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http://nationalpost.com/news/world/jonathan-kay-on-the-tyranny-of-twitter-how-mob-censure-is-changing-the-intellectual-landscape via @nationalpost

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 ………….is not included for the conditions that exist in our final years.

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We are living to 95 generally with no plan for the costly services required from 75 – 95

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 picgoogle432thinkinghenryford.

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Give some thought to what it costs for assisted

living for those who are physically unable to look after themselves

up to age 95.

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Over the past 3 decades we have increased mortality from age 75 to age 95.

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Most financial plans do not include the capital required to fund he last 20 years.

C6lsGaBUwAEYgN9.jpgA CHARGING BULL

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BRAND/OPTICS: THE AMERICAN CULTURAL SYMBOL THAT COMPANIES USE TO SEDUCE THEIR MARKET

https://www.thestar.com/news/insight/2017/06/10/trump-the-human-megabrand-that-swallowed-the-world.html

One of the most remarkable aspects of the Trump presidency so far is the emergence of Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s personal resort in Palm Beach, as a carnivalesque, members-only, all-for-profit “Winter White House.” (It was even briefly advertised as such on state department websites.) One club member told the New York Times that going to Mar-a-Lago was like “going to Disneyland and knowing Mickey Mouse will be there all day long”— only in this exercise in full-contact branding, it’s not Disneyland but Americaland, and the president of the United States is Mickey Mouse.

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When I read that quote, I realized that if I was going to try to understand this presidency, I’d have to do something I’d resisted for a long time: delve back into the world of corporate marketing and branding that was the subject of my first book, No Logo.

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The book focused on a key moment in corporate history — when behemoths such as Nike and Apple stopped thinking of themselves primarily as companies that make physical products, and started thinking of themselves first and foremost as manufacturers of brands. It was in the branding — which manufactured a sense of tribal identity — that they believed their fortunes lay.

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Forget factories. Forget needing to maintain a huge workforce. Once they realized that their biggest profits flowed from manufacturing an image, these “hollow brands” came to the conclusion that it didn’t really matter who made their products or how little they were paid. They left that to the contractors — a development with devastating repercussions for workers at home and abroad, and one that was also fuelling a new wave of anti-corporate resistance.

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Naomi Klein returns to delve back into marketing and branding in "No is Not Enough."
Naomi Klein returns to delve back into marketing and branding in “No is Not Enough.”
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To understand Trump you really have to understand the world that made him what he is, and that, to a very large extent, is the world of branding. He reflects all the worst trends I wrote about in No Logo, from shrugging off responsibility for the workers who make your products via a web of often abusive contractors to the insatiable colonial need to mark every available space with your name.

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The rise of the Superbrands, like the one Trump built around his brash persona, has its roots in a single, seemingly innocuous idea developed by management theorists in the mid-1980s: that to be successful, corporations must primarily produce brands as opposed to products.

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A new kind of corporation began to rival the traditional all-American manufacturers for market share. These were the Nikes and Apples and, later, the Tommy Hilfigers and Starbucks and so on. These pioneers had a different model: create a transcendent idea or brand surrounding your company. Use it to connect with consumers who share its values. Then charge a steep premium for products that are less about the objects themselves than about the profound human desire to be part of a tribe, a circle of belonging.

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Many of these highly branded companies made the (then) bold claim that producing goods was only an incidental part of their operations, and that, thanks to recent victories in trade liberalization and labour law reform, they could have their products produced for them at bargain-basement prices by contractors and subcontractors, many of them overseas. It didn’t really matter who did the physical work, because the real value lay not in manufacturing but in design, innovation, and of course marketing.

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It’s no secret why this model took off. If you did it right — if you made beautiful commercials, invested heavily in design, and tried to embody your brand identity through countless sponsorship arrangements and cross-promotions — many people were willing to pay almost anything for your products.

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So what does all this history have to do with Donald Trump? A great deal. Trump built an empire by following this formula precisely. And then, as a candidate, he figured out how to profit from the rage and despair it left behind in communities that used to do the kind of well-paid manufacturing that companies like his long ago abandoned. It’s quite a con.

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In the ’80s, when Trump first became a national figure, he was still a fairly traditional real estate developer who happened to have a bottomless desire to see his own name in print and pretty much everywhere else. He splashed his name on buildings around New York and Atlantic City; he worked the press relentlessly; and he turned his relationship with his wife and mistress into a live-action soap opera

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As he told Playboy: “The show is Trump, and it is sold-out performances everywhere.” Even so, the core of his business remained conventional: acquiring real estate and running those buildings, whether hotels or condo towers or casinos.

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The real breakthrough came when Mark Burnett, head of a reality TV empire, pitched Trump on the idea of The Apprentice.

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Out of the blue, he was being offered a chance to leap into the stratosphere of Superbrands, those rarefied companies earning their enormous profits primarily by building up their brand meaning and then projecting it hither and yon, liberated from the burden of having to make their own products — or, in Trump’s case, build his own buildings.

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He understood the potential immediately.

Shoes from the Ivanka Trump collection. Campaign rhetoric aside, her company has taken advantage of the outsourcing economy.

 

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Before the first episode even aired, he was already lining up deals to license his name for a menswear line. He told the network’s publicist that, even if The Apprentice “doesn’t get ratings, it’s still going to be great for my brand.”

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But it did get ratings — impressive ones. And pretty soon he had launched a complete menu of spinoff brands — from Trump cologne to Trump water to Trump eyewear to Trump mattresses to Trump University. As far as the current president of the United States was concerned, there was no category of product that couldn’t be brought into the Trump-branded bubble.

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Most importantly, with The Apprentice, Trump wasn’t paying, as other brands do, to have his brand featured in a hit network TV show; he was getting paid a fortune for priceless free advertising. More than that, his shows collected millions by promoting other brands. In April 2011, for example, The Celebrity Apprentice was paid to promote more products on the air than any other show, 120 product placements in all. This is the mark of a true Superbrand: Trump built a brand that contains brand multitudes. (And in bringing his children into the show, he even began to breed brands.)

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After you have pulled off a feat like that, what’s your next trick? Merge your brand with the ultimate symbol of power and authority: the White House.

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But before that could happen, Trump needed one more thingto complete his transformation. He radically changed the core of his business: real estate. Rather than building and owning the structures himself, as he had earlier in his career, Trump realized that he could make far easier money simply by selling his name to developers around the world, who would use his celebrity to attract buyers and customers for their office buildings, condos, and hotels. The outside developers would do the construction and carry all the liabilities. If the projects failed (as they frequently did), Trump still collected his licensing fee. And the fees were enormous. According to the Washington Post, on a single hotel-condo project in Panama, “Trump has earned at least $50 million on the project on virtually zero investment.”

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He still owns a few flagship properties, including Trump Tower in New York and Mar-a-Lago in Florida. But if you look at the broader network of a great many Trump-branded properties — from the Trump International Golf Club in Dubai to the many other Trump properties in India, Canada, Brazil, South Korea and New York City — what you see is that Trump either doesn’t own them himself or owns just a piece of them. His revenue comes from leasing his name.

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His Apprentice-era brand empire allowed him to appeal to wealthy and middle income consumers simultaneously. For the well-heeled and flashy, there was membership at his beach and golf clubs, or a unit in a Trump-branded tower, with furnishings from the Trump homeware collection. For the masses who don’t have that kind of cash, Trump auctioned off little pieces of the dream — a glossy red Trump tie, a Trump steak, a Trump book.

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Trump won the White House on a campaign that railed ceaselessly against the loss of manufacturing jobs — the same kind of jobs he has outsourced at virtually every opportunity. As a businessman, he took full advantage of the outsourcing economy, as does Ivanka’s company. And, unsurprisingly, there have been major investigative reports detailing the appalling conditions under which Trump’s ties are made in Shengzhou, China, for instance, and the even worse conditions in the Chinese factories producing Ivanka’s line of footwear.

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 The new Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver.
The new Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver.  (Darryl Dyck)  

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In April 2017, the Fair Labor Association, a watchdog that grew out of the sweatshop scandals in the ’90s, issued a report disclosing that workers in a factory in China producing for a major supplier of Ivanka’s dresses and blouses put in close to 60 hours a week, and earned what works out to a little over $1 an hour (well below the average wage for urban Chinese manufacturing workers). Most employees also lacked health and maternity benefits — not a good look for an advocate of women in the workforce.

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The construction of many Trump-branded hotels and towers has been plagued with similar controversies, in the U.S. and abroad. An investigation by Vice, for instance, revealed that the treatment of migrant workers constructing a Trump-branded golf course in Dubai stood out even in a city notorious for slave-like labour conditions. Ben Anderson, who produced the report, describes worker dorms in which “guys live 21 to a room with rats running around above them” and bathrooms that “didn’t look fit for human beings.”

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The Trump Organization issued a statement about its “zero tolerance policy for unlawful labour practices at any project bearing the ‘Trump’ name.” Needless to say, this particular project was being built by an outside company; Trump had just leased his name.

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Trump publicly defines his brand identity as quality and luxury. But that’s a sleight of hand: Trump hotels and resorts don’t even make it into the Top 10 luxury accommodation brands in the world, lists that reliably include names such as Four Seasons and Oberoi. (As if to underline the point, Mar-a-Lago was cited for nearly a dozen food safety violations in January 2017.) The truth, which doesn’t sound nearly as glamorous, is that the Trump brand stands for wealth itself — or, to put it more crassly, money. It’s why Trump’s relationship to gold is the inverse of Superman’s relationship to kryptonite: Trump crumples when he is more than three feet away from something big and shiny.

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Donald Trump’s personal brand is slightly different but intimately related. His brand is being the ultimate boss, the guy who is so rich he can do whatever he wants, whenever he wants, and to whomever he wants (including grabbing whichever woman he wants, by whichever body part he wants).

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No labour scandal is ever going to stick to him. In the world he has created, he’s just acting like a “winner”; if someone gets stepped on, they are obviously a loser. And this doesn’t only apply to labour scandals — virtually every traditional political scandal bounces off Trump. That’s because Trump didn’t just enter politics as a so-called outsider, somebody who doesn’t play by the rules. He entered politics playing by a completely different set of rules — the rules of branding.

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According to those rules, you don’t need to be objectively good or decent; you only need to be true and consistent to the brand you have created. That’s why brand managers are so obsessed with discipline and repetition: once you have identified what your core brand is, your only job is to embody that brand, project that brand, and repeat its message. If you stay focused, very little can touch you.

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That’s a problem when applied to a sitting U.S. president, especially because over many, many years, and with a startling level of consistency, Donald Trump created a brand that is entirely amoral. On the campaign trail, Trump was able to shrug off almost every conventional “gotcha.” Caught dodging federal taxes? That’s just being “smart.” Wouldn’t reveal his tax returns? Who’s going to make him? He was only half joking on the campaign trail when he said, “I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose any voters.” In Trump’s world, impunity, even more than lots of gold, is the ultimate signifier of success.

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This has grave implications for any hope of preventing this administration from acting as an open kleptocracy.

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We are in entirely uncharted territory, because let’s face it: human megabrands are a relatively new phenomenon. There’s no rulebook that foresaw any of this. People keep asking — is he going to divest? Is he going to sell his businesses? Is Ivanka going to? But it’s not at all clear what these questions even mean, because their primary businesses are their names. You can’t disentangle Trump the man from Trump the brand; those two entities merged long ago. Every time he sets foot in one of his properties — a golf club, a hotel, a beach club — White House press corps in tow, he is increasing his overall brand value, which allows his company to sell more memberships, rent more rooms, and increase fees.

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We can also see this with Ivanka, whose products have notoriously been hawked by taxpayer-funded public employees, including her father via Twitter, and his adviser Kellyanne Conway, who went on national television to do what she described as a “commercial,” telling viewers to “Go buy Ivanka’s stuff!” The conflicts tipped into self-parody on April 6, 2017, when, the Associated Press reported, “Ivanka Trump’s company won provisional approval from the Chinese government for three new trademarks, giving it monopoly rights to sell Ivanka brand jewelry, bags and spa services in the world’s second-largest economy.”

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 Trump brand housewares at a store in Lima, Peru, where they have sold well.

Trump brand housewares at a store in Lima, Peru, where they have sold well.   (SANTIAGO BARCO LUNA) 

But that’s not the only thing that happened that day. “That night, the first daughter and her husband, Jared Kushner, sat next to the president of China and his wife for a steak and Dover sole dinner at Mar-a-Lago.” A political summit whose details had been arranged by none other than Jared Kushner. Asked about these kinds of conflicts, Ivanka invariably stresses that just as her father has supposedly distanced himself from the Trump Organization by putting it in the hands of his sons (while he still collects the profits), Ivanka has put her company in the hands of “independent trustees” — her husband’s brother and sister (while she still collects the profits). This goes well beyond nepotism; it’s the U.S. government as a for-profit family business.

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We know that Trump’s presidency has made the family of brands more valuable because Ivanka’s business reported record sales after Kellyanne Conway made her televised pitch. Mar-a-Lago has already increased its membership fees, to $200,000 a year from $100,000. And why not? Now, for your fee, you might find yourself witnessing a high-stakes conversation about national security over dinner. You might get to hobnob with a visiting head of state. You might even get to witness Trump announcing that he has just launched an air assault on a foreign country.

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And, of course, you might even get to meet the president himself, and have the chance to quietly influence him. (No public records are kept of who comes and goes from the club, so who knows?) For decades, Trump has been selling the allure of proximity to wealth and power — it is the meaning of his brand. But now he’s able to offer, to his paying customers, the real deal.

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Any president who refused to sell his business would face potential conflicts of interest, since the actions of the U.S. government can impact everything from stock prices to the price of oil. But brand-based companies like Trump’s are different beasts entirely. The conflicts of interest are not only tied to specific policies or actions. Rather, the conflicts are omnipresent and continuous, embedded in the mere fact of Trump being president. That’s because the value of lifestyle brands fluctuates wildly depending on the space they occupy in the culture. So anything that increases Donald Trump’s visibility, and the perception of him as all-powerful, actively increases the value of the Trump brand, and therefore increases how much clients will pay to be associated with it — to slap it on their new condo development, say, or, on a smaller scale, to play on his golf courses or buy one of his ties.

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And there is no sign that Trump is backing off exploiting that fact to its fullest advantage. According to a New York Times report in April 2017, “Mr. Trump’s enterprise, now run by his two adult sons, has 157 trademark applications pending in 36 countries.”

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In January 2017, Donald Trump’s son Eric went on a trip to Uruguay to meet with a developer who is buying the right to use the Trump name on his new tower. At the time, the public scandal was how much U.S. taxpayers’ money went to pay for the Secret Service and other government staff who travelled with Eric on that trip: around $100,000 in hotel costs, a direct public subsidy to Trump’s private dealings. But the deeper scandal is what they were in Uruguay to promote: the Trump brand, which had just been made so much more valuable by the fact that its owner was about to be sworn in as U.S. president.

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And this says nothing about the potential for corruption, which is dizzying. Given that what the Trump sons — Eric and Donald Jr. — are selling is ephemeral (a name), a buyer could pay $6 million for it or could pay $60 million. Who’s to judge what constitutes a fair market-value price? More worryingly, who’s to say what services are being purchased when a private company pays millions to lease the Trump brand? Do they really think it’s that valuable to their condo tower, or do they think that by throwing in an extra $5 million, they might be looked on more favourably in other dealings that require a friendly relationship with the White House? It’s very difficult to see how any of this can be untangled. A brand is worth whatever buyers are willing to pay for it. That’s always been the appeal of building a business on this model — that something as ephemeral as a name could be vested with such real-world monetary value.’.

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Ties for sale, for $60 (U.S.) each, at the Trump Store in Trump Tower in New York last fall.
Ties for sale, for $60 (U.S.) each, at the Trump Store in Trump Tower in New York last fall.   (JOSHUA BRIGHT)  

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The Trump Organization has said it will not make any new deals for foreign properties, to prevent an appearance of impropriety. But this isn’t just an international question. If a U.S. city or state government grants a Trump development a break on taxes or regulations, are they really doing it because they think this particular business will help their community — or because they want something from the White House? Same goes for any government or business — foreign or domestic — that chooses a Trump property for an event or as a place for employees to stay. Do they really think it’s the best option, or are they trying to curry favour?

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What’s fascinating about these ethics questions is that they are so similar to the scandals surrounding the Clinton Foundation, which may well have contributed to Hillary’s electoral loss. There were many thorny questions about what a private company or foreign government thought they were getting when they made a hefty donation to the Clinton Foundation. Were they being purely philanthropic, moved by the scourge of infectious diseases and childhood obesity? Or were they also making a calculation that their donation would pay some dividends because Hillary Clinton was secretary of state and looked likely to become the next U.S. president?

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Those were valid concerns, and Trump didn’t hesitate to raise them about his rival. But with the money the Trump sons are collecting from leasing their father’s name, and the favours they are negotiating, the potential for influence peddling is of a different order: we now have money flowing to the family of a sitting president, not a projected president, and with not even the pretext of philanthropy, which the Clinton Foundation at least had. This is not to exonerate the Clintons — far from it. The decades Bill and Hillary spent blurring ethical lines at the Foundation are part of what set the stage for Trump to annihilate those lines altogether.

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I didn’t foresee branding culture going this far when I started writing about it 20 years ago. But I’m also not surprised. Back then, I saw branding as a colonial process: it seeks to absorb ever more space and real estate and create a self-enclosed bubble. What’s extraordinary about Donald Trump’s presidency is that now we are all inside the Trump branded world, whether we want to be or not. We have all become extras in his for-profit reality TV show, which has expanded to swallow the most powerful government in the world.

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Excerpted from No Is Not Enough by Naomi Klein. Copyright © 2017 Naomi Klein. Published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Penguin Random House Canada Limited. Reproduced by arrangement with the Publisher. All rights reserved.

Andrew Coyne: Meech Lake, again? How about we just don’t

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Andrew Coyne | June 2, 2017

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Waves of nostalgia, waves of dread, waves of ennui: to read the government of Quebec’s new list of old demands for constitutional change is to return to a world I had thought we left behind. I lost a good part of my youth to the Twenty Years War over the constitution, 1980-2000; the thought of wasting the rest of my career in the same way is too horrible to contemplate.

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What is astonishing — beyond the suicidal madness of the whole exercise — is how little has changed. It’s all there in the document (“Quebecers: Our Way of Being Canadian”), much of it written in that familiar, exalted style known as Nationalist Baroque, in which Quebec is forever serenely marching towards its rendez-vous with destiny and whatnot.

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There is the same tendentious history, the same omission of inconvenient facts or contrary interpretations. Thus for example the “compact theory” of Confederation is treated as if it had some significance to the people who actually negotiated it, instead of being dreamt up in subsequent decades to rationalize the ambitions of the premiers of Ontario and Quebec. Thus George-Etienne Cartier is quoted reassuring his compatriots that Confederation offered protections for the “French Canadian nationality,” without also mentioning his belief, proclaimed on more than one occasion, that it would give rise to a new “political nationality,” singular, that would transcend, without diminishing, our cultural and linguistic differences.

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There is the same constant, unstated assumption that whatever is in the interests of the government of Quebec is in the interests of Quebecers, and its corollary, that only the government of Quebec can speak for Quebecers: the sole basis for the specious complaint that Quebec has not “signed” the 1982 constitution, as if that were necessary. Thus the story is recounted yet again of the Great Betrayal of patriation, wherein an alien constitutional vision was imposed on Quebecers by … a federal government headed by a Quebecer, with the support of 72 of the province’s 75 members of Parliament. Oh, right: them.

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There is the usual heads-we-win, tails-the-federation-loses approach to the division of powers: any exercise of federal jurisdiction that gets up the government of Quebec’s nose, as through the federal spending power, is an unconscionable violation of the Confederation bargain, whereas Quebec may blithely expand into any jurisdiction it likes, even those — foreign affairs, say — that are explicitly federal. And there is the same endless moving of the goal posts, every new concession simply becoming the platform on which to build demands for the next.

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When the Harper government passed a motion in the House of Commons a decade ago recognizing “the Québécois” as “a nation,” those of who us who warned it would not end there — including Michael Chong, who resigned his cabinet seat in protest — were treated as antiquarians and nitpickers. This was surely — the phrases are always the same — pure symbolism, mere recognition of a sociological fact. If it made people happy, where was the harm? And with the decline of separatism, it seemed there might be something to it.

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But it is always when separatist fortunes are at their lowest that federalists throw them a lifeline. When Meech Lake was first sprung upon the public, support for sovereignty was at historic lows. By the time it and its successor, the Charlottetown Accord, had come and gone, the separatists were within a half a percentage point of winning the referendum.

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And so, having learned exactly nothing from the experience, the Quebec Liberals are back with almost exactly the same demands as those that nearly tore apart the country 30 years ago: a constitutional veto, effective control over appointments to the Supreme Court, constitutional limits on the federal spending power, constitutionalization of its current role in immigration, and … why no, it’s no longer the “distinct society” clause, through which lens the courts are to interpret the entire constitution. The phrase now is “the Quebec nation.” After all, hasn’t Parliament already voted to recognize it?

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Aside from the slippery rewriting of the province’s “historic demands,” there is also the slippery rewriting of the phrase itself. The Harper-era resolution was specifically worded to say, not Quebec, but “the Québécois,” meaning the province’s French-speaking majority. The new demand is for constitutional recognition of Quebec as a nation — less sociological fact, more nation-state. Lest there be any doubt as to what kind of interpretive weight this would have, the document goes on at some length in praise of the principle of “asymmetry,” wherein some provinces exercise powers not given to others.

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What’s wrong with that? Don’t we already have examples of asymmetry in our governing arrangements? Yes, we do, most of them ill-advised. But there’s a limit to how far you can stretch that elastic. The objection to asymmetry isn’t a mulish insistence that every province is like every other. It’s that, past a certain point, it is unsustainable. People in the rest of Canada would not stand for members of Parliament from Quebec legislating for them — raising taxes, say — in matters over which Parliament has no jurisdiction in Quebec. Federalism is about diversity, yes: that’s an argument for leaving certain matters to provincial jurisdiction, not for recognizing federal authority in some parts of the country but not others.

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Oh God. I’m doing it again, aren’t I? I’ve gone back 30 years myself. The same debates, the same fallacies, the same doubletalk, and all of it just as pointless and unnecessary as ever. There is no problem these proposals would solve, no power Quebec needs it does not already have. There is only the inexhaustible self-importance of its political class.

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How about we just don’t?

 

 

 

 

Ethics

C6lsGaBUwAEYgN9.jpgA CHARGING BULL

Moral Vision & the Landscape of Engineering Professionalism
Part II

BY ELIZABETH D. GEE, ED.D

The development of professional codes of ethics is often discussed in response to issues of professional integrity. Clearly there are ways in which these standards contribute to the professional’s ethical integrity. They bring focus and force to ethical predicaments that otherwise might go unattended. Codes of ethics provide a means of participating in the moral life of the professional community and sharing in the professional consensus concerning courtesy, responsibility, and competency. They relieve some of the extraordinary psychological burden and moral aggravation that professionals otherwise would face. And, to an important degree, these standards distinguish the professional’s obligations that are role specific from those of ordinary persons.

However, in his book “The Moral Foundation of Professional Ethics” (1980), Arthur H. Goldman chides doctors, lawyers, business leaders, and engineers who contrive their own codes of ethics-codes that, can serve to excuse us from personal morality. Even more troubling is law professor Tom Shaffer’s concern that ethical codes and rules can be used as a tool for avoiding morality. And in some cases, codes of ethics are designed merely to avoid outside regulation of a profession.

True ethical discourse involves freedom to question and autonomy to act on the complexities of the moral choice at hand. Codes can stifle true ethical discourse by providing ready-made solutions to complex moral choices. In their ideal sense, codes of ethics should help define the relationship and responsibility of the professional to society. But blind devotion to ethical codes will not address the ethical concerns of the engineering profession. The final burden is upon the individual’s conscience and values. In the end, codes of ethics can never be an engineer’s voice, except as he or she chooses to recite the rules or struggles with the ideas that shaped them.

Of course, there are engineers who do not fall victim to indifference. There are engineers who surmount it, who do not sink into static conditions and cynicism. What makes them different? What do they do that their colleagues do not?

I believe that those who fully realize their ethical and truth-seeking potential engage in a twofold activity. First, they talk honestly with themselves. They compose mental essays and then edit, critique, and revise them with bright red ink. They feed the life of the mind outside of conventional discourse, not as a means of elitist amusement, but as a source of self-enablement. They read, they think, and they ponder ideas.

Engineers who do not talk to themselves are setting themselves up for self-deception, for false self justification. To avoid this fate, they must engage in a second activity, which I call “moral vision.” They must move beyond rules, procedures, or even logical analysis, to the broadest configuration of life. They must make a “larger sense” out of their existence that goes beyond their own experience.

While moral vision entails rule following and formal reasoning, it also encompasses imagination, emotion, and insight. It is that secret room that traps and releases our many and various moral thoughts and deeds. Moral vision takes into account our recollections of being treated fairly or shabbily; it considers examples set by moral mentors, and remembers details of a particular person’s inner strength that touched us. It recalls past habits of moral choice and our disposition to think and behave rightly or wrongly.

Vision is also the circumstance of our culture and ethical history. It embodies more than commonly held moral principles, political frameworks, and procedural habits. Engineers must recognize and cultivate the social and cultural architecture that has formed them. They must begin to understand T.S. Elliot’s dictum: “We are nothing without a knowledge of the traditions that made us.” Engineers who are willing to examine those traditions in the context of what it means to be human will better understand the struggles, and moral dilemmas that have plagued us from the beginning of time.

There are three avenues to follow in cultivating moral vision. First, the process must be ongoing and dynamic. Vision must sweep back and forth between historical and contemporary perspectives. It must encompass problems of the past when addressing engineers’ current conflicts in their relations among themselves, between themselves and their clients, and between themselves and the public.

The technological advances of our rapidly changing society present new dilemmas on a daily basis for all of you, whether you are biomedical, environmental, industrial, civil, or software engineers. Vision will require a historical as well as a future perspective to address these issues. By shifting between the past and the present, we must seek order and constancy in the chaotic appearances of our human differences.

The second avenue toward moral vision entails movement between abstract and concrete knowledge. Vision favors abstraction, but also must accommodate specificity. A new vision necessarily implies new ways of knowing, and then integrating new forms of knowledge with the values and procedures of our society. Moral vision is an important act of ordering that tests the relevance of particular elements to the overall concept. In this sense, advances in many areas, such as genetic or environmental engineering, will need to be examined in terms of the effects new technologies will have on our social and moral fabric.

As a third avenue toward moral vision, we must constantly shift between public and private spheres. This requires integrating one’s personal history with a cultural literature. We must not only ponder ideas in our own minds, we must also talk with each other, sharing ideas and perspectives. Moral vision does not operate in a vacuum. We must be aware of the values of other cultures and societies in order to be effective world citizens. Here we acquire the richness of overview that must inform basic human values. We thus a,cquire what theologian Paul recognized as “the courage to be oneself and the courage to be as a part.”

As a teacher of ethics, I must confront the obvious question: to what extent are educational institutions and professional schools to blame for lack of moral vision, for disillusionment, for shoddiness? Insofar as they fail to encourage students to reflect critically upon their own thoughts and upon their participation in life, our schools and other education enterprises are responsible.

Yet the burden must be shared by the individual, too. As IBM Chairman John Ackers noted: “If an MBA candidate doesn’t know the difference between honesty and crime, between lying and telling the truth, then business school, in all probability, will not produce a convert.” Likewise, Mortimer Adler once told me during an interview on teaching ethics that there are two kinds of ethical skills: the skill of the will and the skill of the intellect. If the student has no will, then all the ethical analysis in the world isn’t going to go very far.

But as a step toward greater ethical discourse, the education of engineering students can and should be a part of the solution. Indeed it must be part of the solution. Our educational institutions and schools of engineering should give greater attention to the arts and humanities as a way to enable individual and collective vision across all professions. Through the arts and humanities, through a novel, a story, or a play, our existence is expanded, our vision extended. That is the value of the arts and humanities. They enrich our professions as classroom teaching cannot. They transcend professional education.

The arts are relevant for another reason. Often they depict and celebrate moral vision. They prompt us to answer humanly and honestly to life. Students, whether in colleges of engineering or other educational settings must be given opportunities to enhance their self-understanding. The moral life and the satisfying life begin with reflection, a sense of self-identity. This is particularly important in today’s educational climate, which gives significantly greater weight to mastering quantities of facts and information. We must return to the ideals of our professions, of our calling.

Engineering education and the engineering profession must increase recognition and awareness among their constituencies of the dimensions of competency and ethics that are not covered by formal standards. The engineer’s sense of identity and ethical responsibility demands critical reflection upon the multiple avenues of professional conduct, rather than blind adherence to codes.

My call for developing moral vision stands, I believe, on its own merits. Moral vision is, as we have seen, an extension of the best within us. It is intrinsically introspective. In a practical sense, it causes us to assume responsibility for our own profession. And that is my message to you today-we must assume responsibility for our professions. The burden must not be passed on to others.

Where do we start? I suggest, for example, that we support and stimulate each other within our professional communities. There should be more opportunities for reflection, more opportunities for mentoring, more opportunities for the experienced to share their moral vision with engineering newcomers. Engineering professors, and employers or supervisors of other engineers, must assume professional responsibility of exploring ethical conflicts with their employees. Increased attention must also be given to the character and ethical consequences of our own behavior, not only as it relates to clients, but also colleagues. To reduce internal competition, companies will need to begin to evaluate the manner in which employees are recognized and rewarded for a team effort.

As a further measure, management must expand its values beyond the profit motive and encourage more flexible employee/employer relationships. There is no denying that when the company loses money, everyone loses. But clearly the profit motive can be more balanced with sound business practices.

The engineering profession and schools of engineering should also consider developing opportunities in which they can collectively discuss difficult dilemmas, mutual ethical commitments, and agendas for action. More workshops or conferences with ethical concerns might provide greater opportunities for engineers to receive instruction on important issues of processional conduct.

We also need companion materials to the growing body of literature that addresses the ethical professional concerns of your profession. We need a new literature that discusses current problems, their complexity, and their impact on the engineer’s responsibility. Such literature would take into account moral vision and its proper role in our everyday life.

I have suggested several basic premises: the stultifying effect of recurrent professional activity, the need for frank reappraisal of ethical responsibility, a sense of calling within our professional communities, and an obligation to the civic good. Addressing these issues would contribute to a collective moral vision in our professions, and could possibly begin to restore the trust that has been harmed over the years.

The call for vision is usually associated with ideals- with long-range aspirations and integrity. And moral vision requires moral resolve. At times we will be called upon to make painful decisions in response to ethical dilemmas. These decisions will affect not only ourselves, but our families, our work, and our society.

Through the exercise of moral vision, we will define what we are and what we are not; what being an engineer promises, and what it does not; what it means to have the “courage to be oneself and the courage to be as a part.” Once we accept this challenge, professionalism will then become clear-a joining of the best within us, and among us.

Elizabeth D. Gee, Ed.D is Associate Professor in the Department of Educational Policy and Leadership of the College of Education

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Moral Vision & the Landscape of Engineering Professionalism – Part I

BY ELIZABETH D. GEE, ED.D

Too often engineering, or any profession, is true to the adage: “It is not one thing after another; it is the same thing over and over.” This adage can be applied to many professional circumstances, but particularly to the ethical domain of engineering.

Engineering is a profession in transition. I need not dwell on the many changes that have occurred in recent years-they are self-evident. But those changes have transformed the public image of engineering, its scope of practice, the way it is taught, and often the very nature of the profession’s activities. I wish to discuss this with you today, and to focus especially on the individual engineers in our society, for I am convinced that the future and well-being of the profession rests upon private views of responsibility; and in turn, a collective willingness to make a difference.

There is truth in the adage I cited a moment ago. Repetition-“the same thing over and over”- plagues the practice of our professions. Too commonly, that practice is limited to recurrent naggings of routine and convention, habits of seeing, habits of feeling, and habits of doing that understandably drain professionals of their spontaneity. As a result, we may become indiscriminate, immune to the unique circumstances and conditions of the situation at hand. Patterns of behavior may begin to predominate as responses emerge from a type of “ethical auto-pilot.”

Preoccupation with daily routine and work patterns causes professionals to lose touch with their profession, its ideas, and its ideals. This circumstance gives rise to doubt about the model-doubt about its legitimacy, validity, teachability, and most dangerously, its importance.

We must begin to ask why certain things occur. Why do so many engineers begin their careers on a bright note, only to find themselves bored and unchallenged in a matter of a few years? Why do some engineering students think there is no more to ethics than obeying the law? Why, in so many cases, is profit put before the best interests of the client? Has the profession fundamentally changed? Has the way we think about ethics and teach ethics changed? It could be that the complexity of our professional lives has forced us into daily conventions that become ruts, ruts so deep that we no longer are aware of the ethical dilemmas and opportunities for choice that present themselves every day.

Obviously though, not everyone for whom engineering is a source of livelihood is bored, stoic, and passive. Robert Bellah points out in his landmark book Habits of the Heart that work can be a source of self-esteem. It may provide new challenges and pathways to social standing and power. Yet many professionals miss a sense of calling that, in Bellah’s words, “not only links a person to his or her fellow workers,” but “links a person to the larger community as a whole in which the calling of each is a contribution to the good of all.”

Yet, indifference and even cynicism can be found in the professions. Cynicism arises when options are limited, when possibilities for choosing are lost. Lines become blurred and difficult to draw, and standards seem out of reach. Deception begins to dominate, leading many to place self-interest above societal interest.

We cannot be both cynical and honest to ourselves. We cannot be both cynical and consciously moral because to be moral, we act by what we truthfully see as right and wrong.

Genuine ethical autonomy is the product of reflective and honest choice. It is the freedom to gauge meaning, to browse among one’s meditations, to turn a thought around here, then there, changing one’s perspective. To be morally alert is to be conscious of the complexities that ethical dilemmas impose. It is to see differences in the landscapes of one moral problem contrasted with another. It is to weigh self-interest against the interest of others.

Morally autonomous engineers are truly free to see and to act upon their ideas and intentions. The way in which one exercises this autonomy lies at the core of a person’s conception of him or herself. Naturally this liberty implies the availability of resources and freedom of movement. And this is not all: there must be a prodding of will, a tightening of control, a building of resolve, because many times the choices will be difficult, and perhaps painful.

The professional capacity for full moral discourse is presently hampered by several factors. One is that engineers cannot avoid the fact that they deal in a marketplace economy, where competition, cost, and profit motives seem to be the bottom line. And as you well know, many times what it takes to please the boss, the stockholders, the client, and your conscience are not the same. Clearly, the demands and conflicts of capitalism inherent in your profession present the difficult dilemma of balancing many interests.

It is no wonder that many of you face a discussion of these dilemmas with apprehension. But we can no longer allow profit motives and self-interest, however “legal” these strategies might be, to substitute for common sense, courtesy, and morality. The fact is this: engineers must address their ethical problems before they become legal issues, scandals, and rip-offs. All too often, the media and the legal profession become the watchdogs of public interest. In fact, the law and the media should be the last-and only the last-groups that address the issues confronting your profession.

Elizabeth D. Gee, Ed.D, is Senior Research Associate in the Center for Women’s Studies and Adjunct Assistant Professor in the College of Education at Ohio State University. Dr. Gee has advanced degrees in history and education, plus experience in teaching ethics to aspiring professionals.

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POLITICAL ECONOMIC AND FISCAL VIEWS IN CANADA

Dan Zwicker, Toronto

https://plus.google.com/+DanielZwicker-ESQ1
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POLITICS: THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
https://plus.google.com/collection/8UI_GE
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FINANCIAL: SALES OR PROFESSIONAL ADVICE? WHICH?
https://plus.google.com/collection/cZFqbB
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THE DISCIPLINE REQUIRED IN FINANCIAL LITERACY
https://plus.google.com/collection/cZFqbB
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A POLITICAL VIEW: DAN ZWICKER
https://plus.google.com/collection/cZFqbB

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VISIT GOOGLE+ ON EACH OF THE ABOVE LINKS

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http://cnn.it/2qIwbt0

 

Trump’s entire speech to Muslim world

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia (CNN)US President Donald Trump on Sunday delivered a speech to the leaders of more than 50 Muslim countries to outline his vision for US-Muslim relations.

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Here is a complete transcript of his remarks.
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“I want to thank King Salman for his extraordinary words, and the magnificent Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for hosting today’s summit. I am honored to be received by such gracious hosts. I have always heard about the splendor of your country and the kindness of your citizens, but words do not do justice to the grandeur of this remarkable place and the incredible hospitality you have shown us from the moment we arrived.
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You also hosted me in the treasured home of King Abdulaziz, the founder of the Kingdom who united your great people. Working alongside another beloved leader — American President Franklin Roosevelt — King Abdulaziz began the enduring partnership between our two countries. King Salman: your father would be so proud to see that you are continuing his legacy — and just as he opened the first chapter in our partnership, today we begin a new chapter that will bring lasting benefits to our citizens.
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Let me now also extend my deep and heartfelt gratitude to each and every one of the distinguished heads of state who made this journey here today. You greatly honor us with your presence, and I send the warmest regards from my country to yours. I know that our time together will bring many blessings to both your people and mine.
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I stand before you as a representative of the American People, to deliver a message of friendship and hope. That is why I chose to make my first foreign visit a trip to the heart of the Muslim world, to the nation that serves as custodian of the two holiest sites in the Islamic Faith.
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In my inaugural address to the American People, I pledged to strengthen America’s oldest friendships, and to build new partnerships in pursuit of peace. I also promised that America will not seek to impose our way of life on others, but to outstretch our hands in the spirit of cooperation and trust.
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Our vision is one of peace, security, and prosperity—in this region, and in the world.
Our goal is a coalition of nations who share the aim of stamping out extremism and providing our children a hopeful future that does honor to God.
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And so this historic and unprecedented gathering of leaders—unique in the history of nations—is a symbol to the world of our shared resolve and our mutual respect. To the leaders and citizens of every country assembled here today, I want you to know that the United States is eager to form closer bonds of friendship, security, culture and commerce.
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For Americans, this is an exciting time. A new spirit of optimism is sweeping our country: in just a few months, we have created almost a million new jobs, added over 3 trillion dollars of new value, lifted the burdens on American industry, and made record investments in our military that will protect the safety of our people and enhance the security of our wonderful friends and allies — many of whom are here today.
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Now, there is even more blessed news I am pleased to share with you. My meetings with King Salman, the Crown Prince, and the Deputy Crown Prince, have been filled with great warmth, good will, and tremendous cooperation. Yesterday, we signed historic agreements with the Kingdom that will invest almost $400 billion in our two countries and create many thousands of jobs in America and Saudi Arabia.
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This landmark agreement includes the announcement of a $110 billion Saudi-funded defense purchase — and we will be sure to help our Saudi friends to get a good deal from our great American defense companies. This agreement will help the Saudi military to take a greater role in security operations.
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We have also started discussions with many of the countries present today on strengthening partnerships, and forming new ones, to advance security and stability across the Middle East and beyond.
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Later today, we will make history again with the opening of a new Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology — located right here, in this central part of the Islamic World.
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This groundbreaking new center represents a clear declaration that Muslim-majority countries must take the lead in combating radicalization, and I want to express our gratitude to King Salman for this strong demonstration of leadership.
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I have had the pleasure of welcoming several of the leaders present today to the White House, and I look forward to working with all of you.
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America is a sovereign nation and our first priority is always the safety and security of our citizens. We are not here to lecture—we are not here to tell other people how to live, what to do, who to be, or how to worship. Instead, we are here to offer partnership — based on shared interests and values — to pursue a better future for us all.
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Here at this summit we will discuss many interests we share together. But above all we must be united in pursuing the one goal that transcends every other consideration. That goal is to meet history’s great test—to conquer extremism and vanquish the forces of terrorism.
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Young Muslim boys and girls should be able to grow up free from fear, safe from violence, and innocent of hatred. And young Muslim men and women should have the chance to build a new era of prosperity for themselves and their peoples.
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With God’s help, this summit will mark the beginning of the end for those who practice terror and spread its vile creed. At the same time, we pray this special gathering may someday be remembered as the beginning of peace in the Middle East — and maybe, even all over the world.
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But this future can only be achieved through defeating terrorism and the ideology that drives it.
Few nations have been spared its violent reach.
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America has suffered repeated barbaric attacks — from the atrocities of September 11th to the devastation of the Boston Bombing, to the horrible killings in San Bernardino and Orlando.
The nations of Europe have also endured unspeakable horror. So too have the nations of Africa and even South America. India, Russia, China and Australia have been victims.
But, in sheer numbers, the deadliest toll has been exacted on the innocent people of Arab, Muslim and Middle Eastern nations. They have borne the brunt of the killings and the worst of the destruction in this wave of fanatical violence.
Some estimates hold that more than 95 percent of the victims of terrorism are themselves Muslim.
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We now face a humanitarian and security disaster in this region that is spreading across the planet. It is a tragedy of epic proportions. No description of the suffering and depravity can begin to capture its full measure.
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The true toll of ISIS, al Qaeda, Hezbollah, Hamas, and so many others, must be counted not only in the number of dead. It must also be counted in generations of vanished dreams.
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The Middle East is rich with natural beauty, vibrant cultures, and massive amounts of historic treasures. It should increasingly become one of the great global centers of commerce and opportunity.
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This region should not be a place from which refugees flee, but to which newcomers flock.
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Saudi Arabia is home to the holiest sites in one of the world’s great faiths. Each year millions of Muslims come from around the world to Saudi Arabia to take part in the Hajj. In addition to ancient wonders, this country is also home to modern ones—including soaring achievements in architecture.
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Egypt was a thriving center of learning and achievement thousands of years before other parts of the world. The wonders of Giza, Luxor and Alexandria are proud monuments to that ancient heritage.
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All over the world, people dream of walking through the ruins of Petra in Jordan. Iraq was the cradle of civilization and is a land of natural beauty. And the United Arab Emirates has reached incredible heights with glass and steel, and turned earth and water into spectacular works of art.
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The entire region is at the center of the key shipping lanes of the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, and the Straits of Hormuz. The potential of this region has never been greater. 65 percent of its population is under the age of 30. Like all young men and women, they seek great futures to build, great national projects to join, and a place for their families to call home.
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But this untapped potential, this tremendous cause for optimism, is held at bay by bloodshed and terror. There can be no coexistence with this violence. There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it, and no ignoring it.
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Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person, and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith.
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Terrorists do not worship God, they worship death.
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If we do not act against this organized terror, then we know what will happen. Terrorism’s devastation of life will continue to spread. Peaceful societies will become engulfed by violence. And the futures of many generations will be sadly squandered.
If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing—then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God.
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This is not a battle between different faiths, different sects, or different civilizations.
This is a battle between barbaric criminals who seek to obliterate human life, and decent people of all religions who seek to protect it.
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This is a battle between Good and Evil.
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When we see the scenes of destruction in the wake of terror, we see no signs that those murdered were Jewish or Christian, Shia or Sunni. When we look upon the streams of innocent blood soaked into the ancient ground, we cannot see the faith or sect or tribe of the victims — we see only that they were Children of God whose deaths are an insult to all that is holy.
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But we can only overcome this evil if the forces of good are united and strong — and if everyone in this room does their fair share and fulfills their part of the burden.
Terrorism has spread across the world. But the path to peace begins right here, on this ancient soil, in this sacred land.
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America is prepared to stand with you — in pursuit of shared interests and common security.
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But the nations of the Middle East cannot wait for American power to crush this enemy for them. The nations of the Middle East will have to decide what kind of future they want for themselves, for their countries, and for their children.
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It is a choice between two futures — and it is a choice America CANNOT make for you.
A better future is only possible if your nations drive out the terrorists and extremists.
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Drive. Them. Out.
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DRIVE THEM OUT of your places of worship.
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DRIVE THEM OUT of your communities.
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DRIVE THEM OUT of your holy land, and
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DRIVE THEM OUT OF THIS EARTH.
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For our part, America is committed to adjusting our strategies to meet evolving threats and new facts. We will discard those strategies that have not worked—and will apply new approaches informed by experience and judgment. We are adopting a Principled Realism, rooted in common values and shared interests.
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Our friends will never question our support, and our enemies will never doubt our determination. Our partnerships will advance security through stability, not through radical disruption. We will make decisions based on real-world outcomes — not inflexible ideology. We will be guided by the lessons of experience, not the confines of rigid thinking. And, wherever possible, we will seek gradual reforms — not sudden intervention.
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We must seek partners, not perfection—and to make allies of all who share our goals.
Above all, America seeks peace — not war.
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Muslim nations must be willing to take on the burden, if we are going to defeat terrorism and send its wicked ideology into oblivion.
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The first task in this joint effort is for your nations to deny all territory to the foot soldiers of evil. Every country in the region has an absolute duty to ensure that terrorists find no sanctuary on their soil.
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Many are already making significant contributions to regional security: Jordanian pilots are crucial partners against ISIS in Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia and a regional coalition have taken strong action against Houthi militants in Yemen. The Lebanese Army is hunting ISIS operatives who try to infiltrate their territory. Emirati troops are supporting our Afghan partners. In Mosul, American troops are supporting Kurds, Sunnis and Shias fighting together for their homeland. Qatar, which hosts the U.S. Central Command, is a crucial strategic partner. Our longstanding partnership with Kuwait and Bahrain continue to enhance security in the region. And courageous Afghan soldiers are making tremendous sacrifices in the fight against the Taliban, and others, in the fight for their country.
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As we deny terrorist organizations control of territory and populations, we must also strip them of their access to funds. We must cut off the financial channels that let ISIS sell oil, let extremists pay their fighters, and help terrorists smuggle their reinforcements.
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I am proud to announce that the nations here today will be signing an agreement to prevent the financing of terrorism, called the Terrorist Financing Targeting Center — co-chaired by the United States and Saudi Arabia, and joined by every member of the Gulf Cooperation Council. It is another historic step in a day that will be long remembered.
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I also applaud the Gulf Cooperation Council for blocking funders from using their countries as a financial base for terror, and designating Hezbollah as a terrorist organization last year. Saudi Arabia also joined us this week in placing sanctions on one of the most senior leaders of Hezbollah.
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Of course, there is still much work to do.
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That means honestly confronting the crisis of Islamist extremism and the Islamist terror groups it inspires. And it means standing together against the murder of innocent Muslims, the oppression of women, the persecution of Jews, and the slaughter of Christians.
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Religious leaders must make this absolutely clear: Barbarism will deliver you no glory — piety to evil will bring you no dignity. If you choose the path of terror, your life will be empty, your life will be brief, and YOUR SOUL WILL BE CONDEMNED.
And political leaders must speak out to affirm the same idea: heroes don’t kill innocents; they save them. Many nations here today have taken important steps to raise up that message. Saudi Arabia’s Vision for 2030 is an important and encouraging statement of tolerance, respect, empowering women, and economic development.
The United Arab Emirates has also engaged in the battle for hearts and souls—and with the U.S., launched a center to counter the online spread of hate. Bahrain too is working to undermine recruitment and radicalism.
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I also applaud Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon for their role in hosting refugees. The surge of migrants and refugees leaving the Middle East depletes the human capital needed to build stable societies and economies. Instead of depriving this region of so much human potential, Middle Eastern countries can give young people hope for a brighter future in their home nations and regions.
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That means promoting the aspirations and dreams of all citizens who seek a better life — including women, children, and followers of all faiths. Numerous Arab and Islamic scholars have eloquently argued that protecting equality strengthens Arab and Muslim communities.
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For many centuries the Middle East has been home to Christians, Muslims and Jews living side-by-side. We must practice tolerance and respect for each other once again—and make this region a place where every man and woman, no matter their faith or ethnicity, can enjoy a life of dignity and hope.
In that spirit, after concluding my visit in Riyadh, I will travel to Jerusalem and Bethlehem, and then to the Vatican — visiting many of the holiest places in the three Abrahamic Faiths. If these three faiths can join together in cooperation, then peace in this world is possible — including peace between Israelis and Palestinians. I will be meeting with both Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
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Starving terrorists of their territory, their funding, and the false allure of their craven ideology, will be the basis for defeating them.
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But no discussion of stamping out this threat would be complete without mentioning the government that gives terrorists all three—safe harbor, financial backing, and the social standing needed for recruitment. It is a regime that is responsible for so much instability in the region. I am speaking of course of Iran.
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From Lebanon to Iraq to Yemen, Iran funds, arms, and trains terrorists, militias, and other extremist groups that spread destruction and chaos across the region. For decades, Iran has fueled the fires of sectarian conflict and terror.
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It is a government that speaks openly of mass murder, vowing the destruction of Israel, death to America, and ruin for many leaders and nations in this room.
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Among Iran’s most tragic and destabilizing interventions have been in Syria. Bolstered by Iran, Assad has committed unspeakable crimes, and the United States has taken firm action in response to the use of banned chemical weapons by the Assad Regime — launching 59 tomahawk missiles at the Syrian air base from where that murderous attack originated.
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Responsible nations must work together to end the humanitarian crisis in Syria, eradicate ISIS, and restore stability to the region. The Iranian regime’s longest-suffering victims are its own people. Iran has a rich history and culture, but the people of Iran have endured hardship and despair under their leaders’ reckless pursuit of conflict and terror.
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Until the Iranian regime is willing to be a partner for peace, all nations of conscience must work together to isolate Iran, deny it funding for terrorism, and pray for the day when the Iranian people have the just and righteous government they deserve.
The decisions we make will affect countless lives.
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King Salman, I thank you for the creation of this great moment in history, and for your massive investment in America, its industry and its jobs. I also thank you for investing in the future of this part of the world.
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This fertile region has all the ingredients for extraordinary success — a rich history and culture, a young and vibrant people, a thriving spirit of enterprise. But you can only unlock this future if the citizens of the Middle East are freed from extremism, terror and violence.
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We in this room are the leaders of our peoples. They look to us for answers, and for action. And when we look back at their faces, behind every pair of eyes is a soul that yearns for justice.
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Today, billions of faces are now looking at us, waiting for us to act on the great question of our time.
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Will we be indifferent in the presence of evil? Will we protect our citizens from its violent ideology? Will we let its venom spread through our societies? Will we let it destroy the most holy sites on earth? If we do not confront this deadly terror, we know what the future will bring—more suffering and despair. But if we act—if we leave this magnificent room unified and determined to do what it takes to destroy the terror that threatens the world—then there is no limit to the great future our citizens will have.
The birthplace of civilization is waiting to begin a new renaissance. Just imagine what tomorrow could bring.
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Glorious wonders of science, art, medicine and commerce to inspire humankind. Great cities built on the ruins of shattered towns. New jobs and industries that will lift up millions of people. Parents who no longer worry for their children, families who no longer mourn for their loved ones, and the faithful who finally worship without fear.
These are the blessings of prosperity and peace. These are the desires that burn with a righteous flame in every human heart. And these are the just demands of our beloved peoples.
I ask you to join me, to join together, to work together, and to FIGHT together— BECAUSE UNITED, WE WILL NOT FAIL.
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Thank you.
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God Bless You.
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God Bless Your Countries.
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And God Bless the United States of America.”

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THE AMERICAN DREAM – ECONOMIC MOBILITY?

IS IT ALIVE AND WELL?

TIME TO UPDATE THE TEMPLATE?

 

https://www.brookings.edu/research/economic-mobility-is-the-american-dream-alive-and-well/amp/

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For more than two centuries, economic opportunity and the prospect of upward mobility have formed the bedrock upon which the American story has been anchored — inspiring people in distant lands to seek our shores and sustaining the unwavering optimism of Americans at home. From the hopes of the earliest settlers to the aspirations of today’s diverse population, the American Dream unites us in a common quest for individual and national success. But new data suggest that this once solid ground may well be shifting. This raises provocative questions about the continuing ability of all Americans to move up the economic ladder and calls into question whether the American economic meritocracy is still alive and well.

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Recent studies suggest that there is less economic mobility in the United States than has long been presumed. The last thirty years has seen a considerable drop-off in median household income growth compared to earlier generations. And, by some measurements, we are actually a less mobile society than many other nations, including Canada, France, Germany and most Scandinavian countries. This challenges the notion of America as the land of opportunity.

Despite these potentially troubling findings, the current national economic debate remains focused too narrowly on the issue of inequality, leaving aside the more important core question of whether the foundation of opportunity, economic mobility, remains intact. As Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke recently noted:

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Although we Americans strive to provide equality of economic opportunity, we do not guarantee equality of economic outcomes, nor should we. Indeed, without the possibility of unequal outcomes tied to differences in effort and skill, the economic incentive for productive behavior would be eliminated, and our market-based economy — which encourages productive activity primarily through the promise of financial reward — would function far less effectively.1

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Why should Americans care about economic mobility? How should citizens and policy makers alike understand economic mobility? This report addresses these questions in the same way Americans think about their lives and imagine the future for their children: it looks at how a family’s standard of living improves from one generation to the next. Further, it asks whether a rising tide of economic growth lifts all ships, whether individual effort and talent allow a particular family’s boat to move ahead of others in the fleet, or whether there is some combination of both.

 

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Optics is not a substitute for achievement 

Who we are is found right between our ears

It’s an ‘inside’ job

Optics is an ‘outside’ job

A shallow substitute for achievement 

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