Seems like one has to say the painfully obvious: If there are no guns, there are no gun incidents. The basic principle to strive for a safe and civilised society are not trusted to the state. Instead gun owners seem to believe in Social-Darwinism. May the world be bad, may it be full of “manics”, the issue for the average American gun owner might be that a maniac is being quicker in pulling his gun. Game over.

Schools are death traps, according to Andrew Pollack, an unnerved father of one of the victims in the shooting in the Stoneman Douglas High School. That’s why he is demanding body scanners in front of schools.

“You can’t get into a court house with any type of weapon, you can’t get on to a plane, so why can it happen in a school, and why has it already happened, I think over 200 times in this country. I’m pissed off and I’m angry it keeps happening. It’s stopping…it’s going to stop now with my kid” [ source ]

I feel for him. But this is the approach of a vision-lacking, law abiding citizen with no own thoughts about anything outside his own vicinity. That is how the atmosphere of “1984” by Orwell, how Stalin, how Hitler and exploitation came to exist: by keeping your head within a sickening system. The answer to stop massacres executed with guns is so simple, yet, it is artificially stylised to a political matter that demands a discussion. We all know it is because of profit and a misunderstood freedom to carry arms. more

All of us get fear drummed into our heads every day. From the news, from the Porsches and the blanket-man at the curb, from colleagues… from the elevated paradigm of constant competition. This fear lets us shift gears in that rat race instead of slowing down and help those who have fallen. The latter group is constantly growing – so if you stop with dignity and help, it will be us, resting.

I get reminded sometimes – and I remember hearing it even from my grandparents who got through WWII – that things ‘could be worse’. So I humbly have to accept the situation I am in, which is way better than it ‘could be’? Well, humility is something everyone should own. Humility should not reach the sphere of resignation though. I am talking about the way of the middle. One living in a government-sponsored house might say that things are not as bad and one should be happy to have shelter, others shout out to the gods when they drop their iPhone – and cannot afford a new one.

What is the way of the middle? To live in a rental and own an Android phone? It’s not about that. Life is always suffering, to follow the words of Buddha. True that: Problems come in all forms and any intensity; yet we all struggle with them. Frankly, just fight the situation and do complain silently and start changing. Never use the term ‘it could be worse’ unless it’s a current loss. Think ‘it needs to change’ ( or ‘I’). However, think about whether some things are worth changing. In other words: Get priorities straight. more

A challenge forces the brain figuratively to leave the comfort zone and enter a terrain of uncertainty. As a result it creates a gap of information to support one’s view on an issue and leaves gaps in the brain’s structure of knowledge. This “uncertainty effect” has been scientifically evaluated in 2006 by the Boston MIT and led to disturbing conclusions: The brain replaces missing information with an inexplicable fright, an “irrational by-product of not knowing — that keeps us from focusing on the possibility of future rewards”. Frankly: People want to know what they are already inclined to believe.

There has been a paradigm shift in the way we inform ourselves. Eight of ten people in the developed world using the internet. That´s more than most elections have at the ballot. About every fourth internet user is predominantly visiting social networks to use them as an information source. And people still use search engines. While Microsoft’s Bing has an estimated user base of 200 Million searches in 24 hours, Google gets hit with about 3.5 billion search the same day. There are one billion websites available today, with another 5 new ones published each second.

What effect has that abundance of information available to us? With the rise of the internet information sits right at our fingertips — regardless of its quality. Search algorithms, the categorisation of data by program, are ultimately affecting what information we consume. For example, search engines use your location to present results close to you. Or do you think this little bakery around the corner is world-renowned? In the original documents of the Stanford University of California, two students described how to create a search engine that delivers results as “an objective measure of its citation importance that corresponds well with people’s subjective idea of importance”. Again: “people’s subjective idea of importance.” Pagerank. That is Google’s initial white-paper from 1997. The search-rank of a webpage is determined fundamentally by the back-links from other webpages; frankly by the attention a site is already getting on the internet. What seems like a catch-twenty-two for newborn website, is yet a fundamental algorithm (amongst others) that influence our perception of the world. more

Imagine when you have to work 30-odd years to afford a two-bedroom house (or just the rent), trying to keep your head above water, moving to places that your job demands and not your lifestyle. This is anything but Kiwi. A devastated social structure is what current economics leave behind and while the rest of the developed world is moving to the right because of this.

A couple of years ago, at the New Zealand writer’s festival in Christchurch, famous author Keri Hulme resigned from her remote home in Okarito. A very, very small place down south at the west coast used to be a tight-knit community of locals that shared the same values. These values are shattered now. That’s why Keri Hulme said, she will move to the East Coast, looking for another retreat. What happened in Okarito?

New Zealanders are living on a remote island which is prone to nature’s disasters. Life can be rough, especially down south-west. Communal life is a cornerstone of society where your neighbours are no strangers and, at best, friends. One needs each other as natural events are humbling reminders of human’s place in the world.

The small islands in the southern hemisphere seemed quite isolated from the world’s issues. However, it just seems this way. Over the recent years, whilst trying to keep up with the OECD standards and a neoliberal agenda of “the markets”, New Zealand has become an export country for clean natural products. At the same time, it became a safe haven for a certain kind of refugees: The rich ones. more

This is not just a matter anymore for EU politicians but for every European citizen to remember that there is actually something which has been abstract and in Brussels for the past years. As a European people may now start to ask more concretely what the EU actually stands for. The UK may be hit the hardest; by exiting they will definitely teach the world, themselves included, what the union means.

– or: why I’ve despised the idea of Britain leaving and now I think it’s good.

The UK is leaving the European Union based on a referendum which was decided rather on irrational grounds. It will most probably not bear the fruits that the pro-brexit voters hope for and most of them – and all others too – don’t know what they’re in for. In fact, it is speculation until now and it will be for quite some time. However, speculation is one of the corner stones of our current economy. The whole stock market is based on irrational decisions and expectations, not to say on vague feelings on top of facts.
The same is valid for everyone voting in the British referendum: The ones who feared the exit and the ones who apparently loathed the European Union enough to say YES to the exit and maybe even ponder after. In this case it is the downside of direct democracy – and Aristoteles warned already to be wary of the reign of the mob. However, the “mob” are all the people who may not have political insight (an issue one has to blame politics for) but live with their fears and everyday issues. What people address all around the globe is the issue that nobody seems to take care of their needs and demands.

It is pretty much comparable to someone who urges a doctor for treatment, without knowing what the treatment is but being able to vaguely express the symptoms. There is a story about asian doctors that get paid as long as their patients are happy, not when they’re sick. Projected upon politicians, it is their duty to prevent people from getting into dire situations at all.

In defence of politicians though it has to be said that Westerners are living on a non-sustainable standard and every inch of degradation of that creates outrage. And Westerners seem to have taken over a demanding mentality and therefore expect a service of politicians. They expect someone who can fix this. As people expect doctors to patch them up. The issue that a lot of illnesses start due to a wrong lifestyle and hence is caused by one self, does not come to mind.

Enough comparing doctors and politicians.  We know how the world ticks nowadays and that politicians do not seem to be able to cope with an ongoing lobbyism. Especially European processes are slow and distant from EU citizens while the turnaround on the markets as such is very high — as are the downsides of it. People are exposed more to economic decisions than to political ones. Who can feel the power of a government anymore?

The UK was a nagger to the European members – no doubt about that. The Britains always had a distinctive approach to things which was not just to keep the British pound but demanding more power for the house of commons to block EU legislation at their liking, limiting the
It was good for the EU when the UK was there. And the UK should have stayed. That’s what I believed until today, after the decision was made. But reflecting upon the past when the UK was all-in, one has to ask what they actually achieved in changing the EU as the lobby-ridden, slow moving apparatus. The exit is a tough result for all of the European countries – and probably the world. But it is definitely a chance for Europe because it has to redefine what the European Union actually is.

This is not just a matter anymore for EU politicians but for every European citizen to remember that there is actually something which has been abstract and in Brussels for the past years. As a European people may now start to ask more concretely what the EU actually stands for. The UK may be hit the hardest; by exiting they will definitely teach the world, themselves included, what the union means.

The Brexit may be doomed as a silly act of a direct democracy. The situation the world is in, tightened in the grip of economic greed and debt, demands more than discussions. It demands actions, how silly the reasoning might be. But the sorrows of the people which cannot address a certain threat (neo-liberalism as such) at least release their anger and shape a reality afar from lobby-influenced politics. Simply put: If the UK would have stayed in the EU, the outcome would not have been better either. Sadly it has to be said that no change seems worse than any nowadays.

Ironic though that the UK was the birthplace of the neoliberal idea that I see as the underlaying foundation of the European problems which has made them turn their back on liberalism in a certain way.

He most probably won’t, but everyone who ever heard of Donald Trump may have had thought about what happens if Trump gets elected president. Maybe even a few of his supporters. This article asks the “what if” question and scratches along some issues that made the rise of Trump-superstar even possible.
Concluding from Trumps behaviour and his claims, which seem to follow no reasoning but his own mood, it seems unpredictable what Trump will do next. However, a picture can be drawn of a future where Trump is American president from this very unpredictability if we apply the paradigms of modern capitalism. These may be arguable but for an outlook on things they shall serve as basic premises of political mechanics on a global scale.
There are some commonly known paradigms about the modern world. For once, if you cannot put a price tag on something, it´s of no value. That includes humans, art as such and education to some degree. Another fact is that democracy is a facade, if not a show. For the latter, America is a role model not just in putting up electoral shows but abusing “democracy” for imperialistic causes.
Values are attached to interests, hence they diverge from any socio-economic view. There is corporate interest in a economic manner; there is corporate interest in a social manner; there is individual interest – the hardest one to determine, especially with Donald Trump. All of them exist and interfere, creating an entwined pattern that constantly changes its shape. However, it seems that economic corporate interest is currently dictating life, enabling billionaires to even get considered by voters for a political role in a democracy. This fact points to the core of the (democratic) issue: that people support candidates but do not make candidates. The USA are  a pioneering nation in putting up the right show for the election of presidential candidates where the voter’s support is just that: support, not election.
Why would that be?
more

Doch weder hier sind substanzielle Ansätze zu hören, noch schafft Petry es, sich von Hassrednern zu distanzieren. Man bekommt Petry nicht wenigstens zum Eingeständnis fehlendem Anstands. Subtrahiert man ihre (zum Teil berechtigte) Wut auf das System, bleibt doch nur eine durchschnittliche Politikerin, formatlos wie jene, gegen welche sie wettert – gefährlich wie jene, die dogmatisch-ultranational ihren Haß ausgießen.

Es ist nicht allein das Interview in Englisch, was Frauke Petry zu schaffen macht. Es ist journalistische Leistung des Londoner Journalisten Tim Sebastian, welche Petry fast zum Stottern bringt. Soviel zum Phänomen.

Der Inhalt Fraukes Äußerungen läßt machmal zweifeln, ob sie Dinge programmatisch abruft und aufsagt oder ob sie die großen Zusammenhänge versteht. Auf die Frage, ob wie sie sich fühle, mit der PEGIDA, insbesondere Lutz Bachmann, in Verbindung gebracht zu werden, kommt sie nicht auf den Punkt. Obwohl der nahe liegt. Bachmann ist ein Hetzer, die PEGIDA als solche ist mehr und auch weniger als Bachmann einfach nur eine fremdenfeindliche Sekte. Obwohl Petry die Überschneidungen zwischen AfD und PEGIDA erwähnt, ist es ihr nicht möglich, diese zu beschreiben oder abzugrenzen. Mit viel gutem Willen kaufe ich ihr ab, daß sie mit vielen Menschen bei den PEGIDA Demonstrationen im Grunde die Systemfrage stellt und die Deutschen vom “Konsumenten” zum “Bürger” machen will. Was in weiter Auslegung dem sozialen Gedanken zugute kommt. more

The movie 8 Mile, which chronicles the rise of aspiring rapper Jimmy ‘B-Rabbit’ Smith (played by Eminem), has been translated into over 15 languages including Russian, Dutch and Japa- nese. Noticeably absent from this list is Elizabethan- Era English (EEE), the language used by William Shakespeare. From a commercial perspective, this omission is perfectly understandable, as there seems to be few native EEE speakers alive today. How- ever, from an historical and academic perspective, this omission is unfortunate, as Shakespeare’s works have often been compared to rap lyrics (Brock 2009, Bradley and duBois 2011, Lars 2012, Akala 2012), and a recent analysis lists Shakespeare as having the 15th most unique vocabulary among rappers (Daniels 2014). Thus it would be interesting to see just how easily 8 Mile translates into EEE.

Shakespearean translation of the last rap battle in 8 Mile, with a subsequent analysis of its quality

Ein wenig zu analytisch, zu wenig philosophisch — aber fett auf der letzten Seite: http://pnis.co/hard3.pdf

e.g.:

Behold! This knave afore me doth not signal his duty, a spite of his vain attempts to appear so shrewdly. Methinks his rabble hath impressed upon him
a false reckoning of the odor of his bottom.

With a hey, and a ho, and a hey nonino.
Thou a low, He a low, but a Marlowe? No!
This rascal here, he resembleth not a poet.
So stale be his act, e’en the groundlings know’t. I am but a peasant swain, I do hath pale skin.

I liveth with my mother in but a small cabin. My coz Future doth act as a vassal.
My boorish friend, Cheddar Bob, hath a pistol, and with great fortune hath missed his missile. ‘Gainst thine company, I alone dost battle.

And my once dear Wink didst cuckold me true.
Yet, ‘fore you I stand, I still bite my thumb at your crew! Judgeth me not, thou whoreson mountebank.
Thou knowest not my torments and cruel pains. Howbeit of some knowledge, I am privy.
Thou attendeth Cranbrook University.
Lo, how his face changed to a rotten medlar!
His true title is Clarence, not ne’er the Bard.
Thine parents of Clarence his apparent landlords.
But, soft, it that thine tool or thy mother’s cord?
Thine eyes betray fear, for near is thine defeat,
‘cause there existeth nothing like in-’twixt thieves! Afeard is he, afeard to peep at his life so sweet.
Fie on Cranbrook.