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 six 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.


(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:

The Vietnam story is told by Lauren Zanolli at:

The story of Henry Kissinger & Israel is told by Dr. Gerhard Falk at

Philip Dermer tells the story of the fate of the “Sons of Iraq” at:

James Perloff tells the story of how we treated the Shah of Iran at .

Mordechai Nisan tells the story of how Israel treated the Lebanese SLA at:

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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?


White Girl Bleed A Lot – Colin Flaherty (2013)

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:

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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.

Undercover Cop – Mike Russell (2013)
If you want more info, he has a website:

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The Bicyclists guide to freedom – and its limits

Climbers killed here by Taliban

Climbers killed here by Taliban

Being a cyclist, its interesting to note how places to cycle around the globe get harder to find.
I once read a book about an Irish woman cyclist who cycled many years ago to Afghanistan, and was treated well there.
Nowadays, you read stories such as the one about the mountain climbers who visited a beautiful region of Pakistan and get killed by Jihadists, so chances are you would reroute your planned bike trip around many Muslim countries.

But even in the US, bicycling can be a problem. Take the city of Philadelphia.  If you lock your bicycle at the University of Pennsylvania while students are on vacation, you may find your bike missing all parts that are not locked down.

Philadelphia is not the safest city any more, and one time my brother was riding his bike to work from his house in West Philadelphia and someone threw a stick into the wheel. He says

I had read a lot about attacks on students in West Philadelphia and so was very angry about it since I assumed the gang that was attacking me was one that attacked others so I charged at them with my bike. They backed off and then I thought to myself “What the hell am I doing” and cycled to the supermarket. They ran away when I entered the supermarket.

A black mob attacked a D.C. commuter on a bicycle, sending him to the hospital with broken bones in his face – according to a local blogger who says:

As I was biking home on the Metropolitan Branch Trail today I came across a biker on the trail near R St NE who was severely beaten.

Apparently he was beaten by a fairly large group of African-American teenagers that I passed on the trail near the bridge near Florida Avenue.

Apparently they beat this biker, a Caucasian male who looked to be in his 50s, for no reason. …This incident occurred in broad daylight and the biker did nothing wrong.

…Notably, this was not a robbery; the group of teenagers apparently just attacked and beat this man on the trail without any obvious motive other than to beat him.”

We have an immigration policy that brings in people who claim to be refugees, and that leads to incidents such as:

A group of young, Somali men posted a video of themselves attacking pedestrians and bicyclists in St. Paul.

The suspects openly identify themselves in the video, and then attack unknowing victims. None of the victims have reported any of the attacks. St. Paul police is urging victims to step forward, if they recognize themselves in the video…

It’s not just black youths in the cities though: my brother tried commuting from the city by train to a suburb, where he wanted to continue by bicycle. So he got himself a cheap bicycle, and locked it at the train station.
The bike kept getting vandalized by suburban youths.
So finally my brother looked up a synagogue in the phone book, and he found a house which served as a synagogue and private residence and the owners were kind enough to let him lock the bike to a pole in their yard while he took the train into NYC.

What about the “holy land”:

Near Elon Moreh

Near Elon Moreh

I have Israeli relatives on the West Bank of the Jordan in a small town. They don’t dare to hike out of town, or bike out of town, but they do sometimes go by armored vehicle to a bigger town to use the swimming pool. Its been a sacrifice for them to live there, and other residents have died on the road, but they believe they should live there.
Their inability to even take a walk reflects a lack of freedom, imposed by ideological, religious, and angry men. My relatives are religious too, but their religion is Judaism, and they don’t pick fights.  Ironically, when three Jewish youths were kidnapped in this area, some European newspapers blamed these youths for what happened since supposedly being Jewish on occupied Muslim land is an excuse for losing your freedom.

Death of Isaac

Death of Isaac

On August 2, 1996 a group of over one hundred Cypriot and European motorcyclists set off from Berlin’s Brandenbourg Gate on a long and peaceful ride through many countries of Europe, heading to Cyprus. Their stated aim was to draw the world’s attention to the Turkish occupation of part of the territory of Cyprus, the artificial division of the island since 1974, and the “violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms of the people of Cyprus, and in particular of their right to move freely throughout their country.”
As the motorcyclists moved through Europe on their way to Cyprus, they were joined by hundreds of European motorcyclists.
However, it became clear that there could be a violent reaction, so the last stage of the rally was cancelled. But a few of the motorcyclists decided to peacefully demonstrate at the barrier between Greek Cyprus and Turkish Cyprus regardless, and “counter demonstrators” attacked them with the result that Anastassios Isaac, a 24-year-old Greek Cypriot, was caught in barbed wire and clubbed and beaten to death by the these people, and forty others were injured.

The “freedom of the road” has its limits.

I used to be a long-distance cyclist, but I antagonized a Mafia. They knew that I knew how they operated, and so they felt they had to keep tabs on me. After a series of warnings, which I did not heed, they attacked.
As a result, I now stay within a 40 mile radius of my suburban home.

So what is the lesson of all this?

Freedom is usually thought of as the ‘absence of constraint’. Of course a cyclist can’t cycle anywhere – he can’t cycle over the ocean, or past the North Pole, and wouldn’t want to cycle in mosquito infested swamps, etc. The man-made obstacles are interesting though – because it tells you that something is wrong with a culture in areas where people cannot cycle.

I looked up some quotes on bicycling and freedom, and found this, from Susan B. Anthony, who championed woman’s suffrage in the mid 1800’s:

Susan B Anthony

Susan B Anthony

Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. It gives women a feeling of freedom and self-reliance. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel…the picture of free, untrammeled womanhood.


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A political dissident tells about his stay in a Soviet Insane Asylum – incredible.

In Stalin’s time, Russian political prisoners actually wanted to be sent to a mental hospital instead of the camps, because once you recanted and agreed with the diagnosis, you might be released. But after Stalin, the next leader of the USSR, Khrushchev, wanted to build Communism without the horrors of Stalin.  In Communism, criminality was supposed to disappear, and everyone was supposed to agree with the ideology. So he said that those who expressed dis-satisfaction with Communism must be mentally ill. This wasn’t just a remark, it was a directive, and special psychiatric hospitals began to spring up like mushrooms.

Vladimir Bukovsky was one of the dissatisfied, and a panel of doctors asked him:
1. Why was he in conflict with society and its accepted norms?
2. Why did his beliefs seem more important than his liberty, his studies or his mother’s peace of mind? For instance, he had been warned not to go to Mayakovsky Square, but he kept going there.

Bukovsky could have said that “society was at fault” for his conflict with it, but then that would be saying that everyone else was wrong, and he was right. That would make him sound like a madman. If he mentioned persecution by the KGB, then he would get “persecution complex” put in his dossier. He says that one dissident quoted Lenin who had also been in conflict with society, but that tactic would “only get you a note in your case history ‘Suffering from delusions of grandeur, compares self with Lenin.'”

Bukovsky was put in the “Special Mental Hospital” in Leningrad. The orderlies were criminal convicts. He says they were like savage dogs. There were real madmen in the hospital too, one of whom kept calling out loud for a free Ukrainian state. The guards would beat him, and Bukovsky sometimes tried to intervene and got punched so hard he was sent flying under the bed. The prisoner would be listed as violent, (though it was the guards who had been violent) so he would be injected with “aminazine”.

Vladimir Bukovsky

Vladimir Bukovsky

Bukovsky says that the true masters in the mental hospital were the junior service personnel: the orderlies, the nurses, and the guards. If you did not come to terms with them, they would torture or even kill you.

Bukovsky was then moved to a cell with two murderers. He says that the hospital was so poorly constructed that you would hear shouting from all sides, including the cries of people being beaten.
“In a cell opposite ours, a young fellow would keep yelling intermittently: “Soviet spacemen will be the first to land on the moon!”. This fellow’s cell mates would tease him, so he would yell louder and louder, until the orderlies would burst in and beat him. The nurses then duly noted that he was violent, and he got pumped full of aminazine.

In the mental hospital, there was total lack of any rights, and compulsory treatment. There was also no one to complain to, for every complaint got added as one more proof of your insanity.

To get a discharge, you had to acknowledge your sickness and condemn your previous behavior.
One prisoner, a geophysicist and winner of a Stalin Prize, refused. As a result his health had been undermined by the beatings and injections.

The three remedies for “violence” were:
1. “aminazine” which made the patient fall into a  stupor
2. sulfazine – which inflicted excruciating pain on the patient and induced a high fever for two days
3. the “roll-up” – a prisoner would be wrapped in a wet sheet, and when the sheet dried, it shrank, inflicting terrible pain. Usually this would cause the prisoner to lose consciousness, so the nurses would loosen the roll-up slightly, so he could breathe and come-round, and then tighten it again. This would be repeated several times.

A few of the doctors called the hospital “our little Auschwitz.” Bukovsky said that “it went without saying that the patient was not human, that he couldn’t and shouldn’t have any desires or human feelings” and the staff were inured to cruelty.
The prisoners were under a hanging sword that could fall at any time. Bukovsky says the staff injected on such a mass scale that after awhile the needle would no longer go into your buttocks.

Bukovsky was lucky. He did not get a single pill or injection during his stay. He got transferred to a section run by an old man, Kalinin, who did not believe in the Moscow school of psychiatry. Schizophrenics, in his view, must either be psychopaths, alcoholics, or malarials. So he asked Bukovsky if he had ever been bitten by mosquitoes, and if he had ever drunk alcohol, and Bukovsky, despite having been in Siberia where there are clouds of mosquitoes, of course said he had never seen a mosquito.

Another humorous (or horrible) story was that of the person who tried to get into the American embassy. To do this, he had made himself up as a negro. But the embassy told him he needed permission from the Soviet authorities, so he had to leave.
“At this point, it started to rain, and he started to turn streaky under the noses of some policemen. Soviet judicial psychiatry justly concluded that only a madman would voluntarily wish to change from being white to being black, and then apply to go to America, where, as is well-known, they lynch even their own blacks. Now these racial whims of his were being eradicated by injections.”

Some patients had tried to flee the USSR using imaginative methods such as rubber dinghies, in Aqualungs underwater, in homemade helicopters, and gliders. Obviously they were demented, for who would want to be free at a time, when, “after all the mistakes, the contours of true communism were at last beginning to grow visible?”
Even when prisoners were considered for release, traps were set for them. Staff began to insult them and try to make them lose their tempers. There were instances when a man was actually led out to the gatehouse for what looked like his final release. He would say good-bye to all his friends, pick up his bags, and walk off to freedom. Only, on the way out, the nurses would still be trying to provoke him, and it was known for a man to be turned back at the very gate if he rose to the provocation.

That is Bukovsky’s story. When I read it I wonder about the way Russians treated other Russians – could our own country produce ideological lockstep types who practice this kind of crazy sadism?

And there are some interesting points about using mental illness as a club to beat your political opponents. If you believe, for instance, that Islam preaches violence, then you are an “Islamophobe” (phobia is a mental illness term). If you disapprove of homosexual behavior, you are a “homophobe”. Recently a deserter named Bowe Bergdahl was repatriated to the US by the Taliban, as part of a prisoner swap. Brandon Friedman, the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Dept. of Housing and Urban Development suggested that perhaps Bergdahl was attempting to flee from a platoon full of “psychopaths.”
I saw a video of some members of that platoon talking about him on Fox news, they struck me at anything but psychopaths, but judge for yourself, see:
Not a hero?
Anyway, this use of mental illness terminology against political opponents, or against people who say things you do not like is an immoral tactic to use. Though I’m sure it backfired on Brandon Friedman.

Another point, in World War II, there were at least two cases of witnesses of Nazi crimes against Jews being treated as if they were mentally ill by the Jews they tried to warn. For instance, in Elie Wiesel’s book All Rivers run to the Sea he talks of one survivor, Moshe who tried:

He came back and he told a hair-raising story. Those expelled had been slaughtered and buried naked in ditches…He talked on and on about the brutality of the killers, the agony of dying children, and the death of old people, but no one believed him. The Germans are human beings, people said, even if the Nazis aren’t. The more convincing Moshe the beadle tried to be, the less seriously he was taken. He has suffered too much, people said, so much that he doesn’t know what he’s saying. Then he would lose his temper. “Listen to me!” he would shout. “I’m telling the truth, I swear it!…If I’m lying, how come I’m alone? Where is my wife and our children? What about the others, your former neighbors? Where are they? I’m telling you, they killed them. If you don’t believe me, you’re crazy.” Poor guy, everyone said, Raving mad.

What a cruel thing to do to Moshe, to treat him this way!

There was the case of Brandan Raub, in the US, who believes in what I would call “conspiracy theories”, but also has some valid criticisms of our out-of-control (in my view) government, and who was visited by the FBI and put in a mental hospital, where he was diagnosed with “oppositional defiant disorder”. As far as I know, he did not directly call for violence, (though he did write something to the effect that he alone might have to do something about threats to the our freedom) and indeed, he wanted to re-enlist in the Marine Corps, which defends our country. Perhaps a mental hospital might be seen as a humane temporary way to handle a person who you want to observe and prevent from violence, but if so, there has got to be a better way, if its all based on political statements in a Facebook page.

The same reader who send me info on Raub, also sent this, and I’ll end the post with it:

The Qur’an and Hadith do not envision the possibility that anyone might reject Islam in good faith. It is taken for granted that anyone who rejects Islam must be evil, insane or both.
A Nigerian man has been sent to a mental institute in Kano state after he declared that he did not believe in God, according to a humanist charity.

Mr. Bala

Mr. Bala

Mubarak Bala, 29, is said to have been forcibly medicated by his Muslim relatives, despite being given a clean bill of health by a doctor.

…when Mr Bala told relatives he did not believe in God, they asked a doctor if he was mentally ill.

Despite being told that he was not unwell, Mr Bala’s family then went to a second doctor, who declared that his atheism was a side-effect of suffering a personality change, the group says.

Mr Bala, a chemical engineering graduate, was forcibly committed to a mental institution, but was able to contact activists using a smuggled phone….

To Build a Castle – My Life as a Dissenter: by Vladimir Bukovsky (1979)
Atheist declared mentally ill in Nigeria, BBC, June 24, 2014 (thanks to Hiro):

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The moral logic of the deranged and the wicked

Do we all share the same moral logic?  This is related to the idea of what provokes you to act in anger, and why.

Take a recent mass shooter:

Elliot Rodger was jealous of men who had girlfriends.

Columnist Ann Coulter, who read his entire manifesto, concludes that:

The “cruelty” of women apparently consisted of the failure of any “tall, hot blondes” to approach Rodger and ask for sex. He would walk around for hours “in the desperate hope that I might possibly cross paths with some pretty girl who would be attracted to me.” …
Although Rodger repeatedly denounces the world and everyone in it for “cruelty and injustice,” he was the bully more often than the bullied, especially as time went on, and his rage increased.

This cruelty was a provocation that led Elliot to shooting people, stabbing people, and hitting people with a car. Some died, including Asian-Americans and at least one Blonde.

Now admittedly, Elliot was crazy, but my brother tells me he has met other disgruntled men – men who are angry that they can’t find women to love them.
I find this embarrassing.

Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter

In the next story again there is a question of what is a provocation:

I remember reading of two men, one Caucasian, and one Vietnamese.  They captured a good-looking white woman and led her in chains in a remote part of the Western mountains of the U.S.  Then they abused her, and filmed the abuse, and finally killed her.  At one point she asked them “Why are you doing this?”.  One of the men answered: “Because we hate you!”
When hearing that reply, I would think it would be reasonable to ask “why” again. Their behavior seems inexplicable, but Dr. Stanton Samenow says that the inexplicable becomes more explicable the more you know about the criminal.

I remember reading of a white family with their little girl in their car that took a wrong turn in California. They entered gang territory.  They were all shot dead.
Again, what was the provocation?  Was it entering forbidden territory?  Was it the crime of being the wrong ethnicity?  What was the provocation?

Anwar Sadat of Egypt was hailed as a great peacemaker with Israel.  He did make a peace deal where he gained the entire Sinai peninsula, in exchange for what he himself said was just a “piece of paper.”  But Sadat had also promised that he would “crush Israel’s arrogance and return them to the humiliation and wretchedness established in the Koran.”  We could ask “why.”  The Jews, he explained, “are a nation of liars and traitors, contrivers of plots, a people born for deeds of treachery.”
In other words, this man wanted another people to be in a perpetual state of humiliation and wretchedness.  The provocation – well – Jews, you know – those treacherous creatures deserve what they have coming to them.

Talk-show host Laura Schlessinger says this:

I talk to people every day who have performed the most egregious acts of hurt and betrayal, yet deny that their behaviors weren’t righteous. They try to give examples of what was done to them (usually innocuous) and convince me that their actions were necessary or justified.

Likewise, Stanton Samenow, who has interviewed many criminals, points out that they think differently. The way these criminals look at themselves for instance, can be totally different from the way we would look at them. He says that criminals consider themselves decent people with the right to do whatever suits their purpose. They view the world as their oyster and view people as pawns or checkers.  Moreover, they are capable of great cognitive dissonance about their own nefarious activities.

So that seems to bolster my point.

Psychologist Jonathan Haidt believes that moral intuitions (including moral emotions) come first and directly cause moral judgments. It’s as if we “feel” rather than “reason”, when it comes to our attitudes to what is right or wrong, or on how we should behave.  Dr. Samenow seems to think that thoughts come first, and my own belief is that some thoughts are subconscious – and lead to feelings, and feelings also lead to thoughts.

We could put Haidt’s idea of moral feelings together with the finding of Yu Gao that children that showed no sign of fear conditioning at age three inevitably grew up to become criminals. I’m not sure what the latter finding means – does it mean you have to be afraid of punishment to be moral? Or perhaps is it just a lack of inhibitions that others have that produces criminals?

(As an aside, it has also been found that people who have more fearful disposition also tend to be more politically conservative. This does not mean that every conservative has a high fear disposition. “It’s not that conservative people are more fearful, it’s that fearful people are more conservative,” says researcher Rose McDermott. So one could ask – are criminals (who even as children feel less fear) less likely to be politically conservative? Would a fearful politician be less likely to accumulate debt than a fearless one? Would conservatives behave differently at casinos? (see sources)).

Once I was in Italy and I stopped in an office run by a tall young woman to exchange currency. As I walked away, I thought that perhaps she had made a mistake, and given me too much money. But I was in a hurry to catch a train to a prettier part of Italy, and I didn’t think much about it. I got to the train station, and then realized the train would not leave for a few hours. So the thought at the back of my mind about the currency came back, and I looked at it, and sure enough, she had given me a fortune. I ran back to her office, and asked her if she had given me too much. She checked her book, and suddenly said “You SAVED me”. I returned the money.

Train thru Italy

Train thru Italy

The story shows how I suppressed a nagging voice of conscience, or inhibitions, or something in my hurry to get to a nice part of Italy and not miss a train.

Now consider a criminal who has a very strong desire to make money, or to hurt an enemy, or to control events. How powerful a role will moral inhibitions and feelings play in his decisions? What if he is morally constituted to not feel fear – and inhibitions are related to that in some way?

I myself got into a situation where I was told I would be “annihilated” – that I “would end up in a hospital” – and that I “must be kept down!” It was a provocation to these people that I could be happy, healthy, and free. It may have had something to do with my having made racist and anti-gay remarks, among other things, and I do regret some of my earlier attitudes, but still – one aspect of evil is what a bad guys considers a provocation and how he reacts to that provocation.

Sandra Korn is a leftist lesbian Jewish student at Harvard.  She got attention from the conservative world when she wrote in the Harvard Crimson piece that academic freedom should be limited when it conflicts with the political prejudices of the “university community”:

If our university community opposes racism, sexism, and heterosexism, why should we put up with research that counters our goals simply in the name of “academic freedom”?

She said she would prefer one of the few conservatives at Harvard, Harvey Mansfield, to no longer be on the faculty.
So what did Prof. Mansfield do, to deserve this budding totalitarian’s would-be dismissal?  He was guilty of having the wrong beliefs.

The founders of the U.S. felt that the government should interfere minimally with the rights of the population.  But government is just one institution that can interfere with your rights.  We live in a sea with many friendly dolphins but too many sharks.  If you bleed into the ocean, you will attract the sharks.  The sharks have a strange sense of “justice” which if applied to you, will interfere with what you consider your rights.

William Butler Yeats wrote a poem, “The Second Coming”, of which I will quote one verse:

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity




Sources – fear in conservatives vs liberals – Thinking errors in criminals – compiled by Dr. Stanton Samenow – Adrian Raine and the Biological Sources of Evil

The “amygdala” is a brain structure that plays a major part of our emotional makeup, and is involved in aversive conditioning. and so it is interesting that psychopaths have smaller amygdalas. It was found that conservatives have larger amygdalas than leftists, but I would hesitate to conclude that makes conservatives nicer people (even though I am one). There is a somewhat disputed finding that gays have smaller amygdalas, but we do know for sure that straight men and gay women had more nerve connections in the right side of the amygdala, while straight women and gay men had more neural connections in the left amygdala.

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