PRESIDENTIAL RESPONSES TO A PANDEMIC
[This is a post from Facebook.]
PRESIDENTIAL RESPONSES TO A PANDEMIC
[This is a post from Facebook.]
Critical listening and critical thinking are the key aspects of effective communication. That entails listening and thinking on a deeper level. Most people are thinking about what their response will be when engaged in a discussion, rather than focusing on what the speaker is saying.
Effective communication requires the listener to hear what the other person is saying before they respond. Interrupting the speaker cuts off the flow of thought. Therefore, people should avoid interrupting the speaker. The height of respect is to acknowledge the speaker, hear what the speaker is conveying, and then respond, once the speaker has concluded.
The hardest part of communication is to remain non-judgemental of the speaker and to acknowledge that there may be more than one perspective on a subject or issue. Few people are willing to accept the viewpoints of others without an argument. Although debating an issue is healthy, arguing from a specific viewpoint may not yield a healthy result. Words start wars. But most people use words unwisely, without thinking about the damage words can do. This is evident in relationships between couples, parents and children, friends and associates, and co-workers.
In today’s political arena, it is clear that people are not cognizant of the damage their words do in their communities and in the world. People are not taught about the power of words. They should learn to use them frugally, ethically, and for the highest good.
When our country’s leadership cares less about lying about their policies, actions, and private endeavors, we the people are in deep trouble because “Follow the leader” is in effect and young people pick up the bad habits of those in charge. This is evident not only in politics but in religion, education, and economics.
Lying is cheating at its lowest level. When young people learn that those in high places get away with cheating, stealing, and lying, they follow suit and the fabric of society suffers. Good people speaking well is a goal that more of us should aspire to.
Absurdity Rules the World By Siv O’Neall
July 20, 2012
The absurdity of the world today is so blinding that we can barely see through the fog to discern what went so wrong.
Plans had been spun for years in the dark underground caves by the enemies of man. The Neoconservatives had it all planned, but one factor was missing.
Propaganda had already been working its insidious misinformation. The mass media were already more than willing to play the game of Big Money.
Americans were thoroughly indoctrinated to toe the line of Big Power. Respect for power and blind obedience were the result of the U.S. educational system. “I pledge obedience to the flag of the United States of America …” Millions and millions of yes-men had been molded out of the clay of propaganda and history books.
Yes, the Neoconservatives had it all in hand. Ronald Reagan had taken the first big step to load the dice. Anybody with a conscience was now going to be deprived of any realistic means of resetting the scales to a just balance. This was the beginning of the policy of ‘starving the beast’. The little people had no say. Only Big Money weighed heavily enough to tip the balance. Bill Clinton continued in the steps of his predecessors and the famous climbing ladder, supposed to be available to all Americans, became more and more of an illusion.
But the real introduction of lawlessness and the total contempt for the needs of the masses, that were soon to follow, were still only in the sick minds of the Neocon cavemen. In order to carry out their destructive projects, one factor was standing in their way. The people might become a powerful force against their openly unconstitutional planned take-over. Could even the Supreme Court be relied on to take the side of the Neocon monsters? The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) may well have as its goal the promotion of American global leadership, but would the end justify the means? Could this little clique of psychopaths do their deeds and clear the hurdles that were still in clear view?
The path to world domination is made possible
September 11 made it all possible. Whatever really happened on that fateful day will probably never be known to the public, even though theories abound. But what we do know is that mass hysteria was awakened in the American people and the surgeons could now come in and chop away at human rights, spread fear instead of showing a reasonable calm, and all this without being hampered by any humanitarian considerations. The homeland had been attacked. All means were from now on considered legal.
The cheerleaders were in full swing, flags were waving all over America the beautiful. National pride was steered towards revenge with an unstoppable force, constantly nurtured by radio, television and bumper-sticker propaganda.
Patriotism had its field day and barely any questions were asked. The tiny clique of cavemen made preposterous statements, unsupported by any real facts and the citizens lapped it up blindly, without the slightest attempt at verifying the truth of the accusations. Mass hysteria snowballed.
A country was pointed out as being behind this incomparably heinous deed. It made absolutely no sense whatsoever, but people didn’t pay any attention. The propaganda channels were screaming: “Never in the history of mankind has a deed been wrought that was more evil, more undeserved, more incomprehensible.
There’s absolutely nothing in the world that we have done that would deserve an attack like this one.”
The rah-rah chorus got louder and louder. “Our country, the most civilized, the most moral and the most powerful country in the world has been attacked by an evil country. How did they dare?”
The patriotic screams covered over any voice that dared point out that the entire show didn’t make any sense.
The ingenious invention – the WAR ON TERROR
Now the doors were open for the United States of America to put their underground plans into action. From that day on, any lies were accepted without so much as a question as to the logic and credibility of the claims brazenly made.
The U.S. President became an ever more powerful actor on the world stage. He could wage wars that were not wars. He could kill civilians who were not civilians. He could initiate invasions of nations that were not invasions. Up was down and down was up. Sense and logic had given up the stage to hysteria and illusions. Non-sense is the rule of the day.
How was this possible? Because of an attack on two skyscrapers that collapsed like sand castles because two airplanes flew into them and a third one that did so without anything hitting it? No, that wasn’t enough. It wasn’t quite that simple.
They had to invent a WAR ON TERROR. Never was a shrewder invention made in human history. Everybody who opposes our holy war on terror is a terrorist. Et voilà. As simple as that.
The fear and pride in their country made Americans blind to what was really going on in the aggressive U.S. politics. Countries were invaded and torn apart, hundreds of thousands of civilians were killed, lost their homes, were made to flee their countries. Families were disunited, parents were searching for their children, children were crying for their lost parents. The horror that spread through the world was hidden from the American people due to the corruption of the mass media. What they saw on their television screens was theater à la carte. What they heard and read was that the United States was saving the world from tyranny and introducing freedom and democracy.
The overall purpose of the PNAC people, the Neoconservatives, is to control the planet At whatever cost. Cost in human lives, cost in destruction of the environment, cost in the destruction of other people’s cultures. Millennia of traditions are of no importance.
To this end slogans are made up that fit their goal. Muslims are terrorists. Everybody who is against the War on Terror and Washington’s all-means-justify-the-end principle is a terrorist and should be sent to lifelong imprisonment or killed outright. Drug traffic is evil, unless it’s run by the United States. U.S military are all good people and are justified in doing whatever they are doing. Except for a few bad apples, of course.
Whatever country does not cooperate fully with the United States is corrupt and should be made to see the light. See Libya. See Syria. See Iran. And first of all there was of course Afghanistan and Iraq. Any country which has valuable resources that they don’t willingly turn over to U.S.-centered corporations must be taught to rethink their policies. Or they will become the victims of invasions and ghastly killing sprees.
Washington’s sore toe
Latin America was once considered the U.S. backyard and it is against nature itself that those countries now have the gall to run their own business. So Paraguay happens. So Mexico happens. How long will they be able to run business in Colombia? When will the freedom fighters (the ‘terrorists’ of course) manage to stop the corrupt and deadly U.S. influence over the running of this nation?
When will the other September 11 be repeated, the one in Santiago, Chile, in 1973, when Salvador Allendewas killed and a murderous dictatorship installed? Oh yes, the neoliberalism of Milton Friedman and the Chicago boys dates back much farther than to the Neoconservative fanatics.
A coup was tried again in April of 2002, this time against Hugo Chávez, but the rage of the people made this coup a miserable failure. Chávez was reinstalled after two days of rightist brainless celebrations. If the mass media had done their job, the power behind the coup, that is the United States, would have become a worldwide laughingstock.
Caring for the people is communist-inspired soft-headed nonsense
Socialism is for the weak of heart, and a strong nation doesn’t need nationalized enterprise. Private ownership is what makes for progress and private profit is what makes the world go round. Real men are capitalists.
The people are of no importance. They are all collateral damage. Who needs the local store owner? Who needs the industrial worker since labor is so much cheaper elsewhere. Who needs the small farmer since agribusiness is so much more profitable to the corporations?
The United States is busy wielding its secret power in any country that becomes a threat to the Empire – any country that might possibly be won over to democracy in a popular uprising. Egypt looked at first like a promise to the world of freedom, but there is not a chance that a new regime will ever heed the voice of the people who fought so bravely in Tahrir Square over a year ago. The military and the Muslim Brotherhood will no doubt do whatever Washington tells them to do.
Libya was callously and stealthily destroyed. Tripoli and much of the rest of the country was bombed to smithereens. And what had Qaddafi made himself guilty of? Making Libya the richest country in Africa after its having been the poorest. But he threatened to nationalize the oil and gas and that is strictly verboten if the U.S. can have a say. And they made sure they did. Qaddafi had to go since Libya is essential for U.S. control over the Middle East .
And then comes Syria, an increasingly bloody mess, waiting for its turn to be submitted to the same destiny.
And who is in collusion with Washington in all this western imperialism? NATO, of course. The EU with all its puppets called Barroso, Christine Lagarde (IMF), Cameron, Sarkozy/Hollande (in spite of Hollande’s empty talk of ending austerity measures), Merkel, who might well be the one honest prime minister/leader in Europe, since she seems to be acting for Germany more than for the Empire.
But Washington is the preserver of freedom and democracy in the world and no country is as free or has the moral rectitude of the United States. Follow the example of Washington and all will be well. We will all be little Americans and we will all be eating big Macs at MacDonald’s and buying our T-shirts at Walmart’s.
The way the Empire runs its mission of saving the world is by ignoring any humanitarian needs at home or abroad. The standard of living is steadily going down in the Western world. Who cares? People are dying by the hundreds of thousands all over the world and in particular in the countries that have become the special targets for Washington since they are considered essential for U.S. absolute global domination.
The corporations are getting together to make the poor farmers in Africa a mass of starving slaves of Big Money, the victims of the monstrous proceedings of the totally immoral corporate agribusiness.
The absurd world
We are living in a theater of the absurd. Our world has been emptied of all real meaning. The substitute for real living is accumulating – whatever. Mainly money, of course, or things. Anything. In the absence of money, we accumulate debt. Our reason for living has become adding one gadget to another, or one million to another, and then, finally, sitting on top of a tower of failed hopes and ambitions.
Communication is getting limited to incessant blabber on our mobile phones to say – nothing. People have let their own hearts and minds go stale and they are now only occupied with a semblance of communication which has become an obsession without any meaning, with no ideals, no goals in life. What are we going to become? Empty vessels of hate and fear, exactly the robots that the monsters in power were planning on.
Politics have become entertainment, another soap opera to distract the masses. There is no sense in participating in the election game since all elections are rigged in advance. The stage is set for the Corporations to run the planet Earth into the ultimate abyss.
Have people even noticed that democracy is dead?
The predator hawks are flying across the skies, swooping down to attack wherever there is a vague sign of populism, combined with resources of any kind that can be turned into money.
All this is made possible in the thick fog spread over the world by the WAR ON TERROR. Anything goes. People are totally ignorant of how the Corpocrats are busy destroying their lives and the environment. The blind and deaf people, the propaganda victims, are the perfect, easily manipulated human robots that the Neocons were depending on for their total success.
Unless we can relearn to use our brains and our critical sense, our ability to see the reality through the fog of fear and indolence, not only will we ourselves be done away with through the gradual ‘starving of the beast’, but the whole planet will be made a sterile desert. At the end of the day the predators will be found begging for the crumbs of food left over from the few self-supporting farmers who managed to withstand the corporate predators.
After five days of reflecting on the suicides of Michael Jackson, Don Cornelius and Whitney Houston, the email message below prompted me to write down my feelings. Please read this message, then see my response at the bottom.
ON WHITNEY HOUSTON
If we know anything about the entertainment industry, especially music business, it’s a very ruthless, cut throat, bordering on criminal environment, in spite of the number of success stories associated with it.
Most entertainers that navigate the entertainment business are probably tough enough to abide the criminals and the inhuman demands. But some entertainers are not tough enough and should be protected from the ravishes of that business.
And then there are those entertainers who are just plain tender and who, though they may project bravado in the public arena, are really collapsing in their personal arena. Whitney Houston was tender. Michael Jackson was tender. Marvin Gaye was tender. Jimi Hendrix was tender. Billy Holiday was tender. And their tenderness is understood or misunderstood buy the outside world only when their tenderness is exposed. And nothing exposes the tenderness of these artists like the results of being unable to handle the use of drugs and stimulants.
For decades I’ve understood and raged about how well-connected, usually Jewish, white male producers, with a huge pool of talent to choose from, will “discover” a nonwhite talent and make millions, and in recent times, make hundreds of millions of dollars by controlling their “product”.
Yes, business is business, and like all markets, the music business has its particular rules and practices, but the participation of nonwhite artists in that business, business controlled by white criminals, is of deeper significance.
First of all, the bottom line is that the music industry in America, since the era of minstrel shows, has essentially commercialized our pain. It is the pain of our existence that produces the pain expressed in our music. Even gospel music, which was born of the same chords and strains as the blues, is music of pain, if for no other reason than the nonwhite church for centuries has served as a massive reservoir for the pain of our people. This was the legacy infused in every note of Whitney Houston’s melodies.
So when white producers, along with the entertainment industry, banks and all, in the name of “good” business, commercializes the pain of nonwhite people, they essentially are saying: “We will have your art, in fact, we will take your art, but you can keep the conditions and the history that produces your art.”
In the end, the entertainment industry, by its business practice, slyly sidesteps any obligation to do something about the injustice that they uncover in the process of ferreting out nonwhite talent. In fact, music moguls thus have a disincentive to address the injustice that they see when addressing it might alter the conditions that produced their “product” in the first place.
Meanwhile, music moguls, with their array of award shows, become filthy rich in the process, diversifying their portfolios in unrelated markets. For example, I would not be alarmed to learn that much of Israel’s financial support is derived from the commercialization of our music.
Anyway, there is probably some good to come out of this. When I hear Asian performers rendering Whitney Houston or John Coltrane or Jimi Hendrix (they can’t quite get James Brown or Aretha Franklin yet) I am made aware of the greater purpose of nonwhite people of African descent in America. Fittingly, for the sake of the point I am making here, music, like all art, is truly a universal language; it is understood and is capable of transmitting information much more readily than tongues.
That being the case, the globalization of our music, though done so via commercial enterprise, is an indication of the role we have played and continue to play in the unfolding circumstances of human development.
For thousands of years, human intelligence has known of the cyclical convergence of consciousness that takes place in human existence. Such a cyclical change is upon us as I write. So much that it becomes clear that the thrust of our people to freedom and justice in America is indeed the spearhead of a larger thrust for freedom and justice by the entire human family, and our music is a deeply connecting element in the course of human evolution.
R.I.P. Whitney. You did your part.
First, I commend France Jackson for taking the time and energy to think about this subject, write about it and distribute it to those of us in cyberspace who received it. That being said, I’m prone to disagree that some entertainers are “tough”, while others are “tender”. I believe we all have toughness and tenderness. Not one of us, even the most vile criminal is tough all the time. Toughness comes from being tender and learning to fend off insane actions committed by others.
All of the entertainers France mentioned – Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, John Coltrane, Jimi Hendrix, Marvin Gaye and Billie Holiday – fought their own demons, created by drug addiction. They lost the fight, all before the age of 50.
Consider this: Each of these performers, except Don Cornelius, agreed to reincarnate to bring their musical talents to humanity on one condition – that they would be dead by 50. Cornelius was 72.
I contend that most human beings have the wrong idea about death. I think it’s like graduation from high school or college. Once you get the lesson, you are free to move on up to the next level. However, one psychologist disagrees with me. She feels that suicide is not a healthy action and that people prone to killing themselves can be helped. I don’t think so. If that were true, surely one of these stars’ mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, husband, wife, girlfriend, boyfriend, child, god child, best friend, manager, producer or someone in their circle could have save them.
I think, like Jesus Christ, Joan of Arc and Martin Luther King, we each have a destiny, a time to be born and a time to die and nothing nor any one can alter that occasion. Every soldier that picked up a weapon and charged toward the enemy is suicidal. People who smoke and drink are suicidal. People who overeat are suicidal. People like Evel Knievel born Robert Craig Knievel, an American daredevil and entertainer was suicidal, just like every race car driver, skydiver, fire fighter, police officer, coal miner, window washer of skyscrapers – every person that takes a risk to get anything accomplished, which, by the way, includes drug dealers and pimps, who know that what they are doing is downright dangerous. Let’s not forget that every woman who gives birth to another human being puts her life in jeopardy for nine months and the moment of child birth is a very sensitive one.
On the issue of “white producers, along with the entertainment industry, banks and all, in the name of ‘good’ business, commercializing the pain of nonwhite people,” I published a book entitled, A HISTORY OF AFRICAN AMERICAN JAZZ AND BLUES that spells out the reasons why this music makes millions for Europeans and Euro-Americans, while African Americans reap paultry profits from their cultural production. The problem is that most people, particularly African Americans, are not interested in hearing what I have to say.
My final analysis leads me to believe that I AM the lucky ONE! A veteran of the stage, since the age of four, I reached my 64th birthday unscathed. I had violent and abusive marriages and relationships. I encountered drugs and alcohol but managed to stave off addiction. My heart was broken by lovers, children, grandchildren, friends and enemies. I was overlooked as a singer and musician, while those with far less talent rose to the top, only to fall flat on their face or die senselessly. And I’ve survived. Only last night, I sang at a black-owned restaurant in Miami and taught an entire group of young people about Ella Fitzgerald and Billie Holiday.
No, I don’t own a mansion in New Jersey or L.A.
No, I don’t get tons of royalties from the 60+ songs I’ve composed, performed and recorded.
No, I don’t have millions of dollars in the bank (not saying that I won’t in months to come)!
But I am still alive. I’m still in the game. I’m still in the running for fame and fortune that we all seem to think we deserve.
I survived being punched in the face by a man who was in this country illegally, using me and my kids as his cover.
I survived near-death car accidents.
I survived a tumor in my uterus.
I survived friends like Freddie Hubbard who recorded my song “Sweet Return” and lots of people who said I didn’t have any talent but their enterprise went south, while mine prevails.
I AM THE LUCKY ONE! None of my children are drug addicts, dealers, pimps, thieves, murderers or con artists.
I lived long enough to see a black couple in the White House.
I survived every airplane flight I’ve ever taken.
I survived a Carnival Caribbean cruise, not long before the sinking of the Costa Concordia cruise ship in Italy.
I AM THE LUCKY ONE! And I’m happy to report that I appreciate living as long as I have and, if I’m even luckier, I’ll live as long as my father who will be 93 on May 7, 2012, and has a wife more than half his age!
For me, the key to life is recognizing that you are blessed and appreciating what you have, who you are and the people around you.
Yes, it’s true that Michael, Whitney, Marvin and Billie had scoundrels around them but I truly believe making their transition at such an early age was a choice they made BEFORE they ever stepped foot upon this Earth! They are all angels, now!
What do you think?
This is a remark sent by Javier Bailey
I want all of my FB Family to know that the death and demise of Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, and many others is no coincidence. I am not saying that there was any conspiracy. However I want all of you to know that the music industry and the gangsters that run the industry, reach down into our churches, neighborhoods, and schools, and extract our best and brightest; then they introduce them to money and drugs, and a lifestyle that is totally destructive. They provide no protections for them and will dump them as soon as the money stops flowing.
Pro athletes started unions in order to give themselves some protections, but artists in music and film are sheep for the slaughter. The death of these icons is evidence of what happens when the money no longer flows from their works. The industry allows them to kill themselves so that they don’t have to continue paying out their contracts. Prince, Public Enemy, Sly Stone and others have revolted and refused to work for the major labels. Just take a look at what I am telling you and you will find that when an artist stops producing a cash-flow for the big labels, somehow that artists ends up getting prescription drugs from some industry supported doctors , and eventually the artist find death around the corner.
After The 8 Years Of The Bush/Cheney Disaster, Now You Get Mad?
You didn’t get mad when the Supreme Court stopped a legal recount and appointed a President.
You didn’t get mad when Cheney allowed Energy company officials to dictate Energy policy and push us to invade Iraq.
You didn’t get mad when a covert CIA operative got outed. You didn’t get mad when the Patriot Act got passed.
You didn’t get mad when we illegally invaded a country that posed no threat to us.
You didn’t get mad when we spent over 800 billion (and counting) on said illegal war.
You didn’t get mad when Bush borrowed more money from foreign sources than the previous 42 Presidents combined.
You didn’t get mad when over 10 billion dollars in cash just disappeared in Iraq.
You didn’t get mad when you found out we were torturing people.
You didn’t get mad when Bush embraced trade and outsourcing policies that shipped 6 million American jobs out of the country.
You didn’t get mad when the government was illegally wiretapping Americans.
You didn’t get mad when we didn’t catch Bin Laden.
You didn’t get mad when Bush rang up 10 trillion dollars in combined budget and current account deficits.
You didn’t get mad when you saw the horrible conditions at Walter Reed.
You didn’t get mad when we let a major US city, New Orleans, drown.
You didn’t get mad when we gave people who had more money than they could spend, the filthy rich, over a trillion dollars in tax breaks.
You didn’t get mad with the worst 8 years of job creations in several decades.
You didn’t get mad when over 200,000 US Citizens lost their lives because they had no health insurance.
You didn’t get mad when lack of oversight and regulations from the Bush Administration caused US Citizens to lose 12 trillion dollars in investments, retirement, and home values.
You finally got mad when a black man was elected President and decided that people in America deserved the right to see a doctor if they are sick.
Yes, illegal wars, lies, corruption, torture, job losses by the millions, stealing your tax dollars to make the rich richer, and the worst economic disaster since 1929 are all okay with you, but helping fellow Americans who are sick.
Oh, Hell No!!
What I’ve learned is that WORDS really do have power, if you use them in a determined way. Words of appreciation open up new opportunities for blessings to pour in. Words of encouragement open others up to the greatest within themselves. Words are powerful and, when you write down what your fondest dreams are, often, you’ll return to the place where you wrote them to find that they came true.
Today, I’m writing WORDS about what I want to see manifest in my life and the lives of my loved ones: