When your homeland becomes a geography of Paranoia

SchlieffenThe Chief of the Imperial German General Staff, Alfred von Schlieffen, was riding his horse with other officers when they came to a beautiful river. The other officers exclaimed at the beauty of the scenery, but von Schlieffen merely remarked out loud that it was ‘an insignificant obstacle’. He was thinking in military terms, and the whole geography around us can be thought of that way – where to defend, where to attack.

I used to go to college in Riverdale, NY, and there was a very tall white apartment building that housed the Soviet diplomats and their visitors. “…the apartment building in Riverdale and the mission all bristled with antennas for listening to American conversations…” (see sources).
If I recall correctly, one of the places my brother and I would jog by was considered as a drop by Russian agents, but they then reported to their superiors that annoying bourgeois activity had prevented them.
I sometimes take a train along the Hudson, get off at Beacon, and go bicycling across the bridge to Newburgh. Nearby are some orchards, and fields, and one was bought by Mafia members to bury their victim’s bodies.
So you get the idea. We look at our landscape one way, but a person who plans an attack, or some other nefarious deed, looks at it another way.
Now how does a paranoid person look at the landscape?
I myself have several characteristics of a paranoid mindset.

1. I believe in a scenario that others find absurd
2. This scenario involved being under constant surveillance, and attacked at intervals.
3. This scenario involves futuristic types of technology
4. I’m an unimportant individual who nobody would waste time in attacking, but I still believe it.
5. I don’t listen to other people’s arguments that I’m insane (I listen, but I remain unconvinced).

So how does this affect my view of my surroundings?
When I go out, I expect to be attacked. But I find it so hard to really grasp, that I forget about it, as I walk the quiet streets toward the river town of Irvington on Hudson, and go to the library near the train station, or walk the aqueduct. I think of all sorts of other things.
And then, what happens?
I get ambushed.
At least, this is what happens in my mind (I believe it corresponds to reality, but you don’t have to agree to get the idea). I come out of the library, lost in thought, and a car passes by and a spray of fog and powdered dust envelops my face. Sometimes there is an odor to it, such as essence of skunk, or a perfume that I’ve seen people from the gay community use. Sometimes there is a smell of “road-kill” or perhaps, to put it more accurately, the smell of death.

If I get on a bus, then it often happens that when I get off at the nearest stop to the road to my home, a car swoops by and sprays me.
If I phone my parents and tell them to pick me up at a particular spot, when I wait for them I may get sprayed.
If I sit in a fast-food restaurant, reading a book, with my mind on other things, I may get sprayed.

I went to a doctor. She gave me an x-ray, and the technician told her that I had “profound demineralization of my bones”. The doctor told me it was very rare. My brother then told me of hormones that can deplete your bone Calcium (e.g. parathyroid abnormalities).
In addition I have developed gastrointestinal problems including bleeding.

cardinalOne day I rode my bike far afield, and a beautiful blue bird – but a very dead bird, was in my path. I continued on, and at the end of the ride, came up toward the long road toward my home and a beautiful red bird – but a very dead bird, was in my path.
This use of dead birds has been a long-standing practice by the “bad guys”, whoever they are, when I go too far afield.

I was riding my bicycle on a slight downhill. A car passed. I drifted gradually out of consciousness, and all of sudden I hit the asphalt – hard. Fortunately, a helpful woman drove me and my bike to the nearest station, and my wounds healed after a month or so. I told family members that I would never bike far afield again.
The next day I started down my hill on foot. There was a big banana peel in my path – a fresh, yellow banana peel, just as colorful as those birds.
Was that a message?
Two days after the accident, I picked up my niece at her elementary school in New York. I took her to a playground just two blocks away. She climbed the monkey bars. A man came behind her, and lifted something. A cloud of dust enveloped her and hit my face. Instantly my niece fell off the bars and hit the ground. She did not land on her feet, as you would expect.

I stay away from the city now, as much as possible. One reason is that the stuff I get sprayed with their causes headaches and general unpleasantness.

So I’m ending up stuck in my ghetto within a small radius of travel. As a person who cycled the Alps, and the Blue Ridge of North Carolina, and the West Coast, and parts of South America, and Scotland, this is quite outrageous.

So that’s my story of geography of paranoia (if it is paranoia).

My idea of temporary safe haven is in a small narrow park next to Silver Lake in White Plains, with the lake behind me and on one side, private property on the third, and a long field of grass stretching to the entrance so that I can sit by the lake and see if anyone comes near and how they act when they do.

In general though, the places people feel safe in the US are contracting. For instance, one of the most dangerous jobs in America is to be a bus driver. Mass transit has become more dangerous for passengers too, and this has happened in places that I remember as having been safe.

Jews still feel safe in NYC. But judging by what went on in a recent Muslim march here, that won’t be for long. In France, there are no-go zones where even the police are afraid to enter, and Jews are leaving en-masse.

It would be nice to return to a mindset where it really would be paranoid to expect an attack.

Sources:

http://blogs.wsj.com/metropolis/tag/russian-spies/

I can’t find the source on burials near Newburgh, but I did find this: http://articles.philly.com/1993-09-10/news/25987897_1_anthony-tumac-accetturo-crime-family-michael-taccetta

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How to be good

This blog is about evil, though it strays off topic sometimes, but the flip side of evil is good.  And by understanding one, we may better understand the other.

To be good, you first have to want to be good.  It has to be a high priority.  One book that helped me in this direction was titled Willpower by Roy Baumeister.  He says that research shows that willpower can be exercised, just like a muscle.   So I have tried doing that.  Whenever I feel like taking short-cuts, either ethical or otherwise, I make a point of using what willpower I have to do things correctly, ethically and otherwise.  This helps in being considerate of others, for example.

To be good, we have to realize that man is an imperfect creature.

And we have to pursue truth.  

Imagine if a docudrama of your life comes out, and you take your family to see it. To your horror, you are portrayed as a villain. The other actors in the movie are all real people, with real names, and some basic facts are correct, but the biographer, whether out of malice or some other reason, has gotten the fundamentals wrong. The good guys are the bad guys, the bad guys are the good guys, and the motives are wrong. You look around you at the enthusiastic audience, and want to shake each of them by the collar and yell – this is not true!
That audience is all of us.

I am bored with the various Middle-East conflicts – with religions that I do not believe in, and the people who follow them.
However:

The young men and women who flock to ISIS may think they are being good.  They are re-creating Mohammad’s dream, or at least his historical environment, on earth, which presumably is what Allah wants them to do.  This dream includes killing infidels, taking captive women for slavery etc. and carrying out every Koranic command to the utmost.   Their religion and ideology, in my view, corrupt whatever is good about them, but there obviously is courage and idealism in some British Pakistani who purposely goes to a war zone to fight for Allah.  Likewise, there was courage in the 19 men who flew the airplanes into our Pentagon and World Trade center.

George W Bush described those 19 men as being “evil and deluded”.

They certainly were deluded.  More than a billion people revere the words of a man who told them that he was a prophet, who ordered his followers to kill non-believers or make them pay tribute, who had multiple wives captured from victimized tribes (including Jews), who had sex with a nine year old girl (Aisha), etc.

Because of this belief, vast numbers of people, including Muslims, have met a premature end.

This is an extreme case – but even those of us who say they prize rationality are often very wrong.

Tuvia's book

Tuvia’s book

I started reading a book by a Jew (Tuvia Tenenborn) who pretended to be a German to Palestinians he spoke with, and they told him that ‘you Germans are good people, for killing all those Jews’, and he also talked to Germans who told him that Jews control the world financial system. Its news to me (being Jewish) that I control the world financial system. In fact, I’m allergic to anything involving gambling, stocks, etc.

There are a substantial number of Muslims who believe, even today, that the Jews killed non-Jewish children for their blood, which they supposedly drank on Passover.  More sophisticated Muslims may believe the “Protocols of the Elders of Zion”, which supposedly reveals the Jewish plot to control the world.

Brendan O’Neill says this about Britain (in an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal)

Everywhere, from the spittle-flecked newspaper commentary to angry street protests, the old view of Jews as infanticidal masterminds of global affairs has been cut-and-pasted onto Israel.

I believe that these British protestors would not care at all about Palestinians if Palestinians were murdered by other Muslims, as is shown by the fact that they did not march when Jordan killed a substantial number of Palestinians, or when Palestinians were kept from being normal citizens with equal rights in Lebanon. Marchers against racism did not march when millions of blacks were killed by other blacks in the Congo. Perhaps people have a herd mentality, and follow the fashionable causes of the moment.

So we need to have a “double-standard detector”.  And we need to expose ourselves to political (and other types of) debate.  If we are able to use logic in buying a car, or persuading our friend not to text and drink while driving on a cliffside highway, then we have to not abandon that ability to use logic when dealing with other types of belief etc.

And we should question even those people who we respect.

We should also understand that what people call compassion often has perverse effects.  To take one example, several countries have found that if you feel sorry for single women with children, and give them free housing, that other single women will deliberately have children to get themselves free housing away from Mom and Dad.

Part of the human condition is that you can be only a few feet away from another person, and look into his eyes, and not know what goes on behind them.  Probably in my life I have walked by murderers, assassins, spies, call girls, Jihadists, crooks, bullies, psychopaths, saints, and heroes, and not had a clue.  Sometimes I do have a clue, as when I walked by a young black man in Harlem was was promising on his cell phone that he could get “bitches” for whoever was on the other side of the line. But one belief I have, that has been partly formed by experience, is that people really do vary tremendously in their ethical makeup, their motives, their moral logic, their temperament, and that we do not understand evil people as much as we think we do.

So to recap – a desire to be good, a desire for truth, a willingness to question even those you revere, and willpower – these all help in living a life that at least you won’t be ashamed of. 

Sources:
It’s Britain, So the Anti-Semitism Is More Refined:
http://online.wsj.com/articles/brendan-oneill-modern-major-jew-haters-1408042650
Perverse incentives to have fatherless children: http://townhall.com/columnists/phyllisschlafly/2005/05/09/federal_incentives_exist_to_make_children_fatherless
Willpower by Roy Baumeister
I Sleep in Hitler’s Room – Tuvia Tenenborn

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Who are YOU afraid of? A thought experiment for finding the Mafias around us..

If you want dig below the surface of everyday life, ask yourself – what are you afraid of?

I will list a few examples that I believe do reveal something:
1.)
On March 29, 1995, a four alarm fire on the east shore of Manhattan burned down a structure in the Fulton Fish Market and if I recall correctly, businessmen walking though midtown and elsewhere stared at the smoke and ashes in the sky. It is thought that this happened because Rudolph Giuliani, who was then U.S. attorney in Manhattan, filed a lawsuit, alleging Mafia control of the wholesale fish industry operating out of that market, and the Mafia family involved decided to burn some papers.

Normally, the Mafia likes to operate in the shadows and does not advertise itself, but this was quite an advertisement.

2)
Then there was the tragedy of the movie “American Me”

Two of the most dangerous street gangs of East L.A., Il Grande Hazard and MC Forceros, called a truce to allow director Edward James Olmos to shoot the movie on their turfs.
According to 60 Minutes (1968), three people who acted as consultants on this film were later murdered because of the depiction of a homosexual rape scene that reportedly deeply offended the Mexican Mafia’s machismo.

You have to step carefully if you make certain kinds of movies.

For instance, I doubt that any Hollywood producer would make a film ridiculing Muslim terrorists. He might make a film ridiculing businessmen, or Christian fundamentalists, but not Muslim terrorists.

I suppose that its obvious that we don’t want to attract the wrong kind of attention from ruthless criminals, or religious types who like the idea of cutting heads off.

But who else are we afraid of?
3)
Consider this quote:

Owen Patterson

Owen Patterson

Owen Paterson, who was British secretary of state for environment, food and rural affairs, wrote this in the Telegraph, July 20:

It has been a privilege to take on the challenges of the rural economy and environment. However, I leave the post with great misgivings about the power and irresponsibility of—to coin a phrase—the Green Blob.

By this I mean the mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape…

I soon realized that the greens and their industrial and bureaucratic allies are used to getting things their own way. I received more death threats in a few months at [the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs] than I ever did as secretary of state for Northern Ireland.

So this is surprising. At least to me it is.

4)

Obama bumper sticker

Obama bumper sticker

Before Obama’s initial election, I wanted to put a satirical bumper sticker on the back of my mother’s car. Obama’s campaign had a slogan “change we can believe in” so I created a bumper sticker with different words: “Saruman/Voldemort – change we can believe in”. (Saruman is the wizard who out of spite, mis-rules the peaceful hobbits in the shire and does as much damage as he can before he is stopped (from the book “Lord of the Rings”), and Voldemort is the evil wizard from the Harry Potter stories.)
My mother, who is ideologically on my wavelength, did not want that bumper sticker on her car, but it was already attached. She was afraid of her car getting vandalized.
Perhaps by coincidence, two weeks later, the car developed problems and was in such bad shape that we gave it for free to our garage mechanic.
The point, however, was my mother’s fear, which revealed what she thought of some Obama supporters in the community.

5)
A friend of my mother, who built a mansion in a bucolic area outside of New York, was asked by an architecture magazine to let them write an article on it. He declined, because he was afraid that if there was an article, people would know he was wealthy, and someone might kidnap his child.

5)
Maybe it is frightening to be an outspoken leftist in the U.S. However, given that I generally read books by conservative (i.e. small-government) types, I found this:

Jan Brewer

Jan Brewer

Jan Brewer, who was governor of Arizona, tried to pass a bill to deal with illegal immigration in her state. The amount and intensity of opposition that SB-1070 aroused, including a lawsuit directed by President Obama against Arizona, and bus loads of demonstrators coming into Arizona’s capital, showed that the issue really hit a nerve. Jan was called “Hitler’s daughter” and “Satan’s Whore” and names that can’t be repeated here. Jan’s father had fought the Nazis in WWII, and she says that in that war the pilots who delivered the bombs had a saying: “If you’re not catching flak, you’re not over the target.”
Jan caught so much flak that something basic was exposed about American society.

6)
Michelle Malkin, whose ancestors came from the Philippines, is a conservative columnist. She is also against illegal immigration. She says this:

Michelle Malkin

Michelle Malkin


The fact is, “slut” is one of the nicer things I’ve been called over 20 years of public life. In college during the late 1980s, it was “race traitor,” “coconut” (brown on the outside white on the inside) and “white man’s puppet.” After my first book, “Invasion,” came out in 2001, it was “immigrant-hater,” the “Radical Right’s Asian Pitbull,” “Tokyo Rose” and “Aunt Tomasina.” In my third book, 2005?s “Unhinged,” I published entire chapters of hate mail rife with degrading, unprintable sexual epithets and mockery of my Filipino heritage.
If I had a dollar for every time libs have called me a “Manila whore” and “Subic Bay bar girl,” I’d be able to pay for a ticket to a Hollywood-for-Obama fundraiser. To the HuffPo left, whore is my middle name…
…..Or when MSNBC misogynist Ed Schultz called talk show host Laura Ingraham a “talk slut” for criticizing Obama’s petty beer summit. Or when Playboy published a list of the top 10 conservative women who deserved to be “hate-f**ked.” The article, which was promoted by Anne Schroeder Mullins at Politico.com, included Ingraham, “The View’s” Elisabeth Hasselbeck, former Bush spokeswoman Dana Perino, GOP Rep. Michele Bachmann and others. Yours truly topped the list,…
And then there’s the left’s war on Sarah Palin, which would require an entire national forest of trees to publish.

How could this possibly be? People who are for immigration are tolerant likable folks who embrace diversity! Aren’t they? And environmentalists are – for the animals – like Bambi, and Smokey Bear, and for the wild rushing waters, and the wild scenery (which they are busy covering with windmills)!

And surely, if you are an aspiring movie maker – well this is a free country, you can make a movie on anything you want – right?

Brendan Eich

Brendan Eich

There’s more, of course. The co-founder of Mozilla, Brendan Eich, lost his job because he opposed “gay marriage”, for instance. And again, the death threats:

Police are investigating a pair of threats against gay marriage opponents in Maine.
Marc Mutty from Stand for Marriage Maine says a threatening voice mail message was discovered Monday morning at campaign headquarters in which a female caller said, “You will be dead. Maybe not today, not tomorrow. But soon you’ll dead.” Police in Yarmouth are investigating.

How can that be? “Gay” people just want to be left alone to love who they want to love, don’t they? They are about love, not death threats, right?

Unfortunately, not everyone in the world respects your right to disagree with them, and not everyone will resort to rational debate to change your mind. And those people can be dangerous. They have a fire in the brain, I guess.

Sources:
1. Jan Brewer’s book “Scorpions for Breakfast
2. Owen Patterson’s ‘the Green Blob‘ is quoted from the Wall Street Journal at: http://online.wsj.com/articles/notable-quotable-the-green-blob-1407366963
3. Michelle Malkin and the names she has been called at: http://michellemalkin.com/2012/03/07/the-war-on-conservative-women/
4. The Mexican mafia kills consultants of a movie: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103671/trivia (apparently the jail-rape scene was put in just to discourage viewers from a life of crime, but the Mexican Mafia looked at it as a depiction of them, and they did not like it.  See also Wikipedia on this).

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America’s record in standing by its friends – and what happened when it didn’t.

Most of us agree we should stand by our friends, and that we should keep our promises. However, the U.S. has a decidedly mixed record in doing this. I will look at that record, but the reason to really think about it are recent events:

Looking at the sudden rise of the caliphate in Iraq, where perhaps 20,000 jihadists managed to get control of an area of eight million people, and looking at the spectacle of their opposition, that we trained and equipped, melting away before them, we do need to take stock.

The conservative personality Glenn Beck, who supported our original intervention, now wants us to stay completely away from Iraq. “Not one more lost limb!” he says.

Nonie Darwish, an Egyptian woman who grew up in an Islamic environment, and strongly criticizes that environment, has said in the past that we should stay away from the Middle-east, because all sides there hate us anyway.

On the other hand, if we had bombed ISIS when Maliki, who was the prime minister of Iraq, had originally asked us to, many victims who met horrible fates (including crucifixions, having their eyes torn out of their sockets, etc.) would have been spared this fate.

The situation was complicated in that Maliki was seen, with justification, as siding against the Sunnis.

Lets start by looking at our record in picking friends, and standing by them.  I break commandment #1 of blog posts “Keep it short!” in this post, but there is disturbing material that I thought had to be included.

In an article “What Really Happened at the Bay of Pigs” Humberto Fontova tells this story:

“They fought like tigers,” writes the CIA officer who helped train the Cubans who splashed ashore at the Bay of Pigs 53 years ago this week. “But their fight was doomed before the first man hit the beach.”

Grayston Lynch

Grayston Lynch

That CIA man,Grayston Lynch, knew something about fighting – and about long odds. He carried scars from Omaha Beach, The Battle of the Bulge and Korea’s Heartbreak Ridge. ..Lynch trained, in his own words, “brave boys who had never before fired a shot in anger” — college students, farmers, doctors, common laborers, whites, blacks, mulattoes. They were known as La Brigada 2506, an almost precise cross-section of Cuban society of the time. The Brigada included men from every social strata and race in Cuba—from sugar cane planters to sugar cane cutters, from aristocrats to their chauffeurs. But mostly, the folks in between, as befit a nation with a larger middle class than most of Europe.

Short on battle experience, yes, but they fairly burst with what Bonaparte and George Patton valued most in a soldier: morale. No navel-gazing about “why they hate us” or the merits of “regime change” for them. They’d seen Castroism point-blank.

…[They knew of the Mass graves that] dotted the Cuban countryside, piled with hundreds who’d crumpled in front of Castro and Che Guevara’s firing squads….

“Where are the planes?” kept crackling over U.S. Navy radios two days later. “Where is our ammo? Send planes or we can’t last!” Commander Jose San Roman kept pleading to the very fleet that escorted his men to the beachhead. Crazed by hunger and thirst, his men had been shooting and reloading without sleep for three days. Many were hallucinating. By then many suspected they’d been abandoned by the Knights of Camelot.

…”If things get rough,” the heartsick CIA man Grayston Lynch radioed back, “we can come in and evacuate you.”

“We will NOT be evacuated!” San Roman roared back to his friend Lynch. “We came here to fight! We don’t want evacuation! We want more ammo! We want PLANES! This ends here!”

Adm. Burke [pleaded with John F Kennedy] “Mr. President, TWO planes from the Essex! (the U.S. Carrier just offshore from the beachhead)” that’s all those Cuban boys need, Mr. President. Let me order…!”

JFK was in white tails and a bow tie that evening, having just emerged from an elegant social gathering. “Burke,” he replied. “We can’t get involved in this.”

“WE put those Cuban boys there, Mr. President!” The fighting admiral exploded. “By God, we ARE involved!”

Admiral Burke’s pleas also proved futile.

The freedom-fighters’ spent ammo inevitably forced a retreat. Castro’s jets and Sea Furies were roaming overhead at will and tens of thousands of his Soviet-led and armed troops and armor were closing in. The Castro planes now concentrated on strafing the helpless, ammo-less freedom-fighters.

“Can’t continue,” Lynch’s radio crackled – it was San Roman again. “Have nothing left to fight with …out of ammo…Russian tanks in view….destroying my equipment.”

“Tears flooded my eyes,” wrote Grayston Lynch. “For the first time in my 37 years I was ashamed of my country.”

So what is the lesson from Fontova’s account? I think it is that if you encourage people to fight, and say you will back them, you have to do just that. You can’t have a strategy of deniability – that you are not behind their efforts. You have to do what it takes.

Then there was the Vietnam debacle. It was certainly a terrible and long war, and we lost 58,000 soldiers in it. We also put the wrong general, Westmoreland, in charge of the war, a man who believed in a strategy of attrition and body-counts, which was not the way to fight guerillas. In addition, for quite a while, we did not arm the South Vietnamese, except with cast-off World-War II equipment, because we were going to do the job ourselves. So the South Vietnamese did badly in their confrontations with the enemy, and their morale deteriorated. (We never learn, because a few years earlier in the Korean war we did not arm the South Koreans, for fear they would attack the Communist North, and so when the North attacked, they were overwhelmed)

When we finally pulled out of Vietnam, we made promises to the South Vietnamese. Those promises were not kept, because the Democrats in Congress cut off funding.

Historians have directly attributed the fall of Saigon in 1975 to the cessation of American aid. Without the necessary funds, South Vietnam found it logistically and financially impossible to defeat the North Vietnamese army. Moreover, the withdrawal of aid encouraged North Vietnam to begin an effective military offensive against South Vietnam… Historian Lewis Fanning went so far as to say that “it was not the Hanoi communists who won the war, but rather the American Congress that lost it.”

The NVA began its final assault in March of 1975 in the Central Highlands. Ban Me Thout, a strategically important hamlet, quickly fell to North Vietnam. On March 13, a panicked Thieu called for the retreat of his troops, surrendering Pleiku and Kontum to the NVA. Thieu angrily blamed the US for his decision, saying, “If [the U.S.] grant full aid we will hold the whole country, but if they only give half of it, we will only hold half of the country.” His decision to retreat increased internal opposition toward him and spurred a chaotic mass exodus of civilians and soldiers that clogged the dilapidated roads to the coast. So many refugees died along the way that the migration along Highway 7B was alternatively described by journalists as the “convoy of tears” and the “convoy of death.” 6On April 21, President Thieu resigned in a bitter televised speech in which he strongly denounced the United States.

So what is the lesson here? If you do get involved in a war, then make sure you get feedback, not just from an inept General in charge, but from the few officers who are succeeding in the field. And don’t shortchange the allies who eventually will be left with the burden of defending themselves. And don’t defund those allies.

But wait a minute. Didn’t we arm the Iraqi army to the hilt? And didn’t we spend a huge amount of money over there? Didn’t we sacrifice for many years, losing limbs, as Glenn Beck says, and worse?

That raises the following issue. In Iraq, former president George W Bush says in his book “Decision Points”, Maliki told him that his Shiite constituents didn’t want any Americans there. So the friendship of our allies was problematic to begin with. And later events showed that the Sunnis did not want to fight for a Shiite dominated government that had already accused two Sunni politicians of treason.

But let’s continue with another example of American ambiguity to an ally:

In 1973, Israel almost ceased to exist. It was attacked by Egypt from the south, and Syria from the north. The U.S. Secretary of State, Henry Kissinger, tried to withhold arms from – Israel! It was President Nixon, a man who ranted anti-Jewish epithets, who countermanded this. Perhaps Kissinger thought that a defeat would make Israel more reasonable in negotiating with the Arab states. It is hard to know.

In view of the losses Israel was taking on October 6 and for the first week of the fighting, Israel was losing the war. Had this happened, the entire population of Israel would have been slaughtered Nazi style by the Arab haters. In face of these developments, Kissinger, himself a refugee from Nazi Germany, refused to supply Israel with the ammunition and weapons needed to defend themselves. It was only when the then Prime Minister of Israel, Golda Meir, appealed directly to President Nixon and also threatened to use the atomic bomb that Israel was given the needed tanks, guns and ammunition to turn certain defeat into victory. In fact, General Ariel Sharon and his troops crossed the Suez Canal and came within 50 miles of Cairo when Kissinger threatened to cut off all aid to Israel unless they retreated back to the Suez. Israeli troops had surrounded 50,000 Egyptian troops and utterly defeated both the Egyptian and Syrian armies….

Although Kissinger held up arms shipments to Israel, he told the Israelis that the then Secretary of Defense, Schlesinger, was responsible for the delays. He also told Moshe Dayan, Israel’s Minister of Defense, that the Soviets were about to attack Israel with nuclear weapons. This was not true, but led the Israelis to agree to Kissinger’s demands.

So what can we learn from this? Here one man in the State Department lied several times to an ally, and tried to weaken that ally. You cannot play such games with allies who are faced with the prospect of total annihilation.

In the same region of the world, we gave really bad advice to the leader of Iran, according to an article by James Perloff.

We know that Iran is now a radical Islamist state, with government meetings often starting with the chant “Death to America.”

However, suppose a progressive, pro-Western regime ruled Iran, representing no threat? ….. Yet many forget that, until 30 years ago, exactly such a regime led Iran, until it was toppled with the help of the same U.S. foreign policy establishment recently beating war drums.

From 1941 until 1979, Iran was ruled by a constitutional monarchy under Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, Iran’s Shah (king).

Although Iran, also called Persia, was the world’s oldest empire, dating back 2,500 years, by 1900 it was floundering. Bandits dominated the land; literacy was one percent; and women, under archaic Islamic dictates, had no rights.

The Shah changed all this. Primarily by using oil-generated wealth, he modernized the nation. He built rural roads, postal services, libraries, and electrical installations.

Long regarded as a U.S. ally, the Shah was pro-Western and anti-communist, and he was aware that he posed the main barrier to Soviet ambitions in the Middle East. A voice for stability within the Middle East itself, he favored peace with Israel and supplied the beleaguered state with oil.

On the home front, the Shah protected minorities and permitted non-Muslims to practice their faiths.

Houchang Nahavandi, one of the Shah’s ministers and closest advisers, reveals in his book The Last Shah of Iran: “We now know that the idea of deposing the Shah was broached continually, from the mid-seventies on, in the National Security Council in Washington, by Henry Kissinger, whom the Shah thought of as a firm friend.”…

Suddenly, the Shah noted, the U.S. media found him “a despot, an oppressor, a tyrant.” Kennedy denounced him for running “one of the most violent regimes in the history of mankind.”

At the center of the “human rights” complaints was the Shah’s security force, SAVAK. Comparable in its mission to America’s FBI, SAVAK was engaged in a deadly struggle against terrorism, most of which was fueled by the bordering USSR, which linked to Iran’s internal communist party, the Tudeh. SAVAK, which had only 4,000 employees in 1978, saved many lives by averting several bombing attempts. Its prisons were open for Red Cross inspections….

For Western TV cameras, protestors in Teheran carried empty coffins, or coffins seized from genuine funerals, proclaiming these were “victims of SAVAK.” This deception — later admitted by the revolutionaries — was necessary because they had no actual martyrs to parade. Another tactic: demonstrators splashed themselves with mercurochrome, claiming SAVAK had bloodied them……

Meanwhile, internationalist forces rallied around a new figure they had chosen to lead Iran: Ruhollah Khomeini. A minor cleric of Indian extraction, Khomeini had denounced the Shah’s reforms during the 1960s — especially women’s rights and land reform for Muslim clerics, many of whom were large landholders….

The Carter administration’s continuous demand upon the Shah: liberalize. On October 26, 1978, he freed 1,500 prisoners, but increased rioting followed. The Shah commented that “the more I liberalized, the worse the situation in Iran became. Every initiative I took was seen as proof of my own weakness and that of my government.” Revolutionaries equated liberalization with appeasement. “My greatest mistake,” the Shah recalled, “was in listening to the Americans on matters concerning the internal affairs of my kingdom.”

… “Air Force General Robert Huyser, deputy commander of U.S. forces in Europe, was sent to pressure Iran’s generals into giving in without a fight.” “Huyser directly threatened the military with a break in diplomatic relations and a cutoff of arms if they moved to support their monarch.”

…U.S. officials pressed the Shah to leave Iran. He reflected:

You cannot imagine the pressure the Americans were putting on me, and in the end it became an order…. How could I stay when the Americans had sent a general, Huyser, to force me out? How could I stand alone against Henry Precht [the State Department Director for Iran] and the entire State Department?

He finally accepted exile..

When the Islamists took charge, at least 1,200 Imperial Army officers, who had been instructed by General Huyser not to resist the revolution, were put to death. Before dying, many exclaimed, “God save the King!” “On February 17,” reported du Berrier, “General Huyser faced the first photos of the murdered leaders whose hands he had tied and read the descriptions of their mutilations.”

What is the lesson of this? If you see an allied leader as an obstacle to Democracy, and a person who is alienating people you want to court, take a look at the opposition first. Are they humane? Are they believers in freedom? Is your allied leader being portrayed to you accurately? Does he trust you? Does he support the West? Should you really throw him under the bus?

Back to Iraq:

Philip Dermer served in Iraq, and says this:

A former colleague with whom I served in the coalition forces in Iraq recently sent me one of the slick YouTube productions by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, now rampaging through the country. I was extremely reluctant to watch the video by this al Qaeda spin-off. I was already depressed about the chaos in Iraq, given how much effort my colleagues and I spent with Iraqis after 2003 attempting to forge the great democratic experiment in the Middle East.

As the video of jubilant ISIS members extolling their bloody conquests slipped by, I began to fast forward to get through the madness, but I froze when I saw ISIS thugs attacking captured Iraqis. Many of the men being taunted, tortured and killed were leaders of the Sahwa, the Sunni militants who once fought against the American military and the Iraqi government before they realized that their bigger enemy was al Qaeda and joined us in the fight. U.S. forces, grateful for their support, dubbed them Sons of Iraq…..

[After the victory on the battlefield ] the coalition’s payment program for the Sahwa necessitated gathering personal identification data on every member, close to 100,000 names; continuing the payments was going to be under the obligation of the Iraqi government after the coalition turned over governing authority to Baghdad. I remember when we delivered the database to Prime Minister Maliki’s office. The rest is history. He never attempted to fulfill his part of the bargain. Instead, the Sahwa were dismembered piecemeal, including extrajudicial killings, internment and expulsion from Iraq. After U.S. forces withdrew from Iraq in 2011, U.S. diplomats sat idly by behind concrete walls.

…. America’s promises and moral commitments must stand for something. If not, we may pay an even greater price as events unfold. No one will believe anything we say and will act strictly in their own interests. The Sahwa from 2007-09 is no more. And, yes, the Sunni are now doing what it takes for their own political interests, so things have come full circle because ISIS is the new al Qaeda—the vanguard.

It could be added, that if you don’t identify your true allies, and stand behind them, you lose the people who could stand up to your enemy. Israel is guilty in that regard too. As in this last story:

In southern Lebanon, which borders on Israel, Lebanese Christians were exposed to the Palestinians’ gangster-like presence. Consequently, these Christians turned to Israel for help. This transformed what were Israel’s incursions into southern Lebanon in response to PLO insurgency warfare into an enduring alliance of interests with southern Lebanese residents.

In 1975, as part of Israel’s security policy against the Palestinians, a young IDF intelligence officer named Ya’ir Ravid organized a militia force that was first called the Free Lebanese Army, then renamed the South Lebanon Army (SLA) in 1984. Over time, the SLA added Druze and Shi‘ite elements to the Maronite Christians who constituted its ideological pillar….

This Israeli-Lebanese alliance began to unravel in the Israeli public mind. The loss of approximately twenty to thirty soldiers per year in south Lebanese warfare was the backdrop to a popular campaign for withdrawal.. As a result, during the Israeli election campaign in mid-1999, Ehud Barak promised that as prime minister he would “bring the boys home from Lebanon.” The IDF was not winning the war and Hizbullah, the primary adversary, demonstrated that it had the religious conviction and tactical capabilities to continue its adamant resistance against Israel.

The new prime minister’s pledge, which enjoyed much popularity among the Israeli public, seized the south Lebanese in general and members of the SLA in particular with uncertainty and insecurity, if not panic. Israeli political leaders, military commanders, and other officials never stated clearly what the future might hold for the SLA. The result within the ranks of the SLA and the south generally was demoralization and trepidation that they might be abandoned at the last moment.

…For Israeli and SLA personnel, officers and soldiers alike, the events of late May unfolded without prior preparation, notice, or warning.

A soldier named Roni, with six years experience in the SLA, related that on “Monday night at eleven o’clock we got a call from the Israelis telling us that Hizbullah is approaching and telling us to leave.” Another soldier said, “We could have stopped them with our weapons,” but the IDF did not shoot and would not allow the SLA to shoot either….

Thus did the decision for an IDF withdrawal cause the SLA to disintegrate and create havoc among its forces. Southerners feared being massacred immediately by Hizbullah or being tried and tortured as “enemies of the state” by the Beirut authorities…

In effect, the Israeli government abandoned an SLA that very much wanted to stay in existence. This clearly was not what the SLA desired. Over 600 of its men had lost their lives in the many years of warfare but its fighters showed no inclination to leave their country….

Two meetings that I attended with senior Israeli officials prior to the withdrawal confirmed the government’s ambiguous intentions toward the SLA. From Reserve General Menachem Einan, appointed by Barak to conduct peace negotiations with the Lebanese government, I learned in March that there was no Israeli inclination to strengthen the SLA as the sole and credible military alternative to the IDF in south Lebanon.

Nevertheless, many SLA fighters later felt that their army had been strong enough to sustain the war. After the SLA had been exiled to Israel, therefore, the sad refrain was repeated: “Israel betrayed us. The IDF and SLA were one… and we thought it was possible to befriend Israel. We helped them in our land. For twenty-five years we were with her.” The nephew of ‘Aql Hashim, himself an SLA soldier, commented on the connection with Israeli soldiers in Lebanon: “We ate with you together, we fought with you together, we went to funerals with you together. We were your allies…”

Expressions of general Israeli concern and responsibility for her allies in the end served as an elusive formulation that culminated in betrayal.

These are harsh words, but again, it illustrates some of the points that came up with American behavior in other situations.  Now Hezbollah has enough missiles to carpet Israel from corner to the other, and their leader, Nasrallah, has said that the good thing about Israel is that the world’s Jews will gather there, so they can all be destroyed at once.

Standing by your ally, if the ally really is an ally, is good policy. Unfortunately, we have fallen short in that regard. Kissinger, of all people, said this “To be an enemy of America can be dangerous, but to be a friend is fatal”.

Lets hope he was wrong.

Sources:

(a note on the following sources, none of them are “primary sources” though some do quote primary sources.  I found them by remembering some historical events, and then searching for them on the internet.  I try to leave out speculation (for instance, the Perloff article is full of speculation that I disagree with).  Not being a historian, I cannot really evaluate the sources too well.  I use what rings true, based on what I already know.)

The story told by Humberto Fontova is at: http://townhall.com/columnists/humbertofontova/2014/04/19/what-really-happed-at-the-bay-of-pigs-n1826030/page/full

The Vietnam story is told by Lauren Zanolli at: http://hnn.us/article/31400

The story of Henry Kissinger & Israel is told by Dr. Gerhard Falk at http://www.jbuff.com/c081210.htm

Philip Dermer tells the story of the fate of the “Sons of Iraq” at: http://online.wsj.com/articles/philip-dermer-the-sons-of-iraq-abandoned-by-their-american-allies-1404253303

James Perloff tells the story of how we treated the Shah of Iran at http://www.thenewamerican.com/culture/history/item/4690-iran-and-the-shah-what-really-happened .

Mordechai Nisan tells the story of how Israel treated the Lebanese SLA at: http://www.meforum.org/49/did-israel-betray-its-lebanese-allies

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Patterns in denial of evil

There are several examples of denying evil going on right now, in the year 2014, and observers have noticed a pattern in how the denial works.

I’ll take two clear-cut examples of evil and how it gets denied afterwards.

Number One:

On July 13, 2014, a mob of thugs descended upon the Synagogue de la Roquette in Paris, trapped the congregation inside, and tried to break in while brandishing deadly weapons.

One of those trapped was a woman who, perhaps for fear of reprisal, asked to be identified only as Aurélie A. Her testimony, translated in Tablet, describes a horrific scene.

Initially mobbed outside the synagogue, she sees one of the “protesters” “shouting ‘Death to the Yids!’” She quickly realizes “the magnitude of the situation… They’ve surrounded us… We hear cries everywhere… I see firearms fly… I even see a man with an axe.” The outnumbered French police, either terrified or simply uninterested, barely get her safe inside.

Stuck in a besieged Synagogue

Stuck in a besieged Synagogue

But “here we can no longer get out… the pressure inside rises. There are elderly people who feel oppressed, there are women who start to cry, in some places the volume rises. Then the first wounded… EMTs…” She looks through a window and “I saw as in a prison what was happening outside. More cries! They are still there… There are now hundreds!”

….Another eyewitness described how the crowd threw “stones and bricks at the building, ‘like it was an intifada.’” A Jewish leader said that the attackers, “had rocks, glass, axes, knives… they were armed and I made sure that no one would leave the synagogue, in order to protect the lives of our people.”

At long last, the thugs are brought under control, and the congregants are escorted out by Jewish defense organizations “in small groups, escorting each of the faithful.”…

“Yesterday,” one woman noted upon reflection, “a part of my love for France left me.”

Now this seems to be a straightforward situation. So how does this get denied?

Benjamin Kerstein tells how:

Far-Left groups supportive of the demonstration, including the American hate site Mondoweiss, made two claims that have always been made about pogroms [mob attacks on Jews]: First, it didn’t happen. Second, maybe it might have possibly happened, but it was the Jews’ fault.

They claimed that the pogrom was, in fact, nothing more than a street fight, and was instigated by the LDJ [Jewish Defense Organization], something blatantly contradicted by eyewitnesses in and outside the synagogue, including Azria, who wrote that the pogromists “splintered off the main protest and headed to the synagogue. The Jewish defenders saw this because they were monitoring the demonstration and followed to put up a defensive fight.”

Every pogrom in history has had its defenders. Slaughters like Kishinev have been called mere peasant uprisings, justified assaults on the Jews who economically exploited others, or attempts to “fight back” against the Jews who supposedly run the world. …

CRIF, the umbrella group for French Jewry, said that these attacks are passed off as inter-communal clashes…

“We never saw such hatred and violence as we witnessed in Sarcelles,” said the mayor of that town about another incident. “This morning people are astonished and the Jewish community is frightened.” … lots of Jewish stores were burnt; the pharmacy, bank, tramway…the town has been really devastated.”
….

“They were shouting: ‘Death to Jews,’ and ‘Slit Jews’ throats,’” David, a Jewish sound engineer told The Times. “It took us back to 1938.”

OK, so you get the idea.

Now evil Number Two – here in the USA

Colin Flaherty in his book White Girl Bleed a Lot, says that there have been hundreds of episodes in the past few years of groups of black people roaming the streets of America, and physically attacking whites who have done nothing to them.

“But the local media and public officials are largely silent about the problem. ‘Crime is color blind’, says a Milwaukee police chief. ‘Race is not important’, a Chicago newspaper editor assures us.”

Colin gives many examples, and often backs them up with videos that you can view by scanning from his pages with your cell phone.

“Along with the violence, it is amazing how often the videos feature laughing and mocking that would never make it into a movie script because it is too pathological to believe. Truth is stranger than fiction, because truth does not have to make sense.”

In Chicago, after weeks of black mobs rampaging through the downtown, the superintendent of the police said he figured out who was to blame for gun violence: Sarah Palin! (a conservative governor of Alaska who ran for Vice President).
One comment often made is that black violence is routine, and people only notice it when it targets whites or Asians. And Asians are indeed targeted, which is odd if you see this as a response to slavery and segregation.
But this just means that there is even more black violence that is under-reported, and that is not exactly encouraging. And from Colin’s examples, I do think there is a racial motive.

“The denial is deep, so is the intimidation from those who do not wish anyone to talk about this topic.”

“Deniers always say the same thing: One, it does not exist. Two, here is why it does exist.”

Black mobs attack you even if you consider yourself a liberal and very anti-racist. In June of 2011, Emily Guendelsberger , the editor of “Onion Magazine” (a lifestyle guide for the hopelessly hip complete with gratuitous shots at Sarah Palin) were out for an evening of fun in Philadelphia. A crowd of more than a thousand black people assaulted her. One of the rioters told another victim that night, “it’s not our fault you can’t fight.” The attacks that night were very violent. The boyfriend of the editor of the Onion was brownish colored, and he was attacked too, which proved to Emily that the attacks were not racially motivated.

The newsmen had video footage of the attacks which showed that all the attackers and looters were black, but no one had the nerve to actually say it.

In some of these attacks people are left with permanent damage, sometimes brain damage, and sometimes they die. They can be stomped on, raped, kicked in the head.

The attackers can be admired football players in colleges. In fact, it was said of one victim of an attack by these types that he would have probably taken the players who attacked him out to dinner at ‘Red Lobster’ just so that he could tweet that he ate lobster with Eddie Williams, Tyler Hayes, etc.

One black radio talk show host said the riots that “young people were to blame, not black people.” This seems to be denying the blackness of the perpetrators. But then he followed up with “when an African American commits a crime”, he said, “society is looking to define race. When Lochner shot [Congresswoman] Giffords, nobody said “what is wrong with white men?” This isn’t a black or white issue, they need things to do.”

Colin is withering: “It’s classic, they didn’t do it. Here’s why they did it.”

Umar Lee – a writer and boxing coach in St. Louis who refreshingly faces the problem says that:

if you raise your children to be victims, they’ll be victims as adults. Who do they attack? The elderly, the poor at the bus stops, immigrants, weak yuppies, the Woody Allen crowd, pencil neck geeks on their iPhones. Why? Because they won’t fight back. they’re looking for an easy victim. The root of the problem, in my opinion, father’s not raising their children.”

So what can we conclude from all this?

There are some similarities between what happens in Paris and Philadelphia. Politicians and police who want peace will not want to tell things the way they are. Large violent mobs are scary. And supporting the mobs is a big block of sympathizers and voters behind them.
And also, my guess is that there is the desire not be racist or cause racism.

I would argue that coverups do no favors to the blacks in America, or to the Muslims in Paris.

Good people will just observe the big disconnect of what they are told by their media, (and by their government), versus what they experience and what their friends experience. So they begin to not respect either the government or the media. If you want to prevent racism, you have to deal with unpleasant realities. Perhaps reporting honestly on what is going on would increase racism in the short-term. But not reporting it is worse.

The excuse makers will say that the attackers are deprived of money, or alienated by the people around them, but it can be more complicated. For instance, of one Jew-killer in Paris, his brother said: “My parents raised you in an atmosphere of racism and hate, My mother always said: ‘We, the Arabs, we were born to hate Jews.’ This speech, I heard it all throughout my childhood.”

Parodoxically, the journalistic avoiders of racism miss the racism under their nose:
The mobs that gathered to spew genocidal hatred across Germany were “largely young, with both immigrants and native Germans…. Politically they span the spectrum, from German neo-Nazis to Marxist anti-Imperialists, from secular Palestinian nationalists to Islamic fundamentalists.”
Another quote: to reinforce that:

“Hate speech and incitement to violence against Jews are flying at light speed across the Internet. A recent article in the Times of Israel described the travails of those who moderate comments on major French websites. In regard to Israel and the Jews, 90-95 percent of comments have to be blocked due to violent and racist content. “We see racist or antisemitic messages,” said one moderator, “very violent, that also take aim at politicians and the media, sometimes by giving journalists’ contact details.” Another chillingly noted, “Calls for murder are our daily life. It’s sometimes hard psychologically for our moderators.”

In my view, perhaps the moderators should NOT remove the racist messages by these people, people who probably see themselves as victims.

It is often said that many Muslims are peaceful, and many blacks are peaceful too. I would agree with that. Some of the best people in the United States happen to be black. I’ve met really nice Muslims too (though apparently many are anti-Jewish, according to an article by Hirsi Ali). But there are too many blacks who believe a good time is beating up Whitey or Yellowy or Browny with their friends. As for Muslims what we see in France is going to come here. Its already starting in some of our universities, especially in California.

The question is, when are we dealing with something new and big and ugly, or when can we shelve it under categories we already are familiar with. Is the Muslim violence in France just due to youths letting off steam – or maybe just the local version of a foreign conflict that was imported onto French territory but which doesn’t affect the average Frenchman? Are the attacks we see on whites from state fairs in the Midwest to the big cities just actions by a few bad black youths who don’t represent something bigger? In the case of random black on white attacks, remember- this kind of thing did NOT happen in the 1950’s. And black families hung together in the 50’s.

I really don’t want to believe the scarier – more radical interpretation. But what I want to believe is irrelevant. Something new IS happening. Should I deny it to others, or to myself?

Should you?

Sources:

http://www.ruthfullyyours.com/2014/08/08/benjamon-kerstein-the-global-pogrom/

White Girl Bleed A Lot – Colin Flaherty (2013)
Note:

Sarah Palin

Sarah Palin

For some reason I can’t understand, the lady pictured at left, Sarah Palin, seems to become the butt of all sorts of jokes by my liberal acquaintances, and shows up twice in the above blog, once as supposedly the cause of black violence. Also, as far as France goes, the socialists who currently run it have a dilemma with all this anti-Semitism and the dilemma is explained by a Frenchman here: http://pjmedia.com/blog/barbier-beelzebuth-and-anti-semitism-the-french-socialists-conundrum/

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My meteoric rise and fall – off the rainbow’s edge

What would you call an encounter with an evil you did not know existed? There was a very successful Science Fiction movie called Close Encounters of The Third Kind, whose title is derived from ufologist J. Allen Hynek’s classification of close encounters with aliens. My close encounter of the “fourth kind” was what I define as an encounter with humans who play by very different moral rules than most of us.

I will tell my story, and then try to play the skeptic to my own story, but first, another fable from the world of fiction:

flowersForAlgernon There is a story called Flowers For Algernon.  It is about a retarded man, Charlie, who is given a drug that increases his intelligence until he is a genius.  But the drug effects are temporary and eventually Charlie ends up with an even lower IQ than before.  His last wish is that someone put flowers on Algernon’s grave.  Algernon is the laboratory rat who the drug was first tested on.

My life was a story that was in some respects like that.  I spent my first twenty-one years with a mediocre appearance (my IQ however, was fairly high) and then for a few short years, I became handsome.  The story of what happened next is quite sad, and more far-fetched than “Flowers For Algernon”.  It’s the kind of story I cannot prove, but sometimes the most educational stories are the ones you can’t prove.

Some background is essential:

My early life had been very stressful.  This was mostly because I could not control my urges.  Hunger was one example – even when I was older, and on my own, I could not take money outdoors, because I would use it on food.  When I had money, if I passed a bakery, the smells would draw me in, I would buy the muffins and cakes, and pay for them, and then eat them standing right inside the store, because I did not have the self-control to wait. I realized I had to avoid this kind of situation, so when I did have to take money to shop for something I really needed, I would make my purchase, and then put the change in an envelope addressed to myself, and drop the envelope in a mailbox.

I tried various tricks to cope with my urges to eat, such as eating watermelons, which are mostly water anyway.  I remember an awestruck black woman saying to another – “He ate a whole watermelon – I saw him!” In general, you don’t look good when you feel bad, and you feel bad when you engage in serious overeating on a daily basis and then try to run ten miles to undo the effects of all the food you just ate.  I described my life to an eating-disorder psychiatrist, who had asked me “How do you know you have bulimia?”.  After I told him the story, he said – “Yes, that is bulimia.”

Worse than all this was my out-of-control sex urge during my High School period, and the humiliation and stress it caused me.  But I won’t go into that.  It was horrible. So anyway, all this somehow stopped after I got out of college.  It was as if my willpower came online suddenly.  As soon as it came “online”, I stopped all the urges cold.

As a reaction to my past, I adopted a puritanical lifestyle.  Like the Mormons I would not drink alcohol.  I did not drink coffee either.  I did not take drugs.  I walked and bicycled a fair amount.  I kept my diet to two meals a day – with no snacks.  I got lots of sleep.  My stress level evaporated.  And I looked better.  Much, much better.

People reacted to my new self.  People liked the idea of an ordinary person who somehow became incandescently good-looking.  Good looks have a lot to do with health, and perhaps also with strength, and an upbeat personality.  I remember later one man telling another that I had been the most handsome man he had seen – except for some young men in California.  I remember the sympathetic reaction of another very handsome man, who also felt that his life had also suddenly become different – and he also felt he had become treated differently.  It was a bit too much for him.

But then something wicked came my way.
I should explain at this point that I’m leaving a lot out of this story, including behavior of mine that would make the story more plausible. For instance, I had done damage to some people, and also some people may not have liked my “holier than thou” attitude. All this could have created animosity towards me. But to continue: I attracted unwanted attention by a criminal element.
The following may sound like a “conspiracy theory”. But remember, low-level “criminal conspiracies” happen all the time. Whenever two people plot to rob a bank, or a Mafia plans to take over a longshoreman’s union – that is a conspiracy. Moreover, many false conspiracy theories involve people and events that the theorist never came close to. In my case, it is all based on immediate experience. So what do I claim happened?

I claim I was poisoned.

For a year, I did not realize what was happening. I started feeling truly sick.  And I felt the oddest symptoms.   They were not like the symptoms of a disease.  It was more like my sex-drive was going up, and up, and up.  I did not like this at all.  I was a born-again puritan, and I did not want ever again to be at the mercy of urges.  But I was getting urges that surpassed anything I had ever had.

My health got worse, and in tandem, my looks faded.  I was a sleepless wreck, and tried to medicate myself, which was a bad idea.  Not that any doctor had any advice. By the end of the year, the looks had faded completely.  I was back to square one.  Like Charlie, after the drug wore off.

Then I tried something new.  I remembered how good I had felt on my bike trips in past years, so  in the evening, I would bike out-of-town, grab something to eat at the supermarket on the way to the green town of Woodbridge, and strange as it seemed to me, as time I went on, I felt better.  and  I revived a little.

I had no food in the house any more, but one day I bought a bottle of spring water, drank some of it, and put it in my fridge.  I read a newspaper, and went to sleep. That night, someone waltzed into my apartment.  He headed for the refrigerator.  He put a mega-dose of something bad into the remaining water in the bottle.  I did not see this person.

The next day, I got up, ready to go to work, but first I headed for the fridge to drink the water.  I drank it, and all of a sudden all the symptoms that I had just escaped hit me like a hammer.  The sex urge was one of them.  I felt like punching the walls.  I felt truly terrible.

I somehow made it to work, and outside the door of the building there was a small crowd.  Some looked sex-crazed, and some looked fairly normal.  What they had in common was that they looked at me with recognition and anticipation.  And from their expressions, I could see that they knew what had happened.  I staggered to my office, but I could not work.  The drug had grabbed my brain receptors and would not let go.

I won’t go into the rest of the story, except to say that I would run into people a few times over the subsequent years who would tell friends about me, and the friends would look at me, and wonder out loud: why on earth would this guy impress anyone – with looks or anything else?

I walked sadly into Penn Station in New York, one day, and the Fleetwood Mac tune “Seven Wonders” went through my head:

If I live to see the seven wonders
I’ll make a path to the rainbow’s end
I’ll never live to match the beauty again

I conclude that someone, somewhere, has done brain research that would have better been left undone, and has given it to people who are up to no good.  For all I know, there may an entire laboratory in some totalitarian country churning out drugs that affect the brain.

Now lets play the skeptic. The skeptic would say that the poor man who wrote this blog obviously had mental issues, but just because he had some urges over the years, doesn’t mean some mysterious group went out to drug him with a drug that nobody ever heard of.

In fact, when he drank that water, it was just a coincidence that he felt a huge set of symptoms.

And as far as being handsome, well, the world is also full of formerly handsome people who aged and lost the looks of their youth. They don’t make an obsession about what they lost. So why is this blog-poster whining about it? My answer to the skeptic would be, I would not be whining about it if it was a matter of plain old age, but if some group of people did attack me, it is my duty to not only whine, but to alert the public.

A skeptic might also say that changing a lifestyle doesn’t make people better looking.  Good looks are based on facial features, and not on whether you eat constantly. To which I would say, try the experiment – don’t take any food except water between – say – 9 am and 5 pm. Do this for a week. See what happens.

People tend to under-rate subjective experience. I was once told “If you were drugged, there would be no way you could know it for sure. You might just be feeling something generated in your own brain.” That argument reminds me of the reply by Samuel Johnson (1709-1784):

After we came out of the church, we stood talking for some time together of Bishop Berkeley’s ingenious sophistry to prove the nonexistence of matter, and that every thing in the universe is merely ideal. I observed, that though we are satisfied his doctrine is not true, it is impossible to refute it. I never shall forget the alacrity with which Johnson answered, striking his foot with mighty force against a large stone, till he rebounded from it — “I refute it thus.”

Of course the simple intensity of an experience doesn’t prove the experience, but I think the amount of supporting and corroborating events around the experience, and before and after the experience, do bolster it. Knowing a plausible cause also makes a big difference in whether people believe something or not. In other words, if you go around saying you were drugged by a mysterious Mafia, you can’t expect to be believed unless there are (for example) headlines that you dropped a cigarette by accident in a restaurant frequented by Mafia members, and burned it down, killing 3 Mafia wives in the process.
Otherwise, you have a real problem in persuasion.

I’m saying several very radical things in this post. If any one of them are true, the implications are extreme. If you assign a probability of 30% to them, (for example) that doesn’t make them only 30% as extreme, it just means that there is a one out of three chance that very bad things are going on in the criminal world – things for which there are no defense, especially if they are not addressed as if they are one hundred percent true.

Sources: Flowers for Algernon is a science fiction short story and subsequent novel written by Daniel Keyes. The short story, written in 1958 and first published in the April 1959 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, won the Hugo Award for Best Short Story in 1960. The novel was published in 1966 and was joint winner of that year’s Nebula Award for Best Novel.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 American science fiction film written and directed by Steven Spielberg The film received numerous awards. (Personally, I don’t know if there are alien life forms in the universe, but I can attest that there are humans who think so differently than the rest of us that they might as well have landed from a UFO).

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Lessons from an undercover Cop

Mike Russell went undercover into the Mafia. He is a very brave man. There are certain lessons from his book “Undercover Cop” that I’ll share here. He says that:

Most Mob movies speak of respect and honor, when in reality it was all about who made the most money [for the bosses]. Many infractions by a good earner were overlooked, while a marginal worker could get whacked [murdered] for getting caught in traffic and being late for a meeting.

If you are riding in a car with Mafiosi, and they want to murder you, they will first put you at your ease, and then deliver a lightning knife thrust to your heart. Most of the bleeding is internal, so you don’t make a mess of their nice car. If the car isn’t so nice, they may just shoot you in the head.

Mike also says that “Your average wiseguy is poorly educated, couldn’t string two cohesive sentences together, and is fat and crude.” On the other hand, a Mafia captain would be expected to be well-dressed, well-spoken, in good shape, and educated.” Some of the Mafia leaders own legitimate businesses, and could make a good living without being in the Mafia. Perhaps they like the excitement of “extortion, murder, labor racketeering, gambling, hijacking, bid rigging, and political corruption and bribery”. One Mafiosi owned a horse farm in Rhinebeck (I’ve seen some when I’ve cycled up there), others owned semi-rural properties that were useful for burying dead people.

Mike joined the Mafia in the 80’s, in New Jersey, when the police department in Newark, New Jersey was “a cesspool of dirty cops”. This meant that if the wrong cop heard that Mike was undercover, he would notify the Mafia. Mike worked for the State Police, which was less corrupt, though a few bad cops were caught there too. And there were plenty of corrupt politicians in New Jersey, and during his undercover work, Mike was shocked at finding out about one of them, who often showed his “family values” and paraded his nice family, or said what a great place America is to the clueless public. It was interesting that President Nixon directly pardoned a Mafia big shot, and President Clinton pardoned Mark Rich (in 1983 Rich and partner Pincus Green were indicted on 65 criminal counts, including income tax evasion, wire fraud, racketeering, and trading with Iran at a time when Iranian revolutionaries were still holding American citizens hostage. (Though Mark Rich actually helped the Israeli Mossad learn about what was going on in Iran, so there is layer within layer here. But I digress).
Christmas is a good time for wiseguys since ordinary citizens can be corrupt too, and when they can get remarkably cheap goods from a vendor, they don’t ask too many questions.

You hear a lot about evil capitalists from leftists, to whom I usually don’t pay much heed, but Mike had to clear some of the toxic waste where “an elaborate network of wiseguys, corporate investors, and numerous corrupt politicians planned to build substandard housing on contaminated land.” As opposed to the greedy capitalists, the noble workers may not be better, since their unions are sometimes controlled by the Mob, or they have made a devils bargain with the Mob.

One time a Mafia member named “Petey Fish” hijacked a truck full of goods. It turned out to belong to another Mafia family. After hurried meetings between the two families, everything was smoothed out, and life went on. Until one day Petey turned up dead. This shows that a peaceful silence after you cause a problem does not mean you are out of the woods and home free.
If you disrespect someone, as “Fat Tiny” did to “Joe Zarra” by needling him during a Mob sit-down to resolve an issue, you could, as “Fat Tiny” did, end up in the trunk of a car. Though nobody knew for sure that Joe did it. Usually the Mafia waits until the “heat dies down” before they get the revenge for the slight that they never forget.

Mike’s lone undercover operation was so successful, that as it was going on, the attorney general of New Jersey asked the hundred member Organized Crime and Racketeering task force to “render assistance”. Mike did not like this at all. He says that “Too many agencies, too many politicians, and too many headline seekers were now involved in this case.” It was a “train wreck in the making”, and indeed, by making premature arrests, the task force nearly got Mike killed. The Mafia people started suspecting him, and he had to persuade them he was not informing on them.

The evidence that Mike got included video evidence, so the Mobsters pleaded guilty. I’m surprised they were only put away for five years, and when they got out, several went right back to organized crime. Its seems that even when their activities are exposed, they don’t have all that much to worry about. When one of them, named Andrew Gerardo, got out, he moved to Florida, not that far from where Mike lived, and eventually he put out a word on the street that he would pay to have Mike killed. As Mike says: “South Florida has no shortage of guys who would murder you for a few hundred dollars.” And Gerardo would have paid much, more.

Crime does pay. Some of these wiseguys made millions. However, if you are a regular citizen who wants a favor from the Mob, you are a fool. For instance, one man asked the Mafia to protect him against his own corrupt employees, as well as misbehaving customers, and the Mafia did, but the Mafia plan was to “bust the joint out”. In this scenario, they become silent partners, and then they order more supplies than the business requires, all on credit, and then sell those supplies on the black market. When the business’s credit is all shot to hell, they burn the joint down for the insurance money. If the owner gives his new partners problems, he ends up dead.

From my own experiences, I would warn police that going undercover like Mike did may be a much riskier proposition now. Technology has evolved, so that crime organizations can (in theory) place bugs in the home of new people they hire, and find out if they are informers or not. Not only that, but from my experience, there is at least one crime organization that has access to drugs that put you in a daze, or make you talk incessantly. While you are in a daze, they could (in theory) plant a bug in one of your possessions. Or copy your house-keys.
The talk drug can be useful too, for instance in interrogating a person whose loyalty is in doubt.

Mike had to worry about informers in the police who might betray him. Thirty years later, now that so many large organized crime outfits operate in the U.S., my guess is that they probably try to get their people into the FBI, or police. If I were them, I would think that would be worth the effort.

America is not the place it was even fifty years ago. To take one example, the U.S. army won’t hire 71% of youths who apply, because many have felony convictions, or lack a high school diploma, or are obese. In addition to this, about a third of white children do not have a father married to their mother, and with Latinos the number is fifty percent, and with blacks its seventy-five percent. With the exception of the obese, these others may drag the country down a whirlpool of desperation. The more desperation, the more crime. The more children who were not brought up in a stable loving home with two parents, the more criminals.
People like Mike Russell can only do so much.

Sources:
Undercover Cop – Mike Russell (2013)
If you want more info, he has a website: http://mikerussellmobcop.com/

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