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Sunday Open Thread

I have nothing to write about. Trump has become boring and predictable. Only the ignorant and persons who can't manage their perceived anger will vote for him.

Things seem stable for the time being in Sinaloa. Yes, a nephew of Zambada-Garcia got killed, but he seemed like a straight arrow working for a seafood company. Maybe it was road rage?

These kidnappings/killings seem to have more markings of Alfredito Beltran Guzman (son of Alfredo Beltran Leyva, for whom the U.S. Government is seeking a Life sentence and a $10 billion forfeiture),rather than CJNG, although some say the two groups re collaborating. Again, if Alfredito Beltran Guzman is behind it, it sounds like a family spat to me, not an attempt to gain physical control over big swathes of territory.

ISIS on the brink of losing Sirte, Libya. The West has been claiming this for months, but it could be true this time. What does it mean? The BBC has a new article examining what's next for ISIS after Sirte.

[More...]

The MTV Music Awards are on tonight. Brittany Spears is going to be a featured performer. She was on Carpool Karoake this week with James Corden. It was easily the worst one he ever did. She barely sang, when she did, it was in a whisper. Or she lip-synced. Poor James did all the heavy lifting, including hitting the high notes she didn't even bother to try for. She came across as as a dumb teenager (she's 33) and someone severely in need of a brain from the Scarecrow. Maybe that should be her next part--in the Wizard of Oz.

This is an open thread, all topics welcome.

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  • Display: Sort:
    J. Edgar Hoover - the man and the secrets (none / 0) (#1)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Aug 28, 2016 at 08:47:47 AM EST
    I'm reading this right now and, ooooo boy.   I don't read a lot of non fiction but this really does not read like non fiction.   Much of it reads like pulp fiction, some is just totally f'king unbelievable.

    If interested yu can read the book here at Google books

    Or you can read about it here in this LATimes review

    Let me assure you that Curt Gentry is no Kitty Kelley. His goal, which he achieves, is not to sift through a life hunting only for what titillates, but to write a rounded biography, cradle to grave. It just so happens that Hoover's cradle and grave were in Washington, D.C. He was a home-town boy, and there wasn't much to say about him before he went to the Justice Department--unless you want to talk about his success as a high school cadet captain, or his speed as a delivery boy, or the boil that disfigured his nose--and there wasn't anything to say about his life after he left the Justice Department, because he died there. The FBI was his life. What he did there, Gentry writes, was done partly as a super patriot, but also simply in defense of his hometown, to protect it from the evil world outside as he envisioned it.

    It is a strange and truly frightening read.  Reassuring in a way in this time of insane politics to know our country has survived insane megalomaniacs before.  And "insane" is an overused word.  Hoover was insane.  And the really scary part is that everyone knew it AT THE TIME.

    I got hooked on reading this in a funny way.  I was surfing the interwebs and I came across the strange story of Bert Horgson.  It is the strangest and most frightening abuse of power I have ever heard of.   It doesn't sound possible.  Really.  Just not possible in anything but the fevered imagination of a fiction writer.   But by all accounts it's true.   That story, which as the LATimes blurb says, is not at all the focus of the book but more of an aside that just gets a few paragraphs, is what hooked me into reading the rest.    And as unbelievable as it is it pales compared to the really evil and dangerous stuff this man - who to this day has name on the FBI building in DC - did.  Here is Burts story in a nutshell-

    The diary purports that from at least the mid-1930s onward, Hoover would require selected agents to take on special undercover assignments, often lasting for years, as women or drag queens in high heels and skirts. Sources speculate that Hoover, unable to dress openly as a woman, forced some of his underlings to take up his habit so he'd feel more normal. He reportedly enjoyed training these agents himself, selecting their outfits, applying makeup and fixing hairdos. Most men hated these assignments and many were threatened with firing or even jail time for their cooperation.

    The diary recounts at least one case in the 1950s in which Hoover had the mother of an agent jailed on trumped-up charges to keep him on duty as a red-headed, high-heeled gun moll. Perhaps the weirdest case is that of 24-year-old Bert Horgson, a six-foot Swede who left his family and girlfriend in Minnesota in 1935 to fight Nazi spies with the FBI. Once Hoover caught sight of him, however, the slim, blue-eyed Horgson was instead given a different assignment -- and spent the remainder of his career in dresses and high-heeled pumps as Hoover's "special agent."

    The diary recounts how Hoover kept Horgson from quitting by alternating promises of reassignment with intimidation of both Horgson and his family. Hoover even went so far as to have Horgson's legal identity changed from male to female -- making it illegal for him to dress as a man for most of the 30s, 40s and 50s -- and had agents make sure he complied. Even Hoover's death in 1972 brought Horgson no reprieve. In a final bizarre ploy from beyond the grave, Hoover left orders that the 60-year-old FBI man was to be confined to a special high-security nursing home as a national security risk.

    Horgson found himself forced to remain "Bettina Horgson" until his death 29 years later. Horgson died in 2001 at the age of 89 in a government nursing home in Washington, D.C. One government source says, "this is one of the strangest, and most flagrant abuses of power I've ever heard of."



    I should say (none / 0) (#3)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Aug 28, 2016 at 09:10:31 AM EST
    Those Burt paragraphs are not taken from The Man The Secrets - from which I can't cut and paste - but from an excerpt from another book on Hoover.

    Parent
    Wow (none / 0) (#4)
    by Ga6thDem on Sun Aug 28, 2016 at 10:16:21 AM EST
    that is scary for sure.

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    Hoover is an embarrassment (none / 0) (#5)
    by Chuck0 on Sun Aug 28, 2016 at 10:26:13 AM EST
    to the history of this country and the legacy of the FBI. I have written my own Senator numerous times demanding that his name be removed from the FBI building in DC. That is an insult to the American people.

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    Truly (none / 0) (#7)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Aug 28, 2016 at 11:25:31 AM EST
    But you know we all hear that.  I of course have heard it for my whole life basically, still, I really had no idea.  And I believe most people do not.

    About the building, there is a lot about the building in that book.  About the reaction to how it looks, about how it, because of Hoovers repeated redesigns - widely viewed as a way to keep his job "until it was done", about how because of those redesigns and the crony mafia contracts to build it remains the most expensive building ever built by the federal government.  At least in DC.

    There is a lot about the building.  After reading it you almost (but not quite) understand why it really should be called the J. Edgar Hoover Building.

    Parent

    On Sunday nite tv (none / 0) (#2)
    by CaptHowdy on Sun Aug 28, 2016 at 08:54:55 AM EST
    I would DVR Brittany and watch the 2 hour finale of The Night Of.

    The Night Of (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Aug 28, 2016 at 10:30:30 AM EST
    Became riveting quickly.

    Parent