Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Musical Interlude: 2002, "Remember Now"

The Poet: May Sarton, "Now I Become Myself"

 
"Now I Become Myself"

“Now I become myself. It's taken
Time, many years and places,
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces,
Run madly, as if Time were there,
Terribly old, crying a warning,
"hurry, you will be dead before -----"
(What? Before you reach the morning?
or the end of the poem, is clear?
Or love safe in the walled city?)
Now to stand still, to be here,
Feel my own weight and density!
Now there is time and Time is young.
O, in this single hour I live
All of myself and do not move,
I, the pursued, who madly ran,
Stand still, stand still, and stop the Sun!”

~ May Sarton,
 Collected Poems, 1930-1993

"No Surrender"

"It is inevitable that some defeat will enter even the most victorious life. 
The human spirit is never finished when it is defeated... 
it is finished when it surrenders."

- Ben Stein

"What Are the Georgia Guidestones?"

"What Are the Georgia Guidestones?"
by Wiki

"The Georgia Guidestones are a huge granite artifact in Elbert County, Georgia, USA. It is sometimes referred to as an "American Stonehenge", a title which has been applied at times to a number of other structures. A message comprising ten guides is inscribed on the structure in eight modern languages, and a shorter message is inscribed at the top of the structure in four ancient scripts: Babylonian, Classical Greek, Sanskrit, and Egyptian hieroglyphs.

The artifact is almost twenty feet (6m) tall, and made from six granite slabs weighing more than 100 tons in all. One slab stands in the center, with four arranged around it. A capstone lies on top of the five slabs, which are astronomically aligned. An additional stone tablet, which is set in the ground a short distance to the west of the structure, provides some clarifying notes on the history and purpose of the Guidestones.

A message consisting of a set of ten guidelines or principles is engraved on the Georgia Guidestones in eight different languages, one language on each face of the four large upright stones. Moving clockwise around the structure from due north, these languages are: English, Spanish, Swahili, Hindi, Hebrew, Arabic, ancient Chinese, and Russian. The message in English reads:

MAINTAIN HUMANITY UNDER 500,000,000
IN PERPETUAL BALANCE WITH NATURE

GUIDE REPRODUCTION WISELY —
IMPROVING FITNESS AND DIVERSITY

UNITE HUMANITY WITH A LIVING
NEW LANGUAGE

RULE PASSION — FAITH — TRADITION
AND ALL THINGS
WITH TEMPERED REASON

PROTECT PEOPLE AND NATIONS
WITH FAIR LAWS AND JUST COURTS

LET ALL NATIONS RULE INTERNALLY
RESOLVING EXTERNAL DISPUTES
IN A WORLD COURT

AVOID PETTY LAWS AND USELESS
OFFICIALS

BALANCE PERSONAL RIGHTS WITH
SOCIAL DUTIES.

PRIZE TRUTH — BEAUTY — LOVE —
SEEKING HARMONY WITH THE
INFINITE

BE NOT A CANCER ON THE EARTH —
LEAVE ROOM FOR NATURE —
LEAVE ROOM FOR NATURE

A shorter message appears on the four vertical surfaces of the capstone, again in a different language and script on each face. The explanatory tablet near the Guidestones identifies these languages/scripts as Babylonian Cuneiform (north), Classical Greek (east), Sanskrit (south), and Egyptian Hieroglyphs (west), and provides what is presumably an English translation: "Let these be guidestones to an age of reason."

Limiting the population of the earth to 500 million will require the extermination of nine-tenths (90%) of the world's people. The American Stonehenge's reference to establishing a world court foreshadows the current move to create an International Criminal Court and a world government. The Guidestones' emphasis on preserving nature anticipates the environmental movement of the 1990s, and the reference to "seeking harmony with the infinite" reflects the current effort to replace Judeo-Christian beliefs with a new spirituality.

What is the true significance of the American Stonehenge, and why is its covert message important? Because it confirms the fact that there was a covert group intent on:

(1) Dramatically reducing the population of the world.
(2) Promoting environmentalism.
(3) Establishing a world government.
(4) Promoting a new spirituality.

Certainly the group that commissioned the Georgia Guidestones is one of many similar groups working together toward a New World Order, a new world economic system, and a new world spirituality. The fact that most Americans have never heard of the Georgia Guidestones or their message to humanity reflects the degree of control that exists today over what the American people think. We ignore that message at our peril.”
- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_Guidestones
•••
"The story of the Georgia Guidestones began on a Friday afternoon in June 1979, when an elegant gray-haired gentleman showed up in Elbert County, made his way to the offices of Elberton Granite Finishing, and introduced himself as Robert C. Christian. He claimed to represent "a small group of loyal Americans" who had been planning the installation of an unusually large and complex stone monument. Christian had come to Elberton—the county seat and the granite capital of the world—because he believed its quarries produced the finest stone on the planet.

Joe Fendley, Elberton Granite's president, nodded absently, distracted by the rush to complete his weekly payroll. But when Christian began to describe the monument he had in mind, Fendley stopped what he was doing. Not only was the man asking for stones larger than any that had been quarried in the county, he also wanted them cut, finished, and assembled into some kind of enormous astronomical instrument.

What in the world would it be for? Fendley asked. Christian explained that the structure he had in mind would serve as a compass, calendar, and clock. It would also need to be engraved with a set of guides written in eight of the world's major languages. And it had to be capable of withstanding the most catastrophic events, so that the shattered remnants of humanity would be able to use those guides to reestablish a better civilization than the one that was about to destroy itself."
The rest of this incredible story can be found here:

"A Look to the Heavens"

“How many arches can you count in the below image? If you count both spans of the Double Arch in the Arches National Park in Utah, USA, then two. But since the above image was taken during a clear dark night, it caught a photogenic third arch far in the distance - that of the overreaching Milky Way Galaxy. 
 
 Click image for larger size.

Because we are situated in the midst of the spiral Milky Way Galaxy, the band of the central disk appears all around us. The sandstone arches of the Double Arch were formed from the erosion of falling water. The larger arch rises over 30 meters above the surrounding salt bed and spans close to 50 meters across. The dark silhouettes across the image bottom are sandstone monoliths left over from silt-filled crevices in an evaporated 300 million year old salty sea. A dim flow created by light pollution from Moab, Utah can also be seen in the distance.’

“Ending Relationships”

“Ending Relationships”
by Earthrenewal

"The ending of relationships, whether friendships, marriages or work is always painful. Often there is a great sense of loss. At times it is necessary when one or both partners are emotionally and/or physically abusive, and unable or unwilling to change what has become a toxic, unhealthy and/or addictive relationship. However, reconciliation is often possible if both people  love, care, trust and respect each other and are fundamentally compatible. The ability and willingness to honestly, assertively, empathetically and non-judgmentally communicate thoughts and feelings and actively listen is also critical.

Sometimes counseling helps if both people are sincerely committed to relationship building and are psychologically secure and healthy enough to alter their thoughts and behavior. Counseling can help us understand that conflict can be healthy- a way to talk about problems, instead of arguing and withdrawing. It can help us find ways to empathize, acknowledge and express feelings and avoid the pitfalls that commonly escalate conflicts. What of course doesn't work in salvaging a troubled relationship are threats, ultimatums, harsh criticism, sarcasm, passivity, pent up aggression, passive aggressive behavior, violence and/or resigning oneself that any relationship is better than no relationship.

One of the key elements of a healthy relationship is unselfishness. In essence, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you"- and engaging in the self questioning necessary to make this a reality. In any relationship it is important to understand and accept a situation from the other's perspective, even if that perspective is radically different from your own. It is also important to understand that expressed or unexpressed anger may generate a similar reaction - whether aggressive, passive aggressive and/or passive. While anger is a natural human emotion one cannot expect that response to anger will always be positive and constructive. The ability to unselfishly deal with both you and your partners anger and to non-defensively communicate your thoughts and feelings in the context of a trusting relationship is essential.

It is true that in any relationship there must be shared values on ethics and commitment. However, some feel we are drawn to people that help complete ourselves. It is in these relationships where there is the greatest potential for growth, precisely because both people are so different in personality and life orientation. Yet it is often true that these relationships may engender the most conflict- at least in the beginning and until both people learn to communicate unselfishly and acquire enough of an understanding of themselves and each other for healing to take place.

Some individuals are narcissistic- viewing a relationship primarily from the perspective of their own needs and wants. They may lack self esteem and compassion- resenting their partner for insensitivity to their needs. Their resentment can manifest in any number of forms of exploitation and emotional/physical abuse and withdrawal. They sometimes exit from a relationship when painful challenges and disappointments arise either as a byproduct of the relationship and/or external to it. This adversity represents too great a threat to their self esteem, often conflicting with their sense of self importance, entitlement and fantasy world of success, power or brilliance. Ironically, this very escape, while a symptom of their illness also further saps the joy from their life- making life less, not more bearable. Rather than attempting to resolve differences and challenges through understanding and compassion, they cycle through future relationships- repeating the negative, sometimes abusive patterns of the past.

Other personality issues or disorders can contribute to relationship difficulties. Low self esteem may lead to pent up anger, confusion, poor self assertion and unhealthy relationship dynamics. Depression, anxiety disorders, narcissism, bipolar disorder and more severe types of mental illness such as schizophrenia, can severely exacerbate relationship problems. The same can be said for substance abuse and addiction. Substance abuse may accompany mental disorders- the two feeding on each other and destroying individual lives and relationships. Co-dependency may also arise- perpetuating, rather than resolving problems. Relationship counseling in combination with self work, individual therapy and medication may be required to successfully resolve many or all of the above issues.

At times a partner withdraws from what seemed a loving and supportive relationship with little or no  effort to communicate why and resolve differences. When this occurs the "rejected" can feel deeply betrayed and the "rejecter" less authentic and human. Understandably, previous words of love and commitment are called into question- the rejected feeling "used" and/or victimized by what appears to be a psychologically irresponsible, perhaps narcissistic human being. Our memories are not of what was, but how we remember what was. Understandably, thoughts creep in that what was- never really was and therefore could never be.

However, relationships do change over time and maybe love flowered once, but gradually died over time- with the warning signs ignored or only dimly felt. Mark Knapp, identifies these stages in the coming together and coming apart phases of a relationship:

• Initiation- This stage is very short, sometimes as short as 10-15 seconds. In this stage, interactants are concerned with making favorable impressions on each other. They may use standard greetings or observe each other's appearance or mannerisms.
• Experimenting- In the next stage, individuals ask questions of each other in order to gain information about them and decide if they wish to continue the relationship. "Many relationships progress no further than this point"
• Intensifying- Self-disclosure becomes more common in the intensifying stage. The relationship becomes less formal, the interactants begin to see each other as individuals, and statements are made about the level of commitment each has to the relationship.
• Integrating- The individuals become a pair in the integrating stage. They begin to do things together and, importantly, others come to see them as a pair. A shared relational identity starts to form in this stage.
• Bonding- During the bonding stage, a formal, sometimes legal, announcement of the relationship is made. Examples include a marriage, "best friend" ritual, or business partnership agreement. Few relationships reach this level.
• Differentiating- In this stage, partners begin to stress the "me" instead of the "we." In other words, the individuals begin to assert their independence. They may develop different hobbies or activities. The relationship may continue to dissolve, or this stage may be a warning sign that the couple needs to address their relationship status.
• Circumscribing: Communication between the couple diminishes during this stage. They tend to avoid certain topics of discussion. Outwardly, the couple appears normal. At this stage, attempts can be made to discuss the relationship and return it to a positive state.
• Stagnating: During the stagnating stage, the individuals avoid discussing the relationship because they think they know what the other will say. Others begin to take notice that something is wrong.
• Avoiding: The pair begins to physically separate themselves during the avoiding stage. The individuals try to reduce the opportunities for discussion.
• Terminating: This is the final stage of the relationship. Termination may come naturally, such as at the end of the semester when roommates move out, or arbitrarily, through divorce. 

Termination of the relationship can occur positively or negatively. While memories of a relationship fade- they still remain part of who we are. We must incorporate the relationship experience, understand and learn from it-treasuring the best parts- but never suppressing memories no matter how painful or joyful. Attempting to suppress ultimately hinders the growth of the soul.

Love is productive- giving genuine love to another enriches one's own life and being even if this love is rejected. Still, we must learn from our past relationships, seeking partners that can love us deeply and unconditionally. We must learn to recognize the warning signs of relationships in crisis and of partners who can't fully love. All of us have had relationships that have ended. But while we may gyrate through the various stages of denial, anger, grief, acceptance and forgiveness the consequences are always painful.

James J. De Santis, Ph.D,  recommends the following steps to take if you decide to exit a troubled relationship:

• Formulate specific steps for exiting your relationship that will help you avoid procrastination or excuse-making.
• Activate your social-emotional support system, including friends and family.
• Avoid entering a new relationship too quickly. Take time to work through your feelings. Examine what happened so you can make better relationship choices in the future.
• Pursue your own goals for happiness, personal growth, and getting on with building a new life.

We must remember that all endings are new beginnings and that if we remain open, caring and alive, love will again return- perhaps sadder and wiser- but no less beautiful and fulfilling. No star or flower is more beautiful than another- only a unique expression of love. And remember- true love abides."

"A Dent In The Universe..."

"Listen to me. We're here to make a dent in the universe.
Otherwise why even be here?"
- Steve Jobs

The Poet: Langston Hughes, "Dreams"

"Dreams"

"Hold fast to dreams
For if dreams die
Life is a broken-winged bird
That cannot fly.
Hold fast to dreams
For when dreams go
Life is a barren field
Frozen with snow."

- Langston Hughes

Chet Raymo, “Letting Go”

“Letting Go”
by Chet Raymo

“We all know that Charles Darwin's five-year voyage aboard HMS Beagle in 1831-1836 planted the seeds that eventually led to his theory of evolution by natural selection. Less well know is his explanation of the atoll islands of the warm Pacific by a combination of volcanic action, erosion, subsidence and coral growth, also inspired by the voyage. On observing the isle of Mauritius on the homeward leg of the circumnavigation, he wrote of the corals: "We feel surprise when travellers tell us of the vast dimensions of the Pyramids and other great ruins, but how utterly insignificant are the greatest of these, when compared to these mountains of stone accumulated by the agency of various minute and tender animals! This is a wonder which does not at first strike the eye or the body, but, after reflection, the eye of reason."

This was the great contribution of Hutton, Lyell, and Darwin- to stretch our imaginations over vast reaches of space and time which human thought had not yet effectually followed. Even today, after two-centuries in which their theories have been extensively confirmed, we struggle to grasp the eons and the light-years, reflexively holding fast to the human-centered cosmic egg of our more ancient ancestors, framed on a human scale.

Divide us, then, into two tribes: those who retreat for comfort and security into the eye of the body, and those, a minority to be sure, who prefer to live in the eye of reason, where microscopic organisms can build mountains that rise out of the sea, where bacteria can evolve into great blue whales, and where galaxies teem in incomprehensible numbers.

Darwin is our teacher- as the young, insatiably curious observer who devoured everything that presented itself to his bodily eye, and the sedentary philosopher in his study at Downe, who pondered with his mind's eye what it all meant, following his reflections wherever they led, even to a place where the vast majority of his contemporaries were unwilling to go.”

The Daily "Near You?"

Issaquah, Washington, USA. Thanks for stopping by.

"In The Presence of Difficulty, Compassion"

"In The Presence of Difficulty, Compassion"
by Madisyn Taylor, The DailyOM

"True compassion recognizes that all the boundaries we perceive between ourselves and others are an illusion. Compassion is the ability to see the deep connectedness between ourselves and others. Moreover, true compassion recognizes that all the boundaries we perceive between ourselves and others are an illusion. When we first begin to practice compassion, this very deep level of understanding may elude us, but we can have faith that if we start where we are, we will eventually feel our way toward it. We move closer to it every time we see past our own self-concern to accommodate concern for others. And, as with any skill, our compassion grows most in the presence of difficulty.

We practice small acts of compassion every day, when our loved ones are short-tempered or another driver cuts us off in traffic. We extend our forgiveness by trying to understand their point of view; we know how it is to feel stressed out or irritable. The practice of compassion becomes more difficult when we find ourselves unable to understand the actions of the person who offends us. These are the situations that ask us to look more deeply into ourselves, into parts of our psyches that we may want to deny, parts that we have repressed because society has labeled them bad or wrong. For example, acts of violence are often well beyond anything we ourselves have perpetuated, so when we are on the receiving end of such acts, we are often at a loss. This is where the real potential for growth begins, because we are called to shine a light inside ourselves and take responsibility for what we have disowned. It is at this juncture that we have the opportunity to transform from within!

This can seem like a very tall order, but when life presents us with circumstances that require our compassion, no matter how difficult, we can trust that we are ready. We can call upon all the light we have cultivated so far, allowing it to lead the way into the darkest parts of our own hearts, connecting us to the hearts of others in the understanding that is true compassion."

Paulo Coelho, “Why Do That?”

“Why Do That?”
by Paulo Coelho

“Nature is telling us: ‘Change!’ And those who do not fear the Angel of Good Fortune understand that they must go forward, despite their fear.

Despite their doubts.
Despite recriminations.
Despite threats.

They confront their values and prejudices. They hear the advice of their loved ones, who say: ‘Why do that? You have everything you need: the love of your parents, your wife and your children, the job it took you so long to get. Don’t run the risk of becoming a stranger in a strange land.’

Nevertheless, they risk taking a first step, sometimes out of curiosity, sometimes out of ambition, but generally because they feel an uncontrollable longing for adventure. At each bend in the road, they feel more and more afraid, and yet, at the same time, they surprise themselves: they are stronger and happier.

Joy. That is one of the main blessings of the All-Powerful. If we are happy, we are on the right road.

Despite their doubts.
Despite recriminations.
Despite threats."

"A Strange Animal..."

 "Man is a strange animal, he doesn't like to read the 
handwriting on the wall until his back is up against it."
 ~ Adlai Stevenson

"How It Really Is"

"Blacklisted: The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist"

"Blacklisted:
The Secret Government Rulebook For Labeling You a Terrorist"
By Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Devereaux

"The Obama administration has quietly approved a substantial expansion of the terrorist watchlist system, authorizing a secret process that requires neither “concrete facts” nor “irrefutable evidence” to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist, according to a key government document obtained by The Intercept.

The “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance,” a 166-page document issued last year by the National Counterterrorism Center, spells out the government’s secret rules for putting individuals on its main terrorist database, as well as the no fly list and the selectee list, which triggers enhanced screening at airports and border crossings. The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place “entire categories” of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to “nominate” people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as “fragmentary information.” It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted.

Over the years, the Obama and Bush Administrations have fiercely resisted disclosing the criteria for placing names on the databases—though the guidelines are officially labeled as unclassified. In May, Attorney General Eric Holder even invoked the state secrets privilege to prevent watchlisting guidelines from being disclosed in litigation launched by an American who was on the no fly list. In an affidavit, Holder called them a “clear roadmap” to the government’s terrorist-tracking apparatus, adding: “The Watchlisting Guidance, although unclassified, contains national security information that, if disclosed … could cause significant harm to national security.”

The rulebook, which The Intercept is publishing in full, was developed behind closed doors by representatives of the nation’s intelligence, military, and law-enforcement establishment, including the Pentagon, CIA, NSA, and FBI. Emblazoned with the crests of 19 agencies, it offers the most complete and revealing look into the secret history of the government’s terror list policies to date. It reveals a confounding and convoluted system filled with exceptions to its own rules, and it relies on the elastic concept of “reasonable suspicion” as a standard for determining whether someone is a possible threat. Because the government tracks “suspected terrorists” as well as “known terrorists,” individuals can be watchlisted if they are suspected of being a suspected terrorist, or if they are suspected of associating with people who are suspected of terrorism activity.

“Instead of a watchlist limited to actual, known terrorists, the government has built a vast system based on the unproven and flawed premise that it can predict if a person will commit a terrorist act in the future,” says Hina Shamsi, the head of the ACLU’s National Security Project. “On that dangerous theory, the government is secretly blacklisting people as suspected terrorists and giving them the impossible task of proving themselves innocent of a threat they haven’t carried out.” Shamsi, who reviewed the document, added, “These criteria should never have been kept secret.”

The document’s definition of “terrorist” activity includes actions that fall far short of bombing or hijacking. In addition to expected crimes, such as assassination or hostage-taking, the guidelines also define destruction of government property and damaging computers used by financial institutions as activities meriting placement on a list. They also define as terrorism any act that is “dangerous” to property and intended to influence government policy through intimidation.

This combination—a broad definition of what constitutes terrorism and a low threshold for designating someone a terrorist—opens the way to ensnaring innocent people in secret government dragnets. It can also be counterproductive. When resources are devoted to tracking people who are not genuine risks to national security, the actual threats get fewer resources—and might go unnoticed.

“If reasonable suspicion is the only standard you need to label somebody, then it’s a slippery slope we’re sliding down here, because then you can label anybody anything,” says David Gomez, a former senior FBI special agent with experience running high-profile terrorism investigations. “Because you appear on a telephone list of somebody doesn’t make you a terrorist. That’s the kind of information that gets put in there.”

The fallout is personal too. There are severe consequences for people unfairly labeled a terrorist by the U.S. government, which shares its watchlist data with local law enforcement, foreign governments, and “private entities.” Once the U.S. government secretly labels you a terrorist or terrorist suspect, other institutions tend to treat you as one. It can become difficult to get a job (or simply to stay out of jail). It can become burdensome—or impossible—to travel. And routine encounters with law enforcement can turn into ordeals.

A chart from the “March 2013 Watchlisting Guidance”
Click image for larger size.

In 2012 Tim Healy, the former director of the FBI’s Terrorist Screening Center, described to CBS News how watchlists are used by police officers. “So if you are speeding, you get pulled over, they’ll query that name,” he said. “And if they are encountering a known or suspected terrorist, it will pop up and say call the Terrorist Screening Center…. So now the officer on the street knows he may be dealing with a known or suspected terrorist.” Of course, the problem is that the “known or suspected terrorist” might just be an ordinary citizen who should not be treated as a menace to public safety.

Until 2001, the government did not prioritize building a watchlist system. On 9/11, the government’s list of people barred from flying included just 16 names. Today, the no fly list has swelled to tens of thousands of “known or suspected terrorists” (the guidelines refer to them as KSTs). The selectee list subjects people to extra scrutiny and questioning at airports and border crossings. The government has created several other databases, too. The largest is the Terrorist Identities Datamart Environment (TIDE), which gathers terrorism information from sensitive military and intelligence sources around the world. Because it contains classified information that cannot be widely distributed, there is yet another list, the Terrorist Screening Database, or TSDB, which has been stripped of TIDE’s classified data so that it can be shared. When government officials refer to “the watchlist,” they are typically referring to the TSDB. (TIDE is the responsibility of the National Counterterrorism Center; the TSDB is managed by the Terrorist Screening Center at the FBI.)

In a statement, a spokesman for the National Counterterrorism Center told The Intercept that “the watchlisting system is an important part of our layered defense to protect the United States against future terrorist attacks” and that “watchlisting continues to mature to meet an evolving, diffuse threat.” He added that U.S. citizens are afforded extra protections to guard against improper listing, and that no one can be placed on a list solely for activities protected by the First Amendment. A representative of the Terrorist Screening Center did not respond to a request for comment.

The system has been criticized for years. In 2004, Sen. Ted Kennedy complained that he was barred from boarding flights on five separate occasions because his name resembled the alias of a suspected terrorist. Two years later, CBS News obtained a copy of the no fly list and reported that it included Bolivian president Evo Morales and Lebanese parliament head Nabih Berri. One of the watchlists snared Mikey Hicks, a Cub Scout who got his first of many airport pat-downs at age two. In 2007, the Justice Department’s inspector general issued a scathing report identifying “significant weaknesses” in the system. And in 2009, after a Nigerian terrorist was able to board a passenger flight to Detroit and nearly detonated a bomb sewn into his underwear despite his name having been placed on the TIDE list, President Obama admitted that there had been a “systemic failure.”

Obama hoped that his response to the “underwear bomber” would be a turning point. In 2010, he gave increased powers and responsibilities to the agencies that nominate individuals to the lists, placing pressure on them to add names. His administration also issued a set of new guidelines for the watchlists. Problems persisted, however. In 2012, the U.S. Government Accountability Office published a report that bluntly noted there was no agency responsible for figuring out “whether watchlist-related screening or vetting is achieving intended results.” The guidelines were revised and expanded in 2013—and a source within the intelligence community subsequently provided a copy to The Intercept.


“Concrete facts are not necessary”: The five chapters and 11 appendices of the “Watchlisting Guidance” are filled with acronyms, legal citations, and numbered paragraphs; it reads like an arcane textbook with a vocabulary all its own. Different types of data on suspected terrorists are referred to as “derogatory information,” “substantive derogatory information,” “extreme derogatory information” and “particularized derogatory information.” The names of suspected terrorists are passed along a bureaucratic ecosystem of “originators,” “nominators,” “aggregators,” “screeners,” and “encountering agencies.” And “upgrade,” usually a happy word for travellers, is repurposed to mean that an individual has been placed on a more restrictive list.

The heart of the document revolves around the rules for placing individuals on a watchlist. “All executive departments and agencies,” the document says, are responsible for collecting and sharing information on terrorist suspects with the National Counterterrorism Center. It sets a low standard—”reasonable suspicion“—for placing names on the watchlists, and offers a multitude of vague, confusing, or contradictory instructions for gauging it. In the chapter on “Minimum Substantive Derogatory Criteria”—even the title is hard to digest—the key sentence on reasonable suspicion offers little clarity:

“To meet the REASONABLE SUSPICION standard, the NOMINATOR, based on the totality of the circumstances, must rely upon articulable intelligence or information which, taken together with rational inferences from those facts, reasonably warrants a determination that an individual is known or suspected to be or has been knowingly engaged in conduct constituting, in preparation for, in aid of, or related to TERRORISM and/or TERRORIST ACTIVITIES.”

The rulebook makes no effort to define an essential phrase in the passage—”articulable intelligence or information.” After stressing that hunches are not reasonable suspicion and that “there must be an objective factual basis” for labeling someone a terrorist, it goes on to state that no actual facts are required:

“In determining whether a REASONABLE SUSPICION exists, due weight should be given to the specific reasonable inferences that a NOMINATOR is entitled to draw from the facts in light of his/her experience and not on unfounded suspicions or hunches. Although irrefutable evidence or concrete facts are not necessary, to be reasonable, suspicion should be as clear and as fully developed as circumstances permit.”

While the guidelines nominally prohibit nominations based on unreliable information, they explicitly regard “uncorroborated” Facebook or Twitter posts as sufficient grounds for putting an individual on one of the watchlists. “Single source information,” the guidelines state, “including but not limited to ‘walk-in,’ ‘write-in,’ or postings on social media sites, however, should not automatically be discounted … the NOMINATING AGENCY should evaluate the credibility of the source, as well as the nature and specificity of the information, and nominate even if that source is uncorroborated.”

There are a number of loopholes for putting people onto the watchlists even if reasonable suspicion cannot be met. One is clearly defined: The immediate family of suspected terrorists—their spouses, children, parents, or siblings—may be watchlisted without any suspicion that they themselves are engaged in terrorist activity. But another loophole is quite broad—”associates” who have a defined relationship with a suspected terrorist, but whose involvement in terrorist activity is not known. A third loophole is broader still—individuals with “a possible nexus” to terrorism, but for whom there is not enough “derogatory information” to meet the reasonable suspicion standard.

Americans and foreigners can be nominated for the watchlists if they are associated with a terrorist group, even if that group has not been designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. government. They can also be treated as “representatives” of a terrorist group even if they have “neither membership in nor association with the organization.” The guidelines do helpfully note that certain associations, such as providing janitorial services or delivering packages, are not grounds for being watchlisted.

The nomination system appears to lack meaningful checks and balances. Although government officials have repeatedly said there is a rigorous process for making sure no one is unfairly placed in the databases, the guidelines acknowledge that all nominations of “known terrorists” are considered justified unless the National Counterterrorism Center has evidence to the contrary. In a recent court filing, the government disclosed that there were 468,749 KST nominations in 2013, of which only 4,915 were rejected–a rate of about one percent. The rulebook appears to invert the legal principle of due process, defining nominations as “presumptively valid.”

Profiling categories of people: While the nomination process appears methodical on paper, in practice there is a shortcut around the entire system. Known as a “threat-based expedited upgrade,” it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to elevate entire “categories of people” whose names appear in the larger databases onto the no fly or selectee lists. This can occur, the guidelines state, when there is a “particular threat stream” indicating that a certain type of individual may commit a terrorist act.

This extraordinary power for “categorical watchlisting”—otherwise known as profiling—is vested in the assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, a position formerly held by CIA Director John Brennan that does not require Senate confirmation.

The rulebook does not indicate what “categories of people” have been subjected to threat-based upgrades. It is not clear, for example, whether a category might be as broad as military-age males from Yemen. The guidelines do make clear that American citizens and green card holders are subject to such upgrades, though government officials are required to review their status in an “expedited” procedure. Upgrades can remain in effect for 72 hours before being reviewed by a small committee of senior officials. If approved, they can remain in place for 30 days before a renewal is required, and can continue “until the threat no longer exists.”

“In a set of watchlisting criteria riddled with exceptions that swallow rules, this exception is perhaps the most expansive and certainly one of the most troubling,” Shamsi, the ACLU attorney, says. “It’s reminiscent of the Bush administration’s heavily criticized color-coded threat alerts, except that here, bureaucrats can exercise virtually standard-less authority in secret with specific negative consequences for entire categories of people.”

The National Counterterrorism Center declined to provide any details on the upgrade authority, including how often it has been exercised and for what categories of people.

Pocket litter and scuba gear: The guidelines provide the clearest explanation yet of what is happening when Americans and foreigners are pulled aside at airports and border crossings by government agents. The fifth chapter, titled “Encounter Management and Analysis,” details the type of information that is targeted for collection during “encounters” with people on the watchlists, as well as the different organizations that should collect the data. The Department of Homeland Security is described as having the largest number of encounters, but other authorities, ranging from the State Department and Coast Guard to foreign governments and “certain private entities,” are also involved in assembling “encounter packages” when watchlisted individuals cross their paths. The encounters can be face-to-face meetings or electronic interactions—for instance, when a watchlisted individual applies for a visa.

In addition to data like fingerprints, travel itineraries, identification documents and gun licenses, the rules encourage screeners to acquire health insurance information, drug prescriptions, “any cards with an electronic strip on it (hotel cards, grocery cards, gift cards, frequent flyer cards),” cellphones, email addresses, binoculars, peroxide, bank account numbers, pay stubs, academic transcripts, parking and speeding tickets, and want ads. The digital information singled out for collection includes social media accounts, cell phone lists, speed dial numbers, laptop images, thumb drives, iPods, Kindles, and cameras. All of the information is then uploaded to the TIDE database.

Screeners are also instructed to collect data on any “pocket litter,” scuba gear, EZ Passes, library cards, and the titles of any books, along with information about their condition—”e.g., new, dog-eared, annotated, unopened.” Business cards and conference materials are also targeted, as well as “anything with an account number” and information about any gold or jewelry worn by the watchlisted individual. Even “animal information”—details about pets from veterinarians or tracking chips—is requested. The rulebook also encourages the collection of biometric or biographical data about the travel partners of watchlisted individuals.

The list of government entities that collect this data includes the U.S. Agency for International Development, which is neither an intelligence nor law-enforcement agency. As the rulebook notes, USAID funds foreign aid programs that promote environmentalism, health care, and education. USAID, which presents itself as committed to fighting global poverty, nonetheless appears to serve as a conduit for sensitive intelligence about foreigners. According to the guidelines, “When USAID receives an application seeking financial assistance, prior to granting, these applications are subject to vetting by USAID intelligence analysts at the TSC.” The guidelines do not disclose the volume of names provided by USAID, the type of information it provides, or the number and duties of the “USAID intelligence analysts.”

A USAID spokesman told The Intercept that “in certain high risk countries, such as Afghanistan, USAID has determined that vetting potential partner organizations with the terrorist watchlist is warranted to protect U.S. taxpayer dollars and to minimize the risk of inadvertent funding of terrorism.” He stated that since 2007, the agency has checked “the names and other personal identifying information of key individuals of contractors and grantees, and sub-recipients.”

Death and the watchlist: The government has been widely criticized for making it impossible for people to know why they have been placed on a watchlist, and for making it nearly impossible to get off. The guidelines bluntly state that “the general policy of the U.S. Government is to neither confirm nor deny an individual’s watchlist status.” But the courts have taken exception to the official silence and footdragging: In June, a federal judge described the government’s secretive removal process as unconstitutional and “wholly ineffective.”

The difficulty of getting off the list is highlighted by a passage in the guidelines stating that an individual can be kept on the watchlist, or even placed onto the watchlist, despite being acquitted of a terrorism-related crime. The rulebook justifies this by noting that conviction in U.S. courts requires evidence beyond a reasonable doubt, whereas watchlisting requires only a reasonable suspicion. Once suspicion is raised, even a jury’s verdict cannot erase it.

Not even death provides a guarantee of getting off the list. The guidelines say the names of dead people will stay on the list if there is reason to believe the deceased’s identity may be used by a suspected terrorist–which the National Counterterrorism Center calls a “demonstrated terrorist tactic.” In fact, for the same reason, the rules permit the deceased spouses of suspected terrorists to be placed onto the list after they have died.

For the living, the process of getting off the watchlist is simple yet opaque. A complaint can be filed through the Department of Homeland Security Traveler Redress Inquiry Program, which launches an internal review that is not subject to oversight by any court or entity outside the counterterrorism community. The review can result in removal from a watchlist or an adjustment of watchlist status, but the individual will not be told if he or she prevails. The guidelines highlight one of the reasons why it has been difficult to get off the list—if multiple agencies have contributed information on a watchlisted individual, all of them must agree to removing him or her.

If a U.S. citizen is placed on the no fly list while abroad and is turned away from a flight bound for the U.S., the guidelines say they should be referred to the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate, which is prohibited from informing them why they were blocked from flying. According to the rules, these individuals can be granted a “One-Time Waiver” to fly, though they will not be told that they are traveling on a waiver. Back in the United States, they will be unable to board another flight.

The document states that nominating agencies are “under a continuing obligation” to provide exculpatory information when it emerges. It adds that the agencies are expected to conduct annual reviews of watchlisted American citizens and green card holders. It is unclear whether foreigners—or the dead—are reviewed at the same pace. As the rulebook notes, “watchlisting is not an exact science.”
Josh Begley, Lynn Dombek, and Peter Maass contributed to this story.

“Bernaysian Manipulation Of The Human Psyche”

“Bernaysian Manipulation Of The Human Psyche”
by Steven Macmillon

“Edward Bernays was the master of influencing and shaping public opinion who developed upon the ideas of earlier social psychologists and the work of his uncle, Sigmund Freud, in order to create techniques to manipulate the subconscious desires of the masses. Throughout his 103-year lifespan, the "father of public relations" was at the pinnacle of his field advising US Presidents Coolidge, Eisenhower, Hoover and Wilson, as well as inventor Thomas Edison, US industrialist Henry Ford and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. He also reportedly refused invitations by Hitler and Franco to work on fascist propaganda campaigns in Europe. 

At the end of World War 1 Bernays served as a propagandist for America before going on to work with various government departments and corporations throughout his lifetime, including: the US Department of State, CBS, Procter and Gamble, and the American Tobacco Company, as well as designing the propaganda campaign for the United Fruit Company which led to the CIA coup against the Guatemalan President Jacobo Árbenz in 1954. 

Bernays combined the work of people such as the French social psychologist Gustave Le Bon to create techniques which appeal to the subconscious emotions of the public, as opposed to engaging the public in rational and intellectual debate. Le Bon studied the mental characteristics and the behaviour of the crowd, believing that when part of a mass, individuals are subordinate to the crowd mind and that a human behaves in a more emotive, irrational manner. Bernays observed that if a propagandist could understand the "motives of the group mind", they would possess the ability to "control and regiment the masses": “The systematic study of mass psychology revealed to students the potentialities of invisible government of society by the manipulation of the motives which actuate man in the group. Trotter and Le Bon, who approached the subject in a scientific manner, and Graham Wallas, Walter Lippmann, and others who continued with searching studies of the group mind, established that the group has mental characteristics distinct from those of the individual, and is motivated by impulses and emotions which cannot be explained on the basis of what we know of individual psychology. So the question naturally arose: If we understand the mechanism and the motives of the group mind, is it not possible to control and regiment the masses according to our will without their knowing of it?" (Bernays, 1928, p.71)

Bernays continues to reveal the growing ability of the propagandist to understand and successfully alter "public opinion" way back in the 1920s, long before television sets were in every household and the sophisticated modern media techniques of today: “The recent practice of propaganda has proved that it is possible, at least up to a certain point and within certain limits. Mass psychology is as yet far from being an exact science and the mysteries of human motivation are by no means all revealed. But at least theory and practice have combined with sufficient success to permit us to know that in certain cases we can effect some change in public opinion with a fair degree of accuracy by operating a certain mechanism, just as the motorist can regulate the speed of a car by manipulating the flow of gasoline.” (Bernays, 1928, p.71 & p.72)

The basic premise of Bernays thesis is that humans are "rarely aware" of the true motivations and desires powering their actions, and if certain individuals could uncover the real desires of the mass mind, the public could be influenced and manipulated without their knowledge of it: "Men are rarely aware of the real reasons which motivate their actions... It is chiefly the psychologists of the school of Freud who have pointed out that many of man's thoughts and actions are compensatory substitutes for desires which has been obliged to suppress. A thing may be desired not for its intrinsic worth or usefulness, but because he has unconsciously come to see it as a symbol of something else, the desire for which he is ashamed to admit to himself... This general principle, that men are very largely actuated by motives which they conceal from themselves, is as true of mass as of individual psychology. It is evident that the successful propagandist must understand the true motives and not be content to accept the reasons which men give for what they do... Human desires are the steam which makes the social machine work. Only by understanding them can the propagandist control that loose-jointed mechanism which is modern society. (Bernays, 1928, p. 74, p.75 & p.76)

The study of mass psychology and herd behaviour were important areas which had to be understood to intelligently manipulate the public: “The whole basis of successful propaganda is to have an objective and then to endeavour to arrive at it through an exact knowledge of the public and modifying circumstances to manipulate and sway that public (Bernays, 1928, p.126). But clearly it is the intelligent minorities which need to make use propaganda continuously and systematically... Small groups of persons can, and do, make the rest of us think what they please about a given subject.” (Bernays, 1928, p.57)

“In ancient times, leaders of a tribe, group or society processed tremendous power over the rest of the people especially if they are skilled in the art of persuasion. Political leaders in modern times have the ability to shape and mould the psychology of their followers in a truly profound manner, especially if they have the ability to use propaganda effectively: The voice of the people expresses the mind of the people, and that mind is made up for it by the group leaders in whom it believes and by those persons who understand the manipulation of public opinion. Fortunately, the sincere and gifted politician is able, by the instrument of propaganda, to mould and form the will of the people.” (Bernays, 1928, p. 109)

Bernays reveals the power propagandists have to manipulate and control the "public mind" through understanding the techniques of managing the public: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society. Those who manipulate this unseen mechanism of society constitute an invisible government which is the true ruling power of our country. We are governed, our minds moulded, our tastes formed, our ideas suggested, largely by men we have never heard of... Whatever attitude one chooses toward this condition, it remains a fact that in almost every act of our daily lives, whether in the sphere of politics or business, in our social conduct or our ethical thinking, we are dominated by a relatively small number of persons - a trifling fraction of our hundred and twenty million - who understand the mental processes and social patterns of the masses. It is they who pull the wires which control the public mind, who harness old social forces and contrive new ways to bind and guide the world.” (Bernays, 1928, p.37 & p.38)"
- http://www.sott.net/
Source: Edward Bernays, “Propaganda”, 1928 
Free Download: Edward Bernays, “Propaganda,”

Related: “Edward Bernays: Propaganda And Power"

“Has the Dept. of Homeland Security Become America’s Standing Army?”

“Has the Dept. of Homeland Security Become America’s Standing Army?”
by John W. Whitehead

“If the United States is a police state, then the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is its national police force, with all the brutality, ineptitude and corruption such a role implies. In fact, although the DHS' governmental bureaucracy may at times appear to be inept and bungling, it is ruthlessly efficient when it comes to building what the Founders feared most—a standing army on American soil.”
- http://rutherford.org

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Musical Interlude: Kevin Kern, “Above the Clouds”

Kevin Kern, “Above the Clouds”

"A Look to the Heavens"

"This NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope image shows the edge-on profile of the slender spiral galaxy NGC 5775, which is surrounded by a halo of gas that astronomers suspect is kicked up by star explosions like a galaxy-size fountain. A new photo from the Hubble Space Telescope has revealed what scientists have called a veritable galactic "fountain of youth," one that would turn the fictional pirate captain Jack Sparrow of the Pirates of the Caribbean films green with envy. Journeying to the mythic Fountain of Youth is Sparrow's goal in Disney's latest installment in the adventure film franchise, "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides." But the space fountain spotted by Hubble is no myth.
Click image for larger size.

The new Hubble image shows the galaxy NGC 5775, which is located about 85 million light-years from Earth in a group of galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. NGC 5775 is a spiral galaxy that is tilted away from Earth in such a way that only its edge is visible. This edge-on position of the galaxy has allowed astronomers to spot a vast halo of hot gas around NGC 5775, but how the material actually got there is unclear, researchers said. "Some astronomers think that hot gas from the disc is driven into the halo by supernova explosions, which is then returned to the disc as it cools - like a massive galactic fountain," according to a Hubble telescope image description. Because of the phenomenon, Hubble researchers dubbed it a "galactic fountain of youth" when they released the image this month.

There is also another oddity about the galaxy NGC 5775 that has attracted attention from astronomers: a bridge of hydrogen gas linking the galaxy with a galactic neighbor called NGC 5774. The two spiral galaxies are on a collision course and are in the early stages of merging, according to Hubble scientists. However, neither object has yet sprouted a tidal tail of gas and stars - created by intense gravitational disruptions - that typically precedes galaxy mergers. The Hubble Space Telescope is a joint project by NASA and the European Space Agency."
- http://www.sott.net/

Chet Raymo, “Take My Arm”

“Take My Arm”
by Chet Raymo

“I'm sure I have referenced here before the poems of Grace Schulman, she who in inhabits that sweet melancholy place between "the necessity and impossibility of belief." Between, too, the necessity and impossibility of love. Belief and love. They have so much in common, yet are as distinct as self and other.

How strange that two people can hitch their lives together, on a whim, say, or wild intuition, knowing little if nothing about the other's hiddenness, about things that even the other does not fully understand and couldn’t articulate even if he did. Blind, deaf, dumb, they leap into the future, hoping to fly, and, for a moment, soaring, like Icarus, sunward. The necessity of wax. The impossibility of wax. We "fall" in love, they say. Schulman: "We tramp the road of possibility. Give me your arm."

“The Stuff of (Disturbing) Dreams”

“The Stuff of (Disturbing) Dreams”
by Dr. Michael J. Breus

“Dreams are one of the most fascinating -  and least understood -  aspects of sleep. Though science has offered possibilities, we don't yet understand the purpose of dreaming. Dreams can encompass a dramatic range of emotion, and subject matter. Some dreams seem plucked directly from our everyday lives. Most of us have had the experience of waking up shaking our heads at the odd and sometimes amusing circumstances that unfolded while dreaming.

Dreams can contend with deep emotions, dealing with loss and reunion, anger, sorrow and fear. Bad dreams and nightmares are among the most startling and emotionally potent of remembered dreams. Even a partially remembered disturbing dream can linger in our waking minds. But what do we know about this phenomenon of disturbed dreaming? And what's the difference between a bad dream and a nightmare?

Much of the research into disturbed dreaming has focused on the neurological activity of these dreams, as a way to investigate the function and purpose of dreaming. Other research has focused on the connections between disturbed dreams and psychological conditions, such as post-traumatic stress disorder, and anxiety disorders. Less attention has been paid to the content of disturbed dreams, in particular the disturbing dreams that occur as a normal aspect of sleep life among a broad and varied population. We know that nightmares and bad dreams are common experiences -  but we don't know much about what these dreams contain.

What distinguishes a nightmare from a bad dream? One common theory is that nightmares are more emotionally disturbing and intense versions of bad dreams, a more severe form of the same essential phenomenon. One way nightmares are often distinguished from dreams is in whether the dream causes a person to wake -  whether out of fear, or to put an end to the dream.

New research investigates the content of disturbed dreams, in an effort to gain a better understanding of what emotions, triggers and themes propel these dreaming experiences, and also to help further illuminate potential distinctions between bad dreams and nightmares. Researchers at Quebec's Université de Montréal recruited 572 volunteers, both men and women, to keep daily dream reports of all remembered dreams -  good and bad -  for anywhere from two to five consecutive weeks. The reports included details about dreams' narratives, the emotions present and their level of intensity, as well as the presence of sleep terrors -  brief, highly intense periods of fright during dreams, that are often accompanied by actual screaming or movement like sleepwalking. Researchers considered episodes of sleep terrors to be distinct from nightmares.

They collected nearly 10,000 dream reports on dreams of all types. From this collection, researchers identified 431 bad dreams and 253 nightmares, experienced by 331 participants, which met the criteria for evaluation. Researchers excluded dreams that were too vague to analyze, as well as dream experiences that seemed to be sleep terrors. They also excluded nightmares and bad dreams experienced by people who reported having only these two types of dreams. Researchers used the result of waking from the dream as the distinguishing characteristic between bad dreams and nightmares: nightmares resulted in awakenings, and bad dreams did not.

Researchers defined several themes for volunteers to use in identifying the content of their dreams. The themes covered common territory for disturbed dreams, including physical aggression; being chased; interpersonal conflicts; accidents; failures and helplessness; evil presences; disasters and calamities; apprehension; worry; and health concerns. Volunteers were allowed to identify both primary and secondary themes.

They also established emotional categories to further define dream content, including fear, anger, sadness, confusion, disgust, guilt and frustration. Researchers used scales of both rationality and "everydayness" to evaluate levels of bizarreness in disturbed dreams. Their results give insight into the complex emotional and thematic landscape of disturbing dreams, as well as new possibilities for delineation between bad dreams and nightmares:

• Nightmares occurred more rarely than bad dreams, according to results. Of a total of 9,796 dreams collected, nightmares made up 2.9 percent, while bad dreams accounted for 10.8 percent of all dreams.
• The most common themes in both bad dreams and nightmares were physical aggression, interpersonal conflicts and failure or helplessness. More than 80 percent of nightmares, and more than 70 percent of bad dreams contained one or more of these themes, compared to 38.2 percent of non-disturbing dreams.
• Fear was the most common emotion reported in both nightmares and bad dreams. Among nightmares, 65.1 percent contained fear as the main emotion, as did 45.2 percent of bad dreams.
• Fear was not only more common in nightmares, it also took a larger proportional share of emotional content in nightmares than in bad dreams.
• Though fear was the most prevalent emotion, nearly half of all disturbing dreams had primary emotions other than fear.
• Volunteers reported nightmares having significantly higher intensity than bad dreams.
• Nightmares contained more aggression, more frequent experiences of failure, as well as more unfortunate and negative conclusions, than bad dreams. Nightmares were also more bizarre.
• Physical aggression was 1.5 times more frequent in nightmares than in bad dreams. Evil presences and experiences of being chased were other commonly reported themes of nightmares.
• Bad dreams overall contained a wider range of themes than nightmares. After physical aggression, interpersonal conflicts and failure, bad dreams also included themes related to health concerns and apprehension and worry.
• The thematic differences between nightmares and dreams suggested to researchers that nightmares are more likely to contain threats to basic physical security and survival, while bad dreams are more apt to grapple with a broader range of psychological anxieties.

Researchers found some interesting differences between men's and women's dreams. Both men and women dreamed about the same basic range of thematic and emotional content. But men's nightmares were more heavily populated with themes of disaster and calamity, while women's nightmares were more than twice as likely to contain interpersonal conflicts.

One particularly unexpected finding? Researchers compared the presence of negative events and outcomes in everyday dreams to disturbing dreams. They found nightmares and bad dreams contained more aggressions and misfortunes, and contained fewer positive, friendly aspects than everyday dreams. However, bad dreams and nightmares contained less failure than everyday dreams. This suggests, says researchers, that our disturbing dreams deal less often with issues of competence than more ordinary, less overtly upsetting everyday dreams.

Fascinating stuff, isn't it? These results give further credence to the theory that nightmares are a rarer, stranger and more intense form of bad dreams, but that both types of disturbed dreaming are versions of the same basic experience. It's not clear what purpose these dreams serve, or what relationship the content of our disturbing dreams may have to issues and concerns in our waking lives. But these findings should make scientists -  and the rest of us -  eager to discover more about our dreaming lives. Sweet Dreams...”
Michael J. Breus, PhD, The Sleep Doctor® 
Related:
“9 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Dreaming”