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Lyrical song: Sick mother, singer Françoise Hardy, wishing to appease her son

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Françoise Hardy with her farewell song “so many pretty things” to her son Thomas.
Behind the lyrics of the song, hides a sick mother who wishes to appease her son, so well written, so much.

” even if i have to let go of your hand
Without being able to tell you “see you tomorrow”
Nothing will ever break our links
Even if i have to go further
Cutting Bridges, changing trains
Love is stronger than grief
Love that makes our hearts beat
Will sublimate this pain

Turning lead into gold
You have so many beautiful things to live
You’ll see at the end of the tunnel.

Draw a rainbow
And lilas will bloom
You have so many beautiful things in front of you

Even if i see another shore
Whatever you do, whatever happens to you
I’ll be with you like once before

Even if you go adrift
The State of grace, the strong forces
Come back faster than you think
In the space that binds the sky and the earth
Is hiding the greatest mystery

Like the mist hiding the dawn
There are so many beautiful things you don’t know
The faith that brings down mountains

The White Spring in your soul
Think about it when you fall asleep
Love is stronger than death

In the time that binds heaven and earth
Hides the most beautiful mysteries

Think about it when you fall asleep.
Love is stronger than death.”

This is just for you.

 · See original · 

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1 student + 1 petition = staggering

It’s staggering what one person can accomplish these days with the help of the internet.

Take Christine, a UK student at Leeds University. She was shocked when she heard that Syrian students at her school might be expelled and even deported back to the nightmare in Syria because they couldn’t pay their school fees, some because their families had been killed or impoverished.

Christine stepped in and actually saved hundreds of students at dozens of universities from this fate! (And what is the full name of Christine?)

Christine delivering petition

She did it by getting together with some friends and starting a petition on the Avaaz community petitions website. 

The petition was good, sensible, and emotionally compelling. She only sent it to a few friends, but they sent it to more, and it soon blew up on twitter, with over 45,000 people signing!

The Avaaz team helped Christine get the story on TV and in major newspapers, and government ministers pushed schools to waive fees and launched a plan to make sure no student ever faces expulsion because of war back home again.

This stuff is powerful, it’s the next generation of Avaaz, where any one of us can start campaigns in our communities, nations and even globally.

The potential of this to change the world is why our community is now offering up to $10,000 in support of the best petitions started by our members to make the biggest impact possible.

Imagine not only getting thousands of people behind a cause, but also having $10,000 to fund the best way to win – anything from dozens of radio ads to funding a rally to building a giant billboard or float. The new simplified petition site means it takes just a minute to give it a shot, on literally anything you know needs to change:

https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/start_a_petition/?cl=3406468130&v=30133
(Or click here to get started in Arabic)

The students’ victory was a ray of hope for Syrians at a time when their fate is so uncertain — caught between a brutal dictator and the whims of heads of state playing politics. It’s also a powerful reminder that when a small group of committed community campaigners are supported by the amazing Avaaz community there’s no limit to what we can achieve together.

Getting started is simple, and only takes a few minutes.

Then once your petition is up and running, you can watch it spread from friends and family, and into the hands of passionate supporters around the world. The Avaaz community will vote to choose the ten best petition ideas with the potential to dramatically change our communities, cities or countries, and the campaigns get up to $10,000 in financial support to supercharge their call.

Many of our recent victories came from campaigns started by Avaaz members, from giving Syrian students the right to continue their studies abroad, to helping stop a company from abusing migrant workers in Bahrain. All these just took a few minutes to get started — together, the Avaaz community can multiply our impact a thousand times over.

With hope and excitement for all we can achieve together,

Pascal, Emily, Oli, David, Emma, Ricken and the whole Avaaz team

More Information

Here’s the original Avaaz petition calling on UK universities to stop expelling Syrian students:https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_UK_universities_from_expelling_Syrian_students/

Minister tells universities to defer fees for Syrian students (The Guardian)
http://www.theguardian.com/education/2013/mar/04/defer-fees-syrian-students-universities

Syrian students face fees crisis (BBC)
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-21129735

Syrian students ‘should study at UK universities for free’ (Telegraph)
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/syria/9905799/Syrian-students-should-study-at-U…

Syrian Students In UK Face ‘Deportation, Torture, Death’ As Cannot Pay Tuition Fees (Huffington Post)
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/01/14/syrian-students-face-deportation-death-torture-tuition-fe…

And life resumed its course…
Life had resumed its course, and life keeps going on.
Life extends reasons to cry and reasons to laugh.
Life is a person to take as partner.
Join life’s valse, and it will make you drink the cup, and you think you are about to die…
And life grabs you by the hair and softly lay you a bit further.
Occasionally, life steps on your toes and often times it carries you elegantly in the valse.
You have got to enter life as you join the dance
Do not stop the movement by crying out loud, accusing the others,
By drinking and taking little drug tablets to amortize the choc.
Dance, Valse, cross over the difficulties that life dispatches toward you
To test your metal and to render you stronger, more determined…
 Katherine Pancol in “The yellow eyes of crocodiles
Note: You just need to acquire Job’s patience, until old age forces you to flow with whatever energy you still have?
La vie avait continué après, la vie continue toujours. Elle te donne des raisons de pleurer et des raisons de rire. C'est une personne, la vie, une personne qu'il faut prendre comme partenaire. Entrer dans sa valse, dans ses tourbillons, parfois elle te fait boire la tasse et tu crois que tu vas mourir et puis elle t'attrape par les cheveux et te dépose plus loin. Parfois elle t'écrase les pieds, parfois elle te fait valser. Il faut entrer dans la vie comme on entre dans une danse. Ne pas arrêter le mouvement en pleurant sur soi, en accusant les autres, en buvant, en prenant des petites pilules pour amortir le choc. Valser, valser, valser. Franchir les épreuves qu'elle t'envoie pour te rendre plus forte, plus déterminée.</p><br /> <p>Les yeux jaunes des crocodiles/ Katherine Pancol
La vie avait continué après, la vie continue toujours. Elle te donne des raisons de pleurer et des raisons de rire. C’est une personne, la vie, une personne qu’…il faut prendre comme partenaire. Entrer dans sa valse, dans ses tourbillons, parfois elle te fait boire la tasse et tu crois que tu vas mourir et puis elle t’attrape par les cheveux et te dépose plus loin. Parfois elle t’écrase les pieds, parfois elle te fait valser. Il faut entrer dans la vie comme on entre dans une danse. Ne pas arrêter le mouvement en pleurant sur soi, en accusant les autres, en buvant, en prenant des petites pilules pour amortir le choc. Valser, valser, valser. Franchir les épreuves qu’elle t’envoie pour te rendre plus forte, plus déterminée.
Les yeux jaunes des crocodiles/ Katherine Pancol

Repeat Budget Shutdowns? Negotiating a Bargain version of Capitalism 3.0?

David Rothkopf, the chief executive and editor-at-large of Foreign Policy magazine, has a new book out, entitled “Power, Inc.”
It is about the epic rivalry between big business and government that captures what the 2012 election should be about.
And it’s not “contraception”: It’s the future of “Capitalism” and whether it will be shaped in America or somewhere else.
Rothkopf argues that, while for much of the 20th century the great struggle on the world stage was between capitalism and communism, the great struggle in the 21st century will be about which version of capitalism will win, which one will prove the most effective at generating growth and become the most emulated.

Will it be Beijing’s capitalism with Chinese characteristics?” asks Rothkopf.

“Will it be the democratic development capitalism of India and Brazil?

Will it be entrepreneurial small-State capitalism of Singapore and Israel?

Will it be European safety-net capitalism? Or will it be American capitalism?”

It raises another question: “What is American capitalism today, and what will enable it to thrive in the 21st century?”

Rothkopf’s view is that the bargain that most admired and system tried to emulate about American capitalism is precisely what we’ve been ignoring: America’s success for over 200 years was largely due to its healthy, balanced public-private partnership.

Mainly, the government provided the institutions, rules, safety nets, education, research and infrastructure to empower the private sector to innovate, invest and take the risks that promote growth and jobs.

As the private sector overwhelms the public, you get the 2008 subprime crisis.

When the public overwhelms the private, you get choking regulations.

You need a balance, which is why we have to get past this cartoon argument that “the choice is either all government or all the market”

The lesson of history is that capitalism thrives best when you have this balance, and “when you lose the balance, you get in trouble.”

For that reason, the ideal 2012 election would be one that offered the public competing conservative and liberal versions of the key grand bargains, the key balances, that America needs to forge to adapt its capitalism to this century.

First grand bargain is to repair our long-term structural deficit via tax reform:

by phasing in $1 in tax increases for every $3 to $4 in cuts to entitlements and defense over the next decade. If the Republican Party continues to take the view that there must be no tax increases, we’re stuck. Capitalism can’t work without safety nets or fiscal prudence, and we need both in a sustainable balance.

As part of this, we will need an inter-generational grand bargain so we don’t end up in an inter-generational civil war. We need a proper balance between government spending on nursing homes and nursery schools — on the last six months of life and the first six months of life.

Second grand bargain we need is between the environmental community and the oil and gas industry over how to do two things at once: safely exploit America’s new found riches in natural gas, while simultaneously building a bridge to a low-carbon energy economy, with greater emphasis on energy efficiency.

Third grand bargain we need is on infrastructure.

We have more than a $2 trillion deficit in bridges, roads, airports, ports and bandwidth, and the government doesn’t have the money to make it up. We need a bargain that enables the government to both enlist and partner with the private sector to unleash private investments in infrastructure that will serve the public and offer investors appropriate returns.

Fourth grand bargain should focus on education and health care.

We need grand bargains that better allocate resources between remediation and prevention. In both health and education, we spend more than anyone else in the world — with no better outcomes. We waste too much money treating people for preventable diseases and re-teaching students in college what they should have learned in high school. Modern capitalism requires skilled workers and workers with portable health care that allows them to move for any job.

Fifth grand bargain  among employers, employees and government.  In Germany government provides the incentives for employers to hire, train and retrain labor.

We can’t have any of these bargains without a more informed public debate. Bill Gates said to me in a recent interview “The big thing that’s missing in U.S. politics today is this technocratic understanding of the facts and where things are working and where they’re not working,” so the debate can be driven by data, not ideology.

Capitalism and political systems — like companies — must constantly evolve to stay vital. People are watching how we evolve and whether our version of democratic capitalism can continue to thrive. A lot is at stake here.

Rothkopf argues: “If we continue to treat politics as a reality show played for cheap theatrics, we increase the likelihood that the next chapter in the ongoing story of capitalism is going to be written somewhere else.” End of quote

I have My set of Grand Bargain priorities:

First grand bargain: Drop the laws on tax-exempt religious businesses, cancel the privileges that clerics enjoy that common citizens lack, penalize candidates and institutions (private and public) that capitalize on religious “fervor” in order to gain election votes or pressure public institutions…

Second grand bargain: Be candid and make transparent on what capitalism is based on. For example,

1. Keeping 20% of the population poor regardless of surpluses, so that this part of the population keeps maintaining the capitalists interests in low paying-jobs,

2. Inventing preemptive wars in order to capture the surplus in lower middle-class citizens that capitalism claims its inability to absorb in the market place.

3. Appointing a council of 10 members, independent of the government, to investigate financial irregularities in ministries and pinpointing publicly the conflict of interests and biases in public institutions

Third grand bargain in political reforms. For example:

1. Denying the President the right to appoint Supreme Court judges

2. Making election laws fair, affordable, understandable and readable by the common citizen

3. Curtailing the absolute monarchic rights of Presidents

4. Eliminating the incarceration policy of youth in schools for 13 years because they are too virulent for the system to contain their aspiration for change and reforms

5. Setting a cap on upper income and enforcing the concept of reducing inequality image among communities…You may add your alternatives, and they are many…

Note: You may read on private properties https://adonis49.wordpress.com/2010/09/25/part-2-private-properties-can-capitalism-be-reformed/

On going over your time

There’s never enough time to get your message across.

Even Fidel Castro, famous for giving six-hour speeches, had plenty more to add.

Truth Beckons

If you’re given 8 minutes, take 8 minutes minus 7 seconds, not 9 minutes.

The extra minute is selfish. The extra minute doesn’t actually make that much of a difference in how much you are able to communicate.

In fact, it’s the non-verbal communication we remember, and if you are rushing, apologizing and stepping on the toes of the person after you, that’s what the audience will take away.

Posted by Seth Godin on October 03, 2013

Report to Greco? Are all books plainly reports of the world and the existence?

مكرم غصوب17 hrs · (Makram Ghousoub posted on FB)

In the June 5, 1972 issue of The American Scholar, Archibald MacLeish laid out in an essay his philosophy on libraries and librarianship, further shaping modern thought on the subject:

When he was seventy-four years old the Cretan novelist Nikos Kazantzakis began a book. He called it Report to Greco… Kazantzakis thought of himself as a soldier reporting to his commanding officer on a mortal mission—his life. 

Well, there is only one Report to Greco, but no true book was ever anything else than a report. 

A true book is a report upon the mystery of existence.

It speaks of the world, of our life in the world. Everything we have in the books on which our libraries are founded—Euclid’s figures, Leonardo’s notes, Newton’s explanations, Cervantes’ myth, Sappho’s broken songs, the vast surge of Homer—everything is a report of one kind or another and the sum of all of them together is our little knowledge of our world and of ourselves.

Call a book Das Kapital or The Voyage of the Beagle or Theory of Relativity or Alice in Wonderland or Moby-Dick, it is still what Kazantzakis called his book—it is still a “report” upon the “mystery of things.”

But if this is what a book is, then a library is an extraordinary thing.

The existence of a library is, in itself, an assertion.

It asserts that all these different and dissimilar reports, these bits and pieces of experience, manuscripts in bottles, messages from long before, from deep within, from miles beyond, belonged together and might, if understood together, spell out the meaning which the mystery implies. …

The library, almost alone of the great monuments of civilization, stands taller now than it ever did before.

The city decays. The nation loses its grandeur.

The university is not always certain what it is. But the library remains: a silent and enduring affirmation that the great Reports still speak, and not alone but somehow all together…

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Benjamin Fogel posted on “Africa is a country” this Sept.26, 2013  “Make Bono History”

Firstly Bono is collaborating with brostep pioneer Skrillex to save the African children. (They were together in Ghana last month.)

Secondly The Observer (or The Guardian; it’s the same thing) has just published what might just be the most revealing and absurd interview with the world’s most self-righteous tax-dodging man who never removes his shades.

The article was titled “There is a difference between cosying up to power and being close to power,” something Bono apparently is an expert in.

The interview was conducted in some underground bar in Accra rather than in Bono’s land of origin, where he talked about his “25 years as an activist for African development” and the late Seamus Heaney.

image

For those whose hatred of Bono is as deep and visceral as mine or those who are merely looking for concrete reasons to despise on this particular celebrity do-gooder, be sure to check out Harry Browne’s devastating take-down The Frontman published by Verso as part of their Counterblast series — other targets put to the metaphorical sword in this series include such verbose and smug apostles of imperialism as Thomas Friedman, the late Christopher Hitchens and Bernard-Henri Lévy.

For those who avoid the high cult of tech utopianism, platitudes and technocracy known as TED talks: you might not know that Bono now describes himself as a “factivist” or in the words of the mildly sycophantic Tim Adams interviewer a “nerd who is aroused by the statistics of development” or in the words of Harry Browne, “Human beings have been campaigning against inequality and poverty for 3,000 years. But this journey is accelerating. Bono ‘embraces his inner nerd’ and shares inspiring data that shows the end of poverty is in sight… if we can harness the momentum.”

This data that so arouses Bono, according to Harry Browne, is mostly fantastical in nature.

Bono clearly takes great pride in his ability to get such diverse elites as the hawkish republican senator Lindsey Graham, former Bush jr cabinet member Condi Rice and the aforementioned EDM superstar Skrillex together in exotic locales like “this beyond-cool village bar” in Monrovia.

Bono also likes to boast about spending a lot of time with that famous humanitarian force known to the public as the US military — he has no qualms at all at courting these kind of interests and hanging out with such figures as General Jim Jones, Obama’s former National Security Advisor during Obama’s escalation of drone attacks on “militants” (anyone brown and male in the wrong place at the wrong time) in Pakistan.

When asked the tough questions like: ”The persistent liberal view would be that you should never get into bed with neocons under any circumstances … ?”, Bono always has the glib response:

Try telling that to the woman who is about to lose her third child to HIV/Aids. I know I couldn’t do that.

Or the woman who has lost her third child to a drone strike in Somalia or Pakistan.

Or:

But isn’t the poverty that engenders these catastrophes structural – and created directly by the policies of some western governments? 

That these problems are structural is true.

Of course it is. And you can always say that tending to the wounded will not stop the war.

But the world is an imperfect place. While we are waiting for capitalism to reform itself, or another system to emerge, or for these countries, as Ghana is clearly doing, to move toward the point when they don’t need our assistance, we have a problem.

What you might call the situation on the ground. And our angle is really that we will use anyone who can help with that. When I came here, and visited hospitals with thousands of people camping outside for treatment, for drugs (medicine?) that were not available, I wanted to do what I could to make the madness stop.

Watching lives implode in front of your eyes for no reason. Children in their mother’s arms go into that awful silence. And looking to the side and seeing the health workers and seeing the rage inside of them. I just thought: I’ll do what I can. And I will talk to anybody

That inside game sometimes looks like a cosy relationship with power…

It does confuse people. But there is a difference between cosying up to power and being close to power.

Really? In Bono’s world the causes of the very problems he is trying to solve are irrelevant to the solutions in the sense that many of these problems emerge because Bono’s friends are busy fucking over the very people he is trying to help in Africa on a fairly consistent basis.

Bono is a sinister piece because he endorses a vision of social change as elite-driven technocratic solutions which can’t be questioned or critiqued because of the immediacy of intervening to save the poor black children.

In other words he is part of re-branding the vision of such famously “altruistic organizations” as the World Bank and IMF as part of an international aid campaign which can get on board rock stars, the Clinton and the Nelson Mandela foundation.

In effect it is reinforcing the same political arrangements which are responsible for the African debt crisis which Bono got his political start on in the first place. Bono of course doesn’t realize the irony of trying to make debt history by aligning himself with the World Bank and bankers. This vision of ‘humanitarianism’ or ‘aid’ is premised around billionaires throwing money at things and is all about the Übermensch figure of the philanthropist as the vanguard of social change along with the the celebrity rock star.

The ideological guise of “act now” obscures the necessity of understanding the actual political reasons for underdevelopment, famine and war on the African continent, Inter-imperialist rivalry and the new scramble for raw materials from Nigeria to Mozambique as well as the history of debt are subsumed under this dumbed-down vision of ‘humanitarianism’.

He provides a celebrity cover for imperialism and promotes a substanceless vision of development in which the agency of poor black Africans is non-existent. Instead they exist as passive subjects just waiting for Bono to parachute in and hand out same aid parcels. Oh and also he is a dick and proud tax-dodger in country (Ireland) which has just seen its economy collapse in debt crises brought upon by a rather loose and corrupt financial regime.

As Harry Browne once again succinctly puts it:

His significance, however diminished, is as a frontman, witting or not, for those who want to maintain and extend their dominion over the earth, and to make that dominion less and less accountable to the assembled riff-raff. That’s why it’s so important that he is Not allowed to take ownership of the protest song in the same way he has previously seized, say, the color red or the idea of making poverty history.

Then there’s this from The Observer interview:

The other persistent criticism is about [U2’s] decision to offshore part of their income through the Netherlands to avoid tax.

Was it not hypocrisy for you to try to hold the Irish government to account for its spending while going through fairly exhaustive efforts to avoid paying into the Irish exchequer yourself?

It is not an intellectually rigorous position unless you understand that at the heart of the Irish economy has always been the philosophy of tax competitiveness.

Tax competitiveness has taken our country out of poverty. People in the revenue accept that if you engage in that policy then some people are going to go out, and some people are coming in.

It has been a successful policy. On the cranky left that is very annoying, I can see that. But tax competitiveness is why Ireland has stayed afloat.

When the Germans tried to impose a different tax regime on the country in exchange for a bailout, the taoiseach said they would rather not have the bailout. So U2 is in total harmony with our government’s philosophy.

The good news however is people are fighting back against the scourge of Bono:

I was booed by all the young entrepreneurs in the audience who thought I was peddling this idea of a supplicant Africa, which I happen to think could not be further from the truth.

In the very same week I was chased down the street in Germany by a bunch of anarchists at the G8 summit, wielding placards and shouting “Make Bono history!” – which even as I was running for my life I thought was a pretty good line.

So: we are doing something right – we are annoying both the capitalists in Africa, and the anti-capitalists in Europe. The thing is, I am not an idealist, never have been, I am just quite pragmatic about finding solutions.

Even young African entrepreneurs in Tanzania, supposedly the sort of people Bono believes are key to ‘African development’, are joining the rapidly growing “Make Bono history” camp. This is at least heartening news


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