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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2007 > Jun > Jun 14

Cameo Of Dr. James E. McDonald

From: Alfred Lehmberg <alienview.nul>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 11:29:12 -0500
Fwd Date: Thu, 14 Jun 2007 08:36:46 -0400
Subject: Cameo Of Dr. James E. McDonald

>From: Loren Coleman <lcoleman.nul>
>To: UFO UpDates - Toronto <ufoupdates.nul>
>Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2007 00:10:52 -0400
>Subject: Remembering Dr. James E. McDonald

>Remembering Dr. James E. McDonald (May 7, 1920 - June 13, 1971)

>On June 13, 1971, Dr. James E. McDonald (born May 7, 1920),
>noted atmospheric physicist and UFO researcher, was found dead
>from a gunshot wound to the head, an apparent suicide. (Source:
>Tucson Arizona Daily Star, June 15, 1971)

If I may, Loren, here's a detailed cameo inspired from Druffel's
bio of same:

Dr. James E. McDonald, seminal ufologist and a man of undeniably
objective science, was a man who might be observed at two
seemingly disparate levels. On one level he possessed exactly
what our suspect society stridently proclaims it prefers from
its citizenship: intelligence, courage, self-improvement, civic
involvement, sterling productivity. He was a total asset to
humankind's elevation and advancement on every level. On the
other hand, he was a hapless fool-however magnificent! I think
both observations are correct as strongly as I believe that he
can be, oddly enough, congratulated and otherwise lauded on both
of these levels. At once, Dr. McDonald's story is a hard lesson
and a much needed, certainly gainful, inspiration to us all.
This is what was drawn from Anne Druffel's powerful,
informative, and very well-woven and excitingly readable
biography of James McDonald entitled Firestorm: Dr. James E.
McDonald's Fight for UFO Science (Wildflower Press, 2003).

Dr. McDonald, by way of introduction, was a good man, a kind
man, a renaissance man, and a family man; he was a man
instrumental, key actually, in elevating the status of aggregate
ufology to the level of seriousness that it remotely enjoys
against all odds today. Yet, today, he is almost totally unknown
even by those with more than a passing interest in the field.

This is a tragedy beyond debate. Ms. Druffel, in a near peerless
effort, would put that error aright. Druffel portrays the
physicist James E. McDonald, accurately it would seem, as a
highly respected world-class research scientist and much-beloved
teacher, academic coach, and gifted educator. A renowned
atmospheric physicist, he was a nascent prototypical ecologist,
an incisive social scientist, and a master of diverse multiple
subjects: a brilliant man in every regard. He changed the minds
of hostile governments, steered academic boards, chaired lofty
research sections, and headed significant causes.

Then he got interested in UFOs.

I've written before about an insidious social aspect of our
hijacked society I tentatively call the Mothman
FutilityMechanism. The sufferer of this mechanism is an
otherwise rational person innocently encountering an aspect of
the highly strange. In a justifiably passionate investigation of
that very real strangeness, this person is destroyed in one way
or another as a result of paying an awful and inevitable penalty
for the pursuit of that enigma's teasing challenge, as imposed
by that nonelected leadership mentioned before. Such was the
fate of Dr. McDonald. Druffel writes a compelling cameo, indeed,
about the mechanism in action. It is portrayed exceptionally
well in the heartbreaking and heartbroken subject of her
startling biography.

This fine man, by step, by increment, and seemingly by design
was progressively failed by society, its science, and by those
closest to him. He would pay more than most for his provoked
transgression. He would be-perhaps deliberately-aggravated so
that he suffered unmitigating depressions that he found, at
last, he could no longer endure.

Indeed, Druffel succinctly conveys how he would be inexorably
driven over the cliffs of the blackest despair. He would be
goaded, lead actually; drawn out on a precarious limb after
years of government duplicity, institutional subterfuge, and
agency chicanery. And then the limb was sawed off. With great
deliberation and at the nadir of this abject hopelessness, he
took his own life.

His was the kind of intelligent effort and efficacious artifice
the aforementioned agencies, institutions, and governments would
want to finesse for a managed failure and conveniently thwarted
success, one might suspect when reading between Druffel's lines.
Indeed, I recall that many of the major players on the
ufological scene have been documented as being drawn down the
same kinds of primrose path ending so tragically for McDonald.
His story is a pointed lesson for the observer of it.

Jacques Vallee wrote about Linda Moulton Howe and Stanton
Friedman being played in a similar fashion. J. Allen Hynek and
Edward J. Ruppelt wrote about the many hundreds of credible
witnesses who initiate a report and then, abruptly, don't follow
up on their testimony. Richard Dolan and David Jacobs make
rationally credible cases for an unelected government's
ufological interference and manipulation. and worse things.

Worse things, reader.

Given today's realities, one could surmise many reasons why
someone of McDonald's caliber and propitious drive would have to
be stopped-one way or another. The mechanisms used against the
good doctor are obvious and not so obvious, Druffel more than
intimates. Not the least of these-jealous mechanisms of a
hostile mainstream - were the scurvy tactics of otherwise
inexplicable persons such as Philip Klass and Edward Condon.
These were shallow men without imagination and courage, at best.
At worst, they were drunk on their own baseless hubris and
perhaps even cooperating drones for that conjectured unelected

Both were two-faced authoritarian murmurers with a predilection
for whisper-campaigning, name-calling, hate mongering, and the
yellowest of yellow presses. They were the hackish agents of
stupefying misrepresentation and the instruments of crass
deception and misinformation. They were the blindsiding back-
shooters and the artless shadow-snipers. They are the reason the
rest of us are reluctant to be bold!

These, and others like them-known and unknown - were the
cowardly hurdles that Dr. McDonald was compelled to clear. They
were the cheaters. They were the liars. They, themselves, were
what they were pretending to warn us against!

McDonald, on the other hand, Druffel writes, was only a genuine
scientist of the first water made aware, as a result of his
researches, that a significant number of UFO reports could not
have prosaic explanations. He was justifiably intrigued.

He was also demonstrably and justifiably aghast that his much
revered science, in the person of the military and the
scientists it employed, was not taking a remotely competent look
at it. That UFOs should be exhaustively investigated was
abundantly obvious to McDonald, along with few significant
others. He understood all too clearly that they were not being
properly investigated by any means. So he readily took up, as a
man who is not a coward will, the campaign to bring mainstream
science on line for that competent investigation. We are well
served, ultimately, that he did.

For his trouble, Druffel notes, he was bait-and-switched, drawn
out over empty air with high-level and well-connected promises
of the financial support necessary for a quality investigation
which, carrot-like, never materialized, and he, along with his
family, was phone-tapped and threateningly followed in obvious

Concurrently, even as McDonald is hobbled and persecuted in his
righteous study of the problem, Edward Condon throws away a half
million dollars in government grants for a negatively biased
foregone conclusion regarding UFOs that he would later foist on
the scientific community and a hapless public, very nearly
ruining the whole ufological enterprise with his patent
obfuscation of it, out of hand.

The bastard! Verily.

Condon and Klass were too little, too late for a complete
destruction of nascent ufology, it seems, as Druffel points out
with ready alacrity. Condon was clearly and suspiciously
identified by McDonald, even before the formal report was
released, as a duplicitous ax-grinder who apparently had not
even read the report which he chaired and for which he was
writing the conclusion. McDonald also made decisively short work
of Philip Klass' ludicrous expository, too. Klass was,
summarily, inarguably, and effortlessly dismissed.

But for McDonald's sterling science, faultless logic, expansive
intelligence, and stalwart bravery, the bucket of cold water
that was poured on UFOs by these two might have snuffed out the
interest in them, altogether. McDonald was truly key in keeping
them alive for subsequent generations. Druffel makes this clear,
also. Oh, but what McDonald might have done with the half
million dollars that Condon just pissed away on his fake study.
I don't think it unlikely that humanity might already be living
expressive lives in the asteroid belt as a result. A living ring
of humanity around our sun; a glittering halo of progressive
humankind living between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. but I

Why was Dr. McDonald a fool, then? Everything expressed thus far
would seem to indicate that he was a fool's very antithesis. And
he was, good reader; he was. But he was also a Boy Scout and a
believer. Not a believer in the paranormal or a believer in
UFOs, but a believer in a government of the people, by the
people, and for the people as a working reality.

He had a Boy Scout's confidence in the institution of science
that went where the data went and not where it could, itself, be
driven. He believed in demonstrable right and the courage of
tested convictions, not easy convenience, untested faith, and
profitable complacency. He believed in the rule of law, the
rationality of due process, and the efficacious profits of
professional behavior; he believed in the inevitable elevations
and advancements discovered in frank open-mindedness, and he
believed in the certain ultimate rewards found in a passionate
investigation for the truth. Truth though heavens fall.

McDonald's belief was that his society was an accurate
reflection of the preceding. It was not then. It is not now.
McDonald, astonishingly, even as he can't really be blamed, one
discovers, believed he fought his scientific battles on a field
that was remotely level.

The monumentally magnificent fool, forgetting for a moment that
he is exactly the kind of fool that this writer and Ms. Druffel,
I suspect, aspire to be and always admire; in fact, the only
foolishness we'd insist upon. Fairness, rationality,
forthcoming-ness, progressiveness, consistency, intelligence,
and individual respect one should be able to take for granted.

Any other path is back-stepping, inane insanity. It is also
apparent foolishnesses, given the state of the union today and
half a century's ufological denial, extra-normal dismissal, and
thoughtlessly executed and canted denunciation by profit-taking
pelicanists, scurvy skeptibunkies, and conflicted

These were the presumptions Dr. McDonald held, writing off the
inconsistencies of science he witnessed as a monumental cock-up
of crass incompetence and not what it more than likely was-a
monumental cover-up of crafted duplicity.

And one not in our best interests I'd suspect; nor, I predict,
would Ms. Druffel. Those who have would keep on having without
regard to the sensibilities of those who have not.

Would that McDonald had been better able to take stock of his
culture's duplicity, he might have proceeded along more
successful lines. Druffel points out a few occasions where
information held out on him by knowledgeable authority provoked
assumptions he was making regarding the veracity of professional
persons he was otherwise forced to deal with. Thus, more
encouragement outwards on that precipitous limb.

These were the officious anti-intellectuals and ethically
bankrupt authoritarian toads such as Klass, Condon, Menzel, a
host of intelligence operatives, wind-sensing (and passing)
politicians, and timid academic functionaries. Betrayers of
truth, all!

Verily, Ann Druffel is clear that Dr. McDonald was a fine,
upstanding, and intelligent man of ethical consistency and rare
courage who was betrayed by persons closest to him; betrayed
when those persons knew he was on the right track, doing the
right thing, and doing it in exactly the right way.

Where was the doctor's wife when he had the future by the
shirttails and enigma by the scruff? Where were his learned
colleagues who knew he was right when he was blindsided by the
convenient bias of pompous detractors who'd have to scale a
ladder to buff his shoe tops? Where were his friends? What have
they done in the aftermath to keep McDonald alive then, and for
the future?

Dr. McDonald's story is a hard lesson, because we are reminded
of the prices that are sometimes demanded for the pursuit of
human advancement. He is a wonderful inspiration when we recall
that his name will be remembered long after the names of Klass
and Condon and Menzel are less than ignoble dust.

In closing, this is a book of such power, intelligence, and
accuracy that it has compelled this writer to reassess all of
Ms. Druffel's past work in a new, more interested and attentive
light. It is that kind of book. Not to diminish the volume in
any way, but it could be a dazzling film featuring Matthew
McConaughey or Russell Crowe.

They might do Mac justice.

Firestorm! The very title of Ann Druffel's book is an
astonishing hint to just how close McDonald may have been to
putting us in the asteroid belt to which I'd alluded earlier. Be
that as it may, I am improved, fortified, and emboldened with
the reading of it.

I'd suggest you would be, too.

AVG Blog -- http://alienviewgroup.blogspot.com/
U F O M a g a z i n e -- www.ufomag.com

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