THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 353 March 14 - 20 , 2005
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March 14, 2005
Well, we had a successful filming of a proposed show that will talk about the future. I'll let you know when I know more and know what I can say.
|This week:||Tuesday, March
Dr. Possony, one of the great men of the last century, was co-author of The Protracted Conflict, the blueprint for surviving the Seventy Years War sometimes known as the Cold War, and one of the most important members of the various Reagan "kitchen cabinets" whihc devised the Strategic Defense Initiative to force the USSR into protecting its strategic offensive capability and thus stretching its commitments beyond its economic means. Possony, Pournelle, and Francis X. Kane were the authors of The Strategy of Technology, which is available on this web site and which I will shortly have available in pdf format through Amazon. Dr. Possony died in 1995 at the age of 82, having lived to see his work completed with the collapse of the USSR and the liberation of East Germany including Leipzig where he has once lived. He had long been ill as a result of a second stroke. He could understand what was going on, but he couldn't express himself, which caused extreme frustration.
He's been gone a long time; and I still very much miss the old fox.
In case you missed it, do not overlook the MIT Course Materials available free on line. There are also McGill course lectures, and the George Mosse Lectures. This is a lot of good material available for home schoolers and others.
We are out at Alex's house to feed the Cat and hook after things. lam using the pen to do This and is works well, but the Cat resents the attention I give this. She thinks I am here to pet The Cat, Not play with Computers.
Robert Blake Not guilty, the radio Says. Jury Nullification in action, I Would think.
Back home but we have more errands, more later.
My guess is that if California had the old Scottish verdict of "Not Proven" that is what they would have returned in the Blake case. And see mail.
March 17, 2005
St. Patrick's Day
As if anyone needs reminding.
When as President of the Science Fiction Writers of America I proposed the Grand Master Award, I specified that it go to "living authors whose body of works have greatly and beneficially influenced the profession." The first Grand Master was awarded to Robert Heinlein. Alice Andre Norton received hers not long after, and given the specification it is hard to think of many who deserved it more. There is more in mail.
There is a short disquisition on reading and phonics over in mail.
There is a lengthy defense of the Bush Iraq policy and my reply in mail.
March 18, 2005
His February 1946 Long Telegram from Moscow set the stage for the US policy of Containment as opposed to confrontation, liberation, or rollback, and greatly influenced Truman, who had grown to despise Stalin and Stalinism. Although Truman did not hesitate to threaten nuclear war when he believed vital interests were at stake, Kennan's analysis convinced him that the USSR would eventually fall of its own weight.
Much of the telegram appeared a year later in Foreign Affairs magazine under the authorship of "Mister X."
Possony and Strausz-Hupe had worked together in the Pentagon (in 1959 with Wm Kintner they wrote and published The Protracted Conflict, an intellectual justification of Containment as a strategy and an explication of some of its implications). In 1945 they had urged Forrestal to seek advice from those knowledgeable about the USSR. Possony, as an intelligence specialist, was particularly concerned about the unreliability of information from the USSR. Forrestal, who was greatly influenced by Churchill's growing concerns over Stalin and the future expansion of Soviet Russia, was concerned about the future of Europe, and asked Strausz-Hupe to look into the matter. When Kennan's telegram outlined a strategy of containment, as opposed to US full-scale commitment to Europe (which both Possony and Strausz-Hupe believed would result in American hegemony with Europe reduced to a province of America), both Forrestal and Truman were prepared to accept Containment as a welcome alternative to American Imperialism.
Kennan had a long and varied career. After the Iranian invasion of the US Embassy he advocated in Congressional testimony that the US response should have been a Declaration of War. This astonished many, given his opposition to many US activities that stemmed from adoption of Containment in The Truman Doctrine. Kennan never formally abandoned containment as a policy, but his influence waned rapidly after the USSR declared him persona non grata in 1952. He was Ambassador at the time, and compared life in the US embassy to a Nazi concentration camp.
Over the years Kennan came to symbolize the liberal "dovish" position to many, but as his testimony after the Tehran Incident indicates, he could surprise everyone.
He was easily one of the ten most influential diplomats in US history.
And if you are looking for something to do, go spy on the wildlife.
Subject: Holy Smokes! The *Guardian*: reality trembles!
Which demonstrates that the Guardian is more sensible than the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University; which raises the question, why would one want to attend an institution whose faculty is demonstrably anti-scientific and possibly feeble-minded, having to hide behind clichés and denunciations for fear of engaging in rational discourse?
I seem to have a mild infection in my hand, and I'll be off to the medicos.
Turns out it was nothing, and my doctors are more than satisfied with my recovery. As well to go have them take a look, though.
I am not sure I understand the almighty urge to kill Terri Shaivo, or torture the husk. Many experts have concluded that she is already dead. So what? If she is already dead, then keeping her alive does no harm beyond financial. Why the insistence on killing her? If she is not already dead, then this is murder. The only party who seems certain that she wants to be dead is not disinterested, and stands to make some money when she's gone; certainly there are no documents or third party witnesses.
It is probably not the business of the Congress. Reluctantly I have to agree that this is a state matter. But the people of Florida have some decisions to make.
Wouldn't it be more humane to auction off the right to shoot her? That would get it over quick, provide someone with the satisfaction of committing legal murder, save a physician the trouble of removing the feeding tube, and raise enough money to bury her. But as it is, we will get to watch her die of thirst on television. I hope that she is properly instrumented. We should not lose this opportunity to gather new data on starvation and thirst. Perhaps some other experiments could be performed in the two weeks it will take her to die.
Of course the Grand Jury in the district where this is taking place has the right to indict those responsible for willful murder by torture. I wonder if anyone has told the Foreman? Or does the new found regard for local rights extend that far, or only far enough to kill this woman in the name of freedom?
If you have not read the account of how spammers use worms, go look at mail.
I may be missing a point I don't see, but I would have thought that it was fairly obvious that, absent unambiguous evidence to the contrary, husbands do not have the right to decide that their wives want to die, and to cause their deaths; that the presumption is that the state is obliged to protect people from those seeking to kill them. There can be exceptions to this, but that is the default.
In the Schiavo case we have two ambiguities: unless I have missed something, the only evidence of her wishes is the word of her husband; there are no documents, nor testimony by third parties; and second, whether or not she is in a "persistent vegetative state" is not entirely clear. Certainly the probability is that she's gone and will never recover; but she's not comatose.
He husband makes no sense, as he rails at the people interfering in his life who know nothing about him. I don't know anything about most murder victims, or their murderers; I don't know anything about most child abusers, or their victims; surely that is no reason not to intervene? He resents the interference, but then most people who are prevented from doing something they want to do resent the interference. That's not much of an argument.
The principles seem clear to me: in our nation, at least, there is a presumptive right to the protection of the state against attempts on your life. You may waive that right, but it is not easily done, and your intent needs to be clear and unambiguous. You may delegate that right to someone else, but again that delegation needs to be clear and unambiguous. The reasons for this should be obvious.
As to the principle of State's Rights, I have not read the decision on which this judge has overturned the Florida legislature's act granting the governor the right to determine her fate. (see mail) If he has done so on some grounds of US Constitutional rights, then he has, I would think, made it a Federal case by over-ruling a state legislature. I had not supposed that the principle of State's Rights was one of establishing the supremacy of the State Judiciary over its Legislature, nor do I suppose that John Calhoun would have supposed so. State's Rights, it seems to me, establishes the supremacy of a State Legislature except when the will of that legislature conflicts with a properly made Act of Congress. I would not have thought that Judicial Supremacy was a principle that appeals to very many, although some political groups have been happy enough to accept gifts from the courts.
If this judge is upholding some State Constitutional right, then Florida has an odd state constitution, because most states don't concede the right of the judiciary to supremacy over the legislature.
Judicial power is Royal Power -- the very word "Court" ought to convey that -- and the early states of this union were quite reluctant to hand judges the power to nullify the decisions of legislatures. The Congress of the United States is the actual sovereign of this nation, and possesses the power to dismiss every single judge and officer in the land. It is also the Grand Inquest of the Nation. Sometimes we forget that. It may be that this case will revive some interest in such matters. Perhaps it would be better not to have such a revival.
March 20, 2005
The Wagner Society meets in the Wilshire district at the Goethe Institute. We have never been there. Finding it is interesting. The car was inspected for bombs before we could park. Not intrusive, but interesting.
Lecture on Parsifal with excerpts.
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 8,000 - 12,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here. This site is run on the "public radio" model; see below.
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