I did get work done this weekend, really. As difficult as it may be for my accountant to believe, buying and playing a bunch of videogames is research. (And nowhere near as hard to justify to the IRS as that admittedly ill-advised rental of a convertible in Dallas...) I could spend another month down the rabbit hole following the trail of the creators of the Resident Evil frnanchise in search of the roots of their decision to name their fictive shadow company the Umbrella Corporation.
I was noodling with teh google this week -- as I always do in my stultifying hours as an underleveraged, underappreciated microserf -- and came upon an image of Mary Poppins, drifting over the skies of London under her magic umbrella. That led me into a maze of twisty passages about Dickensian chimney sweep children and the incidence of cancer of the scrotum, as well as a scene in a 1967 Dick Van Dyke movie called "Fitzwilly" which features umbrellas deployed by the eponymous scapegrace in a climactic Christmas robbery of Gimbels department store.

But the root question seems to me to be whether Poppins is a symbol of one of the Umbrella factions. And if so, which one?
Spent the whole weekend reading about the impeachment forces gathring around Nixon in 1974, and one thing really stuck out. The House Judiciary committee. Up until the previous election, it had been chaired by Emmanuel Celler, a 25-term incumbent, and a known friend of Nixon's. If Celler had been chair, the hearings would almost certainly have had a different complexion. Could Nixon have escaped? Maybe not, but he might have dragged things out longer, perhaps long enough for another Hail Mary play like China. (Notice how the Dark Umbrella cabal thinks in the long run -- they knew China was a sleeping giant market for their capitalist wares, and that may well have been the reason Nixon was euchred into making that trip.)

But seriously. A 25-term friend of Nixon's suddenly fails at the polls just when he might tip the balance? I'm thinking I see the shadow of the White Umbrella.
Here's the rule of thumb I've learned: To find conspiracies, you need to look for outlier events. Things that are plausible, that don't defy the laws of physics or human nature, but are just one extra standard deviation from the mean.

Things like, say,  JFK's secret service detail drinking non-alcoholic "Salty Dicks" at a club the night before Alpdrucken ims Ulmstrasse.  You read that in the Warren Report, and you say, yeah, right. A bunch of Secret Service guys drinking grapefruit juice. (The things you can learn reading the entire 22-volume Warren Report cover to cover.)

Or, things like the entire political system suddenly turning on Richard Nixon in 1974. Within that overall penumbra of events, there will be some moments of totality where something truly unusual happens. Those are the Black Swan moments where the shadow of the Umbrella cabal can be seen.
For reasons I may expand on in future blogs, I've given up on the line of research of the last couple years focusing on the Weathermen.
I've figured out what's been nagging at me about the Sixites and Seventies. If we assume that the Nixon Administration was aligned with the Dark Umbrella (a given) and that the counterforce was effectively muted (which also appears the only conclusion from the evidence) then how does one account for the Weathermen.

Their goals are too orthogonal to the Adminstration to consider the possibility of a splinter cell of the Dark order. I suppose that a false flag operation cannot be entirely ruled out (with the operatives themselves, perhaps, not even knowing that they were operating in service of the Dark. Could Nixon's people  have infiltrated and run a fifth column of Manchurian insurrectionists?

I have learned not to put anything beyond the pale of the Dark Umbrella cabal, but that seems to strain credulity. Will need to think.
With all the research I've done on the Weathermen, I keep coming back to the same question: why did the forces of the White Umbrella not take better advantage of their momentum during the 1960s? There is no question that they were overmatched; not since the 1930s, when the new medium of radio propelled Hitler to power had a major political figure been in such a position to control a uniquely penetrating medium (Television, in the 60s was very different that today, my research has shown. There were only three networks, and you could control content quite effectively. The Administration managed to do this for nearly ten years.)

There were several key points of failure. In some of them (RFK, MLK) one can discern the work of the Dark, but what to make of the collapse of the anti-war movement? Or, especially, the curious blindness America has about the Weathermen?

We had a full-fledged revolutionary force operating within our borders, and nobody today even remembers it. We talk about Al Qaeda all the time, and they never even get a sidebar.

Of course, deliberate elision is always the work of the Dark Umbrella.
If we assume that Nixon held the Dark Umbrella (I'm speaking loosly and metphorically here; obviosusly I don't believe that the umbrella iteslf has any power) and that he ran point for the Dark forces during the 1960s, where was the counterforce?

Obviously in San Francisco, it goes without saying. And New York. You had a loose cabal of drug-addled anti-government forces in both locations, with Kesey and the Grateful Dead on the Left Coast and the Greenwich Village intelligentsia (Ginsburg, Rubin, Dylan) on the other, with yeasty campus outposts spread between. It is no accident that the Weathermen arise from this dynamic. Of which, more anon.

Back to work tomorrow. Did I mention work sucks?