Double Game: Why Pakistan Supports Militants and Resists U.S. Pressure to Stop | Cato Institute


via Double Game: Why Pakistan Supports Militants and Resists U.S. Pressure to Stop | Cato Institute

Anti Modi view from Cato Institute newsletter


NEW STUDY: India’s New Protectionism Threatens Gains from Economic Reform

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Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has been hailed as an economic liberalizer, having sharply criticized rising U.S. protectionism under the Trump administration. Yet Modi too has embarked on measures to protect and support manufacturing jobs in India. The latest Indian budget raised import duties on more than 40 items, ranging from auto parts and toys to candles and furniture, in order to protect uncompetitive small businesses and create jobs in labor-intensive industries.

In a new paper, Cato scholar Swaminathan S. Anklesaria Aiyar raises concerns that the new protectionism will get entrenched and reverse the major gains India has made since economic reforms began in 1991.

How autocratic leaders control populations with fear


MICHELE GELFAND: You know, I think often we think about social class as just being about our bank accounts. We don’t think about how is class cultural, truly cultural in terms of differences in values and norms that are socialized in different groups for good reasons. And tightness-looseness, it just doesn’t differentiate nations and states, it also differentiates social class with the same exact logic. We went out and we’ve been surveying people from the working class and people from the middle and upper classes, and what’s fascinating is when we ask people about rules, ‘just tell us five words that you think of for rules’, we see that the working class sees rules very positively. Rules in the working class are important. They’re important for helping people to slide into hard living, as sociologists would call it—to poverty, to the dregs of poverty. Rules are helpful if you’re going to be going into occupations where there’s a lot of danger, where there’s less discretion. The middle class and upper class they saw rules more negatively. They saw it as goody two shoes when you’re following the rules. For the working class, rules are important for survival. For the middle class, there’s a safety net so you can actually afford to be rule-breaking in this context.

And what’s fascinating is, we measure the ZIP codes of people coming into our lab and then we track the neighborhoods they live in. And, for sure, the working class live in much more threatening environments when it comes to crime, unemployment. They report being subject to many more threats. What’s remarkable is that this starts very early. We wanted to see how early can we see these differences developing? And we started to see this even as early as three years old. What we did was we brought three-year-olds into the lab, working-class and middle-class kids. And you can’t exactly ask them about rules, right. But what we did was we borrowed a technique from the Max Planck Institute where we had them interacting with a puppet. His name was Max the Puppet. And they got to know him and they enjoyed playing with him. And Max the Puppet suddenly after a little while became Max the Norm Violator. He started violating all the rules of the game and announcing that he’s actually playing the game correctly. And we simply wanted to know: how did the kids react? Is there a different reaction by age three? And there sure was.

The middle class, in general, were much more likely to laugh and kind of let it go, and the working-class kids wanted Max the Puppet to stop. They told him to stop. They told him it was wrong. And parents are already socializing their kids, by the age of three, to help them fit into the kind of threatening or non-threatening environments they’re going to be working in. So it’s really important to see that these differences arise for a reason and they arise early.

So the rise of Donald Trump has been such an enigma to so many people. Is it an ideology? Is it a personality? In fact, Donald Trump is semi—he’s a very good cross-cultural psychologist. He understands the role of fear and threat in mobilizing people to want more tightness and to want autocratic leaders. And we’ve seen this in our data. The people that were interested in voting for Trump felt very threatened and they felt the country was too loose. And this is not just a Trump phenomenon. It’s all over the world. When we measure support for Le Pen in France we had the same exact data that showed that people who feel threatened want stronger rules and leaders to help them to coordinate to survive. These leaders tap into a very important evolutionary type of instinct: when there’s threat and when there’s disorder, we want strong rulers to help us in those contexts.

And one thing that really predicts whether groups are tight or loose is the amount of threat that they face. And threat can be from a variety of sources; it could be from mother nature, could be natural disasters or famine, or it could be population density. It could also be man-made; it could be the number of invasions you’ve had over the last couple of centuries. And so when there’s threat, there’s the need for strong rules to coordinate to survive. And so actually tightness-looseness has a really important logic, a hidden logic, that helps us understand why certain groups become tight or loose. Loose groups, whether they’re nations or states or organizations, they face less threat so they can afford to be more permissive. Groups tend to evolve to be calibrated to the degree of threat that they have. When you have exaggerated threats, it means that we’re sacrificing liberty for security in contexts when we don’t really need to do that.

The problem here is that we have to separate objective from subjective threat. It’s true that a lot of the working class does objectively feel very threatened in this country and we need, as a loose culture, to reach out and work to help them deal with the threats that are happening from globalization. But it’s also the case that leaders like Trump and others use threat and target people who are threatened in order to gain popularity.

Working-class people take rules more seriously. Upper- and middle-class people do not. Why? The latter have financial and social safety nets, so they can afford to break some rules.
Research shows that, by the age of three, working-class children are primed to be more rigid about rules. Those rules help working-class people survive what sociologists call ‘hard living’: extreme poverty, dangerous jobs, and unsafe neighborhoods. Having strong rules increases chances of safety and survival.
Harnessing this evolutionary psychology can be very powerful in politics. Populists like Donald Trump or Marine Le Pen exaggerate fear and threat to gain popularity. They understand “the role of fear and threat in mobilizing people to want more tightness and to want autocratic leaders,” Gelfand explains.
In Rule Makers, Rule Breakers: How Tight and Loose Cultures Wire the World, Michele Gelfand explains her research into ‘tight’ and ‘loose’ cultures. Get a crash course here.

via How autocratic leaders control populations with fear

This is not a political Write up. Shared courtesy a friend on WhatsApp


This is not political write-up,
Country First.
🙏

RisingIndia

I do not know if the people of India understand the significance of these two news, which came today –

1.
Few days ago, US had warned India not to go forward with S400 air defence system deal with Russia, and had threatened a sanction. India went ahead with the deal. Today, US government issued a statement that it has no problem with the deal if it helps their allies (India here) to strengthen their defense capabilities.
.
2.
US has put a strong sanction against Iran, which starts next month. This means countries will not be able to trade with Iran, and doing so, they risk a sanction on themselves. Today, Petroleum Ministry issued a statement that India will continue the oil trade with Iran despite US sanctions.
.
I am not going to get into unnecessary terms like 56 inch here, but would definitely like to reiterate that this is not an old India. This is a new India, for whom its own interests matter the most. We have a powerful government who is not afraid to take any decision under international pressure when it comes to national interest. Be it using diplomacy, persuasion or power, we will go ahead with our interests.
.
This is a new country, which is asserting its growing influence!! If you cannot see this.

God bless you..

10 Secret Rooms Inside The World’s Most Famous Landmarks – Listverse


via 10 Secret Rooms Inside The World’s Most Famous Landmarks – Listverse

Top 10 Famous Pictures Of Children That Will Break Your Heart – Listverse


via Top 10 Famous Pictures Of Children That Will Break Your Heart – Listverse

Random Phrases, My Day and Creativity


  1. Knuckle Down Meaning: Getting sincere about something; applying oneself seriously to a job.  Two impromptu Ice-breaker speeches – moving towards Goal 1. Did not win prize, got a participation certificate but the pleasure was in audience individuals – rank strangers coming back not just complimenting but quoting me ‘VERBATIM’ and saying, they loved it, they would like to keep in touch, some even said we would like to learn a few things from you. I was humbled. 
  2. Dropping Like Flies Meaning: To fall down ill or to die in large numbers. I wish it does not happen to humans, pests and insects, viruses and diseases is another matter. What I noticed today is the best Evaluators club of Toastmasters had difficulty in filling the hall with audience and participants for the Marathons the Area Directors are planning to hold across city.  One actually said about ATTRITION of members? That was sad.  It said a lot about the lack of leadership and the Pull and Push of the managing committees.  
  3. Man of Few Words Meaning: A person who does not speak a great deal; someone who talks with as few words as possible.  Met an interesting person. He was my speech evaluator. His speciality is being brief and as an extempore impromptu ice breaker speaker who was pushed to speak – I had failed by exceeding the time limit.  He said he will mail his evaluation ! That’s it.  🙂 
  4. Poke Fun At Meaning: Making fun of something or someone; ridicule.  Had this experience. At the end of a dominant communicator speech the speaker did actually did not want any questions. When asked – he asked me to repeat thrice and explain 4 time and I was about to say – “Let’s take this off line as I did not ask this to challenge you but to support your views, just clarifying a point”.  Some Speakers are on their High HOrse ! They feel, they are the only one who can challenge! Anyone asking a question is a lowly minion, dimwit and brainless.  My Professorial hat tells me to answer them – Questions are never stupid – answers are – like mine 🙂 🙂 .  
  5. Hear, Hear Meaning: A shout of agreement, or to draw attention to a speaker. I asked the speaker that when a friend is faced with problems – should I make an appreciative enquiry and find what solutions he has in his mind, as he knows the problems best. Second, is my friend looking for an Affirmation that the solution he has found has my tacit support so that he can try it out with heart? I was taken round and round in derogatory circles with a menacing look on the face by a socalled Guinness Award winner and World Speech champion and I felt very sad for him.  What did I do to hurt his Ego? 
  6. On the Same Page Meaning: Thinking alike or understanding something in a similar way with others.  Sometimes, in a gathering when you wish to say that you are in the same boat, same page, thinking alike – it is best to use non-verbal communication like nodding your head to convey Yes, I agree.  
  7. Swinging For the Fences Meaning: Giving something your all.  One more article coming up in a new club Newsletter which was launched today. Felt great.  Meeting new Chamber of commerce and meeting some very interesting and interested people ( atleast on the face of it) I felt great and felt genuinely that there are things I can do to assist and help.  The new Chairman was receptive and said wants to have a one on one Strategy/ vision statement session.  He said he is a Visual thinker like me, that was pleasing. 
  8. Up In Arms Meaning: Angry; being roused to the point that you are ready to fight.  But I gave up. I saw on Whatsapp the pictures of a poor girl being honored by a sport shoes company and giving them her name as she could not afford them. i felt sad for someone whose dream was ignited, latent wishes brought to fore in my mentoring but had given up on them with diffidence.  I was angry inside but let go. 
  9. Quick and Dirty Meaning: Things that are fixed with great speed, but as a result, it’s probably not going to work very well. Hmmm… it was a busy day, I could have gone and got my Suits overhauled now that I have lost so much weight and bought a new pair of formal shoes as the formal meetings are moving up but I just changed jackets for two occasions – Reminder to self – GO FIX THIS ASAP. 
  10. Mountain Out of a Molehill Meaning: One who escalates small things and turns them into big problems.  I found a senior evaluator indulging in overstatements, exaggerations, over praise, excessive acting skills show and was bit turned off.  Then I met him one on one for about 7 minutes, got his life story out and realised that even at our late age – the need to RECOGNITION is so high that NAME AUR FAME KE LIYE KUCHH BHI KAREGA i.e. I’ll do any thing to get name and fame. I quietly agreed to disagreed and moved on to another person by saying “Sorry, Sir, I do not wish to monopolise you, others also need your kind attention”. Thank you.

Interesting and seemingly true WhatsApp Forward


Reproduced as received.

The Reaction Of PARSY Community for Rahul’s Allegations Against TATAS !!! Pl go through their Reactions !!!!
😠😡👊
Open letter to RAGA by a Parsi Gentleman.👇👇👇

Dear Mr. Rahul Gandhi.😢

I am forced to write this to you since you have crossed all limits for a person who is defination of the word gentleman. I do agree that you politicians drag each other in your dirty politics. But my question is why did u drag the gentleman who has done this nation proud. During your recent various visits to Gujarat, I have observed that in each of your rally you have mentioned this Parsi Gentleman’s name. Do you even know what sort of person he is.? Have you even thought of the loss which you will have to bear by dragging this Parsi Gentleman’s into your dirty politics. See the grace of this man that he has not even bothered to react to your constant pocking. That is the brand value he has. In each of the rally, You are actually putting fingers in his mouth waiting that he will react but plz try n understand that he is above all this. If we common people can understand this, how come you can’t. This assures me to believe our PM’s view regarding your IQ. Every morning you shouted in Gujarat that Modi gave 33,000 crores to that Gentleman at free of cost. Do you even think before you speak. Plz go through the Tata Motors statement regarding your rubbish mockery. I still feel that Tata Motors Ltd. should also have refrained from issuing statement with regards to your comment. As the world knows what is Tata legacy. For a change, even if I assume that Tata’s were given free land then there is nothing wrong after all, the good charity Tata Trust does for the society. It is better to give land to tata’s instead of Robert Vadra as atleast the profits generated by Tata Companies will be used for charity whereas we know of your family.
Today, as we go for the first round of polls, my only request is plz remorse your statement. We Parsis may be very less in numbers to affect your vote bank but there are many sympathy bearers in other community for us who will surely react n affect your results. I know that this will not make a big impact on results as you have people like Mani Shankar Iyer who are sufficient to ensure that you loose. But by taking back this statement, you will atleast get some bonus points. We Parsis consider India as our motherland so how can we think of selling the same. It’s a pitty that you think so low (plz contact Mani Iyer for meaning of low) for a person (Tata’s) who celebrated this Diwali by donating ₹1,000 crores for Cancer Hospitals while you were celebrating Diwali out of India. Hope you will apologise after reading this & prove that you are not a Pappu.
Regards,
~~~~Tribute to Parsis

Parsis are just 0.1% of total population, or maybe even less.YET,
They never asked for minority status.
They never asked for reservations.
They never f​ight​ with Indian Government.
They never felt threatened by Hindus.
They never throw bombs or stones or damage public property.
They never indulge in crimes or run the underworld.
All they do is to contribute mightily to the progress of India.

They gave us the best…..
👍
Mr. Dadabhoy Naoroji
​Mr. J R D TTata
Mr. Firozshah Mehta
Mr. Bhikaji Cama
Mr. A D Shroff
Mr. Ratan Tata
Mr. Adi Godrej
Mr. Cyrus Mistry
Mr. Homi Bhabha
Mr. Zubin Mehta
Mr. Nari Contractor
Mr. Nani Palkhiwala
Mr. Farokh Engineer
Mr. Soli Sorabjee
Ms. Persis Khambata
Ms. Daizy Irani
Mr. Homi Wadia
Mr. Rustom Karanjia
Mr. Dinshaw Petit
Mr. Shapurji Pallonji
Mr. Russi Mody
Mr. Boman Irani
Ms.Perizaad Zorabian
Mr. Cyrus Poonawala
Mr. Shyamak Dawar
Mr. Cyrus Bharucha
Ms. Bachi Karkaria
Mr. Busybee
Mr. Keki Mistry
Mr. Bejan Daruwala
Mr. Mehraboon Irani

the list is endless and above all, the one and only
FIELD MARSHAL SAM MANEKSHAW.!

Each one of us Indians love & respect Parsis… ”They are the best gift by Almighty to India.”
They are a beautiful People. “A beautiful and dignified Race.”
I wish we had more of the Parsis who could teach our other greedy minorities as to what minority really means. It means NOT to be parasite or a leech on the host country…It means to give, & NOT to take.

All those who are asking for minority status, then and today, ought to be ashamed of themselves.

You owe a lot to this nation. Pay back, rather than asking from nation. The US President, Robert Kennedy rightly advised, “Ask NOT what our Nation can do for you. Ask what you can do for our Nation and its people”.

Kindly circulate. Let it reach to all those who are already minority and to all those who are still asking for ​special status.

This is what’s happening in India – A WhatsApp Forward


Its not humour…Sir

When the ancient Chinese decided to live in peace, they made the Great Wall of China.
They thought no one could climb it due to its height.

During the first 100 years of its existence, the Chinese were invaded thrice. And every time, the hordes of enemy infantry had no need of penetrating or climbing over the Wall…
because each time they bribed the guards & came through the doors!

The Chinese built the Wall but forgot character building of the wall guards!Thus, the building of human character comes BEFORE building of anything else..

That’s what our students need today.

Like one Orientalist said: If you want to destroy de civilization of a nation there are 3 ways:

  1. Destroy the family structure.
  2. Destroy education.
  3. Lower their role models & references.
  4. In order to destroy the family:
    Undermine the role of Mother, so that she feels ashamed of being a housewife.
  5. To destroy education:
    You should give no importance to the Teacher, & lower his place in Society so that the students despise him.
  6. To lower the role models:
    You should undermine the Scholars, doubt them until no one listens to them or follows them.

For when a conscious Mother disappears, a dedicated Teacher disappears & there’s a downfall of role models, WHO will teach the VALUES to youngsters?

Give a thought: Is our country also invaded?
This is what is happening in India.

Remembering John McCain’s capacity for self-reflection and self-criticism


The leadership themes that have emerged from the obituaries, memoirs and eulogies for Sen. John McCain since his death Saturday won’t surprise most people familiar with the life of the celebrated war hero: the candid and courageous Arizona senator who symbolized so much for so many. The unyielding brawler impatient for the next fight. The maverick politician who bucked the party line. The brave naval aviator who survived years of torture. The straight-talking politician who seemed to captivate the political press.

Yet for those who have not read McCain’s books or followed his remarks about his political career closely, a related aspect to that last characteristic of McCain’s leadership may be less familiar than the others. Over and over again, the journalists who wrote his obituaries and covered his career and the political staffers who worked alongside him spoke of his willingness to speak openly about his mistakes, be candid about where he’d gone wrong, and express regret for what he wished he’d done differently.

While McCain’s “Straight Talk Express” campaign and plain-spoken style is often remembered for the times he countered party dogma or for the unfiltered candidate behind it, there is something more to it than just plain frankness. It was also, many remembered, about how that enabled him to reflect, often critically, upon himself. “No one combined McCain’s unflinching mix of bracing candor, impossibly high standards, and rueful self-recrimination when he (inevitably) failed to live up to the ideals he outlined for himself,” wrote Todd S. Purdum, who covered McCain during the 2006 midterms as he stumped for candidates in the lead-up to his 2008 presidential run, for the Atlantic.

The Washington Post’s obituary for McCain includes his regrets over his involvement in the “Keating Five” scandal, in which McCain and four other senators were accused of trying to get regulators to back off investigations of a savings and loan businessman. “It will be on my tombstone, something that will always be with me, something that will always be in my biography,” he said, “and deservedly so.”

Speaking about his decision to shift from calling the Confederate flag “a symbol of racism and slavery” to saying he could “understand both sides,” he later wrote about his regrets. “I had not been just dishonest. I had been a coward, and I had severed my own interests from my country’s. That was what made the lie unforgivable,” he recalled. “All my heroes, fictional and real, would have been ashamed of me.”

Recent days have produced many such recollections of McCain’s self-reflection and self-criticism. It was his “capacity for brutal self-assessment” about things such as a lack of interest in economics, wrote Sasha Issenberg for Politico, that may have cost him the 2008 election. CNN’s Jake Tapper tweeted Friday that after his cancer diagnosis, McCain said he’d like to be remembered as someone who “served his country and not always right. Made a lot of mistakes. Made a lot of errors, but served his country. And I hope we could add honorably.”

A former foreign policy adviser recalled that McCain “emphasized his imperfections. The senator admitted his errors, and he learned from them, and then he went on to make new and different ones.” Eliot Cohen, the Johns Hopkins professor and former counselor of the State Department under Condoleezza Rice, wrote that McCain “repeatedly told audiences and readers of his books” that he was a flawed man.

That willingness to self-reflect, to self-criticize, to admit to flaws is, of course, unusual in the American political system, particularly today, as the country is led by a president who hardly ever apologizes or admits a mistake. But it is also considered an essential quality for leadership. Many leaders and researchers have written about its importance — even calling it the “quality that trumps them all” among attributes for leaders. It cultivates trust and transparency. It creates a sense of vulnerability that offers authenticity. Most of all, it helps leaders to learn.

A candid style and maverick record — though he was also criticized for liking the label but not living up to it — may be the leadership attributes most people associate with McCain. But as so many remembered in recent days, that unfiltered voice was not just about being accessible, or willing to stray from his party, but also about being willing to admit his failures in an environment where that remains rare.

“There is no reward in American politics for public displays of self-awareness or self-criticism,” wrote the Atlantic’s editor in chief, Jeffrey Goldberg. “And yet, John McCain understood human nature, and his own nature, enough to state the plausible: that in moments of great testing, it is possible for any human, including the bravest human, to fail.”

10 Of The Weirdest Things The Chinese Government Has Banned


POLITICS

10 Of The Weirdest Things The Chinese Government Has Banned

OLIVER TAYLOR 

Censorship is a big deal in China, where the government has made it clear that it will go to any length to control information. The Chinese government strictly controls news spread through the Internet and mass media, consequently deciding what its citizens know and what they do not.

Several Western companies—including Google and Facebook—have either left or been banned in China over censorship and privacy issues, leaving Chinese-owned companies that the government can easily manipulate in their place.

Away from the Internet, China has also banned several other weird things—usually for ridiculous reasons. Although the government often says otherwise, most of the items on this list were banned for political reasons.

10Hip-Hop

Photo credit: The Independent

Hip-hop songs and hip-hop artists with tattoos are prohibited in China. The ban was issued through the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), which stated that hip-hop artists had refused to toe the line of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

SAPPRFT ruled that media agencies must not feature artists who use vulgar or “tasteless” lyrics and artists whose “heart and morality” differ from that of the ruling CCP. Additionally, the artists must neither be classless nor questionable.[1]

Weeks before the ban was issued, two popular Chinese hip-hop artists, Wang Hao (stage name “PG One”) and Zhou Yan (stage name “GAI”) had been sanctioned for what the government called “bad behavior” and use of lyrics that were not aligned with the ideology of the CCP. PG One was also accused of using lyrics that insulted women and promoted drug use.

9Time Travel

Photo credit: chinahush.com

Films and television shows depicting time travel have been disallowed in China since April 2011. The government stated that the ban was necessary because movies depicting time travel are often historically inaccurate and filled with feudalism, superstition, and reincarnation, all of which are capable of distorting and insulting the history of China.

The ban came at a time when time travel films were gaining popularity. Their plots often involved people teleporting from modern China to ancient China. The events in the fictional ancient China were usually modeled after real events that happened in ancient China but with some exaggerations. The government fears that this could alter citizens’ opinions of the past.[2]

8Celebrity Gossip

Photo credit: newsweek.com

Around June 8, 2017, several Chinese blogs and social media accounts that were focused on celebrity gossip mysteriously disappeared from the Chinese web. It was later revealed that they had been shut down on the orders of the government. Apparently, the government had called representatives of several big Chinese Internet companies to a meeting and had given them a list of 60 blogs and social media accounts it wanted shut down.

According to the government, the ban was necessary because the blogs and social media accounts were of “poor taste” and did not promote “socialist values.” The shutdown was surprising to many Internet users because the government had often left sports and entertainment news uncensored.[3]

7Reincarnation

Photo credit: Christopher

China has banned reincarnation. That is, people who claim to be back from the dead. Anyone who wants to be reincarnated or claims to have been reincarnated needs to seek approval from the government and follow the rules as listed by the Chinese State Administration for Religious Affairs.

Despite its hilariousness, the prohibition has very real religious and political undertones. It is targeted at all Tibetan Buddhists, specifically the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people and followers of Tibetan Buddhism.

Tibet used to be an independent country. Then, over five decades ago, China invaded and added the country to its territory. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet for India, where he still holds sway over Tibetans.

They believe that the Dalai Lama is capable of reincarnation after death. Considering that the current Dalai Lama is already old, a successor is bound to be appointed within the next few years or decades. By controlling who can be reincarnated, China will be able to decide who becomes the Dalai Lama. When this happens, it will be able to bring all Tibetans and Tibetan Buddhists under state control.

Even if the Dalai Lama decides to be reincarnated among Tibetans outside China (maybe in India or the United States), China could refuse to recognize that Dalai Lama. It could even appoint another Dalai Lama from the Tibetan population in China, leaving Tibetans with two Dalai Lamas. This will inevitably cause disagreement and confusion among Tibetans.[4]

6Puns

Photo credit: The Guardian

No pun intended, puns are banned in China. They are commonly used on the Chinese Internet and media where Chinese words, characters, phrases, and idioms are slightly adjusted to give them different meanings. The government claimed that the ban was necessary because puns eroded Chinese culture and could mislead people (especially kids) or cause what it called “cultural and linguistic chaos.”[5]

However, it is known that the ban was not intended to preserve Chinese culture or prevent whatever the government meant by “cultural and linguistic chaos.” Rather, it was intended to stop Internet users from using puns to bypass Internet censorship and mock the government.

5‘I Disagree’

Photo credit: Narendra Modi

In March 2018, the China National People’s Congress voted to expunge the law that limited the president’s rule to two five-year terms. This is believed to be the first step in President Xi Jinping’s attempt to rule China for life. The government had kept all preparations under wrap and only hinted of the proposed amendment two weeks earlier.

Some citizens opposed the proposed amendment and openly criticized it on social media. Many compared China to North Korea and used the phrase “I disagree” to show their disapproval. That continued until the government banned the phrase. Internet users who made posts containing “I disagree” got an error message in return.[6]

Besides “I disagree,” the government also banned ”migration,” “boarding a plane,” “life-long rule,” “long live the emperor,” and Animal FarmAnimal Farm is the name of the popular novel by George Orwell, while “boarding a plane” is similar to a Chinese phrase meaning “ascending the throne”—as in Xi Jinping was trying to become king.

4Winnie-The-Pooh

Photo credit: BBC

The Chinese government banned Winnie-the-Pooh after it realized that its citizens were comparing the fictional character to President Xi Jinping. Due to Internet censorship, Chinese citizens are unable to use certain words on the Internet. So they often find creative ways to bypass censorship and use these words. One method is by using different words or characters to represent people and events. For President Xi Jinping, it was Pooh.

When a picture of Xi Jinping shaking hands with Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, surfaced on the Internet, Chinese citizens responded with pictures of Pooh shaking hands with Eeyore the donkey. When another picture showing Xi Jinping popping his head out of his presidential limousine surfaced, the people responded with a picture of Pooh popping his head out of a toy car.

The ban was not the first time that pictures of Pooh were prohibited on the Chinese Internet. Earlier, a ban came because the Chinese Communist Party was preparing for a congress and there were concerns that more questionable pictures of Pooh might pop up.[7]

3Livestreaming

Photo credit: theconversation.com

China disallowed livestreaming after realizing that it could not be censored like other online content. This wasn’t the reason the government gave, though. They stated that the prohibition was necessary to clean the Chinese Internet. The ban was issued in June 2017 and was targeted at Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, and Ifeng and AcFun, two video sharing sites similar to YouTube.

Livestreaming was gaining popularity at the time of the ban and involved unusual technologies that the government was not used to censoring. For instance, in 2016, Ifeng livestreamed the US presidential election, something the Chinese government would not have ordinarily allowed. So they just instituted the ban while they worked on censorship.[8]

2‘N’

The letter “n,” the innocent 14th letter of the English alphabet, was another unfortunate victim of China’s censorship. The ban came after China announced its plans to remove the two-term limit for president.

In mathematics, the Chinese use the letter “n” the same way we use the letter “x.” So “n” stands for unknown or infinity. Chinese citizens were using the letter to denote the number of years that Xi Jinping will remain in power. However, the government probably realized that the letter “n” had other uses and lifted the ban a day later.[9]

1Religion

Photo credit: The Independent

China categorizes itself as an atheist nation. Although it prefers that its citizens remain atheists, the government claims to allow freedom of religion. However, serving and retired members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party are banned from having a religion. They cannot get involved in religious activities and are expected to act against certain religions like the Falun Gong, which the government categorizes as an evil cult.

The so-called freedom of religion is a sham because the state strictly regulates religions, decides how they operate, and bans them when it suspects they are acting against its goals. The government also regulates religious books, traditions, and methods and places of worship. It does not hesitate to ban them when necessary. For instance, churches require state approval to operate.[10]

The government also holds a monopoly over the distribution of Bibles, determines who becomes a church leader, and regulates Christian holidays. The government used to be lax about its monopoly over the distribution of Bibles until recently. Then it started clamping down on the online sales of Bibles.

China does not allow the Vatican to independently appoint Catholic bishops in their country, either. Rather, the government negotiates with the Vatican to determine who can become a bishop. At one time, the Chinese government even banned Christmas.

Muslims are not treated any better. The government has banned Muslim names, dress styles, and traditions. Muslim women cannot wear burkas, and men cannot have beards. Parents cannot give their children Islamic names, either.

In 2017, China banned Muslim civil servants from fasting during Ramadan, the Islamic month when Muslims are expected to fast. It even stationed guards at government buildings all day and night to ensure that the ban was enforced.

The government also demanded that students in Muslim-majority regions watch communist films and engage in sports on Fridays, just to stop them from fasting and participating in joint community prayers that are held on Fridays. China also has strict guidelines to determine who performs hajj, an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The government demands that any Muslim who wants to make the hajj pilgrimage must be between 50 and 70 and must pledge allegiance to the government.

10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened This Week (8/10/18)


MORRIS M. 

 

Keeping up with the news is hard. So hard, in fact, that we’ve decided to save you the hassle by rounding up the most significant, unusual, or just plain old mind-blowing stories each week.

This week was marked by a real political nail-biter. Ohio’s 12th Congressional district special election went right down to the wire with only a tiny fraction of votes separating the Republican and Democratic candidates. Soothsayers took to their crystal balls to pour over what this might all mean for the November midterms, while elsewhere, disasters and international tiffs collided to create a remarkably varied news week.

10Ohio’s Special Election Went Down To The Wire

Photo credit: cleveland.com

Gosh, that was close. On Tuesday, amid a slew of other highly anticipated races, Ohio’s 12th Congressional district special election went right down to the wire. Called in the wake of Republican Pat Tiberi’s resignation from Congress, it pitted GOP candidate Troy Balderson against Democratic contender Danny O’Connor for a seat in the US House of Representatives. The results were interesting, to say the least.

Balderson squeaked through with 50.2 percent of the votes to O’Connor’s 49.3. (The missing 0.5 went to the Green candidate.) Although most media outlets had called the race at the time of this writing, it still hasn’t officially been declared. A few thousand absentee and provisional ballots remain to be counted. While no one is seriously expecting O’Connor to inch ahead, it was still a breathlessly close race in a district that President Trump won by 11 points.

Nor was it the only close race of the night. In Kansas, the GOP gubernatorial primary between establishment pick Jeff Colyer and Trumpist Kris Kobach left the candidates almost neck and neck. Expect many a controversial recount before a winner is declared.[1]

9Chicago Was Paralyzed By A Wave Of Shootings

Photo credit: USA Today

Between Friday afternoon and Monday morning, Chicago suffered a dizzying spike in violence rarely seen outside a postapocalyptic movie. At least 74 people were gunned down in a spate of shootings that ultimately claimed 13 lives and led to chaos in hospital emergency rooms. Although mostly gang related, the shootings still included at least four attacks where gunmen opened fire almost at random.

Chicago has spent the last couple of years gripped by a rising tide of violence that police seem powerless to stop. While everyone has their theories about the causes (and, this being the Internet, those theories likely boil down to “we need more or fewer guns!”), the reality is that there likely isn’t a single, easy factor we can point to. Violence in America’s third-largest city is now so ingrained that it would take a heroic effort to untangle it.[2]

Perhaps the only bright spot in this decay is the brave work of Chicago’s emergency responders. Saving the lives of 61 out of 74 gunshot victims is a minor miracle and one they deserve credit for.

8Argentina Rejected Legal Abortion

Photo credit: The Guardian

Whatever happened, the historic vote in Argentina’s senate was going to dash the hopes of millions. On Wednesday, a bill proposing the legalization of abortion up to 14 weeks of pregnancy reached the floor as proabortion and antiabortion activists rallied outside. After a marathon 15-hour debate, senators finally voted to reject the bill by 38 to 31. For pro-choice activists, it was a deflating end to a hard-fought campaign that had gripped the nation.[3]

Currently, Argentina only allows abortion in the case of rape or if the mother’s health would be in danger. As a result, there were around 45 deaths attributed to botched illegal terminations last year. When the abortion bill unexpectedly cleared the house by a margin of just four votes in June, it catalyzed a movement across the Latin American nation as everyone scrambled to get the outcome they wanted.

While Wednesday night’s defeat was a blow to the pro-choice crowd, there is a feeling now that legalization may be inevitable down the line. Recent polls show 60 percent of Argentines favor the 14-week limit.

7Canada And Saudi Arabia Got In The Mother Of All Spats

Photo credit: cnbc.com

For all the endless attention paid to President Trump’s tweets, it may have been a tweet from Canada’s foreign policy account that sparked the biggest online diplomatic row of the year. Last Friday, the Canadian government issued a tweet imploring Saudi Arabia to release its political prisoners. It was the average sort of tweet that a dozen liberal Western governments send out a day, only with a significant difference. Someone in Riyadh read it. Boy, were they mad.

In an unexpected move, Saudi Arabia responded to the tweet by going on the diplomatic attack. The Canadian ambassador was expelled from the kingdom. Riyadh froze all trade with Ottawa. Approximately 16,000 Saudi students were ordered to leave Canada and complete their studies elsewhere. Overseas Saudi asset managers were forced to off-load all their Canadian holdings at a loss. Saudis receiving medical treatment in Canada were even evacuated to other nations.

At the time of this writing, Saudi Arabia is threatening to take yet more actions, including potentially canceling an arms deal made with the Trudeau government in 2016. Analysts have suggested that this overreaction may be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s attempt to flex his country’s muscles on the world stage.[4]

6South Sudan Agreed To End Its Civil War

Photo credit: voanews.com

In summer 2011, South Sudan officially seceded from Sudan to become the world’s youngest country. After decades of repression at the hands of the Muslim-majority north, the mainly Christian south was supposed to be embarking on a new chapter of freedom and safety.

That illusion lasted less than two years. In December 2013, a spat between the egomaniacs heading the new nation’s various factions boiled over into civil war. For the last five years, armed groups have murdered and raped with impunity, leaving tens of thousands dead in their wake and an already poor nation in ruins.

This week, President Salva Kiir finally signed an agreement with rebel leader Riek Machar and opposition groups to lay down arms and establish a power-sharing government. If all sides manage to keep their word, it will end one of Africa’s grimmest civil wars.[5]

Sadly, that’s a big “if.” A similar agreement in 2015 collapsed amid riots that killed hundreds and forced Machar to flee the country. Hopefully, we don’t see a repeat.

5New Mexico Police Uncovered A Depraved Training Camp For School Shooters

Photo credit: ABC News

Last Friday, police searching for a missing child executed a search warrant at a New Mexico compound owned by Siraj Wahhaj. Whatever they might have been expecting to find there likely paled to what they actually saw. Wahhaj and his friend Lucas Morton were keeping 11 children in conditions so squalid that it looked like a third-world refugee camp. They also had three brainwashed women captive with them along with a sizable weapons cache.

But it wasn’t until a few days later that this already dark story took a truly awful turn. Wahhaj wasn’t just keeping these children captive. He was actively training them to become school shooters.[6]

Wahhaj seems to have been motivated by radical Islam to instruct these malnourished kids to carry out mass shootings. Worryingly, authorities in the area had been aware of both the compound and Wahhaj’s extremist leanings for some time before they finally did anything. By then, it was already too late for at least one victim. The body of missing four-year-old Abdul-Ghani was found buried on the site.

4Traffic Protests Brought Bangladesh To A Standstill

Photo credit: BBC

On July 29, a speeding bus hit and killed two schoolchildren in the Bangladeshi capital, Dhaka. Such deaths are sadly not all that uncommon in the nation, where 4,000 pedestrians were killed by vehicles in 2017 alone. But this case seemed to trigger an outcry in the usually protest-averse country. Led by students, an army of protesters swarmed over Dhaka, bringing the entire city of 18 million to a standstill.

Last Saturday, the authorities finally responded with unexpected force. Tear gas and rubber bullets were used on the teenagers blocking the roads, resulting in scores of injuries. Foreign journalists were also targeted in what swiftly transformed into a widespread crackdown.[7]

At the time of this writing, the protests are continuing, although there seems to be much unease about the police’s use of force. For their part, the government has tried to mollify the protesters by promising the death penalty for deliberate road deaths.

3Kosovo And Serbia Floated The Idea Of A Land Swap

Photo credit: rferl.org

At the end of the Kosovo War in 1999, the cease-fire lines contained a couple of anomalies. The majority Albanian Presevo Valley remained within Serbia proper, while northern Kosovo with its 50,000 ethnic Serbs ended up under Pristina’s control.

Since then, the two enclaves have been a continuous sore spot in relations between Pristina and Belgrade, which refuses to recognize Kosovo’s independence. This week, senior officials in both governments floated an extremely controversial way of breaking their diplomatic deadlock: swapping territory. Under the proposals, Kosovo would gain the Presevo Valley, while Serbia would gain northern Kosovo above the Ibar River.[8]

The idea was first voiced by Kosovo’s president before being picked up by Serbia’s foreign ministry. While it’s gratifying to see the two unfriendly neighbors moving toward any sort of compromise, many fear further ethnic division in the Balkans could set off a chain reaction with the potential to spiral into violence.

2Congressman Chris Collins Was Arrested For Insider Trading

Photo credit: NBC News

Early Wednesday morning, the FBI raided the home of Republican Congressman Chris Collins. They arrested Collins, his son, and the father of his son’s fiancee. Although FBI raids on political figures usually feature these days in the news alongside the word “Russia,” Collins’s arrest was a completely different kettle of fish. The federal government accused him of breaking insider trading laws to avoid nearly $800,000 in losses.

The case relates to Collins’s position as the No. 2 shareholder in an Australian biotech firm. Allegedly, Collins became aware that lab trials at the firm weren’t showing the expected results and told his son to sell off before the information became public. The son also told his fiancee’s father. Together, they managed to ditch their holdings before the firm’s stock nose-dived, losing 92 percent of its value.

If convicted, Collins and his coconspirators could face up to 20 years in prison. However, Collins is adamant that this is a political stitch-up—to the extent that he plans to remain on the ballot for the November midterm elections.[9]

1A Devastating Earthquake Hammered Indonesia

Photo credit: news.com.au

On Sunday, a powerful earthquake struck the island of Lombok in Indonesia, tearing down buildings and causing chaos. In the immediate aftermath, over 90 people were reported as dead—a significant number of fatalities in anyone’s book. But it wasn’t until much later in the week that we got a glimpse of the true total. On Thursday, authorities revised the death toll sharply upward. At the time of this writing, it stands at 319.[10]

The Lombok quake was a horror show. The island is popular with tourists and was packed with people. The buildings that survived the initial quake were severely weakened by 335 aftershocks. When a huge aftershock hit on Thursday, more structures collapsed, triggering mass panic in the streets. How many people were killed by this latest quake is not yet known.

The bad news sadly doesn’t stop there. Some 1,400 people were badly injured in the quake, and 165,000 were forced to flee the area. Approximately 20,000 people remain cut off from supplies and without water. With a humanitarian crisis looming and the death toll expected to rise, it’s thought that the Lombok quake may yet surpass 2010’s Mentawai disaster to become Indonesia’s deadliest quake of the decade.

10 Of The Weirdest Things The Chinese Government Has Banned


10 Of The Weirdest Things The Chinese Government Has Banned

OLIVER TAYLOR 

Censorship is a big deal in China, where the government has made it clear that it will go to any length to control information. The Chinese government strictly controls news spread through the Internet and mass media, consequently deciding what its citizens know and what they do not.

Several Western companies—including Google and Facebook—have either left or been banned in China over censorship and privacy issues, leaving Chinese-owned companies that the government can easily manipulate in their place.

Away from the Internet, China has also banned several other weird things—usually for ridiculous reasons. Although the government often says otherwise, most of the items on this list were banned for political reasons.

10Hip-Hop

Photo credit: The Independent

Hip-hop songs and hip-hop artists with tattoos are prohibited in China. The ban was issued through the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT), which stated that hip-hop artists had refused to toe the line of the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP).

SAPPRFT ruled that media agencies must not feature artists who use vulgar or “tasteless” lyrics and artists whose “heart and morality” differ from that of the ruling CCP. Additionally, the artists must neither be classless nor questionable.[1]

Weeks before the ban was issued, two popular Chinese hip-hop artists, Wang Hao (stage name “PG One”) and Zhou Yan (stage name “GAI”) had been sanctioned for what the government called “bad behavior” and use of lyrics that were not aligned with the ideology of the CCP. PG One was also accused of using lyrics that insulted women and promoted drug use.

9Time Travel

Photo credit: chinahush.com

Films and television shows depicting time travel have been disallowed in China since April 2011. The government stated that the ban was necessary because movies depicting time travel are often historically inaccurate and filled with feudalism, superstition, and reincarnation, all of which are capable of distorting and insulting the history of China.

The ban came at a time when time travel films were gaining popularity. Their plots often involved people teleporting from modern China to ancient China. The events in the fictional ancient China were usually modeled after real events that happened in ancient China but with some exaggerations. The government fears that this could alter citizens’ opinions of the past.[2]

8Celebrity Gossip

Photo credit: newsweek.com

Around June 8, 2017, several Chinese blogs and social media accounts that were focused on celebrity gossip mysteriously disappeared from the Chinese web. It was later revealed that they had been shut down on the orders of the government. Apparently, the government had called representatives of several big Chinese Internet companies to a meeting and had given them a list of 60 blogs and social media accounts it wanted shut down.

According to the government, the ban was necessary because the blogs and social media accounts were of “poor taste” and did not promote “socialist values.” The shutdown was surprising to many Internet users because the government had often left sports and entertainment news uncensored.[3]

7Reincarnation

Photo credit: Christopher

China has banned reincarnation. That is, people who claim to be back from the dead. Anyone who wants to be reincarnated or claims to have been reincarnated needs to seek approval from the government and follow the rules as listed by the Chinese State Administration for Religious Affairs.

Despite its hilariousness, the prohibition has very real religious and political undertones. It is targeted at all Tibetan Buddhists, specifically the Dalai Lama, the spiritual and political leader of the Tibetan people and followers of Tibetan Buddhism.

Tibet used to be an independent country. Then, over five decades ago, China invaded and added the country to its territory. The Dalai Lama fled Tibet for India, where he still holds sway over Tibetans.

They believe that the Dalai Lama is capable of reincarnation after death. Considering that the current Dalai Lama is already old, a successor is bound to be appointed within the next few years or decades. By controlling who can be reincarnated, China will be able to decide who becomes the Dalai Lama. When this happens, it will be able to bring all Tibetans and Tibetan Buddhists under state control.

Even if the Dalai Lama decides to be reincarnated among Tibetans outside China (maybe in India or the United States), China could refuse to recognize that Dalai Lama. It could even appoint another Dalai Lama from the Tibetan population in China, leaving Tibetans with two Dalai Lamas. This will inevitably cause disagreement and confusion among Tibetans.[4]

6Puns

Photo credit: The Guardian

No pun intended, puns are banned in China. They are commonly used on the Chinese Internet and media where Chinese words, characters, phrases, and idioms are slightly adjusted to give them different meanings. The government claimed that the ban was necessary because puns eroded Chinese culture and could mislead people (especially kids) or cause what it called “cultural and linguistic chaos.”[5]

However, it is known that the ban was not intended to preserve Chinese culture or prevent whatever the government meant by “cultural and linguistic chaos.” Rather, it was intended to stop Internet users from using puns to bypass Internet censorship and mock the government.

5‘I Disagree’

Photo credit: Narendra Modi

In March 2018, the China National People’s Congress voted to expunge the law that limited the president’s rule to two five-year terms. This is believed to be the first step in President Xi Jinping’s attempt to rule China for life. The government had kept all preparations under wrap and only hinted of the proposed amendment two weeks earlier.

Some citizens opposed the proposed amendment and openly criticized it on social media. Many compared China to North Korea and used the phrase “I disagree” to show their disapproval. That continued until the government banned the phrase. Internet users who made posts containing “I disagree” got an error message in return.[6]

Besides “I disagree,” the government also banned ”migration,” “boarding a plane,” “life-long rule,” “long live the emperor,” and Animal FarmAnimal Farm is the name of the popular novel by George Orwell, while “boarding a plane” is similar to a Chinese phrase meaning “ascending the throne”—as in Xi Jinping was trying to become king.

4Winnie-The-Pooh

Photo credit: BBC

The Chinese government banned Winnie-the-Pooh after it realized that its citizens were comparing the fictional character to President Xi Jinping. Due to Internet censorship, Chinese citizens are unable to use certain words on the Internet. So they often find creative ways to bypass censorship and use these words. One method is by using different words or characters to represent people and events. For President Xi Jinping, it was Pooh.

When a picture of Xi Jinping shaking hands with Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, surfaced on the Internet, Chinese citizens responded with pictures of Pooh shaking hands with Eeyore the donkey. When another picture showing Xi Jinping popping his head out of his presidential limousine surfaced, the people responded with a picture of Pooh popping his head out of a toy car.

The ban was not the first time that pictures of Pooh were prohibited on the Chinese Internet. Earlier, a ban came because the Chinese Communist Party was preparing for a congress and there were concerns that more questionable pictures of Pooh might pop up.[7]

3Livestreaming

Photo credit: theconversation.com

China disallowed livestreaming after realizing that it could not be censored like other online content. This wasn’t the reason the government gave, though. They stated that the prohibition was necessary to clean the Chinese Internet. The ban was issued in June 2017 and was targeted at Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter, and Ifeng and AcFun, two video sharing sites similar to YouTube.

Livestreaming was gaining popularity at the time of the ban and involved unusual technologies that the government was not used to censoring. For instance, in 2016, Ifeng livestreamed the US presidential election, something the Chinese government would not have ordinarily allowed. So they just instituted the ban while they worked on censorship.[8]

2‘N’

The letter “n,” the innocent 14th letter of the English alphabet, was another unfortunate victim of China’s censorship. The ban came after China announced its plans to remove the two-term limit for president.

In mathematics, the Chinese use the letter “n” the same way we use the letter “x.” So “n” stands for unknown or infinity. Chinese citizens were using the letter to denote the number of years that Xi Jinping will remain in power. However, the government probably realized that the letter “n” had other uses and lifted the ban a day later.[9]

1Religion

Photo credit: The Independent

China categorizes itself as an atheist nation. Although it prefers that its citizens remain atheists, the government claims to allow freedom of religion. However, serving and retired members of the ruling Chinese Communist Party are banned from having a religion. They cannot get involved in religious activities and are expected to act against certain religions like the Falun Gong, which the government categorizes as an evil cult.

The so-called freedom of religion is a sham because the state strictly regulates religions, decides how they operate, and bans them when it suspects they are acting against its goals. The government also regulates religious books, traditions, and methods and places of worship. It does not hesitate to ban them when necessary. For instance, churches require state approval to operate.[10]

The government also holds a monopoly over the distribution of Bibles, determines who becomes a church leader, and regulates Christian holidays. The government used to be lax about its monopoly over the distribution of Bibles until recently. Then it started clamping down on the online sales of Bibles.

China does not allow the Vatican to independently appoint Catholic bishops in their country, either. Rather, the government negotiates with the Vatican to determine who can become a bishop. At one time, the Chinese government even banned Christmas.

Muslims are not treated any better. The government has banned Muslim names, dress styles, and traditions. Muslim women cannot wear burkas, and men cannot have beards. Parents cannot give their children Islamic names, either.

In 2017, China banned Muslim civil servants from fasting during Ramadan, the Islamic month when Muslims are expected to fast. It even stationed guards at government buildings all day and night to ensure that the ban was enforced.

The government also demanded that students in Muslim-majority regions watch communist films and engage in sports on Fridays, just to stop them from fasting and participating in joint community prayers that are held on Fridays. China also has strict guidelines to determine who performs hajj, an annual pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. The government demands that any Muslim who wants to make the hajj pilgrimage must be between 50 and 70 and must pledge allegiance to the government.

Via BigThink – a newsletter I like and subscribe


Economists: Second-longest economic boom in US history ends in 2020 … with a recession.

Article Image
NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 17: Traders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange September 17, 2008 in New York City. The Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down 449 points today despite American International Group, Inc. (AIG) $85 billion government ba

60 private-sector economists were recently surveyed by the Wall Street Journal, and their prediction is somewhat dire. 59% of them say the economic expansion that began in 2009 after the Great Recession of 2008 took the wind out of the world’s economic sails will end in 2020. Another 22% pegged the year 2021. What lies beyond that is probably another recession, the depths of which will likely become apparent as things progress — or, rather, regress.

“The current economic expansion is getting long in the tooth by historical standards, and more late-cycle signs are emerging,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West, who was among those economists predicting a 2020 recession.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/economists-think-the-next-u-s-recession-could-begin-in-2020-1525961127

Source and credit.

62% of the survey respondents indicated an overheating economy tied with the tightening of the Federal Reserve interest rates as reasons things will get worse.

It’s worth noting that these kinds of things are very hard to predict, so a grain of salt is warranted. However, with a total of 81% of economists surveyed by the WSJ predicting that things will hit the fan by 2021, it seems likely that it’s coming.

The current “boom” is second only to the 1990 information technology economic bubble that lasted nearly 10 years and coincided almost exactly with the years Bill Clinton was President.

https://www.wsj.com/articles/economists-think-the-next-u-s-recession-could-begin-in-2020-1525961127Interestingly, the same survey revealed that those same economists do not think the “tax breaks passed by Congress have anything to do with the current economic expansion.

That same expansion has left many people underemployed and earning less than before the Great Recession of 2008, as well as losing health insurance and retirement savings, which could mean when the next bust happens, poor and working-class people will be in much worse shape than ever. And that, coupled with the elimination of some social safety nets across many states in the U. S., means the future might be pretty bleak, indeed.

At least, for those without a pile of money to rely on.

Friendship Day – A Didactic Cinquain


Friendship Day – A Didactic Cinquain

by jay

Friendship Day
Fantastic, grand
Sounding, rocking, laughing
Never ending
Friend’s Way

Creativity: Random Inputs generated this morning for today


Quick and Dirty

Meaning:

Things that are fixed with great speed, but as a result, it’s probably not going to work very well.  The quick trip this year did not expect any result even after a month and I was little depressed.  But the Brainwave and Udemy courses I am doing are really balancing.

There’s No I in Team

Meaning:

To not work alone, but rather, together with others in order to achieve a certain goal.  The recent attempts to work as a team member without putting skin in the game has not worked.  Partner trouble of the past always comes back however much I try to let it go.

Burst Your Bubble

Meaning:

To ruin someone’s happy moment.  No I did not and will not do that.

Break The Ice

Meaning:

Breaking down a social stiffness. Hmmm… I think I shall shrink all other social activities and whatever is going on and just focus on 2 or 3 major big ticket items only.  I need finishiative myself.

Right Off the Bat

Meaning:

Immediately, done in a hurry; without delay. But it did not yield any results. May be the introduction was not done well or my offerings were wrong or may be I was not seen as the choice or I failed to sell my services well.

I Smell a Rat

Meaning:

A feeling that something is not quite right, or awry.  That sinking feeling ! Ahh !  but I am learning lessons on Self hypnosis and they are good. They work.

It’s Not Brain Surgery

Meaning:

A task that’s easy to accomplish, a thing lacking complexity.  No. I do not have any simple task in my task list. I must just junk it and fill it up with small simple tasks and steps I can do and applaud myself , pat my own back.

 

Adieu – Free Verse by Jay – Dhananjay Parkhe


In a Mentor’s life, Mentees come for:
1. A Reason
2. A Season,
3. Or for life and accept him/ her as Life Coach.
After a longish Five and half month I bid adieu to a worthy mentoree finally today.

Adieu
Free verse by Jay
(On Cloud Nine:Meaning: Having strong feelings of happiness or satisfaction. )
Congratulations, however hard you try,
I Will always Praise.
Do congratulations make you shiver?
do they?

The communion that’s really anathema,
Above all others are the serenades.
Do serenades make you shiver?
do they?

All that is little is not hello,
hello, by all account is big.
Down, down, down into the darkness of the hello,
Gently it goes – the liberal, the high, mighty fellow.

Adieu is faces of death music.
faces of death music is Adieu.
“a strolling guitarist serenades the diners”.
“a strolling guitarist serenades the diners”,
“a strolling guitarist serenades the diners”.
Adieu

Creativity: Random Phrase generator for the day and how I foresee the day to progress…


  1. Birds of a Feather Flock Together Meaning: People tend to associate with others who share similar interests or values. Have to find more and more likeminded people going forward that people poles apart.

  • Rain on Your Parade Meaning: To spoil someone’s fun or plans; ruining a pleasurable moment. No. Not happening. Won’t do that.

  • Hit Below The Belt Meaning: A boxing term. Also often used to refer to inappropriate words, or comments that are too personal. NEVER.

  • Poke Fun At Meaning: Making fun of something or someone; ridicule. Not happening, I am in a learning mode. Learnt a bit of self=hypnosis on Udemy and will try and find internal peace. have a Heavy head though 🙂

  • Quality Time Meaning: Spending time with another to strengthen the relationship. Yes meeitng coming up. started a new startup too.

  • Fool’s Gold Meaning: Iron pyrities is a worthless mineral that resembles gold. May write another poem today on this topic.

  • Tug of War Meaning: It can refer to the popular rope pulling game or it can mean a struggle for authority. Have no tug of war situation except one tough pricing negotiation coming up tomorrow..

  • Curiosity Killed The Cat Meaning: Typically said to indicate that any further investigation into a situation may lead to harm. I think enroling in 58 couses on Udemy is ENOUGH !

  • Throw In the Towel Meaning: Giving up; to surrender. No. Never. Not happening.

  • Eat My HatMeaning: Having confidence in a specific outcome; being almost sure about something. Yess. Will begin teaching SCM Logistics course again and take up paid coaching/ mentoring assignments for Branding/ Hyperscaling of startups.

Creativity: Random Phrases generated for the day, predict the day ahead.


  1. Wake Up Call Meaning: An occurance of sorts that brings a problem to somebody’s attention and they realize it needs fixing.  Just wondering, how many wake up calls one needs? One per day?  For those day dreaming? Multiple times a day:) 
  2. Like Father Like Son Meaning: Resembling one’s parents in terms of appearance or behavior. Hmmm…. Appearance is OK. Behavior – may be not! 🙂
  3. In the Red Meaning: Losing money. Being in debt.  But the people in Red so get habituated of high living and dependence on others money – they seldom come down from their high horses. 
  4. A Chip on Your Shoulder Meaning: Being angry about something that happened in the past. Yes. It happens to me all the time. Difficult to let go of the past. 
  5. Mouth-watering Meaning: Delicious; something that looks or tastes appetizing.
  6. Foaming At The Mouth Meaning: To be enraged and show it.  Ha Ha ha – I do it without foaming at the mouth – I type! 
  7. Cry Wolf Meaning: Someone that calls for help when it is not needed. Someone who is lying.  Hmmm… many recent cases of false alarms responded – leading to waste of time and going into a spin unnecessarily. 
  8. Easy As Pie Meaning: Something that is easy.  Nothing is? Is there anything easy at all?
  9. Tough It Out Meaning: To remain resillient even in hard times; enduring. Tough minded optimision, grit, determination and a firm commitment – yes, that’s what it is for me. 

10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened This Week (7/27/18) – Listverse


via 10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened This Week (7/27/18) – Listverse

 

10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened This Week (7/27/18)

MORRIS M. 

 

Keeping up with the news is hard. So hard, in fact, that we’ve decided to save you the hassle by rounding up the most significant, unusual, or just plain old mind-blowing stories each week.

The last full week of July was marked by tragedy. An inexplicable shooting in Toronto, a dam collapse in Laos, and a horrific wildfire in Greece all wreaked havoc on humanity. But while sadness was part and parcel of this week’s news, there were more upbeat stories, too—alongside plenty that were just straight-up newsworthy.

10A Devastating Wildfire Killed Scores In Greece

Photo credit: nbcnews.com

It was one of the worst wildfires to ever hit Greece. On Monday afternoon, a blaze started in the village of Mati on the edges of Athens. Thanks to the dry conditions, it quickly became an inferno. The coastline, the nearby countryside, and some districts of the capital were engulfed in fast-moving flames. At the time of this writing, over 80 have been confirmed killed, with another 40 still missing.

Among the dead were tourists and children, including one group of 26 charred bodies found clutching each other at a cliff’s edge. They are thought to have been a family. In many ways, it could have been even worse. Extremely close proximity to the sea allowed hundreds of people to escape the fire by running into the ocean.

An investigation has now been opened into the possibility of arson. Greece has a track record of wildfires springing from attempts to clear forest land for new buildings. It could be that the deaths of these 80 people rest on the conscience of a single idiot.[1]

9A Mass Shooting Caused Grief (And Mystery) In Toronto

Photo credit: nationalpost.com

On Sunday night, Faisal Hussain took a gun and walked onto busy Danforth Avenue in Toronto. There, he opened fire, killing one teenage girl and one child and wounding 13 others before committing suicide. He left in his wake not only heartbreak, but a horrible mystery.

While many mass shootings appear to be motiveless (we still don’t know why Stephen Paddock killed 58 people in Las Vegas last year), the actions of Hussain seem almost cruelly unfathomable because there are perhaps too many possible motives to count.[2]

He was friends with some Islamic extremists, yet the police say it wasn’t a terrorist attack. He was on the fringes of Toronto’s gang culture, yet the shooting was too random for gang violence. He was mentally ill, yet doctors believe that it was not to a degree that might have triggered a massacre.

Ultimately, we may never know why such bloodshed came to Toronto on Sunday. All we do know is that, for whatever combination of reasons, two people are now dead because of Hussain.

8We Heard The Shocking Details Of MGM’s Plan To Sue The Vegas Shooting Victims

Photo credit: chicagotribune.com

For centuries to come, this will be the lawsuit that gets trotted out whenever anyone wants to prove that the legal system is screwed beyond hope. At a press conference on Monday, we learned the shocking details of MGM Resorts International’s plan to sue the victims of last year’s Las Vegas shooting. Filed in court last week, MGM’s lawsuit would drag survivors of America’s worst-ever mass shooting through the trauma all over again.[3]

MGM is not seeking money from the victims. Instead, it is seeking to avoid having to pay damages to those who were wounded—some 850 people. MGM contends that the shooting was an act of terrorism. As a result, they believe that they are not liable under a federal act passed after 9/11. This is despite both federal and local authorities saying that the shooter, Stephen Paddock, was not a terrorist.

To call this lawsuit insane would be an understatement. Aside from making MGM look like the bad guys in a Hollywood flick about heartless corporate scumbags, it will ensure that many of the survivors are forced to relive the massacre in court.

7We May Have Discovered Liquid Water On Mars

Photo credit: newscientist.com

This week, a group of Italian scientists published a paper that could well change how we view our solar system. They discovered an underground lake of liquid water on Mars. If confirmed, the finding could represent our best chance for locating alien life in the near future.

Briny water isn’t unheard-of on the Red Planet, but it has previously always been either seasonal or frozen inside chunks of ice. This lake would be unique because it seems to be in a permanently liquid state. A stable source of water is one of the essentials for life (as we know it) to arise.

If the lake is for real, though, getting to it will be a problem. It exists 1.5 kilometers (0.9 mi) below the surface of the Martian south pole, a tall order for exploring.[4]

6Hackers Stole Data On A Quarter Of Singapore’s Population

It was the eye-watering numbers that really made it headline news. Last Friday, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong declared that a massive cyberattack had hit the country’s biggest health provider, making off with the data of 1.5 million patients—over a quarter of the city-state’s population. While the majority of those targeted only had their most basic details stolen, another 160,000 had details about their prescriptions snatched.

Although the main focus was on the numbers, perhaps the most chilling part was the political nature of the breach. Prime Minister Lee was among those targeted, alongside several other ministers.[5]

Lee claimed that the attack was seemingly carried out with the backing of a nation-state, likely one looking for embarrassing or blackmail-worthy material. With a number of countries recently flexing their hacking muscles on the world stage, identifying the culprit could be even harder than it seems.

5A Secret Recording Embarrassed The White House

Photo credit: The Atlantic

Forget Stormy Daniels. The big sex scandal to hit the White House now goes by the name of Karen McDougal. On Wednesday, a secret recording from 2016 was broadcast on CNN, detailing a conversation between Trump and his then-lawyer, Michael Cohen, about paying hush money to McDougal over a kiss-and-tell she planned to publish in the National Enquirer.

The real story of the tape wasn’t its contents. Although it appears to confirm that Trump had an affair with McDougal, it offers no evidence that he actually broke the law by authorizing hush payments. No, the real story was the tape’s origins. It was released by Cohen.

A longtime lawyer for Trump, Cohen was disgraced during the Stormy Daniels scandal and forced to walk away from the president. Now he appears to have decided to turn on his old boss, and he presumably has the tapes to make Trump’s life very uncomfortable. He’s also hired lawyer Lanny Davis, a Democratic stalwart and Clinton ally who specializes in attacking Republicans.[6]

It seems likely that this tape is just the opening salvo in an upcoming Trump-Cohen war.

4A Bizarre Scandal Threatened To Bring Down Emmanuel Macron’s Presidency

Photo credit: nypost.com

Whatever you may think of him, French President Emmanuel Macron is usually adept at staying on top of things. Which is part of what makes the huge scandal currently rocking his presidency so bizarre.

On May 1, Macron’s personal bodyguard, Alexandre Benalla, was filmed impersonating a police officer to rough up two rock-throwing protesters. The government was told, and Benalla was given a slap on the wrist. The footage was then made public last week, and people began to ask why Benalla hadn’t been punished properly.

Macron’s response? He fell completely silent for five whole days.[7]

If there’s one thing that Macron likes to do, it’s talk. Endlessly. So his sudden absence made journalists wonder if there was more to the story. They started digging and discovered that Benalla was being paid an inflated salary of €10,000 a month. He also had his own government car with a siren for cutting through traffic and his own key to the house shared by Macron and his wife in northern France. Clearly, something very unusual was up.

Benalla has since been fired, but the scandal is being compared in the Paris press to Watergate. A vote of no-confidence in Macron has been arranged, but don’t expect it to succeed. He will almost certainly survive this scandal. His reputation may not.

3Colombia’s Ex-President Stepped Down To Face Bribery Charges

Photo credit: BBC

For a country with a long track record of impunity for the rich and powerful, it was a bombshell moment. On Tuesday, former Colombian president Alvaro Uribe stepped down from the Senate to face charges of corruption and witness tampering. His summons marked the first time a Colombian court has ever asked an ex-president to testify.

The charges are largely of Uribe’s own making. For years, the former president has been suspected of funding right-wing death squads to carry out atrocities. Those charges are unproven. But when lawmaker Ivan Cepeda tried to open an investigation in 2012, Uribe demanded an investigation into Cepeda.

Colombia’s Supreme Court dismissed the charges against Cepeda. In reviewing the case, however, they found evidence that Uribe had bribed witnesses. Cepeda was cleared, and a case was opened against Uribe.[8]

Now that he’s left the Senate, Uribe’s case will be transferred to the Public Prosecution Service, which critics say will be far easier for the former president to pay off. Yet his resignation still marks a defeat. Uribe was one of the most powerful anti–peace deal voices in Colombia. His exit makes it far less likely that the deal will be undone.

2A Laos Dam Collapse Killed Scores

Photo credit: Time

At the time of this writing, we still don’t know the true death toll. After a hydroelectric dam failed in Laos on Monday night, it unleashed a torrent of water that obliterated entire rural communities and caused catastrophic flooding even over the border in Cambodia. As of Thursday, the number of the dead stands at 27. But with hundreds of people missing, it is thought that the final toll could be as much as 10 times higher.

In addition to this, 3,000 people are currently trapped by floodwaters and awaiting rescue. Meanwhile, some 6,000 families have been displaced in Laos, with even more displaced in Cambodia. Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith said it could be the worst natural disaster to hit Laos in decades.[9]

However, “natural” may be a stretch. Warnings about the dam had been sounded leading up to the disaster, but it seems that nobody did a damn thing.

1Pakistan’s Election Descended Into Violence And Scandal

Photo credit: BBC

Everyone was braced for it, but still the violence was shocking. Pakistan went to the polls for a general election on Wednesday in the shadow of a suicide bombing on Sunday that killed a candidate for former cricketer Imran Khan’s populist nationalist PTI party.

As the polls opened, a further spate of shooting and bomb attacks killed another 33 people. Crazily, this wasn’t even the most controversial part of the election. That came when the PML-N party claimed that the military had rigged the vote.

This isn’t as wild a claim as it seems. Pakistan’s military is notorious for coups and meddling in civilian politics. However, it’s also a claim clearly designed to help the ruling PML-N ignore results which currently have it in second place behind PTI. In a terse press conference on Thursday, PML-N said it would refuse to step down, adding that every other party running aside from PTI was alleging election interference, too.[10]

If a so-called “soft coup” has indeed taken place, it would mean that this election failed to deliver Pakistan’s second ever civilian transfer of power. Whatever the truth, it now looks certain that Khan will be the next prime minister. His stated plan to turn Pakistan into an “Islamic welfare state” will have repercussions for years to come.

Random phrases generated for creative juices to flow:)


  1. Shot In the Dark Meaning: An attempt that has little chance for success. But worth taking. I don’t leave till the end, whenever it comes – it may or may not come. Keep at it. 
  2. Birds of a Feather Flock Together Meaning: People tend to associate with others who share similar interests or values. Yes. Especially Conniving, Nefarious, Nexus of Corrupt always find ways to come together. 
  3. On the Ropes Meaning: Being in a situation that looks to be hopeless! Hmmm… In such cases, I do not persist. I take a walk. A childhood trait.  Whenever there was an issue about Captaincy and someone wanted to be one instead of me – I’d walk away and start a new club, a new team and remain the Captain. What an authoritarian, autocrat I was. No?
  4. Down And Out Meaning: (1) A term used in a boxing. (2) Someone who has become incapacitated.  No. Never. Never give up.  I was able to contain the heart disease with Doctors, family help and my own determination.  I still live with half a heart pumping at only 35% but I choose to live and not give up.
  5. Hear, Hear Meaning: A shout of agreement, or to draw attention to a speaker.  No many times do we hear this.  These days, like the purchase managers of the olden days, people are taught to say NO NO NO NO till their tongue bleeds. 🙂

The Politician and the Mayor Rhyming Couplet Ideas by Jay


See the crawling of the politician,
I think he’s angry at the ammunition.

He finds it hard to see the bee,
Overshadowed by the big ski.

Who is that hopping near the cetacean?
I think she’d like to eat the implementation.

She is but a terrific mayor,
Admired as she sits upon a chess player.

Her content car is just a zombie,
It needs no gas, it runs on combi.

She’s not alone she brings a friend,
a pet spider, and lots of equalizing dividend.

The spider likes to chase a turtle,
Especially one that’s in the ertle.

The politician shudders at the glorious biscuit
He want to leave but she wants the brisket.

Time to express GRATITUDE again!


Dear Friends and followers,

13th May to 27th June – 6 weeks, 45 days of regular posting on WordPress gave me GFFs:) Great friends and followers who have delighted me with 16000+ views 8000+ likes 6000 Visitors and 300+ comments.  What can I say – I can only express my humble GRATITUDE to you all for this.

Thank you !

Regards

Jay

How can I be your friend?


Humming Bird

I am Cattle Class
I tended Cows and buffaloes
and cleaned holy shit
called Gobar – which was
Holier than thou,
they said.

In my childhood
they had
No fancy Fiberal
Hypocrite terms like
Child Labour or
Exploitation of poor.

I still held my Head high
against the Esteemed few
by being a KickAss Rebel

The Wise ones told me
to keep quiet and
Be satisfied and
Find Dignity in labour.

I am the pendulum moving
Right of Centre sometimes and
Center of Center Eccentric next.
They labelled me Neo-Convert.

So I’m can’t in
the same category
as your Left of Center friends.

I created a Class of my own
The Holy Cow-Shit Class.

How can such a Sanskaari
Be friends with
the Sickulars and
Fiberals.

The pseudo-rebels
who never tasted
Poverty or hardships

The brainwashed
Free Sex drug addicts
seducers and sedition
Artists.

the Commie and
Naxal, the JNU Types
No. No Way!
With times my Commie friends
Have Changed

They are the Closeted Neo-Rich
The ghost Liasion agents
of the powers that be and
the Puppeteers who
bankroll them
To keep up a Rebel front.

You may name me a Fiend,
That’s OKay!
But never a Friend.

Trump’s Dad Was So Racist, Woody Guthrie Wrote A Song About It – interesting article


Trump’s

via Trump’s Dad Was So Racist, Woody Guthrie Wrote A Song About It

 

Guthrie’s lyrics went as follows:

I suppose
Old Man Trump knows
Just how much
Racial Hate
he stirred up
In the bloodpot of human hearts
When he drawed
That color line
Here at his
Eighteen hundred family project.

Capitalism Has Failed, and Jay-Z’s Streaming Scandal Is Proof What happens to hip-hip when capitalism isn’t cool anymore?


Capitalism Has Failed, and Jay-Z’s Streaming Scandal Is Proof
What happens to hip-hip when capitalism isn’t cool anymore?

via Capitalism Has Failed, and Jay-Z’s Streaming Scandal Is Proof

Milton Fried man Prize for Ladies in White! WOW!


 CONGRATULATIONS ! 

The Cato Institute has presented Cuba’s Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) with the 2018 Milton Friedman Prize for Advancing Liberty, a $250,000 biennial award presented to a group or individual who has made a significant contribution to advance human freedom. The Ladies in White have a simple message: The political prisoners of Cuba are our sons, brothers, and our husbands. They must not be forgotten.“All who labor in the name of freedom take great inspiration from — and feel a tremendous debt to — courageous people who risk everything to stand up to oppression. The Ladies in White are a stirring example,” said Peter Goettler, president and CEO of the Cato Institute.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Ladies in White (Damas de Blanco) have a simple message: The political prisoners of Cuba are our sons, our brothers, and our husbands. They must not be forgotten.

Every Sunday, the Ladies in White gather, or attempt to gather, for Mass at Saint Rita de Casia Church in Havana, followed by a procession down Fifth Avenue. They wear white to symbolize the peaceful nature of their protest, and each wears a photograph of a loved one who is in prison. For this the authorities have constantly harassed them and organized mob violence against them.

The movement began on March 18, 2003, when journalist Héctor Maseda Gutiérrez was arrested in his home in Havana and sentenced to 20 years in prison for criticizing the regime of Fidel Castro. His case drew worldwide attention, with Amnesty International calling him a prisoner of conscience and demanding his release. Around 75 others were arrested at the same time, in an incident that has been called the Black Spring. All have since left prison, though not unconditionally, with the majority having had to leave Cuba. Since that time, sporadic arrests of journalists, lawyers, and other intellectuals have continued in Cuba, belying the myth that with normalized relations, Cuba’s human rights record would improve. If anything, it has deteriorated.

Two weeks after Maseda was arrested, his wife Laura Pollán Toledo brought together a group of wives, mothers, sisters, and daughters of the imprisoned to pray for their loved ones. They have continued to gather each Sunday, and the movement has since spread to other churches throughout Cuba. Although they are not a political party and do not have an overtly political program, they seek freedom of expression for all and the release of prisoners of conscience in Cuba. In recognition of their courage, the Ladies in White were the 2005 recipients of the Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, awarded by the European Parliament. The Cuban government prohibited them from attending the award ceremony in Strasbourg, France.

In 2015 Berta Soler, one of the leaders of the group, told the U.S. Senate, “Our aspirations are legitimate…. Our demands are quite concrete: freedom for political prisoners, recognition of civil society, the elimination of all criminal dispositions that penalize freedom of expression and association and the right of the Cuban people to choose their future through free, multiparty elections. We believe these demands are just and valid. Even more importantly, for us they represent the most concrete exercise of politics, a step in the direction of democratic coexistence. Cuba will change when the laws that enable and protect the criminal behavior of the forces of repression and corrupt elements that sustain the regime change.”

As the first step, the Ladies in White demand the release of all political prisoners. The outlook for many of the prisoners is grim; prison conditions are deplorable, visits are rare, and even their mail is intercepted by the authorities. And the Ladies themselves have faced increasing police harassment and arrest in recent years, as the Cuban government tries to hide-but not correct-its habit of quashing dissent. Laura Pollán died in 2011 under gravely suspicious circumstances. But the movement she founded continues: The Ladies in White will meet, pray, and bear witness every Sunday until Cuba’s political prisoners are freed.

I like Satish Acharya’s Cartoons.


Vajubhai and Yeddyurappa at Karnataka Restaurant!: Vajubhai and Yeddyurappa at Karnataka Restaurant!

via World of an Indian cartoonist!: Vajubhai and Yeddyurappa at Karnataka Restaurant!

Via BrainPickings Newsletter: Theodore Roosevelt on the Cowardice of Cynicism and the Courage to Create Rather Than Criticize


I like this newsletter.  How many of us have met people who take refuge, subterfuge (deceit) of projecting they know everything as Omniscients and Demi-Gods! And their masks of Omnipotence wear out thin as the exposure hurts like Exfoliation of the soft skin exposed to the Tropical Sun. It burns like hell.

“There is nothing quite so tragic as a young cynic,” Maya Angelou wrote in contemplating courage in the face of evil, “because it means the person has gone from knowing nothing to believing nothing.”

How to prevent that cultural tragedy, which poisons the heart of a just and democratic society, is what Theodore Roosevelt (October 27, 1858–January 6, 1919) examined when he took the podium at the Sorbonne in Paris on April 23 of 1910 to deliver one of the most powerful, rousing, and timelessly insightful speeches ever given, originally titled “Citizenship in a Republic” and later included under the title “Duties of the Citizen” in the 1920 volume Roosevelt’s Writings (public library).

Theodore Roosevelt

A century before Caitlin Moran cautioned that “cynicism scours through a culture like bleach, wiping out millions of small, seedling ideas,” Roosevelt admonishes against “that queer and cheap temptation” to be cynical, and writes:

The poorest way to face life is to face it with a sneer. There are many men who feel a kind of twister pride in cynicism; there are many who confine themselves to criticism of the way others do what they themselves dare not even attempt. There is no more unhealthy being, no man less worthy of respect, than he who either really holds, or feigns to hold, an attitude of sneering disbelief toward all that is great and lofty, whether in achievement or in that noble effort which, even if it fails, comes to second achievement. A cynical habit of thought and speech, a readiness to criticise work which the critic himself never tries to perform, an intellectual aloofness which will not accept contact with life’s realities — all these are marks, not as the possessor would fain to think, of superiority but of weakness. They mark the men unfit to bear their part painfully in the stern strife of living, who seek, in the affection of contempt for the achievements of others, to hide from others and from themselves in their own weakness. The rôle is easy; there is none easier, save only the rôle of the man who sneers alike at both criticism and performance.

One of the tendencies I find most troubling in contemporary culture is that of mistaking cynicism for critical thinking. This confusion seeds a pernicious strain of unconstructive and lazily destructive opprobrium. Amid this epidemic of self-appointed critics, it becomes harder and harder to remember just how right Bertrand Russell was when he asserted nearly a century ago that “construction and destruction alike satisfy the will to power, but construction is more difficult as a rule, and therefore gives more satisfaction to the person who can achieve it.”

With an eye to those lazy critics — the dead weight of society — Roosevelt offers:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat… The man who does nothing cuts the same sordid figure in the pages of history, whether he be a cynic, or fop, or voluptuary. There is little use for the being whose tepid soul knows nothing of great and generous emotion, of the high pride, the stern belief, the lofty enthusiasm, of the men who quell the storm and ride the thunder.

The entire twenty-seven-page speech, found in Roosevelt’s Writings and on par with JFK’s superb speech on the artist’s role in society, is a masterpiece of thought and feeling, replete with insight into what it means to be a good citizen, a good leader, and a complete human being. Complement this particular fragment with Leonard Bernstein on the countercultural courage of resisting cynicism, Goethe on the only criticism worth voicing, and philosopher Daniel Dennett on how to criticize with kindness, then revisit Eleanor Roosevelt on how uncynical personal conviction powers social change.

Thicken the Plot – Bring Potboiler to BOIL!


  1. Between a Rock and a Hard Place
    Meaning: 
    Being faced with two difficult choices.
  2. Jaws of Death
    Meaning: 
    Being in a dangerous or very deadly situation.
  3. On the Ropes
    Meaning: 
    Being in a situation that looks to be hopeless!
  4. Back To the Drawing Board
    Meaning: 
    Starting over again on a new design from a previously failed attempt.
  5. Down To Earth
    Meaning: 
    Practical or humble; unpretentious.
  6. Dropping Like Flies
    Meaning: 
  7. To fall down ill or to die in large numbers.

10 Mind-Blowing Things That Happened This Week (4/27/18) via Listverse


MORRIS M. 

 

Keeping up with the news is hard. So hard, in fact, that we’ve decided to save you the hassle by rounding up the most significant, unusual, or just plain old mind-blowing stories each week.

After a couple of blissfully massacre-free weeks, this week opened with not one but two separate jerkwads deciding to take out their problems on the world by killing a bunch of people. Depressing as these two events were, the news wasn’t all doom and gloom. Elsewhere we had new velvet revolutions, scientific advances, and big steps toward the federal legalization of marijuana.

Featured image credit: financialexpress.com

Listverse – Daily Highlights

Sponsored by Connatix

10A Shocking Mass Killing Hit Toronto

Photo credit: cbc.ca

This column has noted before the recent tendency of morons to use vehicles as their weapons of choice. Typically, this has been related to Islamist terrorism but not exclusively. On Monday, Alek Minassian bucked the trend by smashing a van into crowds walking along Toronto’s Yonge Street, leaving 10 dead and 14 injured.

His pathetic apparent motive? No women wanted to sleep with him.[1]

Just before committing mass murder, Minassian posted a message to a Facebook incel community praising Elliot Rodger, the rampage shooter who killed six in California in 2014. Rodger was a rampant misogynist who existed on the fringes of the incel community—a loose online grouping of men who are “involuntary celibates” and usually blame women for their problems. Like Rodger before him, Minassian is alleged to have deliberately targeted women.

Thankfully, Minassian was taken alive. Cop Ken Lam was first on the scene after the van crashed and Minassian leaped out, claiming to have a gun. Lam’s response? “I don’t care.” He arrested the killer, who will now have to face justice.

9A Bizarre Mass Killing Hit A Tennessee Waffle House

Photo credit: ABC News

Although four people died, several more were injured, and the gunman was disarmed by a wounded, unarmed man with sheer bravery coursing through his veins, the Waffle House mass shooting on Sunday will likely be remembered for one bizarre detail. After allegedly committing mass murder, Travis Jeffrey Reinking fled the crime scene on foot. According to police reports, he was semi-naked.[2]

Reinking was known to police. Among other incidents, he’d previously tried to breach the White House perimeter. A sovereign citizen, he’d apparently wanted to talk to President Trump. His guns had been confiscated after this, but his father had managed to get them back and returned them to his son. Thanks to his actions, four people are now dead.

Reinking was apprehended late Monday after a 34-hour manhunt. He is currently under suicide watch, awaiting trial.

8Armenia’s Velvet Revolution Felled A President

Photo credit: globalriskinsights.com

Last week, we told you about the mass protests gripping Armenia, a poor nation in the Caucasus region. Former President Serzh Sargsyan had just been appointed prime minister after serving out his constitutionally allowed term . . . having previously stripped the presidency of its powers and given them all to the PM’s office. At the time, we noted that mass protests had previously failed to stop Sargsyan’s power grabs and seemed unlikely to this time.

How wrong we were. On Monday, Sargsyan stepped down. By that point, nearly a quarter of the country was estimated to be marching against him.[3]

The lack of deaths or violence has led to the movement being called a “velvet revolution,” a reference to the anti-Communist Czechoslovak revolution of 1989 in which not a single shot was fired. However, Armenia isn’t out of the woods yet.

Sargsyan’s Republican Party is still in power, and protesters are still marching, demanding the entire government’s resignation. Will Armenia finally see the change it desperately needs? We’ll find out in the coming weeks.

7US Marijuana Legalization Efforts Picked Up Speed

Photo credit: npr.org

Chuck Schumer is one of the most powerful Democrats in the United States. As Senate minority leader, he’s about as mainstream as you’re gonna get. Which is what makes his announcement last Friday so interesting. In honor of 4/20, pot’s unofficial day, Schumer declared his support for the decriminalization of marijuana.[4]

He joins former Republican House speaker John Boehner, who had joined the board of a cannabis company just a week earlier, signaling his intention to advocate for legalization. It now looks like the pro-pot faction has the wind in their sails. As more states make weed legal and reap the tax windfall, it appears to be only a matter of time before the federal government follows suit.

This is a huge about-face from only a handful of short years ago. As recently as 2017, the idea that a Senate leader and a former House speaker would vocally come out for drugs would have seemed absurd. But these things move pretty fast. It now looks like we’ll see legal pot before the decade is out.

6Swaziland Finally Changed Its Colonial-Era Name

Photo credit: BBC

The former British colony of Swaziland is one of the last absolute monarchies left in the world. Pretty much whatever the king says goes, which leads to some occasionally bizarre pronouncements. Such was the case late last Thursday, when King Mswati III unveiled his latest decree. Effective immediately, he was changing Swaziland’s name to eSwatini. Swaziland is no more.[5]

The name “Swaziland” was a colonial-era hangover, sort of like if Ukraine was still called “the Ukrainian Socialist Soviet Republic” or Ghana was still known as “the Gold Coast.” While most countries changed their names at independence, eSwatini waited 50 years until the king himself turned 50.

Interestingly, King Mswati III moved the country’s official day of independence to coincide with his birthday this year—because that’s the sort of weird thing you can get away with when you’re an absolute monarch.

Despite the name change, eSwatini is still a struggling land. It has the world’s highest prevalence of HIV and one of the lowest life expectancies. And it is sandwiched between the two regional superpowers of South Africaand Mozambique.

5A Legal Immigration Scandal Rocked The UK

Photo credit: NBC News

For the last two weeks, the UK government has been embroiled in a scandalof its own making. Shortly after the end of World War II, London legalized immigration from all Commonwealth nations. Until the early 1970s, anyone arriving in Britain from India, Pakistan, Canada, Jamaica, Australia, or any of dozens more nations were automatically considered UK citizens, whether or not they acquired a UK passport.

This last part is important because it meant many of the so-called Windrush generation (the first boat to bring Caribbean immigrants was called the Empire Windrush) only had a single document held by the government confirming their legal status. In 2010, the Conservative–Liberal Democrat coalition ordered the destruction of these documents. Under Theresa May’s watch, the Home Office then began deporting Windrush immigrants even though they had every legal right to remain.

The scandal blew up a week or two ago. But this week, it picked up even more steam when current Home Secretary Amber Rudd admitted that Windrush immigrants had been deported to fulfill arbitrary quotas. The resulting political storm has badly damaged Theresa May’s government and caused much unnecessary suffering for elderly British citizens who just happened to be born in the former empire.[6]

4Finland Abandoned Its Universal Basic Income Trial

Photo credit: The Guardian

Universal basic income (UBI) is held by some as the holy grail of 21st-century society. A guaranteed monthly stipend for the entire population of a country, whether they’re working or already rich, is held by some on the left to be the only workable safety net in the coming age of automation and by some on the right to be the perfect way of freeing citizens from a stifling welfare state.

In short, it is a serious movement that many are touting as the next big thing in policymaking. This week, though, it suffered a setback. After being a leading light for UBI for two years, Finland finally closed its experimental program. The world’s only large-scale UBI pilot is now officially dead.

The Finnish trial provided 2,000 unemployed people with €560 a month, which they continued to receive whether they got a job or not. The social security agency had asked for more funding to give a random sample of 2,000 employed people the same benefits. Instead, Helsinki nixed the program before any firm conclusions could be drawn.[7]

3We May Have Spotted The Largest Structure In The Universe

Photo credit: sciencealert.com

Billions and billions of years ago, 14 young galaxies erupting with new, dazzling stars crashed into one another. The resulting cataclysm was probably all sorts of destructive, but it eventually resulted in the formation of a gigantic galactic cluster infinitely denser than our Milky Way and likely the most massive thing in the observable universe.[8]

About 12.4 billion years after this violent merger took place, the light of this ancient catastrophe finally reached Earth. Revealed by an international team in Nature this week, it not only marks the discovery of the biggest thing in the night sky but also threatens to rewrite everything we know about the universe’s origins.

The 14 super bright galaxies are known as starbursts, galaxies that form new stars at a tremendous rate. The weird part? We wouldn’t expect that many of them so close to the dawn of the universe. Nor would we have expected a galaxy cluster to form in such an impossibly ancient period. It may just be time to rewrite our entire timeline of the universe’s birth and early childhood.

2George H.W. Bush Nearly Died

Photo credit: NBC News

Just last week, we reported on the death of Barbara Bush, wife to President George H.W. Bush and mother to President George W. Bush. This week, we very nearly had to report on the death of her husband, too. Following his wife’s funeral, former President George H.W. Bush was hospitalized with sepsis and placed in intensive care. You could almost hear obituary writers across the nation scrambling for their laptops.

Fortunately, the 41st US president survived and was moved out of intensive care on Wednesday. At the time of this writing, though, he remains ill and under close observation.[9]

The likelihood is that Bush will pull through this current malady and live to fight another day. However, his brush with death highlights the fact that two of America’s surviving presidents likely won’t be around much longer. Jimmy Carter is 93 and in ill health, a description that also applies to George H.W. Bush. It could be that we’ll soon lose two members from the tiny club of surviving US presidents.

1North And South Korea Prepared To Make History

Photo credit: newvision.co.ug

By the time you read this, Kim Jong Un and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea may have made history. No, not by Kim blowing up everything in a 1,450-kilometer (900 mi) radius but by taking some serious steps toward peace.

At 9:30 AM local time Friday, Moon is scheduled to meet Kim at the border between North and South Korea. They will then walk together to a summit on the southern side of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ). It will be the first time since 1953 that a North Korean leader has set foot on South Korean territory.

Since this column is filed a few hours before the deadline, we don’t yet know how these talks will go. The hope, though, is that Kim and Moon may sign a peace agreement formally ending the 1950–53 Korean War, while also paving the way for a possible summit between Kim and President Trump later in the year.[10]

North Korea is difficult to read and has given plenty of reasons to doubt its commitment to peace in the past. Still, this time, Pyongyang could be for real. Hey, anything that might lead to the denuclearization of the peninsula is worth a shot.

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कांही वेचक चित्रे, किस्से आणि विनोद

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Make an impression wherever you go!

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dropping kpop translation lyrics like it's hot

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