Femocrats | Money as a Weapon | The Saharan Wall


“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” – William Faulkner

“A bus station is where a bus stops. A train station is where a train stops. On my desk, I have a work station….” – Ibid.

“We are now witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 68.5 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 25.4 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.” – The United Nations Refugee Agency


The Global Refugee Crisis: The refugee crisis is again center stage at the UN General Assembly meeting, and countries like Bangladesh, Jordan, Turkey and Uganda are saying the world’s wealthiest nations are abandoning their pledges to admit more refugees. Despite soaring numbers fleeing violence in their own countries, far fewer nations are stepping up to resettle them. From the UN . The Bangladeshi prime minister said her country has taken care of more than 1 million traumatized Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. “The magnitude of the problem has caused serious challenges for us,” she said at the UN meeting on the global compact. The Turkish Foreign Minister estimated as a result of the Syrian war his country has spent $32 billion feeding, sheltering and educating refugees. “Commitments have not been fulfilled,” he said. “Our calls for more burden and responsibility sharing fell on deaf ears.”

Critics say the Trump administration is causing the US to abandon its traditional leadership role on refugee issues. The administration has slashed the maximum number of refugees it will let in next year to less than a third of what it was during the Obama administration. The US set a ceiling this year of 45,000, but will admit only about 21,000 refugees; next year’s cap of 30,000 may not be reached either. US ambassador to the UN, Nikki Haley, said Monday that the US would donate an additional $185 million to help Rohingya Muslims, bringing US aid in the crisis to $389 million this year. But she added “While the US is generous, we’re going to be generous to those that share our values, generous to those that want to work with us and not those that try and stop the US or say they hate America and are counterproductive.”

Additional read: “Greece’s Biggest Migrant Camp Is a Mental Health Crisis, Aid Groups Say: Refugees and migrants at the Moria refugee camp in Lesbos, Greece, last month. It has 8,500 residents but the capacity for only 3,100, an aid group’s report said.” (NYT)


The Enemy Of My Enemy Is Me, Your Friend: Germany’s far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party seems to be reaching out to what for it is an underserved constituency: Jews. On October 7 the AfD plans to launch its first Jewish association. The party’s popularity has been growing across the country and is currently ahead of the center-left Social Democrats. One AfD leader urged people to remember Germany’s “successful” 1,000-year history, instead of focusing on the timeline that was the Holocaust. (WaPo)

Abuse Scandal Continues: The first case of sexual abuse in the German Catholic Church was uncovered about 10 years ago. Tuesday afternoon the Church released details of an investigation into almost seven decades of sexual abuse of some 3,677 children, mostly boys, by about 1,670 church clerics, mainly priests. The report concluded 60 percent of abusive priests eluded punishment and were often just moved to other parishes in an effort to cover up their crimes. (Guardian)

The Saharan WallWhen President Trump suggested last week that Spain “build a wall” across the Sahara desert, he probably wasn’t aware that there’s already one there. The Western Sahara wall, called the Berm, is a 1,700 mile long wall of sand, patrolled by 100,000 Moroccan soldiers, with a minefield running alongside that includes some of the densest landmine contamination in the world. Western Sahara has abundant natural resources, phosphates and fishing. Morocco has occupied the area since 1975, after fighting a 15-year war with Sahrawis in the eastern part of the desert who wanted their independence. Morocco built the Berm to keep the Sahrawis in the east and away from the region’s natural resources. (Guardian)

– “Bolton: U.S. forces will stay in Syria until Iran and its proxies depart:White House national security adviser John Bolton said Monday that the United States wouldn’t be leaving Syria so long as Iranian forces continued to operate there, suggesting the Trump administration had embraced an expanded mission in the embattled country beyond the defeat of the Islamic State.” (WaPo)


Foreign Policy with Money as a Weapon: President Trump’s speech before the UN General Assembly Tuesday starkly echoed American Isolationism in the 1930s. “We reject the ideology of globalism,” Trump said. “And we embrace the doctrine of patriotism.” Despite the president’s boast that he’d accomplished more during his time in office than almost any previous administration, a claim that drew immediate laughter from the assemblage, he insisted his focus on “America First” has helped foster peace and prosperity. Trump touted his “tremendous progress” in his denuclearization negotiations with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, although intelligence agencies agree Kim secretly continues to enhance his country’s nuclear program. “The United States is a stronger, safer and richer country than it was when I assumed office less than two years ago,” Trump declared. “We are standing up for America and the American people, and we are also standing up for the world.”

Looking to the future, the president told the gathering of diplomats and other world leaders of another of his goals: “Moving forward, we are only going to give foreign aid to those who respect us and frankly, are our friends.”


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FemocratsPolitical scientists have been studying what has prompted this year’s record number of women candidates to run for political offices at all levels. Whether that’s a blip or a trend remains to be seen. What is known is that about 75 percent of women candidates running for the House are Democrats. (NPR)

America’s Best Political Loser: One wealthy California candidate isn’t letting women have all the fun. After learning the Constitution only required senators to live in the state in which they were elected once they were elected, Rocky De La Fuente decided to enter primary races in nine different states this year. If he won anywhere, it would give him plenty of time to relocate before November 6. He didn’t win any primaries, but he still got votes in double digit percentages in two of the states. (WaPo)

– “Sheldon Adelson Sees a Lot to Like in Trump’s Washington: The return on investment for many of the Republican Party’s biggest political patrons has been less than impressive this year. But not for Sheldon Adelson.” (NYT)

– “Bill Cosby sentenced to 3 to 10 years: On Tuesday afternoon, Bill Cosby was processed at the Montgomery Correctional Facility in Eagleville, Pennsylvania after being sentenced to 3-10 years in a state prison. He was also fined $25,000 plus the costs of prosecution.” (CNN)


– “Facebook Has Removed More Than A Dozen BigConservative And Liberal Political Pages: Facebook said the pages were managed by a fake account and were spamming content from LifeZette, a conservative site.” (Buzzfeed)

– “Just Don’t Call It Privacy: Amazon, Google and Twitter executives are heading to Congress. Should legislators give consumers control over the data companies have on them?” (NYT)

– “The New Media Barons: What Washington Post media columnist Margaret Sullivan makes of the tech billionaires taking over the new business—including her boss.” (Slate)

– “558m-year-old fossils identified as oldest known animal: Oval-shaped Dickinsonia lifeform existed at least 20m years before the ‘Cambrian explosion’ of animal life” And she doesn’t look a day over 557,999,999! (Guardian)

– “‘We will get regular body upgrades’: what will humans look like in 100 years?: Mechanical exoskeletons, bionic limbs, uploadable brains: six experts’ visions of 2118” (Guardian)

– “How Russia Helped Swing the Election for Trump: A meticulous analysis of online activity during the 2016 campaign makes a powerful case that targeted cyberattacks by hackers and trolls were decisive.” (New Yorker)

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