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Thursday, December 28, 2017

Corporate Interests Advancing in Media

“In just the last few weeks:
1) The Federal Communications Commission, headed by an unabashed Trump supporter, did away with rules that protected "net neutrality," the policy that kept big corporate providers of internet service (like Comcast and Verizon) from discriminating against smaller web sites (like the Lowdown and just about all other independent, non-corporate media).  

2) Before delivering that Christmas present to one set of corporate interests, the FCC greased the skids for another, changing its rules to allow Sinclair Broadcasting, a right-wing owner of TV stations, to gobble up even more local broadcasters. When its merger goes through, Sinclair will control over 200 stations around the country. Sinclair is notorious for forcing its local stations to carry "must-run" right-wing commentaries.  

3) Time magazine has been bought by a group backed with millions of dollars from the Koch brothers. Los Angeles's largest weekly newspaper, the LA Weekly, has been bought by a group with deep conservative ties. The Washington City Paper, long respected for its reporting in our nation's capital, is up for sale and right-wing buyers have been sniffing.”

Jim Hightower,
American Populist

http://jimhightower.com

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

One Voting Strategy for Future USA Elections

Since neither political party really represents my beliefs, I will be pursuing the following voting strategy:

At the national level, for the House of Representatives, I’ll vote Democrat. I’ll vote Republican for the Senate. For President, I’ll vote for the person who I think is the most qualified for the job. The key point being that you cannot allow one single party to dominate.

At the state level, I’ll employ the above strategy.

At the local level, I’ll vote for the best person for the position they’re running for. 

And I’ll vote in the Democratic Primary to help keep them from going too far to the Left.

Note: After Reagan disappointed me with his amnesty and his trickle-down economics tax cut, I started voting third party based upon the direction I thought the nation needed to go (sometimes Green Party and other times Libertarian). But in 2016, I went Democrat all the way with the Republican lineup looking like it did at all levels. [Note: the severe degree of partisanship turns me off to the point that I’m tempted to not vote sometimes. After all, why vote for the bastards? You only encourage them.]

I personally support: 
No amnesty for immigration
Balanced budgets
Environmental protection
Planned Parenthood 

Auxiliary reading—
Ranked Choice Voting:
https://act.represent.us/sign/ranked-choice-voting/

https://represent.us/about/

6 ways to fix American democracy:
https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/us_5852d709e4b0b333cf73ec31

Note: When we go to Ranked Choice Voting, I can drop my personal voting strategy.

Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Take Political Action: Take A Stand & Make Donations

When I started blogging in 2006, I consistently included Take Action links with my postings wherever and whenever appropriate. At that time, I was also accepting comments. But after a couple of years, it became apparent that too many people are either too apathetic or too nervous to ‘take a stand’ by emailing, writing letters or calling their representatives on issues facing the nation (or state, or community) — while writing a ‘letter to the editor’ seems to be especially daunting. Joining an organization that supports one’s belief system, also, seems to be problematic. So, I both stopped posting Take Action links and taking comments. Too many people like to complain without taking any sort of action. 
But this is not true about everyone. And for these people, I offer the suggestion that if you want to take action, then simply search for the ‘subject’ (issue) plus the words ‘take action now’. Lots of organizations offer online opportunities to contact the appropriate representatives and they give succinct evaluations of the issue.

If you want to take action directly, you can find the names, etcetera for your various government representatives at:
https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials

To help evaluate the efficacy of an organization that you might want to donate to, first reference:
https://www.charitynavigator.org

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Mindfulness: Self-observation Without Condemning or Condoning

“There is an ancient Buddhist practice of mindfulness that does wonders for our thought process. By doing this, your mind can remain steady and calm. The technique? Just watch the thoughts. It’s so simple, right? Doing this practice every day will radically change your mindset. Most people try and control the thoughts, and squash negativity — but that doesn’t work.

Just watch the thoughts. It’s so simple, right? Doing this practice every day will radically change your mindset. Most people try and control the thoughts, and squash negativity — but that doesn’t work. Instead, watching the thoughts shows you (quite powerfully) the fact that you are NOT your thoughts. There is a part of you that’s separate from the negativity that spins you in a million different directions.”

Buddha’s 3 Rules For Mending A Broken Heart (8 minutes):
https://youtu.be/cMNfawzbZYA

Mindfulness MIX:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6p_yaNFSYao&list=RDQMoxly_qY7XDI

Saturday, December 23, 2017

Practice The Ancient Tradition Of Creating Social Justice

Book of Amos:
https://www.biblestudytools.com/amos/

At a time in our national story when White Evangelical drama is in the forefront of the news, it’s nice to be reminded that there are Baptists who remember biblical truths because they have actually read the Holy Bible in its entirety and with significant depth of understanding. The following article is written by Walt Shelton, a law professor at Baylor who also leads discussion groups at church:

“Social justice is all about actively loving others who are vulnerable and in need. More particularly, social justice includes fair treatment and provision of opportunities for everyone in a society, with special emphasis and concern for the poor and other disadvantaged people. This crucial emphasis on caring for others is always in order, but some cultural circumstances cry out for prioritizing equity.
Social justice is embedded in the fabric of Jewish-Christian tradition, reaching a highpoint of expression in certain prophets such as Amos. Although often misunderstood as predicting the future, Biblical prophets primarily spoke to their own generations and historical circumstances. Another word for prophet is “seer,” as in clarity of vision and speech from God for their own times. When similar contexts arise in later times, however, a prophet’s insightful words have renewed relevance and heightened importance.

What about Amos? His was the era of a divided kingdom with two separate countries — Israel, the northern kingdom and Judah, the southern kingdom. He spoke to Israel in the first half of the eighth century B.C. during a time of military strength and national security, a strong economy and extravagant wealth (for some), and thriving worship centers and related rituals. Many perceived these as signs of God’s national favor, but Amos saw things differently.
Amos denounced the rich “who oppress the poor, who crush the needy” (Amos 4:1). He pronounced judgment because they “trample on the poor … afflict the righteous … and push aside the needy in the gate” (Amos 5:11-12). Speaking for God at the summit of his message, Amos strongly declared to that self-assured generation: “I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. … I will not accept [your religious offerings]. … Take away from me the noise of your songs. … But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever flowing stream” (Amos 5:21-24). This passage has sometimes been called the “MLK passage” because Martin Luther King Jr. applied it to violent racial discrimination in his time, the 1960s.
It is noteworthy that Amos was an apparent victim of social injustice. He was a foreigner from a small village, traveling north from his native Judah to Israel to proclaim God’s word (Amos 1:1). Further, Amos was a shepherd and dresser of trees (Amos 1:1, 7:14), with a socio-economic gulf between him and the powerful political and religious leaders of Israel. In a moving autobiographical passage, Amaziah, the priest of the religious center in Bethel, accused Amos of conspiring against the King of Israel with his prophecy. Amaziah told Amos to go home and “never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is a temple of the kingdom” (Amos 7:10-13).
The appearance of holiness at a busy religious institution and assembly like Bethel did not make it or its people so. Amos’s perspective was profound but not novel. Social justice runs deep in Jewish tradition. For example, God’s words to Moses many generations earlier included a prominent Holiness Code that spoke of authentic holiness (Leviticus 19). “You shall love your neighbor as yourself” is part of this code (Lev. 19:18). Jesus emphasized such love as one of the greatest commandments (Mark 12:31). But it is not just neighbors: “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you: you shall love the alien as yourself…” (Lev. 19:33-34). Amos was oppressed as an alien. He was from a different country and culture and had a different point of view from prominent leaders. As God’s special messenger, Amos also championed the poor, needy, and others who were being oppressed in the land that he visited.
So how do our times line up with early eighth century Israel? God always cares about living expressions of social justice — rivers of true justice and righteousness in the form of loving, caring, and inclusive actions and initiatives. In the context of extreme wealth, military prowess, secure borders, and the illusion of religious prominence, Amos reminds us what God cares about and what is really important.”

http://www.mystatesman.com/lifestyles/religion/practice-the-ancient-tradition-creating-social-justice/563FBEy0BZ2CmL9TbBPPEI/

Friday, December 22, 2017

Extremely Rich Americans Are Protecting Wealth With Land


Extremely Rich Americans Are Protecting Wealth With Land

...”over the past decade, the nation's wealthiest private landowners have been laying claim to ever-larger tracts of the countryside... in 2007, the nation's 100 largest private landowners owned a combined 27 million acres of land. A decade later, the 100 largest landowners have holdings of 40.2 million acres, an increase of nearly 50 percent.

Those rising numbers represent the growing appeal of land as an asset class. The stock market has been on a tear in recent years, and some wealthy individuals have been looking to cash out and park their assets in a safe place. That's where land comes in. Paper fortunes appear and vanish in the span of days on Wall Street, but land isn't going anywhere.
Investors are particularly interested in productive land — property that can be used to raise cattle, mine minerals, produce timber or grow crops. Like stocks, income and wealth in general, land ownership is tightly concentrated among the upper class.

In 2016, the wealthiest 1 percent of households owned 40 percent of the nation's non-home real estate, while the next 9 percent of households owned another 42 percent.
That left the remaining 90 percent of households owning just 18 percent of the country's non-home real estate.

The nation's largest private landowner is telecom baron John Malone, with 2.2 million acres. Ted Turner is No. 2 on the list, with an even 2 million acres...
The median holdings of the top 100 landowners rose from 160,000 acres to 250,000 acres over that time period.... Many wealthy individuals shield their purchases via trusts, shell companies and other corporate structures.

Properties currently on the market include the Agua Fria Ranch in Texas, where $15.2 million will get you 23,482 acres, including “almost the entire Agua Fria Mountain range.”
Other enormous chunks of land currently for sale include:
24 mountain peaks outside Salt Lake City for $39 million; a 7,000-acre Georgia estate on the market for the first time in the history of the republic;and, T. Boone Pickens's Mesa Vista ranch in Texas, where $250 million will net you 64,000 acres of the Texas Panhandle.

Eighty percent of us live on 3 percent of the United States. Large swaths of privately owned land are beyond comprehension because they are simply beyond the horizon.”

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2017/12/21/american-land-barons-100-wealthy-families-now-own-nearly-as-much-land-as-that-of-new-england/?utm_term=.de2bcb0ab674

One Fourth of American Christians Believe in Reincarnation

“According to data released by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (2009 survey), not only do a quarter of Americans believe in reincarnation, but 24 percent of American Christians expressed a belief in reincarnation. This represents a significant deviation from the traditional Judaeo-Christian narrative with which most Americans in the baby-boomer generation grew up. You were born. You lived. You died. And after a judgment you went to heaven or hell forever.
The word “reincarnation” derives from Latin and literally means “entering the flesh again.” The conviction is that an imperishable principle (soul) exists in every human being and comes back on this earth after death in a new form. The fate of every person in this life and in future lives is determined by the consequences of good or bad actions in the past or present (karma)”...

https://www.americamagazine.org/faith/2015/10/21/25-percent-us-christians-believe-reincarnation-whats-wrong-picture

My Comment: Fundamentalists of the three Abrahamic religions cannot generally be expected to believe in reincarnation. Indeed, even the fundamentalists of the Hindu religion don’t understand reincarnation and have distorted views (e.g., that a person can be reincarnated as an animal). Fundamentalists think at a basic level and have not progressed in their spiritual understanding. Thus, they really heavily on religious dictates.

Search: Christians reincarnation

Thursday, December 21, 2017

No Political Party for the Middle Class

According to the non-partisan Tax Policy Center, the top 1% of income-earners will receive an astounding majority of the gains from these changes over time. In contrast, by 2027 most working and middle class families will actually be facing a tax HIKE.
http://www.businessinsider.com/tax-policy-center-analysis-of-final-trump-gop-tax-reform-bill-2017-12

Cartoons:
https://s3.amazonaws.com/lowres.cartoonstock.com/politics-politician-political-fundraisers-campaign-voter-jsh120515_low.jpg

https://s3.amazonaws.com/lowres.cartoonstock.com/money-banking-bribe-bribing-sponsors-sponsoring-politically_corrupt-jsh120716_low.jpg

https://thetyee.ca/Opinion/2013/05/20/xbc-election-cartoon600px.jpg.pagespeed.ic.EOsZKpQIyi.jpg

https://s3.amazonaws.com/lowres.cartoonstock.com/politics-government-lobby-lobbyist-lobbying-politician-wmi100902_low.jpg

American Anti-Corruption Act:
https://represent.us/our-policy-platform/

To receive newsletters, scroll to bottom of page and add your name:
https://act.represent.us/sign/the-solution

Represent.Us is a nonpartisan, non-profit organization founded in November, 2012 whose stated mission is “to pass tough anti-corruptio laws in cities and states across America, and end the legalized corruption that has come to define modern politics.” Represent.Us advocates for state and local laws, often using the ballot initiative process, based on model legislation called the American Anti-Corruption Act—a proposal to overhaul lobbying, transparency, and campaign finance laws.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Represent.Us

Monday, December 18, 2017

School of Life: Alternative to Political Correctness Is Politeness

Political correctness aims for some positive results, but its too oft judgmental means have a habit of upsetting a lot of people. Might there be an alternative to it? We think there is, and it’s called “politeness”.
7 minute video:
https://youtu.be/uWM2E9oHlhA

This is just one of many “School of Life” YouTube Videos that offer a curriculum of classes teaching emotional intelligence. These explore ways to make work more fulfilling, improve romantic relationships, and face the day-to-day challenges of life, from facing death to relating to one's family. Also given are a series of videos that additionally talk about relationships, culture and more.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_School_of_Life

“School of Life” YouTube Videos 
125+ Videos @ About 5 Min. Each
http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLwxNMb28XmpcEwc0qydf2jSszQFSht81E

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Agreeing With Big Polluter Lobbyist About Republican Climate Science Denial

“When it comes to the Republican Party and global warming, I agree with the assessment of Thomas Pyle, head of the American Energy Alliance, a polluter front group. Here's what Pyle says:
Republicans don't deny climate science because they don't know the facts or don't trust its scientific rigor. They deny it because all available solutions to global warming contradict their free-market dogma that big business alone can solve all of our problems (with a few government subsidies along the way).

The free market hasn't, and can't, solve the climate crisis any more than it solved our smog or dirty water problems - we needed the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act to do that. But instead of altering their ideology, American conservatives just pretend global warming doesn't exist....”

http://thegreenmiles.blogspot.com/2016/11/i-agree-with-this-big-polluter-lobbyist.html?m=1

Biblical Scripture Based Anti-environmentalism

“A scripture based justification for anti-environmentalism?
Many Christian fundamentalists feel that concern for the future of our planet is irrelevant, because it has no future. They believe we are living in the End Time, when the son of God will return, the righteous will enter heaven, and sinners will be condemned to eternal hellfire. They may also believe, along with millions of other Christian fundamentalists, that environmental destruction is not only to be disregarded but actually welcomed — even hastened — as a sign of the coming Apocalypse.”
http://grist.org/article/scherer-christian/

Evangelicals are not all alike on how they view stewardship of God’s creation:
http://www.pbs.org/moyers/citizensclass/is_god_green/religion_environment/

Planet is in spiritual crisis:
http://www.hinduwisdom.info/Nature_Worship.htm

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Immigration: Why Not All Hispanics Are Staunch Democrats

Ten years ago, I posted the following letter from my sister-in-law chastising  our federal government in regards to illegal immigration. Read it and understand why not all Hispanics are staunch Democrats:

“I am an immigrant from Mexico. My parents brought us to this country in 1956, and when the papers were given to us, I read them and there was a clause that stated:
YOU SHALL NOT BE A BURDEN TO THE COUNTRY YOU ARE GOING TO.

My parents worked hard to achieve their dreams. We were not poor in Mexico, but my mother wanted a better life for the family. We have done well and the reason for my letter is as follows:

You should stop giving the U.S. away!!!  You have pushed for seven amnesties already. Should it not stop? If you give these millions of illegal immigrants amnesty again, are we the citizens of this country ready to feed them? I say this because as soon as they come into this country they go directly to government housing because they are"homeless", get food stamps because they are "unemployed", medicaid for the same reason and so on.

I say this because I have seen it while working for a utility company where I saw people living in Reynosa, Mexico (across the Rio Grande River in south Texas) coming to town (Pharr TX) to collect the food stamps the checks from Hidalgo county to pay for the light bill, water bill, gas bill.  Not everybody that enters the country illegally comes to work, a large number come for the" freebies"  and the good old USA has a lot of that, all thanks to you Democrats. It is alright to give to the poor, but to the poor of this country not the people coming in,  especially illegally. Then they proclaim "rights" what rights do they have????

A son or daughter brings his or her parents at the ripe age of 60-62 years of age to the USA and three later when this elderly people reach the age of 65 they get SSI which is about $700.00 to $900.00 per month, food stamps, housing(section 8) and maybe the apartments are owned by the same son or daughter who receives the check from the government to pay for his parents rent?  Mexico does not offer these benefits why should the US? 

We (the utility employees) heard the elderly people born here who for one reason or another had no money at the same age that this immigrants (65 yrs of age) and the US gives them a meager $200.00 social security check. Should they not receive more than people who just walked in??

Taking the easy way out by giving in to these illegals just because they march and protest, hide in churches, and waive Mexican flags. which incidentally should be flown in Mexico not here.  Does Mexico fly American flags? NO WAY!

Stop it Mr.Kennedy!  Think about it! You are an American,  don't do what Mexico did when they allowed the Americans into Texas only to be surprised when the anglos took over. Do not let Mexicans do the same to you.

I have lost my respect for you. I am for helping others, and I do when the occasion occurs; however, rewarding the people for entering this country illegally is wrong and you know it. 
(Signed)
A very disappointed U. S. citizen.”

Friday, December 15, 2017

Jesus Was A Middle Eastern Refugee

“Christmas is, first and foremost, a subversive story about the radical inversion of power. Christ doesn’t enter the world as hero; he was born among those the Roman Empire oppressed and despised. The incarnation is God’s promise that the “last shall be first,” made real in flesh.
That’s the reason Herod, Rome’s provincial lackey, attempts to kill Jesus: The child threatens the unjust power structure upon which Herod sits. Herod does what any petty despot would — he tries to get rid of the threat to his throne....”
https://sojo.net/articles/donald-trump-wont-celebrate-christmas-heres-why

....at this point, Joseph, Mary and Jesus flee to Egypt. They become refugees. 
https://m.huffpost.com/us/entry/4460400

NFL Controversy: The Bottom Line For Some Of Trump’s Core Supporters

....”More than anything, what seemed to upset the people I spoke with was the National Football League players who have knelt during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial inequality.
"Shame on them," Del Signore, the catering company owner, said. "These clowns are out there, making millions of dollars a year, and they're using some stupid excuse that they want equality — so I'll kneel against the flag and the national anthem?"
"You're not a fan of equality?" I asked.
"For people who deserve it and earn it," he said. "All my ancestors, Italian, 100 percent Italian, the Irish, Germans, Polish, whatever — they all came over here, settled in places like this, they worked hard and they earned the success that they got. Some people don't want to do that. They just want it handed to them."
"Like NFL players?" I said.
"Well," Del Signore responded, "I hate to say what the majority of them are...." He stopped himself short of what I thought he was about to say.

Pam Schilling and her husband, however, did not restrain themselves. "The thing that irritates me to no end is this NFL s---," Schilling told me in her living room. "We do not watch no NFL now."
Schilling looked at her husband, Dave McCabe, who's 67 and a retired high school basketball coach. She nodded at me. "Tell him," she said to McCabe, "what you said the NFL is...."
McCabe looked momentarily wary. He laughed a little. "I don't remember saying that," he said unconvincingly.
Schilling was having none of it. The NFL? "N---ers for life," Schilling said.”

http://theweek.com/articles/739277/where-trumps-support-endures

Note: Not all people who think that NFL players’ kneeling is inappropriate are bigots. But, those who are having a such a visceral reaction against such probably are. And such entrenched racial bigotry is what’s manifesting in police brutality against blacks. If you don’t happen to know people like this, then you are either very fortunate or quite naive.

Let us remember what Ronald Reagan said: “We must never remain silent in the face of bigotry. We must condemn those who seek to divide us. In all quarters and at all times, we must teach tolerance and denounce racism, anti-Semitism and all ethnic or religious bigotry wherever they exist as unacceptable evils. We have no place for haters in America -- none, whatsoever.”
https://www.reaganlibrary.archives.gov/archives/speeches/1984/102684a.htm

In the following picture, there are some NFL players not holding their hand over their heart during the national anthem. They disturb me - not the ones kneeling. In neither case do I condemn them. 
http://images.performgroup.com/di/library/sporting_news/2f/e9/49ersanthem-getty-ftr-101617jpg_14xfqhi6x9hjt18jhbsajfu7zo.jpg?t=632077895&w=960&quality=70

Thursday, December 14, 2017

ISIS, NYC Harbor Attack and Religious Fundamentalism

As I read about the defeat of ISIS in Syria and Iraq, I’m reminded about the danger of ISIS members returning to the countries from which they came being a danger as they continue their terrorist activities. One such place that comes to mind is New York City. And especially NYC harbor — since the security around airports, bridges and such is greatly heightened. Though I’m sure that great measures have also been taken to secure the harbor, it seems logical that ISIS would desire a propaganda victory by creating a most dramatic scene of smoke and despair in sight of the Statue of Liberty. After all, if one wants to generate the greatest amount of hate, then besmirching America’s greatest iconic landscape of greatness will catapult us into a frenzy that will hasten dramatic actions (given the current national drama)— just the thing that Christian fundamentalists crave, because they believe that there cannot be a Second Coming without an Apocalypse — and our nation’s leader is their hero. [Do I see a self fulfilling prophecy in the making as the fundamentalistic beliefs of the three Abrahamic religions create unbreachable rationalistic defenses for their certifiably insane ideological conflicts (of which Jerusalem is a flash point).

NYC and ISIS
https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2017/10/new-york-isis/544601/

Trump Reinvigorates ISIS
http://www.newsweek.com/how-trump-reinvigorated-isis-al-qaeda-551467

Jerusalem
https://sites.dartmouth.edu/crusadememory/2016/04/24/jerusalem-in-judaism-christianity-and-islam/

End of Times
http://grist.org/article/scherer-christian/

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Secrets Of Resilient People

“Resilience and adaptability to change are extremely important life skills, often associated with emotional intelligence and a healthy attitude or perspective towards the self and life in general.
Here are eight ways to help you not only adapt to change, and deal with crises, but actually thrive in it”:

http://upliftconnect.com/the-secrets-of-resilient-people/?utm_source=UPLIFT&utm_campaign=4b54fc7d54-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2017_11_30&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_19c1fc07c2-4b54fc7d54-113663725

Resilience (4 minutes):
https://youtu.be/xw2OEKAHIhM

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Why Incompetent People Often Think They’re Amazing

In the field of psychology, the Dunning–Kruger effect is a cognitive bias wherein people of low ability suffer from illusory superiority, mistakenly assessing their cognitive ability as greater than it is. The cognitive bias of illusory superiority derives from the metacognitive inability of low-ability persons to recognize their own ineptitude; without the self-awareness of metacognition, low-ability people cannot objectively evaluate their actual level of competence.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning–Kruger_effect

Why incompetent people think they're amazing (5 minutes):
https://youtu.be/pOLmD_WVY-E

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Israel’s Historic Achievement

Though I consider Trump’s declaration that Jerusalem should be the proper capital by planning to move the American Embassy there to be unnecessarily provocative, he’s not  entirely wrong (though he is ignoring much of the region’s overall history). The following excerpt goes along with the Israeli stance:

“.... the Jews have lived in the land of Israel for over 3,300 years since 1312 B.C.E... They had lived there at least 1,800 years before the Arab conquest of 635 C.E., which lasted only 22 years.”

“Jerusalem was the Jewish capital for over 3,300 years and never was the capital of any Arab or Muslim entity. King David founded Jerusalem; Muhammad never set foot in it. Jews pray facing Jerusalem, and Muslims face Mecca. Jerusalem is mentioned hundreds of times in the Old Testament and not once in the Koran. The Jews have never had any other national homeland. When the Roman Empire later extended its rule to Israel and colonized the land, the Romans decimated the Jewish population and exiled the Jews to Europe and other parts of the empire. In A.D. 70, the Second Temple was destroyed by Titus, who returned to Rome in 71 with 14,000 Jews as slaves and forced them to build the Roman Coliseum. But the Jews never lost the connection to their ancestral home.
Through the centuries of Ottoman rule and the years of the British mandate after World War I, the Jews kept faith in their history and came back—to the displeasure of the others ("Arabs" for short) who had moved in. Deadly Arab riots against Jews occurred in 1920, 1929, and 1936-1939. In World War II, the Jews themselves fought on two fronts, fending off attacks by the Arabs who favored the Nazis and serving alongside the British against Hitler. There was not one inch on all the surface of the Earth that the Jews could call home until the 1947 vote of the United Nations in favor of the establishment of Jewish and Arab states. The United States under President Truman was the first to recognize the new state, who cited Deuteronomy 1:8: "Behold, I have given up the land before you; go in and take possession of the land which the Lord has sworn unto your fathers through Abraham, through Isaac, and through Jacob."
Thus ended the longest exile ever endured by a people. After almost 2,000 years of homelessness and wandering since the Romans sacked Jerusalem, the Jewish people came miraculously home.
This is a story without parallel, of a love of a people for the land of Israel. In this land in ancient times, the Jewish people were born. In this land in modern times, the Jewish people were reborn. They have never left Israel voluntarily and returned when they could, from more than a hundred countries speaking more than 80 languages, a modern-day gathering of the exiles. More than 3,000 years earlier, Moses had prophesied, "Even if you have been banished to the most distant land under the heavens, from there the Lord your God will gather you and bring you back." And so it was.
The day after the vote for partition, Arab gunmen began ambushing Jews, and then five Arab armies invaded. That marked the start of the tragedy that persists today. The Palestinians who were urged by Arab leaders to leave Israel have never been integrated with their coreligionists. All these years since 1948, their "host" countries have held them hostage in camps (and the integrated refugees have now grown to several million people). They cannot be returned, for if that were to happen, there would be no state at all for the Jewish people. The Republican nominee for the presidency in 1940, Wendell Willkie, summed up the competing claims this way: "The Arabs have a good case in Palestine. There is only one thing wrong with it—the Jews have a better case." Time and again, the Palestinians have been offered an Arab state next to Israel: first, in the partition plan of 1947; then, in the Oslo accords; then at Camp David in 2000; and finally, in countless declarations since then by both Israeli and international leaders. All have met with a violent rejection by the Palestinians and by the Arab countries....”

Israel’s Historic Achievement:
https://www.usnews.com/opinion/mzuckerman/articles/2008/05/16/israels-historic-achievement

Moses quote:
http://biblehub.com/deuteronomy/30-4.htm

The Standard Solar Model and the Greenhouse Effect on Early Earth

We know that the energy output of a newborn star (sun) is less than as it ages. The Standard Solar Model indicates that our sun would have been at about 70% of the current level during the first part of its existence. This means that the Earth would’ve been a ‘giant snowball’ but for the high levels of methane and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere at that time. The ‘greenhouse effect’ kept the planet unfrozen. That is, until Cyanobacteria evolved and consumed these two gases down to the point that the greenhouse effect was minimized and the planet froze over. 
Nowadays, the sun is much brighter while greenhouse gases are fortunately much lower. However, mankind is disrupting the balance between oxygen and CO2 by artificially unsequestering large amounts of carbon. This is causing temperatures to rise and to release ever increasing amounts of methane via melting permafrost and methane hydrate degasification. The ocean's ability to absorb excess carbon dioxide is decreasing and ocean acidification is increasing. The greenhouse effect, instead of being a giver of life, will increasingly become a taker.

Early Earth:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Early_Earth

Faint Sun Paradox:
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Faint_young_Sun_paradox

Astrobiology of methane and CO2:
Note that methane breaks down into carbon dioxide which is stable -
https://www.astrobio.net/geology/earths-early-atmosphere/

What is climate change:
http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-24021772

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Food Documentary: “What The Health” (and more)

What The Health” is a 2017 documentary film which critiques the healthy impact of meat and dairy products consumption, and questions the practices of the leading health and pharmaceutical organizations. Its primary purpose is to advocate for a plant-based diet.
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/What_the_Health

https://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2017/08/12/what-the-health-documentary.aspx?utm_source=wnl&utm_medium=email&utm_content=art3&utm_campaign=20170824Z1_UCM&et_cid=DM155667&et_rid=26014747

Before watching “What the Health”, watch: More About “What The Health” film with Neal Barnard (27 minutes)
https://youtu.be/EJr3MUNc14Y

Documentary: “What The Health
(1 hour 8 minutes)-
https://youtu.be/o-MYKsuzSfY
Trailer-
https://youtu.be/Jf44vLndiRM
(2 minutes)

Dr. Oz: 5 Ingredients You Should Stop Eating Right Now (5 minutes):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fEcRNucFZ-c&sns=em

Power Foods for the Brain | Neal Barnard (17 minutes)- Avoiding Alzheimer’s Disease
https://youtu.be/v_ONFix_e4k

Broccoli - the DNA whisperer | Tom Malterre (12 minutes):
https://youtu.be/hmFnzc3oZ04

My Comment: Avoid processed foods and minimize animal products.

Friday, December 8, 2017

Using Multi-source News

I am very fortunate. I’m retired, and I daily walk to my neighborhood coffee shop where the owners provide the local newspaper, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal for their customers to read. I, also, subscribe to The Week and the Discover magazines. So, as I sip my coffee, I am, also, able to peruse the internet to supplement whatever I need to in order to achieve as complete and balanced view of what’s going on in the world as possible. Oft times, foreign newspapers online prove to be more reliable than our own newspapers (I suppose it’s because our news sources are owned by our corporate conglomerates). Usually, the factual differences are not great; but, how the facts are organized and interpreted are. Bias shines through in most cases.

My suggestion: If you use the Internet regularly, avoid using Facebook for news and minimize the number of so-called news sites you visit to those proven balanced and fair. Realize that anything you click on encourages more of the same. Also, vary the search engines that you use to weaken the algorithmic bias — and to lessen Google’s domination by at least just a tad.

Search engines:
https://www.lifewire.com/best-search-engines-2483352

https://searchenginewatch.com/2016/02/25/say-goodbye-to-google-14-alternative-search-engines/

https://www.google.com/amp/s/www.bforblogging.com/best-google-alternative-search-engines-list/amp/

https://www.howtogeek.com/113513/5-alternative-search-engines-that-respect-your-privacy/