Science for the people (Sftp), July
G. S. 
initial posting 5 July 2011 - last update 5 July 2011


      A good friend of mine, Louis Urban Kohler and I have been in touch because we share horror at the development of a Jewish Nazi regime in Palestine. Just as the German Nazi regime was considered illegitimate by much of the world at the close of World War II and dissolved by the militarily victorious powers, so also is the nation-state of Israel increasingly seen to be illegitimate and deserving of dissolution. The destruction of Palestine should be stopped and the land returned to its indigenous peoples. I offered a fairly brief sketch for doing this without any further bloodshed, torture, theft or suffering of any of the peoples involved, including the would-be Jewish Zionist conquerors. It's a resolution without vengeance, with compassion for all peoples, a model way to minimize the suffering of all the earth's people. [1]

Date: Sun, 3 Jul 2011 03:51:50 -0600
From: George Salzman <>

      Friends, I rejoined the SftP discussion list a day or two ago. Today I read Michael's June 1, 2011 e-mail and the brief exchange between him and Stuart Newman, learning a bit more than I already knew about Michael's dad. Maurice was a good person, and so was (or is) Gertrude. They were both at the Champaign-Urbana campus when my wife Freda and I were graduate students there more than a half century ago. I'm reminded of the discrimination that women students faced by the following bit from my website:

      "Actually there was some instruction by a woman physicist at Illinois. Occasionally, when Maurice Goldhaber couldn't get to one of his lectures in nuclear physics, his wife Gertrude would conduct the class in his place. And she did a fine job, although I believe it is true that she did not, as Maurice did, know from memory every single isotope of every element and the spin and parity and energy and lifetimes and half widths and decay modes and probabilities for every excited state of every isotope. Neither did any of the other physics faculty. But it was their good fortune that they were not married to Maurice, and therefore they were, unlike Gertrude, eligible to be on the faculty. We were told that the anti-relative practice at the University of Illinois was a carry-over from the depression."

      I want to send my condolences to Michael. Nancy - my companion - and I are now in our 13th year living in Oaxaca, after coming here in 1999 to "try it out for six months". Oaxaca is phenomenal -- I wish all the people who are "Westernized" could experience the richness of the truly loving culture that many of the indigenous peoples here enjoy. There's lots of compassion, lots of sharing, lots of touching -- so foreign to American social patterns. Materially relatively impoverished by comparison, but much more focussed than Americans on what makes life really rich. A friend said to me as we were enjoying a beer together, "Somos chingados pero felices." We're fucked but happy. And it's not untrue. I've learned from them how wonderful life could be for everyone if we weren't obsessed with "winning".

      Michael, you wrote "I'm looking for a replacement. I'd like to retire from being the moderator of the list by September 1, this year, or sooner if possible. Nominations haven't been forthcoming. Please step up; this means you!" I know you weren't thinking of me, but if you're still without a replacement, I'd be willing to take it on. Like your dad, I'm opposed to censorship, and would not seek to control what folks can and cannot post. For me it would, I think, be a minimally demanding responsibility. Sincerely --George

      The Science for the People Discussion listserv is, as is to be expected, inundated with a flood of communications. A prompt response I got soon after I resubscribed was the following from Michael Balter:

Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2011 13:14:08 -0600
From: George Salzman <>
Subject: Hold yer horses, Michael Balter

      Dr. Science seems to have addressed his message to several of us individually as well as to the list, so apologies to those who receive this twice. MB
---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 6:16 PM
From: Michael Balter <>
Subject: Re: The "amateur sleuths" and an amateur obfuscater
To: <>

      "Their clothing identified them as Jewish Israelis." Jewish Israelis don't wear uniforms unless this refers to IDF uniforms, which they almost certainly were not wearing in New Jersey, but their clothing does vary from slacks, sports shirts, sharp shoes and sunglasses to prayer shawls and braided hair, not to mention miniskirts for many of the young women (I base this on my personal observations from trips to Israel.) We would need a little more precise description to be able to judge the plausibility of this story. As for my writing "sneeringly" of 9/11 conspiracy theories and those who cling to them, this is indeed an appropriate attitude to have, just as it is also appropriate for AIDS denialism, creationism, etc. But one can sneer and still try to steer our brothers onto the correct path.

      It's nice to have George back again, he is sure to lend a little life to this often drowsy list serve. MB [emphasis added by GS]

      As a matter of fact, I'm not interested in lending a little life to "my fellow scientists" but in stimulating all of you to engage in the desperate struggle the world's ordinary people are mounting, and to do so on their side of the so-called "barricades". The challenge is to acknowledge that we so-called "professional scientists" are among the privileged — the beneficiaries of the capitalist monstrosity, and to try to "change sides". It ain't easy. Michael Balter, who regularly shuttles between Paris and New York City, would like to believe, as would most of us, that we are on the side of the struggling majority, but that's a deception. A conforting deception. [2]

Date: Tue, 5 Jul 2011 13:14:08 -0600
From: George Salzman <>
Subject: Hold yer horses, Michael Balter

Followup on The "amateur sleuths" and an amateur obfuscater, and Balter's retorts

Dr. Science Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 10:00 AM
Michael Balter Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 10:16 AM
Michael Balter Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 10:17 AM
Mitchel Cohen Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 10:29 AM

Date: Tue, Jul 5, 2011 at 10:41 AM
From: Michael Balter <>

      Mitchel [Cohen] touches on one important point here, which is that it has been thoroughly documented that the CIA and possibly other US agencies knew not only that an attack was being planned, but also knew that it would involve airplanes. The real fault of the US government, in my view, was not to immediately instruct all pilots to change their policy for dealing with hijackings and not open the cockpit door under any circumstances, and also to resist with all force possible a hijacking rather than submitting to it. Obviously the Bush administration did not take the threat seriously enough.

      But that negligence and cluelessness in the face of clear warnings is very different from the kind of 9/11 conspiracy mongering that has turned even a few talented scientists like Lynn Margulis into thoughtless fools, similar to the way that personal psychological hangups (obsessiveness, refusal to admit one was wrong) turned a talented virologist like Peter Duesberg into an AIDS denialist.

      Hi Michael, The reason I give a lot of weight to what Jeffrey Blankfort writes about the Palestinian/Zionist struggle is because I know that he thoroughly researches the facts. If the first part of your initial paragraph above is correct, which I have no reason to doubt, then why do you conclude, "Obviously the Bush administration did not take the threat seriously enough." To me it seems more plausible that Cheney preferred to have the "disaster" of 9/11 occur in order to mobilize public support for the destruction of Iraqui society.

      Also, I would ask you in plain Anglo-Saxon English, who the fuck are you to label Lynn Margulis a "thoughtless fool"? Do you also "think" Robert Fisk, who believes the Israeli Zionists are as dishonest and manipulative as can be imagined, is also a "thoughtless fool"? Margulis is a real scientist, and Fisk is a real journalist. Your statements affirm that you are neither. I strongly suggest you give yourself a little time before you spout.

      Essays by Jeffrey Blankfort that are well worth reading carefully. If you have the time and interest, Blankfort's three major studies of Chomsky's role regarding the U.S. and the Palestinian-Zionist conflict, are unusually informative and hard-hitting. They are
1. The Israel Lobby and the Left: Uneasy Questions, January 2003.
2. War for Israel, January 2004
3. Damage Control: Noam Chomsky and the Israel-Palestine Conflict, Dec 2004

      Very sincerely --George

[1] Sketch for a humane resolution of the Palestine/Israel conflict.

[2] Giving up our deceptions. Michael Balter likes to believe that by "alerting us" to The New York Times guide to how the dominant hyper-capitalists want us to frame our percetion of the world, he is contributing to the struggle. In fact he is contribut-
ing, but to the wrong side, their side. Here's the list of Michael's SftP postings thus far this month:
    Sat, 2 Jul 2011 16:17:43 +0200 - Re: File FOIA requests about yourself, fight
           police state!
    Mon, 4 Jul 2011 06:04:43 +0200 - Fwd: ACTION ALERT UPDATE: let's keep the
           pressure on Washington!
    Wed, 6 Jul 2011 14:31:16 +0200 - Fwd: July 6th Update From the U.S. Boat to
    Sat, 2 Jul 2011 09:26:29 +0200 - Fwd: Last update for July 1st
    Tue, 5 Jul 2011 18:17:47 +0200 - Fwd: The "amateur sleuths" and an amateur
    Fri, 1 Jul 2011 16:54:24 +0200 - Fwd: The Audacity of Hope stopped by Greek
    Sun, 3 Jul 2011 12:43:38 +0200 - Hugo Chavez appears vulnerable
    Wed, 6 Jul 2011 07:24:56 +0200 - In Cuba, the Voice of a Blog Generation
    Sat, 2 Jul 2011 07:24:16 +0200 - Re: Lynn Margulis, on 9/11
    Sun, 3 Jul 2011 18:29:06 +0200 - Noted Leftist Urges Chávez to Release Ailing
    Tue, 5 Jul 2011 15:14:33 +0200 - Re: SCIENCE-FOR-THE-PEOPLE Digest - 2 Jul
           2011 to 3 Jul 2011 (#2011-209)
    Tue, 5 Jul 2011 18:41:27 +0200 - Re: The "amateur sleuths" and an amateur
    Sun, 3 Jul 2011 21:19:42 +0200 - What REALLY happened on 9/11

      The originals of these postings are on the website at
. Michael, the reason I am so focussed on you is that in June 2007 you stated in one of your posts to the SftP listserv that I had lied about something. When I challenged you, you announced that you would not have any further comments on the matter, that it was a closed issue. I was devoting my efforts to establishing a climate of trust, and when I insisted that you retract your accusation, Michael Goldhaber, who was by then the new moderator, stepped in by disallowing further posts by me. Of course I was very disappointed that hardly anyone stepped up to support my position, a notable exception being a friend of many years, Eric Entemann.

      Part of the mythology in the dominant culture is that we, the certified scientists act in all matters pertaining to science as though we are logic machines whose reasoning is unaffected by our psychological state. When Steve Cavrak and I started this SftP discussion listserv, I was inclined to conduct the list with that notion -- that scientists were special in our objectivity, unlike ordinary non-scientists. That was nonsense.

George Salzman is a former American Jew living in Oaxaca, Mexico, an Emeritus Prof of Physics, Univ of Massachusetts-Boston.
All comments and criticisms are welcome.  <>

      If you know folks who want to ‘save the world’, starting with global open communication — no censorship, I’ll be glad to add them to my Notes of an anarchist physicist listserv [noap]. To subscribe write me, including your first and last names, please, or send a blank e-mail to

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Initial posting of this page: 05 July 2011.
Last update: 05 July 2011