Upsetment
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Upsetment
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Curated by Kenneth Weene
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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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Far-Right Groups Are Struggling To Pull Off Any Events In Wake Of Charlottesville

Far-Right Groups Are Struggling To Pull Off Any Events In Wake Of Charlottesville | Upsetment | Scoop.it
It’s been a bad few weeks to be a white nationalist. The racist far-right has been flailing since descending o
Kenneth Weene's insight:
No matter what strategy the alt-right tries, in the end they are doomed. Why? Two reasons. Demography and decency:

Our country is becoming more balanced between whites and people of color and that means no matter how threatened and angry the far and racist right might become, the direction of society will be increasingly accepting. 

More importantly, decency runs strong among Americans. We as a nation ascribe to the values of loving and a accepting even if we sometimes have fallen terribly short of that idea. As a nation we are still to struggle though all the issues left from the Civil War and Reconstruction, but deep down inside most of us want to find a way to be one. That is something I believe deep inside. "I do believe we shall overcome some day." I hope that you believe that too.
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The scientific case that America is becoming more prejudiced

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 7

When Whites Just Don’t Get It, Part 7 | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Racial discrimination remains ubiquitous in America: Blacks are at a disadvantage even at crosswalks.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Want a simple example from this excellent essay on the racism that permeates our society? "In one study by scholars at Portland State University and the University of Arizona, three black men and three white men played pedestrians trying to cross a street at a crosswalk. On average, a black pedestrian was passed by twice as many vehicles before a driver yielded." 

Let's be honest with ourselves, if a Black man can't cross a street as easily as a white man, how is he going to get an education, a job, or a home as easily? Well, quite simply he can't and that is wrong. 
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Fact-checking Donald Trump's convention speech: A dark vision based on specious stats

Fact-checking Donald Trump's convention speech: A dark vision based on specious stats | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The dark portrait of America that Donald Trump sketched in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention is a compendium of doomsday stats that
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Mr. Trump certainly told us that we have lots to worry about, but his facts are wrong or distorted. Here's a good job of fact checking by one newspaper. 
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War is the new normal: 7 reasons America can’t escape conflict

War is the new normal: 7 reasons America can’t escape conflict | Upsetment | Scoop.it
No sooner do we withdraw from one Middle Eastern country than we reengage another. It's a cycle we refuse to break
Kenneth Weene's insight:

Nothing is more upsetting to this patriot than to see the country he loves give up its basic values and replace them with the cult of war. There is a new madness in America.

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Immigrant keeps suicide watch over fellow refugees from Bhutan

Immigrant keeps suicide watch over fellow refugees from Bhutan | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Som Subedi is stuck in traffic. He's running late to check on one of his flock: a 37-year-old woman who's among scores of newly arrived Bhutanese immigrants he watches over like a worried parent.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

It upsets me that Bhutan rejects its Hindu minority. It upsets me more that refuges groups who come in such small numbers to America find themselves so lonely. It makes me wonder if we average Americans do enough to welcome the wayfarers into our communities and our lives. When my grandparents came to America, were they welcomed? Sure, they were not pat of such a tiny diaspora, but were they welcomed by the people who were here? Probably not, and that makes it all the more imperative that I behave better, that I welcome strangers to my land. What about you?

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Colorblind Notion Aside, Colleges Grapple With Racial Tension

Colorblind Notion Aside, Colleges Grapple With Racial Tension | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Racial tensions are playing out in new ways on college campuses nationwide, like the University of Michigan, which has seen a sharp decline in black undergraduate enrollment.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

The creation of a society that is once equal and just and at the same time allows for and celebrates such basic building blocks of identity as race, religion, ethnicity is the great task of modern America. But that has been our task since the end of the Civil War. For my part I try to not notice these differences until I have a sense of personal friendship with the individual; then I feel good when I recognize the things that help to make him/her different; but first --always first--the individual's heart.

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IS AMERICA BECOMING TOO DIVISIVE? In today's news, Poll Shows Trump's Support Dropping Among White Evangelicals

IS AMERICA BECOMING TOO DIVISIVE? In today's news, Poll Shows Trump's Support Dropping Among White Evangelicals | Upsetment | Scoop.it
The president's approval rating continues to fall in his first year in office.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
As I read stories like this about Mr. Trump's failing support and the divisiveness that is wreaking America, I wonder how many of us wish that our country would simply fall apart into separate smaller units. Of course, those of us on Social Security and military or other federal pensions would want to keep those benefits, but if that could be provided, would we prefer dissolving this country? Would we want to replace it with totally separate countries or to try for some form of confederation, a weaker alliance to provide mutual defense and the like such as existed between the Revolution and the writing of the Constitution?

If you think America is becoming too divisive to remain united, what or who do you think is the reason and how could it be reversed if we wanted? 

These are the questions that are really bothering me and that's before I even think about the issues of gender, education, and human and property rights that need addressing. 

By the way, if you have some really good ideas about this topic or any other, I'm looking for guests for Walking On The Weene Side. Join me for an interview via Skype and let's have some meaningful conversations. Visit my website, www.kennethweene.com to contact me or the It Matters Radio website, www.itmattersradio.com 
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Sparta, Rome, Athens: A rant on the state of America's Politics.

Sparta, Rome, Athens: A rant on the state of America's Politics. | Upsetment | Scoop.it
if America needs more guns to stave off the Iranian bombs that are falling from the sky, then better to fund star wars than to repair our roads and bridges: Yeah, some sarcasm here. 
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Evidently, or at least according to Congress, America's military is in great need of funding. With the endless war in Afghanistan and the crashes of ships in the Pacific to say nothing of the possibility of raining bombs on North Korea, clearly the military-industrial-espionage complex needs all the funding it can get. Maybe, that's why we can't afford single-payer healthcare or better staffing at the VA. Maybe that's why we can't have free college educations and why we have to cut back on our nationally protected lands. Assuredly, if America needs more guns to stave off the Iranian bombs that are falling from the sky, then better to fund star wars than to repair our roads and bridges. However, for those who actually believe this hokum, for those who believe that we must become a fortress state. I would ask one question: How's that been doing for us so far? Is the world better off? Are we? Just wondering.

Now, if you agree with me that the militarism of America is the greatest threat in the world, far greater than ISIS, North Korea, Iran, or even Mexican laborers crossing the border, might I suggest it is time to change our approach to our government. Maybe it's time to start a third party, one that is beholden not to the lobbyists in Washington and the funds of industry but to the voter. Quite simply, if we all refused to vote for any candidate who didn't transparently and honestly reveal their sources of funding, that might make a difference. If we all insisted on campaign expense limits so that those massive contributions couldn't be used, that, too, might make a difference. Finally, if we required that every candidate for whom we voted make clear statements about their positions and require them under pain of recall to explain any deviations from those policy commitments, that might also make a difference. 

Let us remember that the great armies of Sparta and of Rome are not what history glorifies so much as the contribution of Athens, that which we today call democracy. While we should honor those who serve in time of danger, we should not lose sight of what it is they are supposed to be serving, we the people. 
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Fear is the precursor of tyranny. Where will fear begin?

Fear is the precursor of tyranny. Where will fear begin? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
An essay in response to Mr. Trump's challenge. 
Kenneth Weene's insight:
Fear is the precursor of tyranny. Where will fear begin? Not with gangs of thugs in the streets. No, not this time. It will begin with the pocketbooks of the wealthy and the bottom-lines of the big corporations. That is perhaps the most craven thing about us, we fear more for our material possessions than for the rights and dignity of others. Once the press is afraid to tell the truth and the social media giants are afraid to let the rest of us speak, then the takeover will be simple. Then only those who agree with the party line will have a voice. It has happened before in Germany, in Russia, in China; what makes us think it can't happen again in the USA? The current president of the United States has asked if the west has the will to survive? Against whom? Who is this horrible enemy that would destroy us? Certainly not ISIS which is slowly crumbling. Not China that needs and works towards a world of trade with more energy than it puts into building its islands in the China Sea. North Korea, hardly an existential threat to us unless they decide to blow the entire world up. So who is it? My answer is sadly the same one that Pogo recognized years ago in the comic strips. "We have met the enemy and he is us." How sad this makes me.
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'Hang the B*tch!' 'F*g!' 'N*gger!': Uncensored Rally Videos Expose Donald Trump's America

'Hang the B*tch!' 'F*g!' 'N*gger!': Uncensored Rally Videos Expose Donald Trump's America | Upsetment | Scoop.it
What's It Like to Be at a Trump Rally? Here It Is, Uncensored.
Kenneth Weene's insight:
It is important that we recognize who the people are whom Hillary Clinton called deplorable. There is a lot of anger and hate at those Trump rallies and it scares me to see my country sinking to these kinds of outbursts. 
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Why Is America’s Foreign Policy Still Punching Above Its Weight?

Why Is America’s Foreign Policy Still Punching Above Its Weight? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Why Is America’s Foreign Policy Still Punching Above Its Weight? « | Foreign Policy | the Global Magazine of News and Ideas
Kenneth Weene's insight:
An articulate and well thought out analysis of the role of America in world affairs during the past eighty years. I recommend reading it, but be sure to get to the end where the author discusses the world-views of Clinton and Trump, both of which he finds problematic; and I agree with that assessment. 
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‘No Guns for Christmas’

‘No Guns for Christmas’ | Upsetment | Scoop.it
Based on two police shootings in Ohio, this short documentary questions whether toy guns can really be innocent gifts.
Kenneth Weene's insight:

What a condemnation of America and what our country has become. That children not be allowed to have toy guns because we have become so violent, so terroristic in our way of life and of policing, so paranoid in dealing with our citizens. As a child I played 'cowboys and Indians," "cops and robbers," and "Americans vs Japs or Germans." We went to movies and reenacted those gunfights as well. Nobody called the police to report the threat; and if they had, the police who came to investigate would not have started shooting. Who is at fault? Certainly not kids for being kids. How did we escalate to a culture so preoccupied with terrorizing ourselves? Certainly the war on terror and the war on drugs are part of this process. Certainly the encouragement of a culture of guns is part. Certainly the news media that gives such intense coverage to crime and such little coverage to normal life is part. Certainly the failure to recognize the emotional dysfunction of many, especially those who are swept into the criminal justice industry as opposed to providing them treatment is a part. And yes, the failure of our society to help its citizens to reach a sense of "life, liberty, and happiness" is part of the problem. What to do? What to do?

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Liberty, equality and Lincoln’s legacy: Is America doomed?

Liberty, equality and Lincoln’s legacy: Is America doomed? | Upsetment | Scoop.it
With Obama's dreams of being a second Lincoln ruined by a new civil war, how long can our paralyzed country last?
Kenneth Weene's insight:

What do you thing: Is our nation doomed? Will the U.S.A. go the way of the Soviet Union? Or can we save ourselves? An excellent think piece. By the way, did you catch my interview of John McKee Barr on It Matters Radio? He is the author of "Loathing Lincoln."

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We The People-Remember to Vote-Take action and try someone else as it is We The People!

We The People-Remember to Vote-Take action and try someone else as it is We The People! | Upsetment | Scoop.it

We the People!   Awakenings sole purpose is to enlighten you to Embrace Your Past, Empower the Present, Enrich Your Future! There is no better way to accomplish this than to understand the principles and beliefs upon which America was founded.


Via Sharla Shults, Rosemary J. Adkins, Sandra McLeod Humphrey
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