THE SECOND PARAMITA DEFINED

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These should sound familiar to all of us.

l. I take up the Path of not killing. “Though the many beings are numberless, I vow to save them.” This is both universal and positive. The emphasis is upon protection, nurturing, and upon spiritual encouragement. Both are expressions of perfections: both enhance the process of perfection. 2. I take up the Path of not stealing. I will respect the order of things in harmony. The question is, which view kills? Which view gives life? 3. I take up the Path of not misusing sex. Sex is misused when it is an addiction rather than the peak experience of love between a committed couple. Addiction has been best defined globally as, “It is an addiction when we do someting repetitively that causes another to cry.” All such addictive behaviours, stealing, lying, using alcohol or drugs, slandering, even killing reveals a lack of confidence, a need for something from others. Everyone needs guidance to find a Path to forget the self. 4. I take up the Path of not speaking falsely. Speaking falsely is also killing. The lie is set up to defend the idea of a fixed entity, a self image, a concept, or an institution. “I want to be known as warm and compassionate”, so I deny that I was cruel, even though somebody got hurt. “Sometimes I must lie to protect someone or large numbers of people, animals, plants and things from getting hurt, or I believe I must”. What is the big picture? 5. I take up the Path of not using anything that clouds the mind. This is not absolute. A little wine may warm the bones and relaxes inhibitions, and casual conversation enhances humanity and the humanity of others. This is a warning against addiction and dependency. “Am I completely honest at the very source of my thoughts?” “What is my Everyday Path (see today’s Koan on Everyday Path)?” 6. I take up the Path of not discussing faults of others. This too deals with an aspect of killing. More people get hurt by gossip than by guns. The point is that nobody has a fixed character. Everyone has tendencies, and those tendencies can be used or misused, read or misread. The tendency to be accomodating can be seen negatively as passivity, and positively as patience. Encourage the tendency, and it will find its own path. 7. I take up the Path of not praising myself while abusing others. The reason some praise one’s self and abuse others is that they seek to justify and defend self as a certain kind of superior being. We are neither superior nor inferior. All actions and words are appropriate or inappropriate to the needs of people, animals, plants and things, including one’s self. If we are authoritarian and put self up and others down, then we cannot meet others need to grow and mature or our own to listen and learn. Harmony is obscured. The world suffers. 8. I take up the Path of appreciation of all phenomena in their precious uniqueness, the interdependence of everything in perfect harmony, and the absence of any abiding self. When we remain still, our conduct, the things we say enhance our own understanding of uniqueness, harmony and peace, and understanding on the part of others, so that our family members, friends and everyone and everything can maintain their path. 9. I take up the Path of not indulging in anger. We have all had the experience of bathing in anger. Something unreasonably tiny, perhaps something we don’t even notice, and we sit there playing out scenarios of retribution. Do you blame yourself for this condition? It is needless blame, and it only adds to the confusion. If you are sincere, you return to your path whenever you possibly can. Blake says, “the tygers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.” Life does and will hurl a thunderbolt of anger from time to time. Indulgence in anger is the addiction, and it rests upon pain. Pain is inevitable. Suffeing is an option. l0. I take up the Path of not slandering the treasures of knowledge (realization), harmony (our everyday path to realization), and the fellowship of all living things. Slandering is belittling them, and the grossest kind of belittling is conceptual analysis that reduces and quantifies – obscuring the unknown and unknowable source, the marvellous subtlety, the synchronicity and symmetry of experience, and the precious nature and aspiration of each individual person, animal or plant. Image -Restructured from The Second Paramita, Robert Aitken Roshi Yoga Bat

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GUNS, GRUNTS, AND GUANO: THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS

grunts and guano gun control

Mediguano Grunt, there always seems to be argument on the constitutional right to bear arms. So tell me if that also says there is a constitutional right to actually use them? They are ornamental, are they not?

The Grunt “A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” You can read this in a number of ways – from downplaying the first part to focusing on the first part to limit/expand the meaning. Clearly, “the people” (individuals or the collection?) have the right to keep and bear arms, though for what purpose is a tad bit vague; personal use or to just to support a ‘well regulated’ militia (for a free STATE – also nation?). Not sure I see anything here about ornamental uses…

Mediguano The legal definition of “to bear” includes the following: bear (Adduce), verb acknowledge, acknowledge openly, adjure, admit, affirm, afford proof of, allege, allude to, argue, ascertain, assent, assert, assert absolutely, asseverate, assure, attest, authenticate, aver, avouch, avow, bring forward, bring to light, bring up, call to mind, certify, cite, claim, contend, corroborate, declare, declare to be fact, demonstrate, denote, depone, depose, display, document, elucidate, emphasize, endorse, establish, evidence, evince, exemplify, exhibit, expose, express, furnish evidence, give evidence, give information, give one’s word, give witness, guarantee, have evidence, imply, indicate, inform, introduce, invoke, involve, maintain, make a statement, make an assertion, make eviient, make reference to, make solemn, manifest, name, plead, pledge, point out, point to, present, proclaim, produce the evidence, profess, promulgate, propound, prove, publish, ratify, refer to, represent, show, signify, stand firm, state as fact, state on oath, stipulate, submit, subscribe, substantiate, sustain, swear, take one’s oath, testify, validate, verify, vindicate, vouch for, vow, warrant, witness to .

Mediguano Sometimes we think we understand the implications whereas, more often than not, we don’t. Such is the nature of law. Another point is whether we should or can declare the general populace as “militia”.

The Grunt I see display and exhibit in your list – kinda points to ornamental. Though I also see demonstrate which points to using them. No help there.

The Grunt Per Wiki: A militia generally refers to an army or other fighting force that is composed of non-professional fighters; citizens of a nation or subjects of a state or government that can be called upon to enter a combat situation, as opposed to a professional force of regular soldiers or, historically, members of the fighting nobility. – individuals from the general populace make up a militia but militia does not include all individuals in the general populace.

The Grunt “Necessary” : so important that you must (required by a rule or law) have it. So, the security of a free state demands the state must have a well regulated militia. People are given the right to keep/bear arms. It doesn’t say just to support a militia, it says shall not be infringed – no limits.

Mediguano Demonstrate. Interesting. An active sense to be considered in the context of “arms”. To that here is a legal definition: ARMS. Any thing that a man wears for his defense, or takes in his hands, or uses in his anger, to cast at, or strike at another. Co. Litt. 161 b, 162 a; Crompt. Just. P. 65; Cunn. Dict. h.t. .

Mediguano Provided anything we choose to use in anger may be supportive. Lovely

Mediguano I always respect a “necessary” and angry militia. Shouldn’t we all?

Mediguano Blasting away is definitely evident.

The Grunt One thought is that anyone should be allowed to own ANY weapon they want – up to and including nuclear warheads (well, maybe not that big) – BUT, they should also be held ultimately responsible for ANY ACT that is committed using that weapon, whether they did it or not. Put some responsibility on weapons owners for proper use of their weapons. Unfortunately, this implies that all weapons be registered and tracked for this to work and that won’t work at all…

Mediguano Registration is not at issue though. Size of object isn’t either for that matter.

The Grunt If registering won’t work then limiting is the next popular option – which is

Mediguano The term militia is limiting.

The Grunt Face it, we’re doomed to 2nd amendment arguments for the life of the nation.

Mediguano As we have for the past several years.

Mediguano Good commentary Grunt!

The Grunt Sometimes my bullshit filter breaks and I spew like crazy… Sometimes I even believe what I say…

Mediguano Don’t we all! Sounded informed though didn’t it? Hope the observers of the unobserved observers enjoyed it as well (I think I’m gonna spew on that one).

The Grunt Per wiki, a militia is composed of non-professional fighters. I’m thinking that sounds more like a rabble than security but that untrained rabble has the right to high tech weapons. Sounds a bit scary when you think about it…

The Grunt We probably pinged a number of NSA search subroutines on this thread…

Mediguano That or DHS. There are families that may be considered militia…

The Grunt and organizations

Mediguano Going to sleep on that one! G’night Grunt!

The Grunt  G’nite – I’ll be up for a while yet, reading more BS to fuel more spews…

Mediguano To summarize, a militia, not as defining the general populace of governance, may display albeit not necessarily use arms against another so as to infringe upon their individual right to the pursuit of life, liberty, and freedom. Back to my original comment about being “ornamental”.

Mediguano Definitely not a pretty “picture”.

Mediguano Feel free to fill in the “gaps”. It’s unlikely you and I cleared the mud.

The Grunt I’ll vote for high muzzle velocity ornaments any day… clearing mud? I’d rather stir it up.

Mediguano Doesn’t matter what you display. Of course, now that we have brought up the issue of display, are arms in fact concealable? To be carried on yet another day……

The Grunt sure they are, ask Syria… uh, yeah, to be continued on another day…

Mediguano That to bear includes declarative, registration is acceptable. Negates my comment above.

Mediguano Peace, love, and spit wads. Aloha.

The Grunt Sound advice: Buy guns now, argue legality later… huevos rancheros amigo…

The Grunt BTW, all arguments should be taken with a complete salt lick…

Mediguano . Au revoir, amigo,

AngerManagement Bat

EATING THE DONUT HOLE

Considering the statistics on the image provided (Wikipedia reports US literacy rate is 99%), here are selected sections from the ACA. Feel free to comment.

“Fruitcakes in the kitchen

Fruitcakes on the bus

There’s a little bit of Fruitcake left in every one of us”

                -Jimmy Buffett

 

 literacy

1. ESTABLISHED STANDARD BENEFITS PACKAGE DEFINED (NOT REALLY)

§ 1302 [42 U.S.C. 18022]. ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS REQUIREMENTS.

(a) ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS PACKAGE. — In this title, the term ‘‘essential health benefits package’’ means, with respect to any health plan, coverage that—

(1) provides for the essential health benefits defined by the Secretary under subsection (b);

(2) limits cost-sharing for such coverage in accordance with subsection (c); and

(3) subject to subsection (e), provides either the bronze, silver, gold, or platinum level of coverage described in subsection (d).

(b) ESSENTIAL HEALTH BENEFITS.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Subject to paragraph (2), the Secretary shall define the essential health benefits, except that such benefits shall include at least the following general categories and the items and services covered within the categories:

(A) Ambulatory patient services.

(B) Emergency services.

(C) Hospitalization.

(D) Maternity and newborn care.

(E) Mental health and substance use disorder services, including behavioral health treatment.

(F) Prescription drugs.

(G) Rehabilitative and rehabilitative services and devices.

(H) Laboratory services.

(I) Preventive and wellness services and chronic disease management.

(J) Pediatric services, including oral and vision care.

 2. BENEFITS AND ABILITY TO PAY. YOU STILL GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

§ 1302 (d) LEVELS OF COVERAGE.—

(1) LEVELS OF COVERAGE DEFINED. — The levels of coverage described in this subsection are as follows:

(A) BRONZE LEVEL.— A plan in the bronze level shall provide a level of coverage that is designed to provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 60 percent of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the plan.

(B) SILVER LEVEL.— A plan in the silver level shall provide a level of coverage that is designed to provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 70 percent of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the plan.

(C) GOLD LEVEL.— A plan in the gold level shall provide a level of coverage that is designed to provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 80 percent of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the plan.

(D) PLATINUM LEVEL. — A plan in the platinum level shall provide a level of coverage that is designed to provide benefits that are actuarially equivalent to 90 percent of the full actuarial value of the benefits provided under the plan.

(2) ACTUARIAL VALUE.—

(A) IN GENERAL. — Under regulations issued by the Secretary, the level of coverage of a plan shall be determined on the basis that the essential health benefits described in subsection (b) shall be provided to a standard population (and without regard to the population the plan may actually provide benefits to).

 3. CHILD BENEFITS AND AGE 27 COVERAGE:

§ 1302 (f) CHILD-ONLY PLANS.—If a qualified health plan is offered through the Exchange in any level of coverage specified under subsection

(d), the issuer shall also offer that plan through the Exchange in that level as a plan in which the only enrollees are individuals who, as of the beginning of a plan year, have not attained the age of 21, and such plan shall be treated as a qualified health plan.

 4. CATASTROPHIC PLAN COVERAGE IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE OVER 30

§ 1302 (e) CATASTROPHIC PLAN.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—A health plan not providing a bronze, silver, gold, or platinum level of coverage shall be treated as meeting the requirements of subsection (d) with respect to any plan year if—

(A) the only individuals who are eligible to enroll in the plan are individuals described in paragraph (2); and

(B) the plan provides—

(i) except as provided in clause (ii), the essential health benefits determined under subsection (b), except that the plan provides no benefits for any plan year until the individual has incurred cost-sharing expenses in an amount equal to the annual limitation in effect under subsection (c)(1) for the plan year (except as provided for in section 2713); and

(ii) coverage for at least three primary care visits.

(2) INDIVIDUALS ELIGIBLE FOR ENROLLMENT.—An individual is described in this paragraph for any plan year if the individual—

(A) has not attained the age of 30 before the beginning of the plan year;

(B) has a certification in effect for any plan year under this title that the individual is exempt from the requirement under section 5000A of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 by reason of—

(i) section 5000A(e)(1) of such Code (relating to individuals without affordable coverage); or

(ii) section 5000A(e)(5) of such Code (relating to individuals with hardships).

5. SAVINGS (REDUCED COST?). MATH SIMPLIFIED FOR SENIOR CITIZENS. Less than  0 = 0?

§ 3403\1899A SSA

‘‘(B) MEDICARE PER CAPITA GROWTH RATE.—

‘‘(i) IN GENERAL.—[As revised by section 10320(a)(1)(G)]

For purposes of this section, the Medicare per capita growth rate for an implementation year shall be calculated as the projected 5-year average (ending with such year) of the growth in Medicare program spending (calculated as the sum of per capita spending under each of parts A, B, and D).

‘‘(ii) REQUIREMENT.—The projection under clause (i) shall—

‘‘(I) to the extent that there is projected to be a negative update to the single conversion factor  applicable to payments for physicians’ services under section 1848(d) furnished in the proposal year or the implementation year,  assume that such update for such services is 0 percent rather than the  negative percent that would otherwise apply; and

(II) take into account any delivery system reforms or other payment changes that have been enacted or published in final rules but not yet implemented as of the making of such calculation.

Frog bat -Mediguano

SERIOUSLY SYRIA, SARIN?

Angels and Demons I. Blurred Boundaries and Priorities Abound.

THE CAST OF CHARACTERS-The Syrian People, the Opposition, the Target, and the SLUDGE

THE SYRIAN PEOPLE:

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Figure 1: “Arab Spring”.

The “Arab Spring” revolution in Syria, as in the other Arab countries, was the all about the unbearable economic, social and political situations of the populace imposed upon in Syria by the Assad regime. Unfortunately, the people’s struggles and sacrifices have not proven to be very beneficial to any other Arab country other than pulling down one dictator, only to replace it with guardians of the same system of governance. Essentially, change for the sake of change. Since the FSA and al-Nustra are now fighting each other, who do they (the people of Syria) want to rule if Assad falls?

“The Farouq Battalions (of the FSA) and the al-Nusra Front may pretend that it’s all about theology or an end to Assad, but it’s really about who gets to run things and who gets to build a new dynasty on top of the ruins. This isn’t really about democracy. It’s about power. Everyone is staking out their turf because it’s the ticket to money, recruits and control…

In the final analysis, the purpose of power is power.” [Free Syrian Army and al-Nusra Front Now Fighting Each Other. Frontpage Mag, March 27, 2013]

ImageFigure 2. Syrian refugees.

THE OPPOSITION

ImageFigure 3. Map showing major support regions in Syria for the Opposition and the Syrian Army (July 19, 2013)

The Syrian rebel fighters fall into three main categories:

a) Local groups of fighters such as the Kurds who are fighting to fulfill the Kurdish aspirations in Syria;

b) “Patriots” who are represented mainly by the Free Syrian Army (FSA), and

c) The Jihadists. <10% of all fighters; Sunnis, al-Nusra Front

 The vast majority of the opposition fighters are legitimate nationalists fighting for the country’s freedom and the establishment of a democratic state, including the Kurds who control many towns along the country’s northern border with Turkey. There are the two main players who may replace the Assad regime if successful. [Quillam Foundation Report on Syria. The Jihadist Network in the Syrian Revolution. A Strategic Briefing. 2012]

Image

  1. The Free Syrian Army (FSA). The FSA was formed in July of 2011 as an opposition group composed of former members of the Syrian Army that refused to fire upon Syrian protesters. They are a member of the Syrian National Coalition.

On September 23, 2011, the Free Syrian Army merged with the Free Officers Movement to become the main opposition group other than al-Nusra.

Image Figure 4. Coat of Arms for the Free Syria Army (FSA)

The Free Syrian Army (FSA) would grOw in size to about 20,000 in December, 2010 and to an estimated 40,000 by June 2012. Nevertheless, the FSA remained without centralized leadership until December 2012. They are a member of the Syrian National Coalition. Along with other the other insurgent groups, (al-Nusra Front-Islamic State in Iraq and Syria), they have relied mostly on light weapons including assault rifles, some tanks, sling shots, spit-wads, and rocket-propelled grenades (no Scuds hidden in their back pockets). The supplies have come from Saudi Arabia, Libya, and Kuwait.

In July of 2012, through the FSA Syrian Support Group, the FSA began receiving funds from the US Treasury. [US Authorizes Financial Support to Free Syrian Army; Ya Libnan, World News Live from Lebanon”. LB: Ya Libnan. 2012-07-28.]

Image

Figure 5. FSA began receiving funds from the US Treasury in July of 2012.

The FSA presumably is more “pro-democratic” than al-Nusra. Some FSA members have agreed to “share the loot” once the Assad regime is defeated, splitting it according to the sharia-based tradition of al-Ghana’im (spoils of war). This acceptance of al-Nusra’s code of conduct is interesting (see below), as it shows that Islamic traditions are acceptable to certain brigades of the FSA as well. Regardless, The Syrian National Coalition generally felt to be pro-democratic, was officially recognized as the “sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people” by the United States (December, 2012), United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, Saudi Arabia, France November 2012, etc.)

The Human Rights Watch was investigating FSA rebel forces form executions, and capturing children to use as soldiers (The Syrian Center for the Documentation of Violation (VDC), has documented the deaths of at least 17 children who fought with the FSA),  cutting organs from the dead body of a Syrian soldier and putting one in his mouth, executing suspected informers, beheadings, kidnapping Lebanese pilgrims, soldiers, using captured soldiers as “proxy-bombings”(This involved tying the captured soldier into a car loaded with explosives and forcing him to drive to an Army checkpoint, where the explosives would be remotely-detonated).

Image Figure 6. Logo of the United Nations

Human Rights violations from the Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic on February 13, 2013 include:

1. Mass executions of civilians

2. “Execution without due process”

3. Extrajudicial executions

4. Arbitrary arrest and detention

5. Enforced disappearance-displace civilians from their homes.

6. Torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Torture and other inhumane acts were not committed as part of either a widespread or systematic attack on the civilian population.

7. Sexual violence, including rape, electrocution of genitals by live wires and the burning of the genitals by cigarettes, lighters or melted plastic.

8. Unlawful attacks to include indiscriminate bombings, civilians as human shields “crime of attacking people”

9. Crime of attacking protected objects; i.e., hospitals, medical supplies

10. Pillaging and razing

These are the good guys?

 2. al-Nusra Front (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria).  The al-Nusra Front is considered to be the Image

Figure 7. Image logo for  the al-Nusra Front found to have ties with AIG (al-Qaeda In Iraq)

biggest, baddest jihadist opposition group in Syria, often considered to be the most aggressive and violent part of the opposition. Their aim is to “bring back the law of Allah to his land”. Al-Nusra Front is largely influenced by al-Qaeda’s rigid jihadi ideology.

The United States is viewed as the enemy of Islam, and has attacked the beliefs of other religious groups in Syria, including the Alawites. Also, it was reported that, “Jabhat al-Nusra has not hesitated to strike deals with the Assad regime. Bad news is that that they are associated with AIQ (al Qaeda in Iraq). 

The Assad regime is paying more than $150 million Syrian lire [AU $2.4 million] monthly to them (al-Nusra Front) to guarantee oil is kept pumping through two major pipelines in Banias and Latakia.

This group believes that every regime which does not enforce sharia as law is illegitimate. Assad as members of Alawite do not practice sharia law. Jihadists such as al-Nusra practice kuffar-labelling Alawites, Shiites and Sufis as non-Muslims (Infidels).

Objectives of the al-Nusra opposition:

1. To establish a group including many existing jihadists (including AIQ-al-Queda in Iraq), linking them together into one coherent entity

2. To reinforce and strengthen the consciousness of the Islamist nature of the conflict to build military capacity for the group, seizing opportunities to collect weapons and train recruits, and to create safe havens by controlling physical places upon which to exercise their power.

4. To create an Islamist state in Syria

5. To establish a ‘Caliphate’ in Bilad al-Sham (the Levant)

They disagree with the FSA leadership, particularly their relationships with regional and international players and their attitude towards democracy.

[Quillam Foundation Report: Jabhat al-Nusra li-ahl al-Sham min Mujahedi al-Sham fi Sahat al-Jihad. A Strategic Briefing]Image

Human Rights violations include suicide bombings, a massacre in the town of al-Latamina, and various executions including (most recently) a Catholic priest.

 Human Rights violations from the Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic on February 13, 2013 include:

1. Mass executions of civilians

2. “Execution without due process”

3. Extrajudicial executions

4. Arbitrary arrest and detention

5. Enforced disappearance-displace civilians from their homes.

6. Torture and other forms of ill-treatment. Torture and other inhumane acts were not committed as part of either a widespread or systematic attack on the civilian population.

7. Sexual violence, including rape, electrocution of genitals by live wires and the burning of the genitals by cigarettes, lighters or melted plastic.

8. Unlawful attacks to include indiscriminate bombings, civilians as human shields “crime of attacking people”

9. Crime of attacking protected objects; i.e., hospitals, medical supplies

10. Pillaging and razing

THE TARGET-“THE BUTCHER OF DAMASCUS”

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his family come from the minority Alawite Muslim religious group, an offshoot of Shi’ite Islam that comprises an estimated 12 percent of the total Syrian population.

ImageFigure 8. President Bashar al-Assad of Syria

Although Muslim, the Alawites are considered kuffar (infidels) by jihadist groups such as the opposition al-Nusra (al Qaeda affiliated) group.

Socioeconomic inequality increased significantly after free market policies were initiated by Hafez al-Assad (his father) in his later years, and accelerated after Bashar Assad came to power. With an emphasis on the service sector, these policies benefited only a minority of the nation’s population, mostly people who had connections with the government, and members of the Sunni merchant class of Damascus and Aleppo.

All infidels according to jihadist philosophy.

Violations of Human Rights (UN Report) before the uprising under Bashar al-Assad included:

1. Lengthy pretrial and incommunicado detention

2. Arrested and detainments without providing just cause

3. Tortured and physically abuse

4. Restrictions on freedom of speech, press, assembly, association, and religion. Those belonging to the Muslim Brotherhood or Communist Party were banned.

5. Ethnic and racial discrimination-Kurds were denied citizenship until April 2011

6. Sexual Violence

7. Detention of political prisoners

Deterioration of US-Syria relations occurred primarily due to:

1. Interference in Lebanese affairs

2. Protection of the leadership of Palestinian rejectionist groups in Damascus

3. Pursuit of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)-particularly during the Iraqi war

4. Being a state sponsor of terrorism such as:

  • Hamas. Syria provided support to Hamas during the Second Intifada; since braking from Assad in 2011, Hamas supports the opposition. But of course.
  • Palestinian Islamic Jihad-Maintains relations with both Iran and Syria against Israel. Currently receives around $3 million/month in aid from Iran
  • Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command-A small Palestinian nationalist militant organization based in Syria. Initially with the PLO,

They have been involved in numerous terrorist attacks on Israel and Lebanon to operate within its borders, and providing SCUDS to Hezbollah forces in Lebanon.

Even though Syria has publicly condemned international terrorist attacks, and has not been directly linked to terrorist activity since 1986, this resulted in economic sanctions against Syria in 2004 under President Bush and again in 2010 under President Obama.

5. US gave $6 million to the Barada satellite television channel which broadcast anti-government programming into Syria.

6. Syria’s opposition to the US-Iraqi War.

After the Arab Spring uprising, Assad ordered a mass crackdown and military sieges on pro-rebel protesters as related to the wider “Arab Spring” movement. Although considered a “reformer”, Al-Assad has been an outspoken critic of the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey.

Human Rights violations from the Report of the Independent International Commission of Inquiry on the Syrian Arab Republic on February 13, 2013 include:

1. Summary mass executions of civilians

2. Extrajudicial executions

4. Arbitrary arrest and detention

5. Enforced disappearance-displace civilians from their homes.

6. Torture and other forms of ill treatment-Torture and other inhumane acts were not committed as part of either a widespread or systematic attack on the civilian population.

7. Sexual violence, including rape, electrocution of genitals by live wires and the burning of the genitals by cigarettes, lighters or melted plastic

8. Unlawful attacks to include indiscriminate bombings, civilians as human shields “crime of attacking people”

9. Crime of attacking protected objects; i.e., hospitals, medical supplies

10. Pillaging and razing

 THE SLUDGE-SARIN

Image

 

 

 

Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Figure 9. Molecular conformations of Sarin (Isopropyl methylphosphonofluoridate) 3D (Top) and 2D (Bottom)

ChemSpider ID: 7583

Sarin is an organophosphorus compound with the formula [(CH3)2CHO] CH3PF. It is a colorless, odorless liquid, used as a chemical weapon owing to its extreme potency as a nerve agent.

Sarin is a potent inhibitor of acetyl cholinesterase, a protein that degrades the neurotransmitter acetylcholine after it is released into the synaptic cleft.

Image

Figure 10. Pathophysiology of Sarin at the neuromuscular junction (courtesy, State Department of Health, Medscape).

A build-up of acetylcholine in the synaptic cleft, due to the inhibition of cholinesterase, means the neurotransmitter continues to act on the NMJ, so that any nerve impulses are continually transmitted.

 The muscle, particularly the respiratory muscles, remain in a stable of contraction and are unable to relax resulting in asphyxiation and death. Sarin can be fatal within one minute after direct ingestion of a lethal dose, due to suffocation from lung muscle paralysis.

Sarin has a high volatility (ease with which a liquid can turn into a gas) relative to similar nerve agents, therefore inhalation can be very dangerous and even vapor concentrations may immediately penetrate the skin. A person’s clothing can release Sarin gas, which can lead to exposure of other people.

ImageFigure 11. Victims of the sarin attack in Syria, 2013.

The initial symptoms following exposure to Sarin are a runny nose, tightness in the chest and constriction of the pupils. Soon after, the victim has difficulty breathing and experiences nausea and drooling. As the victim continues to lose control of bodily functions, the victim vomits, defecates and urinates.

 Image

 Figure 12. Signs and symptoms of sarin toxicity

This phase is followed by twitching and jerking. Ultimately, the victim becomes comatose and suffocates in a series of convulsive spasms:

S (Salivation-Drooling)

L (Lacrimation-Tearing)

U (Urination)

D (Defecation)

G (Gastrointestinal distress)

E (Emesis-Vomiting)

This will quickly lead to:

D (Drooling)

E (Emesis)

A (Asphyxiation)

T (Tearing)

H (Horror)

Sarin degrades quickly in the body, first into a substance called isopropyl methyl phosphonic acid (IMPA), and then into methyl phosphonic acid (MPA).

Many nerve agents, including Sarin, Soman, Cyclosarin and VX all break down into MPA, but only Sarin leaves IMPA behind, which is detectable for several weeks (asee image 13 below).

 Sarin has been classified as a weapon of mass destruction [WMD] in UN Resolution 687. Production and stockpiling

Note “stockpiling”

of Sarin was outlawed by the Chemical Weapons Convention of 1993 where it is classified as a Schedule 1 substance. It is mixed and stored in aluminum shell casings immediately before or when the shell is in flight. This approach has the dual benefit of solving the stability issue and increasing the safety of Sarin munitions.

This also means they really aren’t released by accident as there is some preparation involved (mixing of enantiomers).

0.5 mg dose=Mild symptoms of intoxication.

Problem in diagnosis of exposure: Sarin in blood is rapidly degraded either in vivo or in vitro. The serum level of unbound isopropylmethylphosphonic acid (IMPA), a Sarin hydrolysis product, ranged from 2-135 µg/L in survivors of a terrorist attack during the first 4 hours post-exposure.

Sarin or its metabolites may be determined in blood or urine by gas or liquid chromatography, while cholinesterase activity is usually measured by enzymatic methods.

ImageFigure 13. IMPA spike indicative of acute sarin exposure.

HISTORY LESSON, HISTORY LESSON.

-Or, “our best friends lay between the sheets.”

1938. Sarin was discovered while designing a very good pesticide. It proved to be good enough to be donated to the German Army Weapons Office in 1939. It is estimated that Nazi Germany produced up to 10 tons.

Cockroaches must have been a major problem in World War II.

1953. Brilliant military strategist, “Q”, decided than since Sarin was such a good pesticide, and that if it was good enough to kill cockroaches (and Jews), it just might kill humans, too! Test it! A ‘misadventure” occurred and 20 year old Ronald Maddison died.

This was before it was discovered that cockroaches could survive a nuclear attack.

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Figure 15. Could a cockroach survive a Sarin exposure?

1956. Regular production of Sarin ceased in the United States, though existing stocks of bulk Sarin were “re-distilled” until 1970.

1970.  Operation Tailwind/Genoa. Operation Tailwind was a covert incursion into southeastern Laos during the Vietnam War, conducted between September 11-13, 1970.

The “Valley of Death” report claimed Sarin nerve gas had been used, and other war crimes had been committed by U.S. forces during Operation Tailwind during the Vietnam War. Allegations were made that U.S. aircraft, in an unprecedented reversal of policy and breach of international treaties, had utilized Sarin nerve gas (“GB” in US/NATO nomenclature) when North Vietnamese ground troops began to attack the landing zones. Indeed, it was not disputed that some chemical agent was utilized, nor that both North Vietnamese and American soldiers struggled against its effects, which may have also included American defectors. Reportedly, over 100 men, women, and children had been killed during the attack on the village. [Department Of Defense Review Of Allegations Concerning “Operation Tailwind” July 21, 1998]

Another story of Angels and demons?

1968.  Syria (Syrian Arab Republic, population 20.2 million, 2011) ratified the 1925 Geneva Protocol, which bans the use of chemical (CW) and bacteriological (BW) methods of warfare “without reservation”.

Well, sort of. It did except for the proviso that the Protocol did not represent recognition of Israel. [Syria’s Chemical and Biological Weapons: Assessing Capabilities and Motivations; M. Zuhair Diab. The Nonproliferation Review/Fall 1997].

Needless to say…

1982. Syria decided to build up its CW capability after recognizing the limitations of Syrian air power against Israel in the 1982 Lebanon War. As a result, Syria adopted an alternative missile strategy, which required a non-high-explosive warhead to compensate for lack of missile accuracy.

1983. The leading Syrian military journal Al-Fikr al-Askri reported on two translated articles: one from a French military journal on chemical and biological weapons and a second from a German military journal on CW decontamination procedures that Syria had continued to build up their CW stockpile.

March 1988. Over the span of two days in March, the ethnic Kurd city of Halabja in northern Iraq (population 70,000) was bombarded with chemical and cluster bombs, which included Sarin, in the Halabja poison gas attack. An estimated 5,000 people died.

1989. Israeli Foreign Minister Moshe Arens alleged chemical weapons (CW) production facilities in Syria are located in the vicinity of Damascus, Homs, and Aleppo.

An Israeli analyst wrote than the “chemical warheads are produced in Syria with the assistance of North Korean and West European technicians and engineers, and that “Syria is not able to attain full independence of foreign suppliers and aid, at least for now.”

According to the U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research, Syria “has had a chemical warfare program since mid-1988.  A U.S. analyst described Syria’s CW capability as more advanced than that of Iraq, while noting that Syria had a much larger stockpile.

1993. The United Nations Chemical Weapons Convention was signed by 162 member countries, banning the production and stockpiling of many chemical weapons, including Sarin. It went into effect on 29 April 1997, and called for the complete destruction of all specified stockpiles of chemical weapons by April 2007.

November 1996. The Israeli Defense Minister, General Yitzhak Mordechai, claimed that Russian scientists were helping Syria manufacture the nerve gas VX

November, 1996. Syria responded by stating they would use chemical warfare against Israel “if nuclear weapons were used”.

Would Syria even exist following an Israeli nuclear attack? Makes you raise an eyebrow at that statement. Remember the cockroaches..

Rationale for development of (Syrian) chemical weapons strategy

  1.        To act as a deterrent to Israeli use of nuclear weapons against Syria
  2.       To compensate for the loss of Egypt as a military ally after the signing of the Egypt–Israel Peace Treaty in 1979
  3.        To act as a deterrent to its powerful neighbor Turkey in any possible dispute.

[“Syria’s Chemical and Biological Weapons: Assessing capabilities and motivations”. The Nonproliferation Review, M. Zuhair Diab (Fall, 1997)]

May 1, 1997. President Assad, after meeting with Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak on May 1, 1997, replied to a journalist’s question about Israeli allegations that Syria was manufacturing CW by saying:

“Those who have nuclear weapons do not have the right to criticize others regarding any weapon which they possess. If they want disarmament, we should start with nuclear ones. We, the Arabs, are ready to get rid of other weapons.”

July, 2007. A Syrian military arms depot exploded, killing at least 15 Syrians, while fitting a Scud missile with a mustard gas warhead.

December, 2010. The “Arab Spring” movement begins across the Middle East.

January 26, 2011. The Arab Spring in Syria began resulting in a desire to dismantle the Assad regime and replace it with… who knows? Someone else. Anybody. The Syrian conflict begins.

December 23, 2011. Damascus.  Al-Nusra was suspected in the first suicide attack of the war when two seemingly coordinated explosions occurred in Damascus, killing 44 civilians and wounding 166.

January 24, 2012. The al-Nusra Front released its first public statement in which they called for armed struggle against the Syrian government.

Interestingly, the Institute for the Study of War linked the formation of al-Nusra with Syrian government sponsorship of Jihadi groups fighting Coalition troops during the Iraq War.

March 2012. According to the Vatican news agency Agenzia Fides, 90 per cent of the Christian population of Homs – about 10,000 people – were expelled from their homes by members of the FSA’s “Farouq Brigades”. The Catholic charity organization Aid to the Church in Need supported the Agenzia Fides report, stating that Christians faced “ethnic cleansing” by Islamic militants.

July, 2012. Mohammed Al-Saeed, a well-known government TV news presenter, was kidnapped by the Al-Nusra Front and executed him.

“The heroes of western Ghouta (in Damascus province) imprisoned the shabih (pro-regime militia) presenter on July 19,” said Al-Nusra. “He was then killed after he had been interrogated.”

July 6, 2012. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari has said that members of the al-Qaeda in Iraq (AIQ) have gone to Syria in order to join the al-Nusra Front and bring additional support and weapons. [Karam, Zeina (07/6/2012). “Iraq: Al-Qaeda migrates to Syria”. Associated Press.]

September 28, 2012. Syrian military began moving its chemical weapons from Damascus to the port city of Tartus. Military restarted testing of chemical weapons at a base on the outskirts of Aleppo begins again. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov stated that Syria had given the United States “explanations” and “assurances” that it was taking care of the weapons.

November 11, 2012.  Syrian National Council. These are the objectives of The National Coalition of Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces (Free Syrian Army, al-Nufstra Front) in their desire to overthrow Assad:

  1. Oust the regime (including its symbols and pillars of support);Dismantle the security services;
  2. Unify and support the military councils of the Free Syrian Army;
  3. Reject dialogue or negotiation with the criminal regime; and
  4. Hold accountable those responsible for killing Syrians, destroying our country, and displacing our people.[Syria Today 12-11-2012; Local coordination committees of Syrian Black in Doha, theguardian.com, Tuesday 26 March 2013 12.58 EDT]          

November 12, 2012. The Arab League on Monday recognized the newly formed Syrian opposition bloc as “legitimate,” urging more opposition groups to join the coalition. The Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) comprises Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar and Kuwait. [Al Arabiya News. 12 November 2012.]

November 14, 2012. President Obama drew a careful limit around the U.S. role in the civil war in Syria, saying he would not recognize “the opposition” (Free Syrian Army-recognized by several countries as the true leader of the Syrian people”; al-Nusra Front-although a stronger opponent to Assad, nevertheless tied to al-Qaeda) as a “government in exile,” or yield to mounting international pressure to begin arming militias battling President Bashar Assad.

He (President Obama) seemed to have changed his mind about, “yield(ing) to mounting international pressure” one month later. Bow to the King again…

December 3, 2012. Washington, DC. President Obama deplores the use of chemical weapons and said that in the event of “further” (?) use by Syria “there will be consequences and you will be held accountable.”

“Further”?” It’s funny how a single word like “further” can be overlooked.

December 8, 2012. Allepo, Syria. Members of the jihadist opposition group Al-Nusra Front captured a Saudi-owned toxic chemicals plant outside of Aleppo.

December 12, 2012. The State Department says the al-Nusra Front is directly connected to al-Qaeda in Iraq and is pushing for an intolerant Islamist state to be established once al-Assad is ousted. “al-Nusra has sought to portray itself as part of the legitimate Syrian Image

Figure 16. al Nusra summarily executing unarmed Alawite prisoners

opposition while it is, in fact, an attempt by AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq)  to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said in a statement. [December 12, 2012. Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY]

December 7, 2012. The opposition formed the Supreme Joint Military Command Council, known as the Supreme Military Command (SMC). The SMC has the potential to serve as a check on radicalization and help to assert a moderate authority in Syria. If the SMC can create enough incentives for moderation it will likely be able to marginalize the most radical elements within its structure. To this end, the SMC has recognized the importance of the inclusion of some of the more radical forces, while still drawing a red line at the inclusion of forces that seek the destruction of a Syrian state, such as jihadist groups like Jabhat Nusra. [http://www.understandingwar.org/report/free-syrian-army#sthash.Gd9Jlyyj.dpuf]

December 12, 2012. US President Obama announced that he was recognizing the new Syrian opposition council as the “sole legitimate representative of the Syrian people”. Reluctantly, and a more likely scenario is that the entire Arab already recognized them in November.

Who’s pulling whose trigger here?

“al-Nusra Front has sought to portray itself as part of the legitimate Syrian opposition while it is, in fact, an attempt by AQI (al-Qaeda in Iraq) to hijack the struggles of the Syrian people for its own malign purposes,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland.”

Mo bettah. Go with the Free Syrian Army.

December 23, 2012.  al-Bayyada neighborhood of Homs, Syria. Al Jazeera released unconfirmed reports that a gas attack killed 7 civilians in the rebel-held al-Bayyada neighborhood of Homs.

Suspect was the use of Agent 15 (NATO code BZ-a Schedule 2 controlled weapon [Chemical Weapons Convention). The weapon was delivered by tank shell.

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Figure 17. Cannisters designed to hold multiple Sarin “bombs”.

January 15, 2013. A secret State Department cable has concluded that the Syrian military likely used chemical weapons against its own people in a deadly attack in Homs, Syria. 

January, 2013. National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor stated that the “chemical weapons incidents in Syria has not been consistent with what we believe to be true about the Syrian chemical weapons program.” In Turkey, there was reportedly forensic evidence of chemical weapons being used in the conflict, after examining a soil sample smuggled out of Syria. [Reuters].

The US responds by saying, “If Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government did resort to these weapons, it would be held to account.”

ImageFigure 18. Too complicated and “feckless”.

March 14, 2013. Outaiba, Syria. Chemicals were released by shells. Symptoms consistent with nerve gas (Dyspnea, vomiting, pupil constriction, loss of hearing) were observed.

Soldiers on the ground wearing gas masks were also “presumptive evidence” (and running away when they heard a hissing sound) that chemicals were used.  60 people admitted to a hospital in Nashabiyya. 

March 19, 2013. Khan al-Asal district, Aleppo, Syria and Al Atebeh suburbs, Damascus, Syria. 25 people were killed when a “possible” chemical weapon was used and delivered by SCUD missile. The Russian government sided with the Syrian government and blamed the rebels for the attack.  

Do the rebels have SCUD missiles too? Really?

March 26, 2013.  The Syrian National Coalition was granted Syria’s seat in the Arab League.

March 2013. The jihadist force, al-Nusra, congratulated themselves on being responsible 57 of 69 suicide bombings during the conflict.

April 13, 2013. British military scientists have found forensic evidence of, “some kind of chemical weapon” being used in the conflict, after examining a soil sample smuggled out of Syria.[Euronews]

April 11, 13, 14, and 18, and May 12-14, 2013. Jobar, Syria. Sarin gas used. Witnessed by reporters from Le Monde.

April 25, 2013. U.S intelligence assessment states that the Assad regime had likely used chemical weapons – specifically Sarin gas.

April, 29, 2013. Saraqueb, Syria. Sarin gas used. 2 killed. United Nations independent commission of inquiry on Syria said it had “gathered testimony – indicating” rebels had used the nerve agent sarin in attacks. Samples from victims were analyzed in labs in France and Britain which confirmed Sarin. Britain has evidence suggesting a number of different chemical agents have been used, “sometimes including Sarin, sometimes not,” said Britain’s ambassador to the United Nations, Mark Lyall Grant.

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Figure 19. Not a surprise, al-Nusra announces publicly its alllegiance to the Islamic state of Iraq (AIQ, or al-Qaeda In Iraq). The US then publicly announces its support for the Free Syrian Army.

April, 2013. The leader of the Islamic state of Iraq (AIQ, or al-Qaeda In Iraq) released an audio statement announcing that Jabhat al-Nusra is its branch in Syria. The leader of al-Nusra, Abu Mohammad al-Golani, then said that the group will not merge with the Islamic state of Iraq, but still maintain allegiance to Ayman al-Zawahiri, the leader of al-Qaeda.

That won’t even buy you a SRO ticket with Arab League.

 The UN General Assembly approved a resolution condemning Assad forces for human rights violations and called for a transitional government.

May 30, 2013. 12 people from Syria’s al Qaeda-linked al-Nusra Front who allegedly had been planning an attack inside Turkey and were in possession of 2 kg (4.5 pounds) of Sarin.

2 kg? Remember 0.5 mg can be toxic.

This was later denied by the Turkish government.

2 kg of Sarin was a mistake? “”Saccharin”!? Gee, we thought it said “Sarin”. So sorry, my mistake. You’re free to go.”

The leader of a rebel group in Idlib Province said, “We are not fighting Bashar al-Assad to go from living in an autocratic to a religious prison” after the Assad government has been overthrown, the next war will be between the FSA and the Islamists”.  [Reuters, ANKARA | Thu May 30, 2013 4:09pm EDT]

No doubt.

May 23, 2013. Adra, Syria. Rebels report use of nerve gas. Blood samples obtained and analyzed in France.

June 4, 2013. The British, French, and Turkey governments have said that bodily fluid (blood) samples smuggled out of Syria after the Jaboba attacks and Homs (on December 23, 2012) have tested positive for the nerve agent Sarin.

They have shown the evidence to a UN investigation. A senior UK official said it appeared possible that Syrian army commanders had been given instructed or allowed by the regime to use Sarin “in small quantities”.

Only a little bit.

ImageFigure 20. “It’s not that big a deal so far,” said Charles Duelfer,

the former US Special Advisor to the Director of Central Intelligence for Iraq WMD and chief weapons inspector. Charles A. Duelfer replaced David Kay on January 23, 2004 as the leader of the Iraq Survey Group, which was the United States’ search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.

  June 11, 2013. Ralf Trapp, an independent consultant formerly at the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons in The Hague, said finding IMPA in the blood was clear proof of Sarin use.

“It doesn’t get there by any other means. You don’t find it in nature, or in industrial pollution.” [Julian Borger, The Guardian, Tuesday, June 4, 2013]            

July 11, 2013. The Free Syrian Army (FSA) commander Kamal Hamami (aka Abu Bassir al-Ladkani) was killed by members of the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham ISI(S) in Latakia. The Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) is the organizational name for al Qaeda in Iraq and provides support to al-Nustra. A “high ranking Free Syrian Army official” told as-Sharq al-Awsat that Hamami’s assassination, as well as the beheading of a different FSA leader in Ad-Dana a week earlier, signaled the start of this plan, which would culminate with the announcement of an Islamic State in Northern Syrian on the first day of Eid al-Fitr. The reality indicates that there is an increasing proportion of rebel-held territory in Syria coming under the governance of jihadists such as ISI(S) or al-Nustra.

Damned infighting.

June 13, 2013. Washington, DC, United States. The United States announced that there is definitive proof that the Assad government has used limited amounts of chemical weapons on multiple occasions on rebel forces, killing 100 to 150 people but, “officials cautioned that the number could be higher.” The United Arab Emirates described the Obama administration as “feckless”, “tepid”, and lacking “a strong American leadership”. 

ImageFigure 21. President Obama Responds to Syria’s Use of Chemical Warfare, “OK, now you’ve got me real mad. I’m gonna do something. I will. You’ll see. I’m really serious this time. Dag-nab-it, I asked you not to cross the “red-line” and you did it anyway. Next time I won’t say “please”. Just you wait.” (See December 3, 2012). Mediguano denies all accuracy of this quote and it’s content should be taken very lightly.

June 23, 2013. NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said on Monday he was personally convinced that a chemical attack took place and that the Assad government was responsible. [Euronews, June 23, 2013].

June 23, 2013. While a relaxing vacation from their support of the Syrian people, members of Jabhat al-Nusra attacked a Christian convent in Gassanieh, in northern Syria, physically removed and brutally beheaded Syrian Catholic priest François Murad and two of his assistants. [ASIA/SYRIA – A Catholic priest killed. Bishop Hindo: he offered his martyrdom for peace. Agenzia Fides. 24 June 2013]

July 23, 2012. Aleppo, Syria. Syria admitted to possessing a stockpile of chemical weapons which it claims are reserved for national defense against foreign countries. “Testing” began. Weapons include mustard blistering agents and nerve agents such as Sarin, Tabun, and VX. These agents must be delivered by aerial bombs, surface-to-surface missiles, and artillery rockets. “

August 21, 2013. Ghouta, Syria. 281-350 (British JIC) (maybe up to as many as 1300, who knows) people killed.  The United States put the death toll at 1,429. This included 426 children. The attack presumably was ordered by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

On his official State sponsored Instagram account, Assad responded by saying the accusations were “completely baseless” and,

“What we say is what we mean: there is no use of such things (chemical weapons) at all, at least not by the Syrian army or the Syrian state, and it’s easy to prove and it is not that complicated.”

A “targeted” operation by the US in response is being discussed. The targets are unknown.

August 29, 2013. The British Joint Intelligence Committee assessed previously that “the Syrian regime used lethal CW on 14 occasions from 2012.”  Also, “There is no credible intelligence or other evidence to substantiate the claims or the possession of CW by the opposition (which one?).

The JIC has therefore concluded that there are no plausible alternative scenarios to regime responsibility.”, and, “…it is highly likely that the (Syrian) regime was responsible for the CW attacks on 21 August.” [Letter to the Prime Minister. Jon Day, Chairman of the British Joint Intelligence Committee, August 29, 2013].

Well, what about the report of al-Nusra Front members being arrested in Turkey in May of 2013 with 2 kg of Sarin? Aren’t they considered “opposition”?

It can be a little muddy sometimes. Yes, indeed.

September 7, 2013.  The European Union, composed of 28 governments, issued a statement from its foreign policy chief that “a clear and strong response” must be delivered on the use of chemical weapon weapons in Syria, but has urged those advocating military strikes to wait for a UN inspectors’ report, expected later this week.”

President Barack Obama has asked the US Congress to approve the use of force. A final vote in the US Senate is expected by September 16, 2013. France supports a military solution but desires to wait for the UN decision.

Good idea.

A recent Gallup poll indicated 51% of Americans oppose a strike in Syria, only 36% support it and 13% are undecided.

Attack without the support premature to the UN inspector is unnecessary.

What benefit would a military strike be to add to the mounting casualties in the civil crisis in Syria, now over 100,000?

“In the final analysis, the purpose of power is power.”

Mediguano, 9/7/2013

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Figure 22. The bleak future of the Syrian people regardless of who the governing body wil be in the future.

 

Emotional Sanctuary -Millennium friendships and the fine-line of emotional intimacy.

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Introduction:

Might as well start with a conversation. Usually a good idea to strike up a conversation first.

Harry Burns: You realize of course that we could never be friends.

Sally Albright: Why not?

Harry Burns: What I’m saying is – and this is not a come-on in any way, shape or form – is that men and women can’t be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.

Sally Albright: That’s not true. I have a number of men friends and there is no sex involved.

Harry Burns: No you don’t.

Sally Albright: Yes I do.

Harry Burns: No you don’t.

Sally Albright: Yes I do.

Harry Burns: You only think you do.

Sally Albright: You say I’m having sex with these men without my knowledge?

Harry Burns: No, what I’m saying is they all WANT to have sex with you.

Sally Albright: They do not.

Harry Burns: Do too.

Sally Albright: They do not.

Harry Burns: Do too.

Sally Albright: How do you know?

Harry Burns: Because no man can be friends with a woman that he finds attractive. He always wants to have sex with her.

Sally Albright: So, you’re saying that a man can be friends with a woman he finds unattractive?

Harry Burns: No. You pretty much want to nail ’em too.

Sally Albright: What if THEY don’t want to have sex with YOU?

Harry Burns: Doesn’t matter because the sex thing is already out there so the friendship is ultimately doomed and that is the end of the story.

Sally Albright: Well, I guess we’re not going to be friends then.

Harry Burns: I guess not.

–          From the 1989 screenplay, “When Harry Met Sally”.  Written by Nora Ephron; Columbia Pictures

That movie is a true classic on human nature (behavior) as you’re about to find out. Most of us already have formed an opinion on the question, “Can men and women really be friends”? My answer is of course, is  (____fill in the blank). Provided, of course then that it (the “friendship” is a mutually expected arrangement. Otherwise it can potentially be a bit confusing. Not to each other mind you (keep laughing) because we just don’t communicate these things with our different-gender friend.  Those gentle words, “And where did you get THAT idea” become rather loud and resonant. That just might be a bit embarrassing…

Here are some quotes I read (selectively) on the Internet recently, pro and con, on than very question:

Pro:

Male: For me it only works with married women and women dating really good friends. I’ve only had one female friend for a long time with whom I truly have that kind of stable friendship and actually she pined for me for a while (as I found out later.)

Female: I have been lifelong friends with several guys. Sure there was/is sexual tension as far as they are concerned but they know better than to cross that line. Sex isn’t everything. Women value friendship more than sex. Don’t get me wrong; women love sex.

Female: I think that you can have a best friend of the opposite sex. My ex-husband is my best friend…

Male: With my line of work, I come into contact with beautiful women all the time. But for me, it is a matter of knowing when not to cross boundaries. With some people, there will always be sexual attraction, but you don’t have to always go there with them. You can get a lot out of a friendship when you keep it platonic.

Female: I have many guy friends. They are my friends because they all started out as guys that wanted to date me or sleep with me. I mean, like, if you get along enough to hang out, have dinners, talk on the phone, that’s a big part of a relationship, right?”

Female: When I got married, I had two Men-of-Honor. Growing up, my best friend was a guy. It actually feels more comfortable [to me], and I think that’s the key. If it’s too labored or analyzed, then it’ll never work.”

Con:

Female: While men and women can be friends, it is difficult for the relationship to be entirely platonic. Our genetics simply drive our attraction to the opposite sex! The likelihood that at least one party is drawn to the other sexually is very high, regardless of whether or not anything ever comes of it. This is the reason jealousy and infidelity exists; we are not wired to be a monogamous species.

Male: Men and women often think they are nothing but friends, when in reality one person’s mind or the other is thinking more. They may never share this information with their friend, but there is always that feeling that one of these days we’re going to get a little tipsy and make-out.

Female: Men and women cannot be friends with someone they are attracted to, and unfortunately, most men are attracted to almost every woman so the idea that they can be friends without thoughts of sex is ridiculous. Being friends in group activities is fine. I would get worried if your guy was off doing one-on-one stuff with a woman. That’s called a date.

Female: The only way you can be friends with another man when you’re married is if you find this man so unattractive, there would be no way he could ever worm his way into your pants.

Female: Rule number 1: There is no such thing as “just friends” between a man and a woman where at least one is sexually attracted to the other.

Rule number 2: First learn rule number 1

Emotional Sanctuary (defined):

“The state of wellness in a relationship, including the family, where mutual agreed upon emotional boundaries are respected, conflicts are centralized and resolved only between the those individuals directly involved in the relationship (trust). Additionally, the individuals are capable of both giving and receiving Kindness, exhibit Compassion towards each other, and are capable of initiating Joy in their partner(s). A central feature of the Emotional Sanctuary is that each individual in the Sanctuary has the Freedom to experience life and not interfere emotionally on the Freedom of the other within their Sanctuary.”

-Rick Perez, August, 2013

If you’ve not read this book, and I highly recommend it, “True Love: An Awakening of the Heart” by Thich Naht Hahn, you’ll true loverecognize where the term “Emotional Sanctuary” came from. It’s my Bible when it comes to how an ideal couple should and can relate to each other completely.

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And so she asks her friend, “Why do men like to start talking to me about their marriage problems?”

The number 1 polled answer was:

To demonstrate that they’re taken so you’ll be more interested in them.

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Figure1. Link to, “When Harry Met Sally“, on YouTube. The “scene” of course! The “When Harry Met Sally” research effect is alive and well in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationship.2

Recently published research appears to lend credence to what we would innately already know 8,9,10,1,13. When asked about their friendships, men report greater sexual attraction to their female friends than females report regarding their male friends (as reported by Kelly, 201210). Additionally, it appears very likely that males overestimate how attracted to them their female friends actually are10.

Representative Case Study “Katie’s Story”

“Years ago, there was a married guy who occasionally came into the office where I worked. He was nice and funny, but I thought he had a really odd look about him. The only attraction I felt for him was as a friend. However, over a period of months, we went from small talk to brief conversations. From there, we developed trust and friendship.

We went to lunch, and from there, we began to talk sometimes on the phone, but it was still strictly platonic. Our conversations became more frequent, with his building my trust and encouraging me to depend on him as a friend. He said that his wife was completely supportive of our friendship, and since he would call and talk to her in front of me, telling me she said hello, and telling her that he was staying at my house for the night, I saw no reason not to believe him. (I thought she was stupid… NEVER think its okay for your husband to sleep over at another woman’s home, regardless of what she looks like!)

Then, he told me that his marriage wasn’t what he had portrayed it to be, that they had been “growing apart” for years, and all the other garbage that married men tell women they want. Since he had very carefully established my trust, I believed he was being honest with me. Soon after that, at the end of our phone conversations, he began to say he loved me, with the caveat that it was “as a friend.” I felt very uneasy about it, but I felt compelled to say it back to him.

After a few months, he told me that he wanted to “express his love for me physically”! Looking back, I should’ve seen it coming, but I didn’t! He was such a “proper” guy, I just couldn’t imagine him saying something like that. I was really shocked, and I told him. He said, “It’s no big deal. It’s just sex.” I said, “And what would your wife think about that?” He said he was sure she would understand! I said, “OkaWhen your husband tells you, “I’m not attracted to her! There’s nothing going on,” don’t trust it. I used to think that physical attraction was something that was either there, or it wasn’t–that it couldn’t be cultivated. I learned that I was wrong about that.

y, why don’t you give her a call, and ask her how she would feel about it, and if she’s okay with it, we’ll do it.”

Of course, he didn’t call her. Over a period of several more weeks, he tried to get me to go to where he and his wife lived and spend a few days with them. At that point, though it seemed to not fit with what I thought I knew of his character, I assumed they had an open marriage, and that he wanted us to have a three-way. I wasn’t about to go for that, so I told him that just seemed a little too weird, considering the fact that he had said he wanted to sleep with me.

I was going through a divorce and was extremely vulnerable at the time, which I had shared with him. I had developed feelings for him as a friend, and when he continued to pressure me about sex, I began to fear that I would lose him as a friend if I didn’t give in to him. (Totally out of touch with reality, I know!) So I eventually gave in, and stayed with him for four years, the last one of which I refused to see him because he was still married. He had told me all along that he was getting a divorce, but that he couldn’t do it until he could afford to.

I loved him, but after four years, I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed to end it, but I couldn’t do it without knowing the truth, and there was only one way to get it.”

In other words, males are projecting their sexual attraction on to their female friends.So maybe it is a little naïve for women to think that our male friends “couldn’t possibly like us like that, because we appear to presume whatever we feel is reciprocated by our male friends.1

“Katie’s Story” -continued

I called his wife, and found that she had no clue that he was seeing me, even though she said he hadn’t slept with her for almost two years! I don’t know if she ever left him. If I had to guess, I’d say she’s probably still with him, still looking the other way while he does whatever he wants, with women he calls “friends.”

Okay, I said all that to make this point: I started out with absolutely no attraction to that guy, to being completely attracted to him. You can’t trust the fact that your husband isn’t attracted to a woman he calls a friend. He might not be attracted to her now, but after he gets to know her better, an attraction might develop. Or the relationship might be platonic now because she isn’t attracted to him, but if she were to become vulnerable, she might develop an attraction to him. And, of course, the same could be said about your own feelings for an opposite-sex friend.

I’m not going to say that it’s impossible to have a platonic male-female relationship, and that if your husband has a female “friend,” he’s sleeping with her. But I will say that if your husband has a female friend, and especially if she’s attractive, you’d better not trust it. Even if she’s also your friend, if your husband talks to her or sees her without your being there, you have reason to be suspicious. Call me jaded, if you want, but I’ve seen it too many times. Don’t trust it!”

The Evidence: Scientific American, 2012

– Men and Women Can’t Be “Just Friends”. Scientific American. Adrian F. Ward, October 23, 201213

Men and women can’t really be just friends. New research suggests that there may be some truth to this possibility—that we may think we’re capable of being “just friends” with members of the opposite sex, but the opportunity (or perceived opportunity) for “romance” is often lurking just around the corner, waiting to pounce at the most inopportune moment.

In order to investigate the viability of truly platonic opposite-sex friendships—a topic that has been explored more on the silver screen than in the science lab—researchers brought 88 pairs of undergraduate opposite-sex friends into…a science lab.  Privacy was paramount—for example, imagine the fallout if two friends learned that one—and only one—had unspoken romantic feelings for the other throughout their relationship.  In order to ensure honest responses, the researchers not only followed standard protocols regarding anonymity and confidentiality, but also required both friends to agree—verbally, and in front of each other—to refrain from discussing the study, even after they had left the testing facility. These friendship pairs were then separated, and each member of each pair was asked a series of questions related to his or her romantic feelings (or lack thereof) toward the friend with whom they were taking the study.

The results suggest large gender differences in how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships. Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa. Men were also more likely than women to think that their opposite-sex friends were attracted to them—a clearly misguided belief. In fact, men’s estimates of how attractive they were to their female friends had virtually nothing to do with how these women actually felt, and almost everything to do with how the men themselves felt—basically, males assumed that any romantic attraction they experienced was mutual, and were blind to the actual level of romantic interest felt by their female friends.

Funny thing was, the women, too, were blind to the mindset of their opposite-sex friends; because females generally were not attracted to their male friends, they assumed that this lack of attraction was mutual!

As a result, men consistently overestimated the level of attraction felt by their female friends and women consistently underestimated the level of attraction felt by their male friends.

Social Media and the Flurry of Emotional Affairs

 Image

“Natia W” recently posted one day on Facebook that, “If a guy, married or not, attempts to manipulate his way to into a friendship with me and I don’t know who his wife is, I tell him straight up front than he’s out of line and I have no desire to go forward with him. I don’t want someday to look in my rear view mirror and suddenly see a woman I don’t know charging at me thinking I’m after her man. I don’t need or want that kind of drama in my life.”

Dramatics are precisely what you’ll get when a married man tries to “be best friends” with a single woman without mentioning he has a wife. It is possible as we said earlier, for a man to befriend a woman provided his wife is also part of than friendship.

No double standard. \

If this ends in a divorce proceeding, keep in mind than attorneys find the social media haunts a great place to gather evidence for their clients. Roughly 81% of members from the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers pull information directly from places like Facebook (66%), MySpace (15%), and Twitter (5%), to name only a few (13% remaining various accessible social media sites.). Women (27%) use it quite a bit more frequently than men (5%).

Write this down: The most important thing to do in any meaningful, real relationship is to begin:

Establishing Boundaries to protect your Emotional Sanctuary

This is one of those “Lessons to be repeated until learned”16. Boundary setting is a necessity if trust has been compromised. You need to think of every possible situation that has already happened as well as situations that may occur, no matter how seemingly innocuous.   This includes flirtatious behavior from members of the opposite sex, contacts from past lovers on-line, sexually aggressive co-workers, chance encounters, etc. It should be understood that there’s nothing wrong with having friendships with other men/women. In fact, it’s inevitable. The key is to know where to draw the Redline and then to stay as far away from it as possible.

Why not? In 2009, it was reported than 20% of the people on those sites use it primarily for flirting. In a recent report in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social networking, people who use Facebook excessively (interpreted by the researchers as checking it more than hourly) are more likely to “experience Facebook–related conflict with their romantic partners, which then may cause negative relationship outcomes including emotional and physical cheating, breakup and divorce,” In particular, they reported that “high levels of Facebook use is associated with negative relationship outcomes for newer couples (three years or less).

In 2011, a poll of 5000 litigants in divorce was conducted (www.divorce-online.co.uk) which now indicates that 33% of all English divorces in 2011, up from 20% in 2009, cited Facebook as a contributing factor.

The 5,000 people polled gave these Top three reasons.

1) Inappropriate messages to members of the opposite sex.

2) Separated spouses posting nasty comments about each other.

3) Facebook friends reporting spouse’s behavior.

CROSSING THE RED LINE: Emotional Intimacy Questions

Attraction + Effort + Intimacy = Emotional Infidelity

Attraction is only one possible variable in an emotional affair. It occurs when someone catches their eye (see The Three Second Rule of Enticement below) or laughs at one of their jokes. Than is, that person to whom you have experienced an attraction to must have been the Initiator. We do not, as a rule, attach ourselves to a self-generated attachment. Unless we happen to be Narcissus by the pool. Weightlifters and Body builders probably fall into this category and might be able to initiate an attachment to themselves using the reflective wall mirrors. +

The property of the initiator is that this person, or thing, through a brief 4-5 second exposure of that stimulus on the attaching object is capable of initiating an attachment (κA) by itself.

IV (Visual)This is the minimum contribution, or numerical quantity, of physical appeal, or allure, required to form an initial attachment by itself.

IO (Olfactory)This is the minimum contribution, or numerical quantity, of olfactory appeal, or allure, required to form an initial attachment by itself. For example, your focus is suddenly redirected and focused upon suddenly smelling a woman’s perfume alone without hearing her voice, seeing her, or feeling her touch. Pheromones are very strong initiators.

IA (Auditory ) – Ooh, that whisper!

 IK (Kinesthetic) – An absolute

The action of the Initiator through these stimuli cause another individual to attach themselves to the initiator

Attraction A=IV

Attraction B=IV+IA

Attraction C=IA+IV

A simple questionnaire (Q )  is given to the individual that is scored to a 100 point scale and that value is used in the final summation:

κ(A,B,C…) = ( IO +IV+IA + IK) + Q (1

Index of Attraction [κ (A, B, C…)] = = ( IO +IV+IA + IK) + Q ( .

Effort – In 1987, Edward Higgins sought to illustrate that internal disagreement is capable of causing emotional and psychological turmoil.  This result from self-discrepancy. Self-discrepancy theory states that people compare themselves to internalized standards called “self-guides”. When we experience a discrepancy between the domain of self and the stand determine their attitudes and preferences by interpreting the meaning of their own behavior. It was noted in “Having the mind wander to positive events, to concurrent as opposed to past activities, and to many events rather than just one tends to be attributed to boredom and therefore leads to perceived dissatisfaction with an ongoing task. Such is the case when men and particularly “wander” onto the path of infidelity. Close relationships can lead to an inclusion of another person in an individual’s sense of self. When one becomes initially attached, little effort is required. To maintain than covert relationship over time, an increasing amount of energy is expended.  Happy, covert relationships are less demanding. Not only that, here appears to be truth in the statement “happiness is contagious”.  The self-expansion model has shown us than having a close relationship, even one of emotional infidelity, can lead to the inclusion of another person into our own individual’s sense of self.

In other words, the initiator provides the spark, but it is the internal self-perception, fed by the self-expansion of that “other friend” our own individual’s sense of self. Even when the behavior is inconsistent with our attitude (“What in the world am I doing? I love my wife but her I am flirting with another woman?”), this actually results in arousal and further perpetuation of the seemingly dissonant behavior.

To quantify the individual’s Effort in the EI calculation, one method would to incorporate the results from the Inclusion of Other in the Self scale (Aron, Aron, & Smollan, 1992) as a function of effort. ImageThe IOS can be downloaded directly from http://www.haverford.edu/psych/ble/continuous_ios/.  The IOS can also be used as a comparative tool to examine one’s response to both the normal partner and the “friend”. The IOS is a series of seven Venn-like diagrams, each depicting two circles in various states of overlap from not overlapped at all to nearly completely overlapped. The circles are labeled as “Self” and other “Other” with the term “other” as referring to an individual or thing contributing to the dissonance behavior.  The participant is instructed to select the set of circles that best represents his or her current relationship with another person, such as his or her usual romantic partner. This theoretical approach for understanding and measuring closeness has garnered much support (Agnew, Loving, Le, and Good friend, 2004). The resultant discrepancy Gap arising from the disparate closeness between friend and partner is the designated energy expenditure of closeness (evolution program).

Expenditure of Closeness =  (Another time.. another blog…)

Intimacy: Emotional Infidelity is the antithesis of existence within the Emotional Sanctuary. Another time…another blog…

 What now?

There are three signs than indicate than you may have crossed the red-line away from real emotional sanctuary:

  1. 1.      Do you find yourself sharing more of your feelings and thoughts with your male/female friend than with your life -partner? Many emotional attachments frequently begin, innocently as well, by willing to talk about their problems with another person of the opposite sex besides their life partner. They feel like “he/she understands me better than my wife/husband, my best friend”.  They feel a closer connection with them, so they start spending more time with them. Particularly in lonely men, this frequently leads to:
  2. 2.      Is there sexual tension around than person? You instinctively know when it is present. Huge red flag. Don’t rationalize it away.
  3. 3.      Is there secrecy in the way you disclose your “friendship” to your life partner? Than will send quick signals of bad karma to your life partner. Do you close your email window when your life partner walks by? Do you leave out details of your day because they include encounters with your friend, even the casual Hello’s? The minute you fudge anything about your relationship with your “friend”, you’ve stepped over the line.
    • Avoid frequent conversations about your personal life and away from online dating sites. A recent study shows that a large percentage of men who surf online dating sites are married. Virtual affairs are still affairs.

“Some men and women don’t know how to just be friends with the opposite sex. There are both men and women who have to constantly surround themselves with the opposite sex to boost their egos, even when they are in a committed relationship. People of this nature are immature and have self-esteem issues and many are just sexual thrill seekers. People who are like this most likely will never be in a lasting relationship because being faithful and not cheating on their significant other is not in their genetic makeup. They will always surround themselves with the opposite sex looking for someone, the more the better, to help fulfill their desire no matter how it affects their relationship or how much it hurts the other person. It’s always all about them and what they need or want.”

Image

A Redline to disaster or a harmless flirt?

He will tell you this over a casual discussion, as he looks longingly into your eyes (see the

The Three Second Rule of Enticement (below).

It’s absolutely deadly for the sincere, nurturing, and caring woman.

 

So, how do you spot this guy/girl right from the beginning? Well, the guy who just simply wants to be your “friend.” Yet, these men have a difficult time being just friends with women. Time and time again, the boundaries are tested. Plain and simple, they’re only friends with women they’re attracted to. Because that’s how it starts — with an emotional hook He’ll frame your interaction as business, like, “Hey, let’s have a business dinner,” or “Hey, let’s grab a drink after work.” He’ll flirt with you in ways that seem all so innocent. But let me tell you something: It’s not. Because this so-called “happily married man” is not happy.

He’s going to flirt with you innocently. He’s going to send you little texts to tell you that he read an article or saw something that reminded him of you, call at various times, and engage you in all your activities. It’s all going to seem so friendship-y, almost like you met a good female friend.

He’ll even tell his wife about the great friendship the two of you have. He’ll bring it out in the open, because he doesn’t want to believe that he is actually wants to cheat.

I’ve met a lot of these guys. They talk such a good game, but in reality, they’re living a compromised life. They wanted something from life but never truly believed that they could have everything. And now they find themselves “stuck” in a situation that’s displeasing and less than what they know is possible. Another surprise. The affairs the men have had were always initiated by the woman, always. Ask other men who have had an affair if they initiated the liaison or if they simply reacted to the woman’s overture. I suspect those of you who inquire will be quite surprised by your findings.

Beware. Never, ever get influenced by their flattery. They’re looking for an EMOTIONAL ESCAPE, whether it is mental, emotional, physical or all three. Be aware of these warning signs.

  • Ask yourself what it is that you want, and why you’re drawn to these men that you can’t have. Maybe there is a tiny bit of loneliness and lack of fulfillment within you, and that is attracting men in similar situations, many of them married.
  • Look at the people who are coming into your life as signposts for what’s going on inside of you. If you find yourself becoming excited by the overly-friendly man in the wedding ring — consider that you may have some internal issues to work out.
  • ·          And then run… preferably in the direction of available men not hampered down by preexisting relationships.2

 More Boundaries from the Female Perspective3

 These Guidelines for Mutual Love and Respect were gleaned from multiple sources on the Internet, and were fairly consistent. These are not conclusive by any means. The References are listed on the last page.

The “Don’ts”.

  • Don’t ride alone in the car with a married man. Even though it’s innocent, car rides can be long and isolated. Inside jokes are created and a deeper form of friendship comes through being alone together. If he’s married, there’s no need for him to have that kind of relationship with any woman except his wife.
  • Don’t be in the office alone with a married man. If there’s only two of us left in the office, one of us needs to leave. Or ask another co-worker to stay. I know this creates an awkward dynamic at first, but once it’s the standard, it becomes second-nature. Even if it’s only because of the pretense of what could be happening and definitely isn’t, it doesn’t matter. It’s worth it the safety-net.
  • If someone who is married begins to complain to me about their spouse, end it immediately. Say it’s inappropriate and that it makes you uncomfortable. If I were to tell my 18-year-old self one thing, it would’ve been that. I listened to far too many wife-bashing stories that I now, as a wife, really regret listening to. They have plenty of male friends they can talk with, and if they don’t, they can find some.
  • Don’t text/IM with a married man unless his wife is present, or I know she could read everything I’m saying without questioning my integrity or intentions.
  • One more time. Never ride alone in the car with someone of the opposite sex as a casual outing. Again, this can be the starting place for an isolated relationship. Driving in the car isn’t the danger – rather it’s the togetherness than a long car ride can bring.
  • Don’t be at work alone with a male co-worker, or vice versa. Just don’t “hang out” by yourself with someone of the opposite sex. You’re looking for companionship.
  • Do not (or at least try VERY HARD) to not put down (even in a joking way) your life partner around other people. That’s manipulative to get sympathy/affection and a real red flag particularly when the friend you’re having a quasi-private discussion with is of the opposite sex.
  • Don’t discuss your spouse’s flaws with your friend. Ever. Even if you consider yourself very close friends, it’s a form of betrayal to vent to your friend about your spouse’s shortcomings. How are you expecting the “friend to respond”? Right?
  • Don’t meet your friend in “Private”. Meet in public places at appropriate times of day. As the old saying goes, “Nothing good happens after 1:00 a.m.”. Absolutely. Time and place is a consideration.
  • No double standard. This is supposed to be repetitious for a reason. “If he/she can, I can,” is the guideline.  If it gets to than point, the bullets will already be flying. Look out.
  • Don’t go to bed without saying I’m sorry and/or I love you. Humility and forgiveness to each other paves a road to open communication and space left over for apology.

The “DO’s”

  • When it comes to friendships, if you’re a woman, be friends with women. I’m not saying you can’t have male friends. But please don’t be one of the girls that say, “I just can’t get along with women.” Do you know that means you are probably the problem in that equation? I have no doubts that women have hurt you and been cruel. But I also know a lot of great women who encourage and strengthen. So don’t stop at the “I don’t like women,” door; push beyond it and seek out deep, meaningful friendships with other women.
  • Listen to your intuition. Remember the 3 Second Rule of Encouraging Strangers (must less a romantically inclined “friend”. Recall the fact you as a woman, haven’t the slightest notion if he has a romantic interest in you.. If you feel deep down that your friend has romantic feelings for you, do not pursue the platonic friendship. Really. That’s a “Come and get it…uh, uh, uh, not so fast…Some things must be earned…” type of attitude and you are the initiator and propagator of whatever transpires. Not good.
  • Keep personal space and physical touch in check. Close proximity and intimate touch is reserved for your spouse alone. The energy of one touch can light a million fires in the soul if ignited.
  • Include your spouse in your activities with your friend. If it’s only platonic, “just a friend”, there should be no problem with one more person for the fun and frolic should there?
  • Your spouse always comes first. If your relationship with your friend is causing marital strife, your first consideration should always be your mate.
  • Agree on appropriate boundaries. ..”Interactions between people of different sexes even after marriage is part of life,” . Male/female friendships outside of marriage are inevitable. Therefore, a wife or husband should not only “limit the kind of talk [she has] with other men/women,” but needs to let her husband know that “he needs to do the same” (see No Double Standard above).  
  • Give (and expect) the benefit of the doubt. Trust!
  • Include one another in the friendship. If the “friend” isn’t agreeable, then the question is fairly moot and the answer is obvious.
  • Love each other like crazy. Your life partner, not the friend. Don’t withhold love, apology, or grace.

 

Bottom line is that, to avoid the potential for “When it’s More Than “Just Friends” it’s probably a fairly safe option to say, “I don’t think a married man should be hanging out with another girl or woman even if they are supposedly ‘just friends.’ He should be home with his family. If his priorities are elsewhere and not with you and your family, then you should be questioning the marriage.”11.

The 3 Second Rule of Enticement

Also referred to as the Copulatory Gaze, this rule basically states that the best time to engage a man/woman Belushiemotionally after getting the “right signals” from him/her (e.g., eye contact, or a smile) is to do so within 3-seconds of quietly held gaze.  “God” loves the human mating game, for no other aspect of our behavior is so complex, so subtle, or so pervasive. In Western cultures, where eye contact between the sexes is permitted, men and women often stare intently at potential mates for about two to three seconds during which their pupils may dilate—a sign of extreme interest.15

 10 ways10 Ways to “Drift-Proof” Your Emotions in Relationship:

BONUS Quiz!

CAN MEN AND WOMEN BE FRIENDS?  What’s your opinion?

Researchers tell us that men and women can be friends. But do we really believe them? A survey of more than 1,450 members of the Match.com dating site revealed that we’re an optimistic bunch7:

  1. Do you believe men and women can be platonic friends?

Yes:                 o

No:                  o

  1. Have you had a platonic friendship that crossed the line and became romantic or sexual?

Yes:                 o

No:                  o

  1. Who is more likely to misinterpret the intimacy of friendship for sexual desire?

Men:                o

Women:           o

  1. Is it possible to fall in love with someone who first enters your life as a friend?

Yes:                 o

No:                  o

  1. Do you hope that when you do fall in love, your partner will have started out as your friend?

Yes:                 o

No:                  o

  1. Who is better at keeping sex out of a platonic relationship?

Men:                o

Women:           o

For the answers, click on this link (or the cartoon):

 

 

References:

  1. Can Men and Women Be Friends? Azadeh Aalai, PhD http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-first-impression/201211/can-men-and-women-be-friends
  2. Benefit or burden? Attraction in cross-sex friendship. April Bleske-Rechek, et al. Journal of Social and Personal Relationships August 2012 vol. 29 no. 5 569-596. Available online at: http://spr.sagepub.com/content/29/5/569
  3. Emotional Cheating – The Real Betrayal of Trust. Jackie Castro. http://www.therapywithcare.com/Article_Cheating.html.
  4. Dear married men: Keep your distance. Audrey Irvine, CNN. http://www.cnn.com/2010/LIVING/personal/01/27/rr.married.men.suspicious/index.html
  5. How A Married Man’s Friendships With Single Women Become Affairs. David Wygant. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/david-wygant/married-man-single-women-turn-into-affairs_b_2979248.html
  6. Boundaries: No One Is Above An Affair. Anne Wilson. http://goodwomenproject.com/marriage/boundaries-no-one-is-above-an-affair
  7. 14 Ways To Affair Proof Your Marriage. Brett and Kaye McKay. http://www.artofmanliness.com/2008/03/13/14-ways-to-affair-proof-your-marriage/
  8. Can Married People Have Opposite Sex Friends? Diane Gottsman. http://www.hitchedmag.com/article.php?id=1181
  9. Readers Respond: Is It Possible for Men and Women to Have Opposite-Sex Friends? Francesca Di Meglio. http://newlyweds.about.com/od/familyfriends/f/oppositesexfriends.htm
  10. Can Men and Women Be Friends? Camille Chatterje. http://www.psychologytoday.com/artilces/200108/can-men-and-women-be-friends
  11. Should Men And Women Be Friends? Study Looks At Opposite Sex Friendships. Tara Kelly. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/05/04/should-men-and-women-be-friends-study_n_1477865.html?
  12.  4 “Rules” for a Husband’s Friendships with Other Women. Mary Beth Sammons. http://moms.popsugar.com/4-Rules-Husband-Friendships-Other-Women-27333956
  13. Men and Women Can’t Be “Just Friends”. Adrian F. Ward, Scientific American, October 23, 2012.   http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=men-and-women-cant-be-just-friends
  14. Married Men and Female Friends. Kristine Jackson. http://www.cheatersnbrokenhearts.net/MARRIED-MEN—FEMALE-FRIENDS.html
  15. The Biology of Attraction. Helen Fischer, April 1, 1993. http://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/199303/the-biology-attraction.
  16. If Life Is a Game, These Are the Rules. Cherie Carter-Scott, 1998. Goodreads.
  17. 10 Signs He’s Definitely in Love With You. Aunt Becky January 23, 2012. http://thestir.cafemom.com/love_sex/131756/10_signs_hes_definitely_in
  18. Divorce Online. Mark Keenan, June 7, 2013. http://www.divorce-online.co.uk/blog/page/3/
  19. Social Media is a Factor in One in Three Divorces.
  20. Alarming increase in Facebook related divorces in 2011.
  21. E-motional affairs: How Facebook leads to infidelity. Ian Kerner, March 3, 2011.
  22. Inferring attitudes from mind wandering. Critcher, C. R., & Gilovich, T., 2010

2915x1941_art-derevo-fruktyi-letuchie-myishi-mandarinyi-dve  – Mediguano

“Love Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry” Revisited

Love story ReviewYou might wonder why an article with this opening title is appearing in my Mediguano forum. First of all, thus is not     a movie review. That over with, to many of us who were young and naïve enough to sit through the movie “Love  Story” when it was first released in 1970 [LOVESTORY, directed by Arthur Hiller; written by Erich Segal; starring Ryan O’Neal and Ali McGraw], the phrase    “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” may evoke a number of responses ranging anywhere from fond distant loving memories of the steady girl/boy we held hands with during the movie, to something akin to an acute bout of gastroenteritis. As for the book, Roger Ebert wrote, “Segal’s prose style is so revoltingly coy — sort of a cross between a parody of Hemingway and the instructions on a soup can, “[LOVE STORY; Roger Ebert; Chicago Sun Times.  January 1, 1970]. Judith Crist called Love Story “Camille with bullshit.” Writer Harlan Ellison eloquently called it, “shit” [The Glass Teat: Essays of Opinion on Television; Harlan Ellison; LA Free Press (1970)]. Therefore, the symptom of gastroenteritis was not too far off.

For those of you that are either curious about this article to read past the title or somehow missed a golden opportunity to see the movie (Filmsite Movie Review, http://www.filmsite.org/love.html), or read the book, here’s the opening line:

(Background music “Where Do I Begin”, sung by Andy Williams)

“What can you say about a twenty-five-year-old girl who died? That she was beautiful. And Brilliant. That she loved Mozart and Bach. And the Beatles. And me.”

The Script

The basic storyline is Oliver “Preppie” Barrett IV (Ryan O’Neal), is a pre-law, hockey player, Harvard student from a wealthy family (he calls his father “Son-of-a-bitch”) who meets and falls in love with Jenny Cavelleri, (Ali McGraw) an intelligent, a “Real tight-ass…plays piano for the Bach Society”, Radcliffe College student from a financially disadvantaged, loving family (she calls her father “Phil”).

Jenny: Are you a dirty player? Would you ever total me?

Oliver: I will right now if you don’t shut up.

Jenny: I’m leaving. Goodbye.

Jenny: “Now I’ve seen a hockey game”

Oliver: “What did you like best?”

"What would you say if I told you...I think I'm in love with you?"

“What would you say if I told you…I think I’m in love with you?”

Jenny: “When you were on your ass.“

Oliver: ”Thanks for coming.

“What would you say if I told you…I think I’m in love with you?”

Jenny: Never say “love” if you don’t mean it

Somewhat later

Oliver: What would you say if I told you…I think I’m in love with you?

Jenny: Never say “love” if you don’t mean it

 

As time goes on, Oliver opens up to Jenny about his fears.

 

   Oliver: “I’m tired of pImagelaying your game. You are a supreme Radcliffe smart-ass.  The best. You put down anything in pants.”

    Jenny: “But verbal volleyball is not my idea of a relationship.”

    Oliver: “If that’s what you think it’s all about, go back to your music waltz.”

    Jenny: “I think you’re scared. You put up a wall to keep from getting hurt,

    but it also keeps you from getting touched.”

    Oliver: “It’s a risk, isn’t it, Jenny?”

   Jenny: “At least I had the guts to admit what I felt. Someday you’ll have to come  up with the courage to admit that you care. I care.”

Confronting their families proved to be a bit uncomfortable. After a tense moment meeting Oliver’s father, Jenny says to Oliver,

Jenny: “He was only trying to be helpful.”

Oliver: “I don’t need that kind of help. He’s not going to be satisfied until he cuts them off.”

Jenny: “What you wouldn’t like to be cut off? Oh… Well, we’ve got to take care of those. You really like to bug your father.”

Oliver: “The feeling is mutual.”

Jenny: You wouldn’t stop at anything to get to him.”

Oliver: “It’s impossible to get to Oliver Barrett, lll.”

Jenny: Unless maybe if you marry Jennifer Cavilleri?”

Image

    Oliver: “Is that what you think?”

    Jenny: “Yes, it’s part of it.”

    Oliver: “You don’t believe I love you?”

    Jenny: “Yes, but you also love my negative social status.”

 

Oliver reluctantly tells his father about Jenny.

Oliver: “You haven’t mentioned Jennifer.”

Oliver lll: ”What is there to say? You’re presenting us with a fait accompli”

Oliver: “But what did you think? “

Oliver lll: She’s absolutely charming. With her background, to get to Radcliffe is…”

Oliver: “Get to the point! “

 Oliver lll: “It doesn’t concern her, but you. Your rebellion.  And you are rebelling. I fail…”

Oliver: “I fail to see how marrying a brilliant Radcliffe girl constitutes rebellion. She’s not some crazy hippie.”

Oliver lll: “She’s not many things.”

Oliver: “What irks you most, that she’s Catholic or poor?”

Image     Oliver lll: “What attracts you most? “

    Oliver: “I’m leaving.”

     Oliver lll: Don’t go off half-cocked. I would only ask that you wait a bit.”

     Oliver: “Define “bit”.

     Oliver lll: “Finish Law School. If it’s real, it’ll stand the test of time.”

     Oliver: “It is real, but why should I put it through a test?”

     Oliver lll: “I’m asking you. “

     Oliver: “You’re commanding me!”

Oliver lll: “If you marry her now, I’ll not give you the time of day.”

Oliver: “Father, you don’t know the time of day!”

Against the advice of family and loss of financial support from Oliver’s father, they decide love conquers all and still get married.

Jenny: Who said anything about marriage?

Love story marry me

 

Oliver: I’m saying it, now.

Jenny: “You want to marry me?”

 

Love story because

“Because.”

 

Oliver: “Yeah.”

Jenn: “Why?”

Oliver: Because.

Hmmm. Works for me.

 

They discuss their spirituality.

Oliver: “Why did you leave the Church?”

Jenny: “don’t know. I never really joined. I never thought there was another world better than this one. What could be better than Mozart? Or Bach? Or you?”

Later on, they explain to Phil about Oliver III’s blessing of the impending marriage and not marrying in the Catholic Church.

Love story Phil

“Don’t bullshit thy father.”

 

Phil: “Do not bullshit thy father.”

Jenny: “Any other commandments I should know?”

Phil: “Yeah, ”Stay loose.”  So is he (Oliver’s father) for it? Does he approve?”

Jenny: “What do you think?”

Phil: “I won’t allow it, do you get me?”

 

Jenny: “You’re tilting at windmills, Phil. Stop calling his father a windmill. He’s a distinguished citizen…”

Oliver: “Mr. Cavilleri…Phil.”

Phil: “I’ll call his goddamn father.”

Jenny: “It won’t do any good, goddammit!”

Phil: “Don’t use profanity in this house.”

Jenny: “You do.”

Phil: “What will he think? “

Jenny: “That you’ve gone mad.”

Phil: “Because I won’t allow a parent to reject a child?”

Oliver: “Mr. Cavilleri… Phil. Phil, sir… I reject him, too!”

Phil: “Don’t talk like that. A father’s love is something to cherish and respect.”

Oliver: “It’s a rare thing.  Especially in my family.”

Phil: “Let’s get him on the phone. We have this cold line. He’ll thaw and melt. Believe me, when it’s time to go to church…”

Jenny: “Please, Phil.”

Phil: “What?”

Jenny: “About the church bit…Well, we’re kind of negative on it.”

Marley_JPhil: “I didn’t necessarily mean the Catholic Church. You know that Jennifer is Catholic? She may have told you that. And her sainted mother always dreamed of the whole mass rigmarole, but you’re…”

Oliver: “But God would bless this union in any church.”

Jenny: “Phil?”

Phil:  “Yeah?

 

Jenny: “About the God bit.”

Phil:  “Yeah?”

Jenny: “We’re sort of negative about that, too.”

Phil:  “About God? About anybody’s God?”

Jenny: “Neither of us believe”

Phil: “That’s…wonderful.”

After their wedding, they reluctantly accept being students living on $3,000/year, living in “the Mongolian section of Cambridge”, paying rent on their own, paying their own bills, and not being able to do their own car repairs. However, when it comes up to engaging in a conversation regarding establishing a relationship with Oliver III, Oliver refuses to make the cacall on his birthday and let’s Jenny call for them.

Jenny (on phone): “Good evening, this is Jennifer Barrett….Mr. Barrett! Good evening, sir…Fine, thank you…Yes, we did. That’s why I’m calling…I’m terribly sorry, I mean we’re terribly sorry…but… no we can’t….I’m sorry.”

Oliver, please talk to him. Just say hello.”

Oliver: “I will never talk to him.”

Jenny: ”Can’t you do it for me? I’ve never asked you to do anything in my whole life. Just for me.”

Oliver: “No.”

Jenny: ”You’re a heartless bastard…Mr. Barrett? Oliver would like you to know, that in his own special way, (quickly into the phone) he loves you very much…”

Oliver: “Get the hell out of my life!”

Image

Oliver angrily storms away. When he returns, Jenny is waiting outside the apartment and has been crying. She looks up and says,

Jenny: “I forgot my key.”

Oliver: “Jenny, I’m sorry.”

Jenny: “Don’t. Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

love story sorry 3

“Love means nevar having to say you’re sorry

 love story sorry 2

“I’m sorry..”

 


 

 

 

 

Oliver’s attitude begins to change and pays more attention to Jenny’s needs. Gone are the playful verbal jabs at one another. Oliver later tells Jenny hopefully, “Someday, we’ll look back on these days…”

love story graduate

Oliver graduates from Harvard law school (third place) and makes the Law Review.  His greatest  excitement was receiving the William DeJersey Memorial Award ($500) and working for the Jonas and Marsh law firm. What to do with money? They talked of  having a baby (Bozo-her name for him). He told a friend Jenny wouldn’t have to work  and support them anymore. He said, “I want her to study, she wants a baby. So we’re    making babies.” He never said why he wanted to do those things. Noticeable absent in  the script are the former outward verbal and sometime trivial expressions of their  love for each other.

Two other problems develop. Despite being young, they are unable to conceive. Jenny is found to have leukemia. Not HIV-this is 1970. Disregarding current HIPAA patient confidentiality regulations that exist today, Oliver hears about Jenny’s condition directly from her obstetrician and after asking whose “fault” it was, says,

Oliver: “Two 24-year-olds can’t make a baby. One must be malfunctioning. Who?”

Doctor: “Jenny.”

Oliver: “All right, then we’ll adopt kids.”Doctor: “The problem is more serious. Jenny is very sick.”

Doctor: “She’s dying.”

Oliver: “That’s impossible. It’s a mistake, it has to be.”

Doctor: “We repeated her blood test three times. The diagnosis is correct.”

Oliver: “What do I do? What can I do for Jenny?”

Doctor: “Act as normal as possible, for as long as possible. That’s really the best thing.”

Oliver: “Normal. I’ll be as normal as hell.”

love story bad news

“She’s dying.”

love story normal

“Normal. I’ll be as normal as hell.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oliver does not say anything to her. Later, remembering that at one time she mentioned traveling to Paris was a dream, he surprised her with her Christmas present- tickets to Paris, France.

Oliver: “Paris, France. We’ll be there Christmas Day.”

Jenny: “No, that’s

not the way we’ll do it.”

Oliver: “Do what?”

Jenny: “I don’t want Paris, I don’t need Paris. I just want you.”

Oliver: “That you got, baby.”

Jenny: “And I want time, which you can’t give me.”

love story time

“And I want time, which you can’t give me.”

love story tickets

 “Paris, France. We’ll be there Christmas Day.”.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Love Story Merry Widower

“I’m counting on you to be strong, you goddamn hockey jock.”

 

Jenny: “I’m counting on you to be strong, you goddamn hockey jock.
Oliver: “I will, baby. I will.
Jenny: “It will be hardest for Phil. You, after all, are going to be the merry widower.
Oliver: “I won’t be merry.”

Jenny: “Yes, you will. I want you to be merry. You’ll be merry, OK?”
Oliver: “OK.”

 

Later, as her disease progresses to its terminal end, Oliver tells the doctor he wants her “to have the best”, and,  “whatever she wants…Screw the cost.”  They didn’t have the money, so Oliver reaches out to his father to help Jenny.

Oliver: “I need to borrow $5,000 dollars for a very good reason.”

Oliver III: “Well?’

Oliver: “Sir?”

Oliver III: “May I know the reason?”

Oliver: “I can’t tell you. Just lend me the money, please.”love-story father

Oliver III: “Don’t they pay you at the firm?

Oliver: “Yes, sir.”

Oliver III: “And doesn’t she teach…”

Oliver: “Don’t call her “she”.”

Oliver III: “Doesn’t Jennifer…”

Oliver: “Leave her out of it. Just write out a cheque. It’s a very important personal matter.”

Oliver III: “You got some girl in trouble?”

Oliver: “Yeah, that’s it.”

Oliver III: “Please lend me the money.”

Oliver: “Thank you, Father.”

While holding each other in her hospital bed Jenny speaks to Oliver alone.

Jenny: “It doesn’t hurt, Ollie. It’s like falling off a cliff in slow motion.
Jenny: “Only after a while you wish you’d hit the ground already, you know?
Oliver: “Yeah.
Jenny: “Bullshit. You’ve never fallen off a cliff.
Oliver: “Yes, I did. When I met you.
Jenny: “Yeah. “What a falling off was there. Who said that?”

Oliver: “I don’t know. Shakespeare?
Jenny: “Yeah, but who? I mean, what play?  I went to Radcliffe, I’m supposed to remember those things. I once knew all the Mozart Kochel listings.
Oliver: “Big deal. 

Jenny: “You bet it was. What number is the A Major Concerto?
Oliver: “I don’t know. I’ll look it up.

Jenny: “But I used to know all those things.
Oliver: “Do you want to talk music?

Love Story not your fault

“That guilty look on your face, it’s sick. Stop blaming yourself, you stupid preppy. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s not your fault. That’s the only thing I’ll ask you.”

Jenny: “What do you want to talk? Funerals?”
Oliver: “No, I don’t.”
Jenny: “Ollie? I told Phil you could have a Catholic service and you’d say OK. OK?”
Jenny: “lt’ll really help him a lot, you know?”
Oliver: “OK.
Jenny: “Now you’ve got to stop being sick.”
Oliver: “Me?”
Jenny: “That guilty look on your face, it’s sick.”
Jenny: “Stop blaming yourself, you stupid preppy. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s not your fault.”

Jenny: “That’s the only thing I’ll ask you. Otherwise, you’ll be OK.”

Love Story Screw Pari2s

“Screw Paris and music and everything you thought you stole from me.”

Jenny: “Screw Paris!”

Oliver: “What?”

Love story whining O'neal

“Then get the hell out of here! I don’t want you at my deathbed!”

 

Jenny: “Screw Paris and music and everything you thought you stole from me.”
Oliver: “I don’t care, don’t you believe that?”
Jenny: “Then get the hell out of here! I don’t want you at my deathbed!”
Oliver: “I believe you. I really do.”

 

 

 

Love Story Deathbed scene

“Would you please do something for me? Would you please hold me?”

 

Jenny: “That’s better.”
Jenny: “Would you please do something for me?”
Jenny: “Would you please hold me?”
Jenny: “I mean really hold me. Next to me.”

 

 

 

 Afterwards, Oliver meets Phil and his father.

 

love story be strong

“I wish…I wish I hadn’t promised Jenny…I wish I hadn’t promised Jenny to be strong for you.”

 

 

Phil: “I wish…I wish I hadn’t promised Jenny…I wish I hadn’t promised Jenny to be strong for you.

 

 

 

In the next scene, Oliver sees his father, who arrives unexpectedly,

love story dad at door

 

 

 

 

Love Story I came as soon as I could

“Why didn’t you tell me? I made some calls, and when I found out I jumped in the car. Oliver, I want to help.”

Oliver III: “Oliver.”
Oliver III: “Why didn’t you tell me?”
Oliver III: “I made some calls, and when I found out I jumped in the car.”
Oliver III: “Oliver, I want to help.”
Oliver IV: “Jenny’s dead.”
Oliver III: “I’m sorry.”

Oliver IV: “Love…Love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

 

 

love story love means something dad

“Jenny’s dead.”

Love Story Im Sorry Oliver

“I’m sorry…”

 

 

 

 

 

Love Story Love..means never having to say I'm sorry

“Love…love means never having to say you’re sorry.”

Love Story last image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Discussion

I was 16 when this movie came out. Looking back, we must have seen it 7 times in seven separate dates with 7 different girls. Hated it and it showed-probably why I never had a second date with any of them. Subsequently, whenever this movie has been brought up in conversation, the most frequent agreement has been how ridiculous the line, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” really is. At our age, most of us have had a few bad interactions and at least one we’re willing enough to admit that we were in love with someone. We were in agreement that on more than one occasion, had we not said “I’m sorry” quickly and sincerely to that person we said we loved and presumably still loved us; we would undoubtedly be in a huge pile of crap very quickly. “Let’s get real. Since when do we hurt the people we know we love and care the most about and not feel remorse afterward and want to apologize?”

Which finally brings us to the subject of this rather lengthy prelude. I again have had the recent experience of hurting someone I cared very much about. Thinking back, it was something I did and had done on occasion at various times in my life for which I sincerely felt remorse for and apologized by honestly saying, “I’m sorry.” Not that it was forgiven or, more importantly, they the person I had hurt was happy again. I felt better, of course but what was the point?  In many ways, it was my pain of hurting them that was the driving force behind the verbal response, “I’m sorry.” Somewhere along the way the point was missed that actions do speak louder than words. That doesn’t mean responding with action upon hurting that person relieves our indiscretion. It boils down to a conscious decision to deeply understand the person we love and care most about as well as our own  character defects and shortcomings that allowed us to cause that harm. By doing so, in reality, that is why the phrase “love means never having to say you’re sorry” begins to have a deeper meaning.

In the book, “True Love: A Practice for Awakening the Heart,” by Thich Nhat Hanh, he describes within the first chapter that the essence of true love requires unconditional kindness, compassion, the capability to bring joy to the loved one, and ultimately, “You must love in such a way that the person you love feels free.” Of our two characters, only Jenny was shown to have   felt that freedom. It is apparent that Oliver, despite being bogged down by his father’s repression and control, he somehow was able to deliver that message to Jenny. His shortcomings were evident early in the story. After their argument over her seemingly out of character timely utterance, “Oliver would like you to know, that in his own special way, (quickly into the phone) he loves you very much…” he changed.

Oliver’s issues with his father proved to be a barrier to the unconditional kindness, compassion, experience of joy and freedom clearly offered to him by Jenny. He, too, felt the need to control his father just as his father controlled him. His father, surprisingly, was able to help by asking how he could help. Oliver was able to as for the money. There was obvious dishonesty in the answer but nonetheless, Oliver helped his father by asking for that money. The movie ended with Oliver still being unable to accept his father’s show of compassion by interrupted his father and said, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry.” Not the best move, Oliver. That wasn’t the message Jenny had delivered to him.

Oliver’s failure was predictable. He failed to see that he could not accept his father for who he was. Jenny told him that, “I think you’re scared. You put up a wall to keep from getting hurt, but it also keeps you from getting touched.” In that same scene she remarked, “Someday you’ll have to come up with the courage to admit that you care. I care.” Not so much courage as it was a willingness to concede and accept his father. She saw through that and although by watching the movie, it is clear she was telling him the person he could not accept or care about was his father. Not her even though that clearly caused problems between the two of them. His perpetual tendency towards self-pity carried to her death. Although it was clear he loved her, instead of being there for her only at her last minute, she consoled him as she was dying and said angrily, “That guilty look on your face. It’s sick. Stop blaming yourself, you stupid preppy. It’s nobody’s fault. It’s not your fault. That’s the only thing I’ll ask you. “   Reluctantly, as seen by observation of his body language, finally did something for her that she had to ask for, “Would you please do something for me? Would you please hold me? I mean really hold me. Next to me.”  Bad move, Oliver. See, love really does mean never having to say you’re sorry.

In the story, both Jenny and Oliver were at odds with their spiritual side as evidenced by the conversation with Jenny’s father. Oliver was handicapped as a result of his obstinance and unreasoning prejudice towards his father. Jenny on the other hand, although admittedly agnostic, demonstrated a sense of reasoning not demonstrated by Oliver. She was his sole source of joy and happiness. As she was dying, that pending loss of someone to help him find an inner peace and serenity was gone. They were both “kind of negative” on both aspects on the issue of God. Had Oliver being willing to travel that route, “But God would bless this union in any church,” he would have been less concerned about his father. This is not to imply an organized religious conformation, but to simply give up his control that was preventing him helping Jenny.  Jenny’s reversion to her faith was demonstrated when she informed Oliver, “Ollie? I told Phil you could have a Catholic service and you’d say OK. OK?  It’ll really help him a lot, you know?”  Despite her agnosticism, she still had a spiritual life. Agnostics are able to identify that a willingness to maintain control over their daily affairs can destroy others to a great degree. You could almost hear Phil, and Jenny later, look at Oliver and ask, “Who are you to say there is no God? Find serenity peace and somewhere, it doesn’t matter, just find it somewhere outside of yourself, for pity’s sake!” He was deluded in his belief that by following in his father’s footsteps and obtaining the material things in life to make Jenny happy would ensure his own inner peace.

Oliver frankly never got on track.   It has been said that “A business which takes no inventory usually goes broke.” Oliver was blind to his own character defects and remained steadfastly intolerant of his father. Although it is unclear in the story why or how Oliver III, the son of a bitch, was able to do what Oliver IV could not, he did two things that showed unconditional love towards his son that rejected him. First, he went along with Oliver’s lie and gave him an excuse why he needed money, “Don’t they pay you at the firm?”, and then, “You got some girl in trouble?” Oliver could then accept it provided he thought his father was disgusted with his need for money. The last was at the end, “Why didn’t you tell me? I made some calls, and when I found out I jumped in the car. Oliver, I want to help.” Come on, Oliver, give up those resentments. Advising your father inappropriately, “Love means never having to say you’re sorry” was cute for the movies but clearly selfish and inconsiderate.  There are steps to take in all our affairs if we are ever to make amends with those we harm and thereby bring peace to everyone around.

Rick

January 26, 2013

 

References:

  1. “Love Story (1970) – Screen: Perfection and a ‘Love Story’: Erich Segal’s Romantic Tale Begins Run”. The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-06-04. http://movies.nytimes.com/movie/review?res=9E07E5DA1E30E337A2575BC1A9649D946190D6CF
  2. LOVE STORY; Roger Ebert; Chicago Sun Times.  January 1, 1970.
  3. The Glass Teat. Harlan Ellison; L.A. Free Press (1964–1978); Ace Publishing (May 1st 1983)