Category Archives: Civilization or lack thereof

Wake Up “Journalists”

JOURNALISTS ARE SO EASILY DISTRACTED

“Only a year ago, candidate Trump presented himself as a social liberal seeking to move the Republican Party left on gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights.

He vowed that he would do more than Democrat Hillary Clinton to protect LGBT people. He defended the rights of Caitlyn Jenner, the country’s most well-known transgender advocate, to use whichever bathroom she wanted in Trump Tower. And he added “Q” to his discussion of the “LGBTQ community” in his Republican National Convention speech to show he was in the know.

“People are people to me, and everyone should be protected,” he told The Washington Post in a May 2016 interview.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/its-not-my-thing-a-history-of-trumps-shifting-relationship-with-the-lgbt-community/2017/07/26/92920302-7220-11e7-8f39-eeb7d3a2d304_story.html?utm_term=.816813809fc1

jenner-defends-trump-a

[Alt Fake News]

 


Good read…

Why you should care:  Because institutions and reputations are built over lifetimes but can crumble almost overnight.

The author teaches at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies and was deputy director and acting director of the CIA from 2000 to 2004. Follow him on Twitter: @mclaughlinSAIS.

WHY INTERNATIONAL LEADERSHIP IS SLIPPING THROUGH AMERICA’S HANDS

Amid the many controversies roiling Washington these days, there is a troubling trend that is greater than the sum of the parts: America’s singular leadership role, held with minimal challenge since the end of World War II, is rapidly fading. A man who campaigned on the promise of making America great again now risks doing just the opposite.

The United States’ geopolitical stature is based on much more than military power — although might is one of its foundational components. One by one, the administration is allowing the other elements of leadership, reputational and institutional alike, to slip away. The United States can regain them only if the administration develops a more disciplined communication and policy process — and only if the president comes to understand that giving in to impulsive and fact-challenged anger is the opposite of “presidential.”

The power to inspire was the greatest asset of the U.S., and we fear it’s gone.

On the reputation front, America has been admired for the strength, integrity and stability of its political system — and for the values it has always projected. Now we are seen with a mixture of disillusionment and sorrow. As a European ambassador said to me recently: “The power to inspire was the greatest asset of the U.S., and we fear it’s gone.”

Why is this? It’s pretty simple, really. The world has seen even weak American presidents as embodying the values people associated with America. But the long trail of sloppy, inaccurate or false statements that culminated in President Trump’s labeling of his predecessor as a felon on March 5 signal to the world that they cannot trust what the American president says.

The issue is not academic. I assure most foreigners that we’ll muddle through somehow with domestic issues such as health care and tax reform — despite all the partisan wrangling. But I cannot assure them that the Trump administration can manage an international crisis that requires steadiness, careful coordination, resistance to foolish impulse or anger and the confidence of allies. While the new national security adviser, H. R. McMaster, is well-qualified to inject some discipline into the process, he’s got a steeper hill to climb than any of his predecessors since Watergate in 1974.

The president’s actions are not merely sowing divisions within his Republican Party; they also put serious members in an ethical quandary. It mirrors the ethical danger experienced in authoritarian societies and described by Vaclav Havel, the anticommunist dissident who became free Czechoslovakia’s first president. He said citizens and politicians under authoritarian rule had become “morally ill” because they were forced “to say one thing while thinking another.”

This is surely the dilemma serious Republicans now face, knowing their leader has spoken falsely but searching for ways to not acknowledge that. You can sense their discomfort and hear their resort to political bafflegab. Though there are exceptions — Senator John McCain and a few other truth-tellers — their situation must be challenging.

The president’s actions are not merely sowing divisions within his Republican Party; they also put serious members in an ethical quandary.

Beyond these reputational issues, administration actions are weakening the domestic and international institutions on which American leadership has rested. Driven domestically by sophomoric ideas like “deconstruction” of the “deep state,” the administration has carelessly demeaned the judiciary, the intelligence community and a free media. This hits the rest of the world as worrisome nonsense, not leadership.

Meanwhile, international alliances and institutions that both reflect and sustain American leadership in the world are shaken. To their credit, American officials such as Defense Secretary Mattis, Vice President Pence and Homeland Security Secretary Kelly told world leaders at the Munich Security Conference last month that the U.S. solidly supports its commitments. But all the corridor talk was about whether the president would say the same thing — and mean it.

For decades, American leadership has been marked by the propagation of big ideas. Institutions such as NATO, the EU, the UN, the IMF and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe were all created, inspired or supported by the U.S. The ideas behind them were bold, outward-looking and transformational. Today, we are closing off to the world through talk of walls, travel bans, withdrawal from trade agreements and a massive spending cut (almost 30 percent) proposed for our State Department — the institution most directly responsible for engaging the rest of the world.

Meanwhile, we’re letting China corner the transformational idea market with its creation of the Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank (most of our closest allies have joined), its New Silk Road linking China to Europe and the Middle East and its Comprehensive Regional Economic Partnership. The latter will fill the vacuum the administration left when it hastened to withdraw from the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement.

Some will ask why American leadership matters anyway. Why should America be the standard-bearer for democracy, the rule of law, etc.? After all, we’ve made our mistakes and have often fallen short of our loftiest goals. Perhaps American exceptionalism was a mere fluke of history.

The points are worth raising — and rebutting. After the second World War, the U.S. dedicated itself to leading the world away from the most violent and destructive period in modern human history, and in this it succeeded. It would be hard to overstate the magnitude of its achievement. Two things were key to its success. First, policies that muted whatever part of human nature that permitted the global holocaust of the 20th century. Second, America’s unique blending of self-interest with the pursuit of universally appealing values.

If the administration undervalues the role of American leadership, there are others who will move into the vacuum regionally and globally. Russia, China and Iran come to mind. And the world they want will not be in any way compatible with the vision that has traditionally animated the United States.

author bio image  John McLaughlin, Senior Contributor 


“Everything’s fine right here. Nothing is wrong. Everyone speaks with one voice. We are a family…” — @SaraJBenincasa

Give It a Chance


Trumped Up News

trumped-up

I’m sure that by now it is clear to all that in 1949 when Donald John Trump was just three years old he was abducted and replaced with this KGB agent, a young boy who had already received twelve months of deep cover training. Unfortunately, his parents Fred and Mary, never knew the difference as the boy’s nannie, also KGB, skillfully hid the truth from the family. Only when he met and wed Ivana Zelníčková in 1977 was his subconscious identity triggered: the world’s most dangerous sleeper agent.


Real or Fake?

Turkey assumes USA staged Istanbul night club attack

06.01.2017 | Source:

Turkey assumes USA staged Istanbul night club attack. 59557.jpeg

Source: Twitter

Turkey may revise the question about the deployment of the airbase of the US-led international coalition in Incirlik, Reuters reports. The Turkish administration may make the decision due to Ankara’s disappointment with the lack of US support for its operations in Syria.

Noteworthy, soon after the most recent terrorist act at a night club in Istanbul, Turkish officials suggested the country should close the US air base in Incirlik and finally turn away from Washington to look for new allies.

In an interview with Sputnik, authoritative security expert Jevad Galiyashevich noted that the US administration of Barack Obama was violating the laws of its own country, while President Obama was arming terrorists instead of fighting with them. The terrorist attack at a night club in Istanbul came as an obvious attempt to avenge Turkish President Erdogan for his rapprochement with Russia. The Americans put their terrorist dogs on Erdogan to humiliate him and put pressure on Turkey to make the country step away from its plans to regulate the crisis in Syria, the expert added.

The attack on Reina night club in Istanbul took place on New Year’s night. A terrorist armed with an automatic rifle opened fire on people inside the club. There were more than 700 guests in the club at the moment of the attack. The terrorist killed 39 people, including the security guard and 16 foreigners, 69 were wounded.

Turkish newspaper Yeni Akit tweeted a photo collage of outgoing US President Obama as the Istanbul terrorist, on which Obama does bear a striking resemblance to the Istanbul shooter. The caption to the picture said: “Clearest photo of the murderer.”

Pravda.Ru 

– See more at: http://www.pravdareport.com/news/hotspots/terror/06-01-2017/136573-turkey_istanbul-0/#sthash.Y8tPmtsK.dpuf

 

 


Animal – Vegetable – Mineral

Sex Life of a Rock

That’s right. Stones do it.

In my driveway one morning last week I was approaching the car to head off to the office and froze when I noticed among the white rocks ringing the rose bed that two of them were fighting over a female rock. I was able to capture the brief scuffle of stones on my Samsung Galaxy SIII video, and when I arrived at my office I posted it to YouTube as I had never seen anything quite like it. Believe me; it’s on the internet and going viral, very viral. (Contact me if you’d like the link, and please Like my video. It takes just 102 seconds to view it twice.)

Animal? Vegetable? Or mineral?

Okay, we all know that animals and plants are procreative. They always seem to produce offspring. Nothing new. But minerals? Who knew? After all, why would rocks even want to mate? What could they possibly have to gain? The pitter-patter of precious pebbles? Survival of the species? I don’t think so. Rocks have very long lives. They have only a few serious enemies: water, wind and humans. But the species is in no way threatened with extinction. Nor could it be. No, I think the stones just like to “do it.” It must be one of the greatest pleasures a rock can have. And I presume so only from my limited understanding of how animals and vegetables derive pleasure from the attempt to procreate. Take broccoli, for example.

Okay, we’ll get back to our vegetables later.

Dance. Kiss. Rape.

The same night of the male rocks rivalry I snuck outside around midnight and pulled up a lawn chair next to the rose bushes.

The sky was overcast and the street light had burned out a few days earlier. So it was very dark and I really could not see a thing beyond the faint glow of the decorative, white rocks circling the rose bed. But, with the volume cranked up, my new hearing aids were incredible. They allowed me to detect a low pulsating “woosh..hiss, woosh..hiss.” So I sprawled out prone on the grass and inched closer to the garden. Yes, it was music and it came directly from within the circle of white stones. And I grinned a bit because there’s nothing like the sound of sweet soul music to change a young lady’s mind.

Then I noticed that one of the stones was out of place, about a half-inch outside the circle. It might have been moved by a squirrel or a skunk, but I recognized it as one of the dueling suitors of that morning. Somewhere, the other male stone who won the prize and the attractive agate herself were probably preparing for the peak of passion…the way all rocks do.

But rocks seem to do it only in the dark, when the lights are off…and when geologists are asleep. One can only imagine the foreplay, rocking back and forth, two stones grinding to the music, digging that primitive beat, kissing and raping. Yes, raping. Each raping the other. It’s mutual but not consensual. They are driven to do it; and without brains they have no way to signal Yay or Nay – for consent or refusal – to engage sexually. So rape is the default for minerals.

Weird Dream

Whoa! That was a very strange dream.

But it got me thinking about what drives animals to hurt, maim and kill one another. Yes, I am definitely an animal. But I am an animal evolved to self-awareness and introspection, intelligence superior to other animals; making me arrogant. So arrogant, in fact, that I very often forget that I am an animal. Many deny that we are evolved and evolving…demonstrating the ultimate arrogance which has led to unnecessary human suffering. Unlike minerals and broccoli, unlike all other animal species, I have the ability to formulate questions, making me fearful if they are unanswered. We fear the unfamiliar which constitutes unanswered questions. Yet I am also often aware that I am driven by an endless, ageless mesh of hard-wired tendencies like all animals. We are territorial and sexual like all animals, even as we are evolving to being more civilized.

Ants and bees are organized, but they are not civilized. Horses and camels might be domesticated, but they are not civilized.

Civilization is unique to your subspecies[1], Homo sapiens sapiens, because we alone have evolved to be able to observe and analyze our own behaviors, including hard-wired tendencies. And our species has learned to think abstractly and use self-knowledge for the “larger good”; which is what I am doing by sharing these ideas right now. 

Deny

Why do I often find myself lapsing into denial of my rather obvious connection with the other animals? Why do people’s eyes glaze over when it is suggested we have behaviors based in program elements that were once essential, are still very powerful, but becoming less relevant as Homo sapiens sapiens evolves toward a more civilized society?

Caveat: I accept that our species has developed and changed very slowly, but radically over the last several million years or that Homo erectus were the first hominins to emigrate from Africa, and, from 1.8 to 1.3 million years ago, the species spread through Africa, Asia, and Europe. (The Fish River Canyon in Namibia is over 500 million years old.) And I believe what scientists have demonstrated, that one population of Homo erectus remained in Africa and evolved into Homo sapiens, and that Homo sapiens sapiens is the only remaining sub-species of Homo sapiens, since Homo sapiens idaltu became extinct around 100,000 years ago. Are we together on this?

If, on the other hand, you trust in the notion that these scientific findings are all balderdash, you might consider selecting new reading material or other form of learning with which you agree. For example, if one asserts that our planet was created by or populated by a supreme being or god less than a million years ago, it may be difficult to fully grasp the ensuing content. Truly.

Deny. By denying that we are not yet as civilized as we will become, we retard evolution. I am not saying that such retarding is “bad” for future generations as they evolve. After all, we are evolving, not revolting. “Slowly” by today’s human standards. There is “no rush.” But – yes, here is my BIG BUT – by denying my own power in evolutionary momentum I rob myself and the people around me of my personal best – during our tiny 80-year lifespan. If that were the only problem in such denial, my writing might stop…right…here        «·»

But, ignorance is a vacuum. If there is something we don’t know, something else will be sucked in to fill the void. Unfortunately, there are many human beings who perpetrate and perpetuate numerous malicious ramifications of denying or ignoring our potential roles in evolution. For some of our species ignorance of this concept contributes to license for behaviors such as murder and mayhem, war and suffering, savagery and brutality, slavery and rape, barbarity and mercilessness, subjugation and annihilation. Not surprisingly, all of this is often categorized as “inhumanity.”

Why the label “inhumanity?” Perhaps it is because these behaviors are found in other animals, and we expect humans to behave differently. So, why would anyone expect humans to act differently than other animals?

I believe that we expect different behavior from humans because we focus on the differences.

And we are VERY different from other species. We are obviously superior in so many ways. We eat other animals, even the largest ones. Some people eat the smart ones. And some eat only vegetables. We create highly developed languages, intricate artistic and architectural projects, complex systems of learning and inquiry. But the obvious or most clearly observed is not always definitive or even most relevant. What about the traits and behaviors that are not so obvious…the similarities. While I may deny that I am an animal, I walk the planet toting the same base instincts and tendencies as many other species both extant and extinct. Am I loathe to admit it? Do I feel shame to acknowledge this? Am I more comfortable acknowledging the differences between myself and other primates? Or even between me and the zebras?

What Do We Know? In a brief article describing an incident in which a little boy fell into the Cincinnati Zoo’s gorilla habitat and was dragged around by a male gorilla it was written that the primate was shot and killed. However, the writer did not state which primate was shot – the boy or the ape.

Alpha Male

Now, an important question leaps out at us: why does one human lead an entire life of peace and giving while another leads a life of malevolence and taking? Or, why can one person overcome base tendencies while another appears incapable of so doing? Why did U.S. President William Clinton do what he did with a young White House intern? Why did U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas engage in alleged sexual advances and innuendos with female colleagues? Why did U.S. President Jimmy Carter “look at a lot of women with lust”? After all, these are highly advanced creatures, right? Were they not keenly aware in general and specifically of the human condition? Were they not well educated? We might respond, “Who cares? No harm done.” And ‘we’ are more likely males.

“Our current politics are grounded in the social structure of primate bands in which alphas gain and hold power, and then use that power to control resources such as food and female reproduction. In more complex forms, we see the same thing in most human hunter-gatherer bands, in which our ancestors lived for 95% of the past 200,000 years. With the advent of agriculture about 10,000 years ago, wealth and power became even more concentrated in the hands of a few, enabling them to support warriors to enforce their rule and priests to justify it.[2]

Of course, the “alphas” were males among most mammals and especially among primates.

 

 friends

Accept

Accepting that we can each play a positive role in the evolving of the Homo genus can actually lead to a better humanity even while we are still living our short lives.

But acceptance requires a foundation of belief which may or may not have footings of knowledge. One will not accept what one does not believe. Yet many of us believe what we do not know, which means that many of us accept what we do not know. This kind of belief is called faith.

Beliefs are where we start, but beliefs can change – usually by replacing ignorance with knowledge. And by replacing assumptions with facts. Knowing the things that I am sharing here has altered my life and can redirect the lives of others.

My belief is based on knowledge.

For example, Homo erectus were the first hominins to emigrate from Africa, and, from 1.8 to 1.3 million years ago, the species spread through Africa, Asia, and Europe. One population of Homo erectus remained in Africa and evolved into Homo sapiens. The Earth is over 4-billion years old while some of the water on our planet is even older than that – outdating our Sun!

[1] Why am I so confident in writing “your subspecies?” Because you are reading this and not one of the remaining 8.7-million species in the animal kingdom can read.

[2] Find the Facts, Rick Hanson, Ph.D., November 5, 2016


Insane

Since Egypt’s 2011 uprising, authorities have increasingly investigated blasphemy allegations stemming from both private complaints and government prosecutions. The majority of those investigations, documented by the EIPR, have concerned alleged insults against Islam, though at least two men have received prison sentences on charges of insulting Christianity. Cases of alleged blasphemy often arise out of personal or unrelated disputes.

Recently, the authorities have targeted perceived atheists. Police said the café shut down on December 14, 2014 [on my birthday even] , in Cairo’s Abdeen district was popular with suspected atheists, and District Administrative Chief Gamal Mohie told the Mada Masr news website that the coffee shop was unlicensed and “popularly known as a place for Satan worship, rituals and dances.” He said police had raided the café in November. The Al-Monitor news site reported that a previous owner said he closed the café and leased it to a new owner in June because security forces had targeted the café as a hub for political activists.

On December 10 the Dar al-Ifta, a Justice Ministry wing that issues religious edicts, released a survey claiming that Egypt was home to 866 atheists, the highest number of any country in the Middle East. Two aides to the Grand Mufti – the head of the Dar al-Ifta – described the supposed increase in atheism as “a dangerous development” that “should ring alarm bells,” Mada Masr reported.

In March, the Interior Ministry official in charge of security in Alexandria said he would form a task force to arrest atheists. In June, following the election of President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, Egypt’s youth and religious endowments ministries announced a joint campaign to confront the spread of atheism.

From 2011 to 2013, courts convicted 27 of 42 defendants on charges of contempt for religion, according to the EIPR. Judges acquitted three defendants and rejected charges against 11 others for lack of standing.