The JFK Files and Emergent Conspiracy

The JFK assassination archive has been scheduled to be opened since 1992, when George H. W. Bush established a deadline for declassifying them. That is supposed to happen this thursday. Various people are speculating that it will drive conspiracy theorists wild, so I’m going to take full advantage of this opportunity to be very wrong, by making some guesses what we’ll learn.

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It’s Hard to Know But I Have Suspicions

When you’ve got over half a trillion dollars at stake, people will do or say pretty much anything. So it gets hard to figure out what’s going on when you read headlines in the form of “X is an ongoing disaster” alongside of “great cost-savings achieved via X” for any given X. It’s hard to be both a tremendous success and an ongoing disaster. I am, naturally, referring to the latest news about the F-35 program.

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The Myth of Self-Defense

Strategy is the process of imagining possible futures and how they come about, then “pruning” back the lines of causality to try to infer what actions will get you there. It’s an active process that stresses a person’s creativity and analytic skills. The hardest part, I believe, is coming up with (and eliminating) endless hypotheticals of everything that could go wrong right now for any given now. This, however, is the essence of strategy.

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See This Movie (Movie Review: Threads)

Warning: War, Death

Administrative note: I made an error attributing the movie and confused a different movie with a release of the same film under a different name. Explanation is [here] – in order to reduce confusion, I have done an edit-pass. If you see comments about how I am talking about the wrong movie, they are correct with respect to the initial version of this posting. Sorry about the confusion!

I don’t know if I have the necessary skill to convey how upsetting this topic is. I wish I could borrow the skills of Orpheus from somewhere, and get other people to watch it, get angry and scared, and – do something. I don’t even know what we can do, trapped as we are in the reality of nationalism and out-of-control militarism.

Threads is about the horrible deaths our political leaders have prepared for us.

If you don’t like spoilers, don’t read any further. But there’s really nothing to spoil. You already know roughly what happens.

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Playing With Triggers

Whenever we read an account of the beginning of WWI it’s necessary for the historian to first lay out the landscape of interlocking defense treaties that turned Europe into a sort of Venn diagram of fantasy militarism. To me, it’s a reminder of the great Avalon Hill game Diplomacy which we played in my high school Military History Club (AKA: D&D club) – everyone secretly negotiating with everyone else against everyone else. For Europe, the results were grim, and I needn’t go into them.

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