Why Ignorance is So Dangerous

There is evidently a widespread belief that–while your dentist should know what amalgam to use in filling a cavity, and your car mechanic should have at least a passing familiarity with automobile parts–anyone who can fog a mirror can run a government agency, or the country.

Surprise! Public officials actually need to know stuff.

Understanding complex global interrelationships, for example, matters. As Fareed Zakaria pointed out in a column for the Washington Post, Trump’s inability to “connect the dots” (or even see dots) could be the best thing that has happened to his nemesis China in a long time. China plans to

exploit the leadership vacuum being created by the United States’ retreat on trade. As Trump was promising protectionism and threatening literally to wall off the United States from its southern neighbor, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a trip through Latin America in November, his third in four years. He signed more than 40 deals, Bloomberg reported, and committed tens of billions of dollars of investments in the region, adding to a $250 billion commitment made in 2015.

The Huffington Post had another example, in an article focused on Trump’s intent to make significant changes in U.S. policy toward Israel and the Palestinians.

President-elect Trump and his surrogates are dropping heavy hints about plans to break with longstanding U.S. positions vis-à-vis the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, in the direction of changes that both Israelis and Palestinians would view as turning away from a negotiated peace agreement…few people today seem to grasp the consequences – entirely unrelated to Israel and the Palestinians – such changes are set to unleash, or the profoundly negative implications they would have for all Americans.

It’s hard to argue with the assertion that most Americans haven’t the foggiest notion that such policy changes would affect anyone outside the Middle East. Knowledgable people, however, know better.

it seems that in the early 1990s Congress passed laws requiring the U.S. to de-fund any United Nations (UN) agency that admits the Palestinians as a member. Unfortunately, de-funding requires giving up any U.S influence over the agency in question.

Back then, nobody gave the laws a second thought, since in those days it was considered beyond the pale to suggest that there might ever be a Palestinian state. Today, things are very different. Support for a two-state solution has been U.S. policy since 2002, and in 2012, the Palestinians were admitted to the UN as a non-member observer state. This status grants them the right to join specialized UN agencies – a right the U.S. cannot block, and admission in many cases is either automatic or requires only a simple majority vote.

Pursuant to the law, when Palestinians joined UNESCO, America withdrew.

The law is still in effect, so Trump’s proposed changes would trigger some very unpleasant consequences, totally unrelated to Israeli-Palestinian relations. As the writer explains,

Take, for example, the International Atomic Energy Association (IAEA). Americans already feeling threatened by the nuclear programs of countries like Iran and North Korea will have even greater reason to worry when the Trump Administration has to de-fund the key watchdog monitoring civilian nuclear programs around the world (the U.S. is the IAEA’s largest donor, so de-funding would be devastating to its operations).

Or what about the World Health Organization (WHO)? After being forced by Zika and Ebola to accept that borders can’t stop the spread of deadly diseases, Americans will have greater reason to be fear for their own well-being when Trump is forced to cut off funding to the key international body charged with dealing with international epidemics and pandemics.

Then there are the immediate concerns to most Americans: jobs and the economy. Here let’s consider the impact of the U.S. de-funding the World Food Program (WFP) and the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO). Rural America may not care about the Israelis or Palestinians, but American farmers and shippers will be shocked when agricultural export programs specifically designed to benefit U.S. farmers and shippers suddenly end.

And then there is the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). While threatening to pull out of trade agreements and organizations like these may seem like smart politics in an election season, America’s businesses may be less sanguine when, because of actions taken on Israel-Palestine, Trump literally has no choice but to give up all influence in organizations from which US businesses derive real benefits when it comes to defending their rights and equities around the world.

I would be willing to wager that Trump and his inexperienced advisors are entirely unaware that the law exists, let alone its likely consequences.

I wonder if the supporters who keep giving him a pass would be equally supportive of a dentist who used lead to fill their cavities…..


    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Modus vivendi is a Latin phrase that means “mode of living” or “way of life”. It often is used to mean an arrangement or agreement that allows conflicting parties to coexist in peace. In science or biology it is used to describe lifestyles.

    Modus means mode, way, method, or manner. Vivendi means of living. The phrase is often used to describe informal and temporary arrangements in political affairs. For example, if two sides reach a modus vivendi regarding disputed territories, despite political, historical or cultural incompatibilities, an accommodation of their respective differences is established for the sake of contingency.

    In diplomacy, a modus vivendi is an instrument for establishing an international accord of a temporary or provisional nature, intended to be replaced by a more substantial and thorough agreement, such as a treaty. Armistices and instruments of SURRENDER are intended to achieve a modus vivendi.

    [The Jewish Establishment SURRENDERED or better still CAPITULATED to the Christian Far Right]

    It is important to note, some polls have shown the majority of American Jews do not support the political policies of the State of Israel.

  2. JoAnn,
    Does that thing about our TV sets actually work? Happy to leave mine on NatGeo, TVLand, Science or other completely unrelated channel.

    T/P have already defiled sacred ground when they laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. Men and women actually fought and died for those two miserable examples of Homo sapiens.

  3. To simplify things: The modus vivendi is a Trojan Horse that spills forth a new strain of the Hitler virus. It is as simple as that. The author Grace Halsell tried to expose it but by doing so destroyed her career as a journalist. After her book “Forcing God’s Hand” was released, “The New York Times” set out to ruin her career as a journalist. That’s why so few people are familiar with her work.

  4. Betty; you have seen viewing counts done for Super Bowl, other sports events, numbers for fans watching “The Walking Dead” and other favorite programs are always posted…they do know what we are watching. I’m sure this tragedy will be closely watched and counted. I don’t remember the name of the group my friend mentioned but my TV will be set on safe channels all day tomorrow, even if I leave home to shop. This will be one way to be counted nationally; but I worry many will watch out of curiosity.

  5. Thanks, JoAnn. I shall follow your lead. It broke my heart when a friend texted another friend today to be sure to watch the POTUS-elect and his toadie lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns. How dare they defile that sacred ground in Arlington National Cemetery by setting even one foot inside it! How dare they indeed!

  6. Marv,

    Thanks for getting back to me. I have spent the past 2 hours reading the chronological history of this conflict, per the site that Joyce Stringfellow suggested, and I am not even halfway through it! It has become so complicated and detailed that I am ready to obtain nuclear armament and go over there and blow them all up myself. Oh my God! There can never be peace there.

    Regarding your explanation of the connection between the radical right Christians and Israel, I did not understand your thoughts.

  7. JoAnn, I am in no way curious. Disgusted, yes; curious, not in the least! Sadly, there will be some who watch. Pity! Good to see the number who are refusing to go to the coronation. No need for a golden crown–he’s wearing it and combing it over…’way, ‘way over!

  8. Nancy, The reason Rightwing Evangelicals are rabidly pro-Israel (they are sometimes called “Christian Zionists”) is because they believe that all the Jews must return to Israel in order to bring on the Rapture. At that time, Jews who accept Jesus will be “saved” or raptured, and the rest will burn in hell for eternity.

    Their support for Israel is thus entirely self-serving, and doesn’t make them any less anti-Semitic.

  9. Nancy,

    “Regarding your explanation of the connection between the radical right Christians and Israel, I did not understand your thoughts.”

    That CONNECTION started with Jerry Falwell’s visit to Israel in 1967. We’re dealing with a deeper level of hatred than we are aware of. The CONNECTION has been used as a cover for virulent anti-Semitism. That’s why for the first time we’re starting to talk about FASCISM. It’s hard to explain, in a few paragraphs, a sub-surface, undetected problem that has been dynamic for just about 50 years. It’s best understood by reading Grace Halsell’s book which I referred earlier today. It took her 150 pages to do so. And, as I previously stated, it destroyed her career as a journalist when she did it.

  10. Sheila,

    Thanks for the simple explanation. Just another confirmation of why I despise their hypocrital form of Christianity.

  11. Sheila,

    One more question. Who created the farce that all Jews must return to Israel to bring on the rapture? Side note-I was raised in the Methodist denomination and “rapture” was never spoken about. I am SO glad that I was raised among sane people.

  12. To be a little more specific.

    This is from “Gag Rule: On the Suppression of Dissent and the Stifling of Democracy” by Lewis H. Lapham (New York: Penguin Press, 2004) pp. 1,124 [former Editor of “Harper’s Magazine”]

    “The dissenter is every human being at those moments in his life when he resigns momentarily from the herd and thinks for himself.”

    ~Archibald Macleish

    “On more than one occasion in New York City over the last few years, while taking part in a public discussion of American foreign policy toward Israel, I’ve been informed by members of the audience that my opinions on the subject were worthless because I was not a Jew. When George Soros on November 5, 2003, informed an audience of Jewish Philanthropists in New York that in Europe “there is a resurgence of anti-Semitism” and that the policies of the Bush administration “contributes to that,” his remarks were denounced, within a matter of days, by Congressman Eliot Engel (D-N.Y.) as “ridiculous and outrageous” and “morally reprehensible.”

    “Like all taboos, the one forbidding criticism of Israel defends the past against the future. The Pentagon’s cadre of high-ranking geopolitical strategists consist largely of fierce and visionary
    ideologues who make little distinction between the objectives of the Bush administration in Washington and those of the Sharon government in Jerusalem, but requests for further clarification–and possibly a way out of the maze of bloodshed–invite the charge of bigotry. Jews who ask questions find themselves modified by the adjective “self-hating.”

  13. Marv,

    It is a terrible mess that is all about religion. Organized religion has caused a lot of anger, hatred and wars among human beings. Ultimately, it ends up being about power. I have removed myself from organized religion because I cannot tolerate the bigotry within it.

  14. Oh please! I did not make ANY comment about Marv’s point of view on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict. What I found utterly arrogant and condescending is simply and EXACTLY what he wrote to Nancy (There is no way you will completely understand the conflict) and I called him out on it.

    Give me a break! Marv, is this because you think Nancy is dumb? Uneducated? Because she’s a woman? Or because she’s not a Jew or a Palestinian? Please. Shed some light on why you wrote that.

    If you were intellectually and otherwise honest you would have apologized to Nancy. Instead you just spewed more condescension my way. Challenging me to take a side in the conflict, when my reading suggestions clearly indicate I’m fairly neutral on the topic.

    As Trump would say: Your’re weak Marv.

    ps: JoAnn: there is no such thing as fact-based fiction. It’s an oxymoron. There is history, there is fiction and there is historical fiction. I’ve read every book Uris wrote.

  15. PJ,

    “As Trump would say: You’re weak Marv.

    I agree with you. I’m too weak. As I’ve said more than once, I’m not into suicide. I surrender.

    The Nazis have won.

    Heil Trump!

  16. Nazi salute

    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    The Nazi salute or Hitler salute (German: Hitlergruß – literally “Hitler Greeting”) is a gesture that was used as a greeting in Nazi Germany. The salute is performed by extending the right arm from the neck into the air with a straightened hand. Usually, the person offering the salute would say “Heil Hitler!” (Hail Hitler!), “Heil, mein Führer!” (Hail, my leader!), or “Sieg Heil!” (Hail victory!). It was adopted in the 1930s by the Nazi Party to signal obedience to the party’s leader, Adolf Hitler, and to glorify the German nation (and later the German war effort). The salute was mandatory for civilians, but was mostly optional for military personnel who retained the traditional military salute until shortly after the failed assassination attempt on Hitler in 1944.

    Use of this salute is currently a criminal offense in Germany, Slovakia, and Austria. In Canada, the Czech Republic, France, the Netherlands, Sweden, and Switzerland, the salute is illegal hate speech if used for propagating Nazi ideology.

    [Strange. It is not prohibited in the U.S.]

  17. Very good column on ignorance, Sheila. We need to hear this over and over and over. Then we should let it sink in and act appropriately. Next step is not to be ignorant of half- and quarter-truths and fake news, then to make the truth known to all we can reach.

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