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A Letter to Voters for Congress on Marianne Williamson

Sebastian Siegel   |   March 31, 2014   11:46 AM ET

A man gives his life to uphold a system of representative democracy only then to be rejected by it, by his home, his people; by the very system he sought to serve. While there are many magnificently democratic systematics we've established, we have, nevertheless, clearly developed a pathological process of installing this governing exemplified by this all too common reference. Money, self righteousness and private greed perpetuate our own disengagement with, like the Veteran, the very system we put into place to enable us. In the political context of affecting social change, new methods can make a difference. Though as the strategies are all largely available, it's not so much these methods that matter as it is the methodologies of implementation. In other words, we have the ideas and means to solve the challenges we want to solve, but it's the way we're going about these agendas that seems to have become defunct. Moreover, it's not just a new conversation we need in order to deal with the pressing issues, it's a new way of conversing altogether. 

Marianne Williamson has written more than ten books, six of which were New York Times Bestsellers, four of which have been #1 New York Times Bestsellers. But that's not why I support her for Congress. I support her because she holds the intersection of spirituality and discipline with complete rectitude. This is where driving consciousness evolution and the perpetuation of compassion is met with proactivity, grounded in participation. She really walks the talk. And I don't think it's a career in politics that excites her so much as her actual interest in the process of serving our collective culture for the greater good. I believe she decided to run for Congress because it was perhaps the highest calling of personal service for her to viably broaden her positive impact on social change. Marianne's fingerprint demonstrates a track record of genuine care for the lives she now seeks to represent. Having globally engaged audiences as a speaker, and having signed enough book deals, she's also proven a mastery for business. The kicker here though is that all of her successes are merely byproducts of her commitment to sharing, healing, awakening, and inspiring human beings -- and these artifacts yield a prolific reach because they originate in authenticity from her core of integrity, m.o. of laser-like clarity, and relentless proactivity. 

I support Marianne Williamson for Congress because I care for this world, this country, this state, this city -- and placing her voice in the Capitol would generate a ripple effect that permeates outwardly -- beyond the city, throughout the state, to the nation and the world. The embodiment of vision, coupled with pragmatism, is a powerful trait recognized in leaders who've successfully demonstrated the ability to mandate social enrichment on a large scale. I invite you to evaluate. Read about Marianne, share this, and if you like what she's about -- support her campaign. Voting for Marianne Williamson isn't so much a vote for new policy (though you can read about that at her site as well), it is a vote that says you want a leader who cares for human beings. You want the individual who influences the laws that affect you to be one whose character integrates compassion and assertiveness that is fueled only by the desire for a better world and the will to manifest that. It's not the party, it's not the bankroll, it's not the showmanship that should influence what we stand behind -- it's the values and trajectory of empathic life force that are the ultimate scales of assessment here.

This system of democracy we renew with our attention and participation in it, does it matter? When we elect someone is that person not a representative of our own highest ideals; an individual we entrust to carefully steward our interests through thoughtfully mandating law? There's nothing viable in the homogenized politic that breeds apathy through rhetorical roundabout while ultimately only serving private interest. Since I'm not in Congress formulating the laws that shape our world, I'd like the individual who is to not only have a history of profound human care, but also to have the probity to construct such mandates with moral compass and the conscience to do so for the collective greater good. Integrity, capacity; Marianne. One hundred percent.

Godspeed,
Sebastian


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Marianne Williamson for Congress website

Sebastian Siegel is a British-American writer, actor and filmmaker. Sebastian produced and directed the acclaimed documentary, Awakening World (Beyond Words Publishing), and is currently filming the second installment of that series, Spirit of Evolution.

Yes, ICANN

Mark Weinstein   |   March 26, 2014    4:05 PM ET

Freedom of speech is one of the fundamental principles of any successful democracy. Freedom of the Internet goes one step further. It's a fundamental principle of a cooperative world, protected in large part by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN). Starting now, people from countries around the world are gathering in Singapore to discuss ICANN's future; having a conversation that will play out over the course of the next year and culminate with new governance that will have significant implications for all human beings.

ICANN keeps the Internet secure, stable and interoperable by governing the worldwide system that assigns website addresses and directs Internet traffic. According to the nonprofit organization, its international body of participants dedicate themselves to "one world, one Internet." That's a pretty huge responsibility, which is why up until now, the United States Department of Commerce's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has taken a seat at the head of the table that oversees ICANN.

But then word came out that the Obama administration had decided to hand over authority of the nonprofit organization to a non-government entity to be named at a later date. On paper, that's a head scratcher. Why would any country willingly give up such an influential position to a vital entity with a home base located inside its own borders (Marina Del Ray, California)?

We can thank the NSA and the Edward Snowden fiasco for that. The growing distrust people have expressed with our government threatens to make ICANN guilty by association. And if globally people voice such concerns about this neutral and vital organization, then ICANN could lose its power, leading Internet governance down a rabbit hole filled with partisan agendas and sectarian action. The ensuing debacle would also deal a serious blow to Net Neutrality, which is already at risk.

This current state of affairs is truly unfortunate because in truth, the U.S. has been an excellent steward, considering that the intent was never to oversee ICANN, let alone for upwards of 15 years. In 1997, Bill Clinton helped create the organization within his Green Paper proposal for privatizing the domain name system (DNS); the complete fulfillment of which would have relieved us many years ago of its oversight. In spite of that thoughtful (at the time) vision, our impartiality and creation of checks and balances built into the system have led to a rather impressive run, one that has averted partisan politics and lobbyists. And, in truth, ICANN is already run by a carefully designed international cluster of entities and organizations -- the U.S.A. is simply the safety container in which it is housed.

Of course that has continuously raised eyebrows, and since ICANN was formed in 1998, many countries, organizations, and influential individuals have raised concerns about its close links to the NTIA, an entity that falls under the aforementioned umbrella of our very own U.S. Commerce Department. In lieu of recent revelations about the NSA overreaching its charter and purpose by spying on more than just our enemies but our friends and allies as well, we've lost a lot of credibility. And as a result, such as in the case of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose private emails and text were monitored by the NSA, we've lost key support as well for our stewardship of ICANN.

So President Obama decided to separate the United States from any accusations of biased behavior and perceived back door access for our spying infrastructure. Such a decision, ultimately for whatever reason, does not come without dangers. I believe that the worst conclusion here would be for the Internet to become fragmented whereby countries and regions dictate their own unique rules and guidelines (in essence their own ICANNs). Countries already exercise their ability to block incoming websites from being accessed on their domestic Internet provider platforms. But imagine if this phenomenon became a widespread epidemic, whereby every country had its own Internet. The World Wide Web would become anything but, leading to an economic and individual rights disaster that would complicate commerce and freedom around the world.

What we must have is a clear, enforceable, protected solution whereby ICANN does not fall under the influence of the colors of any country's flag or political leader. Countries like Russia, China and others would relish the opportunity to cast their shadows of across ICANN's bow. Importantly, ICANN must find a way to rise above the fray, to transcend politics in the name of freedom, technology, economics, and global communications. A viable new oversight solution must come with measures of full transparency and accountability to ensure the viability of its mission. The structure must be ironclad with a series of checks and balances built in that prevents influence or easy changes. ICANN basically needs a charter of protection similar to our Constitution in that it protects the rights of freedom and accessibility for all and enables change only with clear due process and support.

Whatever new governance structure for ICANN, meant to go into effect in September 2015, will keep providing the entire world with access to a free Internet, without powerful corporations or individual countries pirating the processes or gaining undue advantage in any shape of form. However, if the new structure for ICANN that emerges cannot insure against outside political influence, protect our freedoms, and provide these equal accesses, then the U.S. government must withhold support and revoke its decision to abdicate. The risk is too great and the ramifications of multiple world webs forming too great to allow any other conclusion. The U.S.A. has damaged itself by its unbridled propensity to gather intelligence data on every living thing; yet the truths that we hold to be self-evident are still at our core. In the resurrection of our good standing with citizens of the world who looked up to us as the shining example of freedom and democracy, protecting the integrity of ICANN must be at the top of the list.

KEN THOMAS   |   March 13, 2014    5:45 PM ET

WASHINGTON (AP) — The National Archives plans to make public another 4,000 pages of documents from the Clinton White House on Friday, including previously unreleased records related to Vice President Al Gore's 2000 presidential campaign and the 2000 recount in Florida.

The Clinton Presidential Library intends to make a second batch of records available to the public, part of about 30,000 pages of documents expected to be released from Bill Clinton's administration in the coming weeks. The records have been highly anticipated as former first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton considers a 2016 presidential campaign.

How Hillary Clinton Restored My Faith in Millennials

Mackenzie Long   |   March 6, 2014    7:36 PM ET

On March 5, 2014 for the third annual Luskin Lecture for Thought Leadership, former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton spoke in Royce Hall at the UCLA campus.

Clinton took the podium and presented her audience with a thoughtful and tantalizing speech. Her performance was strong and steady, nothing too fancy, but more than enough to make us all feel comfortable having this woman within the top leadership of our nation. Every issue, every topic, she addressed with an ease. She let her sense of humor shine through, owning the room with her even keeled responses to some fairly predictable questions. At times, she was tough and fearless, addressing pressing international issues and calling Putin a "tough guy with thin skin." She also focused on the future of the millennial generation, one defined by its bleak potential with little job opportunities on the horizon and little chance at achieving higher education. It was pointed to her audience, one comprised of faculty members, alumni, and students. Mostly the students.

Ah yes, the same students who only a few weeks prior woke up before the sun to storm the Central Ticketing Office just for a chance at getting a ticket to see Hillary Clinton. Having been a part of the 5:15 AM crowd that morning, I can tell you that mob mentality is a real thing, and it is a terrifying thing. There were twenty year olds hiding in bushes, and peaking out from construction sites; just waiting for the security guards to allow a line to form. The first couple of hundred in line were going to get tickets, and it would be dog fight to make it to the front of the line. I was pushed and shoved as hundreds of young people rushed towards the ticket windows. We stood for an hour, crammed together like sardines in a can, only to get entered into a lottery with 2,000 other students.

The best one-liner from that early morning crowd: "What would Hillary say?!"

She might have been somewhat appalled. Or, she might have been proud, excited to have such an eager constituency of young people. I say constituency, because when she announces her run for presidency at the end of the year, it just might be the least surprising moment of the decade.

And though her plan to run may not come as a shocker, with her early widespread support with the Ready for Hillary campaign and its super-PAC already in place, it is still amazing. When she walked out on the stage I was starstruck, overwhelmed to be in the presence of such a powerful, such a sensational political leader. A public servant, a Senator, a First Lady, a presidential candidate, a Secretary of State; an endless resumé of outstanding achievement. As a young woman who is a member of that millennial generation with so many troubles ahead, I felt comforted in her presence because she stands as proof that boundaries are to be breached and obstacles can and must be overcome.

I sat there and looked around at the students filling hundreds of seats in the upper balcony. Here we all are, edge of our seats, listening to a great political mind discuss the ongoing conflict with Russia and Ukraine, the future of America, the future of us. We are members of this troubled generation, with little hope for a fruitful future and gainful employment. And yet, we're here listening and learning. We woke up at the crack of dawn, some of us camped out overnight in front of Pauley Pavilion, not to see a movie star, but to attend a lecture. To listen to a member of our government.

Somehow I think my generation will be ok. I have to have that hope, I guess. Because when you put yourself in a room full of passionate, progressive young people who cannot withhold their applause for a female political powerhouse, you have to hope that we have some of our priorities in order.

We have to hold onto a strong sense of hope for tomorrow and passion for progress, in order to prevail over falling into our prescribed fate. I have never been able to accept failure or lose track of my fever for making a better future for myself and those around me. That's why I'm here at UCLA, and I can make a heavy wager that it's why my fellow students were sitting beside me in that lecture hall.

We came together to visit a source of wisdom and a leader who has shaped American history. Sure it wasn't a pretty sight that early morning weeks ago, but yesterday afternoon, one thing was so incredibly clear: that my generation, the troubled millennial generation, won't be going down without a fight.

The Irony of Clinton's Comparison of Putin to Hitler

Chris Ernesto   |   March 6, 2014    6:36 PM ET

Read More: ukraine, russia, crimea, clinton

Clinton's US colleagues are supporting neo-Nazis in Ukraine

When Hillary Clinton compared Russian President Vladimir Putin's actions to Adolf Hitler in remarks this week, you wonder if she was aware that the US government is supporting a government with ties to neo-Nazis in Ukraine today.

Claiming that Putin is acting like the former Nazi leader is unsophisticated and preposterous, particularly for a seasoned official like Clinton. But did she really not know that the US is openly supporting the anti-Semitic Svoboda party in Ukraine and that any mention of Hitler could bring attention to America's ties to the neo-Nazi movement in the former Soviet Republic?

You wonder if Clinton was aware of the phone call between her former State Department colleague Victoria Nuland and US Ambassador to Ukraine Jeffrey Pyatt in which they discuss Oleh Tyahnybok, the leader of the Svoboda party who has a history of anti-Semitic remarks (Tyahnybok is the person John McCain was criticized for meeting with in Kiev in December). Nuland describes Tyahnybok as one of the big three within the opposition leadership that the US was assisting in overthrowing the government in Ukraine. This is the same Tyahnybok who was expelled from the Ukrainian parliament in 2004 because of a speech he gave praising World War II partisans who fought Jews and "other scum." Tyahnybok also claimed that the "Jewish-Russian mafia" were running Ukraine at the time, and is the person who declared that Nazi death camp guard John Demjanjuk was a hero who was "fighting for truth." In 2005 Tyahnybok wrote open letters demanding Ukraine do more to halt "criminal activities" of "organized Jewry."

The ultra nationalist Svoboda party has a "history of anti-Semitism and [has a] platform of ethnic nationalism," according to Abraham H. Foxman, National Director of the Anti- Defamation League. Maybe Clinton was just ignorant of this fact, and the fact that "white supremacist banners and Confederate flags were draped inside Kiev's occupied City Hall, and demonstrators have hoisted Nazi SS and white power symbols over a toppled memorial to V.I. Lenin." Openly anti-Semitic parties include White Hammer and C14, the neo-Nazi youth wing of the Svoboda party, according to Haaretz.

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It could be that Clinton is simply uninformed, like some others, as described by Seumas Milne of the British Guardian, "You'd never know from most of the reporting that far-right nationalists and fascists have been at the heart of the protests and attacks on government buildings."

But Clinton had to have known that a 2012 European Parliament resolution condemned the Svoboda party for its racist, anti-Semitic and xenophobic views, and that the US is today supporting that same party. "The [Svoboda] party traces its roots to the Ukrainian partisan army of World War II, which was loosely allied with Nazi Germany, and its debut in Parliament [in 2012] elicited objections from Israel and groups that monitor hate speech," according to a recent New York Times article by Andrew E. Kramer. Kramer continued, "Until 2004, Svoboda had been called the Social-Nationalist Party, which critics said was just a word flip away from its true ambitions and a deliberate reference to the National Socialism of the Nazis. Unabashed neo-Nazis still populate its ranks, organizations that study hate groups in Europe say."

Wasn't Clinton aware that another top Svoboda member, Yuriy Mykhalchyshyn, a deputy in parliament, often quotes Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels, as well as other Third Reich luminaries like Ernst Rohm and Gregor Strasser?

It's clear that people like Hillary Clinton are pushing for more US influence in Ukraine, and attempting to make Russia look bad is one tactic to achieve this goal. But by ridiculously comparing Putin to Hitler, Clinton unwittingly brought to the surface the ironic fact that it is her own country's government -- not Russia's -- that is supporting forces in Ukraine who embrace the Nazi philosophy.

Hilary Miller   |   February 17, 2014    9:00 AM ET

What better way to celebrate President's Day 2014 than with a look back at our last 14 men in office and their famous friends? Let's be honest (for old Abe's sake), there's nothing more patriotic than Katherine Hepburn sitting down to dine with President Roosevelt.

Enjoy these vintage gems.

President Barack Obama with Jay Z and Beyonce
obama jay z beyonce

President George Bush with Dr. Phil and Carrie Underwood
george bush carrie underwood

President Bill Clinton with Brad Pitt
president clinton actor

President George H. W. Bush with Bono
george h w bush singer

President Ronald Reagan with wife Nancy and Michael Jackson
reagan michael jackson

President Jimmy Carter with Kirk Douglas
jimmy carter actor

President Gerald Ford with wife Betty and Brooke Shields
gerald ford actress

President Richard Nixon with John Wayne
nixon john wayne

President Lyndon B. Johnson with Maureen O'Hara
lyndon johnson actress

President John F. Kennedy with Frank Sinatra
john f kennedy actor

President Dwight Eisenhower with Bob Hope
eisenhower actor

President Harry Truman with Spencer Tracy
president truman actor

President Franklin D. Roosevelt with Katherine Hepburn
president roosevelt actress

President Herbert Hoover with Gertrude Lawrence
president hoover actress

Movie Review: Hank: Five Years From the Brink

Marshall Fine   |   January 28, 2014    9:23 AM ET

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Almost from the moment the economy collapsed during the 2008 presidential campaign, there has been a war to control the narrative of what led to the disaster -- nearly a catastrophe -- that almost brought down the nation's (and the world's) economy.

One of the earliest was Charles Ferguson's Oscar-winning Inside Job and there have been others -- documentaries and dramatizations such as Too Big to Fail -- that have tried to explain what actually happened.

Now, five years after the fact, we get Hank: Five Years from the Brink, in which former U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry "Hank" Paulson gives us a play-by-play of how he, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke and Federal Reserve chairman Timothy Geithner, kept everything from collapsing while alternately massaging and challenging the various egos that ran the nation's largest banks.

Filmmaker Joe Berlinger keeps it simple.

This review continues on my website.

Christie Is an Amateur

Mike Smith   |   January 27, 2014    1:25 PM ET

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Mollie Reilly   |   January 27, 2014   12:27 PM ET

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday that the 2011 attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya was the "biggest regret" of her tenure at the State Department.

"My biggest regret is what happened in Benghazi," Clinton said during an appearance at the National Automobile Dealers Association convention in New Orleans, La. "It was a terrible tragedy, losing four Americans, two diplomats, and now it's public, so I can say, two CIA operatives. Losing an ambassador like Chris Stevens, who was one of our very best."

Clinton remains under scrutiny from Republicans who insist she should be held accountable for the attack. Democrats, including Senate Intelligence Committee chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) have come to Clinton's defense, saying she is not to blame for Benghazi.

When asked about her potential presidential aspirations, the former first lady remained mum on whether she plans to seek the Democratic nomination in 2016, as many political observers expect her to do.

"I have to say I don't know," Clinton said. "Not a very satisfactory answer."

She was slightly more candid on a topic relevant to her auto industry audience.

"The last time I actually drove a car myself was 1996," Clinton admitted.

Joking, she continued, "I remember it very well. Unfortunately, so does the Secret Service, which is why I haven't driven since then."

  |   January 24, 2014    9:28 AM ET

The gravitational pull of a possible 2016 campaign is bringing all the old Clinton characters into her orbit. Can she make the stars align, or will chaos prevail?

  |   January 14, 2014   11:07 AM ET

CLINTON, Conn. (AP) — A Connecticut man faces numerous drug charges after police say he posted a YouTube video of himself giving a tour of what he calls his marijuana garden.

Police in the shoreline town of Clinton, about 20 miles east of New Haven, arrested William Bradley, 46, on Monday following a six-month investigation.

Medal of Freedom for Clinton

Jeff Danziger   |   November 23, 2013    1:17 PM ET

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Wherefore Romeo -- Dallaire, That Is!

Ian Williams   |   November 5, 2013    3:51 PM ET

Roméo Dallaire should be the hero of an opera. His story certainly has all hallmarks of genuine tragedy -- and it embodies many of the key themes of the last century and evokes the Syrian debacle as well.

Dallaire was Force Commander of the United Nations Peacekeeper in Rwanda (UNAMIR) before and during the 1994 genocide. He warned UN headquarters in New York about the planned massacre and sought permission to intervene. The UN bureaucracy did not want to impinge upon "sovereignty" and refused to act without the government -- which in reality was planning the massacre.

The bloodbath was presaged by a massacre of Belgian peacekeepers, which led the Belgian government to withdraw its surviving troops, despite the increasingly manifest need as the slaughter of more than 800,000 Rwandans began and continued for more than three horrifying months. Dallaire, along with a small contingent of Ghanaian soldiers and military observers, disobeyed orders to withdraw and remained in Rwanda to protect those who sought refuge with the UN forces and to deter at least some of the killings.

Dallaire's unwillingness to obey orders and refusal to take the expedient way out cost him dearly. He was shunned by Canadian military colleagues, and, haunted with the memories of the horrors he had seen in Rwanda, had a nervous breakdown. Ethics and a conscience are uncomfortable attributes to have in hierarchies that only have such qualities in homoeopathically diluted quantities.

In customary anti-heroic mode, Bill Clinton had signed Presidential Decision Directive 25, which not only limited the involvement of the United States in peacekeeping operations, but in effect led to a US veto on UN peacekeeping resolutions where the US did not have "a dog in the fight," in the dismissive words of former Secretary of State James Baker.

Clinton was displaying his customary spinelessness, pandering to conservative obsessions about the UN. In these days of obsession with stopping their co-citizens having access to health care, it is hard to remember the conservatives' previous preoccupation with the UN's threat to American sovereignty. France, that great pillar of human rights in Syria, and upholder of international law over Iraq, was, of course, on the side of the genocidal regime in Rwanda. The UN simply buried the memo from Dallaire and left him swinging, and eventually endorsed a French peacekeeping effort, "operation Turquoise" which was actually a rescue mission to save the murderers from the advancing rebels. Dallaire protested unavailingly.

The left in general stayed silent, although with the enthusiasm of idiocy some, such as Ramsey Clark, rallied to the defence of the genocide, just as they later supported Slobodan Milosevic and excused Srebrenica. Since US imperialism was so ostentatiously absenting itself from the fray, the simplistic left had no point of reference on Rwanda and the deaths at the sharp ends of machetes left the members of it unmoved. It is a sad comment that massacres such Rwanda and Bosnia are not seen as inherently abhorrent but need some sort of litmus test to put them in political context. One can only assume that all the years of apologizing for Bolshevik terror and massacres have attenuating the ethical senses of the Leninising left and its fellow travelers.

Dallaire's ethical senses were more refined. Despite being career military he knew killing people is wrong, and that wherever possible it should be stopped. His heroism is reminiscent of Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, who landed his helicopter during the My Lai massacre in Vietnam and threatened to shoot the US troops intent on massacring children. He, too, was shunned by his own command and took years to get recognition.

It is not just luxuriating in hindsight to affirm that, if Dallaire had had the go-ahead to seize the weapons and planners of the Rwanda massacre, it would have averted untold suffering.

Similarly, Dallaire recently said that the world should have intervened much sooner to stop events in Syria spiralling out of control. The form of that intervention is a subject worthy of intensive debate. But there can be little doubt that Bashar al Assad's regime has been emboldened by all those who have peremptorily ruled out any intervention at all.

This post originally appeared on tribunemagazine.org.

Rajiv Narayan   |   November 1, 2013    8:50 AM ET

Read More: clinton

I can just imagine this guy's thought process.