Category Archives: Education

The Genius MBA – Philosophy by Limerick

Made his money the hard way, inherited.
Went to Yale where he struggled and merited
Every cent that he earned
With his MBA; spurned
Do-nothings with slogans he parroted.

Old Jules – July 31, 2012 blog entry

 

 

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Disturbing insights

This ignorant cracker entered the US Army in 1961 during the Berlin Crisis [when the Berlin Wall went up]. Given the similarities of patriotic rhetoric between countries he’d as happily taken the orders of an Adolph Hitler as John Kennedy.

Yesterday I was down at the laundromat, which was a bit crowded with the lower-end of the socioeconomic scale of Leavenworth, Kansas.   But because of the time of day, most were senior citizens or younger wives with kiddos.   Several old Vietnam era vets and a couple of granny-ladies.

When it’s that crowded in the place it forces people to become social instead of just staring at the clothing tumbling in their washers or dryers.   And when strangers discuss anything these days it will be sports, television, politics, or Muslims, for the most part.   Some of which inevitably leads to confessions of some nasty hatreds and deep biases.

I was a bit shocked when the discussion centered almost entirely on the president and the enthusiasm shared among the ones who were vocal on the subject.    These people, senior citizens who obviously rely on Social Security pensions and Medicare, are still devoted and determined to to see this president and the Congress with intentions to destroy their Medicare and Social Security remain in office.   Increase their power.

I’ll confess to have been quietly dumbfounded.   They sneered at the class of people who are openly critical or have doubts about the prez and the Congress that’s likely to put them out on the streets cold an hungry.  And the old vets were noisy about the opposition being expressed in some quarters to a proposed military parade somewhere.   Which I couldn’t care less about one way or the other.

But I’ve digressed somewhat.    All that got me remembering, wondering just what sort of people we veterans are, on the whole.   Obviously we aren’t deep thinkers.    And while many spout patriotic rhetoric and indignation, as nearly as I can tell most have remained the ignorant crackers most of us were back when we entered the military 50 years or so ago.

But what’s more disturbing than our lack of growth and acquired wisdom over the decades, is the fact so many of us evidently are using our stupidity as a launchpad for active participation in the political process.

To demolish our own livelihood.

Figure that one out.

Old Jules

How’s that empire thing working?

Maybe most of us don’t care for the idea of empires because we think of them as being something other countries have, but we don’t.    Despite what’s before our eyes ever time we look at a map or watch a news program.  And of course, empires haven’t been faring too well lately.

US expansion 1867 1914

Heck, the British Empire folded up more-or-less spontaneously during the decades after WWII.    Around the same time as the French were getting their deserving asses kicked out of Indo-China to them, Vietnam to us.   Indo-China, Algeria, and pretty much everything else they called their empire.

colonial empires 1910

But around a century ago everyone was still doing it.   Grabbing real estate outside their boundaries and making a fight to keep it.

Here’s a short video demonstrating how empires worked worldwide until around 1945:

https://youtu.be/1csr0dxalpI

That’s how it was done mostly, except when the imperial powers fought one another.   Which wasn’t something anyone liked to do if they could help it because it tended to get a lot of white people killed.

But I’ve digressed.   What I intended to talk about was a remark I made this morning during coffee with Johnny, across the hall.   In some context or other involving the government shut-down and Puerto Rico, I casually mentioned the American empire.

“American empire?   Haw haw haw!   What the hell are you talking about?”

“Heck Johnny, do you think we aren’t an empire.”

“Haw haw haw!   Where do you come up with this stuff?”

I tried a while longer, but the discussion just couldn’t move forward on that tack.   Johnny doesn’t believe the US is an empire and the concept is so foreign to him he refuses even to think about it.

I’m a bit awed by this entire concept.    Are there really people in the world who don’t think the US is an empire?  Well, yes, there are.

Same as there are people who think the moon landings were faked by NASA and that the world is flat.

People believe all sorts of things.

I wonder if there used to be people who didn’t think the British, the French, even the Romans weren’t an empire.

Damn I love this life for the surprises.   The constant surprises.

Old Jules

Echoes of the past – some books I used to love

In the early 1960s while I was stationed in Korea an officer I worked with dropped a paperback book onto my desk.   “You need to read this.”    The book was The Revolt of Gunner Asch, by Hans Helmut Kirst.     A novel about a young man in the German army during WWII.

I loved that book and it launched me into several years of good reading of other tomes by Hans Helmut Kirst.     Several Gunner Asch sequels, The Night of the Generals, The Officer Factory, The Adventures of Private Faust, The Seventh Day, and the Nights of the Long Knives.

So a while back I decided to try to find those Kirst books to read again before I die.    The 40-or-so libraries in the system here didn’t have it, so I put out a search on Inter Library Loan, came up with The Officer Factory, but none of the others.

The Officer Factory arrived and reinforced my hopes I could find the others somewhere.

Well, they’re out there New and Used on Amazon, but the days of inexpensive reads for used books are long gone.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=sr_pg_2?rh=n%3A283155%2Ck%3Ahans+helmut+kirst&page=2&keywords=hans+helmut+kirst&ie=UTF8&qid=1516206685

I’m thinking I’ll have to wait until my next lifetime to read the rest of those great books.    Don’t know what’s happened to the reading public when libraries don’t carry titles just because they happen to have been written before the librarians were born.

If you happen to be hungry for something to read and have money to spend on books, check out Hans Helmut Kirst ….. you won’t regret it.

Old Jules

Brain Drain: Charley Whitman’s brain is missing!

Most of you won’t remember Charley Whitman’s shooting spree off the Texas Tower.  And most of you also won’t remember Kinky Friedman’s song about it.

Hells bells, most of you aren’t going to be impressed the ex-Marine, ex-Eagle Scout’s brain is wandering around somewhere unaccounted for.    We’re not talking about Dr. Wossname, Frankenscense here.  These are the times that clone men’s souls if we don’t keep close track of where they get off to.

Leave it to the University of Texas to lose the only brain with any historical significance ever to set foot on the damned campus:

About 100 brains missing from University of Texas

Associated Press
6 hrs ago
The University of Texas at Austin is missing about 100 brains — about half of the specimens the university had in a collection of brains preserved in jars of formaldehyde. © Nick Koudis/Getty The University of Texas at Austin is missing about 100 brains — about half of the specimens the university had in a collection of brains preserved in jars of formaldehyde. The University of Texas at Austin is missing about 100 brains — about half of the specimens the university had in a collection of brains preserved in jars of formaldehyde.

One of the missing brains is believed to have belonged to clock tower sniper Charles Whitman.

“We think somebody may have taken the brains, but we don’t know at all for sure,” psychology Professor Tim Schallert, co-curator of the collection, told the Austin American-Statesman (http://bit.ly/11R7vym ).

His co-curator, psychology Professor Lawrence Cormack, said, “It’s entirely possible word got around among undergraduates and people started swiping them for living rooms or Halloween pranks.”

The Austin State Hospital had transferred the brains to the university about 28 years ago under a “temporary possession” agreement. Schallert said his psychology lab had room for only 100 brains, so the rest were moved to the basement of the university’s Animal Resources Center.

“They are no longer in the basement,” Cormack said.

The university said in a statement that it will investigate “the circumstances surrounding this collection since it came here nearly 30 years ago” and that it’s “committed to treating the brain specimens with respect.” It says the remaining brain specimens on campus are used “as a teaching tool and carefully curated by faculty.”

The university’s agreement with the hospital required the school to remove any data that might identify the person from whom the brain came. However, Schallert said Whitman’s brain likely was part of the collection.

“It would make sense it would be in this group. We can’t find that brain,” he said.

Whitman’s 1966 rampage at the University of Texas killed 16 people, including his mother and wife.

The 100 remaining brains at the school have been moved to the Norman Hackerman Building, where they are being scanned with high-resolution resonance imaging equipment, Cormack said.

“These MRI images will be both useful teaching and research tools. It keeps the brains intact,” he told the newspaper.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/world/about-100-brains-missing-from-university-of-texas/ar-BBggiWW?ocid=ansnewsap11

A brain, though, is a terrible thing to waste.  Hopefully someone out there will make better use of this one than the last two owners.

Old Jules

 

 

A matter of perspective – Photoshopped beheading isn’t necessarily permanent

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

People tell one another, or are told, and naturally come to believe there’s something barbaric about beheading as a form of execution.  Which is merely an example of cultural brainwashing, as opposed to the reality of barbarism.  I’m trying to recall how many British nobility I could actually name who exited the vehicle by that method.  A fair lot.

And as long as the French used the death penalty, up well into the 20th Century, the guillotine was the tool of choice because headsman skills with an axe were iffy, at best.  But the while French have never been precisely non-barbaric, barbarism isn’t one of the traits everyone else likes least about them.

Anyway, so these folks in the Middle East who aren’t Israeli citizens are possibly beheading some people they want to kill instead of shooting them or blowing their arms and legs off with artillery.  That probably isn’t a defining behavior separating barbarians from non-barbarians.  As nearly as I can tell everyone in the Middle East, including Americans visiting there, US military, Israeli, Muslim, you name it, is either barbaric, or is closely related to barbarians by blood.

So, Steven Sotloff.  Maybe the what?  Islamists?  Killed this Israeli with a dual-citizenship that included the United States and stood a middling good chance of also being a Mossad agent.  Sotloff.  Maybe.

If Sotloff’s dead, and if he’s dead from being beheaded, and if it was Islamists who beheaded him, well, heck.  They thought he was an Israeli!  A Mossad agent!  What would any non-Israeli in that part of the world do if they caught a Mossad agent?  They’d be crazy not to.

But you can’t trust anything that comes out of that part of the world.  A growing body of opinion among conspiracy theorists has both of those recent orange jumpsuited beheadings as photoshopped phonies.  Among those believing that, a lot also believe the studio where the beheading video drama was created is in Israel.  And that if anyone is dead as a result, the cadavers are in Israel.

 If, in fact, these individuals are dead, then it is up to the Israeli government to return their bodies. If, as is much more likely the case, at least one or these videos is a hoax, a hoax with dead victims, a hoax with live victims, but certainly a hoax, no doubt about that, some authority inside Israel, preferably one not directly involved in the hoax itself, should investigate, should such an authority exist at some point in the future, which we find unlikely.

We have had so many hoaxes all out of Israel, all from the same people, all sent through the same scammers in the US, that getting to the bottom of this one took less than five minutes. Think “Rita Katz.”

This is the third outing for the designer orange silk “jump suits” thus far. Last year they were the rage in Tel Aviv shops, today they are all about beheadings. There is one problem, not that Alex Jones and InfoWars reporting the Foley beheading was a phony, a position the US State Department is now reconsidering as well, warned us off the story.

The problem is “Site Intelligence,” better known to insiders as “bin Laden Studios,” the Israeli video fakery group that kept turning out bin Laden videos, short fat bin Ladens, old ones, young ones, then, eventually, only audio tapes, as though bin Laden, confirmed to have died in 2001 after denying, according to the CIA, all involvement in 9/11, had magically come back to life.

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/09/02/make-israel-stop-beheading-journalists/

So, the burning question is, is a fake beheading still barbaric?  Is it only barbaric if Muslims fake the video, or is it also barbaric if Israeli photoshoppers trump it up for reasons almost certainly manipulative at a level nearing barbarianhood?

Nevermind all those 40,000 people with destroyed homes in Gaza, the be-leggings and be-armings of children, women, old folks, even [gasp] regular non-Hamas men killed and maimed of late.

I’m only interested in barbarism of a particular nature.  I want it clean and well lighted, performed by Arab-looking people.

Old Jules

Gaza’s natural gas ownership – Finally it all makes sense – Is Hamas run by the Mossad?

Hi readers.  I’ve been confused for approximately a long time wondering why a country full of people as intelligent as Israelis, and as savvy as Palestinians throughout history could not get along and live in peace.  It just never made any sense.

The last series of Israeli attacks against Gaza seemed all completely out of sinc with reality.  I knew Israel was land hungry and settling a lot of land outside its established boundaries, but there’s a limit to how far that could go.  I just couldn’t understand it.

Then I decided to learn what I don’t know, did a lot of reading and websearching.  Came across this.  Suddenly things made a lot more sense.

Follow the money.   Maybe Israel’s letting Hamas leaders have villas somewhere for cooperating by offering them an excuse to invade Gaza again.   The cost of a few rockets and everyone gets rich.

Stealing all that natural gas money belonging to Palestine naturally requires baksheese, greasing some palms.  Everyone’s used to it.    Everyone wins.

Old Jules

http://globalresearch.ca/war-and-natural-gas-the-israeli-invasion-and-gaza-s-offshore-gas-fields/11680

War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

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War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza's Offshore Gas Fields

Five years ago, Israel invaded Gaza under “Operation Cast Lead”.

The following article was first published by Global Research in January 2009 at the height of the Israeli bombing and invasion under Operation Cast Lead.

In the wake of the invasion, Palestinian gas fields were de facto confiscated by Israel in derogation of international law

A year following “Operation Cast Lead”, Tel Aviv announced the discovery of the Leviathan natural gas field in the Eastern Mediterranean “off the coast of Israel.”

At the time the gas field was: “ … the most prominent field ever found in the sub-explored area of the Levantine Basin, which covers about 83,000 square kilometres of the eastern Mediterranean region.” (i)

Coupled with Tamar field, in the same location, discovered in 2009, the prospects are for an energy bonanza for Israel, for Houston, Texas based Noble Energy and partners Delek Drilling, Avner Oil Exploration and Ratio Oil Exploration. (See Felicity Arbuthnot, Israel: Gas, Oil and Trouble in the Levant, Global Research, December 30, 2013

The Gazan gas fields are part of the broader Levant assessment area.

What is now unfolding is the integration of these adjoining gas fields including those belonging to Palestine into the orbit of Israel. (see map below).

It should be noted that the entire Eastern Mediterranean coastline extending from Egypt’s Sinai to Syria constitutes an area encompassing large gas as well as oil reserves.

Michel Chossudovsky, January 3, 2014


War and Natural Gas: The Israeli Invasion and Gaza’s Offshore Gas Fields

by Michel Chossudovsky

January 8, 2009

The December 2008 military invasion of the Gaza Strip by Israeli Forces bears a direct relation to the control and ownership of strategic offshore gas reserves.

This is a war of conquest. Discovered in 2000, there are extensive gas reserves off the Gaza coastline.

British Gas (BG Group) and its partner, the Athens based Consolidated Contractors International Company (CCC) owned by Lebanon’s Sabbagh and Koury families, were granted oil and gas exploration rights in a 25 year agreement signed in November 1999 with the Palestinian Authority.

The rights to the offshore gas field are respectively British Gas (60 percent); Consolidated Contractors (CCC) (30 percent); and the Investment Fund of the Palestinian Authority (10 percent). (Haaretz, October 21, 2007).

The PA-BG-CCC agreement includes field development and the construction of a gas pipeline.(Middle East Economic Digest, Jan 5, 2001).

The BG licence covers the entire Gazan offshore marine area, which is contiguous to several Israeli offshore gas facilities. (See Map below). It should be noted that 60 percent of the gas reserves along the Gaza-Israel coastline belong to Palestine.

The BG Group drilled two wells in 2000: Gaza Marine-1 and Gaza Marine-2. Reserves are estimated by British Gas to be of the order of 1.4 trillion cubic feet, valued at approximately 4 billion dollars. These are the figures made public by British Gas. The size of Palestine’s gas reserves could be much larger.


Map 1

Map 2

Who Owns the Gas Fields

The issue of sovereignty over Gaza’s gas fields is crucial. From a legal standpoint, the gas reserves belong to Palestine.

The death of Yasser Arafat, the election of the Hamas government and the ruin of the Palestinian Authority have enabled Israel to establish de facto control over Gaza’s offshore gas reserves.

British Gas (BG Group) has been dealing with the Tel Aviv government. In turn, the Hamas government has been bypassed in regards to exploration and development rights over the gas fields.

The election of Prime Minister Ariel Sharon in 2001 was a major turning point. Palestine’s sovereignty over the offshore gas fields was challenged in the Israeli Supreme Court. Sharon stated unequivocally that “Israel would never buy gas from Palestine” intimating that Gaza’s offshore gas reserves belong to Israel.

In 2003, Ariel Sharon, vetoed an initial deal, which would allow British Gas to supply Israel with natural gas from Gaza’s offshore wells. (The Independent, August 19, 2003)

The election victory of Hamas in 2006 was conducive to the demise of the Palestinian Authority, which became confined to the West Bank, under the proxy regime of Mahmoud Abbas.

In 2006, British Gas “was close to signing a deal to pump the gas to Egypt.” (Times, May, 23, 2007). According to reports, British Prime Minister Tony Blair intervened on behalf of Israel with a view to shunting the agreement with Egypt.

The following year, in May 2007, the Israeli Cabinet approved a proposal by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert “to buy gas from the Palestinian Authority.” The proposed contract was for $4 billion, with profits of the order of $2 billion of which one billion was to go the Palestinians.

Tel Aviv, however, had no intention on sharing the revenues with Palestine. An Israeli team of negotiators was set up by the Israeli Cabinet to thrash out a deal with the BG Group, bypassing both the Hamas government and the Palestinian Authority:

Israeli defence authorities want the Palestinians to be paid in goods and services and insist that no money go to the Hamas-controlled Government.” (Ibid, emphasis added)

The objective was essentially to nullify the contract signed in 1999 between the BG Group and the Palestinian Authority under Yasser Arafat.

Under the proposed 2007 agreement with BG, Palestinian gas from Gaza’s offshore wells was to be channeled by an undersea pipeline to the Israeli seaport of Ashkelon, thereby transferring control over the sale of the natural gas to Israel.

The deal fell through. The negotiations were suspended:

”Mossad Chief Meir Dagan opposed the transaction on security grounds, that the proceeds would fund terror”. (Member of Knesset Gilad Erdan, Address to the Knesset on “The Intention of Deputy Prime Minister Ehud Olmert to Purchase Gas from the Palestinians When Payment Will Serve Hamas,” March 1, 2006, quoted in Lt. Gen. (ret.) Moshe Yaalon, Does the Prospective Purchase of British Gas from Gaza’s Coastal Waters Threaten Israel’s National Security? Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, October 2007)

Israel’s intent was to foreclose the possibility that royalties be paid to the Palestinians. In December 2007, The BG Group withdrew from the negotiations with Israel and in January 2008 they closed their office in Israel.(BG website).

Invasion Plan on The Drawing Board

The invasion plan of the Gaza Strip under “Operation Cast Lead” was set in motion in June 2008, according to Israeli military sources:

“Sources in the defense establishment said Defense Minister Ehud Barak instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare for the operation over six months ago [June or before June] , even as Israel was beginning to negotiate a ceasefire agreement with Hamas.”(Barak Ravid, Operation “Cast Lead”: Israeli Air Force strike followed months of planning, Haaretz, December 27, 2008)

That very same month, the Israeli authorities contacted British Gas, with a view to resuming crucial negotiations pertaining to the purchase of Gaza’s natural gas:

“Both Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler agreed to inform BG of Israel’s wish to renew the talks.

The sources added that BG has not yet officially responded to Israel’s request, but that company executives would probably come to Israel in a few weeks to hold talks with government officials.” (Globes online- Israel’s Business Arena, June 23, 2008)

The decision to speed up negotiations with British Gas (BG Group) coincided, chronologically, with the planning of the invasion of Gaza initiated in June. It would appear that Israel was anxious to reach an agreement with the BG Group prior to the invasion, which was already in an advanced planning stage.

Moreover, these negotiations with British Gas were conducted by the Ehud Olmert government with the knowledge that a military invasion was on the drawing board. In all likelihood, a new “post war” political-territorial arrangement for the Gaza strip was also being contemplated by the Israeli government.

In fact, negotiations between British Gas and Israeli officials were ongoing in October 2008, 2-3 months prior to the commencement of the bombings on December 27th.

In November 2008, the Israeli Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of National Infrastructures instructed Israel Electric Corporation (IEC) to enter into negotiations with British Gas, on the purchase of natural gas from the BG’s offshore concession in Gaza. (Globes, November 13, 2008)

“Ministry of Finance director general Yarom Ariav and Ministry of National Infrastructures director general Hezi Kugler wrote to IEC CEO Amos Lasker recently, informing him of the government’s decision to allow negotiations to go forward, in line with the framework proposal it approved earlier this year.

The IEC board, headed by chairman Moti Friedman, approved the principles of the framework proposal a few weeks ago. The talks with BG Group will begin once the board approves the exemption from a tender.” (Globes Nov. 13, 2008)

Gaza and Energy Geopolitics

The military occupation of Gaza is intent upon transferring the sovereignty of the gas fields to Israel in violation of international law.

What can we expect in the wake of the invasion?

What is the intent of Israel with regard to Palestine’s Natural Gas reserves?

A new territorial arrangement, with the stationing of Israeli and/or “peacekeeping” troops?

The militarization of the entire Gaza coastline, which is strategic for Israel?

The outright confiscation of Palestinian gas fields and the unilateral declaration of Israeli sovereignty over Gaza’s maritime areas?

If this were to occur, the Gaza gas fields would be integrated into Israel’s offshore installations, which are contiguous to those of the Gaza Strip. (See Map 1 above).

These various offshore installations are also linked up to Israel’s energy transport corridor, extending from the port of Eilat, which is an oil pipeline terminal, on the Red Sea to the seaport – pipeline terminal at Ashkelon, and northwards to Haifa, and eventually linking up through a proposed Israeli-Turkish pipeline with the Turkish port of Ceyhan.

Ceyhan is the terminal of the Baku, Tblisi Ceyhan Trans Caspian pipeline. “What is envisaged is to link the BTC pipeline to the Trans-Israel Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline, also known as Israel’s Tipline.” (See Michel Chossudovsky, The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, Global Research, July 23, 2006)


Map 3

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