This is an usual News and Views, because we'll be looking back at a blog earlier this week, and then at another story from a purely high octane speculation point of view: the oil refinery explosion in California today:


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Joseph P. Farrell

Joseph P. Farrell has a doctorate in patristics from the University of Oxford, and pursues research in physics, alternative history and science, and "strange stuff". His book The Giza DeathStar, for which the Giza Community is named, was published in the spring of 2002, and was his first venture into "alternative history and science".


  1. zendogbreath on February 27, 2020 at 11:43 pm

    If nothing else, this refinery reduction sustains ussa fuel prices. Wonder who would want that? And a chance to rebuild better and more automated refining capacity? Or not? When is the last time the planet’s fuel refining capacity increased?

    • goshawks on February 28, 2020 at 2:52 am

      This is a case where one would inspect the stock market for Shorts and such, a few days before the fire. Also, whether the refinery was well-insured or not…

  2. marcos toledo on February 27, 2020 at 7:47 pm

    Should one be surprise when our rulers only thought is profit by hook or crook. But there is a saying the last capitalist will sell the rope they will be hung them with.

  3. goshawks on February 27, 2020 at 7:46 pm

    The Bigger Picture (probably truer than not):

    Babylon 5: “Z’ha’dum” (Season 3, Episode 22)

    John Sheridan (B5 commander): “Who are you?”
    Justin (Shadow ’employee’): “Now, that’s really not important.”
    Sheridan: “Who are you?”
    Justin: “Who decides that the workday is from 9 to 5, instead of 11 to 4? Who decides that the hemlines will be below the knee this year and short again next year? Who draws up the borders, controls the currency, handles all of the decisions that happen transparently around us?”
    Sheridan: “I don’t know.”
    Justin: “Ah! I’m with them. Same group, different department. Think of me as a sort of middleman. And the name is Justin. Come in; sit, sit. The tea is getting cold.”

    Justin: “You see, John, back a million years ago, there were forces prowling around the galaxy beyond anything that we could understand. And, like anything else, most of them outgrew this little quadrant of the universe and headed off toward greener pastures. Now, two of them stayed behind. Shepherds, you might call them. They wanted to look after the younger races, bring them around, help them evolve into something better. One of these was the Vorlons. The other was, what you call, The Shadows.”

    Morden (Shadow ’employee’): “The Vorlons are like your parents, I suppose. They want you to play nice, clean your room, do it by the rules. I guess you could call them Lords of Order. The others, the ones who live here [Z’ha’dum], believe that strength only comes from conflict. They want to release our potential, not bottle it up.”

    Justin: “It’s really simple: You bring two sides together. They fight. A lot of them die. But, those who survive are stronger, smarter, and better.”

    Anna (John’s presumed-dead wife, now a Shadow ‘takeover’): “It’s like knocking over an ant-hill. Every new generation gets stronger. The ant-hill gets redesigned, made better.”

    Justin: “It was supposed to be an equal balance between our side and the Vorlons. But, the Vorlons decided that their way was the right way. They enlisted the support of other worlds, like the Minbari. They even started interfering with the development of younger races.”

    Morden: “When you look at a Vorlon, you see what they want you to see. They’ve manipulated us so we would respond favorably to them. They’ve even interfered at a genetic level by taking humans and then [pause] ‘adjusting’ them. Why do you think certifiable telepaths came out of nowhere, a hundred years ago?”

    So, we may be looking at ‘higher forces’ conducting the proverbial War in Heaven on Earth. Like in B5, the ‘sparring’ was controlled – a hit here, a counterhit there. But, just like in B5, have the two sides decided to go for the gold ? Has the ‘game’ gone Big Time?

    (By the way, B5 was forced off the air despite being very popular. It was then denied syndication for decades, just emerging now. Sense any hint from above Why? )

    • marcos toledo on February 27, 2020 at 7:57 pm

      Babylon 5 like any good science fiction was letting the proverbial cat out of the bag. That is why the word has become a put down among those who serve our unwanted masters.

    • OrigensChild on February 27, 2020 at 9:21 pm

      We purchased the DVDs. I remember this one well. It certainly appears to be the most cogent, circumspect and accurate summation of modern times. Two groups—warring for supremacy by forcing the uncommitted to choose so they can be driven to extinction.

      Having said, this the writers of the series ultimately demonstrated how the new interplanetary alliance committed the same egregious errors as the Vorlons and Shadows. Why is it that when chaos and order fight, we get increasing degrees and forms of fascism? Sheridan’s alliance proved to be no better than their “teachers”, and he became increasingly more corrupt as his power increased due to his new office. It goes to show the writers understood the problem—but had no new ideas to prevent the inevitable march of “regress”.

      • goshawks on February 27, 2020 at 11:10 pm

        Once the First Ones ‘went away’, both the forces of Order (the Interstellar Alliance) and the forces of Chaos (the Drakh) went into high gear.
        The baddies infiltrated the goodies, just like now. The goodies could do nothing and be conquered from within, or find ways to strike back – just like now. Sheridan was not ‘corrupt’ in a Roman Emperor sense; but he did have to forcibly herd-the-cats of the Interstellar Alliance.

        The writers did give an ‘out’ for the human race, but it took them a million years of evolution to get there. Sheridan got there ‘early’, as he was ascended at the end of his life by Lorien (who nurtured both the Vorlons and the Shadows, when they were in their infancies). Sheridan must have been doing something right…

        • OrigensChild on February 28, 2020 at 1:09 pm

          Yes, there was a war with the Drak and it had a huge impact on the Centari Republic.

          Yes, the “bad” guys infiltrated the “good” guys via technological means and other approaches.

          Yes, Sheridan cannot be considered as corrupt in the “Roman Emperor” sense, but he continued to operate using the same old “tried and true” playbook as his Order/Chaos overlords. Either those “rules” are a cosmic bible (which I think the writers imply that it is), or he just “felt” his way through the situation via intuition–in which case one cannot really argue whether he was influenced positively or negatively by Lorien’s influence in any way. In fact Lorien seems less guide than he does a divine healer/messenger. He offers little by advice. To coin an LoTR analogy, he’s less Gandalf and more Sam in the leadership realm. In other words, his role is let it happen rather than make it happen.

          Yes, Sheridan “ascended” in some literary sense. Frankly, this idea clearly paints Sheridan as a “Messianic” literary figure. We are expected to see him as a type of post-modern Christ–and a very human one. Sheridan is destined to wind down eventually. Because he dies shortly after this episode there are irreversable effects to his body personally (as with his consort and wife, who transforms also from Minbari to human) that could have an impact on his thinking in a negative way. Death causes some degradation of memory and mental faculties, though his consciousness seems unaffected. Lorien told him at the point of death that he could not reverse this. He could only delay any further cumulative changes. So, the deification of the divine couple here is strictly a post-modern one–with the divine couple being far more human than most of those who surround them. Sheridan remains locked into a continuous “suffering” state with respect to his mortality–and that pathos may indeed contribute also toward his less than stellar performance as the leader of the “Non-Aligned Worlds”. From my side, I think I would characterize his behavior as “coping well” rather than “doing something right.” I’m not sure it’s possible for him to do the latter given his circumstances.

          Yes, the writers did give the human race an “out”–but that out feeds directly back into the Order/Chaos dialectic–without any “known” participation of the First Ones. It’s a continuation of the post-modern attitude of progress as benevolent–whereas, from all we’ve seen as events within the series, there is no reasonable foundation for such an attitude in the nuts and bolts of the narrative itself. The series seems to imply “cosmic regress” as the rule with “progress” as only an accidental, rare exception. The “good” we see contributes toward the cosmic goal, but it’s a gradual renewal in view–not an eventful one.

          In the end, Goshawks, I think we’re looking in roughly the same way. You’re looking at it from the “half-glass full” perspective, whereas I am looking at if from the “half-glass empty” end. I think we’re standing roughly together at the same spot. Any “rightness” that Sheridan might be doing is tightly coupled to the idea that his “motives are pure”, so the “mistakes” will eventually unwind as waves on the beach in cosmic time. After all, there is the Minbari world view hovering in the background of the series–and that world view seems to be the governing principles around which this universe revolves. The world-view of B5 offers no real solutions to cosmic problems without the assistance of “cosmic karma”. After all, that world view is: “We are all made of star stuff. Within each of us is a piece of universal consciousness trying to figure itself out. As each generation of each race incarnates itself, the process will continue.” What happens after that is anyone’s guess.

          Thanks for the dialogue regarding B5. We do this from time to time. As always, Goshawks, it’s a thrill to chat about these things. The series reveals many things–but it is a project from a post-modern mind. All of its solutions are bound within that context–a context which, to me, ignores other evidence entirely.

        • OrigensChild on February 28, 2020 at 1:42 pm

          BTW: Goshawks, please forgive me for the lack of editing. I had to write it quickly due to time, but wanted to respond to the issues you raised to affirm them, but also to expand my thoughts. I hope from these rough comments you find a more favorable and familiar review.

  4. Robert Barricklow on February 27, 2020 at 12:02 pm

    Loved it!

    More on this later….

    White Rabbit.

    • Robert Barricklow on February 27, 2020 at 4:16 pm

      Just think of the arenas of warfare out of our sight;
      underwater and/or in space[let alone cyberspace].
      What stories are being redlined?
      What whistleblowers are being locked away.
      How many close-shaves were there in an all-out hot war?
      Are these suspected heavy-duty deep, above/below, currents of turbulence threatening to boil over into an unstoppable force?
      Are/Is a[n] extra-state player[s] orchestrating hot?

      What a time the puppet masters tentacles must be having to keep these hot potatoes in the air?
      If in fact, they’re so inclined?

      • Robert Barricklow on February 27, 2020 at 9:14 pm

        Not to mention, that while they’re covertly fighting each other; they’re all at war w/the people that they supposedly represent.

  5. WalkingDead on February 27, 2020 at 11:59 am

    Having served in the US armed forces and worked in the Aerospace/Military industrial sector, I can state with some confidence that “security” within the USSA is not just inadequate but criminally negligent, especially where it pertains to computer/software and critical infrastructure is concerned. Outsourcing our production facilities in these and related industries to nations like Israel and the far East is idiotocracy exemplified.
    When you have Federal employees and those in government participating in the sale and transfer of such technologies to our enemies (think Hitlery) and agreeing to share proprietary information with said nations (China) just to do business there why is it a surprise that it comes back to bite you on your posterior.
    The criminally insane are in charge of the asylum.

    • Ronin on February 27, 2020 at 2:48 pm

      Agree. I know Dick well. We’ve discussed many of his teams exploits.

    • OrigensChild on February 27, 2020 at 9:03 pm

      WD, thank you for your service to our country.

      I know both sides of the political aisle here do this, but those who support the same socialist/Stalinist policies of the FDR administration appear to be the absolute worst offenders of the lot. It seems every time we turn over a rock in a “crisis of convenience” there’s always some Roosevelt sycophant scampering from the light back into the darkness from which they crawled as their involvement becomes visible to the general public. Socialists on the left, fascists on the right, and as usual, good, honest people caught in the middle as economic cannon fodder for their “Great Work for Engineering Global Utopia.” Then again, I’m still trying to find any light from that great period of western history commonly called “The En(light)enment.” I still have not found any.

    • Ronin on February 27, 2020 at 10:25 pm

      Agree. I know Marcinko well. We’ve discussed many of his teams exploits.

  6. DanaThomas on February 27, 2020 at 2:21 am

    High octane speculation: more explosive than simple high octane fuel?

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