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Betrayal!

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Betrayal!

The pervasive & defining crime of our age

Let me apologize in advance for what may be an upsetting piece of writing for some of you. If you’re in a state of shock or exhaustion from recent events, perhaps you should skip this one.

I don’t offer this analysis in order to further distress anyone — but until you understand what is happening and how that influences your psychological state, you’ll remain the emotional equivalent of a rag doll shaken to-and-fro by events.

Such understanding may not bring you to a place of calm acceptance. But it will set you free.

Betrayal

The recent acts of violence in the US, especially the horrific mass shooting in Las Vegas, are not arising out of a vacuum. Nor are the Brexit vote, the election of Trump, or the recent Catalonian vote for secession, random unconnected acts.

These — and future similarly disruptive events sure to come — are all arising out of the fact that we all have been betrayed.

For the purposes of this article, let’s define betrayal as:

the sense of being harmed by the intentional actions of a trusted person or institution. The emotional impacts of betrayal may include shock, a sense of loss, grief, damaged self-esteem, humiliation, self-doubt, shame, and anger.

We’re betrayed every time our trust is violated, in small ways or large. An example of a small betrayal might be hiding a frivolous purchase from your partner when you’ve both agreed to stick to a shared budget. A larger betrayal would be infidelity.

But betrayals aren’t limited to relationships between individuals. They can be perpetrated across groups, even nations. Like the enormous betrayal of trust committed when the US sent its military into Iraq on the basis of falsified ‘intelligence’.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The Great “Fake News” Scare of 1530

Fake news has always been around for humor purposes, but the real “fake news” scares happen when the establishment is so used to getting away with lying, that any alternate narrative is demonized as factually false, irresponsible, and dangerous.

“The Onion” was next to “The Economist” in the newspaper stands for almost two decades. “Weekly World News”, which one-ups most British tabloids with regular Elvis sightings and vivid descriptions of two-mile fish orbiting in the rings of Jupiter, is still next to “Foreign Policy” in the same newspaper stands. This was never considered problematic in the slightest. Why, then, is a unified establishment screaming bloody murder about “fake news” all of a sudden?

To see the pattern here, it helps to know a little history – let’s look at the great “Fake News” scare of 1530. It has a lot of elements similar to ours today.

“The statements that make [established] people mad are the ones they worry might be believed. […] If Galileo had said that people in Padua were ten feet tall, he would have been regarded as a harmless eccentric. Saying the earth orbited the sun was another matter. The church knew this would set people thinking.” — Paul Graham

After the Black Death hit Europe hard around 1350, the monasteries were chronically short on manpower. The families that had used to send a child or two to become monks or nuns simply needed all their kids to work in the fields, to ensure food production, before such luxuries as manning the monasteries could even be considered. Therefore, any work that required involving monasteries became increasingly steep or scarce for the coming century.

This is relevant as those monasteries were the only places that produced books, all of which were in Latin, and all of which were in complete synchronization with the messages of the Catholic Church, the owner of the monasteries and therefore the owner of all mass media at the time.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The faux insurgency of the climate change deniers and the need for closure

Climate change deniers like to style themselves as latter-day Copernicuses and Galileos, lone visionaries bucking the established wisdom of the ages embodied back then in the teachings of the Catholic Church.

There is a certain appeal to imagining oneself as isolated and embattled but unbowed. The analogy, however, is specious on its face. For neither Copernicus nor Galileo had giant international oil and coal companies supporting them with tens of millions of dollars of annual public relations expenditures and scores of fake think tanks which would have provided them comfortable and profitable sinecures while shielding them from the attacks of the church.

No, the climate change deniers actually work for the established church of our age, wealthy corporate interests opposed to doing anything to mitigate the ongoing carnage of climate change–the very interests that continue to have a stranglehold on the legislative bodies of the world to such an extent that relatively little has actually been done to address climate. The most compelling evidence is the steady march upward of atmospheric carbon dioxide levels measured at the world’s best known measuring station, the Mauna Loa Observatory.

To hear the deniers one would think that we are already groaning under the weight of carbon taxes across the globe. The reality is that only a handful of countries and jurisdictions have bothered with such taxes, and one of them, Australia, repealed its tax. Yes, yes, there are cap-and-trade emissions schemes in the European Union, northeastern United States, California and Quebec. None of these jurisdictions has collapsed economically as a result. In fact, all are becoming leaders in a technological revolution that is moving us away from dependence on finite, climate-changing fossil fuels.

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

The population problem: should the Pope tell people to stop breeding like rabbits?

The population problem: should the Pope tell people to stop breeding like rabbits?

In this post, I argue that overpopulation is a complex problem that has to do with human choices at the level of single families. It is not impossible that such choices will eventually lead to a stabilization of the population at a sustainable level as it has happened in some historical cases, such as in Japan during the Edo period.

The population question arises strong feelings everytime it is mentioned and some people seem to think that, unless something drastic is done to curb population growth, people will reproduce like rabbits, destroying everything else. This position goes often in parallel with criticism to religious leaders and to religions in general, accused of encouraging people to reproduce like rabbits. Or, at least, to hide the fact that people reproduce like rabbits if not prevented to do so in a way or another.

But is it true that people tend to reproduce like rabbits? And would they stop if someone, let’s say the pope, were to tell them to stop? Maybe, but things cannot be so simple. Let me show you an example: Japan during the Edo period.

The population of Japan during the Edo Period (uncorrected data as reported by the bBafuku government). It shows how it is perfectly possible to attain a stable population in an agricultural society, even without “top-down” rules and laws. (data source, see also this link)

Note how the population has remained relatively constant for at least 150 years. It is a fascinating story, discussed in detail in the book “Mabiki: Infanticide and Population Growth in Eastern Japan, 1660–1950” by Fabian Drixler. Here is an illustration from the book:

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Pope’s climate push is ‘raving nonsense’ without population control, says top US scientist

Paul Ehrlich writes in Nature Climate Change that Francis is wrong to fight climate change without also addressing the strain from population growth on resources

One of America’s leading scientists has dismissed as “raving nonsense” the pope’s call for action on climate change – so long as the leader of the world’s 1 billion Catholics rejects the need for population control.

In a commentary in the journal Nature Climate Change, Paul Ehrlich, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, argues that Pope Francis is simply wrong in trying to fight climate change without also addressing the additional strain on global resources from population rise. “That’s raving nonsense,” Ehrlich told the Guardian. “He is right on some things but he is just dead wrong on that.”

The critique in “Society and the Pope’s encyclical”, part of a special package from scientists on the encyclical, marked a rare note of dissent from scientists and campaigners. Many hope that the pope will drive home his call to action on poverty and the environment in his speech to Congress on Thursday.

Ehrlich, in his Nature Climate Change commentary, accuses Francis of a dangerous flaw in his indictment of consumerism and its effects on the poor and the environment. The pope had fallen for the usual clerical “obsession” with contraception and abortion – when he could have instead broken new ground on the Catholic church’s approaches to women’s reproductive rights and family planning.

The broadside exposes some of the difficulties of embracing a figure such as the pope – for those on the left as well as the right.

Conservative allies of the pope, on issues such as same-sex marriage and abortion, have balked at his denunciation of capitalism and call to action on climate change.

 

…click on the above link to read the rest of the article…

Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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