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Posts Tagged ‘government’

The Last Best Hope is not Enough

Posted by heyrandy on April 16, 2010

I like Ron Paul. He is a genuine pain to both halves of the Establishment of this country. He does not go along, but he gets along. It is the others that do not get along. They go along.

I think people with his views are the only hope for the country. His views about returning to the Constitution are what we need. He is a lone voice crying above the cesspool called politics. That he survives unsullied tells us of his genuineness. This genuineness is unique in modern politics.

It is not enough. I would vote for Paul in any election, for any office, anywhere. But even if elected as President he is not going to do any long term good. This is not a reflection on Paul’s integrity or ability. It is a stark reality of American politics.

Most people think that the politicians run the country. The politicians think they do. Some people think that a secret elite runs the country. They do. The bureaucrats know that they run the country. The politicians know this too. So do some reformers. Most voters do not. The elite do not care about the bureaucrats.

The President has at most eight years. Some have had only four. Some have had less. A few have almost had less. Eight years is nothing for a tenured bureaucrat. He can easily wait for the next politician. Once a reformer is gone a hack takes over and all is returned to the status quo ante. “As it was in the beginning, so it is now and forever shall be. Amen.” This is the hymn of every government bureaucrat.

The only things bureaucrats fear are violating the rules and a budget cut. Rules are the reason the bureaucracy exists. Money is its food. Without funds, bureaus die. No one long works free.

Parkinson’s Law states that all work expands to consume available resources. This is a fundamental law of bureaucracy. No reformer can change the desire of every bureaucrat to have an assistant.

The bureaucrats make the rules, but the politicians have the power of the money. Politicians are loath to cut spending. Too many jobs will be lost if spending is cut. Unemployed bureaucrats might vote for the other candidate. Why take the chance when it costs you nothing to play it safe. Spending other people’s money is safe. No politician campaigns on the claim that he voted to close some taxpayer funded boondoggle in his district. Politicians who do this are not re-elected. That obviously unnecessary military base may no longer be needed, but “it is the heart of the community.” Heartless communities do the unthinkable: elect someone else.

The government run schools are probably the one area where reform could take place. They are usually administered locally, so are closer to the people who fund them. Here all change has proved to be superficial and cosmetic. The school are still a tangle of bureaucratic bloat, efficient only at making kids stupid and somewhat compliant to government.

I wish reformers well. You are our last best hope. But you are not enough.

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Recycling Platitudes

Posted by heyrandy on September 19, 2009

There has been a lot of talk about green things. We had a green Czar. He is now an ex-Czar, but is he still green? There has been talk of green jobs. The government even owns General Motors and is going to produce green cars that no one wants. Blue ones too.

I am not a green. I am a cheap. I look at the green idea from the stand point of money. Who pays whom? That is the question.  It is seldom asked except by cranks like me. It is never answered in any real way. “It will pay for itself,” is the usual answer.”We all benefit from a better environment” is the other platitude.

Green has never paid for itself. It cannot pay for itself. Green is someone’s idea of what is good for others. That someone has political support. The politicians force you to pay for it. They force you to participate in an otherwise unworkable venture.

We have mandatory recycling where I live. I must sort my trash into groups. The recyclable items are taken by a specially equipped, dedicated truck to a central location where the recyclable items are shipped off to be reprocessed.

I cannot imagine that there is any profit to this. I wonder how green friendly is this process. Do we have a negative effect? Consider what is involved:

Trucks to move the recyclable items must be manufactured.

Special equipment must be made and installed for the truck.

Sorting and handling machinery must be made for the central collection point.

There must be machines made and operated to process the recyclable items.

There is the environmental cost of making and operating the trucks and machinery.

Has anyone done an audit to determine if we are getting a real benefit from what we are forced to do? Anyone who raises the issue faces the potential wrath of the non-thinkers. Green is sacred.

There has been little voluntary effort by any private company to deal with household items. There has been a great deal of effort to collect and recycle usable scrap items from large producers because of the potential for profit.

It is the economy of scale. It cost the scrap dealer about the same to send his truck to your curb to pick up a few empty boxes as it does for him to send the same truck to the back of a big box store to pick up several tons of boxes.

Election signs are sprouting on lawns near you. Now is a good time to question the candidates about this matter. They won’t have any answers, but you can add what they say to your collection of recycled platitudes.

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Off Key

Posted by heyrandy on July 31, 2009

The Mighty Wurlitzer: How the CIA Played America, Hugh Wilford, Harvard University Press, 2009. 342p

I am beginning to think the creation of the CIA is the worst thing to happen to America.  First I read Proudy’s The Secret Team (reviewed here).  Then I read the Invisible Government. Now I get music lessons.

The Mighty Wurlitzer details how from 1947 to 1968, the so called golden years of  American espionage, the CIA used front organizations to fund its Cold War propaganda operations.  The name comes from Frank Wisner, a major CIA officer, who made the  statement that the Agency had a system of front organizations that like a giant organ could play any propaganda tune.

It played many tunes, mostly with sour notes.  There was almost no aspect of American life that did not have a chord in this performance.  The Agency used various foundations to fund everything from labor unions to student associations.  It used Catholic priests, Africian-American dissidents, and a lot of news organizations.

Most of the people used did not know the true source of their funding.  Only the most senior officers of these front organizations were, in CIA language, “witting.”  However, a good many of the “unwitting” suspected that the immediate source of funding was not the ultimate source.  Few objected to taking the money.

The golden age ended and the Wurlitzer fell silent, sort of, when an upstart, iconoclastic publication, Ramparts, published a story about the real funding of the National Students Association.  A former head of the Association, recently disaffected by the CIA’s use of his group, told Ramparts’ editor of the matter.  The magazine conducted an investigation, found out the truth, and published it.

The CIA had found out that the story was due in the next issue, of the Agency went into defensive mode.  When there were prior exposures of Agency involvement, the Agency and the organization affected strongly denied the claims until both parties had to admit the claims were true.  Denial was not going to work this time.  By the late 1960’s the mood of the country had changed.  The Agency new it had to do something different.  It chose damage control.  The idea was to emasculate  the magazine’s story by making it old news.  The National Students Association would simply hold a press conference admitting to the taking of Agency money.  It would also say that it no longer took such funds (this is true).  But Ramparts had informants inside the Association and knew of the plan.  To counter this, the magazine took out full page newspaper ads promoting the the story.  In a sense the magazine scooped itself.

This stratagem worked very well.  There was enormous media coverage of the story.  The Agency was embarrassed.  This was the real end of the Wurlitzer.  The major news organizations had long cooperated with the Agency, running stories favorable to the Agency and suppressing stories the Agency didn’t want published.  No more.  Or so we are told.

I found Wilton’s story interesting, but his writing style is dull.  There frequent usage of the tried and true cliche.  There are modifiers that are throughout the book misplaced.

The Wurlitzer had a long recital, but played the wrong tune.  The Agency spent millions in this propaganda effort, yet the results were minimal.  Given the Agency’s support of even more nefarious projects, the Wurlitzer concerts are just a minor cacophany.

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Flush: the Happy Sound

Posted by heyrandy on May 22, 2009

The toilet broke in the main bathroom.  In America this is not a good.  We do have a spare (this is America, after all) in the power room, so total disaster was averted.  But getting the toilet fixed is not so simple.

I traced the problem to the flushing valve.  The valve design is a somewhat complex affair.  The manufacturer, American Standard, calls the valve the flushing tower.  Indeed, there is a poppet that is a cylinder.  When the lever is pulled the poppet is lifted off the seat, and the valve opens followed by the cylinder being lifted off its seat.  This allows all the water in the tank to quickly go into the bowl.  This is necessary because of the Federal regulations requiring all new toilets to use multiple attempts at flushing. This is to save water.  American Standard must not of gotten the notice since the toilet usually works the first time.   The problem is the internal poppet is connected to the cylinder  via a pair of claw-like clips.  The plastic where the clip are mounted is thin, and a clip broke off.

I put in the toilet about two years ago.  It replaced the one I bought to replace one of the two the previous home owner installed.  The first new toilet was an improvement, but it proved to clog up too often.  So off to the store to again buy a new toilet.  I bought the final one based upon the size of the trap way.  The trap way is the curved path the effluent takes as it travels toward the sewer pipe.  You can see that it is a real convoluted path if you look at the side of most toilets.  I have a lot of experience in industrial hydraulics, but I have no idea why the trap way is so tortuous.

I installed the new new toilet and put the old new toilet in the basement.  I was going  to use it to replace the power room toilet which was the same model as the old old toilet that was in the bathroom.

To find the repair part I went back to the local big box home improvement store where I think I remember buying the new new toilet.  They did not have the part because it was the wrong store.

I then went to the other store.  It was the right place, but they did not have the replacement part.  They did suggest two local giant size plumbing distributors.  I knew where one was.  It was not an American Standard dealer.

This is an example of what one of my former coworkers called “the fifty-fifty-ninety-nine-one rule”.  Whenever there is a choice between two options, ninety-nine times out of one hundred you will pick the wrong one.  While this is not technically correct, it does sound a lot better than the much more accurate 98.25 to one and three fourth rule.

Although it was not an American Standard dealer, the first giant local plumbing distributor did suggest I visit the American Standard web site.  I did.

The site was of no help on ordering the part, but it did give me the address of the other local large distributor.  It turns out that the second distributor is right across the street from the first local large distributor.  The second distributor is located in the rear of a really large building and is not readily visible from the street.

I went to the second distributor.  The man behind the counter showed me a poster with all the American Standard flushing valves and asked if I had one of these.  I said “No, I have this one” showing him the picture of the valve in the literature that came with the toilet.  He replied, “Oh, you have one of those.”  This was not a good sign.

It seems that American Standard has been having a lot of trouble with “those”.  The man said the they were out of those, but if I called American Standard they would send me one free.  He gave me their number.

It was Saturday; American Standard was closed.

On Monday I called and chose the right selection.  It directed me to the web site.

I called again.  This time I chose the ‘if you are a distributor” selection.  I got a real person.  She took my information and said the new part would arrive in 7-10 days.

After 14 days I called again.

Again using the “if you are a distributor selection”, I got another real person who told me that they were out of stock.  It would be another 7-10 days.

After 14 days I called again.  Again using the “if you…” selection, I got another real person who told me that they would send me one as soon as the shipment they received had cleared their inspection process.

A few days later a package arrived.  It was from American Standard.  Rejoice!  It was only part of what I needed.  The first real person said that she would send me the tank to bowl seal kit.  That is what arrived, not the flushing valve.

While all this is going on, the original old toilet in the power room started doing what it does best: not working.  It was constantly clogging.  Time to change it.  I went down to the nearest big box do it yourself store and bought the bolt kit and a wax seal ring.

I had brought from work a tool to cut off the bolts holding the toilet to the drain flange.  I took apart to old toilet and carried it to the garage to await garbage day.  I had mounted the old new toilet and then encountered my first problem:  the old water supply line was too short–by a quarter of an inch.

Back to the local big box.

After a little over a month from the time the main toilet failed a box arrived from American Standard.  Yes, it was the part in question.  Apparently it was no longer out of stock and had passed inspection.  The new part did not look like the old part, but it fit.

The installation of the new valve was not very difficult.  The valve was held in place to the tank with a huge plastic nut.  The only tool I had to turn the nut was a pair of 16 inch pliers.  They were left over from my days as an auto mechanic.  I used them to remove oil filters.  The pliers never failed.  They still haven’t.

It has been said that the sweetest sound heard by parents of young children is the sound of a toilet flushing.  That is certainly the happy sound in my house.

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Just the Way They Like It

Posted by heyrandy on January 31, 2009

The True Story of the Bilderberg Group, Daniel Estulin, TrineDay, 2007.  340pp. , index, endnotes.

In conspiracy theory circles the Bilderberg Group is always an object of much discussion.  Founded in 1954 by Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the group has met annually ever since.  The meetings are always held in a five star hotel in a small city of the main road.  Security is extreme.  On film I saw on YouTube said the group always meets in “five star accommodations amid ten star security.”  The meeting are private; attendance is by invitation only.  The location is revealed only a week before the meeting.  The meeting gets very little coverage in the mainstream media.

Estulin states that his purpose is to “tear the mask off the Bilderberg group.”  He succeeds somewhat, but, even as he admits, there is still much to learn.  The Bilderbergers do everything in their power to keep it that way.  Estulin points out that there is never an  official statement issued, discussions and presentations are not recorded or transcribed, and note taking by participants, while not forbidden, is discouraged.  The code of silence is honored.

Much of what Estulin writes is available from  other sources (e.g., YouTube, where there is a lot of video).  But the book does give us a summary of the discussions of the 2005, 2006, and 2007 meetings.  There are copious photographs of the attendees, some documents reproduced, and lists of the participants.

Estulin’s sources are the real issue.  It is the nature of the matter that verification is difficult.  How do we check behind Estulin?  How do we check behind anyone who writes about such groups?  There would be no conspiracy if this were all done in the open.

But this leads to the question, “Why is this done in secrecy?”  The official answer from the group is to allow the participants to speak freely without fear of attribution.  Estulin asks why can’t we know what the attendees say; they all are leader of giant corporation, principal journalists, government officials, and university administrators; people who all affect our lives.

Estulin’s book is not just limited to discussion of the Bilderberg Group.  He spends considerable time discussing the Council on Foreign Relations and the Trilateral commission.  Both of these groups are prominent in conspiracy theory.  Here too he does not reveal anything that is not already known by those who are interested in finding out, but for those who are just beginning to look into this matter it will be helpful.

Estulin spends several chapters discussing his intrigues in tracking the conspiracy.  He relates how he was detained for questioning by airport security.  Nothing came of it when he insisted that they either charge him with a crime or let him go.  He was released.  In another chapter, he tells of getting a cryptic postcard that lead him  to a meeting with a acquaintance of poor repute.  Suspicious of the matter Estulin retains his own security force of ex KGB agents.  They arm him with a pistol, apparently not concerned with any violation of local gun laws.  The meeting never takes place. Another intrigue is his almost walking into an empty elevator shaft after meeting with a contact.

The book is filled with photographs of attendees during breaks in the sessions.  While interesting, most of the 51 pages of photograph are collages of attendees talking to each other as they stroll about the grounds between sessions.  There is even a photo of David Rockefeller eating alone.

This book will be most useful to those beginning to sort through the various groups that meet in private.  Whether or not the Bilderberg group is a cabal will be denied by the group.  Until the group is examined by the mainstream media (unlikely, since the major media owners are often in attendance) the discussion of the group will remain entirely within conspiracy theory circles.  This is just the way the Bilderbergers like it.

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The Future of Christianity: It Will Be Subterrainean

Posted by heyrandy on October 18, 2008

It is certain that American Christianity will be driven under ground. This is a serious statement made by one who expects to experience this. American Christianity is under attack from its traditional opponents, other religions, and from an increasing secularism. These forces not only believe Christianity to be false but believe it to be baneful. It is the this secularism that is using the new ideas of political correctness to wage war against the last group that can be defamed with impunity.

It is important to understand the strength of the enemy.  Secularism controls the government at every level and so controls the legal system, the educational system, the transportation system, the communication system, and all of the always increasing the security system. It controls the media through licensing the television and radio stations. It even controls the Internet.

Secularism controls the legislature, and it routinely passes more laws to increase its own power. Its funding is virtually unlimited through taxation of everything and everyone.  When it does not tax to raise money it uses the printing presses that manufacture endless supplies of fiat, paper money. It also has almost unlimited borrowing power. It never has any month left over at the end of money.

It further controls people through employment. Government at all levels employs millions of people. These people will be very reluctant to fight against their paychecks. They are capable of being coerced in spying.  They will do the government’s bidding.  Law enforcement is the sole province of the government.  They have the power of the badge, which is the gun.

The rise of hate speech laws (already in full flower in Europe and Canada) will soon be used to muzzle those whose message is the ever politically unapproved “Jesus is Lord”. Hate speech laws will be used to silence churches and pastors who speak out on moral issues. One man’s righteous preaching is another man’s hate speech. The unpopular statements of those brave enough to speak out will be squelched by the speech law enforcers. Public discourse will be nil. Even private conversations will be subject to the same rules. Censorship will be the normal routine. It is one thing to speak and have the crowd disapprove, but when the government has the legal authority to act against you with fines and imprisonment it is quite chilling.

We see the brake on free speech in the so called “free speech zones” that are set up to control the crowds. These zones are absurd. This entire country is a free speech zone. The government has no right to limit free speech on public property. In fact, the last time I looked at the U.S. Constitution the First Amendment guarantee of freedom of speech and peaceful assembly was still there. But since the Constitution has been defined as a “living, breathing document” that changes itself to meet the times, the courts may render this idea void.   Who gave judges the right to do this?  Is right in the Constitution?

The judges took this right to themselves by themselves. This is simply theft. It is an arrogant usurpation of power the judges do not rightfully have. This arrogation gives the courts unlimited authority over everyone. It gives the totalitarians who run the government the legal cover for their tyranny.

The fairness doctrine imposed on the broadcast media is another choke hold on free speech of Christians. This evil doctrine will be applied to everyone, but Christians can expect to be the targets of the bureaucratic enforcers. It is always the case that precedent is set by first attacking an easy target. Since most Christian radio and television stations do not have huge legal budgets with which to battle the government, it is almost certain that these stations will be among the first targets of “fairness” enforcement.

Tax exemption status most churches have is a weakness in disguise. Most churches think that tax exemption is essential to their survival. Most churches do not have a lot of money, so this helps keeps them going. Tax exempt status is a state issued license to exist. The state in granting this privilege now has a method of control over the organization. If the state does not like what the church is saying, the tax authorities can revoke the tax exempt status. The state can also bring criminal charges against the organization for misusing its tax exemption and demand payment of taxes for the period in dispute. Churches taking this state granted largess have really waived their Constitutional rights of immunity to government control.

How will the churches react? It is always difficult to predict specific future events, but it is most likely that there will be a separation of those who really believe the Gospel of Jesus Christ from those who merely give an outward appearance of believing. This has been the case in the past, and there is no reason to believe that this patten will not prevail in the future. Christianity began meeting in peoples homes and may once again do so. This is the case with the unregistered churches in China.

There is a growing movement in this country to become unregistered.  Right now it is confined to a small group of fundamentalist Baptists , but the movement is likely to spread.  When the crackdown starts the movement will spread.  This has lots of implications for existing churches and their allied organizations.  It is time to start thinking things through.  Preparation is the key to survival.

There is hope. Our hope does not come from government, the source of our problem; it comes from the God of heaven and earth. Governments have always tried to silence or control the church. Their success has not been so good. The true church will survive, even thrive. The government can only control the false church. So be it. The false church deserves what it gets. The government may very well be God’s appointed method of judgment upon the false church.

That Christianity, true Christianity, will be driven underground is no problem. I just have to find my shovel.

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Secrets of the Secret Team

Posted by heyrandy on October 15, 2008

The Secret Team The CIA and Its Allies in Control of the World, L. Fletcher Prouty, 1997

end notes, bibliography, index, no pagination

Available on line free.

Do you want to overthrow a government?  Do you need to supply Russian made weapons to an “anti-communist guerrilla group?  Do you need a propaganda campaign to vex a foreign regime?  No problem for the Secret Team.  This group are the professionals, and they have lots of experience.  Just give them the word and off they go.  They offer worldwide service.  You never get you hands dirty.  Everyone will know who did the deed, but you can deny it all, with a wink and a smile.

Thus the work of the Secret Team.  Who are these folks?  Prouty, for many years an U.S. Air Force briefing officer, says they are a sub set within the CIA, comprising about 80% of the Agency.  They are the “black operations” people.  They are what the CIA has become in spite of what the language of the law that founded the CIA says.  For the Secret Team the law is no obstacle.  For the Secret Team nothing is an obstacle.

The Central Intelligence Agency was created to coordinate and process the data gathered by the various U.S. agencies.  The CIA was to be a servant of the National Security Council.  The law that created the CIA also allowed the Council to direct the Agency to do an operation in the field “from time to time”.  A lot has changed since the law was passed, but the law itself has not changed.  The CIA’s working interpretation of that law has certainly changed.  It began changing almost as soon as the law was passed.

Over time the CIA has become a force unto itself.  It no longer waits for the National Security Council to occasionally direct it to do some operation; the Agency develops its own plans and brings them to the Council to approve.  The plan is always approved.  This change in initiative has give the Agency great latitude in its activities.  The Council really does not control the Agency.  The Agency manipulates the Council; the Council routinely approves the Agency’s plans.

The Agency became so influential that it succeeded in getting President Kennedy to abolish the National Security Council as an unnecessary hold over from the Eisenhower administration.  This stratagem left the Agency without any oversight.  The Agency took advantage of this mistake and a lot of people paid the price at the Bay of Pigs and in Vietnam.

It is under the general rubric of fighting Communism that the Agency has spread itself into every part of the world.  The Agency does not feel that it needs a direct order to act; a suggestion will do quite well.  After all, you want the commies stopped, don’t you?

How did the Secret Team develop?  The team slowly began to work its way into the other branches of government by giving those branches free employees.  These employees would be loaned to the needy agency but the salaries would be paid by the Agency.  With the usual employee turn over, the CIA person would soon be assumed to be a regular employee of the host department.  The Agency would then work to get its personnel promoted into more powerful positions.  This action would enable the Agency to benefit from the department’s resources and services, often without any cost to the Agency.  No one knows just how many Agency employees are buried inside what parts of the government.

Transplanted employees are not the only asset that the Agency has in other departments of government.  Often it uses the actual employees of the host department.  It is the excitement of being part of something secret, something special, that entices many people to be part of the Secret Team.  Most jobs are mundane and boring.  It is the same thing every day.  There is little change.  This is also true of jobs within government.  When a opportunity comes to join in a black operation, most people cannot resist.  It is all so secret.  “I am not allowed to talk about what I do; because if I told you, I would have to kill you.”  It is an element of mystique, of romance, of elitism.  It is the chance to be James Bond, without the girl.

The Agency also benefits from the sale of surplus government equipment.  The law requires that other government entities be given first access to surplus equipment.  The CIA uses this to get what it needs on the cheap.  It then uses much of this equipment to supply its clients in foreign countries.  Due to the confused nature of the government’s accounting, the Agency is often not billed for the sale. Most of the time the matter is dismissed with an “It’s all the government’s money, anyway” kind of resigned attitude.  However, the Agency says it will pay for anything it buys if it is properly billed.  According to Prouty, it does indeed pay; it’s just not billed very often.

The Team has had many successes in its black operations.  But it has had some real failures.  But it has managed to avoid the blame.  The two most obvious failures are the Bay of Pigs invasion and the Vietnam War.  In both of these debacles the Agency let the Department of Defense take the largest share of the blame.  How?  It is all those loaned employees.  They help do the research for the investigation committees and help write the reports.  They are Team players.

How can the Agency get away with such antics?  Is not the Agency required to keep the elected officials informed about Agency activities?  Yes, and it does.  Prouty points out that in briefings conducted for the overseers, the Agency uses the teaspoon technique.  The overseers get the entire picture, but only a little at a time.  Prouty says it is like seeing a movie one frame a day.  By the time you are through, you do not know what the movie is about, but you have seen the entire film.

A further technique at concealing the truth in the open is the use of surrogates.  Most of the major title holders, the department Secretaries, and the Directors of the most important agencies, are so busy that they must send subordinates to the briefings.  The senior men rarely attend.  By doing this the agency can avoid many hard questions.  In some cases the Agency can actually be briefing one of its loaned employees!  The Agency has worked hard to shield itself.

The ultimate power in the U.S. government is with the President.  Here the Agency is not without influence.  The Agency worked hard to get the right to do a Presidential daily security briefing.  The Agency tailors this briefing to its own ends. The Agency is the only government entity that has the advantage of daily access to the President, so why not use this advantage to help itself?

Prouty wrote to expose the Secret Team.  He felt that it is a serious threat to the America that it is supposed to protect.  He points out that in the case of Vietman the U.S. spent $200 billion and thousands of American live in this futile venture.  The Russians spent only a few billion and no lives.  They clearly won.  Prouty wrote to try to preclude another mistake of this type.

Prouty did live to see the fall of the Berlin Wall and the disintegration of the communist threat.  He wondered what would be the next threat the Secret Team would claim to protect us from.  He suggested an invasion by space aliens.  This did not happen.  Prouty did not live to see the terrorist attacks of 2001.  Had he lived to see them, he would not have been surprised at the response.  After reading his book, neither am I.

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