Shakespeare's Richards

Shakespeare is the greatest author of all time IMO. The history and politics behind Richard II and Richard III almost a century apart is a fascinating study. This article is an interesting look at the two plays, the two people and what they more likely would be if truly known and not so much caricatures.

"The Richard of Richard III is often regarded as a caricature, a cardboard-cutout villain rather like the Sweeney Todd of Victorian melodrama. But he is far more: in fact, he is a fascinating figure, from a psychological point of view."

A Real Amerikans

Many people have watched the TV series, The Americans, with the C as a Soviet symbol. It is an interesting show that is well acted. The premise is a family where the parents came over to America after Soviet recruitment as teenagers to infiltrate the system as normal Americans but are spies. Their children do not know they are Soviet spies.

I came across this article and video from 60 minutes about a real spy who still lives in the U.S. but came over as a spy from East Germany and the Soviet Union in the 1980s much like in the TV series. More can be found here. His name is Jack Barsky but is an accepted name not his original. Jack Barsky was a child who died and he assumed the name.

"Tonight, we're going to tell you a story you've probably never heard before because only a few people outside the FBI know anything about it. It's a spy story unlike any other and if you think your life is complicated, wait till you hear about Jack Barsky's, who led three of them simultaneously. One as a husband and father, two as a computer programmer and administrator at some top American corporations and three as a KGB agent spying on America during the last decade of the Cold War."

The Crusades

Our President recently insulted Christians at the National Prayer Breakfast. As a Christian, I certainly feel his comments were insulting and beyond what the President should do or say. That he is not like any other prior President and seems to care little what other Americans like or want (even his supporters at times) is evident.His comments also tended to misrepresent Christianity's role in the Crusades. Here is information the author says is the real history of the Crusades.

Ideal Communist City

Planners of a particular mind set are looking at ways to get more people to live in dense urban environments, close together, and to use urban transit systems. Not my cup of tea to be sure. Maybe the precursor to their ideal now was what people thought were the ultimate communist city model in the Soviet Union. I saw this sort of lifestyle in East Berlin when I visited there in 1969. Again, not the way I would live, especially behind the Berlin Wall which I saw first hand (along with the crosses for those who were killed trying to leave over No Man's Land. So take a look at what was in our past and may never be totally out of possibility with the socialist leaning minds out there.

The DFR Speech

Last night was the State of the Union speech. I could not watch the speech. Too tired of being lied to. All I can say is that everything I have been on out takes and discussions of the speech is that it should not be the SOTU but the DFR speech (Divorced From Reality) on both domestic and foreign policy. 'Nuff said.

The Democrats

One should be able to detect that I am not a fan of the modern Democratic Party and what they stand for. I am very anti- when it comes down to it. Our friend Tim has labeled the six masked critters who come begging for handouts, “The Democrats”. How apt. They are looking for free dry pet kibble. I must admit they are cute to view but I am sure not too friendly if you got close. They stay hidden in the trees and shrubs until they can skulk out and grab their goodies.
BTW, we were headed home from the South today. Our plane trip was good and all on time.

Cults and Brainwashing

Long ago when I was just in college, Patty Hearst was kidnapped from her apartment in the East San Francisco Bay area. She was an heir to the Hearst Publishing Empire (William Randolph Hearst) and college age herself. It was a cause celebre because she later showed up with her kidnappers as a perpetrator in a bank robbery. She was eventually captured and convicted of this crime. The sentence was commuted later because it was shown that she had been brainwashed by this violent cult. The Federalist online has an interesting discussion of the case and how brainwashing is considered to work in individuals. The author compared the techniques of achieving this to how the media and culture are brainwashing the public in general in current times. Certainly we are being “nudged” to accept a change in social mores or be shunned by society around us. An interesting article that can be found here.

On a side note and the 6 degrees of separation concept, Patty Hearst’s sister was engaged at the time of the kidnapping to someone I knew well after that time. His name is Francis Morgan and is a Welsh friend of our good friend, Stephen Morgan.


How does it feel when one reads in a foreign newspaper that the United State government has evolved to an oligarchy. For me, it makes me feel sad. Northwestern and Princeton Universities have published a study indicating that we are at that stage. I do agree with their premise because I am becoming less sure that the citizens of this country can affect change. The people with money and influence control the process. The article is found here.

“The peer-reviewed study, which will be taught at these universities in September, says: "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organised groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence."
Researchers concluded that US government policies rarely align with the the preferences of the majority of Americans, but do favour special interests and lobbying organisations: "When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/or with organised interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the US political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favour policy change, they generally do not get it.””
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