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

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

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

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New Trump Office Will Protect 'Conscience' Rights of Doctors. Freedom vs Fairness and American dilemma. 

New Trump Office Will Protect 'Conscience' Rights of Doctors. Freedom vs Fairness and American dilemma.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The Trump administration announced a new federal office to protect medical providers refusing procedures on moral or religious grounds
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Recently a friend of mine said our country is divided between those who believe in freedom and those who believe in fairness. In this case, the freedom is that to refuse professional services to others based on religious beliefs. The fairness is the right to have services available to one regardless of other qualities of the individual such as sexual orientation or lifestyle. In a world in which there are unlimited options, it would clearly be easier to allow the provider that freedom of choice. Heck, the gay person in need of medical care can go to the clinic next door. But, there isn't always a clinic next door. Then what? 

Perhaps more importantly, what about the valuing of all citizens and their right to make free choices in the marketplace. If that doctor can refuse to treat a gay person, are we not back to the baker who doesn't want to bake a wedding cake for the lesbian couple or what about the landlord who doesn't want to rent to a black? 

Perhaps the real problem is that America should not be about a dichotomy between freedom and fairness but rather about the possibility of being. Clearly, we cannot have endless freedom. We need social order and structure. Clearly, we cannot have endless fairness. In the end one person's rights will butt against those of another; one's wants with another's. Perhaps we need to ask ourselves what will allow us to have the greatest possibility for the totality of the us. For example, when we deny somebody medical care does that strengthen of weaken the total community? In my view, emphasizing the right of the individual to become is far more important for the wellbeing of us all than allowing the right of the individual to turn their back on others. 

The arc of justice may turn slowly, but in the end, I believe it will turn towards the greater good of valuing the possibilities that are us. What do you think? 
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Sebastian Gorka, Immigrant Crime Obsessive, Is Wanted for Committing a Crime in Another Country

Sebastian Gorka, Immigrant Crime Obsessive, Is Wanted for Committing a Crime in Another Country | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The U.S. apparently didn't submit him to enough extreme vetting. Sad!
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I am fascinated by how often those who worry about the behavior of others have their own issues about those very behaviors. While I don't believe that people should be allowed to immigrate the United States if they have outstanding warrants or criminal convictions in other countries, this far-right talking head (and yes at one time Trump White House staffer) stands for strict immigration control while being himself, IMO, a questionable if not downright undesirable immigrant. Should his citizenship be revoked? What do you thing?
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Israel judge orders Palestinian teen in 'slap video' held until trial

Israel judge orders Palestinian teen in 'slap video' held until trial | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An Israeli military judge Wednesday ordered a Palestinian teenager arrested after a viral video showed her hitting two Israeli soldiers held in custody until trial.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Clearly, a goal of the Palestinians is to elicit anger and aggression from Israeli soldiers, especially if that aggression is directed at children and women. That would—at least in theory—attract the attention and support of the world. There are two major problems with this strategy. First, most of the Israeli soldiers are trained well enough to withstand the provocation and force the Palestinians to act badly. Second, most of the world truly doesn't care. We have lost our capacity to experience moral outrage when it comes to "others" no matter where the horror is exercised. Quite simply, just as Americans don't want to take in refugees from Syria or El Salvador no matter how much we may have contributed to their pain, so also nobody cares about the Palestinians; certainly not their fellow Arabs. Except, perhaps those who wish to use them as pawns. If we were to find the Nazi concentration camps today, would we as a world react with horror or yawns. Stalin's Gulag? Amritsar? Wounded Knee? 

What a sad species we have become. 
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THE SH*THOLE TRUTH ABOUT US

THE SH*THOLE TRUTH ABOUT US | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Over the past year, it has become abundantly clear Donald Trump doesn’t know how to speak. The weekly opprobriums in our nation’s highest office ar
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I think this article on "Sh*thole nations is worth reading. While it misses the real reason that I and others are outraged about Mr. Trump's comments, it does raise important questions about the proper future of immigration and about the U.S.'s responsibility for many of the horrors in the world that force people to try to emigrate from their homes, especially in El Salvador. 

However, the big issue for me was not that there are countries that are in great disarray. Nor is it in the desire of some to keep immigration limited because of the disappearance of low-wage jobs, which will make it more difficult for many of our most vulnerable citizens to compete with immigrants. 

My concern is that by in effect condemning the people who come from a country, we are also condemning those who have preceded them. We must value all our people. And, for those who oppose abortion, as Mr. Trump claims to do, to value one life over another becomes hypocrisy at the lowest level. And, we must remember that those who manage to come here from the worst economic situations have shown a great desire that often translates into success. 

A while back, Mr. Trump declared that many of the displaced refugees in Florida would have to leave. At the time, I pointed out that was a good policy because so many Puerto Ricans would soon be arriving and needing jobs. I recognize that we cannot be the job bank for the much of the rest of the wold. However, rather than condemning those who seek to better their lives, would it not be more appropriate if we were encouraging American manufacturers who are sending jobs to Asia to instead invest in the countries that are such dire need?
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Trump To WSJ: ‘I Probably Have A Very Good Relationship With Kim Jong-un’

Trump To WSJ: ‘I Probably Have A Very Good Relationship With Kim Jong-un’ | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Suggesting he may be open to diplomatic talks with North Korea, President Donald Trump told The Wall Street Journa
Kenneth Weene's insight:
First, I want to point out that one of the signs of neurological disorder is confabulation. Next, I want to ask, "In what reality would anyone say this given their history of angry exchanges and the absence of any personal contact?" Oops, can we talk about confabulating? 

Seriously, this kind of statement worries me. I hope that they will do a full battery of tests when he goes for his annual physical and that there will be somebody who will tell us what is found. Maybe Trump is just a nutter who likes to bloviate. Hell, the same could be said about me.  But I fear that we are talking a neurologically based nut job and that is much more dangerous. 


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Russia, Iran must 'stop the regime of bombing' in Idlib, pleads Turkish FM as he summons American ambassador. How should America respond to this new issue in Syria?

Russia, Iran must 'stop the regime of bombing' in Idlib, pleads Turkish FM as he summons American ambassador. How should America respond to this new issue in Syria? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Turkey’s Foreign Ministry has ramped up diplomatic efforts to get the Syrian government to halt its offensive in Idlib.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Within Syria there are four major groups at play: the regime run by Assad, an array of rebel groups wanting to drive Assad from power, the Kurds who are most concerned with protecting their Kurdish identity and right to some form of autonomy and who are often linked to the Kurdish movements in Turkey and Iraq, and the poor human beings who are trying to survive the mayhem. On the international side, there are the Russians, the Iranians, and the Turks: all of whom having reached some kind of political agreement and who are looking to find a way to coerce peace. In one corner of the country and with little military or political presence in the conflict is the United States, which never should have gotten involved in the first place. 

This current argument among the three government players, an argument in which Turkey is angry at Russia and to some degree Iran is because the Turks support one of the rebel groups because it in turn opposes the Kurds. "The enemy of my enemy is sort of my friend." That rebel group is, according to Russia and Iran, being allowed to function in the sage area near Turkey's border, the area that is under Turkey's control. 

Now, I don't know if Turkey cares that much about the rebel group involved, but they definitely care that in effect their role as a power in the conflict is being challenged. The question for Turkey is what to do. They are now in bed with Russia, and Putin is not a good-guy. For all my belief that we should not be constantly trying to oppose him and that we should never have challenged Russian primacy in Syria by supporting the rebels, I have never thought he was some kind of golden boy who was going to lead the world towards goodness. Neither, for that matter, is the head of Turkey. Erdogan is as power-hungry as Putin and just as ruthless. If I were going to pick a good-guy in this conflict, it would be Iran, and that at arms  length. They, at least, are there because they believe that their co-religionists are at risk. 

So, what should the U.S. do if asked by Turkey—as we apparently just were—to help sort things out? My answer, as little as possible. As badly as I feel for that last group within Syria, the poor folks trying to survive, I don't want to see another foolish American involvement. What should have been done earlier—way back when Hillary Clinton mis-advised Barack Obama and the U.S. tried to help the rebels—was to have allowed Putin to have his way and perhaps at best to have negotiated a timeframe for Assad to leave office with another Russian pick to replace him. 

America has been grievously mislead since the Eisenhower days into believing that we should be determining who was running which countries. It started in Vietnam, when we insisted that the French stay there or that we would stop aid. They wanted to turn all their attention to Northern Africa. Then came the coup in Iran and the assassinations in Congo. To say nothing of the various things we did in South America. Finally, perhaps reaching its nadir of stupidity in Vietnam and then Afghanistan, American foreign policy has been an ongoing madness started by John Foster Dulles and abetted by his brother Alan and rationalized at first around the Harriman Doctrine. Clearly, it is time for a change. Those leaders whose thinking goes back to the Eisenhower years, including Clinton and even Obama who—while he was born just at the end of Ike's presidency—certainly grew up in that same ethos of American dominance especially during his Hawaiian years, have never seen the endgame for American power as giving up that control to live in a more equitable world. 

American arrogance has provided much of the push behind the international rage of modern years. Had we been helping countries to accomplish their national goals instead of supporting strong-men who wanted to be in our bed, the world would now be a far better place. 

So, I say, let's stay out of the mix in Syria and accept that we've been boxed out of that game. Instead, let's work at getting off a few of the other game boards and start seeing other countries as having meaning in their own rights. 
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Iran mocks Trump ‘blunder’ as government supporters rally - The Boston Globe

Iran mocks Trump ‘blunder’ as government supporters rally - The Boston Globe | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The rallies are meant to be a show of force against antigovernment protests that broke out in Mashhad
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Clearly, there are problems within Iran. However, one sure way to bring the Iranian people together is for the US to once again try to foist a regime change on them. The underlying division is between those who want theocracy to continue, which means little economic growth for the man in the street since all those goodies mean increased worldliness and less preoccupation with the mosque and less willingness to sacrifice for the goals of the Shia dominated government. Our best play, to sit quietly and to try to bring diverse economic growth to the Islamic countries of the Middle East. Afghanistan, as Iran's neighbor could be a great place to begin if we could make peace with the Pashtun and get the hell out of there. 
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Roy Moore accuser's house destroyed in fire, under investigation for arson

Roy Moore accuser's house destroyed in fire, under investigation for arson | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Investigators don't believe the fire is linked to Roy Moore.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
First, I don't for a minute believe that Moore started this fire. However, I wouldn't for a minute doubt that one of his followers did. Quite simply, the Reconstructionist Christian mentality involves sinning in the name of god. Just like the terrorists from Saudi Arabia who drank and drugged before 9/11, religious fanatics turned terrorist believe that their "sacrifice" absolves their sins. Of course, if they get away with it, then its the death and suffering of the "infidel" that gets them a golden ticket. I fear that far too few Americans recognize this theologically driven threat to law and order. 

Of course, the fire could have been started for some other reason. I'm sure she has other enemies, but yeah, I would believe that it was one of his religious compatriots with brains that would fit at the head of a match. 
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Q&A: Are the Koreas on the Verge of a Breakthrough?

Q&A: Are the Koreas on the Verge of a Breakthrough? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An unexpected New Year's speech by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un raises questions about the chance of diplomacy between the Koreas.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Yes, there may well be a rapprochement between the Koreas. South Korea wants peace and North Korea wants legitimacy as well as access to the ports and the industrial and agricultural capacity of the south. The question is can Kim wean Moon away from the American teat. Clearly, the more bellicosely and insensitively Mr. Trump behaves, the easier it will be to get Seoul to find its own way to diffuse the threat of Pyongyang's missiles and bombs. What better way then to reach a mutual aid agreement that will in effect end the north's pariah status and leave the joint Koreas as one of the great powers of the Pacific. With this new atomic power next door—and one with great and real grievances against Tokyo—Japan would have to either develop its own weapons, come more dependent on the US, become subservient to China, or perhaps deal with the new Korean reality. My guess, Kim is counting on Japan joining a mutual aid pact that would protect them from China. Next, they would get Russia, which actually is next door albeit though a small alley, to join in for a security pact. All this would counter China, Pyongyang's erstwhile ally but also not its great friend, and push the US out of the eastern edge of the Pacific. 

I see long term realpolitik at work in Pyongyang, Moscow, and Beijing and a Washington that can't figure out anything requiring more than 140 characters. Are we worried yet? I think we should be. 
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The world is running out of a resource, and it’s not oil

The world is running out of a resource, and it’s not oil | Upsetment | Scoop.it
A looming shortage of sand – a crucial resource once thought endless – could sink infrastructure projects, including those in China’s Belt and Road Initiative
Kenneth Weene's insight:
I remember years ago walking on the beach in Florida and wondering how they found all that sand. I didn't't realize there was more going into the roads and the concrete walls of the fancy hotels that were going up everywhere. The thing about sand is that as it is taken from a place, that place is exposed to the effects of weather. And, depending on the quality of the sand that is used in the concrete, some buildings can be far less less stable than they appear. It seems that finding good quality sand is not such an easy thing. No wonder the international price of this common stuff is going up. I wonder if anybody is going to buy up the Imperial Dunes of California. I can see them being shipped off to China any day. At least it might help with the balance of payments. 

As a kid, I was never big on beaches and sand. The reason I was walking in Florida was I had no interest in lying there getting a tan. I'm still not a beach person. I always preferred rivers, streams, and ponds to lakes and oceans. I was never particularly big on boats either. Although I did occasionally enjoy a sail. Below is a poem I wrote about one. What about you? Beaches? Boats? 

Booth Bay Morning 
 Sailing out of Booth Bay 
With the steady chop chop 
Of the little morning waves 
Bobbing the lobster pots 
As we made our way. 
The buoys ceaseless clanked their say. 
The mainsail caught the breeze, 
And we heeled over and ran with ease 
The sheet pulled taut against my strength 
The rudder fought to keep the tack 
Grinning I then settled back 
 Master of this my little boat 
Content enough to be afloat 
Cruising gaily toward the dawn, 
Where the sun began to warm, 
The morning turned to blue from gray, 
As I sailed out across Booth Bay.

Visit www.kennethweene.com for more of my writing. 
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As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride'

As U.S. Postage Rates Continue To Rise, The USPS Gives The Chinese A 'Free Ride' | Upsetment | Scoop.it
While U.S.-based e-commerce merchants contend with rising postage rates, Chinese sellers receive an incredibly cheap, subsidized shipping option from the U.S. Postal Service. Why is the USPS losing millions of dollars each year to help foreign merchants outcompete domestic businesses?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
So here's a real challenge for the Trump administration, to renegotiate this international system for setting postage rates so that they don't just subsidize shippers from developing countries but also address imbalances in trade and protect American consumers (as well as the consumers in other developed countries). First off, rates for mailing from developing countries should rise as the trade imbalance with the recipient country changes, a sliding scale re-set every year might make sense. Second, return postage must be provided for failed products or the company involved loses subsidy. (Yes, that would take some bureaucracy, but it could be done.) I'm all for global development but not at the price of giving unreasonable and unfair advantages to those who don't need it or who try to abuse them. 

For all its claims of protecting American business, let's see if the current administration can address this problem. 
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Trump Administration: We Bar Abortions for Raped Minors Because It’s in Their “Best Interest”

Trump Administration: We Bar Abortions for Raped Minors Because It’s in Their “Best Interest” | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An official wrote that he would not let a rape victim obtain an abortion because the “violence against an innocent life” would “further traumatize her.”
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This may be the sickest policy I have heard from the US government since they discontinued tying the tubes of Native American women without the patients' consent and infecting 600 Black men with syphilis. What is wrong with these people. Hey, it's in your best interest to carry the result of your rape to term and then what. Sometimes, I am just disgusted and other times it's worse than that. And what kind of life will those babies have? What does he plan to do with them after they're born. 

Of course, the best solution is to help young women avoid rape, but if they are victimized and don't want to carry the child, for god's sake let's show some compassion. 
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Giving Corporations the Economic Conditions They Need

Giving Corporations the Economic Conditions They Need | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Yes, it's true that taxes on corporations were much lower in the rest of the world, but what about those prices structures?
Kenneth Weene's insight:
The biggest Republican argument for the new tax bill was simple. Corporate tax rates in the United States are higher than the rest of the world. That will drive corporations out of America and force them to seek havens elsewhere. To a certain extent that argument was true. The tax rates here were higher than in many countries. Of course, there were other benefits that kept those corporations here,  especially the many that were feeding at the trough of the Military-Industrial-Espionage complex. Seriously, what did they care if they gave some back to the government in taxes as opposed to kick-backs? In their shady world it's pretty much the same thing. Then, too, there are all the government subsidies they get, for example when the government underwrites purchases by foreign governments. Then, too, what about those bailouts, weren't they nifty?

Oh, and exactly how much has the actual tax rate been after all those deductions?

Obviously, I am not a big fan of lowering those corporate taxes given the above. However, my special scorn is reserved for the pharmaceutical companies. Consider what you would pay for a medication in Mexico and compare that to the U.S.. Being on Medicare, I haven't had to worry too much about that, but some of the non-covered meds could bankrupt us pretty quickly if my wife or I needed them. Travel over to El Centro in California, dip a bit south and pick up the same drugs. No creería la diferencia! The price drops to nearly nothing. While not quite as low, the same is true across the Canadian border. So, let me make a proposal. If corporate taxes in the U.S. are to be lowered, let the prices charged by any corporation doing business here be the same as the lowest price it charges in the world. 

Want to bet if that were one of the provisions in this new Republican give-away, there would be lots of corporations screaming against it. 
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Can Netanyahu scratch Americans from Jewish roster? The madness of theocracy and the theocracy of madness.

Can Netanyahu scratch Americans from Jewish roster? The madness of theocracy and the theocracy of madness. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made his choice of siding with the ultra-Orthodox against US Reform and Conservative Jews.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
As one more example of the evil that creeps into humans' souls we have Israel turning into a theocracy and deciding which Jews are the real deal and which are treif. Many years ago when our first nephew was to have his Bar Mitzvah in Israel, my wife and I refused to go. Even when my parents offered to pay, we said no because we saw the bad things that were happening there and the way the Palestinians were being treated. Now, not only are the Arabs being treated unfairly but also a good part of the Jewish population are being devalued because they don't "pray the right way" and "believe the right dogma." How disgusting is that? To be perfectly honest, if I have to choose between the theocracy of Iran and that of Israel, I would probably go with Iran. Not that I think they're religiosity makes sense, but at least they are tending in the direction of modernity while Israel seems to be heading backward. 

And, why is this happening? Because it is easier to get a voting block of the bigoted and uneducated than to mobilize the larger but divided segment of the population that believes in logic, science, and most of all the rights of all. Sadly, while Netanyahu happily ignores the non-orthodox Jews of the United States, so does our own government, which is in the hands of the Christian far-right, who believe that the Apocalypse is coming and that there must be war in Israel for the Messiah to return. Are we all going mshuge? 

Hey, if you like a little madness to lighten your day, you may want to read a good book. Might I suggest Sweet and Sour, a few of my favorite stories all in a Kindle. https://www.amazon.com/Sweet-Sour-Kenneth-Weene-ebook/dp/B016B50KFM/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
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Turkey deploys tanks, says will act against US-backed forces in Syria as US backpedals. And in the middle of the drama the fate of the Kurds.

Turkey deploys tanks, says will act against US-backed forces in Syria as US backpedals. And in the middle of the drama the fate of the Kurds. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
"We emphasized that such a step was very wrong," he said. "Turkey has reached the limits of its patience. Nobody should expect Turkey to show more patience."
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Once we got ourselves into Syria it was only a matter of time before we found ourselves caught in dilemmas like this one. Support the Kurds or go along with Turkey. It takes careful diplomacy to play these games. It requires carefully finessed language, which sadly Washington does not use well. By the way, I think Mr. Tillerson is doing a decent job of sailing this particular leg of the journey. Unfortunately, I fear that there are others who lack his judgement. 

As to which side I'm on: I support a Kurdish homeland, which would primarily be part of Iraq, some kind of special status for Kurds in Turkey that would give them semi-autonomy in exchange for their renunciation of any goal of separation, and a recognition that the Kurds of Syria should probably receive help relocating to the Kurdish homeland. Much like the Jews who saw Israel as their Jewish homeland, the Kurds are a large enough and self-aware enough group that the world would be better if they had a homeland, too. 

However, it should not be up to the US alone to establish that rational and peaceful solution. The major player in the region is Turkey, and we are supposed to be an ally of Ankara. 
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The Surprising Story Behind This Shocking Photo of Martin Luther King Jr. Under Attack—King in Chicago trying to integrate housing and to get fair treatment for Black tenants. 

The Surprising Story Behind This Shocking Photo of Martin Luther King Jr. Under Attack—King in Chicago trying to integrate housing and to get fair treatment for Black tenants.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Martin Luther King Jr. has come to represent peace — which is just one reason this picture of him being attacked in Chicago is so shocking.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It is easy to think that the Civil Rights Movement has succeeded. It is far to easy to forget that many issues, such as fair housing and education, still exist. This photo, taken only a couple of years before his assassination and three years after King's "I have a dream" speech in Washington, shows the aftermath of a vicious attack by white thugs. MLK was leading marches for housing equality in Chicago. 

At the time I was far away, spending my first summer not in Maine since I was four. It was to prove a difficult summer for me, and I was unaware of the events unfolding in Chicago. Only looking back from the vantage of age do I better understand the incredible courage this man demonstrated to us as a nation by—having reached the pinnacle of national recognition and respect—going back into the furnace of race hatred to work for even more of his dream. 

When I see my fellow whites scoffing at football players for kneeling and condemning others for shouting, "BLM," I think of Martin Luther King, Jr. and those who worked with him. I try to remember what America was like before his marches and ministry. That's easy for me. If you want an example of what I had known as a white, check out the essays on my website, the commentaries. And, to be honest, I lived a pretty sheltered life so I didn't get to see a lot. Still, it had been enough so to this day I am committed to the rights of all Americans to have decent lives with equal access to education, housing, healthcare, the ballot, and most importantly opportunities. If that means that those of us who have must give up some of ours for them, so be it. If it means that we have a debt to pay for our forebears, let us not defer it nor neglect it. 

I hope that you will want to read more of my views and will use this link to visit my commentaries. 
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Analysis: 'This is CNN Tonight. I’m Don Lemon. The president of the United States is racist.' And More Press response to the "shithole countries" comment. 

Analysis: 'This is CNN Tonight. I’m Don Lemon. The president of the United States is racist.' And More Press response to the "shithole countries" comment.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The CNN anchor was responding to Trump's remarks referring to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries."
Kenneth Weene's insight:
This may be the saddest story I have read in a long time. What really got to me is at the end of the story, the statements from Fox News. I detested Hillary Clinton's remark calling Trump supporters deplorable. Sadly, while Fox tries instead to call them forgotten, they are now saying the same kind of things about them. If you're sitting at a bar in Wisconsin and talking down immigrants because your wages are low and your job sucks, then you are clearly looking for somebody to blame instead of looking to make your own situation better. 

I'm not suggesting that life in Haiti isn't hard, maybe unbearable. I'm not suggesting that gangs aren't running wild in El Salvador—in large part because of what the U.S. did—and I'm not suggesting that there aren't real problems in many African nations. Nor am I suggesting that Norway isn't a better place to live in many ways. What I am saying is that the people who leave such difficult situations to do better for themselves and their families are the people who have made this nation great. I am saying that this is the kind of racist, hate-based claptrap that was used to justify the theft of the property of Japanese immigrants during World War 2 and worse the kind that justified mass-killing of Jews, Romany, and other groups. 

If I could get Americans to read and understand one book from my education, it would be Eric Fromm's Escape From Freedom. We have become a nation of necrophiliacs. 
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Ban of Homeless Camp Sites in Phoenix Traffic Triangle: But what should we be doing, just moving people on? 

Ban of Homeless Camp Sites in Phoenix Traffic Triangle: But what should we be doing, just moving people on?  | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Homelessness is a chronic problem in cities throughout the United States. Many cities approach the social issue of homelessness in different ways. More and more U.S. cities are using sterner tactics to combat this problem by banning the presence of homeless camping sites in specific city areas. In the city of Phoenix, Arizona, in an area referred to as Roosevelt Row, a new ordinance banning the presence of homeless camping sites has been passed. City officials defend the judgment declaring that the decision was made not only to protect local drivers, but also a step in addressing the homelessness crisis and the need to provide resources and relocation to homeless shelters for the homeless population.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
While a homeless camp at that particular location would be a traffic and business nightmare, I can understand why the homeless would want to camp there. It's new, clean, and offers some sense of decency. The real problem is not how to move them along but how to help these folks find a decent way of life not just in Phoenix but everywhere in America. Perhaps we should be using tiny house communes or in some cases refitting the old psychiatric hospitals. Perhaps we need to think about sheltered workshops and assisted living residences. Of course, some of these people have chosen a life of drugs and drink over trying to be part of society, but many, many of them are just not able to make it in the world. Some are mentally limited and some have psychiatric and psychological issues, some even have neurological problems. However they have found their way to sleeping on the streets, should we not as a great society be trying to help them find a decent bed and a better source of sustenance? 

And that is to say nothing of the community health issues that can arise form having large numbers of people on the streets. 

By the way, if homelessness and alcoholism interest you, you might enjoy reading Tales From the Dew Drop Inne. Here's the link to the book trailer. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gDm0ugyphoI&index=3&list=PLJ_qhHy1ypHMPY8u5Ng3KfXCdzRt0fk_K
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The Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in America

The Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in America | Upsetment | Scoop.it
From loggers to pilots, these workers have the top 10 most dangerous jobs in America, according to the latest data
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Some interesting information here about the dangers of work. For example, logging is way more dangerous than the next job on the list, fishing. You might notice that cops don't even make the list. In fact, it's far more dangerous to be collecting trash than to be a cop. By the way, the number of cop deaths were higher this year than last, but still way below the rates of 1990s. While logging continues to be incredibly more dangerous than other occupations, what gets to me is the high number of deaths involving some form of transportation, for example truck sales and driving. I don't expect that logger to fall out of his tree and hit me, but those truck drivers are another story. 

Anyway, wishing you and yours a happy and a SAFE New Year. 
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East Coast locked in wickedly cold weekend of sub-zero temps. Weather like this means stay in with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book. 

East Coast locked in wickedly cold weekend of sub-zero temps. Weather like this means stay in with a cup of hot chocolate and a good book.  | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Brutally cold conditions that have gripped the East Coast will last most of the weekend, prompting wind chill warnings from Virginia to Vermont.

Kenneth Weene's insight:
With weather like this, this Broody New Englander is happy to be living in Arizona. What a rough winter they're having back east. I hope that folks are at least getting to do some cross-country skiing and are drinking decent hot chocolate. I mean, this is the kind of weather that calls for a great attitude. Hopefully, the fuel companies are keeping up with demand and people can afford to heat their homes. Of course, if you're stuck in the house, you should find a good book to read. Since all mine are available on Kindle and you can get them right on this computer screen, might I suggest a quick visit to 


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These 15 Retailers May Not Survive 2018

These 15 Retailers May Not Survive 2018 | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Analysts say that retailers like Sears, Kmart, Stein Mart, bebe, Bon-Ton, Men's Wearhouse are at high risk of bankruptcy in 2018.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
While I only shop at one of these fifteen regularly, it is certainly a sobering look at what is happening to American retail. What Walmart did to many small downtown shopping areas, the internet is doing to stores everywhere. I guess there isn't anything we can do to reverse this trend, but I personally will try to do more of my shopping in brick and mortar stores. If only they can offer a reasonably competitive price, I'll take over the delivery by driving to them. 

What about your? How do you feel about the possible disappearance of these companies?
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Pardoned by Christie, woman pushes for change to US gun laws

Pardoned by Christie, woman pushes for change to US gun laws | Upsetment | Scoop.it
—- This content is published through a licensing agreement with Acquire Media using its NewsEdge technology.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
One of the biggest issues in the entire area of gun control has been state versus federal control. It has been that question of balance which has allowed gun manufacturers and supporters of guns to avoid the reactions to events such as the Newtown Connecticut school and Las Vegas hotel shootings. Once we say that federal law should prevail, it will be easier for the anti-gun coalition to focus their efforts. That's why Governor Christi, who is a gun advocate and who has pardoned a few people who violated the gun laws of New Jersey thinking that they were legally carrying weapons for which they had permits from other states, opposes this push to change the federal law and to allow reciprocity across state lines. For my part, I would prefer federal control, but then I'm pro gun-control. 

Meanwhile, at the heart of this topic is that whole idea of federal versus state government, and I tend to be moderate in that area. For example, I still support the Electoral College. On the other hand, I am a strong advocate of the 14th Amendment, which clearly made federal law supreme. 

What are your thoughts on federal versus state in America? 
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Family says son killed by police in ‘swatting’ was unarmed, didn’t play video games

Family says son killed by police in ‘swatting’ was unarmed, didn’t play video games | Upsetment | Scoop.it

Blue and red lights flashed outside of the McCormick Street house just after 6 p.m. on Thursday. Curious of what was going on – Andrew Finch, 28, opened the door. 

Kenneth Weene's insight:
Obviously, the police will try to squirrel out of responsibility beyond saying that there was reason to believe this young man was armed. There will be a financial settlement that will in no way be sufficient and will of course in no way replace this fine young man in the lives of his family, especially his young children. If the asshole who made the call to 911 is ever found, he will presumably be charged with filing a false police report, will plead guilty to a lesser charge, and may spend a couple of years in prison. The game manufacturer who is making a fortune off the game over which presumably this idiot and another were arguing, which argument precipitated that 911 prank call, will take no responsibility, probably won't even take any steps to discourage such stupid behavior in other gamers, such as posting a warning video each time people go on line to play. 

And, the American people will go on playing with our violent games and using our guns because, hey, we have a right to do so. And, one thing I am willing to bet, the congress will do nothing to correct any of this kind of game-driven madness. Nope, you can't impinge on the rights of idiots or corporations. 

As for the officer, a seven year veteran of the force, who pulled the trigger. I  wonder how he'll sleep tonight, or for that matter for the rest of his life. Were I he, I would probably never sleep again. 
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The US Just Ended Its Own Ban on Engineering Deadly Viruses in The Lab

The US Just Ended Its Own Ban on Engineering Deadly Viruses in The Lab | Upsetment | Scoop.it

The US federal government has lifted an enforced moratorium on funding research into how to make viruses deadlier and more transmissible.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Anybody who has been watching the NefFlix series Wormwood as I have has to respond with some discomfort at this story. Yes, study of viruses can lead to ways to fight them and to knowledge about basic biological functions, BUT creating more deadly and virulent microscopic killers is a frightening thought, especially when the CIA and military might have access. I hope there is a clear supervision structure set up; of course we're talking about government and current administration in that hope so this is scary stuff. 

I wish there were some magic we could use to keep evil from our lives. Even if we know it doesn't really work, we all want that formula. Maybe that's where religion come in. I know for the people in my ebook El Catrin that kind of magical thinking almost did the job. Have you added that short read to your Kindle? https://www.amazon.com/El-Catrin-Kenneth-Weene-ebook/dp/B00DDXQO24/ref=asap_bc?ie=UTF8
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The Latest on Jerusalem: Turkey president hopes US taught lesson at UN

The Latest on Jerusalem: Turkey president hopes US taught lesson at UN | Upsetment | Scoop.it
UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The Latest on the U.N. vote on Donald Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital and related developments (all times local):
7:35 a.m.
Turkey's president has heavily criticized U.S. President Donald Trump for threatening to cut off U.S. funding to countries that oppose his decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan says he hopes the United States will be "taught a lesson" during a United Nations vote on the issue.
Speaking at a cultural awards ceremony in Ankara on Thursday, Erdogan accused Trump of seeking countries whose "decisions can be bought with dollars."
Erdogan says: "Mr Trump, you cannot buy Turkey's democratic will with your dollars. Our decision is clear.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Meanwhile Israel's Netanyahu calls the UN a house of lies and American Ambassador Nikki Haley is threatening retaliations and Mr. Trump is threatening to cut aid to those who vote against us. So much for America's belief in democratic values. Can anybody remember the League of Nations and its failure to stand up to Germany? I wonder if it might be time for the UN to kick the US to the curb before we fall into the dark side. 

Meanwhile, why does this matter so much to the American government? Well, have I mentioned the twin religious crazinesses of the far right? Millennialism and Reconstructionist Christianity? Both are rooted in the weirdness that is the Book of Revelations and predict and encourage the coming of the end-times, with all their attendant sturm, drang, and upheaval. 

In my opinion America has three "original sins" we need to overcome, and we need to address them now:

1) Slavery and the remaining issues of segregation and race.

2) The treatment of the Native Americans and the destructive attitude towards the environment that seeing them as less-than-human allowed us to develop.

3) A religious self-righteousness that, disguised behind freedom of religion, has produced wave after wave of irrational thinking including so many sects that have now become part of the mainstream, for example Christian Science, Mormonism, and Scientology, but today most notably the Reconstructionist movement. 

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