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Congressman's son resigns after voter fraud video

Congressman's son resigns after voter fraud video | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Virginia Democrat Jim Moran's son Patrick steps down from field director job following James O'Keefe undercover video...

 

As reprehensible when it is a Democrat as when it is a Republican. Glad he was pushed out so quickly.

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Jury Awards $38 Million to Family of Maryland Woman Shot by Police - The New York Times

Jury Awards $38 Million to Family of Maryland Woman Shot by Police - The New York Times | Upsetment | Scoop.it
After a standoff, Korryn Gaines was shot several times by a Baltimore County police officer. Her 5-year-old son, lingering nearby, was struck twice by gunfire.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I do not doubt that the police had a warrant to serve. However, they also knew there was a child in the apartment and that the mother was upset and potentially dangerous. Why didn't they call in a negotiator? Why didn't they go with some less aggressive methods? We are talking about a traffic violation. Yes, the boyfriend was also known to have a history of violence, but what kind of judgement suggests that it would be good policing to try to serve both warrants at the same time and to exacerbate the situation into a standoff? I don't know that race was involved in this tragedy, but I do think it shows some poor policing and obviously the jury thought the same thing. 

There is a growing gap between the people of urban America and the police. Not everywhere, but in way too many places. The causes are multiple. One is understaffing, which to an extent is caused by too high pensions and other benefits which make law enforcement too expensive for the tax base, especially in places where the tax base has contracted. Another is the militarization of law enforcement. Giving cops more weapons, such as the infamous little tank here in Maricopa County, Arizona, makes it all to easy for the police to resort to military actions where negotiation and planning could do a better job. Yet another problem is the tendency for every criminal situation to be confabulated with drugs. Sometimes the drugs are a real factor, but often they are more an excuse for violence than a reality, especially since drug involvement allows the police to confiscate property. Race, too, is a factor especially when there is underrepresentation of Blacks and Hispanics on a local force. Next, there is the terrible lack of mental health services which allows so many more people who should be being helped to end up facing the legal system instead. Finally, of course, there is not only the proliferation of guns but also the hyping of guns in our society. 

Sadly, in this case a hapless woman and her five-year-old son were the victims of that going gap. Hopefully, this sizable financial reward will make the Baltimore County police a bit more careful in how they approach situations. One positive change they could make is to train more negotiators and another is, of course, to use more body cameras so that the individual cops don't feel quite so empowered to act as dispensers of justice. 

By the way, while I do support the police, especially the vast majority who do their jobs with care and concern, I wonder how many Americans know that sanitation workers are far more likely to be hurt in the line of duty than police officers. Not to say that cops don't deserve our concern, but we often forget how hard working all our civil servants are. 
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In response to Florida school shooting, President of the United States gives vacuous advice. Meanwhile the questions of gun violence and mental health need to be addressed. 

In response to Florida school shooting, President of the United States gives vacuous advice. Meanwhile the questions of gun violence and mental health need to be addressed.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
"So many signs that the Florida shooter was mentally disturbed, even expelled from school for bad and erratic behavior. Neighbors and classmates knew he was a big problem. Must always report such instances to authorities, again and again!" Donald Trump
Kenneth Weene's insight:
After the 18th school shooting in this young year and one of the deadliest mass killings in American history, with 17 youngsters lying in the morgue instead of studying history, math, science, and literature, the President of the United States—using a tweet—rose to address the issue of school violence and guns. His advice, if we see somebody acting strangely, we should contact the authorities over and over. 

This seems particularly vacuous since the perpetrator in this instance was well-known to the authorities. In fact, he had been suspended from school because of his unacceptable and obviously strange behavior. Indeed, apparently he was also known to the police. So, in other words, Mr. Trump has suggested that people fart into the wind. Oh, he did suggest that we keep reporting such behavior. Right, multiple farting will work better. 

I don't have any simple answers. I don't want to suggest that guns be banned. I do, however, have to wonder how this rather disturbed youngster was able to arm himself for his personal holocaust. He may have obtained those weapons legally. Which does support that we should have better screening for gun purchases. Can we really afford the seriously disturbed having access to weapons?

However, the far bigger issue is how could this young man have been helped. Can we offer better mental health service to such an angry youngster? Should youngsters who are unable to function within the system be placed in protective custody at least until their brains have matured. 

I have not yet read what happened to his biological parents. I do know that his adoptive parents had recently died. However, I get the impression that his problems preceded their deaths. Could the system have worked better? Should those adoptive parents been given more support? 

These are all questions that we as a nation should be struggling to answer, especially after a young person attacks a school with such violence. Somehow, a tweet about telling the authorities just doesn't cut the mustard, the cheese maybe, but not the mustard. 
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US concerns over EU defence pact cloud NATO talks which are already tense because of differences between Washington and Ankara over Syria. 

US concerns over EU defence pact cloud NATO talks which are already tense because of differences between Washington and Ankara over Syria.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
US Secretary for Defense James Mattis joined NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg for talks with NATO defence ministers
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Clearly, it makes sense for the Europeans to develop their own centralized military cooperation separate from NATO. For one thing, the US has shown that it doesn't play that well with others, tending to try to browbeat and insult them. Besides, why would the Europeans want to allow Washington the central spot in determining their defense and planning? As for Turkey, it surprises me that the Eisenhower years' connection between America and Turkey has worked this long. Realistically, it makes sense for Turkey to connect more with Russia and Iran than with America, especially now that the US has meddled in Iraq. Syria is just the icing on that cake. So, will Turkey continue to see herself as part of Europe or not? That's the key question. Which brings up Ukraine. While I think the US (and Europe with our leadership) should have made it clear that they were not going to support Ukraine's breaking out of the Russian sphere of influence, we managed to do worse by our lukewarm support of Kiev. The result is that nobody is prepared to trust the American position. 

Oh, just to make clear, bad American foreign policy is not something new to this administration. We really have accomplished more and more mistakes since Nixon. And then there were the Dulles years. Seriously, we aren't very good at the great games. 

The up side to this debacle is that maybe we can pull back from our militaristic positions and cut back on military spending. 
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Some reflections on terrorism.

Some reflections on terrorism. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Recently I saw a social media post that raised the idea that Pakistan is the center of terrorism in the world. That got me thinking about terrorism. Here are some of my thoughts. I'd love to read your comments.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Recently I saw a social media post that raised the idea that Pakistan is the center of terrorism in the world. That got me thinking about terrorism. Here are some of my thoughts. I'd love to read your comments. 

Usually terrorism is based in historical causes for anger and having few options in today. While Islam gives a rationale for death as a martyr, it is not the cause of terrorism. Think back before World War 1 and the anarchists. Think back before World War 2 and the communists. Think back before the American Civil War and Kansas to say nothing of John Brown. 

 Now Pakistan has people who have been forced to move there either from India or Afghanistan because of the British raj and its end. So, historical anger. Then they have an economy that offers little for many. Worse, they see the opportunities they want nearby, in Kashmir for one but also in reuniting their homeland for the Pashtun.

 However, the Pakistani militants are relatively uninvolved in the terrorism of Africa. Not to say that once you have created a terrorist wave it won't spread, but most of the terrorists in Africa seem to be more home-grown, primarily relying on places like Pakistan for training and perhaps some theological support. (Just as the Jewish terrorists of 1946-8 Palestine were relying on Americans for help.) 

 Of course, the theology of terrorism, its justifications, no matter in what place or religion, has intellectual founders. For Islam, most of them have been from Saudi Arabia and Egypt with a separate stream from the Shia of Iran. So, does that make Riyadh and Cairo the Vienna and Berlin of today?  Seriously, remember that Karl Marx spent his career in the royal library. Lenin visited London, too. So maybe that was the real core of the Communist terrorism.  

Of course, today's world makes it much easier to spread your terrorism around. Easier to find supporters using mass and social media and easier to obtain weapons that will really hurt others. 

Anyway, if we stop trying to assign blame and start trying to find ways to reduce anger and provide options the world might be a better place. Again, your comments are welcome. 
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A Los Angeles teenager killed by deputies, a missing gun and community rage. Once again a Black youth dies at the hands of the police. Sorry, but Black Lives have to Matter and that means such even...

A Los Angeles teenager killed by deputies, a missing gun and community rage. Once again a Black youth dies at the hands of the police. Sorry, but Black Lives have to Matter and that means such even... | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An emergency meeting called after the death of 16-year-old Anthony Weber in a shooting by L.A. County sheriff's deputies did little to quell the community's anger. Deputies say they saw a gun before opening fire; it hasn't been found.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Once again, Los Angeles is in the middle of outrage over the death of a young Black man at the hands of the police. Was there a gun? We probably will never know. There were no cop cameras used. In fact, we'll never know if the dead teen was the one who threatened the person who called the cops. It's a bit hard to believe that the real perpetrator was still around by the time the cops arrived. What we do know is that there are too many times that young Black men die at the end of police weapons without clear investigation. Hopefully, the political powers in LA will get behind a full and thorough investigation and that the truth will come out. Until there is true police accountability, there will never be a solution to gang violence and Black crime in America. 

Did you know that one of the stories in Tales From the Dew Drop Inne is about police prejudice? Check the book out at https://www.amazon.com/Tales-Drop-Inne-Kenneth-Weene-ebook/dp/B0070FZBQQ/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8 
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Tennessee Sheriff Said 'I Love This Shit' After Ordering Deputies To Shoot Suspect: Video

Tennessee Sheriff Said 'I Love This Shit' After Ordering Deputies To Shoot Suspect: Video | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Sheriff Oddie Shoupe told officers that he would rather they use deadly force than risk damaging patrol cars, according to bodycam footage.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This is hillbilly to the extreme. If you look at the video of what the White County cops were doing before this idiot told them to shoot Mr. Dial, it's straight out of Smokey and the Bandit. No responsible law enforcement department would have been responding that way. As for the sheriff, well we can only hope they'll lock his ass up. The only positive thing to me in this whole story is that it gives me an excuse to share this story of mine. Hope you take time to watch Dark Wantin': https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F0daoEy3MQQ&t=10s ;
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Donald Trump's Military Parade Likely a Logistical Nightmare Even If It is A Marketing Brainstorm. 

Donald Trump's Military Parade Likely a Logistical Nightmare Even If It is A Marketing Brainstorm.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Regardless of how large the parade will be, the undertaking poses a logistical challenge that will almost certainly cost millions of dollars
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While this may be a marketing event for our military manufacturers—as if they needed help marketing ways to kill others, it would be incredibly costly. Worse, since it is a celebration of militarism per se and not of success in a war, even if done on July 4th, this is a step in a direction that fear the US is all to ready to travel. We don't need to be celebrating our capacity to conquer, control, and kill but rather our capacity to heal, educate, are raise-up others. This is what we get for letting a military school cadet have sway over those who have actually fought, what we get for letting a plutocrat take the reins instead of a statesman. 

Of course, if this parade does take place, it will be well-attended. The question is, will it be successful or will there be more snafus and costs than sales and happiness created? One thing really bothers me; it would only take one terrorist incident or even a major accident—say a helicopter going down—to turn this into a national tragedy. 

I honestly think we have dumbness here, unmitigated stupidity. Then if marketing is always the goal and ratings the ultimate metric, we should end up reaching all the way down to idiocy. 
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2015 letter belies pope’s claim of ignorance on Chilean clergy abuse - The Boston Globe

2015 letter belies pope’s claim of ignorance on Chilean clergy abuse - The Boston Globe | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Francis received a victim’s letter that graphically detailed how a priest sexually abused him and how other Chilean clergy ignored it
Kenneth Weene's insight:
A papacy that seemed to offer hope for the Catholic church is foundering on sex abuse by priests. This time in Chile? It isn't so surprising that there was sexual abuse in that country. I would guess there is no place in the world where there hasn't been some abuse just as there probably is nowhere in the world where there haven't been some great priests who served their god and their church with courage and love. Rather, the surprise is that once again the Church is covering up what is known, making believe that somehow the Vatican just didn't know. 

Let me make something clear, pedophilia is to be found everywhere. While many clergy, teachers, and youth leaders would never touch a child inappropriately, there are always going to be a few who gravitate to such vocations just for the opportunity to prey on the young. Also, while there are some who historically have hidden from their homosexual impulses by seeking celibacy in the church, there are some who have used it as a place to find partners. Finally, even with those priests who have taken a vow of celibacy despite their attraction to adult women, there will be some who cannot keep that vow just as some—many—married adults cannot keep their vows. Human nature is never so simple as to preclude "sin". 

However, of all sins, the worst is to close one's eyes and then say I cannot see the world. 
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Outspoken Nazi Set to Win Republican Nomination in Illinois Congressional Race

Outspoken Nazi Set to Win Republican Nomination in Illinois Congressional Race | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Arthur Jones is running to oppose “organized world Jewry.”
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Once again the Grand Old Party is doing itself proud. While the Democratic party may be lacking in ethics and still being led by the same old-same old; at least they are not the party of hate and concentration camps. I'm sure Ike, Ford, and even Nixon are turning over in their graves. As for George W. Bush, who bravely served in World War 2, I hope this doesn't piece of shit doesn't give the man a stroke. For my part, I wonder how long it will take before the American people wise up, or are we doomed to finding our way to the bottom before we can start turning things around? Sadness overwhelms me. Years ago I met Ike and Barry Goldwater, two great Republicans. I started my political life a Republican. Now, that party is frequently making me sick. So sad.  
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Outcry over 'mutilated' Kurdish fighter in Syria. Can humankind overcome the forces of hate and replace them with reason and justice?

Outcry over 'mutilated' Kurdish fighter in Syria. Can humankind overcome the forces of hate and replace them with reason and justice? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Kurds in Syria accuse Turkey-backed rebels of dismembering the body of a woman they killed.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This is the kind of atrocity that reminds us how horrible the human animal can be. Turkish, Syrian, or Kurd, there is no excuse for barbarism other than the capacity for hatred that we try to overcome in order to be civilized. I see a re-ermergence of such barbarism in the modern world. It lies just around the corner in the strife between Israelis and Palestinians. Assuredly, it is in Myanmar and in Afghanistan. And, sadly it is re-emerging in much of Europe. Don't let's start on Central America or the treatment of tribal communities in say the Amazon. Then there are the inter-tribal conflicts of Africa. Then, too, there is the growing level of hate and othering here in The USA. How many Americans are chomping at the bit to attack Muslims or Mexicans. BUT, on the other hand and equally important and perhaps more widely spread are those of us who abhor such barbarism, not just when directed at women and children but at anyone. However, the villains will win if we do not speak out, if we do not insist on a better way. Hopefully, all of us who believe in decency can find our voices and our political force to say clearly that humankind most overcome the forces of hate and replace them not with some unrealistic expectation of love but with reason and justice. War is not healthy, not for its victims and not for our world. 
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India unveils landmark healthcare scheme to benefit almost half a billion poor. 

India unveils landmark healthcare scheme to benefit almost half a billion poor.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The government said it will benefit around 500 million poor people and will "be the world's largest".
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Even India with its vast population, huge numbers of poor—including many rural poor—is moving towards universal healthcare. Then we have the United States, where our current administration is dedicated to ending Obamacare, which is far less than a plan for universal care. Does the U.S. know something the rest of the developed and developing world doesn't? I dint think so. However, unlike the political systems in other countries, ours has come to be more about staying in the power game by raising huge donations than about actually serving the people. Isn't it time to recognize that the real problem with American healthcare is our failure as a nation to recognize the needs of people ahead of the needs of power and money? 

I wonder if it isn't time to rethink our system, perhaps to rewrite the constitution. If we don't, will the greatness of America continue or will the 21st century mark the end of our nation's dream? One thing is for sure, the greatest political issues of today are—as they always have been—about the freedoms and wellbeing of the individual citizenry. In the end it is the blood of the yeoman that waters the sturdy tree of national life and that of the tyrant that waters the seeds of revolutions. 

Will America return to its roots as a democratic nation serving its people or will it continue to churn full-steam ahead until we founder on the reef of outrage? 
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Man labeled 'person of interest' in search warrants says he didn't detect anything wrong with Vegas shooter. This raises questions about how we deal with identities and how we deal with a sense of ...

Man labeled 'person of interest' in search warrants says he didn't detect anything wrong with Vegas shooter. This raises questions about how we deal with identities and how we deal with a sense of ... | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Man mistakenly outed in unsealed search warrant relating to Las Vegas mass shooter Stephen Paddock tells CBS he didn't detect anything wrong with the man when selling him ammunition.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
First, I don't think that Douglas Haig did anything wrong. Still, this entire story brings up an issue, the redacting of names when releasing information to the press. In my view, the very secretiveness with which information is provided to the press encourages conspiracy theories and a tendency for reporters to turn barracuda whenever any name is mentioned. Honestly, Mr. Haig's story is neither helpful or informative other than to perhaps start a movement to limit ammunition sales, and we know how far that would go. 

The second thing, which is striking, is Mr. Haig's decision to give up his business because he personally apparently feels some responsibility for not catching on to Stephen Paddock's lethal madness. How many of us would have a similar level of guilt were we to somehow unintentionally facilitate such an act of horror? I honestly feel sorry for Mr. Haig and for everyone who failed to somehow magically stop Paddock. 

I wonder what I would have picked up had I met the perpetrator. And, I wonder how I would have reacted after the fact, after learning of the horror I might have been able to help stop. 

How about you? Ever deal with somebody like Paddock? Ever have to deal with that kind of guilt about what you missed?
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With over 40 million living in poverty, America has a problem. A photo essay of "Inside the Poorest Towns in America".

With over 40 million living in poverty, America has a problem. A photo essay of "Inside the Poorest Towns in America". | Upsetment | Scoop.it
More than 40 million Americans live below the poverty line - these haunting photos by Matt Black capture life below the poverty line.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
No, it isn't just rural poverty. Tampa, Savanah, Birmingham are some of the places with high levels of poverty represented in this powerful essay. And, it isn't just the South. The Dakotas and Minnesota are in there. While Matt Black didn't visit the entire country, he got enough of it to make it quite clear that poverty in America is real. What are we doing as a nation to end that problem? Not much. Whether we are talking about the vestiges of segregation and the reservation system or the decline of the family farm, or the loss of manufacturing jobs and mining jobs, quite simply lots of Americans or hurting. As the stock market booms and the rich get even wealthier, suffering is rampant. Worse, nobody from anywhere on the political spectrum is addressing the problem. Some may be offering bandaids for specific symptoms, but the overall problem? No way. 

What should we as a nation be doing? Certainly, education is important. Providing social support and direct counseling may be a second direction. Encouraging birth control where needed is a third. And, of course, creating jobs is crucial. What those jobs might be is still open to discovery. What I know is that they won't be the result of trickle-down economics because they won't be about smart investing but rather about investing in humanity. 

One thing I do know is that as long as politicians can tell people that they are better in some way than some other group, the poor will be manipulated into voting and acting against their own interests. We need a politician who is willing to speak to the possibilities of a better life for all without damning those who are successful or trying to unreasonably confiscate their wealth. We cannot make a "communist" utopia, because we need the best and brightest to feel that they will get ahead. Social justice doesn't mean simple equality in which everyone gets what they need and gives what they can. Rather, it requires that suffering and misery are overcome while the true contributors are well rewarded. 

Sadly, neither of our major political parties comes even close to offering a bath to social justice. 



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Focus on Dreamers breeds resentment from other immigrants here illegally

Focus on Dreamers breeds resentment from other immigrants here illegally | Upsetment | Scoop.it
For months the immigration debate has focused on DACA recipients—arguably seen as the most deserving and sympathetic of immigrants. At the same time, there are millions left out of the conversation. Many feel largely forgotten as the Trump administration has characterized them as criminals.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While I believe that worker visas should be open to any who are prepared to work and contribute—even those who have come here illegally—I don't believe that citizenship should be grandfathered in for everyone. The Dreamers didn't have a choice. They didn't know they were breaking the law. In most cases, they grew up thinking they were Americans. To force them to leave would be cruel. Indeed, to not consider them as one with us would be, IMO, wrong. 

I think that anyone who tries to equate the Dreamers and those who came here on their own and knowing that it was illegal is trying to distort the facts. Such conflating of issues makes it all the harder to find good solutions to problems. 

Similarly, the future of the Dreamers has nothing to do with chain immigration, a wall, or changing quotas. Each of those issues should be dealt with in turn, as should issues around granting sanctuary, temporary or permanent and the issue of citizenship for babies born in this country, an issue which really has its roots in slavery and the Civil War. If congress were to address more issues separately and clearly, it could accomplish a lot more. Even more importantly, we the voters could have clearer notions of what our representatives stand for. 

Of course, one problem is that we don't get enough opportunity to make our wishes clear, especially when our individual donations are dwarfed by those from businesses. Ah, but that brings up a whole new area of needed change. Have I mentioned that I want a new, a third party, that will represent the common sense and insight of the great majority of Americans? 
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Trump’s Lawyer Says He Paid Stormy Daniels Out Of His Own Pocket – The American Burlesque continues.

Trump’s Lawyer Says He Paid Stormy Daniels Out Of His Own Pocket – The American Burlesque continues. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Michael Cohen, the longtime lawyer for President Donald Trump, said on Tuesday that he paid $130,000 to porn sta
Kenneth Weene's insight:
So for undisclosed reasons he paid out $130K to a porn star who then changed her story. Nothing to see here folks, except maybe some bare-assed crappola. In this burlesque, the banana republic of Amerika slips on its peel and the rest of the world peals with laughter. 

At any rate, is that the face of a shyster or a concerned citizen? LOL.
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White House says Trump 'shocked' by allegations of abuse against aides. 

White House says Trump 'shocked' by allegations of abuse against aides.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
White House advisor Kellyanne Conway, pictured as Donald Trump met reporters in the Oval Office on February 9, 2018, said the president was "shocked" by abuse allegations against two aides
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I keep wondering what is wrong with this White House. Who is vetting the staff appointments? Hey, this isn't tryouts for the Apprentice its the nerve center of our country. Seriously, if the Obama White House had had a similar stream of ineptitude and crassness, who among us would not have been screaming our outrage? There is something rotten in the state of Trump and it's time we were all demanding a proper housecleaning. 

Meanwhile, while I understand that Mr. Trump doesn't want to appear disloyal to his staff, it is past time for him to make it clear that he won't tolerate abusers in his administration. I mean he could at least tweet about it instead of saying that it's unfair to those who are identified as abusive. While the allegations of the ex-wife of David Sorenson are uncorroborated, there is little doubt that Rob Porter was physically abusive of both his ex-wives. And, let's be clear, that wasn't so hard to find out. 
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Israel warns Iran, Syria 'playing with fire' as fighter jet crashes during airstrikes

Israel warns Iran, Syria 'playing with fire' as fighter jet crashes during airstrikes | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Israeli military said the pilots likely ejected from their F-16 aircraft due to Syrian anti-aircraft missiles but said it was unclear whether their war plane was hit.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This is worrisome because the last thing the people of Syria need is another conflict raging within the borders of their country. Of course, much of Iranian intention has less to do with Israel, which is capable of wreaking horrible destruction on Iran in case of open war—a war that would end up in mutual destruction—then it has to do with Iran's ongoing efforts to find common cause with those Sunni Muslims who are willing to break from Saudi Arabia's religious influence, which most notably means the Palestinians, some of the Sunni in Libya, and perhaps in North Africa. Of course the Iranian presence in Syria also reflects Tehran's desire to get a better relationship with both Turkey and Russia. 

How should the US and her allies respond to this? Obviously, the answer has to lie in diplomacy not in military threats. The alliance with Israel is already pretty strong and Tel Aviv doesn't want American planes stationed there, especially not those with nuclear bombs. Better to have them held at the ready far away. So, can we find ways to reach out to Iran, Turkey, and maybe even Russia to make them aware that Iran's endgame in the Muslim world is potentially self-defeating? Maybe if we push on Saudi Arabia to hold out an olive branch and to rein in its own extremists. 

In the end, the best we can all hope for is the extreme Islam will be reduced in influence by growing economic opportunities, the love of self-expression and political freedom, and the desire to see a world at peace. 

Hey, I can hope. 
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Ugandans suspended over 'refugee scam'. Consider the sheer size of the refugee problem in the world today. What are we to do?

Ugandans suspended over 'refugee scam'. Consider the sheer size of the refugee problem in the world today. What are we to do? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
In 2016, Uganda registered more refugees than any other country, mostly coming from South Sudan.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
As you probably know, I recently worked on the memoir of a friend from South Sudan. One of the things I learned was that over-counting of refugees was one of the ways that rebel organizations can raise money for arms and supplies. So, I am not surprised to hear that this is taking place in Uganda. I just wonder who the beneficiaries are and why the whistle was blown. 

Meanwhile the estimates are over 1.4 million refugees in that country, which is an enormous number, equal to about 3% of the countries population. 

Here are some of the key and very disturbing figures about refugees around the world. 

2.4 million South Sudan refugees and asylum seekers have fled the country since  2013 

5.5 million Syrian refugees are currently registered - the UN began tracking their numbers in 2012 

More than 647,000 Rohingya refugees have fled from Myanmar (Burma) to Bangladesh since August 2017 In 2016 and 2017, 

486,140 migrants crossed the Mediterranean sea to enter Europe, and 6,989 died in the attempt.

And, of course, we have to add those fleeing Venezuela and the Central American counties. 

The sheer humanity of the problem overwhelms those of us with a conscience. What kind of animals have we humans become? So many people feeling that they have no choice but to flee their homes.  

Meanwhile, here is a good recap of America's role in giving a home to those fleeing war and persecution. 

Clearly, we cannot give a home to all in need, but what are we to do? Perhaps the world needs to find new ways to force governments to treat their peoples decently. Perhaps instead of selling arms and fostering wars, the US should be using our might to help other countries develop and to find better solutions. Ah, if only we lived in a perfect world. 
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Bakersfield, California baker who turned away lesbian couple wins court ruling. Are wedding cakes art or commerce?

Bakersfield, California baker who turned away lesbian couple wins court ruling. Are wedding cakes art or commerce? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
As the U.S. Supreme Court ponders a baker's refusal to prepare a wedding cake for a gay couple, a California judge has ruled that the owner of a Bakersfield bakery had a free-speech right to turn away a lesbian couple who wanted a cake to celebrate their marriage.

A wedding cake, even one without an inscription, "is an artistic expression by the person making it," Kern County Superior Court Judge David Lampe said Monday in a ruling denying a state agency's request to require the bakery owner, Cathy Miller, to comply with California's antidiscrimination law.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Now we may get to some fancy legal arguments about what is and is not artistic expression. If I ask a baker to create a new cake design, that I can see is artistic expression. If, however, I pick a design from their book, would that be protected as artistic or is it now a piece of merchandise? Did the lesbian couple ask the baker to create something or simply reproduce an established design? If the latter, then are cake designs the property of the baker? How does that design become property? What happens if the same lesbian couple gets a design from another baker and orders it from this one? Meanwhile, if you live in Bakersfield, California, please take time to not shop in Cathy Miller's bakery. Please take time to tell her that America is not about bigotry, not even if it's supposedly based on God's will. 

For my part, I would never shop at any store that refused service to anyone based on race, gender, sexual preference, ethnicity, religion, or the like. And, no, that doesn't mean that restaurants have to stop serving bacon or other similar rules. Customers have the right to not shop in a store, but the store doesn't have to right to refuse service. It isn't the same thing. 

By the way, I would probably not go to the wedding of anybody who had the bad taste to serve a cake that looked like the one accompanying this story. Seriously over-decorated and chintzy. Life's too short to eat bad cake or to read bad books. 

Speaking of books, and I try to do that often, have you checked out this great website? http://www.kennethweene.com 
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Pentagon mistakenly labels Taiwan as part of China in nuclear report. Also makes mistakes with Korea and Russia. New ways for the military to waste our money.

Pentagon mistakenly labels Taiwan as part of China in nuclear report. Also makes mistakes with Korea and Russia. New ways for the military to waste our money. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The US Defense Department was forced to correct several mistakes in its Nuclear Posture Review after an initial version of the report released last week labeled Taiwan as part of China and included the disputed Kuril islands in a chart depicting Russia.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While these three mistakes may be called innocent errors, the simple fact is they speak to the incompetence of the Pentagon. We aren't talking about minor errors but errors about major policy topics. For example, who at the Pentagon doesn't know that North Korea and South Korea aren't just different governments but that we oppose the one and support the other? Seriously, is this what we are paying for in Washington? And Taiwan? Ike and Nixon must be rolling over in their graves. 

I am not going to blame Mr. Trump of Secretary Mattis for this screw-up. Clearly, this was a mistake at a lower level. Still, we do have to wonder about how the Pentagon is being mis-managed. 
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Donald Trump Attacks Democrats Not Clapping At State Of The Union As 'Treasonous'

Donald Trump Attacks Democrats Not Clapping At State Of The Union As 'Treasonous' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
At a jobs event in Ohio, Trump went full campaign mode, delivering a speech aimed directly at his base.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I am sure that Mr. Trump was at least to some degree going tongue-in-cheek here. However, the very thought that we Americans might be expected to applaud (salute) a supreme leader or be considered traitors sends shivers down my back. Our history has always honored the right to oppose. I came of mature political age during Vietnam and the Civil Rights movement. I revere those who fought against the system for the well-being of us all and of our nation. While I abhor the thought of a member of congress shouting "Liar" or the like at any POTUS delivering their State of the Union, I certainly don't expect the opposition party to applaud that POTUS or those policies and positions with which they disagree. 

As for kneeling for that song, well I've made my position known many times. One question I would love to have in a survey of veterans, "Do you think it an insult to your service in the military for somebody to kneel during the singing of the Star Spangled Banner?" I think we'd find that many, perhaps a majority, veterans don't care or support such protest. If you are a veteran, please tell me your thoughts. 

By the way, for full disclosure: I didn't serve. 4-F.  I will freely admit that I opposed the war in Vietnam and did take part in some protesting of it. I also was against nuclear weapons development and for civil rights. Not a big rabble rouser, but I tried to do my part. Since that time, I honestly think that the U.S. military has done more harm in the world than good. However, I would have been willing to serve in the Balkans to help stop that ugly war. And, I think the military has done some wonderful things to help in times of crisis around the world. On the other hand, we have Afghanistan, Grenada, Iraq (twice) and you get the idea. 

Which brings us to a second question: Obviously, we can't pick and choose which laws we want to obey. However, should people have the option of not taking part in a war with which they disagree? If the lesson of Vietnam is to be learned, the answer is clearly yes. Again, I wonder what my friends who are veterans think about that one.
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'We Weren't Prepared for This.' Inside the Accidental Liberation of a Concentration Camp: A personal story of the end of World War 2 and the discovery of the Holocaust and the extent of the hate.

'We Weren't Prepared for This.' Inside the Accidental Liberation of a Concentration Camp: A personal story of the end of World War 2 and the discovery of the Holocaust and the extent of the hate. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A Holocaust survivor recently reunited with a US soldier who help liberate the concentration camp in which he was held. This is their story.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I know that there are still some Holocaust Deniers out there, so perhaps this personal story will help them to know the truth. I know that there are also those who do not care how many Jews died or how many Romany, gays, Communists, mentally handicapped, or even believing Christians died. For them I can do nothing but pray—as if that accomplishes anything. BUT, hopefully reading this story will awaken one compassionate soul and rouse that person to stand against the kind of evil of which we humans are capable. It is for that person I share the link to this story from Time Magazine. 

Of course, I was just a toddler when these horrors were unfolding. I have often wondered if as the news of them came to America they were the impetus for my mother's over-protectiveness. Was fear of such Nazi realities why she tried to keep me locked on a porch safe from the rest of the world? Perhaps or perhaps she was just meshuge. At any rate, I think that isolation helped to produce my sense of poetry. Yeah, I learned to talk to myself. 

At any rate, I did write a poem about the Holocaust that I think worthy of sharing. I hope you'll take the time to read it. 
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Opinion | Early Immigrants Weren't Morally Superior. We Just Had Different Laws. Just what has changed?

Opinion | Early Immigrants Weren't Morally Superior. We Just Had Different Laws. Just what has changed? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Bill Clinton signed a law that elevated a border crossing into an unforgivable sin, deporting the same people who used to get green cards.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I thought this an excellent essay from the side of open immigration. I do have to say, I don't fully agree with it simply because the world has changed a lot since Ms. Hong's great-granparents and my grandparents came to this country. The biggest change is that it's a lot easier for people to get here. Back then, the very journey was a test of resolve and ingenuity. Also, while there was no green card system, many were turned away at Ellis Island because of health and other issues, including political. For another thing, while Mexico has always had problems, back then there were fewer jobs just north of the border. So, no, I don't believe in a simple policy of forgiveness if an undocumented person has lived here for seven years. However, I do believe that work visas should be freely available and that those who come and hold jobs over years should have a chance to become citizens based on a clear contribution to the national economy and safety. 

My first published novel, Widow's Walk, is about the kind of people  to whom I would want to give citizenship, people like Ms. Hong's forebears, hardworking, honest, and—yes—every bit as troubled and confused as the rest of us. 

What is your position on immigration? 

Check out Widow's Walk and my other books at
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The FDA Is Cracking Down on Imodium and Other Anti-Diarrhea Medicine Because of the Opioid Epidemic

The FDA Is Cracking Down on Imodium and Other Anti-Diarrhea Medicine Because of the Opioid Epidemic | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The request comes amid a spike in overdoses from large doses of the over-the-counter drugs, which contain a small amount of an opioid.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I suppose there are addicts who are so desperate that they would overdose on anti-diarrhea medicines with their small levels of opioids.. However, trying to control the packaging of over-the-counter medications hardly seems a rational government policy given how many ways an addict can find opioids. 

Perhaps it is time to rethink. My approach would be to legalize opioid use and limit the number of times a person can receive a blocker like Naltrexone to reverse a lethal dose. I don't think we should constantly be reviving people who cannot resist self-destruction. In that way, I am very much the libertarian. 

To me, addiction is both a serious health problem and a test of our national capacity to help one another in a meaningful way. There may be some we cannot help. How sad. But, trying to control over-the-counter medications suggests that we are a society that has become simply foolish and in need of big brother constantly watching us. When we are children, we need that kind of supervision, so child-proofing bottles makes sense. However, as adults, we should get to make those decisions for ourselves. 

One of the strangest things for me is that we live in a country in which the government wants to manage personal behavior while touting freedom. I suppose that's true of all governments to some degree, but for all my liberal ideology, I personally am also a strong libertarian. Let's just say, as long as personal liberty doesn't hurt others. I read Isaiah Berlin's Two Concepts of Liberty in a social philosophy course in college and it influenced me greatly. Freedom brings responsibility, but it is still essential to liberty. 

Funny, how seldom I use Imodium but how passionately I feel about it. Most people just don't seem to give a shit. 
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Crutches, tears humanize North Korean threat in Trump speech. Personally, I think we have enough sins in our own country. Time to look in the mirror instead of condemning Pyongyang. 

Crutches, tears humanize North Korean threat in Trump speech. Personally, I think we have enough sins in our own country. Time to look in the mirror instead of condemning Pyongyang.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump put a human face on the threat posed by North Korea in his State of the Union address Tuesday, sharing the powerful story of a defector now living in South Korea and the pain of parents who lost their child after his imprisonment.
In one of the most emotional moments of the evening, legislators cheered as defector Ji Seong-ho waved aloft the crutches he had used to escape North Korea after a train ran over his limbs.
Trump, who often fills his public remarks with superlatives about himself, instead put the spotlight Tuesday on the guests his team had invited to sit in the gallery with first lady Melania Trump.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
We can all agree that the regime in Pyongyang is nasty, even brutish. We can all agree that many people in North Korea are suffering terribly. What has this man's suffering to do with our foreign policy? We have over 40 million Americans living in poverty. Does that mean Canada or some other more enlightened country, say the Norwegians for starters, should invade us? This man, however his suffering, is not a casus belli, it isn't even a reason for the North Koreans to have a revolution. It is just a sad story of what extreme poverty does to people, just as the extreme poverty of the underclass of Americans has destroyed so many of their lives. Yes, this man had more gumption than most, more than most of those 40 million. However, were he not escaped across the 38th parallel, would Mr. Trump of any of the powerful in Washington care one wit about him? I think not.

How about we find a way to articulate positive goals in foreign policy, ways to make the world better rather than looking for villains. If we must do the latter, then perhaps we need to look in the mirror. Let's look at the corruption that is us. 

One place to start, of course, is by reading Times To Try the Soul of Man. https://www.amazon.com/Times-Try-Soul-Kenneth-Weene-ebook/dp/B00VYSQ1VO/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
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