Monday, April 29, 2013


An experiment.


On paragraphs.

     A paragraph should say one thing well.  I think it is best if it does not say something about many things, nor many things about something;  it is proper if it illuminates a single idea, transferring that idea to the mind of the reader where, like a seed, it may possibly live, grow, and transform.  Or if it may be imagined as a foot-stool, on which we may rest and support our work (or ourselves), then it may want three or more legs -- some triad or quatrain of ideas fastened together into an agreeable unity.  And a well-written paragraph needs, I think, to be able to stand alone, when lifted from its immediate context -- for example, when it is quoted in another place.  In that way, it may be worthy to be more than it once was -- and become a part of the Great Conversation.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Syria And Chemical Weapons And The West

     I am sorry to hear that there is evidence that sarin gas has been used in Syria, whether by the Syrian government, or Syrian rebels, or agents provocateurs from foreign interests.  Sarin is a deadly nerve gas, and is prohibited under the Chemical Weapons Convention.

     I am also sorry that the West is being hypocritical about the use of chemical weapons (in this case, poison gas).

The World Wars

     Poison gas was used by the French, the Germans, and the British in World War I.  They used tear gas, chlorine gas, and later phosgene gas.  It was a weapon of mass destruction; and both sides used it, morals and humanity be damned.  Thousands died.

     In the years following, Britain planned to use poison gas in its newly conquered territory, Iraq.   There was doubt expressed in high councils about the morality of such an action, but Winston Churchill is on record as strongly favoring its use, despite the experiences of the World War.  "I do not understand this sqeamishness about the use of gas. I am strongly in favour of using poison gas against uncivilised tribes."  Furthermore, as the debate went on,

     ' Churchill remained unimpressed by such considerations, arguing that the use of gas, a "scientific expedient," should not be prevented "by the prejudices of those who do not think clearly". In the event, gas was used against the Iraqi rebels with "excellent moral effect" though gas shells were not dropped from aircraft because of practical difficulties [.....] '

     And Churchill had had no moral epiphany twenty-odd years later, during World War II; on the contrary, he now justified use of gas against anyone, not just "uncivilized tribes."   In 1944, he was calling for gassing the Germans:

     ' I quite agree that it may be several weeks or even months before I shall ask you to drench Germany with poison gas, and if we do it, let us do it one hundred per cent. In the meanwhile, I want the matter studied in cold blood by sensible people and not by that particular set of psalm-singing uniformed defeatists which one runs across now here now there. Pray address yourself to this. It is a big thing and can only be discarded for a big reason. I shall of course have to square Uncle Joe and the President; but you need not bring this into your calculations at the present time. Just try to find out what it is like on its merits. '

     Fortunately, in this instance cooler heads prevailed and gas was not used.

     Sarin gas, originally thought to be useful as a pesticide, was developed in German laboratories in 1938.  Its military use against human beings was quickly recognized by the Germans -- but they never used it.

     In the Cold War years following World War II, it was produced in large quantities by the United States (and distributed to its NATO and other allies),  and by the Soviet Union (and distributed to its allies).  This would include various Middle-Eastern client states of the two superpowers, such as Iraq.

     The Council on Foreign Relations believes, according to their website, that sarin gas was used by Saddam Hussein in the 1990s against his Kurdish minorities, in dozens or hundreds of operations that resulted in the deaths of at least 5,000, and inflicting injuries and birth defects upon many thousands more.

Other Agents

     Iraq may have used sarin in its 8-year war with Iran;  along with smallpox and anthrax.  Or Saddam Hussein may have made other choices:  According to Wikipedia,

     'The non-profit American Type Culture Collection and the Centers for Disease Control sold or sent biological samples of anthrax, West Nile virus and botulism to Iraq up until 1989, which Iraq claimed it needed for medical research. A number of these materials were used for Iraq's biological weapons research program, while others were used for vaccine development. For example, the Iraqi military settled on the American Type Culture Collection strain 14578 as the exclusive anthrax strain for use as a biological weapon, according to Charles Duelfer.  '

     Reread that:  who sent biological samples to Saddam??

The Situation And The Hypocrisy

      And so, it would appear, the threat of chemical and biological weapons is very real in parts of the Near East.  It is certainly possible that there are stockpiles of sarin in Syria, and that they are being used.   If these stockpiles exist in significant quantities, there is a very real risk of great loss of life.  The situation could be bad.

     However: even if the stockpiles exist (which has yet to be demonstrated), a great deal turns on the question of who has them and where did they come from.

     If Assad's government has them, then he and they are playing a very, very dangerous game.  And if they are playing a dangerous game, and if the West is really interested in peace, human rights, democracy, and so forth, then the West had better proceed with great wisdom and delicacy, or they are going to uncork another Iraq-Libya-Somalia-Mali-Sudan-Uganda-Afghanistan-Vietnam-Cambodia-Laos-El Salvador-Nicaragua-style bloodbath.

     But if the stockpiles of sarin are in fact controlled by Syrian rebels, or Western intelligence agencies, then blaming Bashar al-Assad is very evil.  It is attempting to commit murder, with a plan for framing the victim.  And besides being utterly immoral, the whole idea is self-defeating -- quickly.  I think we all have enough long-term memory to recall how quickly our NATO-oriented lies and double-dealing about Gaddafi and Libya turned sour.  Do we remember Ambassador Christopher Stevens?  Just whose side did we think we were on?

     Do we really want to make the same mistake in Syria, to cover the bone-headed ignorance of some cabal of political hacks in the Pentagon or the State Department?  For the sake of some sort of transitory one-upsmanship in the media, or at the ballot box, do we really want Our Party to keep making the same long-term mistakes, and deliciously hope that the Other Party makes even worse ones -- and screw the rest of the world -- as if all of life were no more serious than the latest national championship in sports?

     Let us then face some unpleasant facts.

     1.  The British and American governments have developed, manufactured, and used poison gas and have sold it around the world to all kinds of governments and "regime changers."  They have then blamed their customers for possessing what they sold them.  This is pure hypocrisy.

     2.  The Chemical Weapons Convention outlaws the use, manufacture, and distribution of chemical weapons.  The United States, Britain, and over 100 other nations signed this treaty in the 1990s.  The Israeli government has refused to do so.  The United States and Britain refuse to hold Israel accountable, but demand thorough "inspections" of Syria.  This is pure hypocrisy.

     3.  While refusing to sign the Chemical Weapons Convention, the Israeli Government (with the enthusiastic approval of its people) used white phosphorous (a deadly chemical weapon) on civilian populations in Gaza as recently as 2009.  They possess it, they stockpile it, they use it proudly.  Yet they loudly accuse the Syrians of possessing chemical weapons and demand "regime change."  This is pure hypocrisy.

     4. The United States Government has condemned Al-Qaida in Afghanistan and invaded that country because the Taliban (supposedly) would not give up the Al-Qaida people to US "authorities."  The United States invaded Iraq because they (supposedly) had "ties" to Al-Qaida.  The US condemns any government or individual who (supposedly) supports Al-Qaida.  And yet, the US government has (more or less openly) supported Al-Qaida in Libya, and is now (more or less openly) supporting Al-Qaida in Syria.  This is pure, utter hypocrisy.

     How long we will turn a blind eye to this, which is being done in our name?  This also is hypocrisy.

      To be continued, no doubt.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Three Speechly Virtues

     If I come to the Lord with a thankful soul, there are three joys -- the joy that He hears me, the joy that I walk in Truth, and the joy that has no cause.

     If I approach my fellow in the way of forgiveness, there are four harmonies of peace -- between the Lord and me; between the Lord and my fellow; between my fellow and me; and the peace that passes understanding.

     If I am silent, there are five songs of love to be heard -- the love of the Lord toward me; my love toward the Lord; my fellow's heart toward me; and my heart toward my fellow; and the love that has no name.

     And now there abide these three speechly virtues -- thankfulness, forgiveness, and silence.  And the greatest of these is silence.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Rupert Sheldrake: Science Set Free

     Rupert Sheldrake, a British biologist, continues to challenge and upset the scientific status quo -- and hopefully stimulate some necessary change.

     Dr. Sheldrake has recently published a book, Science Set Free, which spells out his current views of what he calls "the scientific creed."  I won't list or summarize the "ten dogmas":  Dr. Sheldrake does it himself, right here, in an on-line version of the introduction to his book.    

     He also recently spoke at a conference on "The Electric Universe" in Albuquerque, New Mexico.  In his presentation, Dr. Sheldrake challenged what he calls "ten dogmas" of modern science.  (You can watch him here.) 

     Apparently, he really grates on the nerves of the gatekeepers of Establishment science.  And no wonder, really, since he has directly challenged them.  When he gave a "TED Talk" a few months ago, they pulled it off of their YouTube channel. (There was a large outcry, and it is available again, for now.  Listen to it yourself, if you have the time, and see if you think it should have been censored.)

     What Thomas Kuhn famously called "paradigm shifts"  occur from time to time in the field of science.  Perhaps Dr. Sheldrake is part of such a paradigm shift.  All things considered, I might rather call it a paradigm expansion.

     I am reminded of an undergraduate history course I took, a long generation ago, from a professor of geophysics.  The course was called, "The History of Science," and one of the books for reading was Anthony Standen's Science is a Sacred Cow. The title says it.

     Perhaps I should note that our alma mater, a small technical university, was largely funded by, and therefore beholden to the perceived needs of, the Vietnam War military-industrial complex. (Same as the current military-industrial complex.)  In those days, we all operated under implicit scientific and philosophical strictures, some of which I perceived, and more of which I had been conditioned to be oblivious to.   Perhaps it is the memory of those days, and that interesting history course, and that (now very old) professor, that makes me perk up and take a special interest in a scientist like Dr. Sheldrake who is willing to shake up the status quo.

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     If you find Rupert Sheldrake's ideas and his manner of presentation interesting, here are a few other links -- but it helps if you have already followed the earlier ones:

     *  Part 2 of his speech in Abuquerque.

     *  A televised "trialog" with two young interviewers -- one sympathetic, and one a skeptic.  (Both friendly.)

     *  His ideas about the morphogenetic universe.  A related one about morphic fields and consciousness.

     *  A presentation about the extended mind,  and one about the evolution of telepathy,

Your comments are very welcome -- especially if you have accessed one or more of these links!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Margaret Thatcher, RIP

     I am not going to nominate Mrs. Thatcher for sainthood.  Sainthood nominations are rather above my pay-grade.

     But I would like to say that at the time of her presence on the world political stage -- roughly the entire decade of the Eighties plus a bit more -- I regarded her as a person who was seriously working for a better world; and still today, given all her real and imagined limitations, I prefer what she did, and attempted to do, above the criticisms of most or all of her detractors.

     We must acknowledge that she rose to prominence in the context of the British Commonwealth, a system of government deeply compromised and corrupted for generations, not only at the Parliamentary-visible-formal level, but even more so at the City-of-London-secretive-actual level.  This is a system so thoroughly drenched in greed and blood, so throughly controlled by the gods Mammon and Molech, for so long, that I can hardly assert to others, or even believe within myself, that she succeeded in getting to her position of Prime Minister with her own hands completely clean, or her own heart pure.

     I could say precisely the same thing about the three other most prominent political persons of her decade, and the systems in which they operated -- Ronald Reagan and Corporate America, John Paul II and the Vatican, and Mikhail Gorbachev and Soviet-style Communism.  And I think I would not be too far from the truth.

     I would agree that their concerted efforts and achievements for a more peaceful and cooperative world were only partial, and I would acknowledge that they are not above serious criticism.

     But when I compare them with their acolytes, critics, and detractors, I marvel that they were able to do as much as they did, as well as they did.

     When I consider the digressions and transgressions of their confederates and the regressions of their successors, I grieve at how much that they accomplished was misunderstood, disregarded, and frittered away by brute venality and militant ignorance.  Or should I have said, ignorant militance and venal brutality.

     I don't much care about the big funeral they are planning for the "Iron Lady."  It makes me think of the Reagan funeral, where many folks, among the small and the great, imagined they were respecting and admiring an individual (or a movement of individuals), when in the reality of their own hearts they were committed to undoing what the dearly departed had done or tried to do.

     Rest in peace, Mrs. Thatcher.  You did what you could.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Fred Reed And Henry Makow On Sexual Relations

     I herewith post links to two sites on the Net, with articles that I think are worth reading.  My explanation for these choices will be brief, not comprehensive. 


Fred Reed's site: Fred On Everything.

     On heterosexual relationships:  Fred Reed is formerly a writer for newspapers in the United States, now living in Mexico.  Born in small-town West Virginia, his life experience stretches from the Vietnam War and time in Asia, to covering the police-beat for the Washington Times.  He has a very wide libertarian streak and advertises his writing as "scurrilous commentary," so if you need to be forewarned, be forewarned.

     He has written three "chapters of a book" that talks to American men about the advantages, and otherwise, of not marrying American women, in preference to marrying women from the "Third World."  I will let him explain.  Here are the links to the three "chapters":

Chapter One       Chapter Two       Chapter Three


Henry Makow's site : Save The Males.

     On homosexual relationships:  Henry Makow writes from his home country of Canada.  I needed to read quite a few of his posts before I understood where he is coming from, but in his own words, he is "exposing Feminism and the New World Order" (both in the capital-letter sense).  He often prints articles by contributors, as in this case.

     His current subject is the mandated (in parts of Canada) teaching of "gay lifestyle" to school children, and what he posts is intended to counter that.  If the writing is raw, it is because the subject matter is raw.  Again: if you need to be forewarned, be forewarned.


     Understand that I am not giving you my point of view, nor endorsing either of these writers.  I have chosen to stay out of the various "culture-wars" debates, pretty much, and this post does not signal any change in my stance.  But both of these writers have brought forward some important facts that I think warrant serious consideration for people who are having to live life, whether or not they join the "wars."

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Comments welcome.