Demographics on the Ground

I live in the 10th Congressional District of Virginia, in the southwestern corner of Fairfax County, which on its eastern side is just across the river from Washington, DC. The Republican, Frank Wolf, was my Congressman when we moved here in 1983, up until his retirement in 2014. After 1982, Wolf won re-election by large margins every two years. His former aide, Barbara Comstock, a “moderate” Republican, succeeded him and won re-election in 2016, although, uncharacteristically, the Democrat, Hillary Clinton, won the presidential vote in the district by 10 percentage points. Noting the changing demographics of her district, Comstock had been one of the never-Trumpers in the GOP, and it had probably saved her in 2016, but the handwriting was on…

FULL ARTICLE

Befuddled Juror in Thomas Merton Book Verdict

Befuddled Juror in Thomas Merton Book Verdict My copy of the quarterly Merton Seasonal, published jointly by the International Thomas Merton Society and the Thomas Merton Center of Bellarmine University, has arrived, and I see that they have finally stopped ignoring The Martyrdom of Thomas Merton: An Investigation, written by Hugh Turley and yours truly and published in March of 2018. The Winter 2018 edition upon the 50th anniversary of Merton’s untimely and mysterious death in Thailand on December 10, 1968, is on the general theme of Merton’s demise. On the cover is a photograph of Merton’s grave marker at his home Gethsemani Abbey near Bardstown, Kentucky. The modest black and white magazine, 43 pages in length, contains six articles and two…

FULL ARTICLE

Daniel Best: Trump’s Vince Foster?

Hey, Donald, do you see anything fishy here? Snopes.com, of all people, has a good summary of the basic known facts in this very recent high-level suspicious death case: On 1 November 2018, the Trump administration’s senior adviser on drug pricing reform, Daniel Best, was found “unresponsive” near the garage door exit of a Washington, D.C., apartment building. He was pronounced dead at the scene by first responders. A statement released the same day by Health and Human Services Secretary (HHS) Alex Azar mourned Best as a “friend and colleague” but addressed neither the circumstances nor the cause of his death. No other details were released to the public. Two weeks later, on 15 November, the office of Washington, D.C.’s chief medical examiner announced that…

FULL ARTICLE

Hillbilly Agent?

The first time I ever heard of the new young author, J.D. Vance, I was listening to National Public Radio (NPR) sometime during the 2016 presidential campaign, and he was the subject of an interview. The NPR interviewer seemed to love the guy and his message. The subject at hand was his newly published book at the time, Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. To say that the book has received a great deal of media attention and that it has been wildly popular is almost an understatement. As of this writing it has received 11,692 customer reviews on Amazon, with an average rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. It has also received generally favorable…

FULL ARTICLE

Scarce News on Admiral Stearney’s Death

If you are a regular reader of The Jerusalem Post you would have learned on December 1 that the top officer for all U.S. Navy operations in the Middle East, Vice Admiral Scott Stearney, had been found dead in his home in Bahrain. The Reuters wire story that The Jerusalem Post was simply passing on was an official statement from U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, John Richardson. The statement gave no cause of death or any other information except to assure us that foul play was not suspected. If you get your news from The Washington Post, on the other hand, you wouldn’t even know that much, right up to the time that I am penning this report. Try searching “Scott Stearney Washington Post” and…

FULL ARTICLE

Who is Donald Trump?

(Editorial Note: This piece originally  appeared on Dave Martin’s site in May 2017 but has lost none of its timeliness since then.) Now that our newly elected president has quickly and unceremoniously dropped all pretense of being opposed to the neocon-neoliberal American Empire agenda, one has to wonder why the mainstream media, led by The Washington Post and The New York Times, seem to feel the need to keep pounding away at him so viciously. His cabinet, with its Wall Street and Goldman Sachs connections, looks just like what we would have gotten had Hillary Clinton been elected, and so does his foreign policy. His United Nations ambassador, former Marco Rubio supporter and Republican pro-Israel establishment darling, Nikki Haley, has probably been…

FULL ARTICLE

What We Know about Thomas Merton’s Death

Paper by David Martin and Hugh Turley presented to Thomas Merton Symposium, Pontifical Antheneum, Rome, Italy, June 13, 2018 The state of knowledge of Thomas Merton’s death can best be described as highly unsatisfactory.  Michael Mott’s 1984 authorized biography, The Seven Mountains of Thomas Merton, has been taken as the last word on the subject. Everyone who has written about Merton’s death since then—and there are many—has apparently accepted his explanation of how Merton was electrocuted by a defective fan, departing from his description on occasion only with their own embellishments, based solely upon imagination rather than new research. This is unfortunate, because Mott leaves a lot of loose ends.  First, he quotes directly from the just-then-revealed conclusion of the Thai police report, a document that only a…

FULL ARTICLE

“Seth Rich Confidante” Escaped to Russia

Edward Snowden and John Mark Dougan are both relatively young American whistleblowers who have been granted political asylum by the Russian government. Dougan could be the more important of the two “fugitives,” but almost no one in the United States has heard of him, while almost every halfway-informed person has heard of Snowden. This fact speaks well of Dougan, suggesting that he might well be the more genuine of the two. Snowden is a former CIA operative who spilled a lot of beans about surveillance of the public by the National Security Agency (NSA), perhaps beans that they really didn’t mind seeing spilled. Dougan is a former Marine and former police officer who used his considerable computer skills to embarrass the leadership of his former…

FULL ARTICLE

Seventeen Techniques for Truth Suppression

(Editorial Note: This is a classic piece that originally appeared on Dave Martin’s website) Strong, credible allegations of high-level criminal activity can bring down a government. When the government lacks an effective, fact-based defense, other techniques must be employed. The success of these techniques depends heavily upon a cooperative, compliant press and a mere token opposition party. Dummy up. If it’s not reported, if it’s not news, it didn’t happen. Wax indignant. This is also known as the “How dare you?” gambit. Characterize the charges as “rumors” or, better yet, “wild rumors.” If, in spite of the news blackout, the public is still able to learn about the suspicious facts, it can only be through “rumors.” (If they tend to…

FULL ARTICLE

The Charlottesville Operation

(Editorial note: This in-depth article, which first appeared nearly a year ago on Dave Martin’s site is timely once again, since the media has been running a lot of pieces commemorating the first anniversary of this bogus event.  Also, listen to Dave’s interview from Kevin Barrett’s radio show.) It was May of 1970 and my wife and I, both graduate students at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, had joined hundreds of other people, most of whom were students, in an enormous march around Chapel Hill in protest of the shooting of demonstrators at Kent State University and incursion into Cambodia, expanding the Vietnam War. As we were marching toward Franklin Street, the main drag in the town,…

FULL ARTICLE