Bolivian President Evo Morales: Lithium Is Like a Beautiful Lady
Bolivian President Evo Morales says we are in the midst of a worldwide democratic uprising against imperialism and capitalism. While countries like the United States want to use the International Monetary Fund as an instrument of economic domination, smaller countries like his own are working to take capital out of the hands of the few and spread the wealth more fairly. That's why he has teamed up with noted U.S. adversaries like Cuba's Fidel Castro, Venezuela's Hugo Chavez, and Iran's Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in protest.
In his Big Think interview, Morales says he had hoped that the election of U.S. President Barack Obama would be a positive thing for Bolivia and the world. "I had hope that a discriminated African-American, with another discriminated indigenous peasant leader... I hoped that together we could work for justice and equality," says Morales. But instead, by blaming his country for not fighting hard enough against drug traffickers, Obama "killed" his hopes. Nonetheless, Morales says he has nothing against the American people, many of whom he believes support his policies and beliefs.
Morales also talks about Bolivia's lithium reserves, which are among the greatest in the world, saying the element "is like a beautiful lady, very much sought and pursued." He says that his country's policy is that the state will benefit from this natural resource, which is vital in the production of batteries for electric cars. The government will look to national firms to mine the element, he says, but if local companies can't do it, then the state will allow private companies to invest—with the understanding that their profits would mainly go to the Bolivian people. He also says that it is not a contradiction to say that he is an environmentalist even as his country's economy becomes more and more dependent on extraction of natural resources.
With Bolivia's newly adopted constitution, the country no longer has Catholicism as a national religion, and has instead declared itself a secular state. Morales says that the move is actually related to religious freedom, and a recognition of the country's indigenous religions. He also says he has become convinced that the leaders of the Catholic Church are defending a system of oligarchy that is hurtful to the Bolivian people.
Ultimately, Morales says, the rest the world will rise up against capitalism "because capitalism is not even the solution to capitalism itself. Capitalism is destroying Mother Earth, and to destroy Mother Earth is to destroy humanity."
Swiss researchers identify new dangers of modern cocaine.
- Cocaine cut with anti-worming adulterant levamisole may cause brain damage.
- Levamisole can thin out the prefrontal cortex and affect cognitive skills.
- Government health programs should encourage testing of cocaine for purity.
Civil discourse has fallen to an all time low.
The question that the American populace needs to ask itself now is: how do we fix it?
Discursive fundamentals need to be taught to preserve free expression
In their findings the authors state:
upholding First Amendment ideals.
Talking politics at Thanksgiving dinner
- Progressive Activists: younger, highly engaged, secular, cosmopolitan, angry.
- Traditional Liberals: older, retired, open to compromise, rational, cautious.
- Passive Liberals: unhappy, insecure, distrustful, disillusioned.
- Politically Disengaged: young, low income, distrustful, detached, patriotic, conspiratorial
- Moderates: engaged, civic-minded, middle-of-the-road, pessimistic, Protestant.
- Traditional Conservatives: religious, middle class, patriotic, moralistic.
- Devoted Conservatives: white, retired, highly engaged, uncompromising,
It's interesting to note the authors found that:
"Tribe membership shows strong reliability in predicting views across different political topics."
Here are some statistics on differing viewpoints according to political party:
- 51% of staunch liberals say it's "morally acceptable" to punch Nazis.
- 53% of Republicans favor stripping U.S. citizenship from people who burn the American flag.
- 65% of Republicans say NFL players should be fired if they refuse to stand for the anthem.
- 58% of Democrats say employers should punish employees for offensive Facebook posts.
- 47% of Republicans favor bans on building new mosques.
Here are some guidelines for civic discourse that might come in handy:
- Practice inclusion and listen to who you're speaking to.
Civic discourse in the divisive age
dangerously tribal, fueled by a culture of outrage and taking offense. For the combatants,
the other side can no longer be tolerated, and no price is too high to defeat them.
These tensions are poisoning personal relationships, consuming our politics and
putting our democracy in peril.
Once a country has become tribalized, debates about contested issues from
immigration and trade to economic management, climate change and national security,
become shaped by larger tribal identities. Policy debate gives way to tribal conflicts.
Polarization and tribalism are self-reinforcing and will likely continue to accelerate.
The work of rebuilding our fragmented society needs to start now. It extends from
re-connecting people across the lines of division in local communities all the way to
building a renewed sense of national identity: a bigger story of us."
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