Obviously we are living in unreal or surreal times. It wasn't too long ago that we, as individuals and as a nation, felt certain about our past, confident about our present, and optimistic about our future. But of late, and specifically over the last year, there have come into our lives certain shifts of mood, and certain disenchantment with our mode-de-vie (way of life). No doubt, there are dialectical forces behind our political existence.
Decades of wars, economic crises, and political (philosophical) changes have left us unsettled and unsatisfied. Then came 2016. We said: Enough already! We need total and systemic alterations to not only the conduct but to the direction of Government!
We saw Bernie Sanders on the left denouncing the wealthy and the powerful for corrupting everything inside the Government. However, he didn't get much traction from the democrats.
On the right rose an odd nationalist, quasi-populist Donald Trump with an effective "promise" to drain Washington's swamp. Strangely, his success was buoyed even further by the opportunistic republicans, and he became President. And right away, he did not lose any time opening Pandora's box and society's poisons have been unleashed upon us. What are they?
They are ... doubt, distrust, fear, and anger! How did Mr. Trump accomplish this feat? In many ways ...
~ Misrepresentation of facts.
~ Denunciation of facts as false ( "Fake" news, "Fake" media, etc.).
~ Mastery of the confidence game (trickery, deflections, and empty promises).
~ Veiled threats.
~ Megalomania that appeals to certain segments of society.
~ Fox-News, and the predictable right-wing wacko media.
~ Spineless politicians on both sides of the aisle.
What do we need badly to get us out of this political morass and moral decline? ...
~ Truth speakers.
~ Courageous protests.
~ Political and civic participation at all levels of government ... volunteering, voting, etc.
~ Not losing our faith or our hope in our country. We've been tested before ... we've come thru before ... we shall overcome again!
~ Let's stay focused!
CIVICS in and of Itself ! by Hénock Gugsa ======*======
[ Is it a big priority in American life anymore? ]
Defining and understanding the concept of "Civics" ===> Wikipedia gives a good, clear, and all-encompassing definition of the term: "Civics is the study of the theoretical, political and practical aspects of citizenship, as well as its rights and duties; the duties of citizens to each other as members of a political body and to the government. [Civics] includes the study of civil law and civil code, and the study of government with attention to the role of citizens as opposed to external factors in the operation and oversight of government."
In essence, civics consists of sociopolitical dichotomies in our sovereign existence.
~ There are Rights (privileges) and there are Duties (responsibilities).
~ There is Law and there is Order (which subsumes disorder).
But over-riding and reining in all of these fractious matters is a virtuous concept known as "Civility".
While the origins of civics are certainly ancient, its status globally today range from thriving to endangered to non-existent. Here, in the United States, Civics has been essential, and very relevant in the daily political life of citizens at least up until the mid 1970's. Post-Watergate, the country has been experiencing a serious sociological facelift. With the advancement of the information age thru technology, we have been reaping the benefits certainly of knowledge. But unfortunately, wisdom has eluded us because we have seriously neglected history and civics. And if even a case could be made to the contrary, the current political situation of America reflects unpleasant realities. We have evidence that the fundamental principles of integrity and responsibility have been abandoned by people of means and power.
Sadly, the knowledge and practice of Civics in America today have turned out to be entirely different things. Civics has been diluted, polluted, and almost totally shorn of the essential pillars of its structure, namely civility and responsibility. Lately, bullies have been running amok everywhere. You see them in all levels and branches of Government (yes, including the Supreme Court), in the media, in church organizations, in businesses, and in the police forces.
Integrity, which is the consolidation of civility and responsibility, is a rarity these days. Furthermore, loyalty and patriotism hardly mean what they used to. We have a President who kowtows to a foreign power while disabusing the citizens of his own nation. We have politicians whose bottom line is "winning" by any and all means. The party in power wants to exclude the minority even from hearings or consulting sessions. But when things go wrong, responsibility is shirked by blaming the minority.
Everything is about negativity (opposition). Nothing is about sacrifice. Nothing is about science. Nothing is about the future. Everything is about "me, me, me!" Everything is about "now, now, now!"
We are where we are now because we have not pushed ahead with our respect for Civics, its study and practical application in all walks of life. We have forgotten that Civics is the bedrock of Freedom and that in turn is the essence of America.
Let me start off by putting one point out there loud and clear.As an Ethiopian-American, I've always had misgivings, and even prejudice against Somalis for as long as I can remember.More often than not, my position has been strengthened by the various evidences that have been revealed.Whereas I have not been swayed away from my opinions and beliefs, I have long been impressed by the generally liberal attitude of Minnesotans, at least those in officialdom.However, I have also felt that these officials have been a tad too naive in their understanding of certain cultures.I might even say that Minnesota has been far too gullible and far too accommodating to these vociferous and pushy newcomers!
We all know that Minnesota is home to a rich and substantial contingency of immigrants from all corners of the world.To cite the latest additions (over the last 42 years), we have Vietnamese, Cambodians, Laotians, Ethiopians, and Eritreans.Somalis are actually more recent additions as they have been pouring here in great numbers and becoming dominant in the last 25 years or so.That is all not bad in and of itself.
However, unlike all the other new citizens, Somalis have been in the news more often in bad light than in good.Unlike the rest of us, they have never been adept at keeping a low profile while being productive members of society.Their religion , Islam, is not a problem.Other ethnic Muslim groups (from Africa, the Middle East, or Asia) living in the United States have certainly been good, patriotic citizens, and the country has been enriched by them.They have adapted better and have fared generally well up until the new, hostile Washington administration came to power.
But to the specific topic at hand, ... if ever there was a time when Somalis need to be even more circumspect in their visibility and their noisome notoriety, now is it. The recent news of a Somali policeman killing an innocent, law-abiding woman for no good reason is an example.What caused this reckless and stupid act?Was the policeman on drugs (qhat)?Was he afraid for his life like the disgraceful Jeronimo Yanez?!And on a tangential matter, will the Police unions now stand behind this Somali officer?But that is another topic for another day.
I will conclude by saying that I wish this latest police atrocity never happened ... but even more importantly, I fervently hope that we, the quiet and law-abiding ethnic groups, are not bundled, in a willy nilly fashion,with this notorious band.The burden is on the Somalis to improve their image and work hard, and quietly toward a peaceful coexistence with all fellow citizens.
Alright, alright. Give me a break
Stop all that drumbeat, I've had enough
Keep your "360", keep it "All In"
And who needs anyone's "Last Word"
Or a "Situation Room" with a breathless Wuff?
Please, no "Eleventh Hour" and nothing "For the Record"
I prefer "Last Week Tonight" or a Bee's "Full Frontal"
Don't go "Out Front", no "TRMS", and no "Hardball"
"Morning Joe" is pukey, and all of FOX to boot
Just gimme "Time", "Newsweek", "WaPo" or Wall Street Journal!
Vive la Résistance ! [Facebook] Reactions to Tax March Signs
~ by Hénock Gugsa ~
M. Lopez: -
Protesting his taxes over his abuse of power to unilaterally bomb Syria is the definition of lib-tard. ------------------------- M. Butler: -
This march was planned MONTHS ago. Finding fault with it and calling names is not very productive use of YOUR time. What are YOU marching for? ------------------------- M. Lopez: -
It's frustrating to see all this energy misdirected... It's just another wasted opportunity for real change. Progressive and liberal movements should focus on real issues like holding accountable war criminals and restructuring the DNC who's truly responsible for Trump... Taxes and Russia ties are non-issues that will get us nowhere... ----------------------------------- H. Gugsa: -
===>Mr. Lopez, You must be the wolf in sheep's clothing who is an expert at deflection, dissension, and frustration. You sow doubts everywhere and you pooh-pooh everything ... and when you're done with your secret mission, there won't be any resistance movements of any kind left in this country. Keep up the good work!
Consider this scenario: ====> You used to go thru life as simply as you could for many years. Then life's demands started to become more difficult and got worse and worse from year to year. About eight years ago, some one came along and made a few alterations ... not perfect, but generally beneficial changes. They were not easily made because there was serious challenge and intransigent opposition.
The promoter of the new system was in power for only eight years. When his term ended, unfortunately no one took up the torch and continued with his system. Instead, the person who took over was set to undo everything and his followers called the new move: "repeal and replace". This has become a very uncertain, a very precarious moment in your life because nobody is telling you how they are replacing the old system, or rather what they have as replacement. And all of this past week, there has been a mad dash to replace the old system with a patched-up, in-congruent, inimical concoction. As luck would have it, very few people like it, and it has just fizzled out of existence on its own steam! The system of the previous promoter is still alive and kicking! Its enemies are still vowing they will destroy it some day. But they have nothing in their bag ... no bright ideas, and no visions. These new people in power are big losers! The reason is quite simple .... Unlike the previous promoter, these new leaders have no soul, no compassion, and no humanity! So you are somehow safe for now ... you can resume your life with less fear !!!
Here is a video I hurriedly put together. It is something less dispiriting and less somber with which to end the year. I am hopeful you will find it fun, interesting, and maybe even wistfully diverting. It is a bird's eye-view of an ancient land, its people and its history!
Incidentally, this is actually the 1,000th post or entry in this blog. I began TPO in 2009. Unfortunately, this could very well be my last posting as I am beginning to slowly lose interest. Sadly, there has been very little encouragement for my efforts from any corner. For the most part, I have actually not been getting any reaction of any kind whatsoever! As a result, from this point on, my posting will definitely and markedly be reduced or suspended indefinitely!
My thanks to all the people near and far who have read or viewed any of the posts here over the years!!!
================================================================== Please NOTE ! ============= I suggest when you're watching the video and it gets to a text frame, pause the video. That way you can read the text without any rush. Also, it is good to put the video in "full window" state. You should find the feature right on the frame, just hover your mouse over little icons you might see around there. When you're done, hit the ESC key on your keyboard, it will bring you back to normal viewing.
State Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar, DFL-Minneapolis, said Monday that she reported to Washington, D.C., authorities an incident from last week in which she said she was harassed and threatened by a cabdriver .... Omar, who will become the country's first Somali-American state legislator, was in the nation's capital last week for a conference attended by other state lawmakers. In a post on Facebook and Twitter last Wednesday, Omar said that she and her sister endured harassment the day before by a D.C. cabdriver after she attended a training at the White House.
The driver, Omar said, called her "ISIS" and threatened to remove her hijab. [In] her Monday statement she described [the cabdriver] as an "African immigrant."
"It is essential we recognize what happened to me is not an isolated incident ...." Omar said she has not filed a police report "because I believe criminalizing hate is not a solution and will only strengthen individual malice. Bigotry is a product of ignorance; by educating people, we will move toward respect and understanding." * Source: Star Tribune, December 12,2016
I find this report of the allegation by Ilhan Omar very confusing and troubling! My reasons (or questions) are as follows ... 1 - Why does she not consider this a "criminal" act ? Does she not consider "Hate" a serious offense tantamount to crime? Is she maybe acknowledging there has also been a lot of "Hate" and resentment inside her own [the Somali] community for quite some time now? 2 - Does she think that the fact [?] the cabdriver is an African mitigates the seriousness of the issue? Would she be more concerned if he had been a non-black person? 3 - Has it ever occurred to Ilhan Omar that when she chose the path of public office, especially in the prevailing political climate, that she is fair game from all sides including her own?! 4 - Does she recognize that her duty now is mainly to work within her own community (changing minds, attitudes, and rigid beliefs) and then to liaise with the rest of society to bring about improved understanding and agreement?
This past week, I had a good exchange with a friend on Facebook ....
HG ===> At another post, a friend suggests that starting January 1st ... how about logging down on paper (in a file somewhere) only the good things that happen in your life. Then, at the end of the year, go back and read them and smile. Life has got to offer some good things even in the bleakest of times!
DK ===> I named my office my "I love me room!" I have a wall of acknowledgments to remind me that I can stand for things worthy the effort, and I have a file drawer full of notes from former students, parents, colleagues and people in the community. When I find the world bearing down on me and feeling hopeless, I open that drawer and humbly wrap myself in gratitude for the blessings life has brought me. It helps when things seem their bleakest to have a touch stone.
HG ===> Thank you, Dan. Life indeed is a worthwhile undertaking in the hands of a wise person. Above all, the learning, the sharing, and the caring is what I find most blissful and satisfying. And if "memory" or the capacity for it remains in tact, then we can say that sanity is achievable ... humor and balance will stay in place!
Yet another prescription drug quagmire! -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
"Statin Use Linked to Increased Parkinson's Risk"
- by Nancy A. Melville, Medscape Medical News, 10/26/2016 -
//// Contrary to previous research, a new study shows a higher, rather than lower, risk for Parkinson's disease associated with statins. //// -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
My take on the Latest Statin Scare
~by Hénock Gugsa ~
A few years ago, Lipitor was prescribed for me to curb my high cholesterol count. When I started having serious joint problems, I complained to my Doctor. He changed the prescription to Pravastatin, but I have been so traumatized by such types of "medicine" that I'm naturally gun-shy about taking it. I only take it for about three days before the next check-up so my lab-test results would show a passing grade or better.
Aside from the joy of being a rebel, I have over the years grown to seriously question the wisdom of those in the medical profession. So, in that vein, may I here offer a piece of Ethiopian wisdom: "Nobody knows about the self better than the self!" .... That should answer your puzzlement as to why, although these doctors keep asking you questions, their own answers (understandings) are in the end no better than guesses !!!
// Someone asked on Facebook (and I paraphrase): How does the citizenry get dumbed down so effectively, so fast? .... And the same someone answered (again I paraphrase): By the systematic decline and neglect of the national language within the educational structures .... Then, a bit later, the same person wrapped up the discourse with a reference to the story of the Tower of Babel. //
My response: I don't believe Government has ever made a conscious and deliberate move similar to God when He was punishing humanity for their pride, and their insolence toward Him. And if Government ever had any such nefarious designs on its citizens, it would certainly not have been so lucky as to have willing accomplices like science and technology. In this day and age of acronyms, emoticons, icons, and the vehicles of social media (Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc.), the destruction of our language by abbreviations and punctuation marks is inevitable and unavoidable.
The limited boundaries set in Twitter, for instance, are emblematic of a society already addled by attention-deficit-disorder. But then again, even in ordinary situations of police reporting or doctors' or nurses' medical chart reports, the English language is so stilted and mechanical-sounding, it does not even sound human. Strangely, the police may surprise you with their vocabulary which may include the word: "semaphore" ... but then at another point, they would confound you with: "vic", or "unsub". Conclusion: I don't think the Government has cursed us into the situation we are in. I think that, much the same as in the time of Babel, we ourselves are our own ruination!
Yes, Halloween is approaching, and children are trembling with mock fear because all the monsters they know are fake.And whose fault is that? – Why, the parents' of-course!They keep telling their kids that frightful dreams are just nightmares – they’re not “real.”So the children grow up dismissing and disavowing bad things, evil things.
Well, boys and girls, young and old!Perk your ears and listen well.
In Ethiopia, there is a monster nobody dismisses … and he has been around for eons. Ethiopians don’t disbelieve the unimaginable, the unheard-of, or the truly horror-filled.You’ve heard of Ethiopia, haven't you? .... The land of myths and fables.Aesop (Aethiop) was from there, dontcha know?!
Ethiopia’s traditional lore is rich in both good tales and in horror stories.In my blog, I have already written about a demon called, Meganya.He is literally a scary slapper whom nobody should want to encounter.
But today, here, I’m going to give an account of an entity simply known as a “boo-da”.The name is spelled phonetically, and you should have no problem pronouncing it.
Now, boo-da is not the same as Buddha (the kindly Prince Gautama).Far from that!A boo-da is far from compassionate and actually belongs in the realm of evil. He is not unlike the werewolf (the wolf-man) because they both lead double lives.But the Ethiopian monster’s alter ego by night is the hyena, not the wolf.However, unlike the werewolf, a boo-da is not self-conflicted or complicated.He accepts himself as what he is, and has no qualms or conscience about his deeds.
As told to me, the story of the boo-da is one that will keep children up all night from fright.A boo-da is a cursed human who is doomed to live a double life alone as a social pariah.Except for the three rainy months during a year, a boo-da transforms himself into a fiendish hyena every night during the hours of darkness.Each night, his legs would shrink to half their length, his arms would elongate, his shoulders get hunched, and he would almost appear to have a hump on his back.His body is suddenly covered with short mangy brown hair from head to toe. And fleas appear out of nowhere to attack his lean body.So he jumps around hooting, wailing, and making shrill, screaming sounds.Then he furiously kicks and breaks up the ground under him.He naturally prefers red clayey ground, and of-course there is plenty of that where he lives.A red dust billows up on his body as he throws himself on the ground and twirls and rolls around killing his enemies, the fleas.All during the dirt bath, the cacophony of the noises he makes have graduated to hyena squeaks and cackles mixed in with snorts and grunts.
Eventually, he stops everything he’s doing, gathers himself up by his short hind legs.He emerges from his abode, and he is very hungry … ravenous, really.Naturally, he is a dedicated carnivore … but, he is not discriminatory in his diet, he will eat anything when he is hungry-hungry.Of-course, a boo-da has night vision same as a hyena, and he accurately remembers where the pre-selected prey lives.Humans are his enemy, but most importantly for him, they are also his meal.
At night, households in the countryside lock their doors, stables are secured with the animals safe inside, and guard dogs are at their posts.Families hold their dear children tight and near. Fires are kept going, and dark corners are lit well.Nothing is left to chance.
Outside, no person travels alone.Everybody has his spear or his sword by his side!
Day or night, children are normally safe because their parents make them wear tiny leather pouches (talismans) around their necks for protection.These magical potions are specially prepared by the head shaman in the community, and they are not exactly cheap. A family with four children may have to give the shaman a cow for four talismans.The ingredients in the talisman as well as the written words on the little leather pouch render a child invisible to a boo-da.No wonder villagers always warn:woe be to the careless child who loses his talisman!
As you may have surmised, a boo-da reverts to his human form during the day.People who think they have seen him in person usually describe him as shifty-eyed and unsociable.He always appears to be spying on people and their belongings.No doubt, people are convinced that he is the one with the evil eye.That is why they know better than to eat or drink outside in the open and neither would they bathe naked in the river.If a boo-da happens to be nearby and catches sight of you in a vulnerable state, he will mark you in his memory and you will not be long for this world.Either the boo-da will get you, or you will suffer and die from a sudden incurable disease.
As has been pointed out earlier, a boo-da is very crafty and stealthy, and no one knows the location of his residence.His animal instincts, and especially his sense of smell and hearing alert him to humans if they accidentally come anywhere near his abode.He then quickly relocates to a new place, and his solitary life resumes.A boo-da can live to a ripe old age. And when he dies, it will usually be from starvation because he is too weak from old age to go out and hunt humans anymore.