The Moon Shots: Did They Happen?

Run across the web pages, and eventually you’ll run into the idea that the Moon Landings were faked. The comments may even seem persuasive, and the memory of their happening is fading. Not only that, but what we’ve had since then has been a low-orbit boondoggle which has led to deaths and proof that people focusing too much on the bottom line don’t learn anything worth knowing.

So is there merit?

No.

I remember seeing an experiment with a feather and a hammer testing Galileo’s contention that things fall at the same speed. If I remember right, they fell at the same speed, with both items falling smoothly and evenly, with no hanky panky on either side. One would have to rework that stuff thousands of times to get the whole set right.

Then there’s the matter of getting everything in focus. All you really need to do that is a pinhole to focus a camera through. Everything comes out clear and detailed, both near and far, although in a small area.

Again, the information is out there. Sometimes the question is what to look for and where to find it.

Tell Me About World War II Again?

Didn’t Roosevelt push us into WWII by letting the Japs attack us in Pearl Harbor?
Probably. Thing to remember, though: The US had to get into WWII, otherwise chances were that Russia would have invaded the whole of the European Subcontinent and turned it into a Soviet Frontline.The invasion at Normandy didn’t do as much to defeat the Germans as people think. The Germans had already lost in Russia, and they were beginning to start the rolling that would have taken them to Germany by 1945. What the Invasion of Normandy did was to end the war a bit quicker in the European front, and put up a de facto limit to Soviet ambitions. 

Think I’m joking? Consider that Stalin had people set up to run France, Italy, Germany and Spain hand-picked. That they ended up in the Gulag instead showed what Normandy did.

Also, look at 1984, the now nearly forgotten book by George Orwell. In it, he had the European mainland under the control of “Eurasia” (the Soviets). Seems like an odd way of splitting the continent given what happened, but had the US not joined in the battle there was no way England could have made a move onto Europe.

So while Roosevelt may have pushed the US into WWII, I have no problem with that. Sometimes a little dishonesty can help towards the common good, and remember: we’re talking about reality, not some perfect world where everything goes according to the rules of right and wrong.

We’re sure the Allies knew about the Concentration Camps. Why didn’t they do anything about them until they invaded?
First off, where would the prisoners have gone had they been given the chance to escape? Everything around them was surrounded by people who were overeager to show their hatred (or so they knew; while there were thousands and thousands of Jews hidden away by friends and right-doers, nobody was supposed to know about that) and there were still armed guards roaming about.
Besides, had the Germans seen Auschwitz (or another camp) bombed, they would have taken people from the front to kill the people within the camps. They had already made the death of the Jews more important than the conduct of the war by 1942, otherwise they may have been able to at least make a decent defense of their fatherland. Imagine the Germans seeing a threat of their prisoners running away and invading the countryside; then imagine instead thousands of Commies looking in front of them and seeing the enemy running away like mad without any provocation. Say goodbye “Paris,” hello “Leningrad, France.”
 

Again, the truth is out there. You just have to know how to look.

And that includes what NOT to be distracted by.

A Thought: What Do We Really Know?

I was thinking recently of a visit I made to the Holocaust Museum in Washington D.C.

I was thinking about the Nazi Olypmics, and what was written about there.

Amazingly, the people in The United States knew about what was happening to Jews and others in Germany then. Indeed, many of the AAU units in the United States moved to boycott those Olympics. Avery Brundage overruled the group and pretty much bullied many of the athletes to participate. In the end, while Jesse Owens ended up winning the German Crowd (and probably the best showing of sportsmanship from the German athletes he beat out), Hitler got his propaganda boost.

So if you’re wondering about the utter stupidity of the people around you, look around. There’s SOMEONE out there who knows the truth, and if there’s someone out there, the truth is out there. Just remember, sometimes you DO have to hunt it down.

Problems with the last two elections

  1. I wonder if Gore threw the 2000 election.Consider this: whole areas in northern Florida were set up with the sole purpose of keeping Blacks from voting. Systems which were put in place to keep “felons” from voting were made to include as loose a definition as possible (if an identifying marker or two was close enough to a match, you were excluded despite your history). Florida A&M University (the historically black university in Tallahassee) had their Union was locked, since that was where their students were supposed to vote, there were no votes cast from that university.

    But while he waxed poetic and verbose about the loss of a few Hispanic votes, he cared nothing about what happened to the north.

    Did Gore decide to throw the election so that he wouldn’t owe the blacks? They’ve suffered from both ends of the political spectrum: The Democrats give them little since their vote can be counted on, and the Republicans are in the position that they don’t need to deal with them to win many elections. Here was a place where their vote could have explicitly counted, and the people who needed them chose to lose.

  2. If I was the Democratic Party, I would have looked into cooked elections LONG BEFORE THE ELECITON ITSELF! I would have looked at the Iowa Primary, plus I would have looked at the press itself for its actions.Consider: Dean, their front-runner and major fundraiser comes in a distant third behind two of the lamest people the Dems could have come up with. Then, when he’s trying to rally the troops, the press isolates his voice and insures that the ONE SOUND BITE THAT WOULD HAVE KILLED ANYONE was caught and reran for the rest of the nation to think over.

    By the time the press did their “How we skewered the news” segment on the Dean Scream (more to the point: their bragging about how they delivered the election to Bush and Company), the Dems had panicked fatally. They went from “Who do we love” to “Who do we think can defeat Shrub Jr.” Needless to say, the lamest candidate (one who actually looked forward to retiring, may I add) was the one picked, and even with all the advantages couldn’t beat Bush.

Just some thoughts about the election. Stuff I don’t need to invoke Diebold (we fix elections, so you don’t have to) to dispute.

As I Said Before; “Benign Neglect” Is Destroying New Orleans

Experts Say Faulty Levees Caused Much of Flooding — so says the Washington Post.

I remember when I put up my earlier thoughts about how the government destroyed New Orleans with “Benign Neglect”. Someone from the Shrub Jr. Choir yelled at me because I didn’t parrot his thoughts.

Well guess what: Turns out they DID have forty years of planning behind those levees. Bad funding, bad planning (Category 3 ONLY?) and bad construction left the levee system weaker than it should have been. Not only that, but the storm turned out to be weaker than originally thought; the water surge turned out to not make it up to the top of the Lake Ponchatrain dikes, as it should have had the storm actually hit New Orleans as a Level 4 Hurricane.

Sadly (and I say this as a Progressive/Liberal), it is the Democrats who were to blame for this. This was started under their watch, from local to state to national. Plus, while it is understandable that Louisiana would want to figure ways to make money with their infrastructure gifts, the Democrats are still in power in Louisiana. And with much of their Urban base scattered and probably unlikely to come back or find themselves welcomed, don’t be surprised to see the Louisiana populace take a severe, bitter turn to the hard right.

And now there’s another storm on its way, with yet another opening of the dike system flooding Precinct 9. The storm was supposed to hit Houston, now it’s aiming at Lake Charles. If the thing turns further east, watch out.

What Bush Should Have Considered (From a Righty’s Point of View)…

Looks like Mr. Roberts will make it as the Supreme Court Head Justice. The Dems have decided (rightly this time, I believe) not to threaten a filibuster.

If I were Bush and his cronies, I’d have pushed Scalia as Head Justice and had Mr. Roberts as an associate justice. The reason is simple: Scalia is tested, Roberts is not.

Let’s not forget: While Mr. Roberts has spent much time in the Supreme Court, it was mostly lawyer or support for Scalia. He didn’t have to consider the other side or why it was wrong; just his side. Now, as Supreme Court Judge, he’ll have to listen to both sides AND to consider whether the law being discussed has proper standing either in law or in the American experience of the law. Plus his rulings will affect the nation for years, maybe generations to come. A heavy burden, no matter how you slice it.

Not only that, but he’s still relatively untested. Scalia has spent years in the Supreme Court, his fidelity to his beliefs over the years is well known. What happens if Roberts drifts to liberalism, or even progressivism?

Remember, he’s going to be the head Justice for a long time. This is not a place to gamble, and Bush is gambling greatly (not that he hasn’t before; he’s done much worse and with much greater glee) Better to let him learn the ropes and find out where his heart leads him.

The Party of What?

(First, an apology: I wrote a longer post for this which turned out to have some off-topic stuff. Nothing filthy or salacious, just off topic. I’ll place it in its own post in a couple of days.)


Deficits and Surpluses since Kennedy

That’s right, friends. The Republicans (the so-called “party of responsibility) has been the party to raise the deficit every chance they get. And don’t tell me that Clinton did his part; even before the Repubs took over the house and senate he was working to reduce the deficit.

Now you can tell the true cost of subsidizing the rich with money from the poor. And it’s going to get worse: Bush has said “No New Taxes” probably because he’s yet to figure out a way to have a tax that ONLY hits the poor; and they’re probably too chickenshit as yet to put up a proposal for a regressive income tax yet. Give them another year, and they’ll probably try to browbeat congress into creating such a thing.

Who WAS Saul Alinsky, Anyway?

This blog has been up for about three months, and the name “Saul Alinsky” has been just a name in the title section.

So who was Saul Alinsky?

He was an organizer of communities. He got people together to get things done, and usually was successful at it. He started in the Back of The Yards, worked to unite communities all over Chicago, and was invited to Rochester to break the color barrier there.

His philosophy was pragmatic, in that he believed you worked with what you had. Whatever you could do, you did. His favorite example was Ghandi, the “hero of nonviolence.” Alinsky’s view of Ghandi was that Ghandi used nonviolence because it was his only choice. The Indians of the 1930;s, 1940;s and 1950’s were very passive towards their masters, and the British Press was open enough to play on the British sense of fair play. Had he been in Nazi Germany, he would have become part of the resistance, with its works against the Germans.

But what the title of my blog refers to is a quote of his. It actually refers to a quote stated three times in Rules For Radicals, each time slightly different but saying the same thing:

All issues must be polarized if action is to follow. One acts decisively only in the conviction that all the angels are on one side, and all the devils are on the other. 

In short, remove the center.

And that’s what’s happening in America: the death of the center. Whereas once the phrase “The center cannot hold” referred to a coming collapse, now the phrase “The center must not hold” is responded to with cheers.

And, as has been true the last thirty years, the right is better at this than the left. They’ve fitted into their pocket the Fundamentalist Christian Right, who have decided that self-righteousness and the joy of watching others lose their rights is worth the impoverishment of their own pocketbooks and of the nation they supposedly love. In this way the Corporatistas have been able to co-opt the middle class into their plans.

It is interesting that, towards the end of his life, Saul Alinsky saw the middle class drifting rightward, and saw the solution as bringing the middle and lower classes together. Sadly, he was unable to initiate actions towards uniting the lower and middle classes, as he died in 1972.

Soda, Pop or Coke

An intriguing page I found that talked about what people called that fizzy stuff that we drink all too much of. What’s interesting is not so much the division between “Pop” and “Coke” (north vs south, with a middle finger of “Coke” in central Indiana), but where the word “Soda” pops up. Not only is it the most evenly spread across the nation (with “Pop” up north and “Coke” down south) but the places where it shows up the strongest leads to some discussion. It is, of course, strongest in the northeast, but there’s also a strong presence in Florida, Eastern Wisconsin, in a wide swath around Saint Louis, and it oddly enough rules Arizona and Florida (along with Salt Lake City, if you see the yellow dot deep in the blue of Utah).

Probably the best description of the differences between the usages seems to be religious:

  • Coke: fundamentalist versions of Christianity
  • Pop: mainstream protestant versions of Christianity
  • Soda: catholic Christians and/or Freethinkers

The Freethinker adjunct to Sodas is to explain California and the populous parts of Nevada. Florida has a bunch of retirees from the northeast, who bring their “Soda” bias along with them.

Also kind of interesting looking through the statistics to see how the divisions work themselves out. Kentucky is definitely in the “Coke” category, whereas Indiana is definitely “Pop” Country. The words seem to slide from “Soda” in Virginia to “Coke” in Georgia along the seaboard (the Appalachians mark a border of sorts). New York is definitely a “Soda” state, whereas Pennsylvania is nearly split into the “Soda” east and the “Pop” west. Utah is a “Pop” state with a “Soda” enclave in Salt Lake (1/3rd of the Pop respondents, 1/2 of the Soda respondents; only 5 more Soda respondents), and Oklahoma is nearly equally split between “Pop” and “Coke” (they call it “living in Tulsa time,” just so you know).

One last item: looking through some of the other selections, I notice the words “Tarzan Slam” comes up on a few votes. Either some spammers decided to put this up as a pop brand to make their mark, or it was some odd, rad-type pop few people knew about but those who knew about it LOVED it.

One Word: Filibusters

Okay, so it was bad enough that the moderate-“liberal” O’Conner was to be replaced by John Roberts, at least we had a guy who know the Supreme Court intimately. Now Roberts is being tapped to be Head of the Supreme Court, in response to Judge Reinquest’s death.

Is it me, or are the neocons (with Bush as their leader) getting bolder (or more desperate) about getting rid of the Filibuster?

I’m not sure what would be worse this time around: Roberts as leader of the Supreme Court, or Roberts fully rejected. The former would just be the victory of stupidity, but it would be trumpeted all over the world as a victory against evil. The latter would lead to the rejection of the Filibuster law, one of the last checks against rampant majority rule.

I hope the same moderate grouping that headed off the last filibuster threat comes back again, this time with this offer to the president: Roberts as a Supreme Court member, Scalia as its head, no problems in the senate. Otherwise, I fear things will change, and all for the bad.