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Trump celebrates Black History Month.

February is Black History Month in the US.  Following in the tradition of past presidents, Trump held an event on Monday, Jan. 30, to mark the occasion.  His event was called a “listening session”.  He invited a lot of African-American people from various walks of life to attend the session, and opened the event with his own reflections on black history in the US.

Since we already know the man is a buffoonish carnival barker, it will come as no surprise that his remarks displayed a deplorably shallow knowledge on the subjects of black life, black history, and the contributions of prominent African-Americans throughout our history as a country.  However unsurprising his ignorance might be, what is remarkable is that the sitting president of the US didn’t even bother pretending to be interested in the topic.  He clearly hadn’t even asked a staffer to do some internet searches and come up with some facts on a few prominent blacks that he could mention, or a couple of notable quotes from them that he could include in his introduction.  He couldn’t even bring himself to offer up a single sentence about slavery or the civil rights movement.  There was no symbolic reference to unity or equality.  He never uttered the name Obama, although certainly the occasion must have invoked at least the passing thought of our first black president.  Trump’s remarks were almost entirely about….Trump.

Here’s what he had to say about Dr. Martin Luther King, jr.: “Last month, we celebrated the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history.  You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office, and it turned out that that was fake news.  (Laughter.)  It was fake news.  The statue is cherished.  It’s one of the favorite things in the — and we have some good ones.  We have Lincoln and we have Jefferson and we have Dr. Martin Luther King, and we have — but they said the statue, the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office.  And it was never even touched.  So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is.  Very unfortunate.”

There ya go; Dr. king reduced to being merely a bust in the White House, which is apparently the sum total of what makes him a famous black person in Trump’s wee little brain.  That was the end of Trump’s commentary on Dr. King.

Trump mentioned Frederick Douglass as well and apparently thinks the man is still alive and is busy doing an amazing job at something or another these days: “I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things.  Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice — Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today.  Big impact.”  Okay, so he knows the names of four black people from history, but he does mention “millions more”, so I suppose that counts for something.  Someone in the press noticed the use of the present tense in Trump’s sentence about Douglass and asked the president’s press secretary about it a day or two later.  Sean Spicer, not to be outdone by his boss in exhibiting blind ignorance to the public, said, “I think he [Trump]  wants to highlight the contributions that he [Douglass] has made.  And I think through a lot of the actions and statements that he’s going to make, I think the contributions of Frederick Douglass will become more and more.”  Whatever the hell most of that gobblety-gook statement means, it’s obvious as fuck that Sean Spicer doesn’t know who Douglass is either, and also thinks he is still alive and kicking.  Douglass died in 1895.  But you knew that, right?  Because you took a second to freaking “google” it, which neither of these two white crackers did before talking in public.  I’m sure by the time Betsy Devos gets done “improving” our school systems as the new head of the Dept. of Education, nobody else will know jackshit about Douglass either; or about anything else, for that matter.   (She’ll be approved for the position; her brother, Erik Prince, the founder of Blackwater, being such a close advisor to Trump and all guarantees that she will be heading that agency – one way or another.)

Trump made sure to mention his new HUD [Housing and Urban Development] director, Ben Carson, a couple of times, no doubt because the man is pretty much the only black guy he personally knows, and he was present in the room at the time.  Dr. Carson, whose singular qualification for heading up HUD is the fact that he is a home-owner, once said on the campaign trail that he thinks it would be okay to bomb children on general principles.  When asked if he would order airstrikes that might kill innocent children by the thousands, he mentioned operating on kids with brain tumors and how they hated it but later on loved him, and finished his comments by saying,”and by the same token, you have to be able to look at the big picture and understand that it’s actually merciful if you go ahead and finish the job, rather than death by 1,000 pricks.”   So in other words, Ben Carson thinks bombing civilians and children is somehow merciful because it finishes the job quickly.  The crowd applauded the twisted fuck for his bedside manner.  He later dropped out of the presidential race, but has found a way to be Trump’s token African-American in the administration.  Trump’s first nod to Carson in his Black History Month intro is a bit condescending to the black community in general.  He said, “I’ve gotten a real glimpse — during the campaign, I’d go around with Ben to a lot of different places that I wasn’t so familiar with.  They’re incredible people.”  They?  You mean black people?  Those people – are those the ones you aren’t so familiar with?  Asshole.  Later, Trump told the gathering that part of Carson’s job is working on the inner cities, and that “Ben is going to be doing that big league.  It’s one of his big things that we’re going to be looking at.”  Then he threatened the “inner cities” with more law enforcement.  Where’s Black Lives Matter when you need them?  Oh, yeah, they weren’t invited to this Black History Month listening session.  “We need safer communities, and we’re going to do that with law enforcement.  We’re going to make it safe.  We’re going to make it much better than it is right now.  Right now it’s terrible [..],” Trump said.  After his opening remarks, Trump had everyone in the room introduce themselves to each other.  One man, a pastor, commented that some gang leaders from Chicago invited him to work with them on reducing violence in that city and that they wanted to focus on social programs.  Studies show that social programs, jobs, and better educational resources are key to reducing city violence, by the way, as opposed to the “stop and frisk” policies and the militarized police forces that Trump endorses.  While acknowledging that the pastor working with these gang members might be a good thing, he nonetheless managed to turn that compliment into a threat:  “If they’re not going to solve the problem — and what you’re doing is the right thing — then we’re going to solve the problem for them because we’re going to have to do something about Chicago.”

I’m amazed that Trump could find enough blacks to fill in all the seats around that table for his “event”.  The man is not interested in the black community, except as a policing problem.  The people who attended, however, seemed quite obsequious and happy to be there, however, so what do I know?

Below is the entire transcript, which I copied from the White House website.  That way, you know I didn’t just make this shit up as some sort of fake news to make the Dear Leader look stupid.  To be entirely honest, I myself did not believe some of the quotes I had read in other sources were accurate; I thought for sure the journalists were mangling the remarks or taking them out of context on purpose.  But here it is – no deletions, no alterations – Trump’s Black History Month event:

THE PRESIDENT:  Hello, everybody.  These are a lot of my friends, but you have been so helpful.  And we did well.  The election, it came out really well.  Next time we’ll triple it up or quadruple it, right?  We want to get over 51, right?  At least 51.  [Teri’s note: I’m not sure to what he is referring here.  The number of states he won?  The percentage of black votes he won?  The number of people sitting in the room at that moment?]
Well, this is Black History Month, so this is our little breakfast, our little get-together.  Hi, Lynne, how are you?
MS. PATTON:  Hi, how are you?
THE PRESIDENT:  Nice to see you.  And just a few notes.  During this month, we honor the tremendous history of the African Americans throughout our country — throughout the world, if you really think about it, right?  And their story is one of unimaginable sacrifice, hard work and faith in America.
I’ve gotten a real glimpse — during the campaign, I’d go around with Ben to a lot of different places that I wasn’t so familiar with.  They’re incredible people.  And I want to thank Ben Carson, who’s going to be heading up HUD.  It’s a big job, and it’s a job that’s not only housing, it’s mind and spirit, right, Ben?  And you understand that.  Nobody is going to be better than Ben.
Last month, we celebrated the life of the Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., whose incredible example is unique in American history.  You read all about Dr. Martin Luther King a week ago when somebody said I took the statue out of my office, and it turned out that that was fake news.  (Laughter.)  It was fake news.  The statue is cherished.  It’s one of the favorite things in the — and we have some good ones.  We have Lincoln and we have Jefferson and we have Dr. Martin Luther King, and we have — but they said the statue, the bust of Dr. Martin Luther King was taken out of the office.  And it was never even touched.  So I think it was a disgrace, but that’s the way the press is.  Very unfortunate.
I am very proud now that we have a museum on the National Mall where people can learn about Reverend King, so many other things.  Frederick Douglass is an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice — Harriet Tubman, Rosa Parks, and millions more black Americans who made America what it is today.  Big impact.
I am proud to honor this heritage, and we’ll be honoring it more and more.  The folks at the table in almost all cases have been great friends and supporters.  And Darrell — I met Darrell when he was defending me on television.  (Laughter.)  And the people that were on the other side of the argument didn’t have a chance, right?  And Paris has done an amazing job in a very hostile CNN community.  (Laughter.)  He’s all by himself — seven people and Paris.  So I’ll take Paris over the seven.  (Laughter.)  But I don’t watch CNN so I don’t get to see you as much as I want to.  (Laughter.)  I don’t like watching fake news.
PARTICIPANT:  None of us watch it either anymore.
THE PRESIDENT:  But Fox has treated me very nice — wherever Fox is, thank you.
We’re going to need better schools, and we need them soon.  We need more jobs, we need better wages — a lot better wages.  We’re going to work very hard on the inner city.  Ben is going to be doing that big league.  It’s one of his big things that we’re going to be looking at.
We need safer communities, and we’re going to do that with law enforcement.  We’re going to make it safe.  We’re going to make it much better than it is right now.  Right now it’s terrible, and I saw you talking about it the other night, Paris, on something else that was really — you did a fantastic job the other night on a very unrelated show.  I’m ready to do my part — it’s the only time I can see him.  I’m ready to do my part, and I will say this:  We’re going to work together.
This is a great group.  This is a group that’s been so special to me.  You really helped me a lot.  If you remember, I wasn’t going to do well with the African American community, and after they heard me speaking and talking about the inner city and lots of other things, we ended up getting — I won’t go into details, but we ended up getting substantially more than other candidates who had run in the past years.  And now, we’re going to take that to new levels.
I want to thank my television star over here.  (Laughter.)  Omarosa is actually a very nice person.  Nobody knows that, but — (laughter) — I don’t want to destroy her reputation.  She is a very good person and she’s been helpful right from the beginning of the campaign.  And I appreciate it.  I really do.  Very special.
And so I want to thank everybody for being here.  Could we maybe just go around the room and we’ll introduce ourselves.  And the press can stay for that, and I’m sure they have no questions about last night because it was such a good launch.  We have a fantastic, hopefully, new justice of the Supreme Court.  And hopefully, that will be — he’ll be approved very, very quickly.  He’s outstanding in every way — academically.  He’s done almost as well as you did, Darrell, in college.  (Laughter.)  Not quite, right?  But he’s a great man and I think he’ll be a great, great justice.  And he’s being very well-received.  It was a big evening.  Very big evening.
So, Paris, why don’t we start with you?  Go ahead.
MR. DENNARD:  Pleasure to be here, Mr. President.  Honor to be here.  Paris Dennard.  Thurgood Marshall College Fund represents the 47 publically supported historically black colleges and universities, which I know you are very much in support of.  So it’s a pleasure to be here, sir.
THE PRESIDENT:  Well, I’m glad you’re in support of me because I’d be all — I’d be in the wilderness without you guys.  You are so effective.  I appreciate it.
MR. DENNARD:  Thank you.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.
MR. CLEVELAND:  Bill Cleveland.  I’m a retired Capitol police officer, former vice mayor of the city of Alexandria, and substitute teacher in the Alexandria school system.  Glad to be here.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you.
MR. MATTHEWS:  Bill is also a Vietnam veteran, sir.
THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, good.
MR. MATTHEWS:  I’m Earl Matthews, sir.  I work for you at the Department of Defense.  I was sworn in an hour after you were.  Also a veteran and a longtime supporter of yours.  I’ve worked for you since late summer.  I’m happy to be here.
THE PRESIDENT:  Lieutenant Colonel — good job.
MS. SCOTT:  I’m Belinda Scott, Darrell’s wife.  New Spirit Revival Center from Cleveland, Ohio.  Pastor of New Spirit.  Great amount of support in the African American community where we are.  We love the Lord, we love our new President, and we are praying for our President on a regular basis.
THE PRESIDENT:  You know, the one thing I didn’t understand about Belinda — I thought they were married maybe five or six years, because look how they look so young.  (Laughter.)  Should you say how many years you’ve been married?
MS. SCOTT:  Thirty-five.
PASTOR SCOTT:  We’ve been together for 38.
MS. SCOTT:  Been together for — but in the Lord –(laughter) —  35, yes.
PASTOR SCOTT:  Two years under — (inaudible.)  (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s actually amazing.  I wouldn’t have known.
MS. SCOTT:  But can I say this — I am so grateful that our President gives us that ear to listen to the community — to listen.  And people like us are just here to constantly put that message out into the community.  And we love you for that.  We love you for listening and we thank you for that.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  Thank you very much.
PASTOR SCOTT:  Darrell Scott, pastor at New Spirit Revival Center and black Trump supporter.  (Laughter and applause.)  But speaking of the community, let me just say this real quick.  Omarosa, I told you I’m going to try to throw it in.  I was recently contacted by some of the top gang thugs initiative Chicago for a sit-down.  They reached out to me because they associated me with you.  They respect you, they believe in what you’re doing, and they want to have a sit-down about lowering that body count.  So in a couple of weeks, I’m going into Chicago.
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s a great idea because Chicago is totally out of control.
PASTOR SCOTT:  Well, I let him know — I said, we’ve got to lower that body count.  We don’t want to talk about anything else — get that body count down.  And they agreed.  But the principle is they can do it.  These are guys straight from the streets — no politicians — straight street guys.  But they’re going to commit that if they lower that body count, we’ll come in and we’ll do some social programs.  So they’re in agreement.
THE PRESIDENT:  If they’re not going to solve the problem — and what you’re doing is the right thing — then we’re going to solve the problem for them because we’re going to have to do something about Chicago.  Because what’s happening in Chicago should not be happening in this country.
PASTOR SCOTT:  But they want to work with this administration.
THE PRESIDENT:  Good.
PASTOR SCOTT:  They want to.  They reached out — I didn’t reach out to them.  They reached out to me.
THE PRESIDENT:  I understand.
PASTOR SCOTT:  They want to work with this administration.  They believe in this administration.  They didn’t believe in the prior administration.  They told me this out of their mouth.  But they see hope with you.
PRESIDENT TRUMP:  I love it.
MR. WILLIAMS:  Mr. President, I’m a member of what we call the media, but we try to be fair and objective.  (Laughter.)  Not all media seems to be the opposition party.  There are those that see the good that you’re doing.  We report it.  I’m just honored to have a seat at the table today.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  And it is — I mean, a lot of the media is actually the opposition party.  They’re so biased and really is a disgrace.  Some of you are fantastic and fair, but so much of the media is opposition party and knowingly saying incorrect things.  So it’s a very sad situation.  But we seem to be doing well.  It’s almost like, in the meantime, we won.  So maybe they don’t have the influence they think, but they really are — they really have to straighten out their act.  They’re very dishonest people.
James.
PASTOR DAVIS:  Pastor James Davis.  We’ve been — Mr. President, we’ve been a supporter of yours from the beginning alongside Mr. Michael Cohen and Dr. Darrell Scott with the National Diversity Coalition.  It helped to bring out a huge number in the black community with respect to the vote.  And we’re still happy to be in support as we go forward.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.  You’ve been great.  Thank you, James.
And, Lynne.
MS. PATTON:  Hi, Mr. President.  Yes, I am, as you know, the former vice president of the wonderful charity that your son founded — Trump Foundation.  I’ve been with your family for about eight years now, right, Jared?  And I was an RNC speaker and I will be landing with Dr. Carson at HUD as one of his senior advisors —
THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, that’s great.  You’ve got a good person.
MS. PATTON:  — and Director of the Office of Public Liaison.
THE PRESIDENT:  That’s great.  You did a fantastic job.
MS. PATTON:  Thank you.
MR. ROBINSON:  Mr. President, my name is Gerard Robinson.  I’m a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and I was proud to be the leader of the education policy team for the Trump transition.
THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you.
MR. BELL:  Mr. President, good to be with you.  I’m Ashley Bell, Gainesville.  Chairman Priebus called me out (inaudible) African American outreach for your campaign.  I’m glad you support Omarosa, glad to be here, and I’ll be wanting to help you out at the State Department.
THE PRESIDENT:  Fantastic.  Thank you.  Thank you very much.
MS. MANIGAULT:  Tucker was a star at the inauguration.
MR. DAVIS:  I’m Tucker Davis.  I ran your campaign in West Virginia, working for you in the —
THE PRESIDENT:  We did well in West Virginia.  (Laughter.)
MR. DAVIS:  Coal miners love you.
THE PRESIDENT:  And we love the coal miners.  We’re going to put them back to work.
MR. DAVIS:  Absolutely.
MS. LEVELL:  Leah LeVell.  I was at the RNC and also at PIC.  And I helped launch the video series every week — the midweek message that reached out to millennials and college students and helped launch the college Republican chapter at Howard University.
MS. MANIGAULT:  That’s Chris LeVell’s daughter.  We snagged her.  (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Oh, really?  Great job.
MS. ALEXANDER:  Mr. President, Monica Alexander, executive administrative assistant in the office of public liaison, supporting Omarosa.
PRESIDENT TRUMP:  Okay, well, that’s nice.
MR. SMITH:  Mr. President, Ja’Ron Smith.  I’m with the Domestic Policy Council, Andy Bremberg’s team, and I’ll be focusing on urban affairs and revitalization.
THE PRESIDENT:  Fantastic.
MS. MANIGAULT:  And Howard graduate.  (Laughter.)
THE PRESIDENT:  Howard graduate.  That’s good stuff.  Thank you, everybody.  Thank you.

END

https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/02/01/remarks-president-trump-african-american-history-month-listening-session

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Posted by on February 4, 2017 in civil rights, elections, Uncategorized

 

22 Nov., 1963

In November of 1963, I was seven years old.  I knew that my parents admired John F. Kennedy, his brother, Robert, and Martin Luther King, Jr. enormously.  A few short months before, in August of ’63, they had taken some of us older kids to listen to King speak during his March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.  There were over 100,000 people on the Mall that day.  I was there, sitting on my Daddy’s shoulders while King spoke.  We were back under some trees, and what I mostly remember about that day was that next to me, at eye-level, was a boy about my age.  He had been lifted up by his Daddy to sit on a branch of the tree.  He was a black kid with long, skinny legs.  I was a little white kid with long, skinny legs.  We kept peering at each other and then looking away quickly, checking each other out.  My father leaned in to his father to make a remark about the speech, and they nodded at each other before turning back to listen some more.  This casual and companionable, although they were strangers until that moment, movement of heads moving together so as to hear one another emboldened us children.  The little boy grinned at me and stuck his hand out.  I took his hand and we shook like we had seen the grownups do.  During the rest of the speech, each time we caught each other’s eyes, we burst into fits of giggles.  Kids, you know.  It was a hot summer day, but we were in the shade, and despite the huge crowd, there was no feeling of danger or threat.  We were out with our Dads, our Dads were fine with each other and fine with the day, the crowd was fine with the day, everyone shared their water, and so it was all good stuff to us.  I remember that day because of that little black boy who reached out and shook my little white hand on a hot summer day in the shade.

A few months later, in November, my brothers and I were in the basement of our house where Dad had set up the television.  We were watching cartoons or something, I can’t recall.  We were not allowed to watch much TV and probably the only reason we were watching that day was that my mother had to do some ironing; the ironing board was in the basement and she must have let us turn on the set so she could keep an eye on us while she ironed.  The show was interrupted by a “Special Bulletin” :  the president, John F. Kennedy, had been shot while riding in his motorcade in Texas.  I heard a noise behind me and turned to see my mother sobbing.  She put the iron aside and pulled her apron up to her face and just wept.  It was the first time in my life I can recall seeing my mother cry.  It frightened me a little, and cemented the moment in my brain.

Jack Kennedy died 51 years ago today, on Friday, November 22, 1963.

I want to remember him on this day by posting the text of one of his finest speeches, the commencement address at American University on June 10 of ’63.  He would be dead less than six months later.  He titled this speech, “A Strategy of Peace”.  In this talk, he announced his agreement to negotiate a test ban treaty with Russia and his decision to suspend all atmospheric nuclear weapons testing in the US.  He noted that the US and Russia had never been at war with each other, and mentioned that Russia had suffered more, and lost more lives, in WW II than any other nation.  No-one then or now talks about that fact of history.  His call to reexamine our attitude toward Russia should be applied to our current “New Cold War” on Russia and is such an apt, although certainly unforeseen by JFK, warning about the present day’s situation that I thought it would be particularly fitting to re-present this speech in his honor.  Not a single one of today’s US politicians is capable of giving such a talk or of thinking this way.  They are mere dogs of war, determined to threaten, invade, and ruin as many countries as they can.  They can only kill and maim, gunrunners for the weapons manufacturers, plotting massive death on weekday mornings over coffee.  They not only have a disregard for humans outside the US, they seem very anxious to  cause as much pain to Americans as possible.  This current group of treasonous and odious “elected representatives of the people” in Congress wrote a law a few years ago, and have renewed it each year, and our current president has signed it each year,  a “law” which gives the President the power to assassinate anyone he chooses, American or not, anywhere in the world.  This “law” also states that Obama, and presumably whomever follows him, can have anyone he chooses, American or not, picked up and held in indefinite detention, without charges or trial, in military prisons.  It never ceases to astonish me that anyone in the United States, or anywhere in the free world, for that matter, would continue to have any truck whatsoever with any of the people who participated in the formulation or passage of this “law”.  We still call the president “the President” and we still call Congress “Congress”, but that is where the similarities between Kennedy and his Congress and this current group of thugs pretty much ends.

At the time of the American University speech, John Kennedy had developed plans for the complete withdrawal from Vietnam by 1965 and was secretly sending feelers for reconciliation with Cuba to Castro.  Both these actions may have led to his assassination.  After he was killed, the Vietnam war escalated and the embargoes on Cuba became set in stone; Obama renews the Cuban embargo every year “for the safety of the US” just as every president since Kennedy has, although the idea that we have any reason for them is laughable on its face.

I want to note this: in his speech, you will read that Kennedy said, “It is discouraging to think that their leaders [he is referring to the Russians] may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent, authoritative Soviet text on military strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims, such as the allegation that American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war, that there is a very real threat of a preventive war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union, and that the political aims — and I quote — ‘of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries and to achieve world domination by means of aggressive war.’ […]”   A particularly awful and unforgivable result of today’s politics is that the “fantasy” of the old Soviet propaganda writers has proved to be the factual truth.  Kennedy would never have been able to imagine the world as the US has re-created it now.  You will read other paragraphs like the above, where it is just as apparent that we have become exactly the nation Kennedy thought we simply were too good and too good-hearted to ever become.  He talks of our diplomats; I think of the State Dept. and see Hillary cackling like a crazed, demented lunatic over the thought that we just tortured and assassinated the leader of a sovereign nation, after invading and bombing the hell out of his country.  I see our State Dept. threatening other countries with sanctions if they don’t accept Monsato’s GMO seeds of death or Coca-Cola into their countries, think about our diplomats running guns for the CIA, using mercenaries as diplomatic corp protection, and hear Nuland saying, “Fuck the EU,” after we helped a bunch of neo-Nazis stage a coup in Ukraine.  This is not a United States that Jack Kennedy could even conceive of.  The second to last paragraph is enough to make tears come to the eyes:  “The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough — more than enough — of war and hate and oppression.”

One of the best books about the assassination of Kennedy is James Douglass’ “JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Why It Matters”.  I highly recommend the book.

Of the American University speech, Jeffrey Sachs (American economist) has said, “I have come to believe that Kennedy’s quest for peace is not only the greatest achievement of his presidency, but also one of the greatest acts of world leadership in the modern era.”

I post below the entire text of the speech, omitting only the introductory preamble.  I hope you will read it slowly and carefully so as to grasp the import and vitality of the words.

*********

[Intro: Gives mentions to those who invited him to give the commencement address, accolades to American University, etc.]

I have, therefore, chosen this time and place to discuss a topic on which ignorance too often abounds and the truth too rarely perceived. And that is the most important topic on earth: peace. What kind of peace do I mean and what kind of a peace do we seek? Not a Pax Americana enforced on the world by American weapons of war. Not the peace of the grave or the security of the slave. I am talking about genuine peace, the kind of peace that makes life on earth worth living, and the kind that enables men and nations to grow, and to hope, and build a better life for their children — not merely peace for Americans but peace for all men and women, not merely peace in our time but peace in all time.

I speak of peace because of the new face of war. Total war makes no sense in an age where great powers can maintain large and relatively invulnerable nuclear forces and refuse to surrender without resort to those forces. It makes no sense in an age where a single nuclear weapon contains almost ten times the explosive force delivered by all the allied air forces in the Second World War. It makes no sense in an age when the deadly poisons produced by a nuclear exchange would be carried by wind and water and soil and seed to the far corners of the globe and to generations yet unborn.

Today the expenditure of billions of dollars every year on weapons acquired for the purpose of making sure we never need them is essential to the keeping of peace. But surely the acquisition of such idle stockpiles — which can only destroy and never create — is not the only, much less the most efficient, means of assuring peace. I speak of peace, therefore, as the necessary, rational end of rational men. I realize the pursuit of peace is not as dramatic as the pursuit of war, and frequently the words of the pursuers fall on deaf ears. But we have no more urgent task.

Some say that it is useless to speak of peace or world law or world disarmament, and that it will be useless until the leaders of the Soviet Union adopt a more enlightened attitude. I hope they do. I believe we can help them do it. But I also believe that we must reexamine our own attitudes, as individuals and as a Nation, for our attitude is as essential as theirs. And every graduate of this school, every thoughtful citizen who despairs of war and wishes to bring peace, should begin by looking inward, by examining his own attitude towards the possibilities of peace, towards the Soviet Union, towards the course of the cold war and towards freedom and peace here at home.

First examine our attitude towards peace itself. Too many of us think it is impossible. Too many think it is unreal. But that is a dangerous, defeatist belief. It leads to the conclusion that war is inevitable, that mankind is doomed, that we are gripped by forces we cannot control. We need not accept that view. Our problems are manmade; therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable, and we believe they can do it again. I am not referring to the absolute, infinite concept of universal peace and good will of which some fantasies and fanatics dream. I do not deny the value of hopes and dreams but we merely invite discouragement and incredulity by making that our only and immediate goal.

Let us focus instead on a more practical, more attainable peace, based not on a sudden revolution in human nature but on a gradual evolution in human institutions — on a series of concrete actions and effective agreements which are in the interest of all concerned. There is no single, simple key to this peace; no grand or magic formula to be adopted by one or two powers. Genuine peace must be the product of many nations, the sum of many acts. It must be dynamic, not static, changing to meet the challenge of each new generation. For peace is a process — a way of solving problems.

With such a peace, there will still be quarrels and conflicting interests, as there are within families and nations. World peace, like community peace, does not require that each man love his neighbor, it requires only that they live together in mutual tolerance, submitting their disputes to a just and peaceful settlement. And history teaches us that enmities between nations, as between individuals, do not last forever. However fixed our likes and dislikes may seem, the tide of time and events will often bring surprising changes in the relations between nations and neighbors. So let us persevere. Peace need not be impracticable, and war need not be inevitable. By defining our goal more clearly, by making it seem more manageable and less remote, we can help all people to see it, to draw hope from it, and to move irresistibly towards it.

And second, let us reexamine our attitude towards the Soviet Union. It is discouraging to think that their leaders may actually believe what their propagandists write. It is discouraging to read a recent, authoritative Soviet text on military strategy and find, on page after page, wholly baseless and incredible claims, such as the allegation that American imperialist circles are preparing to unleash different types of war, that there is a very real threat of a preventive war being unleashed by American imperialists against the Soviet Union,  and that the political aims — and I quote — “of the American imperialists are to enslave economically and politically the European and other capitalist countries and to achieve world domination by means of aggressive war.”

Truly, as it was written long ago: “The wicked flee when no man pursueth.”
Yet it is sad to read these Soviet statements, to realize the extent of the gulf between us. But it is also a warning, a warning to the American people not to fall into the same trap as the Soviets, not to see only a distorted and desperate view of the other side, not to see conflict as inevitable, accommodation as impossible, and communication as nothing more than an exchange of threats.

No government or social system is so evil that its people must be considered as lacking in virtue. As Americans, we find communism profoundly repugnant as a negation of personal freedom and dignity. But we can still hail the Russian people for their many achievements in science and space, in economic and industrial growth, in culture, in acts of courage.

Among the many traits the peoples of our two countries have in common, none is stronger than our mutual abhorrence of war. Almost unique among the major world powers, we have never been at war with each other. And no nation in the history of battle ever suffered more than the Soviet Union in the Second World War. At least 20 million lost their lives. Countless millions of homes and families were burned or sacked. A third of the nation’s territory, including two thirds of its industrial base, was turned into a wasteland — a loss equivalent to the destruction of this country east of Chicago.

Today, should total war ever break out again — no matter how — our two countries will be the primary target. It is an ironic but accurate fact that the two strongest powers are the two in the most danger of devastation. All we have built, all we have worked for, would be destroyed in the first 24 hours. And even in the cold war, which brings burdens and dangers to so many countries, including this Nation’s closest allies, our two countries bear the heaviest burdens. For we are both devoting massive sums of money to weapons that could be better devoted to combat ignorance, poverty, and disease. We are both caught up in a vicious and dangerous cycle, with suspicion on one side breeding suspicion on the other, and new weapons begetting counter-weapons. In short, both the United States and its allies, and the Soviet Union and its allies, have a mutually deep interest in a just and genuine peace and in halting the arms race. Agreements to this end are in the interests of the Soviet Union as well as ours. And even the most hostile nations can be relied upon to accept and keep those treaty obligations, and only those treaty obligations, which are in their own interest.

So let us not be blind to our differences, but let us also direct attention to our common interests and the means by which those differences can be resolved. And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s futures. And we are all mortal.

Third,  let us reexamine our attitude towards the cold war, remembering we’re not engaged in a debate, seeking to pile up debating points. We are not here distributing blame or pointing the finger of judgment. We must deal with the world as it is, and not as it might have been had the history of the last 18 years been different. We must, therefore, persevere in the search for peace in the hope that constructive changes within the Communist bloc might bring within reach solutions which now seem beyond us. We must conduct our affairs in such a way that it becomes in the Communists’ interest to agree on a genuine peace. And above all, while defending our own vital interests, nuclear powers must avert those confrontations which bring an adversary to a choice of either a humiliating retreat or a nuclear war. To adopt that kind of course in the nuclear age would be evidence only of the bankruptcy of our policy — or of a collective death-wish for the world.

To secure these ends, America’s weapons are nonprovocative, carefully controlled, designed to deter, and capable of selective use. Our military forces are committed to peace and disciplined in self-restraint. Our diplomats are instructed to avoid unnecessary irritants and purely rhetorical hostility. For we can seek a relaxation of tensions without relaxing our guard. And, for our part, we do not need to use threats to prove we are resolute. We do not need to jam foreign broadcasts out of fear our faith will be eroded. We are unwilling to impose our system on any unwilling people, but we are willing and able to engage in peaceful competition with any people on earth.

Meanwhile, we seek to strengthen the United Nations, to help solve its financial problems, to make it a more effective instrument for peace, to develop it into a genuine world security system — a system capable of resolving disputes on the basis of law, of insuring the security of the large and the small, and of creating conditions under which arms can finally be abolished. At the same time we seek to keep peace inside the non-Communist world, where many nations, all of them our friends, are divided over issues which weaken Western unity, which invite Communist intervention, or which threaten to erupt into war. Our efforts in West New Guinea, in the Congo, in the Middle East, and the Indian subcontinent, have been persistent and patient despite criticism from both sides. We have also tried to set an example for others, by seeking to adjust small but significant differences with our own closest neighbors in Mexico and Canada.

Speaking of other nations, I wish to make one point clear. We are bound to many nations by alliances. Those alliances exist because our concern and theirs substantially overlap. Our commitment to defend Western Europe and West Berlin, for example, stands undiminished because of the identity of our vital interests. The United States will make no deal with the Soviet Union at the expense of other nations and other peoples, not merely because they are our partners, but also because their interests and ours converge. Our interests converge, however, not only in defending the frontiers of freedom, but in pursuing the paths of peace. It is our hope, and the purpose of allied policy, to convince the Soviet Union that she, too, should let each nation choose its own future, so long as that choice does not interfere with the choices of others. The Communist drive to impose their political and economic system on others is the primary cause of world tension today. For there can be no doubt that if all nations could refrain from interfering in the self-determination of others, the peace would be much more assured.

This will require a new effort to achieve world law, a new context for world discussions. It will require increased understanding between the Soviets and ourselves. And increased understanding will require increased contact and communication. One step in this direction is the proposed arrangement for a direct line between Moscow and Washington, to avoid on each side the dangerous delays, misunderstandings, and misreadings of others’ actions which might occur at a time of crisis.

We have also been talking in Geneva about our first-step measures of arm[s] controls designed to limit the intensity of the arms race and reduce the risk of accidental war. Our primary long range interest in Geneva, however, is general and complete disarmament, designed to take place by stages, permitting parallel political developments to build the new institutions of peace which would take the place of arms. The pursuit of disarmament has been an effort of this Government since the 1920’s. It has been urgently sought by the past three administrations. And however dim the prospects are today, we intend to continue this effort — to continue it in order that all countries, including our own, can better grasp what the problems and possibilities of disarmament are.

The only major area of these negotiations where the end is in sight, yet where a fresh start is badly needed, is in a treaty to outlaw nuclear tests. The conclusion of such a treaty, so near and yet so far, would check the spiraling arms race in one of its most dangerous areas. It would place the nuclear powers in a position to deal more effectively with one of the greatest hazards which man faces in 1963, the further spread of nuclear arms. It would increase our security; it would decrease the prospects of war. Surely this goal is sufficiently important to require our steady pursuit, yielding neither to the temptation to give up the whole effort nor the temptation to give up our insistence on vital and responsible safeguards.

I’m taking this opportunity, therefore, to announce two important decisions in this regard. First, Chairman Khrushchev, Prime Minister Macmillan, and I have agreed that high-level discussions will shortly begin in Moscow looking towards early agreement on a comprehensive test ban treaty. Our hope must be tempered — Our hopes must be tempered with the caution of history; but with our hopes go the hopes of all mankind. Second, to make clear our good faith and solemn convictions on this matter, I now declare that the United States does not propose to conduct nuclear tests in the atmosphere so long as other states do not do so. We will not — We will not be the first to resume. Such a declaration is no substitute for a formal binding treaty, but I hope it will help us achieve one. Nor would such a treaty be a substitute for disarmament, but I hope it will help us achieve it.

Finally, my fellow Americans, let us examine our attitude towards peace and freedom here at home. The quality and spirit of our own society must justify and support our efforts abroad. We must show it in the dedication of our own lives — as many of you who are graduating today will have an opportunity to do, by serving without pay in the Peace Corps abroad or in the proposed National Service Corps here at home. But wherever we are, we must all, in our daily lives, live up to the age-old faith that peace and freedom walk together. In too many of our cities today, the peace is not secure because freedom is incomplete. It is the responsibility of the executive branch at all levels of government — local, State, and National — to provide and protect that freedom for all of our citizens by all means within our authority. It is the responsibility of the legislative branch at all levels, wherever the authority is not now adequate, to make it adequate. And it is the responsibility of all citizens in all sections of this country to respect the rights of others and respect the law of the land.

All this — All this is not unrelated to world peace. “When a man’s way[s] please the Lord,” the Scriptures tell us, “He maketh even his enemies to be at peace with him.” And is not peace, in the last analysis, basically a matter of human rights: the right to live out our lives without fear of devastation; the right to breathe air as nature provided it; the right of future generations to a healthy existence?

While we proceed to safeguard our national interests, let us also safeguard human interests. And the elimination of war and arms is clearly in the interest of both. No treaty, however much it may be to the advantage of all, however tightly it may be worded, can provide absolute security against the risks of deception and evasion. But it can, if it is sufficiently effective in its enforcement, and it is sufficiently in the interests of its signers, offer far more security and far fewer risks than an unabated, uncontrolled, unpredictable arms race.

The United States, as the world knows, will never start a war. We do not want a war. We do not now expect a war. This generation of Americans has already had enough — more than enough — of war and hate and oppression.

We shall be prepared if others wish it. We shall be alert to try to stop it. But we shall also do our part to build a world of peace where the weak are safe and the strong are just. We are not helpless before that task or hopeless of its success. Confident and unafraid, we must labor on–not towards a strategy of annihilation but towards a strategy of peace.

***********

text from:

http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/jfkamericanuniversityaddress.html

 
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Posted by on November 22, 2014 in civil rights, peace, Uncategorized

 

21 September, 2014.

Happy U.N. International Day of Peace to all and sundry.

I wish I could think of something really witty to say about this, but there is no statement I could make that is more ironic than simply pointing out that this hopeful holiday has not had any perceivable effect since its inception in 1981.

It’s all just too fucking sad and futile.

You may read about the International Day of Peace here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/International_Day_of_Peace

 

 
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Posted by on September 21, 2014 in peace, Uncategorized

 

Greenwald to name names?

Updated below.

Glenn Greenwald, the man Edward Snowden handed the NSA “spying documents” over to, has announced that he has neared the end of the material he will release to the public.  If you haven’t been satisfied with the number of documents published through a few media outlets so far, you can buy his new book, which I understand has a couple more new “revelations” in it.  The book is oddly separated from the documents themselves (I gather you can go to a website and download the documents the book mentions for yourself) and has no index (strange editing choice for a book on such a subject).  Maybe there will be more in his upcoming movie, although that is being publicized as the story of how he and Snowden met and planned the release of the documents; no mention has been made that the movie will include any revealing of the document materials.  Now he has plans for the ending point, a final release of one last item, a “Grand Finale”,  which he will publish later this year at his new billionaire Pierre Omidyar-funded website, The Intercept: he is going to release the names of individuals targeted by the NSA.  (What the hell happened to all those other tens of thousands of documents never released?  We just don’t get to see what’s in them?)

According to this Realclearpolitics article, entitled ” Greenwald’s Finale: Naming Victims of Surveillance”:

The man who helped bring about the most significant leak in American intelligence history is to reveal names of US citizens targeted by their own government in what he promises will be the “biggest” revelation from nearly 2m classified files.

His [Greenwald’s] plan to publish names will further unnerve an American intelligence establishment already reeling from 11 months of revelations about US government surveillance activities. […]

“One of the big questions when it comes to domestic spying is, ‘Who have been the NSA’s specific targets?’,” he said. 

“Are they political critics and dissidents and activists? Are they genuinely people we’d regard as terrorists?

What are the metrics and calculations that go into choosing those targets and what is done with the surveillance that is conducted? Those are the kinds of questions that I want to still answer.”

Greenwald said the names would be published via The Intercept, a website funded by Pierre Omidyar, the billionaire founder and chairman of eBay. […]

http://www.realclearpolitics.com/articles/2014/05/26/greenwalds_finale_naming_victims_of_surveillance_122747.html

From a Commondreams article :

And in an interview with The Sunday Times published over the weekend, the award-winning journalist spoke about a coming “finale” that would expose specific individuals who have been targeted by the powerful spy agency. […]”

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2014/05/27-3

Now hold on just a daggone minute.  Greenwald has repeatedly stated that one reason he has vetted the releases with the US government prior to publication is that he and Snowden wanted to make sure that the innocent targets of the NSA would not have their lives disrupted and possibly put in danger by revealing their names.  He has also made numerous times, in what is basically the same wording, the remark that a major factor explaining the slow release of documents is the painstaking work of making sure that the names of individuals targeted by the NSA have their identities (including other potential identifying information aside from their names) redacted prior to public release of any given document.

And the “grand finale” will be…releasing these victims’ names??

I want to be clear: I’m not speculating on what the names are.  I personally don’t care whose names are on the list and am repulsed by the people who are speculating about which names will be revealed.  I am not speculating on whether or not the targets are “innocent”, or what level of “innocence” they hold.  (They are all “innocent” in that none of us should have had our communications spied on, collected, and stored.  Actually, I thought that was one of the major points Snowden had to make.)   Once the list is released, are we all going to pore over the names and opine on who deserved to be spied on?  Are we going to join the NSA in picking out the targets who “deserved” to be targets (based on who we “dislike”) and feign horror over other outed names, saying, “Oh, so-and-so shouldn’t have been a victim of the spying”?

I am not going to play along with that game because it makes me complicit.  It turns us –  all of us the victims and targets in this governmental shredding of our rights – into the same “judge and jury” the spy agencies have been acting as (illegally) all these years.  But that isn’t my main point here.  My point is that when Greenwald has been taken to task for working with the government in vetting the releases, one part of his answer has always been that he needs to keep the targets’ identities secret and secure.  When people complain that the leaks are happening too slowly, he says that it takes a considerable amount of time to redact the names and any identifying information of the victims of the NSA spying in order to protect their privacy and possibly their lives.  He has made these points over and over.

Has Greenwald tried to get in touch with these NSA surveillance victims privately to warn them that they were among the specific targets?  Has he contacted them to ask their permission to out their names on this “grand finale” list?  Is he going to publish every single name he has in his possession, only the names of the people he doesn’t like, or just the names that he thinks will have some shock value?  If he is only publishing some of the names (I am of the opinion that releasing any names is grotesque), how is it that he thinks he is the one who should choose which names to display to the public?  If he is picking and choosing the names on his own, well, by God, what a misuse of power; power that came into his hands only through fate and accident.

I have to say that if the “grand finale” is indeed the naming of the targets’ names, this is weird, inexplicable, and completely contradictory given the lengths Greenwald supposedly went through to protect these people from the beginning.

UPDATE, 3 July:

Turns out Greenwald is going to delay the Big Reveal based on “last-minute claims” from the government that he needs to “investigate”, so my concern over the the so-called list  of names was premature.  He made this announcement via Twitter, where he does his most prolific writing.  That is also where he made the announcement (earlier the same day) that the article was going to be published at midnight on The Intercept:

GG Twitter feed, June 30, 11:56 am:
Tomorrow at 9am ET, I’m doing a @reddit_AMA with @MazMHussain about our new NSA story to be published tonight at midnight on @the_intercept

GG Twitter feed, June 30, 7:32 pm:
After 3 months working on our story, USG today suddenly began making new last-minute claims which we intend to investigate before publishing

So all his fans were waiting breathlessly at the comment section for midnight.  Midnight happened and then someone pointed out the second “tweet”.  Now they are all making a gazillion excuses for him and praying for his safety.  No-one seems to much question that he claims to have been working on this article for three whole months or that the intrepid whistleblowers can’t blow the whistle on the government because, gosh darn it, once again, the mean old government won’t let them.  It would all be pretty funny if it weren’t so stupid.  Some other reporter just published an article a day or two ago which states the NSA has been collecting emails on the entire planet based on “suspicions” raised regarding 230 individuals.  He did not name the names.  Still, kind of a scoop on Greenwald.

Me, I’m just glad that something is preventing Greenwald from publishing the names of the innocent and illegally targeted.  But I must say, this whole weird episode – the really small number of articles Greenwald has written since getting the Snowden documents, the abrupt statement that he was done with what he was going to write about them (aside from this last Grand Finale) despite the dearth of articles and information, the odd notion that the whistleblower and his chosen oracle vet everything through the same government they are whistleblowing on prior to publication of any articles, Snowden’s recent claim that he still works for the government, Greenwald’s and Snowden’s defense of “some spying” as being “useful and necessary”, the very idea behind the “Grand Finale” and now the indefinite postponement of said “fireworks” – makes it look like Greenwald just pulled the best freaking rick-roll in the history of rick-rolling.

Here’s your Grand Finale, people:

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2014 in security state, Uncategorized

 

How to spend that extraneous billion.

Let’s say you are one of these guys and have about a bajillion bucks.

 Billionaire investor Warren Buffett saw his net worth soar by an eye-popping $37 million a day this year, according to a survey out Wednesday.

The Berkshire Hathaway boss benefitted from a bull market that saw shares of his conglomerate jump by more than 25 percent in 2013, boosting his net worth by $12.7 billion to $59.1 billion, according to the survey by Wealth-X. That works out to a $37 million-a-day bump in Buffett’s wealth — or an eye-popping $1.5 million an hour.

While Buffet had an outstanding year, the jump in his net worth only got him to second place on the list of the world’s Top 10 richest people.

Microsoft founder and Buffett bridge partner Bill Gates retained the title of world’s wealthiest person with a total net worth of $72.6 billion, up from $61.1 billion last year.

Buffett was followed by casino magnet Sheldon Adelson, who’s worth an estimated $35.3 billion this year.

Silicon Valley took the next three slots with Amazon.com’s Jeff Bezos’ $34.4 billion net worth ranking fourth, followed by Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page, who are now worth $30 billion and $29.9 billion respectively.

New York’s own billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who has been agitating for change in Apple this year, ranked 8th with a net worth of $22.1 billion. His net worth is up 7.2 billion compared to 2012, according to Wealth-X.

Collectively, the top 10 billionaires saw gains of $101.8 billion in 2013, which averages out to an eye-popping $10.2 billion each.

Their combined wealth totals a whopping $347 billion, up from $245 billion last year. Portugal’s gross domestic product was just $212 billion last year. […]

http://nypost.com/2013/12/18/warren-buffett-made-37m-a-day-this-year/

So you are really rich.  And you have a spare billion or two laying around the gazebo and you think that it might be interesting to do something with it.  You know, just for shits and grins.  If you are Warren Buffett, you might pay your back taxes to the IRS [http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/buffett-irs-back-taxes/2011/09/01/id/409520], or then again, you might not.  Well, okay, not.  It would be much more amusing to make at least one little person wealthy through a sporting bet; that’s the American way.

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway and Dan Gilbert’s Quicken Loans are partnering to award anyone who fills out a perfect 2014 Men’s NCAA Tournament bracket with $1 billion.

Quicken is running the contest, and is paying Berkshire to serve as “insurer,” which means they’ll be the ones paying out if someone wins.

The prize will be paid out in 40 annual installments of $25 million. If there’s more than one winner they’ll have to share. The winner or winners can also take or split up an immediate $500 million lump sum payment.

“It is our mission to create amazing experiences for our clients. This contest, with the possibility of creating a billionaire, definitely fits that bill,” Jay Farner, President and Chief Marketing Officer of Quicken Loans said in a statement. He added: “We’ve seen a lot of contests offering a million dollars for putting together a good bracket, which got us thinking, what is the perfect bracket worth? We decided a billion dollars seems right for such an impressive feat.”

In addition to the grand prize, Quicken will award $100,000 each to the contest’s 20 most accurate ‘imperfect’ brackets submitted by qualified entrants in the contest to use toward buying, refinancing or remodeling a home. Quicken will also donate $1 million to inner-city Detroit and Cleveland non-profit organizations. Quicken is based in Detroit, but Gilbert owns the Cleveland Cavaliers and the city’s Horseshoe Casino.

The odds are not ideal — a 1 in 9.2 quintillion chance.

But it costs nothing to fill out so you should probably do it. The contest starts March 3rd. “March Madness” kicks off March 18.

http://www.businessinsider.com/warren-buffett-billion-dollar-bracket-2014-1

How fun for Buffett and Quicken Loans.  A one in 9.2 quintillion chance that they will have to pay out.  There is a different way Buffett, or any of the truly rich, could spend a billion, but it would involve actually coughing up the coin, as opposed to the brackets bet, a stunt unlikely to cost them anything in reality.  This other way would also mean helping a whole lot of icky poor people.  Much less campy, to be frank.

The UN’s World Food Programme (WFP) is cutting the size of its projects in a number of countries as it battles a $1bn (£609m, €741m) shortfall in funding and rising costs for several missions, its director said on 3 February.

WFP executive director Ertharin Cousin is in Australia as part of a tour to garner support for the WFP among donor nations and the private sector, to help feed the world’s hungry.

Cousin hopes to convince more individual and private-sector donors, a strategy successfully adopted by another UN agency, the United Nations Children’s Fund. UNICEF receives more than 60% of its funds through such channels as against five percent for the WFP.

Cousin also aims to broaden the agency’s funding base beyond traditional donors such as the UK or the US. She is trying to get emerging market economies such as China and Saudi Arabia to contribute on a regular basis.

Costs are rising for potentially unsafe operations in Syria, where the WFP wants to feed 4.25 million hungry people at a cost of $40m a week.

She said there were “hundreds of thousands of people (in Syria) that we can’t reach on an ongoing basis” but emphasised that where aid was getting through, “it means that we’re making a difference”.

Expensive aerial operations are being debated for the war-torn Central African Republic, where Cousin said more than 50 food trucks were held up at the border awaiting armed escort while about 800,000 internally displaced people needed food.

The WFP chief also said rations were being cut across programmes in nations such as Haiti, Niger, Mali and Kenya, where refugees in the sprawling Dadaab camp suffered a 10% cut in January, after a similar cut in December 2013, “because we lack enough money to feed everybody a full meal”.

“We have about $1bn more in identified need in 2014 than we have projected revenues,” the executive director told AFP.

“Donors target their funds and when donors target their funds it means that (to fund) Syria, those same donors — it’s the same pie, so they cut their funds in other places,” she said. […]

http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/un-food-programme-faces-1bn-funding-shortfall-1434858

Again, from the first article I quoted:

“[…] Collectively, the top 10 billionaires saw gains of $101.8 billion in 2013, which averages out to an eye-popping $10.2 billion each. Their combined wealth totals a whopping $347 billion, up from $245 billion last year […]”

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

And now a brief word from our sponsor.

Dear Assorted Assholes,

It has come to my attention that the U.S. Congress has recently passed a budget that cuts extended unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed, and continues forward with the sequester cuts to the food-stamp, heating assistance and WIC programs, amongst other programs of aid.  This has been done largely because most members of Congress seem to believe that helping the poor and financially distressed encourages sloth. Some members of Congress have even opined that they are following Biblical teachings by taking these hard-line austerity actions. I must say that I find it perplexing that this same Congress holds the obviously contradictory opinion that giving money to the already wealthy does not encourage sloth, greed, or general douchebaggery.

It also seems that while condemning the more fundamentalist Islamic communities for promoting their sharia beliefs within their own countries, the US military allows some indulgence for supposed Christian messages to be scrawled on bombs or printed on the gunsights of weapons. I understand that Colin Powell and Dick Cheney both personally signed bombs three days before the 1991 bombing of Baghdad’s Ameriyah Shelter, for the sheer fun of it.  Although they did not invoke the name of any deity, such lighthearted glee at the thought of killing other humans is a particularly grotesque example of the worst impulses of man.

http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/us-military-weapons-inscribed-secret-jesus-bible-codes/story?id=9575794 and see also: http://www.globalresearch.ca/military-deviancy-and-war-trophies-body-parts-forearms-and-souvenir-stars-and-stripes-from-predator-drones/5343963?print=1

I give a special shout-out to George W. Bush, who claimed that he was told directly by God to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, thereby unleashing the wholesale slaughter of several million people living in countries which had never threatened the United States.

I would like to mention Lloyd Blankfein and Michael Bloomberg by name as well:

Lloyd, back in 2009, after wreaking nearly complete destruction on the economy around the globe, which will not recover as long as people like you are in any positions of power, you claimed that bankers were “doing God’s work”.  That you seemed serious while making such a remark is a pretty fucking sad commentary on the state of your worthless soul.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1226114/Goldman-Sachs-chief-says-Gods-work-defends-banks-bumper-profits.html

Michael, you banned food donations to the homeless shelters in NYC, because you think you need to monitor how much salt and other unhealthy foodstuffs the poor ingest.  I’m here to tell you that salt intake is the least of their problems.

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/03/19/bloomberg-strikes-again-nyc-bans-food-donations-to-the-homeless/

Then, when you were asked about a story in the NYTimes on a homeless 11-year-old and her family, you said, “This kid was dealt a bad hand. I don’t know quite why. That’s just the way God works. Sometimes some of us are lucky and some of us are not.”

http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2013/12/18/3079711/bloomberg-dasani-comments/#

To all those mentioned above and to all the other various assholes, too numerous to list in such limited space, who claim that they are somehow righteous in their hideous acts against humanity, I would like to say: quit blaming it all on me, bitches.

Thank you.

– God

 
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Posted by on December 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

Anthology

I am working on a couple of articles, but it may be a day or two before they are up.  In the meantime, here is a bit of music, because dang, sometimes you just need a break.  Some of these will take you back to the day….

In no particular order:

The Troggs; “Love is All Around”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uLi0ppwOOwI&list=ALBTKoXRg38BAqz9D2M86d6QZ3lkiYffRF

Tommy James and the Shondells; “Crystal Blue Persuasion”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XDl8ZPm3GrU 

Johnny Nash; “I Can See Clearly Now”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ahb7kQoLTTA 

Dobie Gray; “Drift Away”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIuyDWzctgY

Buffalo Springfield; “For What It’s Worth”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVgoOVl6cb4 

Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; “Ohio”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JCS-g3HwXdc 

Arlo Guthrie; “City of New Orleans”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TvMS_ykiLiQ

Juice Newton; “Angel of the Morning”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HTzGMEfbnAw 

Paul Simon; “American Tune”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AE3kKUEY5WU 

Cat Stevens; “Morning Has Broken”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U5sSEkZ86ts

Bob Marley and The Wailers;  “One Love”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sonYFxHHvaM

Led Zeppelin; “Stairway to Heaven”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w9TGj2jrJk8 

John Lennon; “Imagine”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLgYAHHkPFs

Green Day; “Holiday”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9iJayMaUGrk 

Pearl Jam; “Masters of War”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_aB8kSNlz2A

The Beatles; “I Want to Hold Your Hand”, performed by T. V. Carpio in “Across the Universe”:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D92Lyxj7U7Q

 

 
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Posted by on December 8, 2013 in Uncategorized