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The Common Enemy

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Posted on Feb 7, 2008
Huck and Mac
AP photo / Charlie Niebergall

By Bill Boyarsky

A nightmarish vision of a McCain-Huckabee ticket haunted me as the votes came in on Super Tuesday night.

It was too much to contemplate, this Stone Age combination of Sen. John McCain, who envisions us staying in Iraq for 100 years, and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, a believer in creationism.

The next morning, a closer examination of the exit polls cheered me up. Improving on a trend that was evident in his South Carolina primary victory, Barack Obama increased his share of the white vote, confounding skeptics who have maintained whites won’t vote for an African-American. As Gary Langer of ABC News noted, “Obama won white men in five of the 16 states where exit polls were conducted.” In California, white men favored Obama over Sen. Hillary Clinton 52 percent to 34 percent.

This was the best news of a night when Clinton and Obama battled to a tie that will extend their struggle to future state contests, perhaps all the way to the Democratic National Convention. Is it possible the country is moving beyond the racial divide, with younger voters no longer trapped by the prejudices of the past?

After Super Tuesday, Democrats worried that a long Clinton-Obama contest might irreparably damage the party’s prospects in November. Actually, the bigger threat is McCain winning the GOP nomination—as appears almost certain now with the exit of Mitt Romney—especially if the Arizona senator decides to appease the Republican right by choosing Huckabee as his running mate.

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The states Huckabee carried Tuesday—his own Arkansas plus Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia—encompass the heart of the South, pretty much Republican country since President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts more than 40 years ago.

As Huckabee said on “Fox and Friends” Wednesday: “You cannot win as a Republican if you don’t carry [the South]. You just can’t.” As for the vice presidency, he said on NBC’s “Today” show: “Let’s go ahead and be honest now. Nobody ever wants the vice president’s job. Nobody ever turns it down.”

To understand the danger posed by such a combo, you must first attempt, for the sake of argument, to briefly put aside their outrageous opinions. I know it is hard to forget McCain’s support of the surge in Iraq and his willingness to keep troops there for a century. Or to forget Huckabee’s view of amending the Constitution: “I believe it is a lot easier to change the Constitution than it would be to change the word of the living God. And that’s what we need to do, is to amend the Constitution so that it fits God’s standards.” 

What is dangerous about Huckabee is that he is a good campaigner with the manner of what he once was—the minister of a Baptist church with a friendly, humorous way of speaking developed over years of sermonizing, counseling troubled couples and leading youth groups. Don’t be misled by his limited appeal to his Southern region and the Christian right. The man is easy to underestimate.

McCain shouldn’t be underestimated either, although many—including some prominent journalists and pundits—did when his campaign almost fell apart last summer. He’s got a great biography, and he deals with critics in   his audiences in a forthright and winning way. I witnessed that one night in Iowa when he spoke to a Christian right group. One man, a thorough know-it-all, blasted McCain for believing in global warming. McCain listened politely and then disarmingly said maybe you’re right. But maybe you’re not. Isn’t it smart to do the research and make preparations in case you’re not? All through the audience, I saw people nodding approvingly at the answer.

And polls indicate he would be a tough opponent. In California, considered safe for Democrats, the Field Poll, taken Feb. 3, showed Hillary Clinton beating him by just 45 per cent to 43 per cent and Obama leading him 47 percent to 40 percent.

With the right campaign smarts on the Democrats’ side, either Clinton or Obama should be able to beat McCain, with or without Huckabee on his ticket.

The issues are clearly with the Democrats.

The economy is plummeting, dragged down by the enormous debt being run up to finance the war. Hopefully, the Democrats will be able to make the connection in a stronger manner than they have done so far.

The Democrats are not fractured by huge ideological divisions. Both Clinton and Obama want out of Iraq, although she favors too slow a pullout. They disagree over health care, but it is somewhat of a wonkish dispute over whether everyone should be forced to have insurance.

Most important, together they can pull together a Democratic coalition that cuts across racial and economic class lines. Clinton won white women, Obama won white men. Latinos backed her, blacks supported him. They’ll fight hard but hopefully without damaging each other or themselves. The pre-Super Tuesday campaigning was actually pretty peaceful and collegial. If you want to see ugliness, go back to 1968 and 1972 when the Vietnam War tore the Democratic Party apart. I hope Clinton and Obama are smart enough to avoid having that happen again.



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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, March 5, 2008 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

Nabih and Beyond Disaster - Connecting the dots as per a wise man’s advice

Thank you Nabih, once again for your kind reply.  I have downloaded the Hedges article and all the comments from the last page back to about 3 or 4 pages of comments so I can get a gist of what the commentaries are headed for.  I will read them and of course your Aug. 15 posts plus those up to the last one.  I am also reading (speed reading albeit) the Sheuer Imperial Hubris (and the Clarkson, and Diamond and a few others), as I’ve said my brain is hurting with all this cramming of new information.  I will try to connect the dots.  I will take notes Professor Ammari (said with affection even if not true).  And 75 is the new 60 these days.  I hope you are taking as good a care of youself and your wife as you can, it is all we can do and hope for the rest, even for those who are not yet 60 or 75!  I know several nonagenerians so there can be plenty of time left in life at 75.  I very much appreciate your wisdom.  Prima facie, I agree but would go beyond “that only a sense of justice can force terrorism to disappear,” which would in effect “defeat it.”  A sense of justice is merely cognizing it.  We must learn to be just so that justice may be practiced. I realize that before that can happen we are compelled to ask what is justice and what does it demand of individuals and societies?

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By Nabih Ammari, March 4, 2008 at 8:07 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Response to Nabih and the treadmill March 3

One thing I have respected Michael Sheuer for is the
fact that he has admitted that he is NO expert on Iraq.Most of the content of “Imperial Hubris” virtually concentrates on the
terrorism in Afghanistan.It is the responsibility of
the reader to connect the dots in a very complex
political network.It not easy at all,but I shall try to help out as you ask me to step in.But,I prefer that you
connect the dots on your own;and I think you have the
required intelligence to do so.

Dr.Sheuer is a realist of realists.He cannot afford to be too explicit,let alone blunt.There are very powerful forces who will eat him up alive if he loses
his balance or if he cares to hold a job in order to
feed,cloth and shelter his family.But,I who is 75
years old,retired and in poor health can spell it out
loud and clear:History has shown that only a sense
of justice can force terrorism to disappear,let alone
defeating it.There is no other way regardless what you may and might have heard.Anyone who tells you
otherwise,he/she is an ignorant fool or a deceitful
liar or both.It was a big big blunder declaring a
war on terror.The British tried it when their seaships
and submarines and armies ruled the world and did not
work.So did the French in Algeria and in some African countries and it did not work.So did the Italians in
Libya and it just did not work.“those who do not
learn from the sweep of history,they are doomed to
repeat it”.So have done the fools of the Twenty First
Century and it is not going to work while bankrupting
us morally,emotionally,economically and financially and bankrupting our children and children children as well.Here is where the “Imperial Hubris” of Dr. Michael Sheuer really shines.And when you read it you
will surly discover why.And when you read it,please
underline the statements or paragraphs as he uses the words"Policy” and"intelligence” and try to take notes
as I do whenever I want to search for the “Truth”.

Meanwhile,please Google: “Nabih Ammari on Iraq”.Click
search.Click the title"Beyond Disaster by Chris Hedges.Read the article and then roll the thread about 20-25 commentary posts until you reach my post
dated August 15 at 11:57.Please read this particular post as carefully as you can.It will be much help as
you try to connect the dots.Good Luck.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By Shenonymous, March 3, 2008 at 1:52 am Link to this comment

I meant to respond to this sooner but got caught up in the other forum with you and OM.  But I did want to say that I appreciated your response Nabih.  My three questions were intended to launch consideration.  I did not really expect them to be answered in one full meal, as it were.  I didn’t mean to stress you and knew ahead of time the questions are not the easiest to answer.  Of course, knowing that, I am nonetheless still looking for answers but realize such answers can only come through discussion.  I have a talent for asking “post-graduate” questions.” I am about to apply to post graduate school myself so it must be a mind set to ask such questions.  But do let me review your reply.

#1 I am still waiting for my copy of Sheuer’s book.  Since you put a lot of stock in what he said, in the meantime I did read Sheuer’s online synopsis of his book the intent of which he says is to inform Americans about the threat of Islamist militancy posed to our country.  He says that in the book he gives three points: 1. Islamist enemies attach America for what we do in the Muslim world; 2. The war is a war for survival and cannot be “talked” out of.  The choices are Sheuer says are war or endless war; 3. The defense through intelligence and military operations must be complemented by reviewing [and changing – by implication] and debate about US policies toward the Muslim world.  This he says would be in addition to the military and intelligence means of defense[offense] of what it is America is interested. 

What I see is his suggestion for a change in how America perceives the Muslim world but also that he advocates continued intelligence about and a continuation of the military means of dealing with the Iraq problem.  Do I miss the points here, Nabih? 

What value is this book then, if there is no extant change in the direction of the war?  What kind of changes is Sheuer looking for with a review and debate about US policies toward the Muslim world?  What kind of possible change is possible?

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By amunaor, February 27, 2008 at 12:33 pm Link to this comment

**By Douglas Chalmers, February 10 <Thus the GWOT is a religion in the USA and everwhere else it has contaminated the hearts and minds of people around the globe. It IS your crusade. You ARE a part of it and are being dragged along with it whether you want to be or not. It is exactly the same as the old Roman empire….....>


Amun, or Amen, which ever the case might be! Strike the anvil Douglas; see if there is any gold to be found within these lead hearts dwelling in ‘Tiphareth’!

Peace

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By Shenonymous, February 25, 2008 at 3:14 pm Link to this comment

Nabih, the spelling for the CIA author is Scheuer.  I have ordered it and in it I will look for some truth.  It will take a while to receive so the truth will have to wait on the USPS.  Thank you for all of your recommendations.

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By Nabih Ammari, February 24, 2008 at 11:20 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Avoiding the treadmill February 24
(A serious mistake in typing)

Shenonymous,

Please read:Michael Shauer who worked for the CIA for
more than 20 some years.I repeat:more than 20 some years.Thank you.
Sincerely,
Nabih

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By Nabih Ammari, February 24, 2008 at 12:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Avoiding the treadmill February 22

Shenonymous,

Your last paragraph of the above Re raised the following questions:
(1)“Given the major event to happen in this country,
the change of its leader(s),what do you think will
save Americans from their own hubris?”
(2)“How shall we as conscious beings proceed to influence the world to become better human beings?”
(3)“What can we do to avoid the treadmill-of-going-
-no-where?”

Although I feel that I am not exactly qualified to
provide you with an approximate satisfaction for what
you are targeting or what you are really after,I shall attempt to provide you with some hints/rather
some guidelines from which you, and others who are
interested,may follow-up and explore further:

Answer to (1):Every American,including the competing
=============
Presidential candidates,should read a book entitled
“Imperial Hubris”,the first edition was claimed to be
written by “Anonymous”.In later editions,the author
turned out to be Michael Shauer,a CIA political analyst who worked for the CIA for more than @0 some
years.For those who do not afford to buy books or do
not like to read books but do care to follow-up for further exploration,just Google:“Imperial Hubris by
Michael Shauer” and you will get abundance of good
and reliable information,including even interviews
conducted with Mr.Shauer.It is a must read for every
self-respecting American who really cares very much to come close to the “Truth” as close as he/she can.

Answer to (2):This question deserve to be a theme for
==============
or a title of a dissertation for a graduate student
preparing for his/her Doctorate Degree since it is so
wide in scope and cannot precisely be answered by
posts on the blog sphere.The question has to be answered through various dimensions ranging from the
present political mindsets to religious biases to
political and economical injustices to racism to hate
crimes to the excuses for wars and the human demand for peace.Perhaps,understanding the essence of the
novel"War and Peace” by Leo Tolstoy may be a good
starting point.The second step may be understanding the real cause behind the lives and efforts of certain individuals has left remarkable effects, for
the better,on the lives of peoples numbering in the
millions.Such individuals in my personal list include
Mahatma Gandhi,Dwight Eisenhower,Albert Schweitzer
and Mother Teresa.Those individuals were motivated
by one thing they all had in common:Serving Humanity
Through Justice,Nonviolence,Sharing,Caring and Firm
Adherence to Peace by Respecting International Laws.
Of course,you may wish to have your own list.However,
in case you are convinced of this list,you can explore the lives and achievements of those towering
individuals of the 20th century.You can do so:Google
each name as I have just wrote it.Of course, it is
impossible to expect all human beings to do what they had done for humanity but the more human beings were/
are familiar with their achievements and the way they
thought and handled very difficult problems wisely
and peacefully,the more humanity may be in its way to
achieve harmony.I am receptive to other alternatives,
if they exist.

Answer to (3):Sorry,Shenon,I really have no answer to
=============
this question as long as the Right and Left insist on their own ideologies as the correct ones to follow.If
both sides cannot agree in meeting each other some where in the middle(compromise to achieve peace),
treadmill-of-going-no-where will continue.I do tilt
slightly to the Left because I have been convinced through the years that the Right is outrageously
rude and too trigger happy.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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Shenonymous's avatar

By Shenonymous, February 24, 2008 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

Been meaning to get to this sooner but flu viruses have a way of forcing humans slow down.  That doesn’t mean it hasn’t been on my mind, your attack of John Dewey, one of my heroes.  Men are men and do not ever live up the their idea of a god.  If some giant of a human like John Dewey had some failings, they are completely overshadowed by all of the good he has done.  That is a logic that does not apply to everyone.  I dare say, if you had a public education, however paltry you turned out, it would have been much less if it were not for the pragmatic mind and influence of John Dewey. 

Since Dewey’s comment was made long before the Montessori Method existed, to project what someone like the mental giant Dewey would or would not like is pretentious at best.  The obvious straw man fallacy.  As an educator myself the sun does not rise and set on the Montessori method.  The fact that there are a few luminaries who had the M method of education pales against the hundreds who didn’t. 

I could give you an almost endless bibliography of his achievements in education.  The other aspects of his life are his own and I care not a whit about it.  There is hardly a man that has ever lived that didn’t have some moral flaw.  And that is my opinion not based on any particular laboratory study and I don’t intend to prove it.  It is only important that out of an entire universe we have our own responsibility to select the best parts of what socially contributing men do and save our breath on the rest.

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By Shenonymous, February 22, 2008 at 4:03 pm Link to this comment

Then, Nabih, we mutually admire one another.  Of course the sin of Cain, if we want to call the sin of human manslaughter “Cain’s Sin” I can accommodate for that as a metaphor, and I would completely agree that the ugly side of human nature has not changed since the cave (another simile).  Whether is it for territory, economics, food, or just the sheer pleasure of having power, mankind has from its evolutionary ancestry had the brutal in their marrow.  I am studying now the roots of morality and whether community is innate or not.  The savage in humans seems so bizarre to modern contemporary minds that we blanch at it and that we have had thousands of years now to contemplate it out of our nature.  It takes thorough and precise contemplation before a behavior can be eradicated on the scale we are discussing.  I will be happy, or rather interested, to read the Glaspie reference this evening.  I quite agree with you in your description of the scheme of the US Government with respect to Iraq.  We have murdered hundreds of thousands of innocents.  I am disgusted.  It is the gravest travesty what we Americans have done there and we are all complicit whether we actively took part or even protested.  We are still here and enjoying our barbecue chickens from MalWart.  I am sickened as I do not know what I can do save protest in various ways and teach my students tolerance and the reality of those in power.  Some of them engage me in conversation and it has always been fruitful to a degree.  Changing minds is the only way to change the world in any permanent way.  With respect to Germany and the Treaty of Versailles we are still feeling the strain between German citizens and the rest of the West.  It is occasionally seen in attitude but on the whole, all the German citizens I see here in this country as visitors, seem to embrace the Americans and our life interests.  I do not know what those who are in Germany think or feel.  There is a travel journalist on PBS and now NPR who has presented tours in Germany and of course the pre-planned interviews always show huge smiles and welcomes to Americans.  The Germans during the war and afterward did suffer and I am not sure if they too by silent assent were not complicit in their own anguish.  It is all very complex, human relations.  But we must still be wary and vigilant “to be civil and civilized” is a phrase I often use.  We must listen and select as best we can the truth of what is said and act on our perceptions.

So now I shall ask you a question or two, Nabih.  Given the major event about to happen in this country, the change of its leader(s), what do you think will save Americans from their own hubris?  How shall we as conscious beings proceed to influence the world to become better human beings?  We are many, we are 300 million.  The world, as I have said in a corrected post, has over 6 and a half billion.  What can we do to avoid the treadmill-of-going-nowhere?

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By Nabih Ammari, February 22, 2008 at 8:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:More reflection needed… February 21

Shenonymous,

For the Bush senior’s war against Iraq,in 1991,and as
the “Fore-Runner” for the current war and quagmire in
Iraq,please Google the following:

April Glaspie-Saddam Hussein Conversation in 1990.

Miss Glaspie was the American Ambassador to Iraq in
1990.Please read the whole conversation to get a feeling of what was going on and reach your own conclusion.

As far as an addicted observer of the international
political scenes,especially the actions or inactions
of the U.S.towards other countries,I must say that
the imperial aggression for oil,or at least to
control its flow to the rest of the world,has not
ceased since Bush’s senior waged his war in the
middle of January of 1991.Between 1991 and 2003 when the Junior launched bis war more than 500,000 Iraqi
children had died because of lack medicines because
of the sanction.As far as I am concerned it was a
criminal act conducted for the sole purpose of forcing Iraq to hand its oil to the American oil
tycoons.Period.Please ,please do not tell me that the
human nature of Cain has changed.It has not.The only
thing that has changed is the tools by which people
annihilate one another.Of course,what has made the
situation worse was the fact that Saddam Hussein miscalculated miserably.Of course there were other
forces at play and pushed hard for war also.No need
to go through that at the moment since my interest in
this post is to meet your request for more reflection

The Treaty of Versailles was so harsh on the innocent German people because it had stripped Germany all of its possessions the consequence of which was a high
rate of inflation which eventually reached unbearable
levels: a typical German housewife had to fill a case
with German currency in order to be able to buy a
loaf of bread from a near-by bakery.Thus, the German
people were riped and ready for anybody who could get
them out of their economical and financial miseries.
Hitler and his Nazi thugs were legally elected and
through increment by increment and through fascist
shift followed by another and another and another etc
Hitler was able to cosolidate his political power and
and the rest had/has become history.Again,the greed of Adam/Eve and the selfishness and vindictiveness
of Cain had prevailed,in the individual who wrote
the treaty and in Hitler and his Nazi murderers.
To learn more about the treaty and to read the full text of the treaty,please Google:

The Treaty of Versailles.

Both of the above references will provide plenty of
information to help you reach your own conclusion.I
have spelled out very clearly mine.

Shenon,I have enjoyed reading your response;and as
always, I have tried to be accommodating to your
inquires as much as I possibly could.Have a nice day.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By Shenonymous, February 22, 2008 at 12:54 am Link to this comment

Ideas survive human actions.  Whatever was his character is irrelevant to the essence of the brilliance of Bertrand Russell’s ideas.  People needn’t be paragons of virtue for their knowledge and ideas to have extraordinary value and to grant humanity just that much more to fulfill the potential it means to be human.  We, ourselves, have the responsibility to pick out the best and leave the worst in whatever we encounter.  Aristotle once said, in his Ethics, the nature of man is made for truth.  It seems if this is even halfway the case, then we need to look for truth and nothing more.

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By Antichrist, February 21, 2008 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Bertrand Russell wrote numerous articles and numerous volumes of work and it is with much difficulty that I can come to the conclusion that two books acquired off the internet, one 109 pages and the other a compilation of lectures given over 30 years, has exposed the soul of one of the most acknowledged logicians of the twentieth century. Did I mention the Nobel Prize for literature he received in recognition of his varied and significant writings in which he champions humanitarian ideals and freedom of thought”?

Pointing these things out do not seem to me to lower myself to an indecent level of dignity and discussion and I must therefore, insist that condescension is not my goal.  It is hard to imagine everyone condescending to you, but facts have a way of doing that to one’s sensitivities.  To attack Bertrand with the knowledge you have of his lifetime of works and good deeds speaks for itself.  Bertrand did not walk on water, but he never said “believe in me or go to hell” and that moves him ahead of the mythological character in Bethlehem. 

So in ending my little defense of Bertrand, I might suggest attacking people you are more knowledgeable about and who warrant the slings and arrows of your wrath.  By the way, Bertrand did not ask me to defend him, nor would he, and he does not need some hack like myself doing such… I just thought I owed him this much.  Thank you Bertrand Russel…l

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By Paracelsus, February 21, 2008 at 6:12 pm Link to this comment

Let me remind you that I read both his books on the general theme of science and society. One was called The Scientific Outlook, and the other was called The Impact of Science . His hand waving does not convince me. Again disagreement with him seems to be interpreted as ignorance or just a surface skimming of his work on the internet. Please do not condescend to me. I had to buy both his books off of Amazon.com.

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By Paracelsus, February 21, 2008 at 4:41 pm Link to this comment

I feel uncomfortable in knowing that many of dystopic innovations Bertrand Russel wrote about in ‘31 and ‘52 have come to pass. I feel that his detached observations seem like a pose so as to provide him cover from criticisms of inhumanity. He seems overly enthusiastic in his expositions. Thus I do not sense any goodwill in the man.

Additionally, his idealistic goals seem to beg for a kindly fascism to impose the means to these goals.

One of these means is to give people some form of credits for their contribution to society or their maintain should they be too disabled to work. One limiting proviso is that the recipients could never hoard their credits in order to change social class. If the credits are unspent then the government claims them back.

A second of these means is to have speech codes that sanctioned people for expressing nationalistic or tribal praises or tributes. Pericles’ funeral oration could even be banned.

Thirdly, to achieve a birh rate that controls population, this utopia would have to use some sort of coercive means.

I do not want Russell’s passion’s to force me to live up to his ideals; this would be a tyranny of good intentions. A key component of classical liberalism is that the people as inidividuals know best what serves their interests. I know it is easy to say that the people do not inspire much confidence. I would say get the fluoride out of the water, and get the FDA out of the business of protecting monopoly food processors, for the masses have been dumb down by poisonous food and water. I am reminded of what the Archbishop of Quebec once said during the progressive era, “Temperance is praiseworthy, but prohibition is tyranny.”

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By Shenonymous, February 21, 2008 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment

If you want to say that after Exodus that the Bible is a history book, then I can hang with that.  No problemmo.

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By Maani, February 21, 2008 at 2:50 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous:

“A literal reading of the bible provides a fantastical belief philosophy based on mythologies the intention of which was to provide a conventional system for social order.”

I am hoping that what you MEANT to say was, “A literal reading of some portions of the bible…”  Because once we get past the obvious myths of the creation, Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel et al (i.e., primarily the first half of Genesis), what we have is largely a geneology and history of the Israelites (i.e., Jews).  And once we pass Exodus, the overwhelming majority of the remainder of the OT is a combination of political/military history; the laws, rules, rituals, etc. of the Israelites; and the prophets.

Peace.

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By Shenonymous, February 21, 2008 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

I enjoyed your post here Nabih.  This is my response:
A literal reading of the bible provides a fantastical belief philosophy based on mythologies the intention of which was to provide a conventional system for social order.  The lure of storytelling is compelling and easily passed from person to person and generation to generation.  Regardless of the message and the artfulness with which the stories are told, they must be seen for what they are.  If it is supposed the biblical stories are revelations from a supernatural being, God, then many legitimate implications and questions follow if blind faith is removed.  Blind faith is irrational and there is no argument to mediate it.  Whether there is substantial reason or not to do so, one may believe what one chooses, at least in this country.  Let’s take the story of Cain and Abel as the first act of war.  Given the evidence of archaeology and anthropology, we have much evidence that humans engaged in war over territory and economic factors: food and water mainly over a million years ago.  The fact that the bible was written according to the Hebrew school, Hanefesh, about 3,313 years ago testifies to another fact that it isn’t the end all information about mankind.  Written evidence is not always verifiable.  But this isn’t really the point, is it?  The point I believe you are making, Nabih, is one about human struggle and how ancient it is in the hearts of man.  To step back to your first point, the disobedience to god by humans.  Let’s take a look at that god who would deviously trick his newly made humans by giving them a brain that could even think of disobeying.  What kind of a god would that be?  Not one I’d be interested in paying fealty to.  What kind of a god insists on adulation and devotion who puts mankind into a setting where a devil in the disguise of a snake, poor snakes for the rest of eternity, could even tempt these newly fashioned humans?  Then because God made mankind as weak, supposedly in His own image, mankind submits to the temptations whereupon they are banished from the safety of Eden.  It defies all reason, Nabih.  However, the point again, is human greed, I do believe.  However, these stories have now been around for over 3,000 years and it seems they haven’t done much good, or have they?  I would guess that most humans interactions control their greed and need for war otherwise it would be total chaos and humans would not have advanced thus far in inventions and technology which for the most part requires cooperation.  People would not be able to live in luxury in Malibu or Acapulco or the French Riviera or wherever the rich and famous live without some cooperation especially from the poor.

Your points 3 and 4 seem to be correct even if not enough facts are accompanying them.  References would be helpful (even though I can find my own references, it would show that you have your own). 

Your summation that nothing has basically changed over the millennia for mankind in that there is still war and still greed which is most likely the basis for all war is not quite true.  I believe humans are beginning to wake up to their defects of social character.  It is just that it is a big world and many minds to work on.  To rely on “the religious” to correct the world is naïve in my mind.  They may provide a braking effect but it will take stronger willed people, the educators and enlightened politicians as you have noted, to do it.  It seems to be a natural disposition for mankind to have both greed and war and altruism and peacemakers, the two factions you allude to and learning to control the devastating characteristics is the prize if mankind is to progress.

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By AntiChrist, February 18, 2008 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment
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There is only one problem with capturing a paragraph from online - It could lead to a factually incorrect understanding of what is being discussed.  Russell says there are many negative aspects of scientific innovation.  He was conjecturing what might happen when governments, unchecked, might inspire a form of unwisdom from which disastrous consequences may result.  p. 12

He is optimistic to some degree if the world would insure that prosperity is dispersed, power is diffused, birth rates do not become too high and war is abolished…and that society will ultimately choose the path of Reason rather than the alternative of Death.

I feel as comfortable with this train of thought as I do with the life of a gentle soul, articulated in love and peace and a philosophy not to scare the children.  That was and is Bertrand Russell. 

In the opening of his autobiography he wrote; “Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life, the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair. Thank you Bertrand Russell…

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By Nabih Ammari, February 17, 2008 at 10:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Peace and the world population February 13

Shenonymous,

As I promised,please consider this post as a continuation to my earlier post on the same topic.

PRESENT HUMAN CONDITIONS:
=========================
For the sake of reaching a reasonable comprehension
of why the humankind has failed to achieve peace,I
am going to suppose the impossible:

Suppose that all the wealth of the world is collected
and distributed equally among the six billions of
world population,given every human being an equal
chance to start all over to achieve his/her dream in
life.Most likely,after a year or two,humanity may end
up having very wealthy people and very poor people.
The question is Why? It seems to me that the reason
or cause of this is due to the make-up of the human
nature which may be good or bad.I am not sure whether
or not there is such a thing as neutral human nature.
At any rate, the good works hard to make money to
live.The bad thinks hard and invents crooked ways to
snatch the money earned by the good.To put it simply,
that is the fundamental cause which have lead to the
human abstract conditions of poverty,distitutions
and homelessness.In short,it is due to the eternal
struggle between good and bad of the human natures.

ECHOES FROM THE PAST:
=====================
(1)The First Human Sin:According to Genesis in the
Old Testament,God kicked out Adam and Eve from heaven
or paradise because they disobeyed and violated His
instructions.Here,one may ask:why did they disobey
God,their Creator? The real reason or cause is human
insatiable greed:They wanted to be like God or at
least possess His Knowledge.In a sense,they wanted to
compete with their Creator.
(2)The First Act Of War In The Recorded Human History
Once again,The Old Testament tells us that Cain had
murdered his own brother,Abel,because God rejected
Cain’s offering meanwhile accepted Abel’s offering.
One may consider this as oversimplification for this
first act war in the recorded human history.It seems
to me that the real cause was/is the eternal human
struggle between good and bad:Abel’s offering was done with love and generosity from his heart to his
God,while Cain’s offering was based on calculated
profits and losses.In short,it was not sincerely
offered to God,his Creator.What does all this mean?
The answer may be found in human selfishness which
does exist in every human being with varying degrees.
Cain’s degree of selfishness was extremely high.Its
hight might have competed with the hight of “Mount-
-Everest”,while Abel’s degree of selfishness was so low,perhaps as low as the great depression of the
“Dead Sea”.
(3)The Bush Senior’s Gulf War of 1991:This war has been the for-runner for the current war in Iraq.The
human greed for oil,money,power and political
predominance over others was the real cause for both
wars,not invasion of Kuwait for the Bush senior’s
war; and not weapon of mass destruction for Bush
junior’s war,the current war in Iraq.
(4)The Treaty Of Versailles: This treaty was the real
reason/cause for the ascension of Adolf Hitler and
eventually lead to the Second World War.The people
who wrote and imposed this treaty on Germany after
Germany lost the First World War were so greedy and
vindictive and selfish Like Cain in the old Testament

Based on the foregoing,it seems that nothing has
basically changed since the first sin of Adam/Eve
and the first act of war committed by Cain of the
Old Testament.The human nature and the eternal war
between good and bad continue unabated in degree or
intensity.What is the solution? I have no solution except to suggest it will be wise for the religious,
social and educational leaders to maintain some kind
of dialogues across political boundaries through the
United Nations to tame the human greed,selfishness
and desire to dominate others through wars.Justice
Through Dialogues among peoples to peoples may do it.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By Paracelsus, February 16, 2008 at 5:09 am Link to this comment

Why do you say that?

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By Paracelsus, February 16, 2008 at 5:08 am Link to this comment

“There is always a danger that increased personal independence will decrease the social capacity of an individual…. It often makes an individual so insensitive in his relations to others as to develop an illusion of being really able to stand and act alone—an unnamed form of insanity which is responsible for a large part of the remedial suffering of the world.”

John Dewey,  Democracy and Education (The Macmillan Company, 1916), chapter 4. Referenced by Dennis Laurence Cuddy, Ph.D., in Chronology of Education With Quotable Quotes.


Dewey objected to Montessori’s use of phonics in teaching reading (or rather writing and reading;  the Montessori Method teaches writing before reading, believe it or not).  Instead he advocated look-say, sometimes called whole-word, where written words are not regarded as made up of sounds, but rather as single pictographs, each of which must be memorized, like chinese.

See the book Why Johnny Can’t Read (1955, 1986) and its sequel Why Johnny Still Can’t Read (1981), by Rudolph Flesch, for an answer to Dewey’s objection to phonics.

Dewey once wrote:

  “The mere absorbing of facts and truths is so exclusively individual an affair that it tends very naturally to pass into selfishness.  There is no obvious social motive for the acquirement of mere learning, there is no clear social gain in success thereat.” (The School and Society, 1899)

These famous lines were written before the Montessori Method existed, but you can see how someone believing them — and believing that the child should be subordinated to the group — would not like Montessori.  These words of Dewey’s written a century ago are the ultimate cause of the dumbing down of America.

The Montessori Method had a very promising start in the U.S. of the 1910’s.  All the “ladies” magazines featured it, Montessori nursery schools sprang up over the northeast, and some famous people such as Thomas Edison endorsed it.

John Dewey, his student William Heard Killpatrick, and other advocates of “progressive” education, fought this Montessori movement.  Eventually the writings of these influential professionals had the desired effect, helped by the fact that there were no articulate defenders of Montessori in the U.S. except for the layman Dorothy Canfield Fischer.  By the late 1920s there were very few Montessori schools in America, and that state of affairs continued for a generation.

The progressive educationists delayed the U.S. development of the Montessori Method by almost forty years.

Montessori enjoyed a resurgence in the early 1960s — in large part from a backlash against “look-say” and “group adaption” — and it’s now going strong.


http://dewey.area501.net/TheMontessoriMethod.htm

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By Paracelsus, February 16, 2008 at 4:17 am Link to this comment

Please don’t condescend to me. I am very familiar with the man’s efforts to stop the nuclear arms race as well as the War Crimes Tribunal(The Vietnam War) without portfolio. Every time I bring up a contary opinoion on this board, there is always someone trying to educate my “benighted” soul.

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By Paracelsus, February 16, 2008 at 4:12 am Link to this comment

“I find the coloured people friendly and nice. They seem to have a dog’s liking for the white man—the same kind of trust and ungrudging sense of inferiority. I don’t feel any recoil from them.”—Bertrand Russell

“The Life of Bertrand Russell” by Roland Clarke Page 229

Please don’t use any guilt by association. I have read two books by Bertrand Russell, and I am familiar with his biography.

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By Paracelsus, February 16, 2008 at 3:56 am Link to this comment

Humanity is cooperation.”—Bertrand Russell

Somehow I feel uncomfortable with Russell’s idea of cooperation.

*- Bertrand Russell, “The Impact of Science on Society”, 1953, pg 49-50*
“In like manner, the scientific rulers will provide one kind of education
for ordinary men and women, and another for those who are to become holders
of scientific power. Ordinary men and women will be expected to be docile,
industrious, punctual, thoughtless, and contented. Of these qualities,
probably contentment will be considered the most important. In order to
produce it, all the researches of psycho-analysis, behaviourism, and
biochemistry will be brought into play…. All the boys and girls will learn
from an early age to be what is called ‘co-operative,’ i.e., to do exactly
what everybody is doing. Initiative will be discouraged in these children,
and insubordination, without being punished, will be scientifically trained
out of them.”

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By Paracelsus, February 16, 2008 at 3:48 am Link to this comment

“Diet, injections, and injunctions will combine, from a very early age, to
produce the sort of character and the sort of beliefs that the authorities
consider desirable, and any serious criticism of the powers that be will
become psychologically impossible.”

From The Scientific Outlook by Bertrand Russell.

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By Paracelsus, February 16, 2008 at 3:43 am Link to this comment

I am not very familiar the Schiller Institute or LaRouche, but if they can cite Bertrand Russell’s own words in a footnote, then they have him dead to rights.

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By Paracelsus, February 16, 2008 at 3:40 am Link to this comment

http://groups.google.com/group/teachAndLearnOnline/browse_thread/thread/aded81878e829b96


“On those rare occasions, when a boy or girl who has passed the age at which
it is usual to determine social status shows such marked ability as to seem
the intellectual equal of the rulers, a difficult situation will arise,
requiring serious consideration. If the youth is content to abandon his
previous associates and to throw in his lot whole-heartedly with the rulers,
he may, after suitable tests, be promoted, but if he shows any regrettable
solidarity with his previous associates, the rulers will reluctantly
conclude that there is nothing to be done with him except to send him to the
lethal chamber before his ill-disciplined intelligence has had time to
spread revolt. This will be a painful duty to the rulers, but I think they
will not shrink from performing it.”
*- Bertrand Russell, “The Scientific Outlook”, 1931*

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By Michael Shaw, February 15, 2008 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

Every human being deserves food shelter and clothing, the bare necessities in life. Let’s throw in universal health care too for the hell of it.

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By Maani, February 15, 2008 at 3:45 pm Link to this comment

Nabih:

Thank you for your kind words.  And as if we needed any more proof that this problem is out of control, consider this article gtom The New York Times on 2/15:

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/15/us/15homeless.html?adxnnlx=1203115506-yaYoO59 8pTStsP1gZrBJQ&pagewanted=print

Peace.

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By Shenonymous, February 15, 2008 at 3:38 pm Link to this comment

Thank you Maani.  One good thing is better than none.  I appreciate your info on the LaRouche impeachment effort.  Three years of ineffectual posturing is good I suppose.  With all the money they have you’d think they could buy a couple if not more politicians since they are usually up for sale.  I think this impeachment exhortation has been a complete farce from impotent Democrats.  I can only hope the next administration will correct much as possible the wrongs desecrated against America as the Bush years have committed.  Were they to do that, I believe they could finesse their way into a second term.

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By Maani, February 15, 2008 at 11:14 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous:

“There is nothing his group of fanatics could say that has any value whatsoever to an ethnically homogenous society such as is America.”

Actually, there is ONE thing.  The LaRouche people have been calling for the impeachment of Bush and Cheney longer than anyone else: before Kucinich, before Paul, before anyone.  In NYC, they have had a table on the street to collect signiature and give out literature on this every single day for at least three years, if not more.

I certainly don’t support LaRouche or his people, or 99% of what they stand for.  But on this single issue, they have been at the forefront for longer than anyone else.

Peace.

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By Conservative Yankee, February 15, 2008 at 7:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

well another thread shot-to-hell.

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By Shenonymous, February 15, 2008 at 6:35 am Link to this comment

Paracelsus, you are referred to Russell’s Tribunal, which he and Jean-Paul Sartre and many others among whom was James Baldwin, notable African American novelist and essayist, protested the investigated and evaluated American foreign policy and military intervention in Vietnam. This is just an iota of the major good that Russell did.  If you were to refer me to a Schiller Institute and LaRouche article, I would say it is a worthless piece of crap as LaRouche is about as far a right wingnut as they can get.  There is nothing his group of fanatics could say that has any value whatsoever to an ethnically homogenous society such as is America.

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By Shenonymous, February 15, 2008 at 6:09 am Link to this comment

For someone who has worked intensely and helped with all of his resources, Mike Mid-City has for the last six years dedicated his life to helping the poor and homeless in San Diego.  He is one of those rare individuals who is the epitome of the concept of Christian and has seen the depths of despair among those less fortunate, most of which did not choose to live as homeless but whose circumstances, or misfortune, put them in that predicament.  He has done something about it.  There must be more that Americans as a society can do to put an end to our dispassion and end condoning the desolation of so many human beings.  We need a political leader who can and will assume this blight on our society as a real problem and help these ruined lives, many of which are children who have the same right to the wealth, welfare, and pursuit of happiness as any other citizen and the right to a decent life.

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By Nabih Ammari, February 14, 2008 at 11:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Re February 14

Dear Minister Maani,

By the time I finished reading your post,I found tears
in my eyes.I have loved those tears since they have
assured me that I am still a human being,in spite of
resentment engraved in some corners of his heart against all the polluted minds and contaminated spirits which have engulfed this chaotic world to
a point of feeling of hopelessness.They also have
assured me that I am not all alone.I do thank you.

Yours very truly,indeed,
Nabih Ammari

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By Maani, February 14, 2008 at 10:23 pm Link to this comment

Nabih:

As a minister whose primary ministry is outreach to and advocacy for the homeless, I thank you for your sensitive and passionate words in this regard.  I strongly agree with your belief that homelessness is an insult - to us all.  Even if we were NOT the wealthiest nation in the world, even if we did NOT have so much available land, even if we did NOT have buildings in our cities which stand empty when they could be quickly and cheaply retrofitted for the homeless and poor - even if ALL of these things were not true, there would STILL be no excuse for us to tolerate homelessness, or to permit fellow human beings to live in boxes, in filth, without food, clothing, shelter, medicine, etc.

Many people believe that homelessness is caused primarily by alcoholism, drug addiction, and other personal failings.  Quite the opposite is the case.  Although a small percentage of homelessness IS caused by such failings, it is far more often the case that people become alcoholic or drug addicted AS THE RESULT of homelessness.  Most homelessness is caused by financial failure, catastrophes (e.g., being burned out of an apartment by fire, and not having the resources to get back on one’s feet), unconscionable releases of mentally and emotionally challenged persons from institutions without future support, and other circumstances that are out of the control of the person who becomes homeless.  And in most cases, these people do not have family or friends to help them or, worse, are rejected by those family members or friends.

As well, when many (perhaps most) people think of a homeless person (at least here in NYC), they think of an older black man who is alcoholic or drug addicted.  And this incorrect racial stereotype is (sadly) tacitly or overtly supported by the media.  However, the average homeless person (in NYC) is either white or hispanic, between 30 and 45, and neither alcoholic nor on drugs.  And nationally, there are more homeless white people than any other demographic - about half of them with children.

Thus, one of the first things we need to do to get people to think about - and act on - homelessness is to dispel the stereotypes and misconceptions, and to see the homeless as HUMAN BEINGS, with hopes, fears, dreams, needs.  To get people to realize that ANY OF US could be homeless, given a series of circumstances beyond our control.  And if not US, then someone we know: a relative, friend, colleague.

Finally, it is way beyond time that housing became a RIGHT in this country, as much as freedom of speech or the right to a trial by a jury of one’s peers.  It is time for an amendment to the Constitution requiring housing for every individual.

Sorry for the rambling.  But your words simply struck very close to home for me.

Bless you.

Peace.

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By Paracelsus, February 14, 2008 at 10:17 pm Link to this comment

Somehow I cannot fathom calling Bertrand Russell benevalent. Look up something called the lethal chamber. Also look into Russell’s views of black people.

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By Shenonymous, February 14, 2008 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Nabih, you do not disappoint me in the least.  My assessment of you as a contributor on these forums is as a “generous” man.  You are polite and respectful regardless of what is said, whether it is contemptuous or complimentary.  If you are peaceful or not in your heart is a matter that is private to you.  The degree to which you have resentments is the degree to which you are disappointed in your fellow man. 

The list you gave is comparable to the resentments I have about this world and I believe Mr. Chalmers also has similar views from the posts he has made.  But I of course do not know what he thinks.  I would prefer to not have enmity between his mind and mine but as I noted I am reactive to the comments that have been made by him about my character and I have reacted in kind and to an even worse degree often with the intention to wound what emerged as an arch enemy of a sort. I cannot help what Mr. Chalmers thinks or feels.  In all of the forums in which I have participated I have never suffered anything near to the kind of destructive language Mr. Chalmers has used with regard to me and he has used it against cyrena as well.  I do not share your opinion of Mr. Chalmers and I am sorry I find it difficult to be as generous as you regarding his prowess particularly when Mr. Chalmers has no wish to end the rude, sarcastic invectives he uses.  My mother always taught me that it takes two to tango.  It is an expression meaning it takes the two involved to make peace.  But peace is only possible if it is desired.  I have no wish to continue the hostilities.  I noted in my last post to you that I have ended any further remarks in reaction to Mr. Chalmers.  I only even mention his name here in response to your comments.  This will be the last that I do so.  I am only too happy to fulfill the favor you asked but I do not see it as your needing a favor.  It is a matter of being civil and civilized. 

For each of your points 1, 2, and 3 of the impediments to world peace, I completely agree.  Malevolent might will never lead to peace; the social and economic chaos you mentioned inexorably will destroy much of society, but once that destruction has happened, I believe those who have survived will regenerate a new world.  Since history repeats itself, it is difficult to say whether the Nugens (new generation) will have learned from the excesses of this present world.  We can only hope; I agree with you about the homeless of the world. Besides the countless homeless in the western cultures, as they are found in many European countries besides America, there are hundreds of thousands of those without homes in Africa.  These people’s destitution needs addressed as well instead of keeping the status quo. 

Your time constraints are most understandable and you have my compassion and so does your wife.  Some of us can understand because we have had similar experiences with loved ones. 

Thank you, sincerely
Shenonymous

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By Nabih Ammari, February 14, 2008 at 12:06 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To:Douglas Chalmers,

Douglas,

I can refrain from posting here,if that what you really wanted.No problem whatsoever.I need not post anywhere.
But I must tell you that I will continue making a point in
reading your posts because I like to read them.Whether you are right or wrong that is beside what I am trying to convey,here,to you.

If you thought that I took Shenon’s side,I should
tell you that you were wrong.I took the side of
common sense.No side was taken-at least, that what
had appeared to me.

In spite of your obvious outrage,which I know that deep deep in your heart of heart you really have not meant to be so,I still think that you are a hell of
good man.And if I have not believed so and if I do not
hold you in high esteem as I do intelligent others,
I would not have bothered addressing this post to you.It is easy,Douglas,to walk away from all of this
which I really need not in my old age.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari

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By Nabih Ammari, February 13, 2008 at 11:04 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Peace and world population February 13

Shenonymous,

I may disappoint you,here,Shenon,to tell you that I am
not as peaceful individual as I might have sound.I must
be honest with self first and with you and every one
else if I wish to contribute anything of value in this particular communication with you.And if my past
posts have given the impression that I am a peaceful
individual,it was not intentional,at all.I say this because I know that there is resentment inside me
against the abstract of the human conditions such as destitution,poverty,hatred,bigotry,racism, greed,and
profound selfishness.Just to make a long story short
I feel I must state that:

(1)A peaceful world cannot be achieved as long as
a strategy dictated by the end justifies the means
through Might makes Right.No Way.

(2)The greatness of a nation(any nation) should be
measured by how far that nation cares for the poor
and more importantly the poorest of the poor.If this
is not addressed justly and objectively,there will be
no peace in this world and the increasing social and
economic entropies will eventually overwhelm all of
us.

(3)The existence of homeless people is an insult to
me as a human being and as a citizen.How long and how
many can people live under bridges and shacks before an ominous fermentation starts developing for equally
ominous Anti-thesis everywhere.Only fools may dare
to find excuses or dare to marginalize or condone the
existence of such unbelievable phenomena of world wide human destitution.Unless this phenomenon is
addressed and confronted squarely and relentlessly,
there will be no peace in this miserable world.

Shenon,these off-the-cuff only three reasons that came to mind,which they may prove impediments for
the world to achieve peace.

If my health allows and time permits,I shall attempt
to provide you with further insight based on what I
know happening now as echoes or rather mirrors or
reflections of the past,which lead only to wars/chaos

I regret the delay in answering your request.I do, almost daily, errands for my wife since she is semi-
disable.Sometimes I have to drive her to a nearby
hospital and wait for hours before her physicians release her.However,I do considerable amount of reading while waiting there.

Will you do me a favor?? Let it come from your side:
just ignore Douglas Chalmers negative comments about
you.Just be the wiser one.Both of you,as far as I am
concerned, are extremely intelligent people and no
need to this kind of mutually degrading squabble.
Please just take it easy with him.Thank you.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By Shenonymous, February 13, 2008 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment

Nabih, you are truly a generous man, and I admire you.  I have a sanguine personality and often resort to lex talionis if I feel violated.  Mr. Chalmers has repeatedly insulted me not only here but on other forums with the most vile language and I have responded quite ruthlessly myself, but only in defense of his truly useless and tasteless expressions, that, yes, seems to have electronic emphaseyma.  I am sorry but I feel I have also offended you, even though you have not said so, by participating in this petty debate.  As proof of my self-reproach for my part in this miserable squabble, I shall stop and desist and thank you for your sobering comments.  I sometimes let my hot-blooded nature take command and interfere with the more rational and mentally enriching encounters I much more appreciate.  I shall not address any further comments either here or anywhere else to Mr. Chalmers, whether or not he continues to make references to my person in any way.  He has just attained a nonentity status in my spheres of interest.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 13, 2008 at 10:04 pm Link to this comment

By Nabih Ammari, February 13: “And please cut down on your sarcasm and eliminate the “hhah” and “ahh”....”

Without you, reading and posting here would be much better, Nabih Ammari. You used to make intelligently written posts but lately, you have been sucked into Shenonymous’ slimy game that she plays with hapless males.

I don’t take dictation and don’t say you weren’t already warned, my friend. Better just go chew on your Valentine’s rose and forget about the rest, uhh…......

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 13, 2008 at 9:41 pm Link to this comment

By Shenonymous, February 13: “...snarling shithead lack of imagination again…”

You have no originality, Shenonymous, probably because you have so much detritus in your head from the dope you are addicted to. Yes, you and cyrena are a pair. Back to the cult of the Texan chupacabra…....

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By Shenonymous, February 13, 2008 at 9:30 pm Link to this comment

You plagiarized me, Douglas.  You have no originality, probably because you have so much detritus in your head and are showing your snarling shithead lack of imagination again Douglas.  You are kind of schizoid as on rare occasion you are lucid and actually say something of value.  But more often than not you are the most degenerate contemptible creep on the Internet.  As a self-hating pervert, you seek to be berated.  cyrena, whom I have appreciated for many months now, and I can easily accommodate you and have. I don’t mind sharing the spotlight with her.  I’d be in excellent company.

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By Nabih Ammari, February 13, 2008 at 8:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:World population February 13

Douglas Chalmers,

You usually post intelligently written posts.That is
why I look for them and make a point in reading them
and sometimes I do learn from them,and hence I do thank
you for that privilege.However, allow an old man to tell you that you do goof once in a while,especially
when you allow your passion overwhelm your remarkable
intelligence and broad knowledge which I highly admire.This bring to call your attention that it was
very obvious to me that you were waiting for Shenon
to commit an error, however small, to corner her for
a reason or reasons known only to Douglas Chalmers.
Sure,there is a huge difference between four billions
and six billions.Of course,your six billions are the
correct statistics.But the statistics whether or not
were erroneous or correct have seemed to me secondary
compared to what Shenonymous was trying to convey to the readers of her post as how to achieve a peaceful
world.In fact,it was very very secondary.

I do hope that you will take the above constructive
and very mild criticism in stride, from a person who
has no ill feeling towards you or towards any other
reasonable human-being.And please cut down on your
sarcasm and eliminate the “hhah” and “ahh”.Without
them,your posts read much much better.Will you do so,
my dear Douglas Chalmers?,and let me enjoy reading
your posts even more.Thank you.

Please take it easy and have a nice day or a nice
evening,depending in your time zone.
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 13, 2008 at 7:48 pm Link to this comment

By Shenonymous, February 13: “I’d find your asshole much too crowded with your own head in the way…. as quibble does…”

You just ain’t got no class Shenonymous - and you’re starting to sound like cyrena.  You need kissing?  No one really wonders why http://www.theage.com.au/ffximage/2008/02/13/sorry9_gallery__600x380.jpg

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By Shenonymous, February 13, 2008 at 5:44 pm Link to this comment

You just ain’t got no class Douglas, I’d find your asshole much too crowded with your own head in the way.  Quibble is as quibble does.  You needing kisses Douglas?  No one really wonders why?

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 13, 2008 at 5:36 pm Link to this comment

By Shenonymous, February 13: ”...why don’t you crawl up your own ass and see if you can find yourself there…”

If you know where to find me then, crawl up there yourself and give me a nice kiss for Valentine’s Day, ha ha. It will change you slightly to be nice, Shenonymous.  Shall we quibble?

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By Shenonymous, February 13, 2008 at 5:14 pm Link to this comment

We have already made a correction and apology.  See above at Shenonymous, February 13 at 8:34 am and check with the US Census Bureau, The world population is as noted above 6,650,335,519 at Wed. 10:24 a.m.  Now by this time 6:10pm CDST it may have changed slightly.  Shall we quibble?

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By Inherit The Wind, February 13, 2008 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Or, as Dirty Harry put it even MORE succinctly:

“A man’s got to know his limitations.”

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By Inherit The Wind, February 13, 2008 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

Zeitgeist babbles:
” Gnothi Seauton (Know thy Self) – It was the High Science of the Gnostics, who discovered it within the geometry of the mystical Qabalah; later (1930’s) brought into a more contemporary focus – comprehensible to the western thinking faculties - by CJ Jung, Regardie, Crowley and others, who found its roots, deep within Egypt.”

This is utter gibberish.  Gnostics didn’t have High Science—because there is no such thing as “High Science”.  There is science, and there is non-science.  Science is science and some mystic babbler mis-using the term doesn’t make it science.

“Mechanistic science simply allows no room for any such experience beyond what the outward sensory organs perceive, utilized to measure energy events in 3D space – birth and death – geared to the mechanistic sensory organs. To this frame of thought, the body is a simple combustion engine, period! Therefore, we are presented with an incomplete image of ourselves which, subsequently has boxed the western thinking processes into a rigid, materialistic cage; psychologically speaking, it is the ego which enjoys the cage – the material world – metaphorically, keeping the blinders pulled shut.”

That’s because we live in the real world.  We have only our senses to allow us to perceive things.  By what method can you “perceive” anything else?  Our brain receives its data from our senses.  Since we already understand the universe in terms of forces and how they clump together to form matter, which force is used to “communicate” with you?  Your brain is an electro-chemical organ, controlled by predictable and definable processes.

In other words, any “perception” that doesn’t come from your 6 senses (including balance) is simply an HALLUCINATION!  Your brain made it up, either trying to make sense of garbled sensory messages or from some other cause.

Migraine sufferers easily recognize in Moses’ “Burning Bush that is not consumed” a migraineur’s aura manifesting itself as apparent flashing lights.

“It is a high science and it’s certainly not myopic. Yes, it does utilize numbers and symbols, but not from within the superficial aspect that you perceive and it can ONLY be approached with a pure heart. In other words, it is not a pool for which the curiosity seeker will be allowed to dip his ego into and expect to survive.

Don’t take my word for it, find your master, and when you do, no one will be able to pull your strings.

Peace – Gnothi Seauton “

It’s not high science.  It’s just New Age gobbledygook.

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By Shenonymous, February 13, 2008 at 9:34 am Link to this comment

Sorry, but I went to: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_people_live_on_earth
which gave this figure – about 4 billion, or 4,000,000,000 The rewards of being too much in a hurry to get on with life. I have a job, do you?

I should have gone to the Census Bureau this a.m.
U. S. Census Bureau World 6,650,335,519 at Wed. 10:24 a.m.

You are right, Douglas Chalmers And while you are at it, why don’t you crawl up your own ass and see if you can find yourself there? I think that is your normal place of residence.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 13, 2008 at 8:34 am Link to this comment

By Shenonymous, February 13: “Peace and 4 billion people… There are 4 billion people who populate this world today…

Oh groan, Shenonymous, your “self-reflecting and being in the (monthly) mental state” of ??? equates to a sudden shortage of 2,650,326,765 people.

Is that what GWOT has achieved? Even the Neocons still only think in millions - I hope, uhh. And you can’t get Nabih Ammari to crawl up your ass on this one…....

But perhaps the most dubious award goes to the US Census Bureau’s website which shows a huge 303 million for the USA over a very small 6+ billion population for the world.

Now, that IS balance???..... more like global domination as it really is!!! http://www.census.gov/main/www/popclock.html

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By Conservative Yankee, February 13, 2008 at 7:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Actually, there are 6.5 billion people, 1.5 Billion in China, and 1.1 Billion in India alone.

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By Shenonymous, February 13, 2008 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

Peace and 4 billion people

There are 4 billion people who populate this world today.

Imagine 4 billion people self-reflecting and being in the mental state of “knowing themselves.”  If we were absolute replicas of one model, would there never be the problem of war?  The problem is that when we express our wishes for peace, which is really an abstract notion, we have a bit of amnesia about how complex the world is.  It isn’t so much a matter of each and every member of humankind learning to admit to their excesses and petty needs, (which is what I assume Maani means by the psychological denial), it is precisely a matter of each and every member of the 4 billion having the same degree of morals and values of material existence. 

It isn’t so much that the ordinary of the 4 billion exercise introspection, most of them have a hard enough time even understanding what that word might mean, it is to have those who desire wealth and power over others to become introspective and moral and altruistic.  The “individuals” Maani speaks of are the ones that make it difficult if not impossible to do this.  How do we identify each and every one of these degenerates?  For you would have to root out each and every one.

How shall we go about creating a world of 4 billion who are introspective, moral, peaceful?  How shall we begin?  You say, begin with ‘yourself.” All well and good and commendable.  But what about the other 3,999,999,999?  One of the most self-reflective, peaceful individuals that visits this forum is Nabih Ammari.  What do you say, Nabih?

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By Maani, February 12, 2008 at 11:40 pm Link to this comment

MMC:

Alot of the reason we do not have peace on earth has less to do with eliminating war than it has to do with each person finding the “peace” in themselves - whether through a faith or simply via deep, honest and humble self-reflection.  If there were not so many demands on one’s time, so many distractions, so many “temptations,” and so much “denial” (in the psychological sense) in the world, then individuals might actually be able to take the time necessary to do this kind of introspection, and find the peace within themselves.  If they were able to do that, it would almost necessarily follow that they would “live” that peace, and thus create peace around them - for their households, for their communities, and so on outward.

Yes, we would still have to work on eliminating “war” and working toward the kind of peace that Jesus and Gandhi (and King, Lennon and others) sought to teach and live.  But “living” peace starts with the individual.  Sadly, the world and society is set up in such a way as to make it as difficult as possible for each person to do this.

Peace.

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By Michael Shaw, February 12, 2008 at 8:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

....18 senate democrats sided with the telecoms and the Bush administration in taking the telecoms off the hook for illegally spying on us. See what your rep did:
http://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=110&session=2&vote=00015

Obama did the right thing as did Reid and Boxer. Feinstein as usual sided with the telecoms and Hillary was a no show in this important vote.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 12, 2008 at 8:00 pm Link to this comment

And Jack London was a complete and total racist.  He described Jack Johnson as a “nigger” and wanted to see him beat.

You can make a better case for London’s racism than you can for Mencken’s anti-Semitism.

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By Douglas Chalmers, February 12, 2008 at 4:19 pm Link to this comment

By Mike Mid-City, February 12: “Now if we could work on the peace on earth thingie…”

I don’t know if T’Dig will run another blog on “The Apology” delivered today by the Australian prime minister, Kevin Rudd, to a parliament with the galleries filled with native Australains and 1,000’s of people listeneing outside…...

I watched it live and it was certainly a “peace on earth thingie”, MMC. As dull and dreary as the boring suits were, it took the better aprt of an hour and, after the leader of the opposition replied at length, the two of them and the woman minister for indigenous affairs walked up to the people in the gallery and shook hand and embraced many of them. Video First Cut: Rudd delivers apology http://www.abc.net.au/reslib/200802/r223417_882357.asx

As Shenonymous said, now is the time for everyone to come to “know thyself”..... The sorry road to unity - A member of the Stolen Generations speaks out http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,23206140-2,00.html and click on “more videos”.

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By Shenonymous, February 12, 2008 at 3:03 pm Link to this comment

And before the Gnostics, zeitgeist, was the Socratic edict to Know Thyself, reference all of Plato.

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By amunaor, February 12, 2008 at 12:10 pm Link to this comment

Your answer is:

*Michael Shaw ><we are born with those limitations>

Born, Michael not bound.

*Michael Shaw ><One might ask you the same question. Is your carcass not in the same>

Second verse, same as the first: Born, Michael not bound.

Do not let the shadows cloud your thinking. If you still seek a master, perhaps it is because you have not recognized him in yourself; it is the real you. Peering through a looking glass, or as Shenonymous so comically stated, “pass the matches please”, will not illuminate him. Having met him, no self-aggrandizing, human hierarchy, nipping at ones heels from the shadows will have the effect, Inherit The Wind, so demonstrably and agonizingly displays below.


By Inherit The Wind><The Usual confusion:
Neither Stalin nor Mao understood that faith is the root of all evil. They DEMANDED faith of the “rightness” of their vision of Socialism, with no room for deviation.  You must believe EVERY word they said or…Die Horribly. They simply denied, on faith, the existence of deities, with no more proof than YOU have.
Go ahead. “Prove” to me I should have faith.  Try.>

Gnothi Seauton (Know thy Self) – It was the High Science of the Gnostics, who discovered it within the geometry of the mystical Qabalah; later (1930’s) brought into a more contemporary focus – comprehensible to the western thinking faculties - by CJ Jung, Regardie, Crowley and others, who found its roots, deep within Egypt.

Mechanistic science simply allows no room for any such experience beyond what the outward sensory organs perceive, utilized to measure energy events in 3D space – birth and death – geared to the mechanistic sensory organs. To this frame of thought, the body is a simple combustion engine, period! Therefore, we are presented with an incomplete image of ourselves which, subsequently has boxed the western thinking processes into a rigid, materialistic cage; psychologically speaking, it is the ego which enjoys the cage – the material world – metaphorically, keeping the blinders pulled shut.

It is a high science and it’s certainly not myopic. Yes, it does utilize numbers and symbols, but not from within the superficial aspect that you perceive and it can ONLY be approached with a pure heart. In other words, it is not a pool for which the curiosity seeker will be allowed to dip his ego into and expect to survive.

Don’t take my word for it, find your master, and when you do, no one will be able to pull your strings.

Peace – Gnothi Seauton

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By Michael Shaw, February 12, 2008 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Correct you are Inherit and thanks for reminding me. He was also recently condemned as an anti-Semite from a statement revealed in his personal diary. I don’t believe he was. The guy was critical of everybody. That what critics do!

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By Michael Shaw, February 12, 2008 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

Well people do commit evil acts. I think it could be argued that all of these devout Christians like Bush and company are not Christians at all and the only thing they’re devoted to is money manufactured by the merchants of death. People like that who say they believe in a God, in heaven and in hell, don’t seem very concerned about ending up in either place. They are more than content staying right here in the heaven on earth they’ve manufactured for themselves amidst the hell they’ve created for others. They apparently sleep well at night after killing millions of people and starving millions more. They seem to not have a conscience and without that how can one even have a soul? Religion is merely a tool to these people. In reality they neither believe it or adhere to it.

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By Shenonymous, February 11, 2008 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment

No, Maani, you already said that atheists have committed evils.  No need to be redundant.  That does not imply that I suggested no benevolent believers.  Even Presbyterians can have an epiphany and can see into the fallacies of Christianity.  One may understand ethical questions in any room of the palace of existence.  I know about Elizabeth Cady Stanton.  How could we hold it against her that she was a “believer” once and learned ethics as one.  Let’s hope many more have done as well.  I know plenty of good and truly benevolent religious persons.  How about Mike Mid-CIty for one who posts here?  I personally came from background of religion:  catholic and protestant education and much eastern thought.  There were many “good” things I learned.  That doesn’t mean that I didn’t come to see the inherent speciousness of religion and that we are ultimately responsible for our own moral lives with no need for a supernatural being to use as a crutch or excuse for not being moral.  Why else would one need salvation unless they were immoral in some way?

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By Maani, February 11, 2008 at 9:08 pm Link to this comment

MMC:

“Would you let someone perverting the word of the Lord to go unchallenged?  You know by prosperity preachers like Pat Robinson or Bruce Wilkenson (the author of The Prayer of Javez).  The notion that Jesus wants you (and you and you) to be rich.  Not in a spiritual way but in a financial portfolio way. You wouldn’t let that go unchallenged would you?  You know so that the easily mislead are not brought to a bad end in Jesus by false preachers?”

For the record, I do not support the so-called prosperity preachers; I speak against them on a regular basis, and always have.

Peace.

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By Maani, February 11, 2008 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

Shenonymous:

I suppose it is not simply semantics when someone uses the term “everybody” or “everyone” to connote a large part of a population or group, rather than LITERALLY “everyone.”  It is important to be more precise with language, and not engage in anything that could be misinterpreted as “broad-brush” generalization.  Thank you for reminding me (and us?).

You also said, “There have been plenty of benevolent atheists that have done a great deal of self-less good, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, Carl Sagan, Thomas Paine, etc. Non-atheists have committed horrible atrocities in the history of humankind.”

I’m not sure if I’m reading it correctly, but are you suggesting that there have not been “plenty of benevolent” believers as well?  And that atheists have not ALSO “committed horrible atrocities in the history of humankind?”

By the way, Elizabeth Cady Stanton was a nominal Presbyterian, and her main influence as a young adult was a neighboring minister.  And although she eventually rejected organized Christianity, she credits that minister with helping her to ingraine a “humane sense of ethics.”

Peace.

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By Maani, February 11, 2008 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

Nabih:

You got me!  LOL.  Yes, I adopted the moniker “Maani” some time ago, though I had no idea of its roots.  It is actually part of a stage name, Maani Rantel.  Just liked the sound and look of it.  And yes, I am a Christian.  But I certainly mean no disrespect to the people of Maan.

Peace.

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By Shenonymous, February 11, 2008 at 6:04 pm Link to this comment

There have been plenty of benevolent atheists that have done a great deal of self-less good, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Bertrand Russell, John Dewey, Carl Sagan, Thomas Paine, etc. Non-atheists have committed horrible atrocities in the history of humankind.  It would seem that ITW has the better view of what is the root of all evil.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 11, 2008 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

Mencken was the first to make glorious uses of the word “Boob!” without EVER referring to a female breast.  A “boob”  was a bumpkin and a rube. Hence, “boob”.  There was this new ignorant social class—the “Boob-oisie”.

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By Inherit The Wind, February 11, 2008 at 5:51 pm Link to this comment

The Usual confusion:
Neither Stalin nor Mao understood that faith is the root of all evil. They DEMANDED faith of the “rightness” of their vision of Socialism, with no room for deviation.  You must believe EVERY word they said or…Die Horribly. They simply denied, on faith, the existence of deities, with no more proof than YOU have.

Go ahead. “Prove” to me I should have faith.  Try.

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By Shenonymous, February 11, 2008 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

Actually I have a terrific sense of humor Maani and have demonstrated it at least 10,000 times, note that my middle name is Hypebole.  I often tend however to have “dark humor” at the sloppy kind of sophomoric thinking that prevails.  I’ll make more of an effort at not noticing patronizing if there is an end to the gawd awful inclusively generalizing of “everybody” as letting others “completely take over and control their lives, becoming undependable to themselves, ending up straying to hucksters, and let miscreants do their thinking for them.”  Oh, I’m sorry that was Michael Shaw.  Let’s see what can be funny about all that?  The fact is, not everybody is heir to all of these human failures.  I certainly am not and I believe you are not, nor Michael Shaw or Cyrena, Expat, Mike Mid-City, et al.  Also autodidacticism (self-teaching) can lead to a kind of myopic view of the world.  I think nearsightedness of the political arena is the very thing that is being complained about.  Well maybe that isn’t funny either, but it is something that maybe George Carlin could make funny.  Then again we could all take up gardening.  Or see who could piss farthest into the wind?  Now that kind of contest would be hilarious.  And China had an average of 71 and a quarter anti-government riots a day every day for 365 days in 2006, now that is really uproarious. Maybe the ordinary Chinese ought to save up their riot tickets for a one-day overthrow of the entire government?  I’ve never known China to be the least bit concerned that their hundreds of millions of people died from cancer or anything else caused by work conditions or anything else.  Nor have I ever heard that Amerian businesses operating in slave labor provided countries would applaud improving something even just above bloodsucking in what shall we say euphemistically “manufacturing facilities?”  Everyone should read zeitgeist’s 12:59pm post.  It gives one such hope.  His prescription is to drop egos totally.  Now to do that one wouldn’t even know who oneself is and become somewhat paralyzed, or at least anesthetized to the point of complete ineffectualness.  Maybe we can keep a thimble full of ego?  Just so we can still get around in the dark?  Yes, I agree completely that we need a revolution, a world-wide revolution, a parabolic world-wide fire.  Who will hand me the matches?  Now that… is optimism.

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By Michael Shaw, February 11, 2008 at 3:32 pm Link to this comment

Tried to post earlier to this. Have since added a bit more. If it comes up again I apologize…

You said:

“Material science has simply become a ‘dogmatic’ prison cell for the soul.”

...we are born with those limitations and even if we were isolated from our parents at birth and not indoctrinated by civilization, we would still be trapped within the realms of the physical world along with millions of years of genetic code. Material science, yes! But what are you suggesting the answer to be? Death? Near death? Astral projection? Only then after all is the soul freed from the physical carcass, or so we’re told. (A leap of faith)

You also said:

“Tell me, how is your acquisition of knowledge, based solely on limitations imposed by the realm of your sensory organs, so much more inclusive, which tends only to groom and stroke the egocentric limitations of the material carcass in which those sensory organs dwell?”

One might ask you the same question. Is your carcass not in the same realm as our own? Where do your acquisitions of knowledge come from? Are you not also trapped by the same physical limitations as the rest of us?

I’m in complete agreement with you about the misappropriation of power. But I did not derive at that conclusion in a spiritual realm, but rather a physical one.

I’d like to add, I enjoy your posts since they tend to make one think. And as you are no doubt aware, they also tend to make one question.

In this respect I cannot wait to hear your answers.

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By Michael Shaw, February 11, 2008 at 2:53 pm Link to this comment

...we are born with those limitations and even if we were isolated from our parents at birth and not indoctrinated by civilization, we would still be trapped within the realms of the physical world along with millions of years of genetics.

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By amunaor, February 11, 2008 at 2:44 pm Link to this comment

But, it does exude a certain aura of palpable acceptance when garbed with the moral cloak of Christian self-righteousness; demonizing the opponent always makes it easier for the righteous soldier to extinguish the life of a sub-species, when it becomes necessary in placing a bullet through the head of another fellow human.

Peace

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By Maani, February 11, 2008 at 2:24 pm Link to this comment

zeitgeist:

Here, here!  Bravo.  It is the way that knowledge (acquired with or without “premise”) is used - or abused - that makes it good or bad (or, in rare cases, evil).  Afrer all, plenty of atheists have done a great deal of “bad” and even “evil.”  This has usually been a matter of co-opting a politico-economic ideology and abusing it (e.g., Stalin, Mao et al).  Thus, the “root of evil,” if such can be said to exist, is within each individual, and how they inidividually apply the knowledge and experience they have and the power or position they obtain.

Peace.

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By amunaor, February 11, 2008 at 2:19 pm Link to this comment

First of all, lets stop calling it what it isn’t and call it what it was from the begining, a police action, an invasion, an occupation for the purposes of plunder and pillage. How is that?

Peace, Best Wishes and Hope

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By Michael Shaw, February 11, 2008 at 12:51 pm Link to this comment

Maani points taken. Self education is taking and accepting responsibility for one’s self, the exact opposite of what we’re seeing from the born again Christian right. It is the willingness people have it seems in allowing others to completely take over and control their lives. People becoming so undependable to themselves, they end up straying to hucksters like Huckabee, Hinn or Robertson to do their thinking for them. They had bankrupted any self worth long ago and by needing direction or salvation, seem willing to bankrupt their reasoning as well. This doesn’t reflect many positives about our society either. It seems there are many millions of these people out there.

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By amunaor, February 11, 2008 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment

*By Inherit The Wind, February 10 <No, I’m convinced that faith, which is the acquisition of “knowledge” without premise, observation or logic, is the root of all evil in the world.>

Tell me, how is your acquisition of knowledge, based solely on limitations imposed by the realm of your sensory organs, so much more inclusive, which tends only to groom and stroke the egocentric limitations of the material carcass in which those sensory organs dwell? Material science has simply become a ‘dogmatic’ prison cell for the soul.

I do not defend a ‘blind faith’, material or otherwise.

By the way, enjoy your tarot cards and tea leaves.

The forces within the universe are neither good nor evil, but, misappropriated, in the hands of those who perceive those forces as weapons of power, then do they manifest as evil.

Gnothi Seauton

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By Nabih Ammari, February 11, 2008 at 12:48 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re:Maan and Maani

Maan:It is a Jordanian town,population 100 thousands,
located in the southern part of Jordan,not too far from
the Jordanian Seaport of Aqaba(the same Aqaba in the
movie,Lawrence of Arabia).Also,it is not too far from
the fascinating ruins of Petra.

Maani:It is a Jordanian family last name whose members live in Maan and in the Jordanian capital
of Amman as well.I knew a gentlemen of the Maani
family by the name of Zuhair Maani.

question:How did I know all of the above?

In the 1970’s and 1980’s,I was stationed in Amman,
the capital of Jordan running a complex technical
business operations for the whole Middle East,
including Cypress and Malta,on behalf of an American
multi-nationals corporation.
While in Jordan, I paid occasionally visits to the
southern part of Jordan including the town of Maan.
I saw no churches in Maan.I saw Mosques.Other towns
in Jordan like Amman,Erbid,Huson,Zarka,Madaba,Sult,
and Karak have Christian churches.I repeat that I
did not see a single Christian church in Maan.Thus,I
have to conclude that most,if not all,of the people
who live there are Muslims.

The Maani who posts on Truthdig’s threads sounds a
Christian-like to me.Therefore,he cannot be from that
Jordanian town of Maan.He is,most likely,an American
who just liked the name Maani;and had chosen it to be
his phony name for his posts on Truthdig’s threads.
Is not it so,Maani??
Sincerely,
Nabih Ammari
An Independent in Ohio.

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By amunaor, February 11, 2008 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

By Shenonymous, February 10 <the arcane, it is spellbinding.>

So is your television and your electric toothbrush!

GNOTHI SEAUTON

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By jackpine savage, February 11, 2008 at 11:32 am Link to this comment

Great post.  Just out of curiosity, are you the zeitgeist who recently left the Carpet Bagger Report?

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By amunaor, February 11, 2008 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

By Michael Shaw, February 9 <It is also married to the events in Iraq, Afghanistan…>

Now you get the picture! They too will be put to sleep, dreaming the Neo-Roman-American dream; overshadowed by the multi-national with its noose of debt slavery; no heretics, no thinkers allowed.

GNOTHI SEAUTON

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By Maani, February 11, 2008 at 11:17 am Link to this comment

The REAL “common enemy”:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/TRAVEL/02/11/laptop.searches/index.html

Next up: funding of the Real ID Act, leading to “your papers, please…”

Peace.  (hopefully…)

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By jackpine savage, February 11, 2008 at 11:12 am Link to this comment

In all honesty, i only envy your climates.

You are quite right, fear is a thief.  Its a battle right now for me, but i do my best with it.

I enjoyed the hornet story.  I’m sure that they did know you.  I’m still working on my partner, to make her understand that if she loves the salads i grow, then she should love the bees too, they do more work than i do.

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By amunaor, February 11, 2008 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

As Bob Dylan said some time ago: “It’s not dark yet, but it’s getting there.”

Perhaps it is time many stepped from their claustrophobic dream of self-love. Although many impoverished people are in that situation because of their own ignorance and bad karma, there is no justification for the embedding of a worldwide economic system designed to use the Third World masses as virtual slaves to create more wealth and luxury for the already comfortable, secure and wealthy. In 2006 in China there were at least 26,000 anti-government riots. Thousands of Chinese factory workers die every year from subhuman cancer-forming, working conditions. When the Politburo announced that, beginning in 2008, at last there would be a program instituted that would give at least some rights to workers - such as minimum wages and some health-care, there was negative uproar in the American Chamber of Commerce. American companies have moved their factories en-masse to China to use the Chinese masses as virtual slave labour. If Chinese wages and conditions improve, American businessmen will move their factories to other sweatshop enclaves. Those who cannot be used, abused and exploited are considered “useless eaters” and are often considered expendable. We are all involved in a major test. To pass the test we must develop compassion for everyone – the most needy and desperate in particular, because everyone from beggar to President, genius to imbecile, are all chips off the same block.

The wise and intelligent will eventually see that the thought-ship the forces of ignorance, delusion and evil are constructing is taking all on a journey to the isle of catastrophe and Nihilism, and there is only one way out. The major lesson on Earth is the lesson of rampant ego. Only those who can drop their egos totally can become free and see who they really are, beyond the material shell of illusion. The rest follow a false freedom until the bitter end.

Shower your egos with more trinkets and baubles. Be happy; remain blind.

When a great light is turned into darkness, it can be very dark indeed!

GNOTHI SEAUTON

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By Expat, February 11, 2008 at 10:36 am Link to this comment

I could easily envy you….if nobody messes with you, what a wonderful environment.  Talking with plants all day; I have always found them to be great company.  Yes, they don’t argue; but they reflect or rather mirror our innermost thoughts.  Thereby, we have the perfect sounding board for our day to day musings and if we are sane; they (the plants) can help us gauge our sanity and keep us on an even keel.  Many years ago I had my own green house (I built it) and a colony of hornets decided to build a nest inside.  Being a bit dim at that time, I didn’t notice until the nest was quite big.  Given I went in there every day; I was surprised at the size of the nest before I noticed it.  I had always thought of hornets as very bad, but they never bothered me so I decided to let them be.  One day, my wife at the time came in (a very rare occurrence) and immediately the hornets got very aggressive and flew into my wife’s hair and she started to freak out; I had to grab her and tell her to stop swatting at the hornets.  With me holding her firmly she calmed down.  Within minutes the hive that had gone berzerk also started to calm down.  They knew me, of this I am certain.  This was a life changing experience for me.  I know, with no doubt, we are all connected.  Understanding is universal; there are no boundaries.

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By amunaor, February 11, 2008 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Who is it here that is really decieved?

I wish you happiness in your own Disney Land of illusions.

Peace

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By Expat, February 11, 2008 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

Ah, JS, we’re not the wealthy, just trying to live our lives.  Don’t envy me.  There is no Avalon.  But I will add, fear is a thief; don’t let it steal from you.  Some times we just have to make the leap. I was “lucky” and got out.  And yes, certainly plants have consciousness; after all, they are alive, as are we.  I have the proverbial green thumb; always have had.  If we can’t appreciate the life we have then, how can we possibly value of the life of any other living thing?

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By Maani, February 11, 2008 at 9:18 am Link to this comment

Michael:

Mencken also said, “No one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public.”

You say, “Can we possibly be willing to admit we’ve been hoodwinked more so than our undereducated predecessors?”

It would sem that depends on what one is educated IN.  If one is simply educated via a curriculum that is meant to turn the masses into largely mindless consumerist worker drones (despite the claims that you are being educated to “think” - particularly politically…), then I’m not so certain our education is any better than our predecessors.

So being “hoodwinked” seems to come with the territory, unless one is willing to SELF-educate, particularly socio-politically.

Peace.

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By jackpine savage, February 11, 2008 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

I envy both of you for being able to work outside already…especially you, Expat.  I can’t figure out how i ended up in a place of 9 month winters.

Unfortunately, i don’t have my own greenhouse…but i have a great deal of responsibility over 23 full sized greenhouses and a nursery.  Happiest place one could hope to work.  Grumpy people don’t come to garden centers.

I like all plants, even the weeds, but i lean heavily towards things i can eat.  And i’m slowly inching towards serious, indoor food cultivation under lights.  My passion is feeding myself.  And i love vines…

This will sound new-agey, but i do not doubt that plants have consciousness.  And if you are quiet enough, you can hear them.  They are also the foremost purveyors of common sense on the planet.

Cyrena, drainage, drainage, drainage.  Perlite is your friend (its the white chunks that look like styrofoam in potting soil, i generally add extra and will often put a layer of pure perlite at the bottom of a container…even when it is saturated, it’s still 40% air)

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By Maani, February 11, 2008 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous:

“You might do more self-reflecting, Maani.”

And you might try growing a sense of humor, or at least not taking everything so seriously…

Peace.

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By Michael Shaw, February 11, 2008 at 7:50 am Link to this comment

Huckabee is like a used car salesman with that soft mannered, good old boy-fire and brimstone salesmanship honed by years at the pulpit as an evangelical minister. As he openly denigrates the Bill of Rights and buries it under the ten commandments, making it actually sound reasonable, he seems to be gaining momentum! That’s the scary part. 

This might fall in line with the assessments of H.L. Mencken, who once said of America something like, “It’s the greatest show on earth!” “Nowhere can you find so many twits and goose steppers rallying round a single flag.”

The first time I read Mencken, I actually thought he was joking, being as so critical as he was about America. He condemned the south as a haven for inbred morons, having lost all of their intellectuals during the civil war. He was just as unkind when he mentioned portions of Pennsylvania. Even his photo on the front cover was intimidating. He was obviously a very angry man(and a drinker). Since most of his frustrations were aimed it seems at the underclasses and the uneducated and although there is no doubt there was some (over exaggerating)truths to his criticisms, the real reasons behind these conditions he hardly addressed. Of course many of the people he was attacking either could not read or perhaps even afford a newspaper. If they could his illustrious career might have ended years before it did.

Things have obviously changed today. Most people can read or afford a paper, go on-line. Yet still we have such a large group of needy people. It may not so much be the need for food as it was back then(though it is estimated a million children go hungry in this nation every day), but a need for spiritual guidance for a lot of people who do not go hungry and are in many cases well to do. Ironically the uneducated back then and much to Mencken’s chagrin went out in masses and voted a landslide victory to FDR, the smartest move any moron or for that matter any working class person could make. And they were smart enough to do it three more times, forcing republicans to implement the two term rule. Of course under today’s circumstances, thank god for the two term rule and let’s hope it remains intact till numb nuts is out of the white house. My point is, the folks back then had experienced the same kinds of nightmares we have from McKinley to Hoover and not unlike many of us today, were at the proverbial brink. Yet today with our better educations(?) and our modern, hi tech conveniences, all one has to do is look at the last two presidential elections, thefts and appointments aside, then realize there is thus far no FDR(?)and instead of a potential landslide victory we face the possibility of another 50/50 proposition. So is it that we are smarter today or have the elitists gotten better at the same old game? Can we possibly be willing to admit we’ve been hoodwinked more so than our under educated predecessors? The elitists today are doing basically the same things they did in McKinley’s era and it is clearly no mistake that Karl Rove considers that time frame as his favorite.

What will it take for Americans to remove ourselves from this conundrum? Shall we remain divided and simply pray for salvation? Should we pray for the end of the world and the rapture? Shall we pray for another neocon victory? It seems that many would say yes. Huckabee’s success stands to reason.

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By Shenonymous, February 11, 2008 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Were what you said at 6:28am true, you would not have made the comment in the first place.  It is a psychological mind set unfortunately that often one is not even suspicious of oneself.  You might do more self-reflecting, Maani.

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By Maani, February 11, 2008 at 7:30 am Link to this comment

MMC:

I am not understanding your comment about letting “a false assertion of Christ go unchallenged.”  Do you mean this literally?  Did I miss something?

Peace.

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By Maani, February 11, 2008 at 7:28 am Link to this comment

Shenonymous:

As I noted in a reply to JS, it was not my intention to be facetious or belittling (much less patronizing) in any way of what goes on here.  Nor was I saying anything “blithely” or planning to “move on,” either away from this thread or from LieDig in general.

Indeed, I agree with all of your comments.  As always, you are being “thought”-ful, and this is the “fierceness” I referred to in my reply to JS.

Keep those cards and letters coming…

Peace.

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By Conservative Yankee, February 11, 2008 at 6:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My Mother’s Mother was a Roberts, they have been in New York since 1725, her mother was a Hills they lived in New York from 1665 her mother was a Teller, they have lived in New York since Henry Hudson Marooned Abraham Teller at Spitendevil creek (meaning Devil’s waters)1608 He was thrown off Hudson’s ship for being a pain-in-the-ass! Guess the family hasn’t changed much..

New York City was my home, and I began roaming everywhere its subways traveled when I was 9, and a token cost .15.

As I got older I played with my friends in the empty tenements my father had owned up on Jerome avenue, the same ones you could see burning from the Cross Bronx expressway in the Seventies.

We swam in the Hudson up off the Pier owned by Butler Transportation (I don’t believe it now, but we swam in the nude) We snuck into the adult movie houses, got to the top of the tallest buildings, and went about our childhood business just about totally unfettered by adult interference. I’ve since been to other great cities, but nothing was (in my mind) as wonderfully free as the NYC of my youth Loved that scruffy ole city… to bad it no longer exists!

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By Michael Shaw, February 11, 2008 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

Well if this nation is really supposed to be a free and equal society, that means all of it’s members should equally enjoy those freedoms.

What’s really interesting here as far as Hillary and Barrack are concerned is that their platforms are nearly identical. This would tend to support the argument that concerning these democrats we have no real argument either for or against. One is a woman and one is a black man. That seems to be the major difference and since neither a woman or black man have ever been elected president, here is yet one more similarity. Even many of Bill Clinton’s former staff are working with both candidates, yet another similarity. Hillary actually campaigned for Obama during his last senatorial campaign too. I imagine that regardless of which one wins the nomination they will still have those similarities, similarities I prefer far over their republican counter parts.

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By Shenonymous, February 11, 2008 at 5:11 am Link to this comment

The phrase “take back our country” has a nice slogan ring to it.  But do think about it for more than a minute as slogans have a way of seducing thought.  What is behind that idea that “we” somehow do not have our country is the further notion that we let it go or we didn’t fight to keep it at the time it was taken, that for some odd reason we were asleep at the wheel when a small band of vicious, self-serving hussars swooped in and commandeered it.  Some statements are completely inclusive and somewhat useless, while others such as “let’s wrench this country away and take back our country from the evil doers who stole this country away from ordinary people when there were not enough minds and bodies and will to stop them” is getting more definitive.  How about take back a country that we let go into the toilet while we had our barbecues and Gucci shopping sprees, or take back a country that we let go while worrying whether the prime rate will go up or down, or take back a country we let go while smoking pot, or take back a country we let go because we were too complacent to stand up to the bastards who were just smarter than us. 

Is this a mental masturbation? Well that somewhat artificially brazen idea too has a glamorous ring to it, intended to titillate and tweak our sensibilities.  And we love glamour right?  And it did for a brief second, right? But it was intense, right? Which was the carney point.  What exactly is masturbation?  I suggest a quick look (since quickness is a bit more lasciviously enticing, you know, a quickie) at Reference.com at the word masturbation just in case you don’t quite know the definition of the word, and it might even provide a quickie for you should you need one.  It is a brief compendium on the subject right there in broad daylight without any brown paper wrapping.  So while there was a negative connotation about sexual self-stimulation as applied to the kind of thinking we are doing on these forums, the fact is that it is only the rabid religious groups that think of masturbation in a negative way.  What a ridiculous question that was really.  As if we are not serious about the issues we discuss.  As if speaking on these forums is merely for some crude and prurient pleasure.  I will give that there most likely are some who are perverts.  Who hit and run, biff bam thank you mam, we have seen them… and ignored them.  But let us look bravely at exactly what we say lest we fall in love with our own faces.

We are not all of the same stock.  I for one will not allow anyone else to characterize my thoughts or intentions.  Allowing another to do that you forfeit your inalienable rights.  And Maani you don’t get to say such things and blithely move on as if there was no content in your words.  No patronizing allowed here.

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By Expat, February 11, 2008 at 1:44 am Link to this comment

^ I’m at few minutes south of 15’ N.  Getting ready to plant my garden as well.  I too have, for the most part found this pretty civil and at times very informative.  Over time we learn whom we can relie on for accurate info.  Some time tell us what you grow (is it legal?) LOL.

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By Expat, February 11, 2008 at 1:25 am Link to this comment

^ questions; nope, yup, nope, and yup.  Wish it would snow here, LOL…32 C.

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