Hey! Randy

Posts Tagged ‘government’

Sheriff Nate to the Rescue

Posted by heyrandy on January 3, 2014

Gridlock,

The electrical power grids in America (we have three) are vulnerable to attack. There is not a lot that anyone can do to make them more secure. This is the theme around which Gridlock revolves. The book is an apocalyptic novel about international machination, the Internet, terrorism, criminal networks, and a county sheriff who saves all.

Nate Osborne, the one-legged sheriff of Obscure County, North Dakota is the man who keeps the lights on in America when America’s American-made enemies try their best shut off the current. It seems that Iran and Venezuela have decided to get back at the big Yankee idiot. They have hired a Russian killer and a stupid computer genius to do the work. The Russian is quite capable, the computer kid thinks that getting his Ph.D from MIT at age 14 makes him impossible to defeat.

The book is filled with the impossible. The trouble starts when the Russian shoots a high-voltage power line insulator. He uses a long-range gun, one that he recently acquired and has not test fired. I guess that the scope was perfectly adjusted since he made the very difficult shot of hitting the insulator with his first round. The scope must have kept inline even though the Russian used the barrel to bludgeon to death his first victim.

What is even more far-fetched is amazing coöperation of all the government agencies involved. The CIA borrowed an airplane from the U.S. Navy so the FBI could fly the sheriff to Amsterdam.

Key to the book is the Internet. By way of the internet we have intercepted phone calls and e-mails. (The Russian does it. The NSA had not yet been exposed.) The computer virus would of course come via Internet.

There is the usual technical babble about guns. You cannot have an action novel without guy stuff! There is also a totally gratuitous rape–sans details.

The women in the novel come out as the heroes.  Fighters all. The most silly scene is when the sheriff’s girl friend is standing behind the Russian, shotgun in her hands, but does not blast the Russian. She runs at him; he disarms her.

In the end all is well. The grid does not crash (Two 2.5 megawatt transformers are lost to saboteurs. Why bother?) The Russian returns to his ignorant wife whom he had planned to eventually kill but now decides to retire with her. She reveals that she knows he is not all he says. “I sell arms.” Must have been a side business to help in the lean times between killings. It would also give a good rate on ammunition. The sheriff keeps the trigger-shy girl. The Chinese whack the Doctor Stupid. Having your fingerprints surgically removed makes for a clean getaway.

Advertisements

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Hamilton’s Nation

Posted by heyrandy on March 14, 2012

Hamilton’s Curse, Thomas DiLorenzo, 2008

In the battle for America, Jefferson lost, Hamilton won. The principle of liberty, small, limited government; personal freedom; specie money, have all been eroded or eliminated. These were Jefferson’s principles. Hamilton hated them (and Jefferson).

To Hamilton we owe thanks for the income tax, foreign wars, limits on freedom of speech, jumbo government, loss of states’ rights, national debt, and the federal government’s  intrusion into every aspect of modern life. Hamilton’s triumph is almost complete. What he did not accomplish in his lifetime, his successors did. Hamilton’s wish for a president-for-life has not been realized, but there is little difference from one incumbent to another. We live in Hamilton’s nation.

DiLorenzo gives us the truth about Hamilton that the court historians have known but assiduously suppressed. You will not find DiLorenzo’s information in you local high school’s history books. (You will  not find it in any of the private schools’ books, either. The text-book industry is a real problem.) It is revisionist historians like DiLorenzo that do the public a service. This book is not like the hagiography that most historian write.

Hamilton was an insider. He worked tirelessly for his buddies. He started with the Constitutional Convention. The original documents, the Articles of Confederation, had to go. They did not suit Hamilton’s taste for a British-style government. He did not get everything he wanted at the Convention. So he made up the rest. Not in the Constitution? No problem! Just invoke the doctrine of implied powers, the Tenth Amendment to the contrary not withstanding. Don’t like the Constitution’s language? Just fight it out in court. The Hamilton sympathizer on the bench will rule in your favor. The list of evils is long. The list is getting longer. There is no area the federal government cannot now intervene in. The language is subverted.

DiLorenzo shows how the War Between the States was a direct result of Hamilton’s ideas. High tariffs on imported goods protected the largely northern manufactures at the cost of the largely rural south. It was a wealth transfer scheme that had bloody consequences. We are still paying for that.

This book is a must for anyone who wants to know about American history. It is not the usual pap from the mainstream writers–DiLorenzo takes on a few of them. The book is well written, easy to read and has many references. This book is a great place to begin. Its information could cause some consternation in history class. I hope it does.

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Occupy upon Others at Their Expense

Posted by heyrandy on January 19, 2012

The Occupy (place-name here) movement has inflicted itself upon my town. Occupiers have pitched their tents in a city park. The city government, acting on orders from the Department of Homeland Security, has once expelled the camper from the park. The park needed “cleaning” was the excuse. The movement, originally called Occupy Wall Street, has spread to many cities. The original idea of the movement was to address what the movement called disparity in wealth distribution. This perceived disparity is expressed in the 1% verses the 99%. These percentages referred to the movement’s claim that 1% of Americans hold most of the country’s wealth. Those in the movement believe that the 1% hold this wealth in detriment to the 99%.

When the movement spread from Wall Street to other areas, the movement’s demands became broader. The movement never said how to redress what it considered an unfair imbalance of wealth, but the movement did begin to make issue of what they considered other injustices. Their demands We Want. This theme is not unique to them, but the Occupiers have a list of specific items. The list includes free health care, free tuition, free student-loan debt payoffs, and free mortgages. This is a free lunch.

The Occupiers are so far unsuccessful, but they remain undaunted. The Occupiers seem to have no obvious plan on how to get the free stuff. So far the movement has been a minor nuisance and a petty public health problem. The movement has been mostly peaceful. The lack of violence is to their credit. The Wall Street Occupiers did one time make some employees of some Wall Street firms late for work, but there was no riot.

The problem with the movement is its lack of understanding of how an economy works. Beneath all the demands is the presupposition that everyone is equal in all areas. The communists tried this (in theory) before. Its results were disastrous. Even if we disregard massive killings in Eastern Europe and China, the misery of state enforced equality in those areas was horrible. The Occupiers do not show any understanding of this history.

Occupy is also built on the envy principle. It is a case of “If I can’t have what you have, neither can you.” This does not lead to wealth for the poor. It only leads to poverty for the less politically connected. Making the rich poor has never made the poor rich. Occupy forgets that money is portable, and the rich are willing to travel. What would you do?

The Occupiers forget that America, and the West in general, is middle class. This is the group that will most suffer. There is irony here. The Occupiers are mostly middle class. You can tell by their stuff. The latest high-tech gizmos are very prevalent among the campers. To make their message heard, the movement uses this technology. They fail to see the obvious.

They also fail on the personal responsibility front. The outrage at the bailouts for the bankrupt mortgage bankers is just, but the other part of that is the personal responsibility of those who took out the loans. There were plenty of naïve people, but no one signed under duress. A share of the responsibility goes to those advocacy groups that militated for mortgage loans for those people who were obviously unqualified. Do you get a pass if you were only trying to help?

Where is the Occupy the Federal Reserve? The easy money policy of the Federal Reserve made possible all those bad mortgage loans. Here is where the movement could do real good. Focus upon the Federal Reserve. It is the source of much of the monetary problems we have. The Federal Reserve has been given carte blanche since its 1913 creation.

The Occupy movement is naïve. It lacks focus, has unobtainable goals, is wrong-headed. It espouses the tried-and-failed socialism that made many suffer but made a few powerful. Until the movement offers a coherent, obtainable agenda; until it understands the problem and not just the obvious symptoms of the problem, and until abandons its core tenet of free everything for everyone, its only hope is for martyrdom through heavy-handedness by the local authorities. That and a mild winter.

Posted in Occupy, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

What He Knew and Why They Did Not

Posted by heyrandy on January 7, 2012

The Final Secret of Pearl Harbor Robert Theobald, 1954.

The attack on Pearl Harbor was a surprise to the Hawaiian commanders, Admiral Kimmel and General Short, but others in the military knew it was coming. Theobald, a subordinate of Kimmel at the time of the attack, argues that President Roosevelt knew that the Japanese planned to attack the United States. The United States knew this because of United States’ ability to read the coded Japanese communications. This vital information was not shared with the men in Hawaii, but the President and the Secretaries of State, War and Navy knew it.

Why were Hawaiian commanders not told? This is the big question. The author’s answer: FDR wanted the Japanese to attack so the Germans would declare war on the U.S. pursuant to the Tripartite Pact. This would enable the U.S. to come openly to the aid of the British. Before you dismiss this as a paranoid conspiracy, consider what the U.S. had done to Japan.

Extended financial and military aid to China

Stopped Philippine exports to Japan

Froze Japanese assets

Blunt statements to Ambassador Nomura

Termination of the Washington conference

There are other troubling questions. The British were given copies of decoding machines the U.S. developed to read Magic and Purple Japanese codes. Why was Britain given these machines when Britain was not yet at war with Japan? Why was the U.S. forces at the Manila headquarters given the Magic and Purple decoding machines when Pearl Harbor did not get them? Possession of the machines allowed the Manila commanders to have vital intelligence as soon as it was available. Why did the War (Army) Department not correct General Short’s wrong interpretation of the confusing Department directive? Short took action to prevent sabotage and report these efforts to the Army. General Marshall, Army Chief of Staff and Short’s superior, never explained why he did not tell Short he got the directive wrong. Admiral Stark, Chief of Naval Operations, said he did not tell Kimmel because he was following orders. Orders from whom? The only one superior to Stark (and General Marshall) was the President. The department Secretaries were administrative figures without command authority.

Theobald also reviews the eight Pearl Harbor investigations. These affairs did little to reveal any truth. Investigators badgered witnesses into changing their testimony. Testimony by obfuscation by senior officers was widespread. Evidence was buried in massive volumes of paper. Temporizing was common. It is telling that neither Kimmel nor Short were ever given a court-martial. This would allow them to vigorously cross-examine witness, and more importantly, subpoena documents. This could not be allowed to happen.

The book is easy to read. It provides a concise introduction to the Pearl Harbor fiasco.  My only objection to the book is the title. There is yet more to be revealed about Pearl Harbor. If you want to know more, start here.

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sales Lines

Posted by heyrandy on December 6, 2011

There are words and phrases that help sell ideas. Most of these words and phrases are emotional. They load the issue with feelings. I have collected them. Here are some with definitions and discussion.

Clean. Clean things are good. This means dirty things are bad. We have clean-burning natural gas. We also have coal. Coal is not clean.

Family. We hear of “family farms.” A local politician sent around a survey that used “family liquor stores.” That was a new one. “Family values” is trite.

Fight terrorism. Phrase used to justify repressive measures. It is now the case the those fighting terrorism are becoming the real terrorists.

Protect the children. You can’t keep the little one too safe.

Strong schools. An euphemism for more money.

Reform. Usually just talk but sometimes there are superficial changes.

Transparency. A repainting in a new color.

Accountability. The matter caused great bad publicity, so some small fry got fired. Reform usually follows along with promises of transparency.

Fight/get tough on crime. Small-time crooks go to jail. The politically connected thief who stole billions keeps most of the money.

Clean up corruption. My guys get the graft, not yours.

Will/man of the people. He is in someone’s pocket.

Terrorist. Any one the government wants to kill.

Supporter of terrorism. Usually a head of state that has fallen out of favor with our government.

Rogue state. They won’t do what we want.

Regime change. What happens to a rogue state that does not have nukes.

Nukes. Things rogue states use to prevent regime change.

Allies. Countries that go along with us because they will get a share of the loot.

Standards. Important things that are not important.

Good government. Ordinary government with transparency.

Social justice. When government, good or otherwise, takes from those who own and give most of it those who don’t.

Fair share. Class envy; you pay for what I want.

Soak the rich. Tilting at windmills.

Switzerland. A small, land-locked, anomalous country in Europe that is neither ally nor a rogue state.

Good education. Paper certification.

Israel. Majority shareholder of the United States Congress.

TSA. Successor to the Keystone Cops but not as funny.

There are many more. I will leave it to you to add your favorites in the comments.

Posted in Uncategorized, vocabulary | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Two Down, One Coming

Posted by heyrandy on December 5, 2011

Survivors, James Wesley, Rawles, 2011

This book is a parallel account of the author’s first book, Patriots. (Read but not reviewed.) A few of the characters are the same, but the book focuses on new people living through the same post-financial collapse America. The story line is much the same: starvation, gangs of looters, plucky survivors with guns, UN troops.

Rawles (note comma in name. He says it is a common law thing.) gives us plenty of technical detail (He mentions ball ammunition as well as hollow point ammunition.) and some product reviews (When buying extra magazines for the Ruger Mini 14, always get the ones made by Ruger. The others are “jammamatics.”. Mini 14 owners take heed.). He tells us how to make homemade napalm, the importance of gun cleaning, and that tires will be unobtainable in the collapse. He even gives some investment advice: “We should have bought more magazines and ammunition rather than silver.” Some of his technical details are not quite accurate. He thinks a jig will hold the metal pieces in alignment after the welding is done. Without proper stress relieving weldments relieve themselves. Any weldment that has been machined without first being stress relieved will be a piece with misaligned surfaces. Jigs are merely to hold the pieces together while welding. I know an engineer who found this out.

The author is a former Army captain who cannot get it out of his system. His politics are overtly libertarian, but we are given an obvious pro-interventionist scene where a man says “Thanks for your service” to one of the main characters who was badly wounded in Iraq. This is in the same book that suggests no government is best, but a constitutional republic is okay. The author does not seem to notice that unconstitutional wars by a no-longer-constitutional republic contradicts this. The author tries to have it both ways.

If you are a fan of the author’s first book, you will like this one. If the book does not sound interesting, do not despair. The author is working on a third.

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

The Life After the Life Before

Posted by heyrandy on December 1, 2011

Warday and the Journey Onward, Whitley Strieber, 1984

America has been partly nuked. DC is gone. So is San Antonio, the Dakotas, and much of Russia. The electromagnetic pulse from the weapons has destroyed most electronics. Death from starvation, disease, and radiation poisoning are common. So is euthanasia.

A spark of hope set in the scene of gloom. 1992 is the setting, four years after the warday. Two men, reporters for the Dallas newspaper, decide to write a book about life in post war America. The research the book by traveling in a grand circuit from Dallas to California, Chicago, Pittsburgh, New York (where one of the men lived on warday), down through the south and then back to Dallas.

They interview people of all types by getting them to talk into a recorder. The monologues are revealing, Tragedy, hope, greed, and courage come through. California is a police state. Entry there is not permitted without prior authorization. Illegals are severely punished. (One researcher got two years in prison, the other three. Their escape from the bus on the way to prison is not believable.) Southern Texas is now in the hands of Mexico, but the Governor of Texas wants to raise an army to reclaim the land. The Mexicans want to take California. Everywhere there is radioactive dust. Medical care is severely rationed–by the British.

The two men get copies of government documents to show more of the story. It is fun to read artificial government-speak. Bureaucracy never dies. It just adjusts to the situation.

The book is about the future of post-war America. The future is hopeful. I actually expected the book to end with the married man returning home to have his wife tell him she was pregnant. I guess some devices are best unused.

The book is average for post-apocalyptic tale. It doesn’t take long to read, but unless you are really a fan of the genre, give the book a pass.

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Seeing the Shadows in the Mirrors

Posted by heyrandy on November 23, 2011

Shadow Masters, Daniel Estulin, 2010

Estulin, author of The True Story of the Bilderberg Group, has given us a new book along the same lines. This time he focuses not on the Bilderberg meetings but on what he thinks comes out of and is related to the meetings.

The author goes to great effort to sort through the information. Much of what is openly published is false. Some of it is so obviously false that one has to wonder how it got past the editor. This is not a small problem Estulin has worked through hundreds of reports from government agencies, UN agencies, and news reports. In this mountain of nonsense there is an occasional nugget.

This is the real value of the book. It exposes the complicity and incompetence of the accepted media. No one is doing the real hard work of digging past the easy to quote official report. Worse, Estulin shows that the media are often merely quoting each other, something he believe betrays a systemic misinformation effort.

Estulin’s thesis is that nothing is as it seems. He quotes one American diplomat as saying that it is all “a wilderness of mirrors.” Nothing is certain, nothing makes sense, but it is all there. The case of the poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko is an example. Litvinenko was poisoned in London, England. This is not all that odd, but the poison used makes this case one for the wilderness of mirrors. Just where does one get polonium 210? I checked in the nuclear material section at Home Depot, but they were out. Why such an exotic material? Why such a slow acting one? This case screams “Weird!” This is not what you want in a political assassination.  You want quick and quiet. This way investigators do not get suspicious. Litvinenko lived long enough to blame almost everyone. This was not a quiet killing.

The book’s sub-title indicates that the author reveals how “governments and their intelligence agencies are working with international drug dealers and terrorists for their mutual benefit.” Estulin does not quite prove this. He does prove that there is a lot of duplicity in government dealings. Estulin spends a lot of time on how the US government used Victor Bout, a Russian ne’er-do-well whom the US government later tried to demonize, for logistical operations in Iraq. Unlike others who have written about Bout, Estulin actually traveled to Thailand to interview Bout at the prison where Bout is held while he fights the US government’s extradition effort. Bout is wanted for allegedly conspiring to sell anti-aircraft missiles to undercover Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) agents posing as Colombian terrorists. This is legal in Thailand because the agents were not really terrorists or even Colombians. They were US citizens. Estulin wants to know why DEA agents were doing the buying. He also wants to know why the DEA did not give the $20,000 to Bout when Bout asked for it as advance on the missiles. This would have been valuable evidence for the prosecution. The third thing Estulin wants to know is why the US authorities did not check Thai law before launching this sting operation. I would like to know too.

I found the book a bit disorganized. I can overlook this because the author is careful to provide reference notes at the end of each chapter. There is also an index. There are 107 pages of photographs (mostly of Bilderberg attendees) and reproduced documents at the end of the book. This will be a valuable resource for future research. Future research is needed. The book does not give all the answers, but it does make us aware of the wilderness and just how uncertain everything is when it is a forest of mirrors.

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Tragic Farce, Total Loss

Posted by heyrandy on February 3, 2011

Code Name Greenkil: the 1979 Greensboro Killings Elizabeth Wheaton, University of Georgia Press, 1987

In 1979 five American Communists were killed during a demonstration parade. Members of the Ku Klux Klan and the American Nazi party were charged, tried, and acquitted. The same defendants were later tried in federal court on civil rights violation charges. There they were acquitted.

None of this is quite straight forward. The events leading up to the killings and trials are a mixture of ideological blindness, racial hatred, class envy, and bureaucratic bungling. The people on both sides of this tragedy display some of the best and worst of human traits. The only group that comes out without much venality is the defense lawyers.

The author admits that the entire truth of the events will probably never be known. The author also states that the facts known can be interpreted in many different ways. There are too many facets to this affair and too many points of view for any black and white distinctions.

The dead were all members of various communist or communist leaning organizations. Ideological rigidity prevented the surviving family members from cooperating with the police. Everything was driven by ideology. The party, the cause first. It was a giant case of do-goodism driven by unmitigated naiveté. Throw in some serious class envy and racial hatred and the mix was volatile.

The opposing sides were quite different. The communists were the well-educated (some were doctors), largely from privileged backgrounds, but very naive. They thought nothing of provoking their adversaries. One member of the communists said that one of the slain had wanted to get a martyr.

The Klan and Nazis were largely poorly educated, lower or working class, and not all that bright. One, however was quite sharp. The BATF sent an undercover agent into the area. He approached the smart Klansman with the story that he was operating a training base in a nearby county, he had an airplane that would be able to take people to South America if they needed to escape the law, and would kill people for $20,000. The Klansman saw through this story. To gain control of the Klan group, the Klansman turned down the agent’s offer and sent the agent to some rival members of the Klan. The rival members bought the whole preposterous story. The rival members were later convicted of conspiring to make a bomb. It was not to be an ordinary bomb. This one would weight 17,000 tons, require 850 tractor-trailers to deliver it, and cost $4 million dollars. The freight charges were extra. One of those convicted was an informant for the Greensboro Police Department.

Both groups were very factious. There were splits, power grabs and machinations on both sides. Opportunism was the operating principle.

The law enforcement agencies were incompetent, bureaucratic, and self-protecting. Had there been better inter-agency cooperation, it is unlikely any violence would have occurred. The official investigations exonerated the cops.

The prosecutions for murder in the state court were driven by political motives. The District Attorney stated after the trial that it evidence to support a first degree murder charge (meaning there was premeditation) was weak. To charge with second degree murder was to have to face the wrath of the community.

The second trial in Federal court was no better. The prosecution was caught by surprise when the defense cross examined a communist–they had decided to cooperate– about a book he had written honoring the dead. The book was a  blend of truth, distortion, and fiction. It was pure hagiography. The prosecution was stunned. Their prize witness was being discredited, having to eat his words.

The prosecution was further caught by surprise when the defense introduced a firearms purchase record. This form was filled with the BATF as required by law. The prosecution did not know of it until the defense submitted it as evidence during the trial.

The BATF ran two undercover operations in Greensboro. In neither case did the bureau inform the U.S. Attorney as required by bureau policy. A local newspaper reported started putting all the little bit of information together to publish the story of the bureau’s action. When she asked the U.S. Attorney for comment, he was shocked. He had no idea that any undercover operation was going on.

Communism is dead. The Berlin wall fell on it. The Klan is more of a myth than reality. Both groups still have trace presence, but no real effect. The Klan is little more than useful video for the requisite anti-racism political correctness seen on the television news.

How did the event turn out the way they did? There is no good answer. It is a series of little things, each innocuous, that culminated in five death. The tragedy could have been averted if any one of those things changed. The Klansmen brought guns because they feared the communists would be violent. The communists goaded the Klan, daring them to show up at the demonstration. The Klan came to heckle. Some of the men stopped to buy eggs to throw at the demonstrators. This is not something one is likely to do if his real intent is to shoot people.

The police were unprepared for the violence. Poor communication within the Greensboro police department and no communication from the FBI or the BATF lead to no one knowing what the other was doing. Inter-agency infighting was going strong.

The real value of the book is in its analysis of the persons involved. Everyone was a blockhead. No one looked beyond their own concerns. No one was honest. Ego drove everything. Personal friendships were sacrificed for petty gain.

The events were long ago. They have been forgotten. Everyone would like to forget them. There were no winners.

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

American Anomalies

Posted by heyrandy on October 7, 2010

American Conspiracies, Jesse Ventura with Dick Russell, 228 pgs., end notes, bibliography.

Beginning with the assassination of Lincoln and going through the 2008 Presidential election, Ventura and his co-author examine 14 different events in American history. Listing many oddities, anomalies, and investigate blunders and short comings, the authors try to interest the reader in a more skeptical approach to history. Ventura does not trust the official explanation of anything. If he did there would be no book. There is not much of a book anyway.

Each chapter begins with short synopses  of what happened, the official story, and Ventura “take.” Ventura is right to question the official line. The government has too often moved into cover-up mode when wrong doing is exposed for anyone to blithely accept the official version. Truth tends to leak out. Sometimes truth is forcibly expelled. But is there really as much to this as the author claims?

I am not convinced. There is always much to learn about events, but not everything is a nefarious plot to seize power. Ventura does not distinguish between the bureaucratic incompetence that pervades government and the truly perfidious cabal that runs large sections of the world. A bureaucrat’s favorite weapon is not the bullet but the delay. Bureaucracies simply out wait any reformer. It always works.

The writing in the book is often leaden. It is as if Ventura, the former commando turned professional wrestler turned state governor and now TV host and author, wrote it by himself. The book was not a joy to read.

The research is also questionable. He says Che Guevara is one of his “heroes.” Castro’s Minister of Justice (i.e., Chief Executioner) is no one worthy of admiration. Do your homework, Jesse. Che was nothing but a cowardly murderer. He surrendered without a fight even though he was carrying a loaded rifle.

If you are interested in any of the events Ventura covers, you may find a couple of questions to pursue with your own research, but the overall effect of this book is disappointing.

 

 

Posted in Book reviews | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »