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Progress

The state of mental health of our politicians, statesmen and other public figures is very important. The need for an optimal standard of mental health among our national leaders can not be over emphasized. This is so given the nature of the decisions they are required to make, and given the nature and extent of the tasks they are required to perform.

This relatively small group of people who run our countries have much of our fate in their hands. In a certain country, the president, about 435 congressmen and about 100 senators together decide the fate of the populace.

The populace of this country exceeds three hundred and twenty million people; and the land area of this country is more than three million square miles. This shows the power and responsibility of our political leaders, and the importance of their being of sound mind.

It used to be the case, since the end of the second World War, that mentally unstable politicians, statesmen and other public figures holding office were mainly to be found in the third world.

Even in the third world, mentally unstable politicians were only expected to hold the reins of power following a military or other coup d’état, or a popular uprising.

Second world countries, perhaps, might be expected to produce the occasional unstable political leader (the former Bosnian Serb leader, Radovan Karadzic, is a good example of this point). Such a despotic leader could never be expected to come from a first world country in the post World War 2 era.

The world thought that it had seen the last of the first world’s mentally unstable politicians, following the demise of Hitler, Mussolini, General Francisco Franco, Stalin and General Hideki Tojo. Leaders of a similar mental state to these were not supposed to hold political office ever again in the first world.

First world countries have been vigilant since 1945 in keeping persons of unstable mind out of high political office. The good reputation earned by the first world countries for civilized behaviour in high political office and other areas of public life, since the end of the second World War, has so far been cherished and well protected.

This situation, however, might be changing soon. There is now a person who seems to be of a very unstable mind seeking election to the highest political office in a prominent first world country. This person is their party’s nominee for the country’s highest political office in the upcoming general election.

This person’s speech and behaviour remind us of the speech and behaviour of the Axis powers leaders during the nineteen thirties and nineteen forties. This person speaks and behaves like a despot, and ignores rules and conventions in their quest for power. This person shows no regard for others, relative to the consequences of this person’s speech and actions.

This person is considered by some medical experts to be mentally unbalanced. Dr. Drew Pinsky, Physician and radio talk show host, told CNN’s Don Lemon that this person seemed to be suffering from multiple mental illnesses.

Maria Konnikova, New Yorker science and psychology writer, writing on the website Big Think, suggested that this person might be suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, NPD.

One expert, Dr. Robert Geffner, President of San Diego’s Institution on Violence, Abuse and Trauma, says there are three aberrant disorders psychologists look for: Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or NPD; impulse control disorder; and anti-social personality disorders. Dr. Geffner says that the presence of these disorders along with bullying, existing in the same person, is a “dangerous and frightening combination”.

What happens if this person is elected to their country’s highest political office? What domestic and foreign policy principles and practices will this person pursue after the general election if they are successful at the poll?

Mentally unstable persons and persons who are, otherwise not mentally well, should not be allowed to contest elections for any level of political office. All applicants to such elections should be required to undergo medical tests to verify their mental health status. Periodic mandatory checks to determine the state of mental health of prospective and actual political leaders should be a necessary requirement during their stay in office. Such checks and testing should be easy to implement. Strict psychological examination of suitable applicants to the Secret Service is standard procedure. This psychological examination can be used as an initial example module for the psychological examinations of our political leaders. The list of persons to be routinely checked should include, the president, the vice president, congressmen, senators, governors and mayors.

By Edward Fagan

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Education

Unexpected but welcome action in the areas of financial backing and other support is taking place in the presidential campaign of a certain political party, let’s call it Party X. Some of the traditional billionaire and multi millionaire donors of this party are refusing, in this election, to back the party’s presidential nominee.

They have vowed instead, to back the other party’s presidential nominee. Let’s call this other party, Party Y. Some Congressmen and Senators of Party X, also have vowed to support the presidential nominee of Party Y.

Unexpectedly, the number of rich donors, congressmen and senators of Party X who are committed to backing and supporting the presidential nominee of Party Y continues to grow.

Why are some of the wealthy donors and prominent members of Party X refusing to back and support their own presidential nominee? This candidate seems to be saying what they consider to be the wrong things, and saying them in the wrong manner.

In their view also, this candidate is committed to the wrong domestic and foreign policy goals, or none at all. This candidate too, displays an unwillingness to become involved in bipartisanship for the good of the country.

On the other hand, the super rich donors, congressmen and senators of Party X who’re backing and supporting the presidential nominee of Party Y, expect that this candidate will practice bipartisanship.

They know that goodwill and cooperation between both parties are necessary, and that only through such bipartisan effort can solutions be found and applied to solve the many problems facing the country.

A prominent member of Party X who is supporting Party Y’s presidential nominee wrote the following in the Washington Post: “When it comes to the presidency, I will not vote for [my party’s nominee], I will not cast a write-in vote. I’ll be voting for [the other party’s nominee], with the hope that [this person] can bring our people together to do things necessary to strengthen our economy, our environment and our place in the world. To my party friends: I know I’m not alone.”

The future looks bright for cooperation on capital hill, if the position expressed in the above quote is shared by the majority of members of both parties. This changing of the prevailing approach of the last eight years should be welcome. It should be good for the people and the country because important domestic and foreign policy problems can now be dealt with in a bipartisan way. Such bipartisanship has been successfully practiced in the past; and there’s no reason why it can’t be practiced now and in the future with equal or greater success.

By Edward Fagan

Famous

For Love of Country

A well known presidential candidate recently expressed hope that the intelligence agency of a long time enemy of his country had succeeded in hacking the e-mails of one of his presidential election rivals. This presidential election rival is one of his  country’s former Secretaries of State.

He also encouraged that country to reveal any such hacked e-mails to the public in his own country. That expressed hope and encouragement were mentioned in a recent news conference covered by foreign news agencies.

The presidential candidate is a known admirer of this long time enemy of his country. This long time enemy of his country has nuclear tipped ICBM’s aimed at every city in his country.

He does not seem to understand the enormity of his expressed hope and encouragement. This expressed hope and encouragement brings into question, his long standing claim that he loves his country and fellow countrymen; and that if he’s elected president, he’s going to serve his country’s best interests.

Shakespeare, Genius and God

William Shakespeare, England’s national poet, the Bard of Avon, the greatest writer in the English Language and the World’s greatest playwright, was only educated to secondary level.

It embarrasses some people of a tertiary education background that a man of such  humble educational status could write so well, and alone bear the awesome titles mentioned above.

Some members of the tertiary educated fraternity set out to deny that he ever did exist. This failed as the records showed that he lived and died. The next step was to claim his greatness for one of their own.

Such persons who they wanted to credit with his work include, Christopher Marlowe  (Bachelor’s degree and Master’s degree, University of Oxford) and Francis Bacon (Bachelor’s degree, University of Cambridge, and successful Law study, Gray’s Inn).

Francis Bacon was a statesman, in addition to being a writer; he also was a member of parliament for nearly four decades.

These two men, and others like them, who are suggested by the tertiary educated fraternity as likely writers of Shakespeare’s works are not the writers of those works. These men had no reason to hide behind his name. They were men of good standing in the eyes of the government and society of their day.

William Shakespeare was blessed by God with rare literary genius; and he was inspired by this rare literary genius to write the extraordinary master pieces with which he is credited.

By Edward Fagan

The practice of honesty has never been more necessary than it is now. Why should our public servants, responsible persons in business, commerce and industry, and everyone else practise honesty? Can every normal person effectively practise honesty irrespective of their social and economic standing? What are the benefits of practising honesty?

Honesty should be practised because it is necessary for the enjoyment of fairness by all parties equally, who are committed in any transaction involving the exchange of property or the offer or use of services.

Yes, every normal person can effectively practise honesty irrespective of their social and economic standing. Normal persons who do not practise honesty choose not to practise it.

The benefits of practising honesty fall within a wide range. Some of these benefits have national social and economic implications; and some are more private and personal in nature. Some of these benefits are mentioned below in more detail.

Those who are in public life, or hold responsible positions in business, commerce and industry should be very careful to practise honesty in their respective fields.

The practice of honesty as private citizens is important for the reasons mentioned above, and because this is the pool from which public servants and those in responsible positions in the private sector are drawn. At the private level, we have all, at some time, experienced a sense of deprivation of justice and property at the hands of dishonest persons. Petty thieves, muggers and burglars also remind us of the need for honesty in private life.

The benefits of practicing honesty include: Fairness: The practice of honesty ensures fairness of behaviour in situations which involve: the collection, storage, or distribution of goods, and the provision of or the benefitting from services.

Example: An international lending institution once said that a certain kleptocratic country could repay its national debt in full, if its leaders returned the country’s money that they stole and deposited overseas.

Under colonial rule, the country was well run and had a very promising economy. Following independence, the country became a notorious kleptocracy. This resulted in its having to incur a huge national debt which unfairly fell on the backs of the mass of the people.

During this period, the cost of living increased greatly and the standard of living decreased to an even greater extent correspondingly, among the mass of the people. The small ruling elite and their senior civil service supporters enjoyed a degree of unfair opulence at the cost of the unfair suffering of the rest of the population.

Economic prosperity: The practice of honesty in situations involving economic activity contributes to the economic prosperity of those involved by allowing them full access to their fair share of goods and services. The relationship between honesty and economic prosperity is well known but often overlooked for the sake of expediency. The story that is mentioned after the word “Example” above, indicates some of the economic deprivation that can result from the absence of honesty in public life.

The connection between financial dishonesty and failure at the micro economic level is also well known. Most of us know of a case where a business failed due to the absence of the practice of honesty in some aspect of its financial activity. Such failure to practice honesty has resulted in instances of investors loosing large sums of money and experiencing financial ruin.

Political stability: The practice of honesty in the political economy helps to prevent persons from being unfairly deprived of their fair share of opportunity for socio-economic advancement. It also helps to allow them full access to their fair share of goods and services, according to the capacity of the economy to produce them. These conditions foster a sense of understanding of and sympathy with the efforts of those in power. This in turn helps prevent the growth of dissent, social unrest and political disruptiveness.

Spiritual growth: Constant practice of honesty, which is the eighth commandment in the Bible, as well as the practice of the other nine commandments (Exodus 20:3-17), will contribute greatly to our spiritual growth and development.

Honesty always serves the fair advantage of all concerned. Dishonesty always serves the unfair advantage of the few and the unfair disadvantage of the many. The choice is clear whenever there is a requirement to choose between honesty and dishonesty by persons in the public sector, those in responsible positions in the private sector, and private citizens.

By Edward Fagan

An original essay

by Edward Fagan

The problems experienced by African-descended people cannot all be attributed to their enslavement by others; those problems also can not be blamed totally on any racial discrimination that continued after the abolition of slavery.

biting_postman

It is clear that the choices made by Africans in the various areas of national development, from the beginning and continuing through time, did not serve their national development interests. The choices they made contributed to their becoming seriously disadvantaged in all areas of national development, including social, economic, political, military and other forms of development. (Two examples of the point made above is that, during and after the Bronze and Iron Ages and well after the industrial revolution, Africans continued to fight with wooden weapons. Africans also never established and maintained clearly defined, tribal/national borders.) Later, the failure of Africans to achieve a significant level of development in those areas mentioned above not only placed them at a disadvantage but was successfully exploited by others in their quest to enslave and colonize Africans.

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In order to achieve an appropriate level of development in the important areas of life that meets the needs of African people (on the African continent and elsewhere) African people firstly must admit that they still contribute to their current plight by continuing to think and behave in relation to national development as they did prior to their enslavement and colonization. (An example of this point is the non-existence, both before slavery and after its abolition, of: long-term economic and other planning, an infrastructure for economic and other development including complex systems for, tribal/national financial accounting, large scale agricultural production, extensive land and sea communications, inter-tribal/national commerce and trade, and tax revenue generation, to name a few.)

normal_aussie

African people secondly must create a body of experts for the long term planning of all aspects of development and create an infrastructure for the implementation of the long term development plans of that body.  They also need to realize that because of the non-existence of fundamental and long-term developmental planning and an infrastructure for economic and other development as mentioned above, the changes made and the progress achieved since abolition, colonization and independence are always going to be superficial, fragile and of a relatively short-term duration.

face_drawing

It is necessary too, that Africans identify the changes in their thinking and behaviour they are required to make at the personal level (both individually and collectively) that will contribute to their personal development and achievement. They must understand the close interconnection between and interdependence of personal development and achievement and the common good; they must therefore personally commit to the common good. This personal commitment to the common good must include understanding the importance of, and practical commitment to moral values (especially the value of honesty, which is necessary for the reduction of certain crimes and the elimination of corruption). Without upholding these moral values in practice, there can be no real development, national or personal.

bone_in_mouth

The history of the African people prior to their enslavement took the unfortunate turn that it did and continued along that path because Africans failed (for whatever reasons) to follow certain courses of action, to create certain institutions and to adopt certain corrective measures, of which some are mentioned below:

A strong sense of identity of ethnicity and race: Ethnic groups (nations) never took themselves seriously as nations and, consequently, as preservers and defenders of their race.

brown_bird_worm

Strong, ethnocentric political ruler-ship, sense of absoluteness (sense of relationship of rulers and people to God); know importance of role in, and purpose of, leadership; development or borrowing of efficient and effective political, military, legal and economic systems: they fell very short in these areas but could have borrowed ideas and practices from others, as other races have done. (Example, Africans fought with wooden weapons far too long, up to, during and after the colonial period.)

happy_guy

Identification and preservation of ethnic legacy, heritage, culture, history, language (Realize importance of creating or borrowing alphabet, grammar, literary tradition) They failed miserably in these areas also, but again, could have borrowed from the other races. (Example, Africans did not create or borrow any alphabet or grammar, their languages did not develop and they remained non literate.)

dog_bath

A Permanent commitment to establishment and preservation of tribal/national homelands (realize importance of patriotism, nationalism) they failed here totally, too, but could have adopted the better approach of other peoples. (Example, Africans failed to establish and maintain clearly defined tribal/national borders.)

It is hopeful, but not expected in several generations to come, that Africans on the continent and in the diaspora will make the changes suggested above and below for the alleviation of many of the problems from which they are suffering.

alert

The democratic political system with its various institutions and checks and balances for the prevention of abuse, corruption etc, though not faultless, is second to none; and its accompanying capitalist economic system, though not faultless likewise, is also second to none. The principal and outstanding feature of this twin system is the freedoms it affords the societies who adopt it and those freedoms include freedom to choose which development goals to pursue, and freedom to determine how and when to pursue those development goals. This democratic-capitalist system then, would seem to be the ideal system for African societies.

bug

That salient feature of the democratic-capitalist system, freedom to choose (in politics, in the economy and in other areas of societal life, within the law) is the very reason why the democratic-capitalist system is not the ideal system for development in African societies. African societies, when left free to choose between development and underdevelopment always choose the latter, some evidence is given above to support this position.

cat_sitting

What then is the solution to the problems of African tribes/nations’ persistent underdevelopment and their constant refusal to freely work toward achieving development?  The solution is one that has never been tried before, and one that will never be tried at anytime soon by any African tribe/nation. The solution is a two sided system comprising of a political dictatorship and a non-political, central, economic and social planning body. A sensible, efficient and effective political dictatorship will manage only the political affairs of the tribe/nation; and an independent, non-political, central planning body of experts will formulate economic and social policy; the economic and social policy will then be implemented by the various parts of a well developed and extensive economic and social infrastructure as planned.

breed_dog

(The standard used by this writer throughout this observation to measure the performance within various areas of activity of the African tribes/nations is met by Biblical Israel and Historical Germany.)

By Edward Fagan

An original essay

By Edward Fagan

The United States and other western nations should not allow entry into their countries, much less grant asylum to, any of the mass of people fleeing Syria and other regional countries, except for members of the Peshmerga and other ethnic Kurdish groups, and members of the Syrian and other regional Judeo-Christian communities.

It is important to note that all persons fleeing Syria and neighbouring countries are not refugees; many are mere opportunists seeking to take advantage of a situation that allows them a chance to settle in a country that offers an easier way of life and a higher standard of living.

busy_mom_1

There also is the prospect of ISIS supporters posing as refugees, and joining the refugee mass and entering unsuspecting countries to carry out attacks later. There have been suspected cases of the occurrence of that situation, even recently, in Europe.

There also is the possibility that in the future, some of these same so called refugees or their offspring might become radicalized and take up arms on behalf of ISIS in the country where they have settled.

boy_watergun

What then is the alternative to allowing entry to those fleeing the crisis, and granting them temporary or permanent settlement? The United States and other western nations could encourage the Muslim countries in the region to accept the refugees into their countries for temporary or permanent settlement. This encouragement could be at all levels and could include linking the acceptance of refugees by the Muslim countries of the region to the granting of aid to those countries by the United States and western nations.

angry_boy

When the Muslim countries agree to accept the refugees, the United States and other western nations could then commit the money and other resources they currently use to settle refugees within their borders, to be donated as aid to those Muslim countries who agree to accept the refugees. That aid could then be requested by those Muslim countries who accept the refugees, according to the needs of each country, in the form of money, shipping, air transport, personnel, technical and military assistance, various types of equipment, information technology, data, advice and other forms of assistance that might be considered necessary for the safe and trouble free transport of the refugees to, and settlement and temporary maintenance of the refugees in, those Muslim countries who accept them.

By Edward Fagan