Cool Gray Dawn

December 9, 2017

Here is the first season of Cool Gray Dawn, an espionage series I have created about the Central Intelligence Agency. With a focus on the early days of the Cold War, Cool Gray Dawn features the exploits of CIA’s Domestic Operations Division and their Special Operations Team, nicknamed “mandarins.” This first season focuses on the years 1959 and 1960.

As the Cold War pit the rival superpowers of the East against the West, bringing the world to the brink of nuclear annihilation, CIA’s Domestic Operations Division not only found itself embroiled in deadly battles with the KGB, but also with its NATO allies, the FBI and other U.S. government agencies—as well as divisions within CIA itself.

Each episode, based in the context of historical fact, features Warren Latham, spymaster and head of Domestic Operations. An American version of John le Carré’s George Smiley at MI6, Latham displays the guile and genius, intelligence and wit, ruthlessness and charm that formed the free world’s last line of defense.

Each title is a hyperlink to a PDF file. The finale of Season One, “Control,” is a two-hour episode. I hope you enjoy them all.

Episode #1: The First Casualty

Episode #2: A Finesse Strategy

Episode #3: Marginal Value

Episode #4: Loyalty

Episode #5: Little Dove

Episode #6: A Passive Provocation

Episode #7: Everybody Wins

Episode #8: Training Purposes

Episode #9: The Devil Is In The Details

Episode #10: The KUBARK Way

Episode #11: The Canard

Episode #12: Raising The Bar

Episode #13: Something’s Wrong Here

Episode #14: The Last Refuge

Episode #15: Control

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The First Dialectic

August 28, 2017

While sitting in a booth at The Deli Llama, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels developed Dialectical Materialism, a philosophical construct derived from one of their failed comedy routines. Let’s listen in on their conversation that fateful night…

Karl Marx:  Ach! What was up with that audience?

Friedrich Engels:  What was with you tonight?

KM: What?

FE: You had to have audience participation. Did I tell you to ask for audience participation? No. You had to have audience participation. It was your brilliant idea.

KM:  How was I to know they’d throw things?

FE:  And that stupid song of yours – who ever heard of a word that rhymes with “heuristics?” What kind of an idiot asks the audience for a word that rhymes with heuristics?

KM:  It sounded good at the time.

FE:  Moron. And what the hell is the “materialist conception of history?” Where do you get that stuff?

KM:  I was waiting for Sasha to finish her gruel so I could take her to kindergarten. I saw it on the side of her lunch box. I thought it might get a laugh.

FE:  Oh, by the way, genius—it’s “materialist dialectic,” not “dialectical materialism.”

KM:  Since when?

FE:  Since we started. It’s always been materialist dialectic.

KM:  Yeah, and no one laughed. Ever. Look what happened tonight—they were rolling on the floor.

FE:  That was the cheese. Roquefort isn’t supposed to be green.

KM:  You should talk. First it’s “geist”, then it’s “zeitgeist.” Make up your mind.

FE:  I wanted to get some concept of time in there, so I used zeitgeist. What’s the big deal?

KM:  You threw off my timing is what!

FE:  Like you know timing. You were supposed to pause after “thought is a reflection of the material world in the drain.”

KM:  It’s “brain,” you idiot—not drain!

FE:  Well, if you’re going to start quoting me on stage, you nitwit, it’s “ceaseless,” as in “All nature is a ceaseless state of movement and change.”

KM:  What did I say?

FE:  Creaseless.

KM:  It got a laugh.

FE:  We sounded like idiots up there tonight.

KM:  What if we focused more on materialism?  I heard this kid Lenin do a real funny bit on it at the Rathskeller. It was murder!


WANTED: Poster

August 28, 2017

Sooner or later you will be asked to do a presentation, one requiring a full display of your creative and oratorical skills. So how do you overwhelm your audience if your greatest skill heretofore has been talking behind the backs of your coworkers?

The answer is the poster. Yes, that stalwart of boardrooms and bedrooms, the poster offers style, format, color, readability, attractiveness and showmanship—traits that, when properly applied, can easily camouflage your lack of knowledge.

Here, then, is my brief guide through the do’s and don’ts of creating an effective poster, one that, if followed to the letter, will spellbind your audiences and confound your critics. So let’s get started!

POSTER LAYOUT AND FORMAT

DON’T create your poster on just one or two large boards, especially billboards; they’re clumsy and a real nuisance to lug around. Billboards frequently don’t fit well into a glove box. They strain your muscles and your patience, and when they fall down, they generally tend to crush anyone standing beneath them.

DO make up your poster in a large number of separate sections of roughly comparable size. However, resist the temptation to shape each section irregularly so as to resemble a jigsaw puzzle. Mount each section individually on a colored board of its own of slightly larger dimensions; this frames each poster segment with a nice border. Where the borders are restricted, enhance them with barbed wire.

DON’T vary type sizes and typefaces, especially in the same sentence.

DO design your poster as though it were the layout for a magazine. Select fonts and sizes that work well together and dismiss the ones that don’t with only a week’s severance.

DON’T use too small a type size for your poster. This is the single most common error, aside from writing in crayon. Using 8- or 10-point type will only please your optometrist. And never, ever, use 2-point type except under a court order.

DO use a type size that draws a crowd around your poster. Failing that, offer free beer.

DON’T pick a font simply because it was the only one left after all the others had paired off. More importantly, avoid the urge to choose a font where the lower-case ‘m’ resembles a rear view of someone bending over at the waist.

DO, by all means, use colors in your poster. But always try to use them without letting them know they’re being used.

DON’T leave people wondering who did the work. Put the names of all authors and their institutional affiliations just below the title. It’s also a nice touch to include the full names of any correctional institutions they may have attended.

DO use a high-quality laser printer to print your poster. Where funding is an issue, select someone with good penmanship. Also, consider adjusting the kerningthe space between each letter—to reduce the risk from pickpockets.

POSTER CONTENT

DON’T use sexist language. Avoid gender-specific words, as in this example: “Anyone who parked in Lot 3 will have his car removed.” Instead, make this gender-neutral with: “Anyone who parked in Lot 3 is fired.”

DO consider adding a helpful tutorial section to your poster, complete with photos taken with a hidden camera and instructions on where to leave the cash.

DON’T use chalk outlines to represent the competition.

DO give credit where it is due; just do so in a low voice.

DON’T expect anyone to spend more than three minutes looking at your poster. If they do, check to see if you still have your wallet.

DO be descriptive. Remember, you are not limited to 50 words—unless it exceeds your vocabulary.

DON’T forget the Rule Of Three, which says that things repeated three times are more likely to be remembered. Don’t forget the Rule Of Three, which says that things repeated three times are more likely to be remembered. Don’t forget the Rule Of Three, which says that things repeated three times are more likely to be remembered.

PRESENTING YOUR POSTER

DO treat people you encounter with courtesy and respect; however, do not follow them home.

DON’T stand too close to the audience; it’s much easier to deflect objects when they are hurled at you from a distance.

DO realize that a poster should be accessible. A little informality can be helpful, but stop short of calling everyone “baby.”

DON’T put your hands in the pockets of your sport coat if you’re not actually wearing your sport coat.

DO offer a firm handshake to everyone in the audience; this should leave little time for your presentation and get you off the hook.

DON’T fidget or slouch, especially if you are lying on the floor.

DO ask for clarification if you do not understand someone’s question. Then ask again and again and again until they tire of speaking to you.

DON’T use correction fluid to hide a pimple.

DO offer to explain complex formulae as soon as you get back from break. Then take off.

DON’T tease the audience; it can only come back to haunt you later on when, after the presentation, they are outside waiting for you with baseball bats.


My Boeing–McDonnell Douglas–Insitu Survey

August 28, 2017

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for purchasing a Boeing–McDonnell Douglas–Insitu aircraft. Please take a few moments to fill out our survey. Answering these questions is not required, but the information will help us to develop new products that best meet your needs and desires—and those of your followers.

  1. Appellation: [ ] Mr.  [ ] Mrs.  [ ] Ms.  [ ] Miss  [ ] HRH  [ ] Col.
    [ ] Gen.  
    [ ] Comrade  [ ] Classified  [ ] Other (e.g., Your Beatitude)
  2. First Name (As it appears on your birth certificate, or as you wish to be remembered): …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
  3. Initial(s) [Limit of 3, please]: ………………………
  4. Last Name (For surnames with 2 or more hyphens, use a separate sheet of paper; set off aliases in quotation marks): …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  5. Password (For your protection, clear text here is replaced with a mix of special characters and ASL—American Sign Language): …………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………….
  6. Your Code Name: …………………………………………………………………………
  7. Latitude-Longitude-Altitude: …………….. – …………… – ….………….
  8. Which aircraft did you purchase?
    a. [ ] F-14 Tomcat
    b. [ ] F-15 Eagle
    c. [ ] F-16 Falcon
    d. [ ] F-117A Stealth
    e. [ ] ScanEagle Drone
    f.  [ ] Pre-owned DC-10 (Refurbished)
    g. [ ] Pre-owned DC-10 (Crashed and Refurbished)
    h. [ ] Mitsubishi F1M (Received in a trade)
    i.  [ ] Classified
  9. Date of purchase (Use Julian Date only, please): ________.____
  10. Serial No. (For manned aircraft, see tag on pilot-side doorsill or bomb bay door; for drones, see plate behind inertial stabilized turret system): …….………………………………………..…..….……
  11. How was this Boeing-McDonnell Douglas-Insitu product purchased?
    a. [ ] Received as a gift/humanitarian aid package
    b. [ ] Catalog showroom
    c. [ ] Independent arms broker
    d. [ ] Mail order
    e. [ ] Discount store
    f.  [ ] Government surplus
    g. [ ] Classified
  12. How did you became aware of the Boeing-McDonnell Douglas-Insitu product you have just purchased?
    a. [ ] Heard a loud noise and looked up
    b. [ ] Store window display
    c. [ ] Espionage
    d. [ ] Recommended by friend/relative/ally/Consumer Reports
    e. [ ] Was attacked by one
  13. Select 3 factors that most influenced your decision to purchase this product:
    a. [ ] Style/appearance
    b. [ ] Speed/maneuverability
    c. [ ] Price/value
    d. [ ] Conformed to local noise abatement laws
    e. [ ] Comfort/convenience
    f.  [ ] Kickback/bribe
    g. [ ] Recommended by the salesperson
    h. [ ] Backroom politics
    i.  [ ] Negative experience opposing one in combat
    j.  [ ] Gun held to my head
  14. To the best of your knowledge, check all locations where this Boeing-McDonnell Douglas-Insitu product will be used:
    a. [ ] North America
    b. [ ] Iran
    c. [ ] Central/South America
    d. [ ] Philadelphia
    e. [ ] Iran
    f.  [ ] Europe
    g. [ ] Middle East (not Iran)
    h. [ ] Iran
    i.  [ ] Africa
    j.  [ ] Asia/Far East
    k. [ ] Iran
    l.  [ ] Misc. Third World Countries (excluding Iran)
    m.[ ] Classified
    n. [ ] Iran
  15. Of the products listed, which ones do you currently own or intend to purchase in the near future?
    a. [ ] Flat-Screen TV
    b. [ ] iPod
    c. [ ] ICBM
    d. [ ] Death-Ray Satellite
    e. [ ] DVD Player
    f.  [ ] Air-to-Air Missiles
    g. [ ] Space Shuttle (Used, Refurbished)
    h. [ ] Space Shuttle (Reassembled)
    i.  [ ] Home Computer
    j.  [ ] Nuclear Weapon
    k. [ ] Recovered Alien Spacecraft
  16. Describe yourself and/or your organization. (Check all that apply)
    a. [ ] Communist/Socialist
    b. [ ] Terrorist
    c. [ ] Vegan
    d. [ ] Republican
    e. [ ] Quaker
    f.  [ ] Cosmic Muffin
    g. [ ] Democrat
    h. [ ] Dictatorship
    i.  [ ] Corrupt
    j.  [ ] Primitive/Tribal/Tea Party
  17. How did you pay for your Boeing-McDonnell Douglas-Insitu product?
    a. [ ] Under the table
    b. [ ] Money Order
    c. [ ] Payroll deduction
    d. [ ] Redeemed a coupon
    e. [ ] Deficit spending
    f.  [ ] Cash
    g. [ ] Suitcases of cocaine
    h. [ ] Oil revenues
    i.  [ ] Personal check
    j.  [ ] Prepaid debit card
    k. [ ] Ransom money
  18.  Your occupation:
    a. [ ] Homemaker
    b. [ ] Student
    c. [ ] Sales/Marketing
    d. [ ] Insurgent
    e. [ ] Clerical
    f.  [ ] Mercenary
    g. [ ] Tyrant
    h. [ ] Middle Management
    i.  [ ] Eccentric Billionaire
    j.  [ ] Defense Minister
    k. [ ] Retired
  19. Circle the highest level of education you have attained. (If completed by a proxy, please initial the selection.)
    a. [ ] Postgraduate
    b. [ ] Graduate
    c. [ ] Undergraduate
    d. [ ] High School/G.E.D.
    e. [ ] Elementary/Middle School
    f.  [ ] Other
  20. To help us better understand our customers’ lifestyles, please indicate the interests and activities in which you and your spouse/partner enjoy participating on a regular basis:
    a. [ ] Golf
    b. [ ] Boating/Sailing
    c. [ ] Sabotage
    d. [ ] Shaving the cat
    e. [ ] Walking/Running/Jogging
    f.  [ ] Propaganda/Disinformation
    g. [ ] Destabilization/Overthrow
    h. [ ] Defaulting on loans
    i.  [ ] Gardening
    j.  [ ] Arts and Crafts
    k. [ ] Black Marketeering/Smuggling
    l.  [ ] Collectibles
    m.[ ] Watching sports on TV
    n. [ ] Wine Tasting
    o. [ ] Interrogation/Torture
    p. [ ] Animal Adoptions
    q. [ ] Crushing Rebellions/Insurrections
    r.  [ ] Espionage/Reconnaissance
    s. [ ] Fashion Design
    t.  [ ] Border Disputes
    u. [ ] Mutually Assured Destruction
    v. [ ] Cooking

Thank you for participating in this survey. Your answers will be used in market studies that will help Boeing-McDonnell Douglas-Insitu serve you better in the future.

Your privacy is important to us. You have our assurance that your information will not be shared with other companies, governments, extremist groups, the FBI or their various international consortia.

As a bonus for responding to this survey, you will be registered to win a brand new Cuisinart Pressure Cooker in our Guns And Butter Sweepstakes!

Comments or suggestions about our aircraft? Please write to:

BOEING-MCDONNELL DOUGLAS-INSITU Corp.
Marketing Department
Military Aerospace Division
Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada


My 7th-Grade Notes to Julius Caesar’s “Gallic Wars”

August 28, 2017

BOOK I:  “Gallia est omnis divisa in partes tres…” All Gaul is divided into three parts, but you would not want to visit two of them after dark. Caesar prepares for a military engagement after learning that the Helvetii, having been denied a patent for their typeface font, have been roused to rebellion by Orgetorix, whose stance against weekly bathing is still fought in parts of France to this day.

BOOK II:  Caesar defeats the Belgae in northern Gaul. He orders their ambassadors, Iccius and Antebrogius, to proclaim their allegiance to Rome by line dancing and singing “The Little Nash Rambler.” Publius Crassus, one of Caesar’s commanders, crosses the maritime states of Gaul. Green with envy and seasickness, his second-in-command, Cicero, argues before the Roman Senate that his legions be rewarded for their bravery and sacrifice by giving them a choice of 30 days’ unpaid furlough or free dance lessons at the YMCA. The Senate responds by proclaiming Cicero “Nitwit of the Month.”

BOOK III:  Caesar sends Servius Galba to open a toll road to the Alps. On the way, Servius is attacked by the Seduni and Veragri tribes after it is learned that a speed limit will be imposed. Meanwhile, under the direction of Titurius Sabinus and Publius Crassus, Caesar’s maritime forces, 4,300 strong, defeat the Venelli twins, who had been sneaking out of class during recess to write obscene messages in the sand.

BOOK IV:  Caesar moves into Germany for the first time, whereupon he exclaims “Nimius!” (translation: Outrageous!) after learning of the rent for a studio apartment. The Germans whisper “Er trägt nicht unterwäsche” (translation: He isn’t wearing underwear), and flee across the English Channel into Britain. Caesar also crosses The Channel—something no Roman had ever before done on foot—and defeats the British who, unbeknownst to him, are really the transplanted Germans. Caesar punishes them by sending them into exile in Germany.

BOOK V:  The Nervi attack a Roman encampment during a musical revival of “Gigi.” Cicero holds off the Nervi by having his troops sit in the last available seat each time the music stops. Caesar arrives with reinforcements, including extra pillows and a tape loop of Iron Butterfly’s “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida.”

BOOK VI:  The shortest of the books in Caesar’s Gallic W–

BOOK VII:  Fourteen Gallic tribes revolt. This comes as a great surprise to Caesar, who heretofore only knew the names of five of them. Under the leadership of Vercingetorix, they battle Caesar at Alesia, where the tribes likely would have defeated the Romans had not the only deli in the area closed for the summer. Caesar returns to Rome where he is approached by his agent to write a book about the war. Caesar learns that his longtime friend Brutus—also known as Bruté, after a heralded stint at Chippendales—had himself been approached to write a similar book, leading to Caesar’s famous exclamation, “Quis sciebant poterat legere et scribere?” (translation: Who knew he could read and write?)


When House Arrest Really Is House Arrest

August 28, 2017

A Right Turn Into The 4th Dimension

Not too long ago, if you ran afoul of the law, were arrested and deemed a flight risk, you were locked up in the pokey until your trial. Granted, even in the good ol’ days money talked, and your lawyer could probably persuade a judge lenient or dimwitted enough to place you under house arrest. Today, though, when the courts let freedom ring, house arrest means wearing judicial bling – an ankle bracelet – to keep you within police radar range while you hobnob around the neighborhood, visit old haunts and even older friends, and continue to engage in the same illicit behavior that got you arrested in the first place.

But what if house arrest meant you were truly unable to leave the friendly confines of your quaint little crib? Imagine every front, side and back door that once opened to the outside world now only leads you to some other room within your own home. And every window that once held vistas of the Manhattan skyline or the Bronx County courthouse now only lets you peek into some other room of your own home.

Well, all this and more could be yours, penal contestants, if your dream house were suddenly transported from the 3rd dimension into the 4th dimension.

Turn Right

Now, those of you who finished the third grade and are conversant in Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity are no doubt saying, “What the hell are you talking about, you idiot? Time is the 4th dimension! How do you move a house into time?” To which I say, Hold on there, Baba Looie. Let’s think of the 4th dimension as the next logical, geometric construct from the 3rd dimension.

For argument’s sake – and I’m writing this, so it’s my argument – let’s define the first three dimensions geometrically by saying that each dimension exists at a 90˚or right angle to the other. Length is the 1st dimension and width is the 2nd dimension. Width exists at a 90˚ or right angle to length; in other words, if length runs east to west (or west to east for those of you in Los Angeles), then width runs north to south. The 3rd dimension is set at a 90˚ or right angle to both length and width – this is height. As an example, consider a flagpole standing at the corner where Broadway and 96th Street intersect; the neon lights are not as bright at this end of Broadway, so the flagpole should stand out. Broadway represents length, 96th Street represents width, and the flagpole represents height, as well as one more thing to walk into if you’re not paying attention. Where length, width and height all intersect at the same point, we have the three distinct dimensions that define our physical world.

Following this logic, then, the 4th dimension would have to be set at a 90˚ or right angle to all of these three dimensions – length, width and height – simultaneously. Huh?

Let’s go back to the first two dimensions for a moment, shall we? Length and width define a plane, which is a flat surface like, say, a sheet of paper (or, perhaps, the top of one’s head). On this sheet of paper we shall draw a three-dimensional object, such as this cube.

cube

Now, a cube is made up of six faces or squares, and a square, of course, has four equal sides. In this two-dimensional representation, however, we actually only see three sides – the front, the top and the right; we cannot see the side on which the cube sits, nor do we see its left side or its, ahem, back side.

In order to give the above cube the illusion of depth, three lines forming part of the top and right faces of the cube are shortened and set at acute angles to the front face of the cube. Thus, the top and right faces of the cube are not really squares (Got that, daddy-o?), they are trapezoids, i.e., only two of the four sides are parallel. What you are seeing is a two-dimensional representation of a three-dimensional cube; your brain fleshes out the parts unseen. Thus, whenever you see this pancaked version of a cube, you are conditioned to accept it as a three-dimensional object. N’est-ce pas?

Your New Home, Minus The Ceiling

Let’s now imagine how a home would be constructed in the 4th dimension. For years builders have constructed typical (typical?) three-dimensional homes by referring to plans drawn on a two-dimensional plane: a blueprint. To imagine, then, how a fourth-dimensional house would be represented in the 3rd dimension, let’s look from our three-dimensional perspective at a house built in a two-dimensional world.

With grateful acknowledgment to Edwin A. Abbott (1838-1926), let us take a look at a 6-room house in the town of Flatland somewhere in upstate New York, where everything, including the town’s residents, exists in only two dimensions. The house would look something like this:

North

untitled31

South

Clearly, the owner is colorblind or the hardware store had a closeout on paint. In any event, the house is laid out like a ranch house with every room on one level. The rooms are numbered 1 – 6. Each room has four walls, and every wall has a huge sliding glass door (Hey, the owner can do whatever he wants!). Each shared wall leads into an adjacent room; walls that are not shared lead outside the house. Thus, room #1 shares one wall, its south wall, with room #2; the west, north and east walls all lead outside the house. Room #2 is an interior room, sharing all four of its walls with the four adjacent rooms – the north wall is shared with room #1, the south wall is shared with room #3, the west wall is shared with room #5, and the east wall is shared with room #6. Room #3 shares two walls, its north wall with room #2 and its south wall with room #4. Room #4 shares only one wall, its north wall, with room #3. Room #5 shares only its east wall with room #2, and room #6 shares only its west wall with room #2. Everybody got that?

You can enter this house through any room that has a wall facing the outside except room #2, which is in the interior of the house. Rooms 1, 4, 5 and 6 have three walls with access into the house; room #3 has two such walls, the west and east walls. Thank goodness the house comes standard with indoor/outdoor carpeting.

Once inside the house, access to each room is somewhat limited. If you are in room #1, for example, the only way to get to rooms 5 or 6 is to pass through room #2; the same is true if you want to get to room #3. To get to room #4, you have to walk through room #2 and room #3, which at 3:00 AM is not likely to win you any brownie points from anyone who might be asleep there.

Well, We’re Movin’ On Up…

Now let’s “fold” this house into three-dimensional space. We do this by folding along each shared wall, just as you would fold a flat piece of paper with six connected squares into a cube. For those whose opposable thumbs leave them all thumbs, this house is in the shape of a cross, which makes this task rather easy.

First, fold room #4 up – i.e., into three-dimensional space – along its shared wall with room #3. Then fold all four sides of room #2 – i.e., along the walls it shares with rooms 1, 5, 6 and 3 – up into three-dimensional space. Finally, connect the south wall of room #4 with the north wall of room #1 and, voila, we have a cube–er, three-dimensional house.

Now, one way to represent our now three-dimensional house in two-dimensional space is to draw it as a cube, as we did above. If we wish to see all the rooms, though, a combination of trapezoids and rectangles is needed to give the impression that we are looking into a three-dimensional cube.

house1 frontback1

The figure on the left is a view of our house looking through room #1 back to room #3, the smaller rectangle; room #2 is the base of the cube; rooms 5 and 6 are the sides; and room #4 is the top.

The figure on the right is the house with the sides stretched to make the relationship of each room clearer, as well as more bizarre. In this figure, rooms 1 and 3 are highlighted, with room #1 in the front and room #3 in the back. Since every side of every face of the cube is actually a wall, every wall then is connected to a wall of another room. What this means is that no wall now leads outside the house. No matter what room you are in, regardless of which wall you punch, walking through its sliding glass door will always lead you into another room.

Stairway To Heaven?

Now let’s put our original two-dimensional owner-occupant in room #1. If he (yes, only a man would let someone fold his two-dimensional house into three-dimensional space) walks through the sliding glass door on the north wall, he now enters room #4. When the house existed in its original two-dimensional state – and the owner was somewhat shy about waking his crazed, knife-wielding cousin snoring away in room #3 – he would have decided to exit the house through the sliding glass door on the north wall, and trudge through the mud all the way to the other end of the house until he finally reached room #4. This could be very disconcerting, especially after a late-night burrito and mocha latte snack, as room #4 had the only bathroom.

When our Flatlander looks through a sliding glass door now, regardless of which wall he chooses, he always sees into the room adjacent to that wall. Remember, in the 2nd dimension there is no concept of up or down because those directions only exist in the 3rd dimension. In the 2nd dimension he reached every room of his house by simply walking – or perhaps gliding – straight ahead, or turning left or right. Now in three-dimensional space, however, every wall is connected to another room, and that other room may well be on another level – the second floor or the basement. But as far as our owner-occupant knows, he is still walking on one level as he had always done, albeit now confused as hell.

With his once two-dimensional house now folded into three-dimensional space, our owner-occupant is unable leave the house, as each wall is now connected to another wall, and there is no wall anywhere leading outside the house. His only escape from his house would be to have it “unfolded” in a lower dimension – in this case, back into two-dimensional space.

§§§§§§§§

Now imagine a three-dimensional house folded into fourth-dimensional space. We here in the 3rd dimension can no more point toward a direction that is at a right angle to the 1st, 2nd and 3rd dimensions than a two-dimensional Flatlander could point to the 3rd dimension, but in theory a dimension outside our world does exist. From our lofty three-dimensional perch we can look “down” and peer into the two-dimensional world of Flatland, just as someone – or some thing – from the 4th dimension can gaze down into our three-dimensional world.

If your gorgeous Park Avenue penthouse were suddenly folded into fourth dimensional space with you inside it, you would find yourself trapped forever within your apartment. Every wall, floor and ceiling would be connected to another wall or floor or ceiling. And if you think of each wall, floor and ceiling as simply another surface on a cube – i.e., the room in which you are sitting and sulking – then you may find that, unless your apartment was folded into the fourth dimension with care, you could exit the sliding glass door on the west wall of your bedroom and find yourself standing on the ceiling of your living room.

Needless to say, 24 hours in this funhouse might well punish you more cruelly and unusually than anything the Supreme Court could have imagined.


Quora question:

July 23, 2017

My response:  Kim Jong-un reflects the culture and values of North Koreans themselves. He is the head—officially, Marshall—of a brutal, archaic system of government that demands allegiance. He also enjoys popular support among the educated classes living in Pyongyang, where there are, in fact, people who are prospering.

“Brian Myers, a professor at Dongseo University, in South Korea, says that he routinely invites defectors from the North to his graduate-school classes, and that in recent years his South Korean students, expecting familiar tales of starvation and woe, have been surprised to hear from some who describe North Korea as a ‘cool place,’ one in which they wish they could have remained. “My students are always disappointed to find this out.”(1)

Kim Jong-un reminds me of a five-year-old child; he believes he is at the center of the universe because, given doting parents and family, he’s treated that way. What most children eventually learn is that they share their throne with countless others. Not so with Kim. His legions exist solely to serve him. He is an egocentric brat with the resources of a kingdom willingly sublimated to his out-sized appetites.

What we do know of Kim Jong-un that does not stem from his flirtations with former Chicago Bulls forward Dennis Rodman is that he is not protected as much as he is isolated. All his interactions, either as a child or at the schools he attended in Switzerland, were either arranged or highly supervised. Access to Kim was practically nil. His father, Kim Jong-il, whose own excesses—including girth—are not only matched but exceeded by his youngest son—once proclaimed that no one was allowed to approach any member of his family without his written permission.(2)

The origins of North Korea’s guiding philosophy are, apparently, not rooted in communism but in a belief in Korean racial superiority.(3) This passionate, military-first state reveres Kim for his saber-rattling at the “Yankee jackals.” (I wonder if the phrase “running dog lackey” will soon reappear?)

In the West, personality cults such as those extant in North Korea are not taken very seriously. An assiduous Western press offers familiar stories depicting the country’s brutal nature without any insight beyond their own political bent, that is, liberal or conservative. This leads to simplistic explanations of the North Korean populace’s 60-year allegiance to the Kim regime. Yet history, with Hitler’s Nazi regime in Germany and Pol Pot’s killing fields in Cambodia, has already shown us that a dictator can act, with overwhelming support, to extremes unheard of in their right-wing texts.

The only consistent rhetoric I’ve heard or read coming from North Korea is that which depicts the United States as evil and Kim Jong-un as the man ordained to protect its people. What is understated but, in my view, still predominant, is Pyongyang’s ambition to unite both sides of the 38th Parallel. To understand North Korea, therefore, is to understand this as the ultimate goal.

(1) Understanding Kim Jong Un, The World’s Most Enigmatic and Unpredictable Dictator
(2) Ibid.
(3) The Cleanest Race by Brian Reynolds Myers, 2010, Melville House


Quora question: President Trump got Otto Warmbier back from North Korea. Could President Obama have done it?

July 21, 2017

My response:  First, President Trump did not secure the release of Otto Warmbier from North Korea. Warmbier had been in a coma for a year, Pyongyang claimed, but the U.S. State Department only learned of the man’s condition one week prior to his release. It was at that time that the State Department began negotiations to return Warmbier to the United States.(1)

Secondly, North Korea used the only tool in its arsenal that has any effect on the U.S: the kidnap and release of a foreign national after achieving concessions. Pyongyang’s action is indefensible, but it sets the stage for negotiation without the risk of military reprisal. North Korea maintains credibility by delivering the prisoner after extracting concessions.

North Korea had to be keenly aware of Warmbier’s deteriorating health. This fact would have added urgency to negotiate—a dead man being far less of a bargaining chip and more likely to invoke the ire of the United States.

Also, let’s not forget that Warmbier was a willing visitor to North Korea who broke the law there. While his actions would not have warranted an extreme sentence of 15 years at hard labor in the West, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un does not set his watch by Western standards. Given his enmity toward the U.S., Kim Jong-un probably felt justified with the sentence.

Your assumption that President Trump somehow interceded on Warmbier ‘s behalf is simply not borne out by the facts, nor is your trolling question regarding Barack Obama relevant.

(1) Why Kim agreed to release Otto Warmbier


Quora question: Why is Trump so obsessed with voter integrity when he won the election unfairly and unsquarely

July 19, 2017

My response:  First, Donald Trump did accumulate the requisite number of electoral votes to be elected president. There has been no verifiable proof as of yet that any voting machines were tampered with. What is a more likely explanation for the seemingly inexplicable loss by Hillary Clinton is that exit polling showing her ahead in the polls was skewed by voters giving false answers to the question of whom they voted for.

More than 96 million registered voters in fact did help Mr. Trump become the 45th President of the United States by opting not to vote. I doubt any outside interference could have dissuaded this many people from going to the polls.

You may be astounded that a man short of attention, ethics and geopolitical insight could ascend to the Oval Office, but that speaks less to malfeasance than it does to a resurgence of incivility and aversive racism.


Quora question: Does the NSA still do mass surveillance on Americans in 2017?

July 19, 2017

My response:  You may have forgotten that in President Obama’s final days in office, he “expanded the power of the National Security Agency to share globally intercepted personal communications with the government’s 16 other intelligence agencies before applying privacy protections.”(1)

In other words, more government agencies now have the power to search through the raw data still collected by NSA.

(1) N.S.A. Gets More Latitude to Share Intercepted Communications


Quora question: If Trump’s administration is found to have committed treason, would there be a new election?

July 16, 2017

My response:  Section 110 of Article III of the Constitution of the United States, declares that:

“Treason against the United States shall consist only in levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort. No person shall be convicted of treason unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open Court. The Congress shall have power to declare the punishment of treason.”(1)

The bottom line is this: Mr. Trump cannot be adjudged guilty of treason because the United States is not at war with the Russian Federation.

Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.”(2)

With regard to Donald Trump, no act of treason has heretofore taken place.

(1) The Constitution of the United States: A Transcription
(2) Ibid.


Quora question: Has Edward Snowden managed to leak all the NSA snooping methods or there are more not known to the public?

July 16, 2017

My response:  According to U.S. government estimates, Edward Snowden copied 1.5 million classified files.(1) In 2011, the last year for which figures were available prior to Mr. Snowden’s release of these classified documents, the entire U.S. government classified 92,064,862 documents.(2)

In other words, Mr. Snowden leaked 1.6%—yes, only 1.6%—of all material classified. Since then, the general public has been made privy to only a few salacious documents, cherry-picked by the press. Between 2013 and 2014, 111 documents were leaked(3)—that’s .007% (.00007) of the total number of documents Mr. Snowden copied to his thumb-wheel drive.

When one considers the acute minutiae that has been released to the public against the number of classified documents in Mr. Snowden’s trove, logic would dictate that not only may further revelations lay in the unreleased documents, but the staggering aggregation of secrets not plundered by Mr. Snowden would contain hitherto unknown methodologies employed U.S. intelligence agencies.

(1|3) This is everything Edward Snowden revealed in one year of unprecedented top-secret leaks
(2) What Edward Snowden Leaked Was Nothing Compared to What He Didn’t


Quora question: How can I attract other girls if I am shy, introverted, silent, ugly, poor, and shorter than they are?

July 11, 2017

My response:  Hmm… You’ve ticked off just about every imaginable negative box available except bad breath.

First, ask yourself if there is something you particularly enjoy doing (keep it clean and legal, buddy). There are Meet-Up groups springing up all over the place. If you don’t see one that fits your interest, start one.

I’m not saying that you’ll find the girl of your dreams here (well, then again you may—who knows?). But this will at least get you into the same room with folks with similar interests.

Secondly, let’s drop the notion that deep pockets, or even some jingling change, will make you attractive to girls. You’re looking for an honest relationship, not the role of a stooge.

Now, as to this notion that being short is a detriment. What, are you spending too much time listening to Randy Newman’s “Short People”? You’re height, or lack of same, means nothing. If you are rejected by a girl because of your height, then consider that this person ascribes negative qualities to you without ever knowing you. Spend less time focusing on the superficial and more time on those intrinsic qualities that define you—and the girl your’re seeking—as a thoughtful, caring person.

You’ve received several other good posts here. Consider implementing what they have recommended. Above all, be honest with yourself.

Good luck to you, my friend.


Quora question: What is the progress on Trump’s wall?

July 11, 2017

My response:  Does a stray brick or two, having missed its intended Hispanic target, count as foundation?


Quora question: When considering a career in law vs banking, what are some key factors to consider?

July 11, 2017

My response:

  1. Money.
  2. Wealth accumulation.
  3. A corner office vs. ownership of the entire building.
  4. The Russian Tea Room vs. a street vendor’s water-soaked frankfurter.
  5. Mercedes, Porsche, BMW or Jaguar vs. the subway.
  6. Jail time for you resulting from an inquiry into possible criminal violations.
  7. Ethics.

Quora question: What does it say about the Democrats, that when Obama (Black) was President, they respected him; but now with Trump (White) in, they don’t?

July 11, 2017

My response:  This isn’t a question of race, nor should its trolling, spurious nature spark devolving, insidious debate.

Mr. Obama and Mr. Trump are dissimilar in tolerance, temperament, patience, political strategy, and manifest communication skills. And on those points should inquiry and debate continue.


Quora question: Why do people continue to rob shops in the US if the police will almost surely catch them?

July 11, 2017

My response:  Since when did logic, common sense or self-control enter into the equation for prospective felons? Some people act on impulse; others with regard to their current, impecunious situation; still others out of a desperate need to fulfill a drug habit.

To expect foresight among those poised to commit an unlawful act is like expecting a second date from someone who has left strict instructions to shoot you should you turn up on the premises.


Quora question: Can the USA alone invade China without NATO or allies?

July 11, 2017

My response:  Why? The War Powers Resolution(1), enacted in 1973—after American troops began fighting in Vietnam—requires the president to consult with Congress before sending U.S. armed forces into combat unless there already had been a declaration of war.

On what grounds has the United States to issue a Declaration of War against a sovereign nation from whom there has been no attack nor threat of attack against the United States or its interests?

Why would the U.S. initiate military action against China, with all its deadly consequences and its horrific concomitance—a humanitarian crises with no viable solution, international discord, human rights abuses, and enmity and isolation from our allies?

Why would the U.S. willingly relinquish its hegemonic stance as the leader of the free world by subverting its own democratic ideals and principles?

Why would the U.S. submit to self-inflicted economic chaos to its economy by excising our second largest trade partner after Europe(2)—an action that would presage another worldwide recession?

Why would would the U.S. exercise no prudence, eschew debate by Congress, and incur the remonstrations of moral indignation from the United Nations, NATO and other international peacekeeping organizations?

This is the sort of narrow, reprehensible and impulsive thinking that smacks more of racism than any perceived threat.

(1) Law Library of Congress
(2) List of the largest trading partners of the United States – Wikipedia


Quora question: Can I work in CIA/FBI/NSA/ARMY/NAVY if I am foreign person?

July 11, 2017

My response:  There is a single website covering careers in the group of 17 federal intelligence agencies.(1) At the bottom you will see, in small print but highlighted in red, the requirement that one must be a U.S. citizen.

Jobs in the U.S. Intelligence Community


Quora question: Shouldn’t China quit playing games and for real help the USA to rein in North Korea?

July 10, 2017

My response:  I answered a similar question, Trump on Twitter again called out China doing more trade with North Korea. He called them useless. What are your thoughts? I feel some of my thoughts, particularly as they pertain to China’s motivations, may suffice in answering your question. I’ll post that answer below.

Donald Trump’s tweets, first importuning China’s Xi Jinping to resolve the issue of North Korea’s nuclear missile program, then reproaching Xi in coarse language, demonstrate the absurdity and infantilism that have come to define Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump does not have a sense of geopolitics, nor is he a statesman. His core base may view this as an asset—it distances him from the Beltway elite and marginalizes mainstream news which he views as spurious. But when negotiating with world leaders who have a keen sense of the extant stratagems employed, Trump’s petulance and lack of perspicacity leave him at a severe disadvantage.

Understanding China’s economic and political ambitions is key to understanding her relationship with North Korea. Even Mr. Trump had to admit that “after listening for 10 minutes [to Xi during his visit to the White House] I realized it’s not so easy.”(1)

China is a member of the IMF but has only 3.8% of the voting share—the same power as Italy, whose economy is five times smaller. As a consequence, China has sought to develop its own set of financial institutions and build Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with countries in its emerging sphere of influence in the South China Sea.(2) It is, therefore, in China’s best interests to maintain stability in the region.

Recently, Beijing has been less conciliatory toward Pyongyang. This past February, China banned the import of coal from North Korea.(3) The Communist Party of China’s mouthpiece, the Global Times, threatened that China could halt petroleum exports to North Korea, a move that would cripple the North Korean economy given it imports nearly all of its crude oil from China.(4)

In light of this, for Trump to characterize Xi’s efforts as “useless” is not only insulting, but a clear indication of his paucity of thought.

Toppling the Pyongyang regime would unleash internal chaos, a flood of refugees across China’s eastern border, and a humanitarian crisis, none of which Beijing could manage. It would also likely expand the reach of the South Korean government across the entire peninsula, thus putting an armed ally of the United States—and U.S. troops—at the edge of Chinese territory(5), a situation Beijing would not tolerate.

In an interview with the Financial Times shortly before his April meeting with Xi, Trump said, “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”(5) How does he plan to do that? A preemptive strike?

Any attempt to resolve the crisis militarily would be disastrous. North Korea has an enormous array of artillery rockets, hundreds of them infused with chemical weapons, and all of them within range of Seoul—the capital of South Korea, just 35 miles south of the border.(5) Twenty million people live within 25 miles of the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

Further still, many of these weapons are within range of Japan and of American troops in the region, placing hundreds of thousands of lives within harm’s way.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be erratic, but he’s not suicidal. He is aware that a small number of American nuclear missiles could obliterate his country.

What he does appear to want is for North Korea to be recognized as nuclear weapons-capable, similar to Pakistan. Given that status, he would be willing to come to the negotiating table. Kim could then parlay his country’s stance and participate in non-proliferation pacts in exchange for what his country desperately needs—food, economic aid and trade.

Until Trump realizes this, his own erratic tweets and bellicose posturing serve only to exacerbate tensions—not only in the Pacific Rim but throughout the world.

(1) The Deterioration of the People’s Republics: China’s North Korea Problem
(2) “Rising to China’s Challenge in the Pacific Rim” by Michael B. Runnels
(3) North Korea says old ally China ‘dancing to tune of US’ with coal ban 
(4) The Deterioration of the People’s Republics: China’s North Korea Problem
(5) Trump Is in No Position to Solve North Korea. The Fear Is That He’ll Try.


Quora question: Before the invention of cars, how would the police transport people?

July 10, 2017

My response:  Some police officers, if they were close enough to the station house, would pick up the perpetrator and literally throw him in the general direction. This method was abandoned when the pile of bodies in the precinct doorway made passage impossible.

Other officers had their male miscreants change into their pajamas and perform Puccini’s “Madame Butterfly.” Their inability to sing the arias without giggling so embarrassed them—as well as enraging the audience—that the soon-to-be convicts fled to the relative safety of the nearest jail cell.

Sheriffs of the Old West used to put their malefactors on horseback. This practice came under intense scrutiny when one particular sheriff insisted on riding on the same horse as his bandit.


Quora question: What should I do about a writing assignment that is very biased?

July 10, 2017

My response:  Given any writing assignment, but especially one dealing with an historical fact, it is your obligation to be honest and forthright, and to present contrary opinions that are buttressed by fact, not supposition or “alternative facts” (read: lies), notwithstanding your professor’s biases.


Quora question: How should I train myself to become an extraordinary intelligence officer?

July 10, 2017

My response:  I have answered many questions like this. I’ll post my answer to one of them, What is the minimum IQ needed to get a top level job at NSA or CIA? as I believe it will suffice here.

“Finely-honed skills—analytic, language, technological—are what make you attractive to any employer in the Intelligence field, not intelligence quotient alone. I’m going to direct you to CIA’s website for Career Opportunites where you can gain a better understanding of what the Agency looks for in a potential employee. Central Intelligence Agency

Good luck to you.”


Quora question: What do you call a person who spies on his wife?

July 10, 2017

My response:  A stalker. It may start with spying on her cellphone, looking through her texts; then checking her computer. Now you’re following her. This is a slippery slope to being a stalker.

Let’s face it—no good can come from spying on one’s spouse. At best, you are left with unconfirmed feelings of mistrust towards her and guilt at your actions. Worse, you may feel emboldened to probe further, paradoxically proving—by your actions—that you are the untrustworthy one. And even if you learn of an indiscretion, you now have a deep-seated pain that will be with you forever.

Rather than blame her, it’s time to face your own fears, doubts, insecurities and issues of trust. The reason you married this woman was that you found some common ground, some traits that you cherished—and hopefully some love. Look specifically at the behavior you know and see if there truly are significant signs leading you to distrust her.

As it must be clear by now, nothing positive will come from spying on your spouse. You two need to sit down and talk, as this clearly is a conversation that is long overdue.


Quora question: Was the Edward Snowden leak about NSA surveillance good or bad?

July 10, 2017

My response:  I answered a similar question, Do you think what Edward Snowden did was right or wrong? I’ll post that answer below and hope it suffices.

I am conflicted about Edward Snowden, so please forgive my lengthy response. Civil disobedience that sheds light on widespread breaches of constitutional rights is a commendable act—consider the 1971 release of the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg. A 1996 article in the New York Times stated that the Pentagon Papers had demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration “systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress.”

However, unilaterally leaking troves of top secret national security documents, as Mr. Snowden has done, is a dangerous act approaching treason. So for me, much of my final judgment about Mr. Snowden’s choice hinges on this.

On the one hand, 67 senators voted to end the National Security Agency’s cellphone bulk data collection. When President Obama signed the law, they were saying, with respect to this singular disclosure, that Edward Snowden was right; NSA had gone too far and violated the rights of the American public. The entangled threads of government intelligence, national security, and individual liberties are now better understood because of Mr. Snowden’s public revelations. For that opportunity, I feel the American public is indebted to him.

On the other hand, our national security should not rest in the hands of one young man who believes, however sincerely, that he and only he knew better. When told about the Obama Administration’s characterization of him as a low-level employee and a high-school dropout during a 2014 interview with NBC News, Mr. Snowden sounded very much like a man with a bruised ego when he insisted he was a trained spy living under an assumed identity and that he was a powerful operator.

When asked why he didn’t use another method to address his worries about NSA surveillance programs, Mr. Snowden insists he did at first. He told NBC that he reported his concerns in writing to NSA over ten times before finally contacting members of the press. NSA, however, claims it was only able to locate one such email. In the email, Mr. Snowden only questions whether Executive Orders may override statutes. The NSA official responding to the email instructs Mr. Snowden that EOs “have the force and effect of law . . . but cannot override a statute.”

Now, the NSA’s track record of deception does not make one feel comfortable about their response. And given the circumstances, one would hardly expect NSA to divulge information that would further damage its image and make Mr. Snowden seem less villainous.

The Obama administration continues to aver that Mr. Snowden had other options, but the truth is his actions were not covered by the Whistleblower Act.

So, while in one sense I applaud Mr. Snowden’s actions, I am otherwise appalled at the extent to which his actions exceeded what was necessary to prove his point.


Quora question: Will there be horrific unforseen consequences to this nation for tolerating Trump’s egregious disregard of objective facts?

July 10, 2017

My response:  Unfortunately, some of the consequences are glaring and brazenly indefensible. Here are a few:

  • Black homeownership rates have declined to levels not seen since the 1960s, when private race-based discrimination was legal.(1) The overall decline in homeownership threatens to exacerbate racial inequality for decades to come.The Urban League’s “Main Street Marshall Plan” calls for a 10-year, $4 trillion investment in urban communities in a range of areas, of which one is encouraging Black homeownership. But Trump has largely been hostile to any such plan.(2)
  • Since Donald Trump’s election, states across the country have seen increased incidents of racist, anti-Semitic or xenophobic violence and vandalism, many of which have drawn directly on the rhetoric and proposals of President-elect Donald Trump.(3)One woman in Colorado told the Southern Poverty Law Center that her twelve-year-old daughter was approached by a [White] boy who said, “Now that Trump is President, I’m going to shoot you and all the Blacks I can find.”(4)
  • Trump’s appeal to working Americans overwhelmingly emphasized the deleterious effects of import competition and immigration. Though this was effective campaign rhetoric, the economics prove otherwise.Changing technologies play a far larger role than Trump’s campaign targets. In the factories of generations past, large numbers of workers performed simple, repetitive tasks. Today, more efficient and cost-effective computer-driven robots have replaced them.(5)Further, the myth of cheap foreign labor that pervades Trump’s arguments is undercut by fact. For example, Japanese, Korean and European automakers have opened plants in the U.S., allowing them to respond more quickly to growing customer demands.(6)

    The movement of auto manufacturing overseas a generation ago did take advantage of low wages—but they were mainly simple assembly operations. Today`s high-tech, automated manufacturing depends much less on human labor. Even in the semiconductor industry, success depends more on manufacturing prowess, proximity to customers and political factors such as trade barriers than on low wages.(7)

    Also, trade is not a one-way street. One of Trump’s more myopic proposals has the U.S. slapping high tariffs on imports. History, however, suggests that other countries will retaliate by imposing stiff tariffs of their own on American exports.

    American exports are substantially more than $2 trillion per year.(7) Tariffs raise prices for American consumers, and the resultant full-scale trade war could lead to a global recession.

  • Trump, a political novice, had discussed with Russian President Vladimir Putin “forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit so that election hacking, and many other negative things, will be guarded and safe.”(9)Trump, who oddly seems to apply Twitter’s 140-character limit to his own vocabulary, apparently does not realize that he has eliminated the need for Russian cyber experts to hack into U.S. systems through a back door by now welcoming them into the house.(10)Hopefully, criticism from Republicans as well as Democrats in both Houses will result in scuttling this leaking ship. If not…

(1) Are gains in black homeownership history?
(2) Q&A: Can Black America Stay Strong Under Trump?
(3) Racist Incidents Are Up Since Trump’s Election. These Are Just a Few of Them
(4) Hate on the Rise After Trump’s Election
(5) Many of Trump’s policies will further intensify income inequality
(6) The Myth Of Cheap Foreign Labor
(7) Ibid.
(8) http://www.usglc.org/downloads/2…
(9) Trump backs away from working with Russia on cybersecurity
(10) Ibid.


Quora question: Why are economic sanctions used as a tool to punish nations when it is clear that it hurts only the general people and small children?

July 9, 2017

My response:  Economic and financial sanctions are intended to “coerce, deter, punish, or shame entities that endanger their interests or violate international norms of behavior.”(1) They are an alternative to military force—a low-cost, low-risk, middle-of-the-road course of action that lies between diplomacy and military action, which may not be feasible.

As examples, in 2014 BNP Paribas, France’s largest lender, pleaded guilty to processing billions of dollars for blacklisted Cuban, Iranian, and Sudanese entities. The bank was fined nearly $9 billion dollars, and lost the right to convert foreign currency into U.S. dollars for certain types of transactions for one year.(2)

In September 2005, U.S. Treasury officials labeled Banco Delta Asia a primary money laundering concern, alleging that the Macau-based bank was a “willing pawn for the North Korean government.” Within a week, customers withdrew $133 million, or 34 percent of BDA’s deposits. The financial shock rippled across the globe, inducing other international banks to sever ties with Pyongyang.(3)

Causal relationships are difficult to determine. Where regime change has occurred, it is difficult to tell whether sanctions themselves were responsible, or whether domestic and international factors played a role or were, in fact, the primary cause.

Programs with relatively limited objectives are generally more likely to succeed than those with major political ambitions. The target must believe that sanctions will be increased or reduced over time, depending upon the target’s behavior.(4)

Do sanctions affect the populace? Yes. Looking at Iraq as a case study, the health and conditions of the population—particularly children, women, the disabled and the elderly—declined rapidly.

An article in the Eastern Mediterranean Health Journal (abstract cited below) detailed the effects of sanctions imposed on Iraq in 1990.

In 1989, before sanctions, typhoid, cholera and tuberculosis, for example, had low incidence rates, relative to the conditions that existed at the time. In 1991, after sanctions were imposed, conditions had declined rapidly. People could no longer afford to buy the food and medicines they needed, nor could they afford the housing and utilities they require.(5)

Support services for medical care—ambulances, emergency services personnel, secondary and tertiary-care facilities—declined and/or closed. The remaining health facilities were in poor condition. By 1998, the number of children born with low birth weight increased significantly, as did the number of deaths of people over 50 from hypertension, diabetes and cancer.(6)

Even when sanctions are imposed by U.N. resolution, countries, citing humanitarian reasons, will break from the accord. Jordan, Turkey, Iran and Syria bypassed U.N. controls against Iraq. Smuggling became an attractive alternative.(7)

Civilian suffering at the hands of sanctions may or may not be an intended stratagem to achieve one’s goals—i.e., regime or policy change—but its effect on the target’s populace is devastating, and undeniable.

(1) What Are Economic Sanctions?
(2) Ibid.
(3) Ibid.
(4) Ibid.
(5) http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstre…
(6) Ibid.
(7) Ibid.


Quora question: Why is the Philippines on the U.S. State Department list of countries Americans shouldn’t visit?

July 8, 2017

My response:  According to the State Department, the top four reasons not to visit The Philippines are…

  1. There are U.S. officials who believe Manila is actually a large envelope.
  2. ESPN will not cover the local cockroach races.
  3. All visitors arriving by plane must exit the aircraft by walking backwards.
  4. Intelligence sources believe the only shoes for sale there are from the Imelda Marcos fashion line.

Quora question: Why would Donald Trump’s son, son-in-law and then-campaign chairman meet with a Russian lawyer shortly after Trump won the Republican nomination?

July 8, 2017

My response:   According to a news item in the New York Times, Donald Trump Jr., when confronted by a Times reporter, responded by saying the meeting with the Russian lawyer was primarily about an adoption program. (1)

Hmm…

Would that be adoption of a rule requiring the president and staff—formal or otherwise—whereupon a convenient lapse of memory occurs, said individual must spend an evening listening to the various screeches and noises that comprise a concert by Yoko Ono?

Would that be the adoption of rules restricting the White House Ethics Chief to a basement office; a staff of one part-time employee, currently on summer vacation; a rotary-dial payphone; and a choice of colors should he or she wish to paint their walls before climbing them?

Would that be the adoption of Russian children whose parents had previously worked for the KGB?

Would that be the adoption of a measure to allow men of girth to wear women’s maternity pants?

Inquiring minds want to know.

(1) Trump Team Met With Lawyer Linked to Kremlin During Campaign


Quora question: Can economic sanctions help defeat ISIS?

July 7, 2017

My response:  You seem to think of ISIS as a nation-state because it has established caliphates, occupying areas within countries; it is not. ISIS has evolved into a transnational guerilla movement.

Where possible, ISIS still tries to establish cells, but today their members are bound more by their extremist ideology than by traditional borders.

ISIS also inspires “lone wolf” sympathizers. These people, usually better educated and including converts who are not of Arab origin, are inspired by ISIS’ rhetoric to commit terrorist attacks. Some of these lone wolves are directed, however peripherally, by ISIS interlocutors(1), but most seem to have been radicalized through the internet and act out of sympathy to ISIS’ extremism.

ISIS cannot be defeated by means of sanctions. A coordinated effort that cuts off financial support, addresses the hopelessness of its youngest converts, and marginalizes the group by exerting pressure from within the Arab world is more likely to bring an end to ISIS.

(1) Not ‘Lone Wolves’ After All: How ISIS Guides World’s Terror Plots From Afar


Quora question: If you came home and President Donald Trump was in your household, what would be your reaction?

July 7, 2017

My response:

“I should have changed that stupid lock.
I should have made you leave your key.
If I knew for just one minute…
You’d be back to bother me!”

With apologies to Gloria Gaynor’s “I will Survive.”


Quora question: Should New York City get its own U.S. Senator?

July 7, 2017

My response:  Senators represent states, two senators per state; while the number of representatives per state—i.e., members of Congress—are apportioned according to the state’s population. New York City, whose populace dwarfs that of all but 12 states, is divided into 27 congressional districts.

For years, secession groups have floated the idea of having New York City reestablish itself as a state. Legal hurdles abound to accomplish this. But perhaps the most compelling reason against the idea was offered by the Rochester-based Center for Governmental Research. In 2004, it found that upstate residents benefit from tax revenue sent to Albany (the state capitol) from New York City, and that Wall Street alone represents nearly 19 percent of all state revenue.(1)

(1) http://www.ppinys.org/reports/20…


Quora question: Under what circumstances would CNN admit that the Trump-Russia stories are only “for ratings”?

July 7, 2017

My response:  All news media broadcast or print stories that will garner ratings or readers, which translates into revenue. CNN—likewise MSNBC, Bloomberg, the over-the-air networks, etc.—broadcasts stories that appeal to its core demographics.

An apology would be issued only when and if a story is found to be factually incorrect. Your presumed bias against CNN can just as easily be directed at alt-right news outlets such as Breitbart News and Fox News, who frequently short shrift any reportage that does not conform to its particular narrowcasting.


Quora question: If Ted Cruz is an American citizen because was born to an American mother, why not President Obama?

July 7, 2017

My response:  Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen. He was born on August 4, 1961, in Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children, Honolulu, Hawaii.


Quora question: How does Qatar, a country that has unbiased reporting in the Middle East (Al Jazeera), also support terrorism?

July 7, 2017

My response:  First, I disagree with your contention that Al Jazeera’s reportage is unbiased. Al Jazeera Arabic overtly promotes Doha’s foreign policy objectives. Both the former English-language and Arabic versions of the station avoid any criticism of Qatar.(1)

Al Jazeera’s support of terrorist groups was consistent with the often contradictory nature of Qatari foreign policy. Despite its in-depth coverage of the Arab Spring, the station showed a strong bias for the Muslim Brotherhood, declared a terrorist organization by the Egyptian government.(1) Saudi Arabia alleges that Al Jazeera supports the Houthi rebels in Yemen fighting government forces backed by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.(2)

It would appear, then, that the line demarcating unbiased reporting and state-sponsored mouthpiece has long been crossed.

(1) Opinion | Why America Turned Off Al Jazeera
(2) Why Qatar is the focus of terrorism claims – BBC News


Quora question: What do you think if our president Donald Trump order an immediate attack on North Korea to get rid of its threat to America?

July 7, 2017

My response:  I answered a similar question, Trump on Twitter again called out China doing more trade with North Korea. He called them useless. What are your thoughts? I feel some of my thoughts may suffice in answering your question. I’ll post that answer below:

Donald Trump’s tweets, first importuning China’s Xi Jinping to resolve the issue of North Korea’s nuclear missile program, then reproaching Xi in coarse language, demonstrate the absurdity and infantilism that have come to define Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump does not have a sense of geopolitics, nor is he a statesman. His core base may view this as an asset—it distances him from the Beltway elite and marginalizes mainstream news which he views as spurious. But when negotiating with world leaders who have a keen sense of the extant stratagems employed, Trump’s petulance and lack of perspicacity leave him at a severe disadvantage.

Understanding China’s economic and political ambitions is key to understanding her relationship with North Korea. Even Mr. Trump had to admit that “after listening for 10 minutes [to Xi during his visit to the White House] I realized it’s not so easy.”(1)

China is a member of the IMF but has only 3.8% of the voting share—the same power as Italy, whose economy is five times smaller. As a consequence, China has sought to develop its own set of financial institutions and build Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with countries in its emerging sphere of influence in the South China Sea.(2) It is, therefore, in China’s best interests to maintain stability in the region.

Recently, Beijing has been less conciliatory toward Pyongyang. This past February, China banned the import of coal from North Korea.(3) The Communist Party of China’s mouthpiece, the Global Times, threatened that China could halt petroleum exports to North Korea, a move that would cripple the North Korean economy given it imports nearly all of its crude oil from China.(4)

In light of this, for Trump to characterize Xi’s efforts as “useless” is not only insulting, but a clear indication of his paucity of thought.

Toppling the Pyongyang regime would unleash internal chaos, a flood of refugees across China’s eastern border, and a humanitarian crisis, none of which Beijing could manage. It would also likely expand the reach of the South Korean government across the entire peninsula, thus putting an armed ally of the United States—and U.S. troops—at the edge of Chinese territory(5), a situation Beijing would not tolerate.

In an interview with the Financial Times shortly before his April meeting with Xi, Trump said, “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”(5) How does he plan to do that? A preemptive strike?

Any attempt to resolve the crisis militarily would be disastrous. North Korea has an enormous array of artillery rockets, hundreds of them infused with chemical weapons, and all of them within range of Seoul—the capital of South Korea, just 35 miles south of the border.(5) Twenty million people live within 25 miles of the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

Further still, many of these weapons are within range of Japan and of American troops in the region, placing hundreds of thousands of lives within harm’s way.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be erratic, but he’s not suicidal. He is aware that a small number of American nuclear missiles could obliterate his country.

What he does appear to want is for North Korea to be recognized as nuclear weapons-capable, similar to Pakistan. Given that status, he would be willing to come to the negotiating table. Kim could then parlay his country’s stance and participate in non-proliferation pacts in exchange for what his country desperately needs—food, economic aid and trade.

Until Trump realizes this, his own erratic tweets and bellicose posturing serve only to exacerbate tensions—not only in the Pacific Rim but throughout the world.

(1) The Deterioration of the People’s Republics: China’s North Korea Problem
(2) “Rising to China’s Challenge in the Pacific Rim” by Michael B. Runnels
(3) North Korea says old ally China ‘dancing to tune of US’ with coal ban 
(4) The Deterioration of the People’s Republics: China’s North Korea Problem
(5) Trump Is in No Position to Solve North Korea. The Fear Is That He’ll Try.


Quora question: What if the whole CIA was only run by feminist?

July 7, 2017

My response:  First, I would like to address your use of the word “feminist.”

Feminism, as defined in the Oxford English Dictionary, is: “The advocacy of women’s rights on the ground of the equality of the sexes.” Thus, one who advocates on behalf of equal rights for women and against male chauvinism may be male or female. The tenets of egalitarianism are not restricted be sex.

As for your generalization regarding male decision-making, the process by which one makes a decision should be a deliberate gathering of relevant facts, and a consideration of alternatives. One’s biases, however, more often than not shape one’s frame of reference. When coupled with shortsightedness, the decision-making process becomes muddled and incoherence rules. Whether or not this is a domain largely inhabited by males is open to some debate.

What is not debatable is that anyone, man or woman, who possesses the intellectual acuity to understand geopolitics and navigate espionage’s wilderness of mirrors (to paraphrase former CIA Counterintelligence Chief James Angleton), merits consideration to head the Central Intelligence Agency.


Quora question: Is it treason if the president does not listen to, believe or follow the advise of his intelligence committee?

July 7, 2017

My response:  The short answer to your question is no. The Constitution defines treason in Article 3, Section 3, Clause 1:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort. No Person shall be convicted of Treason unless on the Testimony of two Witnesses to the same overt Act, or on Confession in open Court.”(1)

Mr. Trump’s disregard for the product rendered by the U.S. intelligence community is more a result of his conceit. When combined with his truculence—on display in his tweets and his coarse, extemporaneous remarks—they seem to act as inhibitors, preventing any measured discourse from entering his thoughts.

(1) High Crimes and Misdemeanors


Quora question: If Trump gets impeached, what will Hillary’s first action be in the White House?

July 7, 2017

My response:  The line of succession following the impeachment of a sitting U.S. president would cede the office to the Vice-President—in this instance, Mike Pence.

Regardless of whether or not foul play was involved, Hillary Clinton, who lost the 2016 presidential election, is not in the line of succession.


Quora question: What exactly is the general opinion of President Trump among those who dislike him?

July 7, 2017

My response:  First, with regard to your question specifically, let me advise you against accepting or making generalizations of people. They oversimplify by ignoring the nuance and substance behind one’s thought processes, and they prematurely close one’s mind to any further probing into the decisions made by the individual.

One’s opinion of Donald Trump depends on how one perceives his character and performance as president, judged against one’s own moral principals and the ethics one ascribes to the office of president of the United States. This seems to range from zealotry to moderate cynicism to outright hatred.

Mr. Trump’s behavior—often dissolute and wholly narcissistic—has engendered questions about his fitness to hold public office from some quarters. Others, however, perceive his chauvinism and abstruse rants as a refreshing rale against the constraints of political correctness run amok—this latter group comprising Mr. Trump’s core base.

Where one opines on Mr. Trump is, for me, less important than the steady erosion of our government’s transparency and its concurrent miasma of stale, creeping despotism.


Quora question: How do I become a good spy?

July 7, 2017

My response:  I have answered many questions like this. I’ll post my answer to one of them, What is the minimum IQ needed to get a top level job at NSA or CIA? as I believe it will suffice here.

“Finely-honed skills—analytic, language, technological—are what make you attractive to any employer in the Intelligence field, not intelligence quotient alone. I’m going to direct you to CIA’s website for Career Opportunites where you can gain a better understanding of what the Agency looks for in a potential employee. Central Intelligence Agency

Good luck to you.”


Quora question: How do US intelligence professionals feel when President Trump says that he is not sure Russian intelligence was behind hacking the 2016 election?

July 7, 2017

My response:  James Clapper, former Director of National Intelligence, reiterated on CNN Thursday that his office’s report, Background to “Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections”: The Analytic Process and Cyber Incident Attribution(1), is 100% accurate in its assessment that Russia directed the cyber attack against the United States 2016 presidential election. He stated he is absolutely certain that it was Russia and Russia alone, under the direction of its President, Vladimir Putin.

When Donald Trump speaks extemporaneously and either discounts the DNI’s report or, worse, hedges on its veracity, he demonstrates his consistent lack of probity. For all his bluster and narcissism, Trump seems to be a man with a very fragile ego. Any question of Russian interference in the 2016 election is a personal attack against him because it invalidates his presidency.

Thus, Mr. Trump displays selective memory; he assigns blame to others. Addressing his audience in Poland on Thursday, Trump compared the likelihood of Russian interference in the U.S. election to the Bush administration’s supposed discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Then paradoxically, apparently having lost his train of thought, he assigned blame to former President Barack Obama for failing to alert the public to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

This plays into Mr. Putin’s hands. Trump cannot excoriate the Russians for something that, in his estimation, has not happened. Putin will continue to offer effusive praise of Mr. Trump, while exacting significant concessions from the U.S. president.

The U.S. intelligence community will continue its efforts to protect America and its interests, despite the insults and vagaries inherent in Trump’s tweets or his rants to his core base. It is unfortunate that Mr. Trump does not possess their restraint and dedication to truth.

(1) https://www.dni.gov/files/docume…


Quora question: Trump on Twitter again called out China doing more trade with North Korea. He called them useless. What are your thoughts?

July 6, 2017

My response:  Donald Trump’s tweets, first importuning China’s Xi Jinping to resolve the issue of North Korea’s nuclear missile program, then reproaching Xi in coarse language, demonstrate the absurdity and infantilism that has come to define Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump does not have a sense of geopolitics, nor is he a statesman. His core base may view this as an asset—it distances him from the Beltway elite and marginalizes mainstream news which he views as spurious. But when negotiating with world leaders who have a keen sense of the extant stratagems employed, Trump’s petulance and lack of perspicacity leave him at a severe disadvantage.

Understanding China’s economic and political ambitions is key to understanding her relationship with North Korea. Even Mr. Trump had to admit that “after listening for 10 minutes [to Xi during his visit to the White House] I realized it’s not so easy.”(1)

China is a member of the IMF but has only 3.8% of the voting share—the same power as Italy, whose economy is five times smaller. As a consequence, China has sought to develop its own set of financial institutions and build Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with countries in its emerging sphere of influence in the South China Sea.(2) It is, therefore, in China’s best interests to maintain stability in the region.

Recently, Beijing has been less conciliatory toward Pyongyang. This past February, China banned the import of coal from North Korea.(3) The Communist Party of China’s mouthpiece, the Global Times, threatened that China could halt petroleum exports to North Korea, a move that would cripple the North Korean economy given it imports nearly all of its crude oil from China.(4)

In light of this, for Trump to characterize Xi’s efforts as “useless” is not only insulting, but a clear indication of his paucity of thought.

Toppling the Pyongyang regime would unleash internal chaos, a flood of refugees across China’s eastern border, and a humanitarian crisis, none of which Beijing could manage. It would also likely expand the reach of the South Korean government across the entire peninsula, thus putting an armed ally of the United States—and U.S. troops—at the edge of Chinese territory(5), a situation Beijing would not tolerate.

In an interview with the Financial Times shortly before his April meeting with Xi, Trump said, “If China is not going to solve North Korea, we will.”(5) How does he plan to do that? A preemptive strike?

Any attempt to resolve the crisis militarily would be disastrous. North Korea has an enormous array of artillery rockets, hundreds of them infused with chemical weapons, and all of them within range of Seoul—the capital of South Korea, just 35 miles south of the border.(5) Twenty million people live within 25 miles of the Korean Demilitarized Zone.

Further still, many of these weapons are within range of Japan and of American troops in the region, placing hundreds of thousands of lives within harm’s way.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un may be erratic, but he’s not suicidal. He is aware that a small number of American nuclear missiles could obliterate his country.

What he does appear to want is for North Korea to be recognized as nuclear weapons-capable, similar to Pakistan. Given that status, he would be willing to come to the negotiating table. Kim could then parlay his country’s stance and participate in non-proliferation pacts in exchange for what his country desperately needs—food, economic aid and trade.

Until Trump realizes this, his own erratic tweets and bellicose posturing serve only to exacerbate tensions—not only in the Pacific Rim but throughout the world.

(1) The Deterioration of the People’s Republics: China’s North Korea Problem
(2) “Rising to China’s Challenge in the Pacific Rim” by Michael B. Runnels
(3) North Korea says old ally China ‘dancing to tune of US’ with coal ban 
(4) The Deterioration of the People’s Republics: China’s North Korea Problem
(5) Trump Is in No Position to Solve North Korea. The Fear Is That He’ll Try.


How do you ask a woman if she’s had an abortion before?

June 8, 2017

Question: How do you ask a woman if she’s had an abortion before?

Answer by Tony Garcia:

I’ll put this very simply: What a woman does with her body is her own business. The ethics of abortion are not at issue here; rather, this is one of privacy and respect. You are asking about the autonomy and dignity of the woman herself.

Pregnancy is not a minor inconvenience. And how a woman chooses to deal with an unwanted pregnancy—it’s accompanying risks, distress and pain—is strictly a personal matter.

When a woman has gained the trust, admiration and respect of her partner, she may choose of her own volition to divulge matters of a highly personal nature. However, unsolicited probing of such intimate details is an insensitive, selfish act. It demonstrates how little regard one has for the emotional and psychological consequences of having the woman relive the experience.

How do you ask a woman if she’s had an abortion before?


How would America and the world be different had RFK not been assassinated?

June 8, 2017

How would America and the world be different had RFK not been assassinated? by Tony Garcia

Answer by Tony Garcia:

Let me explain how I feel about hypothetical questions, especially concerning noted individuals.

In many instances people have an opinion, perhaps a stereotypical one, about a famous person—an actor, businessperson or, in this instance, a politico. Assuming one isn’t working for said politician, one’s opinion of him or her is generally lodged somewhere in the back of one’s mind.

For example, one may believe all conservative politicians are wealthy, bigoted, ethically-challenged zealots. Generally, this belief is buried deep in one’s mind, deeper than one’s more pressing, everyday concerns. Thus the thought does not influence one’s immediate behavior.

But upon hearing a pollster’s hypothetical question challenging the egalitarianism of a conservative politician whose admitted source of news is solely the alt-right media, then one’s opinion of conservatives now moves to the forefront of one’s consciousness, making one even less likely to consider voting for a conservative than before.

Hypothetical questions can be insidious; they can influence one’s thinking and thus one’s behavior, causing one to accept unproven allegations and outright lies over contrary facts and opinions.

You may have your own beliefs about Robert F. Kennedy—a very charismatic figure, borne from an idealistic generation whose veneration of the senator came as much from the death of his brother John as from his own pronouncements on racial inequity and the futility of further participation in the Vietnam Conflict. His denouement was to be felled before reality could intervene.

Washington’s Beltway is notoriously fraught with special and competing interest groups seeking the ear of the president. Those pushing a contrary agenda can miscast the noblest of White House intentions as idiosyncratic zephyrs, ultimately inimical to the public welfare.

In my view, one simply cannot presume that Robert Kennedy could have avoided the lessons proffered by Washington’s power elite, and perhaps the whispers of those forces who foresaw an intractable, 24-year Kennedy-family dynasty as wholly unacceptable.

How would America and the world be different had RFK not been assassinated?


If Oswald wasn’t Kennedy’s assassin, why did he leave the Texas School Book Depository shortly after the assassination without letting an…

June 7, 2017

If Oswald wasn't Kennedy's assassin, why did he leave the Texas School Book Depository shortly after… by Tony Garcia

Answer by Tony Garcia:

You are under the mistaken impression that no one other than Lee Harvey Oswald left the Texas School Book Depository at the time of President Kennedy’s assassination. The following persons who also worked at TSBD left the building without notifying building supervisor Roy Truly:

  • Danny Arce, 18, left at 1:00 pm, accompanied by the police, to go to City Hall.
  • Carolyn Arnold, 20, left at 12:25 pm and did not return.
  • Virgie Rachley, 18, left at 11:45 am and returned at 12:40 pm but was denied entry.
  • Jack Carson, 56, president of TSBD, left at 12:10 pm and did not return.
  • Betty Drago, 27, left at 12:20 pm but found the door locked when she returned. She stayed outside TSBD until 2:30 pm before going home.
  • Buell Wesley Frazier, 19, famously gave Oswald a lift to work that day. He left TSBD between 1:00 and 2:00 pm, about the same time Truly claims he made his roll call.
  • Charles Givens, 38, returned to TSBD after the shooting but was refused entry by a Dallas policeman. An APB was put out for him, and he was later interviewed at City Hall by Captain Will Fritz. Truly was aware of Given’s absence, having seen him prior to the assassination. Truly also saw Oswald prior to his encounter with him in the second-floor lunchroom. Using that logic, Oswald should have been exonerated as well.
  • Gloria Holt, 18, left at 12:10 pm and did not return.
  • Stella Jacob, 20, left at noon and did not return.
  • Judy Johnson, 20, was standing outside TSBD when the shooting began. She remained in the area until 2:00 pm then went home.
  • Dolores Kounas, 32, left at 12:15 pm and stayed outside until 3:00 pm.
  • Sharon Nelson, 19, left at 12:20 pm and never returned. She lived at 409 East 9th Street, near the site where Officer J.D. Tippit was gunned down.
  • Roberta Parker, 55, left at a time unknown, and said she wasn’t allowed back in until 3:30 pm.
  • Bonnie Richey, 20, left the building at 12:20 pm and never returned.
  • Lloyd Viles, 41, left at 12:15 pm and returned at 2:55 pm.
  • Vida Whatley, 45, left at 12:15 pm to go shopping. She tried to re-enter TSBD at 1:00 pm but was denied entry by the police. She went home.
  • Bonnie Ray Williams, 20, accompanied Arce to the police station at 1:00 pm.

If Oswald wasn't Kennedy's assassin, why did he leave the Texas School Book Depository shortly after the assassination without letting an…


Who killed John Kennedy? Lyndon Johnson, the mafia, weapons sellers or the CIA?

May 30, 2017

Who killed John Kennedy? Lyndon Johnson, the mafia, weapons sellers or the CIA? by Tony Garcia

Answer by Tony Garcia:

Your question presumes theories regarding the assassination of President John F. Kennedy—some plausible, some so far-fetched that they beggar belief.

People looking for quick, easy answers to President Kennedy’s murder overlook the perspicacity researchers and essayists have brought to the fore, particularly the earliest critics like Mark Lane, Sylvia Meagher, Penn Jones Jr. and the essayists whose scathing critiques of the Warren Commission’s report put a little-known, conservative Catholic publication, Ramparts, on the map.

Regardless of whether one accepts the Warren Commission’s conclusion that Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone in assassinating President Kennedy, or one believes the House Select Committee on Assassinations who proffered that there was a conspiracy to murder the 35th president, I only suggest that one read the voluminous material written on the subject, particularly the earlier works.

To answer this specific question, however, I will rely on my own analysis in the form of answers to a few of the many questions posed to me on the subject. My response here is lengthy, to be sure; but to ask a serious question on a subject that has flummoxed the public for over half a century, one should at least be prepared to devote some time to the effort.

A) How could Oswald be identified so quickly as a suspect after the Kennedy assassination?

My response: I have answered a question similar to this, If Oswald wasn't Kennedy's assassin, why did he leave the Texas School Book Depository shortly after the assassination without letting anyone know? I shall post that answer below as I feel it applies some perspective to your question as well as refuting some of the answers posted here.

“You are under the mistaken impression that no one other than Lee Harvey Oswald left the Texas School Book Depository at the time of President Kennedy’s assassination. According to the Warren Commission’s own report, the following persons who worked at TSBD also left the building without notifying building supervisor Roy Truly:

  • Danny Arce, 18, left at 1:00 pm, accompanied by the police, to go to City Hall.
  • Carolyn Arnold, 20, left at 12:25 pm and did not return.
  • Virgie Rachley, 18, left at 11:45 am and returned at 12:40 pm but was denied entry.
  • Jack Carson, 56, president of TSBD, left at 12:10 pm and did not return.
  • Betty Drago, 27, left at 12:20 pm but found the door locked when she returned. She stayed outside TSBD until 2:30 pm before going home.
  • Buell Wesley Frazier, 19, famously gave Oswald a lift to work that day. He left TSBD between 1:00 and 2:00 pm, about the same time Truly claims he made his roll call.
  • Charles Givens, 38, returned to TSBD after the shooting but was refused entry by a Dallas policeman. An APB was put out for him, and he was later interviewed at City Hall by Captain Will Fritz. Truly was aware of Given’s absence, having seen him prior to the assassination. Truly also saw Oswald prior to his encounter with him in the second-floor lunchroom. Using that logic, Oswald should have been exonerated as well.
  • Gloria Holt, 18, left at 12:10 pm and did not return.
  • Stella Jacob, 20, left at noon and did not return.
  • Judy Johnson, 20, was standing outside TSBD when the shooting began. She remained in the area until 2:00 pm then went home.
  • Dolores Kounas, 32, left at 12:15 pm and stayed outside until 3:00 pm.
  • Sharon Nelson, 19, left at 12:20 pm and never returned. She lived at 409 East 9th Street, near the site where Officer J.D. Tippit was gunned down.
  • Roberta Parker, 55, left at a time unknown, and said she wasn’t allowed back in until 3:30 pm.
  • Bonnie Richey, 20, left the building at 12:20 pm and never returned.
  • Lloyd Viles, 41, left at 12:15 pm and returned at 2:55 pm.
  • Vida Whatley, 45, left at 12:15 pm to go shopping. She tried to re-enter TSBD at 1:00 pm but was denied entry by the police. She went home.
  • Bonnie Ray Williams, 20, accompanied Arce to the police station at 1:00 pm.”

B) Is the JFK assassination all lies?

My response: I have answered several questions of this ilk. I shall provide two of those questions and my responses to them below.

  • Who assassinated President Kennedy and why?

My answer: Ignore the dogma presented here on Quora. Anytime anyone tells you they have the definitive answer on a subject that has engendered controversy for over half a century, a red flag should go up in your mind.

I answered a similar question, Was the Kennedy assassination a conspiracy? I shall post that answer here and hope it suffices.

“There are many books that have been written on the subject, both pro and con regarding the single assassin theory. Review the findings of the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations; search through scholarly websites, such as the Mary Ferrell Foundation; and especially, search for the earliest works on the assassination—those written from 1965 to 1968—and decide for yourself.”

  • Who were the three tramps that were arrested right after JFK's assassination?

My answer: As an answer to your question, what follows, in part, is the story of Roderick A. MacKenzie. I ask that you tread very carefully here. Read it with a healthy dose of skepticism but also with a mind cognizant of the literature published on the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Then decide for yourself.

Roderick A. MacKenzie III, 77, is a former mobster and forger of police and government identification cards; he is also the author of a self-published book, The Men That Don’t Fit In: The Factual History of a Rogues Life from 1934 to 1967 (2010, Now Available – The Men That Don't Fit In (PDF) – Paranoia Magazine), in which he claims he was employed by Chicago Mafia chieftain Sam Giancana to run a Dallas, Texas safehouse on Holland Avenue when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963.

MacKenzie claims he didn’t know The Big Event was going to happen [my words, as the JFK assassination was referred to by CIA contract agent and mercenary Gerry Patrick Hemming] ; yet soon after it did, he realized the “precarious position” he was in. So he disappeared.

MacKenzie also claims that his “handler” was a member of the Defense Intelligence Security Command (DISC), Jake Miranda, who sent him to CIA’s “Flaps and Seals” school at Fort Detrick, Maryland. (The Secrets Inside the CIA's Off-Limits Spy Museum) The school specialized in making phony documents—a skill MacKenzie was already well acquainted.

MacKenzie’s criminal past and connections to organized crime are well documented. He claims to have been employed by Permindex, a Swiss-based company about which the Italian newspaper Paese Sera wrote a story alleging that individuals connected to the company worked for CIA and had been involved with the OAS (Secret Army Organisation) in plots to assassinate French President Charles DeGaulle. [CIA’s only comment on this was to verify that Clay Shaw had volunteered information to the Agency’s Domestic Contacts Division. In the late 1960’s, Shaw had been accused by New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison of having been involved in the assassination of JFK.] (The Lie That Linked CIA to the Kennedy Assassination and Clay Shaw, Perjurer)

MacKenzie claims to have been in the company of Lee Harvey Oswald and David Ferrie, whom he describes as “queers,” and Jack Ruby, whom he was told by Chicago Mobster Johnny Roselli and Dallas police officer J.D. Tippit, was a “switch hitter,” i.e., bisexual.

According to MacKenzie, his role at the safehouse was essentially that of a janitor; he cleaned up the place. By mid-November MacKenzie claims he was told by Roselli to move out of the safehouse to the Cabana Motel for a few weeks, though to come by the safehouse daily to keep it clean.

What MacKenzie claims he later saw at the safehouse was “a war room for an Army.” The place was littered with maps of Cuba, Houston, Dallas, Fort Worth, the southwestern United States and Gulf of Mexico area. He assumed a hit on Fidel Castro was forthcoming. He says he never gave a thought to it being a hit on the President, and, in fact, he claims that no one at that time and on his level even knew Kennedy was coming to Dallas. [Odd, since news of President Kennedy’s trip to Dallas had already been widely publicized in the newspapers and on radio and telelvision.]

Around the time of the Pepsi Convention in Dallas on November 21, MacKenzie says he was informed by Roselli that “cleaners” would hit the safe house on the 22nd, and he was told to stay away. The cleaners, MacKenzie explains, “are sent into a situation when it has to be wiped clean of any past, and as often as not those involved in the past of the operation are terminated as well.” After the cleaners accomplished their task at the safehouse, MacKenzie was told by Roselli that he could move back in on November 25th.

“The night of November 21st was a very busy night at the Cabana Motel,” according to MacKenzie.” It was noisy, with many Spanish-speaking people hanging around in the parking lot.” MacKenzie claims he saw Frank Sturgis, aka Frank Fiorini, hitman and future Watergate burglar; Richard Nixon; Sam Giancana; and hitwoman Ruth Ann Martinez emerge from vehicles in parking lot.

MacKenzie describes the JFK hit as “a classic, well thought-out hit by a very large cast of characters.” He explains, “They brought just about everyone who was anyone in the business of nastiness and criminality together to witness or unwittingly be part of it. I was one such person. We were all disposable, as well, and did not know that either.” Following the assassination, MacKenzie spent a day drinking with Malcolm “Mac” Wallace, the man whom he claims “had directed the killing teams for Lyndon B. Johnson and his Texas Mafia with the help of the other Mafia.” MacKenzie describes Wallace as “quite talkative, in a conspirator way.”

MacKenzie went on to identify several individuals purportedly associated with President Kennedy’s assassination as having visited or stayed at the safehoues: Jack Rubenstein (Ruby); Mac Wallace; Corsican assassin Jean Souetre, aka Michel Roux, aka Michel Mertz; Jake Miranda; J.D. Tippit; Percy Chauncey Holt; Charles Harrelson, Charles Rogers and several other French or Corsican hitmen.

MacKenzie claims that the three so-called tramps were Charles Harrelson, Percy Chauncy Holt and Mafia hitman Charles Frederick Rogers. They were an additional hit team positioned under the bridge and above the railroad area in case the president was not shot. He also details the entire command structure and layout of the hit team in Dealy Plaza. This can be found in his book and from a search online.

2) You may get dogmatic responses with the latest simulcra attesting to the single assassin theory, despite the fact that you posited a subjunctive situtation. I hope you will go to the answers that befit your question and do as you like with the others.

Beyond the narrowcasting of those with an agenda, I ask that you look at the findings of the House Select Committee on Assassinations, the second major government investigation of the JFK assassination, after the Warren Commission. Its second Chief Counsel, G. Robert Blakey, and its lead investigator, Gaeton Fonzi, have both reasserted the Committee’s conclusion that “President Kennedy was probably killed as a result of a conspiracy.” (Table of Contents (HSCA, JFK Assassination)

A confluence of organized crime, anti-Castro Cuban exiles and rogue elements of the intelligence community were, according to the HSCA, involved in the plotting, execution and cover-up of President John F. Kennedy’s murder. The release of formerly classified documents by the Assassination Records Review Board reveals that CIA withheld key evidence sought by the Committee (The Assassination Records Review Board Report).

Blakey asserts that CIA obstructed their investigation and withheld crucial information on Lee Harvey Oswald, his activities in New Orleans and in the months before he went to Dallas, and, in particular, Oswald’s attempts to infiltrate an anti-Castro group, the Directorio Revolucionario Estudiantil or DRE.

Blakey believes a CIA-Mafia plot to kill Cuban leader Fidel Castro was then turned on President Kennedy. The anti-Castroites held tremendous antipathy toward President Kennedy for failing to provide air cover during the failed Bay of Pigs affair (despite warnings from several CIA analysts that the operation was doomed from the start and that there would be no uprising by the Cuban people against Castro).

The Mafia thought they had a deal: their help to get Kennedy elected in exchange for a complaisant Justice Department. The month after the election, though, John Kennedy announced that he was making his brother Robert Attorney General. Speaking from the steps of the Department of Justice, Robert made it clear that he intended to use the office to wage war on organized crime.

By early 1962, using new laws and specialized intelligence, the Attorney General had top gangsters on the run. Three hundred and fifty mobsters were indicted in that year alone, topping the total number from the Appalachia meeting in 1957 through 1961. The Attorney General pressed for the deportation of any mafiosi who could be shown to be illegal aliens; New Orleans Mafia boss Carlos Marcello had been flown out of the country to Guatemala—though he subsequently returned. There were new efforts to expel Mafia underbosses Frank Costello and Johnny Rosselli (THE CLAIMS THAT MAFIA BOSSES TRAFFICANTE AND MARCELLO ADMITTED INVOLVEMENT IN ASSASSINATING PRESIDENT KENNEDY).

Rosselli and Chicago Mafia don Sam Giancana had hoped for special treatment because both had been involved in CIA plots to assassinate Fidel Castro and—as Giancana put it—considered they had been “working for the government.” FBI wiretaps make clear Giancana simmered with rage. After the deal-making of the election—when his efforts had helped deliver Illinois for Kennedy—he felt he had been double crossed.

“The Mob typically doesn’t hit prosecutors or politicians,” said Robert Blakey. “You are all right…just as long as you do not `sleep with them’; that is, you do not take favors, either money or sex. Once the public official crosses the line, he invites violent retribution.” (see: FBI WATCH Making Cruelty visible)

There was a comment Trafficante had made in 1975, while being taped during an FBI surveillance operation. “Now only two people are alive,” the FBI microphone had picked up Trafficante saying—in conversation with Marcello—“who know who killed Kennedy.”

In 1994, Frank Ragano, an attorney who long represented Trafficante, Marcello, and Teamsters union leader Jimmy Hoffa made remarkable claims in a new memoir, “Santo, Carlos, and Jimmy.” He wrote that the three had often spoken of their wish to see both Kennedy brothers dead. In July 1963, Ragano claimed, Hoffa had sent him to New Orleans to ask Trafficante and Marcello to kill the President. When he passed on this message, Ragano wrote, the mobsters’ response led him to think the idea “had already seriously crossed their minds.” (THE CLAIMS THAT MAFIA BOSSES TRAFFICANTE AND MARCELLO ADMITTED INVOLVEMENT IN ASSASSINATING PRESIDENT KENNEDY).

After the assassination, a gleeful Hoffa had supposedly exclaimed, “I told you they could do it. I’ll never forget what Carlos and Santo did for me.” Marcello supposedly said, “When you see Jimmy, you tell him he owes me and he owes me big.”

There is a theory extant that FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover was involved, particularly with regard to the cover-up. I dismiss this theory as I feel the FBI’s unwillingness to investigate the crime is due more to bureaucratic ennui and an effort to conceal former FBI agent Guy Bannister’s involvement—though Hoover’s close associations with known mobsters and right-wing extremists H.L. Hunt and Clint Murchison bear more than passing scrutiny.

The notion of the far right-wing’s imvolvement has been considered. Racists with ties to the militant right-wing groups the Minutemen and the John Birch Society, like Joseph Milteer, whose prediction of the precise scenario in which President Kennedy would be murdered was captured on a police intelligence surveillance tape (Joseph Milteer — Foreknowledge of the JFK Assassination?); General Edwin Walker, whom Robert Kennedy forced to resign from the Army (Did Lee Harvey Oswald Shoot at General Edwin Walker?); and oil barons like H. L. Hunt and Clint Murchison, who stood to lose millions of dollars with Kennedy’s proposed removal of the oil depletion allowance, have also been implicated. (see: Oil Depletion Allowance)

It is plausible that fascist individuals or groups may have had advance knowledge of the assassination, but there is no evidence directly linking them to the shooting.

As for whether Oswald was in that sniper’s nest on the sixth floor of the Texas Schoolbook Depository, I will offer just these five items from both the Warren Commission’s report or hearings, and that of the HSCA:

  • The rifle contained no identifiable fingerprints, WCH, vol.4, p.258.
  • Of the 19 book cartons by the window in the south–east corner of the sixth floor, only two contained Oswald’s fingerprints or palmprints, and only one of those prints had been deposited within three days of the assassination, WCR, pp.138–144 [emphasis mine].
  • One palmprint remained unidentified, and presumably belonged to an employee or assassin who was not Oswald, WCH, vol.26, p.799. Note: This print was later compared to a 1951 print of Malcolm Wallace, a Lyndon Johnson associate. A 14-point match by latent print examiner Nathan Darby confirmed the print belonged to Wallace.
  • Arnold Rowland saw two men on the sixth floor of the TSBD at about the same time as Carolyn Arnold saw Oswald elsewhere in the building, WCH, vol.2. p.171.
  • And finally, Joseph Milteer’s prediction that Kennedy would be shot “from an office building with a high–powered rifle … they will pick up somebody within hours afterwards … just to throw the public off,” HSCA, appendix vol.3, p447.

C) Technically, are any shooters seen in the footage of John F. Kennedy’s assassination?

My response: The answer provided by Ms. Stockton is incorrect. There were several home movie films of the assassination and the immediate aftermath in Dealey Plaza. Here are the names of the people who shot those films:

  • Abraham Zapruder
  • Marie Muchmore
  • Orville Nix
  • Mark Bell
  • Robert Hughes
  • Charles Bronson
  • Malcolm Couch
  • Dave Wiegman, Jr.
  • Jack Daniel (shot as the president’s limousine sped away from Dealey Plaza)
  • Jack Martin
  • Tom Alyea (shot as officers searched the sixth floor of TSBD)

Many of the films can be seen on the Mary Ferrell Foundation website(1). The others may be found on YouTube.

Several researches have parse these films and obtained images, reflections and stills that are of note. Watch them and decide for yourself.

(1) Main Page

D) What is the true story behind the death of President John F. Kennedy?

My response: I have answered many questions on this subject. At this time, I shall only make four points:

  1. Be wary of anyone who avers that they have the definitive answer on this conundrum. Two government investigations into the murder of President John F. Kennedy have reached far different conclusions.
  2. Over the past two generations, dozens of books and articles have been written on the subject. I suggest that you first search out the earliest works, 1965 through 1970, as they are without revisionism. In particular, read the articles written in Ramparts, a 1960’s literary quarterly written for “the mature American Catholic.”(1) The contributors to this small magazine were among the first to question the Warren Commission Report with a solemn and scholarly approach.
  3. As I have stated, I have attempted to answer various forms of this question on Quora. Read my answers as well as proponents and critics of both the Warren Commission and the House Select Committee on Assassinations.
  4. Come to your own conclusions.

(1) Books of The Times

Who killed John Kennedy? Lyndon Johnson, the mafia, weapons sellers or the CIA?


Is UFO secrecy a defense issue or an economic issue?

May 29, 2017

Is UFO secrecy a defense issue or an economic issue? by Tony Garcia

Answer by Tony Garcia:

My apologies for sounding glib, but the answer is both and neither of the two, depending upon which hole of the UFO fence you peek through.

If by UFO you do not mean extraterrestrial craft and are referring to unidentified aerial phenomena that will eventually become identified, then the arguments center around a) defense, i.e., the intrusion of and control over one’s own airspace, and b) the possibility that an alternative source of propulsion, zero-point energy or an anti-gravity mechanism, has been developed that could replace fossil fuels, much to the consternation of energy companies who foresee the loss of billions of dollars in profits.

On the other hand, if you presuppose that the skies are being frequented by intelligently-controlled craft that defy current description and are not of this time and/or space, then one must consider one of two possible scenarios:

  1. As physicist Stephen Hawking warned, “intelligent aliens may be rapacious marauders, roaming the cosmos in search of resources to plunder and planets to conquer and colonize.” (1|2)
  2. In 1960 NASA asked the Brookings Institute to study the social, economic, political, legal, and international implications of the use of space for peaceful and scientific purposes. Brookings issued a report, Proposed Studies on the Implications of Peaceful Space Activities for Human Affairs, by Donald N. Michael, that postulated on the response of the American people should there be contact with extraterrestrials or evidence of their existence, such as structures on the moon. The Report advised the government to withhold any evidence of extraterrestrial contact from the public.

(1) Stephen Hawking Is Still Afraid of Aliens
(2) Stephen Hawking's chilling warning for humanity
(3) http://www.nicap.org/papers/broo…

Is UFO secrecy a defense issue or an economic issue?


Why was KGB dissolved?

May 29, 2017

Why was KGB dissolved? by Tony Garcia

Answer by Tony Garcia:

In retrospect, following the disintegration of the Soviet Union (USSR) and the emergence of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), it appears that the quick dissolution of the KGB was a tactic designed by then-Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to quell the growing Russian public’s distaste of the intelligence organization—a distaste that could well have led to rioting and the seizure of KGB files. (1)

(1) KGB

Why was KGB dissolved?


Why does Stephen Hawking assume that aliens who make contact with earth will be hostile?

May 27, 2017

Why does Stephen Hawking assume that aliens who make contact with earth will be hostile? by Tony Garcia

Answer by Tony Garcia:

I answered a similar question, Why did Hawking warn us not to touch the aliens? I’ll post that answer below as I feel it suffices.

Your assumptions regarding the intentions of extraterrestrial life roaming the universe are not the consensus among scientists who explore the cosmos. In 2010, Stephen Hawking warned against contact with extraterrestrials, stating that “intelligent aliens may be rapacious marauders, roaming the cosmos in search of resources to plunder and planets to conquer and colonize.” (1|2)

As an answer to a similar question, “What do you think about Hawking’s and others’ statement that aliens could be a serious threat for us?” I responded with the following:

“Every time I step on an anthill or ask my local pest remover to rid the house of a hornet’s nest, I have become an alien venturing into their world, showing my disdain and discomfort for them as they intrude into my space—regardless of whether or not their residence preceded my own.”

(1) Stephen Hawking Is Still Afraid of Aliens
(2) Stephen Hawking's chilling warning for humanity

Why does Stephen Hawking assume that aliens who make contact with earth will be hostile?


Quora question: Why did Deutsche Bank give Trump a new loan after not only Trump defaulting, but also suing Deutsche Bank? Is that normal practice for banks?

December 9, 2017

My response:

I would suggest that Mr. Morris’s answer has little to do with the real reasons Deutsche Bank lent Trump hundreds of millions of dollars after Trump defaulted on a $40 million dollar loan payment. This occurred after Trump sued the bank for $3 billion dollars, claiming Deutsche Bank had precipitated the 2008 financial crisis—all of this when no other American bank would lend money to Trump.

Handelsblatt Global has reported on the Department of Justice’s subpoena of records relating to $10 billion dollars worth of Russian money laundering as it refers to Trump associates.[1] The nexus of the looting of the former Soviet Union, the money laundering by Deutsche Bank and its willingness to lend money to Trump, considered a fiduciary pariah, is about to be revealed.

[1] Deutsche Bank: Heikle Post von US-Sonderermittler Mueller


Quora question: How does one explain Trump’s Teflon-like ability to be immune to things that would kill other politicians? As he said, he could “stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody”, and not “lose any voters”?

December 8, 2017

My response:

Donald Trump degrades anyone whom he opposes in the same manner that youths insult each other as an alternative to fisticuffs. The verbal put-downs delivered on the street corner are meant not only to deride but to leave one’s opponent nonplussed. Where a fight is likely to ensue, one has the opportunity to flee from a more aggressive opponent.

In the age of social media, where there is no face-to-face confrontation, bullies have less to fear. They can deliver their devolved rhetoric while hiding behind an avatar or an IP address.

Trump uses his opponents aura of civility against them. While his rants feature the limited vocabulary of one who eschewed learning the nuance of language at an early age, his opponents incorrectly assume they are playing on a level, erudite field. They refrain from the puerility of immaturity while Trump revels in it.

Trump has neither the intellect nor the temperament to engage in reasoned discourse. Facts are not on his side, nor is logic. His terrain is that of the privileged illiterate. His language, thus, reflects this paucity of verbal skills. Conversely, it is these very skills that the disenfranchised ascribe to the entrenched Beltway elite.

Washington insiders often speak around a subject, never addressing the core question. They raise a wall of obfuscation that alienates constituents who seek plain-spoken answers to issues that plague them.

Trump tapped into this frustration. He contemns his opponents the same way millions of Americans do at home, at work or at the tavern. His language is clear and, yes, infantile—but it’s meaning is unmistakable. And when it is coupled with base fears borne from an ideology that emphasizes prejudice, it tugs at the heartstrings of millions of Whites who fear their loss of ethnic privilege.


Quora question: Is getting rid of Al Franken in fulfillment of Trump’s campaign promise to “drain the swamp”?

December 7, 2017

My response:

Donald Trump did not order nor did he implement proceedings to remove Minnesota Senator (D) Al Franken from office. Sen. Franken’s decision to leave office was the result of accusations of sexual misconduct leveled against him by five women, and his admission of some measure of culpability. These are the same types of charges and odious behavior Trump admitted to during the 2016 presidential campaign.

The inescapable conclusion one draws from this is that any admission of guilt leads to the end of one’s political career, while denying the charges—despite being leveled by credible victims, many with accompanying evidence—allows one to be elected.

Your question unmasks the hypocrisy inherent in Trump and his legion of supporters. It seeks to falsely attribute an act of moral authority to Trump, who is not only a man bereft of any moral compass, but admittedly guilty as charged.

It is further evidence of the narrowcasting of Trump supporters, people who cherry-pick incidents in support of their specious arguments.


Quora question: How do African Americans, that are descendants from slaves, cope with the fact that they have some European ancestry?

December 2, 2017

My response:

Cope? Why do you assume that there is some sort of cognitive dissonance in the minds of anyone of mixed race, much less the descendants of slaves?

Forgiveness has long been a hallmark of Black churches. And while the descendants of slaves recognize the historical transgressions of Whites over People of Color, it is not a fact that affects their every waking moment.

However, forgiveness does not mean forgetfulness. People of color are constantly reminded of the sense of second-class citizenship imposed upon them by the reprehensible actions of those who fear the eradication of White privilege through the ascendance of social equality, and by people who hide their racism behind specious inquiries that reveal one’s bias against miscegenation.


Quora question: Do people believe in the sexual allegation claims, and if so why? If the allegations are true, why don’t the women/men go to the police?

December 2, 2017

My response:

Your question avoids all the issues of power, intimidation and threats of physical violence sexual predators hold over their victims. You presume that the victims—young and impressionable—are uncowed by the real positions of power the perpetrators hold, like Roy Moore who began his pattern of deviant sexual behavior while an Assistant District Attorney. Moore not only knew his victims would not be believed had they reported the incidents, but that he could have them arrested on spurious charges. He also made this clear to his victims.

You further presume that these young girls—remember, one victim was only 14 years old at the time of the assault—have the courage and fortitude many adults do not possess. You ignore the shame these victims felt for allowing themselves to be put into such a vulnerable position.

Your question further mitigates the behavior of the sexual predator by placing the onus on a child; they did not go to shopping malls seeking to be sexually violated by a grown man.

Your dilution of the victims’ truths by qualifying your question with “If” further exacerbates the problem of reporting sexual assault by presuming that the abused are motivated by some ulterior motive. What benefit is there in being shamed and ridiculed by people like yourself? Where is there any financial incentive when none of these women have sought legal redress through the courts? What political propriety has been violated by these women, themselves Republicans, who have come forward with the truth?

The only real question left here is why some people feel emboldened to defend sexual predators.


Quora question: Did Michael Flynn have an option to not talk to the FBI during the Russia investigation? Did he have an option to refuse answering a particular question instead of lying?

December 2, 2017

My response:

Your question avoids the ethical dilemma here. The option is not to evade particular questions, as you suggest; the option is not to lie.

Michael Flynn is not a novice civics student. He has spent decades serving the United States in both the military and in government. He is well aware of the restrictions imposed upon government officials and thus responsible for his conduct. Despite this, Flynn’s behavior while serving as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency was so egregious that then Director of National Intelligence James Clapper removed him from that position.

Given the disdain Donald Trump feels for Beltway officials and the Constitution of the United States, as well as his own lack of ethics, Trump appointees like Flynn may have felt impervious to any legal repercussions for their deceit. After all, lies, as has been shown, are the underpinnings of the Trump administration.

Perhaps the height of this arrogance was Flynn’s decision to speak to agents of the FBI without accompanying legal representation.

Now Michael Flynn has chosen to “flip”—not out of an epiphany or crisis of conscious but more so to minimize further damage to his reputation and to keep his son out of jail.


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