Guide Posts

Contact n Connection …

Posted on May 18, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts, Searching for Success |

Contact and Connection –

Journalist to the Monk – “Jogajog &  Sanjog: Contact and Connection – Please elucidate?”
The Monk always smiling, asks – “Are you from the North?” 
The Journalist, “Yes”.
Monk – “Who all are at home?” 
The Journalist – “Mother has expired. Father is there. Three brothers and one sister. All married.”
The Monk, always smiling, “Do you talk to your father?- When did you talk to him last?”
The Journalist, “May be a month back.”
The Monk:  “Do you brothers and sisters meet often ? When did you last meet as a family?”
Journalist, “We met last – two years ago.”
Monk: “How many days did you all stay together?
Journalist, “Three days”

Monk: “How much time did you  spend with your Father, sitting beside him ?” 

Did you ask how he was? Did you ask how his days are passing after your mother’s death ?”
Journalist is quiet.
The Monk:  “Did you eat together ? 
The Journalist’s eyes show sadness..
The Monk places his hand on the journalist’s hand and says – 
 “Don’t be sad. I am sorry if I have hurt you unknowingly.
But this is basically the answer to your question about “contact and connection jogajog and Sanjog..
‘You have ‘contact’  with your father but you don’t have ‘connection’ with him. You are not connected to him.
‘Connection is between heart and heart… sitting together , sharing meals , caring, hugging each other.
Touch – shaking hands, eye contact,  spending time together.
‘You  brothers and sisters have ‘contact’ but you have no  ‘connection’ with each other.”
This is modern reality. 
Whether at home, in family, in society and every which where we have
lots and lots of contact but there is no connection. No personal communication.
Everybody is in her or in his own World. a his or her own world.
 Let’s not just have ‘contact’. Rather let’s be well “connected” …… caring , sharing , touching , hugging , spending time together with our near and dear and other like minded in our Life’s Journey.
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Four Stories …

Posted on May 15, 2018. Filed under: Books, Guide Posts |

Four Stories by Mich Cochrane – “Recently I was invited to give a special lecture at the university where I teach. I accepted the invitation though, contrary to what my sons might tell you, I don’t really like to lecture. 

But this lecture was different. It would be part of a series inspired by Randy Pausch’s book The Last Lecture. Pausch was a computer-science professor at Carnegie Mellon University who, while facing a terminal diagnosis, spoke directly to his students and colleagues about the things that matter most.

Thankfully I am not sick (illness is not a requirement to participate in the series), but I did try to take my cue from Pausch, and from a line by Bob Dylan: “Let us not talk falsely now, the hour is getting late.”

Rather than deliver some brilliant thesis or clever syllogism, I simply told four stories from my heart — all of them, I hope, like the very best stories – supple and open-ended and perhaps even a bit mysterious”.

These are the four stories.

First Story

I am standing in a bedroom of the house I grew up in. I am four, maybe five years old. My sister, Sue, a year and a half older, is standing next to me, and the two of us are staring out the window into the night sky.

She is teaching me how to wish on a star. She softly says the words, a kind of incantation, and I repeat them, just as softly: “Star light, star bright, first star I see tonight . . .”

Maybe for the first time I feel the strange power of rhythmic language, of poetry. Just to be hearing and speaking such words under such circumstances is magical. Sue explains that I’m supposed to wish for something: my heart’s desire, no limits.

So I do. I wish for a stuffed bear. That’s what I want, but no ordinary teddy bear — a big one, as tall as I am. It is probably the most outrageous and impossible thing I can imagine.

Meanwhile, downstairs, my family is falling apart. My father is a successful trial lawyer, by all accounts a brilliant man, but when he is drinking — which soon will be pretty much all the time — he is angry, violent, and abusive.

He throws dishes, kicks down doors, yells and hits and breaks things. In the years ahead my father will leave, return occasionally to terrorize us, but not support us.

He will cause tremendous suffering and die alone in a downtown hotel room when I am in high school.

My mother right now is in the early stages of an incurable, degenerative neurological disease, which will leave her depressed and crippled: she will die at home with my sister and me caring for her while we are both in college.

We will be poor — no car, no telephone, and, for one memorable stretch, no hot water.

Sometime after my wishing lesson — the next day, as I remember it, but that can’t be true, can it? — my sister goes shopping with a neighbor’s family.

She returns holding in her arms — what else? — one very large stuffed bear. He wears a ribbon tied rakishly around his neck. He has bright eyes and a pink felt tongue. His fur is soft and shiny. And he is big — exactly the size of a five-year-old boy.

He is named Twinkles, which is clever, don’t you think? It must have been my sister’s idea. I would have named him Beary, or maybe Mr. Bear.

Twinkles, it turns out, can talk — at least, he can when my sister is around. He has quite a lively and endearing personality. He’s a good listener, too. He cocks his head and gestures expressively.

Over time Twinkles develops an increasingly complex social life involving other stuffed animals, who also begin speaking and displaying distinctive personalities.

Jim Henson hasn’t invented the Muppets yet, but Sue’s genius for creating furry characters is equal to his. She and I start to think of this collection of animals as inhabiting a place, an independent nation. We call it Animal Town.

I’ll spare you the details, but it has an origin story, an anthem we sing together – a political structure. Twinkles is elected president year after year, term limits be damned. We have a clubhouse, sports teams — by some amazing coincidence,

Twinkles plays baseball, which just happens to be my favorite sport, too — even, I kid you not, trading cards hand-drawn by Sue. Together we create a complex web of stories, a mythology almost as rich and varied as that of the ancient Greeks.

So there is my childhood. On the one hand, confusion and fear, neglect and violence perpetrated by damaged adults; on the other hand, a couple of kids with a vast reservoir of courage, imagination, and love.

Second Story.

I am a sophomore at the University of St. Thomas, a private liberal-arts school in St. Paul, Minnesota.

I am a history and political-science major: for sure I am going to law school; maybe I am going to be president. But first I need to take one more English course, and I don’t know which one to choose.

I am in Aquinas Hall, where the English-department faculty have their offices. I have heard about one English professor in particular, Dr. Joseph Connors.

Several people have told me the same thing: Take a class from Dr. Connors. It’s rumored that, on the last day of the semester, his students rise and give him a standing ovation — he’s that good.

I decide to ask his advice about which course would be best for me. It is wholly out of character for me to do this. I am a good student but pathologically shy. I sit in the back of classrooms and do not ask questions and generally cultivate invisibility.

What possesses me to knock on this strange professor’s door? I can’t say.

I should also mention that, at this time, having graduated from a high school that enforced short haircuts, I have long hair. I also have a beard — unkempt, somewhat Amish, somewhat Russian. (I was aiming for Dostoyevsky but may have landed on Rasputin.)

I am wearing boots and an Army-surplus overcoat. Probably I look like General Ulysses S. Grant after a long, bad night.

The great wonder is that, when I knock on his door looking like this, Dr. Connors doesn’t call security. He smiles. He welcomes me into his office, where the shelves are lined with books. The room even smells like books. It smells like learning.

Dr. Connors is the most deeply literate man I will ever meet. He reads all of Shakespeare’s plays each year. He also reads Boswell’s Life of Johnson — unabridged! — annually. He knows a great many poems by heart: in the middle of a lecture he will stare off into the distance and recite a Shakespeare sonnet. (I used to think there was a teleprompter hidden somewhere.)

But I don’t know any of this yet as Dr. Connors brings me into his office and makes me feel there just might be room for me in this place.

He takes books down from his shelves and shows them to me. He talks about the Romantic writers he’s teaching next semester — Blake, Keats, Byron — as if they were mutual friends of ours.

I nod a lot. These books are treasures; I can tell by the way he handles them. They contain secrets I want to know.

Dr. Connors spends a long time with me, somehow intuiting, as all great teachers do, that behind seemingly simple queries there often lie deeper, more difficult, possibly impossible-to-articulate questions.

I leave his office well on my way to becoming an English major. I don’t want to be president anymore; I want to be Dr. Connors.

He and my other professors and mentors, through their kindness and encouragement, changed my life. They gave me hope that a certain shaky, half-formed story I wanted to tell about myself just might — possibly, maybe, someday — come true.

When I did my PhD studies at the University of Minnesota, Dr. Connors took me to lunch at the beginning of each academic year at the Curtis Hotel, just as his mentor had done for him.

After Dr. Connors retired, after his wife passed away, after I had become a professor myself, my wife and I would visit him. He lived into his nineties. Though increasingly frail in body, he was always generous in spirit, as sharp and curious as ever.

Every time I knocked on his door at Rosewood Estate, part of me remembered with pleasure and gratitude that first time I knocked on his door in Aquinas Hall.

That day he treated me — a scruffy, shy, naive young man — like a serious person, a student of literature, someone worthy of the world of poetry and story. And somehow that is who I have become.

Third Story.

I am at the Gowanda Correctional Facility in western New York. It is two days before Christmas, and I have been invited here because of a program called Battle of the Books:

The inmates form into teams and, after weeks of study, compete by answering trivia questions about four novels for young readers — because the prison librarian believes these books will not be too difficult or intimidating.

Today a book I’ve written — about a grieving, baseball-loving girl named Molly who’s mastered the difficult art of the knuckleball — is one of the selections.

I’ve had my background checked, gone through security, and been given instructions on how to behave in here: Don’t reveal private information. Don’t walk between two inmates. Don’t stand too close to anyone.

I am brought into a big open room like a gym, where the men stand in groups. A couple of hand-lettered signs announce BATTLE OF THE BOOKS and list the names of the teams that are competing.

It feels a little like a high-school mixer, except everyone but the librarians is a man, and all the men are wearing green prison uniforms, and instead of chaperones there are guards. Other than that, it’s exactly like a high-school mixer.

I am here to watch the competition, which is like the bastard offspring of Jeopardy! and street basketball: nerdy knowledge wrapped in high-fives and trash talk.

These guys know more about my novel than I do. They know, for example, the favorite color of the main character’s mother. (Teal.) Numbers, food, the full names of minor characters — they have memorized it all.

They know the freaking batting order of Molly’s baseball team. And they know the other books just as well. Rarely does a team miss a question, no matter how obscure.

There is tremendous joy in the room.

The competition lasts around three hours. After a while I almost feel as if I know these guys. Before I arrived here, I had the usual preconceived notions about prisoners.

Now I see that, except for the green uniforms, the inmates look like people I might run into at the grocery store or a ballgame. I start to wonder: If the guards and inmates switched uniforms, would I be able to tell?

Then I wonder: If I were to put on a green uniform, would I stand out? Would someone say, Hey, what’s the novelist doing dressed like an inmate? I don’t think so.

I find myself rooting for one team in particular. They call themselves the Twelve Steppers, or something like that. I get the reference: they are in recovery, trying to change their lives one day at a time.

These men have done bad things. They’ve committed crimes. They’ve hurt people. But here they are, about to spend Christmas in this place. How can I not root for them?

Afterward the head librarian brings one of the men over to tell me something. He is about my age. “Your book,” he says, “is the first book I’ve ever read.”

He thanks me for writing it. I thank him for reading. He extends his hand, and even though it is against the rules — especially because it is against the rules — I take it and try to squeeze into it all the strength and hope I can.

Fourth Story.

My sister, Sue, the Jim Henson of West St. Paul, Minnesota, grew up to major in political science and French in college and studied for two terms in France.

A self-taught musician — piano, guitar, bass, banjo, harp; you name it, she can play it — she performed in various bands: bluegrass, rock, rhythm and blues, classical, polka, even a little punk-polka, an under appreciated genre.

She graduated with honors from law school, worked with a firm that specialized in antitrust law, drank too much, got sober, started her own practice, then switched to legal aid and worked for the St. Paul American Indian Center before being named a Hennepin County Family Court judge.

She got married and adopted three boys from Korea, one with special needs. Throughout her judicial career she was a radical force, always aiming to make the system less damaging and more merciful.

Ten years ago, when she was diagnosed with breast cancer and undergoing treatment, she moved for a time to traffic court, but she couldn’t give up her inclination to improve the system.

She founded a community-justice initiative and went into Minneapolis neighborhoods that scared even her bailiff.

She sat down with people there, without a robe, across a table in a community center, and listened to their problems, then helped them figure out what they needed to do to get their driver’s license back.

Five years ago Sue learned that her cancer had returned and metastasized to her bones and her brain. It is Stage IV, a terminal diagnosis.

Since then, I have not heard her utter a word of self-pity. She also has not slowed down one bit. She’s taken her sons on a number of trips. She’s organized and spoken at a conference on the topic of “Love and the Law” — an unlikely concept to you and me, but not to Sue.

She’s continued to cook and quilt. She’s maintained her meditation practice and still serves as a kind of personal Buddhist teacher to her sons, her friends, and one brother.

She’s also created a website to share some of her writing. If you visit it — just google “Sue Cochrane healing” — you’ll see that she arranges her writing under several headings.

There’s a section on the law, where she explores more-humane models of resolving disputes. There’s a section called Living My Life, which contains updates on her health.

And there’s a section labeled Power of Love. It contains poems, photos, and essays on compassion. To get to them, you click a link that says, “Click here for unconditional love.” It really says that. “Click here for unconditional love.” I strongly recommend you do this.

About a year ago Sue flew to the Barrow Neurological Institute in Phoenix, Arizona, for brain surgery.

Because her husband needed to stay with their boys, I flew down to be with her. I got on a plane in Buffalo, New York, just about the time she was being prepped.

I thought about what the surgeons were doing, with their scalpels and drills and high-tech vacuums, while I was crossing the Rockies. Not knowing what the result of the surgery would be, I arrived in Phoenix, got a cab to the hospital, found the surgery floor, and entered the recovery room as she was coming to.

She had a wicked gash across her scalp — nineteen staples long — and her face was swollen, one eye almost closed. She looked like she’d gone twelve rounds with Muhammad Ali in his prime.

The surgery, we would soon learn, was a complete success, beyond expectations.

Sue was groggy but recognized me and took my hand. She said two things, again and again, two things I would encourage you to consider saying to yourself and your loved ones from time to time. They are words you can use in almost any circumstance. She said: “I am so happy to be alive.” And: “I’m glad you’re here.”

So there you are: four stories.

There’s no thesis in any of them, no theme, no hidden meaning. If you want to draw some lessons from them, you are free to do so.

You may decide to trust in the sustaining power of the imagination. You may decide to knock on a stranger’s door, or to open doors for others if you can.

You may decide to shake someone’s hand, even if it’s against the rules. And I hope you will click on unconditional love.

Always that: click on unconditional love.


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Art of Deep Breathing …

Posted on May 14, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

From Baba Mail –
It is the belief of many cultures from around the world that the process of breathing is the absolute essence of being. A continual cycle of expanding and contracting, breathing is an example of the constant polarity that is so present in nature, much like wake and sleep, day and night, growth and decay, and life and death.

Unlike other bodily functions, breathing is used to help us communicate between each of these dichotomies, which makes it a fantastic tool for facilitating positive change in our lives, whether we’re doing it voluntarily or involuntarily.                                                                                                               …

Breathing consciously can actually be used to influence some of the sympathetic nervous system’s functions, such as the regulation ofblood pressure, digestion, heart rate, circulation, and much more. As such, breathing exercises act as a bridge into bodily functions over which we generally have little to no control.


 When we become emotionally stressed, our nervous system becomes stimulated, which ends up causing a few physical reactions. We sweat, our heart rate increases, our breathing becomes rapid and shallow, and our muscles tense up. If this occurs for an extended period of time, our nervous system may become overstimulated, leading to muscle pain, high blood pressure, inflammation, and other unwanted symptoms. However, all of these can be reversed or prevented by using deep breathing exercises.
You can train breathing to affect both positive and negative health influences. Being stressed can lead the muscular and connective tissue in your chest to get restricted, which will result in a decreased range of motion in your chest wall. Shallow and rapid breathing causes the chest to expand less than it would with deeper breaths, which results in ‘chest breathing’.

To find out if you are a chest breather simply place your left hand on your abdomen and your right hand on your chest. Take a few breaths in and out and see which hand rises the highest. If your left hand rises the most, then you are an abdomen breather, however, if it is your right hand which rises highest, then that means that you’re a chest breather.                                           …

Chest breathing is not efficient since most of the blood flow ends up taking place in the lungs’ lower lobes, areas which only have limited air expansion for chest breathers. This results in poor delivery of nutrients to the tissues and less oxygen transfer to the blood.                                                                           ..

Luckily, similar to learning to ride a bicycle or play a guitar, you can actually train your body to improve its breathing technique. By practicing regularly, you’ll be able to make your body utilize abdomen breathing most of the time, even while you sleep.                                                                                               ..

The Great Benefits of Abdominal Breathing                                                         ..

Abdominal breathing is frequently also called diaphragmatic breathing. Your diaphragm is a huge muscle which can be found between the abdomen and chest. While contracting it is pushed downwards, which results in the abdomen expanding, and forcing air into the lungs. At the same time, blood is pumped into the chest, which improves blood flow to the heart, strengthening the immune system and boosting physical stamina.   ..

By making use of abdominal breathing, you will also increase the flow of lymph in your body, which will help prevent lung-based infection and other respiratory illnesses. Additionally, you will also be constantly stimulating your body’s relaxation mechanism, resulting in a greater overall sense of well-being.                                                                                                                         .

How to Perform Breathing Exercises                                                                      ..

You should try and practice this breathing exercise at least once a day, especially if you are suffering from physical or emotional pain:                           ..

1. Place one hand on your abdomen and the other on your chest.                           .

2. Exhale through your mouth as usual, then take a slow and deep breath through your nose. Imagine you are trying to absorb all of the air in the room. Hold it for 7 seconds.                                                                                           …
3. Exhale slowly through your mouth for up to 8 seconds. While the air is being released, gently contract your abdominal muscles to remove any remaining air from the lungs.                                                                                       ..
4. Repeat this cycle another 4 times, for a total of 5 deep breaths. This shouldn’t take you more than a minute to complete.                                               ..

Abdominal breathing is only one of many different kinds of breathing exercises that can help improve your quality of life. However, it is the basis of many other breathing techniques, so it would be best to master it before try more advanced exercises.

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Political Strike n Counter Strike …

Posted on May 1, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

News 18 – Political scientists Lance Bennett and Alexander Sergerberg in their seminal work on the impact of Connective Action in political communication demonstrate how timing of a political reaction effects a desired outcome in a given situation.

Power in a Hybrid Media environment – the two aver – is wielded by those who know “when to act quickly, and when to delay, when to devote intensive attention to the pursuit of a goal, when to repeat, when to act alone, and when to coordinate” an action.

 The first day of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s campaign and instant ripostes by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah are a classical example in this genre of political communication.

With limited internet penetration, news and information in India is circulated in Hybrid Media environment. Which means new and legacy media dovetail and overlap to create complex field of mass communication for the proliferation of information. The legacy media, on the contrary, operates purely on the conventional model where broadcaster wields enormous power.

Prime Minister Modi’s rallies in poll-bound Karnataka had three distinct features. In getting a Kannada translator, Modi tried to blunt Siddaramaiah’s case on Kannadiga sub-nationalism. Basically, BJP in Karnataka was attempting to avoid the ‘Bihari vs Bahari’ trap they fell for during Bihar polls in 2015..                                                                                                                                                                                                                            The second noticeable aspect of Prime Minister’s speeches was a sharp attack on the Congress on dynastic politics. In this regard, denial of ticket to BS Yeddyurappa’s son seems to be a well thought out decision.         .          .                                                                                                                                  Third, the Prime Minister by attacking Rahul Gandhi in his elections speeches has tried to drag in the Congress national leadership. In the initial phases of electioneering, BJP to some extent had played on with Congress’ tactic of making Karnataka polls a Modi vs Siddaramaiah contest.                   .                                                                                                                                 This strategy has yielded rich dividends to the party in states since 2014. With the exception of two – Delhi and Bihar – where the strong local leadership has challenge BJP’s star vote catcher to emerge victorious.          ..                                                                                                                                     In mocking Rahul Gandhi, Prime Minister has attempted to temper the Modi vs Siddaramaiah binary in Karnataka polls.                                                 ..                                                                                                                                 The Congress party – despite its status quoist tendencies – was surprisingly quick and nimble in its response to Prime Minister’s statements. Karnataka CM fired the first salvo Tuesday morning when he tweeted a sarcastic welcome to the PM.                                                                                                       …                                                                                                                                This was followed by a continuous commentary on Twitter, as Siddaramaiah continually responded to all major points raised by Modi in his election speeches.                                                                                 ..                                                                                                                                 The CM was joined in by other powerful Congress voices to create a collective chorus of rebuttals on the social media and elsewhere in what would be classified as Connective Action in political communication in Hybrid Media environment demonstrated by Bennett and Sergerberg.

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Equinoxes – All You Need to Know …

Posted on March 22, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

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Army’s Command and Staff Streams …

Posted on March 16, 2018. Filed under: From a Services Career, Guide Posts |

Maj. Stephen W. Richey, USA Ret., served as an enlisted Armor crewman from 1977 to 1979 and graduated from West Point as an Armor officer in 1984. He served in various assignments in Germany, Ethiopia, Iraq and the continental U.S. Richey holds a master’s degree in history from Central Washington University and is the author of the book Joan of Arc: The Warrior Saint.

Our Army’s penchant for operations orders that are hundreds of pages, is for dull, unimaginative people who are good at slavishly following a cookbook recipe. It is not for people who possess the spark of combat creativity.

Military history is replete with examples of great Generals, with a couple staff officers at their side, writing orders in minutes, using the hood of their personal vehicle as a desk.

Our writing to cover all possible situations in our mandatory process of planning the next battle is a fruitless attempt to eliminate the uncertainties of war. Uncertainty is a basic condition of war, and the best battlefield commanders thrive on uncertainty.

We attempt to forecast what we will do if this happens and how we will react if that happens, leaving no possibility unaccounted for. Given the unpredictable chaos of battle in which an intelligent enemy gets a vote in what happens—such attempted forecasting is a waste of time and effort.

A free-thinking and active enemy, a change in the weather, an unforeseen delay or blunder, the random whims of luck—and the fact that information about the situation is never complete and frequently wrong—will inevitably combine to produce situations not dreamed of in all what we have catered for.

Far better than over scripted staff procedures is a certain quality that should be part of the mind of every battlefield commander.

The French call this quality coup d’oeil, the “stroke of the eye” that enables the great commander to look at the terrain of a future battlefield and instantly intuit how to place his soldiers and weapons on that terrain to defeat the enemy.

Napoleon had this quality. The parallel German concept to coup d’oeil is fingerspitzengefühl, the “fingertip feeling” that enables the great commander to quickly and intuitively sense how the chaotic ebb and flow of battle is playing out and to issue new orders to his forces accordingly. Rommel had this quality.

Using an English-language phrase, we could say George S. Patton Jr. had the sixth sense that enabled him to understand a constantly changing battlefield situation and rapidly act on his understanding—always faster than either his fellow American or opposing German commanders could.

His pedestrian superior officer, Omar N. Bradley, criticized Patton for being a poor planner. Perhaps Bradley envied how Patton delivered victory after victory by boldly following his inner light rather than bogging himself down in rigid staff procedures. We need to find and nurture more Pattons.

An Army Field Manual – Army Planning and Orders Production is headed by a quotation from Patton: “A good plan violently executed NOW is better than a perfect plan next week.”

Ironically, however, the following 64 pages of that chapter quash the Patton spirit by mandating a planning process of over scripted complexity. For just one example, our staffs prepare three courses of a What’s magic about three courses of action? Why not two? Why not four?

Standardized procedure wrongfully trumps an intelligent sense of what any given unique situation requires. This insistence on a point of procedure causes the common vice of staff officers creating one or two courses of action that are intentionally so bad the commander can instantly discard them in favor of the one course of action the staff already knew he wanted.

Ginning up courses of action to deliberately see them quickly dismissed is a criminal waste of time and effort in wartime situations, in which every drop of time and effort is precious and irreplaceable.

Worse, having the staff prepare three courses of action from which the commander is to choose implies a disturbing passivity on the commander’s part.

Under the time crunch of combat, a great commander looks at the ground, looks at his own forces, looks at the enemy and—quickly—tells his staff that “this” is the one course of action he has decided on. He sets his staff to work doing the coordination to make his plan work.

He and his staff win the deadly race against the enemy who is simultaneously trying to figure out what to do and how to do it.

Based on the above, I propose the following:

First, the Army should have two career tracks for its officers: a command track for about 10 percent and a staff track for the other 90 percent. Under this system, young captains would command a company/battery/troop either before or after doing a staff job or two.

Then, based on their comparative performance as either commanders or staff officers, they would be slotted as either commanders or staff officers for the rest of their careers. Obviously, those slotted as career staff officers would outnumber those slotted as career commanders by about 10 to one.

Second, commanders at all levels must be forbidden to possess personal computers, forbidden to exchange emails and forbidden to create PowerPoint slides. Let staff officers have ranks of computers and drown in emails and PowerPoint slides.

The rationale for my proposals flows from my observation that the personality traits that make a good commanding officer and the personality traits that make a good staff officer are the perfect inverse of each other.

Patton’s performance ratings from his staff officer times were poor. Fortunately for the Allies, Marshall and Eisenhower had enough sense to know they needed a larger-than-life battlefield prima donna, and they knew where to find him.

In time of war, necessity can make anything forgivable, and as soon as the war was over, they made Patton go away. Not even the necessity of war could rescue the brilliant, charismatic, maverick Terry Allen from the safe, solid, dull Bradley.

Furthermore, leadership by PowerPoint and email is killing our ability to ever again produce somebody like Patton. Computers, emails and PowerPoint slides are a scourge that threatens to make commanders indistinguishable from staff officers.

I propose “Richey’s law” with two corollaries:

Demands from higher headquarters for more information and more staff coordination will always expand to choke whatever new communications technology has just been invented.

If radios and telephones can’t convey enough information quickly enough, then computer networks of a certain size, speed and bandwidth will. And if that previous-generation computer network can’t convey enough information quickly enough, then a new-generation computer network of greater size, speed and bandwidth will. And so on, ad infinitum ad absurdum.

First corollary: Computers are not labor-saving devices. They are labor-creating devices in that they enable more people at more echelons to micromanage more numerous and more inane issues than ever before.

Second corollary: The deluge of extra information made possible by computers does not improve combat effectiveness, because the sheer volume of information now exceeds the brain capacity of the average human commander to absorb and use in a reasonable time.

The wise commander must now know when to turn off the deluge and revert to applying classic commander’s intuition—his “feeling in the fingertips” in the old German phrase or his “stroke of the eye” in the old French phrase—just like the best commanders have done since Alexander the Great.

Also, the extra work for staff officers made possible by computers does not improve combat effectiveness because almost all of this extra work is needless “eyewash.” An old-fashioned textual after-action report describing a recent firefight is a better and simpler tool than a high-tech, high-gloss computer graphics storyboard.

Today’s commanding general at war typically exchanges hundreds of emails a day, and any commanding general who sends and receives hundreds of emails a day is not commanding! He is chained to his computer when he could and should be out on the battlefield seeing the fight with his own eyes and influencing the fight with the power of his personal presence and example.

These two truths apply to any battlefield:

First, if a commander at any level has something to say, then what he has to say is so important it must be said voice-to-voice with a radio or telephone or, even better, face-to-face.

Second, anything that needs to be said that is less important than what the commander has to say should be said by staff officers and can be appropriately said via email.

Due to the scourge of personal computers, the character of the combat leader is debased while the character of the office bureaucrat is exalted. In today’s Army, an officer who is mediocre at staff work will be passed over for command. His personality traits that could make him an ideal commander will be lost to the Army.

Our Army has cut itself off from developing more Pattons. What precious few Pattonesque higher commanders there are reached their current positions in spite of, not because of, our Army’s culture.

In conclusion, our Army should rethink its battle planning process with a view toward streamlining the process while emphasizing the commander’s role as the guiding visionary.

Our Army should consider separate career paths for commanders and staff officers of promise. In addition, our Army must liberate its bold battlefield leaders from the shackles of personal computers, emails and PowerPoint slides. We need our Army culture to develop our next Patton, not restrain him.


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FB and Maslow …

Posted on March 9, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

Strike up a conversation about work values, and it won’t be long before someone brings up a pyramid — a famous psychologist’s best-known theory.

Abraham Maslow’s big idea was that we all have a hierarchy of needs: once our basic physiological and safety needs are fulfilled, we seek love and belongingness, then self-esteem and prestige, and finally self-actualization.

But that pyramid was built more than half a century ago, and psychologists have recently concluded that it’s in need of renovation.

When you review the evidence from the past few decades of social science, it’s hard to argue with Maslow’s starting point.

If your basic needs aren’t met, it’s hard to focus on anything else. If you have a job that doesn’t pay enough, and you’re up all night worrying about survival, chances are you won’t spend much time dwelling on self-actualization.

But Maslow built his pyramid at the dawn of the human relations movement, when so many workplaces in the manufacturing economy didn’t have basic physiological and safety needs covered.

Today more companies are operating in knowledge and service economies.

They’re not just fulfilling basic needs; they’re aiming to fulfill every need, providing conveniences like meals and gyms, and competing to be the best places to work (from 1984 through 2011, those that won outperformed their peers on stock returns by 2.3% to 3.8% per year).

In those environments, survival isn’t in question.

And once you get past that layer of the pyramid, the rest of it falls apart. People don’t need to be loved before they strive for prestige and achievement. And they don’t wait for those needs to be fulfilled before pursuing personal growth and self-expression.

If Maslow were designing his pyramid from scratch today to explain what motivates people at work, beyond the basics, what would it look like? That’s a question we set out to answer at Facebook, in collaboration with our people analytics team.

We survey our workforce twice a year, asking what employees value most. After examining hundreds of thousands of answers over and over again, we identified three big buckets of motivators: career, community, and cause.

Career is about work: having a job that provides autonomy, allows you to use your strengths, and promotes your learning and development. It’s at the heart of intrinsic motivation.

Community is about people: feeling respected, cared about, and recognized by others. It drives our sense of connection and belongingness.

Cause is about purpose: feeling that you make a meaningful impact, identifying with the organization’s mission, and believing that it does some good in the world. It’s a source of pride.

These three buckets make up what’s called the psychological contract — the unwritten expectations and obligations between employees and employers. When that contract is fulfilled, people bring their whole selves to work. But when it’s breached, people become less satisfied and committed. They contribute less. They perform worse.

In the past, organizations built entire cultures around just one aspect of the psychological contract. You could recruit, motivate, and retain people by promising a great career or a close-knit community or a meaningful cause. But we’ve found that many people want more.

In our most recent survey, more than a quarter of Facebook employees rated all three buckets as important. They wanted a career and a community and a cause. And 90% of our people had a tie in importance between at least two of the three buckets.

Wondering whether certain motivators would jump out for particular people or places, we broke the data down by categories. We started with age.

There’s a lot of talk about how different Millennials are from everyone else, but we found that priorities were strikingly similar across age groups.

Contrary to the belief that Millennials are more concerned with meaning and purpose, we found that younger people cared slightly less about cause — and slightly more about career — than older people.

In fact, people ages 55 and above are the only group at Facebook who care significantly more about cause than about career and community.

This tracks with evidence that around mid-life, people become more concerned about contributing to society and less focused on individual career enhancement.

But overall, the differences between age groups were tiny. And that’s not just true at Facebook. In a nationally representative study of Americans across generations, Millennials, Baby Boomers, and Gen Xers had the same core work values — and tended to rank them in the same order of importance.

As we’ve said before, Millennials want essentially the same things as the rest of us.

We also didn’t see any major differences by level, or by performance reviews: people valued these three motivators whether they were exceeding, meeting, or falling short of expectations.

And when we compared office locations, it was clear that career, community, and cause were all prized around the globe.

Finally, we turned to function. “If it weren’t for the people,” Kurt Vonnegut once wrote, “the world would be an engineer’s paradise.”

Survey says: false. Our engineers care a lot about community, giving it an average rating of 4.18 on a 1-5 scale. And just as we saw with age and location, across functions people rated career, community, and cause as similarly important.


“To know what one really wants,” Maslow argued, “is a considerable psychological achievement.”


Our data suggest that people are very clear on what they want at work — and they fundamentally want the same things. When it comes to an ideal job, most of us are looking for a career, a community, and a cause.

These are important motivators whether you’re 20 or 60, working in engineering or sales, in Luleå or São Paulo or Singapore or Detroit. We’re all hoping to find a what, a who, and a why.
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Official Assassinations …

Posted on March 8, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

Most Countries with the needed power and expertise have assassination programmes aimed at elimination of perceived political threats.

Here is a Review of an authoritative Book on the Israeli Enemy Assassination Story.

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2018 Women’s Day – Some Quotes …

Posted on March 8, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

International Women’s Day is also known as the United Nations (UN) Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace.

What is the point of observing International Women’s Day if we don’t listen to what the women among us have to say? We’ve compiled 20 truths about life (and how to enjoy it) from the writings of the women writers we love.

“You will never truly know yourself, or the strength of your relationships, until both have been tested by adversity.” – J.K. Rowling, Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination

“You cannot find peace by avoiding life.” – Virginia Woolf

“What do we live for, if it is not to make life less difficult for each other?” – George Eliot

“You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view… Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it.”– Harper Lee (To Kill a Mockingbird)

“When you can’t find someone to follow, you have to find a way to lead by example.” – Roxane Gay (Bad Feminist)

“At some point in life the world’s beauty becomes enough. You don’t need to photograph, paint, or even remember it. It is enough.” – Toni Morrison

“A book is a good substitute for a man. Fiction, preferably.” – Kamala Suraiyya Das (Wages of Love)

“Do your thing and don’t care if they like it.” – Tina Fey (Bossypants)

“The object we call a book is not the real book, but its potential, like a musical score or seed. It exists fully only in the act of being read; and its real home is inside the head of the reader, where the symphony resounds, the seed germinates. A book is a heart that only beats in the chest of another.”– Rebecca Solnit (The Faraway Nearby)

“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.”– Maya Angelou

“I always deserve the best treatment because I never put up with any other.”– Jane Austen (Emma)

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.” – Nora Ephron

“Life appears to me too short to be spent in nursing animosity or registering wrongs.” – Charlotte Brontë (Jane Eyre)

“If you want to know what’s in motherhood for you, as a woman, then – in truth – it’s nothing you couldn’t get from, say, reading the 100 greatest books in human history; learning a foreign language well enough to argue in it; climbing hills; loving recklessly; sitting quietly, alone, in the dawn; drinking whisky with revolutionaries; learning to do close-hand magic; swimming in a river in winter; growing foxgloves, peas and roses; calling your mum; singing while you walk; being polite; and always, always helping strangers. No one has ever claimed for a moment that childless men have missed out on a vital aspect of their existence, and were the poorer, and crippled by it.” – Caitlin Moran (How to Be a Woman)

“Nothing I accept about myself can be used against me to diminish me.”– Audre Lorde (Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches)

And here’s a bonus: “Ignore what other people think. Most people aren’t even paying attention to you.” – Amy Poehler

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Anti Semitism …

Posted on March 3, 2018. Filed under: Guide Posts |

Antisemitism – How the Origins of World’s Oldest Hatred Still Holds Ground – By GERVASE PHILLIPS, Principal Lecturer in History, Manchester Metropolitan University. This Article was originally published on The Conversation.

Antisemitic incidents are on the rise across the globe. To understand this modern hatred we need to look into the past and understand its origins.

Antisemitism rears its ugly head in every aspect of public life, whether internal debates within political parties or accusations of conspiratorial networks or plots in politics and business.

Antisemitism is on the march. From the far-right demonstrators in Charlottesville, Virginia, with their “Blood and Soil” chants and their “Jews will not replace us” placards to attacks on synagogues in Sweden, arson attacks on kosher restaurants in France and a spike in hate crimes against Jews in the UK.

Antisemitism seems to have been given a new lease of life. The seemingly endless conflicts in the Middle East have made the problem worse as they spawn divisive domestic politics in the West. But can the advance of antisemitism be attributed to the rise of right-wing populism or the influence of Islamic fundamentalism?

One thing is clear. Antisemitism is here and it’s getting worse. Antisemitism rears its ugly head in every aspect of public life, whether internal debates within political parties or accusations of conspiratorial networks or plots in politics and business.

Or even in the accusations that Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein’s sexually predatory behaviour was somehow linked to his Jewish origins. But by focusing narrowly on the contemporary context of modern antisemitism, we miss a central, if deeply depressing, reality.

Jeffrey Goldberg, the editor of The Atlantic magazine, puts it correctly when he says that what we are seeing is an ancient and deeply embedded hostility towards Jews that is reemerging as the barbarous events of World War II recede from our collective memory.

Goldberg says that for 70 years, in the shadow of the death camps, antisemitism was culturally, politically and intellectually unacceptable. But now “we are witnessing … the denouement of an unusual epoch in European life, the age of the post-Holocaust Jewish dispensation”.

Without an understanding of antisemitism’s ancient roots, the dark significance of this current trend may not be fully understood and hatred may sway popular opinion unchallenged.

Antisemitism has been called history’s oldest hatred and it has shown itself to be remarkably adaptable. It is carved from – and sustained by – powerful precedents and inherited stereotypes.

But it also taking on variant forms to reflect the contingent fears and anxieties of an ever-changing world. Understood this way, it is the modern manifestation of an ancient prejudice – one which some scholars believe stretches back to antiquity and medieval times.

Ancient tradition of hatred. The word “antisemitism” was popularised by the German journalist Wilhelm Marr. His polemic, Der Sieg des Judentums über das Germentum (The Victory of Jewry over Germandom), was published in 1879.

Outwardly, Marr was a thoroughly secular man of the modern world. He explicitly rejected the groundless but ancient Christian allegations long made against the Jews, such as deicide or that Jews engaged in the ritual murder of Christian children.

Instead, he drew on the fashionable theories of the French academic Ernest Renan (who viewed history as a world-shaping contest between Jewish Semites and Aryan Indo-Europeans).

Marr suggested that the Jewish threat to Germany was racial. He said that it was born of their immutable and destructive nature, their “tribal peculiarities” and “alien essence”.

Antisemites like Marr strove for intellectual respectability by denying any connection between their own modern, secular ideology and the irrational, superstitious bigotry of the past.

It is a tactic which is employed by some contemporary antisemites who align themselves with “anti-Zionism”, an ideology whose precise definition consequently excites considerable controversy.

But this continuing hostility towards Jews from pre-modern to modern times has been manifest to many. The American historian Joshua Trachtenberg, writing during World War II, noted:

Modern so-called ‘scientific’ antisemitism is not an invention of Hitler’s … it has flourished primarily in central and eastern Europe, where medieval ideas and conditions have persisted until this day, and where the medieval conception of the Jew which underlies the prevailing emotional antipathy toward him was, and still is, deeply rooted.

In fact, up until the Holocaust, antisemitism flourished just as much in western Europe as in central or eastern Europe. Consider, for example, how French society was bitterly divided between 1894-1906, after the Jewish army officer, Captain Alfred Dreyfus, was falsely accused and convicted of spying for Germany.

It saw conservatives squaring up against liberals and socialists, Catholics against Jews. Yet Trachtenberg was undoubtedly correct in suggesting that many of those who shaped modern antisemitism were profoundly influenced by the older “medieval” tradition of religious bigotry.

The Russian editor of the infamous Protocols of Zion – a crude and ugly, but tragically influential, forgery alleging a Jewish world conspiracy – was the political reactionary, ultra-Orthodox, and self-styled mystic Sergei Nilus.

Wrought by fear and hatred of the challenges to traditional religion, social hierarchies and culture posed by modernity, Nilus was convinced that the coming of the Antichrist was imminent and that those who failed to believe in the existence of “the elders of Zion” were simply the dupes of “Satan’s greatest ruse”.

So modern antisemitism cannot be easily separated from its pre-modern antecedents. As the Catholic theologian Rosemary Ruether observed:

The mythical Jew, who is the eternal conspiratorial enemy of Christian faith, spirituality and redemption, was … shaped to serve as the scapegoat for [the ills of] secular industrial society.

Antisemitism in antiquity? Some scholars would look to the pre-Christian world and see in the attitudes of ancient Greeks and Romans the origins of an enduring hostility.

Religious Studies scholar Peter Schäfer believes the exclusive nature of the monotheistic Jewish faith, the apparent haughty sense of being a chosen people, a refusal to intermarry, a Sabbath observance and the practise of circumcision were all things that marked Jews out in antiquity for a particular odium.

Finding examples of hostility towards Jews in classical sources is not difficult. The politician and lawyer Cicero, 106-43BC, once reminded a jury of “the odium of Jewish gold” and how they “[stick together]” and are “influential in informal assemblies”.

The Roman historian Tacitus, c.56-120AD, was contemptuous of “base and abominable” Jewish customs and was deeply disturbed by those of his compatriots who had renounced their ancestral gods and converted to Judaism.

The Roman poet and satirist Juvenal, c.55-130AD, shared his disgust at the behaviour of converts to Judaism besides denouncing Jews generally as drunken and rowdy.

These few examples may point towards the existence of antisemitism in
antiquity. But there is little reason to believe that Jews were the objects of a specific prejudice beyond the generalised contempt that both Greeks and Romans exhibited towards “barbarians” – especially conquered and colonised peoples.

Juvenal was every bit as rude about Greeks and other foreigners in Rome as he was about Jews. He complained bitterly: “I cannot stand … a Greek city of Rome. And yet what part of the dregs comes from Greece?”

Once the full extent of Juvenal’s prejudice has been recognised, his snide remarks about Jews might be understood as being more indicative of an altogether more sweeping xenophobia.

The ‘Christ killers’ It is in the theology of early Christians that we find the clearest foundations of antisemitism.

The Adversus Judaeos(arguments against the Jews) tradition was established early in the religion’s history. Sometime around 140AD the Christian apologist Justin Martyr was teaching in Rome.

In his most celebrated work, Dialogue with Trypho the Jew, Justin strove to answer Trypho when he pointed to the contradictory position of Christians who claimed to accept Jewish scripture but refused to follow Torah (the Jewish law).

Justin responded that the demands of Jewish law were meant only for Jews as a punishment from God. Although still accepting the possibility of Jewish salvation, he argued that the old covenant was finished, telling Trypho: “You ought to understand that [the gifts of God’s favour] formerly among your nation have been transferred to us.”

Yet Justin’s concern was not really with Jews. It was with his fellow Christians. At a time when the distinction between Judaism and Christianity was still blurred and rival sects competed for adherents, he was striving to prevent gentile converts to Christianity from observing the Torah, lest they go over wholly to Judaism.

Vilifying Jews was a central part of Justin’s rhetorical strategy. He alleged that they were guilty of persecuting Christians and had done so ever since they “had killed the Christ”.

It was an ugly charge, soon levelled again in the works of other Church Fathers,such as Tertullian (c.160-225AD) who referred to the “synagogues of the Jews” as “fountains of persecution”. The objective of using such invective was to settle internal debates within Christian congregations.

The “Jews” in these writings were symbolic. The allegations did not reflect the actual behaviour or beliefs of Jews.

When Tertullian attempted to refute the dualist teachings of the Christian heretic Marcion (c.144AD), he needed to demonstrate that the vengeful God of the Old Testament was indeed the same merciful and compassionate God of the Christian New Testament.

He achieved this by presenting the Jews as especially wicked and especially deserving of righteous anger; it was thus, Tertullian argued, that Jewish behaviours and Jewish sins explained the contrast between the Old and the New Testament.

To demonstrate this peculiar malevolence, Tertullian portrayed Jews as denying the prophets, rejecting Jesus, persecuting Christians and as rebels against God.

These stereotypes shaped Christian attitudes towards Jews from late antiquity into the medieval period, leaving Jewish communities vulnerable to periodic outbreaks of persecution.

These ranged from massacres, such as York in 1190, to “ethnic cleansing”, as seen in the expulsions from England in 1290, France in 1306 and Spain in 1492.

Although it was real people who often suffered as a result of this ugly prejudice, antisemitism as a concept largely owes its longevity to its symbolic and rhetorical power.

American historian David Nirenberg concludes that “anti-Judaism was a tool that could usefully be deployed to almost any problem, a weapon that could be deployed on almost any front”. And this weapon has been wielded to devastating effect for centuries.

When Martin Luther thundered against the Papacy in 1543 he denounced the Roman Church as “the Devil’s Synagogue” and Catholic orthodoxy as “Jewish” in its greed and materialism.

In 1790, the Anglo-Irish conservative Edmund Burke published his manifesto, Reflections on the Revolution in France, and condemned the revolutionaries as “Jew brokers” and “Old Jewry.” From Marxism to Hollywood

Despite Karl Marx’s Jewish ancestry, Marxism was tainted at its very birth by antisemitism. In 1843, Karl Marx identified modern capitalism as the result of the“Judiasing” of the Christian:

The Jew has emancipated himself in a Jewish manner not only annexing the power of money but also through him and also apart from him money has become a world power and the practical spirit of the Jew has become the practical spirit of the Christian people. The Jews have emancipated themselves in so far as the Christians have become Jews …

Money is the jealous god of Israel before whom no other god may stand … The god of the Jews has been secularised and has become the god of the world. And there remain those, from across the political spectrum, who are still ready to deploy what Nirenberg referred to as “the most powerful language of opprobrium available” in Western political discourse, commonly using the language of conspiracy, webs and networks.

In 2002, the left-leaning New Statesman included articles by Dennis Sewell and John Pilger, debating the existence of a “pro-Israeli lobby” in Britain. Their articles, however, proved less controversial than the the cover illustration chosen to introduce this theme, which drew on familiar tropes of secret Jewish machinations and dominance over national interests: a gold Star of David resting on the Union Jack, with the title: “A Kosher Conspiracy?”

The following year, veteran Labour MP Tam Dalyell accused the then prime minister, Tony Blair, of “being unduly influenced by a cabal of Jewish advisers”. It is still language that is being used now.

On the far right, white supremacists have been quick to project their own time-honoured fantasies of Jewish malfeasance and power onto contemporary events, however seemingly irrelevant. This was quickly apparent in August 2017, as the future of memorials glorifying those who had rebelled against the union and defended slavery during America’s Civil War became the focus of intense debate in the US.

At Charlottesville, Virginia, demonstrators protesting against the removal of a statue of Confederate General Robert E. Lee, began chanting “Jews will not replace us”. When journalist Elspeth Reeve asked one why, he replied that the city was “run by Jewish communists”.

When accusations of serious sexual misconduct by Weinstein were published by The New York Times in October 2017, he was quickly cast by the far right as a representative of the “eternal conspiratorial enemy” of American society as a whole.

David Duke, former head of the Ku Klux Klan, would write on his website that the “Harvey Weinstein story … is a case study in the corrosive nature of Jewish domination of our media and cultural industries”.

‘The hatreds of our time …’ Responding to such language, The Atlantic’s Emma Green astutely commented on how “the durability of anti-Semitic tropes and the ease with which they slide into all displays of bigotry, is a chilling reminder that the hatreds of our time rhyme with history and are easily channelled through timeless anti-Semitic canards”.

There is real danger here as the spike in antisemitic hate crimes shows. This peculiar way of thinking about the world has always retained the potential to turn hatred of symbolic Jews into the very real persecution of actual Jews.

Given the marked escalation of antisemitic incidents recorded in 2017, we are now faced with the unsettling prospect that this bigotry is becoming “normalised”. For example, the European Jewish Congress expressed “grave concerns” over an increase in antisemitic acts in Poland under the right-wing Law and Justice government which won the 2015 parliamentary election with an outright majority.

The group said the government was “closing … communications with the official representatives of the Jewish community” and there was a “proliferation of ‘fascist slogans’ and unsettling remarks on social media and television, as well as the display of flags of the nationalist … group at state ceremonies”.

In response to these fears, a survey investigating antisemitism within the EU will be undertaken in 2018, led by the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights. The agency’s director, Michael O’Flaherty, commented, correctly, that: “Antisemitism remains a grave worry across Europe despite repeated efforts to stamp out these age-old prejudices.”

Given the phenomenon’s deep historical roots and its epoch defying capacity for reinvention, it would be easy to be pessimistic about the prospect of another effort to “stamp it out”. But an historical awareness of the nature of antisemitism may prove a powerful ally for those who would challenge prejudice.

The ancient tropes and slights may cloak themselves in modern garb but even softly-spoken allegations of conspiratorial “lobbies” and “cabals” should be recognised for what they are: the mobilisation of an ancient language and ideology of hate for which there should be no place in our time.


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