“Our Father” knows best

[William] Barr’s path into the apparatus of the state is one on which he followed his father’s footsteps. Donald had worked at the Office of Strategic Services, the precursor of the Central Intelligence Agency. While William was still a student at Columbia, where his father had also enjoyed a distinguished career as a teacher and administrator, he worked as a summer intern at the CIA and in 1973, took up his first full-time job there as an analyst.

That same year Donald Barr published an atrocious science fiction novel called Space Relations and dedicated it to his wife as a token of “thirty years’ love.” It is a probe launched from conservative, white, male America into the strange inner worlds of its own psyche in the Nixon years. As literature, it is excruciating. But it deals in a usefully unguarded way with themes that bear heavily on William Barr’s present position as Trump’s most formidable enabler: the legacy of slavery, Catholic sexual dogma, the proper response to revolt from below…

…Space Relations is really a thinly disguised plantation novel in which (Planet} Kossar serves as the Old South. Readers are being pointed in the direction of some allegory of American history…”

“The literary sins of the father—especially ones as grave as Space Relations—should not be visited on the son. There is, however, a very strong connection between Donald Barr’s hard-line Catholicism and William Barr’s present position as the main (perhaps the sole) intellectual buttress of Trump’s presidency. That connection lies in the idea of authority.”

And so it goes…

Oppenheimer’s reputation repaired by unredacted security records


Oppenheimer with a socialist who wouldn’t be allowed into the country, today

The release of unredacted transcripts of secret government hearings held in 1954 by the Atomic Energy Commission produced headlines last week as the disclosures reaffirmed the once-questioned loyalty of Los Alamos Manhattan Project mastermind J. Robert Oppenheimer.

Many are asking why it took six decades to release the previously secret sections, other than that the now-restored portions tended to exonerate Oppenheimer. One expert says there was no classified information in the redactions.

All questions of security in the United States are regulated by paranoid idiots.

In a monumental fall from grace, Oppenheimer went from the man who harnessed the power of the atom for the bombs that ended World War II to losing his security clearance after the AEC hearings amid accusations that this chain-smoking American eccentric was a Soviet spy.

The hearings were held against the backdrop of 1950s red-scare America, fueled by factors including the fact that Oppenheimer’s brother and wife had been communists, and his lack of enthusiasm for building the more powerful hydrogen or “Super” bomb.

RTFA. The JOURNAL isn’t quite as much of a PITA as some. They don’t require registration; but, you must answer one or more survey questions which earns them relevant baksheesh I guess.

Cold War hysteria fit perfectly into the reactionary politics of the American establishment post-WW2. Oppenheimer, with a scientist’s objectivity and reliance on observable and verifiable fact did not. Our politicians would rather reject talent than admit their foolishness. Which is why government transparency is a contradiction in terms.

His earnestness about trying to build peace – alienated him from hawkish thugs like Edward Teller who wanted more and bigger bombs every week [and got them] – sealed the deal. No pleas for peace in imperial ideology.

I was lucky enough to meet Dr. Oppenheimer a couple of times. He was just part of the audience at discussions about working to promote peace at forums sponsored by the Committee for a Sane Nuclear Policy.