Category Archives: Liars

When Bad Things Happen to Good Megafauna

Good morning readers. Thanks for coming by for a read this morning.

Old Sol and I continued our conversation from the previous morning yesterday.

“So.  You’re saying you think I need more diversity in my art?”

“I’m sure as hell not saying you need more ego.  You’ve got more than enough of that, what with your astrophysicists, Hopi Witch Doctors and Mayan-bean-counter buddies.”

“That was a hurtful thing to say.  What are you so irritated about this morning?”

“I’m not irritated.  Sometimes your bluster’s a bit tedious though.  You’re forever trying to take credit for everything that happens, whether you had anything to do with it or not.  But the most cataclysmic event, for instance, that’s happened since man has been around, you had nothing to do with.”

“Um.  You’re referring to the megafauna?”

“Yeah.  Millions of rhino, mammoth, hippos, sabre-tooth tigers all killed in the space of a few days.  Lots of them frozen fast enough to keep them from decaying much.  Carcasses stacked up like cord wood over half the planet.  If you’re able to do that, big fella, I say go for it.”

“I never said I did.  That wasn’t me.  We stars are mostly uniformists, gradualists, except for a few rare renegade exceptions.  We don’t go in for drama.”

“Okay.  I’ll buy that.  I envy you, though, getting to see all those giant beasties wiped out.”

“Yeah.  It was a sight to behold.  Just out of curiosity, what do you think happened?”

“It’s obvious what happened.  All a person has to do is discount everything he believes he knows already that would keep it from happening.  Then allow himself  to look at whatever options are left on the plate.  There aren’t many.”

“I’m about out of time.  But you’re admitting the reason nobody looks at the obvious isn’t my fault?”

“No.  I guess it isn’t.  They’re all lap-dancing to their own agendas.  Sometimes you end up as part of the agenda, is all.  I reckons.”

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules:  Adopting an Illusion?

Old Jules, if you act like something for long enough, will you become like the illusion?  If you acted as a good moral, rule-abiding citizen, could you eventually adopt those beliefs and habits?

Hindsight, Liars, Dupes, Denouements and the Unspeakable

Even the dispicable can’t always dodge the steamroller. Kaufman was rewarded, Greenglass spent a few years in prison, punctuated by testimonies before Congressional Committees to help forge a US package of ideas about a war on International Communism. Appropriate enough, liar lying to other liars to create a consistent set of lies. Not to suggest C0mmunists weren’t also lying. They mostly just weren’t elected and appointed officials sworn to uphold the Constitution of the United States.

Federal Judge Irving Kaufman, who subverted the legal processes in his own courtroom to predjudice the jury in favor of conviction of both Rosenbergs, then sentence them to death in the electric chair:

Born in Brooklyn, New York, Kaufman graduated from Fordham Law School at the age of 21 and worked for two decades as a lawyer in New York City, mostly in private practice but also as an Assistant United States Attorney. From 1949 to 1961, Kaufman served as a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York, to which he was appointed by President Harry S Truman. In 1961, President John F. Kennedy promoted Kaufman to an appellate position on the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. He served as an active Second Circuit judge from 1961 to 1987, including a term as Chief Judge from 1973 to 1980. Kaufman assumed senior status in 1987 but continued to hear some cases until his death four years later. On October 7, 1987, he was presented with the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Ronald Reagan.[1] He died on February 1, 1992 at Mount Sinai Medical Center in Manhattan of pancreatic cancer. He was 81 years old.[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_Kaufman

———-

David Greenglass testifying before a Congressional Committee in 1956.

http://www.cbsnews.com/2100-3475_162-563126.html

In 1953, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg were sent to the electric chair for stealing the secret of the atom bomb for the Soviet Union.

They were called the “Atom Spies,” and 50 years ago this summer, they were executed for giving the secret of the atomic bomb to the Soviet Union. They are the only Americans ever executed for espionage in peacetime.
Greenglass was the star witness for the prosecution against the Rosenbergs – and he also happened to be Ethel Rosenberg’s brother. He served 10 years in prison for his actions as a traitor, and then changed his name and dropped out of sight. As he neared 80, Greenglass decided to break his silence. He talked only after 60 Minutes II agreed to disguise his face and voice.

His story begins in the summer of 1950 when the FBI took Greenglass in for questioning. He confessed almost immediately for spying, and quickly implicated Julius, Ethel and his own wife, Ruth. David and the Rosenbergs were arrested. Ruth Greenglass never was charged.

“That’s what I told the FBI,” says Greenglass. “I said, ‘If you indict my wife, you can forget it. I’ll never say a word about anybody.'”

It was quite simply his choice, he says today. So Greenglass says he turned on his sister to save his wife. “I would not sacrifice my wife and my children for my sister. How do you like that?”

Greenglass made his choice when America was at war with communists in Korea, and in fear of the Soviet Union, which had recently tested its own atomic bomb.

The four spies were unlikely actors in a Cold War drama: Julius was an unsuccessful engineer; Ethel spent most of her time raising their two young sons; Greenglass was a draftsman and a tinkerer; and his wife Ruth was a wife and mother. All had been ardent communists.

During World War II, Greenglass, then a sergeant, was posted to Los Alamos, the secret army base in New Mexico, where thousands of scientists and soldiers were building the atom bomb. Although he had a low-level job, Greenglass says he knew what was going on.

He says Julius Rosenberg recruited him to spy with a simple sales pitch: “He said, ‘We have to help our ally.'” By ally, he meant Russia. “Russia was an ally at the time, and that we have to help them with all the information we get.”

Greenglass told the FBI that he gave the Russians sketches and details on the device used to trigger a nuclear blast. But he says he didn’t enjoy being a spy.

“I was continually conscious of what’s behind me. I didn’t enjoy it. I just did it because I said I would,” says Greenglass.

Did he realize how dangerous it was? “I didn’t really think it was, because I didn’t think the Russians were an enemy,” he says.

His career in espionage came to an end soon after the war ended. Back in civilian life, Greenglass and Julius opened a machine shop together. They argued over the business, and over Greenglass’ growing disenchantment with Communism.

Four years later, Julius warned Greenglass that the FBI was on to them, and urged him to flee the country. Greenglass had a family passport picture taken, but he had no intention of using it.

“I didn’t want to leave the United States to go to some hellhole like Russia or China, or wherever the hell he wanted to send me,” says Greenglass. Instead, he took a bus to the Catskill Mountains. “I figured I’d find an obscure place. And I see that the FBI is following me. And they lose me.”

But he never made it to the Catskills. He went into custody instead. And within hours, he began cooperating with the FBI, sealing the Rosenberg’s fate.

He was the star witness for the prosecution at their trial, and he told the jury about his espionage, and described the activities of Julius, Ethel and his wife, Ruth.

He testified that one evening, he and Ruth brought sketches and handwritten notes about the atom bomb to the Rosenberg’s New York apartment. After dinner, Greenglass said they set up a typewriter on a folding bridge table in the living room, and turned his hand-written notes into a neatly-typed document for the Soviets.

Prosecutors asked Greenglass who did the typing. He said under oath that Ethel did the typing. His wife, who also took the stand, told virtually the same story.

That story was virtually the only evidence the government had against Ethel Rosenberg. But prosecutors argued that Ethel’s typing proved she was an active participant in the spy ring. After the trial, they admitted that without the typing testimony, they could never have convinced the jury that Ethel was anything more than the wife of a spy – and that’s not a crime.

Why did Greenglass lie on the stand? He now says Roy Cohn, an assistant prosecutor in the Rosenberg case, made him do it. Cohn went on to become Joseph McCarthy’s right-hand man.

Greenglass says that Cohn encouraged him to testify that he saw Ethel type up the notes. And he says he didn’t realize at the time the importance of that testimony.

But the jury knew how important it was, and found both Julius and Ethel Rosenberg guilty of conspiring to commit espionage. Judge Irving Kaufman imposed the death penalty.

Fifty years later, we know a lot more than anyone could have known in 1951. For example, we know that much of what David Greenglass said about Julius Rosenberg is true. It has been verified by other, independent, sources, all of which confirm that Julius Rosenberg was a Soviet spy. We also know that there is very little, if any, evidence that implicates his wife, Ethel, in any illegal activity.

But in the days before the execution, there were protests and vigils in New York, Washington and Europe. The Rosenbergs both claimed they were innocent, and many believed in them. There were a flurry of last-minute attempts to get a stay of execution. And there was no shortage of Americans who felt that justice was being done.

Up until the last minute, the authorities were willing to commute the death sentences if the Rosenbergs cooperated and named names. But they refused and were executed on June 19, 1953 – without ever breaking their silence.

Why did Greenglass think Julius and Ethel maintained their silence to the end? “One word: stupidity,” says Greenglass, who holds his own sister responsible for her own death.

—————————————-

But I promised a Denouement:

Of course, it makes no difference now. Any more than it matters who killed JFK, Robert Kennedy, MLK, and President Diem of Vietnam.

Doesn’t matter, really, any more than it matters that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident, the incident used to justify the US involvement Vietnam War, was a manufactured incident.  A cynical lie to dupe the US public and arouse patriotic fervor.  Same as the Rosenberg trial.

A pyramid of lies, once the foundation’s in place, builds on itself. Only the names of the liars and the names of the victims change. It’s only incidental that sometimes the victims are also liars.

If any lessons can be learned from it all it’s probably only that the romantic patriots can always be trusted. Trusted to believe the lies. The liars can’t trust one another, but they know they can always trust the romantic patriots. 

The liars couldn’t succeed without them.

Old Jules

Today on Ask Old Jules on Facebook:

Old Jules, what’s your definition of an idealist?

An idealist is a person who locks his teeth into the ankle of an abstraction and doesn’t let go, doesn’t look for another ankle, doesn’t look closely at whatever’s above and below the ankle.

Today on the Ask Old Jules Blog:  Ever Met an Alien?

Old Jules, have you ever met anyone that you suspected might be an alien from another planet or a different dimension?

 

Sculpting Realistic ‘We’ From the Ideal Universe

Hydrox jumped off my lap and stalked over to the bed.

“Sometimes you human beings disgust me with your pretense.”

Him being second-in-command around here, I try to keep him up-to-date on my thinkings and directions.  Seems prudent to me because he’ll have to take over if I kick.  I’d just been asking him if he thought we could get along okay living in a travel trailer.

“Just what ‘we’ are we talking about here?  You and me?  You and all the cats?”  He glared at me.  “You, the cats and the chickens?”

I shrugged, wondering where he was going with this.  I felt a tirade in the making.  “Just you cats and me.  The chickens can’t be part of it.”

“Well, that’s a relief, anyway.  But I think you need to think through this second-in-command crap and all the what-if-you-ain’t-around side of it.”  He gestured with his nose toward the porch.  “The only ‘we’ worth talking about involves mutual resolve.  Creatures willing to allow the well-being of others within the ‘we’ to influence what they do.  No creature unconcerned for the well-being of the others, no creature the others don’t have a commitment to, can be part of a meaningful ‘we’.”

I thought about it a moment.  “That makes sense.  It’s why I was trying to keep you up-to-snuff on things.”

  His frustration was obvious.  “Yeah, and that’s where you’re proving how stupid you are.  For me,” He tweaked a claw under his chin, “the only ‘we’ around here is you and me.  And maybe Niaid, just a whisker.”

This rattled me, but he went on before I could say anything.  “When that coon on the porch ran at you and I jumped in, that’s ‘we’.  When you go to town and buy food for us, that’s ‘we’.  But do you see Tabby or Shiva the Cow Cat lifting a paw for me if I was starving?  Do you see either of them jumping in if a coon attacked me?”

He waited while I considered it.   “I suppose I don’t.”

Then they’re not a part of any ‘we’ I belong to.”

The more I pondered it the more it seemed to me he’d come upon an important thread in the fabric of reality I’d been overlooking.  Not just with cats and chickens, but with every piece of human intercourse around me most of my life. 

When a person goes down to City Hall, or the County Courthouse to perform some necessary business, for instance, and the clerk begins the ritual of obstruction, a ‘we’ is in the process of being defined.  The clerk is the spear-point for a huge ‘we’ of contradictory demands on the ‘we’ you occupy. 

“Do you have proof of residence?”

“There’s my driver’s license.”

That’s not enough.  I need a utility bill or tax return.”

“I didn’t bring that.”

“Then I can’t help you.”

The ‘we’ that clerk represents just defined a boundary excluding you from that ‘we’ and placing you inside another ‘we’ it considers an enemy.  And in a real world, that definition would be mutually recognized, rather than singularly by the human spear-point drawing the boundary.

Which is probably why representative democracy was doomed to eventual failure.  In a fantasy of wishful thinking a population created ‘we’ with a set of unrealistic boundaries.  When new ‘we’ entities developed around government centers those included in the ‘we’ tribes were those they associated with, lived near, shared a commonality with.  In Washington, D.C.  In Austin, Texas. 

And inevitably those outside that ‘we’ became an obstruction, a product, an enemy to their ‘we’.

“The only ‘we’ worth talking about involves mutual resolve.  Creatures willing to allow the well-being of others within the ‘we’ to influence what they do.  No creature unconcerned for the well-being of the others within the ‘we’, no creature the others don’t have a commitment to, can be part of a meaningful ‘we’.”

Sometimes it takes an outsider to the human ‘we’ constructions, a feline with a firm hold on reality, to recognize the obvious.

Old Jules

“Electing pet skunks to guard the henhouse might work for a while.  But the skunk-instincts and  chickens behind the walls they’re guarding metamorphoses the ‘we’ they live in.  The skunks become a we with a priority of digging under chicken-house walls and the we of being pet skunks fades until it no longer can call itself a we.”  Josephus Minimus

 

The Challenge of 2012: Not Knowing Who Wants to be King

One of my personal goals during the past several decades has been to live through an entire presidential term without knowing which politician occupies the White House.  A second goal is to not know which segment the single party occupying the Congressional seats disguised as two parties pretends to  be the one in power.

I almost made it through a presidential term without knowing who was up there once, but I fell off the wagon inadvertently because of 9/11.  I don’t recall who the guy was who was president then, but I do remember having to know who he was then for a while.

This time around I hornswoggled myself into knowing.  Him being a black guy, I was curious to see whether he’d be any different than the string of white ones preceding him.  But now I’ve satisfied myself he isn’t and my curiosity’s receded sufficiently to allow me to pound it down into the seldom-referred-to compartment of my brain where I try to keep things that are none of my affair. 

Old Sol and I have that in common, not wanting to know who is president of the US.  He doesn’t want to know, either.  Notice how he’s got his face squinched up in preparation for what he knows is coming.

But the challenge doesn’t begin with a new president.  It begins early during each election year as a Chinese fire drill of power-hungry liars telling the truth about one-another, but lies about themselves.  Along with the attitudinal lackeys of each among the citizenry saying things back and forth, repeating the lies in favor of their own preference and in opposition to those they vilify for one reason or another.

I’m going to be modifying the reading material online and offline I expose myself to so’s to help me in my goal of not knowing the names of all those lowlifes and read whatever lies they’re telling about others, and what truths are being told about them by their enemies.

From my point of view the greatest presidents of the US are those nobody ever heard of.  They did their jobs so well they barely get honorable mention in history because nothing noteworthy happened while they were president.  Which ought to be the goal of every president.

Here are some presidents I consider the great ones:

Martin Van Buren


Millard Fillmore

 

Franklin Pierce

Rutherford B Hayes

James Garfield

Chester A Arthur

Warren G. Harding

I’m including Jefferson Davis because nobody even acknowledges he was once president of half the country:

 

Here are two candidates for future greatness:

Gerald Ford

 

Jimmy Carter

Once the willow switch and razor strop went out of style as a method for dealing with loud, greedy, demanding children, the only methods left were ‘reasoning’ with them, which didn’t work, then ignoring them.

I’m going to skip the reasoning and just ignore them.

Old Jules

The Tanglefoot of Expecting the Unexpected

You couldn’t make this up.

Yesterday several blogs I subscribed to began with identical words:

A recent Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the FBI wants what it calls “food activists” prosecuted as terrorists, perhaps because nothing could more terrifying than exposing where our so-called food comes from and how it is manufactured.”

I didn’t disbelieve it initially, but it seemed a bit sloppy, though not outside the realms of the possible.  What bothered me about it was the fact nothing was mentioned about who made the FOIA request, why, and the precise wording of the contents of the FBI document. 

So I plugged the sentence, A recent Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that the FBI wants what it calls “food activists” into the dogpile dot com search engine.  http://tinyurl.com/7y6cokz

My thought was that it wouldn’t require much search to find an initial post with the core information.  Instead, as of early evening yesterday, there were 20 pages of posts repeating the one I’d recieved.  Earliest I found was December 23, then more a couple of days later, gradually building up to a landslide yesterday.  Blogs all over the web re-posting the same piece of writing, some with variations or addenda of their own.

Not one expressing the slightest doubt the story was true.  Not one questioning where the original claim originated.   Today there’ll be more as the panic spreads, I’m thinking.

The problem is the powers running this country opened a door to a new avenue of the believable.  Indefinite detention Act voids US Constitution, Get a Job! Internment/Resettlement Specialist, US Army, Sunday morning thoughts December 18, 2011, and  The Long Watch referred to the activities of the US Congress a few days back, along with the way some people were responding to it. 

But once that desire to be able to lock US Citizens up without any due process based on being suspected of terrorism was enshrined in Congressional activity, all bets were off.  Suddenly it makes all kinds of sense for the folks charged with law enforcement and pesky people doing all manner of legal things they’d like to lock them up for to want to squeeze them into the meaning of the word terrorist.   They know that, and you and I know they know that.

So out of nowhere comes a claim the FBI’s already doing it.  How much disbelief does the discerning reader need to suspend to accept it as gospel without the acquired skepticism of experience with the huge mass of BS on the web?

Heck.  Maybe it’s even true.  The only evidence it isn’t true is the fact there isn’t a grain of evidence it is.

Expecting the unexpected has some inherent pitfalls.  One being that we see what we expect to see.

Old Jules

Old Sol’s Moodiness and Being a Character In a Book

In case you’re one of those people who hasn’t been staring at the sun, here’s a brief update before I tell you about an interesting tidbit in my life:  Finding myself a character in a ‘memoir’ [actually a novel] written by my step-brother published as non-fiction.  But important things first:

From http://spaceweather.com/

Here he is November 28:

As you can see, the south pole stuff’s maintaining itself, still doing what it was doing when I last mentioned it.

Here’s today.

Still something going on down there, but the grandstanding is still north of the equator.

Strangeness

SINUOUS SUNSPOTS: A line of sunspots stretching across the sun’s northern hemisphere appears to be an independent sequence of dark cores. A telescope tuned to the red glow of solar hydrogen, however, reveals something different. The sunspots are connected by sinuous filaments of magnetism:

“These sunspots writhe and squirm energetically as they rotate away from us!” says John Nassr, who took the picture on Nov. 28th from his backyard observatory in Baguio, the Philippines.

The connections suggest an interesting possibility. While each sunspot individually poses little threat for strong solar flares, an instability in one could start a chain reaction involving all, leading to a widespread eruption. Readers with solar telescopes are encouraged to monitor developments.

I could write a lot about this but none of it would necessarily be true, so I’m doing my best not to have an opinion while keeping my foot in the door for afterward saying “I told you so,” if I can get by with it.

Okay.  Now for the main thrust of this post.  Before beginning the post I visited the Bobby Jack Nelson Forum on Amazon to see what was being said about him: http://tinyurl.com/7zj2la3

A while back I got an email on an old email address I rarely check anymore from a lady who wanted to discuss my step-brother, Bobby Jack Nelson.  She explained he’d offed himself in a nursing home in San Saba, Texas, and that she’d had a long-term relationship with him. 

But Bob had told her a lot of things she’d begun to think were lies.  She just wanted to bounce some of them off me because she knew he and I had associated considerably during the 1980s and early 1990s when he was writing Keepers – A Memoir. http://tinyurl.com/d82tcsk.

 To be honest the whole thing qualified as strange enough to keep life worth living.  Bob and I saw quite a bit of one another during those years, and I knew he was writing a novel about, among other things, his childhood in Portales, New Mexico.  I considered him a friend.

 But one day in the late-1990s [as soon as the novel had been accepted by a publishing house, I later discovered] while I was living in Socorro, New Mexico, I got a call from Bob.  He didn’t mention the novel, but he said he was going off to South America and wouldn’t be returning to the US, so I wouldn’t be hearing any more from him.

I got reports from various mutual acquaintances they’d seen him in Texas here and there, so I figured he just wanted to break off our association, which was puzzling, but okay by me.  Then I got a call from a Dallas reporter asking what I thought of the book, which I hadn’t been aware was published.

 Naturally, I bought and read a copy.  Suddenly it was clear to me why the reporter had called me, but also why Bob had suddenly taken a powder.  My first reaction to reading it would have been to trip up to that mountain town he was staying in while writing it and beat hell out of him.

I was honestly dumbfounded the man could bring himself to publish such a pack of lies as non-fiction.  But a person would have had to have been there, or remembered what he’d said back earlier had happened, to recognize there was barely a grain of truth in any of it.

Gradually I cooled down and just forgot about Bob until the lady contacted me to tell me he was dead, and how he’d died.

We exchanged a lot of emails over several months, and it was a journey of mutual discovery.  But the discoveries came in the form of Bob being an even worse liar than I’d have thought possible knowing already he was an accomplished liar.  And for her, not knowing he was a liar at all, I suppose it provided her some closure to find the man she loved, somewhat idolized, was in awe of, was not the person she’d believed him to be.

 Oddly enough, I think Bob tried to warn me a number of times about himself.  Several times he told me over the years that he was a liar, but I didn’t grasp the extent of what he was saying.  Other times he told me he wasn’t what I thought he was, and I shrugged that off, too.

But what came as a shock to me, first with the book, and later with what the lady told me, was that Bob absolutely despised me.  That, I’d have never guessed during the years I wasted pieces of my life associating with him in what seemed a mutually warm, friendly relationship.

Live and learn.

Old Jules

 

Songs of 20th Century Wars on Victimless Crimes

In the old days it was about taxes and heaping the payoff of the national debt on farmers who made whiskey out of their corn.  In 1790, it was considered an abomination and the farmers rebelled.  Abraham Washington or George Lincoln, I think it was, sent troops and eventually the Whiskey Rebellion became a footnote in history.

 

The song was ended but the melody lingered on.

Miss Marcy doesn’t quite fit the theme, but it involves whiskey stills, illicit sex, murder, dancing, adultery and other dirty stuff, and it’s a good song.  I’d be remiss leaving it out.

 

The Night Chicago Died isn’t precisely historically accurate, but it’s the only song comes to mind encapsulating what Prohibition led to:  Gangsters, cops and bystanders being gunned down, speakeasy whiskey nights, corruption, and a lot of richer cops, politicans and gangsters with nobody else better or worse for it except prison guards, more lawyers, judges and cops.  Sound familiar?

Even into the 1960s illegal whiskey still brought a smile and tacit approval from a population unaffected by the tiny wars still going on between back-woods whiskey-makers and ‘reveneurs’.  Not to be mistaken for Jack Daniels or Johnny Walker.  Nobody was getting killed over in the Jack Daniels plant.

 

Roger Miller’s classic’s just another example the general public attitude as opposed to the governmental enforcement apparatus tactics.

 

The US Government isn’t a fast learner.  They were already controlling and taxing whiskey.  They’d have saved more treasure than anyone can imagine it they’d taken that approach to dealing with cocaine.  The substance abuse happened, the machinery of justice cranked up to deal with it, the prisons filled, and the taxpayers paid, paid, paid without taking it off the streets.  Nor even out of the prisons.

Much the same song, different stanza for the poppy derivative family.

 

But whiskey and illicit drugs weren’t enough.  The only obvious place the government was successful collecting taxes across the board was on tobacco.

 

But even a lot of whiskey drinkers and cocaine snorters didn’t like smokers.  Gradually smokers were eased over there with prostitutes when it came to hammering them out of existence.

 

I’ve included a lot of different versions of this next song because we’ve needed a lot of jails for the people who get crosswise with moral superiority, barrels full of money, cops, politicians, judges and people who just like to know people they don’t agree with are in jail.

I’ve had to leave prostitutes and prisons for women full of them out of this because nobody cares enough about them to write a song.

 

 

 

Old Jules