Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

In Trinidad in 1966 "with my motorcycle and myself" motorcycle and myself"

In Trinidad in 1966 with my motorcycle and “myself.”

From Robert M. Pirsig’s wonderful 1974 book, the most read book on philosophy ever, this quote on how Aristotle, who had little respect for the great Sophists, started us on our sad path to alienation from the natural world, via the awesome engine of technology:

And the bones of the Sophists long ago turned to dust and what they said turned to dust with them and the dust was buried under the rubble of declining Athens through its fall and Macedonia through its decline and fall. Through the decline and death of ancient Rome and Byzantium and the Ottoman Empire and the modern states – buried so deep and with such ceremoniousness and such unction that only a madman centuries later could discover the clues needed to uncover them, and see with horror what had been done….

Pirsig, born in 1928, is still alive. Listening to this CBC podcast led me, belatedly, to him. His book is about how he challenged the university system on its perverted rationality in a single-minded, fanatical battle that drove him into isolation from his work and family. He was eventually committed to a mental institution where he was subjected to severe electroshock “therapy.” He eventually faked his “reform” in order to be released from the institution and later, in 1968, took a motorcycle trip with his teenage son, Chris, and two of his adult friends. The therapy had destroyed many of his memories. Calling his former, insane, self Phaedrus, he rebuilt Phaedrus’ thinking through these and other fragments: his notes, the memories of former friends and colleagues and his interaction on this trip with his alienated, troubled son, Chris.  He also read and reread philosophers, Greek mythology and history in the rebuilding process. This book is helping me in many ways. It adds new dimension and personal insight into how we got into the dangerous political/technological/moral/philosophical place in which we now, tenuously, live. It offers a process by which we just might get out of it. It helps to clarify, support, grow and even, perhaps, mellow my thinking on human issues and philosophical perspective. It may turn out to be the most important book I have ever read. I don’t think I’m giving too much away in giving you one more, very short, quote:

The real cycle you’re working on is a cycle called yourself.

A concept diagram to help my understanding

A concept diagram to help my understanding

MH17, A Teaser…

Bullet Holes? photo credit: anderweltonline.com

Bullet Holes?
photo credit: anderweltonline.com

February 8, 2015: This post, begun almost seven months ago on August 13, 2014, has recently expanded because MH17 didn’t happen in a vacuum. Over the past 6-7 months since MH17 went down a mystery story has evolved for me. To properly illuminate and present this story, it was necessary to examine the events that led up to MH17 and ultimately spawned its horror.

Good Stuff’s Been Added:

  • At the top: this new. zippy outline
  • At the very bottom: A brief timeline listing the dramatic and violent events of the Euromaidan protests that culminated with, essentially, a coup d’état, forcing the elected government of Ukraine to resign, President Viktor Yanukovich to flee on February 21, Crimea to accede to Russia after a 90% referendum vote in March, and Donetsk and Lugansk to proclaim themselves independent peoples republics on April 7, 2014. I will build more data on these events as my seven-month study evolves.

For the complete post with what’s here and all the detailed links with which I’ve constructed my mystery story, go back to where this all started on August 13th. Or keep reading and decide to dive in later… Or go to my other shorter posts on MH17 here, here, here, here, here, here and here.

Aware of the tragedy of MH17 and curious about the narrow, one-note Blame Russia Chorus my once-precious CBC and all Western media were singing, I first turned my focused and serious attention to the Ukraine in early August. My attention grew into this “research project.” I check social media daily and post a brief, descriptive comment that describes the gist of the article or event discussed in the embedded link. I try to limit new additions to new stuff that sheds more light.

The post’s scope has broadened from being mainly about MH17 to include the whole Ukraine-USA -EU-Russia situation that has been going on for over 15 months. MH17 would not have happened if the Ukraine hadn’t been destabilized eight months previously and, soon after, “blown up” politically by the USA and Europe in concert and competition with/against each other. It was a slam dunk that Russia would never allow its one warm water port in Crimea to be put in jeopardy by the creeping expansion of NATO and possible absorption of Ukraine into the E.U.

Ukraine is a big prize that American neocons and oligarchs from several nations have had in their sights for some years. For the USA, running the Ukraine is a way to encroach upon and destabilize Russia. Ukraine does also possess some natural gas. The USA maneuvers have forced Russia’s hand in Crimea and caused, some say, as many as 50000 deaths.

Why Russia?

Russia is a major key to the success of the combined nations of Eurasia. Look at a globe for just a moment and see the huge, contiguous, East-West land mass that is Eurasia. Then compare it to the Americas – a much smaller, climatically diverse, North-South land mass with a very long skinny part in the middle – and a relatively small fraction of the world’s population.

Europe’s Gambit Excites Affluent, Educated Western Ukrainians:

In 2013 Europe started to woo the incredibly corrupt, economic mess of Ukraine into economic association. A small amount of money was offered that President Viktor Yanukovich (no doubt with some mathematical coaching from Vladimir Putin) eventually figured out was not enough to be much help. Then the spectre of IMF austerity measures must have occurred to Yanukovich and he decided (15 months ago on November 21, 2013) to postpone signing the EU offer. At this point many well-to-do, pro-Europe Ukrainians in the western cities of Lvov and Kiev started peaceful protests, marching pleasantly behind huge, starry, EU flags. Babies, children and fashionable outfits were welcome.

Dissent in the East and Increasingly Violent Protests in Kiev’s “Euromaidan Square”:

Soon those humbler Ukrainians who did not like the rapprochement with Europe started turning out. Clashes occurred that eventually became extremely violent. The low point in Kiev was February 18, 2014, following three months of large protests that involved frequent violence upon protesters and some upon the police. The violence came at times from police, hotheads from both sides, Right Sector thugs, Svoboda Party Nazis and foreign “specialists,” the latter financed by powerful interests that include the USA and Ukrainian oligarchs. On February 18 over 100 people died. Snipers shot at and killed protestors and police. It is suspected by many that the snipers were foreign “specialists” hired to escalate the violence to such depths that Viktor Yanukovich would have to step down. On March 5 the Guardian wrote that a telephone conversation had been leaked in which EU High Commissioner, Catharine Ashton, was informed by the pro-West Estonian Foreign Minister that bullets found in police and in anti-Yanukovich protesters came from the same guns. This lends credibility to the above suspicion that the snipers, who quickly vanished, were indeed foreign “specialists.”

American Involvement – Opportunism or Deliberate “Mischief?”

Yanukovich declared February 22 and 23 as days of mourning – and fled. Was the USA foxily waiting for the stingy Europe-Ukraine deal to sour?  Was the CIA criminally involved in the ousting of Yanukovich? In early February, two weeks or more before the one hundred died, Hillary Clinton had already begun pulling strings to handpick the Ukraine’s new president and cabinet. Clinton used the poetic Victoria Nuland. You will remember Nuland’s “Fuck the EU!” comment on the telephone to Geoffrey Pyatt, the US ambassador to the Ukraine. That gem was uploaded onto YouTube on Feb. 6. Nuland even went across the pond to hand out cookies to the Euromaidan revellers, whose pyrrhic victory has led to enormous financial woes, the loss of Crimea and horrific violence in Donetsk and Lugansk. The USA has spent billions preparing the Ukraine for this historic moment.

Cui Bono?

When one looks to attribute responsibility in a political crisis, the question, “Who benefits?” often provides clues. From the list of beneficiaries, Europe and the Ukraine can quickly be removed. Russia has been victimized without proof. The media have tried to humiliate Vladimir Putin using fiery headlines and put Russia under severe, crippling sanctions. Putin is a formidable leader of a large nuclear power. No, the spoils (good word for this), as of February 8, 2015, go to the USA. The neocons and oligarchs who control Obama want Putin gone.  Their aim has been to put a weak puppet in charge of a shamed Russia, allow the oligarchs back in, and own, or neuter, Russia.

Then they will turn their eyes on, or “pivot to” Asia.

The Nuclear Clock Is Ticking; Experienced Hawks Are Critical:

The dangerous, high-stakes, neocon Ukraine/Russia plan could start WW III. The nuclear clock has recently been advanced to 3 minutes before midnight. We are back in the 1980’s, folks. Henry Kissinger has recently called the destabilization of the Ukraine “foolish.” Back in 1997, when Clinton started expanding NATO into former USSR satellites, George F. Kennan wrote in the New York Times that

expanding NATO would be the most fateful error of American Policy in the entire post-cold war era.

MH17 Tragedy, some short questions with long answers:

  • On Purpose? Is it a false flag attempt, possibly with CIA help,  involving a Ukrainian Buk missile, Ukrainian Air Traffic Control and/or Ukrainian fighter jets with the intent of enabling lethal sanctions to discredit, humble and remove a demonized Putin?
  • An accident? Is it a Buk missile error by the pro-Russia rebels, by a careless Ukrainian Buk unit or by a renegade, billionaire-financed unofficial army, such as the Nazi-oriented Azov Battalion?

Just some of the things that make this look really fishy:

  • the only proper evidence yet presented (Rostov radar evidence) points to the presence of Ukrainian fighter planes near MH17 when it went down. This evidence has not yet been proven false.
  • the USA reacted with immediate, categorical statements that Russia was guilty. Very quickly this changed to mere word-tricks and innuendo for the last six months.
  • the USA has never provided the satellite evidence it claims it has. If It pointed at Russia, they would be burying us repeatedly in it. So it probably points at the Ukraine.
  • Russia’s statement that an experimental satellite operated by the USA was in place over the area at the time when MH17 went down has not been denied by the USA
  • The Ukraine, early on, interfered with the ability of experts to view the site, forbidding people to go (“too dangerous”) and shelling the area with 2-metre deep holes for good measure
  • the Western media have presented none of the many alternatives to the “pro-Russian rebel” story
  • the Dutch investigations appear to be designed to prolong the crisis and thereby the sanctions
  • the Ukraine, admitted by the Dutch JIT to be possibly involved, has a veto over what the investigation(s) eventually publish. Ludicrous!
  • the Western media are stepping up the attacks on Putin – at least three CBC stories in the past week: Feb. 1 to 6, 2015!
  • the West has relied on websites like bellingcat.com and correct!v.org that collect suspect social media posts and weave very tangled webs of so-called proof whose stories keep changing. Correct!v.org is financed by millions of Euros that came from a fund started by a German billionaire. Both these investigative sites started in July 2014. Coincidence?
  • Ukraine security immediately confiscated all air traffic control recordings and has not released them.
  • Pro-Russia rebels properly presented, intact, the black boxes to Malaysian officials, who hastily handed them over to the “trustworthy” Brits. Still secret almost 7 months later!
  • Ukraine videos attempting to show pro-Rebel soldiers stealing from and disrespecting the victims were proven later to be falsely presented when the whole videos found were presented in context by Russian media. Damage to public opinion conveniently done, Western MSM ignored this.
  • The hawkish US Council on Foreign Relations considers the USA and EU responsible for the coup in the Ukraine.
  • Comments on signs of “very strong machine gun fire” and “no missile evidence noticed by me” made by Canadian-Ukrainian OSCE spokesperson, Michael Bociurkiw, a first responder. It was a precious minute and a half when aired on a CBC interview with Susan Ormiston in late July. I guess the kaka hit the fan at some point; to my knowledge, though parts of that program have been aired again, I have not seen this tiny, important segment.

There is intense competition between:

  • the current geopolitical primate, the United States (with Israel, Europe, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Australia (the “West”) and
  • the emerging power base: the huge and geographically contiguous supercontinent of Eurasia that has been recently flexing its muscles in the areas of finance and in how oil will be traded. Eurasia has developed an increasing politico-economic involvement in resource-rich Africa. As scarcities appear, Africa will be something to war over. Again, the poor will suffer. In places like Nigeria there is already desperation over the stuff that comes with the ‘Black gold.”

For my detailed list of findings and links simply, as I said before, go HERE.

My MH17 Lesson: We Don’t Want To Know

We peasants of the “free world” have totally surrendered.

We no longer care to know what is happening, and essentially have said to our sloppily elected “leaders,” who are the minions of the Very Very Few:

Pick our enemies for us.

Scuttle them by whatever murderous and evil ways you can.

Keep us safe and “prosperous.”

Just do it!

Propaganda?

Go for it.

Blanket media censorship?

Huh?

Paramilitary thugs?

Sure.

Black ops?

Of course.

Displacement, enslavement and bombing of innocent foreigners?

Whatever.

Destruction of the biosphere?

If you/we must.

Anything, now, back to my toys.

After following MH17 politics for six months and devoting many of my best hours to trying to guess at, and point out, more alternatives  to the Western mainstream version of the “truth”, the penny described in the above “dialogue” finally dropped.

And the decay is not just among the typical couch potato. It exists, to differing degrees, among people who, in their youth, cared for justice and peace. They are not presented with all sides when they open a newspaper or turn on the radio or TV.

Even some of the best among us have tuned out.

The Latest Tenor in the Blame Russia Chorus

David Schraven is the latest star tenor in the Blame Russia Chorus. His website, correct!v.org, began right about the time that MH17 went down with a grant of 1 million euro per year for three years from the Bröst Foundation, an organization formed with a gift of €300 million from Anneliese Bröst, a billionaire heiress. Schraven’s credentials appear to be pretty good, but the timing of correct!v.org’s startup, the extremely generous funding from Mrs. Bröst’s foundation and the similarly opportune startup timing of the website, bellingcat.com, which he uses as part of his evidence, make me think twice about trusting his work. We are all aware of how funding can influence both the goals and often the data of pharmaceutical research, for example.

correct!v.org is a data-centric investigative journalism outfit. It is newly formed; this article that announced its formation was written on – wait for it – July 17, 2014 –  the date MH17 went down! The man in charge of the latest Blame Russia article is David Schraven, founder of correct!v.org. The article takes 35 minutes to read even without checking out Schraven’s anonymous sources like “Rupert Smid.” He and his team (writers Marcus Bensmann and David Crawford and editors, Daniel Drepper, Jonathan Sachse, Benedict Wermter and Julia Brötz) have pinned it on a Buk operated by the 53rd Russian Air Defence Brigade.

In addition to its own investigative stuff, the Schraven article uses “research” done by Elliot Higgins, well known for his suspect social media approach to finding the “bad guys” guilty by chasing all over the web for Buk sightings. Higgins is behind bellingcat.com, which is critiqued by this WikiSpooks article. Elliot Higgins founded bellingcat on July 15, 2014, two days before MH17 went down. Before then he was on Twitter as @BrownMoses and ran the Brown Moses blog. Higgins appeared to work faster than light and found photos of a “Buk on a Truck” only one day after (or, was it, egad, July 17?) the tragic downing that killed 298 passengers and crew. There is much to suspect about the accuracy of this work and the quickness with which this first photo was found.

David Schraven (via Wikipedia):

“Since 2010 he is head of investigations at Funke Mediengruppe (ed. – see below) one of the largest European media holdings for regional newspapers including Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung.” “He was the founder of the German Newspaper “taz ruhr”. Later he worked as a reporter on energy issues for the Axel Springer Group.” (Axel Springer founded Axel Springer GmbH in 1946 – see below also for more info on Springer’s flagship tabloid, Bild) “Then in 2010 he went on with his researches as head of investigations at Funke Mediengruppe.” (See below also)

Springer founded Bild in 1952, a photo tabloid paper like the Sun, complete with nudity, sensational news, etc. It was attacked by the radical left in the late 60’s for its political opinion. Bild is Conservative by German standards. Very pro-State of Israel. Very, very popular. Bild stories are often based on dubious evidence. Wiki describes the tabloid as “unabashedly conservative and nationalist.”  Funke Mediengruppe, the new name for the publishing company that was owned by the Bröst family, having been founded by social democrat Erich Brost. Funke bought out the Bröst shares in 2012. Read this for more on the interesting history of Brost and Funke. Anneliese Bröst (see above) inherited her fortune from Erich Bröst, her husband. She died in 2010.