Warm Welcome to Obama by Trudeau and Canadians | Obama stresses Pluralism and Tolerance

On June 29th, 2016, President Obama joined with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, hosted by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau for the North American Leader’s Summit. Obama was given a warm welcome at the event and his speech to the Canadian Parliament and Prime Minister Trudeau received a number of standing ovations. His reception was strong not only because he mentioned a number of Canadian icons, but also because of the resonance that the dignitaries felt when he mentioned that the US and Canada need to work together, leading the world in demonstrable ways to show racial tolerance and in committing to renewable energy.

US President, Barack Obama, Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, Mexican President, Enrique Peña Nieto, North American Leader's Summit

US President Barack Obama Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto North American Leader’s Summit

Certainly there are transcripts, yet I’ve included the notes that I took, which are extracted highlights of Obama’s address. He stressed many of the values that our two countries share and went on to talk about international trade, security and climate change; mentioning that the latter is not an abstraction, but very real and happening right now.

President Obama stressed tolerance, pluralism and open arms to immigrants and refugees; specifically being inclusive with Muslim communities around the world to provide them with hope and opportunities.

Obama, warm response

Obama’s opening moments and warm response

He spoke of the need to respect the dignity of all people, especially those who are most vulnerable and of our commitment to a common creed. We must not waver in embracing our best values. Both of our nations are nations of immigrants who must continue to welcome people from around the world. The vibrance of our economies is enhanced through embracing refugees.

“We can’t label people as terrorists, who are the vulnerable people who are fleeing terrorism.”

Obama, Maryam Monsef, Canadian MP, member of parliament

Obama acknowledges Maryam Monsef Canadian (MP) member of parliament who is an immigrant from Afghanistan

With respect to his point of the obvious need to be tolerant and receptive to immigrants and refugees, Obama mentioned Maryam Monsef, an Incoming Liberal (MP) Member of Parliament sitting there in the session. “She was only three years old when her father was killed, caught in bloody crossfire at the border of Iran and Afghanistan. This link in the Ottawa Citizen includes an interview with her.”

Maryam Monsef, Afghanistan immigrant,  Canadian MP

Maryam Monsef Afghanistan immigrant now MP in Canada interview

Here are my highlights of his speech:

He started by claiming that the long border shared between Canada and the United States has maintained the longest period of peace of any border worldwide.

The transatlantic values we share as liberal based democracies are still strong.

The circumstances of Brexit may be unique to the UK, yet the frustrations people felt are not. Working things out on the short term is one thing, but the long term trends of inequality, dislocation and resulting social division can’t be ignored.

How we respond to the forces of globalization and technological change will determine the durability of an international order that ensures future prosperity for future generations.

We share the values of pluralism, tolerance and equal opportunity.

He referenced a quote; A country is something that is built every day out of shared values” and that.with respect to this, what is true of countries is true of the world.

If our recent financial crisis and recession taught us anything, it is that our countries do better when everyone has an opportunity to succeed.

If a CEO makes more in a day than an employee makes in a year, it is bad for the economy; that worker is not a very good customer for business.

If a young man in Ohio can’t pay his student loans or a young woman in Ontario can’t pay her bills, it tamps down on the possibilities of growth. We need to embrace policies that will lift everybody up.

The measure of an economy is how the people are doing.

We may think that drawing a line around our borders for more control is the way to go. However, restricting trade or giving in to protectionism in this 21st c economy will not work.

When combined with investment, research & development… we can spur the connectivity that makes all of us better off.

We need to look forward, not backward.

Thanks Canada for hosting the negotiations with the Cuban government.

Justin Trudeau, Obama

Justin Trudeau and his wife responding to Obama’ words

Wealthy countries like ours cannot reach our full potential when other countries around the world are mired in poverty.

With our commitment to new sustainable development goals, we have a chance to end the outrage of extreme poverty. Bring more electricity to Africa, banish the Zika virus, our goal of the first AIDS-free generation. Working to replace corruption with transparent institutions that serve their people.

Development is not charity, it is an investment in our future prosperity. Our own security is enhanced when we step up for all nations to have the right to security and peace.

Multilateralism is not a dirty word. (In 1990, Robert Keohane defined multilateralism as “the practice of coordinating national policies in groups of three or more states.)

We will continue helping forces to push back comprehensively against terrorist networks.

We will work with partners around the world, in contrast to the hatred and nihilism of terrorists. I looked up the word Nihilism = the rejection of all religious and moral principles, often in the belief that life is meaningless.

Being inclusive in particular with Muslim communities; to offer a better vision, path of development, opportunity and tolerance, because they are and must be our partners in this effort.

We will be more secure when every NATO member contributes all of its forces. NATO needs more Canada.

Our two countries are leaders in humanitarian aid. We are going to work as hard as we can to help Syrians to live in peace.

The threat of climate change is not an abstraction. It is happening now. Last year he was the first US president to visit the Arctic. The tundra is burning, permafrost is thawing.

Climate change is not just a moral issue, it is not just an economic issue, it is an urgent matter of our national security.

Carbon emissions in the US are back to where they were two decades ago, even as we’ve grown the economy.

Alberta is working hard to reduce CO2 emissions, while still promoting economic growth.

If Canada can do this, the whole world can do this. We can lead the world. We need to bring it into force this year. The whole world can unleash economic growth while still protecting our planet.

Paris just had the most robust Climate Summit and we need to follow through with implementing these goals.

Let’s generate half our energy from clean energy sources within a decade. This is achievable.

We need to save the planet, and America and Canada are going to have to lead the way.
(As I listened to this I thought to myself that actually Germany is already leading the way in terms of implementing renewable energy. They stopped all nuclear power plants following the Fukushima incident. And in their green revolution, the southern city of Freiburg gets 100 % of its power from renewable energy.)

Freiburg, Germany, 100 % renewable, green energy revolution

Freiburg, Germany is 100 % renewable, leads in green energy revolution

We believe in the right of all people to have the right to succeed in our society.

What a powerful message of reconciliation around the world when Justin, your government pledged a new relationship with the First Nations.

Democracy is not easy. There are those that offer a politics of “us verses them”, a politics that scapegoats others, the immigrant, the refugee, someone who seems different than us.

We have to call this mentality what it is: a threat to the values that we profess, the values that we seek to defend. It’s because we respect all people that the world looks to us as an example. Our Muslim friends who are our neighbors, serve in our government We need to stand up against the slander and the hatred of those towards people who look or worship differently. Obama mentioned that he has a bias (having two daughters) and wants all woman to have the same opportunities as men.

He professed to the audience not to shy away from speaking about these values of pluralism, tolerance and equality. These are universal values, inalienable rights, the rights of citizens to speak the truth, the rights of journalists to speak the truth.

A respect for the dignity of all people, especially those who are most vulnerable. Our commitment to a common creed. We must not waver in embracing our best values. Both of our nations are nations of immigrants who must continue to welcome people from around the world. The vibrance of our economies is enhanced through embracing refugees. We can’t label people as terrorists, vulnerable people who are fleeing terrorism.

We were all once strangers. Your grandparents were strangers; they fumbled with language, faced discrimination and had cultural norms that didn’t fit. At some point somewhere, your family was an outsider. We will continue to welcome refugees and ensure that we are doing so in a way that maintains our security. We can and we will do both.

Increase our support to central america.

The coming global summit this autumn on refugees, we must step up and meet the needs.

People of good will and compassion show us the way.

Obama, Canadian government, North American Alliance

Obama gesticulating in his speech to the Canadian government and North American Alliance

How blessed we are to have had people before us, day by day who built these extraordinary countries of ours.

Barack Obama ended his speech saying “What a blessing”…and what a positive and lovely, gentle way to end of speech, to communicate such a positive concept to let this ripple through the room and the world’s stage.

Thank you Barack!

Carol Keiter aka nomadbeatz welcomes donations for her writing, photography, illustrations, eBook & music composition

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:// about blank | club Berlin Germany |

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about blank club in Berlin, Germany

about blank club in Berlin, Germany

://about blank is ironically the name of a formerly illegal, multi-room club by Ostrkeuz S-Bahnhof in Friedrichshain, Berlin, Germany. It’s a short walk from Salon Zur Wilde Renate, and like that club, it’s a lightly renovated re-purposed building with seemingly endless nooks and crannies.

various shots of about blank in Berlin

various shots of about blank in Berlin

Two sides to the (TPP) Trans-Pacific Partnership | Diplomatic Outreach or Corporate Steal

On the 21st of January, in the Southwestern corner of Berlin, Germany, I attended a lecture at the American Academy, an organization created to augment cultural and intellectual relations between the United States and Germany.

The American Academy in Berlin, Germany

The American Academy in Berlin, Germany

It was founded in 1994 by the U.S. Diplomat and Ambassador to Germany at the time Richard C. Holbrook, to encourage a transatlantic dialogue between the U.S. and German corporate, political, academic and cultural communities. This particular talk featured the American diplomat Richard N. Haass, who is the current President of the Council on Foreign Relations for the United States. Haass was formerly Special Assistant to President George H.W. Bush (Sr.).

Haass spoke to a cozy room of diplomats, academics, journalists and students. His talk specifically aligned to foreign policy, outlining some of the points of his recently published book “Foreign Policy Begins at Home”. He stressed that the United States has had an over-reach abroad and under-performance at home. Perhaps suffering, In his opinion, from ‘intervention fatigue’.

Besides emphasizing the need to put diplomacy over military, he also stressed that our current biggest challenge is to come up with a political and intellectual consensus. He mentioned that quality of education is the most important investment. A proponent of ‘investment partnerships’, he prefaced his discussion of global trade agreements by saying that the United States has had a growth of isolationism. He talked of the need to develop partnerships, saying that Asia is the fastest growing region with which the U.S. should specifically concern themselves. With this in mind, he spoke favorably of the TPP as an obvious strategic tool, essential for strengthening ties. The (TPP) Trans-Pacific Partnership is an extension of the 2005 (TPSEP) Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership Agreement. As of August 2013, the countries included are: Australia, Brunei, Chile, Canada, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, the United States and Vietnam – listed in alphabetical order, not by measure of the implicit hierarchical power structure.

Pacific Rim Countries

His words ‘made perfect sense’ in light of his persuasive argument. Following his talk, the Executive Director of the American Academy, Dr. Gary Smith closed with the profound words that “Ideas Matter” and “Ideas Migrate”. It was the following day that I noticed that quite a different perception of the TPP had migrated into my inbox. 350.org, an environmental action movement, was on ‘high alert’, corresponding with the onset of the 2014 World Economic Forum, fortressed within the mountains of Davos, Switzerland.

World Economic Forum 2014 Davos

World Economic Forum 2014 Davos

Mentioning that though they don’t typically speak out about political affairs, 350.org nevertheless could not disregard the need to send out their timely message ‘the TPP is shaping up to be the worst kind of corporate power grab’ imaginable, with grim repercussions for the earth’s environment. Wikileaks had just leaked documents confirming that the United States TPP negotiating team is walking away from supporting strong environmental safeguards; protections from land use, logging and climate pollution. According to 350.org – an environmental organization and international grassroots movement founded by Bill McKibben aimed to reduce the CO2 emissions to 350 ppm – “the TPP would empower corporations to directly sue governments over laws and policies that they claim would reduce their profits. Legislation designed to address climate change, curb fossil fuel expansion and reduce air pollution, could all be subject to attack as a result of the TPP, cloaked as a free-trade agreement. In response, 350.org assembled an online activist form enabling people to contact their representatives, encouraging them not to support this highly secretive and expansive free-trade agreement between the United States and eleven Pacific Rim countries.

Davos, Switzerland location of 2014 World Economic Forum

Davos, Switzerland location of 2014 World Economic Forum

The World Economic Forum taking place in the secluded mountains of Switzerland, even drew criticism from one of their speakers, referring to the forum’s inherent elitist exclusivity. Kavita Ramdas, stating the ‘Tiny Elite’ Shouldn’t Run an Inequality Discussion’. It was the butt of jokes, by Jon Stewart on Comedy Central’s “the Daily Show”; referring to ‘Mountain Few’ and the ‘Money Oscars’, since Davos is not only elusive (to get to physically) but also exclusive, fabulously expensive.

And an even more scathing and hard-hitting idea migrated into my inbox from the Tomdispatch blog. With respect to the corporate grab, read the Tomgram by Greg Grandin about the “Terror of our Age” and “The Two Faces of Empire”. This view pretty much 180 degrees, diametrically opposed from the U.S. diplomat’s words that first alerted my ears to the TPP.

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Carol Keiter the blogger

Carol Keiter the blogger

Rearrangement of my blogs | Alan Lightman’s “Change Is the Only Constant” |

I have maintained two blogs since 2006, uh hum, for which I gain no income. Despite objections and conciliatory accusations that ‘you can’t make money on a blog’, in the shared consensus that one’s worth and place in society is based on ‘the capacity to earn money’ and ‘monetize’, I continue, to write my blogs.

Not to rebel, but merely in Joseph Campbell‘s words, to ‘follow your bliss’. In my case that involves feeding my curiosity.

Follow Your Bliss and the universe will open doors for you, where there were only walls.

Follow Your Bliss and doors will open for you, which were formerly walls.

To bring a little more clarity to readers, I’m rearranging a few things, in attempts to define each blog more clearly. Simply plucking a few topics, to place in their forthcoming homes. Yes, I’m somewhat ‘writing out loud’. Ultimately, at times the edges blur as topics from one bleed over into the other. However, I’ll start with this.

The carolkeiter blog will post along with hitchabouts, human interest stories, arts and entertainment, that have a more emotional appeal…Interestingly, clicks googling i guess, ‘naked men’, have brought many to my san francisco hitchabout blog, in which one photograph is listed as just that. hmmm, yes, sex sells. Perhaps I’ll have to monetize that theme!

The digesthis blog will maintain the themes of consciousness, environmental and animal rights information and science, with a leaning towards theoretical physics. Not because I’m a scientist or mathematician, but because my fascination lies there – and ironically it comes back full circle to consciousness. luminous_ braided_spiraling_mythic

So I’ll be reposting as I make this shift.

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/b-e-r-l-i-n-s-t-r-e-e-t-s-e-r-i-e-s-m-u-s-i-c-r-o-t-a-t-i-o-n-s-t-r-a-s-s-e-n-m-u-s-i-k-2013/
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http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/berlin-art-week-abc-art-berlin-contemporary-party-19th-september/
ABC_art_berlin_contemporary_thru_glass

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/art-week-grand-opening-on-august-strase-6-days-21-venues/
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http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2013/09/17/b-e-r-l-i-n-s-t-r-e-e-t-s-e-r-i-e-s-s-a-t-i-r-i-c-a-l-s-t-e-n-c-i-l-d-a-p-p-e-r-d-e-s-i-g-n-f-e-a-t-a-l-i-a-s/
Alias

http://digesthis.wordpress.com/2013/07/30/b-e-r-l-i-n-s-t-r-e-e-t-s-e-r-i-e-s-s-a-t-i-r-i-c-a-l-s-t-e-n-c-i-l-d-a-p-p-e-r-d-e-s-i-g-n/

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UTNE Reader‘s reprint of Alan Lightman’s article in the Tin House
September/October 2012 Change Is the Only Constant

Alan Lightman is a novelist, essayist, and physicist, with a PhD in theoretical physics from Harvard University.

Excerpted from his article:

We search for human immortality and eternal youth, and pray to everlasting gods, but in the universe as in life, change is the only constant.

Change Is the Only Constant

Change Is the Only Constant


“Oblivious to our human yearnings for permanence, the universe is relentlessly wearing down, falling apart, driving itself toward a condition of maximum disorder.” Sandra Dieckmann

I don’t know why we long so for permanence, why the fleeting nature of things so disturbs. With futility, we cling to the old wallet long after it has fallen apart. We visit and revisit the old neighborhood where we grew up, searching for the remembered grove of trees and the little fence. We clutch our old photographs. In our churches and synagogues and mosques, we pray to the everlasting and eternal. Yet, in every nook and cranny, nature screams at the top of her lungs that nothing lasts, that it is all passing away.

Consider the world of living things. Why can’t we live forever? The life cycles of amoebas and humans are, as everyone knows, controlled by the genes in each cell. While the raison d’être of the majority of genes is to pass on the instructions for how to build a new amoeba or human being, an important fraction of genes concerns itself with supervising cellular operations and replacing worn-out parts.

In fact, most of our body cells are constantly being sloughed off, rebuilt, and replaced to postpone the inevitable.

Over its 4.5-billion-year history, our own planet has gone through continuous upheavals and change. The primitive earth had no oxygen in its atmosphere. Huge landmasses splintered and glided about on deep tectonic plates. Then plants and photosynthesis leaked oxygen into the atmosphere.

Buddhists have long been aware of the evanescent nature of the world. Annica, or impermanence, they call it. But even Buddhists believe in something akin to immortality. It is called Nirvana. A person reaches Nirvana after he or she has managed to leave behind all attachments and cravings, endured countless trials and reincarnations, and finally achieved total enlightenment.

Although there is much that we do not understand about nature, the possibility that it is hiding a condition or substance so magnificent and utterly unlike everything else seems too preposterous for me to believe.

Perhaps with the proper training of my unruly mind and emotions, I could refrain from wanting things that cannot be.

Perhaps I could accept the fact that in a few short years, my atoms will be scattered in wind and soil, my mind and thoughts gone, my pleasures and joys vanished, I-ness dissolved in an infinite cavern of nothingness. But I cannot accept that fate, even though I believe it to be true. I cannot force my mind to go to that dark place.

Suppose I ask a different kind of question: if against our wishes and hopes, we are stuck with mortality, does mortality grant a beauty and grandeur all its own? Even though we struggle and howl against the brief flash of our lives, might we find something majestic in that brevity? Could there be a preciousness and value to existence stemming from the very fact of its temporary duration?

-..-.-.-.-.-.-.
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Keep your thoughts positive, because they become your words.
Keep your words positive, because they become your behavior.
Keep your behavior positive, because it becomes your habits.
Keep your habits positive, because they become your values.
Keep your values positive, because they become your destiny.
Mahatma Ghandi