MUCH HAS BEEN written about the effects of the Hal Turner conviction on what is left of free speech in America. I agree that it will have what lawyers and the cliché-ridden call a “chilling effect.” But so much of what has been written misses the most important fact in the case.
Hal Turner was a fake. A phony.
He was not really a critic of the regime in Washington.
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A CORRESPONDENT who had read one of my recent essays wrote to me, incredulously asking me if I was actually so wicked as to “condemn democracy.” I asked him to consider the facts and think, instead of just regurgitating the quasi-religious shibboleths that were imparted to him by the public schools:
If the majority is allowed to seize your property or make its opinions into law whenever it so chooses, how is that different from an autocracy? (With an autocrat, bad as that system is, at least you have a chance that the ruler will be wise or benevolent or both. With democracy, there is no chance whatsoever.)
ON THE one hand, we have the conspiracy theorists who say that Timothy McVeigh was a patsy. On the other hand, we have hours of tapes in which McVeigh admits he committed the act.
But these are not mutually exclusive propositions. One does not preclude the other.
McVeigh may have been followed, encouraged, guided, and then taken advantage of — with extra explosives as “insurance,” as the efficacy of a truck bomb some considerable distance from the building was naturally doubted by the experts involved.
I was listening to the radio in the minutes and hours immediately after the event, and there were definitely reports of additional bombs inside the building — which stands to reason, considering the massive damage.
It was also extremely suspicious that McVeigh, shortly before the attack, placed a number of apparently pointless telephone calls.
THE DICTATES of the Washington regime have, with the wildly misnamed “Patriot Act,” finally taken away all of our financial privacy, which is a fundamental part of our personal privacy.
Two acquaintances of mine recently purchased automobiles for cash — no credit requested — and the interrogation they were subjected to by the dealers (necessitated by the “Patriot Act”) show how we have been cowed into surrendering the last vestiges of our freedom and privacy. One wrote:
I’VE BEEN hearing a lot in the news these days about “income redistribution.” About how “income inequality” is a problem that needs to be fixed by (forcibly) taking wealth from some and “giving” it to others. Now I’m all for ending the ability of the bankers and Wall Street to create money out of thin air (as they do every day with fractional reserve banking). And I am all for ending the ability of multinational corporations to steal from us using their usual techniques of fraud, manipulation, and so-called “free trade.” But taking from my neighbors to “equalize” incomes? No.
To all the would-be “income redistributors” I say this: No one is stopping you from giving 90 per cent. (or 100 per cent.) of your money away. You can give it to me if you like; I’ve got a Paypal link on my site.
It began well. Google acquired the Deja News archive of Usenet postings from 1995 forward, and then added 1981-1994 material from Marc Spencer’s archive. If somebody said it in a newsgroup, you could find it by searching Google Groups. You could search by author, by keywords, by newsgroup, by date range, or by exact phrase. It was as it should be.
But then Google decided to kluge its own “discussion groups” onto Usenet, and began emphasizing “new communities” or some such cliché at the expense of Usenet archiving, which has been all but abandoned. Some entire newsgroups have been ditched without explanation. And searching by author or exact phrase? Forget it. If you get any results at all, they’ll be woefully incomplete.
Google Groups is in violation of its own terms of service, which state in part “The Service contains the entire archive of Usenet discussion groups dating back to 1981.” To Google: Fix, please. Or remain evil.
THIS YEAR marks the 200th birthday of the great poet and thinker Edgar Allan Poe. Today, October 7th, is the day of his mysterious death 160 years ago in Baltimore. And last month marked the 174th anniversary of his marriage to his beloved Virginia.
Not too long after Poe’s birthday in January of this year, someone very dear to me gave me a surprise present: two gift boxes from the Poe Museum in Richmond, one decorated with a reproduction of the famous Learned portrait of Virginia Poe (pictured, left) and the other (on the right) having on its lid an image of a very young-looking and clean-shaven Edgar Allan Poe — an image I had never seen before. The portrait is oval and in a thin oval gilt frame. Inside the lid of the second box is written “Edgar Allan Poe – Robert Lee Traylor.”
I have been a reader and student of Poe since the age of 11, but this portrait was one I had never seen. The only references I could find to “Robert Lee Traylor” and a Poe portrait were as the owner of a very different Poe picture, a daguerreotype.
And exhaustive searches of the ‘Net, comprising thousands of articles and representations of Poe, didn’t come up with this portrait or any reference to it. It seemed quite a mystery to me.
THIS WEEK Google replaced their normal search page graphic with one depicting Mohandas K. Gandhi, also known as Mahatma (Sanskrit for “Great Soul”) Gandhi, in recognition of his birthday, which is now celebrated as the International Day of Non-Violence. Gandhi’s movement of civil disobedience was a significant factor in India’s successful quest for self-determination and the ultimate withdrawal of Britain from the Indian subcontinent.
Barack Obama praised Gandhi on Friday, saying “Gandhi’s teachings and ideals, shared with Martin Luther King Jr. on his 1959 pilgrimage to India, transformed American society through our civil rights movement. The America of today has its roots in the India of Mahatma Gandhi and the nonviolent social action movement for Indian independence which he led. We must renew our commitment to live his ideals and to celebrate the dignity of all human beings.”
Many people, Obama included if he’s sincere, see Gandhi and his movement in very simplistic and essentially mythological terms: Gandhi’s movement, they believe, was a “struggle for equality” within a multiracial paradigm. Actually it was the opposite of that.