Someone said to me the other day that people don't change... as in "a leopard doesn't change its spots". Is it possible for a murderer, an alcoholic, a liar, a thief to be "reformed"? Is it a case of genetics and thus people can't change?
In the digital era, politicians and government agencies frequently find themselves the target of criticism on social media.
Margaret Mead is famous for noting, "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." In many communities there are numerous groups for individuals to support one another's efforts to make changes in their lives and in the world.
None of us can afford to assume that somebody else will solve our problems; each of us must take his or her own share of universal responsibility. The real test of compassion is not what we say in abstract discussions but how we conduct ourselves in daily life.
The United Nations climate conference in Bonn, Germany, is an enormous event with a complex agenda.
Considering the history of television news a few years ago, iconic anchor Ted Koppel declared that CBS’ 1968 debut of “60 Minutes” forever altered the landscape of broadcast journalism:
Recent revelations about how Russian agents inserted ads on Facebook, in an attempt to influence the 2016 election, present a troubling question: Is social media bad for democracy?
Using the hashtag #metoo, thousands of women around the world have posted on social media sharing their stories of male violence, particularly in the workplace.
Lack of personal meaning and fulfillment is endemic to contemporary Western and Westernized societies. Why are depression, anxiety, and suicide increasingly common? I believe the cause has more to do with what we bring - or don't bring - to life than with...
Recent surveys suggest that people who do not like Donald Trump as United States president find nothing at all to like. But, like him or not, Trump has shown us a great deal in his short time on the political stage. For that, we should be grateful.
I need to remind myself not to waste time. Not to click on too many hyperlinks and certainly not to spend to much time on Facebook. Not to distract myself with too much retail therapy at the antique mall or on Amazon. Not to obsess over whether my...
Donald Trump seems addicted to violence. It shapes his language, politics and policies. He revels in a public discourse that threatens, humiliates and bullies.
I was listening to a news reporter in Texas listing all of the destruction, and then he started talking about all of the volunteers who have showed up to help, and he started to cry. Through tears, he said that he has never seen humanity show up in such beautiful ways to be of service and help others in need.
It is impossible to follow the news without catching reference to the rise of populism. A once little-used term that denoted a handful of parties in otherwise unconnected political contexts, populism now seems almost definitive of a political moment in time.
Today we opt for ballot boxes but humans have used numerous ways of voting to have their say throughout history
Anger, rage and a desire for revenge are all reasonable and justified in the face of armed attacks, abuse and exploitation. What matters is what we do with these things.
There’s no shortage of media reports listing which groups are taking donations, often with scant guidance about what kinds of relief these organizations can offer.
While many anti-fascists offered serious and potent arguments against Hitler, comedians like Charlie Chaplin responded to the mortal threat that the Nazis posed in a different way: They used humor to highlight the absurdity and hypocrisy of both the message and its notorious messenger.
It's hard to imagine wholesale changes to agriculture and food. Eating less meat is a shift that — in small ways — is already occurring. A recent poll in the Netherlands showed that well over half of consumers...
The understanding that each individual has their own connection to the Great Universal Intelligence is the basis of our democratic way of life. Democracy is a social system that is based on the right of each individual to be who he or she is.
The flipside of the populism coin is voter ambivalence about “democracy” as we know it. Ambivalence about democracy might just save it...
There was a lot of excitement around the Hughes Memorial School in Danville, Virginia, in 1952. It. has "school" in its name but it is really an orphanage. The names of six of the youngsters had been drawn from a hat as the ones who would go to New York to see the Macy Thanksgiving Parade.
Everyone is looking for solutions to the gridlock that grips Washington. Most suggestions are complicated. But there’s a simple step that could move our Congress in the right direction. We could stop seating the parties on opposite sides of the aisle...
Protesters have recently been out in force in Russia, Poland, Hungary, northern Morocco and Venezuela; sizeable democracy marches have mobilized to mark key moments in Hong Kong and Turkey
Democracy is under assault. Vladimir Putin’s authoritarianism, ISIS terrorism, the nuclear threat from North Korea and Donald Trump’s populism are just a few examples of the forces challenging our societies.
Organizing Human Chain Saves Drowning Family: Can A Similar Approach Save Our Drowning Human Family?
We always feel heartened by tales of heroism, and we celebrate the individual hero or "shero". It's even more heartening when the "hero" is a self-organizing, spontaneous group of people who see what needs to be done, and then do it.
Author Nancy MacLean has unearthed a stealth ideologue of the American right. Her book, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, tells the story of...
According to famed anthropologist Arjun Appadurai, the central question of our times is whether we’re witnessing the worldwide rejection of liberal democracy and its replacement by some sort of populist authoritarianism.
When Donald Trump gave the commencement address at Liberty University this spring, he told the graduates that “America has always been the land of dreams because America is a nation of true believers.”
While there is much to critique about the news media in this age of “post-truth” within a landscape dominated by a handful of media conglomerates, we need the press to hold our leaders and institutions accountable. Locally, when the occasion calls for it, we should laud the press.
I now call the 4th of July "Independents Day" as I've come to realize that the only way we the people can take our country back -- and forward -- is by declaring our independence from the two political parties, the two-party duopoly, and the two competing narratives that keep us divided ... and conquered.
Forecasting political unrest is a challenging task, especially in this era of post-truth and opinion polls.
The primary ongoing question of your life is: are you going to choose same-old, same-old, or are you going to explore new possibilities? In other words, are you going to live in the conditioned but comfortable cocoon of your ego, or are you going to...
When Bernie Sanders took to the stage at this year’s Hay Festival, it was to a room of cheers and clapping.
Many gallons of ink (and megabytes of electronic text) have been devoted to explaining the surprise victory of Donald Trump.
Call me a hopeless hopium addict, but I believe that we are "in the same boat". Our ship of state has run aground, because the "propeller" (the guiding principles of our founders, along with perennial and native wisdom) is broken.
The Trump victory, and the general disaster for Democrats this year, was the victory of ignorance, critics moan.
Much has been made of Donald Trump’s wanton deployment of myths in the place of facts in recent months.
A foundation created by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam recently announced it’s giving US$100 million to investigative news outlets and other initiatives, a rare boon for media institutions under duress.
Most Americans don’t like Trump. Trump will most likely be reelected in 2020. How can both of these statements be true?
We have a choice. We can futilely try to protect ourselves and our families behind high walls, electric gates, etc., and turn a blind eye toward chronic human rights violations and an economic globalization that is not accountable to anyone. Or we can join with people and organizations from all the world's nations to lay the foundations for...
Customizing political news online to filter out what doesn’t align with your beliefs may have real-world negative effects on democracy.
The results of one of the most divisive and unpredictable presidential contests in recent French history, which saw early frontrunner, the conservative François Fillon, laid low by a corruption scandal and judicial investigation
Trump’s failure to accomplish little or any of his agenda during his first 100 days shouldn’t blind us to the vast harm he has done in this comparatively short time to our system of government, especially his degradation of the presidency.
Lost letters found in an old wooden crate inside a Connecticut barn are changing our view of the women’s suffrage movement in America.
We have been told we now live in a post-truth era. The author and academic Ralph Keyes has described it as a time when we do not have just lies and truths, but also “statements that may not be true but we consider too benign to call false”.
When I was ten years old and attending an elementary school called Mountainview School, my mother decided to have a little chat with my school director about the lack of trees on the school property. She argued that although the view of the mountain was lovely, the boring grassy lawn was not.
All Americans are lucky to live in a country brimming with public resources that everyone can share.
In a TV debate to mark the official start of the French presidential election campaign, far-right candidate Marine Le Pen was accused of “twisting the truth” by her centrist opponent Emmanuel Macron.
The White House war between Stephen Bannon and Jared Kushner wouldn’t matter in a normal administration with a normal president.
While we work to change the government, we can’t forget that we can also make big change ourselves by starting small and local.
Trump’s secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, has said Ayn Rand’s novel “Atlas Shrugged” is his favorite book.
The result of the presidential election may have taken some people by surprise, but the fact that Republicans retained control of the House of Representatives was completely predictable.
After two chaotic months as president, Donald Trump is widely credited with rewriting the political rule book.
Since the president sees himself foremost as a negotiator, perhaps it’s time for a negotiated revolution. Not to break us apart, but to bring us together.
Preserving the middle-class in America is necessary for the United States to continue as a democracy, warns Ganesh Sitaraman.
Like older voters, young ones were divided by the 2016 presidential election.
House Speaker Paul Ryan, in his press conference following the demise of his bill to replace Obamacare, blamed Republicans who had failed to grasp that the GOP was now a “governing party.”
Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg published an essay that laid out the social network’s vision for the coming years. He outlined five domains where Facebook intended to “develop the social infrastructure to give people the power to build a global community that works for all of us.”
In the weeks since the election of President Donald J. Trump, sales of George Orwell’s “1984” have skyrocketed.
The US Senate is in the process of examining Donald Trump’s first nominee to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch.
If the rising sense of alienation from the political process is to be reversed in the long term, it will require more than a quick dose of populist rhetoric or tinkering with the way politics is organized.
Rigidity in our beliefs and behaviors is the greatest threat to our own survival and the survival of all that we've come to love in civilization. Ultimately, the question we have to ask is if our systems of politics and economy are flexible enough to become sustainable...
Trump and his White House don’t argue on the merits. They attack the institutions that come up with facts and arguments they don’t like.
Donald Trump seems to think so. During his campaign for president, Trump returned again and again to his supposed success as a businessman and promised government programs “under budget and ahead of schedule.”
The Iroquois tell of a Peacemaker prophet who walked the lands many years ago trying to convince the warring nations to give up their blood feud ways. The first Clan Mother convinced her people to listen to the prophetic words, and they established the Great Law of Peace.
Thanks to the criticisms they’ve leveled in articles, interviews, tweets and letters to the editor, we know that many contemporary authors, from Philip Roth to J.K. Rowling, have a dim view of Donald J. Trump.
Donald Trump’s candidacy and now, presidency, have resurrected a public discourse not heard in this country since the Great Depression
More than two dozen governments, including the U.S., now have a team of behavioral scientists tasked with trying to improve bureaucratic efficiency to “nudge” their citizens toward what they deem to be higher levels of well-being.
In the aftermath of the 2016 U.S. elections, numerous accounts surfaced of nefarious content creators profiting by posting fake content on social media.
On Inauguration Day, a group of students, researchers and librarians gathered in a nondescript building on the north side of the University of California, Los Angeles campus, against a backdrop of pelting rain.
If Democrats want to retake government, they will need to do more than be the party that isn’t as bad as Trump, starting with closing the wealth gap.
Instead of falling to the Nazi party, Norway broke through to a social democracy. Their history shows us polarization is nothing to despair over. The key to avoiding fascism? An organized left with a strong vision and broad support.
After intense political activism, an attack from the Trump administration on public lands has been shot down. The fight is far from over, but with the unexpected fightback of hunting and fishing groups, attempts to privatize federal land will meet new opposition.
Since the horror of Hitler’s Holocaust, psychologists have investigated why certain individuals appear more prone to follow orders from authority figures
When 500 refugees arrived in their community, residents of Zaandam were wary. But by the time the newcomers could apply for residency status in Europe, neighbors didn’t want them to leave.
Have your passports ready, watch your language, and other advice from a Yale history professor.
Einstein told us that we cannot solve the significant problems we face at the same level of thinking at which we were when we created the problems. He was right. Yet we are trying to do just that. We are fighting terrorism, poverty, criminality, cultural...
President Donald Trump has said little about the world’s longest undefended border – the one between the U.S. and Canada.
Donald Trump sold himself to voters as a successful businessman who knew how to get things done, a no-nonsense manager who’d whip government into shape.
As the shock of Donald Trump’s election victory is giving way to analysis about how his presidency will affect Americans’ lives, our digital freedom of speech deserves special consideration.
If we were able to remember how we felt as a child learning to crawl, we probably would remember looking on with amazement at the giants we saw around us. This memory might help us when we are learning a technical skill, or a personality skill such as unconditional love, patience...
Bizarrely, after winning the 2016 presidential election, Trump has raised questions about the legitimacy of his own victory by claiming that the election was tainted by widespread voter fraud.
Comparisons have abounded with the 20th century’s greatest villains, including Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini, even if some have questioned how useful such parallels are.
One of the most unexpected political developments in recent months has been the political awakening of scientists in the United States.
Far from the corrosive political circus unfolding in Washington, DC, local citizen groups are improving conditions for the people in their own backyards.
With help from activist manual written by former congressional staffers, Republicans face angry crowds in home states
Anyone who has ever pitched a movie or television idea in Hollywood knows the tyranny of the “high concept."
Community groups have the power to create long-lasting change. Ioby, an organization based in New York City, New York, that works on neighborhood mobilization, recently published its "Recipes for Change" toolkit.
On April 4, 1967, exactly one year before his assassination, Martin Luther King, Jr. gave his famous “Beyond Vietnam” speech in Harlem’s Riverside Church. In it, he spoke of being confronted with “the fierce urgency of now.”
News consumers today face a flood of fake news and information. Distinguishing between fact and fiction has become increasingly challenging.
After his unexpected election win, the immediate question was what would US President Donald Trump actually do?
In a strange but revealing way, popular culture and politics intersected soon after Donald Trump first assumed the presidency of the United States: George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984, surged as the No. 1 best-seller on Amazon both in the United States and Canada.
If 2016 brought Brexit, Donald Trump and a backlash against cosmopolitan visions of globalisation and society, the great fear for 2017 is further shocks from right-wing populists like Geert Wilders in Holland and Marine Le Pen in France.
Recent reports indicate that far-right groups from the Ukraine have come to Brazil to recruit neo-Nazis to fight against pro-Russian rebels. Western readers reacted with shock and fascination
The protests that have erupted since Donald Trump’s most recent executive order was signed have been impressive.
As a professor of Russian literature, I couldn’t help but notice that comedian Aziz Ansari was inadvertently channeling novelist Leo Tolstoy when he claimed that “change doesn’t come from presidents” but from “large groups of angry people.”
Donald Trump has reorganized the National Security Council – elevating his chief political strategist Steve Bannon
A week after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, George Orwell’s “1984” is the best-selling book on Amazon.com.