Salon/Daily Kos writer thinks National Review’s @KevinNR is black; Inspires #KevinIsSoWhite joke fest

[PHOTO] Federal Bureau of Investigation Founder J. Edgar Hoover, Before Lunch


Nick Gillespie: Americans Trust Government Less and Less Because We Know More and More About How It Operates


 writes: Fifty years ago, FBI operatives sent Martin Luther King, Jr. was has come to be known as the “suicide letter,” an anonymous note suggesting the civil rights leader should off himself before his private sex life was made public. The information about King’s extramarital assignations was gathered with the approval not just of the FBI’s J. Edgar Hoover but Attorney General Robert Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson.

“There is but one way out for you,” reads the note, which appeared in unredacted form for the first time just last week. “You better take it before your filthy fraudulent self is bared to the nation.”

Thus is revealed one of the most despicable acts of domestic surveillance in memory. These days, we worry less about the government outing our sex lives than in it tracking every move we move online. It turns out that President Obama, who james-clappersaid he would roll back the unconstitutional powers exercised by his predecessor, had a secret “kill list” over which he was sole authority. Jesus, we’ve just learned that small planes are using so-called dirtboxes to pick up cell phone traffic. One of the architects of Obamacare publicly states that Americans are stupid and that the president’s healthcare reform was vague and confusing on purpose. The former director of national intelligence, along with the former head and current heads of the CIA, have lied to Congress. Read the rest of this entry »

Efrem Zimbalist Jr. Dead at 95


For Hollywood ReporterMike Barnes and Duane Byrge write: Efrem Zimbalist Jr., the suave leading man who starred on ABC for 15 straight seasons on 77 Sunset Strip and then The F.B.I., died Friday at his ranch in Solvang, Calif., his children announced. He was 95.

Zimbalist was a household name from 1958 through 1974 for his performances as dapper private eye Stuart Bailey on Friday night staple 77 Sunset Strip, which lasted six seasons, and as Inspector Lewis Erskine on The F.B.I., which ran for nine.

A close friend of then-FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover, Zimbalist ended many Quinn Martin productions on Sunday nights with a description of a fugitive wanted by the feds, exhorting viewers to be on the lookout. One of the more prominent names from this segment was James Earl Ray, assassin of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Efrem’s character embodied fidelity, bravery and integrity. So much so that he inspired a generation of future FBI employees, many of whom pursued a career in the bureau because they watched The F.B.I. series as they grew up,” FBI director Robert Mueller said when he presented an honorary Special Agent badge to Zimbalist in 2009. “In those days, he may well have been the bureau’s best and most effective recruiter!” Read the rest of this entry »

Obama Promised His Administration Would Be Transparent, But Recent Events Suggest Otherwise


Our government is always hiding something

For USA Today, Betty Medsger writes: The Obama administration has used the Freedom of Information Act to increase rather than decrease government secrecy. In 2013, it increased use of exemptions to bar release of requested files by 22% over the previous year, according an analysis by the Associated Press. The government fully denied or redacted large portions of files in 36% of the 704,394 requests submitted


There also was a substantial increase in citing national security concerns as reason for withholding information. The administration did so 8,496 times in 2013 – more than double the rate in President Obama’s first year in office. The National Security Agency censored records or denied FOIA requests 98% of the time in 2013.

This growing disregard for openness is especially disappointing from a president who, on his first full day in office, announced he would have the most transparent administration in history. It is evident not only in the administration’s handling of FOIA requests, but also in the recent CIA dispute with the Senate Intelligence Oversight Committee over the committee’s report on the government’s use of torture in the aftermath of 9/11 and in the scope and nature of mass surveillance by the NSA, known because of files made public by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden.

[Betty Medsger’s book, The Burglary: The Discovery of J. Edgar Hoover’s Secret FBI is available at Amazon]

The need to reverse this trend is evident in the critical role the FOIA has played in revealing secrets that, once public, led to major reforms. The revelation of COINTELPRO, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s secret illegal operations, is an example of the fundamental importance of the FOIA.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Last Days of Ernest Hemingway: He Thought the Feds were Spying on him


Delusional? Mentally deranged? In need of shock therapy and medication to treat persecution fantasies involving mysterious government forces?

Or..100% correct, but no one would listen to him? 

We never got to tell him, “Damn, Earnest. You were right, you were under heavy surveillance. And… we’re really sorry you shot yourself…”

editor-commen-deskI read A.E. Hotchner’s Hemingway Biography, many years ago, and recall being troubled by the passages describing Hemingway’s decline. Hemingway’s delusional state was vividly catalogued. Hotchner, a fellow writer and longtime a pal of Hemingway’s, visited Ernest in the hospital during the period when Hemingway was administered shock treatments. Tortured, in an attempt to “cure” his paranoid delusions.

Hotchner’s tone was in that final chapter was somber. Saddened by his famous mentor’s inability to distinguish paranoid fantasy from reality, Hotchner characterized the great man’s decline without ever considering the possibility that Hemingway’s anxiety was well-founded. His phones–even in the hospital–were tapped by the FBI.

Decades later, when it was revealed that Hemingway was being systematically spied on by his own government, I wondered if Hotchner would address it in print. Will Hotchner update his Hemingway biography to include a rewrite of that misguided last chapter? I can only imagine how mortified Hotchner must have been. The unintended damage to Earnest Hemingway’s legacy is impossible to measure.

The  questions surrounding Hemingway’s suicide, in light of what we now know, could not have been easy for Hotchner to reconcile. Not only was Hemingway harassed by the U.S. Government, he was misunderstood by his closest friends. Hemingway’s pleas for intervention were ignored. Hemingway ultimately took a shotgun and ended his life.

The following item, from Reason.com, re: Hotcher’s essay in the NYTimes, shows the biographer revisiting these tragic events. Hotchner may have addressed it before, but this is my first time seeing it in print.

If we think Government abuse and surveillance of its own citizens is new, we can recall the life and death of Ernest Hemingway. The abuse is no longer limited to the famous and influential, but extends much further.

4th of July, 2013. Updated October 2nd, 2013The Butcher

Ernest Hemingway’s friend A.E. Hotchner has a moving essay in The New York Times about the closing months of the novelist’s life in 1960 and 1961. At that point Hemingway was anxious, paranoid, convinced the Federal Bureau of Investigation was following him and that his home and car were bugged. He tried several times to kill himself and was put in a mental ward, where he received 11 electroshock “treatments.” Even in the hospital, he insisted that the FBI was spying on him. Finally, 50 years ago yesterday, he ended his life.

Decades later, in a twist you may have seen coming,

“…the F.B.I. released its Hemingway file. It revealed that beginning in the 1940s J. Edgar Hoover had placed Ernest under surveillance because he was suspicious of Ernest’s activities in Cuba. Over the following years, agents filed reports on him and tapped his phones. The surveillance continued all through his confinement at St. Mary’s Hospital. It is likely that the phone outside his room was tapped after all.

In the years since, I have tried to reconcile Ernest’s fear of the F.B.I., which I regretfully misjudged, with the reality of the F.B.I. file. I now believe he truly sensed the surveillance, and that it substantially contributed to his anguish and his suicide.”

Via Tom Jackson — via Reason.com