Is it possible to be one of the modern saviors of democracy and a white supremacists who oversaw the torture and imprisonments of thousands. Is it possible to write some of the most memorable and insightful books of modern literature, and be illogical and ill-informed. Apparently these incongruous combinations are possible. CHURCHILL’S EMPIRE – The World That Made Him and the World He Made
Winston Churchill is remembered for leading Britain through her finest hour — but what if he also led the country through her most shameful one? What if, in addition to rousing a nation to save the world from the Nazis, he fought for a raw white supremacy and a concentration camp network of his own? This question burns through Richard Toye’s superb, unsettling new history, “Churchill’s Empire” — and is even seeping into the Oval Office.
George W. Bush left a big growling bust of Churchill near his desk in the White House, in an attempt to associate himself with Churchill’s heroic stand against fascism. Barack Obama had it returned to Britain. It’s not hard to guess why: his Kenyan grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, was imprisoned without trial for two years and tortured on Churchill’s watch, for resisting Churchill’s empire.
Churchill (30 November 1874 – 24 January 1965) was a child of colonialism. He believed, as did many in Britain at the time, that Britain was bringing civilization to the heathens. In 1897 he was on the Pakistan/Afghanistan border fighting against the Pashtun tribe. Unbelievably the locals took objections to foreign invaders taking their land and dictating a new way of government and life under British rule. It did cross Churchill’s mind at the time to wonder why the local tribes were fighting back just as Britain would if the Pashtun had invaded Britain, but the pangs of conscience were not enough to sway his point of view. Winston wrote – “We proceeded systematically, village by village, and we destroyed the houses, filled up the wells, blew down the towers, cut down the shady trees, burned the crops and broke the reservoirs in punitive devastation.” That went well enough that he than took off for the Sudan in Africa where he 115,000 people were forced into British concentration camps. Out of which 14,000 native Sudanese died. On being elected to Parliament in 1900 he exclaimed “the Aryan stock is bound to triumph.” Churchill’s definition of Aryan was even more narrow than modern ears are accustomed as he sent the Irish Black and Tans after the Catholics in Ireland. yet Richard Toye makes the case Churchill was genuinely repelled by Hitler and the Nazis. And yes if it had not been for Churchill’s early warnings WW II could have been even more catastrophic to Europe. One white supremacist thinks another goes too far? As brutal as Stalin was – mostly to his own people – Stalin saw what his fellow sociopath Hitler as jumping the shark. NYT writer Johann Hari sums up Churchill with “he produced some of the richest prose poetry in defense of freedom and democracy ever written. It was a check he didn’t want black or Asian people to cash,”.
Then there was the author of Fahrenheit 451 (1953) The Martian Chronicles, Something Wicked This Way Comes, and The Illustrated Man, Mr. Ray Bradbury. Ray Bradbury hates big government: ‘Our country is in need of a revolution’
Ray Bradbury is mad at President Obama, but it’s not about the economy, the war or the plan to a construct a mosque near Ground Zero in New York City.
“He should be announcing that we should go back to the moon,” says the iconic author, whose 90th birthday on Aug. 22
[ ]…“I think our country is in need of a revolution,” Bradbury said. “There is too much government today. We’ve got to remember the government should be by the people, of the people and for the people.”
[ ]…Bradbury chafes, for instance, at the description of his work as science fiction — in the past he has pointed out that, to his mind, “Fahrenheit 451″is the only sci-fi book in his vast body of work — and despite his passion for more national space projects, he is not technology obsessive by any means.
“We have too many cellphones. We’ve got too many Internets. We have got to get rid of those machines. We have too many machines now.”
Bradbury wrote darkly about bookburning in “Fahrenheit 451,” but he sounds ready to use a Kindle for kindling. “I was approached three times during the last year by Internet companies wanting to put my books” on an electronic reading device, he said. “I said to Yahoo, ‘Prick up your ears and go to hell.’ “
The unhinged right-wing Publius Forum claims it is not a contradiction to be anti-government and pro billions of tax dollars per year for NASA’s space program. PF likes gardens and hates flowers one would surmise. While Bradbury is no Herman Melville ( I’ve read all the books listed above) he has probably agonized over just the right words and the logical flow of his narrative. That he does not think we have government by and for the people is only news because he is who he is. The L.A. will not be coming to my house today to see why I think the same thing, but for different reasons ( Bradbury should know government has always grown bigger and more bloated under Republican rule than Democrat). Just because someone has achieved prominence in their field does not mean they are more well informed. (Bradbury is another warning against idolatry). Such is the luxury of being 90 and famous. Those infinitely quotable bits of verbage go unquestioned and unchallenged. Nick Gillespie, the libertarian version of Republican Bill Always Wrong Kristol, writes in this post – Ray Bradbury Hysterical Theater: We Got Too Much Gummint, Too Many Internets, But Not Enough Moon Colonies! UPDATED AUGUST 17! Bradbury is a “Luddite old fart”. Bradbury has been pretty consistent on his views that machines or technology are dominating mankind rather than the other way around. Fox says it and your right-wing neighbor doesn’t think or research they just regurgitate what the TeeVee says. Some bright people think the internet is changing our brains and the way we think – The internet: is it changing the way we think?. Technology has always demanded trade-offs. For everything we gain we lose something. Social networking can be a great way for shut-ins to engage the world and a way for others to facilitate murder. Bradbury probably does have some Luddite tendencies, but they’re not unreasonable tendencies. In a reply to Gillespie’s piece ( which he was good enough to post) a fan writes that Bradbury has always used an old manual typewriter. It happens that I watched Paper Man this weekend and the Jeff Daniels character uses an old electric. This is something – well irritating about the key raps against the paper – but there is also something about the intimacy and challenge of the writer versus the blank page of an old machine, not associated with a laptop. One of the problems with short burst of blog posts like the one from the L.A. Times is the mere observation makes the mildly cranky into off the hook ranting. I’ve known people who have similar personalities. While I think it is a mistake to attribute the virtues of some sublime individuality to them all, where there is simply ordinary curmudgeonliness and ignorance, they’re not deserving of blanket condemnation.
Was the holy grail of clean renewable energy, hydrogen or fusion, I forget. Inertial-Electrostatic-Confinement Fusion Device
The IEC Team in our Plasma Physics Group (P-24) and T-15 is working on developing practical fusion devices based on an IEC scheme. The recent experimental confirmation of the POPS oscillation and successful plasma compression in a particle simulation has provided solid scientific foundation for further exploration of this promising fusion device concept. This exploration will include direct experimental measurement of plasma compression and fully two-dimensional particle simulations of POPS dynamics. Successful plasma compression of at least 50 will be followed by a demonstration of nuclear fusion reactions using POPS. (POPS=Periodically Oscillating Plasma Sphere)
They have a working fusion device using confined plasma in a potential well. The well is created using electrostatic fields or a combination of electrostatic and magnetic fields ( There is an illustration of what resembles a steel pickle barrel at the link) . The fields can be produced in either virtual cathodes or grids. This device was meant to provide an assay of landmines or highly enriched uranium. Thus extending the fusion pickle barrel to a nuclear fusion power plant is a stretch, but not completely outside the realm of possibility. This research is being done at Los Alamos National Laboratory. Hey Ray, it’s not Mars, but it is a little more practical at the moment.