Our featured image shows Cassandra. a priestess of Troy who was given the ability to issue true prophecy by Apollo, but was believed by no one. This curse was placed on her when she failed to deliver her part of the deal, guess what!
FOLLY OR EVIL
Throughout human history foolish decisions by power holders have caused calamitous results for nations and peoples. The late American historian Barbara Tuchman defines folly as “Pursuit of Policy Contrary to Self-Interest.” In her book THE MARCH OF FOLLY, Tuchman examines 4 conflicts: The Trojan Horse, The Protestant Secession, The American Revolution, and The American War in Vietnam. In all four cases, a wiser choice was available. As Tuchman writes,”The power to command frequently causes failure to think.”
We see this now in the handling of the corona virus crisis. Heads of state in various countries either tried to deny the pandemic and some, as in Latin America continue to do so or come up with idiotic ideas such as the recent recommendation by Donald Trump that injection of detergents or UV light inside the body might be cures for covid-19! Alas, his idiotic advice was taken by too many people.
Randy Rainbow puts this in perspective and drives home the point that what is really lacking is intelligent leadership in the USA and elsewhere. There are places,
Randy Rainbow puts this in perspective and drives home the point that what is really lacking is intelligent leadership in the USA and elsewhere. There are places, such as Finland and New Zealand, where the pandemic is being confronted by intelligent leadership with better results. Nonetheless there is still no cure or vaccine available.
This graphic shows the spread of the virus around the world.
The state of the US with regard to the pandemic continues to deteriorate with over 100,000 deaths at the this writing (20/6).
This graphic illustrates what is happening.
Steve Almond writing in PBS WBUR Cognoscenti provides a cogent
analysis of what went wrong and why the USA, in contrast to other
countries, has no real chance of stopping the pandemic. He points
out the role that right wing ideology a la Goldwater and Reagan has
had in leading the US down this path of destruction. It is sad to
think of the great Republican Abraham Lincoln and what he might
think of what has happened to his party. His concept of government
was that government should do for people what they cannot do for
themselves. As Almond concludes and Prometheus and Pandora agree,
“This is the America foretold by Goldwater and Reagan, one in which
“government” is a cynical joke told among white people. The
punchline used to be decaying schools, a decimated middle class, a
diseased health care system and a dying planet. It is now a plague
that is killing thousands of people. If we continue down this path,
the death toll will be in the millions. And it will include
American democracy itself.”
It is not obvious to Prometheus and Pandora that this is a matter of folly and not malevolence. Leaders such as Trump in the US, Netanyahu in Israel, Bolsonaro in Brazil and others, too many to list, care nothing of the well being of their people. Their role in office is to enrich the plutocracy that supports them, to deregulate business, which involves endangering the public, and to appoint reactionary judges. It is encouraging to note that Netanyahu has gone on trial for several charges of corruption, bribery and other types of malfeasance.
Pandora and Prometheus have no doubts about the source of the police brutality that has had a huge upsurge around the world. The killing of George Floyd by a policeman in Minneapolis MN who strangled him by kneeling on his neck and of Eyad Hallaq in Jerusalem, an autistic special needs person who was gunned down by border police although he posed no threat to them or anybody, are two blatant examples of police going rogue. Police brutality or police violence is legally defined as a civil rights violation where officers exercise undue or excessive force against a subject. This includes, but is not limited to, physical or verbal harassment, physical or mental injury, property damage, and death.
Most recently police brutality in the USA has been in the spotlight since the killing of George Floyd . The result has been an upsurge in protests against the abuse of authority by police officers and the coverup tactics of their commanders. On the worldwide scale we see that police brutality is a nigh universal phenomenon, appearing in various degrees in all countries, some of which are more enlightened and actually impose accountability and others in which impunity is almost total. The #sayhername movement points our the violence directed against black women everywhere and how their suffering is little noticed while male victims such as George Floyd make the headlines.
Pandora and Prometheus wish to draw your attention to the unholy parallelism between police brutality and the scandal of sexual abuse by members of the clergy of the Catholic Church. The issues share the following:
- Abuse of power
- Betrayal of trust
- Attack on most vulnerable
- Coverup by commanders or bishops
The major difference between the two sets of crimes is the existence of a central source of overriding authority in the Church, namely the Pope and the Holy See. This authority was able to call the various components of the Church to account. One must, however, recall that this happened only after a widespread outcry by the members of the Church, the media, lawsuits and complaints to the police and to political authorities. The case of the police is far more diffuse and calls for concerted efforts in every community. It must involve the political leadership, civil society,the various media both electronic and print, religious leaders and first and foremost a refusal of the public to tolerate the entire culture of brutality, racism, misogyny (vid. #sayhername) and impunity which has been dominant for far too long. It has been said :
“There is sometimes a fine line between a cop and a criminal. What drives their personality may be the same, and they have simply chosen different roles and professions to call their own.”
Dr. ML Rapier PhD, Clinical Psychologist.”
We see the violence and the anger and yes, even the looting, but we (whites) fail to understand what Kareem Abdul Jabbar points out to us, that when people are pushed to the edge, an explosion is inevitable. When a regime tainted with fascism confronts the people’s legitimate demands for freedom and justice, the explosion becomes lethal and full of societal dynamite.
NEWS FROM SCIENCE
PUREST AIR ON THE PLANET
The Southern Ocean is a huge body of wat stretching around the Earth with far fewer landmasses than its Northern counterpart. It is very cloudy and our lack of understanding of the composition and characteristic of the clouds over this remote region consistently cause weather models of the planet to fail to reproduce the observed weather and to be in contradiction to satellite observations. The lack of data is a result of the remoteness of the region in question.
A team of atmospheric scientists was based in Hobart, Tasmania for six weeks to collect cloud, aerosol and precipitation data over the Southern Ocean during a research project called the Southern Ocean Clouds, Radiation, Aerosol Transport Experimental Study (SOCRATES). The Southern Ocean is the stormiest place on Earth, churned by winds and waves that circle the ice of Antarctica. This remote and usually pristine environment is typically removed from human-caused and naturally produced continental airborne particles. For this reason, the region is a unique laboratory for studying the interactions between clouds and particles naturally produced by the ocean, such as sea salt and biogenic particles. Prometheus and Pandora invite you to read the report on the mission written by a trio of scientists from the University of Colorado.
Metallic hydrogen is found in nature only in the interior of a giant planet. Creating the metallic phase in the laboratory has been a target of much research. A team at Cornell University has issued a claim to have achieved this goal. The paper is available on line, but has not undergone peer review. In the description in Science News, we find others expressing reservation about the result. Stay tuned. If correct, we may be moving towards a room temperature super conductor, a Holy Grail of materials science.
Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present (Open Yale Courses) 1st Edition
by Frank M. Snowden (Author)
In his new book, “Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present,” Frank M. Snowden, a professor emeritus of history and the history of medicine at Yale, examines the ways in which disease outbreaks have shaped politics, crushed revolutions, and entrenched racial and economic discrimination.
The book is published by Yale University Press who provide the following description:
“This sweeping exploration of the impact of epidemic diseases looks at how mass infectious outbreaks have shaped society, from the Black Death to today. In a clear and accessible style, Frank M. Snowden reveals the ways that diseases have not only influenced medical science and public health, but also transformed the arts, religion, intellectual history, and warfare.”
A multidisciplinary and comparative investigation of the medical and social history of the major epidemics, this volume touches on themes such as the evolution of medical therapy, plague literature, poverty, the environment, and mass hysteria. In addition to providing historical perspective on diseases such as smallpox, cholera, and tuberculosis, Snowden examines the fallout from recent epidemics such as HIV/AIDS, SARS, and Ebola and the question of the world’s preparedness for the next generation of diseases.
In The New Yorker there is an interview of Snowden by Isaac Chotiner which provides interesting and sobering insights of our response to pandemic. If you lack the time or the energy to read the huge tome, you should at least read the interview.
CAN THIS BE TRUE?
We are calling attention to Yuri Alexandrovich Bezmenov, a former KGB agent who defected to Canada in 1970. In 1984 he gave an interview to G. Edward Griffin from which much can be learned today. His most chilling point was that there’s a long-term plan put in play by Russia to defeat America through psychological warfare and “demoralization”. It is a long game that takes decades to achieve but it may already be bearing fruit. It sounds like science fiction and it may indeed be someone’s fantasy, but if we look at the US today we see that some of the predictions are becoming real. The lack of perception of objective reality is a most troubling phenomenon, which finds its harmful expression in the public lack of understanding of the depth of the corona crisis. We see this everywhere and it is hard to explain this world wide outburst of folly. The near riot that hit the British beach of Bournemouth last weekend is an indication of the lack of responsibility of the broad public.
On the other hand, the New Yorker tells us how Iceland beat the virus by keeping the politicians out and letting the real professionals deal with it intelligently.
SILLY TIME–ENOUGH DYSTOPIA
WHAT IF? Earth-Moon Fire Pole
My son (5y) asked me today: If there were a kind of a fireman’s pole from the Moon down to the Earth, how long would it take to slide all the way from the Moon to the Earth?
Ramon Schönborn, Germany