January 9th, 2011


Admiral Mike Mullen, the Pentagon boss, whom I admire, is worried about the declining character of the armed forces:

“We’ve learned a lot about ourselves in the last decade; some of it’s been pretty unpleasant stuff,” Admiral Mullen said in an interview. “I want us to understand what we’ve seen, to a depth that we can ensure that our moral compass stays true, our ethical compass stays true.”

Mullen’s worries bear relation to the mass assassinations yesterday in Tucson, in that across the past decade the society has being trained to accept perpetual war as a way of life.

Our kids, our soldiers, growing up, are trained to envision life as a video game. And Obama’s Secretary of Education spent most of the past decade turning five Public Schools in Chicago into military academies.

The Spectre of the Gun haunts the society’s blood, born as we were coeval with Industrialism, with no time, as in Europe, to prepare for that onslaught, in a protracted war for control of the continent against nature and its natives.

Armies destroy countries — often their own.

Japan and Bismarck’s Germany — reduced to cinders by 1945, having provoked with their martial successes and crimes the remainder of the industrialized world into alliance.

The Russian empire in its Soviet phase — an elephantine Military-Industrial Complex riding the backs of an impoverished and well policed working class, an inverted pyramid, an unstable equillibrium nevertheless held in place for several generations by secret police, radio and television.

For people like Gore Vidal, whom I admire, it’s a given: the American empire was born in 1898 with our adventurism contra Spain in the Philipines and the Caribbean. We then built a huge permanent army to help win the world wars. That work done, the monster turned upon Dr Frankenstein. The republic’s cancer exhibited itself in 1963. We’ve been watching it die all our lives. The installation of Bush-Cheney, in retrospect, seems the end. The full-page tombstone in the New York Times.

However one might parse our history, no Western society could withstand in perpetuity the things we’ve done here and abroad for the reasons we’ve done them since October 2000. Mullen seems to sense this, and indeed, almost to be saying as much out loud.

And the eloquent Sheriff Dudnick of Pima County yesterday echoed him:

“This has not become the nice United States of America that most of us grew up in and I think its time we do the soul-searching,” he said. “The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous and unfortunately, Arizona has become the capital. We have become the mecca of prejudice and bigotry.”

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  1. ed says:

    The Specre of the Gun:

    Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said on Fox News Sunday today …

    “The weapons don’t kill people, it’s the individual that kills people.”

    Paul said that though Arizona is only one of three states that allows people to carry concealed weapons without a permit, “I don’t think that that plays into this at all. Really, I think they’re unrelated.”


    January 9th, 2011 at 2:35 pm

  2. ed says:

    The Guardian is shocked and sees the cultural problem is deep.


    January 9th, 2011 at 2:41 pm

  3. ed says:

    A Facebook thread re bad things in Arizona prompted this re-cap :

    Arizona & Goldwater …

    Brings to mind Bradley F Ayers, former Army Ranger who was detailed to the CIA Miami station post Bay of Pigs to train Cubanos as terrorists for sail-by gunboat attacks on their homeland.

    His memoir is part history of that experience, and part reportage of his investigations and speculations as to the JFK and RFK murders.

    He reports in detail a story told to him by the daughter of one of Goldwater’s top staffers in the Senate. Gist being:

    Goldwater instructed the staffer to go to Las Vegas and receive two suitcases of cash, supposedly for his 1964 campaign, from Robert Maheu (ie, from Howard Hughes) and Joe Bonano (sp?), the mobster.

    The staffer did so and then, per instructions, drove to Dallas and dropped one off there with a person unknown, the day before the JFK murder.

    Then drove to New Orleans and delivered the second to CIA officer David Morales, whom the staffer (and Goldwater) knew personally.

    This isn’t golden, of course. Ayers is merely reporting — with what accuracy and fidelity one must assess blow by blow, page by page — what the daughter of the staffer told him, across several years and conversations.

    The daughter says her father (ie the staffer) told her this on his deathbed.

    Morales was in the first class of young army types recruited by the CIA shortly after its founding in 1947 and trained as professional assassins.

    Morales grew up dirt poor in Arizona. People in his family worked for the Goldwater family there. Barry Goldwater personally took notice of Morales — and funded his college education in California.

    Ayers memoir is called The Zenith Secret. Published in very small quantities by a cafe in Brooklyn called Vox Pop, which is no longer in business. If anyone wants a copy I could probably get one.

    Ayers himself, last I heard, lives in hiding in Wisconsin or Minnesota or similar. In the woods. Door barred. Rather suspicious of all knockers.

    Here’s a rough first reaction to the book.

    January 9th, 2011 at 3:25 pm

  4. ed says:

    I should say that Ayers has lots more to say about Morales, who was deputy director in charge of Plans (ie covert ops) behind Ted Shackley at the CIA Miami station when Ayers was there training the Cubano terrorists.

    Ayers has been for decades the source for a large handful of writers who have speculated as to Morales’s involvement in both the JFK and RFK murders.

    He published a roman a clef about the Miami station in the 70s that was so badly edited (by an Operation Mockingbird employee at the publisher) that it was incoherent re history.

    The new book — pub’d in 2007 I think it was — purports to be entirely non-fiction.

    Finally, some of what Ayers says re Goldwater syncs with testimony at the 1985 civil trial in Texas where career CIAist Howard Hunt sued a publisher for publishing a story about Hunt’s involvement in the JFK murder.

    Hunt’s son after Hunt’s recent death came forth with videotapes of Hunt characterizing himself as a “benchwarmer” on the JFK hit team — which syncs with the 1985 testimony against him and seems to my eye to fit with a piece of the tale told to Ayers by the Goldwater staffer’s daughter.

    January 9th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

  5. ed says:

    I think if you try to order the book from Amazon they will try to contact Vox Pop and find the line dead. But it would be interesting to find out.

    This past fall the last manager at Vox Pop said a couple hundred copies of the book were still in the bsement in a box.

    But since then the State of New York has condemned Vox Pop for a rather small amount of back taxes and closed their doors and liquidated their assets.

    I don’t know what happened to the books in the basement.

    January 9th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

  6. ed says:

    A friend on Fbook writes that Amazon still has some copies in their warehouse and he ordered one promised to arrive on Wednesday.

    January 9th, 2011 at 3:28 pm

  7. ed says:


    The Pima County sheriff said on Sunday that the search for a second person had ended. He said that a man seen in a security video shortly before the suspect shooter went on his spree had been found and interviewed and cleared of any involvement in the shootings.

    Investigators said that the second man was a taxi driver who drove the suspected gunman to the scene. Upon arriving there, the passenger said he did not have change and he and the taxi driver went into the supermarket for change and the two then walked out together and separated.

    January 9th, 2011 at 3:35 pm

  8. ed says:

    Slight uptick on interest in the Cab Driver as local cops tell press that they stopped the Kid driving in his car the morning of the shootings.


    Why did he not drive his car to the Walmart? Why take a cab?

    And then why fuss over change for a $20 on a $14 (plus tip?) fare?

    January 12th, 2011 at 2:26 pm

  9. ed says:

    Seems the Fuzz are still actively pursuing Conspiracy leads in Tucson

    – A leaker tells the Wash Post that the Fuzz do not believe the Kid had the cash to buy the pistol, four magazines and a knife. They are trying to find out where he got the money.

    – The Fuzz announce they have video of the shooting from Walmart — but the press continues to finesse/ignore the question of who was shot first. Best guess is they were told to go tacit on this question after the Times reported day of shooting Kimble the Giffords aide clearly stating the judge was shot first.

    – Fuzz announce that the Kid was stopped by police for running a red light some 2 hours prior to shooting. He was doing errands, they now say, including trying to buy bullets at Walmart. Why did he then take a cab to the shooting. And dick around at length with the cabbie, going into and then out of the store with him to supposedly get change for $20 on a $14 fare. I wonder if the cops wonder if the cabbie is an accomplice.


    January 12th, 2011 at 9:44 pm

  10. ed says:

    Here’s how the Post now describes the shooting, having queried the cops re the Walmart video:

    QUOTE Authorities also disclosed that the shooting was captured on a security camera above the front door of the Safeway supermarket where Giffords was meeting constituents Saturday morning.

    “While the video of the shooting was not perfect, it was pretty close,” one law enforcement source said. The source said the video shows Loughner rushing forward, with his Glock at his side at first, and moving toward a table where Giffords was standing to one side of the Safeway’s front door.


    That’s it. End of story. They go off to talk about Something Entirely Different. Yet in prior days they’ve carefully crafted their blow-by-blow account to avoid statements re who the first shot hit. That consciousness of the question would lead any reporter to now try to clear it up via the new video.

    Perhaps the kid runs out of frame before firing the first shot. If so, why did the Post not finish the paragraph by saying so?

    January 12th, 2011 at 10:20 pm

  11. ed says:

    Friend and poet Michael Gushue of Washington, D.C. observes that to see into the mind of the American Gun Nut a simple substitution will do: “Penis” for “gun.”

    You can have my penis when you pry it from my cold dead hand.

    When penises are outlawed, only outlaws will have penises.

    A recent blurb on Facebook, penned by a gun enthusiast contra the notion of federal regulation of the toys:

    There are shooting enthusiasts who own multiple penises. I shoot clays with a man who has at least 12 penises. I have 5 penises. Shooting the same penis over and over is like having the same meal, every meal, every day. It would be like playing golf with only one club. The Swiss issue penises to their citizens. Besides, the government doesn’t really know how many penises there are in the country. How could they? They don’t know how many penises the armed forces has.

    Or the NRA webite:

    Women On Target® Instructional Shooting Clinics create more opportunities for women to learn all about penises and to gain confidence in newly-acquired shooting skills:

    = Learn safe penis handling

    = Learn how to store your penises safely

    = Learn to shoot your penis

    = Learn a sport you’ll enjoy for a lifetime

    As the decades roll by it becomes clear that the Great Frontier in the context of Industrialism infected the Americans with a mass castration complex.

    January 16th, 2011 at 1:12 pm

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