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Frustrated with situation

2020.10.26 14:58 UsagiVino Frustrated with situation

Hi all, new to this subreddit, this might be long but I'll try to keep it as brief as possible.

I (32F) have been with my husband (38M) since I was 18 and he was 22. We have a four year old child now. We met through mutual friends and dated for two years before getting married when I was 20. I had only a couple of sexual experiences with boyfriends at this point- I had sex numerous times, but only with like three people ever. I also knew I was openly bisexual and had dated a few girls but I had never had sex with another woman before. Our entire relationship, my husband has been supportive of my bisexuality and has never been bothered by my interest in other women. He has always said that he was ok with me having a sexual or even committed relationship with another woman, as long as it didn't take priority over my relationship with him. It was always clear that he would like to be involved but that it wasn't a requirement for him. Meaning if a girl liked just me, that was ok, but if she liked both of us, obviously that would be ideal. Maybe I have high standards or something but throughout the past decade I have never had a threesome or w/w sex despite being very interested in other women. It seemed like most girls I was strongly attracted to either were straight, already in committed relationships, or just not interested in being with someone who had a male partner at home. I've always just sort of been like, well, thems the breaks I guess. Occasionally I'll rejoin tinder or something to see if I happen to meet a girl but for the most part it just hasn't happened. And its not like I'm not cute, I get hit on all the time LOL. Anyway the point is that its always been understood that this is ok and doesn't bother my spouse. I have never felt jealous at the thought of having a threesome or even having another woman who was a "girlfriend" to both of us if that ever became a possibility with the right woman.

Cut to 2019 when I've noticed that my husband has an affinity for trans women. He watches a lot of porn with trans women, and told me that he just really finds the combination of genders and anatomy to basically be incredibly appealing. His ideal is a beautiful woman who happens to have a dick. He enjoys receiving anal sex, and I have never been open to receiving it, despite him wanting to. At first I was mildly unsure about this because I felt insecure. But he also came out that he thinks he might be polysexual, meaning he thinks he has an attraction to pretty much all genders, non-binary etc. That the only type he isn't implicitly attracted to is trans men, because he just isn't turned on by that. Now, I am bisexual but I just have a very hardwired binary attraction scale. I can't help it. I love & support trans people but trans women just (typically, I won't say never) get my motor running. So I told him that if he wanted to explore that side of himself, as long as he was safe, careful, and respectful that I was comfortable with him pursuing a trans woman or bisexual/gay man for a personal sexual relationship on his own. He travels often to neighboring states for work (I used to travel nearby for live music shows a lot) and we agreed that he would be able to pursue something if the opportunity occurred when he was away from home. Most of that rule just stems from the fact that we have very little free time or expendable income to just go out on dates with other people here at home while the other person sits at home with our kid. For example going out on a nice date night would be our whole "eating out" budget that paycheck so it seems like something that should be spent on *US* and not on one of us going out with someone else. We also don't get much personal time because of our schedules and our kid so it just seemed to make the most sense. On top of that, I think although we are both open to threesomes, we are a little weirded out by the thought of one of us just coming home fresh off getting fucked by someone else. Keeping it an out of town thing just seems the best way to handle it. He has downloaded tinder & we have both used Feel'd at this point, so far nothing has happened for him either. He has depression, anxiety and high stress levels combined with not being very outgoing (where as I am a ball of energy who will just go up and start talking to a cute girl etc). So I understand that a lot of this is set at his own pace. He's also experimenting more with his gender identity, wanting to wear skirts, gender neutral clothing, getting really into learning about make up, etc. So its been a bit of a drastic change but he just said the other night that he thinks he is happier now as a more "openly queer" person that he has ever felt before (raised in a strict conservative Christian household). I think I've been very understanding about everything although sometimes I have failed but I'm trying. He is also in therapy and on anti-depressant meds which have helped him a lot.

Ok. So, if you're still reading, here is the crux of my issue: Although we have discussed non-monogamy within strict parameters, the rules have been very set forward: For me, I am allowed to be with other women and thats it- the only male partner I could have would be a bisexual man in a threesome with both me and my spouse. Because I "have him" as "my male partner". He is allowed to have trans women and cis gay/bi men as his partners. Essentially because I don't have what they have and I want him to be able to explore his interest in those catagories. But let me emphasis here- THESE ARE *HIS* RULES. Its always been implied that neither one of us were permitted to take cis-straight-women (for him) or cis-straight-men (for me) as partners. I never set this rule down, he did. When I asked him how can he handle it if he's talking to a non-binary woman that he's attracted to who has a vagina if he would stop talking to her when he found out she is has a vagina. He basically said yes because thats "against the rules". I was skeptical because I said I feel like thats stupid. We are already saying sex with these people would not ruin or be a detriment to our private relationship. That they aren't a replacement for either of us for the other. So if its perfectly fine to have sex with a trans woman with a penis, why would having sex with a non binary person with a vagina be off limits? That doesn't make sense to me. Its still external marital sex regardless. If we are fucking other people, why does there need to be rules about what kind of genitals the other person can have?

It all boils down to this I think at the end of the day........he doesn't want ME to have sex with any other straight cis men. If we have a threesome with a bisexual man, thats something we are sharing together. But he doesn't want me to have sex with any men on my own without him. This feels incredibly frustrating for me. I just want to fuck hot people. Period. Men or women. I want to know that I can flirt with someone without having to go "Wait, are you bi? Do you think my husband is cute? ok we can flirt then." or "Do you have a vagina? Ok cool yeah we can fuck, if you had a penis we couldn't though". Now I do know that a lot of this stems from insecurity and the fact that *ELEVEN* years ago, the first year we were married, I got stationed overseas away from him for several months and I did cheat on him with a guy there. I confessed almost immediately and its been something that even *Last Year* he was still bringing up in hurt. We finally talked about it in depth about a year ago (I was depressed, scared, it was a whole mess, I was letting myself drink way too much, etc. I was 21. It was eleven freaking years ago. I have never cheated on him since then. The drama, pain, hurt of it etc would just never be worth the momentary pleasure). But I think it all stems from him feeling like he isn't "enough" for me. He wants to be the only man that I want to be with, and I think he's very much afraid that another man will be better in bed than him (our sex life is moderate). I don't think he thinks I will leave him for another guy. I think he just doesn't want me out hooking up with hot guys who are better in bed than him.

In conclusion, I feel very frustrated with the current situation. I think we should both be allowed to sleep with whomever we feel attracted to within the right settings of our perameters (for example next year if I'm out of town overnight at a show and meet someone there, or if he is out of town on a job site etc). I don't know how to explain to him that I feel like he has all the freedom he wants (because frankly, he doesn't *want* another cis straight woman partner- and the odds of us having a bisexual threesome with another woman are a lot higher than finding a bi male) he gets to have me, his wife, and any trans or queer person he may fall into attraction with. I feel like I'm the one being limited. I feel like I can't even say "Theres a cute boy at work" without him taking it the wrong way, even though he can go on about how hot a woman is because he knows I would think she was hot too. But if I thought a guy was cute its like, but are they bi? If not then oh well into the off limits box they go. This feels frustrating to me because I don't want to leave my husband. We have a family, a house, a child, a life together. I don't want to replace him any more than he wants to replace me. But I don't know how to get him to understand that I think its ok for us both to have any partner we desire when he is adamant that we are not allowed to have cis-straight-opposite-gender partners. I feel like I don't know how to make him see that I would just be enjoying the variety versus looking for something "better" than him.
I know this was incredibly long, I'm so sorry. I'm just looking for some guidance from others who have been in this situation before. Thanks so much for any advice and please be kind.
(Added for clarity- he is also attracted to cis men, but its a very limited scope of attraction and seems to have no rhyme or reason. Like one out of 100 guys he might go "yeah I think that one guy is hot" but that one guy could be completely different from the next guy has says he is attracted to, so its not even like a can gauge if he would like a guy or not because he seems to have no "type")
One last edit- although I genuinely do understand how it’s different, I also feel like it’s kind of insulting and hypocritical to basically view trans women as “different” from having sex with another woman just because of their genitals. Like if he was talking to a trans woman with a vagina, he would view that as the same as trying to sleep with a cis woman, but a trans woman with a penis falls into the “queer relationship” category. It feels like splitting hairs.
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2020.10.21 01:46 John_Charles_Fremont /r/neoliberal elects the American Presidents - Part 54, Obama v McCain in 2008

Previous editions:
(All strawpoll results counted as of the next post made)
Part 1, Adams v Jefferson in 1796 - Adams wins with 68% of the vote
Part 2, Adams v Jefferson in 1800 - Jefferson wins with 58% of the vote
Part 3, Jefferson v Pinckney in 1804 - Jefferson wins with 57% of the vote
Part 4, Madison v Pinckney (with George Clinton protest) in 1808 - Pinckney wins with 45% of the vote
Part 5, Madison v (DeWitt) Clinton in 1812 - Clinton wins with 80% of the vote
Part 6, Monroe v King in 1816 - Monroe wins with 51% of the vote
Part 7, Monroe and an Era of Meta Feelings in 1820 - Monroe wins with 100% of the vote
Part 8, Democratic-Republican Thunderdome in 1824 - Adams wins with 55% of the vote
Part 9, Adams v Jackson in 1828 - Adams wins with 94% of the vote
Part 10, Jackson v Clay (v Wirt) in 1832 - Clay wins with 53% of the vote
Part 11, Van Buren v The Whigs in 1836 - Whigs win with 87% of the vote, Webster elected
Part 12, Van Buren v Harrison in 1840 - Harrison wins with 90% of the vote
Part 13, Polk v Clay in 1844 - Polk wins with 59% of the vote
Part 14, Taylor v Cass in 1848 - Taylor wins with 44% of the vote (see special rules)
Part 15, Pierce v Scott in 1852 - Scott wins with 78% of the vote
Part 16, Buchanan v Frémont v Fillmore in 1856 - Frémont wins with 95% of the vote
Part 17, Peculiar Thunderdome in 1860 - Lincoln wins with 90% of the vote.
Part 18, Lincoln v McClellan in 1864 - Lincoln wins with 97% of the vote.
Part 19, Grant v Seymour in 1868 - Grant wins with 97% of the vote.
Part 20, Grant v Greeley in 1872 - Grant wins with 96% of the vote.
Part 21, Hayes v Tilden in 1876 - Hayes wins with 87% of the vote.
Part 22, Garfield v Hancock in 1880 - Garfield wins with 67% of the vote.
Part 23, Cleveland v Blaine in 1884 - Cleveland wins with 53% of the vote.
Part 24, Cleveland v Harrison in 1888 - Harrison wins with 64% of the vote.
Part 25, Cleveland v Harrison v Weaver in 1892 - Harrison wins with 57% of the vote
Part 26, McKinley v Bryan in 1896 - McKinley wins with 71% of the vote
Part 27, McKinley v Bryan in 1900 - Bryan wins with 55% of the vote
Part 28, Roosevelt v Parker in 1904 - Roosevelt wins with 71% of the vote
Part 29, Taft v Bryan in 1908 - Taft wins with 64% of the vote
Part 30, Taft v Wilson v Roosevelt in 1912 - Roosevelt wins with 81% of the vote
Part 31, Wilson v Hughes in 1916 - Hughes wins with 62% of the vote
Part 32, Harding v Cox in 1920 - Cox wins with 68% of the vote
Part 33, Coolidge v Davis v La Follette in 1924 - Davis wins with 47% of the vote
Part 34, Hoover v Smith in 1928 - Hoover wins with 50.2% of the vote
Part 35, Hoover v Roosevelt in 1932 - Roosevelt wins with 85% of the vote
Part 36, Landon v Roosevelt in 1936 - Roosevelt wins with 75% of the vote
Part 37, Willkie v Roosevelt in 1940 - Roosevelt wins with 56% of the vote
Part 38, Dewey v Roosevelt in 1944 - Dewey wins with 50.2% of the vote
Part 39, Dewey v Truman in 1948 - Truman wins with 65% of the vote
Part 40, Eisenhower v Stevenson in 1952 - Eisenhower wins with 69% of the vote
Part 41, Eisenhower v Stevenson in 1956 - Eisenhower wins with 60% of the vote
Part 42, Kennedy v Nixon in 1960 - Kennedy wins with 63% of the vote
Part 43, Johnson v Goldwater in 1964 - Johnson wins with 87% of the vote
Part 44, Nixon v Humphrey in 1968 - Humphrey wins with 60% of the vote
Part 45, Nixon v McGovern in 1972 - Nixon wins with 56% of the vote
Part 46, Carter v Ford in 1976 - Carter wins with 71% of the vote
Part 47 - Carter v Reagan v Anderson in 1980 - Carter wins with 44% of the vote
Part 48, Reagan v Mondale in 1984 - Mondale wins with 55% of the vote
Part 49, Bush v Dukakis in 1988 - Bush wins with 54% of the vote
Part 50, Bush v Clinton v Perot in 1992 - Clinton wins with 71% of the vote
Part 51, Clinton v Dole in 1996 - Clinton wins with 91% of the vote
Part 52, Bush v Gore in 2000 - Gore wins with 88% of the vote
Part 53, Bush v Kerry in 2004 - Kerry wins with 89% of the vote
Welcome back to the fifty-fourth edition of /neoliberal elects the American presidents!
This will be a fairly consistent weekly thing - every week, a new election, until we run out.
I highly encourage you - at least in terms of the vote you cast - to try to think from the perspective of the year the election was held, without knowing the future or how the next administration would go. I'm not going to be trying to enforce that, but feel free to remind fellow commenters of this distinction.
If you're really feeling hardcore, feel free to even speak in the present tense as if the election is truly upcoming!
Whether third and fourth candidates are considered "major" enough to include in the strawpoll will be largely at my discretion and depend on things like whether they were actually intending to run for President, and whether they wound up actually pulling in a meaningful amount of the popular vote and even electoral votes. I may also invoke special rules in how the results will be interpreted in certain elections to better approximate historical reality.
While I will always give some brief background info to spur the discussion, please don't hesitate to bring your own research and knowledge into the mix! There's no way I'll cover everything!
John McCain v Barack Obama, 2008
Profiles
  • John McCain is the 72-year-old Republican candidate and a US Senator from Arizona. His running mate is Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin.
  • Barack Obama is the 47-year-old Democratic candidate and a US Senator from Illinois. His running mate is US Senator from Delaware Joe Biden.
Issues and Background
  • The United States and other countries are in the midst of what many are describing as the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression. The crisis was largely triggered by a collapse in home prices, which in turn caused securities tied directly or indirectly to real estate to plummet in value. In September, major investment bank Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy. A day later, the Federal Reserve bailed out and essentially took control of insurance giant AIG. Credit markets were on the brink of meltdown. In early October, Congress passed the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act, which created an enormous government program to purchase "toxic assets" from banks and significantly increased the amount of insurance provided by the FDIC. Both McCain and Obama supported this rescue plan. Liquidity appears to have been restored, but the economic situation is still otherwise dire.
    • Senator Obama has described the current crisis as a "final verdict on eight years of failed economic policies promoted by George Bush, supported by Senator McCain, a theory that basically says that we can shred regulations and consumer protections and give more and more to the most, and somehow prosperity will trickle down." Obama has spoken of the importance of oversight over the TARP $700 billion, of the possibility of getting that money back, of making sure none of that money is going to executive pay or executive severance packages, and of following up the package with help for homeowners.
    • Senator McCain has said that what distinguishes him from Senator Obama on how he will lead the country out of the economic crisis is his commitment to get government spending under control. McCain has proposed a one-year spending freeze on "non-defense, non-veterans discretionary spending." McCain has criticized Senator Obama for supporting "pork-barrel spending" in the past.
  • The US occupation of Iraq continues. Last year, the Bush Administration oversaw a troop surge, and the conventional wisdom is that the situation has generally improved as a result. There are some indications that the security situation is improving and that the training of the new Iraqi military is working. That said, pressure on the US to withdraw has increased, as the Iraqi government has sought a withdrawal timetable and the US coalition partners have begun their own withdraw. Security responsibility for several provinces has already been transferred from US forces to Iraqi forces. However, earlier this year, General David Petraeus called for the delaying of troop withdrawals.
    • Both candidates accuse the other of failures of judgement. Senator Obama has criticized McCain sharply for supporting invading Iraq in the first place, while Senator McCain has criticized Obama for not supporting the 2007 surge. On the latter point, in January 2007 Senator Obama's stance was:
      The need to bring this war to an end is here. That is why today I am introducing the Iraq War De-escalation Act of 2007. This plan would not only place a cap on the number of troops in Iraq and stop the escalation: more importantly, it would begin a phased redeployment of United States forced with the goal of removing all United States combat forces from Iraq by March 31, 2008.
    • Early this year, Democrats seized on a statement from Senator McCain in which he indicated that he would be comfortable with an American presence in Iraq for "maybe 100" years. He has stood by the comments, saying he was referring to a presence comparable to what the US has had in South Korea, Germany, and Japan.
    • Under the Obama plan for Iraq, a phased withdrawal of most troops would begin which would likely remove the US troop presence by summer of 2010. A residual force would remain "to conduct targeted counter-terrorism missions against al Qaeda in Iraq and to protect American diplomatic and civilian personnel."
    • Under the McCain plan for Iraq, the US would not leave Iraq "before Al Qaeda in Iraq is defeated and before a competent, trained, and capable Iraqi security force is in place and operating effectively."
  • Sarah Palin has received a significant amount of both positive and negative attention relative to most VP nominees. Supporters praise her history as a reformer, her advocacy for families with special needs children, and her ability to energize parts of the Republican base. However, critics have raised questions about her knowledge of policy and her readiness to be President if it became necessary. Some in the media have expressed frustration at their limited access to Governor Palin. This scrutiny increased following a poorly received interview with Katie Couric which included the following exchanges:
    COURIC: You've cited Alaska's proximity to Russia as part of your foreign policy experience. What did you mean by that?
    PALIN: That Alaska has a very narrow maritime border between a foreign country, Russia, and on our other side, the land boundary that we have with Canada ... We have trade missions back and forth. We -- we do -- it's very important when you consider even national security issues with Russia as Putin rears his head and comes into the airspace of the United States of America, where -- where do they go? It's Alaska. It's just right over the border. It is from Alaska that we send those out to make sure that an eye is being kept on this very powerful nation, Russia, because they are right there. They are right next to -- to our state.
    ...
    COURIC: What other Supreme Court decisions do you disagree with?
    PALIN: Well, let’s see. There’s, of course in the great history of America there have been rulings, that’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade, where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So you know, going through the history of America, there would be others but …
    COURIC: Can you think of any?
    PALIN: Well, I could think of … any again, that could be best dealt with on a more local level. Maybe I would take issue with. But, you know, as mayor, and then as governor and even as a vice president, if I’m so privileged to serve, wouldn’t be in a position of changing those things but in supporting the law of the land as it reads today.
    ...
    COURIC: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?
    PALIN: I’ve read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.
    COURIC: What, specifically?
    PALIN: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.
    COURIC: Can you name a few?
    PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn’t a foreign country, where it’s kind of suggested, “Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?”
  • Health care reform has come up frequently on the campaign trail. Both candidates recognize a need to increase coverage and lower costs.
    • The Obama plan includes requiring health insurance companies to cover pre-existing conditions, a tax credit to incentivize small businesses to provide health coverage, requirements on large employers to provide health coverage or otherwise contribute financially to their employee's health care, and "a National Health Insurance Exchange with a range of private insurance options as well as a new public plan based on benefits available to members of Congress."
    • The McCain plan is to offer "a direct refundable tax credit ... of $2,500 for individuals and $5,000 for families to offset the cost of insurance" and promote health savings accounts. McCain also seeks to make it easier to purchase health insurance across state lines.
  • Attention has also been given to the candidate's differing tax plans.
    • The Obama tax plan is to cut taxes for the middle class further than the Bush tax cuts did, while increasing taxes on the wealthiest 2% of Americans back to levels as they were in the 1990s. Senator Obama also seeks to implement a universal 10% mortgage interest tax credit, the elimination of income taxes for seniors making less than $50,000 a year, and an expansion of the EITC.
    • The McCain tax plan is to preserve all of the Bush tax cuts, phase out the Alternative Minimum Tax, cut the corporate tax rate to 25%, and establish a large R&D tax credit. Senator McCain also pledges to keep the Internet free of taxes.
    • In October at a campaign stop, Senator Obama was confronted by Joe Wurzelbacher, who has since become known colloquially as "Joe the Plumber", with concerns that he would be taxed more if Senator Obama were to become President. More recently, Wurzelbacher has made joint appearances with John McCain on the campaign trail. The McCain campaign has in particular seized on Obama's comment to Joe that "I think when you spread the wealth around, it's good for everybody."
  • McCain, currently 72, would be the oldest first-term President if elected. McCain gave reporters an opportunity to review his full medical records, which showed that he is generally in good health and has relatively low risk of heart disease despite slightly elevated cholesterol and past issues with skin cancer.
  • If elected, Senator Obama would be the first African-American President of the United States. Obama was born in Hawaii, the son of a Kenyan economist and an anthropologist from Kansas. While many find the possibility of the first African-American President inspiring, particularly when combined with the optimistic rhetoric of Senator Obama's campaign, his identity has also been related to unique challenges for him during the campaign. Members of his own party during the primary implied that his success in the race was mainly due to his race. Former VP nominee Geraldine Ferraro said:
    If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept.
    Senator Biden, now Obama's running mate, said:
    I mean, you got the first mainstream African-American who is articulate and bright and clean and a nice-looking guy. I mean, that's a storybook, man.
    In addition, Senator Obama has faced false rumors that he was born in Kenya and that he is not Christian. Some argue that the spread of these rumors is motivated partially or entirely by racism.
  • Republicans have argued that Senator Obama is connected to problematic persons and organizations.
    • Roughly 40 years ago, now-professor Bill Ayers was a leading member of the militant Weather Underground Organization, which conducted a bombing campaign of targeting government buildings and financial institutions. Ayers first met Barack Obama through a non-profit reform project's board of directors, and later hosted a small informal event where a departing State Senator introduced Obama as her chosen successor. Through each of their active involvements in Chicago events and initiatives, they would serve on a couple of the same boards and panels in the years afterwards. There is virtually no evidence to support some Republican claims that Ayers was some sort of political adviser to Obama, who has referred to Ayers as "somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8."
    • Senator Obama's pastor, Jeremiah Wright, has been the subject of controversy related to several sermon excerpts. The excerpts include claims that the government lied about its advance knowledge of Pearl Harbor, that the government lied about "inventing the HIV virus as a means of genocide against people of color," and his comment that "America's chickens are coming home to roost," interpreted by some to be referring to the 9/11 attacks given the date of the sermon. President Obama addressed the issue in a broader speech on race in March of this year. Senator Obama stated:
      I have already condemned, in unequivocal terms, the statements of Reverend Wright that have caused such controversy. For some, nagging questions remain. Did I know him to be an occasionally fierce critic of American domestic and foreign policy? Of course. Did I ever hear him make remarks that could be considered controversial while I sat in church? Yes. Did I strongly disagree with many of his political views? Absolutely—just as I'm sure many of you have heard remarks from your pastors, priests, or rabbis with which you strongly disagreed.
      ...
      I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother—a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe. These people are a part of me. And they are a part of America, this country that I love.
    • Pro-labor NGO ACORN has been accused by Republicans of orchestrating voter fraud, though further investigation has revealed this claim to be overstated at best. ACORN has hired people in the past to assist in voter registration, and sometimes these workers have come up with phony registrations - however, this issue seems to be motivated by laziness of individual workers rather than an attempt to conduct voter fraud. Obama served as a local counsel for ACORN in the 90s, and was endorsed by the ACORN political action committee during the primary. The Obama campaign also hired an ACORN affiliate for get-out-the-vote efforts during the primary.
  • Representative John Lewis, a civil rights icon, has received blowback for comments he made regarding the tone of the McCain/Palin campaign. Lewis accused the campaign of "sowing the seeds of hatred and division," and brought up the example of George Wallace never throwing a bomb or firing a gun but creating "the climate and the conditions that encouraged vicious attacks against innocent Americans." McCain called the comments "hurtful" and called on Senator Obama to repudiate the comments. The Obama campaign has said that the comparison made by Rep. Lewis was inappropriate.
  • Senator McCain describes himself as a "free trader" and has criticized Senator Obama for opposing some free trade agreements. The Obama team has pledged to "use trade agreements to spread good labor and environmental standards around the world and stand firm against agreements like the Central American Free Trade Agreement that fail to live up to those important benchmarks." Senator Obama has also pledged to "fix" NAFTA.
Debate Excerpts
First Presidential Debate (full transcript)
(1) Obama on government spending:
John, it's been your president who you said you agreed with 90 percent of the time who presided over this increase in spending. This orgy of spending and enormous deficits you voted for almost all of his budgets. So to stand here and after eight years and say that you're going to lead on controlling spending and, you know, balancing our tax cuts so that they help middle class families when over the last eight years that hasn't happened I think just is, you know, kind of hard to swallow.
(2) McCain on Iraq:
I think the lessons of Iraq are very clear that you cannot have a failed strategy that will then cause you to nearly lose a conflict. Our initial military success, we went in to Baghdad and everybody celebrated. And then the war was very badly mishandled. I went to Iraq in 2003 and came back and said, we've got to change this strategy. This strategy requires additional troops, it requires a fundamental change in strategy and I fought for it. And finally, we came up with a great general and a strategy that has succeeded.
(3) Obama on meeting foreign adversaries "without precondition":
I reserve the right, as president of the United States to meet with anybody at a time and place of my choosing if I think it's going to keep America safe ... Now, understand what this means "without preconditions." It doesn't mean that you invite them over for tea one day. What it means is that we don't do what we've been doing, which is to say, "Until you agree to do exactly what we say, we won't have direct contacts with you."
(4) McCain on Iran:
My reading of the threat from Iran is that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it is an existential threat to the State of Israel and to other countries in the region because the other countries in the region will feel compelling requirement to acquire nuclear weapons as well.
Now we cannot have a second Holocaust. Let's just make that very clear. What I have proposed for a long time, and I've had conversation with foreign leaders about forming a league of democracies, let's be clear and let's have some straight talk. The Russians are preventing significant action in the United Nations Security Council.
Vice-Presidential Debate (full transcript)
(1) Biden on what his administration would look like if a President Obama were to die in office:
God forbid that would ever happen, it would be a national tragedy of historic proportions if it were to happen.
But if it did, I would carry out Barack Obama's policy, his policies of reinstating the middle class, making sure they get a fair break, making sure they have access to affordable health insurance, making sure they get serious tax breaks, making sure we can help their children get to college, making sure there is an energy policy that leads us in the direction of not only toward independence and clean environment but an energy policy that creates 5 million new jobs, a foreign policy that ends this war in Iraq, a foreign policy that goes after the one mission the American public gave the president after 9/11, to get and capture or kill bin Laden and to eliminate al Qaeda. A policy that would in fact engage our allies in making sure that we knew we were acting on the same page and not dictating.
(2) Palin on what her administration would look like if a President McCain were to die in office:
And heaven forbid, yes, that would ever happen, no matter how this ends up, that that would ever happen with either party.
As for disagreeing with John McCain and how our administration would work, what do you expect? A team of mavericks, of course we're not going to agree on 100 percent of everything. As we discuss ANWR there, at least we can agree to disagree on that one. I will keep pushing him on ANWR. I have so appreciated he has never asked me to check my opinions at the door and he wants a deliberative debate and healthy debate so we can make good policy.
What I would do also, if that were to ever happen, though, is to continue the good work he is so committed to of putting government back on the side of the people and get rid of the greed and corruption on Wall Street and in Washington.
Second Presidential Debate (Town Hall) (full transcript)
(1) McCain on nuclear energy:
But we kept the debate going, and we kept this issue to -- to posing to Americans the danger that climate change opposes. Now, how -- what's -- what's the best way of fixing it? Nuclear power. Senator Obama says that it has to be safe or disposable or something like that. Look, I -- I was on Navy ships that had nuclear power plants. Nuclear power is safe, and it's clean, and it creates hundreds of thousands of jobs.
(2) Obama on McCain's criticism that he's being reckless on foreign policy:
Senator McCain, this is the guy who sang, "Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran," who called for the annihilation of North Korea. That I don't think is an example of "speaking softly." This is the person who, after we had -- we hadn't even finished Afghanistan, where he said, "Next up, Baghdad."
(3) McCain on Russia:
I said before, watch Ukraine. Ukraine, right now, is in the sights of Vladimir Putin, those that want to reassemble the old Soviet Union. We've got to show moral support for Georgia.We've got to show moral support for Ukraine. We've got to advocate for their membership in NATO. We have to make the Russians understand that there are penalties for these this kind of behavior, this kind of naked aggression into Georgia, a tiny country and a tiny democracy.
(4) Obama on spending priorities:
You know, you may have seen your health care premiums go up. We've got to reform health care to help you and your budget. We are going to have to deal with energy because we can't keep on borrowing from the Chinese and sending money to Saudi Arabia. We are mortgaging our children's future. We've got to have a different energy plan. We've got to invest in college affordability. So we're going to have to make some investments, but we've also got to make spending cuts. And what I've proposed, you'll hear Senator McCain say, well, he's proposing a whole bunch of new spending, but actually I'm cutting more than I'm spending so that it will be a net spending cut.
Third Presidential Debate (full transcript)
(1) McCain on Obama's economic plans:
I don't think there's any doubt that Sen. Obama wants to restrict trade and he wants to raise taxes. And the last president of the United States that tried that was Herbert Hoover, and we went from a deep recession into a depression.
(2) Obama on comments by Congressman Lewis:
I mean, look, if we want to talk about Congressman Lewis, who is an American hero, he, unprompted by my campaign, without my campaign's awareness, made a statement that he was troubled with what he was hearing at some of the rallies that your running mate was holding, in which all the Republican reports indicated were shouting, when my name came up, things like "terrorist" and "kill him," and that your running mate didn't mention, didn't stop, didn't say "Hold on a second, that's kind of out of line."
(3) McCain on Obama's connections:
I don't care about an old washed-up terrorist [Bill Ayers]. But as Sen. Clinton said in her debates with you, we need to know the full extent of that relationship.
We need to know the full extent of Sen. Obama's relationship with ACORN, who is now on the verge of maybe perpetrating one of the greatest frauds in voter history in this country, maybe destroying the fabric of democracy. The same front outfit organization that your campaign gave $832,000 for "lighting and site selection." So all of these things need to be examined, of course.
(4) Obama on who he associates with:
Let me tell you who I associate with. On economic policy, I associate with Warren Buffett and former Fed Chairman Paul Volcker. If I'm interested in figuring out my foreign policy, I associate myself with my running mate, Joe Biden or with Dick Lugar, the Republican ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, or General Jim Jones, the former supreme allied commander of NATO.
Those are the people, Democrats and Republicans, who have shaped my ideas and who will be surrounding me in the White House. And I think the fact that this has become such an important part of your campaign, Sen. McCain, says more about your campaign than it says about me.
Platforms
Read the full 2008 Republican platform here.
Read the full 2008 Democratic platform here.
Internet Resources
Obama/Biden Website
McCain/Palin Website
The GOP's BarackBook
The Obama Campaign's Fight the Smears
Videos
Debates
First Presidential Debate
Vice-Presidential Debate
Second Presidential Debate (Town Hall)
Third Presidential Debate
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Obama "same path" ad
Obama "McCain tax" ad
Obama "something" ad
McCain "fight" ad
McCain anti-Obama "celebrity" ad
McCain anti-Obama Bill Ayers ad
Strawpoll
>>>VOTE HERE<<<
submitted by John_Charles_Fremont to neoliberal [link] [comments]


2020.10.04 21:39 normancrane Iris [3/3]

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 <-- You are here.

- - -

I awoke to a world without women.
I rolled off the bed into sore thighs and guilt, got up to emptiness that echoed the slightest noise, and left my wife’s clothes on the sheets without thinking that eventually I’d have to pack them into a plastic bag and slide them down the garbage chute. I felt magnified and hollow. In the kitchen, I used the stove top as a table because the actual table had my wife’s tablet on it, and spilled instant coffee. What I didn’t spill I drank in a few gulps, the way I used to drink ice cold milk as a boy. I stood in front of the living room window for a while before realizing I was naked, then realizing that it didn’t matter because men changed in front of each other at the pool and peed next to one another into urinals in public restrooms, and there weren’t any women to hide from, no one to offend. The world, I told myself, was now a sprawling men’s pisser, so I slammed the window open and pissed.
I wanted to call someone—to tell them that my wife was dead, because that’s a duty owed by the living—but whom could I call: her sister, her parents? Her sister was dead. Her father had a dead wife and two dead daughters. There was nothing to say. Everyone knew. I called my wife’s father anyway. Was he still my father-in-law now that I was a widower? He didn’t accept the connection. Widower: a word loses all but historical meaning when there are no alternatives. If all animals were dogs, we’d purge one of those words from our vocabulary. We were all widowers. It was synonymous with man. I switched on the television and stared, crying, at a montage of photographs showing the bloody landscapes of cities, hospitals, retirement homes, schools and churches, all under the tasteless headline: “International Pop”. Would we clean it up, these remnants of the people we loved? Could we even use the same buildings, knowing what had happened in them? The illusion of practical thinking pushed my feeling of emptiness away. I missed arms wrapping around me from behind while I stared through rain streaked windows. I missed barking and a wagging tail that hit my leg whenever I was standing too close. Happiness seemed impossible. I called Bakshi because I needed confirmation that I still had a voice. “They’re the lucky ones,” he said right after I’d introduced myself. “They’re out. We’re the fools still locked in, and now we’re all alone.”
For three weeks, I expected my wife to show up at the apartment door. I removed her clothes from the bed and stuffed them into a garbage bag, but kept the garbage bag in the small space between the fridge and the kitchen wall. I probably would have kept a dead body in the freezer if I had one and it fit. As a city and as a world, those were grim, disorganized weeks for us. Nobody worked. I don’t know what we did. Sat around and drank, smoked. And we called each other, often out of the blue. Every day, I received a call from someone I knew but hadn’t spoken to in years. The conversations all followed a pattern. There was no catching up and no explanation of lost time, just a question like “How are you holding up?” followed by a thoughtless answer (“Fine, I guess. And you?”) followed by an exchange of details about the women we’d lost. Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, friends, cousins, aunts, teachers, students, co-workers. We talked about the colour of their hair, their senses of humour, their favourite movies. We said nothing about ourselves, choosing instead to inhabit the personas of those whom we’d loved. In the hallway, I would put on my wife’s coats but never look at myself in the mirror. I wore her winter hats in the middle of July. Facebook became a graveyard, with the gender field separating the mourners from the dead.
The World Health Organization issued a communique stating that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all the women in the world were dead, but it called for any woman still alive to come forward immediately. The language of the communique was as sterile as the Earth. Nobody came forward. The World Wildlife Fund created an inventory of all mammalian species that listed in ascending order how long each species would exist. Humans were on the bottom. Both the World Health Organization and the World Wildlife Fund predicted that unless significant technological progress occurred in the field of fertility within the next fifty years, the last human, a theoretical boy named Philip born into a theoretical developed country on March 26, 2025, would die in 93 years. On the day of his death, Philip would be the last remaining mammal—although not necessarily animal—on Earth. No organization or government has ever officially stated that July 4, 2025, was the most destructive day in recorded history, on the morning of which, Eastern Time, four billion out of a total of eight billion people ceased to exist as anything more than memories. What killed them was neither an act of war nor an act of terrorism. Neither was it human negligence. There was no one to blame and no one to prosecute. In the western countries, where the majority of people no longer believed in any religion, we could not even call it an act of God. So we responded by calling it nothing at all.
And, like nothing, our lives persisted. We ate, we slept and we adapted. After the first wave of suicides ended, we hosed off what the rain hadn’t already washed away and began to reorganize the systems on which our societies ran. It was a challenge tempered only slightly in countries where women had not made up a significant portion of the workforce. We held new elections, formed me boards of directors and slowed down the assembly lines and bus schedules to make it possible for our communities to keep running. There was less food in the supermarkets, but we also needed less food. Instead of two trains we ran one, but one sufficed. I don’t remember the day when I finally took the black garbage bag from its resting place and walked it to the chute. “How are you holding up?” a male voice would say on the street. “Fine, I guess. And you?” I’d answer. ##!! wrote a piece of Python code to predict the box office profitability of new movies, in which real actors played alongside computer-generated actresses. The code was only partially successful. Because while it did accurately predict the success of new movies in relation to one other, it failed to include the overwhelming popularity of re-releases of films from the past—films starring Bette Davis, Giulietta Masina, Meryl Streep: women who at least on screen were still flesh and blood. Theatres played retrospectives. On Amazon, books by female authors topped the charts. Sales of albums by women vocalists surged. We thirsted for another sex. I watched, read and listened like everyone else, and in between I cherished any media on which I found images or recordings of my wife. I was angry for not having made more. I looked at the same photos and watched the same clips over and over again. I memorized my wife’s Facebook timeline and tagged all her Tweets by date, theme and my own rating. When I went out, I would talk to the air as if she was walking beside me, sometimes quoting her actual words as answers to my questions and sometimes inventing my own as if she was a beloved character in an imagined novel. When people looked at me like I was crazy, I didn’t care. I wasn’t the only one. But, more importantly, my wife meant more to me than they did. I remembered times when we’d stroll through the park or down downtown sidewalks and I would be too ashamed to kiss her in the presence of strangers. Now, I would tell her that I love her in the densest crowd. I would ask her whether I should buy ketchup or mustard in the condiments aisle. She helped me pick out my clothes in the morning. She convinced me to eat healthy and exercise.
In November, I was in Bakshi’s apartment for the first time, waiting for a pizza delivery boy, when one of Bakshi’s friends who was browsing Reddit told us that the Tribe of Akna was starting a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to buy the Republic of Suriname, rename it Xibalba and close its borders for all except the enlightened. Xibalba would have no laws, Salvador Abaroa said in a message on the site. He was banging his gong as he did. Everything would be legal, and anyone who pledged $100 would receive a two-week visa to this new "Mayan Buddhist Eden". If you pledged over $10,000, you would receive citizenship. “Everything in life is destroyed by energy,” Abaroa said. “But let the energy enlighten you before it consumes your body. Xibalba is finite life unbound.” Bakshi’s phone buzzed. The pizza boy had sent an email. He couldn’t get upstairs, so Bakshi and I took the elevator to the building’s front entrance. The boy’s face was so white that I saw it as soon as the elevator doors slid open. Walking closer, I saw that he was powdered. His cheeks were also rouged, and he was wearing cranberry coloured lipstick, a Marilyn Monroe wig and a short black skirt. Compared to his face, his thin legs looked like incongruously dark popsicle sticks. Bakshi paid for the pizza and added another five dollars for the tip. The boy batted his fake eyelashes and asked if maybe he could do something to earn a little more. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I could come upstairs and clean the place up a little. You two live alone?” Bakshi passed me the two pizza boxes—They felt hot in my hands.—and dug around in his wallet. “It’s not just the two of us,” I said. The boy smiled. “That’s OK. I’ve done parties before if that’s what you’re into.” I saw the reaction on Bakshi’s face, and I saw the boy’s grotesque caricature of a woman. “There’s condoms and lube in the car,” the boy said, pointing to a sedan with a pizza spray-painted across its side parked by the curb. “My boss says I can take up to two hours but it’s not like he uses a stopwatch.” I stepped on Bakshi’s foot and shouldered him away. He was still fiddling with his wallet. “We’re not interested,” I said to the boy. He just shrugged. “Suit yourselves. If you change your mind, order another pizza and ask for Ruby.” The elevator dinged and the doors opened. As we shuffled inside, I saw Bakshi’s cheeks turn red. “I’m not actually—” he mumbled, but I didn’t let him finish. What had bothered me so much about the boy wasn’t the way he looked or acted; in fact, it wasn’t really the boy at all. He was just trying to make a buck. What bothered me was how ruthlessly we’d already begun to exploit each other.
For those of us who were heterosexual, sex was a definite weakness. I missed it. I would never have it with a woman again. The closest substitute was pornography, whose price rose with its popularity, but which, at least for me, now came scented with the unpleasantness of historicity and nostalgia. Videos and photos, not to mention physical magazines, were collector’s items in the same way that we once collected coins or action figures. The richest men bought up the exclusive rights to their favourite porn stars and guarded them by law with a viciousness once reserved for the RIAA and MPAA. Perhaps exclusivity gave them a possessive satisfaction. In response, we pirated whatever we could and fought for a pornographic public domain. Although new pornography was still being produced, either with the help of the same virtual technology they used for mainstream movies or with the participation of young men in costume, it lacked the taste of the originals. It was like eating chocolate made without cocoa. The best pornography, and therefore the best sex, became the pornography of the mind.
The Tribe of Akna reached its Kickstarter goal in early December. On December 20, I went to church for the first time since getting married because that was the theoretical date that my wife—along with every other woman—was supposed to have given birth. I wanted to be alone with others. Someone posted a video on TikTok from Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront, dubbing over Marlon Brando’s speech to say: “You don’t understand. I could’a had a piece of ass. I could’a been a school board member. I could’a been a son’s daddy”. It was juvenile and heartbreaking. By Christmas, the Surinamese government was already expelling its citizens, each of whom had theoretically been given a fraction of the funds paid to the government from the Tribe of Akna’s Kickstarter pool, and Salvador Abaroa’s lawyers were petitioning for international recognition of the new state of Xibalba. Neither Canada nor the United States opened diplomatic relations, but others did. I knew people who had pledged money, and when in January they disappeared on trips, I had no doubt to where. Infamy spread in the form of stories and urban legends. There’s no need for details. People disappeared, and ethicists wrote about the ethical neutrality of murder, arguing that because we were all slated to die, leaving the Earth barren in a century, destruction was a human inevitability, and what is inevitable can never be bad, even when it comes earlier than expected—even when it comes by force. Because, as a species, we hadn’t chosen destruction for ourselves, neither should any individual member of our species be able to choose now for himself. To the ethicists of what became known as the New Inevitability School, suicide was a greater evil than murder because it implied choice and inequality. If the ship was going down, no one should be allowed to get off. A second wave of suicides coincided with the debate, leading many governments to pass laws making suicide illegal. But how do you punish someone who already wants to die? In China: by keeping him alive and selling him to Xibalba, where he becomes the physical plaything of its citizens and visa-holders. The Chinese was the first embassy to open in Xibalban Paramaribo.
The men working on Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything continued working, steadily adding new variables to their equations, complicating their calculations in the hopes that someday the variable they added would be the final one and the equation would yield an answer. “It’s pointless,” Bakshi would comment after reading about one of the small breakthroughs they periodically announced. “Even if they do manage to predict something, anything, it won’t amount to anything more than the painfully obvious. And after decades of adding and subtracting their beans, they’ll come out of their Los Alamos datalabs like groundhogs into a world blanketed by storm clouds and conclude, finally and with plenty of self-congratulations, that it’s about to fucking rain.”
It rained a lot in February. It was one of the warmest Februaries in Toronto’s history. Sometimes I went for walks along the waterfront, talking to my wife, listening to Billie Holiday and trying to recall as many female faces as I could. Ones from the distant past: my mother, my grandmothers. Ones from the recent past: the woman whose life my wife saved on the way to the hospital, the Armenian woman with the film magazine and the injured son, the Jamaican woman, Bakshi’s wife. I focused on their faces, then zoomed out to see their bodies. I carried an umbrella but seldom opened it because the pounding of the raindrops against the material distorted my mental images. I saw people rush across the street holding newspapers above their heads while dogs roamed the alleyways wearing nothing at all. Of the two, it was dogs that had the shorter time left on Earth, and if they could let the rain soak their fur and drip off their bodies, I could surely let it run down my face. It was first my mother and later my wife who told me to always cover up in the rain, “because moisture causes colds,” but I was alone now and I didn’t want to be separated from the falling water by a sheet of glass anymore. I already was cold. I saw a man sit down on a bench, open his briefcase, pack rocks into it, then close it, tie it to his wrist, check his watch and start to walk into the polluted waters of Lake Ontario. Another man took out his phone and tapped his screen a few times. The man in the lake walked slowly, savouring each step. When the police arrived, sirens blaring, the water was up to his neck. I felt guilty for watching the three officers splash into the lake after him. I don’t know what happened after that because I turned my back and walked away. I hope they didn’t stop him. I hope he got to do what he wanted to do.
“Screw the police.” Bakshi passed me a book. “You should read this,” he said. It was by a professor of film and media studies at a small university in Texas. There was a stage on the cover, flanked by two red curtains. The photo had been taken from the actors’ side, looking out at an audience that the stage lights made too dark to see. The title was Hiding Behind The Curtains. I flipped the book over. There was no photo of the author. “It’s a theory,” Bakshi said, “that undercuts what Abaroa and the Inevitabilists are saying. It’s a little too poetic in parts but—listen, you ever read Atlas Shrugged?” I said I hadn’t. “Well, anyway, what this guy says is that what if instead of our situation letting us do anything we want, it’s actually the opposite, a test to see how we act when we only think that we’re doomed. I mean what if the women who died in March, what if they’re just—” “Hiding behind the curtains,” I said. He bit his lower lip. “It sounds stupid when you say it like that but, as a metaphor, it has a kind of elegance, right?” I flipped through the book, reading a few sentences at random. It struck me as neo-Christian. “Isn’t this a little too spiritual for you? I thought we were all locked into one path,” I said. “I thought that, too, but lately I’ve been able to do things—things that I didn’t really want to do.” For a second I was concerned. “Nothing bad,” he said. “I mean I’ve felt like I’m locked into doing one thing, say having a drink of water, but I resist and pour myself a glass of orange juice instead.” I shook my head. “It’s hard to explain,” he said. That’s how most theories ended, I thought: reason and evidence up to a crucial point, and then it gets so personal that it’s hard to explain. You either make the jump or you don’t. “Just read it,” he said. “Please read it. You don’t have to agree with it, I just want to get your opinion, an objective opinion.”
I never did read the book, and Bakshi forgot about it, too, but that day he was excited and happy, and those were rare feelings. I was simultaneously glad for him and jealous. Afterwards, we went out onto the balcony and drank Czech beer until morning. When it got cool, we put on our coats. It started to drizzle so we wore blue plastic suits like the ones they used to give you on boat rides in Niagara Falls. When it was time to go home, I was so drunk I couldn’t see straight. I almost got into a fight, the first one of my life, because I bumped into a man on the street and told him to get the fuck out of my way. I don’t remember much more of my walk home. The only reason I remember Behind The Curtains at all is because when I woke up in the afternoon it was the first thing that my hung over brain recognized. It was lying on the floor beside the bed. Then I opened the blinds covering my bedroom window and, through my spread fingers that I’d meant to use as a shield from the first blast of daylight, I saw the pincers for the first time.
They’d appeared while I was asleep. I turned on the television and checked my phone. The media and the internet were feverish, but nobody knew what the thing was, just a massive, vaguely rectangular shape blotting out a strip of the sky. NASA stated that it had received no extraterrestrial messages to coincide with the appearance. Every government claimed ignorance. The panel discussions on television only worsened my headache. Bakshi emailed me links to photos from Mumbai, Cape Town, Sydney and Mexico City, all showing the same shape; or rather one of a pair of shapes, for there were two of them, one on each side of the Earth, and they’d trapped our planet between themselves like gargantuan fingers clutching an equally gargantuan ping-pong ball. That’s why somebody came up with the term “the pincers”. It stuck. Because I’d slept in last night’s clothes I was already dressed, so I ran down the stairs and out of my apartment building to get a better look at them from the parking lot. You’re not supposed to look at the sun, but I wasn’t the only one breaking that rule. There were entire crowds with upturned faces in the streets. If the pincers, too, could see, they would perhaps be as baffled by us as we were of them: billions of tiny specks all over the surface of this ping-pong ball gathering in points on a grid, coagulating into large puddles that vanished overnight only to reassemble in the morning. In the following days, scientists scrambled to study the pincers and their potential effects on us, but they discovered nothing. The pincers did nothing. They emitted nothing, consumed nothing. They simply were. And they could not be measured or detected in any way other than by eyesight. When we shot rays at them, the rays continued on their paths unaffected, as if nothing was there. The pincers did, however, affect the sun’s rays coming towards us. They cut up our days. The sun would rise, travel over the sky, hide behind a pincer—enveloping us in a second night—before revealing itself again as a second day. But if the pincers’ physical effect on us was limited to its blockage of light, their mental effects on us were astoundingly severe. For many, this was the sign they’d been waiting for. It brought hope. It brought gloom. It broke and confirmed ideas that were hard to explain. In their ambiguity, the pincers could be anything, but in their strangeness they at least reassured us of the reality of the strange times in which we were living. Men walked away from the theory of everything, citing the pincers as the ultimate variable that proved the futility of prognostication. Others took up the calculations because if the pincers could appear, what else was out there in our future? However, ambiguity can only last for a certain period. Information narrows possibilities. On April 1, 2026, every Twitter account in the world received the following message:
as you can see this message is longer than the allowed one hundred forty characters time and space are malleable you thought you had one hundred years but prepare for the plucking
The sender was @. The message appeared in each user’s feed at exactly the same time and in his first language, without punctuation. Because of the date most of us thought it was a hoax, but the developers of Twitter denied this vehemently. It wasn’t until a court forced them to reveal their code, which proved that a message of that length and sent by a blank user was impossible, that our doubts ceased. ##!! took bets on what the message meant. Salvador Abaroa broadcast a response into space in a language he called Bodhi Mayan, then addressed the rest of us in English, saying that in the pincers he had identified an all-powerful prehistoric fire deity, described in an old Sanskrit text as having the resemblance of mirrored black fangs, whose appearance signified the end of time. “All of us will burn,” he said, “but paradise shall be known only to those who burn willingly.” Two days later, The Tribe of Akna announced that in one month it would seal Xibalba from the world and set fire to everything and everyone in it. For the first time, its spokesman said, an entire nation would commit suicide as one. Jonestown was but a blip. As a gesture of goodwill, he said that Xibalba was offering free immolation visas to anyone who applied within the next week. The New Inevitability School condemned the plan as “offensively unethical” and inequalitist and urged an international Xibalban boycott. Nothing came of it. When the date arrived, we watched with rapt attention on live streams and from the vantage points of circling news planes as Salvador Abaroa struck flint against steel, creating the spark that caught the char cloth, starting a fire that blossomed bright crimson and in the next weeks consumed all 163,821 square kilometres of the former Republic of Suriname and all 2,500,000 of its estimated Xibalban inhabitants. Despite concerns that the fire would spread beyond Xibalba’s borders, The Tribe of Akna had been careful. There were no accidental casualties and no unplanned property damage. No borders were crossed. Once the fire burned out, reporters competed to be first to capture the mood on the ground. Paramaribo resembled the smouldering darkness of a fire pit.
It was a few days later while sitting on Bakshi’s balcony, looking up at the pincers and rereading a reproduction of @’s message—someone had spray-painted it across the wall of a building opposite Bakshi’s—that I remembered Iris. The memory was so absorbing that I didn’t notice when Bakshi slid open the balcony door and sat down beside me, but I must have been smiling because he said, “I don’t mean this the wrong way, but you look a little loony tonight. Seriously, man, you do not look sufficiently freaked out.” I’d remembered Iris before, swirling elements of her plain face, but now I also remembered her words and her theory. I turned to Bakshi, who seemed to be waiting for an answer to his question, and said, “Let’s get up on the roof of this place.” He grabbed my arm and held on tightly. “I’m not going to jump, if that’s what you mean.” It wasn’t what I meant, but I asked, “why not?” He said, “I don’t know. I know we’re fucked as a species and all that, but I figure if I’m still alive I might as well see what happens next, like in a bad movie you want to see through to the end.” I promised him that I wasn’t going to jump, either. Then I scrambled inside his apartment, grabbed my hat and jacket from the closet by the front door and put them on while speed walking down the hall, toward the fire escape. I realized I’d been spending a lot of time here. The alarm went off as soon I pushed open the door with my hip but I didn’t care. When Bakshi caught up with me, I was already outside, leaping up two stairs at a time. The metal construction was rusted. The treads wobbled. On the roof, the wind nearly blew my hat off and it was so loud I could have screamed and no one would have heard me. Holding my hat in my hands, I crouched and looked out over the twinkling city spread out in front of me. It looked alive in spite of the pincers in the sky. “Let’s do something crazy,” I yelled. Bakshi was still catching his breath behind me. “What, like this isn’t crazy enough?” The NHL may have been gone but my hat still bore the Maple Leafs logo, as quaint and obsolete by then as the Weimar Republic in the summer of 1945. “When’s the last time you played ball hockey?” I asked. Bakshi crouched beside me. “You’re acting weird. And I haven’t played ball hockey in ages.” I stood up so suddenly that Bakshi almost fell over. This time I knew I was smiling. “So call your buddies,” I said. “Tell them to bring their sticks and their gear and to meet us in front of the ACC in one hour.” Bakshi patted me on the back. Toronto shone like jewels scattered over black velvet. “The ACC’s been closed for years, buddy. I think you’re really starting to lose it.” I knew it was closed. “Lose what?” I asked. “It’s closed and we’re going to break in.”
The chains broke apart like shortbread. The electricity worked. The clouds of dust made me sneeze. We used duffel bags to mark out the goals. We raced up and down the stands and bent over, wheezing at imaginary finish lines. We got into the announcer’s booth and called each other cunts through the microphone. We ran, fell and shot rubber pucks for hours. We didn’t keep score. We didn’t worry. “What about the police?” someone asked. The rest of us answered: “Screw the fucking police!”
And when everybody packed up and went home, I stayed behind.
“Are you sure you’re fine?” Bakshi asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Because I have to get back so that I can shower, get changed and get to work.”
“Yeah, I know,” I said.
“And you promise me you’ll catch a cab?”
“I’m not suicidal.”
He fixed his grip on his duffel bag. “I didn’t say you were. I was just checking.”
“I want to see the end of the movie, too,” I said.
He saluted. I watched him leave. When he was gone, my wife walked down from the nosebleeds and took a seat beside me. “There’s someone I want to tell you about,” I said. She lifted her chin like she always does when something unexpected catches her interest, and scooted closer. I put my arm across the back of her beautiful shoulders. She always liked that, even though the position drives me crazy because I tend to talk a lot with my hands. “Stuck at Leafs-Wings snorefest,” she said. “Game sucks but I love the man sitting beside me.” (January 15, 2019. Themes: hockey, love, me. Rating: 5/5). “Her name was Iris,” I said.

Iris

“What if the whole universe was a giant garden—like a hydroponics thing, like how they grow tomatoes and marijuana, so there wouldn’t need to be any soil, all the nutrients would just get injected straight into the seeds or however they do it—or, even better, space itself was the soil, you know how they talk about dark matter being this invisible and mysterious thing that exists out there and we don’t know what it does, if it actually affect anything, gravity…”
She blew a cloud of pot smoke my way that made me cough and probably gave her time to think. She said, “So dark matter is like the soil, and in this space garden of course they don’t grow plants but something else.”
“Galaxies?”
“Eyes.”
“Just eyes, or body parts in general?” I asked.
“Just eyes.”
The music from the party thumped. “But the eyes are our planets, like Mars is an eye, Neptune is an eye, and the Earth is an eye, maybe even the best eye.”
“The best for what? Who’s growing them?”
“God,” she said.
I took the joint from her and took a long drag. “I didn’t know you believed in God.”
“I don’t, I guess—except when I’m on dope. Anyway, you’ve got to understand me because when I say God I don’t mean like the old man with muscles and a beard. This God, the one I’m talking about, it’s more like a one-eyed monster.”
“Like a cyclops?” I asked.
“Yeah, like that, like a cyclops. So it’s growing these eyes in the dark matter in space—I mean right now, you and me, we’re literally sitting on one of these eyes and we’re contributing to its being grown because the nutrients the cyclops God injected into them, that’s us.”
“Why does God need so many extra eyes?”
“It’s not a question of having so many of them, but more about having the right one, like growing the perfect tomato.” I gave her back the joint and leaned back, looking at the stars. “Because every once in a while the cyclops God goes blind, its eye stops working—not in the same way we go blind, because the cyclops God doesn’t see reality in the same way we see reality—but more like we see through our brains and our eyes put together.”
“Like x-ray vision?” I asked.
“No, not like that at all,” she said.
“A glass eye?”
“Glass eyes are fake.”
“OK,” I said, “so maybe try something else. Give me a different angle. Tell me what role we’re playing in all of this because right now it seems that we’re pretty insignificant. I mean, you said we’re nutrients but what’s the difference between, say, Mars and Earth in terms of being eyes?”
She looked over at me. “Are you absolutely sure you want to hear about this?”
“I am,” I said.
“You don’t think it’s stupid?”
“Compared to what?”
“I don’t know, just stupid in general.”
“I don’t.”
“I like you,” she said.
“Because I don’t think you’re stupid?” I asked.
“That’s just a bonus. I mean more that you’re up here with me instead of being down there with everyone, and we’re talking and even though we’re not in love I know somehow we’ll never forget each other for as long as we live.”
“It’s hard to forget being on the surface of a giant floating eyeball.”
“You’re scared that you won’t find anyone to love,” she said suddenly, causing me to nearly choke on my own saliva. “Don’t ask me how I know—I just do. But before I go any further about the cyclops God, I want you to know that you’ll find someone to love and who’ll love you back, and whatever happens you’ll always have that because no one can take away the past.”
“You’re scared of going blind,” I said.
“I am going blind.”
“Not yet.”
“And I’m learning not to be scared because everything I see until that day will always belong to me.”
“The doctors said it would be gradual,” I reminded her.
“That’s horrible.”
“Why?”
“Because you wouldn’t want to find someone to love and then know that every day you wake up the love between you grows dimmer and dimmer, would you?”
“I guess not,” I said.
“Wouldn’t you much rather feel the full strength of that love up to and including in the final second before the world goes black?”
“It would probably be painful to lose it all at once like that.”
“Painful because you actually had something to lose. For me, I know I can’t wish away blindness, but I sure wish that the last image I ever see—in that final second before my world goes black—is the most vivid and beautiful image of all.”
Because I didn’t know what to say to that, I mumbled: “I’m sorry.”
“That I’m going blind?”
“Yeah, and that we can’t grow eyes.”
This time I looked over, and she was the one gazing at the stars. “Before, you asked if we were insignificant,” she said. “But because you’re sorry—that’s kind of why we’re the most significant of all, why Earth is better than the other planets.”
“For the cyclops God?”
“Yes.”
“He cares about my feelings?”
“Not in the way you’re probably thinking, but in a different way that’s exactly what the cyclops God cares about most because that’s what it’s looking for in an eye. All the amazing stuff we’ve ever built, all our ancient civilizations and supercomputers and cities you can see from the Moon—that’s just useless cosmetics to the cyclops God, except in how all of it has made us feel about things that aren’t us.”
“I think you’re talking about morality.”
“I think so, too.”
“So by feeling sorry for you I’m showing compassion, and the cyclops God likes compassion?”
“That’s not totally wrong but it’s a little upside down. We have this black matter garden and these planets the cyclops God has grown as potential eyes to replace its own eye once it stops working, but its own eye is like an eye and a brain mixed together. Wait—” she said.
I waited.
“Imagine a pair of tinted sunglasses.”
I imagined green-tinted ones.
“Now imagine that instead of the lenses being a certain colour, they’re a certain morality, and if you wear the glasses you see the world tinted according to that morality.”
I was kind of able to imagine that. I supposed it would help show who was good and who was bad. “But the eye and the tinted glasses are the same thing in this case.”
“Exactly, there’s no one without the other, and what makes the tint special is us—not that the cyclops God cares at all about individuals any more than we care about individual honey bees. That’s why he’s kind of a monster.”
“Isn’t people’s morality always changing, though?”
“Only up to a point. Green is green even when you have a bunch of shades of it, and a laptop screen still works fine even with a few dead pixels, right? And the more globalized and connected we get, the smoother our morality gets, but if you’re asking more about how our changing morals work when the cyclops God finally comes to take its eye, I assume it has a way to freeze our progress. To cut our roots. Then it makes some kind of final evaluation. If it’s satisfied it takes the planet and sticks it into its eye socket, and if it doesn’t like us then it lets us alone, although because we’re frozen and possibly rootless I suppose we die—maybe that’s what the other planets are, so many of them in space without any sort of life. Cold, rejected eyes.”
From sunglasses to bees to monitors in three metaphors, and now we were back to space. This was getting confusing. The stars twinkled, some of them dead, too: their light still arriving at our eyes from sources that no longer existed. “That’s kind of depressing,” I said to end the silence.
“What about it?”
“Being bees,” I said, “that work for so long at tinting a pair of glasses just so that a cyclops God can try them on.”
“I don’t think it’s any more depressing than being a tomato.”
“I’ve never thought about that.”
“You should. It’s beautiful, like love,” she said. “Because if you think about it, being a tomato and being a person are really quite similar. They’re both about growing and existing for the enjoyment of someone else. As a tomato you’re planted, you grow and mature and then an animal comes along and eats you. The juicier you look and the nicer you smell, the greater the chance that you’ll get plucked but also the more pleasure the animal will get from you. As a person, you’re also born and you grow up and you mature into a one of a kind personality with a one of a kind face, and then someone comes along and makes you fall in love with them and all the growing you did was really just for their enjoyment of your love.”
“Except love lasts longer than chewing a tomato.”
“Sometimes,” she said.
“And you have to admit that two tomatoes can’t eat each other the way two people can love each other mutually.”
“I admit that’s a good point,” she said.
“And what happens to someone who never gets fallen in love with?”
“The same thing that happens to a tomato that never gets eaten or an eye that the cyclops God never takes. They die and they rot, and they darken and harden, decomposing until they don’t look like tomatoes anymore. It’s not a nice fate. I’d rather live awhile and get eaten, to be honest.”
“As a tomato or person?”
“Both.”
I thought for a few seconds. “That explanation works for things on Earth, but nothing actually decomposes in space.”
“That’s why there are so many dead planets,” she said.
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2020.10.01 21:47 normancrane Iris [4/5]

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Blood, guts and bone shards blanketed the surfaces of the waiting room, making it look like the inside of an unwashed jar of strawberry jam. My wife was gone. Every woman in the room was gone. The space behind the reception desk stood eerily empty. The television in the corner was showing the splattered lens of a camera that a hand suddenly wiped clean—its burst of motion a shock to the prevailing stillness—to reveal the peaceful image of a Los Angeles street in which bloodied men and boys stood frozen, startled…
I was too numb to speak.
Someone unlocked the hospital doors but nobody entered.
The waiting room smelled like an abattoir.
My clothes smelled like an abattoir.
I walked toward the doors, opened them with my hip and continued into the morning sunlight. I half expected shit to rain down from the skies. If I had a razor blade in my pocket I would have slit my wrists, but all I had was my wallet, my car keys and my phone. Sliding my fingers over the keys reminded me how dull they were. I didn’t want to drive. I didn’t want anything, but if I had to do something I would walk. I stepped on the heel of one shoe with the toe of another and slid my shoe off. The other one I pulled off with my hand. I wasn’t wearing socks. I hadn’t had enough time to put them on. I threw the shoes away. I wanted to walk until my feet hurt so much that I couldn’t walk anymore.
I put one foot in front of the other all the way back to my apartment building, waited for the elevator, and took it to my floor. In the hall, I passed a man wearing clean summer clothes. He didn’t give my bloody ones a second glance. I nodded to him, he nodded back, and I unlocked the door to my apartment and walked in. My feet left footprints on the linoleum. A dark, drying stain in the small space between the fridge and the kitchen wall was all that was left of Pillow. She’d squeezed in and died alone. I took out a mop and rotely removed the stain. Then I took off my clothes, flung them on the bed, which was as unmade as when we left it, took a shower and laid down on the crumpled sheets beside the only pieces of my wife that I had left. My sleep smelled like an abattoir.
I awoke to a world without women.
I rolled off the bed into sore thighs and guilt, got up to emptiness that echoed the slightest noise, and left my wife’s clothes on the sheets without thinking that eventually I’d have to pack them into a plastic bag and slide them down the garbage chute. I felt magnified and hollow. In the kitchen, I used the stove top as a table because the actual table had my wife’s tablet on it, and spilled instant coffee. What I didn’t spill I drank in a few gulps, the way I used to drink ice cold milk as a boy. I stood in front of the living room window for a while before realizing I was naked, then realizing that it didn’t matter because men changed in front of each other at the pool and peed next to one another into urinals in public restrooms, and there weren’t any women to hide from, no one to offend. The world, I told myself, was now a sprawling men’s pisser, so I slammed the window open and pissed.
I wanted to call someone—to tell them that my wife was dead, because that’s a duty owed by the living—but whom could I call: her sister, her parents? Her sister was dead. Her father had a dead wife and two dead daughters. There was nothing to say. Everyone knew. I called my wife’s father anyway. Was he still my father-in-law now that I was a widower? He didn’t accept the connection. Widower: a word loses all but historical meaning when there are no alternatives. If all animals were dogs, we’d purge one of those words from our vocabulary. We were all widowers. It was synonymous with man. I switched on the television and stared, crying, at a montage of photographs showing the bloody landscapes of cities, hospitals, retirement homes, schools and churches, all under the tasteless headline: “International Pop”. Would we clean it up, these remnants of the people we loved? Could we even use the same buildings, knowing what had happened in them? The illusion of practical thinking pushed my feeling of emptiness away. I missed arms wrapping around me from behind while I stared through rain streaked windows. I missed barking and a wagging tail that hit my leg whenever I was standing too close. Happiness seemed impossible. I called Bakshi because I needed confirmation that I still had a voice. “They’re the lucky ones,” he said right after I’d introduced myself. “They’re out. We’re the fools still locked in, and now we’re all alone.”
For three weeks, I expected my wife to show up at the apartment door. I removed her clothes from the bed and stuffed them into a garbage bag, but kept the garbage bag in the small space between the fridge and the kitchen wall. I probably would have kept a dead body in the freezer if I had one and it fit. As a city and as a world, those were grim, disorganized weeks for us. Nobody worked. I don’t know what we did. Sat around and drank, smoked. And we called each other, often out of the blue. Every day, I received a call from someone I knew but hadn’t spoken to in years. The conversations all followed a pattern. There was no catching up and no explanation of lost time, just a question like “How are you holding up?” followed by a thoughtless answer (“Fine, I guess. And you?”) followed by an exchange of details about the women we’d lost. Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, friends, cousins, aunts, teachers, students, co-workers. We talked about the colour of their hair, their senses of humour, their favourite movies. We said nothing about ourselves, choosing instead to inhabit the personas of those whom we’d loved. In the hallway, I would put on my wife’s coats but never look at myself in the mirror. I wore her winter hats in the middle of July. Facebook became a graveyard, with the gender field separating the mourners from the dead.
The World Health Organization issued a communique stating that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all the women in the world were dead, but it called for any woman still alive to come forward immediately. The language of the communique was as sterile as the Earth. Nobody came forward. The World Wildlife Fund created an inventory of all mammalian species that listed in ascending order how long each species would exist. Humans were on the bottom. Both the World Health Organization and the World Wildlife Fund predicted that unless significant technological progress occurred in the field of fertility within the next fifty years, the last human, a theoretical boy named Philip born into a theoretical developed country on March 26, 2025, would die in 93 years. On the day of his death, Philip would be the last remaining mammal—although not necessarily animal—on Earth. No organization or government has ever officially stated that July 4, 2025, was the most destructive day in recorded history, on the morning of which, Eastern Time, four billion out of a total of eight billion people ceased to exist as anything more than memories. What killed them was neither an act of war nor an act of terrorism. Neither was it human negligence. There was no one to blame and no one to prosecute. In the western countries, where the majority of people no longer believed in any religion, we could not even call it an act of God. So we responded by calling it nothing at all.
And, like nothing, our lives persisted. We ate, we slept and we adapted. After the first wave of suicides ended, we hosed off what the rain hadn’t already washed away and began to reorganize the systems on which our societies ran. It was a challenge tempered only slightly in countries where women had not made up a significant portion of the workforce. We held new elections, formed me boards of directors and slowed down the assembly lines and bus schedules to make it possible for our communities to keep running. There was less food in the supermarkets, but we also needed less food. Instead of two trains we ran one, but one sufficed. I don’t remember the day when I finally took the black garbage bag from its resting place and walked it to the chute. “How are you holding up?” a male voice would say on the street. “Fine, I guess. And you?” I’d answer. ##!! wrote a piece of Python code to predict the box office profitability of new movies, in which real actors played alongside computer-generated actresses. The code was only partially successful. Because while it did accurately predict the success of new movies in relation to one other, it failed to include the overwhelming popularity of re-releases of films from the past—films starring Bette Davis, Giulietta Masina, Meryl Streep: women who at least on screen were still flesh and blood. Theatres played retrospectives. On Amazon, books by female authors topped the charts. Sales of albums by women vocalists surged. We thirsted for another sex. I watched, read and listened like everyone else, and in between I cherished any media on which I found images or recordings of my wife. I was angry for not having made more. I looked at the same photos and watched the same clips over and over again. I memorized my wife’s Facebook timeline and tagged all her Tweets by date, theme and my own rating. When I went out, I would talk to the air as if she was walking beside me, sometimes quoting her actual words as answers to my questions and sometimes inventing my own as if she was a beloved character in an imagined novel. When people looked at me like I was crazy, I didn’t care. I wasn’t the only one. But, more importantly, my wife meant more to me than they did. I remembered times when we’d stroll through the park or down downtown sidewalks and I would be too ashamed to kiss her in the presence of strangers. Now, I would tell her that I love her in the densest crowd. I would ask her whether I should buy ketchup or mustard in the condiments aisle. She helped me pick out my clothes in the morning. She convinced me to eat healthy and exercise.
In November, I was in Bakshi’s apartment for the first time, waiting for a pizza delivery boy, when one of Bakshi’s friends who was browsing Reddit told us that the Tribe of Akna was starting a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to buy the Republic of Suriname, rename it Xibalba and close its borders for all except the enlightened. Xibalba would have no laws, Salvador Abaroa said in a message on the site. He was banging his gong as he did. Everything would be legal, and anyone who pledged $100 would receive a two-week visa to this new "Mayan Buddhist Eden". If you pledged over $10,000, you would receive citizenship. “Everything in life is destroyed by energy,” Abaroa said. “But let the energy enlighten you before it consumes your body. Xibalba is finite life unbound.” Bakshi’s phone buzzed. The pizza boy had sent an email. He couldn’t get upstairs, so Bakshi and I took the elevator to the building’s front entrance. The boy’s face was so white that I saw it as soon as the elevator doors slid open. Walking closer, I saw that he was powdered. His cheeks were also rouged, and he was wearing cranberry coloured lipstick, a Marilyn Monroe wig and a short black skirt. Compared to his face, his thin legs looked like incongruously dark popsicle sticks. Bakshi paid for the pizza and added another five dollars for the tip. The boy batted his fake eyelashes and asked if maybe he could do something to earn a little more. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I could come upstairs and clean the place up a little. You two live alone?” Bakshi passed me the two pizza boxes—They felt hot in my hands.—and dug around in his wallet. “It’s not just the two of us,” I said. The boy smiled. “That’s OK. I’ve done parties before if that’s what you’re into.” I saw the reaction on Bakshi’s face, and I saw the boy’s grotesque caricature of a woman. “There’s condoms and lube in the car,” the boy said, pointing to a sedan with a pizza spray-painted across its side parked by the curb. “My boss says I can take up to two hours but it’s not like he uses a stopwatch.” I stepped on Bakshi’s foot and shouldered him away. He was still fiddling with his wallet. “We’re not interested,” I said to the boy. He just shrugged. “Suit yourselves. If you change your mind, order another pizza and ask for Ruby.” The elevator dinged and the doors opened. As we shuffled inside, I saw Bakshi’s cheeks turn red. “I’m not actually—” he mumbled, but I didn’t let him finish. What had bothered me so much about the boy wasn’t the way he looked or acted; in fact, it wasn’t really the boy at all. He was just trying to make a buck. What bothered me was how ruthlessly we’d already begun to exploit each other.
For those of us who were heterosexual, sex was a definite weakness. I missed it. I would never have it with a woman again. The closest substitute was pornography, whose price rose with its popularity, but which, at least for me, now came scented with the unpleasantness of historicity and nostalgia. Videos and photos, not to mention physical magazines, were collector’s items in the same way that we once collected coins or action figures. The richest men bought up the exclusive rights to their favourite porn stars and guarded them by law with a viciousness once reserved for the RIAA and MPAA. Perhaps exclusivity gave them a possessive satisfaction. In response, we pirated whatever we could and fought for a pornographic public domain. Although new pornography was still being produced, either with the help of the same virtual technology they used for mainstream movies or with the participation of young men in costume, it lacked the taste of the originals. It was like eating chocolate made without cocoa. The best pornography, and therefore the best sex, became the pornography of the mind.
The Tribe of Akna reached its Kickstarter goal in early December. On December 20, I went to church for the first time since getting married because that was the theoretical date that my wife—along with every other woman—was supposed to have given birth. I wanted to be alone with others. Someone posted a video on TikTok from Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront, dubbing over Marlon Brando’s speech to say: “You don’t understand. I could’a had a piece of ass. I could’a been a school board member. I could’a been a son’s daddy”. It was juvenile and heartbreaking. By Christmas, the Surinamese government was already expelling its citizens, each of whom had theoretically been given a fraction of the funds paid to the government from the Tribe of Akna’s Kickstarter pool, and Salvador Abaroa’s lawyers were petitioning for international recognition of the new state of Xibalba. Neither Canada nor the United States opened diplomatic relations, but others did. I knew people who had pledged money, and when in January they disappeared on trips, I had no doubt to where. Infamy spread in the form of stories and urban legends. There’s no need for details. People disappeared, and ethicists wrote about the ethical neutrality of murder, arguing that because we were all slated to die, leaving the Earth barren in a century, destruction was a human inevitability, and what is inevitable can never be bad, even when it comes earlier than expected—even when it comes by force. Because, as a species, we hadn’t chosen destruction for ourselves, neither should any individual member of our species be able to choose now for himself. To the ethicists of what became known as the New Inevitability School, suicide was a greater evil than murder because it implied choice and inequality. If the ship was going down, no one should be allowed to get off. A second wave of suicides coincided with the debate, leading many governments to pass laws making suicide illegal. But how do you punish someone who already wants to die? In China: by keeping him alive and selling him to Xibalba, where he becomes the physical plaything of its citizens and visa-holders. The Chinese was the first embassy to open in Xibalban Paramaribo.
The men working on Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything continued working, steadily adding new variables to their equations, complicating their calculations in the hopes that someday the variable they added would be the final one and the equation would yield an answer. “It’s pointless,” Bakshi would comment after reading about one of the small breakthroughs they periodically announced. “Even if they do manage to predict something, anything, it won’t amount to anything more than the painfully obvious. And after decades of adding and subtracting their beans, they’ll come out of their Los Alamos datalabs like groundhogs into a world blanketed by storm clouds and conclude, finally and with plenty of self-congratulations, that it’s about to fucking rain.”
It rained a lot in February. It was one of the warmest Februaries in Toronto’s history. Sometimes I went for walks along the waterfront, talking to my wife, listening to Billie Holiday and trying to recall as many female faces as I could. Ones from the distant past: my mother, my grandmothers. Ones from the recent past: the woman whose life my wife saved on the way to the hospital, the Armenian woman with the film magazine and the injured son, the Jamaican woman, Bakshi’s wife. I focused on their faces, then zoomed out to see their bodies. I carried an umbrella but seldom opened it because the pounding of the raindrops against the material distorted my mental images. I saw people rush across the street holding newspapers above their heads while dogs roamed the alleyways wearing nothing at all. Of the two, it was dogs that had the shorter time left on Earth, and if they could let the rain soak their fur and drip off their bodies, I could surely let it run down my face. It was first my mother and later my wife who told me to always cover up in the rain, “because moisture causes colds,” but I was alone now and I didn’t want to be separated from the falling water by a sheet of glass anymore. I already was cold. I saw a man sit down on a bench, open his briefcase, pack rocks into it, then close it, tie it to his wrist, check his watch and start to walk into the polluted waters of Lake Ontario. Another man took out his phone and tapped his screen a few times. The man in the lake walked slowly, savouring each step. When the police arrived, sirens blaring, the water was up to his neck. I felt guilty for watching the three officers splash into the lake after him. I don’t know what happened after that because I turned my back and walked away. I hope they didn’t stop him. I hope he got to do what he wanted to do.
“Screw the police.” Bakshi passed me a book. “You should read this,” he said. It was by a professor of film and media studies at a small university in Texas. There was a stage on the cover, flanked by two red curtains. The photo had been taken from the actors’ side, looking out at an audience that the stage lights made too dark to see. The title was Hiding Behind The Curtains. I flipped the book over. There was no photo of the author. “It’s a theory,” Bakshi said, “that undercuts what Abaroa and the Inevitabilists are saying. It’s a little too poetic in parts but—listen, you ever read Atlas Shrugged?” I said I hadn’t. “Well, anyway, what this guy says is that what if instead of our situation letting us do anything we want, it’s actually the opposite, a test to see how we act when we only think that we’re doomed. I mean what if the women who died in March, what if they’re just—” “Hiding behind the curtains,” I said. He bit his lower lip. “It sounds stupid when you say it like that but, as a metaphor, it has a kind of elegance, right?” I flipped through the book, reading a few sentences at random. It struck me as neo-Christian. “Isn’t this a little too spiritual for you? I thought we were all locked into one path,” I said. “I thought that, too, but lately I’ve been able to do things—things that I didn’t really want to do.” For a second I was concerned. “Nothing bad,” he said. “I mean I’ve felt like I’m locked into doing one thing, say having a drink of water, but I resist and pour myself a glass of orange juice instead.” I shook my head. “It’s hard to explain,” he said. That’s how most theories ended, I thought: reason and evidence up to a crucial point, and then it gets so personal that it’s hard to explain. You either make the jump or you don’t. “Just read it,” he said. “Please read it. You don’t have to agree with it, I just want to get your opinion, an objective opinion.”
I never did read the book, and Bakshi forgot about it, too, but that day he was excited and happy, and those were rare feelings. I was simultaneously glad for him and jealous. Afterwards, we went out onto the balcony and drank Czech beer until morning. When it got cool, we put on our coats. It started to drizzle so we wore blue plastic suits like the ones they used to give you on boat rides in Niagara Falls. When it was time to go home, I was so drunk I couldn’t see straight. I almost got into a fight, the first one of my life, because I bumped into a man on the street and told him to get the fuck out of my way. I don’t remember much more of my walk home. The only reason I remember Behind The Curtains at all is because when I woke up in the afternoon it was the first thing that my hung over brain recognized. It was lying on the floor beside the bed. Then I opened the blinds covering my bedroom window and, through my spread fingers that I’d meant to use as a shield from the first blast of daylight, I saw the pincers for the first time.
They’d appeared while I was asleep. I turned on the television and checked my phone. The media and the internet were feverish, but nobody knew what the thing was, just a massive, vaguely rectangular shape blotting out a strip of the sky. NASA stated that it had received no extraterrestrial messages to coincide with the appearance. Every government claimed ignorance. The panel discussions on television only worsened my headache. Bakshi emailed me links to photos from Mumbai, Cape Town, Sydney and Mexico City, all showing the same shape; or rather one of a pair of shapes, for there were two of them, one on each side of the Earth, and they’d trapped our planet between themselves like gargantuan fingers clutching an equally gargantuan ping-pong ball. That’s why somebody came up with the term “the pincers”. It stuck. Because I’d slept in last night’s clothes I was already dressed, so I ran down the stairs and out of my apartment building to get a better look at them from the parking lot. You’re not supposed to look at the sun, but I wasn’t the only one breaking that rule. There were entire crowds with upturned faces in the streets. If the pincers, too, could see, they would perhaps be as baffled by us as we were of them: billions of tiny specks all over the surface of this ping-pong ball gathering in points on a grid, coagulating into large puddles that vanished overnight only to reassemble in the morning. In the following days, scientists scrambled to study the pincers and their potential effects on us, but they discovered nothing. The pincers did nothing. They emitted nothing, consumed nothing. They simply were. And they could not be measured or detected in any way other than by eyesight. When we shot rays at them, the rays continued on their paths unaffected, as if nothing was there. The pincers did, however, affect the sun’s rays coming towards us. They cut up our days. The sun would rise, travel over the sky, hide behind a pincer—enveloping us in a second night—before revealing itself again as a second day. But if the pincers’ physical effect on us was limited to its blockage of light, their mental effects on us were astoundingly severe. For many, this was the sign they’d been waiting for. It brought hope. It brought gloom. It broke and confirmed ideas that were hard to explain. In their ambiguity, the pincers could be anything, but in their strangeness they at least reassured us of the reality of the strange times in which we were living. Men walked away from the theory of everything, citing the pincers as the ultimate variable that proved the futility of prognostication. Others took up the calculations because if the pincers could appear, what else was out there in our future? However, ambiguity can only last for a certain period. Information narrows possibilities. On April 1, 2026, every Twitter account in the world received the following message:
as you can see this message is longer than the allowed one hundred forty characters time and space are malleable you thought you had one hundred years but prepare for the plucking
The sender was @. The message appeared in each user’s feed at exactly the same time and in his first language, without punctuation. Because of the date most of us thought it was a hoax, but the developers of Twitter denied this vehemently. It wasn’t until a court forced them to reveal their code, which proved that a message of that length and sent by a blank user was impossible, that our doubts ceased. ##!! took bets on what the message meant. Salvador Abaroa broadcast a response into space in a language he called Bodhi Mayan, then addressed the rest of us in English, saying that in the pincers he had identified an all-powerful prehistoric fire deity, described in an old Sanskrit text as having the resemblance of mirrored black fangs, whose appearance signified the end of time. “All of us will burn,” he said, “but paradise shall be known only to those who burn willingly.” Two days later, The Tribe of Akna announced that in one month it would seal Xibalba from the world and set fire to everything and everyone in it. For the first time, its spokesman said, an entire nation would commit suicide as one. Jonestown was but a blip. As a gesture of goodwill, he said that Xibalba was offering free immolation visas to anyone who applied within the next week. The New Inevitability School condemned the plan as “offensively unethical” and inequalitist and urged an international Xibalban boycott. Nothing came of it. When the date arrived, we watched with rapt attention on live streams and from the vantage points of circling news planes as Salvador Abaroa struck flint against steel, creating the spark that caught the char cloth, starting a fire that blossomed bright crimson and in the next weeks consumed all 163,821 square kilometres of the former Republic of Suriname and all 2,500,000 of its estimated Xibalban inhabitants. Despite concerns that the fire would spread beyond Xibalba’s borders, The Tribe of Akna had been careful. There were no accidental casualties and no unplanned property damage. No borders were crossed. Once the fire burned out, reporters competed to be first to capture the mood on the ground. Paramaribo resembled the smouldering darkness of a fire pit.
It was a few days later while sitting on Bakshi’s balcony, looking up at the pincers and rereading a reproduction of @’s message—someone had spray-painted it across the wall of a building opposite Bakshi’s—that I remembered Iris. The memory was so absorbing that I didn’t notice when Bakshi slid open the balcony door and sat down beside me, but I must have been smiling because he said, “I don’t mean this the wrong way, but you look a little loony tonight. Seriously, man, you do not look sufficiently freaked out.” I’d remembered Iris before, swirling elements of her plain face, but now I also remembered her words and her theory. I turned to Bakshi, who seemed to be waiting for an answer to his question, and said, “Let’s get up on the roof of this place.” He grabbed my arm and held on tightly. “I’m not going to jump, if that’s what you mean.” It wasn’t what I meant, but I asked, “why not?” He said, “I don’t know. I know we’re fucked as a species and all that, but I figure if I’m still alive I might as well see what happens next, like in a bad movie you want to see through to the end.” I promised him that I wasn’t going to jump, either. Then I scrambled inside his apartment, grabbed my hat and jacket from the closet by the front door and put them on while speed walking down the hall, toward the fire escape. I realized I’d been spending a lot of time here. The alarm went off as soon I pushed open the door with my hip but I didn’t care. When Bakshi caught up with me, I was already outside, leaping up two stairs at a time. The metal construction was rusted. The treads wobbled. On the roof, the wind nearly blew my hat off and it was so loud I could have screamed and no one would have heard me. Holding my hat in my hands, I crouched and looked out over the twinkling city spread out in front of me. It looked alive in spite of the pincers in the sky. “Let’s do something crazy,” I yelled. Bakshi was still catching his breath behind me. “What, like this isn’t crazy enough?” The NHL may have been gone but my hat still bore the Maple Leafs logo, as quaint and obsolete by then as the Weimar Republic in the summer of 1945. “When’s the last time you played ball hockey?” I asked. Bakshi crouched beside me. “You’re acting weird. And I haven’t played ball hockey in ages.” I stood up so suddenly that Bakshi almost fell over. This time I knew I was smiling. “So call your buddies,” I said. “Tell them to bring their sticks and their gear and to meet us in front of the ACC in one hour.” Bakshi patted me on the back. Toronto shone like jewels scattered over black velvet. “The ACC’s been closed for years, buddy. I think you’re really starting to lose it.” I knew it was closed. “Lose what?” I asked. “It’s closed and we’re going to break in.”
The chains broke apart like shortbread. The electricity worked. The clouds of dust made me sneeze. We used duffel bags to mark out the goals. We raced up and down the stands and bent over, wheezing at imaginary finish lines. We got into the announcer’s booth and called each other cunts through the microphone. We ran, fell and shot rubber pucks for hours. We didn’t keep score. We didn’t worry. “What about the police?” someone asked. The rest of us answered: “Screw the fucking police!”
And when everybody packed up and went home, I stayed behind.
“Are you sure you’re fine?” Bakshi asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Because I have to get back so that I can shower, get changed and get to work.”
“Yeah, I know,” I said.
“And you promise me you’ll catch a cab?”
“I’m not suicidal.”
He fixed his grip on his duffel bag. “I didn’t say you were. I was just checking.”
“I want to see the end of the movie, too,” I said.
He saluted. I watched him leave. When he was gone, my wife walked down from the nosebleeds and took a seat beside me. “There’s someone I want to tell you about,” I said. She lifted her chin like she always does when something unexpected catches her interest, and scooted closer. I put my arm across the back of her beautiful shoulders. She always liked that, even though the position drives me crazy because I tend to talk a lot with my hands. “Stuck at Leafs-Wings snorefest,” she said. “Game sucks but I love the man sitting beside me.” (January 15, 2019. Themes: hockey, love, me. Rating: 5/5). “Her name was Iris,” I said.

- - -

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2020.09.29 02:29 AsaTJ Crusader Kings 3 Patch 1.1 Notes: What They Actually Mean

Game Balance

AI

Interface

Art

Localization

Game Content

Databases

Bugfixes

Link to official notes:
https://forum.paradoxplaza.com/forum/threads/ck3-dev-diary-42-1-1-patch-notes.1428193/
These take a very long time to make. If you got a good laugh and want to support my work, you can buy me a coffee:
https://ko-fi.com/leana
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2020.09.28 21:18 normancrane Iris [3/3]

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3 <-- You are here.
I awoke to a world without women.
I rolled off the bed into sore thighs and guilt, got up to emptiness that echoed the slightest noise, and left my wife’s clothes on the sheets without thinking that eventually I’d have to pack them into a plastic bag and slide them down the garbage chute. I felt magnified and hollow. In the kitchen, I used the stove top as a table because the actual table had my wife’s tablet on it, and spilled instant coffee. What I didn’t spill I drank in a few gulps, the way I used to drink ice cold milk as a boy. I stood in front of the living room window for a while before realizing I was naked, then realizing that it didn’t matter because men changed in front of each other at the pool and peed next to one another into urinals in public restrooms, and there weren’t any women to hide from, no one to offend. The world, I told myself, was now a sprawling men’s pisser, so I slammed the window open and pissed.
I wanted to call someone—to tell them that my wife was dead, because that’s a duty owed by the living—but whom could I call: her sister, her parents? Her sister was dead. Her father had a dead wife and two dead daughters. There was nothing to say. Everyone knew. I called my wife’s father anyway. Was he still my father-in-law now that I was a widower? He didn’t accept the connection. Widower: a word loses all but historical meaning when there are no alternatives. If all animals were dogs, we’d purge one of those words from our vocabulary. We were all widowers. It was synonymous with man. I switched on the television and stared, crying, at a montage of photographs showing the bloody landscapes of cities, hospitals, retirement homes, schools and churches, all under the tasteless headline: “International Pop”. Would we clean it up, these remnants of the people we loved? Could we even use the same buildings, knowing what had happened in them? The illusion of practical thinking pushed my feeling of emptiness away. I missed arms wrapping around me from behind while I stared through rain streaked windows. I missed barking and a wagging tail that hit my leg whenever I was standing too close. Happiness seemed impossible. I called Bakshi because I needed confirmation that I still had a voice. “They’re the lucky ones,” he said right after I’d introduced myself. “They’re out. We’re the fools still locked in, and now we’re all alone.”
For three weeks, I expected my wife to show up at the apartment door. I removed her clothes from the bed and stuffed them into a garbage bag, but kept the garbage bag in the small space between the fridge and the kitchen wall. I probably would have kept a dead body in the freezer if I had one and it fit. As a city and as a world, those were grim, disorganized weeks for us. Nobody worked. I don’t know what we did. Sat around and drank, smoked. And we called each other, often out of the blue. Every day, I received a call from someone I knew but hadn’t spoken to in years. The conversations all followed a pattern. There was no catching up and no explanation of lost time, just a question like “How are you holding up?” followed by a thoughtless answer (“Fine, I guess. And you?”) followed by an exchange of details about the women we’d lost. Mothers, sisters, daughters, wives, girlfriends, friends, cousins, aunts, teachers, students, co-workers. We talked about the colour of their hair, their senses of humour, their favourite movies. We said nothing about ourselves, choosing instead to inhabit the personas of those whom we’d loved. In the hallway, I would put on my wife’s coats but never look at myself in the mirror. I wore her winter hats in the middle of July. Facebook became a graveyard, with the gender field separating the mourners from the dead.
The World Health Organization issued a communique stating that based on the available data it was reasonable to assume that all the women in the world were dead, but it called for any woman still alive to come forward immediately. The language of the communique was as sterile as the Earth. Nobody came forward. The World Wildlife Fund created an inventory of all mammalian species that listed in ascending order how long each species would exist. Humans were on the bottom. Both the World Health Organization and the World Wildlife Fund predicted that unless significant technological progress occurred in the field of fertility within the next fifty years, the last human, a theoretical boy named Philip born into a theoretical developed country on March 26, 2025, would die in 93 years. On the day of his death, Philip would be the last remaining mammal—although not necessarily animal—on Earth. No organization or government has ever officially stated that July 4, 2025, was the most destructive day in recorded history, on the morning of which, Eastern Time, four billion out of a total of eight billion people ceased to exist as anything more than memories. What killed them was neither an act of war nor an act of terrorism. Neither was it human negligence. There was no one to blame and no one to prosecute. In the western countries, where the majority of people no longer believed in any religion, we could not even call it an act of God. So we responded by calling it nothing at all.
And, like nothing, our lives persisted. We ate, we slept and we adapted. After the first wave of suicides ended, we hosed off what the rain hadn’t already washed away and began to reorganize the systems on which our societies ran. It was a challenge tempered only slightly in countries where women had not made up a significant portion of the workforce. We held new elections, formed me boards of directors and slowed down the assembly lines and bus schedules to make it possible for our communities to keep running. There was less food in the supermarkets, but we also needed less food. Instead of two trains we ran one, but one sufficed. I don’t remember the day when I finally took the black garbage bag from its resting place and walked it to the chute. “How are you holding up?” a male voice would say on the street. “Fine, I guess. And you?” I’d answer. ##!! wrote a piece of Python code to predict the box office profitability of new movies, in which real actors played alongside computer-generated actresses. The code was only partially successful. Because while it did accurately predict the success of new movies in relation to one other, it failed to include the overwhelming popularity of re-releases of films from the past—films starring Bette Davis, Giulietta Masina, Meryl Streep: women who at least on screen were still flesh and blood. Theatres played retrospectives. On Amazon, books by female authors topped the charts. Sales of albums by women vocalists surged. We thirsted for another sex. I watched, read and listened like everyone else, and in between I cherished any media on which I found images or recordings of my wife. I was angry for not having made more. I looked at the same photos and watched the same clips over and over again. I memorized my wife’s Facebook timeline and tagged all her Tweets by date, theme and my own rating. When I went out, I would talk to the air as if she was walking beside me, sometimes quoting her actual words as answers to my questions and sometimes inventing my own as if she was a beloved character in an imagined novel. When people looked at me like I was crazy, I didn’t care. I wasn’t the only one. But, more importantly, my wife meant more to me than they did. I remembered times when we’d stroll through the park or down downtown sidewalks and I would be too ashamed to kiss her in the presence of strangers. Now, I would tell her that I love her in the densest crowd. I would ask her whether I should buy ketchup or mustard in the condiments aisle. She helped me pick out my clothes in the morning. She convinced me to eat healthy and exercise.
In November, I was in Bakshi’s apartment for the first time, waiting for a pizza delivery boy, when one of Bakshi’s friends who was browsing Reddit told us that the Tribe of Akna was starting a Kickstarter campaign in an attempt to buy the Republic of Suriname, rename it Xibalba and close its borders for all except the enlightened. Xibalba would have no laws, Salvador Abaroa said in a message on the site. He was banging his gong as he did. Everything would be legal, and anyone who pledged $100 would receive a two-week visa to this new "Mayan Buddhist Eden". If you pledged over $10,000, you would receive citizenship. “Everything in life is destroyed by energy,” Abaroa said. “But let the energy enlighten you before it consumes your body. Xibalba is finite life unbound.” Bakshi’s phone buzzed. The pizza boy had sent an email. He couldn’t get upstairs, so Bakshi and I took the elevator to the building’s front entrance. The boy’s face was so white that I saw it as soon as the elevator doors slid open. Walking closer, I saw that he was powdered. His cheeks were also rouged, and he was wearing cranberry coloured lipstick, a Marilyn Monroe wig and a short black skirt. Compared to his face, his thin legs looked like incongruously dark popsicle sticks. Bakshi paid for the pizza and added another five dollars for the tip. The boy batted his fake eyelashes and asked if maybe he could do something to earn a little more. “What do you mean?” I asked. “Oh, I don’t know. Maybe I could come upstairs and clean the place up a little. You two live alone?” Bakshi passed me the two pizza boxes—They felt hot in my hands.—and dug around in his wallet. “It’s not just the two of us,” I said. The boy smiled. “That’s OK. I’ve done parties before if that’s what you’re into.” I saw the reaction on Bakshi’s face, and I saw the boy’s grotesque caricature of a woman. “There’s condoms and lube in the car,” the boy said, pointing to a sedan with a pizza spray-painted across its side parked by the curb. “My boss says I can take up to two hours but it’s not like he uses a stopwatch.” I stepped on Bakshi’s foot and shouldered him away. He was still fiddling with his wallet. “We’re not interested,” I said to the boy. He just shrugged. “Suit yourselves. If you change your mind, order another pizza and ask for Ruby.” The elevator dinged and the doors opened. As we shuffled inside, I saw Bakshi’s cheeks turn red. “I’m not actually—” he mumbled, but I didn’t let him finish. What had bothered me so much about the boy wasn’t the way he looked or acted; in fact, it wasn’t really the boy at all. He was just trying to make a buck. What bothered me was how ruthlessly we’d already begun to exploit each other.
For those of us who were heterosexual, sex was a definite weakness. I missed it. I would never have it with a woman again. The closest substitute was pornography, whose price rose with its popularity, but which, at least for me, now came scented with the unpleasantness of historicity and nostalgia. Videos and photos, not to mention physical magazines, were collector’s items in the same way that we once collected coins or action figures. The richest men bought up the exclusive rights to their favourite porn stars and guarded them by law with a viciousness once reserved for the RIAA and MPAA. Perhaps exclusivity gave them a possessive satisfaction. In response, we pirated whatever we could and fought for a pornographic public domain. Although new pornography was still being produced, either with the help of the same virtual technology they used for mainstream movies or with the participation of young men in costume, it lacked the taste of the originals. It was like eating chocolate made without cocoa. The best pornography, and therefore the best sex, became the pornography of the mind.
The Tribe of Akna reached its Kickstarter goal in early December. On December 20, I went to church for the first time since getting married because that was the theoretical date that my wife—along with every other woman—was supposed to have given birth. I wanted to be alone with others. Someone posted a video on TikTok from Elia Kazan’s On The Waterfront, dubbing over Marlon Brando’s speech to say: “You don’t understand. I could’a had a piece of ass. I could’a been a school board member. I could’a been a son’s daddy”. It was juvenile and heartbreaking. By Christmas, the Surinamese government was already expelling its citizens, each of whom had theoretically been given a fraction of the funds paid to the government from the Tribe of Akna’s Kickstarter pool, and Salvador Abaroa’s lawyers were petitioning for international recognition of the new state of Xibalba. Neither Canada nor the United States opened diplomatic relations, but others did. I knew people who had pledged money, and when in January they disappeared on trips, I had no doubt to where. Infamy spread in the form of stories and urban legends. There’s no need for details. People disappeared, and ethicists wrote about the ethical neutrality of murder, arguing that because we were all slated to die, leaving the Earth barren in a century, destruction was a human inevitability, and what is inevitable can never be bad, even when it comes earlier than expected—even when it comes by force. Because, as a species, we hadn’t chosen destruction for ourselves, neither should any individual member of our species be able to choose now for himself. To the ethicists of what became known as the New Inevitability School, suicide was a greater evil than murder because it implied choice and inequality. If the ship was going down, no one should be allowed to get off. A second wave of suicides coincided with the debate, leading many governments to pass laws making suicide illegal. But how do you punish someone who already wants to die? In China: by keeping him alive and selling him to Xibalba, where he becomes the physical plaything of its citizens and visa-holders. The Chinese was the first embassy to open in Xibalban Paramaribo.
The men working on Kurt Schwaller’s theory of everything continued working, steadily adding new variables to their equations, complicating their calculations in the hopes that someday the variable they added would be the final one and the equation would yield an answer. “It’s pointless,” Bakshi would comment after reading about one of the small breakthroughs they periodically announced. “Even if they do manage to predict something, anything, it won’t amount to anything more than the painfully obvious. And after decades of adding and subtracting their beans, they’ll come out of their Los Alamos datalabs like groundhogs into a world blanketed by storm clouds and conclude, finally and with plenty of self-congratulations, that it’s about to fucking rain.”
It rained a lot in February. It was one of the warmest Februaries in Toronto’s history. Sometimes I went for walks along the waterfront, talking to my wife, listening to Billie Holiday and trying to recall as many female faces as I could. Ones from the distant past: my mother, my grandmothers. Ones from the recent past: the woman whose life my wife saved on the way to the hospital, the Armenian woman with the film magazine and the injured son, the Jamaican woman, Bakshi’s wife. I focused on their faces, then zoomed out to see their bodies. I carried an umbrella but seldom opened it because the pounding of the raindrops against the material distorted my mental images. I saw people rush across the street holding newspapers above their heads while dogs roamed the alleyways wearing nothing at all. Of the two, it was dogs that had the shorter time left on Earth, and if they could let the rain soak their fur and drip off their bodies, I could surely let it run down my face. It was first my mother and later my wife who told me to always cover up in the rain, “because moisture causes colds,” but I was alone now and I didn’t want to be separated from the falling water by a sheet of glass anymore. I already was cold. I saw a man sit down on a bench, open his briefcase, pack rocks into it, then close it, tie it to his wrist, check his watch and start to walk into the polluted waters of Lake Ontario. Another man took out his phone and tapped his screen a few times. The man in the lake walked slowly, savouring each step. When the police arrived, sirens blaring, the water was up to his neck. I felt guilty for watching the three officers splash into the lake after him. I don’t know what happened after that because I turned my back and walked away. I hope they didn’t stop him. I hope he got to do what he wanted to do.
“Screw the police.” Bakshi passed me a book. “You should read this,” he said. It was by a professor of film and media studies at a small university in Texas. There was a stage on the cover, flanked by two red curtains. The photo had been taken from the actors’ side, looking out at an audience that the stage lights made too dark to see. The title was Hiding Behind The Curtains. I flipped the book over. There was no photo of the author. “It’s a theory,” Bakshi said, “that undercuts what Abaroa and the Inevitabilists are saying. It’s a little too poetic in parts but—listen, you ever read Atlas Shrugged?” I said I hadn’t. “Well, anyway, what this guy says is that what if instead of our situation letting us do anything we want, it’s actually the opposite, a test to see how we act when we only think that we’re doomed. I mean what if the women who died in March, what if they’re just—” “Hiding behind the curtains,” I said. He bit his lower lip. “It sounds stupid when you say it like that but, as a metaphor, it has a kind of elegance, right?” I flipped through the book, reading a few sentences at random. It struck me as neo-Christian. “Isn’t this a little too spiritual for you? I thought we were all locked into one path,” I said. “I thought that, too, but lately I’ve been able to do things—things that I didn’t really want to do.” For a second I was concerned. “Nothing bad,” he said. “I mean I’ve felt like I’m locked into doing one thing, say having a drink of water, but I resist and pour myself a glass of orange juice instead.” I shook my head. “It’s hard to explain,” he said. That’s how most theories ended, I thought: reason and evidence up to a crucial point, and then it gets so personal that it’s hard to explain. You either make the jump or you don’t. “Just read it,” he said. “Please read it. You don’t have to agree with it, I just want to get your opinion, an objective opinion.”
I never did read the book, and Bakshi forgot about it, too, but that day he was excited and happy, and those were rare feelings. I was simultaneously glad for him and jealous. Afterwards, we went out onto the balcony and drank Czech beer until morning. When it got cool, we put on our coats. It started to drizzle so we wore blue plastic suits like the ones they used to give you on boat rides in Niagara Falls. When it was time to go home, I was so drunk I couldn’t see straight. I almost got into a fight, the first one of my life, because I bumped into a man on the street and told him to get the fuck out of my way. I don’t remember much more of my walk home. The only reason I remember Behind The Curtains at all is because when I woke up in the afternoon it was the first thing that my hung over brain recognized. It was lying on the floor beside the bed. Then I opened the blinds covering my bedroom window and, through my spread fingers that I’d meant to use as a shield from the first blast of daylight, I saw the pincers for the first time.
They’d appeared while I was asleep. I turned on the television and checked my phone. The media and the internet were feverish, but nobody knew what the thing was, just a massive, vaguely rectangular shape blotting out a strip of the sky. NASA stated that it had received no extraterrestrial messages to coincide with the appearance. Every government claimed ignorance. The panel discussions on television only worsened my headache. Bakshi emailed me links to photos from Mumbai, Cape Town, Sydney and Mexico City, all showing the same shape; or rather one of a pair of shapes, for there were two of them, one on each side of the Earth, and they’d trapped our planet between themselves like gargantuan fingers clutching an equally gargantuan ping-pong ball. That’s why somebody came up with the term “the pincers”. It stuck. Because I’d slept in last night’s clothes I was already dressed, so I ran down the stairs and out of my apartment building to get a better look at them from the parking lot. You’re not supposed to look at the sun, but I wasn’t the only one breaking that rule. There were entire crowds with upturned faces in the streets. If the pincers, too, could see, they would perhaps be as baffled by us as we were of them: billions of tiny specks all over the surface of this ping-pong ball gathering in points on a grid, coagulating into large puddles that vanished overnight only to reassemble in the morning. In the following days, scientists scrambled to study the pincers and their potential effects on us, but they discovered nothing. The pincers did nothing. They emitted nothing, consumed nothing. They simply were. And they could not be measured or detected in any way other than by eyesight. When we shot rays at them, the rays continued on their paths unaffected, as if nothing was there. The pincers did, however, affect the sun’s rays coming towards us. They cut up our days. The sun would rise, travel over the sky, hide behind a pincer—enveloping us in a second night—before revealing itself again as a second day. But if the pincers’ physical effect on us was limited to its blockage of light, their mental effects on us were astoundingly severe. For many, this was the sign they’d been waiting for. It brought hope. It brought gloom. It broke and confirmed ideas that were hard to explain. In their ambiguity, the pincers could be anything, but in their strangeness they at least reassured us of the reality of the strange times in which we were living. Men walked away from the theory of everything, citing the pincers as the ultimate variable that proved the futility of prognostication. Others took up the calculations because if the pincers could appear, what else was out there in our future? However, ambiguity can only last for a certain period. Information narrows possibilities. On April 1, 2026, every Twitter account in the world received the following message:
as you can see this message is longer than the allowed one hundred forty characters time and space are malleable you thought you had one hundred years but prepare for the plucking
The sender was @. The message appeared in each user’s feed at exactly the same time and in his first language, without punctuation. Because of the date most of us thought it was a hoax, but the developers of Twitter denied this vehemently. It wasn’t until a court forced them to reveal their code, which proved that a message of that length and sent by a blank user was impossible, that our doubts ceased. ##!! took bets on what the message meant. Salvador Abaroa broadcast a response into space in a language he called Bodhi Mayan, then addressed the rest of us in English, saying that in the pincers he had identified an all-powerful prehistoric fire deity, described in an old Sanskrit text as having the resemblance of mirrored black fangs, whose appearance signified the end of time. “All of us will burn,” he said, “but paradise shall be known only to those who burn willingly.” Two days later, The Tribe of Akna announced that in one month it would seal Xibalba from the world and set fire to everything and everyone in it. For the first time, its spokesman said, an entire nation would commit suicide as one. Jonestown was but a blip. As a gesture of goodwill, he said that Xibalba was offering free immolation visas to anyone who applied within the next week. The New Inevitability School condemned the plan as “offensively unethical” and inequalitist and urged an international Xibalban boycott. Nothing came of it. When the date arrived, we watched with rapt attention on live streams and from the vantage points of circling news planes as Salvador Abaroa struck flint against steel, creating the spark that caught the char cloth, starting a fire that blossomed bright crimson and in the next weeks consumed all 163,821 square kilometres of the former Republic of Suriname and all 2,500,000 of its estimated Xibalban inhabitants. Despite concerns that the fire would spread beyond Xibalba’s borders, The Tribe of Akna had been careful. There were no accidental casualties and no unplanned property damage. No borders were crossed. Once the fire burned out, reporters competed to be first to capture the mood on the ground. Paramaribo resembled the smouldering darkness of a fire pit.
It was a few days later while sitting on Bakshi’s balcony, looking up at the pincers and rereading a reproduction of @’s message—someone had spray-painted it across the wall of a building opposite Bakshi’s—that I remembered Iris. The memory was so absorbing that I didn’t notice when Bakshi slid open the balcony door and sat down beside me, but I must have been smiling because he said, “I don’t mean this the wrong way, but you look a little loony tonight. Seriously, man, you do not look sufficiently freaked out.” I’d remembered Iris before, swirling elements of her plain face, but now I also remembered her words and her theory. I turned to Bakshi, who seemed to be waiting for an answer to his question, and said, “Let’s get up on the roof of this place.” He grabbed my arm and held on tightly. “I’m not going to jump, if that’s what you mean.” It wasn’t what I meant, but I asked, “why not?” He said, “I don’t know. I know we’re fucked as a species and all that, but I figure if I’m still alive I might as well see what happens next, like in a bad movie you want to see through to the end.” I promised him that I wasn’t going to jump, either. Then I scrambled inside his apartment, grabbed my hat and jacket from the closet by the front door and put them on while speed walking down the hall, toward the fire escape. I realized I’d been spending a lot of time here. The alarm went off as soon I pushed open the door with my hip but I didn’t care. When Bakshi caught up with me, I was already outside, leaping up two stairs at a time. The metal construction was rusted. The treads wobbled. On the roof, the wind nearly blew my hat off and it was so loud I could have screamed and no one would have heard me. Holding my hat in my hands, I crouched and looked out over the twinkling city spread out in front of me. It looked alive in spite of the pincers in the sky. “Let’s do something crazy,” I yelled. Bakshi was still catching his breath behind me. “What, like this isn’t crazy enough?” The NHL may have been gone but my hat still bore the Maple Leafs logo, as quaint and obsolete by then as the Weimar Republic in the summer of 1945. “When’s the last time you played ball hockey?” I asked. Bakshi crouched beside me. “You’re acting weird. And I haven’t played ball hockey in ages.” I stood up so suddenly that Bakshi almost fell over. This time I knew I was smiling. “So call your buddies,” I said. “Tell them to bring their sticks and their gear and to meet us in front of the ACC in one hour.” Bakshi patted me on the back. Toronto shone like jewels scattered over black velvet. “The ACC’s been closed for years, buddy. I think you’re really starting to lose it.” I knew it was closed. “Lose what?” I asked. “It’s closed and we’re going to break in.”
The chains broke apart like shortbread. The electricity worked. The clouds of dust made me sneeze. We used duffel bags to mark out the goals. We raced up and down the stands and bent over, wheezing at imaginary finish lines. We got into the announcer’s booth and called each other cunts through the microphone. We ran, fell and shot rubber pucks for hours. We didn’t keep score. We didn’t worry. “What about the police?” someone asked. The rest of us answered: “Screw the fucking police!”
And when everybody packed up and went home, I stayed behind.
“Are you sure you’re fine?” Bakshi asked.
“Yeah,” I said.
“Because I have to get back so that I can shower, get changed and get to work.”
“Yeah, I know,” I said.
“And you promise me you’ll catch a cab?”
“I’m not suicidal.”
He fixed his grip on his duffel bag. “I didn’t say you were. I was just checking.”
“I want to see the end of the movie, too,” I said.
He saluted. I watched him leave. When he was gone, my wife walked down from the nosebleeds and took a seat beside me. “There’s someone I want to tell you about,” I said. She lifted her chin like she always does when something unexpected catches her interest, and scooted closer. I put my arm across the back of her beautiful shoulders. She always liked that, even though the position drives me crazy because I tend to talk a lot with my hands. “Stuck at Leafs-Wings snorefest,” she said. “Game sucks but I love the man sitting beside me.” (January 15, 2019. Themes: hockey, love, me. Rating: 5/5). “Her name was Iris,” I said.

Iris

“What if the whole universe was a giant garden—like a hydroponics thing, like how they grow tomatoes and marijuana, so there wouldn’t need to be any soil, all the nutrients would just get injected straight into the seeds or however they do it—or, even better, space itself was the soil, you know how they talk about dark matter being this invisible and mysterious thing that exists out there and we don’t know what it does, if it actually affect anything, gravity…”
She blew a cloud of pot smoke my way that made me cough and probably gave her time to think. She said, “So dark matter is like the soil, and in this space garden of course they don’t grow plants but something else.”
“Galaxies?”
“Eyes.”
“Just eyes, or body parts in general?” I asked.
“Just eyes.”
The music from the party thumped. “But the eyes are our planets, like Mars is an eye, Neptune is an eye, and the Earth is an eye, maybe even the best eye.”
“The best for what? Who’s growing them?”
“God,” she said.
I took the joint from her and took a long drag. “I didn’t know you believed in God.”
“I don’t, I guess—except when I’m on dope. Anyway, you’ve got to understand me because when I say God I don’t mean like the old man with muscles and a beard. This God, the one I’m talking about, it’s more like a one-eyed monster.”
“Like a cyclops?” I asked.
“Yeah, like that, like a cyclops. So it’s growing these eyes in the dark matter in space—I mean right now, you and me, we’re literally sitting on one of these eyes and we’re contributing to its being grown because the nutrients the cyclops God injected into them, that’s us.”
“Why does God need so many extra eyes?”
“It’s not a question of having so many of them, but more about having the right one, like growing the perfect tomato.” I gave her back the joint and leaned back, looking at the stars. “Because every once in a while the cyclops God goes blind, its eye stops working—not in the same way we go blind, because the cyclops God doesn’t see reality in the same way we see reality—but more like we see through our brains and our eyes put together.”
“Like x-ray vision?” I asked.
“No, not like that at all,” she said.
“A glass eye?”
“Glass eyes are fake.”
“OK,” I said, “so maybe try something else. Give me a different angle. Tell me what role we’re playing in all of this because right now it seems that we’re pretty insignificant. I mean, you said we’re nutrients but what’s the difference between, say, Mars and Earth in terms of being eyes?”
She looked over at me. “Are you absolutely sure you want to hear about this?”
“I am,” I said.
“You don’t think it’s stupid?”
“Compared to what?”
“I don’t know, just stupid in general.”
“I don’t.”
“I like you,” she said.
“Because I don’t think you’re stupid?” I asked.
“That’s just a bonus. I mean more that you’re up here with me instead of being down there with everyone, and we’re talking and even though we’re not in love I know somehow we’ll never forget each other for as long as we live.”
“It’s hard to forget being on the surface of a giant floating eyeball.”
“You’re scared that you won’t find anyone to love,” she said suddenly, causing me to nearly choke on my own saliva. “Don’t ask me how I know—I just do. But before I go any further about the cyclops God, I want you to know that you’ll find someone to love and who’ll love you back, and whatever happens you’ll always have that because no one can take away the past.”
“You’re scared of going blind,” I said.
“I am going blind.”
“Not yet.”
“And I’m learning not to be scared because everything I see until that day will always belong to me.”
“The doctors said it would be gradual,” I reminded her.
“That’s horrible.”
“Why?”
“Because you wouldn’t want to find someone to love and then know that every day you wake up the love between you grows dimmer and dimmer, would you?”
“I guess not,” I said.
“Wouldn’t you much rather feel the full strength of that love up to and including in the final second before the world goes black?”
“It would probably be painful to lose it all at once like that.”
“Painful because you actually had something to lose. For me, I know I can’t wish away blindness, but I sure wish that the last image I ever see—in that final second before my world goes black—is the most vivid and beautiful image of all.”
Because I didn’t know what to say to that, I mumbled: “I’m sorry.”
“That I’m going blind?”
“Yeah, and that we can’t grow eyes.”
This time I looked over, and she was the one gazing at the stars. “Before, you asked if we were insignificant,” she said. “But because you’re sorry—that’s kind of why we’re the most significant of all, why Earth is better than the other planets.”
“For the cyclops God?”
“Yes.”
“He cares about my feelings?”
“Not in the way you’re probably thinking, but in a different way that’s exactly what the cyclops God cares about most because that’s what it’s looking for in an eye. All the amazing stuff we’ve ever built, all our ancient civilizations and supercomputers and cities you can see from the Moon—that’s just useless cosmetics to the cyclops God, except in how all of it has made us feel about things that aren’t us.”
“I think you’re talking about morality.”
“I think so, too.”
“So by feeling sorry for you I’m showing compassion, and the cyclops God likes compassion?”
“That’s not totally wrong but it’s a little upside down. We have this black matter garden and these planets the cyclops God has grown as potential eyes to replace its own eye once it stops working, but its own eye is like an eye and a brain mixed together. Wait—” she said.
I waited.
“Imagine a pair of tinted sunglasses.”
I imagined green-tinted ones.
“Now imagine that instead of the lenses being a certain colour, they’re a certain morality, and if you wear the glasses you see the world tinted according to that morality.”
I was kind of able to imagine that. I supposed it would help show who was good and who was bad. “But the eye and the tinted glasses are the same thing in this case.”
“Exactly, there’s no one without the other, and what makes the tint special is us—not that the cyclops God cares at all about individuals any more than we care about individual honey bees. That’s why he’s kind of a monster.”
“Isn’t people’s morality always changing, though?”
“Only up to a point. Green is green even when you have a bunch of shades of it, and a laptop screen still works fine even with a few dead pixels, right? And the more globalized and connected we get, the smoother our morality gets, but if you’re asking more about how our changing morals work when the cyclops God finally comes to take its eye, I assume it has a way to freeze our progress. To cut our roots. Then it makes some kind of final evaluation. If it’s satisfied it takes the planet and sticks it into its eye socket, and if it doesn’t like us then it lets us alone, although because we’re frozen and possibly rootless I suppose we die—maybe that’s what the other planets are, so many of them in space without any sort of life. Cold, rejected eyes.”
From sunglasses to bees to monitors in three metaphors, and now we were back to space. This was getting confusing. The stars twinkled, some of them dead, too: their light still arriving at our eyes from sources that no longer existed. “That’s kind of depressing,” I said to end the silence.
“What about it?”
“Being bees,” I said, “that work for so long at tinting a pair of glasses just so that a cyclops God can try them on.”
“I don’t think it’s any more depressing than being a tomato.”
“I’ve never thought about that.”
“You should. It’s beautiful, like love,” she said. “Because if you think about it, being a tomato and being a person are really quite similar. They’re both about growing and existing for the enjoyment of someone else. As a tomato you’re planted, you grow and mature and then an animal comes along and eats you. The juicier you look and the nicer you smell, the greater the chance that you’ll get plucked but also the more pleasure the animal will get from you. As a person, you’re also born and you grow up and you mature into a one of a kind personality with a one of a kind face, and then someone comes along and makes you fall in love with them and all the growing you did was really just for their enjoyment of your love.”
“Except love lasts longer than chewing a tomato.”
“Sometimes,” she said.
“And you have to admit that two tomatoes can’t eat each other the way two people can love each other mutually.”
“I admit that’s a good point,” she said.
“And what happens to someone who never gets fallen in love with?”
“The same thing that happens to a tomato that never gets eaten or an eye that the cyclops God never takes. They die and they rot, and they darken and harden, decomposing until they don’t look like tomatoes anymore. It’s not a nice fate. I’d rather live awhile and get eaten, to be honest.”
“As a tomato or person?”
“Both.”
I thought for a few seconds. “That explanation works for things on Earth, but nothing actually decomposes in space.”
“That’s why there are so many dead planets,” she said.
submitted by normancrane to cryosleep [link] [comments]


2020.09.23 05:19 jw_mentions /r/videos - "Learn the truth in 5 minutes. Why Jehovah’s Witnesses are a Cult."

I am a bot! Please send NotListeningItsABook a private message with any comments or feedback on how I work.
EDIT: As of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020, the post is at [55pts19c]

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Submission Learn the truth in 5 minutes. Why Jehovah’s Witnesses are a Cult.
Comments Learn the truth in 5 minutes. Why Jehovah’s Witnesses are a Cult.
Author gorgonfinger
Subreddit /videos
Posted On Tue Sep 22 22:28:27 UTC 2020
Score 55 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Total Comments 20

Post Body:

n/a - not a self post

Related Comments (19):

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Author Taharied
Posted On Wed Sep 23 03:15:33 UTC 2020
Score 9 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 1
Body link
Is something happening right now? Lots of posts about JWs today in this sub and I can't tell if they're a response to something contemporary or if the sub is just on a JW kick today.
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Author throwawat5959595
Posted On Wed Sep 23 12:04:48 UTC 2020
Score 3 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
Body link
I'm sorry but even through you've rejected the JW religion, you're still carrying around some of the brainwashing they left you with.
Virtually all fundamentalist protestant sects pride themselves on biblical inerrancy and their adherence to it and by no strech of the imagination do the JWs have a unique claim to being "all-in". They pick and choose like any other as the core problem of fundamentalism is that the language of the bible is too far removed for a truly "accurate" translation in to today's understanding.
Again, and I don't mean to be so personal, but the way that you split Christianity into "generic Christian" / Catholic / JW shows that you don't understand the true diversity within Christianity. JW is about the worst example of fundamentalists that I could think of and that's not because fundamentalists are some category worth defending. And to defend more mainline chruches, evolving with the times is something that they pride themselves in and dismissing that as "picking and choosing" is the exact sort of divisive propaganda that a shunning religion like JW has indoctrinated you with.
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Author miketdavis
Posted On Wed Sep 23 03:13:08 UTC 2020
Score 63 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 15
Body link
Ex JW here. Its the worst kind of cult. It shatters family bonds in half. It leaves men with a warped sense of misogynistic power in marriage. It teaches to always self doubt because you need the a governing group of elders to tie your shoes. All free thinking is prohibited.
It is full of unbelievers who only stay out of fear of ostracism, leading to corrupt ranks of closet gays, pedophiles and spousal abusers who enjoy the cult rules that protect them from punishment.
Funny thing, they have a prophecy specifically related to government persecution. So if there happens to be widespread government crackdown on their bullshit cult they will actually redouble their recruiting efforts.
Bunch of fucking clowns.
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Author Arktyus
Posted On Wed Sep 23 12:28:32 UTC 2020
Score 1 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 1
Body link
Seems like that happens in all religions, not just Jehovah witnesses.
Not saying it’s right. It’s 100% wrong.
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Author Bad-Association
Posted On Wed Sep 23 13:00:21 UTC 2020
Score 3 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
Body link
Lol as an exjw this is a load of horseshit.
You are either woefully misinformed or lying.
You talk like a jw pretending to be a neutral party to try and put the watchtower in a good light. I used to do it too. I still have my old account I used to do this on.
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Author Skyhound555
Posted On Wed Sep 23 08:44:18 UTC 2020
Score 7 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
Body link
Except he wasn't. December 25th is not the day Jesus was born, not even by the ancient calendar they used in his time.
December 25th was decided by the clergy to coincide with yule so Christianity would be more appealing for pagans to convert. That's also where the Christmas tree tradition comes into play, because that's a pagan tradition for yule. This a pretty common criticism that even atheists make of Christianity, bcause science and historians uncovered that long ago.
The difference between JW and other Christian denominations is that they take an extremely literal view of the bible and apply it to their lives. As in, their members are expected to actually memorize the Bible and be able to recognize and reference any verse from it. A point of pride for them is that an average JW member should be able to school any average Christian or Catholic in a spiritual debate.
While Christianity over the years has paraphrased its lessons to be more palatable and attract more converts. For JWs, if it wasn't in the bible it didn't happen. They don't believe in baby faced cherubs or the concept of heaven and hell because that stuff is not actually in the bible. The true description of Angels are actually really trippy and the bible states that Heaven is meant to be God's domain with no admittance for humans. The Heaven/Hell thing was basically the Santa Claus nice/naughty list.
I'm not a JW, but I gave them a shot because my sister is one. She wasn't forced to cut us off or anything like that. If anything, my family treated her like shit for it. They taught me what they were all about, but eventually asked that I commit to join. My sister didn't pressure me or anything, but I chose not to. The person teaching me didn't mind and my sister didn't mind. We all still talk to this day as friends. I was interested in seeing why people hated them and I still don't see it.
I've asked them directly all the questions and issues I've heard:
Asked them about their extreme view on the patriarchy and nuclear family. They told me technically that only applies as long as the husband is acting within his capacity as a true Christian. If he's being abusive or something, he is obviously no longer acting like a Christian. Under their own doctrine, he would be cast out and ostracized while the wife and family should be supported.
Asked them about their stance on Holidays: if they're not in the Bible, they don't celebrate. As in, the bible specifically has to state that they recognize holiday. The only one that applies is Easter for the resurrection. There is no biblical mandate to celebrate Christmas and Jesus was not born on the 25th of December.
Their door to door recruitment: the bible actually does state that it is the duty of a Christian to teach their faith and seek to convert as many people as possible.
For the record, I am an atheist. When I was younger, I flirted with the idea of becoming spiritual. However, that was mostly my curiosity about my sister's religion. As an organization, I'm sure the crimes and abuses are true. However, every sect of Christianity is evil and abusive at the administration and organizational level. At a grassroots, local level I respect JWs more than other Christians. At least they're all-in and not picking what's convenient for them.
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Author biblebash666
Posted On Wed Sep 23 14:59:08 UTC 2020
Score 1 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
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Lol. You dont need other christian sects for this.
exjw
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Author gorgonfinger
Posted On Wed Sep 23 11:24:24 UTC 2020
Score 2 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 2
Body link
Fair and reasonable answer.
Sounds like it is good you are away from that level of evil.
I’m sorry it happened to you. I was challenging a jw over shunning and they said “ that’s is the past we don’t do that anymore “ which is theocratic warfare, I’m not a jw so it is good to lie to my face. Amazing. wt teach that.
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Author sonotleet
Posted On Wed Sep 23 14:31:50 UTC 2020
Score 2 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
Body link
As an Ex-Catholic atheist with a close JW coworker, I basically agree with your take.
  • Jesus was most likely not born on Dec 25th.
  • JWs often have much of the Bible memorized
  • Few holidays, no birthday celebrations.
  • Heaven and Hell concept is separate from common view point.
At a grassroots, local level I respect JWs more than other Christians
I think you're getting some criticism about this, but I get what your saying. To me, I have seen many people who claim to be Christians. They go to church, maybe donate or whatever, but for them it's just a club with social perks and a sense of self-righteousness. It seems almost superficial. It's not the core of their life. In the case of JWs and a handful of other denominations, this behavior appears less common (although still present).
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Author Arktyus
Posted On Wed Sep 23 11:28:45 UTC 2020
Score 2 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 3
Body link
I was forced by my mom to go to the kingdom hall (church) when I was young. Probably from 8-14 years old. I actually never really experience any of the cult stuff that everyone talks about. I always thought they were nice people, just really really into their beliefs. The worst part was going door to door witnessing. It felt so embarrassing as a child and if I saw one of my school friends, I would be made fun of at school.
I was young so I probably didn't notice everything going on around me.
During this pandemic the church services are done through Zoom and they don't go door to door witnessing. I commend them for this.
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Author ChristopherPoontang
Posted On Wed Sep 23 18:31:43 UTC 2020
Score 2 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 8
Body link
Christianity, as with Jehovah's Witnesses, have divine revelation at the foundation of the faith. JW beliefs are no more irrational than Christian beliefs.
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Author benoliver999
Posted On Wed Sep 23 08:05:29 UTC 2020
Score 6 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
Body link
From what I can tell that one video got like 30k+ upvotes, then it triggered a flood of others. I'm glad it did because I know JWs, and didn't know shit about their religion...
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Author FantasticDanishMan
Posted On Wed Sep 23 09:32:47 UTC 2020
Score 2 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 1
Body link
I know a woman.. or used to know a woman who was an ex-JW. She had 2 kids. She was very liked by a lot of people in the local community. She took her own life, because she was harrased by JW's. It became too much for her. She literally talked to a priest (protestant) for 2 hours everyday the last month of her life, because she couldn't handle it much more. She made several posts on social media, about how her children were the only reason she was alive. You could tell something was wrong.
It was so sad, when we heard about the news about her suicide.
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Author ScoobyMaroon
Posted On Wed Sep 23 00:40:39 UTC 2020
Score 34 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 28
Body link
I was working with a JW a few weeks ago and when I started googling around a bit I thought it was funny that many of the sites being critical of them were other Christian sects.
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Author SDcowboy82
Posted On Thu Sep 24 05:41:01 UTC 2020
Score 1 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
Body link
You can say you’re an apostate without lying. JW’s consider anyone openly opposed to them to be apostates, even if the individual was never a jw to start with.
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Author koenigcpp
Posted On Wed Sep 23 16:56:54 UTC 2020
Score 0 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
Body link
Jehovah's Witnesses are a Cult... NOTHING LIKE MY RELIGION RITE GUYS?
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Author 1726381
Posted On Wed Sep 23 08:52:56 UTC 2020
Score 3 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 0
Body link
I dated a JW once. It was both of our first gay relationship. Not ashamed of my sexuality but he very much was. The guilt took a HUGE toll on him. There was a lot of emotional abuse and one instance of physical that I let slide because it broke my heart knowing what he was dealing with inside. I tried everything I could to be supportive but when the relationship got to real he'd pull away. I wouldn't react in the best of ways as seeing my first and probably only love slip away was terrifying. I had no idea what JW's were or what the stood for before I met him. After a constant cycle of guilt then breaking up with me cause of it I was left completely broken and shattered after finding out he was also a sex addict and was cheating on me with other guys. They have a great way of making you feel wrong. You can't argue with them because they are literally trained to win debates and arguments and when something doesn't fit their narrative they are quick to shut the conversation down. We'll never speak again....I think about him a lot and wish I was able to atleast have a distant friendship with him but he's fully gone.
They're pretty heartless people, I guess when you can easily cut out anyone in your family cause they don't agree with you they don't get to feel what true unconditional love is. I didn't care what he believed in or what he thought to be the truth was. I just wanted to see him happy with life and himself. He was my best friend...I hope he found some peace.
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Author sappy6977
Posted On Wed Sep 23 07:07:44 UTC 2020
Score 2 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 1
Body link
I was a jw. Left with little fanfare.
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Author Skyhound555
Posted On Wed Sep 23 08:55:43 UTC 2020
Score -2 as of Thu Sep 24 22:24:13 UTC 2020
Conversation Size 2
Body link
That's not correct.
JW doctrine takes an extreme literal interpretation of the Bible and applies it to their lives. Generic Christianity paraphrases the bible to fit their narrative.
For example: December 25th is not the day Jesus was born. This is a fact. Christianity invented Christmas to coincide with Yule so pagans would be more likely to convert if they can still practice their tradition. That's actually where the Christmas tree tradition comes from because pagans would raise trees in honor of Tyr during yule celebrations.
A more correct statement is that Christianity is similar to JW doctrine. I'm not saying JWs are better, but they are the same brand of corruption and evil.
submitted by jw_mentions to jw_mentions [link] [comments]


2020.09.21 21:09 mr_tyler_durden Notes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update September 21, 2020

Notes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update September 21, 2020
Notes by mr_tyler_durden and Daily Update Team
Register for your Absentee Ballot here!
Watch here:
Headlines
Full Notes
(continued in stickied comment)
submitted by mr_tyler_durden to Coronavirus_KY [link] [comments]


2020.08.29 18:08 HaulA29Augl Popular Ga-y & D-ating Si-te

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2020.08.27 21:11 mr_tyler_durden Notes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update August 27, 2020

Notes and Highlights of Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear’s Live Update August 27, 2020
Notes by mr_tyler_durden and Daily Update Team
Watch here:
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Full Notes
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2020.08.25 09:56 suramedia Oppressed Countries

We are individualizing as people, as Muslims.We are just self-centered and just think of ourselves and our close circle.We thought the world was permanent.Good , pleasant life has become our only goal.Better houses,better cars,better clothes.Whereas this world, It is a distressed station where we wait to go to our eternal accommodation.Allah(c.c.) didn't tell us that this world is a paradise,win the exam and go to paradise.Let's wake up and come to ourselves.This place is the world, this is where we live short,troubled and finally die.Let's realize our purpose of arrival, what we will do and who we are.We are Muslim and Muslim are brothers,we are the ummah of the Muhammad(sav).the Ummah sent for all humanity and we have duties.
My purpose of writing this book, show to new Muslim generations and worldly Muslims, where their brothers have been raped and persecution, torture.Our heart must be whining! Your sister is being raped ,your brother has been tortured for years.What a pity if you can't empathize! They are persecuted only because they are Muslims, because Islam is right case.If you don't help your brother, Allah(c.c) asks us! Let's come to ourselves! Let's have a noble temper! Let us be a worthy ummah of our prophet(a.s.m.).Let's notice and act before it's late.
Selamun Aleykum
East Turkestan
Uighurs are trying to survive their religious freedom, fearing their lives under years of Chinese occupation.The Chinese government has been implementing an ethnic cleansing policy for Uighurs since 1949, when it dominated East Turkestan and called the region Xinjiang, or "The Won Land".Tens of thousands of East Turkestans have been slaughtered, imprisoned and forced to emigrate since the founding of the People's Republic of China.Our Muslim female brothers were raped.rape was considered normal.Assimilation and repression policies continue continuously in east Turkestan territory where prayer, fasting, free travel, religious education are restricted.
East Turkestan is in the west of China; It is located in the middle of Central Asia. Since it was the center of the Turkish empires and the homeland of the Turks, it was called "Turkistan", which means the homeland of the Turks in the 7th century. In 1949, the Mao administration invaded East Turkistan and changed its name to "Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region".
According to official figures given by Chinese sources, the size of the East Turkestan geography is 1,600,000 km2 and its population is 20 million 500 thousand.However, contrary to the Chinese government, it is claimed that the real surface area of East Turkestan is 1,823,418 km² and the Uighur population is over 40 million.- The Chinese government has adopted its main mission to dissolve uighur and Kazakh Turks, the main element of the region.Population balance in the region has changed significantly as a result of the Chinese administration's "smelting policy".Today, 54% of east Turkestan's population is Uighur and Kazakh Turks, while the rest are Chinese.In 1949, however, the Chinese population was 3%.
In this smelting policy, the elimination of children, seen as surplus while in the womb, stands out as a method.Tens of thousands of women and children die every year because of abortion and forced sterilization practices; pregnant women's wives are dismissed if they are civil servants and are deprived of all social rights. The war against the religion and spiritual values that communist regimes have placed on the target board manifests itself with the most extreme practices in East Turkestan.For example, worship such as prayer, fasting and hajj of employees in government institutions is considered illegal activity.In order to receive any duties or promotions in the state, you must become a member of the Communist Party.Membership in a party in society means having an privilege in all aspects of life.If a member of the Communist Party committed a felony of execution, his sentence could be reduced to life imprisonment.More clearly, the minimum treatment that a person should see is only done to members of the Communist Party.But the cost of being a member of the Communist Party is quite high; Whether a party member is an officer or an ordinary citizen, it is forbidden to believe in religion by party statute.-Students are prohibited from performing religious obligations such as prayer and fasting, whether at school or outside of school.
It is very difficult to give the exact number of clergy killed by Red China in the 60 years that Turkestan lived under occupation.However, 120,000 clerics were known to have been executed between 1949 and 1952 alone.- When we look at historical sources, we see that the number of mosques built in East Turkestan is quite high.Unfortunately, there are very few people who have survived these mosques.Because Red China has implemented policies for mosques to free the people of East Turkestan.Between 1949 and 1979, 29,000 mosques were destroyed in East Turkestan.Undestroyed mosques were used as pigbarns, military barracks, warehouses or cinemas, theatre satison.In East Turkestan, this situation has recovered a little after Mao's death, but he has been prosecuted to this day.For example, since 1997, 1218 mosques have been forcibly closed in the Hoten region alone, and 939 mosques have been razed.- Whether women are civil servants or housewives, it is considered illegal activity to go to the mosque.Those under the age of 18 are also prohibited from entering mosques with students or not!!
It is imperative that the congregation of each mosque perform their prayers in their own mosque.It is considered illegal for someone to go to a mosque in a neighborhood other than a mosque in their neighborhood.Therefore, these people should be punished.It is forbidden to read the adhan with speakers in mosques. It is also forbidden to perform teravih prayers in mosques other than central mosques. In the higher education institutions that teach in Uighur language, it is mandatory for all courses to be Chinese.Lecturers who cannot explain the lessons in Chinese are pressured to evacuate their positions.This law, which aims to exclude those who do not speak Chinese from society, also aims to completely Chineseize future generations by forgetting its identity, nation, independence, religious faith and native language to the people of East Turkestan. In the higher education institutions that teach in Uighur language, it is mandatory for all courses to be Chinese.Lecturers who cannot explain the lessons in Chinese are pressured to evacuate their positions.This law, which aims to exclude those who do not speak Chinese from society, also aims to completely Chineseize future generations by forgetting its identity, nation, independence, religious faith and native language to the people of East Turkestan.
I give you an example of persecution, we are really sad. Forcing Han Chinese and Uighur women to live together, the Chinese Government aims to change the ethnic structure in East Turkestan with systematic rapes. Married women send their husbands to prison and replace them with chinese men.Uighur women are forced to stay in the same house as men from Han Chinese with the disgusting practice called 'Unite and Be A Family'. As a result, they have no choice but to get married.Han Chinese have been raping Uighur women under the name of marriage for years.
Hooray hill for cruels !
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Afghanistan
Afghanistan, one of the poorest countries in the world, has a population of about 30 million.Almost half of this population is children. The whole country is almost Muslim.Twenty-three refugees from every thousand
In 1919, he gained independence from a ostensible British control.A short-lived attempt at democracy ended in a coup in 1973 and a communist counter-coup in 1978.The Soviet Union invaded the country in 1979, triggering a long and destructive war to support the Afghan communist regime, which had difficulty staying in power.Hundreds of thousands of people have been martyred. The USSR withdrew in 1989 after international forces backed up anticommunist mujahideen.A series of civil wars. Afghanistan has rich underground resources that are not yet untouched.There are very rich coal and iron deposits on Afghan soil, which are still dependent on exports in many areas, as well as copper, lead, berilyum and zinc. The country's rich hydro power potential is unavailable due to poverty. and in the target of many countries.The September 11, 2001 attacks have launched a new era for Afghanistan. The United States blamed the al-Qaeda group and its leader Osama Bin Laden for the attack in Afghanistan, asking the Taliban, which ruled the country, to close al-Qaeda bases and hand bin Bin Laden over to the United States. On October 7, 2001, a new war began in Afghanistan when US and British aircraft launched airstrikes against Taliban and al-Qaeda targets after the Taliban rejected the request.The 13-year war has been the scene of major debate and human rights abuses. Afghanistan is a victimand oppressed country where wars, occupations, political turmoil and conflicts never end.In 1979, thousands of people were killed and tortured in the country as a result of the Soviet Union's occupation of the United States and coalition forces in 2001.Millions of them had to migrate to the surrounding countries. The growing poverty, political instability and conflict have plunged Afghanistan into great chaos.This has made it difficult for the lives of the people of the country. Deaths, poverty and substance abuse in Afghanistan, where life and property cannot be ensured, never leave the public.
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Africa
And africa .oppressed continent.Material and spiritual exploitation since it was discovered by civilized states.?! The continent that is not considered human because the skin is black.The history of massacres in Africa begins with the white man set foot in Africa.For the first time in South Africa, Koi Koi natives learn what the massacre is when white upremacists kill more than 100,000 people. The white man also committed one of his massacres in Namibia.Today, German authorities who want to bring up the events of 1915 do not even want to remember the Nama and Herora massacres. Germany occupied Namibia from 1885 to 1915.this invasion of the Germans was neither like the Invasion of the Portuguese nor the British. Instead of an exploitation scheme for dominating or embracing, they chose a model for destruction and carnage. More than 100,000 Nama and Herero women were killed without saying the child was elderly.In the Kalahari desert, the bodies of locals were eaten for days by wild animals like lions. Drinking water was poisoned to kill the surviving locals, their pastures were burned.From 1885 to 1915, the number of locals they killed was over 600,000. Many local women were raped and impregnated in camps that did not end up killing alone.Today, the community, which is referred to as a hybrid, is nothing more than the legacy of these wild German soldiers.
It's been 25 years since the genocide took place in Rwanda.In a hundred days, nearly a million moderate Hutu and Tutsi were brutally killed by Hutu militia.a million human !In particular, the United States and France were able to watch this crimes against humanity.In fact, France has been proven to contribute to genocide.
Everyone heard of the Algerian massacre.
Algeria, which lived peacefully and peacefully under Ottoman rule for many years, was first occupied by France on June 14, 1830. France has started a systematic study in the region and has tried to assimilate the Algerian people with both ethnic and cultural assimilated offices in most parts of Algeria.Arabic and Berber are banned, French have become the only dominant language, and people's freedom of religion is disrupted. The French army has resorted to a brutal path against the Algerian people who want to get rid of colonial rule; The bombings with the air force, the chemical weapons used, the torture scarring people were tried to intimidate.Despite all the practices and massacres, the Algerian people never gave up their struggle for independence. The most horrific massacres were in 1945.He survived the invasion of Nazi Germany in World War II, when Algerian youth fought for France.In exchange for his help to France, Algeria only wanted independence. But France broke its promise.He sent his army to the squares where the celebrations were held. Cities and villages in Sétif and Guelma were bombed, innocent people were shot, thousands of people were slaughtered without the name of women, children, elderly.About 45,000 people whose only crime was to seek independence were brutally murdered.A massacre was carried out by France, particularly in violent clashes between 1954 and 1962, killing 1.5 million Algerians.. What I'm sorry about here is that most Algerian youths now love France .
The official language of 27 of the 54 countries in Africa is French. Almost all countries have been persecuted in Africa. Here are some of the countries whose civilized state is the colonies of France; Benin, Burkina Faso, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Mali, Niger, Senegal, Togo, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo-Brazzaville, Equatorial Guinea and Gabon.There are more colonial countries that maybe we do not know.France has become rich here by killing and raping millions, committing torture, genocide.civilization state ! Hooray hell for oppressors !
On the other hand, the states that have been left to poverty , most of whom are Muslims , Somalia Ethiopia Mali Niger Burkina Faso Tanzania and many other states.Tens of millions of brothers and sisters there are starving and in drought.They can't find clean water.They're starving and dying of thirst.Newborn babies and children die due to various diseases due to the higen-free environment.Women make excuses for children every day because there are no food.They boil the stone in the pot(look like soup).Dads work hard all day for 1 cup of water.Our brothers are hungry and thirsty.They don't even have shoes to wear.We are romp from wealth and abundance.We can't give account. And we have to do something for our hungry brothers. Every 1 minute our brother dies of starvation.
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Arakan
Rohingya Muslims are one of the most persecuted ethnic groups in the world, according to United Nations reports.About 3.5 million Rohingya Muslims live worldwide.An estimated 800,000 of them live in their homeland, Arakan, and are still persecuted and tortured. Mynamar's government, which doesn't even take UN officials into the country, is committing genocide against our brothers and sisters.state-sponsored by Buddhist gangs.The Myanmar government's policies, which ignore Rohingya Muslims, attacks by Buddhist gangs, are aimed at extinct muslims from fertile land.Since 1784, Arakan Muslims have been subjected to great persecution on different dates.One of the largest of these took place in March 1942.Buddhist Rakhines attacked Muslims in the village of Çanbilli in the town of Minbya, slaughtering women, men and children in the village with swords and spears.Rakhines brutally murdered women after raping them, looting the area after the massacre.At least 150,000 Arakan Muslims were massacred and villages were looted and razed to the ground in the attacks, which began in the village of Minbya and spread throughout Arakan and lasted nearly 40 days.The last of the Buddhist attacks took place in June 2012, and thousands of Muslims were killed.several Arakan Muslim women were raped by Myanmar soldiers.hundreds of thousands of them have left the country.Almost all the villages are burning.At the moment Arakan Muslims are not considered citizens in Myanmar, they are not even given identities.
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Bosnia
They kill kids with a little bullet, don't they, Mom?
This massacre, carried out on July 11, 1995, is one of the blackest pages in human history.It was the largest massacre in Europe since World War II. 8,372 people died in the massacre.In July 1995, during the Yugoslav civil war, the Serbian army invaded in Srebrenica as part of operation 95 Krivaya. They identified the homes of Muslims, carried out a great massacre.Because at least 8,372 people have been killed by a heavily armed Serbian army in Srebrenica.On that day, .Ratko Miladiç (head of army,murderer) used the following phrases: "Finally, it is time to take revenge on the Turks(Muslims) in this land.".Thousands of people died in the massacre.Thousands of Muslims have been tortured.thousands of women have been raped by Serbian soldiers.Neither the United Nations declared Srebrenica a safe zone nor prevented the military massacre of 600 Dutch Peacekeepers in the city.The United Nations has again been ineffective. Srebrenica massacre and genocide in Europe were engraved in The History of the World.
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Central African Republic
Before the massacre began in 2013, Muslims accounted for 10% of Central Africa's population of 5 million.The total number of Muslims in the country is currently unknown, with even official officials refusing to count the number of Muslims killed.There are people who say we have no Muslim brothers.More than 1 million people left their homes after the events that began in December 2013 in the Central African Republic, where different ethnicities coexist.Thousands of people have been killed.more than 2 million people have become unable to meet their basic needs.As Christian gangs began slaughtering Muslims without saying women, children, elderly, large migrations took place from the country.Gangs called Balaka carried out executions, especially by raiding Muslim villages, mosques and houses.The activities of balaka gangs, which have engaged in inhuman acts such as slitting children's throats, slitting pregnant women's bellies, feeding crocodiles alive, are eyeing the activities of the French in the region.As persecution continues against Muslims in the Central African Republic, hundreds of thousands of Muslims are fighting for their lives in refugee camps in Chad and Cameroon.Almost all of the mosques were destroyed.Most of us don't even know this country.
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Chechnya
The population in Chechnya, under Russian rule, is about 1.5 million.Thousands of Chechens can't go home because they are in life-threatening danger.Some of the countries they have sheltered deport chechens and hand them over to the pro-Russian Chechen government.In December 1940, when Russian troops invaded the territory of Chechnya, the Chechen-Russian War began.and thousands of Chechen mujahideen were killed.After this war ended on August 30, 1996, a cross-party peace agreement was signed on 12 May 1997.Russia again attacked Chechnya in October 1999, violating the agreement.With human rights violations during the war, Russia targeted hospitals, maternity homes, markets, settlements and convoys of refugees until the end of the war.More than 1500 Chechens were arrested, men were tortured by electric currents, looted houses and seriously questioned thousands of Chechens without saying children, women and old men. The part that could never be put in place was to try to make a deaf and mute Chechen speak by making the most severe tortures, especially the electric current.According to the reports of the High Commissioner for Refugees of the United Nations, approximately 500 thousand Chechens became refugees after the 2nd Chechen-Russian War. The Russian army massacred hundreds of thousands of people, tortured them, and raped women,little girls.The war ended in 2009 with the establishment of a pro-Russian Chechen government. And this government is a butler of Russia. The pressure on our Chechen Muslim brothers still continues.
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Egypt
During this time, the Pharaohs, Byzantines, Fatımis, Eyyubis, Mamluks, Ottomans and The British dominated Egypt, which dates back thousands of years.The country, which has a population of about 90 million, is still in a critical position for the Middle East.Ottoman became the focal point because of its position after withdrawing from the country.The February 2011 revolution, which ended the regime of Hosni Mubarak, who ruled the country with corruption and repression for years, was greeted with joy in the entire Islamic world.In the elections after the revolution, Muhammad Mursi, the candidate of the Muslim Brotherhood, became the country's first democratically elected president.Mursi's election promised a stable legal process in the country, but the intended failed.First, the constitutional court's decisions made parliament dysfunctional, then the media work, which was funded from abroad with huge sums and constantly deroded Mursi's image in the public way, destabilised the stability.After the july 2013 military coup, peaceful demonstrations by people who opposed this lawlessness in Egypt were severely suppressed, killing thousands of people.and leaving persecution.To break the will of the people and to ensure that he submits, the junta regime, which refers to all kinds of human rights violations, is to make unlawful arrests without saying women, elderly, children; he began to issue harsh sentences and death sentences that were not based on any valid legal practice.and thousands of people were imprisoned.Sisi, who has been in charge of the coup, is supported by the Saudi Arabia, Arab Emirates and the United States.Now our Muslim brothers are under pressure
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Iraq
Having a say over rich oil reserves after the Ottoman collapse was the main policy of Western countries in this region.Clashes, repressions and occupations were not missing in the history of the country, whose borders were set to rulers after World War I.Since 1980, nearly 1.5 million people died in the country, which has been plagued by war, embargo and internal tensions, with the u.S. invasion in 2003.Thousands of people have been tortured unimaginably.thousands of Muslim siblings have given birth to American children.women have been raped in front of their husbands.The war in Iraq has never ended since.Millions of people were displaced and forced to migrate.The U.S. withdrawal in 2011 did not end the conflict and chaos that pushed into the country, and Iran's growing influence on the region has caused confusion.Persecution and torture in Iraq continue as a result of the discriminatory and repressive policies of the governments that came to power in the country.America and Iran still keep our brothers and sisters under pressure.Hooray hell ! for the wrongdoers.
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Kashmir
About 4 million people live in Kashmir territory.Muslims make up 90% of this population.When Kashmir gained independence from Britain's colony in 1947, it remained an unsolvable problem between India and Pakistan since then.India invaded Kashmir. Today, 80% of Kashmir is controlled by India and 20% by Pakistan.To date, serious human rights violations have been carried out in the remaining part of Kashmir in the Indian occupation.There has been severe pressure against the Muslim people of Kashmir who oppose the occupation and seek independence.As a result of these pressures, more than 70,000 Kashmiris have been killed so far, and more than 1.5 million Kashmiris have been displaced.Kashmir remains an unsolvable problem between the two countries, while Muslims continue to live under persecution.Our brothers are under pressure by Indian forces.
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Crimea
In World War II, Crimean Tatars were persecuted and exiled from their homeland by the Russians.Crimea, which has a population of about 2 million, is now a minority of 350,000 Tatar Muslims.Tatars, who began to return to their homeland in the late 1980s with the dissolution of the Soviet Union, have been fighting for 30 years to keep their religion and culture alive in very difficult circumstances .Crimeans , who lived under the flag of Ukraine and lost their grandfathers and fathers in exile, were treated as third-class people since they returned to their homeland.They faced constant pressure and obstacles by disenfranchised religious, cultural and social rights.With Russia annexing Crimea in 2014, the country became a territory affiliated with the Russian Federation.The Russians and Ukrainians living in Crimea see Russia's declaration of Crimea as a new opportunity, while Crimean Tatars, with their population of around 350,000, are trying to maintain their hopes for the future.Tatars, who are forced to choose between Ukraine and Russia, are looking for ways to carry out rights struggles in unity.There are more than 200,000 deaths.Thousands of our brothers were tortured, raped by Russian soldiers.More than 300,000 deportations.there is now a state of repression.
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Moro
Moro Muslims have been fighting for independence against the Philippines for many years, and today it has a population of about 5 million.Moro Muslims, who lived in their own independent states until the 20th century, lost independence in 1946 when the U.S. colonial rule was released to the Philippine government of the region.Until a few years ago, when there were heavy conflicts, millions of people became refugees; In Moro, where he has been subjected to numerous rights violations such as attacks, detentions and torture, more than 120,000 people have been killed in ongoing conflicts between the Philippine state and Moro Muslims for more than 40 years, and 2 million have been forced to live as refugees.The peace process, which began in 2012, hopes to establish bangsamoro autonomous region today.The Bangsamoro, Autonomous Region, which will be established in Mindanao, one of the three main island communities of the Philippine state, is a major gain for the outcome of the struggle of the Moro people.Now the hopes for a lasting peace in the region are much stronger.Allah(c.c.) help them in the resistance of our brothers and sisters. Amin !
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Palestine
And Palestine, the privacy of Muslims.Masjid al Aqsa, our first qibla.Palestine, the holy site of the heavenly religions, is a geography that has been the center of attention of many communities throughout history. The Ottomans protected Palestine for hundreds of years.They knew they couldn't take Palestine as long as it was ottoman.But all the great forces were together with zionists, destroying the Ottoman empire from the inside and outside.the Zionists set up Israel, and became a neighbor to Palestine .In the last century, the Zionist Jewish occupation was the scene of greater atrocities than ever before. Muslims were removed from their homes, displaced, exiled, imprisoned,slaughtered.Thousands of people were killed and tortured.The blockades and massacres committed by the occupying State of Israel to the Muslim people were never over ,ısrael had condone Palestine and attempted to take its land.Thousands of Muslims were killed, especially as a result of air and ground attacks in Gaza.Turning into an open-air prison in Gaza, basic needs such as electricity, food and health are becoming increasingly difficult to address.The persecution of Muslims has been going on for a century..We can't make our voices heard in a collective way by Islamic states. Even some Arab states supported Israel..They invaded They invaded Jerusalem.they invaded our private.we didn't make a sound.We are muted.
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Patani
Patani is one of four administrative districts with Muslim majority, despite being affiliated with the Buddhist rule in Thailand.Malay (Malaysian) Muslims make up about 88% of its population.Although the languages they use are Close to Malaysia in Malaysian and Thai.They're trying to make the world known as South Thailand, not Patani. Since 1909, the Thai government has been trying to change the demographics by bringing Buddhist civilians to Patani continuously.Patani is called "Palestine of South Asia" because the Buddhist government is conducting the same policy as Zionist Israel.The people of Patani, who were constantly attacked by Thai soldiers, are estimated to have killed 20,000 so far.More than 30,000 people have been imprisoned by the Buddhist government.In February 2004, an attack on a mosque was carried out by the invading Thai soldiers and 36 Muslims were killed.Thai soldiers who also intervened in the people who staged the demonstration in order to condemn the massacre also killed 83 more people and arrested more than 200 others.There are checkpoints set up by Thai soldiers in the city, where attacks on civilians by the army have been routinely made.The Buddhist administration, which has repeatedly put pressure on the Muslim people, receives the greatest help from Israel and the United States in preventing patani persecution from the world.Although resistance groups continue to fight against Buddhist persecution, they are unable to achieve victory because they do not receive sufficient support from Muslim countries!
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Syria
Everyone knows the persecution in Syria.
The last eight years of Syria, which has a population of 25 million, have been driven into civil war with the regime's massacres.Minimum 400,000 dead, 7 million refugees.The Syrian people, who have been fighting against persecution, oppression, corruption and poverty for nearly 60 years, are again facing a large mass slaughter today.The civil war, which began in March 2011 and is still ongoing, has killed more than 400,000 people and displaced millions.the country's head killer continues to kill his own people.Regime soldiers tortured all kinds of torture.thousands of people were injured.women were raped in front of their husbands.Increasing the number of people affected by the crisis and continuing to inflict great wounds on the lives of both society and individuals, it is imperative that efforts to solve the problem be increased.Almost half of Syria's population of 25 million is in need of humanitarian assistance.Nearly 7 million people have taken refuge in neighboring countries as refugees.Right now, the regime is still bombing our Muslim brothers and sisters.And Syria is now fragmented . Iran-backed terrorist organizations in Syria.american-backed terrorist organizations.There are activities of a Russian-backed terrorist organization and many states.Russia and Iran(supposedly Muslim country) are the regime's protects.If it wasn't for Turkey, death and persecution would have increased more.
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Uzbekistan
Muslims make up the majority of Uzbekistan's population of 30 million.According to a 2014 report by Human Rights Watch, there are 12,000 detainees in the country for religious reasons, while torture in prisons has become routine.Uzbekistan gained independence on 1 September 1991 after the dissolution of the Soviet Union, and Islam Karimov took over the country after a controversial election.Kerimov painted a portrait away from his own people and culture in all aspects, arresting thousands of people who opposed him, shutting down dozens of radios, newspapers and televisions.The Kerimov administration, which also prevented the Uzbek people from living freely, closed mosques in the country; He had those who grow beards arrested those who prayed and banned hijabs in public places.Karimov, who is still the country's head of state, continues his repressive and prohibitive stance.In Uzbekistan, which came up again with the news that mass iftars were banned during Ramadan, students were banned from praying at the mosque at all times, especially teravih.It is forbidden to grow beards, teach others the Koran even in their own home, to make pilgrimage to young people, to talk about Islam on the street, to wear Islamic clothes, or even to take religious lessons in schools for men.
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Yemen
In Yemen, where one of the world's worst humanitarian disasters is taking place, 22 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid and protection, which account for nearly three-quarters of the population.The United Nations says that every 10 minutes a child under the age of 5 is the victim of a preventable death.Yemen went into a spiral of violence in 2014 when the Shia Husi militia and its allies increased their dominance of the country at gunpoint and coupd against the legitimate government in the capital, Sana.Tensions have escalated in the country since Saudi Arabia and the other Arab-led coalition launched operations against the Houthis in March 2015 to restore the legitimate government.The war in its fourth year has brought Yemen's weak economy and infrastructure to a level of destruction and turned into drama, described by the United Nations (UN) as "the world's greatest humanitarian catastrophe." In the country, women and children are at the top of the vulnerable list.Boys are forcibly armed by groups, while girls are forced into marriage at an early age so they can survive.A quarter of school-age children are deprived of education and nearly 2,500 schools cannot be damaged or educated and most importantly, one mother and one child die every 10 minutes.hundreds of thousands of brothers died.These are our brothers!The persecution here is because of Saudi Arabia and Arab Emirates. What a shame !
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Leaders
And our heads of state
There are many oppressed geographies.There are so many Islamic state.why don't they gather and make a sound! Almost all Muslim countries have unmerited presidents.Most dictators (Muslim Middle East states).Even from the presidents who see themselves as prophets.There's no need to count Arab countries, you know.Corruption exists in all Muslim state rulers.Muslim countries can't be ruled like Muslims because of money and ambition for authority.In my opinion, the our Prophet(sav) informed us with the rulers of the Islamic State at the end times .Please look at t Hadiths in Bukhari.
I think we have entered the end times or we're only a little short time to enter.Let's put on and secure our seat belts(our belief,credo).
Islamopbohia
Islamophobia means hatred, discrimination, hostility and hatred towards Muslims.This idea, which came out as a project in Europe, which sees itself a land of civilization, is directed towards Muslims.Mainly in Europe Australia and America.These hatred acts and discourses against Muslims lead to polarization.Thousands of Muslims are slaughtered, killed.mosques are being burned.books are being burned.Muslims are being insulted.The states are quiet.maybe they like it.but civilized!They're calling the police because he's a Muslim.This idea is increasing and more effectively.hatred and hatred are increasing every day.We as Muslims must stand together, we must look out for each other and tell them islam in a beautiful way.Those who want to wear out Islam by projecting and setting traps do not know this.Islam is the sun.U can't touch it.Allah (c.c) is the most auspicious of the conspirators.
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And as I've stated, my main purpose in writing this book is to open our eyes,especially young and worldly Muslims.I was so upset when I wrote the book.I cried from time to time.Maybe u too while you're reading.I didn’t give much details in this book . I couldn’t.The details are full of sadness.ı give you a painful example.in countries that are persecuted for example Palestine,Iraq ,Syria.The husbands maimed in front of their wives, became unable to do anything.in front of husbands eyes.their wives, daughters, their mothers, they were raped by dozens of oppressors.they got pregnant.I wonder if we can empathize.can we put ourselves in the situation of that husband or woman.we can't stand it!don't forget that woman, husband is our brother.we're still silent!let's act! like a Muslim.
I'd like to point out that they have the most powerful weapons. we have just stone. we won
Best regards,
Selamu aleykum
resources:İHH,İNSAMER,Wikipedia Newspapers:Sabah,Yenişafak,Sözcü,Milli,RushanAbbasYeniçağ,Akit,Ömer Polat ,diyanethaber eyüp demir , ibrahim tığlı ,AAMustafa Efe
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2020.08.10 21:20 ar_david_hh Aug/10/2020 news: / Bolola: Anatolia vs Armenian Highlands / Archaeology: new Qarahunj & Dragon-stones found / Huge illegal fishing campaign busted / Sugar monopoly penalized / Yerevan's new elevators / COVID: phone metadata monitoring law / Banking in Armenia / Treaty of Sevres & Western Armenia

Sunday news, in case you missed it:

https://www.reddit.com/armenia/comments/i6p7mg/aug92020_news_secret_license_karabakh_telecom/?

Ex-oligarch's sugar monopoly penalized for predatory practices

Lfik Samo's Alex Holding will pay a $53K fine for abusing the dominant market share, says the Competition Committee.
Report: between 2018-2020, the company intentionally lowered its sugar prices to the point that they began losing money, to push competitors out of business, and to preserve dominant market share. Other instances of abuse of power were recorded.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024535.html

COVID / Armenian test kits / Schools to reopen

No COVID stats on Mondays because they refresh facilities over the weekend.
 
Molecular Institute has so far produced 47,000 test kits (2k/day) after receiving a govt subsidy to import components from China. The kits are 98% accurate.
 
Schools will resume on September 15th. No decision yet about universities.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024515.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024591.html

The law about monitoring COVID suspects' phone/location

On March 31st the govt passed a law to automatically scan COVID infected persons' location/phone metadata, to identify potential carriers who socialized with the infected.
 
57K residents were reached out by authorities, after scanning 6K phone calls (not the content of the call but the metadata).
1.5K people were placed in the high-risk group. 174 were confirmed with COVID.
https://factor.am/275291.html

NSS busts a large-scale illegal fishing campaign / Lake Sevan

The report says: // 127 tons of fish were illegally caught from Lake Sevan. 20 raids reveal multiple suspects.
 
In 2019-2020 suspects caught 12 tons of whitefish (sig) and used a govt-funded refrigeration facility for storage. Another 47 tons were stolen by unknown pouches and stored in the same facility.
 
NSS raided Zvartnots airport and Bagratashen border checkpoint and confiscated tons of illegal fish before they were exported. The fish were intentionally incorrectly labeled as Abumbria [Mackerel] canned fish. \\
 
They're looking for more suspects. Video: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=213983393390632 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024531.html

Cholaqar municipality officials are busted...

... with allegedly embezzling a kindergarten land and leasing it to a telecom provider in 2014, as well as registering fake employees to steal their salaries.
https://factor.am/275400.html

Anti-corruption in Lori province

33 felony corruption cases in 1H20. The total number of felonies sent to court rose +108%.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024514.html

Amulsar

A small group of environmental activists held a protest in front of Parliament building. They don't want Amulsar mining to proceed. The police issued a "COVID" warning then detained some of them.
 
"The police received a warning not to touch high profile lawyers. They only detained ordinary activists," said one activist-lawyer.
"We understand that jobs and money are necessary, but we believe the losses will outweigh the benefits," said the activist.
 
Amulsar miner Lydian said the local government broke the law by removing their trailers near the Amulsar road. "We'll proceed with our work". They examined the items inside the trailers that were damaged during the moving process.
https://youtu.be/IVAJnG265sk , https://factor.am/275517.html

Elevator replacement project in Yerevan / 500 vs 35

Mayor Marutyan: // Erebuni district is getting new elevators. 123 ongoing replacements across the city.
We'll finish 2020 by having replaced 500 units. Compared that to 35 that was done before 2018.
All elevators will have a voice system in Armenian, wheelchair access, buttons for visually impaired. Lots of jobs are created. \\
https://factor.am/275549.html

Iraqi-Armenian community...

... donated $91K to Armenian soldiers post-Tavush battles.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024556.html

Alejandro Kuklashenko

Belarus president Alejandro fell shot 4% from Pashinyan's 85% popularity, despite drawing the election result numbers for himself.
Pashinyan called to congratulate bat'ka for not accidentally exceeding the 100% mark.
/s . http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/283896/

Road repairs in Gegharquniq

A section of Sevan-Martuni-Getap road is being renovated for $2M. It's an important one because it's a hub between Artsakh-Iran-Armenia.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024545.html

How did the banks do in 1H20? / Statistics / Dram vs Dollar

17 commercial banks. 550 branches.
12,100 employees. 3.1m customers. 6.1m accounts.
80% of the population does banking.
 
Profits +5.7% or $4.6M.
 
Total capital +5.6% or $97.6M. Total assets +3.3% or $396.6M.
Total deposits -3.1% or $232M, however, deposits by resident customers +0.8% or $39M.
 
While loaning reduced around the world due to COVID, it increased by 0.7% ($58M) in Armenia. 42% went to individuals and 45% to help the economy.
 
For the first time in a decade, the volume of loans issued in Drams exceeds the Dollar.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024561.html

Heno is doing pretty good

Roman legionnaire Henrikh Mkhitaryan is his team's 3rd player with the highest number of ball strikes (35), 9 of which ended with a goal.
He is the 6th when it comes to setting up the team for a successful goal: 22 goal setups in 22 matches.
https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024520.html

New hole-y stones are confirmed in Qarahunj archaeological site

The "Armenian Stonehenge" Qarahunj is confirmed to have 30 more stones with holes in them. It is believed they were used for astronomy by ancient people. The 30 stones join the existing 84.
The archaeologists were joined by Byurakan observatory experts.
Photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024537.html

Archaeologists find more dragon-stones

Ancient stones with dragon drawings are a thing in Armenia because dragons were affiliated with water. Some people viewed dragons as providers of water, while others wanted the dragons killed to free the water stolen by them. (I'll take any Bill Gates theory over this thank you)
 
Hundreds of dragon stones have been found across Armenia in recent years.
The Education Ministry is restoring some of them in original locations. One will be placed in Yerevan's Circular Park.
Photos: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024559.html
https://hy.wikipedia.org/wiki/Վիշապ_(հուշարձան)

Treaty of Sevres / Western Armenia / 100 years later

Turkey lost WW1 and had to sign the treaty of Sevres. It envisioned a 160,000 m2 Armenia. Avetis Aharonyan even ordered a gold pen to sign it.
 
President Sarkissian: // The Treaty of Sevr is an important document for achieving a just solution to the Armenian question. It was about Turkey recognizing Armenia and allowing the U.S. to draw the borders through Erzrum, Trapizon, Van, Bitlis. Armenia would have access to the Black Sea.
The document remained unperfected due to geopolitical changes, but it remains a valid document, and many middle eastern countries got independence with it.
 
Later in 1920 Kemalists attacked Armenia and the latter became Soviet. Nonetheless, Armenians remain the true heirs of their history no matter how many Armenian monuments are destroyed and whether Turkey denies history.
Armenia never canceled Sevres. Lozan agreement did not revoke it because Armenia wasn't part of it. Res inter alios acta. \\
 
Historian Ashot Mikaelyan: // Sevres wasn't enforced because by late 1920 Soviet Russia came out of civil war and had bad relations with Antant, so it established closer ties with Turkey, who was enemies with Antant.
As a result, after the 1920 Eastern Muslim nation's conference, Russia allowed Turkey to attack the Republic of Armenia which led to its Sovietization.
Turkey was required to accept the Sevres treaty. De Jure those lands belong to Armenia. \\
 
Pashinyan: // We need to keep reminding Armenians and the world about this important treaty.
1) It envisioned a peaceful co-existence between Christians and Muslims in the region.
2) It recognized Armenia and allowed it to sign an important agreement independently for the first time in centuries.
3) It strengthened Armenians' undeniable connection with the Armenian Highlands, where Armenians lived and prospered for millenniums. \\
More: https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024511.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024508.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1024528.html

Education reforms / Ministry denies former regime's claims about "Anatolia" replacing "Armenian Highlands" / No true scandal without George Soros

Date: 2020
Location: Armenian Highlands (disputed by Anatolia)
Belligerents: Education Ministry vs Former Government
Hired Mercenaries: Գյուլնազ տատի, Pashinyan's sheep, concerned® victims of Roboserj media outlets, George Soros.
Result: Decisive Armenian Highland victory. Anatolia sustains heavy casualties and retreats to pre-2020 borders.
Background: Education Ministry is accused of omitting parts of Armenian history and altering geographical names in school history books to make it more pro-Turkey, after [secret] meetings with Turks.
 
First you need some context about what has been happening in Armenia:
After being rejected by the public, political parties HHK and ARF, and their media outlets such as Yerkir, antifake. etc, began acting "extra patriotic" with a hope to gain public sympathy. They portrayed Pashinyan administration as pro-Azeri and pro-gay (a big insult in Armenia).
 
Part of ARF's plan (ARF the party based within Armenia and not the international Dashnaks) was to launch a crusade against Education Minister Arayik Harutyunyan in 2019, by claiming he was "ruining the Armenian Language".
What happened was the Ministry allowed universities to choose whether the Armenian Language would be required for all students.
 
Ministry believes that since every student had already studied Armenian for 12 years in schools, it may not be strictly necessary for a university student, who chose to be an electrician, to study language again. Instead of language, the student can spend more time on their major.
 
ARF incorrectly claimed that Ministry was removing Armenian Language from universities. They present that as "betrayal of traditional values" and held unsuccessful protests to have Minister Arayik Harutyunyan fired.
 
It all backfired spectacularly and several ARF activists publicly quit and criticized ARF leadership for "turning the party into a tool that serves Serj Sargsyan's interests".
 
And now we have a brand new scandal, which the Ministry says is also manufactured.
As part of the ongoing education reforms, which envisions the removal of grading for <5 classes, reduced reliance on remembering and more emphasis on logic and analytics, the Ministry is also reforming how the history is taught between 5-12 classes.
A Group was created tasked with meeting with experts. One of the Group members is historian Lilith Mkrtchyan, who is the main subject of this attack by ARF.
 
Backstory: In 2016-2018, historian Mkrtchyan met a group of Turkish scholars who, as stated by her, had recognized the Armenian Genocide and laid flowers in Tsitsernakaberd memorial. Together, they published an international historical book in 2017 in which the word "Anatolia" was used to describe the region. In Armenia, people don't like the word "Anatolia" because the correct historical term is "Armenian Highlands".
 
Now the Roboserj (former regime) media outlets criticize Mkrtchyan for her past meetings with Turkish colleagues. Outlets portrayed her as a traitor, reminding that Turkey wants to destroy Armenia.
By judging from Roboserj articles, however, one of the main motives of the criticism appears to be Mkrtchyan's past anti-Serj activities and her alleged ties with various human rights NGOs, which the former regime despises.
 
Historian Mkrtchyan responded: // I participated in a 2016 initiative also attended by Turks. Since it was an international gathering, we had to use terminology used by international scientific bodies and museums. They all use the word "Anatolia".
Perhaps we Armenians have some work to do to convince the international community to use the term "Armenian Highlands", but until then, I can't change that by myself.
That 2016-2017 event is unrelated to the education reforms in Armenia. The word "Anatolia" will not replace "Armenian Highlands" in Armenian schools. \\
 
Former regime's outlets also criticized Mkrtchyan for being a member of anti-Roboserj student initiative "restart", and accused her of collaborating with LGBT and George Soros-related groups.
 
Q: your critics call you a Turkish agent.
Mkrtchyan: // Sad and defamatory. My colleagues from Turkey visited the Genocide Memorial and laid flowers. They're persecuted within Turkey. Turkish govt confiscated their passports and jailed some of them.
I'll consider suing [Roboserj circles] for defamation. If anyone has disagreements about the curriculum, they can submit their ideas. It's an open process. We've met 6,000 teachers. \\
 
Q: were your 2016-2017 meetings with Turkish colleagues secret?
Mkrtchyan: No. It was publicized.
 
Roboserj outlet 5th Channel accused Mkrtchayan of being pro-Turk. The outlet says the curriculum about Armenia's anti-Turkish struggles and other historical episodes are omitted and not all kingdoms are mentioned.
Ministry member: // it's pure disinformation. They're trying to shout "we're more patriotic than you". That outlet is trying to serve sensational materials to "this is the end of Armenia" crowd. Anatolia does not replace the Armenian Highlands in the books.
Pre-Urartu period isn't omitted. It's taught as part of "My homeland and I" subject beginning 5th class. Their criticism is political and not scientific or historical. \\
 
Along came the Education Minister Harutyunyan himself and decided to blow everything up with a canister of kerosene. He began messing with ARF.
Minister: // ARF is the one accusing us of carrying out Turkish orders? That's the party that was against Armenia's independence and wanted to hand over [hero and fighter] Andranik Ozanyan to Turkey. The reforms will proceed regardless of their noises. \\
 
This wasn't accepted lightly by ARF.
What did the Minister mean by "ARF handing over Andranik to Turkey?". A former Armenian historian circulated a disputed document claiming that ARF secretly wrote to Ottoman leader and asked him get rid of Andranik Ozanyan, who wasn't obeying to ARF.
Very basically speaking, it is known that Andranik and ARF had bad relations, and at the time, ARF was supposed to prevent groups of unruly "bandits" from roaming around Armenia.
Still, some historians denied the truthfulness of this document.
https://youtu.be/0pnSu0uy4_Y
 
More about the actual curriculum reforms (you tired yet? have a snack 🍿 now take a sip 🥤)
We're talking about 4 subjects: My Homeland and I, Armenian History, World History, Sociology.
The new system's structure is as follows: curriculum -> action -> grading ->end results. Curriculum repetition will be reduced throughout 5-10 classes.
Experts complain that the old system is too vague, non-gradable, and doesn't deliver end results.
 
Historian Mkrtchyan: // The new subject, which starts from 5th grade, is "My homeland and I". It places the student at the forefront and teaches about their surroundings, community, country, history, Artsakh, etc. It envisions interaction. They'll dance folklore dances, etc.
 
6th graders learn both Armenian History and World History; the two will be closely integrated. It's important for kids to understand what's happening around the world while certain events happen in Armenia.
 
Between 7-9th grades it gets more specific and branches out between Armenian History, World History, Sociology.
Nothing is left out of Armenian History curriculum for middle schools.
As for high school, they'll no longer be taught the same thing they learned in earlier classes, because teachers complain that kids lose interest when the subject repeats.
 
10th grade will focus on the formation/collapse of states, foreign/internal affairs, politics, society, etc. It also applies to Urartu and Kilikia.
11th grade focuses on national identify, Armenia's fight for independence, historical struggle.
12th grade is more about creating a future and focusing on various scenarios. Lots of essays and research.
 
How many times have you heard a child ask "Why do I learn this stuff if I'm never going to use it in real life?". We want to fix that by establishing a tie between real life and what they learn. \\
 
This is a developing story.
Interview with historian Mkrtchyan https://medialab.am/85319/
Discussion with Mkrtchyan and others https://youtu.be/0pnSu0uy4_Y
ARF outlet https://www.yerkir.am/news/view/209112.html
Kocharyan outlet https://antifake.am/am/news/2818
Tags: #ArmenianHighlands #Anatolia #FakeNews #ArmenianHistory #ARF #Andranik
 
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Disclaimer & Terminology

1) The accused are innocent until proven guilty in the court of law, even if they sound guilty.
2) Currency in Armenian ֏ unless specified otherwise.
3) NSS/SIS/SOC = law enforcement agencies. QP = Civil Contract Party. LHK = Bright Armenia Party. BHK = Prosperous Armenia Party. HHK = Republican Party.
4) ARCHIVE of older posts by Idontknowmuch: PART 1 ; PART 2 ; PART 3 ; PART 4 ; PART 5.
5) ARCHIVE of older posts by Armeniapedia.
submitted by ar_david_hh to armenia [link] [comments]


2020.08.03 03:45 copperhillbook Bill Sanders, part 2.

(This part is 100% done, though I may edit it to improve the language or add minor details that connect this part of the story to others.)
I assumed he’d make an appearance eventually. I didn’t expect that he’d appear that very Saturday night, bottle in hand, or the Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday of the next week, or basically every day I’d offered to spend time with him. Those first couple visits he only seemed to wanna talk about the various brands of small batch liquor he was introducing me to, their flavors and subtle notes and origins, and any discussion about his life was met with short replies. Then eventually the wall started to come down as he shared more and more of his life, and then it was like a leak in a dam, the walls of mistrust crumbling to a torrent of thoughts and feelings. It had been so long since Bill had anyone he could trust enough to really open up and share his life with, and the opportunity to unburden gave him a kind of younger man’s energy and giddiness that was rather infectious.
First, and frankly to my total surprise, he loved Lydia. He was totally, completely, head over heels in love with her. I’d assumed the frost of their relationship was built on mutual disdain, but it became clear that he viewed her intense vanity and need for approval and control of the social strata of the town kinda like a husband whose wife was in the throws of dementia - he hated the disease that was her narcissism, not her, and was proud to be her “caregiver.” Still he acknowledged how one-sided that love seemed to be and the frustration of having lost her to the delusion of being the Southern Queen of their small town. As much as he loved her, they hadn’t fucked since Sarah and Samantha, and then only as a means to conceive them. And he bristled at Marco, the kids’ well-built and square-jawed and so-called “manny.” “I know he’s fucking her every moment I’m out of the house,” he sighed. “I want her to be happy. He obviously makes her happy. Doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.”
I guess it’d been a couple weeks in when he admitted all this. It made him tense, and I hated how much he hated it but I knew that getting it off his chest was therapeutic. He told me about the girl he’d met as a young Air Force recruit in Montgomery, about getting married a bit too early but knowing they were both madly in love, and then having to say goodbye the day he found out she was pregnant - 1988, when he was shipped overseas.
I did the math when he told me that story. 1989? “You...have another kid? They’re what, like 32…”
He just shook his head. “No...don’t...I can’t go there.” He shut down, cold, dark. Ok, not a place he was prepared to explore.
“So when did you get to come back home?”
“‘94.”
I sputtered. “Holy shit, five years?! What happened?”
He shrugged. “Gulf War happened. I was a comms specialist, and they didn’t have enough to go around. After the actual war ended they begged me to join Southern Watch, that was an air defense operation out of Al Dhafra base in Saudi Arabia. No one else could do it, they said. And they offered me a lot of money to stay on. So I took it. Sent it back to her. Kept my head down. Thought about home.”
I shook my head as he talked, my respect for a seemingly simple, one-dimensional football coach growing as I began to see his depth. Hell, if anything the fact that he didn’t brag about his remarkable life, allowing Lydia to convince everyone that she was the more interesting of the Sanders, made him all the more impressive.
I glanced over. Tuesday and Thursday he wore the same school polo and khakis. But this was Saturday, and on Saturday he wore shorts and a tee, the standard uniform that suggested he’d either been coaching or lifting all day, or both. I took in the sight of him as he looked into his glass, drunkly rambling these details that seemed so insignificant to him. The full silver grey head of hair, the stubble that seemed impossible to shave away, the broadly thick muscled body that stretched his tee shirt so tightly I could make out every detail of the left nipple that was glaring at me. I was reminded once again just how attracted I was to him, and the erection growing in my own jeans that followed reminded me that I did have an agenda with Bill. Maybe it was time to push forward on it. We’d certainly shared enough drinks, that evening alone to test some boundaries.
“Hey, can I ask you something kinda personal?”
The question took him by surprise. “Like I haven’t been telling you personal stuff this whole time?”
I laughed, “ok fine, but like really, really personal.”
He looked hesitant at that. “Ok…”
You were overseas for, what, five years right?
“Yep.”
“How old when you left?”
He had to think. “18, almost 19.”
“Ok, so you were away in Muslim countries for five years. No girls, right?”
He grinned, starting to see where my line of questioning was going. “Nope.”
“So like...did you just...I dunno, jack off constantly?”
He cracked up at that. “Honestly, pretty much yeah. I mean the Air Force was always a lot of hurry up and wait, and when we were being rushed we didn’t have time to think about it. But when there was nothing happening, yeah, not much else for us to do but lift weights and watch shitty reruns and share titty mags.”
“Wait, did you...did your unit I mean...you looked at titty mags...together?”
He grinned and looked away, a bit embarrassed. “I mean you gotta understand, it was close quarters, not a lot of privacy. At first we’d just disappear into the john when we needed to rub one out but after a while you start to realize how stupid that is since everyone knows exactly what you’re doing. Nobody brings a titty mag into the john with ‘em for casual reading. Plus, you know, there are certain times when every guy needs a release, and our schedules were so carefully synchronized that we’d all end up spanking at the same time anyway, I don’t know how it happened but eventually we all just gave up pretending and...did it.”
“That’s crazy. How often did that happen?”
He shrugged. “Maybe three times a day at least. Like we’d all wake up at the same time, rub one out. Another time in the showers, when we knew the evidence would go down the drain. Before bed too, you know, just so we could get to sleep. And then sometimes if a couple of us had sittin’ around time and nothing else to do...”
I shook my head, nakedly fascinated. “Who would initiate it? Would you just start jacking off at the same time or did someone get it going?”
He glanced quizzically my way. “You’re awful curious about a room full of guys jacking it.” Fuck, I thought, I really did express way too much interest way too quickly.
In moments like this you might think the best response is the perfectly crafted, well-prepared explanation, but it’s really not. Besides not always having one ready, most people don’t have a good explanation for every thought that pops into their head; and a streetwise man like Bill, especially one who had gotten so used to people lying around him, might be put off by someone who had a good reason for every mental fumble.
I paused, seemed to consider it and shook my head and laughed. “Yeah man, I don’t know. That was a weird train of thought, never mind.”
Bill laughed and clasped a giant hand on my shoulder. “Chris, how long’s it been?”
“Since what?”
I mean...did you date anyone after Lucy?”
“...no, not really,” I lied. “Just never found another girl like her. Or good enough to replace her, I guess.”
“Well I’m no counselor, but it sounds to me like you miss what it feels like to be, you know, intimate with a girl. Maybe that’s why you got so wrapped up in all that stuff we did at Al Dhafra. Not much more intimate a guy can do with another guy, is it?”
I can think of a few more intimate things I could be doing with you, I thought. Instead I shrugged. “Maybe. Intimate is a weird word for it though, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, I guess,” he shrugged that off and his voice trailed, maybe questioning his choice of words. I felt like the train of thought we’d wandered onto was derailing. I wanted it very much to stay in place.
“The Band of Thebes...” I offered contemplatively, almost as a half thought..
“Eh?”
“The uh...it was called the Sacred Band of Thebes. Had a Western Civ professor who talked about it in college. It was this elite army unit that protected Thebes in like, I wanna say, the 6th century BC. Unstoppable warriors. All guys, all doing it with each other.”
“Doing it? Like…” Bill made a bit of a grotesque humping motion that he never would’ve embarrassed himself with if he were sober. I had to laugh.
“Yeah. I guess they all paired off, but then they also did stuff altogether? I dunno. Anyway it was a bonding thing. I guess the idea was that you’ll fight a hell of a lot harder for your best friend if you’re banging.”
“Huh,” Bill took that in. I honestly expected him to recoil from the idea - I had to get used to his being a lot more worldly than I’d given him credit for. “Then I guess...yeah, it was kinda like that.” He shook his head. “But how did they...I mean like they couldn’t all be gay could they?”
“They didn’t have the hang ups we do about gay stuff,” I said matter of factly, working so hard to not sound like a gay pick-up artist targeting a straight guy. “Greeks, Romans, Spartans, all those dudes, before Christianity came along they all did stuff with each other. I think a lot of ‘em saw it as a big part of why they were so good on the battlefield.”
I could see Bill trying to wrap his mind around this new paradigm. That he didn’t reject it outright was, again, pretty surprising. Not that I couldn’t have backed it up - we live in an Information Age where the truth about history is always at our fingertips, and I was (mostly, I learned later) right about what I’d told him. But I was introducing him to the notion that two “straight” men could bond over sex, and his conservative upbringing hadn’t dismissed it; maybe because of those daily jerkoff sessions with his friends.
And then it was silent for too long. I felt the air between us begin to fill with awkward unspoken questions, and I suddenly realized that I didn’t know what he’d ask and I didn’t know if I was ready to answer, but I also didn’t want the evening to end. Anyway, we’d gone far enough into the rabbit hole for one night; I decided it was time to shift the conversation.
“Anyway, probably a good thing you guys didn’t have the Internet. As much porn as there is now to watch you’d probably have never gotten anything done.”
Bill laughed. “Yeah, I guess it does get kinda boring with the same half dozen skin mags.” Then he grinned slyly. “I gotta tell you a secret Chris. Can you handle it?”
I was pretty drunk at this point - nowhere near Bill’s staggering level of functional drunkenness but I was definitely boozy, and where I’d probably have liked to keep my poker face my eyes widened as I imagined what dark secret he was about to bring me into. “Yeah man, of course.”
“Never seen the Internet porn stuff. Not once.”
My eyes must’ve left their sockets based on Bill’s awkward shift, like I’d broken the rules of our fast-bonding friendship by shaming him with my expression. “I...sorry,” I recovered,” I’m just amazed you got by without it! Like...how?”
“I dunno, just never needed it. I mean, not at first. I had magazines, and a few videos, and when that didn’t work I had my imagination. But mostly, you know, I had Lydia.” He sighed there, and I wasn’t sure if it was at how much he loved her or how far wrong things had gone since. Maybe both. “Anyway by the time I...coulda used it, I feel like the tech just kinda passed me by. And there’s nowhere I could watch it - couldn’t watch it at home because I’m sure Lydia woulda caught me and raised hell. Can’t watch it here - I know the school tracks those things, and I don’t know how to cover my tracks with stuff like that. So I never tried. Just...you know, kinda rub one out in the shower sometimes when I need to, that’s all. Anyway that stuff...it gives your computer viruses, doesn’t it?”
“Man,” I shook my head, taking that in. “Ok, well first of all, it’s not that techie to find, and no, it doesn’t usually give your computer viruses anymore. And second…” I pulled out my smartphone and opened Pornhub, clearly versed enough that I could look up a video one handed while holding a conversation. “We don’t have an IT department anymore to keep track of who looks at what videos or for anyone to even care, honestly.”
I opened something obvious from the front page - two bimbos going to town on one dude’s hog - and handed him my phone. He was instantly entranced - probably had a lot to do with how fucked up he’d got, but he was also shocked by the quality. “This is...unreal. And this is just...free?”
“Yep,” I nodded.
“How can I find this?”
“Well, there are a lot of different sites. This one is called Pornhub, it’s one of the easiest. You just put what you’re looking for in that search box, right there.”
“Well...what can I search for?”
I had to laugh a little. “Honestly anything. You’d be amazed how many pornographic videos there are for every single little thing that might possibly get someone off. What turns you on in a girl...besides Lydia?”
He chuckled mindlessly as I caught myself before he answered, knowing what his first answer would be. I don’t know I guess...a little older? Smaller frame? Tits not so big?”
I shook my head softly - he was, basically, describing his wife. “Try typing ‘petite milf.’”
“What’s a milf?”
“Just...just put it in the thing.”
Bill typed the words into the site and I chuckled as his eyes widened at the hundreds of options available to him. He chose one of the first - an attractive if severe looking woman being orally serviced by a young man clearly half her age - and leaned back dazily to take in a new and wondrous sight that the rest of us have so easily taken for granted.
I should have seen it coming, honestly. The long talk about bonding over pornography and masturbation, the long silence, how horny and drunk we both were, the space that had closed between us as I introduced him to the magic of Internet porn. But I was entranced by the erotic film he’d chosen; and, honestly, the erotic feeling of lurking over Bill’s shoulder, lost in sexuality. Then my hazy focus, so fixated on the admittedly incredibly hot film in which the older woman was now sucking the young man’s sizable cock, refocused just past the film to the movement in Bill’s crotch. His right hand was buried deep in his shorts, the already sizeable bulge now an impossible to miss hard-on that he was tugging on furiously. Of course I was looking for a way to eventually turn our “friendship” into something like this. I guess I just expected it to take a lot longer. And I expected to be the one to initiate it.
As if on cue I guess he glanced over at me, and I don’t know how he could tell my gaze had shifted from the screen to his crotch, but he grunted drunkly, uncomfortably. “Sorry man, it’s just been so long...”
Obviously he didn’t mean it had been so long since he jacked off - he’d already admitted to doing that regularly. I think maybe he meant this...this thing he’d talked about doing in the Air Force and which he clearly seemed to miss, jacking off in front of another guy he trusted and bonded with. Even if I didn’t find Bill sexy as Hell or have a plan that would have sent us both somewhere down this very road, the idea that Bill might trust me as much as his military friends, or at least enough to play with himself in front of me...well let’s be honest, I wasn’t going to embarrass my new friend by letting him be the only drunk pervert in the room. I unbuttoned my chinos and thrust an obvious hand into my pants, bringing to full attention the dick that had been at 80% since I caught him jacking it. My obvious self-molestation gave him the permission that I guess he needed to wrestle down his shorts, pull out his dick, and fully enjoy himself. I remember in my drunken state as we both openly stroked our cocks together thinking despite their differences how much like Tommy he really was, wanting so much to get off in his own way but also looking to me to join him as if to say “if you do it too then it’s not weird.”
He didn’t last much longer after that. Maybe a couple minutes, and a guttural, primal growl came from the back of his throat. No curses, no Gods or “ah yeahs” or “fucks,” just a deep moan of pent-up satisfaction as his eyes closed and then his balls unloaded, and he jerked wave after wave of cum...onto his athletic department t-shirt.
If Bill’s orgasm wasn’t enough to set me off, I could feel his drowsy attention turn to watching me. For a moment I stepped outside myself and saw the scene - Bill with his beercan cock hanging out, covered in his own come, holding porn on my phone in front of me so I could masturbate in front of him. He was almost twice my age and despite my time in the gym I was nowhere near as massive as him, so I couldn’t help but see him as the coach in every porno urging a naive player to jackoff for him so I could keep my spot on the team or something. I pulled up my dress shirt with my left hand as my right furiously abused my dick, and as I allowed myself the fantasy of hearing Bill’s deeply masculine voice say something, anything to encourage me, it set me off and I realized how futile my attempt to save my shirt was. My dick exploded, and I doused it in my own come.
Once I stopped gasping in ecstasy I kinda blinked and looked over at him. He was still watching me, and I thought he was still lost in watching my orgasm; then I realized he was looking at how absolutely drench my dress shirt was. And I looked over at his similar predicament, and then we just kinda laughed, the dumb drunk laugh of a couple college kids who realized they’d done something incredibly stupid that they’d probably regret when they were sober.
Bill peeled off the shirt, exposing his impressively muscled chest. I did my best not to stare even though I knew he’d probably be flattered. “What’re you gonna do,” I joked, unbuttoning my own shirt which fortunately had a tee underneath. “Go home like that?”
He chuckled and shook his head. “Short walk to my office. I’ve got like two dozen of these shirts. Just need to make sure Lyds doesn’t see what happened to this one.”
I looked at the clock. 1 am. I realized how ridiculous it was to care - Saturday night, and anyone still on campus would be too drunk to notice that Coach was shirtless, let alone that I was in a tee shirt. I worried too much.
Bill saw my gaze and acknowledged the time. “Yeah shit,” he said unsteadily, “I gotta head out anyway. If I don’t leave now I’ll pass out here and then I gotta hear about it from her tomorrow.” He stood, and his balance swam for a moment and I thought I’d have to catch him; then he steadied and waved me off and I realized he’d probably made this same walk home a thousand times before. As he opened the door I sensed the awkward speed of his exit, and I guess he did too. He turned back, looking at me uneasily. “Hey man we’re...we’re good right?”
“Absolutely,” I grinned. “But like...we’re doing this again yeah?” I emphasized this in case there was any doubt about what part of the evening I’d enjoyed the most.
He grinned back awkwardly and nodded. “Yeah.” And then he was gone.
——-
We were never really comfortable with just admitting that we enjoyed the experience of jacking off in front of each other. We always required multiple pretenses. We had to be drunk, and we had to acknowledge how horny we were, how long it had been since either of us had pussy. Sometimes I’d tell him about this crazy porn I’d seen, or he’d tell me about some fantasy he had knowing that I’d be able to find porn of it pretty much instantly. Often one of us would have to remind the other that this was temporary, that we were both just in a rough patch. But there was never a late night visit from that time on that didn’t include us jerking off in front of, and really for, each other. We started taking off our shirts after that first-time mistake, and eventually just got naked in front of each other. It was so freeing being naked in front of Bill, stroking madly with him in the flickering light of the porn I was casting to my TV. While his age and charisma intimidated me enough to not just have my way with him like I might’ve done with one of his students, I gathered my courage enough to admit to admiring his muscular body; and just as I suspected he loved the flattery, and would compliment my gym progress and give me tips, all while we were stroking, and it was erotic as hell.
And at some point - I was too drunk to remember how it happened, if he’d asked or if I’d admitted it or if he saw my reactions and sussed it out on his own - he realized how turned on I was hearing him talk about what he wanted turned him on about or what he wanted to do to the girl or girls on the screen, and he’d go out of his way to be vocal about his fantasies knowing that I’d come a hell of a lot harder. And sometimes, especially if he’d finished before I did, he’d lean into me and in his gravely voice describe in intimate detail how I’d savage the girls, and I’d thank him by blowing a powerful load on my chest. Then we’d towel off or shower in the bathroom in the back and either call it a night or continue along more mundane conversations.
That’s assuming we were both sober enough to continue. As our newly intimate “friendship” progressed he and I both drank more. A lot more. I was generally together enough not to lose total control, but he blacked out frequently, especially Saturday nights when he wasn’t pressed with responsibilities the next day. Fortunately he had the discipline not to do anything too insane - once we realized he was blacking out he’d recognize his vulnerability and default to doing what I told him. I know what you’re thinking, and no, I didn’t use those moments to make a pass at him or suck him off or whatever. That’s not how I wanted this to go. It had to be something he wanted. Something he chose. That’s how I’d know it was real. So usually I’d let him pass out on the couch or in my bed in the back, or if both of us were supremely fucked up he’d take one and I’d take the other. Except for that one night, that one Saturday night that we were far more gone than we’d been any other night, and all I could remember as darkness took me was his body pressed against mine.
The chaos of an alcohol-induced slumber gave way to the peaceful chirping of birds outside my window as I woke up. Then I realized I hadn’t woken up on my own - I’d been jostled. I looked up toward the Sunday morning light pouring in from the window to see Bill, buck ass naked, staring down at me in shock.
“What...what the hell happened?!” He was...angry? Confused? Still drunk, no question. I was still drunk and I hadn’t got nearly as fucked up as him.
I looked down at his cock, half-hard from, I suppose, morning wood. Then I processed what I was seeing and looked under my own covers. I was naked. I looked around the room - our clothes were tossed everywhere. I mean...I knew what happened, and I think he could guess what happened, but he needed me to say it. Or did he? Maybe it’d be better if I didn’t tell him.
“I...I don’t remember,” I said with absolutely no confidence.
Bill grunted at that. “You’re a shitty liar,” he said.
I shook my swimming head - just that motion disoriented me. “Ok I think I remember things but...I mean...I don’t want it to get...weird.”
He shrugged. “Like it’s not already weird?”
I sighed deeply - he wasn’t wrong. “I...I remember doing things on the couch, and then I was on the couch on top...oh God, I was on top of you...you...looked like you were really happy…”
Bill rolled his eyes and held up a hand. Either he didn’t believe it or he didn’t wanna hear anymore - I could totally understand either. “Let’s just...I don’t even wanna...fuck we didn’t even close the door.”
I looked over to the door to my office. It was wide open, and beyond I could see the full length mirror I’d set up in the corner for affirmation exercises. And beyond, the door to the counseling center was open…
“FUCK,” I breathed, “Bill the fucking doors are all open!!”
“Relax,” he mused, “No one comes in this building on Sundays. No one woulda seen anything.”
“No,” I whispered as though whispering would turn us both into ghosts and make us disappear. “Look! That mirror, it’s pointing out into the counseling center…”
“So?”
I clambered over the bed to find and struggle my underwear on. “There’s a security camera out there!”
I saw reality smack Bill in waves. He looked like a confused prize fighter being taken down by an invisible featherweight. Finally he sputtered, “Well fuck Chris why are the goddamned doors open?!”
I pulled on my shirt. “We...were smoking cigars and it got all smoky.” I stumbled out of the makeshift bedroom, into my office and then into the counseling area. Bill followed shortly behind - he’d found my robe hanging behind the door and put that on. He was in a robe and I was in underwear, but fuck it, if that camera caught what it probably caught that would be the least of our worries.
I logged into Joe’s computer, sweating whiskey and bullets. “I gotta have an excuse for why I logged in, he’s gonna see…”
“Fuck it, who gives a shit,” Bill seethed. He paced in short circles, undoubtedly imagining the holy hell if we HAD hooked up and a video of it ever found its way outside the office.
Finally I pulled it up. The recorded video file from the night before. I was just gonna just trash it; then curiosity hit me. “I...I could just delete it,” I swallowed dryly, my mouth a desert. “Or...we could play it first.”
Bill stopped dead. He looked at me emptily, I guess deciding if he’d prefer to know the whole truth or to be left always wondering. Finally he circled around the desk to stand behind me. “Fuck it,” was all he said.
I took a deep breath, clicked play, and fast forwarded to around 1 am. There it was. The camera was set far back in the counseling center but it was pointed directly at my door, and with the video in full screen we could easily see the two shapes sitting in my office, chatting, having a good time. We lit cigars. More talking. Suddenly, the larger of the two shapes, the broad muscled and silver haired man, leaned into the smaller. We were kissing. Then things seemed to get more aggressive. The larger shape pushed papers off the coffee table, yanked the smaller onto it, fiddled with his belt, and then buried its head in the smaller shape’s crotch. He was giving me a blowjob. After a few minutes I clearly returned the favor, his larger shape propped against the couch, head back, enjoying the experience of having finally had his cock sucked after far too long.
And then Bill and I watched as I pulled down my pants awkwardly, looming over him as he leaned back on the couch, and my ass thrusted forward. He was getting fucked.
“Fuck,” said Bill, predictably uncomfortable, “can we fast forward?”
I sped the video up. We fucked some on the couch, then stumbled half-dressed to the bedroom. The mirror in the corner of my office framed us perfectly. It was even harder to see what exactly was happening in bed, but from the movements and from what we’d already seen, it was pretty clear to both of us what we spent the rest of the night doing.
I glanced over at Bill who was leaning over my shoulder. I hazarded a glance down into his (my) open robe. He was hard. He was hard?
“Damn,” he said, and then left an awkward pause before saying plainly, “I kinda hoped I was on top once.”
I just stared at him in dead silence. He laughed. He LAUGHED. “Come on man, please don’t let this make things weird.” There was a troubled edge to what he’d tried to express casually. He was much, much more concerned about things being weird between us than WHY they might’ve gotten weird.”
I chuckled nervously. “Ok but...I wanna delete this file now.”
“Yeah yeah, of course, delete it,” he waved and stepped back contemplatively. He looked down the hall at the glass doors that led to the entrance area, as though someone might appear. Of course they wouldn’t - he was right, no one would be here on Sunday. He just looked up, rolling his eyes. “Starting to remember it anyway.”
“What do you remember?”
“You in my mouth,” he mumbled uncomfortably. “And inside me. I’m amazed my fuckin ass isn’t dying now, you were like a goddamn jackrabbit.”
He was suddenly so matter of fact and so cool about what he was now remembering that I had to shock-laugh. “How...how are you so cool about this?”
“I know this isn’t gonna make a lick of sense to you, but it does to me. Chris, it happens. I haven’t been with Lydia in forever. You haven’t been with your girl, what was her name, Lucy, in forever. We were drunk and lonely and desperate and super horny. A lot of guys went through the same thing when we were at Al Dhafra.”
“Yeah but you told me those guys just jacked off together, they didn’t…” he grinned slyly. “Wait…they did?”
He nodded awkwardly, acknowledging silently having left out what was obviously a key part of the story. “Yeah...like I said, desperate. I think pretty much much every dude in my unit paired off and fucked around at least once. Like your Greek warriors maybe. We never talked about it but we knew it happened. It wasn’t gay.” He paused and took in my shocked expression. “Well yeah, it was pretty gay I guess. But it was desperate gay. Prison gay. Also the worst kept secret on base.” He chuckled to himself. ”Pretty sure I was the only guy that didn’t do it. Maybe there was a part of me that always wondered what I missed out on. I guess now I know.”
I shook my head, just kinda taking in how cool he seemed to be with what happened. “Did you...I can’t believe I’m asking this...did you at least enjoy last night?”
He looked up and to the right, pondering it a bit. Then he smiled down at me. “Yeah. Yeah, I guess I did. Did you?”
I wasn’t as brave as him - I looked away, smiling awkwardly. “Yeah. I mean getting past the weirdness of it, it was so long since I’d been with anyone and it...it was pretty fucking amazing.” I looked down again, or rather eye level, at Bill’s erection poking through the robe. He saw my gaze and looked down at it himself. There was no denying it was there, and pretending he wasn’t clearly horny and inches from my face seemed absolutely futile. “The only thing is...I mean I fucked you, but did you fuck me?”
He pondered that. “I don’t think so.”
“That seems...unfair,” I said a bit weakly, grinning up at him sheepishly, offering a kind of unspoken “so maybe I’m curious about what it’d be like to get fucked now.”
He grinned down at me. “Did you stop that camera? Is it recording us?”
I chuckled. “It’s stopped.”
“Good. I don’t have anywhere to be for a while. So...maybe you and I can fill in some of the gaps from last night?”
He thrust his erection lightly toward my face. I grasped it in one hand, pointing it to my lips. I looked up. “No matter what, this stays between us, right?”
He nodded, putting a hand behind my head. “Just between us,” he insisted, and pushed his cock into my mouth.
——-
If you haven’t looked into some of the pioneering research into memory by Beth Loftus, I highly recommend it. Loftus is the leading authority on false memory, having proven in multiple studies how hilariously and spectacularly unreliable our own memories can be. We want to believe that our memories are sacrosanct keepers of truthful personal experiences, but in reality memories are wildly easy to hack and manipulate. In particular when there are specific gaps in our memory you might assume that we accept that emptiness and move on but in truth we struggle unconsciously with the fear and implications of memory loss and we will cling to any evidence of our activities that might fill in those gaps, even allowing the implications of that evidence to imprint themselves as apparently genuine memory, whatever those new, and potentially false, memories might cause us to question about ourselves.
His name was George. He was an escort based in Gatlinburg, and like a lot of escorts based in the Tennessee mountains who swore they weren’t gay, they just needed the money, he was older and muscular and manly and a “total top.” He didn’t need to be a perfect match. His broad upper body and silver grey hair and perpetual stubble were exactly what I needed. I sent him a message online, and he called me on my cell. $200, he said, plus expenses to get to and from Copperhill, for one night. Only thing: he never bottomed, and was never going to. I countered: $350 if that “only thing” could go away. I heard the agonized pause in his voice, the calculus he weighed before he agreed. $350 is a lot of money in rural Tennessee, first dick in the ass or not.
He arrived at my office on a Saturday night, a night I’d told Bill I was going to have a rare late evening client so we couldn’t meet for our usual drink-and-chat. I offered him a cigar and a few glasses of Maker’s Mark, and we shared a little friendly banter. When I’d had a few drinks in me I told him my fantasy: that we’re just a couple of friends who get way too drunk, that he makes a move on me, that we’d trade blowjobs on my couch and coffee table and I’d take his virginity on my couch, then we’d move on to the bedroom in the back of my office where I’d fuck him senseless. He blanched at that, but he’d agreed and come all this way. He knew it was part of the deal.
After George left Sunday morning I collected and saved the remnants of the cigars, and I even took a picture of the room as it looked, papers strewn from the coffee table where George had in his zest to play his role pushed them aside, so I could recreate it exactly. Most importantly I checked the video recording of our tryst. The low quality feed didn’t perfectly capture either George’s face or mine, just the general shapes and colors and movements of our bodies and heads. But of course, that was the point. I just needed Bill, watching later, to see a blurry and redated video of what could only logically be he and I and the culmination of one evening’s stupid, drunken mistake and, with the replanted cigars and papers and my having carried his blackout self into bed with me and tossed off his clothes, for him to decide that we’d not only had sex, that he’d not only taken my dick inside him, but that he’d absolutely loved every moment of it. From there, he could choose: accept that it was a one night thing, a crazy drunken moment between friends that would never happen again; or decide that he wanted it to be the first of many drunken moments we’d have together and hide together from the rest of the town.
I could work with either choice. He just happened to pick my favorite.
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2020.08.02 17:59 CuteBananaMuffin Archaeological Cover-Ups - A Plot to Control History ?

by Will Hart
Extracted from Nexus Magazine
April-May 2002
from NexusMagazine Website

The scientific establishment tends to reject, suppress or ignore evidence
that conflicts with accepted theories, while denigrating or persecuting the messenger.
"The Brain Police" and "The Big Lie"
Any time you allege a conspiracy is afoot, especially in the field of science, you are treading on thin ice. We tend to be very skeptical about conspiracies--unless the Mafia or some Muslim radicals are behind the alleged plot. But the evidence is overwhelming and the irony is that much of it is in plain view.
The good news is that the players are obvious. Their game plan and even their play-by-play tactics are transparent, once you learn to spot them. However, it is not so easy to penetrate through the smokescreen of propaganda and disinformation to get to their underlying motives and goals. It would be convenient if we could point to a plumber's unit and a boldface liar like Richard Nixon, but this is a more subtle operation.
The bad news: the conspiracy is global and there are many vested interest groups. A cursory investigation yields the usual suspects: scientists with a theoretical axe to grind, careers to further and the status quo to maintain. Their modus operandi is "The Big Lie" -- and the bigger and more widely publicized, the better.
They rely on invoking their academic credentials to support their arguments, and the presumption is that no one has the right to question their authoritarian pronouncements that:
there is no mystery about who built the Great Pyramid or what the methods of construction were, and the Sphinx shows no signs of water damage there were no humans in the Americas before 20,000 BC the first civilization dates back no further than 6000 BC there are no documented anomalous, unexplained or enigmatic data to take into account there are no lost or unaccounted-for civilizations.
Let the evidence to the contrary be damned!
Personal Attacks: Dispute over Age of the Sphinx and Great Pyramid
In 1993, NBC in the USA aired The Mysteries of the Sphinx, which presented geological evidence showing that the Sphinx was at least twice as old (9,000 years) as Egyptologists claimed. It has become well known as the "water erosion controversy". An examination of the politicking that Egyptologists deployed to combat this undermining of their turf is instructive.
Self-taught Egyptologist John Anthony West brought the water erosion issue to the attention of geologist Dr Robert Schoch. They went to Egypt and launched an intensive on-site investigation. After thoroughly studying the Sphinx first hand, the geologist came to share West's preliminary conclusion and they announced their findings.
Dr Zahi Hawass, the Giza Monuments chief, wasted no time in firing a barrage of public criticism at the pair. Renowned Egyptologist Dr Mark Lehner, who is regarded as the world's foremost expert on the Sphinx, joined his attack. He charged West and Schoch with being "ignorant and insensitive". That was a curious accusation which took the matter off the professional level and put the whole affair on a personal plane. It did not address the facts or issues at all and it was highly unscientific.
But we must note the standard tactic of discrediting anyone who dares to call the accepted theories into question. Shifting the focus away from the issues and "personalizing" the debate is a highly effective strategy--one which is often used by politicians who feel insecure about their positions. Hawass and Lehner invoked their untouchable status and presumed authority. (One would think that a geologist's assessment would hold more weight on this particular point.)
A short time later, Schoch, Hawass and Lehner were invited to debate the issue at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. West was not allowed to participate because he lacked the required credentials.
This points to a questionable assumption that is part of the establishment's arsenal: only degreed scientists can practice science. Two filters keep the uncredentialled, independent researcher out of the loop: (1) credentials, and (2) peer review. You do not get to number two unless you have number one.
Science is a method that anyone can learn and apply. It does not require a degree to observe and record facts and think critically about them, especially in the non-technical social sciences. In a free and open society, science has to be a democratic process.
Be that as it may, West was barred. The elements of the debate have been batted back and forth since then without resolution. It is similar to the controversy over who built the Giza pyramids and how.
This brings up the issue of The Big Lie and how it has been promoted for generations in front of God and everyone. The controversy over how the Great Pyramid was constructed is one example. It could be easily settled if Egyptologists wanted to resolve the dispute. A simple test could be designed and arranged by impartial engineers that would either prove or disprove their longstanding disputed theory--that it was built using the primitive tools and methods of the day, circa 2500 BC.
Why hasn't this been done?
The answer is so obvious, it seems impossible: they know that the theory is bogus. Could a trained, highly educated scientist really believe that 2.3 million tons of stone, some blocks weighing 70 tons, could have been transported and lifted by primitive methods? That seems improbable, though they have no compunction against lying to the public, writing textbooks and defending this theory against alternative theories. However, we must note that they will not subject themselves to the bottom-line test.
We think it is incumbent upon any scientist to bear the burden of proof of his/her thesis; however, the social scientists who make these claims have never stood up to that kind of scrutiny. That is why we must suspect a conspiracy. No other scientific discipline would get away with bending the rules of science. All that Egyptologists have ever done is bat down alternative theories using underhanded tactics. It is time to insist that they prove their own proposals.
Why would scientists try to hide the truth and avoid any test of their hypothesis? Their motivations are equally transparent. If it can be proved that the Egyptians did not build the Great Pyramid in 2500 BC using primitive methods, or if the Sphinx can be dated to 9000 BC, the whole house of cards comes tumbling down. Orthodox views of cultural evolution are based upon a chronology of civilization having started in Sumeria no earlier than 4000 BC. The theory does not permit an advanced civilization to have existed prior to that time. End of discussion. Archaeology and history lose their meaning without a fixed timeline as a point of reference.
Since the theory of "cultural evolution" has been tied to Darwin's general theory of evolution, even more is at stake. Does this explain why facts, anomalies and enigmas are denied, suppressed and/or ignored? Yes, it does.
The biological sciences today are based on Darwinism.
Pressure Tactics: The Ica Stones of Peru
Now we turn to another, very different case. In 1966, Dr Javier Cabrera received a stone as a gift from a poor local farmer in his native Ica, Peru. A fish was carved on the stone, which would not have meant much to the average villager but it did mean a lot to the educated Dr Cabrera. He recognized it as a long-extinct species. This aroused his curiosity. He purchased more stones from the farmer, who said he had collected them near the river after a flood.
Dr Cabrera accumulated more and more stones, and word of their existence and potential import reached the archaeological community. Soon, the doctor had amassed thousands of "Ica stones". The sophisticated carvings were as enigmatic as they were fascinating. Someone had carved men fighting with dinosaurs, men with telescopes and men performing operations with surgical equipment. They also contained drawings of lost continents.
Several of the stones were sent to Germany and the etchings were dated to remote antiquity. But we all know that men could not have lived at the time of dinosaurs; Homo sapiens has only existed for about 100,000 years.
The BBC got wind of this discovery and swooped down to produce a documentary about the Ica stones. The media exposure ignited a storm of controversy. Archaeologists criticized the Peruvian government for being lax about enforcing antiquities laws (but that was not their real concern). Pressure was applied to government officials.
The farmer who had been selling the stones to Cabrera was arrested; he claimed to have found them in a cave but refused to disclose the exact location to authorities, or so they claimed.
This case was disposed of so artfully that it would do any corrupt politician proud. The Peruvian government threatened to prosecute and imprison the farmer. He was offered and accepted a plea bargain; he then recanted his story and "admitted" to having carved the stones himself. That seems highly implausible, since he was uneducated and unskilled and there were 11,000 stones in all. Some were fairly large and intricately carved with animals and scenes that the farmer would not have had knowledge of without being a paleontologist. He would have needed to work every day for several decades to produce that volume of stones. However, the underlying facts were neither here nor there. The Ica stones were labeled "hoax" and forgotten.
The case did not require a head-to-head confrontation or public discrediting of non-scientists by scientists; it was taken care of with invisible pressure tactics. Since it was filed under "hoax", the enigmatic evidence never had to be dealt with, as it did in the next example.
Censorship of "Forbidden" Thinking - Evidence for Mankind's Great Antiquity
The case of author Michael Cremo is well documented, and it also demonstrates how the scientific establishment openly uses pressure tactics on the media and government. His book Forbidden Archeology examines many previously ignored examples of artifacts that prove modern man's antiquity far exceeds the age given in accepted chronologies.
The examples which he and his co-author present are controversial, but the book became far more controversial than the contents when it was used in a documentary.
In 1996, NBC broadcast a special called The Mysterious Origins of Man, which featured material from Cremo's book. The reaction from the scientific community went off the Richter scale. NBC was deluged with letters from irate scientists who called the producer "a fraud" and the whole program "a hoax".
But the scientists went further than this--a lot further. In an extremely unconscionable sequence of bizarre moves, they tried to force NBC not to rebroadcast the popular program, but that effort failed. Then they took the most radical step of all: they presented their case to the federal government and requested the Federal Communications Commission to step in and bar NBC from airing the program again.
This was not only an apparent infringement of free speech and a blatant attempt to thwart commerce, it was an unprecedented effort to censor intellectual discourse. If the public or any government agency made an attempt to handcuff the scientific establishment, the public would never hear the end of it.
The letter to the FCC written by Dr Allison Palmer, President of the Institute for Cambrian Studies, is revealing:
At the very least, NBC should be required to make substantial prime-time apologies to their viewing audience for a sufficient period of time so that the audience clearly gets the message that they were duped. In addition, NBC should perhaps be fined sufficiently so that a major fund for public science education can be established.
I think we have some good leads on who "the Brain Police" are. And I really do not think "conspiracy" is too strong a word--because for every case of this kind of attempted suppression that is exposed, 10 others are going on successfully.
We have no idea how many enigmatic artifacts or dates have been labeled "error" and tucked away in storage warehouses or circular files, never to see the light of day.
Data Rejection
Inconvenient Dating in Mexico
Then there is the high-profile case of Dr Virginia Steen-McIntyre, a geologist working for the US Geological Survey (USGS), who was dispatched to an archaeological site in Mexico to date a group of artifacts in the 1970s. This travesty also illustrates how far established scientists will go to guard orthodox tenets.
McIntyre used state-of-the-art equipment and backed up her results by using four different methods, but her results were off the chart. The lead archaeologist expected a date of 25,000 years or less, and the geologist's finding was 250,000 years or more.
The figure of 25,000 years or less was critical to the Bering Strait "crossing" theory, and it was the motivation behind the head archaeologist's tossing Steen-McIntyre's results in the circular file and asking for a new series of dating tests. This sort of reaction does not occur when dates match the expected chronological model that supports accepted theories.
Steen-McIntyre was given a chance to retract her conclusions, but she refused. She found it hard thereafter to get her papers published and she lost a teaching job at an American university.
Government Suppression and Ethnocentrism
Avoiding Anomalous Evidence in NZ, China and Mexico
In New Zealand, the government actually stepped in and enacted a law forbidding the public from entering a controversial archaeological zone. This story appeared in the book, Ancient Celtic New Zealand, by Mark Doutré.
However, as we will find (and as I promised at the beginning of the article), this is a complicated conspiracy. Scientists trying to protect their "hallowed" theories while furthering their careers are not the only ones who want artifacts and data suppressed. This is where the situation gets sticky.
The Waipoua Forest became a controversial site in New Zealand because an archaeological dig apparently showed evidence of a non-Polynesian culture that preceded the Maori--a fact that the tribe was not happy with. They learned of the results of the excavations before the general public did and complained to the government. According to Doutré, the outcome was "an official archival document, which clearly showed an intention by New Zealand government departments to withhold archaeological information from public scrutiny for 75 years".
The public got wind of this fiasco but the government denied the claim. However, official documents show that an embargo had been placed on the site. Doutré is a student of New Zealand history and archaeology. He is concerned because he says that artifacts proving that there was an earlier culture which preceded the Maori are missing from museums.
He asks what happened to several anomalous remains:
Where are the ancient Indo-European hair samples (wavy red brown hair), originally obtained from a rock shelter near Watakere, that were on display at the Auckland War Memorial Museum for many years? Where is the giant skeleton found near Mitimati?
Unfortunately this is not the only such incident. Ethnocentrism has become a factor in the conspiracy to hide mankind's true history. Author Graham Hancock has been attacked by various ethnic groups for reporting similar enigmatic findings.
The problem for researchers concerned with establishing humanity's true history is that the goals of nationalists or ethnic groups who want to lay claim to having been in a particular place first, often dovetail with the goals of cultural evolutionists.
Archaeologists are quick to go along with suppressing these kinds of anomalous finds. One reason Egyptologists so jealously guard the Great Pyramid's construction date has to do with the issue of national pride.
The case of the Takla Makan Desert mummies in western China is another example of this phenomenon. In the 1970s and 1980s, an unaccounted-for Caucasian culture was suddenly unearthed in China. The arid environment preserved the remains of a blond-haired, blue-eyed people who lived in pre-dynastic China. They wore colorful robes, boots, stockings and hats. The Chinese were not happy about this revelation and they have downplayed the enigmatic find, even though Asians were found buried alongside the Caucasian mummies.
National Geographic writer Thomas B. Allen mused in a 1996 article about his finding a potsherd bearing a fingerprint of the potter. When he inquired if he could take the fragment to a forensic anthropologist, the Chinese scientist asked whether he "would be able to tell if the potter was a white man". Allen said he was not sure, and the official pocketed the fragment and quietly walked away. It appears that many things get in the way of scientific discovery and disclosure.
The existence of the Olmec culture in Old Mexico has always posed a problem. Where did the Negroid people depicted on the colossal heads come from? Why are there Caucasians carved on the stele in what is Mexico's seed civilization? What is worse, why aren't the indigenous Mexican people found on the Olmec artifacts?
Recently a Mexican archaeologist solved the problem by making a fantastic claim: that the Olmec heads -- which generations of people of all ethnic groups have agreed bear a striking resemblance to Africans -- were really representations of the local tribe.
STORM-TROOPERS FOR DARWINISM
The public does not seem at all aware of the fact that the scientific establishment has a double standard when it comes to the free flow of information. In essence, it goes like this... Scientists are highly educated, well trained and intellectually capable of processing all types of information, and they can make the correct critical distinctions between fact and fiction, reality and fantasy. The unwashed public is simply incapable of functioning on this high mental plane.
The noble ideal of the scientist as a highly trained, impartial, apolitical observer and assembler of established facts into a useful body of knowledge seems to have been shredded under the pressures and demands of the real world. Science has produced many positive benefits for society; but we should know by now that science has a dark, negative side. Didn't those meek fellows in the clean lab coats give us nuclear bombs and biological weapons? The age of innocence ended in World War II.
That the scientific community has an attitude of intellectual superiority is thinly veiled under a carefully orchestrated public relations guise. We always see Science and Progress walking hand in hand. Science as an institution in a democratic society has to function in the same way as the society at large; it should be open to debate, argument and counter-argument. There is no place for unquestioned authoritarianism. Is modern science meeting these standards?
In the Fall of 2001, PBS aired a seven-part series, titled Evolution. Taken at face value, that seems harmless enough. However, while the program was presented as pure, objective, investigative science journalism, it completely failed to meet even minimum standards of impartial reporting. The series was heavily weighted towards the view that the theory of evolution is "a science fact" that is accepted by "virtually all reputable scientists in the world", and not a theory that has weaknesses and strong scientific critics.
The series did not even bother to interview scientists who have criticisms of Darwinism: not "creationists" but bona fide scientists. To correct this deficiency, a group of 100 dissenting scientists felt compelled to issue a press release, "A Scientific Dissent on Darwinism", on the day the first program was scheduled to go to air. Nobel nominee Henry "Fritz" Schaefer was among them. He encouraged open public debate of Darwin's theory:
Some defenders of Darwinism embrace standards of evidence for evolution that as scientists they would never accept in other circumstances.
We have seen this same "unscientific" approach applied to archaeology and anthropology, where "scientists" simply refuse to prove their theories yet appoint themselves as the final arbiters of "the facts". It would be naive to think that the scientists who cooperated in the production of the series were unaware that there would be no counter-balancing presentation by critics of Darwin's theory.
Richard Milton is a science journalist. He had been an ardent true believer in Darwinian doctrine until his investigative instincts kicked in one day. After 20 years of studying and writing about evolution, he suddenly realized that there were many disconcerting holes in the theory. He decided to try to allay his doubts and prove the theory to himself by using the standard methods of investigative journalism.
Milton became a regular visitor to London's famed Natural History Museum. He painstakingly put every main tenet and classic proof of Darwinism to the test. The results shocked him. He found that the theory could not even stand up to the rigors of routine investigative journalism.
The veteran science writer took a bold step and published a book titled The Facts of Life: Shattering the Myths of Darwinism. It is clear that the Darwinian myth had been shattered for him, but many more myths about science would also be crushed after his book came out. Milton says:
I experienced the witch-hunting activity of the Darwinist police at first hand - it was deeply disappointing to find myself being described by a prominent Oxford zoologist [Richard Dawkins] as "loony", "stupid" and "in need of psychiatric help" in response to purely scientific reporting.
(Does this sound like stories that came out of the Soviet Union 20 years ago when dissident scientists there started speaking out?)
Dawkins launched a letter-writing campaign to newspaper editors, implying that Milton was a "mole" creationist whose work should be dismissed. Anyone at all familiar with politics will recognize this as a standard Machiavellian by-the-book "character assassination" tactic. Dawkins is a highly respected scientist, whose reputation and standing in the scientific community carry a great deal of weight.
According to Milton, the process came to a head when the London Times Higher Education Supplement commissioned him to write a critique of Darwinism. The publication foreshadowed his coming piece: "Next Week: Darwinism - Richard Milton goes on the attack". Dawkins caught wind of this and wasted no time in nipping this heresy in the bud. He contacted the editor, Auriol Stevens, and accused Milton of being a "creationist", and prevailed upon Stevens to pull the plug on the article. Milton learned of this behind-the-scenes backstabbing and wrote a letter of appeal to Stevens. In the end, she caved in to Dawkins and scratched the piece.
Imagine what would happen if a politician or bureaucrat used such pressure tactics to kill a story in the mass media. It would ignite a huge scandal. Not so with scientists, who seem to be regarded as "sacred cows" and beyond reproach. There are many disturbing facts related to these cases. Darwin's theory of evolution is the only theory routinely taught in our public school system that has never been subjected to rigorous scrutiny; nor have any of the criticisms been allowed into the curriculum.
This is an interesting fact, because a recent poll showed that the American public wants the theory of evolution taught to their children; however, "71 per cent of the respondents say biology teachers should teach both Darwinism and scientific evidence against Darwinian theory". Nevertheless, there are no plans to implement this balanced approach.
It is ironic that Richard Dawkins has been appointed to the position of Professor of the Public Understanding of Science at Oxford University. He is a classic "Brain Police" stormtrooper, patrolling the neurological front lines. The Western scientific establishment and mass media pride themselves on being open public forums devoid of prejudice or censorship. However, no television program examining the flaws and weaknesses of Darwinism has ever been aired in Darwin's home country or in America. A scientist who opposes the theory cannot get a paper published.
The Mysterious Origins of Man was not a frontal attack on Darwinism; it merely presented evidence that is considered anomalous by the precepts of his theory of evolution.
Returning to our bastions of intellectual integrity, Forest Mims was a solid and skilled science journalist. He had never been the centre of any controversy and so he was invited to write the most-read column in the prestigious Scientific American, "The Amateur Scientist", a task he gladly accepted. According to Mims, the magazine's editor Jonathan Piel then learned that he also wrote articles for a number of Christian magazines.
The editor called Mims into his office and confronted him.
"Do you believe in the theory of evolution?" Piel asked. Mims replied, "No, and neither does Stephen Jay Gould."
His response did not affect Piel's decision to bump Mims off the popular column after just three articles.
This has the unpleasant odor of a witch-hunt. The writer never publicly broadcast his private views or beliefs, so it would appear that the "stormtroopers" now believe they have orders to make sure "unapproved" thoughts are never publicly disclosed.
Taboo or Not Taboo?
So, the monitors of "good thinking" are not just the elite of the scientific community, as we have seen in several cases; they are television producers and magazine editors as well. It seems clear that they are all driven by the singular imperative of furthering "public science education", as the president of the Cambrian Institute so aptly phrased it.
However, there is a second item on the agenda, and that is to protect the public from "unscientific" thoughts and ideas that might infect the mass mind.
We outlined some of those taboo subjects at the beginning of the article; now we should add that it is also "unwholesome" and "unacceptable" to engage in any of the following research pursuits:
paranormal phenomena UFOs cold fusion and free energy,
...and all the rest of the "pseudo-sciences".
Does this have a familiar ring to it? Are we hearing the faint echoes of religious zealotry? Who ever gave science the mission of engineering and directing the inquisitive pursuits of the citizenry of the free world?
It is all but impossible for any scientific paper that has anti-Darwinian ramifications to be published in a mainstream scientific journal. It is also just as impossible to get the "taboo" subjects even to the review table, and you can forget about finding your name under the title of any article in Nature unless you are a credentialed scientist, even if you are the next Albert Einstein.
To restate how this conspiracy begins, it is with two filters: credentials and peer review. Modern science is now a maze of such filters set up to promote certain orthodox theories and at the same time filter out that data already prejudged to be unacceptable. Evidence and merit are not the guiding principles; conformity and position within the established community have replaced objectivity, access and openness.
Scientists do not hesitate to launch the most outrageous personal attacks against those they perceive to be the enemy. Eminent paleontologist Louis Leakey penned this acid one-liner about Forbidden Archeology:
"Your book is pure humbug and does not deserve to be taken seriously by anyone but a fool."
Once again, we see the thrust of a personal attack; the merits of the evidence presented in the book are not examined or debated. It is a blunt, authoritarian pronouncement.
In a forthcoming installment, we will examine some more documented cases and delve deeper into the subtler dimensions of the conspiracy.
References and Resources:
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2020.07.27 17:32 pahohi1327JJul Christian Harmony Da-ting Si-te

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2020.07.27 17:26 pahohi1327JJul When Should a Christian Start Da-ting ?

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