.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Unpopular Ideas

Ramblings and Digressions from out of left field, and beyond....

Location: Piedmont of Virginia, United States

All human history, and just about everything else as well, consists of a never-ending struggle against ignorance.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Uninformative from Istanbul

In a symphony the opening passage usually states the theme of at least the first movement if not of the whole piece, and then what comes afterward explores and elaborates on that theme.   The same process is also good practice in journalism.

But this morning the BBC is running an article from I presume one of its chief reporters in Istanbul, in which the first paragraph reads:

 The Israeli commando raid on a Turkish ship carrying aid to Gaza has seen Turkey in the role of mouthpiece for the fury of the Muslim world. But once this week's passions have cooled, it may be in Turkey's interests to repair relations with Israel.

 And he says the very same thing in the very ending of the article.  Yet between those two key points of any written account, nowhere in the body of the article does he say one thing about why those relations need to be repaired.   The view that he gives instead of how Turkey's former secular tendencies are now being slowly pushed aside by religion-oriented forces is interesting and informative, but it doesn't in any way expand on the theme that he had stated.

I'm guessing that this guy has never heard a classical symphony, or that if he did, he wasn't paying attention to how a symphony, or an article that is supposed to be informative, is structured -- unless he was just clumsily flinging a couple of obligatory salutes in certain directions that are not easy to determine from here. 

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Time Life Art Library

A long while ago, maybe as many as 25 years, when I was actively painting, here in Virginia, I got ahold of an art book called "The World of Vermeer."   It was loaned to me by L.  Now sadly long deceased, L. was the first wife of K., the potter across the road, who later got another wife with the same first name.  L. the 1st had inherited this book from her father, who had subscribed in 1966 to a whole series of such books, put out by the Time/Life Art Library.   (If "Life," like "Time," may not still exist, it was a very big magazine in its day, an oversized weekly or monthly that specialized in news photos.)

      I fell in love with that book about Vermeer and his times.   It introduced me to my favorite period of painting, the Dutch painting in the middle 1600's.   Plus it had a lot of wonderful photos of works from that era, some of which, at some peril to my eyes, I introduced into my own paintings, when I conceived the idea of following the time-hnored practice of copying the Old Masters in order to learn things.   For instance I did one painting that is close to 6 feet long by 4 feet high, and about a quarter of it is taken up by a copy I painted in, of a still life by a guy named de Heem, which has a very tight composition of a lobster and many other interesting things to eat and to see, such as watches and wine glasses, and I think that picture turned out great, if I do say so myself.

. When I saw that this Vermeer book was one of a series, I went around to used book stores and collected others, until eventually I had 13, all of other Old Masters , and in nearly new condition, with each enclosed in an attractive, sturdy slip cover.

 I didn't know how many were in the series, but as more  time passed and I didn't see any others, I assumed that I had most of them.   So I was surprised when just the other day, I discovered that though they took up more than a foot of my valuable bookshelf space, I still didn't have even half of that series, which eventually had amounted to 28!   And through the contiuing miracle of the Internet, I also learned that at this late date, I could still buy all the other 15, and in good condition though mostly used, as all the others I had also had been.

But this poses the classic dilemma of the wisdom of collecting.

I have collected a few things, and inherited a couple of others, but as I do exactly as much selling as I do traveling, which is almost none, having these collections has never been to my financial good, and so it's just for the feeling that I have them and that usually all that they contain is at hand. 

This raises questions that are even more acute now, because I am so old.   Is there some kind of misplaced vanity involved here?   Would it be wasting money?    If I gradually sent off to the numerous resellers at Amazon and got the rest of the series, would it matter any more now than it did 60 years ago for anything else?

The answers amount to a  "No," confided to myself with some trepidation.   But meanwhile I would get a lot of interesting reading, and that's something huge in itself.


This lstest epistle out to nowhere will mark my thousandth post in this weblog.

I don't know what to say.

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Continuing Legacy of Injustice

When you think about it, it's no wonder that the laws carry so much injustice.   They are always made and enforced by people from largely one group, and the strange thing is that these men with such absolute power over everybody else are barfbags that any decent, intelligent person would otherwise never want to invite over for dinner.   They are so uniform not only in outlook but also in appearance that at times they all seem to be family members of the same clan, being that they are almost all male, middle-aged, crusty, and able to boast of European forebears, and they are characterized by the biases that they hold against all the other groups that their legislative and judicial power gives them the ability to exercise, ostensibly in the name of law and order, but in reality more in the name of maintaining the dominance  of their own group.

This is the same group that comprised the only inhabitants who were allowed to vote when the country was founded, and much of the civics in the U.S. since then has involved struggles to allow first one additional group, then another, and another, to enjoy what should be an automatic privilege of citizenship without the need for anyone to have to fight for it.

This is what is meant when the rightists of today yell and scream and roar and rage  about wanting "to take the country back."   They want to take it back all right -- all the way back to the late 18th century, when, after Independence,  injustice was still largely the law of the land, to be borne and endured by all but the favored few.


Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fighting Drought

For various reasons I have discovered that joining in the community garden was probably not the best idea, and one reason is the timing.   Last year when I was not involved, they had plenty of rain, in the spring and in the summer.   But this year there was one long drought period in the spring, and we're in the grip of a much longer one now, as July approaches.

But I'm not surprised.   When I was doing some serious vegetable gardening, alone on my own property, some years ago, June was usually the driest month.   So I keep hoping for better in July and later.   Meanwhile we've been forced to do a lot of watering, flying against the wisdom of some older heads, who will say that once you start watering you have to keep at it, which implies that it's better just to leave things in the hands of the heavens, and if that means letting the garden die, so be it.

But with so much invested in it, we, and I especially, are not about to let this garden die.

When two other families started the community garden last year, G., who with his wife C. owns the field in which the garden is located, parked his beat-up old pickup behind the garden permanently, with a 250-gallon plastic tank mounted on its bed.   He refills it by going to the river about 3 miles away and pumping water into the tank from there.

My contribution is to use a smaller, stainless steel tank that used to be one of my honey storage tanks.  It holds 600 pounds of honey, which, because honey weighs 12 pounds to the gallon as opposed to 8.34 pounds per gallon of water, translates to about 50 gallons of water.   (Or 71.  I'm not sure.   My figures keep coming out differently, depending on how much of a daze I'm in at the time.)   I have to use the truck to get to the garden anyway, and it's the height of ease to fill the tank from my well, which is really more of an underground spring.  It stores only the water that is in the two-inch casing, and instead taps into an underground vein of water which so far, in about 30 years, has never run dry, and the same can't be said of the conventional deep wells of up to 300 feet or more that everybody else around here uses.

But yesterday I did something that I really didn't want to do, and that was to water my three 40-foot rows of a variety of supersweet corn called "Bodacious, whose seeds are sold by Gurney's.   But the corn and the melons, along with a couple of other crops, mainly the squash, are the only reasons I got into this gardening thing again this year, and the corn, though still looking good, was starting to look just a wee bit frazzled around its edges, in this drought and the temps of about 90 F every day, though it is already more than shoulder high and so exceeds the old rhyme about it's a good sign when the corn is knee high on the 4th of July.  And so yesterday was the first time that I completely emptied my stainless steel water tank.

But I think I can continue to fight this thing out, as long as my well pump and my truck hold out, and if the drought doesn't get too ridiculous.

About eight years ago we had the only drought since we've been here that caused the creek to run dry, except for a short stretch of about 80 feet near where my 19-foot, self-drilled shallow well is located.   That was a good year around here for the drillers of deep wells, and there is still time for a repeat of that, or worse.

But I still hope, and even expect, that this will be a good year for my corn and melons.  I've found that at any rate, a dry year is better for watermelons and cantaloupes than wet ones.   You can at least control the amount of water the plants get when it doesn't rain much.   But nothing can be done when Mother Nature decides to get extra generous with her gifts from above, as she already did so profusely with the snow this past winter.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Visible Minorities

Twenty years ago, from what I could gather by watching CBC on my satellite dish, Canadians regularly showed their awareness of the realities of the ethnic situation in their country by referring to the darker-skinned elements of their population as "visible minorities."  I don't know if they still do.  Probably not.  Probably they have shifted closer to the more retarded proclivities of their southern neighbor, as shown by the Canadians' recent tendencies to betray themselves by too often choosing conservative prime ministers.   (More than once is too often.)   But in the U.S. the term "visible minority" has never been used, as far as I know.  That would have given too much dignity, if only a little, to the subject group.

I was reminded of this while I was thinking about two people in who have won Democratic nominations in two chronically blighted southern states for high public office that would carry them to Washington.  The sharper of the two is a lady in Texas who apparently had an operation in which she had her normal brain functions replaced with a concentrate of LaRouche-style libertarianism, while the other is a raging male inarticulate in South Carolina.

I notice that usually the news reports on these two carefully do not mention that both seem to have African ancestry dating from the slave days.   But the media posts pictures that strongly suggest just that, that they are members of a minority group, and the most visible one at that.

So is it wrong of me, while on my way to making my main point here, also to mention them as being Rainbows?   (Or "black" to those of you with less command of the language as used to express the real realities.)   Am I going against the conceit that the rightists try to use, about "race" no longer mattering in "post-racial" American, when the truth is that there is no such thing as an America without racism, and quite possibly can never be, as long as it contains groups all contending with each other for respect of one kind or another, and in some cases even for supremacy.

Very well, I will go against this conceit, because it seems all too obvious that the male South Carolinian is a plant by the Republican party, with the clear intention of using his oafishness to embarrass the Democrats in particular and Rainbows in general, because this guy looks even more inept than all the other Rainbow Judas goats who have thrown in their lot with the Republicans in the past, while the Texas woman, though also ostensibly running as a Democrat, has positions that are much closer to the deadly right-wing end of things than those of any Democrat worthy of the name, and whoever is backing her hopes to use her ethnicity to win the post and then to put in policies that are anathema to the aspirations of a visible minority that has long struggled to come out of the darkness and take its rightful, equally favored spot in the sun.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Literary Progress Report

I know that I haven't been very diligent about reporting how certain things came out, after I had brought them up.   One has been the novel on which i had already done a lot of work long ago but had had great difficulty in even thinking about finishing, for personal reasons, and was far from reaching that point
       Back on May 10 I reported that I was launching an effort to push ahead with that project, strraight through to the end, using the "three-sentence" method of writing at least that many and most days more, through rain, shine, or social obligation every day.  And I'm happy to report that I'm still at it, and have gotten deep into the third chapter, out of the nine projected, very nearly without fail.  I think, but I was never sure, that I did stumble one night and fell asleep without writing anything.   To make up for that, on the following day I put in two sessions instead of one, and  I also largely abandoned my preiious practice of writing in the hours just before midnight.   Now I do it in the morning, which makes it possible for me to go on for the rest of the day with that load comfortably off my mind.

To bat, at the same time I've also even managed to do the same with another novel that's in the same monster series as that one but much farther along in it, numerically speaking.   I just work on that one in another part of my long, uneventful days, here at the time of the summer solstice.

     I am able to do this because, being just a little more than a month away from what figures to be my 79th year, I have been blessed, and all the writing demons that regularly stalk, maim, and sometimes even kill all those younger than me have now given up and slunk away, so that, with absolutely nothing at stake anymore, it all should be clear sailing from here on out.

     Of course there was never was anything at stake in the first place
    But it must take a lifetime to become convinced of that.   At least it has taken that long in my case.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Five in One Tree

Because I live in that state, a Virginia section shows whenever I bring up Google News.   With the guaranteed freezing dead state induced in things whenever Republicans are in power, the normal functioning of life in Virginia has seemingly come almost to a halt, and that is reflected in the news items that Google News chooses to show, with some of these staying in view for as long as two and maybe even three weeks, compared to the turnover of just a few hours in the rest of the site.

For two weeks Google News has been running a story on five Army parachutists who had to be rescued by civilian teams after they got hung up in the same tree while in training.

I had been avoiding reading this story because I thought it was too ridiculous and would not be a story at all.   But finally, with the end of the two weeks drawing near, today I'd thought I'd read it, and it was just what I had expected.

The printed story was short and the accompanying video finked out on my machine.   But nowhere did I see any light cast on how five parachute jumpers could all come down together in the small space occupied by only one tree, no matter how large it was, and actually it had to have been in an even smaller space, because if there were five jumpers, it stood to reason that a couple would land in the thinner, outer parts of the branches and would fall through.  What!   Had they come down in exact single file, I mean really exact, vertically?

This incident just didn't hang together, and nobody over Virginia Beach way, near where this happened, was interested in doing what the media is supposed to do, giving the full poop.

--Well, they gave the poop all right, but it was mostly shots of the rescue teams shoving their fancy gear into their trucks, preparatory to going out to Fort Story to do the job.   Also there were a few shots of tall trees, but none showing five Army guys clutching trunks and branches for dear life,  high up in one tree, or even low up.

The reporters probably photographed the trees in some other spot anyway, closer to the city.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

Try as I might -- and admittedly I'm not trying very hard -- I still can't see the usefulness of constantly excoriating British Petroleum (BP) for the current escape of large amounts of oil from the leaking pipe of a well that had been drilled deep under the Gulf of Mexico. It seems that about half the oil still being emitted from the well is being "captured" under water and siphoned up to tankers, though that still leaves large amounts getting out and spreading to distant places with the water.

The spill is always called the "BP oil spill" and nothing else.   That shows that all the attention is being focused on keeping the blame firmly fixed, with additional attacks being leveled in any direction that various forces can use to bolster their questionable causes.   Meanwhile there's no need to know anything else about the disaster other than BP is involved, important stuff, such as where the well is located, and the notion that people could be trying hard to stop the leak, using all sorts of methods, none of which can be easy or guaranteed to work under almost a mile of that poisonous, corrosive stuff called seawater.

I think people forget that BP and others are not dealing here with a few buckets of water of the kind drawn from their faucets.   Salt water is an acid, a diluted one but an acid nevertheless, miles upon miles upon square miles of it, yet of which we can't even take a few sips without getting into big bodily trouble.

I, however, assume that BP is a big corporation, and I assume that big corporations are interested in only one thing: making huge amounts of money, and I can't see how they can possibly be doing that, behind this.  Instead BP has clearly been losing huge amounts of everything -- cash, good public relations, and the crude -- and efforts are being made to extract gigantic additional funds from them long after the gusher stops gushing.  So, much as I would like to be sympathetic with the seaside dwellers, it's actually more to BP's interest than it is to anyone else to see that this thing is cleared up as fast as possible, and it's hard to see what could be in it for them to be doing anything else.

      (I'm being sarcastic with that "sympathy" bit, remembering how the seacoasts nearly everywhere in the U.S. are basically exclusive sites, covered end to end by owners who make it difficult for people who live elsewhere to get even a distant glimpse of the water, much less to take a romp in it -- have you ever been to Lake Tahoe, at least the California side?  The birds and fish are another matter, and they add to the list of the numerous creatures who throughout have been the victims of humankind's folly in always trying to make things easy and plentiful for themselves, at the expense of the rest of the planet, since they were instructed to do that by God, right?)

     And that leads to the other reason why I don't think BP should bear all the brunt.   It's the fault of us all, of civilization, for relying so heavily on a resource that should've been tapped only with the greatest of care, and not in such large quantities, as if we've trying to use it all up before future generations can get a shot at it.  And especially not by getting it from holes drilled under large bodies of water.   It's just the nature of petroleum and of the industries extracting and transporting and refining and using it that there are always going to be spills and escapes of various undesirable substances into places where they can only do harm, from the wells all the way to the fumes emitted by the cars and the other gas-driven machines that serve us.  Civilization is a pleasant luxury, much of the time, but it involves incurring debts of much more than cash that can only be repaid with extreme pain.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Failure to Notice

The BBC News has an interesting article on our failure to notice changes in the scenes that confront us at every moment, especially where our vision is concerned.  Of course it relates to a scientific study that has been made on this situation, and the conclusion of the whole matter seems to be that it happens because we focus on particular things that, for one reason or another, grab our attention, while we ignore the rest, which is not that earth-shaking a conclusion.

My question is: how could it be otherwise?   All the senses are limited in some way, and they're not designed to be all-sweeping, not to mention all-reporting to the brain.   And the brain has to be discriminating in what it chooses to dwell upon, or else there would be a big mess going on up there eternally.

The studiers have devised a game that they use to test the failure to notice.   Meanwhile note that the article that I cite here is titled "How Blind to Change Are You?"   But I don't like the term the researchers are using for this phenomenon or malady, "blindness to change," because I have to take eyedrops twice a day for the duration, to keep glaucoma under control, and "blind" is not one of my favorite words.  The article had a couple of videos that were like that game, but I couldn't bring myself to use them to test myself.  Yet I would very much like to get a copy of that game and to play it, because the failure to notice is a regular bugaboo of my life.  And probably the biggest effect of it is to be constantly losing things that, more often than not, are right there in front of me.  I hate to think of how many of my waking hours are spent looking for missing things that are not missing at all.

So, even with studies like this one, it's hard to see what can be done about failure to notice.

This makes me think of films you see of various kinds of operatives in training to be spies, special forces teams, the CIA, and the like, in which supposedly these men are trained to notice each and every detail in each and every scene that they go through, during their missions of deception and mayhem.  

I always thought, and still think, that that is a big crock, just like the operations for which those people are in training.

But then, while on the one hand I tend to stay tightly focused on one thing or another, on the other hand I am easily distracted and diverted by what others may see as being highly extraneous, such as the sounds of birds and insects and the formations of clouds.

I see nothing wrong with that. 

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Our Wireless

After putting it off for a long time, the other day I finally bought a 150-ft network patch cable, so that I could run it on the ground from the Linksys router in my wife's computer room to the Linksys access point that I recently installed in my workshop,  which is higher on the slope than is the house, with the intention of enabling the old (relatively old) 1G Mhz computer that I have ganged with another computer with a newer motherboard, to go online, and also to see if I could extend the range of our WildBlue wireless enough to reach our neighbors across the road, a distance of about 600 feet as the wasp flies, who have agreed to go in halves with us on the cost if I could make it work.

Wildblue sells different strengths of wireless, at different costs, and right now we're paying 50 dollars a month for the satellite feed, using the little "pieplate" dish that's attached to the southern side of my workplace, about 10 feet high.   So if the neighbors could share with us, we could afford stronger wireless at a lower cost.

This dish thing is the best we can do for wireless in this technologically deprived part of this deeply rural county.  There aren't enough people here for something more, plus the numerous mountains that run helter-skelter all over the place make it necessary to put up a lot of towers that just aren't here just yet.   It's the same story with cellphones, and my wife barely uses the one she has, and I don't have one.   But then I rarely talk on the phone anyway, and I stay out of the way of most emergencies out on the road by rarely going anywhere, so that's no kind of a hardship for me personally, though it seems to me that the rest of humanity is slowly evolving with cellphones permanently grafted into their earlobes. 

At first that old computer still wouldn't go online (it's linked to the wireless by one of those Trendnet U.S.B. dongles that have the advantage of being interchangeable between computers simply by being plugged and unplugged).   But after some finagling with the Trendnet wireless utility, to my great joy I finally got it working, and all five parts of the little green indicator on the taskbar glowed, and the computer said that I was getting excellent reception.

So now I'm waiting till L. across the road brings her laptop home from her job, so that this can be tested.  Right now I'm optimistic.

Sanctions Against the Iranian Bomb

I have asked this question many times in the past but have never received an answer that makes any sense whatsoever.  You will look in vain for a clearcut explanation  by the media or the various governments.   Instead they all act as if it is a complete given that Iran should not be allowed to get such a bomb, period, end of story, with no clarification of any kind being needed or desired.

     But knowing that I have no chance of getting an answer now either, nevertheless I will ask it again.

     All five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council  have been sitting on huge stocks of those same weapons for years and even generations, and the most adamant of those nations actually used two such bombs to murder a gigantic number of Japanese civilians not long ago, relatively speaking, in 1945.   So the question is: what is it about iran that those nations can have the Bomb but Iran can't?  Al five -- the U.S., China, Russia, Britain, and France, plus countries that are weighing in heavily on the matter, such as Germany and Israel -- have black marks against them in the past of severities that can't be placed against any government of Iran, past or present.

What is the reason for this massive display of international necks being bent so out of shape?   Nothing reasonable can explain it.

It's true that Iran should be grateful for this attempt to keep it from bankrupting and ultimately poisoning itself by having such armament on hand.  But if they want to join the Big Baddies in the world in being so insane, it's their right to do so.   But you would think that the biggest countries in the world avoid looking like such dummies, in pushing the current U.N. resolution that would put sanctions against Iran because of a bomb that it doesn't even have. 

Besides being unfair in the extreme, that's totally nutty, and I don't ger it.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Happier with Age

Some researchers have decided that happiness increases with age.   They put it in terms of how people feel about themselves.   At age 18 people feel good in that respect, but as time goes on, that feeling drops, up to about 50, when they slowly start feeling better again, until, at age 85, they hit the same peak that they had enjoyed at 18.

I wouldn't be surprised to hear that a large number of people are highly displeased with this finding.   It violates their belief that old age is a curse to be avoided by any means possible, even by shooting one's self early, if not with bullets, then with any other indulgence that offers itself.

I think that's mainly because of the appearance thing.

As for the finding, that at least has been my experience, though I think speaking in terms of "happiness" is far too general here.  The level of anxiety makes more sense.   Nor have I ever felt displeased with myself more, or less, at one age than I have at any other time.   But, as much as memory will allow me, I would concede that, soon to be 79, I am definitely less anxious than I was at 50.

These researchers expressed bafflement as to the reason why, and (to fill out the article maybe) they offered up all sorts of esoteric scientific theories.

But I happen to know exactly why I am increasingly less anxious as I slide ever more quickly toward that magic 85.  There are two main reasons.  More could occur to me later.

The first is that at this advanced age I feel that most of the crapstorms have now passed by and left me still reasonably intact, and with each day there is less and less prospect of any more coming up.

The second is related, in a way, and it is that from about 50 onward, you start a process of removing the "urgent" and "crucial" and "important" tags from things, and relabeling them as being one hundred percent bullpoop.  And I suppose that that realization keeps going on till at the end you've put just about everything in that latter bin.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Israeli "The Unit" Lies

Using Netflix my wife and I just finished looking at the entire four-year run of a recent miniseries, "The Unit," which I believe was originally aired by one of the Fox groups but was taken off the air because 9,000,000 was judged to be too small a slice of the viewing pie.

"The Unit" follows a group of four U.S. Army special forces soldiers as they perform a long series of derring-do deeds that sometimes have a "Mission Impossible" ring, except with not nearly the relaxed and somewhat tongue-in-cheek air of that justly celebrated series of the 1970's or so.   Instead "the Unit" greatly exceeds "Mission" in sheer viciousness, and that includes a huge amount of lying to cover their tracks.   In fact, the members of the Unit and their superiors find it absolutely necessary to deceive the general public and even their own superiors at just about every turn.

The news right now is especially painful because the most vivid recent happening is a blatant act of piracy that the Israeli Navy perpetrated on the high seas against a flotilla of six ships that was bringing relief materials to the people of Gaza who are being tightly blockaded by Israel, with that nation's justification being their view that everybody in Gaza, men, women, and children, is a terrorist, and so they allow very insufficient amounts of highly needed food, medicines, building materials, and other necessities to get into Gaza.   And note meanwhile that the Palestinians, in Gaza or on the West Bank, are not blockading Israel or doing anything comparable to that at the moment.

The attack by the Israeli commandos bears a strong resemblance to the hundreds of acts of piracy that have been committed by Somali seafarers against shipping in the Gulf of Aden and the Indian Ocean.   But again, just as "Mission Impossible" is heavily benign when compared to "The Unit," so the number of deaths caused by the Somali attacks in their totality over the years still do not, to the best of my knowledge, add up to the number murdered by the commandos when they boarded that relief flotilla, which at first was reported as being ten but now has been downsized to nine.

The statements put out by the Israel media furthermore justify the acts of their Navy by blaming the victims, who, it is claimed, resisted, by means of showing handguns and metal poles and in some instances swinging the poles at the commandos, though the latter were armed with somewhat more than guns.   The Israeli authorities bleat that these aid workers had to be dealt with severely, including confiscating all six ships in the flotilla, and slamming hundreds of the occupants in prisons, because the aid deliverers responded to being boarded as if they were at war.   And, as if that was not enough, that Navy further vowed that if any more flotillas come, they will be hit even harder, meaning more and more killing.   Yet what is a blockade or boarding ships that don't belong to their nation and killing many of the people aboard -- without, by the way, any of the commandos suffering a fatality -- other than acts of war?

But in fact, everything that the Israeli authorities is saying on this matter sounds exactly like what the members of "the Unit" and their leaders would say, word for word and with absolutely no relationship to what actually happened and the motives thereof.

It all makes you wonder about the essential worth and stability of a society or a nation when its underpinning has to consist of little more than a huge bed of high-handed acts mortared together with lies.