Tom Ashbrook: You quote John Boehner saying, “[A]ll the Senate has to do is say ‘yes’ and the government gets funded tomorrow.”
Voice of reason. Just say yes..
Thomas Friedman: ‘Just hand over the money and nobody gets hurt,’ as Dana Milbank pointed out.
TA: That’s the hostage scenario, you’re saying.
TF: And that’s just not how a serious country governs itself… But it’s exactly how Hezbollah, a minority party in Lebanon, has managed to intimidate and pervert Lebanese democracy.
And by the way, do you know what ‘Hezbollah’ means? It means the party of God. They have God on their side, but they also have guns and bazookas on their side. And they use that in order to intimidate an entire democracy.
TA: Isn’t that quite a jump from Hezbollah to Tea Party?
TF: Not in the least. They’re both using intimidatory tactics to override the will of the majority. We should call this by its real name. This is serious. The implications of this succeeding [a minority in Congress holding up the government] are incredibly dangerous.
i think I’ll stick to reading Thomas Friedman than hearing him. haha.
I wasn’t going to write this letter, but today i’ve been dodging phone calls from various newspapers who wished me to remark upon your having said in Rolling Stone your “Wrecking Ball” video was designed to be similar to the one for “Nothing Compares” … So this is what I need to say … And it is said in the spirit of motherliness and with love.
I am extremely concerned for you that those around you have led you to believe, or encouraged you in your own belief, that it is in any way “cool” to be naked and licking sledgehammers in your videos. It is in fact the case that you will obscure your talent by allowing yourself to be pimped, whether it’s the music business or yourself doing the pimping.
Nothing but harm will come in the long run, from allowing yourself to be exploited, and it is absolutely NOT in ANY way an empowerment of yourself or any other young women, for you to send across the message that you are to be valued (even by you) more for your sexual appeal than your obvious talent.
I am happy to hear I am somewhat of a role model for you and I hope that because of that you will pay close attention to what I am telling you.
The music business doesn’t give a sh– about you, or any of us. They will prostitute you for all you are worth, and cleverly make you think its what YOU wanted.. and when you end up in rehab as a result of being prostituted, “they” will be sunning themselves on their yachts in Antigua, which they bought by selling your body and you will find yourself very alone.
None of the men oggling you give a sh– about you either, do not be fooled. Many’s the woman mistook lust for love. If they want you sexually that doesn’t mean they give a f— about you. All the more true when you unwittingly give the impression you don’t give much of a f— about yourself. And when you employ people who give the impression they don’t give much of a f— about you either. No one who cares about you could support your being pimped.. and that includes you yourself.
Yes, I’m suggesting you don’t care for yourself. That has to change. You ought be protected as a precious young lady by anyone in your employ and anyone around you, including you. This is a dangerous world. We don’t encourage our daughters to walk around naked in it because it makes them prey for animals and less than animals, a distressing majority of whom work in the music industry and its associated media.
You are worth more than your body or your sexual appeal. The world of showbiz doesn’t see things that way, they like things to be seen the other way, whether they are magazines who want you on their cover, or whatever.. Don’t be under any illusions.. ALL of them want you because they’re making money off your youth and your beauty.. which they could not do except for the fact your youth makes you blind to the evils of show business. If you have an innocent heart you can’t recognise those who do not.
I repeat, you have enough talent that you don’t need to let the music business make a prostitute of you. You shouldn’t let them make a fool of you either. Don’t think for a moment that any of them give a flying f— about you. They’re there for the money.. we’re there for the music. It has always been that way and it will always be that way. The sooner a young lady gets to know that, the sooner she can be REALLY in control.
You also said in Rolling Stone that your look is based on mine. The look I chose, I chose on purpose at a time when my record company were encouraging me to do what you have done. I felt I would rather be judged on my talent and not my looks. I am happy that I made that choice, not least because I do not find myself on the proverbial rag heap now that I am almost 47 yrs of age.. which unfortunately many female artists who have based their image around their sexuality, end up on when they reach middle age.
Real empowerment of yourself as a woman would be to in future refuse to exploit your body or your sexuality in order for men to make money from you. I needn’t even ask the question.. I’ve been in the business long enough to know that men are making more money than you are from you getting naked. It’s really not at all cool. And it’s sending dangerous signals to other young women. Please in future say no when you are asked to prostitute yourself. Your body is for you and your boyfriend. It isn’t for every spunk-spewing dirtbag on the net, or every greedy record company executive to buy his mistresses diamonds with.
As for the shedding of the Hannah Montana image.. whoever is telling you getting naked is the way to do that does absolutely NOT respect your talent, or you as a young lady. Your records are good enough for you not to need any shedding of Hannah Montana. She’s waaaaaaay gone by now.. Not because you got naked but because you make great records.
Whether we like it or not, us females in the industry are role models and as such we have to be extremely careful what messages we send to other women. The message you keep sending is that it’s somehow cool to be prostituted.. it’s so not cool Miley.. it’s dangerous. Women are to be valued for so much more than their sexuality. we aren’t merely objects of desire. I would be encouraging you to send healthier messages to your peers.. that they and you are worth more than what is currently going on in your career. Kindly fire any motherf—er who hasn’t expressed alarm, because they don’t care about you.
Entertainment Weekly, 2 Oct 2013
pacem _ in _ terris turns 3 today!
The IMF agreed to reform its governance structure in 2010 to give greater influence to emerging economies and make China the third-largest member. But the reform of voting rights, known as quotas, cannot proceed without approval from the U.S. Congress.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said the reforms will give the global financial institution more money to prevent and resolve crises.
"These ‘quota’ reforms need the support of all our member countries, including the United States," Lagarde told the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The United States is the Fund’s largest member and holds the only controlling share of IMF votes, meaning no major changes can happen without its approval. Under the reforms, U.S. voting power would decrease slightly but it would still maintain veto power over decisions.
Formal agreement on the quota reform could be included in budget bills expected in the next month, but is likely to be overshadowed by heated debate over U.S. public finances.
Lagarde called on the United States to quickly resolve the political uncertainty over the budget and the debt ceiling. U.S. lawmakers continue to wrangle over raising the legal limit on the nation’s borrowing.
Reuters, 19 Sep 2013
The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, said on Wednesday that 2013 would be a make-or-break year for the global economy, as the Washington-based institution trimmed its growth forecasts for the US, Britain and the eurozone.
"I believe that if we continue to act, 2013 will be a defining year in terms of finally getting beyond the crisis," the IMF managing director said. "But more than that, I believe we are standing in the antechamber of a new global economy, marked by rapidly shifting circumstances and new modes of thinking.”
"…The economics profession and the policy community have downplayed inequality for too long,” Lagarde said. “Now all of us have a better understanding that a more equal distribution of income allows for more economic stability, more sustained economic growth, and healthier societies with stronger bonds of cohesion and trust.”
The Guardian, 23 Jan 2013
created by Andrew Bergmann
sources: IMF, World Economic OutlookCNN Money, [20 June 2012?]
New Rule: 12 years after 9/11 and amidst yet another debate on whether we should bomb yet another Muslim country, America must stop asking the question, “Why do they hate us?” Forget the Syria debate, we need a debate on why we are always debating whether to bomb someone. Because we’re starting to look not so much like the world’s policeman, but more like George Zimmerman—itching to use force and then pretending it’s because we had no choice.Now I’m against chemical weapons and I don’t care who knows it. And I do understand the appeal of putting the world on notice that if you use poison gas, the United States of America will personally—personally—fuck you up. We will seek out the counsel and support of the entire nation of families and then no matter what they say, we’ll go ahead and fuck you up!But however valid that argument may be, it is, I believe, outweighed by the fact that we have to stop bombing Muslim countries if we ever want to feel safe from terrorism in our own. The Chemical Weapons treaty is important but to the Jihadi on the street, it just looks like we are always looking for a new reason to bomb them. Even worse, bombing seems to be our answer for everything.Since 1945, when Jesus granted America air superiority, we have bombed Korea, Vietnam, Laos, Cambodia, Lebanon, Grenada, Panama, Iraq, Serbia, Somalia, Bosnia, the Sudan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Yemen—and Yemen only because the 10th one was free. How did we inherit this moral obligation to bring justice to the world via death from above? Are we Zeus? It doesn’t make any sense.*Our schools are crumbling and we want to teach everyone else a lesson.* And look, I am no fan of Assad…I think he is the worst kind of sociopath. The kind who commits unspeakable acts but who looks like a shoe salesman at Macy’s. I’m just pointing out that we’re the only country in the world that muses out loud about who we might bomb next. Iran? Yeeiiiah, we might bomb you. Yaaa, we’re thinking about it. Maaybe. Depends on the mood. We did this with Iraq after 9/11 even though they had nothing to do with 9/11. We do it with Iran every day and now it’s Syria’s turn. We’re like a school yard bully who’s got every kid in the class nervous they’re going to be next. And I don’t know if anybody should have that kind of power. Can you imagine going to work and sitting at the table [at] lunch with ten different people in front of you and saying, “Hey, you think we should…kill Bob?” -“Well, it would send a message to Steve.” Who acts like this?? People in other countries don’t talk like this. Probably because if they did, we’d bomb them. And we’re the only nation, as we have seen in the Syrian fiasco, who threatens to drop bombs on you while telling you, “We don’t want to get involved. We’re just bombing. Please, don’t get up. Just bombing. No boots on the ground. No, little light bombing; we’ll be out of your hair in a week.I remember being on the Howard Stern show, twelve years ago, this week right after 9/11, and Howard said [that] in retaliation for 9/11, America should bomb a Muslim country. Any Muslim country. It didn’t matter which one.And yet somehow I was the one on trial for talking crazy. And I remember thinking to myself, really? Bomb any Muslim country? That’s the policy? Just get a map of the Middle East and throw a dart at it? Well, apparently George W. Bush was listening because that’s exactly what we did.Real Time, 13 Sep 2013
EVER since the euro crisis broke in late 2009 this newspaper has criticised the world’s most powerful woman…
She is largely to blame for the failure to create a full banking union for the euro zone, the first of many institutional changes it still needs. She has refused to lead public opinion, never spelling out to her voters how much Germany is to blame for the euro mess (nor how much its banks have been rescued by its bail-outs).
And yet we believe Mrs Merkel is the right person to lead her country and thus Europe. That is partly because of what she is: the world’s most politically gifted democrat and a far safer bet than her leftist opponents. It is also partly because of what we believe she could still become—the great leader Germany and Europe so desperately needs…..
The Economist, 12 Sep 2013
There are many reasons why Americans don’t ride the rails as often as their European cousins. Most obviously, America is bigger than most European countries….
…Domestic air travel in America is widely available, relatively cheap and popular. Airlines fear competition from high-speed rail and lobby against it.
Travelling by cars is also popular. Petrol is cheaper than in Europe (mostly because of much lower taxes). Road travel is massively subsidised in the sense that the negative externalities of travelling by car, including the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, are not fully offset, and most major highways—which cost tens of billions to maintain—are still free of tolls.
And finally, Barack Obama’s embrace of high-speed rail has heightened a political battle over rail that doesn’t exist quite in the same way in other countries. Opposition to rail is now often seen as essentially conservative, and Republican governors oppose rail projects to boost their conservative image.
So all this leads to an inevitable conclusion: what happens with California’s planned high-speed rail system matters a lot. If it is completed, works and is popular—all of which are uncertain—other states will undoubtedly take note. If California’s high-speed dream fails, it may be a long time before America has true high-speed service.
The Economist 29 Aug 2013
President Al-Assad’s interview with Dennis Kucinich, former U.S. Congressman & Greg Palkot, senior foreign affairs correspondence, Fox News - (Part 1) 19 Sep 2013
12:40 - 21:03 W T F
Fox News: If you want to send [President Obama] a message right now, what would you say to him?
President Assad: Listen to your people; follow the common sense of your people. That’s enough.
Fox News: And Pope Francis instructed the international community to lay aside the futile pursuit of a military solution. Do you believe the Pope’s advice is valid, for your government as well as other countries?
President Assad: Of course, we invited every militant in Syria to give up armament, and offered amnesty to whoever laid down his armament and wants to go back to his normal life as a Syrian citizen. Of course we believe in that.
Fox News: Thank you, now before I give this back to my colleague, I want to ask you a question that’s been bothering me and perhaps other Americans. Not everyone who’s watching this interview today knows that you’re a doctor, you’re an MD. You’ve done this before you were President. As you know, doctors take an oath never to do harm to anyone. That’s a direct quote from the Hippocratic Oath. Does a doctor give that up when he takes political office?
President Assad: First of all, doctors take the right decision to protect the life of the patient, so you cannot say they don’t do harm physically because sometimes they have to extract the bad member that could kill the patient. You could extract an eye, a leg and so on, but you don’t say that he’s a bad doctor. It is still a humanitarian job whatever they do; the same for politicians but in a larger scale. A doctor deals with one patient while the politician should with the public, with millions or tens of millions and so on. So, the question is whether your decision should help the life of the Syrians or not in such a situation. Nobody likes the violence, we are against the violence. But what will you do when the terrorists attack your country and kill the people? Will you say that I’m against violence or you defend? You have an army, you have police, they have to do their job, this is the constitution, and this is the role of any government. What did you do in Los Angeles in the 90s when you had rebels? Didn’t you send your army? You did. So this is the mission of the government. The most important thing is, when you take the decision, whether it harms or not, it should help the majority of the people. It is better that you take the decision that could help everyone, but sometimes, in certain circumstances, in difficult circumstances, you cannot, so you have to take the less harmful decision.
The world’s oil markets are losing their capacity to adjust to even minor disruptions. That’s not a good sign.
Originally from the Guardian in the UK. 2013
Illustration: Finbarr Sheehy