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Libertarian town hall: What to watch – CNNPolitics.com

 Libertarian  Comments Off on Libertarian town hall: What to watch – CNNPolitics.com
Jun 242016
 

The Libertarian presidential candidate, former New Mexico Gov. Gary Johnson, and his running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. Bill Weld, will face voters Wednesday evening in a town hall live on CNN.

The 9 p.m. event moderated by CNN’s Chris Cuomo marks one of the highest-profile moments in the Libertarian Party’s history, thanks to Donald Trump, whose victory in the GOP presidential primary has some conservatives and moderates alike looking elsewhere for an alternative to both Trump and Democrat Hillary Clinton.

Johnson failed to make much of a splash in his 2012 presidential bid, but he hasn’t let that get him down this time around. Look to see how Johnson’s upbeat demeanor translates on stage.

He has a tranquil and occasionally goofy presence that can come across as down-to-earth in some moments — and aloof in others.

Johnson himself has admitted he isn’t always the most “articulate” speaker.

Still, in CNN’s live format, surrounded by questioning voters, Johnson will have to do his best to connect with as many people as possible, as credibly as possible.

What Johnson preaches is a relaxation of government involvement in all spheres. He wants to do away with government regulations, cut budgets and replace the tax code with an unorthodox tax plan called FairTax. He also wants to legalize marijuana, embrace gay rights and do away with gun laws.

For liberals and conservatives, this cross-cutting, grab bag of hard-line policy stances is heretical, even fringe. If Johnson and Weld can push through decades of Democratic and Republican messaging, they must start now.

The opportunity for a Libertarian breakthrough in 2016 rests largely on the idea that voters who can’t stomach Trump or Clinton will go somewhere else.

Trump’s campaign has been a whirlwind of controversy and combat. As the Republican primary showed, there is plenty to attack when it comes to Trump. The question is how Johnson and Weld approach him.

Shortly after his announcement that he was joining up with Johnson, meanwhile, Weld compared Trump’s immigration policy to Kristallnacht, literally the “Night of Broken Glass,” a pogrom within Nazi Germany.

In repeated interviews with CNN, Weld has likened Trump’s rise to the rise of the Nazis, calling the Republican presumptive nominee’s immigration proposals a “slippery slope.”

“I’ve studied Nazi Germany and the rise of the Nazis,” Weld said. “I do think that Mr. Trump has been demonizing them (undocumented immigrants), and that is partly what happened in Europe in the ’30s and ’40s.”

When it comes to attacking Clinton, Johnson has drawn a contrast between his worldview and hers.

Johnson is a skeptic of foreign military interventions. Clinton has a record supporting them. He has argued that major U.S. involvement in global affairs has only increased tension and violence the world over. Clinton been a key figure helping to shape U.S. foreign policy for years.

Attacking Clinton over this area — one that Trump and many Republicans have focused on — would either be a change of heart or a change of tack for Johnson’s running mate. It could also be an indication the two of them intend to go at Clinton with everything they can.

Johnson and Weld have to appeal to Republican voters who think Trump isn’t a true conservative and Democratic voters who think Clinton is not liberal enough. It’s a tough balancing act.

Some of their work has already been done for them when it comes to pulling support from the Republican Party.

2012 Republican nominee Mitt Romney, like Weld a former Massachusetts Republican governor, indicated he was open to supporting the Libertarian bid. His problem, however, was with Johnson’s support of marijuana, which he said, “makes you stupid.”

But the Libertarians are also going after the polar opposite of people like Mitt Romney: die-hard supporters of Bernie Sanders, the Vermont senator who challenged Clinton from the left. Socially liberal and skeptical of the Washington establishment, these voters could swing towards Johnson.

Johnson has said he favors abortion rights, is pro-gay and anti-drug war. Until recently he was even the CEO of a company selling cannabis. On the political quiz site iSidewith.com that he often touts, Johnson said the candidate he matches with most, besides himself, is Sanders.

But many of Sanders’ voters were drawn to the democratic socialist’s unabashedly progressive economic message. On that score, Johnson isn’t budging. He has espoused a near absolute preference for free market policies. Sanders’ calls for increased regulation, taxation and government benefits are anathema to Libertarians.

It has come to pass that the Libertarian presidential ticket, the one that wants to stamp out government, is the one with the most executive governing experience in the entire election.

Johnson and Weld, both two-term Republican governors in blue states, will have to demonstrate that they are ready to occupy the nation’s highest office.

“I’ve been an entrepreneur my entire life, and I was the two-term governor of New Mexico, and I think I was a successful governor,” Johnson said.

Both Johnson and Weld are sharply skeptical of the drug war and have invoked their respective experience on the matter. Johnson was a border governor and made his opposition to the war on drugs one of his signature issues. Weld nearly served as President Bill Clinton’s ambassador to Mexico, but abandoned the bid after squaring off with Jesse Helms, an arch-conservative Republican senator from North Carolina.

On other matters, they have touted their record opposing their former party, the GOP, on all manner of issues including foreign policy.

Johnson has moved to make himself appear more ready for the task of leading the nation’s armed forces. For example, he said he has quit indulging in THC-laden edibles so he will be fully alert in the Oval Office, whatever the hour.

The former New Mexico governor has pushed back against people who call him or the Libertarian Party “isolationist,” saying instead that he favors diplomacy. He has cited North Korea’s nuclear weapons program as a particular area of concern and advocated a diplomatic approach, involving pressure on the Chinese.

People will need to see if he can translate his messages of diplomatic support and concern into action.

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Libertarian town hall: What to watch – CNNPolitics.com

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The History of Gambling – Complete Gambling History Timeline

 Gambling  Comments Off on The History of Gambling – Complete Gambling History Timeline
Jun 192016
 

The history of humanity is inextricably linked with the history of gambling, as it seems that no matter how far back in time you go there are signs that where groups of people gathered together gambling was sure to have been taking place. Now we are not going to attempt to track every single twist and turn in the evolution of gambling in this article, but what we are going to do is to pick out some of the most important dates to act as milestones on the road to todays gambling experience.

2300bc

2300bc

While it is almost certain that some forms of betting have been taking place since the dawn of human history, the earliest concrete evidence comes from Ancient China where tiles were unearthed which appeared to have been used for a rudimentary game of chance. The Chinese Book of Songs makes reference to the drawing of wood which suggests that the tiles may have formed part of a lottery type game. We have evidence in the form of keno slips which were used in about 200bc as some sort of lottery to fund state works possibly including construction of the Great Wall of China. Lotteries continued to be used for civic purposes throughout history Harvard and Yale were both established using lottery funds and continue to do so until the present day.

c.500bc

The Greek poet Sophocles claimed that dice were invented by a mythological hero during the siege of Troy, and while this may have somewhat dubious basis in fact, his writings around 500bc were the first mention of dice in Greek history. We know that dice existed far earlier than this, since a pair had been uncovered from an Egyptian tomb from 3000bc, but what is certain is that the Ancient Greeks and Romans loved to gamble on all manner of things, seemingly at any given opportunity. In fact all forms of gambling including dice games were forbidden within the ancient city of Rome and a penalty imposed on those caught which was worth four times the stake being bet. As a result of this, ingenious Roman citizens invented the first gambling chips, so if they were nabbed by the guards they could claim to be playing only for chips and not for real money. (Note that this ruse will not work if attempted at a Vegas casino).

c.800ad

c.800ad

Most scholars agree that the first playing cards appeared in China in the 9th century, although the exact rules of the games they were used for have been lost to history. Some suggest that the cards were both the game and the stake, like trading card games played by children today, while other sources believe the first packs of cards to have been paper forms of Chinese domino. Certainly the cards used at this time bore very little relation to the standard 52 card decks we know today.

1400s

The earliest game still played in casinos today is the two player card game of Baccarat, a version of which was first mentioned as long ago as the 1400s when it migrated from Italy to France. Despite its early genesis, it took hundreds of years and various evolutions to arrive at the game we know today. Although different incarnations of the game have come and gone, the standard version played in casinos all over the world came from Cuba via Britain to the US, with a few alterations to the rules along the way. Although baccarat is effectively more of a spectator sport than a game, it is a feature of just about every casino due to its popularity with high rolling gamblers.

c.1600

c.1600

Some suggest that the earliest forms of blackjack came from a Spanish game called ventiuna (21) as this game appeared in a book written by the author of Don Quixote in 1601. Or was it the game of trente-un (31) from 1570? Or even quinze (15) from France decades earlier? As with all of these origin stories, the inventors of games of chance were rarely noted in the historical annals. The French game of vingt-et-un in the seventeenth century is certainly a direct forefather of the modern game, and this is the game that arrived in the US along with early settlers from France. The name blackjack was an American innovation, and linked to special promotions in Nevada casinos in the 1930s. To attract extra customers, 10 to 1 odds were paid out if the player won with a black Jack of Clubs or Spades together with an Ace of Spades. The special odds didnt last long, but the name is still with us today.

1638

The earliest gambling houses which could reasonably be compared to casinos started to appear in the early 17th century in Italy. For example, in 1638, the Ridotto was established in Venice to provide a controlled gambling environment amidst the chaos of the annual carnival season. Casinos started to spring up all over continental Europe during the 19th century, while at the same time in the US much more informal gambling houses were in vogue. In fact steam boats taking prosperous farmers and traders up and down the Mississippi provided the venue for a lot of informal gambling stateside. Now when we think of casinos we tend to picture the Las Vegas Strip, which grew out of the ashes of the Depression in America.

1796

1796

Roulette as we know it today originated in the gaming houses of Paris, where players would have been familiar with the wheel we now refer to (ironically enough) as the American Roulette wheel. It took another 50 years until the European version came along with just one green zero, and generations of roulette players can be grateful for that. During the course of the 19th century roulette grew in popularity, and when the famous Monte Carlo casino adopted the single zero form of the game this spread throughout Europe and most of the world, although the Americans stuck to the original double zero wheels.

1829

Its hard to pin down the precise origin of poker as with a lot of the games mentioned here, poker seems to have grown organically over decades and possibly centuries from various different card games. Some have pokers antecedents coming from seventeenth century Persia, while others say that the game we know today was inspired by a French game called Poque. What we do know for sure is that an English actor by the name of Joseph Crowell reported that a recognizable form of the game was being played in New Orleans in 1829, so that is as good a date as any for the birth of poker. The growth of the games popularity was fairly sluggish up until world poker tournaments started being played in Vegas in the 1970s. However poker really exploded with the advent of online poker and televised events allowing spectators to see the players hands. When amateur player Chris Moneymaker qualified for and won the 2003 world poker championship after qualifying through online play, it allowed everyone to picture themselves as online poker millionaires.

1891

1891

The first gambling machine which resembled the slots we know today was one developed by Messrs Sittman and Pitt in New York, which used the 52 cards on drum reels to make a sort of poker game. Around the same time the Liberty Bell machine was invented by a Charles Fey in San Francisco. This machine proved much more practical in the sense that winnings could be precisely regulated, and marked the beginning of the real slot game revolution. The fact that some new video slot games still feature bell symbols dates back to this early invention. While early machines spewed out cigars and gum instead of money, the money dispensing versions soon became a staple in bars and casinos around the globe, and when the first video slot was invented in 1976 this paved the way for the online video slots which were to follow.

1910

1910

The United States has always had an up and down relationship with gambling, dating back to when the very first European settlers arrived. Whereas Puritan bands of settlers banned gambling outright in their new settlements, those emigrating from England had a more lenient view of gambling and were more than happy to tolerate it. This dichotomous relationship has continued until now, and in 1910 public pressure led to a nationwide prohibition on gambling. Just like the alcohol prohibition of the same era, this proved somewhat difficult to enforce and gambling continued on in an only slightly discreet manner. The Wall Street Crash and the Great Depression that this spawned in the early 1930s led to gambling being legalized again, as for many this was the only prospect of alleviating the grinding poverty which they suffered through. Although gambling is legal in a number of States today most famously in Las Vegas, Nevada – online gambling is still something of a grey area in the United States. Right now, many international internet casinos are unable to accept American clients, although the signs are that this will change in the near future.

1994

Microgaming is one of the largest casino and slot game developers in the world today, and they are also considered to be pioneers of online gambling. The leap into the world of virtual casinos was taken all the way back in 1994, which in internet terms is kind of like 2300bc! Online gaming was worth over a billion dollars within 5 years, and today is a multibillion dollar industry with over a thousand online casinos and growing. The first live dealer casinos appeared in 2003 courtesy of Playtech, bringing us closer to a hybrid between brick and mortar casinos and the virtual world.

2016

2016

Since New Jersey legalized online gambling in 2011, there has been a boom in the interest people have in it. America has seen a move towards legalizing it state by state, as well as experiencing the rapid rise in mobile gambling. Across the globe, internet users are gradually veering away from their desktops and towards their handheld devices. This is true of online gamblers too, wanting to be able to enjoy their favorite games whilst on the go. The top gambling sites out there have recognized a market and have stepped up to deliver. With a wave of impressive mobile focused online gambling destinations taking the world by storm, it’s safe to say that desktops are being left far behind in favour of more mobile alternatives.

What Comes Next?

It is just about as difficult to predict the future for gambling as it is to uncover some of the origins of the gambling games we know so well today. Much of the focus at the moment is on the mobile gaming market, with online casinos scrambling to make more content compatible with the latest hand held devices. Virtual reality technology is just taking its first steps as a commercial proposition, and you can be sure that there will be gambling applications down the road. How would you like to sit around a virtual poker table with a bunch of your friends from all over the world, share a few laughs, try to tell if you can spot a tell-tale facial tick; and all this from the comfort of your home? VR Headsets can make it happen maybe not today, but certainly just a few years down the track if technology continues to advance in bounds and leaps.

And after that? Well who knows, but when it comes to gambling all things are possible.

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The History of Gambling – Complete Gambling History Timeline

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The History Of Germ Warfare – Very Long, Very Deadly

 Germ Warfare  Comments Off on The History Of Germ Warfare – Very Long, Very Deadly
Jun 172016
 

WASHINGTON – Although anthrax and other biological weapons seem like 21st-century threats, they have been tools of terror for ages. Ancient armies, for instance, tainted water supplies of entire cities with herbs and fungus that gave people horrible diarrhea and hallucinations. One germ-warfare assault in the 1300s apparently got out of hand, triggering an epidemic that ravaged the population of Europe. British troops in the French and Indian War launched a stealth smallpox attack on Indians. During World War I, German agents ran an anthrax factory in Washington, D.C. World War II anthrax bombs left a whole island uninhabitable for almost 50 years. “The earliest reference to anthrax is found in the Fifth Plague,” said Dr. Philip Brachman, an anthrax expert at Emory University in Atlanta. It took 10 calamities inflicted on the Egyptians to finally convince an obstinate pharaoh to liberate the ancient Hebrews, according to the Bible. The plagues probably date to about 1300 B.C. They ranged from Nile River water turned blood-red and undrinkable to the one-night destruction of all the first-born of Egypt. The Fifth Plague (Exodus 9:3) was an infectious disease that killed all the cattle in Egypt, while sparing the Hebrews’ cattle. Brachman and other experts think the biblical account actually refers to a natural epidemic of anthrax. Such epidemics periodically decimated domestic animals in the ancient Middle East. The anthrax might have spared the Israelites because their sheep would have been grazing on poorer pastures where infections don’t take hold as well. Domestic animals (and wild animals such as deer and bison) get anthrax by eating spores of the bacteria while grazing on contaminated land, or from eating contaminated feed. Animal anthrax still is an important problem in developing countries, especially in the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Humans can catch the disease from contact with infected animals, their meat, hide or hair. Medical historians see anthrax’s fingerprints in manuscripts from the ancient Greeks, Romans, and Hindus in India, which contain descriptions of animal and human anthrax. They think history’s most serious anthrax outbreak was “Black Bane,” a terrible epidemic that swept Europe in the 1600s. It killed at least 60,000 people and many more domestic and wild animals. People called it “Black Bane” because many cases involved the cutaneous, or skin, form of anthrax, which involves a blackish sore. Anthrax actually was named from a Greek word that refers to coal and charcoal. Cutaneous anthrax can be quickly cured today with Cipro, penicillin, doxycycline or other antibiotics. Like other infections in the pre-antibiotic era, however, it often killed. Brachman said that epidemics of anthrax were common in Europe during the 1700s and 1800s, with up to 100,000 cases of human anthrax annually. Medicine’s first major advance against anthrax occurred in Germany as the United States celebrated its 100th birthday. A physician named Robert Koch discovered how to grow bacteria on gelatin-like material in glass laboratory dishes, and rules to prove that specific bacteria caused specific diseases. In 1876, Koch identified the anthrax bacteria. It led to development of a vaccine that was first used to immunize livestock in 1880, and later humans. Other biological agents have roots as almost as ancient as anthrax. Some of the first recorded biological terror attacks occurred in the 6th century B.C. The ancient Assyrians (whose civilization began around 2400 B.C. in modern Turkey, Iran, Syria and Iraq) poisoned enemy wells with ergot, a fungus that can grow on wheat, rye and other grains. It produces LSD-like chemicals that cause hallucinations and other symptoms. In another 6th-century biological assault, the ancient Greeks, besieging a city called Krissa, poisoned its water supply with the herb hellebore. It causes violent diarrhea. During their sieges, ancient Roman soldiers threw decaying human corpses and carcasses of dead animals into their enemies’ water supplies, and catapulted them over the walls of enemy towns. A Tartar army in 1346 launched a biological assault that may have gotten out of control – big time. While besieging a city in modern-day Crimea, soldiers hurled corpses of bubonic plague victims over city walls. Fleas from the corpses infested people and rats in the city. Plague spread as people and rats escaped and fled. Some experts believe it triggered the great epidemic of bubonic plague -the “Black Death” -that swept Europe, killing 25 million people. In 1797, Napoleon tried to infect residents of a besieged city in Italy with malaria. During the French and Indian War, the British suspected American Indians of siding with the French. In an “act of good will,” the British gave the Indians nice, warm blankets -straight from the beds of smallpox victims. The resulting epidemic killed hundreds of Indians. Dr. Anton Dilger, an agent of the Imperial German Government during World War I, grew anthrax and other bacteria in a corner of his Washington home. His henchmen on the docks in Baltimore used the anthrax to infect 3,000 horses and mules destined for the Allied forces in Europe. Many of the animals died, and hundreds of soldiers on the Western Front in Europe were infected. In 1937, Japan began a biological warfare program that included anthrax, and later tested anthrax weapons in China. During World War II, Japan spread fleas infected with bubonic plague in a dozen Chinese cities. The United States, Great Britain and other countries developed anthrax weapons during World War II. The British military in 1942 began testing “anthrax bombs” on Gruinard Island, a 500-acre dot of land off the northwestern coast of Scotland. After the war, the project was abandoned. However, the Gruinard experiments established the terrible environmental consequences of using anthrax as a weapon of mass destruction. British scientists thought the anthrax spores would quickly die or blow away into the ocean. But the spores lived on. Huge numbers remained infectious year after year. Finally, in 1986, after critics labeled Gruinard “Anthrax Island,” the British government decided to clean up the mess. Workers built an irrigation system over the entire test range. It saturated the ground with 280 tons of formaldehyde -“embalming fluid” -diluted in 2,000 tons of seawater. The fluid flowed 24 hours a day for more than a year. Gruinard finally was declared decontaminated in 1990. It remains uninhabited today. Modern biological warfare programs have resulted in environmental contamination as well. An accident in 1979 at a Soviet biological warfare plant in Sverdlovsk (Ekaterinburg), released anthrax that killed at least 68 people who lived downwind. A 1972 treaty, ratified by 143 countries, banned production, deployment, possession and use of biological weapons. Analysts think that a dozen countries still may have clandestine biological weapons programs, including Iraq. Iraq is believed to have hidden stockpiles of weapons-grade anthrax and other biological agents, plus artillery shells and other weapons to deliver the germs. Link MainPage http://www.rense.com This Site Served by TheHostPros

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The History Of Germ Warfare – Very Long, Very Deadly

Political correctness – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Political Correctness  Comments Off on Political correctness – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jun 172016
 

Political correctness (adjectivally: politically correct), commonly abbreviated to PC,[1] is a term which, in modern usage, is used to describe language, policies, or measures which are intended not to offend or disadvantage any particular group of people in society. In the media, the term is generally used as a pejorative, implying that these policies are excessive.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8]

The term had only scattered usage before the early 1990s, usually as an ironic self-description, but entered more mainstream usage in the United States when it was the subject of a series of articles in The New York Times.[9][10][11][12][13][14] The phrase was widely used in the debate about Allan Bloom’s 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind,[4][6][15][16] and gained further currency in response to Roger Kimball’s Tenured Radicals (1990),[4][6][17][18] and conservative author Dinesh D’Souza’s 1991 book Illiberal Education, in which he condemned what he saw as liberal efforts to advance self-victimization, multiculturalism through language, affirmative action, and changes to the content of school and university curricula.[4][5][17][19]

Commentators on the left have said that conservatives pushed the term in order to divert attention from more substantive matters of discrimination and as part of a broader culture war against liberalism.[17][20][21] They also argue that conservatives have their own forms of political correctness, which are generally ignored by conservative commenters.[22][23][24]

The term “politically correct” was used infrequently until the latter part of the 20th century. This earlier use did not communicate the social disapproval usually implied in more recent usage. In 1793, the term “politically correct” appeared in a U.S. Supreme Court judgment of a political lawsuit.[25] The term also had occasional use in other English-speaking countries.[26][27]William Safire states that the first recorded use of the term in the typical modern sense is by Toni Cade Bambara in the 1970 anthology The Black Woman.[28][clarification needed] The term probably entered use in the United Kingdom around 1975.[8][clarification needed]

In the early-to-mid 20th century, the phrase “politically correct” was associated with the dogmatic application of Stalinist doctrine, debated between Communist Party members and American Socialists. This usage referred to the Communist party line, which provided for “correct” positions on many political matters. According to American educator Herbert Kohl, writing about debates in New York in the late 1940s and early 1950s,

The term “politically correct” was used disparagingly, to refer to someone whose loyalty to the CP line overrode compassion, and led to bad politics. It was used by Socialists against Communists, and was meant to separate out Socialists who believed in egalitarian moral ideas from dogmatic Communists who would advocate and defend party positions regardless of their moral substance.

In March 1968, the French philosopher Michel Foucault is quoted as saying: “a political thought can be politically correct (‘politiquement correcte’) only if it is scientifically painstaking”, referring to leftist intellectuals attempting to make Marxism scientifically rigorous rather than relying on orthodoxy.[29]

In the 1970s, the New Left began using the term “politically correct.”[30] In the essay The Black Woman: An Anthology (1970), Toni Cade Bambara said that “a man cannot be politically correct and a [male] chauvinist, too.” Thereafter, the term was often used as self-critical satire. Debra L. Shultz said that “throughout the 1970s and 1980s, the New Left, feminists, and progressives… used their term ‘politically correct’ ironically, as a guard against their own orthodoxy in social change efforts.”[4][30][31] As such, PC is a popular usage in the comic book Merton of the Movement, by Bobby London, which then was followed by the term ideologically sound, in the comic strips of Bart Dickon.[30][32] In her essay “Toward a feminist Revolution” (1992) Ellen Willis said: “In the early eighties, when feminists used the term ‘political correctness’, it was used to refer sarcastically to the anti-pornography movement’s efforts to define a ‘feminist sexuality.'”[33]

Stuart Hall suggests one way in which the original use of the term may have developed into the modern one:

According to one version, political correctness actually began as an in-joke on the left: radical students on American campuses acting out an ironic replay of the Bad Old Days BS (Before the Sixties) when every revolutionary groupuscule had a party line about everything. They would address some glaring examples of sexist or racist behaviour by their fellow students in imitation of the tone of voice of the Red Guards or Cultural Revolution Commissar: “Not very ‘politically correct’, Comrade!”[34]

Critics, including Camille Paglia[35] and James Atlas,[36][37] have pointed to Allan Bloom’s 1987 book The Closing of the American Mind[15] as the likely beginning of the modern debate about what was soon named “political correctness” in higher education.[4][6][16][38] Professor of English literary and cultural studies at CMU Jeffrey J. Williams wrote that the “assault on…political correctness that simmered through the Reagan years, gained bestsellerdom with Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind.” [39] According to Z.F. Gamson, “Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind…attacked the faculty for ‘political correctness’.”[40] Prof. of Social Work at CSU Tony Platt goes further and says the “campaign against ‘political correctness'” was launched by the book in 1987.[41]

A word search of six “regionally representative Canadian metropolitan newspapers”, found only 153 articles in which the terms “politically correct” or “political correctness” appeared between 1 January 1987 and 27 October 1990.[12]

The October 1990 New York Times article by Richard Bernstein is described as influential in the term’s development.[11][13][14][42][43] At this time, the term was mainly being used in academic contexts: “Across the country the term p.c., as it is commonly abbreviated, is being heard more and more in debates over what should be taught at the universities.”[9]Nexis citations in “arcnews/curnews” reveal only seventy total citations in articles to “political correctness” for 1990; but one year later, Nexis records 1532 citations, with a steady increase to more than 7000 citations by 1994.[42][44] 7 months after the October article, in May 1991 The New York Times had a follow-up on the topic, according to which the term was increasingly being used in a wider public arena:

What has come to be called “political correctness,” a term that began to gain currency at the start of the academic year last fall, has spread in recent months and has become the focus of an angry national debate, mainly on campuses, but also in the larger arenas of American life.

The previously obscure far-left term became common currency in the lexicon of the conservative social and political challenges against progressive teaching methods and curriculum changes in the secondary schools and universities of the U.S.[5][45] Policies, behavior, and speech codes that the speaker or the writer regarded as being the imposition of a liberal orthodoxy, were described and criticized as “politically correct”.[17] In May 1991, at a commencement ceremony for a graduating class of the University of Michigan, then U.S. President George H.W. Bush used the term in his speech: “The notion of political correctness has ignited controversy across the land. And although the movement arises from the laudable desire to sweep away the debris of racism and sexism and hatred, it replaces old prejudice with new ones. It declares certain topics off-limits, certain expression off-limits, even certain gestures off-limits.”[46][47][48]

After 1991, its use as a pejorative phrase became widespread amongst conservatives in the US.[5] It became a key term encapsulating conservative concerns about the left in culture and political debate more broadly, as well as in academia. Two articles on the topic in late 1990 in Forbes and Newsweek both used the term “thought police” in their headlines, exemplifying the tone of the new usage, but it was Dinesh D’Souza’s Illiberal Education: The Politics of Race and Sex on Campus (1991) which “captured the press’s imagination.”[5][clarification needed] Similar critical terminology was used by D’Souza for a range of policies in academia around victimization, supporting multiculturalism through affirmative action, sanctions against anti-minority hate speech, and revising curricula (sometimes referred to as “canon busting”).[5][49][not in citation given] These trends were at least in part a response to multiculturalism and the rise of identity politics, with movements such as feminism, gay rights movements and ethnic minority movements. That response received funding from conservative foundations and think tanks such as the John M. Olin Foundation, which funded several books such as D’Souza’s.[4][17]

Herbert Kohl, in 1992, commented that a number of neoconservatives who promoted the use of the term “politically correct” in the early 1990s were former Communist Party members, and, as a result, familiar with the Marxist use of the phrase. He argued that in doing so, they intended “to insinuate that egalitarian democratic ideas are actually authoritarian, orthodox and Communist-influenced, when they oppose the right of people to be racist, sexist, and homophobic.”[3]

During the 1990s, conservative and right-wing politicians, think-tanks, and speakers adopted the phrase as a pejorative descriptor of their ideological enemies especially in the context of the Culture Wars about language and the content of public-school curricula. Roger Kimball, in Tenured Radicals, endorsed Frederick Crews’s view that PC is best described as “Left Eclecticism”, a term defined by Kimball as “any of a wide variety of anti-establishment modes of thought from structuralism and poststructuralism, deconstruction, and Lacanian analyst to feminist, homosexual, black, and other patently political forms of criticism.”[18][39]Jan Narveson wrote that “that phrase was born to live between scare-quotes: it suggests that the operative considerations in the area so called are merely political, steamrolling the genuine reasons of principle for which we ought to be acting…”[2]

In the American Speech journal article “Cultural Sensitivity and Political Correctness: The Linguistic Problem of Naming” (1996), Edna Andrews said that the usage of culturally inclusive and gender-neutral language is based upon the concept that “language represents thought, and may even control thought”.[50] Andrews’ proposition is conceptually derived from the SapirWhorf Hypothesis, which proposes that the grammatical categories of a language shape the ideas, thoughts, and actions of the speaker. Moreover, Andrews said that politically moderate conceptions of the languagethought relationship suffice to support the “reasonable deduction … [of] cultural change via linguistic change” reported in the Sex Roles journal article “Development and Validation of an Instrument to Measure Attitudes Toward Sexist/Nonsexist Language” (2000), by Janet B. Parks and Mary Ann Robinson.[citation needed]

Liberal commentators have argued that the conservatives and reactionaries who used the term did so in effort to divert political discussion away from the substantive matters of resolving societal discrimination such as racial, social class, gender, and legal inequality against people whom the right-wing do not consider part of the social mainstream.[4][20][51][52][53][54][55] Commenting in 2001, one such British journalist,[56][57]Polly Toynbee, said “the phrase is an empty, right-wing smear, designed only to elevate its user”, and, in 2010 “…the phrase “political correctness” was born as a coded cover for all who still want to say Paki, spastic, or queer…”[56][57][58][59] Another British journalist, Will Hutton,[60][61][62][63] wrote in 2001:

Political correctness is one of the brilliant tools that the American Right developed in the mid1980s, as part of its demolition of American liberalism…. What the sharpest thinkers on the American Right saw quickly was that by declaring war on the cultural manifestations of liberalism by levelling the charge of “political correctness” against its exponents they could discredit the whole political project.

Glenn Loury described the situation in 1994 as such:

To address the subject of “political correctness,” when power and authority within the academic community is being contested by parties on either side of that issue, is to invite scrutiny of one’s arguments by would-be “friends” and “enemies.” Combatants from the left and the right will try to assess whether a writer is “for them” or “against them.”

In the US, the term has been widely used in the intellectual media, but in Britain, usage has been confined mainly to the popular press.[65] Many such authors and popular-media figures, particularly on the right, have used the term to critique what they see as bias in the media.[2][17] William McGowan argues that journalists get stories wrong or ignore stories worthy of coverage, because of what McGowan perceives to be their liberal ideologies and their fear of offending minority groups.[66] Robert Novak, in his essay “Political Correctness Has No Place in the Newsroom”, used the term to blame newspapers for adopting language use policies that he thinks tend to excessively avoid the appearance of bias. He argued that political correctness in language not only destroys meaning but also demeans the people who are meant to be protected.[67][68][69] Authors David Sloan and Emily Hoff claim that in the US, journalists shrug off concerns about political correctness in the newsroom, equating the political correctness criticisms with the old “liberal media bias” label.[70]

Jessica Pinta and Joy Yakubu caution against political incorrectness in media and other uses, writing in the Journal of Educational and Social Research: “…linguistic constructs influence our way of thinking negatively, peaceful coexistence is threatened and social stability is jeopardized.” What may result, they add as example “the effect of political incorrect use of language” in some historical occurrences:

Conflicts were recorded in Northern Nigeria as a result of insensitive use of language. In Kaduna for instance violence broke out on the 16th November 2002 following an article credited to one Daniel Isioma which was published in This Day Newspaper, where the writer carelessly made a remark about the Prophet Mohammed and the beauty queens of the Miss World Beauty Pageant that was to be hosted in the Country that year (Terwase n.d). In this crisis, He reported that over 250 people were killed and churches destroyed. In the same vein, crisis erupted on 18th February 2006 in Borno because of a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed in Iyllands-posten Newspaper (Terwase n.d). Here over 50 people were killed and 30 churches burnt.

Much of the modern debate on the term was sparked by conservative critiques of liberal bias in academia and education, such as Allan Bloom’s The Closing of the American Mind, Roger Kimball’s Tenured Radicals and Dinesh D’Souza’s Illiberal Education;[4] and conservatives have used it as a major line of attack since.[5] University of Pennsylvania professor Alan Charles Kors and lawyer Harvey A. Silverglate connect speech codes in US universities to philosopher Herbert Marcuse. They claim that speech codes create a “climate of repression”, arguing that they are based on “Marcusean logic”.[relevant? discuss] The speech codes, “mandate a redefined notion of “freedom”, based on the belief that the imposition of a moral agenda on a community is justified”, a view which, “requires less emphasis on individual rights and more on assuring “historically oppressed” persons the means of achieving equal rights.” They claim:

Our colleges and universities do not offer the protection of fair rules, equal justice, and consistent standards to the generation that finds itself on our campuses. They encourage students to bring charges of harassment against those whose opinions or expressions “offend” them. At almost every college and university, students deemed members of “historically oppressed groups”–above all, women, blacks, gays, and Hispanics–are informed during orientation that their campuses are teeming with illegal or intolerable violations of their “right” not to be offended. Judging from these warnings, there is a racial or sexual bigot, to borrow the mocking phrase of McCarthy’s critics, “under every bed.”[72][relevant? discuss]

Kors and Silverglate later established the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which campaigns against infringement of rights of due process, rights of religion and speech, in particular “speech codes”.[73] Similarly, a common conservative criticism of higher education in the United States is that the political views of the faculty are much more liberal than the general population, and that this situation contributes to an atmosphere of political correctness.[74]

Jessica Pinta and Joy Yakubu write that political correctness is useful in education, in the Journal of Educational and Social Research:

Political correctness is a useful area of consideration when using English language particularly in second language situations. This is because both social and cultural contexts of language are taken into consideration. Zabotkina (1989) says political correctness is not only an essential, but an interesting area of study in English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as Foreign Language (EFL) classrooms. This is because it presents language as used in carrying out different speech acts which provoke reactions as it can persuade, incite, complain, condemn, and disapprove. Language is used for communication and creating social linkages, as such must be used communicatively. Using language communicatively involves the ability to use language at the grammatical level, sociolinguistic level, discourse and strategic levels (Canale & Swain 1980). Understanding language use at these levels center around the fact that differences exist among people, who must communicate with one another, and the differences could be religious, cultural, social, racial, gender or even ideological. Therefore, using language to suit the appropriate culture and context is of great significance.

Groups who oppose certain generally accepted scientific views about evolution, second-hand tobacco smoke, AIDS, global warming, race, and other politically contentious scientific matters have said that PC liberal orthodoxy of academia is the reason why their perspectives of those matters have been rejected by the scientific community.[75] For example, in Lamarck’s Signature: How Retrogenes are Changing Darwin’s Natural Selection Paradigm (1999), Prof. Edward J. Steele said:

We now stand on the threshold of what could be an exciting new era of genetic research…. However, the ‘politically correct’ thought agendas of the neoDarwinists of the 1990s are ideologically opposed to the idea of ‘Lamarckian Feedback’, just as the Church was opposed to the idea of evolution based on natural selection in the 1850s![76]

Zoologists Robert Pitman and Susan Chivers complained about popular and media negativity towards their discovery of two different types of killer whales, a “docile” type and a “wilder” type that ravages sperm whales by hunting in packs: “The forces of political correctness and media marketing seem bent on projecting an image of a more benign form (the Free Willy or Shamu model), and some people urge exclusive use of the name ‘orca’ for the species, instead of what is perceived as the more sinister label of “killer whale.”[77]

Stephen Morris, an economist and a game theorist, built a game model on the concept of political correctness, where “a speaker (advisor) communicates with the objective of conveying information, but the listener (decision maker) is initially unsure if the speaker is biased. There were three main insights from that model. First, in any informative equilibrium, certain statements will lower the reputation of the speaker, independent of whether they turn out to be true. Second, if reputational concerns are sufficiently important, no information is conveyed in equilibrium. Third, while instrumental reputational concerns might arise for many reasons, a sufficient reason is that speakers wish to be listened to.”[78][79][80][81] The Economist writes that “Mr Morris’s model suggests that the incentive to be politically correct fades as society’s population of racists, to take his example, falls.”[79] He credits Glenn Loury with the basis of his work.[78][relevant? discuss]

“Political correctness” is a label typically used for left-wing terms and actions, but not for equivalent attempts to mold language and behavior on the right. However, the term “right-wing political correctness” is sometimes applied by commentators drawing parallels: in 1995, one author used the term “conservative correctness” arguing, in relation to higher education, that “critics of political correctness show a curious blindness when it comes to examples of conservative correctness. Most often, the case is entirely ignored or censorship of the Left is justified as a positive virtue. … A balanced perspective was lost, and everyone missed the fact that people on all sides were sometimes censored.”[22]

In 2003, Dixie Chicks, a U.S. country music group, criticized the then U.S. President George W. Bush for launching the war against Iraq.[82] They were criticized[83] and labeled “treasonous” by some U.S. right-wing commentators (including Ann Coulter and Bill O’Reilly).[23] Three years later, claiming that at the time “a virulent strain of right wing political correctness [had] all but shut down debate about the war in Iraq,” journalist Don Williams wrote that “[the ongoing] campaign against the Chicks represents political correctness run amok” and observed, “the ugliest form of political correctness occurs whenever there’s a war on.”[23]

In 2003, French fries and French toast were renamed “Freedom fries” and “Freedom toast”[84] in three U.S. House of Representatives cafeterias in response to France’s opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq. This was described as “polluting the already confused concept of political correctness.”[85] In 2004, then Australian Labor leader Mark Latham described conservative calls for “civility” in politics as “the new political correctness.”[86]

In 2012, Paul Krugman wrote that “the big threat to our discourse is right-wing political correctness, which unlike the liberal version has lots of power and money behind it. And the goal is very much the kind of thing Orwell tried to convey with his notion of Newspeak: to make it impossible to talk, and possibly even think, about ideas that challenge the established order.”[24]

Some right-wing commentators in the West argue that “political correctness” and multiculturalism are part of a conspiracy with the ultimate goal of undermining Judeo-Christian values. This theory, which holds that political correctness originates from the critical theory of the Frankfurt School as part of a conspiracy that its proponents call “Cultural Marxism”, is generally known as the Frankfurt School conspiracy theory by academics.[87][88] The theory originated with Michael Minnicino’s 1992 essay “New Dark Age: Frankfurt School and ‘Political Correctness'”, published in a Lyndon LaRouche movement journal.[89] In 2001, conservative commentator Patrick Buchanan wrote in The Death of the West that “political correctness is cultural Marxism”, and that “its trademark is intolerance”.[90]

In the United States, left forces of “political correctness” have been blamed for censorship, with Time citing campaigns against violence on network television as contributing to a “mainstream culture [which] has become cautious, sanitized, scared of its own shadow” because of “the watchful eye of the p.c. police”, even though in John Wilson’s view protests and advertiser boycotts targeting TV shows are generally organized by right-wing religious groups campaigning against violence, sex, and depictions of homosexuality on television.[91]

In the United Kingdom, some newspapers reported that a nursery school had altered the nursery rhyme “Baa Baa Black Sheep” to read “Baa Baa Rainbow Sheep” and had banned the original.[92] But it was later reported that in fact the Parents and Children Together (PACT) nursery had the children “turn the song into an action rhyme…. They sing happy, sad, bouncing, hopping, pink, blue, black and white sheep etc.”[93] This story was widely circulated and later extended to suggest that other language bans applied to the terms “black coffee” and “blackboard”.[94]Private Eye magazine reported that similar stories had been published in the British press since The Sun first ran them in 1986.[95]

Political correctness is often satirized, for example in The PC Manifesto (1992) by Saul Jerushalmy and Rens Zbignieuw X,[96] and Politically Correct Bedtime Stories (1994) by James Finn Garner, which presents fairy tales re-written from an exaggerated politically correct perspective. In 1994, the comedy film PCU took a look at political correctness on a college campus.

Other examples include the television program Politically Incorrect, George Carlins “Euphemisms” routine, and The Politically Correct Scrapbook.[97] The popularity of the South Park cartoon program led to the creation of the term “South Park Republican” by Andrew Sullivan, and later the book South Park Conservatives by Brian C. Anderson.[98] In its Season 19, South Park has constantly been poking fun at the principle of political correctness, embodied in the show’s new character, PC Principal.[99][100][101]

The Colbert Report’s host Stephen Colbert often talked, satirically, about the “PC Police”.[102][103]

In Hong Kong, as the 1997 handover drew nearer, greater control over the press was exercised by both owners and the Chinese state. This had a direct impact on news coverage of relatively sensitive political issues. The Chinese authorities exerted pressure on individual newspapers to take pro-Beijing stances on controversial issues.[104][105][106]Tung Chee-hwa’s policy advisers and senior bureaucrats increasingly linked their actions and remarks to “political correctness.” Zhaojia Liu and Siu-kai Lau, writing in The first Tung Chee-hwa administration: the first five years of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, said that “Hong Kong has traditionally been characterized as having freedom of speech and freedom of press, but that an unintended consequence of emphasizing political ‘correctness’ is to limit the space for such freedom of expression.”[107]

According to ThinkProgress, the “ongoing conversation about P.C. often relies on anecdotal evidence rather than data”.[108] In 2014, researchers at Cornell University reported that political correctness increased creativity in mixed-sex work teams,[109] saying “the effort to be P.C. can be justified not merely on moral grounds but also by the practical and potentially profitable consequences.”[108][clarification needed]

The term “politically correct”, with its suggestion of Stalinist orthodoxy, is spoken more with irony and disapproval than with reverence. But, across the country the term “P.C.”, as it is commonly abbreviated, is being heard more and more in debates over what should be taught at the universities.

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Political correctness – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

THE WAR ON DRUGS EXPLAINED Vox

 War On Drugs  Comments Off on THE WAR ON DRUGS EXPLAINED Vox
Jun 122016
 

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In the 1970s, President Richard Nixon formally launched the war on drugs to eradicate illicit drug use in the US. “If we cannot destroy the drug menace in America, then it will surely in time destroy us,” Nixontold Congress in 1971. “I am not prepared to accept this alternative.”

Over the next couple decades, particularly under the Reagan administration, what followed was the escalation of global military and police efforts against drugs. But in that process, the drug war led to unintended consequences that have proliferated violence around the world and contributed to mass incarceration in the US, even if it has made drugs less accessible and reduced potential levels of drug abuse.

Nixon inaugurated the war on drugs at a time when America was in hysterics over widespread drug use. Drug use had become more public and prevalent during the 1960s due in part to the counterculture movement, and many Americans felt that drug use had become a serious threat to the country and its moral standing.

Over the past four decades, the US has committed more than $1 trillion to the war on drugs. But the crackdown has in some waysfailed to produce the desired results: Drug use remains a very serious problem in the US, even though the drug war has made these substances less accessible. The drug war also led to several some unintended negative consequences, including abig strain on America’s criminal justice system and the proliferation ofdrug-related violence around the world.

While Nixon began the modern war on drugs, America hasa long history of trying to control the use of certain drugs. Laws passed in the early 20th century attempted to restrict drug production and sales. Some of this history is racially tinged, and, perhaps as a result, the war on drugs has long hit minority communities the hardest.

In response to the failures and unintended consequences, many drug policy experts and historians have called for reforms: a larger focus onrehabilitation, thedecriminalization of currently illicit substances, and even the legalization of all drugs.

The question with these policies, as with the drug war more broadly, is whether the risks and costs are worth the benefits. Drug policy is often described as choosing between a bunch of bad or mediocre options, rather than finding the perfect solution. In the case of the war on drugs, the question is whether the very real drawbacks of prohibition more racially skewed arrests, drug-related violence around the world, and financial costs are worth the potential gains from outlawing and hopefully depressing drug abuse in the US.

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The goal of the war on drugs is to reduce drug use. The specific aim is to destroy and inhibit the international drug trade making drugs scarcer and costlier, and therefore making drug habits in the US unaffordable. And although some of the data shows drugs getting cheaper, drug policy experts generally believe that the drug war is nonetheless preventing some drug abuse by making the substances less accessible.

The prices of most drugs, as tracked by the Office of National Drug Control Policy, have plummeted. Between 1981 and 2007, the median bulk price of heroin is down by roughly 93 percent, and the median bulk price of powder cocaine is down by about 87 percent. Between 1986 and 2007, the median bulk price of crack cocaine fell by around 54 percent. The prices of meth and marijuana, meanwhile, have remained largely stable since the 1980s.

Much of this is explained by what’s known as the balloon effect: Cracking down on drugs in one area doesn’t necessarily reduce the overall supply of drugs. Instead, drug production and trafficking shift elsewhere, because the drug trade is so lucrative that someone will always want to take it up particularly in countries where the drug trade might be one of the only economic opportunities and governments won’t be strong enough to suppress the drug trade.

The balloon effect has been documented in multiple instances, includingPeru and Bolivia to Colombia in the 1990s, the Netherlands Antilles to West Africa in the early 2000s, and Colombia and Mexico to El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala in the 2000s and 2010s.

Sometimes the drug war has failed to push down production altogether, like in Afghanistan. The US spent$7.6 billion between 2002 and 2014 to crack down on opium in Afghanistan, where a bulk of the world’s supply for heroin comes from. Despite the efforts, Afghanistan’s opium poppy crop cultivation reached record levels in 2013.

On the demand side, illicit drug use has dramatically fluctuated since the drug war began.The Monitoring the Future survey, which tracks illicit drug use among high school students, offers a useful proxy: In 1975, four years after President Richard Nixon launched the war on drugs, 30.7 percent of high school seniors reportedly used drugs in the previous month. In 1992, the rate was 14.4 percent. In 2013, it was back up to 25.5 percent.

Still, prohibition does likely make drugs less accessible than they would be if they were legal. A 2014study by Jon Caulkins, a drug policy expert at Carnegie Mellon University, suggested that prohibition multiplies the price of hard drugs like cocaine by as much as 10 times. And illicit drugs obviously aren’t available through easy means one can’t just walk into a CVS and buy heroin. So the drug war is likely stopping somedrug use: Caulkins estimates that legalization could lead hard drug abuse to triple,although he told me it could go much higher.

But there’s also evidence that the drug war is too punitive:A 2014 study from Peter Reuter at the University of Maryland and Harold Pollack at the University of Chicago found there’s no good evidence that tougher punishments or harsher supply-elimination efforts do a better job of pushing down access to drugs and substance abuse than lighter penalties. So increasing the severity of the punishment doesn’t do much, if anything, to slow the flow of drugs.

Instead, most of the reduction in accessibility from the drug war appears to be a result of the simple fact that drugs are illegal, which by itself makes drugs more expensive and less accessible by eliminating avenues toward mass production and distribution.

The question is whether the possible reduction of potential drug use is worth the drawbacks that come in other areas, including a strained criminal justice system and the global proliferation of violence fueled by illegal drug markets. If the drug war has failed to significantly reduce drug use, production, and trafficking, then perhaps it’s not worth these costs, and a new approach is preferable.

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The US uses what’s called thedrug scheduling system. Under theControlled Substances Act, there are five categories of controlled substances known as schedules, which weigh a drug’s medical value and abuse potential.

Medical value is typically evaluated through scientific research, particularly large-scale clinical trials similar to those used by the Food and Drug Administration for pharmaceuticals. Potential for abuse isn’t clearly defined by the Controlled Substances Act, but for the federal government, abuse is when individuals take a substance on their own initiative, leading to personal health hazards or dangers to society as a whole.

Under this system, Schedule 1 drugs are considered to have no medical value and a high potential for abuse. Schedule 2 drugs have high potential for abuse but some medical value. As the rank goes down to Schedule 5, a drug’s potential for abuse generally decreases.

It may be helpful to think of the scheduling system as made up of two distinct groups: nonmedical and medical. The nonmedical group is the Schedule 1 drugs, which are considered to have no medical value and high potential for abuse. The medical group is the Schedule 2 to 5 drugs, which have some medical value and are numerically ranked based on abuse potential (from high to low).

Marijuana and heroin are Schedule 1 drugs, so the federal government says they have no medical value and a high potential for abuse. Cocaine, meth, and opioid painkillers are Schedule 2 drugs, so they’re considered to have some medical value and high potential for abuse. Steroids and testosterone products are Schedule 3, Xanax and Valium are Schedule 4, and cough preparations with limited amounts of codeine are Schedule 5. Congressspecifically exempted alcohol and tobacco from the schedules in 1970.

Although these schedules help shapecriminal penalties for illicit drug possession and sales, they’re not always the final word. Congress, for instance, massively increased penalties against crack cocaine in 1986 in response to concerns about a crack epidemic and its potential link to crime. And state governments can set up their own criminal penalties and schedules for drugs as well.

Other countries, like the UK and Australia, use similar systems to the US, although their specific rankings for some drugs differ.

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The US fights the war on drugs both domestically and overseas.

On the domestic front, the federal government supplies local and state police departments with funds, legal flexibility, and special equipment to crack down on illicit drugs. Local and state police then use this funding to go after drug dealing organizations.

“[Federal] assistance helped us take out major drug organizations, and we took out a number of them in Baltimore,” said Neill Franklin, a retired police major and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which opposes the war on drugs. “But to do that, we took out the low-hanging fruit to work up the chain to find who was at the top of the pyramid. It started with low-level drug dealers, working our way up to midlevel management, all the way up to the kingpins.”

Some of the funding, particularly from the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, encourages local and state police to participate in anti-drug operations. If police don’t use the money to go after illicit substances, they risk losing it providing a financial incentive for cops to continue the war on drugs.

Although the focus is on criminal groups, casual users still get caught in the criminal justice system. Between 1999 and 2007, Human Rights Watch found at least 80 percent of drug-related arrests were for possession, not sales.

It seems, however, that arrests for possession don’t typically turn into convictions and prison time. According to federal statistics, only 5.3 percent of drug offenders in federal prisons and 27.9 percent of drug offenders in state prisons in 2004 were in for drug possession. The overwhelming majority were in for trafficking, and a small few were in for an unspecified “other” category.

Mexican officials incinerate 130 tons of seized marijuana.

Internationally, the US regularly aids other countries in their efforts to crack down on drugs. For example, the US in the 2000s provided military aid and training to Colombia in what’s known as Plan Colombia to help the Latin American country go after criminal organizations and paramilitaries funded through drug trafficking.

Federal officials argue that helping countries like Colombia attacks the source of illicit drugs, since such substances are often produced in Latin America and shipped north to the US. But the international efforts have consistently displaced, not eliminated, drug trafficking and the violence that comes with it to other countries.

Given the struggles of the war on drugs to meet its goals, federal and state officials have begun moving away from harsh enforcement tactics and tough-on-crime stances. The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy nowadvocates for a bigger focus on rehabilitation and less on law enforcement. Even some conservatives, like former Texas Governor Rick Perry, have embraced drug courts, which place drug offenders into rehabilitation programs instead of jail or prison.

The idea behind these reforms is to find a better balance between locking up more people for drug trafficking while moving genuinely problematic drug users to rehabilitation and treatment services that could help them.”We can’t arrest our way out of the problem,” Michael Botticelli, US drug czar,said, “and we really need to focus our attention on proven public health strategies to make a significant difference as it relates to drug use and consequences to that in the United States.”

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The escalation of the criminal justice system’s reach over the past few decades, ranging from more incarceration to seizures of private property and militarization, can be traced back to the war on drugs.

After the US stepped up the drug war throughout the 1970s and ’80s, harsher sentences for drug offenses played a role in turning the country into theworld’s leader in incarceration. (But drug offenders still make up a small part of the prison population: About 54 percent of people in state prisons which house more than 86 percent of the US prison population were violent offenders in 2012, and 16 percent were drug offenders, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.)

Still, mass incarceration has massively strained the criminal justice system and led to a lot of overcrowding in US prisons to the point that some states, such asCalifornia, have rolled back penalties for nonviolent drug users and sellers with the explicit goal of reducing their incarcerated population.

In terms of police powers,civil asset forfeitures have been justified as a way to go after drug dealing organizations. These forfeitures allow law enforcement agencies to take the organizations’ assets cash in particular and then use the gains to fund more anti-drug operations. The idea is to turn drug dealers’ ill-gotten gains against them.

But there have beenmany documented cases in which police abused civil asset forfeiture, including instances in which police took people’s cars and cash simply because they suspected but couldn’t prove that there was some sort of illegal activity going on. In these cases, it’s actually up to people whose private property was taken to prove that they weren’t doing anything illegal instead of traditional legal standards in which police have to prove wrongdoing or reasonable suspicion of it before they act.

Similarly, the federal government helped militarize local and state police departments in an attempt to better equip them in the fight against drugs. The Pentagon’s 1033 program, which gives surplus military-grade equipment to police, was created in the 1990s as part of President GeorgeHW Bush’s escalation of the war on drugs. The deployment of SWAT teams, as reported by the ACLU, also increased during the past few decades, and 62 percent of SWAT raids in 2011 and 2012 were for drug searches.

Various groups have complained that these increases in police power are often abused and misused. The ACLU, for instance, argues that civil asset forfeitures threaten Americans’ civil liberties and property rights, because police can often seize assets without even filing charges. Such seizures also might encourage police to focus on drug crimes, since a raid can result in actual cash that goes back to the police department, while a violent crime conviction likely would not. The libertarian Cato Institute has also criticized the war on drugs for decades, because anti-drug efforts gave cover to a huge expansion of law enforcement’s surveillance capabilities, including wiretaps and US mail searches.

The militarization of police became a particular sticking point during the 2014 protests in Ferguson, Missouri, over the police shooting of Michael Brown. After heavily armed police responded to largely peaceful protesters with armored vehicle that resemble tanks, tear gas, and sound cannons, law enforcement experts andjournalists criticized the tactics.

Since the beginning of the war on drugs, the general trend has been to massively grow police powers and expand the criminal justice system as a means of combating drug use. But as the drug warstruggles to halt drug use and trafficking, the heavy-handed policies which many describe as draconian have been called into question. If the war on drugs isn’t meeting its goals, critics say these expansions of the criminal justice system aren’t worth the financial strain and costs to liberty in the US.

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The war on drugs has created a black market for illicit drugs that criminal organizations around the world can rely on for revenue that payrolls other, more violent activities. This market supplies so much revenue that drug trafficking organizations can actually rival developing countries’ weak government institutions.

In Mexico, for example, drug cartels have leveraged their profits from the drug trade to violently maintain their stranglehold over the market despite the government’s war on drugs. As a result, public decapitations have become a particularly prominent tactic of ruthless drug cartels. As many as 80,000 people have died in the war. Tens of thousands of people have gone missing since 2007, including 43 students who vanished in 2014 in a widely publicized case.

But even if Mexico were to actually defeat drug cartels, this potentially wouldn’t reduce drug war violence on a global scale.Instead, drug production and trafficking, and the violence that comes with both, would likely shift elsewhere, because the drug trade is so lucrative that someone will always want to take it up particularly in countries where the drug trade might be one of the only economic opportunities and governments won’t be strong enough to suppress the drug trade.

In 2014, for instance, the drug warsignificantly contributed to the child migrant crisis. After some drug trafficking was pushed out of Mexico, gangs and drug cartels stepped up their operations in Central America’s Northern Triangle of El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala. These countries, with their weak criminal justice and law enforcement systems, didn’t seem to have the capacity to deal with the influx of violence and crime.

The war on drugs “drove a lot of the activities to Central America, a region that has extremely weakened systems,” Adriana Beltran of the Washington Office on Latin Americaexplained. “Unfortunately, there hasn’t been a strong commitment to building the criminal justice system and the police.”

As a result, children fled their countries by the thousands ina major humanitarian crisis. Many of these children ended up in the US, where the refugee system simply doesn’t have the capacity to handle the rush of child migrants.

Although the child migrant crisis is fairly unique in its specific circumstances and effects, the series of events a government cracks down on drugs, trafficking moves to another country, and the drug trade brings violence and crime is pretty typical in the history of the war on drugs. In the past couple of decades it happened inColombia, Mexico, Venezuela, and Ecuador after successful anti-drug crackdowns in other Latin American countries.

The Wall Street Journal explained:

Ironically, the shift is partly a by-product of a drug-war success story, Plan Colombia. In a little over a decade, the U.S. spent nearly $8 billion to back Colombia’s efforts to eradicate coca fields, arrest traffickers and battle drug-funded guerrilla armies such as the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC. Colombian cocaine production declined, the murder rate plunged and the FARC is on the run.

But traffickers adjusted. Cartels moved south across the Ecuadorean border to set up new storage facilities and pioneer new smuggling routes from Ecuador’s Pacific coast. Colombia’s neighbor to the east, Venezuela, is now the departure point for half of the cocaine going to Europe by sea.

As a 2012 report from the UN Office on Drugs and Crime explained, “one countrys success became the problem of others.”

This global proliferation of violence is one of the most prominent costs of the drug war. When evaluating whether the war on drugs has been successful, experts and historians weigh this cost, along with the rise of incarceration in the US, against the benefits, such as potentially depressed drug use, to gauge whether anti-drug efforts have been worth it.

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Enforcing the war on drugs costs the US more than $51 billion each year, according to the Drug Policy Alliance. As of 2012, the US had spent $1 trillion on anti-drug efforts.

The spending estimates don’t account for the loss of potential taxes on currently illegal substances. According to a 2010 paper from the libertarian Cato Institute, taxing and regulating illicit drugs similarly to tobacco and alcohol could raise $46.7 billion in tax revenue each year.

These annual costs the spending, the lost potential taxes add up to nearly 2 percent of state and federal budgets, which totaled an estimated $6.1 trillion in 2013. That’s not a huge amount of money, but it may not be worth the cost if the war on drugs is leading todrug-related violence around the world and isn’t significantly reducingdrug abuse.

Card 8 of 17

In the US, the war on drugs mostly impacts minority, particularly black, communities. This disproportionate effect is why critics often call the war on drugs racist.

Although black communities aren’t more likely to use orsell drugs, they are much more likely to be arrested and incarcerated for drug offenses.

When black defendants are convicted for drug crimes, they face longer prison sentences as well. Drug sentences for black men were 13.1 percent longer than drug sentences for white men between 2007 and 2009, according to a 2012 report from the US Sentencing Commission.

TheSentencing Project explained the differences in a February 2015 report: “Myriad criminal justice policies that appear to be race-neutral collide with broader socioeconomic patterns to create a disparate racial impact Socioeconomic inequality does lead people of color to disproportionately use and sell drugs outdoors, where they are more readily apprehended by police.”

One example: Trafficking crack cocaine, one of the few illicit drugs that’s more popular among black Americans, carries the harshest punishment. The threshold for a five-year mandatory minimum sentence of crack is 28 grams. In comparison, the threshold for powder cocaine, which is more popular among white than black Americans but pharmacoligically similar to crack, is 500 grams.

As for the broader racial disparities, federal programs that encourage local and state police departments to crack down on drugs may create perverse incentives to go after minority communities. Some federal grants, for instance, previously required police to make more drug arrests in order to obtain more funding for anti-drug efforts. Neill Franklin, a retired police major from Maryland and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said minority communities are “the low-hanging fruit” for police departments because they tend to sell in open-air markets, such as public street corners, and have less political and financial power than white Americans.

In Chicago, for instance, an analysis byProject Know, a drug addiction resource center, foundenforcement of anti-drug laws is concentrated in poor neighborhoods, which tend to have more crime but are predominantly black:

“Doing these evening and afternoon sweeps meant 20 to 30 arrests, and now you have some great numbers for your grant application,” Franklin said. “In that process, we also ended up seizing a lot of money and a lot of property. That’s another cash cow.”

The disproportionate arrest and incarceration rates have clearly detrimental effects on minority communities. A 2014 study published in the journal Sociological Science found boys with imprisoned fathers are much less likely to possess the behavioral skills needed to succeed in school by the age of 5, starting them on a vicious path known as theschool-to-prison pipeline.

As the drug war continues, these racial disparities have become one of the major points of criticism against it. It’s not just whether the war on drugs has led to the widespread, costly incarceration of millions of Americans, but whether incarceration has created”the new Jim Crow” a reference to policies, such as segregation and voting restrictions, that subjugated black communities in America.

Card 9 of 17

Beyond the goal ofcurtailing drug use, the motivations behind the US war on drugs have been rooted in historical fears of immigrants and minority groups.

The US began regulating and restricting drugs during the first half of the 20th century, particularly through thePure Food and Drug Act of 1906, the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act of 1914, and the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. During this period, racial and ethnic tensions were particularly high across the country not just toward African Americans, but toward Mexican and Chinese immigrants as well.

As the New York Times explained, the federal prohibition of marijuana came during a period of national hysteria about the effect of the drug on Mexican immigrants and black communities. Concerns about a new, exotic drug, coupled with feelings of xenophobia and racism that were all too common in the 1930s, drove law enforcement, the broader public, and eventually legislators to demand the drug’s prohibition. “Police in Texas border towns demonized the plant in racial terms as the drug of ‘immoral’ populations who were promptly labeled ‘fiends,'” wrote the Times’s Brent Staples.

These beliefs extended to practically all forms of drug prohibition. According to historian Peter Knight, opium largely came over to America with Chinese immigrants on the West Coast. Americans, already skeptical of the drug, quickly latched on to xenophobic beliefs that opium somehow made Chinese immigrants dangerous. “Stories of Chinese immigrants who lured white females into prostitution, along with the media depictions of the Chinese as depraved and unclean, bolstered the enactment of anti-opium laws in eleven states between 1877 and 1900,” Knight wrote.

Cocaine was similarly attached in fear to black communities, neuroscientist Carl Hartwrote for the Nation. The belief was so widespread that the New York Times even felt comfortable writing headlines in 1914 that claimed “Negro cocaine ‘fiends’ are a new southern menace.” The author of the Times piece a physician wrote, “[The cocaine user] imagines that he hears people taunting and abusing him, and this often incites homicidal attacks upon innocent and unsuspecting victims.” He later added, “Many of the wholesale killings in the South may be cited as indicating that accuracy in shooting is not interfered with is, indeed, probably improved by cocaine. I believe the record of the ‘cocaine n—-r’ near Asheville who dropped five men dead in their tracks using only one cartridge for each, offers evidence that is sufficiently convincing.”

Most recently, these fears of drugs and the connection to minorities came up during what law enforcement officials characterized as a crack cocaine epidemic in the 1980s and ’90s. Lawmakers, judges, and police in particular linked crack to violence in minority communities. The connection was part of the rationale for making it 100 times easier to get a mandatory minimum sentence for crack cocaine over powder cocaine, even though the two drugs are pharmacologically identical. As a result, minority groups have received considerably harsher prison sentences for illegal drugs. (In 2010, the ratio between crack’s sentence and cocaine’s was reduced from 100-to-1 to 18-to-1.)

Hart explained, after noting the New York Times’s coverage in particular: “Over the [late 1980s], a barrage of similar articles connected crack and its associated problems with black people. Entire specialty police units were deployed to ‘troubled neighborhoods,’ making excessive arrests and subjecting the targeted communities to dehumanizing treatment. Along the way, complex economic and social forces were reduced to criminal justice problems; resources were directed toward law enforcement rather than neighborhoods real needs, such as job creation.”

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THE WAR ON DRUGS EXPLAINED Vox

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Offshore Banking – The New York Times

 Offshore Banking  Comments Off on Offshore Banking – The New York Times
Apr 202016
 

Latest Articles

S.E.C. Held Up by Democrats | Criminal Inquiry Into Panama Papers Tax Avoidance Claims | Chinese Consortium to Buy Lexmark

The disclosures of hidden wealth in the Panama Papers have focused attention on the secrecy offered under American law to offshore companies.

By CELESTINE BOHLEN

Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have agreed to share information on company ownership and that urged the Group of 20 Nations to do the same.

By STEPHEN CASTLE

The resignation of Jos Manuel Soria, who has not been charged with wrongdoing, comes at a time of turmoil in Spanish politics, after inconclusive elections in December.

By RAPHAEL MINDER

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left Pakistan to receive medical treatment in London in the middle of an unfolding scandal over his familys offshore wealth.

By SALMAN MASOOD

Many in Africa have long known that billions of dollars are being spirited away to tax havens every year, making their lives even more precarious.

By ALAN COWELL

The tax code is rigged to give Americas biggest corporations a free ride.

By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

Officials said they were looking for evidence of illegal activities during the search of the headquarters of Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in setting up offshore accounts.

By KIRK SEMPLE

The proposed rules, in the works before the Panama Papers leak, are intended in some ways to lift the veil on similar types of corporate secrets.

By JAMES KANTER

The leaked documents show the many ways offshore shell companies are used to conceal the ownership of art. Heres a look at three cases.

By SCOTT REYBURN

The British prime minister confronted the Labour Party in Parliament in a spirited debate over economic fairness that was set off by the Panama Papers.

By STEVEN ERLANGER and SEWELL CHAN

David Lammy, a member of the Labour Party, asked Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain about property owned by offshore companies, what he called dirty money.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The revelations of a vast off shore industry require new laws and new transparency, not finger-pointing, President Juan Carlos Varela says.

By JUAN CARLOS VARELA

Mr. Cameron, the British prime minister, admitted that he had bungled his response to questions about his inheritance from his father, who had an offshore investment company.

By STEVEN ERLANGER

The prime minister has condemned offshore accounts used to avoid taxes, but leaked documents show that his family has profited from an offshore investment fund.

By KIMIKO DE FREYTAS-TAMURA

First Ashley Madison accounts, now offshore accounts?

By YRSA SIGURDARDOTTIR

The Financial Conduct Authority has given 20 lenders and other financial institutions until April 15 to respond to the request.

By REUTERS

While most nations have agreed to share information to root out tax havens, Panama has dragged its feet.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

The new Obama administration rules will ultimately discourage companies from investing in the U.S.

By DIANA FURCHTGOTT-ROTH

Readers react to disclosures about the use of tax havens by prominent political figures and their families and associates worldwide.

S.E.C. Held Up by Democrats | Criminal Inquiry Into Panama Papers Tax Avoidance Claims | Chinese Consortium to Buy Lexmark

The disclosures of hidden wealth in the Panama Papers have focused attention on the secrecy offered under American law to offshore companies.

By CELESTINE BOHLEN

Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain have agreed to share information on company ownership and that urged the Group of 20 Nations to do the same.

By STEPHEN CASTLE

The resignation of Jos Manuel Soria, who has not been charged with wrongdoing, comes at a time of turmoil in Spanish politics, after inconclusive elections in December.

By RAPHAEL MINDER

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif left Pakistan to receive medical treatment in London in the middle of an unfolding scandal over his familys offshore wealth.

By SALMAN MASOOD

Many in Africa have long known that billions of dollars are being spirited away to tax havens every year, making their lives even more precarious.

By ALAN COWELL

The tax code is rigged to give Americas biggest corporations a free ride.

By NICHOLAS KRISTOF

Officials said they were looking for evidence of illegal activities during the search of the headquarters of Mossack Fonseca, which specializes in setting up offshore accounts.

By KIRK SEMPLE

The proposed rules, in the works before the Panama Papers leak, are intended in some ways to lift the veil on similar types of corporate secrets.

By JAMES KANTER

The leaked documents show the many ways offshore shell companies are used to conceal the ownership of art. Heres a look at three cases.

By SCOTT REYBURN

The British prime minister confronted the Labour Party in Parliament in a spirited debate over economic fairness that was set off by the Panama Papers.

By STEVEN ERLANGER and SEWELL CHAN

David Lammy, a member of the Labour Party, asked Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain about property owned by offshore companies, what he called dirty money.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

The revelations of a vast off shore industry require new laws and new transparency, not finger-pointing, President Juan Carlos Varela says.

By JUAN CARLOS VARELA

Mr. Cameron, the British prime minister, admitted that he had bungled his response to questions about his inheritance from his father, who had an offshore investment company.

By STEVEN ERLANGER

The prime minister has condemned offshore accounts used to avoid taxes, but leaked documents show that his family has profited from an offshore investment fund.

By KIMIKO DE FREYTAS-TAMURA

First Ashley Madison accounts, now offshore accounts?

By YRSA SIGURDARDOTTIR

The Financial Conduct Authority has given 20 lenders and other financial institutions until April 15 to respond to the request.

By REUTERS

While most nations have agreed to share information to root out tax havens, Panama has dragged its feet.

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD

The new Obama administration rules will ultimately discourage companies from investing in the U.S.

By DIANA FURCHTGOTT-ROTH

Readers react to disclosures about the use of tax havens by prominent political figures and their families and associates worldwide.

Original post:
Offshore Banking – The New York Times

 Posted by at 10:44 am  Tagged with:

Beaches, Lakes & Boating visitphilly.com – Visit Philadelphia

 Beaches  Comments Off on Beaches, Lakes & Boating visitphilly.com – Visit Philadelphia
Apr 202016
 

The largest lake in Southeastern Pennsylvania, accompanied by a 5,283-acre park

Offering more than 1,450 acres and four public launching areas, Lake Nockamixon is a popular spot for boating of all kinds, including catamarans and windsurfers. Anglers also enjoy this warm, expansive water lake, which is stocked with a variety of species.

The largest collegiate regatta in the United States

May 13-14, 2016 The Aberdeen Dad Vail Regatta is a two-day race held on the Schuylkill River in beautiful Fairmount Park, one of the most famous and scenic rowing routes in the world.

An exciting, two-day race that draws fans from around the world

October 29-30, 2016 Enjoy a great fall weekend in Fairmount Park and take in a picturesque fall regatta at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta, one of the longest running head races in the country.

A colorful celebration of an ancient Chinese tradition

Stroll up Kelly Drive along the Schuylkill River for an unusually colorful and dramatic regatta, the Philadelphia Dragon Boat Festival, Philadelphias annual celebration of an ancient Chinese tradition.

235 acres for kayaking, bird walks, pond tours and seasonal festivals

Silver Lake Nature Center features a butterfly garden, lakes, marshes, meadows, a bog and 4.5 miles of nature trails that highlight the diverse plant and animal life in the area.

Boat tours of the Schuylkill and Delaware Rivers

Offering excursions along the Delaware and Schuylkill Rivers, Patriot Harbor Lines welcomes up to 35 guests on its reproduction of a classic 1920s commuter yacht.

Making waves

A premium hang on the northern edge of NoLibs, this swim club attracts an attractive crowd with tunes, drinks and chill space.

Full or half-day guided fishing trips

Get the most out of your fishing trip with a little help from experienced guides. Whether its trout or bass, salt or freshwater, Mainstream Outfitters can help you find your fish with one of their guided fishing trips.

Kayaking, canoeing and tubing along the scenic Brandywine River

Northbrook Canoe Company offers kayaking, canoeing and tubing along the scenic Brandywine River in Chester County, Pennsylvania, about an hour southwest of Philadelphia.

Whitewater rafting right here in the Delaware Valley

Whitewater rafting, with Class 3 and 4 rapids, right here in the Delaware Valley

Pennsylvanias largest remaining freshwater tidal marsh

With 1000 acres, ten miles of trails and many native wildlife and plants, the John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum protects the largest fresh water tidal marsh in Pennsylvania.

Overnight equestrian camping amid wooded trails and gorgeous views

Lake Galena, at 365 acres, is a favorite recreational spot

Fourteen miles of trails are just one of the many outdoor activities that Peace Valley Park has to offer. Bring a picnic for a lakeside lunch, or paddle out onto Lake Galena and hook a bass, walleye, catfish, bluegill or carp. The bird blind at the Peace Valley Nature Center next door offers quiet observation of cardinals, woodpeckers, finches, titmice, sparrows and more.

A leisurely float down the Delaware, with lunch along the way

A leisurely float down the Delaware, with lunch along the way

Full, half-day and overnight fly fishing adventures on the Delaware River

Full, half-day and overnight fly fishing adventures on the Delaware River.

A 165-mile trail connecting waterways, rails and trails along a historic railroad path

A 165-mile trail connecting waterways, rails and trails along a historic railroad path

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Beaches, Lakes & Boating visitphilly.com – Visit Philadelphia

China’s Answer To The Hubble Telescope | Popular Science

 Hubble Telescope  Comments Off on China’s Answer To The Hubble Telescope | Popular Science
Mar 172016
 

While China’s manned space program has been getting a lot of attention, the country is also becoming a superpower in space exploration and science. In 2016, during its parliamentary sessions, China announced its space telescope program, which will advance China into capabilities only previously held by programs like the U.S. Hubble space telescope.

Zhang Yulin, a Deputy to the National People’s Congress and former Chairman of aerospace contractor CASC, noted that the Chinese space telescope would have a 2+meter diameter lens with a field of view 300 times that of the Hubble Space telescope, while maintaining the same level of image resolution. With such a wide field of view, the space telescope could survey 40 percent of the cosmos in ten years. Zhou Jianping, the head of China’s manned space program, noted that such a wide field-of-view would create a higher fidelity image to search for dark matter, dark energy, and exoplanets. Even more notable than the capabilities, however, may be the plan for where to locate the telescope.

Zhang said that the Chinese space telescope would orbit close to a Chinese space station, likely the Tiangong 3, so that Chinese taikonauts would quickly service any problems, compared to the 3.5 year wait for NASA to correct the Hubble Telescope’s mirror problems. The Tiangong 3’s two 15-meter-long robotic arms would be very helpful in servicing the space telescope. Using a space station as a permanent support base for a satellite has not yet been tried before; neither Skylab, Mir, nor the ISS had any large satellites close by. To outfit the Tiangong 3 for such a mission, China would need to stockpile supplies of tools and spares to provide for prompt servicing of a space telescope, though new technology such as monitoring nanosatellites could make telescope repairs easier. As China masters this space operational concept, the experience gained could provide a boost to future space projects, such as asteroid mining and the in orbit assembly of manned missions to Mars.

You may also be interested in:

China to Launch Powerful Civilian Hyperspectral Satellite

Gaofen 4, the World’s Most Powerful Geo Spy Satellite, Continues China’s Great Leap Forward in Space

China’s Largest Ever Space Rocket Takes Another Big Step Forward

China Show Cases Plan to Become the Leading Space Power

More here:
China’s Answer To The Hubble Telescope | Popular Science

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Caribbean – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Islands  Comments Off on Caribbean – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Feb 172016
 

Caribbean Area 2,754,000km2 (1,063,000sqmi) Land area 239,681km2 (92,541sqmi) Population (2009) 39,169,962[1] Density 151.5/km2 (392/sqmi) Ethnic groups Afro-Caribbean, White Caribbean, Indo-Caribbean, Chinese Caribbean,Middle Eastern-Caribbean,[2]Arawak (Kalinago, Tano) Demonym Caribbean, Caribbean person, West Indian Languages Spanish, English, French, Dutch, French Creole, English Creole, Caribbean Hindustani, among others Government 13 sovereign states 17 dependent territories Largest cities List of metropolitan areas in the West Indies Santo Domingo Havana Port-au-Prince Santiago de los Caballeros Kingston Santiago de Cuba San Juan Holgun Cap-Hatien Fort-de-France Port of Spain Internet TLD Multiple Calling code Multiple Time zone UTC-5 to UTC-4

The Caribbean ( or ; Spanish: Caribe; Dutch: Caraben(helpinfo); Caribbean Hindustani: (Kairibiyana); French: Carabe or more commonly Antilles) is a region that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean), and the surrounding coasts. The region is southeast of the Gulf of Mexico and the North American mainland, east of Central America, and north of South America.

Situated largely on the Caribbean Plate, the region comprises more than 700 islands, islets, reefs, and cays. (See the list.) These islands generally form island arcs that delineate the eastern and northern edges of the Caribbean Sea.[3] The Caribbean islands, consisting of the Greater Antilles on the north and the Lesser Antilles on the south and east (including the Leeward Antilles), are part of the somewhat larger West Indies grouping, which also includes the Lucayan Archipelago (comprising The Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands) north of the Greater Antilles and Caribbean Sea. In a wider sense, the mainland countries of Belize, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, and French Guiana are also included.

Geopolitically, the Caribbean islands are usually regarded as a subregion of North America[4][5][6][7][8] and are organized into 30 territories including sovereign states, overseas departments, and dependencies. From December 15, 1954, to October 10, 2010 there was a country known as the Netherlands Antilles composed of five states, all of which were Dutch dependencies.[9] While from January 3, 1958, to May 31, 1962, there was also a short-lived country called the Federation of the West Indies composed of ten English-speaking Caribbean territories, all of which were then British dependencies. The West Indies cricket team continues to represent many of those nations.

The region takes its name from that of the Caribs, an ethnic group present in the Lesser Antilles and parts of adjacent South America at the time of the Spanish conquest.[10]

The two most prevalent pronunciations of “Caribbean” are KARR–BEE-n, with the primary accent on the third syllable, and k-RIB-ee-n, with the accent on the second. The former pronunciation is the older of the two, although the stressed-second-syllable variant has been established for over 75 years.[11] It has been suggested that speakers of British English prefer KARR–BEE-n while North American speakers more typically use k-RIB-ee-n,[12] although not all sources agree.[13] Usage is split within Caribbean English itself.[14]

The word “Caribbean” has multiple uses. Its principal ones are geographical and political. The Caribbean can also be expanded to include territories with strong cultural and historical connections to slavery, European colonisation, and the plantation system.

The geography and climate in the Caribbean region varies: Some islands in the region have relatively flat terrain of non-volcanic origin. These islands include Aruba (possessing only minor volcanic features), Barbados, Bonaire, the Cayman Islands, Saint Croix, the Bahamas, and Antigua. Others possess rugged towering mountain-ranges like the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Dominica, Montserrat, Saba, Saint Kitts, Saint Lucia, Saint Thomas, Saint John, Tortola, Grenada, Saint Vincent, Guadeloupe, Martinique, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Definitions of the terms Greater Antilles and Lesser Antilles often vary. The Virgin Islands as part of the Puerto Rican bank are sometimes included with the Greater Antilles. The term Lesser Antilles is often used to define an island arc that includes Grenada but excludes Trinidad and Tobago and the Leeward Antilles.

The waters of the Caribbean Sea host large, migratory schools of fish, turtles, and coral reef formations. The Puerto Rico trench, located on the fringe of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea just to the north of the island of Puerto Rico, is the deepest point in all of the Atlantic Ocean.[16]

The region sits in the line of several major shipping routes with the Panama Canal connecting the western Caribbean Sea with the Pacific Ocean.

The climate of the area is tropical to subtropical in Cuba, The Bahamas and Puerto Rico. Rainfall varies with elevation, size, and water currents (cool upwellings keep the ABC islands arid). Warm, moist tradewinds blow consistently from the east creating rainforest/semidesert divisions on mountainous islands. Occasional northwesterlies affect the northern islands in the winter. The region enjoys year-round sunshine, divided into ‘dry’ and ‘wet’ seasons, with the last six months of the year being wetter than the first half.

Hurricane Season is from June to November, but they occur more frequently in August and September and more common in the northern islands of the Caribbean.Hurricanes that sometimes batter the region usually strike northwards of Grenada and to the west of Barbados. The principal hurricane belt arcs to northwest of the island of Barbados in the Eastern Caribbean.

Water temperatures vary from 31C (88F) to 22C (72F) all around the year. The air temperature is warm, in the 20s and 30s C (70s, 80s, and 90s F) during the year, only varies from winter to summer about 25 degrees on the southern islands and about 1020 degrees difference can occur in the northern islands of the Caribbean. The northern islands, like the Bahamas, Cuba, Puerto Rico, and The Dominican Republic, may be influenced by continental masses during winter months, such as cold fronts.

Aruba: Latitude 12N

Puerto Rico: Latitude 18N

Cuba: at Latitude 22N

Greater Antilles

Lesser Antilles

All islands at some point were, and a few still are, colonies of European nations; a few are overseas or dependent territories:

The British West Indies were united by the United Kingdom into a West Indies Federation between 1958 and 1962. The independent countries formerly part of the B.W.I. still have a joint cricket team that competes in Test matches, One Day Internationals and Twenty20 Internationals. The West Indian cricket team includes the South American nation of Guyana, the only former British colony on the mainland of that continent.

In addition, these countries share the University of the West Indies as a regional entity. The university consists of three main campuses in Jamaica, Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago, a smaller campus in the Bahamas and Resident Tutors in other contributing territories such as Trinidad.

Islands in and near the Caribbean

Maritime boundaries between the Caribbean (island) nations

The Caribbean islands are remarkable for the diversity of their animals, fungi and plants, and have been classified as one of Conservation International’s biodiversity hotspots because of their exceptionally diverse terrestrial and marine ecosystems, ranging from montane cloud forests to cactus scrublands. The region also contains about 8% (by surface area) of the world’s coral reefs[22] along with extensive seagrass meadows,[23] both of which are frequently found in the shallow marine waters bordering island and continental coasts off the region.

For the fungi, there is a modern checklist based on nearly 90,000 records derived from specimens in reference collections, published accounts and field observations.[24] That checklist includes more than 11250 species of fungi recorded from the region. As its authors note, the work is far from exhaustive, and it is likely that the true total number of fungal species already known from the Caribbean is higher. The true total number of fungal species occurring in the Caribbean, including species not yet recorded, is likely far higher given the generally accepted estimate that only about 7% of all fungi worldwide have been discovered.[25] Though the amount of available information is still small, a first effort has been made to estimate the number of fungal species endemic to some Caribbean islands. For Cuba, 2200 species of fungi have been tentatively identified as possible endemics of the island;[26] for Puerto Rico, the number is 789 species;[27] for the Dominican Republic, the number is 699 species;[28] for Trinidad and Tobago, the number is 407 species.[29]

Many of the ecosystems of the Caribbean islands have been devastated by deforestation, pollution, and human encroachment. The arrival of the first humans is correlated with extinction of giant owls and dwarf ground sloths.[30] The hotspot contains dozens of highly threatened animals (ranging from birds, to mammals and reptiles), fungi and plants. Examples of threatened animals include the Puerto Rican amazon, two species of solenodon (giant shrews) in Cuba and the Hispaniola island, and the Cuban crocodile.

The region’s coral reefs, which contain about 70 species of hard corals and between 500700 species of reef-associated fishes[31] have undergone rapid decline in ecosystem integrity in recent years, and are considered particularly vulnerable to global warming and ocean acidification.[32] According to a UNEP report, the caribbean coral reefs might get extinct in next 20 years due to population explosion along the coast lines, overfishing, the pollution of coastal areas and global warming.[33]

Some Caribbean islands have terrain that Europeans found suitable for cultivation for agriculture. Tobacco was an important early crop during the colonial era, but was eventually overtaken by sugarcane production as the region’s staple crop. Sugar was produced from sugarcane for export to Europe. Cuba and Barbados were historically the largest producers of sugar. The tropical plantation system thus came to dominate Caribbean settlement. Other islands were found to have terrain unsuited for agriculture, for example Dominica, which remains heavily forested. The islands in the southern Lesser Antilles, Aruba, Bonaire and Curaao, are extremely arid, making them unsuitable for agriculture. However, they have salt pans that were exploited by the Dutch. Sea water was pumped into shallow ponds, producing coarse salt when the water evaporated.[34]

The natural environmental diversity of the Caribbean islands has led to recent growth in eco-tourism. This type of tourism is growing on islands lacking sandy beaches and dense human populations.[35]

The Martinique amazon, Amazona martinicana, is an extinct species of parrot in the Psittacidae family.

At the time of European contact, the dominant ethnic groups in the Caribbean included the Tano of the Greater Antilles and northern Lesser Antilles, the Island Caribs of the southern Lesser Antilles, and smaller distinct groups such as the Guanajatabey of western Cuba and the Ciguayo of western Hispaniola. The population of the Caribbean is estimated to have been around 750,000 immediately before European contact, although lower and higher figures are given. After contact, social disruption and epidemic diseases such as smallpox and measles (to which they had no natural immunity)[36] led to a decline in the Amerindian population.[37] From 1500 to 1800 the population rose as slaves arrived from West Africa[38] such as the Kongo, Igbo, Akan, Fon and Yoruba as well as military prisoners and captured slaves from Ireland, who were deported during the Cromwellian reign in England.[39] Immigrants from Britain, Italy, France, Spain, the Netherlands, Portugal and Denmark also arrived, although the mortality rate was high for both groups.[40]

The population is estimated to have reached 2.2 million by 1800.[41] Immigrants from India, China, and other countries arrived in the 19th century.[42] After the ending of the Atlantic slave trade, the population increased naturally.[43] The total regional population was estimated at 37.5 million by 2000.[44]

The majority of the Caribbean has populations of mainly Africans in the French Caribbean, Anglophone Caribbean and Dutch Caribbean, there are minorities of mixed-race and European peoples of Dutch, English, French, Italian and Portuguese ancestry. Asians, especially those of Chinese and Indian descent, form a significant minority in the region and also contribute to multiracial communities. All of their ancestors arrived in the 19th century as indentured laborers.

The Spanish-speaking Caribbean have primarily mixed race, African, or European majorities. Puerto Rico has a European majority with a mixture of European-African (mulatto), and a large West African minority. One third of Cuba’s (largest Caribbean island) population is of African descent, with a sizable Mulatto (mixed AfricanEuropean) population, and European majority. The Dominican Republic has the largest mixed race population, primarily descended from Europeans, West Africans, and Amerindians.

Larger islands such as Jamaica, have a very large African majority, in addition to a significant mixed race, Chinese, Europeans, Indian, Lebanese, Latin American, and Syrian populations. This is a result of years of importation of slaves and indentured labourers, and migration. Most multi-racial Jamaicans refer to themselves as either mixed race or Brown. The situation is similar for the Caricom states of Belize, Guyana, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago. Trinidad and Tobago has a multi-racial cosmopolitan society due to the arrival of the Africans, Indians, Chinese, Syrians, Lebanese, Native Amerindians and Europeans. This multi-racial mix has created sub-ethnicities that often straddle the boundaries of major ethnicities and include Chindian, Mulatto and Dougla.

Spanish, English, French, Dutch, Haitian Creole, and Papiamento are the predominant official languages of various countries in the region, though a handful of unique creole languages or dialects can also be found from one country to another.

Christianity is the predominant religion in the Caribbean (84.7%).[45] Other religious groups in the region are Hinduism, Islam, Buddhist, Rastafari, and Afro-American religions such as Santera and Vodou.

Caribbean societies are very different from other Western societies in terms of size, culture, and degree of mobility of their citizens.[46] The current economic and political problems the states face individually are common to all Caribbean states. Regional development has contributed to attempts to subdue current problems and avoid projected problems. From a political and economic perspective, regionalism serves to make Caribbean states active participants in current international affairs through collective coalitions. In 1973, the first political regionalism in the Caribbean Basin was created by advances of the English-speaking Caribbean nations through the institution known as the Caribbean Common Market and Community (CARICOM)[47] which is located in Guyana.

Certain scholars have argued both for and against generalizing the political structures of the Caribbean. On the one hand the Caribbean states are politically diverse, ranging from communist systems such as Cuba toward more capitalist Westminster-style parliamentary systems as in the Commonwealth Caribbean. Other scholars argue that these differences are superficial, and that they tend to undermine commonalities in the various Caribbean states. Contemporary Caribbean systems seem to reflect a “blending of traditional and modern patterns, yielding hybrid systems that exhibit significant structural variations and divergent constitutional traditions yet ultimately appear to function in similar ways.”[48] The political systems of the Caribbean states share similar practices.

The influence of regionalism in the Caribbean is often marginalized. Some scholars believe that regionalism cannot exist in the Caribbean because each small state is unique. On the other hand, scholars also suggest that there are commonalities amongst the Caribbean nations that suggest regionalism exists. “Proximity as well as historical ties among the Caribbean nations has led to cooperation as well as a desire for collective action.”[49] These attempts at regionalization reflect the nations’ desires to compete in the international economic system.[49]

Furthermore, a lack of interest from other major states promoted regionalism in the region. In recent years the Caribbean has suffered from a lack of U.S. interest. “With the end of the Cold War, U.S. security and economic interests have been focused on other areas. As a result there has been a significant reduction in U.S. aid and investment to the Caribbean.”[50] The lack of international support for these small, relatively poor states, helped regionalism prosper.

Following the Cold War another issue of importance in the Caribbean has been the reduced economic growth of some Caribbean States due to the United States and European Union’s allegations of special treatment toward the region by each other. [clarification needed]

The United States under President Bill Clinton launched a challenge in the World Trade Organization against the EU over Europe’s preferential program, known as the Lom Convention, which allowed banana exports from the former colonies of the Group of African, Caribbean and Pacific states (ACP) to enter Europe cheaply.[51] The World Trade Organization sided in the United States’ favour and the beneficial elements of the convention to African, Caribbean and Pacific states has been partially dismantled and replaced by the Cotonou Agreement.[52]

During the US/EU dispute, the United States imposed large tariffs on European Union goods (up to 100%) to pressure Europe to change the agreement with the Caribbean nations in favour of the Cotonou Agreement.[53]

Farmers in the Caribbean have complained of falling profits and rising costs as the Lom Convention weakens. Some farmers have faced increased pressure to turn towards the cultivation of illegal drugs, which has a higher profit margin and fills the sizable demand for these illegal drugs in North America and Europe.[54][55]

The European Union has also taken issue with US based taxation extended to US companies via the Caribbean countries.[when?] The United States has not been in favor of shutting off the practice yet, mainly due to the higher costs that would be passed on to US companies via taxation.[citation needed] Caribbean countries have largely countered the allegations by the OECD by signing more bilateral information sharing deals with OECD members, thus reducing the dangerous aspects of secrecy, and they have strengthened their legislation against money laundering and on conditions under which companies can be based in their nations.[citation needed] The Caribbean nations have also started to more closely cooperate in the Caribbean Financial Action Task Force and other instruments to add oversight of the offshore industry.

One of the most important associations that deal with regionalism amongst the nations of the Caribbean Basin has been the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). Proposed by CARICOM in 1992, the ACS soon won the support of the other countries of the region. It was founded in July 1994. The ACS maintains regionalism within the Caribbean on issues unique to the Caribbean Basin. Through coalition building, like the ACS and CARICOM, regionalism has become an undeniable part of the politics and economics of the Caribbean. The successes of region-building initiatives are still debated by scholars, yet regionalism remains prevalent throughout the Caribbean.

The President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez launched an economic group called the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (ALBA), which several eastern Caribbean islands joined. In 2012, the nation of Haiti, with 9 million people, became the largest CARICOM nation that sought to join the union.[56]

Here are some of the bodies that several islands share in collaboration:

Coordinates: 143132N 754906W / 14.52556N 75.81833W / 14.52556; -75.81833

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Caribbean – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Atheism: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News

 Atheism  Comments Off on Atheism: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News
Feb 072016
 

Future Transhumanist City — Image by Sam Howzit Transhumanism–the international movement that aims to use science and technology to improve the h…

Zoltan Istvan

US Presidential candidate of Transhumanist Party; Creator of Immortality Bus; Author of novel ‘The Transhumanist Wager’

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but I’m done with Richard Dawkins. As a teenager, the brilliant scientist was among the first to break through my bubble of petty fundamentalism and push me to think critically about the superstitions that envelope our cultures. I miss that guy and have no idea where he went.

Chris Sosa

Campaign Manager, Political Commentator

Without absorbing that the Constitution is the foundation of the United States, it is pointless to claim to be an American, except perhaps by coincidence of birth.

It seems it is not only the far right that seizes the opportunity of every calamity that befalls us and every terrorist attack to unleash their exclusionary and hateful rhetoric towards Islam and Muslims. Self-proclaimed enlightened liberals do too.

This article first appeared on the blog of Intentional Insights, a nonprofit organization that empowers people to refine and reach their goals by …

Gleb Tsipursky

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky runs a nonprofit that helps people reach their goals using science, Intentional Insights, authored Find Your Purpose Using Science, and is a tenure-track professor at Ohio State. Get in touch with him at gleb@intentionalinsights.org.

When did this happen? When did I lose faith in the fundamental beliefs of Christianity that I’d been raised to respect? What caused me to lean toward atheism? Did I miss something in confirmation class?

The idea and character of religious freedom has changed over the years, and unfortunately the change has not always been for the better. But celebrations like Religious Freedom Day can remind us of the full nature of religious freedom.

You pass through the long security line at the United States Capitol building in Washington, DC. While the line of tourists streams forward into the Exhibition Hall, you turn right, and head to the Senate appointment desk.

Gleb Tsipursky

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky runs a nonprofit that helps people reach their goals using science, Intentional Insights, authored Find Your Purpose Using Science, and is a tenure-track professor at Ohio State. Get in touch with him at gleb@intentionalinsights.org.

Whether you are a believer or secular, to gain a greater sense of purpose and meaning in life it helps to participate in civic engagement with others from your community.

Gleb Tsipursky

Dr. Gleb Tsipursky runs a nonprofit that helps people reach their goals using science, Intentional Insights, authored Find Your Purpose Using Science, and is a tenure-track professor at Ohio State. Get in touch with him at gleb@intentionalinsights.org.

Atheists are generally good people. They are certainly not the demons that some religious people have made them out to be. So why, then, do atheists tend to receive the cold shoulder from their religious fellow Americans?

My sacred ground is all around us. My only holy site is the one we are all standing on and, if we are not careful, it will be in ruins. It will be the graveyard of all humanity.

Recently, Massachusetts resident Lindsay Miller won the right to wear a colander in her State ID photo on account of her belief in Pastafarianism. There are two ways of interpreting this.

Isaac Fornarola

Journalist, satirist and teacher covering identity politics and LGBTQ issues. Based in New York City. Founder and editor of @FluxWeekly. Twitter: @isaacforn

It’s not enough for individual believers to worship God as they see fit — a right which I and most Americans are happy to acknowledge and protect. According to Scalia, the government must place its thumb on the scale and promote and advance religion over non-religion.

Ronald A. Lindsay

President & CEO, Center for Inquiry; Author of The Necessity of Secularism

I recently read excerpts from a website authored by a person who mocks those who are religious or spiritual. The writer repeated the familiar conde…

Elaine Ambrose

Author, syndicated blogger, featured humor speaker, publisher, and retreat organizer knows that laughter – with wine – is the best medicine.

The world? It’s something to deal with and find a place in and live your life in, possibly to make a better place. Nature? It’s something to study…

Brook Ziporyn

Professor of Chinese Philosophy, Religion and Comparative Thought, University of Chicago

Last year, I wrote that 2014 was a great year for the transhumanism movement. But 2015 was simply incredible — it might end up being called a breakout year.

Zoltan Istvan

US Presidential candidate of Transhumanist Party; Creator of Immortality Bus; Author of novel ‘The Transhumanist Wager’

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Atheism: Pictures, Videos, Breaking News

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Spratly Islands – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Islands  Comments Off on Spratly Islands – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jan 242016
 

The Spratly Islands (Chinese: ; pinyin: Nnsh Qndo, Malay: Kepulauan Spratly, Tagalog: Kapuluan ng Kalayaan,[8]Vietnamese: Qun o Trng Sa) are a disputed group of more than 750 reefs, islets, atolls, cays and islands in the South China Sea.[9] The archipelago lies off the coasts of the Philippines, Malaysia, and southern Vietnam. Named after the 19th-century British whaling captain Richard Spratly who sighted Spratly Island in 1843, the islands contain approximately 4km2 (1.5sq mi) of land area spread over a vast area of more than 425,000km2 (164,000sq mi).

The Spratlys are one of the major archipelagos in the South China Sea that comprise more than 30,000 islands and reefs, and which complicate governance and economics in this part of Southeast Asia due to their location in strategic shipping lanes. The islands have no indigenous inhabitants, but offer rich fishing grounds and may contain significant oil and natural gas reserves.[10][11] and as such are important to the claimants in their attempts to establish international boundaries.

The area northeast of the Spratlys is known to mariners as Dangerous Ground and is characterized by its many low islands, sunken reefs, and atolls with coral often rising abruptly from ocean depths greater than 1,000 metres (3,300ft) – all of which makes the area dangerous for navigation.

In addition to various territorial claims, some of the features have civilian settlements, but of the approximately 45 islands, reefs, cays and other features that are occupied all contain structures that are occupied by military forces (from China (PRC), Taiwan (ROC), Vietnam, the Philippines and Malaysia). Additionally, Brunei has claimed (but does not occupy) an exclusive economic zone in the southeastern part of the Spratlys, which includes the Louisa Reef. These claims and occupations have led to escalating tensions between these countries over the status and “ownership” of the islands.

The Spratly Islands contain almost no significant arable land, have no indigenous inhabitants, and very few of the islands have a permanent drinkable water supply. Natural resources include fish and guano, as well as the possible potential of oil and natural gas reserves.[12]Economic activity has included commercial fishing, shipping, guano mining, and more recently, tourism.

The Spratlys are located near several primary shipping lanes.

The Spratly Islands consist of reefs, banks and shoals that consist of biogenic carbonate. These accumulations of biogenic carbonate lie upon the higher crests of major submarine ridges that are uplifted fault blocks known by geologists as horsts. These horsts are part of a series of parallel and en echelon, half-grabens and rotated fault-blocks. The long axes of the horsts, rotated fault blocks and half-grabens form well-defined linear trends that lie parallel to magnetic anomalies exhibited by the oceanic crust of the adjacent South China Sea. The horsts, rotated fault blocks, and the rock forming the bottoms of associated grabens consist of stretched and subsided continental crust that is composed of Triassic, Jurassic, and Cretaceous strata that include calc-alkalic extrusive igneous rocks, intermediate to acid intrusive igneous rocks, sandstones, siltstones, dark-green claystones, and metamorphic rocks that include biotite-muscovite-feldspar-quartz migmatites and garnet-mica schists.[13][14][15]

The dismemberment and subsidence of continental crust into horsts, rotated fault blocks and half-grabens that underlie the Spratly Islands and surrounding sea bottom occurred in 2 distinct periods. They occurred as the result of the tectonic stretching of continental crust along underlying deeply rooted detachment faults. During the Late Cretaceous and Early Oligocene, the earliest period of tectonic stretching of continental crust and formation of horsts, half-grabens, and rotated fault-blocks occurred in association the rifting and later sea-floor spreading that created the South China Sea. During the Late Oligocene-Early Miocene additional stretching and block faulting of continental crust occurred within the Spratly Islands and adjacent Dangerous Ground. During and after this period of tectonic activity, corals and other marine life colonised the crests of the horsts and other ridges that lay in shallow water. The remains of these organisms accumulated over time as biogenic carbonates that comprise the current day reefs, shoals and cays of the Spratly Islands. Starting with their formation in Late Cretaceous, fine-grained organic-rich marine sediments accumulated within the numerous submarine half-grabens that underlie sea bottom within the Dangerous Ground region.[13][14][15]

The geological surveys show localised areas within the Spratly Islands region are favourable for the accumulation of economic oil and gas reserves. They include thick sequences of Cenozoic sediments east of the Spratly Islands. Southeast and west of them, there also exist thick accumulations of sediments that possibly might contain economic oil and gas reserves lie closer to the Spratly Islands.[10][16]

In some cays in the Spratly Islands, the sand and pebble sediments form the beaches and spits around the island. Under the influence of the dominant wind direction, which changes seasonally, these sediments move around the island to change the shape and size of the island. For example, Spratly Island is larger during the northeast monsoon, (about 700 300 meters), and smaller during the southwest monsoon (approximately 650 320 meters).[17]

Some islands may contain fresh groundwater fed by rain. Groundwater levels fluctuate during the day with the rhythm of the tides.[18]

Phosphates from bird faeces (guano) are mainly concentrated in the beach rocks by the way of exchange-endosmosis. The principal minerals bearing phosphate are podolite, lewistonite and dehonite.[19]

Coral reefs are the predominant structures of these islands; the Spratly group contains over 600 coral reefs in total.[9] In April 2015 the New York Times reported that China were using “scores of dredgers” to convert Fiery Cross Reef and several other reefs into military facilities (runways, etc.).[20][21]

Little vegetation grows on these islands, which are subject to intense monsoons. Larger islands are capable of supporting tropical forest, scrub forest, coastal scrub and grasses. It is difficult to determine which species have been introduced or cultivated by humans. Taiping Island (Itu Aba) was reportedly covered with shrubs, coconut, and mangroves in 1938; pineapple was also cultivated there when it was profitable. Other accounts mention papaya, banana, palm, and even white peach trees growing on one island. A few islands that have been developed as small tourist resorts had soil and trees brought in and planted where there was none.[9]

A total of 2,927 marine species have been recorded in the Spratly Sea, including 776 benthic species, 382 species of hard coral, 524 species of marine fish, 262 species of algae and sea grass, 35 species of seabirds, 20 species of marine mammals and sea turtles, etc.[22]

Terrestrial vegetation in the islands includes 103 species of vascular plants of magnolia branches (Magnoliophyta) of 39 families and 79 genera.[22]

The islands that do have vegetation provide important habitats for many seabirds and sea turtles.[9]

Both the green turtle (Chelonia mydas, endangered) and the hawksbill turtle (Eretmochelys imbricata, critically endangered) formerly occurred in numbers sufficient to support commercial exploitation. These species reportedly continue to nest even on islands inhabited by military personnel (such as Pratas) to some extent, though it is believed that their numbers have declined.[9]

Seabirds use the islands for resting, breeding, and wintering sites. Species found here include: streaked shearwater (Calonectris leucomelas), brown booby (Sula leucogaster), red-footed booby (S. sula), great crested tern (Sterna bergii), and white tern (Gygis alba). Little information is available regarding the current status of the islands’ seabird populations, though it is likely that birds may divert nesting sites to smaller, less disturbed islands. Bird eggs cover the majority of Song Tu, a small island in the eastern Danger Zone.[9]

This ecoregion is still largely a mystery. Scientists have focused their research on the marine environment, while the ecology of the terrestrial environment remains relatively unknown.[9]

Political instability, tourism and the increasing industrialisation of neighbouring countries has led to serious disruption of native flora and fauna, over-exploitation of natural resources, and environmental pollution. Disruption of nesting areas by human activity and/or by introduced animals, such as dogs, has reduced the number of turtles nesting on the islands. Sea turtles are also slaughtered for food on a significant scale. The sea turtle is a symbol of longevity in Chinese culture and at times the military personnel are given orders to protect the turtles.[9]

Heavy commercial fishing in the region incurs other problems. Although it has been outlawed, fishing methods continue to include the use of bottom trawlers fitted with chain rollers. In addition, during a recent[timeframe?] routine patrols[by whom?], more than 200kg of Potassium cyanide solution was confiscated from fishermen who had been using it for fish poisoning. These activities have a devastating impact on local marine organisms and coral reefs.[9]

Some interest has been taken[by whom?] in regard to conservation of these[which?] island ecosystems. J.W. McManus[who?] has explored the possibilities of designating portions of the Spratly Islands as a marine park. One region of the Spratly Archipelago, named Truong Sa, was proposed by Vietnam’s Ministry of Science, Technology, and the Environment (MOSTE) as a future protected area. The site, with an area of 160km2 (62sq mi), is currently managed by the Khanh Hoa Provincial People’s Committee of Vietnam.[9]

Military groups in the Spratlys have engaged in environmentally damaging activities such as shooting turtles and seabirds, raiding nests and fishing with explosives. The collection of rare medicinal plants, collecting of wood, and hunting for the wildlife trade are common threats to the biodiversity of the entire region, including these islands. Coral habitats are threatened by pollution, over-exploitation of fish and invertebrates, and the use of explosives and poisons as fishing techniques.[9]

Chinese texts of the 12th century record these islands being a part of Chinese territory and that they had earlier (206BC) been used as fishing grounds during the Han dynasty.[23][not in citation given] Further records show the islands as inhabited at various times in history by Chinese and Vietnamese fishermen, and during the second world war by troops from French Indochina and Japan.[24][25][26] However, there were no large settlements on these islands until 1956, when Filipino adventurer Toms Cloma, Sr., decided to “claim” a part of Spratly islands as his own, naming it the “Free Territory of Freedomland”.[27]

Evidence of man’s presence in the region extends back nearly 50,000 years at Tabon Caves on Palawan. Therefore, it is difficult to say when man first came upon this island group. Within historical times, several groups may have passed through or occupied the islands. Between 600BCE to 3BCE there was an East to West migration by members of the seafairing Sa Hunh culture. This may have led them through the Spratly Islands on their way to Vietnam. These migrants were the forebears of the Cham people that founded the Old Champa empire that ruled what was known for centuries as the Champa Sea.[28][29]

In the Song Dynasty work Zhu fan zhi by Zhao Rugua, the name “Thousand Li Stretch of Sands” (Qianli Changsha , ) and the “Ten-Thousand Li of Stone Pools/Beds” (Wanli Shitang , or Wanli Shichuang ) were given, interpreted by some to refer to Paracel and Spratly respectively.[30]Wanli Shitang is also recorded in the History of Yuan to have been explored by the Chinese during the Yuan dynasty and may have been considered by them to have been within their national boundaries.[31][32][33] They are also referenced, sometimes with different names, in the Ming dynasty.[34] When the Ming Dynasty collapsed, the Qing dynasty continued to include the territory in maps compiled in 1724,[35] 1755,[36] 1767,[37] 1810,[38] and 1817.[39]

A Vietnamese map from 1834 also combines the Spratly and Paracel Islands into one region known as “Vn L Trng Sa”[citation needed], a feature commonly incorporated into maps of the era () that is, a combination of half of the 2 aforementioned Chinese island names, “Wanli” and “Changsha”.[40] According to Hanoi, Vietnamese maps record Bi Ct Vng (Golden Sandbanks, referring to both the Spratly and Paracel Islands), which lay near the coast of the central Vietnam, as early as 1838.[41] In Ph Bin Tp Lc (The Frontier Chronicles) by scholar L Qu n, both Hong Sa and Trng Sa were defined as belonging to the Qung Ngi District. He described it as where sea products and shipwrecked cargoes were available to be collected. Vietnamese text written in the 17th century referenced government-sponsored economic activities during the L dynasty, 200years earlier. The Vietnamese government conducted several geographical surveys of the islands in the 18th century.[41]

Despite the fact that China and Vietnam both made a claim to these territories simultaneously, at the time, neither side was aware that its neighbour had already charted and made claims to the same stretch of islands.[41]

The islands were sporadically visited throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries by mariners from different European powers (including Richard Spratly, after whom the island group derives its most recognisable English name).[42] However, these nations showed little interest in the islands.

In the 1950s, a group of individuals claimed sovereignty over the islands in the name of Morton F. Meads, supposedly an American descendant of a British naval captain who gave his name to Meads Island (Itu Aba) in the 1870s. In an affidavit made in 1971, the group claimed to represent the Kingdom of Humanity/Republic of Morac-Songhrati-Meads,[43] which they asserted was in turn the successor entity for a supposed Kingdom of Humanity established between the two world wars on Meads Island, allegedly by the son of the British captain. This claim to this would-be micronation fell dormant after 1972, when several members of the group drowned in a typhoon.[44][45][46][47]

In 1883, German boats surveyed the Spratly and the Paracel Islands but eventually withdrew the survey, after receiving protests from the Guangdong government representing the Qing dynasty. Many European maps before the 20th century do not even mention this region.[48]

The following are political divisions for the Spratly Islands claimed by various area nations (in alphabetical order):

In the 19th century, Europeans found that Chinese fishermen from Hainan annually sojourned on the Spratly islands for part of the year, while in 1877 it was the British who launched the first modern legal claims to the Spratlys.[51][52]

When the Spratlys and Paracels were being surveyed by Germany in 1883, China issued protests against them. The 1887 Chinese-Vietnamese Boundary convention signed between France and China after the Sino-French War said that China was the owner of the Spratly and Paracel islands.[53][54] China sent naval forces on inspection tours in 1902 and 1907 and placed flags and markers on the islands. The Qing dynasty’s successor state, the Republic of China, claimed the Spratly and Paracel islands under the jurisdiction of Hainan.[54]

In 1933, France asserted its claims to the Spratly and Paracel Islands[55] on behalf of its then-colony Vietnam.[56] It occupied a number of the Spratly Islands, including Taiping Island, built weather stations on two of the islands, and administered them as part of French Indochina. This occupation was protested by the Republic of China (ROC) government because France admitted finding Chinese fishermen there when French warships visited nine of the islands.[57] In 1935, the ROC government also announced a sovereignty claim on the Spratly Islands. Japan occupied some of the islands in 1939 during World War II, and it used the islands as a submarine base for the occupation of Southeast Asia. During the Japanese occupation, these islands were called Shinnan Shoto (), literally the New Southern Islands, and together with the Paracel Islands (), they were put under the governance of the Japanese colonial authority in Taiwan.

Japan occupied the Paracels and the Spratlys from February 1939 to August 1945.[58] Japan administered the Spratlys via Taiwan’s jurisdiction and the Paracels via Hainan’s jurisdiction.[51] Parts of the Paracels and Spratlys were occupied by Republic of China after the 1945 surrender of Japan,[59] since the Allied powers assigned the Republic of China to receive Japanese surrenders in that area,[54] however no successor was named to the islands.[59]

In November 1946, the ROC sent naval ships to take control of the islands after the surrender of Japan.[58] It had chosen the largest and perhaps the only inhabitable island, Taiping Island, as its base, and it renamed the island under the name of the naval vessel as Taiping. Also following the defeat of Japan at the end of World War II, the ROC re-claimed the entirety of the Spratly Islands (including Taiping Island) after accepting the Japanese surrender of the islands based on the Cairo and Potsdam Declarations. The Republic of China then garrisoned Itu Aba (Taiping) island in 1946 and posted Chinese flags and markers on it along with Woody island in the Paracels. France tried, but failed, to make them leave Woody island.[51] The aim of the Republic of China was to block the French claims.[54][60] The Republic of China drew up the map showing the U-shaped claim on the entire South China Sea, showing the Spratly and Paracels in Chinese territory, in 1947.[54] Japan had renounced all claims to the islands in the 1951 San Francisco Peace Treaty together with the Paracels, Pratas and other islands captured from the Chinese, and upon these declarations, the government of the Republic of China reasserted its claim to the islands. The KMT force of the ROC government withdrew from most of the Spratly and Paracel Islands after they retreated to Taiwan from the opposing Communist Party of China due to their losses in the Chinese Civil War and the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in 1949.[56] The ROC quietly withdrew troops from Taiping Island in 1950, but then reinstated them in 1956 in response to Toms Cloma’s sudden claim to the island as part of Freedomland.[61] As of 2013[update], Taiping Island is administered by the ROC.[62]

After pulling out its garrison in 1950 when the Republic of China evacuated to Taiwan, when the Filipino Tomas Cloma uprooted an ROC flag on Itu Aba laid claim to the Spratlys and, the Republic of China (now Taiwan) again regarrisoned Itu Aba on 1956.[63] In 1946, the Americans reminded the Philippines at its independence that the Spratlys was not Philippine territory, both to not anger Chiang Kai-shek in China and because the Spratlys were not part of the Philippines per the 1898 treaty Spain signed with America.[51] The Philippines then claimed the Spratlys in 1971 under President Marcos, after Taiwanese troops attacked and shot at a Philippine fishing boat on Itu Aba.[64]

Taiwan’s garrison from 19461950 and 1956-now on Itu Aba represents an “effective occupation” of the Spratlys.[64][65] China established a coastal defence system against Japanese pirates or smugglers.[66]

North Vietnam recognised China’s claims on the Paracels and Spratlys during the Vietnam War as it was being supported by China. Only after winning the war and conquering South Vietnam did North Vietnam retract its recognition and admitted it recognised them as part of China to receive aid from China in fighting the Americans.[67]

In 1988, the Vietnamese and Chinese navies engaged in a skirmish in the area of Johnson South Reef (also called Yongshu reef in China and Mabini reef in Philippines).[68]

Under President Lee Teng-hui, Taiwan stated that “legally, historically, geographically, or in reality”, all of the South China Sea and Spratly islands were Taiwan’s territory and under Taiwanese sovereignty, and denounced actions undertaken there by Malaysia and the Philippines, in a statement on 13 July 1999 released by the foreign ministry of Taiwan.[69] Taiwan and China’s claims “mirror” each other; during international talks involving the Spratly islands, China and Taiwan have cooperated with each other since both have the same claims.[64][70]

It was unclear whether France continued its claim to the islands after WWII, since none of the islands, other than Taiping Island, was habitable. The South Vietnamese government took over the Trng Sa administration after the defeat of the French at the end of the First Indochina War. In 1958, the PRC issued a declaration defining its territorial waters that encompassed the Spratly Islands. North Vietnam’s prime minister, Phm Vn ng, sent a formal note to Zhou Enlai, stating that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam (DRV) respected the Chinese decision regarding the 12nmi (22km; 14mi) limit of territorial waters.[71] While accepting the 12-nmi principal with respect to territorial waters, the letter did not actually address the issue of defining actual territorial boundaries.

In 1999, a Philippine navy ship (Number 57 – BRP Sierra Madre) was purposely run aground near Second Thomas Shoal to enable establishment of an outpost. As of 2014[update] it had not been removed, and Filipino troops have been stationed aboard since the grounding.[72][73]

Taiwan and China are largely strategically aligned on the Spratly islands issue, since they both claim exactly the same area, so Taiwan’s control of Itu Aba (Taiping) island is viewed as an extension of China’s claim.[53] Taiwan and China both claim the entire island chain, while all the other claimaints only claim portions of them. China has proposed co-operation with Taiwan against all the other countries claiming the islands. Taiwanese lawmakers have demanded that Taiwan fortify Itu Aba (Taiping) island with weapons to defend against the Vietnamese, and both China and Taiwanese NGOs have pressured Taiwan to expand Taiwan’s military capabilities on the island, which played a role in Taiwan expanding the island’s runway in 2012.[74] China has urged Taiwan to co-operate and offered Taiwan a share in oil and gas resources while shutting out all the other rival claimaints. Taiwanese lawmakers have complained about repeated Vietnamese aggression and trespassing on Taiwan’s Itu Aba (Taiping), and Taiwan has started viewing Vietnam as an enemy over the Spratly Islands, not China.[75] Taiwan’s state run oil company CPC Corp’s board director Chiu Yi has called Vietnam as the “greatest threat” to Taiwan.[74] Taiwan’s airstrip on Taiping has irritated Vietnam.[76] China views Taiwan’s expansion of its military and airstrip on Taiping as benefiting China’s position against the other rival claimaints from southeast Asian countries.[65] China’s claims to the Spratlys benefit from legal weight because of Taiwan’s presence on Itu Aba, while America on the other hand has regularly ignored Taiwan’s claims in the South China Sea and does not include Taiwan in any talks on dispute resolution for the area.[77]

Taiwan performed live fire military exercises on Taiping island in September 2012; reports said that Vietnam was explicitly named by the Taiwanese military as the “imaginary enemy” in the drill. Vietnam protested against the exercises as violation of its territory and “voiced anger”, demanding that Taiwan stop the drill. Among the inspectors of the live fire drill were Taiwanese national legislators, adding to the tensions.[78]

On 23 May 2011, the President of the Philippines, Benigno Aquino III, warned visiting Chinese Defence Minister Liang Guanglie of a possible arms race in the region if tensions worsened over disputes in the South China Sea. Aquino said he told Liang in their meeting that this could happen if there were more encounters in the disputed and potentially oil-rich Spratly Islands.[79]

In May 2011, Chinese patrol boats attacked 2 Vietnamese oil exploration ships near the Spratly Islands.[80] Also in May 2011, Chinese naval vessels opened fire on Vietnamese fishing vessels operating off East London Reef (Da Dong). The 3 Chinese military vessels were numbered 989, 27 and 28, and they showed up with a small group of Chinese fishing vessels. Another Vietnamese fishing vessel was fired on near Fiery Cross Reef (Chu Thap). The Chief Commander of Border Guards in Phu Yen Province, Vietnam reported that a total of 4 Vietnamese vessels were fired upon by Chinese naval vessels.[verification needed] These incidents involving Chinese forces sparked mass protests in Vietnam, especially in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City,[81] and in various Vietnamese communities in the West (namely in the US state of California and in Paris) over attacks on Vietnamese citizens and the intrusion into what Vietnam claimed was part of its territory.[82]

In June 2011, the Philippines began officially referring to the South China Sea as the “West Philippine Sea” and the Reed Bank as “Recto Bank”.[83][84]

In July 2012, the National Assembly of Vietnam passed a law demarcating Vietnamese sea borders to include the Spratly and Paracel Islands.[85][86]

In 2010, it was reported that the former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad believed Malaysia could profit from China’s economic growth through co-operation with China,[87] and said that China “was not a threat to anyone and was not worried about aggression from China”, as well accusing the United States of provoking China and trying to turn China’s neighbours against China.[88] Malaysia displayed no concern over China conducting a military exercise at James Shoal in March 2013.[89] Malaysia also suggested that it might work with China with Malaysian Defence Minister Hishamuddin Hussein saying that Malaysia had no problem with China patrolling the South China Sea, and telling ASEAN, America, and Japan that “Just because you have enemies, doesn’t mean your enemies are my enemies”.[90] However, until present Malaysia still maintained a balance relations with the countries involved in this dispute.[91] But since China has start enroaching its territorial waters,[92] Malaysia has become active in condemning China.[93][94]

The editorial of the Taiwanese news website “Want China Times” accused America for being behind the May 2014 flareup in the South China Sea, saying that Vietnam rammed a Chinese vessel on 2 May over an oil rig drilling platform and the Philippines detained 11 Chinese fishermens occurred because of Obama’s visit to the region and that they were incited by America “behind the scenes”. “Want China Times” claimed America ordered Vietnam on 7 May to complain about the drilling platform, and noted that a joint military exercise was happening at this time between the Philippines and America, and also noted that the American “New York Times” newspaper supported Vietnam.[95]

In a series of news stories on 16 April 2015, it was revealed, through photos taken by Airbus Group, that China had been building an airstrip on Fiery Cross Reef, one of the southern islands. The 10,000-foot-long (3,048m) runway covers a significant portion of the island, and is viewed as a possible strategic threat to other countries with claims to the islands, such as Vietnam and the Philippines.

Various factions of the Muslim Moro people are waging a war for independence against the Philippines. The Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) of Nur Misuari declared its support for China against the Philippines in the South China Sea dispute, calling both China and the Moro people as victims of Philippine colonialism, and noting China’s history of friendly relations with the Sultanate of Sulu in the region.[96] The MNLF also denounced America’s assistance to the Philippines in their colonization of the Moro people in addition to denouncing the Philippines claims to the islands disputed with China, and denouncing America for siding with the Philippines in the dispute, noting that in 1988 China “punished” Vietnam for attempting to set up a military presence on the disputed islands, and noting that the Moros and China maintained peaceful relations, while on the other hand the Moros had to resist other colonial powers, having to fight the Spanish, fight the Americans, and fight the Japanese, in addition to fighting the Philippines.[97]

While the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) signed a peace deal with the Philippines, the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) did not and renewed armed resistance against Philippine rule in Zamboanga; on September 15, 2013, in response to the MNLF’s fighting against the Philippine Army, the New York Times published an article crediting every Philippine government for having struggled to bring peace to the Muslims of Mindanao since 1946 when it became independent and claimed that it is the belief of the Muslims that they are being subjected to oppression and exploitation by the Christians that is the problem which is causing the conflict and the newspaper also claimed that the conflict stretched back to 1899 when Moro insurrectionists were quelled by the American army.[98] On January 26, 2014 the New York Times published another article claiming that “every Philippine government” has “struggled to bring peace to Mindanao” and claimed that reports of exploitation and oppression by the Filipino Christians originated from what Muslims “say” and the newspaper also praised President Benigno S. Aquino III’s “landmark peace deal” with the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF).[99] The New York Times labelled Moro fighters as “Muslim-led groups” and as “violent”.[100] The New York Times blamed “Islamic extremist groups” for carrying out attacks in the Philippines.[101] The New York Times editorial board endorsed Philippine President Benigno Aquino’s planned peace deal and the passage of “Bangsamoro Basic Law”, blaming the “Muslim insurgency” for causing trouble to the “largely Catholic country”.[102] The New York Times claimed that “Islamic militants” were fighting the Philippine military.[103]

The New York Times claimed the peace deal between the Philippines and Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) “seeks to bring prosperity to the restive south and weaken the appeal of the extremist groups”, and linked the winding down of an American military counterterrorism operation to increased American military cooperation with the Philippines against China.[104] The New York Times hailed Mr Aquino’s “peace agreement” as an “accomplishment” as it reported on Aquino raising the “alarm” on China in the South China Sea.[105] The New York Times editorial board published an article siding with the Philippines against China in the South China Sea dispute and supporting the Philippines actions against China.[106][107] The New York Times editorial board endorsed aggressive American military action against China in the South China Sea.[108][109]

American and Filipino forces launched a joint operation against the Moros in the Mamasapano clash, in which Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) fighters manage to kill 44 Filipino police commandos and caused massive blow back for the botched raid, putting a decisive halt to American plans for its Asia military “pivot” in the Philippines.[110] Moros have reported that 4 caucasian-looking (American) soldiers were killed in the Mamasapano clash along with the 44 Filipinos.[111]

The Moro National Liberation Front published an open letter to the United States President Barack Hussein Obama and demanded to know why America is supporting Philippine colonialism against the Moro Muslim people and the Filipino “war of genocide” and atrocities against Moros, reminding Obama that the Moro people have resisted and fought against the atrocities of Filipino, Japanese, American, and Spanish invaders, and reminding Obama of past war crimes also committed by American troops against Moro women and children like the Moro Crater massacre at Bud Dajo.[112]

The Moro National Liberation Front accused the Philippines, Japan, America, and Spain of conspiring against the Moros and recounted their invasions, imperialism, and atrocities against the Moros and demanded that they end the current colonization against the Moro people, the MNLF recounted that the Spanish were greedy colonizers, that the Americans committed massacres of Moro children and women at Mount Bagsak and Bud Dajo, and that the Japanese “exhibited tyranny, cruelty and inhumanity at its lowest level”, and “had to suffer their worst defeat and highest death mortality at the hands of the Bangsamoro freedom fighters”, demanding an apology from Japan for crimes committed against the Moros.[113]

The Moro National Liberation Front questioned the humanity and morality of the Philippines, Japan, America, and Spain, noting that they have done nothing to end the colonialism and war inflicted upon the Moros and reminded them that they have resisted and fought against Japanese, American, and Spanish atrocities and war crimes while the Filipinos bent over, capitulated and submitted to the invaders, the MNLF brought up the massacre committed by American troops at Bud Dajo against Moro women and children and boasted that compared to the Japanese casualty rate in the Visayas and Luzon, the amount of Japanese imperialists slaughtered by the Moro freedom fighters was greater by the thousands and that there was no capitulation like the “Fall of Bataan” to the Japanese by the Moros while the Luzon Filipinos submitted.[114] The MNLF said that the Japanese, American, and Spanish cruelty has been continued by Filipino rule.[115]

Japanese scholar Taoka Shunji criticized Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for trying to falsely portray China as a threat to Japan and that it was invading its neighbors like the Philippines, and pointed out that the Spratly islands were not part of the Philippines when the US acquired the Philippines from Spain in the Treaty of Paris in 1898, and the Japanese ruled Taiwan itself had annexed the Spratly islands in 1938 and the US ruled Philippines did not challenge the move and never asserted that it was their territory, he also pointed out that other countries did not need to do full land reclamation since they already control islands and that the reason China engaged in extensive land reclamation is because they needed it to build airfields since China only has control over reefs.[116]

Champa historically had a large presence in the South China Sea. The Vietnamese broke Champa’s power in an invasion of Champa in 1471, and then finally conquered the last remnants of the Cham people in an invasion in 1832. A Cham named Katip Suma who received Islamic education in Kelantan declared a Jihad against the Vietnamese, and fighting continued until the Vietnamese crushed the remnants of the resistance in 1835. The Cham organisation Front de Libration du Champa was part of the United Front for the Liberation of Oppressed Races, which waged war against the Vietnamese for independence in the Vietnam War along with the Montagnard and Khmer Krom minorities. The last remaining FULRO insurgents surrendered to the United Nations in 1992. Vietnam has settled over a million ethnic Vietnamese on Montagnard lands in the Central Highlands. The Montagnard staged a massive protest against the Vietnamese in 2001, which led to the Vietnamese to forcefully crush the uprising and seal the entire area off to foreigners.

The Vietnamese government fears that evidence of Champa’s influence over the disputed area in the South China Sea would bring attention to human rights violations and killings of ethnic minorities in Vietnam such as in the 2001 and 2004 uprisings, and lead to the issue of Cham autonomy being brought into the dispute, since the Vietnamese conquered the Hindu and Muslim Cham people in a war in 1832, and the Vietnamese continue to destroy evidence of Cham culture and artefacts left behind, plundering or building on top of Cham temples, building farms over them, banning Cham religious practices, and omitting references to the destroyed Cham capital of Song Luy in the 1832 invasion in history books and tourist guides. The situation of Cham compared to ethnic Vietnamese is substandard, lacking water and electricity and living in houses made out of mud.[117]

The Cham in Vietnam are only recognised as a minority, and not as an indigenous people by the Vietnamese government despite being indigenous to the region. Both Hindu and Muslim Chams have experienced religious and ethnic persecution and restrictions on their faith under the current Vietnamese government, with the Vietnamese state confisticating Cham property and forbidding Cham from observing their religious beliefs. Hindu temples were turned into tourist sites against the wishes of the Cham Hindus. In 2010 and 2013 several incidents occurred in Thnh Tn and Phc Nhn villages where Cham were murdered by Vietnamese. In 2012, Vietnamese police in Chau Giang village stormed into a Cham Mosque, stole the electric generator, and also raped Cham girls.[118] Cham Muslims in the Mekong Delta have also been economically marginalised and pushed into poverty by Vietnamese policies, with ethnic Vietnamese Kinh settling on majority Cham land with state support, and religious practices of minorities have been targeted for elimination by the Vietnamese government.[119]

In 2005, a cellular phone base station was erected by the Philippines’ Smart Communications on Pag-asa Island.[122]

On 18 May 2011, China Mobile announced that its mobile phone coverage has expanded to the Spratly Islands. The extended coverage would allow soldiers stationed on the islands, fishermen, and merchant vessels within the area to use mobile services, and can also provide assistance during storms and sea rescues. The service network deployment over the islands took nearly one year.[123]

Links to related articles

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Spratly Islands – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Days Inn Le Roy/Bloomington Southeast | Le Roy, IL 61752 Hotel

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Jan 242016
 

Enjoy comfort and convenience at our Days Inn Le Roy/Bloomington Southeast hotel, located off Interstate 74, midway between Bloomington and Champaign. Our non-smoking Le Roy, IL, hotel is also just 15 miles from Bloomington-Normal Airport (BMI) and offers easy access to Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University and companies like Pioneer Hi-Bred and Vestas Wind Energy, as well as golf and recreational activities, making us your ideal choice for hotels and motels in the Bloomington area.

Wake up each morning to a free Daybreak continental breakfast with hot waffles, surf the web or check your email using our free Wi-Fi, and take advantage of our ample free parking, including large-vehicle parking. Our in-room amenities include a microwave, mini-refrigerator and flat-screen HDTV, and kids 17 and under stay free with an adult at our pet-friendly hotel.

LOCAL ATTRACTIONS

Those seeking to commune with nature can fish, go horseback riding and rent paddle boats at Moraine View State Park, just seven miles from our Le Roy, IL, hotel or take the drive to Clinton Lake State Recreation Area, just 20 miles away. Golfers can hit the links at nearby Le Roy Country Club, and those in the area visiting students will find Illinois State University and Illinois Wesleyan University just 20 miles from our Le Roy hotel, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign just 35 miles away.

DINING OPTIONS

You will find several restaurants close by our hotel in Le Roy. Jacks Caf serves up hearty family-style fare, and Woodys Family Restaurant features an all-you-can-eat-buffet. Teddy Buckmens offers zesty southern fare, while China King is the place to go if you are craving Chinese food. For those on the run, familiar, tasty cheap eats including McDonalds, Arbys and Subway are all within a half-mile of our Le Roy, Illinois hotel.

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Days Inn Le Roy/Bloomington Southeast | Le Roy, IL 61752 Hotel

International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology: Libertarianism

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Oct 262015
 

This essay first appeared in the International Encyclopedia of Economic Sociology, edited by Jens Beckert and Milan Zafirovski (London and New York: Routledge, 2006, pp. 403-407). It was posted as a Notablog entry on 5 January 2006. Comments welcome (post here).

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“LIBERTARIANISM”

By Chris Matthew Sciabarra

Libertarianism is the political ideology ofvoluntarism, a commitment to voluntary action in a social context, where no individual or group of individuals can initiate the use of force against others. It is not a monolithic ideological paradigm; rather, it signifies a variety of approaches that celebrate therule of law and the free exchange of goods, services, and ideas a laissez-faire attitude towards what philosopher Robert Nozick (1974) once called capitalist acts between consenting adults.

Modern libertarians draw inspiration from writings attributed to the Chinese sage Lao Tzu, as well as the works of Aristotle, among the ancients; [seventeenth-,] eighteenth- and nineteenth-century classicalliberalism (e.g. John Locke, the Scottish Enlightenment, the American founders, Carl Menger, andHerbert Spencer); individualist anarchism (e.g. Benjamin Tucker and Lysander Spooner); Old Right opponents of Franklin D. Roosevelts New Deal (e.g. Albert Jay Nock, John T. Flynn, Isabel Paterson andH. L. Mencken); modern Austrian economics (e.g. Ludwig von Mises, F. A. Hayek and Murray Rothbard), as well as the economics of the Chicago school(Milton Friedman) and Virginia school (James Buchanan); and the Objectivist philosopherAyn Rand.

Classical liberalism is the most immediatepredecessor of contemporary libertarianism. Locke and the American founders had an impact on those libertarians, such as Rothbard and Rand, who stress individual rights, while the Scottish Enlightenment and Spencer had a major impact on thinkerssuch as Hayek, who stress the evolutionary wisdom of customs and traditions in contradistinctionto the constructivist rationalism of state planners.

Among evolutionists, Spencer in particularmade important contributions to what would become known as general systems theory; some consider him to be the founder of modern sociology. Indeed, he authored Principles of Sociology and TheStudy of Sociology, which was the textbook used for the first sociology course offered in the United States, at Yale University. A contemporary of Charles Darwin, he focused on social evolution the development of societies and organizational structuresfrom simple to compound forms. In such works as The Man Versus the State, he presented a conception of society as a spontaneous, integrated growth and not amanufacture, an organically evolving context for the development of heterogeneity and differentiation among the individuals who compose it. Just as Spencer emphasized organic social evolution, so too did he focus on the organic evolution of the state with its mutually reinforcing reliance onbureaucracy and militarism, and how it might be overcome.

The Austrian-born Carl Menger, a founder along with W. S. Jevons and Lon Walras of the marginalist revolution in economics, held a similar view of social life as a dynamic, spontaneous, evolving process. Influenced by Aristotle in his methodological individualism, Menger wasfervently opposed to the historical relativism of the German historicists of the Methodenstreit. Menger focused on the purposeful actions of individuals in generating unintended sociologicalconsequences a host of institutions, such as language, religion, law, the state, markets, competition and money.

In the twentieth century, the Nobel laureate Austrian economist F. A. Hayek carried on Mengers evolutionist discussion and praised it for providing outstanding guidelines for general sociology. For Hayek (1991), Menger was among the Darwinians before Darwin those evolutionists,such as the conservative Edmund Burke and the liberals of the Scottish Enlightenment, who stressed the evolution of institutions as the product of unintended consequences, rather than deliberate design. Hayek drew a direct parallel between hisown concept of spontaneous order and Adam Smiths notion of the invisible hand. Hayek argued that, over time, there is a competition among various emergent traditions, each of which embodies rivalrules of action and perception. Through a process of natural selection, those rules and institutions that are more durable than others will tend to flourish, resulting in a relative increase in population and wealth. Though he didnt argue for a theory of inevitable progress, as Spencer had, heclearly assumed that liberalism was the social system most conducive to such flourishing.

Like Karl Marx, Hayek criticized utopiansfor their desire to construct social institutions as if from an Archimedean standpoint, external to history and culture. But Hayek turned this analysis on Marx; he developed a full-fledged critique of socialism and central planning as utopian requiring an unattainable synoptic knowledge of all the articulated and tacit dimensions of social life. Hayek argued that market prices were indispensable to rational entrepreneurial calculation. He also focused on the sociological and psychological ramifications of the movement away from markets. He maintains in The Road to Serfdom (1944), for example, that there is a structural connection between social psychology and politics: to the extent that the stateimposes collectivist arrangements on individuals, it is destructive of individualchoice, morals and responsibility, and this destruction of individualism reinforces the spread of statism. And the more the state comes to dominate social life, says Hayek, the more state power will be the only power worth having which is why theworst get on top.

The Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises was similarly opposed to statism and collectivism, and presented, in [1922], an influential book entitled Socialism, which was an economic and sociological analysis of all forms of state intervention from fascism to communism. Mises used the tools of praxeology, the science of humanaction, to demonstrate the calculational problems that all non-market systems face, due to their elimination of private property, entrepreneurialism and the price system. More important, perhaps, is Misess development of a non-Marxist, libertarian theoryof class. Like Charles Dunoyer, Charles Comte, James Mill and other classical liberals, Mises argued that traders on the market share a mutuality of benefit that is destroyed by political intervention. For Mises, the long-term interests of marketparticipants are not in fundamental conflict. It is only with government action that such conflict becomes possible, Mises claims,because it is only government that can create a caste system based on the bestowal of special privileges.

Mises located the central caste conflictin the financial sector of the economy. In such books as The Theory of Money and Credit, he contends that government control over money and banking led to the cycle of boom and bust. A systematicincrease in the money supply creates differentialeffects over time, redistributing wealth to those social groups, especially banks and debtor industries, which are the first beneficiaries of the inflation.

Mises student, Murray Rothbard, developed this theory of caste conflict into a full-fledged libertarian class analysis. Rothbard views central banking as a cartelizing device that has created a powerful structure of class privilege in modern political economy. These privileges growexponentially as government restricts market competition and free entry, thereby creating monopoly through various coercive means (e.g. compulsory cartelization, price controls, output quotas, licensing, tariffs, immigration restrictions, labourlaws, conscription, patents, franchises, etc.).

Rothbards view of the relationship between big business and government in the rise of American statism draws additionally from the work of New Left historical revisionists, such as Gabriel Kolko andJames Weinstein. These historians held that big business was at the forefront of the movement towards government regulation of the market. That movement, according to Rothbard, had both a domestic and foreigncomponent, since it often entailed both domestic regulation and foreign imperialism to secure global markets. The creation of a welfare-warfare state leads necessarily to economic inefficiencies and deep distortions in the structure of production. Like Marx, Rothbard views these internal contradictions as potentially fatal to the economic system; unlike Marx, Rothbard blames these contradictions not on the free market, but on the growth of statism.

Drawing inspiration from Franz Oppenheimers and Albert Jay Nocks distinction between state power and social power, or state and market, and from John C. Calhouns class theory, as presented in Disquisition on Government, Rothbard sawsociety fragmenting, ultimately, into two opposing classes: taxpayers and tax-consumers. In his book Power and Market, Rothbard identifies bureaucrats, politicians and the net beneficiaries of government privilege as among the tax-consumers. Unlike his Austrian predecessors Hayek andMises, however, Rothbard argues that it is only with the elimination of the state that a fully just and productive society can emerge. His anarcho-capitalist ideal society would end the states monopoly on the coercive use of force, as well as taxation and conscription, and allow for the emergence of contractual agencies for the protectionof fully delineated private property rights (thereby resolving the problems of externalities and public goods) and the adjudication of disputes. His scenario had a major impact on Nozick, whose Anarchy,State, and Utopia was written in response to the Rothbardian anarchist challenge.

Ayn Rand, the Russian-born novelist and philosopher, author of best-selling novels TheFountainhead and Atlas Shrugged, was one of those who eschewed the libertarian label, partially because of its association with anarchism. An epistemological realist, ethical egoist and advocate of laissez-faire capitalism, Rand maintained that libertarians had focused too much attention on politics to the exclusion of the philosophical and cultural factors upon which it depended. But even though she saw politics as hierarchically dependent on these factors, she often stressed the reciprocal relationships among disparate elements, from politicsand pedagogy to sex, economics and psychology. She sought to transcend the dualities of mind and body, reason and emotion, theory and practice, fact and value, morality and prudence, and theconventional philosophic dichotomies of materialism and idealism, rationalism and empiricism, subjectivism and classical objectivism (which she called intrinsicism). Yet, despite her protestations, Rand can be placed in the libertarian tradition, given her adherence to its voluntarist political credo.

From the perspective of social theory, Rand proposed a multi-level sociological analysis of human relations under statism. Echoing the Austrian critique of state intervention in her analysis of politics and economics, Rand extended her critique toencompass epistemology, psychology, ethics and culture. She argued that statism both nourished and depended upon an irrational altruist and collectivist ethos that demanded the sacrifice of the individual to the group. It required and perpetuated a psychology of dependence and a groupmentality that was destructive of individual authenticity, integrity, honesty and responsibility. Rand also focused on the cultural preconditions and effects of statism since coercive social relations required fundamental alterations in the nature of language, education, pedagogy, aesthetics and ideology. Just as relations of power operatethrough ethical, psychological, cultural, political and economic dimensions, so too, for Rand, the struggle for freedom and individualism depends upon a certain constellation of moral, psychological, cultural and structural factors that support it. Randadvocated capitalism, the unknown ideal, as the only system capable of generating just social conditions, conducive to the individuals survival and flourishing.

See also: inflation; laissez faire; monopolyand oligopoly.

References and further reading

Calhoun, John C. ([1853]1953) A Disquisition onGovernment and Selections from the Discourse on the Constitution and Government of the United States, Indianapolis, IN: Bobbs-Merrill.

Hayek, F. A. (1944) The Road to Serfdom, Chicago:University of Chicago Press.

(1991) The Collected Works of F. A. Hayek,Volume 3: The Trend of Economic Thinking: Essays on Political Economists and Economic History, Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

Mises, Ludwig von ([1912]1981) The Theory ofMoney and Credit, Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Classics.

(1936) Socialism: An Economic and SociologicalAnalysis, London: Jonathan Cape.

Nozick, Robert (1974) Anarchy, State, and Utopia,New York: Basic Books.

Rand, Ayn (1967) Capitalism: The UnknownIdeal, New York: New American Library.

Rothbard, Murray ([1970]1977) Power and Market:Government and the Economy, Kansas City, MO: Sheed Andrews and McMeel.

(1978) For a New Liberty: The LibertarianManifesto, revised edition, New York: Collier Books.

Sciabarra, Chris Matthew (1995) Ayn Rand: TheRussian Radical, University Park, PA: PennsylvaniaState University Press.

(1995) Marx, Hayek, and Utopia, Albany,NY: State University of New York Press.

(2000) Total Freedom: Toward a DialecticalLibertarianism, University Park, PA: PennsylvaniaState University Press.

Spencer, Herbert (1873) The Study of Sociology,New York: D. Appleton.

(188298) The Principles of Sociology, threevolumes, London: Williams and Norgate.

([1940]1981) The Man Versus the State, withSix Essays on Government, Society, and Freedom, Indianapolis, IN: Liberty Classics.

CHRIS MATTHEW SCIABARRA

______ Note: [bracketed words] above are corrections to online version

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Beaches and Islands – Krabi

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Oct 052015
 

>> Back To Visitor Guide Main Page

:: Beaches & Islands in the Sun

Visitors to Krabi beaches and islands are of many different backgrounds. Some are on their honeymoon and are overseas for the first time, others are adventurists who barely unpack their bags before leaving on their next adventure. We have visitors who have traveled the world over who have enjoyed travels on continents around the world, hot and cool climates. When you read about the islands and beaches of Krabi you will see that there is truly something to enjoy and love for everyone.

Ao Nang Beach

Krabi is hardly 18 km away from the bay and the bay has some 83 islands scattered around. Each one of these islands are a short distance away from one another. And during low tides, you can even wade your way to the neighboring island. In this sort of a natural set up, there is little shortage for sandy beaches and crystal clear water. But among them all, Ao Nang beach is supposed to be the best.

Ao Nang has the cleanest of environments in the area. This is the most developed beach in the area. And the beach is accessible by road from Krabi. Less crowded and more quiet, it gives a more peaceful atmosphere to the tourist than the Krabi. The majestic looking limestone cliffs rising straight from calm, clear waters of the sea and the long beach line that runs the whole length of the resort are great attractions claimed exclusively by Ao Nang. The shallow coast line is very safe for children to play with the waves. The deserted beach of Pai Plong is easily accessible on foot when the tide is low. There are 83 islands of various sizes in the bay off this beach. And the facilities for boat trips are well organized in the beach. Tourism sector takes care of the food requirements at the sea front itself. With widest range of accommodation facilities , transports either by boat or road, excellent facilities for tasty foods, tourists often make this area a base camp to make their foray further deep to discover the caves or for trekking and rock climbing.

Hat Noppharat Thara

This beach is on the western side of the Krabi town. The park covers an extensive area of the main land and 80 islands including Phi Phi Islands.

20 km west of Krabi and 3 miles long, this beach is lined with a majestic Casuarina forest. The beach is a part of Koh Phi Phi National Marine Park. Just as in the case of Ao Nang , during low tides, it is possible to reach other islands in the bay on foot.

Railay or Railey Beach & ( Hat Tham Beaches )

Two of the most popular beaches in Ao Phra Nang peninsula are Rai Leh and Hat Tham. This is just to the south of Ao Nang. Phra Nang area is a hilly terrain with craggy limestone cliffs. There are no proper roads in this area. The beaches are accessible by long tail boats. This scenario gives a secluded feel to the place.

In Rai Leh, excellent accommodation is available which gives an added attraction to this beach. There are plenty of rock formations in the area. And caves with stalactites and stalagmites are spectcular attraction in Rai Leh. As is quite typical of this area, the limestone geology has forged many interesting rock formations.

Besides, these beaches provide opportunities for rock climbing enthusiasts. A spectacular view of the surrounding areas from the top of the cliff is a rewarding experience to the hardship and strain you take to climb the hill side. The facilities including supplies of climbing gear and training for the novice are also available.

Pristine beaches with pure white sand and shallow clear water make the Rai Leh beach a favorite to the tourists. Swimming and sunbathing in this beach is much popular. Rai Leh beach is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches of the world. And this is one of Krabi’s most unique areas.

Pra Nang Beach

Connected to Rai Lei by a small path is Phra Nang (not to be confused with Ao Nang) on the outer most point of the headland, backed by a limestone cliff which soars above the beach providing some welcome shade in the hot afternoon. At the bottom of the cliff lies the Princess Cave or Tham Phra Nang Nok – local legend surrounds the cave and local fishermen leave offerings for good fortune. It’s a great beach to simply hang out. In the late morning the “sandwich boats” arrive. Local longtail boats equipped with ice boxes, bread and sandwich ingredients. Fancy a cheese and ham baguette? Freshly made and not expensive, the ladies on the boats will serve with a smile and often a free piece of fruit. A path Swimming and snorkeling can be enjoyed off this pristine, white sandy beach, and from here it is possible to hike to the top of the headland to get spectacular views of the entire area.

Klong Muang Beach/Tubkaak

Krabi’s latest beach destination, Muang Klong is aiming upmarket with 5 star and boutique hotels like the Sheraton Krabi Resort, the Nakamanda and the Tubkaak Resort. Unlike Ao Nang it doesn’t have the impressive cliffs immediately towering over the beach, but it does have powder white sand and safe swimming

The Lanta Island Group

About 53 islands are included in this group, which form the southern most district of Krabi Province.

Koh Lanta Yai The largest of the islands, it was formerly known as Pulao Satak, its name in the Malay language, which means Long Beach Island. The island is a favourite spot for those seeking peace and solitude, and is the home of the District and National Park offices. Mountainous and rugged in some spots, especially near the southern tip; with a combination of gravely and fine white sandy beaches, the island is also home to a clan of Chao Ley, or Sea Gypsies – an ethnic group who preserve many of their ancient customs and ceremonies. In recent years accommodation has increased in Lanta with a range from basic bungalows to upmarket resorts now available. You can get to Lanta on the regular ferry from Jao Fah Pier in Krabi Town.

Koh Taleng Beng Lies in the Lanta district and is similar in shape to Phi Phi Ley. Swallows also nest at this island which at low tide has a small beach and tunnel.

Mu Koh Hah Still in the Lanta area, this is a group of 5 islands featuring coral gardens and good diving spots.

Koh Ngai, Koh Rock Nai and Koh Rock Nok South of Lanta Island, these 3 islands are close to Trang Province. Koh Ngai is easily accessed via ferry from Pak Meng Beach, others are accessed by hired boat and feature both beaches and coral gardens.

Poda Beach

This is another location much favored by tourists. Lying off the coast of Ao Nang , Poda Beach is famous for its pure white sandy beach and warm waters. Diving and snorkeling , sun bathing and boating are the favorite activities in this beach. This is considered to be an ideal place for fun and relaxation.

Phi Phi Island Beaches

These islands are some of the most beautiful tourist destinations in the world. This is one of the much sought after locations in Krabi province. The superb scenery of these islands are not just limited to the silvery sand beaches but the Emerald green sea, the multi colored coral reefs and the abundance of the underwater marine life. Hardly 2 hrs journey by boat from Ao Nang beach, the twin islands Phi Phi Don and Phi Phi Leh provide excellent entertainments.

Phi Phi Don is the larger of the two islands. Covering some 28 square km area, this is in the northern part of the island. Phi Phi Don has several long white sand beaches. Long ,white curved beach, fringed by palms and between mountain ranges provide sheltered calm waters for beach sports. Plenty of accommodation is available at the site. You can have beach side bungalows or smaller resorts as you please. Bars are available adjacent to the Muslim areas where you have to be discrete. Sun bathing and swimming in the shallow waters are the popular enjoyment here.

There are very many restaurants in Phi Phi Don. In fact, Thailand as a whole is considered to be a land of restaurants. This may perhaps be the only place in the world where you have more number of restaurants and eateries on a per capita basis. And Phi Phi Don is no exception. Both European cuisine and tasty Thai foods are available at the beach restaurants. Bars, cabaret, souvenir shops, fishing excursions and chartered boats are all available at the site.

Phi Phi Leh is only some six sq.km in area. The main attraction is the rocks and caves. Rugged cliff surfaces with sparse vegetation rising staraight from the sea bed to several metres to the sky provide real challenge to the rock climbing enthusiasts.

There are several caves where birds roost in their multitudes. The sea swallows make their gelatinous nests in these caves. And these nests are some delicacy in the Chinese cuisine. The Viking cave is famous for the murals inside. These paintings depict Viking-like sailing vessels and sailors there by giving the name for the cave.

The underwater life is also much captivating. The colorful coral reef and underwater creatures give a feast to the divers. Snorkeling is a favorite sport in these beaches. In short, Phi Phi Islands are a real treat to the tourist and one of the best choices in the Andaman Bay.

Ko Paid ( Bamboo Island ) This is another of the Phi Phi Islands but uninhabited. This has some of the most beautiful beaches in the area. And the beaches are unspoiled as the area is uninhabited.

Go here to see the original:
Beaches and Islands – Krabi

 Posted by at 7:43 pm  Tagged with:

Eugenics in the United States – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Eugenics  Comments Off on Eugenics in the United States – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Sep 072015
 

Early proponents

The American eugenics movement was rooted in the biological determinist ideas of Sir Francis Galton, which originated in the 1880s. Galton studied the upper classes of Britain, and arrived at the conclusion that their social positions were due to a superior genetic makeup.[8] Early proponents of eugenics believed that, through selective breeding, the human species should direct its own evolution. They tended to believe in the genetic superiority of Nordic, Germanic and Anglo-Saxon peoples; supported strict immigration and anti-miscegenation laws; and supported the forcible sterilization of the poor, disabled and “immoral”.[9] Eugenics was also supported by African Americans intellectuals such as W. E. B. Du Bois, Thomas Wyatt Turner, and many academics at Tuskegee University, Howard University, and Hampton University; however they believed the best blacks were as good as the best whites and “The Talented Tenth” of all races should mix.[10] W. E. B. Du Bois believed “only fit blacks should procreate to eradicate the race’s heritage of moral iniquity.”[10][11]

The American eugenics movement received extensive funding from various corporate foundations including the Carnegie Institution, Rockefeller Foundation, and the Harriman railroad fortune.[6] In 1906 J.H. Kellogg provided funding to help found the Race Betterment Foundation in Battle Creek, Michigan.[8] The Eugenics Record Office (ERO) was founded in Cold Spring Harbor, New York in 1911 by the renowned biologist Charles B. Davenport, using money from both the Harriman railroad fortune and the Carnegie Institution. As late as the 1920s, the ERO was one of the leading organizations in the American eugenics movement.[8][12] In years to come, the ERO collected a mass of family pedigrees and concluded that those who were unfit came from economically and socially poor backgrounds. Eugenicists such as Davenport, the psychologist Henry H. Goddard, Harry H. Laughlin, and the conservationist Madison Grant (all well respected in their time) began to lobby for various solutions to the problem of the “unfit”. Davenport favored immigration restriction and sterilization as primary methods; Goddard favored segregation in his The Kallikak Family; Grant favored all of the above and more, even entertaining the idea of extermination.[13] The Eugenics Record Office later became the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

Eugenics was widely accepted in the U.S. academic community.[6] By 1928 there were 376 separate university courses in some of the United States’ leading schools, enrolling more than 20,000 students, which included eugenics in the curriculum.[14] It did, however, have scientific detractors (notably, Thomas Hunt Morgan, one of the few Mendelians to explicitly criticize eugenics), though most of these focused more on what they considered the crude methodology of eugenicists, and the characterization of almost every human characteristic as being hereditary, rather than the idea of eugenics itself.[15]

By 1910, there was a large and dynamic network of scientists, reformers and professionals engaged in national eugenics projects and actively promoting eugenic legislation. The American Breeder’s Association was the first eugenic body in the U.S., established in 1906 under the direction of biologist Charles B. Davenport. The ABA was formed specifically to “investigate and report on heredity in the human race, and emphasize the value of superior blood and the menace to society of inferior blood.” Membership included Alexander Graham Bell, Stanford president David Starr Jordan and Luther Burbank.[16][17] The American Association for the Study and Prevention of Infant Mortality was one of the first organizations to begin investigating infant mortality rates in terms of eugenics.[18] They promoted government intervention in attempts to promote the health of future citizens.[19][verification needed]

Several feminist reformers advocated an agenda of eugenic legal reform. The National Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union, and the National League of Women Voters were among the variety of state and local feminist organization that at some point lobbied for eugenic reforms.[20]

One of the most prominent feminists to champion the eugenic agenda was Margaret Sanger, the leader of the American birth control movement. Margaret Sanger saw birth control as a means to prevent unwanted children from being born into a disadvantaged life, and incorporated the language of eugenics to advance the movement.[21][22] Sanger also sought to discourage the reproduction of persons who, it was believed, would pass on mental disease or serious physical defect. She advocated sterilization in cases where the subject was unable to use birth control.[21] Unlike other eugenicists, she rejected euthanasia.[23] For Sanger, it was individual women and not the state who should determine whether or not to have a child.[24][25]

In the Deep South, women’s associations played an important role in rallying support for eugenic legal reform. Eugenicists recognized the political and social influence of southern clubwomen in their communities, and used them to help implement eugenics across the region.[26] Between 1915 and 1920, federated women’s clubs in every state of the Deep South had a critical role in establishing public eugenic institutions that were segregated by sex.[27] For example, the Legislative Committee of the Florida State Federation of Women’s Clubs successfully lobbied to institute a eugenic institution for the mentally retarded that was segregated by sex.[28] Their aim was to separate mentally retarded men and women to prevent them from breeding more “feebleminded” individuals.

Public acceptance in the U.S. was the reason eugenic legislation was passed. Almost 19 million people attended the PanamaPacific International Exposition in San Francisco, open for 10 months from February 20 to December 4, 1915.[29][30][31] The PPIE was a fair devoted to extolling the virtues of a rapidly progressing nation, featuring new developments in science, agriculture, manufacturing and technology. A subject that received a large amount of time and space was that of the developments concerning health and disease, particularly the areas of tropical medicine and race betterment (tropical medicine being the combined study of bacteriology, parasitology and entomology while racial betterment being the promotion of eugenic studies). Having these areas so closely intertwined, it seemed that they were both categorized in the main theme of the fair, the advancement of civilization. Thus in the public eye, the seemingly contradictory[clarification needed] areas of study were both represented under progressive banners of improvement and were made to seem like plausible courses of action to better American society.[32][verification needed]

Beginning with Connecticut in 1896, many states enacted marriage laws with eugenic criteria, prohibiting anyone who was “epileptic, imbecile or feeble-minded”[33] from marrying.[citation needed]

The first state to introduce a compulsory sterilization bill was Michigan, in 1897 but the proposed law failed to garner enough votes by legislators to be adopted. Eight years later Pennsylvania’s state legislators passed a sterilization bill that was vetoed by the governor. Indiana became the first state to enact sterilization legislation in 1907,[34] followed closely by Washington and California in 1909. Sterilization rates across the country were relatively low (California being the sole exception) until the 1927 Supreme Court case Buck v. Bell which legitimized the forced sterilization of patients at a Virginia home for the mentally retarded. The number of sterilizations performed per year increased until another Supreme Court case, Skinner v. Oklahoma, 1942, complicated the legal situation by ruling against sterilization of criminals if the equal protection clause of the constitution was violated. That is, if sterilization was to be performed, then it could not exempt white-collar criminals.[35] The state of California was at the vanguard of the American eugenics movement, performing about 20,000 sterilizations or one third of the 60,000 nationwide from 1909 up until the 1960s.[36]

While California had the highest number of sterilizations, North Carolina’s eugenics program which operated from 1933 to 1977, was the most aggressive of the 32 states that had eugenics programs.[37] An IQ of 70 or lower meant sterilization was appropriate in North Carolina.[38] The North Carolina Eugenics Board almost always approved proposals brought before them by local welfare boards.[38] Of all states, only North Carolina gave social workers the power to designate people for sterilization.[37] “Here, at last, was a method of preventing unwanted pregnancies by an acceptable, practical, and inexpensive method,” wrote Wallace Kuralt in the March 1967 journal of the N.C. Board of Public Welfare. “The poor readily adopted the new techniques for birth control.”[38]

The Immigration Restriction League was the first American entity associated officially with eugenics. Founded in 1894 by three recent Harvard University graduates, the League sought to bar what it considered inferior races from entering America and diluting what it saw as the superior American racial stock (upper class Northerners of Anglo-Saxon heritage). They felt that social and sexual involvement with these less-evolved and less-civilized races would pose a biological threat to the American population. The League lobbied for a literacy test for immigrants, based on the belief that literacy rates were low among “inferior races”. Literacy test bills were vetoed by Presidents in 1897, 1913 and 1915; eventually, President Wilson’s second veto was overruled by Congress in 1917. Membership in the League included: A. Lawrence Lowell, president of Harvard, William DeWitt Hyde, president of Bowdoin College, James T. Young, director of Wharton School and David Starr Jordan, president of Stanford University.[39]

The League allied themselves with the American Breeder’s Association to gain influence and further its goals and in 1909 established a Committee on Eugenics chaired by David Starr Jordan with members Charles Davenport, Alexander Graham Bell, Vernon Kellogg, Luther Burbank, William Ernest Castle, Adolf Meyer, H. J. Webber and Friedrich Woods. The ABA’s immigration legislation committee, formed in 1911 and headed by League’s founder Prescott F. Hall, formalized the committee’s already strong relationship with the Immigration Restriction League. They also founded the Eugenics Record Office, which was headed by Harry H. Laughlin.[40] In their mission statement, they wrote:

Society must protect itself; as it claims the right to deprive the murderer of his life so it may also annihilate the hideous serpent of hopelessly vicious protoplasm. Here is where appropriate legislation will aid in eugenics and creating a healthier, saner society in the future.”[40]

Money from the Harriman railroad fortune was also given to local charities, in order to find immigrants from specific ethnic groups and deport, confine, or forcibly sterilize them.[6]

With the passage of the Immigration Act of 1924, eugenicists for the first time played an important role in the Congressional debate as expert advisers on the threat of “inferior stock” from eastern and southern Europe.[41][verification needed] The new act, inspired by the eugenic belief in the racial superiority of “old stock” white Americans as members of the “Nordic race” (a form of white supremacy), strengthened the position of existing laws prohibiting race-mixing.[42] Eugenic considerations also lay behind the adoption of incest laws in much of the U.S. and were used to justify many anti-miscegenation laws.[43]

Stephen Jay Gould asserted that restrictions on immigration passed in the United States during the 1920s (and overhauled in 1965 with the Immigration and Nationality Act) were motivated by the goals of eugenics. During the early 20th century, the United States and Canada began to receive far higher numbers of Southern and Eastern European immigrants. Influential eugenicists like Lothrop Stoddard and Harry Laughlin (who was appointed as an expert witness for the House Committee on Immigration and Naturalization in 1920) presented arguments they would pollute the national gene pool if their numbers went unrestricted.[44][45] It has been argued that this stirred both Canada and the United States into passing laws creating a hierarchy of nationalities, rating them from the most desirable Anglo-Saxon and Nordic peoples to the Chinese and Japanese immigrants, who were almost completely banned from entering the country.[42][46]

Both class and race factored into eugenic definitions of “fit” and “unfit.” By using intelligence testing, American eugenicists asserted that social mobility was indicative of one’s genetic fitness.[47] This reaffirmed the existing class and racial hierarchies and explained why the upper-to-middle class was predominately white. Middle-to-upper class status was a marker of “superior strains.”[28] In contrast, eugenicists believed poverty to be a characteristic of genetic inferiority, which meant that that those deemed “unfit” were predominately of the lower classes.[28]

Because class status designated some more fit than others, eugenicists treated upper and lower class women differently. Positive eugenicists, who promoted procreation among the fittest in society, encouraged middle class women to bear more children. Between 1900 and 1960, Eugenicists appealed to middle class white women to become more “family minded,” and to help better the race.[48] To this end, eugenicists often denied middle and upper class women sterilization and birth control.[49]

Since poverty was associated with prostitution and “mental idiocy,” women of the lower classes were the first to be deemed “unfit” and “promiscuous.”[28] These women, who were predominately immigrants or women of color[citation needed], were discouraged from bearing children, and were encouraged to use birth control.

In 1907, Indiana passed the first eugenics-based compulsory sterilization law in the world. Thirty U.S. states would soon follow their lead.[50][51] Although the law was overturned by the Indiana Supreme Court in 1921,[52] the U.S. Supreme Court, in Buck v. Bell, upheld the constitutionality of the Virginia Sterilization Act of 1924, allowing for the compulsory sterilization of patients of state mental institutions in 1927.[53]

Some states sterilized “imbeciles” for much of the 20th century. Although compulsory sterilization is now considered an abuse of human rights, Buck v. Bell was never overturned, and Virginia did not repeal its sterilization law until 1974.[54] The most significant era of eugenic sterilization was between 1907 and 1963, when over 64,000 individuals were forcibly sterilized under eugenic legislation in the United States.[55] Beginning around 1930, there was a steady increase in the percentage of women sterilized, and in a few states only young women were sterilized. From 1930 to the 1960s, sterilizations were performed on many more institutionalized women than men.[28] By 1961, 61 percent of the 62,162 total eugenic sterilizations in the United States were performed on women.[28] A favorable report on the results of sterilization in California, the state with the most sterilizations by far, was published in book form by the biologist Paul Popenoe and was widely cited by the Nazi government as evidence that wide-reaching sterilization programs were feasible and humane.[56][57]

Men and women were compulsorily sterilized for different reasons. Men were sterilized to treat their aggression and to eliminate their criminal behavior, while women were sterilized to control the results of their sexuality.[28] Since women bore children, eugenicists held women more accountable than men for the reproduction of the less “desirable” members of society.[28] Eugenicists therefore predominately targeted women in their efforts to regulate the birth rate, to “protect” white racial health, and weed out the “defectives” of society.[28]

A 1937 Fortune magazine poll found that 2/3 of respondents supported eugenic sterilization of “mental defectives”, 63% supported sterilization of criminals, and only 15% opposed both.[58]

In the 1970s, several activists and women’s rights groups discovered several physicians to be performing coerced sterilizations of specific ethnic groups of society. All were abuses of poor, nonwhite, or mentally retarded women, while no abuses against white or middle-class women were recorded.[59] Although the sterilizations were not explicitly motivated by eugenics, the sterilizations were similar to the eugenics movement[according to whom?] because they were done without the patients’ consent.

For example, in 1972, United States Senate committee testimony brought to light that at least 2,000 involuntary sterilizations had been performed on poor black women without their consent or knowledge. An investigation revealed that the surgeries were all performed in the South, and were all performed on black welfare mothers with multiple children. Testimony revealed that many of these women were threatened with an end to their welfare benefits until they consented to sterilization.[60] These surgeries were instances of sterilization abuse, a term applied to any sterilization performed without the consent or knowledge of the recipient, or in which the recipient is pressured into accepting the surgery. Because the funds used to carry out the surgeries came from the U.S. Office of Economic Opportunity, the sterilization abuse raised older suspicions, especially amongst the black community, that “federal programs were underwriting eugenicists who wanted to impose their views about population quality on minorities and poor women.”[28]

Native American women were also victims of sterilization abuse up into the 1970s.[61] The organization WARN (Women of All Red Nations) publicized that Native American women were threatened that, if they had more children, they would be denied welfare benefits. The Indian Health Service also repeatedly refused to deliver Native American babies until their mothers, in labor, consented to sterilization. Many Native American women unknowingly gave consent, since directions were not given in their native language. According to the General Accounting Office, an estimate of 3,406 Indian women were sterilized.[61] The General Accounting Office stated that the Indian Health Service had not followed the necessary regulations, and that the “informed consent forms did not adhere to the standards set by the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW).”[62]

One of the methods that was commonly suggested to get rid of “inferior” populations was euthanasia. A 1911 Carnegie Institute report mentioned euthanasia as one of its recommended “solutions” to the problem of cleansing society of unfit genetic attributes. The most commonly suggested method was to set up local gas chambers. However, many in the eugenics movement did not believe that Americans were ready to implement a large-scale euthanasia program, so many doctors had to find clever ways of subtly implementing eugenic euthanasia in various medical institutions. For example, a mental institution in Lincoln, Illinois fed its incoming patients milk infected with tuberculosis (reasoning that genetically fit individuals would be resistant), resulting in 30-40% annual death rates. Other doctors practiced euthanasia through various forms of lethal neglect.[63]

In the 1930s, there was a wave of portrayals of eugenic “mercy killings” in American film, newspapers, and magazines. In 1931, the Illinois Homeopathic Medicine Association began lobbying for the right to euthanize “imbeciles” and other defectives. The Euthanasia Society of America was founded in 1938.[64]

Overall, however, euthanasia was marginalized in the U.S., motivating people to turn to forced segregation and sterilization programs as a means for keeping the “unfit” from reproducing.[65]

Mary deGormo, a former classroom teacher was the first person to combine ideas about health and intelligence standards with competitions at state fairs, in the form of “better baby” contests. She developed the first such contest, the “Scientific Baby Contest” for the Louisiana State Fair in Shreveport, in 1908. She saw these contests as a contribution to the “social efficiency” movement, which was advocating for the standardization of all aspects of American life as a means of increasing efficiency.[18] deGarmo was assisted by the pediatrician Dr. Jacob Bodenheimer, who helped her develop grading sheets for contestants, which combined physical measurements with standardized measurements of intelligence.[66] Scoring was based on a deduction system, in that every child started at 1000 points and then was docked points for having measurements that were below a designated average. The child with the most points (and the least defections) was ideal.[67][verification needed]

The topic of standardization through scientific judgment was a topic that was very serious in the eyes of the scientific community, but has often been downplayed as just a popular fad or trend. Nevertheless, a lot of time, effort, and money were put into these contests and their scientific backing, which would influence cultural ideas as well as local and state government practices.[68][verification needed]

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People promoted eugenics by hosting “Better Baby” contests and the proceeds would go to its anti-lynching campaign.[10]

First appearing in 1920 at the Kansas Free Fair, Fitter Family competitions, continued all the way until WWII. Mary T. Watts and Florence Brown Sherbon, both initiators of the Better Baby Contests in Iowa, took the idea of positive eugenics for babies and combined it with a determinist concept of biology to come up with fitter family competitions.[69]

There were several different categories that families were judged in: Size of the family, overall attractiveness, and health of the family, all of which helped to determine the likelihood of having healthy children. These competitions were simply a continuation of the Better Baby contests that promoted certain physical and mental qualities.[70] At the time, it was believed that certain behavioral qualities were inherited from your parents. This led to the addition of several judging categories including: generosity, self-sacrificing, and quality of familial bonds. Additionally, there were negative features that were judged: selfishness, jealousy, suspiciousness, high temperedness, and cruelty. Feeblemindedness, alcoholism, and paralysis were few among other traits that were included as physical traits to be judged when looking at family lineage.[29]

Doctors and specialists from the community would offer their time to judge these competitions, which were originally sponsored by the Red Cross.[29] The winners of these competitions were given a Bronze Medal as well as champion cups called “Capper Medals.” The cups were named after then Governor and Senator, Arthur Capper and he would present them to “Grade A individuals”.[71]

The perks of entering into the contests were that the competitions provided a way for families to get a free health check up by a doctor as well as some of the pride and prestige that came from winning the competitions.[29]

By 1925 the Eugenics Records Office was distributing standardized forms for judging eugenically fit families, which were used in contests in several U.S. states.[72]

After the eugenics movement was well established in the United States, it spread to Germany. California eugenicists began producing literature promoting eugenics and sterilization and sending it overseas to German scientists and medical professionals.[65] By 1933, California had subjected more people to forceful sterilization than all other U.S. states combined. The forced sterilization program engineered by the Nazis was partly inspired by California’s.[7]

The Rockefeller Foundation helped develop and fund various German eugenics programs,[73] including the one that Josef Mengele worked in before he went to Auschwitz.[6][74]

Upon returning from Germany in 1934, where more than 5,000 people per month were being forcibly sterilized, the California eugenics leader C. M. Goethe bragged to a colleague:

“You will be interested to know that your work has played a powerful part in shaping the opinions of the group of intellectuals who are behind Hitler in this epoch-making program. Everywhere I sensed that their opinions have been tremendously stimulated by American thought . . . I want you, my dear friend, to carry this thought with you for the rest of your life, that you have really jolted into action a great government of 60 million people.”[75]

Eugenics researcher Harry H. Laughlin often bragged that his Model Eugenic Sterilization laws had been implemented in the 1935 Nuremberg racial hygiene laws.[76] In 1936, Laughlin was invited to an award ceremony at Heidelberg University in Germany (scheduled on the anniversary of Hitler’s 1934 purge of Jews from the Heidelberg faculty), to receive an honorary doctorate for his work on the “science of racial cleansing”. Due to financial limitations, Laughlin was unable to attend the ceremony and had to pick it up from the Rockefeller Institute. Afterwards, he proudly shared the award with his colleagues, remarking that he felt that it symbolized the “common understanding of German and American scientists of the nature of eugenics.”[77]

After 1945, however, historians began to attempt to portray the US eugenics movement as distinct and distant from Nazi eugenics.[78]Jon Entine wrote that eugenics simply means “good genes” and using it as synonym for genocide is an “all-too-common distortion of the social history of genetics policy in the United States.” According to Entine, eugenics developed out of the Progressive Era and not “Hitler’s twisted Final Solution.”[79]

Read more:

Eugenics in the United States – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Henry Makow

 Illuminati  Comments Off on Henry Makow
Aug 192015
 

(left, Dalai Lama with the guru Shoko Asahara of the AUM sect of Japan,

responsible for the Tokyo sarin gas attack onMarch 20, 1995.)

A reader, Matt, senses something sinister

about the Dalai Lama and Tibetan Buddhism.

“Tibet is a stronghold of both spiritual and temporal power, connected with the highest secret orders and globalist councils in the world. The common goal is world domination through a saviour king to bring this about.”

“Today, the media focuses on the crimes of Islamic fanatics, but when is the last time you heard about fanatic Buddhist monks inciting violence? Is Buddhism a sacred cow for some reason?”

Will Planned Antichrist be a Lama?

From Nov. 13, 2014 (Updated with Graph below in English)

by Matt

(henrymakow.com)

Something may be rotten in the state of Tibet. Ever suspicious of the Dalai Lama’s status as being the universal “holy” friend of seemingly all political and religious leaders of the world, I decided to learn more information about this character and the institution he represents. Something about the man seemed fake and deceptive to me, as if he had been fooling the world with his perma-smile all along. Check outThe Darkness Over Tibet, an excellent, brief summary on this subject. Example:

– The Dalai Lama is only a marketing program to make Tibet look good. He and his 100 servitors could never have exiled Tibet without the agreement from the Chinese government. The Chinese government and Lamaist (Tibetan Buddhist) organization are closely linked on an occult level. The true “spiritual” leader of Lamaism is the Panchen Lama, who is almost unknown at all outside of Tibet. He’s considered as the “black pope” (the Catholic pope is the “white pope”).

– The Catholic Church (Jesuits) and Lamaism are closely linked. Jesuits have been traveling to Tibet and helped to setup the hierarchical lamaist organization (the first Dalai Lama was named in the 14th century), which in turn offered help to the Vatican (this confirms many theories according to which all the major world religions are secretly linked at the very top). Many spiritual leaders in Tibet are in fact Jesuits. Both hierarchies are arranged scientifically to optimize the function of black magic rituals.

– He mentions Maitreya, who is supposed to be the upcoming reincarnation of Buddha, but which will be used by those in power as a false messiah to “save the world”, from problems which are mostly illusory because created by those in power.

My searches led me to the online tomeThe Shadow of the Dalai Lamaby Victor and Victoria Trimondi. Here, my suspicions of the Dalai Lama were confirmed when I read that his Holiness worked with the guru Shoko Asahara of the AUM sect of Japan, responsible for the Tokyo sarin gas attack onMarch 20, 1995. Asahara apparently was very much connected to the Tibetan religion and met with many high Tantra masters. This is just one of a myriad of examples pointing to something seriously wrong with this institution.

I found a few good articles discussing the feudal, hellish society that existed under the greedy Lamas who ruled with an iron fist and treated the masses like animals.When the Dalai Lamas Ruled – Hell On EarthandThe True Face Of The Dalai Lamaprovide a decent summary on the feudal Lamaist theocracy of Tibet.

Today, the media focuses on the crimes of Islamic fanatics, but when is the last time you heard about fanatic Buddhist monks inciting violence? Is Buddhism a sacred cow for some reason? For a brief summary on this, readThe Long and Strange History of Buddhist Violence. In the Kalachakra Tantra, war and violence is discussed as the means to cleanse the world of undesirables Read about theAggressive War Myth here.

If you’ve seen Twin Peaks, you may remember the strange references to Tibet. In one episode, Windom Earle uses the Tibetan word ‘Dugpa’:

“… these evil sorcerers, dugpas, they call them, cultivate evil for the sake of evil and nothing else. They express themselves in darkness for darkness, without leavening motive. This ardent purity has allowed them to access a secret place of great power, where the cultivation of evil proceeds in exponential fashion. And with it, the furtherance of evil’s resulting power. These arenot fairy tales, or myths. This place of power is tangible, and as such, can be found, entered, and perhaps, utilized in some fashion. The dugpas have many names for it, but chief among them is the Black Lodge.”

Did David Lynch place occult secrets in plain sight in Twin Peaks? Was this “Revelation of the Method”?

There is also a strong connection between Theosophy (Blavastky, et al) and Tibetan Buddhism. Theosophist Charles Webster Leadbeater wrote about an occult Buddhist hierarchy of the world and the Great White Brotherhood is an important aspect of Theosophical teachings.The Occult Hierarchy and the Mastersdiscusses this in detail.

According toThe Shadow of the Dalai Lama, German authors have written of “an occulthierarchia ordinisof the Lamaist theocracy, which invisibly influences and steers the East.”

“J. Strunk’s arguments (Zu Juda und Rom –Tibet, [To Juda and Rome –Tibet], 1937) are more far reaching; he tries to uncover a conspiracy of an international ecclesiastical elite (with members from all the world religions) with the living Buddha, the Dalai Lama from Lhasa as their visible head. “What there are of organizations and new spiritual currents running alongside and in all directions nearly always end up on the ‘roof of the world’, in a Lama temple, once one has progressed through Jewish and Christian lodges”(Strunk, 1937, p. 28).”

“General Ludendorff and his wife likewise took to the field with great vigor against the “Asian priests”and warned that the Tibetan Lamas had emplaced themselves at the head of Jewish and Jesuit secret orders (Europa den Asiatenpriestern?[Europe of the Asian priests)], 1941).”

On pg. 32 ofGeheime Weltmchte [Secret World Powers]by S. Ipares, possibly the most accurate chart of the world hierarchy can be found, (see above) placing the Lamas at the top with the Theosophists possibly being the liaison between the Lamas and the European leadership.

Lastly, the famous German author Gustav Meyrink (The Golem) had a very interesting mystical experience (Read the story inpart 1andpart 2) in which he saw a Dugpa (red hat Lama) in a vision. I believe anecdotal information like this can help us just as much or even more to find the truth.

More scrutiny of Tibetan Buddhism is warranted. I see a lot of deception and attempts to conceal the truth. Tibet to be a stronghold of both spiritual and temporal power, connected with the highest secret orders and globalist councils in the world. Their common goal is world domination through a saviour king to bring this about. The effort to gradually sell this agenda to the world is most seen in the carefully engineered public adulation of the Dalai Lama, which has me wondering if a planned World King will actually be a Lama.

The idea of a Lamaist theocracy being the ultimate rulers of the world will sound far-fetched to many, but there is a good reason why it can only be found in old and untranslated German books.

Related:

1. Dalai lama articles on this site:

Tibetan Buddhism- A Racket Posing as a Religion

2. Critical Links to Lamaism

Buddhists, Occultists and Secret Societies in Early Bolshevik Russia: an interview with Andrei Znamenski

‘Red Shambhala’: Telepathy, Mental Powers, Electronic Surveillance & Mysticism in the U.S.S.R.

Red Star Over Shambhala: Soviet, British and American Intelligence & the Search for Lost Civilisation in Central Asia

Occult Secrets of the Dalai Lama

Rudra Chakrin: King of the World, Tantric Apocolyptic Redeemer, and Dajjal

Colbert Gets Paul McCartney To Suggest Dalai Lama Cannibalism

Red Caps and Sect Worship

The Inner Government of the World

The Phantom Kingdom – The Nazi Tibet Connection

Cricket Magic by Gustav Meyrink

First Comment by Ryan, author of “In Defence of the Dalai Lama”

In short your latest bashing of Tibetan Buddhism is just another example of someone with an axe to grind who criticizes something he has no idea about, based solely upon other overly-critical, antiquated and misinformed articles. As evidenced by the numerous factual flaws in his article he obviously doesn’t have the least bit of knowledge, superficial or otherwise about Tibetan Buddhism.

Just a few of many points:

-“Lamaism” is an incorrect, very antiquated term for Vajrayana Buddhism.

-To quote “Twin Peaks” – an American TV series? as an authoritative source on the Drugpas undermines any seriousness of this article. Really! Yes a Drukpa school exists, but this cannot be used as a general term.

-The Trimondis are an interesting example. The Dalai Lama has thousands of students who praise him. Why quote only the rare few who were disenchanted by the Dalai Lama and don’t even publish their highly critical book under their real name.

-I am amused by his German language sources from the 1930’s. Can/did the author actually read the material he is quoting. The chart only contains general Buddhist terms and seems to put Pratyeda (solitary) Buddhas at the pinnacle (Herr der Welt/Ruler of the World) . Pratyeka Buddhas are practitioners of Theravada Buddhism and are held in very low esteem by Tibetan Buddhists.

-It is worthwhile to read other parts of the original “Geheime Weltmchte” text. Reading the short last chapter “Asiatisches Geheimbundwesen” it becomes clear just how little the author knew about Buddhism in general. This being the case what validity can their conclusions in the chart have?

-As far as the visions of Gustav Meyrink: What makes them more valid than mine or yours? If the author is really looking for who might control the world shouldn’t he look more into the Theosophist Illuminati connection.

Dan writes:

There’s not enough room here to even begin on the topic of how we’ve been bamboozled about the Dalai Lama and Tibet, and why.

Tibet was the last fully intact feudal theocracy on Earth till 1951, when Mao seized the moment to occupy and incorporate it. At that time an Australian journalist wrote that the concept of human rights had been unknown in Tibet. A tiny elite of lamas and ancient aristocracy were literally worshiped by the serfs as demigods. Belief in soul evolution through reincarnation invariably produces a rigid caste system, on the logical assumption that serfs are ‘born that way’ because of karma and dharma. The ruling castes equally so. Got a problem with being a serf? Obey your masters, and maybe in a few hundred lifetimes your status may improve – but not in this one. The Tibetan serfs fully believed this. So did the lamas and ‘nobility’. Serfs were whipped an tortured for trivial offenses. Mutilation was a standard punishment – cutting off ears, fingers, gouging out eyes, etc. These acts were carried out by an army of thugs formalized as warrior caste, or brutal order of low born monks who served as muscle for the lamas.

There are ‘high and low’ castes of Tibetan monks. The ‘tulku lamas’ are supposed to be reincarnations of historical men of renown. The vast majority of monks are from the lower castes and serve the Tulkus as slaves. Inside one of those magnificent medieval monasteries in Tibet it was discovered that the Tulka and all the elite lamas in that monastery were very active homosexuals, taking any peasant boy that struck their fancy for the ‘honor’ of becoming a monk-slave in that monastery. But this monastery also provided many of the especially brutal thug-monks sent out to serve as guards and enforcers at other monasteries.

Why didn’t we hear any of this in school? Where were the specials on National Geographic and History Channel about the reality that the Dalai Lama is as much a feudal throwback as the Royal family?

Politics. The Dalai Lama* was important to the CIA when the State Department was against China’s expansion. But the real money poured into the Dalai Lama’s organization in exile through the United Nations NGO’s. Between the two of these backers, there was a very real blackout on the reality of Tibetan lack of a “concept of human rights” well into the 20th century. Even right now, if you Google “Tibet human rights” you will get a pile of articles talking about modern Chinese violations of human rights. The template for this skewed history comes from Amnesty International. They’re not going to tell you that the Tibetan theocrats think most of us are no better than sheep to be herded, accordingly.

The ‘Elite’ wet dream is a “New” World Order that is in fact a resurrection of ancient Theocratic Feudalism. That’s they push Tibetan Buddhism.

There’s not space left for me to recount my own experience with the Tibetan network in America. I’ll just say that it was consistent with this dark mind set from the past. Just volunteer to go into one of the Tibetan ashrams out west and the pseudo-Christ candy coating melts off the Dalai Lama very quickly.

* Dalai Lama – The Worst Dictator in this Modern Day

Excerpt from:
Henry Makow

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Astronomy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 Astronomy  Comments Off on Astronomy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jul 282015
 

Astronomy is a natural science which is the study of celestial objects (such as stars, galaxies, planets, moons, asteroids, comets and nebulae), the physics, chemistry, and evolution of such objects, and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth, including supernovae explosions, gamma ray bursts, and cosmic microwave background radiation. A related but distinct subject, physical cosmology, is concerned with studying the universe as a whole.[1]

Astronomy is one of the oldest sciences. The early civilizations in recorded history, such as the Babylonians, Greeks, Indians, Egyptians, Nubians, Iranians, Chinese, and Maya performed methodical observations of the night sky. However, the invention of the telescope was required before astronomy was able to develop into a modern science. Historically, astronomy has included disciplines as diverse as astrometry, celestial navigation, observational astronomy and the making of calendars, but professional astronomy is nowadays often considered to be synonymous with astrophysics.[2]

During the 20th century, the field of professional astronomy split into observational and theoretical branches. Observational astronomy is focused on acquiring data from observations of astronomical objects, which is then analyzed using basic principles of physics. Theoretical astronomy is oriented toward the development of computer or analytical models to describe astronomical objects and phenomena. The two fields complement each other, with theoretical astronomy seeking to explain the observational results and observations being used to confirm theoretical results.

Astronomy is one of the few sciences where amateurs can still play an active role, especially in the discovery and observation of transient phenomena and Amateur astronomers have made and contributed to many important astronomical discoveries.

Astronomy (from the Greek from astron, “star” and – -nomia from nomos, “law” or “culture”) means “law of the stars” (or “culture of the stars” depending on the translation). Astronomy should not be confused with astrology, the belief system which claims that human affairs are correlated with the positions of celestial objects.[5] Although the two fields share a common origin they are now entirely distinct.[6]

Generally, either the term “astronomy” or “astrophysics” may be used to refer to this subject.[7][8][9] Based on strict dictionary definitions, “astronomy” refers to “the study of objects and matter outside the Earth’s atmosphere and of their physical and chemical properties”[10] and “astrophysics” refers to the branch of astronomy dealing with “the behavior, physical properties, and dynamic processes of celestial objects and phenomena”.[11] In some cases, as in the introduction of the introductory textbook The Physical Universe by Frank Shu, “astronomy” may be used to describe the qualitative study of the subject, whereas “astrophysics” is used to describe the physics-oriented version of the subject.[12] However, since most modern astronomical research deals with subjects related to physics, modern astronomy could actually be called astrophysics.[7] Few fields, such as astrometry, are purely astronomy rather than also astrophysics. Various departments in which scientists carry out research on this subject may use “astronomy” and “astrophysics,” partly depending on whether the department is historically affiliated with a physics department,[8] and many professional astronomers have physics rather than astronomy degrees.[9] One of the leading scientific journals in the field is the European journal named Astronomy and Astrophysics. The leading American journals are The Astrophysical Journal and The Astronomical Journal.

In early times, astronomy only comprised the observation and predictions of the motions of objects visible to the naked eye. In some locations, early cultures assembled massive artifacts that possibly had some astronomical purpose. In addition to their ceremonial uses, these observatories could be employed to determine the seasons, an important factor in knowing when to plant crops, as well as in understanding the length of the year.[13]

Before tools such as the telescope were invented, early study of the stars was conducted using the naked eye. As civilizations developed, most notably in Mesopotamia, Greece, India, China, Egypt, and Central America, astronomical observatories were assembled, and ideas on the nature of the universe began to be explored. Most of early astronomy actually consisted of mapping the positions of the stars and planets, a science now referred to as astrometry. From these observations, early ideas about the motions of the planets were formed, and the nature of the Sun, Moon and the Earth in the universe were explored philosophically. The Earth was believed to be the center of the universe with the Sun, the Moon and the stars rotating around it. This is known as the geocentric model of the universe, or the Ptolemaic system, named after Ptolemy.[14]

A particularly important early development was the beginning of mathematical and scientific astronomy, which began among the Babylonians, who laid the foundations for the later astronomical traditions that developed in many other civilizations.[15] The Babylonians discovered that lunar eclipses recurred in a repeating cycle known as a saros.[16]

Following the Babylonians, significant advances in astronomy were made in ancient Greece and the Hellenistic world. Greek astronomy is characterized from the start by seeking a rational, physical explanation for celestial phenomena.[17] In the 3rd century BC, Aristarchus of Samos estimated the size and distance of the Moon and Sun, and was the first to propose a heliocentric model of the solar system.[18] In the 2nd century BC, Hipparchus discovered precession, calculated the size and distance of the Moon and invented the earliest known astronomical devices such as the astrolabe.[19] Hipparchus also created a comprehensive catalog of 1020 stars, and most of the constellations of the northern hemisphere derive from Greek astronomy.[20] The Antikythera mechanism (c. 15080 BC) was an early analog computer designed to calculate the location of the Sun, Moon, and planets for a given date. Technological artifacts of similar complexity did not reappear until the 14th century, when mechanical astronomical clocks appeared in Europe.[21]

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Astronomy – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

9 ways in which Nehru was a bad pioneer

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Apr 132015
 

1. The first snooper: So Indias first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru is also the allegedmastermind for Indias first #Snoopgate when it appears that the family of Netaji SubhasChandra Bose was spied upon for the whole of his term as PM.

Information was also exchanged with British intelligence about Netaji and it is clear that Nehrufeared that Netaji was his rival and also may have known that Netaji did not die in a plane crashin 1945. This is an ongoing case and the results are eagerly awaited.

2. The first to suppress dissent: Nehrus rivals like Sardar Vallabhai Patel and CRajagopalachari were suppressed by Mahatma Gandhi before Independence. However after 1947the attitude continued.

Nehru introduced the First Amendment curbing free speech and saw more than half of hisCabinet quit on him. He suppressed regional leaders at the State level too.

3. The first to lose land: After Independence Kashmir was in limbo land and Field MarshallSam Manekshaw has gone on record saying that while Nehru dithered, it was only Patel whoforced the situation for India to take control of Kashmir.

We failed to get the land that is now called Pakistan Occupied Kashmir.

4. The first to lose a war: You can defend Nehru for the above saying that in 1947-48 we hadjust won our Independence or that our defence forces were led by British or that the Mahatmawent on a fast unto death to release Pakistani funds which would have been a great bargainingchip.

However 1962 was nothing but disaster. The Chinese first officially asked to buy Aksai Chin andwhen we refused they made moves to take it forcefully. Nehru ignored the plans and woreblinkers even when the Chinese invaded our territory.

Finally at that time the Indian Air Force was far superior to the Chinese Air Force and still Nehrurefused to use it!

5. The first scams: Its not that we have suddenly become corrupt today or after liberalization.Nehrus Licence Raj festered corruption right from Day 1. Nehru and VK Krishna Menon werebest friends.

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9 ways in which Nehru was a bad pioneer

China defends reclamation of islands in disputed territory

 Islands  Comments Off on China defends reclamation of islands in disputed territory
Apr 112015
 

Analysts say the pictures show how China is attempting to create facts in the water to bolster its sovereignty claims

7 AREAS: Armed Forces chief General Gregorio Catapang Jr presents photos of China’s reclamation projects in West Philippine Sea

The Philippines one of the most vocal of China’s neighbours in defending its competing territorial claim reacted strongly, calling for the Asian giant to “dismantle” the reclaimed land. (READ: PH fears ‘miscalculation’ in West PH Sea)

“They have to dismantle it,” said Peter Paul Galvez, spokesman for Manila’s defense department. “It is a concern not only of our country and region but of the whole international community.”

A series of satellite images posted on the website of the Center for Strategic and International Studies show a flotilla of Chinese vessels dredging sand onto Mischief Reef and the resulting land spreading in size.

Before-and-after images of other outcrops in the Spratly Islands record runways appearing from jungle, smooth-sided solid masses where coral once lay, and man-made harbors replacing natural reefs.

Analysts say the pictures show how China is attempting to create facts in the water to bolster its sovereignty claims.

Beijing asserts sovereignty over almost the whole of the South China Sea, including areas close to the coasts of other littoral states, using a nine-segment line based on one that first appeared on Chinese maps in the 1940s.

The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan all have overlapping claims.

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China defends reclamation of islands in disputed territory

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NATO reporting name – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

 NATO  Comments Off on NATO reporting name – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Mar 202015
 

NATO reporting names are code names for military equipment of the Eastern Bloc (Soviet Union and other nations of the Warsaw Pact) and China. They provide unambiguous and easily understood English language words in a uniform manner in place of the original designations which may have been unknown (to the West) at the time or easily confused codes.[1]

NATO maintains lists of these names. The assignment of the names for the Russian and Chinese aircraft was once managed by the five-nation Air Standardization Coordinating Committee (ASCC) (now called the Air and Space Interoperability Council, or ASIC, which includes representatives of Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and the United States). This is no longer the case.

The United States Department of Defense expands on the NATO reporting names in some cases. NATO refers to surface-to-air missile systems mounted on ships or submarines with the same names as the corresponding land-based systems, but the US DoD assigns a different series of numbers with a different suffix (i.e., SA-N- vs. SA-) for these systems. The names are kept the same as a convenience. Where there is no corresponding system, a new name is devised. Some US DoD nomenclature is included in the following pages and is noted as such.

The Soviet Union did not always assign official popular names to its aircraft, although unofficial nicknames were common as in any air force. Generally the Soviet pilots have not used the NATO names, preferring a different Russian nickname. An exception was that Soviet airmen appreciated the MiG-29’s codename ‘Fulcrum’ as an indication of its pivotal role in Soviet air defence.[2] Hundreds of names had to be chosen, so the names covered a wide variety of subjects and include some obscure words.

To reduce the risk of confusion, unusual or made-up names were allocated, the idea being that the names chosen would be unlikely to occur in normal conversation, and be easier to memorise. For fixed-wing aircraft, single-syllable words denoted piston-prop and turboprop, while multiple-syllable words denoted jets. Bombers had names starting with the letter B and names like Badger (2 syllables: jet), Bear (single syllable: propeller), and Blackjack were used. Frogfoot, the reporting name for the Sukhoi Su-25, references the aircrafts close air support role. Transports had names starting with C (as in cargo), which resulted in names like Condor or Candid.

A fictional NATO reporting name “Firefox” for a fictional “MiG-31” appears in the novel Firefox and subsequent movie. The real MiG-31 from 1979 was assigned the reporting name “Foxhound”.

The initial letter of the name indicated the use of that equipment.

The first letter indicates the type of aircraft, like Bear for a bomber aircraft, or Fulcrum for a fighter aircraft.

For fixed-wing aircraft, one syllable names were used for propeller-powered craft (turboprops included), while two-syllable names indicated jet engines.

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NATO reporting name – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




Pierre Teilhard De Chardin | Designer Children | Prometheism | Euvolution