Pornography: give it a miss

After being exposed to pornography, men reported being less satisfied with their partners’ physical appearance, sexual performance, and level of affection and express greater desire for sex without emotional involvement.

Studies have shown that images are an especially powerful teacher, since they can pack in a whole lot of information that the viewer can understand very quickly. And while words are often interpreted as opinions, our brains are more likely to interpret images as fact; after all, it’s a lot harder to argue with something you’re seeing happen right in front of you.


Reference

Fight the New Drug

Featured Image

Brain, Heart, Balance, Emotion, Intelligence – Pixabay

 

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Still alive? Count it all joy.

Four months into the Tribulation and we have an unsettling calm befall our big ball.

Admittedly, not many think we are “tribulating”; but I am convinced. After all it’s probably been the worst five months of my life, since September 23.

But enough about me, let’s get back to the main game, the globe, and its epicentre, Israel — or should I say Jerusalem.

A nervous anticipation lies heavy over the Middle East after the resounding decision by Donald John Trump, 45th President of the United States, to shift his nation’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. And despite a backlash at the United Nationsten nations have immediately stepped up to confirm they too will move their embassy.¹

The nations include Guatemala, Honduras, the Philippines, Romania, and South Sudan.

The uneasy calm plumes over mankind shaped like a giant truncheon: that truncheon, according to some, is wielded by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. President Erdogan, apparently, wants to be caliph.²

An uneasy calm because despite Trump’s obvious friendly moves toward Israel, and in stark contrast to his predecessor — thanks to President Trump, the momentum in the Middle East is steadily swinging back in Israel’s favour — there is, as yet, apart from a few words here and there, no Intifada, no usual apocalyptic threats of annihilation and extinction of Israel, no mass riots in the streets. Even Muslim nations like Saudi Arabia and Egypt have questioned Erdogan; at least that’s the face they’re showing publicly.

This relative calm amid such pressing news about Jerusalem belies the reality. If things seem good, they’re not. If things seem bad, they are far worse.

For instance, moving to the global context, which of the following names render an image in your mind of a leader willing to back down: Kim Jong-un, Donald John Trump, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, or Xi Jinping?

Meanwhile, President Trump’s predecessor remains America’s “most admired man” ten years running.³ If this is a race, will we see a late run on the scene by a dark horse?

Make of all of that what you must.


References
  1. These countries voted with US as UN condemns Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital,  Kaitlyn Schallhorn – Fox News, 22 December 2017; Israel ‘in talks with 10 countries’ about Jerusalem embassy move – SBS News, 26 December 2017

  2. Erdogan’s Israel Obsession, Efraim Inbar – Middle East Forum, 24 December 2017; Turkey’s Erdogan has eye on becoming global caliph, Bob Unruh – World Net Daily (WND), 28 December 2017

  3. Barack Obama Is ‘Most Admired Man’ For 10th Year In A Row, Gallup Poll Says, Jenna Amatulli – Huffington Post, 28 December 2017

Further Reading
Featured Image

Global Viral News

Putsch

  • a violent attempt to overthrow a government
  • a coup: a sudden, violent, and illegal seizure of power from a government

[Etymology: early 20th century: from Swiss German, literally ‘thrust, blow’.]

July-last saw a strange failed Turkish attempt that compares to a more conventional, and successful, Egyptian putsch of 2013. Thailand had a string of coups — five between 1947 and 2014. The Iranian Revolution, of 1978-9, we’ll call a coup. And Hitler’s November 1923 failed Beer-Hall Putsch: nothing new. A coup, a putsch, an overthrow: it’s power politics in motion.

Turkey

2016 saw Turkey’s fifth attempted military coup since 1960. Seizing airports and television stations, the self-claimed secular protectors of democracy amid increasing Islamisation, the “Peace at Home Council”, labelled President Erdogan “treasonous”. Holidaying in Izmir, the President resorted to FaceTime calls for a citizen blockade against a most “treacherous” attack.

Mr Erdogan, who 15 years earlier founded the ruling Islamist AKP party, managed to go from AKP leader and Prime Minister to Turkey’s President without foregoing AKP power despite a Turkish constitution prohibiting presidential party affiliation. One way Mr Erdogan achieved this, while still AKP leader, for instance, was removing his then second-in-command, Mr Devoteglu.

Single-handedly, Mr Erdogan then transforms a secular state of representation into a presidential Islamist nation; effectively turning the political clock in Turkey back one hundred years. “Ottoman” Turkey now ranks 155th in the world on the Reporters without Borders’ (RSF) 2017 Press Freedom Index, its page dedicated to Turkey revealing:

The witchhunt waged by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s government against its media critics has come to a head since the abortive coup of July 2016. The authorities have used their fight against “terrorism” as grounds for an unprecedented purge. A state of emergency has allowed them to eliminate dozens of media outlets at the stroke of a pen, reducing pluralism to a handful of low-circulation publications. Dozens of journalists have been imprisoned without trial, turning Turkey into the world’s biggest prison for media personnel. Those still free are exposed to other forms of arbitrary treatment including waves of trials, withdrawal of press cards, cancellation of passports, and seizure of assets. Censorship of online social networks has also reached unprecedented levels.

In the last year, 42 Turkish journalists called “four-walls-and-a-wash-basin” home.

Egypt

The 2011 Arab Spring met Egypt’s three-decade long presidency of Hosni Mubarak with an untimely end. The following year the nation chose a Muslim Brotherhood (MB) candidate, Mohammed Morsi, to the auspicious occasion of first Islamist elected head of state. Morsi wasted little time enacting an Islamist agenda, and constitution, granting himself unlimited powers, inclusive of legislative, despite decries from the Supreme Constitutional Court. Thereafter followed prosecutions of journalists and attacks upon passive demonstrators. Over ensuing months the 2012 Egyptian Protests escalated, turning violent on storming of the MB’s headquarters, where five of its members were killed. Retaliatory attacks by supporters of Morsi led to 16 deaths in Nasr City, and then a further ten in surrounding districts. In a nation with a history of military power projection over its polity, the then Egyptian military chief, Abdel Fattah el-Sis, warned, amid the rancour, of the risk of state collapse, proffering a 48-hour ultimatum.

While the Turkish clock was winding back, Egypt’s time had run out. General el-Sis led a coup d’état on 3 July 2013, seizing power and suspending the constitution. Arresting Morsi and the MB leaders, the overthrow was supported by Opposition leader Mohammad ElBaradei, leading Muslim cleric Ahmed al-Tayeb, and Coptic Pope Tawadros. Apart from Tunisia, Arab nations were generally supportive of the military action. The United States refused to label the action a coup. Nonetheless, Egypt found herself suspended from the African Union.

[Video: Egyptian army ousts Mursi and scraps constitution – Al Arabiya].

Five years on, straddled by Syrian chaos and Libyan bedlam, the Egyptian polity, however, stabilised under el-Sisi’s anti-Islamist agenda; proactively striking against Islamic State (IS) militants in both Libya and the Sinai. El-Sisi’s presidency has been marked also by large public works, sponsored by the House of Saud — widening of the Suez Canal and enlarging the nation’s foundering electrical grid capacity.

Thailand

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 Iran

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Hitler’s failed Beer Hall Putsch

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Disclaimers

USA Today is a centrist media agency perhaps leaning slightly, as is media agency wont, to left of centre.

Further Reading
References

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

Juanito Apiñani in the Ring of Madrid, ca. 1815-16, Francisco de Goya (1746-1848) [Wikimedia Commons]

Rejoice not over me, O my enemy; when I fall, I shall rise; when I sit in darkness, the Lord will be a light to me.

Micah 7:8

Nina Kraft Rolls Into T2, 2010 [Wikimedia Commons]

Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.

1 Corinthians 16:13

Pelé dribbling past a defender during Malmö-Brazil 1-7, 1960 [Wikimedia Commons]

For while bodily training is of some value, godliness is of value in every way, as it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come.

1 Timothy 4:8

French rock climber and mountaineer Catherine Monique Suzanne Destivelle, first woman to solo ascend the Eiger’s North face [pinterest]

For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.

Psalms 139:13

American rock climber, BASE jumper, and wingsuit flyer, Steph Davis [vimeo]

I can do all things through him who strengthens me.

Philippians 4:13

American artistic gymnast Alexander Artemev on Pommel Horse, 2008 [flickr, Angela Radulescu]

Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.

Proverbs 22:29

Lauren Mitchell, 41st AG World Championship, 2009 [Wikimedia Commons]

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.

Jeremiah 29:11

1986 World Cup FIFA Golden Ball winner, Diego Maradonna of Argentina [Pinterest]

The end of the matter; all has been heard. Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.

Ecclesiastes 12:13

Astronaut Steve Bown Spacewalks at ISS [NASA on the Commons, flickr]

I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

Psalm 139:14


[Note: Pilgrim Bobby cannot condone jumping out of perfectly good planes, from large rocks, or off buildings.]