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not-smart-college-protestsAnti-Israel/pro-Hamas campus protests have engulfed hundreds of college campuses. But the more coastal, blue-state, and supposedly elite the campus was, the more furious the violence that sometimes followed these demonstrations.

Even rowdier and more vicious street analogs shut down key bridges, freeways, and religious services. Protestors often defaced hallowed American monuments, national cemeteries, and iconic buildings. Visa-holders were among the worst perpetrators, adding ingratitude to their criminality.

The vast majority wore masks, not to protect from infection but to hide their identities. It is received wisdom, however, that those who wear masks do so for obvious reasons: so authorities cannot identify and punish those who commit crimes (e.g. the Klan, antifa, bank robbers, criminal gangs), or so that anonymity can help incite mob furor, given that participants feel that their vehemence increases once it cannot be traced.

More mundanely, why don’t the students simply identify themselves, insist they want their “resistance” to be known, and then hope their arrests will be proof of their courage to galvanize like-minded people to join them?

Why? One, because the students are sunshine and careerist revolutionaries. They see no inconsistency between shouting “Death to Israel,” “Global Intifada,” or “River to the Sea” one day and then the next, applying for a top spot at Goldman Sachs, a tony university, or a federal bureaucracy. Jacobin professors protest like it is 1793, but when politely arrested, they collapse into fetal positions and scream hysterically that consequences cannot follow their illegality, given they are privileged, superior intellects and moralists, with titles and degrees no less.



tigers-of-samarkandThe magnificent Sher-Dor Madrassa, built in the early 1600s, is part of the Registan public square complex of the ancient Silk Road oasis of Samarkand.  “Sher-Dor” means “Adorned with Tigers” in Persian – flaunting Islamic blasphemy of living beings in art.  Here is the mosaic depiction of a tiger chasing a deer and on its back a rising sun deity with a human face. This is honoring the pre-Islamic history of Samarkand that goes back almost 3,000 years.

It was centuries old when Alexander conquered it in 329 BC. For a thousand years as Central Asia’s great entrepot on the Silk Road between China and the Mediterranean, it was a cosmopolitan center for Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Nestorian Christianity. Incorporated into the Islamic world in the 700s, sacked by Genghiz Khan in 1220, rebuilt by the time Marco Polo in 1272 described it as “a large and splendid city,” Tamerlane made it his capital in 1370.

Colonized by Czar Alexander II in the 1860s within the Russian Imperial Empire, and by the Soviets in the 1920s within the Uzbek SSR, Samarkand is flourishing today in independent Uzbekistan.  Come with me to explore Samarkand and so many other wonders of "The Heart of Central Asia" soon.  It will be like a dream come true. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #208 photo ©Jack Wheeler)



burning-deuceIn the police world, human calamity is our bread and butter.  Someone figured out that the average cop sees about twenty times the pain and suffering an ordinary person sees in life.   Decades of rolling up on various calls with people in a figurative or literal pool of their own blood have taught me some things about how humans fail.  I thought I would sit down and try to figure out, from my education and experience, ten key ways it happens, and pass that on to people.   Someone needs to learn from this other than we cops.  Maybe a young person needs this list.  Maybe you need it.  As with a beer, take what you need out of it.

Have anger issues

Behind arrests, broken relationships, divorces, or lost jobs is often someone losing their temper.  One of the first and most important lessons a child learns, sometimes adversely, from Mom, Dad, or a teacher is that you don’t get to say or do whatever you want, whenever you want.  At least it used to be.  Nowadays, many a police call starts off when someone’s food order, drink, purchase, or other isn’t as requested and people get unhinged.  Instead of calming down and delivering almost the same critique in a calm voice, they choose to scream and inject tons of “F Words.”  Communication ceases, hands may get thrown, cops get called, people get hurt or sued, and we’re off to the races.  I know I have complained about the cops having their hands tied, so perhaps if jail doesn’t scare you, the prospect of someone harming you, or those with you, should.



arrest-hillary-infoNews broke a few hours ago that the helicopter carrying Iranian president Ebrahim Raisi and his foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, has crashed in the mountainous, wooded terrain of Eastern Azerbaijan, with a search ongoing for the crash site.

Sometimes bad things happen, but when the President of Iran’s helicopter crashes, and his foreign minister was on the copter, too, one wonders if it's more than coincidence. People are already wondering whether this was an accident or something more.

It’s no secret that Iran is a worldwide state funder of terrorism. Along with Qatar, it’s the money behind both Hezbollah and Hamas, which are fighting Israel from the East and the North. Violence in the Middle East would be dramatically diminished if Iran’s bankroll were cut off. The same is true for the military support it provides in terms of weapons, training, and strategy.

But it’s not just Israel that’s a target of Iranian malevolence. Since 1979, Iran’s battle cry has been “Death to America.” The official government policy is that it is in an existential war with the United States. Israel is the “Little Satan,” while America is the “Great Satan.”



segovia-castleThis is Spain’s most famous and beloved castle, high on a rocky promontory above the city of Segovia some 60 miles northwest of Madrid.  The site of a Celtic settlement, Roman trading post, and Arab wooden fort, when the Reconquista of the Christian knights removed the Islamic invaders from their land in the early 1200s, the building of the idyllic fairy tale castle you see began.

For centuries it was the palace residence of the Kings and Queens of Castille.  It was here, on December 13, 1474, that Isabella, daughter of King John II, was enthroned as the Queen of Castille.  When her husband Ferdinand, whom she married in 1469, became King of Aragon in 1475, they jointly ruled a unified Spain.  As we learned in our early school years, it was Ferdinand of Aragon and Isabella of Castille who sponsored Columbus’ discovery of the Americas in 1492.

Today, the Castle of Segovia is a World Heritage Site, serving as a museum of the history of Castille and National Archive of Spain.  Immaculately preserved and maintained, it’s a thrilling experience to explore. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #266 photo ©Jack Wheeler)



putintat[This Monday's Archive was originally published on June 15, 2006.  Eighteen years later, it is more true than ever.] 

TTP, June 15, 2006

The most beautiful women in Europe are not in Paris.  They are in a country, as Joel Wade and I discovered to our delight, called Moldova.  On every street corner in the capital of Chisinau, Joel and I stood transfixed, watching one spectacularly gorgeous woman after another walk by.

Back then, in 1989, the place was stilled called the Soviet Republic of Moldavia.  The Principality of Moldova had emerged independent out of the Middle Ages, only to be colonized by the Russian Empire in 1812.  During the Russian Revolution in 1917, it broke free and joined Romania for safety.  Stalin had his troops seize it in 1944, incorporating it within the Soviet Union as Moldavia.

It was an exciting time to be there in 1989, as Moldovans saw the USSR disintegrating and their liberty finally around the corner.  By mid-1991, they had declared their independence and Moldova was once again free.

But there was a little problem.  Here's the map:



golden-madrasaThe Golden Madrasa or College of Tilla-Kori was built by Samarkand ruler Yalangtush Bakhadur in the 1650s to house and teach the best and brightest students of his realm.  It stands at the center of the wondrous Registan public square complex of the Silk Road oasis city of Samarkand, known to the ancient Greeks as Marakanda.

It was centuries old when Alexander conquered it in 329 BC.  For a thousand years as Central Asia’s great entrepot on the Silk Road between China and the Mediterranean, it was a cosmopolitan center for Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Zoroastrianism, and Nestorian Christianity.   Incorporated into the Islamic world in the 700s, sacked by Genghiz Khan in 1220, rebuilt by the time Marco Polo in 1272 described it as “a large and splendid city,” Tamerlane made it his capital in 1370.

I was first in Samarkand to stand astonished at the Registan in 1963.  Seeing it now, far more impressively preserved than in the Soviet days, made me gasp – especially how Tilla-Kori is once again lavishly decorated with gold.  You’ll gasp too should you ever be fortunate enough to come here. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #223 photo ©Jack Wheeler)




China and Russia Decide Their Future


Putin's recent trip to Beijing holds great significance and has implications for Russia-China relations, as well as the global stage. China welcomed Putin with open arms, hosting top officials at the conference table.

Notable members of the Russian delegation include new Defense Minister Belousov, military personnel such as Shoigu, and business leaders like Oleg Deripaska, Igor Sechin, and Herman Gref. The delegation's composition suggests a focus on bolstering economic and financial cooperation with China, possibly due to the damaging effects of sanctions.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine is pushing Russia and China into an economic partnership that could significantly impact the availability of advanced weaponry and prolong the war. The rapid development of AI-based weaponry and production systems, governed by compliant individuals and leaders absolved of personal responsibility, could lead to large-scale global failures.

The importance of nurturing the human element in autonomous systems cannot be understated, as relying solely on rule-based systems may lead to more disastrous occurrences.

The continuing meeting between Russian and Chinese high-ranking military and economic officials may yield an outcome similar to the Covid vaccination program, due to the automatic speed and nature of the AI systems being implemented worldwide. Automation makes errors faster and deeper, and China and Russia may not bounce back from the strategies they are devising this week in Beijing.

The International Rules-Based Order and the Fourth Industrial Revolution just collided. Come on over to this week’s HFR and take a look.



well-of-jobWe’re all familiar with the sufferings of Job in the Old Testament’s Book of Job. But what happened to Job after his sufferings were ended? All the OT says is that, with his health and riches restored, he lived long enough to see his great-great grandchildren.

The OT says Job lived in the “Land of Uz,” which was “beyond the Euphrates.” That would place it in modern day Iraq. There is no connection between this Hebraic name and the land of Uzbekistan – meaning the Land of Uzbeks, a Turkic people. Yet the Silk Road city of Bukhara in today’s Uzbekistan is thousands of years old.

Jews have lived in Bukhara for 3,000 years, although almost all have emigrated now (some 150,000 Bukharan Jews live in Israel). Thus it is a very ancient legend that during a terrible drought in Bukhara, Job visited the city and struck the ground with his staff – causing a spring of healing water to gush from the ground, and continues to do so today.

A shrine was built around the spring – the Well of Job – and the water is clear and drinkable. One of the many extraordinary experiences in what we call Hidden Central Asia. We’ll be here again sometime soon. (Glimpses of Our Breathtaking World #114 photo ©Jack Wheeler)