The Whiteness Disease: Symptoms and Remedies

December 4th, 2014

The Privilege that Keeps on Giving

You know it is true. We try, we of the pale persuasion, to be Hip Hop. When I was a kid it was the Blues we emulated, and the whiter and richer, like the Rolling Stones, the more we wanted to be bad and black. Or as Lou Reed that famous English Major from suburban New York, may he rest in Jewish heavenly peace, says “I Wanna Be Black” because blacks have natural rhythm and they don’t have to be college nerdy college students, or some such thing as Lou’s parody of the white blackophile, states. Any smart white person with a modicum of awareness knows that being white is not where it is at. It is a moral and cultural dead end. Not that white people haven’t done some decent stuff, but white identity… forget it. It is about as hip as Wonder Bread and just as good for you.

A contingent of Seattle Black Panther Party (led by Lt. Elmer Dixon) on the Capitol steps in Olympia, WA, on 29 February, 1969.


In my own teenage years I rode on the coat tails of the Black Panthers, distributing their newspaper in my local suburban Connecticut high schools, getting my taste of martyrdom being jumped and beat up by local greaser thugs and having beer bottle thrown at me by passing truck drivers…. It was considered to be a badge of honor to be the hippie-commie-nigger lover. But those days are long gone, and the dreams of social justice, ‘da revolution man’ and all that faded into the realities of Reaganomics that even my attempts to cling to respectable alienation as a punk-rocker anarchist and eventually problematic druggie, could not maintain.

After several false starts in politics (losing two mayoral races and an attempt to become Lt. Governor), Maddox became infamous when he was photographed on 3 July 1964 wielding an axe handle at negroes attempting to enter his whites-only Pickrick cafeteria.


I was and still am white and yet whiteness is nothing but a concept in peoples minds. I passed though the court system with barley a scratch. Judges looked at me amidst the dark brown and black masses in the line up and would say, we must have made a mistake, that white man must go free. And don’t believe I didn’t accept the pass. Jail is no place for a human being. And yet millions of our brothers and sisters on this planet are imprisoned and worse, simply because of the color of their skin forced to endure humiliations and early death.

So true


White people simply will never be able to be black, not unless they become black, or golden, or whatever and become what they are not, the oppressed, the obviously identifiable objects of scorn, discrimination and physical violence. It is no joke that black male teenagers are 21 times more likely to be shot and killed by police than whites. The Propublica report ( has identified this shocking fact. In my Biogeography class the teacher pointed out that those who stand out distinguished by color or other easy identification are subject to predation. This is to my mind more a refection of the white state of mind, that imposes an order that places whiteness as the norm and all shades deviating from that as aberrant and deserving of culling.

As an ethnic group, Americans of African descent have had to endure extreme mental attacks in the forms of racism, oppression, systemic discrimination and it still continues.

Obviously this has to stop. Perhaps it will take a localized reduction of whiteness to its true status, as a minority position, before the idea will get across that humanity is truly a rainbow, and that there is no such thing as race within humanity when it comes to biology. We are all of the species Homo Sapiens with a little Neanderthal thrown in. Perhaps it is because White people have more Neanderthal in us than other races, that makes us a little slow on the uptake. With a memory of being less viable than the other true humans out of Africa, not a bastard race like the Neanderthal-Sapiens mix that the Euro-humans became in their isolated Ice Age Europe, living in caves and wearing dead animal skins, lacking sunlight and healthy vegetables and fruits, forced to live on the dead bodies of animals. No wonder whites became a depraved variation on the sunny golden humanity, The white maggoty substance found living on decaying matter.

Neanderthal 2-5% of European genetic makeup.


Ok, I made my point. It is easy to turn racism on its head. The so-called achievements of western civilization, capitalist rape of the planet and enslavement of masses of fellow humans for the sake of greed, well I could go on but I don’t want too. My point is that the protests against police shootings of persons of color are necessary and must bring attention to the need for immediate change in the legal system. A legal system that is biased not in favor of defendants, as the Media seems to want to say as a way of rationalizing the continuous failure of grand juries to indite police for murder, but one that systematically is biased in favor of the representatives of state power against those who are the objects of its repressive apparatus, is both logical and obvious. What is needed is a recognition of the bias, of the racism and hierarchy of power inherent in the system set up by white slave owners and the merchant classes of the fledgling American Republic. Inheriting the system developed by English aristocrats in the middle ages to insure that their clique retained power over the unwashed rabble of England. In that time, the Magna Carta forced upon King John of England, from one perspective, to retain the right to maintain dominance over the masses, and insuring that the King did not go to far in disrupting their power by bad policy decisions. What ever the roots of the English system of jurisprudence that the USA has inherited from Roman and medieval English law, it is not designed with the interests of the people, but for the interests of the status quo elites who have been and still are for the most part white or whitish.

Prison Industrial complex part of Business As Usual


“No Justice, No Peace: is an entirely appropriate response to such an oppressive system and anyone on the receiving end of the American justice system understands its inherent unfairness, all the justice for the elite and their friends that money and position can buy/appropriate is the law of the land. It is the justice of the conqueror, ask any native American, of the master, ask any slave or former slave, of the capitalist, ask any worker struggling for simple livable wages and I could go on. But I think you get the point. Rioting and disrupting traffic, all business as usual is appropriate and necessary to bring about change.

Half white, half black. Source: CBS


Embarrassing the nominally black president into standing for the people is a tough business, he has to face his masters every day behind closed doors, giving the world his best black face for public consumption. Perhaps there is a soul in that man somewhere, he is not truly white, I can see his awkwardness at being forced to face his black side. and it is good. We all need to bring out our inner blackness, code in reality for inner humanity. We are not machines and it is not our fate if we do not allow it to be eaten by Moloch in a descent into soulless whiteness. White bread… says it all, it has to have vitamins artificially added.

I liked that you could roll it into little balls; you could smash it flat and toast it against a light bulb.


And the answer is direct action….

Protesters march outside Ferguson police station Sept. 25, 2014.


While I am not going to say Obama is totally ineffectual in this area, I will say that the efforts of Attorney General Holder, are perhaps as far as Obama is willing to stick his neck out to confront the security establishment. The withholding of funds to Homeland Security by Congress may be more beneficial than not if it cripples some of its efforts in militarizing local police forces. Let us hope libertarians and left leaning liberals in Congress manage to do something about shipping military hardware to local police departments because the president has said he will not end the policy.


Although there has been a lot of media noise on the issue, it will take grass roots activism to keep pressure on. Unfortunately, knowing how media news cycles work, the window of opportunity on this issue is about to end. Only more police violence and an appropriate response by communities will keep the attention on the issues in the media. The President, being a lame duck, at least can use the bully pulpit, and procedural changes, just like he did with immigration to bring attention to the issue. Federal funding to local police agencies should be contingent upon a real display of a reduction of police violence against communities of color an very strong policies that constrain unnecessary use of force, deadly force in particular. I personally believe the Andy Griffith policy of giving the cops only one bullet, that must be kept separate from the weapon might be the way to go. Police with loaded guns, a bad idea.

Photo of Don Knotts as Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith Show. Barney is seen here loading his pistol with the only bullet he was allowed to have. It was kept in his uniform short pocket in case it was needed. Whenever Barney loaded his gun, it would either go off while holstered, fire into the ceiling, etc


Tiberius, Elections and Popular Violence

November 28th, 2014

Imperial Roman fresco, ca. 59 - 79 AD, from House I, 3, 23 at Pompeii. Riot and brawl between Pompeians and Nucerians in and around the amphitheater.


Popular Protest, Political Wrangling, Tiberius and the Augustan Succession
By Gary Crethers

The right to vote, according to Fergus Millar, in the sovereign body of the Republican constitution was the populus Romanus, as represented by the various forms of the voting assembly. The three bodies of the ancient Roman Comitia: the centuriata, an assembly by centuriae established by Servius Tullius, the curiata, assembly of the curiae, (which rarely met in the later times of the Republic), and the tributa, assembly of the tribes of Rome. The right to participate in major decisions, such as going to war or to make other major changes was a right the Roman plebian populace had fought to attain over centuries. Yet by the time of the ascendency of Tiberius in 14 AD, Tacitus claims that elections transferred to the Senate, but as noted by B. M. Levick this did not necessarily need to lead to the demise of the electoral process. Levick interprets the statement in Tacitus as Tiberius limiting his own power, because of an understanding of the consequences of commendati, or written recommendation, by suggesting only four candidates to the tribunate. Tacitus writes:

Tum primum e campo comitia ad patres translata sunt: nam ad eam diem, etsi potissima arbitrio principis, quaedam tamen studiis tribuum fiebant. neque populus ademptum ius questus est nisi inani rumore, et senatus largitionibus ac precibus sordidis exsolutus libens tenuit, moderante Tiberio ne plures quam quattuor candidatos commendaret sine repulsa et ambitu designandos.

It was then for the first time that the elections were transferred from the Campus Martius to the Senate. For up to that day, though the most important rested with the emperor’s choice, some were settled by the partialities of the tribes. Nor did the people complain of having the right taken from them, except in mere idle talk, and the Senate, being now released from the necessity of bribery and of degrading solicitations, gladly upheld the change, Tiberius confining himself to the recommendation of only four candidates who were to be nominated without rejection or canvass.

(Ann. 1-15)

The intent of this short paper is to examine aspects of democratic survival by electoral and non-electoral means in the early Imperium, with a focus on the transition from Augustus to Tiberius.

It seems that Tiberius had hopes of restoring the old Republican system if a reasonable chance of success was determined to exist and acted to expand the power of the Senate as Olive Kunz saw the removal of electoral power to the Senate. He did not want the office claiming the job to be too difficult for one man and wished to be just one among many. Augustus himself claimed in his summary of his deeds in the AD 14 Res Gestae Divi Augusti:

Ín consulátú sexto et septimo, b(ella ubi civil)ia exstinxeram | per consénsum úniversórum (potitus rerum omn)ium, rem publicam || ex meá potestáte (§) in senát(us populique Romani a)rbitrium transtulí.

In my sixth and seventh consulships, when I had extinguished the flames of civil war, after receiving by universal consent the absolute control of affairs, I transferred the republic from my own control to the will of the senate and the Roman people.

(Res Gestae VI 34)

The restoration could have been a dream on the part of Augustus, yet in a technically legal sense, it was true. Shipley indicates that Augustus did begin divesting himself of extraordinary powers in 28 and 27 BCE, but that he maintained the “ordinary offices in an extraordinary way, such as the tribunica potestas and the imperium.” Much has been made of this statement; Augustus himself quotes from the authorization to the imperium given to him by the senate, ordering him “to see that the republic suffered no harm.” Clifford Ando states that the entire binary division between imperium and auctoritas is a false one, that “the coexistence of the Republic and monarchy is everywhere attested, both explicitly and implicitly, both in documentary and in literary texts.”

Statue of Tiberius from Privernum. Marble. Ca. 20—30 A.D. Rome, Vatican Museums, Chiaramonti, XXI.3. Credits: © Photo, text: N. N. Britova, N. M. Loseva, N. A. Sidorova. RIMSKII SKUL’PTURNYI PORTRET. M., “Iskusstvo”, 1975, s. 34, ill. 49.


There are some issues to clarify regarding Tacitus, who has been a major source on the reign of Tiberius; he presents a notably one-sided view of Tiberius. As the venerable historian, Sir Ronald Styme, wrote “It is mainly for his treatment of Tiberius that Tacitus comes under censure.” Tacitus shows Tiberius a man whose truly evil nature came out in degrees as the mitigating factors of the presence of parties such as Germanicus, Drusus, his mother and even Sejanus were removed, after which his depravity knew no bounds. Styme believes that Tacitus went back to original sources, and cites the accounts of Suetonius and Cassius Dio who to a degree corroborate Tacitus. Kuntz considers Tacitus to be poisoning the well, exhibiting undue influence on Suetonius and Dio. Reading some of the supportive sources on the reign of Tiberius, Velleius comes to mind, presents a different picture, one of peace and prosperity, and a Princeps beset by undeserved personal misfortunes. Velleius wrote just before the fall of Sejanus, and, perhaps due to writing in the reign of Tiberius, was prejudiced in his favor.

Republican coin, issued by the moneyer P. Licinius Nerva, showing voting in an assembly. Two voters are casting their ballots: the voter on the left receives his tablet from an attendant below, while the other, after crossing the bridge, places his tablet in the voting urn. Below, a drawing of the image. (VRoma: National Museums, Rome: Barbara McManus)

From :

The contention that the voting rights of the populace disappeared at that time seems premature as to the actual state of affairs. Josiah Ober, in his research on the testament of Augustus that is supposed to have guided Tiberius, can find nothing that implies Augustus had anything more in mind than a list of suggested candidates for office. It seems that there was no conspiracy on the part of Tiberius, or the intent of Augustus to end the popular vote, only to secure the Senate as functioning body. Tiberius brought all manner of matters before the Senate, great and small, in what Suetonius called “a certain show of liberty, by preserving to the senate and magistrates their former majesty and power.” Suetonius, who may have read Tacitus, although Styme thinks it unlikely, implies the liberty was a sham. Turning that around it could simply be the failure of the Senate to act in a manner in accordance with its power, or as has been noted, the view of Tacitus, who had survived the trials at the end of Domitian’s reign, may have colored the perspective of subsequent historians.

Tiberius claimed only the Tribunican authority given to him by the Senate, to call the Senate to session upon the death of Augustus, as even his detractor Tacitus states. Evidence of a continued electoral process at least in the provinces, seen in Pliny the Younger’s references to a “marriageable gentleman,” who, happens to have stayed out of the hustle and bustle of the political life, was a sure indication that such a life still was important even during the empire. In his article on the survival of the demos in Greece during the imperial period Arjan Zuiderhoek wrote, “Greek cities in the Roman east continue to use the formula ‘the council (boule) and people (demos) decide/honour’ well into the third century.” The idea that Imperial dictates replaced elections seems not to hold up. It also would be absurdly cumbersome for the imperial apparatus to have to pick the members of every city council. Given the technology of the time, even the good Roman roads would leave cities waiting for years for executive decisions from the Roman imperial bureaucracy. As Clifford Ando notes, there was no clear distinction between imperial and republican structures, elections continued at least until the end of the third century AD. The populus Romanus remained an integral part of the imperial ideology.

Reading the commentary in Velleius, who was there, on the supposed suppression of the plebeians voting rights commanded by the letter of Augustus, all he says is:

Post redditum caelo patrem et corpus eius humanis honoribus, numen
divinis honoratum, primum principalium eius (Tiberii) operum fuit
ordinatio comitiorum, quam manu sua scriptam divus Augustus reliquerat.

(Compendium II.124.3)

The Loeb translation of ordinatio comitiorum is “the regulation of the comitia, instructions for which Augustus had left in his own handwriting.” Looking in Cassell’s Latin Dictionary the term ordinatio is translated as “a setting in order, arrangement” and comitiorum is “the assembly of the Roman people for the election of magistrates, etc.; hence the elections.” What was interesting upon looking further was the root of ordination, in ordo, ordinaries, cited from Livy as being in the ordinary manner, as in elections, as opposed to suffecti, or substitute. These words all have significance in the political realms. It would seem that the translation is that of a return to normalcy or even an ending of irregular substitutions of the elected authorities. Ober sees no claim to a secret memorandum to Tiberius as Cassius Dio contends, citing “Suetonius held the positions of a studiis, a bibliothecis, and ab epistulis under Trajan and Hadrian and presumably had access to the imperial archives.” This in making the point that Suetonius never mentions a book of recommendations for Tiberius as Cassius Dio claims in his history.

There are problems with this argument. Going back to Tacitus, he clearly states that in time after Augustus’s death, elections transferred from the Assembly to the senate and that up until that time the tribes had been able to elect officials, albeit in Tacitus’ words only unimportant elections. Moreover, according to Tacitus, “the public, except in trivial talk, made no objection to their deprival of this right.” Yet we find Velleius gushing over being the candidatis Caesaris of both Augustus and Tiberius, along with his brother for the praetorship, which would imply that there were non-Caesarian candidates, which the previous quote from Tacitus Tiberius’ recommendations, were limited to four. Where were the voting masses? Tacitus claims they simply did not care about the vote. Senators were relieved not to have to canvas the electorate.

Reed: Plebeians Checking vote lists.


Something is missing. Relief over the end of the civil wars would have been decades prior to 14 AD. The average life span according to Shelton was 27 years. Augustus ruled for more than two generations of Romans. Tiberius was born during the Triumvirate and was 55 when he became Princeps. The Republican traditions that most of the populace knew were those of the reformed Republic. Augustus had done his job integrating the imperium and his auctoritas into the new order, a masterful political strategist he carefully prepared the opportunity for his replacement. Tiberius, by contrast was a soldier, came from a gens the Claudii, proud and sticklers for their privileges. His tastes in literature were of traditions from the past and held no truck with the Augustan poets. Augustus reputedly called him a “slow devourer,” a dour fellow who was not one of Augustus’ favorite party guests. Tiberius seems old fashioned in his moderatio, a bit behind the times, resisting the power offered, as Suetonius records a member of the Senate saying “others are slack in performing what they promise, but you are slack in promising what you perform.” How would the people adapt to Tiberius?

W. Erder claims Augustus was building a link between old forms of the Republic and the Republic, sans the violent discord from bad old days. Augustus was attempting to build a consensus of support for the next princeps, who would have the concensus universorum that granted him sole possession of power. It was his auctoritas, according to Erder, that granted him the right invest a successor with the roles to take his place. Acquiesce of the public would be perceived as the res publica accepting this choice. Hence the statement by Tacitus that the consuls, senate, equites, and the people swore allegiance to Tiberius upon his accession, although as I read it, there was nothing but bile in Tacitus’ statement for he saw Tiberius as putting the final nails in the coffin of the Republic. An indication of things to come was the way Tiberius handled the funeral of Augustus. Troops guarded the site, justified by the disruptions at the time of the funeral of Julius Caesar. Tiberius anticipated popular disruption, as Tacitus writes there were jibes at the fearful new rulers afraid of a few citizens.

Map of the Capitoline Hill, indicating the probable location of the Gemonian Stairs at the time of the Roman Empire.


Yet the process of alienation of political rights, initially justified perhaps as an echoed response to the troubled times of the last years of the Republic, became problematic leaving the masses without certain aspects of legal political expression, the public areas of the city remained an arena in which the populace expressed political opinions. One of these locations was the Scalae Gemoniae, steps built by Augustus during his rebuilding of Rome, the place of choice for public strangling of opposition figures according to William Barry. The displays of power did not dissuade the populace from expressing its views, and the steps became contested where riots occurred in AD 20 during Cn. Calpurnius Piso’s trial, and again at the time of the downfall of Sejanus. Executing the more notable opposition, such as the children of Sejanus who were, as Tacitus writes in his rather gruesome chapters on the reign of Tiberius, “both were strangled, and their young bodies were thrown on the Gemonian Steps.” This became the place for both demonstration and execution of the more notable defendants in the time of Tiberius.

Roman Plebeians


Roman elites were suspect of all associations among the plebs. They degraded the significance of their associations, calling the informal gatherings of small groups known as circuli, with the presence of a circulator, a person who facilitated these meetings as the equivalent of a type of low entertainment put on by hucksters. The example of the snake charmers drugging snakes by Celsus, indicates the type of entertainer that the upper classes considered the circulatores to be as Peter O’Neill pointed out in his study on class and popular speech.

UW-Green Bay’s Dinner Lecture: When in Rome… Experiencing a Roman Feast


Tacitus, as noted above claims that the people were indifferent to their loss of political power. Rather, popular assemblies became ciruli. The suffragatores, political party whips, becoming cirulatores, mere circus barkers, in an elite view. Yet the populace was not passively sitting around telling tales.

There were curious events, riots related to the pantomimes. The first occurred at the Sodales Augustalus, games honoring the deified Augustus in September 14 A.D. Tacitus says a conflict between rival ballet dancers caused a disturbance. The next year Tacitus relates that there were casualties, including a company captain as well as civilians. The Senate moved to have actors flogged. A tribune blocked the proposal, and Tiberius remained silent. Tacitus, noting that Augustus had said actors would be exempt from corporal punishment, claims loyalty to Augustan precedent rather than respect for the law that motivated Tiberius. He did lower the wages of actors according to Suetonius, but it is unclear if that was the cause of the rioting or a punishment after.

Pantomime- The dancers relied on gesture and odd movement to delineate a story, usually a Greek mythology. Performances were long, with grand costume and mask changes. Jumps, leaps, freezes, and gymnastics were exact, athletic, and formally choreographed. Performers’ hand movements were extremely important, and this “talking with the hands” was called “cheironomy”. Ancient Roman Dance: Pantomime-Reagan Noelle Kowert


Suetonius reports, it was a fight in the audience that broke out, leading to the parties involved and the actors’ exile. Public protest over the exiling of the popular actor Actius, resulting from the riots apparently irritated Tiberius, who had to release Actius, according to Suetonius. Tacitus, not naming the actor, mentions that charges against a certain Falanius due to “admitting among the worshipers of Augustus an actor in musical comedies who was a male prostitute.” Tiberius released the offenders stating his mother the Augusta, had not instituted the games to entrap Roman citizens, and that the actor had been a performer in the games. I find the passions aroused by these incidents in the early days of the regime to indicate that politics played on many levels and the public was not indifferent or immune. The issue, as seemingly trivial as whether a group of actors could stay in Rome, masked some deeper issues of the changes that had occurred in Rome.

Roman costumes would depend on the type of play they were doing but became more and more realistic as time progressed.


The populace transformed by the influx of foreigners, slaves, freedmen, merchants, and country people seeking better lives. The populace was up to ninety percent of foreign birth according to John Wesley Heaton in his study of mob violence in the Republic. The lustrum a sacrifice after the census, which Augustus uses synonymously, taken by Augustus reported in the Res Gestae indicated growth from 4,063,000 citizens in 28 B.C., a second in 8 B.C. with 4,233,000, to that in his third lustrum in 14 AD., showing a citizenship of military age of 4,937,000. This was a radical increase over the last previous census of 60 B.C. with a citizenry of 450,000. The difference probably attributed to a more accurate accounting of citizens across the empire, not just within the environs of Rome.

W.J. Slater calls the incidents, Pantomime riots, with the “first great riots of 14 and 15 A.D. in Rome.” It is amazing, how much detail exists about this incident, considering this was a dispute among the less than reputable actors. As Slater points out Greek professionals called themselves “actor of tragic rhythmic movement,” implying they were superior to the generic Latin histro. As Tacitus describes it, Augustus introduced pantomime in 22, B. C. to gratify his ally Maecenas, who was infatuated with the actor Bathyllus. Augustus also liked the theater, making him seem more a man of the people. However, Tiberius had no time for theater and rarely attended. This goes to the differences in style between the two. Tiberius portrayed as reserved, cunning, superstitious, and cruel. He was efficient, economical, fair, a good manager of the provinces, and did not like flattery or extravagance. Tiberius was a private man, who seemed to prefer his own company in Rhodes and Capri than the center in Rome. Augustus has more of a flair for the extravagant, rebuilding Rome, sponsoring poets and the arts. One could say Augustus presented himself as a main of the people and Tiberius a man who was not one to suffer fools. However, in two long reigns they managed to solidify the Imperium as the family affair it became for a century.

Family tree of Julio-Claudian Dynasty producing 5 emperors at the start of the Roman Empire (27 BCE - 68 CE). Remade from start using Image:JulioClaudian.png as a template.

Protests in the theater where the public gathered in one place offered opportunity for complaints. During a period high grain prices, the crowd protested loudly, nearly rioting. Tiberius blamed the authorities for not controlling the mob. Tacitus says nothing of the steps taken to ameliorate the condition. Velleius mentions rioting in the theaters suppressed, and low grain prices, as laudatory practices of Tiberius, evidently claiming the problem solved. This indicates further the balancing act the Roman authorities had to play, if they were to deny the plebeians the right to participate, because the authorities were taking care of them, when the authorities let the people down, there could be hell to pay. Later Emperor Claudius attacked by a crowd, during a famine when he was in the law courts, only escaped with the aid of soldiers. Massacring citizens was not the order of the day.

There remained a legacy of political action. After the murder of Gaius or Caligula as we know him, there was an attempt to restore the Republic, in 41 A. D. that failed because the Praetorian Guard remained loyal to Claudius. Sam Wilkinson records various attempts to restore the Republic, which was not simply personal attempts at gain, but part of an ideological desire, at least among the elite for a return to the Republic. The lack of popular support was a major factor in their failure. Suetonius notes that a mob surrounded the senate house demanding one-man rule and Claudius bribed the gathered troops to support him, the first time that had been done. Later during the rule of Vespasian, after the civil wars at the end of Nero’s rule, there was a movement by the philosophers to agitate among the masses. Helvidius Priscus “banded various men together, as if it were the function of philosophy to insult those in power, to stir up the multitudes, to overthrow the order of things, and to bring about a revolution.” This was in 70 AD and the Republic had been supposedly dead for over a century. Political activity did not end nor was it strictly an affair among the elite. As Plutarch wrote in his essay, Whether an old man should engage in public affairs, “we must remind them that being a politician consists not only of holding office, being ambassador, vociferating in the assembly, and ranting round the speakers’ platform proposing laws and motions.”

Ancient Greek Speech making.

From: ZumaFactoid.

In conclusion, Tiberius inherited an Imperium built upon limited legal authority and the great personal authority of his predecessor Augustus. He managed to maintain his position by a careful negotiation that although similar to what Augustus did in substance, was perceived very differently due to his less open and public persona. The people seemingly shut out of one aspect of the polity, maintained an ability to influence the policies of the government through direct action in the streets and public theaters.

The masses saw efforts to restore the Republic as elite attempts to remove their great sponsor, the emperor. The mostly wealthy members of the opposition failed to galvanize popular support and attempts to reach the plebes failed due to governmental reaction to the potential threat. There were probably few alive at the time of Tiberius’ ascent to the Imperium who could remember anything of the Triumvirate, and none who would remember the functioning Republic prior to the Caesarian revolution. There had remained enough institutional memory of those times, colored by Augustan propaganda to allow Tiberius to assume authority yet not without some resistance and commentary.

The modern American political scene seems to echo much of what was current in Roman politics. Conflict between Congress and the President is part of the classical legacy that makes Roman history relevant today. The founding fathers of the American Republic steeped in Latin literature and their caution in forming a government informed by their readings of the past. The average citizenry is just as alienated from the Congress as the Roman plebes were with their Senate. Many find that feeling unrepresented, they take to the streets in protest, sometimes rioting. In that respect perhaps, nothing much has changed over the millennia.

Ferguson, MO. ‘I will kill you’: Watch terrifying moment policeman at US protest threatens to shoot crowd August 2014.


The footnotes do not transfer over unfortunately. For full article with footnotes you can contact author at

Partial Bibliography.

Ando, Clifford. 2000.Imperial Ideology and Provincial Loyalty in the Roman Empire. Berkeley. University of California Press.

Barry, William D. 2008. Exposure, Mutilation, and Riot: Violence at the Scalae Gemoniae in Early Imperial Rome. Greece and Rome. 55, no. 2: 222-246. (accessed November 12, 2014)

Erder, W. 1990. Augustus and the Power of Tradition: The Augustan Principate as Binding Link. Between Republic and Empire Interpretations of Augustus and His Principate. ed. Kurt A. Raaflaub and Mark Toher. Berkeley: University of California Press

Heaton, Wesey. 1939.Mob Violence in the Late Roman Republic. Urbana: University of Illinois Press.

Kuntz, Olive. 1922. Tiberius Caesar and the Roman Constitution. Seattle: University of Washington Press.

Levick, B. M. 1967. Imperial Control of the Elections Under the Early Principate: Commendatio, Suffragatio, and “Nominatio”. Historia: Zeitschrift Für Alte Geschichte. 16, no. 2: 207-230. (accessed November 14, 2014).

Millar, Fergus. 1998. The Crowd in Rome in the Late Republic. U. of Michigan.

Ober, Josiah. 1982. Tiberius and the Political Testament of Augustus. Historia: Zeitschrift für Alte Geschichte 31 no 3: 306-328. (accessed November 14, 2014).

O’Neill, Peter. 2003. Going Round in Circles: Popular Speech in Ancient Rome. Classical Antiquity. 22, no. 1: 135-176. (accessed November 12, 2014)

Shelton, Jo-Anne. 1998. As the Romans Did. New York: Oxford University Press

Shipley, Frederick W. trans. 1924. Res Gestae Divi Augusti. Loeb Classical Library 152 (Cambridge: Harvard University Press)

Simpson, D.P. 1968.Cassell’s Standard Latin Dictionary. New York: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Slater, W J. 1994. Pantomime Riots. Classical Antiquity. 13, no. 1: 120. (accessed November 12, 2014)

Styme, Ronald. 1958. Tacitus. Oxford: Clarendon Press.

Wilkinson, Sam. 2012.Republicanism During the Early Roman Empire. London: Continuum Publishing Group.

Zuiderhoek, Arjan. 2008. On the Political Sociology of the Imperial Greek City. Greek, Roman and Byzantine Studies. 48. 417-445.

Classical Sources

Augustus, Caesar. Res Gestae

Dio, Cassius. Roman History Reign of Augustus.

Suetonius. Lives of the Twelve Caesars.

Tacitus. Annals of Imperial Rome.

Velleius, Paterculus. Compendium of Roman History.

Castor and Pollux Cult In Ancient Rome & Greece

October 25th, 2014
Castor and Pollux Statues - Rome City Hall

Castor and Pollux Cult in Greco-Roman Culture: Flamininus at the Temple of the Dioscuri
Roman and Spartan Virtue

Roman general and Proconsul Titus Quinctius Flamininus, after his victory at Cynoscephalae (Dogs head) against Phillip V of Macedon in 197 BCE, liberating Greece with the aid of his Aetolian allies, went to Delphi, to the temple of the Tyndaridae. There, according to Plutarch, he dedicated silver bucklers and his own war shield, having the inscription made stating “O ye sons of Zeus, whose joy is in swift horsemanship, O ye Tyndaridae, princes of Sparta, Titus, a descendant of Aeneas, has brought you a most excellent gift, he who for the sons of the Greeks wrought freedom.” Why would he upon this great victory honor the twins, Castor and Pollux or the Dioscuri as they were called collectively, not part of the major Greek or Roman big twelves pantheon, gods who according to myth traded places between Olympus with the Gods and in the Underworld with Hades? It is my intention to explore some of the significance of the Cult of Castor and Pollux in Roman and Greek culture. I shall be focusing one the period when Greece became part of the emerging Roman Republican Empire in the second and third centuries BCE.

Flamininus’s Roman and allied Greek forces vs Phillip V of Macedon and his allies at Cynoscephalae.

The example of Flamininus, celebrating the Tyndairdae (sons of Tyndareus) and the reference to Sparta is because that is the particularly Spartan name for the Greek Dioscuri (sons of Zeus) or in Latin Castores, has much to do with the politics of the time and that place, in which they symbolized more than other deities. There was nothing unusual about that mixing of religion and state among the Romans or the Greeks. Delphi was the center of the oracle of Apollo, and visitors from around the ancient world would go there for advice. This had great propaganda value for the Romans in promoting their role as the champions of liberty and peace as well as touting Flaminius’s own horn. The golden wreath placed at the temple of Apollo attests to this. “This will fitly lie on thine ambrosial locks, O son of Leto, this wreath with sheen of gold; it is the gift of the great leader of the children of Aeneas. Therefore, O Far-darter, bestow upon the god-like Titus the glory due to his prowess.”

Copyright : emicristea

The temple of Apollo at Delphi, Greece

Why though the Tyndairdae or Dioscuri? There is a dual meaning to the Dioscuri as they were both the guardian spirits of Sparta who were embodied in the form of the dual kings of the city state, and they were also heroic representatives of the victory of the Republican Rome over its last kings. An examination of the role of the Dioscuri in Sparta shows that in mythology Castor and Pollux or Polydeuces as he was known to the Greeks, were both sons of Leda wife of Tyndareus ruler of Sparta before the Trojan War, hence the name Tyndairdae. Castor is traditionally the human son of Tyndareus and the Pollux the son of Zeus when he came to Leda as a swan. Sometimes their sisters including Helen were suspected as being children of Zeus and Leda.

Wikimedia Commons. ‘Leda and the Swan’ after Leonardo da Vinci

One egg contained the Dioscuri, Polydeuces being the immortal son of Zeus and Castor the mortal son of Tyndareus. From the other hatched Helen, and her sister Clytemnestra was the daughter of Tyndareus.

There are interesting symbols and myths associated with the twins. The caps, they are frequently shown wearing, called piloi, represent the cosmic egg from which they hatched, symbol of the heavens and the earth. Their alternation of heaven and earth, day and night, became identified as the personifications of eternity or the “everlastingness of the renovatio temporum” They were worshiped as savior gods in Ptolemaic Egypt where they shared a temple with the royal family’s divinities Philadelphus and Euergetes. These were the defied kings of Ptolemaic Egypt, and Theocritus a royally sponsored poet, wrote about the Dioscuri in his poetic “Idylls (eidyllia ‘little pictures’)” with a sophisticated court audience in mind, playing on their nostalgia for a more bucolic time, a term that is attributed to him boukolikos, meaning ‘about cowherds’. He was in Alexandria during this period of very deliberate syncretism on the part of the Ptolemy’s. Theocritus wrote his Idyll on the Dioscuri describing Castor’s death as being avenged by his father, Zeus crying “Ah! ‘tis no child’s-play to fight with the sons of Tyndareus; they prevail even as he that begat them prevaileth” This indicates that a cult of salvation may be associated with the Dioscuri. Perhaps this is a syncretic Egyptian practice attached to the Greek heroes. Kennell writes that the association with the Dioscuri goes back to the ancient Indo-European tradition of the Divine Twins, a tradition that he feels the conservative Spartans maintained in their tripartite distinction of the three social classes of “priest and kings, warrior and herder-cultivators” This ancient traditional division appears to have also been the basis of the caste system of the Aryan invaders of India.

ASHVINS or Ashwins, are the divine twin Vedic gods of the morning. They are horsemen who are known for their goodwill towards humans

This conservatism of the Spartans would have been very attractive and familiar to traditional Romans. If one follows the logic of the ancient traditions of the twins, the Romans may not have been adopting the Dioscuri so much as interpreting their own twin myths, reflected in the story of Romulus and Remus and associating the Greek twins with their own proto-Latin version from the time before the Indo-Europeans split. In the Indo-Iranian tradition the Divine Twins are often represented as horses. The Dioscuri in Quintilian’s version of the Simonides story, see below, were on “horseback (equis advecti).” As great horsemen it would seem strange that the hoplite Spartans, who had had little or no cavalry for centuries, would be so fond of hippes (cavalry) such as the Dioscuri represented. Roman knights or equites also may have seemed to be irrelevant in a world where the phalanx and the legion dominated, they also held the Dioscuri to be special protectors. Cavalry was the domain of the wealthy who could afford the upkeep of horses, but in the sense that they reflect ancient traditions from the steppe cultural past, which for the Romans and Spartans would have survived in the myths of the horse riding twins Castor and Pollux. In reality the Spartans had ended the use of cavalry at the time of the Second Messenian War about 630 BCE. At that time they “enacted egalitarian reforms eliminating obvious signs of wealth and establishing compulsory training for males as hoplites including the elimination of cavalry.” There seems to be an element of the early class divisions on the part of those who held the Dioscuri special.

Rider BM B1

A Laconian black-figured cup by Rider Painter featuring a member of the hippeus.
Rider with birds and a winged figure, perhaps Nike (Victory). Lakonian black-figured kylix, ca. 550–530 BC.

Pindar captures much of the qualities admired in the Spartans and the divine mirror of their self-image in the Nemean Odes [odes that would celebrate athletes in the Nemean Games], “For Theaeus of Argos Wrestling (?)444 B. C.” captures in these verses much of the essential knowledge we have about the cult of the Dioscuri:

But since Castor and his brother Polydeuces came to Pamphaës to receive a hospitable welcome, it is no wonder that it is innate in their race to be good athletes; since the Dioscuri, guardians of spacious Sparta, along with Hermes and Heracles, administer the flourishing institution of the games, and they care very much for just men. Indeed, the race of the gods is trustworthy.

There are several critical things mentioned in this poem, one they are masters of games where in Sparta as the guardians and favorite sons born just outside of town in Therapne, which according to archeological evidence is one of the oldest Bronze Age ruins, older than any on the site of Sparta proper. It was there that, as Michael Grant notes, “a sanctuary on three platforms, the Menelaion, from c.725: here the old Mycenaean nature goddess was resuscitated in the form of Helen, while the helpers of the goddess reappeared in the guise of her divine brothers the Dioscuri.” This harkens back to the idea of the original divine twins of the Indo-Europeans. They also represented the domination of the natural order of things, that of the just men.

Detail of one of the Dioskouroi twins battling a Gigante in a painting of the Gigantomakhia (War of the Giants). The demi-god is depicted as a horseman wearing a petasos (traveller’s cap). His brother is also shown in the same painting (see image below).

Museum Collection: Musée du Louvre, Paris, France Attributed to the the Suessula Painter ca 400 - 390 BC

These heroes engaged in adventures like Hercules. In one tale they captured Athens, with the aid of the Lacedaemonians and Arcadians, in order to bring back their sister Helen when she was kidnapped by Theseus. The tradition of defending familial and Spartan rights would provide some of the background justification for Spartan self-image as upholding the old traditions of virtue, similar to that of the Romans. The Dioscuri are seen as the equals of Hermes and Heracles which may say something of their importance as personal interveners for humans between the Earth and the heavens. This relationship is built in their mythology as Pindar continues in the next verse:
Changing places in alternation, the Dioscuri spend one day beside their dear father Zeus, and the other beneath the depths of the earth in the hollows of Therapne, each fulfilling an equal destiny, since Polydeuces [Greek version of Pollux] preferred this life to being wholly a god and living in heaven, when Castor was killed in battle. [60]

Spartan Girls Challenging Boys 1862 by Edgar Degas

Among the Spartans the Dioscuri were major divinities. The youth who were undergoing the famously rigorous training called the agōgē. This was referred to above, as the compulsory military training, but it was more than that, it was a way of life for the elite youth of Sparta, supported by slaves and peasantry, they focused on the traditional role of huntsman and warrior. It was a tradition that had gone back to the beginning of Sparta periodically had been ended by reformers and then brought back as a return to the ways of Lycurgus the mythical reformer who established the traditions of Sparta. Kennell says “Castor and Pollux epitomized young manhood in Spartan eyes.” They were great hunters with Castor being attributed to having been the Spartan hound the Castorian. They were the inventors of the armed dances the youth would perform in their ritual training and they were the enforcers of fair play and were the great warriors to whose tune the “kastoreian melos,” the Spartans would march off to war. Youth would sacrifice puppies to the war god at the temple of the Dioscuri in Sparta even into the Roman period. This was observed by Pausanius who describes the quaint customs of the noble Spartans. He was a Roman tourist of the Second Century CE.

Dog Sacrifices in Ancient Greece. From Attalus Museum

Spartan greatness intertwined with the Dioscuri is shown in a poem fragment attributed to Simonides in which he calls writes an elegy to the Spartan victors in the battle of Plataea against the Persians in 479 BCE. When one thinks of the Dioscuri the association with Sparta seems to have been common in the Greco-Roman world:

…Muse, as an ally to me, (if indeed) you do care for men who are praying.
(Deck out) also this (ornament, sweet to the mind, of my song), so that some-
one (may remember) . . . (of men), who (for) Sparta . . . the day of slavery . . .
(nor did they forget excellence) . . . high-as-heaven . . . (and the fame of ) these
men (will be) immortal . . . having left (the Eurotas) and the city (of Sparta) . . .
with the horse-taming sons of Zeus, (the Tyndarid) heroes and with wide-rul-
ing Menelaus . . . leaders of the city (of their fathers) . .

The Dioscuri were protectors not only of horsemen and warrior, they has a special regard for poets as well. Cicero in De Oratore describes a banquet where Simonides chants a lyric poem long on praises for Castor and Pollux. The host, a certain Scopas ridiculed the length of the panegyric to those patrons of poetry by only paying Simonides half of what he was due, telling him to claim the rest from the Dioscuri. Moments later Simonides was called outside where there were two young men waiting. Once outside nobody was found. The house collapsed burying all within. Simonides used his memory of where they sat, to identify the dead. He was called father of mnemonics after that as he used the experience to develop memory techniques.

Castor and Pollux saving Simonides from the collapsing building

Flamininus had multiple reasons to be worshiping at the temple of the Dioscuri. He was about to embark on a war with Nabis, described by Plutarch as the “most pernicious and lawless tyrant of Sparta,” . The special aid of the Dioscuri was important to the Romans as well as the Spartans. Rome also had a relationship with the Castores or Dioscuri, who according to legend saved the Romans at the battle of Lake Regillus, Aulus Postumius Albus Regillensis, then dictator of Rome, vowed to the Dioscuri that if they aided him against the Latin forces lead by the aging Tarquin former king of Rome, he would build a temple to them. Remnants of the temple which was built in approximately 495 BCE, and rebuilt several times since, exist to this day in the Roman forum. The temple was the site of the meetings of the Senate and speeches were given outside on its portico. Under the emperors it became a treasury.

Titus Quinctius Flamininus, 196 BC.

The Dioscuri were to both warrior peoples the Romans and the Spartans models of behavior and it was because of the affinity to these Gods that perhaps Flamininus’s dedication to the temple of the Delphi was not the cynical action of a politician, at least not exclusively and may go a ways in explaining why he let Nabis make peace with Rome in 195 BCE instead of destroying the Spartans as the Achaean League desired. Flamininus announced at the Nemean Games given by Argos what amounted to an amnesty for the Spartans. .

The Romans admired the Spartan traditions and part of that was a mutual admiration of those “horse taming sons of Zeus,” the Dioscuri, who appeared to support Flamininus’s victory over Philip dedicating the shields to their temple in Delphi as a form of sympathetic magic connecting to their support in the Battle of Lake Regillus. Later, in the 160’s BCE, Lucius Aemilus Paullus in his celebration of victory over the Macedonian king Perseus at Pydna had the story spread that the Dioscuri had shown up at the fountain of Jutturna to announce his victory in Rome just as they had for the victory over the ancient kings of Rome centuries before to announce the victory of liberty over tyranny. The Dioscuri were not just protectors of the elite horsemen, warriors and elite poets against insults, but also protectors of freedoms and rights. The Phygian cap has long been associated with liberty, as the egg shell origins of the cap was the result of the mixing of man and god. The cap symbol represents that liberty a natural right of man, and the cult of the Dioscuri was in itself perhaps a reminder of man’s natural liberty.
Image by John Leech, from: The Comic History of Rome by Gilbert Abbott A Beckett. Bradbury, Evans & Co, London, 1850s Flaminius restoring Liberty to Greece at the Isthmian Games

Unfortunately Wordpress does not pick up footnotes and this was written using that system. If you want to read the paper with footnotes you can contact: and I will gladly email you a pdf of the original paper.

Roman Republican Coins, T. Quinctius Flaminius, Denarius 126 BC, VF

Ebola, Colonialism, & Scientific Imperialism

October 12th, 2014

Crews in Liberia removing the victims of Ebola to crematoriums.

Ebola is everywhere in the news, replacing Israel and Palestine, replacing Russia and the Ukraine, or typhoons in the Philippines, even IS beheading of westerners has had to play second fiddle to the prospect of the Walking Dead in our daily lives. I wrote a short introduction to the literature on Western Medical interventions in the rest of the world, as sort of intro to Medicine and Science of imperialism if you will. I am posting it for your pleasure below, as I have been so swamped with school and work that my ability to blog has been severely curtailed.

Health workers suit up in for work in Ebola contamination zones.

“Historical Legacy of Colonial Medicine and Science: Some Implications of Consequences of Eurocentric Science a Literature Review”

The imposition of a model of scientific experimentation by the powerful developed nations in medicine and science has led to a debate about the nature of the western derived research oriented science that may not take into account the interests of the subjects of these studies. The model of bioethics and its universality when the discourse has been dominated by imperial, colonial and post-colonial powers since the rise of modern scientific medicine in the nineteenth century taints the science and medicine as it impacts vulnerable and less politically powerful constituencies. This dominance has come under scrutiny as the underlying motivations, of the so called scientific and humanitarian efforts of the western powers, is increasingly being questioned as a more holistic, human rights approach may be the path to social reform.
Image courtesy of Wellcome Trust

Colonial Medical Practice

Looking at European practitioners of tropical medicine, Neill documents how the research and development of treatments for diseases in the tropics were driven by the assumed superiority of these representatives of the imperial powers and how their ethical systems based on an ideal of laboratory research resulted in the discovery of pathogens but limited in their approach to treatment. The researchers and practitioners ultimately served the interests of the colonial powers. Examples from the French colonial practices in West Africa established patterns that during an epidemic of Sleeping Sickness in French controlled Guinea and British controlled Serra Leone the health experts advocated and established concentration camps to isolate and treat victims with largely ineffective arsenic based medications. I think the study seems especially pertinent as it explains some of the background to resistance to medical practitioners in the current Ebola epidemic.

Dutch Colonial Images

The Sleeping Sickness epidemic of the turn of the 20th century is speculated to have been the result of disruptions of the local ecology by the colonial enterprises were enough to set off an epidemic. Neill states “Even at the time, most people agreed that there was a relationship between the rapidity of the disease’s spread and large-scale colonial development projects, economic activities, and military conquest.” The medical culture and the political and economic system of colonialism conflicted as the needs of the commercial interests would thwart the best medical practices this created an us versus them conflict in which the medical practitioners ended up deferring to other interests.

French African Policy

The development of an ideology of “pure science” by J.C. Koningsberger and others in the in the Dutch East Indies in the early part of the 20th century is shown by Goss to be another means by which the cultural imperialism of the west was used to dominate indigenous peoples. When, Indonesia was a Dutch colony, the administration and political elites utilized science, although real and useful, as a propaganda tool to justify maintaining its control of the region, especially in the post-World War One era. Nationalist sentiments among the aspiring classes of the native Indonesians who demanded research hospitals of their own to assume some of the responsibly and status of western science were thwarted by the colonial authority until just before the Japanese occupation in World War Two in Goss’s research. The Dutch system turned objective science into a tool for exploitation. It is ironic in my view that the lack of willingness to recognize the abilities of the Indonesian intelligentsia in part resulted in the independence movement. Instead of inviting the local people racist and cultural attitudes of western superiority fueled the resentment of those whom the imperial westerners were supposedly bringing into the enlightenment of the west as Said has so clearly expounded.

Blatant Racist Imperialism of the 19th Century

Science and imperialism are linked in the development of western science. Arnold shows that India had its own well developed medical traditions when the British gained ascendancy over the subcontinent. The Indian science has been considered to be degenerate by Orientalist writers as a result of Muslim occupation and the chaos after the breakup of the Mogul Empire. The mythology being that western intervention came to rescue a formerly advanced scientific tradition that had succumbed decadence, and needed to be saved from the vicissitudes of fate.
The introduction of the British colonial administration actually disrupted the development of Indian science and medicine which, Arnold shows, has until recently been seen as the introduction of British advanced scientific methods into a stagnant Indian landscape. Arnold states “The idea of a simple diffusion of a monolithic and progressive Western science into passively recipient extra-European lands has been challenged from several standpoints.” Diffusionist views, often held to be the model, considered science to be neutral and not culturally biased, now seems to be somewhat naïve. The idea of a passive indigenous population receiving dollops of western scientific medicine was and is not practical. The interaction between colonial administrations and indigenous subjects had to be mediated by the local practitioners and accumulated field knowledge on the ground. This can clearly be seen in the evidence of people in West Africa running from medical practitioners dressed like aliens, or even attacking aid workers if there is not a proper communication and cooperation.

Last edited by Blackleaf; May 11th, 2014 at 11:40

British Empire Personified. Rule Britannia.

It is the hierarchical dominance of the British science establishment over the local colonial science and the increasingly marginalized indigenous science in India that is a hallmark of the dominant Eurocentric scientific paradigm that has pervaded science since the 18th century and led to the biases in medical practice to this day. This is reflected in the faith in the civilizing mission of western science and its breakthroughs in technology in the industrial revolution. Indian nationalists often accepted this model of following the western lead to modernity but others rejected it as leaving India always subservient to the West.
Photograph from “The Decline and Fall of the British Empire” (Corbis)

Members of a British army polo team in Hyderabad, India.

This model of development has had repercussions in modern attempts to fight out breaks of disease as well as the imposition of European based testing models on developing countries. Garrafa and Lorenzo point out that the US and other developed countries perform clinical trials in involving poor third world subjects and the use of double standards in research are a form of moral imperialism. The WMA General Assembly rejection of attempts by the USA to modify the Helsinki Declaration to allow this type of research has led to the American abandonment of the Declaration and developing regional seminars to train local practitioners to spread the model preferred by the US. This is a case of “Indirect Moral Imperialism.”

Scientific Racism.

Case studies such as that of clinical trials studying “the prevention of vertical transmission of HIV between pregnant women and their babies” used placebos in the control group, which was denounced as unethical. Other examples including the infamous case of the Tuskegee Syphilis study where patients were denied access to penicillin as Smolen writes among many others condemning these actions. The scientists doing the research did not inform the patients of the availability of the drug. Also the director of the program, one Dr. John C. Cutler, ran a program for the Public Health Service and the National Institutes of Health, in Guatemala where patients were deliberately infected with sexually transmitted diseases. This is a case of racist and imperialist medical practice. While there have been efforts to curb such blatantly unethical practices, as noted in the “Belmont Report,” it does not address the basic inequity of a system that pits powerful corporations and medical-governmental-industrial complexes against poor peoples around the world with little institutional support.

Doctors with ‘patients’ in Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment

Research done by Hewitt and Amola on the local cultural response to an Ebola outbreak in 2000 – 2001 in which surveys were done of students, adults and survivors of the outbreak among the Acholi people of northern Uganda has shown that practices of traditional healers have a sound basis. These include isolation of those suffering from an outbreak. Care giving is limited to survivors of an epidemic, or to the elderly, if survivors are not available. Placement of clear identifiers outside the house where the victims are located, and maintaining quarantine for a month after recovery of survivors are among these ongoing practices. This is thought to be a tradition that has preceded the colonial period and mirrors modern medical practice in many respects. Others such as refraining from sex and promoting harmony within the family were also recommended by traditional healers. The research found that other practices related to burial had a negative effect but that with communication between the local traditional healers and the health workers, the local people modified their practices. The ill ran away from ambulance’s sent to take them to the hospital largely because of the practice of not informing relatives of the death of the patient and a fear that westerners would sell body parts. Recommendations suggest a greater sensitivity to cultural practices and working with traditional healers rather than stigmatizing them. The study indicates that unlike the common belief among international health care workers that traditional practices are a hindrance to healing, that they can be helpful as local people have developed their own methods to deal with epidemics.

Toumi takes the position that the UNESCO Declaration on Bioethics and Human Rights argues for the medical education system to teach redistributive justice in global health care with an emphasis on the interconnected nature of the world and its heath. Instilling a bioethics that reflects the universal rights of man, there will come a generation of doctors who focus on the needs of the populace of the world as a whole. The need for this holistic approach is an argument that is hard to deny in the face of current world epidemics in which the neglected developing nation health care systems have become the breeding grounds of biological disease. In this there is a basis for hope that a genuinely redistributive allocation of resources will finally compensate for the imbalances caused by the scientific exploitation of the rest of the world by the western powers over the last couple centuries. The medical necessity of insuring global health security may point the way once it is clearly shown that western science has, while helping develop cures for diseases, also is implicated the generations of human misery.

Looks like my footnotes don’t transfer from word to my blog. If anyone has an idea as to how that works let me know. I am not really up to reformatting everything into MLA style at least not tonight. I will post the bibliography from a previous version, it is not comprehensive but at least it does list the sources I quote. I will have to go back in at some point and put in MLA in text citations, but as a blog, and not an academic paper this should be adequate.


Arnold, David. Science, Technology and Medicine in Colonial India. Port Chester, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press, 2000. ProQuest ebrary. Web. 5 October 2014.
Garrafa, Volnei, and Lorenzo, Claudio. “Moral Imperialism and Multi-centric Clinical Trials in Peripheral Countries.” Cadernos De Saúde Pública, 24.10 (2008): 2219-2226.
Goss, Andrew. “Decent Colonialism? Pure Science and Colonial Ideology in the Netherlands East Indies, 1910–1929.” Journal of Southeast Asian Studies, 40.1 (2009): 187-214.
Hewlett, Barry S. and Amola, Richard P. “Cultural Contexts of Ebola in Northern Uganda.” Emerging Infectious Diseases. 9.10 (2003) 124–1248.
Neill, Deborah. Networks in Tropical Medicine: Internationalism, Colonialism, and the Rise of a Medical Specialty, 1890–1930. Palo Alto, CA, USA: Stanford University Press, 2012. Print.
Smolin, David M. “The Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, Social Change, And The Future Of Bioethics.” Faulkner Law Review 3.2 (2012): 229-251. Academic Search Complete .Web. 30 Sept. 2014
Toumi, Rabee. “Globalization and Health Care: Global Justice and the Role of Physicians.” Medicine, Health Care and Philosophy, 17.1 (2014): 71-80.

War Rhetoric, Bush, Obama, Hannibal, Rome, Hercules Myth & Abrahamic Cult

September 14th, 2014

Here we go again. The US seems to have become implacably wedded to war, policing the world and using foreign policy distractions to bolster sagging domestic political fortunes. After 9/11 there was some reasonable justification for going into Afghanistan, to get a little payback although it probably would have been best treated as a police action. below are a couple of speeches by Bush and Obama respectively. They are thirteen years apart. Like empires before and would be imperial powers, the rhetoric needs to be designed to reflect the public willingness to be pulled into a conflict that may or may not be justified. In thinking about this I am reminded of some past efforts to convince others to join in the cause of a more or less just war. Hannibal and his use of the Hercules Myth in his struggle against Rome, is critical to an analysis of the fate of Carthage and its struggle with Rome.

“Seigel and Shuster created Superman from existing material already to hand: the myths of Samson, Hercules…”
From A Shared, Faithless, Modern Mythology: Superheroes as Modern Legends…By Darren April 22, 2012

My thesis more than the simple statement that nearness to the point of contention, sharpens one’s real politick, there is this interesting issue of manipulation of underlying myths for the sake of propaganda both current and ancient. Hercules was a heroic figure, an intermediary between man and the gods. He often represented the position of people facing the impossible demands of fate, despite his flawed nature, coming through victoriously and in the process thwarting the interests of the bad gods and their minions. Where is this Herculean character in the modern political discourse, certainly in the theatrical production of Marvel and DC super heroes this is the case. Where in the discourse on the level of believed mythologies, on the level of religions of the states involved. This goes to the meta-belief systems which in this case are embedded in the monotheism of the modern world. The patina of the heroic Babylonian-Greco-Roman world is faint and growing fainter as the past is blown up before our eyes in Iraq and Syria. But the monotheistic world, of the Crusader vs the infidel narrative and the relatively insecure position of the Jews plays out now. I shall concentrate on the Herculean myth; refer to modern rhetoric with a brief analysis of the use of the myth of Hercules in the Punic wars and the later Roman absorption of the myth in their own victorious narrative. Thus the issue becomes one of what significance do these meta-stories have in the development of the narrative and the real political issues the narrative deals with.

Bush declaration of attack on Afghanistan and Al Qaeda.

Obama declaration of attack on ISIL in Syria and Iraq.

To go into Syria because of the beheading of a couple of journalists seems to be playing right into the hands of IS. They seem to be getting some strategic benefit from drawing the US into these costly limited wars. Wars that ultimately cannot be won without a serious deployment of boots on the ground to occupy space as well as the enforcement of a political agenda that may mean ramming terms down the throats of unwilling Middle Eastern states, through political, military and economic pressure. I am not sure the USA has the means or the will to pursue such a course and the IS planners like their counterparts in Al Qaeda know that.

“This cartoon, by David Axe and Matt Bors highlights some of the key developments in U.S. drone warfare”
The war of attrition by taking out the heads of the leadership via assassination and drone strikes, has been of limited success, as one head is chopped off, Hydra like two more arise to take its place. The implication, if one takes the example of Hercules is that you need assistance on the ground, an ally who is there to cauterize the wound to prevent a new set of heads from emerging.

Hercules battles the multi-headed beast of terror in ancient world.
“The Hydra fighting Heracles | Paestan black figure hydra C6th B.C. | J. Paul Getty”

From Hesiod, Theogony:

And third again she [Ekhidna] bore
the grisly-minded Hydra of Lerna, whom the goddess
white-armed Hera nourished
because of her quenchless grudge
against the strong Herakles.
Yet he, Herakles, son of Zeus,
of the line of Amphitryon,
by design of Athene the spoiler,
and with help form warlike
Iolaos, killed this beast
with the pitiless bronze sword.

(Hesiod 316-321)

A lot can be learned from that ancient Greek myth. Hercules was the hero of the ancient world. He is given a more human and tragic by the Greeks with his rage and murder of his family, being thus forced to perform his penance in the 12 labors, one of which was killing the Hydra. This Hydra could not be tamed alone. An ally had to be sought. Herakles, as strong as he was could not fight the beast himself.

High tech warfare in the 3rd century BCE

The struggle for control of the public image of the heroic is an ancient one. In the context of the Punic Wars Carthage Must Be Destroyed by Richard Miles who has an interesting interpretation of Hannibal’s propaganda wars against the Romans, pitting Hercules/Melqart as the ally of Carthage and her friends as opposed to Rome who had its own myth of Heracles. For the Romans, as described by Dionysius of Halicarnassus a Greek rhetorician in the 1st century BC, Heracles becomes a great liberator of man. During his tenth labor, the restoration of the cattle of Geryon, he descends into Italy freeing the people from the despotism of tyrants such as Cacus (Miles 248-249).

Hercules killing Cacus By Beham, Hans Sebald 1545 in Iconotheca Valvasoriana” Wikimedia.

From Virgil we have the tale of Cacus’s defeat by Hercules in the Aeneid:

Then Hercules
burst wide the doorway of the sooty den,
and unto Heaven and all the people showed
the stolen cattle and the robber’s crimes,
and dragged forth by the feet the shapeless corpse
of the foul monster slain.

(Vergil. 8.262)
Hercules slaying the monster oppressing the local people thus becomes in Virgil, who is citing a tale that had been part of Roman lore. notes the worship of Hercules as preceding the founding of Rome:

our Pinarian house is vowed to guard
the rites of Hercules. An altar fair
within this wood they raised; ‘t is called ‘the Great,’
and Ara Maxima its name shall be.

(Vergil, 8. 262)

This has been noted in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome in the article on “Hercules in Roman Religion” by William Dominik, that Ara Maxima was a very ancient site of worship of Hercules in the forum Boarium and that Hercules who as founder of Gades in Spain under the Phoenician name Melquart had become part of the pantheon of Roman protector gods. Hercules was sent on his labor to retrieve, i.e. raid and steal, the cattle of Geryon, the ancient oil from the other end of the world. On his trip back from the cattle raid, Hercules managed to participate in Roman prehistory becoming the model for Romulus and many other heroic figures in Roman lore and history (Dominik 405).

“Geryon - goodnight argent - In Roman versions of the narrative, on the Aventine hill in Italy, Cacus stole some of the cattle as Heracles slept”

Returning to our narrative of the ancient and the modern, as Miles claims, Hannibal aware of the need to win the propaganda war, and understanding the universal appeal of Hercules in Greek, Roman and Phoenician culture and in that of many peoples across the Mediterranean world, decided to appropriate the symbol of Heracles for his own and had a Greek historian in his train write to this purpose:

“Silenus’s portrayal of Heracles-Melqart as Hannibal’s divine companion was thus designed to send out a message to the western Greeks that it was the Carthaginian commander who represented their last opportunity to restore their diminished freedoms [vs a vie the Romans]” (Miles 247-248).

“Limoges enamel depicting Hercules carrying the two columns, by Couly Nouailher, mid-16th century (Walters Art Museum). The columns of the Melqart temple at Tyre were also of religious significance” (

Coins were struck of the young Hannibal in Nova Carthago, the headquarters of the Barcid dominated colony in Spain as he aspired to the role of a new Hercules Melquart. This coin with the image of the war elephant on the back is, as Miles indicates, associated the Barcid family, as well as being a symbol of continuity with the rule of his predecessors in Spain (Miles 226-227).

“Hannibal AR Tridrachm. 221-218 BC, Carthago Nova, Spain, Laureate bust of young Melqarth-Hercules left, heavy knotted club behind neck / Elephant walking” below (

Just as Vergil was attempting to create a mythos to justify the new imperial project of his dominating friend Octavian, in the modern world the USA must do the same. The need to promote the heroic value of the invader as the legitimate force for liberation can be seen again in the modern Middle East as the Obama administration struggles to come up with a narrative that will be convincing to the young fighters in Syria and Iraq whom the US hopes to use as proxies in the war against ISIS. There have been videos made from ISIS originals highlighting the horror of the ISIS practices intended to deter potential recruits and to persuade fighters to join or at least not leave the so called moderate Islamic groups in Syria in particular.

State Department video battling ISIS propaganda.

The need to battle ISIS propaganda and to win over the allegiance of the people will be predicated, as with Hannibal, upon the victory of the American backed forces. There is nothing like success to gain recruits. ISIS with its string of successes rapidly gained backing. Hannibal gained early support from the Gauls of Cis-Alpine Gaul with early victories over the initial Roman forces at Trebia. A result of which wavering Gauls became more pliant supporters. Later victories including the massacre at Cannae led to Capua giving support to Hannibal, although limited, not to include a troop levy which may seem somewhat familiar to Kerry as he attempts to hammer together an alliance against ISIS. Southern Greek cities that did go over to Hannibal soon regretted the choice as Rome recaptured them one by one. As the Arab countries now must weigh the long term consequences of supporting the US. Turkey, with a border directly adjacent to ISIS controlled territory and 49 diplomats in ISIS custody, did not even sign onto the statement Kerry hammered together.

John Kerry, wearing suit, speaks with Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal, right, at King Abdulaziz International Airport in Jeddah on Thursday. Reuters

As the Wall Street Journal article “Allies Pledge to Help U.S. Fight Islamic State Extent of Cooperation in Military Operations Still Unclear” by Maria Abi-Habib and Jay Solomon from 9/11/14 indicates, the alliance has very limited and conditional support. Germany has said it would not join air strikes. Russia concerned about the legality of US air strikes over Syria without Syrian government approval would create an barrier to UN support unless the US is willing to ally itself with the Assad regime, something the US claims to be loathe to do. Yet the US has no problem allowing Iranian troops on the ground in Iraq and PPK fighters, on the US terrorist list to work with the US in Kurdish areas of northern Iraq. Strange times indeed, Hannibal would be a worthy adviser as Obama wades back into these perilous waters.

“The painting Hercules Firing Arrows at His Children, by Italian artist Antonio Canova was painted in 1799 using oil on paper and glued to canvas. It is 42 X 66 cm. The painting features the infamous madness of Hercules. After being driven mad by the goddess Hera and by drink, he murders his whole family in blind furry. When finally sober, Hercules is surprised and heartbroken by his actions. He agrees to twelve labors in order to partially atone for his sins” Phin Upham

Where is the modern Hercules? Is there a universal figure like Hercules? It can’t be Jesus, Jews don’t recognize him and Muslims give little significance the the figure. It can’t be Mohammed for the same reasons. Who is it, we have to go back to Abraham and Issac. Who is the good servant of god? This is a myth that is concurrent with that of Melquart-Hercules. But this is not a self evident narrative in the modern rhetoric. What is, is the question asked of Abraham. What are you willing to do to impose the will of your god? Hercules, was asking a different question, what do I have to do to get these gods off my back? What unifies them is the fact that they both are engaged as intermediaries between the helpless humanity and the gods/fates/demonic forces. Thus the rhetoric reflects a justification of the position vs a vie these powerful cosmic forces and much effort goes into the justification of these efforts. How strange, how typically human and how sad that the dilemma of both Hercules and Abraham still exist today.

“Fresco with image of Abraham to sacrifice his son, Ishmael (Islamic version) on a Haft Tanan museum wall in Shiraz”
Evgenia Kononova (Wikicommons)

The gods make Hercules crazy, a very modern figure, could be a warrior suffering from PTSD. Abraham is tempted to craziness by the Abrahamic god and then is stopped by his better angels. The Romans and Carthaginians fought until one was destroyed utterly. In the modern ethos there is the opportunity to arrest the path to war. Are our better angels going to stop us from war madness?

Selected Works Cited.

Dominik, William J. “Hercules in Roman Religion.” Oxford Encyclopedia of Ancient Greece and Rome. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 2009. Google Scholar. 404-406. Web. 9/14/14.

Hesiod, Theogony. The Works of Hesiod.trans. Richard Latimore. Ann Arbor: U of Mich. P. 1959. Print.

Miles, Richard. Carthage Must Be Destroyed. New York: Viking Penguin. 2011. Print.

Vergil, Aeneid. Perseus Digital Library. U. of Chicago. Web. 9/14/14.

Asian-Mexican Breakfast Review

September 6th, 2014

Prickly Pear which is also known as Cactus Pear or Opuntia has a number of health benefits.

Today I woke up, read some Bio-geography, and then noticed I was dizzy. That is usually a sign of low blood sugar and sure enough mine was down to 52. Normal is 80-120, 200 means take insulin. I took a little glucose tablet and decided to make something to eat instead of taking a shower, my normal morning routine.

Testing blood sugar levels

Still a little dazed, I rummaged in the fridge, pulled out some cactus leaf, cactus pear, Italian squash, chayote squash and began chopping and pealing. I turned the gas on the cast Iron pan and the tea kettle, rinsed some chana dal, heated a pot of water and started simmering the dal. I spiced it with the rest of the basil leaves from my wilted plant that I got at Trader Joe’s. I also added a good shake of turmeric, a lot more nutmeg than I planned and some asafoetida. This was an unusual mixture for me to use, a rather radical departure but I was in a daze as I said.

Asafoetida plant

I then took some left over soup from the fridge, and threw that in with the veges, this had a paste like consistency due to my habit of constantly adding ingredients. It was based on an organic mushroom soup concentrate, Pacific brand, that I found in the discount bin at Ralph’s. The soup had been a mix of the base with organic carrots, organic celery, a gala apple, a couple of turkey sausages, a tomatillo, a couple of jalapeno’s, a little chopped yellow onion and a couple of pieces of garlic all chopped up together. This had already been on the stove twice and was about a week old, well seasoned.

Then I threw in a couple of strips of bacon, usually I get turkey bacon, but in this case I found some pork bacon that was on sale.
I used to get soy bacon but that got to be too expensive, I switched to turkey bacon, but that has gone up, so now I just look for what is on sale and isn’t loaded with sodium.

After that came a chopped up tomatillo, some yellow onion and 3 or 4 pieces of garlic chopped up. I threw in a hand full of fresh rosemary spears and let it all simmer some more, all together over half an hour of cooking time.

While this was on low burner, I noticed some fruit flies hanging around a honey dew melon I had bought a month ago that never really ripened. I have noticed lately that there is a lot of fruit that is like this. It is picked early, and often instead of ripening it simply sits and then goes bad. This honeydew had a corner that had become moldy. So I cut it off, scraped out the seeds. and chopped up the rest of the insides but kept the outer casing to form a gourd. I this left the chopped up bits of melon, added the contents of one of those Paige Yogurt cups, the kind with the fruit on the side. I poured in the yogurt sans the cherry fruit concentrate, added a healthy amount of sage, really poured it in, added a little clove powder, and a generous couple of drops of vanilla concentrate. On top of this I placed a dozen or so green organic table grapes, a little salsa and a spoon of honey then added a shake of hot sauce and it was done.

While all this was going on I poured the hot water from the tea pot into a single serving melitta style filter filled with Don Francisco’s fine grind expresso, which sat on my coffee cup in which I had placed a triangle of Ibarra Mexican style chocolate and the cherry jam from the yogurt container. Hand poured style of making coffee demands a fine grind that slows down the water percolation. If you use a regular grind, the water pours through and the coffee is weak, you have to pour it through the filter a couple of times and never tastes right. I always choose a fine grind and a bold or strong coffee to get maximum flavor.

Chana Dal

I replaced the water in the simmering chana dal as there was a lot of white foam. After that the liquid was clear. I should have soaked the dal in cold water for a while before cooking and as it was it was not done in time for breakfast, no matter, I will have it later with another couple of meals. As a habit I cook beans and broil potatoes on the weekend so that I will have them during the week. I also tend to make way more than I can eat on the weekends and save left overs for my week night meals. After a long day of work and school, I rarely have the energy to cook on weekday evenings.

The food on the frying pan was done so I threw in some olive oil, added a couple eggs, and threw a slice of Vogel Mixed Grain bread in the toaster. The bread had come out of the freezer, I buy it from the discount section at Ralph’s where the normally expensive loafs can be bought for a dollar or so. I freeze it because I don’t eat bread often, usually I have tortillas with my meals.

With every thing done I slices up a key lime, squeezed it on top of the fruit gourd, made a plate with the food from the frying pan, slicing the piece of toast in half after spreading some Philadelphia cream cheese with jalapeno on it, then placed the over medium eggs on the toast, added a squeeze of lime, some hot sauce, black pepper and a dash of sea salt on the eggs and the veges on the side of the dish, and I was ready to chow down.

The flavor was intense, acidic and a little hot, from the leftover soup most likely. It has a complexity and was balanced between soft and hard elements.Usually I add potato to cool out the flavor, or have some beans and a grain like rice, but in this case it was the veges that stood alone and once my mental expectations had adjusted to the flavor messages from my taste buds, I enjoyed the dish. It was not too dry or wet, hard or soft, in fact it was tasty. I had no more cilantro so that staple was missing from my plate. The egg on toast was a little more generic than I had expected, when I added some of the bacon it became more flavorful.

Honeydew melon

As for my gourd of fruit and liquified yogurt, it was very tangy. The clove, sage and vanilla flavor really stood out front and center. The yogurt made it taste like one of those savory Indian yogurt dishes. Most of the fruit sweetness came from the grapes as the honeydew was rather bland and woody, tasting more like chayote than honeydew. But it was a pleasant spiciness, not overwhelming. I deliberately did not add too much honey as I did not want the sweetness to drown out the spiciness. The sage added a nice savory flavor that made the whole dish an exotic and interesting combination for the palate.

Chayote squash

Some source info. Since I live in Southern California, I am blessed with access to abundant fresh food, and unlike Florida, the state doesn’t take the hell out of groceries. Chayote, tomatillo, cactus leaf and cactus pear can all be got cheap from Mexican markets, or the discount stores like Food 4 Less. Ralph’s has the organic produce, day old stuff, and especially day old organic meats, I always look for deals on that sort of stuff there. Indian food like asafoetida and dal can be found at some regular markets but most likely you will have to go to an Asian or Indian market. I found the chana dal on the street outside of a church where some kind soul left a bag full of Indian and Middle Eastern grains and legumes. I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I grabbed some of the items. My daily walks often are productive like that.

Labor Day Port Truckers Organizing Meeting.

September 1st, 2014

(Photo)Striking port truck drivers labor action (Jabin Botsford / Los Angeles Times)

Today is still Labor Day in California. I went to a meeting at Banning Park in Wilmington down near the Port of Los Angeles. It was a group of organizers and truckeros who are attempting to organize the truckers at the Port of Long Beach and Port of Los Angeles. The meeting was mostly in Spanish so I did not catch a lot of the conversation but I got the gist of the idea being that pressure needs to be brought increasingly on the Port Authority and the individual shipping companies to allow the truckers to switch back to employees from the independent contractor status they have had since the 1990’s. The Longshoremen union the ILWU and the Teamsters have begun to take an interest but because the truckers are not legally considered to be employees they have little legal room to maneuver, or at least have used that excuse to refrain from organizing a largely Hispanic work force.

Ernie from Port of Azatlan, a representative from the ANSWER Coalition, a representative of the Block the Boat Coalition Against ZIM Ships (Israeli shipping company) and members of the IWW were there as well as a group of truckers who had participated in past actions. All told about 30 or so persons were there.

Many spoke, mostly in Spanish but what I gathered was that some of them had been involved in actions since the 1990’s or before. There are plans for an action on September 13th or there about and if you are interested in labor action this is a good one to participate in, especially now as the Palestinian support groups are now focusing on boycotting the Israeli shippers, activists are again focusing on the ports and if they don’t repeat the fiasco of the Occupy port actions of a couple of years ago, a very powerful coalition may be in the making.

Block the boat for Gaza stops Israeli Zim ship in Oakland. August 2014. By Terri Kay on August 18, 2014 from Workers World

Photo: Ingrid Martin

Gaza, US Middle East Bungling, Anti-Semitism, Plautus, & Ancient Usury

August 31st, 2014

The yellow badge Jews were forced to wear can be seen in this marginal illustration from an English manuscript.


Summer is almost over as we enter the Labor Day holiday weekend here in the USA. May Day, the world wide labor struggle holiday, which started in honor of American Anarchists in Chicago, is alienated from its radical history here. But the people have struggled to have their voices heard despite the constant media barrage to discourage action and to induce a sense of fear and helplessness.

We can see how people the world over took to the streets when Israel attacked Gaza, especially in Europe, not so strangely the dictatorships in the Arab world remained largely silent, not wanting to encourage more signs of resistance like the Arab Spring. The USA, as leader of the cabal of elite rulers around the world, has rocked the boat when Obama made his seemingly foolish speech in Cairo when he was first elected. It must be attributed to his relative political naïveté in international affairs. He perhaps wanted to distinguish himself from Bush’s administration with its heavy handed interventionist policies. The elites in Saudi Arabia never forgave him for letting Mubarak go. They insisted on returning the military to power and now are busily working with proxies such as the U.A.E. to destroy the independent resistance in Libya and did their best to turn Syria into a quagmire.

The Obama administration, with their desire to turn focus to deal with a rising China, and create an East Asian NATO, has now found itself being out-foxed by the combined efforts of Iran, Russia and China. But I digress into speculation on politics based on my own reading and experience in various domestic anti-imperialist political campaigns.

Little Gaza is a lynchpin irritant; it is the sore that keeps the Islamic world rallying against the presence of Israel. It is such a blatant injustice, that when Islamic regimes give silent aid to Israel, they fuel the forces of Islamic radicalism. It was the Palestinian question and the placement of US bases in Saudi Arabia allowed Osama Bin Laden to inspire so many young Saudi’s and others to such an implacable resistance to the US machinations leading to 9/11.

What to do about Israel? I can admire the Jewish people and their resilience in the face of prejudice, especially on the part of Christians that goes back to at least medieval times. The Greek-Jewish hostility dating back to the Greek Selucid occupation of the Jewish homeland in the Hellenistic period, extended into the Roman times. Witness the riots in Roman occupied Alexandria between Greeks and Jews and the records of delegations to Rome during the time of Caligula, to resolve these conflicts in Philo. The degeneration of relations between Rome and the Jews from the days when Herod was a welcome celebrity in Rome, to the time of the destruction of the second temple by Vespasian and Titus, a subject that I would like to dig into sometime because it would be interesting to see how Jews became Shylocks in the western tradition and a persecuted minority.
I am providing a link to a fairly good article from Wikipedia on the subject of the early split between Judaism and Christianity, which resulted in official oppression of Jews once the Christians became part of the government after Constantine. The earlier Roman oppression of the Jews had more to do with Roman practice against rebels than any specific anti-Semitism. Later the attitude of Hadrian, whose Hellenophile enthusiasm, may have influenced his repression of the Jews and renaming Jerusalem as pagan Aelia Capitolina. What has the Greek and Jewish conflict played in the emergence of anti-Semitism is a subject I intend to write about more. As it is I am diverging again.

The Jewish people deserve to feel safe in their place in the world. Yet they must not do so by developing their own version of South African Apartheid on a much smaller and more intensive scale.

This entire discourse was inspired by my reading of Plautus’s play The Mostellaria, reading his rants against moneylenders. His language seems right out of the Biblical Jesus’s excoriation of the money changers. It got me thinking about when were Jews first associated with the reviled loan sharks. Plautus has his hero, the mischievous slave Tranio, say in an aside to the audience “By Pollux, you won’t find a fouler class of/men/Or men less lawful than the moneylending breed!” (Plautus 657-659). He spends a goodly section of the play railing against loans at interest and one gets the impression that this may have been a relatively recent development in Roman culture. Banking with the concept of interest had been criticized by Aristotle and Roman law limited interest to 8 1/3%. Yet in the play the money lender is asking for 10%.

Also in the war with the Carthaginians, the second Punic war, which would have been going on during much of Plautus’s adulthood, the Roman Republic took out many loans and taxed women for their jewel and gold inherited from dead spouses called the Oppian Laws. After the war in 195 BC when the war was long over, the Oppian law was still in effect and the women protested when the Senate was voting on repeal and the tribunes were about to veto repeal. This occurred a decade or so before Plautus died and presumably when he was a well-known playwright.
So I was thinking about how usury was unpopular among the aristocracy of the day. There had been a crisis in Athens earlier when many farmers had become enslaved for non-payment of debt. Solon famously did much to eliminate that debt and legislated against it. The Greeks famously used their temples as banks. Pawnbrokers and money changing are considered to be Greek innovations. Perhaps the outrage of Jesus was outrage at the Hellenistic practice in the Jewish temple. This would give a nationalist twist to his opposition, or who ever made up the story. The transformation of the payment in interest in grain, where agricultural products naturally created more abundance, as opposed to the innovation of charging interest on money and metals which had no natural increase which caused serious problems in ancient society. But how the Jews, became associated with moneylending had much to do with medieval taxation and land ownership restrictions on Jews and their lack of a natural land base after the diaspora. I am again getting beyond my area of even limited expertise, so I am going to leave it at that.
I am leaving this off with more questions than answers. I am going to have to read more on the original Greek and Jewish interaction. Perhaps in my Pagan Culture class I will write a paper on this and post it. Meanwhile it is now August 31st and I have not even touched on the issues of migration and police shootings of minorities. I will write more at a later time. Meantime I would love some commentary and addition of some factual information.
Some good sources that I happen to have in my personal library and have read over the years:

Andreau, Jean. Banking and Business in the Roman World. Cambridge: Cambridge U. Press. 1999. Print.
Finnley, M. I. The Ancient Economy. Berkeley: U. of CA. Press. 1999. Print.
Lee, A. D. Pagans & Christians in Late Antiquity. London: Routledge. 2000. Print.
Plautus, Titus Maccius. Four Comedies. Trans. Erich Segal. Oxford: Oxford U. Press. 1996. Print.
Tcherikover, Victor. Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews. New York: Atheneum. 1979. Print.

Police Miltarization, Michael Brown Shooting, Egyptian Massacre Anniversary

August 14th, 2014

From Economist editorial “Cops or Soldiers? America’s Police Have Become Too Militarized”
Posted by Predictable-History at 22.3.14

The shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, has resulted in several days of tension between the local almost all white police force and the majority black community. Police refusal to name the shooter, and confrontational style of handling protesters with a massive show of military like force, is not helping. Apparently participating in a government program to donate surplus Iraq and Afghanistan military equipment to American police forces, has resulted in a police force that looks and acts more like an occupying army that those sworn to serve and protect. What exactly are they protecting in Ferguson, other than themselves?

‘Don’t shoot us,’ the crowd cries at police in Ferguson, Mo., Saturday after 18-year-old Michael Brown was fatally shot by an officer. - David Carson/MCT

Michael Brown, according to the interview with his family I heard on Democracy Now, was preparing to enroll in college this fall. His father said he was someone who brought people together. He used humor to diffuse situations at home. According to the police story Michael was involved in an altercation in which he allegedly attempted to take a gun from a cop. According to an eye witness Michael was running away from the police, when he was shot, turned, raised his hands to surrender, and was shot repeatedly by the officer. Another eyewitness collaborated that story according to the Democracy Now piece. NPR reports that the refusal to turn over the name of the officer is fueling the hostility and suspicion of the police in the community. The story stated that many in the community already know who the officer is and that he has a reputation for hassling young black men.

Democracy Now story about Michael Brown murder, and interviews with citizens of Ferguson.

The link between state violence and the blueprints laid out decades ago by the Trilaterals in the 1970’s for restricting Democracy has been discussed in my previous blog posting. The issue of continued violence against minorities, shooting black people with seeming impunity and locking up poor Latin people simply seeking a refuge from violence in their own countries has become more and more important. The world of Capitalism is literally exploding and as social media increasingly exposes the state, it becomes more and more obvious that radical solutions are required. Radical in the sense that the powers that be may be discomfited by the pressure from the popular masses.

Michael Brown’s father shortly after the shooting.

From Suman Varandani for International Business Times

It is incumbent upon us as citizens, not only of the USA, but of the world, to act to bring about peace and that can only come about with justice. Justice is not going to happen as long as increasing social-economic inequity drives people to despair. The militarization of society is an attempt to tamp down the desires of people for a better life.

The piece below is from a recent Newsweek article on the source of the recent military look of the police.

“How America’s Police Became an Army: The 1033 Program”
By Taylor Wofford
Filed: 8/13/14 at 10:47 PM | Updated: 8/14/14 at 1:21 PM

Riot police clear a street with smoke bombs while clashing with demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri August 13, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

As many have noted, Ferguson, Missouri, currently looks like a war zone. And its police—kitted out with Marine-issue camouflage and military-grade body armor, toting short-barreled assault rifles, and rolling around in armored vehicles—are indistinguishable from soldiers.

America has been quietly arming its police for battle since the early 1990s.

Faced with a bloated military and what it perceived as a worsening drug crisis, the 101st Congress in 1990 enacted the National Defense Authorization Act. Section 1208 of the NDAA allowed the Secretary of Defense to “transfer to Federal and State agencies personal property of the Department of Defense, including small arms and ammunition, that the Secretary determines is— (A) suitable for use by such agencies in counter-drug activities; and (B) excess to the needs of the Department of Defense.” It was called the 1208 Program. In 1996, Congress replaced Section 1208 with Section 1033.

This whole War on Terror thing, after the War on Drugs, all a result of the military industrial complex looking for more profit centers in which to justify spending our tax dollars, has simply gone too far. Ferguson perhaps will cause Americans to wake up to what has happened to our country. It has become a police state in which minorities are treated like Palestinians are in Gaza, as target practice by the authorities.

President Obama has finally been drawn into the fray to make comments about the situation, and Attorney General Holder has sent Civil Rights lawyers and is doing a side by side investigation of the shooting along with the local authorities.

This is from the transcript of Obama’s comments on Ferguson in the Washington Post.

Put simply, we all need to hold ourselves to a high standard, particularly those of us in positions of authority. I know that emotions are raw right now in Ferguson and there are certainly passionate differences about what has happened. There are going to be different accounts of how this tragedy occurred. There are going to be differences in terms of what needs to happen going forward. That’s part of our democracy. But let’s remember that we’re all part of one American family. We are united in common values, and that includes belief in equality under the law, basic respect for public order and the right to peaceful public protest, a reverence for the dignity of every single man, woman and child among us, and the need for accountability when it comes to our government.

His comments are not strong enough and he spends too much time defending the local authorities in his brief commentary. Although I am glad that the Attorney General is getting involved it has taken almost a week of protests and violent confrontations to get the governments attention. Sometimes you have to hit the jackass over the head to get a response.

Protesters in Ferguson, MO.

The poster below is based on the Wobblies old statement “Direct Action Gets the Goods” which was the preferred method of labor organizing a century ago when to be a Labor organizer meant taking your life in your hands. Direct action, done by an aroused population is a powerful means of getting a redress of grievances, especially in a liberal democratic state like the USA.

Otherwise you end up with a world looking like this:
Ferguson, Missouri right now : pics

Or even worse like the poor people in Egypt who are now mourning their own version of Tiananmen square, on the one year anniversary. August 14, 2013 saw the most ruthless slaughter of protesters in modern history.

The dead bodies of Muslim Brotherhood members and supporters of deposed Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi lie in a room in a field hospital at the Rabaa Adawiya mosque, where they were camping, in Cairo, Aug. 14, 2013. (photo by REUTERS/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)

Read more:

The Human Rights Watch Report on the Massacre is Damning. This is from the Guardian.

Egypt massacre was premeditated, says Human Rights Watch
Rabaa killing of 817 people was a planned Tiananmen-Square-style attack on largely unarmed protesters, report argues

Patrick Kingsley in Cairo
The Guardian, Tuesday 12 August 2014 04.01 EDT

Egyptian security forces intentionally killed at least 817 protesters during last August’s Rabaa massacre, in a premeditated attack equal to or worse than China’s Tiananmen Square killings in 1989, Human Rights Watch (HRW) has argued in a report.

The 195-page investigation based on interviews with 122 survivors and witnesses has found Egypt’s police and army “systematically and deliberately killed largely unarmed protesters on political grounds” in actions that “likely amounted to crimes against humanity”.

This edition of Democracy Now focuses on the Massacre in Egypt and has an interview with Kenneth Roth, president of Human Rights Watch.

From Ferguson to Cairo, military responses to the concerns of humanity, shows more and more clearly how the elites ruing the world only care about maintaining control and power.

Musings on Democractic Participation, Student Debt, Trilaterals, Nader, Chomsky

August 10th, 2014

At least temporarily, I have decided to stop posting to Facebook. I have time abuse issues with that site. Almost every day I have been spending an hour or more replying and posting. It can become somewhat addictive. Perhaps some of my Facebook friends will follow my return to blogging, I don’t know. This format gives me more room to express my thoughts, although of late most of the time I have simply been posting papers written for classes in school, largely due to time constraints.

With all that is going on in the world right now that has a certain urgency to it, I am beginning to get issue fatigue. There are only so many hours of CSPAN I can watch of politicians and pundits. It is where much of the daily national news is generated though and at least it provides a relatively unbiased perspective on what comes out of the horses mouth’s or should I say horses asses considering we are speaking of politicians in Washington, DC.

I should not be so hard on the politicos, after all they are educated and for the most part sincere believers in pursuing the public welfare, even if they have to spend most of their time sucking from the tit of lobbyists and other big donors. This is a major problem and campaign finance reform is required. With the emergence of all political news cable networks, internet sites and twitter, there should not be any dearth of outlets to get political messages across. What is lacking is a sense on the part of large parts of the populace that their opinion, needs and wants are taken into consideration. The political process is not woven into the fabric of daily life on a conscious level for most of us and I blame the education system for not doing a better job of weaving students lives with the political process at an early age. Starting in elementary school, children should be introduced to public affairs in local neighborhood cleanup drives and traffic safety issues and so on. They should be taken to local city council meetings and encouraged to present proposals as part of class room projects. By junior high students should be taking stands on issues and by high school participating in the junior leagues of the political parties of their choice, which should be active on high school campuses. Participation should be real and effective such as in student governments that have real power on student related issues at as early an age as is intellectually justifiable.

I am thinking that political participation should be as common as sports or video gaming. It needs to be woven into the fabric of daily life if democracy is to be real and not a charade of biennial visits to the voting booth. This is not to say everyone will become political junkies, just as not everyone is a sports fan, but there needs to be that level of participation for the public to be capable of dealing with the challenges of our times.

There has been a conscious effort to tone down democracy, especially after the 1960’s activism among the youth as the Trilateralists wrote in “The Crisis of Democracy: On the Governability of Democracies initially a 1975 report written by Michel Crozier, Samuel P. Huntington, and Joji Watanuki for the Trilateral Commission and later published as a book. The report observed the political state of the United States, Europe and Japan and says that in the United States the problems of governance “stem from an excess of democracy” and thus advocates “to restore the prestige and authority of central government institutions.’” (The Crisis of Democracy, Wikipedia).

Chomsky cites this in writing about the Carter Administration and the development of the modern approach to international order in an excerpted section from Radical Priorities a collection of essays, this being from an essay about the Carter administration written in 1981, as I found by doing a web search on restricting democratic tendencies. As you can read, it is pretty sobering:

The report argues that what is needed in the industrial democracies “is a greater degree of moderation in democracy” to overcome the “excess of democracy” of the past decade. “The effective operation of a democratic political system usually requires some measure of apathy and noninvolvement on the part of some individuals and groups.” This recommendation recalls the analysis of Third World problems put forth by other political thinkers of the same persuasion, for example, Ithiel Pool (then chairman of the Department of Political Science at MIT), who explained some years ago that in Vietnam, the Congo, and the Dominican Republic, “order depends on somehow compelling newly mobilized strata to return to a measure of passivity and defeatism… At least temporarily the maintenance of order requires a lowering of newly acquired aspirations and levels of political activity.” The Trilateral recommendations for the capitalist democracies are an application at home of the theories of “order” developed for subject societies of the Third World.

(Chomsky, The Carter Administration: Myth and Priorities).

Recent attempts on the part of Republicans to restrict voting rights is a less subtle and more partisan attempt by neo-liberals and racist ideologues to keep a true populist from rising, unlike the rather tame Obama who has been well tutored in the ways of the ruling classes, and as a constitutional scholar had any impulses to radical mass empowerment channeled into something more insipid and easily controllable. The challenge is to bring real participation by a pedagogy that realizes the potential of the idealistic youth and not simply provides another form of tamping down of democratic and socialistic aspirations. Capitalist elites or state bureaucratic elites, can be conquered if Ralph Nader is correct, by the mobilization of an energized and idealistic citizenry. This must start with the youth. Nader speaks of an emerging Left Right alliance during an interview with Amy Goodman on Democracy Now:

You’ve got to think of politics in America now as two stratas. On the top, dominating the left-right emerging alliance, are the corporate powers and their political allies in the Congress and elsewhere. And what we’re seeing here is a corporate strategy of long standing that fears a combination of left-right convergence on issues that would challenge corporate power. So, they really like the idea of left-right fighting each other over the social issues. They really work to divide and rule these left-right public opinion and representatives. And so far, they have been dominant, the corporatists.

But they’re beginning to lose. And we have enough historical evidence to show that the tide is running against them. For example, on the minimum wage fight, that comes in 70, 80 percent in the polls, which means a lot of conservative Wal-Mart workers think they should get a restored minimum wage, at least to what it was 46 years ago plus inflation adjustment. That would be almost $11 an hour.

(Democracy Now Monday, April 28, 2014)

This might happen, but it takes an informed and active citizenry and a youth willing to participate. The issue of student debt, linked in with the fight for raising minimum wages can be a way to do this. Student debt is just another means of depoliticizing the young by keeping them focused on jobs to pay off the debt rather than engaging in a dialogue on why students are being burdened with this debt in the first place. Focusing on the issue can be a means of bringing about a restructuring of national priorities away from corporate and elite interests and back to a Jacksonian populist government. Apathy must be replaced by activism if the nation is to be put on a course that reflects the will of the people.

Student debt activist groups are at these links:

  • famvir
  • hardi sprayer booms
  • moen danika 82833
  • death defying hoodoo gurus wiki
  • meds peds
  • astelin
  • i'm bringing the party to you gif tumblr
  • bontril
  • argo 6x6 top speed
  • superdrive macbook pro not working
  • epipen
  • wow privat pvp server instant 80 deutsch
  • macrobid
  • new screamo heavy metal bands
  • carbohydrate deficient transferrin normal range
  • hyzaar
  • kennedy group home kinston
  • important facts elizabeth van lew
  • haak austin video
  • d100 wifi router manual
  • why can you only take prevacid for 14 days
  • oreck sweeper parts
  • cod world war nocd
  • freecycle baltimore yahoo group
  • timolol
  • famciclovir
  • antivert
  • sure romance online apotheke
  • medroxyprogesterone
  • sony dsc-t99 charger
  • lamotrigine
  • tadalis
  • coller .001
  • poornam boorelu moong dal
  • rosuvastatin
  • tiffen dfx mac free
  • paddock publications inc company
  • azathioprine
  • happy wanderer vine lilac care
  • can i take ambien and benadryl
  • suncoast rv koa campground in lake park ga
  • educomp smart class
  • direccion comision estatal de derechos humanos xalapa
  • jokiel grzegorz marcin
  • lorna wikipedia singer
  • paranoid black sabbath video
  • slowdown football 2010
  • polycell mould killer
  • dail dinwiddie wikipedia
  • vial crimper tool
  • plaque stability atherosclerosis
  • you've attempted to upload a document but the feature
  • completion contract method tax
  • code of chivalry of european knights
  • leave the pieces lyrics youtube
  • minion mod yogbox
  • cabinet belletoile maisons-alfort
  • yoga pier malibu kiis fm
  • oracea
  • kaczmarek electric mtb
  • nebivolol
  • system abend 80a
  • prodigy omen song download
  • skin care products chemo patients
  • aldactone
  • anatomy ribs male female
  • nokia 5800 software download for pc
  • amlodipine effects
  • luana rodriguez suarez
  • what kind of choke for 00 buckshot
  • mapa aeropuerto cancun zona hotelera
  • castelli italiani famosi
  • b-cell chronic lymphocytic lymphoma
  • ntsb safety recalls
  • blunauta roma villa paganini
  • sarge's heroes n64 rom
  • mertz 9716
  • uroxatral
  • coverall buildings
  • animales sin hogar foro
  • pages blanches canada sherbrooke
  • damn regret lyrics meaning
  • disable hotkeys autohotkey
  • incisional biopsy vs excisional biopsy
  • used auto parts rockford il
  • provincia di enna
  • momo wang violin
  • escentric molecule perfume
  • ponder gondho
  • cheatham palermo & garrett
  • paroxetine hcl oral suspension
  • lorelei hammond ukiah ca
  • acadian lines antigonish
  • diablo iii characters wiki
  • amoxil
  • gnomish army knife mop
  • max prilosec dose
  • homogeneous vs differentiated oligopoly
  • husqvarna sewing embroidery designs
  • 2000 diesel pajero for sale
  • neoral
  • air canada aircraft a319 seating
  • route demonstration saturday 26th march
  • celadon pokemon fire red
  • sony dsc-s40 white screen
  • 10 worst serial killers usa
  • bahama momma drink recipes
  • evernote plugin safari lion
  • paroxetine qt prolongation
  • dhc-6-300 wiki
  • universidades particulares ciudad xalapa
  • best buy honeywell air purifier
  • knotted plow line
  • dragonball z tenchi budokai 3
  • libreria arquitectura santiago chile
  • .avi codec for kmplayer download
  • when do babies lose their gag reflex
  • posturepedic foam mattress reviews
  • 2-56 countersink
  • darmowe gry dla dzieci dora poznaje swiat
  • shift-jis art generator
  • antabuse
  • crofton skating rinks maryland
  • st anthony padua cyo basketball
  • ssbb subspace emissary 100 walkthrough
  • fcr breakpoints diablo 2 sorc
  • movies does amanda bynes play
  • ingmar relling siesta
  • abacavir
  • que es hydroxyzine pam
  • what is this thing in the jewish doorway
  • generic paxil price
  • tribble testing rewards
  • flora llanos orientales venezuela
  • birte quitt xing