In response to the devastating floods in the Balkans, where they’ve received 3 months’ rain in 3 days, (Making California and most of the Western US Jealous), the US Government is on the alert for the perpetrators.
They’re not looking at the Koch brothers (and other climate change deniers), oh no, they are completely innocent and this was no “extreme weather” event. It’s much more sinister.
I’d like to address some things that I think may be going wrong in Washington D.C. and offer some solutions as I see them. This is also happening at the state level and should have a similar message to them. Who I am doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t matter if I’m a man or a women. It doesn’t matter what race I might be or my political affiliation. The problems I feel that need to be addressed, most crucial at this time like no other in the past century, have nothing to do with political interests or interests specific to one person. The only identifying thing you need to know about me is that I am a citizen of this country and my concerns are the concerns of America. Read More
People joke about President Obama’s abilities at eleven-dimensional chess. I think that Obama has a long-term strategy, more understandable than eleven-dimensional chess. I also think that it’s quite different from much of what passes for strategy in political Washington.
Obama came into office in January 2009 with an enormous number of problems facing the country. He had been dealing with the financial crisis since his election. That crisis was, in a way, the culmination of the financialization of the American economy, which, along with tax and other policy, had hollowed out prospects for the middle class. The country was stuck in two wars that had very little to do with its national interests. Other aspects of the “War on Terror” that damage the perception of the US abroad and damage civil liberties at home persisted long after any utility had disappeared. North Korea had demonstrated nuclear weapons, and Iran was engaged in pursuit of technology that could make nuclear weapons possible for them.
Perhaps the most difficult problem Obama faced, though, was an apathetic electorate and media that depicted that president as the only political actor in the country. Democracy can’t work without the participation of the people.
Obama would have seen that apathy before, as a community organizer. Poor communities are often demoralized or do not know how to fight for what they need. The organizer’s job is to get citizens active in helping themselves. This involves many things: educating citizens on their rights and ways to go about changing their circumstances, which would include the political process; and encouraging the citizens to take action on their own behalf. Read More
China’s meteoric rise to global economic power has come at a dire cost to human rights, says artist Ai Weiwei. While onlookers in the West are dimly aware of the massive relocations, political corruption, widespread worker riots, and environmental disasters that have accompanied China’s astonishing recent growth, Beijing’s control of Chinese media has made the extent of these problems difficult to ascertain. Ai Weiwei, named “most powerful artist in the world” of 2011 by ArtForum magazine, has made it his mission to confront Beijing’s corruption and hypocrisy at home and on the international stage. It has earned him police beatings, extended detention, tax persecution, and the silencing of his popular blog and Twitter account, yet he continues, undaunted. Here, in a Big Think interview at his Beijing studio, Ai Weiwei discusses the challenges China faces to becoming a truly “great nation.”