Sunday, December 16, 2018

The U.K., self destructing!

'Brexit is a business bankrupter': small firms brace for no deal

Bosses face tough decisions and politicians are refusing to listen, says a Bristol business owner
https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2018/dec/16/brexit-is-a-business-bankrupter-small-firms-brace-for-no-deal

Who cares about people? Money nee profit God!

Jaguar Land Rover to 'axe up to 5,000 jobs'

Analysts say carmaker will outline job cuts in new year as part of drive to combat Brexit and falling sales

Saturday, December 15, 2018

People of North America, may the example of all those nations that have preceded you, and especially that of your motherland, instruct you. Beware of the affluence of gold that brings with it the corruption of morals and the scorn of laws; beware of an unbalanced distribution of wealth that will give rise to a small number of opulent citizens and a horde of citizens in poverty, a situation that will engender the insolence of some and the deprivation of others.

'Beware the affluence of gold': on reading Diderot in the age of Trump

The philosopher was fascinated by the United States. The author of a new study says the modern equivalents of his ‘American insurgents’ should read the Frenchman’s work
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/dec/15/denis-diderot-america-donald-trump

151218 BLOK


151218 BLOK
Watching a movie entitled, ROMA, it triggered living in Mexico, in Ajijic and Guadalajara, the State of Jalisco. This is the late 1990s.
Guadalajara., had a great restaurant that only served one dish, a meat stew.  There were many muy bonita mujeres in Guad. There was an open air restaurant, one of my favorite places to eat — my kind of healthy food.  You sat a a square shaped counter.
We, Jaime and I, worked with a local producer, Jorge Baez, and another whose name escapes me.  We shot a variety of media, from baseball games, inteviews with Vincente Fernandez, the mariachi heart throb, El Presidente, Ernesto Zedillo, all for TV.
We would drive up from Ajijic, on Chapalo del Lago, to Guad., to work, to shop, to partake of the big city.  
In Ajijic, we lived with his grandmother next to the Cathedral.  I´ll never forget the carillion, the bells from my bedroom. 
One night some incredible loud explosions from rockets set off from the main plaza.  No doubt celebrating some battle, which had been decisive for Mexico´s independence from Spain.
I climbed the hills next to the city proper almost daily (no bicycle back then).  In fact, that had been my attraction, Jaime telling me, when we were still living in Texas, about a particular hill, named Colina de Colorado. He had shown my photograhs. 
Jaime ended up marrying a local Mexican woman.
Since those day in 1995-97, I´ve lost track of my old friend.
Jaime (James Essary), where are you?
Hutch

Roma, a truly great film! H.

Women of the world unite!

Glad to be grey: how women changed the debate on hair colour

Only a few years ago, the Duchess of Cambridge was pilloried for showing grey roots, but now models both young and old are incorporating the hair colour into modern style

A young star caught forming like a planet

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/12/181214093827.htm

Where do I apply?


Company offers $100k to live without smartphone for a year

https://www.wave3.com/2018/12/14/company-offers-k-live-without-smartphone-year/

Why you can´t trust products made by corporations!

Johnson & Johnson hammered by report it knew of asbestos in baby powder

“The situation could easily escalate from there". WWIII coming...

https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1058956/World-War-3-USA-Iran-battle-military-US-army-CIA-Hormuz-Strait-Sputnik

Friday, December 14, 2018

Women of the world unite!

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first election in which some women and all men could vote, 209 female photographers have taken portraits of the 209 women MPs in the UK parliament. The exhibition, 209 Women, opens at Portcullis House on Friday. We look at a selection of the portraits

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/gallery/2018/dec/14/209-female-mps-by-209-female-photographers-in-pictures

141218 BLOK

141218 BLOK
I flash on a highway curve cycling somewhere in the world.  Up ahead I see it turns to the right among trees.  Where am I?
I have cycled through a thousand highway curves, some going left, some right.  Some gentle some abrupt.  Some ascending, some descending.  Some dirt or mud, some hard surface and dry.
The human mind is like a computer´s RAM (Random Access Memory), if the image `saved,´ it is stored.  But, why does it suddenly pop into consciousness, randomly, at odd moments.
I was just reading Marcel Proust´s IN A BUDDING ORCHARD, and up pops a city street in Xining, Qinghai Province, China.  There is absolutely no connection!
Why¿
The pages of my mind keeps turning!
H.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Germaine Greer by Elizabeth Kleinhenz

Germaine: The Life of Germaine Greer by Elizabeth Kleinhenz review – a career of controversy

This respectful biography of one of the world’s most famous living feminists embraces the criticism that all her books have provoked
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/dec/13/germaine-the-life-of-germaine-greer-by-elizabeth-kleinhenz

Trump lies like a rug!

Trump denies he directed Michael Cohen to 'break the law'

President said he is off the hook for any crime because he acted on ‘advice of counsel’ and ex-lawyer is ‘supposed to know the law’

My plan to revive Europe... Yanis Varoufakis

My plan to revive Europe can succeed where Macron and Piketty failed

Under my Green New Deal, €500bn a year can be created without raising taxes – and it may tempt Britain back to the fold

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/13/plan-europe-macron-piketty-green-new-deal-britain

Free speech dying around the world!

Suppression orders in Australia: why you can't read what you may want to

After Victoria’s premier Daniel Andrews said he would overhaul the state’s use of orders, here is a guide to the legal bans
https://www.theguardian.com/law/2018/dec/14/suppression-orders-australia-why-you-cant-read-what-you-may-want-to

American Pathology, the new normal!

Lifesaving 911 tip-off allowed cops to get to middle school BEFORE teenage gunman could unleash havoc: Boy, 14,exchanged fire with officers before killing himself

Women of the world unite!

Word processor pioneer Evelyn Berezin dies aged 93

https://www.bbc.com/news/technology-46539934

I cycled through Lockerbie, Scotland, last summer. They still remember this tragedy, as 11 locals killed.

Lockerbie

The town scarred by Pan Am flight 103

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-sh/Lockerbie_Scotland_Pan_Am_flight_103

AND OH BE WOE UNTO THOSE WHO DO THIS! H.

'Death sentence': butterfly sanctuary to be bulldozed for Trump's border wall

More than 200 species make their homes at America’s most diverse sanctuary, but construction through the reserve could begin in February
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/13/butterfly-sanctuary-border-wall-mission-texas

Dark Matter is simply unconsciousness! H.

Astronomers find that dark matter dominates across cosmic time

https://phys.org/news/2018-12-astronomers-dark-dominates-cosmic.html

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Trump dumb as a box of his supporters! I won´t dignify such by calling them rocks. Rocks are smarter!

Pelosi vs. Trump: ‘Don’t Characterize the Strength That I Bring,’ She Says

WASHINGTON — It was Round 1: Nancy Pelosi vs. President Trump.

The likely new House speaker arrived at the White House on Tuesday afternoon, ready to take on the president. The subject was a potential government shutdown, and funding for Mr. Trump’s beloved wall. What followed was a remarkable televised exchange between a veteran congressional leader and a president who is far less experienced but rarely challenged to his face in public, especially by a woman.

Right off the bat, Ms. Pelosi referred to a “Trump shutdown,” knowing full well it would set off the president. (It did.) Then she called Mr. Trump’s bluff — “O.K., then do it, then do it,” she taunted — when he suggested House Republicans could easily pass a spending bill that included wall funding. When he interrupted her, she interrupted him, her voice calm and steady, her “Mr. Presidents” constant, even as he wagged his finger and called her “Nancy.”

And when Mr. Trump tried to undercut her by suggesting she was “in a situation where it’s not easy for her to talk right now,” Ms. Pelosi fired back. “Mr. President,” she said, “please don’t characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting as the leader of the House Democrats, who just won a big victory.”

The extraordinary back-and-forth, which lasted for a heated 15 minutes inside the Oval Office, was the first test of the new power dynamic between her and Mr. Trump as Democrats prepare to take control of the House. It came at a propitious moment for Ms. Pelosi, just as she is trying to round up the votes she needs to become speaker.

And it appeared calculated to send a message to Democrats and Republicans alike that Ms. Pelosi is fully capable of taking on Mr. Trump and brushing off his lecturing, or in this gender-charged case, mansplaining.

“I think she gave as good as she got,” said Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and a close ally of Mr. Trump.

Representative Eric Swalwell, Democrat of California, raised the coming vote for speaker: “I think she sealed the deal.”

But Ms. Pelosi must also be careful; many of the newly elected Democrats whose support she needs come from districts won by Mr. Trump, and she is walking a fine line in antagonizing him — especially if a government shutdown is the end result. While she is being cheered on the Democratic left, centrists may react more warily, knowing that their voters sent them to Washington to compromise more than fight.

“She has to prove that she’s tough enough for her caucus,” said John Feehery, a Republican strategist who advised J. Dennis Hastert when he was speaker. “But she also has to prove that she can deliver for her members.”

For those who study women in politics, it was a notable moment — a behind-the-scenes peek at a powerful woman negotiating with the leader of the free world. Even Hillary Clinton, the 2016 Democratic nominee for president, did not spar with Mr. Trump in quite the same unscripted way. Their televised debates were controlled by moderators.

“We rarely get to see a woman in that level of leadership confronted in that way,” said Debbie Walsh, the director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. “I think this was an example that really speaks to women’s capacity to lead, and to do it civilly, to do it with grace and to be strong and clear.”

Ms. Pelosi was joined at the negotiating session by Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader, who scored points of his own when he goaded Mr. Trump into declaring that he would be “proud to shut down the government for border security” — an admission that rattled Republicans and may have strengthened Democrats’ negotiating hand. Vice President Mike Pence was also there, sitting silently as the drama unfolded before him.

Throughout, both Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer made clear that they believed it was unproductive to negotiate in public and repeatedly prodded the president to move the discussion behind closed doors. (“We didn’t want to contradict the president when he was putting forth figures that had no reality to them, no basis in fact,” she later told reporters.)

But Mr. Trump barreled ahead. “It’s not bad, Nancy, it’s called transparency,” he told her.

Ms. Pelosi shot back, “It is not transparency when we are not stipulating to a set of facts and when we want to have a debate with you about saying we confront some of those facts without saying to the public this isn’t true.”

As the reviews rolled in, images of Ms. Pelosi emerging from the White House donning sunglasses while wearing a swingy red coatbegan circulating on Twitter. Later, a triumphant Ms. Pelosi returned to the Capitol, where she met behind closed doors with her Democratic colleagues, whom she regaled with stories.

According to one Democratic aide in the room, she questioned Mr. Trump’s manhood, calling the wall debate “a manhood thing for him.” She also primly likened the meeting to “a tinkle contest with a skunk,” adding, “I was trying to be the mom.”

For Democratic women, who powered the midterm elections last month that gave the party the House majority, the Oval Office scene was especially satisfying.

Representative Nanette Diaz Barragan, Democrat of California, said she found Ms. Pelosi’s “mom” comment hilarious, adding, “There was a consensus among everybody I spoke to that they felt comfortable and re-energized that they have Pelosi at the table.”

It had been more than a year since “Chuck and Nancy,” as Mr. Trump has branded them, had been invited to the White House. That was in September 2017, when Ms. Pelosi and Mr. Schumer had a cordial dinner of Chinese food (Mr. Schumer’s favorite) with the president. They left believing they had struck a deal with Mr. Trump on immigration, but it fell apart within days.

This time, Ms. Pelosi appeared to be aiming for civility if not camaraderie. While Mr. Trump waved his hands theatrically, she sat with her hands folded in her lap. When she was interrupted, Ms. Pelosi politely tried to explain to Mr. Trump, who prides himself on his negotiating skills, how Congress works.

“No, we don’t have the votes, Nancy, because in the Senate we need 60 votes,” Mr. Trump said, a talking point he repeated multiple times.

Ms. Pelosi rejoined, “The fact is that you can get it started. The fact is that you could bring it up in the House if you have the votes to set the tone.”

Ms. Pelosi’s civics course continued: “Legislating, which is what we do. You begin, you make your point, you state your case. That’s what the House Republicans could do if they had the votes. But there are no votes in the House, majority votes, for a wall, no matter where you start.”

Looking exasperated, Mr. Trump finally relented and called an end to the public portion of their meeting, as White House aides shooed the cameramen out the door.

Because OUT THEIR, there is no such thing as time!

Why Black Hole Interiors Grow (Almost) Forever

The renowned physicist Leonard Susskind has identified a possible quantum origin for the ever-growing volume of black holes.

Women of the world unite!

More than 200 women accuse famous Brazilian spiritual healer of sexual abuse

Prosecutors received flood of complaints against João Teixeira de Faria in country’s first major #MeToo scandal
https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/dec/12/joao-teixeira-de-faria-brazil-medium-healer-sexual-abuse

We´re moving to a seige mentality. H.

Manhunt after fatal shooting at French Christmas market


France raises security alert level after gunman opened fire near a Christmas market in Strasbourg, killing three.

12a1218 BLOK


12a1218 BLOK 
I´m hear in the shadow of the Meteora, a place I fantasized living when still in Germany, a year ago.
Rene Descartes wrote, I THINK THEREFORE I AM!  Cognito ergo sum.
One must think there lives before living it.  
But, just activating what the ego thinks it wants is a double-edged sword in our duality reality.  The gods must approve of our endeavors as helping others is what succeeds.  Just doing things for ourselves only, cuts both ways! 
So, here I sit in the sun in Kalambaka, Greece, a city destroyed in WWII by the German Army.  They, however, could not destroy the Meteora!
H.

121218 BLOK - a picture poem

121218 BLOK - a picture poem
A 4-year-old boy weeps
A bride poses
A building covered in ice
A child sleeps in a bag
A dog walks past trees
A Honduran migrant protects
A lone tree stands
A man cries
A man flies a kite
A Palestinian man argues
A police officer stands
A rooster walks
A ship is seen
A Syria Civil Defence member
Afghan journalists are seen
An electricity pole stands
An iceberg floats
Cheerleaders from North Korea
Harrison Massie, 22, poses for a photograph
Immigrant children are led
Lava erupts
Luis Acosta holds 5-year-old
Mahto jumps
Palestinian demonstrators shout
Relatives of a Palestinian moun
Rohingya refugees flee
Rossetti’s 1871 painting
Saleh Hassan al-Faqeh holds
St. Nicholas “Lipensky”
National Socialist Movement supporters
Team Sky rider Chris Froome
Tsetse, 6-year-old daughter
Wellington, New Zealand Members of the public gather

Interesting that the article didn´t mention the original announce team in 1969: Keith Jackson, Howard Cosell, and Don Meredith. I should know as I was there. In fact, I was offered the job of producer, by boss Churk Howard, but turned it down. F.A. Hutchison

Monday Night Football: Has Jason Witten ruined a US television institution?

The former Cowboy has been a disaster since he joined the most storied broadcast in American sports, but he’s not the show’s only problem
https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/dec/11/monday-night-football-jason-witter-booger-mcfarland

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

American Pathology!

A Tragedy in Yemen, Made in America

An airstrike halfway around the world was traced back to an American bomb factory, and U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia.

NYTimes, 111218

111218 BLOK

111218 BLOK
Today, 78-years old officially, yet I count from conception as do the Chinese, so 79 to my way of thinking!  Most people want to be younger!  I´ve always wanted to be older!
After getting Mr. Feet´s deralleurs working, thanks to Vasili at www.ebikes.com, I went food shopping for me and the dogs of the Meteora.
I bought choice beef for the dogs, but outside Liedl supermarket a female dog wasn´t interested.  Very friendly, but must be a vegan, as she turned up her nose at the meat.
The eastern way up to the Monasteries is more remote and where the dogs hang out. It meets the loop road to all the the Gr. Othro. Monasteries, some 5KM from Kalambaka. 
This is my regular workout route, as only takes a couple of hours at the most, up and down.  It´s similar to the up to Purcha (and Pradollano) out of Monachil, Granada, Spain where I lived.  Both two-lane hard surface roads, although the one here up to the Meteora, much more traffic, tourist buses, taxis, etc. The one up to Purcha (6KM), a training route for young racers, so many cyclists.  Here in the Meteora, there are the same as well, the lycra-spandex-on-weightless-racers crowd, but not as many.  But, I´m the only older one cranking with weight up and down.
Today, i was prepared with a birthday dinner for the dozen or so homeless dogs, that hang out near the road, about halfway up (2.5KM).  But, today, one of the farmers driving his pickup, did something strange to distract me.  I first thought he was trying to get the dogs to follow to eat something somewhere, but, maybe it was just to talk to his goat-herder up ahead.  Anyway, I went past to the top (the junction), where I normally rest, and eat, if the sun shinning.
Today, sunny in the morning, but by the time I got to the top (14.00), the sun was obscured, and with the wind, cool to cold.  I didn´t stay long, a hot meal inside a better idea.
Then on the way down, three of the dogs were coming up the road. Perfect! I stopped, fished out the meat, and they, so hungry, almost swallowed it whole without chewing — large chunks of beef.  Then I held up my empty hands to explain, NO MORE, SORRY!  They knew, disappointed I´m sure. 
I´m probably the only one, besides, friend Vasili, that cycles up to feed the dogs. Tourists probably through trash out of their moving vehicles, but few come up on a bicycle with choice beef!
I went down further where I stopped to feed the birds.  This with the white bread I save from restaurant meals.  But, the area, bereft of many birds, as this is the land of cats. I´m sure there are birds, but you rarely see them.
Down at the first restaurant (traditional Greek Tavern), I discovered it empty, I, the only customer — perfect.  The waiter remembered me from the first time several weeks ago (old man on bicycle). I ordered the same i had the first time, the Greek version of lasangne called Pastistio (sic), and with a glass of red wine.  I finished with a piece of apple pie they covered with chocolate sauce.  The tab, 15€ / $17U.S., a bit spendy, but on birthdays… Well, you know.   I gave the waiter a 4€ tip, and wished him a Merry Christmas.  Remember Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat, please put a Euro in the waiter´s hand!
I had received before departing in the morning, a BD card from Hildegarding, timed perfectly to arrive on the 11th!  And, mind you, all the way from Garding, Germany.  This woman never ceases to amaze me with her unconditional love! 
Back inside my flat, via the Internet, I receive BD greetings from people in six different countries:  China, Nepal, Cambodia, The Netherlands, Germany (besides Hildegarding, her daughter Isgar) and of course, my bank in the U.S.  But, none from family or old friends. Did I feel unloved?  No!  One Hildegarding and Isgard remembering me, worth 100 others!
I did get a tweet from Trump, however!  I guess being a vilified president, he´s lonely in that big white house.  Something about misspelling a word…?
H.

Wonderfu! Great! Go Kilis, Turkey!

Cycles for cigarettes: city gives children bikes if relative quits

Thousands of free bikes and a protected cycle lane network are part of a plan to transform transport in the Turkish border city 

https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2018/dec/11/cycles-for-cigarettes-turkish-city-gives-children-bikes-if-relative-quits-smoking-kilis

Monday, December 10, 2018

Being poor IS A CRIME in the U.S.

'Appalling' video shows NY police pulling baby from mother's arms

Outrage over video showing NYPD officers violently yanking toddler from his mother's arms at Brooklyn food stamp office.
https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2018/12/video-shows-ny-police-pulling-baby-mother-arms-181210201556772.html

Women of the world unite!

Marijuana, has always been an economic issue, not about health!

A Struggling Desert Town Bets Its Future on Marijuana


Dec. 9, 2018
NEEDLES, Calif. — Jeff Williams, the incoming mayor of this small desert city near the Arizona border, arrested a lot of people for selling marijuana in his days as a county sheriff. He voted against legalizing the stuff in a 2016 statewide referendum.

But Mr. Williams also knows the city he has called home since he was in second grade has seen better days. The railroad jobs have mostly gone away. And people don’t stop off on the old Route 66 as they used to.

So Mr. Williams, a slender 54-year-old, has become the unlikely leader of Needles’s unlikely effort to turn itself into a new kind of industry town dedicated to the growing business of cannabis.

“If a small community like this isn’t growing, it’s dying — and that’s what we were doing,” Mr. Williams said. “We needed to do something.”

The City Council in this solidly Republican community of 5,000 people has approved 81 permits for cannabis businesses since 2015. Four stores are selling marijuana to the public — about 100 times the number of dispensaries per person over the entire state.

Almost every block in Needles has a run-down building like the old Relax Inn, which is being converted into a cannabis growing facility. Or a new building going up for manufacturing oils and edibles. If all the projects pan out, local officials hope they will generate more jobs — an estimated 2,100 — than Needles has altogether right now.

“You would be hard-pressed to find someone in town who their brother, uncle, sister, aunt, cousin or themselves isn’t involved in the industry,” Rick Daniels, the city manager, said in an interview at Needle’s single-story City Hall.

If Needles, Calif., rings a bell, there is a reason. The historic Route 66, the road traveled west by many of Southern California’s 20th-century settlers, cuts right through town. Needles was the Joad family’s first California stop in “The Grapes of Wrath,” by John Steinbeck.

Needles also was the first place train crews swapped out on freight trains headed east out of Los Angeles. That created hundreds of jobs.

But like many other small towns on the way to Los Angeles, Needles used to be a lot more important. The railroad cut the size of its train crews, and the elegant depot building in Needles is mostly empty. Needles lost its last grocery store in 2014. More than a quarter of the city’s residents live below the poverty line. Bit by bit, the jobs and the people were leaving.

In Mr. Williams’s first go-round as mayor from 2006 to 2010 (he was also a member of the City Council for four years), he tried to attract the solar industry. When that failed, he was drawn to the opportunity in marijuana by a friend who wanted to open a dispensary. California residents had voted to allow medical marijuana years earlier, in 1996.

Mr. Williams spoke with doctors about the potential benefits and slowly got over some of the antipathy toward the drug that his parents and his years as a police officer had instilled.

“It was like turning a battleship. It was a long process,” he said in a recent interview.

Mr. Williams, who said he still had not smoked marijuana himself, worked with the city manager and a lawyer to put together a ballot measure in 2012 that imposed a 10 percent tax on cannabis businesses. It passed with 81 percent of the vote.

“This is a very politically conservative town — but it’s got a streak of libertarianism,” Mr. Daniels, the city manager, said.

The first dispensaries in town still faced opposition, especially from local evangelical churches. But they have failed to attract the bad elements some expected. Crime has been stable over the last few years.

At the Wagon Wheel, the city’s oldest restaurant, a small souvenir shop now offers flags with the marijuana leaf and commemorative signs for Route 420, a code number of sorts for marijuana, along with the old Route 66 memorabilia.

California voted in 2016 to legalize the sale of marijuana for adult use. Most communities have been slow to embrace it because it is still illegal under federal law.

The War on Truth Spreads


The War on Truth Spreads
Democratically elected leaders borrow from the anti-press playbook of dictators and tyrants.

A free and unfettered news media has long been anathema to authoritarian rulers, but even George Orwell might not have anticipated that some of the most unscrupulous assaults on press freedoms would one day be perpetrated by democratically elected governments. Witness these recent events:

Earlier this week Maria Ressa, founder of an online news site critical of the Philippine government of President Rodrigo Duterte, turned herself in to face charges of tax evasion on her return from receiving an International Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protect Journalists. Mr. Duterte has long harassed Ms. Ressa and her start-up, Rappler, and other independent media critical of his murderous campaign against drug dealers and drug users. At one news conference, Mr. Duterte warned a Rappler reporter not to come to his hometown, Davao City, because “something bad will happen to you.” Davao is thought to be home to the most vicious of Philippine vigilante bands, the Davao Death Squad.

The week before, more than 400 news outlets in Hungary, including the leading online newspaper and all remaining regional newspapers, were “donated” by their owners — many of them oligarchs loyal to Prime Minister Viktor Orban who had been systematically buying up outlets — to a foundation run by Mr. Orban’s cronies. Poland under the nationalist Law and Justice Party has been stymied by civil society in its more brazen attempts to emulate Hungary, but the public broadcaster has become something of an ideological mouthpiece.

The infamous state-ordered murder of Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist and critic of the Saudi crown prince, is in a class of its own, and Saudi Arabia is emphatically not a democracy, illiberal or otherwise. But President Trump, the leader of the world’s premier democracy, has added to his other trespasses against the press by refusing to criticize the kingdom and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, despite evidence that the powerful heir must have been behind the grisly execution.

President Trump’s own assault on the press includes his trademark dismissal of any reporting that riles him as “fake news” and his inflammatory depiction of the news media as the “enemy of the people.” His attempt to strip White House press credentials from CNN’s Jim Acosta on the phony pretext that he had “laid hands” on a White House intern may not be in the same league as the exploits of other autocratic press bashers — the credentials were restoredby a judge in a heartening affirmation of America’s legal institutions and the First Amendment — but the president’s disdain for fact, immunity to shame and inability to stomach criticism have offered solace to illiberal comrades.

Some of the most ardent hand-wringing over Mr. Khashoggi’s murder was in Turkey, where he was killed. “The fate of Khashoggi is a test for the whole world with respect to freedom of expression,”tweeted former Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu. Yet Turkey, under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, holds the world record for throwing journalists in prison.

The rise of democratically elected leaders who seek to subjugate the media to their emergent cults of personality, combined with veteran masters of repression like China or Russia, has made life far more difficult for honest journalists and news outlets. But even for the old pros, times have changed.

Back in the days when news was printed on paper or broadcast over radio and television, authoritarian powers like the Soviet Union and its ideological replicants simply seized control of the outlets, censored what came in from outside and repressed anyone who spoke out. The methods were crudely effective, but they also endowed smuggled-in news with the credibility of the forbidden.

New information technologies — the internet, social media, smartphone cameras — were supposed to overcome censorship. They did, but they also armed autocrats with new ways to undermine the credibility of honest news. Fake news — the really fake kind — has proliferated, along with notions such as “alternative facts.”

When they founded Rappler in 2012, Ms. Ressa and her colleagues thought they would use the internet to give the powerless a voice. Instead, the internet in the Philippines of Mr. Duterte has become an outlet for threats and deceit, and much of Rappler’s efforts have been dedicated to uncovering the lies planted on the web by the president’s allies and pointing them out to Facebook, the source of almost all internet news in the Philippines. It’s a losing battle — false news is so rooted in the Philippines that one Facebook executive has called it “patient zero” in the global misinformation epidemic.

And yet Ms. Ressa fights on, as do reporters the world over, exposing abuse, lies and false reporting. That’s the good news.

Women of the world unite!

Money is God, what would you expect?

American pathology!

FBI agent hospitalized after shooting in Brooklyn

https://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2018/12/09/FBI-agent-hospitalized-after-shooting-in-Brooklyn/7921544368306/

Good, yet only to get more converts.

Italian priests vow to open church doors to evictees from immigration centres

‘Salvini decree’ threatens to make thousands not eligible for refugee status homeless

101218 BLOK


101218 BLOK
Materialism…
Things, things, and more things!
Keep the gate locked at all times!
There are thieves!
Keys, keys, and more keys!
Lock your bicycle, be careful!
Things, material things, a million things to buy
In a Dupermarket!
What to buy?
What to consume?
We need guns,
Everybody runs,
In a rush, no time
Unbalanced the dime! 
Lock your doors, 
There are prestopniks out there!
Things, they want our things, 
Our white women too, beware!
Let´s build walls to keep them out,
They want our things!
Keep the gate locked at all times!
Things, things, and more things,
We must consume, or be doomed! 
The whales are dying consuming plastic garbage!
Who cares, 
Those tetrapaks, ruining the beaches in Vietnam,
Who cares!
They´re dying in Yemen
Who cares! 
We must have petrol to drive our motors,
Motors, motos, and machines!
Things, things, and more things!
Materialism, it´s killing us! 
Who cares!
Keep your doors locked,
So sad, your dad! 
Things, things, and more things! 
Materialism!
H. 

Freecycling to Fairphones... It´s not capitalism that´s bad, but the way greedy people exploit it for their own gain.

From freecycling to Fairphones: 24 ways to lead an anti-capitalist life in a capitalist world

We asked readers for their thoughts on ‘non‑capitalist living’ and were deluged with replies. Here are their ideas for everyday ways to buck the system
https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/dec/10/from-freecycling-to-fairphones-24-ways-to-lead-an-anti-capitalist-life-in-a-capitalist-world

Sunday, December 09, 2018

What about the 63-million Americans who voted for Trump?

The Guardian view on Donald Trump: the net closes

091218 BLOK

091218 BLOK
Think about it… You´ve gone for a ride or hike.  You sit down to rest.  At some point you notice a rock in the ground, for some reason getting your attention.  Why this rock as there are many?  You pull it out of the ground and examine it.  Nothing special, you throw it aside, and it lands bottoms up, the side that hasn´t seen the sun for hundreds of years.
Think about it… The rock hadn´t moved for god knows how long.  Suddenly it´s flying through the air, landing in a new place, in a new position.   Wow!  What must it think?
This is what happens to us humans, not exactly in the same way as the rock, but nonetheless our lives can change in a most abrupt way.  I´ve had it happen to me.
What is the reason for these surrendipitous events?  Chance, fate, luck, destiny, everyone has a way of explaining such.  It´s how we create our worlds.
There is no objective reality, we create reality from our minds.  Humanity trying to come together, sharing, via a host of language dictionaries — not very well, I might add.  One only has to be aware of what´s happening in the world in 2018 C.E.
I observe people not having a clue about life, and how to explain what happens to them.  Thus, and long ago, humans created religion to explain.  But, religion is penultimate, based on belief.  It´s better to know!  Ah, you say this is impossible!  No it is possible!  In fact, anything is possible, it´s just that we tend to limit ourselves, trapped and distracted just trying to survive modern life.
I took the road less travelled, and it´s made all the difference.  It leads to knowing!
Rocks have taught me many things!
H.

More insanity!


HOW THE CIA USED BRAIN SURGERY TO MAKE SIX REMOTE CONTROL DOGS
https://www.newsweek.com/cia-mkultra-documents-files-remote-control-dogs-1250519

he world in 2018, gone mad!

Human rights for the 21st century: by Margaret Atwood, Reni Eddo-Lodge, Dave Eggers and more

The right to live offline, to self-define, to choose, to a healthy planet ... as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights turns 70, leading authors reimagine it for today
https://www.theguardian.com/books/2018/dec/08/universal-declaration-human-rights-turns-70

Women of the world unite!

Social media sites should focus less on nipples and more on Nazis
Arwa Mahdawi

Tumblr, long known as a safe space for sexual subcultures, has a new policy on ‘female-presenting nipples’. Maybe it should rethink its priorities

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/08/week-in-patriarchy-nipples-tumblr-social-media

Women of the world unite!

Underwear revolution: how lingerie grew up and put women’s comfort first

Sales of push-up bras are plunging. The new lingerie is all about comfort and body confidence
Underwear revolution: how lingerie grew up and put women’s comfort first
Sales of push-up bras are plunging. The new lingerie is all about comfort and body confidence

American Pathology!

2018 is worst year on record for gun violence in schools, data shows

Research cited by Sandy Hook Promise counted 94 incidents, a near 60% increase on the previous high, 59, set in 2006
https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2018/dec/09/sandy-hook-promise-gun-violence-school-shooting-report-2018

Saturday, December 08, 2018

https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2018/dec/08/elena-ferrante-rewrite-other-peoples-stories

Elena Ferrante: I like to rewrite stories – swapping men for women. It doesn’t always work

A woman who decides to give it all up rarely turns back, while men generally, at a certain point, need their Ithaca

What people lack is consciousness! Most don´t even know what it is!

Our age lacks gravitas. That’s why we cannot deal with crisis

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/dec/08/age-lacks-gravitas-brexit-coverage

08c1218 BLOK

08c1218 BLOK
Life to people who live near the Equator a social occasion, and the younger they are the more they like noise!
Further from the Equator, especially in the northern hemisphere, silence is golden!
This must have to do with the sun, more in the summers, less in the winters…?
Where people live on the globe, affects the culture, how they live, how they think, what´s important to them.  It´s called Environmental Determinalism, via Wikipedia:
`Environmental determinism (also known as climatic determinism or geographical determinism) is the study of how the physical environment predisposes societies and states towards particular development trajectories. Nineteenth-century approaches held that climate and terrain largely determined human activity and psychology, and it was associated with institutionalized racism and eugenics.[1] Many scholars underscore that this approach supported colonialism and eurocentrism, and devalued human agency in non-Western societies.[2][3] Jared Diamond, Jeffrey Herbst, Ian Morris, and other social scientists sparked a revival of the theory during the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. This "neo-environmental determinism" school of thought examines how geographic and ecological forces influence state-building, economic development, and institutions.´
H.

08b1218 BLOK

08b1218 BLOK
On the 6th, two days ago I had dinner at SIRTAKI my local restaurant, for new Greek friends in Kalambaka.  six out of nine invited came.  Since it was a mixed group, a bit strained in the beginning, as guests have to relax (alcohol) and get comfortable with each other before revealing too much.
Hnias, a man who operates a health food store here in Kalambaka, turns out to be a retired policeman from Athens.  Others included:  my closest cycling friends, Vasili, his wife Jennie, and son (I have to get this boy´s name correctly), Keti, my landlady, and her brother-in-law, Vasili (this somehow translates to William or Bill in English).
I wore my Scottish kilt (photograph included).
The dinner turned out O.K., costing me only 100€ ($137) or $20 per.  But, this is something I try to do every Christmas season, whatever country-culture where I´m located.
The highlight of the evening for me, was to discover, framed on the wall, a quote from ZORBA THE GREEK by Nikos Kazantzakis:  YOU THINK TOO MUCH!  THIS IS YOUR PROBLEM!  This is MY problem, and certainly a message for me, AS THAT VERY DAY, I had just completed reading the book!  If you think this happened by accident, you simply aren´t very well connected to the cosmos!  People miss so much living their distracted modern lives!   Most controlled by their smarteles.
The message to me was/is, THINK LESS, but how to…?  How to stop what the Buddhists call the Monkey Mind, that rational deliberating, jabbering, fool machine, the ego, that wants!  I´M LATE, I´M LATE, FOR A VERY IMPORTANT DATE!
Stop the mind with meditation, breathing, but this requires that you pick a time, and get serious about such!  I do such every morning.
Yesterday, speaking of meditating, I cycled (one form of meditation for me) up to friend Dimitris Moulas´ atelier (artist studio) in Kastraki.  I took the road less travelled, and it made all the difference, as I got some of the best photograhs of the Meteora, ever!  All now in the Gallery at www.cyclingpeace.org
After meeting Dimitris, and purchasing one of his Christian iconographic paintings he sells, I was returning to Kalambaka, when I ran into two Canadian couples stopped on the road.  One of the women named Val caught my attention and I stopped.  Seems Val and Mark, her partner, are cyclists and had come all the way from Prague, Czechoslovakia via Albania.  The other couple, whose names I never got, there travelling around on a motorcycle.  I thought, how interesting that two Canadian couples, from the same Province (British Columbia), would meet up on a lonely road above Kastraki, Greece. And that I would stop to share experiences, and ultimately photographs.  I have included this photograph, as well.
YOU THINK TOO MUCH!  THIS IS YOUR PROBLEM! (ZORBA THE GREEK).
H.
Spanning the globe on a bicycle to bring you the constant variety!