At play on The Devil's Chessboard
By Art Goodtimes
POST WWII HISTORY … Ever since high school, I’ve been a history junkie. It was George Orwell in his prophetic novel “1984” that had the book’s tyrannical regime chanting in lockstep, “Who controls the past controls the future.” Hard not to see the truth of that thought. Visit some of our nation’s largest reservations to squelch any doubts … Many of us contest the idea of American exceptionalism, but having been conceived in war and born in peace, I share a narrow slice of American historical perspective that only a handful of us can claim. We have lived our lives amid an isolated peace while watching our dispersed troops mired in foreign wars, trainings, and police actions … Still, I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the times of those years after World War II when I first grew up – listening at 5 to mom’s kitchen radio speak of Stalin’s death and seeing at 7 my first TV image, which happened to be the atomic bomb blast at the Bikini Island test site …. But it’s taken David Talbot’s “The Devil’s Chessboard” (HarperCollins, 2015) to clarify the murk of the recent past with its intentional mud-making and trap-door narratives. I thought I had a pretty good grasp on the cabal of elite interests that ran what historian Peter Dale Scott took to calling our “deep politics.” I may not have understood exactly who had the Kennedys killed, but I knew it wasn’t the “official” line. I knew that the Gulf of Tonkin falsification at the start of the Vietnam War, like the Weapons of Mass Destruction falsification at the start of the Iraq War, were far too convenient excuses not to have been at least “helped along” if not entirely fabricated … Still, it took Talbot’s book to help me really understand the insidious dark gloves of the Dulles Brothers in America after the Second World War – Nixon’s rise to power, McCarthyism, the creation of the CIA, the overthrow of Mossadegh in Iran and Arbenz in Guatemala, the failed Bay of Pigs invasion. The list goes on & on … No two men have done more harm to the world and America’s role in it, at the behest of the 1 percent, than John Foster and Allan Dulles. This is history’s indictment. Be vigilant. Read this book.
THE TALKING GOURD
Some aspire to
& some prefer
Know what to expect in our future … Highly recommended.
THORIUM … Back in the ’50s, under the influence of the Dulles brothers, the United States made a fateful decision to put all its nuclear eggs in a uranium basket. It wasn’t their only choice … Uranium as a nuclear fuel created plutonium, which Eisenhower & the Dulles brothers wanted to use to make atomic bombs for their Cold War standoff with the Russians. The other choice was thorium. As Pallava Bagla noted in the Nov. 13th issue of Science magazine, “Compared with uranium, the standard reactor fuel, thorium is more abundant and harder to divert to weapons production, and it yields less radioactive waste” … After Three-Mile Island, Chernobyl and Fukushima, private capital is scared to death of the liability associated with uranium-fueled reactors, and only heavily-subsidized governmentinsured facilities have been built … But some countries, like India, Norway and China, are rushing to develop thoriumfueled nuclear reactors. Thorium molten salt reactors are particularly attractive because of their potential safety advantage – their fissile materials can easily be drained into a storage tank to stop any fission chain reaction … As Jean-Pierre Revol, president of the International Thorium Energy Committee in Switzerland, notes, “The world has been paying a price for the wrong technology choice” – ever since the U.S., according to Bagla, “went whole hog into uranium.”
SISTER LOVE … “They made ninja Christmas cookies this year, because my nephew likes ninjas. When I said that sounds kind of violent and I’d prefer the typical gingerbread people (typical for the Kopestonsky sisters, i.e. elaborately decorated as a Russian folk dancer with fancy trim on her shirt, a hula dancer with a flowered bikini, lei, grass skirt, headdress, and an avant-garde Santa with purple hair and a green suit), they assured me these ninjas are socially conscious – they’re fighting prejudice, trampling the patriarchy, smashing misogyny. Or helping Santa … Only my sister could make me feel joyously fond of ninja cookies! They even made a deep-sea scuba diving ninja … Now the fighting ninjas and gingerbread dancers are co-existing peacefully in my stomach – ninjas learning to dance while gingerbread dancers learn to fight against injustice, all gradually being incorporated into my cells as I find my own balance between fighting against my resistance and dancing with life as is.” – Kyra Kopestonsky
ODD BODKINS … No cartoon strip tantalized the minds of Sixties’ hippies as well as Dan O’Neill’s brilliant hallucinatory four-part panels that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle, back in the day (before the Hearst thugs bought out the paper). Then he unwisely roasted Disney characters with a violent comic book spoof and faced the full force of corporate fury. He’s been in hiding up in Nevada City (CA) ever since … The only paper he publishes in now, and that very sporadically, is Downieville’s Mountain Messenger. My poet buddy Doc Dachtler sends me copies. If you can find him (his books are out of print) and get access to his cartoons, you risk becoming an O’Neill groupie. Not recommended for the straight of heart.
CATCH & KEEP … It’s out of season to know this, but lodge this in mind for the coming summer … According to the Upper Colorado River Endangered Fish Recovery Program, a hundred years ago only 13 native fish species swam the upper Colorado and its tributaries (including the Dolores and the San Miguel). Now they’ve been joined by 50 non-native species. Both Utah and Wyoming have “Catch & Keep” regulations that make it illegal to release certain non-native predators back into local streams (Colorado ought to have a law like that too). They make it illegal to toss Smallmouth Bass, Northern Pike or Walleye back into lakes or streams after they’ve been hooked and landed … And whether it’s a law or not, it’s good ecological practice. Let’s all help to prevent the spread of non-native species in our local lakes and streams.
WEEKLY QUOTA … Citing an earlier piece in Scientific American, a reader’s letter suggests the story “exposes a paradox that experimenters must ignore if they wish to preserve the illusion of behaving ethically when studying infant monkeys. Researchers perform tests on primate infants to understand the behavior of humans raised under stressful conditions. For the results to have any value, they must therefore recognize that human and monkey brains and personalities share similar developmental pathways. But if monkeys are similar enough to be useful experimental models, how can these trials be anything other than cruel and unethical?” –Bill Tarver, Wokingham, England (SA, October, 2015)
Art Goodtimes is a five-term county commissioner in San Miguel County, Colo.