Monday, November 23, 2015

Terrorists Tarring Those in Their Midst: Tribal Tribulations

Yesterday I watched controversial but brilliant Entomologist/
Sociobiologist Dr. E.O. Wilson, Harvard Emeritus, courtesy
of PBS.  The lengthy program, with fascinating footage and
narration by the sage posited the many advantages of
working within a group, one's tribe, clan, etc. Wilson writes
poetically about his thesis that not only does Darwin's
natural selection work on individual evolution, but on the
group as well. For his model he takes the ant, a highly
social animal, doing the old "contrast and compare" so
familiar to students of my generation (60 years ago) with
another also highly social species--us. This school of thought
has a term, eusocial, and only homo sapiens, ants, termites
and bees are accorded that honor. (I suspect the good
doctor has overlooked and omitted a few others,
like dolphins.)

The advantages of group cooperation are too obvious
and numerous to detail here, but Dr. Wilson reminds
us that everything now alive on the planet has "grown
up" together through time...which includes firm formation
of the tribe or group dynamic. It is striking and for me,
irrefutable, how homo sapiens resembles ants: the
way we both go to war, having scouts forge ahead to
inform the waiting group, divisions of labor, leaders
and self-sacrificing troops. Cooperation in all aspects
of life are common as well.

Lest we float into a self-satisfied, dream-like trance
re: all the positivity associated with tribal existence,
Wilson does give the nod to the eusocials' dark side,
where/when the balance tips too far over into the
wildly/widely destructive carnage emblematic of
WWI and WWII (--Not to mention whole colonies
of thousands of ants and termites).

Thinking about our latest strange, murderously
chaotic terror era, I realized that the tribe now
heavily harms its individual members with guilt
by  association. The furor over taking in refugees
from Syria is the current dramatic denouement.
All Arabs are looked at askance, here at home
and abroad; mention Syria as your background
at your peril. Texas, not known as a particularly
intellectually emancipated state, was shamed
last week by a Houston mosque set ablaze,
a library section, with the loss of priceless
antiquities. (Hello, cretins: all mosques are
not terror-training  madrasas! I don't know
how such stupid people can continue to exist.)

So, sadly, dear Doctor Wilson, here is food for further
study and programming: these terrorists are tarring
members in their midst, the innocents in the tribe,
who, like most rational humans around the world,
simply want to do little harm and just live. I've long
said spreading chaos is real: tribal tribulations
are merely one dangerous part of human society's
descent/disintegration before we have achieved
true civilization.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Today's Terrors: France, Limiting Large Gatherings; The U.S., Limiting Good Sense As Well

November 21, 2015: In the wake of the two terror tragedies,
Paris and Mali, inevitable, inaccurate proscriptions emerge:
France has banned many public gatherings, remaining on
high alert status for the next three months. Here at home,
many prominent politicos prescribe racism, religious tests
and tarring all refugees from Syria with the same invidious
brush...this time, all political stripes, Democrats and
Republicans, have thrown their fear-mongering, uber
security-promising hats into this hateful ring.

Hey, have some balance here! No indeed, we can't
fling open our borders to any and all, always, but
let's recall some relevant history: the U.S. has had
immigration quotas for over 100 years, different
groups being assigned different numbers; perhaps
the judgement for these quotas was not always
practical or humane, but the point is, we've always
done it. Interestingly, just as foolish forbiddings
have emanated from both Democrats and
Republicans, reasonable restrictions and positive
proposals are coming out of both camps now:
Republican Jeb Bush, Democrat Rahm Emanuel,
merely two examples...may the most effective
policies win!

ISIS/ISIL, now, pejoratively, Da'esh, really
can't win, we must know that. As has long
been quoted in the Civil Rights movement,
"there are more of us than there are of them".
The Caliphate dream won't work in the current,
modern world; its time has come and gone.
The bitterness and ego unmarried to a firm
grasp of history and reality fuels Da'esh and
all allied terrorists, including Boko Haram.

They can't win, believe it. Let's not limit
good sense by panicking, fielding fright
for political hay and gain. The Donald
will fall from being trumped by simple
reason--unless the USA harbors millions
more ignoramuses than we previously

Saturday, November 14, 2015

Paris, France: Inhumane Horror: Here We Go Again, November 13th, 2015

The sadness, chaos, fear, denial and death are all too real, all
too familiar. Once again, the ignorantly disaffected, dreaming of
resurrecting their Caliphate past, dealt death and destruction
on this Friday night, to people who were simply out to relax
after their work week. All this tragedy has done, however,
is unite the West in a reaffirmation of its historic bonds,
particularly those between the U.S. and France; without
France in our revolution, we would not be here now.
President Obama reminded us about our intimately
connected mutual past and present last night, followed
by the U.K.'s David Cameron's solidarity statement and
quick police work in Germany.

Commiserations and support have been pouring in from all
over the world. France 24 TV has remained on the air since
yesterday, detailing the murders of at least 128 confirmed,
including a threat to French President Hollande, present
at the stadium when attacks began there. He has stayed
strong, vowing to capture all involved. Some of the
terrorists killed themselves, ISIL taking responsibility
once again.

These outraged, offended Islam-hijacker attackers
have their grievances. The West has dominated the
globe in recent centuries, creating resentments and
resolve, twisted though some of them may be.
What distinguishes these faux Islamists from others
opposed to each other in wars is ISIL's inability to
forgive, attempt reconciliation and rapprochement.
The Allies from our two World Wars are now
fast friends with former foes. But when you want
to rule the Earth, inspiring, ennobling examples
will not resonate.

Be clear: this is a threat to the West and the
world, which will include Russia and China
if left unchecked. We are at an unending
war which we will lose without firm,
concentrated, concerted action at all times...

Here we go again.

Monday, November 9, 2015

November 2015: Ben Carson Takes a Page from Bush II's Political Playbook

But the page he's taken is an unfortunate one for himself and the
USA as well: Lie about your background due to an unholy
marriage of ego and inferiority complex, that page where "the
Shrub" bragged about his military service which was never out
of our country, and on the next page, pronounced "mission
complete", embarrassing everyone including him, in view of
subsequent, massive death toll events, mostly Iraqi, but also
plenty of our own. Similarly, Carson lied: West Point never
offers  any scholarships, read up on how one gets into West
Point, BEN.

Ben Carson indeed had talent and accomplishments in neuro-
surgery, which  accounts for his staff positions at major medical
institutions and various related awards. Around about this time,
his ego left the planet, which explains what I read regarding a
serious breach of medical ethics AND a failed tragic technique,
making a nine year old girl diagnosed and previously treated for
serious neurological difficulties even worse--operating on the
brain stem when B.C. (ah, Before Christ, is he??) promised this
child and her mother he would NOT do so. You can find the
particulars of this case as a pdf document, search "nine year old
girl suing Dr. Ben Carson for malpractice". Shit shortly hitting the
proverbial fan, Dr. B.C. conveniently "retires"...oh please!

Again, also resembling Bush II, Ben is inarticulate, or perhaps
off his meds: how to otherwise explain he'd be "honored" if  Puerto
Rico achieves statehood? Is he from Puerto Rico? He visited
there, but he is NOT Puertorriqueno. There are many other
malapropisms, misstatements of fact, and an arrant appeal
to the Religious Right, with his promotion of his religious views,
"Joseph built the pyramids." (Carson and Huckabee should
form a club.) The doc may well know how to engineer/execute
a life-saving brain surgery, but obviously knows zero about
Archaeology, the History of Egypt, Geology, Structural
Engineering, et al. This  past Sunday I searched the "Joseph,
son of Jacob" chapters in Genesis, finding no support for
Ben's thesis.

I will reprise more of  this current clone of Bush II in future
posts, bank on it. Meanwhile, I can't wait to read Bush I's
recent book, where he castigated both Rumsfeld and Cheney,
exposing  informed regard of his son's subordinates. I had the
exact same misgivings back in the early 1980s.

We usually don't do dynasties or aristocracies in the U.S. for
many reasons-- here's just one example: everyone in the same
family are not equally gifted; note Bush I, who was a pretty good
president. His sons' executive resumes, however, do not meet
their father's accomplishments.

It was ever thus; anyone wishing to emulate a Bush better
pick the right one.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

October 28, 2015: No Candidate "Get Well" Prescriptions for Our Sick Society and Economy

Deutsche Welle reported tonight (October 29th) that U.S.
economists are surprised at the anemic 2015 Third Quarter
figures of a slim 1.5% overall growth rate. Why the surprise?
Our so-called recovery is really just what old authors used to
term a "creaming over" of an intractable reality. U.S. salaries
are mostly flat, with service jobs like social work requiring
degrees seldom realizing anything but modest pay gains even
after extra education is acquired.

Meanwhile, the October 28th Republican Debate hosted by
CNBC was a dismal failure in every sense of the word, with
only two candidate sentences hitting the mark, one by Ted
Cruz, the other by Chris Christie, both strongly suggesting we
get down to cases and deal with the economy here--which,
while previously promised, certainly did not occur last night,
with CNBC NOT putting serious, specific economic questions
...oh, they did ask about Fantasy Football, which occasioned
Gov. Christie's umbrage.

Otherwise, it was political theater as usual, the moderators
attacking the candidates, who fought back, but remained civil
to each other. CNBC attempted to restrain the presidential
hopefuls from raising  real issues; the candidates had to outshout
the panel in order to get their policies, views and concerns
broadcast. Unfortunately, I had to agree/applaud that tactic as
a necessity. The audience, as primitive as those back in Ancient
Rome being entertained at the Coliseum, roared their approval
at every outburst. Spectacle over substance, that is the average
American, apparently.

As to substantive, important issues which WERE actually raised by
the candidates if not by CNBC moderators:  Carly Fiorina  was
dead wrong when she stated categorically that tax reform has
been bruited about and ballyhooed for decades, but nary a reform
was ever enacted. Carly, go back to the Reagan/Tip O'Neil Tax
Reform Act of 1987, presaged earlier by tax acts in 1986 and
1982. These were bipartisan, successful reform efforts put into
law...--TSK! Carly, I take back the previous estimation I had of
you as being research-minded.

Where are the candidates' "Get Well" prescriptions for
our sick society and economy? Few found and none
now peeking over the horizon, I fear.

[P.S.: Every current presidential debate has included
at least one female blond moderator. Apparently this is
a requisite qualification. Why? To cynically attract male
viewers? The Oct. 28th CNBC blond moderator fulfilled
the dumb blond stereotype, asking a candidate where
SHE had read some pejorative fact about him. She
expected him to help her castigated HIM?  --Really??]

Monday, October 19, 2015

October, 2015: Stay Away from the Middle East, If You Value Your Life

I will never go to the Middle East, especially Israel,
especially since a stupid security guard mistook a man
from Eritrea for a terrorist, shot him, and the gathering
mob kicked him, after which (what a surprise) he died.

Tensions, shootings and stabbings are escalating between
Palestinians and  Israelis, to the point that it has become
largely irrelevant who started what incident. More people
have begun to whisper we are in the third Intifada; simply
speculating such a situation exists may make it so.

If I wish to see new places and visit others far from home
I'll go online or turn on television...chances are excellent I'll
avoid gun or knife violence.  If the tourist trade ever dries
up in these violent, exotic locales, perhaps money pressures
may drive these places toward stability--a slender hope at

If you value your life, and can avoid traveling to the
Middle East--any area between Egypt and Jordan,
well, wisdom is the better part of valor, the saying
sort of goes.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Chicago: How Is Rahm Emanuel Much Different from Disgraced Barbara Bennett?

First, Mayor Emanuel:

If any reader likes/loves Chicago for all the intellectual,
cultural and scenic offerings it indeed possesses, perhaps
many of you have already experienced a "cringing moment"
while viewing the artistic renderings via media of the George
Lucas proposed lakefront museum. Here are more aspects
to make anyone cringe yet again:
(1) Chi's mayor has involved his Hollywood brother, super
agent Ari, in this pathetic project: Ari has a ten percent $$$
interest in it.
(2) The architectural renderings are as hideous as they are
unimaginative: the exteriors look like tents from Hell or outer
space, take your pick.
(3) This project is highly unnecessary: we have many fine
museums, even one dedicated to broadcasting. Hollywood
has massive and effective PR right now, why should Chicago
build this monstrosity, even if (purportedly) no tax monies
will fund it?
(4) Various pundits have wisely speculated that this is a
double nepotism/vanity attempt: It is an homage to Lucas'
prominent Chicago wife, as well as aforementioned Ari,
no angel even if he operates out of LA.
(5) FINALLY:  this "thing" trashes the Burham Plan,
which was wise, forever fine and truly visionary. But
then, we DO live in an ugly era of McMansions, etc. ...
which I earnestly hope is a passing phase.

Second, Barbara Bennett:

She is so like Rahm E, in insider deals and parceling
out funds and perks to family, it is utterly unsurprising
he had picked her to run the Chicago Public Schools.
B is probably less intelligent than E is, I suspect, as she
left an e-trail: even Bush II stopped emailing family after
being told how easily emails are hacked.

Next time I see/hear Chicago's Mayor at a press
conference, I'm only giving him a provisional
"maybe" re: his "truthiness". After all, the ghost of
Daley I surely still hovers over Chicago, with his
unapologetic, defiant statement that OF COURSE
he helped family--whatever's wrong with that??

Oh let me count the ways....