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Hindsight is 2020

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Yesterday was spent lying in my recliner watching the day-long House interrogation of Michael Cohen.  After a weeklong visitation from my ninety-five-year-old, Floridian Trumpite father, who laughed hilariously at every statement made by the news concerning the upcoming event, my patience had been worn very, very thin and I just wanted to watch it alone.  He welcomed the televised inquiry with the prediction that a lot of DEMOCRATS were going to jail after it.  I asked him to name a few, but he could not, well that is, except Hillary.  Such is the irrational and uninformed division in this country.  That very morning, he boarded a plane home and I was left to a more sane version of reality, as presented by any of the many news media covering the event.  After all, the day before he left my father told me that his mother was born in 2005.  Today he still remains an eligible voter in Florida, no proof of cognitive function being required.  That’s something to think about.  In part our leaders are chosen by brain-addled voters suffering from the effects of senility. He left me with one final prediction of his entrenched convictions… “We shall see.  We shall see.”

Well, here’s what I saw.  In the first two hours, not a single Republican asked any questions of the witness.  It may have been longer than that and truthfully, I did not keep an exact tally, but for the better part, if not all of the investigation, Republican questions were few, very few, and substantially inconsequential or irrelevant.  There’s an old saying in legal circles that goes something like this: “If you can’t argue the facts, argue the law.  If you can’t argue the facts or the law, attack the witness.” At the very head of the proceeding, Republican Congressman Meadows fired the first volley attempting to argue the law.  He was nevertheless stopped procedurally by a motion to table his request and the remainder of the proceeding devolved into a constant barrage of Republican attempts to argue the law and subsequent table motions, then followed by requests to insert a variety of media stories favorable to the Republican cause (none of which can withstand an evidentiary qualification) with a plea for unanimous consent.  Unless there would be a single objection, which for the most part there was not, this was done routinely, and these stories became a “matter of record.” That none of the Democrats objected to this strategy is a testament to their insignificance and irrelevancy.  These editorials were nothing more than the opinion of Trump supporters, not witnesses.  What a waste of time.

But by and large the vast majority of Republican time was spent in grandstanding attacks on the credibility of the witness, an admitted and convicted liar. As expected, nothing he might have to say was of interest to them.  Each Republican had little to say and almost to a person yielded the balance of their time to Jim Jordan, minority leader and dogged assassin, the villain of the hearings, to rail against Cohen. While the Democrats did go deeper, they were nevertheless sucked into the argument of Mr. Cohen’s credibility and much of their precious opportunity to uncover new facts was lost in the fray of limited time.

Not so for the freshman Congresswomen who earned their stripes in this, the first foray with the loyal opposition.  They proved their worth, avoiding the sideshow and getting to the heart of the matter.  Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, known as AOC, was the MVP of the hearings, asking several substantive questions and following up with questions regarding details, that will lead to further investigations of Trump malfeasance based on real facts.  Katie Hill of California was also effective in getting substantive information from the witness.  Rashida Tlaib caused quite a stir when she objected to the use of Lynne Patton, a black woman, as a prop by Congressman Meadows (without naming him), such ploy used by Meadows to confirm that Ms. Patton, as a Whitehouse employee, was evidence that Trump is not a racist.  For those who missed it, here’s the full article in the “Daily Beast.”

 

Mark Meadows lost it after Rashida Tlaib essentially called him ‘racist’ for using a black woman as a ‘prop.’

Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) went there first. 

“Would you agree that someone could deny rental units to African-Americans, lead the birther movement, refer to the diaspora as ‘shithole countries,’ and refer to white supremacists as ‘fine people,’ have a black friend, and still be racist?” she asked Michael Cohen, President Donald Trump’s former lawyer, during his testimony before the House Oversight Committee.

“Yes,” he answered. 

Pressley was referring to a stunt that her colleague Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) pulled earlier in Wednesday’s hearing. In an attempt to prove that Trump is not “racist,” as Cohen charged, he used black Trump employee Lynne Patton as a literal prop. How can the president be racist, he asked, if he has hired this one black woman?

But things took an even more dramatic turn a few minutes later when Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) raised the issue once more during her turn at the microphone. 

“Just because someone has a person of color, a black person working for them does not mean they aren’t racist,” Tlaid said. “And it is insensitive, and some would even say that the fact that someone would actually use a prop, a black woman, in this chamber, in this committee”—here she took a heavy sigh—”is alone racist in itself.”

This did not sit well with Meadows, whom Tlaib had essentially said acted in a “racist” manner in her remarks. The Republican congressman interrupted her, demanding that her words be stricken from the record. “I’m sure she didn’t intend to do this, but if anyone knows my record as it relates… it should be you, Mr. Chairman,” he said, seemingly unable to include the word “race.”

Tlaib insisted she did not intend to call her colleague a “racist” and after Meadows informed the committee that his nieces and nephews are “people of color” and proceeded to say it was “racist” to suggest he was using the Trump employee as a prop, House Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-MD) ultimately came to Meadows’ defense. 

Calling Meadows one of his “best friends,” Cummings said, “I don’t think Ms. Tlaib intended to cause you that kind of pain and that kind of frustration.” 

“To my colleague, Mr. Meadows, that was not my intention,” Tlaib said. “And I do apologize if that’s what it sounded like. But I said ‘someone’ in general.” 

“As everybody knows in this chamber, I’m pretty direct,” Tlaib, who entered Congress amidst controversy over her use of the word “motherfucker” to describe Trump, continued. “So if I wanted to say that I would have, but that’s not what I said.” She added, “I was not referring to you, at all, as a racist.” 

Meadows accepted her apology, but not everyone watching was satisfied. 

One popular sentiment was summed up by the rapper Talib Kweli, who tweeted, simply, “Fuck that apology.” And others pointed out that despite Meadows protesting that he cannot possibly be racist, he once said during a campaign that “2012 is the time we are going to send Mr. Obama home to Kenya or wherever it is.”

To any Democrat watching the show, the takeaway had to be the awareness that the most effective representatives were the freshmen women, progressives all. I think the party should see this as both a sign, a confirmation of the last elections results, and a prediction for an effective platform in the upcoming 2020 election.  The country has moved away from the wimpy middle- of-the-road policy wonk candidates and has no taste for the corporatist philosophy of trickle- down, a Republican obfuscation at heart.  Forget about Hillary, she’s a long dead corporatist. She lost for many reasons and the coffin nail was the Russian involvement, but the larger part was her inability to see the tide and adjust her sails. It’s hard to do when you’re insincere, a follower not a leader.

Democrats are lost in a battle between principle and pragmatism. Can they win on principle or do they succumb to the old notion that a candidate must be crafted and groomed to give the people what they asked for?  “Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it” is an old Chinese proverb.  Let’s not forget we asked for Donald Trump.

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A note from the Publisher

New Report by National Academy of Sciences (USA): Social Media is Hazardous to Your Health

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Why some biologists and ecologists think social media is a risk to humanity

At a time of information overload, when most people can’t decipher truth from fiction, when our world and corporate leaders bow down to the corporate interests that are destroying all life as we know it for their short term personal gains, there are billions of social media accounts attached to mechanisms that continue to amplify misinformation and corporate propaganda. All of this inflicts tremendous damage to all life and our life support systems.

The report is attached below.  In Summary, it states:

Collective behavior provides a framework for understanding how the actions and properties of groups emerge from the way individuals generate and share information. In humans, information flows were initially shaped by natural selection yet are increasingly structured by emerging communication technologies. Our larger, more complex social networks now transfer high-fidelity information over vast distances at low cost. The digital age and the rise of social media have accelerated changes to our social systems, with poorly understood functional consequences. This gap in our knowledge represents a principal challenge to scientific progress, democracy, and actions to address global crises. We argue that the study of collective behavior must rise to a “crisis discipline” just as medicine, conservation, and climate science have, with a focus on providing actionable insight to policymakers and regulators for the stewardship of social systems.

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Editorials

Everything Connects

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For the sake of planetary and personal health, business will have to change.

Special Presentation: Sarah Savory

Our existing systems of media and education provide a limited worldview. This reductionist worldview limits our ability to see and exist in the world properly, effectively and in total health.

For us to truly thrive as a species in harmony with the natural world, we will need to see the world as ONE LIVING BREATHING ORGANISM, and our part and place in the world as a part of this organism.  This will require a shift in our thinking, in our action and in the ways we make our decisions.  This very forward-thinking conversation will clearly identify where we are at, how we arrived at this point, what needs to happen, how we get there, what are the obstacles and how will we overcome these obstacles.  And yes, business will have to change.

As Bucky Fuller said: “Nature is a totally efficient, self-regenerating system. If we discover the laws that govern this system and live synergistically within them, sustainability will follow and humankind will be a success.”

But humans don’t know how to manage the complexities of our world. The increasing social, economic, and ecological disasters we are experiencing across the world are the mounting symptoms of our not considering the whole and managing our societies, economies, and nature in isolation of each other when they are an inseparable whole – no person or nation on earth can have physical or financial stability without ecological health.

Sarah Savory has worked alongside her father, Allan Savory who created the Holistic Management Framework. In this exhilarating conversation, we’ll discover a new and improved decision-making process to enable us to manage and balance the inseparable complexity of human societies, economies, and nature. Remember, we’re all in this together

Sarah Savory

Sarah Savory is the single mother of 2 young children, Luke and Mika. She is the youngest daughter of Allan Savory, world-renowned ecologist and developer of Holistic Management (a decision making process which successfully guides us through the complexity we manage by ensuring simultaneously socially, financially and ecologically sound decisions.)
Sarah is following closely in his footsteps and has become a very successful Holistic Management Consultant and Educator in her own right.
In an effort to simplify the framework, she has written illustrated, educational children’s books on Holistic Management and has also broken new ground by teaching HM as a subject in Zimbabwean schools, with demand for education and educational materials growing rapidly and is now writing the first school curriculum for Holistic Decision Making and Ecological Literacy to be taught as a subject in schools.
She is a part of Africa Centre For Holistic Management’s new training and education team and she is part of a new, global policy task force which is focusing on breaking through in government policy. Sarah and her father recently met with President Mnangagwa to begin talks about working with the Zimbabwean government to develop the first ever agricultural policy using the Holistic Management Framework.
Sarah spends the rest of her time writing articles, giving presentations and being interviewed both locally and internationally.
A personal note from Sarah to our youth – you are the key to the future:
Holistic Management involves introducing people to new scientific insights that will not only help them to better understand the incredibly complex social, economic and ecological connections in nature and how earth’s ecosystems function, but teach a new way of managing which makes sure our decisions flow with the unpredictable, ever-present and constantly changing variables of that complexity.
Managers learn how to make decisions or develop polices in a way that guarantees they never lose sight of the whole picture and the fact that our physical and financial security and stability are intricately connected and entirely dependent on the health of our environment – the only economy that can ultimately sustain any nation is one based on healthy soil and the plant’s ability to turn the sun’s energy into food because everything we use or consume comes from the land.
When it comes to making a change and adapting to new knowledge and thinking, history shows us that most adults and institutions are almost incapable of it. I truly believe the key to the future lies in educating our children, rather than pinning all our hopes on the possibility of “old dogs learning new tricks.”
Let’s give young people the solutions and show them how vital it is to look at the whole picture and to focus on and address root causes instead of symptoms.
If we can have school leavers going off into the world ecologically literate and capable of successfully managing and balancing the unavoidable social, financial and ecological dimensions of their decisions, rather than being stuck as we are now, on a hamster wheel reacting or adapting to the inevitable and increasing symptoms of our current management, they will be proactively making decisions in a new way that will bring about the physical and financial stability we all want, reversing the current problems and preventing any more knock-on symptoms further down the line. When we do that, it will change everything.

Related Stories:

Barry Dossenko interview with Allan Savory

Allan Savory: How to effect meaningful transformation to address the global climate crisis.

For a healthier planet, management must change

 

https://mobilized.news/a-timely-message-for-world-leaders-from-holistic-management-pioneer-allan-savory-of-savory-global/

 

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Arts

Chautauquas and Lyceums and TED Talks, oh my!

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Our future is in OUR Hands

We are aiming with Mobilized to create a vibrant forum for ideas.  “Big deal”, you might say, there are already places for that.

Well, you’re not wrong.  There was, in the earliest days of the web, a loose and wild forum called The Well.  The great and powerful Google had as it’s mission the goal of “bringing all the knowledge of the world to every person”… before it pivoted to a new goal of just making money off of what it knows about us.  That change was a real pity.  There have been sites such as Wiser Earth, which aimed to be a global directory of people and non-profit organizations so that collaboration could happen on a larger scale than ever before.  It lasted about two years, sadly; not long enough to create a legacy.  Huffington Post had a good run in its’ early days, sharing ideas widely and helping to boost its’ contributors in the public’s mind.

What’s important to know, is that as of this writing, there is not really a widely recognized forum online or in ‘meat-space’.  There are print publications such as YES! magazine, Tikkun, The Sun Magazine, and The Utne Reader, all of which which reach a population of hundreds thousands.  Great, but their reach could be even more broad, in my humble opinion.  Within social media sites there are plenty of good ‘groups’ but they also don’t reach enough folks outside of their own memberships.

Probably the most popular comparable live events right now are the TED talks, which do serve a valuable purpose.  Sadly, they also tend toward the ‘Gee-Whiz‘ and the ‘Shiny New Buzzword‘ in their contents.  Mobilized really wants to focus on the proven, the existing, and the hidden.  There are already, all over, groups doing wonderful work, but too many of them are laboring in obscurity.

So, how do we do that?  Well to begin with, we’re not trying to be a technology startup.  There is no secret sauce, no fancy algorithm at work here.  Almost all the underlying code behind Mobilized is made with off-the-shelf parts, such as WordPress.  There is zero reason to re-invent the wheel, and frankly the notion that one must do so has tripped up several earlier attempts at building a successful progressive community.  We take the approach of using the tools at hand to build our house.

Secondly, we are going into the future with an eye firmly on the past.  And that leads us to the point of this essay, a look at how America became America.  We can take many lessons from the past.  One of our best ideas as a nation was the Chautauqua movement.   It had it’s heyday from the 1870’s right up until the beginning of World War II.  In part, it helped spawn a Lyceum movement, the Vaudeville traditions in the theater world; and had an effect on the earliest days of the motion-picture industry.  Here’s why it was so popular: the average person, anywhere in the land, could go to a Chautauqua when it came to their town, and engage in spirited discussion with the brightest minds of the day.  It was direct, person-to-person, and offered a mix of local and national ideas and people; presented on a rotating basis.  So ideas could be hashed out and spread rapidly.  And they did.  In no small part due to these two movements, the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age were defeated.  The Great Depression was tackled too, and along the way no less than Susan B. Anthony, Teddy Roosevelt and Mark Twain became huge fans.  No part of society could, or wanted to, ignore the notion that average people could teach other average people.

Mobilized aims to help bring that back into common understanding.  In the present era, there may well be a place for tents and lecturers setting up in farmer’s fields.  There certainly is a crying need for an educational platform that is accessible to the masses.  And now, there exist enough robust tools for us to re-create the ethos of a Chautauqua on the internet.

We, the people, when it really mattered and the stakes were high, collectively taught ourselves how to better ourselves.  Now, in every corner of the world, the stakes are once again pretty high.  It is time for a new Chautauqua movement, and this one will be truly global.  So step right up, come on inside our virtual tent.  Welcome to the show.

 

 

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