Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Ninash Foundation Appeal to the Compassionate Members of the (ISCSC)

This Holiday Season (2016) coincides with the 20th Anniversary of the Ninash Foundation (www.ninash.org), a 501©(3)  not-for-profit charity that built its first school for 50 female and minority children of India in 1996. Today the foundation has 7 schools in the remote parts of Rajasthan and Gujarat educating more than 1800 underprivileged children. More than 100 of these children are going to colleges of their choice where they are getting their degrees in medicine, engineering, business, secretarial profession, etc.  It is all because of your donations that support this very noble effort.

Ninash Foundation
The first Indo-International Culture School was established in 1996 with 50 female and minority children (formerly called untouchables) in a one-room school-house.

Below are some of the projects that need to be funded during the next year at the seven schools. Please open your hearts and pockets to contribute to one or more of these projects by visiting the Ninash Foundation website at www.ninash.org and pay through PayPal or send a check to The Ninash Foundation, 17 Center Street, Oneonta, New York13820.

Ninash Foundation
The first Indo-International Culture School was established in 1996 with 50 female and minority children (formerly called untouchables) in a one-room school-house.

List of projects and estimated budget for each:.

1.     Playground set (Cost: $1000)
2.     White boards for each classroom notebooks (Cost $500 per school)
3.     Tee shirts and shoes for each child and teacher (Cost: $500 per school)
4      Solar panels (Cost: $7000 for each school)
5.     Generator for electricity for the school (Cost: $5000 for each school)
6.     State of the art WIFI/Internet (Cost: $500 for a year)
7.     Rain Harvesting Material, pond, pipes, roofs, gutters etc.  (Cost; $4000 per school)
8.     College scholarships for children, who after graduation would like to go to college
        (Cost per student per year $650 times 4=$2500 for four years)
9.     Art lessons for the children and community (Cost to hire an Art Teacher= $3000 a year)
10.   State of the art smart classrooms (Cost: $3000 for each school)
11.   New Computers (Cost: $400 per computer times 20=$8000)
12.   A New School building for 250 tribal Children of Sagbara, Gujarat (Cost: $80,000)
13.   Toilets for 80 families (Cost: $500 times 80= $40,000)

I hope to hear from you soon!

With kind regards,

Dr. Ashok Kumar Malhotra, SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor
Founder/Chair Yoga Society (http://external.oneonta.edu/yoga/)
Founder, The Ninash Foundation (www.ninash.org)
Hillary Clinton/Obama Delegate: Democratic Convention 2008
Distinguished Alumni Award University of Hawaii
Distinguished Alumni Award East West Center
Nominated for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize


Bertill Haggman
November 30, 2016

During the Great Northern War (1700 – 1721) Sweden was allied to the Crimean Khanate and Devlet Geray, Khan of Budjak, of Crimea, Nogay and Circassia.

Budjak is now part of independent Ukraine, subdivided into two cities and nine administrative districts (raions) of the Odessa Oblast. The main ethnic groups today are Ukrainians, Bulgarians, Russians and Moldovans. Earlier the Nogay Tatars also lived in Budjak.

The Nogay horde was a confederation of 18 Turkic and Mongol tribes that ha migrated west from the Pontic-Caspian steppe. The Nogay were divided in Budjak (from the River Danube to the River Dniestr), Yedisans (from the River Dniestr to the River Bug), Janboyluk (from the River Bug to Crimea) and the Yedikul (north of Crimea and Kuban).
It should be remembered that both Charles XII and the Ukrainian Head of State Ivan Mazepa and his successor Pylyp Orlyk from 1707 to 1714 sought alliances against Russia with also Bashkirs, the Don Cossacks and Circassians.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Monday, November 28, 2016

Legitimacy of Law Enforcement and Those Who Are Governed

Lynn Rhodes, Chief (Ret) California State Parks; Vice President, International Society for the Comparative Study of Civilizations (ISCSC)

In order to have stable civilization, to govern and be governed there must be a sense of legitimacy and trust by those who are governed. One consideration of use-of-power is not only perceived but actual legitimacy by policing forces. Police authority must have legitimacy and be a compliment to society and in place to protect (society). Increased awareness in the United States, enhanced by the pervasiveness of social media, has illuminated the disparity in which policing is undertaken and the sense of legitimacy by those governed. Police departments nationwide are reacting to impressions or mis-impressions they say are stigmatizing them as out of touch and anti-protection. They are often now characterized as carrying out the law (a judicial role), and prematurely so, as opposed to enforcing the law (fairly and without bias) for public protection and security.

Social order is not possible without a sense of real legitimacy, compliance and cooperation with the laws. For the greater good, society has allowed itself to be policed by consent. In the U.S. this condition is being more openly questioned and challenged.

Factors influencing public trust and the role of policing must be better understood by law enforcement agencies and the public partnership involved. Many agencies are now trying to reframe their roles as guardians as opposed to being known as police. A guardian is an ally, someone that watches, protects and takes appropriate action.  Discretion and trust is fundamental and essential to their role. But making a wholesale transition to an active role as guardian from that of police will not be done quickly. It will require institutionalizing new learning, training and partnerships.

In ancient societies, there was no official law enforcement function and very little, if any, attempt at organization. Instead, individuals, families and clans took it upon themselves to take revenge against those who may have inured or offended them. The idea of crime prevention was almost non-existent in the early history of law enforcement and criminology. Worldwide, civilizations throughout the ages have contributed significantly in the development of criminal justice in society as early as 8000-4000 BC in the middle east, through the rise of the Roman Republic, to Robert Peel’s 9 principles of policing in London, and how we have evolved to the current time.

Legitimacy of policing forces and permission to conduct policing services is an issue front and center for today’s free societies.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

47th ISCSC Conference June 30 to July 3rd 2017

47th ISCSC International Conference
Marconi Conference Center, Marshall, California, U.S.A.
June 30 to July 3rd 2017

Marconi Conference Center is part of the California State Park System located in Marshall, California U.S.A. approximately 90 minutes northwest of San Francisco.
Please see the map on the ISCSC website: www.iscsc.org
Marconi Conference Center Website: www.marconiconference.org

The 62-acre Marconi Conference Center State Historic Park in scenic West Marin County is located along the east shore of Tomales Bay near the quaint community of Marshall. The location provides dramatic views of the bay and the lush inland hills of the Point Reyes Peninsula.

Rich with the history of the ancient coastal Miwok people, and the 1912 American Marconi Wireless Telegraph Company, the historical significance of the property was recognized with the classification of the facility as a State Historic Park in 1991.

We have a great package for this year’s conference! Conference Registration includes a one-year membership to the ISCSC for new and any renewing members! All lodging and meals for the conference are provided on-site.

Attendees are to make their own conference registration and lodging arrangements directly with the ISCSC before the deadline of April 25, 2017 by using a link which will soon be placed on the ISCSC website.  Lodging fee includes accommodations, all meals, and tax, for all 3 nights.  Rates are the equivalent of: $245 Single; $165 Double or $135 Triple per person, per day. Meals begin with dinner on the arrival date and end with lunch on departure date. Lodging/meal package reservations will be for the entire 3 days.  It will be important to use the on-line link via the ISCSC website to make your room/meal reservation which must be paid in advance. It is part of our conference package and ensures the agreed upon rates. Attempting to make individual reservations through the Marconi Conference Center, even if available, will result in much higher costs to participants and are not part of our conference package and activities.

Registration cost is $275. Conference registration is separate from the lodging and meal package. Conference Registration includes conference attendance, welcome reception on June 30th, invitation to submit abstracts for conference presentation, necessary technical amenities for the presentation and a complimentary year-long membership in the ISCSC with its many benefits of professional affiliation, subscription to the organization’s acclaimed journal, Comparative Civilizations Review, and, last-but-not-least, fun raffle prizes.

Attendees will most likely fly directly to San Francisco International Airport (SFO). From there, transportation to Marconi Conference Center can easily be accomplished via rental car or a shuttle service called Marin Door to Door: www.marindoortodoor.com or telephone at +1-415-457-2717. Marin Door to Door will take you directly to the Marconi Conference Center for $115 each way. If more than one person is traveling in your group, the second person is only charged $12.00. It is beneficial to book more than one person for the shuttle ride for cost-savings. Booking the shuttle should be done at least 48 hours in advance.

Please visit the ISCSC www.iscsc.org and Marconi Conference Center www.marconiconference.org for additional trip planning references, local sites of interest, and detailed information about the lodging and dining facilities. If you have any questions, please contact Vice President, Lynn Rhodes, 831-600-5209 or lynn.rhodes@iscsc.org or Executive Director Peter Hecht 917-494-8936 or peter.hecht@iscsc.org.


Bertil Haggman

National Review on July 26, 2016 published an article on an important book by Nima Sanandaji to be published in August 2016 on the Nordic social system the American left dreams of importing. Excerpts below:
“Debunking Utopia: Exposing the Myth of Nordic Socialism” [is about] the social success of Nordic countries…The social success of Nordic countries pre-dates progressive welfare-state policies. A common misconception is that the Nordic countries became socially and economically successful by introducing universal welfare states funded by high taxes. In fact, their economic and social success had already materialized during a period when these countries combined a small public sector with free-market policies. The welfare state was introduced afterward. That the Nordic countries are so successful is due to an exceptional culture that emphasizes social cohesion, hard work, and individual responsibility.
Today, in contrast, Nordic countries stand out as having high-tax models. Denmark, for example, has the highest tax rate among developed nations. But in 1960, the tax rate in the country was merely 25 percent of GDP, lower than the 27 percent rate in the U.S. at the time. In Sweden, the rate was 29 percent, only slightly higher than in the U.S.
In fact, much of Nordic prosperity evolved between the time that a capitalist model was introduced in this part of the world during the late 19th century and the mid 20th century –during the free-market era.
What might come as a surprise to American admirers of the Nordic countries is that high levels of income equality evolved during the same period. Swedish economists Jesper Roine and Daniel Waldenström, for example, explain that “most of the decrease [in income inequality in Sweden] takes place before the expansion of the welfare state and by 1950 Swedish top income shares were already lower than in other countries.”
…some scholars attribute [the Nordic success] to the Protestant work ethic. It is likely that climate played an equally important role in creating the Nordic success culture. Nordic farmers owned their land but struggled to survive in the unforgiving climate of Scandinavia. In order to thrive, these homogenous societies developed strict work ethics, healthy lifestyles, and a code of individual responsibility out of necessity. To paraphrase the ancient Persian king Cyrus the Great, hard lands breed hard people.
American admirers of Nordic-style social democracy argue that by copying social-democratic policies, the U.S. will copy Nordic social success. But is this true? Hard lands breed hard people.

…the longest average life spans among Nordic peoples are found in Iceland — the small Nordic cousin that has the most distinctly Nordic culture, but also the most limited welfare system. It is equally interesting to look at Nordic Americans, a group that combines the Nordic success culture with U.S.-style capitalism. It was mainly the impoverished people in the Nordic countries who sailed across the Atlantic to found new lives…
Danish Americans today have fully 55 percent higher living standard than Danes. Similarly, Swedish Americans have a 53 percent higher living standard than Swedes. The gap is even greater, 59 percent, between Finnish Americans and Finns. Even though Norwegian Americans lack the oil wealth of Norway, they have a 3 percent higher living standard than their cousins overseas. Perhaps even more astonishing is that Nordic Americans are more socially successful than their cousins in Scandinavia. They have much lower high-school-dropout rates, much lower unemployment rates, and even slightly lower poverty rates.
Currently, Nordic-style democratic socialism is all the rage among Democrat activists as well as with liberal intellectuals and journalists. But in the Nordic countries themselves, this ideal has gradually lost its appeal. Only one of the five Nordic countries, Sweden, currently has a government headed by social democrats. The other four countries have center-right governments. Moreover, the Swedish Social Democrats enjoy weaker popular support today than at any point in modern times. They lead a minority government, as the majority of Swedes either support one of the center-right parties or the anti-immigration party.
During the past few decades, the Nordic countries have gradually been reforming their social systems. Taxes have been cut to stimulate work, public benefits have been limited in order to reduce welfare dependency, pension savings have been partially privatized, for-profit forces have been allowed in the welfare sector, and state monopolies have been opened up to the market. In short, the universal-welfare-state model is being liberalized.
…a closer look shows that these policies are not what explain the success of Nordic societies, and that the Nordic people themselves are becoming less enthusiastic about democratic socialism. Unfortunately, the American Left is more interested in the Nordic myth than a nuanced view of the actual benefits — and drawbacks — of democratic socialism.
Nima Sanandaji is the president of the European Centre for Policy Reform and Entrepreneurship. His latest book, Debunking Utopia: Exposing the Myth of Nordic Socialism [was published in August].

Some Memories of George Von der Muhll

Some Memories of George Von der Muhll

Many decades member of the ISCSC, our dear friend George Von der Muhll passed on this February 8, 2016, of natural causes.  He was beloved by many because of his phenomenal knowledge of civilizations past, present and debatable, and because of his relentlessly positive and erudite advocacy of civilizational perspectives on global problems.

This marks the departure of another Titan of our small and ever aging crew.  The decline of national support for humanities, much less classical studies of civilizations, has dried up the stream of junior faculty who used to replace our Titans when they retired or moved on.

George studied at Oberlin College, the London School of Economics, and Harvard before teaching at Swarthmore College, PA, the University of Chicago, briefly in Ethiopia, in New Zealand (1977-78) and in Uganda from 1965-66 and 1972-73 (before he had to flee with his young family due to dangers posed by then-ruler Idi Amin).  George was a remarkably fearless man for a tiny professor of governments and governance.  But his main academic home became the University of California at Santa Cruz where he taught politics, and rose to become provost of Merrill College at UCSC.  After retirement, he also taught and administered programs at Utrecht, Leiden and Maastricht Universities in the Netherlands from 2000-2002.

George was different from many scholars in that he actually walked on the ground of most of the modern, ancient, large and small civilizations he studied.  He had fairly pronounced scoliosis, so in his later years we would expect him to limp up, bent over with ever new and fascinating stories of his latest adventures in far off places.  To the end he was still planning excursions to near war zones like Egypt, Jordan and Syria.

George was a remarkable example of an ancient, and I fear vanishing kind of scholar.  He was a person filled with wonder at the world and a never ending curiosity about the human condition and how we got there.  And he did not just read books, of which he had thousands, but walked on the ground that books attempt to represent.

George was survived by two sons and his second wife, Lydia Blanchard Von der Muhll, who he had met at a military high school in Germany shortly after WW II.  His dad had been in the OSS and the CIA and her dad was a diplomat in Brussels.  A story fit for a Hollywood movie follows because they did not marry right away, rather decades later and in fact, she ‘stole’ him from another woman, who had been Mayor of Santa Cruz.  That is a private adventure.  But they ended up together in Santa Cruz for most of their latter years.  Lydia first joined our conference in Dublin, Ireland in 1994, came occasionally thereafter, and remains a scholar in her own right.


George and Lydia Von der Muhll in Santa Cruz     Forever 17 and 18 in their Hearts
  July, 2015.

I was very fond of George Von der Muhll.  I will remember him and Lydia forever, so I greatly regret the passing of one of our truly world-class civilizational scholars.  Life is too short to capture all the dimensions of that which George shared with us for at least 30 years.  May our remaining Titans stay as healthy and as filled with wonder as they can be.  The young can still be inspired, even though colleges don’t help them as much as once we did.

Michael Andregg
University of St. Thomas and
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, Minnesota, USA

Some photos from the 46th Annual ISCSC Conference at Monmouth University, New Jersey, USA, June 29-July 1 2016

Some photos from the 46th Annual ISCSC Conference at Monmouth University, New Jersey, USA, June 29-July 1 2016

Dr. David Rosner (past President), Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman

In his monumental “A Study of History” Dr. Arnold J. Toynbee identifies 23 civilizations that have existed since the beginning of recorded history.

Benjamin Landis

In his monumental “A Study of History” Dr. Arnold J. Toynbee identifies 23 civilizations that have existed since the beginning of recorded history.  The expression “recorded history” itself implies civilization.  Societies and cultures that existed prior to recorded history are deemed uncivilized, pre-civilized.  The 23 civilizations identified by Dr. Toynbee are :
First Generation: Minoan, Shang, Sumeric, Egyptiac, Indus, Mayan, Andean (Inca), Yucatec, and Mexic
Second Generation: Hellenic, Syriac, Sinic, Indic, Hittite, Babylonic
Third Generation: Western, Russian Orthodox, Byzantine Orthodox, Chinese, Far Eastern (Japanese-Korean), Hindu
In addition, Toynbee identifies four cultures that he names “abortive civilizations”: Far Western Christian, Far Eastern Christian, Scandinavian, Syriac
(I apologize to the reader.  I am in France far from my copy of “A Study of History”, so I am relying on Wikipedia for my information.  It is obvious that the Wikipedia author of the entry “A Study of History” is not a careful writer.  He begins his article by listing 19 civilizations identified by Toynbee.  Later in the article (Section 6) he lays out a chart with a heading stating that Toynbee had identified 23 civilizations.  Interestingly, the author shows the Syriac Civilization as one of the 19; he does not show it as one of the 23; he does list it as one of the abortive civilizations.  Furthermore, on the chart of the 23 civilizations there are only 21, unless one counts the Persian and the Arabic as civilizations blending later into the Islamic Civilization.  In my opinion, this is a stretch and to the degree that I remember Toynbee he never suggested  that there existed a Persian and an Arabic Civilization, precursors to the Islamic Civilization.  In any case, these details are not germane to this blog.)
Toynbee also identifies five “arrested civilizations”: Polynesian, Eskimo, Nomads, Ottoman, Spartan
With regard to these “arrested civilizations” Toynbee, in my opinion, is way off the mark.  Except possibly for the Ottoman and the Spartan, the other three come nowhere close to meeting the conditions laid out by Toynbee to become civilizations.  I mention one crucial point: Agriculture is the sine qua non to becoming a civilization.  And not just family agriculture that meets the need of one family group, but agriculture that produces more than one family group needs.  This opens the doors to many of the essential features of a civilization.  I will get into this more thoroughly later.  There was never any possibility that the Polynesians, Eskimos, and Nomads achieve that level of agriculture.  So, they remained primitive societies, trapped by their environments, with no possibility of evolving.
The last volume of Toynbee’s study was published in 1961, five and a half decades ago.  I live in perpetual surprise that no one has thoroughly examined his work, no one has proposed modifications to his concept, no one has corrected any errors he may have made.  The only critique I know was on the minor point of Toynbee having designated Jewry as a fossil society.  I believe that there was one book published criticizing this point of view.  Yet since Toynbee finished his study there have been a number of scholars celebrated for their views and concepts on civilizations: Huntington, Clough, Melko, et al., yet compared to Toynbee their efforts are piecemeal and inconclusive.  If one goes to the home page of the ISCSC and looks into the item “Civilization Defined” one will discover a fairly lengthy “discussion” entitled “Civilizations and Recommendations.”  Reading through this, one discovers that it is not really a “discussion”, but a series of viewpoints and ruminations on civilization.  There is a section entitled “Recommended Readings on Civilization.”  Toynbee’s “A Study of History” is not included.  The various viewpoints emphasize the cultural aspects of a civilization and yet, a civilization’s culture is usually one of the last features of a civilization to be developed.  For example, the essential characteristics of Western Civilization are Nationalism and Christianity.  Western culture, such as we define it today, was developed slowly well after the creation of Western Civilization.  The United States as the last developed part of Western Civilization, as Rome was to Athens in the Hellenic Civilization, has contributed one additional essential characteristic, i. e., Constitutional Democracy.
Later, the participants in the so-called discussion are asked to recommend readings on civilization.  Only two recommend Toynbee.
I do not understand how one can perform a comparative study of civilizations if one does not define the features of a civilization.  I ask any reader of this blog to please explain that to me.
Even though Toynbee stands head and shoulders above any other scholar having published a text or texts on civilization, he was not perfect.  His understanding was sometimes clouded, as is any scholar’s, and sometimes deficient, since what he knew when he wrote has been expanded since he finished.  For example: As an “abortive civilization” a prime candidate would be the Ancient Pueblan culture as manifested at Mesa Verde, Chaco Canyon, Hovenweep, etc.
Instead of piece mealing the study of civilization, one should be recommending young scholars to look hard at Toynbee.  Are the civilizations that he identified correct?  Should there be more or less?  Is it legitimate to talk about “abortive” and “arrested” civilizations?  What are the time spans for each of the no longer existing civilizations?  How does one determine when a civilization begins and when it ends?  The Andean (Inca) and Mexic (Aztec) civilizations should be relatively easy to fit into their temporal space, since they were both abruptly ended by Spanish conquest.  But how long did it take for the cultural aspects of these civilizations to be replaced by a Spanish culture?
The members of the “discussion” group have significant problems in determining what a civilization is.  First, with respect to a definition, all one needs to do is go to any worthwhile dictionary and look up the definition.  For example, using Webster’s New World College Dictionary, Fourth Edition, ©1999, one finds the definition of a civilization.  There are 6 different definitions proposed.  I believe that definitions 2 and 4 are the most appropriate to this discussion: “2. the condition of being civilized; social organization of a high order, marked by the development and use of a written language and by advances in the arts and sciences, government, etc.  4. The countries and peoples considered to have reached a high stage of  social and cultural development”.  My own definition is: The most advanced and most complex social, political, economic, cultural, and military environment thus far achieved by humankind.
   What is important is that coming up with a universally accepted definition of civilization does not in the least aid the comparative study of civilizations.  A definition categorizes.  That’s all.  What is necessary to do comparative studies is to agree on the features or characteristics of the entities being compared.  The ISCSC has not done this.  Consequently it is not capable of living up to its name.  Yet, the path to a universal understanding of the features of a civilization was laid down more than 70 years ago.  I refer to V. Gordon Childe’s list of the essential characteristics of a civilization.  Not surprisingly, his name is not mentioned by anyone at any time in the “discussion”.
Let me list what Childe considered to be the essential features of a civilization.
1. Large and thickly populated settlements
2. A variety of specialized occupations
3. The ability to store surplus food and other goods
4. Large public buildings
5. A variety and ranking of social positions
6. Writing and a system of notation
7. The beginning of science
8. The development of an important art style
9. Trade over long distances
10. The beginning of social control based on a central government rather than kinship
There is something for a civilizational scholar, who has no preconceived ideas, to sink his teeth into.  Why has Childe been neglected in the field of civilizational studies?  His is the essential work.  Today’s scholars need to go over these 10 features and determine whether they are essential to distinguishing a civilization from the next lower level of social and political organization.  How do Toynbee’s 23 or 21 or 19 civilizations stack up with regard to these characteristics?  Do all of his proposed civilizations meet the standard?  One that comes immediately to mind is the Andean (Inca) Civilization.  It is a good example of the fact that civilizations do not spring full-bodied from the head of Zeus.  When it met its untimely end by Spanish conquest it had not yet developed a system of writing.  However, modern research seems to indicate that it was on the path to develop such a system.
I close, by recalling to the reader’s attention that without agricultural development beyond the family group many of the above characteristics could not, and would not, have developed.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Russia's Long Romance with Lying and Deception

Laina Farhat-Holzman
August 6, 2016

A spotlight has been turned on Putin's Russia lately: the probability that his government had hacked the computers of the Democratic National Committee, sitting on them until being released the eve of the Democratic Presidential Convention. Their agent, Julian Asange, the creator of WikiLeaks, a hacking underworld that only hacks the computers of the West, never Russia or China, dumped these e-mails with the seeming intent of assisting the election of Donald Trump. Russia certainly could not openly provide this deluge; that is what Asange is for.

This sort of action is not new to Russia, a country that for several centuries has used lies and deception to “win.” No wonder there is such a good relationship between Trump and Putin, despite Trump's own protestation that he had never met Putin. He lied, of course, because he had boasted about meeting Putin when they were both on 60 Minutes! He also boasted that Putin had declared that Trump was a genius. The actual translation of Putin's ironic comment was that Trump was a “character.” But both men will do anything to win, dishonest or not.

Olympic Cheating. The long-suffering Olympic Committee finally had to bite the bullet and ban Russian athletes from participating in this summer's games. It is about time. A Russian sports doctor fled to west and now lives in hiding. He went public on the procedure that Russia uses to secretly replace their doping athletes' urine samples with clean ones. With the world press looking, the Olympics committee finally had to do something that they have sidestepped for decades. 

Winning is so essential to the Russian (and before that, Soviet) government that they have always cheated to guarantee winning gold medals. Russian performers have a huge trove of undeserved medals, most of them during the Soviet period when doping athletes was just suspected. Some of the East German women athletes trained in the Soviet style at one point had to be tested to see if they really were women! Testosterone is a great fixer. North Korea (another Russian client) has gone even further: athletes who do not win are tortured and imprisoned. 
Lysenko's Heritage:    
In the late 1920s, a Russian scientist, Trofim Lysenko, director of the Soviet Academy of Science, supported Stalin's campaign to declare that Darwin's evolutionary theory was wrong. Lysenko's new science insisted that rye could be transformed into barley, weeds could become food grains, and that “natural selection” should be replaced by “Natural cooperation.” He declared that if you cut off the tail of a rat, all babies born to that rat would have no tail. Stalin liked this; it went along with Soviet social propaganda. Biology was declared bunk, and Soviet science was exposed to western laughter. Today, Lysenko's attack on science has been adopted by some of our intellectually-dim politicians. Global Warming denial is Neo-Lysenkoism. Darwin is replaced with Kentucky's Noah's Ark Park.

Protocols of the Leaned Elders of Zion.  The secret service of the Russian Empire in 1903 was worried about growing revolutionary fervor among Russia's educated classes. Rather than address Russia's repressive government, the agents created a forgery, purporting to be the secret minutes of a Jewish secret society planning to take over and rule the world. This nonsense went global. Henry Ford printed and distributed 500,000 copies and distributed them widely. Adolph Hitler was another advocate, and had it distributed in classrooms throughout Germany. 

 The fraud was investigated and exposed by The Times (London) in 1921, but their revelation did not deter advocates of this nonsense from continuing to distribute to the gullible. Today, this fraud is available in translations around the world, most popularly in Muslim countries. 

 When the new state of Israel did not fall into Communist arms in 1947, the Soviet Union turned its attention to the Arab Muslim world and resurrected their original fraud. The Arab translations are readily available throughout the Middle East, adding fuel to the already poisoned conspiracy believers.

Cheating and lying comes so easily to Putin's Russia that perhaps Lysenko was right: lying and cheating may be inherited traits for Russia's leaders.

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God's Law or Man's Law.  You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.     

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

How Our Presidents Promote Tolerance

February 13, 2016

The United States was founded just as the European Enlightenment swept through. The Enlightenment occurred after two centuries of religious wars had exhausted not only Europe's population, but also its intellectuals. Ordinary people were not theologians; they simply retreated to the various sects accepted by their families or rulers. Southern Europeans remained Catholic, while the more economically progressive north (England, Scotland, Scandinavia, and northern Germany) and their rulers favored Protestantism.

The 17th-century Pilgrims brought with them a form of Calvinism that was neither tolerant nor compulsion-free. Their zeal flagged over the next two centuries so that by the actual founding of the new country at the end of the 18th century, the Enlightenment shaped it. The Founding fathers, Enlightenment men all, forbade state support for religion. Religion was permitted to flourish, but without compulsion. Religion without official force is a wobbly thing; people may join---or leave, something entirely new in the world. Throughout the 19th and 20th centuries, new sects flowered, some of them native-born, but some of which eventually burnt out.

American presidents have over the centuries worked to keep religion separate from government, yet they adopting the values that most of the population cherished. The Quakers, for example, with a British faith, came to America and were persecuted by the Calvinist Pilgrims. Over time, however, their values spread and they amassed a following that urged abolition of slavery. They succeeded in doing this in England in 1833; but it took thirty more years before slavery was abolished nationwide.

But, back to our beginnings as a country. The Dutch ruled New York (New Amsterdam) in the 17th century. When a shipload of Jews arrived fleeing Catholic persecution in Brazil, they sought refuge. The governor, Peter Stuyvesant, tried to bar them, but because the Dutch government had recently enacted the first legal religious toleration for Jews and Protestant dissidents, Stuyvesant was overruled by the home country. America's first Jews had arrived and lived, for the first time in 2,000 years, in freedom.

The Jews were granted full Dutch citizenship when a group of Jewish pirates brought to Holland the entire Spanish gold fleet they had captured at sea. Read this fascinating story in Edward Kritzler's: Jewish Pirates of the Caribbean, 2008.

During the Revolutionary War, one Jewish friend of General George Washington gave his entire fortune to support the war. This loyalty was not forgotten. Upon the retirement of President Washington, he wrote a letter to the Jewish congregation of Newport, Rhode Island, promising that religious “toleration” would give way to religious liberty, and that the government would not interfere with individuals in matters of conscience and belief.

“Every one shall sit in safety under his own vine and figtree, and there shall be none to make him afraid. For happily, the Government of the United States gives to bigotry no sanction, to persecution no assistance, requires only that they who live under its protection should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support.” [Italics mine.]

Presidents Obama and Bush have been dealing with another bout of bigotry that both have tried to nip in the bud. Because Militant Islam carried out a deadly attack on this country on 9/11/01, President Bush hastened to distinguish between criminal Muslims and ordinary Muslim citizens. He insisted that “Islam is a religion of peace,” asking Americans not to brand all Muslims as terrorists.

His intentions were good. We have too many bullies ready to bash heads of the innocent when stirred up. But Islamist lone-wolf attacks continued.

This month, President Obama did the same. He visited a mosque and assured Muslims that they are welcome and do belong in this country. He, too, means well. However, since 9/11, Militant Islam has burrowed among the Muslim population, carrying out (or trying to) murderous attacks. President Obama, aware of this, echoed George Washington that this minority should demean themselves as good citizens, in giving it on all occasions their effectual support. Muslim spokesmen resent that they are being held to a standard that other immigrants have not. Other immigrants did not require it.

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God's Law or Man's Law.  You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.  

US Election Dysfunction Has Solutions

March 26, 2016

The US Constitutions says nothing about how candidates will be selected for our elections process. Our current practice of holding primaries came about to “democratize” the process of nominating candidates for office. The old system (by tradition) was to have political parties in each state select candidates and then in a nominating convention choose from among them. The Constitution does not mention political parties either. Our first president, George Washington, did not like them, fearing factional dysfunction. We can imagine what he would think of today's factional parties!

One of the great strengths of the United States is its ability to change those things that have gone wrong. We finally corrected the terrible institution of slavery, but it did take a horrific war to do so. Earlier, President Jackson thought that giving the vote to all white males was an improvement over the elite system that preceded it, white (educated) property owners. His intention was to spread political power to the people, not including, of course, women or Blacks. Uneducated voters with no skin in the game (property, for example) could be, and certainly were, bought. Following Jackson, our national politics were rife with corruption, and after the Civil War ended, rife with power to the very rich, the age of the Robber Barons.

Political parties, as written in my column of 3-19, are not cast in stone. We have, by and large, functioned with two major parties, fringe or third parties not able to gain direct tractions. The one exception to this was the collapse of the Whig Party (1830-60) and the birth of its spinoff, the Republican Party, which elected Abraham Lincoln. We may be approaching a repetition of this process if many Republicans defect from selecting Donald Trump as their 2016 candidate for the presidency.

There is a fever of anger and frustration loose in the country now, unhappiness with today's political dysfunction. A vocal minority feels betrayed by their parties not doing what they think right. Both the Tea Party on the far right and the far left Democrats detest any sort of cooperation in governance that compromises their “principles.” They are out of step with the idea of working across the aisle, negotiating those issues upon which they can agree. The rival parties have come to hate each other rather than considering each other as partners in governance.

Because we have a political system that can self-correct, there are a few things that we can do to make our election process better. I don't like the present primary system that gives a few states an undue benefit in selecting candidates. This could be remedied by holding the primary elections on the same day, nation wide, giving the state political parties more power in vetting candidates. People who work in the political system certainly know candidates better than most of us take the time to do.

Although the American press reaps great benefits from our long election process, playing up, as they have this time, spectacle over thought, most Americas should consider an election cycle of two months instead of nearly two years! Almost every other democracy in our time does this. And once more, the nominating conventions would return to doing the heavy lifting rather than just rubber-stamping the survivors of a grueling public circus.

There are candidates who feel, as Hillary Clinton confessed at a recent town meeting, that she does not have the pizazz on the podium that her husband and President Obama have; and she would much rather be doing the work than providing spectacle. The same can be said for Governor John Kasich, who has had difficulty generating rowdy mob appeal. Only a few gifted candidates can do both. Others are just spectacle, without substance, and most often, simpy demagogues.

Finally, the next Congress would do well to undo the disastrous Supreme Court judgment that money equals free speech. Having shorter election cycles, same- day primary elections, and protection against the contamination of dark money, we could do much better as a democratic republic.

Dr. Laina Farhat-Holzman is a historian, lecturer, and author of God's Law or Man's Law.  You may contact her at Lfarhat102@aol.com or www.globalthink.net.    


by Benjamin Landis

I have just read and reread the article “The Global Civil War: Will the West Survive?” by Bertil Häggman in the Spring 2015 edition of the Comparative Civilizations Review.  I am amazed that a scholarly journal published such an article, an article that is certainly not scholarly.  In fact, the thoughts expressed therein are very much confused, even hysterically so, and in large part unsubstantiated.
Mr. Häggman’s thesis is that “A civil war characterized by revolution and counterrevolution has raged since 1789…The world civil war started when the kingdom of France was abolished, and the Bastille, a prison filled with insurgents and criminals, was stormed on July 14, 1789.”  These statements create three problems.  First, Mr. Häggman without any justification redefines the term “civil war”.  Per Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary of the English language” a civil war is “a war between political factions or regions within the same country”.  Mr. Häggman gives no explanation whatsoever as to why the definition has to be changed.  Second, he states that the “world civil war” began when the “kingdom of France was abolished” and when “the Bastille…was stormed…”  Unfortunately, these two events were not simultaneous.  The storming of the Bastille occurred on July 14, 1789; the kingdom of France ceased to exist in September 1792 with the declaration of the First Republic.  Third, he writes that the Bastille was “filled with insurgents and criminals”.  In fact, the Bastille housed at the moment of the storming only 7 prisoners: four forgers, two members of the nobility for immoral conduct, and a murderer.  What?  No insurgents? To deem the Bastille as “filled” by seven prisoners would seem to indicate that it was about the size of a small Parisian row house.      
In support of his thesis, Mr. Häggman cites other subsequent elements of the “global civil war” since the French Revolution.  “…two more insurgencies developed inspired in some respects by Jacobinism, namely Communism and Nazism…”  We need now to look at what “Jacobinism” is.  Per the dictionary cited above, “Jacobinism” has two aspects, one which died a long time ago, and one still alive.  First, the dead one: the beliefs of a person who “in the French Revolution [was] a member of a radical society or club of revolutionaries that supported the Reign of Terror and other extreme solutions, active chiefly from 1789 to 1794…”  The alive one: the beliefs of “an extreme radical, especially in politics”.  Mr. Häggman’s lumping Communists and Nazis together as Jacobins is quite an intellectual feat.  Admittedly both fostered dictatorships, but the Nazis were hardly extreme left-wing radicals; they were not even extreme right wing radicals.  They were xenophobic racists..  Nor does he in any way substantiate his claim that Communism and Nazism were “inspired in some respects by Jacobinism”.  As he did for the term “civil war”, in order to sustain his thesis, Mr. Häggman appears to have redefined “Jacobinism” to mean “a radical ideology of either the far right or the far left which is based upon genocide as a means of attaining and maintaining power”.  
Mr. Häggman’s definition of the supposed “global civil war” is “…the concept is used to describe simultaneous civil conflicts happening at many locations with little regard for national boundaries.”  A few sentences later he does modify this definition somewhat by indicating that “…national boundaries are relevant…”  Note that Mr. Häggman states that the global civil war comprises “simultaneous civil conflicts”.
How does he substantiate his thesis?  He claims that the opening phase of this global civil war began in France in 1789 and ended in 1815 by the military defeat of Napoleon’s France.  With the advent of the French Revolution, well before the Jacobins came to power, the European monarchies went to war to restore the Bourbons to their throne.  And this war continued, well after the end of Jacobinism as a political force in France, until the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo.  Mr. Häggman links Napoleon and the Jacobins as fellow-travelers, i.e., “A war had to be carried on until the Jacobin advance was stopped and Napoleon defeated”.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  Mr. Häggman needs to present proof for this claim.
The next phase in the global civil war appears to be, according to Mr. Häggman, the Paris Commune of 1871.  So there was apparently a lack of simultaneity of 56 years in his global civil war.  Mr.Häggman once again needs to verify his facts.  Although there was no reason to bring it forth, he writes that there were more than 20,000 deaths during the 72 days of the Commune.  This is quite inaccurate.  The number estimated by a number of historians is about 7,000.  I will be happy to furnish Mr. Häggman references.    
  He cites as evidence of this civil war, which he characterizes as “global” the French Revoluyion beginning in 1789, the Napoleonic wars, the Paris Commune in 1871, the First World War, the Russian Revolution of 1917, the Second World War, and the seizure of power in China by the Chinese Communists in 1949, and September 11, 2001, since “when radical Islam has waged war on the West in the spirit of the French Revolution”.  This is a strange mix.  What common thread does Mr. Häggman see that links the Napoleonic wars to the Paris Commune and then to the First World War and then to the Russian Revolution and then to the Second World War and then to the Communist takeover of China in 1949?  Admittedly, these were all wars, but they were of different natures.  European monarchies against the First French Republic.  The European monarchies against the French Emperor.  The people of Paris against the German conqueror.  Certain European colonial powers against other European colonial powers.  European nations and the United States against Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy.  Mr. Häggman needs to explain how these wars of different natures are part of his “global civil war”.  Another problem Mr. Häggman needs to face and explain is the lack of simultaneity, which he indicates is a feature of the “global civil war”.  
Mr. Häggman in writing about the Russian Revolution of 1917 mentions a “European civil war”, yet does not identify what civil war he is writing about.  It may be that he is using the term to indicate the First World War, which only Mr. Häggman could consider to be a civil war.  There was no clash of ideologies.  There were only nation-states asserting their territorial ambitions.  Examples of his use of the term are as follows: “It was in connection with the Bolshevik Revolution that the mass murders of the European civil war were initiated”.  “…the European Civil War cost even more lives”.
He later writes “…in the 1930s a new phase of the European civil war started: Germany and Italy attacked the rest of Europe”.  Once again Mr. Häggman transforms a conflict between nation-states into a civil war.  However, this time instead of being monarchies fighting against the leftist French Republic, it is European and American democracies and Russian Communism fighting against reactionary dictators.  Mr. Häggman does not mention that the Soviet Union, which he obviously considers to be one of humanity’s adversaries in his global civil war, fought alongside the “democracies” to defeat Germany and Italy and it was supported militarily and financially by the Western democracies.  Mr. Häggman has created a terminological and ideological hodge-podge that is simply incomprehensible.    
Mr. Häggman’s sub-thesis is that Jacobinism has been rampant since the French Revolution and represents one of the ideological bases fomenting the global civil war.  “The war had to be carried on until the Jacobin advance was stopped and Napoleon defeated”.  “…two more insurgencies developed inspired in some respects by Jacobinism, namely Communism and Nazism…”  “The Russian revolutionaries used …the Jacobins as their models”.  Mr. Häggman needs to explain more fully how the German Nazis were inspired by Jacobinism.  His statement to that effect is thrown out into the public winds without any substantiation whatsoever except that he, Mr. Häggman, said so.  The same holds true for his statement that the Russian revolutionaries used the Jacobins as their models.  What happened to Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels?
Unfortunately, neither Mr Häggman’s thought processes nor his writing are coherent.  For unexplained reasons he leaves out of his effort to substantiate his thesis a large number of civil wars that he apparently doesn’t believe fit his concept.  I cite the English Civil War of 1642-1651, the American colonies revolt against the British monarchy of 1776-1783, the American Civil War of 1861-1865, the numerous revolutions and civil wars in South America starting in 1808 and continuing intermittently to the end of the Twentieth Century.  I further cite the Spanish Civil War of 1936-1939.
There are other blatant errors in Mr. Häggman’s article.  He writes: “A period of economic and political warfare was initiated in 1982-83 by the United States that led to the freedom of a number of oppressed peoples”.  I ask Mr. Häggman to name some of these oppressed peoples that were liberated by the American policy.  In fact, prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 there were none.  Also, the idea that the United States government began its economic and political warfare against the Soviet Union only in 1982-83 is a total misreading of history after the end of the Second World War.
This has become too long.  I will make one last major point and one last minor point.
Toward the end of his article Mr. Häggman proclaims that the “global civil war” continues: “Radical Islam wants, in cooperation with evil, rogue states like Iran and North Korea, to crush the West or to at least weaken it”.  First, if Mr. Häggman has any information indicating that North Korea is in cahoots with radical Islam he should immediately get in touch with the CIA.  Second, how does he define a “rogue state’?  I would propose that a nation that gratuitously invades other nations which represent no danger to it are “rogue states’.  An example would be the United States of America that invaded Iraq and bombed into destruction the Libyan government.  Third, he claims that “…North Korea is believed to have 5,000 tons of biological and chemical weapons…”  He offers no substantiation for that claim.  With respect to islam, I humbly suggest that Mr. Häggman read my article at www.americandiplomacy.org (At the home page click on “Archives” and on the next screen click on “L”, then scroll down until you find the article entitled “The Islamic World Faces Its Future”.)
I apologize.  I need to make another point.  Mr. Häggman’s article is unfortunately full of errors of fact and judgment.  He states “…radical Islam has waged war on the West in the spirit of the French Revolution”.  Probably to Mr. Häggman’s surprise, the French Revolution was waged to attempt to free the French people from a tyrannical monarchy and to establish a democratic form of government.  There is no indication, to my knowledge, that this is the spirit that motivates radical Islam.  I ask Mr. Häggman for proof.  
Now to the minor point.   The title of Mr. Häggman’s article is: “The Global Civil War: Will the West Survive?”  The entire article is devoted to conjuring the spector of this so-called “global civil war”.  Mr. Häggman devotes absolutely no words to a response to the question: “Will the West Survive?”
In conclusion, I state emphatically that there never was and there is no “global civil war.”  Mr. Häggman has failed to prove his thesis.  He simply presumes that all wars are civil wars and tries to construct an unsubstantiated thesis based on this assumption.
I am more than surprised that a “scholarly” review would publish Mr. Häggman’s rantings .  Was this peer reviewed?  Who were the peers?