HAIL AND FAREWELL TO 2015 WELCOME, 2016 By Ilene Proctor It would be redundant of every year past to say 2015 was a miserable year; It were always rampage killings and police brutality, natural disasters and government corruption. There were always ghastly terror attacks and devastating civil wars, floods of refugees and acts of unspeakable cruelty in every niche corner of the world. Airliners were blown out of the sky before. Priceless antiquities were destroyed before. This year politics seethed with incivility and brazen Trumpfulness. You don't have to look far for proof that this has been another annus horribilis, and that things are getting worse. You never do. But, since I have a tendency to look at life through pinker glasses, 2015 was in many ways an annus mirabilis — a year of wonders and blessings. Remember last year, West Africa was being racked by the worst epidemic of Ebola disease in recorded history. More than 11,000 people, many of them health workers, were dying of a viral sickness for which no vaccine existed. Today, amazingly, the number of confirmed Ebola cases in West Africa can be digitally described, and researchers in August reported finding a vaccine that appears to be truly effective in preventing the disease. Girls and women in some of the world's hellholes continue to be all too cruelly victimized. On the other hand, female literacy around the planet reached new heights in 2015. As recently as the 1970s, only 40 percent of females age 15 and older could read and write. Just four decades later, according to UNESCO, global female literacy has passed 93 percent. In the United States, mass shootings and terrorist assaults took a grim toll this year and drew intense media coverage. But the FBI's newest report on crime in America (compiling data through 2014) shows that violent crime was down, not up. There were actually fewer murders than there had been a year earlier — and far fewer than five and 10 years earlier. Thugs with blackened mugs with weapons wrought undisputed horrors in places like Syria and Libya, yet there were democratic elections and peaceful transfers of power too — in countries ranging from Nigeria to Argentina. And even in the Arab world's stony sandy soil, Tunisia's National Dialogue Quartet received the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize As 2016 approaches, humankind is "better-educated, better-fed, healthier, freer, and more tolerant" than ever before. Hard to believe? That's understandable. People are generally more dubious about good news and positive trends. Our species tends to be hardwired for pessimism —BUT I would rather be an optimist that is sometimes right, than a pessimist that is always wrong. NOW LET US FIGHT FOR OUR RIGHTS TO PARTY AND LIVE PEACEFULLY IN 2016 • Stopping the secretive Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). These trade deals will be voted on for final ratification. Let’s figh to protect consumers and the environment from crony corporate abuses. • Standing up to Monsanto.. Demand that Monsanto reform its corrupt corporate structure, and let’s get ready for this huge fight. • Saving the bees. We've made huge progress in restricting the use of bee-killing pesticides, but we have a long way to go to ensure that the bees are safe. • Feel the Bern and put Sanders in the White House • AND MORE

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