The Global Citizen
A significant amount of the world's resources and minerals are in countries on the African continent. From diamonds to oil reserves, you would think these resource-rich nations would be some of the most economically advantaged. Instead, the presence of resources, like oil, in countries such as Sudan and South Sudan, has only created more problems and turmoil in the region.
Disagreement over oil reserves and how the profits should be dispersed throughout the country is a major reason for Sudan's ongoing civil war (arguably the longest in history) and the eventual secession of South Sudan.
Countries rich in resources are actually more prone to conflict, as these resources can be used to finance war or rebellion efforts that otherwise wouldn't be sustainable. The profits can be used by corrupt governments to finance their own needs without any need for input from civilians, leaving them less accountable to their people. However, these are the same resources that have helped African nations to develop some of the fastest growing economies in the world.
According to the IMF's 2012 World Economic Outlook, of the 20 fastest growing economies in the world, 10 are located in Sub-Saharan Africa. South Sudan ranks # 2 in the world. Others who make the list include the Republic of Congo, Zambia, Ghana and Mozambique.
Keeping with the theme of voters selecting leaders that champion smart American foreign policy, we have two more races that highlight the frighteningly stark differences between two different worldviews. As with the previous post, these are officials that were supported by the Global Solutions PAC that won their elections.
We will begin with the Montana Senatorial race, where incumbent Jon Tester bested Dennis Rehberg in that race. Tester has a proven track record as a champion of American involvement globally, including votes in favor of addressing climate change, the New START Treaty, and the preservation of foreign aid funding. During his time as Senator, Tester has earned two "A-" grades on our report card in 2010 and 2012. On the other end of the spectrum, Rehberg's lack of support for international nuclear regulation, initiatives to address climate change, and proper funding to the UN earned him a "D-" in 2010 and a "D" in 2012.
With the final ballots cast and the winners and losers decided, it is clear that the people of this nation demand leaders that will address global issues in a realistic way. Because of the overwhelming results of this election, we thought it would be a good idea to take a closer look at some of the more prominent winners that realize the importance of an engaged foreign policy strategy. These are leaders that Global Solutions PAC supported throughout the election.
Virginia's Senatorial race was a victory for those that champion American involvement in the international community. Winning 52.4% of the vote, Democratic candidate Tim Kaine edged out Republican candidate George Allen who garnered 47.6%. Allen's history in the US Senate gives us a clear view of his stances on foreign policy. Without fail, he voted against legislation that would have helped to address climate change, increasing funding for the global AIDS prevention services, and US involvement in the ICC. Consequentially, Allen earned a "0" (equivalent of an 'F') in 2004, a "D" in 2005, and a "D" in 2006.
"We believe that 'We're all in this together' is a far better philosophy than 'You're on your own'.'' That's how Bill Clinton summed up the philosophical difference between Democrats and Republicans when he nominated President Barack Obama to run and eventually win a second term. It's also the philosophy that underpins the work of the Connect U.S. Fund. For the last eight years they have brought together a community of advocacy and grassroots groups, philanthropic foundations, and think tanks to push for farsighted American leadership in efforts to create a more just, sustainable, and peaceful world. They have just released a letter to President Obama and his transition team signed by over 180 foreign policy leaders, who represent millions of Americans, and came together to develop proposals to enhance U.S. global leadership and cooperation in this new presidential term. As one of its signatories, I'm excited by the detailed recommendations which lay out a blueprint for constructive and achievable U.S. actions across four key areas: human rights, climate change, nuclear weapons, and development. The letter urges the President to take action to:
The United States sent a message on Tuesday night's election: women's human rights are not to be threatened. This message was loud and clear when the country elected a record-breaking number of women to Senate. The 113th Congress of the United States will have 20 women Senators---the most women to serve in United States history. Ever.
I hope you're not wondering what could have set this precedent but if you are, let's recap:
Representative Todd Akin, who was running for Claire McCaskill's Missouri Senate Seat made his "legitimate rape" comment, explaining how the female body has "ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Richard Mourdock, running for Senate in Indiana spoke for God when he declared that when a woman gets pregnant from a rape, it "is something God intended." There were scores more of men who made similar statements.
State Representative Roger Rivard lost re-election in Wisconsin when he declared, "consensual sex can turn into rape in an awful hurry [...] some girls, they rape so easy."
Sadly, there are a more comments like these, which you can read here.
Sandy did what Candy didn't: Kick start a full blown conversation on climate change.
GlobalSolutions.org was part of an effort to insert this critical topic into the presidential debates. But despite 160,000 petition signatures, press releases and winning Google moderator votes; Candy Crowley, Bob Schieffer and Jim Lehrer refused to bring up the topic, the first time climate or the environment was left out of presidential debates since 1978.
Now Superstorm Sandy has changed all of that. Finally the main stream media and politicians are once again taking this seriously. The Bloomberg Business Week cover says it all: "It's Global Warming, STUPID."
The Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson points out, "The traditional dodge - that no single weather event can definitively be attributed to global warming - doesn't work anymore. If something looks, walks and quacks like a duck, it's a duck. Especially if the waterfowl in question is floating through your living room." Too true, but unfortunately Robinson winds up a strong column saying that"
Climate change is a national challenge. Ignoring it is not a solution. Pretending it isn't happening will not make it stop.
Have you ever wondered what you would do in a zombie apocalypse? If you have, you are not alone. It seems like zombies are kind of the "in" thing right now; The Walking Dead is a wildly popular show on AMC and zombie themed shows are all over a number of other networks. At this point you may be asking yourself, "Why are we talking about zombie hordes right now, wasn't the Republican National Convention in August?" Well, it was. But seeing as how it is Halloween, I thought it would be interesting to look at this phenomenon through a critical lens.
There is no doubt that there is a psychological basis to this phenomenon. Being overrun by a horde plays on a fundamental fear that humans have. Combine that with the age-old fear of unknown repercussions of scientific discovery, which dates back to the myth of Icarus at the earliest, and you have an instant classic.
While there is certainly a gross-out horror factor that tends to bring in viewers, the questions that follow from a hypothetical zombie apocalypse are more interesting, and in my opinion, the main reason why zombies are so popular.
"I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen."
--Indiana GOP U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock in Tuesday's televised debate, in response to a question regarding the candidates' position on abortion.
In a society that is plagued with rape culture, this is a dangerous and horrifying statement, to say the least. Sure, we have seen backlash from the media, but just as in Todd Akin's case, this man will continue to run for Senate under the guise of "family values."
"We are living through a period of profound turmoil, transition and transformation. Insecurity, inequality and intolerance are spreading. Global and national institutions are being put to the test. With so much at stake, the United Nations must keep pace across the spectrum of its activities - peace, development, human rights, the rule of law, the empowerment of the world's women and youth."
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Today, 67 years ago, the United Nations Charter was ratified and, with this document, the United Nations was born. There is no doubt how significant this establishment has been and today we should take a minute to reflect on this accomplishment.
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