Day: November 27, 2017

The Rapone Case and the Bill of Rights


The case of Second Lt. Spenser Rapone, West Point graduate and U.S. Army officer, has raised a number of issues relative to our military, our Bill of Rights, and our common defense.

Lt. Rapone is the West Point graduate who displayed, while in uniform, expressions of support for communism and socialism. He allegedly was critical of national command authority as well.

The Army has begun an investigation into how this young officer’s perspectives and anti-authority leanings were not uncovered prior to his graduation despite concerns from some of his academic officers at West Point.

When I personally condemned his actions and recommended disciplinary action, I received a number of widely varying comments on social media about the young officer’s actions and the discipline suggested. The vast majority condemned him and called for various forms of punishment. Most agreed with my perspective that he should be dismissed from the military and forced to repay the cost of his West Point education.

A number of other people suggested that taking any action against this person was unconstitutional because it violated his freedom of speech. When myself and fellow veterans noted that military personnel, while in uniform, have limits on our freedom of speech, the debate went viral.

There are three documents that are relevant to this discussion. One is the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, one is the oath of office as a commissioned officer in the U.S. military, and the other is the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

First, as a cadet Rapone would have taken an oath of office upon joining the U.S. military and again when he was commissioned at graduation from West Point.

That oath of office states: “I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

Once an officer is commissioned, the UCMJ is the standard under which all in the military submit.

In the case of Lt. Rapone the following are some of the provisions of the UCMJ that he would be suspected of violating. Please note that I am not an attorney; however, I am a retired Marine Reserve Colonel and former commanding officer and would have recommended such an investigation of violating the following articles of the UCMJ by any one in a similar situation to Lt. Rapone.

  • Article 83 – fraudulent enlistment, appointment, or separation
  • Article 84 – unlawful enlistment, appointment or separation
  • Article 88 – contempt towards officials
  • Article 89 – disrespect toward senior commissioned officer
  • Article 94 – mutiny or sedition
  • Article 107 – false statements
  • Article 117 – provoking speeches or gestures
  • Article 133 – conduct unbecoming an officer a gentleman
  • Article 134 – General article

Finally, with the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution states in the First Amendment that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.”

The Bill of Rights says that Congress shall make no law relating to these rights. It does not mean that an employer or the military cannot regulate such freedoms, while you are in that organization’s employ as well as place other restrictions on your conduct that reflect poorly on the organization you work for.

What this young officer allegedly did was serious. It undermined the entire fabric of military discipline. It undermined command-and-control and potentially put soldiers at risk.

All officers and enlisted personnel’s Bill of Rights are limited once we take that oath of enlistment or office. The misguided perception in our society that you can say whatever you want whenever you want is perhaps even more troubling.

A society that lacks discipline in the very forces that it relies upon to defend it in times of national crisis is in grave danger. Misunderstanding your Bill of Rights wreaks havoc on young persons’ lives when they use it inappropriately.

I am stunned that this officer could have made it through a screening process to get the West Point, four years at West Point, and the security clearance review for a secret clearance and his anti-U.S. beliefs not have been uncovered.

This failure is symptomatic of a societal failure at understanding our Bill of Rights, our responsibilities when we take an oath of allegiance and office, and a systemic failure of the control mechanisms designed to protect us.

This seemingly trivial event at a West Point graduation warrants a full-scale congressional investigation of how it happened. Is the next September 11 crisis just ahead of us because of the failures of the very systems designed to protect us from an enemy within?

Col. Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) represents the 101st District in the PA House of Representatives. He is a retired Marine Reserve Colonel and served in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan and specializes in corporate restructuring. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at FRYAN1951@aol.com.

The case of Second Lt. Spenser Rapone, West Point graduate and U.S. Army officer, has raised a number of issues relative to our military, our Bill of Rights, and our common defense.

Lt. Rapone is the West Point graduate who displayed, while in uniform, expressions of support for communism and socialism. He allegedly was critical of national command authority as well.

The Army has begun an investigation into how this young officer’s perspectives and anti-authority leanings were not uncovered prior to his graduation despite concerns from some of his academic officers at West Point.

When I personally condemned his actions and recommended disciplinary action, I received a number of widely varying comments on social media about the young officer’s actions and the discipline suggested. The vast majority condemned him and called for various forms of punishment. Most agreed with my perspective that he should be dismissed from the military and forced to repay the cost of his West Point education.

A number of other people suggested that taking any action against this person was unconstitutional because it violated his freedom of speech. When myself and fellow veterans noted that military personnel, while in uniform, have limits on our freedom of speech, the debate went viral.

There are three documents that are relevant to this discussion. One is the Constitution’s Bill of Rights, one is the oath of office as a commissioned officer in the U.S. military, and the other is the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

First, as a cadet Rapone would have taken an oath of office upon joining the U.S. military and again when he was commissioned at graduation from West Point.

That oath of office states: “I, _____, having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

Once an officer is commissioned, the UCMJ is the standard under which all in the military submit.

In the case of Lt. Rapone the following are some of the provisions of the UCMJ that he would be suspected of violating. Please note that I am not an attorney; however, I am a retired Marine Reserve Colonel and former commanding officer and would have recommended such an investigation of violating the following articles of the UCMJ by any one in a similar situation to Lt. Rapone.

  • Article 83 – fraudulent enlistment, appointment, or separation
  • Article 84 – unlawful enlistment, appointment or separation
  • Article 88 – contempt towards officials
  • Article 89 – disrespect toward senior commissioned officer
  • Article 94 – mutiny or sedition
  • Article 107 – false statements
  • Article 117 – provoking speeches or gestures
  • Article 133 – conduct unbecoming an officer a gentleman
  • Article 134 – General article

Finally, with the Bill of Rights to the United States Constitution states in the First Amendment that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances.”

The Bill of Rights says that Congress shall make no law relating to these rights. It does not mean that an employer or the military cannot regulate such freedoms, while you are in that organization’s employ as well as place other restrictions on your conduct that reflect poorly on the organization you work for.

What this young officer allegedly did was serious. It undermined the entire fabric of military discipline. It undermined command-and-control and potentially put soldiers at risk.

All officers and enlisted personnel’s Bill of Rights are limited once we take that oath of enlistment or office. The misguided perception in our society that you can say whatever you want whenever you want is perhaps even more troubling.

A society that lacks discipline in the very forces that it relies upon to defend it in times of national crisis is in grave danger. Misunderstanding your Bill of Rights wreaks havoc on young persons’ lives when they use it inappropriately.

I am stunned that this officer could have made it through a screening process to get the West Point, four years at West Point, and the security clearance review for a secret clearance and his anti-U.S. beliefs not have been uncovered.

This failure is symptomatic of a societal failure at understanding our Bill of Rights, our responsibilities when we take an oath of allegiance and office, and a systemic failure of the control mechanisms designed to protect us.

This seemingly trivial event at a West Point graduation warrants a full-scale congressional investigation of how it happened. Is the next September 11 crisis just ahead of us because of the failures of the very systems designed to protect us from an enemy within?

Col. Frank Ryan, CPA, USMCR (Ret) represents the 101st District in the PA House of Representatives. He is a retired Marine Reserve Colonel and served in Iraq and briefly in Afghanistan and specializes in corporate restructuring. He has served on numerous boards of publicly traded and non-profit organizations. He can be reached at FRYAN1951@aol.com.



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World War II Islam and Modern Islam: Know Thy Enemy


At the end of his eminently important and succinct book, titled Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, author Dr. Sebastian Gorka includes the original secret telegram written in 1946 at the onset of the Cold War, wherein the American diplomat and Russia expert George Kennan explains “how the behavior of the Soviet Union cannot be understood unless an individual understands the totalitarian ideology that drives it.  This ‘fanatical’ ideology of communism is absolutist and global and will not countenance peaceful coexistence with America or any democracy.”  Keenan describes how “Democratic-progressive” elements abroad are to be utilized to maximum to bring pressure to bear on capitalist governments along lines agreeable to Soviet interests.”

In a book purchased in the USSR in the early 1960s, titled Face to Face: The Story of N.S. Khrushchov’s Visit to the U.S.A., a young American, who later became my husband, came face to face with the propaganda of communism when he read “that with great patience and persistence, the head of the Soviet Government continued to discharge  the great mission he had undertaken, to remove the ice piled up by the ‘cold war,’ to open the eyes of people deluded by malicious [American] propaganda, to explain to them the essence of the idea of peaceful coexistence to blaze the trail to peace and friendship among all peoples irrespective of what social system they live under.”  Only one problem: the book neglected to mention the 50 million people who would perish under communism or this so-called peaceful coexistence.  Just ask the Victims of Communism.

And almost sixty years later, as American leftists align themselves with communist ideology, we can see that they act, not in the interests of America, but in the interest of an ideology that has always sought to destroy America.

And, horrifyingly, as W. August Mayer has written in Islamic Jihad, Cultural Marxism and the Transformation of the West, “the morphing of the Democrat party over the last century from the conservative, traditional liberalism of President Grover Cleveland to the statism of Barack Hussein Obama” is a “downward slope to totalitarian rule towards which political gravity irresistibly draws us ever nearer.”

Only a few years before the Keenan analysis, a document was carefully hidden and preserved in a kerosene can in the hopes that it would be discovered once World War II concluded.  In his searing diary written under the most excruciatingly difficult times, Chaim A. Kaplan in his Scroll of Agony: The Warsaw Diary wrote an “extraordinary first person record of the Nazi occupation and destruction of Warsaw’s Jewish community.”  Kaplan is believed to have died in late 1942 or early 1943, but his words reverberate to this day.

These documents stand as testaments to the nature of totalitarianism – whether it be Nazi socialism, Russian communism, or jihadist fascism.  As Kaplan wrote:

If anyone in the democratic lands is attempting to write a book on the nature of Nazism, I know without seeing it that the author will not be able to express the truth of Nazism’s cruelty and barbarism. Nazism has two faces. On the one hand, it is full of hypocrisy and submissiveness when it is necessary to obtain some benefit from someone; and on the other hand, it is full of brutal strength, trampling all humanism under foot, hardening its heart against the most elementary human emotions.

Reading the above, it is impossible not to substitute Nazism for Islamic jihadism.  In fact, as has been well documented, the two have been intertwined since the beginning of World War II, when, in November 1941, the grand mufti met with Hitler, who told him the Jews were his foremost enemy.  The mufti offered Hitler his “thanks for the sympathy which he had always shown for the Arab and especially Palestinian cause, and to which he had given clear expression in his public speeches[.] The Arabs were Germany’s natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely … the Jews[.]”

As a result of this meeting, “Germany would furnish positive and practical aid to the Arabs involved in the same struggle [since] Germany’s objective [was] … solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere[.]”  In return, the mufti recruited “20,000 Muslim volunteers for the SS, who participated in the killing of Jews in Croatia and Hungary.”  In a “letter released by the National Library of Israel Archives in March 2017, SS Chief Heinrich Himmler heaps praise upon Mufti al-Husseini, stating that the Nazi leadership has been closely following the battle of freedom-seeking Arabs – and especially in Palestine – against the Jewish invaders. Himmler ends the letter by bidding the Mufti warm wishes for the continuation of your battle until the big victory.  This letter was delivered in the Fall of 1943, two years after the Mufti’s famous meeting with Adolf Hitler.”  

Many writers have meticulously examined the close philosophical ties between the jihadists and the Nazis, but “only one who feels the taste of Nazi rule in all his 248 organs and 365 sinews; only one who has bared his back to the lashes of its whips; only one who has examined the various nuances of its administrative and legal tactics in relation to the Jews, unequaled in hard-heartedness, sadistic cruelty, warped sensibility, petrification of human feeling, and stupidity – only such a writer … might be able to give a true description of this pathological phenomenon called Nazism.”

Daily, the West hears of the atrocities committed against young Christian and Yazidi women by ISIS and other jihadist murderers, and little is done for these people.  At the same time, alleged Muslim refugees are allowed into western Europe only to wreak havoc on France, Germany, and Great Britain because the leaders of these countries will not acknowledge “this pathological phenomenon.”  These feckless leaders will not state outright that “only those afflicted with a disease of the soul are capable of being joined to a party such as this. Only one who has a defect of the soul and the senses is able to be numbered in its ranks.  It is not impossible for an entire class of human beings to suffer a mental illness, and attempt to put into practice a diseased, unclean ideology by such barbaric means as the human race has never recognized and never known, and which it would have been incapable of inventing even in the remotest Dark Ages.”  Will the remnants of these communities write about their own people as did Kaplan?

The gigantic catastrophe which has descended on Polish Jewry has no parallel, even in the darkest periods of Jewish history. First, is in the depth of the hatred. This is not just hatred whose source is in a party platform, and which was invented for political purposes.  It is a hatred of emotion, whose source is some psychopathic malady. 

This is the face of jihadist terror today.  Despite the overwhelming acts of terror around the globe, the world still appears to be in denial.  Thus, Dr. Gorka repeatedly reiterates that unless we perceive the endgame as the jihadists do, we are not mentally, tactically, or physically ready to save ourselves.  Every person who opposes the sickening aspect of jihadist terror must realize that this war they have unleashed “serves only one purpose: the realization of Allah’s sovereignty here on earth.”  Nothing else will suffice.  The infidel must be overcome or murdered since, in the jihadist mindset, “all war must serve only the objective of re-creating the caliphate, the theocratic empire of Islam, so that Allah’s writ may once again reign supreme.”  And the most critical target of importance in this war of ideas is the “soul of the enemy. The infidel foe must be converted to Islam or crushed.”

So when American schools start by teaching the practice of Islam, which, in essence, is the indoctrination of the religion; when hijab day is celebrated so as to make the head cloth a fashion statement; when legitimate concerns about mass Muslim immigration to the United States are fluffed away as “not being who we are,” let that person be reminded of mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who revealed that “al Qaeda’s plan to kill the United States was not through military attacks but immigration and ‘outbreeding non-Muslims’ who would use the legal system to install sharia law,” we need to fight tooth and nail to thwart each and every attempt to islamify this country.

The fact that “jihadism” can be substituted for USSR “in a threat analysis from seventy years ago without any loss of accuracy” and that Nazism can also be substituted without any loss of truth exemplifies the unholy alliance among these three hateful ideologies.

Consequently, political correctness and a distorted sense of morality only aids the enemy.  While it is critical not to do a “disservice to those Muslims who are most immanently in danger” by the jihadists, it is equally incumbent upon every congressional leader and the president to rectify the deliberate erasure under Obama of any reference to jihad.  That is, “the politically motivated censorship of government analysis, training, and education must end.”  How can our analysts, armed services, and FBI know how to perceive the enemy when all references to their ideology and ultimate goals are deliberately scrubbed?  Moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood must be designated as a terrorist organization.

Subversion, infiltration, and intimidation are always the weapons of choice by those who despise Western values.  If we don’t lose our souls, we can and will win this war that threatens us – but only if we stay strong and understand that this totalitarian, religiously motivated cancer must be completely eradicated will we be victorious.

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com.

At the end of his eminently important and succinct book, titled Defeating Jihad: The Winnable War, author Dr. Sebastian Gorka includes the original secret telegram written in 1946 at the onset of the Cold War, wherein the American diplomat and Russia expert George Kennan explains “how the behavior of the Soviet Union cannot be understood unless an individual understands the totalitarian ideology that drives it.  This ‘fanatical’ ideology of communism is absolutist and global and will not countenance peaceful coexistence with America or any democracy.”  Keenan describes how “Democratic-progressive” elements abroad are to be utilized to maximum to bring pressure to bear on capitalist governments along lines agreeable to Soviet interests.”

In a book purchased in the USSR in the early 1960s, titled Face to Face: The Story of N.S. Khrushchov’s Visit to the U.S.A., a young American, who later became my husband, came face to face with the propaganda of communism when he read “that with great patience and persistence, the head of the Soviet Government continued to discharge  the great mission he had undertaken, to remove the ice piled up by the ‘cold war,’ to open the eyes of people deluded by malicious [American] propaganda, to explain to them the essence of the idea of peaceful coexistence to blaze the trail to peace and friendship among all peoples irrespective of what social system they live under.”  Only one problem: the book neglected to mention the 50 million people who would perish under communism or this so-called peaceful coexistence.  Just ask the Victims of Communism.

And almost sixty years later, as American leftists align themselves with communist ideology, we can see that they act, not in the interests of America, but in the interest of an ideology that has always sought to destroy America.

And, horrifyingly, as W. August Mayer has written in Islamic Jihad, Cultural Marxism and the Transformation of the West, “the morphing of the Democrat party over the last century from the conservative, traditional liberalism of President Grover Cleveland to the statism of Barack Hussein Obama” is a “downward slope to totalitarian rule towards which political gravity irresistibly draws us ever nearer.”

Only a few years before the Keenan analysis, a document was carefully hidden and preserved in a kerosene can in the hopes that it would be discovered once World War II concluded.  In his searing diary written under the most excruciatingly difficult times, Chaim A. Kaplan in his Scroll of Agony: The Warsaw Diary wrote an “extraordinary first person record of the Nazi occupation and destruction of Warsaw’s Jewish community.”  Kaplan is believed to have died in late 1942 or early 1943, but his words reverberate to this day.

These documents stand as testaments to the nature of totalitarianism – whether it be Nazi socialism, Russian communism, or jihadist fascism.  As Kaplan wrote:

If anyone in the democratic lands is attempting to write a book on the nature of Nazism, I know without seeing it that the author will not be able to express the truth of Nazism’s cruelty and barbarism. Nazism has two faces. On the one hand, it is full of hypocrisy and submissiveness when it is necessary to obtain some benefit from someone; and on the other hand, it is full of brutal strength, trampling all humanism under foot, hardening its heart against the most elementary human emotions.

Reading the above, it is impossible not to substitute Nazism for Islamic jihadism.  In fact, as has been well documented, the two have been intertwined since the beginning of World War II, when, in November 1941, the grand mufti met with Hitler, who told him the Jews were his foremost enemy.  The mufti offered Hitler his “thanks for the sympathy which he had always shown for the Arab and especially Palestinian cause, and to which he had given clear expression in his public speeches[.] The Arabs were Germany’s natural friends because they had the same enemies as had Germany, namely … the Jews[.]”

As a result of this meeting, “Germany would furnish positive and practical aid to the Arabs involved in the same struggle [since] Germany’s objective [was] … solely the destruction of the Jewish element residing in the Arab sphere[.]”  In return, the mufti recruited “20,000 Muslim volunteers for the SS, who participated in the killing of Jews in Croatia and Hungary.”  In a “letter released by the National Library of Israel Archives in March 2017, SS Chief Heinrich Himmler heaps praise upon Mufti al-Husseini, stating that the Nazi leadership has been closely following the battle of freedom-seeking Arabs – and especially in Palestine – against the Jewish invaders. Himmler ends the letter by bidding the Mufti warm wishes for the continuation of your battle until the big victory.  This letter was delivered in the Fall of 1943, two years after the Mufti’s famous meeting with Adolf Hitler.”  

Many writers have meticulously examined the close philosophical ties between the jihadists and the Nazis, but “only one who feels the taste of Nazi rule in all his 248 organs and 365 sinews; only one who has bared his back to the lashes of its whips; only one who has examined the various nuances of its administrative and legal tactics in relation to the Jews, unequaled in hard-heartedness, sadistic cruelty, warped sensibility, petrification of human feeling, and stupidity – only such a writer … might be able to give a true description of this pathological phenomenon called Nazism.”

Daily, the West hears of the atrocities committed against young Christian and Yazidi women by ISIS and other jihadist murderers, and little is done for these people.  At the same time, alleged Muslim refugees are allowed into western Europe only to wreak havoc on France, Germany, and Great Britain because the leaders of these countries will not acknowledge “this pathological phenomenon.”  These feckless leaders will not state outright that “only those afflicted with a disease of the soul are capable of being joined to a party such as this. Only one who has a defect of the soul and the senses is able to be numbered in its ranks.  It is not impossible for an entire class of human beings to suffer a mental illness, and attempt to put into practice a diseased, unclean ideology by such barbaric means as the human race has never recognized and never known, and which it would have been incapable of inventing even in the remotest Dark Ages.”  Will the remnants of these communities write about their own people as did Kaplan?

The gigantic catastrophe which has descended on Polish Jewry has no parallel, even in the darkest periods of Jewish history. First, is in the depth of the hatred. This is not just hatred whose source is in a party platform, and which was invented for political purposes.  It is a hatred of emotion, whose source is some psychopathic malady. 

This is the face of jihadist terror today.  Despite the overwhelming acts of terror around the globe, the world still appears to be in denial.  Thus, Dr. Gorka repeatedly reiterates that unless we perceive the endgame as the jihadists do, we are not mentally, tactically, or physically ready to save ourselves.  Every person who opposes the sickening aspect of jihadist terror must realize that this war they have unleashed “serves only one purpose: the realization of Allah’s sovereignty here on earth.”  Nothing else will suffice.  The infidel must be overcome or murdered since, in the jihadist mindset, “all war must serve only the objective of re-creating the caliphate, the theocratic empire of Islam, so that Allah’s writ may once again reign supreme.”  And the most critical target of importance in this war of ideas is the “soul of the enemy. The infidel foe must be converted to Islam or crushed.”

So when American schools start by teaching the practice of Islam, which, in essence, is the indoctrination of the religion; when hijab day is celebrated so as to make the head cloth a fashion statement; when legitimate concerns about mass Muslim immigration to the United States are fluffed away as “not being who we are,” let that person be reminded of mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed who revealed that “al Qaeda’s plan to kill the United States was not through military attacks but immigration and ‘outbreeding non-Muslims’ who would use the legal system to install sharia law,” we need to fight tooth and nail to thwart each and every attempt to islamify this country.

The fact that “jihadism” can be substituted for USSR “in a threat analysis from seventy years ago without any loss of accuracy” and that Nazism can also be substituted without any loss of truth exemplifies the unholy alliance among these three hateful ideologies.

Consequently, political correctness and a distorted sense of morality only aids the enemy.  While it is critical not to do a “disservice to those Muslims who are most immanently in danger” by the jihadists, it is equally incumbent upon every congressional leader and the president to rectify the deliberate erasure under Obama of any reference to jihad.  That is, “the politically motivated censorship of government analysis, training, and education must end.”  How can our analysts, armed services, and FBI know how to perceive the enemy when all references to their ideology and ultimate goals are deliberately scrubbed?  Moreover, the Muslim Brotherhood must be designated as a terrorist organization.

Subversion, infiltration, and intimidation are always the weapons of choice by those who despise Western values.  If we don’t lose our souls, we can and will win this war that threatens us – but only if we stay strong and understand that this totalitarian, religiously motivated cancer must be completely eradicated will we be victorious.

Eileen can be reached at middlemarch18@gmail.com.



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A Better Source of Nuclear Power?


Two disturbing scientific reports have surfaced recently from Europe. The first is that a plume of radioactive particles has been detected drifting across northern Europe with a suspected source from within Russia. The second report is a post-mortem concerning the Chernobyl Nuclear Facility meltdown, in that report, it was concluded that the very first explosion at the nuclear facility was the result of a supercritical, rapid, and uncontrolled nuclear fission chain reaction, or as the popular press calls it, a nuclear explosion. These reports derive their conclusions from the detection of an isotope of Xenon gas which can only be produced by nuclear fission.  

There are currently over 400 Uranium-based nuclear reactors operating all over the industrialized world. Since the introduction of nuclear power plants, four have had serious malfunctions. The first of these was in 1959 in Simi Valley, California when a liquid sodium cooled reactor suffered a partial meltdown. The next accident occurred in 1979 at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania when another partial meltdown occurred. Following that accident was the Chernobyl disaster, which was then followed by the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan which suffered a meltdown.

Uranium-based reactors have numerous safety features built into their designs, yet catastrophic failures have occurred.

Considering the alternative is fraught with difficulties. The long shadows of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima have made the debate over nuclear power a minefield for politicians and policymakers alike. All the incidents from 1959 to present have a common thread and that is that they were all designed on the principle of using solid fuel Uranium rods. The lesson to be learned from these incidents is that it does not matter how many safety precautions are in place; eventually Murphy’s Law will prevail, and an unanticipated scenario will occur and cause a problem. This is because conventional solid fuel reactors cannot be designed to failsafe, no matter how hard we try.

But there is a solution to this problem: Generation IV reactors based upon Thorium instead of Uranium.

In 1942, the first-generation nuclear reactor design was successfully operated at the University of Chicago. The fuel was made of Uranium, with graphite bricks moderating the nuclear reaction to ensure against a runaway chain reaction. It was understood very quickly that using graphite presented a serious fire risk (case in point: the Chernobyl reactor used graphite as the moderator) so the designers began looking for other nonflammable ways to moderate the nuclear reaction.

As an alternative to the graphite-moderated reactor design, work began on a second-generation heavy water reactor. The first of these was put into operation in 1944 at the Argonne National Laboratory. The problem with the heavy water reactor is that it had to be operated under extremely high pressure, giving rise to the possibility of piping failure or a radioactive steam explosion risk. This is the design that was employed at Three Mile Island and Fukushima.

The third generation reactor design was the result of the Cold War arms race between East and West. These political tensions created a significant demand for Plutonium as a weapons material, Fast Breeder Reactors designs satisfied this demand. The Fast Breeder Reactor relies on liquid sodium as a coolant. The first liquid-sodium cooled reactor was built in 1957 in Simi Valley, California. The risk with this design is that sodium is explosive when it comes into contact with water. This design is inherently unsafe since the liquid-sodium piping is used to create steam for power by passing the piping through a boiler filled with water. The wall of the piping is all that stands between the liquid sodium and the water; a leak in that piping would be disastrous.

Continuing this trend was an insanely bad idea that fathered a fourth generation of nuclear reactor design. Someone in the U.S. Air Force hierarchy decided that if the Navy has nuclear-powered vessels, then the Air Force should have nuclear-powered bombers. Even though the scientists involved thought that this was a bad idea, they did see an opportunity to design a new type of reactor which did not use Uranium fuel rods. To head the project, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) selected Dr. Alvin Weinberg, the same scientist that taught Admiral Rickover how to operate the Navy’s nuclear fleet.

This crazy idea began to get traction, and therefore funding from Washington. Dr. Weinberg knew that a flying nuclear reactor had to be exceptionally safe, lightweight, and small to operate for aviation applications. His solution was to go into an entirely new direction than the standard Uranium reactor. Dr. Weinberg decided to use liquid fluoride-thorium salt as the fuel. The advantages of this design over Uranium reactors are numerous; but most important was inherent safety. Thorium is a metal which, when combined with Fluoride, forms an insoluble salt; and when it is heated, it turns into a stable liquid. While it may seem as though molten salts are dangerous, in fact, such salts are currently used as the heat exchange medium for solar power generation in California. Additionally, there is an experimental molten salt solar concentrator at Sandia National Laboratory, so the idea of using molten salt to provide energy is not as farfetched as it might seem.

Unlike conventional nuclear reactors, the molten salt reactor can be designed to failsafe. An experimental Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) was designed and built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1964 under the project title of Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE). Developed by Dr. Weinberg, the reactor was so inherently safe that operation of the reactor almost boring.

Even the waste products from a LFTR design are safer. They do not need long-term storage (e.g. 10,000 years for Uranium waste products). Safe storage is only needed for 300 years before becoming inert.

MSRE was operated successfully from 1965 to 1969. However, as with many successful projects that the government embarks upon, the MSRE project was ended and the reports were shelved.

Within the pages of those dusty reports, it is revealed that there are numerous advantages of LFTR designs over solid fuel Uranium reactors. For Instance, the melting point of the Fluoride-Thorium salt is in excess of 2000o F. If a reactor containment vessel breach were to occur and the molten salt were to spill out of containment, it would quickly solidify and plug the leak.

During operation, a failsafe salt plug at the bottom of the reactor vessel is actively cooled so that it will remain in a solid state. This cooled plug keeps the molten salt from draining into a fail-safe tank which would stop the reaction. In the event of a power failure, like the one in that occurred in Japan at the Fukushima facility, the lack of power would result in this salt plug melting, and the molten salt would drain into a fail-safe tank where it would cool and solidify without an incident.

The LFTR design has proven to be self-correcting. In one instance, there were indications that the reactor began to overclock and approach dangerously high temperatures. Before the operators could react and correct the problem, the molten salt began to thermally expand and decrease the density of the nuclear material. The nuclear reaction slowed down, dropping temperatures. The problem self-corrected before the operator could intervene. 

Now that the Twenty-First Century has dawned, this may be the time to renew interest in molten salt reactors for three very good reasons. The first is that the United States will be retiring many of the 99 nuclear power plants currently in operation at a more accelerated rate in the coming decade, and these power plants are not being replaced.

Secondly, Thorium is three times more abundant than Uranium.

Perhaps the most surprising reason for renewed interest is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not telling the industry what direction to take, a significant departure from the past.

As demands upon the electrical power grid continue to grow, the LFTR design is poised to provide a safer solution for future power needs not just in the U.S. but worldwide.

Mac McDowell is a freelance writer and retired government scientist.

Two disturbing scientific reports have surfaced recently from Europe. The first is that a plume of radioactive particles has been detected drifting across northern Europe with a suspected source from within Russia. The second report is a post-mortem concerning the Chernobyl Nuclear Facility meltdown, in that report, it was concluded that the very first explosion at the nuclear facility was the result of a supercritical, rapid, and uncontrolled nuclear fission chain reaction, or as the popular press calls it, a nuclear explosion. These reports derive their conclusions from the detection of an isotope of Xenon gas which can only be produced by nuclear fission.  

There are currently over 400 Uranium-based nuclear reactors operating all over the industrialized world. Since the introduction of nuclear power plants, four have had serious malfunctions. The first of these was in 1959 in Simi Valley, California when a liquid sodium cooled reactor suffered a partial meltdown. The next accident occurred in 1979 at Three Mile Island in Pennsylvania when another partial meltdown occurred. Following that accident was the Chernobyl disaster, which was then followed by the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan which suffered a meltdown.

Uranium-based reactors have numerous safety features built into their designs, yet catastrophic failures have occurred.

Considering the alternative is fraught with difficulties. The long shadows of Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, and Fukushima have made the debate over nuclear power a minefield for politicians and policymakers alike. All the incidents from 1959 to present have a common thread and that is that they were all designed on the principle of using solid fuel Uranium rods. The lesson to be learned from these incidents is that it does not matter how many safety precautions are in place; eventually Murphy’s Law will prevail, and an unanticipated scenario will occur and cause a problem. This is because conventional solid fuel reactors cannot be designed to failsafe, no matter how hard we try.

But there is a solution to this problem: Generation IV reactors based upon Thorium instead of Uranium.

In 1942, the first-generation nuclear reactor design was successfully operated at the University of Chicago. The fuel was made of Uranium, with graphite bricks moderating the nuclear reaction to ensure against a runaway chain reaction. It was understood very quickly that using graphite presented a serious fire risk (case in point: the Chernobyl reactor used graphite as the moderator) so the designers began looking for other nonflammable ways to moderate the nuclear reaction.

As an alternative to the graphite-moderated reactor design, work began on a second-generation heavy water reactor. The first of these was put into operation in 1944 at the Argonne National Laboratory. The problem with the heavy water reactor is that it had to be operated under extremely high pressure, giving rise to the possibility of piping failure or a radioactive steam explosion risk. This is the design that was employed at Three Mile Island and Fukushima.

The third generation reactor design was the result of the Cold War arms race between East and West. These political tensions created a significant demand for Plutonium as a weapons material, Fast Breeder Reactors designs satisfied this demand. The Fast Breeder Reactor relies on liquid sodium as a coolant. The first liquid-sodium cooled reactor was built in 1957 in Simi Valley, California. The risk with this design is that sodium is explosive when it comes into contact with water. This design is inherently unsafe since the liquid-sodium piping is used to create steam for power by passing the piping through a boiler filled with water. The wall of the piping is all that stands between the liquid sodium and the water; a leak in that piping would be disastrous.

Continuing this trend was an insanely bad idea that fathered a fourth generation of nuclear reactor design. Someone in the U.S. Air Force hierarchy decided that if the Navy has nuclear-powered vessels, then the Air Force should have nuclear-powered bombers. Even though the scientists involved thought that this was a bad idea, they did see an opportunity to design a new type of reactor which did not use Uranium fuel rods. To head the project, Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) selected Dr. Alvin Weinberg, the same scientist that taught Admiral Rickover how to operate the Navy’s nuclear fleet.

This crazy idea began to get traction, and therefore funding from Washington. Dr. Weinberg knew that a flying nuclear reactor had to be exceptionally safe, lightweight, and small to operate for aviation applications. His solution was to go into an entirely new direction than the standard Uranium reactor. Dr. Weinberg decided to use liquid fluoride-thorium salt as the fuel. The advantages of this design over Uranium reactors are numerous; but most important was inherent safety. Thorium is a metal which, when combined with Fluoride, forms an insoluble salt; and when it is heated, it turns into a stable liquid. While it may seem as though molten salts are dangerous, in fact, such salts are currently used as the heat exchange medium for solar power generation in California. Additionally, there is an experimental molten salt solar concentrator at Sandia National Laboratory, so the idea of using molten salt to provide energy is not as farfetched as it might seem.

Unlike conventional nuclear reactors, the molten salt reactor can be designed to failsafe. An experimental Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactor (LFTR) was designed and built at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in 1964 under the project title of Molten Salt Reactor Experiment (MSRE). Developed by Dr. Weinberg, the reactor was so inherently safe that operation of the reactor almost boring.

Even the waste products from a LFTR design are safer. They do not need long-term storage (e.g. 10,000 years for Uranium waste products). Safe storage is only needed for 300 years before becoming inert.

MSRE was operated successfully from 1965 to 1969. However, as with many successful projects that the government embarks upon, the MSRE project was ended and the reports were shelved.

Within the pages of those dusty reports, it is revealed that there are numerous advantages of LFTR designs over solid fuel Uranium reactors. For Instance, the melting point of the Fluoride-Thorium salt is in excess of 2000o F. If a reactor containment vessel breach were to occur and the molten salt were to spill out of containment, it would quickly solidify and plug the leak.

During operation, a failsafe salt plug at the bottom of the reactor vessel is actively cooled so that it will remain in a solid state. This cooled plug keeps the molten salt from draining into a fail-safe tank which would stop the reaction. In the event of a power failure, like the one in that occurred in Japan at the Fukushima facility, the lack of power would result in this salt plug melting, and the molten salt would drain into a fail-safe tank where it would cool and solidify without an incident.

The LFTR design has proven to be self-correcting. In one instance, there were indications that the reactor began to overclock and approach dangerously high temperatures. Before the operators could react and correct the problem, the molten salt began to thermally expand and decrease the density of the nuclear material. The nuclear reaction slowed down, dropping temperatures. The problem self-corrected before the operator could intervene. 

Now that the Twenty-First Century has dawned, this may be the time to renew interest in molten salt reactors for three very good reasons. The first is that the United States will be retiring many of the 99 nuclear power plants currently in operation at a more accelerated rate in the coming decade, and these power plants are not being replaced.

Secondly, Thorium is three times more abundant than Uranium.

Perhaps the most surprising reason for renewed interest is that the Nuclear Regulatory Commission is not telling the industry what direction to take, a significant departure from the past.

As demands upon the electrical power grid continue to grow, the LFTR design is poised to provide a safer solution for future power needs not just in the U.S. but worldwide.

Mac McDowell is a freelance writer and retired government scientist.



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The Truth Behind ‘Transgender’ Deaths


In case you missed it — which, sadly, no less than the U.S. Secretary of State made difficult –November 20 was “International Transgender Day of Remembrance.” The day focuses on memorializing the world’s gender-deluded who were victims of violence. By my estimate — I didn’t count them all — the list contains about 300 people.

Likewise, many liberal outlets in the American mainstream media — redundant, I know — took the opportunity to paint violence against the gender-deluded as some sort of epidemic. The headline in the largest newspaper in my state declared, “Violence against transgender people at all-time high in Georgia, nationally.”

Evidently an annual “all-time high” when it comes to the murder of individuals in the U.S. who choose to live a gender lie is 25. After the 11th death, which occurred in May of this year, one news outlet quoted a “transgender” activist declaring, “We are facing a national epidemic of violence [against ‘transgenders’].” More American Christians were recently killed in a single day as they peacefully gathered to worship their Creator. Following this horrific event, virtually no one in the mainstream American media wanted to talk about how Christians in the U.S. are suffering an “epidemic” of violence or even that we are merely increasingly under attack.

To further the perverse LGBT agenda, the liberal American media would rather promote a lie than reveal the plight of Americans who seek the Truth. Of course, an agenda built on lies must be furthered with lies. Murder is always tragic, and leave it to liberals to use the death of murdered Americans deceptively in order to advance their preferred — and again false — narrative. What’s more, worldwide, tens of thousands of Christians are martyred every year and the liberal-led media typically — and predictably — yawns.

Throughout the stories highlighting “International Transgender Day of Remembrance” was the implication that “transgenders” are being killed as the result of hate toward those who foolishly choose to live as the opposite sex. This was certainly the case with the American media and the 25 “transgenders” killed in the United States.

Of course, an additional implication is that this hate is the result of “ignorant” and “irrational” bias against the gender-deluded from conservatives and Christians. As is often the case with liberal narratives, few things could be further from the truth.

I examined online reports of each of the 25 American individuals on the Human Rights Campaign’s “Violence Against the Transgender Community” list for 2017. I looked specifically for mainstream media accounts — such as the Chicago Tribune, the Times Picayune (more than once), the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, and so on. In other words, I looked for news publications that had almost every reason in the world to stick to the LGBT agenda on “transgender” deaths. Though the articles often hopefully hinted that a possible “hate criminal” was behind the murders, there was not one single person the media could definitively claim was the victim of a “hate crime.”

Quite the contrary, more than one “transgender” person died as the result of violently attacking the police. Others were involved in dangerous activities such as prostitution, gang activity, or drug use, and still others had shown themselves to be prone to violence. In other words, much — if not most — of the “violence against transgenders” is due to the poor lifestyle choices of those who reject simple science and morality.

If the mainstream media really wanted to tell the truth when it comes to death and the gender-deluded, it would do well to note the dangers of denying basic biology and the tragic results that often accompany attempting the impossible—“transitioning” from one sex to another. Instead, the media again embraces a lie and is guilty of malpractice.

Along with the dangerous and sometimes deadly consequences of mutilating an otherwise healthy body with unnecessary drugs and surgeries, those who suffer from gender delusions face a whole host of health issues that a media that truly cared should be eager to report. For example, the risk of cancer significantly increases when one’s body is subjected to gender “reorientation” drugs.

The suicide rate among the gender-deluded is far above that of the general population. A staggering number of youth who struggle with their gender engage in self harm. Worse still, many parents who’ve bought the liberal lie on gender are guilty of child abuse. Because their parents, their schools, their churches, and their media refused to tell them the truth about their gender, many older teens and young adults have found themselves scarred for life.

Death, disease, and despair do stalk the gender-deluded community, but not for the reasons most corrupted by liberalism would have us believe. Again, those struggling with their gender identity need serious physical, mental, and spiritual help. They do not need accommodation in living a lie.

Trevor Grant Thomas

At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.

www.trevorgrantthomas.com

Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com

In case you missed it — which, sadly, no less than the U.S. Secretary of State made difficult –November 20 was “International Transgender Day of Remembrance.” The day focuses on memorializing the world’s gender-deluded who were victims of violence. By my estimate — I didn’t count them all — the list contains about 300 people.

Likewise, many liberal outlets in the American mainstream media — redundant, I know — took the opportunity to paint violence against the gender-deluded as some sort of epidemic. The headline in the largest newspaper in my state declared, “Violence against transgender people at all-time high in Georgia, nationally.”

Evidently an annual “all-time high” when it comes to the murder of individuals in the U.S. who choose to live a gender lie is 25. After the 11th death, which occurred in May of this year, one news outlet quoted a “transgender” activist declaring, “We are facing a national epidemic of violence [against ‘transgenders’].” More American Christians were recently killed in a single day as they peacefully gathered to worship their Creator. Following this horrific event, virtually no one in the mainstream American media wanted to talk about how Christians in the U.S. are suffering an “epidemic” of violence or even that we are merely increasingly under attack.

To further the perverse LGBT agenda, the liberal American media would rather promote a lie than reveal the plight of Americans who seek the Truth. Of course, an agenda built on lies must be furthered with lies. Murder is always tragic, and leave it to liberals to use the death of murdered Americans deceptively in order to advance their preferred — and again false — narrative. What’s more, worldwide, tens of thousands of Christians are martyred every year and the liberal-led media typically — and predictably — yawns.

Throughout the stories highlighting “International Transgender Day of Remembrance” was the implication that “transgenders” are being killed as the result of hate toward those who foolishly choose to live as the opposite sex. This was certainly the case with the American media and the 25 “transgenders” killed in the United States.

Of course, an additional implication is that this hate is the result of “ignorant” and “irrational” bias against the gender-deluded from conservatives and Christians. As is often the case with liberal narratives, few things could be further from the truth.

I examined online reports of each of the 25 American individuals on the Human Rights Campaign’s “Violence Against the Transgender Community” list for 2017. I looked specifically for mainstream media accounts — such as the Chicago Tribune, the Times Picayune (more than once), the Baltimore Sun, the Miami Herald, and so on. In other words, I looked for news publications that had almost every reason in the world to stick to the LGBT agenda on “transgender” deaths. Though the articles often hopefully hinted that a possible “hate criminal” was behind the murders, there was not one single person the media could definitively claim was the victim of a “hate crime.”

Quite the contrary, more than one “transgender” person died as the result of violently attacking the police. Others were involved in dangerous activities such as prostitution, gang activity, or drug use, and still others had shown themselves to be prone to violence. In other words, much — if not most — of the “violence against transgenders” is due to the poor lifestyle choices of those who reject simple science and morality.

If the mainstream media really wanted to tell the truth when it comes to death and the gender-deluded, it would do well to note the dangers of denying basic biology and the tragic results that often accompany attempting the impossible—“transitioning” from one sex to another. Instead, the media again embraces a lie and is guilty of malpractice.

Along with the dangerous and sometimes deadly consequences of mutilating an otherwise healthy body with unnecessary drugs and surgeries, those who suffer from gender delusions face a whole host of health issues that a media that truly cared should be eager to report. For example, the risk of cancer significantly increases when one’s body is subjected to gender “reorientation” drugs.

The suicide rate among the gender-deluded is far above that of the general population. A staggering number of youth who struggle with their gender engage in self harm. Worse still, many parents who’ve bought the liberal lie on gender are guilty of child abuse. Because their parents, their schools, their churches, and their media refused to tell them the truth about their gender, many older teens and young adults have found themselves scarred for life.

Death, disease, and despair do stalk the gender-deluded community, but not for the reasons most corrupted by liberalism would have us believe. Again, those struggling with their gender identity need serious physical, mental, and spiritual help. They do not need accommodation in living a lie.

Trevor Grant Thomas

At the Intersection of Politics, Science, Faith, and Reason.

www.trevorgrantthomas.com

Trevor is the author of the The Miracle and Magnificence of America

tthomas@trevorgrantthomas.com



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Our National Obsession Does Not Help Abuse Victims


I cannot join one group though it is relevant to me: the “survivors.”

I was exposed to pornography and sexual gestures at very young ages.  My first sexual encounter occurred in 1984 at the age of 13, when two older teens got me drunk.  When one combines the activity I engaged in as a boy with the many times that I was coerced, drugged, or roughhoused as an adult male, one drifts into a numb zone of horror.  I used to have many ways to describe what happened to me in gentle terms.  Now I have the vocabulary of an educated man.  I was repeatedly abused and survived it.  You would think I am the prime candidate to join a support group for abuse survivors.

Think again.  Such support groups strike me as toxic.  Here’s why.

A community of abuse victims has high stress and alarm.  Everybody constantly misreads, picks apart, mischaracterizes, and overreacts to everyone else.  In the early 1990s, I attended a group for boys who had overcome sexual abuse.  I knew I could not stay.  Too much tension arose over the confidentiality policy and rules about how we were supposed to communicate.  I decided I would rather go hang out with guy friends who’d never been abused.  The latter group enjoyed the benefit of not projecting their distortions onto mine.

There are many of us.  According to the Department of Justice, 25% of girls and 17% of boys are sexually abused before the age of eighteen (using a fairly broad definition).  The overwhelming majority involves male aggressors.  This creates a schism.  For millions of females, rape is an issue tied to patriarchy.  For millions of males, rape is an issue tied to the gay subculture that arose against patriarchy.  There is no way to reconcile this schism.  I’ve tried.

Male-dominated traditions and feminist-informed countercultural movements both feature too much rape.  This is rather because sex is connected to the larger web of social interactions that involve conflicting expectations, goals, values, and interests.

Human beings clash over work, family relationships, friendships, business ventures, politics, religion, and virtually anything that impassions us.  Sex plays out in this battleground.  For much of history, sex was set apart because of its unique power over our emotions.  Chastity protected people from miscalculation.  (I am a fan of chastity.)  In the twentieth century, bourgeois society developed a schizophrenia about the exceptionalism of sex.  On the one hand, they wanted sex to be subject to modernization and liberalism like every other part of human activity.  On the other hand, they elevated feminism and gay politics to higher sensitivity and urgency.

How to help?

Decide first whether to treat sexual abuse as other kinds of abuse or as something different.  If it’s like other kinds of abuse, then address the plight of workers or the corruption in schools instead of only talking about “sexual harassment” and “campus assault.”  Many alleging harassment in Hollywood and Washington were not harmed primarily by moments of being sexually pursued.  They were harmed because of how Hollywood and Capitol Hill treated entry-level staff and kept them scared and powerless.  Even without sexual harassment, there is still an abusive work system.  (Why do we downplay people who get fired for political reasons or nepotism but not people who get fired due to sexual intrigues?)

If sexual abuse exists in a unique category, then define what sexual abuse is and is not.  For instance, a man who flirts with girls is not guilty of sexual abuse; a man who ravishes a woman who does not want to have sex with him is guilty.  A man who asks a woman out after she says she is not interested is not guilty; a man who refuses to stop an act of sexual intercourse when a woman says, “Please, stop, I don’t want to go farther” is guilty.

Society’s schizophrenia sexualizes political issues that are political, not sexual.  The same society defines sexual wrongdoing so generally that we must live in a perpetual police state.  In a state of normalcy and safety, people can flirt, make passes at one another, and test possible interest.  All that is healthy and safeguarded by boundaries.  Survivors share an agony over boundaries, so responding to sexual abuse by suppressing or confusing boundaries is a non-starter.

I Did It My Way

Like many other survivors, I embarked on a long career of self-destructive behavior.  I did not enjoy sodomy.  It actually triggered nausea and uneasiness.  In a cycle of reinforced dysfunction, I had to prove to myself that I did enjoy it, because in the world where I was living, my past doomed me to being gay forever and I could not get out.  The use of drugs made sodomy and intoxication mutually escalating.  I needed more drugs to get through the act.  I needed more sodomy to justify doing more drugs, especially as my tolerance grew.

I wrote a lot of fiction that I withdrew or never published.

While all this scarred me, I reject the current fixation with “consent.”  The “consent” standard equates the survivor’s struggle with punishing a perpetrator.  We have age of consent laws based on the notion that below a threshold, some will want and even initiate sex that it would be wrong to indulge.  Taken farther, one can extrapolate that “consent” does not solve the problem of sexual pain or even abuse.  Sometimes we feed the problem by consenting to it and inviting the problem into our lives.

We need chastity, not a culture of consent.  Chastity is not virginity.  Chastity is recoverable, but it means we take responsibility for our own unchaste decisions.  Consenting to something does not make it any better for you than a sexual evil that you were tricked into.  Once you decenter the discussion away from “consent,” you can look at these painful experiences as symptoms of cultural failure that everyone must take part in correcting – even someone like me who was victimized.

One odious lesbian challenged me online to publish the names of men who abused me.  I will not do that.  We were in a cultural setting where their behavior was normal.  I was never too young to be ignorant of the implications of what I did and where I went.  The past is the past.  I have decided instead to fight a culture war so other boys get nowhere near the dangers that ensnared me.  I hold conferences and fight the LGBT lobby.  Let the hundreds of men who hurt me go and deal with their hurt, for they were also wounded.

While I experienced all this sexual trauma, I also have a political mind.  I know that from a societal standpoint, litigating the voluminous cases of past abuse would drain our nation emotionally, not satisfy victims, and turn our democracy into a police state.  I opt out of that approach.

The road more often traveled

Does camaraderie always help?  Is the best remedy to pain always knowing that other people are also feeling pain like yours?

According to the narrative circulating in the press, Alyssa Milano started the #MeToo campaign.  Variety explains it like this:

With her #MeToo campaign, actor Alyssa Milano launched a movement, encouraging survivors of sexual assault and abuse to come forward. “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” she tweeted.

Alyssa Milano co-starred with actress Rose McGowan in Charmed.  Mere days before Milano’s launching of #MeToo, Rose McGowan was gaining traction on social media.  She led the way in exposing abuses by Harvey Weinstein.  She focused particularly on Weinstein’s alleged rape of McGowan in the 1990s.  As Bizpac Review notes, Milano was blasted for her “deafening silence” about Rose McGowan’s suffering for so many years.

Alyssa Milano’s #MeToo campaign must be understood in context as abusive.  It furthered the alienation of McGowan and the trivialization of her story after years of Milano’s silence.  Did it really help Rose McGowan for an overwhelming flood of unsubstantiated, vague tweets alleging sundry forms of aggression ranging from violent rape to “unwanted advances”?  McGowan was allegedly raped and then pressured into taking a large payment from Weinstein on the condition that she never expose him.  If her story is true, she walked around with a great deal of pain for twenty years, fearing she would never be believed and seeing her perpetrator hold the admiration of all her friends in entertainment.  Because of #MeToo, the specifics and magnitude of McGowan’s pain lost their exceptionality and their hard-earned moment in national attention.  

On the heels of #MeToo came countless accusations against public figures, the vast majority of which I ceased taking seriously weeks ago.  Here I will undoubtedly offend many, but I think it must be said.  No, George Takei’s alleged pass at a man in 1981 is not relevant.  No, Kevin Spacey’s overtures to a fourteen-year-old in the mid-1980s is not relevant.  Accusations about who sodomized Corey Haim in the 1980s, Roy Moore’s dating habits in the 1970s, or various reporters’ “sexual harassment” against women speaking to the press “under condition of anonymity” area not actionable or even appropriate to talk about.  All these accusations fall into three major categories: (1) too old to be reliably remembered, (2) not serious enough to class with “rape” such as Rose McGowan endured, and (3) probably not true.  By flooding the discussion with a bunch of stuff that’s just not as important as a serious, substantiated case like Rose McGowan’s, people foster a crippling, overwhelming confusion.  That helps nobody.

#MeToo was dizzying enough before people weaponized the discussion of sexual assault in a nuclear arms race of hyperbole and defamation.  I have recorded a serious of videos explaining why the why, when, how much, where, who, and what questions involving Roy Moore all point to the overwhelming likelihood that the allegations against him are a hoax.  If I had more time, I would do the same for many of the other people targeted in this wave of sexual hysteria.  I do not, for instance, think anything is accomplished by revisiting Bill Clinton’s problems or ousting Al Franken.

The survivor’s reality is a strange one.  But it is not so strange that we need to throw out all scale and perspective.  The moment when you lost your innocence and someone violated your self-governance is like an emotional black hole.  You can never rewrite that moment.  It is insulting to yourself to place a price tag on it or to submit it to an angry mob for agreement or refutation.  If you want to help survivors, work hard on every aspect of politics and culture, so there are no more survivors in the future.  That, and only that, would make my pain worth it.

 Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed on Twitter.

Many groups to which I am supposed to belong should command my allegiance.  Yet I avoid some like the plague.  For instance, I find it tiring to be around veterans who get self-righteous about the fact that I spent very little time in the Reserves.  The little time I was in the military completely upended my life.  Still, I do not want to explain that to fellows who see their own experiences as fundamentally more authentic than mine.  I like Latino groups generally as long as they are not partisan.

“Survivor” Status: The Nadir of Identity Politics

I cannot join one group though it is relevant to me: the “survivors.”

I was exposed to pornography and sexual gestures at very young ages.  My first sexual encounter occurred in 1984 at the age of 13, when two older teens got me drunk.  When one combines the activity I engaged in as a boy with the many times that I was coerced, drugged, or roughhoused as an adult male, one drifts into a numb zone of horror.  I used to have many ways to describe what happened to me in gentle terms.  Now I have the vocabulary of an educated man.  I was repeatedly abused and survived it.  You would think I am the prime candidate to join a support group for abuse survivors.

Think again.  Such support groups strike me as toxic.  Here’s why.

A community of abuse victims has high stress and alarm.  Everybody constantly misreads, picks apart, mischaracterizes, and overreacts to everyone else.  In the early 1990s, I attended a group for boys who had overcome sexual abuse.  I knew I could not stay.  Too much tension arose over the confidentiality policy and rules about how we were supposed to communicate.  I decided I would rather go hang out with guy friends who’d never been abused.  The latter group enjoyed the benefit of not projecting their distortions onto mine.

There are many of us.  According to the Department of Justice, 25% of girls and 17% of boys are sexually abused before the age of eighteen (using a fairly broad definition).  The overwhelming majority involves male aggressors.  This creates a schism.  For millions of females, rape is an issue tied to patriarchy.  For millions of males, rape is an issue tied to the gay subculture that arose against patriarchy.  There is no way to reconcile this schism.  I’ve tried.

Male-dominated traditions and feminist-informed countercultural movements both feature too much rape.  This is rather because sex is connected to the larger web of social interactions that involve conflicting expectations, goals, values, and interests.

Human beings clash over work, family relationships, friendships, business ventures, politics, religion, and virtually anything that impassions us.  Sex plays out in this battleground.  For much of history, sex was set apart because of its unique power over our emotions.  Chastity protected people from miscalculation.  (I am a fan of chastity.)  In the twentieth century, bourgeois society developed a schizophrenia about the exceptionalism of sex.  On the one hand, they wanted sex to be subject to modernization and liberalism like every other part of human activity.  On the other hand, they elevated feminism and gay politics to higher sensitivity and urgency.

How to help?

Decide first whether to treat sexual abuse as other kinds of abuse or as something different.  If it’s like other kinds of abuse, then address the plight of workers or the corruption in schools instead of only talking about “sexual harassment” and “campus assault.”  Many alleging harassment in Hollywood and Washington were not harmed primarily by moments of being sexually pursued.  They were harmed because of how Hollywood and Capitol Hill treated entry-level staff and kept them scared and powerless.  Even without sexual harassment, there is still an abusive work system.  (Why do we downplay people who get fired for political reasons or nepotism but not people who get fired due to sexual intrigues?)

If sexual abuse exists in a unique category, then define what sexual abuse is and is not.  For instance, a man who flirts with girls is not guilty of sexual abuse; a man who ravishes a woman who does not want to have sex with him is guilty.  A man who asks a woman out after she says she is not interested is not guilty; a man who refuses to stop an act of sexual intercourse when a woman says, “Please, stop, I don’t want to go farther” is guilty.

Society’s schizophrenia sexualizes political issues that are political, not sexual.  The same society defines sexual wrongdoing so generally that we must live in a perpetual police state.  In a state of normalcy and safety, people can flirt, make passes at one another, and test possible interest.  All that is healthy and safeguarded by boundaries.  Survivors share an agony over boundaries, so responding to sexual abuse by suppressing or confusing boundaries is a non-starter.

I Did It My Way

Like many other survivors, I embarked on a long career of self-destructive behavior.  I did not enjoy sodomy.  It actually triggered nausea and uneasiness.  In a cycle of reinforced dysfunction, I had to prove to myself that I did enjoy it, because in the world where I was living, my past doomed me to being gay forever and I could not get out.  The use of drugs made sodomy and intoxication mutually escalating.  I needed more drugs to get through the act.  I needed more sodomy to justify doing more drugs, especially as my tolerance grew.

I wrote a lot of fiction that I withdrew or never published.

While all this scarred me, I reject the current fixation with “consent.”  The “consent” standard equates the survivor’s struggle with punishing a perpetrator.  We have age of consent laws based on the notion that below a threshold, some will want and even initiate sex that it would be wrong to indulge.  Taken farther, one can extrapolate that “consent” does not solve the problem of sexual pain or even abuse.  Sometimes we feed the problem by consenting to it and inviting the problem into our lives.

We need chastity, not a culture of consent.  Chastity is not virginity.  Chastity is recoverable, but it means we take responsibility for our own unchaste decisions.  Consenting to something does not make it any better for you than a sexual evil that you were tricked into.  Once you decenter the discussion away from “consent,” you can look at these painful experiences as symptoms of cultural failure that everyone must take part in correcting – even someone like me who was victimized.

One odious lesbian challenged me online to publish the names of men who abused me.  I will not do that.  We were in a cultural setting where their behavior was normal.  I was never too young to be ignorant of the implications of what I did and where I went.  The past is the past.  I have decided instead to fight a culture war so other boys get nowhere near the dangers that ensnared me.  I hold conferences and fight the LGBT lobby.  Let the hundreds of men who hurt me go and deal with their hurt, for they were also wounded.

While I experienced all this sexual trauma, I also have a political mind.  I know that from a societal standpoint, litigating the voluminous cases of past abuse would drain our nation emotionally, not satisfy victims, and turn our democracy into a police state.  I opt out of that approach.

The road more often traveled

Does camaraderie always help?  Is the best remedy to pain always knowing that other people are also feeling pain like yours?

According to the narrative circulating in the press, Alyssa Milano started the #MeToo campaign.  Variety explains it like this:

With her #MeToo campaign, actor Alyssa Milano launched a movement, encouraging survivors of sexual assault and abuse to come forward. “If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote ‘Me too’ as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem,” she tweeted.

Alyssa Milano co-starred with actress Rose McGowan in Charmed.  Mere days before Milano’s launching of #MeToo, Rose McGowan was gaining traction on social media.  She led the way in exposing abuses by Harvey Weinstein.  She focused particularly on Weinstein’s alleged rape of McGowan in the 1990s.  As Bizpac Review notes, Milano was blasted for her “deafening silence” about Rose McGowan’s suffering for so many years.

Alyssa Milano’s #MeToo campaign must be understood in context as abusive.  It furthered the alienation of McGowan and the trivialization of her story after years of Milano’s silence.  Did it really help Rose McGowan for an overwhelming flood of unsubstantiated, vague tweets alleging sundry forms of aggression ranging from violent rape to “unwanted advances”?  McGowan was allegedly raped and then pressured into taking a large payment from Weinstein on the condition that she never expose him.  If her story is true, she walked around with a great deal of pain for twenty years, fearing she would never be believed and seeing her perpetrator hold the admiration of all her friends in entertainment.  Because of #MeToo, the specifics and magnitude of McGowan’s pain lost their exceptionality and their hard-earned moment in national attention.  

On the heels of #MeToo came countless accusations against public figures, the vast majority of which I ceased taking seriously weeks ago.  Here I will undoubtedly offend many, but I think it must be said.  No, George Takei’s alleged pass at a man in 1981 is not relevant.  No, Kevin Spacey’s overtures to a fourteen-year-old in the mid-1980s is not relevant.  Accusations about who sodomized Corey Haim in the 1980s, Roy Moore’s dating habits in the 1970s, or various reporters’ “sexual harassment” against women speaking to the press “under condition of anonymity” area not actionable or even appropriate to talk about.  All these accusations fall into three major categories: (1) too old to be reliably remembered, (2) not serious enough to class with “rape” such as Rose McGowan endured, and (3) probably not true.  By flooding the discussion with a bunch of stuff that’s just not as important as a serious, substantiated case like Rose McGowan’s, people foster a crippling, overwhelming confusion.  That helps nobody.

#MeToo was dizzying enough before people weaponized the discussion of sexual assault in a nuclear arms race of hyperbole and defamation.  I have recorded a serious of videos explaining why the why, when, how much, where, who, and what questions involving Roy Moore all point to the overwhelming likelihood that the allegations against him are a hoax.  If I had more time, I would do the same for many of the other people targeted in this wave of sexual hysteria.  I do not, for instance, think anything is accomplished by revisiting Bill Clinton’s problems or ousting Al Franken.

The survivor’s reality is a strange one.  But it is not so strange that we need to throw out all scale and perspective.  The moment when you lost your innocence and someone violated your self-governance is like an emotional black hole.  You can never rewrite that moment.  It is insulting to yourself to place a price tag on it or to submit it to an angry mob for agreement or refutation.  If you want to help survivors, work hard on every aspect of politics and culture, so there are no more survivors in the future.  That, and only that, would make my pain worth it.

 Robert Oscar Lopez can be followed on Twitter.



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