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Archive for the ‘General News’ Category



Making a Long-Standing UN Vision for Compassion a Reality

May11

by: Noah Tenney on May 11th, 2017 | Comments Off

Heralding Article 25: A People’s Strategy for World Transformation

By Mohammed Mesbahi

Troubador Publishing Ltd, Leicester, UK, 2016

In the years following the death and destruction of World War II there were a number of key developments in the efforts to rebuild and to prevent major future conflicts. Two of the most significant developments occurred in 1948. In June of that year, the Marshall Plan—a United States aid initiative to rebuild Western Europe’s economy (named for then Secretary of State George Marshall)—went into effect, and the following December the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (the UN having been established three years earlier at the end of the war).

One of the most crucial components of the UDHR is Article 25, which states that everyone has a right to the basic needs for an adequate and secure living standard. Unfortunately, the global community is far from recognizing fundamental rights and needs for all; however, in the past decade or so there have been renewed pushes to address this.


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Impeach Trump for the Right Reasons

May10

by: David Swanson on May 10th, 2017 | 1 Comment »

As in all Tikkun Daily Blog articles the opinions are those of the author and we print them without endorsement but only because we want views that you won’t find in the mainstream media to be considered by our wide readership.

http://davidswanson.org/impeach-trump-for-right-reasons/

The Constitution suddenly seems to have bestirred itself and
declared itself, through its many Washington spokespeople, to be in
crisis.

I’m sorry, interjects the world, but what the hell took you so long?

We laid out the clear Constitutional violations of Trump’s financial
and business interests on the day he became president (in the real
sense, not the media event months later when “He finally became
president” by bombing enough people) at ImpeachDonaldTrumpNow.org .

Since the later hours of Day 1 back in January through the present
instant, the clear and documented (when not openly bragged about)
Constitutional offenses have been piling up.

As of a 2015 disclosure to the Federal Elections Commission, Trump
owns stock in the maker of the missiles he sent into Syria, Raytheon, as
well as numerous other weapons makers, Canadian tar sands, etc. Trump
has continued, escalated, and threatened numerous illegal and immoral
wars. That he may be personally profiting from them just adds to the
supreme international crime, which of course already violates the U.N.
Charter and the Kellogg-Briand Pact, supreme laws of the U.S. under the
Constitution.

Trump has unconstitutionally discriminated against refugees, been stopped by the judiciary, and immediately done it again.

Trump has pushed policies that will aggravate climate change, a crime
against humanity that can be prosecuted by the International Criminal
Court even against a non-member. On December 6, 2009, Trump signed a
public letter to President Barack Obama urging action to protect the
earth from climate change. “If we fail to act now,” the letter read, “it
is scientifically irrefutable that there will be catastrophic and
irreversible consequences for humanity and our planet.” Trump is
knowingly endangering all human (and many non-human) residents of the
United States, right along with the other 96% of humanity.

Trump openly sought to intimidate voters prior to his election, and
fought the counting of ballots where they existed, was elected with a
minority of votes, was elected with numerous votes uncounted and
numerous voters blocked from voting by the partisan stripping of the
rolls and by ID laws, following a nomination principally decided by
dramatically biased media coverage. If none of that put the Constitution
into crisis, why keep the rotting document around at all?

Pre-presidency but still available grounds for impeachment, Trump
violated, according to the list in Alan Lichtman’s book on Trump
impeachment, the Fair Housing Act, New York charity law, tax laws, the
Cuban embargo, casino regulations, the RICO statute, laws against
employing undocumented immigrants, and of course laws against sexual
assault. You don’t have to have never been in Congress to spot a pattern
of criminality here.

Of course there is one charge against Trump that has not been proven,
risks confrontation with a nuclear armed government, and needlessly
adds a xenophobic excuse to the dozens of solid reasons that last year’s
U.S. election was illegitimate. So of course this is the one everybody
wants to focus on: blaming Russia for exposing the Democratic Party’s
slanting of its own primary against its strongest candidate. Let’s
remember that the people who have most vigorously pursued this approach
are the same people who nominated possibly the only candidate who could
have lost to Donald Trump.

Now we come to a charge of possible, conceivable, or an appearance of
possible or conceivable obstruction of justice ­ and perhaps something
or other at the base of the story around which justice was being sought.
If we can remove Trump this way, by all means, proceed. And proceed
with impeachment, not with a 2020 election campaign by some otherwise
repulsive candidate who plans to win by virtue of not being Trump and
somehow surviving four years of Trumpism.

But here are my concerns:

The coverup is not worse than the crime. Serious crimes are available
as impeachment charges, and overlooking them effectively permits them
going forward, along with any other crimes, as long as there’s no
coverup.

We have yet to see any actual evidence of any actual Russian
influence on the U.S. election. Toying with hostility toward a nuclear
government is more reckless than anything (else) Trump has done. Can you
impeach and try Trump for obstructing an investigation into what all
the corporate media refer to as if it were established fact, without
actually focusing on whether there is any evidence, and without
demonizing Russia?

If some lesser crimes are proven that involve Russia in some way, can
you try them without advancing the notion that the fundamental crime is
friendship with Russians?

Can you keep in perspective the hypocrisy that all of this telegraphs
to the earth? Barack Obama recorded a campaign ad for a French
candidate in last week’s election, while Samantha Power was busy
accusing Vladimir Putin of trying to influence the French election. The
U.S. has openly sought to influence dozens of elections, including
Yeltsin’s (the Trump of Russia?), not to mention overthrowing dozens of
governments ­ still being pursued in Syria. How does this look? Wouldn’t
it look better to at least add in a few articles of impeachment for the
highest of crimes even if Russia isn’t involved in them?

And, yes, I mean even crimes committed by Obama and Bush and others
before them. I’m not expecting consistency. While I supported
impeachment for Bush and Obama as well as Trump, one cannot expect all
Democrats to have gone that far in supporting the rule of law when Obama
was drone master ­ although they may now ask Republicans to reach that
higher standard of integrity. I understand that partisanship is strong
poison. I just ask for at least the appearance of seriousness ­ even if
only because going into a trial in the U.S. Senate with charges that are
already proven makes a conviction far more likely.

The bigger concern, of tamping down the warmongering, of lowering the
risk of nuclear conflict should be made to appeal to as many as can
hear it.

Impeachment certainly should be pursued, and certainly cannot wait.
But it will only establish the proper threat of impeachment for the next
person to hold the office if it is done for the right reasons in the
right way. The right way includes being led by the public. We, not
Congress, must decide when there is a crisis.

David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson’s books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio.He is a 2015, 2016, 2017 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee.

A ‘cli-fi missionary’ with Jewish roots who is fighting global warming

May9

by: Danny Bloom on May 9th, 2017 | 4 Comments »

I’m a climate change literary activist and gadfly, and I’d like to talk to you today about something I call ”cli-fi”.

I’m close to 70, graduated from Tufts University in 1971 with a major in Yiddish literature, and promoting the literary fortunes of cli-fi is now my life work. And I’m Jewish, and my Jewish education and family life in western Massachusetts in the 1950s and 1960s plays a central role, even today, in my climate activism.

So what’s ” cli-fi ”? It’s a subgenre of sci-fi, according to some observers, and a separate standalone genre of its own, according to others. I feel that cli-fi novels and movies can cut through the bitter divide among rightwing denialists and leftwing liberals worldwide over the global warming debate. I’m not into politics; I’m into literature and movies.


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The President Was Right About Improving Our Relationship With Russia

May3

by: Arkady Mamaysky on May 3rd, 2017 | 2 Comments »

The elections are over but debates about the issues raised and promises made by Candidate Trump are in full swing without any signs of subsiding.

The following is an analysis of his intention to work towards establishing a good relationship with Russia.

To avoid misunderstanding, I should start by saying that I don’t like Russia, nor do I like Ukraine. I was born in Ukraine, but during many years of my life in the Soviet Union, I had more than enough “pleasant” interactions with Russian and Ukrainian reality and people, along with the nationalism and anti-Semitism of a good portion of the population.

One of many derogatory epithets directed towards Jewish and other non-Slavic people is, “you’re no Russian,” a statement meant to diminish its target’s sense of worth as a human being.

Of course, as in any other nation, there are good and bad people people in Russia.


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Curiouser and Curiouser

May3

by: Victor Grossman, Tikkun's Correspondent in Berlin on May 3rd, 2017 | Comments Off

A story worthy of a mystery author – or dramatist – has been hitting German headlines. It began when police at the Vienna airport in Austria arrested a first lieutenant of the German Bundeswehr army when he picked up a pistol hidden some weeks earlier in a bathroom. He denied it was his and was released. But his fingerprints somehow matched those of a refugee who had applied for German asylum two years earlier.

 

Like Alice in Wonderland when she got bigger and bigger, the story turned “curiouser and curiouser” and here too, odd language was important. This young blond German officer, 28, had been registered in the German states of Hesse and Bavaria as a refugee from Damascus in Syria. He had said he was Catholic but the men of ISIS had persecuted him and killed some of his family because of his partially Jewish background and Jewish name – “David Benjamin”.Strangely enough, he spoke little or no Arabic and was questioned in French – with a German accent. No-one had ever been suspicious, or so it was claimed. He then seems to have commuted between his job as officer in a mixed French-German unit in French Alsace and his false existence as a Syrian refugee in Germany.

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The Process of Creation as the New Paradigm for our Civilization

May3

by: Gennady Shkliarevsky on May 3rd, 2017 | 3 Comments »

There is a wonderful process at work in our universe.  As we look around, we see its remarkable creations:  particles, atoms, stars, planets, galaxies, life, and much else. The roots of this process go to the very nature of our universe.

The main property of our universe is its uniqueness:  it is all there is.  There is nothing outside it; in fact, there is no outside.  As there is nothing outside our universe, nothing can come into it and nothing can disappear from it because there is nowhere to disappear.  Consequently, everything must be conserved.  Conservation that is fundamental to our universe originates in its uniqueness and gives rise to the process of creation.


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Standing Rock in Colombia: A Real Vision of Peace After Decades of War and Displacement

May3

by: Sabine Lichtenfels on May 3rd, 2017 | 1 Comment »

I am writing this from Colombia, where we – a small group from the Global Campus from Tamera/Portugal, Bolivia, Brazil and Canada – have been invited to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of the peace community San José de Apartadó. Peace activists, farmers, local indigenous people, representatives of embassies of various countries and of the United Nations, as well as human rights lawyers are meeting in the remote region in the tropical northern part of the country to honor a peace community, which has been in existence for twenty years – despite all attacks, violence and murders. It is horrifying to read the reports by the peasants and the indigenous people – the women and men who are daily risking their lives to counter the policies of displacement with their commitment to life and hope.

In this country, in which the FARC guerilla’s agreement to disarm is being celebrated before the eyes of the world as the beginning of a new time of peace, the misery of the poor people, the indigenous population and those persecuted has in reality increased. It is the same the world over: Those who have truly earned the Nobel Peace Prize and who have been practicing non-violent resistance for decades, these communities and committed peace workers are being persecuted and maligned and often have to pay for their commitment with their lives.


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Parashat Tazria-Metzora

May3

by: Lisa Rappaport on May 3rd, 2017 | Comments Off

[Editor's note: Some of the weekly Torah readings--called the weekly parasha-- are hard to relate to, and this past week's reading, Parshat Tazria/Metzorah, is among them. More difficult. Rabbinic student in the Aleph program Lisa Rappaport gave one of the most interesting approaches to it I haveve encountered, so I am sharing it with our readers.--Rabbi Michael Lerner]

This week’s parasha, Tazria-Metzora, is challenging, with parts that seem completely unrelatable to our lives. It is in this parasha that we learn about tzaarat, a spiritual affliction causing a white discoloration of the skin. It is often translated (or rather mistranslated) as leprosy. But leprosy is a physical condition with a physical cause, while tzaarat is a spiritual affliction that renders the sufferer tameh, or ritually impure.

Several things cause tzaarat, but the primary cause is leshon hara, translated literally as the evil tongue and commonly understood as negative speech (gossip). While tzaarat may seem strange and unrelatable, whatisrelevant in every era, in every generation, is the power of our words. Torah gives us the opportunity a couple times a year to examine our relationship to leshon hara-it comes up again later when Miriam is afflicted with with tzaarat. This is a good thing, because leshon hara is an insidious and destructive phenomenon. Of the 43 sins listed in the Al Chet confessional prayer, 11 of them are committed through negative speech.


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Equalitarianism

May2

by: Dan Brook on May 2nd, 2017 | 2 Comments »

There are, tragically, many insidious discriminations, aggressions, oppressions, and other social injustices — micro, meso, and, macro — based on a variety of socially-constructed divisions, fears, and hatreds. Just as tragically, we get caught up in these, to varying degrees and with devastating consequences. Perhaps Dr. Paul Farmer isolated the phenomenon: “The idea that some lives matter less is the root of all that is wrong with the world.” The antidote to this social disease is equalitarianism.

Instead of singularly focusing on the important individual problems of classism, racism, sexism, homophobia, antisemitism, islamophobia, ableism, looksism, or other forms of what Robert Fuller calls rankism that do not necessarily have a catchy name, and instead of negatively being against one or more of these tragically otherized divisions, we could positively embrace an all-encompassing equalitarianism and each be an equalitarian (a little-known term that has been around since about 1799).


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A Traditional African-American Christian Prayer

May2

by: on May 2nd, 2017 | 3 Comments »

May 4 is National Day of Prayer.

In advance of that day, I offer this traditional African-American Christian prayer. My ancestors used their faith to survive the horrors of the Middle Passage, slavery, Jim Crow and every manner of institutional and structural violence with their souls in tact. This was not only a political act, but it was a revolutionary act.

Faith and prayer were, and still are, means of resistance:

 

O God, It is once more and again that we come before your Throne of Grace humble as we know how, head bent and body bowed, empty vessels before a full fountain asking you to be mercy because mercy suits our case.

O God, we know that you are the One who sits high and looks low. You know our down-sitting and our up-rising. We are weak and you are strong, and we ask you to prop us up on every leaning side. Put a hedge of protection around us to keep us safe from all hurt, harm, and danger.

O God, we thank you for another day’s journey. We thank you that you woke us up this morning clothed in our right minds, that our bed was not our cooling board and our sheets were not our winding sheets. We thank you O God for one more day to raise our voices and to give you praise because you told us in your Word to let everything that has breath to praise the LORD. We thank you God for new mercies morning by morning and that you supply our every need every day.

O God, we ask you to order our steps in your Word. Help us to do your will your way. Give us the wisdom to know your will and the courage to do it. Help us to treat everybody right, to treat everybody the way we want to be treated. Give us more love, and help us to live diligent to the full assurance of hope until the end. For it is given once for us to die, and after death the judgment.

And when our time on this earth is over, when we have run our race and finished our course, when we come to the chilly waters of the River Jordan to lay down our sword and shield and study war no more, shape your Word and take us safely to the other shore where there is no more pain, no more sorrow, where every day is Sunday and sabbath will have no end.

Gather us to our people where there is only howdy howdy and never good-bye, where we will sing and shout and can’t nobody put us out.

World Without End.

We pray it all in the matchless mighty name of Jesus. Amen.

 

 

Valerie Elverton Dixon is founder of JustPeaceTheory.com and author of “Just Peace Theory Book One: Spiritual Morality, Radical Love, and the Public Conversation.”