Skip to main content


Tue Apr 23, 2013 at 10:46 AM PDT

Censorship & Freedom

by niccolo caldararo

Warning from Admin at 2013-04-22 20:32:20

Your current diary about the Boston bombings counts as a conspiracy theory. Such postings are not permitted at Daily Kos.

I received the above message from  the Daily Kos Administration.  This was due to my post of yesterday being criticized by people who apparently do not believe that citizens in America are allowed to be considered innocent until proved guilty.  According to the managers of Daily Kos we are not allowed to question authority, we cannot search and examine the facts unless it is what the majority who control the media believe we should be allowed to question.  See my post and determine for yourself if this is censorship or a lynching or just good old capitalism where Daily Kos is responding to customer survey data.  One thing to consider here:  when does an examination of trail information on which people are incarcerated (as is happening today by the wrongful convictions movement).  http://kubylaw.com/...  and http://truthinjustice.org/....  Are these lawyers and volunteers engaged in conspiracy theories against the criminal justice apparatus or is the effort to examine facts to guarantee justice a legitimate effort if not duty for citizens in America?

My post is here:
http://www.dailykos.com/...

Discuss

   In any emergency we tend to respond with narrowed focus, details become background and survival preeminent.  The remarkable feat of the security apparatus in identifying and apprehending (killing in the process one of them) the supposed authors of this crime seems amazing.  News media and Sunday talk shows were filled with praise for the operations and omniscience of American intelligence services.  That is, until it was noted that Russian security had warned American CIA sources about one of the two brothers (http://www.abc.net.au/...).  Commentators began to ask embarrassing questions Sunday morning about why the elder Tsarnaev brother was not under surveillance. If the authorities are so able why did they not stop the bombing?  Answers were all over the place.
   What is important is to consider the options this case provides.  Who benefits from the act?  It is certainly characteristic of Americans to round up the usual suspects, and it provides a certain degree of relief in the national psyche to settle such cases with a punishable individual or organization.  Unlike the Reichstag fire, we do not always find out the true culprits identities.  In this case one might wonder how it was that the identity of the brothers was produced so quickly.  Were they convenient fall guys?  The citizen whose car was hijacked is the source for a "confession" from the now dead older brother and the younger one, now in custody cannot talk as yet.  Over 200 rounds were fired during the "fire fight" with the elder brother according to CNN (http://search.yahoo.com/...).  

   We should keep in mind that bombings like this one also can provide political distractions as when J.P. Morgan was to be investigated for financial manipulation in 1920 and a bomb exploded just before the investigation was to take place out side the J.P. Morgan offices (http://www.dailykos.com/...).  It was immediately blamed on "anarchists" but no proof was ever presented.  J.P. Morgan's investigation, however, was quietly cancelled as the outrage over his manipulations gave way to outrage over the bombings.
    One interesting bit of information comes in the form of a video on the web used by many news outlets that shows the two brothers walking before the bombing.  When one focuses in on each of their backpacks it is curious that you cannot see the bulky contours of a pressure cooker (http://abcnews.go.com/...).  If you go to any website for pressure cookers and backpacks and then assess the type of volume available in the brother's two backpacks it is evident that neither can be carrying such a bulky object.  This is especially significant as we are told that one of the victims,  stated he saw someone leave a backpack near the site and the FBI has provided video of the backpack at the site before the explosion (http://www.today.com/...).  The backpacks in the  video of the two brothers walking looks nothing like the backpack or "garbage bag" the FBI asserts was at the site.

    Should we consider that the CIA knowing that a quick resolution is necessary, both for its image, and to relieve the public, simply pick out of their bag of names two local individuals they have knowledge of who might fit the bill?  One has to recall that the 9/11 bombers entered the US legally on student visas, were considered potential terrorists to Israeli intelligence and were on foreign lists of terror suspects.  I am not saying that authorities do not have any case against the brothers, but that Americans used to be skeptical we now seem to be able to swallow any story the government feeds us.  There are other potential explanations of why and who would profit from the bombing (http://www.dailykos.com/...).  Every possible lead should be followed.

Discuss

   A book by Megan Wilkinson describes the foundation of an African American community along the shores of San Francisco Bay in the mid 19th century.  This book, What Ever Happened to Russell City is a remarkable work of scholarship, anthropological fieldwork and archaeology.  Russell City is no more, but now only an industrial site where a few foundations of homes that once graced the streets of this once colorful and democratically run town of mainly African Americans.
   Russell City, in California, began as a small  farming community in the mid-1800s. It was founded by a Danish immigrant who gave sanctuary to African Americans before and after the Civil War. The demographics of Russell City changed over time, and by the late 1930s African American and Latino American families joined the European settlers’ descendents. It was never an incorporated entity, yet Russell City provided some of its own civic services and enjoyed a strong community spirit including an important Blues scene.
      In its latter years, Russell City was considered a blight to the surrounding towns and in 1963 Alameda County began the forced relocation of its tenants, bulldozed the entire community, and rezoned the land into industrial use only. No comprehensive history of Russell City existed at the time of this research by Megan Wilkinson. To chronicle the events leading up to the town’s demise, she conducted interviews of ex-residents and built an archive of newspaper accounts relating to the city. She also created two maps, one of land ownership circa 1963-1968 and another representing renter and business information with street layouts and a plot map of buildings. These were produced entirely using a variety of surviving materials and from documents preserved by original families who lived in Russell City.  She produced a basic archaeological survey of the site of the city as a means of establishing its history of development.  This project is essential to reconstruct Russell City’s past and is meant to provide the background data for additional projects that will help secure Russell City’s place in history as well as self-managed communities.
  I recommend this book highly to anyone studying African American history, the history of California and the Bay Area and African American culture, music and self-government.  It can be purchased at: http://www.amazon.com/....

Discuss

Thu Apr 18, 2013 at 06:08 AM PDT

Boston Bombing & The Mob

by niccolo caldararo

  Speculation on events like the recent Boston Bombing are fraught with difficulties, but one should examine all the possibilities.  People might want to look into recent problems Boston's mob is having in the courts (http://www.boston.com/...).  The bombing could be a threat of what is to come.  It has been noted that the bombing took place in the last mile dedicated to the children murdered by the madman at Sandy Hook (lets stop calling them "gunmen).  This could be interpreted as a specific threat to the children of prosecutors, judges and politicians in Boston.

    The Associated Press reported on March 4th 2013 that the judge in the Boston Mobster James "Whitey" Bulger case that he cannot introduce evidence that he was offered immunity from his crimes.  The case is due to go to trial on June 6th and he is accused of involvement in 19 murders.  Boston is a city divided by crime families and ethnic tensions, support for Bulger has become strident and he is often described by his supporters as a hero.  A recent book on Bulger by Cullen and Murphy (http://books.wwnorton.com/...)details his history in Boston and the support he was built.  

   More important to the Boston bombing is the trail of violence and terror that gangs in America has wrought recently including assassinations of prosecutors, judges and police.  The recent murder in Colorado of the Prison chief is a prime example (http://www.nydailynews.com/...).  Prison gangs in Texas have been tied to a growing national linkup (http://www.reuters.com/...).  This ties in with efforts to control weapons like military assault weapons and large clips, cop killer bullets and registration of sales.  A growing gang organization, well armed and organized endangers the ability of society to protect itself and to provide a safe and free environment.

Discuss

Sat Apr 13, 2013 at 09:33 AM PDT

North Korea & U.S. Maneuvers

by niccolo caldararo

  Every time the U.S. and South Korean military conduct maneuvers North Korea threatens to attack someone.  This reality is absent in the current news media.  In July of 2010 the dance of maneuvers and North Korean threats was carried out just as today (http://www.masslive.com/...).  The same has been true back into the 1980s and 1970s (see example from 1987 at :http://articles.latimes.com/...).  THis is like bear bating, and if we want to stop the raging of the North Koreans we can stop these massive demonstrations of military threats our maneuvers represent to the North Koreans.  What we are doing is provoking an expected response, it is obvious that the North Koreans respond in an uncreative way to these maneuvers, but this is not a road to peace.  We have to recall that more Napalm was dropped on North Korea than during the entire Second World War and that was just Napalm, it does not include the tonnage of other bombs and artillery shells (see the new book by Robert Neer, Napalm, 2013: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/...).

  Of course like the Reagan invasion of Granada, banging on the North Korean cage produces a sufficient distraction from other national and international problems.  It does appear, then, that no one really wants to solve the North Korean problem, it is a useful foreign policy pinata.

Discuss

  It is amazing the response that North Korea is able to achieve from the world just by making threats.  It is a very low cost investment to a huge result.  Has the country been watching "The Mouse that Roared"? over and over these past 60 years?  If you have not seen it perhaps it is time:  http://www.youtube.com/....  If you missed the original and its brilliant plot with Peter Sellers and Jean Seberg, please review.  A tiny country without resources threatens the powerful world nations so as to receive a kind of Marshall Plan Europe received after WWII.

     Combine this with the fact that American troops used more Napalm on North Korea than was used in the entire combined theaters of war in WWII (see the new book by Robert Neer at http://www.barnesandnoble.com/...), and you might have "battered child syndrome" joined with megalomania.

     On the other hand, consider that other Asian nations have closed their borders and thus been quite attractive to the West.  The idea of the closed exotic other is so beguiling to Westerners that many were led to their deaths trying to enter the forbidden country of Tibet in the 18th, 19th and early 20th centuries.  Japan closed her borders from the 16th to the 19th centuries.  Thus North Korea's behavior is not new or unique.  

Discuss

  We are near the end of Obama's first 100 days of his second term and what we have to show for it is nothing.  He has wasted it in a tilting at the Gun Lobby and energizing the Republican base when  he could have addressed gerrymandering, voting rights legislation and prosecuting the banks for crimes during the run up to the credit crisis.  Instead, we have seen the surrender of the Democrats to business as usual in the Senate rules regarding the filibuster, the stripping out of the banking reforms, weakening of the SEC, failure to appoint and seat judges and cabinet members and a continued war effort abroad and assassinations.  We can only be comforted by the delusion that we are better off than had the Republican been elected instead.  With all the noise that has been created about the military guns out there and the clips and types of ammo, the clearest criticism is from the NRA and Republicans, if the present laws were enforced there would be fewer guns in the hands of people who should not have them.  The point that is missed by the Democrats here, is that any new laws will have to be enforced, that means money, who will give the money?  Where will it come from?  Certainly the House will not allocate it.  Without eliminating gerrymandering that has given the Republicans control of the House and numerous state legislatures, nothing will change and you need judges to enforce laws as well.  It is almost as if people in the Democratic party really do not want the Republicans out of power.

Discuss

   Imagine you go into a bank to cash a check and are arrested for fraud, placed in a cell and chained to a wall for hours and denied a phone call or the medication you need for survival.  This happened to Sharon Henry in San Francisco.  Ms. Henry's plight is an example of how banks have distorted law in America and how it affects citizens, real live citizens, on every level of daily life. What we need to do is amend existing corporate law eliminating personhood for corporations and eliminate the Limited Liability Corporation.
    Ms. Henry (See San Francisco Chronicle article http://blog.sfgate.com/...).  What is interesting is that Ms. Henry is a San Mateo County prosecutor and knows the law, but the banks have so crafted the fraud laws that they control how the idea of fraud is defined and applied in practice.  Not only did Ms. Henry's suit against Bank of America, where the incident occurred fail on the lower court level but a federal appeals court could not provide her with any relief.  Her suit was found baseless as the law as drafted protects the banks in such cases as they behavior is defined as "freedom of speech."  When Ms. Henry tried to cash a check written to her by her partner at a BofA branch the bank employees misinterpreted the account owner's name and she was arrested for fraud.  Not only does the law allow the bank to make such mistakes without any redress, but the bank is protected by the law from any consequences of their mistake as extensions of their freedom of speech.  No due process is allowed to citizens in dealing with banks, Ms. Henry, given the interpretation of the courts, had no right to be told there was a problem and no right to call the person who wrote the check to clarify the issue.  The court also made her pay BofA's court costs of $50,000!

     In my recent book, The Anthropology of the Credit Crisis: Magical Thinking, Irrationality and the Role of Inequality (available on Kindle or paperback: http://www.amazon.com/...), I address the history of this process and the extent to which the banks have eroded citizen rights.  In an article on the Social Science Research Network,
The Theory of Banking: Why Banks Exist and Why We Fear Them (http://papers.ssrn.com/...) I detail the dilemma we face with banks and the ideology of banking.

Discuss

  The current arguments before the Supreme Court touch on the issues of equality before the law and of precedent in Common Law.  The former seems clear that it cannot be Constitutional to deny people the right to marry whom so ever they wish.  The idea of precedent is questionable as this Supreme Court has nullified precedent in the Citizens United case.  A related issue of precedent associated with Common Law, and upon which many conservative and religiously oriented commentators have focused is the issue of what is the goal of marriage and its role?  No where in any part of scripture do we find a justification for the union of two people as only male and female, in fact, most scripture identifies the creation of Eve as an after thought by a god who desires his male creation to be happy and not lonely.  The life of Eden is described as one in which the two creations are complete.  New creations, that is, children are not mentioned.

   The lack of clear definition of marriage and its role is of interest.  Usually people who are opposed to homosexuals and marriage equality point to the covenant with Abraham (Genesis, 17:17, King James Bible) for the idea of multiplying but in Genesis 16:1-15, we have Abraham having sex with his wife's maid as a means of having children, producing Ishmael.  So what is the nature of marriage here?  It seems there is no real definition.  So let's look deeper into the history of scripture.

There is much debate over the nature of marriage, of what is the
religious foundation and of what marriage means in the Christian
tradition.  Often I read people quoting scripture on this issue.  
Perhaps it is time to look at that scripture as a source of legitimacy.

    Fundamentalist Christians define and defend marriage by the use of
scripture. While there is no one form of marriage in the world,
monogamy, polygny, polyandry etc. early Christians were exhorted not to
marry. In Luke, Chapter 20:34, the Apostle says that Christ stated of
marriage, "The children of this world marry and are given in marriage,
but those who are deemed worthy to attain That World  and the
resurrection of the dead neither marry nor are given in marriage."  
This wording differs in the different manuscripts and codices, some
extant others lost, but nearly the same passage is found in Matthew
22:29. (See Paul Kahle, The Cairo Geniza, 1958;  Kahle & Caldararo ,
State of Preservation of the Dead Sea Scrolls, Nature, 1986; Caldararo,
"Storage conditions and physical treatments relating to the dating of
the Dead Sea Scrolls," Radiocarbon, v. 37, n. 1, 1994:21-32).

     Considerable discussion over the wording has been of historical
interest among scholars due to the fact that early Christians shunned
marriage, and the Essenes who forbade marriage according to Pliny. The
passage of  "those who are deemed worthy to attain That World" is
significant as it appears to indicate a difference between this world
and that of the resurrection or heaven.  It follows a debate between
Christ and others who are trying to trap him into a treasonous
statement over Roman hegemony.  Yet in this passage he is asked to
respond to a specific question of Jewish law, that of remarriage of a
woman to a dead man's brothers and who she will be marriage to in
heaven, one (monogamy or all, polygamy).  He is put in the position of
denying one tradition or another, that is, marriage of brothers of dead
men or polygamy.  Some have argued that his answer quoted above is
consistent with Saint Paul's reasoning that Christ chose to "walk
through Samaria" that is, to create a new community separate from the
strictures of traditional Judaism like the less complicated Samaria.

     The reason for early Christian negative attitudes on marriage is
found in writings of the late Roman period where Luke is referenced
that marriage distracts believers from contemplation on Christ and the
world to come.  It divides the community.  But also Roman law gave
fathers near absolute control over their wives and children and so the
early Christian fathers found themselves in conflict with the authority
of the paterfamilias.  Later in the Dark and Middle Ages the power of
the manor lord over his serfs gave them the right to sell wife and
husband separately according to G.G. Coulton (see his Medieval Village,
Manor and Monastery, 1925).  The Church validated both marriage and
sales and thus the idea of an eternal marriage rite was in
contradiction to this practice.  Therefore this passage was significant
in arguing that marriage was neither a sacred sacrament nor an eternal
institution allowing priests to dissolve marriage at the pleasure of
the lord.  Trial marriages were common in Europe in the Middle Ages and
often a woman might marry with several children from other men.  As the
population of Europe fell in the period following the invasions of the
Mongols and the waves of disease of the Black Death in the 14th
century, the need for labor and the rising conflict of the struggle
against feudalism and the Church led to the Reformation and a
redefinition of marriage.  The Church's control over property and
inheritance became increasingly important as the legitimacy of claims
to both secular thrones and to the Vatican came into question.  The
battle for supremacy of power, secular or religious rose in the
appointment of several popes at one time by kings and the
excommunication of kings by popes.  Here lies the redefinition of
marriage as an institution, the Church claimed it had the sacred power
to recognize births and the unions that created them as well as the
legal identity of heirs.  Henry VIII's power as king and other ruling
lords desired independent power and the wars of the Reformation settled
those claims on the battlefields of the Thirty Years War.  Europe
became more secular and people freer to chose their mates, inherit
wealth and think for themselves.  Marriage was one segment to this long
conflict and yet the liberty of women and their rights to chose, to
inherit and to have legal standing were yet to come.

    I urge people to read Lewis Ellies du Pin's A New History of
Ecclesiastical Writers, published in the 17th century.  It is available
in translation made by W.W.B.D. in 1692.  The book collates and
presents the arguments over the centuries made by the Church at its
various meetings (Councils) in adapting scripture to the demands of the
time.  We find here explanations of why some writings were accepted
others rejected.  An additional discussion of Gnostic writings and the
long lost Gospel of Mary is found in Hans Jonas' book on the Gnostics.

Discuss

    It is hard to read the current media on the economic crisis in Cyprus as it is defined in the absence of history.  Articles like that by Peter Spiegel, Kerin Hope and Quentin Peel, "A poor diagnosis, a bitter pill," The Financial Times, March 23, 2013, are focused on the present and that is understandable.  Yet it is clear that the past is a significant source of understanding for the present dilemma the EU leadership finds itself in over the banking collapse.  
    We should recall that even before independence from Britain conflict exploded between Greek and Turkish Cypriots after violent attacked by the Greek Cypriot terrorist organization, EOKA (see Loizos, Peter, "Intercommunal killing in Cyprus," Man, v. 23, n. 4, 1988:639-653).  In the early years after independence, 1963-1968, Greeks Cypriots (and via EOKA) used violence in an attempt to force union with Greece.  On July 14 1974 Greek Cypriot separatists with the help of the Greek army overthrew the coalition government of Greek and Turkish Cypriots and precipitated an invasion of the island by Turkish troops, given the history of murders of Turkish Cypriots by separatists.  

     In the immediate terms of ceasefire and the creation of a line of separation, a stasis was created between a once integrated Cyprus and ethnic Turks and Greeks fled to opposite sides of the island.  A Greek Cypriot "state" was formed of the rump southern part of the island and since 1975 has come to function as a rouge state, with low taxation, little oversight in tax evasion schemes and as a money laundering center.  It functioned as a stop over for Serbian arms purchases in the Yugoslav civil war.  

Continue Reading

   It is dismaying evidence of the growth and power of corporations as
opposed to civil government  that America's attorney-general fails to
do his duty when faced with the awesome power of corporations.  Eric
Holder's capitulation as described in Shahlen Nasirpour's article (FT
3/7/13) demonstrates how weak our citizen led institutions have become
when charged with enforcing the law of the land.  In my recent book,
The Anthropology of the Credit Crisis (2012) I devote a chapter to the
nature of criminal prosecutions in American originating in fraud cases.
I compare those in the Great Depression and today.

  It illustrates how the average person will do prison time over the
same kind of fraud while banks and corporations can shield themselves
and their employees from the same punishment.  While the Roberts
Supreme Court has given credence to the idea of corporate personhood,
the failure to treat corporations in the same way real citizens are
treated undermines the validity of that assertion.

   What is also disturbing is the increase in "Wash trades" where traders "produce artificial liquidity that can distort prices or perceptions of supply and demand in the market."  See Silla Brush in Bloomberg News, "Wash trades prompt call for review of regulations."  In this case a fraud is central to the trade as a party buys a contract from itself creating the appearance of demand and price.  The US Commodity Futures Trading Commission member Bart Chilton has complained about the practice which is technically illegal but no action has taken place yet.  For an analysis of the history of banking my article, " The Theory of Banking: Why Banks Exist and Why We Fear Them," which can be downloaded from from the Social Science Research Network.

Discuss

     For the past 12 years the West has been engaged in a determined effort to suppress the fundamentalist sects of Islam that it organized against the potential threat of communism and socialism in the Middle East.  The defeat of the Soviets in Afghanistan has been bought with the blood of thousands of Afghans and Western troops and continues unabated.  The USA and its European allies set up secular dictators like the Shah and Saddam Hussein from Indonesia to Morocco.  Hundreds of Millions were spent on corrupt anticommunists in Tiawuan and billions on destroying the communists in Vietnam.  In the end the Chinese Communists substantially weakened a several thousand year entrenchment of Buddhism and turned capitalist.  The same for Vietnam.  In retrospect communism seems to be a route from pre-industral states to capitalist formation.  Had Western capitalists really believed in capitalism they would not have supported religious alternatives to communism that are now threatening not only capitalism but Christianity as well.  

Continue Reading
You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.

RSS

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site