Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Happy Birthday, Jack Kirby!

In honor of what would have been Jack Kirby's 100th birthday, I recommend reading Jeet Heer's 8-28-17 New  Republic article entitled "Jack Kirby, the Unknown King" (the initial paragraphs follow):

"In 1982, the late-night talk show host Johnny Carson insulted Jack Kirby in one of the worst possible ways, out of sheer ignorance. As a favor for a small publisher, Kirby had created a comic book called 'Battle for a Three Dimensional World.' The artist’s dynamic, eye-popping style was perfect for the format of the book, which came with 3-D glasses reading 'Jack Kirby, King of the Comics.' Someone had given Carson the glasses for a comedy routine, sending Carson into an angry riff on national television. Who was this Jack Kirby character, Carson wanted to know, who claimed to be the 'king of the comics'? Carson knew every comedian around, and he’d never heard of this Kirby joker. 'He’s king of the con men, as far as I’m concerned!' Carson exclaimed.

"Jack Kirby, according to his biographer and onetime assistant Mark Evanier, was 'deeply, deeply hurt' by Carson’s insults. Evanier wrote to Carson to explain that Kirby was no boastful third-rate stand-up comedian but a legendary comic-book artist, the creator or co-creator of a pantheon of superheroes that included Captain America, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, the Hulk, the X-Men, the Avengers, Nick Fury, Ant Man, Thor, Black Panther, and scores of others. The moniker Jack 'King' Kirby was bestowed on him by Kirby’s collaborator (and sometime foe) Stan Lee. Chastened by the letter, Carson offered a gracious on-air apology.

"This case of mistaken identity, one of the many large and small humiliations that bedeviled Kirby’s life, is emblematic of the cartoonist’s curious status as an artist who changed the world while living in obscurity. Born 100 years ago today, Kirby was one of the most influential creators of the twentieth century. He’s as central to the genre of the superhero as Walt Disney is to animated cartoons, Agatha Christie is to detective fiction, Alfred Hitchcock is to film thrillers, or H.G. Wells is to science fiction."

To read Heer's entire article, click HERE.

I also recommend checking out Mark Evanier's 8-29-17 blog post entitled "Kirby at 100" (the first two paragraphs follow):

"If he were still with us, Jack Kirby would have been one hundred years old today…but of course, an awful lot of Jack is still with us.  Hundreds of characters he created or co-created are still appearing, many of them in hit movies that have made them more famous than ever.  Back in the sixties, Jack predicted that there would someday be highly-successful, big budget motion pictures of Thor, Captain America, et al. He told me that when I first met him in 1969.
"One of the reasons he never got his financial due out of Marvel was that the folks who ran Marvel back then never believed that. They had a limited idea of how much anything in Marvel Comics could ever be worth and didn't want to share those meager amounts with anyone. It was pretty simple math: The less they paid Jack and all the other folks who created their comics, the more they got to keep for themselves. When he told them what he saw as the potential value of the Fantastic Four, the X-Men and the rest, they nodded politely, refused him five-dollar raises and joked behind his back that he was out of his friggin' mind. And later, they sold the company for beads 'n' trinkets because they lacked the one thing Jack had by the tonweight: Imagination."
To read the entirety of Evanier's excellent piece, click HERE.

Among several other worthwhile Kirby-related articles that popped up today is Chris Sims' Polygon piece entitled "Jack Kirby's Appeal in One Panel--Why the King of Comics Deserves His Throne."  What follow are the first three paragraphs:

"There’s a page in Jack Kirby’s Mister Miracle #7 that might just be my single favorite moment in comic book history. Scott Free and Big Barda, two refugees from Apokolips who fell in love on that hellish world of evil gods, are preparing to return to the planet that they both spent their lives attempting to escape. They’ve been lured back by their former torturer, Granny Goodness, with the promise of finally achieving the freedom they were denied for so long, assuming they can survive whatever trap she’s cooked up for them. There’s a moment where Scott tells Barda that she doesn’t have to come with him. He’s the one that Granny actually wants, and there’s no reason for her to risk her life for his.
"'No deal, Mister Miracle,' she replies. 'We’ll go down that old shark’s mouth together — then I’ll beat her to death from the inside!'
"Of all the moments Kirby created, in a career that spanned six decades of defining the superhero genre and the medium of comic books, that’s the one that resonates with me the most. And it’s a perfect example of why his work has resonated so widely and for so long."
To read Sims' entire piece, click HERE.

I've written several articles about the work of Jack Kirby over the years for a variety of publications including The New York Review of Science Fiction, The Jack Kirby Collector, and Fortean Times, and it wouldn't surprise me if I wrote many more in the future.  For now, here are all the essays I've published about Kirby over the past nine years:

"Little Human and Giant Gods:  The Extraterrestrial Tiki Art of Jack Kirby."  The Jack Kirby Collector #70 (Winter 2017).

"Captain America Meets Big Brother."  The Jack Kirby Collector #62 (Winter 2013).  (A reprint of "Jack Kirby's OMAC:  Captain America Loves Big Brother.")

“We All Live in Happyland:  Jack Kirby and the JFK Assassination” reprinted in The Jack Kirby Collector #57 (Summer 2011).

“The Morning of the Mutants:  Jack Kirby and the Real Origin of The X-Men.”  Fortean Times #277 (July 2011).

“We All Live in Happyland:  Jack Kirby and the JFK Assassination.”  The New York Review of Science Fiction #270 (February 2011).

“Jack Kirby’s OMAC:  Captain America Loves Big Brother.”  The New York Review of Science Fiction #245 (January 2009).
As an extra-special bonus, here's one of the first Kirby images I ever saw, which I discovered in a cardboard box filled with my father's coverless comic books that was tucked away in the back of a cluttered closet (what follows is the first page of Jimmy Olsen #137, one of the quartet of comic books that comprised Kirby's magnum opus, the Fourth World series, which included The Forever People, Mister Miracle, and The New Gods):

Thursday, August 24, 2017

New Human Rights to Protect Against 'Mind Hacking'

From the 4-26-17 Guardian comes this article entitled "New Human Rights to Protect Against 'Mind Hacking' and Brain Data Theft Proposed" by Ian Sample, Science Editor:  

"New human rights that would protect people from having their thoughts and other brain information stolen, abused or hacked have been proposed by researchers.

"The move is a response to the rapid advances being made with technologies that read or alter brain activity and which many expect to bring enormous benefits to people’s lives in the coming years.

"Much of the technology has been developed for hospitals to diagnose or treat medical conditions, but some of the tools – such as brainwave monitoring devices that allow people to play video games with their minds, or brain stimulators that claim to boost mental performance – are finding their way into shops.

"But these and other advances in neurotechnology raise fresh threats to privacy and personal freedom, according to Marcello Ienca, a neuroethicist at the University of Basel, and Roberto Andorno, a human rights lawyer at the University of Zurich. Writing in the journal Life Sciences, Society and Policy, the pair put forward four new human rights that are intended to preserve the brain as the last refuge for human privacy.

"'The question we asked was whether our current human rights framework was well equipped to face this new trend in neurotechnology,' Ienca told the Guardian. Having reviewed the rights in place today, the pair concluded that more must be done to protect people.

"'The information in our brains should be entitled to special protections in this era of ever-evolving technology,' Ienca said. 'When that goes, everything goes.'"

To read the entire article, click HERE.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Moloch! Moloch!

"Moloch!  Moloch!  Nightmare of Moloch!  Moloch the loveless!  Mental Moloch!  Moloch the heavy judger of men!

"Moloch the incomprehensible prison!  Moloch the crossbone soulless jailhouse and Congress of sorrows!  Moloch whose buildings are judgment!  Moloch the vast stone of war!  Moloch the stunned governments!

"Moloch whose mind is pure machinery!  Moloch whose blood is running money!  Moloch whose fingers are ten armies!  Moloch whose breast is a cannibal dynamo!  Moloch whose ear is a smoking tomb!"

--Allen Ginsberg, "Howl," 1956

As you've no doubt noticed, a number of articles have been published recently regarding the forced removal of certain controversial statues all across the United States.  Most of these statues are located in the South, but some can be found further west as well (see, for example, this article regarding the Hollywood Forever Cemetery).  Reporter Arthur I. Cyr wrote a fairly objective overview of this subject in a recent edition of the Chicago Tribune (click HERE to see that article).  Please do note, however, that there's one particular statue no one in the media has bothered to attack, either physically or politically....

(If you don't recognize the above structure, simply click HERE to find out more about it.)

As occultist John Constantine used to say in Jamie Delano's Hellblazer comic book, "Funny old world, innit?"

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Dick Gregory, R.I.P. (1932-2017)

What follow are excerpts from Mike Barnes' and Duane Byrge's 8-19-17 Hollywood Reporter article entitled "Dick Gregory, Trailblazer of Stand-Up Comedy, Dies at 84":

"Dick Gregory, a pioneering force of comedy in the 1960s who parlayed his career as a stand-up into a life of social and political activism, has died Saturday of heart failure, his rep confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter. He was 84.

"'It is with enormous sadness that the Gregory family confirms that their father, comedic legend and civil rights activist Mr. Dick Gregory departed this earth tonight in Washington, D.C.,' his son, Christian Gregory said via a statement from his father's rep. 'The family appreciates the outpouring of support and love and respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.'

"'He was one of the sweetest, smartest, most loving people one could ever know,' his publicist of 50 years, Steve Jaffe, tells THR. 'I just hope that God is ready for some outrageously funny times.' A full statement and details of Gregory's funeral will be released Sunday, Jaffe said.

"According to an Aug. 17 statement written by his son, Gregory was recently hospitalized.

"Regarded as the first African-American comic to perform regularly in front of white audiences, Gregory appeared on all of the top TV talk shows of the 1960s and '70s [...].

"Gregory used his newfound fame to become a civil rights activist and opponent of the Vietnam War. He made friends with Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X; honored a request from Medgar Evers to speak at a voter registration rally in Jackson, Miss.; delivered food to NAACP offices in the South; marched in Selma, Ala.; got shot while trying to keep the peace during the 1965 Watts riots; was arrested in Washington for protesting Vietnam; performed benefit shows for the Congress of Racial Equality; and traveled to Tehran in 1980 to attempt to negotiate the hostages' release.

"Gregory ran for mayor of Chicago in 1967 but lost to Richard Daley, then entered the race for U.S. president a year later. A write-in candidate on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket, he received some 47,000 votes [...].

"Gregory began his professional career as a comedian in Chicago in 1958, serving as a nightclub emcee at the black-owned Herman Roberts Show Bar while he maintained a day job at the U.S. Post Office.

"After his life-altering shows at the Playboy Club, Gregory wrote a profound 1964 autobiography titled Nigger, which described his impoverished childhood and the racism he experienced. He wrote a note in the foreword: 'Dear Momma, wherever you are, if ever you hear the word "nigger" again, remember they are advertising my book.'

"He then played an alto saxophonist named Richie 'Eagle' Stokes in Sweet Love, Bitter (1967), a story loosely based on the life of Charlie 'Bird' Parker.

"In 1973, Gregory stopped performing in clubs because smoking and drinking were allowed (his activism surely cost him work), and it would be more than two decades before he returned to the stage. Until recently, he was doing more than 200 shows and lectures a year [...]."

To read the entire obituary, click HERE

Also, I urge you to click on the links to various illuminating Dick Gregory interviews I posted back on May 1, 2016.  To check out those interviews, click HERE.

Recommended reading:  Murder in Memphis:  The FBI and the Assassination of Martin Luther King by Mark Lane and Dick Gregory.

Book Burning at the Beach

From Sarah K. Burris' 8-16-17 Raw Story article entitled "Alt-right Cancels California Book Burning of ‘Degenerate Literature’ After Organizer Says He Fears Liberals":

"Juan Cadavid organized a book-burning event with Brian Enright of the Three Percenters to be held at Huntington State Beach in California. The event was dubbed 'Burning Degeneracy – CA,' but they have recently decided to cancel the event out of fear.

"According to The OC Weekly, the group advertised the Aug. 19 event by telling people that it was time to 'purge their homes, State, and country of degenerate literature.'
"'This includes literature of Marxism, Communism, Bolshevism, literature with liberal, democratic tendencies/attitudes, and writings supporting the decline of Western Culture,' the event description read. 'Books on sexuality and sexual education which serves to indoctrinate the life of degeneracy, such as Cosmo and Teen Vogue should be brought to the fire as well. We will also burn the Koran, publications such as Karl Marx, and more. We must create a future without degeneracy for our children.'"
To read Burris' entire article, click HERE.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Quote of the Day

"Fear stalks the land.  (As usual; so what else is new?)"

Covert Sonic Weapons Deployed in Cuba

What follow are the first three paragraphs of Matthew Lee and Michael Weissenstein's 8-9-17 Time article entitled "U.S. Diplomats in Cuba Attacked With Sonic Weapon That Caused Hearing Loss":

"The two-year-old U.S. diplomatic relationship with Cuba was roiled Wednesday by what U.S. officials say was a string of bizarre incidents that left a group of American diplomats in Havana with severe hearing loss attributed to a covert sonic device.

"In the fall of 2016, a series of U.S. diplomats began suffering unexplained losses of hearing, according to officials with knowledge of the investigation into the case. Several of the diplomats were recent arrivals at the embassy, which reopened in 2015 as part of former President Barack Obama's reestablishment of diplomatic relations with Cuba.

"Some of the diplomats' symptoms were so severe that they were forced to cancel their tours early and return to the United States, officials said. After months of investigation, U.S. officials concluded that the diplomats had been exposed to an advanced device that operated outside the range of audible sound and had been deployed either inside or outside their residences. It was not immediately clear if the device was a weapon used in a deliberate attack, or had some other purpose."

To read the rest of the article, click HERE.

Sunday, August 13, 2017


A brief update on my forthcoming novel, UNTIL THE LAST DOG DIES:  The official publication date is now November 21st (one day before Assassination Day, appropriately enough).  According to many reports, trained observers have seen Advanced Reading Copies (ARCs) of the novel floating around in the ether, as can be seen in this dramatically non-blurry photograph right HERE.

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Uncle Brucker the Rat Killer

Back in April my editor at Night Shade/Skyhorse asked me if I would provide a blurb for Leslie Peter Wulff's debut novel, Uncle Brucker the Rat Killer.  He assured me the novel would be right up my alley.  Since it was the beginning of midterms at CSU Long Beach, where I teach five English classes, I didn't think I'd have time to read an entire novel, but I decided to take the impractical path instead and dive into the manuscript anyway.  I was so glad I did.

As I said on the cover of the book, I knew this novel was going to be a winner as soon as I started reading it.  What really clinched it was this line on p. 7:  "...a family of rats living in a public library can learn to read an abridged dictionary."  The book is filled with absurd statements like this one, what appear to be scholarly facts about the secret lives of rats, all of which seem haunted by the magic realist imaginations of Jorge Luis Borges and Italo Calvino, but spiced with a homespun American twang.

The reader learns incredible revelations about rats from such fanciful texts as the Specialized Rat Encyclopedia, From A to Z.  For example, did you know that there are 487 words in the rat vocabulary, that rat cakes can turn humans into interdimensional vermin, that rats originate from a place called Rat Land located in a universe somewhere next door to ours?

What is the central plot of Uncle Brucker the Rat Killer?  Our sympathetic teenage hero, Walt (whose uncle is the titular character), lays it all out early on in this passage on pp. 55-56:

"After the Second Uprising [a savage war between rats and humans that occurred several years before the story begins] we pushed the rats back and they've been laying low since then.  For six long years the rats have been gearing up, preparing, building the bridges and digging the tunnels that match up one dimension to the next.

"Now they were gathering at the other side of the Portal.

"A million rat army, waiting for the go code....

"But where was the Portal?  Where were the rats coming through?

"Uncle Brucker was determined to locate that damn Portal and find out for himself.  But it wouldn't be easy.  All he had to do was what the entire US Army and all its Generals could not accomplish." 

Wulff's novel layers one absurdity upon another, but always with a straight face, almost as if he were channeling the dry stand-up humor of comedian Steven Wright.

The protracted scenes near the end of the novel, in which an amnesiac Uncle Brucker is lost in Rat Land, have a whimsical yet deadly serious quality about them that reminds me of the best work of William Kotzwinkle (Dr. Rat, Hot Jazz Trio, etc.) and Richard Brautigan (In Watermelon Sugar, Sombrero Fallout, etc.). 

The folkloric qualities of R.A. Lafferty's classic tales (found in such collections as Nine Hundred Grandmothers) are evoked near the end of the novel when Uncle Brucker seeks the help of the President of the United States against the oncoming rat hordes (from pp.183-84):

"Like all elevators in the White House, it doesn't go straight up and down, it zigzags from floor to floor for security reasons.  Uncle Brucker watched a spectacular display of lights and arrows on the control panel, and he thought of what he wanted to tell the President.

"The President answered three calls on his cell phone.  Each time he apologized to my Uncle with a we'll-talk-later wave of his hand.  They zigzagged past a swimming pool and the bowling alley, and they stopped at a floor with no number that few people know about.

"The Boss is an unsmiling white-haired woman of few words who took charge of the floors beneath the white house.  In a military uniform of no particular rank or service, she greeted them at the elevator.  Other than the 9mm automatic and the Master Key, she carried two flashlights on her belt, one marked Boss and the other marked Emergency President.  She had worked in the White House for ages and everyone called her Boss.

"At the end of the hall, the Boss unlocked the door to a special room.  Inside, shelves and shelves of shoes left behind by the Presidents throughout the years.

"'Find a pair that fits,' said the President.  'The Boss will sign them over.  It's my way of saying thanks.'"

Though Wulff's style can be favorably compared to the disparate fabulists I've cited above, the fact is that this novel feels completely original and ultimately stands on its own as a unique, postmodern fable for our peculiar age filled with uncertainty, nonsense, paranoia, and occasional acts of unexpected kindness. 

So, please, I urge you to find the Dimensional Portal nearest you, if you can, and plunge headlong into the topsy-turvy world of Rat Land with Uncle Brucker the Rat Killer as your steadfast guide.

Leslie Peter Wulff's Uncle Brucker the Rat Killer was published by Night Shade/Skyhorse on July 11, 2017, and can be purchased through Amazon by clicking HERE.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Sasquatch Vocalizations and Sounds

Do you need an alternative to that staid old New Age meditation music you've been listening to for so long?  Do you desperately desire the perfect background sounds for your wedding and/or bar mitzvah and/or funeral?  Do you suffer from incessant insomnia?  If you answered "Yes" to any of these questions, I suggest trying out Sasquatch Vocalizations and Sounds Parts 1 through 4!  All you have to do is stretch out on something halfway comfortable, relax, crank up the volume on this baby, then wait as you slide slowly off into Nirvana or Slumberland or whatever unique paradise you wish to visit in order to escape the workaday worries of everyday reality.  You won't regret this, my frail human friends and/or acquaintances, you won't regret this at all....

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs

If you have an extra ninety-one minutes on your hands, I suggest taking a look at Justin Gaar's 2016 documentary Curse of the Man Who Sees UFOs (available through Netflix, Amazon Video, and on DVD courtesy of Virgil Films and Entertainment).  Saying that this film is about a former filmmaker named Christo Roppolo who spends most of his life videotaping hordes of UFOs hovering in the skies above Monterey, CA hardly does it justice.  The film takes several emotional/psychological twists and turns the viewer will not be expecting.  You really have to immerse yourself in Roppolo's brain to fully appreciate it.  

As writer Thad McKraken recently said about this film on DISINFO.COM:  "So utterly strange.  I love how you see craptons of people constantly making the argument:  with all the technology available to us these days, why have we not gotten tons of good UFO footage?  These people have apparently never heard of the internet and should definitely watch this film.  This guy (Christo Roppolo) has so much UFO footage it’s ridiculous, and the thing is [...] he’s filming and runs into other people that verify they see what he’s seeing.  Tons of neighbors and old friends who validate his stories, and it’s tough to see what their motivation would be for doing so."  
And what does a man randomly setting himself on fire have to with all this?  Who knows?  Just check out the film and find out....

Friday, August 4, 2017

Ishmael Reed's MUMBO JUMBO

From Jonathan McAloon's 8-1-17 Guardian article entitled "Mumbo Jumbo:  A Dazzling Classic Finally Gets the Recognition It Deserves":

"[Ishmael Reed's] 10 novels are, for the most part, subtle satires on race, worked into settings such as the OJ Simpson trials, a US civil war in which photocopiers exist and a wild west where cowboys wield laser guns. But Mumbo Jumbo is the most dazzling of them all. Set ostensibly in the 1920s, Reed’s novel follows conspiracy theories ranging backwards and forwards through time. A 'plague' called Jes Grew has spread from New Orleans and caused half the country to dance recklessly, enjoy jazz and have a new appreciation for African American culture. Religious orders like the Knights Templar and the hi-tech Wallflower Order (responsible in Reed’s novel for the Depression and the US occupation of Haiti) seek to destroy an ancient Egyptian text that the Jes Grew may 'want'.

"But Jes Grew is 'an anti-plague', the spirit of innovation and freedom of self-expression itself: 'Jazz. Blues. The new thang … Your style.' Reed took a snatch of the preface to 1922’s The Book of American Negro Poetry, in which James Weldon Johnson says 'the earliest Ragtime songs, like Topsy, "jes" grew' – they just happened – and turned it into a clever literary device that exposes people’s prejudice.

"While some believe the media invented Jes Grew to sell papers, Harlem Voodoo priest Papa LaBas is drawn into the search for its ancient text. Unbeknown to him, a Muslim scholar has already found it, translated it and had it rejected by a publishing house. The slip is found next to his dead body: 'The "Negro Awakening" fad seems to have reached its peak and once more people are returning to serious writing … A Negro editor here said it lacked "soul" and wasn’t "Nation" enough.'

"Made up of newspaper cuttings and party invites, handwritten notes and footnotes, contemporaneous and contemporary photographs, Mumbo Jumbo gives one a sense of Reed just using everything that captures his own imagination. This is exhilarating because, like jazz, the novel feels improvisatory and ambitious. Reed embraces ridiculousness, while lending the ridiculous weight. It is a funny book about conspiracy theories that nonetheless feels serious and true, encompassing potted histories of Voodun loas and the Crusades, essays on Christ’s laughter and the cotton trade ('Was it some unusual thrill at seeing the black hands come in contact with the white crop?'), and a postmodern alternative creation myth involving Osiris, Incas, Homer and Moses."

To read the rest of McAloon's article, click HERE.

The Continuing Saga of the Senior Director for Intelligence Programs

What follow are the first few paragraphs of Rosie Gray's 8-2-17 Atlantic article entitled "H.R. McMaster Cleans House at the National Security Council":

"The National Security Council’s controversial senior director for intelligence programs has been removed from his position, sources say, in the latest sign that National-Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is asserting control over the office he runs.

"Ezra Cohen-Watnick, a 31-year-old former Defense Intelligence Agency officer who was brought in to the administration by former National-Security Adviser Michael Flynn, was let go from the council this week, according to two sources familiar with the matter.

"The White House confirmed Cohen-Watnick’s firing on Wednesday evening, with a White House official saying in a statement: 'General McMaster appreciates the good work accomplished in the NSC's Intelligence directorate under Ezra Cohen's leadership.  He has determined that, at this time, a different set of experiences is best-suited to carrying that work forward. General McMaster is confident that Ezra will make many further significant contributions to national security in another position in the administration.'"

To read the rest of Gray's article, click HERE.

What follow are the first few paragraphs of Rosie Gray's related Atlantic article entitled "The Man McMaster Couldn't Fire" (from 7-23-17):

"Just 24 days into his tenure as Donald Trump’s national-security adviser, Michael Flynn was forced to resign, having reportedly misled Vice President Mike Pence about his contacts with Russian officials. When Flynn departed, the men and women he’d appointed to the National Security Council grew nervous about their own jobs, and with good reason. The new national-security adviser, General H.R. McMaster, promptly began clearing out Flynn’s people, among them Dave Cattler, the deputy assistant to the president for regional affairs, Adam Lovinger, a strategic affairs analyst on loan from the Pentagon, and KT McFarland, Flynn’s deputy, who was eased out with the ambassadorship to Singapore. Even Steve Bannon, among the most powerful people in the White House, was removed from the meetings of the NSC Principal’s Committee, where he had been installed early on in the administration.

"There was one person, however, who McMaster couldn’t get rid of: Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the senior director for intelligence programs. McMaster tried to remove him in March, but President Trump, at the urging of Bannon and Jared Kushner, told McMaster that Cohen-Watnick was staying, as first reported by Politico. According to a senior White House official, the two men had a sit-down meeting the following week in which McMaster acknowledged that he hadn’t been able to do what he wanted to do, and that they would keep things as they are and 'see how they go for a while.' That was over four months ago. That Cohen-Watnick, 31 years old and largely unknown before entering the administration, has become unfireable reveals how important he has become to the Trump White House, where loyalty is prized.

"The senior in Cohen-Watnick’s title reflects the importance of his job, if not the level of experience he brings to it. The senior director for intelligence programs on the NSC is a powerful position, designed to coordinate and liaise between the U.S. intelligence community and the White House.

"'If the incumbent has an effective working relationship with the national-security adviser or even the president directly, the senior director for intelligence has an opportunity to exercise considerable influence on intelligence policy, covert actions, and sensitive collection operations,' said Stephen Slick, a former CIA official who held the position during the Bush administration.

"The CIA has traditionally had control over who fills this position, and normally the job is staffed by a more experienced official. McMaster, assuming he’d be allowed to relieve or reassign Cohen-Watnick, had gone so far as to interview Cohen-Watnick’s potential replacement, Linda Weissgold, a veteran CIA officer.

"Despite his prominent, and apparently quite secure, position in Trump’s NSC, little is known about Cohen-Watnick, who had spent much of his short career as a low-ranking official at the Defense Intelligence Agency. Information about him in publicly available sources is scarce. Few higher-ups from the DIA remember him. Only one picture of him can be found online, a snapshot unearthed by Al-Monitor’s Laura Rozen.

"Unlike other White House officials who have become public figures in their own right, Cohen-Watnick never speaks for himself publicly, leaving others to fill the void. Yet he hardly comes into sharper focus when you talk to co-workers, friends, and former colleagues. Ask around about Ezra Cohen-Watnick, and people get defensive. Some profess not to know him, or ask why anyone would want to write about him. Others simply refuse to discuss him."

To read this article in its entirety, click HERE.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Business Executives for National Security

Those of you interested in the subject of gangstalking might want to check out a curious publication entitled "Private Partnerships, Public Safety:  How a More Networked Approach to Public Safety Can Improve Our Ability to Navigate a Complex Threat Environment" published in October 2016 by an organization called Business Executives for National Security (or BENS).  Here's a fun quote from p. 7: 

"These horizontally integrated and networked business processes use information technology to facilitate purposeful partnerships among a diverse array of stakeholders who collaborate to create value for discrete customer groups at the local level.  Through this approach, functional teams are empowered to effectuate clear organizational missions while being held accountable by attentive leaders who emphasize integration across teams.  Such horizontal networks do not completely replace vertical constructs within an organization; rather, they complement them by providing for more efficient value creation and servicing the requirements of senior-level decision-makers in a timelier manner.  In trying to describe an undetermined future, this paper offers one potential vision:  that of a more networked approach to public safety which embraces private sector best practices for horizontal integration."

The darkly absurd, Orwellian overtones of this opaque language will be made clearer to you upon examining the publication a little further.  To do so, simply click HERE.

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Jim Marrs, R.I.P. (1943-2017)

I regret to report the sad news that investigative journalist Jim Marrs, bestselling author of CROSSFIRE:  THE PLOT THAT KILLED KENNEDY, PSI-SPIES:  THE TRUE STORY OF AMERICA'S PSYCHIC WARFARE PROGRAM, and so many other excellent cryptoscatological books, has passed away at the age of 73.  Jim's work was certainly an influence on my own research, and in 2012 he was kind enough to call me on the phone unbidden and chat for several hours about how much he enjoyed my first book, CRYPTOSCATOLOGY:  CONSPIRACY THEORY AS ART FORM.  He even gave me an enthusiastic blurb for the book that I will always cherish.  He was a conscientious researcher and a very congenial Southern gentlemen.  If you've never read one of his many books, I suggest beginning with his first, CROSSFIRE, now available in a revised and updated edition.  

Rest In Peace, Jim Marrs....

Invisibility Cloaks and the Death of Elisa Lam

In his intriguing video below, John Lordan of BrainScratch discusses the possible connections between invisibility technology and the mysterious death of Elisa Lam....

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Yaphet Kotto's Experiences with Extraterrestrials

Despite the denigrating, dumbed-down headline (typical of Vice Magazine), Noel Ransome's 7-26-17 interview with actor Yaphet Kotto is well worth reading.  You can find the interview HERE.