Monday, July 26, 2010

I'm not buying Wikileaks anymore

There have been suggestions from the more conspiracy-theoretic end of the spectrum that Wikileaks may be a CIA front. After this latest "leak", I think it's pretty obvious. I saw this news item on CNN which is what tipped me off that it must be "safe for public consumption." If it's safe for public consumption, it sure isn't a leak that's worth a damn. Why would someone go to all the risk to themselves and their career to submit Secret clearance docs that get handed around to thousands of people? It doesn't make sense. And why would the only really sensitive documents finger the ISI? Isn't the point of leaking to blow the whistle on your boss?? This seems like a rather transparent attempt to put public pressure on ISI to reduce their support for the Taliban while pretending that it was an uncontrolled "leak". What also doesn't make sense is where Wikileaks gets its money. If Wikileaks really were the grassroots organization it makes itself out to be, it seems to me they'd have to be hosted on peer-to-peer networks since it's expensive to maintain servers and bandwidth to permit millions of people to download videos and libraries-worth of documents from your website.

And Wikileaks's Top-10 successes aren't anything to get excited about. Probably the most substantial item was the CRU emails that were supposedly "hacked" by Russian teenagers or something. I have a working hypothesis that the April 20th Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion was actually a retaliatory strike against whoever was really behind the CRU leaks. If CIA is aligned with US oil interests (likely), then this makes sense... the Deepwater Horizon explosion would materially damage offshore drilling in the Gulf and put the hurt on the interests backing CIA that defected and derailed the Copenhagen agreement.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Kingpin theory of power elites

I enjoy power-elite analysis. I did some amateur research on the JFK assassination last weekend and have been piecing together all sorts of decade-spanning conspiracy theories for some time. These theories exist in a sort of "quantum superposition" since there is so little solid information and evidence to work with.

When dealing with such difficult problems, it's helpful to use metaphors to keep things straight in your head. One such metaphor I've recently adopted I call "Kingpin theory."

The Kingpin is a character in the Spiderman comics. He has no superpowers but he is Spiderman's arch-nemesis, more powerful than all the other villains who do have superpowers. The Kingpin's power comes from his mastery of human nature, his willingness and ability to manipulate people by threatening their loved ones and his uncanny ability to remain at least one step ahead of everyone else.

In the real world, there are villains and then there are Kingpins. Pablo Escobar was a villain. Hank Paulsen is a Kingpin.

Now, when Kingpin theory is applied to politics, an obvious problem arises. The public doesn't like villains of any sort, Kingpin or otherwise. They want their leaders to be kissing babies and making absurd promises in stump speeches. So, the Kingpins have two options. The first option is to become a Twoface Kingpin (Twoface is a Batman villain, interesting in his own right). As the name implies, a Twoface Kingpin is like an inside-out Sour Patch Kid... sweet on the outside and sour on the inside. The other option is to become a Puppet Master or Corruptor.

Twoface Kingpins are relatively easy to identify. Hitler, Stalin, Mao and the cornucopia of pre-20th century tyrants. Basically, any autocrat is a kind of Twoface Kingpin, though the more unmasked his power, the less of a Twoface he is (whether this is a virtue or not is highly debatable). Puppet Masters, on the other hand, are much harder to find. Robber Baron theory basically takes the working hypothesis that the richest of the rich (say, the top 0.5%) are the Puppet Masters who control everything. This might be a good first approximation but it lacks depth. People in positions of formal power, but of lesser means, wield significant, real power. Consider the Defense Secretary. He might be a millionaire, but his wealth is nothing compared to Bill Gates. Yet I have no doubt the Defense Secretary wields a hell of a lot more power than Bill Gates does.

What makes Puppet Masters more powerful than Twofaces is that they are not easily identifiable targets, like Twoface Kingpins. Puppet Masters hide behind the scenes, pulling strings.

The most powerful Kingpins of all, in my theory, are Godfathers. A Godfather is a patriarch of a wealthy and powerful family. A Godfather family might have many Kingpins within it. David Rockefeller is a Godfather. Evelyn de Rothschild is a Godfather.

The formal power structures of law, government and the market create power centers or Hilltops. The object of power elite analysis is to understand the visible events of the times in terms of a struggle between Kingpins for control of Hilltops. Hilltops are strategic positions of power within the social fabric. The Presidency is a Hilltop. The papacy is a Hilltop.

Twoface Kingpins seek to personally occupy Hilltops. They engage in "King of the Hill" struggles versus other Twoface Kingpins. This is a first-order approximation of an election campaign between two candidates for elected office or the power-politics involved in clawing one's way up to the Papacy.

Puppet Masters sit behind the scenes pulling strings. A puppet-string is anything which acts as leverage to get someone to do what you want. Maybe it's a tit-for-tat business deal, special legal privileges, access to natural resources, the threat of blackmail, whatever.

Godfathers are the most powerful Kingpins of all. For this reason, they rarely seek to occupy hilltops themselves. Rather, they usually act as Puppet Masters and delegate the role of occupying a hilltop to Lackeys or they act as a Corruptor and seek to buy those who already occupy hilltops by corrupting them. As an aside, old-fashioned kings during the era of absolute monarchy (say, Louis XIV) are examples of that rare breed, Twoface Godfathers. A Twoface Godfather can't exist in the era of modern demagoguery, mass media and mass politics because as soon as a Godfather reveals himself to the public for what he is, it is a simple matter for other Kingpins to take him down through populism and class envy. Read about Nelson Rockefeller's political career to see what happens when a Godfather tries to reveal himself.

Wealthy, powerful families with a long history are Dynasties. Dynasties have a proven track record of holding Hilltops and maintaining their power, through thick and thin. Prior to WWI, there were 22 monarchies. After WWII, there were nine and the Windsors were one of those monarchical families. The Windsors are a Dynasty (Elizabeth is the "Godfather"), the Rothschilds are a Dynasty, the Rockefellers are probably a Dynasty, the Kennedys tried and failed to become a Dynasty.

The ultimate unit of loyalty is blood relation, that is, the Family. The Family is the power-base of the Godfather and is what makes a Godfather so much more powerful than a mere Puppet Master. The Godfather not only pulls strings and gets Lackeys to do his bidding on his Hilltops, he can place his brothers, cousins, uncles and other blood relatives in positions of great trust. This permits the Godfather to force-multiply himself vis-a-vis other Puppet Masters. A Puppet Master without a Family can only really trust himself. While blood does betray blood from time to time (and more often when there is a struggle over the Patriarchy Hilltop), there are biological reasons that make the Family less likely to betray its own than for two friends or buddies to betray each other. Human biology dictates a greater degree of loyalty between people carrying common genes than between people who are not.

Basically, the Family can introduce the division of labor into the business of being a Kingpin. All other Kingpins have to self-produce all aspects of the Kingpin business. This is what makes Dynasties possible and this is why Dynasties are the tip-top pinnacle of power.

But Dynasties have competition: fraternal organizations or Brotherhoods. A Brotherhood is essentially a gang. Gangs use the primitive act of a blood ritual (often murder, like the Aryan Brotherhood's "Blood-in, Blood-out") to initiate new members. This initiation process is psychologically powerful and parasitically leverages pieces of human psychology that evolved long ago for surviving attacks by wild animals and foreign invaders. Once initiated, members of a Brotherhood can be extremely loyal. National militaries, secret societies, intelligence agencies, street gangs, crime rings, and so on are examples of Brotherhoods which typically command a high degree of loyalty from almost all their members. However, the command-post of a Brotherhood is itself a Hilltop and is, therefore, subject to King-of-the-Hill struggles between Kingpins for control. In the end, Brotherhoods can be extremely powerful but in a head-to-head match, a solid Dynasty will win every time.

I don't really have a summary, this is about as far as I've thought this out.

Exploding box of chocolates... BP connection?

Here's an astounding news item: an "oil executive's wife" in Houston has been targeted by an exploding box of chocolates. I would desperately like to know if this "oil executive" is in any way connected with BP.

Godfather Part IV?

Why does government exist?

Rothbard and Hoppe use the idea of a "natural order" against which to criticize the State. One of the difficulties of this approach is that it makes an arbitrary distinction between what is "natural" and what is not - why is it the case that the State is unnatural and what does it even mean for something to be "unnatural", given methodological naturalism? Whether the government is "natural" or not, the question remains: why does it exist? Here's my video on what the government is.

My current view regarding why government exists:

  • The essence of the State is the accepted or legitimized double-standard
  • This is puzzling since humans generally find double-standards revolting... the Golden Rule is a culturally universal ethical principle
  • My solution is as follows:
  • Humans evolved from primates which largely engage in alpha-male mating patterns
  • Alpha-male mating separates the males into two categories, the commoners and the elite (alpha)
  • The costs of reproduction were shared communally (pregnancy and birth costs borne solely by the mother)
  • The human nuclear family (culturally universal), on the other hand, evolved to "privatize" the costs of reproduction (Hoppe), making reproduction more efficient
  • This privatization occurred by resolving the problem of paternity uncertainty with a combination of monogamy and concealed fertility*
  • In alpha-male mating, paternity uncertainty was resolved by granting a monopoly on mating privileges to the fittest male
  • The congenital tolerance that the vast majority of people have for the State is a vestige of our alpha-male morality, where everyone accepted as a matter of course that one special male would be permitted the privilege of reproducing while all other males would be prohibited from having this privilege

I believe this explains why a State can exist at all. Try going to a national park and blatantly breaking one of the rules with a large crowd of people standing around. Within seconds, you will hear loud grumbles or even threats of calling a ranger. This "crowd morality" is the result of an instant, visceral reaction on the part of people within the crowd to the effect "Who does he think he is? I guess he thinks he doesn't have to follow the same rules as everybody else. We each have to obey the rules in order for this park to work. Somebody needs to put him in his place."

But when a police officer engages in blatantly illegal or immoral behavior - even on videotape - it's almost as if a fnord has been inserted into the brains of the public. What is it about a uniform and association with the territorial monopolist of law and force that causes people not only to not apply their ordinary, visceral reaction to a double-standard but to apply that reaction to anyone who points out the double-standard?!? I think the answer is my alpha-male vestige theory, or something like it.

*Biologists believe that human females have concealed fertility - unlike our primate ancestors whose fertility is advertised - to make it hard to engage in cuckoldry, that is, accepting support from a less fit male (to get the benefit of his labor) while reproducing with a more fit male (to give her offspring the benefit of his excellent genes)

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Live Free or Die = Collectivism

I've noticed a collectivist under-current in some of the thinking of folks involved in the Free-State Project and other libertarians. This collectivism is subtle but real.

Sure, "live free or die" as a personal motto or ethic is ultimately an expression of individualism. But many libertarians incorrectly diagnose the ills of modern statist society to be due to a lack of willingness to die for one's liberty on the part of the masses. They are asserting something along the lines of "if only people were more generally willing to die for their liberty, we'd all be truly free." The idea is that a tyrant can't dominate a people composed of individuals who are mostly willing to die rather than be enslaved to the tyrant.

But I think this is subtle or stealth collectivism because dying for one's liberty is not really dying for one'sown liberty (you can't be free when you're dead). Instead, dying for liberty is dying for the liberty of others. And such self-sacrificial acts - while laudable in their own right - are not performed in one's own interests but in the interests of the collective. Those who subscribe to the theory that we are not free because enough people are not willing to die for freedom ultimately have no faith in the self-organizing nature of society composed of uncoordinated individuals pursuing their own, independent ends.

Even if it's just an expression of one's personal credo or motto, I still cringe every time I read the phrase, "Live Free or Die."

Monday, July 19, 2010

So, I spent all weekend watching JFK assassination videos and doing armchair JFK assassination research. Here are my notes:

1) Most of the debate seems to rage around trying to get evidence or proof that JFK's assassination was a conspiracy. This is silly because it grants - from the outset - the bizarre assumption made by the official theories that political figures are as likely to die at the hands of "mad attention-seekers" as they are to be assassinated by their enemies who actually stand to benefit. How many people are insane enough to think that the electric chair is a fair trade for "being remembered" by history, even if in infamy? And of those people how many are resourceful enough to pierce the security perimeter of the President of the United States? Kennedy was threatened by Richard Pavlick in 1960 after Nixon lost the election and, by all accounts, Pavlick was a lone nut. But all we know of his "assassination attempts" are his own tall tales and 10 sticks of dynamite.

2) Of course Kennedy was assassinated by his enemies. Barring extraordinary, overwhelming evidence of a crazed, lone gunman, the "assassinated by his political enemies" theory has the advantage of fitting with 99.99% of all other recorded murders of powerful men throughout history. It's like if a top Mafia boss got shot and the police said it was a "stranger homicide". It's possible, but extremely unlikely. And, of course, this leaves aside the possibility of foreign attack instead of internal coup d'etat. Either way, "crazed, lone gunman seeking attention and to be remembered (in infamy) by history" is by far the least plausible explanation*.

3) It is doubtful that LBJ was the mastermind of Kennedy's death. Given a conspiracy, we can reason that he almost certainly had foreknowledge and was likely involved to one degree or another (since he stood to benefit the most publicly), but we know that, long before Obama, US Presidents have not been much more than puppet figureheads for the real, unseen political powers. Assuming LBJ was able to orchestrate, on his own, the necessary measures to take out Kennedy, those "in the know" would have a pretty good inkling of who was finally responsible for the President's death and, being outsiders now, would have a huge incentive to go after Johnson and get him impeached. Instead, the opposite happened, every government person and agency involved in the case and "in the know" covered up evidence, altered evidence, silenced or ignored witnesses and turned a blind eye while dozens of witnesses important to solving the murder were systematically eliminated.

4) JFK has more confessed assassins than Mel Gibson has racist slurs. The attention-seekers are those claiming to be JFK's assassin(s) - a much less risky venture than actually assassinating a sitting US President. As a matter of our social and political history and future, however, the identity of the trigger-man (or men) is relatively unimportant. The important point is trying to identify the mastermind(s), that is, the power center or alliance of power centers which moved to have JFK killed.

5) A popular hypothesis is that JFK was murdered because he or the Kennedys generally had "gone rogue", that is, he or they were acting in the true interests of the American public and against the interests of the Establishment. This hypothesis (with the slight modification that Kennedy was acting in the Kennedy-family's interests, not the interests of the US public except where the two happened to coincide) carries some weight in my opinion for two reasons. First, the cover-up was across the board, no one tried to make hay out of JFK's death by suggesting political funny business. Second, the long string of assassinations and attempted assassinations of Kennedys. The Kennedys must have made very powerful enemies but failed to sufficiently protect themselves, either on their own cognizance or by aligning with a more powerful interest than themselves. Or, perhaps JFK ruined the whole Kennedy family by betraying his sponsors once he got into office. If so, the Kennedy family would have been forever a pariah to the Establishment... something along the lines of "you can't trust a Kennedy."

6) Kennedy did several things in office, the combination of which probably united otherwise antagonistic power centers around one goal - eliminating Kennedy. "The enemy of my enemy is my friend." While I don't think EO 11110 was really that important from the point-of-view of the Fed, it was the opposite of the direction the Fed wanted to go (which direction Nixon finally went in 1971). So, the Fed and its allies (Bank of England, Bundesbank, Bank of International Settlements, and so on) would have not been sad to see Kennedy go. They might have even pitched in some black funding or something (when you can legally print money, this is quite easy to do). He had enemies in the Mafia but I think it is a big mistake to think the Mafia could have taken out the President. If you subscribe to the gang theory of government**, it just doesn't make sense. It's like saying some small-time crack dealers could unite and take out a Mafia boss. Just not possible, they're outgunned, outsmarted, out-organized, out-everything. CIA may have been the ops guys and they may have sub-contracted out to Mafia assassins who were the most experienced in covert assassinations in broad daylight in American cities but that would be as far as it goes.

JFK had threatened to dismantle CIA and it's clear that, after the Bay of Pigs, there was real bad blood between the Executive and CIA. People say, "The CIA killed Kennedy" and while this may be true, I doubt very much that CIA masterminded JFK's death, that is, I doubt CIA was the power-center "finally responsible" for JFK's death. CIA and the FBI have tons and tons of bad blood but the FBI was in charge of the investigation. Surely, the FBI would have taken the opportunity to knock CIA down a few pegs on the power ladder and surely CIA would have been aware that the FBI would do this, from the outset. Assuming CIA involvement, someone, somewhere had to have been able to get CIA and the FBI to play nice.

But I think the biggest single motive is located in the Pentagon. Again, I'm skeptical that the Pentagon were the "masterminds" of the JFK assassination but I think they may have been the real motivational powerhouse. Here's a quote from Wikipedia's article on LBJ:

"At Kennedy's death, there were 16,000 American military advisors in Vietnam. As President, Lyndon Johnson immediately reversed his predecessor's order to withdraw 1,000 military personnel by the end of 1963 with his own NSAM #273 on November 26, 1963. Johnson expanded the numbers and roles of the American military following the Gulf of Tonkin Incident (less than three weeks after the Republican Convention of 1964, which had nominated Barry Goldwater for President).

The Gulf of Tonkin Resolution, which gave the President the exclusive right to use military force without consulting the Senate, was based on a false pretext, as Johnson later admitted.[60] It was Johnson who began America's direct involvement in the ground war in Vietnam. By 1968, over 550,000 American soldiers were inside Vietnam; in 1967 and 1968 they were being killed at the rate of over 1,000 a month."

So, we have in this order:

  • 16,000 US servicemen in Vietnam as "advisors"
  • On Oct. 11, Kennedy orders 1,000 soldiers withdrawn from Vietnam by the end of 1963 in NSAM 263
  • On Nov. 22, JFK shot
  • 4 days later, JFK's order to withdraw 1,000 men from Vietnam reversed by LBJ in NSAM 273
  • Aug. 1964, Gulf of Tonkin incident (false flag/fabricated incident)
  • Deployments to Vietnam go through the stratosphere, reaching 550,000+ men in less than 5 years, see this PDF (page 9) for a chart showing the "hockey stick" from 1963 onward in troop levels in Vietnam
While the Pentagon is the operational arm of the Military Industrial Complex, the power center that killed JFK had to have its locus outside formal government while having significant control of and access to formal government. We understand the confluence of interests between central bankers and the war machine for generating profits through the expansion of the money supply and funding of the war machine, so JFK's murder is likely a confluence of several, very powerful interests who had independently decided "enough is enough, Kennedy has become a nuisance and has got to go" and decided to work together for the time being to eliminate him.

7) Kennedy's assassination was obviously supposed to be very public but in a controlled way. After all, if they just wanted him dead, they could have shot down Air Force One on a cloudy day and declared it an accident. But he was shot in broad daylight, surrounded by cameras though not professional news cameras. All the film from these cameras was immediately seized and effectively locked up for almost a decade before the first pictures started to trickle out, damaged and likely altered. My theory on this is that there was a script for how the assassination was supposed to go and something went wrong. Oswald was supposed to be the patsy while some real professionals took Kennedy out in a way that would be consistent with Kennedy being shot by Oswald who would then be painted a "lone nut assassin" while the amateur photos could be splashed across televisions and the front-pages of newspapers to decry the "new extremism" that had taken over US politics. Governor Connally's first statement on camera includes this little memorized diatribe about extremism in American politics and how it is transforming things, and so on. This was clearly scripted. But something went wrong and the video evidence was too inconsistent with the official theory of Oswald-the-crazed-assassin which had been immediately put out to the public on the very day of the assassination and then sent with Oswald to his grave two days later.

There were no commercial media cameras trained on Kennedy at the time because that part of his route was considered unimportant by the media. One question I've always had is why were there so few people on each side of the assassination bottleneck? I mean, there's this huge, thronging crowd just a hundred feet away, and then a few stragglers. The crowd was being held back by policemen, obviously, so why were those few people permitted through? Zapruder, Nix, Babushka Lady, Tina Towner, Moorman and the guy filming Kennedy from the curbside visible in the Zapruder frames 343-358 (does anyone know who this is???! his film would be 100x better quality than Zapruder's, he was standing right on the curb!), among others. Hell, it seems that roughly 50% of Dallas residents must have had amateur cameras if the people on either side of the assassination bottleneck are a representative sample of Dallas residents circa 1963. All these folks claim to have had no knowledge of anything but then they sure are some cool customers, calmly documenting the historic, defining moment of the US government while all hell is breaking loose with gunshots and cars and motorcycles speeding off, sirens wailing, people yelling, etc.

8) The Rybka video shows the Secret Service bodyguard detail being called off the rear bumper of the Presidential limousine while back at the airport, 7 miles from Dealey plaza. Just an interesting little detail. :-)

*Can anyone say, "19 crazed, suicidal 'religious extremists' seeking to get 72 virgins in heaven by committing mass suicide/homicide..."

**Basically, that the government is the most powerful gang of all and the President the biggest, most powerful Don of all

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Quick note on the oil spill...

A gaggle of Senators including Chuckie Schumer are clamoring that BP may have been involved in the repatriation of the Lockerbie bomber back to Libya as a concession for removing drilling restrictions off the coast of Libya. Clearly, there's some kind of political tug-of-war going on under the surface.