April, 2014

Apr 14

The JFK Assassination….NO We Don’t Know Yet…

I don’t know if JFK was set up for assassination or not. It’s the conventional wisdom he was and it is definitely true that all kinds of people were around who were happy when he was gone. Certain hardcore-anti-Castro American/Cubans who were angry when JFK pulled the plug on the Bay of Pigs invasion (which JFK didn’t plan in the first place, that was the previous administration)–they were pleased when he was shot. There were the mafioso who were angry when RFK and JFK went after them with the justice department–after they’d made such a lovely deal with Joseph Kennedy. There were worried elements of the CIA, a service which, rumor has it, JFK was about to reform completely. There was J. Edgar Hoover who was capable of ANYTHING. LBJ is said to have hated JFK.

But it’s been demonstrated that all the “magic” of the magic bullet theory is actually quite explainable, that Oswald was exactly the kind of lunatic who’d shoot a President and people have shown exactly how Oswald could have fired that fast and accurately.

So in my opinion–we don’t know. Many intelligent, devoted people who have for FORTY YEARS and more believed that JFK was killed by a CIA based conspiracy have an emotional investment in that belief. Can ANYONE believe something like that for 40+ years and change their minds, whatever the evidence? JFK might’ve been killed by conspiracy. But so far it’s not proven–Oliver Stone’s dramatic arc turns out to be just that…and quite porous.

But was Oswald killed rather conveniently? Yes! And Ruby–well actually he really was already a dying man when he shot Oswald.

I say it’s not clear at all–and I maintain that people with an emotional investment in a conspiracy theory, whether 9/11 truthers or chemtrail fanatics or the more intelligent JFK-assassination buffs, are pretty nearly incapable of objectivity and re-examining the evidence.

Apr 14

Journalistic Standards Decaying like Gangrenous Limbs

Journalism is being eroded by the internet–in some ways. In other ways it gets some help: More data faster. If you’re smart about your web sources, and pick them for established repute, you can get quality journalism on the internet. But there’s a huge erosion of quality in journalism that moves like an out of control forest fire on the web.

Twitter is one factor–I’ve written about its tendency to be not only superficial but just wrong a lot of the time, yet it’s consulted by real news sources.

Another factor is the New Yellow Journalism. It’s not only yellow it’s jaundiced, it’s sickly like a patient in the final stages of terminal hepatitis C. For some reason headlines are wildly deceptive on the internet–though the stories may be more or less factual. The competition for fast “hits” leads to exaggeration in headlines and in the stories, and a tendency to repeat the sensational before it’s fact checked.

The “if it looks like a professional site it’s valid” misperception by web surfers has led to people taking all kinds of absurd sources seriously–Alex Jones is just one example of a bad source that can look kind of superficially legit.

The erosion factor that currently bothers me most is advertising that is disguised as a news article. You have to look pretty hard to see that it’s sheer advertising. Usually they have a site like Men’s Life and health or Morning Money that sound like legit sites but the first one is making non factual claims about its steroid-style supplement, and the second is pretending to be like an online Forbes while it’s misquoting Buffett so it can sell some bad securities. At the bottom of the fake article it says,”Editor’s Note: As a service to our readers, we’ve arranged for you get a copy of Michael Robinson’s full research package including his book that details everything you need to know about this…” With a link to a sales pitch.

Fake articles are found in the print newspaper too–though they have, printed on them, a warning that it’s an advertisement, somewhere. The fake articles on the web are far harder to identify. Something about the web destroys every last shred of fair-dealing in some people…

Apr 14

America the Memory Challenged

Is our national memory really so feeble? Will Americans forget, in November? Or when they vote will they remember that the Republicans paralyzed America by refusing to raise the debt ceiling, by refusing to sign off on a budget–that they threatened to shut down the country? That the President–that is, a Democrat–called their bluff and made them stop playing with people’s lives, with American jobs?

Will voting Hispanics and other immigrants remember that the Democrats have tried to enact the Dream Act, and immigration reform, and Republicans blocked these bills to help immigrants?

Will anyone remember the jobs bill that President Obama offered, that would have repaired infrastructure and created huge numbers of good jobs for unemployed Americans–a bill blocked by Republicans?

Will people who jeer that “it’s a two party system and they’re both alike” remember *any* of this sharp contrast? Will WOMEN remember that the GOP has again and again blocked a betterment of women’s rights in America? And will they remember that Senate Republicans just blocked a bill on equal pay for women?

Apr 14

Tweets from the War Room

Cell phones in the War Room. Nuclear war threatens. Top brass, civilian personnel watching the screens as in Dr Strangelove but now with smart phones, iPads, people unable to keep from texting, theyre addicted to it; unable to keep from tweeting too. “Whoa, first time in War Room during possible start up to major fireworks. Rockin’ but scary. Intense.” Or “Are those Chinese missiles? And is there lunch in here? Instagramming photo of hot lieutenant in tight blouse”. “Checkitout, situation got hotter, theyre saying Red Alert Highest Class stat. What regs re tweets?”

“Guy coming at me with gun drawn? #overreaction much?!” Security in War Room: “Highest security status requires instant execution to stop transmission of classified data out of War Room.” Bang, shoots tweeter in the head. Others start tweeting, “#gross headshot chill dude this isn’t walking dead” – That tweeter is quickly shot in the head.

Others are automatically thumbing texts. “You wouldn’t believe…are those missile blips? Better go to basement” – Blam, shot in head.

More tweeting. More shooting.

Apr 14

Marijuana: The Old Myths are Gone–and the NEW Myths are Here

For a long time there were many prevalent myths about marijuana, some of them spread by pot prohibitionists and uptight liars, some by “Reefer Madness”, some by scared school boards–and now there’s a NEW set of myths, spread mostly by the new generation of weed enthusiasts. The old myths were, it’s addictive like heroin, it’ll make you murderous, your baby will drown in the bathtub, your brain will fall out your ears or whatever, it will inevitably make you a snoozy layabout and it was likely to be a gateway drug to smack or crack; and so on. Oh and that’s it’s a nutty kwazy hallucinogen. All that stuff was bullshit.

The new myth is that marijuana can do no wrong and is always a good thing. The new myth, in fact, is that it has no downside ever, and that it cures many diseases. Since it clearly does have some medicinal value–its use for cancer patients fighting nausea and malaise, its use against inflammation, even indications it can help with some forms of autism–people make the jump in their minds that if it helps with some symptoms of cancer treatment or other symptoms, then it must necessarily cure cancer. They claim there are “studies” that show “pot cures cancer”. Well there aren’t, not real studies that show that, no. It’s useful but it’s not a cure-all. It’s not a panacea. It’s not an all-around miracle drug. It has great qualities and is better for you than heavy boozing but it also has some downsides.

Old hands at drugs know, most of them, that it’s probably not good to smoke a lot and drive, especially strong marijuana–it’s not as dangerous as being really drunk but it still screws with your reactions and perceptions, not good in driving. Old hands with pot also know, most old hands, that pot can have varied effects in various people; one guy gets relaxed and euphoric; another gets paranoid and dysphoric. They also know that there are many kinds of pot with many kinds of effects. They know that if you eat it in cookies or whatever it ups the effect, it really hits you and it may well be too much for some people and they will trip out in an unpleasant way.

There is I think SOME basis in pot’s negative effect on memory, especially on some people, and some indication that it can cause some people to be a bit prone to not getting their lives organized–at least I’ve seen that a good deal, and it’s pretty well known anecdotally. One *can* actually hallucinate on pot–I’ve done it–but you have to have done a lot of powerful weed for any hallucination to speak of… The point is the stuff will be LEGALIZED. Yes it will,in your lifetime. I support that. So let’s get REAL about it like grown ups instead of talking like we’re Cheech and Chong’s grandsons writing a paper for community college…

Apr 14

A Hard Day for People Who Care About Children

“John gets upset when he sees children abused. So let’s really mess with him today,” said synchronicity. First in my own town I see a young man and woman–Romany, I think, but I can’t be sure–with two very small children, at a shopping mall, holding a sign, need help to feed children. The guy has expensive looking shoes, and so on, but I don’t care about fake beggars–I care that they are using their children like this, that I saw them two months ago at Costco doing the same thing, that I heard them talking and know a hustle when I hear it, that he’s teaching the children this. It’s exploiting and harming them and no I don’t think they’re homeless but there are homeless families of course. If you were there, you would’ve seen the signs of professionalism, of con artistry.

Then I went to see my son and on his Oakland block there are small Hispanic latch key kids, left alone all day, no schooling, and the kids try to get attention by throwing things out the window so they can see them smash on the sidewalk. . .

Then I am on the way home and see a “missy”–that is an Oakland, California term for a street prostitute that is a child, as young as 11, more often like 13ish. I saw the most obvious fat ass pimp ever, talking to her. She’s dressed all whore. She was obviously no older than 14 tops. So I go around the corner thinking, this is too much, after all this–this at least I can report. Because Oakland is trying to deal with this missy problem.

So I want to get a better look at pimp guy, and I drive around the block, takes a minute to get around, I see her giving a guy head in a doorway, broad daylight, 26th and International in Oakland. I won’t go into all the details here but it was happening in a sick way too. So I get pissed off, pull over–and no I’m not an idiot, I don’t try and deal with it myself, I get Oakland police on the line and talk a dispatcher into taking it seriously, this girl is underage, and she sent two police cars pretty fast. I didn’t find out what happened. I’m okay with women being hookers if they’re over 18. I don’t recommend it as a lifestyle, but I’m not Captain Save-a-hoe, I’m Captain Regulate-the-hoes. And I’m Captain call this one in, that’s a child. It’s been a hard day for people who like children, in my part of the world. And yes I know it’s worse out there, in many places…but all in one day…