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Trading Rights for Security? how_Boston_exposes_americas_dark_post_911_bargain
We surrendered our rights to a government of war criminals
“In America after 9/11, we made a deal with the devil, or with Dick Cheney, which is much the same thing.
We agreed to give up most of our enumerated rights and civil liberties (except for the sacrosanct Second Amendment, of course) in exchange for a lot of hyper-patriotic tough talk, the promise of “security” and the freedom to go on sitting on our asses and consuming whatever the hell we wanted to.
Don’t look the other way and tell me that you signed a petition or voted for John Kerry or whatever.
The fact is that whatever dignified private opinions you and I may hold, we did not do enough to stop it, and our constitutional rights are now deemed to be partial or provisional rather than absolute, do not necessarily apply to everyone, and can be revoked by the government at any time.
The supposed tradeoff for that sacrifice was that we would be protected, at least for a while, from the political violence and terrorism and low-level warfare that …is nearly an everyday occurrence in many parts of the world. (Low-level wars? What weapons should be used for that categories of warfare?)
According to the Afghan government, for example, a NATO air attack on April 6 killed 17 civilians in Kunar province, 12 of them children.
We’ve heard almost nothing about that on this side of the world, partly because the United States military has not yet admitted that it even happened.
But it’s not entirely fair to suggest that Americans think one kid killed by a bomb in Boston is worth more than 12 kids killed in Afghanistan.
It’s more that we live in a profoundly asymmetrical world, and the dead child in Boston is surprising in a way any number of dead children in Afghanistan, horrifyingly enough, are not.”
 published in Salon this April 21, 2013:

To put it mildly, this has been a bad week for democracy and a worse one for public discourse.

In the minutes and hours after the bombs went off in Boston last Monday, marathon runners, first responders and many ordinary citizens responded to a chaotic situation with great courage and generosity, not knowing whether they might be putting their own lives at risk.

Since then, though, it’s mostly been a massive and disheartening national freakout, with pundits, politicians, major news outlets and the self-appointed sleuths of the Internet – in fact, nearly everyone besides those directly affected by the attack – heaping disgrace upon themselves.

We’ve seen the most famous TV network in the news business repeatedly botch basic facts, while one of the country’s largest-circulation newspapers misreported the number of people killed, launched a wave of hysteria over a “Saudi national” who turned out to have nothing to do with the crime, and then published a cover photo suggesting that two other guys (also innocent) might be the bombers.

We’ve seen the vaunted crowd-sourcing capability of Reddit degenerate into self-reinforcing mass delusion, in which a bunch of people whose law-enforcement expertise consisted of massive doses of “CSI” convinced themselves that a missing college student was one of the bombing suspects.

(He wasn’t – and with that young man’s fate still unknown, how does his family feel today?)

We’ve watched elected officials and political commentators struggle to twist every nubbin of news or rumor toward some perceived short-term tactical advantage.

It was as if the only real importance of this horrific but modestly scaled terrorist attack lay in how it could prove the essential rightness of one’s existing worldview, and — of course! — how it would play in the 2014 midterms.

On the right, people were sure the Boston bombings were part of a massive jihadi plot – no doubt one linked to al-Qaida and Iran and Saddam Hussein and all the other landmarks in the connect-the-dots paranoid worldview of Islamophobia.

(In fact, many people are still convinced of that.)

On the left we heard a lot of theories about Patriots’ Day and Waco and Oklahoma City, along with the argument that it would be better for global peace if the bombers turned out to be white Americans rather than foreign Muslims.

(I sympathize with the underlying point David Sirota was making there, by the way, but the way it was phrased was deliberately inflammatory.)

How long did it take conservative pundits and politicians, after the bombing suspects were identified as Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, immigrant brothers of Chechen heritage born in Kyrgyzstan, to seize on that fact as a reason to walk back the supposed Republican change of heart on immigration reform? Was it even five minutes?

Never mind that the young men in question came here as war refugees in childhood, one was an American citizen and the other a legal resident, and we still have no idea what role their religion and national background may or may not have played in motivating the crime.

It’s hard to imagine what possible immigration laws could have categorically excluded them, short of a magic anti-Muslim force field.

And don’t even get me started on the irrelevant but unavoidable fact that the shameless, butt-licking lackeys of the Senate’s Republican caucus (with a few Democrats along for the ride) took advantage of the post-Boston confusion to do Wayne LaPierre’s bidding and kill a modest gun-reform bill supported by nearly the entire American public.

I might have assumed, in other circumstances, that the Family Research Council’s press release suggesting that the Boston bombings were caused by abortion, “sexual liberalism” and hostility to religion was actually an Onion article.

Or that right-wing pundit Pat Dollard’s now-famous tweet (“GEORGE BUSH KEPT US SAFE FOR 8 YEARS”) came from some Brooklyn hipster’s parody account.

But nothing, it seems, is too painful or stupid or wrong for this particular week. There are many reasons why this happened: A terrorist bombing at the Boston Marathon is a big news story by any measure, and this news story happened in a disordered media climate that’s changing so fast no one can keep up with it.

Our political culture is so fundamentally broken and divided that people on all sides seized on the story as a weapon and a symbol long before we had any idea who was behind the crime.

(It would be almost too perfect if the loaded question of whether the Boston bombings were foreign or domestic terrorism turns out not to have a clear answer, as now seems possible: A little bit of both, but not quite either.)

But I think the real reason why this gruesome but small-scale attack sent the whole country into such an incoherent panic lies a little deeper than that.

As a New Yorker who lived through 9/11, by the way, I’m aware that the trauma felt by people in and around Boston, whether or not they were directly affected, is real and likely to last quite a while.

What I’m talking about is the media spectacle of fear and unreason delivered via TV, news sites and social media, the nationwide hysteria that made a vicious act apparently perpetrated by two losers with backpack bombs seem like an “existential threat” (to borrow a little bogus “Homeland”-speak) to the most powerful nation in the world.

Because it was, in a way.

We are supposed to be protected, and then something like Boston comes along, a small-minded and bloody attack that appears to have been conducted by a couple of guys flying under the radar of law enforcement or national intelligence, pursuing some obscure agenda we will probably never understand.

(We have recently learned that Tamerlan Tsarnaev and his family were interviewed by the FBI in 2011, apparently at the request of Russian intelligence, and agents found “no derogatory information.” Is that the right’s new Benghazi I smell?)

Not only does it conjure up all the leftover post-traumatic jitters from 9/11 – which for many of us will be there for the rest of our lives – it also makes clear that our Faustian bargain was completely bogus, and the devil never intended to hold up his end of the deal.

We surrendered our rights to a government of war criminals, who promised us certainty and security in a world that offers none.

We should have known better, and in fact we did. At the literal birth moment of American democracy, Benjamin Franklin summed it up in a single sentence: “Those who would give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”

Comparing election law alternatives for Lebanon’s Parliamentary election (in 2014)

Note: Mind you that this article was written in 2014.

Since then 17 alternative laws have been presented and none of them were discussed in Parliament, with the tacit intention of renewing their mandate without any election. This parliament renewed their tenure twice and is about to renew it for a few more months.

This year 2017 is witnessing the same process in order Not to change the law. Apparently, a form of proportional is becoming inevitable, though the districts are meant to retain the old feudal and militia leaders.

The new season and collection of political headlines is out in Lebanon, and this year’s theme is the electoral law.

It is all we can read and hear about these days no matter where we turn; national TV, newspapers, facebook, twitter, bakeries, and even coffee shops.

Let’s try to go through our different options together and objectively determine what law to support.

Law-Proposals

In case you are not familiar with the terms, simple majority means winner takes all.

while proportional representation means you get a seat if your support is just the right size (If small politicians do not support proportional representation then they are not small… they are micro).

The above presents five proposals with coalitions, the government, and independent politicians pushing and shoving for one over the other.

The only thing that is common, and that all our politicians practically agree on, is to keep the sectarian division. This means the Parliament is divided based on religious representation.

Some politicians might claim one proposal is “more sectarian” than the other, but that is just because they will lose a couple of seats in Parliament, not because of their ideals.

The sad truth is that the politicians today are negotiating the results of the elections. They are simply re-dividing the seats among each other and negotiating the distribution of power in Lebanon.

Most voters will continue to vote for the same leader they have been voting for during the past couple of decades.

What we are looking at is a simple game of rotating thrones between lords. The only difference is that we have more than 30 lords seeking the throne, and the Realm is one twelfth the size of New York State.

(Actually, only 5 leaders are deciding of everything in Lebanon. Once they agree, the process follow through)

So to answer the question I posed in the beginning of the article on which electoral law to choose, my answer is none.

I refuse to enter a selection process that is completely separated from the notion of freedom.

I will not wait for the results of the brokered deal to know how free the electoral law will make me. I am free today by making my own choices based on my reason, emotions, and beliefs.

I choose to do what is right for me and for the people in my society. That is the electoral law I will support.

Cedric Choukeir is the regional director of the the World Youth Alliance in the Middle East and North Africa.

“The roots of my perpetual state of feeling entertained…”
When you are uprooted from an environment to a totally different one without the presence of familiar faces…
How do you think that your emotional mind will react?
Either you fall frequently sick or you shut down the emotional system, relegating it to the unconscious realm, and stick to the present moment:
Implicitly, you refrain from conscious reflection on your conditions and situation and adhere to what the present events offer to you for entertainment.
“Who can’t see the vanity of the world is himself vain…
Except the youth who are continuously surrounded with noise, in entertainment activities, and thinking of the future, people are unable to recognize the vanity in this world.
Take out entertainment, and people will shrive land dry up in boredom.
They’ll sense the void without knowing it: It is insufferable to be in a sadness that cannot be overcome, as quickly as we start reflecting on ourselves, and be prevented from being entertained…. ” Blaise PascalPensées

What of the Idiots? And pre-judgmental rules?

Les fous, les marginaux, les rebelles, les anticonformistes, les dissidents…

Tous ceux qui voient les choses différemment, qui ne respectent pas les règles.

Vous pouvez les admirer, ou les désapprouver, les glorifier, ou les dénigrer.

Mais vous ne pouvez pas les ignorer. Car ils changent les choses. Ils inventent, ils imaginent, ils explorent. Ils créent, ils inspirent.

Tanimoto

Tant que mes jambes me permettent de fuir, tant que mes bras me permettent de combattre, tant que l’expérience que j’ai du monde me permet de savoir ce que je peux désirer, nulle crainte : je puis agir.

Mais lorsque le monde des hommes me contraint à observer ses lois, lorsque mes mains et mes jambes se trouvent emprisonnées dans les fers implacables des préjugés, alors je frissonne, je gémis et je pleure.

Laboritt

Chaque fois que mes desseins se sont élevés, sous l’influence de mes rêves, au-dessus du niveau de ma vie quotidienne, et que, pour un instant, je me suis cru dans les hauteurs, comme l’enfant en haut de sa balançoire — chaque fois j’ai dû, tout comme lui, redescendre au niveau du jardin public et reconnaître ma défaite. […]

Je suppose que la plupart des gens, croisés au hasard des rues, emportent eux aussi […] un même élan vers cette guerre inutile d’une armée sans bannières.

Et eux tous […] doivent connaître, comme moi, la grande, la sordide défaite, […] une défaite minable et boutiquière.

Ils ont tous, comme moi, une âme exaltée et triste. […] Ils ont tous, comme moi, leur avenir derrière eux.

Pessoa

Note: by Khalil Toubia on FB

 

Body posture depends on teeth

posture teeth

Why teeth are so important for the posture?

The skull is the heaviest part of our body and it is supported at the top, on the last cervical vertebra (atlas).

To ensure that our head, which weighs on average 4 kg, remains at the top with the least expenditure of energy, Mother Nature has devised a very ingenious “bio-mechanical system of levers”.

The question that we must ask is: “What or who is holding the skull on the last cervical vertebra?”

We will try to give you a picture of the situation.

 posted this feb. 12, 2015

posture skull

Until a few decades ago people believed that the skull was simply supported by the neck muscles operated by our willingness to stand upright.

Over time and with the birth of gnathology science, clinical trials have shown a functional-anatomic and physiopathological link between skull-mandible (CMD) and skull-cervical dysfunctions, aggregating various areas of the body in a single tonic-postural system: the skull-cervical-mandible joint.

In short, scientific literature, or rather some pioneers in this new sector, has started to understand the role of the mandible in the human postural system, and that consequently neck and back problems are caused by skull-cervical-mandible disorders.

Having established that, we can realize that in this bio-mechanism that keeps sustained our head on top of the first cervical vertebra, the “jaw” has a vital role in supporting the skull.

It is a matter of fact that these medical-science pioneers have managed to understand, more or less, the bio-mechanism and how to act on it with the use of a bite in order to alleviate people health problems, but they have always proceeded by trial and error without ever being able to develop a proper relationship between correct body posture, jaw and teeth.

Despite this important scientific progress, no one has yet managed to truly solve the classic postural problems (scoliosis, lordosis, kyphosis).

In fact, these scientists have been trying to test many different roads for years, in order to solve these problems. They have tried the most diverse methods, yet none of these have really focused on the issue. That is why this matter is still more of academic than practical interest.

Even some gnathologists assert that there is no proof of any relationship between occlusion and posture due to a lack of convincing scientific evidence.

You can solve a postural problem only if you know “precisely” how the bio-mechanism works and therefore the exact relationship between teeth, occlusion and posture.

The second question to ask is: “How does this postural bio-mechanism work?”

mandibola-cranio2-280x300

The first thing we do know is that the skull always leans on the first cervical vertebra and that it is supported only by the neck muscles.

The second thing we can notice is that the jaw is suspended between the hyoid bone and the skull and it is equipped with a movable articulation: the TMJ (temporo-mandibular joint), a joint which provides a movement along three planes of space.

Considering these peculiarity of the jaw, it is difficult to think that the skull can find support on teeth and lower jaw. And it is even more difficult to understand how a dysfunction in this district can produce such remarkable changes in the whole body.

mandibola-cranio1-300x235

The answer is in the fact that the lower jaw becomes a stable structure and has a carrier function only at the time of occlusion or during the occlusal contact. More precisely the highest stability is produced during the swallowing phase.

The support given by the jaw to the skull, through the occlusal contact, becomes even more stable during a stronger closure of the jaw thanks to the various muscles involved.

In fact, during the swallowing act all the muscles of the stomatognatic system start working and it is exactly at this time that the jaw becomes a solid structure, just like a sailing boat mast supported by cables.

During this process both the raising and lowering muscles of the jaw contract at the same time. When these muscles work together, from opposite points, they become like tie-beam giving a stabilizing effect to the jaw.

It is exactly during the swallowing act that the forces generated by the contact between the teeth are transmitted to the underlying structures.

Let’s try to progress in steps in order to fully understand this bio-mechanism.

Next questions might be: how this whole system can compromise body posture? How is a correct posture determined? How do back diseases generate? How can you fix scoliosis, and stop the deterioration of lordosis and kyphosis?

The answer to all these questions lies in the “teeth”.

We have seen how the skull is supported by the cervical vertebra and we have understood the role of the jaw. We also know that teeth are located between skull and mandible. Sometimes teeth may not be completely extruded in the premolar and molar area for various reasons.

In this case there may be several factors that can cause a dental arch inclination. In most cases these problems are related to birth defects, and mainly attributable to jaw bone dysmorphoses (lower bone thickness) or lack of teeth extrusion on thin and porous bones.

Other causes not related to birth defects may be a teeth collapse or bad dental work.

Nonetheless, it must be said that stress can be a trigger for the lowering of the tooth thickness. A body under high tension leads all muscles to work harder. Among them there are also those muscles in the mouth that constantly biting, especially on molars and premolars, can cause their collapsing.

Now, let’s get to the heart of the matter.

Let’s see in profile what happens to the posture of a skeleton looking at it from the sagittal plane. Let’s see if these premolar and molar teeth are not completely extruded or have collapsed over the years.

animazion-cranio-crollo

We note that the skull changes inclination with respect to the jaw then compressing all the cervical area. The skull changes inclination until it is re-established a good occlusal contact. A collapse of the teeth can occur in the years due to an excessive dental consumption or due to a heavy stress that can destabilize an already precarious situation.

Next step will be the consequent change in shape of the entire spine.

The spinal column will be forced to stay in a smaller space while maintaining anatomically its length. For this reason, you will have an increase of the curves such as the cervical and lumbar lordosis as well as the kyphosis.

In the image on the side we can see in seconds what happens in years or even in a few months of postural decay (due to strong psycho-physical stress).

decadimento-scheletro-profilo2

It is now clear that the collapsing or the lack of extrusion of molars and premolars over the years can make the skull incline and how this structural change passes on to the underlying structures.

In practice, as you can always see in the image on the side, the skull collapses until the upper teeth do not find contact with the lower ones.

The temporal masseter muscles etc etc. will force the skull to incline pulling it down.

From here on, the skull will lose its center of gravity and the body will perform a series of bio-mechanical changes such as the shortening of its natural physiological curves such as cervical and lumbar lordosis and kyphosis.

In the lower diagram you can clearly see this process broken into four phases.

This article aims to explain the bio-mechanism in a more simplified way.

If you want to know more about this, all information can be found in my book.

Carrying on with the reading we can observe the same mechanism of decay or postural imbalance on the frontal plane.

UpperBody4postures2
Just to sum it up, we analyzed the postural bio-mechanism on the sagittal plane observing a skeleton profile with lack of height in the premolar and molar dental area.

Now let’s see what happens to our skeleton on the frontal plane.

craniosx1-222x300

In the event that there is a lack of dental arch height as the left side of you may see on the picture on the side, the upper teeth will try to find occlusal contact with the bottom.

These are just examples, because, in reality, as already written before, the reasons for this asymmetry are connected to birth defects or bad dental work.

At this point, the skull will lean on the left side and the left masseter will shorten causing a stretching effect on that on the right side.

We also know that a short muscle is also much stronger, while the lengthened opposite side will be weaker.scoliosi1

The skull is pulled to the left side and all the muscles of the body to that side will begin to shorten.

A subsequent actions chain throughout the body will involve the development and worsening of the musculoskeletal asymmetry with abnormal curves of the spine or the origin of muscular imbalances.

The body or better the musculoskeletal structure will go through various stages until they find a new balance, or to be more precise, we could say a new “unbalanced equilibrium”.

There may be different types of unbalance according to the type of cranio-mandibular joint disorder (i.e. different types of imbalance that vary from person to person).

The hotness-IQ tradeoff in academia

SANJAY SRIVASTAVA posted this SEPTEMBER 17, 2013

(This repost was selected as one of the hot posts)

The other day I came across a blog post ranking academic fields by hotness. Important data for sure. But something about it was gnawing on me for a while, some connection I wasn’t quite making.

And then it hit me. The rankings looked an awful lot like another list I’d once seen of academic fields ranked by intelligence.

Only, you know, upside-down.

Sure enough, when I ran the correlation among the fields that appear on both lists, it came out atr = -.45. (No correlation whatsoever?)

hotness-iq

I don’t know what this means, but it seems important. Maybe a mathematician or computer scientist can help me understand it.

Note: Is IQ score related to ability to model relationships? To comprehend models, from math equations, graphs, anything connected to quantifying data or designing experiment?

I have a few convictions not understood by people… Otherwise, I have none for my century…
POLITIQUE </p> <p>Je n'ai pas de convictions, comme l'entendent les gens de mon siècle, parce que je n'ai pas d'ambition.<br /> Il n'y a pas en moi de base pour une conviction.<br /> Il y a une certaine lâcheté ou plutôt une certaine mollesse chez les honnêtes gens.<br /> Les brigands seuls sont convaincus, - de quoi ? - qu'il leur faut réussir. Aussi, ils réussissent. Pourquoi réussirais-je, puisque je n'ai même pas envie d'essayer ?<br /> On peut fonder des empires glorieux sur le crime, et de nobles religions sur l'imposture.<br /> Cependant, j'ai quelques convictions, dans un sens plus élevé, et qui ne peut pas être compris par les gens de mon temps. </p> <p>Charles Baudelaire – Mon cœur mis à nu (Deuxième partie des journaux intimes) </p> <p>Charles Baudelaire, d'après Gustave Courbet ,1869
En POLITIQUE
Je n’ai pas de convictions, comme l’entendent les gens de mon siècle, parce que je n’ai pas d’ambition. Il n’y a pas en moi de base pour une conviction. Il y a une certaine lâcheté ou plutôt une certaine mollesse chez les honnêtes gens.
Les brigands seuls sont convaincus, – de quoi ? – qu’il leur faut réussir. Aussi, ils réussissent.
Pourquoi réussirais-je, puisque je n’ai même pas envie d’essayer ?
On peut fonder des empires glorieux sur le crime, et de nobles religions sur l’imposture.
Cependant, j’ai quelques convictions, dans un sens plus élevé, et qui ne peut pas être compris par les gens de mon temps. Charles Baudelaire
Mon cœur mis à nu (Deuxième partie des journaux intimes) Charles Baudelaire, d’après Gustave Courbet ,1869

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