Intellectual dishonesty – the case of the fan club of Che Guevara

CheAndAdmirersRobert Redford produced a movie about Che Guevara called “The Motorcycle Diaries.” It was based on Che’s real diaries, no doubt modified by the Cuban government, but what disappoints me greatly about Redford is that he wasn’t honest enough to include some very revealing passages from that diary in his film.

Intellectual honesty calls for showing the dark side of the person you admire, if you are doing a biopic.

Che said “a revolutionary must become a cold killing machine motivated by pure hate.” Che did not have time for “archaic bourgeois details” like judicial evidence. He declared that “individualism must disappear”. He ordered the deaths of many people who disagreed with Marxism.

An estimated 80,000 Cubans, trying to get away by boat or raft from the socialist paradise of Cuba, died of thirst, exposure, or drowning, or were ripped apart by sharks.

Nonetheless Time magazine felt Che was worth of being placed next to Mother Teresa.
A few more juicy examples:
The actress and U.N. humanitarian award winner Angelina Jolie has a tatoo of Che on her body in an undisclosed location.
The model Giselle Bundchen walked a fashion walk displaying a scanty outfit with mini-Che pictures all over it.
The singer Madonna has a Che outfit.

Al Gore – who almost became our president – and his wife Tipper stood in rapturous ovation for Redford’s movie. This prompted Humberto Fontova, from whose book I collected all this, to ask: do the Gores know that Che jailed Cuba’s best filmmakers, poets, etc and transformed Cuban cinema into a propaganda machine?

Does Jesse Jackson, who wrote a book against capital punishment, know that it was incongruous with his beliefs to shout “Long Live Che!” to a crowd at the University of Havana? (Che’s firing squads were by definition implementing capital punishment, and created many orphans, widows, and widowers).

Before Che and the Castros took power, Cuba was a magnet for immigrants. It had a higher per-capita income than Japan and Austria.
Now even the impoverished citizens of Haiti would not dream of sailing toward the socialist paradise of Cuba.

Some more examples?
Burlington put out a line of infant wear bearing Che’s face. And the famous picture of Che adorns T-shirts, posters, watches, skis, surfboards, baseball caps, etc.

What is Humberto Fontova’s explanation for all this passion for a Marxist ideologue and mass executioner?
He said “Ignorance of course, accounts for much Che idolatry. But so do mendacity and wishful thinking, all of it booted – covertly and overtly – by reflexive anti-Americanism.”

I think that there is a class of people who are not bad people, but who don’t see why the wealth should not be distributed to uplift the poor, and pay for all sorts of social goods, and they admire a man who traveled with his friend on a motorcycle, observing the plight of the poor, and then resolved to bring about a fairer system in Cuba.

But why do these people ignore some very inconvenient facts?

You can respect people who have attitudes that are different than your own, as long as they are fundamentally honest. But I don’t think these people are honest even with themselves. They see what they want to see, and miss what they want to miss.

Is there something romantic about Che? The spirit of rebellion? The beret? Is there an alienated side to all these celebrities that resonates with something dark and evil?

Cuban agents in 1962 were prevented by the FBI from putting five hundred kilos of TNT in New York city at: Grand Central Terminal, Macy’s, Gimbel’s, and Bloomingdales. In contrast, remember that the Muslim terrorists who bombed the Madrid (Spain) subways and killed and maimed almost 2000 people used only one hundred kilos. Imagine five times that explosive power in the three biggest department stores on earth, all packed to suffocation on the year’s biggest shopping day.

Previous to this plot, Che had been in New York for eight days, but could barely accommodate all the Beautiful People jostling to meet him.

You might think that Che was ungrateful for all the hospitality and adoration, and that this plot was inexplicable and an anomaly, or even a right-wing lie – but then again – maybe you need to study the psychology of evil. Totalitarian ideologues flew airplanes into high rise buildings in New York not so long ago.

As Che strode toward the UN, wearing his trench coat and beret with the red star, a young woman raced down Forty Third street. A large knife flashed in her hand. “Arriba” she shouted, as she headed for Che. She was intercepted and her murder attempt prevented by New York City police who found out that her name was Gladys Perez and she had been tortured in Castro’s jails. After being caught, Gladys was sent off for “mental observation”.
Che Guevara, on the other hand, was feted by New York High Society. Who really needed “mental observation”?

If you dance with the devil, you become an accessory to more evil than you can imagine.

Sources:
Exposing the Real Che Guevara – Humberto Fontova (2007)

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The genetic “ratchet” that changed Europe, and is Eugenics all bad?

Eugenics has been popular in the past, until Hitler temporarily discredited it, (though protesters throughout the world periodically chant “Hitler was right”).

If you were to select traits for the next generation, what would you choose?

1. Selecting for strength:
When I was young, I had really bad eyesight and thick glasses. I wanted to be taller, stronger, and to give bullies no reason to call me “four-eyes”. I wanted to be a stellar runner, so that I could redeem myself in the eyes of my peers, and win races for the school.
And the idea of selecting for strength is quite common. But it is not the only criteria that social engineers look for:

2. Selecting for ideology:
Some regimes value adherence to an ideology as a superior trait. For instance, in North Korea, if a father rebels against the state, his whole family is thrown with him in the punishment-camp, because it is felt that his character “flaws” are genetic.

3. Selecting for intelligence:
“Egg donation isn’t supposed to be a get-rich business for donors, but young women across the country are selling their eggs and cashing in big.
An [ABC] investigation into the growing industry found that not all eggs are made equal in donation agencies’ eyes. Women with favored traits, like blond hair or high intelligence, can earn a much heftier fee for donating.”
Oddly enough, not everyone would prefer intelligence. In the great massacre by Pol Pot’s followers in Cambodia, anyone with glasses, or with a intellectual job such as being a teacher, was killed.

4. Selecting for people with a “liberal/Conservative” attitude:
I prefer conservative politics to left-wing politics, though it would be immoral to select babies with a “conservative” gene (there actually is a genetic influence on political leanings) but a man named Yaari, in the early leftist Zionist movement “Hashomer Hatzair” wanted the opposite.  He declared that it would be better not to allow Jews to immigrate to Palestine if they were not ideologically motivated, and specifically they should be motivated by socialist ideas.

5. Selecting for boys in China, girls in the USA:
In China and India, there is a large surplus of boys over girls. This is due to deliberate abortion of girls. Conversely, in the USA, women are already using preimplantation analysis to select the gender of their embryos. And they’re overwhelmingly choosing to have daughters.

So there is a problem, since we can’t even agree on what we would select for (or against).

And putting an emphasis on “strength”, without understand where “strength” comes from, can lead to terrible situations.  I’ve been told that Nazi orphanages existed where Aryan babies were purposely denied affection, so that they would grow up strong, and of course that was an idiotic policy that left them emotionally stunted and miserable.  I cannot find online sources for this, however.

The Nazis did abduct children from Eastern Europe who looked handsome and strong and Aryan.  And in an earlier age, the Turks, when they occupied Eastern Europe, would also grab strong Christian children from their parents, teach them Islam, and put them in their military (these children were known as Janissaries)

reprogenetics website image

reprogenetics website image

I think eugenics might make sense if it were a parental – not a state – decision, and it was intended to protect the child. At Reprogenetics, a private laboratory in New Jersey, couples who carry a genetic disease can have their embryos checked for the mutation before implanting them in the woman’s uterus.
Moving from New Jersey to China, the Chinese have a research program to identify the alleles, or genetic variations, that most closely correlate with high IQ scores, so that the country’s parents can select from a number of their own embryos on the basis of intelligence. There are at least a thousand genes that have an effect on intelligence, so this may not work, but it is an interesting idea.

Nick Wade

Nick Wade

But now Nicholas Wade enters the picture with his new book A Troublesome Inheritance.
He believes that “races” exist, and differ not only in external features such as skin color, but also in character.
For this to be true, several premises have to be true.

  • Character has to be somewhat affected by genes that control brain development.
  • Races (which only split apart 50,000 years ago when the first small band left Africa), would have to be shown to have differences specifically in genes that control brain function or development.
  • Those differences must have occurred within those 50,000 years.
  • In addition, there is the startling idea that the European population changed their character and nature much more recently than that. The hypothesis is that Europeans were in a Malthusian trap, where even if their productivity and food production increased, it would only lead to a larger population, which would consume resources so that most people would lead a precarious existence. There was no welfare system to save people who dropped off the life-raft. But as the Middle Ages progressed, the laws and social structure in England created a meritocracy, where skillful or disciplined and intelligent people could make a better living, and escape the hand-to-mouth existence of the majority.  A study showed that successful people did have more children.

Christianity, says Nicholas Wade, actually contributed to the self-bootstrapping upward (he calls it a ratchet) of the population, because it led to the idea that there was a law independent of the ruler, and to which the ruler had to be subject himself. This helped prevent arbitrary power, and helped create a meritocracy.
I won’t list the evidence that the author marshals in his book, for lack of room. The evidence can’t be conclusive, but it is worth looking at.

So would such ideas lead to racist population control?

The author is very against such an outcome, but he feels the research should not be suppressed for political or ideological reasons.
Lets take this a little further though. We know that Stalin liquidated the entrepreneurial farmers of the Ukraine, and we estimate his total murders of his own citizens (in Russia and Ukraine) came to twenty million.
Since Fidel Castro came to power, Cuba’s government imprisoned a higher percentage of its own citizens than Stalin did.
And North Korea has been killing or incarcerating a large percentage of their own population since they came into power, which was in 1945 – so that is 70 years of unnatural selection.
Would these Marxist regimes select for entrepreneurial capitalists? For free-thinkers? For independent minded types who were not afraid to “speak truth to power”?
Or would they select for ideologically reliable ruthless followers?

Wade’s thesis is that small average differences in traits in a population – for instance a lower lack of trust in your fellow man – might lead to a different kind of society – in a low-trust case you might get a more tribal society.
He briefly mentions that the selection pressure that led to more thrifty and disciplined populations may no longer be operating in the West.  Certainly in the US the middle class has sharply reduced fertility.
There is a danger any time people are considered as moldable raw-material in a social project, and that would include eugenics projects. But the technology to select for traits to some extent is coming, in fact “reprogenetics” shows it is already partly here.

Sources:
A Troublesome Inheritance – Nicholas Wade – Penguin Press – 2014
China’s ‘genius babies':

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/superman/2013/03/is_china_engineering_genius_babies_not_exactly.2.html

Hessy Taft - an Aryan poster baby who was Jewish

Hessy Taft – an Aryan poster baby who turned out to be Jewish

http://www.algemeiner.com/2014/07/02/revealed-ideal-aryan-nazi-poster-child-was-jewish/

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Gwyneth Paltrow and the Ring Of Power

Gwyneth and JRR Tolkien

Gwyneth and JRR Tolkien

JRR Tolkien wrote a book where the hero has to carry a ring of power. The ring gives the owner power, but it also corrupts the owner. So the hero, a small hobbit from the Shire, has to cast the ring into the fire in the evil land of Mordor, which will destroy the ring, and the dark power behind it.
An ally in the quest is the wizard Gandalf, who is offered the ring at one point by Frodo the hobbit.
Gandalf: “Don’t tempt me Frodo! I dare not take it. Not even to keep it safe. Understand Frodo, I would use this Ring from a desire to do good. But through me, it would wield a power too great and terrible to imagine.”

A few day ago, the actress Gwyneth Paltrow hosted a fund-raiser for Barack Obama, and she said: “It would be wonderful if we were able to give this man all of the power that he needs to pass the things that he needs to pass,” she said.

I live in a conservative world – I rely for my facts on conservative websites, and the op-eds in the Wall Street Journal. It’s a very different world than that of this actress, who earns 19 million dollars a year, and like so many of her peers, is a passionate liberal.
In my world, I notice the following.
Obama is actually being sued by the usually cautious Republican speaker for abuse of power.
Obama’s reply? “Middle-class families can’t wait for Republicans in Congress to do stuff. So sue me.”

But the Republicans ARE trying to “do stuff.” The problem is that the Democrats will not allow a vote on a huge number of Republican initiatives in the Senate. There is no precedent (that I know of) for this in American history.

The lawsuit is about Obama’s “executive orders” which in a number of areas were unlawful because it’s the job of Congress to make or change laws.

In addition, Michael McConnell, the director of the Constitutional Law Center at Stanford Law School writes, “While the president does have substantial discretion about how to enforce a law, he has no discretion about whether to do so..”

I suppose if we had a leader who was all-knowing and all-good, that we could entrust to him unlimited and unchecked power.
And in fact, several democracies have enthusiastically voted in leaders who then proceeded to dismantle the checks on their power, until the Democracy becomes something resembling an ideological dictatorship.

Obama, in Gwyneth’s view, in a marvelous person, fighting for women, for the environment, etc. Obama, in my view, is perhaps the man who dug a hole so deep that America will not emerge from it.

In my world, I read quotes such as:

Xi Jinping commands the PLA to be battle-ready. The state media uses harsh words like ‘unswerving,’ ‘unflinching,’ ‘uncompromising.’ A defense academic warns the nation to prepare for World War III. An active-duty PLA major-general scoffs that Japan can be ‘taught a lesson’ with a third of his forces.

So what does Obama do about this, Some say he is “purging the military” of officers who do not support him, and certainly, his administration has defunded crucial weapon systems (such as the A-10 Warthog airplane), and our military has been reduced to the smallest it has been since the period between World War I and World War II.

Liberals are told that “Republican budget cuts are responsible for the spread of Ebola” and “Republicans have a war against women.”

But I read about another “war on women”. I read about women getting shot for even advocating that girls get educated (by Taliban etc.) I read about large-scale child-sex-abuse by Muslims in Rotherham, England, who victimized English girls, and the high rate of rape in Sweden, which is almost all by Muslim immigrants. So I live in a different world than Gwyneth Paltrow. My world is much more dangerous. And giving Obama more power will not make it any less so.

At the end of WWII, Tolkien was asked about the victors. He said that they had used the ring. I’m not sure if he meant the bombs at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, or had something else in mind. I worry that a leader who can persuade the many poor and uneducated voters in a society that he “cares about them” can end up putting on the ring and never taking it off.

ring-of-power

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On threats.

Usually when people make threats, they are not bluffing.  I tried to collect a few “prediction/threats” by various enemies of the west, but oddly enough, I could not find many.  I have four here, and if any readers can think of any others, please use the comment feature of wordpress (below the post):

A Russian communist named Manuilsky: “The capitalist countries, stupid and decadent, will rejoice to co-operate in their own destruction. They will leap at another chance to be friends. As soon as their guard is down we shall smash them with a clenched fist.”

He (Hitler) prophesized that if they (The Jews) brought about another world war, they would experience their annihilation. “The world war is here. The annihilation of the Jews must be the necessary consequence. This question is to be viewed without sentimentality. We’re not to have sympathy with the Jews, but only sympathy with our German people. If the German people has again now sacrificed around 160,000 dead in the eastern campaign, the instigators of this bloody conflict will have to pay for it with their own lives.’
And from a speech of his: “If the international finance-Jewry inside and outside Europe should succeed in plunging the nations into a world war yet again, then the outcome will not be the victory of Jewry, but rather the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe!”

Che Guevara: “The imperialist enemy must feel like a hunted animal wherever he moves.” and “The U.S. is the great enemy of mankind! Against those hyenas there is no option but extermination. We must keep our hatred against them [the U.S.] alive and fan it to paroxysms!…If the nuclear missiles had remained in Cuba we would have fired them against the heart of the U.S. including New York City.”

When Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi walked away from a U.S. detention camp in 2009, the future leader of ISIS issued some chilling final words to reservists from Long Island.
“He said, ‘I’ll see you guys in New York,’” recalls Army Col. Kenneth King, then the commanding officer of Camp Bucca.

ISIS spokesman Abu Mosa:
“I say to America the Islamic Caliphate has been established and we will not stop…Don’t be cowards and attack us with drones. Instead send your soldiers, the ones we humiliated in Iraq. We will humiliate them everywhere, God willing, and we will raise the flag of Allah in the White House.”

While you should believe threats, you should not believe reassurances from your enemies.  For instance on 9/11 one hijacker on the flight from Boston said to the passengers: “Nobody move. Everything will be OK. If you try to make any moves, you’ll endanger yourself and the aeroplane. Just stay quiet.” And again at 8.34: “Nobody move please. We are going back to the airport. Don’t try to make any stupid moves.”

Sources:

http://www.inquisitr.com/1425478/isis-spokesman-who-promised-to-raise-the-flag-of-allah-over-the-white-house-killed-in-syria/#mCIUiHMCQAK4j3eS.99

The Mist Procession by Lord Vansittart (1958) (on Manuilsky)
Humberto Fontova quotes Che Guevara in http://townhall.com/columnists/humbertofontova/2013/06/21/happy-birthday-che-guevara-n1624504/page/full

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Hair raising quotes from (raving lunatics?) – no: influential people.

Have you ever suspected that the speaker for a cause is manipulating you in the service of an agenda that he won’t divulge?

If you haven’t – take a look at “I Can’t Believe You Said That!” – a compendium of unguarded quotes by Fred Gielow.

Gielow is a conservative, so he looks at the left, but the principle holds with all sort of causes.

Here are some quotes I selected to illustrate the point:

Some colleges, such as Bowdoin, seem to encourage sexual behavior by their students.
Why? I hope the reason is not this:
Wilhelm Reich – Austrian American psychiatrist: “You aren’t going to debate people away from the existence of God. But what we found was that if you get people involved in deviant sexual behavior, the whole idea of God just disappears automatically.”

Hillary and ObamaWe remember when presidential wife and later Senator and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that ‘it takes a village’ to raise a child. We took that as meaning that the friendly local cop, the teachers, and so forth, all helped bring up a child. Then we read:
Wlliam Seawell – professor of education, University of Virginia: “Each Child belongs to the state.”
and
Hillary Clinton: “There is no such thing as other people’s children.”

There was a recent “people’s Climate March” against Global warming in NYC. It drew hundreds of thousands of people who want to save the planet. Or do they?
Consider Christine Stewart – Canadian Environment Minister: “No matter if the science is all phony, there are still collateral environmental benefits…Climate change [provides] the greatest chance to bring about justice and equality in the world.”
Yes, but then why not argue for justice directly? Why treat us as lemmings?
Then there is Stephen Schneider, consultant to Federal agencies: “We have to offer up scary scenarios [about Global Warming]…and make little mention of any doubts one might have…Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.”
(My advice: be honest).

There was a movement to require radio stations in the US to give equal time to all viewpoints. To any thinking person, this is a bad idea, since you would need “impartial” bureaucrats to decide what is “fair” and what is “balanced”. But then you read:
Bill Ruder – Secretary of Commerce under JFK: “We had a massive strategy to use the ‘Fairness Doctrine’ to challenge and harass the right-wing broadcasters and hoped the challenge would be so costly to them that they would be inhibited and decide it was too expensive to continue.”
Not exactly fair, is it?

I’ve quoted homosexuals and feminists in a prior post that oppose the family unit. Here is a quote from a very angry homosexual:
Michael Swift – author of The Gay Manifesto: “We shall seduce [your sons] in your schools, in your dormitories, in your gymnasiums, in your locker rooms…in your seminaries…in your movie theater bathrooms…in your truck stops..wherever men are with men together. Your sons…will do our bidding….They will come to crave and adore us.”

Some of us suspect that liberal ideas may hide a more radical end game. We are right:
Norman Thomas – Socialist Party presidential candidate in the 40’s: “The American People will never knowingly adopt socialism. But under the name of liberalism, they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program, until one day America will be a socialist nation without knowing how it happened.”

I sometimes hear what sounds to me like a ‘conspiracy theory’ by some on the right that there is a plot to create “world government”.
So it was a surprise to read Arnold Toynbee – well known British historian: “We are at present working…to wrest this …force called sovereignty out of the clutches of the local states of the world. And all the time, we are denying with our lips what we are doing with our hands.”
I would argue that Al Queda is also working to that goal (universal Caliphate). Which raises the question of who would be in charge of that world government? Who would it represent? Us?

Now we’ve heard that Islam is a “religion of Peace” from both President Bush, and President Obama. As a reader of this blog points out, Islam can be interpreted on various levels, and some interpretations are peaceful. However, consider:
Louis Farrakhan – supreme minister of the ‘Nation of Islam’: “God will destroy America by the hands of Muslims…God will not give Japan or Europe the honor of bringing down the United States; this is an honor God will bestow upon Muslims.”
But not to worry, George Soros, a financial speculator and funder of left-wing causes, says this: “The main obstacle to a stable and just world order is the United States.”
Whew…

What about government child care? That’s got to be inspired by compassion, no? Well, no:
Ellen Willis – progressive, journalism professor and writer for Rolling Stone and the Nation:  “The object of every feminist reform…[including] child care programs, is to undermine traditional family values.”

Then from our current president, Barack Obama:
“When we ground out our cigarettes in the hallway carpet or set our stereos so loud that the walls began to shake, we were resisting bourgeois society’s stifling conventions.”
So next time a car comes through at midnight in your street blaring loud music and waking you up, now you can excuse it.

We know that propagandists lie to us, for instance, 74 years ago we were told by German propagandists that our President, Franklin Roosevelt, was really a Jew named Rosenfeld. We also know why the Nazis would want us to believe that.   But the examples above include people who want us to believe we should support cause “a”, because they know they may not succeed to persuade us to support cause “b”, which is the cause they really support.  These people are not always in the propaganda department of a dictatorship, they can be people you meet in universities or elsewhere.   Obviously most people who try to persuade you to follow a cause believe in that cause, but sometimes you are being manipulated.

Sources:
I Can’t Believe You Said That! — Fred Gielow – 2009

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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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