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Monthly Archives: October 2015

OBAMACARE

ITS FINANCIAL IMPACT

READY – FIRE – AIM

Massive shortfall in government payouts to insurance companies promises big premium increases

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By Rick Moran

AmericanThinker

October 27, 2015

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The government program to reimburse insurance companies with big losses as a result of signing up too many old and sick customers is massively short of funds and could cause some companies to either go under or get out of the Obamacare exchanges.

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The so-called “risk corridors” that forced profitable companies to pay into a fund that would be disbursed to companies who lost money is underfunded by 88% and will almost certainly lead to big changes in premiums and consumer choice on the exchanges.

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Washington Examiner:

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Obamacare insurers requested about $2.9 billion in risk corridor payments for the 2014 calendar year, but they only received $362 million, a mere 12 percent of what they asked for. The shortfall happened because insurers requested more than what was paid into the program.

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The result has been devastating for some insurers. WinHealth, which provides coverage in Wyoming, went into receivership last week because of a low risk corridor payment.

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It will suspend insurance sales in 2016, leaving about 8,200 residents to search for a new plan from the sole remaining insurer in the Obamacare marketplace.

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In addition, nine taxpayer-funded insurance co-ops have closed recently, with some blaming the low payments.

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The shortfall hit small insurers that don’t have enough reserves to cover them, said Deep Bannerjee, director of ratings at credit ratings agency Standard & Poor’s.

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Bannerjee didn’t give an exact number on how many insurers could fall but said the “shakeup will continue.”

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Instead of shutting down, insurers most likely will react to the shortfall through raising premiums since they can’t count on the risk corridor money, he said. They also could shift their plans away from offering a more open network to a narrow network such as an HMO.

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The dramatic shortfall happened partly because the rules of the game changed for insurers, Bannerjee said.

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The program is supposed to pay insurers for 2014, 2015 and 2016. The most recent payments were for the 2014 calendar year.

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Insurers set their rates for the 2014 year in late 2013, believing they could charge lower premiums because they thought they would get the risk corridor money.

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However, the program experienced an unexpected change.

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In late 2014, the “cromnibus” spending package that funded the federal government included a provision from Republicans making the risk corridor program revenue neutral. That meant the program could only pay out what it took in, which slashed the expected payments.

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Republicans were essentially calling the Obama administration’s bluff, as officials ensured Congress the program would be revenue neutral.

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Nothing about Obamacare has delivered as promised, except perhaps the element the government can least afford to be successful: Medicaid expansion.  An already hugely dysfunctional program has been swamped by 13 million new enrollees.  New recipients are being forced to travel for hours to find a doctor willing to treat new Medicaid patients.  Consequently it is very difficult trying to make an appointment for routine examinations.

Of course, this is all the GOP’s fault for opposing single-payer national health insurance in the first place.  And that will be the “solution” offered by the Democrats when Obamacare is threatened by collapse due to its internal inconsistencies and inept administration.

 

 

 A view of Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario

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To:  Mr Daniel Zwicker

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 From: Vice-Principal University Relations

10 26 2015  

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Dear Mr Daniel Zwicker,

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As a member of the Queen’s alumni community, we welcome your valuable feedback. Currently, Queen’s University is undertaking an important project to survey key stakeholders to better understand their experience of Queen’s and to determine how the university is perceived. The findings will be used to enhance the university’s outreach activities, including how we communicate with alumni around the globe.

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As part of this project, we have engaged The Strategic Counsel, a national public opinion research firm, to conduct a survey of Queen’s alumni, students, staff, and faculty.

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Survey responses will not be linked to your personal information in any way. The Strategic Counsel will not know the personal identities of respondents, and Queen’s will receive only de-identified data on completion of the project. Should you enter the prize draw, your identity will remain separate from your responses.

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This is an important initiative for Queen’s and your contribution as a member of the alumni community is very much appreciated.

Thank you for taking the time to complete this survey.

Sincerely,

 

Michael Fraser

Vice-Principal (University Relations)

 

 

 

How far can nostalgia carry the BlackBerry Priv? WATCH

Daniel Bader

October 26, 2015

Canada is remarkably good at rallying around its stars, and just as adept at abandoning them.

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In the technology sector, before it was trendy to dismiss BlackBerry, née RIM, it was a cultural darling, the type of phone — and employer — you boasted about to friends and family.

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The exact date of The Turn is unclear, but the company began losing its cachet amongst consumers as the gulf between software experiences widened between BlackBerry OS and its main competitors, iOS and Android, sometime in 2011. As Apple and Google piled huge resources into outfitting their devices, or their partners’ devices, with touch-friendly features, and apps that took advantage of the latest in hardware developments, BlackBerry piously stayed the course, until it no longer could.

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When it became clear that BlackBerry was building a new operating system based on the extremely powerful QNX kernel, few thought it was an inherently bad idea, but many saw the harsh reality of entering a market, in early 2013, in which two very powerful leaders, Apple and Google, and a stubborn third, Microsoft, practically owned the market. That BlackBerry tried and failed to pursue its own software strategy is a well-known mark against saturation, something Palm learned four years earlier: a strong foundation is not enough to fell the behemoths that, for better or worse, have the industry’s developer community, and all of the buying power, behind them. Even in January 2013, when BlackBerry unveiled the Z10 and Q10, it wasn’t clear how the company would sell enough handsets to keep them profitable. And they didn’t. For many quarters thereafter, legacy BlackBerry OS devices outsold their BlackBerry 10 counterparts. When the Z10 and Q10 were succeeded by the Z10, Q5, and eventually the Classic, Passport and Leap, BlackBerry was recognizing revenue from under a million devices per quarter.

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In many ways, BlackBerry 10 is superior to Android. It was, like iOS, built with touch input in mind, only later being rejigged for navigation with the Classic’s trackpad or Passport’s touch-sensitive keyboard. Its Hub, which the company is bringing over to the Priv in some form, is an excellent way for people to interact with email, texts and, to a lesser extent, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn messages. And it’s unimpeachably secure, a stalwart enemy against malware.

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But the native developer community never showed up. And as iOS and Android shored up their consumer-friendly feature sets, BlackBerry got left behind. When it did add interactive notifications, a flatter, more modern colour palette, and support for Android apps through the Amazon Appstore, the company was under one percent market share in the United States, and support was quickly dwindling for its homegrown devices in Canada. This happened despite relatively warm recognition for BlackBerry’s technical achievements on devices like the Z30, Passport and Classic, well-made and utilitarian devices let down by an increasingly barren app store and a tension within and without on how the company would approach its handset business as it focused on enterprise software and security.

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It was little surprise, then, we eventually began hearing the whispers of a new class of BlackBerry, one outfitted with Android. And when the company revealed the slider back in March, the one that would eventually become known as Venice and then, officially, Priv, we always suspected there was something special about it.

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Much of the ballyhoo around the Priv has focused on its keyboard, but I suspect that will be one of the less important aspects of the device. The world has moved on, and for all of its tactile benefits, the QWERTY keyboard marks but a fraction of the industry’s priorities. The intrigue surrounding the Priv reveals itself to a kind of curiosity, a nostalgia for the time when BlackBerry made the best products — or an approximation of what we considered to be the best — and fulfilled the communications needs of dozens of millions of people.

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That the Priv runs Android doesn’t immediately make it a good phone, but by giving up some of BlackBerry 10’s well-received idiosyncrasies for Google’s well-stocked Play Store is, in most peoples’ minds, a fair trade. Moreover, Google worked with BlackBerry to certify the Priv for use with its Play Services, giving the Waterloo company for the first time unfettered access to Google’s suite of services like Maps, Chrome, Hangouts and more.

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The curiosity with people people are approaching the Priv exceeds that of a regular high-end Android smartphone, but that’s because so little actually new has come out of the camp for so long. The industry is mature, and the players set; for all the improvements in performance, efficiency and optics, most phones are mere replicas of two Platonic ideals. On the one side sits the Nexus, pure and lightweight; on the other, Samsung, ostentatious and bloated. But the two sides are converging, with Google pegging features from its OEM partners, and Samsung reining in its excesses, its latest smartphones a panoply of restraint from the Korean giant.

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Where does BlackBerry fit into this wider picture? After the swelling masses have digested and execrated their Internet feelings on the Priv’s form and function, and the reviewers have moved on, how does BlackBerry navigate this swamp of a market? At least when it controlled both the hardware and software it sat apart, peering in like a proud and headstrong ideologue.

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But within Google’s world, where Samsung basically owns the North American market and companies like LG, Sony, HTC and Motorola lap up the remaining few points, does BlackBerry hold any cachet? And will a focus on security, something that has only marginally affected Android’s reputation in the wider consumer market to date, despite regular opportunities for derision and despair, aid the Priv’s cause? Android is not an insecure operating system, and devices that are regularly updated (read: Nexus phones) are amply fortified to deal with real-time threats as they arise. All of BlackBerry’s kernel-level anti-tampering security will be for nought if it can’t manage to keep its operating system updated, or if it imitates its Android peers by abandoning the Priv only months after launching.

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I’ve asked a few Canadians with close ties to BlackBerry, either because they used to work there or knew people in the Kitchener-Waterloo area that did, whether they think the Priv is a desperate attempt to claw back the market share it lost over the past four years, or if this is a well-executed strategy by John Chen to promote BlackBerry’s suite of software and services in a number of markets that wouldn’t have otherwise considered working with him. Most said that the Priv was in the works for a long time, since shortly after Chen came to the company in late 2013 and, like Nokia, toyed with the idea of releasing an Android phone for years prior.

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A number of things have happened since then. Android phones have become less expensive to manufacturer; Google has drastically improved the Android experience, from usability to aesthetics to security; and BlackBerry has transitioned to a multi-platform organization, recognizing internally, like Microsoft did at an equally crucial time, that iOS and Android were necessary parts of any future product strategy. Whereas Microsoft has re-approached the smartphone market, and the developer community, by making Windows 10 as ubiquitous as possible, BlackBerry is tacking its horse to the only logical compatriot. It is hedging on its customer base wanting the best specs with a price to match. It is hoping that people recognize the brand, and either out of fandom, curiosity, or a sense of stomach-pinching loyalty, choose the Priv over any number of other equally-compelling choices.

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How far can nostalgia carry the Priv? It will manage to get people in the door, which is quite a bit closer to the cash register than BlackBerry has been in some time.

 

curosity

Arranging American Gun Confiscation

By Daren Jonescu

October 23, 2015

AmericanThinker

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CONFISCATION COMING?

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America’s progressive chatter on guns has been shifting noticeably from the abstract language of “control” to the concrete language of “confiscation.” 

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Hillary Clinton is just the latest leading voice to serve notice that the forced disarmament of law-abiding Americans is not the dystopian fantasy of paranoids, but a matter of current policy discussion — and action.

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During an October 16 Town Hall in New Hampshire, a voter asked Hillary Clinton about Australia’s national gun “buyback” program — more accurately dubbed “confiscation” — in which large numbers of firearms were outlawed, and owners compelled to surrender them (for financial compensation).  Here is the question:

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Recently, Australia managed to get away, or take away tens of thousands, millions, of handguns.  In one year, they were all gone. Can we do that? If we can’t, why can’t we?

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And here, after meandering through international gun laws, and citing localized American buyback programs, was the conclusion of Clinton’s response:

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I think it would be worth considering doing it on the national level, if that could be arranged.

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So when asked, in effect, what would prevent a President Hillary Clinton from initiating a gun confiscation program similar to Australia’s, she expressed sympathy with the idea, barring practical difficulties.

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As the NRA’s Chris Cox pointed out in a press release:

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This validates what the NRA has said all along. The real goal of gun control supporters is gun confiscation. Hillary Clinton, echoing President Obama’s recent remarks on the same issue, made that very clear.

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True, but that is only the obvious half of the issue. Let us focus for a moment not on Clinton’s approval of Australia’s gun confiscation, but on the condition she establishes for adopting similar measures in America: “if that could be arranged.” Hillary has a knack for punctuating her mendacity with words that reveal her audacity.  From “a vast right-wing conspiracy” to “[we’ll] make sure that the person who made that film is arrested and prosecuted” (spoken to the father of a man killed in an attack that she knew had nothing to do with any film) to “What difference, at this point, does it make?” (spoken to escape the web of lies in which she had entangled herself with regard to the Benghazi killings), she repeatedly shows herself to be not merely a remorseless dissembler, but also disturbingly coldblooded towards the human obstacles in her path.

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Now, with a quaintly detached, faintly bureaucratic clause — “if that could be arranged” — Clinton has defined the terms of what might turn out to be modern civilization’s symbolic last stand. For the most pertinent fact about Australia’s gun confiscation is that for all the justifiable protest among Australian gun owners, they finally complied. They turned in the legally-acquired property that their government demanded they relinquish, and accepted the national registration of firearms that were not confiscated outright.  Would American gun owners do the same?

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Many would likely obey orders, but a substantial number surely would not. American history is more deeply invested in the idea of private gun ownership than are the histories of other nations.  America has always identified an armed citizenry as essential to its very founding principle, namely the principle of limited, republican government. Listen to Australian and British victims of their countries’ respective gun bans, and you will consistently find they are mainly lamenting the loss of a vaguely defined “tradition,” the violation of their property, or the denial of their freedom to pursue a preferred kind of sportsman’s life. Only in America is resistance to restrictions on private gun ownership still discussed primarily in terms of political philosophy, i.e., as a question concerning the legitimacy of an established government.

In this sense, America may be the only nation which still has a living political philosophy at all, if by political philosophy we mean a theory of the terms upon which governments may properly be founded, and of the corresponding conditions in which rulers forfeit their moral authority to govern. Most of the modern democratic world has devolved to the pre-philosophical (or, if you like, pre-Western) position that power is legitimated by its own mere existence, the position Socrates confronted in the earliest days of genuine political philosophy, in the form of Thrasymachus’ sophistical definition of justice as “the advantage of the stronger.” Hence, in the rest of the so-called civilized world, the notion of a national government forcibly disarming the population is accepted, however uncomfortably, as entirely within the government’s “rights,” or at best a matter to be decided at the ballot box.

In Socrates’ lifetime, the disarming of the Athenian population by the Thirty Tyrants, in 404 B.C., ended in a violent revolt, and the restoration of democracy in 403 B.C. In our late modernity, by contrast, the heirs to Athens’ civilizational legacy face their emasculation with, “Well, I hate to give up my target-shooting pistols, but after all, the law’s the law.”

But is it? Is a law establishing tyranny “the law”?  Is a law forcing the citizenry to surrender their (already-flimsy) power to defend themselves against unjust government expansion — in effect, a law establishing invincible, and hence effectively unlimited, government — “the law”?  Would the progenitors of modern political liberty, from Aquinas to Locke to Jefferson, have accepted the legitimacy of a government that coercively disarmed the population, rendering itself impervious to any practical checks on its action? The issue is not whether any nation’s population should take arms against its presiding establishment, but rather whether the pursuit of freedom and political legitimacy does not require that populations be permitted to retain the means of resistance, i.e., the tools to defend their life, liberty, and property if government should become hostile to the task. Without such means, a government’s only limits are those it imposes on itself, which is to say it has no real limits at all. The tacit understanding of the population’s power to rise up against the most extreme forms of political injustice — that “whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government” — was the condition that marked the dividing line between a just ruler and a tyrant for centuries, even before the idea of limited government had been developed in its modern forms.

Thus, limited government in the true sense entails the state’s tolerance of an armed civilian population — or perhaps more than mere tolerance. During the Virginia ratification debates, George Mason made the following argument for maintaining private militias:

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When, against a regular and disciplined army, yeomanry are the only defence,–yeomanry, unskilful and unarmed,– what chance is there for preserving freedom?…  Forty years ago, when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man,- who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia….  Why should we not provide against the danger of having our militia, our real and natural strength, destroyed?  The general government ought, at the same time, to have some such power….  But I stand on the general principles of freedom, whereon I dare to meet any one.  I wish that, in case the general government should neglect to arm and discipline the militia, there should be an express declaration that the state governments might arm and discipline them. [Elliot’s Debates Vol. 3, 380]

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Here, Mason directly contrasts a national government which seeks to disarm the citizenry (for the Founders, “the militia” meant the people) with one which seeks to arm them — that is, to prepare them to defend themselves. The danger against which he warns his compatriots is that of an armed national government ruling a disarmed citizenry. The government of a free nation, he suggests, should take active steps to prevent such an imbalance.

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Even in America, this principled view of the meaning and scope of legitimate government has dwindled to a minority position, though one which has retained some of its bite, due to the lingering influence of the progressives’ great pet peeve, the U.S. Constitution. There are still tens of thousands (millions?) of Americans who, believing in the Constitution and the system of government it delineates, understand not only in their minds but in their guts what the Second Amendment means, both to their dreams of restoring a limited republic, and to the progressive globalists’ dreams of breaking the spirit of modern liberty once and for all.

With this we return to Hillary Clinton’s carefully understated hopes for a national gun registry and mass confiscations, which she would consider implementing “if that could be arranged.”  That a wide-scale confiscation program could be arranged from a purely logistical point of view is obvious, as such programs have already been successfully carried out in other nations, and far more complicated programs are administered by the U.S. federal government every day. Her reserved phraseology, then, is a bureaucratizing euphemism to mask the real problem that would make such a program difficult to “arrange” in America: resisters.

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Clinton knows what every American gun control advocate knows, namely that a substantial number of Americans see their weapons as political tools of last resort. They will not relinquish their firearms at their government’s “request.” Any national confiscation program would involve many episodes of government agents — police or military — visiting citizens’ homes to search for and seize guns, against some level of resistance from gun owners. Some of these episodes would become violent, involving gunfire and bloodshed, probably on both sides, resulting in the use of increased levels of government force, and in heightened public tension in the face of these armed confrontations between private citizens and the government.

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This is merely a projection of likelihoods based on the levels of patriotism apparent among those gun owners who view this issue as a matter of constitutional life and death. It is therefore the same projection that American politicians, bureaucrats, and commentators who support gun confiscation — immediate or gradual — must be presumed to have made for themselves. They all know civilian disarmament, if truly enforced, would lead to violence, possibly even civil unrest, with repeated instances of government agents firing on American civilians in order to seize legally acquired property that has suddenly been banned. Hence it is reasonable to assume that a major part of the discussion on this issue, among progressives of all stripes, is the question of how, whether, or when this resistance might be reduced to “acceptable levels,” and quelled without stirring broader social upheaval. This is the question buried within the bureaucratic coldness of Hillary’s conditional clause, “if that could be arranged.”

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Let us consider aloud a matter that progressives might prefer to reserve for private cocktail party conversations, namely what sort of “arrangements” would be required to make a national gun confiscation viable in the United States.

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First of all, since the practical obstacle to such a program is the existence of patriotic gun owners, such people must be marginalized with propaganda, and targeted for mockery and suspicion. The process begins in childhood. Mass compulsory schooling is first and foremost a tool for promoting government-friendly attitudes of various sorts; increased nationalization of school curricula, goals, and methods makes the classroom an increasingly effective arena for the undermining of constitutionalist feelings in general, and the promotion of anti-gun sentiments in particular — two aims which go hand in hand, as young people dissuaded from respecting their nation’s history and heroes will find little merit, as adults, in attempts to invoke the Second Amendment (a point which the Supreme Court could render obsolete soon enough). After all, the Constitution was written in the pretechnological era by slave owners, racists, sexists, and capitalist exploiters; how could such a document be useful, let alone decisive, in a modern political debate?

Secondly, as younger generations are increasingly detached from the constitutional and philosophical heritage that spawned America’s arms-bearing tradition, the problem demographic may be presumed to be aging, i.e., dying. Therefore, the shrinkage of the principled resistance may be pursued through a combination of attrition and gradual desensitization to “gun control” talk. This fits neatly within the general progressive effort to isolate (and intimidate) “conservatives” as a cranky cadre of old rural white men, and progressives as an educated, multicultural, multisexual kaleidoscope of global urban youth.

To reinforce the cultural marginalization of constitutionalist gun owners, the two realms of mainstream society in which they have hitherto maintained a dominant presence — the military and law enforcement — must be actively transformed from the “regressive” institutions they have been, into instruments of the progressive elite. The aggressive nationalization of local police operations will inevitably weaken officers’ allegiances to their local communities in favor of a depersonalized, textbook allegiance to federal overseers and priorities. The active promotion of an alternative-lifestyles or diversity agenda within the military will gradually render the hyper-testosteroned, “real man” aspect of military life passé and distasteful to a new breed of sensitive, progressive soldiers increasingly trained to fight for social justice rather than for the U.S. Constitution. Thus, when the experts release their government-funded reports identifying gun-and-Bible-clingers as potential terrorists, and labeling their noncompliance with a gun ban as a criminal affront to American society and a root cause of mass shootings, the soldiers and police will be expected to do their duty and promote public safety against this domestic threat. When the worst and dimmest (most successfully indoctrinated) within these two organizations are finally called upon to perform search and seizure missions — how else would the civilly disobedient be forced to give up their weapons? — they may well do so.

At that moment, despite media attempts to portray the victims as the perpetrators, Americans will have a chance to see what their government is made of, and to decide whether they can live with such a government. And it is certain that Americans who side with the resisters will be virtually alone on this Earth. The rest of the world will see the images of gun-toting civilians standing in defiance of their government as evidence of the reactionary element of America that they find so distasteful. They will cheer on the U.S. government’s violent subduing of these dangerous crackpots.

Such are the considerations entailed by Hillary’s blandly stated condition for moving forward on gun confiscation, “if that could be arranged.” These are in essence the same considerations the late Larry Grathwohl presented to the Weather Underground’s leaders more than forty years ago: “What is going to happen to those people that we can’t re-educate?

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The Weathermen’s infamous answer  (which Bill Ayers waited forty years to disavow) was only common sense. Force has always been, and remains, the ultimate solution for progressives devoted to their aims, when facing an incorrigible minority of non-compliant citizens. The only questions concern how much force may be applied without stirring excessive resistance. Shall we classify this solution and those questions under the heading “Arrangements”?

Thus, limited government in the true sense entails the state’s tolerance of an armed civilian population — or perhaps more than mere tolerance. During the Virginia ratification debates, George Mason made the following argument for maintaining private militias:

.

When, against a regular and disciplined army, yeomanry are the only defence,–yeomanry, unskilful and unarmed,– what chance is there for preserving freedom?…  Forty years ago, when the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man,- who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia….  Why should we not provide against the danger of having our militia, our real and natural strength, destroyed?  The general government ought, at the same time, to have some such power….  But I stand on the general principles of freedom, whereon I dare to meet any one.  I wish that, in case the general government should neglect to arm and discipline the militia, there should be an express declaration that the state governments might arm and discipline them. [Elliot’s Debates Vol. 3, 380]

.

Here, Mason directly contrasts a national government which seeks to disarm the citizenry (for the Founders, “the militia” meant the people) with one which seeks to arm them — that is, to prepare them to defend themselves. The danger against which he warns his compatriots is that of an armed national government ruling a disarmed citizenry. The government of a free nation, he suggests, should take active steps to prevent such an imbalance.

.

Even in America, this principled view of the meaning and scope of legitimate government has dwindled to a minority position, though one which has retained some of its bite, due to the lingering influence of the progressives’ great pet peeve, the U.S. Constitution. There are still tens of thousands (millions?) of Americans who, believing in the Constitution and the system of government it delineates, understand not only in their minds but in their guts what the Second Amendment means, both to their dreams of restoring a limited republic, and to the progressive globalists’ dreams of breaking the spirit of modern liberty once and for all.

With this we return to Hillary Clinton’s carefully understated hopes for a national gun registry and mass confiscations, which she would consider implementing “if that could be arranged.”  That a wide-scale confiscation program could be arranged from a purely logistical point of view is obvious, as such programs have already been successfully carried out in other nations, and far more complicated programs are administered by the U.S. federal government every day. Her reserved phraseology, then, is a bureaucratizing euphemism to mask the real problem that would make such a program difficult to “arrange” in America: resisters.

.

Clinton knows what every American gun control advocate knows, namely that a substantial number of Americans see their weapons as political tools of last resort. They will not relinquish their firearms at their government’s “request.” Any national confiscation program would involve many episodes of government agents — police or military — visiting citizens’ homes to search for and seize guns, against some level of resistance from gun owners. Some of these episodes would become violent, involving gunfire and bloodshed, probably on both sides, resulting in the use of increased levels of government force, and in heightened public tension in the face of these armed confrontations between private citizens and the government.

.

This is merely a projection of likelihoods based on the levels of patriotism apparent among those gun owners who view this issue as a matter of constitutional life and death. It is therefore the same projection that American politicians, bureaucrats, and commentators who support gun confiscation — immediate or gradual — must be presumed to have made for themselves. They all know civilian disarmament, if truly enforced, would lead to violence, possibly even civil unrest, with repeated instances of government agents firing on American civilians in order to seize legally acquired property that has suddenly been banned. Hence it is reasonable to assume that a major part of the discussion on this issue, among progressives of all stripes, is the question of how, whether, or when this resistance might be reduced to “acceptable levels,” and quelled without stirring broader social upheaval. This is the question buried within the bureaucratic coldness of Hillary’s conditional clause, “if that could be arranged.”

.

Let us consider aloud a matter that progressives might prefer to reserve for private cocktail party conversations, namely what sort of “arrangements” would be required to make a national gun confiscation viable in the United States.

.

First of all, since the practical obstacle to such a program is the existence of patriotic gun owners, such people must be marginalized with propaganda, and targeted for mockery and suspicion. The process begins in childhood. Mass compulsory schooling is first and foremost a tool for promoting government-friendly attitudes of various sorts; increased nationalization of school curricula, goals, and methods makes the classroom an increasingly effective arena for the undermining of constitutionalist feelings in general, and the promotion of anti-gun sentiments in particular — two aims which go hand in hand, as young people dissuaded from respecting their nation’s history and heroes will find little merit, as adults, in attempts to invoke the Second Amendment (a point which the Supreme Court could render obsolete soon enough). After all, the Constitution was written in the pretechnological era by slave owners, racists, sexists, and capitalist exploiters; how could such a document be useful, let alone decisive, in a modern political debate?

Secondly, as younger generations are increasingly detached from the constitutional and philosophical heritage that spawned America’s arms-bearing tradition, the problem demographic may be presumed to be aging, i.e., dying. Therefore, the shrinkage of the principled resistance may be pursued through a combination of attrition and gradual desensitization to “gun control” talk. This fits neatly within the general progressive effort to isolate (and intimidate) “conservatives” as a cranky cadre of old rural white men, and progressives as an educated, multicultural, multisexual kaleidoscope of global urban youth.

To reinforce the cultural marginalization of constitutionalist gun owners, the two realms of mainstream society in which they have hitherto maintained a dominant presence — the military and law enforcement — must be actively transformed from the “regressive” institutions they have been, into instruments of the progressive elite. The aggressive nationalization of local police operations will inevitably weaken officers’ allegiances to their local communities in favor of a depersonalized, textbook allegiance to federal overseers and priorities. The active promotion of an alternative-lifestyles or diversity agenda within the military will gradually render the hyper-testosteroned, “real man” aspect of military life passé and distasteful to a new breed of sensitive, progressive soldiers increasingly trained to fight for social justice rather than for the U.S. Constitution. Thus, when the experts release their government-funded reports identifying gun-and-Bible-clingers as potential terrorists, and labeling their noncompliance with a gun ban as a criminal affront to American society and a root cause of mass shootings, the soldiers and police will be expected to do their duty and promote public safety against this domestic threat. When the worst and dimmest (most successfully indoctrinated) within these two organizations are finally called upon to perform search and seizure missions — how else would the civilly disobedient be forced to give up their weapons? — they may well do so.

At that moment, despite media attempts to portray the victims as the perpetrators, Americans will have a chance to see what their government is made of, and to decide whether they can live with such a government. And it is certain that Americans who side with the resisters will be virtually alone on this Earth. The rest of the world will see the images of gun-toting civilians standing in defiance of their government as evidence of the reactionary element of America that they find so distasteful. They will cheer on the U.S. government’s violent subduing of these dangerous crackpots.

Such are the considerations entailed by Hillary’s blandly stated condition for moving forward on gun confiscation, “if that could be arranged.” These are in essence the same considerations the late Larry Grathwohl presented to the Weather Underground’s leaders more than forty years ago: “What is going to happen to those people that we can’t re-educate?”

 .

The Weathermen’s infamous answer (which Bill Ayers waited forty years to disavow) was only common sense. Force has always been, and remains, the ultimate solution for progressives devoted to their aims, when facing an incorrigible minority of non-compliant citizens. The only questions concern how much force may be applied without stirring excessive resistance. Shall we classify this solution and those questions under the heading “Arrangements”?  

 

GLOBAL ANTI – SEMITISM IS ALIVE AND WELL

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The Cult of Violence and the Yellow Badge for Jews

By Michael Curtis

AmericanThinker October 22, 2015

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The wave of violence started by Palestinians youths,the stabbing of Israeli civilians and the Israeli response, that has resulted in the deaths of 43 Palestinians, 10 Israelis, and a Eritrean migrant worker continues. The terrorist attacks have largely been the outcome of false Muslim allegations that Israel was intending to break the status quo arrangements concerning the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount and in the Old City of Jerusalem. These arrangements permit only Muslim prayer on the site since 1967.

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International organizations and the European Union, instead of condemning the Palestinian terrorist attacks, have now added fuel to the fire of incitement and have inflamed tension on the ground. Any reasonable person and organization might be expected to condemn the statement of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on September 16, 2015 that “We welcome every drop of blood spilled in Jerusalem, This is pure blood, clean blood, blood on its way to Allah. With the help of Allah, every martyr will be in heaven.”

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Stabbings by Palestinian youth followed almost immediately after this glorification of the culture of death by Abbas. But the sound of silence resounded again from the international community.

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In an act that must be seen as the height of perversity, UNESCO on October 21, 2015 disgraced itself by passing a resolution by 26 to 6 (among those who were opposed were the US, the UK, and Germany) condemning the Israeli archaeological excavations near the Temple Mount and elsewhere in the Old City. The resolution, introduced by six Arab countries on behalf of the Palestinian Authority, had been toned down under protest, especially that of Irina Bokova, the Director-General of UNESCO who deplored the original proposal. The whole resolution has to be seen as a deliberate Palestinian attempt to rewrite history.

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Most egregious was the clause that was withdrawn seeking to rename the Western Wall, the remaining part of the Jewish Temple, as a Muslim religious site and part of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Nevertheless, in spite of all the evidence to the contrary and the military use of the mosque by Palestinians, the UNESCO resolution condemned the “aggressive and illegal measures taken against the freedom of worship and access of Muslims to the Mosque.” Equally absurd and shameful is that the resolution termed two Jewish holy sites, the Cave of the Patriarchs in Hebron, and Rachel’s Tomb in Bethlehem as Muslim sites.

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The international community has not condemned either the Palestinian cultivation of death nor its distortion of history. Neither has the European Union in its various alternating actions. Some European commentators have concentrated on the wrong problem. Since an article appeared in Le Monde in December 2012 on the issue, some Europeans have been critical of what they term the cultural imperialism of the U.S. The main target is GAFA (Google, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon) that has dominated the Internet. To these four can be added Microsoft. The argument is that they invade personal privacy and that they suggest ways to avoid paying their fair share of taxes. Europe has not been able to regulate them.

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Twenty years ago, the European fight was against McDonald’s. More recently the target is Silicon Valley. The GAFA designation overlaps with those referred to by Europeans as the ”PRISM” companies or the Bullrun Firms, both NSA programs whose existence was leaked by Edward Snowden. The PRISM program, started in 2007, collects Internet communications from at least nine companies, including Microsoft, Yahoo, You Tube, as well as Apple, Google, and Facebook. The Bullrun program, named after the battle in the US Civil War, is defined as intending to “defeat the encryption used in specific network connection technologies.”

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In contrast to their disapproving attitude toward American technology, European countries have been weak or failed to exercise power in responding to Palestinian hostile acts or indeed to the real threat in the world, Islamic terrorism.

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For some time the EU has been funding Non-governmental Organizations (NGOs), more than 20 over the last three years, that support a boycott of Israel. The EU has been constantly critical of Israel’s settlement actions, and of restrictions of movement and access imposed for security reasons.

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Gerald Steinberg has drawn attention to what has been the EU fixation on Israel as revealed in an article by John Gatt-Rutter, former EU representative to the West Bank, Gaza, and UNRWA, in an article in Palestine-Israel Journal, 2015.  Two years earlier, on January 29, 2013, Gatt-Rutter had written an open letter from “Occupied Jerusalem” about Palestinians suffering under military occupation and the victims of Israeli systematic violations of human rights.

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In 2015, Gatt-Rutter indicated what the EU considers the real problems preventing peace — “the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, restrictions on movement and access to Gaza, or actions or inaction by Israel that violate its duties as the occupying power.” He suggests that the EU use its leverage with both sides, but in fact mentions only the Israeli settlements, and it is Israel that has been mainly responsible for not resuming peace talks.

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Israel has been associated with the EU in a number of ways: the 2000 Agreement, the European Neighbor Policy, and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership and Union for the Mediterranean. Nevertheless, the EU for some time has been preparing documents listing sanctions to be levied against Israel in the fields of trade, agriculture, science, and culture. Sanctions were also suggested against Israeli banks, touching on loans, mortgages, and the tax-exempt nature of European charities that deal with Israeli settlements.

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It is a sign of weakness that on October 18, 2015 the European Council of the European Union (EU) adopted the legal acts providing for the lifting of all nuclear-related economic and financial EU sanctions, following the specifications of the nuclear deal with Iran, the Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). They are said to come into effect with the International Atomic Energy Agency verification of the implementation by Iran of agreed nuclear-related measures. The EU High Representative Frederica Mogherini and Iranian Foreign Minister are both sure that all sides, the West and Iran, are strongly committed to ensure that implementation of JCPOA can start as soon as possible.

,

In the same spirit as this decision of the European Council, the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg in the same week ruled to relax the sanctions against Iraco, the main aluminum manufacture company of Iran. This is strikingly different from EU policy to impose sanctions against Israel starting in November 2015. The policy means that products, fruit. Vegetables, cosmetics, toys, and textiles, coming from Israeli businesses in the West Bank, regarded as “settlement products,” estimated to be worth 220 million euros a year, will be marked as such and thereby liable to be boycotted or lose their market.

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This process is a virtual reminder of the Nazi labeling of Jews with a Yellow Badge. It had started on April 13, 2015 when 16 foreign ministers of EU countries, including Britain and France, proposed labeling goods sold in European stores. The specious argument was that European consumers must know the origin of the goods they are buying. Already, Britain, Ireland, and Belgium were labeling goods in this way. Other countries, such as Norway, refuse to accept fruits and vegetables coming from producers in the West Bank.

.

The EU and the international community as a whole would do well to rethink its policy of imposing sanctions on the State of Israel, and address the real current problem, the cultivation of death seemingly entrenched at the moment among young Palestinians.

 .

A PERSONAL NOTE:

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THE GOOD NEWS IS THAT THERE WILL BE A CURE FOR CANCER BEFORE THERE IS A CURE FOR HATRED.

DAN ZWICKER

 

The anger people feel when a relationship makes them feel helpless, whether it’s from disappointment or abuse, is often so painful letting the feelings out seems like the only form of relief.

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Unfortunately, angrily releasing those feelings doesn’t make them go away; instead, it gives them life outside of your head, where they can do even more damage.

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So don’t vent anger before first thinking carefully about the impact it’s likely to have on relationships you may continue to need and/or value.

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Then, if you decide it’s worth taking a stand, compose a positive way to negotiate for what you want . The relief won’t be as immediate, but the possible fall-out won’t make the pain worse.

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Fxck Feelings

Simon & Schuster 2015

By Michael I. Bennett, MD and Sarah Bennett

 

HAPPINESS

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EVERYTHING YOU WANTED TO KNOW AND WERE AFRAID TO ASK

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Refute of happiness:

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How our obsession with positivity is making us miserable — and insufferable

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Toronto-born, Upper Canada College- and Harvard-educated psychiatrist Dr. Michael Bennett often found himself growing increasingly weary of the nattering — the self-obsessing by his patients, their over-belief in a cure for their problems/feelings/anxieties/behaviour if they only worked harder.

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“At some point, I would say, ‘to hell with your feelings,’ ” Bennett says over the phone from his office outside Boston, Mass.

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“The abruptness of hearing a psychiatrist who is supposed to be a patient listener, who is supposed to say, ‘Please, tell me more about that,’ and, ‘Oh, that must have been awful,’ instead saying, ‘So, what are you going to do about it?’ … It really got the conversation jumpstarted.”

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Bennett is co-author, along with his comedy writer daughter Sarah Bennett, of F*ck Feelings: One Shrink’s Practical Advice for Managing All Life’s Impossible Problems, a profanity-laced takedown of the happiness-oriented self-help movement, its moralizing “one-name healers” (Oprah, Phil and Laura) and books that promise to make us brighter, shinier and happier.

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According to the father-daughter duo, the joys of self-betterment are vastly overrated. Negative feelings, they argue, are seeded in our evolution, an adaptive response to warn us of danger and keep us “attached to our tribe.” Instead of trying to be more blissed out, less wrought or angry, they argue, we should assume that we’re going to have negative feelings and develop ways to behave like decent human beings despite them.

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Bennett, who frequently swears — in good humour — with his patients, says profanity does away with any notion of “superficial empathy.” It jars people out of their relentless self-examination and self-criticism, helps them accept what they can’t change (about their personality, spouse, kid, feelings or “f–khead boss”) and focus instead on how to deal with their problems.

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The Bennetts say they aren’t against happiness — who could be? But their book is part of a rising pushback against the relatively recent psychological model of “positive psychology” and the notion that a perpetually upbeat outlook is entirely possible once we rid our “thought patterns” of all things negative and ugly.

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The darker truth, they argue, is that the more we pursue happiness, paradoxically, the unhappier we become. The higher we set up the expectation, the more we beat ourselves up if when we fail to achieve it.

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Or as University College London professor of psychology Adrian Furnham put it in an article last year in Psychology Today, “(Happiness) is like soap in the bath. The more you try to grab it, the more cloudy the water: the more difficult it is to find.”

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Still, we’re being urged to embrace happiness everywhere we turn. In-store and online book aisles brim with titles offering a guide to the cosmos of contentment, from The Happiness Hypothesis, Raising Happiness, and Hardwiring Happiness, to Gretchen Rubin’s two instalments, The Happiness Project and Happier at Home. Pharrell Williams’ ebullient pop song “Happy” (“Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth”) was Billboard’s No. 1 song last year. Diet and exercise books suggest that the only way to be really, truly happy is to “build your best-ever body!” while headlines trumpet studies claiming “positivity” and optimism over pessimism leads to healthier, and longer, lifespans.

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According to scholar and author Christopher Lane, the “happiness” message wholly underpins the self-help movement, where people who succeed in “not being a victim” become winners, and the less successful, by implication, losers. It’s bleeding into the corporate world, too, with its “happiness initiatives” and “chief happiness officers.” We see it in the upbeat Norman Vincent Peale’s The Power of Positive Thinking (1952), a classic, Lane says, of “Christian self-help” that sold more copies in the U.S. in the first two years of its release than any other book except the Bible and still sells more than 20,000 copies a year.

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“Via religion, medicine, self-help and the business world, this thinking now saturates U.S. (and by extension, Canadian) culture,” says Lane, author of Shyness: How Normal Behaviour Became a Sickness. And when we can’t achieve it naturally, increasingly we’re seeking chemical help. Canadians are among the highest consumers of anti-depressants and other mood-altering prescription drugs in the world, with an estimated nine per cent of the adult population in 2011 on antidepressants. Experts worry too many of us are swallowing the pills to deal with normal bouts of misery. It’s like cosmetic pharmacology — using psychoactive drugs to feel “happier” about us.

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But a recent spate of books challenge a model of psychology critics say has become massively oversimplified, and one-dimensional. F*ck Feelings is the latest. The authors of The Upside of Your Dark Side, published late last year, argue humans have more to gain by tapping into our full range of emotions, while Barbara Ehrenreich’s earlier Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, warned against the often manic and reckless optimism pervading North American culture.

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The model that encourages the quest for happiness as an ultimate goal “assumes that we can, and should rid ourselves of difficulty, insecurity and pessimism” simply by altering our perspective, says Lane. “It assumes that we’ve little to learn from our darkest moments and that life itself should be as sunny as our relentlessly upbeat outlook.”

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Not only is that approach absurdly unrealistic, Lane argues, “it also dramatically worsens self-reproach by making anything less than optimized happiness seem like a strange and peculiar failing on our parts, for which we alone are responsible.”

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And it fails to take into account humanity’s darker sides. According to Edmonton native Dr. Frank Farley, horror, not happiness, is the central problem confronting the human race. Farley, a professor of psychology at Temple University in Philadelphia and a past president of the American Psychological Association argues that if psychology believes in a science of the human mind and human behaviour, the emphasis should be on “rolling back the horror that stalks the landscape,” not on feeling happy.

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According to the authors of The Upside of Your Dark Side, which is subtitled Why Being Your Whole Self — Not Just Your “Good” Self — Drives Success and Fulfillment, the omnipresent pressure to be happy is “one of the most toxic pieces of advice in modern psychology.”

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In Western cultures — particularly North America — positivity reigns, says co-author Dr. Todd Kashdan, a professor of psychology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va. The message, he says in an interview, is, “If you can just have more positive emotions — be more optimistic, more cheerful — then all these other benefits will come to you: you’ll find your purpose in life, you’ll have more money, you’ll have more friends, you’ll be less likely to be divorced, you’ll have better relationships with your kids.”

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But every emotion has an adaptive advantage, and to reject that is to tune out useful information. “Think of all the functional problems that human beings have had to deal with over their evolutionary history,” he says. Self-preservation, being accepted into a tribe, reproducing, fending off romantic rivals — “We have been endowed with anxiety, anger, guilt, jealousy and other negative emotions over the course of evolution to get the best possible outcome in challenging situations when these problems arise.”

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Even children understand this now, thanks to Disney Pixar’s latest, Inside Out, which stars five emotions of an 11-year-old girl. Riley is struggling with her family’s move to a new city, and happiness tries her best to win out over the other emotions, particularly sadness — a state to be avoided at all costs. But in the end, (spoiler alert) it’s sadness who saves the day, allowing Riley to be honest about how she is feeling and reconnect with her parents.

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It may be a work of animated fiction, but it illustrates a truth, and other emotions are similarly functional. Recent studies have found that angry people are more creative, possibly because anger, in moderate doses, can be energizing and motivating. Envy and resentment, the research suggests, can also increase performance, even more than admiration. It lights a fire under us, Kashdan says.

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Still, “There is a not-so-hidden prejudice against negative states, and the consequence of avoiding these states is that you inadvertently stunt your growth, maturity, adventure and meaning and purpose in life.”

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Yet still the siren call to be happy, to be better, beckons, and one of the killjoys of a “happy life” is social comparison, Kashdan says. We log on to Facebook and compare ourselves to others without appreciating that what we’re seeing are only the edited “highlight reels” — the good parts, and none of the messy or ugly ones. “For already distressed individuals,” University of Houston researchers reported in April in the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, “this distorted view of their friends’ lives may make them feel alone in their internal struggles, which may compound their feelings of loneliness and isolation.” People may think, “My god, my life is so much worse than theirs.”

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But Facebook and Instagram are too easy targets, says Kashdan, arguing that social media is simply “an extension of everyday human interaction. What we do on Facebook is not unlike other situations where we are hyper focused on making a particular impression on other people to be more attractive,” he says, even if we’re not consciously aware of it. It’s in the clothes we wear, the phones we buy, the groups we join to “showcase our emotional stability, social status and openness to experience,” even if, inside, we’re a blubbering, neurotic mess.

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The more privileged our lives, the more material comforts we’re surrounded by, the more we tend to “psychologize,” says Kashdan — meaning dwell on our feelings and emotions and why we’re not gloriously happy.

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“We spend a lot of time thinking about what this distress means, where does it come from? What in my past went wrong that still has residual effects?”

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No one doubts the validity of true, psychological dysfunction. Mental illness is undeniable. But our emotional reactions to the smaller pieces of daily tragedies and conflicts are more complex.

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And the rumination, the tendency toward self-flagellation is one of the many factors driving the multi-billion-dollar self-help industry, with its motivational speakers and “pseudo-quasi gurus,” as Kashdan describes them, promoting the magical and ever-changing formula to a happier life, a happier relationship.

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Kashdan was one of the first converts to the relatively new field of “positive psychology,” a movement born in the 1990s that shifted the focus away from pathologies, disorders and deficits, to happiness, wellbeing and resiliency.

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Some, like Frank Farley, point out humanistic psychologists such as Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow had been “talking essentially positive psychology a long time ago.” Dale Carnegie’s insanely successful How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold more than 16 million copies since it was first published in 1936.

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Nonetheless, positive psychology positioned itself as a new field of study focused largely on cultivating the best within people and to enhance our experiences at “love, work and play.”

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The emphasis turned to creating “positive” workplaces, “positive” family life and “positive” nations. After decades of Freudian psychoanalysis focusing on neuroses and pathologies, “I think the zeitgeist in psychology was ready for it,” Farley says.

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But Kashdan soon grew disenchanted with all this “gung-ho happiology,” fearing it was breeding a kind of “smiling fascism.”

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Among his worries: When we’re feeling positive, we tend to be more passive. “When we are happy, we are very superficial in our thinking,” he says. By contrast, “When sombre or sad, we’re more concrete and detail-oriented.” We’re also less gullible.

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Positive moods can reduce our motivation levels, research shows. We’re more likely to make errors in judgment. Our memory suffers; we’re less attentive to detail. “But another element of chasing happiness is that difficult and challenging life events are the springboards to higher peaks,” Kashdan says.

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Negative feelings, argues renowned psychiatrist Dr. Allen Frances, are part of what makes us fully human.

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Frances, who chaired the taskforce that wrote the fourth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, says the positive psychology field has produced some intriguing science, but the trouble is that it also lends itself to “the self-help, simple-minded, ‘be happy,’ superficial milieu” of pop psychology. Humans aren’t suited for perfect happiness. We’ve evolved to a world that has always presented enormous challenges, he says. Humans are incredibly resilient, and “it would be silly to expect that people remain happy and joyful in the face life’s challenges.”

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“The idea that there is this easy path to happiness and we should be following it is both mythical and destructive, and reduces the dignity of those people who do wonderful things in the world who aren’t necessarily happy every minute,” says Frances. “It’s not respectful of the human condition.”

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Yet we still face this almost “moral demand” to be happy, and healthy, argue Carl Cederstrom and André Spicer in their new book, The Wellness Syndrome. Happiness, they write, has been positioned as a kind of “gigantic hi-fi that can be turned up, and made louder and richer. All you have to do is put your mind to it.”

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Jamie Gruman, chair of the Canadian Positive Psychology Association, gets where the criticism is coming from. He says critics are pushing back against what they perceive “as this ridiculous, naive, simplistic, childish view that life is all lollipops and rainbows.”

But that’s not how the field meant to position itself, says Gruman, an associate professor at the University of Guelph. It’s not all about being positive, he says.

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“I think that what they (the authors of F*ck Feelings) are saying is partly true. It’s definitely the case that there are a lot of people who over-think their problems and instead of getting on with life and figuring out strategies to handle the unavoidable difficulties of life, they want to just complain about them,” says Gruman.

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But he argues that a “good life” is about balancing the positive with the negative. “All emotions serve a purpose, and trying to run away from the sadness or the anger or despondency that’s part of a normal, healthy existence is to undermine the richness of life.”

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Michael and Sarah Bennett, the authors of F*ck Feelings, argue that there is no situation in life that cannot be endured once we stop replaying and obsessing over negative experiences.

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Many people have less control over their basic behaviours than they deserve, they write. “Neuroscience seems to show that many emotional and behavioural problems we thought were based on bad parents or trauma are also caused by wiring that isn’t reversible,” they say.

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In fact, researchers are increasingly trying to get beyond self-reports of subjective wellbeing (“on a scale of one to 10, how happy are you?’), and are searching instead for an underlying neural basis of happiness. Much of the work is focused on the brain’s “reward centre,” the nucleus accumbens, and a region that drives us to seek out and pursue rewards.

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In the meantime, the Bennetts offer easily digestible suggestions on managing negative states or emotions, among them: “Act decently in spite of the way you really feel.” “Get to know your inner asshole so as to reduce the likelihood it becomes outer.”

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F*uck Feelings isn’t an indictment of psychotherapy or others in the healing professions, the elder Bennett insists, as much as it is a “push for people to be more aware of the limits of treatment.”

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“Work hard to define the limits of what you can’t control,” he says he tells his patients, “and then work hard at taking courage in respecting yourself for doing the best with the rest.”

 

ISRAEL

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The “Startup Nation.”

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WHY ARE U.S. BILLIONAIRES DOUBLING DOWN ON ISRAELI INVESTMENTS?

 ‘

Of course, they’re all multi-billionaires. But there’s something lesser known about them: They stand amongst an ever-growing number of people that have or are currently investing millions of dollars in the Israeli tech industry. More specifically, Israeli tech startups.

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The next question is, why? What makes the Israeli tech industry so unique that these well-known billionaires are readily investing in meaningful amounts?

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Bill Gates attributes it to the people.

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The unique experiences and skillsets in Israel set it apart from similar types of companies in Silicon Valley. He has been quoted as saying, “While startups in Israel are similar to those in Silicon Valley, there are specialists in Israel in fields like information security who get much of their experience from their service in the army. The science and technology curriculum in Israeli universities is also of a very high standard,” he continues, “The level of technological integration in the country is evident. The use of fast speed internet, lap tops and cell phones is advanced here and puts Israel at cutting edge of world technology.”

 

Warren Buffett, on the other hand, attributes it to the Israeli government.

.

In an interview with an Israeli paper, Buffet commented on the positive climate for investors provided by the Israeli government. He said that Israel is “a nation of entrepreneurs with fantastic capabilities. You [Israel] need to continue providing the best and most comfortable conditions for investors. This is the responsibility of the government, which ensures a positive climate for investors.”

Carlos Slim Helu, however, invests because he views Israel as a pioneering leader in the tech industry.

.

He was quoted saying, “We like to have our finger on the pulse of everything regarding new technologies and I know that in this Israel is a world leader, so we are interested in Israeli developments.”

.

For the everyday investor, getting access to profitable, potential investment opportunities can be quite daunting, especially from oversees.

To combat this, a number of investment-based companies have sprung up to help international investors benefit for Israel’s famous ‘tech boom’. Until now there have been only two options for this.

.

Firstly, an individual could join a venture capital fund and leave to the discretion of the fund managers to choose the companies in which to invest your capital. In addition to handing over control of the portfolio, the major drawback is that only ultra-wealthy and well-connected investors have access to these types of opportunities.

Alternatively, you can go the route of the angel investor and hand-select in which companies you invest. The main downside to this is that in order to access early stage startup investments, you need a broad network of contacts within the startup ecosystem.

.

These are the challenges that lead to the vision behind OurCrowd, using an equity-based crowdfunding model for startup investing. This allows any accredited investor to access exciting startup investment opportunities and take part in the “Startup Nation.”

.

Regardless of whether or not one chooses to dive in and invest in Israeli startups via any of the available channels, it’s worth keeping an eye on the developments in Israel’s startup scene. 

.

 OURCROWD

 

 

 

ISRAEL

The “Startup Nation.”

WHY ARE THESE BILLIONAIRES DOUBLING DOWN ON ISRAELI INVESTMENTS?

http://info.ourcrowd.com/billionaires-doubling-down-on-israel-investments/?utm_source=Outbrain&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=OB-doubling-down

 

Of course, they’re all multi-billionaires. But there’s something lesser known about these five: They stand amongst an ever-growing number of people that have or are currently investing millions of dollars in the Israeli tech industry. More specifically, Israeli tech startups.

.

The next question is, why? What makes the Israeli tech industry so unique that these well-known billionaires are readily investing in meaningful amounts?

.

Bill Gates attributes it to the people.

.

The unique experiences and skillsets in Israel set it apart from similar types of companies in Silicon Valley. He has been quoted as saying, “While startups in Israel are similar to those in Silicon Valley, there are specialists in Israel in fields like information security who get much of their experience from their service in the army. The science and technology curriculum in Israeli universities is also of a very high standard,” he continues, “The level of technological integration in the country is evident. The use of fast speed internet, lap tops and cell phones is advanced here and puts Israel at cutting edge of world technology.”

 

Warren Buffett, on the other hand, attributes it to the Israeli government.

.

In an interview with an Israeli paper, Buffet commented on the positive climate for investors provided by the Israeli government. He said that Israel is “a nation of entrepreneurs with fantastic capabilities. You [Israel] need to continue providing the best and most comfortable conditions for investors. This is the responsibility of the government, which ensures a positive climate for investors.”

Carlos Slim Helu, however, invests because he views Israel as a pioneering leader in the tech industry.

.

He was quoted saying, “We like to have our finger on the pulse of everything regarding new technologies and I know that in this Israel is a world leader, so we are interested in Israeli developments.”

 

Ready to play in the big leagues?

Regardless of your reason why, the tricky question is: how? 

For the everyday investor, getting access to profitable, potential investment opportunities can be quite daunting, especially from oversees.

To combat this, a number of investment-based companies have sprung up to help international investors benefit for Israel’s famous ‘tech boom’. Until now there have been only two options for this.

.

Firstly, an individual could join a venture capital fund and leave to the discretion of the fund managers to choose the companies in which to invest your capital. In addition to handing over control of the portfolio, the major drawback is that only ultra-wealthy and well-connected investors have access to these types of opportunities.

Alternatively, you can go the route of the angel investor and hand-select in which companies you invest. The main downside to this is that in order to access early stage startup investments, you need a broad network of contacts within the startup ecosystem.

.

These are the challenges that lead to the vision behind OurCrowd, using an equity-based crowdfunding model for startup investing. This allows any accredited investor to access exciting startup investment opportunities and take part in the “Startup Nation.”

.

Regardless of whether or not one chooses to dive in and invest in Israeli startups via any of the available channels, it’s worth keeping an eye on the developments in Israel’s startup scene. After all, that’s what the most successful investors in the world are doing.