An Open China

The long-awaited move has come. Chinese President Xi Jinping has asked the nation’s top political body to amend the “Basic Law” or constitution to allow him to stay for a third five-year term.

The wave of protests in response was anticipated, but still extraordinary. It is China, after all, and the authoritarian government does not allow protests – except when it does. Xi’s action has setup a showdown of sorts in a nation which has experienced more cultural turmoil than perhaps any other and still retained a Confucian sense of order.

But can that last, or is this the start of something different?

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Staying Positive

Anger over the latest moves of the Trump administration continues to bubble over. There seems to be a fresh outrage every day – now including a major diss of the Australian Prime Minister. What can everyone do?

Stay positive. It’s hard, sometimes, but it’s critical. Fortunately, it’s becoming easier every day. As much as Barataria and others have criticized marching as not nearly enough, it’s still critical as a tool for organizing. More importantly, it seems that everyone has had a great experience so far and has kept hope alive.

Morale is critical for us to last out this administration and stay focused. So far, it’s working very well.

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Us versus Them – Put It to an End

The last week has been hard in the US. It’s been especially hard here in St Paul, the nearest large city to Falcon Heights. That is where St Paul resident Philandro Castille was gunned down at a traffic stop, and the city that has seen the brunt of the protests as his home and the capitol of the state.

More than the horror of this shooting and the protests which turned ugly afterwards, the situation appears to be spinning out of control. For those of us who support the Black Lives Matter movement as well as our excellent St Paul Police there is a lot to be concerned about.

If cooler heads prevail, as they usually do in this city, we’ll be allright. But we have to keep our eyes on the prize and no longer accept the “Us versus Them” mentality destroying our nation.

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Brazil Comes of Age

When Brazil scored the 2014 World Cup, due to start next week, it seemed like a perfect plan. The nation, famous for its futbol fever and great parties was due for a coming out festival to celebrate its arrival as the developing nation of the moment – newly booming and ready to show the world that the future had finally arrived. The decision in 2010 was a an easy one.

Sadly, it’s still Brazil after all. Promises have gone unrealized and the people have turned sour on it in a way that no one could have ever predicted. But even this is a major milestone for the nation as it lurches ahead to developed nation status. What exactly will come of it won’t be realized until after the crowds have gone home, but we can say that Brazil, while not as wealthy as it would like to be, has a new-found purpose that can’t be quenched with just another big show.

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