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  1. #271
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    that's too bad, OG...but I do understand. You should listen to Gio's Teal Swan posts, she is exceptionally gifted.
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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  3. #272
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Returning Topic

    Meanwhile over on Avalon Way next to the big house ...

    Napster ask the host Belgian shepherd ...



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  5. #273
    Senior Member NotAPretender's Avatar
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    that sounds 'bout right, Gio...
    “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.”

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  7. #274
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Thinking

    #Empires ...


    The Athenian Plague, a
    Cautionary Tale of
    Democracy’s Fragility


    By Gary Bass



    “Future ages will wonder at us, as the present age wonders at us now,” Pericles, the great Athenian statesman, declared in his funeral oration, a celebrated speech in the winter of 431–430 B.C.E. He wasn’t wrong. We continue to admire Athens’s architectural splendor, stage its tragedies and comedies, and marvel, especially, at much that its democracy (the world’s first) wrought: participatory government, equal treatment before the law in private disputes, a distaste for class consciousness, juries made up of citizens, and tolerance about others’ personal lives.

    But soon after Pericles gave that prideful speech, the original democracy got sick. In 430–429 B.C.E., Athens was devastated by a mysterious epidemic, which reared its head again a few years later. Tens of thousands of people died, perhaps as many as one-third of Athenians. Society was ravaged, and the military, which was in the early stages of a brutal twenty-seven-year war against Sparta, was debilitated for many years. The catastrophe contributed to Athens’s shattering defeat, in 404 B.C.E., by the loutish Spartans, who tore down the city’s walls and imposed a short-lived but murderous oligarchy. Among those who died from this plague were Pericles and two of his sons.

    Millennia later, the plague reminds us that the legacy of the eternal “wonder” of Athens contains within it a cautionary tale: the failure of democratic society to cope with a lethal epidemic. The model of how democracy began is also a study in how it can founder and fall.

    Most of what we know about the plague comes from the brilliant Athenian historian Thucydides, widely viewed by classicists as the single best source on Athens in the age of Pericles. He would not be surprised to find his book being read today, during the coronavirus lockdown. “My work is not a piece of writing designed to meet the taste of an immediate public,” he wrote, with zero modesty, “but was done to last forever.”

    Thucydides was a worldly Athenian general, whose “History of the Peloponnesian War” is a cold-eyed account of the ruinous conflict between democratic Athens and militaristic Sparta. The book, although unfinished, established him as the founder of the systematic study of international relations. It was translated into English in 1628 by Thomas Hobbes, and has since been cited by heads of state from Woodrow Wilson to Xi Jinping.

    In a book packed with battle, conquest, and massacre, Thucydides’ account of the plague is especially horrifying. A seasoned, hard-bitten warrior, he was, for once, at a loss: “Words indeed fail one when one tries to give a general picture of this disease; and as for the suffering of individuals, they seemed almost beyond the capacity of human nature to endure.” Thucydides himself got the plague but survived, as he coolly notes in passing.

    Nobody knows what the plague was, although classically minded epidemiologists still debate its cause. It might have been smallpox, a fungal poisoning called ergotism, or something worse. In 1985, a New England Journal of Medicine article argued that it was a combination of influenza and staphylococcus, dubbed “the Thucydides syndrome.” A 1994 article in the American Journal of Epidemiology rejected that diagnosis, proposing, instead, typhus, anthrax, or perhaps “a potentially explosive respiratory agent.”

    Whatever it was, it was a horror. As Thucydides recorded with clinical detail, people suddenly felt their heads begin to burn, their eyes redden, their tongues and mouths bleed. Next came coughing, stomach pain, diarrhea, and “vomiting of every kind of bile that has been given a name by the medical profession.” The skin turned reddish with pustules and ulcers, while the stricken plunged into the city’s water tanks trying to slake an unquenchable thirst—possibly contaminating the water supply. Most died after about a week. The city was blanketed with corpses.

    Athenians were already packed into the city as a wartime measure, and frightened people fleeing the countryside crowded it even further, creating conditions we now know are ripe for contagion. Athenian doctors bore the brunt: “Terrible . . . was the sight of people dying like sheep through having caught the disease as a result of nursing others.” Neither medicine nor quackery helped. Nor did consulting the oracles or praying in the temples, futile pieties which Thucydides dismissively noted were soon discarded.

    Pericles’ stirring funeral oration is among the most famous passages of Thucydides. The statesman praised Athens for its freedom and democratic deliberations, while defending its increasingly oppressive empire. (Athens was only a democracy for adult, male citizens of Athenian descent, not for women or slaves, or for foreigners living under imperial rule.) This message has been remembered: during the First World War, London buses carried posters with passages from the speech; in 2012, a memorial in central London to the R.A.F. Bomber Command was engraved with a quote from it.

    But Thucydides’ chronicle of what happened just after Pericles’ funeral oration is unsparing—and should be as enduring as the speech itself. “The catastrophe was so overwhelming that men, not knowing what would happen next to them, became indifferent to every rule of religion or of law,” Thucydides wrote. Orderly Athenians, no longer expecting to live long enough to face punishment for crimes, plunged into “a state of unprecedented lawlessness.” They could not even bother to lay their dead to rest respectably. Instead, survivors looked for already burning funeral pyres, adding friends and relatives to the blaze. And with the spectre of mortality looming at all times, they lived only for “the pleasure of the moment and everything that might conceivably contribute to that pleasure. No fear of god or law of man had a restraining influence.”

    Many Athenians blamed the calamity on their Spartan enemies, spreading dark rumors of poisoned reservoirs. Yet Thucydides swiftly dismissed such speculation. After all, Athens was a naval power, an imperial capital, and a trading city whose fleets ranged across the ancient world; the contagion, he wrote, probably spread from Ethiopia to Libya to Persia before finally reaching Greece, where Athens—a global port for commercial ships—was its first stop.

    And, once it arrived, its damage knew no bounds, doing terrible harm to democracy itself. In Plato’s “Republic,” written several decades after the plague, Socrates warned that democracy would decay into tyranny; Thucydides recorded it sliding into discord, folly, and demagoguery. Only someone of Pericles’ intelligence and integrity, Thucydides wrote, “could respect the liberty of the people and at the same time hold them in check.” His death left Athenian democracy in the hands of self-serving scoundrels such as Alcibiades, who later promoted an oligarchic coup, and bellicose demagogues such as Cleon, whom Thucydides scorned as “remarkable among the Athenians for the violence of his character.”

    For anyone hopeful that democracy is the best system for coping with the current coronavirus pandemic, the Athenian disaster stands as a chilling admonition. As Plato knew, political regimes are as fragile as any other human structure, and all fall in time. The plague devastated Athens for many years—Thucydides reckoned it took fifteen years to recover—but his account suggests that the damage to democracy lasted far longer. The stakes of our own vulnerability are no different.

    This is a sobering history, but, reading Thucydides’ account of the plague while under lockdown, I sometimes found the frosty old historian oddly heartening. He was too scrupulous to blame the epidemic on the Spartans—an ancient reproach to those today who try to pin blame on foreign rivals. Politicians in search of scapegoats would be wise to recall Pericles, who said, before the plague, “What I fear is not the enemy’s strength, but our own mistakes.”

    Thucydides maintained a rationalist’s sensibility even in wartime and plague. Unlike some Athenian dramatists, he saw neither metaphorical significance nor divine retribution in the epidemic. The plague was just a plague. Surviving the disease, he carefully “set down the symptoms, knowledge of which will enable it to be recognized, if it should ever break out again.” His ancient empirical analysis of catastrophe offers a jot of hope, if not wonder: for as long as there have been plagues, there have been people, scared but tenacious, using reason to try to learn from them.

    Source:newyorker.com



    Gary Bass is a professor of politics and international affairs at Princeton and the author,
    most recently, of “The Blood Telegram: Nixon, Kissinger, and a Forgotten Genocide.”

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  9. #275
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Will share this here ...

    NEIL KRAMER : CLASSROOM EARTH

    Veritas TV


    Dec 8, 2019

    1:04:49 minutes


    Interview commences at the 5:30 minutes


    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVqtpZISw0s


    Descriptive

    Neil Kramer talks to Mel Fabregas, host of Veritas Radio.

    Mel writes: “It has become a tradition, just like when you attend a conference or a special event, there is someone present; usually a shaman, an elder, a philosopher, someone who can impart wisdom upon us. In this case, our special guest has devoted many years of his life devoted to transformational spiritual growth, in both hermetic and esoteric Christian traditions. His synthesis of wisdom, eloquence, and forthrightness, has helped to earn his reputation as a widely respected figure in contemporary spiritual teaching and has made him a permanent fixture on this modern day mystery school we call Veritas. In addition to decoding current world events, we discuss knowing good and evil, right and wrong, truth and falsehood, the counter culturalism of real spirituality, and much more. We are all eternal students practicing every day to become better human beings. Tonight, Veritas becomes Classroom Earth and our teacher, is Neil Kramer, on this season premiere.”

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  11. #276
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Question

    The continual fleecing of America ...

    Fifty-four scientists have lost their jobs as a
    result of NIH probe into foreign ties


    By Jeffrey Mervis

    Jun. 12, 2020



    The National Institutes of Health has been investigating grantees suspected of not disclosing their links to foreign institutions, notably in China.

    Some 54 scientists have resigned or been fired as a result of an ongoing investigation by the National Institutes of Health into the failure of NIH grantees to disclose financial ties to foreign governments. In 93% of those cases, the hidden funding came from a Chinese institution.

    The new numbers come from Michael Lauer, NIH’s head of extramural research. Lauer had previously provided some information on the scope of NIH’s investigation, which had targeted 189 scientists at 87 institutions. But his presentation today to a senior advisory panel offered by far the most detailed breakout of an effort NIH launched in August 2018 that has roiled the U.S. biomedical community, and resulted in criminal charges against some prominent researchers, including Charles Lieber, chair of Harvard University’s department of chemistry and chemical biology.

    “It’s not what we had hoped, and it’s not a fun task,” NIH Director Francis Collins said in characterizing the ongoing investigation. He called the data “sobering.”

    In the vast majority of cases, Lauer reported, the person being investigated has been an Asian man in his 50s. Some three-quarters of those under investigation had active NIH grants, and nearly half had at least two grants. The 285 active grants totaled $164 million.

    Lauer also presented data on the nature of the violations that NIH has uncovered. Some 70% (133) of the researchers had failed to disclose to NIH the receipt of a foreign grant, and 54% had failed to disclose participation in a foreign talent program. In contrast, Lauer said, only 9% hid ties to a foreign company, and only 4% had an undisclosed foreign patent. Some 5% of cases involved a violation of NIH’s peer-review system.

    Lauer said the fact that 82% of those being investigated are Asian “is not surprising” because “that’s who the Chinese target” in their foreign talent recruitment programs. Some 82% are men, and their median age is 56, with the youngest being 48 and the oldest 59. Slightly more than one-half had been an NIH peer reviewer in the past 2 years, and 41% of those under investigation (77 scientists) have been banned from further participation in NIH’s well-regarded system of vetting grant proposals.

    NIH has been in the forefront of federal efforts to identify and block behavior that many U.S. government officials say poses a significant threat to the country’s economic well-being and to national security. Several bills pending in Congress seek to limit that threat in various ways, including by limiting the flow of scientific talent from China to the United States, and by restricting access to federally funded research that provides a foundation for cutting-edge technologies and new industries.

    Lauer’s presentation also provided a glimpse into the scope of that broader investigation. There are 399 scientists “of possible concern” to NIH, he told the advisory council, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has fingered 30% (121) of them. An additional 44 have been flagged by their own institutions. Of that pool, Lauer said, investigations into 63%, or 256 scientists, came out “positive.” Investigations into some 19% came up “negative,” he noted, whereas the status of the remaining 18% is “pending.”


    Source/reference links: sciencemag.org/

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  13. #277
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Question

    John Bolton: Ten biggest claims in his Donald Trump book



    Another set of White House memoirs.

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  15. #278
    Member on Sabbatical Catsquotl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally posted by giovonni View Post
    I am guessing his volume about what he said to the people in the whitehouse was to big to fit in the drawing?
    Have a great day today

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  17. #279
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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  19. #280
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Statement

    #altforumcomminityquoteoftheweek ...

    You all claim to be these woke people yet as I just watch from the sideline, you are all just as much driven by the MSM as the so called sheep.

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  21. #281
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Happy

    Worth a tweet ...

    John Lithgow Reads An Excerpt From His New Book -

    CONAN on TBS


    John recites a poem from his new book, “Trumpty Dumpty Wanted a Crown: Verses for a Despotic Age.” PLUS: Conan and John on being funny, and unfunny, in dark times.
    Jul 15, 2020

    8:08 minutes



    Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iwwHZixLw0



    And speaking of being a funny ...




    The latest ...


    Last edited by giovonni, 15th July 2020 at 12:32.

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  23. #282
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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    Question

    How Pandemics
    Wreak Havoc—and
    Open Minds


    The plague marked the end of the Middle Ages and the start of a great cultural renewal. Could the coronavirus, for all its destruction, offer a similar opportunity for radical change?

    Go listen/read here



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  25. #283
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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  27. #284
    Senior Member giovonni's Avatar
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  29. #285
    Super Moderator United States Dreamtimer's Avatar
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    Ew. And ew. I can't decide which turns my stomach more, the Zuch with a zombie face or the manufactured meat.

    Ew.

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