Monday, December 19, 2011

Behind The Facade Of Holiday Cheer, Lies A Callous Reality

What to post on the days before Christmas? There's so much out there in THE INTERNET CLOUD it is hard to choose. I wanted a holiday story that would send warm fuzzies to others, you know the thing you're expected to do during "TIS THE SEASON TO BE JOLLY. My first choice was “White House Christmas trees then and now”... But when I opened that headline I thought... HO HUM, how boring (since aging, cynicism has taken over many of my thinking brain cells)... After rejecting THAT one and FAST, I, out of sad curiosity, opened this headline: “9-year-old NYC boy chokes in school cafeteria

NEW YORK (AP) — Family members and a witness say a New York City fourth grader choked on meatballs during lunch earlier this month while school cafeteria workers stood by. The boy later died. The New York Post ( ) reported Saturday that 9-year-old Jonathan Jewth fell to the ground during lunch Dec. 5 at Public School 47 in the Bronx. He was unconscious before help arrived.A parent at the school, Andrea Perez, told the newspaper she saw the boy choking but cafeteria workers did nothing. She said at one point they yelled at him to put his fingers down his throat."He was on the ground and not moving after a while," Perez said through a Spanish-speaking translator. "Nobody was paying attention and they didn't know how to give aid, nobody knew what to do."She said she did not know how to resuscitate the boy so she called 911 and started screaming for help. Another parent tried to help the boy, the newspaper reported. Jewth was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center. Jonathan's family told the newspaper he suffered brain damage and died Monday. Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott said his death was a tragedy. Education officials haven't responded to requests for comment about the family's and Perez's account. Tearful mourners bid farewell to 9-year-old Jonathan Jewth
Read more:

Reading the article made me at first think: HOW COULD THE SCHOOL WORKERS STAND AROUND AND WATCH A LITTLE BOY CHOKING AND DO NOTHING? How in the world could a little boy die in the middle of a busy school cafeteria? Then I thought about how our Nation has become MEANER THAN A JUNK YARD DOG…

Oh, from all appearances, there’s the usual Christmas 'Loving and Sharing Theme' going on… but a closer look will tell a different story… The holidays at the end of each year are mainly full of propagandized greed by the United Corporations of America. Buy this, Buy that, GIVE THIS GIFT OF LOVE (and give us the $$$) it’s enough to make you "CRY AUNT”!

I don’t know the exact moment our country became Grinch (or Gingrich) like, I think maybe it always was there from the moment the Europeans moved in and kicked out the original owners. Perhaps, we humans are incapable of genuine empathetic caring… Maybe we've evolved into MEAN with loving tendencies weaned from our nature by propaganda machines running FULL BLAST 24/7.

‘The Selfish Gene’ By Richard Dawkins – Tells about a theory that we human animals had developed a Selfish Gene, during our evolutionary journey in order to guarantee our species' survival. Below is a summary of this astonishing and enlightening Dawkins' work.


We are all just a colony of genes, also to be thought of as survival machines, gene vehicles or "lumbering robots" created by and for the benefit of our genes. We are the vehicles and the genes inside of us are the selfish replicators seeking immortality. This is the same for all living organisms. Of course the genes are not really selfish in the sense that they have a consciousness. However, genes that survive and reproduce are able to live and increase their number, and genes that don't survive and reproduce are eliminated and no longer exist. Genes can therefore be thought of as having a selfish "desire" for immortality through survival and reproduction and as Dawkins states: "The predominant quality to be expected in a successful gene is ruthless selfishness".

What is a Gene?

A gene is NOT DNA and it is NOT a Chromosome. Richard Dawkins explains that a gene is somewhere between a Cistron, which is an extremely small segment of DNA that is is involved in producing proteins, and a Chromosome, which is a very long DNA molecule which contains hundreds or thousands of genes. A gene could be said to be a playing card or a page in a book and a Chromosome could be said to be a deck of playing cards or an entire book. Genes are the fundamental unit of natural selection because they are the most potentially immortal of all of the other known biological self replicating units (i.e. individual organisms, groups of organisms or even chromosomes because of their constant mutation and re-arrangement between sexually reproduced generations). After this foundation has been established, this book is mostly a study of the biology of selfishness and altruism based on the Selfish Gene Theory.

Selfish Behavior in Nature

Richard Dawkins begins by presenting some examples of animals behaving selfishly in nature including:

Female praying mantises eating the heads off of male praying mantises during copulation

Black Headed Gulls eating their neighbors babies right out of their nests

Penguins pushing each other into "unknown and potentially dangerous water" as test guinea pigs

Altruistic Behavior in Nature

He then gives several examples of animals who seem to be behaving altruistically in nature including:

Small birds giving alarm calls to their flock when they see a predator, even at the risk of drawing attention to themselves.

The parents of ground nesting birds who appear to predators as if they have broken their wing and distract the predator away from their nest at high risk to themselves.

Gazelles who leap out in front of predators in order to distract them away from the heard in an act called "strotting"

Kamikaze worker bee's stinging intruders and then dying

Siblings, parents and children looking out for each other and helping one another to survive and reproduce.

Survival of the Stable

Richard Dawkins then introduces a principle called "survival of the stable". He explains that in nature things eventually finds a stable state and once something has found a stable state, it has a tendency to stay that way. This is the case of most species in a population. They have found an Evolutionary Stable Strategy (ESS) that allows their genes to survive in their current environment. The stable prevails.

Although Richard Dawkins possesses a genius ability to convey his enormous intellect and learning in a way that the average person can understand; still it may be a bit confusing or disjointed for those of us who are not Ethologists and Evolutionary Biologists but you can draw a conclusion that in order to survive and evolve for millions of years there must have been an element built-in (like a gene dubbed, SELFISH).

But let us return to the trapped habit laden world where we spend most of our time reading stories like that of school workers watching and doing nothing as a young child chokes to death. I blame a lot of the callousness that has gripped our country on politics and marketing. Most politicians will do anything to gain or retain power and by anything I mean NASTY STUFF… They use fear to promote hatred which subsequently turns us working folk, against each other, or worse, by telling us that empathy is for wimps and the weak. I found this website that IMHO, says it best:

Newspeak and the Corruption of Politics By Ernest Partridge, Co-Editor of The Crisis Papers

All issues are political issues, and politics itself is a mass of lies, evasions, folly, hatred, and schizophrenia. When the general atmosphere is bad, language must suffer. I should expect to find ... that the German, Russian and Italian languages have all deteriorated in the last ten or fifteen years, as a result of dictatorship. George Orwell (1946)
“Politics and the English Language"

Language is the constant yet unnoticed current that conveys our thoughts. Thus, in the game of politics, the party which controls the language controls the contest.
Newt Gingrich knows this, GOP strategist Frank Luntz knows this, and George Orwell, their apparent mentor, knew this.
So why don’t the Democrats know this?

I don’t mean to suggest that we are necessarily captive to the currents of language. Like a skilled navigator, one can factor the currents of language into the calculations of one’s judgment; But only if a person or a party takes the trouble to pause and take notice of the language.

Regrettably, the Democrats have not. For a party that is allegedly preferred by intellectuals, the Democrats have been tactically naïve and stupid, prisoners of their discredited habits. To be sure, astute scholars such as George Lakoff and Geoffrey Nunberg have offered the Democratic Party chiefs the key to their jail cells and have shown them the way out, but they have been told, in effect, “Thanks, but no thanks.” And Noam Chomsky is regarded as “too extreme” and an embarrassment. Never mind that he is the foremost linguist of our time.
Newspeak Lives!

In “The Principles of Newspeak,” an appendix to his novel, 1984, George Orwell wrote this as a warning. The Right has apparently adopted it as its strategy. Thus we find “Newspeak” at work in Newt Gingrich’s self-explanatory memo, “Language as a Political Weapon.” And GOP strategist Frank Luntz has played the English language like Itzhak Perlman plays his Strad.
“Liberalism,” then and now.

Consider, for example, what the word-meisters of The Right have done to the word “liberal.”

Webster’s Dictionary gives us this traditional definition of “liberal:”

“From the latin, liberalis – of or pertaining to a freeman. Favoring reform or progress, as in religion, education, etc.; specifically, favoring political reforms tending toward democracy and personal freedom for the individual. Progressive.”

Throughout our history, up to the late twentieth century, "liberal" has been an honored word, applied approvingly by our founders. George Washington, for example, wrote: "As mankind becomes more liberal, they will be more apt to allow that all those who conduct themselves as worthy members of the community are equally entitled to the protections of civil government. I hope ever to see American among the foremost nations of justice and liberality."

Today, however, the propaganda mills of the right, and especially the regressive screech merchants of AM radio and cable TV, have turned the word “liberal” into an epithet, like a piece of rotten fruit to be hurled at the candidate or political commentator willing to be called a “liberal.” Remember the 2004 GOP ads? “Brie-eating, chardonnay-drinking, latte-sipping, French-speaking, Volvo-driving, New York Times reading, elite liberals.” The word connotes “tax and spend,” “welfare cheats,” bureaucratic interference in “free enterprise,” and a weak military. To Ann Coulter, it means nothing less than “treason.”

Thus it is no surprise that when pollsters ask the ordinary citizens to describe their political orientation, “conservative” comes out ahead, followed by “moderate,” with “liberal” a poor third.

And yet, when the same citizens are asked their opinions on Social Security, Medicare, environmental protection, public education, economic justice, racial tolerance, and the separation of church and state, by substantial majorities they endorse the traditional liberal agenda. In short, the American public remains liberal, even though it has been persuaded to despise and reject the word “liberal.” And that should be regarded as good news by The Left, for it is the ideology and the program that matter. "Liberal" is merely a word.
Recall the quotation from Orwell:

“... a thought diverging from the principles of [the Party] - should be literally unthinkable... This was done partly by the invention of new words, but chiefly by eliminating undesirable words, and by stripping such words as remained of unorthodox meanings...”

Now try to explain and defend the “liberal” ideas of Franklin Roosevelt, Adlai Stevenson, and the Kennedys. You can no longer do so simply by casually dropping the word "liberal" in conversation and debate. The word “liberal” has been spoiled by the relentless assault upon it by The Right, and thus today it has become useless and even harmful in ordinary discourse. In Orwell’s words, right-wing propaganda has succeeded in “eliminating” this “undesirable word,” “liberal,” thus making its original meaning simply “unthinkable.” And there is no word available yet to take its place. So what is the (old-definition) liberal to do? The remedy is simple: drop the word “liberal” and give the program a new name: “progressive.” Unfortunately, it will take some time for this new word for old ideas to take hold in the general population.

The Right has learned its lesson well from its mentor, George Orwell.

Who is a “Conservative.”

Imagine that you meet a visitor from abroad who is fluent in English and well acquainted with American history. However, he knows nothing about contemporary American politics and its rhetoric, and he is eager to learn about it.

You explain that there are two contending political ideologies:

One ideology is out to uproot the founding documents of our republic, the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, and take our society and economy back to the condition it was in over a hundred years ago. The other steadfastly endorses and defends those founding documents, and defends the gains in economic and social justice painfully obtained throughout the history of the American republic.

You then tell the visitor that one of these ideologies calls itself “conservative.” Which one would he reasonably conclude that you were referring to? If he selects the second, he is in agreement with Webster's, which thus defines “conservative:” “The practice of preserving what is established; disposition to oppose change in established institutions and methods.”

How then should one describe this first ideology, which advocates and strives to achieve a return to an earlier condition of the economy and society. Clearly “conservative” won’t do. How about “regressive.” That’s what I’ve chosen, and I urge that you do likewise. If the Democrats were to adopt “regressive” to describe the policies of the Republicans, and if they were to use the word “regressive” persistently in their publications, speeches, and media appearances, it might have a devastating effect on the GOP.

In fact, “liberal vs. conservative” is a false dichotomy. It is possible to be both, and indeed a thoughtful progressive is both. Janus-like, the progressive looks both backward and forward in time: backward, by cherishing and preserving the priceless legacies of the past; and forward, identifying injustices to be set right and anticipating problems that must be faced and dealt with.

In any case, how sad for us Americans to live a life of perpetual fear and hate due to the megalomaniacs amongst us whose only objective is winning in order to gain POWER, MONEY and become SLAVE MASTER over us all.

Happy Holidays!

PS: One more word from The Summery of Richard Dawkins' of THE SELFISH GENE.

The "A for Andromeda" Analogy

This is another analogy for why genes function the way they do, based on the book "A for Andromeda" by John Elliot and Fred Hoyle. In this book, an intelligent society, 200 light years away from earth devises a plan to communicate with other intelligent civilizations across space. They reason that since it will take a very very long time to communicate with a distant intelligent society (with earth it would take at least 400 years just to get back a response from a message sent out) they came up with a solution. They devise a code that was then transmitted as a constant stream of data out into the universe. 200 years later the data is picked up by humans on earth. The signal is decoded and discovered to be a computer program. The scientists who discovered it then develop the program and find out that it contains instructions to build a more advanced computer with more advanced software. The government soon finds out about the project and takes over and the "Andromeda Computer" is build. They soon find out, however, that the Andromeda computer does not have completely altruistic intentions and soon begins controlling the minds of those around it. It also directs them to construct a new life form which eventually, with the computer's help, works to destroy the human race and take over the earth. The machine and the lifeforms created with it's assistance are soon destroyed by the main character and the story ends shortly thereafter. This whole story is a good example of how our genes work like the broadcasted signal from Andromeda to create us, their lumbering robot machines, to do their bidding.

In The Selfish Gene Richard Dawkins coined the term "meme" in his account of a selective explanation for cultural behaviors. A meme is a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behavior) that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means (as by imitation); "memes are the cultural counterpart of genes." This theory serves as an explanation by bypassing biological fitness altogether. It is not necessary for an idea to truly be beneficial to the person who has it, it only need to have appeal, "fitness," of it's own right.

Sincere condolences' to the Jewth family, there truly are no words that could ease the pain of losing one so young but many thoughts are with you in your time of sorrow.

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