Closing Thought–22Mar18

If you own a PC then you probably have some sort of  malware detector and eliminator on your system….right?

What about your brain when it is infected with political malware?

Your mind is similar to a computer.

Your brain is the hardware, your worldview the software.

The operating system you’re running is heavily influenced by your culture, upbringing, education, and many other factors.

Arguably, a well-functioning mind is a mind that can update its operating system.

As new information comes in, a healthy mind will revise its previous conclusions about the world to account for the new data.

http://highexistence.com/8-symptoms-brain-compromised-political-malware/

As long as we are talking about the mind and its hard drive…….

I read constantly either on-line or books….I still have not gone to listening to my books I prefer the printed word.

Plus the exercise of reading is good for the mind……

More than a quarter–26 percent–of American adults admit to not having read even part of a book within the last year. That’s according to statistics coming out of the Pew Research Center. If you’re part of this group, know that science supports the idea that reading is good for you on several levels.

https://www.inc.com/christina-desmarais/why-reading-books-should-be-your-priority-according-to-science.html

Do yourself a favor….READ A DAMN BOOK!

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How About Facebook?

Ever sine I have been writing a blog (a total of 12 years) visitors would comment and send me a link to a Facebook post….I would thank them for the link but tell them that I was not on Facebook for I did not trust them to keep my info secure…

Looks like my fears were well founded…..

Facebook is reeling from a series of revelations about private user data being leaked to Cambridge Analytica, a shadowy political consulting firm that did work for the Donald Trump campaign.

Last Friday, reporters from The New York Times and The Observer of London told Facebook that Cambridge had retained copies of private data for about 50 million Facebook users. Facebook says Cambridge promised in 2015 that the data would be deleted. Facebook responded to the new revelations by banning Cambridge and several of its associates from Facebook.

https://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2018/03/facebooks-cambridge-analytica-scandal-explained/

Recently I was told that this breech was no big deal….apparently the markets do not agree…..

Facebook shares fell nearly 7 percent Monday amid controversy over how Cambridge Analytica, which was hired by President Trump’s 2016 campaign, was able to harvest personal data from more than 50 million Facebook users.

The 6.8 percent drop lopped nearly $40 billion off Facebook’s market value.

Equity analysts with Raymond James said in a report to clients that “continued concerns over Russian targeting and data misuse are clearly weighing on the shares.”

Facebook says it initially gave out the data to a researcher who claimed it would be used only for academic purposes. Facebook claims the researcher then “lied to us” and passed the content onto Cambridge Analytica. That firm then used the data to build “psychographic profiles” about voters.

Investors are worried about the fallout for Facebook from prosecutors, regulators, and advertisers.

I realize that followers on Facebook add to the number of total followers for the blog….but my security is more important than the number of followers to feed my ego.

Security measures are important to all us bloggers only some of us are a bit sharper than others.  I can state that none of my info was compromised by Facebook….can you?

This Is Your Brain On Drugs

Back in the 1980’s I recall a commercial about Reagan’s War on Drugs….it was a frying pan with an over easy egg cooking with sound…..”This is you brain on drugs”……all this ad did was increase the profits of the Waffle House….it was a worthless waste of air time for it did NOTHING to curb the abuse of drugs…..

Well I bring up this bit of nostalgia because our well informed president has weighed in on the newest war on drugs…..this time it will be zeroing in on the opioid crisis this country is facing……..

The White House has rolled out the “more nuanced” response to the opioid crisis it promised after President Trump talked about executing drug dealers earlier this month. The revised plan White House officials discussed Sunday still involves the death penalty, but officials say they don’t plan to make trafficking in fentanyl a capital crime, let alone launch a Rodrigo Duterte-style bloodbath. Instead, the administration says it will seek capital punishment for drug traffickers where appropriate under existing federal law, the Washington Post reports. Federal law allows the death penalty in four kinds of drug-related crime, all of which also involve murder, according to the Death Penalty Information Center.

Andrew Bremberg, Trump’s domestic policy director, says the president also wants Congress to pass legislation lowering the minimum amount of fentanyl and other strong opioids needed to trigger mandatory sentences for dealers, the AP reports. The administration says it also has a plan to reduce opioid prescriptions by one-third by 2021. “The opioid crisis is viewed by us at the White House as a nonpartisan problem searching for bipartisan solutions,” adviser Kellyanne Conway told reporters, per Politico. Trump is expected to discuss the plan on a Monday visit to New Hampshire, one of the states hardest-hit by the crisis that he has declared a national public health emergency.

Trump’s speech on the crisis was something to behold……he even mentioned the making of bad ads like the frying pan of days gone by………

In a speech officially unveiling his administration’s plan to combat the nation’s ongoing opioid epidemic, President Donald Trump on Monday saod he would fight the crisis with “toughness”, the creation of “very…very…bad commercials” aimed at children; and—as expected—proposed that the death penalty be applied to drug dealers.

However, as drug policy reform advocates feared, he showed little understanding of the origins of the crisis and neglected to mention numerous measures public health experts have advocated for to stop the deadly epidemic.

A key tenet of Trump’s plan to combat the crisis, which killed nearly 64,000 Americans in 2016, is to launch an advertising campaign showing the effects of opioid use.

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/03/19/full-war-drugs-scare-fest-trump-proposes-death-penalty-and-very-very-bad-commercials

Trump’s plan is more about some sort of vengeance than solutions to the crisis…..

Vengeance is not a public health policy. But it’s implicit in a policy measure coming out of the White House, which would attempt to solve the opioid crisis with a plan that includes sentencing some high-intensity traffickers to death. It may feel good, and for some segment of the population, vengeance may even look good.

The death of those deemed to be problematic is how some strongmen leaders that President Donald Trump has embraced keep their hold on power — such as Philippine strongman Rodrigo Duterte, who is following through on his pledge to kill every drug dealer he can find. But adding to the number of lives lost at the hands of the opioid crisis is not what the United States needs.
This whole policy thing smells like an utter failure…..kinda like the failure from the 1980’s.

What Is Turkey’s Aspirations?

Now that ISIS has been handed their butts Turkey has expanded their use of force in Syria and Iraq….most of the violence is aimed squarely at the Kurds in the region.

Understandable since Turkey has had a hard on for the Kurds in the region for several decades…..but beneath the obvious I have seen some opinions that Turkey is trying to bring back their glory days of the Ottoman Empire and their attacks on the Kurds is to remove any opposition that might interfere with their plans.

A European think tank, Geopolitical Futures has issued a paper on Turkey’s Middle East aspirations…..

The central question in Turkey’s invasion of Afrin has been whether it is a limited operation that will stop in northwestern Syria, or the first stage of what will become deeper Turkish involvement in the Middle East. Given that Turkey is intent on clearing the threat from its border, and that Kurdish forces extend far beyond the northwestern enclave of Afrin, there’s little reason to think that Turkey will stop after subduing Afrin.

There is, however, another threat that is forcing Turkey to take foreign military action: Iran. One of Turkey’s greatest historical adversaries, Iran has emerged from the Syria conflict in a relatively powerful position. One aspect of its qualified success has been the ability of the Bashar Assad regime, with Iran’s backing, to hold onto power and reconquer much of the territory it had lost in the civil war. Turkey sees a pro-Iran, Assad-led Syria on its border as a direct threat, which is why it looked the other way earlier in the war when Islamic State recruits crossed the border from Turkey to fight Assad.

https://geopoliticalfutures.com/turkeys-middle-east-aspirations-beyond-afrin/

Keep in mind that Turkey is also attacking the Kurds in Iraq…..now this is a NATO country, Turkey, and their violence against another country is a violation that could force the rest of NATO into a conflict they may not want.

All this brings into being a new term….Neo-Ottomanism

Neo-Ottomanism has been used to describe Turkish foreign policy under the Justice and Development Party which took power in 2002 under Erdoğan, who subsequently became Prime Minister. Neo-Ottomanism is a dramatic shift from the traditional Turkish foreign policy of the Kemalist ideology, which emphasized looking westward towards Europe with the goal of avoiding the instability and sectarianism of the Middle East. The shift away from this concept in Turkish foreign policy under Turgut Özal‘s government has been described as the first step towards neo-Ottomanism

The Ottoman Empire was an influential global power which, at its peak, controlled the Balkans, most of the modern-day Middle East, most of coastal North Africa (at least nominally), and the Caucasus. Neo-Ottomanist foreign policy encourages increased engagement in these regions as part of Turkey’s growing regional influence.

(wikipedia)

With some analysis one can see the possibility that Turkey is trying to relive the glory days of the Ottomans……slowly but steady……this will not benefit the world.