Couple of Quotes….

A couple of quotes from browsing today: 

This quote is one that we should all bear in mind – especially ‘believers’ who have not yet gone hardcore; this is what we’ve seen throughout history, and we’re still seeing in bloody political theatre with ISIS/ISIL in Iraq, and so on:

“… religious violence seldom limits itself to one target and expands to reach the maximum number of available victims.”

(from ‘The First Victims of the First Crusade’, Feb 13, 2015 – by Susan Jacoby (New York Times)

A little less grim, from Orson Welles:

“We’re born alone, we live alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.”
And another:

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.”

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Lawsuit over Support of Terrorism

Terrorism Trial, NY Times, 2015-Feb-24


NY Times: “The Palestinian Authority and the Palestine Liberation Organization were found liable on Monday by a jury in Manhattan for their role in knowingly supporting six terrorist attacks in Israel between 2002 and 2004 in which Americans were killed and injured.

“The damages are to be $655.5 million, under a special terrorism law that provides for tripling the $218.5 million awarded by the jury in Federal District Court.

“The verdict ended a decade-long legal battle to hold the Palestinian organizations responsible for the terrorist acts, an effort that encompassed fights over jurisdiction, merit and even practicality: History has shown that it is difficult for victims of international terrorism to bring their civil cases to trial, let alone to recover damages.”

“Money is oxygen for terrorism,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Kent A. Yalowitz.  Can’t disagree there.  And the deservedly bitter hatred arising from the endless carnage of Israeli retaliations and the popular Arab Fascist bigotry towards Israel and the West both together provide endless fuel for the terrorist engines.  

“… citing testimony, payroll records and other documents, the plaintiffs showed that many of those involved in the planning and carrying out of the attacks had been employees of the Palestinian Authority [had been, at the time of their terror work?], and that the Authority had paid salaries to terrorists imprisoned in Israel [ooops] and had made martyr payments to the families of suicide bombers.”  Ooops again. But perhaps these politically expedient gestures were necessary for the Authority to survive, since it has to try to maintain some kind of “good image” amid the hate-filled Arab & Palestinian mainstream.

Dr. Mahmoud Khalifa, the Palestinian Authority’s deputy minister of information, reportedly said:

“This case is just the latest attempt by hardline anti-peace factions in Israel to use and abuse the U.S. legal system to advance their narrow political and ideological agenda.”

Disagree with the characterization; he’s trying to shift blame.  Such Israelis may well be behind these suits, but don’t these suits stand on their merits?  Were not violent crimes committed?  (Sadly, there is no one to prosecute the United States or the Russian Federation or Israel for their criminal acts.)  That the Palestinians supported and fostered Hamas and its ilk to begin with is simply criminal.  

Moreover, if you want to talk about a “narrow political and ideological agenda”, then let’s talk about Hamas and Islamic Fascism generally.

Khalifa also called the decision “a tragic disservice to the millions of Palestinians who have invested in the democratic process and the rule of law in order to seek justice and redress their grievances.”

Agree. As the Palestinian state struggles to realize itself, badgered by Israel and entirely infiltrated by Hamas and so on, it is a damned sad thing to find US Courts kicking it while it’s down.

But this brings us to another point:   Logically, Israel should be SUPPORTING a Palestinian state, as Israel’s only hope of any sort of peace.   As Khalifa points out, only the Palestinian Authority represents the rule of law, at least in principle; plainly the PLO and Hamas never have. 

Moreover, since the Israeli people and governments had in years gone by utterly failed to even TRY to integrate the Palestinians into what is now Israel, that avenue has lapsed.  They will have to make peace (if peace is even ON the Putin-esque Netanyahu agenda) in some other way.  But this way, and without realizing what they’re doing, intransigent retaliatory Israel is actually bowing to the will of Hamas, forging ahead with endless war – adding yet more fuel to the well-oxygenated flame of Mid-Eastern Fasicsm. 

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The Spartan Invocation

A good bit, a particular rendering of the famous Spartan epitaph from Thermopylae: 

Go, way-farer, bear news to Sparta’s town

That here, their bidding done, we laid us down. 

–rendered by Cyril E. Robinson

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A Forgotten Little Treasure….

Looking for something else among my files today, I came across this title:  “IOHANNENSIA HYPOMNEMATA”.  (Hypomnemata is the plural of a Greek word meaning variously a reminder, a commentary, an anecdotal record, and so on.)  I could not recall creating the file, and upon checking I find it to be a collection of my own observations from some years back.  I’m going to post a few, but you’ll notice that they’re all concerned with MY issues, inferiority-complex-type stuff, and certainly not with issues that All-Americans and Hot Shots deal with.

(Also, not unnaturally, it’s all couched in a generic masculine, pronoun-wise.)

A crisis can be valuable for rendering you empty: your despair can allow you to ‘Not Feel’, to sever the link between your habitual ‘good’ and ‘bad’. In this way, disillusionment can be a chance to plant your feet on firmer ground, on truer ground.

The weak man, the fool – what is the nature of the problem for him? The problem is a lack of a sober view, or a lack of ways to cope.

… But be clear: It is not your job to “not be you”.

Remember that there are pointless pleasures in life we should pass up and effortlessly avoid; so also, many pointless distresses.

And the fussy, fearful, paralyzed man must learn, above all, that there is no ‘solution’ to the vicissitudes, no end to adversity, no one ‘key’. He cannot wait for the ‘right moment’ or he will wait forever. He must learn that the particulars, ultimately, are Indifferentia, do not matter, that we are all dead men and women, simply abiding our dissolutions. There is no rescue. Given this, we may as well use what we have for good in place of bad.

A brave coward is better than a cowardly one.

These may be of help to someone struggling with perpetual dismay and suicidal thoughts.

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Felix est quem ….

Participating in our present age’s revival of Stoicism, I have often had occasion to ask myself: How in the world can I, arguably an abject slave of pleasure and indolence, a rattle-headed, timid, and puerile old do-nothing, how can I of all people call myself a Stoic? For many is the time that my own native scrupulousness has argued that I was a hypocrite to do so while I remained so full of petty defects and so short on decisive willpower; and many is the time that I’ve been tempted to just jump ship and go native, to simply devote myself to whatever overpowering pleasure I can find.

Well, I haven’t jumped ship. In fact, you might say that I’m still aboard, swabbing the deck. I haven’t given up because I remember (a) that Nature is anything but simple, anything but black and white – that almost nothing is perfect or absolute; (b) that half a man is better than none, and an educated half-a-man may well be better still; and (c) that God has given me a certain problem to work on (i.e., myself), unknown to others, and that therein I have my work cut out for me.

And there’s another rationalization that I think has substantial weight to it: (d) that “Felix quem faciunt aliena pericula cautum” (which I read as: “Happy is he whom other people’s dangers make cautious”). In other words, why not improve oneself?  Moreover, even if I am not living a Cynic’s life, homeless on the street, even if am neither Saintly nor Sagely, even if I cannot BE perfect, I can at least participate in the transmission of this most useful philosophy and way of life. Helping others to learn and understand how to live, in the course of living my own transient, microscopic little life, this benefits them, myself, and the world at large.

We are all aliens and strangers, and each comprises a little hidden world of his or her own. If we recuse absolutism and fanaticism and set about living decent lives, in toleration if not in real harmony, then the good of one can rub off on the good of another.  In fact, the more that people are decent — or better yet, virtuous — the more lives and souls can be spared violence or the guilt of violence. Apply your Stoicism, apply your virtues, and try to live well. It’s what we’re meant to do.

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Challenges and Confessions (reblogged from Paul Bryson)

From a colleague out of the Stoic College….

Stoic Lawyer

I haven’t posted much recently, for some good reasons and some bad reasons. The good reasons are easy to discuss–I’m focusing on building my practice; I don’t believe in blogging when I don’t have anything worth while to say; I’ve had client work and family time to attend to.

The bad reasons aren’t so easy to write about. One towers over the others. For the last few weeks, I’ve been a raving lunatic.

That isn’t entirely fair. Not to me and not to anyone who has ever been unkindly described as a lunatic. Mental illness isn’t anything to take lightly. I should know. For the last few weeks, I’ve been going through the process of weaning off of Paroxetine Hydrochloride, and it hasn’t been a fun time for anyone close to me. Any side effect of withdrawal that I could have, I had–suicidal ideations, dizziness, headache, anxiety, irritability… All of…

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Iohannian Blogs

Salvete, qui legunt – 

At present I find myself with three blogs, in effect – this one on Blogger here,;   my WordPress one  (a left-over from Microsoft’s personal pages days);   and now a shared one, the Redwood Stoa site at, where I can post as “the Redwood Stoa” along with my co-Stoics.  I’m wondering if I can link all three?  I usually find the software side of all this, even just the user interface side, somewhat baffling; my expectations as to interface and utility are often frustrated.  So I’ll have to poke around a bit.  The alternative is to dump one of the two personal blogs.  

When next I post, I want to look at my son’s personal Desu ex Machina,  “The Four Agreements” of Don Miguel Ruiz, a self-help book with a lot of Stoic parallels.  

Vale valeteque.

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