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Member since: Thu Apr 29, 2010, 02:31 PM
Number of posts: 53,475

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Is America addicted to outrage?

My sister sent me this message in response to a DU post I sent her.

Here's the DU post: http://www.democraticunderground.com/10025425904
Okay I Get It. They Don't Give a Damn About Facts Because They Have The Power To Create Reality

Here's her reply ...

I think there's something even more unconscious and insidious going on: Outrage must stimulate something in the brain or why would people seek out news outlets and websites that stoke their outrage? It's not just the right, although the right has done a fabulous job of maximizing the effect to its benefit, even getting people to vote against their own self interest.

I don't see many Democratic politicians using outrage to stimulate their voters, but the rest of us are just as busy seeking out stuff that makes us foam at the mouth, and criticizing Dem. politicians for not doing their share of outrage stimulation.

Meantime, thoughtful engagement in learning what the problems are, how they began, how we might begin to solve them, is boring. It doesn't stimulate anything, it puts people to sleep.

So the end result the left seeks is left behind in a wake of stimulated outrage, and everybody loses: We just become further and further divided, government becomes non-functional and nothing changes.

I wish I knew how to stop this sick symbiosis, but it would require that everybody give up their addiction to the stimulation of outrage. That would require insight, self-reflection and a willingness to give up one's addiction to the stimulation of outrage for something that might actually do some good.

THE STATE OF AMERICA’S CHILDREN - Still Better Than Romania!

The U.S. is first among industrialized nations in military spending and number of billionaires, and second from the BOTTOM in child poverty rates (only Romania is worse).


Fifty years after President Lyndon Johnson declared a War on Poverty, the United States is still not a fair
playing field for millions of children afflicted by preventable poverty, hunger, homelessness, sickness, poor
education and violence in the world’s richest economy with a gross domestic product (GDP) of $15.7 trillion.

Every fifth child (16.1 million) is poor, and every tenth child (7.1 million) is extremely poor. Children are the
poorest age group and the younger they are the poorer they are. Every fourth infant, toddler and preschool child
(5 million) is poor; 1 in 8 is extremely poor. A majority of our one- and two-year-olds are already children of
color. In five years children of color who are disproportionately poor, nearly 1 in 3, will be a majority of all
children in America and of our future workforce, military and consumers. But millions of them are unready for
school, poorly educated and unprepared to face the future. Nearly 60 percent of all our children and more than
80 percent of our Black and nearly 75 percent of our Latino children cannot read or compute at grade level in
fourth and eighth grade and so many drop out of school before graduating. Seventy-five percent of young
people ages 17-24 cannot get into the military because of poor literacy, health or prior incarceration.

The greatest threat to America’s economic, military and national security comes from no enemy without but
from our failure, unique among high income nations, to invest adequately and fairly in the health, education
and sound development of all of our young.

We call on President Obama and America’s political leaders in every party at every level to mount a long
overdue, unwavering, and persistent war to prevent and eliminate child poverty and finish the task President
Johnson and Dr. King began. Two- and three-year-olds have no politics and we must reject any leaders who for
any reason play political football with the lives of millions of our children and our nation’s future. If America is
to lead in the 21st century world, we must reset our economic and moral compass.

Wisconsin: Ismael Ozanne endorses Susan Happ for Attorney General

from my email ...


I want to thank all of you who believe in me and worked so hard to support my campaign, it means the world to me. As I traveled all over this state I was energized and given hope because I saw first hand that we are more alike then we are different, no matter if we live in rural Wisconsin or urban Wisconsin, we are hard working practical people and we want a level playing field for all. This can only be achieved if we work together to elect officials who will fight for the citizens of Wisconsin and not for special interests.

Now that we have chosen Susan Happ as our candidate for Attorney General we must all do what we can to ensure the Attorney General’s Office once again becomes a defender of the shared values of all Wisconsinites. Public safety is job number one for the Attorney General but the Attorney General must do more. Our Attorney General must also fight to ensure a woman’s right to make her own health care decisions, to stop voter suppression, protect our environment, our consumers and our seniors, and fight every day to ensure we have no second class citizens here in Wisconsin.

Thank you again for your support and belief in me. I now ask that we all come together to ensure this November we take back our Attorney General’s Office for all of the citizens of this great state of Wisconsin and the generations to come. I am endorsing Susan Happ for Attorney General and if you will please give her the support you gave me, I know we can make the difference and take back the Attorney General’s Office in November. Thank you one and all.

To learn more about Susan Happ or donate to her campaign, please visit her website: Click Here

Ismael Ozanne

UW-Madison Event: A 9/11 Event: Reflections on Non-Violence and Religious Activism Today


A 9/11 Event: Reflections on Non-Violence and Religious Activism Today
A Talk by Nobel-nominee and Co-Founder of the International Network of Engaged Buddhists, Sulak Svaraksa

Date Thursday, September 11, 2014
Time 7 p.m.
Location 1100 Grainger Hall
Description One of Asia's leading social thinkers, Ajarn Sulak Svaraksa has founded dozens of educational and political grassroots organizations and has authored over 100 books including works on the environment, globalization, and consumerism. He has been nominated twice for the Nobel Peace Prize and was awarded the Right Livelihood Award, known as the alternative Nobel Peace Prize, in 1995. Co-sponsored by The Center for Southeast Asian Studies and the Religious Studies Program, UW Madison

Website http://religiousstudies.lss.wisc.edu
Cost Free

What Should Ferguson Protesters Demand?


After days of marches in response to the shooting death of teenager Michael Brown, we asked our Facebook audience what they thought protesters on the ground in Ferguson, Missouri, should be demanding. We received over 1,200 responses.

Many believed protesters should seek the immediate arrest of Darren Wilson, the officer who killed the 18-year-old Brown, striking him with six bullets. A grand jury is hearing evidence in the investigation and will ultimately determine whether Wilson will face criminal charges. For the sake of fairness, many suggested that a special prosecutor be appointed, given the current St. Louis county prosecutor’s previous decisions, as outlined in Thursday’s New York Times editorial: A Fair Inquiry for Michael Brown.


Many on Facebook called for ending the Pentagon’s Excess Property Program, which has supplied equipment meant to fight wars to police departments across the country — including Ferguson — with more than $4.3 billion in gear since 1997.

An overwhelming number of commenters suggested changes to the Ferguson police force, including the hiring of more African-American officers (currently there are three black officers and 50 white officers in a town that is 67 percent African-American). Another popular suggestion: the use of front-facing body cameras on police officers to document their interactions, which has been successfully implemented in the town of Rialto, California, among others. There, use of force incidents dropped by 60 percent and complaints against cops were down by 88 percent in the first year that police officers started wearing the cameras.

NYT: Where Are the National Democrats on Ferguson?


There is something very strange about the national political reaction to the protests in Ferguson, Mo., (and nationally) over Michael Brown’s shooting. The protesters are angry, and they’re not aimlessly angry. They have a specific set of policy grievances about policing and criminal justice that are shared by a large slice of the electorate, particularly the Democratic primary electorate. Yet no national Democratic politician, nobody of the sort who is likely to mount a presidential run anytime soon, has risen to give voice to the anger we’re seeing in Ferguson. Nobody seems eager to make police abuses or racial injustice a key issue in a national campaign, even though an awful lot of Democratic voters could be activated on those issues.

Why not? African-Americans are a hugely important Democratic Party constituency. Gallup data suggests 22 percent of self-identified Democrats are black. Exit polls showed black voters made up one-third of North Carolina primary voters in 2008 and a majority in South Carolina. If there were an incident of similar salience to a group that made up such a large share of the Republican base, you can bet a number of Republican politicians would be lining up to associate themselves with the protesters.


Democrats also haven’t had to fear that not taking up this issue will cost them black votes. “Up until the last few months, there really hasn’t been any serious competition for the black vote on a policy level,” said Jeff Smith, a white Democrat who represented a racially mixed St. Louis district in the Missouri State Senate from 2006 to 2009. Even with Senator Rand Paul taking up the issues of over-incarceration and the drug war, Republicans remain too far from the median black voter on a swath of issues from economics to voter ID to make a serious general election play.

So there is a good general election logic for Democrats to give short shrift to the issues raised in Ferguson. But if the Tea Party has taught us anything, it’s that a base can force its party to take stances that won’t be popular in a general election. Black voters, and other Democratic voters who care about issues of policing and racial justice, don’t have to flex their political muscle by being willing to leave the party. If these issues are of importance to much of the electorate — and this month’s protests suggest they are — then a politician should be able to build a credible Democratic primary campaign by focusing on them.

The Intentionality of Wedge Politics


Several months ago I received an email that I had imagined would come sooner or later: A GSAFE supporter informed me he was no longer going to support our work because we seemed to be losing our focus on LGBT youth. Because we had talked about the murder of Travyon Martin and Stand Your Ground Laws as an alarming safety threat to the lives of young Black boys and masculine people (including Black LGBTQ youth) and talk openly about race and white privilege in all of our work, we were seen as not being LGBT enough.


While these moments and patterns are frustrating, they are not at all surprising. Such binary either/or thinking is precisely the agenda promoted for decades now by the power elite, those in power who are devising strategies to maintain power and privilege for wealthy, white, able-bodied, cisgender, heterosexual people. It’s such an intentional divide-and-conquer strategy, it even has a name—wedge politics. Wedge politics are strategies intended to have a divisive effect on one’s political opponents by emphasizing issues that polarize opinions along racial or other demographic lines. Wedge politics have been used to prevent Black women from obtaining the right to vote along with white women during the Suffrage Movement, to prevent Indigenous people from exercising their treaty rights by pitting predominantly white environmentalists against Native Americans, to prevent Proposition 8’s repeal in California, and to create a divide in countless other examples of movements throughout history.

The hard thing to recognize is that we all play into wedge politics. White LGBTQ organizations often shy away from connecting LGBTQ rights and racial justice, many people of color-led organizations fail to include LGBTQ people and issues in their organizing, and many LGBTQ people of color avoid engaging in either community because of the pain that is often experienced in those spaces. While we have different reasons for responding in the ways we often do, it is important to realize that we are all doing exactly what the power elite wants us to do.


Recognizing the strategy of the power elite does not let us off the hook for falling victim to their tactics. We must look as deeply inward as we do outward to build effective solutions to the complex problems our communities face. If we will ever gain liberation for anyone, it must include full liberation for all of us. This requires us to understand the wedge strategy used to divide us so we can be conscious of the moments it seeps into our psyches. This requires us to be as intentional and strategic as the power elite around race and LGBTQ issues in our social change work, rather than just defaulting to what is comfortable, convenient, or reactive. This requires us to respect the intentionality of segregated spaces for people to develop their identities but not accept default segregated spaces that result from a lack of thoughtfulness and strategic thinking. Perhaps most important, this requires that we learn to really understand that all of these issues are interconnected and that we can understand this not just intellectually but on emotional, spiritual, and physical levels as well.

How To Help Ferguson Get Food, Counseling, Education They Need


Feed Hungry Kids
The Ferguson-Florissant School District, which serves 11,000 students, has delayed the start of school until Aug. 25. Students are missing out on classes, and a new federal program that is slated to give free lunch to all students, The Washington Post reported. To help feed kids in need, a North Carolina public school teacher launched a Fundly campaign -- which has raised more than $130,000 -- and 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the St. Louis Area Foodbank. Find out how you can get involved here.


Support the Library’s Efforts to Offer Calm and Learning
The Ferguson Municipal Library has served as a much-needed haven for residents in need of a place to relax. Teachers have been offering up their time to read to students and provide activities, and the library has been doling out water and inviting residents to use its computers, ABC News reported. Find out more about the Ferguson Library and how you can support its efforts here.


Give Children a Place to Learn
While children in Ferguson are out of school, Wellspring Church is opening its doors every day this week from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to provide educational activities, counseling and free lunch. Find out how you can support Wellspring Church here.


Support Counseling for Affected Residents
As the Ferguson community begins to process the events related to Michael Brown’s death and the uproarious aftermath, United Way of Greater St. Louis has created the Ferguson Fund to provide community building, mental health needs and any other basic and long-term needs that will benefit the community. All proceeds will be donated directly to the Ferguson Fund. Find out more about the fund and how you can get involved here.

What if we could turn wastewater and algae into carbon-negative fuels and clean water?


First generation biofuels, like corn ethanol, haven't fulfilled their promise of displacing fossil fuels in a green, carbon neutral way. It's because they require a lot of energy to produce and use food crops, competing with people and animals for that supply, driving prices up and putting pressure on farmland. That's where second and third generation biofuels come in; they use more efficient processes that make them carbon-neutral or, ideally, carbon-negative, and they're made from feedstocks like waste biomass and algae, removing the pressure on food supplies. That's the theory, but in practice there are big challenges that need to be surmounted to make it all work, as we've seen over the past few years, which have been rough on the industry. Many next-gen biofuel startups appeared on the scene and few of them have shown commercial viability (yet).

Algae Systems might be an exception to the rule, with an interesting production process and some heavy-weight backing that gives it a much higher chance than others of crossing the finish line. CEO Matt Atwood is both an entrepreneur and a chemist. John Perry Barlow is vice president (Yes! JPB from Grateful Dead fame and the co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), an organization that should be particularly dear to anyone who likes a free and open internet). Finally, the financial muscle comes in good part from billionaire Edgar Bronfman Jr. Not a bad group if you want to make things happen!

The five years old Nevada-based startup is using an interesting approach that was first looked at by NASA. The idea is to use municipal waste water to grow algae in special bags that are anchored offshore where they get plenty of sun and where the waves keep everything well mixed. Once the algae has grown enough, it is harvested, and the now clean water can then be used by cities and farms or return back to the sea. The algae goes through a special "hydrothermal liquefaction" process that, with temperatures of about 550 degrees Fahrenheit, turn it into a kind of bio-crude oil. Another useful byproduct is fertilizer, from the part of the algae that isn't turned into fuel. Nice 3-for-1!


To show that this isn't just theory, but that it works in practice, Algae System has built a pilot plant in Daphne, Alabama. This operation isn't just neutral on the environment, it actually consumes pollutants like phosphorus and nitrogen, leaving cleaner water behind. The demo plant treats about 40,000 gallons of waste water per acre per day and produces about 3,000 gallons of fuel per acre per year. This is just a start and Algae Systems expects productivity to improve.

On "getting even".

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