Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 2019

Why USA has an entitlement problem?

Now Alyssa Ahlgren, a graduate student in the USA is sitting in a cafe in New York and looking around and enjoying all the prosperity and facilities she is enjoying’. Ahlgren is baffled when a congresswoman claims that the new generation is Not that lucky to enjoying the prosperity that the US citizens are entitled to.

Yes, USA has an entitlement problem and that is why it is the only country/empire launching multiple pre-emptive wars around the world since 1946.

And the US administration and institutions are convinced that it must police the world to coincide with its “interest”, an interest which is totally matching its elite classes and the world view of its Silent Majority.

And still, there are areas in social classes where the USA is Not considered that prosperous to them, commensurate to its potential to do the good to all its citizens.

Hi Alyssa Ahlgren, the prosperity you notice around you is because of other forms of slave work that the USA Capitalism has been subjugating other people to do its bidding. And prosperity is actually Not perceived by many classes who are literally discriminated against to enjoy the potential wealth and facilities.

I believe that the Silent Majority in USA is fundamentally racist because it refuses to listen or care for other world views. This mental and reflective isolation is a most dangerous attitude in systems claiming to be “democratic”.

Actually, it is the oligarchic class (elite class that made fortune out of monopolistic systems) that encourage this isolationist tendency in remote villages to secure their votes.

Kinds of questions… Manipulative questions?

Questions may make others feel uncomfortable even manipulated.

By Dan Rockwell?

I felt disappointed when I was told, “Sometimes when you ask a question I think you already know the answer.” Ouch!

It’s true; I frequently have an answer in my head. But, I don’t have the answer. I’m interested in yours. I love asking questions.

Manipulation:

Why be concerned about manipulative questions?

Some people ask general questions and then creatively apply responses. They might ask, “What do you think about the Tech Department?” You respond, “They’re improving their turn-around time.”

Your answer becomes, “The boss thinks you’re slow.”

Backstabbers and manipulators make us weary. The issues, in this case, are integrity and trust, not questions. Additionally, it’s wise to answer general questions generally. (If your question is Not specific, it means you failed to do your due diligence)

Exploring:

Questions are an exploration.

When coaching, for example, my answers don’t matter. Of course it isn’t always that simple.

It’s normal for a coachee to ask, “What do you think?”

When exploring solutions or options I keep my answers to myself. , I avoid polluting your thinking by giving my answer, first.

I can see where someone, after hearing the option I had in mind, might think, “Why didn’t you just say that in the first place?”

How can you ask questions without making others feel manipulated or uncomfortable?

Suggestions:

  1. Begin by saying, “I’ve been considering options for the “xyz” project and wonder what you think.” This signals others that you’re exploring.
  2. Respect and explore answers. Say, “If we choose your suggestion, what are the next steps?”, for example.
  3. Withhold judgment. When I already have an answer, I tend to use it to evaluate yours. That closes my mind. Open minds go further than closed minds.
  4. Create a list of options together and explore each one. “Let’s create some options that move us forward.”

How can leaders ask question, most effectively?

What are some of your favorite questions?

If Talent is overrated, should belief (commitment) be automatically underrated?

Adams and Jefferson, Founding Fathers of the United States, didn’t always like each other. Toward the end of their lives they came to appreciate and respect each other, but for much of their political careers they were rivals.

By Dan Rockwell?

Jefferson’s compromising skills offended a dogmatic Adams, for example.

They were at odds but they invested their lives in a shared mission.

Committing to shared mission and vision binds talent together.

I constantly hear, “Find great talent.” But, fools think talent is enough. Leaders miss the point when they focus on talent and neglect shared mission.

Talent without shared commitment is disruptive and dangerous.

Off target interviews:

Job interviews miss the target when they focus on what people have accomplished and neglect what they believe in. Spend more time talking about organizational vision and values.

Dig deep into belief systems. See if their eyes light up when you share your mission.

Shared mission:

  1. Binds diverse people and groups together.
  2. Builds connections where people respect each other even if they don’t like each other.
  3. Enables a context where people rely on the performance of others.

Great talent strengthens organizations as long as everyone deeply commits to a shared mission. Apart from that, diversity is paralyzing chaos.

Don’t just tell me what you’ve done, tell me what you believe.

True believers:

Some are too good to deeply believe in an organization’s mission. They’re too talented, too smart, or too proud. They have their own agenda.

They feel they lower themselves if they “drink the kool aid.”

“Company men” are looked down on by aloof elites. I’ll take a true believer with average talent over a disconnected hot-shot any day.

Talent is overrated – belief is underrated.

The leaders who founded the United States believed and because they did, they committed. These are the people who change things.

Note: All these USA “founding fathers” had plantations and refused England’s new law to stop slave trade. Thus, they decided to split through independence. Was this a shared mission? Certainly, the mission was camouflaged under abstract notions from the common people.

Wonderful letter of Alissar Saadi on the occasion of the execution of her father Leader Antoun Saadi on July 8,1949

When Leader Antoun Saadi, the founder of the Syrian National Social Party was executed by a firing squad at age of 45, he left 3 little daughters, Alissar (was 4 year-old), Safiyya, Raaghidat and barely 400 LL.

His eldest daughter Alissar published a letter on the anniversary of his execution.

الامينة اليسار أنطون سعاده

ها قد اجتمعنا أخيراً يا والدي.

هل أنت من أرسل إليَّ هذا الزائر القادم من وراء البحار، يدخل بيتي ويفتح خزائني الموصودة، يهز قلبي ويقرعه قرعاً عنيفاً؟!

تعرف أنني حاولت غير مرة أن أكتب إليك، فكانت أناملي تخونني كلما أمكست بالقلم. هل من حسن طالعي أم من سوئه، أن جاءني هذا الزائر الذي لم أره ولم أسمع به من قبل؟

بدأ يسألني أسئلة غريبة محرجة جارحة كأنه يعرفني منذ ألف سنة. حين سألت عنه صديقة لي تعرفه، قالت إنه هجر الصحافة، لكنه يكتب بين حين وآخر كلمات على هواه.

هي فرصة أبتهلها على كل حال، لأترك نفسي على سجيتها وأخاطبك ملء جوارحي. أحبك يا والدي وأشعر ببعاد عينيك. أتصورك ظلاً لما لا أرى وأتساءل: لماذا كُتب عليَّ وعلى شقيقتيَّ صفية وراغدة، أن نحتمل هذا القدر الذي يكاد ثقله يحبس علي أنفاسي؟

كنتَ فاجعتنا الأولى، ثم ماتت والدتنا بعد صراع مر مع المرض.

فقدتُ زوجي الأول، ثم فقدتُ زوجي الثاني، وقبل سنوات فجعتُ بولدي سعادة، ولم يبق لي من زواجي إلا ابنتي الوحيدة. سمّيتها جولييت على إسم جدتها، وهي تسكن بعيدة عني ألوف الأميال.

كيف لطفلة وامرأة مثلي أن تنسى أمها وأن تنسى ولدها الوحيد؟ هو جرح سيرافقني إلى آخر الطريق، إلى أن يرث الله الأرض ومن عليها كما يقول المؤمنون.

أنا كثيرة الشكوك كثيرة الظنون، يا أبي، ولا أملك من السماء ملاءة أستطيع أن أحتمي بها. تمر أيام فأنسى أن كان لي ولد وكانت لي والدة. أنسى وجودي، لكن لا أخفيك أني ما شعرتُ مرة أنك غبت عني.

ما الذي فعلته في حضورك وفعلته بعد غيابك، حتى صرت كبيراً في حياتي إلى هذا الحد؟ غريب أمري معك ولا أعرف سرّه. رافقتُ والدتي ثلاثين عاماً، ورافقتُ ولديّ ثلاثين عاماً ورافقت زوجي سنوات طويلة. احياناً أنساهما لبعد ما افترقنا، لكن ما مرّ يومٌ ونسيتك، على الرغم من أني لم أرافقك إلا أربع سنوات من طفولتي، لا أذكر منها إلا النزر اليسير.

كثيراً ما تساءلت: لماذ تركتني ووالدتي وشقيقتي بهذه السرعة؟ سمعتُ أن بعض من انضووا في حزبك ساءهم أمر زواجك. منهم من امتعض وتساءل: أما كان أفضل لو أن الزعيم لم يتزوج؟! هكذا البشر، لا يصبحون حكماء إلا بعد فوات الأوان. الآن صرت أفهم سبب امتعاضهم.

أما كان أفضل لو بقيت عازباً؟ أقطع بأنك لو كنت عارفاً بمصيرك وما سوف تخبئه لك الأقدار لعدلت عن الزواج. هل تذكر الدقائق الأخيرة من حياتك، حين سألت جلاديك أن يسمحوا لك بأن ترى زوجتك وبناتك الثلاث، فجاء جوابهم بالرفض. هذا وحده سبب كاف كان ليجعلك تتمنى لو أنك لم تتزوج، وترزق بنات ثلاثاً، ويجعلني أتمنى لو لم آت إلى هذه الدنيا.

قلت إنني اقطع بذلك، غير أنني لا أشك للحظة واحدة، أنه لو عاد الزمن إلى الوراء، وخيِّرت بين طريق القدر المحتوم الذي أدى إلى إعدامك رمياً بالرصاص، وبين أن تعيش بيننا بأمان، أستاذاً جامعياً أو كاتباً في المهجر أو في الوطن، وحولك زوجة تصونك وترعاك، تحبّها وتحبّك، وبنات صغيرات يتسلقن كتفيك ويكبرن أمام ناظريك، لاخترت طريق القدر المحتوم، على رغم علمك بما سوف يكتنف هذا القدر من عذاب ستعانيه زوجتك في السجون وخارج السجون، وما ستعانيه بناتك الصغيرات، من ألوان الحزن والبؤس والشقاء.

هذا ما قلته للزائر الغريب. هل تعرف كيف عرفت الجواب؟ سوف أجيبك: لقد أصغيتُ كثيراً لما كانت والدتنا تقوله عنك، قرأتُ كل كلمة كتبتَها، وسبرتُ أغوار نفسك، وفهمتُ ما كانت الأرض تعنيه لك، وما كانت تعنيه تلك النهضة التي أردتها جبارة “برجالها ونسائها العاملين على حياة سوريا ومجدها”.

أعرف ذلك لأن سوريا المنشودة الموعودة كانت لك أهم من نفسك ومن زوجتك وبناتك. “ألست أنت من علمنا مبادىء الحياة وقواعد البطولة وشق للأمة طريق الشهادة وأعطاها دماءه الطاهرة”، كما كتب أحد رفاقك، ثم ألست أنت من كان يقول: “إن الدماء التي تجري في عروقكم هي وديعة الأمة فيكم متى طلبتها وجدتها؟”.

ولأنني أعرف ذلك، أحببتك زعيماً قبل أن تكون أباً، وأحبتك والدتنا زعيماً وباعث نهضة قبل أن تكون زوجاً وعاشقاً، وأبت بعد رحيلك إلا أن تسير على دروب الكفاح، حيث الوطن، تفانياً وعشقاً وتضحية ونكران ذات.

كثيرة هي المرات التي جلستُ وحيدة أسأل نفسي: لماذا كُتب عليَّ وعلى شقيقتي أن نرحل عن مسقط رأسنا في تلك البلاد التي يعني إسمها أرض الفضة (الأرجنتين) ونأتي إلى بلاد الحديد والرصاص والدم والعدم؟

سألني الزائر الغريب إذا كنت أذكر شيئاً عنك. كيف أذكر وقد كنت في الثالثة من عمري؟ أذهب في التذكر كل مذهب. أحاول أن أسترد أصداء أصوات بعيدة، فيأتيني صوت يشبه هفيف الموج ينساب بين ثنايا الصخور، أو همس النسيم يلامس أوراق شجر الحور. أحاول أن أتبين شيئاً من تلك الصور والخيالات فلا أظفر من ذلك كله بشيء. أقهر نفسي وأجبرها على التذكر.

أتمثلك تحملني بين ذراعيك القويتين. تسرح شعري، تضمني وتلاعبني. تطبع قبلة على خدي، تدب على الأرض وتحملني فوق ظهرك وتقول: هذا حصانك يا أليسارتي. لا أخفيك يا والدي أنني كنت ولا أزال أحس بشعور غريب كلما تأملتُ في صور بيضاء سوداء لك مع أولاد وبنات صغار، فتعتريني غيرة بريئة لا أقدر على وصفها، وأتمنى لو كنت واحدة منهم. لا أعرف شيئاً عن علاقتي بك إلا ما كانت تسره لي الوالدة.

سمعتها مرة تقول إن عينيك لمعتا بدمع الفرح ساعة اجتمعنا بك للمرة الأولى عند مجيئنا إلى لبنان. كنت في الثالثة من عمري حين وصلنا إلى بيروت. كانت الباخرة التي حملتنا من الأرجنتين وعبرت بنا الأطلسي كبيرة، تحمل الناس والحقائب والحنين، وكانت كبيرة إلى حد أنها حجبت عن عيني الصغيرتين ذلك المحيط الذي سمّاه العرب بحر الظلمات. غريب كيف يرتكب العرب كثيراً من الأخطاء، لكن ما أعظمهم حين يصيبون بلغتهم كبد الحقيقة!

لو عرفت قبل رحيلنا عن الأرجنتين ما سوف تسوقه لنا الأقدار في لبنان، لن أجد وصفاً أدق من ذلك الوصف الذي أطلقه العرب على ذلك المحيط الهائل. بحر الظلمات. يا للأمر من مفارقات عجيبة غريبة. لم تكن يا والدي في انتظارنا ساعة وصلت الباخرة إلى مرفأ بيروت. لم أعرف السبب إلا بعد سنوات، حين قرأتُ وفهمتُ من والدتنا أن رجال الشرطة كانوا يبحثون عنك ذلك اليوم، ويطاردونك من مكان إلى آخر.

شعرت بحسرة لأنك لم تكن على المرفأ. كان في انتظارنا كثيرون من رفقائك. لا أنسى ساعة انطلقوا بنا نحو الجبال ووصلنا إلى ضهور الشوير، حيث كنت معتصماً وتحت الحراسة. كان الناس حولك، وكانوا يتكلمون بلهجات لم أفهم منها شيئاً، تختلف عن العربية الفصحى التي علّمتنا أن نتخاطب بها في بيتنا في الأرجنتين.

سألني الزائر الغريب إذا كنت أذكر شيئاً من طفولتي في تلك البلاد؟ أحاول فلا أرى غير أطياف وخيالات، وظل سيارة مسرعة. كنت في الثانية من عمري حين عدوت خارج البيت إلى حيث الشارع الطويل. صدمتني سيارة كان يقودها رجل عجوز وسقطت على الأرض كجثة هامدة. ركضت شقيقتي صفية إلى أمها والرعب في عينيها، تبكي وتصرخ: “ماما ماما السيارة قتلت أليسار“، وإذ أنا فاقدة الوعي، وثيابي ملطخة بالدماء، وعيناي متورمتان. ظنت أمي الواجمة المبهوتة التي كادت تفقد الوعي أني فارقت الحياة. حملوني إلى الطبيب وإلى المصح، وخضعت لفحوص كثيرة بالأشعة وغيرها. وحين أطل فجر اليوم الثاني عادت إليَّ نسمة الحياة، وفتحت عيني وكانت أول كلمة لفظتها بابا، فإذا بوالدي يسألني ما بي فقلت له “عندي واوا” فسأل “من أين هذا الواوا” فأجبت “من السيارة البشعة”.
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سألني الزائر أيضاً عما إذا كنت تمنيتُ مرة لو أنك لم تدعنا يا والدي للمجيء إلى لبنان، ومكثت وحدك في الوطن، تصارع الجلاّدين وشيوخ القبائل والعشائر والمنافع والطوائف، وتجهد ما وسعك الجهد لتنثر بذور الوعي القومي في أرض ذلك الهلال الذي ظننته خصيباً، أو أردته أن يكون خصيباً! لو فعلت ذلك لبقينا في الأرجنتين، وتفادينا المآسي، وتفادت والدتنا عذاب السجون، أليس كذلك يا والدي؟

هل تعرف أنه لم يحدث مرةً أن حاورتُ نفسي على هذا النحو. قد يكون السبب جهلي سر القدر وأسرار الحياة والموت، وقد يكون أنني أضعف من أن أطرح على نفسي مثل هذا السؤال الذي يطرحه عليَّ هذا الزائر الغريب.

سألني الزائر أيضاً عما إذا كنت أذكر شيئاً من طفولتي في بيروت ودمشق، حيث قضيت معظم سنوات عمري. أذكر أول بيت سكنّاه عند وصولنا إلى لبنان. كان في راس بيروت، في الطبقة الأولى من بناية شقير، على بعد خطوات من حيث كان مستشفى خالدي. سكنّاه سنة واحدة (1948- 1949).

من ذاك البيت أذكر المكتب البني، وغرف النوم والرواق الذي يفصل بين الغرف، وأذكر خيالك في صورتين، واحدة جالساً إلى المكتب وأمامك كتب وأوراق، والثانية واقفاً في الحمّام تحلق ذقنك. أذكر وجهك البشوش وابتسامتك الآسرة. أذكر أيضاً مرةً، كنت وشقيقتي صفية قرب البيت نلعب “الإيكس” مع رفيقاتنا في الحي، فرأيتك قادماً نحونا والفرح يلمع في عينيك، اقتربت مني وحملتني بين ذراعيك مثل جرو صغير.

في دمشق سكنّا بيتاٌ قديماً في شارع أبي ذر الغفاري. عشت هناك خمس سنوات، من الخامسة إلى العاشرة، في ظل أشباحٍ، من الخير ألا أفصح عنها حتى لا أنكأ جروحاً!

لم يكن يخفف من صعوبة عيشنا إلا أمّ حنون، كانت كل شيء في حياتنا. عندما ساقوا والدتنا إلى السجن أخذوا أختي صفية للدراسة في معهد الفرنسيسكان، وأدخلوني روضة الأحداث. كنت الوحيدة التي تنام في المدرسة.

قبل ذلك وفي دير سيدة صيدنايا حيث بقينا أشهراً عانينا كثيرا في طعامنا ونومنا وشرابنا. أذكر أنني كنت أصعد في المساء إلى سطح الدير، ساعة يكون الجو صافي الأديم، أرقب القمر والنجوم وأتوسل إلى العناية أن تحفظ والدتي. كان في حوزتي صندوق يحوي بعض أشيائك، سُرق جزء منه وضاع معظمه، بفعل التنقل من بيت إلى بيت. ما زلت أحتفظ بمنديل لك أبيض، وساعة ومنظاراً وعلبة شطرنج.
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عانينا كثيراً بعد رحيلك. بعض من ظننت أنهم كانوا إلى جانبك خانوك، وكثيرون ممن كانوا في الحزب تفرقوا شيعاً، اما سورياك فغدت قبائل ناحرة ومتناحرة.

هل خاب ظنك؟ أعرف أنك كنت تحذّر من مثل هذه النتائج التي تطفو حين تتغافل الأمة عن روحها وحقيقتها ومصالحها وحين تضعف نظرتها المتجانسة إلى الحياة. أعرف أيضاً أنك لو عدت اليوم وشاهدت ما يجري في سورياك، لقلت ما كنت تقوله في الأمس: “في أمتنا تقاليد متنافرة مستمدة من أنظمة مؤسساتنا الدينية والمذهبية، لها أكبر تأثير في إضعاف وحدتنا الإجتماعية”.

وسوف لن تنعى الأمة، بل ستعول كما كنت تعول في الأمس على روحها وتنبهها لوحدة حياتها ومصيرها وتقول كما كنت تقول: “القومية هي الشعور الواحد المنبثق من الأمة، من وحدة الحياة في مجرى الزمان. هي ليست عصبية هوجاء أو نعرة من اعتقادات أولية أو دينية، بل شعور صادق وعواطف حية وحنو وثيق على الحياة التي عهدها الأنسان. هي عوامل نفسية منبثقة من روابط الحياة الإجتماعية الموروثة والمعهودة، قد تطغى عليها في ضعف تنبهها زعازع الدعاوات والإعتقادات السياسية، ولكنها لا تلبث أن تستيقظ في سكون الليل وساعات التأمل والنجوى، أو في خطرات الإنسان في برية وطنه، أو متى تذكر برية وطنه”.

من ثم، ألست أنت من كان يقول “إن لم تكونوا أنتم أحراراً من أمة حرة، فحريات الأمم عار عليكم؟”. كنت واثقاً من نفسك ومن أنك سائر على دروب الإنتصار. وحتى حين أخرجوك من السجن مقيّد اليدين ولمحت عمود الموت المنتظر، لم تجزع، كأن الإعدام نفِّذ فيك غير مرة من قبل، وقلت لجلاديك: “أنا اموت أما حزبي فباق، وأبناء عقيدتي سينتصرون، وسيجيء انتصارهم انتقاماً لموتي“.
* * *
قلت إن الكثير من أشيائك سُرق مني وضاع، وهناك أشياء من جسدي وروحي ضاعت مني أيضاً، هي أغلى ما يمكن أن يبقى لنا منك. عنيت بذلك رفاتك. لا نعرف حتى هذه اللحظة مكانه.

سمعنا أقاويل لا نعرف ما الصحيح منها وما هو غير الصحيح، وحاولنا مرات عدة أن نجد أثراً للرفات فلم نوفق. ما اقسى سواعد بعض الناس وما أقسى قلوبهم وأتفه ظنونهم يا أبي. يسرقون رفات عظيم مثلك، يخفونه عن رفاقه ومحبيه، وعن عيون بناته.

آه لو يعرفون ما أعانيه ساعة أرى الناس يدفنون موتاهم، أو ساعة يزورون قبور موتاهم. آه كم أود أن أعثر على شيء من رفاتك يا والدي ويا زعيمي. أزورك ولو مرة واحدة في السنة. أحتفظ لك بدمعة، وأحمل إليك طاقة زهور برية من خيرات أرضنا المعطاء. أضعها على ضريحك، أرفع يميني بالتحية وأردد نداءك: “لمن الحياة يا أبناء الحياة؟”.

وحين تعتري بلادي كآبة خرساء كما يقول خليلك جبران، وألمح التشرذم يفتك بجسد هذه الأمة، لن أفقد الأمل. سأبقى على الماء، أمشي أمشي ولن أغرق، وأنشد المقطع الأخير الأثير من قصيدة “سلام على سوريا”: لعينيك يا سوريا/ حماتك، لا لن تبور الحماة/ ستزرعنا الأمهات/ غنى من طفولة،/ كصحو الينابيع، كالزنبق،/ مواسم من قوة ورجولة،/ غداً نلتقي/ غداً في حصاد البطولة،/ ويهتف كل مع المشرق:/ سلام على سوريا.

Note 1: Israel was created by the colonial powers of USA, England France, Russia and Germany for the purpose of disturbing the daily communication, trade and travel among the same people in the same Nation called “Greater Syria”

Note 2: In 1953, three members of the party shot Lebanese Prime minister Riyad Solh in Jordan. He begged: I have 3 little daughters. the response was: Our leader also had 3 little daughters. When in the hospital in Jordan, it turned out that the surgeon was also a member and he let him die in suffering..

The Advantage of Strategic Disadvantage

Ease and comfort are the enemies of growth.

Ungraceful flight is better than no flight.

Baby bluebird in our grass wondering what’s next?

The bluebirds emptied their nest, yesterday. Every year we watch the egg to flight ritual. One year we saw the young leave.

This year we found one quaking in the grass.

By Dan Rockwell?

Beginning:

Mother bluebird usually sits on the eggs while father bluebird feeds her and stands guard atop their box-shaped house. Eventually, we hear empty-bellied babies hungrily squawking.

Both parents bring food and stand guard. Their commitment, discipline, and loyalty inspire.

Middle:

Feeding grows nearly frantic till one day mother stands on their slanted roof holding a tasty bug in plain view. Yellow beaks cry out, complaining. Eventual she gives in.

Taking flight:

Both mom and dad feed and guard less and less.

They swoop past their gawking, nest-bound young, providing glimpses of glorious flight.

They offer food but don’t give it. They bring sour berries instead of juicy bugs.

They don’t stand atop the house much anymore. They perch, in plain view, about fifty yards away.

Eventually, after much complaint and coaxing, former eggs fly. Every year it’s the same.

Disadvantage and distance motivate flight.

In praise of disadvantage:

Ease and comfort are the enemies of growth.

On the other hand, strategic disadvantage is advantageous. Make things harder not easier. Uncomfortable challenges provide emerging leaders opportunities to rise up, develop new abilities, and eventually take flight on their own.

Difficulty strengthens.

Emerging leaders:

Welcome difficulties don’t resist. Step out of the nest. You’ll drop toward the ground, bang into things, and ungracefully flap. But eventually, you’ll fly. Trust your gifts.

Leadership development bluebird style:

  1. Create stress.
  2. Provide less expect more.
  3. Stand nearby but don’t hover.
  4. Model behaviors.
  5. Let them struggle. Ungraceful flight is better than no flight.

Advantageous stress:

New opportunities that test skills and challenge abilities create advantageous stress. Baby bluebirds fly because they live in a fly or die world.

How can leaders create disadvantages that help the nest-bound take flight?

When does help become a disadvantage?

Day 12~ July 12th~ Vietnam

by ~mimo~

seven

If I were to list 7 qualities that compel me to photograph children:

1. connection to essences

2. human potential

3. innocence

4. freedom

5. art

6. expression

7. happiness

photo taken: child running outside Hanoi~ Vietnam

Is serving people a utopia concept?

The simple, uncomplicated principle of success is you are here to serve.

The better you serve – the more value you add – the more success you’ll enjoy.

By Dan Rockwell?

  1. Reject distractions.  Anything that requires your attention and doesn’t serve people is a distraction.
  2. Stop the irrelevant.  Activities that don’t directly or indirectly serve people are irrelevant.
  3. Minimize structures.  Stop using systems and structures as excuses for not serving people.

You’re not selling products.  You’re serving people.

You’re not making money.  You’re serving people.

Serving:

  1. Serving is an others-first activity. (The reason to take care of you is to enhance your ability to take care of others.)
  2. Serving is giving before receiving.
  3. Serving takes humility.
  4. Serving elevates everyone.
  5. ???

Servant-leaders get ahead by helping others get ahead. It doesn’t take brains or talent to obscure the simple, complicate the clear, and forget the essential. You are here for one reason, serving.

What makes us reluctant to serve?

What does serving look like in your world?

Tidbits and notes. Part 298

The racist “Silent Majority”, who cannot suffer free opinions Not matching its belief system, exercises undue tyranny and biases on the minorities, under all forms of government.

US colonies wanted independence because they wanted to maintain the slave trade for their plantations after England banned the trade. Since then, USA is enslaving people around the world by all means available

The USA constitution was Not meant for people of Color, Red, Black or Yellow. The Right to own guns was a right to shoot at every person of color who trespass the plantation. Time to interpret this Constitution in the context of the period.

Les Americains, avant les Europeens, croient en la réalité de la “race”. La race devient L’ enfant innocent de mére Nature. Une affaire de hiérarchie

Anyone can edit most Wikipedia pages, and the site counts 36.7 million accounts, 121,000 of which have edited something in the past month.

The next level is administrator, of which there are 1,142; elected by about 12,000 eligible members of the community, they can block users and delete many (though not all) pages. Bureaucrats are higher-level administrators, and there are only 18 in English-language Wikipedia.

There are 36 stewards who “hold the top echelon of community permissions.” A 10-person Arbitration Committee “is analogous to Wikipedia’s supreme court.” Jimmy Wales told the Guardian that he’s the “constitutional monarch”: “Like the Queen. It doesn’t mean I have any actual power.”

You are as many as the number of languages you know (I guess could read in the original, and actually read and comprehend?)

Qui s’ interesse a un paradigme depasse’? Tous ces genies qui ont contribue’ a nos connaissance, tres peu de gens s’interessent aux origines des assumptions et leur procedures.

Giving birth is far more a mystery than death. And yet, the processes of birth is more understood than dying. Meaning, it is our psychic than fabricates more mysteries for us Not to be absorbed or swallowed.

The philosopher of Athens, Anaxagoras, demanded that the citizens of Athens define what they claim to be “gods”. How a reasonable person can adore an entity that he cannot know? Anaxagoras was judged as a heretic and banned. He took refuge in Lampsaque of Milet in Turkey.

The “citizens” of Athens were close-minded and de-facto controlled by adventurer aristocrats (Same thing for the British empire) who have great influence on the common “citizens”. It is the talented and hard working “strangers” who built the city. Classical Europe fabricated a mythical “democratic” City-State Athens

The haitairies d’Athens (the strangers), similar to modern gangs of youths, had their own code (of honors) their languages (slang), feast and…

“Nous sommes des riches citoyens d’ Athens, et les pauvres meteques affluent  pour le miel. Quand nous vainquerons Sparte, on les transfera a Sparte pour la peupler”. And Sparte occupied Athens and dismembered Athens empire.

A black female cat is hiding behind a flower pot, her behind blocked by a wall. The male cat is looking at her and waiting. And you claim that sex is Not controlling our behavior.

If it were Not for the internal civil wars among Greece city-States, the Roman empire would not have emerged that soon. The Mediterranean sea would have been split between two merchants empires: Carthage and Athens. Carthage would have conquered Africa and Athens would be in constant wars with Persia, Turkey, and the northern Caucasian people around the Black Sea.

To read the short stories of Dino Buzzati “Les nuits difficiles” and “Les 7 messagers”

To read “Madame Socrate” by Gerald Messadie’. All you need to know about the city-state of Athens.

 

 

 

Fernando Lugo, priest, and President of Paraguay? A return to the bloody 80s…

Andrew Nickson posted in Open Democracy on July 10:

Fernando Lugo, the radical priest and a former Catholic bishop, elected Paraguay’s president in 2008 after decades of authoritarian rule, has been deposed less than a year before the end of his term.

Is this dramatic turn of events, rooted in the strains produced by economic transformation, and the limits of the country’s democratisation?

Paraguay’s capital city of Asuncion  witness a rare constitutional and political drama on June 21.

First, the 80-member lower house of Paraguay’s congress initiated a move to impeach President Fernando Lugo, and voted by a 76-1 majority to support it;

Second, the next day, in a lightning session lasting less than two hours, the 45-member upper house (senate) concluded the process by a vote of 39-4.

Fernando Lugo, a former Catholic bishop, had been elected Paraguay’s president in April 2008 on a platform of social change. The vote ended 61 years of uninterrupted rule by the Colorado Party, much of it under the dictatorship of Alfredo Stroessner (1954-89).

It was the first time since 1887 – when Paraguay’s two traditional parties, the Colorados and the Liberals, were created – that a political party had relinquished power to another through the ballot-box rather than through a military coup (see “Paraguay: Fernando Lugo vs the Colorado machine“, 28 February 2008).

Note: Paraguay is controlled by US multinationals. The border country Uruguay has regained its democracy

Liberalist in the USA: Decrepit?
Note: I don’t mind posting “controversial” articles: a reflective mind should be able to extract valuable positions when the State social media disseminate what the administration wants to be exposed.
Any connections among Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), Citizens United case, political corruption, Common Law doctrine of stare decisis, Chief Justice John Robert?
Note: Common Law doctrine of stare decisis is borrowed from the British legal system: prior cases decisions take precedent. Not fair, since deep pocket defenders generally win cases when the downtrodden are helpless in covering up legal expenses.
ANDREW LEVINE wrote in CounterPunch under “John Roberts: Liberal Hero?”:

“In America today, the terms “liberal” and “conservative” describe positions that bear only a vague connection to the meanings of these terms in less benighted times.  The connection to philosophical understandings is even more attenuated.

This is a consequence of the accelerating decrepitude of our political culture.

How may we understand one of last month’s more remarkable developments: the adulation liberals accorded the previously despised John Roberts, Chief Justice of the United States?

John Roberts cast the deciding vote upholding most of the Obama administration’s most vaunted legislative achievement, the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). On June 28, to the dismay of other right-wing Justices, Robert saved Obamacare’s linchpin, the much vilified individual mandate, which requires persons not otherwise insured to buy health insurance or else to pay a fine.

Before the ruling came down, the idea that liberals would make a hero of John Roberts seemed about as likely as that Barack Obama or Eric Holder would heap praise on Bradley Manning or Julian Assange.

Two years ago, it was Roberts who engineered the outcome in the Citizens United case, making political corruption the law of the land, and turning over what “we, the people” have left of a democracy to the plutocrats who own our political class.  Roberts can take credit for countless reactionary Supreme Court rulings.

Indeed, as Roberts’ position is scrutinized, doubts about his bona fides are reemerging.  To be considered a liberal hero (Robert) for a while tells a lot about liberals, and about the state of our political culture.

In retrospect, the liberal response to Roberts’ ruling makes sense, at least at a psychological level.

Having been put down for so long by an administration bent on courting the plutocrats, Roberts lives to serve and determined to win the hearts and minds of “moderates,” liberals are understandably easy to please.

Obama proved that point when, with a few kind words (only words!) on same-sex marriage, he got the handful of “forward leaners” in the corporate media to wax ecstatic again.  And though no American president ever has been worse on immigration issues, an executive order halting the deportation of undocumented immigrants younger than thirty and brought to the United States as children seems to have assured Team Obama that, this time around, they can count on Hispanic voters again too.

No matter that Obama’s less than generous motives are transparent: in a Citizens United world, he needs all the gay donors he can bring on board and he needs to keep the constituencies that backed him in 2008 in the fold.

Liberals either don’t want to know about this or don’t care; they’re happy just to accept anything Obama throws their way.

Ever in dread of the greater evil, they have learned to ask for nothing and to be grateful when that’s what they get.

The Democratic Party has been counting on this for years and, with Obama at the helm, they are not about to change their ways.

And so we live under a duopoly party system where both parties compete to serve the interests of those we have come to call “the 1%.”

The difference is just that one of those parties, the scarier one, is more transparent about its allegiances than the other.

No wonder that, in such a world, the political compass has gone haywire and words like “liberal” and “conservative” have become unhinged.

No wonder too that it was self-identified liberals, not conservatives, who made a hero of John Roberts.

In making a hero of Roberts, liberals were not just grasping at straws: they were also revealing where their deepest sympathies lie.  It wasn’t always so, but those who identify with liberalism today have become the true conservatives. (You mean the Silent Majority?)

Self-identified conservatives, meanwhile, are just plain reactionaries – except sporadically and for reasons that are not always on the up and up.

To make sense of all this, it is not necessary to dwell on what “liberalism” used to mean or what it means in philosophical circles.

For political philosophers, what liberalism is and what it implies for justice and equality has been Topic A for decades.  This work, valuable as it is, is largely dissociated from the real world of politics.  It is nearly irrelevant for explaining how self-identified liberals think.

It is relevant to bear in mind the last great liberal settlement in American political history, the one that began with the New Deal and continued through the time when the Vietnam War effectively undid the Great Society.

New Deal-Great Society liberalism aimed to ameliorate conditions of life under capitalism.

Though pale in comparison, it was of a piece with similar ameliorative programs developed in Europe and elsewhere under the aegis of social democratic ideologies.

We have not yet reached the point where self-identified liberals expressly advocate undoing that last great liberal settlement; that is what self-identified conservatives do.

“By their deeds shall ye know them.

Democratic presidents, their party in tow, have done at least as much as Republican presidents to restore pre-New Deal conditions.  Awful as Mitt Romney promises to be, if history is a guide, it is far from obvious that Barack Obama, with the election behind him, won’t be worse.

In a world where liberals and conservatives are both engaged in the same nefarious project – in the one case, without quite saying so; in the other, with greater honesty — identifying the connection, if any, between actually existing liberalism and the genuine article is complicated at best.  But, for our purpose, there is no need.

Obamacare hardly rises to the level of a New Deal or Great Society program and, that feeble connection apart, there is nothing particularly liberal about it.

But it does have a lot to do with venerable understandings of what conservatism is.  One strain of conservative thought is especially relevant for making sense of it and also, more importantly, the reaction to it.

Nothing illustrates the idea better than the Common Law doctrine of stare decisis, precedent rules.  This is ironic inasmuch as it was a legal judgment, advanced in the Common Law tradition, which turned Roberts into a hero for liberals.

The rationale for deciding legal cases according to this doctrine begins with the assumption that the issues courts decide are relevantly like those they decided in the past. 

Those decisions, the argument goes, were good enough in most instances.  At the very least, they got us where we are.  In the conservative view, that is not a bad place to be.

If we set our minds to improving on past judgments without regard to past decisions, we might do better.  But this is unlikely, and it can also be unsettling.

The rule of law works best when there are stable expectations about what the law requires.  Stare decisis enhances the likelihood that this will be the case.

Of course, if there are overwhelming considerations of justice that were not taken into account in past rulings, then, the argument goes, precedents should be overridden.  But inasmuch as this is usually not the case, precedents should, for the most part, determine  outcomes.

This is the accepted view throughout American jurisprudence, honored both in the breach and the observance.  Even when the doctrine is not followed, when “activist judges” make laws, they almost always attempt at least to maintain the fiction that they are following the guidance of the past.

Similarly, in the larger political arena, the guiding idea is that if we follow the lead of the past, we will generally end up no worse off than we now are, and that the result will therefore be at least satisfactory.  On the other hand, if we break from the past in an effort to make things better, we will likely end up worse off, perhaps disastrously so.

Thus conservatives think that in politics it is always wise to be risk averse.  This is why, in their view, traditions of governance trump attempts at fundamental change, and why continuity in institutional arrangements and on-going practices is of paramount importance.

Of course, even dedicated conservatives concede there are activities for which cautious gradualism is inappropriate because they necessarily involve the exercise of untrammeled Reason; this is the case in most fields of mathematics, for example, and in some areas of philosophy.  In these and similar domains, it would be foolish to accord priority to received ways of doing things.

But these are the exception, not the rule – because most of life is more like, say, cooking than geometry.   The cook relies on instruments, techniques and recipes that embody a collective wisdom accumulated over generations by people facing roughly similar problems to those cooks now confront.  There is no need to resort to first principles, not because our cooking is as good as can be, but because it is good enough and because far-reaching changes risk going drastically wrong.  There is also no one best way to cook, but many traditions, each continuous with a useable past.

Governance, conservatives think, is, like cooking.  A conservative can be agnostic on whether the problem lies with the nature of Reason itself.  No doubt, many think it does.  But even if it does not, the crucial point is that human beings’ rational capacities are not up to the task; for doing politics the way we do geometry, we are, so to speak, insufficient.

The idea behind this conviction all but defines a much older strain of conservative philosophy.  In the seventeenth century, Thomas Hobbes, the greatest political philosopher the English-speaking world has produced, argued that, given human nature and the human condition, life would degenerate into a devastating “war of all against all”  unless individuals are made unfree to do everything they want to do.

Hobbes argued that, to achieve this end, it is necessary that there be coercive institutions capable of compelling individuals to follow the dictates of political authorities.  He argued, in other words, that what individuals cannot achieve voluntarily, given their nature and condition, they can achieve politically — through the use or threat of force.

Hobbes also argued that the only sustainable form of political authority is sovereignty – supreme and, in his view, unlimited authority.  Thus he deemed sovereignty necessary for order, the paramount value in his vision of a good society.  That vision is idiosyncratic and extreme, and Hobbes’ arguments are compelling only within the framework of his other philosophical views.  But the preeminence he accorded to order is typical of this strain of conservative thought.

Hobbes’ position was secular, but his notion of human insufficiency is of a piece with the distinctively Christian doctrine of Original Sin, the Church Fathers’ alternative to pagan (mainly Greek but also Roman) notions of human perfectibility, according to which, as Aristotle famously put it, we are essentially “political animals,” beings who must participate in the political communities we comprise in order fully to become all that we (potentially) are.

In the Christian ancestor of Hobbes’ position, political institutions are punishments for Original Sin because they block the free expression of our Fallen nature.  Ironically, in doing so, they also provide relief from its consequences, allowing Providence to work its way through human affairs.  Thus it is not our interests that order serves, but God’s.  Still,  the point remains: by imposing a non-natural order upon us, political institutions save us from ourselves and from each other.

Unlike the kind of conservatism that makes governance out to be an activity more like cooking than geometry, this strain of conservative thought does not directly resonate in John Roberts’ apparent defection from the self-identified conservative cause.  But it does underscore a point that is often lost in our political culture: that the anti-statist character of our actually existing conservatism is quite atypical.  Conservatism is not inherently anti-statist, as American conservatives assume.  As Hobbes’ example shows, precisely the opposite is usually the case.

* * *

As Obamacare slouched towards passage in Congress, it seemed a case of  “bipartisanship” gone awry.  Not wishing to rattle the cages of private insurers and healthcare profiteers, Democrats enacted a policy not much different from the one conceived in the early 1990s at the right-wing Heritage Foundation as an alternative to the Clintons’ efforts at health care reform.

Obamacare, accordingly, is very like the program Republicans promoted until quite recently and that Mitt Romney got enacted in Massachusetts when he was governor there. It was not until Obama took up the cause that Republicans turned on the policy they concocted and fostered.

Assuming it is not reversed in Congress, it remains to be seen how much good Obamacare will do when it finally goes fully into effect.  On the plus side, it will lead to more (but not all!) presently uninsured persons gaining coverage, and it puts a number of worthwhile insurance reforms in place.   On the other hand, it further entrenches the power and wealth of private insurance companies and health care profiteers.

It will likely also set back the cause of genuine reform, perhaps for another generation, in much the way that the Clintons did.  It may also leave many presently insured persons, union workers especially, worse off, as employers seize the opportunity to cut back or eliminate employment related insurance.  And it is becoming clear that its funding mechanisms may give rise to additional problems as well.

Even so, it seemed, when the Affordable Care Act passed, that the United States would indeed move forward a tad – not to the level other developed countries long ago achieved, but in that general direction.

Then an “only in America” thing happened.  The affair turned into a legal squabble.

The proposed rationale for ruling the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional was that, contrary to what Republican had been saying for years, Congress had no right to require otherwise uninsured persons to buy health insurance or pay a fine if they don’t.  It plainly did have that right, however, under the commerce clause of the U.S. Constitution.

If precedents matter, the issue was about as settled as any Constitutional question could be.  Moreover, the state Attorneys General who brought the suit and their allies on the Supreme Court were not about to take on commerce clause jurisprudence altogether; that would be too unsettling – and too patently “unconstitutional” — even for them.

So, not very ingeniously, they split a hair, arguing that while Congress can regulate activities that have commercial impact beyond the borders of individual states, it cannot proscribe inactivity that affects inter-state commerce.  In other words, Congress can say what health insurers can and must do, but it cannot require anyone to buy health insurance.

Antonin Scalia, supposedly the smart one, was especially concerned that if this distinction isn’t given legal standing, Congress could require individuals to buy broccoli. At least he had the decency not to take his usual tack: asking what the Constitution’s authors would do.

* * *

We Americans are so used to this level of silliness that few would find it odd if he had.

Indeed, it is one of the oddities of our political culture that we accord an almost scriptural authority to a text composed in the 1780s by leading planters (slave owners), merchants and lawyers.

But that is precisely what we do, and no one does it more than the reactionaries we call  “conservatives.”   This residue of America’s Protestant past survives in our jurisprudence and also, to a remarkable extent, in the broader political culture.  To buy into it, it is hardly necessary to be culturally, much less religiously, Protestant.  Scalia, a right-wing Catholic, is a case in point.

The idea that there is Holy Writ and that it ought to be authoritative took hold on American soil to such an extent that, even as faith waned, it survived outside the theological framework that gave it life.  Our founders established secular institutions that implement Enlightenment ideals including the separation of Church and State.  Nevertheless, we fetishize the Constitution they wrote, much as the Protestant faithful of old, and evangelicals today, fetishize the Old and New Testaments.

Constitution fetishism can be benign and even beneficial.  But because it channels public deliberation into a forensic realm where questions hinge, in part, on the interpretation of words written long ago, it affects how arguments are made, driving a wedge between the positions people hold and the reasons they hold them.  One consequence is that citizens or their representatives are often obliged to argue disingenuously, appealing to reasons they don’t embrace to defend positions they do.

Arguably, there is no harm in this when the governing jurisprudential practice acknowledges the evolving character of Constitutional interpretation.  Then, at least in theory, our style of jurisprudence would constrain how arguments are made, but not materially affect their substance.  On the other hand, there can be considerable harm if “originalist” styles of interpretation prevail.  Then the content, not just the form, of public argument is affected – in almost all cases for the worse.

Needless to say, it is not clear how the intentions of long dead Constitution writers can be ascertained.  But the pretense can be useful for turning back progress because originalism ties judges to the prejudices of earlier times.  Its proponents praise it as an antidote to “judicial activism.”  In fact, the opposite it is true; it is a rationale for enlisting the judiciary in the service of the most retrograde forces in our society.

* * *

That used to be what John Roberts was about and maybe it still is.  But then the so-called conservative Justice had a genuine conservative moment.

Only in retrospect and as more information emerges will what happened become clear.   Perhaps he honestly thought the situation through and this is where his thinking led.    More likely, he sided with the “liberals” for reasons that are more strategic than principled.  There are times, after all, when it is well to take one step back, the better to move forward – that is, to move the country backward — later.

There are liberals who touted his heroism who are coming around to this view.   They are starting to worry that when issues bearing on affirmative action and voting rights come before the Court next year, he’ll be better positioned to promote reaction than he would have been had not decided to keep the Affordable Care Act in place.

They are worried too that his hair splitting on the commerce clause will have bad consequences in the years to come.  Some are realizing as well that the “conservative” Justices, Roberts included, who ruled that states cannot be threatened with the loss of all Medicare money if they fail to go along with the Affordable Care Act’s efforts to extend Medicare coverage will make it harder from now on to implement federal regulations and rules at the state level.

In short, whether Roberts was a liberal hero, even if only on June 28, or rather an exceptionally clever snake in the grass remains to be seen.  Were this just a question about him, it would be of little interest.  But since he heads what is, in effect, a super-legislature with vast powers, it is a question of the utmost importance.  No doubt, in time, the answer will become clear.

But it is not too soon to see what their reaction to Roberts’ (temporary?) defection from the “conservative” juggernaut says about liberals.  It shows that if they are not the last true conservatives in our political culture today, they are the closest approximation we’ve got.

Of course, this may just be a defensive posture on their part; an understandable one too in a world where the reactionaries who have appropriated the conservative label are still on the offensive.  But it is hard to deny that in this Age of Obama the causes liberals enthuse about – same-sex marriage is another example – have a profoundly conservative cast.

For helping to bring about this state of affairs – and for stifling the impulse to seek out anything better, more experimental and bold — the Democratic Party of the Clinton and post-Clinton years has much to answer for.   Will Obama’s legacy be even worse?

Note: As far as the Middle East people are concerned, Obama and Hilary were the worst administration for this region. They purposely funded and facilitated the creation of ISIS and the occupation of Mosul. Any why this decision? Because Iraq turned down Obama demand to have permanent military bases in Iraq.

ANDREW LEVINE is a Senior Scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, the author most recently of THE AMERICAN IDEOLOGY (Routledge) and POLITICAL KEY WORDS (Blackwell) as well as of many other books and articles in political philosophy. His most recent book is In Bad Faith: What’s Wrong With the Opium of the People.

He was a Professor (philosophy) at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a Research Professor (philosophy) at the University of Maryland-College Park.  He is a contributor to Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion (AK Press).


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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