This Should Not Be the Norm


Bill Courson wrote the following, and it so beautifully describes my feeling, I am re-posting it here.

Namaste,

Barbara

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I am not happy about what I have to write here, nor do I like feeling the way that I feel: but just days into the Trump administration, it grows more evident with each passing hour that we have become engaged in something that is very, very far from “business as usual.”

I simply cannot find words in English strong enough to describe the intensity with which I loathe almost everything that Donald Trump stands for, nor – more importantly – the fear that I have of his ability and his readiness to do serious harm to the country that “elected” him (more or less) into office.

I believe that he is an ongoing and grave danger to America, it’s people and it’s values.

Narcissist, sadist, racist, homophobic, neo-fascist and xenophobic, his is an energy that appeals to the very worst instincts in those around him.

A poisonous force that befouls everything and everyone in his presence, the character in literature he most calls to mind is the degenerate Gollum from Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings.” In a single word, “toxic.”

It is no wonder that “they” – those foreign governments that covertly promoted his campaign for the Presidency – are those who would benefit most by a weakened, divided and retrograde America.

Tonight in the Kremlin, in the halls of power in Beijing and elsewhere, they are snickering at America’s ignorance and venality.

With each passing day the prospect for grave and irremediable harm to the country grows. Whether he is removed from office via impeachment or via a 25th Amendment “capacity” proceeding, my most earnest prayer now is for the speedy and successful termination of his stewardship.

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Why Trump Has Already Lost His Chance


On my social media feeds, and in the comments here, people are telling me: “Give Trump a Chance”.

We’re not going to talk about the hypocrisy involved in hearing that from Republicans who spent 8 years being obstructive and disrespectful to President Obama.

But I will discuss what Trump has done in the last week.  Basically, I think he had his chance — and, to use the vernacular — he blew it.

Namaste,

Barbara

 

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While we have been busy paying attention to Trump’s temper tantrum about the reported size of his Inaugural audience, he was busy taking away things we hold deer. Time to pay attention to what is going on behind the curtain. To recap:
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the DOJ’s Violence Against Women programs.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Arts.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Minority Business Development Agency.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Economic Development Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the International Trade Administration.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Manufacturing Extension Partnership.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Legal Services Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Civil Rights Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Environmental and Natural Resources Division of the DOJ.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Electricity Deliverability and Energy Reliability.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
* On January 19th, 2017, DT said that he would cut funding for the Office of Fossil Energy.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered all regulatory powers of all federal agencies frozen.
* On January 20th, 2017, DT ordered the National Parks Service to stop using social media after RTing factual, side by side photos of the crowds for the 2009 and 2017 inaugurations.
* On January 20th, 2017, roughly 230 protestors were arrested in DC and face unprecedented felony riot charges. Among them were legal observers, journalists, and medics.
* On January 20th, 2017, a member of the International Workers of the World was shot in the stomach at an anti-fascist protest in Seattle. He remains in critical condition.
* On January 21st, 2017, DT brought a group of 40 cheerleaders to a meeting with the CIA to cheer for him during a speech that consisted almost entirely of framing himself as the victim of dishonest press.
* On January 21st, 2017, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer held a press conference largely to attack the press for accurately reporting the size of attendance at the inaugural festivities, saying that the inauguration had the largest audience of any in history, “period.”
* On January 22nd, 2017, White House advisor Kellyann Conway defended Spicer’s lies as “alternative facts” on national television news.
* On January 22nd, 2017, DT appeared to blow a kiss to director James Comey during a meeting with the FBI, and then opened his arms in a gesture of strange, paternal affection, before hugging him with a pat on the back.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT reinstated the global gag order, which defunds international organizations that even mention abortion as a medical option.
* On January 23rd, 2017, Spicer said that the US will not tolerate China’s expansion onto islands in the South China Sea, essentially threatening war with China.
* On January 23rd, 2017, DT repeated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing him the popular vote.
* On January 23rd, 2017, it was announced that the man who shot the anti-fascist protester in Seattle was released without charges, despite turning himself in.
* On January 24th, 2017, Spicer reiterated the lie that 3-5 million people voted “illegally” thus costing DT the popular vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, DT tweeted a picture from his personal Twitter account of a photo he says depicts the crowd at his inauguration and will hang in the White House press room. The photo is curiously dated January 21st, 2017, the day AFTER the inauguration and the day of the Women’s March, the largest inauguration related protest in history.
* On January 24th, 2017, the EPA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to freeze all grants and contracts.
* On January 24th, 2017, the USDA was ordered to stop communicating with the public through social media or the press and to stop publishing any papers or research. All communication with the press would also have to be authorized and vetted by the White House.
* On January 24th, 2017, HR7, a bill that would prohibit federal funding not only to abortion service providers, but to any insurance coverage, including Medicaid, that provides abortion coverage, went to the floor of the House for a vote.
* On January 24th, 2017, Director of the Department of Health and Human Service nominee Tom Price characterized federal guidelines on transgender equality as “absurd.”
* On January 24th, 2017, DT ordered the resumption of construction on the Dakota Access Pipeline, while the North Dakota state congress considers a bill that would legalize hitting and killing protestors with cars if they are on roadways.
* On January 24th, 2017, it was discovered that police officers had used confiscated cell phones to search the emails and messages of the 230 demonstrators now facing felony riot charges for protesting on January 20th, including lawyers and journalists whose email accounts contain privileged information of clients and sources.
And today: the wall and a Muslim ban.

How to Truly Make America Great Again


Many people are calling for us to give Trump a chance; to not condemn him for what he said on the campaign trail, and for what he’s done since he won the election:  for the Twitter rants and for the nominations he’s made, appointing people who seem both unqualified for the office assigned, and who in many cases have long espoused views in direct contradiction to the roles of the departments they have been proposed to head.

But I, and many others, cannot overlook either his words or his actions. For so many of us it is not about politics, as some have suggested; it is about what his administration brings to our country. The misogyny, the racism, the discrimination of immigrants (Muslims and others), anti-semitic views, and the general bigotry he prescribes to. We are one country, but if we descend into hating people we go against the very principles that our Founding Fathers crafted in our great constitution.

If we don’t take a stand to protect others in our country, we will lose the fundamental precepts that we were founded upon. That is why many of us are resisting Trump, his views and words go against all we believe in. To care about others and to act on that care is vital to what our democracy stands for and what the Founding Fathers dreamed of.

In reality, hate crimes have gone up since the election, synagogues are being threatened,the poor are being disparaged, the disabled are being mocked, immigrants are being threatened (the country was founded by Europeans and they killed the indigenous people which makes us great hypocrites). Immigrants are the richness that has fed America through the centuries. They brought to America their skills, dreams and hard work and are part of the reason America is great.

Yes, I realize that this isn’t what Trump says, but based upon my beliefs and others, America is still great. America gives everyone the ability to dream and work hard and move up in our society. America, because of the influence of many immigrants, is still the place that you can work to make yourself rise above where you were born in the social structure of your country of their birth. America is also the country where others care about your education, health, losses, accomplishments and ability to work for yourself and your family, The desire for our children to become more than what we are is paramount to the American dream.

America is not perfect. Hatred is a great deal of the reason why. For instance, because the Founding Fathers could not come to any type of a decision on slavery, they postponed that decision until a future generation would be able to come to a moral and ethical solution. We ended up freeing the slaves during the Civil War. Has America provided minorities equality and the same opportunities that white people have? No. The racism that stumped The Founding Fathers and that crippled the South for many years is still a problem.

As Americans, we must look at the bigotry, racism, and sexism that dwells within our hearts and souls. We need to be honest with ourselves, face it head on, and overcome the desire to blame others for what is not right in our lives. Black people, Jews, and women are not the reason you find your life lacking. They are not the reason you lost your job or don’t have health insurance, or don’t have the family you always dreamed of. But other caring Americans can help and give you support. Often, others can and would advise you, give you a hand, or just assist in ways you can determine.

America has never been perfect but we have continued to try. We haven’t tried hard enough and there are people whose lives can testify to that. Education, hard work and being honest with ourselves will take us to what we desire. By being responsible for all of our actions we negate the habit to blame others for our losses and disappointments.

America must realize that while we are great, we each need to love our fellow citizens despite their religion, color, gender, education level, and socio-economic place in our society. Only then we can rise together to fulfill our dreams and to make America the best it can possibly be.

 

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Will America Ever Learn?


Germans are taught that their historical horrors were collective failures. Americans, on the other hand…

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Truth No One Wants to Talk About


 

America has a lot to be ashamed about in our history. The are four huge things I am going to mention. There are others, and though we like to think of ourselves as the standard that all countries should strive for, we are not. The first is our indigenous population, the many tribes of Native Americans who lived here for centuries before white Europeans came to these shores.  I am sure it was unnerving to have the strange colored and strangely dressed people arrive at their shores, yet they welcomed these new people.

 

Despite the myth of Thanksgiving, we came and brought disease and began to take their land. They had been the caretakers of all of this beautiful land that comprises America for centuries. The land was lush and fertile. It was full of wild animals, including buffalo. There was more than enough bounty to go around. The indigenous people did not pollute the water or the air. They proudly took care of their land. White people came in an took the land and killed the “American Indians” or fought them in bloody battles. White people would not give up so they killed thousands of braves, the women and children. We “gave” them little patches of worthless land (that they already owned) and made treaties that weren’t worth the paper they were written on. Still to this day, they care for Mother Earth as best as they can.

 

Our second shame is the issue of slavery. The first black men were brought to Jamestown in chains in the 1600’s. They were brought to sell to people who wanted them to do work their new owners didn’t want to do. The south became the biggest owner of slaves because of the plantations and crops such as tobacco, cotton and sugar cane. There were some slaves early on in the north but the practice didn’t last long. The 1840 census showed that New Hampshire had one slave.

 

Today slavery is long gone, thanks to a war. Even after the Civil War, the South enacted segregation and an organization called the Klu Klux Klan was formed. It was made up of cowardly southern men who rode at night under white sheets lynching Black people, beating them up. Setting themselves up as judge, jury and executioner for the helpless black people.

 

We now have our first black president and I voted for him twice. His Presidency has brought out the racism that is still alive and well in America. Which brings me to the group Black Lives Matter. I believe in Black Lives Matter. There is no need for White Lives Matter because here in America White lives are the only lives that matter in the eyes of too many people, and often in the eyes of the law.

 

In 1947, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor and much of our Navy Fleet was lost. We lost many sailors and navy nurses. The attack was a terrible shock to America. My father kept a file about the attack that I found in 1984 when he died. Japan had woken the sleeping Tiger that was the U.S., and they payed the ultimate price, unfortunately. After the Pearl Harbor attack, came our third great shame, when we rounded up all Japanese people and some who looked oriental and put them in internment camps. We even included the Japanese who were born here and had lived in America their entire lives. Why? The were different. They were a different color, and LOOKED like the enemy, so they were judged to BE the enemy.

 

In 2001, we were attacked again by religious Jihadists. The hit us in three locations: The Pentagon, the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center, and a hijacked plane that was brought down by the passengers rather than let it fly to Washington DC. This attack was allegedly done “in the name of Islam” (although Islam is a peaceful religion) and over 3000 people were directly killed and many first responders have died since. Our fourth shame comes in because many here in America blame every Muslim. The vast majority of Muslims had no more idea of what was going to happen on September 11 than any non-Muslim, and are just as hurt, angered and appalled. But, because we are scared, we want to make all Muslims responsible. It’s easier for us to blame them because they often are a different color and dress differently, but this is not fair. Some want to keep all Muslims out of America. This is not right, and goes against everything America stands for, particularly the 1st Amendment Right of Freedom of Religion. There are many Muslims who are as peaceful and loving in their religious beliefs as anyone else, and should be able to come here and live.

 

Despite all the wrongs we have done to the Native Americans, they are now finally using their right to protest. They are protesting the continuation of the pipeline through their lands in the Dakotas. Whites should care as much about this land as do the descents of those from whom it was stolen. Native Americans are still taking of Mother Earth. Please listen to the important video below. Listen and take a stand. One you can be proud of.

 

Namaste

Barbara

 

Solidarity between Jews and Muslims


Jewish group expresses solidarity with Muslims after imam is murdered in Queens

 

Al-Furqan Jame Mosque in Ozone Park

Community members pray outside the Al-Furqan Jame Mosque in Ozone Park after imam Maulama Akonjee and friend Thara Uddin were killed in the Queens borough of New York City. (photo credit:KENA BETANCUR / AFP)

ion League expressed solidarity with the Muslim community on Sunday after an imam and and another Muslim walking with him were fatally shot by a lone gunman. The double murder happened on Saturday following afternoon prayers at a mosque in the New York City borough of Queens.

According to police, the gunman approached the men from behind and shot both in the head at close range in the Ozone Park neighborhood. No arrests have been made.

 While the motive for the shooting was not immediately known and no evidence has been uncovered that the two men were targeted because of their faith, some in the Muslim community have spoken out against Republican Presidential candidate Donald Trump, blaming him for creating an atmosphere of Islamophobia.

The victims, identified as Imam Maulama Akonjee, 55, and Thara Uddin, 64, were both wearing religious garb at the time of shooting, police said.

The ADL said it is shocked and horrified at the murder. ADL New York Regional Director Evan R. Bernstein also urged the NYPD to investigate it as a possible hate crime.

“Unfortunately, such incidents have the potential to make communities feel unsafe and vulnerable,” he said. “However, the Muslim community should know that greater New York stands united with them during this extremely difficult time.”

The Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights and advocacy group known by the acronym CAIR, said Uddin was an associate of the imam.

“These were two very beloved people,” Afaf Nasher, executive director of the New York chapter of CAIR, told Reuters. “There is a deep sense of mourning and an overwhelming cry for justice to be served.”

“We are calling for all people, of all faiths, to rally with compassion and with a sense of vigilance so that justice can be served,” Nasher said. “You can’t go up to a person and shoot them in the head and not be motivated by hatred.”

The suspect was seen by witnesses fleeing the scene with a gun in his hand, police said.

Reuters contributed to this story.

 

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Bless the love that brought these people together and stopped the hate which is building up in our world. Love is the answer. Love is the only answer. We are all one family in one world worshiping one God, one God. It does not matter what name you use.

 

Namaste, Barbara

Victims of War and Trafficking


Hidden Victims Of War And Trafficking Revealed By Panama Papers

Panama Papers: An Incomplete List Of Perpetrators And Unseen List Of Victims

The Panama Papers rattled the world when they were released on Sunday. A massive leak of millions of documents exposed offshore financial records for clients around the globe seeking to hide bank accounts from domestic eyes. The Panama Papers now under the international spotlight have so far revealed that over 140 politicians from around the world have been involved with the Panamanian company firm Mossack Fonseca and networks of secret offshore deals that may have helped those involved to build fortunes.

Yet, the importance of the Panama Papers not only relies on the exposure of possible crime and corruption by world leaders, politicians, monarchs, and their friends and families. Tax havens, especially Panama, are well-known around the world. The offshore accounts are legal, but the Panama Papers have revealed that the legal accounts may be used for illegal activities, such as money laundering, tax evasion, and criminal activity. In addition, there are numerous victims behind these offshore deals. As stated by Al Jazeera,

“In a world of extreme inequality and massive social problems such as ours, the economic, social, and political effects of tax avoidance due to the existence of tax havens are enormous.” 

While workers and small to medium size business keep paying their tax obligations, world leaders, celebrities and business executives continue to pay less and less. Imagine how different many global issues would be without this money hidden away, but reinvested in the public. Think of the inequality, poverty, the refugee crisis, education, health, etc. TheInternational Consortium of Investigative Journals or ICIJ  (who closely worked with The Guardian, BBC and other newspapers in the exposure of the documents) also made sure to explain how these offshore deals affect others.

For example, it is known how barrel bombs and missiles have been dropped on civilian neighborhoods killing thousands of innocent lives in Syria. However, while the war crimes have been documented, the offshore finance behind these crimes has not. According to the Panama Papers, offshore companies have been accused of supplying fuel for jets slaughtering civilians in the Syrian civil war. And although many countries like the United Stated or the United Kingdom have called for bans on these companies, it is now known that

The 4 minute video done by ICIJ and the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting use alleged real life examples to explain the impact of these deals. In Russia, for example, it is said that businessmen kidnap girls and make them sex slaves whom they will later sell to clients; one of the ringleaders is believed to have been a client of Mossack Fonseca. The company allegedly turned a blind eye to evidence of underage human trafficking victims. In Uganda, a country that faced a brutal and bloody dictatorship that has left deep scars in the society, and considered one of the poorest countries in the world, a company was helped to avoid 400 million in taxes with simple paperwork. The Guardian has also recently claimed that a British banker, Nigel Cowie, helped the North Korean regime to sell arms and expand its nuclear weapons program. The US sanctioned Daedong Credit Bank, the first foreign bank in North Korea headed by Cowie.

Yet two questions remain: The first one is why US officials have not made any public declaration on the Panama Papers. The second is why there aren’t any US names outed yet in the Panama Papers.

Could the revelations actually be hiding something bigger? Why have stories so far revolved mainly around Russian President Vladimir Putin, or leaders of countries like Ukraine, Pakistan, Zimbabwe, and North Korea? Perhaps understandable, as Craig Murray has stated, if we considered the US-based ICIJ is actually funded and organized by the USA’s Center for Public Integrity, including funds from Ford Foundation, Carnegie Endowment, Rockefeller Family Fund, W K Kellogg Foundation and Open Society Foundation.

The US Justice Department said it is reviewing the documents and reports, looking for any US corruption or wrongdoing. It seems like that some in the US are holding their breath. And for good reason, as Mathew Ingram, senior writer at Fortune magazine, tweeted,

 “Editor of Süddeutsche Zeitung responded to the lack of U.S. individuals in the documents, saying “Just wait for what is coming next”. “

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Children are also profitable to kidnap and sell.

Children are also profitable to kidnap and sell.

 

You have to wonder what will come out next. Does America have a role in the Panama Papers and who is involved? Are American women and children being kidnapped and sold as sex slaves or labor slaves? We will find out.

 

More human beings live in slavery than ever before. It must end.

More human beings live in slavery than ever before. It must end.

 

Slavery - Human Trafficking

Slavery – Human Trafficking