Happenings in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave

There’s something happening here/
What it is ain’t exactly clear.”
– Buffalo Springfield

The Sunday newspaper had been left on the park bench.  Its book page had lists of best-sellers, as if numbers two through ten could be the “best” along with number one.  Absurdities were everywhere for the taking.  On the Non-Fiction Hardcover list, numbers 3, 5, and 10 each had the word fuck in the title.  The books were published by two old and respected publishing houses: Harper and Little Brown.  However, something was odd, for the word fuck was spelled f*ck.  These books were about hope, acceptance, and living the good life, cliché topics in a feel-good culture: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck, Everything is F*cked, and Calm the F*ck Down.  It seemed you had to be fucked first before you could accept the hope that the good life was coming your way.  He wondered if these publishing houses thought that by eliminating the “u” they kept their hands clean and were not descending into the gutter with hoi polloi, while simultaneously titillating potential readers.  Did they think readers would be offended by the word fuck, but would not be by f*ck?  Then it occurred to him that he didn’t know what the fuck non-fiction books were anyway.  Maybe he had been wrong all his life and the opposite of up was non-up, not down.


On every table in the seaside resort’s breakfast room there was a brightly colored flower in a clear watered vase.  When he picked it up to smell the orange blossom, there was no smell and the water didn’t move.  He imagined an ersatz form of plastic happiness, a conjurer’s delight, where everything was a trick, nothing moved, not even water.


Leaving the Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton in southern California where white and black Marines were regularly fighting and there were even some killings never reported by the press, the two young Marines escaped the tense and claustrophobic atmosphere on a weekend pass.  It was early February 1967, and they took an overnight bus up the coast to San Francisco where they wandered around and found a breakfast restaurant near Union Square.  There they read in the newspaper that for the week of January 12-19 the U.S. military had suffered its highest casualty count so far in Vietnam: 144 killed, 1, 044 wounded, and 6 missing-in-action.  It jolted them awake more than the coffee.  Later that afternoon, the two naifs wandered into the Haight-Ashbury district were they were startled by the first waves of acid-dazed hippies, who would soon arrive in hoards for the “summer of love.”  In the evening when they visited a bar for some beers, the waitress who delivered their drinks was topless.  While they regarded this slight anomaly with manly indifference, she must have noticed their military haircuts that stood out among the longhairs, and so she served them buttons with their beers.  The buttons read: Vietnam Love It Or Leave It. Heading back to the base, they knew where they didn’t want to go.


The young man was studying for a PhD.  He was intent on learning what made the world and people tick.  He was attending a small seminar at the home of his professor, a famous German emigre who had worked for the Rand Corporation and U.S.  Intelligence.  Each of the five students was to give a short presentation on the subject of fake news and the issue of knowledge, since the course concerned the sociology of knowledge.  The student began his presentation by quoting a famous philosopher’s words: “In formulating any philosophy, the first consideration must always be: What can we know?  That is, what can we be sure we know, or sure that we know we knew it, if indeed it is all knowable.  Or have we simply forgotten it and are too embarrassed to say anything?  Descartes hinted at the problem when he wrote, ‘My mind can never know my body, although it has become quite friendly with my legs.’  By “knowable,” incidentally, I do not mean that which can be known by perception of the senses, or that which can be grasped by the mind, but more that which can be said to be Known or to possess a Knownness or Knowability, or at least something you can mention to a friend.”  The student paused and the eminent professor said, “So very interesting.  Who is that philosopher?”  The student replied, “Woody Allen.”  “He is very perceptive,” said the professor, “and yet I have never heard of him.  I will have to read his work.”  The student realized he was in good hands with such U.S. intelligence and Rand Corporation experts, so he asked the professor’s wife for another glass of the German wine she was serving and toasted his good fortune with a wry grin.  None of the other students got the joke.


A young man was reading a book that he highly recommended to his uncle.  Leafing through it, the older man came upon this passage: “the free individual is just a fictional tale concocted by an assembly of biochemical algorithms.”  So what was the point of reading such a book, he wondered, since doing so was an exercise in pre-programmed absurdity since there was no freedom.


You have probably seen the bumper sticker that says: “Shit Happens.”  Some people are just lucky, I suppose, and odd coincidences mark their lives.  When he was just out of Columbia College and working for a reputed CIA front company, Business International Corporation, Barack Obama had a chance encounter with a young woman, Genevieve Cook, with whom he had a 1-2 year relationship.  Like Obama and at about the same time, Cook just happened to have lived in Indonesia with her father, Michael Cook, who just happened to become Australia’s top spook, the director-general of the Office of National Assessments, and also the Ambassador to Washington.  Of course, Obama’s mother, as is well-known, just happened to be living in Indonesia with Barack and Obama’s step-father, Lolo Soetoro, an Indonesian military officer, who had been called back to Indonesia by the CIA supported General Suharto three months before the CIA coup against President Sukarno.  Suharto subsequently slaughtered over a million Indonesian Communists and Indonesian-Chinese.  As is also well-known, it just so happened that Obama’s mother, Ann Dunham, trained in the Russian language, after teaching English in the US Embassy in Jakarta that housed one of the largest CIA stations in Asia, did her “anthropological” work in Indonesia and Southeast Asia financed by the well-known CIA conduits, USAID and the Ford Foundation. Then there is Cook’s stepfather, Philip C. Jessup, who just happened to be in Indonesia at the same time, doing nickel-mining deals with the genocidal Suharto government.  Anyway, “shit happens.”  You never know whom you might meet along the way of life.


The hostess at the seaside restaurant had an eastern European accent, so he asked her where she was from.  She said, “Belgrade, Serbia.”  He told her he was sorry for what the U.S. government led by Bill Clinton had done to her country and that he considered Clinton a war criminal.  She said the bombing in 1999 was terrifying, and even though she was young at the time, she vividly remembered it.  It traumatized her, her parents, and her family.  Then she smiled and said that in the month she had been in the U.S. for her summer job, all the Americans she had met had been so friendly.  He welcomed her to the U.S., and as he was walking away, he remembered that Clinton’s savage bombing of Serbia that had killed so many Serbian children and other innocents had been code-named “Operation Noble Anvil.”  He wondered what kind of “noble” people would think of innocent children as anvils: “heavy usually steel-faced iron blocks on which metal is shaped,” and did the friendly Americans accept Clinton’s sick lies when he ended his March 24, 1999 war address to the American people with these words: “Our thoughts and prayers tonight must be with the men and women of our armed forces, who are undertaking this mission for the sake of our values and our children’s future. May God bless them, and may God bless America.”


The banal, 1967 hit song, “San Francisco” (Be sure to wear flowers in your hair), which was influential in enticing young people to come to San Francisco for the Summer of Love, was written by “Papa” John Philips, who attended the US Naval Academy at Annapolis and whose father was a Marine Corps Captain.  “Papa” John’s wife had worked at the Pentagon and her father was involved in covert intelligence work in Vietnam.  His neighbor and Laurel Canyon (Los Angeles) buddy was Jim Morrison of Doors fame, whose father US Navy Admiral George Morrison commanded U.S. warships in Vietnam’s Tonkin Gulf during the “Tonkin Gulf Incident.”  Frank Zappa, the father figure of Laurel Canyon’s many musicians who just happened to converge in one place at the same time where a covert military film studio operated, had a father who was a chemical warfare specialist at Edgewood Arsenal.  Stephen Stills, David Crosby and many other soon to be famous musicians all came from military and intelligence backgrounds and frolicked in Laurel Canyon.  Although they were draft age, none of them was drafted as they played music, dropped acid, and created the folk-rock movement whose music was catchy but innocuous and posed no threat to the establishment. But “shit happens.”  In his disturbing book, Weird Scenes Inside the Canyon, David McGowan raises the question: “what if the musicians themselves (and various other leaders and founders of the ‘movement’) were every bit as much a part of the intelligence community as the people who were supposedly harassing them?  What if, in other words, the entire youth culture of the 1960s was created not as a grass-roots challenge to the status quo, but as a cynical exercise in discrediting and marginalizing the budding anti-war movement and creating a fake opposition that could be easily controlled and led astray….What if, in reality, they were pretty much all playing on the same team?”


The reporter was interviewing four of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s young “executive governors,” who were all dressed in three-piece business suits.  They were in the process of conducting Transcendental Meditation’s weeklong course leading to supernormal abilities, including, flying, levitating, disappearing, x-ray vision, and other siddhis, or supernormal powers.  Their recent press release had advertised the course as “a new breakthrough for human life on earth” for any person.  The reporter was a bit skeptical that people could be taught – for a large fee – to fly or disappear.  He asked one of the executive governors, “Can you literally rise into the air and move horizontally; can you see yourself and can others see you actually fly?”  “Absolutely,” Larry Johnson replied without hesitation, “absolutely.  Once you eliminate all stress from your nervous system, you have unbounded, unlimited potential.  A human can achieve any desire he wants, flying is only one of them.”  “People will be skeptical,” the reporter continued, “How about a demonstration?”  “A public demonstration would cause too much of a ruckus,” said Johnson.  “And we couldn’t show you because we only do it for each other.  Actually, we do our techniques with our eyes closed, but we do peek out once in a while and see each other flying around the room.  You know, one of the siddhis is a technique for making yourself invisible, and the Mararishi has said, ‘Don’t peek out to see if you’ve disappeared.’”  Johnson giggled and added, “We can also teach people to x-ray their own bodies and see through walls. Absolutely, absolutely.  It’s all about infinite correlation.  Absolutely.”  As the battered reporter left the interview, he wondered if the Maharishi was a creation of the CIA.  He remembered John Lennon’s song lines about the Maharishi’s assistant:  “But he often spread rumors through his right hand man/Who used to be with the CIA”


What is “exactly clear” is that Buffalo Springfield (Stephen Stills, Neil Young et al.) toured with their Laurel Canyon buddies, the Beach Boys, in late 1967 (their other mutual bud, Charlie Manson, stayed out west presumably to work on his craft) and performed at a very odd venue for a “dissident” rock group, The U.S. Military Academy at West Point.  At that time nearly 500,000 American troops were waging war on the Vietnamese.  That concert was an odd happening, wouldn’t you say?


If  everyone actually looked, they’d see precisely what went down, “what’s going down,” and why we are going down.  If you think many of these things “just happen” for no reason, then I guess you are just “f*cked.”  Excuse me, but it’s true.  Does the asterisk help?









17 thoughts on “Happenings in the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave”

  1. Mr. Curtin & all,

    In regards to Obama – I have an archived web page from the “Wayback
    Machine” – the page is from a KENYAN news outlet, the “Sunday Standard”
    and on this page, it states: “Kenyan-born Obama all set for U.S. Senate.
    The date of the web page is June 27, 2004 – when Obama had “won”
    election to the Senate from Illinois.

  2. Wasn’t Obama’s biological father flown out of the Kenyan crisis by the CIA ?

    I came of age in the late 80s looking back admiringly on the 60s ‘counterculture’ and the spirit of rebellion that it claimed for itself. As my life has gone on though, I’ve found myself increasingly at odds with just about all that was offered me as any kind of ‘meaningful setting’ in those years -both ‘cultural’ and ‘countercultural’.
    I wonder what you think of McGowan’s other writing on the moon landings ?
    I once balked at any and all who brought it up, but now I find the theory of Laurel Canyon as likely studio venue for wholesale fakery more believable that the moonshot narrative.
    I cannot believe what I now believe.
    Where do the lies stop?

    1. Mog – Yes, Obama’s biological father was brought to Hawaii as part of government/CIA program to train Kenyon young men to return to Kenya and do the USA’s bidding. I think McGowan’s moon writings are excellent and that there is a very good chance that the Laurel Canyon US intelligence film studio was the place where the moon hoax filming was done. Crazy stuff – for sure. Ed

  3. Professor Curtin,

    I can appreciate your despair with the state of the world, but isn’t that a good reason to really step back and assess it?
    Maybe we really are just bacteria racing across the petri dish and getting quite close to the edge.
    For instance, good and bad are not some cosmic dual between the forces of righteousness and evil, but the basic biological binary of beneficial and detrimental. What’s good for the fox, is bad for the chicken and there is no middle ground, other than the energy of the chicken becoming a fleeting moment of the fox. Even bacteria understand that.
    So, yes, the US has been power tripping for the last century and those in charge got there by being the best at climbing the greasy pole, not that they really have any vision of what to do, when they get there.
    In the long run, though, this might be setting up an opportunity to push the reset button, like it’s never been pushed before.
    At the heart of the problem is that as mobile organisms, we experience reality as flashes of cognition and then build civilizations out of the knowledge we gained, by narrating our journeys to each other. Which naturally leads us to think there must be some climax to the story. Some grand lesson, or ideal state to be attained.
    Yet nature is more about cycles and feedback, than ideals. Without the ups and downs, it’s a flatline.
    Reality is this dichotomy of energy and form. As biological organisms, we have the digestive, respiratory and circulatory systems, processing the energy driving us on, along with a central nervous system, to sort through the forms precipitating out, as well as referee the emotions and impulses bubbling up. Motor and steering, but minimal brakes.
    Societies are the social desires and impulses pushing out and cohering into identities and factions, while civil and cultural forms coalesce in, giving structure and focus to the community. Liberal and conservative.
    Heck, galaxies are energy radiating out, while mass coalesces in.
    Rather than recognizing the duality of the dynamic, we tend to view our chosen direction as the one and true narrative, while those going the other way are misbegotten fools.
    Even time is not so much that narrative flow, from past to future, as it is change turning future to past. Tomorrow becomes yesterday, because the earth turns.
    There is no dimension of time, because the past is consumed by the present, in order to inform it, aka, causality.
    So while processes churn along, the patterns they manifest rise and fall. One going past the future, while the other goes future to past. As consciousness goes past to future, while thoughts go future to past. As the patterns steer the direction of the process.
    Society, especially western society, has become so set on this idealism, that they have come to equate it with the absolute. Which only encourages the cultural narcissism that comes all too naturally anyway.
    An absolute would necessarily be an essence from which we rise, not an ideal from which we fell. So a spiritual absolute, as a source of consciousness, would be that essence of sentience, from which we rose, not an ideal of wisdom and judgement, from which we fell. More the new born, than the wise old man. Consciousness and desire seeking knowledge and form, than any ideal or brand of it. The light shining through the film, than the images on it.
    As the literal premise of monotheism has faded, this idealist monism has been replaced by other desires; wealth, fame, happiness, etc, as goals to be sought, regardless of the blowback.
    Even morality and ethics are assumed to be some ultimate ideal, but they are part of the social dynamic. As any sort of stable frame develops, the energy continues to push through the cracks and weak spots, which are then patched over, increasing overall pressure on the system. Eventually, as is today, the system becomes so abused and overgrown, that it does collapse and another gradually grows up to fill its space.
    Given we have progressed under this ‘go forth and multiply’ paradigm for many thousands of years, it might be time to reset to a more cyclical, reciprocal paradigm. One which would never come to be, if the old system were not quite so rotted out from the inside…..


    1. Thanks for your many thoughts, John. I am not despairing, nor do I feel we are just bacteria racing across a petri dish. While our situation is dire, I think there is hope we can overcome. Pax, Ed

      1. Exactly. Without the ups and downs, it would be a flatline. It’s the friction and tension that makes reality real.

  4. Ah yes. Feb 67′. I wouldn’t be 20 till June but I had already been “on the ground” since late oct 66′ with Company A, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Div of the US Army. More specifically I was an E4 Rifleman in 1st Platoon, 3rd squad. I was there, on the spot, when some of those “casualties” referred to were created. Me and another young trooper frantically carried a dying black kid up a trail, under fire towards our battalion firebase called Ann Margaret. As we ran, the platoon returned fire to the muzzle flashes. Minutes before I was throwing grenades at an “enemy” I saw running near our position. We “only” lost that black kid. February was mild for our company compared to the previous November. I was a replacement into A Company a couple days after the 5 Nov slaughter at Dau Tieng when my Captain, Robert Foley and his radioman Sgt John Baker both earned the Medal of Honor during an air assault landing where a NVA Regiment opened up on them as they cleared the LZ. over 30 young Americans died in less than 2 hours. Many also wounded. But for Foley and Baker’s heroics, it may have been much worse if that is possible. That company, what was left, stayed in the field and waited for us replacements. No time for getting acquainted; us newbies in tow, back into the action we went. That was Operation Attleboro. I think Attleboro is a city in the NE US? I lasted until 12 March 67′ when I was wounded by “friendly fire”. Some dummy with a 90mm recoilless rifle did me a favor, as it turns out, with his incompetent trigger finger.
    It was another year before I got home in March of 68′. I and the USA were never the same.
    I am very aware of “the deep state”. It’s not a recent thing. The “moneychangers” of Jesus’s time come to mind. Satanic evil is real and maybe, just maybe, it/they can be fully exposed and beaten. Paying attention helped keep me alive those many decades ago. I see some good forces at work at present. NEVER lose hope.
    I graduated from Purdue in 72′ with a degree in “alcoholism and Rugby” although my sheepskin said BS INDMGT. I looked like some of the “hippies” but was not completely comfy with them. The “Yippies” of the “Underground” types were in our area also. These “Antifa” types remind me of the “Weathermen”. These are still dangerous times.
    Thanks for what you do Mr. Curtin.
    Steve Pahs

    1. Steve, Your response means a lot to me. Yeh, Attleboro is here in Massachusetts where I live. I’m sure there are many names on the Wall in DC from Attleboro. The clowns who come up with these names and who send Americans to kill and die almost never leave their desks but just sit on their fat asses. I’m very glad you made it back. You are right – the deep state has been around a long time. They made sure to take out a true war hero who especially realized in the last year of his life that we had to change this war-mad country or else – JFK – so they escalated to their hearts delight, if they had hearts, which I doubt. Yes, there are some good forces at work today, and we will fight these satanic forces till we die. But we will die with honor, a word they can’t comprehend. Like you, I wasn’t a hippie, but a college basketball player “caught” between two worlds, never buying either. It was an OK place to be. Still is: to love your country, which means its people and land, and to oppose with hope and faith those who make it synonymous with killing. Pax, Ed

    2. What an incredibly written article! I love the approach you used, and the execution is flawless. You are a gifted writer, thanks for blessing us with your talent, and putting it towards such important endeavours.

  5. Center target again, Ed. The overthrow of the Shah of Iran, the dismantling of the Berlin Wall, the dissolution of the USSR, Sept11, 2001. All epic failures of our “intelligence” agencies as they failed too see them coming. Or worse, they steered & manipulated them. Funny, the progressives of the 60-70’s said never trust authority. Now, they are the ones screaming to abide by every policy paper the inner sanctum produces. Strange times, indeed.

  6. No, the asterisk doesn’t help, but maybe this thought will. We as a society have been and are continuing to being dumbed down, and now we are being fucked up. How many marijuana shops in Berkshire County now and how much lush coverage of them in the paper? The bumper sticker says Shit Happens. The papers say less and less about what is happening or say it wrong. The PTB want it that way. And in the mind of this onetime partaker of an occasional weed himself a fully sanctioned, zonked-out fellow American is saying dreamily to another, “Yeah, fucking shit happens, man.” Maybe the title of a New York Times best-seller — fuck the asterisk, and fuck the Times.

  7. As I’ve said, I lived as a young man during the late 60s/early 70s and sadly watched the antiwar and black power movements give way to the counter-cultural quest for personal enlightenment–sometimes through cults, meditation, and encounter groups, more often through acid trips. I never could quite figure out why it happened. One day, my generation was on fire to fight for social justice; the next day, or so it seemed, eager to drop out, turn on, and achieve “inner peace.” Thanks, Ed, for providing some behind-the-scenes info that helps me piece things together at this late date. To me, catchy as it was, this was the ultimate sell-out song, foreshadowing where we were headed. And no–John, Paul, George, and Ringo–it wasn’t gonna be “all right.”


  8. While we are on the topic of books, here’s one that has neither the nasty word, nor does it use the word “awesome” except when forced to by reference to another book or author. Quite an achievement! And, it begins back during the “summer of love”. If you really want to know about Changing your Mind, forget Pollan, trivial ideas for the masses, and try this one:
    Excerpt from the book

  9. ““The best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves.” ― Lenin

    One can’t help but wonder to what degree any resistance movement(s) in the U.S. can occur without being initially or eventually under the control of the State. I can remember being in my early 20’s in about 1974 and having a conversation with my brother-in-law Stan, who was a good 20 years older than me. He was a union steward and very progressive in his politics. Stan was appalled by the actions of the “communist” Red brigades in parts of Western Europe because of reports of bombings attributed to them that killed civilians. I found myself wondering at the time “why” any progressive movement would engage in killing innocents if it was truly revolutionary in intent. It just didn’t make sense to me. It was only many years later that Operation Gladio was exposed finally showing that much of the “left wing terrorism” in Europe in the late 1960’s and 1970’s was actually the work of the CIA/NATO operation designed specifically to shape public opinion by demonizing left and progressive causes and politics in order to push the populations toward the more conservative / right wing perspective. The dead innocents were merely more “collateral damage” of no concern to the Western military and intelligence institutions.

    Several years ago in a brief online exchange at a Youtube video posted regarding 9/11 a young man explained that he was unconvinced by the official 9/11 story, but that he really couldn’t become a skeptic himself because the “skeptics” are so looney. He explained that he’d been to several “9/11 truth sites” that promoted the notion of “lizard aliens” being somehow involved while also simultaneously blaming the U.S. government for 9/11.
    I explained that this was of course the old “guilt by association” technique used effectively by the State to discredit all challenges to official “truth.” Somehow I don’t think he was convinced that the rot at the heart of the State actually could be that complete, that total, that horrific. Even today I sometimes shake my head at the complexity and all encompassing nature of our propaganda system. It is quite breathtaking I must say.

    Thanks for a great post Ed.

    1. Thanks, Gary. Yes, Operation Gladio is so important. If more Americans knew of it and could accept what it involved, maybe minds could be changed on other matters. Ed

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