February 20, 2017

The Philosophy of Words (So to Speak)

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The Philosophy of Words (So to Speak)
Authors: Some are from George Carlin and Stephen Wright; others are unknown
Contributors: Wanda Wilson & John Masher
[source: Alpha Dictionary]

◦Why isn't phonetics spelled phonetically?
◦Why are there Braille signs at the drive-through windows at the bank?
◦If a deaf kid swears, does his mom wash his hands with soap?
◦What's another word for synonym?
◦Why do we drive on a parkway but park in a driveway?
◦Isn't it a bit unnerving that doctors call what they do "practice?"
◦Where do forest rangers go to "get away from it all?"
◦Is it possible to be "totally partial?"
◦Would a fly that loses its wings be called a "walk?"
◦If a turtle loses its shell is it naked or homeless?
◦If vegetarians eat vegetables, what do humanitarians eat?
◦If people can have triplets and quadruplets why not singlets and doublets?
◦Is Atheism a non-prophet organization.
◦I went to a bookstore and asked the saleswoman, "Where is the self-help section?" She said that if she told me, it would defeat the purpose.
◦Is it true that cannibals don't eat clowns because they taste funny?
◦Why don't you ever see the headline, "Psychic Wins Lottery"?
◦Why is "abbreviated" such a long word?
◦Why is lemon juice made with artificial flavor and dishwashing liquid made with real lemons?
◦Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?
◦Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?
◦Why are they called apartments when they are all stuck together?
◦If con is the opposite of pro, is Congress the opposite of progress?
◦If flying is so safe, why is the airport called 'terminal'?

Critical Thinking Is Self-Guided, Self-Disciplined Thinking

written Linda Elder, September 2007
[source: The Critical Thinking Community]

Critical thinking is self-guided, self-disciplined thinking which attempts to reason at the highest level of quality in a fair-minded way. People who think critically consistently attempt to live rationally, reasonably, empathically. They are keenly aware of the inherently flawed nature of human thinking when left unchecked. They strive to diminish the power of their egocentric and sociocentric tendencies. They use the intellectual tools that critical thinking offers – concepts and principles that enable them to analyze, assess, and improve thinking. They work diligently to develop the intellectual virtues of intellectual integrity, intellectual humility, intellectual civility, intellectual empathy, intellectual sense of justice and confidence in reason.

They realize that no matter how skilled they are as thinkers, they can always improve their reasoning abilities and they will always at times fall prey to mistakes in reasoning, human irrationality, prejudices, biases, distortions, uncritically accepted social rules and taboos, self-interest, and vested interest. They strive to improve the world in whatever ways they can and contribute to a more rational, civilized society. At the same time, they recognize the complexities often inherent in doing so.

They strive never to think simplistically about complicated issues and always consider the rights and needs of relevant others. They recognize the complexities in developing as thinkers, and commit themselves to life-long practice toward self-improvement. They embody the Socratic principle: The unexamined life is not worth living, because they realize that many unexamined lives together result in an uncritical, unjust, dangerous world.

Concept and Definition of Critical Thinking

[source: The Critical Thinking Community]

Why Critical Thinking?
The Problem

Everyone thinks. It is our nature to do so. But much of our thinking, left to itself, is biased, distorted, partial, uninformed, or downright prejudiced. Yet, the quality of our life and that of what we produce, make, or build depends precisely on the quality of our thought. Shoddy thinking is costly, both in money and in quality of life. Excellence in thought, however, must be systematically cultivated.

A Definition

Critical thinking is that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.

To Analyze Thinking

Identify its purpose, and question at issue, as well as its information, inferences(s), assumptions, implications, main concept(s), and point of view.

To Assess Thinking

Check it for clarity, accuracy, precision, relevance, depth, breadth, significance, logic, and fairness.

The Result

A well-cultivated critical thinker:
  • Raises vital questions and problems, formulating them clearly and precisely
  • Gathers and assesses relevant information, using abstract ideas to interpret it effectively
  • Comes to well-reasoned conclusions and solutions, testing them against relevant criteria and standards
  • Thinks openmindedly within alternative systems of thought, recognizing and assessing, as needs be, their assumptions, implications, and practical consequences
  • Communicates effectively with others in figuring out solutions to complex problems
The Etymology & Dictionary Definition of "Critical Thinking"

The concept of critical thinking we adhere to reflects a concept embedded not only in a core body of research over the last 30 to 50 years but also derived from roots in ancient Greek. The word ’’critical’’ derives etymologically from two Greek roots: "kriticos" (meaning discerning judgment) and "kriterion" (meaning standards). Etymologically, then, the word implies the development of "discerning judgment based on standards."

In Webster’s New World Dictionary, the relevant entry reads "characterized by careful analysis and judgment" and is followed by the gloss, "critical — in its strictest sense — implies an attempt at objective judgment so as to determine both merits and faults." Applied to thinking, then, we might provisionally define critical thinking as thinking that explicitly aims at well-founded judgment and hence utilizes appropriate evaluative standards in the attempt to determine the true worth, merit, or value of something.

The tradition of research into critical thinking reflects the common perception that human thinking left to itself often gravitates toward prejudice, over-generalization, common fallacies, self-deception, rigidity, and narrowness.

The critical thinking tradition seeks ways of understanding the mind and then training the intellect so that such "errors", "blunders", and "distortions" of thought are minimized. It assumes that the capacity of humans for good reasoning can be nurtured and developed by an educational process aimed directly at that end.

The history of critical thinking documents the development of this insight in a variety of subject matter domains and in a variety of social situations. Each major dimension of critical thinking has been carved out in intellectual debate and dispute through 2400 years of intellectual history.

That history allows us to distinguish two contradictory intellectual tendencies: a tendency on the part of the large majority to uncritically accept whatever was presently believed as more or less eternal truth and a conflicting tendency on the part of a small minority — those who thought critically — to systematically question what was commonly accepted and seek, as a result, to establish sounder, more reflective criteria and standards for judging what it does and does not make sense to accept as true.

Our basic concept of critical thinking is, at root, simple. We could define it as the art of taking charge of your own mind. Its value is also at root simple: if we can take charge of our own minds, we can take charge of our lives; we can improve them, bringing them under our self command and direction. Of course, this requires that we learn self-discipline and the art of self-examination. This involves becoming interested in how our minds work, how we can monitor, fine tune, and modify their operations for the better. It involves getting into the habit of reflectively examining our impulsive and accustomed ways of thinking and acting in every dimension of our lives.

All that we do, we do on the basis of some motivations or reasons. But we rarely examine our motivations to see if they make sense. We rarely scrutinize our reasons critically to see if they are rationally justified. As consumers we sometimes buy things impulsively and uncritically, without stopping to determine whether we really need what we are inclined to buy or whether we can afford it or whether it’s good for our health or whether the price is competitive. As parents we often respond to our children impulsively and uncritically, without stopping to determine whether our actions are consistent with how we want to act as parents or whether we are contributing to their self esteem or whether we are discouraging them from thinking or from taking responsibility for their own behavior.

As citizens, too often we vote impulsively and uncritically, without taking the time to familiarize ourselves with the relevant issues and positions, without thinking about the long-run implications of what is being proposed, without paying attention to how politicians manipulate us by flattery or vague and empty promises. As friends, too often we become the victims of our own infantile needs, "getting involved" with people who bring out the worst in us or who stimulate us to act in ways that we have been trying to change. As husbands or wives, too often we think only of our own desires and points of view, uncritically ignoring the needs and perspectives of our mates, assuming that what we want and what we think is clearly justified and true, and that when they disagree with us they are being unreasonable and unfair.

As patients, too often we allow ourselves to become passive and uncritical in our health care, not establishing good habits of eating and exercise, not questioning what our doctor says, not designing or following good plans for our own wellness. As teachers, too often we allow ourselves to uncritically teach as we have been taught, giving assignments that students can mindlessly do, inadvertently discouraging their initiative and independence, missing opportunities to cultivate their self-discipline and thoughtfulness.

It is quite possible and, unfortunately, quite "natural" to live an unexamined life; to live in a more or less automated, uncritical way. It is possible to live, in other words, without really taking charge of the persons we are becoming; without developing or acting upon the skills and insights we are capable of. However, if we allow ourselves to become unreflective persons — or rather, to the extent that we do — we are likely to do injury to ourselves and others, and to miss many opportunities to make our own lives, and the lives of others, fuller, happier, and more productive.

On this view, as you can see, critical thinking is an eminently practical goal and value. It is focused on an ancient Greek ideal of "living an examined life". It is based on the skills, the insights, and the values essential to that end. It is a way of going about living and learning that empowers us and our students in quite practical ways. When taken seriously, it can transform every dimension of school life: how we formulate and promulgate rules; how we relate to our students; how we encourage them to relate to each other; how we cultivate their reading, writing, speaking, and listening; what we model for them in and outside the classroom, and how we do each of these things.

Of course, we are likely to make critical thinking a basic value in school only insofar as we make it a basic value in our own lives. Therefore, to become adept at teaching so as to foster critical thinking, we must become committed to thinking critically and reflectively about our own lives and the lives of those around us. We must become active, daily, practitioners of critical thought. We must regularly model for our students what it is to reflectively examine, critically assess, and effectively improve the way we live.

Critical thinking is that mode of thinking — about any subject, content, or problem — in which the thinker improves the quality of his or her thinking by skillfully analyzing, assessing, and reconstructing it. Critical thinking is self-directed, self-disciplined, self-monitored, and self-corrective thinking. It presupposes assent to rigorous standards of excellence and mindful command of their use. It entails effective communication and problem-solving abilities, as well as a commitment to overcome our native egocentrism and sociocentrism.

February 19, 2017

The Boss ~ by Diana Ross ❤ I Included A Bonus Track/Vid For More INSPIRATION And To Let You Know That YOU ARE NOT ALONE! :)

My mom has always been a huge Diana Ross fan. I grew up listening to her albums and dancing in the living room with my mom. I was also fortunate enough as a child to experience Diana Ross live in concert with my mom on several occasions. Diana Ross would always wear the most beautiful elaborate gowns on stage and change gowns after every set. She would also walk out into the audience and shake everybody's hand. She always without fail LEFT ME MESMERIZED! Diana Ross is an amazing entertainer! Pure CLASS.

The Boss was a huge disco hit when it came out. Nevertheless, this is actually a very powerful spiritual song if you really choose to listen. God is LOVE. Love is God. Therefore, God is The Boss! Creator and Source of ALL living things. Sending lot's of love to you all. Enjoy this song and lyrics! This was me. I can totally relate to this song, as I am sure many of you can as well or soon will. ♥

This is such an AWESOME song! I can't get enough of it tonight! :) This was not released as a spiritual song. It was a dance hit in 1979. The lyrics just have more meaning for me. ♥

The Boss ~ by Legendary Diana Ross

Fancy ME
Thought I had my degree
In life and how LOVE
Ought to be a run
I had a one step plan to prove it
Guide in my pocket for FOOLS
Folly and fun
LOVE had to show me ONE THING:

I was so right
So right
Thought I could turn emotion
On and off
I was so sure
So sure (I was so sure)
Who was who was who was The Boss!
(Taught me who was who was The Boss)

Anyone who claimed that I
Didn't control whatever moved in MY SOUL
I could tempt
Touch delight
Just because you fell for me
Why should I feel uptight
LOVE had to show me ONE THING:

I was so right
So right
Thought I could turn emotion
On and off
I was so sure
So sure (I was so sure)
Who was who was who was The Boss!
(Taught me who was who was The Boss)

Taught ME
Taught ME
Taught ME

I was so right
So right
Thought I could turn emotion
On and off
I was so sure
So sure (I was so sure)
Who was who was who was The Boss!
(Taught me who was who was The Boss)

God wants you to know: If you need me, call me. No matter where you are, no matter how far. Just call my name. I'll be there in a hurry. On that you can depend and never worry.

I know you must follow the sun. Wherever it leads. But remember. If you should fall short of your desires. Remember life holds for you one guarantee. You'll always have me. ♥

I Am...❤ This Is So Beautiful. So Much Wrapped Up God's Name.

While praying a woman asked, "Who are you, God?"

He answered, "I Am."

"But who is I Am?", she asked.

He replied, "I Am Love, I Am Peace, I Am Grace, I Am Joy, I Am Strength, I Am Safety, I Am Shelter, I Am Power, I Am The Creator, I Am The Comforter, I Am The Beginning and I Am The End, I Am The Way The Truth and The Light."

With tears in her eyes she looked toward Heaven and said, "Now I understand. But who am I?"

God tenderly wiped the tears from her eyes and whispered,
"You Are Mine."

My Daily Prayer... ♥

I would like to share two of my daily prayer's with you. The first is one I received from Paula White Ministries 10 years ago. While the second is one that I personalized for myself. You are welcome to use these prayers. Soon your spirit will personalize one for you. You shall know the Truth when you seek God's face daily. I don't mean in the traditional sense. I mean spending time getting to know Him. You can start by talking with Him like you would a friend. He will guide you on your spiritual path as you grow closer and closer to Him. Allow God's LIGHT to permeate every fiber of your being and transform you from the inside out. "Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED by the renewing of your mind." [Romans 12:2] This has nothing to do with religion. This is about God, your Heavenly Father wanting to have a "personal" relationship with you. ♥

God is God all by Himself. The same is true for Jesus (Yahshua), the living breathing WORD of God and the Holy Spirit, the breath of God. God doesn't need a religious group or organization to make Him so. God almighty is above all and sovereign. God is Omnipotent, Omniscient, and Omnipresent. God is Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end. God is INFINITE and ETERNAL.

The Power Of Prayer from Paula White Ministries

Dear Heavenly Father, I give You praise for my life and all that is in it. You are my Creator, my Provider, my Comforter and I worship You from the depths of my soul. My desire is to know You... to truly know You in an intimate way. Please grant me a mind filled with Spiritual wisdom and a heart that continues to long for You.

This is my prayer personalized...

Thank you God for loving me unconditionally. Thank you God for never giving up on me. Thank you God for always believing in me. Thank you God for taking care of all of my needs. I am an instrument of Your will LORD, use me for Your greater good. I am ready, willing and able to effect change on Your behalf. Awaken Your Spirit within me LORD. Lend me Your strength, Your courage and Your wisdom. I will continue to abide in Your WORD as your WORD continues to abide in me. You are my ROCK and my foundation! Your presence makes me feel unspeakable love and joy. Direct my steps LORD and connect me to the right people that are in line with Your will for my life. I will continue to Trust and Believe in You LORD. I love you. In Yahshua's precious name, AMEN!

I go on to pray, Jesus (Yahshua) please cleanse my spirit from all impurities, please purify me Lord, wash me in Your blood, cover me and protect me against all evil. Please fill my spirit with Your love, Your peace and Your joy. Lend me Your strength, courage and wisdom. AMEN!

God's Divine favor surrounds me like a shield! Amen. ♥

Walk In The LIGHT By Connecting To Divine Source

Connect to Divine Source

If you're looking at a world filled with darkness,
Then there's something you've forgotten to do,
You've forgotten to turn on the switch in your Heart
That allows your Love to shine through.

Walk your Path in the Light of the Love in your Heart,
Be a Beacon for everyone to see,
Show the Way, Share your Light,
and everybody in sight
Will realize that LOVE is the KEY.

If you feel the World is crumbling around you,
And you can't work out just what you ought to do,
Reach into your Heart, and turn up the Flame,
And allow your Love to shine through.

Walk your Path in the Light of the Love in your Heart,
Be a Beacon for everyone to see,
Show the Way, Share your Light,
and everybody in sight
Will realize that LOVE is the KEY.

~ written by David J Adams

You Have A Unique Calling To Fulfill In This Lifetime; God Has A Purpose And Plan For You

Unique Calling

"Each person comes into this world with a specific destiny - he or she has something to fulfill, some message that has to be delivered, some work that has to be completed. You are not here accidentally - you are here meaningfully. There is a purpose behind you. The whole intends to do something through you." ~ by Osho ♥
written by Pastor Benny Hinn
[source: Benny Hinn Ministries]

Do you sometimes feel like you’re driving through life without a map? Do you find yourself confused and frustrated when facing decisions? If so, take heart. God cares about every detail of your life and wants to guide you through it. He is willing to reveal His wisdom to you for all decisions – both minor (such as whether to attend a certain event) and major (such as whether you should marry the person you’re dating). Here’s how you can discover God’s will for you and live in the center of it:

Get to know God’s general will for you. Understand that God’s overarching plan for you – as it is for everyone – is to bring you to a saving relationship with Jesus and transform your character to reflect Jesus’ love of God and people. Make it your top priority in life to pursue that relationship with Jesus, knowing that everything else will flow from that.

Get to know God’s specific purposes for you. Realize that God created you to fulfill specific purposes. Identify your talents, skills, and desires. Then think and pray about them, asking God to reveal His purposes to you and give you a clear sense of your calling. Make decisions about how to spend your resources (time, energy, and money) on a regular basis in light of your knowledge about your calling so you can fulfill it well.

Read and study God’s Word regularly. Read the Bible often, meditate on what you read (while asking the Holy Spirit to help you understand each passage), and apply that knowledge to your life by acting on it. Try to devote 15 to 30 minutes each day to studying the Scriptures.

Don’t let discouragement defeat you. If you’ve been struggling to deal with a particularly frustrating situation for a long time, don’t quit praying about it. Remember that there is nothing God cannot do. Trust that God will answer you – when the time is right. Understand that a delay in hearing from God simply means that His perfect time hasn’t yet come to give you an answer, and there’s always a good reason why. Be patient and trust that God is at work behind the scenes.

Listen for God’s voice. Remember that prayer isn’t just talking to God – it’s also listening to Him. Don’t fill all your prayer time with just your own voice speaking. Spend time in silence, away from distractions, actively listening for what God may whisper to your heart.

Take your eyes off yourself and set them on God. Rather than focusing on your dreams and desires, focus on the God who wants to give you what’s best for your life. Delight yourself in God by choosing to trust Him with all your heart, even in the midst of difficult circumstances. Commit every aspect of your life to God. Don’t block God’s plans for your life by limiting ways in which you’re open to following Him. Instead, make yourself completely available to God to use however He would like.

Invite God to shape your desires according to His will. Recognize that your most heartfelt desires may be from God, but you need to discern whether they’re truly His plan for you or just your own plan that you’re trying to get Him to bless. Don’t push your own agenda on God; seek to join Him in what He is doing. Be truly open to whatever plans He may have for you. Ask Him to align your desires with His will by changing ones that don’t fit into His plans into ones that do. Use a journal to keep track of your desires, how they change, and how they are ultimately fulfilled.

Step out in faith. Once you hear some guidance from God, act on it. Do as much as you know to do until He sheds new light on your path. Turn your dreams into specific goals, and your goals into plans that detail how you’ll go about trying to reach those goals. As you move forward, keep praying and keep investigating your options. Seek advice from people whose spiritual maturity you respect. Understand that obstacles may be tests from God designed to strengthen your faith. Persevere.

Look for signs of God’s intervention in your life. Know that God will use the past, present, and future to work in your life in a providential way, weaving all things together for good purposes. Pay attention to doors He opens and those He closes. Pray for the wisdom to discern the truth about events in your life that seem miraculous. Ask God to help you learn what He wants you to learn from them.

Surrender to God. Don’t block God’s best for you by withholding a part of yourself from Him. Surrender your body to God by staying sexually pure, eating nutritiously, avoiding substances that harm your body (like the nicotine in cigarettes), getting the right amount of sleep, and exercising to stay fit. Surrender your mind to God by taking every thought captive and refusing to dwell on thoughts that don’t please God (negative thoughts and those that don’t align with biblical values) and choosing to focus on thoughts that do please Him (positive thoughts that reflect His values). Surrender your will by giving your desires, goals, and plans – about your relationships, career, and every other part of your life – to God and telling Him that you want what He wants for you even if that conflicts with what you want right now. Understand that if you surrender to God, He will bless you by revealing more of His will to you and acting to bring about good in your life.

Wait for God’s peace. Before making a decision, ask yourself: “Am I truly at peace with the direction I plan to take?” If not, take that as a warning signal to stop and wait. Move forward only when God has given you His peace about the decision.

Wait for God’s timing. Know that God’s timing is perfect. Understand that rushing into a decision can easily result in a mistake. Ask yourself: “Does this decision need to be made now? Am I the one to make this decision? Would it be best to wait? What are the pros and cons of waiting?” List the reasons why you think it may be the best time to make your decision. Ask God to either confirm that the timing is right or confirm that you should wait.

Make time for rest and contemplation. Take time out from busyness on a regular basis to rest and think about all that’s going on in your life. This will help you achieve a clearer perspective on decisions you need to make.

Resolve to accomplish God’s mission for you. Don’t waver from your resolve to do God’s will, despite what it may cost you personally. Ask yourself: “Am I open to whatever might occur once the decision is made? Do I desire God’s outcome and not my own?”

Ask God for wisdom and courage. Realize that you need a steady supply of both. Pray for both wisdom and courage daily.

Understand the true meaning of success. Don’t be fooled by our fallen world’s definition of success – achieving wealth, fame, and power. Realize that true success – success that lasts for eternity – is doing God’s will to accomplish the purposes for which He created you. Whenever you fail by making wrong decisions, ask God’s forgiveness and power to move on. Learn from your mistakes. When you begin good work for God, work to complete it. When things go right for you, thank God and give Him the glory. Live a life of integrity so you can leave a legacy of faith that will inspire others to seek and do God’s will in their own lives.

Donkey In The Well... I Love This story! :) ♥

One day a farmer's donkey fell down into a well. The animal cried piteously for hours as the farmer tried to figure out what to do. Finally, he decided the animal was old, and the well needed to be covered up anyway; it just wasn't worth it to retrieve the donkey.

He invited all his neighbors to come over and help him. They all grabbed a shovel and began to shovel dirt into the well. At first, the donkey realized what was happening and cried horribly. Then, to everyone's amazement he quieted down.

A few shovel loads later, the farmer finally looked down the well. He was astonished at what he saw. With each shovel of dirt that hit his back, the donkey was doing something amazing. He would shake it off and take a step up.

As the farmer's neighbors continued to shovel dirt on top of the animal, he would shake it off and take a step up. Pretty soon, everyone was amazed as the donkey stepped up over the edge of the well and happily trotted off!

MORAL: Life is going to shovel dirt on you, all kinds of dirt. The trick to getting out of the well is to shake it off and take a step up. Each of our troubles is a steppingstone. We can get out of the deepest wells just by not stopping, never giving up! Shake it off and take a step up.

Remember the five simple rules to be happy:

1. Free your heart from hatred - Forgive.

2. Free your mind from worries - Most never happens.

3. Live simply and appreciate what you have.

4. Give more.

5. Expect less from people but more from God.

Life Is Like A Cup of Coffee...❤

HAPPY SUNDAY everybody!!! :) I hope this beautiful message lifts your spirit today! LOVE YOU! ♥

"We are here to add what we can to life,
not to get what we can from life."
~ by William Osler

I have typed a transcript of this message below for my international readers who need to translate, and for those who are unable to listen to the message.


A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life. Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups porcelain, plastic, glass, cystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite. He told his guests to help themselves to the coffee. After everybody had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said:

If you noticed all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress. Be assured that the cup adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive, and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup. But you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups to see who had the best one. Now consider this... LIFE is the coffee; the jobs, the money, the positions in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain LIFE and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change, the quality of life we live. Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savor the coffee, NOT the cups! The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the BEST of everything.

♥ Live simply ♥ Speak kindly ♥ Care deeply ♥
♥ Love generously ♥

Happy Sunday Everybody! Sending Some Inspiration Your Way. 😊💖

February 16, 2017

NIGERIA: 100,000 Killed, Millions Displaced By Islamist Militants Boko Haram.

written by Zakariyya Adaramola, Daily Trust News
Tuesday February 14, 2017

Over 100,000 persons died, 2.1 million others displaced and property worth $9billion destroyed by the Boko Haram insurgency as at December 2016, Borno State Governor Kashim Shettima said.

He said a total of 956,453 private houses representing 30% of the total number of houses in Borno were destroyed across the 27 Local Government Areas in the State.

Shettima was speaking in Abuja yesterday when he delivered a keynote lecture at the 2017 Murtala Muhammed Memorial Lecture organised by the Murtala Muhammed Foundation to commemorate 41 year anniversary of the assassination of the late head of state.

He said "A total of 665 municipal buildings comprising state ministries, LGA buildings, prisons, police stations and power distribution offices were destroyed in Borno. 5,335 classrooms and other school buildings were destroyed in 512 primary schools, 38 secondary schools and two tertiary institutions in the State.

"201 health centres, mostly primary healthcare clinics, dispensaries and some General Hospitals were all destroyed. The insurgents also destroyed 726 power substations and distribution lines just like they destroyed 1,630 water sources including motorized boreholes, hand pumps, solar powered boreholes and facilities for piped water schemes.

"Across 16 local government areas of the State, the insurgents bombed parks, gardens, orchards, game reserves, Green Wall projects and poisoned ponds, Rivers, Lakes and stole over 500,000 cattle. All these were in addition to setting ablaze markets, large scale farms and hundreds of trucks that evacuated farm produce for export to neighbouring countries."

He blamed escalation of the insurgency on his predecessor in office, former governor Ali Modu Sheriff. Shettima said Sheriff mismanaged the Boko Haram crisis by blatantly ignoring the entire incident in 2009 when the deadly sect first had violent confrontation with security forces in Maiduguri.

He also said former President Goodluck Jonathan initially believed in the conspiracy theory that Boko Haram was a northern agenda to destabilise his administration and did not take necessary action until by 2013.
written by Sani Tukur, Premium Times
Monday February 13, 2017

Governor Kashim Shettima of Borno state on Monday released the grim statistics of deaths and material losses suffered by the state due to the Boko Haram insurgency.

Mr. Shettima gave the data at the annual Murtala Mohammed memorial lecture held at the Shehu Yar'Adua Centre in Abuja.

The governor, who delivered a paper "Managing the Boko Haram Crisis in Borno State, Experiences and Lessons for a Multiparty, Multiethnic and Multireligious Nigeria", said theinsurgency has led to the deaths of almost 100,000 persons, based on estimates by community leaders in the state over the years.

"The Boko Haram insurgency has led to deaths of almost 100,000 persons going by the estimates of our community leaders over the years," he said.

This casualty figure is the highest ever provided by any government official from a state where remote areas which witness attacks by the insurgents are difficult to reach.

"Two million, one hundred and fourteen thousand (2,114,000) persons have become internally displaced as at December of 2016, with five hundred and thirty seven thousand, eight hundred and fifteen (537,815) in separate camps; 158,201 are at official camps that consists of six centres with two transit camps at Muna and Customs House, both in Maiduguri.

"There are 379,614 IDP'S at 15 satellite camps comprising Ngala, Monguno, Bama, Banki, Pulka, Gwoza, Sabon Gari and other locations in the state. 73,404 persons were forced to become refugees in neighbouring countries with Niger having 11,402 and Cameroon having 62,002.

"We have an official record of 52,311 orphans who are separated and unaccompanied. We have 54,911 widows who have lost their husbands to the insurgency and about 9,012 have returned back to various communities of Ngala, Monguno, Damboa, Gwoza and Dikwa," the governor said.

Mr. Shettima also said based on the post-insurgency Recovery and Peace Building Assessment, RPBA, report on the north-east which was jointly validated by the World Bank, the European Union, the Presidency and the six states of the north-east, Boko Haram has inflicted damages to the tune of $9 billion on the region.

He said "of this amount, the destruction in Borno State amounts to $6 billion and they are supported by grim statistics".

‎Conspiracy theories hampered effort to tackle insurgents early.

Mr. Shettima also gave accounts of how conspiracy theories hampered the fight against Boko Haram under the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan.

‎"For me, the most critical experience and lesson I have had and learnt within the last five years has been the power of conspiracy theories and how they can strongly undermine the fight against insecurity and the management of the humanitarian crisis," he said.

The governor said Boko Haram insurgency grew from strength to strength because of an initial conspiracy theory that began after the 2011 general elections.

"Distinguished Ladies and gentlemen, after the Boko Haram carried out its first suicide attack on the headquarters of the Nigerian Police Force in June 2011 and a later attack on the UN building in August, both in Abuja, a conspiracy theory emerged immediately alleging that the Boko Haram was set up by Muslim-majority northern leaders to target Christians and make Nigeria ungovernable for His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.

"Given the fact that both attacks took place in June and August, which were within three months after President Jonathan was sworn-in, this conspiracy hypothesis immediately assumed a life of its own," he said.

He also said those who believed the theory did not care to recall that the first major attacks by Boko Haram in Borno and Bauchi states which took place in June 2009, had occurred under the late President Umaru Yar'Adua, a Northern Muslim from Katsina State.

Former President, Goodluck Jonathan

"The proponents of this ridiculous conspiracy theory didn't care to recall that a Northern Muslim from Kaduna State was actually the Director-General of President Jonathan's 2011 elections campaign.

"Surprisingly, when it suited their narrow political agenda even pro-Jonathan northerners propagated that the insurgency reflected the collective will of the Northern opposition to undermine the federal government.

"What that meant in effect, was that the theory changed from all Northerners using Boko Haram to undermine Jonathan into a narrower theory that northerners in the opposition were using Boko Haram to destabilise Jonathan's administration. The end result was an alibi for the state not to admit its failure to rout the Boko Haram at the earliest opportunity.

"It appeared the President himself initially believed the conspiracy theory. For instance, when he visited Borno State on Thursday, 13th of March, 2013, President Jonathan requested to meet differently with officials of the Borno State Chapters of the Christian Association of Nigeria and the Jama'atul Nasril Islam.

"The President neither invited nor stopped me from participating but I understood he wanted to meet each group without me. Both meetings were arranged for the President without me knowing the agenda.

"To his credit, I must acknowledge, President Jonathan was actually on a fact finding mission because the following day, during his courtesy call at the Government House in Maiduguri, he said that officials of the Christian Association in Borno State had told him that Boko Haram was not targeting only churches and Christians but rather, had attacked many Mosques and killed many Muslims.

"President Jonathan went further to say that from his findings, the Boko Haram had actually attacked more of majority Muslim communities in the state. The President's revelation was an indication that he didn't understand the crisis before March, 2013.

"Whether his initial lack of understanding of the situation caused his ineffective response to the crisis before 2013, is a matter for conjecture.

"But Borno people consigned to the receiving end of poor policy articulation and response, were simply victims of the resultant inaction or paralysis. And they paid with their lives and property, for which the Nigerian Constitution in its fundamental directive principles, compels the state to use its exclusive possession of the organised means of violence to guarantee," he said.

Mr. Shettima also said he got upset over the Chibok schoolgirls' abduction of April 14, 2014 and the conspiracy theory that followed it.

He said that the abduction gave him the impression that the correct lessons were not learnt at the presidency despite Mr. Jonathan's personal findings in Borno.

He said instead of both the federal and state governments to combine strength towards rescue efforts, a conspiracy theory was immediately created that denied that an abduction of the poor schoolgirls was real.

The theory, he said, presumed that key politicians in the opposition APC cooked up the abduction story mainly to embarrass Mr. Jonathan and the PDP.

He said days later; when the Bring Back Our Girls campaigns began, the theory was changed from cooked abduction story to one saying it was designed and masterminded by the opposition led by his administration.

"Meanwhile, the failure by the state to perform its constitutional duty in rescuing the schoolgirls and bringing back the Sambisa forest into the Federal Republic of Nigeria, by whatever means necessary, were glossed over as an embarrassed nation sought refuge in yet another conspiracy to undermine a Christian and Southern President.

"As God would ordain it, President Goodluck Jonathan, in May, 2014, constituted an investigative panel to gather facts regarding the abduction. The panel had credible persons from all segments, including representatives of the majority Christian community in Chibok, serving and retired personnel of the armed forces, local and foreign-based women and civil rights activists, journalists and some persons believed to be very close to both President Jonathan and his wife.

"The panel met all stakeholders from heads of security establishments, leadership of the West African Examination Council in Borno State, and the panel was also in Chibok to meet agonizing parents and community members. After an exhaustive investigation, the panel submitted its report to President Jonathan.

"The Presidency didn't disclose the content of the report and didn't point any more accusing fingers at Borno State Government," he said.

Mr. Shettima said despite these experiences, the conspiracy theorists are still at work under President Buhari.

He said months after the 2015 elections and the inauguration of Mr. Buhari, another conspiracy theory was "cooked up" following resumed attacks by militants in the Niger Delta.

"There were some northerners who began to create a conspiracy theory that the militants were regrouped and being funded by those who lost out in the 2015 elections, in order to destabilize President Buhari's administration.

"There were those who even believed and supported the theory in the south and they went as far as posting through the online and social media, that it was the turn of the Niger Delta to exact revenge on how Boko Haram was used to destabilize President Jonathan's administration.

"Again, the main issue, namely the inability of the state to guarantee production of oil and secure vital strategic investments in the Niger Delta, being the only variable outside the price of oil in the international markets within the ability of the Nigerian state to influence for good, was side-tracked.

"Interestingly, even though it is crystal clear that conspiracy theories do no one any good, they seem to be stubbornly attractive in Nigeria because even as we speak, there have been series of social media messages in recent weeks, alleging that Fulani's were being deployed to churches to cause mayhem.

"The whole thing seems to be a sort of effort to link a Presidency led by a Fulani man with the activities of murderous criminals, some or most of whom may be Fulani's by ethnicity," he said.

Mr. Shettima therefore, called on Nigerians to always suppress their biases by working hard to get facts on all issues; otherwise, he said, "we will continue to fall victims of conspiracy theories".

"We must recognise that for every conspiracy theory, there is group that stands to gain politically. As Nigerians, we should regularly free our minds and ask ourselves, who stands to gain on any conspiracy theory we come across.

"We must also not, anymore, allow figments of crazy imaginations as excuses for the state to fail to protect life and property.

"We must stop condoning our collective callous attitude that predispose us to blaming victims for their losses in lives and property, the protection of which is a main reason for the existence of every government in the first place," he said.

Earlier in short messages, both acting President, Yemi Osinbajo and former President, Olusegun Obasanjo extolled the virtues of the late former Head of State, Murtala Mohammed.

Mr. Osinbajo said it is a thing of pride for Nigeria to have had a leader like the late Mr. Mohammed.

He also commended Governor Shettima for "providing true leadership in this humanitarian crisis" in his state.

Mr. Osinbajo also said it is the "political and religious elites who promote the conspiracy theories" that the governor spoke about.

The acting president said all Nigerians have the same need, which is "food, comfort and future for the children" which, he said, "have no tribe, culture or religion".

Also, Mr. Obasanjo, who, chairs the Board of Trustees of the Murtala Mohammed Foundation, said the Foundation, led by the daughter of the late Head of State, Aisha Oyebode, is achieving the purpose for which it was established.

He said when the decision to set up the foundation was taken 16 years ago, "we did not know how it would grow, but we had faith and belief that it will grow and it has grown".

MALAYSIA: Malaysian Government Openly Endorses Gay Conversion Therapy; Government-Sponsored Film Suggests Homosexuality Can Be "Cured".

The Independent, UK
written by Rachel Roberts
Tuesday February 14, 2017

Malaysia’s Government has endorsed gay conversion therapy after federal authorities claimed sexual orientation can be changed with extensive training.

A video produced by the country's family, social and development department explains how Muslims can change their approach to the LGBT community so that it does not promote hate against a minority, but the video has sparked anger for its suggestion that sexuality can be “cured”.

The three-minute long video in the Malay language says: “The fact is, there are those among Muslims that have non-heterosexual orientation but remain steadfast on the path of Islam.

“For them, this is a test of Allah, and they choose to face the test appropriate with what Islam demands.”

In Malaysia, LGBT rights are largely unrecognised and sodomy remains a criminal activity under British Empire colonial era law.

The film was shared by social activist Syed Azmi Alhabshi on his Facebook profile yesterday, attracting thousands of views and comments.

Dr Mohd Izwan Yusof, an assistant senior director of Malaysia's Islamic Development Department, confirmed his group was responsible for the video.

According to the Malay Mail Online, the film likens sexual orientation to horse riding, claiming when someone realises they have different preferences from the majority, they need extensive training and guidance to correct this.

It urges a repentant homosexual to fulfil their desires through marriage or to suppress their appetite through measures including fasting.

The video advises Muslims to be patient and help their friends change and return to the heterosexual path, if they discover them to be LGBT.

Conversion therapy consists of psychological treatment or counselling to change a person's sexual orientation from homosexual or bisexual to heterosexual.

It can include aversion therapy, such as showing someone gay porn, then inducing them to vomit or administering electric shocks so they associate their homosexual desire with sickness or pain.

It is widely regarded by the medical and scientific community as potentially harmful pseudoscience.

The practice has been legally challenged or banned in several countries around the world.

Controversy has raged over the therapy in the US, where it was recently claimed Vice President Mike Pence has advocated the treatment.

Tory MP Mike Freer has called for the UK Government to introduce a law to ban so-called “gay cure” therapies which he said are still available on the NHS because the psychotherapy industry is not sufficiently regulated.

In 2014, Harley Street doctor Nazim Mahmood, who came from a Muslim background, took his own life by jumping from his penthouse apartment after his mother suggested he undergo conversion therapy when he came out as gay.

IRAN: Iranian Dissidents Warn IRGC Is Expanding Terrorist Training

Washington Examiner
written Daniel Chaitin
Tuesday February 14, 2017

A group representing Iranian dissidents on Tuesday called on the Trump administration to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization, based on new information that appears to show an expansion of its terrorist training activities.

Last week, multiple news outlets reported that the Trump administration was considering an executive order that would designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization.

At a press conference in Washington, the National Council of Resistance of Iran said it believes that the IRGC's stepped up efforts to train terrorists means the group deserves the designation.

Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the Washington Office of the NCRI, presented information to reporters gathered by the social network of the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran, a dissident group located inside Iran. He said that information shows that since 2012, the NCRI has seen an increase in the training of foreign nationals in its terrorist training camps, which threatens a wide scope of countries, not just those beset by conventional warfare.

"For operations in countries where there is no open warfare, including Persian Gulf countries such as Bahrain and Kuwait, terrorists' cells are trained instead," he said.

That information also identified 14 of what are dozens of IRGC training centers, and said eight of them are terrorist training operations in and around Tehran. It "exposed" the main training camp for terrorists, Imam Ali Garrison, and included satellite images of each of the training centers for foreign nationals.

Jafarzadeh said the IRGC is "contributing to the rise of" the Islamic State, among other things, which is putting U.S. forces and their allies in danger.
The ramped-up training operations are spearheaded by IRGC's special operations unit, the Quds forces, which has already been labeled a terrorist group. But the NCRI contended that IRGC and Quds should not be dealt with separately, as the Iranian constitution and the budget do not deal with the Quds as a separate entity.

"The IRGC is actually the entity that runs the whole show when it comes to terrorism," even though they are spearheaded by the Quds force, Jafarzadeh said. "You cannot do the separation. You cannot have the Quds force designated as a terrorist entity, but not the IRGC."

Jafarzadeh said there is bipartisan support in Congress for the designation of the IRGC as a terrorist group, and suggested that with the new Trump administration, there is "a better possibility for those measures to move forward."

There are groups pushing against a terrorist designation. Following the reports that the Trump administration was weighing its options on the matter, the National Iranian American Council advised against it, citing concern about the future of the Iranian nuclear deal.

"This is an extremely provocative move by an administration that increasingly looks eager to start a war with Iran," the group said in a statement. "At minimum, it would put the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (ACPOA) — the Iran nuclear deal — in extreme jeopardy."

IRAN: Iranian Islamic Sharia Law Morality Police Beat And Detain 14-Year-Old Girl 'For Wearing Ripped Jeans' Literally Beat Her Up! :o

The Independent, UK
written by Lizzie Dearden
Wednesday February 15, 2017

‘I still carry the bruises sustained from their beatings on my face ... my ribs still hurt’

A 14-year-old girl has been beaten and detained for wearing ripped jeans in Iran in the latest incident of police brutality against women and girls.

Zahra*, who The Independent is not identifying for fear she may suffer reprisals, was celebrating her birthday with friends last week when a patrol of “morality police” pulled up.

The teenager said officers tried to force her and her friends into their car in the city of Shiraz, beating them when they resisted.

“There were two women and two men in a huge van and they pushed us into it with the force of their beatings,” she recalled. “Their objection was to the ripped jeans that we were wearing. There were really no other issues concerning my friends and I.”

​Zahra and the other girls were released after being made to sign written pledges that they would not wear the trousers again and adhere to Iran’s strict interpretation of “modest” dress codes in the future.

“I still carry the bruises sustained from their beatings on my face,” she said. “I still feel their pressure on my arm and my ribs still hurt.”

In an exclusive interview with The Independent, her mother described the ordeal as “the worst day of my life, as if the world has ended for me”.

“I know my daughter feels the same,” she added, recalling how she helplessly followed the morality police car to the station.

Zahra’s mother, who suffers from multiple sclerosis, said male officers had threatened the girls with pepper spray to get them into the car, while female officers hit them and pulled their hair.

“It was unbelievable,” she added. “When I entered the room, they were saying that these girls are not children any more and should wear proper clothes.

“Signs of bruises are still visible all over her body. My daughter and her friends were wearing ordinary clothes, it was just that they were wearing ripped jeans.”

Masih Alinejad, who runs the My Stealthy Freedom rights campaign for Iranian women, said many others had gone through similar experiences.

“In the 21st century it is shameful to hear that a government makes decisions on how women should dress,” she added.

“There are many women sharing stories showing that they got lashes just because of attending a mixed party with men or dancing with men at a birthday party.”

Ms Alinejad, who left Iran in 2009 and now works as a journalist in New York, called on female politicians in her home country to fight “discriminatory laws” on Islamic dress codes.

Rules are enforced by thousands of visible and undercover religious or “morality” police, who patrol the streets to check for violations.

Women found to have their hair or bodies inadequately covered can be publicly admonished, warned, fined or even arrested, while vigilantes are also active.

Iranians attempting to resist the draconian enforcement patrols started a phone app called “Gershad” to report their locations last year, but authorities in Tehran went on to deploy a new unit of 7,000 officers.

The internet has increasingly moved into the firing line for the country’s government, which claims to base its legal code on Islamic sharia law.

There have also been frequent crackdowns on social media, with several women arrested last year for sharing “vulgar” photos on Instagram, including one who was made to issue a public apology on state television.

Travel advice issued to British citizens by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office urges visitors to respect Iran’s traditions and laws, while “ensuring actions do not offend”.

It recommends that women wear headscarves in public places, along with trousers or full-length skirts and long-sleeved tunics and coats.

Relationships between non-Muslim men and Muslim women are also illegal in Iran and punishable by whipping (for the women), although few Westerners have been prosecuted.

Homosexuality, adultery and sex outside of marriage are also against Iranian law and can carry the death penalty, while access to Western women’s magazines and films is strictly controlled.

Alcohol is also strictly forbidden, with exceptions covering religious minorities but not foreigners, although secret drinking is relatively widespread.

The Iranian embassy in London could not be reached for comment.

*not her real name

IRAN: 8 Iranian Girls Dressed Up As Men To Attend A Football Game, Got Caught And Were Thrown Out. Females Are Banned Per Islamic Sharia Law.

Pioneer News
written by Staff
Wednesday February 15, 2017

Eight Iranian girls who disguised themselves as boys to attend a football match despite an official ban were prevented from entering the stadium, an official was quoted as saying today.

Iran argues that its ban on women attending football matches in the same stadiums as men is necessary to protect them from lewd language that might emanate from the terraces.

"Eight girls dressed up as men to try to enter the Azadi stadium" in southwest Tehran on Sunday, the Tasnim news agency said.

Iran argues that its ban on women attending football matches in the same stadiums as men is necessary to protect them from lewd language. AFP

It cited interior ministry official Alireza Adeli as saying the girls wanted to "go to the derby between Esteghlal and Persepolis, but security guards spotted them and prevented them from entering".

The two teams are the oldest and most famous in the country, and Esteghlal won Sunday's game 3-2.

Women have been barred from sporting stadiums since the 1979 Islamic revolution.

The ban was the subject of the award-winning 2006 film "Offside" by Jafar Panahi, in which a group of girls dress up a boys to sneak into the Azadi stadium to watch that year's World Cup qualifying playoff against Bahrain.

The government of moderate President Hassan Rouhani wants to ease restrictions to some events, and women have been allowed to attend basketball and volleyball events, albeit from a separate section of the stands.

Adeli said the attempt by the girls to sneak into Sunday's match was nothing new.

"Girls have tried in the past to enter the stadium," he said, adding that women would remain barred because of "crowding" and "inappropriate conditions".

CHINA: Terror In China On Wednesday When 3 Islamist Men Attacked Crowded Shopping Area Stabbed Ten People, MURDERED 8.

South China Morning Post
written by Teddy Ng
Wednesday February 15, 2017

Eight people were killed in a violent attack in China’s restive region of Xinjiang on Tuesday, mainland media reported.

A news portal of the Hotan government reported on early Wednesday morning that three knife-wielding men attacked and stabbed multiple people in Pishan county. Police shot dead the three attackers.

Ten people were injured in the attack. Among them, five were certified dead after being sent to hospital.

Social order has been restored and an investigation is ongoing, the report said. The identity of the attackers were not disclosed.

Xinjiang has been plagued by violent attacks over the years, which Beijing blamed on Uygur separatists.

In December, a car carrying several “terrorists” crashed into the yard of the office building of the local Communist Party committee in Karakax county and set off explosives. One person was killed and four assailants were shot dead.

INDIA: Suspected Islamist Jihadi Elements Brutally Attacked Cow Vigilante Hindu Activist In Maharashtra.

Hindu Existence Org
written by Staff, Agencies
Tuesday February 14, 2017

Nashik district general secretary of Bajrang Dal was allegedly attacked here by some unidentified bike-borne men, police said. The locals suspect the fringe Jihadi groups are behind the scene.

The incident, which took place around 11.30 am Tuesday, triggered tension in the powerloom town, and police have beefed up security immediately.

“Bajrang Dal district general secretary and a gorakshak (cow protector) Machhindra Shirke was attacked on Mumbai-Agra highway around 11.30 am by unidentified people. Shirke sustained injuries in the attack and he was admitted to a private hospital,” Additional Superintendent of Police Rakesh Ola said.

The Jihadi attackers came on around 15 motorcycles and attacked Shirke with sticks. They also damaged his car before disappearing from the scene, police said. Locals say the attackers shouted Islamic slogans.

The severely injured Hindu leader rushed to a Medical Center in a critical condition where he responded the treatment. But, it is not known whether he is out of danger.

Police are in the process of identifying the assailants.

The investigators suspect that the incident could be a fallout of an assault in the town early today on two members of a minority community, who were found transporting cattle on Manmad road.

In India majority Hindus respect Cow as Holy animal and consider as religious icon. Naturally, they oppose open cow slaughter by Muslims in a gruesome Halal scene.

In Indian constitution, it is directed in Art 48+ to prohibit cow slaughter. Islamist and pro-shariah people take this as a point of conflict and frenzy Jihadi elements violate this constitutional provision and Hindu sentiments through their Jihadi action by attacking cow vigilantes.