(Dan J. Butler, 1955-2018)
Longtime readers of this website will recognize that many of the First Comments were written by a “Dan.”
His name was Dan J. Butler, a sculptor and web designer, one of the smartest and finest people I have known. For 15 years he contributed his insights in the form of comments and articles under the pen name “Richard Evans.” (Just search “Makow” and “Richard Evans” for examples.)
He passed away Monday as result of a failed lung transplant. He had emphysema due to chainsmoking when he was young and from inhaling toxic foundry fumes. His new lungs took in oxygen but did not expel CO2. He had the transplant May 25, 2017, and remained hospitalized, fed intravenously. He watched the Food Channel and Turner Classic Movies, musing on mortality- all the actors were now dead.
Dan Butler was born in Jacksonville, FL and lived there until high school. He moved to Arkansas in the early seventies and lived there till ’81, when he moved to Houston. He went back to school in Carbondale IL (Southern Illinois University). After that, he went back to Little Rock where he married Catherine Rounsavall. They eventually settled in Austin, where he opened his bronze foundry. He closed the foundry and divorced Catherine in the late 90s, then moved to Santa Fe where he worked in another bronze foundry. He moved back to Houston in 2004, worked for a while in web programming, then started working on a book with Andrew, a Dallas philanthropist he met through this site.
In his last months, he ruefully compared his condition to more successful transplant patients. I can’t imagine the pain he endured or the thoughts that went through his head. Finally, the doctors said he will always be an invalid. I spoke to him by phone Saturday after learning he had signed a “Do Not Resuscitate Order.”
“I’m just tired,” he told me.
He could tell from my voice that I was crying. “I might be crying too if our positions were reversed,” he said. Ironic considering he was the one who was dying.
A devoted friend Tim Johnson looked after his affairs and recalls: “After the operation, he did not express what I would call despair. He did feel defeated after all the cycles of recovery and setback, but overall, he was very positive almost all the time while he was recovering and had a sense of humor and an accepting attitude most of the time. He had a strong faith in God, and was completely at peace once he decided to stop fighting and sign the DNR.”
As you can tell from the examples below, Dan Butler was a brilliant crusader for freedom and truth. He was a Big Soul and will be sorely missed.
First Comment from Dan:
The Kabbalah paradigm permeates our lives, so it’s useful to know a bit about it. We’re not talking about the cult in L.A. that Madonna plays around with.
I think you encapsulated it very well a while back when you summed up Kabbalistic thought as “saying is believing ” instead of “seeing is believing.” That’s the part that’s been introduced into the way we think today. That’s the hook since it’s very tempting to think “I can create reality to suit my own desires”.
Some will remember “The Secret” video that came out of nowhere in 2006. The word Kabbalah isn’t mentioned once in “The Secret” but it’s an intro to Kabbalistic thinking.
Then there is the “Luciferic Initiation” that the New Age Theosophist David Spangler talked about in the 1970’s. I’ve got news – everybody that watched television and movies growing up, that read comic books, that listened to rock music or pop music whatever it is, even those who played with Barbie Dolls has been through Spangler’s Luciferic Initiation.
I’ll make it simple; when one has no qualms to do evil for (what they think is) a “greater good”, congratulations – you’re initiated. This is why Americans who go to church and pray to God have no qualms about bombing people into the stone age on the other side of the world. Or the feminist social worker who talks reluctant teenage girls into getting abortions.
I prefer the Didache (the Teaching), the 1st-century seven-page document that’s probably the closest thing to real Christianity that we have. It begins, “There are two ways, one of life and one of death, and there is a great difference between the two ways.” The Didache is unambiguous. It says emphatically that we know the difference between good and evil, and when you encounter those who make good and evil ambiguous, rebuke them and walk away.
ps. Indeed. I grew up on 1950’s tv shows that were pure Zohar. Like Superman, Paladin, “Checkmate”, Route 66(6), and Perry MASON”.
Not to mention all those Barbie doll commercials.
The source of Kabbalah saturation of the culture was the network of Freemasonry which was very strong after WW II.
By Richard Evans
“The world is divided into three kinds of people: A very small group that makes things happen; a somewhat larger group that watches things happen; and a great multitude that never knows what has happened.” — Nicholas Murray Butler
Aaron was among the first small group. The people who make things happen.
Aaron Swartz was one of the very few prime movers in the field of internet information. He’d just started high school when he co-authored “RSS” (“really simple syndication”) feed format that everybody uses to be notified of information of interest to them.
When you see this icon
give a moment of silence for Aaron Swartz, who died Jan 11, 2013.
Born in 1986, he grew up on the internet. His dad, Robert was a MIT Internet guru. ” My main reaction was being excited about it. Part of what made it magical was finding other people to connect with and the more people there were the more interesting pages there were to find. I mean, you would search for stuff and most of the time nothing would come back ’cause there were only a handful people writing stuff for the internet. I remember having to open the phone book and having to dial a place up and saying ‘how late are you open’? Then suddenly you just type in their domain name and it tells you everything you need to know”.
Compare his way of thinking with the sleazy Mark Zuckerberg in 2010 when asked to explain why Facebook suddenly unlocked millions of members privacy settings without warning them. “We decided that these would be the social norms now and we just went for it.”
Facebook is largely a rip-off (or at least knockoff) of the good social networking features developed by Swartz for Reddit, such as the thumb’s up feature for ranking viewer response to open posts – except Reddit has a thumb’s down feature, not just an ‘unlike’.
More importantly, Reddit didn’t mine your data to make NSA profiles of you, your relatives and friends.
Aaron Swartz said, “Information is power. But like all power, there are those who want to keep it for themselves. The world’s entire scientific and cultural heritage, published over centuries in books and journals, is increasingly being digitized and locked up by a handful of private corporations. Want to read the papers featuring the most famous results of the sciences? You’ll need to pay enormous amounts to publishers like Reed Elsevier.”
What we really mean by Information Age is the recent period in history during which all the information accumulated on all previous media has suddenly become available to everyone. Aaron recognized the fact that instant communication with unlimited numbers of people over infinite distance has an exponential effect on human creativity. He also knew it only works if it’s free. Richard Stallman said it best, “think of free speech, not free beer”.
Aaron’s argument was that you can’t apply intellectual property rights to digital information because it flows like speech. If we have a conversation and we can’t repeat something we read or heard on television without being arrested, then conversation itself would be impossible. It’s not the same thing as printing pirated copies of a book that’s under copyright and for sale. He wasn’t defending privacy. SOPA used ‘piracy’ as an excuse to hold bloggers liable for things like quoting the New York Times, etc.
In an industry where real activism has been considered dead since 2008, Aaron was just getting started.
F**K THE GUARDIAN CLASS
Lord Bertrand Russell described the New World Order in which the ‘white coat priesthood’ would be Plato’s Guardian class:
“On those rare occasions when a boy or girl who has passed the age at which it is usual to determine social status shows such marked ability as to seem the intellectual equal of the rulers, a difficult situation will arise, requiring serious consideration. If the youth is content to abandon his previous associates and to throw in his lot whole-heartedly with the rulers, he may, after suitable tests, be promoted, but if he shows any regrettable solidarity with his previous associates, the rulers will reluctantly conclude that there is nothing to be done with him except to send him to the lethal chamber before his ill-disciplined intelligence has had time to spread revolt. This will be a painful duty to the rulers, but I think they will not shrink from performing it.” The Scientific Outlook, Chapter XV, ‘Education in a Scientific Society’
Aaron Swartz was one of those “rare occasions” that Lord Russell and “the rulers” dread. He was supposed to become distracted by the wealth his innovations gained and forget about the “cultural heritage of centuries” and everybody else. He was supposed to “abandon his previous associates and to throw in his lot whole-heartedly with the rulers”. He didn’t. He found his calling in organizing the first real grass roots campaign to defeat a “must be” bill on Capitol Hill. That wasn’t supposed to happen.
It was Aaron’s girlfriend Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman who first found him dead in their Brooklyn apartment. Her first blog on Tumblr said he “was not showing symptoms of depression”. At Aaron’s funeral, his father, Robert Swartz, told mourners Aaron was “killed by the government.”
Robert Swartz works for MIT and therefore had to retract his “conspiracy theories” about his son’s death. As a practical matter, knowing his son was murdered probably intimidated Robert even more than losing his position at MIT. Taren’s later statements show the process of trying to make sense of what happened. She went from saying “I don’t know exactly why Aaron killed himself” to rationalizing. Maybe it was “a persecution and a prosecution that had already drained all of his financial resources.”
And finally she believed he was pushed to suicide by “a system where incentives and power structures align for prosecutors to destroy the life of an innovator like Aaron in the pursuit of their own ambitions.”
Aaron, “It’s not over yet. It’s up to you.”
WAS AARON THE SORT WHO WOULD HANG HIMSELF IN ‘DESPERATION’?
We need to start a controversy about whether people believe it or not. That’s what Aaron would do.
(with Taren Stinebrickner-Kauffman)
Because his death will prove in vain as long as he’s ruled a suicide. Suicides can’t be martyrs, that’s common sense. Our manipulators always turn movements into a private joke to mock the victims.
If a controversy on the matter got going maybe people who knew him would start to question it too. Lies are self-reinforcing like 911 – the more people invest into believing the lie, the harder it gets to see through it.
In June 2013, Aaron Swartz was inducted posthumously into the ‘Internet Hall of Fame’ in the category of “innovators”, alongside GNU founder Richard Stillman, and Wikipedia frontman Jimmy Wales. Such awards say a lot about the ‘Hollywood-ization’ of Silicon Valley. While Richard Stillman and Aaron Swartz are actual innovators, Wales is a front man – like Mark Zuckerberg and Bill Gates.