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Tuesday, 28 February 2017

PVV minderheidskabinet (7)

In het RTL debat van 26 februari vond geen van de aanwezige politici (Asscher, Buma, Klaver, Pechtold en Roemer) dat de Islam een bedreiging vormt voor de Nederlandse identiteit. Op 27 februari schrijft de de Volkskrant: “Volgens dit onderzoek dacht bijna de helft van de Nederlanders in 2014 (heel) negatief over de Islam. Veel kijkers zaten wellicht op dit onderwerp dichter tegen het standpunt van de PVV aan dan tegen dat van de vijf mannen in de studio.”

Ik heb lang nagedacht wat ik zelf van deze stelling vind. Emotioneel zou ik die stelling waarschijnlijk direct bevestigen. Rationeel is deze stelling lastig. Een identiteit is relatief dynamisch en zeker niet statisch. Religie is daarentegen vaak relatief statisch. Kortom, een identiteit kan zich aanpassen aan de actualiteit. Ik vermoed dat juist deze aanpassing als bedreigend kan overkomen.

Religie heeft een steeds minder belangrijke rol binnen de Nederlandse samenleving. Deze trend geldt vooral voor het Christelijk geloof. Secularisatie speelt nauwelijks een rol binnen de Islam (NOS). Voor atheïsten kan de Islam zelfs nog bedreigender overkomen dan voor gelovigen.

Feitelijk is de Islam een afgeleide van het Christendom, welke op haar beurt een afgeleide is van het Joodse geloof. Alle 3 zijn naar mijn overtuiging een afgeleide van het nog veel oudere Sumerische geloof (4000 BC). Alle ons bekende profeten (o.a. Abraham, Jezus, Mohammed) stammen af van de zwart Afrikaanse Sumerische koningslijn, die begon met Noah. Dit is wat ik geloof.

Geloof en Religie hebben weinig met elkaar te maken. Religie is een door mensen gevormd instituut, gebaseerd op een menselijke en dogmatische interpretatie van stokoude bronnen. Geloof is een persoonlijke beleving, die door iedereen anders kan en zal worden ingevuld. Iemand die gelooft, die ziet geen verschil tussen Yahweh, God of Allah. Religie ziet wel een verschil en beweert bovendien dat de een beter, groter, en mooier is dan de ander.

In het verleden is elke Religie een bedreiging geweest van een persoonlijke identiteit. De scheiding tussen Religie en Staat is de grootste verworvenheid van het Westen. Lang hebben beide elkaar vervolgens in balans gehouden. Secularisatie (Westen) en de politieke Islam (Oosten) hebben een einde gemaakt aan die balans tussen Religie en Staat.

Elke kritiek op de politieke Islam wordt verworpen omdat het ervaren wordt als kritiek op religie. Niet-inmenging in een religieus conflict (bijv. AKP vs Gülen) wordt daarentegen gezien als gebrek aan politieke steun. De politieke Islam verschuilt zich altijd achter 1 van haar 2 pijlers. Het succes van de politieke Islam is bedreigend voor de Islam als godsdienst.

In de politieke Islam heeft Religie dictatoriale kenmerken. Het ontkennen van de dreiging van de politieke Islam is kenmerkend voor het seculiere Westen. Na een lange overweging moet ik de stelling - of de (politieke) Islam bedreigend is voor de Nederlandse (of Europese) identiteit  – zowel emotioneel als rationeel bevestigen.

Hemel valt (2014) door Typhoon - artiest, songtekst, video, Wiki

Wat zijn woorden opgeschreven als de kern ervan niet wordt begrepen? 
Voorbij het punt van lezen is het de kunst van leven. 
Tussen de regels, buiten de kantlijn.
Hoe anders zou het zijn? Hoe anders zou het zijn?


Perfectly lonely

Recently, I came across a confronting truth:
"People who have been single for too long are the hardest to love. They have become so used to being single, independent, self-sufficient that it takes something extraordinary to convince them that they need you in their life." (picture)

The source of that quote really came as a surprise: Miss Universe 2015 Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach. I didn't expect so much wisdom from someone born in 1989. Her other quotes feel more age appropriate.

I have become quite reluctant in dating women. The main reason is that I don't need women in my life. My occasional dating efforts reveal that I still want a woman in my life but certainly not at all cost.

More and more, I am approaching a point where I stop believing in women. Why?? Each time, I meet women who are not happy and not satisfied with themselves. You cannot expect someone else to become the source of your own happiness and satisfaction. Life just doesn't work this way. You need to find your own source of happiness and satisfaction in life first, before you can - successfully - reach out to someone else. 

I like helping people. To a large extent that is my mission in life. Helping people who are emotionally damaged is, however, an energy drain. I don't mind as long as people are willing to change. Else I get stressed and then it becomes Enough is Enough. In my 27 February 2017 blog, several markers (ie, hearing, listening, accepting, believing, willingness, and faith) and filters were identified in the process of Change.

I am not desperately seeking "Susan". I am perfectly lonely. I am happy and satisfied within my own little world of writing, reading, and writing again. Nevertheless, I want you. However, each new dating disappointment makes me more reluctant in opening up again. More and more, I prefer to hide in my shell. Nevertheless, I believe in you and me. Perhaps that's just naive; perhaps I'm vain.

The reason that I continue is simply that I hate giving up. I thoroughly recommend the Peter Gabriel / Kate Bush song "Don't Give Up" to anyone who feels like giving up. I hate giving up because I fundamentally believe in Faith, Hope & Love: "Now abide these three: Faith, Hope and Love. The greatest of these is Love." (1 Corinthians 13-13)

In each person, I'm looking for that something extraordinary that Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach mentions. Diamonds usually need polishing before they shine (on you) again. It's easier to shine with the innocence of youth. Life does take a toll on many, including me. Accept yourself, including your flaws. Love yourself. Find out Who you are and Why you are here, and shine again. Shine like a crazy diamond.

Shine On You Crazy Diamond (1975) by Pink Floyd - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Remember when you were young, you shone like the sun.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Now there's a look in your eyes, like black holes in the sky.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
You were caught in the crossfire of childhood and stardom, blown on the steel breeze.
Come on you target for faraway laughter, come on you stranger, you legend, you martyr, and shine!

You reached for the secret too soon, you cried for the moon.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Threatened by shadows at night, and exposed in the light.
Shine on you crazy diamond.
Well you wore out your welcome with random precision, rode on the steel breeze.
Come on you raver, you seer of visions, come on you painter, you piper, you prisoner, and shine!


Monday, 27 February 2017

The process of Change

May 2013 was a pivotal moment in my life. After resisting change for many years, I finally broke. Before 2013, I had been coping with external pressure for a long time and each additional load still seemed manageable. In 2013, external pressure suddenly came from everywhere and became overwhelming. I finally stopped fighting Change.

Only with the knowledge of hindsight, I realise that strong-minded people need lots of pressure before they are willing to adapt to Change. In certain circumstances, your strength becomes your weakness, without you even realising this. I think, feel and believe that a widely perceived weakness (i.e., vulnerability) is actually often a strength.

Change is a complicated process. It involves a lot of steps and filters before it happens. The steps that I have identified until now are: hearing, listening, accepting, believing, willingness, and faith. There are filters between these steps and a famous / notorious one is between hearing and listening. That filter makes some people hear what they want to hear. These filters often create a mismatch between Sender, Message and Receiver.

As a picture can speak more than a thousand words, I have made a new diagram to outline the above concept:









Initially, I was surprised to see my 3rd concept return in this diagram: Faith, Beliefs and Willpower. Then I realised that I shouldn't be surprised as Change is also a Choice.

For Sender, the worrying part in Change is the existence of "filters". These filters are like dominoes: only when they fall down, a next level is achieved. The difficult part starts at believing. You can hear, listen and accept the truth but believing in a new truth requires an update of your existing Belief systems. Belief systems are like human firmware and firmware is rarely updated.

Once existing beliefs are broken down, and replaced by new beliefs based on new truths, it requires Willpower and Faith to execute Change. Willpower may however be of an opportunistic nature. Without Faith, any Change is short-lived.

I must admit that I have been a little skeptic whether my 3rd concept was actually a genuine concept on top of Needs, Wants & Beliefs and the 7 Belief systems. Not any longer.

Changes (1972) by David Bowie - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

Ch-ch-changes
Just gonna have to be a different man
Time may change me
But I can't trace time


Sunday, 26 February 2017

Enough is Enough


Enough is Enough

It's raining, it's pouring
My lovelife is boring me to tears,
After all these years

No sunshine, no moonlight,
No stardust, no sign of romance
We don't stand a chance

I've always dreamed I found the perfect lover
But he turned out to be like every other man
Our love, our love

Raining (raining)
Pouring (pouring)
There's nothing left for us here
And we won't waist another tear

If you've had enough,
Don't put up with his stuff,
Don't you do it
If you've had your fill,
Get the check pay the bill,
You can do it

Tell him to just get out
Nothing left to talk about
Pack his raincoat show him out
Just look him in the eyes and simple shout

Enough is enough is enough
I can't go on, I can't go on, no more no
Enough is enough, is enough
I want him out, I want him out that door now

Enough is enough

If you've reached the end,
Don't pretend that is right
When it's over (It's over)
If the feeling is gone
Don't think twice just move on
Get it over (over, over)
Tell him to just get out, say it clearly, spell it out

Enough is enough is enough
I can't go on, I can't go on, no more no
Enough is enough is enough
I want him out, I want him out that door now

Enough is enough

I've always dreamed to find the perfect lover,
But he turns out to be like every other man
Our love (I had no choice from the start)
Our love (I've gotta listen to my heart)
Our love (tearing us apart)

Enough, is enough, is enough
I can't go on, I can't go on no more no
Enough, is enough, is enough
I want him out, I want him out that door now

Enough is enough

No more tears (no more tears)
No more tears (no more tears)
No more tears (no more tears)
No more tears (no more tears)
Enough is enough is enough is enough is enough is enough
I've had it, you've had it, he's had it, we've had it
Enough is enough is enough is enough is enough is enough
I've hat it, you've had it, he's had it, we've had it

I always dreamed I find the perfect lover
But he turned out to be like every other man

I had no choice from the start
I've gotta listen to my heart
Tearing us apart

Enough is enough is enough
I can't go on, I can't go on, no more no
Enough is enough is enough
I want him out, I want him out that door now

Goodbye mister, goodbye, goodbye mister, goodbye sugar

It's raining, it's pouring
There's nothing left for us here
And we won't waist another tear

No more tears
Is enough is enough is enough is enough
Is enough is enough is enough is ENOUGH!!!


No More Tears, Enough is Enough (1979) by Barbra Streisand & Donna Summer



Saturday, 25 February 2017

Bremain vs Brexit in UK Parliament

On 23 June 2016, the results of the Brexit referendum were: 51.9% OUT versus 48.1% IN, based on a 72.2% voter turnout (BBC). Nevertheless, this almost 50/50 divide is not visible in UK Parliament. On 2 February 2017, out of 650 members, a large majority of the House of Commons voted in favour of triggering Article 50 of the EU Lisbon Treaty: 498 vs 114 (eg, Telegraph).

The composition of the 114 against triggering Article 50 is interesting: 50 from the Scottish National Party (SNP), 47 from Labour, 7 Liberal Democrats, 1 Tory, and 9 others (eg, Telegraph). Clearly, there is a serious mismatch between the UK population and its political representatives. In other words, the Bremain camp is not represented in UK Parliament. Why?

For the last 200 years, from 1800 to 2000, European politics have been divided in Left (Labour) and Right (Conservatives / UK Tories). Since 2000, European political parties are slowly rebranding themselves into Nationalist parties (eg, anti EU, anti globalism, anti immigrant, anti Islam, anti NATO) versus International oriented parties (eg, pro EU, pro NATO, pro international trade, pro migration, pro religious tolerance).

Interestingly, the 2 main political parties in the UK are making the same switch towards Nationalism at the same time. In my view, this simultaneous move explains the mismatch between population and Parliament. The Liberal Democrats are far too small to fill the gap on the International side, let alone the Scottish National Party (SNP). 

Tony Blair may have noticed this mismatch, including the interesting political opportunities which this political vacuum is offering. Telegraph: "In a keynote speech at the headquarters of the Bloomberg financial news agency in London, where David Cameron first set out his plan for an in/out vote on Britain's EU membership, he issued a rallying cry against the referendum vote which was "based on imperfect knowledge"."

In good British tradition, the media and fellow British politicians shot the messenger and piano player (Elton John album). This will not stop the music though. Tony Blair may not be the hero that the Bremain camp needs (Guardian) but at least he sees a genuine political opportunity. Essentially, UK Labour and UK Conservatives are both Nationalist parties (eg, anti EU-globalism-immigrant-Islam). Soon others will come to a similar conclusion.

The end of the great political divide between Left and Right (Economist, GPF, my 2016 blog, TED) has left lots of people confused. The Brexit outcome (ie, 51.9% leave vs 48.1% remain) underlines the new political divide between Nationalism and Internationalism. A larger UK voter turnout than the 72.2% would probably have flipped the Brexit outcome and would have obscured this new reality for another decade (see my 10 November 2016 blog).

The anti arguments of Nationalist parties are rooted in ignorance. Claiming the benefits of the enormous post-WW2 wealth increase resulting from Globalism (ie, Internationalism) may be viewed as arrogance. Internationalism's best argument will be Brexit's daftness. Hence, the EU immediately rejected Tony Blair's appeal. It's in the EU's best interest to let the UK suffer.

Should I Stay or Should I Go (1982) by The Clash - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

It's always tease tease tease
You're happy when I'm on my knees
One day is fine and next is black
So if you want me off your back
Well come on an' let me know
Should I Stay or should I go?


Friday, 24 February 2017

You can only hurt someone with the truth

Recently, I have mentioned this phrase to different people: You can only hurt someone with the truth. People will not get angry with your remarks, unless these are true. Why would anybody get angry for being called something which is clearly false? Again, you can only hurt someone for telling them the truth which they know deep down inside but which they deny to themselves.

Some of these hurtful truths are actually lies but the receiver believes it is true. His/her mind will continue questioning the plausibility of that truth as something feels off. Usually, the reasoning is: Why would anybody lie about this? Only sick people with a quest for revenge and retaliation would. A common example is a woman deliberately and falsely claiming that she is pregnant.

Hurtful truths are about physical or psychological characteristics, like: you are fat, you are a liar, you stink, you cannot be trusted. Some of these remarks may even be examples of reverse psychology and projection. In such case, the sender projects the truth about sender onto the receiver. In such cases, the receiver will be flabbergasted as the baseless remark seems to come out of thin air.

The consequence of the above is that we are hesitant telling someone the truth as we know from our own experience that the truth will hurt. This does not apply to everyone. I know someone who tells the truth as (s)he sees it as (s)he has no filter. The consequence is that (s)he hurts people without even knowing it. It leaves me with vicarious shame and guilt. Addressing this issue has been a waste of my time as (s)he feels entitled to these opinions.

There is a saying: The truth will set you free. The original saying was: "If you continue in My word, you are truly My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” (John 8:32). Knowing the truth and - most importantly - believing in that truth, allows you to alter your behaviour and this will make you stronger (ie, set you free). Also see Your own worst enemy.

There is another saying: Hurt me with the truth but never comfort me with a lie. Often I have the feeling that this saying is just another example of reverse psychology. You need to be strong to accept the truth. Weak people cannot handle the truth. This reminds me of the 1992 movie A Few Good Men and Jack Nicholson screaming to Tom Cruise: "You cannot handle the truth!"

I like the saying that the truth hits you like a brick/bullet/rock. It's true. You have some milliseconds for considering its truth and deciding about your response (eg, acceptance, denial, fight, flight, hurt). The 1st instance that I remember was a counselling at work, several decades ago. I was told that I should bite my West-Frisian tongue, first count to ten, and only then respond. 

That truth did hurt. Accepting and believing it has made me much more effective in life. People call me thoughtful now. I'm not easily provoked. However, about a decade ago, I let myself fall into a trap of continued provocations. I still regret saying my intentionally harsh and hurtful truths. 

The tragedy of our lives is that, while we suffer from the wounds afflicted on us by those who love us, we cannot avoid wounding those we want to love. Quote by Henri Nouwen.

World of Hurt (1998) by Ilse DeLange - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2



Hurt (2002) by Johnny Cash - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Thursday, 23 February 2017

ADHD: nature, nurture and Wi-Fi

On 15 February 2017, the medical journal The Lancet Psychiatry published a study with an answer to the question if ADHD is caused by nature or nurture. An international research team, part of the ENIGMA global scientific network, conducted the largest brain imaging study of its kind.

Despite of what many people still assume, ADHD is caused by nature rather than nurtureWP: "The common disorder, they conclude, should be considered a problem of delayed brain maturation and not, as it is often portrayed, a problem of motivation or parenting." 

The study reveals that ADHD is linked to brain maturation delay theory, and especially in children. WP: "The smaller brain structures in children with ADHD but not in adults fits with a “delayed peak volume” theory that ADHD is associated with an “altered velocity of cortical development,” the authors said. That is, their brain development may be delayed compared with children who do not have ADHD, but it may catch up as they grow into adulthood."

To be honest, I have always blamed parenting (ie, nurture) because ADHD wasn't a problem when I was young. This study now calls ADHD a brain disease (ie, nature). A Dutch critic of this study however refers to the many links of the researchers with the pharmaceutical industry.

The study answers several questions: whatwhen and how but not why. Technology springs to mind when it comes to why. Without a shadow of a doubt, the rise of technology is the biggest change since my youth. I still remember the year 1980, in which I was flabbergasted to see a man walking in Amsterdam, while using a mobile radio phone and carrying a huge battery, strapped to his shoulder (picture). Back then, I thought it was a ridiculous sight. 

Perhaps the biggest technology changes since the 1980s are mobile communication and Wifi. Both use low level microwave radiation. Unlike microwaves, radiation from Wifi is constant. Young children may not yet use mobile phones but Wifi is nearly everywhere where they go (eg, house, school). The health risks associated with wireless radiation are part of a contentious debate and even the fine print of mobile phones warns its users.

In 2012, Dr. Robert BlockPresident of the American Academy of Pediatrics was quoted in TIME Magazine: “Children, however, are not little adults and are disproportionately impacted by all environmental exposures, including cell phone radiation. In fact, according to the International Agency for the Research on Cancer, when used by children, the average RF (radiofrequency) energy deposition is two times higher in the brain and 10 times higher in the bone marrow of the skull, compared with mobile phone use by adults.” (IARC source)

Subsequent research (eg, ScienceDirect) was even more devastating, culminating in a NetworkWorld op-ed called "Is Wi-Fi killing us ........ slowly?" Its closing question is confronting: "Will we look back (sadly) in fifty or a hundred years and marvel at how Wi-Fi and cellphones were responsible for the biggest health crisis in human history?" (Forbes)

Teach Your Children (1970) by CSN&Y - artists, lyrics, song, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

PVV minderheidskabinet (6)

"De veiligheid van PVV-leider Geert Wilders is “voor zover nu bekend” niet in gevaar geweest door het lek bij beveiligingsdienst DBB. [] Volgens hooggeplaatste functionarissen bij de politie zou een ervaren politieagent van Marokkaanse afkomst vertrouwelijke politie-informatie hebben gelekt aan leden van een Marokkaans-Nederlandse misdaadorganisatie die zich schuldig maakte aan heling en het witwassen van crimineel geld." (NRC)

NRC: "De ontmaskering van de vermoedelijk corrupte agent van de DBB gebeurde bij toeval. In een onderzoek naar een misdaadgroep merkte de politie dat de verdachten beschikten over geheime opsporingsinformatie. Via digitaal rechercheren is vervolgens vastgesteld dat deze inlichtingen afkomstig moesten zijn van de agent van de dienst beveiliging."

Een aanslag op Geert Wilders vlak voor de Tweede Kamerverkiezingen van 15 maart 2017 zou een herhaling van de moordaanslag op Pim Fortuyn van 6 mei 2002 zijn. De gevolgen daarvan zijn immens in het huidige verziekte politieke klimaat. Uiteindelijk zou de PVV dan enkele jaren later roemloos ten onder zijn gegaan, net zoals de toenmalige LPF

Een politieke aanslag door Marokkanen in plaats van een Nederlandse dieren en milieu activist zou ook dramatisch zijn voor de reeds bestaande spanningen tussen allochtonen en autochtonen. Het eventuele bewijs van de voorbereiding van een moordaanslag zou al electorale gevolgen kunnen hebben. We zijn slechts 21 dagen verwijderd van 15 maart.

De moord op Pim Fortuyn in 2002 heeft Nederland trendsetter gemaakt in de omslag van Links vs Rechts naar Nationalisme vs Internationalisme. Andere Europese nationalistische bewegingen waren navolgers. Dat verklaart ook de internationale belangstelling voor de uitkomst van de Nederlandse verkiezingen. De toenmalige trendsetter wordt wederom als trendsetter gezien.

Het lek dat NRC dinsdagavond laat rapporteerde lijkt geen nieuws "spin" te zijn want dit nieuws is totaal niet in het belang van de regeringspartijen, en ook de Twitter reactie van Wilders lijkt oprecht. Toch kan het lekken van dit (echte) nieuws naar NRC zelf wel onderdeel van een nieuws "spin" zijn. Beter om nu te lekken dan over - bijvoorbeeld - 15 dagen.

De Twitter reactie van Wilders maakt ook duidelijk dat hij niet in de Greater Good theorie gelooft waarbij het opofferen van zijn leven een middel is voor het bereiken van een groter doel. Dat bewijst dat hij toch niet de extreme fanaticus is waar sommigen hem van betichten. Uiteindelijk is hij gewoon een mens die bang is voor een aanslag naar aanleiding van zijn politieke overtuigingen.

De kans op een politieke aanslag door een eenling en fanaticus, zoals Volkert van der Graaf op 6 mei 2002, lijkt mij veel groter dan door een Marokkaans-Nederlandse misdaadorganisatie welke primair wordt gedreven door financiële motieven. Dit op zich al spectaculaire NRC verhaal moet onvolledig zijn want het motief ontbreekt. Uiteindelijk draait alles om motief, middelen en gelegenheid.

Deze risico-inschatting baart mij zorgen. Nog 21 dagen te gaan.





Ants vs Humans

When an outsider would observe this planet then a first indication would be that it must be inferior as the observer remains unnoticed. A closer approach would reveal lots of vast concentrations of structures displaying artificial light (eg, cities). It would reveal busy and sometimes chaotic creatures using tools (eg, cars). Many of these creatures carry out some kind of tasks (eg, jobs). Others seem idle (eg, infants, elderly). The observers have a hard time establishing the purpose of that society.

At a closer range, these creatures breed in small communities (eg, families), prefer certain other creatures (eg, relationships), and communicate (eg, language). Some of their communication involves irrational behaviour (ie, emotions). The observers would conclude that the planet is inhabited by a society of intelligent though irrational species. The observer's verdict: inferior.

Colonizing this inferior planet would however not be a first option as the irrational behaviour of these creatures includes their ample use of weapons and resistance towards any invaders. These creatures might appear physically unprotected and weak but they are also inherently hostile, flock together when attacked, and would be considered "armed and dangerous".

These thoughts emerge after reading about articles that compare ants and humans. They focus on: ants' collective intelligence, ant consciousness, ant consciousness #2, ant intelligence, ant intelligence #2, comparison of ants and humans, complex biological social systems, complex biological social systems (NL), Growth and Stagnation – Similarities Between Ant and Man, similarity and difference between ant and human ultrasocieties, TED talk 2003, and tool use by ants.

The purpose of our society can only be explained through the 7 Belief systems and its 2 main domains: Knowledge (Philosophy, Science, and the Truth) and Power (ie, Money, Politics, Religion). Love is an independent belief/domain/purpose. These 7 Belief systems - or purposes - drive all humans and separate us from anything else.

In the middle of these 7 Belief systems lies Wisdom. BBC Future 2017: "Wisdom is something that’s hard to define and yet somehow we know it when we see it." [] "Wisdom mustn’t be confused with intelligence" (eg, my 2016 blog). [] "The wise people tolerate uncertainty and remain optimistic that even tricky problems do have solutions. They can judge what is true or right. It’s quite a list."

I think, feel and believe that the road to Wisdom is based on balance and symmetry along the 7 Belief systems. Only "equal" attention to all seven beliefs (purposes), keeps you somewhere in the middle. The path to Wisdom is deserted once 1 (or more) of the 7 Belief systems gets stronger than the 6 others. Fear is a manipulator of the 7 Belief systems and thus a distraction from Wisdom.

BBC: "For Cornell University psychologist Robert Sternberg, wisdom is all about balance. A wise person is able to complete a mental juggling act – to balance the short-term with the long-term, self-interest with the interests of others, while considering all the options – adapting to the current situation, trying to shape it or looking for a new situation."

Human (2016) by Rag'n'Bone Man - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

The 35th and 45th President

The 45th President of Naming & Shaming is adding new and powerful enemies to his long list of enemies, being the US intelligence community: CIA, FBI, NSA and many others. Donald Trump has already made many enemies in his business life (eg, banks, business partners, customers, employees, subcontractors and suppliers). In fact, Donald J. Trump is his own worst enemy.

12 February 2017 Observer article - the spy revolt against Trump begins - is intriguing. The 14 February 2017 ousting of Trump's head of the National Security Council, is their first success. However, firing Mike Flynn might also have opened Pandora's box.

The Observer article paints an intelligence community that does not trust the 45th President and is withholding information from him. Similarly, foreign intelligence agencies are withholding information from US intelligence. It's almost looking like a copy of the British situation in the 1950s and 1960s which resulted in the Cambridge Five: Kim Philby, Donald Duart Maclean, Guy Burgess, Anthony Blunt and John Cairncross.

Trump's ongoing war with the US intelligence community is a dangerous one. Not only for the US, its allies, but even for Trump himself. John Fitzgerald Kennedy (JFK), the 35th President of the United States, was assassinated on 22 November 1963. Until today, there is still no definitive answer to why JFK was assassinated and by whom. Consequently, there have been many conspiracy theories (eg, Wiki-1Wiki-2). These theories often relate to the CIA and to Russia.

Wiki-1: "There have been numerous conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination of John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963. These theories posit that the assassination involved many people or organizations. Most of today's theories put forth a criminal conspiracy involving parties as varied as the CIA, the Mafia, sitting Vice President Lyndon B. Johnson, Cuban President Fidel Castro, the KGB, or some combination of those entities."

Wiki-2: "According to author James Douglass, Kennedy was assassinated because he was turning away from the Cold War and seeking a negotiated peace with the Soviet Union. Accusations and confessions of and by alleged conspirators, as well as official government reports citing the CIA as uncooperative in investigations, have at times renewed interest in these conspiracy theories."

Since the ousting of Mike Flynn on 13 February, Trump is suddenly acting tough on Russia. On 14 February, Trump's Press Secretary Sean Spicer stated: "President Trump has made it very clear that he expects the Russian government to deescalate violence in the Ukraine and return Crimea."

On 15 February, Trump even tweeted: "Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?" CNN: "The comments mark a sharp U-turn for Trump, who had previously buoyed the Kremlin's claim on Crimea."

Trump's U-turn is probably a classic case of "too little, too late". The 35th and 45th President of the United States show some weird similarities.

From Russia with Love (1963) by Matt Monro - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Monday, 20 February 2017

Kraft Heinz Unilever

On 17 February 2017, the US based Kraft Heinz group announced a hostile merger bid on Unilever, an Anglo-Dutch conglomerate. The term merger is misleading as 2016 revenue of Kraft Heinz is half of Unilever. The Trump Administration is unlikely to object given its focus on deregulation.

The combination Kraft Heinz Unilever could - and thus would - be dominant towards retail groups (eg, Ahold). It's likely that this market dominance will translate in unilateral price increases. Hence, we will probably see more empty supermarket shelves evidencing pending price negotiations.

EU competition regulations may become a serious problem though. It's likely that an EU approval may be subject to the sale of individual Unilever companies. Considering the owners of Kraft Heinz (eg, 3G Capital, Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway), this might be the true intention behind the hostile "merger" bid.

Unlike ABN AMRO's 2009 hostile take-over, there are no vital or strategic interests to prevent this Unilever "merger". The draft law of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs to protect vital Dutch interests relates to telecom. Consequently, the Unilever conglomerate is likely to be torn apart in order to comply with EU preconditions and to achieve a swift return on investment.

Kraft and Heinz only merged in 2015. Adding a conglomerate like Unilever in 2017 would be too much for most companies. Post-acquisition stress is usually high as top managers still fight for their positions in the new combination. Post-acquisition integration is usually overrated.

A string of acquisitions may easily mask serious internal issues, like operational losses. Acquisition (or goodwill) accounting may allow losses to be capitalized. I doubt this is the case here. Kraft Heinz is different as 3G Capital partners took over the Chairman and CEO roles. Kraft Heinz is a public company (Nasdaq: KHC) that is run like a private company.

Combining a "worldwide food company" (ie, Kraft Heinz) with a "multinational consumer goods company" selling "food, beverages, cleaning agents and personal care products" (ie, Unilever) is likely to create lots of attention from companies like BeiersdorfColgate-Palmolive, Kimberly-Clark, L'Oréal, and Reckitt Benckiser. Divestment of Unilever companies should be easy.

Unilever, headquartered in Rotterdam (NL) and London (UK), has an inefficient ownership structure. Wiki: "Unilever N.V. has a primary listing on Euronext Amsterdam []. Unilever plc has a primary listing on the London Stock Exchange []". It's likely that Unilever is significantly undervalued due to its wide product range (ie, lack of synergy) and its inefficient ownership structure.

Unilever's press release, rejecting the Kraft Heinz offer, confirms the above: "Their proposal represents a premium of 18% to Unilever's share price as at the close of business on 16 February 2017. This fundamentally undervalues Unilever. Unilever rejected the proposal as it sees no merit, either financial or strategic, for Unilever's shareholders."

The Oracle of Omaha has spoken again. Investopedia: His investments are long-term positions, accomplished by the purchase of strong companies that are trading well below their intrinsic value. Sunday's withdrawal of the hostile "merger" will probably result in a hostile take-over.

If you don't know me by now (1972) by Simply Red - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

If you don't know me by now
You will never never never know me


Sunday, 19 February 2017

Accept Yourself


Accept Yourself

when the sun goes down, be careful what you wish for
cause the night is holding all your dreams right now
when nothing goes your way, give thanks for what you still have
cause the future takes a road you can't control

accept yourself, when all the world is a mystery
accept yourself, you can fight it or just let it be
accept yourself, when nothing is as it seems
accept yourself

somebody is trying to take you on another journey
to a corner of your mind you've been before
and the crossroads of your life may lead you where you can go
just close your eyes and time will change it all

accept yourself, when all the world is a mystery
accept yourself, you can fight it or just let it be
accept yourself, when nothing is as it seems
accept yourself

Accept Yourself (2014) by Joss Stone ft. Nitin Sawhney - artistFBlyrics, video, Wiki


Accept Yourself (2013) by Nitin Sawhney - artist, FB, lyrics, video, Wiki


Note: any mistake in the above lyrics is due to my lack of listening properly

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Stress

On 15 February 2017, the American Psychological Association (APA) sent a press release following the 2017 APA report "Stress in America: Coping with Change". The introduction is very clear: "two-thirds of Americans say they are stressed about the future of our nation, including a majority of both Democrats and Republicans".

This news does not surprise me at all. For some time, the prospect of a Trump Administration even increased my Dutch stress levels. Since 20 January 2017, the continued failure of the Trump presidency is a source of ridicule and laughter (eg, Borowitz Report, Conan O'Brien's spoof phone calls between Barack Obama And Donald Trump, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, and the Late Show with Stephen Colbert).

On Wikipedia's list of nicknames of US Presidents, Ronald Reagan, the 40th President, is referred to as "The Great Communicator". Following Trump's attacks on "so-called judges", the President's official nickname (POTUS) has already changed to SCROTUS: So-Called Ruler of The United States. The Great Comedian would also be an excellent nickname for Trump.

Laughter is a medicine for stress relief (eg, Huffington Post, Mayo Clinic, WebMD). I thoroughly enjoy each new failure of the Trump presidency while also feeling some pity towards the USA. Still, as Andy Borowitz said on FB: "The chaos, failure and embarrassment of Donald J. Trump's first week in office are only surprising if you are unfamiliar with his business career."

The 2017 general elections in Europe (eg, FR, GER, NL) may become a source of similar stress as some European countries may start mirroring Trump's USA - or TrumpLand. Possible candidates are Marine Le Pen (France) and Geert Wilders (The Netherlands). Germany is likely to remain stable for now. However, the outcome of the Dutch (15 March) and French (23 April - 7 May) elections may have a bearing on the German outcome on 24 September 2017.

My personal stress levels have been much higher this week. Initially, I blamed the winter weather and my lack of physical exercise. A letter from the Dutch tax authorities asking for an explanation for my lack of taxable income didn't help either. Initially, this tax letter infuriated me as Dutch contractors / freelancers do not qualify for any Dutch welfare benefits, unlike illegal foreign labour migrants. After several days, I sent a polite reply explaining my situation.

The real reason for my stress levels is a different one. Last Monday, the penny suddenly dropped during a private conversation. I have met someone and I like her a lot. However, a part of her is sabotaging what she and I have. More and more, I believe that I may be losing this fight in which I'm not even a player but just a bystander, witnessing a war inside someone else.

I cannot laugh this stress away. A nagging mild pain has entered my lower back. Today, it has moved from my back to my neck which is a bad sign. It's the same spot that caused my 2013 severe burn-out. I must offload these stress levels but I'm reluctant to arrive at the only logical conclusion.

The Logical Song (1979) by Supertramp - artists, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2

When I was young, it seemed that life was so wonderful,
A miracle, oh it was beautiful, magical.
And all the birds in the trees, well they'd be singing so happily,
Joyfully, playfully watching me.
But then they sent me away to teach me how to be sensible,
Logical, responsible, practical.
And they showed me a world where I could be so dependable,
Clinical, intellectual, cynical.

There are times when all the world's asleep,
The questions run too deep
For such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.

Now watch what you say or they'll be calling you a radical,
Liberal, fanatical, criminal.
Won't you sign up your name, we'd like to feel you're
Acceptable, respectable, presentable, a vegetable!

At night, when all the world's asleep,
The questions run so deep
For such a simple man.
Won't you please, please tell me what we've learned
I know it sounds absurd
But please tell me who I am.


Friday, 17 February 2017

The 45th President's empty Administration

On 18 January 2017, Bloomberg published an article called "The Empty Trump Administration": "Overall, out of 690 positions requiring Senate confirmation tracked by the Washington Post and Partnership for Public Service, Trump has come up with only 28 people so far."

NYT 19 January 2017: "In all, Mr. Trump has named only 29 of his 660 executive department appointments, according to the Partnership for Public Service, which has been tracking the process. That is a pace far slower than recent predecessors, falling far short of the schedule originally outlined by Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who was Mr. Trump’s transition director before Mr. Trump ousted him 10 weeks ago."

Today, the Political Appointee Tracker only gives a slightly better picture: 12 confirmed, 23 awaiting confirmation, and 661 awaiting nomination. Why is this happening?

An explanation might be that 1) before his election, Trump did not expect - or even like - to win the Presidency and thus did not start the hiring process, 2) after his election, Trump ousted his transition director Chris Christie, 3) after Trump's inauguration, the current chaos in the Trump Administration prevents Trump from finding people willing to risk their reputation, and 4) it may not be easy finding adequate and capable people sharing similar extreme beliefs.

Consequently, "Obama staff members are filling in the gaps" (eg, NYT). Some of these Obama appointees are clearly not happy with their roles in the new Trump Administration and either resign at their earliest convenience or get fired over a collision with Trump (eg, Daniel Tarullo, Sally Yates). The stream of leaks flowing from the White House and federal agencies may well relate to the absence of (661+23=) 684 politically aligned executive department appointments.

On top of all of the above, "Federal managers say Trump’s hiring freeze hurts government" (eg, AtlanticWP). It's very unlikely that this hiring freeze has anything to do with the 661 awaiting executive department nominations. CNN: like any U.S. Administration, "the Trump administration will soon be filling thousands of appointments to positions large and small across the federal government: some agencies are household names, others you've probably never heard of."

Bloomberg: "If I had to guess, however, I'd say that the failure to get his administration up and running on time isn't a deliberate choice by Trump; he just has no idea what he's doing, and hasn't surrounded himself with people well-equipped to translate his impulses and his campaign commitments into a full-fledged government. This isn't exactly a surprise." 

Given Trump's facial expression on recent pictures, I agree with Howard Stern's assessment: "[] I actually think this is something that is gonna be detrimental to his mental health too, because, he wants to be liked, he wants to be loved. He wants people to cheer for him."

The chaos in the U.S. Administration reminds me of the 1980 BBC series "Yes Minister" (IMDb) and its sequel "Yes, Prime Minister" (IMDb). Wiki: "Yes Minister follows the ministerial career of [] Jim Hacker MP []. His various struggles to formulate and enact legislation or effect departmental changes are opposed by the British Civil Service." 

Yes Minister - Why Britain Joined the European Union (1980)
excerpt from Season 1, Episode 1 (video)

Thursday, 16 February 2017

The 45th President and everything follows Why

At the moment of writing this blog, the Trump presidency hasn't even lasted for a month and yet it feels like so much longer. I am tempted to ask myself "what's going on", "how's this even possible" and "when will this be over". Obviously, the only helpful question is why as everything follows Why (part 1, part 2).

A handicap for answering the Why question is the human concept of Time & Space because "humans only believe in the Now as "seeing is believing". Often we doubt and/or deny our history (eg, climate change, creationism) and we fear our future." An excerpt from my 29 November 2016 blog.

The documented human history over the past 7,000 years shows major changes along the 7 Belief systems (ie, Love, Money, Philosophy, Politics, Religion, Science and the Truth). These changes usually coincide with the "rise and fall of civilizations". Over the past 7,000 years, the duration of Superpowers decreased from thousands of years, to hundreds of years, to a mere 100 years.

The free movement of Money and Knowledge resulted in movements of Power. These 3 lie at the heart of civilizations (then) and Globalisation (now). Over time, these initial 3 dimensions have evolved into my concept of the 7 Belief systems, including its Knowledge and Power domains and Wisdom in its core.

Superpowers require a balancing of the 7 Belief systems, and especially of its Knowledge and Power domains, else Wisdom will be its 1st victim. When a single belief system - within the Power domain - takes over from the other belief systems, then a civilization runs off course: autocracy (Politics), kleptocracy (Money), theocracy (Religion). 

Similar examples can also be found in the Knowledge domain: Apartheid (Philosophy), North Korea (Science), and North Korea (the Truth). The North Korean cult of personality is their attempt to control the independent 7th Belief system (and domain) - Love.

The 8 years of Obama Administration may have blinded us for the reality that the USA is in its final years of being a Superpower. On each dimension of the 7 Belief systems the US has gone off course: arrogance and narcissism (Love), greed (Money), racism (Philosophy), autocracy (Politics), Islamofobia (Religion), denial and ignorance (Science), alternative facts (the Truth).

The new Trump Administration has finally opened our eyes and subsequently closed our hearts. Our liking of Obama has blinded our judgement. The 2006 real-estate crisis, the 2007 banking crisis, the subsequent financial crisis culminating in the Great Economic Recession of 2010-2015, are all rooted in the imbalance of the 7 Belief systems within the USA.

We are witnessing the fall of a civilization and a Superpower in real-time. Trump's election as the 45th US President is just its latest shred of evidence. In a 100 years from now, historians will write a lot about the early 2000s and how it shaped their history - and our future.

Man in the Mirror (1988) by Michael Jackson - artist, lyrics, video, Wiki-1, Wiki-2


Wednesday, 15 February 2017

PVV minderheidskabinet (5)

Ik ben ongerust over 15 maart 2017. Ik heb moeite om de officiële peilingen te vertrouwen. Een Volkskrant artikel van 14 februari sterkt mij in mijn wantrouwen: "Peilers missen groeiend deel van het volk". Ik heb het vermoeden dat de aanhang van Wilders wordt onderschat.

Volkskrant: "Het probleem van de slechte panels speelde onder meer bij de Britse verkiezingen van 2015, waarbij de peilers de aanhang van de conservatieven zwaar hadden onderschat. Oorzaak: te weinig conservatieven in de opiniepanels, aldus de British Polling Council in een onderzoek."

Ik vermoed dat de onderschatting van Wilders grotendeels buiten de steden plaatsvindt. Begin jaren 80 kreeg ik al de vraag van een dorpsgenoot of ik niet bang was om met mijn auto naar Amsterdam te rijden en daar elke dag te werken. Steden boezemen angst in, vooral angst voor de multiculturele samenleving en het daarmee samenhangende gevoel van onveiligheid.

De toenemende verstedelijking (urbanisatie) in de wereld heeft behalve economische, ook politieke gevolgen. Productie banen op het platteland zijn vervangen door service banen in de stad. Wereldwijd trekken jongeren van het platteland naar de stad voor werk. Sterk versimpeld: het platteland is behoudend en nationalistisch, terwijl steden open en internationaal georiënteerd zijn.

Een zelfde soort electorale onderschatting speelde bij Trump. Trump verloor (zwaar) in de staten Californië en New York maar won in relatief veel kleinere staten tussen de West en de Oost kust (zie Cook Political report). Clinton bezocht veel van die kleinere staten niet eens omdat ze die electoraal niet belangrijk genoeg vond. Zij onderschatte het effect van het Kiescollege systeem. 

Bovenstaande heeft geleid tot een hernieuwde belangstelling voor een oud vakgebied: politieke geografie. Volkskrant, 7 april 2016: "Het referendum over het EU-associatieverdrag met Oekraïne was niet een kwestie van rechts tegen links, of religieus versus niet-religieus. Het ging ook nauwelijks om het verdrag zelf, maar veel meer over sociale samenhang en wantrouwen versus vertrouwen. Dat is de analyse van electoraal geograaf Josse de Voogd []".

Volkskrant: "Hij maakte een kaart van die uitslag, [] waaruit blijkt hoe hartgrondig gemeentelijke bevolkingen 'tegen' hebben gezegd. De donkerste kleuren duiden op het uitschreeuwen van een nee, zoals op Urk waar 83,3 procent tegen het verdrag is. In een handvol gemeenten won 'voor', met daarbij grote steden zoals Amsterdam, Groningen, Leiden en Nijmegen. Dat zijn allemaal gekende universiteitssteden, net als Wageningen en Utrecht waar ze het hardst 'ja' hebben geroepen."

Tenslotte is er nog een persoonlijke reden voor de vermoedelijke onderschatting van de Wilders aanhang. Ik zou emotioneel namelijk weinig moeite hebben om op Wilders te stemmen. Rationeel verzet ik me tegen de linkse en nationalistische PVV agenda met een Islam-fobie

Meindert Fennema, Wilders-biograaf en politicoloog, in het Parool van 11 februari: Wilders is "een labiele figuur, net als Trump. Een man die zijn eigen onzekerheid overschreeuwt. Als zijn programma wordt doorgezet leidt dat tot etnische zuiveringen." Ja, ik ben ongerust over Nederland.