Vote True Blue !
October 14, 2019
John Hanno: I’m with Jack !
Right on Jim Carrey !
“The Scream” Edvard Munch
Inspiration for The Scream
Norwegian by birth, Edvard Munch studied at the Oslo Academy with famous Norwegian artist Christian Krohg. He created the first version of The Scream in 1893 when he was about 30 years old, and made the fourth and final version of The Scream in 1910. He has described himself in a book written in 1900 as nearly going insane, like his sister Laura who was committed to a mental institution during this time period as well. Personally he discussed being pushed to his limits, and going through a very dark moment in his life.
The scene of The Scream was based on a real, actual place located on the hill of Ekeberg, Norway, on a path with a safety railing. The faint city and landscape represent the view of Oslo and the Oslo Fjord. At the bottom of the Ekeberg hill was the madhouse where Edvard Munch’s sister was kept, and nearby was also a slaughterhouse. Some accounts describe that in those times you could actually hear the cries of animals being killed, as well as the cries of the mentally disturbed patients in the distance. In this setting, Edvard Munch was likely inspired by screams that he actually heard in this area, combined with his personal inner turmoil. Edvard Munch wrote in his diary that his inspiration for The Scream came from a memory of when he was walking at sunset with two friends, when he began to feel deeply tired. He stopped to rest, leaning against the railing. He felt anxious and experienced a scream that seemed to pass through all of nature. The rest is left up to an endless range of interpretations, all expressed from this one, provocative image.
Robert Reich posted an episode of a show.
September 18, 2019
Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress claim that America spends too much on things like food stamps, welfare, and foreign aid. But let’s look at how the government actually spends your federal tax dollars each year.
Posted by Robert Reich on Wednesday, September 18, 2019
New York Times
85,000 Children in Yemen May Have Died of Starvation
The United States announced on Wednesday that peace talks to end the war in Yemen would begin next month in Sweden. The announcement came amid growing global pressure to stop the bombing campaigns by a Saudi-led coalition that have unleashed conditions amounting to possible war crimes, according to a United Nations report in August.
The announcement by Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis at the Pentagon came on the heels of a statement by the aid agency Save the Children on Wednesday that underscored the harrowing nature of the conflict: An estimated 85,000 children might have died of hunger since the bombings began in 2015.
Experts say Yemen has become the worst humanitarian crisis in the world, and 14 million people could soon be on the brink of starvation, according to the United Nations.
‘It’s entirely preventable’
“For every child killed by bombs and bullets, dozens are starving to death — and it’s entirely preventable,” Tamer Kirolos, Save the Children’s country director in Yemen, said in the statement. “Children who die in this way suffer immensely as their vital organ functions slow down and eventually stop.”
The statement said that 85,000 was a conservative estimate of how many children under the age of 5 had starved between April 2015, when Saudi Arabia began its air war, and this October.
In addition to the airstrikes, Saudi Arabia has imposed economic sanctions and blockades on Yemen, contributing to the deepening humanitarian crisis.
War in Yemen
The price of food has doubled
David Beasley, the managing director of the World Food Program, visited Yemen last week and painted a dire portrait of the situation.
“What I have seen in Yemen this week is the stuff of nightmares, of horror, of deprivation, of misery. And we — all of humanity — have only ourselves to blame,” Mr. Beasley told the United Nations Security Council on Friday.
Since the spring, the price of basic food staples has doubled, Mr. Beasley added. “For a country that’s dependent on imports for the basic needs of life, this is disaster,” he said.
As the death toll from the military operation worsens, rebuilding the economy has emerged as a priority to prevent widespread famine.
The war blocks a gateway for aid
Saudi Arabia intervened in Yemen’s civil war in April 2015 to fight the Shiite rebels backed by its regional rival, Iran. But instead of a quick victory, the Saudi-led campaign evolved into a bloody stalemate. The bombardment, which relies heavily on arms and equipment from the United States, has torn the country asunder.
Because of fighting around the port of Hudaydah, a crucial gateway for aid efforts, humanitarian programs have been scaled back, the United Nations special envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, told the Security Council on Friday.
Save the Children said it had been forced to reroute supplies for the north of the country through the southern port of Aden, with deliveries taking three weeks instead of one.
According to Stephen L. Anderson, country director for the World Food Program in Yemen, 8.4 million people are considered to be severely food insecure, one step from famine.
“Now, based on analysis and projections, that number could increase by 50 percent or so,” Mr. Anderson said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “Even if peace were to break out tomorrow, which is very unlikely, we’ve still got a massive humanitarian crisis on our hands,” he added.
Trump’s defense of the Saudis
President Trump has defended Saudi Arabia’s intervention in Yemen, blaming Iran for the conflict. Tehran, he said in a statement on Tuesday, was “responsible for a bloody proxy war against Saudi Arabia in Yemen,” while “Saudi Arabia would gladly withdraw from Yemen if the Iranians would agree to leave.”
In his embrace of Saudi Arabia, Mr. Trump has dismissed his own intelligence experts’ conclusion that the kingdom’s young de facto ruler, Prince Mohammed bin Salman, had ordered the killing of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi, fueled his “America First” agenda by touting a huge Saudi arms deal and doubled down on the need for the Saudis’ help in the Middle East to contain Iran.
On Wednesday, Mr. Trump praised the Saudis for a drop in oil prices, writing on Twitter: “Oil prices getting lower. Great! Like a big Tax Cut for America and the World. Enjoy! $54, was just $82. Thank you to Saudi Arabia, but let’s go lower!”
By largely absolving Prince Mohammed of any responsibility in the killing of Mr. Khashoggi — “Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t!” Mr. Trump said — he ignores a documented list of humanitarian disasters and rights abuses by the kingdom, and his pardoning of Saudi Arabia could embolden autocrats across the globe, analysts say.
This month, the United States said that it would end air refueling flights for the Saudi military campaign in Yemen and prepare sanctions against Saudis linked to the killing of Mr. Khashoggi. But those steps were seen as limited and in response to overwhelming international condemnation.
The United States Agency for International Development has said that the United States was providing more than $566 million in aid to manage the humanitarian crisis. In a fact sheet published Nov. 9, it pointed to the damage done to civilian infrastructure following the Saudi coalition’s deployment around the port city of Hudaydah.
Mr. Mattis did not specify a date for the peace talks for fear of coming out ahead of a United Nations announcement.
“It looks like that very, very early in December, up in Sweden,” he said in Washington. “We’ll see both the Houthi rebel side, and the U.N.-recognized government, President Hadi’s government, will be up there.”
Mr. Mattis added that the Saudi-led coalition had stopped its offensive around Hudaydah before the talks.
Thomas Gibbons-Neff contributed reporting.
Chicago Sun Times
Can we stop sugarcoating horror now?
From World War II to the latest gun massacre, the media is too quick to spin horror into a heroic story.
With the anniversary of the start of World War II nearly upon us, a New Jersey publicist sent me an email last week, pitching the feel-good story of Dutch teenage girls seducing and killing Nazi officers.
My first thought was: “It’s always the anniversary of some World War II event. The beginning. The end. Pearl Harbor. D-Day …”
My second thought was: “Yeah. Sept. 1. Sunday. Thanks for the advance notice. Making it … 75 … no, started 1939 … 80 years.”)
Girls killing Nazis. Tempting. Who wants to swim the depths of horror? To risk drowning in humanity’s bottomless evil? To realize just how tenuous our foothold on civilization’s shore? Very human to pluck at thrilling tales of heroism, bobbing on this sea of gore.
But can you do that too much?
The media rushes so quickly to comfort that it overshoots reality. What used to be a ray of relief from general horror has become the main event. And not just regarding the Holocaust. We’re too keen to put the bright spin on atrocity. Ten seconds of shock, then straight to “Wind Beneath My Wings,” and closure.
I’d suspected it before, after mass shootings, like the one Saturday in Texas. The grim law enforcement chiefs assemble around a podium to share what little is known about the killer. But not before they put in a plug for first responders — didn’t they work great together? Kudos all around for a job well-done!
Then the heroes are trotted out, dead or alive. The media can’t celebrate them fast enough, people who shielded their loved ones, who herded the terrified schoolchildren into an empty classroom and cowered in the darkness. Humanity at its best!
Of course, it’s merited. A tough job, to confront an armed madman, to bind up victims, to squeegee up the mess. Even tougher to exhibit courage in a deadly situation. Who could complain about celebrating heroes?
Me, I guess. Apologies. But someone has to. The blood has barely stopped flowing, and we’re spinning the nightmare into something inspiring. A tendency we must resist. Because it isn’t pretty. Maybe unexamined prettification is part of the problem. Dial back the hero stuff and start tweeting pictures of the slain, their heads blown open and guts hanging out. Because that’s the reality. That’s the bottom line. Fewer flickering candles and piles of teddy bears, more bodies stacked like cordwood. Fewer heroes, more weeping moms, their faces twisted in the agony of loss.
And don’t worry, the dead don’t mind. Those in the past are unaffected by whatever we do. Whether celebrated or forgotten, revered or ridiculed, their pain is over. It is their stories that remain current, perspectives to use as tools to construct our present and grope toward some kind of future.
That’s why viewing the truth unvarnished is so important. Germany, defeated, looked the horror it created in the eye, owned it and moved on, achieving a sort of redemption, a place back at the table of humanity. This allowed Germany to welcome a million Muslim refugees, benefiting both the immigrants and themselves. The dead are buried, but these people are here now.
Japan, also defeated, brushed aside its shame, using the pair of A-bombs to spin themselves as victims — nobody cries like a bully — and avoided learning its lesson. They preferred clinging to notions of superiority. No immigrants for them, sullying their supposed purity. They prefer to die a slow, demographic death, the nation hollowing out, aging, in decline.
We don’t have to choose between lambs to the slaughter or resistance fighters. It’s possible to achieve a balance, to view the mountain of horror and its thin gilding of hope. Both Anne Frank and the million voiceless Jewish children who died in the Holocaust.
When we make history into a pretty story, we set ourselves up for a fall. The election of Barack Obama was initially spun as a sign that America had awoken from its long nightmare of racism. Turns out, hate is hardier than that. It had only slipped offstage to don a new disguise before returning, invigorated and in charge. That’s another reason to view the past with clear eyes. Because as the man said, it isn’t really past, and if we flee the truth, the truth will come and find us. Then we’ll see it.
The Breakdown posted an episode of a Show.
August 22, 2019
[WATCH] NRA Lobbyist Is Worried CHILDREN Won’t Get Assault Rifles As Birthday Gifts Anymore.