Monday, February 28, 2011

Something "smells" of fascism;

Laurence Britt, a political scientist, wrote an article about fascism which appeared in Free Inquiry magazine -- a journal of humanist thought.

1. Powerful and Continuing Nationalism -- Fascist regimes tend to make constant use of patriotic mottos, slogans, symbols, songs, and other paraphernalia.
Flags are seen everywhere, as are flag symbols on clothing and in public displays.

2. Disdain for the Recognition of Human Rights -- Because of fear of enemies and the need for security, the people in fascist regimes are persuaded that
human rights can be ignored in certain cases because of "need". The people tend to 'look the other way' or even approve of torture, summary executions,
assassinations, long incarcerations of prisoners, etc.

3. Identification of Enemies/Scapegoats as a Unifying Cause -- The people are rallied into a unifying patriotic frenzy over the need to eliminate a perceived
common threat or foe: racial, ethnic or religious minorities; liberals; communists; socialists, terrorists, etc

4. Supremacy of the Military -- Even when there are widespread domestic problems, the military is given a disproportionate amount of government funding,
and the domestic agenda is neglected. Soldiers and military service are glamorized

6. Controlled Mass Media -- Sometimes the media is directly controlled by the government, but in other cases, the media is indirectly controlled by
government regulation, or through sympathetic media spokespeople and executives. Censorship, especially in wartime, is very common.

7. Obsession with National Security -- Fear is used as a motivational tool by the government over the masses.

8. Religion and Government are Intertwined -- Governments in fascist nations tend to use the most common religion in the nation as a tool to manipulate public
opinion. Religious rhetoric and terminology is common from government leaders, even when the major tenets of the religion are diametrically opposed to the
government's policies or actions.

9. Corporate Power is Protected -- The industrial and business aristocracy of a fascist nation often are the ones who put the government leaders into power,
creating a mutually beneficial business/government relationship and power elite.

10. Labor Power is Suppressed -- Because the organizing power of labor is the only real threat to a fascist government, labor unions are either eliminated
entirely or are severely suppressed.

12. Obsession with Crime and Punishment -- Under fascist regimes, the police are given almost limitless power to enforce laws. The people are often willing
to overlook police abuses, and even forego civil liberties, in the name of patriotism. There is often a national police force with virtually unlimited power in
fascist nations.

13. Rampant Cronyism and Corruption -- Fascist regimes almost always are governed by groups of friends and associates who appoint each other to
government positions, and who use governmental power and authority to protect their friends from accountability. It is not uncommon in fascist regimes for
national resources and even treasures to be appropriated or even outright stolen by government leaders.

14. Fraudulent Elections -- Sometimes elections in fascist nations are a complete sham. Other times elections are manipulated by smear campaigns against (or
even the assassination of) opposition candidates, the use of legislation to control voting numbers or political district boundaries, and the manipulation of the
media. Fascist nations also typically use their judiciaries to manipulate or control elections.

Monday, February 21, 2011

My Library; The Hand of Fatima;

The Hand Of Fatima; Ildefonso Falcones; published in Spain 2009.

The Hand of Fatima, I.Falcones marks the four hundredth anniversary of the expulsion of the Moors from seventeenth century Spain.

Moors and Christians have been enemies for centuries, this is the story.
Religious wars are the worst, they defy everything Religion  preaches. It is the story of Spain, the struggle between two religions, bloody for the people involved, for  kings and clergy a macabre game to satisfy their lust for power.

Not much has changed. Religious wars are still raving and power struggles are still well alive.
In 1948 we have witnessed the expulsion of the Palestinian people from their country and land. It was taken over by an other tribe. The powerful in politics from the whole world have watched this with eyes wide open and have silently acknowledged the expulsion of the Palestinian people.

I highly recommend this book, if you like history.
1564, the kingdom of Granada, after years of Christian oppression, the Moors take arms against their masters
and daub the white houses of Sierra Nevada with the blood of their victims

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Today's Flowers; All Gold;

Tecoma capensis, yellow; I have always liked this particular yellow hue of this very profuse flowering and easily grown shrub.

Alamanda; can be trained as climber or lax shrub.

Cassia fistula is burdened with the funny name pudding pipe tree, because of its long shaped seedpods which look not at all like vanilla beans!

This shrub or small tree is  a relative of the Oleanders, everything is poisonous. It is not for nothing called the dangerously beautiful Thevetia.

All this gold is flowering in my garden at this time of year.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Salt "Ain't" Salt;

Salt is a dietary minera
l composed primarily of sodium chloride that is essential for animal life, but toxic to most land plants. Salt flavor is one of the basic tastes, an important preservative and a popular food seasoning.

Salt for human consumption is produced in different forms: unrefined salt (such as sea salt), refined salt (table salt), and iodized salt. It is a crystalline solid, white, pale pink or light gray in color, normally obtained from sea water or rock deposits. Chloride

and sodium ions, the two major components of salt, are necessary for the survival of all known living creatures, including humans. Salt is involved in regulating the water content (fluid balance) of the body. Salt cravings may be caused by trace mineral deficiencies as well as by a deficiency of sodium chloride itself.

Unrefined salt
 Sea salt, Halite, and Fleur de sel
Different natural salts have different mineralities, giving each one a unique flavor. Fleur de sel, natural sea salt harvested by hand, has a unique flavor varying from region to region.

Refined salt, which is most widely used presently, is mainly sodium chloride.  All the minerals are taken out for  medicinal and other purposes.
Food grade salt accounts for only a small part of salt production..
The majority is sold for industrial use. Salt has great commercial value because it is a necessary ingredient in the manufacturing of many things. A few common examples include: the production of pulp and paper, setting dyes in textiles and fabrics, and the making of soaps and detergents.
The manufacture and use of salt is one of the oldest chemical industries. Salt can be obtained by evaporation of sea water, usually in shallow basins warmed by sunlight; Today, most refined salt is prepared from rock salt: mineral deposits high in salt.These rock salt deposits were formed by the evaporation of ancient salt lakes, and may be mined conventionally or through the injection of water. Injected water dissolves the salt, and the brine solution can be pumped to the surface where the salt is collected.
After the raw salt is obtained, it is refined to purify it and improve its storage and handling characteristics. Purification usually involves recrystallization. In recrystallization, a brine solution is treated with chemicals that precipitate most impurities (largely magnesium and calcium salts). Multiple stages of evaporation are then used to collect pure sodium chloride crystals, which are kiln-dried.

Fleur de sel
Fleur de sel ("Flower of salt" in French) is a hand-harvested sea salt collected by workers who scrape only the top layer of salt before it sinks to the bottom of large salt pans. Traditional French fleur de sel is collected off the coast of Brittany (most notably in the towns of Guérande - Fleur de Sel de Guérande, hand harvested from salt marsh water being the most revered), Noirmoutier, and also Camargue. It is often slightly grey due to the sandy minerals collected in the process of harvesting the salt from the pans. On occasion, the presence ofDunaliella salina (a type of pink micro-algae commonly found in salt marshes) can give it a light pink tint. Due to its relative scarcity, Fleur de sel is one of the more expensive salts. It is usually sold in airtight jars as it is slightly damp
The Portuguese variant "flor de sal" from the Algarve is of similar quality but is pure white and usually sells for half the price of the French fleur de sel.
Due to the small size of the crystals, fleur de sel dissolves faster than regular salt. Hence it is best used similarly to fresh herbs, sprinkling it onto food just before serving.

Pink Salt is a rock salt mined in several parts of the world, including Hawaii, Bolivia, theMurray-Darling basin of Australia, Peru, Pakistan (?Himalayan salt), and Poland. The color results from iron oxide.

Unfortunately, table salt contains ingredients other than sodium and chlorine—aluminum, for one. Two of the most common anticaking agents used in salt production are sodium alumino-silicate and alumino-calcium silicate. Aluminum is a toxic metal that has been linked to Alzheimer's disease and in any case has no place in a healthy diet. 

Table salt without aluminium is available. I use organic sea salt, which slightly gray and moist.  For my home made herb salt I use aluminium free refined  sea salt, as this is easy to mix the dried herbs into it.

Photos TS
some excerpts courtesy Wikipedia.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Food for thoughts; February 2011;

"The strength of a civilization is not measured by its ability to fight wars, but rather by its ability to prevent them."  Gene Roddenberry

This I believe: that the free, exploring mind of the individual human is the most valuable thing in the world. And this I would fight for: the freedom of the mind to take any direction it wishes, undirected. And this I must fight against: any idea, religion, or government which limits
or destroys the individual.-John Steinbeck

"Civilization can only revive when there shall come into being in a number of individuals a new tone of mind, independent of the prevalent one among the crowds, and in opposition to it -- a tone of mind which will gradually win influence over the collective one, and in the end determine its character. Only an ethical movement can rescue us from barbarism, and the ethical comes into existence only in individuals. - Albert Schweitzer

"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be". -Thomas Jefferson