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Belmont Club

The Narrative of the Dead

March 14th, 2013 - 4:19 pm

News that it was “too late” to embalm the body of  Hugo Chavez for permanent display has renewed speculation that he expired much earlier in Cuba. The new president “Nicolas Maduro announced that the decision to embalm Chavez, which was made two days after the president died, had been taken too late.” However it is entirely possible that Maduro’s two day delay was simply too long to allow for a cosmetically appealing burial. One mortician said:

“Ideally, a body would be embalmed “the very day or next morning, rather than three or five or six days down the road,” Mr. Fountain said. “But it’s not impossible. I have embalmed bodies that have been refrigerated for six months.”

The two-day delay answer would suit Occam. But then he lived before the age of Talking Points and electric razors. Today the narrative has become so important that the stories of the dead must be reconciled with the needs of the living. Take the case of a widely circulated photo showing a child dying in a Gaza hospital. The Washington Post, running a correction wrote: The Post’s caption on the photo said the child died ‘after an Israeli airstrike in Gaza City,’ which implied Israeli culpability. In fact the child had been killed by Hamas.

The Associated Press on Tuesday issued a correction for its caption for the photo. It wrote, “An errant Palestinian rocket, not an Israeli airstrike, likely killed the child during fighting in the Hamas-ruled territory last November, a U.N. report indicated, challenging the widely believed story behind the image which became a symbol of what Palestinians said was Israeli aggression.”

The mistake, according to the Washington Post, was due to “the fog of journalism” which came to light when UN investigators found a  rocket crater consistent with Hamas ordnance and not anything the Israelis used at the point of impact.

The episode suggests “the fog of war and the fog of journalism” during a war, said Ken Light, a professor who oversees the photojournalism program at the University of California at Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. News photographers are usually diligent about ensuring that they’ve placed their images in the proper context, he said, but in the middle of armed conflict, “a lot can get through the cracks. . . . A picture is worth a thousand words, but you don’t always know the circumstances that led up to making the picture.” …

The child’s father was a journalist employed by the BBC.

Despite the finding, the Gaza-based Palestinian Center for Human Rights said it still holds Israel responsible for the baby’s death, according to the AP.

The dead have stopped voting (except in certain cities in the Midwest) but the living still have to make a buck. Raymond Chandler observed that the dead withdrew into a kind of disinterest after their demise. In one of his classic detective novels, Chandler wrote:

What did it matter where you lay once you were dead? In a dirty sump or in a marble tower on the top of a high hill? You were dead, you were sleeping the big sleep, you were not bothered by things like that. Oil and water were the same as wind and air to you. You just slept the big sleep, not caring about the nastiness of how you died or where you fell.

Most people forget that in the sentences that follow Philip Marlowe squared his shoulders to continue the nastiness of the living, rolling up his sleeves to tend the narrative of the dead.

Me, I was part of the nastiness now. Far more a part of it than Rusty Regan was. But the old man didn’t have to be. He could lie quiet in his canopied bed, with his bloodless hands folded on the sheet, waiting. His heart was a brief, uncertain murmur. His thoughts were as gray as ashes. And in a little while he too, like Rusty Regan, would be sleeping the big sleep.

On the way downtown I stopped at a bar and had a couple of double Scotches. They didn’t do me any good. All they did was make me think of Silver Wig, and I never saw her again.

Perhaps General Sternwood really died not knowing what fruitcakes his daughters were.  What was the harm in the lie?  The living, bro, matter more than the dead. So  it wasn’t on account of the dead but of the living that Republican lawmakers threatened to subpoena  the U.S. survivors of the attack on the Benghazi consulate.  While nothing they can do will waken the men sleeping the Big Sleep  the Big Story is still up for grabs. ‘How did they really die? The living want to know’.

In January, the three-day hostage-taking of American and other Western oil workers in Algeria ended with 23 hostages dead. The U.S. survivors were able to tell their story quickly, and several soon appeared on CBS’s 60 Minutes to answer questions about their ordeal.

But the survivors of the 9/11/13 terrorist attack on Benghazi that left U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens and three coworkers dead have been “sequestered” or hidden for a full six months. Congress, which has plenty of questions about how and why the Benghazi intelligence failure happened, has been stonewalled.

That’s why fed-up GOP members say that they are prepared to issue subpoenas for some of the survivors to appear before Congress if they don’t get more of their questions to the White House answered.

Nowhere is struggle over the narrative of death greater than in the case of Trayvon Martin and the controversy now surrounding his phone. The lawyers for George Zimmerman are inquiring into why the prosecution managed to send his phone to California to be unlocked and how it was the techs recovered everything except for data pertaining to the day and evening of the shooting.

George Zimmerman’s attorneys have filed a motion to delay George Zimmerman’s trial until November. …

According to the Motion to Continue, the state told O’Mara that when Trayvon’s phone was recovered, the phone was wet and inoperable. On August 8, at a joint meeting, O’Mara asked if a charger could be used to restart it. FDLE analyst Steven Brenton came in and charged up the phone. When the screen came up, it said the phone was “locked out,” meaning someone had tried to unlock it more than the maximum permitted times with the wrong password. Brenton then disclosed he had performed an analysis of the phone, but was only able to access the SIM card and SD card, not the internal memory. (Eventually, O’Mara received some of the material Brenton had downloaded from the phone and Brenton’s report.)

Sometime after that, someone at the state’s attorneys office shipped Trayvon’s phone to a law enforcement agency in California for analysis. The agency was “seemingly able” to access the internal memory. The state refuses to give the defense any information as to who at the state’s attorney’s office decided to do this, the name of the agency it was sent to, the identity of the analyst who obtained the data, or the results obtained.

After the unnamed agency returned the phone, during the first week of January, 2013, the state sent it to Cellebrite in New Jersey for analysis. Cellebrite also was able to access the internal memory, and the state provided the defense with the results on January 18. The defense says Cellebrite obtained an “enormous” amount of information from the internal memory. But, guess what’s missing? All data for Feburary 26, the day/evening of the shooting.

As illustrative example, while the analysis includes GPS locating records for Mr. Martin’s phone for all of the time that he was in the Sanford area, specifically absent is any such data for February 26, 2012, the date of the event. Similarly, there seems to be missing entries regarding phone calls or texts made to or from the phone in the evening hours of February 26,2012.

The affair has long ago stopped being about George Zimmerman or Trayvon Martin.  It’s now all about racial politics, lawyer’s fees and exclusive rights on exclusive interviews.

History suggests that factual conclusions, once politicized, never completely regain the character of facts. Who killed JFK? Was the World Trade Center imploded or destroyed by attacks ordered by Osama Bin Laden? Did Apollo 11 really land on the moon? When did Hugo Chavez die? What happened in Benghazi? Where are Trayvon Martin’s phone GPS records? Does ‘global warming’ exist? When you know the answer, post it. No matter how it comes out, no one will believe it — not completely, anyway.

The story goes that in Stalin’s day a man was walking through the corridors of Pravda. He met two editors and said, “I have just come from out town. Tell me, what is the news?” They answered, “if you want to know what will happen tomorrow we can tell you with exactitude. But as to what happened yesterday, we are still trying to decide.”

The Three Conjectures at Amazon Kindle for $1.99

Storming the Castle at Amazon Kindle for $3.99

No Way In at Amazon Kindle $8.95, print $9.99

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The fog of journalism began in the days that American reporters started thinking of themselves as possessing some mysterious HIGHER MORALITY than the public they were supposed to be serving.

It may be pinned to the time that the networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, etc.) were purchased by the new highly-diversified Multi-National Corporations. Since the entire "entertainment network" represented only a minor part of the much larger entity, those multi-national businesses no longer regarded their "news organizations" as anything special.

By the mid-1960's they became just another PROFIT CENTER, expected to pay their way. Before, they were the flagships of their networks, bringing honor and respect to businesses which trafficked in ephemeral products that could be dismissed as cultural entertainment at best, and hucksterism at its worst.

By the 1970's local news became dominated by increasingly showy graphics, slick sets, capped teeth, expensive hair-do's, and presenters whose journalism credits were crowded out of their resumes by underwear and lingerie modeling experience.

The National news has in its turn become dominated by smug self-congratulating pseudo-intellectuals. Lock-step clones, fashion drones, all wearing matching blinders, and Progressive Prisms for eyeglasses.

The worthlessness of the whole lot of them is put into sharp relief every time someone assembles an audio survey of a 24-hour news cycle in which every single newsreader uses the same contemptuous stock phrase to tell the world what to think about conservatives that day.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The fog of journalism?" I thought journalism was supposed to cast the cold light of day into the dark corners and clear away the fog of war. Can it be that these journalists have their own agenda to promote to "change the world" and "make a difference?" Nah! That would be dishonest!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Maintining the narrative.... It is not news, it is information warfare.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You'll like this, another round in the Battle of Moral Authority vs. Secular Authority
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The deeper issue, Wretchard, is what this says about the society we are living in: a society where the administration can mislead, lie, and deceive the people and ignore congress regarding acts of war and the death of American citizens, for one. For another, a society where racial considerations means evidence gets tampered with in federal trials - to ensure a politically correct outcome.

So, if I were working for the government abroad, I would be wondering if political considerations would allow the government to abandon me to die and everyone would be hushed up about it. And the next time I see a crime being committed, I will very carefully look at the races of the criminals before I so much as cal the police - after all, I dont want to end up in jail on charges of racism.

The left is slowly but steadily pouring acid into the machinery of society. That machinery is strong - it wont collapse today. It wont collapse tomorrow, or next week or next year. But someday, somehow, all that acid is going to matter. Someday, somehow, in a manner I cannot predict, the actions of the left are going to have consequences. Bad ones.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

The anchor reads his lines on-screen
And truth is what we then have seen
And ever after what is known
Is what the anchor deigned be shown
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"The living, bro, matter more than the dead."

Careful, that logic in the wrong hands can lead to people channeling Harry Lime.

How many electoral votes were stolen by the Democrats? Ohio certainly. Florida probably. Virginia possibly. How many votes were stolen from effectively zombie voters who were denied their free will, and still would deny it, because they were force fed such a stream of lies that they are incapable of rejecting them in favor of the truth? One lie stands out and by inviting rejection harms the liar. A barrage of lies overwhelms the defenses. Trayvon Martin was a fresh faced innocent coming back from the candy store who was stalked by a madman. That is the narrative, or one of many that were thrown up to defy any attempt to apply normal judicial procedure. The point is that normality is attacked, even in completely unrelated cases, because it is dangerous to the obscurantists to allow a vision of reality as an alternative. Holder doesn't try to apply special standards to special cases. He doesn't give a rat's rear end about Trayvon Martin and Zimmerman or the voters intimidated by the NBPP and the Panthers. He cares about making all rulings dependent on political approval so the big cases will sail through without comment

UN Inspectors reported the innocence of Israel? Pigs have flown. We are now in a world where nothing is predictable.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Add Colorado. We have 64 counties. 17 of them have more registered voters than they have people of voting age. The normal voter registration rate nationwide is within 5% either way of the voting age population. And our state's Democrats have been acting as if they need never fear voters again.

Subotai Bahadur
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Wrote the above late at night, and just looked back and saw the typo:

The normal voter registration rate nationwide is within 5% either way of "50% of the" the voting age population.


Subotai Bahadur

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
“Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind. ”

― George Orwell
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

Halliburton has found the missing cement samples!!!!

The lead lawyer for Halliburton, the company that supplied cement to seal the ill-fated BP Macondo well, told a federal court Thursday that the oil field services giant has found leftover samples of a cement slurry at its lab in Lafayette that may be from the same mixture used to seal the well.

Halliburton lawyer Don Godwin made the disclosure to U.S. District Court Judge Carl Barbier Jr. before testimony resumed during the 12th day of the trial that will determine liability of BP and its contractors for their role in the blowout of BP's Macondo well and the ensuing 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill. Eleven workers were killed in the disaster, triggering an 87-day uncontrolled release of oil and gas from the well and causing one of the worst environmental disasters in U.S. history.

Barbier, who is trying the complex civil case without a jury, ordered Halliburton in 2010 to turn over to federal investigators samples of the cement mix the company used to try to seal the oil well before it exploded. After a number of delays, tests on the cement mix were completed in August 2011.

Godwin downplayed the significance of finding the new samples. "Our judgment is they have nothing to do with this trial, but I was simply giving the court full disclosure," he said.

"Full disclosure"??

At this point in time "we have [eleven] dead Americans... What difference at this point does it make? It is our job to figure out what happened and to do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again".

Barack "The Most Transparent Administration in History" Obama's Role Model, Karl Marx, said

"History repeats itself, the first time as tragedy, the second as farce"

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
To paraphrase: Everything within the narrative, nothing outside of the narrative.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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