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Location: Takoma Park, Maryland, United States

I'm now a 52-year-old American male raised as an Episcopalian, veteran of submarines, Peace Corps, and State Department. I like teaching people about what they can do with computers and have gotten by as an independent Microsoft trainer teaching networking, but I really hope to someday find a way to make a living traveling on my motorcycle, camping, and writing about places and people I meet along the way.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Prophecy or just smart as a whip?

Remember my earlier report of my conversation with Susan in MCC New York on July 3rd?

She was filling me in on some of the history of Syria, and told about how the son might lead Syria in a more enlightened direction? I wrote her a letter, and mailed it yesterday, speculating about how accurate what she had said might be. Imagine my surprise to read the on first page of today's Wall Street Journal reports of analysts saying the same thing.

There is a deal to be made with Syria. I think it has secretly been in the works for a long time. It might not be what Susan thinks and judging from what we've seen on the world stage recently, it might not be pretty.

I got to see a psychiatrist about my head injuries. Tonight was a third visit. He told me about how the brain heals and resolved some of my concerns about persistent bits of memory loss--that the problem should go away. He also hinted that it might be up to me to request a MRI, and that it will be easier to do so once I have medical insurance.

Returning home, I was just in time to catch the PBS special on recovering the text of Archimedes. What a story! What a shame if his science is being rediscovered on the eve of another dark age. Humans are seldom so stupid as when we try to solve our problems by force. The story was that Archimedes was killed by a roman soldier among the warring party that wassuppose to capture him for the Romans.

Reminded me of the book Once an Eagle and its key phrase:

"So in the Libyan Fable it is told that once an eagle, stricken with a dart, said when he saw the fashion of the shaft, with our own feathers, not by others' hands are we now smitten." --Aeschylus

Archimedes, whose improvements of the catapult, literally, kept the Romans at bay; killed by the sword, himself.

It's off the subject, perhaps, but while conservatives often nash their teeth upon hearing the name of Senator Frank Church, and ascribe blame to him for things that were already afoot due to previous misconduct, I would like to point out that he played a big role in forcing the DOD to improve the pay of servicemen at a time when it had remained stagnant for many years despite inflation and significant growth in the defense budget.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

You seem to alternate between viewing the criminal lindeaur as: harmlessly crazy, sane but being made crazy by soviet style forced administration of drugs, newly cogent thru a healthy drug regimen, and now you've turned the criminal lindaeur into an op-ed writer.

Why don't you try CRIMINAL taking MONEY from ENEMY GOVERNMENTS and CONSPIRING WITH FOREIGN AGENTS. I guess it does not fit with your romantic fantasies. Perhaps you see yourself as a tragic lover of the criminal lindeaur or the savior of this criminal?

4:43 PM  
Blogger JB said...

One of the characteristics of intelligence is sometimes listening to voices one does not like to listen to in order to learn. We seem, more and more, to be a people who need to somehow reduce those who we do not agree with or understand to some less than human status. Once we do that, then the normal courtesies that we expect to be afforded to "decent" folks can be withheld. We even chalk such behavior up as measures of our own virtue. Sometimes we even confuse the marching of tyrant armies and the compliant populace with patriotism, forgeting that nobility is more frequently found among those who oppose bullies.

Can you call somebody a brave patriot who no longer believes in principals of "innocent until proven guilty," or due process? News papers are careful to speak of such people using such words as "accused" or "alleged." Some--and there are decent conservatives in this country, still, who have no need of fanaticism--have no respect for such traditional notions of American decency.

Unable to discuss particulars, and while hiding behind anonymity, a bully attacks the character of the opponent.

Why is it so important to descredit the notion that this lady told me something that a few weeks later I see echoed in a Wall Street Journal analysis? Maybe because, like in that German prisoner of war camp movie (was it Stalag 39?) the real culprit is the one who hits hardest at the fall guy.

This blog has reviewed a full range of possible motives. Can there be any surprise that somebody indicted and awaiting trial for 18 months might become a bit less balanced? Can we not read the pre-trial reports that describe the medicine that was given to Susan before her being released on bail as causing her to become unbalanced? Is is such a hard thing to think that better medical attention might be given to her in New York than in Texas and that this might have some positive result?

There was a time when soldiers believed they might someday return home to a world at peace. Was that a romantic fantasy? Only, I think, if you are amoung those who are empowered to prevent such peace might you know it to be just a "romantic" fantasy.

She would not be the first impressionable young person to be manipulated by the less savory and less professional elements of our intelligence services. It would be no surprise to me if these same characters were capable of saying liabalous things while hiding behind the skirts of anonymity.

Let us listen closely to those who criticize. We may learn a great deal, indeed.

7:49 PM  
Blogger Gamine said...

I've noticed your blog is attracting some trolls. I don't know what to say except that in my experience it is best to not feed into them. That can be hard at times.

This is an especially idiotic troll though. Susan is accused, but until she has her day in court, that is all she is. I still don't have all the facts about what happened-- none of us do. There hasn't been a trial, and the evidence has not yet been presented. Most rational people understand that you reserve judgement until the facts are known and examined. That's basic.

In response to your post, JB: I knew Susan in college and, whatever her flaws might be, I absolutely remember her as a very sharp, smart, and aware person.

I could imagine her having poor judgement when it comes to people, but I do not doubt for a minute her ability to research and understand a deeply complex political situation, nor do I doubt her commitment or conscience. Nothing you are writing surprises me at all.

1:01 PM  
Blogger JB said...

It dawns on me that the post I was reacting to could be from anybody. I know nothing first-hand about the people Susan was trying to help and should not have let an inflamatory post provoke me to criticism.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Gamine said...

Well, whoever wrote that post was engaging in quite an ad hominem attack on Susan-- and since you actually know her as a person, one can hardly blame you for taking offense.

Its also in very poor form to anonymously spam people's blogs-- engaging in discussion is one thing, hit and run posting is another.

By the way, an addendum to what I said earlier: although I defend Susan, I am not a blind supporter of everything she says and does. I am well aware of her shortcomings. It is entirely possible for someone to be sharp, smart, and aware and yet also make a very wrong or naive decision.

My own analysis of Susan's situation (based on incomplete information I must add) is that she had great ideas, insights and intentions but simply got into a situation that was over her head. You can't save the world by yourself.

6:05 AM  
Blogger JB said...

Yes. Yet, I admire her so much for having the moxie to step into such circles--crazy or not. Someone told me that in families where there is genious, mental illness can be close at hand. Then I consider how many of the biblical prophets and latter day saints sound pretty crazy by today's standards--Moses and the burning bush, St. Francis hearing God tell him to rebuild his church then discovering that God meant the whole Catholic institution world-wide.... I wonder if some forms of spirituality come to fruition out of the same minds that might, without the spiritual influence, be just mad.

Does our creator have the ability to redeem and work through those we otherwise dismiss as mentally ill? It is nothing new that the small might humble the mighty, in our theology, but we sure don't expect to see it in real life.

I'm not saying she is a saint, but I believe the arms of providence are long enough to work through all kinds of situations, and I have plenty of cause to regard her with respect.

Can't tell you the number of times she seemingly read my mind, calling with an on-topic comment; occasionally (before going to Carswell) turning up right behind me in my apartment as I was writing something about her that she didn't want said; or when spooky things have happened to me as I was feeding her cats, upstairs, and thinking angry thoughts about her. Many times I have felt there are angels caring for her and warning me.

Speaking of her cats, I really do feel for them, as they continue to wait. Once a week I try to remember to drive her car. Her old cat Midnight is always there at the fence to see who will get out of it when I get back.

8:26 PM  
Blogger Gamine said...

Speaking as someone who has plenty of mental illness AND genius in the family, I am resistant to talk of sainthood (though I do understand the point you are making). To me it sounds ultimately romantic and misleading. I have a lot of respect for Susan, but she is neither a saint nor a genius.

She has great gifts and abilities though, and a level of commitment I have to admire.

What I find sad is that I think under better circumstances and with a little help and a willingness to work on her emotional skills, she could have done a great deal of good for the world and have been very, very effective.

8:20 AM  

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