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Recently a high profile Saudi dissident went visiting the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. He never returned. What excuses the Riyadh government gave became curioser and curioser but no body. Here is another that defies explanation. Enlightenment in Europe as a principle would separate State from Religion. Afterall when the Pope of the Holy See in 800 AD endorsed the Divine Rights of kings it was Religion legitimizing the rule of one bandit king and his family the exclusive rights to plunder the state finances with impunity. After much bloodletting and religious wars the beacon of enlightenment succeeded in throwing light into dark recesses of man who would publicly establish a principle but see to that something far different takes control over the rest of the proceedings. That is history for you, in capsule.
Is our mind that complex? Wars for instance was not sought out as the ape ancestor had nothing to complain of than hunting and gathering on an unwritten principle: share and share alike.

Evolution can explain why humans exhibit aggression because it is a primal emotion like any other, experts say. Dogs have it and apes also show it. Emotions are to be handled and for a social animal like man, nature provides them a safety valve in context of other life forms. Members in the same group come to learn very early there is safety in numbers. Maternal instincts of mother and suckling baby in need, forge a bond held more secure on account of the genetic push. Emotions of a mother and her infant, both benefit by emotions. Emotions can run the gamut of aggression and fear when threatened by outsiders. Evolution has primed primates and men to express appropriately so the survival of each group is in the best interest of each member and also a collective responsibility. Think of brain as a muscle that is well toned by constant use. Bodily exercise and mental agility benefit from constant use. Body and Mind as one. Think of members of the same group with same goals and sharing of genes as one organism.
Man, given his tool making capacity, has relied on channeling his emotions in the ways he whittled a piece of flint to serve his every day needs. By breaking it off he might hone the edge as sharp as a surgeon’s knife. In making that fine artifact, he has dissipated his bad emotions as well as found a new thrill of making a useful tool.
Somewhere along the line it became a lethal weapon and a weapon of war.
The same evolution that made man separate jumped the realm of biology found a new use for the tool, his handiwork.
Primal emotions when given expression consciously make even a piece of bamboo or flint as weapons of war. The use of weapons may date back well before the rise of humanity, given evidence that even our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, can use spears to hunt other primates. Man, as a social animal can rationalize his nature, his need to give vent to pent up aggression. Only he did not account for the destructive force he would unleash in evolving a simple weapon as a flint knife to the nuclear bomb that may wipe off all life from the face of the Earth. How did a flint as a tool to fell animals in hunt or skin the hides of animals or carve piece of wood became a weapon to murder? Blame it on his nature.

Biologists speak of ‘norms of reaction,’ which are patterned responses to environmental circumstances. For example, some male insects are more likely to guard their mates when there are fewer females in the population, hence fewer other mating opportunities. Natural selection didn’t just shape a fixed behavior, it shaped the norm of reaction — the nature of the response,”
In humans a bad idea when he can think rationally on it brings many advantages. Increasing his supply of food at the cost of one who is weaker is one way of doing it. Annexing a territory from a weak tyrant is worth the while of a chieftain if he has a superior force. He reckons that his success would silence others and make his position more secure. It must have come handy when others would take the same path to aggrandize themselves.
‘Just as compassion for your offspring increases your genes’ chance of survival, violent tendencies may have been similarly useful for some species’ observed biologist David Carrier, of the University of Utah(2012),” Humans certainly rank among the most violent of species.” In true nature-nurture fashion, though some kind of genetic preprogramming for violence, may exist in humans as a result of our evolution. The west has long felt as champions of liberty and free speech but when dissidents simply disappear in broad daylight it ought to warn all how a thin veneer of decency has coated modern man. It must sit oddly where civilization is on every body’s lips while civility is cut out from his heart.

Now in a very divided America evangelicals have come in droves to support President Trump. What excuse they have? They embrace Trump the policymaker, despite being uneasy about Trump as a man, says Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, a prominent evangelical activist group. What kind of family Mr. Perkins has in mind, I wonder? When he supports a system the head of the family is fated to spend most of his waking hours into drudgery to the neglect of his family sounds hypocritical. He is more like the Popes of yore giving a thorough whitewashing of men whose moral turpitude knows no bounds. Never mind religion has a way of rationalizing Satan when he comes in the form of mammon. This is what Tony Perkins, Jerry Falwell Jr. and their ilk want to see in public life.
Benny

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Donny the tortoise was certain with a shell as his armor would bulldoze anything in his path. Hillary the Hare romped all about the land showing her experience was nimble and quick. Oh their race to the White House was hard fought. KKK was there in full force; so were the money bags . Hillary was sure it was all in the bag. Oh when the results came she was bulldozed by a light weight Donny who had acquired enough baggage to keep him steady.

Experience is all stored in the records. When one casts ballot these are still there and is of no use. The electorate smell the air  and the scare politics is what one gets in the end.img_3603

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Aesop Fable Updated –The Bullfrog Who Forgot Himself ©

 

BullFrog Donnie was noted for the splash he made wherever he went. When he was passing through Texas, Lyin’ Ted complained his blond mop rattled his glass windows. ‘What a shame I am cruzing so high I cannot match his lies.’

His soundbytes were so loud so much so  while he was south of the border that his Mexican neighbour complained he was a public nuisance. When he was told of that he said, ’I am gonna build a wall;  so all rapists and thieves would taste my bullwhip, if they dare come in!’ There is it, the frog with his warts and all.

He was a bullfrog who was like matador on a holiday leaping and yelling his head off. He even floated a company he said was for all the hacks who had nothing else than crib about others. His charity catered for all and he bullied great many to donate. Only he did not even put his own cent. ‘That I do when I move to the White House.’ It was news for all. So Bullfrog Donnie was selling himself as a Presidential candidate.

He hastily put together as many newts he could find. They were newts alright but Ed was ‘een Klientje’ as they say in double dutch.   Whoever sucked up to him had the agony of taking a lot of bull from him and Ed put up with him. One day this hack of a writer who dipped his pen in vitriol and wrote many a lie sat to lunch with Donny. ‘Donnie don’t think I am TRUMPeting this news. But it is bad!’

‘What is it Little Ed?’

“HILLARY-ous is your competitor,’ said he between munching burrito. He explained she was a cow alright but so large that his pea-sized brain cannot describe it.

Bullfrog Donnie felt threatened. ‘So that is her woman card.!’

He stood up and said,’Is she as big as I am?’

Ed rolled his eyes to say,’Bigger as your Tower!’

So the bullfrog huffed and puffed and did his best to inflate to a size that Ed had described her. It was Donnie’s last but foolhardy attempt. He burst in the end and all those who watched him said, ‘Sad but it is true. It would take more bulls than a bullfrog to cow down HILLARY-ous ’

Moral: A Bullfrog who forgets himself is likely to end in bullshit.

benny

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Donald Trump: Pyroclastic Flow in US. Elections 2016Trump

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The Merchant of Venice- Ac.2.Sc.7

Top aide of Trump:

O hell! what have we here?

I see none but Trouble spelled T-R-U-M-Pay

There is Oh vitriol! I’ll read the writing.

 

Reads

All that glitters is not gold;

Look at that thatch, it’s fool’s gold.

Many a man his hair has dyed

But this is real coxcomb’s hair:

But I cavil not at his thatch-

Pea-sized in girth do make grey matter

Run on and on to no avail.

Had he been as wise as his gold

What he speaks will make all glad.

Empty in thought, in speech rude,

His suit to the White House is doom’d.’

 

Top  aide of Trump:

Fare you well; your suit is cold.

Cold, indeed; and labour lost:

Scram then, beat it,- you said enow:

Hide your hulk in shame, saying:

Farewell, heat, and welcome, frost!

benny

 

 

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Professor Gerald Crabtree, who heads a genetics laboratory at Stanford University in California, has put forward an interesting idea that rather than getting cleverer, human intelligence peaked several thousand years ago and from then on there has been a slow decline in our intellectual and emotional abilities.’
Progress has merely obfuscated the problem. If man were to decide a course to choose with the click of a mouse he may have the whole array of statistics or many options to choose from. It is also a proof of man’s innovative skill. It boils down to this: levels of intelligences can differ qualitatively. A geek who may be socially inept and has emotional blocks can still be a wizard with technology. Our ape ancestor on the other hand required the back up of every other member in his group in order to function as hunter-gatherer. Had there been a test then they would have scored higher on emotional intelligence. The present day nerd uses his brain, which has in ample measure acquired one skill at the expense of other.
This either or choice when we follow from the earliest times has serious consequences for his future development. To come back to the hypothesis of Prof. Crabtree I shall quote from the Independent:

His argument is based on the fact that for more than 99 per cent of human evolutionary history, we have lived as hunter-gatherer communities surviving on our wits, leading to big-brained humans. Since the invention of agriculture and cities, however, natural selection on our intellect has effective stopped and mutations have accumulated in the critical “intelligence” genes.
“I would wager that if an average citizen from Athens of 1000BC were to appear suddenly among us, he or she would be among the brightest and most intellectually alive of our colleagues and companions, with a good memory, a broad range of ideas and a clear-sighted view of important issues,” Professor Crabtree says in a provocative paper published in the journal Trends in Genetics.
“Furthermore, I would guess that he or she would be among the most emotionally stable of our friends and colleagues. I would also make this wager for the ancient inhabitants of Africa, Asia, India or the Americas, of perhaps 2,000 to 6,000 years ago,” Professor Crabtree says.
“The basis for my wager comes from new developments in genetics, anthropology, and neurobiology that make a clear prediction that our intellectual and emotional abilities are genetically surprisingly fragile,” he says.
A comparison of the genomes of parents and children has revealed that on average there are between 25 and 65 new mutations occurring in the DNA of each generation. Professor Crabtree says that this analysis predicts about 5,000 new mutations in the past 120 generations, which covers a span of about 3,000 years.((www.independent.co.uk/news/science/human-intelligence-peaked-thousands-of-years-ago-and-weve-been-on-an-intellectual-and-emotional-decline-ever-since-8307101.html steve connor of 12 Nov, 2012)

The brain is a wonderful piece of assembly with which man assembles myriad jumble of information and can group them into sets for later use. While he is engaged in any work his attention may be focused on the work on hand to which his memory comes to assist with amazing speed. His abstraction however is subservient to the immediate need of the moment. His physiology has come to sense what is needed and also comes to rescue. Thus in a savanna when faced with imminent danger his train of thoughts may be broken in the mid-air. It is not the thoughts of the fireside social meal with his cronies of previous night but of the vital split moment’s decision. ‘Do I stand and fight it or flee?’ the thought has already taken his whole body. Adrenaline pumps to his legs impressing on him with added impetus to run away or stand up resolute. The brain can only do what is needful primed by his physiology. Progress merely gave him a tool and said,’Don’t think but at the click of a mouse I shall give information.It was how ORCA system that Mitt Romney counted on to give him up-to-date info and control over voting pattern, folded up miserably. Those who were put in charge of GOTV program were left without plan B. Moral of this is that brain is meant to be used and not leave one aspect of intelligence say social intelligence to another to play with.
Nerds are also people but for a sane world and for the emotional inputs that may work healing even an infant has more to offer.
benny

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The US elections of 2012 was much more than Obama versus Romney. Coming to think of it I dare say that it was the testing ground for the nation to out the ideological gulf between the Republican and Democratic party. Of course the politics of future shall come around to address this.
In this bitterly fought campaign each party put out their case. In Obama’s victory we see how the Tea Party movement outplayed its hand. All that rumble and blustering of the movers of the movement did not in the end, mean anything.
The Tea Party is an antigovernment, grass-roots political movement.  It began in 2009 in protest of the bank bailout and the economic stimulus package. Is not an economic stimulus good for the growth? Oh no in the vocabulary of the GOP it smacks of federal intrusion. Such fiscal conservatism of the Party relying not on pragmatism, though the recession called for it to help small businesses, proved it was out of touch with the times.
The Tea Party became a pivotal player in the Republicans’ successful bid to take control of the House of Representatives in the 2010 midterm elections. In those elections, four in 10 voters expressed support for the movement in exit polls. Its most shining hour was when in August Rep.Paul Ryan from Wisconsin was chosen as the running mate of Romney. The election proved the Tea Party had totally miscalculated. Here we see the blind side of GOP: their failure to take the pulse of the nation or speak for average American. A Party that speaks for the 1 percenters cannot gauge the impulses of Mr.Joe. The Party represented the White and continued their stand against the minorites not realizing the changing demographics had simply cut the ground from under their feet.
As recently as 1980, 80% of the United States was white, but results of the 2010 Census depict a rapidly changing nation, with the country’s non-white population growing to more than 35 percent. As ethnic and racial minorities continue to grow, these communities’ impact on America’s future—particularly as it pertains to politics and leadership—is increasing.
 
This paradigm shift seems to have escaped the calculation of the Party in the manner they tried to cast slur on the President for his middlename and his birth among other things.Even an endorsement from much respected Colin Powell invited criticism that it was racially motivated.This shows how deep rooted is the Party on old values. If only they had shown their relevance in the everyday living that would have been something.
The integration of racial minorities into what has been America’s dominant white culture is what this election indicates.
Hispanic voters comprised 10 per cent of the electorate. Mr Obama won seven out of 10 of their votes. The president also won 93 per cent of the black vote, and more than 70 per cent of Asian voters. He led by 12 points over Mr Romney among women.
Among young voters, Obama secured two thirds of the preferences of those aged between 18 and 29. They are almost a fifth of the electorate.
For the first time last year in America more babies were born to non-white parents that to whites, a trend which explains why the Republican party can no longer afford to ignore Hispanic voters, even though this campaign, with all its hostility towards immigrants, seemed so determined to alienate them.
The shift saw Mr Obama holding old southern states such as Virginia, which he had won in 2008 on the back of a euphoric wave of support which some put down to a fluke.
But as African-Americans and students turned out in droves to take the state again, it was clear that the race had heralded a new, more permanent, drawing of the political map. Mr Obama’s coalition represents the future of America: a younger, browner, more ‘godless’ and liberal America whose taxes must also pay for the retirement funds of the older, white evangelical Christian Americans that they are supplanting.
“It doesn’t matter whether you’re black or white, or Hispanic or Asian, or Native American, or young or old, or rich or poor, able, disabled, gay or straight – you can make it here in America if you’re willing to try,” Obama said. Is anyone listening?
Tailspin:
This election also proved what a fool Karl Rove is. All that political acumen was merely adipose settled where his grey matter ought to have been. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Rove’s group spent more than $1 million in 10 different Senate races.
At the top of that group, Crossroads spent $11.2 million opposing Senate candidate Tim Kaine in Virginia, $7 million opposing Representative Shelley Berkley in Nevada, and $6 million in both Ohio and Wisconsin, opposing Senator Sherrod Brown and Tammy Baldwin, a member of the House of Representatives who was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Only Berkley lost on Tuesday.
For months, Rove’s commercials told Montanans that their U.S. senator, Jon Tester, was “a top recipient of campaign cash from lobbyists and big banks.”
Missourians were instructed to tell their Democratic senator, Claire McCaskill, “to stop spending and cut the debt.”
In those races, as in Florida and Indiana, Rove’s candidate lost. Only in Nevada, where Senator Dean Heller was challenged by Berkley, did Rove assist with a victory in race where he invested more than $1 million.
According to calculations made by the Sunlight Foundation, a nonpartisan group that seeks more transparency in campaign finance, Rove’s outfits provided dismal returns to investors. With advice from such a ‘failure’ like Karl Rove, President George Bush has had his image forever badly bruised. Karl Rove reminds me of Humpty-Dumpty after a bad fall.

(ack: Pewsocialtrends,NewYork Times of Oct.4,2012,Reuters news of Oct 7,Karl Rove’s bad night)
benny

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Man, His Fame – essay
U.S Presidents

Nothing ever remains static: the face of the earth changes with seasons and continental shelves move. Such changes take place in matter of time and it goes without saying man is of no exception.Consequently his hopes, fears,- and his glory also vanishes.
Where does that leave those who walked the earth as Colossus? Oh no these days we have US Presidents who may catch media attention even if they just had the most prosaic surgical procedures. I remember Nixon and Lyndon Johnson in this regard. Nixon’s clot (phlebitis, I think it was called) was serious as the appendicitis of the latter. After all the entire nation’s thoughts revolve about them. Every day of their four year term. Whatever they do or say creates plenty of media interest. Their days in office must be seen by all recalling the days when the entire French court watched the Sun King waking up from his ornate bed in Versailles.
What with the mass media and TV we have become a visual generation. Recalling the Andy Warhol quote each of us holds the right to fame though it may be for some fifteen minutes. It may be through reality shows or as a witness in TV coverage for 6 o’clock news. Television has killed the art of conversation and instead we have talking heads whose style and contents are what matter for the ratings. Yes fifteen minutes of fame is enough for the audience whose attention span is correspondingly becoming shorter.
Looking at the appeal of the US Presidents history judges them, as tastes govern the appeal of fashion art and literature.
The Presidency of Andrew Jackson (1829-37) has undergone swings in popularity. Jackson presided over American expansion as well as subjugated the American Indians. The New Englanders and the Eastern gentry despised him as a frontiersman and a dangerous demagogue about money and banking. The historians of the early 20th century saw him as a democratic hero, coming out of the West to fight the moneyed Eastern interests.
Thomas Jefferson is another. Jefferson, had his bitter critics to whom he was ‘Mad Tom’. Of his prodigious mind and its wide sweep no one had doubts. John F. Kennedy once invited a group of Nobel Prize winners to the Executive mansion and said thus: ‘the most extraordinary collection of talent… that has ever been gathered together at the White House-with the possible exception of when Thomas Jefferson dined alone.’ His personal stature or his qualities are not what makes his relevance count. His policies or what he stands for must mesh with the mood of the times like teeth of gears so history on its march keeps his relevance as obvious. No president or king is as relevant as to be in step with mood of the times all the time.
Thus presidents out of office have remaining years to live in the past or setting up a library to keep posterity guessing. Was he the wrong man for the best of times or the right man for the dangerous times? Hope has nothing to do once the reality kicks in.
Ronald Reagan came to power on the belief ‘Politics is just like show business. You have hell of an opening, coast for a while and then have hell of a close’. He edged out Jimmy Carter from the Presidential race with the promise of getting the nation out of depression. ‘I am speaking of depression in the human sense. A recession is when your neighbour is out of work. Recovery is when Carter is out of work.’ Reagan was elected the President. His covert interference in Afghanistan to arm the mujaheddin and break the back of the Soviets seemed to succeed. History however shows its terrible consequences even this day. As for his economic policies paved the way for the economic meltdown and recession of 2008. The presidency of George Bush Sr. was colourless but his rating has risen against the backdrop of Presidents who succeeded him to the office.
Power is always a potent tool in the hands of a President in the US or anywhere else to shape destinies of people; and politics is the means to get the policies across but then they are on their own.
Now another Presidential election is around the corner. The somber mood of the US economy cannot be as easily replaced as hopes of man on the street at flurry of activities that the election day entails. For him a change means a change in his fortunes in the matter he blindly takes the cues from the mood of people about him. Scaremongering and mudslinging are part of making the voter change his mind in favor of one candidate over the other. Romney is yet give a single concrete workable plan to make him credible but election fever when it gets going creates its own rationale. It is democracy and scaremongering, half-truths might prevent the voter think for himself and the most undeserving might be elected or the best candidate may be left by the wayside.
Money plays a large part and special interest groups are already in the fray placing bets and they must have covered all eventualities. Another way to get votes is to give style than substance as Reagan did so well. Romney’s heart as he claims is all for America, notwithstanding his 47 percent claims. His feisty debate seems to have gone well with his backers. He is all things for everyone. What if he wins the election? He may on the job find some policies that can heal the polarized nation. Who can tell? One advantage the Presidential hopeful is that he is new and untested for the office. Democracy is in practice is triumph of hope over reality. In Romney’s favor this must be said, he might make good or dash the hopes of the nation just as Bush Jr. did. In the case of Harry Truman no one expected much but in retrospect his character and decisions he took while in charge make him more than a middling President.
Economic recovery takes time and the new President-elect may take the credit of it unjustly in most cases, but it is fruit of his success anyway. If Barack Obama can keep the Presidency for a second term he would have hell of catching up to do to take the credit of an economic boom undeniably fixed to his Presidency.
(Ack: Hedley Donovan-Time/essay Nov 9,1981)
benny

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One Roman Senator Odious Surpluss represented the Patrician class and served for one term. He loved the idea of holding power and privilege that came with his office. When Caesar fell he wanted to fill in the role of great Caesar. He harangued at the forum, same forum where Marcus Antonious urged the mob to take vengeance on his assassins,and he cited all that he could do if power were given to him. He promised bushels of grains treble the quota given to the citizens and lands for veterans who came from their service. Hoi Polloi received it all with cheer and applause. However some were raking up his past and there were quite a few unsavory details. Rumors of his greed went around the city. One evening at one house the clique that supported Octavian asked him to speak for himself. “Did you not grab the land earmarked for the veterans who came from the Gauls?”
Senator Odious slightly went pale but he defended saying, “I can bring witnesses who came from Spain and Germany”. He rolled out names of veterans from expeditions to these regions. Octavian who had silently heard these till then, laughed and Senator Odious shuddered. Octavian said,”If we ask what you were doing up North we do not want to hear what you were not doing in the West or East.”
This reminds me of a President hopeful lately trying to prove he is the most humane and compassionate man ever applied for the office.
benny

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