drugs used as a weapon

A Burmese dealer arranges chunks of jade at a market stall in Mandalay.

There wanton obloquy of people around the world is ubiquitous. At this point, we are forced to focus only on the most extreme human rights violations. But it is important to remember, we all deserve respect, equality, and even assistance. It is troubling to come to terms with the tension resulting from an internal desire to enjoy a blithe existence and the contrition of knowing and not doing.

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/12/02/world/searching-for-burmese-jade-and-finding-misery.html?smid=tw-share#

Quote of the Day

“In regard to propaganda the early advocates of universal literacy and a free press envisaged only two possibilities: the propaganda might be true, or the propaganda might be false. They did not foresee what in fact has happened, above all in our Western capitalist democracies – the development of a vast mass communications industry, concerned in the main neither with the true nor the false, but with the unreal, the more or less totally irrelevant. In a word, they failed to take into account man’s almost infinite appetite for distractions.
In the past most people never got a chance of fully satisfying this appetite. They might long for distractions, but the distractions were not provided. Christmas came but once a year, feasts were “solemn and rare,” there were few readers and very little to read, and the nearest approach to a neighborhood movie theater was the parish church, where the performances though frequent, were somewhat monotonous. For conditions even remotely comparable to those now prevailing we must return to imperial Rome, where the populace was kept in good humor by frequent, gratuitous doses of many kinds of entertainment – from poetical dramas to gladiatorial fights, from recitations of Virgil to all-out boxing, from concerts to military reviews and public executions. But even in Rome there was nothing like the non-stop distractions now provided by newspapers and magazines, by radio, television and the cinema. In “Brave New World” non-stop distractions of the most fascinating nature are deliberately used as instruments of policy, for the purpose of preventing people from paying too much attention to the realities of the social and political situation. The other world of religion is different from the other world of entertainment; but they resemble one another in being most decidedly “not of this world.” Both are distractions and, if lived in too continuously, both can become, in Marx’s phrase “the opium of the people” and so a threat to freedom. Only the vigilant can maintain their liberties, and only those who are constantly and intelligently on the spot can hope to govern themselves effectively by democratic procedures. A society, most of whose members spend a great part of their time, not on the spot, not here and now and in their calculable future, but somewhere else, in the irrelevant other worlds of sport and soap opera, of mythology and metaphysical fantasy, will find it hard to resist the encroachments of those would manipulate and control it.”
Aldous Huxley, Brave New World Revisited

Quote of the Day

“Our government, conceived in liberty and purchased with blood, can be preserved only by constant vigilance. May we guard it as our children’s richest legacy, for what shall it profit our nation if it shall gain the whole world and lose “the spirit that prizes liberty as the heritage of all men in all lands everywhere”?”
William Jennings Bryan

English/Spanish Cognate of the Day

English

benevolence n.- desire to do good for others; charitableness; an act of kindness

Spanish

benevolencia

Etymology

1400, “disposition to do good,” from Old French benivolence and directly from Latin benevolentia “good feeling, good will, kindness,” from bene “well” (see bene-) +volantem (nominative volens) present participle of velle “to wish