Sunday, December 25, 2016
On Each End of the Rifle
For another Christmas - this one on the verge of God knows what domestic or international turmoil - we remember the extraordinary Christmas truce of 1914, when two "curious and unlikely band(s) of men" long and dutifully trying to kill each other laid down their arms in the name of their common humanity. Its lesson, more vital than ever: "That the ones who call the shots won't be among the dead and lame/ and on each end of the rifle we're the same."
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Friday, December 23, 2016
What Are You Looking For
The holiday season's best ad - for a Polish online auction site - is a tender, artful, droll look at a solitary older man determinedly learning English for a purpose revealed only at the end. Behind its soft charm, a hard truth: In a season focused on the joyful gathering of family and giving of gifts, it's also a time when "want is keenly felt" for the many, including thousands of immigrants and refugees, far from home.
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Thursday, December 22, 2016
A Real Democracy: Occupation By Irish Rough Sleepers, Activists, Unions and Artists Creates A Collective Home
In a citizens’ "act of defiance" to rescue the homeless from Dublin's cold streets, a radical coalition of homeless people, trade unionists, activists and hundreds of volunteers have claimed an empty building and turned it into housing for 40 people. Organizers say the direct action reflects a re-awakened sense of social justice in a country battered by austerity and inequality - one in which, "People are leading where the Government has failed."
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016
Note to Trump: How Not To/To Respond To A Humanitarian Crisis
On the same day our orange villlage idiot was spewing hate before getting facts - ranting that the Berlin attack was about radical Islam "slaughtering Christians" before anyone knew anything - Jews and Muslims gathered in over 20 cities for Hanukkah actions aimed at fighting Islamophobia and welcoming refugees. Meanwhile, one good guy in Canada has saved 58 Syrian families, setting them up with homes, jobs, hope. "Keep your best wishes close to your heart," he says, "and watch what happens.”
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Monday, December 19, 2016
Surreally Unpresidented
Much to our soul-sick, bone-deep, God-forsaken sorrow, the electoral college did it - on almost the darkest day of the year, yet. Given the state of the nation - never mind Aleppo, Brexit, Russia, the loss of Bowie, Prince, Cohen - little wonder Webster-Merriam Dictionary just announced its word of the year is "surreal," followed by "fascist." Mirroring many others' feelings, The Guardian chose "unpresidented." What's left to say? Resist. And remember: There are more of us than them.
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Sunday, December 18, 2016
There Shall Just Be People
Stephen Biko - South African writer, anti-apartheid activist and "Father of the Black Consciousness Movement" - would have turned 70 Sunday. Murdered by police at age 30, he continues to be honored for his fight for racial equality by a foundation, archive, cultural center, biographies and, on his birthday, Google. Above all, Biko stood for peaceful reconciliation. In rare video, he says he seeks not majority or minority rights, but a non-racist society where "there shall just be people."
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Thursday, December 15, 2016
We Want To Live
Evacuations are slowly underway from the human catastrophe of Aleppo, with buses and ambulances starting to carry some of up to 100,000 besieged souls, many children, to rural areas. Searing new video shows kids trapped in an orphanage pleading, "Please get us out" and an elderly man wailing to an indifferent world, "Where are you?" We know where America's president-elect is: furiously tweeting about a bad restaurant review. Summon your humanity; there are ways to help.
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Wednesday, December 14, 2016
When Extraordinary Circumstances Call For Extraordinary Measures
With anti-Trump hopes increasingly pinned on the electoral college - and the number of anti-Trump GOP electors on the rise - a new bipartisan coalition has upped the ante with a national effort to lobby "conscientious electors" to do what's right. In full-page ads in major newspapers, the group has written a fiery open letter to our "Esteemed Electors," citing the "unprecedented" danger posed by "the kind of president our Founding Fathers warned us about."
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Tuesday, December 13, 2016
O Canada: A Cabinet That Looks Like Its Country vs. One That Looks, Acts and Reeks Like A Swamp
The surreal ooze of the Trump "Cabinet," that pay-to-play gang of clueless, racist, oil-soaked, arse-kissing swamp creatures wholly ill-suited to their shiny new jobs, keeps spreading. The newest miscreants: Exxon petrogarch and climate change denier Rex Tillerson, and Rick Perry, last seen on Dancing With the Stars. To remind us this is all freakishly Not Normal, we revisit the normal, diverse, competent Cabinet appointed this time last year by Justin Trudeau. Read, weep, stay woke.
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Monday, December 12, 2016
We Are Not Alone
Ye who enter unto the coming Trumpocalypse, take heart: Resistance is everywhere. It's painted on the bodies of women in the photo project SignedByTrump protesting the grotesque things he says about half the human race. It's written on the subway walls - kudos to Simon and Garfunkel - in New York's Union Station, where thousands vent their rage and fear and yes hope in a massive tableau of post-it notes. "Have a voice," they say, and "Your hijab is beautiful," and "Resist Every Day."
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