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Did Socrates say "Know Thyself", or was he misunderstood, as all are. Show Thyself is all we can do. The knowing is unknowable.  

I am filled with joy.  It can't be helped.  

Became a Farmer, Builder, Musician, Tank Commander, Librarian, Lawyer and Minister. I have failed at many things. And now retired.  Filled, just filled, with Joy. 

Monday, August 14, 2006

A moment of reflection:

EXPERIMENTAL REFLECTIONS: August 14, 2006

1. DIGITAL LIBRARIES. Over publishers’ protests, Google is digitalizing large library collections: Harvard, Stanford, Oxford, the NY Public Library....

2. IMPERIAL JAPANESE MILITARY. Mindful of atrocities committed in the 1930's, and while sending armed troops to Iraq, Japan continues to surprise the world, almost as if it was not a part of the rest of the world....still no actual funded reparations or “apology” for Nanking, for stockpiles of WMD poison and gas weapons abandoned in China, for “comfort women”, for Bataan. For exterminating most of the whales, strip mining the Pacific. No apology? Is it because they suffered the worst civilian bombing, and the dropping of not one but two atomic weapons, and were lined up to receive 8 more, basically treated like insects by MacArthur? Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution still prohibits its use of armed forces except for defense? Should not ALL Constitutional countries insert such a Clause? Is there a sovereign “right” to invade others?

3. WHOSE RUNNING THE WEB? In the late 1990s, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) run by the US Department of Commerce was supposed to begin turning control of the servers underlying the Internet over to...well, no one ever figured out who.

4. ARAFAT’S SUCCESSOR. In 2005, Mahmoud Abbas took over after Arafat. We still do not know how Arafat became a billionaire several times over, where his fortune ended up, how Abbas got his wealth and built a 4-story mansion on land intended as a public park. Is corruption not clearly evident? In history, has any gang other than the “leaders” of the Palestinians ever taken larger sums of money – 100's of billions from the Saudis alone – with less to “show” for it?

5. THE MISRAHI JEWS. Millions of Jews have been forced to leave all of the “Arab” lands. Many more Israelis are “refugees” than Arabs, even if you count the Arabs who are fleeing Arab countries (countries other than Israel) for any reason. If you count the Christian Arabs – the maronites, the chaldeans – and if you count the Shiites and Sunnis who have been fleeing from each other – all of these exceed the number of Palestinians who “fled” – or voluntarily left, or some combination – from Israel during a time of war.

6. ARABS. The Arabs have always been important and have long been numerous. They are like Germans – gifted, brave, and quick to resort to tribal yearnings for a glorious past that never was. More fearful than Jews of the horrors of “humiliation”. Does the world really owe any people a dignity which they seem to gain only in conquest? Can’t we just be humble together? Do we have to worry about your failures, or worse, your conquests?

7. NO MENTION OF “JERUSALEM” IN THE KORAN. The Koran is now digitized and entirely searchable. No “truth” about it is more evident than that it is not what it is claimed to be by its adherents. Most of it contains very unclear Suras, proclamations which were at one time important, and even reformist; but which are now not ‘relevent’. In spite of the name of the “religion”, there are no suras about how to make Peace happen. None. Nor does it justify race-hatred against any People. Nor does it claim Palestine; not even Jerusalem, for Arabs. Nor does it tell women and men to cover themselves completely so that everyone looks like a sack. The name – Koran -- is used for ulterior motives by ignorant and cruel men.

8. THE GOSPELS. Such Good News here: bad advice--"love everyone"-- with a good example, but, worse for wear, and entirely ignored as to its finer points. Jesus, the Zionist, hell-bent to liberate Israel from the peace of the Romans, driven to try even the most extreme weapon of all: Love. They laughed this movement off the stage – there is no record of Jesus in contemporary archeological remains. However, human “story” often has an odd “twist”, and there is no better example in the history of religion: Jesus clearly, clearly, did not claim to be divine – “why callest me Good Master? None is good, save one, that is, God”. [Luke 18.19]. Jesus admonished all, but especially the rulers, to live a life of humility and indigency: “Sell all that thou hast, and distribute unto the poor...and follow me” [Jesus was living without any possessions]. [Luke 18.22.] Just before crucifiction, three instructions. You can count the “Christians” doing even one of these things today, on one hand.

9. THE KURDS / KURDISTAN. Why is it so inconceivable that the Kurds should have their own country? What threat would a Kurdistan be to Turkey, as a buffer state between Iran.

10. KARELIA? DARFUR? HURONIA? Is it too late to remediate the abuse of all minority people by building among them separate “nations”?

11. FIGHTING TERRORISTS. Keeping in mind that over 180 “lords” and noblemen lost their lives to anarchist or communist “bombers” and shooters in the year just before WWI, when Archduke Ferdinand and his dear wife were assassinated by a small revolver. I do not see much difference in the technology between the roadside or hidden bombs and small arms used today in Iraq. It also appears more sensible to fight dispersed terror networks with roving counter-networks armed with neighborhood lists of names and a “full-employment” program for young men, rather than aerial bombardment and meaningless but endless traffic inspection stops. We should painstakingly work with defectors.

12. SHIFTING BLAME. Man is a political animal. What does this mean? The largest single practical outcome of this reality is that BLAME must be assigned; it must be re-directed; blame others for what You have done. Then seize the credit for what They were doing. Ah, how many Great Men were in fact good at nothing so much as sitting on the laurels gathered by others.

13. HOMELAND SECURITY. A Trillion dollars, give or take a few billion, has been “spent” on security in the United States alone. The highest echelon of the Party talks constantly about it. Yet one of my Republican friends was recently, in response to my inquiry, unable to name one thing that has been done since 9/11 that makes me feel more secure. Richard Clarke was in charge of security under George W Bush (former Bush) and Clinton and wrote a book: “Against All Enemies: Inside America’s War on Terror”. He is very critical of George Bush and the policies now in place. For example, firearms policy is dictated by the NRA, the new Energy Act gives priority to building fossil and nuclear facilities, immigration is designed to provide low-wage domestic workers, and health care of the elderly requires so many choices you have to be a full-time lawyer to be old and sick.

14. LEGACY OF KATRINA. Al Gore, still ahead of his time, now leading a fine charge against the destruction of our blue boat home. But he is still not approaching the problem “politically”. I am not sure why a small handful of boys (Bush, Rowe, Cheney) with the social maturity of 11 year olds are such a problem to adult contenders.