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Creating a World of Distrust

Creating a World of Distrust

I remember a time when people were left to their own devices when determining what to pay attention to and what to ignore.

Remember “Bat Boy?” A strange Weekly World News (sister tabloid to the National Enquirer) creation set to terrorize and dismay. Did anyone really believe this? I doubt if many did. Some did, I’m sure, but what can ‘ya do?

I remember wondering about it. I was still young and impressionable (actually, I still wonder about it, I guess I am old and impressionable now). The operative word here is “wonder.” No government agency told me I was not allowed to wonder if something was “true” or not. I figured that out on my own. Why is this good?

Well, for one thing, you would have to be a nutcase to allow the government, or any authoritative power, to tell you what you were allowed to wonder about. Secondly, wondering is healthy. It hones your senses; you figure stuff out on your own. There is nothing more powerful than having to figure something out on your own. It takes something called “thinking”—which seems to be in low supply these days.

I just saw a meme with two heads speaking to one another. One head is visibly angry and is saying something like, “look at this!!!” holding up a cell phone. The other head says, “oh yeah, let me tell you what I think of that.” The angry head says, “shut up idiot!! You are not an expert!!” There’s more to it than that, but that’s enough to make my point.

Expert? Since when do you have to be an expert to have an opinion?

…click on the above link to read the rest…

Rob Hopkins reviews ‘Human Kind: A Hopeful History’ by Rutger Bregman

Rob Hopkins reviews ‘Human Kind: A Hopeful History’ by Rutger Bregman

So many times, in conversations with friends reflecting on things we see happening in the world, someone will say “well, basically we’re all shit aren’t we?” Or “human beings are basically vile aren’t they?” Or words to that effect. This belief in a selfish, destructive, greedy, violent core to our being is deeply pervasive and underpins so many of the systems that are proving so damaging to the world. Rutger Bregman’s new book, ‘Human Kind’, turns that toxic nonsense on its head and argues that, in essence, “most people, deep down, are decent”, and that the world would be a very different place if we were to recognise that. It may be one of the most important books you will ever read.

Bregman writes, “if we believe most people can’t be trusted, that’s how we’ll treat each other, to everyone’s detriment. Few ideas have as much power to shape the world as our view of other people. Because, ultimately, you get what you expect to get. If we want to tackle the greatest challenges of our times – from the climate crisis to our growing distrust of one another – then I think the place we need to start is our view of human nature”.

Bregman begins by revisiting all of the ‘scientific’ research and works of fiction that we have been continually told shows that we are, essentially, selfish and horrible, and looks at it with fresh eyes. ‘Lord of the Flies’? Most UK-based readers of this will have studied this book in school, a book that shows how, when left to their own devices, kids turn on each other and act out the worst impulses of adult society.

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When Trust Evaporates

When Trust Evaporates

I thought I’d compare the current Wuhan zombie apocalypse bat virus to that of SARS and see what is similar this time around…and what is not.

Now, I’m not going to get into which virus wins the “I killed more faster”, (thus far, it was SARS with a fatality rate of 9.6% vs 2.8%). Or which is more infectious (SARS again, though Coronavirus can spread while still incubating). Or join the silly debate of whether we should eat bats (they carry the disease, so ummm…NO). Rather, I’m going to focus on what’s been different in terms of the reaction globally…and why this is important. Because let’s face it, statistically, you’re still far more likely to be killed by some dolt crossing the centerline while watching his Insta feed…and nobody is running around like headless chickens screaming…don’t drive, don’t drive.

The Difference This Time

When SARS arrived on our doorsteps, the world’s response was one of cooperation, collaboration and a concerted effort to help our fellow man.

This time, the geopolitical world is completely different. We’re going into this at a time when trade wars have been ignited, Europe is fragmenting (Brexit, EU disharmony) US political polarisation is really something to behold. That’s bad enough, but there is an accelerating sense of distrust between countries at a political level and of institutions by the public at a private level.

All of these factors combined explain why it is that amongst other things…

Russia, Mongolia and North Korea have closed their land borders with China, and even HK has restricted their border. Flights in and out of mainland China have been cancelled indefinitely, with planes arriving from China landing in many countries only to be told…no way buddy back you go.

Who’s To Blame?

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“The System is Broken”: Americans No Longer Believe In Its Institutions

“The System is Broken”: Americans No Longer Believe In Its Institutions


It’s not difficult to see that the foundation is crumbling…

new Gallup poll has found that already low “confidence” in our system of government, our economy, the media, banking, big business, religious institutions and watchdogs is further eroding.

“Americans’ confidence in most major U.S. institutions remains below the historical average for each one,” a Gallup spokesman said in a news release.


All in all, it’s a picture of a nation discouraged about its present and worried about its future, and highly doubtful that its institutions can pull America out of its trough.

There is plenty of good reason, with evidence uncovered daily, weekly and consistently throughout the years of the hypocrisy and failures of government, the failed promises of politicians, the lies and spin of the mainstream media and newspapers, the greed and exploitation of the financial sector and the “just us” mentality of above-the-law enforcers who are supposed to uphold justice.

Just check out how little faith remains in the structure of, well, just about any institution in America, by the numbers:

Only 8 percent have confidence in Congress, down by 16 points from a long-term average of 24 percent – the lowest of all institutions rated.

33 percent have confidence in the presidency, a drop from a historical average of 43 percent.

32 percent have confidence in the Supreme Court, down from 44.

28 percent have confidence in banks, down from 40 percent.

21 percent have confidence in big business, down from 24 percent.

24 percent have confidence in organized labor, down from 26.

24 percent have confidence in newspapers, down from 32 percent.

21 percent have confidence in television news, down from 30 percent.

52 percent of Americans […] are confident in the police [57 percent historically]

What else can be said, but that the system is broken?


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

Distrust But Verify

Distrust But Verify

What the U.S. government does openly is many times worse than anything it can be doing secretly, and yet the secrets fascinate us.

If you compare polling on majority views on most political topics with actual U.S. policy, there’s little overlap. Scholars now produce reports finding that the United States is an oligarchy. Most people don’t vote. Those who try to engage with U.S. politics get excited when the Democrats fall back into the minority and start pretending to favor popular policies again. People hope to find reflected bits of decency in official rhetoric during a two-year-long period of pretended governance that amounts to a public sales pitch and a private wink to the campaign funding overlords.

Our government openly subsidizes the destruction of our planet’s climate, openly allows corporations to pay negative taxes, openly redistributes wealth upward, openly funds a military as costly as the rest of the globe’s nations’ combined, openly serves as the marketing firm for the U.S. weapons that make up much of that other half of the globe’s armed forces, openly enacts corporate trade policies that ruin economies and the environment, openly denies us basic human services, openly prosecutes whistleblowers, openly restricts our civil liberties, openly murders large numbers of people with drone strikes. We can watch a police officer in New York choke a man to death on video and walk away without being prosecuted for any crime. We can watch the U.S. Congress take direction in promoting a new war from a foreign leader (tune in February 11 for the latest), and yet what goes on in secret obsesses us.


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Olduvai IV: Courage
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Olduvai II: Exodus
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