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Archive for November, 2016

There is some good news. Women have won victories.

But there remain threats.

Both here and abroad there is hope.

Having served on several Fulbright panels to select English teaching scholars, I am especially impressed with and proud of this young woman.  We all should be!

Courtesy Ilhan Dahir

True Greatness

The Child of Somali Immigrants Who Makes Ohio State, and the USA, Proud

ISIS wants to make us see Abdul Razak Ali Artan whenever we encounter a young Muslim, and feel fear. What ISIS fears is that we will see Ilhan Dahir, and be inspired.

Michael Daly

Michael Daly

11.30.16

Ilhan Dahir and Abdul Razak Ali Artan were both of Somali extraction. Both attended Ohio State University.

But ISIS claimed 18-year-old Artan as a soldier after he attempted to run down fellow students and leapt from his wrecked car with a kitchen knife, slashing at them until he was shot by a campus cop.

All of humanity can claim 23-year-old Dahir after she became a 2016 Rhodes Scholar and a Fulbright Fellow and was named a White House Champion of Change and was sent by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to represent us at an international meeting on violent extremism.

Her senior thesis at Ohio State was on the threat posed by foreign fighters in ISIS. She taught English in Turkey while on her Fulbright. She also spent a summer teaching English at the Iman School for Girls in Mogadishu, Somalia.

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Professor on watchlist of progressives: ‘I will not shut up — America is still worth fighting for’

Heather Cox Richardson (Facebook)

So, yes, I have the dubious honor of being on the “Professor Watchlist” — a list published recently by a young alt-right provocateur who knew that such a list would get media traction because of Sen. McCarthy’s attacks on academics during the Red Scare. I made the list not because of complaints about my teaching, but because of my public writing about politics.

It is ironic that this list would label me “leftist.” In fact, in my public life, I do not identify with a political party, and I work with politicians on both sides of the aisle. I also teach the history of American conservative beliefs, as well as those of liberalism. I believe that the nation needs both the Democratic and the Republican parties to be strong and healthy.

It is even more ironic that the list would label me “anti-American.” In fact, I do what I do — all the teaching, writing, speeches and media — because I love America. I am staunchly committed to the principle of human self-determination, and have come to believe that American democracy is the form of government that comes closest to bringing that principle to reality. This nation is not perfect — far from it — but when it is at its best, it has more potential for people of all genders, races and ethnicities to create their own destinies than any other governmental system. I work to teach people about that system, its great triumphs and also its hideous failures. We must learn from the past because the miracle of America is that it is always reinventing itself, giving us the potential to remake it, better, every day.

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For many years, George Lakoff has been asking the Democrats to beat the GOP at the “frame game.”  Here he provides not only the frame but also the rationale for it. It is a long read, but well worth the time because it’s all about the frame!

A Minority President: Why the Polls Failed, And What the Majority Can Do

in Political

  1. The American Majority

Hillary Clinton won the majority of votes in this year’s presidential election.

The loser, for the majority of voters, will now be a minority president-elect. Don’t let anyone forget it. Keep referring to Trump as the minority president, Mr. Minority and the overall Loser. Constant repetition, with discussion in the media and over social media, questions the legitimacy of the minority president to ignore the values of the majority. The majority, at the very least, needs to keep its values in the public eye and view the minority president’s action through majority American values.

The polls failed and the nation needs to know why. The pollsters and pundits have not given a satisfactory answer.

I will argue that the nature of mind is not a mere technical issue for the cognitive and brain sciences, but that it had everything to do with the outcome of the 2016 election — and the failure of the pollsters, the media, and Democrats to predict it. They were not alone. The public needs to understand better how the human mind works in general — but especially in politics. There is a lot to know. Let us go step by step.

Keep reading! >>>>

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I had a friend, years ago, whose father suffered what was diagnosed as hysterical blindness. Nothing was wrong with his eyes according to top ophthalmologists. Yet he stumbled along, tripping on furniture while never, mysteriously, over the dogs he loved. His only son, my friend, was a rising artist bringing more wealth to an already affluent family. He was gay at a time when and in a culture where being gay was not only not cool, it brought shame and social alienation similar to that incurred by mental illness in the family.

The parents lived in the main house, and my friend erected a loft two stories high on the other side of the garden where he occupied the first floor and worked on the second under a skylight. He came and went as he pleased and entertained friends as he wished. Was it perhaps my friend’s independent life that precipitated this blindness of his dad’s?  It occurred shortly after the loft was completed. Were there things the dad simply could not allow himself to accept and see? Is that why he blinded himself?  One can only speculate. We will never know. The father is long gone, and the son succumbed before there were effective HIV-AIDS medications.

How sad and ironic, in the wake of this election, when the unfairly maligned Clinton Foundation, which works assiduously to eradicate HIV-AIDS and preventable blindness, that Americans need to be warned not to succumb to a self-disciplined form of viral blindness that can spread via mass media.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

Naked

Already Happening: Media Normalization of Trumpism

His polls numbers will…improve. The international community will…come around. Melania and Ivanka will be…unorthodox but charming. Brace yourselves for a huge media fail.

Joy-Ann Reid

Joy-Ann Reid

11.27.16

In the children’s short story “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” by Hans Christian Andersen, what kept the fiction of the naked emperor’s sartorial splendor alive was nothing in particular about the emperor. True, he was vain and plainly foolish; easily tricked by the false flattery of swindlers into paying a kingly sum for a cloak so fine and magical that only the wise and true could see it. But it was the people of the kingdom, including his trusted advisers, who maintained the absurd notion that he was splendidly clothed, because none – the emperor included – wanted to admit that they were so unworthy as to not see the bright colors and fine threads.

Only the characteristic bluntness of a child, who proclaimed the emperor’s nudity as he paraded through the streets humiliating himself and his kingdom, threatened to break the spell. But when the boy spoke out he was quickly rebuked by his father, who assured the gasping public that the child was clearly soft in the head. So powerful is the compulsion to normalize the powerful.

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Ironic that late Friday night I was watching Richard Lester’s “Cuba” with Sean Connery on MGM HD when the news of Castro’s death came through. Right after that, on the same channel, I watched Oliver Stone’s “Salvador” – partly about the Carter-Reagan transition and including the murders of the nuns and Archbishop Romero. Today, this article.

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast

License to Kill

The Nun Murders and the Presidential Transition Team

During the transition from Carter to Reagan, the Salvadoran death squads started targeting Americans. A cautionary tale about signals sent and messages received.
Christopher Dickey

Christopher Dickey

11.27.16

PARIS — A new president had just been elected in the United States — a hard line president, who, it was said, had no patience with the vacillating, moralizing policies of his predecessor. Around the world thugs who would spit when they heard the phrase “human rights” suddenly took heart. With such a man in the White House, they thought, they had a license to kill. 

This was November 1980, when the confused transition from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan opened the door to a bloodbath in the little Central American country of El Salvador; when, suddenly, anyone the military suspected of aiding the subversivos was liable to be tortured to death, and even Americans—even American nuns—were fair game.

Now 36 years later, we will soon mark the anniversary of the death of four American churchwomen kidnapped, raped and murdered in El Salvador on the night of December 2, 1980. 

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Three weeks ago tomorrow the improbable happened. It was not improbable that Americans would elect Donald Trump. It is never a total shock when Americans choose the candidate you thought sure to lose.

“You won’t have Dick Nixon to kick around anymore!” Really? Then, in 1968 they elected him. They’ll never put a second-rate former movie star in the White House. Meet Ronald Reagan 2.0, and Democrats helped elect him.  George W. Bush seemed a laughable long shot in 1999, and we all know what happened then.

Trump campaigned as a scary clown in a season of scary clown sightings. He ridiculed cruelly: women, the disabled, the press. He threatened liberally: Latinos, Muslim, immigrants in general, our NATO allies. At the outset, many thought he was funny and too improbable to be elected. Some of us knew better. Some read the writing on Trump’s great wall.

The improbability was not that it could not happen. All my life I have been wary that it could indeed happen here.  But every poll said it would not happen and had Hillary Clinton defeating Trump. After spending a year and a half reminding people that the only poll that matters is the actual vote, I too had come to believe that Hillary had this. I gave in to the certainty on the night before Election Day, unlike the Irish bookies who began paying out two weeks before the election. I kept working, but I really thought we had this at Independence Hall.

Now this, trending on Twitter. Trump’s supporters are speaking out in a most frightening way.

Alt-right leader: ‘Hail Trump! Hail our people! Hail victory!’

More on this here. I urge you to read it. Even dedicated Republicans like Ana Navarro are tweeting about this. You might want to take a spoon of Pepto Bismol first. If this doesn’t make you sick, you are foolhardy, ignorant of history, or perhaps sick in more serious ways than OTC meds can help.

The POETUS’s Veep pick somehow managed to get tickets to see Hamilton on Broadway which has a wait list longer than Stanford. Hillary’s supporters at the performance also spoke out. This happened.

There Is No ‘Safe Space’ in Art: What Mike Pence Should Have Learned From ‘Hamilton’

Donald Trump rounded on the ‘Hamilton’ cast for addressing Mike Pence when he visited the show. But Brandon Dixon and his peers were speaking truth to power in the purest form.

Tim Teeman

Tim Teeman

11.21.16 3:23 PM ET

It is heartening, for those who work in arts and culture, to see their work migrate to the front pages. It’s rare: The world of culture is seen as more rarefied than the 24-hour news cycle.

But the stratospheric success of Hamilton means it has often traversed both. It is that rare thing; an intelligent, stirring work of art that has found a populist home on stage on Broadway, feted not just by critics but by the general public who have been to see it. You’ll have seen its songs and stars on TV, if you haven’t seen them on stage. The difficulty of securing a ticket has become a mainstream joke.

The weekend bought the show back to the front page. One of the actors, Brandon Victor Dixon, gracefully read out a statement to the Vice President Elect Mike Pence, who was in the audience. It wasn’t rudely phrased. It wasn’t rudely spoken. It wasn’t rude in any way. We know this because it was videotaped. We can see it. If you choose to see it as harassment or rudeness, you are willfully misreading what you are seeing or hearing.

Dixon’s speech was a request from the heart, and—this seems to have been somewhat overlooked—a heartfelt plea to Pence to recognize and respect true diversity.

It was aimed at him because as Governor of Indiana he advocated for a range of discriminatory legislation, not least ‘conversion therapy,’ or discredited, cruel and downright weird ‘treatments’ to ‘cure’ people of homosexuality. He has also been accused of ignoring racism.

The gracefully read statement was immediately leapt upon by Donald Trump, the President-elect: he demanded the Hamilton cast apologize. They had been rude to Mike Pence. He had been in a safe space. How dare they?

Read more >>>>

Some contrast was provided here but of the snide variety. We could have done without words like smug and gushed. For Ms. Okafor’s information, Hillary Clinton is very warm, caring, and loving and is eminently huggable and kissable. We love the Grandma-in-Chief.

Here’s How the ‘Hamilton’ Cast Reacted When Hillary Clinton Attended their Show


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Getty – Theo Wargo, Thomas Greff

The conservative and liberal worlds lit up in a firestorm when Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of “Hamilton”’ on Broadway this past week.

The Vice President-elect was roundly booed and jeered by the audience, and he received a smug lecture from the cast before leaving the building. It went like this:

SNIP

While the “Hamilton” cast ‘heroically’ stood up to Pence, they had no problem slobbering all over Hillary with hugs, kisses and gushing selfies.

NEW YORK - JULY 12: U.S. Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton meets the cast of the Broadway musical "Hamilton" following a special performance at the Richard Rodgers Theatre on July 12, 2016 in New York City. Clinton hosted a fundraiser at the special performance, with supporters paying from $2,700 to up to $100,000 for the chance to attend. (Photo by Yana Paskova/Getty Images)

Image Credit: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

Read and see much more here >>>>

What was most improbable was that Americans would vote for someone supported by white nationalists who say things like this.

“America was until this last generation a white country designed for ourselves and our posterity. It is our creation and it belongs to us.” – RICHARD SPENCER, an ideologue of the alt-right movement, speaking to 200 mostlyyoung men in Washington.

We elect buffoons, crooks, grade B actors. I did not expect us to elect a potential despot.  I thought we dodged that bullet with Nixon. I thought we closed the book on registries with the Nisei internment camps. I thought women would finally shatter that highest, hardest glass ceiling by electing the most qualified and prepared candidate ever to run in my lifetime. I thought we were moving toward a more inclusive society. I thought a lot of things.

This is #NotWhoWeAre.

No sooner had I posted this than this letter from George Takei appeared in my inbox.

Still —

Just a few weeks after my fifth birthday, in the spring of 1942, my parents got my younger brother, my baby sister, and me up very early, hurriedly dressed us, and quickly started to pack.

When my brother and I looked out the window of our living room, we saw two soldiers marching up the driveway, bayonets fixed to their rifles. They banged on our front door and ordered us out of the house. We could take only what we could carry with us.

We were loaded on to train cars with other Japanese-American families, with guards stationed at both ends of each car as though we were criminals, and sent two-thirds of the way across the country to an internment camp in the swamps of Arkansas.

For nearly three years, barbed wire, sentry towers, and armed guards marked home. Mass showers, lousy meals in crowded mess halls, and a searchlight following me as I ran from our barracks to the latrine in the middle of the night — in case I was trying to escape — became normal.

So when I hear Donald Trump’s transition advisors talk about building a registry of Muslims and his surrogates using the internment of Japanese-Americans as their model, I am outraged — because I remember the tears streaming down my mother’s face as we were torn away from our home. And I am resolved to raise my voice and say, loudly and clearly, that this is not who we are.

My mother was born in Sacramento, my father grew up in San Francisco, and my siblings and I were born in Los Angeles. We were American citizens, as proud of our country as we were of our Japanese heritage. But in the fear and mass hysteria of wartime, none of that mattered. When our government allowed hatred and racism to overtake our values, nothing else mattered.

We cannot allow our country to be led down that dark path ever again.

Rosemary, I am committed to fighting for our values, our democracy, and the moral character of our nation. And I am committed to standing with the Democratic Party against bigotry and oppression for the next four years and beyond, no matter what form it takes. I hope you will do the same. Add your name today to stand with me:

Thank you,

George

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