to end up in a military adventure in North Korea? And of course, this time we are dealing with China, a nation that is not about to let our military go unchallenged. I don't see things going well. 
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Violent Extremism Takes Root in Burkina Faso

Violent Extremism Takes Root in Burkina Faso | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Over the last year, al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and Ansarul Islam have sought to turn the northern part of Burkina Faso into a stronghold through which they could potentially build a new alliance with the Islamic State and turn parts of Burkina Faso into a sanctuary for jihadist recruitment and training following ISIS’ losses in Iraq and Syria.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
If American foreign policy was truly on top of things, this is a country where we would be offering economic, educational, and military support and where we would be building an alliance with other countries. This French speaking country which edges the major states of West Africa, especially Nigeria with its oil wealth offers little resistance to an extremist takeover. It is also a way for those extremists to leapfrog over the more stable central African regimes such as Mali. And, Burkina Faso's gold reserves would be a great way to finance the ongoing efforts of extremists. For get just pursuing an active war against Islamic extremism, we must get into the prevention area, just as we would with any malignant disease. 
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Bye bye, Bernie: He’s not fit to captain the Democratic ship if he can’t stop chasing the great white male

Bye bye, Bernie: He’s not fit to captain the Democratic ship if he can’t stop chasing the great white male | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Democratic Party is selling out women and all marginalized groups in favor of Bernie Sanders’ dangerous myths VIDEO
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The real problem I have with Bernie Sanders is not that he isn't inclusive of all the values that progressives hail but that he has not articulated a clear vision for the future of the Democratic Party or the country. While he is clearly a strong supporter of small cities and small business and moral living, these do not make for a coherent whole. One of the reasons that this problem exists for him and for any Democrat is the issue of abortion. There is no issue more divisive in America. Obama skated across the issue by simply saying the underlying theology was above his pay-grade. It was and is. 

Many Democrats would insist that a woman's right to choose is a value that cannot and must not be compromised. Sanders, quite correctly, sees it as an issue to be considered but not one to live or die by. However, it behooves him to come out with a clear statement that supports a woman's right while recognizing those who disagree. He has to find that middle ground. And, any leader for the party must do so. 

Another issue on which the Democrats will need a clear statement is guns. Sanders has been more pro-gun in his career than many Dems, which is an issue for some. The real issue here, however, is that the Republicans have—as with Right to Life and The War on Christianity—defined themselves as the protectors of fundamental American values. This leaves Bernie and any Democrat with the responsibility to identify other basic values that the Republicans are violating. 

Such issues used to be the family farm (long gone, that one) and the small business (but allowing S-Corps to grow has obfuscated that one). Fighting for racial equality is one, the one that Obama best used. However, that threatens many Americans. Universal education is another (except then we run into the religion thing). 

So what should the new American values be, the ones for which Bernie or any leader of the Democratic party must stand? And, who can best articulate those goals? 

Here are a few I would propose: Universal healthcare, universal education with free college and assistance starting careers, less work and more leisure with full income, universal decent housing, universal employment, support for those who cannot live on their own (but with clear supervision), rehabilitative justice, and personal safety for all—especially women, and government protection of the marketplace to make sure that consumers are not being cheated or misled. Innovation, information, education, well-being, and personal freedom should be the marching words of this new party. 

Of course, I am a liberal and a Broody New Englander. My values come, as do most peoples' from my background and experience. Which brings up the next thing about the Democratic party as it exists today. There is an absence of personal involvement. A strong progressive party that emphasizes government in service to the people must be based on the support of the people not on the energy coming from the top. I know with hundreds of millions of Americans it is impossible for a leader to know each and every one of us. However, he should know those who know who know until that chain is connected. It should not be a chain of lobbyists and special interest representatives but a chain of community. 

Anyway, I wish Bernie well, but I don't see him as the savior of the Democrats. Who that might be? I guess we'll have to see if a real leader will step forward. Any suggestions? 
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Watchdog: Delayed testing could add $1B to F-35 program

Watchdog: Delayed testing could add $1B to F-35 program | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Government Accountability Office warned of "cascading F-35 testing delays."
Kenneth Weene's insight:
More planes, more bombs: do we really need more weapons or do we need to step back from reckless military spending and wasteful military engagements? Assuredly, even those who believe we need more and better weapons have to take pause when the overruns and delays mount. By the time the F-35 is deployed, it will have overrun its costs by billions and arrived years late. Before he was elected Mr. Trump called this program "out of control." Now, he wants even "more of this pork sausage, please." How about you? Do you think we should order more F-35s or perhaps start rethinking our defense industry and its boondoggles? 
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Air strikes are not an effective tactic of war, but we keep using them anyway

Air strikes are not an effective tactic of war, but we keep using them anyway | Upsetment | Scoop.it
American military involvement in Afghanistan has been ongoing since 2001, making it the longest foreign war in American history. Maybe it’s because there doesn’t actually seem to be an end to…
Kenneth Weene's insight:
There are three purposes to bombing. The first and most useful is destruction of the enemy's combat capacity. Bombing a convoy, a fleet of ships, or perhaps a naval base is an effective action. The second is destruction of the capacity to wage war, most typically by destroying manufacturing and energy production. During World War II, for example raids were mounted to stop German ballbearing production. Typically, even when factories are totally destroyed as in the city of Dresden, production doesn't come to a grinding halt but quickly resumes even if that has to be in the unlikeliest of locations. The third reason is to terrorize the populace (and the government) of an enemy into capitulation. We know from Nazi attacks on Britain that this can as easily lead to stiffened resistance. Such a terrorist approach can only work when the enemy is already reeling, for example the atomic bombing of Japan at the end of World War II. It also requires a willingness on the part of the attacker to engage in behavior that will be condemned by all, which is why the bombing of Hanoi did not include destroying the dams which would have led to horrific flooding of the North Vietnamese capital. 

So why has bombing become such a prominent part of American strategy? Because it limits danger to American service personnel is one reason. However, perhaps the biggest reason that the American military uses bombs as a first approach is the incredible profit to be made from building planes and making bombs. It is far easier to get congress to support a military methodology that will produce jobs and more jobs, especially when those jobs are spread across congressional districts and of course state lines. 

Does this mean we should scale back our air force? Perhaps. But, more importantly, it means we should question our willingness to go to war, to drop munitions by the tons on other lands. 
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The memory of the Holocaust must be handed down 

The memory of the Holocaust must be handed down  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Sirens wailed across Israel and thousands marched at Auschwitz on Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
As Mr. Trump said in his video message, "The mind cannot fathom the pain, the horror and the loss. Six million Jews, two-thirds of the Jews in Europe, murdered by the Nazi genocide. They were murdered by an evil that words cannot describe and that the human heart cannot bear.” 

Here is a link to my poem about the Holocaust. I hope you'll find it meaningful and will share it. 
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ICELANDIC LANGUAGE AT RISK; ROBOTS, COMPUTERS CAN'T GRASP IT

ICELANDIC LANGUAGE AT RISK; ROBOTS, COMPUTERS CAN'T GRASP IT | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Icelandic ranks among the weakest and least-supported language in terms of digital technology - along with Irish Gaelic, Latvian, Maltese and Lithuanian - according to a report by the Multilingual Europe Technology Alliance assessing 30 European languages.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I loved Iceland when we were there. And, I loved hearing the rhythms and sounds of the language even though I didn't understand it. Of course there were some difficulties with it. For example, the street names were so long that you'd be a block farther before you could finish spelling the name of the street you were crossing. At any rate, I think that the government of Iceland should give grants to support poetry and theatre in their native tongue. Meanwhile, I am considering posting solarfri on my desktop. Don't know what that means? Read the article. 

Speaking of reading, have you checked out Memoirs From the Asylum? 

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In Balkans, a fragile order grows brittle, threatening stability

In Balkans, a fragile order grows brittle, threatening stability | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Yugoslavia's breakup a quarter-century ago unleashed wars that killed about 140,000 people and unleashed deep ethnic hostilities. Today, the region’s carefully calibrated path to recovery hangs in the balance.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Sadly, the only reason that the people of the Balkans are not fighting again is that they are so weary of war. Serbs, Croats, Muslims, Albanians: oh the list of differences among them go on and on. Sadly, both the Turks and Russians have reason to encourage such divisions and the EU is so busy being a bureaucratic nightmare that it is incapable of offering meaningful input but instead sends aid and regulations to those countries that wish to join. What is truly needed? What is the solution? Certainly nobody wants another Tito style dictatorship to create a new Yugoslavia. But what will work? Could a new Balkan Union be created? Could all the players go back to Dayton and explore a confederation that could work? Were I in Washington, that would be my suggestion. Not membership in the European Union, which IMHO is going to fall apart on its own Kafkaesqe petard but a confederation based on shared geography and economics but with guarantees of personal, ethnic, and religious freedoms. 

Of course, nobody would listen to my suggestions because there is nobody left in the State Department to actually think ahead and try to plan a long-term American strategy. That may be the greatest truth of the American century, it has been marked by situational reactions rather than long-term thinking. 
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They're here: photos released of 8 female activists that history almost forgot.

They're here: photos released of 8 female activists that history almost forgot. | Upsetment | Scoop.it

This is Lillian Parker Thomas, a journalist, was a local and correspondent editor for the New York Freeman, and she is believed to have been the first black woman to be a professional theater critic.


. The Library of Congress is releasing new digital images to remind people of these forgotten heroes. 

Kenneth Weene's insight:
They were Black and the were women and they lived in America in the late nineteenth century, but all the prejudice and gender expectations of a hidebound society didn't stop them. 
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Why people have to learn to live with wildfires

Why people have to learn to live with wildfires | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The best way for forests to adapt to climate change is for them to burn.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Much as I love forests, I recognize that wildfires are an integral part of nature. It is at the interface of forest and towns that the issues start. I don't believe in fighting to save isolated homes or homes that have not been properly forest-maintained—thinning, creation of reasonable safe zones, and availability of proper equipment such as water to facilitate defense. I also believe that forest communities should install lightening rods at high points to limit the danger of strike fires and should have clear rules about fire use. We can no longer just say that every house and community must be saved. 

By the way, I drew on my experience fighting fires in Maine to write about the barn fire in Broody New Englander. Have you read it? If you have, you will know that sometimes the fire chief says, "You might as well piss on it." 
Here's the book link:
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