Published Articles

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Abstract — In 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama decreed the creation of the Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, as part of his $100 million Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies (BRAIN) initiative. In the wake of the work of this Commission, the purpose, goals, possible shortcomings, and even dangers are discussed, and the possible impact it may have upon neuroscience ethics (Neuroethics) both in clinical practice as well as scientific research. Concerns were expressed that government involvement in bioethics may have unforeseen and possibly dangerous repercussions to neuroscience in particular and to medicine in general. The author emphasizes that the lessons of history chronicle that wherever governments have sought to alter medical ethics and control medical care, the results have frequently been perverse and disastrous, as in the examples of the communist Soviet Union and National Socialist (Nazi) Germany. The Soviet psychiatrists' and the Nazi doctors' dark descent into ghastly experimentation and brutality was a product of convoluted ethics and physicians willingly cooperating with authoritarianism citing utilitarianism in...



Wednesday, October 1, 2014

In the 1960 science fiction film classic, The Time Machine, based on H.G. Wells' 1895 novel similarly titled, the hero (played by Rod Taylor) travels in a time machine to a distant future, which, at first sight, seems to be a utopia. But first appearances are deceiving, and soon a disconcerting reality becomes evident. The hero observes that the inhabitants of the distant future, the Elois, are effeminate and shallow beings, devoid of feelings or high intelligence, and they neither work nor read books. Civilization has collapsed, books have decayed, cities have crumbled. The Elois live a halcyon and apathetic existence with no cares, duties, or concerns, except for shallow self-indulgence. Food and leisure are provided for miraculously. During the day, the Elois, oblivious of their existence, pass the time in carefree activities, that is until nighttime. At dusk, a siren blares, and the Elois, conditioned by the sound, are herded like sheep to the slaughterhouse, where they are to be consumed, cannibalized by the underground and predatory Morlocks, the other degenerate, surviving human race of the apocalyptic future.

Returning to the 21st century, we find...



Monday, September 22, 2014

After a highly charged two-year campaign, the Scottish people have spoken, and the final vote and tally completed. On September 18, 2014, Scotland voted in a massive referendum on the issue of Scottish independence. The result being that Scotland would stay within the United Kingdom after all — rejecting, by a decisive vote, the call for independence: 2,001,926 citizens cast a No vote; 1,617,989, a Yes vote. In political concessions, Britain will be devolving more powers to Scotland and the Scottish Parliament, particularly in taxes, spending, and welfare.

British Prime Minister David Cameron says now it is "time to move on" and breathed a sigh of relief at the electoral victory! It had been a rough ride for the Prime Minister as well as for British Labor Leader Gordon Brown, who had campaigned extensively for a No vote. Scottish National Party (SNP) leader and Scotland's First Minister, Alex Salmond, who had been a lightning rod inciting for Scottish independence and who headed the movement, announced that he would step down as First Minister, nevertheless vowing that, "For Scotland, the campaign continues and the dream shall never die."(1)

Ancient History

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Saturday, September 20, 2014

A Review of Washington — A Life by Ron Chernow (2010)

Excellent biographies of the Founding Fathers have been published in the last several decades. With these books, the nation seems to yearn for moral and political guidance from America's founders — i.e., through their words, lives, and actions, as recounted in the pages of history. It seems these tomes are needed to help steer the presently insecure nation through the prevailing rough political waters and treacherous economic shoals of the present global age.

In this vein, such books have assisted us in regaining forgotten or neglected knowledge about the equally trying times of the past and in recognizing the difficult lives and tribulations of the founders —placing them in newer light. David McCullough's John Adams (2001), for example, placed the "Sage of Quincy" back on his pedestal, as did Harlow Giles Unger with James Monroe's biography, The Last Founding Father (2009); Joseph Ellis explored the life and paradoxical mind of the American Sphinx (1997), Thomas Jefferson, questioning his place in the sun; Ron Chernow (2004) and Willard Sterne Randall (2003) refurbished Alexander Hamilton's image, recounting...



Thursday, August 21, 2014

A review of Alexander Hamilton by Ron Chernow (2004)

This book is the most comprehensive biography of Alexander Hamilton released in modern times. It tells the story well and is written in florid detail supported by a fount of scholarly research and previously undisclosed material from Hamilton's voluminous writings. Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804) was born in the West Indies (Nevis), descended from the laird of Grange in Scotland on his father's side of the family and from French Huguenots on his mother's side. Brought up in relative poverty, Hamilton was soon recognized as a child prodigy by Hugh Knox, a Presbyterian minister in the islands. As an extremely proficient clerk at a Counting House in St. Croix, young Alexander Hamilton's employers also appreciated his precocity and intelligence. Knox arranged for Hamilton, now age 17, to receive financial assistant from the admiring islanders, who backed Hamilton to travel to America and study on scholarship. America was then a land in revolutionary turmoil, rebelling against British rule. As a student, Hamilton soon became embroiled in the heat of politics and revolution. Hamilton studied at Kings College (later Columbia...



Tuesday, July 1, 2014

This list is admittedly a compilation of sundry and disparate political historic characters, ranging from do-gooder reformers with possibly good intentions to militant revolutionists who desired to overthrow the existing order of government, ostensibly to create a better world.

Deviousness and demagoguery are salient features in this list, which has come to include what I consider the top 10 shadiest and most devious politicians, statesmen, or revolutionaries to affect the course of history, up to the eve of the Russian Revolution. Regardless of the political category they fall in as politicians or revolutionaries, these political scoundrels, unorthodox statesmen, or misguided revolutionaries altered, or came close to altering, the course of history. These remarkable men were not established rulers or dictators for they did not reach supreme power for long. They were certainly charismatic or resourceful individuals, and because of one of those two characteristics, for a time they appealed to the masses via demagoguery, or gained temporary power via revolution, or attracted the support of the power elite because of their manifest talents and abilities. This list curiously...



Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sun Shuyan, author of The Long March — The True History of Communist China's Founding Myth, was born in the 1960s, reared and schooled in communist China, as well as at Oxford, England, where she won a scholarship. Sun Shuyun is now a documentary filmmaker who "for the last decade divided her time between London and Beijing." This short biographical vignette of the author is essential because it parallels her "divided," and seemingly ambivalent, views on Mao and his legacy — viz-a-viz, the People's Republic of China (PRC). Sun Shuyun's father was a hard-line communist who bitterly resented the more moderate course China took in recent years, and upon his death was cremated in his Mao uniform with his medals. The author herself seems to have, as of yet, not completely broken and freed herself totally from her communist childhood indoctrination. Criticism of Mao and China's communist history is obliquely alluded to and only indirectly uttered from the mouths of some of the elderly survivors of the Long March who she interviews.

The book is "dedicated to the men and women of the Long March," and appropriately so, as Shuyun relies on the historic and personal accounts...

Keyword(s): China, communism, history, politics


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

A review of The Giant of the French Revolution: Danton, A Life by David Lawday (2009)

Georges Danton was the "Titan of the French Revolution," but like the Girondins before him, he was too late in recognizing the need to stop the madness, the grinding of lives by the terror, and the excesses of the Revolution they had unleashed on the hapless French people and, ultimately, the world.

Danton, the man who prepared the Insurrectionary Commune for the storming of the Tuileries in the August 10, 1792 coup d'état; the man who inspired "the Miracle of Valmy" (1792), and the revolution's greatest orator and hero himself, ultimately became a victim. But Danton went to the guillotine with courage. Retrospectively, Danton had come to his senses too late to stop the terror, the terror he himself had organized in perpetrating (or acquiescing in) the atrocities committed in the unconscionable September Massacres in the tempestuous autumn of 1792. He was never forgiven for these brutalities by Madame Roland, a leader of the great Girondins, who he had fatally opposed. When Danton tried to find allies to stop the terror, there was no one to forge alliances, no counter force left...



Monday, June 16, 2014

The liberal left has devoted a great deal of energy in its war on “racism,” a rather hazy concept in modern society. Most think of racism as disliking or even hating someone based only on their race. Almost, as a reflex, one, at least in this country, associates racism with the Southern states — particularly Mississippi. While the Deep South involved itself in the so-called Jim Crow laws and other expressions of segregation policies, it was not alone in racial exclusion policies and social behaviors. One must also keep in mind that such laws were based on collectivism — that is, that a person’s position in society is determined by his race alone — no consideration was to be given to the individual person.

In my studies of the origins of totalitarianism and other dictatorial governments, I have concluded, as have many others, that there are two basic ways of viewing societies — either as collectives or as individuals. The original conservative intellectual views man from a Judeo-Christian viewpoint — that is, that people are special creations of God and each is a separate individual and should be approached and considered from this understanding. Based on this...



Thursday, May 22, 2014

The author of The Long March: The Untold Story, Harrison E. Salisbury (1908-1993), was an American journalist and an eloquent writer, but he had a romantic, softspot for young, "idealistic" communist revolutionaries. This infatuation persisted even though these revolutionists ultimately showed their true colors when they attained supreme power, discarded their sense of justice, imposed communism and totalitarianism, and used terror to rule the police states they had created. Instead of the "workers paradise" they promised, Lenin followed by Stalin in the Soviet Union and Mao Tse-tung and his followers in China brought unspeakable horror to the people they claimed they had liberated. Salisbury (photo, right) was a great journalist, nevertheless he was able to wear blinders, super-imposed on rose-tinted glasses when writing about these monsters. This is true for Vladimir I. Lenin, Leon Trotsky, and the rest of the Bolsheviks in Salisbury's novelistic and best book, Black Nights, White Snow, about the Russian October Revolution of 1917, and even more so with Mao Tse-tung and the Chinese communists during the period 1934-1935 in The Long March: The Untold Story.

Fabulous...





Fransini Giraldo is a Colombian girl who dances her own style of Salsa. In this video, she dances to the rhythm of Sonora Carruseles de Colombia, presumably in the Colombia countryside. Published July 16, 2013.