Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Precognition and Reality Part 1

                                                     Precognition and Reality  Part One
                                                                  by Robert Pollack

                Approximately forty years ago I had a pre-cognitive experience.   For that reason and several others, I became interested in the field of Para-Psychology.  After a while, I began to wonder how such a thing could be.  As a life-long puzzle solver I approached the problem as another puzzle and eventually came to a solution.  The purpose of this paper is to convey that solution to others.     

                    Let us say that you are leading a discussion in a room full of people and you pose the following question to them.  "A person has a pre-cognitive vision of a bridge collapsing  Six months later the bridge collapses exactly as he envisioned it.  When did the bridge "really" collapse".  Then you ask for a show of hands and ask, " how many believe it collapsed when he had the vision?" Maybe a few hands will go up.  Then you ask, " how many believe it collapsed when the people standing on the bridge felt it give out from under them?"  Probably the rest of the people will raise their hands.  However, there is a third possibility.  "How many believe it didn't collapse at either one of those times?"  This article will endeavor to explain why it is this third possibility that is the correct one.
                    One of the major axioms of physics is that all events are unique.  Therefore, the bridge can only collapse once.  So this is a situation where the same event is being observed at two different times and from two different perspectives.  This is the same scenario as Einstein's theory of special relativity.  As you may recall, he has one observer on the ground and another observer is on a train.  A ball falls from the sky and the observer on the train sees it somewhat later than the observer on the ground because he is moving away from the event.  Now, to me the important point is that the event, the ball dropping, takes place between the two inertial frames and eventually attaches itself to the inertial frame of the observer on the ground (discounting the possibility that the ball could fall into an open window on the train).  So now we have the collapse of the bridge occurring between two different inertial frames before attaching itself to one of them.  So the question is what are these two inertial frames?
               The only logical possibility is that there are two time lines.  One going from what we would call the future to the past.  And the one that we live on that goes from the past to the future.  These lines are somewhat parallel (explanation forthcoming) in the Lobachevskian sense; not in the Euclidean sense
                At this point I must digress.  To fully understand what I have to say, we must conjure up an image of the universe.  The best metaphor I can come up with is that of a giant balloon.  Imagine that all the planets, stars, solar systems, galaxies and whatever else is out there are all embedded in the surface of a giant balloon.  This balloon keeps expanding because God keeps blowing air into it.  If memory serves, I once read that the Hindus believe that the universe expands for about twenty-five billion years before it collapses back on itself.  When the universe stops expanding, I'm reasonably certain that  the effect will be like taking your finger off the valve stem of a balloon.  It will  probably                                     

take the universe five hundred million years or less to collapse back on itself after it stops expanding.
            Now when you draw two non-Euclidean parallel lines on a flat sheet of paper it looks like the two end infinities are very far apart.  Keeping in mind that the universe is spherical, the two infinities are actually very close to one another.  When the universe collapses back on itself before the next "big bang" the two lines converge.  At the moment of the big bang, they diverge.  After that they become "parallel"  So now imagine the balloon where the time line we live on is coming around the front of the balloon and the other time line is coming around the other side of the balloon.  All things being equal, eventually these lines would meet and pass each other. However, the balloon (universe) is constantly expanding so there is always a gap between the two lines.  They never quite catch up to each other.
      So now, let us return to the collapsing bridge.  The collapse is first witnessed by someone who's consciousness was able to attach itself to the other timeline.  Then it was witnessed by people attached to our timeline.  But the event itself, took place between the two timelines and eventually attached itself to our timeline.  An important point is that there is a gap between the timelines.  So at the time of the pre-cognitive vision what is going to cause the bridge to collapse has not yet taken place on either time line.  Consequently, effects are fixed and determinate, but causes are indeterminate and probabilistic.  We can know what happened with certainty, but we can never know why it happened with any degree of certainty. 
      For example;  there are many possible causes that would lead to the collapse of the bridge.  Let us say that to the on site witnesses it was an overweight truck that caused the bridge to collapse.  In fact, the bridge had already collapsed before the truck ran over it.  So  rather than saying that the truck caused the bridge to collapse, it would be far more correct to say that the overweight truck was what enabled us to perceive the fact that the bridge had collapsed.
       This also enables us to understand why "psychically" derived information is of so little utility.  An astute practitioner may very well be able to "see" you in an auto accident.  That being the case, it is pointless to avoid automobiles because the accident has already happened and will eventually manifest itself.  However, what is going to cause the accident hasn't happened yet.   Since the chain of events leading to the accident is still undetermined the best one can hope for is amelioration as opposed to avoidance.

      In conclusion, we live in a universe where at least in some cases the effect precedes the cause and it appears that since effects are fixed, there may be multiple chains of causality which will lead to the same end result.

Precognition and Reality Part 2

                 Precognition and Reality Part 2

                           by Robert Pollack

     I'm not sure if it is in the original volume, "The Teachings of Don Juan" or in a later book                       
 of the same series but at some point Don Juan tells Carlos Castaneda that we never get to the present, "we are always one jump behind".  This is a short-hand way of saying that our sensory organs are constantly taking in input from our environment, sending this information to the brain through our nervous system,  then the brain gives us a picture of our environment, and the amount of time it takes to do this is finite.  I gave this a great deal of thought and wondered what if the reason that we can never get to the present is that the present doesn't exist?
      The first metaphor I came up with is that of a moving picture.  Everyone knows on an intellectual level that there are gaps between the frames that are imperceptible to the viewer.  What if the universe is actually a series of still pictures with minute gaps between them that are synchronized with our brains in such a way we can't perceive them?  Then I came up with a somewhat better metaphor.  Let's say that you had a searchlight and every night you would turn it on and people would stop by and look at your light.  Then one day you call Cal Tech or MIT or some other such place and you ask them to send over their best engineer.  Then you have him or her make a switch that will turn your light on and off a hundred times a second.  (This is a number I pulled "out of my hat".  Later on I will explain how to determine the true "flicker rate" of the universe.)  So that night people gather around to look at your searchlight.  And what do they see?  A continuous beam of light.  The only people who know that they are really looking at a pulsating beam of light are you and the engineer.
     Since the two beams of light look identical to any observer, the question is what difference does it make?  Our entire technological civilization is based on our ability to compute certain quantities.  Length, area, volume, velocity and acceleration.  (I may be incorrect but no matter how abstruse the mathematics it still comes down to finding one of these quantities).  We think of all of these quantities as continuous variables.  If in fact, I am correct and we live in a pulsating universe that is constantly re-creating itself, then all these variables are discontinuous, phenomenological constructs  that do not exist in reality.
      Let me give a couple examples.
       A) You call a carpenter and ask him to make a shelf for you.  He takes out his measuring device (laser pointer, yardstick, etc.) and measures three feet.  He finds a board and measures off three feet.  He puts up the shelf and it fits perfectly.  There is only one problem.  At the point in time where the shelf would be exactly three feet long, the universe doesn't exist.  So rather than being an exact measure, we have to think of the quantity of three feet as a limit.  So the board is infinitely close to three feet in length,
 but not exactly three feet long.
       B) I am driving down the highway in Virginia and my speedometer says I am going eighty miles an hour and the officer who pulls me over tells me his radar gun clocked me at eighty miles an hour.  I patiently explain to him that I could not have been going eighty miles an hour because at the point where I would have been going exactly eighty miles an


hour, the universe doesn't exist.  In fact I was going at a speed infinitely close to eighty miles but not exactly eighty miles per hour.  (Of course if I had really said that I'd probably still  be locked up in Virginia, rather than writing this from my home in Vermont)
       So now the question is, "what difference does it make?"  For all practical purposes, none whatsoever.  But there are two places that I know of where it does make a difference.
      I have read that physicists know that electrons change orbits but have never been able to detect an electron traveling between orbits.   This is because they don't travel between orbits.  Let's say there is an atom with 20 electrons in three orbits of eight, eight and four electrons.  What happens is, is that the atom flickers out of existence.  When it flickers back in, it knows that is has twenty electrons but doesn't care which orbit any particular electron happens to occupy.  So  the amount of time it takes an electron to change orbits is equal to the amount of time it takes the atom to  flicker out of, and then back into existence.
      The second place where it matters is the "speed" of light.  The measured speed of light is 186,000 miles per second squared.  If I am correct this is a phenomenological construct, just like any other velocity, and should be thought of as a limit, rather than an absolute value.  This means that in reality, the "speed of light" does not exist.  It is just another limit.  And as we pass through the limit of eighty miles per hour to get to the limit of eighty-five miles per hour, we can pass through this limit to some higher velocity.  Thus star travel  becomes a technological problem rather than a violation of the laws of physics.
       Astronomers are fond of telling us that when we look at the night sky we are seeing light from stars that existed billions of years ago and which may no longer exist.  If I am correct, every star we see in the sky exists right now and should a star cease to exist, it would immediately disappear.
       Before concluding I would like to say something about space travel.  If you were to ask someone the distance from New York to Chicago they would probably say about 950 miles.  Whether you walk, ride a bicycle, drive or fly the distance would be about the same.  However, there is a way to go from New York to Chicago and only travel two hundred miles.  You can get in a rocket, fly straight up one hundred miles. Stop. Wait for the Earth to rotate underneath you, and when Chicago is right below, fly straight down one hundred miles.  Now it is quite possible that it might take months or even years before Chicago is right underneath you.  In the meantime more distant places like Moscow or South Africa might only take days to get to.  I have the strong feeling that if we ever attain the technology for star travel what we will find is that stars that appear to be relatively close might be very difficult to get to while stars and even galaxies that seem impossibly far away, may prove fairly easy to reach.
       My final thoughts are these. If I am correct, it would be one of the great ironies of our age that all the "objective" concepts  we use to manipulate and modify our environment are phenomenological constructs which exist only in our brains while those "subjective" constructs which we dismiss as existing only in our brains, such as truth,

justice, and beauty prove to exist in reality,  independently of our perceptions of them.

Friday, March 4, 2011

9/11 and the Burning of the Reichstag

          As someone who is always interested in historical parallels, I have begun to wonder if the attacks known as 9/11 are going to be known by future historians as the “American Burning of the Reichstag”.  It is becoming clearer that American policy makers have adopted the same economic strategies used by the Nazis during the 1930’s.  The destruction of labor unions, the undermining of any source of authority other than that of the state, the elimination of the distinction between the state and large scale enterprises, and the focus on the use of propaganda to produce a compliant populace are all reminiscent of Germany under Nazi rule.  It should be kept in mind that it was the British who financed the Nazi rise to power and the Americans who financed German rearmament. 
     Historically, in the West, there has always been a tightly knit “Capitalist Class” that continued to do business with one another, even when their respective countries were at war.  An excellent example of this is that during WWI, Nobel, a British Company, held patents on artillery shell fuses.  After the war, Krupp, who had been making shells for Germany had to make payments to Nobel based on the number of shells they  manufactured.  (The amount Krupp offered was ridiculously small, but when Nobel’s attorneys pointed out that if they went to court, it might “appear” that they were profiting from the deaths of British soldiers; they decided on an out of court settlement.)  This also explains why Allan Dulles was sent to Switzerland to assist his German colleagues  in getting  their money out of Germany before the collapse of their war effort. It also explains why after the war there was a large influx of Nazi War Criminals into the United States where they were employed in both the defense and aerospace industries.
     Beginning with the assassination of John Kennedy in 1963, there was  a wave of political assassinations in this country.  From that time until recently, assassination as policy seems to have been confined to reporters looking too closely at things not generally known to the public such as government agencies involved in drug smuggling and arms trafficking.  It now appears that the assassination of lesser known but “inconvenient” political figures is making a comeback.  Both Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone and Missouri Governor Mel Carnahan seem to have died in almost identical circumstances.  They were both passengers in small aircraft that crashed for no discernable reason.  In both cases no explanation was forthcoming as to why the planes crashed.  (My surmise is that the reason Ross Perot withdrew from the presidential race is that he “knew how to take a hint”.)
     One political assassination I would like to discuss in detail is that of Bruce Edward Ivins, the man who was chosen to take the blame for the Anthrax distribution that accompanied the attack of 9/11.  I have absolutely no firsthand knowledge of his death, but the logic of the situation is so compelling; there can be no doubt that he was murdered.
     Sometime in the months following 9/11, I was listening to NPR and heard an interview with an FBI agent.  He said that there were so many labs handling anthrax that it might take years to determine the source of the anthrax used in 9/11.  I knew immediately that he was lying or had been lied to.  As far back as the 1970’s it was public knowledge that all germ warfare materials contained genetic markers so they could be traced back to the lab that they came from.  When Ivins was chosen to be the culprit, the FBI announced not only could the material be traced back to the lab, but to the individual researcher within the lab.  So why did it take 10 years to figure out that the anthrax came from his stockpile?
       Now let us look at what the government expects us to believe:
1)      Researchers who work in germ warfare labs, work in their street clothes.
2)      They carry their briefcases and/or lunches into their work areas.
3)      They do not have to weigh or otherwise record the amount of material they are working with.
4)      There are no security cameras in the labs.
5)      Researchers do not have to undergo any decontamination procedures before leaving work.
6)      There are no security guards checking on what people carry in and out of these facilities.

     If just any one of these things is true, that is far more frightening than the notion that Ivins might have been guilty.  In fact there is no doubt in my mind that the security and decontamination procedures are sufficient to prevent any individual from smuggling toxic materials out of any germ warfare lab.  There can be no doubt that whoever did so had access to Ivins’ work station and was sufficiently high up in the chain of command so that he could bypass all security measures in place.

                                                  Economic Policy

     One of the prime movers behind the American Revolution was Benjamin Franklyn.  In the period just before the revolution he was the colonies representative in England.  He saw first hand factories where people were being worked to death so the factory owners could gamble away thousands of pounds and throw lavish parties.  Franklyn wrote back to the colonies encouraging revolution to prevent the British class system from recreating these conditions in the colonies.  It now appears that the American upper classes are working towards just that end.
     Wisconsin was once known as a “liberal” state.  Right now it is being used as a test case to see how much resistance the American people will put up as all remaining labor unions are destroyed.  The propaganda apparatus is now so powerful, the general public has no idea of what is really at stake here.  If they are successful in undermining and destroying the unions in Wisconsin, unions in other states will all fall like dominoes.  Within ten to twenty years , not only will all existing unions be destroyed, but legislation will be introduced to make sure that they will never return.
     After the destruction of the unions, the next item on the agenda will be minimum wage laws.  Americans will be told that in order to compete in the global marketplace, they will have to accept lower wages.  In short order they will find themselves working fifty to sixty hours a week for just barely enough food to live on and a shack to sleep in.

                                        Methods of Social Control

1)      Education
                 The post World War II era produced the most broadly educated public the United States has ever known.  This helped to produce the civil rights movement, anti-Vietnam War demonstrations, support for unions and the unionization of the labor force, mass higher education, student demonstrations and other social changes all of which were anathema to the upper classes.  Consequently, starting in the 1960’s , under the pretense of “democratization” and later on to “help the handicapped”, education was diluted and standards were lowered. Education was scrapped in favor of vocational training and schools were turned into social service institutions.  As a result we now have large numbers of under educated people who sense that things have gone amiss, but don’t have the knowledge or perspective that would allow them to make sense of what is going on in the world around them.
2)      The deficit
             I consider myself a fairly sophisticated observer of America and yet for many years I considered the fiscal irresponsibility displayed by government to be the product of mismanagement and a catering to the demands of “instant gratification”.  Given recent events, it is now coming into focus that the deficits are an instrument of policy and another tool of social control.  When people protest about the relentless pressure to eliminate all spending that benefits anyone but the extremely rich, they are told “we can’t afford it”. We can afford Orwellian wars without end in Afghanistan and Iraq; but we can’t afford libraries.  We can afford massive tax cuts for the wealthy; we cannot afford health care for the poor and middle-class.  We can afford aircraft carriers, tanks, military aircraft and missiles; we cannot afford to provide our children with an education. For now and into the foreseeable future, the only services we will be able to afford for the general public are prisons and large numbers of security forces whose job it will be to protect the upper classes.
3)   Propaganda
             In the early part of the nineteenth century newspapers were financed by sales only. When businesses first wanted to purchase advertising space in them, many newspapers refused on principle.  Editors and publishers understood that if they became beholden to advertisers, it wouldn’t be long before the advertisers came to control the editorial content of the paper.  Beginning in the 1960’s, an effort was made to systematically undermine and destroy the newspaper industry in the United States.  The first step was in those cities that had competing papers, all advertising revenue was shifted to one paper, effectively driving the other paper out of business.  The surviving paper understood the tenuousness of its existence.  Later on, advertising revenues were shifted to television so local papers could no longer afford to maintain their own staffs and became almost totally dependent on the wire services.  Finally, the newspapers were merged into chains and became nothing more than conduits for advertising flyers and supermarket coupons.
            Television as a medium is a propagandist’s dream.  When you read a book or newspaper your brain goes into a beta wave state.  This state is associated with critical thinking and intellectual activity.  This is why people retain far more of what they read than what they see on television.  For when you watch television, the brain goes into an alpha wave state which is  meditative and almost trance-like in nature.  (Essentially, watching news or information on television is like having “colitis of the brain”; very little nourishment sticks to the neurons.)  This explains the futility of trying to use television as a forum for matters of serious import and why there has been a natural progression of transforming “news” to entertainment.  In fact, there is no subject of sufficient importance that it can’t be turned into entertainment.  (I have no doubt that some future historian will refer to America as the “society that entertained itself to death”.)
              Unfortunately, these methods of social control have proven to be so powerful, it is hard to see how the general public will be able to resist them  Left to their own devices, it is clear that the upper classes seem to be intent on creating  an America that will make the “Road Warrior” look like a trip to Disneyland.  Oddly enough, the one thing that may save us is Islamic Terrorism.  Once Europe has been subsumed by Islam, the next battleground will be here in the United States.  One thing that seems to be historically true is that all wars have unforeseen consequences.  So what looks today like a drive towards an Orwellian future, may in fact hold true for only the next fifty years or so.   

Sunday, February 20, 2011

The Crisis of Faith

                                                    The Crisis of Faith

     In the movie, The Third Man, Holly Martins walks into the Casanova Club where he runs into Crabbin, the man who has invited him to give a lecture at his weekly meeting of local intellectuals. Crabbin reminds him that the talk is scheduled for the next evening. Holly asks him what the topic is. Crabbin replies, “The crisis of faith”. Martins says, “what’s that?” Crabbin answers, “You  should know, you’re the writer.”  The great irony here is that the crisis of faith is what the movie is all about.  In this essay, I wish to examine the crisis of faith, how it undermined and ultimately destroyed what we think of as western civilization, and how to this day it continues to undermine and weaken western societies.
     From the beginnings of western civilization after the fall of the Roman Empire, to the beginning of the eighteenth century, both Europe and the Americas were committed to Christianity as the motive force behind both the maintenance of society and the expansion of Western European Civilization to other parts of the world.  The first rifts occurred between conflicting Christian beliefs.  Early on, an orthodoxy was established and those who deviated from accepted norms, usually had to choose between conformity and extermination.  The great rift in this orthodoxy was the Protestant Reformation.  This was the first time that the established church lacked sufficient force to impose it’s will on those who deviated from its strictures.  This opened the door for a period we now refer to as the “Enlightenment”.
     In the early to mid-eighteenth century, a number of philosophers building on the works of such humanist scholars as Erasmus, began to see the conflicts among the various Christian beliefs as an opening through which they could drive a wedge which would free people’s minds from Christian dogma of all kinds.
     In France this movement was led by such figures as Diderot, Voltaire and Rousseau. In England there was John Locke, David Hume and Bishop Berkeley.  These thinkers questioned the very foundations of epistomology and human existence.  They literally wanted to discard all previous notions of reality and return to first principles.  They tended to view both Christianity and belief in God as straightjackets that imprisoned the minds of mankind.  They wanted men to be free to decide for themselves what constituted moral behavior and not be subject to the authoritarianism of either the church or the state.  (It should be noted that the United States was founded on the ideals of the Enlightenment, and that Enlightenment thinking probably reached its apotheosis in the writings of the American philosopher, Thoreau.)
     The conservative reaction to Enlightenment thinking took place in Germany, where it was led by Kant.  Kant believed that civilization and humanity depended on belief in God.  In this he was in agreement with both the torah and Freud.  All three agree that the locus of morality must be outside the consciousness of the individual, or disaster will ensue.  In the torah God says to the human race that they must obey His law, because if each man follows his own heart and decides for himself what is right and wrong, then the human race will be reduced to the level of the beasts in the field.
     In “The Brothers Karamazov”, Dostoyevsky continued the argument by putting forth the notion that we live in a world that is rife with injustice.  (For those of you who have read the book, the “horror stories” he describes are not works of fiction. They came right out of the Russian newspapers of the day.)  The only way people can bear this is through the belief that the universe is ultimately a just place.  If people lose this belief, they will lose their humanity and ultimately civilization as we know it will collapse.
     The event that marks the end of what is traditionally called; “Western Civilization” was World War I.  Due to stringent censorship, the magnitude of the slaughter was kept secret until after the war ended.  To this day it is almost impossible to comprehend a war in which over a million men were killed in just one battle. (To get an idea of what it must have been like, watch the Lewis Milestone movie of, “All Quiet on the Western Front”.  It contains some of the best battle scenes ever put on film.)  When the staggering number of casualties was finally revealed, it caused people to lose faith not only in God and religion, but also their governments and other social institutions.  Up to this point, the “crisis of faith” had been confined largely to the intelligentsia. Now it became widespread and infected the entire populace of western societies.
     This gave rise to the philosophical creed known as Existentialism.  This is the belief that the universe somehow created itself and that life and consciousness are accidents of chance.  Hence the universe is neither moral nor immoral.  It just is and as such is indifferent to the lives and struggles of the creatures that dwell in it.  Such concepts as truth, beauty, good and evil are merely phenomenological constructs that exist only in our brains and have no objective reality.  Consequently, morality is a social construct used by the elites to maintain control of the masses.  It is clear that this philosophy has permeated western societies with disastrous results.  Let us look at an area where the crisis of faith has had its greatest effects.


     My wife is currently taking graduate education courses towards becoming a special education teacher.  One day she asked me to read one of the journal articles assigned as part of her coursework.  In one article I came across the following:
     “Furthermore, because the purpose of education is to provide students with the skills that they would need to acquire a job and become independent, productive adults (Margonis,1992)…….”
     George Orwell could not have put it better.  What you have just read is not the definition of education, but the definition of vocational training, which is the antithesis of education.  The purpose of education is to broaden your outlook on life, and to make you a better more moral person; not to help you get a job.  It’s probably just as well that the vocational training model has been adopted throughout our school systems, because our society has become so fragmented that it’s doubtful that we could establish an educational system based on traditional definitions.
     When I was in graduate school, the definition of education that was offered was this: Education is the means by which a society transmits its knowledge, values and culture to its young.
     Let us look at this definition starting with knowledge.  At one time the epistemological thrust of this society was British Empiricism and the scientific method.  There was general agreement about how fact was differentiated from hypothesis and assertion.  As existential thought permeated our society this began to change.  If there is no such thing as “objective truth”, than our criterion for truth can be whatever we want it to be.  As a result, beginning with the feminists, and then being adopted by the gay rights people and now the left and the right, the criterion of truth became, “Does it serve our political agenda?”  The reason feminism has been so successful is because they were using this standard of truth, while everyone else was still using empirical standards.  So when a feminist said that “every six minutes another woman is being raped” the audience did not realize that this was a figure being pulled out of thin air; they thought there must be some evidence for this and reacted accordingly.  Now we have reached a point where people on the left want it written into the history books that the US constitution was modeled on the Iroquois Indian Federation and people on the right want the same books to convey that the Earth is only 5,000 years old.  We have also reached the point where schoolchildren taking math exams can get a higher grade for coming up with the wrong answer than the children who get the right answer.  So we cannot pass on the knowledge of this society because there is no common ground of just what constitutes knowledge.  This society has become so epistemologically diverse it is probably a lost cause.
     Next we have “values”.  In the antediluvian period when I went to school we were taught to have respect for the rights of others and it was drilled into us that we were to behave like little ladies and gentlemen.  How quaint.  Imagine the uproar a teacher would create in today’s society if he or she tried such a thing.  Given what I constantly read about and see on TV, I for one am glad that the schools make no attempt to instill the values of today’s society in our young people.
     As for “culture”, if the America of today has such a thing, I have failed to discern it. Aside from rap “music”? and internet pornography, use of mind altering substances, and sexual deviance I can’t think  of many other activities sufficiently widespread throughout this society so as to constitute a “culture” .
     Probably the crisis of faith has had its most deleterious effects on the upper classes and the elites who actually run this society.  The nineteenth century is known as the “robber baron” era when a relatively small group of extremely ruthless men made fortunes at the expense of the American public as a whole.  There is probably some truth to this but let us look at the whole picture. First of all, they created an industrial infrastructure that for almost 100 years made us the richest and most powerful nation on earth.  Secondly, whether it was because of public relations, personal conviction, or a feeling of connectedness with the country as a whole; these people founded universities, hospitals, museums, opera houses and funded large numbers of institutions designed to benefit the general public.  (True Marxists will argue that they were used to control rather than benefit society at large and there is in fact more than some truth to that argument.)
     Today, we have an upper class that has made fortunes by liquidating the industrial infrastructure created by the “robber barons”; creating massive unemployment and generally lower standards of living for everyone but themselves.  They have altered the tax structure to redistribute massive amounts of wealth from the working poor and the middle-class to themselves, and they use none of their wealth for the benefit of society as a whole.  (In fact, they relentlessly pressure government to reduce or eliminate any expenditures that benefit anyone but themselves.)  Unfortunately, this situation cannot be reversed because they have acquired so much wealth that the government is too weak to resist them.  This is amply demonstrated by the fact that when the swindlers and thieves on wall street were found to have stolen and gambled away so much money that the entire American economy was on the verge of destruction the “government” handed them the keys to the federal treasury so they could use it as their own personal “slush fund”. If this country had a functioning government, these people would have been put in prison; not handed hundreds of billions of dollars from the American taxpayer.  (At this point it should be noted that if current economic policy continues, the end result will be something called a “hyper-inflation”. ) It is clear that these people possess limitless greed and have absolutely no sense of what used to be called, “the common good”.
      The only conclusion one can draw from all this, is that it is very difficult to convince average people that it is worth leading a moral life when they live in a country run by psychopaths.


Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Death of Joseph Schmidt

                                              The Death of Joseph Schmidt

     Joseph Schmidt was a Romanian Jew who became a cantor in the Czernowitz Synagogue. His talents were recognized at an early age and he aspired to a career in opera.  In 1929 he went to Berlin where he sang on the radio. Because of his short stature, he only appeared on stage for one or two performances.  In 1933, he made a semi-autobiographical film called, “My Song Goes ‘Round the World”.  The movie was a smash hit.  The premiere was attended by a number of high ranking Nazis, including Joseph Goebbels, the Minister of Propaganda.  The response was overwhelming and when it was discovered that Joseph Schmidt, himself, was in attendance, the audience demanded that he come out on stage and reprise some of the songs from the film.  He did this to enthusiastic applause and when someone pointed out to Goebbels that he was applauding a Jew, Goebbels turned to him and said, “we will decide who is and isn’t a Jew”.
     In 1939 he went back to Czernowitz to visit his mother. When the war broke out he was caught in France. He attempted to get to the United States, and failed.  He did manage to make his way to Switzerland, where he was interned in a labor camp.  While in the camp he complained of chest pains. The Swiss camp guards told him to stop malingering and sent him back to work. He died later that day of a heart attack.

                                  The Myth of Swiss Neutrality

     During the war, the economy of Switzerland was so closely tied to that of Germany, that even though the Swiss did not supply troops to the German army; they were in fact de-facto allies.  During the war, German companies were still doing business with companies under allied control, and Switzerland acted as a clearing house for these transactions.   A good example of this is Royal Dutch Petroleum.  The British part of the company sold oil to the allies, the Dutch part to the Nazis, and they cleared accounts through Switzerland. Swiss banks were also instrumental in helping the Germans launder the gold and other valuables that they looted from the countries they conquered.  Also, at the end of the war, Alan Dulles was sent to Switzerland as the OSS chief of station so he could assist his German industrialist friends in getting their money out of Germany and into Switzerland before the German war machine collapsed completely.  (The post-war “economic miracle” in Germany was largely financed by these funds.)
     Joseph Schmidt was quite fortunate to be interned by the Swiss.  At that time Swiss policy was to relieve Jewish refugees of their assets and then turn them back over to the Nazis.  In fact, it was the Swiss who suggested to the Germans that Jewish passports be stamped with the letter J, so fleeing Jewish refugees could be stopped at the border and handed back over to the Nazis.  As has been well publicized over the years, the Swiss had no problem with accepting Jewish assets as they knew what fate awaited their owners; which meant they would never have to be returned.

                                           The Allies

     The main reason Joseph Schmidt had to escape from France is that the French had no qualms whatsoever about handing over both Jewish refugees and native French Jews to the Nazis.  Even before the war began, any Jewish refugees who went to France were promptly interned in camps, so that when the Germans arrived, they wouldn’t have to go to the trouble of rounding them up.  The record of French collaboration with the Nazis and their enthusiasm for ridding themselves of their Jewish citizens, speaks for itself.  Like the Swiss, they had no intention of letting survivors or collateral relatives lay claim to assets confiscated from their former Jewish citizens.
     On the other hand the British were far more humane than the Swiss and French. They may have relieved fleeing Jews of their assets, but instead of sending them back to mainland Europe to almost certain death, they simply put them in camps.  Being alive and penniless is much better than being dead and penniless.  (Given British policy, I’m reasonably sure that the reason Jewish refugees weren’t put on boats and sent back to Europe is that they couldn’t afford the shipping, and it would have been rather bad press.)
     Unlike the Americans, I think the British deserve some credit for their lack of hypocrisy.  The British stated in no uncertain terms that so far as they were concerned, “every Jew killed by Hitler means one less refugee trying to get into Palestine when the war ends.”
     In the United States, FDR and the State Department worked together to make sure that almost no Jews would be admitted into the United States.  The few who were admitted were very high profile people in the arts or sciences.  It seems that Joseph Schmidt might have qualified, but although he was very well known in Europe, this might not have been the case in the states.
     When the death camps were first being established in Poland, the Polish underground sent representatives to the allies to inform them about what was going on.  In an interview on film, Jan Karski, one of the representatives, describes his meeting with FDR. In the most contemptuous and cynical manner, FDR made it abundantly clear, that it would never be allied policy to interfere with Hitler’s death factories.
     Since there is a rather exhaustive literature dealing with the topic of “trading with the enemy during wartime”, I am not going to go into the subject in any depth. However, let’s look at some of the highlights:
1)      German rearmament was largely financed by the U.S. One of the key companies in financing German armaments was Brown Brothers, Harriman which employed direct ancestors of two U.S. presidents; George Bush Sr. and George Bush Jr.
2)      In the 1930’s, the German establishment tried to bankrupt the Nazis through frequent elections. They succeeded.   The election that put the Nazis in power was financed by the Bank of England with Norman Montague approving the loan.
3)      American companies, most notably Dupont and Esso, supplied the Germans with formulas for the manufacture of artificial rubber, converting coal into gasoline and with direct shipments of tetra-ethyl lead, aviation fuel, and diesel fuel for U-Boats.
4)      During the war, GM owned Opel which made tanks and trucks for the Nazis. IT&T owned factories that made bombers for the German Air Force. (After the war, IT&T actually sued the US for damage done to their German bomber factories during allied air raids. Instead of being executed for treason, they actually collected taxpayer money for this.)  In return for the contracts to supply the German army with communications equipment, IT&T became the largest funding agency for the Gestapo.

     Contrary to the popular mythology of “Swedish Neutrality”, Sweden in fact was another de-facto ally of the Germans.  Although the Sweden never raised an army to fight alongside the German army, the economies of the two countries were very closely tied together and the Swedes did their best to assist the Germans throughout the war.
     The best example of this occurred when Churchill decide to bomb the ball bearing factories in Hamburg Germany.  For some reason, the Swedes seem to have an international monopoly on the manufacture of high quality, stainless steel ball bearings. (Or they did at that time. Whether it is still true, I don’t know.)  The Swedes did not appreciate having their factory bombed, and felt that until they could get it running again, the allies would have an “unfair advantage”. So they informed Churchill and the allies that unless they supplied Germany with ball bearings from factories located in allied territory; they would cut off all shipments of ball bearings to the allies.  As a consequence of this, American workers in Philadelphia manufactured ball bearings which were ostensibly shipped to South America and then rerouted to Germany.
     This brings us to the case of Raoul Wallenberg.  The Wallenbergs were major bankers and industrialists and a very powerful family in Sweden. During the war they engaged in major business dealings with the Nazis.  They also did business with the Soviet Union and thus had influence with all sides.  Raoul was in Hungary during the war, and is justly famous for helping as many Jews as he possibly could escape the Nazi death camps.  After the war he was imprisoned by the Soviet Union and spent the remainder of his life in prison camps.  After the fall of communism, researchers were able to go into Russia and interview former KGB agents about various cold war matters.  One researcher said he was interviewing a high ranking official in the KGB and asked him about Wallenberg. The KGB official said that Wallenberg had been held in Soviet prisons and that on many occasions they offered to exchange him for captured Soviet spies, but the Swedes always refused.  Logically, this only makes sense if he was being held at the request of his family.  It seems quite likely that given Raoul,’s known sympathies for the Jews that his relatives did not want him back in Sweden and finding out about just how much business they had done with the Nazis during the war.


     I think it is safe to say that from a moral perspective the allies were marginally better than the Nazis.  Right now, the United States and Western Europe have in place the same economic system that prevailed in Germany and Italy in the years before WWII; state supported capitalism.  One might call it, “fascism in a velvet glove”.  The western propaganda apparatus is so strong, most people can’t even conceive of how to challenge the system that is currently in place.  In the west, people aren’t taken away in the night, or interned in camps, because it is unnecessary.  If the time ever came when the populace was no longer willing to cooperate in its own economic demise, it would probably be shocking at just how quickly those accouterments of bald power would suddenly reappear.
     I think Arthur Koestler said it best in his description of World War II. “We are fighting against a total lie in the name of a half-truth”.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Precognition and Reality

                                                Precognition  and Reality

     Someone has a vision of a bridge collapsing.  Two weeks later the bridge collapses exactly as seen in the vision.  The question is, “When did the bridge really collapse?”  Was it when the person saw it collapse in his vision or when the people on or around the bridge saw it collapse.  The answer is that it didn’t collapse at either one of these times.
     In Einstein’s theory of special relativity he posits two observers linked to two different inertial frames.  By way of analogy, we can understand what is happening with precognition.
     We live on a timeline that we experience as going from the past to the future.  Let’s   call this inertial frame A.  Parallel to this timeline there is another timeline that from our perceptual framework runs from the future to the past.  Let’s call this frame B.  It is an axiom of physics that all events are unique and can only happen once.  However, the same event can be perceived twice, from different inertial frames.  The event, in this case the collapse of the bridge, occurred between these two inertial frames.  (Like the ball being dropped between the observer on the train and the one on the ground.)  The reason the person with the precognitive experience saw the bridge collapse before the people attached to inertial frame A, is because somehow his consciousness managed to travel to inertial frame B.  When he went to inertial Frame B an d saw the bridge collapse, that became a fixed event that could not be prevented.  What is of interest is that because Frame B travels from our future to our past, what is going to cause the bridge to collapse has not yet been determined.  Consequently, we live in a world where effect precedes cause.  The effect is determined but the cause is indeterminate.  This is why precognition is useless in trying to change the future.  The bridge is going to collapse because it has already done so.  What is unknown is why the bridge is going to collapse.  (There are countless reasons why a bridge might collapse; sabotage, stress fractures, accident, etc. etc.) 
     The reason that this can happen is because the universe and its attributes are inherently discontinuous.  We experience time, motion, acceleration, length, height, width etc. as being continuous functions.  In fact, all of these flow not continuously, but in little spurts like the Quanta in Quantum physics.  To give an example, we never really travel at 60 miles per hour. We have measuring instruments that say we are, but what is really happening is that we are going at a speed that is infinitely close to 60 miles per hour.  The velocity of 60mph should be thought of as a limit that we can approach until we get infinitely close to it, but we never quite get there.  The same can be said of all the other things that we perceive as being continuously distributed.  So the question becomes, “why don’t we experience or perceive the discontinuities?”  There are two approaches to answering this question.  One is supplied by Carlos Castaneda in “The Teachings of Don Juan”.  He points out that we experience the world through our sensory organs and the brain then takes their input and provides us with a coherent picture of the world around us.  The amount of time it takes to do this is finite.  Therefore, we are always seeing the world not as it is, but as it was a moment ago.  If the amount of time it takes is equal to the amount of time it takes the universe to recreate itself, we simply would not perceive the discontinuities.  Another approach is to think of a movie.  We all know that there is a gap between each frame, but while we are watching the movie, it is absolutely        imperceptible.  And so, we experience solid objects, special dimensions, velocities, etc. as existing continuously in nature because the discontinuities are so small as to be imperceptible.
     If what I have said is true, then the last question we are left with is, “just how knowable is reality?”  Oddly enough, the UFO literature provides us with an answer to  that question.  As to whether or not we are currently being visited by alien space ships, I am an agnostic.  I do not know.  However, the UFO literature contains some remarkable consistencies.  If true, it indicates that UFOs come from a number of different places and   all show very similar levels of technological development.  This would indicate that the universe is not infinitely knowable.  It would appear that there are limits to how much can be learned about the universe.  (If true, our best sci-fi seems to be based on faulty
premises.  Such shows as Babylon 5 and Stargate are based on the notion that the universe is infinitely knowable.  Since small increments in knowledge can lead to large differences in technology, they give us a large range of technological development.)  My guess is that space travel is possible and that if we ever reach the point where we can do it,  we will find that all advanced societies operate at roughly the same level of technology. 

Republic Vs Empire

                                                          Republic vs Empire

      The primary difference between a republic and an empire is this: A Republic has Citizens; an Empire has subjects.
     A republic is founded when a number of free and autonomous citizens come together in an effort to regulate relations among themselves and to protect their rights to their persons and property.  In a republic, a crime is defined as “injury to the person or property of another”.  All citizens are expected to participate in the political life of a republic.  To accomplish this, future citizens are broadly educated and exposed to a wide variety of subject matter.  It is to be expected that they will pursue those subjects that interest them, so they can contribute to the general debate on a wide range of issues.  Each citizen is to be considered a valuable member of the community whose concerns and interests must be addressed by the “Body Politik” as a whole.
     Empires are founded on the premise that the state comes first and that “people are the property of the state”.  Consequently,  the definition of crime is expanded to include injury to oneself.  The state has a right to protect its property. Subjects are narrowly educated people who are expected to fill a single niche in society and are actively discouraged from participating in any debate outside their area of expertise. Political participation on the part of subjects is neither wanted nor desired.  The mythos is that, “just as you are an expert in your field, so the politicians and economists are experts in their fields.  So there is no need for you to concern yourself with these kind of issues.” In short, “don’t you worry your pretty little head about it, and just do what we tell you”.
     So, let us take a look at the United States and see which one of these concepts we more closely resemble. And let us begin with the educational system.
     From the post World War II era to the mid 1960’s, the overall effectiveness of the American educational system was probably at its peak effectiveness. (It is true that from  the late 19th century through the earlier part of the 20th century, the elementary curriculum was much more rigorous.  The average high school graduate of today would be very hard pressed to pass what was considered eighth grade English in 1910.  However, most people didn’t complete the 8th grade in those days and high school graduates were unusual.  So overall, the level of education in the 40’s,50’s, and 60’s was higher than in the early part of the century.)  At that time, the teachers believed in educating people to participate in a democratic society and constantly stressed “republican values”. They also placed great emphasis on the erosion of these values and stressed the example of the disintegration of the Roman Republic until it was transformed into the Roman Empire. The message being that unless something was done, the same process would take place here.
     Unfortunately, this generation came of age just as the United States was making the final transition from a republic to an empire.  A whole generation of idealists felt disillusioned and alienated when they found out that not only didn’t their opinions matter, but that their participation in the political process was neither appreciated nor desired. This led to profound changes in our educational system.
     One thing that never ceases to amaze me is the profound confluence of interests between the so-called “left-wing radicals” and the right-wing plutocrats who actually run this country.  In the 60’s and 70’s the cry of “relevance” was heard throughout the land. Somehow it became fashionable to take the position that if a school subject had no immediate bearing on some kind of future employment, it wasn’t worth studying. (It is now possible to turn on the TV and watch parents picketing their local schools wanting to know why anyone should have to pass algebra in order to graduate from high school.  Better yet, a gentleman taking a test for teacher certification asked, “How should I know what an interrogative sentence is?”.   As Dave Barry says, “I really wish I had made that one up, but I didn’t”.)
     Another battle cry revolved around the word, “elitism”.  Anyone who dared to suggest that future students were entitled to an education worthy of the meaning of the word, were immediately denounced as “elitists”.  (After all, who is to say that Botswanian  folklore isn’t just as worthy of study as 20th century American History) 
     On the left, the motivation for this was disillusionment.  Many well educated people were under the illusion that the purpose of education was to make them happier people.  When being relatively well educated didn’t make them happier, they decided that being educated wasn’t worth the effort.  In fact, the purpose of  education is to make you a better person, not a happier one.
     On the right, the motivation was rather forthright and simple.  What education produced was civil disorder, social unrest, protest movements and large numbers of people demanding to participate in the political process.  By eliminating the educational system, they have created large numbers of people who can intuitively sense that something has gone terribly wrong with this country, but they lack the mental tools and conceptual frameworks needed to comprehend and express their feelings in a rational matter. (One thing to keep in mind is that the upper-classes of the U.S. were profoundly influenced by the French Revolution.  They saw just how tenuous their position really is.  So the truly profound problem facing our elite is, “how does a very small number of extremely wealthy people keep control of the other 99.5% of the population”?  The modern answer is by taking complete control over the mass media. Not too long ago some congressman had the audacity to suggest that the rich should have to pay taxes just like the rest of us.  He was immediately denounced in such bastions of liberalism as The New York Times as “fomenting class warfare”.  There has been class-warfare in this country for over 150 years and the rich have been “kickin’ butt and takin’ names” for all of that time.  It’s odd that no-one in the media ever protests against using the tax system to redistribute wealth from the middle-class to the rich.  The rich have also used the media to make this the most “revolution proof” country that has ever existed. There is a complete media blackout on who is really setting the agenda for this country.  The media may tell us who the “front men” are, but not who is behind them. As a result the entire country could rise up, march on Washington D.C., and hang the entire government from lampposts.  We could then hold all new elections.  And within six months or so it would be back to “business as usual”, because the same people would be running things.)
     Sometime in the 1970’s and 1980’s the conceptual framework of public education began to change.  We went from an “education” based theory of schooling to one based on “vocational training”.  Vocational training is the opposite of education.  Education is a broad based process designed to expose a student to a wide range of interests and possibilities in life.  Vocational training is designed to give one expertise in the relatively narrow area  where he is expected to spend his or her life. (I once attended a high school graduation where the message of the guest speaker was that the best you can hope for in life is to become a UPS driver.) 
     Our current system of schooling has some very major problems.
1)      Due to the incredible sense of disenchantment brought about by the social disruption of the 60’s, we now have entire generations of teacher’s who no longer believe in anything. 
2)      As Friedman has pointed out in his latest book, “The Earth is Flat”, we no longer produce enough educated people to maintain a technological society.  Thus we either have to import them, or outsource.
3)      As discrimination against boys increases more and more of them are simply dropping out of the system.  Thus we are losing the most intelligent and creative people we have. (If you don’t believe me, check the neurological evidence.  Boys have far more dopamine receptors than girls.  Girls do not out achieve boys because they are smarter, it is because the boys are no longer competing.)
4)      Thanks to the “American’s with Disabilities Act”, we now spend the bulk of our educational dollars on those students who are least capable of ever contributing to society.  We have managed to achieve the “greatest good for the smallest number”. The mandatory spending on the handicapped has depleted school budgets to the point where there is barely enough money for the normal children, much less specialized courses for the brighter children.
5)      By encouraging children to narrow their focus by using the “vocational training” model, we are almost guaranteeing high rates of future unemployment.  Our future adults will not have the intellectual flexibility necessary to easily change jobs and careers.  Knowing only a narrow specialty, they will need extensive retraining if their jobs become obsolete.
6)      By not making an effort to instill at least a basic education in the poor and 
      underprivileged   we are laying the groundwork for a much more violent future                         society.  One of the few things we have learned from social science research is that there is a strong correlation between reading ability, self-control and violent behavior.  People who cannot read well tend to have less self-control and to be more violent than people who do read well.
         Another problem is that our system of mass higher education has been an abject failure.  More people than ever before have college degrees, yet if any of them have anything resembling intellectual pursuits they manage to keep them well hidden. Not only is our society permeated with trash, but most best-selling books read like they were written for slow reading 6th graders.  It is interesting that the market for quality film has just about disappeared.  People who spent their student days watching DeSica, and Fellini are now watching Tom Cruise movies.
     A college or university education is supposed to be a starting point.  The acquisition of a diploma was never meant to be an end in itself.  If someone were to undertake a survey of people who have graduated in the last 30 years, I wonder what the results would show?  How many of these people continue to read on a regular basis?  Fiction, non-fiction, books connected to their field of study, etc. How many have seen a play, gone to a concert, or participated in some cultural event?  How many have pursued a hobby or intellectual interest?  (My personal guess is, not very many.)
     I once saw an interview with Keegan, who had written a book about Eisenhower. He said that Dulles and the generals tried to pressure Eisenhower into launching a preemptive attack against the Soviet Union.  Eisenhower said no because  in order for the Soviet’s to maintain a modern society they were going to have to educate their people and when they did the system would fall apart by itself.  I think the same is true of the United States today.  The powers that be have  gutted the educational system to the point where our society cannot be maintained by ourselves. If  immigration and outsourcing fail to suffice, we will once again have to start educating people, which might cause drastic changes in our current social arrangements. 
     Since republics tend to be founded on the ideals of liberty and justice, they are capable of producing people of great probity, honor and integrity.  The theory being that there will be enough honest people in government and the media so that the corrupt and dishonest will eventually come under their scrutiny.  In a republic people who suffer from injustice will protest and continue their cases until they find someone honest enough to rectify the situation. 
     In an Empire, the willingness to go along with the status quo and fit in with one’s superiors is a necessity for advancement.  Consequently, the system and everyone in it is corrupt almost by definition.  Therefore, protesting against injustice may lead to personal sacrifice and martyrdom, but in the end it accomplishes nothing.  (An ancient Greek commenting on the success of the Roman Republic noted that when a Roman was sent out to the provinces with 5,000 talents with which to build a road, one could be sure that every last talent would go into the building of that road.  If a Greek were given the same amount of money for the same purpose, he would immediately take 1,500 – 2,000 talents for himself, his relatives and his cronies,  and maybe 2-3,000 talents would go into building the road.)
     In the United States today, we have reached a point where members of the government are the criminal element.  And if not actively engaged in criminal activity themselves, they are more than willing to protect those who are.  The system has become thoroughly and unalterably corrupt.  To illustrate my point, I have chosen the following examples:
1)      Occasionally one can pick up a newspaper and see a reference to something called the “S&L Scandal”.  What is never mentioned is that what they are referring to is the largest theft of public funds in the known history of the human race.  Somewhere in the neighborhood of 500-600 billion dollars was stolen from the American taxpayers. What happened is that the S&Ls were looted (possibly by government agents)  and billions of dollars were stolen.  The FDIC, by law, should only have reimbursed depositors for a maximum of $100,000 each.  However, the decision was made to reimburse depositors for the full amount of their deposits.  The only possible reason for this was to protect the criminals who stole the money in the first place.  Obviously, if the large depositors had been told that they were out of luck, they would have been putting extreme pressure on local prosecutors and demanding audits.  They would have demanded to know who stole their money and if they couldn’t recover it by civil suits they would have demanded criminal prosecutions.  By paying them off with the tax payer’s money, the government managed to prevent what would have been a massive outcry on the part of many affluent depositors.
2)      BCCI.  One day I was listening to an interview with a former high level BCCI official.  When discussing how they were able to operate so freely he mentioned that it was rather simple to bribe government officials around the world.  He went on to mention that in different places they wanted different things.  Some people wanted drugs, other jewels, others women, and in the United States it was suitcases full of cash.  What impressed me was the deafening silence that followed this interview.  Not one mainstream media outlet, not one justice department official, not one congressman was the least bit curious about who was on the receiving end of these suitcases full of cash.
3)      Arms for Iraq.  Before the first gulf war we were the major arms supplier to Iraq. The way it was financed was that Iraq was issued agricultural credits which were converted to loans by an Atlanta branch of an Italian bank (that had Henry Kissinger as a board member).  The total amount involved was in the billions of dollars.  When someone discovered that this was “illegal”, the branch manager was deemed to be making these loans on his own say so.  (Oddly enough, no-one in the Department of Agriculture new that these credits were being misused, no-one at the Pentagon knew we were exporting billions of dollars in weaponry to Iraq, and no one at the bank headquarters in Italy knew about this out-of control branch manager who was financing the whole operation.)  60 Minutes actually interviewed the branch manager who pointed out that he made all of about $600 a week and that he did not have the authority to do this on his own.  Mike Wallace asked him if he mentioned this to the prosecutors.  He told Wallace that when he raised the subject he was told he could keep his mouth shut and get a four or five year sentence, or he could keep trying to involve the higher-ups in which case he could look forward to a 30 year sentence.
4)      Citibank.  In an event that received very little media coverage Citibank was involved in selling improperly cancelled stocks and bonds to a mafia owned waste disposal company.  Somehow, these stocks and bonds found their way into the hands of swindlers who took them to Europe and cashed them in at unsuspecting banks.  As a punishment, the SEC sent them a letter telling them not to do it again. (All those who would sell phony stocks and bonds if guaranteed the same punishment please raise your hands.  I can almost guarantee that if a regular person tried it all he’d be able to say is, “ these cuffs are too tight”.)
5)      How to be president.  Jimmy Carter was picked by Brzezinski and David Rockefeller in order to protect Rockefeller’s investments in some banks in London.  Chase Manhattan had substantial equity positions in some London banks that had lent large sums of money to Panama. Panama did not have the money to pay.  If Panama defaulted, the London Banks might go under and Chase would lose its investment.  Carter was put into the White House to sign the Panama Canal treaty which gave the canal revenues to Panama.  As a result the banks got their money and everybody was happy. And since most American taxpayers had no idea of what was going on, they were happy too.
6)      Willie Clinton.  Remember the Iran-Contra “scandal”. It seems that part of what was going on is that plane loads of guns were being flown down to the contras. The same planes were then loaded with cocaine and flown back to the U.S. It seems that one of the major landing strips for this operation happened to be in the State of Arkansas.  Willie Clinton provided security for this operation by using Arkansas State Troopers to keep nosy civilians and reporters away from the operation.  His reward was a seat in the White House.
     Why are drugs illegal?  It would seem that the most basic principle of any so-called free society would be that you own your own body. The answer begins with FDR.
     Historically, in times of stress people have always been willing to trade freedom for security. FDR took advantage of this to convince people that the purpose of government is to function as the “insurance company of last resort”. If you have a misfortune in life and you can’t collect from anyone else, the government is always there to lend a helping hand.  As long as people want and expect the government to function in this manner (remember the social safety net) than the government has the right to minimize its losses.  This means they have every right to prevent you from doing things that are bad for you.
     So if you want to be legally able to take drugs, you must be willing to take responsibility for their effects.  This means no government funded rehab programs, no welfare benefits or unemployment insurance for people who can’t work due to drug use etc.  If drugs were ever legalized, people who took them would have to be made to understand that if they incapacitated themselves to the point where they could no longer support themselves, they would have to find family or friends to do so; or die.
     I have always found it interesting that the government has never used our drug laws to reduce the welfare rolls. Welfare is called Aid to Dependent Children. If someone on welfare is found to possess illegal drugs (or Alcohol or tobacco products for that matter) they could easily be suspended from receiving welfare payments. For there are only a few possibilities, they are appropriating money meant for their children which makes them guilty of embezzlement; they are purchasing these items for their children which would make them guilty of child abuse, or they have outside income not reported to the welfare office, which makes them guilty of welfare fraud.
     By looking at what kinds of crimes are being most vigorously prosecuted, we can see that the system is totally corrupt and that republican values have disappeared. Drug users are sentenced to long terms in prison, while thieves remain unmolested by our system of “criminal justice”. (If you don’t believe me just look at what’s left of your local newspaper. Where I live kids break into stores, homes etc. and steal anything not bolted to the floor and are always put on parole.  On the other hand a man convicted of “the forcible rape of a child” served less than 5 years.)
     Look at the traffic statutes.  In a “free” society a crime does not occur until the person or property of another citizen has been damaged. Laws against speeding, drunken driving etc. represent the imposition of the arbitrary will of the state and if anything should be civil and not criminal offenses.  Of course, if one damages another person or his property that becomes a criminal matter and if one is found to be violating driving guidelines, the penalties should be increased in severity.
     I think I can safely conclude by pointing out that both our system of schooling and our approach to crime is much closer to what would be found in an Empire, than that which would be found in a Republic.

     The Roman Republic lasted approximately 400 years and afterwards the Roman Empire lasted roughly another 400 years.  The American Republic lasted 170-180 years (depending on what you take for a starting point) and so far the American Empire has lasted 42 years.  Given the increased rates of change in the modern world, it would seem that the American Empire probably won’t last much longer than another 100 years or so.
     In both cases the transition to empire meant switching from a citizen to a mercenary army.  In the case of the American Empire, economic weaknesses prevent the use of an army containing large numbers of troops, so the army is forced to rely on technological advances and increasingly more powerful weaponry that becomes less and less practical for realistic military application. (As Stalin once remarked, “Atomic bombs are only useful against people who have weak nerves”.)  Given the social, political, and economic weaknesses of the American Empire, I think it will be doing well if it lasts another 100 years.
     After  this discussion of the differences between a republic and an empire I would like to give the last word to Alan Arkin.  He appears in a movie called “Chu Chu and the Philly Flash” and in the movie he thinks he has found some important government documents and is trying to return them to someone in a position of authority.  At one point he goes into a phone booth and after gesticulating wildly for a minute or so, he comes out and exclaims, “What kind of a government is this that won’t accept a collect call from a citizen?”