Saturday, 27 November 2010


Pat-Downs at airports bother me only because it broadcasts the fact that, for the expenditure of a few thousand dollars, terrorists force us to expend billions in counter measures.

When I go through so-called extensive pat-downs at airports I tell the examiners that they are rank amateurs. When I was captured after being shot down in Germany I was searched at every change of location. The Luftwaffe searchers were quite polite and respectful asking me to strip completely so they could thoroughly search my clothing and every body opening. This included me bending over to have a long finger rammed up my anus to ensure I was hiding nothing there.

Airport searchers would invariably tell me that Uncle Sam did not pay them enough to do that.

The long suffering German “soldats” assigned this task were paid very little and were never issued with plastic gloves. Service to one’s country does come in many forms.

Saturday, 6 November 2010


Another Armistice/Remembrance/Veterans' Day is here.

It is a chore anymore to polish all these medals and are they really necessary to wear on special days to make me contemplate not only the 125 cherished friends I lost but also the billions of innocents who have perished over the centuries because of man’s inhumanity to man?

I continue to attend these ceremonies honouring our dead and I continue to wear my medals even though few now recognize their meaning. But, more and more I feel like James Wolfe who had been deeply touched by Thomas Gray’s 1751 Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. In 1759 from his flagship in the St. Lawrence River he surveyed Quebec City with a sadness for what he was about to do. He admitted to his associates that he would much rather be the author of that poem than the general to take Quebec. Both he and the French General Louis-Joseph de Montcalm died in the battle, emphasizing in Gray’s poem the line "The paths of glory lead but to the grave."

During WWI and for two years after WWII Canada authorized a golden wound stripe to be worn on the left sleeve of those who had been wounded in action, a similar recognition to the Purple Heart of the United States. As 17 small pieces of German shrapnel in March 1943 found a permanent home in the bones of a leg that happened to be mine, I wore this stripe for two years until the award was abolished so, today, I remain seated when they ask those with Purple Hearts to stand.

My satisfaction with myself for the small part I played in stopping aggression is tempered by the despicable means I had to use and the knowledge that those whom I was assigned to bomb into oblivion were not the perpetrators but also victims. The path to the perpetrators lay through decent people also caught up in a conflict not of their choosing. Circumstances delivered my penance. Shot down I was to meet hundreds of them and to be among them on over a score of occasions when we all, hungry, cold, and lousy, were bombed and strafed by Allied aircraft and artillery from a dozen nations.

So, I attend these remembrance ceremonies as a visible token of the stupidity of wars and in the hopes that we all learn to so conduct ourselves that our grandchildren will have no need to design ceremonies to honour the dead of recent wars.

Wednesday, 6 October 2010


May I share with you a small fraction of my 70-year-long hunt for my roots and take you back some 4,500 years? Genealogy is a time-consuming, frustrating, full-of-blind-alleys, expensive hobby, but it has great rewards. Knowing very little when I started I now have 45 different surnames in 14 villages in 5 counties in England back to 1515 for Joan and 35 different surnames in Ireland, New France, France, and Germany for myself. Many fascinating stories have been uncovered but, for now, I will just relate how I found the Hatti and their influence especially on Germany:

In 1876, George, a great uncle, anglicized his Chouinard name to Sweanor on getting patents for his fog horn and farm implements inventions in Sherbrooke, Quebec, and my grandfather also changed to Sweanor and moved to Ontario, but this is a recent find. Earlier I had stumbled across the Chouinard connection and was, over the years, able to trace it back, without a break, to 1650 in New France, and to 1570 in the Tours area of France. There I discovered the Chouinard name originated with a family of Schweinhardts who had fled Lutheran persecution in Hesse, originally called Hatti. Searching for the Hatti took me to Anatolia (Turkey) some 4,500 years ago. My ancestral certainty ends in 1570. The rest is the highest probability I can deduce at the moment.

We Hatti (Hessians), or Chatti, had female gods and spoke a local language unrelated to others. We were a peaceful agricultural society living on a dry plateau surrounded by mountains. We had no alphabet of our own but used the Sumerian cuneiform for trade. About 4,300 years ago, groups of Aryan Indo-European stock started to arrive, then Semites. Initially we helped them but they grew in numbers becoming Assyrians, Hittites, Mitanni and Hebrews. In turn they absorbed us, stole our name and our cities, especially Hattusa which became one of their major cities They fought among themselves and with Egyptians. Hittite kings lived and perished by the sword, usually wielded by their own sons impatient for power. They left many cities burning ruins. The Hittites and Assyrians built great empires and we contributed towards the success of such places as Ashur, Nineveh, Babylon, Memphis, Jerusalem, Damascus, and Tyre. Somehow we retained our identity but to others were often indistinguishable from particularly the Hittites and Assyrians. Yes, our King Sargon II (722-705 BC) did uproot our former rulers, the tribes of Israel, resettling them on our outskirts. But, like the Hebrews and so many others, Assyrians have roots to Abraham through Keturah, one of his wives. Our troubles never ended. As the Assyrian empire waned, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon (605-562 BC) exacted heavy tribute from us.

As peaceful agriculturalists we had suffered persecution which hardened us into warriors, resulting in the Hebrews calling us Chatti (Men of War) while the Romans knew us a Kermans (also Men of War). We then called ourselves “The Master Race”, had kings known as Kaisers, and invented the double-eagle symbol. We supported the Trojans in their wars with Greece. After 323 BC, when the heirs of Alexander the Great fought among themselves, we Hatti thought it time to leave. We were still Hatti but our genes were now all mixed up with those of all our occupiers. Migrating westward we settled in Silesia (eastern Germany) then a large group of us went further west to found the city of Trier in Pfalz and to settle throughout Pfalz and Hesse which we originally named Hatti. Peace eluded us. The Gauls opposed us, but in 83 AD we joined them to defeat Emperor Domitian’s 9th Legion that had been recalled from Britain in a vain attempt to pacify us. Successful pacifiers were St. Boniface and his Irish monks who started in 755 to convert us to Christianity. Objecting to losing our female gods, Boniface was murdered, in Fulda, Hesse, but his stubborn monks carried on. The Hebrews had forced Yaweh on us and the Hittites and Assyrians their male gods, but loyalty to our female gods lingered until the Irish completed our conversion. In the 1100s surnames were introduced and my family was assigned the name Schweinhardt. In 1526 Philip, Count of Hesse, adopted Lutheranism, so we fled to Feilbingert, Pfalz, but in 1563 Frederick III embraced Calvanism, so we fled again, this time to Catholic Tours where we took the French name Chouinard.

As for the fellow Hatti or Hessians we had left behind: In the 1600s and 1700s Trier was burned a dozen times by the French and Prussians, while Karl Marx was born there in 1818. Their troubles were far from over. Many in Hesse became farmers and craftsmen but were conscripted by their magistrates to serve as mercenaries. The British hired a lot of them but their pay was funnelled through their magistrates who kept most of it. Of the so-called Hessians in the American Revolution and the defence of Canada only 12,992 were Hessian while 17,000 were Russian. Of the Hessians 2,400 remained in Canada and 2,500 in the US. Of the 7,500 killed, 6,354 were from disease. Also, through long years of religious wars, many Hessians were persecuted by Lutherans and Calvinists. From Bismark to Hitler, Germany assumed our Master Race concept, our double eagle, our Kaiser terminology, and our warlike stance. During WWII our cities of Mainz, Koblenz, Worms, Kassel, and Frankfurt all suffered enormous damage.

As a POW, I was interrogated in Oberursel, Hesse., in 1943. Had I come home? Hesse and Pfalz are now part of a peaceful and prosperous Germany. May it remain that way. Like us, the Assyrians, with large infusions of Hatti genes, have a world-wide diaspora which today numbers 3,447,000 in 14 countries including 70,000 in Germany, 400,000 in the USA, and 23,000 in Canada.


It is election time again in the USA, but, then, when is it not? They tell us that is the price of democracy. China, with as much internal dissent, is leaping ahead, but they suffer an authoritarian regime. Europe is ahead in many respects, but they are a bunch of socialists. The UK is improving economically by biting the bullet as it did in WWII, Malaya, and the Falklands, but they thrive on adversity. Canada is doing well but it does not rate mention, good or bad, as it never does anything exciting. Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq, Mexico, and North Korea are all more interesting. Chile is doing amazingly well, but it had a horrendous earthquake that united it, whereas Katrina was used to sew conflict.

Sanctioned by voters to go to Washington, are hundreds of talented people, full of vim and vigour, to create the paradise the electorate knows it deserves. These dedicated politicians soon discover that survival demands little governing but much fund raising, making them beholden to those with the heavy purses. It remains, then, a democracy of the rich and powerful but, please, do not call it a dictatorship. We can still complain openly and, after all, there are mid-term elections that can toss out the poor performers if you can tell who is and who is not amid all that hate literature. In fact, since 1934, 127 House and 99 Senate seats have changed occupants mid term, providing even more obstacles to long-term good governance.

Both parties send me numerous request for funds. Having endured their wasteful spending on attacking each other with accusations of doubtful validity in endless TV sound bites that, this time, will cost $3.7 billion, I consider it much better to contribute to 35 organizations like Amnesty International, Doctors Without Borders, International Red Cross, World Environmental and Wildlife groups, PBS, and so on. This spreads my donation funds rather thinly but they are selected from among the hundreds who seek my money, but even they annoy me wasting money by sending requests for more money after I have just donated.

Are 50 states too many to govern? Larger Canada can find enough problems with 12 divisions. But then the tiny UK has 101 counties. Smaller Switzerland has 26 cantons and 4 languages.

Daily, my computer screen is polluted with vicious attacks on Muslims and Obama. Mostly, they are lies or warped half truths, proving the senders are bereft of any sound solutions to world problems. Recently a dedicated, talented, and hard-working individual was elected president to change things. Then a divided nation erected obstacle after obstacle, attempting to bring him down. It is amazing he has accomplished as much as he has. Politicians are rewarded with high salaries and enormous perks the rest of us can only dream of, yet their main reason for going to Washington, job satisfaction, is denied them. But, Obama is not alone. Angela Merkel who also has done much to improve her country is slipping in the polls. Human gratitude leaves much to be desired. Bring civility to our democracy or authoritarian regimes will swamp us.

Besides Obama-bashing there is Muslim-bashing. Deluded senders provide me with scores of accounts of Muslim atrocities. Yes, they should be exposed and condemned but I look in vain for balance. I see no praise for the Muslim General Congress urging the Canadian government to ban the burka and niqab, nor do I get continued condemnations of US Christian terrorists like the Oklahoma City bombing, the Arizona “Sons of the Gestapo” derailing trains, 230 killed by a bomb on TWA flight 800 in 1996, using Blacks and Guatemalans for medical experiments, Pastor John Hagee promoting “Christians United for Israel” and urging military strikes on Iran? Then we have the IRA murdering people in Ulster, London, and Manchester. There are all those terrorist activities in former Soviet Republics, Darfur, Sri Lanka, Philippines, occupied Palestine, Colombia, Kurdistan, Somalia, Tibet, and, if I may add, sexual misconduct due to the celibacy forced on priests. As for Muslim-bashing this scribe is suspicious of all organized religions. For at least 10,000 years basic beliefs have been corralled by self-promoting groups we can generically call priests who inject dogmas, rituals, and fees to cement their dominance and control. They do provide some good services and promote peaceful co-existence but are too often corrupted by extremists. This universe and life are so complex that great minds, at least from the Ionian Greeks to the present day, remain far from understanding. Agnostics argue, that in our ignorance, the only sensible approach is to maintain an open mind with tolerance to all beliefs that refrain from hostility to others, and with a thirst to join those who are making progress in ferreting out answers to How, When, and, above all, WHY.


Monday, 13 September 2010


Yesterday, at the Battle of Britain 70th anniversary ceremonies here, I recited Harry’s poem. Harry was an RCAF Hurricane pilot who was shot down by flak in October 1941 while escorting 18 Blenheim bombers on a daylight raid. He was captured and taken to the nearest Luftwaffe base.
Harry was their first prisoner so was treated like royalty. There was a dance in the mess that night so they found an English-speaking girl to be his companion. Harry was enjoying being a kriegsgefangennen (POW) until the station Gestapo officer came in, saw what was going on, blew a fuse, and ordered the Luftwaffe to pack him off to a POW camp where I was to meet up with him 17 months later.
Harry had taken up writing good poetry and, when I published my book on my RCAF career in 1982, he let me include 3 of his poems. Here is one of them:

Like migratory birds they soared aloft,
Making geometric plan in flight;
And though the flesh within was warm and soft,
The eyes that searched the sky were hard and bright.

But Hate with hellish speed and guns that reek
Can fool the quickest eye; and burning steel
Soften the hardest heart, and make it weak -
Warm flesh alone can know the pain to feel.

The eager youth, curling beneath the lash
Of hailing lead, borne on the breath of Hell,
Watched his bright dream become a blinding flash;
And lifted up his head to say Farewell.

Granted one glance before a flaming death,
He traced the brilliant outline of the cloud;
A knew then, as he vainly fought for breath,
The darkening pall of night would be his shroud.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010


Of course there are - but I cannot identify them for the entire cosmos. My limited knowledge must leave that to better-trained minds that continue to probe at the perimeters of human intelligence. My curiosity is aroused when I realize that our current Gods, scattered about the globe but with concentrations here and there, and who bear watching, are using the same old techniques our ancient Gods used on us, but instead of needing an entire universe they are content with small boxes called computers.

Some 13.6 billion years ago, this time around, you and I were in that minute speck of compressed energy into which our Gods inserted a few laws of physics, including the one about changing-yet-indestructible Energy, before exploding the speck, and creating Time, so that we could fly off to find endless new destinies.

It was quite a show for 9 billion years or so. You and I, alternating between energy and matter, inhabited numerous stars, exhilarating as we went super nova, settling down to form planets only to keep repeating the process. Finally we found ourselves on the surface of a new planet later known as Earth. Many of our friends were also here but in the form of numerous elements some making up various depths of the planet. Our only laws were those of physics, but we had no clues about them. Blind trial and error was all we had. One day a couple of us bumped into each other. That was fun! We got a few others to join us, eventually discovering we could entice even more in to permit us to reproduce. This was so much fun we reproduced in great numbers - but there was a catch. We had changed from energy to matter but we needed energy to permit us to remain in our new formats which we rather liked but we were surrounded by masses of matter in their own formats so we had to find, again by trial and error, what we could safely consume to convert to energy. There were now so many of us that we were forced to compete, finding it was often easier to eat each other than to find new sources of food.

This cruel competition grew, forcing us to mutate into better-adapted formats. A few made good choices and went on to continue the mutations. Those that made poor choices were discarded to try again. Mercy was unknown. For 2.3 billion years we kept mutating into innumerable one-celled living beings. Then a couple of us merged and were successful in assigning duties. Did that ever spawn a myriad of new life forms, all competing for food and homes! Survival meant developing a rude form of memory then intelligence. But we found that we could no longer reproduce at random. We had to find mates among those designed like us. So we tended to protect those like us and to prey on those who were not. Greed was paramount. Compassion, mercy, respect, and such values had yet to evolve.

Multi-celled life came with an Achilles’ Heel. As Life had evolved in specific environments, Death was sure with major changes in this environment - land, sea, or air. The interruption of the flow-in and the excretion-out for mere minutes was fatal. Now, most of our current Gods are creating, supposedly with safeguards, new life forms out of current life forms by manipulating genes and DNA instructions.

More intriguing are groups like the Gods at the University of Michigan who are starting from scratch and copying our old Gods by first using a source of energy called electricity and designing DNA laws to insert as computer codes into a matrix concealing cells of energy where they would have to be found. And sat back to watch.

Lo and behold! Just like our ancestors, electronic elements fused, finding they could duplicate themselves, but also were in a highly competitive environment to reach the cells of highest energy. They were then left alone to go where Destiny is taking them.

With hands off, our Michigan Gods can observe these new creatures, called Avidians, evolving just like we did. For thousands of generations now, Avidians have been testing their surroundings and mutating, discarding most mutations as useless but occasionally making dramatic advances towards intelligence. At the Odense, Denmark, August 2010 meeting on artificial life, evidence will show that Avidians have achieved memory, one of the steps needed for intelligence. It took us over 13 billion years to achieve the rudimentary intelligence we now have. It appears our new Gods, in human format, may reach this level faster.

Yet, it can all be ended by pulling the plug - unless these new critters evolve the intelligence to circumvent our life-support systems. We fear the inevitable day when the plug is pulled on us and our trillions of parts return to their separate lives at least for a time. In this universe they cannot be killed. But can our Consciousness? It took so long to build might it not be preserved on some cosmic tape or disc? We can hope that our motto, Per Ardua ad Astra, may contain a truth we never imagined. We do need the help of Gods, but are they us?

Thursday, 12 August 2010


Approaching the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Britain a few words are warranted. Of all of the aerial battles that have been fought since the formation of the Royal Flying Corps in May 1912, our Wing of the Air Force Association of Canada here in Colorado Springs has selected the Battle of Britain as the crucial one to remember and commemorate each 15 September which was its climax in 1940. Having produced Wing newsletters, now for 24 years, that included comments on 4 successful invasions of Britain: Celtic, Roman, Saxon-Angle-Jute, and Norman, plus 3 unsuccessful ones: Spanish, French, and German, there is bound to be repetition as I dare to comment again.

Yes, we can justifiably bask in Churchill’s words: “Never in the history of human conflict has so much been owed by so many to so few.” But, we also need to heed the critics who argue it was the Royal Navy that was the main obstacle to an invasion and that the frightening invasion preparations were just huge bluffs because Hitler never intended an actual land invasion as he needed his manpower and resources for his drang nach osten obsession.

However, had the Luftwaffe been able to establish and maintain air superiority over the UK, no land invasion would have been needed. The immense buildup, including Commonwealth, Polish, Free French, Czech, Norwegian, and US forces in the UK would not have been possible; the factories that turned out the 4-engine bombers, tanks, and so on that played such a decisive role would have been flattened; British harbours would be the graveyards of the ships needed to sustain the country.

While the UK did not stand alone as is too-often stated, for the 1940 Battle of Britain it provided 79% (1,878) of the pilots who flew the Hurricanes, Spitfires, Defiants, Blenheims, and Beaufighters and almost 100% of the ground crew. Other pilots were from: Poland 141, Canada 88, Czechoslovakia 88, New Zealand 73, Belgium 26, Australia 21, South Africa 21, Ireland 8, United States 7, Rhodesia 2, and Palestine 1. Of the 446 killed, the majority were 348 British, 29 Polish, and 20 Canadian.

Before I leave, let me explode a myth: “Chamberlain the Appeaser”. With an electorate still traumatized by the bloody losses of WW1, Chamberlain had to tread cautiously even though he knew the threat the dictators posed. He estimated that things would come to a head with Hitler in 1939-40 and re-armed accordingly, but had to do it quietly as the joke goes: As a former Chancellor of the Exchequer, he knew how to manipulate account books so it went unnoticed as he changed Hangers, coat, into Hangars, aircraft. But Hitler’s demands at Munich came in 1938. Chamberlain had no recourse but to capitulate. However, by September 1939 when Hitler invaded Poland, Spitfires were coming off the line and new squadrons were being formed in substantial numbers. He now had some muscle. He went to war.

While Britain, France, and the USA must accept the major blame for paving the way for Hitler by vindictive handling of Germany and Austro-Hungary after WWI, there is no denying that WWII was thrust upon us and few now remember just how close we came to losing that war and plunging into a long dark age of human cruelties. This surely would have happened had not Chamberlain started his rearmament in time.

We can never thank enough those millions of people from so many countries who suffered, sacrificed, and died in all corners of the world to avert that fate.

While the Battle of Britain was one small, short, intense battle in a 6-year struggle, it was the first to give us hope and it was vital in retaining the UK as an aircraft carrier and as a launch pad for ultimate victory.

We, now basking in the wealth and comfort of a free society, should turn out in droves to remember, honour, and thank all those whose lives were torn so violently from them. Those who can retain dry cheeks have no inkling of the intensity and horrors of that struggle. Many try but collectively we are not doing enough to eradicate the root causes of wars.

Monday, 26 July 2010


In July, we celebrate several of these days. I cannot get too enthused as most commemorate certain, often contentious, events that involved blood letting thus satisfying only those who are descendants of the winning group. They have become embellished with myths that cloud an honest insight into history.

I do applaud the United Kingdom which gets by with no national day, although its four parts do indulge:
01 March: Wales Saint David’s Day
17 March: N. Ireland Saint Patrick’s Day
23 April England Saint George’s Day
30 November Scotland Saint Andrew’s Day

But, are not all these Christian saints? What about the Celts and others contributors?

July National Days include:

01 July: Canada celebrates Dominion Day, that revisionists call Canada Day. At least this is one of the few national days not steeped in blood. It commemorates the 1867 confederation of 5 loyal British colonies: Ontario, Quebec (Upper and Lower Canada), Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and Prince Edward Island, done largely for unified strength to deter further invasions from the United States. The name “Dominion” was taken from the Bible for the ‘Dominion of Canada’ name. That most important province, Newfoundland, did not join the family until 1949. Inuit Nunavut was not formed until 1999 and Haida Gwaii has just now regained its original name. And, what about Cabot, Champlain, Frobisher, Madeleine de Verchères, Mackenzie, Wolfe, Montcalm, the Habitants, the Acadians, Tecumseh, the United Empire Loyalists, the Algonquins, Hurons, Kwakiutl, Inuit, and so many others like my ancestors who were highly successful in producing progeny in Canada since 1669?

04 July: United States of America, Independence Day, 1776. This ignores all the great pre-colonial and colonial days, and commemorates a civil war between Britain and 13 of her 29 American colonies which the vast majority on both sides did not want. It did not give independence to all. It did lead to a great nation, but Californians had little to do with Boston rebels and Sam Adam’s preference for Dutch tea. The Texans had their own rebels but against Mexico, not Britain.

14 July: France, Bastille Day, 1789, exchanged one tyranny for another. It killed many great philosophers and scientists. It did give us fine words like équalité, liberté, and fraternité, which had to wait 50 years before beginning to be implemented. It gave us a national anthem dripping in blood and Napoleon.

20 July: Colombia Independence Day, 1830. Separation too often leads to further separation. On independence from Spain in 1819 Gran Colombia was made up of Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador. This broke up in 1830 and Colombia became Nueva Granada. In 1886 it adopted a new constitution and the name Colombia. Panama remained a part of Colombia until the US supported a revolt in order to build the Panama Canal. Of all of Spain’s former American colonies, Colombia retains Spanish customs the most.

21 July: Belgium: With support from France and Britain, Belgium revolted against being part of Holland. On 21 July 1831 the newly-formed Kingdom of Belgium elected Léopold I of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha as their first king. International recognition came in 1839. However, French and Dutch-speaking tensions persist.

28 July: Peru Independence Day: In 1821 Peru became independent of Spain. The Creole (Spanish born in America) were not unhappy with Spanish rule, but 60,000 Inca led a 1780 revolt which failed but sparked subsequent Inca and Creole revolts culminating in José de San Martin from Argentina landing with an army, followed by Simón Bolivar who defeated the Spanish at Junin and Ayacucho.

Countries evolve and boundaries change. Yesterday’s are seldom today’s and today’s are unlikely to be tomorrow’s. When we draw artificial lines around segments of this world it may be good for those living within such boundaries to build an earned pride of nationhood but one that needs to include appreciation of all earlier inhabitants. This dictates choosing a national day, preferably in the warmer months of the year, that has nothing to do with a specific event, religion, or person.

In 1919 the Commission Internationale de Navigation Aerienne chose one or two letters of the alphabet to recognize aircraft registration by country (G for the British Empire, F for France, D for Deutschland, N for the US, and so on with Canada later being assigned CF then C). Perhaps national days should be assigned in a similar manner.

Sunday, 11 July 2010


Some of us have partial control over how we direct our waking lives. Dreams can add new dimensions that, with practice, add pleasure, variety, excitement, and knowledge. But, untrained, they can be far more frustrating and with greater frightening dangers than our awake life. The two worlds are one, but the current awake world dismisses the dream world which actually is more amenable to behaving in accordance with our desires. It may be our most under-exploited resource.

I believe that I had, and have, the same range of dreams as you. I still remember a few, pre-kindergarten and scary, dreams that caused me to seek protection in my parent's bed - just as our children have done to us. I had the normal range of dreams during my school years, my 3-year banking career during which I trained with the Militia (Infantry and Artillery), and my training time in the RCAF.

My dreams changed after I started my nightly forays of flying through the greatest fireworks displays of all times and grieving the ever-mounting loss of valued friends. I experienced my first nightmares and even a bed-whetting experience. After I found myself in POW camps with time on my hands and amid many great minds from a score of countries, I would lay back on my straw mattress at night, analysing various discussions I had lost and being annoyed that my arguments had lacked effectiveness because I invariably thought of good points long after the topic had changed. Also, constantly in my thoughts were longings for my home in Canada and for my second home in England. Before falling asleep I would spend an hour or more mulling over all this , seeking improvements and escape.

In Stalag Luft III, Sagan, it took many weeks of this until I found that I could set up a situation in which I would like to be and spend what seemed to be the entire night there to the point that I dreaded waking up. Most of these dreams were with my wife and family but many had me giving detailed talks, writing skilled essays, and solving intricate mathematical problems.
Others also seemed to have developed this skill. In Nurnberg my hut had no beds but hundreds of bed bugs. One cold March 1945 night over a hundred of us were huddled together on the floor when I awoke to scratch my numerous bites. Beside me was Harry Wardle of Liverpool with a look of utter bliss on his face. Soon, I watched his eyes opening and seeing in disbelief stars shining through broken windows and holes in the roof, courtesy of Bomber Command. "God damn it!" he muttered. I laughed, "Yes, Harry, you are still in Deutschland. Go back to sleep."
After the euphoria of being freed and back with my families had worn off due to the harsh reality of creating a post-war career, I lost the ability to control my dreams although some vestiges remain. In 1960 I began recording my dreams. It has been intermittent. I may go months without bothering, then record for many consecutive nights. It does necessitate maintaining a pad of paper and a pen within reach to scrawl key words while still sleepy to aid memory when fully awake. I still have numerous recurring dreams.
They include: It is easy for me to fly. A special hop, that I tell myself I must remember when I awake, gets me airborne over people and endless landscapes. I am in the homes of friends, past and present, but they are larger with more rooms and objects than in "real" life. I am often with friends who died decades ago and they are still young, free of any blemishes they may have had. I tell them I can return to the land of the living and I ask them if they have any messages for me to take back. Always they answer, "No, it does not matter." Today, I have to write a final exam for a course I forgot I enrolled in, never having attended a class. I badly need to urinate but I am in a muti-storey building with no toilets. I am often in crowded public places in the nude, but no one notices. I often return to previous occupations, knowing that I have retired from them and can no longer perform as I used to. For many of these I have been recalled and posted to command remote military units. I still in my dreams write beautiful essays, give sparkling talks, and solve problems in mathematics and physics. Many such dreams have permitted me to improve my waking essays and talks.
One dream during my Sagan nights remains vividly with me. I was questioning life. Answers were coming in with lucid, logical steps. Suddenly a huge wall with a tiny door sprang up before me, and a voice said: "You may go on, but if you do there is no turning back. The choice is yours." I was curious to go on but I knew I could not desert my families so I forced myself to wake up - in a cold sweat. I often feel that that dream is still waiting for me. So far I have lacked the courage to return to it.
I would be grateful for some insight into your dreams. They conceal a beguiling mystery.

Thursday, 24 June 2010


Over the centuries military organizations have been renowned for their gripes: low pay, poor food, endless polishing, cleaning, and parading, harsh discipline, and years at sea or in distant lands without contact with families at home. Today’s military with high pay, undreamed of perks, instant communication home still finds much to gripe about. So, what do we old veterans have left to gripe about?

Well, we can feel forgotten. We RCAF, who were part of a huge Royal family that encompassed not only the Commonwealth but men and women from all occupied European countries and the United States, were thanked for our major role in settling the unpleasantries of WWII and Korea, then they retired our name, our flag, our ranks, and even much of our terminology. With high casualties we endured operations that they now call missions - a name that conjures up forcing our religion on others in far-off lands whereas we uncouth warriors used bombs instead of bibles. Our highest ranking officers wear maple leafs which they incorrectly call stars. We RCAF, along with the RCN, have been relegated to the seldom-read history books. ‘Twas ever thus. Reminds me of Danton, on his way to be guillotined, yelling at watching Robespierre who sentenced him, “You’ll be next, Robespierre!” He was right.
Having sympathized with so many having to learn English I long ago revolted at us having two languages - one we speak and one we write and too often we allow the same word to have different meanings. If we spell it Gloucestershire we should pronounce it that way, not Glostersheer. And Newfoundland should not be pronounced Noofunlan. I refuse to misuse gay and lesbian to describe homosexuals. I shy away from using “America” to describe only the United States as it implies arrogance at ignoring all the others in two continents who share the name, just as does the use of “England” when the United Kingdom is meant, thus insulting the Irish, Scots, and Welsh. And then it appears this is a highly unsanitary country. No one uses toilets. Instead they use bathrooms and restrooms. How distasteful to clean those bathtubs and sofas! There is widespread use of loos, johns, the poddy, and, in WWII Germany, Winston Churchills (His initials, WC, also stood for Water Closet). When Thomas Crapper invented the flush toilet, he called it toilet. Others call it a crapper.

The misuse of history is also a gripe of mine. I enjoy a cup of tea so object to the recently formed Tea Party movement as a protest against government, misusing the Boston Tea party of 1773 which only later became an anti-British slogan. At the time it was simply a move by Sam Adams to protect his profitable dealership of smuggled Dutch tea which was threatened when an East India Company ship arrived laden with tea from Ceylon which the authorities were allowing in without the additional charge of custom duties as Ceylon was another part of the Empire. Sam got a bunch of cronies to dress as natives, board the ship, and throw the cheaper tea overboard. And then there is Hollywood with major distortions in scores of historical films from Egypt and Rome, to the Alamo and the Great Escape, far too many to enumerate here. Truth is usually stranger than fiction so why teach a gullible public false history? The Texas School Board has now joined Hollywood.

Admittedly, in a democracy, opposition and the facts of life prevent politicians from living up to their promises, but this old Arctic veteran who considers the area and the Inuit very important worries that he does not have the time to wait for contracts to be awarded for the ships, research centre, and bases promised so emphatically over three years ago.

On the other hand I should admit immense progress has been made since my first introduction to the Arctic in 1946 - and I should broadcast that governments sometimes do the right thing. A couple of examples:

In WWII Canadian pay was double UK pay so, for those of us overseas, the government withheld half our pay for a post-war nest egg. This prevented the friction that arose when US troops, with still-higher pay, arrived with full pay thus attracting the girls and forcing up prices in the pubs, leading to the UK complaint “The Yanks are overpaid, oversexed, and over here.” My RCAF pay for bombing Germany was $6.25 a day, reduced to $3.20 in the UK.

The Canadian government over the last decade has paid for 2,000 Research Chairs spread among all universities. Recently 19 of the world’s top scientists have moved to Canadian universities with sufficient funding to head up departments, select staff, and pursue their specialties. It is a tonic to see millions of dollars spent hiring scientists rather than baseball, football, basketball, or hockey stars. This brain influx is in addition to all those chairs for the likes of Stephen Hawking in the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo.

Saturday, 19 June 2010


Root causes are seldom mentioned when finger-pointing the blame for the Gulf Oil Spill, the slaughter of thousands in Mexican Drug Wars, and the like - problems that would not exist if we were to curtail our addiction to oil, drugs, guns, and money. The endless accumulation of wealth in a few hands is a human failure but provides us with villains. Drug cartels have filled rooms with billions of dollars and created lavish life styles that invite others to muscle in to the tune of thousands of bodies, bullet-ridden by weapons eagerly provided by unrestricted gun dealers. The hundreds of US factories operating in the Cuidad Juarez area pay a maximum of $75 per week so it is much more lucrative to get into the drug trade.
BP (40% British and 39% US owned) has amassed billions in profits by satisfying our craving for oil so is a natural target for blame when something goes wrong which is certain to happen when we go to the extremes of technology to extract the last drop of a finite resource instead of pursuing the logical course of mass transit, putting truck traffic back on the rails, and increasing the price of fossil energy to encourage more investment in green sources. Our oil addiction has blinded us. We forget the almost-identical Trans-Ocean spill of June 1979 in the Gulf when the same blowout preventer failed and only 2 relief wells stopped the escape 9 months later. That was in 200 feet of water, now it is 5,000 feet, and in the interim there has been no insistence or regulations that rescue techniques be improved.
Also, we are selfish. No one here seems to care about the plight of Nigerians who, since 1958, have endured 23 million gallons of oil spills that are increasing annually, mainly from Shell wells. Destitute Nigerians lack a president who cares enough to force restitution and reimbursement from oil companies.
For the foreseeable future we are restricted to one world that is heavily burdened with too many humans, creating an unsustainable consumption of finite resources and an unsustainable gap between rich and poor. Progress at closing this gap has occurred in places like Brazil and China, but much, much more is essential - and this will, at least for the time being, demand sacrifices from us who have been hogging more than our share of world resources.


OH, ISRAEL! It is sad that Israel, with so much to offer, is so paranoid about security that it is now considered a bully. But first a little, very sketchy history: Faith or fact? No historical account of Abraham exists other than what is found in scriptures that claim, about 1900 BC, Abraham, Sarah, family, and relatives left Ur, Iraq, for Canaan where they infiltrated and eventually controlled a nomadic group to be known as Hebrews, persuading them to renounce their female gods to embrace Yahweh. Abraham fathered children by 3 wives and died at age 175. Sarah gave birth to Isaac at age 90. Years passed and, during a famine, descendants of this group, following David’s lead, found refuge in Egypt where, over the next 645 years, they multiplied to the extent that a new pharaoh persecuted them leading to the exodus led by Moses. About 1250 they ended up back in Canaan where they smote the Philistines (Palestinians) to acquire the land promised them by Yahweh. Ownership was hotly contested by at least 11 distinct groups until Romans ousted most of the Jews in 135 AD. Significant return of Jews to Palestine began after 1831 when Mohammed Ali, an Ottoman provincial ruler, opened the area to the West and Edmond de Rothschild financed the move.

The current state of Israel was a dicey plan in the first place, as Winston Churchill warned in 1937. To create a new Jewish state, westernized, wealthy, and technologically-advanced in a small plot of land, much of it not arable, in an Arab and Muslim area that would necessitate the eviction (and killing) of thousands of Palestinians who were slowly emerging from 400 years of rural, seldom harsh, life as part of the Ottoman Empire, could lead to trouble requiring the best of minds and the best of behaviour to contain. At least the area was kept intact under Ottoman rule. Then came the vultures, many well-meaning, to share the spoils of their WWI victory. They divided the area into countries and gave League of Nation mandates to the UK and France to assist the emergence of a modern, Western-controlled, Middle East. The US refused an offered mandate but got involved economically. Russia, Italy, and Germany also developed interests. Immense sympathy for the Jews after the Holocaust led the WWII victors, hesitant to open their own borders to displaced survivors, to allow a Palestine homeland for them which, after all, was theirs historically, but this return of the Jews would be somewhat akin to us Caucasians reclaiming the Caucasus. Generations of Palestinians have now languished in refugee camps, helpless to resist but creating a simmering hatred of the occupiers. The newcomers, with considerable aid, especially from the USA and Germany, after defeating an attempt to oust them, did create a vibrant industrial nation that did benefit the world with contributions in science, medicine, literature, and so on. It also built up the area’s most powerful military. Growth required more land which led to large settlements throughout occupied Palestine so the locals, denied a military of their own, were pushed aside as were the locals in all countries of America not all that long ago. Worldwide support for Israel started to slip when Lebanon then Gaza acquired ineffective missiles that killed less than a dozen Israelis only to have the Israelis attack with massive force that killed thousands and destroyed infrastructure that remains rubble. This includes a 3-year blockade of Gaza after it voted in Hamas a new organization understandably hostile to Israel. This land, sea, and air blockade has created great poverty, precluding any progress. Lately, six Turkish and one Irish ships attempting to run the blockade and bring in humanitarian aid have been seized in international waters and towed to an Israeli port with 9 Turkish and no Israeli deaths. It is gratifying that much of the criticism of the Israeli siege mentality comes from many Israelis who argue that Israel is much more of a threat to Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah than they are to Israel. It will be hard and difficult but Israel must now return to its original borders and employ its expertise in creating a common market of Israel, Lebanon, Jordan, Palestine, and Syria - 5 countries in an area barely big enough for one. To continue current Israeli policies will only lead to its demise which will benefit only new vultures.

If Catholics, worldwide, can be content with the Vatican, much tinier than Israel, as their headquarters, could we not persuade the Jews to accept the smaller, original, Israel as their HQ and continue to live in, and benefit, nations everywhere? Jerusalem, sacred to 3 religions, cannot be monopolized by one of them. Even Hamas should accept this solution.


Thursday, 17 June 2010


In spite of a severe worldwide recession, military spending surged in 2009 and is now 49% higher than in 2000 as 153 countries spent $1,531,000,000 000. The US leads this insane race spending $661 billion or 43% of the world total. China is next but well back spending $100 billion followed by France, the UK, and Russia spending $64, $58, and $53 billion. Canada is #13, spending $19 billion while Israel #16 spent $12 billion, double #24 Iran’s $6 billion. All this against no credible threat except for North Korea and a bunch of jihadists who can do us harm on the cheap. It succeeds in taking the “sapiens” out of Homo sapiens and it does hasten our death wish to follow the dinosaurs into extinction. There are still 7,500 nuclear warheads in 8 countries, 2,000 of them on instant alert. It seems we lack the intelligence to divert this spending into curbing unsustainable population growth, affordable health and legal care, global warming, education, closing the rich-poor gap, enhancing green energy, curing addictions to finite resources, drugs, guns, money, and the like. To our credit there were 54 UN Peacekeeping operations in 2009 that cost $9.1 billion.

How come that all those who decry our horrendous and fatal debts are mute about decreasing unnecessary and wasteful military spending with its inflated ranks and far too much brass? Corporals and sergeants are quite capable of doing what is now reserved for higher officer ranks. Against whom do we need 11 carrier groups or over 1200 F-35s?


Devoid of compassion in an ever-changing universe, Evolution has plunged ahead on a trial-and-error basis with immense cruelty and waste. It is the most guilty of all for war crimes, but is has produced a creature that is beginning to understand it and to fight back. We humans now know that galaxies are fuelled by massive Black Holes but that, ever since the Big Bang, the frightening eat-or-be eaten principle persists to the detriment of both the eaters and the eaten but, without which, we would not exist. We now know that big galaxies eat smaller galaxies, that Andromeda, is racing towards us at 700,000 mph and is only 2 million light years away, to engage our Milky Way in a dance of death - and rebirth as Hinduism predicts? You do the math and tell me how much time to I have for more blogs and newsletters (186,000 x 60 x 60 x 24, x 365 x 2,000,000 ÷ 700,000).

All living things, that we know of, have short, finite lives that are made possible only by the daily killing and eating of other living life forms. But, you may ask, what about the more peaceful plant kingdom? It has learned to convert inorganic material into organic without the need to eat other species. Alas, even here there is warfare. Plants fight for territory. Some secrete poisons to kill off rivals. Succession is a well-known phenomenon where, over time, one species succeeds another in the same plot of land. Change is the only thing that has any permanence. And yet, a warm glimmer of hope has been seeded. Some of us have introduced ethics, and have started a long, slow process of directing a more humane, if still brief, existence for all life forms.

Hopefully soon, we will be able to take a glass of water, a lump of coal, and a handful of soil and convert them into nourishing foods to retire our need to prey on other species. Then, we can turn our attention to taming the universe. A hopeless dream? . . . . . . . . Perhaps - if we fail to accept the challenge!


We flawed humans have always had enemies, some real, some manufactured (as Eisenhower argued) to suit our questionable motives. Diverting us from a series of less-than-successful policies, it seems that we are grooming Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Enemy #2 after #1 from North Korea, not only because we choke on his name, but the indisputable fact that he may, within the next decade, build a nuclear bomb to threaten the 31,000 nuclear warheads that surround him in bunkers in peaceful farmlands, on a score of peace-seeking aircraft carriers, on 26 sleek submarines, and in aircraft fleets, all manned by the flower of our youth who have enlisted not as a bunch of religious fanatics bent on jihad - Heavens NO! - but in the noble quest of university degrees and in appreciation of the generous pay and perks.

Mahmoud claims he loves us. Why not? We do have lots of lovable people. Yes, we also have many not-so-lovable. We have, just in the US alone, over two million in jails. We have 6 million illicit drug users in the USA, 720,000 in China, 1 million in Afghanistan, and even 186,000 in Kazakhstan. Instead of curing their addictions, we persecute growers, dealers, and users of the stuff. During the last election in the USA, private prison companies donated $3.3 million to politicians who would fill their jails with addicts. We have many thousands more who prey on the elderly and naive. Then there are those of us who delight in fouling up computers with viruses, or steal identities. Can Mahmoud be a real lover for all of us - or is he just another enemy we manufacture to suit our purposes?

Actually, Mahmoud, with a PhD in transportation, is a veteran of the 1980-88 war that fought invading Iraq to a stalemate. Iraq, with 98% of its arms supplied by the USSR, France, China, Brazil, Egypt, and the USA, invaded Iran inflicting 1 million casualties, 100,000 of them by chemical weapons built in Iraq from materials and technology supplied by the US, UK, Germany, France, and China and sprayed by US-made Bell helicopters. Iran also suffered $350 billion in damages including much to its oil industry that still lingers.

Area problems can be traced back to King Enmebaragesi of Kish who thought military force was a great idea. He conquered Elam in 2650 BC. Elam got even in 2004 BC by sacking Ur. What we call Iraq was part of the Persian Empire until the Ottoman Turks intruded in 1638 and some 18 treaties ensued to delineate Iraq’s borders, the current one drawn by the British in 1920. In 1959, Abd al-Karîm Qâsim, who had seized control of Iraq, declared that the oil-rich Iranian province of Khuzestan was rightfully part of Iraq. In 1971, when the British withdrew, Iraq took over and expelled 70,000 Iranians from 3 islands in the Persian Gulf. Iran retaliated by supporting Kurdish unrest. In 1975 Kissinger sanctioned Persia’s (Iran’s) Shah Pahlavi’s attack on Iraq over the waterway at the head of the Gulf. With the death of Nasser in Egypt and the rise of the Ba’ath Party in Iraq, Iraq coveted the role of leader of the Arab world.

With Iran weakened by the fall of the Shah and the return of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini (whom the Shah had exiled to Iraq and whom Iraq expelled to France), Saddam Hussein believed the Sunni of Iran would welcome his invasion to free them from the Shias. Besides, his 4,500 tanks and 7,330 artillery pieces would overwhelm Iran’s 1,000 tanks and 3,000 artillery pieces, not to mention his aircraft superiority. Iran’s arms were mainly US, left over from the Shah’s reign.

Iraq did not use biological weapons even though the US had made 70 shipments of these weapons over a 3-year period to Iraq. Both sides attacked neutral oil tankers, damaging 546 and killing 430 sailors. An Iraqi aircraft attacked the USS Stark killing 37 and wounding 21. However the US was backing Iraq at this time, so down-played the incident, and in 1987 the US attacked Iranian oil platforms. When the USS Samuel B. Roberts was damaged by an Iranian mine, the US sank 2 Iranian ships, and in 1988 shot down, from inside Iranian waters, an Iranian commercial aircraft with the loss of 290 passengers and crew. Eventually the US paid compensation. Compounding the scene was the US-approved sale by Israel to Iran of $1 billion in weaponry. POWs were not exchanged until 10 years after the war.

Mahmoud has many problems. Afghan drug runners have killed 3,000 Iranian police. The oil industry, worth $50 billion a year, is deteriorating with ageing infrastructure. Nuclear energy is a safeguard for the future. Mahmoud has helped the poor, but moderates pose a threat to his apparent hard line towards the West and Israel. Although India, Pakistan, and Israel have broken their pledge not to join the non-proliferation club, we shudder at the thoughts that Iran may copy them. To impose sanctions and to threaten aerial attacks on nuclear sites will only unite all Iranians against us.

Napoleon advised: ”Never interfere with an enemy while he is in the process of destroying himself.” But, is Mahmoud an enemy? His stealing of an election and persecution of peaceful demonstrators is infuriating, but he did write us a long letter indicating how we could co-operate, but we lacked the courage and courtesy to reply, so just ignored it. He then continued the nice-guy approach by granting pleasant interviews to Mike Wallace on 60 Minutes and to Charlie Rose on PBS. His show of tolerance revealed his Zoroastrian roots. Of all the conquerors in the Middle East the Persians were the most tolerant of other cultures. Persians freed the Jews from Babylonian captivity, But, Mahmoud shows little tolerance towards Israel as he claims Israel shows no tolerance towards Palestinians.

Big sticks only provoke a multitude of little sticks to unite to combat them as Mussolini believed and misused.

Humans, a flawed species, but with recurring promises of greatness, need sufficient weapons of deterrence, but overdoing it, as we have, simply spurs others to follow suit and to bankrupt ourselves. Someday, soon, we must divert military expenditures to the onerous and widespread task of correcting our misbehaviour. Can we not see we are very close to losing our planet - at the moment our only home? We must accept Mahmoud’s offer of dialogue, but include all members of that volatile region of our planet!

Sunday, 6 June 2010


It all started when, as a happy schoolboy, I was hurt and disillusioned on discovering there was no Santa Claus. I began to question other things my parents, church, and school had told me. My parents encouraged me to read books and newspapers, and were among the first to get a radio that brought news into the house. Among others, they would listen to Father Coughlin but his strident attacks, especially on the British Empire, left me highly critical. I bought many 5¢ Boy's magazines that arrived faithfully on time every week via sea mail from London, UK, filled with stories from all parts of the world that gave me a child-like faith in the British Empire but, as I talked to many Boer War and WWI veterans, I began to realize that even it had flaws. From these magazine I got the names and addresses of pen pals and was soon corresponding with girls and boys in the Gold Coast (Ghana), South Africa. Germany, the UK, and Malaysia. I soon learned that there were many ways of looking at the same situation, but only the Malaysian survived WWII to re-establish our correspondence.

Until age 11, I was fascinated by things military. In Toronto there were many parades of soldiers in smart uniforms with flashing bayonets and good marching bands. I took pride in the many stories of Canadian victories in WWI which led me to talk to veterans of the Boer War and WWI , including 2 uncles, who gave me a disturbing insight into the true nature of wars. That, and watching boys cruelly killing a skunk and shooting crows and squirrels made me a pacifist. We then moved to Port Hope a town of under 5,000 people where everyone knew everyone else. It amazed me that there were so many Churches of different slants on the Christian religion and then there were my Jewish and Islamic friends. As teenagers we would discuss religion but it was never a barrier.

I began collecting newspaper clippings and amassing books. Today I have 2,300, not counting stacks of magazines I hate to throw out.

During WWII the cosmopolitan nature of Allied Forces and especially my POW camps revealed good, bad, and indifferent people in every group, friend or foe, and emphasized the fact that the majority simply longed to live out lives in harmony with their neighbours.

Following retirement in 1966 from the RCAF at age 47 I toiled for a degree in history from the University of Colorado, a branch of which was starting in Colorado Springs where NORAD was my final RCAF transfer.

We had small classes and good professors, but two of them were strongly opposed to US foreign policy. They were right in many instances but one went, I thought, much too far, and I found myself, as the only Canadian in the class, the only one who continued to argue with him in favour of the US. Friends told me to shut up and go along or my grades would suffer. They did but only in his class.

As I now lack the energy and money to travel the world I rely on the 23 magazines to which I subscribe and a wide variety of books that are so prolific in espousing different points of view, making it most difficult to extract only the truth, so this scribe, like everyone else, is far from infallible. Yet, having shed blood in a horrible war I felt had to be fought, I remain convinced it is my responsibility to strive for a peaceful world that is fair to all who are thrust into it. I do not expect you all to agree with all of my interpretations but, if I manage to keep you thinking and questioning and retaining a respect for all living things, then I have served my purpose. I do regret, however, that so few of you, armed with facts, debate my views. The bravest thing a person can do is to think. The majority of you out there remain silent. A few of my far-right friends have engaged me in verbal battle which I enjoy as it does not transcend our friendships. My views have evolved over the years and I hope theirs will too. A million years from now will anyone care?
Ye Olde Scribe,

Wednesday, 7 April 2010


I have been looking at photos of former Guantanamo inmates who are now Al Qaida leaders determined to make us suffer. Shave off the beards and they do not look all that fearsome. Has Guantanamo failed us by creating uncompromising enemies?

Back in 1939-1943 I had no reason to respect the Luftwaffe. I knew of Guernica, Warsaw, Rotterdam, Bath, Coventry et al and endured being bombed by them. I dug dead friends out of rubble they created, and I lost hundreds of good friends to them. Then I was shot down, not at all a pleasant experience. However . . . .

The score of civilians, mostly women, who captured me were all friendly, curious, and puzzled that Canada would want to attack them. They walked me some distance to the police who were polite and respectful as they searched me then walked me several blocks to a Luftwaffe station, giving me a conducted tour en route. Four Luftwaffe officers were polite in questioning me and the two soldats who guarded me all night on wooden benches were curious and full of questions about Canada. In the morning a Luftwaffe officer gave me a conducted tour en route from Hamburg to Frankfurt for interrogation. I was never handcuffed or hooded. A hungry week of uncomfortable solitary confinement included polite questioning by a succession of 4 officers before I was shipped off to POW camps that would become four in number.

I was to have a few run-ins with Gestapo and SS but in each instance was protected by the Luftwaffe who seemed to have the same opinion of them as we did.

In those horrible final months of the war when we had to make our way from one end of Germany to the other I was mixed in with many German military and civilians. We were all cold, hungry, exhausted, and strafed and bombed by Allied aircraft. No German showed any animosity towards us with the sole exception of SS in the Munich rail yard.

I ended the war with high respect for the Luftwaffe and sympathy for the common German people.

After the war I met in Canada former Luftwaffe and Kriegsmarine officers who had been POWs in Canada where the respectful treatment they had received persuaded them to return years later to Canada as valued immigrants.

It all makes me wonder about the inhumane interrogation and imprisonment techniques used in such places as Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo. If the Luftwaffe example was followed might not a few converts be made rather than increasing the hatred of enemies and creating more enemies among those who learn of such inhumanity?

I am also sure that those thousands of soldiers from a score of countries who take pains, and risks, to intermingle with and help civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan are doing immense good both for them and for us. Ways must be found to give this temporary help and goodwill some permanence. Respect is the vital ingredient in altering enemy mindsets.


OUR PROBLEM WITH SEX is summed up in the old joke: Two veterans in their 90s were reminiscing. One asked, “Do you remember that stuff they used to put in our food to lessen our sex drive? Well, it is starting to work.”

To the steady stream of prominent men engaging in extra-marital sex has been added one of our own, a capable and respected pilot in a responsible position who has left a trail of rapes and even murders. The only things new about this is that men now wreck their marriages and careers and receive public condemnation. The history of our species is one long horror story of the cruelty of men and women to each other and to children, quite extensive even today. But there is also, from ancient times, so many tender stories of caring, sharing, and love, of men improving the lot of women and vice versa. It is a tale too vast for this single page which will concentrate on male aggression.

Biologists explain that the male of the species is designed to go about the world, impregnating as many females as he can catch. Anthropologists argue that, early on, males discovered they could get steady and reliable satisfaction in a family setting and that co-operation was more rewarding than force. Sadly, the biology of the sexes too often lacks male contentment in the family situation as the average female, who has to bear the consequences, lacks the constant enthusiasm of the average male for sex and too many men, when the opportunity arises, quickly give in to their biological side. Over the years I have listened to many men complain that they love their wives far more than they are loved in return. But, to a man, “Love” has a much greater component of sex than in a woman’s interpretation.

Even Moses condoned his men raping conquered women. Napoleon, when he needed more men to invade Italy, got them with his “You want women? The Italians have women. They can be all yours.” Practically every army has permitted male and female rape, often as a means of demoralizing the enemy, but more often as a means of recruitment. Few women escaped being raped repeatedly by occupying Soviets. Chinese and Koreans were “comfort” women to the Japanese, and many were simply transferred to US occupiers. Christians raped Muslims in the Middle East and recently in Bosnia; thousands of Vietnamese were raped by US soldiers. African women still suffer rape in huge numbers. Numerous leaders, like Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan, had captured women stationed throughout their empires for immediate satisfaction wherever they went. At the numerous conferences of bishops defining the rules of Christianity numerous women were collected to attend sexually to the attendees. Muslim sultans were renowned for their harems.

God help us men if women get the power to seek revenge for their billions who have been wronged.

Is there a cure other than the one used by various women who severed the penis that was raping them? Thousands of male prisoners lost sexual desire when castrated to become eunuchs to guard such collections as harems.

Practically all religions and governments have imposed laws and beliefs for the masses to follow, often with cruel punishments for transgressors like stoning and hanging. Some Muslims, to save their women for themselves, confine them to the home or cover them from head to toe, considering them property not companions. For good reason some women feel safer hidden in all that clothing. Societies have permitted polygamy and brothels with various degrees of control.

We do need more women in government. Today, Belgium leads the world with 55% but the UK, US, and Canada are shamefully far behind with 14, 7, and 6 per cent. And 14 countries have no women at all in government.

Perhaps the most powerful weapon is mindset - it is not easy to change ingrained or encouraged mind sets as so few of us think, but it has been done over the years. My generation in my society of males was brought up to put women on pedestals. Foul language was never used near them. Whereas necking was permitted, few of us thought of going further. Then came WWII with entire populations caught up in war zones with death a constant companion resulting in a desire to taste life’s pleasures before death. Still, most of our boys killed died as virgins. Most of the sex was consensual causing thousands of pregnancies in an ill-educated and unprepared population. Canada can boast of having the highest percentage of warriors who married the girls they impregnated.

The easy sex of WWII, followed by the widespread introduction of condoms and pills promoted more mindset changes. Homosexuality, common in antiquity, was a source of jokes and something no true man would ever entertain. For 800 days I was locked up with up to 11,000 sex-starved men (all aircrew) in compounds that allowed no privacy or secrecy. I know of no case of any homosexual act. It was just not part of our mindset, so its resurgence is puzzling.

Another society mindset that needs softening is that towards adultery. Acceptance runs from a high in Africa, and the cause of their HIV epidemic, to a low in Muslim countries. In the West acceptance is higher among the ruling classes. While rape should never go unpunished, the odd dalliance of a husband or wife who have a record of marital responsibility should not be reason to be cast out and to lose it all. And the media should be censored for its lurid accounts. The most critical voices are undoubtedly those who are covering up their own guilt.

From insects to mammals there is tremendous variety in the conduct of sex. With humans it can become an abusive addiction as hard to cure as smoking or drug use. It is rarely a means to exert dominance as so often explained but rather a strong desire for perceived pleasure. We seem to have adopted the aggressive characteristics of our Chimpanzee relatives rather than those of our Bonobo relatives who solve conflicts peacefully with frequent sex. In many societies we are much better than we once were but large-scale cruelties persist. Care to give us your solution to the problem?

Tuesday, 6 April 2010


To influence the world Rome needed its provinces; Spain had to wait until Aragon and Castille united; England needed Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and the Dominions; Germany needed Bismark to unite it. Now, the world needs that part of America that calls itself the United States to be sufficiently united and wealthy to give us NASA and other such noble enterprises as well as accepting the role of honest broker in so many of the world’s immense problems.

In all those nations we call “Western”, societies are relatively free so achieving unity on any particular issue is not easy. China has had amazing success in leaping to the forefront of nations. It has improved living standards for millions but with no hesitation in using brute force to accomplish this. India, on the other hand, has also come a long way in a more relaxed and open society but, unlike clean, prosperous, and modern China, it is a huge mixture of opulence and dire poverty. Relaxing its strong hand, the USSR fell apart, and modern Russia has deemed it necessary to reinstate some harsh measures to reinstate its role in the world. The much-needed European Union still has teething problems but it has given us expensive great projects like CERN and it does provide considerable wisdom in the conduct of local and world affairs.

The United States has created immense problems for itself. Armed Militia Units, wary of government, have increased 200% to 127; its financial foundation is greatly weakened with huge debts to other nations due to living beyond its means for a decade; its political unity has evaporated. After a century of trying, the government, led by Barack and Nancy, has finally brought the USA into the family of nations with universal health care, a process that was started in modern times by Bismark in 1889 with his Old Age and Accident Insurance. Disunity prevented the US from getting the desired single payer, public option, and other goals, but it was a huge step in the right direction, although it does give for-profit insurance companies 32 million new customers. Hopefully this victory will embolden the government into taking bold steps not only to face up to internal problems but to use its strong influence to bring fair and just settlements to many of the world’s problems that beg for remedies that need outside help with no sinister strings attached. This scribe has faith that, in spite of much unfair criticism, the current US leaders can do just that.

Monday, 5 April 2010


Eighty years ago my Dad started me on the hobby of stamp collecting. This led to me haunting the town’s Chinese laundries for stamps from China and Hong Kong, and to find pen pals in seven countries in Europe, Asia, and Australasia. Worldwide, postage was cheap and countries issued fewer than five new stamps per year so, over time, good worldwide collections could be built. I remember well the anger caused when Canada raised its rates from 2 to 3 cents to mail a letter anywhere in the British Commonwealth and Empire. A big boost to my collection came when I started working in a bank. Money parcels were sent via registered post that needed 50-cent and $1 stamps. We were supposed to send all these back to bank headquarters so they could be sold to dealers, but somehow a few got stuck in my collection.
Soon I was to know every country in the world, its currency, rulers, history, geography, and culture. Many friends were made among other collectors and we all rejoiced on possessing a stamp or two from Tristan da Cunha, Rarotonga, Pitcairn Islands and other such tiny places. By selling stamps to collectors, the Pitcairn Islands raised enough to build a school so they promptly issued another stamp to sell that depicted the school.
Today countries are killing the hobby by flooding the market with hundreds of new issues per year, by high prices, and now the US and Australia to save money have gone to cheaper paper that tends to disintegrate when you try to soak off stamps. And, of course, e-mails and meter post have robbed us of stamped mail.
Nevertheless countries still issue far too many stamps. But, as many are interesting, let me describe a few:

THE FOUR KINGS: On 19 April Canada Post issued four 57-Cent stamps to honour the four “Indian” kings who met with Queen Anne in London 19 Apr 1710. The stamps reproduce the full-length paintings that were made of them at the time when Queen Anne was not a very happy monarch. At 45 she was widowed with no heir in spite of 18 pregnancies. The 3 Mohawks and 1 Mahigan kings were Tee Yee Neen Hu Ga Row, Emperor of the Six Nations and leader of the group, was given the English name of Hendrick. Ho Nee Yeath Taw No Row, King of the Generethgarich, was named John; Sa Ga Neath Qua Pieth Tow, King of the Maquas, was named Brant (grandfather of Joseph Brant); and Etow Oh Koam, King of the River Nations, was called Nicholas. All four were in excellent physical condition and towered over their European hosts. They had been recruited by Peter Schulyer, Governor at Albany, to help persuade the Queen to grant more resources to the fight against the Hurons and French. The colonies were a drain on the treasury but the queen, who was to be dead in 4 years, was impressed, particularly when they also asked for help in understanding the Protestant version of Christianity. She showered them with gifts, had them attend theatrical productions and banquets over 45 days and took steps to organize an invasion of Quebec. They were granted audiences with the famed painter John Verelst who was charged with the task of depicting them as envoys of respected powers. The four kings escaped the diseases rampant in London. Their speeches were reprinted many times. They were quoted as describing European clothing as stifling and barbarous and romantic stories were written of a supposed contact between one of them and a woman he met on the streets of London.
Hendrick was to return to London in 1740 for a meeting with George II. Joseph Brant became a famed Canadian leader when he fled the US after the revolution. The city of Brantford, Ontario, is named for him.
These 4 portraits were purchased in 1977 by the Public Archives of Canada. More details can be found in Canada’s History Magazine, Apr-May 2010, and the Canada Post brochure, Apr-Jun 2010, as well as for the RCN.

THE RCN AT 100: On 04 May Canada Post will issue two 57-cent stamps commemorating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Royal Canadian Navy. One stamp depicts HMCS Niobe, the other HMCS Halifax. In WWII the RCH was the 3rd largest of the Allied Navies. It had 100,000 personnel including 7,122 women and 110 of its ships took part in the D-Day operations. Today it has 9,000 personnel and 33 warships.
In 1910 the Royal Navy gave Canada the cruiser HMS Niobe and HMS Rainbow as founding ships for the RCN. Niobe, built in 1897, saw service in the Boer War and WWI and was damaged in the explosion in Halifax harbour in 1917.

STAMP WARS have been numerous. Here are a few: In 1947 a Chilean stamp showed Graham Land, Antarctica, claimed by Britain, to be part of Chile. In 1951 Argentina countered with a stamp showing it to be Argentinian. In 1954 the UK issued 15 stamps depicting 13 different ships each of which had spent over 2 years doing research in the area. In 1958 and 1965 Chile and Argentina continued the stamp war while the UK continued its work. Anticipating the conquest of India, Nazi Germany had stamps ready for Azahind (Free India). In 1959 Greece issued 2 stamps featuring Imre Nagy, Hungarian premier executed by the Soviets. The USSR refused to accept mail using these stamps and countered with a stamp for Glezos, a communist executed by Greece. During the Cold War the USSR re-published its stamp catalogues, removing the wartime stamps that showed Churchill, Roosevelt, and Stalin together. Egypt continued to use its King Farouk stamps after he was deposed in 1953, but obliterated his portrait.

Thursday, 11 March 2010


WORLDS WITHIN WORLDS: Physicists entertain us by revealing that our little universe is in the midst of innumerable universes each with its own laws and where anything that can happen will happen. Exciting! But there is still so much to learn about our own, unique, universe.

Frequently strangers will quietly move into our lush, moist valleys, remaining inoffensive until they multiply and set up listening posts to monitor our activities. When we order our police to remove them they detect our coming and send out requests for help from other immigrants in the region. Some agree to unite with them and working together they produce weapons that can cause our police to actually explode.

In Copenhagen the team of Thomas Bjarnsholt has been studying this battle that rages in many human lungs, learning that bacteria are much more intelligent and sophisticated than we had realized. They communicate with the chemical “quorum’ sensing like plants and fungi. Our research into this may have started 50 years ago but we are only just beginning to appreciate bacterial sophistication and to look for means to manipulate it. Bacteria can influence and change the actions of other bacteria or our own white blood cells.

Take the friendly bacteria that are ten times more numerous than our own body cells in our guts. It is now known they communicate with each other for the betterment of both. We need each other. The mass of these friendlies, consisting of thousands of species, weighs some 1.3 kg (3 pounds), far outnumbering the terrorists. Does this not seem all too familiar to our macroscopic world?

Our species continues to find ‘final’ frontiers, currently bragging of our exploits in space and the deep seas. They are impressive and we do exhibit astounding intelligence, at least some of us do. Yet, we do need a strong dose of humility. We have been comparing ourselves to chimpanzees, dolphins, mice, crows, and the like and have actually made progress in understanding their languages while remaining comfortable in our own superiority.

But, there are frontiers out there that are numerous and formidable, challenging our puny intelligence to awake to the fact that we have not yet reached the plateau where we can retire and rest in safety.

Without understanding it, we have harnessed the quantum world to dominate a third of our industry. We can manipulate DNA to do our bidding without understanding it. We have made electricity one of our slaves without knowing if it has a will of its own. We know that plants have their own language but we have produced no dictionary.

To many we are on the verge of creating intelligence and consciousness in computers without even knowing what actually creates consciousness, or for that matter what it is. We have never been granted irrefutable proof as to what and why we are.

In many respects we are no further ahead than those Ionian Greeks who, some 2400 years ago, started us on this quest.

When we humans have so many challenges why do we continue to waste our energies in harming and killing each other? Too many budding Newtons and Einsteins have perished on the battlefield.

I am so often reminded of the story told of the Prince of Wales visiting Canada and observing a workman walking along a parked train and tapping each iron wheel with a hammer. When the Prince asked him what was the purpose in him doing that, he replied. “I don’t know - the boss ordered me to do it so I am.”

Wednesday, 10 March 2010


TAXES: I have just emptied my piggy bank to pay my taxes. Relying on me are two governments and hundreds of politicians all of whom claim they are working hard for my interests. It is good of them to tell me as I would not recognize this on my own. Congress is in gridlock and Harper sent Parliament packing for two months, implying politicians are redundant as the Civil Service runs the show anyway. To really serve my interests they are not spending wisely or belt tightening or taxing me nearly enough to fund what I consider important for our one world and all its inhabitants.

Canada is in much better financial shape perhaps because it ranks 33rd highest while the US is 48th among world countries in taxes levied. Also it lacks a huge military believed necessary to control a huge empire. While Canada takes most of my taxes, it is still not enough to avoid a current deficit, like it was for a dozen recent years.

Debt? The US is #1 in owing $13.6 trillion to other countries while Canada ranks #15 owing $762 billion. The US is so much more in need of my money that they tax some of what Canada has already taxed!

I am told I should be grateful they do not demand more of my money - but, my peace of mind is shattered by that howl of anguish coming from future generations and I wonder how much of that is my fault and am I doing enough to lessen their burden? I would happily pay taxes if I could feel they were solving our problems and not just paying interest on what is owed to the rest of the world.

As government is non-profit, if we exclude salaries and perks, it should provide the most economical means of accomplishing our goals from health care to space exploration. They do have good and dedicated people. Why does private enterprise often surpass them? Competition? Or is it the fact that, in the USA, expensive elections never end and politicians must devote far too much time, energy, and money in politicking rather than governing. Would you call this a democracy, flawed more than it need be?

Tuesday, 9 February 2010


This is a copy of the final paragraph on page 8 of my March 2010 Wing newsletter:

TAXES: Sorry, Got to leave you to empty my piggy bank to pay my taxes. Relying on me are two governments and hundreds of politicians all of whom claim they are working hard for my interests. Good of them to tell me as I would not recognize this on my own. Congress is in gridlock and Harper has sent Parliament packing for two months, implying politicians are redundant as the Civil Service runs the show anyway. If my interests are being served then they are not belt tightening or taxing me nearly enough. Canada is in much better financial shape perhaps because it ranks 33rd highest while the US is 48th among world countries in taxes levied. While Canada takes most of my taxes, it is still not enough to avoid deficits. The US is #1 in owing $13.6 trillion to other countries while Canada ranks #15 owing $762 billion. US politicians are so much more in need of my money that they tax some of my Canadian income that Canada has already taxed. I have expressed remedies in these newsletter pages but, as the newsletter falls somewhat short of being a media conglomeration, it lacks the power to influence. Pity!

I suppose I should be grateful they do not demand more of my money - but, my peace of mind is shattered by that howl of anguish coming from future generations and I wonder how much of that is my fault? My vision is inadequate to see how we can avoid belt tightening and higher taxes. It does tell me that the US Empire is not sustainable - as all empires before it discovered.


There are a factories out there spitting out Hate and Anti-Everything essays, often laced with foul language, using half truths and outright lies to weave plausible-sounding (to some) warnings, and an obnoxious number of them pollute my computer screen. I find them scary and am often compelled to answer them. To me they backfire. So many ill-informed vicious attacks on Obama make me consider him Saint Obama. Many decry the erosion of our culture due to the influx of Muslims, Sikhs, Latinos, and what-have-you, even though we, who brutally took over America with its two continents have little legality on which to stand. Let me concentrate for now on immigration.

. My Tribal friends cite their fatal error of not recognizing the threat and settling their squabbles to unite against a common foe. My Inuit friends have mixed feelings. They decry the initial wave of missionaries with a barbaric religion based on nailing someone to a cross, the division of this creed into several groups competing for converts, their taking children away for a southern education, then on graduation dumping them back to their families, fit for neither world. They then admit there are recent benefits. The Qallunaat (Whites) are now wiser, bringing relief from feast or famine, providing housing and opportunities that permit village rather than nomadic life, substituting snowmobiles for dog teams, and actually promoting independence and jobs in the White world. The Inuit now increase their worldly belongings even though they do not always increase happiness. Canada now boasts of being one of the world’s most culturally-diverse countries. In fact SE Ontario is the world’s most diverse, so take a look.

The American Revolution rapidly turned Canada from a French to a bi-cultural country with the influx of United Empire Loyalists (English, Irish, Scots, Welsh, Germans, and Africans) fleeing persecution in the new US. Then, starting about 1845, there was great fear that the Pope was about to take over America from Canada to Patagonia. Potato famines caused a huge influx of Catholic Irish to add to the French/Latin Catholics. The US got the wealthier Irish, accepting only those who could pay their own passage. Canada got the steerage Irish in crowded, disease-laden ships. Toronto jails were full of quarrelsome, drunken Irish unable to find employment. Worse, they brought their religious quarrels with them and there were barn-burnings and bloodshed. Then efforts to populate the prairies brought waves of eastern Europeans. Railroad building brought Chinese labourers. Escaping slaves from the US added to the mix. With bountiful raw resources Canada prospered, attracting refugees from new sources: Africa, Asia, and the Muslim world. As a boy growing up in Ontario with friends from 7 different faiths I was continuously amazed at the ignorance and fears many had of other faiths. To me, much of this was due to insecurity. Also, people who are not considered equals will in defiance cling all the more strongly to their family religious beliefs.

U.S. MELTING POT vs Canadian MOSAIC: In many respects, after 3 generations, it makes no difference. In both countries the use of the native language by grandchildren is down to 1%. Mosaic Canada bans immigrants from continuing homeland customs such as female circumcision, sharia law, honour killings, cockfighting, polygamy, or getting a driver’s-license photo while veiled. The host country, however, adopts many of the immigrant food customs and, in some cases like Miami, there are major changes. Here a wave of Spanish speakers and the egress of former inhabitants have made Spanish the majority language. The key, it seems, to retaining original cultural values, is to ensure that immigration comes from a variety of origins and is not allowed to concentrate in ghettos nor to dominate professions as the Irish have with police, Italians with construction, Jews with commerce and entertainment, Pakistanis with transportation and accommodation, Ukrainians with farming and so on. Then you can rely on intercourse to result in integration. Other forces help. My maternal grandparents lived in a section of Toronto that was all Irish. It then became Italian and is now Portugese. Multi-national corporations and the Military are excellent institutions for integration. While in Personnel I deliberately posted people from French to English Canada and vice versa. When I ran NATO aircrew training schools I paired each Canadian with a member from one of the other NATO countries and my wife and I organized weekly dances. I know of 6 marriages (3 English-French, Canada-Denmark, Canada-France, and Canada - UK) that resulted from this and I am sure there must have been more. Socially, our innate shyness leads us to separate into groups, necessitating a few extroverts who promote inter-mingling. Fortunately, among young people, there is a sexual attraction to those from other countries or races. On the whole we are getting better but Hate Groups still disgrace us. Only part of the old ignorance, intolerance, and superiority complexes towards other groups has faded. In my experience it included opposition to the Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Buddhist, Agnostic, and Muslim religions, to the French, English, and Spanish languages, and to English, Irish, Italian, Portugese, Polish, Icelandic, Turk, Pakistani, and Ukrainian immigrants. Today, it is also safer for Homosexuals and Agnostics to come out of the woodwork - and, surprise, their numbers are growing.

All countries benefit from the diversity and skills brought by immigrants. But, it is vital for us to protect, and to insist on immigrants accepting, the human rights we have achieved over centuries of struggle. The Netherlands is leading the parade in doing this. This is made much easier when we divide immigrant groups among many country-wide localities and avoid them congregating in selected cities. The recent example of dispersing 5,000 Nepalese refugees to communities all across Canada speeds integration. The Military also could do a better job by promoting families to live in the local economy, domestic or foreign, rather than on base housing.

So many of our Problems are self-induced. With its manpower decimated in WWII and its cities,infrastructure, and businesses destroyed, Europe opened it doors to greatly-needed cheap labour, much of it Muslim. Immigrants did a good, too-often-unappreciated, job permitting a remarkable recovery but, instead of going home when no longer needed, they stayed and multiplied. Today they number 5 million in France, 3 in Germany, 1.6 in the UK, 1 in Spain, and 900,000 in the Netherlands and Italy, a mere 5% of all of Western Europe, yet there are many dire warnings of this Islamatizing of Europe as a springboard for Islam to take over the world. Mosques are multiplying while Christian churches are increasingly empty and hundreds in the UK have converted to Islam. We should examine Why? In 1987 retired Luftwaffe General Rod and Otti Cescotti drove Joan and me to my old POW camp in Moosburg, Bavaria. The town had expanded to the gates of the camp with attractive brick homes. The barbed wire and guard towers had gone but the old barrack blocks were still there. Each long wooden hut had been divided into small homes for Turkish immigrants with a neat flower and vegetable garden in front of each residence. No rubble anywhere but a world apart from the more spacious nearby German homes, yet the whole area seemed quiet and peaceful.

Muslims have no Pope, and no unifying force other than religion for which there are half a dozen major sects, often intolerant of each other. Like us, they do have extremists who nurture real and imagined persecutions. We tend to ignore signs that integration still works. In Europe the birthrate in the last 15 years of foreign-born Muslim women has fallen in the Netherlands among Moroccan-born from 4.9 to 2.9. In most of Europe it is down from 3.2 to 1.9 for Turkish-born. A sure sign they are fitting in to local cultures: Muslims in Paris are more tolerant of adultery than those in London or Berlin. We do need to prevent ghettos, the concentration of groups into occupations, cities, or schools, and our home-grown youth from deserting our core values for drugs and jihadism. Admittedly, this is difficult in a free society, but freedom, if it is to remain free, must accept some very-carefully-chosen regulations to prevent anarchy or civil strife, or suicide bombers. Nature ensures that life will remain a struggle, so human barriers are redundant. Avenues to improve one’s lot must be available to all.

We humans, like all animate objects, are made of the same ingredients and all are living on a revolving and rotating ball that needs considerable shielding from the nuclear furnace that sustains it. We have come a long way but we still need to overcome our predatory instincts. We also need to defend the advances we have made. Accept the challenge - firmly, thoughtfully, peacefully, and with compassion!