• Теги
    • избранные теги
    • Компании1244
      • Показать ещё
      Международные организации52
      • Показать ещё
      Страны / Регионы490
      • Показать ещё
      Разное527
      • Показать ещё
      Формат37
      Люди124
      • Показать ещё
      Показатели31
      • Показать ещё
      Издания65
      • Показать ещё
      Сферы1
Выбор редакции
07 декабря, 17:44

Уилл Феррелл сыграет профессионального киберспортсмена

Популярный американский актёр, комик, сценарист и продюсер Джон Уильям Феррелл, более известный как Уилл Феррелл, сыграет профессионального киберспортсмена в новой комедии "Легендарный" (Legendary).

Выбор редакции
07 декабря, 17:02

Peabody and Family Mosaic housing associations to merge

London's biggest housing association Peabody Trust, to join forces with rival Family Mosaic to give them 55,000 properties.

06 декабря, 01:37

Potash Corp. (POT) Prices Offering of $500M 10-Year Notes

Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan Inc. (POT) said that it has priced an offering of $500 million total principal amount of 4% notes due Dec 15, 2026.

04 декабря, 17:56

Barking and Dagenham: Darren Rodwell's 'aspirational working class'

The leader of a remarkable yet much-derided east London borough has his own, distinctive ideas about social progress and change When visiting Barking and Dagenham it is possible for Londoners from different parts of town to imagine that they have slipped back in time. That’s partly about architecture, because this piece of the eastern suburb mosaic, slotted between Newham, Redbridge, Essex-minded Havering and the north side of the Thames, is still so visually synonymous with the 30,000 homes of the famous Becontree estate, a huge public housing development, conceived, in the words of Municipal Dreams, “in the brief, post-Great War coupling of hope and fear. Homes fit for heroes and the concern that those very heroes might succumb to Bolshevism in 1919”.It’s also about accents: the London style of speech cemented in national sentiment by apples, pears and the spirit of the Blitz, but now getting scarce in Shoreditch, still greets the ear pretty often round here, including in the Town Hall. And then there’s attitude, which is where Barking and Dagenham can be misunderstood. I asked council leader Darren Rodwell if he thinks the borough has an image problem. “Absolutely,” he says. “It’s that we’re white racists who work at Fords. But that is snobbery. The reality is, we’ve got one of the best communities in London – if not the best.” Continue reading...

Выбор редакции
02 декабря, 18:32

Empowered Shiite militias poised to dominate key Iraq town

On the road to Tal Afar, an Iraqi city near Syria that’s been key to sectarian catastrophes in both countries over the past decade, a mosaic of rag-tag troops advancing against Islamic State militants have one symbol in common.

02 декабря, 16:25

Intrepid Potash (IPI) in Focus: Stock Moves 5.1% Higher

Intrepid Potash, Inc. (IPI) moved big last session, as its shares jumped a little over 5% on the day.

02 декабря, 02:08

Next Door Radical

It's an ordinary sunny summer day in Bavaria. One of those days that get blurred together in one's memory - beautiful, but uneventful. Pleasant, but unremarkable. Simple, yet happy. Little legs running carelessly through the plush, green grass with knee high white wool socks. Their hard pressed cotton shirts are tucked in neatly inside their brown shorts, with a pair of red suspenders holding them firmly in place. You can see the ripples of the Alpine breeze spreading across their silky blond hair, whirling around like on a golden July wheat field. The parents are watching from the wooden porch of their terracotta tiled mountain resort in Berchtesgaden. They both exude the elegant quality that we imagine in people from the 30s and 40s. The father is wearing a tailored dark suit, with his amber hair combed strictly to the side; not even one loose hair allowed to stray. His smile is chiseled on his cheeks. He is happy. The only cacophony in his impeccable image - the two big green stains on his knees, from his earlier escapades in the grass; medals of fatherhood that he wears with pride. He is a great father. He is a great husband. He is a patriot. When Eva Brown's home movies were discovered in the early 70s, they were filled with such memories. Nazi officers and their families vacationing in the Alps with Hitler and his mistress, not far from the orchestrated inferno of the concentration camps. This superficial image of benevolence and normalcy is what Hannah Arendt famously described as the banality of evil. While observing the trial of Adolf Eichmann in Jerusalem in 1961, Arendt pointed out the striking normalcy that often hides behind even the most sinister of deeds. Adolf Eichmann was one of the logistical masterminds of the Holocaust. He was abducted by Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, in cinematic fashion from his refuge in Argentina. Arendt used Eichmann's trial to seek for responses regarding the elusive nature of evil; where does it come from, who and why is capable of committing evil acts? Her epiphany came while listening to the testimony of this quite unremarkable individual; an uninspiring Nazi bureaucrat who could easily even be characterized as stupid. Stupidity is nuanced, and in this case, is meant to describe a complete lack of thoughtfulness. Eichmann's stupidity was amplified by a catastrophic confidence of serving the right cause. Arendt's legacy to future generations is the revelation of the inextricable relationship between thoughtlessness, conviction, banality and evil. It is this seemingly mundane nature of heinousness that is deceiving. Germany did not one day just wake up to that reality. Hitler's toxic narrative did not exist in the vacuum. He manipulated the preexisting conditions, acclimatizing the German public to his new normal. In hindsight, it's inexplicable how easily mislead our collective conscience has been in the past. However, the subtle incremental desensitizations that take place can be almost undetectable. Evil is a process and the very first yards of the slippery slope leading to it are paved with thoughtlessness and misguided confidence. This slope has a name, it is called radicalization. It is easy to discuss radicalization when it comes to the atrocities of DAESH. This kind of evil is veridical and its most horrendous acts are documented and shared in an instance in our hyperconnected reality. It is easy to spot as a distant observer. The challenge lies in identifying the intangible first elements of the deceptive rise of radicalization in our neighbor, in our father, in ourselves. Those elements often hide in plain sight and if we have already started descending down that slippery slope ourselves, then they are empowering. The slope gets steeper as we rationalize as acceptable any direct and indirect forms of violence. Our descent is fueled by the flawed justifications we espouse in order to protect our self-respect when we violate our own moral code. Unfortunately, this trend is now ubiquitous. Last week, a video went viral on social media of an enraged driver in Queens cursing at an Uber driver for the mere fact that he was Muslim. "Trump is president, [expletive]! So you can kiss your [expletive] visa goodbye, scumbag. They'll deport you soon. Don't worry, you [expletive] terrorist," the man said. The level of hatred and animosity in that video is disturbing. The only restraints for someone in such a radicalized state are the legal and civic consequences. If we solely depend on potential punishment in order to maintain order and civility, then we could be heading for the bottom of the slope. One could argue that the apparent omnipresence of these incidents is fabricated by the media. This would be an appropriate criticism for the role of the media in general. After all, capitalizing on the sensationalistic impact of random incidents has been media's contribution in this quagmire. However, this is not the case right now. There are numerous examples that substantiate an established trend. On November 29th, the Southern Poverty Law Center announced that it has received more than 800 reports of hateful harassment and intimidation incidents since the elections. A week earlier, on November 21st, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo gave a press conference for the creation of a special police unit to fight the uptick of hate crimes. According to New York Police Department Commissioner James O'Neill, there is a documented 31 percent spike in such crimes since last year, specifically against Muslims. Couple days before Cuomo's announcement, on November 19th, the National Policy Institute (NPI), a small Virginia-based white nationalist think tank masked under the misleading label of alt-right, organized a conference promoting what they call "peaceful ethnic cleansing." In the same conference, there were references to original Nazi propaganda, to the point of saluting the President-Elect with "Hail Trump, hail our people, hail victory!" Trump condemned NPI but failed to reflect on his role mainstreaming the narrative that empowers groups such as NPI. Pseudo-intellectual nationalists take advantage of the systemic lack of civic education for the promotion of their toxic agenda. Nationalism and exceptionalism are the grease that makes the slope slippery. This is what next door radicalization looks like. Unfortunately, the US is now facing this emerging new normal. But this did not happen overnight. Racial tensions, a complex web of protracted grievances, and a disconnected, extremely polarized Congress, composed a causal mosaic. For the past ten years, Congressional job approval ratings have been fluctuating between 10 and 20 percent, with few exceptions, according to Gallup. After more than a decade of wars overseas, the American public got tired of not feeling in their pocket the mathematical improvement of the economy. When their problems at home remained, they lost interest in the world around them. When the DC establishment failed to detect the growing resentment, a vacuum was formed. According to PEW Research, US public support for America's global role fell to a historical 40 year low in 2013. 52 percent of the respondents had supported that the U.S. should "mind its own business internationally." Public fatigue in the international role of the U.S. was also portrayed in a 2014 polling by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, one of America's leading international relations think tanks. The percentage of participants wanting the US to "stay out" of global affairs that year jumped to 41 percent, a historical high since 1947. The same report framed its findings as "Public continues to support an "active part" of the United States in world affairs," just because the "stay active" percentage was still a majority, albeit rapidly declining. It failed to point out the significance of the trend in their own data of the "stay out of world affairs" percentage rising steadily from 25 percent in 2002 to the all-time high of 2014. The early warnings of isolationism and resentment went widely unnoticed by politicians and experts alike, except from Trump. The political elites and the media have been in a state of willful blindness. This disconnect fostered the growing dark feeling of disfranchisement that Trump capitalized on. Trump is just the vehicle for the legitimate grievances of a big portion of the American people against the establishment - political and media. No one else was able to appropriately channel the accumulating resentment of this specific demographic. He sensed this trend but viewed it as a business opportunity, rather than a civic duty. He capitalized on those well-founded concerns and worries, and chose the comfort and appeal of reckless populism, prioritizing his personal benefit over the public. He pushed people down the treacherous slope in order to boost his campaign. He has been playing with fire and he is not alone. Exceptionalism and isolationism are on the rise all over Europe. Brexit proved to be the opening act for Trump's victory and perhaps for what's to come in France, Germany, and Austria. The Greek neo-Nazi party of Golden Dawn rode the wave of the financial and migration crises to rise to 8 percent, from being almost obsolete a few years ago. Isolationist, power-hungry politicians, on both sides of the Atlantic, foster a misguided radicalizing conviction to guarantee their dominance. They, like Trump, have zero regard for the unintended consequences of their actions. Trump, however, has no ideological agenda, other than the promotion of his own brand. His claims for greatness are irrelevant and self-serving. America is about to welcome 2017 the most divided it's been in a long time. At this point, there is no need for neither fear-mongering nor turning a blind eye to the emerging reality. Trump is not evil. He is a great father. He is a great husband. He considers himself a patriot. Most of his voters have legitimate concerns and complex motivations. However, his narrative manipulated those concerns and underestimated the gamble of radicalization. For him, radicalization was a campaign tactic and the media helped mainstream and normalize a rhetoric that usually exists at the fringes of democracy. For the media, and most of us, his preposterous statements initially triggered a humorous reaction, failing to realize when humor ended and when a new normal was being established. At this point, using the benefit of the doubt as an excuse, in order to verify whether he will pivot on some of his incendiary remarks, is flawed and uninformed. The problem is that if you are seeking the key to your success at the bottom of Pandora's box, it's impossible to put it back and close it after you've succeeded. Your success will be forever marked by you having opened that box. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

Выбор редакции
29 ноября, 19:48

Global analysis of somatic structural genomic alterations and their impact on gene expression in diverse human cancers [Biophysics and Computational Biology]

Tumor genomes are mosaics of somatic structural variants (SVs) that may contribute to the activation of oncogenes or inactivation of tumor suppressors, for example, by altering gene copy number amplitude. However, there are multiple other ways in which SVs can modulate transcription, but the general impact of such events on...

21 ноября, 20:37

PRESIDENT TRUMP AND THE BENEFITS OF HIS ELECTION

Donald Trump is officially President-elect Trump. We could see it coming and I wrote about it in couple of posts. Time is not turning back and citizen's choices are a subject of respect in democratic societies. The global community is in shock. Markets are sinking. The American people are ashamed. The intellectual and artistic community is frozen. The world is watching in agony. These are few of hundreds of similar things we've heard the first days after Trump won the election. Despite this mood, I would like to focus on the benefits of this election--or at least what I see as the silver lining. But before analysing those benefits, I would like to linger a little more on the factors that made people feel this result was a big surprise, contrary to the few people who believed it was totally expected. What made them feel there was no chance Donald Trump would be elected the 45th President of the United States? I believe that we have to focus on two of those factors. The feeling created by the vast majority of the American media of a de facto Hillary Clinton victory was communicated also to the rest of the world. The headquarters of those media--and their management--have obviously lost touch with the lower economic layers of American society and were projecting on their media their own expectations and ideological/political beliefs. Or they are just lobbyists serving specific economic interests. The latter option is also the most plausible explanation for the poll companies that took a heavy hit on their credibility as they totally failed to predict the final result. Nevertheless, I have to say that a lot of people have grown suspicious of a possible manipulation of those companies by certain interests. Another important factor was Americans' perceptions of their country. The vast majority of those living in urban coastal areas (NYC, LA, Boston etc.) have never travelled to most of the other states or have lost the contact with the reality in those states. In times of recession, or times leading into a recession, the people in these areas are less determined to fight than their fellow-citizens in middle America. The USA is a unique mosaic of different demographics, political ideologies, and religious beliefs and contrary to what most people believe cannot be understood under a common prism. Despite the consensus of international and American opinion to the opposite, I believe that Trump's election has a lot of--mainly longterm--benefits that in due time will prove particularly valuable for future generations. HILLARY CLINTON Thanks to Donald Trump, we're permanently rid of Hillary Clinton. Yes, that's right. The American people may made the wrong choice in electing Trump, but they did the right thing by rejecting a politician who is more than suspect. Suspect for relations with financial lobbies for her own benefit. Suspect for mishandling the power she was given as U. S. Seceretary of State. And, ultimately, suspect with her regards to her integrity and political dignity. She is a blurry figure. And, of course, a politician like that could be as dangerous a choice as Trump. I've written in past columns that Trump would not have had a chance if he were runnig against Bernie Sanders. Unfortunately, Hillary beat Sanders and became the Democratic Party's presidential candidate. After November 8, she won't stand anymore as an obstacle to future candidates for the Democratic leadership, candidates of better integrity and dignity than her. If Clinton had been elected, she would be the de facto presidential candidate for the 2020 elections. Hopefully Trump did the American people the favor of eliminating her. CRITICAL PERCEPTION AND EVALUATION OF INFORMATION From now on, it's obvious that the polls are fake, failed, and manipulated. So are a lot of news articles about one candidate or another. Each citizen must seek for himself the sign of times and make sure he is well informed on the current political and social situation of his country. It's a fact that hundreds of thousands of citizens were complacent because of polls projecting an easy victory for Clinton. And they comfortably assumed anything else impossible. That it was impossible for a candidate like Trump to be elected the next U.S. president. But it proved not to be at all impossible. The U.S. is a vast and complicated country so each citizen must realize this from now and try not to live in the narrow perspective of personal beliefs and expectations. That's the ostrich phenomenon and the payout was Trump's victory. FIGHTING SPIRIT It is obvious also, especially for young Americans, that nothing can be conquered without a fight. Without fight and without being constantly vigilant. It's already clear that a lot of people have realized this as we've seen mass demonstrations in major American cities following Trump's' election. And this is a first sign that four interesting years have just begun. 2020 2020 will be the year that will get rid of Trump once and for all. Not earlier, like Michael Moore believes, because Trump wants the job. He wants the office. But the next four years will be a disaster. It's not only the economic crisis that is hatching--and which, for some people, will be much bigger than the one in 2008. Combined with Trump's inexperience, it will be catastrophic for American economy. It will also deal a blow on America's image globally--a blow already dealt by Trump's election as a president. And this wounded image will not help American interests at all. Politics and the choices people make and how they affect every day life is something that's changing constantly. The election of a bright leader is something desirable but that doesn't mean it's a solution for all of society's issues and ills. By the same token, the election of a president with dubious and sometimes controversial ideas and political positions is not the end of the world. On the contrary, it may be the start towards a better path, an awakening of the electorate about political issues, and the start of a good fight--a day to day fight for subversion with the final aim of bringing to power those politicians whom a great country like United States of America deserves. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

21 ноября, 17:37

Population Health Offers Three Critical Lessons For The Future Of Our Country, Part I

Can we find strength in America's mosaic of differences. America’s population health and thus the health of our country literally and figuratively depend on our answer.

19 ноября, 14:00

Mikhail Lomonosov: The 'Russian Da Vinci'

Mikhail Lomonosov was born in 1711 in the Arkhangelsk Region in the far north of Russia (615 miles north of Moscow). His father was a wealthy peasant fisherman who, like his ancestors, was involved in maritime commerce. Lomonosov remembered his father as a kind man but "brought up in extreme ignorance," which no one would say about Lomonosov himself. He enjoyed studying even as a child, and mastered several scientific textbooks while still living in his village. The pursuit of knowledge Gradually, village life became unbearable for the youth, He quarreled with his stepmother, and rebelled against his father's desire for him to marry. In 1730, he ran off to Moscow with a string of fish carts and entered the Slavic Greek Latin Academy. Peasant children were not admitted to the academy, so Lomonosov introduced himself as a "nobleman's son." The academy's administration easily believed that the young man was an aristocrat, since he knew how to read and write and had a solid understanding of mathematics. Officially, Lomonosov received his noble title in 1745, along with the rank of Chemistry Professor. A polymath Mikhail Lomonosov in 1757. Portrait by Christian-Albert Wortmann and Etienne Fessard / Archive photo Lomonosov's education spanned decades. He studied in Moscow, Kiev, St. Petersburg, and in the German towns of Marburg and Freiberg, mastering dozens of subjects, from philosophy to metallurgy. In all his later activity, the scientist maintained this diversity of disciplines, simultaneously pursuing many fields of research. He considered chemistry his main vocation, though. Lomonosov is known as a polymath and is often compared to Leonardo da Vinci, so broad was his sphere of interests and activities. He perfected glass-making technology; developed physics and chemistry theories; worked in the fields of astronomy and geography; wrote grammar textbooks, historical works and odes; translated poetry; and created mosaics. The scientist also founded Moscow University (1755), which today bears his name and is considered one of the best universities in Russia. Ahead of his time In 1901, 136 years after Lomonosov's death, geology professor Vasily Dokuchaev, encountering one of the scientist's papers, said in amazement, "A long time ago, Lomonosov described in his research the theory I defended in my PhD dissertation, and he described it in a broader manner." There are other examples of how Lomonosov was ahead of his time. In 1761, he discovered that the planet Venus had an atmosphere, which he observed through a telescope. In 1754, after reviewing documents at the Academy of Sciences, he developed a working model of a proto-helicopter, a flying apparatus that could take off vertically with two propellers. And his corpuscular-kinetic theory of heat in many ways anticipated ideas of atoms that appeared one hundred years later, just like his theory on rotating spherical particles. A severe northern character According to contemporaries, he was not a quiet laboratory scientist. In his article on Lomonosov, Moscow State University docent Grigory Pruttskov wrote that Lomonosov ardently fought against German dominance at the Academy of Sciences while he was working there. Will Moscow State University become another Russian ‘Silicon Valley?’ Being one of the few Russians employed at the academy at the time, Lomonosov accused his German colleagues of bribery and incompetence. In 1743, Lomonosov allegedly "under the influence of wine vapors," barged into the geography department and reproached his colleagues for not knowing elementary Latin, calling them "trash" and even making "obscene signs with his fingers." Lomonosov was not afraid of showing his temper even during arguments with his influential patron Ivan Shuvalov, one of Elizabeth of Russia's favorites. Once Shuvalov, in the heat of an argument, yelled at the scientist, "I'll have you removed from the Academy!" Lomonosov proudly retorted, "If anything, it is the Academy that will be removed from me." Pushkin's enthusiasm for Lomonosov The man from the north had many foes, including in high society. Alexander Sumarokov, one of the most talented poets and playwrights of the time, was constantly at odds with Lomonosov. Their relations were so poor that after Lomonosov's death in 1765 from pneumonia, Sumarokov said that, "The fool has finally calmed down and won't make any more noise." But great Russian poet Alexander Pushkin, who was born after the scientist's death, had a completely different opinion of him. "Lomonosov was a great man. Between Peter I and Catherine II, he was the only advocate of Enlightenment. He established Russia's first university. Or better, he was our first university." Subscribe to get the hand picked best stories every week 5 steps to enroll in a Russian university for free

Выбор редакции
18 ноября, 10:26

Крупнейший в мире магазин Lego начал работу в Лондоне

Датский производитель игрушек Lego A/S открыл крупнейший в мире магазин конструкторов в Лондоне. Как говорится в сообщении компании, это уже 131-й розничный магазин бренда Lego в мире.

Выбор редакции
17 ноября, 20:00

Building an Online Home: Essayist Melissa Matthewson’s Simple and Effective Front Page

Melissa Matthewson has a minimal website to showcase her growing archive of writing.

Выбор редакции
15 ноября, 21:18

Noninvasive imaging of the photoreceptor mosaic response to light stimulation [Medical Sciences]

In their latest work, Hillman et al. (1) observe optical path length changes of individual photoreceptor cells in response to light stimulation, noninvasively, in a living human subject. This is a remarkable technical feat, showing the reliable extraction of nanometer-scale changes across the photoreceptor mosaic, although involuntary motion of the...

11 ноября, 20:28

The Trump Voter’s Quest for Respect

A conversation about the election with Chris Arnade, a former Wall Street trader who now chronicles life in working-class American cities and towns

11 ноября, 20:28

The Trump Voter’s Quest for Respect

A conversation about the election with Chris Arnade, a former Wall Street trader who now chronicles life in working-class American cities and towns

11 ноября, 17:36

Can The Mosaic (MOS) Run Higher on Strong Earnings Estimate Revisions?

The Mosaic (MOS) has decent short-term momentum and is seeing solid activity on the earnings estimate revision front as well.

11 ноября, 01:13

How Do I Explain This To My Children?

Two words. Historic. Election. In a stunning upset of what polls and pundits claimed to be a Clinton cincher, Donald Trump won the 2016 Presidential Election with a combined 279 electoral votes. While the significant majority of the country clearly supported him and his vision, there is a section of the American people who is severely disillusioned with the hate speech that has riddled this election season, hate towards veterans, who should be honored each single day for their invaluable sacrifices to protect the freedoms of our great nation, LGBTQ groups, women, along with other significant minorities. Hate is not the answer, ladies and gentlemen, it never was and it never will be, so it is absolutely time that he leverages unifying language. Everyone wants to win, either a school race or the race to earn the highest political office in the greatest nation in the world, but I want to caution you to explain to your children that winning is not enough, but winning with integrity, honor, and morality intact is what is critically important, because winning with a compromised morality is losing. Explain to your children that you should seek to win on a high ground, not low ground, that it is more important to win with class than to win without any trace of class. In a world where morality seems to be more and more scarce, an adult with strong beliefs, morality, and grace stands out as a true global citizen, and one more should look to emulate. Once a society has lost its moral compass, we have lost all traces of hope, so let us vow to never reach that point of no return. Explain to your children that if they are entrusted with a platform to create change that they should leverage that platform to achieve good, not propagate a greater level of chaos, misogyny, and drive deeper divides. Explain to your children that unity, goodness, and above all, love trumps hate, and always will. Explain to your children that taking the higher ground is always worth the risk, even if they do not classically 'win' the race, game, or election, because the mental satisfaction of being a moral person who does the right thing ultimately outweighs the joy of winning at all costs, which has far more serious long-term consequences. Millennial lifestyle expert and radio/television personality Vonny Sweetland believes that it is "extremely important to use your platform for something positive if you are so fortunate enough to have one." "When thousands of people follow you and your work, you are doing a disservice to them and yourself if you do not allow yourself to become a vehicle for great change in people's lives." Explain to your children to consistently leverage their platforms, no matter how small or how large, for social good, because preserving goodness is important, practicing morality is important, and above all, being a great human being is incredibly important. Explain to your children that today, more so than ever before, it is important that we live in line with the values which define us, the values of love for all, compassion, unity, empathy, and a deep appreciation of diversity. Explain to your children that differences do not divide us, but instead, bind us together in a sheer mosaic of our shared cultural history. Explain to your children that our future relies on their morality, judgment, empathy, and belief in the shared progress of our nation. Explain to your children that the time to act to create an equal nation and a more equal world begins with them and that they should start now. -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

09 ноября, 16:46

Where Does America Go Now: A Farewell Letter To My Readers

Dear Readers, For the last 14 months, I have written at least weekly about the candidates, the campaign and the pressing issues raised by this turbulent political season. I'm very grateful to The Huffington Post for this privilege, and to all those who read and often commented on what I had to say. So this letter is my way of saying thanks. First, however, I want to reflect on what this election means and -- especially -- the defining choices we now face about what kind of country we want to be. Donald Trump is now our president-elect. Our institutions and founding ideals will be tested as never in our lifetime. The election of an unstable and unqualified demagogue signals the beginning of a sustained national ordeal which will require the best from our leaders and ourselves. But unlike the times in our history when were tested by foreign wars or economic crises, we have no common understanding of the challenges ahead -- which, though unknown in their particulars, are suggested by the fissures which brought us to this moment. The rancorous and divisive campaign which gave us Donald Trump has driven home some dire lessons. The Trump campaign was not a program -- it was a desperate, last-ditch cry for something different. All too many Americans are alienated from their fellow Americans and from the government which exists to serve them. All too many face the future with a sense of anger and betrayal or, as enervating, a helpless, hopeless impotence. All too many doubt that we can escape political paralysis, or partisan blame -- shifting where a cacophony of voices shout past each other. Those voices include our media. In better times, the established print or broadcast outlets served as a kind of informational glue, the principal means through which most Americans sort out their political choices. But the destructive path of this campaign caught traditional journalism in its vortex. So it is well to consider its role in Trump's rise; the way his candidacy challenged its practices and traditions; the degree of damage he has already inflicted on its credibility; and whether and how it can still inform our national dialogue. A September 2016 article by Frank Newport of Gallup describes how -- at least until the campaign's latter stages -- the media enabled Trump over Clinton, while slighting the issues at stake in our choice of the next president. Writes Newport: With a few exceptions... Americans have little recall of reading, hearing, or seeing information about the policies of the presidential candidates or their positions on issues. Our research shows instead that in the case of Mr. Trump, Americans monitor his statements, his accusations, his travel and his events... [I]n the case of Mrs. Clinton they report mainly hearing about her past behavior, her character and, most recently, her health. In short, the media at large emphasized Trump's entertainment value over his character or positions. By doing so, it normalized him, particularly during the primary season, obscuring his ignorance, demagoguery, mendacity and total lack of qualifications to be president. This was Joseph McCarthy's ideal, the media as megaphone. But like McCarthy, Trump presented unique and troubling challenges to journalistic integrity. Over time it became ever more inescapable that this potential president was a shameless, incessant and blatant liar and, in all likelihood, emotionally disturbed. Thus our most principled media faced two excruciating ethical questions: At what point does a candidate's falsehoods become so constant and pervasive that it is insufficient to report them without comment? And when do his repeated behaviors suggest an emotional dislocation so potentially dangerous that it does not suffice simply to record each behavior in isolation? As Edward R Murrow demonstrated during the McCarthy era, there are times when strict journalistic neutrality serves neither truth nor decency. One year into Trump's candidacy, a handful of commentators began remarking on the mounting evidence of his psychological instability. And in September 2016, his mendacious press conference blaming Hillary Clinton for initiating the birther slur at last provoked the New York Times to catalog and label his stunning sequence of untruths for precisely what they were. This corrective was imperative -- Trump brought this rigor upon himself. But like so much about him, it has come at a cost to us all. With his usual projection, he used the "dishonest media" as a foil to stir his followers' outrage. As president, his own outrage and intolerance of criticism may pose real dangers to journalistic independence. And so, in a country which more than ever needs honest journalism to provoke thought and conversation, honest journalism has become ever more discredited, and truth ever more subjective. All this raises a profound question for a country as roiled as ours: On what basis will Americans relate to each other, and how will we resolve the challenges which, whether we like it or not, all of us face in common? Our answer -- for better or worse -- will define our common future. America is now a multiracial and multicultural society. We see it in our streets, our electorate, on the internet, and on our screens. We see it in our current president. But the election of Donald Trump arose, in good measure, from the tensions, fears and tragedies spawned by racial and social difference. These not only affects the justice system, but how different Americans view it. As but one example, the rates of incarceration for whites and nonwhites vary widely. Do we see this simply as reflecting criminal activity among particular groups? Or do we ask ourselves whether our laws, and our legal system, help drive this disparity? Officer-involved shootings of African-Americans raise similar questions. Will we recognize that the facts of such shootings are often painfully particular? Will we acknowledge that, nonetheless, all too often blacks die the hands of police when whites would not? Will we render judgment based on pre-existing prisms -- that we must protect our police, or prosecute racism -- without caring whether, in any given case, which imperative most applies? What role will a President Trump play in how we respond to the ongoing trials of race? These questions are seminal, and raise other pervasive concerns about the role of race in our society -- including, critically, with respect to voting rights, racial and religious diversity, and economic and educational opportunity. We cannot ignore them, for they will not ignore us. For the passions which drove the Trump campaign are not simply -- or even primarily -- about economics. They also stemmed from deeply rooted white discomfort with, and fear of, the racial or religious "other" -- blacks, Hispanics and Muslims -- whether seen as criminals, terrorists or symbols of societal change and social displacement. This helped define the campaign of 2016. Racial animus against Barack Obama fueled Trump's entrée into presidential politics, the birther movement -- were it otherwise, the Canadian-born Ted Cruz would have no place in the Republican Party. The principal engine of Trump's campaign was anti-immigrant sentiment, whether aimed at undocumented Mexicans -- the scapegoats of his calls for massive deportation and the Wall -- or Syrian refugees and other Muslims from abroad. And Trump and his party waged a multifaceted war against minority voting, both through bogus charges of voter fraud and cynical laws designed to deny the franchise to African-Americans and the poor. The truth is inescapable -- fear of the other was Trump's political petri dish. Though millions of diverse Americans opposed him, he as now become -- at great cost to us here and abroad -- America's human symbol to the world. Around the globe we have shaken allies, tarnished our self-professed ideals and, quite possibly, forfeited our preeminent place -- it is hard to gauge the full damage to our standing in the world. And at home, the racial and religious discord he exploited is now ours to deal with, far more toxic for his efforts. Add to this the rocket fuel of paranoia and distrust. In Trump's world, every one of our institutions is incompetent, dishonest or corrupt, if not part of a sinister conspiracy: government, the media, our electoral machinery, and our political parties. In his telling, there is nothing left for anyone to believe in save Trump himself. In the process, he waged a scorched earth campaign against civil society itself. He trafficked in insults and lies, vilifying his opponents and degrading the standards of political dialogue in a way not easily repaired. By his vile words and actions, he lowered our sense of collective and personal decency, whether in our leaders, our society, or ourselves. Again and again, he asked Americans to believe that the electoral process was rigged against him, that minorities were engaged in massive voter fraud, that the media was conspiring to take him down, and that all those who opposed him were enemies of all they held dear. The damage to our societal mosaic is not easily repaired. Many will be tempted by the siren song of complacency, the belief that Trump is sui generis. Others will dismiss his voters as worthy of our anger and contempt, but not our interest or concern. Both errors are dangerous to our future. For Trump is not a bizarre aberration, a celebrity who inhabited a political party by sweeping a weak and divided field. He rose because millions of angry or terrified blue-collar workers believe that America has betrayed them. That feeling is neither transient or incomprehensible. So we must look through their anger to see, and address, the reasons for it. A changing economy has left them adrift in a country which, in their view, no longer respects or even hears them. Their dislocation is real -- and, to many of us, invisible. Instinctively grasping their desperation for change, Trump presented himself as the one leader who saw them. So when he conjured an economic revival from a compound of protectionism and racism, they listened. Here, the GOP must search its soul. Both parties have their share of bigots; all of us harbor bias in some form or another. But Trump did not import racial animus to the Republican Party. Its antecedents include the massive migration of southern whites in reaction to the civil rights bills of the 1960s; the GOP's adamant opposition to any form of racial preferences; the hostility toward Hispanics which began 20 years ago in California; the party's efforts to weaken the voting rights act; its bogus voter fraud bills aimed at suppressing minority voting. This history cannot be dismissed. And it merges with efforts by some within a fractured and incoherent party to distract blue-collar Americans with race -- flavored tropes which blame their travails on the government, instead of honestly addressing their real problems -- the very stratagem which gave us Trump. As to those problems, both parties need to do better. Trafficking in the false promises of Trumpism -- trade wars to repeal the global economy, or magically restoring jobs lost to automation and globalization -- will only deepen the sense of betrayal and alienation among blue-collar workers. The path to hope must be grounded in reality: infrastructure programs, job retraining and education for the new economy, and help in moving to where the work is. Too many Americans -- white and non-white -- are hurting. Too many kids lack the educational opportunity enjoyed by the children of affluence. Too many young people must choose between crushing debt and forgoing college. Trump's witchcraft must be replaced by a real commitment to create much more opportunity for many more Americans, enriching our societal talent pool while lessening social and racial friction. The question is this: Do we as a society, including those we choose to lead us, have the will -- and the goodwill -- to act? The the answer, I suggest, depends on how Americans resolve our relationship to our government and to each other. The rise of Donald Trump illustrates the degree to which our political parties are deepening the divide of class, race, religion and locality. The Democratic Party includes minorities, the better educated, and the secular, often concentrated in metropolitan areas and on the coasts. The Republican Party is dominated by whites, including fundamentalists, and its base lives in rural and exurban areas, including in the Midwest, South and Rocky Mountain states. In our polarized politics, both parties depend on turning out their loyalists, not meeting in the middle. Both are divided within themselves, making it harder to search for common ground. Our gerrymandered Congress further elevates trench warfare over compromise. The result is a spiral of dysfunction, empowering other forces which erode our sense of common citizenship. All too often, Americans of opposing backgrounds or beliefs no longer trust or even know each other. More and more, they sort themselves into separate camps living in different places. Worse, they live in gated communities of the mind, walled off by partisan media who profit by persuading them that many of their fellow Americans are their enemy, their suspicions further inflamed by the feverish effusions of social media unmoored from fact or reason. So more Americans than ever think that our politicians are self-serving hacks, bent on buying off their favored interest groups with pernicious policies. They divine, correctly, that our system of campaign finance enhances the power of a privileged few. Thus, Americans of all political stripes and ages believe that our political institutions are incompetent or inimical, instruments of harm who no longer represent them. Sadly, the highly- damaging intrusion of James Comey and the FBI in the election itself further eroded the trust of many in our organs of government. The certainty that government cannot address our real problems -- indeed, that it aggravates them -- becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In this hotbed of gridlock and estrangement, those problems are compounded. Rising income inequality does not simply limit the the prospects of those now left behind. Our failure to address it -- sensibly and responsibly -- strangles the optimism which has always made us, as a country, believe in ourselves. And it cheats our society of coming generations whose potential will be stunted by our failure to reach out. Equally insidious, it deepens yet another social fissure, the divide between winners and losers who no longer know each other. As a nation we have no common bond -- like National Service -- which brings diverse Americans together. We are losing the ability to see, or even to imagine, the lives of others. This has never been our history. However indelible our sins -- the horror of slavery, the mistreatment of native Americans, the internment of Japanese -- since our beginnings we have always been a nation of others. We ended slavery; opened the country to immigrants; passed civil rights bills; put together a social safety net -- all because the lives of others mattered to us. Our sins toward the other have shamed us; new waves of others have enriched us. Seeing the other as each other allowed our consciences to grow. This was the essence of American exceptionalism. Many countries in history have enjoyed great power and wealth. But only America has combined democracy with an inclusiveness which made so many diverse peoples into fellow citizens with a shared sense of pride and purpose. This common idea of what we are and could be enabled us to endure depressions, recessions, wars, assassinations, impeachment proceedings, electoral malfunctions and racial and social upheavals. It empowered us to weave women, minorities and the foreign-born into the fabric of a stronger, better country. More than anything else, it has been the means of our survival and the engine of our progress. It could be still. But only if we can surmount the election of Donald Trump, and rescue that vision of America from the forces which would tear it down by tearing us apart. Many issues will illuminate the answer. But let me pose four problems which, in varying ways, pose existential tests of American exceptionalism. First, can we continue to thrive as a multi-racial society in a time of changing demographics? The election of 2016 gives us disturbing evidence of discord, and the promise of more to come. And yet a principal component of resistance to Donald Trump was just that -- that he sowed and exploited racial and religious antagonism. The question is whether, Trump notwithstanding, our government and our society will honor the common humanity which makes all Americans orthy of opportunity, compassion and respect. Second, can we defeat the scourge of terrorism while retaining our essential character? Trump stands for scapegoating American Muslims, barring refugees from abroad, curbing civil liberties at home and employing torture abroad. But many Americans perceive that this will further disfigure the face we present to the world, and to each other, creating a breeding ground for terrorism both at home and abroad. The question is which vision of American resolve will prevail. Third, can we re-open the paths of opportunity enjoyed by prior generations? Trump promises fake solutions to real problems not yet addressed by either party. As jobs vanished, economic security diminished, and special interest money burgeoned, too many Americans -- including the young -- felt their optimism curdle into hopelessness and mistrust. The question is whether we can work to make our free market economy more inclusive and secure, or whether our political entropy will make still more American strangers to hope. Finally, will we passively allow climate change to choke the world we have received as an unearned yet priceless gift? Trump has added to our well of criminal ignorance by labeling climate science a "hoax." Such irresponsibility is the price we pay for the cynical politics and mass disinformation which promotes our most selfish and short-sighted delusions. The question is whether Americans, at large, still possess the vision to imagine and shape the future. The past decades in our politics give us ample ground for skepticism; our fractious present gives us more. The GOP is splintered, and the Democrats are divided between progressive pragmatists and a newly empowered left. But the Republican Party now controls all three branches of government and must find, if it dares, a way forward more responsible than the shoddy demagoguery of our president-elect. In particular, leading Republicans in Congress must rise above their parochial political interests, and recognize the weight of responsibility they must bear for keeping the country whole. Their performance over the last two decades -- not to mention in this election -- does not augur well for rational governance. Thus much depends on whether we as citizens can see each other, our country and ourselves, as worthy of much better -- and demand that our elected officials do the same. For if we slink back into our corners, closing our eyes and our minds, our leaders will be no better. Despite all this, I continue to hope. I know too many Americans, of all origins and backgrounds, not to hope. Which is why I chose to spend these last fourteen months as I have. I did this, of course, because I knew you were there. There is no better gift for a writer who cares about these things than readers who care just as much. As I set writing aside, at least for now, please know how grateful I am. With many thanks, and all good wishes in all things, Ric -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

09 ноября, 16:46

Where Does America Go Now: A Farewell Letter To My Readers

Dear Readers, For the last 14 months, I have written at least weekly about the candidates, the campaign and the pressing issues raised by this turbulent political season. I'm very grateful to The Huffington Post for this privilege, and to all those who read and often commented on what I had to say. So this letter is my way of saying thanks. First, however, I want to reflect on what this election means and -- especially -- the defining choices we now face about what kind of country we want to be. Donald Trump is now our president-elect. Our institutions and founding ideals will be tested as never in our lifetime. The election of an unstable and unqualified demagogue signals the beginning of a sustained national ordeal which will require the best from our leaders and ourselves. But unlike the times in our history when were tested by foreign wars or economic crises, we have no common understanding of the challenges ahead -- which, though unknown in their particulars, are suggested by the fissures which brought us to this moment. The rancorous and divisive campaign which gave us Donald Trump has driven home some dire lessons. The Trump campaign was not a program -- it was a desperate, last-ditch cry for something different. All too many Americans are alienated from their fellow Americans and from the government which exists to serve them. All too many face the future with a sense of anger and betrayal or, as enervating, a helpless, hopeless impotence. All too many doubt that we can escape political paralysis, or partisan blame -- shifting where a cacophony of voices shout past each other. Those voices include our media. In better times, the established print or broadcast outlets served as a kind of informational glue, the principal means through which most Americans sort out their political choices. But the destructive path of this campaign caught traditional journalism in its vortex. So it is well to consider its role in Trump's rise; the way his candidacy challenged its practices and traditions; the degree of damage he has already inflicted on its credibility; and whether and how it can still inform our national dialogue. A September 2016 article by Frank Newport of Gallup describes how -- at least until the campaign's latter stages -- the media enabled Trump over Clinton, while slighting the issues at stake in our choice of the next president. Writes Newport: With a few exceptions... Americans have little recall of reading, hearing, or seeing information about the policies of the presidential candidates or their positions on issues. Our research shows instead that in the case of Mr. Trump, Americans monitor his statements, his accusations, his travel and his events... [I]n the case of Mrs. Clinton they report mainly hearing about her past behavior, her character and, most recently, her health. In short, the media at large emphasized Trump's entertainment value over his character or positions. By doing so, it normalized him, particularly during the primary season, obscuring his ignorance, demagoguery, mendacity and total lack of qualifications to be president. This was Joseph McCarthy's ideal, the media as megaphone. But like McCarthy, Trump presented unique and troubling challenges to journalistic integrity. Over time it became ever more inescapable that this potential president was a shameless, incessant and blatant liar and, in all likelihood, emotionally disturbed. Thus our most principled media faced two excruciating ethical questions: At what point does a candidate's falsehoods become so constant and pervasive that it is insufficient to report them without comment? And when do his repeated behaviors suggest an emotional dislocation so potentially dangerous that it does not suffice simply to record each behavior in isolation? As Edward R Murrow demonstrated during the McCarthy era, there are times when strict journalistic neutrality serves neither truth nor decency. One year into Trump's candidacy, a handful of commentators began remarking on the mounting evidence of his psychological instability. And in September 2016, his mendacious press conference blaming Hillary Clinton for initiating the birther slur at last provoked the New York Times to catalog and label his stunning sequence of untruths for precisely what they were. This corrective was imperative -- Trump brought this rigor upon himself. But like so much about him, it has come at a cost to us all. With his usual projection, he used the "dishonest media" as a foil to stir his followers' outrage. As president, his own outrage and intolerance of criticism may pose real dangers to journalistic independence. And so, in a country which more than ever needs honest journalism to provoke thought and conversation, honest journalism has become ever more discredited, and truth ever more subjective. All this raises a profound question for a country as roiled as ours: On what basis will Americans relate to each other, and how will we resolve the challenges which, whether we like it or not, all of us face in common? Our answer -- for better or worse -- will define our common future. America is now a multiracial and multicultural society. We see it in our streets, our electorate, on the internet, and on our screens. We see it in our current president. But the election of Donald Trump arose, in good measure, from the tensions, fears and tragedies spawned by racial and social difference. These not only affects the justice system, but how different Americans view it. As but one example, the rates of incarceration for whites and nonwhites vary widely. Do we see this simply as reflecting criminal activity among particular groups? Or do we ask ourselves whether our laws, and our legal system, help drive this disparity? Officer-involved shootings of African-Americans raise similar questions. Will we recognize that the facts of such shootings are often painfully particular? Will we acknowledge that, nonetheless, all too often blacks die the hands of police when whites would not? Will we render judgment based on pre-existing prisms -- that we must protect our police, or prosecute racism -- without caring whether, in any given case, which imperative most applies? What role will a President Trump play in how we respond to the ongoing trials of race? These questions are seminal, and raise other pervasive concerns about the role of race in our society -- including, critically, with respect to voting rights, racial and religious diversity, and economic and educational opportunity. We cannot ignore them, for they will not ignore us. For the passions which drove the Trump campaign are not simply -- or even primarily -- about economics. They also stemmed from deeply rooted white discomfort with, and fear of, the racial or religious "other" -- blacks, Hispanics and Muslims -- whether seen as criminals, terrorists or symbols of societal change and social displacement. This helped define the campaign of 2016. Racial animus against Barack Obama fueled Trump's entrée into presidential politics, the birther movement -- were it otherwise, the Canadian-born Ted Cruz would have no place in the Republican Party. The principal engine of Trump's campaign was anti-immigrant sentiment, whether aimed at undocumented Mexicans -- the scapegoats of his calls for massive deportation and the Wall -- or Syrian refugees and other Muslims from abroad. And Trump and his party waged a multifaceted war against minority voting, both through bogus charges of voter fraud and cynical laws designed to deny the franchise to African-Americans and the poor. The truth is inescapable -- fear of the other was Trump's political petri dish. Though millions of diverse Americans opposed him, he as now become -- at great cost to us here and abroad -- America's human symbol to the world. Around the globe we have shaken allies, tarnished our self-professed ideals and, quite possibly, forfeited our preeminent place -- it is hard to gauge the full damage to our standing in the world. And at home, the racial and religious discord he exploited is now ours to deal with, far more toxic for his efforts. Add to this the rocket fuel of paranoia and distrust. In Trump's world, every one of our institutions is incompetent, dishonest or corrupt, if not part of a sinister conspiracy: government, the media, our electoral machinery, and our political parties. In his telling, there is nothing left for anyone to believe in save Trump himself. In the process, he waged a scorched earth campaign against civil society itself. He trafficked in insults and lies, vilifying his opponents and degrading the standards of political dialogue in a way not easily repaired. By his vile words and actions, he lowered our sense of collective and personal decency, whether in our leaders, our society, or ourselves. Again and again, he asked Americans to believe that the electoral process was rigged against him, that minorities were engaged in massive voter fraud, that the media was conspiring to take him down, and that all those who opposed him were enemies of all they held dear. The damage to our societal mosaic is not easily repaired. Many will be tempted by the siren song of complacency, the belief that Trump is sui generis. Others will dismiss his voters as worthy of our anger and contempt, but not our interest or concern. Both errors are dangerous to our future. For Trump is not a bizarre aberration, a celebrity who inhabited a political party by sweeping a weak and divided field. He rose because millions of angry or terrified blue-collar workers believe that America has betrayed them. That feeling is neither transient or incomprehensible. So we must look through their anger to see, and address, the reasons for it. A changing economy has left them adrift in a country which, in their view, no longer respects or even hears them. Their dislocation is real -- and, to many of us, invisible. Instinctively grasping their desperation for change, Trump presented himself as the one leader who saw them. So when he conjured an economic revival from a compound of protectionism and racism, they listened. Here, the GOP must search its soul. Both parties have their share of bigots; all of us harbor bias in some form or another. But Trump did not import racial animus to the Republican Party. Its antecedents include the massive migration of southern whites in reaction to the civil rights bills of the 1960s; the GOP's adamant opposition to any form of racial preferences; the hostility toward Hispanics which began 20 years ago in California; the party's efforts to weaken the voting rights act; its bogus voter fraud bills aimed at suppressing minority voting. This history cannot be dismissed. And it merges with efforts by some within a fractured and incoherent party to distract blue-collar Americans with race -- flavored tropes which blame their travails on the government, instead of honestly addressing their real problems -- the very stratagem which gave us Trump. As to those problems, both parties need to do better. Trafficking in the false promises of Trumpism -- trade wars to repeal the global economy, or magically restoring jobs lost to automation and globalization -- will only deepen the sense of betrayal and alienation among blue-collar workers. The path to hope must be grounded in reality: infrastructure programs, job retraining and education for the new economy, and help in moving to where the work is. Too many Americans -- white and non-white -- are hurting. Too many kids lack the educational opportunity enjoyed by the children of affluence. Too many young people must choose between crushing debt and forgoing college. Trump's witchcraft must be replaced by a real commitment to create much more opportunity for many more Americans, enriching our societal talent pool while lessening social and racial friction. The question is this: Do we as a society, including those we choose to lead us, have the will -- and the goodwill -- to act? The the answer, I suggest, depends on how Americans resolve our relationship to our government and to each other. The rise of Donald Trump illustrates the degree to which our political parties are deepening the divide of class, race, religion and locality. The Democratic Party includes minorities, the better educated, and the secular, often concentrated in metropolitan areas and on the coasts. The Republican Party is dominated by whites, including fundamentalists, and its base lives in rural and exurban areas, including in the Midwest, South and Rocky Mountain states. In our polarized politics, both parties depend on turning out their loyalists, not meeting in the middle. Both are divided within themselves, making it harder to search for common ground. Our gerrymandered Congress further elevates trench warfare over compromise. The result is a spiral of dysfunction, empowering other forces which erode our sense of common citizenship. All too often, Americans of opposing backgrounds or beliefs no longer trust or even know each other. More and more, they sort themselves into separate camps living in different places. Worse, they live in gated communities of the mind, walled off by partisan media who profit by persuading them that many of their fellow Americans are their enemy, their suspicions further inflamed by the feverish effusions of social media unmoored from fact or reason. So more Americans than ever think that our politicians are self-serving hacks, bent on buying off their favored interest groups with pernicious policies. They divine, correctly, that our system of campaign finance enhances the power of a privileged few. Thus, Americans of all political stripes and ages believe that our political institutions are incompetent or inimical, instruments of harm who no longer represent them. Sadly, the highly- damaging intrusion of James Comey and the FBI in the election itself further eroded the trust of many in our organs of government. The certainty that government cannot address our real problems -- indeed, that it aggravates them -- becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. In this hotbed of gridlock and estrangement, those problems are compounded. Rising income inequality does not simply limit the the prospects of those now left behind. Our failure to address it -- sensibly and responsibly -- strangles the optimism which has always made us, as a country, believe in ourselves. And it cheats our society of coming generations whose potential will be stunted by our failure to reach out. Equally insidious, it deepens yet another social fissure, the divide between winners and losers who no longer know each other. As a nation we have no common bond -- like National Service -- which brings diverse Americans together. We are losing the ability to see, or even to imagine, the lives of others. This has never been our history. However indelible our sins -- the horror of slavery, the mistreatment of native Americans, the internment of Japanese -- since our beginnings we have always been a nation of others. We ended slavery; opened the country to immigrants; passed civil rights bills; put together a social safety net -- all because the lives of others mattered to us. Our sins toward the other have shamed us; new waves of others have enriched us. Seeing the other as each other allowed our consciences to grow. This was the essence of American exceptionalism. Many countries in history have enjoyed great power and wealth. But only America has combined democracy with an inclusiveness which made so many diverse peoples into fellow citizens with a shared sense of pride and purpose. This common idea of what we are and could be enabled us to endure depressions, recessions, wars, assassinations, impeachment proceedings, electoral malfunctions and racial and social upheavals. It empowered us to weave women, minorities and the foreign-born into the fabric of a stronger, better country. More than anything else, it has been the means of our survival and the engine of our progress. It could be still. But only if we can surmount the election of Donald Trump, and rescue that vision of America from the forces which would tear it down by tearing us apart. Many issues will illuminate the answer. But let me pose four problems which, in varying ways, pose existential tests of American exceptionalism. First, can we continue to thrive as a multi-racial society in a time of changing demographics? The election of 2016 gives us disturbing evidence of discord, and the promise of more to come. And yet a principal component of resistance to Donald Trump was just that -- that he sowed and exploited racial and religious antagonism. The question is whether, Trump notwithstanding, our government and our society will honor the common humanity which makes all Americans orthy of opportunity, compassion and respect. Second, can we defeat the scourge of terrorism while retaining our essential character? Trump stands for scapegoating American Muslims, barring refugees from abroad, curbing civil liberties at home and employing torture abroad. But many Americans perceive that this will further disfigure the face we present to the world, and to each other, creating a breeding ground for terrorism both at home and abroad. The question is which vision of American resolve will prevail. Third, can we re-open the paths of opportunity enjoyed by prior generations? Trump promises fake solutions to real problems not yet addressed by either party. As jobs vanished, economic security diminished, and special interest money burgeoned, too many Americans -- including the young -- felt their optimism curdle into hopelessness and mistrust. The question is whether we can work to make our free market economy more inclusive and secure, or whether our political entropy will make still more American strangers to hope. Finally, will we passively allow climate change to choke the world we have received as an unearned yet priceless gift? Trump has added to our well of criminal ignorance by labeling climate science a "hoax." Such irresponsibility is the price we pay for the cynical politics and mass disinformation which promotes our most selfish and short-sighted delusions. The question is whether Americans, at large, still possess the vision to imagine and shape the future. The past decades in our politics give us ample ground for skepticism; our fractious present gives us more. The GOP is splintered, and the Democrats are divided between progressive pragmatists and a newly empowered left. But the Republican Party now controls all three branches of government and must find, if it dares, a way forward more responsible than the shoddy demagoguery of our president-elect. In particular, leading Republicans in Congress must rise above their parochial political interests, and recognize the weight of responsibility they must bear for keeping the country whole. Their performance over the last two decades -- not to mention in this election -- does not augur well for rational governance. Thus much depends on whether we as citizens can see each other, our country and ourselves, as worthy of much better -- and demand that our elected officials do the same. For if we slink back into our corners, closing our eyes and our minds, our leaders will be no better. Despite all this, I continue to hope. I know too many Americans, of all origins and backgrounds, not to hope. Which is why I chose to spend these last 14 months as I have. I did this, of course, because I knew you were there. There is no better gift for a writer who cares about these things than readers who care just as much. As I set writing aside, at least for now, please know how grateful I am. With many thanks, and all good wishes in all things, Ric Related articles: The Imperative Of Voting For Hillary Clinton Making America Hate Again: Trump's War On Civil Society Apocalypse Soon: Imagining President Trump -- This feed and its contents are the property of The Huffington Post, and use is subject to our terms. It may be used for personal consumption, but may not be distributed on a website.

27 февраля 2013, 21:26

The 5th UN Alliance of Civilizations Global Forum opens at Vienna

Hofburg Palace, Vienna (Austria) - Speakers at the opening of the 5th Global Forum of the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations all emphasized conflict resolution using Syria as an example. Under the sparkling chandeliers of the Hofsburg Palace in Vienna, world leaders and other participants are meeting to discuss ways to further the goals of the UNAOC while encouraging more responsible leadership. The foreign minister of Austria Michael Spindelegger opened the session by stressing how his country's tradition of wanting a dialogue matches the goals of the UNAOC. That theme was later elaborated on by the country's Federal President Heinz Fischer. U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon spoke about conflict resolution, job creation and specific troubles going on around the globe. "In too many places, anti-Muslim sentiment has become commonplace," Ban Ki-moon said. "Migrants from all backgrounds are vilified instead of embraced. When such attitudes are left unchallenged, racists feel empowered." He spoke at length about Syria, describing it as a 'mosaic of tribes, religion, culture and traditions. Later, during a press conference, he blamed the language of hatred for creating a divide in the world.