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   Divisive politics. Could be minimized with these principles: 
  • Separation of church and state. There is not true separation of church and state in a country where a presidential candidate scrambles to prove his/her religiosity, otherwise would not be even considered. 
  • Compromise is not a dirty word. It means cooperation and finding a common ground, not giving up one's integrity.
  • Election financing must change and lobbying must be curbed. Until big money support politicians' election, the politicians are not free to serve people, they serve the big money. With the current system, the politicians are constantly fundraising. And the lobbying success is a function of the money involved, not the concepts promoted. Providing financial contributions through lobbyists and expecting legislative favors in return is legalized bribe, not freedom of speech. So,
  • Define well "freedom of speech." Financially supporting elections and then enforcing return of the favor is not freedom of speech. And freedom of speech is not insulting the president in public or inciting violence ("Kill the Jew!"); these are profanity and terrorism (anti-Semitism for the example). Freedom of speech is to be able to say publically that you do not agree with government policy or to appeal for civil rights and not be arrested for this. 
  • Two-party system is conducive to extreme agendas. Multi-party system is closer to true democracy. I read a blogger entry once saying "this is the end of the left." Well, when the left (or the right) is gone, we end up with The Party. Have we not seen this already? And how does the rule of one party sit with the ultimate republicans' fear of socialism? Is socialism acceptable as long as it is under GOP's ruling?
  • Finally, facts matter! Seek them, use them, request them! They make the difference between a political agenda and propaganda.
Books of interest/Excerpts
Politics   Society
The Looming tower
    Lawrence Wright
The social animal
    David Brooks
The one percent doctrine
                Ron Suskind
The tyranny of dead ideas
               Matt Miller
Fiasco
         Thomas E. Ricks
Guns, germs, and steel
       Jared Diamond
The end of Iraq
     Peter W. Galbraith
Collapse
        Jared Diamond
Imperial hubris
     Michael Scheuer
The third chimpanzee
      Jared Diamond
Plan of attack
         Bob Woodward
Why is sex fun?
       Jared Diamond
State of denial
          Bob Woodward
Committed
     Elizabeth Gilbert
Obama's wars
       Bob Woodward
Freakonomics
     S. Levitt & S. J. Dubner
Common sense
          Thomas Paine
Superfreakonomics
      S. Levitt & S. J. Dubner
Warrior Politics
         Robert D. Kaplan
The tipping point
     Malcolm Gladwell
The Prince
       Niccolo Machiavelli
Outliers
     Malcolm Gladwell
  A Short History of Nearly Everything
               Bill Bryson 
  The revenge of God
              Gilles Kepel
  Orientalism
         Edward Said

"...Across much of the developing world, by the time she is 12, a girl is tending house, cooking, cleaning. She eats what's left after the men and boys have eaten; she is less likely to be vaccinated, to see a doctor, to attend school..."

"...Nearly half are married by the time they are 18; 1 in 7 across the developing world marries before she is 15. Then she gets pregnant. The leading cause of death for girls 15 to 19 worldwide is not accident or violence or disease; it is complications from pregnancy. Girls under 15 are up to five times as likely to die while having children than are women in their 20s, and their babies are more likely to die as well..."
"...Girls who stay in school for seven or more years typically marry four years later and have two fewer children [think overpopulation, mda]...when girls and women earn income, they reinvest 90% of it in their families. They buy books, medicine, bed nets. For men, that figure is more like 30% to 40%. ..."

From "The best investment" by Nancy Gibbs
TIME, Feb 14, 2011



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Updated: 9 January, 2016

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