1. Sweden v. Assange: A Soiled Fairy Tale
Philosophy begins in wonder.
-- Socrates. Quoted in Plato, Theaetetus, 55d. --
Parker W. wants to know how to break the Assange impasse. (See prior two blog posts)
Parker, you do not want to hear what I have to say ...
I´ve had it! Get somebody else!
Johnny Paycheck aside, you might wonder who is thinking such thoughts.
Try Sweden´s Ministry for Foreign Affairs.
Whatever money Sweden received from the U.S. for telling Sweden to cook up two sex cases against Julian Assange, wasn´t worth it. The loss in prestige and credibility of that Nordic nation, so advanced in so many ways, may not be recovered in our lifetime.
Did promises of megabucks/other goodies come from Hillary Clinton, U.S. State Department chief? I wonder... The slab-dab concoction of sex scandals smacks of an unconscious projection of a life gone astray with Bill, a soiled fairy tale. Freudian analysts will have a field day with it.
If Hillary is the origin of the sex tales, the Swedish foreign ministry would do well to remember what Americans forgot: she is, to put it diplomatically, truth-impaired. For such people once is never enough. As First Lady she lied to defend her husband´s lies about his affair with Monica Lewinsky. For those who have forgotten or don`t believe it, click here. (I know what you´re thinking, Dear Reader, but I want to assure you the widely held belief that snakes travel in pairs is not true.)
I would sum up Hillary Clinton´s mysterious inner essence in these terms: her idea of a political commitment is a cocktail party. Henceforth, Sweden, you cannot say nobody told you.
Hillary is a case study of the phenomenon discussed in the prior post: Americans have lost the ability to tell good stories. Sweden is the hapless victim of that inability.
Well, Sweden, don´t look now but the other shoe is about to drop. When it lands, your present consternation will morph into humiliation:
Any day now, letter rogatory and the Hague Service Convention will enter the mass media and popular lexicon. What they boil down to: Julian Assange does not have to go to Sweden to be interrogated. If Swedish authorities really and truly want to question Assange about the sex allegations, all they have to do is get Ecuador´s permission (which has been granted) to enter its embassy and take his deposition. For that matter, they can hook up to the Internet and ask away.
O.K., Sweden, what are you waiting for?
Either continue to play Hillary´s childish unconscious games with the humiliation and money that goes with them, or retain a modicum of self-respect and dignity by serving notice. Give the puppet master one week to change her act or you will get the show on the road and question Assange. If he is of no further interest, he walks. If you formally charge him with a crime, normal legal processes begin.
Obama, for his part, can start acting like a chief executive instead of a kewpie-pie lawyer and backdoor man. If the United States has a case against Assange, present it. Lights, camera, action. If not, forget him and move on.
The best description of U.S. policy on Assange also contains the best advice to Sweden. Succinct, direct, it was offered in 1956, back when Americans knew how to tell a story. Forget President Eisenhower, Hans Morgenthau, Drew Pearson or any other political figure or analyst, past or present.
In the immortal words of Little Richard :
Slipping and Sliding
Peeping and Hiding
Won´t be your
fool no more.
England, you too might start to wonder.
Post Script: September 23, 2012. Did England wonder?
A recent report states that Ecuador may transfer Assange from its embassy in England to its embassy in Sweden.
One translation: England looked around, asked what in god´s name it was doing playing a part in the Assange story, decided to wash its hands of the entire affair. That England supposedly has not been notified of the transfer proposal is a diversion.
If that translation is correct, we are looking at a case study in expertise in diplomacy and foreign affairs. The United Kingdom has been around both blocks many times.
O.K. Sweden: if England exits from Washington´s screwball story,* the ball will be literally in your court.
What are you going to do?
*In case you do not remember or know about how bad it can get, this is what President Bill Clinton told the grand jury looking into his statement to his staffers about his relationship with Monica Lewinsky ("There´s nothing going on between us."): "It depends on what the meaning of the word 'is' is. If the--if he--if 'is' means is and never has been, that is not--that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement....Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true."
Is versus was: what we have here is not a failure of communicate but a classic case of "The Blivet Trick," i.e., trying to shove 10 pounds of horse shit into a five pound bag.
2. Real Deal II
Jack D., Roger N., Charlie C. and Jerry A. wrote regarding my experience working for Robert Kennedy (post of June 9, 2012). They ask about the latest RFK assassination report that stated 13 shots were fired by two different weapons (Sirhan´s gun only held 8 bullets). See also this CBS interview with forensic scientist Philip Van Prang who declares, "There had to have been two gunmen." (For counter arguments, click here. All I can say is, if sound equipment cannot distinguish between a gunshot and a balloon pop, you need new sound equipment.)
Van Praag thinks some of the shots were fired by an H & R 922; if I remember correctly, it uses long rifle bullets. Sirhan Sirhan was caught with an Iver Johnson cadet .22 pistol, and used hollow point bullets. In my opinion (I am an expert marksman in the NRA) the H & R is a better weapon. Sirhan´s was a classic Saturday Night Special: you can buy one for under $100. That said, if you wanted to murder somebody in a crowd and have as little "collateral damage" as possible, a hollow point bullet would be better than a long rifle bullet; the hollow point flattens out, causing more tissue damage and has less likelihood of exiting the body. Did Sirhan Sirhan have that collateral damage concern? I doubt it. If not, who did?
The RFK scenario sounds eerily similar to the JFK assassination hypothesis offered in The Big Movida: The Third American Revolution. To wit: a loser with weirdo political pretensions, poorly educated and mentally unstable, Lee Harvey Oswald was the perfect fall guy. However, he was not qualified to do what he supposedly did with a gun. Sorry, FBI and Secret Service, but that is where your official story that Oswald acted alone falls apart. I think a second, highly skilled sniper -- Real Deal -- was next to Oswald, had a refurbished Carcano rifle with a good scope and bullets, killed Kennedy and got away.
A mentally unstable stable boy at the Santa Anita racetrack with grandiose political designs, Sirhan Sirhan was another perfect patsy. However, for all those reasons, plus the fact he knew little or nothing about guns, Sirhan, like Oswald, could not be relied on to get the job done. Thus, a second "real" assassin was necessary. (Sirhan, by the way, may not know the second killer existed). If so, did the mystery gunman -- Real Deal II -- kill RFK and escape?
Sidebar: Forget the girl in the polka dot dress who ran away shouting "we" killed RFK. Anybody who has been to California knows there are 3 of those in every mall. Over the decades, car dealer Cal Worthington and his dog Spot no doubt saw caravans of polka dot screamers in Long Beach.
Over 4 decades have passed since the RFK assassination. I believe the government should release ALL information on both Kennedy assassinations. I also believe no administration will do so because if the FBI failed to catch the real killers, that fact cannot be admitted -- ever.
When you shake it all out, that failure may be what is at the bottom of the bottomless Kennedy assassination mysteries.
3. Shameful and Shameless
Lee G., Benda B., Salvador J., Ernesto S.: you ask about the recent Supreme Court decision on Arizona. The split decision failed to address the key issue of whether or not identification papers are required at all times. The New York Times: “The ruling emphasized that state law enforcement officials already possessed the discretion to ask about immigration status and now it was being made mandatory. However, it is sending this part of the case back to the lower court for further consideration."
Sending the case back. So, why didn`t the Supreme Court step up to the plate and decide the ID issue once and for all?
Answer: Blatant short-term politics aside -- to please Obama, the Court is trying to finesse Hispanics until after the November election -- what we have is a vintage example of what oozes from every pore in the New York Times article: the Supreme Court`s real concern is power, not people. The Big Movida (pp. 72-3) discussed the Court´s tactic of amassing and maintaining power by heightening ambiguity:
"The Supreme Court loves it, creates it by the trainload. The reason:
In an ambiguous situation, he who is the POSITION to know has the power. The Supreme Court is in that position. And power -- not justice -- is what the Supreme Court is all about. It has learned, a la computer tycoon, that money, full employment for lawyers, more funding for the judicial branch and other self-serving measures are enhanced by creating problems, not solving them. Chapter 1 offers a solution to that infernal cycle in the judiciary."
There`s a good side and a bad side; on the one hand, on the other. The end of the Court´s endless stream of ambiguous decisions is the tyranny of the law identified and denounced by Montesquieu and Tocqueville (The Big Movida, pp. 165-8). That tyranny is the hallmark of the Fourth Reich ruling America today -- the despotism of an oligarchy Jefferson warned about and Tocqueville foretold (ibid., pp. 9, 101).
Montesquieu summed up:
"Under moderate governments, the law is prudent…and perfectly well known, so that even the pettiest magistrates are capable of following it. But in a despotic state, where the prince's will is the law, though the prince were wise, yet how could the magistrate follow a will he does not know?" (See post of July 17, 2012).
O.K., who knows how the Supreme Court will rule? No public employee. Not you or me.
The prince smiles, sips his cloudberry liqueur, keeps the guessing game going.
Arbitrariness is the depot´s key; ambiguity, his way to forge and guard it.
4. Eat Up With The Dumbo
M.F. writes in regard to our post on literary agents (July 17, 2012), who are the shock troops of censorship in America, that she wrote a cookbook with recipes all containing a particular spice. Verdict: "A literary agent told me there was no market for a cookbook featuring a single ingredient."
A classic case, if there ever was one, of... well, let´s see exactly:
In order for Mr. Literary Agent´s statement to literally make sense, he must have (1) polled (2) purchasers of cookbooks, and (3) asked if they would buy a cookbook of recipes all featuring a particular spice. Now, you know as well as I do that no such poll has ever been conducted.
What I am trying to tell you in a nice way, Mr. Literary Agent, is that you literally don´t know what in hell you are talking about.
Mr. Agent is a vintage case of the lowest UNcommon denominator ruling America today, a.k.a., Big Mouth Small Brain Syndrome. There is no bigger barbarian than a civilized barbarian; together, they form the officer corps of America´s new oligarchic political system.
Mr. Agent, you account for why 70% of all books published in America are financial flops; why the 20-something author with a terrific first novel (see the July 17, 2012 post) never had a chance. It is also you, Mr. Agent, who are why there are no John Steinbecks or William Faulkners today. Contrary to what you claim, such artists are out there; talent is a function of population numbers. For such outstanding writers and story tellers to find an audience, however, the agent system must be marginalized (see below).
I showed this note on literary agents to a 13-year-old neighbor. She shook her head, uttered the five-word epitaph heading this subsection. Thanks, Elisa.
5. The 6 Billion Dollar Dudes
James S., Patty J., Ruth M., Mike K., Manning D., Charles M.: yes, I saw the BBC article estimating that U.S. elections will cost $6 billion this year.
What the American mass media will not tell you: they themselves are the primary cause of the problem they complain about. The BBC nailed it: the main culprit of berserk U.S. campaign costs is TV ads. They comprise over 50% of campaign budgets. The Big Movida (Chapter 3) identified the necessary (but not sufficient) solution: legally compel TV and radio stations, as part of their public broadcasting responsibility, to run candidate ads at no cost.
6. The NO/YES Boys
Ernestine E., Mert W., Alan M., Manolo G., Herb S., Brad D., Scott S., Roger B., Tom D., Tommy. M., Leo C., R. Murphy,. Betty and Enrique M.:
(i) No, the lobbying firm Patton Boggs (post of April 23, 2012) has not replied to my request to stop encouraging the C.I.A. to use torture. Conclusion: Patton Boggs continues to say "Yes" to torture.
Into the valley of death
road the 600 lawyers.
With deepest apologies to A.L.T.
(ii) No, the Association of American Publishers has not contacted me regarding our proposal (July 17, 2012 post) that they create a bank of manuscripts open to all authors and publishers. It is too early to come to a definitive conclusion. In the meantime, a disturbing question will not go away:
Does the Association says "Yes" to literary agents, those outdated middlemen who are holding as captives the Association´s own members?
Fortunately, existing computer technology can rescue publishers. I make that statement not only on the existing reality of InkTip, a bank for movie scripts, but also from personal experience. For three years I was Assistant Director of an international data bank.
Somebody will create the Internet manuscript bank and make millions.
(iii) No, Freedom House never responded to my request (May 17, 2012) that it could show real support for real freedom of the press by working to publish my article, which the mass media censored, showing how the 2000 Florida election may have been stolen.
Conclusion: Freedom House says "Yes" to rampant censorship provided it is wielded by private media magnates and not governments.
(iv) No, Vice President Biden, who is in charge of a task force to strengthen the middle class, never answered the two questions I put to him in an article, "Is The American Middle Class Dying?," published in 2009:
"(1) Regarding the middle class in the production sector, both agricultural and manufacturing: How do you propose to stop the inherent tendency of enterprise to concentrate and centralize, thereby reducing the number of small producers?
(2) Regarding the middle class in the service sector: How do you propose to stop the tendency of modern enterprise to specialize labor? That specialization simplifies work, thereby eroding the middle class economic foundation: complex tasks and the higher levels of education and training needed to perform them."
Conclusion: Vice President Biden says "Yes" to oligarchs, the wealthiest 5% of Americans raking in 50% of the national income. The archi-rich are behind the concentration of enterprise and specialization of labor, hence of the decline of the middle class.
Given who he says "Yes" to, it is hardly surprising that Biden also says "Yes" to theft. In 1987 he was caught red-handed plagiarizing a speech from British Labor Party leader Neil Kinnock. Biden´s plagiarism didn´t stop there. Unable to tell a good story, he was nailed again and again, and finally was tossed out of the presidential race. No guilt, no shame, Biden remains today as politically tone-deaf as he was 25 years ago.
"Imitation," Charles Colton concluded, "is the sincerest form of flattery." We have a corollary: plagiarism is the sincerest form of stealing. Harvard man Fareed Zakaria, the oligarchy´s media pointman, is the latest case in point and proof of the underlying problem: they just can`t tell a good story.
Speaking of money,
Guy M., Bruno M.: you ask which post to this blog received the most visits.
Answer: the formula to achieve one-person, one-vote apportionment (post of October 11, 2011). That article and its predecessor (October 3, 2011), which presented the philosophical dimensions of the one-person, one-vote conundrum, have received thousands of visitors. (Both posts were subsequently edited and presented in The Big Movida, Chapters 7 and 8).
As I write these words over half of our 50 states are being attacked by multi-milion dollar reapportionment lawsuits (see post of April 16, 2012). I was surprised that so many people were shocked to learn that their votes do not have equal weight. As for the solution, I must once again warn readers about what the reigning American oligarchy knows: today, money is made by creating problems, not solving them. Our one-person, one-vote formula has no more chance of being put into practice than does legally compelling the media to broadcast candidate ads for free.
Of course, the billions of dollars lining the pockets of mega-rich media owners and out-of-state law firms would be better spent on schools, health care, roads, you name it. However, such is not the system governing the United States. It is worth repeating that Thomas Jefferson called that system what it is: the despotism of an oligarchy.
8. 3/5 Human
The September 19, 2011 post (see The Big Movida, Chapter 5) explained why the Electoral College is a residue of slavery, then concluded:
"President Obama had better do what he was elected to do: not write children’s books but be America’s point-man and get rid of the Electoral College before it gets rid of him. If the pigeons come home to roost in the College bell tower in 2012, we will witness simultaneously the bottom of the as-if contradiction [the entire political system was forced to behave as-if Blacks were 3/5 human] to which the Electoral College relegated America and the pinnacle of political stupidity in world history.
That stupidity -- not that he was America’s first Black president -- will be Barack Obama’s legacy.
Everlasting humiliation is more than a remote possibility."
G.P. R., Anne C. and Dick F. ask what the Electoral College is showing now (August/September 2012). Could Obama win the popular vote but lose the Electoral College vote? Are we looking at a replay of 2000, in which Al Gore won the people but lost the presidency?
It depends on whom you talk to. Some sources put the race closer than others. However, all agree that as of the moment any lead is tenuous. We may be looking at another election decided by October conditions and events.
Now, why is there any doubt whatsoever about the 2012 presidential election? By all rights, it should be a replay of the 1996 slam/dunk contest: 47 million for Clinton, 39 million for Dole.
Answer: the 2008 Obama vs. McCain race revealed the fatal flaw -- the crack in the diamond -- in the Obama campaign team: it does not understand momentum. For more on this subject, click here. Only in the final 40 days, when the economy was clearly capsizing, did Obama take the lead. Thus, he owes his victory not to his own efforts but to outside events.
For confirmation of Obama´s momentum problem, see the Gallup tracking polls for 2008 here. Now, look at the Gallup tracking polls for 2012 here. Discounting the standard, post convention bounce for Obama, what do you see?
In sum, Gallup got it right: Obama-Romney is a "tight race." Thus, our conclusion is unchanged: Everlasting humiliation for Obama is more than a remote possibility.
9. Whom Will I Vote For?
Finally, Beber M., you discretely ask if I will vote for Romney or Obama.
My answer: No.
Neither candidate is seriously addressing a single concern expressed in The Big Movida. Since I do not see any difference between the two men on matters which matter to me, it would be irrational for me to select one over the other. For you who believe you see a difference in issues which are important to you, I will not spoil your vote by irrationally casting a ballot. Hence, I step aside and let you determine the next White House occupant.
I and millions like me, however, will determine something else. Whoever he is, the next president will be elected by only 30% of the people legally eligible to vote. Mr. President will once again be a politico picked by a small minority. Any claim by him or his supporters to have been "democratically elected," i.e., to be the choice of the majority of Americans, will be a lie.
By not voting we deprive the winner and the reigning oligarchy of the one thing they want but do not have: legitimacy. Obama? Romney? We want them both to lose -- and they will.
We nonvoters in November will not create a single thing. We will only make manifest what is latent: the United States does not have a democracy. It has an oligarchy. Only by admitting that fact can desperately needed changes be made.
That admission is impossible until the new oligarchic political system governing America is uncovered and revealed for all to see.