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Joseph McCarthy’s Birthday Is Today

Joseph McCarthy has been much maligned by the media, high school history teachers, and textbooks. But like many of history’s maligned characters (e.g. Andrew Carnegie, NOT men like Hitler), I find him fascinating. While much of his work to root out communism has been relegated to political mudslinging, witch-hunt madness, and conspiracy theories, it’s just as likely that we remember him this way due to a more subtle form of political mudslinging. That is, nobody is attempting to keep McCarthy out of office due to his being long dead, but those who teach history refuse to give the man’s crusades any credence at all.

It is important to remember that McCarthy went up against the CIA. The CIA is known for dodgy dealings, from the days of its predecessor organization, the OSS. By “dodgy dealings” I mean that these intelligence agencies had goals that didn’t necessarily include the subversion of communism. This is a big subject, to be sure, and not one that I can address in a short blog post, but it would be good to remember that the Soviet Union became our ally during World War II because we were fighting against NAZI fascism. There is a fascinating .gov article about the history of our early intelligence agencies, and their interactions with the Pond, which was a private intelligence agency intent on keeping tabs on communism…which was not the government’s biggest concern at the time. You can read the article here.

This is an excerpt:

From his first months in the War Department, Grombach [the head of the Pond] was constantly on the lookout for communist subversion, a propensity that repeatedly created friction with others. In 1942, with Alexander Barmine, a Soviet military intelligence officer who had defected in 1937, he identified a “list of Soviet agents working in the OSS.” But 1942 was a desperate time, and the accusations of a mid-ranking Army ideologue did not cut much ice in Washington. The accusations brought only a reminder that the Soviet Union was now America’s ally.22
Grombach stayed on the trail of subversion, however. As the war progressed and the Pond began to collect intelligence from overseas, Grombach found, to his dismay, that 80 percent or more of his reports about the Soviet Union and communism were being “eliminated”—not used in intelligence analyses and not passed to consumers.23 This was ideologically offensive to Grombach and ran contrary to his philosophy of intelligence.

The problem with McCarthy was not his witch-hunt against communism. It was his position as a politician with no real investigative skills, or at the very least, no actual position in any investigation agency. He knew there were communists operating in the government; he simply didn’t know who exactly they were. Also, if you go back to the government article on the Pond, you will see that Grombach was feeding McCarthy information that might or might not have been accurate (Grombach wouldn’t give up his sources). In turn, the CIA fed Grombach false information to pass on to McCarthy.

In other words, McCarthy’s information about communists was a bit muddy at best. However, history has proven McCarthy was right to have the suspicions he did. From Moscow transcripts made available in the early nineties to the publication of the Venona transcripts, it has become clear there were many communists and communist sympathizers operating in the United States during the Soviet era, even in the State Department that was supposed to be investigating them.

Why does it matter? It matters because, in the realm of free association and free speech, our country is extraordinarily vulnerable. Our Constitution and Bill of Rights assures us of these rights, but other systems do not. I.e., communism is a system that is essentially at odds with the American ideal of the sovereignty of the private sector. It can’t coexist with this Constitutional ideal because its focus is rather on the sovereignty of the public sphere which regulates the private. Despite that, we have the freedom to hold communist ideology and to associate with communists…ultimately, a self-defeating freedom.

McCarthy, no matter how misinformed and obnoxious he was, was attempting to upheld Americanism. For that, I’m remembering him on his birthday. *I would like to write more about this, but I have to run. Perhaps tomorrow. Abrupt ending for today.*


No Pink Beams Yet

Apparently, the people who are successful with writing vast quantities of words in one sitting write excessively detailed outlines. If I do that, I have no need any longer to write a book. I always operate off a loose outline, but the story must surprise me at some point. Without the surprise, I cease to find the work interesting. And God knows, I don’t make a living off it, so the reward has to be mental stimulation. I’m only bringing this up because I wrote nearly zero words today. Weekends are harrowing at times. However, I did manage to bring the characters to a crucial moment in the story. Do you want a glimpse? Okay.


November Is the Hardest Month

It really is. It’s a month full of birthdays, sports events, holidays, fall cleaning, and school functions. Even when I homeschooled, November was full of local events and homeschool fieldtrips. In New Mexico, fall is generally a brilliant time of year: cool with clear, bright blue skies and low wind. Fall cleaning is a thing because the spring brings with it gusty and dusty winds that shriek over the desert. When I lived in the river valley, it wasn’t uncommon for frosts to extend through April. So fall is the pleasantest season here, and it’s no wonder people want to clean and go outdoors for fun activities.

Therefore, it has always struck me as odd that NaNoWriMo occurs during this hectic time of year. The person who invented NaNoWriMo must live in a dreary part of the world where humanity wants to remain indoors all month long. It’s a distinct possibility. I do remember that the rains started in September when I lived on the Oregon coast, but they didn’t really pick up speed until November. The rainy season culminated in a long dreary January and February and didn’t slack off until summer. If it were up to me, I would hold a national novel writing month in January or February. BUT an author can write a book in any month of the year he chooses to. An author can also get a group of writer friends together to check on each other’s output any month of the year. But for some reason, every writer I know wants to do this during the now official month of NaNoWriMO.

For my part, I was going to use this month to finish my current book, Order of the PenTriagon. To be honest, I wanted to finish before 2018 ended, and I’m faced with the last two months of the year, so…NaNoWriMo is convenient. However, I’m trying to write 2000 words a day six days a week, to equal 12,000 words a week until I finish. That’s actually a higher output than the NaNoWriMo word count of 1667 words a day, seven days a week, which comes out to 50,010 words for the thirty days of November. If I’m successful, I’ll have written 52,000 words for the month while maintaining a day of rest. I need that. God rested on the seventh day when creating the universe, and so should I, even if my creation is a measly book that will sit on Amazon unread.

How is it going so far? It’s going in fits and starts. I’m heavily behind this week for a number of reasons; primarily, if I miss the hours my kids are in school, I have little time to make up for it in the afternoons and evenings. I managed to delete 1000 words I wrote yesterday, albeit a blog post. Still, it demoralized me, such that I ended up trying to write after the kids were home and snapped at them if they tried to bother me. You need help studying?! Ha ha ha ha….Okay, I did help my daughter study for her science test, and then went back to my story, only to realize I needed some intense research. When I imagine scenes in my head, I don’t always consider the amount of unknowns that will be occurring.

After all was said and done yesterday, I ended up with 1000 words written, 1000 words deleted, and a lot of reading and video-watching. Finally, I went to bed determined to start early on Friday and complete several thousand before life and its demands crowded around me. Let’s not talk about how that’s going…

But at least I will post this, unless I manage to delete it. By the way, yesterday’s disappearing post was an odd quirk because there are usually autosaves and a list of draft revisions on WordPress, which were entirely missing yesterday. Not to mention, the entire post disappeared when I hit “edit undo.” We Christians used to jokingly talk about the spiritual oppression of our technology if our machines weren’t working properly (to be accurate, if we didn’t understand how our machines were working). It was a joke. I think. In my head, the post I lost was inspired because I wasn’t talking about writing, but discussing the first chapter in 1 Corinthians…the part about God’s foolishness being wiser than man’s wisdom. I will probably try again next week, but the irony of it won’t be lost on me.


*Politics Politics Politics*

New Mexico is run by people I like to call “corrupt crusaders.” It’s mildly amusing to me that the people cry out about our state problems, such as a failing education system and poverty, and then hope they can vote these problems away. But voting gives one a sense of having done something forward-thinking and positive. Hence, we now have Michelle Lujan Grisham as governor because she promised free preschool. Yes, folks, that’s how she’s going to fix New Mexico’s education ranking: by extending a failed system to include poor hapless 3-year-olds. Everybody deserves to fail, even the youngest amongst us; that’s the essence of egalitarianism. Speaking of egalitarianism, did I also mention that Lujan Grisham will be the first Democrat Latina governor of New Mexico? Not the first Latina, of course. That honor went to the Republicans with Martinez, who will be leaving the failed education and poverty rates to her successor. I mean, incomes did go up during her time in office, but not by much.

It has to be acknowledged that New Mexicans don’t like change. They like where they’re at, and they don’t particularly even care about education. I mean, they do as long as they can demand another program run by a corrupt crusader that will ultimately fail. But as far as parents living it in the home? No, they don’t really care. The kind of hunkering down they do here isn’t all bad, though. New Mexico may be one of the most impoverished states, but it also isn’t as prone to huge economic fluctuations driven by bubbles of hot air. And by hunkering down, the people can protect the vestiges of their culture — the good and the bad, of course. But honestly, until the culture at the family level begins to care about education, it’s not going to improve. Why should kids care when their parents don’t?

This went another direction than I had intended. Originally, I was just going to make some political commentary…probably inappropriate commentary because I’m not entirely pleased with the voting results in my state, and find some of the choices to be foolhardy. E.g., Michelle Lujan Grisham, who does not have the same sense Steve Pearce does. And yet, if the tallies are correct, Steve Pearce lost by a giant margin.

C’est la vie, I guess.



Because this is the only platform I have right now, I will share my Periscope here. Have a blessed All Saints Day.*

*I apologize to those following me in their feeds. I don’t usually use my phone to post blog posts, and it managed to publish this post three times. It could have been user error, but if so, I’m at a loss to know what that error was.