Exposing the players ruins the game: how symbolism conceals the world’s deepest secrets

By Penny Hoffmann

If one desires to communicate something essential to others, but not to one’s enemy, concealing the message is important. Only those who are educated on the context of the message can truly understand it.

There are many ways that humans communicate and understand each other. These include; verbal methods such as via audio (such as speech face-to-face or on radios); non-verbal methods such as via signs, symbols, eye contact, tone, and text.

Improper usage of punctuation, spelling, tone, definitions, and other facets that relate to the context of dialogues or monologues by the sender will negatively impact the message for the receiver. Improper communication can be and is adopted by those who deliberately or accidentally hide the truth from others.

The term “symbol” is defined by Oxford Living Dictionaries as “a mark or character used as a conventional representation of an object, function, or process, e.g. the letter or letters standing for a chemical element or a character in musical notation.” Symbols that were created long, long ago are still used to this day, whose meanings may not be understood by most of the humans of today.

German indologist and linguist Heinrich Zimmer states in his book Signs and Symbols that a symbol is “a visual image or sign representing an idea — a deeper indicator of a universal truth”, and elaborates further:

“Concepts and words are symbols, just as visions, rituals, and images are; so too are the manners and customs of daily life. Through all of these a transcendent reality is mirrored. There are so many metaphors reflecting and implying something which, though thus variously expressed, is ineffable, though thus rendered multiform, remains inscrutable. Symbols hold the mind to truth but are not themselves the truth, hence it is delusory to borrow them. Each civilisation, every age, must bring forth its own.”

One theory that is debated by many is that Ancient Egypt, being the earliest known location to have built the foundations for anatomical science, named parts of the human body after astrology. This, if true, was most-likely from Egyptian religious influence:

“The overwhelming majority of Egyptologists seem to not be familiar with the details of the age-old Hindu tradition surrounding the Third Eye. It should, therefore, come as no surprise that they seem largely unaware of the Third Eye’s central importance in the Egyptian religion.

The Third Eye is a key concept in Hinduism’s Kundalini Yoga, which teaches initiates to “balance” or “unify” our lunar ida left-bodily side with our solar pingala right-bodily side.

This “balance” or “unity” of our twin opposing natures makes us whole again—just as the balance or unity of China’s twin opposing Yin and Yang halves completes the perfect circle.

This “balance” or “unity” also awakens a serpentine power, which rises up our spine (through seven invisible “chakras” or energy centers) and activates a Third Eye hidden in our foreheads.”

Thus, things that may seem like they aren’t symbolic may have hidden meanings that are known by only those who understand the message properly.

Secrets are valuable for many reasons; to name a few, secrets protect and reveal identities, reputations, build and break apart relationships, and prevent justice or injustice. But secrets conceal the truth, and truth is the remedy to much of the world’s problems.

 

 

 

Foreign Aid: what it is, some of the controversies surrounding it, and where the U.S sends aid the most

By Penny Hoffmann

Foreign aid is a controversial topic for many reasons. One objection to foreign aid is that it can be delivered to the wrong people on purpose or accidentally (for example, theft). However, giving aid can produce many benefits: it can improve the relations between nations and rebuild living standards.

What is Foreign Aid?

Foreign aid refers to humanitarian, international, and usually inter-governmental figures or groups that give economic, military, financial or technical resources, such as weapons, to a nation or nations. This aid can be in many forms, such as bilateral or multilateral.

Some examples of aid programs include George Marshall’s Marshall Plan that began in 1948, the Point Four Program, and the UK’s Commonwealth Development Fund.

This is how the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development defines Official Development Assistance (ODA):

“ODA consists of flows to developing countries and multilateral institutions provided by official agencies, including state and local governments, or by their executive agencies, each transaction of which meets the following test: a) it is administered with the promotion of the economic development and welfare of developing countries as its main objective, and b) it is concessional in character and contains a grant element of at least 25% (calculated at a rate of discount of 10%).”

In order for foreign aid to work, it must cater to the climate of the receiver of the aid. This means that the hardships of the suffering location or the receiver of the aid must be analyzed to select the correct type of aid and to deliver it at the appropriate time. The objectives of the aid must be specified and the most suitable solutions must be chosen to ensure that the aid will not be given to the wrong people or area that needs improving.

Foreign aid can be used to improve the conduct of allies, to reward a nation for its conduct, or to eventually get a repayment of some sort from the nation receiving the aid.

Types of Foreign Aid

Bilateral Aid

Bilateral aid involves two nations where one government sends aid to another government.

Multilateral Aid

Multilateral is where funding is delivered by two or more nations to international organisations such as the World Bank (also called the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development) or the International Monetary Fund who have the role of improving suffering nations.

Tied Aid

Tied aid is a bilateral agreement where the donor nation delivers a loan or grant to the nation receiving it, but specify the nation in which the funding is spent.

Project Aid

Project aid is given to improve a certain project, such as a school.

Military Aid

Military aid is where a nation delivers weapons and the like to nations

Voluntary Aid

Voluntary aid usually refers to charity. One example of this is Doctors Without Borders, “an international humanitarian non-governmental organization best known for its projects in war-torn regions and developing countries affected by endemic diseases.”

Who Gives The Most Aid

According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, these nations gave the most Official Development Assistance (ODA) in total in 2015:

 Foreign aid: These countries are most generous

However, when considering it as a percentage of gross national income (GNI), the ranking order of the countries is different:

 Foreign aid: These countries are most generous

The top ten recipients of U.S foreign aid in 2018 are as follows:

10. Iraq – $347.9 million

9. Nigeria – $419.1 million

8. Zambia – $428.9 million

7. Uganda – $436.4 million

6. Tanzania – $535.3 million

5. Kenya – $639.4 million

4. Afghanistan – $782.8 million

3. Jordan – $1 billion

2. Egypt – $1.39 billion

1. Israel – $3.1 billion

Current Foreign Aid Controversies

There are academic disagreements regarding the efficiency of giving foreign aid. These include; the factors that influence the economic efficiency of foreign aid; whether aid should be measured empirically; whether aid should be given to non-government organisations and groups, rather than governments, who then improve the economy from the bottom up; the opposite, top-down approach by delivering aid to governments, the World Bank, and the UN who rebuild suffering nations; and whether aid givers truly know what is needed by aid receivers.

Pentagon Halts Further Aircraft Supplies to Saudi Arabia Following Khashoggi Scandal

By Stefan M. Kløvning

National Security – Secretary of Defense Jim Mattis confirmed Pentagon’s decision to halt further refueling warplanes to Saudi Arabia on Friday. The move has been lauded by opponents of the Yemeni Civil War fueled by a Saudi Arabia-led coalition starting in 2015, where weaponry supplied by the United States have been used to target civilians as late as August this year. Forty children and eleven adults were killed as the U.S.-supplied bomb to Saudi Arabia hit a Yemeni school bus. From here on, according to Mattis, they must “use the Coalition’s own military capabilities to conduct inflight refueling in support of its operations in Yemen.” The reactions and actions by the United States government to the activities of Saudi Arabia, however, has come only after Jamal Khashoggi, a Washington Post columnist critical of the Saudi government, was brutally murdered and dismembered at the Saudi Arabian Consulate in Turkey on 2. October as he was trying to get a document so he could marry his financée.

Opponents of Saudi Arabia see the aircraft halt to be a good step in the right direction, but also call for further reductions in the supply of arms and ending sharing targeted information to further disassociate the U.S. military from the conflict in Yemen. Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, one of the first members to stand out in opposition against U.S. backing of the Saudi-led coalition, asserted that “By finally ending refueling missions for Saudi bombers, the Trump administration is admitting our joint operation in Yemen has been a disaster.” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA) further called the move a “major victory”, and called for Congress to pass a resolution to “ensure that all U.S. involvement is shut off.”

The Saudi government, however, claimed that it had requested the halt themselves as the coalition had developed the ability to resupply more warplanes themselves. According to a public statement,

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the member countries of the Coalition to Support legitimacy in Yemen, continually pursue improvements to military professionalism and self-sufficiency. Recently the Kingdom and the Coalition has increased its capability to independently conduct inflight refueling in Yemen. As a result, in consultation with the United States, the Coalition has requested cessation of inflight refueling support for it’s operations in Yemen.

That the Saudis and their coalition may be becoming self-sufficient could appear concerning for those who worry about the future of Yemen, but from what the coalition’s opponents can do, the goal is to fully exclude the United States from the conflict. Senator Murphy said further that

For years, the United States has sold weapons to Saudi Arabia and offered targeting and refueling assistance as American-made bombs were sent to kill thousands of innocent people, including children. The U.S. has radicalized entire generations because there was an American imprint on every civilian murdered there.

Why are we still helping the Saudis with targeting? Why are we still selling them the bombs at a discount?

A senior scholar at the think tank Defense Priorities, Benjamin Friedman, pointed blame to former president Barack Obama for having started the military support of the Saudi-led coalition and said that the campaign “is a humanitarian disaster that does nothing to advance U.S. security—if anything it undermines it. The United States should end the other forms of intelligence and logistical support provided to the Saudis, including the arms sales aiding their bombing campaign.”

In his statement on Friday, Jim Mattis proclaimed that it was necessary to find a diplomatic solution to the conflict.

We are all focused on supporting resolution of the conflict. The U.S. and the Coalition are planning to collaborate on building up legitimate Yemeni forces to defend the Yemeni people, secure their country’s borders, and contribute to counter Al Qaeda and ISIS efforts in Yemen and the region. The U.S. will also continue working with the Coalition and Yemen to minimize civilian casualties and expand urgent humanitarian efforts throughout the country.

He also called for all parties to “support the United Nations’ ongoing efforts on this new phase in Yemen.”  The Saudis claimed they were seeking the same outcome.

The Coalition Command expresses its hope that the upcoming UN sponsored negotiations in a third country will lead to a negotiated settlement in accordance to UNSCR 2216 and see an end to the aggression by the Iranian backed Houthi militias’ against the Yemeni people and countries in the region.

Trump-Russia investigation under heavy scrutiny after Russian scapegoats call Mueller’s bluff – show up in court.

Written by: Jack Bibiano  –  Follow me on Twitter: @LibertyDragon1  –  Add me on Facebook: Juan Bibiano

          Special Counsel Robert Mueller, the man in charge of running the Trump-Russia collusion investigation, has run into quite the sharp spike in the road as lawyers from a Russian company accused of trolling have unexpectedly shown up in court. The indictment, opened by Mueller back in February, named 3 companies and 13 Russian nationals as professional trolls. The defendants were supposedly running a Russian Troll campaign mainly through social media, intending to “spread distrust towards the candidates and the political system in general,” before and during the U.S. presidential election. This indictment insinuates that the “troll campaign” was geared towards helping then-candidate Donald Trump, as well as socialist candidate Bernie Sanders

          It’s worth noting that the defendants could have just avoided coming to the United States altogether, thus never facing trial. However, named-defendant Russian company Concord Management and Consulting, called the Mueller bluff and hired lawyers and volunteered to stand trial. Defense lawyers for Concord Management have accused the Mueller team of “pettifoggery” and even indicting a ham sandwich. This ham sandwich statement is an allusion that refers back to when New York Chief Judge Sol Wachtler once told the New York Daily News, in 1985,  that government prosecutors have so much power over grand juries, that they could theoretically make them indict just about anybody—or anything.

          The first sign of trouble for the Russian troll indictment came after Mueller’s team pleaded with U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich to delay the hearing. The judge denied the special counsel’s requests, citing no reason. This ruling has sent ripples through the special counsel. Mueller now has to show up in court, assumedly unprepared, for the charges he brought to court months prior. This blunder has led to even more skepticism over the authenticity of Mueller’s claims.

          The Trump-Russia investigation in general took its first big hit just a few days before Mueller’s delay was denied. Federal Judge T.S. Ellis III, in relation to the Paul Manafort case, slammed the special counsel for being out to get the president. Ellis’s exact words were as following: “You don’t really care about Mr. Manafort,”…“You really care about what information Mr. Manafort can give you to lead to Mr. Trump, and his eventual prosecution or impeachment.” Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort is accused of secretly funding a pro-Russia group in europe. Mueller’s statement claims that Paul Manafort “secretly retained a group of former senior European politicians to take positions favorable to Ukraine, including by lobbying in the United States” Trump praised Judge Ellis’s statements during his speech at the NRA convention, throwing printed-out pages on the floor as he went through it with striking applause from the audience.

          These new developments are now working in conjunction with each other to degrade public confidence in Mueller’s special counsel. Polls indicate that more-and-more Americans are becoming distrustful of Mueller and his so-called “investigation” into everything Trump-related. I think most people just call it for what it really seem to be now, a witchhunt!

Syrian Military Base Struck by Britain, France and U.S. Following Douma Chemical Attacks

Picture credit: AP

By Stefan M. Kløvning

Syria, National Security – A military base in Syria expected of holding chemical weapons ingredients were struck by American, British and French missiles on Saturday, as retaliation for the Syrian government allegedly being behind the attack in Douma on April 8, which took the life of up to 75 people and injured about 500 more. British Prime Minister Theresa May maintained that this was not done to intervene in Syria’s civil war or an attempt of regime change, but solely…

…about a limited and targeted strike that does not further escalate tensions in the region and that does everything possible to prevent civilian casualties. And while this action is specifically about deterring the Syrian Regime, it will also send a clear signal to anyone else who believes they can use chemical weapons with impunity.

U.S. President Donald Trump spoke in a similar fashion about the decision, but didn’t mention any evidence of the Syrian government to be behind it. Mrs. May didn’t either, only referring to ‘a significant body of information including intelligence’ assumably indicating that they are.

According to Russia, the Syrian government struck down 71 of the 103 missiles launched against them.

The air strikes have been warmly welcomed by Western allies. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau, Austrialian PM Malcolm Turnbull, NATO head Jens Stoltenberg, European Council President Donald Tusk and EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker all deemed the air strikes necessary and justified as retaliation against the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against their own population.

Other nations, however, have been more skeptical. The Iranian Foreign Ministry, for instance, strongly opposed the attack. ‘The United States and its allies have no proof and, without even waiting for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to take a position, have carried out this military attack,’ they said in a statement. Iraq has also been concerned, referring to the possibility of the action being a catalyst for spreading terrorism in the region. The spokesperson for Indonesian Foreign Ministry Arrmanatha Nasir criticized the decision being done without prior authorization by the U.N. Security Council, asserting that ‘For Indonesia, peace and stability in Syria can only be achieved through dialogue and an inclusive political process.’

How do they know for sure that the Syrian government was responsible for the chemical attack in Douma, without being able to present clear evidence? Mrs. May stated, and rightly, that Russia vetoed a resolution in the U.N. Security Council proposing an independent investigation into the chemical attacks, and that that has made it very difficult for them to figure out the true nature of the situation. ‘We have sought to use every possible diplomatic channel to achieve this,’ she affirms. She therefore refers to the history of the regime with this, saying ‘The Syrian Regime has a history of using chemical weapons against its own people in the most cruel and abhorrent way.’

Is this really the case? The New York Times reported on the day of the chemical attacks that ‘Days after President Trump said he wanted to pull the United States out of Syria, Syrian forces hit a suburb of Damascus with bombs that rescue workers said unleashed toxic gas.’ But why would the Syrian government want to give the U.S. military a reason to stay in the region, or generally undertake such an attack against their own citizens with such strange timing? The story doesn’t really fit together unless the Syrian government would have a motive for doing so. Independent journalist Eva Bartlett proposes that the Western media has given a skewed picture of what is really happening in Syria. She has talked to many Canadians with relatives in Syria, whom she claims to say that are being told a different story about the situation than the Western media is promoting. She has also been to Syria 6 times to report on the situation there. ‘What you hear in the corporate media … BBC, Guardian, New York Times, etc. on Aleppo is also opposite of reality,’ she asserts. After the chemical attack in Khai Shaikhoun last year, the Syrian Army General Command explicitly denied them ever having used toxic gases against either terrorists or civilians, and that they had no plans of doing so. He asserted in the statement that ‘The armed terrorist groups used to accuse the Syrian Arab Army of using toxic gases against them or against civilians at anytime they fail to implement the targets of their sponsors and operators or when they are unable to achieve any advantages on the ground in an desperate attempt to justify their failure and to maintain the support of their masters.’ Whatever Eva Bartlett says about Fox News, there’s a reporter there on her side: Tucker Carlson. He observed the day after the Douma Attack that

Universal bipartisan agreement on anything is usually a sign that something deeply unwise is about to happen. If only there were no one left to ask skeptical questions. And we should be skeptical of this. Starting with the poison gas attack itself. All the geniuses tell us that Assad killed those children, but do they really know that? Of course they don’t really know that, they’re making it up. They have no real idea what happened. Actually, both sides in the Syrian civil war possessed chemical weapons. How would it benefit Assad, using chlorine gas last weekend? Well it wouldn’t. Assad’s forces had been winning the war in Syria. The administration just announced America’s plans to pull its troops out of Syria, having vanquished ISIS. That’s good news for Assad, and about the only thing he could do to reverse it, and to hurt himself, would be to use poison gas against children. ‘Well he did it anyways,’ they tell us. ‘He’s that evil!’ Please. Keep in mind this is the same story they told us last April, you remember that?

It’s too early yet to cite any polls of public opinion in different countries about the air strikes, but many notable reactions have been promoted on social media. Some of them will be mentioned below.

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  • Trump’s statement ‘mission accomplished’ being taken from George W. Bush’s in 2003

  • ISIS using airstrikes as cover

https://twitter.com/arturaskerelis/status/984972546742341632

  • Vote on Gab.ai (right-wing alternative media site) (n=894) on who supports or opposes Trump’s decisions on air strikes. 84% voted that they opposed. https://gab.ai/Archangel1111/posts/23762226
  • Won’t lead to expected results

(‘These strikes against engage us in a path with unpredictable and potentially dramatic consequences. France again loses an opportunity to appear on the international stage as an independent and balanced power in the world. MLP’)