Sunday, May 31, 2009

Thought for the day

I was thinking a bit today about how the human mind works. It seems to me that the mind does not like a lot of choices, no more than two if at all possible, and even then the other choice is generally thought to be wrong. Reality is not so simple, I think.

Left and Right, Liberal and Conservative, Right and Wrong, Good and Evil. Oh, we like 31 flavors of ice cream and a hundred brands of toothpaste to choose from, but on the important things we prefer to keep it down to two. Binary thinking; perhaps it comes from our evolution; fight or flight, maybe we are hard-wired that way. I don't know.

We see this in politics all the time, on both sides. It's easy to think of the Right as being rigid and unthinking (perhaps because so many of them are) but it is not so easy to dismiss a Thomas Sowell in that way. How many liberals read Sowell? How many conservatives read Paul Krugman?

I'm not merely saying that there is some truth on both sides, or that both sides have something to offer, although I am sure they do, but that there are more than two sides, or there should be. Many more I would say, but we cannot see them, or even think them.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Jefferson Morley is still fighting to release files on a CIA agent's JFK assassination files

My lawsuit continues. The CIA could change its position in a court filing due this summer. But I've learned a lesson about what President Obama is up against. Just because the CIA's position in a FOIA case is factually absurd, legally obtuse and directly contradictory to the president's wishes doesn't mean it is vulnerable to change. When it comes to the government's most sensitive JFK assassination records, the CIA culture of secrecy still has the force of law and the Obama's beautiful words have the force of air.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Journal of International Security Affairs via Raw Story

Although it seems unthinkable now, future wars may require censorship, news blackouts and, ultimately, military attacks on the partisan media. Perceiving themselves as superior beings, journalists have positioned themselves as protected-species combatants. But freedom of the press stops when its abuse kills our soldiers and strengthens our enemies.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Revealed: Bush crazier than previously believed, thought Gog and Magog were at work in the Mid-East
What I'm reading: Jesus and the Zealots by S.G.F. Brandon

Getting off the Jesus kick soon. Actually this is the second time I've read this. I've put off buying new books until I find a job (hire me!). Will work for money.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Wingnut Watch

Wingnut "grand juries" accuse Obama of ineligibility, treason

Hundreds of "presentments" – or accusations assembled by citizen grand juries – are scheduled to be given to courts, sheriffs, prosecutors, judges and legislators across the United States by July 4 alleging that Barack Obama is ineligible to be president of the United States and his occupancy in the Oval Office constitutes treason.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

So, is cutting someone's genitals with a scalpel torture?

According to Bradley, when Mohamed was first held at a CIA prison in Morocco, “They started this monthly treatment where they would come in with a scalpel or a razor type of instrument and they would slash his genitals, just with small cuts.”
I'm guessing the Republican response will be to say no, it's not torture because they only inflicted small cuts. I will personally pay Sean Hannity $1000 for every small cut he allows me to inflict on his genitals.

Wingnut Watch

WorldNetDaily, having nothing better to do with their money, has launched a billboard campaign against Obama on the nutty birth certificate issue. They overlook the fact that Obama has already released his birth certificate. Not the long form, which would tell us what hospital he was born in, but the short form, verified by the State of Hawaii, that tells us what state (Hawaii) he was born in. Cased closed.

But doesn't Hawaii permit registration of out-of-state births? Yes, but those birth registration certificates still indicate place of birth, and Obama's says Hawaii.

WorldNetDaily is also all worked up over what they are calling the criminalization of Christianity. What they are talking about here seems to mainly the recent hate crime legislation, which they call the Pedophile Protection Act, proving once again that the really crazy people don't know they're crazy, and that, unchecked by contact with reality, crazy people keep on getting crazier.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is Meghan McCain a slut?

Meghan McCain has declared herself to be a "pro-sex Republican. Naturally this is all over the blogs.

According to this site:

Meghan's "sexuality," BTW, is slut . . or so one hears. But who am I to repeat mere gossip? Of course, even if it were true that she puts out like Pez dispenser, that sort of ad hominem attack is invalid as logic and has nothing to do with the truth or falsehood of Meghan's argument for . . .
Meghan McCain is an attractive 24-year old blonde, who is apparently not a virgin and refuses to preach what she doesn't practice. And yet, unlike Bristol Palin, who preaches abstinence, she has never been knocked up. Who is the more responsible role model for American youth?
Update: Although, just possibly, there may be another reason why Meghan never got knocked up.

Tila Tequila: Meghan McCain Is a "Good Friend of Mine"

The two dined out at the posh Chateau Marmont after contacting each other through Twitter, the magazine reported. Tila heard that McCain looked up to her and the pair spent an hour chatting about "everything from politics to pop culture," a source told Us.
"Yep, Tequila and I are friends," McCain wrote on her Twitter page the day of her lunch date with Tila. "She's an cool [sic] girl and that's all there is to say!"

As someone once said: "I’m not much of a drinker but I’ve heard Tequila goes down easy."

WorldNetDaily once again goes after the Folsom Street Fair, an annual event in nearby San Francisco which I have never attended. (I live in nearby San Jose, when I am not in Antarctica.) For some reason, they take offense at this harmless family scene. "The Folsom Street sex-fest fair poster ridiculing the iconic 1950s 'nuclear family' photograph has been modified in order to be reproduced here."

Naturally, I had to have a look at the original. I must admit it took me a while to notice any difference.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

An hour-long interview with James W. Douglas, author of JFK and the Unspeakable, one of the best books on the assassination, can be listened to here. I'm planning on listening to it later.

So now we know that there was a whole series of Top Secret Defense Department Intelligence Reports with covers containing Bible quotes. How crazy is that? More here.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

In defense of Carrie Prejean
I haven't weighed in yet on the Carrie Prejean controversy. So here goes. She's hot. I mean "Bond girl" hot. I don't care about her views on gay marriage. I really don't care if she denies the holocaust or uses the n-word. I love you Carrie. It's not fair to judge Carrie by the same standards as girls who are not hot. Really hot girls can get away with anything. And why are gay men judging beauty contests anyway?

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What I'm reading:

Just James: The Brother of Jesus in History and Tradition

We cannot know if Paul journeyed to Rome with no regrets or whether James experienced forebodings not only concerning his own future and the future of his nation but also (and especially) concerning the future of Christian Judaism. James struggled to maintain the messianic faith in Jesus as a viable faith for Jews. The weight of history crushed him and his tradition so that scarcely an adequate memory remains of his heroic struggle.
What I'm reading:

Secret Gospels: Essays on Thomas and the Secret Gospel of Mark

The followers said to Jesus, "Tell us how our end will be." Jesus said, "Have you discovered the beginning then, so that you are seeking the end? For where the beginning is the end will be."
That's from the Gospel of Thomas. Profound as fuck.
Suicide Girl urges Obama to "go gay" with Supreme Court pick

Obama’s going to pick a Supreme Court nominee this year. This will be the first time we are going to have a justice picked by a non-asshole since the 90’s. Besides just a non-asshole, it’s the first time a president will pick a justice based on their credentials, instead of their insane right wing leanings and destructive business loving opinions. In all seriousness, if Justices Roberts and Alito could actually go down on corporations, they would. So this is a big deal. That’s why I think Obama should pick a gay woman. That doesn’t make sense after everything I just said, does it? Like I give a shit.

Let’s go gay. Let’s show the right wing what it feels like to watch an Alito take a seat on the bench. At least we can watch the right wing freak the fuck out and Senators filibuster for no other reason than because there might be a gay person on the bench. It’s a win-win.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

10 Racist Rush Limbaugh Quotes

1. I mean, let’s face it, we didn’t have slavery in this country for over 100 years because it was a bad thing. Quite the opposite: slavery built the South. I’m not saying we should bring it back; I’m just saying it had its merits. For one thing, the streets were safer after dark.

2. You know who deserves a posthumous Medal of Honor? James Earl Ray [the confessed assassin of Martin Luther King]. We miss you, James. Godspeed.
This is all over the internet. Here's the thing. I don't believe these quotes, particularly not these two. I say they're phony.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Pakistani president: Osama bin Laden is dead

Two weeks ago, Pakistan President Asif Ali Zadari suggested that Osama bin Laden might be dead, saying that U.S. and Pakistani intelligence agencies had been unable to detect any sign of the world’s most wanted man since an audio recording of his voice was released in March.

Sunday morning, Zadari went further: “I don’t think he’s alive,” the president told NBC’s David Gregory. “I have a strong feeling and reason to believe that.” Zadari continued: “I have asked my counterparts in the American intelligence services and they haven’t heard [from] him in seven years.”
Seven years! 2002. If this is true, then who is it on all those tapes? And he cites "my counterparts in the Ameican intelligence sources".

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Thursday, May 07, 2009

The future of the conservativism

I have been giving this some thought lately. This country may or may not be at the beginning of a transformational political moment where the Republican Party goes the way of the Whigs, but conservativism isn't going to go away. Nor should it, in my opinion. We need liberals and conservatives. And moderates and radicals for that matter. Accordingly I have added two conservative blogs to my links, Rightwing Nuthouse and Little Green Footballs. I have also removed the Wingnut Watch section. Blogs by honest and principled (and noncrazy) conservatives like these two are well worth reading. Blogs like Atlas Shrugs really are not, except in a clinical sense.

Where will tomorrow's conservatism come from? Unfortunately, probably not I fear from blogs like these. Today's conservative movement is getting crazier as it gets smaller. And more fractured and incoherent.

One faction, the Paleoconservatives, is represented, at its best, by Pat Buchanan, who is also worth reading. Paleos however are conservatism's past not its future. At their worst they are racist and anti-semitic. One hopes though that tomorrow's conservatism will move at least a little in their direction on foreign policy. Not all the way to isolationism but an end to neocon foreign misadventures would be good.

Another faction, the Religious Right, will be around for a while, but is getting smaller. They have lost, or are losing, on most of their social issues--pornography, abortion, school prayer, and gay marriage. As a recent poll showed, today's young people are less religious and this does not bode well for religious conservatives. Many of them may just take their marbles and go home.

The neocon faction has had an influence that is disproportionate to their numbers, especially in the Republican Party, but their imperial dreams are in disarray. "Real men invade Iran" isn't looking too good these days.

That leaves the wingnuts, the followers of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Savage, and Ann Coulter. For the near future, I fear that they are the future of conservativism but they lack both the intellectual substance and the intellectual honesty to form the basis of a lasting political movement, at least one with a chance of mainstream power. They might, however, conceivably evolve into a far-right fringe movement akin to some of the fascist parties of Europe.

Looking at today's conservatism, I have to say that Barry Goldwater and Ronald Reagan are looking better every day. But still not as good as John Kennedy.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Good News: Young Americans Losing Their Religion

New research shows young Americans are dramatically less likely to go to church -- or to participate in any form of organized religion -- than their parents and grandparents.

"It's a huge change," says Harvard University professor Robert Putnam, who conducted the research.

Historically, the percentage of Americans who said they had no religious affiliation (pollsters refer to this group as the "nones") has been very small -- hovering between 5 percent and 10 percent. However, Putnam says the percentage of "nones" has now skyrocketed to between 30 percent and 40 percent among younger Americans.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Howard Baker: What do you know about the Kennedy assassination?

Richard Nixon: You don’t want to know.

Via Oswald's Mother. Source: Oral Interview of journalist Don Hewitt
Did Jackie Kill JFK?

A lot of the nuttier conspiracy people think that Kennedy was killed by the driver William Greer. But this loon, excuse me that's Dr. Loon, thinks that the President was killed by his wife! With a cute little gun. (Because she's a Jew.)

Dr. Loon also believes in a geocentric universe. (Because God said so.)
So just how crazy is Cynthia McKinney? Crazy enough to appear on a far-right racist, anti-semitic radio program. Crazy enough to recommend the works of crazy anti-semitic conspiracy theorists. More here and here and here. Has Cynthia McKinney become a rightwing loon? Or is she still a leftwing loon? Or is crazy just crazy. It's all about the Jews, of course.

Monday, May 04, 2009

I haven't had a chance yet to listen to this but here is a link to a 1974 interview of E. Howard Hunt by William F. Buckley. Buckley worked under Hunt in the CIA.

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Extreme Right in America in the 50's and 60's

I've been on a mailing list for a while for a yahoo group called FBI vs. Extreme Right run by some guy called Ernie. Ernie, whoever he is, is a longtime researcher who has acquired numerous FBI reports via FOIA requests. His main site is titled: MY RESEARCH- FBI FILES AND DOCUMENTS PERTAINING TO EXTREME RIGHT INDIVIDUALS, GROUPS, AND THEIR ASSERTIONS . Lots of information here regarding the John Birch Society, Eustace Mullins, Dan Smoot and much more. Currently Ernie's site gets about three hits a day so go there now.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

More trashy lesbian paperback covers at Strange Sisters
Fidel Castro comments on the Kennedy Assassination

He seriously wanted to talk with Cuba and that’s what he decided to do. He sent Jean Daniel to talk with me and return to Washington. His mission was being carried out at that moment when the news of President Kennedy’s assassination arrived. His death and the strange way in which it was orchestrated and carried out, was truly sad.
Emphasis added.
Secession. Really?

According to this article on the venerable wingnut site WorldNetDaily Eleven percent would vote for their state to secede right now. About half of them are Republicans, the rest independents.
What I'm reading

Ronald Reagan: Fate, Freedom, and the Making of History by John Patrick Diggins

A thoughtful and provocative book. Diggins argues that Reagan is among the top tier of American Presidents, yet is willing to criticize him when it is merited. He spreads his criticism around, aiming it at liberals, conservatives and neoconservatives, although the neoconservatives get the lion's share. Political observers today forget just how critical of Reagan conservatives were, especially in his second term. Diggins argues that Reagan's greatest achievement was ending, not winning, the Cold War through negotiation with Gorbachev. Reagan believed in negotiation from a position of strength. The neoconservatives did not believe in negotiation.
Jeb Bush to Help Rebuild GOP

That's just what the Republicans need--new faces. Every time I look at Fox News I see either Dick Cheney or Karl Rove. A few Republicans are beginning to realize that reminding the American people about the Bush administration and defending torture are perhaps not the best way back to political power. But so far it's all they've got.
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