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21.02.2020 – Jhon Sánchez

Writing to Julian Assange

Dear Julian,

I wish I were in fifth grade. If so, this letter would be easier to write. I think if the judge were in fifth grade too, he would release you. But when we grow up, logic is compromised with personal interests, fear, and arthritis sometimes.

I had read about you sometimes, and I had watched some of your interviews in Democracy Now. Last Saturday, I went to the CUNY Law School to attend a Panel discussion about your case. The room was packed. They are your followers. They believe in you, in what you have achieved. A woman even said that she had watched you in livestream until they took you away.

There are many things that I don’t understand like a kid from fifth grade. The US government wants to prosecute you because you exposed true information about their wrongdoings during the war. One of the panelists said that those documents, images, and videos changed American perception of the Iraq war. We realized that we’re not the saviors of the world but instead the Devil himself.

During the event, I was happy to hear Alice Walker who spoke in your support. “He’s a man concerned with facts.” I don’t want to misquote her, but I think she said that you’re “obnoxiously concerned with facts.” I’m not. Factual reality doesn’t’ seem very entertaining to me. As a fiction writer, I pass half of the time daydreaming. Well, if they’re after you who work with factual corruption, factual abuses, what would happen to me who works with dreams, with assumptions, basically with lies. Nothing that I write is real, but I could be even more damaging.

But governments or at least this one, the US government now, threatens people and makes them fearful. I wondered about that. What kind of things could I do if I’m fearful all the time?

Spring came earlier to NY this year. Even though the trees are still brownish and naked without leaves, people are walking around enjoying the sunshine and some of them are running in shorts and sleeveless t-shirts. How many of them would be able to publish documents that you had decided to publish? Do I need the courage to do it or only the realization that it’s part of my job? Should I ask myself before writing one of my dreams if this wouldn’t be allowed or if I need a government’s approval? Well, we may live in the age of dream with a pre-approval sanitation label.

The government tries to make us feel fear, and that’s what many people translate as ‘security.’ In the land of the First Amendment, the sacred freedom of expression, the New York Times also was persecuted for trying to publish the Pentagon Papers. This was a reminder by James Goodale. If this our precedent that clearly allowed the publication of documents related to the Vietnam War, what would be the responsibility of the prosecutor who actively looks for your punishment? It seems that in States, prosecutors can act irresponsibly without significant consequences. Well, if they found out of their negligence years later, they probably are going to remove their ‘sacred names’ from the law school halls, but that’s all. Persecution or ‘prosecution’ is a trend, another face of what some people call ‘security.’

After Goodale talked, I kept asking myself why we still have the Espionage Act in books. This is a vague, broad law. Shouldn’t we have repealed it since the times of the Pentagon Papers? Is there one of our politicians interested in erasing it or, at the very least, to restrict it? It seems that if the government can disobey a precedent like that, at least Congress is supposed to do something about it. But sadly, neither Republicans nor Democrats are interested in that.

Renata Avila, your lawyer, told us about your life and reminded us that many of the journalists that denigrate you have never met you. I don’t know if I need to like you or dislike you to agree that what you have done is your job: Publishing. So why do some people want you in jail because you’re in a certain way or in another? Well, you have already been confined for a long time now since the time that you’re were not allowed to leave the Ecuadorian embassy. Seven years? People forgot that. The British government was interfering with Ecuador’s sovereign decision to grant you asylum. They ignored it. Of course, the current President of Ecuador, Lenin Moreno, revoked your asylum and your citizenship, and the British put you in jail. What do the Ecuadorians think about it? Still, it’s difficult to believe that Lenin Moreno was acting out of pure principle. Well, he obviously ignored something called due process.

After all these ‘mishaps,’ we cannot believe in the British judges either. Mrs. Avila said that the judge would likely not to rule in your favor. They don’t want to take the responsibility, so this may go to the court of appeals. How sad. And the British and the Americans accused the third world of not having independent judges.

Well, everything would be clear if we were in fifth grade. If I can tell you, Julian, you didn’t anything wrong, drawing the Devil as it is. They shouldn’t send you that corner. Besides, who can tell us that we only need to draw little angels?

By for now,


If you want to write to Julian Assange, you can do go to or  and follow the instructions.

Join to The Global Protest at the UK Consulate in NYC to mark the beginning of Julian Assange’s full extradition hearing on February 24th, 11:00AM
British Consulate, 885 Second Ave at 47th St., New York, NY

For more information, contact

About the Author:  Jhon Sánchez: A Colombian Born, Mr. Sánchez, arrived in NYC seeking political asylum where he is now a lawyer. His short stories are available in Midway Journal, The Meadow, Newfound, Fiction on the Web, among others. The DeDramafi, was published on The Write Launch, and Storylandia will reprint it in issue 36. He was awarded the Horned Dorset Colony for 2018 and the Byrdcliffe Artist Residence Program for 2019. In 2021, New Lit Salon Press will publish his collection Enjoy Pleasurable Death and Other Stories that Will Kill You. For updates, please visit the Facebook page @WriterJhon .

18.02.2020 – Democracy Now!

This post is also available in: Italian

20 Teens Arrested as Youth Climate Activists Take Over Capitol Building for Green New Deal Teach-In
(Image by Sunrise Movement)

Over 150 youth climate activists with the Sunrise Movement took over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C., Monday to hold a teach-in on the Green New Deal and to call on lawmakers to immediately adopt the measure. Twenty teenagers, one as young as 13, were arrested during the demonstration. This is a student protester speaking at the action.

Gus Demerath: “No matter who you are, you have a place at the table. That’s why I ask my senators to co-sponsor this Green New Deal. I don’t want any change in 5, 10, 20, 50 years; I want it fucking now!”

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

18.02.2020 – Los Angeles, USA – Robert Hunziker

Amazon Onslaught
Aerial view of the Amazon Rainforest, near Manaus, the capital of the Brazilian state of Amazonas. Date:19 April 2011, 10:17:23. Author: Neil Palmer/CIAT

This month Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro proposed a new bill promoting mining, expanded agriculture, and energy production on indigenous lands in the Amazon. Accordingly, private developers as well as private hedge funds will occupy and develop land that’s been home to indigenous people for thousands of years.

Meantime during Bolsonaro’s first full year in office, deforestation increased by 85%. More on this eye-popping number follows.

Of recent, there have been several deeply disturbing developments in the Amazon. Less than two months ago the world’s leading Amazonian scientists, Thomas Lovejoy (George Mason University) and Carlos Nobre (University of Sao Paulo) issued a harsh warning to the people of the world: “Today, we stand exactly in a moment of destiny: The tipping point is here, it is now.” (Source: Amazon Tipping Point: Last Chance for Action, Science Advances, Vol. 5, no. 12, December 20, 2019).

Tipping points are final acts in nature, meaning points of no return for ecosystems, as functionality turns sour. Regarding the vastness of the Amazonian rainforest, its functionality is so worldly powerful that loss is incomprehensible and likely indicative of an impending final act for civilized, as well as uncivilized, life on the planet.

Nevertheless, recklessly flirting with extreme potent danger, the “tipping point warning” by leading scientists is brushed aside by Bolsonaro’s government, as the Amazon rainforest suffers direct attack on all fronts; it’s like an Anti-Climate Change Crusade, meaning, clearing the planet of all life forms, except for humans, but that can only last for so long before “thudding humans” start reverberating throughout the planet.

Already, the belated impact of anthropogenic (human-caused) global warming over the decades has only now started clobbering the Amazon with three 100-year droughts, back-to-back-to-back every 5 years. It’s unprecedented, never happened before, until excessive levels of CO2 accumulated in the atmosphere.

According to NASA, serious, likely permanent, damaging episodes of drought in 2005, 2010, and 2015 have literally changed the Amazon, losing its special “carbon sink status.” As such, the Amazon’s sphere of influence in various regions throughout the rainforest transforms from preserving humanity via its powerful “carbon sink” capabilities to morphing into a shameful “carbon emitter,” same as coal-fired power plants spewing CO2, but not as sooty.

Unprecedented 100/year droughts occurring every five years sends a clear resounding signal to the world that something is horribly wrong.

Consider: According to NASA, the timing between drought sequences has impeded regrowth. The rainforest just doesn’t react like it used to. It does not have enough time between droughts to heal itself and regrow. Throughout all of recorded history, this has never been witnessed before. The implications are downright dreadful. (Source: NASA Finds Amazon Drought Leaves Long Legacy of Damage, NASA Earth Science News Team, August 9, 2018)

Meanwhile and regrettably, according to Brazil’s National Institute for Space Research, deforestation of the Amazon surged by 85% in 2019. Wall Street brokers would kill for a stock that increased by 85% in one year, and they would not blink an eye over a bloody mess, if necessary, to achieve such spectacular results, which, in a sense, is equivalent to the 85% Amazonian deforestation scenario. Which will likely get worse in 2020.

Not only that, killing indigenous tribal people is on the rise as private adventurers take Bolsonaro’s rightwing sentiments to heart, intruding into the Amazon. They’re armed for self-defense as well as to assault new lands. One never knows when a barefooted half-naked man carrying a thin wooden spear may appear from within the bush on his sacred homeland.

As if the situation couldn’t get much worse, the outlook for 2020 is simply awful! According to MapBiomas, a Brazilian organization in collaboration with universities, NGOs, and technology companies that monitor deforestation: “It would be expected that it will be worse than last year unless something really big happens in the next two or three months to avoid the high season of deforestation that starts in May (2020), according to Tasso Azevedo, coordinator of a group called MapBiomas.” (Source: Victoria Klesty, Amazon Deforestation Could Speed Up In 2020: Expert, Reuters January 15, 2020)

What’s worse than 85% deforestation? Is it 100% or maybe more now that Bolsonaro is so anxious to open up the Amazon to the deep-seated impulses of neoliberal-neocolonial capitalism (1) privatize (2) extract (3) monetize, as quickly as humanly possible, no questions asked.

Going forward, and assuming the Bolsonaro Amazon Extraction Scheme works as planned and passes muster in the hallowed halls of The National Congress of Brazil (Brasilia), it likely puts at risk essential life-sourcing features of the Amazon: Without its wondrous strength and power to generate (1) hydrologic systems (rivers across the sky as far north as Iowa), (2) absorb and store carbon (CO2) and (3) miraculous life-giving endless supply of oxygen, civilization would cease to exist beyond scattered tribes, here and there.

In all, it’s obvious where the Amazonian affair is headed, especially giving consideration to “civilization ceasing to exist beyond scattered tribes, here and there.”

Fortuitously, the infrastructure is already in place for that new world order. There are 305 Brazilian tribes, population 900,000, already in place to teach civilized society how to act and behave and live within natural ecosystems that fundamentally support the planet with vital life-giving resources… for free!

Postscript:  An excellent new film by ScientistsWarning.TV (Stuart Scott, Executive Director) “Rollbacks – An Assault Against Life on Earth” is an exposé of Trump’s attack on the environment. The link:

We are Chinese, not a virus

16.02.2020 – Redazione Italia

This post is also available in: Italian

We are Chinese, not a virus

Because of the great paranoia that generated the Coronavirus coming from China, several episodes of racism and violence against Chinese citizens in different countries of the world are being unleashed. The horror generated by an unknown virus mixed with widespread sinophobia (anti-Chinese sentiment) generally affects the “almond-eyed” people who are our fellow citizens.

I met Sun, about 18 years ago, in Siena, at the university. He called himself Sole (Italian translation on Sun, ndt); a really sunny, young and bright boy. Sun was the object of a racist attack during the famous Sars virus outbreak. Today he lives in Shanghai and tells us in his words what it means to be a victim of collective paranoia and how important it is to know how to appreciate people’s hearts, without defining them as a threat, or simply as a virus.

“I was in Siena when SARS occurred in 2003, I was 20 years old then. Back then, I didn’t really understand too many things around me, or I shall say I couldn’t care less about anything else other than taking care of myself. Schooling and working part-time as delivery guy for Chinese takeaway had occupied most of my time. I was exhausted by so-called everyday life.

One night, as I was walking back home from work, a group of local youngsters approached me and screamed at my face, SARS! We don’t want you here, you Chinese get the hell out of my country! Didn’t have time to think, I was shocked and furious, the rage of my anger reached to tipping point in a split second, I shouted back at them. Knowing that wasn’t a smart thing to do, but it was too late for that, and what happened next proved it. I was badly beat up by all six or seven of them. Alone and hurt, I slowly got back up from the ground, and start to move my legs toward home, because there wasn’t anything I could do…but it wasn’t over, at least it wasn’t for them, they had no intension of letting me go…they followed me, and continued to insult me with jokes and laughter. So, I did something, something that I regret even until today. I rushed home and grabbed a kitchen knife, rushed back downstairs, and slashed at the young man who hit me first. Somehow, the knife missed him, but I was there swinging it, and later on, when a roommate of mine who is also Chinese saw me fighting on my own, he went in the crowd and joined the scuffle. And all I remember was the police came shortly after. My shoes were missing, my clothes were torn, and we were all taken to the nearby police station, handcuffed.

In the hallway of the police station, where we were asked to sit and wait, my fear struck in, I knew I was in trouble, and had no clue what’s going to happen to me next, I was devasted. The youngsters sat not far from me, by the coffee machine, they were chatting while causally sipping on coffee, one even tried to tell to me that how they’d take care of me once we get out… I took a good look at them, they’re about the same age as me, or maybe even younger… I was exhausted from the fight, the pain from the injuries of my body also starts to kick in, I was suffering…moments later, I decided to talk to them, I wanted to speak for myself – You have your families here, your mum cooks for you, washes your clothes… we are about the same age, on top of going to school, learning the language, I have to work hard to make money so I can survive in Italy. I am worried about my rent next month, I need to figure out how much I can spend on food, every single day. What did I do wrong? Is it just because I am Chinese trying to make a living in this country?! The laughter stopped, they became quiet… Soon after, one young men with blonde hair came over and said to me that – “I apologize for my friends action, it wasn’t the right thing to do bullying you at first, but you shouldn’t have never taken the knife, it was just too exaggerated, and I will tell the police the truth, about what really happened”.

His honesty prevented me from a 3 years sentence in prison, and we also agreed to settle the case outside the court. At the end, my charge was disputed, but I had to pay 3,000 Euros as handling fee to the lawyer, which was quite a disaster for someone like me who makes 15 euros a day at that time. I didn’t tell my parents about it, I was too afraid to tell, because I knew they’d be upset and worried if I did. I’m not a person who likes to cry, but when later on my dad called me on the phone and asked me how I was doing in Italy, I broke down, my tears just wouldn’t stop pouring out, although I still told him that I was doing fine.

In the next few years, after the incident, my only goal was to earn more money so I can pay off my lawyer fee, my priority had switched, and I failed spectacularly at school. The Chinese roommate who fought with me was asked by parents to return home, we never met again. Because of me, he paid his due, a great one, not the one that him or his parents were wished for, and all is down to me, I fell responsible for it. They say, life is a circle, my other life lesson was learned 2 years later. When I move to a new house, I ended up living in an area where the youngsters also lived. I see them almost every day, and every time when I bump into them on the street, it just remined me of the reason that I am working my arse now is all because of them, it wasn’t a good feeling and I blamed them for where it was gotten me, I hated them.

I remember it was a summer morning, I left home for work. When I went downstairs, I saw there were people dressed in black gathering at the church entrance. I walked pass the church, there was this huge photo of a young man displayed in the centre of the church, it was a photo of a young man, the young man who got me into the fight 2 years ago, the young man who I’d hated for 2 years, he had gone, passed away in a car accident. Coming from nowhere, I suddenly felt a huge loss of emptiness. All the hatred in my heart was replaced by complicated yet mixed emotions. he was 19, he was younger than I was. I knew I hated him, but when I saw his picture in the church, I felt like I had lost a friend, someone who was closed to me. For some reason, I was hoping that he was still alive, so we’d fight again, because at least he is alive, not dead, not gone forever. Hartery is so small, when you compare it with death. From that day on, I gradually learned to accept the people I didn’t use to accept, I learned to appreciate things that I didn’t use to appreciate. No matter how we met, where we met, we met for a reason, we met for a purpose, and we shall all treat each other equally. At least since that day I have not been wishing anyone death, because that feeling of emptiness was too bad. 

Time passes fast, after 17 years, we are facing another great challenge of the century, the Coronavirus. Seeing people outside China putting on a different look towards Chinese people because of it just reminds me of my pasts, what I have experienced. We often live our lives with labels attached, perhaps this label favouritism / racism is something we should all think about. Yes, I am Chinese, and you may be Italian, and yes, we do have culture differences and things that we don’t agree with, but we often forget that we are all human beings. As human beings, we all have our wrongs and rights, we all have our good side and dark side. What’s important is that human have feelings. Viruses are terrible, but what’s even worse is to live in a world that is without empathy and love. I sincerely hope that after this epidemic has passed, not only our bodies will recover, but also our numb and unloved hearts.

Two Post-Valentine Quaker Stories: One True, One (Maybe) Fiction — A Friendly Letter

On Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2020, the Washington Post ran an engaging story of two independent-minded women who faced down the CIA and won. That’s our first story: The two women were Florence Thorne and Margaret Scattergood. The Post: Five thousand square feet, wide windows, a grand staircase, a front porch with a panoramic view…

via Two Post-Valentine Quaker Stories: One True, One (Maybe) Fiction — A Friendly Letter

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on not understanding it.

The United States of America’s Doll House:
A Vast Tapestry of Lies and Illusions
February 07 ,2020 – by Edward Curtin

“It is difficult to get a man to understand something,
when his salary depends on not understanding it.”

“Fifty years ago, the CIA coined the term “conspiracy theory” as a weapon to be used to dismiss the truths expressed by critics of its murder of President Kennedy, and those of Malcom X, MLK, and RFK.  All the media echoed the CIA line.  While they still use the term to dismiss and denounce, their control of the mainstream media is so complete today that every evil government action is immediately seconded, whether it be the lies about the attacks of September 11, 2001, the wars against Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Libya, Yemen, Iran, etc., the coups disguised as color revolutions in Ukraine, Venezuela, Bolivia, Hong Kong, the downing of the Malaysian jetliner there, drone murders, the Iranian “threat,” the looting of the American people by the elites, alleged sarin gas attacks in Syria, the anti-Russia bashing and the Russia-gate farce, the “criminals” Assange, Manning, Snowden – everything.  The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, Fox News, the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, etc. – all are stenographers for the deep state.”

“Those of us who write about the U.S. led demented wars and provocations around the world and the complementary death of democracy at home are constantly flabbergasted and discouraged by the willed ignorance of so many Americans.  For while the mainstream media does the bidding of the power elite, there is ample alternative news and analyses available on the internet from fine journalists and writers committed to truth, not propaganda. There is actually far too much truth available, which poses another problem. But it doesn’t take a genius to learn how to research important issues and to learn how to distinguish between bogus and genuine information.  It takes a bit of effort, and, more importantly, the desire to compare multiple, opposing viewpoints and untangle the webs the Web weaves.  We are awash in information (and disinformation) and both good and bad reporting, but it is still available to the caring inquirer.

The problem is the will to know.  But why?  Why the refusal to investigate and question; why the indifference?  Stupidity?  Okay, there is that.  Ignorance?  That too.  Willful ignorance, ditto.  Laziness, indeed. Careerism and ideology?  For certain.  Upton Sinclair put it mildly when he said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends on not understanding it.”  Difficult?  No, it’s almost impossible.

But then there are many very intelligent people who have nothing to lose and yet adamantly refuse to entertain alternative possibilities to the reigning orthodoxies that have them in their grip.  As do many others, I know many such people who will yes me to death and then never fully research issues.  They will remain in limbo or else wink to themselves that what may be true couldn’t be true.  They close down.  This is a great dilemma and frustration faced by those who seek to convince people to take an active part in understanding what is really going on in the world today, especially as the United States wages war across the globe, threatens Russia, China, and Iran, among many others, and expands and modernizes its nuclear weapons capabilities.

As for Assange, Manning, and Snowden, their plight matters not a whit.  In fact, they have been rendered invisible inside the doll’s house, except as the murals on the windows flash back their images as threats to the occupants, Russian monsters out to eat them up.  As the great poet Constantine Cavafy wrote long ago in his poem “Waiting for the Barbarians” and they never come: “Now what’s going to happen to us without barbarians?  Those people were a kind of solution.”  Then again, for people like U.S. Representative Adam Schiff, who knows the Russian barbarians have and will come again, life must be terrifying as he tries so manfully to bar the gates.  The Russians have been the American solution in this fairy tale for so long that it’s hard for many Americans to believe another story.

On the one hand, there is the massive propaganda apparatus operated by American intelligence agencies in conjunction with their media partners.

On the other, there is the human predilection for untruth and illusions, the sad need to be comforted and to submit to greater “authority,” gratefully to accept the myths proffered by one’s masters.  This tendency applies not just to the common people, but even more so to the intellectual classes, who act as though they are immune.  Erich Fromm, writing about Germans and Hitler, but by extension people everywhere, termed this the need to “escape from freedom,” since freedom conjures up fears of vertiginous aloneness and the need to decide, which in turn evokes the fear of death. There are also many kinds of little deaths that precede the final one: social, career, money, familiar, etc., that are used to keep people in the doll’s house.”

L’intero articolo:
The United States of America’s Doll House:
A Vast Tapestry of Lies and Illusions

February 07 ,2020 – by Edward Curtin

Senate Passes Resolution Limiting Trump’s War Powers Authority

15.02.2020 – US, United States – Democracy Now!

Senate Passes Resolution Limiting Trump’s War Powers Authority
(Image by Democracy Now)

The Senate voted 55 to 45 to pass a resolution limiting President Trump’s authority to attack Iran without congressional approval. The vote comes over a month after Trump ordered the targeted assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad International Airport, sparking a crisis that brought Iran and the U.S. to the brink of outright war. This is Illinois Democratic Senator Tammy Duckworth speaking Thursday.

Sen. Tammy Duckworth: “It’s been five weeks since President Trump stomped on the Constitution, circumvented Congress and launched a strike that killed General Soleimani. Now, while I am glad the man is dead, I am glad he has gone to meet his maker, I will tell you that that decision put everyday Americans at greater risk, because he did not have a good plan for how to react to the aftermath of the war.”

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

Why This Election Is Different

13.02.2020 – US, United States – David Swanson

Why This Election Is Different
(Image by

Elections, I think most of us can agree, usually bring out the idiocy, superficiality, and illogic in everyone who can muster any. Imagine supporting, as many did, Sanders and then Trump because they were both “outsiders.” On Tuesday, I heard somebody on CNN announce that Sanders and Klobuchar were both “change candidates” (because you’d have to change every bit of the platform of one of them to match that of the other?). Tokenism no longer embarrasses voters or even the candidates who openly campaign on it. When voters are asked on television how they choose a candidate, they talk about temperament, personality, debating skills, and intelligence.

U.S. presidents 43, 44, and 45 have been, respectively, a nitwit, a smart guy, and a dumbfuck. The policies have been variations on the theme of rolling catastrophe regardless. Climate collapse is ever nearer, and nuclear apocalypse is more likely than ever before (according to the Doomsday Clock). By the time we work our way through horrible presidents of every sex, race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, the idea of humanity surviving on earth will be a sadder joke than Rachel Maddow’s latest Russian revelation. We can elect the very best prom king or queen, the person we’d like to have a beer with, the “outsider,” the “change candidate,” or some other vacuous label, but none of that will steer the world away from the cliff it’s rushing toward.

If representative government is supposed to approximate democracy, then we have to figure out what we want and who will come closest to representing it. Do we want a civilized healthcare system like the rest of the wealthy nations of the world have long had? Or do we want to spend more money for less health but keep our beloved insurance companies or our pathetic union contract privileges? Do we want to put up a serious struggle to stop destroying the earth’s habitability? Or do we want to avoid any radical changes to a planned and consciously pursued disaster? Do we want to make college part of public education as other countries do with great success? Or do we want to stay ignorant and broke enough to never quite become aware of what imbeciles we’re being? Do we want to go on subsidizing fossil fuels, enriching multi-billionaires, and dumping $1.25 trillion a year into wars and preparations for more wars, or do we want to try a wiser approach tested and proven for decades by societies around the world?

The United States is a freak global outlier in its enrichment of the rich, its acceptance of poverty, its military spending, and it’s shunning of basic human rights to housing, education, and healthcare. Bernie Sanders is a moderate candidate promoting popular programs that have been used more and with more success than the policies that he proposes abandoning.

Most people will tell you that voting for a third-party candidate in the United States is a lifestyle choice, an act of purity, the enactment of a worldview. Similarly, donning a clothespin and voting for a lesser-evil two-party candidate is supposedly the outcome of a particular inclination toward reform instead of revolution, or a rational choice based on the short-term options available. The same ideas are widely held about protesting versus lobbying.

But what if you actually want something of a government? What if you actually act as a member of the informed public that a government is supposed to represent? Then, wouldn’t you lobby when something decent was under consideration, but protest when nothing was? Wouldn’t you vote for a third-party candidate when the two parties were clearly headed toward apocalypse, but back a two-party candidate if one appeared who was less enough evil? You can grade the world on a curve only if you have no independent standards, such as sustainability for your species.

That’s the difference in this election. Bernie Sanders is a million miles from perfect. But he is radically superior to who he was four years ago, to the other Democratic candidates, and to the past 45 presidents. A greatly enlarged movement will need to move him and the Congress and the whole society in the right direction, but such a movement will be in a far better place with him than with any of the other candidates. If we must be tokenists, let’s just declare it time to elect a Jew. But if we care about the earth, let’s declare it time to stop being morons.

Why would anyone elect another same-old schmuck? Why is this even a question? A billionaire who buys his way in and lies about his racially targeted sadism? A slimy small-town mayor who backs what billionaires tell him to back? A senator who seems to think Hillary’s only mistake was being too inspiring? A senile former vice president whose bloody fingerprints are on every act of cruelty to come out of Washington for generations? Are you kidding me?

Turn off your televisions! Avoid debates! Read the candidates’ websites. They tell you what they are proposing to do. It’s not secret information. But here’s an important secret that I’ll let you in on. The candidate who excites you and others is, for that very reason, the candidate most likely to win. The idea that the candidate who’s not offering anything people give two damns for is the “electable” candidate is an insidious creation of the corporate media, the people who assured you Trump would never win, the people who swore that Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Pakistan and Somalia and Yemen and Syria would be improved by bombing, the people who are now claiming that Bernie has “flat lined in first place” while the “serious” candidates are “surging” into second and third and fourth place.

The revolution will not be televised.

 The original article can be found on our partner’s website here

2020 World Interfaith Harmony Week Celebration Highlights Dialogue Towards Harmony

13.02.2020 – Manila, Philippines – Pressenza IPA

2020 World Interfaith Harmony Week Celebration Highlights Dialogue Towards Harmony
Participants at the Interfaith Prayers for Love And Peace, Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple

As reported by Genevieve Balance-Kupang

In solidarity with the global celebration of the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, UniHarmony Partners Manila held a week-long series of activities in line with the theme of interreligious dialogue towards harmony. Established in 2012, UniHarmony Partners Manila was formed to implement the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Resolution 65/5 adopted on October 20, 2010, proclaiming the celebration of World Interfaith Harmony Week every first week of February. Recognizing that mutual understanding and interreligious dialogue constitute critical dimensions of a culture of peace, the UN established World Interfaith Harmony Week as a way to promote harmony between all people regardless of their faith.

UniHarmony Partners Manila is composed of religious communities, faith-based organizations, interfaith groups, and peace advocates to contribute efforts towards attaining a harmonious and peaceful Philippine society through interreligious dialogue and multi-religious collective action. This year, the World Interfaith Harmony Week coincides with the Year of Ecumenism, Interreligious Dialogue, and Indigenous Peoples in preparation for celebrating the 500th year of Christianity in the Philippines.

Here are just some highlights of the week-long celebration organized by the different organizations under the UPM umbrella.

Celebrating the UN WIHW with Cardinal Tagle and the Diplomatic Corps. February 3, 2020

In the spirit of promoting the essence of the UN World Interfaith Harmony Week, the Archdiocese of Manila through the much-beloved Cardinal Tagle has been hosting the BREAKFAST/FELLOWSHIP WITH THE CARDINAL since 2013. Friends in the Archdiocese of Manila, Rev. Fr. Carlos V. Reyes, and Rev. Fr. Richard James M. Babao, minister and assistant minister respectively of the Ecumenical and Inter-Faith Affairs, invited the members of the UniHarmony Partners Manila (UPM) to celebrate the occasion with the Diplomatic Corps.

A great host, with his sense of humor and wit, Cardinal Tagle delivered his message of peace. Listeners were touched by his joy of proclaiming the Gospel, his message of peace, and the “confluence of the mystery of God’s love.”

His eminence articulated that God cannot be matched in hosting, and it is “our Christian belief that Jesus who is the Son of God is also present during the agape- the Jesus we welcome in the hungry, the prisoner, the immigrants, the sick.”

He reiterated the message of Pope Francis last January 1, 2020, that peace is a journey of hope: dialogue, reconciliation, and ecological conversion.

The Cardinal challenged the UPM leaders and the Diplomatic Corps to keep the tradition alive. On the other hand, the group wished him well as he assumes his new role as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples.

A new addition to the UPM family this year is the Russian Orthodox Church representative Hieromonk Alexie Lapshin of the Parish of Our Lady of Iveron in Manila.

Interfaith Prayers for Love And Peace. Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple. February 6, 2020

Amid suffering, ill-treatment, fear, adversity, suspension of classes for some learning institutions, and even the cancellation of an event prepared three months before supposedly for February 7, Uniharmony Partners Manila (UPM) members offered Interfaith Prayers of Safety from the Wuhan Coronavirus epidemic. The Head Abbess Venerable Miao Jing of the Fo Guang Shan Mabuhay Temple, Dharma Brother Erwin Choa, president of the Buddha’s Light International Association (BLIA), Dharma Sister Luisa So, deputy secretary of Guang Ming College, Patrick Tanunliong, friends of the FGSMT and the UPM members were together in this particular afternoon. All dedicated a prayer “seeking compassion and blessings so that many will have the courage and wisdom to confront the outbreak with calmness and fortitude…”

Invited Catholics, followers of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, Muslim, and Indigenous People prayed in their respective faith tradition.

Here is an excerpt of a prayer our Buddhist friends shared that day:
“Oh great, compassionate Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, as cities become sealed off, and events are suspended, we are in dire need of the spirit of your alleviating suffering. Let us care and help one another and not be struck with panic. Let us support and encourage one another to strengthen our faith. May the momentary isolation become retreats for self-introspection. May the momentary inconvenience become mindful practices of self-improvement. This is the moment when unity is most crucial; let us trust the government to resolve the crisis. Let us thank the medical professionals for treating the disease. No matter how difficult the situation, as long as there are compassion and wisdom, when we all practice the Three Acts of Goodness: Do good deeds, speak good words, and think good thoughts, if we all protect the environment and have respect for all lives, we shall be able to turn peril into safety. We pray for your blessings. Please help the survivors be delivered from suffering and recover their good health; Please help the deceased be reborn in Buddhaland, and rest well in peace. May this world be free from the turmoil of outbreaks. May every one of us be safe and well. Oh great, compassionate Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, please accept my sincerest prayer!

Then there was a presentation of interfaith activities, messages from interfaith leaders and ringing of the bell, and then the sharing of the token of appreciation. Yes, amid the challenges we are facing as global citizens, religious belief allows people to better cope with adverse life events.

West Asian Cultural Day at the UP Film Center. February 5, 2020

On the 5th Day of the World Interfaith Harmony Week, the Pacific Dialogue Foundation (PDF) and UP Diliman (both active members of the Uniharmony Partners Manila) sponsored the showing of two inspirational Turkish movies, “Butterfly” and “Two Hearts as One.” A live broadcast with the scriptwriter and producer followed after. Participants got to interact with the barista/cooks and enjoyed the cultural exhibition of West Asian cuisine offered by the Muslim Turkish UPM partners. During the intermission, the Pacific Dialogue Foundation, through its president Selim Yavuz Sirinoglu gave a Token of Appreciation for the outgoing UP Chancellor Michael Tan for his ever-supportive collaboration with the Turkish community during his term as a chancellor. The presence of the promoters of Interreligious Dialogue made this event meaningful as it was a showcase of solidarity, mutual respect for cultural diversity, and the appreciation and enjoyment of reciprocity between cultures.

“The Church and Indigenous Peoples: Partners in Reviving our Ailing Earth”
Scheduled February 7, 2020, but canceled due to the Corona Virus Epidemic

The multi-faceted consequences of the coronavirus epidemic, and the occurrence of natural disasters one after another is heartbreaking.

People need “handles” to come to grips with them. The gifts of spiritual and cultural practices to cope with the stresses of tragedies are crucial among Indigenous peoples and believers of faiths. So, we planned to have a gathering of prayer leaders, flutists, chanters, ritualists, gong players, dancers, indigenous bamboo instrumentalists and other stakeholders to offer prayers, do movement meditation, chant, dance, play various indigenous musical instruments, sing, lament, and perform rituals to appease the spirit world and heal the nature-human disconnect. What we proposed, however, NCOV disposed. We call it “saying” because the preparations we did not see its fruition. The event was canceled due to the Corona Virus outbreak.

This should have been a gathering of 300 students and employees, church organization, media, an educational NGO, and seven invited indigenous organizations of the Philippines. Participants were supposed to use indigenous musical instruments to produce sounds for healing the land and offer chants and prayers for peace.

“LESSONS FROM DAMIETTA:” Towards a Spirituality of Inter-religious Dialogue and Peace”. February 8, 2020

It is said that the historic encounter between St. Francis of Assisi and the Sultan of Egypt al-Malik al -Kamil 800 years ago is an undisputed model of interreligious dialogue.

Bro. Jess Matias, OFS, lectured on the “Lessons from Damietta.” This was held at the Institute of Spirituality in Asia (ISA) Multi-function Hall, New Manila, Quezon City. The objectives of which were to draw attention to the continuing need and challenge of the Church faithful to work for religious unity as a foundational requisite towards sustainable peace.

We learned from the historical analysis of the context and circumstances of the determined encounter between the Sultan al-Malik al-Kamil of Egypt and Saint Francis of Assisi in 1219 during the siege of Damietta in the Fifth Crusade. The analytical discussion was the reference for the subsequent theological reflection on a praxis of transformative spirituality for engaging in inter-religious interactions and intercultural peace initiatives.

The essence we gathered from the lecture was that “Koinonia facilitates kerygma.” That means it is our good conduct or witnessing that facilitates the proclamation of the Good News.

Yes, we need to walk in harmony with our Muslim brothers and sisters, and believers of other faiths. We need to uplift human conditions together. However, let us not forget that the success of interreligious dialogue is dependent on God’s grace.

Trump & the Troops: Is the Party Over? — A Friendly Letter

Here’s a speculation: For three years, Trump has been singling out American military commanders and lower-ranking troops and treating them like dirt. He’s also elevated some dirt bags, like the Navy Seal prisoner-killer he pardoned, who was hated by his own team members. He’s toyed with whole units, sending them on phony-baloney, embarrassing “missions” to…

via Trump & the Troops: Is the Party Over? — A Friendly Letter

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Dietrich Bonhoeffer

We must act and dare the appropiateness and not whatever comes to our mind not floating in the likelihood but grasp the reality as brave as we can be freedom lies in action not in the absence of mind obedience knows the essence of good and satisfies it, freedom dares to act and returns God the ultimate judgment of what is right and what is wrong, Obedience performs blindly but Freedom is wide awake Freedom wants to know why, Obedience has its hands tied, Freedom is inventive obedient man respects God’s commands and by virtu of his Freedom, he creats new commands. Both Obedience and Freedom come true in responsability (Dietrich Bonhoeffer)

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