Violent Monks and the Buddha’s Dispensation – Groundviews – “Power corrupts absolutely – even faux-followers of the Buddha!”

above all Buddhism is purely based on nonviolence. Yet, in countries such as Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Tibet a group of monks (not all of them) have been behaving in a violent manner, at times even with the support of political leadership in those countries. They are unnecessarily influencing the country’s political affairs and spreading racism. In summary, they promote violence, which can be considered as deeply disrespectful to the Lord Buddha who endorsed a philosophy of non-violence.

Source: Violent Monks and the Buddha’s Dispensation – Groundviews

Editorial: Honor the Truth, John Kelly

I’d hate to be the criminal fool who fed him a false story to try and destroy the trumped-up offense Trump felt from the Congressmember. Power does seem to corrupt judgment even in someone ho many believed had good judgment – but he took the job offered him and now he has spent his honor cheaply. Of all people, he should have known how to handle a controversy with a Gold Star family, without making matters worse.

Can Japan Be Great Again?

He really has only one dream – recreating the Japan that launched a Pacific was to establish a Japanese empire – it is in the mind only, since China is not the China of 1938-1939. Ultra-Japanese nationalism will not serve Japan or the world well.

By Shihoko Goto

Shinzo Abe, the reelected Prime Minister, will have a hard time to make his vision of a Japan as the biggest Asian power a reality.

In the end, the Japanese prime minister’s gamble paid off. Shinzo Abe’s big win in the latest election made clear once and for all his firm hold over the government.

That should allow him to move one step closer to achieving his lifelong objective: Making Japan a major power in Asia that is to be reckoned with once again.

Without doubt, with his reelection, Abe has enhanced his own standing in the annals of history: He is now well on his way to become Japan’s longest-serving prime minister since World War II.

Japan’s real challenges

But while he may have cleared a political hurdle to beef up his country’s defense capabilities, Japan actually has far bigger challenges than simply trying to enhance its military options against the threat of North Korea.

For Shinzo Abe to go down in history books as a great leader, he will need to focus on two major challenges; defining a new relationship with China and dealing with the country’s rapidly aging society.

Granted, prospects for confrontation with Kim Jong-un’s regime remain uncomfortably within the realm of reality. Options to rein in North Korea appear to be running out, and Japan as well as South Korea are directly in the cross-hair of increasing tensions between Pyongyang and Washington.

Nevertheless, with the international community by and large in agreement that North Korea is the single biggest immediate threat to regional stability, Japan can expect cooperation from the United States and the broader international community for support.

Managing China’s rise

There is, however, no international consensus on how to manage China’s rise and increased aggressions on the part of Beijing. At the latest Party Congress, Xi Jinping made clear that China would not be content with simply being an economic power, but it must be a great power both economically and militarily.

China is already clearly the former. In the region, China is the single biggest trading partner of almost all Asian nations, including Japan.

But when it comes to military power, China and Japan have remained rivals throughout their intertwined history over centuries. What’s more, there has never been a time when the two countries have been equals: Either Japan or China has always been the dominant power that towered over East Asia.

Having secured two-thirds of total seats in the Lower House of the Diet in the October 22, 2017 election by forming a coalition yet again with the Komeito Party, the ruling Liberal Democratic Party remains the political force that still has no credible opposition to unseat its strong hold in government.

A more muscular military?

The latest win has not only cemented Abe’s position as the head of the LDP, but also his hopes to revise the nation’s restrictive pacifist constitution, which is the prerequisite to increasing Japan’s military capabilities and options.

Of course, constitutional change will require not only approval from two-thirds of both the Upper and Lower Houses of the Diet, but also majority approval in a public referendum. Those are considerable obstacles to enhance Japan’s ability to defend itself against North Korea as well as China.

Another equally significant hurdle is the fact that, even if constitutional change were possible, Japan’s fiscal health may not be up to the task.

What Japanese voters want

While increased military risks in Asia garner headlines overseas, the single biggest concern of Japanese voters is the state of the economy, the outlook for public welfare and pension payments in particular.

Such concerns are easily understood. After all, about a quarter of the population is already 65 years or older. That already high number is expected to rise to one-third by 2050 — as a result of people living much longer on the one hand, and the birth rate continuing to slide on the other.

Meanwhile, Japan’s debt-to-GDP ratio is the highest amongst OECD countries, and yet no Japanese political party has been able to tout a significant cutback in social spending in order to meet the obvious resulting financing gap.

Currently, Japan’s military spending amounts to about 1% of GDP. It is now at the highest level that it has been since 1945. Some legislators are pushing to increase that by another 20%, especially in light of concerns about U.S. commitment to the region.

Abe’s victory was, of course, not as straightforward as he had initially anticipated, given the emergence of a new opposition party only hours after the snap election was called. Yet, in the end he and the LDP prevailed, and Abe is unlikely to face any major opposition to his leadership any time soon.

Nonetheless, being voted into power once again was perhaps the easiest part of his leadership. He will not find it as easy to make his vision of a Japan that is once again the biggest Asian power a reality.

©2017 The Globalist


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Donald Trump accuses NFL players of ‘total disrespect’ as protests continue | Sport | The Guardian – “But his calling the widow of a fallen soldier a liar is not disrespectful”

On Monday morning, Trump tweeted his displeasure. “Two dozen NFL players continue to kneel during the National Anthem, showing total disrespect to our Flag & Country,” he wrote. “No leadership in NFL!” The president’s viewpoint will play well in large parts of America. Surveys have shown a majority of white Americans disapprove of the protests; in contrast a majority of African Americans view the players’ stance favorably.

Source: Donald Trump accuses NFL players of ‘total disrespect’ as protests continue | Sport | The Guardian

Israeli president accuses Netanyahu and allies of endangering democracy | World news | The Guardian

Rivlin, whose position is largely ceremonial, described proposed moves against the court by Israel’s most rightwing government ever, in particular by the far-right education minister, Naftali Bennett, and his allies, as part of “a continuous attempt to weaken the gatekeepers of the Israeli democracy”.Seated at the dais opposite Netanyahu, he said: “In this climate of delegitimisation, the atmosphere of ‘everything is political’ trickles down to the public, who receive the message that there is no more statesmanship, that there is only ruling and democracy. And in this climate, democracy means that the strong decides.”He added: “Leadership in a democratic country is the art of creating agreements, not vanquishing opponents. A democratic society is based on building processes, not revolutions.”The Israeli president continued by criticising the politicisation of Israel’s state institutions, which critics claim have gradually been placed in the hands of people regarded as loyal to Netanyahu and ministers in his coalition.Advertisement“In this revolution, the ruler is also the victim. ‘We’ll show them’ is the soundtrack of the revolution. The stateliness has gone from our country. After us the deluge.”Returning to the subject of rightwing moves to remove the ability of Israel’s top court to strike down laws passed by MPs, he added: “How can a threatened, conformist and toothless court be in the interest of the state of Israel? Of Israeli democracy?”

Source: Israeli president accuses Netanyahu and allies of endangering democracy | World news | The Guardian

Trump sought dissident’s expulsion after hand-delivered letter from China – report | World news | The Guardian  #TraitorTrump!

The report said the letter had been hand-delivered to him at a private dinner by Steve Wynn, a Las Vegas casino magnate and Republican National Committee finance chairman with interests in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau, for which Wynn relies on Beijing for licensing.The marketing director for Wynn Resorts Ltd, Michael Weaver, told the Journal in a written statement: “[T]hat report regarding Mr Wynn is false. Beyond that, he doesn’t have any comment.”Weaver did not respond to a request for comment from the Guardian on what part of the story was false and whether Wynn had ever delivered a letter from the Chinese government to Trump.The Journal report said that aides tried to persuade Trump out of going ahead with Guo’s deportation, noting he was a member of the president’s Mar-a-Lago club in Florida. The aides later ensured that the deportation would not go ahead.There was no immediate response from the White House or the state department to a request to comment on the report.

Source: Trump sought dissident’s expulsion after hand-delivered letter from China – report | World news | The Guardian

Our Nation’s Love Affair With Eugenics Is Far From Over | Dame Magazine

Ensuring childbirth is a cornerstone to modern American eugenics, because eugenics is as much about building up the desired race as it is about tearing the “other” down. In addition to concern over immigration and interracial breeding, eugenicists in the early 1900s were worried about the poor and working-class breeding inferior stock that would ultimately bring down the “superior” white race. It was of paramount importance that the “right” types of white people have as many babies as possible.It’s this undercurrent that has driven anti-abortion activists to forever link Planned Parenthood with abortion, although the organization provides the only medical care some people will ever get.  Legislative efforts to defund PP serve two purposes: to deny access to safe, legal abortion and to ensure that countless men and women go without contraception, cancer screenings, and STD testing.

Source: Our Nation’s Love Affair With Eugenics Is Far From Over | Dame Magazine

WHO: Plague Cases In Madagascar Increase To 1365

Pandemic Watch – Bubonic Plague



With the epidemiological reports posted by Madagascar’s MOH becoming increasingly convoluted – and falling even farther behind the WHO’s tally of cases and deaths – it has become increasingly difficult to use them to  gauge the full extent of their pneumonic plague outbreak.

Exactly what is behind the stark (40%+) difference in cases totals being reported by the MOH and the WHO is unknown, although differences in what each consider `suspected‘ cases might be a factor.

Today the WHO has updated their numbers again, through October 20th, which shows an increased of 68 cases, and 4 deaths over the last 24 hours of reporting. Once again we are seeing a large increase in the number of HCWs reported as infected (n=54).


Some excerpts from today’s report follow:

Madagascar has been experiencing a large outbreak of plague affecting major cities and other non-endemic areas since August 2017. Between 1 August and 20 October 2017, a total of 1 365 cases (suspected, probable and confirmed) including 106 deaths (case fatality rate 7.8%) have been reported. Of these, 915 cases (67%) were clinically classified as pneumonic plague, 275 (20.1%) were bubonic plague, one case was septicaemic plague, and 174 cases were unspecified. Of the 915 cases of pulmonary plague, 160 (17.5%) have been confirmed, 375 (50%) were probable and 380 (41.5%) were suspected (further classification of cases is in process). A total of 54 healthcare workers have contracted plague since the beginning of the outbreak.

Of 1 087 cases with age and sex information available, 58% (544) were children and young people aged less than 21 years, while 36% (387) were adults aged between 21 and 40 years. Male were the most affected, accounting for 57% of all cases, and have experienced a slightly higher case fatality rates in comparison to females, 9.4% to 7.7%, respectively.

Of the 1365 cases, 219 were confirmed, 520 were probable and 626 remain suspected (additional laboratory results are in process). Eleven strains of Yersinia pestis have been isolated and were sensitive to antibiotics recommended by the National Program for the Control of Plague.

Overall, 40 out of 114 (35.1%) districts in 14 of 22 (63.6%) regions in the country have been affected by pulmonary plague. The district of Antananarivo Renivohitra has been the most affected, accounting for 41.4% of all reported cases.

On 20 October 2017, 1 385 out of 2 293 (60.4%) contacts were followed up and provided with prophylactic antibiotics. A total of 141 contacts completed the 7-day follow up without developing symptoms.

(Continue . . . )