Collected Poetry

 

 

Collected Poetry

VOLUME FOUR  

 

Original materials - Copyright © 2010 by Gary Bachlund    All international rights reserved

 

"Those who are capable of tyranny are capable of perjury to sustain it." Lysander Spooner (1808-1887)

 

The Carol of Realpolitik

"'One cannot both be a progressive and be opposed to pension reform,' he said. 'The math is irrefutable that the losers from excessive and unfunded pensions are precisely the programs progressive Democrats tend to applaud. Those programs are being driven out of existence by rising pension costs.' Crane added: 'All of the consequences of rising pension costs fall on the budgets for programs such as higher education, health and human services, parks and recreation, and environmental protection that are junior in priority and therefore have their funding reduced whenever more money is needed to pay for pension costs.'" Steven Greenhut, in "Progressives for Pension Reform?" City Journal, September 9, 2010.

Loudly doth opinions ring!
    Ding and dong, and dong and ding!
Let not facts judge anything!
    Ding and dong, and dong and ding!
Dawn we late, as failures spring.
    Ding and dong, and dong and ding!
Too long we've trusted, comes the sting.
    Ding and dong, and dong and ding!
            Refute the irrefutable,
            Deny the coming crunch.
            Allege all is immutable,
            And then go out for lunch.
            Fa-la la-la-la, la-la la-la.

Loudly doth opinions ring!
    Ping and pong, and pong and ping!
Loud come voices, anguishing.
    Sing their song, coarse songs to sing!
Opinions loud go caroling,
    Ringing song, mad songs to sing!
Drown the truths, yet falsehoods bring!
    Sing those songs, raw songs to sing!
            Take from all that we all have
            And toss it to the winds;
            Today it is a fiction's salve,
            Tomorrow come the whirlwinds.
            Fa-la la-la-la, la-la la-la.

Loudly doth opinions ring!
    Ding and dong, and dong and ding!
Let not sense judge anything!
    Ding and dong, and dong and ding!
Someone else must bear the sting!
    Ding and dong, and dong and ding!
Too late to fix, cramped hands we wring!
    Ding and dong, and dong and ding!
            Consequences tally up,
            And comes the due, someday.
            Programs will go belly up;
            Tomorrow is another day.
            Fa-la la-la-la, la-la la-la.

 

Envoi:   "When government undertakes tasks for which it is ill equipped it squanders the authority necessary for carrying out its core responsibilities. Pervasive rent-seeking, bad for our economy and worse for our republic, should be discouraged instead of rewarded. If government becomes integral to securing every advantage and assuaging every grievance, then governance becomes impossible." Richard Voegeli, "Reclaiming Democratic Capitalism," Claremont Review of Books, Spring 2012.

 

Addendum of Consequences Tallying Up:   "The severity of states' pension woes was disguised for years, because asset markets were so strong and because of the way states accounted for the cost of pension provision. But the 21st century has been dismal for stock markets, where most pension money has been put. State budgets came under huge pressure as a result of the 2008-09 recession, which caused tax revenues to plunge. Meredith Whitney, an analyst who made her name forecasting the banking crisis, believes the states could be the next source of systemic financial risk. Now the problem is making headlines, especially in California, where taxpayer groups have been highlighting the generous pensions of some former employees. More than 9,000 beneficiaries of CalPERS, the largest state retirement plan, receive more than $100,000 a year. The stage is set for conflict between public-sector workers and taxpayers." In "A gold-plated burden, Hard-pressed American states face a crushing pensions bill," The Economist, 14 October 2010.

 

Addendum of the Shiny Fake Future:  "....the financial shortfall is staggering. Assuming that stock markets will rise at fantastic rates forever conceals a massive fund...ng gap and the need for painful reforms. In some cities, this leads to a barrage of dueling pension estimates between reformers and politicians or special interest groups who don't like their bill. Until Detroit filed for bankruptcy protection, officials claimed the pension system had a manageable funding shortfall of $600 million, but that assumed the city's investments would earn 8%. When emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr asked for a new estimate using the fund's actual earnings, it revealed a shortfall of $3.5 billion. Using a more conservative 'guaranteed' rate, the gap widens to $9 billion. Now a court will decide whether benefits must be cut because Detroit didn't act in time. When cities go bankrupt, public employees lose. Unfortunately, other cities are following Detroit's beleaguered path." In "Cities' shiny fake future collapses," by Eileen Norcross, USAToday, 12 March 2014.

 

See:    A spasm of isms   and also  Meetings 

 


 

On a Winter's Day

"The Arctic conditions are set to last through the Christmas and New Year bank holidays and beyond and as temperatures plummeted to -10c (14f) the Met Office said this December was ‘almost certain’ to become the coldest since records began in 1910." In "Coldest December since records began as temperatures plummet to minus 10C bringing travel chaos across Britain," Daily Mail, 18 December 2010.

The emperor really has no clothes.
He's standing in a blizzard,
Yet waves his highbrow, thinker's wand
As if he were a wizard.

Just see how hot the snow is,
How much it boils and burns!
Heed what he says, what he foresees,
For these are his true concerns.

Naked stands his intellect,
Imperious, and mighty high.
A Charles-Jones-Gore, a prince of fools,
Cries out to prophesy!

Don't see, don't feel, don't think!
He's the only one who knows
The truth that blazes through the ice
Is his ardent heat which glows.

This emperor has bared it all
Beneath the blanket white,
And if one looks into his plans
They seem a swindler's sleight.

Did I just see him shiver,
Buck naked as a jay?
Perhaps it's getting colder,
On this white-hot English day.

 

Envoi:    "...children just aren't going to know what snow is...."  In "Snowfalls are now just a thing of the past." The Independent. March 20, 2000.

 

Addendum of Snow as a Thing of the Past:    "Daytime temperatures have plummeted four or five degrees lower than average for February which is traditionally the coldest month of the year." In "Snow to fall in London as bitterly cold weather grips Britain," The Telegraph UK, 25 January 2013.

 

Addendum of Chilly Summertime News:   "With beautiful weather on tap for the weekend, lots of people will be boating on Lake Michigan. But after two deadly accidents on the water last weekend, the Chicago Fire Department is reminding people of the hazards of cold water." In "Don’t Be Fooled By Warm Weather — Lake Temps Remain Dangerously Cold," by Mai Martinez, CBS Chicago, 6 June 2014.

 

Addendum of Icy Summertime News:   "It may be June, but a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources warden discovered some icebergs still afloat in Lake Superior near Madeline Island on Friday. DNR Marine Warden Amie Egstad spotted the floating ice – which was covered in resting seagulls – while doing a routine check of commercial nets in the largest of the Great Lakes." In "DNR Warden Spots Icebergs On Lake Superior," CBS Minnesota, 7 June 2014.

 

Addendum of Five Hundred Days:    "Foreign Minister Fabois: (In French.) We have 500 days to avoid the climate chaos. (In French.) / Secretary Kerry: Thank you very much. Do you want to say anything? He speaks perfect English. Do you want to say anything? / Foreign Minister Fabois: Well, I’m very happy to be with John. There is no week without a phone call or a visit between John and myself, and we have on the agenda many items, many issues – Iran, because negotiations are resuming today; the question of Syria, and we shall meet next Thursday in London together; Ukraine as well; and very important issues, issue of climate change, climate chaos. And we have – as I said, we have 500 days to avoid climate chaos." In "Remarks With French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius Before their Meeting, Treaty Room at the State Department, Washington, DC, 13 May 2014.    [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Overestimations:   " 'I looked at 73 climate models going back to 1979 and every single one predicted more warming than happened in the real world,' Christy said. Many of the overestimations also made their way into the popular press. In 1989, the Associate Press reported: 'Using computer models, researchers concluded that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide 2 degrees by 2010.' But according to NASA, global temperature has increased by less than half that -- about 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit -- from 1989 to 2010." In "Climate models wildly overestimated global warming, study finds," by Maxim Lott, Fox News, 12 September 2013.    [ 2 ]

 

 Addendum of Being Ice-Free:    "...some of the models suggest to Dr. Maslowski that there is a seventy-five percent chance that the entire north polar ice cap during summer, during some of the summer months, could be completely ice-free within the next five to seven years." Al Gore, "COP15 Copenhagen, United Nations Climate Change Conference 2008, ForaTV.     [ 3 ]

 

See:    Earth Hour Follies  ,  and also  It's too hot, and it's too cold  - a cabaret song in the Russian style

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   "Five hundred days" from 13 May 2014 is the date, 25 September 2015.  One notes that amusingly that France's own special climate conference is scheduled for after the "five hundred days" and therefore presumably in the midst of "the climate chaos." Source:   "The international climate conference will be held at the Le Bourget site from 30 November to 11 December 2015." In "France confirmed as host of 2015 Climate Conference," France Diplomatie, French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Development, 22 November 2013.

 

[ 2 ]  More as to overestimations:  "In its 2007 report on climate change, the United Nations included a prediction that the Himalayan glaciers had a high probability of melting by 2035 -- a forecast that came as an unpleasant surprise for many. But the forecast is wrong and the Nobel Prize-winning UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate change is be criticized heavily for its methods. 'This date -- 2035 -- is almost completely absurd,' Kaser told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "No one could take that number seriously." The glacier ice is so thick that it could not melt in the specified time period. To do so global warming would need to be two or three times higher than currently expected. But at current rates, this is a physical impossibility." In "A Costly Mistake: UN Climate Experts Under Fire for Glacier Melt Error," by Christoph Seidler, Spiegel, 20 January 2010.

 

[ 3 ]  As of the "five to seven years" time frame being ended, one learns the "seventy-five percent chance" was one hundred percent incorrect.

         One reads,  "A chilly Arctic summer has left 533,000 more square miles of ocean covered with ice than at the same time last year – an increase of 29 per cent. The rebound from 2012’s record low comes six years after the BBC reported that global warming would leave the Arctic ice-free in summer by 2013. Instead, days before the annual autumn re-freeze is due to begin, an unbroken ice sheet more than half the size of Europe already stretches from the Canadian islands to Russia’s northern shores." In "And now it's global COOLING! Return of Arctic ice cap as it grows by 29% in a year," by David Rose, Daily Mail UK, 28 September 2013.

 

 Looking Back and Being Proven Wrong

 

         Looking back at Gore's speech and incorrect forecast, one notes the clever wiggle room he allowed himself. He quotes someone else as the source for his forecast. but one also notes that a redacted edition of the speech appeared in the NYTimes dropped Maslowski as the source of the incorrect estimate. One reads:   "The climate crisis, in particular, is getting a lot worse – much more quickly than predicted. Scientists with access to data from Navy submarines traversing underneath the North polar ice cap have warned that there is now a 75 percent chance that within five years the entire ice cap will completely disappear during the summer months." In "The (Annotated) Gore Energy Speech," by Andrew C. Revkin, New York Times, 17 July 2008.

         In predictable response to such a demonstrably incorrect assertion, a "climate denier" recalls the speech:  "...in Gore’s Dec. 10, 2007 'Earth has a fever' speech, Gore referred to a prediction by U.S. climate scientist Wieslaw Maslowski that the Arctic's summer ice could 'completely disappear' by 2013 due to global warming caused by carbon emissions. He’s been proven wrong on those two predictions, and he’s likely to be proven wrong on a third, when he moved the goal posts in 2009...." In "Nature proves Al Gore wrong again," Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat, 16 December 2013.

           Such "climate denial" is denigrated by those who have consistently erred in their forecasts. Earlier "denial" came as Watts noted another incorrect forecast:   "From their Die kalte Sonne website, Professor Fritz Vahrenholt and Dr. Sebastian Lüning put up this guest Post by Prof. Jan-Erik Solheim (Oslo) on Hansen’s 1988 forecast, and show that Hansen was and is, way off the mark." In "James Hansen’s climate forecast of 1988: a whopping 150% wrong," Anthony Watts, WattsUpWithThat, 15 June 2012.

 


 

Puny Verse - hawking one's wares

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing," he writes. "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist. It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going." In "Stephen Hawking says universe not created by God," by Adam Gabbatt, Guardian, UK, 2 September 2010.

 

In the beginning was nothing,
                                And then it all went boom.
Spontaneous creation squawks,
                                Its own belief in full bloom.
Theories are never facts,
                                And facts do not often lie,
While theories are so often
                                Just lovely pie-in-the-sky.
God is a theory of sorts
                                For those who would believe,
Which makes others grumble and grouse,
                                And so disturbed, they grieve
That God as a sort of theory
                                Might have caused their Big Bang,
A theory not ever proven
                                By the Bang believing gang.
It is staunch, their staunch belief,
                                And likely their sort of god,
Which makes all the wordy chatter
                                Seem so strangely odd.
There are laws, I fully admit,
                                Behind many a mysterious thing.
What law is behind a physicist's life
                                And the metaphysical thing?
What then does Hawking invoke?
                                He's hawking his Hawking book;
In denying God and also gods,
                                He hopes to get us all to look.
Shall I believe in the bang of his dreams,
                                Or shall I believe in what I believe?
I am not limited to one or the other,
                                For my belief is as I might conceive.
I don't feel the urge,
                                The push, or the need
To gather up words from
                                Doc Hawking of Screed.

Professing wise, becoming fools,

                                We're all such self-important molecules.

 

See:    A clever pile of molecules 

 


 

The anti-gun guy

"State Sen. R. C. Soles, the state's longest-serving legislator, was indicted Thursday on a felony charge of assault with a deadly weapon inflicting serious bodily injury." In "State Sen. R. C. Soles indicted on assault charge," by Shelby Sebens, 7 January 2010. 

The anti-gun guy shoots a guy with a gun,
Which all seems rather queer.
Perhaps double standards are his sort of fun,
As the stories shout loud and clear.
            A liberal Democrat pays his fine
            And into obscurity fades,
            Until the next news story and byline
            Rouse yet more cannonades.

The anti-gun guy shoots his gun quite a lot
It seems, by a longer view.
Perhaps double standards are all he's got,
As the stories shout hullabaloo.
            A liberal Democrat retired and rich
            Hoped notoriety would fade,
            But news reports the latest sports
            Of some gay old escapade.

So off limits is much about this sordid tale,
The politically connected favors,
The seedier things which dovetail,
The seemingly askew behaviors.
            The anti-gun guy shoots a guy with a gun,
            Which all seems rather queer.
            Perhaps double standards are his sort of fun,
            As the stories shout loud and clear.  
[ 1 ]    [ 2 ]

 

An Addendum of Like Kind:   "More than a dozen cop cars, the SWAT team, K9 units and the Erie County Sheriff’s Air One helicopter swarmed Harvey Austin Elementary School in Buffalo on Thursday after reports of a man with a gun near the school or on the grounds. Dwayne Ferguson, head of the Buffalo chapter of MAD DADS, was taken into custody. He will be arraigned Friday. ...Ferguson is the head of the Buffalo chapter and sits on the National Board of Directors of MAD DADS, an organization that aims to 'promote and demonstrate positive images of fathers engaging in community development and protecting youth and families.' News 4 interviewed Ferguson in March of 2013 at a rally in support of the NY SAFE Act. At the time, Ferguson stated the law did not go far enough. 'Our kids are not buying assault weapons, they’re buying pistols and they’re buying them right out of community stores and back here in the school. So this is serious. It needs to go further than what it is,' he said." In "Local leader charged for allegedly having gun at school," by Eli George, WIVB Television, 7 February 2014.   [ 3 ]

 

Another Addendum of Like Kind:   "A California state senator who authored gun control legislation asked for campaign donations in exchange for introducing an undercover FBI agent to an arms trafficker, according to court documents unsealed Wednesday. The allegations against Sen. Leland Yee were outlined in an FBI criminal complaint that names 25 other defendants, including Raymond Chow, a onetime gang leader with ties to San Francisco's Chinatown known as 'Shrimp Boy,' and Keith Jackson, Yee's campaign aide. The affidavit accuses Yee of conspiracy to deal firearms without a license and to illegally import firearms." In "California lawmaker faces gun, corruption charges," by Paul Elias and Sudhin Thanawala, Associated Press, 26 March 2014.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum for Historical Justification for Guns:   "The lesson this teaches and which every Afro-American should ponder well, is that a Winchester rifle should have a place of honor in every black home, and it should be used for that protection which the law refuses to give. When the white man who is always the aggressor knows he runs as great a risk of biting the dust every time his Afro-American victim does, he will have greater respect for Afro-American life. The more the Afro-American yields and cringes and begs, the more he has to do so, the more he is insulted, outraged and lynched." In "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law in All Its Phases," Ida B. Wells, 1892.

 

Addendum of a Gun Enthusiast Democrat's Campaign Ad:   "Rep. John Barrow’s ad two years ago about how 'my grandfather used this little Smith and Wesson here to help stop a lynching' was widely recognized as one of the best of the cycle. The Augusta Democrat is out today with a sequel in which he bears his grandfather’s gun again, and pulls out his concealed carry permit along with it. Barrow mourns how 'Washington Democrats look down on people for carrying firearms.' The kicker: 'Like my daddy used to say, you never really need a gun unless you need it bad'." In "John Barrow pulls out his granddaddy’s anti-lynchin’ pistol again," by Jim Galloway, Atlanta Journal Constitution, 22 October 2014.

 

Addendum of Democrats Using Guns:   "Rep. Marty Flynn (Luzerne), a former corrections officer and a mixed martial-arts fighter who has co-sponsored gun safety seminars around the state, traded the gunfire with the robber after he and Rep. Ryan Bizzarro (Erie) were stopped on their way back to their Harrisburg residence. The two alleged assailants were caught a few blocks away, and two additional teenagers were later arrested as accomplices, Harrisburg police said Wednesday. Arrested were Jamani Ellison, 17; Jyair Leonard, 15; Derek Anderson, 17; and Zha-quan McGhee, 15. They were charged with attempted homicide, conspiracy, robbery, aggravated assault, reckless endangerment, and carrying a firearm without a license. They were charged as adults, police said, and officers recovered the gun they used. Flynn and Bizzarro both declined to speak about the incident Wednesday, and their offices referred reporters to a statement released by the House Democratic Caucus." In "Two lawmakers involved in shoot-out with robbers near Capitol," by Amy Worden and Allison Steele, Philadelphia Inquirer, 15 October 2014.      [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of an Anti-gun Sheriff:    "A fairly well-known anti-gun sheriff seems to have shot himself in the hand on Wednesday night while cleaning his firearm. Des Moines County Sheriff Mike Johnstone negligently discharged a round into his left hand, and was subsequently transported to the hospitals emergency room." In "Infamous Anti-gun Sheriff Shoots Himself in the Hand While Cleaning his Gun," by Eric Reed, BuzzPo, 19 December 2015.

 

See:    Guns for me 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   An amusing anecdote testifies to double standards:  "An aide to Michigan Democratic Rep. John Conyers got off with a warning after illegally bringing a gun into a public building. Security officers at a federal building in downtown Detroit found a gun in the purse of Betty Petrenz, Conyers’ office manager. Bringing weapons into government buildings is strictly forbidden, but Petrenz received no sentence or formal punishment. Just a ticket, which will be stricken from her record if she demonstrates good behavior. Conyers is a strong advocate of stronger gun control laws who has received an 'F' grade from the National Rifle Association." In "Democratic aide brings gun into courthouse, receives ticket," by Robby Soave, Daily Caller, 10 July 2013.

 

 In Their Own Hypocrisy

 

         But as to State Senator Soles, one finds interesting details damning with faint praise:   "As much fun as it is to catch anti-gun politicians in their own hypocrisy, this is not such a case. In the interest of fair play and truth, GRNC is compelled to point out that while not excellent, R.C. Soles is not a "virulent anti-Second Amendment activist" nor a "vociferous anti-gun zealot." [T]he charges are simply not true — he is mediocre at worst and has voted with us on most major issues." In "Lost Soles," Snopes, 15 February 2011, citing a quote from Grass Roots North Carolina.

 

[ 2 ]   It is odd to find those passionate to restrict guns from others so often excuse themselves.

        As an example: "Bloggers are taking New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg to task, accusing him of hypocrisy for pushing strict gun control onto Americans but simultaneously seeking gun-carry exemptions for his security detail when he travels to Bermuda, where firearms are largely prohibited. The New York Times first reported of this disparity in 2010, stating that the mayor uses taxpayer dollars to pay for two armed city officers to accompany him on get-away jaunts to Bermuda. But before he can fly them in, he has to obtain special permission so they can keep their guns: Bermuda is so anti-gun that even its own police force isn’t armed, The Times reported then." In "NYC’s Michael Bloomberg accused of ‘hypocrisy’ for arming security detail in gun-free Bermuda," by Cheryl Chumley, Washington Times, 26 March 2013.

 

 Prominent Media and Guns for Protection

 

        Another prominent media individual employs people with guns for his purposes, while decrying others for similar stances. "Filmmaker Michael Moore's bodyguard was arrested for carrying an unlicensed weapon in New York's JFK airport Wednesday night. Police took Patrick Burke, who says Moore employs him, into custody after he declared he was carrying a firearm at a ticket counter. Burke is licensed to carry a firearm in Florida and California, but not in New York. Burke was taken to Queens central booking and could potentially be charged with a felony for the incident." In "Michael Moore's Bodyguard Arrested on Airport Gun Charge," FOX News, 20 January 2005.

        As the discussion focuses on hypocrisy across the politics of guns currently, one notes this irony: "Yet, a report from Second City Cop, further investigated by Rebel Pundit, reveals that the University of Chicago Lab School, the elite private school where Mayor Emanuel sends his children, has its own armed guard. Not only that, Second City Cop reports that Mayor Emanuel’s children have an armed escort to and from school." In "Someone tell Rahm Emanuel his children are protected by armed guard at school," by Anne Sorock, Legal Insurrection, 27 December 2012. One can argue this is sensible if elite, because not all Chicago children receive the protection of armed guards. See: If Chicago were a war zone  .
        Among the most visible gun control proponents of the last years has changed views:  "Dianne Feinstein has long been one of the Senate's strongest advocates for gun control. But few people may know that the California Democrat used to own a firearm herself. 'I thought if they were going to take me out, I wanted to take a few of them with me,' she told the audience with a laugh. But after witnessing the assassination of City Supervisor Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone in 1978, Feinstein's views on guns shifted. She later gave up her concealed weapons permit." In "Dianne Feinstein Talks Guns, Opens Up About Her Own Firearm Ownership," by Aaron Sankin, Huffington Post, 3 April 2013. Though Feinstein "gave up her concealed weapons permit," one learns her State of California issues them:  "California is a 'may-issue' state for permits to carry concealed guns. The willingness of issuing authorities in California ranges from No-Issue in most urban areas to Shall-Issue in rural counties. However, concealed carry permits are valid statewide, regardless of where they were issued." In "Gun laws in California," Wikipedia article. One also notes that Moore's "Burke is licensed to carry a firearm in Florida and California...."

 

 A Gun Presidency

 

        The enthusiasm for guns runs the gamut from a complete ban to broad availability, depending on rationale. "Asked in a magazine interview whether he had ever fired a gun, Mr Obama said he did so with guests at the president's rural retreat. 'Up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,' he said. 'And I have a profound respect for the traditions of hunting that trace back in this country for generations. And I think those who dismiss that out of hand make a big mistake'." In "Barack Obama: 'I go shooting all the time'," by Jon Swaine, Telegraph UK, 27 January 2013.

 

[ 3 ]     Looking further into the story:  "Dwayne Ferguson spent more than a decade advocating for nonviolence and peace in the streets of Buffalo. He was a well-known face in the movement for the SAFE Act, the state law that made carrying a gun on school property a felony. He was also a familiar presence in the hallways of the city’s Harvey Austin Elementary School, where he worked in the after-school program and mentored students. No one imagined that on Thursday he would show up at the school in possession of a gun, touching off an hours-long lockdown, search and ultimately his arrest on two felony charges. Ferguson, 52, told WGRZ-TV that he frequently carries the gun, for which he has a permit, and did not realize he had it on him when he went to the school as part of the mentoring program. Those who have worked with him also said they believe it was an honest mistake." In "Associates defend man who had gun in school," by Jane Kwiatkowski, Lou Michel and Tiffany Lankes, Buffalo News, 7 February 2014.

 

 One Doesn't Forget

 

        The question becomes simple. How does someone "not realize" that he is carrying a gun, and why is a felony an "honest mistake" for some while not for others? It becomes simply a question of adherence to political double standards rather than adherence to law, when all is said and done.

         But tellingly, a comment by a law enforcement professional wrote:  "You know something, I carried every day, on and off duty as a cop for 25 years. I carry almost daily now as a Retired cop. NOT ONE SINGLE TIME Did I ever manage to "Forget" that I was armed."

         As to the SAFE Act, one article notes that this act which has swept up a gun control activist with a permitted gun has interesting fallacies.  One reads of a manufacturer of guns merely changing the "look" of a weapon to be in compliance with this SAFE Act, and the article finished with this tidbit:  "Fewer people are killed with all rifles each year (323 in 2011) than with shotguns (356), hammers and clubs (496), and hands and feet (728)." In "Manufacturers Change Look of AR-15; Rifle Is Now Legal in New York State," by Charles C. W. Cooke, National Review, 10 February 2014. Yes indeed, an AR-15 is legal still in New York if it looks like what "safe" demands. As Tweedledum and Tweedledee agreed: "There's logic."

         This is the problem with arguing about making society "safer." Similarly the current craze is to be against smoking tobacco while before for smoking marijuana. Making society "safer" seems the predictable argument, and yet the safest plan would be to outlaw all smoking, all handguns and of course all shotguns -- which Vice-President Biden advised people to buy -- as well as hammers and clubs and hands and feet. Reductio ad absurdam? Of course. Think of the current decades' of "safe sex" rhetoric set alongside "freedom from government in the bedroom." And yet STDs are virulent and some deadly in a given year. Should such statistics and the argument for "safe" breed laws to prevent sexual acts?  But when debate is engaged, the only remaining question is who defines what, followed by who concedes when.

 

[ 4 ]   The end to this anti-gun, anti-violent video games California Democrat and state senator is told:   "Yee, 66, acknowledged that he participated in two criminal enterprises, the Leland Yee for Mayor Campaign 2011 and the Leland Yee for Secretary of State campaign. In connection with these campaigns, Yee admitted he (1) accepted $10,000 in exchange for using his influence as a state senator to assist in the process of obtaining a grant from the California Department of Public Health, (2) conspired to extort money from individuals by suggesting he would cast favorable votes for specific legislation only if the money were paid, (3) accepted a $11,000 bribe in exchange for arranging a meeting with another state senator to discuss specific legislation, (4) conspired with others to purchase weapons in the Philippines and import them illegally into the United States, and (5) provided more than $6,000 in cash to a campaign aid knowing the aid would launder the money by arranging to convert the cash into checks made payable to Yee’s Secretary of State campaign. On January 29, 2015, a federal grand jury indicted Yee under a second superseding indictment with conspiracy to conduct the affairs of an enterprise through a pattern of racketeering activity, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1962(d); conspiracy to obtain property under color of official right, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1951(a); honest services conspiracy, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1349; scheme to defraud citizens of honest services and wire fraud, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 1343 and 1346; conspiracy to traffic in firearms without a license and to illegally import firearms, in violation of 18 U.S.C. §§ 371, 922(a)(1), and 922(l); and conspiracy to commit money laundering, in violation of 18 U.S.C. § 1956(h). According to his plea agreement, Yee pleaded guilty to the racketeering charge and the remaining charges will be dismissed." In "Former State Senator Leland Yee And Three Others Plead Guilty To Racketeering," Department of Justice, US Attorney's Office, 1 July 2015.

 

 Selling Weapons and Selling Votes

 

          The end of this tale of an officially anti-gun, weapons trafficker is prison.  One reads:  "The San Francisco Democrat was caught in an FBI sting that recorded him promising votes and guns to an undercover agent who was funneling him contributions. He pleaded guilty last year rather than face a trial. And Wednesday, after decades as an elected officeholder, he was sentenced to five years in prison for doing political favors in exchange for campaign cash — or, as the judge put it — for selling his vote." In "Ex-state Sen. Leland Yee gets 5 years in prison in corruption case," by Maura Dolan and Patrick McGreevy, Los Angeles Times, 24 February 2016.

         Should it be a surprise that political persons, especially elected officials, commit crimes? Of course not. For a small sampling of these kinds of politicians and the abuse of public policies, see:  Corruption .

 

[ 5 ]     In a story related by party affiliation, one reads:  "Missouri State Senator Jamilah Nasheed had a gun in her possession at the time she was arrested Monday night outside the Ferguson Police Department, according to Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson. Nasheed declined comment about the having the weapon, but did tell News 4 she has a concealed carry permit. A Ferguson police officer said Nasheed was carrying a fully-loaded 9 mm handgun and additional rounds of ammunition." In "Sen. Nasheed had handgun on her at time of arrest, refused breathalyzer, police say," by KMOV Staff, KMOV Missouri, 20 October 2014.

 

 For Me But Not For You

 

         The irony of a political stance against guns by those who prefer their own ownership and possession illustrates what Ida B. Wells (above) observed in 1892. Guns to use in committing crime are best answered by guns used to prevent crime from occurring.

         The legal concept of self-defense remains central to a free people, while an anathema to totalitarian states wherein even dissent alongside self-defense is outlawed. The politics of gun control is dishonest when such proponents argue "for me, but not for you." 

          Please consider some historical testimony:  Disarm the arms   - in the Machiavellian farms.

 


 

Rules for Hunting

Hunting as a bloody sport
Can be bloody fun for you,
Until each hunted can resort
To weapons which they shoot too.

When playing fields are leveled,
Then play isn't always fun.
It's often just a matter of
Whose got the bigger gun.

Will you write rules for hunting
To make the game so fair?
Will you read them while unarmed
To the predator in its lair?

The nice and civil, the rules and such
Seem ever the best-laid thought,
Until the predator bites, inasmuch
As it's acting as it ought.

The world is just, a bloody affair
In all it does and must;
Rules for hunting remain unaware
That blood begets its lust.

Will you write rules for hunting
To make the world less real?
Will you read them while unarmed,
As your predators' next meal?

 


 

In a boiling bath - paraphrase of a Joachim Ringelnatz poem

In a boiling bath a lobster
Growled with rage: "What crisis deep!
The heat! It wrecks my greenish beauty
Staining it purplish-red so deep.

Oh, I'd had a happy life once
In the peaceful ocean muds,
With Miss Froggy, she a cousin,
Midst the gullies and ocean floods.

'Cousin Lobster!' hollered Froggy
In a singular croaking screech,
'Look, appearing there before us,
A tasty morsel within our reach!'

Like a flash a trout swam for it,
Shooting at the dainty fare;
But I was oh so quick to answer,
Clawing at her snout to snare....

Thereupon I was imprisoned,
No one came, sparing this, my fate.
All because Miss Froggy hollered...."
Uh -- the lobster was ready for a dinner plate.

See:    Im heißen Bad - (2010)   

 


 

No Dignity - and now comes repayment

“There is no dignity quite so impressive, and no one independence quite so important, as living within your means.” Calvin Coolidge (1872-1933)

No dignity is what governments have made,
As their public debt is never quite paid,
But rolled over and over in a rhetorical stew
To generations next, like a witches' brew.
        No dignity is what governments have earned,
        That have independence so easily spurned,
        With debt and debt and ever more debt
        Which is mounting up like a rising threat.
But tell all governments to live within their means
And see what howls such a comment gleans.
Why it's foolish! Wrongheaded! Harsh! It's wrong!
That's what they'll say, both loud and long.
        Live with your means? What a load of crock!
        We'll inflate our way out as the clocks tick-tock.
        It's all a matter of cooking the books,
        Though we're nothing like charlatans or crooks!
Live within one's means? How foolish! How dumb!
That's the line, by governments' rule of thumb.
But then comes reality, skipping along
And soon there'll come a real tough song.
        Time's up. Why look! The debt wants its due.
        Pay debt with more debt seems an illogical screw
        Applied to its peoples by governments' plan
        To enslave those not born, every child, every man.
No dignity is found in such a dark, little thought
Which brings nations to their knees all for naught.
The party was grand. The party was all.
And now comes repayment, and after, the fall.

 

See:    Debt   and also  This debt is your debt    - a parody on Woody Guthrie's non-folk song, "This Land Is Your Land"

 


 

Sing a song of stupid

"Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said today that music is 'not compatible' with the values of the Islamic republic, and should not be practised or taught in the country." Saeed Kamali Dehghan, in the Guardian, UK, 2 August 2010.

Music's not compatible because supreme leaders says it's so?
Then music is rebellion and must be quite a blow,
                As melodies sing joyous loud like drumbeats from afar
                To rattle little angry them with a tuneful repertoire.
The values of which most men sing are not their values grim,
But values which embrace God's joy, even in a battle hymn.

Split a woman's head with a showers of thrown stones,
But don't allow a dirging tune to disturb her dying groans?
                Hang a little youthful boy, just because they can,
                But never, ever harmonize God's music to their plan
For power over others to silence voices sweet,
As you threaten folks with your nasty little bleat.

Music's not compatible because you says it's so?
Then many Muslims the world around must also vote as no,
                While you sing your song of stupid, though you cannot sing,
                And trot out that unmusical ayatollah thing.
Music's not compatible because one imam says it's so?
Silly man! Muslims play music round the world ! Don't you know?

 

See:    With regard to music 


 

Argument Postponed

The game was o'er, as chess pieces flew
By upturning that board where a loss might ensue.


The cards were dropped from the hand where they hid,
As if this was better when there wasn't a bid.

The rules were changed to affect those who play,
For winners might have won in their unsportsmanlike way.


The debate was deemed o'er, as invectives flew
Because the losing side just might have been who?

Competition, some say, is an evil, crass thing
Unless they're the winner, whereupon they would sing:


"Hurray for me, the other side's whipped."
When cheating's a part of the argument's script.

In clear-spoken terms and by rules most agreed,
The losing side often embarks on a screed


Of "unfair, unreasonable, unjust" and more:
This is the way they'd settle their score.

When losing the argument, some think it best
To turn over the game board, spill the hand, and the rest,
And turn to thump on an emotional breast.

An argument postponed is no debate done,
Just ploy after ploy in a fabric cheap spun
To say that the loser might've probably won.

See:    Socialism's Last Hurrah 

 


 

Fascist is as fascist does - a little bug inside of me

Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV): "There's a little bug inside of me which wants to get the FCC to say to FOX and to MSNBC: 'Out. Off. End. Goodbye.' It would be a big favor to political  discourse; our ability to do our work here in Congress, and to the American people, to be able to talk with each other and have some faith in their government and more importantly, in their future." (17 November 2010)

Fascist is as fascist does;
One needs few definitions.
    When one considers the iron fist,
    It's time for premonitions.
That little bug spoke no restraint,
But tipped its blind ambition;
    It sought to stifle each complaint
    With fascist prohibition.
When words become its enemy
And opinion must be killed,
    It's certain fascism's infamy
    Runs pure, ripe, undistilled.
That fascists wear a fine disguise
Does not mean they're not there;
    Rather, we see in fascist cries,
    They hunger from their lair.
There's that bug inside of them
Which seeks to rule and reign;
    This is their ugly stratagem,
    To crush those who'd complain.
This is not what freedom seeks,
Nor what the free man wills.
    But such a bug just stinks. It reeks,
    Then rages, before it kills.
Should one have faith in such a bug?
Should one be loyal, true?
    Or should one quickly pull the rug
    Out from under such a view?
A free man with a free man's urge
Will not compliant be;
    Fascism which plans its purge
    Should be hounded up a tree,
And shown to all what rightly is,
That fascists are but thugs.
    One needs no silly wordy quiz
    To define such fascist bugs.

While history shows us jack boot types,

We need to oft recall,

    Before the boots came prototypes,

    But fascists, one and all,

Who broached no opposition

And raged at speech so free

    To justify its prohibition,

    Choosing power viciously.

Fascist is as fascist does;
One needs no definitions.
    When they presume the iron fist,
    Bugs shed their inhibitions.

Out. Off. End. Goodbye.

This is how fascists would have us die.

 

Envoi:    "...the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us." Michel Foucault (1926-1984)

 

Addendum:    "They came for the communists, and I did not speak up because I wasn't a communist; They came for the socialists, and I did not speak up because I was not a socialist; They came for the union leaders, and I did not speak up because I wasn't a union leader; They came for the Jews, and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up for me." Martin Niemoller (1892-1984)

 

Addendum of a Pledge Not Kept: "I want people to know, the President's promise that if you like the coverage you have today you can keep it is a pledge we intend to keep." Senator Rockefeller (U.S. Senate, Finance Committee, Hearing, 23 September 2009)

 

See:    Bad Little Boys   and, for the Pledge Not Kept,  A Countdown Song    - counting upwards to down

 


 

Good Old Obfuscation

Good old obfuscation
Rears its hydra heads
To blather to each nation
And loose its vexing threads.
Clutter up the chatters
And mess with people's heads,
For all that is the matters
Is that logic is torn to shreds.
Dear old obfuscation
Three-card Monty's you;
Its "palm the ace" fixation
Hides its aims from view.
Maybe, yes and no way
Flow like ocean tides,
Shifting sands till doomsday
As clarity subsides
Into dreary obfuscation's
Webs of vast deceit,
With its many gray gradations
Where yes and no might meet
In knots tied Gordian tight
With chains of deep despair,
To shelter it from the light
Of truth's simple baring glare.
Frightened obfuscation
Runs to flee the light
For truth is like castration
To its stupid, macho might.
Cut off from its flight
Of fancy words and snares
It shows that rancor and its spite
Are all that it declares.

 

Addendum of Obfuscation Clarified: "IPCC official Ottmar Edenhofer, speaking in November 2010, advised that: '…one has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. Instead, climate change policy is about how we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth…' The late Stephen Schneider, who authored The Genesis Strategy, a 1976 book warning that global cooling risks posed a threat to humanity, later changed that view 180 degrees, serving as a lead author for important parts of three sequential IPCC reports. In a quotation published in Discover, he said: 'On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, on the other hand, we are not just scientists, but human beings as well. And like most people, we’d like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that, we need to get some broad-based support, to capture the public’s imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of the doubts we might have. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest.' Kevin Trenberth, a lead author of 2001 and 2007 IPCC report chapters, writing in a 2007 'Predictions of Climate' blog appearing in the science journal Nature.com, admitted: 'None of the models used by the IPCC are initialized to the observed state and none of the climate states in the models correspond even remotely to the current observed state'." In "In Their Own Words: Climate Alarmists Debunk Their 'Science'," by Larry Bell, Forbes, 5 February 2013.

 

See:    Rhetorical Tides 

 


 

The Sum and End of It - consequences come to all

He wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer,
Not even the sharpest spoon.
He wasn't the bright boy he believed,
But rather a full-fledged loon.

Yet fledged-full loony verve like his
Made him climb and scramble high,
Until one day his grip came loose.
Then, gravity did apply.

He'd been held aloft and aided oft
By other full-fledged loons,
Who full believed the time was ripe
For a leader of buffoons.

Consequences come to all,
To all as just to one.
Predicting them is part of life,
And sometimes oddly fun.

Such consequences rumbled by
To cries of great surprise,
The looniest of the loons laid low,
As reality clarifies.

 

Some loons will say that I've attacked

Their favorite, chosen child.

In answer to such thoughts as theirs,

More than theirs are herein reviled.

 

This riddle applies not just to one,

For more than one there are

Who prove themselves so loony

By fumbling for their star.

It is said by those among us
That one cannot polish shit.
A rather base conclusion, but
That's the sum and end of it.

 


 

Cherished Cultural Myths - to maintain power and influence

"High school history teacher James Corbett, found to have violated a student's First Amendment rights last year by disparaging Christianity in class, on Saturday urged 'intellectuals of all political persuasions' to push back against the 'right-wing authoritarianism' that is eroding mutual tolerance and democracy in America. Speaking at a convention in Irvine hosted by the Orange County chapter of the high IQ society Mensa, Corbett railed against what he described as anti-intellectual conservatives who rely on 'submission' and 'cherished cultural myths' to maintain power and influence." In "Intellectuals must 'push back,' urges teacher sued by student," by Scott Martindale, The Orange County Register, September 4, 2010.

Cherished cultural myths include
The ones just baked today;
They are not all from recipes
Past centuries hoorayed.
                        Right-wing, left-wing chatterers
                        Speak myths which they believe
                        Including the myths of Left and Right,
                        Some served up to deceive.
Marx was one to peddle myths,
The Frankfurt School and such.
They also are our myth makers
Whose myths some teachers clutch.
                        A fellow teaching history
                        Should know the lessons well.
                        While old beliefs proved brutal,
                        The new ones brewed their hell.
One cannot prove that God exists;
Belief needs no proof for this.
One also cannot ever prove
The utopians' dreamed-of bliss.
                        The newest social myths, one finds,
                        Are failing left and right,
                        As they bankrupt nations, trample men,
                        With the same old bitter fight.
Who's in charge and who shall lead
Remain their arguments.
The newest cherished social myths
Are so often without sense.
                        That "all political persuasions"
                        Should "push" against the Right
                        Shows Mister Teacher's politics
                        Is all about the fight
By one side's cherished social myths
To wage faux-intellectual war,
For "all political persuasions"
Includes the ones he'd gore.
                        This is logic and lingo twisted
                        Into raging, silly rants
                        As Mister Teacher's history's is left,
                        His Leftism myth to enhance.
The cultural myths of Left and Right
Are myths, indeed, my friend,
And when one says one side's correct,
The other is a sinner's trend.
                        Cherished cultural myths are tools
                        Which make for cultural war,
                        Because that is what such myths all say
                        And what the myths are for.
Don't believe proud intellectuals
Who say they know it all,
For after all the haughty pride
Comes ever the well-known fall.
                        Cherished cultural myths include
                        The ones just hatched today;
                        They aren't all from recipes
                        Past centuries hoorayed.

Intellectuals like him hold to myths,

Often not fully aware,

But that is most unkind of me

To note this truth, unfair.

                        Cherished cultural myths include

                        All theories and beliefs

                        Which must be held by faith in things,

                        As yet unproved motifs

Like creationism in all forms,

From the genesis to that dear Big Bang,

To Darwin's sweet theory as it evolves,

To postmodernism's tart meringue.

                        Folks believe in many things,

                        Even when they say they don't.

                        The ones who say they don't believe?

                        They can't confess. They won't.

But they believe, for all men do,

In some things they cannot prove.

Rather than confess them as belief,

They'd rather yours disapprove.

                        Which brings us back to that old game

                        Of cherished cultural myths

                        Which are worshipped still today

                        In the newest carved megaliths.

Cherished cultural myths include
The ones just baked today;
They are not all from recipes
Past centuries hoorayed.

 

See:   Creative Folklore 

 


 

Everywhere is a wonderland - paraphrase of a Joachim Ringelnatz poem

Everywhere is a wonderland.
Everywhere shows there is life.
In Auntie's elastic garter band
As in the wider world, it's rife.


Darkness is everywhere.


Children sire more young.
Five minutes later, life has sung;
What lived, dies, even if unfair,
In some eternity's everywhere.


If you breathe on the little snail's head,
It shrinks back that shrinking head.
If you drench it with Cognac, I've read,
It hallucinates white mice instead.

See:    Überall - (2010)   

 


 

All Things in Moderation - pabulum

All things in moderation, so they say.
It is, however, an empty word play.
    Moderate Nazis were moderate men?
    Moderate Maoists are moderate? When?
Moderate Chernobyl ruined a land.
Is moderate Communism a moderate brand?
    Moderate synthesis twixt evil and good?
    Is that how moderation should be understood?
Moderate Stalinists practiced genocide?
Is that moderation? Think well and decide.
    Moderate millions killed as a choice
    Gives moderation its deadly, dark voice.
Moderate Klansmen? Moderate hate?
Moderation is a word of moderate weight.
    Moderate truth and moderate lies?
    Such moderation poisons the wise.
Moderation in all things? How?
Moderate synthesis twixt then and now?
    Moderation in all things often fails
    For moderation is a logic which ails.
Principles and justice and honor and right,
These are not moderate, they put it to flight.
    All things in moderation is pabulum small
    When moderation causes man's greatness to fall.

 


 

Just Because

'"Father," said one of the rising generation to his paternal progenitor, "if I should call this cow's tail a leg, how many legs would she have?" "Why five, to be sure." "Why, no, father; would calling it a leg make it one?" Edward Josiah Stears' Notes on Uncle Tom's Cabin (1853) p. 46.

Just because you call it that
Can never make a dog a cat.
        Just because you say it's so
        Will never prove that high is low.
Just because you stamp your feet,
Cold won't equal summer's heat.
        Just because you speak a name
        Does not bolster every claim.
Just because you spout some word
Does not prove you're not absurd.
        "Just because" is no reply,
        And cannot easily answer, "why?"
Just because a word flies by
Is never proof it's not a lie.
        Trust too much in words or men?
        It's sure you'll be betrayed again.

See:     Good Old Obfuscation 

 


 

A Tiny Lie

"For the last few years, federal agencies have defended body scanning by insisting that all images will be discarded as soon as they're viewed. The Transportation Security Administration claimed last summer, for instance, that 'scanned images cannot be stored or recorded.' Now it turns out that some police agencies are storing the controversial images after all." In "Feds admit storing checkpoint body scan images," by Declan McCullagh, cnet news, August 4, 2010

A tiny lie,
    Like government,
        Comes to spy on us.
It says they don't.
    What's more, they won't,
        Except they do, and thus
A tiny lie
    Is government,
        Which lies with callousness.

See:    Lying continues 

 


 

Three Little Democrats

"The new requirements follow reports by The Times that Bell spent $1.6 million annually on just three city employees, including nearly $800,000 on the city manager. Council members drew pay for serving on multiple city panels, some of which met at the same time or for as little a minute." In the Los Angeles Times Blogs, by Rich Connell, August 3, 2010.   [ 1 ]

Three little Democrats rang a city's bell,
Which seemed at first to ring quite well;
Joyous was the sound, so rich and full,
To ears plugged deaf by political bull.

Three little Democrats pocketed change
As hope leached out in numbers strange
And debt increased and burdens swelled;
Then the bell rang sour and the people yelled.

Three little Democrats squeezed the bell's town,
With few first noticing, few to frown,
Until their excrement hit the spinning fan,
And then the three? They turned and ran.

Three little Democrats fattened on lean,
Are now are exposed to have been quite mean;
Hardened of heart, though three made rich,
Their greasy gravy train lies in the ditch.

Three little Democrats thrived a while,
On political pork and their common bile.
That's the way that that politics works;
Average Joes heisted by political jerks.

 

Three little Democrats are the iceberg's tip;

Titanic in scope is the scandals' grip.

Political servants and their parties feed

To teach us that politics is first about greed.

 

Addendum:  "Miller alleged that in addition to their council salaries of upward of $80,000 a year, the officials appointed each other to the commissions that did nothing and often met yearly just to increase their salaries. The most blatant, he said, was creation of the Solid Waste and Recycling Authority, which he called "a fiction" designed to line the officials' pockets. 'They gave themselves raises which were not even drafted by a lawyer. Somebody just made this up out of the blue,' Miller said. Prosecutors said the city treasury was looted to the tune of $5.5 million and the modest city of Bell was driven to the brink of bankruptcy." In "6 standing trial for Bell, Calif., corruption," by Linda Deutsch, Associated Press, 24 January 2013    [ 2 ]

 

The Iceberg Tip's Addendum:  "Santa Ana has hired away Phoenix's city manager and has agreed to an annual salary and benefits package of more than half a million dollars, instantly making him one of the highest paid city employees in California. David Cavazos, a longtime Phoenix employee who rose through the ranks from intern to city manager during his 26-year tenure, would have a total compensation package of $558,625 in his first year in Santa Ana. Only the city manager in tiny Indian Wells is listed as having a higher salary and benefits package at $677,172, according to the state controller's office, which most recently released data for 2011." In "Santa Ana to pay new city manager more than $500,000 annually," by Paloma Esquivel, Los Angeles Times, 7 August 2013.   [ 3 ]

 

Bell's Story Almost Ends:  "Rizzo was charged with looting the modest Los Angeles suburb he managed of more than $5 million. Authorities say he used the money to pay himself and other top city officials huge salaries. Rizzo himself had an annual salary and compensation package of $1.5 million. Five former city council members have been convicted of similar corruption charges." In "Ex-city manager pleads no contest in massive Bell, Calif., corruption case," Associated Press, 3 October 2013.

 

Bell's Story Almost Ends Some More:   "Coincidentally, the controller’s update was released just as Angela Spaccia, former administrator in the scandal-plagued Los Angeles County city of Bell, was found guilty on 11 corruption charges that included the misappropriation of public funds. She was accused of creating a secret pension fund for herself and then-city manager Robert Rizzo, who at one point “earned” a salary of $800,000 a year plus benefits. Rizzo — the rotund racehorse-owning poster child for municipal greed — previously pled 'no contest' to corruption charges. Five other Bell officials were convicted, also. The scandal, which erupted in 2010, sparked a widespread debate about public pay levels and oversight. Trial evidence included an email string where officials joked about getting 'fat together' and “taking all of Bell’s money'." In "Does Bell toll for excessive public pay? Controller's compensation database tells shocking story," by Steve Greenhut, San Diego Union Tribune, 21 December 2013.

 

See:    Never, Ever Call It Greed   ,  and also Donkey Skins and Elephant Hides 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    One learns that in contrast to a politician's "nearly $800,000" yearly income, the "city’s personal income was $24,800 per capita in 2008, according to its financial statement. That compares with an average of $32,819 nationwide, according to 2010 figures from the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis." In "California Official's $800,000 Salary in City of 38,000 Triggers Protests," by Christopher Palmeri, Bloomberg, 20 July 2010.

 

 Taxes to Pay the Rich

 

            One also learns that this community once served by "three little Democrats" is hard hit by taxes.  "The small working-class city of Bell not only paid some of its officials the highest municipal salaries in the state, but its residents pay the highest property tax rates of all but one of Los Angeles County's 88 cities, county tax records show." In "Paying too much? Comparing property tax rates for L.A. County cities," by Kim Christensen, Los Angeles Times, 2014.

            This is one among the many reasons why I shall not join the party  .  Other reasons are linked above and below.

 

[ 2 ]    The story winds down:  "Five former elected officials from the scandal-plagued California city of Bell were convicted on Wednesday of misusing municipal funds by collecting exorbitant salaries in a case that drew national attention as a symbol of public corruption. The eight former city officials arrested in September 2010 in the investigation were collectively accused of bilking taxpayers out of roughly $5.5 million through excessive salaries, benefits and illicit loans of public money. Then-Los Angeles County District Attorney Steve Cooley called it a case of "corruption on steroids."" In "Five ex-officials from Bell, California, convicted in corruption trial," Reuters, 20 March 2013.

 

 A Symbol of Political Greed

 

            But the story is not complete: "The case involving the modest 2 1/2-square-mile city has become a national symbol of political greed. Authorities allege a salary-inflating scheme masterminded by former City Manager Robert Rizzo enriched him, the council members and other top city officials. Rizzo and his former assistant, Angela Spaccia, are scheduled to face trial later this year on similar charges. The city of Bell has about 36,000 residents, with one in four people living below the poverty line." In "Bell Corruption Case Far From Over; Alleged Mastermind Robert Rizzo Still Awaits His Own Trial," by Greg Risling and John Rogers, Huffington Post, 21 March 2013.  One might broaden the image of politicians and their penchant for corrupt practices, by seeing this wee rhyme and its addenda:  Corruption 

            Or, as the rhyme above concludes, "politics is first about greed." One might consider another tale of Democrat double standards and greed, in an Addendum of a "patriotic" ex-American Company Walking Away .

 

[ 3 ]      For FY 2000, in order to compare a half-million for the new city manager of Santa Ana: "The median income for a household in the city is $43,412, and the median income for a family is $41,050. Males have a median income of $23,342 versus $21,637 for females. The per capita income for the city is $12,152." Source: Wikipedia. 

            It is assured this is just the "tip of the iceberg." See:  Fat, fat government  .

 


 

Social Tensions

"China is struggling to contain social tensions, and anger over issues ranging from the cost of health care to a rapidly widening rich-poor gap in the past has exploded into violence." Reuters News Service, as reprinted in the New York Times, July 30, 2010

Social tensions are really nothing new,
And nothing seems historically askew,
For gaps between the rich and poor
Have always played the saboteur.

As always tensions rise and rise
Which should not come as some surprise.
Socialists lead themselves to wealth,
By politics' clever social stealth.

They claim things must be as they are
With the poor beneath each commissar.
Storm clouds gather in the yellowed skies.
So shall tensions such as these evermore arise.

See:    Capital for Communists  - a story growing old

 


 

Some people will

Some people will, while some folks won't.
Some folks'll do, and some of us don't.


Some of us can, and some simply can't.
Some simply shall, while others simply shan't.


Others surely should not, but then some should.
Gosh, I wouldn't, while other folks would.


Men are made equal, so I hear said,
But from what I see here, I conclude instead


That some will be free, while some will stay slave,
Based lots on their choices from birth to their grave.

 


 

Icarus meets the sun

Icarus meets the sun,
And his graceless fall's begun;
Those myth-fired wings blaze brightly,
As the well-cooked goose is done.
    Pinions lofted by lofty fools
    Soar according to all the rules;
    But the rules demand duly their due,
    In maelstroms' whirling whirlpools.
Sound and fury cluster
After the boast and bluster;
Reach for stars? Grasp at straws?
From rooster to feather duster.
    Wax wings melt and feathers toast,
    Though each Icarus flies almost
    To where his fable always ends,
    Burnt, worn, false, sclerosed.

 


 

Worries - to keep the populace alarmed

"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed -- and hence clamorous to be led to safety -- by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." Henry Louis Mencken (1880-1956)

Caldrons of slop,
Politics stirred,
Whipped up non-stop,
Worries absurd.
            Cooking the news,
            The stories, the books,
            Lighting each fuse
            And goading the kooks.
Solutions proposed
Add to the woes,
Power's disposed
To come to hard blows.
            Worry and wanting
            And waiting and waste,
            Politics grunting,
            But never shame faced.
Put them aside,
Far, distant, away.
Labor detoxified,
Through a worries-freed day.
            Caldrons might boil,
            News might explode.
            But simply toil
            Down a worry-light road.
Work independent,
Steadfast against lies,
Thought worries might vent
They shake not the wise.

 

Envoi:  "Worry is a whirlwind that throws the weightier matters of the law of life out of plumb, and raises such a dust of minor duties and possible hindrances that the blinded victim can see nothing aright." In " "Marion Harland's Complete Cook Book", by Marion Harland, The Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1903.

 

Addendum:    "Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, Faith looks up." Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803-1882)

 

See:    All the news is screaming 

 


 

Never forget

 

"Never forget that everything Hitler did in Germany was legal." Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

Never forget.
        Never forget that legal
                Is not always moral.
Never forget.
        Never forget that power
                Is not always might.
Never forget.
        Never forget that need
                Is not always want.
Never forget.
        Never forget that government
                Is not always good.
Never forget.
        Never forget, for forgetting
                Begins the cycle again.

 

Envoi:    "§ 1 / Jews (§ 5 of the First Regulations of the German Citizenship Law of 14 November 1935, Reichsgesetzblatt 1, p. 1332) are prohibited from acquiring. Possessing, and carrying firearms and ammunition, as well as truncheons or stabbing weapons. Those now possessing weapons and ammunition are at once to turn them over to the local police authority. / § 2 / Firearms and ammunition found in a Jew's possession will be forfeited to the government without compensation." In "Regulations Against Jews' Possession of Weapons," 11 November 1938

 

Addendum:    "Written laws are like spider's webs; they will catch, it is true, the weak and poor, but would be torn in pieces by the rich and powerful." Anacharsis (6th Century BC)

 

See:    Right and Wrong 

 


 

Freddie and Fannie and Barney and Frank

"These two entities - Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac - are not facing any kind of financial crisis." Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, 2003.   [ 1 ]

Freddie and Fannie and Barney and Frank
        Went up to the Hill for their money.
Fannie lost lots as the markets went tank
        While Barney thought nothing seemed funny.
Freddie was swimming in ink bleeding red
        As Fannie was floundering awful,
Barney hoped folks wouldn't think he had bred
        The calamitous mess which was "lawful."
Barney was frank with the folks as he said
        He'd never said quite what he'd said,
Lest we might confuse the words he had fed
        To the gullible masses he'd bred.
This is not my crisis, and I am no joke,
        For somebody else is at fault.
I meant what said, when I simply misspoke;
        The fault lies with Randy John Galt.

 

Envoi: "Troubled mortgage-finance giant Fannie Mae reported on Monday that it lost $29 billion in the most recent quarter, putting the firm closer to having to draw on the $100 billion in taxpayer dollars committed to it in September." In "Fannie's loss: $29 billion," by Chris Isidore, CNN Money, 10 November 2008   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum:   "Fannie Mae reported a $72 billion net loss for 2009 and said it has asked the U.S. Treasury for another $15.3 billion in operating funds. The additional $15.3 billion would bring Fannie Mae's total bailout tab to more than $76 billion." In "Fannie Mae reports $72 billion 2009 loss," UPI, 27 February 2010

 

Adden-ever-dumber:   "The cost of fixing Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage companies that last year bought or guaranteed three-quarters of all U.S. home loans, will be at least $160 billion and could grow to as much as $1 trillion after the biggest bailout in American history. Fannie and Freddie, now 80 percent owned by U.S. taxpayers, already have drawn $145 billion from an unlimited line of government credit granted to ensure that home buyers can get loans while the private housing-finance industry is moribund. That surpasses the amount spent on rescues of American International Group Inc., General Motors Co. or Citigroup Inc., which have begun repaying their debts. 'It is the mother of all bailouts,' said Edward Pinto, a former chief credit officer at Fannie Mae, who is now a consultant to the mortgage-finance industry." In "Fannie-Freddie Fix at $160 Billion With $1 Trillion Worst Case," by Lorraine Woellert & John Gittelsohn, Bloomberg News, 14 June 2010

 

Addendumber-and-Dumber:   "Fannie Mae (FNMA.OB), the biggest source of money for U.S. home loans, said on Wednesday it would seek $4.6 billion in additional federal aid after reporting a fourth-quarter loss. Earlier on Wednesday, the government-controlled mortgage finance company posted a loss of $2.4 billion for the quarter ended December 31. That pushed Fannie Mae's loss for 2011 to $16.9 billion from $14.0 billion a year earlier, the company said." In "Fannie Mae seeks $4.6 billion in aid after Q4 loss," by By Margaret Chadbourn, Reuters, 29 February 2012

 

Addendum of the Rich Suing for Taxpayer Bail-out Money:   "John Paulson made his fortune by taking a massive short position against the US housing bubble. Today the hedge fund billionaire is betting that the US political system will fail. This time he has company. Other billionaires have launched a lawsuit to force the US Treasury to pay shareholders vast sums from the government-sponsored housing enterprises that it bailed out in 2008. Betting on Washington’s largesse has become a routine investment strategy. ...Two of the largest beneficiaries of Washington’s firefighting were Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, the mortgage underwriters, which took $187.5bn in taxpayers' money to keep them alive. Without that infusion, the entire US housing finance system would have seized up – and with it the global economy. And Fannie and Freddie would have ceased to exist. Six years later, some of the richest people on the planet are petitioning the courts to reward Fannie and Freddie’s shareholders for having been rescued by the US taxpayer." In "Hedge fund titans are testing the quality of US democracy," by Edward Luce, Financial Times, 11 May 2014.

 

See:    Senator Crooked and Congressman Hoax   and also see  Fat cats richly rich of late 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     Representative Frank, (D. Massachusetts) stated in 2003 Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac "are not facing any kind of financial crisis." Frank Raines, "former Clinton Administration Budget Director, Raines was the first African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company when he took the helm in 1999. He left in 2004 with the company embroiled in an accounting scandal just as it was beginning to make big investments in subprime mortgage securities that would later sour. Last year Fannie and rival Freddie Mac became wards of the state." In "25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis," Time Magazine, 2008.

 

 Unjustified Levels of Compensation and Improper Earnings

 

           One might conclude Representative Frank was significantly uninformed, willfully uninformed, politically blind or, as the other option in politics often is proven, corrupt. Whatever the motivation, the chairman of the House Financial Services Committee severely wrong.  By the small sum of billions. And it has been clearly said to be fraud.

           " 'The conduct of Mr. Raines, CFO Timothy Howard, and other members of the inner circle of senior executives at Fannie Mae was inconsistent with the values of responsibility, accountability, and integrity,' the report said. Those individuals engaged in improper earnings management in order to generate unjustified levels of compensation for themselves and other executives.' Fannie Mae agreed to the settlement with the SEC and OFHEO without admitting or denying guilt. The company is in the midst of trying to create accurate accounting records for the years in question, an undertaking that is costing it hundreds of millions of dollars." In "Study Finds 'Extensive' Fraud at Fannie Mae," by Kathleen Day, Washington Post, 24 May 2006.

 

[ 2 ]     It is important to remind that such huge sums represent the aggregate suffering of many little people. One reads a startling statistic:  "Nearly 1 million homes have been lost to foreclosure since the housing crisis hit in August 2007, and the trend continues unabated." In "Fannie, Freddie ignored warning signs," by David Goldman, CNN Money, 9 December 2008.

           Nearly one million homes also means nearly one million families, lured into loans which they could not afford to meet. Individuals lost; the nation lost. Thankfully fat cats retired with huge sums....

 

 Manipulation and Predatory Charges

 

          Huge sums" Yes, indeed.  Some fat cats "...manipulated [its] earnings so that executives could earn performance bonuses (up to $1.9 million in Johnson's case) they would not otherwise have been entitled to. In May 2008, Senator Obama tapped James Johnson to be one member of a three-person panel tasked with vetting potential vice-presidential running mates. Johnson (who was not serving as an economic advisor to the Obama campaign) resigned from that position shortly afterwards when news accounts reported that he had received more than $2 million in home loans at below average market rates from Countrywide Financial (a partner of Fannie Mae)." Snopes, 3 January 2012.

          One reads further of Countrywide Financial:   Angelo Mozilo "...co-founded Countrywide in 1969 and built it into the largest mortgage lender in the U.S. Countrywide wasn't the first to offer exotic mortgages to borrowers with a questionable ability to repay them. In its all-out embrace of such sales, however, it did legitimize the notion that practically any adult could handle a big fat mortgage. In the wake of the housing bust, which toppled Countrywide and IndyMac Bank (another company Mozilo started), the executive's lavish pay package was criticized by many, including Congress. Mozilo left Countrywide last summer after its rescue-sale to Bank of America. A few months later, BofA said it would spend up to $8.7 billion to settle predatory lending charges against Countrywide filed by 11 state attorneys general." In "25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis," Time Magazine, 2008. 

 


 

Little is enough

"...the pure righteous do not complain of the dark, but increase the light; they do not complain of evil, but increase justice; they do not complain of heresy, but increase faith; they do not complain of ignorance, but increase wisdom." In "Arpilei Tohar", p. 27–28, by Abraham Isaac Kook (1865–1935)

 

There are horrors in this world;
I thought you should know.
You cannot save each victim
Nor battle all the foe.
            You can do but little,
            Yet little is enough.
            If each would act his part
            And call the horrors' bluff,
The world would make another step
As our liberty, our love
And peace advance yet further
Like manna from above.
            But when one ear turns deaf
            And when one eye stays blind,
            And when some voice is stilled,
            The world cannot be kind.
The horrors in this world
Shrink from truth and light;
They might win a battle
But are never in the right.
            You cannot save each victim
            Nor alone defeat the foe,
            But you can do a little;
            Thereby shall freedom grow.

 


 

Equality

"Democracy and socialism have nothing in common but one word, equality. But notice the difference: while democracy seeks equality in liberty, socialism seeks equality in restraint and servitude. " - Alexis de Tocqueville (French historian and political scientist. 1805-1859)

All men must be equal;
We'll see this made a fact.
If one's too tall, we'll cut him down
With an equalizing act.
        If one's too bright, he must look dumb,
        If one's too nice, we'll see him glum,
All men shall be equal;
We'll see this made a fact.
If one's too rich, we'll rob from him
As our equalizing act.
        If one thinks independently,
        We'll penalize such effrontery.
All men will be equal;
We'll see this made a fact.
There are, of course, some exemptions
For our leadership compact.
        This might seem a little coup,
        But we must be more equal than are you.
All men must be equal;
We'll see this made a fact.
If one complains, we'll mow him down
With our equalizing act.

        This was foreseen more than a century ago.
        Why reject this truth? What does history show?
        Men shouting equality enslaved other men,
        Imprisoned, tortured, murdered, and then....

All men must be equal,
Grows louder and grows more shrill.
The lesson? The truth? Hmm?
It's whatever those masters will?
        If you stand against this tide, be equal to the lords
        For that is the equality, which true liberty affords.
        The masterful gasp with fear and rage with lordly fright
        To find that true equality is greater than their might.

 

Envoi:   "The thirst for education is already an aristocratic thirst. As soon as there is a family or love, there is a desire for property. We shall throttle that desire: we shall unleash drunkenness, scandal, denunciations; we shall unleash unprecedented debauchery; we shall extinguish every genius in his infancy. Everything must be reduced to the common denominator, total equality. Each belongs to all, and all to each. All are slaves and equal in slavery. In extreme cases it will mean defamation and murder, but the main thing is equality. First there will be a drop in the standard of education, in learning and talent. A high level of learning and talent is accessible only to the very brainy. We must abolish the brainy! The brainy have always seized power and been despots. The brainy couldn't be anything other than despots and have always brought more debauchery than good. We will execute or exile them. We will cut out Cicero's tongue, gouge out Copernicus's eyes, stone Shakespeare to death — that's Shigalyovism! Slaves must be equal: freedom and equality have never yet existed without despotism, but there must be equality in the herd, that's Shigalyovism!" Fyodor Dostoyevsky in "The Possessed," 1916.

  

See:    Freedom is freedom is freedom 

 


 

Let's borrow - a nonsense poem for these modern times

 "The most disturbing aspect of West European performance since 1973 has been the staggering rise in unemployment. In 1994-8 the average level was nearly 11% of the labor force. This is higher than the depressed years of the 1930s." Angus Maddison, Emeritus Professor and economist, University of Groningen (1926-2010), in 2001.

Let's borrow to aid some borrowers
Who are deeply deep in debt.
Let's borrow as we're the borrowers
And blind to debt-filled threat.
And when we're deep in trouble
And need a helping hand,
We'll look for others to borrow
To aid with what we've planned,
            Which is....
To borrow to aid some borrowers
Who are deeply deep in debt.
Round and round the logic goes,
An insanely foolish bet.
This is not economically sensible,
But logically comes to its end
As borrowers fall upon their faces
While looking for some friend
To borrow to aid those borrowers
Who are deeply deep in debt.
Round and round the story goes,
Like a double-down daring bet.

 

Addendum for the Poor Borrowers:   "As of 2013, the debts of the quarter of families with the lowest net worth stood at about 156 percent of pretax income, according to the Fed data. That's more than in 2007, before the financial crisis hit. It's also more than any of the wealthier groups -- something that hadn't happened before 2010. The poorest quartile of families is the only group that owes more than it owns. Thanks to declines in the value of assets, the group's average leverage ratio -- debt as a percent of assets -- increased to 137.5 percent in 2013, the highest on record since the survey started in 1989." In " America's Poor, Deeper in Debt Than Ever," by Mark Whitehouse, Bloomberg, 12 September 2014.

 

See:    Now how does that seem to a lender like you?  - a run-around, and the important and often un-learned lesson of  Economics 101 

 


 

Totalitarian

"The Soviet Union  [ 1 ]  was a very complicated state and if we speak honestly, the regime that was built in the Soviet Union... cannot be called anything other than totalitarian," he said. "Unfortunately, this was a regime where elementary rights and freedoms were suppressed."  [ 2 ]  President Dmitry Medvedev, in "Russian president slams USSR," Agence France-Presse, 7 May 2010.

Suppress their speech, and press them hard;
Freedom is but a cheap canard.
    The collective knows what's right and best;
    Dissent must therefore be repressed.
Regimes are central, power fed,
And by their wisdom men are led
    To toe the mark and toe it well,
    For as they know and as they tell
The total scheme is great and grand,
And not the little people's planned
    Life of happiness and sport,
    But of some other fearsome sort
Where speech is crime, and punished hard
And freedom's is a dark canard.
    Elementary rights, you say?
    Not when regimes would have their way.
Totalitarian powers turn and twist,

And strike their blows with hammered fist.
    Elementary rights cannot live,
    When freedom is held so captive.

It cannot be called other than it is;

Call it totalitarian? Take the quiz.

 

Envoi:   "Total controlled to total cruelty." Howard Zinn, "A People's History of the United States," p. 6. Harper-Collins, 1980. Zinn wrote the sentence of the abuse of Native Americans by the colonialist Spanish, and yet the statement speaks a truth -- an objective truth, in spite of Zinn's other naive assertions on socialism  [ 3 ] -- about any "total" which can act with "total cruelty."

 

Addendum of Truth found in Science Fantasy:  "William: 'I'm sure we can all pull together, sir'." / Vetinari: 'Oh, I do hope not. Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions'." In "The Truth," Terry Pratchett, Doubleday, 2000.

 

 Addendum Accepting Despotism:  “Socialism easily accepts despotism. It requires the strongest execution of power -- power sufficient to interfere with property.” Lord Acton (1832-1902).  [ 4 ]

 

Addendum:  "The post-totalitarian system is mounting a total assault on humans and humans stand against it alone, abandoned and isolated. It is therefore entirely natural that all the "dissident" movements are explicitly defensive movements: they exist to defend human beings and the genuine aims of life against the aims of the system."   In "The Power of the Powerless," by Václav Havel, 1978.   [ 5 ]

 

See:   Dissent 

 

Addendum of Using Terror:   "...terror is an essential part of communism, because communism is contrary to human nature. What would you say if I would take the purse out of your pocket? Everyone wishes to have something. A dog wishes to have a bone, and communism is against human nature because it does not allow you to have anything of yours and so communism must use terror." In "Testimony of Reverend Richard Wurmbrand," Communist Exploitation of Religion Hearing, Subcommittee to Investigate the Administration of the Internal Security Act and Other Internal Security Laws," 6 May 1966.

 

Addendum of Diluting the Word:    "The word totalitarianism spread around the world and by the 1940s was regularly used to describe the Nazi and Soviet states. It was a common currency in such famous books as Friedrich Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, Karl Popper’s Open Society and its Enemies, George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four and Hannah Arendt’s Origins of Totalitarianism. Churchill used it in his famous speeches, it became explicitly part of the Truman Doctrine in 1947, and President Eisenhower drew on it during the Korean War. By this time revisionists and sceptics had begun to question the term as crude and too ideological. No society can be completely totalitarian, these critics said. Yet this was always the view of its theorists: totalitarianism is against human nature in all its manifestations and will not or cannot last. By trying to control every aspect of society, the communists turned every aspect into a potential protest. But the revisionists succeeded in one sense: the term lost respectability and became a loose synonym for authoritarianism. Used in this more or less benign way it misses the ruthless and uncompromising attempt by totalitarian rulers, most famously Stalin, to impose total uniformity on their subjects." In "Reassessing the Iron Curtain II," by Peter Coleman, Quadrant, 1 October 2013.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of Capital Fleeing Russia in 2014:   "The collapse of the ruble has prompted a flight of capital as investors and savers in Russia seek shelter outside the country's borders. A CNBC.com analysis of money flows monitored by the Russian Central Bank shows that large cash hoards have already left the country. Nations in the ex-Soviet Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) have been disproportionate recipients of those funds. Ukraine is also a major destination for Russian cash." In "Data show Russian cash has already fled," by John W. Schoen, CNBC, 18 December 2014.    [ 7 ]

 

Addendum of the Characteristic:   "...Authoritarianism – or, to give it a less loaded name, the belief that state compulsion is justified in pursuit of a higher goal, such as scientific progress or greater equality – was traditionally a characteristic of the social democrats as much as of the revolutionaries." In "Leftists become incandescent when reminded of the socialist roots of Nazism," by Daniel Hannan, Telegraph UK, 25 February 2014.

 

Addendum of the Chinese Crackdown Going Global:   "Veteran China expert Mike Chinoy argues Beijing is sending a political message, especially when Chinese authorities parade former exiles on state television. 'This is really the first time that we've seen in such an over flagrant way -- irrespective of the international fallout -- that the Chinese government and security services have been going around and literally just taking people from other countries and spiriting them back to China,' says Chinoy, senior fellow at the USC U.S.-China Institute." In "No escape? China's crackdown on dissent goes global," by Ivan Watson, Pamela Boykoff, Kocha Olarn and Judy Kwon, CNN, 5 February 2016.

 

Addendum by Reason of National Security:   "Iran bans its citizens from having any contact with Persian-language media based overseas, including the BBC's Persian service and Voice of America. In April, an Iranian court sentenced four journalists arrested in November 2015 to between five and 10 years in prison for 'colluding' with foreign governments and harming 'national security'. The journalists, some of whom work for reformist media outlets, were part of a group arrested by the elite Revolutionary Guard, which accused them of being "members of a network of infiltrators linked to Western governments" it said were hostile to the Islamic republic." In "Anonymous SMS threatens hundreds of journalists in Iran," Agence France Presse, 2 July 2016.   [ 8 ]

See:   Anti-capitalism struggles  - a curriculum of sorts, and a song setting of Rudolf Rummel's text,  Pray tell, my brother, why - (2008)   

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (Russian: Сою́з Сове́тских Социалисти́ческих Респу́блик, tr. Soyuz Sovetskikh Sotsialisticheskikh Respublik abbreviated to USSR (Russian: СССР, tr. SSSR) or the Soviet Union (Russian: Советский Союз, tr. Sovetsky Soyuz, was a constitutionally socialist state that existed between 1922 and 1991, ruled as a single-party state by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital. From "Soviet Union," Wikipedia article, accessed 7 February 2013.

 

 Innocent People Arrested, Naturally

 

            The "single-party state" acted as one would expect.  “A Stalin functionary admitted, "Innocent people were arrested: naturally - otherwise no one would be frightened. If people, he said, were arrested only for specific misdemeanours, all the others would feel safe and so become ripe for treason.” Paul Johnson (b. 1928), in "Modern Times," Weidenfeld & Nicolson.

            Clarification:  “A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened.” George Orwell, in "Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell," Volume 2, "My Country Right or Left 1940 - 1943."

            Greater clarification:  "In the end the Party would announce that two and two made five, and you would have to believe it. It was inevitable that they should make that claim sooner or later: the logic of their position demanded it. Not merely the validity of experience, but the very existence of external reality, was tacitly denied by their philosophy.

            "The heresy of heresies was common sense. And what was terrifying was not that they would kill you for thinking otherwise, but that they might be right. For, after all, how do we know that two and two make four? Or that the force of gravity works? Or that the past is unchangeable? If both the past and the external world exist only in the mind, and if the mind itself is controllable—what then?" George Orwell, in "1984."

 

[ 2 ]     "Over a half century ago, while I was still a child, I recall hearing a number of old people offer the following explanation for the great disasters that had befallen Russia: "Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened." Since then I have spent well-nigh 50 years working on the history of our revolution; in the process I have read hundreds of books, collected hundreds of personal testimonies, and have already contributed eight volumes of my own toward the effort of clearing away the rubble left by that upheaval. But if I were asked today to formulate as concisely as possible the main cause of the ruinous revolution that swallowed up some 60 million of our people, I could not put it more accurately than to repeat: 'Men have forgotten God; that's why all this has happened.'" Quoted in: Edward E. Ericson, Jr., "Solzhenitsyn – Voice from the Gulag," Eternity, October 1985, pp. 23–4.

 

 Dreams of Dictatorship

 

            A reflection on the the notion of the revolution which breeds totalitarianism is found in the famous words:  "... No matter how trifling the cost; / For the end of that game is oppression and shame, / And the nation that pays it is lost!" From "Dane-Geld," by Rudyard Kipling.  As one sees across the history of the last century and more, various versions of totalitarianism all proposed "common good" for their subjects administered by a privileged elite.

            This so adequately explains Marx' fundamental truth, that there must come a "dictatorship of the proletariat" for their own good -- as paternalism suggests -- through the medium of oppression and shame, and each example of such totalitarianism has demanded that men "forget" in order that the state become the ersatz god.  Solzhenitsyn's thesis is a direct opposite to Marx's assertion that religion is an "opiate." What is an opiate is the paternal promises of various governments, many now fallen, defeated or collapsed, and many on their way towards political and economic collapse.

 

[ 3 ]     Zinn wrote: “Why should we cherish “objectivity”, as if ideas were innocent, as if they don’t serve one interest or another? Surely, we want to be objective if that means telling the truth as we see it, not concealing information that may be embarrassing to our point of view. But we don’t want to be objective if it means pretending that ideas don’t play a part in the social struggles of our time, that we don’t take sides in those struggles. Indeed, it is impossible to be neutral. In a world already moving in certain directions, where wealth and power are already distributed in certain ways, neutrality means accepting the way things are now. It is a world of clashing interests – war against peace, nationalism against internationalism, equality against greed, and democracy against elitism – and it seems to me both impossible and undesirable to be neutral in those conflicts." Howard Zinn, in "Declarations of Independence: Cross-Examining American Ideology" (1990).

 

 Witty and Insightful Marx

 

            Zinn has been decidedly not neutral. One reads of Zinn's play:  "Marx is back! The premise of this witty and insightful 'play on history' is that Karl Marx has agitated with the authorities of the afterlife for a chance to clear his name. Through a bureaucratic error, though, Marx is sent to Soho in New York, rather than his old stomping ground in London, to make his case." In "about the play," found at MarxinSoho.com.

            Therefore, Zinn's and Lord Acton's remarks are anything but "neutral" and Zinn's is demonstrably not "objective." Acton states clearly in opposition to all forms of totalitarianism, that "Liberty has not only enemies which it conquers, but perfidious friends, who rob the fruits of its victories: Absolute democracy, socialism." Lord Acton (1832-1902).

 

 Revolutionary Dictatorship -- Witty and Insightful?

 

            What of Marx and totalitarianism? One reads from the source:  "Between capitalist and communist society there lies the period of the revolutionary transformation of the one into the other. Corresponding to this is also a political transition period in which the state can be nothing, but the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat." Karl Marx, in "Critique of the Gotha Program" (1875). So much for liberty. So much for "freedom of the individual."

            So much also for history and historians, then, because all nations and all cultures have done that which Zinn accuses the United States in his version of history through a socialist's lens. If he is to be believed, then his own testimony is that "it is impossible to be neutral." Neutrality does not have to mean "accepting the way things are now." Rather an objective veiw of historical events can inform, and lead to greater liberty for all rather than interim state power to redress and of course rewrite the past..

            One ponders wise words:   "From the totalitarian point of view history is something to be created rather than learned. A totalitarian state is in effect a theocracy, and its ruling caste, in order to keep its position, has to be thought of as infallible. But since, in practice, no one is infallible, it is frequently necessary to rearrange past events in order to show that this or that mistake was not made, or that this or that imaginary triumph actually happened." George Orwell, in "The Prevention of Literature" (1946)

            It is intriguing to note that this view is historical, objective and reinforces other thoughts as regards the great difference between society and the state. 

            See:  So shall ism  , and also the comments on majoritianism in my article, On Government and Art  .

 

[ 4 ]     Acton asserted "socialism easily accepts despotism." In an interview looking back, one finds Medvedev's stance mirrored in the last Communist leader of the collapsed USSR.  "Don't you remember what kind of a country it was? All it took was a tiny political joke to end up in Magadan. And I was supposed to have a plan and a supporting team? First we had to lead the people out of torpor. The party establishment didn't need perestroika. Each of them had it made. The district party leader was the king in his district, the regional leader was a czar and the general secretary was practically God's equal." In "'They Were Truly Idiots'," Der Spiegel Interview with Mikhail Gorbachev, 16 August 2013.

 

 The Best Elements of Communism

 

            One reads in contrast from American historian Howard Zinn:  "I'd like to think of taking the best elements of all of them. Communism -- if you separate communism from the Soviet Union and from those bureaucratic and totalitarian countries that call themselves Marxist and communist and just treat communism as envisioned by Marx and Engels -- ultimately a society where there would be freedom of the individual and rational use of the world's resources. That's something to take from communism. From socialism I would take what I just described, and that is the use of the government, the democratically elected government, to equalize resources and help people. I would take from anarchism the suspicion of authority, the suspicion of all governments, the readiness to criticize and rebel against any government. They may have started out in a humanitarian way but they can easily become ossified and dictatorial. Anarchism has as its goal the idea of a kind of decentralized society where individuals are free from the oppression of government and corporate power and the church. So, I think there are elements in all three that are useful." In "Socialism without Jails," by Howard Zinn, MRZine, 28 January 2010.

            The illogic of American socialist Zinn is instructive: he would take from Communism what he finds as "freedom of the individual," and yet we learn from Gorbachev as from Medvedev, both closer to the real application of Communism than Zinn ever was, that a totalitarian cannot accept freedom of the individual.

            Zinn would take from socialism "the use of the government," though Gorbachev testified that government leaders easily become "practically God's equal."

            And Zinn would take from anarchism "a suspicion of authority," which is essentially suspicion in his own enthusiasm for "the use of the government."

            Therefore because of Acton's observation that socialism "requires the strongest execution of power," we see modern academic nostalgia as represented by Western historians like Zinn for "the use of government" cannot curtail government enough to press for "freedom of the individual" without significant checks on "the use of government." Else, as Medvedev taught from recent history while Zinn ignored the same lesson, "use of government" becomes "a regime where elementary rights and freedoms" are "suppressed."

 

 Against Freedom of the Individual

 

            Thus a revisit to Marx -- a Zinn favorite -- brings the obvious reminder than the "dictatorship of the proletariat," a phrase first coined by Weydemeyer and adopted by Marx and Engels, is anything but "freedom of the individual."  Moreover, Zinn -- but not Gorbachev and Medvedev -- ignores the obvious as found in the Marxist Urtext, "Critique of the Gotha Program" (1875).

            This is sadly amusing, because "freedom of the individual" within some form of state government which will tolerate "a suspicion of authority" cannot be through the avenues of Communism, socialism or even outright anarchy. What Zinn imagines in fact were the ideals of the American Revolution with all its faults and long history of subsequently revising those faults, which his own "history" fails to see as an alternative to Marx' vision of "the revolutionary dictatorship of the proletariat." But being busy to document and critique in his "People's History" the documented faults of the United States, he failed to document and critique similar and greater failures which Marx's political and economic theory has visited upon such as the USSR, Mao's murderous China, and the many smaller Marxist-inspired states in which "freedom of the individual" is mostly if not wholly absent. Rather he parses away any evils committed by following the dictates of Marxism, perhaps in hopes that a less-informed reader would not read further.

            As response from someone who would know better than Zinn and his "generous" views of Communism, one may read this view with its vivid testimony:  "But let us be generous. We will not shoot them. We will not pour salt water into them, nor bury them in bedbugs, nor bridle them up into a 'swan dive,' nor keep them on sleepless "stand-up" for a week, nor kick them with jackboots, nor beat them with rubber truncheons, nor squeeze their skulls with iron rings, nor push them into a cell so that they lie atop one another like pieces of baggage - we will not do any of the things they did! But for the sake of our country and our children we have the duty to seek them all out and bring them all to trial! Not to put them on trial so much as their crimes. And to compel each one of them to announce loudly: 'Yes, I was an executioner and a murderer'." Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago, 1973.

 

 Bourgeois Marxists

 

            As with Andy Warhol's cartoon portrait of Mao (see: Put the past to rest   - ignore the dead oppressed) and Che's logo on T-shirts and baseball caps (see: Murderous murderer murdered  -  "M " as in the myth of Che Guevara) made into cultural chic, Zinn's play, "Marx in Soho," is the unhistorical antithesis of the historically qualified testimony of Gorbachev and Medvedev and of course Solzhenitsyn.  Please see: Sheer Ignorance and the quotation of another American, John Dewey, whose sheer ignorance should not be overlooked.

            There is an irony in this confluence of Zinn, Warhol and even Dewey, and that is that they all lived lives which can be easily described in the economic and class terms of Marxism as obviously "bourgeois." Kulaks, each in his own way, turning a blind historical eye to totalitarianism. So very bourgeois. Radically bourgeois.

 

[ 5 ]    Václav Havel further observes in his essay:  "The post-totalitarian system touches people at every step, but it does so with
its ideological gloves on. This is why life in the system is so thoroughly permeated with hypocrisy and lies: government by bureaucracy is called popular government; the working class is enslaved in the name of the working class; the complete degradation of the individual is presented as his ultimate liberation; depriving people of in formation is called making it available; the use of power to manipulate is called the public control of power, and the arbitrary abuse of power is called observing the legal code; the repression of culture is called its development; the expansion of imperial influence is presented as support for the oppressed; the lack of free expression becomes the highest form of freedom; farcical elections become the highest form of democracy; banning independent thought becomes the most scientific of world views; military occupation becomes fraternal assistance. Because the regime is captive to its own lies, it must falsify everything. It falsifies the past. It falsifies the present, and it falsifies the future. It falsifies statistics. It pretends not to possess an omnipotent and unprincipled police apparatus. It pretends to respect human rights. It pretends to persecute no one. It pretends to fear nothing. It pretends to pretend nothing.

 

 Throw of Your Chains for New Chains

 

            One may well observe the now-famous Marx dictum that workers "throw off their chains" to be chained under the "dictatorship of the proletariat." Havel sees this with great clarity, as he takes notice of "a working class... enslaved in the name of the working class." But one may think about the current scandal of NSA surveillance in the United States as a further example of what Havel terms a "post-totalitarian system," as the "open government" administration demands continued secrecy and enormous sums of money to support surveillance. See: Sir Veiled Lance  .

 

[ 6 ]     What of critics and skeptics of the term, "totalitarianism?"  One notes that a Nobel-winning author who experienced the totalitarian world wrote:  "And so it was necessary to teach people not to think and make judgments, to compel them to see the non-existent, and to argue the opposite of what was obvious to everyone.…" In "Doctor Zhivago" (1957), Boris Pasternak (1890-1960).

 

 Finding Scholars to Justify Taking

 

            This sums up such critics and skeptics. While Zinn and many others quite like him rage against the brutality of one part of history, Zinn showed himself academically blind to other parts of a history of totalitarianism, conquerors and despots. Such is the nature of those who "believe" in a political system, even one as yet not well erected after a century of experimentation and murderous errors. "Revisionists and skeptics" as Coleman observed become essentially apologists on the way to the next totalitarian experiences for humanity. As has been attributed to both Euripides and Frederick the Great of Prussia, "I begin by taking. I shall find scholars later to demonstrate my perfect right." There have been and are today scholars aplenty willing to justifying "taking." Wealth and power have always had some approved intellectuals applaud their wealth and power. One sees this in modern politics, wherein some billionaires approved by a political side receive little or no scrutiny while billionaires on the opposite political side are lavished with criticism and complaint.

            One also notes that one must have governance, whether the size of a cult, a club, organization or school, or even the size of a nation or world, for totalitarianism to flourish. One must have governance to take under the guise of law, justice and even fairness. The antithesis of totalitarianism is individual freedom, an anathema to many whose lust is to control others, to take and then to justify the taking.

 

[ 7 ]     While the nation of Russia is built on the ruins of the totalitarian Soviet Union, many note that there remain oligarchies as there were atop the corrupt system of the USSR. While the names are different, these people but with similar behaviors. One sees similar behaviors as well as not only People walk away , but capital also walks away.

          Lest it be thought that capital flight flees only socialism and its follow-on forms of government, one should consider the question from a personal point of view:  Now how does that seem to a lender like you?  - a run-around.

 

 Demanding the Payment of Tribute, Distribution and Redistribution

 

            Capital flees from the totalitarian, from too burdensome a regulation or too high a tax rate, and from simple theft. From this, I make the conclusion that socialism, in its many and various forms, is not an economic system so much as it is a system of acquiring power over others, usually a small group over a larger group. Capitalism, on the other hand, is no system of economics per se, but rather a basic human behavior. Who has capital in small amounts as in large seeks to preserve it as possible, while socialism seeks to confiscate it for the ostensible promise of "equitable" redistribution.

            But the word should be examined more closely. Tribute in the feudal society was paid by a vassal to a lord, and later evidence of submission to greater authority. Dis-tribute then negates this tribute into some other dispensing of that tribute through marketplace activity. Re-dis-tribute then may be argued as a return to the paying of tribute. Such is the notion as one reads socialists who promise equitable redistribution of wealth, and yet one sees repeatedly that those who are in charge of redistribution favor their own over other groups.

            Such was the case with the DDR from which people Fled from empty market shelves  - a history lesson. Corruption was the behavior of the ruling class. Such was it in the USSR, which is declared totalitarian by a Russian President. Therefore capital flight from Russia today may be argued as evidence that today's Russia which followed the collapse of the Soviet Socialism of the USSR is judged as untrustworthy for capital investment. Capital flees too onerous a constraint.

 

[ 8 ]    Simple proof that the Islamic Republic is totalitarian, as are so many governments yet to collapse from within. When any ruling class of elite use the term, "national security," one may be assured they mean their own personal security and avoidance of prosecution by a citizenry for abuses. Such is one of the hallmarks of the totalitarian.

            Consider the example as 21st century socialism in Venezuela in mid-2016 demands, Don't look now .

 


 

Wrong is right

"I sit on a man's back, choking him, and making him carry me, and yet assure myself and others that I am very sorry for him and wish to ease his lot by any means possible, except getting off his back."  Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) in "Writings on Civil Disobedience and Nonviolence" (1886)

Wrong is right;
        Say it strong
When you're affright
        To say "I'm wrong."
Ignore the wrong?
        No! Call it right,
And then erelong
        Play out this sleight.
Wrong is right;
        It must be so!
Rage on with might
        And reigning blow!
Wrong is right,
        Long say you thus.
Obscure the light,
        But rile and fuss!
Your dernier cri
        Awaits one day,
When few might see
        You come to say,
"Wrong is wrong,
        And that's a fact;
A pretty song,
        Fallacious act.
Right was right
        All along,
But I was affright
        To say "I'm wrong."

 

Envoi:   "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that change darkness into light, and light into darkness; that change bitter into sweet, and sweet into bitter!" Isaiah 5:20

 

Addendum of Taking Government Off the Backs of the People:  "The Constitution is not neutral. It was designed to take the government off the backs of people." In "The Court years, 1939-1975: The Autobiography of William O. Douglas"‎ (1980).

 

See:   Sshh, don't tell a soul  

 


 

Disjunct

A field mouse rummages in the fallen leaves,
                                                        As nations totter and mankind grieves.
A leaf buds out towards the warming light,
                                                        While interest groups grumble, grouse and fight.
A bee's hopscotch follows, bloom to bloom,
                                                        As social disagreements fuss and fume.
A stream carries off the winter's snow,
                                                        While anxieties multiply, "studies show."
A cloud passes over in glorious sail,
                                                        As men like dogs chase their own tail.
The seasons march in an ordered pace,
                                                        While nations puff with a pouting face.
The beetle scurries with his million friends
                                                        As doomsdays' seers see worlds' ends.
Rain follows drought, as in millennia passed,
                                                        But news just seems to rush so fast.
Galaxies dance in high heaven's vault,
                                                        While men argue over some stupid fault.
Alpha to Omega speaks birth to dust;
                                                        Yet still so many men with yet still so little trust.
A field mouse burrows and an eagle soars.

                                                        Little men choose their little wars.

 


 

Pork Philosopher

“Is it better to be a satisfied pig or a dissatisfied Socrates?” Anthony Flew (1923-2010)

A satisfied pig is a role I've done well,
But as crusty Socrates I can sometimes excel.
The problem is that I know them both,
And so that's my answer to what Flew quoth.
I'm a thoughtful, porcine, poor cynical chap
As both these roles seem to sort of overlap.
Satisfied with dissatisfaction is my life long claim,
And as long as I live, I suppose I'll be game
To sometimes enact that satisfied pig,
Then wallow philosophically when not too infra dig.

 


 

Hook, line and sinker - on hegemonic dominance

"The concept of common sense is largely rooted in hegemonic dominance." Attributed to anonymous commentator with the moniker, Snipzor, in blog post, 12 April 2010.

You swallowed his bait, his hook, and his sinker.
You might have swallowed his boat; what a thinker.
The way you've used words tells the books that you've read,
But you've proved your words are repeated, instead,
For thinking originally is to put old Gramsci aside,
And consider a moment that to him you're too tied,
As you prove yourself rooted in his hegemonic domain
Which repeats like a mantra, an odd phrase, a refrain,
All to sing of how cleverly read you might seem,
When you assert silly notions from an oft-failed scheme.


The lingo you use says a lot right up front,
And, Snipzor, I see you've some dog in the hunt
Which barks like a Marxist at plain common sense,
With a well-worn phrase as your limp-wrist offence.
To quote from the past with its errors you admire
Just proves yourself stuck in its hegemonic quagmire.
Is common sense so very uncommon to you,
That you'd rather swim in a Gramscian stew?


Cultural hegemony is a game all can play,
But when that happens the Marxists dismay
For when all will fish in the same running stream,
Then Gramscian hegemony is a fisherman's dream.
"I swear, it was really this large," you cry,
Your hands wide apart as if you did spy
The biggest old fish in the deepest of lakes.
But you've caught something else, for heaven sakes!

It's smells like old rubbish you've dredged up, I pen,

Which has swallowed you, hook, line and sinker again.

 

See:    Incidents of Idiocy 

 


 

You May But

You may well have that
                proverbial heart of gold,
But             So does the hard-boiled egg,
                I am told.
You may feel that love
                which folks vow cannot die,
But             Your body will do so,
                we know, by and by.
You may have that urge
                to reach for the stars,
But             Stars blaze with fire
                and fire leaves scars.
You may risk it all
                for the greatest of thrills,
But             Sometimes the risks
                become bone-breaking spills.
You may be quite certain
                that truth's on your side,
But             Outcomes unplanned
                often hammer such pride.
You may, but you may not;
                that's always in play.
But             May you? Or not?
                Time will tell, straightaway.

 


 

After-dinner Mint - answering Samuel Barber

"How awful that the artist has become nothing but the after-dinner mint of society." Samuel Barber  (1910-1981)

An after-dinner mint is sharp yet delightfully bittersweet,
        For it is icing on one's cake when dining is complete.
For those with massive burdens who ache from woe to woe,
        The notion of fine dining is not something they might well know.


An after-dinner mint completes a leisurely large repast,
        And testifies that society has a cultured and upper caste.


For those who hunger, fraught with fear for what tomorrow brings,
        It doesn't mean a tinker's damn when some soprano sings.


An after-dinner mint is made of tangy sugared stuff,
        And those who get that far in life haven't got it tough.


For them the average Joe's daily grind is savored from afar,
        And if you're having your dinner mint, it's upper crust you are
Compared to those who scrape and toil to earn some daily bread,
        And never think about that mint or its prelude, a festive spread
Of foods and drinks that many folks will not have at their table
        By simple reason that they can't, nor shan't; they're simply unable
To worry about an after-dinner mint which punctuates a feast,
        For those who hunger this very day, of their worries that mint is least.


Is it awful that artists become their society's after-dinner mint?
        No! how fortunate an artist's sweet work can be at least a peppermint.

 

See:   A setting of Walter de la Mare's  Music - (2006)  

 


 

A Better Life Awaits

"He who to enjoy Plato's elysium, / leaped into the sea, / Cleombrotus." Milton: Paradise Lost, iii. 471-3.

A better life awaits:
The fool is he who hesitates.
    So says the fool philosopher.

 

All grass is greener there:
And cleaner too is all the air.
    So maps the blind cartographer.

 
Let's rush on towards our ends:
For there awaits our dear, true friends.
    So lures alluring Lucifer.
 

Siren calls sing sweet
Of comings lives far more complete?
    The fool is death's conspirator.


Have such fools not seen
Life's joys, not death's? The gulf between?
    Fools chose, but then they err.

 

Envoi:    "Accepting the humans-as-cancer concept comes easier if one also accepts the Gaia hypothesis that the planet functions as a single living organism."

In "Humans as Cancer," by A. Kent MacDougall, Church of Euthanasia website

 

See:    Advice to the Pessimist   and also  The Scourge of the Planet 

 


 

Easy comes hard

"If a man isn't willing to take some risk for his opinions, either his opinions are no good or he's no good." Ezra Pound (1885-1972)

 

Are there faster ways to get there?
Less strenuous paths to tread?
Fewer steps to the mountain top?
Easier ways to make bread?
            Are there corners to be cut?
            Does down and dirty work?
            Will some do that which I will not?
            Where do easy answers lurk?
Are there cheaper ways to get rich?
Simpler ways to get smart?
Lighter burdens when carrying a load?
Answering requires a start
            On the diligent work of seeking
            Without asking that corners be cut.
            Easy comes hard, but the earning
            Of Easy demands we answer what,
And why, and how, and when
Such questions are posed anew;
Then hard work makes Easy easy
And progress is furthered anew.

 


 

Beethoven ripped

"There are and will be a thousand princes; there is only one Beethoven." Ludwig van Beethoven (1770-1827)

 

Beethoven ripped an emperor's name

    from his bright and brilliant third,
For honor due some new emperor

    was simply too absurd.
Beethoven erred, believing words,

    when music sings out truth,
And learned thereby that emperors' words

    are too often a sharpened tooth,
To gnaw at freedom's lofty terms

    and deal in stealth with chains,
And cry aloud in outrage when

    some mere composer complains.
The door to hope Beethoven saw

    was made of smoke and mirror,
While real hope is sung aloud

    when to Beethoven we draw nearer.

Musicological logic in rhyme

    speaks to such an affair

That thunders in his symphonies

    for joyous freedom everywhere.

 

Envoi"Music is the one incorporeal entrance into the higher world of knowledge which comprehends mankind but which mankind cannot comprehend." Ludwig van Beethoven

 


 

Hotel Stupidity - checking in is easy

Checking in is easy, but checking out's a bitch.
    It's a stinking pile of lunacy that scrapes each oozing itch.
It has all those silly answers, bright as night and clear as mud,
    To consume its hosts like cancers, while spewing forth its flood.
Its party's simple masquerade hides behind its masks,
    But with its bills so oft unpaid it runs, and begs and asks,
Who will pay for our mistakes? Not empty-handed us.
    It must someone else that turns our stupidity to a plus.
That college of hard knocks lies just across the street,
    Its doors gape wide -- no locks, stupidity must vote with its feet.
Attendance is just a matter of time, and time waits, calm, serene.
    The classes challenge folks to climb up from their stupid scene.
Graduation is damn hard work, there's no avoiding that.
    If stupid thinks that it can shirk, hard knocks will knock it flat.
Checking in was easy, and checking out's a bitch.
    It's always a pile of lunacy that just deepens each seeping itch.

 

Addendum of A Tragic Attempt to Check Out:    "The two became a 'poster girl' for ISIS, also known as Islamic State, appearing on social media websites in images showing them carrying Kalashnikovs and surrounded by armed men. But by October that year there were reports quoting friends of the two women saying Ms Kesinovic had been sickened by the killings she witnessed and wanted to come home. According to local Austrian media Ms Kesinovic was murdered by the group as she tried to flee the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa." In "ISIS teenage 'poster girl' Samra Kesinovic 'beaten to death' as she tried to flee the group," Times of India, 25 November 2015.

See:    Hook, line and sinker    and also a setting of  Ralph Hodgson's Stupidity Street - (2008)  


Pretty damn smart

"Dubito ergo cogito ergo sum." René Descartes (1596-1650) in Le Discours de la methode (1637)

If you think
        I think myself
                Pretty damn smart,
I think that
        You think yourself
                Pretty damn smart.
Seems folks all think
        We think ourselves
                Pretty damn smart.
The question remains....

        What fools don't think they're

                Pretty damn smart?

This is why we fools

        All think we're

                Pretty damn smart.

 


 

Earth Hour Follies

"Environment Minister Barry Penner was hoping to spark a little romance with his wife over a candlelit dinner Saturday during Earth Hour. Instead, he accidentally set his cat on fire." Rob Shaw, Calgary Herald, "Flaming cat lights up B.C. environment minister's Earth Hour" 29 March 2010

The earth is yearning,
Say socialites,
To be ministered to, and stat.
 
"Our earth is burning.
Let's douse the lights,
Lighting candles" -- and the cat.
 
Sometimes, concerning
Wee oversights,
Fire leaps up from the fat.
 
It was undiscerning,
Such a ploy ignites
The minister's candles -- and his cat.

 

Envoi:    "If present trends continue, the world will be ... eleven degrees colder by the year 2000. This is about twice what it would take to put us in an ice age." Kenneth E. F. Watt, in Earth Day, 1970.

 

Compare and contrast"Using computer models, researchers concluded that global warming would raise average annual temperatures nationwide two degrees by 2010." Associated Press, May 15, 1989.

 

Addendum of Eight Years Left Eight Years Ago:  "But there could be as little as eight years left to avoid a dangerous global average rise of 2C or more." In "UN scientists warn time is running out to tackle global warming," by David Adam, Guardian UK, 5 May 2007.

 

Addendum:    "It doesn’t matter what is true, it only matters what people believe is true." Paul Watson (b. 1950), co-founder of Greenpeace, in "Earthforce! An Earth Warrior’s Guide to Strategy," Chaco Press (1993).
 

See:   Post-rapture Possibilities 

 


 

Busted

My give a shit is busted --
The cowboy said, not gruff.
I saw he was disgusted,
That chap had had enough

Of all the 'you should care,'
And 'you should this,'
And 'everyone should be aware;'
Each day something else's amiss.

But comes that time in no time
When to care too much is crap.
And so with all crime and grime
I'll vote with that cowboy chap.

My give a shit is busted --
I know it sounds quite hard.
But noise cannot be trusted
And much is just canard

To gin up cash and carry
For those who wring their hands
Each time a 'you should' fairy
Comes advocating brands

Like 'you should care' and such,
Which means cough up just more dough.
If you would care for all that much,
Then you pay; I'll take a hike and go.

 

See:    Whose gonna pull the welfare wagon  - a Western poem

 


 

The bill for your good intentions

"I’m very much concerned about the fiscal situation...." Alan Greenspan, in "Greenspan Calls Treasury Yields ‘Canary in the Mine’" Bloomberg News, 26 March 2010

The bill for your good intentions is coming due this day;
There is no point in arguing or trying to run away.
The bill collector won't take "no" in answer to his knock,
And the costly consequence seems to have caused you quite a shock.
 
The bill for your good intentions is payable today.
There are no dividends at all, as debt stays not away.
Better just to pay the thing, and be done with all the mess,
For this is earnest, toughened life, and not some game like chess.
 
The bill for your good intentions comes rapping at your door;
Though such a knock began quite soft, it has become a roar.
If you try to turn away and ignore the red ink's flow,
The debt will only wait a while, and grow and grow and grow.
 
The bill for your good intentions engorges with delight;
That is its nature, don't you see? It is not vicious spite.
Commonsense had urged you to choose some other path,
But you with good intentions now suffer from their wrath.
 
It was those good intentions which seemed quite brave and bold,
But debt demands repayment in something mundane as gold.
Was the party all you wished? Have you had your fill?
Well, sadly, now the time has come to present you with your bill.

 

See:    The Dishwashers' Song 

 


 

At the trough

Piggies at the trough
        shove each other off:
"It's mine!"

        "No, mine!"

                "No mine!"


Biggies at the trough
        all agree! "Hands off,
"Except for me!"

        "For me!"

                "For me!"


Munching on what's left
        leaves the trough bereft
Until it's filled

        again and

                then again.


And when the trough runs dry,
        ah then, the oink! The cry!
"Where's mine?"

        "No, mine?"

                "Where's Mine?"


Oink and snort, wallowing,
        while ever more swallowing
Is how quickly

        the troughs

                run dry.


As piggies at each trough
    shove each other off;
"It's mine!"

        "No, mine!"

                "No, mine!"


"Where's enough for me?
        "The problem is, I see,
"Yes, you!

        "It's you!

                "Oink, you!"

 

Envoi:   "The state’s embattled welfare chief was forced to step down yesterday in the wake of a shocking internal report that found that a staggering 47,000 families receiving taxpayer-funded benefits are unaccounted for — and nearly $30 million in food stamp money went to recipients who were not eligible. The shocking report, released to the Herald last night, found that the Department of Transitional Assistance has lost track of 47,087 households on welfare — or one out of 10 of the total 478,000 who received DTA mailings. The welfare department also admitted that it overpaid federal food stamp recipients by a whopping $27.8 million since 2010." In "Welfare boss resigns in wake of $$ report," by Chris Cassidy, Boston Herald, 1 February 2013.

 

 Addendum of Government Not Knowing:   "With the possible exception of a few elected officials, no one will disagree with this statement: The government doesn’t know what it is doing. The truism is a source of humor, but the laughing stops when it applies to the massive amounts of money spent every year by Washington with virtually no idea whether the outlays are doing anything worthwhile. While plunging America into almost $17 trillion of debt, President Obama and Congress are working off a deficit-plagued $3.8 billion budget. Much goes for defense, Medicare, Social Security and the like, but Washington also pours lots into programs that are black holes when it comes to measuring results." In "Money for nothing," an editorial of the New York Daily News, 29 July 2013.

 

Addendum of Wannabe a Pig at the Trough - Again:   "When Gayle Chaneyfield-Jenkins was a Newark councilwoman, she charged the city more than $8,000 one year for meals, another $3,000 on a trip to the American Black Film Festival in Florida, and $1,000 for custom-designed Mother’s Day cards. Now looking to return as a candidate for an at-large council seat after being ousted eight years ago, Chaneyfield-Jenkins is apparently still having trouble paying her own bills. Records show she owes more than $100,000 in federal and state tax liens." In "Newark council candidate owes more than $100,000 in unpaid taxes, plus $24,000 from 2006 campaign," by Karin Price Mueller, Star-Ledger NJ, 4 May 2014.

 

Addendum of the Beeb at the Trough:   "A damning catalogue of multi-million-pound waste within the BBC is exposed for the first time today by The Mail on Sunday. Documents obtained under Freedom of Information laws reveal a climate of 'feckless' excess and extravagance – including millions spent on first class travel. The figures expose a revolving door culture in which staff are given large redundancy payments and then rehired at exorbitant rates, as well as overpayments leading to vast sums of licence fee payers' money being wasted." In "BBC's gravy train...1st class all the way: 'Feckless' Corporation is pleading poverty in face of cuts... yet wastes millions on luxury travel, celebrity bashes and OVERPAYING its staff! " by Chris Hastings and Peter Henn, Mail on Sunday, 19 July 2015.

 

See:   Free bees    and   Fat, fat government 

 


 

Black Markets

Black fertile fields of markets boldly black:
When rulers fumbling fail, each will turn its back
To function as each did before
The rulers came knocking at black markets' door.

Black fertile soils of individual work:
When rulers grab, the productive shirk
The grasping of the ruling class,
For freedom lies hidden in its tall black grass.

Black fertile imaginations darkly dream
When rulers fail, and answers stream
Down flowing rivers of enterprise bright
Which, toiling, work from morning through to night.

Black making markets live and thereby thrive,
Even as black-hearted rulers strive
To savagely crush them for the day.
But black markets live on and on, come what may.

 


 

O golly

O golly, gosh, gee whiz, o my!
Whatever shall I do?
Oh horror, wow, what, how and why?
I haven't got a clue!
Ah, well, chill out, lay back, and smile,
To know this much is true:
I'll make it up as I go along,
Then, send the bill to you.

 


 

The Stork - paraphrase of a Heinrich Seidel poem

The Stork hails from Egyptian lands,
As springtime breezes rouse him.
As he always has done, he stork-ly stands
And puzzles his hieroglyph's pseudonym.

Poets everywhere study the matter
Of the stork-rich language of birds,
Thus all of the torrential chatter
Of the storks I understand as words.

They echo out from the pyramids,
From the delta and crocodile,
With such a pleasurable stork-sung song
Rising from the mud-luscious Nile.

On those banks each stork would trudge,
And seem to teeter and totter,
As they ponder on the Egyptian sludge
And the weather that's hot, and then hotter!

Frogs crawl hither and thither in the mud,
While above a stork stick-like hobbles,
Through that frog-filled menu and the Nile's flood
The stork finds a meal that he gobbles.

Traditions of the stork are what enables
Us to recall amphibian forbearers:
Those wonderful plague-filled fables
Of Egyptian slaves and frog-raining terrors.

Frogs by the millions croaked that rain
That fell as was prophesied!
Time, great time, recalls the pain
Fading little, of that amphibian genocide.

Now from generation to generation next
We speak of this biblical matter,
And rightly place the stork in this context
With his pleasurable, stork-stark chatter.

See:    Der Storch - (2009)   

 


 

In a Kindly Manner

"I also made it quite clear that Socialism means equality of income or nothing, and that under Socialism you would not be allowed to be poor. You would be forcibly fed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you like it or not. If it were discovered that you had not character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble, you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst you were permitted to live you would have to live well." George Bernard Shaw, Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, p. 470.

In a kindly manner,
You will be put to work,
And in a kindly manner,
You'll not be allowed to shirk.
            In a kindly manner,
            We'll set you to your task,
            And in a kindly manner,
            You'll not be allowed to ask.
You will not be kindly allowed to be
Poor or idle, but like it or not,

If you balk at our good work
You'll be taken out and shot.
            In a kindly manner.

 

See:   The Robert Reich Song  - to the tune of "The farmer in the dell",  also  Progressive Conceit    and  Income Inequality 

 


 

Excessive Demand

Free lunches will no longer be served
    due to excessive demand.
It's unavoidable, but we've observed,
    our policy was not well planned.
It was fine to lure you folks all in,
    and get you to the table;
Then our budget took it on the chin,
    now we're no longer able
To serve free lunches to you all
    as we had once advertised;
For free lunches made an excessive call
    on our finances, amortized.
We can no longer afford to offer you
    our finest blue plate dinner,
For bankruptcy has come, it's true,
    but think! -- you'll all be thinner
For learning no free lunch exists
    in this establishment,
For free and fee don't coexist
    except when no nourishment
Comes to one and comes to all,
    by way of closing down.
Please don't make a scene or brawl,
    as now we flee your town.

See:    Free Money 

 


 

The Social Justice Game

"To me all men are equal: there are jackasses everywhere, and I have the same contempt for them all." Karl Kraus (1874-1936)

A radical's no radical
With a pension so divine
As to make others rather curious
To peek into his shrine
Of words and words and words and words
By which radicals do shine,
For behind it all is capital,
As capital's the sign...

That radicals love their money
As true capitalists all confess,
But used their socially wordy words
To heap their piles for -- yes --
That capital which should stay with them
In this shining game of chess,
And not be siphoned off today
By all the things they stress.

Social justice is for others folks,
While they've worked hard for cash,
They say, when push will come to shove,
And the calm becomes a splash.
"What's mine is mine is mine,
Not yours nor for other heirs
Who would take away my surety
And leave me lesser shares."

The weighty academic types,
The bureaucrats galore,
They expect to reap richly well
What they say must be their "more."
Let's take from them as they from us,
To settle up the score,
And learn that socialists are fair
Only when they run the store.

Revolutions come around,
As round and round they spin,
As sooner as with later,
They come to kith and kin
Who've labored in the fields
Of the social justice spin,
And harvested their treasure trove,
And thought it a sure win.

But arithmetic then comes along
To look at bottom lines,
And begins to think quite clearly
On the sure and certain signs
That folks who've got a lot cash
Include each monkeyshine
Of social justice balderdash 
And their pensions so divine.

Fattened far more than the average man,
They labor in their speech
To say all the most progressive things
While into others' wallets reach.
A revolution goes around,
And when one practices what they preach,
We see the fattened bureaucrats
Will rage, and roil and screech.

"I worked hard for what I got,
And reject such sacrilege,
And if it happens to be such
That it's more than average,
Why that's the way this game is played,
Of well-stuffed social privilege,
And I shan't yield of my hefty haul
 Palmed by politics' patronage.

"Go away, leave me alone,
Your problem is not mine!
Go seek your justice somewhere else,
For I am doing fine.
A public servant should live well
When he's toed his party's line."
But having more than most, hear tell,
They'll be found out to have been just swine.

 

Envoi "That's the whole point of good propaganda. You want to create a slogan that nobody's going to be against, and everybody's going to be for. Nobody knows what it means, because it doesn't mean anything." Noam Chomsky (b. 1928)

 

See:   From Ivied Walls and Towers ,  also  Income Inequality    and  Jackass 

 


 

I'm Sorry

Gosh, I'm sorry.
 I thought you knew.
  So long ago
   I gave up on you.
    I'm off and on
     Some other chase,
      That whereupon
       I might embrace
       Some lovely joy,
         Some other life,
          Another toy
           Aside from strife.
            Now, off you go
             To seek your bliss;
              There's naught I owe
               To you for this.
                I choose my path
                 Which leads away
                  From your small wrath
                   And dismal play.
                    There's quiet peace;
                     I wander off.
                      It's not caprice.
                       I do not scoff.
                        I simply go
                         Away from you.
                          By this, I'll grow.
                           Why, you might too.

 


 

Bursting bubbles

Bursting bubbles in the glass
Rising swift to burst, alas;
But when it's champagne or a golden beer,
There seems quite fully cause for cheer.

Bursting bubbles mounting up,
When mere numbers, drain the cup;
Inflating values never there
Might seem so very much unfair.

But who puffed up and who ballooned?
Who ripped raw a numbered wound?
Those who had refused to play
Have found that they've been spared this day.

Balloons go boom, and they go pop.
A house of cards falls with a plop.
If one is not out on that field,
The game's collapse is not fate sealed.

As the cauldron comes to boil,
That which is inside must rage and roil.
But if one is distant and disengaged,
The bursting bubble will have been well caged.

The players, coaches, rubes and all
Will find the bubble's burst not small.
Those who did not attend nor play
Will have something saved for that rainy day.

Life goes on, with love and laughter,
From now until our last hereafter.
When one sees a bubble distended, skewed,
It's better to have stayed away, and shrewd.

 


 

In the worker's paradise - in the Stalinist state

"The Times met four women in a safe house in China this week who fled recently across the frontier. They described despair in North Korea at the growing prospect of starvation in the Stalinist state." In "North Koreans fear the country is on the verge of a new famine," The Times, 20 March 2010

In the workers' paradise,
It is often very nice
To have a bowl of rice
Before some "no one" dies.

It's the Stalinists on top
Who are socialism's cop
And planned their failing crop
To whit, another dies.

If the nation's on the verge,
Perhaps a little purge
Of the government, I urge
Lest another dies.

But no, the world's eyes
Prefer food aid programs' lies,
To prop up all those guys
And then? Another dies.

But God forbid a war
Might be again in store
Between the "less" and "more"
That someone dies.

Better, for this peaceful day,
To leave things, come what may,
And look the other way
As another "no one" dies.

 

Envoi:   "The human rights situation in the country is very serious, the defector disclosed. 'In North Korea money is human rights, and those with money can have human rights. But those without money do not have any human rights,' Kim said. The Kim regime sought to impose what the defector said is a 'mosquito net' of pervasive information controls over the entire country designed to prevent 'capitalist' and 'anti-socialist' ideas from entering the country." In "Defector: North Korean Troops Starving," by Bill Gertz, Free Beacon, 10 March 2015.

 

See:    Responsibility    and the unpopular truth that Anti-capitalism struggles  - a curriculum of sorts

 


 

Answers

Have all problems answers?
Pondering on our lot,
I think perhaps they don't;
Man is a strangely Gordian knot.
            Alexandrine solutions
            Solve little with a stroke,
            For cutting to the quick
            Is Alexander's mythic joke,
For it unties nothing much,
But severs knots in twain,
And doing such unties them not,
Gordian problems do not wane.
            Have all answers problems?
            Oft folks say they do,
            But so many times our answers
            Cause further knots; it's true.
Consequences unforeseen
Lurk beneath the lure
Of answers for all problems;
Of this I am most sure.
            Alexander had his sword
            As stage prop in the tale
            To boldly cut one Gordian cord,
            But, ah, the myth's turned stale.
Often answers swirl and twist
To birth the newest ills,
For problem solving often comes
With unexpected frills,
            Like problems unforeseen
            Which answers have raised up,
            Intractable, inescapable,
            To refill man's bitter cup.
Answers fill the histories
With heroes in each tale,
And then time passes with the clock
And the heroes seem to pale.
            Our answers oft prove problems
            As a story's bitter end,
            And many answers' prophets
            Were man's enemy, not his friend.


 

Revolutionary Economics - debt slavery

Spending borrowed money that they didn't have
Like a grandly glorious money salve
On each self-inflicted societal wound,
Was to be paid someday when money had ballooned
Into something worth less than yesterday,
For that is the game treasuries play.
            Some more money that they didn't own
            Was slathered like a cankered loan
            On all the loss and debt and waste
            For on these things was politics based,
            As treasuries added zeros to what once was,
            One grew to ten grew to hundreds of claws
            To grasp and hold and tear and wound
            Because political economics never pruned
            Spending borrowed money it did not have
            As a grandly glorious money salve
            On the newest self-inflicted societal wound --
            Debt, its threat and folly crooned
            As answer to society's ills and pains
            Until the numbers were forged to chains.
The newest wage slaves to this monetary scheme
Were not yet born; they were still a dream.
But as they wake and learn their fate,
One can foresee they'll refuse this weight.
Those debts will all be washed away,
As revolutions rise up in that coming day.

 

Envoi:    "Centre of planning and Economic Research in Greece has proposed a controversial measure in order to deal with the problem of increasing unemployment in the country. The measure includes unpaid work for the young and unemployed up to 24 years old, so that companies would have a strong motive to hire young employees. Practically, what is proposed is the abolition of the basic salary for a year. At the same time the “export” of young unemployed persons was also proposed to other countries abroad, as Greek businesses do not appear able to hire new personnel." In "Controversial Proposal for Tackling Unemployment," by Nikoleta Kalmouki, Greek Reporter, 24 January 2014.   [ 1 ]    [ 2 ]

 

Addendum linking the Indebted State to Unrest:   "In line with our results on expenditure, Woo (2003) showed that countries with higher levels of unrest are also more indebted." In "Austerity and Anarchy: Budget Cuts and Social Unrest in Europe, 1919-2008," by Jacopo Ponticelli Hans-Joachim Voth, December 2011.

 

Addendum of Debt Slaves:  "Thousands of women in Hong Kong with similar stories, most from Indonesia and the Philippines, are working off debt by turning over almost all of their pay for months to loan companies and agencies that place them with families, according to interviews with a dozen workers, four nonprofit groups that handle complaints and academic researchers. The moneylenders, part of Hong Kong’s shadow-banking system, are helping circumvent laws intended to protect the women, they said. 'It is definitely indentured servitude, modern-day slavery,' said Holly Allan, founder of nonprofit Helpers for Domestic Helpers. 'There are tens of thousands of them, not only working for no salary, but with no rest days. Each and every one believes it’s a normal thing. We have several clients who have worked for three years and never made any money'." In "Indentured Servitude in Hong Kong Abetted by Loan Firms," by Sheridan Prasso and Cathy Chan, Bloomberg, 13 November 2012.     [ 3 ]

 

See:   Economics 101  ,  and   In black-and-white 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   While the "controversial measure" proposed is reported as new, the notion is centuries old. "Unpaid work for the young and unemployed" is simply the old scheme of indentured servitude.  

 

 Servitude, Bondage and Slavery

 

          Indenture, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is "a contract binding one person to work for another for a given period of time," and Wiki reminds us that "Indentured servitude was a form of debt bondage, established in the early years of the American colonies and elsewhere. It was sometimes used as a way for poor youth in Britain and the German states to get passage to the American colonies. They would work for a fixed number of years, then be free to work on their own." Further, "The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1948) declares in Article 4 "No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms. However, only national legislation can establish its unlawfulness. In the United States, the Victims of Trafficking and Violence Protection Act (VTVPA) of 2000 extended servitude to cover peonage as well as Involuntary Servitude."

          In the case of Greek unemployment being proposed by the Greek think tank, one learns from its own website that "The Centre of Planning and Economic Research (KEPE) was established in 1959, as a small research unit, under the name "Centre of Economic Research". The decision for its establishment was taken by the Prime Minister of Greece at that time, Konstantinos Karamanlis, following a proposal by Xenophon Zolotas, Governor of the Bank of Greece. Its operation was organized by its first President and Scientific Director Professor Andeas Papandreou, who was brought in from the University of California, Berkeley, for that purpose." In "Brief History of KEPE." What is interesting to note is that this "center" has operated under the political "right" as later under the socialist party most recently.

 

 Unpaid Work or Free Labor?

 

          It says of itself:  "KEPE is the largest economic research institute in Greece and operates under the supervision of the Ministry of Regional Development, and Competitiveness. Its activities are focused on applied research concerning the Greek economy, on the study of economic conjuncture and on the provision of advisory services to the government on issues of economic analysis and policy." From Centre of Planning and Economic Research website, kepe.gr.

          Given this and given the crumbling state of the Greek economy, its new advice is the advice of centuries ago, except that the "young and unemployed" are now being asked to perform "unpaid work" while the "debt" to be thereby paid by such work has been amassed by the Greek political class, of which now proposes essentially indentured servitude for the unemployed. Additionally and consistent with the history of indentured servitude, this political "center" proposes the "export" of the unemployed. This is not reasonable economic advice to a nation plagued by public debt; it is specious. Perhaps the young and unemployed might ask for "unpaid work" by the elite leadership of this economic "center?"

          For a famed Greek composer's view of such governance and economic advice, see:  A Government of Shame - a composer's view.

 

[ 2 ]   For further clarification of the term:  "A person became an indentured servant by borrowing money and then voluntarily agreeing to work off the debt during a specified term. In some societies indentured servants probably differed little from debt slaves (i.e., persons who initially were unable to pay off obligations and thus were forced to work them off at an amount per year specified by law). " Britannica, "Indentured Labour."

          Even more clearly, one learns this may be seen as "free labor."  "The bargain in classic indentured servitude was simple enough. Immigrants signed labor contracts (indentures) committing themselves to serve other persons for a term of years." In "The Invention of Free Labor: The Employment Relation in English and American Law and Culture, 1350-1870," by Robert J. Steinfeld, University of North Carolina Press, 1991.

 

 Changing Vocabulary

 

          It is not unreasonable to conclude that any and all who call for what Steinfeld identifies as "free labor" are nothing more than modern aristocrats dispensing the lives of modern serfs. The vocabulary has merely changed.

          Whether it is the vocabulary of the Centre of Planning and Economic Research in Greece -- "unpaid work" -- or Steinfeld's "free labor," the political and economic reality is the same. Debt slavery or indentured servitude is the end result of the supposedly development of the modern social welfare state in which a political elite -- often synonymous with an economic elite -- call for free labor all the while preserving their status and privilege. But of "free labor," one reads:

          "Unpaid work has several disadvantages. To start with, unpaid workers do not receive any direct returns and are thus accorded a low status. Second, these activities usually bear low productivity and employ low-level skills, which again make them inferior to paid work. Third, unpaid work is usually boring, repetitive and tedious. Finally, unpaid work is a “dead-end” occupation with low access or no access at all to upward mobility in work status. In comparison, paid work gets direct returns, is valued in the market, and usually employs those with higher skills, thus resulting in higher productivity. Paid workers have a greater scope for upward mobility. There is a clear hierarchy of paid and unpaid work, with paid workers enjoying higher status at home as well as in the labour market. Unpaid workers thus have lower access to development opportunities." In "Guidebook on Integrating Unpaid Work into National Policies," by Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, United Nations Development Programme, 2003.

          Thus one may fairly conclude that the modern call for "unpaid work" as a proposed solution to high unemployment serves the political and economic elite, not the unemployed and underemployed. It was ever thus.

 

[ 3 ]     For a larger view of the centuries old phenomenon alive and well today courtesy of governments and individuals around the world, please see: Modern Slavery .


 

Politicians at any price

"Liberal Democrat MP Norman Baker said: 'These revelations show that our former Prime Minister is for sale - he is driven by making as much money as possible. I think many people will find it deeply insensitive that he is apparently cashing in on his contacts from the Iraq war to make money for himself.'"  Daily Mail, United Kingdom, 19th March 2010

Politicians are bought at a hefty price
From liberal parties -- how very nice;
    They grasp and grab at power and wealth
    With dodges, subterfuge and stealth.
Not content to just serve their nation,
They serve their growing intoxication
    To have, and have more, and yet even more,
    As if being liberal has settled their score.
Serving the "good" they then become rich,
Which proves their words were just part of a pitch.
    A former Prime Minster's been for sale?
    It sounds like an oft-told, ancient tale.
Corruption looks good on a Tony so bright,
Until the whole game is lit up with light.
    Then shine a beam upon the whole cheesy mess,
    And learn again how things retrogress.
The progress made by a progressive hack
Is just one step forward with two steps back.

 

Envoi:   "Politicians and diapers should be changed frequently, and for the same reason." José Maria de Eça de Queiroz (1845-1900)

 

Addendum:    "Forget the politicians, they are on the moon..." from "Overpopulation and Art: A reading by John Cage," Stanford University, Palo Alto, 28 January 1992.

 

Addendum of a Driven Politicians:   "Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid collected a $1.1 million windfall on a Las Vegas land sale even though he hadn't personally owned the property for three years, property deeds show. In the process, Reid did not disclose to Congress an earlier sale in which he transferred his land to a company created by a friend and took a financial stake in that company, according to records and interviews." In "Democrat leader reaped $1.1 million from sale of land he didn't own," by John Solomon And Kathleen Hennessey, Associated Press, 11 October 2006.

 

See:    Anti-capitalism struggles  - a curriculum of sorts, also  Career Politicians' Questions  , and also:  How much is that politician's favor?  - (To the melody, "That Doggie in the Window?," composed in 1952 by Bob Merrill), a song setting of Ambrose Bierce's  Election Day - (2009)   ,  and a song setting of Hilaire Bellocs's  On the Death of a Politician - (2009) 


 

Leave me be

Are you so good as to judge me bad?
Are you are so right as to think me cad?
How precious all your anomie.
Now go away, and leave me be.


 

Ideology

"People often ask me why I left the Soviet Union. The real question is: How is it possible so many Americans ask such an absurd question?" Svetlana Kunin, in Investors, 9 March 2010

Ideology blinds the eye,
    As it scuttles clarity.
Ideology is itself
    A singular polarity --
Not the world as it is,
    But as it might well be,
If governance was but as strong
    As its strong-armed ideology.

Society must be ordered
    To do as it is told,
And for this one needs action
    That's swift, and strong, and bold.
Seize plain freedom by the horns
    And run it to the ground,
And if it rises, seeks to flee,
    Call both hunter and his hound.

Imaginary truth must rule
    With visionary fact;
And if a plain truth comes along,
    It must be an attack.
Ideology's beliefs are deep
    And firm in their iron will
To bend men ideologically,
    Making freedom wholly nil.

See:   Totalitarian 


 

Criminal Truth

In times of pervasive deception, truth is made ever a crime.
When truth speaks up, its reception shakes worlds and bares all the grime
Of all such pervasive deception which wishes to prosper and grow;
Truth brings along its perception and brings all deception quite low.

 

See:   Buy the lie and kill the truth 


 

Progressive Conceit

"When rights, worth millions of dollars, are awarded to one businessman and denied to others, it is no wonder if some applicants become overanxious and attempt to use whatever influence they have (political and otherwise), particularly as they can never be sure what pressure the other applicants may be exerting." Ronald Coase, in "The Federal Communications Commission"

The progress in progressive conceit
Says, "We all know what is in store,
For we are the progressive elite,
And announce the final score.

"A high and mighty dominion,
We heed no lowly folk
Who'd offer some low opinion
Or cruel opposition stoke.

"Let those who'd grovel come;
Press forward, state your aims.
Draw near , and bring some sum
That we elevate your claims.

"Don't be overanxious, friend,
But think to offer us some crumb.
We look forward to our decisions' ends,
And, trust us, we're not dumb.
 
"We'll vow there is no quid pro quo
For awards to be decided on.
But good faith you'll really have to show,
So bow, beg, scrape and fawn.

"For millions going out the door,
We must be circumspect and coy,
Which is how we fatten ever more
With progress as our ploy.

 

Draw near, draw nigh, draw papers

To show your earnest aims.

Support us in our progressive capers,

To progress in our behind-the-scenes games."

 

Envoi:    "Still another danger is represented by those who, paying lip service to democracy and the common welfare, in their insatiable greed for money and the power which money gives, do not hesitate surreptitiously to evade the laws designed to safeguard the public from monopolistic extortion." Henry A. Wallace (1888-1965)

 

Addendum   "William Jefferson Clinton - Net worth: $38 million" and "Unlike other presidents, Clinton did not inherit any wealth and gained little net worth during 20 plus years of public service. After his time in the White House, however, he earned a substantial income as an author and public speaker. Clinton received a large advance for his autobiography. His wife, the current Secretary of State, also has earned money as an author." In "The 10 richest US presidents," by Douglas A. McIntyre, Michael B. Sauter and Ashley C. Allen, 24/7 Wall St., NBCNews, 2012  -- and  "Former Texas governor and U.S.A. president George W. Bush has a net worth of $26 million." Celebrity NetWorth

 

See:    Rob a Peter to Pay a Paul  ,  and also  For Your Common Good 


 

First

First they say they will,
        and then they say they won't.;
Then they say they do,
        and then they say they don't.
Will, won't, do, don't,
        with a maybe in between?
This shifting of the tides

        requires Dramamine.

First they say they're sure,
        and then they say they're not;
Then they say it's crystal clear,
        and then they say it's rot.
Sure, not, clear, rot,
        with some shades of gray betwixt?
Ah, if something isn't broken,
        it's sure then to be fixed.

First they scream in outrage,
        and then they laud and cheer;
Then they puff with courage,
        and then they flee in fear.
Outrage, cheer, courage, fear?
        The dissonance is keen:
Such things dilute, evaporate
        in an ever-unchanging scene.

And as these changes scurry
        down darkened alley ways,
What was first was gone in seconds,
        and the straight path becomes a maze.
Hurry, worry, in a flurry
        as the shifting sands
Furiously move from firsts
        in undulating bands.

First, they say whatever,
        and then the chatter drifts,
Secondary notions
        Grow schisms' prism'd rifts.
Now you see it, now you don't;
        life palms the aces well.
And if you are so very wary,
        you'll not fall prey, but yell --

First, you said it was this,
        and then you said it was that!
If there is something that I smell,
        it's sure I smell a rat!
First, then second, then what else?
        Your games just dribble on.
With all this change and chatter,
        I think change is a con.

See:   Chant for a change 


 

Free

"A stampede at a Hindu temple in northern India killed at least 63 people today – mostly women and children – as thousands of devotees rushed to receive free clothes and food. Local officials said another 44 people were injured in the crush at a temple compound in Kunda, a small town 110 miles (177km) southeast of Lucknow, the capital of the poor northern state of Uttar Pradesh." In Times Online, 4 March 2010

"Free" is the lure; "free" is the lie.
"Free" is that sure-fire pie in the sky.
"Free" sucks them in; "free" crushes some.
"Free" blatantly strikes many men dumb.
"Free" leads astray; "free" ensnares.
"Free," come what may, tramples and tears.
"Free" tempts the soul; "free" baits the tongue.
"Free" takes it toll, and tramples the young.

 

See:   Free Money    and   Gimme 


 

Science has limits

Science has limits, be they Good and Bad.
            Ugly and Beautiful. Happy and Sad.
            Love and Hate. Eternity against Now.
            Faith and Disbelief. All of these somehow
            Escape the nets, the hooks and the chains
            Which some think their limitless science gains,
But science is hobbled, and knows but a part
            Of the greater universe and its greater art.
            To those who would too easily bow their knee
            At anything thing modified by "scientifically,"
            I wait to be informed by their theorems galore
Why science can't answer the simplest of lore
            Like Good and Evil, Love and Hate.
            Or why belief is such a human trait.
Limitless science is a blustering bluff,
            Of which many scientists have had enough
            That they too believe in some science-less thing
            Of which the arts and religions can sing.
Science has limits, when clearly we see
            That science is just another puzzle in eternity.

 

See:    Salvation for Today , and  Mandate waste 


 

Peace at all costs

"War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks nothing worth a war, is worse." John Stuart Mill, "The Contest in America," pp. 208-09, in John Stuart Mill, Dissertations and Discussions (Boston: William V. Spencer, 1867).

Peace at all costs
is still a cost to be paid.
One might as well give
Up all that one has made,
And live as a slave
'Neath the war makers' fist,
For that is the substance,
The sum and the gist
of "peace at all costs"

See:    Death in peacetime 


 

Oops

It's always their plan built firm on "oops,"
As foxes guard the chicken coops;
They'll bleat like sheep, like sheepdogs bark,
And gorge themselves in a hound-free lark.


When finally discovered by the hounds,
The foxes howl their "oops" planned sounds,
Swearing it was not ever their foxy schemes
To indulge in their chicken-fed dreams.


The consequences were unintended,
They assure, fox knees full bended,
In hopes the hounds will buy their "oops,"
For surely hounds are nincompoops.


Foxes gone and chickens eaten,
It's then the hounds will sure be beaten
As farmers look for chicks and eggs.
Hounds quake, tails tucked between their legs.


"Oops" works once, but twice does not.
Chicken coops, nincompoops: the foxes' plot.

Run like hell from the emptied chicken coops,
After barking out a practiced, foxy "oops."

 

See:     Rob a Peter to Pay a Paul   , see also  The rich    - owed an American ode


 

Never, Ever Call It Greed

"...you can aspire to the heavens and avoid the ignominy of hell in this mortal plane by working assiduously for your daily bread and scrupulously not coveting the daily bread of thy neighbor." Ellis Washington, "Sowellian economics," in The Report from Washington, February 13, 2010

 

Covet your neighbor's daily bread,
Making your plans to steal, instead.
Take what you want; take what you need,
And never let folks call it greed.

Covet your neighbor's Lady Luck,
After all, he's just some schmuck.
You'd do quite right to run amok,
And appropriate his every buck.

Covet your neighbor's everything,
While you let him feel your sting.
Take it all, it's a political fling,
And leap for joy, shout loud and sing.

Covet is such a lovely word,
Which olden times condemned; they erred.
Covet is the finest way, I've heard,
To justify it all when words are blurred.

Covet is such a sturdy ax,
That works quite well as one attacks
To flay your neighbors' bourgeois backs.
It's just your personal "I'm come tax."
 

See:    They're not talking    and  Trust us  


 

Hurt Feelings

You hurt my feelings, now that's the fact,
        And for this, you will be attacked
With fist and truncheon, as with law
        To make you pay and then withdraw
Whatever I say that you must say
        To make my hurt feelings go away.
But do not think to play my game,
        If that becomes your counterclaim,
For if your feelings might be hurt
        By that which I might herein assert,
It is because my game trumps yours,
        And why my game your game abhors.
You hurt my feelings, that's the fact,
        And for this, you must be attacked.

 

Addendum of Vindictive Protectiveness:   "... it presumes an extraordinary fragility of the collegiate psyche, and therefore elevates the goal of protecting students from psychological harm. The ultimate aim, it seems, is to turn campuses into 'safe spaces' where young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some uncomfortable. And more than the last, this movement seeks to punish anyone who interferes with that aim, even accidentally. You might call this impulse vindictive protectiveness. It is creating a culture in which everyone must think twice before speaking up, lest they face charges of insensitivity, aggression, or worse. ...vindictive protectiveness teaches students to think in a very different way. It prepares them poorly for professional life, which often demands intellectual engagement with people and ideas one might find uncongenial or wrong. The harm may be more immediate, too. A campus culture devoted to policing speech and punishing speakers is likely to engender patterns of thought that are surprisingly similar to those long identified by cognitive behavioral therapists as causes of depression and anxiety. The new protectiveness may be teaching students to think pathologically." In "The Coddling of the American Mind," by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, The Atlantic, September 2015.

 

See:    Sticks and Stones 


 

Chains

"What pushes the masses into the camp of socialism is, even more than the illusion that socialism will make them richer, the expectation that it will curb all those who are better than they themselves are." Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973)

Let's fit you for some pretty chains,
Something that's stylish and chic.
With pleasure we take the greatest of pains
To see it look not harsh nor bleak.
                Perhaps the latest styles will do,
                To tailor these chains to you.
 
Let's fit you for a lovely cage,
To be both apt and stout.
This is tradition, in each time and age
And of this you must not doubt.
                Perhaps the oldest tricks suffice
                To tailor a fine containment device.
 
Let's fit you for your wage slave's garb,
Something which flatters your place.
Perhaps underclass drab, not too sharp with barb,
To show freedom losing its race.
                We expect you'll enslave voluntarily
                If only we can fool you momentarily.

 

Envoi:   "The Cuban Network of Community Communicators reports that inmates at the Combinado del Este prison are denouncing slave-like conditions where they are forced to work dismantling cars for the regime. In their denouncement they describe workdays that last as long as 16 hours, they are fed substandard food, and no medical attention. The authorities at the prison, which the inmates describe as complicit and corrupt, have full knowledge of what is taking place and it 'allows them to sell the individual parts of the vehicles they take apart.' In "Inmates in Cuban prison denounce forced slave labor," translated by Alberto de la Cruz,"Presos denuncian jornadas de 16 horas de trabajo en Combinado del Este," by Joan Antoni Guerrero Vall, Punt de Vista, 24 January 2013

 

Addendum:   "Proportionately, communist Cuba has one of the highest prison populations in the world, with over 57,000 inmates spread across 200 facilities in a country of 11.3 million people." In "A glimpse inside Cuba's prisons," by Sarah Rainsford, BBC News, Havana, 1 May 2013.

 

Addendum as a Look Back:    "Right now the biggest enemy of Fidel is the dictator Castro. He's doing more damage to himself than all his enemies. Castro today has fulfilled the fate of all leaders. One day they are the substance of what they rule. Later they become the stamping block for those they lead. It's the tragic fate of those that lead." In "The Last Communist," by William Cran, Frontline, PBS, 11 Feburary 1992.

 

Addendum:   "Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce." In "The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Napoleon," by Karl Marx {1851-185, originally published in "Die Revolution," 1852 (a German-language periodical published in New York City).

 

See:   Murderous murderer murdered  - "M " as in the myth of Che Guevara, and also  Smoke and Mirrors 


 

Welfare Queen

"I have devised an infallible plan for extracting money from your old man, as we now have none. Write me a begging letter (as crude as possible), in which you retail your past vicissitudes, but in such a way that I can pass it on to your mother. The old man’s beginning to get the wind up." Marx to Engels, Cologne, 29 November 1848

 

A Marx wrote an Engels letters.
"Send money, if you please.
I cannot work without your cash,
As axles need their grease."
            A Marx sent an Engels letters.
            "More money, if you would.
            I cannot write without the stuff;
            A fireplace needs its wood."
A Marx begged an Engels; letters
Flowed from his Marx-like pen.
One asked for money as was wrote,
And then one asked again.
            Das Kapital, in letters,
            Is in upper and lower case.
            Not many folks have read it,
            But cite it, just in case...
Because it's chic and trendy
To talk of Marx and gloat,
But oddly few folks see that
'Twas capital kept him afloat.
            Trust Marx, for Engels' letters
            Contained Marx' words of cheer;
            "I'm sending you some money,
            I got from my cashier."
A Jenny penned an Engels letters,
To tell of Marx-like need,
Looking for to feed themselves,
For capital did she plead.
            Das Kapital, in letters,
            Critiques capitalism's greed,
            But for capital did they write such stuff
            For other folks to read.
The welfare queens, in letters,
They begged and begged and begged,
And through Engel's money,
Could Marx' pen be unpegged.
            Did Marx profit from letters
            To Engels over cash?
            It seems he was a welfare queen
            Who would the system smash.
The workers in Engels' factory
Worked in dismal circumstance;
In answer to their plight did he
Pay Marx for that wordy dance.
            Shut down the cash cow? Now really!
            What would they have done for dough?
            To send Marx his allowance
            One needed the workers, though.
So off proletarian workers
Did Marx and Engels fend,
To assure their very social thoughts
Were paid a capitalist dividend.

 

Envoi:  "We need a national subsidy for literature. It is disgraceful that artists are treated like peddlers and that art works have to be sold like soap." Herbert Marcuse, in "Negations: Essays in Critical Theory"   [ 1 ] (1968)

 

Addendum of a Successful Peddler:    "Having been feted as one of the world's richest women in 2011, she saw her fortunes depleted to such an extent that she is no longer a dollar billionaire, meaning she has less than £640 million in the bank." In "Forbes list: JK Rowling fortune under vanishing spell," by Rosa Prince, The Telegraph UK, 7 March 2012

 

Addendum:    "Every day to earn my daily bread / I go to the market where lies are bought...." From "Poems in Exile" of Berthold Brecht, translated by Michael Hamburger (1942).   [ 2 ]

 

See:   Tale of the Makers and the Takers  ,  and also  Jewish nigger 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    That a "leading" post-Marxist academic at the last gasps of the Frankfurt School would bewail that artists (and by his previous paragraph, authors) must be "sold like soap" is instructive. While Marx was busy constructing a narrative, as above, of " an infallible plan for extracting money" from family members, one finds here much the same from a professor relying on his state-supported salary and benefits, that is to extract money via a "national subsidy."

 

 Handouts, Subsidies and an Infallible for Extracting Money

 

          It is worth noting how many of the post-Marxists expected others to subsidize their "work," mostly made of words and more words. One reads of another from the Frankfurt School, "...his plans to establish a new journal with the playwright Bertolt Brecht came to nothing. He never held a permanent job, regarding it as the duty of his family and his estranged wife to support him. After 1933, there were handouts from Adorno’s Frankfurt School, which had wisely transferred its funds to Switzerland and later to America, but this was no substitute for a steady source of income." In "The Walter Benjamin Brigade - How an original but maddeningly opaque German Jewish intellectual became a thriving academic industry," by Walter Laqueur, Mosaic, 3 April 2014.

          "Handouts" as relates to Benjamin, "subsidy" as relates to Marcuse and the original, "an infallible plan for extracting money" as relates to Marx himself. The consistent theme is one of expecting others to pay for words, theories, publications and tracts, all to support the base theory that underpins, namely how to get money from someone else.

          This should be seen a most amusing, as the intellectual class among Marxists evidences in a small way what has become truly big business, that is Capital for Communists  - a story growing old.

 

[ 2 ]    "Lies are bought," suggests Berthold Brecht, to earn one's "daily bread."  Of course one may link this to the statement, the "...socialist principle, 'He who does not work shall not eat', is already realized; the other socialist principle, 'An equal amount of products for an equal amount of labor', is also already realized. But this is not yet communism, and it does not yet abolish 'bourgeois law', which gives unequal individuals, in return for unequal (really unequal) amounts of labor, equal amounts of products." In "The State and Revolution," Vladimir Lenin, 1917.

 

 Desperately Seeking Capital

 

          If there is a "market" where "lies are bought," then that market is made of words, narratives, dramas, storytelling in film. Amusingly the Brecht estate today expects to be paid for rights to perform Brecht's works per standard copyright protection. Thus intermingles the supposed realities of socialism and communism, on the one had, and capitalism on the other. They are intertwined at the lowest level -- capital.

          When Marx encouraged Engels over that "infallible plan to extract money," he was seeking capital. When Benjamin expected family to support him as a "duty," he too was seeking capital. When Marcuse sought "subsidy," he sought capital. One might then reduce down the entire theory in all its manifestations to that "infallible plan." But this presents a problem for theorists, when confronted with basic market questions. How much is the theory worth, when compared to bread? How much is a small series of books and journal articles worth compared to an automobile? Or a week's vacation at some resort? Must the socialist theorist continue to bake the "bread" of journal articles to get further payment? And by what economic rules and regulations? As Lenin, among others, stated, an equal amount of work for an equal amount of labor."

          Is the buying and selling of "lies" labor? What amount of labor does a lie represent? Measured in hours? Effort? Merit? Of heaven forbid, capital?

          How much is Benjamin's short tract worth? He opined of art work, ""Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be." In "The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction," by Walter Benjamin (1936), trans. by Harry Zohn, Schocken, 1968. Should one  look at reproductions of Benjamin's essay as some form of "lie" or perhaps theoretical "art" "lacking" in some "unique existence?"

 

 Politicizing Art

 

         But of art, he ends the essay with with tying art to politics, "Its self-alienation has reached such a degree that it can experience its own destruction as an aesthetic pleasure of the first order. This is the situation of politics which Fascism is rendering aesthetic. Communism responds by politicizing art." Reproductions of art become products. Products are sold. Capital is exchanged, governed by state laws on copyright ownership and control, and in the exchange the state requires its share.

         Self-alienation becomes the withering Frankfurt School and its further generations, which must either continually produce new narratives -- that is, "work" in the sense of which Lenin stated above, or perhaps "lies" in the sense of Brecht's vision -- or not eat." For this one sees the basic contradiction in that "infallible plan for extracting money" which Marx himself termed "begging." For Benjamin is might best be called "handouts."

         For the post-Marxists in academia of today it is often called a "tenured position," and most often the "capital" such a position generates is well above the median income of the people they serve. See the footnotes to:  Doctor Oppression comes to call .

         For the post-Marxists in many government leadership positions today, it is simply called acting as a "civil servant." See:  Fat, fat government .


 

The Privileges of Intellectuals

“One of the surprising privileges of intellectuals is that they are free to be scandalously asinine without harming their reputations.” Eric Hoffer (1892-1983).

 
A tenured professor can be dead wrong,
And still continue a lively song.
He can bat zero by the proofs of life;
And peddle his visions of societal strife.
                Ehrlich in German means "genuine,"
                "Honest" and "truthful" and all such therein;
                In Stanfordese it translates as "loony tune,"
                As in: a professorial, tenured cartoon.

A tenured professor dreamed up scarcities' age;
After decades being wrong, his words still rage.
That he saw famine widespread was sad,
And when it didn't happen, it was just too bad.
                Ehrlich to bed, and Ehlrich to rise
                Wins this man a Best Fiction Prize.
 
A tenured professor foretold men's demise
At forty-two by pesticides, which did not actualize.
He foresaw populations shrink overnight,
And when it didn't happen, he puffed up an alibi tight.

A tenured professor travels with friends,
Apocalyptic visions of the way life ends.
He has seen horrors which others would not grasp,
And though he's been wrong, there comes no final gasp.
                Ehrlich in German means "genuine,"
                "Honest" and "truthful" and all such therein;
                In Stanfordese it translates as "loony tune,"
                As in: a professorial, tenured cartoon.

 

Envoi:     "Such a comprehensive Planetary Regime  [ 1 ]   could control   [ 2 ]   the development, administration, conservation, and distribution of all natural resources, renewable or nonrenewable, at least insofar as international implications exist. Thus, the Regime could have the power to control pollution not only in the atmosphere and the oceans, but also in such freshwater bodies as rivers and lakes that cross international boundaries or that discharge into the oceans. The Regime might also be a logical central agency for regulating all international trade, perhaps including assistance from DCs to LDCs, and including all food on the international market.  [ 3 ]   The Planetary Regime might be given responsibility for determining the optimum population for the world and for each region and for arbitrating various countries' shares within their regional limits."  [ 4 ]  Paul R. Ehrlich, Anne H. Ehrlich, and John Holdren, co-authors of the textbook "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," 1978.

 

 

Barack Obama and John Holdren, Science Advisor and Comprehensive Planetary Regime Enthusiast

 

Reflection on any Comprehensive Planetary Regime:  "When the throne of God is overturned, the rebel realizes that it is now his own responsibility to create the justice, order, and unity that he sought in vain within his own condition, and in this way to justify the fall of God. Then begins the desperate effort to create, at the price of crime and murder if necessary, the dominion of man." Albert Camus, The Rebel, 1951.

 

Addendum:   "Most of the people who are going to die in the greatest cataclysm in the history of man have already been born," wrote Ehrlich in an essay titled 'Eco-Catastrophe!,' which ran in the special Earth Day issue of the radical magazine Ramparts. "By...[1975] some experts feel that food shortages will have escalated the present level of world hunger and starvation into famines of unbelievable proportions. Other experts, more optimistic, think the ultimate food-population collision will not occur until the decade of the 1980s.' Ehrlich sketched out his most alarmist scenario for the Earth Day issue of The Progressive, assuring readers that between 1980 and 1989, some 4 billion people, including 65 million Americans, would perish in the 'Great Die-Off.' " In "Earth Day, Then and Now," by Ronald Bailey, Reason, May 2000 issue.

 

Addendum:   "Ehrlich ends the chapter by callously calling the third scenario an appealing one even though it 'presumes the death by starvation of perhaps as many as half a billion people, one-fifth of the world's population.' Enhrlich then challenges the reader to devise a scenario more optimistic than the last and writes that he 'won't accept one that starts, 'In early 1972 the first monster space ships from a planet of the star Alpha Centauri arrive bearing CARE packages . . .'' How about a scenario that starts with, 'In 1942 a young man named Norman Borlaug received his Ph.D. in plant pathology and genetics and decided to help save a billion human lives'." In "The Population Bomb: Scenario 3 (1970)," Paleofuture, Matt Novak, 17 July 2007.    [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of Ehrlich's Error:  "The book stated that it was 'a fantasy' that India would 'ever' feed itself. (Interestingly, I was introduced to Ehrlich’s book as a freshman in high school. What a sad state of education when Ehrlich, who lost a famous bet with Simon, is mandatory reading at many schools while few people are aware of Borlaug.) In the meantime, Borlaug was putting into place what Ehrlich claimed was impossible. His work began being used in India in the early 1960s and by the mid-1970s (a few years after Ehrlich’s claims) the country was feeding itself. As noted by Ronald Bailey, the science correspondent for Reason: In Pakistan, wheat yields rose from 4.6 million tons in 1965 to 8.4 million in 1970. In India, they rose from 12.3 million tons to 20 million. And the yields continue to increase. Last year [1999], India harvested a record 73.5 million tons of wheat, up 11.5 percent from 1998. Since Ehrlich's dire predictions in 1968, India's population has more than doubled, its wheat production has more than tripled, and its economy has grown nine-fold. Equally remarkable feats were happening in Mexico, where the country went from importing half its food to becoming a net exporter in a mere 20 years because of Borlaug's efforts. Borlaug is the best proof of Simon's belief in humans as 'the ultimate resource,' as ingenuity leads to technological advances. And this theory has aged well, evidenced by the world poverty rate declining 80 percent since 1970 as things get better and better." In "Happy Birthday Norman Borlaug, Credited with saving 1 billion people,"by Jarrett Skorup, Michigan Confidential, 25 March 2014.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of Another Intellectual Fraud:   "Diederick Stapel was one of the most celebrated and published scientists in the field of social psychology. But in 2011, it was revealed that much of his career was built on fraud. He had tweaked or completely fabricated data in no fewer than 55 of his 125 published papers! Stapel lost his title as a respected professor and became known for what he truly is: an academic 'con man'." In "Can a Scientist's Writing Style Reveal Fraud?" by Ross Pomeroy, RealClearScience Journal Club,: 28 August 2014.

 

Addendum of an Intellectuals "Stupidity of the American Voter" Stance:   "Let's be clear: Gruber didn't say any of this incredibly arrogant, deeply offensive stuff in a soft whisper at a clandestine meeting of liberal donors. He said these things out loud, at lectures, over and over and over again, without even an attempt at discretion. These videos may seem inflammatory on their face. Here's an Obama adviser gleefully insisting that the administration hoodwinked the American people to pass legislation that otherwise very few would have wanted. But underneath all this arrogance and hubris is a surprising amount of willful ignorance about what actually happened to pass Obamacare. It isn't that Gruber thinks we're all rubes. It's that he thinks his team of brilliant economists and political spin-doctors were so clever they actually got away with something." In "The guy who thinks voters are 'stupid'," by S.E. Cupp, CNN, 14 November 2014.   [ 7 ]

 

Addendum of Proving Disastrous:   "Schemes to tackle climate change could prove disastrous for billions of people, but might be required for the good of the planet, scientists say. That is the conclusion of a new set of studies into what's become known as geo-engineering. This is the so far unproven science of intervening in the climate to bring down temperatures." In "Geo-engineering: Climate fixes 'could harm billions'," by David Shukman, BBC, 26 November 2014.

 

Addendum of Answering Nothing:   "...they make it clear that 'it is pointless to ask whether a model is real, only whether it agrees with observations.' We are not sure how model-dependent realism differs from instrumentalism. In both cases physicists concern themselves only with observations and, although they do not deny that they are the consequence of some ultimate reality, they do not insist that the models describing those observations correspond exactly to that reality. In any case, Hawking and Mlodinow are acting as philosophers—epistemologists at the minimum—by discussing what we can know about ultimate reality, even if their answer is 'nothing'." In "Physicists Are Philosophers, Too," by Victor J. Stenger, James A. Lindsay and Peter Boghossian, Scientific American, 8 May 2015.   [ 8 ]

 

Addendum of  Pernicious Influence:    “...there have always been 'society pedagogues', less outstanding but more numerous, who have become fascinated by their own great ideas, which might, sometimes, even be true, but are more often constricted or contain the taint of some hidden pathological thought processes. Such people have always striven to impose pedagogical methods which would impoverish and deform the development of individuals’ and societies’ psychological world view; they inflict permanent harm upon societies, depriving them of universally useful values. By claiming to act in the name of a more valuable idea, such pedagogues actually undermine the values they claim and open the door for destructive ideologies. At the same time, as we have already mentioned, each society contains a small but active minority of persons with various deviant worldviews, especially in the areas treated above, which are caused either by psychological anomalies, to be discussed below, or by the long-term influence of such anomalies upon their psyches, especially during childhood. Such people later exert a pernicious influence upon the formative process of the psychological world view in society, whether by direct activity or by means of written or other transmission, especially if they engage in the service of some ideology or other." Andrzej Lobaczewski, "Political Ponerology," translated by Alexandra Chciuk-Celt, Red Pill Press, 2007.   [ 9 ]

 

Addendum of Proving the Final Collapse:  "One of the world's leading ice experts has predicted the final collapse of Arctic sea ice in summer months within four years. ...'This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free. The final collapse towards that state is now happening and will probably be complete by those dates'." In "Arctic expert predicts final collapse of sea ice within four years," by John Vidal, Guardian UK, 17 September 2012.     [ 10 ]

 

Addendum of Fools Under the Influence:   "It is, I think, true to say that the intelligentsia have been more wrong about the progress of the war than the common people, and that they were more swayed by partisan feelings. The average intellectual of the Left believed, for instance, that the war was lost in 1940, that the Germans were bound to overrun Egypt in 1942, that the Japanese would never be driven out of the lands they had conquered, and that the Anglo-American bombing offensive was making no impression on Germany. He could believe these things because his hatred for the British ruling class forbade him to admit that British plans could succeed. There is no limit to the follies that can be swallowed if one is under the influence of feelings of this kind. I have heard it confidently stated, for instance, that the American troops had been brought to Europe not to fight the Germans but to crush an English revolution. One has to belong to the intelligentsia to believe things like that: no ordinary man could be such a fool." In "Notes on Nationalism," George Orwell, 1945.

    

 Addendum of the Pompous Aristocracy of Intellect:   "..."...the aristocracy of intellect. And that is a belief which can only destroy the civilization that we know. If we are anything, we must be a democracy of the intellect. We must not perish by the distance between people and government, between people and power, by which Babylon and Egypt and Rome failed. And that distance can only be conflated, can only be closed, if knowledge sits in the homes and heads of people with no ambition to control others, and not up in the isolated heads of power." In "The Ascent of Man," Jacob Bronowski, Little, Brown and Company, 1973.

 

See:   Post-rapture Possibilities  and also  The Scourge of the Planet 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   "Now, as for myself, I do not claim to have discovered either the existence of classes in modern society or the struggle between them. Long before me, bourgeois historians had described the historical development of this struggle between the classes, as had bourgeois economists their economic anatomy.  My own contribution was (1) to show that the existence of classes is merely bound up with certain historical phases in the development of production; (2) that the class struggle necessarily leads to the dictatorship of the proletariat; [and] (3) that this dictatorship, itself, constitutes no more than a transition to the abolition of all classes and to a classless society." In a letter from Marx to Joseph Weydemeyer dated 5 March1852, in "Karl Marx & Frederick Engels, Collected Works," Vol. 39 (International Publishers: New York, 1983) pp. 62–65.

 

[ 2 ]   "We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means, it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?' " George Orwell, 1984 (1949)

 

 Implantation of Influence

 

          As to gaining "control," the question becomes one of methodology. One learns:   "Gramsci advised Marxists to achieve power by democratic means and then to use it to destroy Christian hegemony. 'Gramsci’s principle,' French journalist Jean-François Revel pointed out, 'was that [Marxists] must begin by influencing the culture, winning the intellectuals, the teachers, implanting itself in the press, the media, the publishing houses.'" In "The Anti-Church of Antonio Gramsci," by George J. Marlin, The Catholic Thing, 24 August 2011.

          All one need do now is place the advocacy for a "comprehensive Planetary Regime" on a scale of freedom to slavery, to identify what some professors and supposed intellectuals are really advocating. This was Gramsci's stated goal and many others who believe they will not be among the ones consigned to a gulag or worse. The end of this story is now well known, which suggests many intellectuals would easily serve the "Regime" and assist in dictating. As Hoffer suggests, it is "scandalously asinine."

 

[ 3 ]   "There will be, in the next generation or so, a pharmacological method of making people love their servitude, and producing dictatorship without tears, so to speak, producing a kind of painless concentration camp for entire societies, so that people will in fact have their liberties taken away from them, but will rather enjoy it, because they will be distracted from any desire to rebel by propaganda or brainwashing, or brainwashing enhanced by pharmacological methods. And this seems to be the final revolution." Aldous Huxley (1894-1963).

 

[ 4 ]   "It is not the tyrannized who initiate despotism, but the tyrants." In "Pedagogy of the Oppressed," Paolo Freire (1970). One may well argue two proofs. The first is simple: Ehrlich has been wildly wrong in his predictions. Repeatedly wrong. Verifiably wrong. The second is more subtle: The authors -- the Ehrlichs and Holdren -- by virtue of promoting a "planetary regime" are in fact not eco-scientists, but the newest flavor of fascism, dressed up in academic gowns and favored by the chic and sheep of the political "progressives," for whom "control" trumps individual human freedoms and human rights. Thus, they are tyrannical in the sense of Freire, Orwell and Huxley, while in the mold of Marx and Gramsci.

 

 Accept No External Tyrant

 

        But as to the essentially fascistic and dreamed-of "authority" of an Ehrlich or Holdren and, specifically, their stated dreams of a "comprehensive Planetary Regime," a lesson from Mahatma Mohandas Gandhi echoes:  "The only tyrant I accept in this world is the 'still small voice' within me."

 

[ 5 ]   The privileges of intellectuals like Paul Ehrlich is that they are not embarrassed at so many verifiable errors.

 

 Miserable Trap

 

        "Americans have been saturated with fear of world overpopulation for the last half-century. In 1970, "The Population Bomb" was a bestseller. Its author, Paul Ehrlich, declared, "The battle to feed all of humanity is over." He claimed hundreds of millions of people would starve in the 1970s and '80s. Instead, starvation decreased. World food consumption today is 20 percent more per person than in 1970. The world had 3.7 billion people then; today, it is about 6.8 billion. But pessimists don't quit. A United Nations committee reported in 2009 that global fertility declined from 5 children per woman in 1965-70 to 2.6 children in the past five years. The latest figure is near the 2.1 children per woman needed to maintain a constant population. More than 100 countries, representing 46 percent of the world's people, have birth rates below 2.1.  The problem of too few people in the future has not become a hot media topic, but the "Population Bomb" has fizzled. The fading of it should be an object lesson to Earth prophets; people are too ingenious to be put in a miserable trap by someone's imagination of their helplessness."  In "The `Population Bomb` Has Fizzled," by Harold Brown, Athens Banner Herald, 29 August 2010.

 

[ 6 ]   One reads further: "Journalist Dan Gardner has criticized Ehrlich both for his overconfident predictions and his refusal to acknowledge his errors. 'In two lengthy interviews, Ehrlich admitted making not a single major error in the popular works he published in the late 1960s and early 1970s … the only flat-out mistake Ehrlich acknowledges is missing the destruction of the rain forests, which happens to be a point that supports and strengthens his world view—and is therefore, in cognitive dissonance terms, not a mistake at all. Beyond that, he was by his account, off a little here and there, but only because the information he got from others was wrong. Basically, he was right across the board.' Jonathan Last called it 'one of the most spectacularly foolish books ever published'." In "The Population Bomb" article in Wikipedia, n. d.

 

 Spectacularly Foolish, Fascist Dream for a Planetary Regime

 

        The wager between Ehrlich and Simon has been rehashed, with some saying a longer term to the wager would have proved Ehrlich correct, but this does not take into account other global problems, specifically inflation and the massive "pumping" of the US Fed which has skewed market prices. But the better measure, between Ehrlich and Borlaug is one of which acted to see a betterment of mankind. Demonstrably and without a doubt, the many with Borlaug among them who have assisted in greater productivity in food production and affordability outweigh the decades of environmental hyperbole from Ehrlich.

        One need revisit Ehrlich's call for that "planetary regime." He called for "a logical central agency for regulating all international trade, perhaps including assistance from DCs to LDCs, and including all food on the international market." While Borlaug and many like him worked to better mankind by increasing the production of food, Ehrlich called for essentially worldwide regulation "including all food," and for that one may well argue he is far less like true scientist and far more like a Totalitarian  .

        News from decades after Ehrlich, an intellectual, forecast famine, one learns of record harvests:   "Based on the latest forecasts for production and utilization, world cereal stocks at the close of crop seasons ending in 2015 would surge to 627.5 million tonnes, up 8.3 percent from an already large volume at the start of the season and its highest level in 15 years. Maize would account for the biggest increase, followed by wheat, while rice stocks are forecast to decline, albeit from a record level. The overall positive outlook, if realized, will result in the cereal stocks-to-use ratio increasing to 25.2 percent in 2014/15 from 23.5 percent in 2013/14, and the highest since 2001/02. This year’s abundant supplies have already resulted in sharp declines in international prices of all cereals, with the exception of rice. However, the lower prices are not expected to stimulate trade, as the major cereal importing countries are holding large supplies, which may depress import demand and result in total cereal trade contracting by 5.0 percent to 337 million tonnes in 2014/15." In "Large cereal crops and rising inventories keep prices under downward pressure," Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, 9 October 2014.

        The Ehrlichs and Holdren have been spectacularly wrong. Moreover their call for a "planetary regime" is answered by the news release from a worldwide institution, the UN, proving the call by the radical intellectuals for control over, as they wrote, " all natural resources, renewable or nonrenewable" was poorly disguised Marxist styled socialist dictatorship, which may be known by its other name -- fascism. Ecoscience, as proposed by such intellectuals, proposed "comprehensive" control, not freedom. Such is the proof of their many scientific errors and political tendencies. Dictatorship of the proletariat. Other "intellectuals" applauded.

 

[ 7 ]  As with other modern intellectuals who prove to be only more like clever little fascists seeking their own power and privileges, a basic analysis of such intellectual stances proves a contempt for the average man, and by extension a contempt for human rights, democracy, freedom and even honesty. Rather they seem fueled by their own hubris.

 

 People Are Stupid, But I Am Smart

 

        One reads:  "A video that surfaced this week shows Gruber telling a Rhode Island audience in 2012 how the feds will collect a tax on high-end policies without families realizing they're actually paying the tax via insurers: '(I)t's a very clever, you know, basic exploitation of the lack of economic understanding of the American voter.' A 2013 video has Gruber in St. Louis describing how that 'Cadillac tax' got into the ACA: 'They proposed it and that passed, because the American people are too stupid to understand the difference.' Gruber told MSNBC on Wednesday that his Pennsylvania comments were 'at an academic conference' and 'off-the-cuff': 'I basically spoke inappropriately and I regret having made those comments.' No doubt because they're true. Gruber hasn't renounced a thing he said. These deceptions are a world apart from the scuzzy but not atypical payoffs (the Cornhusker Kickback, the Louisiana Purchase) that bought the final Senate votes to pass the ACA. Nor are we citing other sponsor claims that critics of the law also see as lies: that coverage really would be affordable, that the act would lower medical costs, that it would ease federal deficits. All debatable. What's not debatable is that Obamacare's arc of deception is exposed — not unique, perhaps, but blatant and, thanks to our own eyes and Gruber's words, provable: Obamacare, in order to function, had to break its backers' promises." In "Arrogance plus deception equals Obamacare. Ask Gruber." By Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune, 13 November 2014.

          Consider the observation in rhyme:  Lying continues   -  government flexing its sinews.

        Ad hominem is never an intellectual exercise, but one reads of today's privileged intellectuals reaching for that debate strategy:  "One legislator quoted a newspaper op-ed warning that 'any Hsiao-Gruber-type health care mega-system will inevitably lead to coercive mandates, ballooning costs, increasing taxes, bureaucratic outrages, shabby facilities, disgruntled providers, long waiting lines, lower-quality care, special-interest nest-feathering, and destructive wage and price controls.' In the video, brought to light by Watchdog.org, Gruber is seen responding: 'Was this written by my adolescent children by any chance?' The room erupted in laughter, but the comment had actually come from the pen of two-term Vermont state senator John McClaughry, by then serving as vice president of the conservative Ethan Allen Institute." In "Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber has billed federal and state governments at least $5.9 million for advice, as more videos surface showing him undercutting the landmark law," by David Martosko, Daily Mail UK, 15 November 2014.

        In this case one watches "coercive mandates, ballooning costs, increasing taxes, bureaucratic outrages, shabby facilities, disgruntled providers, long waiting lines, lower-quality care, special-interest nest-feathering, and destructive wage and price controls" all being documented as correct observations, which explains why the haven of ad hominem attacks is sought by the most privileged of today's intellectuals.

        For a broad range of news reports detailing the above predictions at which an "intellectual" laughed, see the many citations which support A Countdown Song   - counting upwards to down.

        As the Ehrlichs and Holdren (who remains scientific advisor to the current American administration) called for a "planetary regime," Gruber called for and justified a national regime for health insurance, complete with all those predicted details which he joked might have been written by "my adolescent children." Such is among the privileges of intellectuals.

 

 The Smart Guy's Comments are Simply Not True?

 

        But now comes the question, as one reads:  "The White House sought Wednesday to distance itself from Gruber and his comments. 'The Affordable Care Act was publicly debated over the course of 14 months, with dozens of Congressional hearings, and countless town halls, speeches, and debates,' White House spokeswoman Jessica Santillo said in a statement. 'The tax credits in the law that help millions of middle class Americans afford coverage were no secret, and in fact were central to the legislation. Not only do we disagree with [Gruber's] comments, they’re simply not true.' An administration official who spoke on the condition of anonymity sought to play down Gruber's role in developing the law, noting that he 'did not work in the White House'." In "GOP’s anti-Obamacare push gains new momentum in wake of Gruber video," by Robert Costa and Jose A. DelReal, Washington Post, 12 November 2014.

 

 $5 Million Worth of Not True

 

        The testimony of a privileged intellectual who thinks voters are "stupid" and received over $5 million dollars from federal and state governments for his work can be true or not true. The testimony of a White House spokeswoman can be true or not true. But either Gruber's statements or the White House spokeswoman's statements are "simply not true." Such is a privilege of those intellectuals who can make false statements and receive public money for them. Being wrong and sometimes spectacularly wrong is such a privilege not afforded to the stupid as they believe others to be.

        But opinions become heated:  "Damn Americans. They just don’t see the wisdom of surrendering to experts the power they need to remake the country into a progressive paradise. Sighing with regret, liberals like Jonathan Gruber admit that they’re forced to hoodwink the citizens. For their own good. Gruber, the MIT economist who (in the words of The New York Times) 'put together the basic principles of' ObamaCare and helped Congress 'draft the specifics of the legislation' is one of a long line of liberals driven by the belief that the stupidity of the American people is so insurmountable that persuasion is futile. Liberalism: the place where compassion blurs into condescension." In "The lies that are central to Obama’s agenda," by Kyle Smith, New York Post. 16 November 2014.

        While the privileges of intellectuals like Holdren and Gruber involve requiring citizens to submit to their intellectual betters, one notes that such demands for submission to their proposed "regime" -- as the above vocabulary says above -- promise utopian results through socio-fascist rule.

        For such intellectuals, the exercise becomes one of fashioning their imagined You Topia .

        The end to such stories is seen.

        Consider one such ending, after the promise:  I'm gonna guide you to the promised land  - a story quite like others.

 

[ 8 ]  What can we know? Nothing. And the privilege of intellectuals here is that they want to paid for this answer. My answer: pay them in like coin. Nothing.

 

[ 9 ]    "...if they engage in the service of some ideology or other." One notes that Ehrlich's co-author, Holdren, is in the Obama administration, and yet is an individual who in the text referenced above called for a "comprehensive planetary regime." How is this structurally different than the dreamed of "dictatorship of the proletariat?"  Lobaczewski's warning is then both profound and an accurate.

         Consider the final paragraph of a study on a "comprehensive regime."

 

 Utopias Require Coercion

 

        "By no means all socialists were killers or amoral. Many were sincere humanitarians; mostly these were the adherents of democratic socialism. But democratic socialism turned out to be a contradiction in terms, for where socialists proceeded democratically, they found themselves on a trajectory that took them further and further from socialism. Long before Lenin, socialist thinkers anticipated the problem. The imaginary utopias of Plato, More, Campanella and Edward Bellamy, whose 1887 novel, Looking Backward, was the most popular socialist book in American history, all relied on coercion, as did the Conspiracy of Equals. Only once did democratic socialists manage to create socialism. That was the kibbutz. And after they experienced it, they chose democratically to abolish it."  In "Heaven on Earth,  the Rise and Fall of Socialism," Joshua Muravchik, Encounter Books, 2002.

 

 A Communist Confession of Faith

 

        Comprehensive planetary regime? Dictatorship of the proletariat? The promised land of Jones' "apostolic socialism?"  Muravchik's first quote which is echoed in the book title speaks of this sort of  egotistical claim.  "The Christian...imagines the better future of the human species...in the image of heavenly joy.... We, on the other hand, will have this heaven on earth." In "A Communist Confession of Faith," Moses Hess, 1846.

        Thus one may rightly conclude that socialism is a faith, a belief system and failure now, many times over. The privileges of such intellectuals is noted in "Ponerology," a study of evil, as Lobaczewski takes note of "'society pedagogues', less outstanding but more numerous, who have become fascinated by their own great ideas." Gramsci advised a century ago of winning over the public intellectuals. How better than to flatter ideas, even if proven incorrect. The great "die-off" failed to occur as predicted by one intellectual. Another promulgated global cooling, ony to switch to global warming, and now to the latest climate change vocabulary. Another rages against the failures of capitalism while ignoring the murderous failures of National Socialism , Soviet Socialism and Sino-Socialism under Mao, now just a sanitized and mythic pastel portrait by Andy Warhol. Ignoring failures became critically important to the avid socialist, after the twentieth century becomes documentable history. Why?

 

 Unnecessary

 

        "Socialism in all its forms was itself a religion of redemption. Now that its promise of a world, indeed of a humanity, transformed has been consigned to a past that we are told will never recur, let us examine its history more closely. At the very beginning of this century, the halting integration of the socialist movements in the democratic societies brought them into crisis. Were they still revolutionary, or were they reformist? Had they reluctantly concluded that their societies could not be changed fundamentally, and that benign modification were the most that they could achieve? The violent fluctuations in the business cycle of early twentieth-century capitalism, the exploitive practices of the possessing classes and their political accomplices, inflicted deprivation and misery on millions. Still, the productivity of industrial capitalism, the enormous material achievements of a nascent consumer capitalism, called into question simple views of increasing pauperization. The leaders of the very militant, but by no means revolutionary, American working class acted on assumptions that Europeans did not always articulate, but which they increasingly shared. If action in the workplace and political presence could alter the balance of class relations, a total revolution was unnecessary." In "After Progress: American Social Reform and European Socialism in the Twentieth Century," Norman Birnbaum, Oxford University Press, 2001.

        And if "a total revolution was unnecessary," then also is the dreamed of "comprehensive planetary regime" of society's latest pedagogues also unnecessary, even tyrannical in viewpoint. Yet these intellectuals "have become fascinated by their own great ideas." And they would impose them by stealth and coercion.

 

[ 10 ]  Within four years....from 2012.

        "Given such a short time period, there's not much we can say about longer-term trends. Every indication we have is that Arctic sea ice has been in a longterm decline. But there had been talk of a 'death spiral,' where the loss of thick, multi-year ice had gone past the point where it could be easily replenished, leaving little but thin ice that would melt every spring. The new work suggests that multi-year ice is more dynamic, and a single cold summer can reverse its decline. The new data at least indicates we're not in a one-way death spiral at this point. As the authors put it, 'Arctic sea ice may be more resilient than has been previously considered.' But we'll need several more years of CyroSat data before we can say whether the ice volume has been tracking the decline in the area covered by sea ice." In "One cold summer can allow a significant Arctic sea ice rebound," by John Timmer, Ars Technica, 20 July 2015.

 

 Compensation for Losses

 

        And it is reported:  "The volume of Arctic sea ice increased by around a third after an unusually cool summer in 2013. Researchers say the growth continued in 2014 and more than compensated for losses recorded in the three previous years." In "Arctic ice 'grew by a third' after cool summer in 2013," by Matt McGrath, BBC, 21 July 2015.

        A year later one reads:  "Scientists such as Professor Peter Wadhams, of Cambridge University and Prof Wieslaw Maslowski, of the Naval Postgraduate School in Moderey, California, have regularly forecast the loss of ice by 2016, which has been widely reported by the BBC and other media outlets. Prof Wadhams, who is considered a leading expert on Arctic sea ice loss, has recently published a book entitled A Farewell To Ice in which he repeats the assertion that the Arctic would free of ice in the middle of this decade. As late as this summer he was still predicting an ice-free September. Yet when figures were released for the yearly minimum on September 10, they showed that there was still 1.6 million square miles of sea ice (4.14 square kilometres), which was 21 per cent more than the lowest point in 2012." In "Experts said Arctic sea ice would melt entirely by September 2016 - they were wrong," by Sarah Knapton, Telegraph UK, 7 October 2016.

        These intellectuals still adhere to the UN-sponsored models, claiming that though wrong over a few years they will be correct over longer spans of time. Prognostication of this short which cannot be tested is not hard science but rather untestable hypothesis. Yet the hypothesis about 2016 has been tested, and found wanting.

        Knapton observes:  "It is the latest example of experts making alarming predictions which do not come to pass. Earlier this week environmentalists were accused of misleading the public about the ‘Great Pacific Garbage Patch’ after aerial shots proved there was no ‘island of rubbish’ in the middle of the ocean. Likewise, warnings that the hole in the ozone layer would never close were debunked in June."

        The privilege of an intellectual declared:  "This collapse, I predicted would occur in 2015-16 at which time the summer Arctic (August to September) would become ice-free." Consider this "collapse" as a part of a larger tapestry, which inspired the rhyme:  Globaloney - sung to the children's tune, "Baa, baa black sheep."


 

Dissent

''Dissent is the highest form of patriotism.'' Attributed to Nadine Strossen, 1991.

Dissent is great when you're in charge, but when I am, my countercharge
Is that dissent is harsh and mean, and to dissent means to demean.
            Dissent is fine when you're the boss,
            But when I am, you're the albatross
            That brings out the worst in all
            And causes each and every brawl.
                        I'll rightly dissent to win the day, and batter you with dissent's display,
                        But once I've won, such protests must be put aside, even chained and trussed.
            Dissent is left to those outside,
            When I have won and lead with pride,
            And when I've won, dissent then fails
            To sway my views with protest's wails.
Shall we agree to disagree? I say - only when you lead someday.
But when I'm on top with puffed up chest, dissent must surely be repressed.

 

Envoi:     "The fourth devoted most of his speech to a defense of the Russian purges. Of the speeches from the body of the hall, some reverted to the question of obscenity and the laws that deal with it, others were simply eulogies of Soviet Russia. Moral liberty — the liberty to discuss sex questions frankly in print — seemed to be generally approved, but political liberty was not mentioned. Out of this concourse of several hundred people, perhaps half of whom were directly connected with the writing trade, there was not a single one who could point out that freedom of the press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose." In "The Prevention of Literature," by George Orwell, Polemic, No. 2., London, 1946   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Ignoring the Vox Populi Outside:   " 'Allowing demonstrations directed at the Court, on the Court’s own front terrace, would tend to yield the opposite impression: that of a Court engaged with — and potentially vulnerable to — outside entreaties by the public,' wrote U.S. Circuit Judge Sri Srinivasan, who argued often before the court as a lawyer and is sometimes mentioned as a future ­Supreme Court justice." In "Protesters have no free-speech rights on Supreme Court’s front porch," by Robert Barnes, Washington Post, 28 August 2015.

 

Addendum of Saudis Crushing Dissent:   "Riyadh, Washington's main Gulf ally, does not allow protests, political parties and trade unions. Most power is wielded by senior members of the ruling family and clerics of the ultra-conservative Wahhabi school of Sunni Islam. The case has drawn attention from international rights groups, which accuse the conservative Islamic kingdom of using its campaign against religious militants to stomp on political dissent." In "Saudi Arabia jails two prominent rights activists for 10 years," by Angus McDowall, Reuters, 9 March 2013     [ 2 ]

 

Another Addendum of Saudis Crushing Dissent:   Raif Badawi, co-founder of the 'Saudi Arabian Liberals' website, was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a fine of 1 million Saudi riyals (about US$266,631) by Jeddah’s Criminal Court. 'The decision to sentence Raif Badawi to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes is outrageous. He is a prisoner of conscience who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression. The authorities must overturn his conviction and release him immediately and unconditionally,' said Philip Luther, Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International. 'Raif Badawi is the latest victim to fall prey to the ruthless campaign to silence peaceful activists in Saudi Arabia'." In "A thousand lashes and 10 years in prison for online Saudi Arabian activist," Amnesty International, 7 May 2014.

 

Addendum of Cuban Ossification:   "Dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez on Saturday told newspaper publishers from around the Western Hemisphere that 'nothing is changing' in Cuba’s ossified political system and that “the situation of press freedom in my country is calamitous." In "Cubans evade censorship by exchanging computer memory sticks, blogger says," By Tim Johnson, McClatchy, 9 March 2013.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Daring to Disobey or Insult the Kuwaiti Ruler:   "A court in Kuwait on Monday sentenced a prominent opposition politician to five years in prison for insulting the country’s ruler, a crime that leaders around the Persian Gulf are prosecuting with increasing frequency in an effort to stanch emboldened protest movements, or stop protests before they start. In the last six months, dissidents in Qatar and Saudi Arabia have been imprisoned on charges that included either insulting or disobeying the countries’ leaders." In "Kuwait Gives 5-Year Term to Dissenter," by Kareem Fahim, New York Times, 15 April 2013.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of a Shortage of Venezuelan News:  "Government officials acknowledge that printing paper shortages exist. But they say that there is no plot to starve newspapers of printing paper, arguing that due to the country's economic problems, it is impossible for the government to quickly grant requests for U.S. dollars to all media companies. But activists say there are reasons to believe that the government is cracking down on critical voices, and using exchange controls to suppress  freedom of speech. Since 2007, Venezuela has shut down more than 30 radio stations, claiming that they did not fulfill legal requirements. Many of these radio stations aired programs critical of the Venezuelan government." In "Venezuela Newspapers Await Emergency Shipment of Paper from Colombia," by Manuel Rueda, Fusion, 4 April 2014.

 

Addendum of Revolutionary Silencing of the Opposition:   "In January, Correa seized the assets of Fundamedios, an NGO established to promote freedom of the press in the country. That move led to widespread criticism from human rights advocates, who considered it the first step in a more extensive action to silence opposition. 'Since President Rafael Correa took office in 2007, sweeping changes in laws, government policies, and new and proposed regulations have turned Ecuador into one of the region's most restrictive nations for the press,' the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in response to the seizure. In addition to public moves to silence the media, several investigative journalists in Ecuador investigating the Correa government reported receiving death threats either directly or through their family. Janet Hinostroza, a former television host in the country, told the Associated Press in December that she resigned after a string of threats came her way for criticizing the Correa government. 'The president has viewed the press as the enemy from the moment he took office. He considers us his only enemy because there is no political opposition,' she said. In "Ecuador Seeks to Control Opposition Media by Designating Press a 'Public Service'," by Frances Martel, Breitbart, 21 June 2014.

 

Addendum of China's Strict Rules on Dissent:   Thus, among China's rules and regulations for the Internet are typical prohibitions against 'divulging state secrets' and 'subverting state power' as well as more unique bans on 'damaging state honor,' 'propagating heretical or superstitious ideas,' 'spreading rumors [and] disrupting social order and stability.' These rules were lumped into the category of 'internet security,' equating these actions to hacking and other forms of cyber crime." In "China's 'Sovereign Internet'," by Shannon Tiezzi, The Diplomat, 24 June 2014.

 

Addendum of China's Next Step Against Dissent:   "China operates one of the world's most sophisticated online censorship mechanisms, known as the Great Firewall. Censors keep a grip on what can be published online, particularly content seen as potentially undermining the ruling Communist Party." In "China censorship sweep deletes more than 60,000 Internet accounts," Reuters, 27 February 2015.

 

 Addendum of the Heroism of Treasonous Dissent:   "Sophia Magdalena Scholl (9 May 1921 – 22 February 1943) was a German student and revolutionary, active within the White Rose non-violent resistance group in Nazi Germany. She was convicted of high treason after having been found distributing anti-war leaflets at the University of Munich with her brother Hans. As a result, they were both executed by guillotine. Since the 1970s, Scholl has been celebrated as one of the great German heroes who actively opposed the Third Reich during the Second World War." In "Sophie Scholl," Wikipedia. n. d.    [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of Proceeding at Your Own Risk:  "The government's chilling message has gone out across America: Dissent if you must, but proceed at your own risk." American Civil Liberties Union.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of an Army Field Manual:   "There is no news media in the U.S. if this manual is authentic, and so far there is no reason to believe it is not. Posted at Global Security (not to be confused with Global Research, the site given to occasional poorly substantiated conspiracies.) Global Security is a reputable site of military and former military policy wonks. The manual is a how-to for the Army in case of mass internments resulting from unstated causes. 'Political activists' and 'malcontents' are among the enemy. The 'Internment/Resettlement Operations" field manual title page is dated February 2010." In "More Treason: Internment Field Manual Instructs 'Identify Political Activists' for 'Indoctrination'," by Ralph Lopez, DailyKos, 4 May 2012.   [ 7 ]

 

Addendum of Silencing to Control:   "In an email dated October 4, 2011, Attorney General Holder’s top press aide, Tracy Schmaler, called Attkisson 'out of control.' Schmaler told White House Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz that he intended to call CBS news anchor Bob Schieffer to get the network to stop Attkisson. Schultz replied, 'Good. Her piece was really bad for the AG.' Schultz also told Schmaler that he was working with reporter Susan Davis, then at the National Journal, to target Rep. Darrel Issa (R-CA). Issa led the House investigation into Fast and Furious. Davis now works at USA Today. In the email chain, Schultz tells Schmaler that he would provide Davis with 'leaks.' Davis wrote a critical piece on Issa a few weeks later." In "Bombshell: Email Proves that White House, DOJ Targeted Reporter Sharyl Attkisson." by Bryan Preston, PJMedia, 20 November 2014.   [ 8 ]

 

Addendum of Vietnamese Dissent:   "Scores of activists are imprisoned in Vietnam on charges relating to freedom of expression, and others complain of intimidation and violence. Human Rights Watch says that the number of people sentenced in political trials in Vietnam has increased every year since 2010, and that at least 63 people were imprisoned for peaceful political expression last year. Vietnam's government has gradually opened up its economy to foreign investors and overseen a dramatic improvement in living standards over the last 20 years, but it remains a one-party state that doesn't allow basic political freedoms." In "US criticizes Vietnam convictions of dissidents," Associated Press, 26 August 2014.

 

Addendum of Jail for Royal Defamation:  "A Thai radio show host has been jailed for five years for royal defamation, his lawyer said Tuesday, one of the first sentences passed by a military court for breaching the draconian law since a May coup." In "Thai radio host jailed for five years for royal defamation," Agence France Presse, 18 November 2014.

 

Addendum of Jail for Turkish Dissent:   "At least 24 people were arrested in police raids on a leading newspaper and TV station said to have close links with a US-based cleric." In "Turkey media arrests: Mogherini leads EU criticism," BBC, 14 December 2014.   [ 9 ]

 

Addendum on Cuban Dissent and 'Engagement':   "...the Castro regime has been left free to continue stifling dissent, while reaping the economic and political benefits of Mr. Obama’s 'engagement.' Raúl Castro declared in a speech shortly after the agreement was announced that the Communist political system would remain unchanged. Two weeks later, not one of the 53 political prisoners the White House said would be freed — about half of the total identified by human rights activists — has been reported released. Instead, Cubans who seek basic freedoms continue to be arrested, harassed and silenced, while the regime celebrates what it portrays as 'victory' over the United States. If support for the Cuban people and American values is supposed to be the point of this process, then it is off to a very poor start." In "With no consequences in sight, Cuba continues to crack down on free speech," Editorial Board, Washington Post, 1 January 2015.   [ 10 ]

 

Addendum of Defaming the Tunisian Military:    "A Tunisian military appeals court jailed blogger Yassine Ayari for six months Tuesday for defaming the army, halving the previous sentence but failing to satisfy critics. Chants of 'Down with the military judge' rang out from the public gallery as the sentence was read out. Ayari was prosecuted over blogs he had written alleging financial abuses by army officers and defence ministry officials in a case Human Rights Watch described as 'not worthy of the new Tunisia'." In "Tunisia blogger gets 6 months for defaming army," Agence France Presse, 3 March 2015.   [ 11 ]

 

Addendum on Diagnosing and Treating the Disease of Dissent:    "In an earlier dark age, authoritarian monarchies partnered with authoritarian religious institutions. When the world exited from this dark age and entered the Enlightenment, there was a burst of energy. Much of this revitalization had to do with risking skepticism about authoritarian and corrupt institutions and regaining confidence in one’s own mind. We are now in another dark age, only the institutions have changed. Americans desperately need anti-authoritarians to question, challenge, and resist new illegitimate authorities and regain confidence in their own common sense." In "Why Anti-Authoritarians are Diagnosed as Mentally Ill," by Bruce Levine, Mad in America, 26 February 2012.     [ 12 ]

 

Addendum of Zimbabwean Jailing:   "The attorney for a Zimbabwe journalist says his client was convicted of publishing a newspaper in a southern town without government permission and sentenced to eight months in prison. Several newspapers and radio stations have already been closed under Zimbabwe's harsh media laws and dozens of journalists have been arrested over the past 15 years." In "Journalist jailed in Zimbabwe for starting newspaper," Associated Press, 26 June 2015.

 

Addendum of Cuban Human Rights Day Celebrations:  "Amnesty International on Thursday said that the risk of harassment and arrests of Cuban activists on Human Rights Day amid a wave of nearly 1,500 recent arbitrary arrests on the island is a 'systemic problem'." In "More than 100 arrests in Cuba on U.N. Human Rights Day," EFE, Fox Latino, 11 December 2015.   [ 13 ]

 

Addendum of Seeking Life Imprisonment:   "Cumhuriyet reported Wednesday that the prosecutors accuse the pair of revealing state secrets for espionage purposes, of attempting to overthrow the government and of aiding a terrorist organization. The May report implicated President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and the head of the country's MIT intelligence agency, Hakan Fidan, in covering up Turkey's role in the Syrian conflict after a truck carrying weapons was stopped by gendarmerie near the border in January 2014. The truck was ultimately allowed to proceed after MIT intervened." In "Turkish prosecutors seek life in prison for two journalists for Syria weapons story," Deutsche Welle, 27 January 2016.

 

Addendum of One Among Many Kuwait Dissenters:   "Fares was arrested in September 2015 for comments under the name 'Gibrit Seyassi' about Kuwait’s emir and ruler, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad Al Sabah, 'offending the judiciary' and 'accusing the attorney general and public prosecution of being biased'. Fares said at his trial he had been beaten and threatened into a confession, according to a statement by the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI).' In "Kuwaiti to spend 10 years in jail for 'insulting emir' on Twitter#HumanRights," Middle East Eye, 1 December 2016.

    

See:    Dizzy Dent   and also  Sir Veiled Lance 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   "There must be renewed recognition that societies are kept stable and healthy by reform, not by thought police; this means there must be free play for so-called subversive ideas - every idea subverts the old to make way for the new. To shut off subversion is to shut off peaceful progress and to invite revolution and war." In "I. F. Stone's Weekly," (15 March 1954).

 

 Reflecting That Power Is In Power

 

         There is today a notable and sometimes humorous confusion over dissent:  "In the middle of all this patent nonsense, Jarrett blurted out the truly bizarre notion that 'what the administration has said very clearly is that we're going to speak truth to power'. Poor plucky little Barack Obama, United States commander-in-chief and leader of the Free World taking on Goliath. They may still act as if the election campaign is still on but it might be a good idea for Jarrett and Co to reflect that they are power. As David Zurawik notes: 'such a phrase from our collective past that has real resonance because it was once loaded with such integrity, moral authority and wisdom when first uttered, is cheapened when used in such a blatantly and inappropriate political context'." In "White House says it's 'speaking truth to power' over Fox News," by Toby Harnden, Telegraph UK, 28 October 2009."

          And yet four years later, the new "power" as represented by the astoundingly odd interview with Jarrett proves that power acts as power always and ever has. "Poor plucky little Obama" indeed.  See:  Suspected of no crime  .

 

[ 2 ]   While reporting wants to paint the Saudi elite as "ultra-conservative," a better adjective would be simply "totalitarian." The descriptive accuracy of liberal and conservative have gone the way of  Left and Right  .

 

 Power Clamping Down

 

          One reads further of a totalitarian government:  "In a string of royal decrees and an overarching new piece of legislation to deal with terrorism generally, the Saudi King Abdullah has clamped down on all forms of political dissent and protests that could 'harm public order'." In "Saudi Arabia declares all atheists are terrorists in new law to crack down on political dissidents," by Adam Withnall, Independent UK, 1 April 2014.

          In further news of this totalitarian state, one reads of more crackdowns on dissent:   "A court in Saudi Arabia has sentenced the editor of an Internet forum he founded to discuss the role of religion in the conservative Islamic kingdom to 10 years in jail and 1,000 lashes, Saudi media reported on Wednesday." In "'Saudi Liberals' website founder sentenced to 10 years jail, thousand lashes," by Sami Aboudi, Reuters, 7 May 2014.

          The Left-Right model no longer functions when an "ultra-conservative" ideology -- religious and monarchical -- is paired with the National Socialists -- who declared We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party -- while one learns in fact as in practice that Left is Right, as Right is Left

          Dissent against Left as against Right and against Liberal as against Conservative is still dissent. Those who stifle dissent -- irrespective of political labels of such dull power to define -- are simply totalitarian, authoritarian and in the end fearful of even the single voice of dissent. Peaceful dissent threatens the brutish thug, whatever the label might say.

 

 Forbidding Dissent by Spilling Blood

 

          The subject is larger than just Saudi Arabian monarchs and Wahhabi Islam. One reads:  "If the people of this religion are asked about the proof for the soundness of their religion, they flare up, get angry and spill the blood of whoever confronts them with this question. They forbid rational speculation, and strive to kill their adversaries. This is why truth became thoroughly silenced and concealed." Quote of Muhammad ibn Zakariya al-Razi, in "My Leaving Was Not the Effect of a Single Cause," Ex-Muslims of North America, 29 October 2013. 

          This Persian philosopher (ca. 854 C.E. –ca. 930 C.E.) noted the same rage against dissent as one sees over a thousand years later. Thus one sees a regression, or at least no progress, in Islam's relationship to dissent.

          One reads further:  "In examining this chapter of Islamic history, regardless of the validity or otherwise of the views expressed, one cannot help feel amazed at the fact that the Islamic thinkers of the 10th century had the freedom to discuss and publish their 'unorthodox' ideas, while the Islamic world now cannot, or will not, deal with any form of intellectual dissent. It might be reasonable to suggest then that the problem of Islam does not lie in inherited texts and traditions, but in interpretation. The Islamic heritage, like its Christian counterpart, is made up of a huge body of commentaries and interpretations that were produced in various periods of history to address problems specific to their age. We need to remember that the Christian scriptures have not changed since the middle ages. It was in the name of these very texts that innumerable so-called heretics were burnt at the stake." In "When Islamic atheism thrived," by Amira Nowaira, Guardian UK, 10 May 2010.

 

 Forbidding Insults to Kings and Emirs

 

          Thus, Saudi Arabia's continuing crackdown on dissent has a long genealogy, until now. And of now: "Saudi Arabia on Sunday sentenced to 15 years in jail a prominent rights lawyer described by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, relatives said in statement posted on Twitter. The tweet said that Waleed Abulkhair, who has had many run-ins with the authorities over his activism and for allegedly insulting authorities, was also banned from travelling abroad for 15 years and fined 200,000 riyals (around $54,000)." In "Saudi jails rights activist for 15 years: relatives," Agence France Presse, 6 July 2014.

          It is further and more frequently noted as the years pass that Islam stands against press freedoms, and therefore against free expression. One reads: "As a terrorist attack on a satirical magazine in Paris illuminates the issue of press freedom, media in most of the Arab world are still shackled and can be brutally punished for 'blasphemy' by their governments. Even after the promise of new freedoms during the Arab Spring movement, all countries in the region are regarded as having press freedom situations that are 'difficult' or 'very serious,' according to Reporters Without Borders. Research released last spring from the Pew Research Center found that laws restricting apostasy and blasphemy are most common in the Middle East and North Africa, where 14 of the 20 countries criminalize blasphemy, and in 12 apostasy is a crime. Penalties range from fines to death." In "Beyond Charlie Hebdo: 'Blasphemy' penalized by Arab governments," by Andrew V. Pastano, United Press International, 9 January 2015.

          Protest too is "penalized" by death.  One reads:  "...Abdullah ah-Zaher, who attended the protest four years ago was put on death row as part of a crackdown on political dissent. The 19-year-old has been moved to solitary confinement and could be beheaded at any moment." In "Saudi Arabia orders execution of teenager for attending a PROTEST," by Laura Mowat, Express UK, 17 December 2015.

 

[ 3 ]   "Cubans who criticize the government are subject to criminal charges. They are exempt from due process guarantees, such as the right to a defense or fair and public hearings by a competent, independent, and impartial tribunal. In practice, courts are 'subordinated' to the executive and legislative branches, denying meaningful judicial protection. Dozens of political prisoners remain in Cuban prisons, according to respected human rights groups on the island. In June 2011 the Cuban Council of Human Rights Rapporteurs issued a list of 43 prisoners whom it said were still incarcerated for political reasons.... Prisoners who criticize the government, refuse to undergo ideological "reeducation," or engage in hunger strikes and other protests are often subjected to extended solitary confinement, beatings, and visit restrictions, and denied medical care. Prisoners have no effective complaint mechanism to seek redress, giving prison authorities total impunity." In "World Report 2012: Cuba," Human Rights Watch, World Report 2011.

 

 Cracking Down on Dissent

 

          The Cuban socialist revolution continues:  "...dozens of police moved in and surrounded the large crowd of marchers two blocks from the church after they headed toward the sea instead of along their usual route on Miramar's Quinta Avenida. 'The Ladies in White are growing and increasing their base in society... and this is really dangerous for (the government's) legitimacy. That's why they are cracking down so hard,' said dissident Manuel Cuesta Morua. Award-winning fellow dissident Guillermo Farinas agreed. 'I think the Cuban government is pulling out all the stops to keep the Ladies in White from growing. That explains so many arrests on Sunday,' added Farinas, the 2010 European Parliament's Sakharov Prize winner." In "Cuba cracks down, arrests 100 women dissidents," by Francisco Jara, Agence France Presse, 13 July 2014.

          More from a human rights group:  "Durante el recién concluido mes de septiembre de 2014, la CCDHRN pudo confirmar al menos 411 detenciones arbitrarias por motivos políticos, con lo cual continúa manifestándose la tendencia a la disminución de este tipo de acciones represivas, observada en los últimos cuatro meses." In "Algunos actos de represion politica en al mes de Septiembre de 2014," Comision Cubana de Derechos Humanos y Reconcilacion Nacional," September 2014.

          How the media game is played is easily observed. Over the last years as noted by dates of various news reports, dissenters are targeted, arrested released, and then "repeat fro the beginning," quite a da capo form if it were music. This small survey of how a government deals with dissent covers a number of years.

 

 Castro's Thin-Skinned Socialism

 

          And so, as with past years, one reads again:  "Cuban dissidents say that more than 100 anti-government activists have been arrested and they are awaiting word Monday on how many have been released. Berta Soler, leaders of the group Ladies in White, said that 53 members of her group and 36 other dissidents were arrested Sunday during the group's traditional march through Havana after Sunday Mass. Elizardo Sanchez, head Cuban Commission for Human Rights and National Reconciliation, one of the country's largest human rights groups, said that between 150 and 200 dissidents had been arrested across the country Sunday." In "Dissidents say as many as 200 arrested in Cuba," Associated Press, 23 February 2015.

          And again:  "Cuba’s political police have arrested 163 people for protesting to demand the release of jailed Cuban dissidents, as well as Venezuelan political prisoners Leopoldo López and Antonio Ledezma. A crackdown on Sunday saw 70 people detained in Havana, with the remaining 93 rounded up in the eastern province of Santiago de Cuba. The majority of those arrested are members of dissident groupings the Patriotic Union of Cuba (Unpacu), Ladies in White, and Citizens for Democracy." In "Cubans Protest Venezuelan Political Imprisonment, 163 Get Arrested," by Belén Marty, PanAmPost, 25 May 2015.

          For more on Cuba's socialist revolution which so dislikes political dissent, please see Socialism's Last Hurrah  - not democracy in any town.

          This observation is not limited to Cuba's socialist revolution (which no longer revolves) but with altogether too many governments, for the nature of governance itself seems to resist criticism by "force of law." This is of course one of the many flavors for those with a taste for the Totalitarian  .

 

[ 4 ]   "Since October, more than 35 other people have been charged with insulting the emir, with at least six people, including three former opposition legislators, convicted on the same charge." In "Kuwait cracks down on political dissent," by Jean Shaoul, World Socialist Web Site, 20 April 2013.

 

[ 5 ]   "On 22 February 1943, Scholl, her brother Hans, and their friend Christoph Probst were found guilty of treason and condemned to death. They were all beheaded by a guillotine by executioner Johann Reichhart in Munich's Stadelheim Prison only a few hours later, at 17:00 hrs. The execution was supervised by Walter Roemer, the enforcement chief of the Munich district court. Prison officials, in later describing the scene, emphasized the courage with which she walked to her execution. Her last words were: "How can we expect righteousness to prevail when there is hardly anyone willing to give himself up individually to a righteous cause. Such a fine, sunny day, and I have to go, but what does my death matter, if through us, thousands of people are awakened and stirred to action?"

 

[ 6 ]  "Inexorably we are moving toward a state in which political dissent is regulated entirely by the government, confined to only those places, times, and nature dictated by the government, and enforced by law—rather than, as the First Amendment prescribes, prohibited by the Constitution. Over time, of course, as more statutes are enacted and regulations formulated, they will—if upheld by the courts—further increase in number and breadth, with the space in which dissent can operate correspondingly narrowed in scope, substance, and effect. At that point, while many will no doubt privately lament the evaporation of First Amendment protection, and fewer will rue not speaking out sooner to preserve those lost freedoms, almost no one will have the courage to dissent in an environment barren of legal tolerance for it." In "The Evaporation of American Political Dissent," by Josh Dratel, Guernica - a Magazine of Art & Politics, 22 May 2012.

          For this. please see:  The  funniest thing  - a meditation on Emma Goldman.

 

 The Dictatorial Oppression of All Dissent

 

          While the ACLU identifies dissent against government becoming a "risk" one an arts and politics magazine foreseeing the same risk. But silencing of dissent comes from many quarters. One also reads:  " This is fascism. The 'principle of dictatorial oppression of all dissenters.' Every single person on the list above has, in his or her own life — American lives one and all — been made a target of what is in fact the New Fascism. The direct intent of their opponents — whether groups like Color of Change or GLAAD or CAIR or CredoMobilize is not to disagree or debate. It isn’t to convince. It is about, in Von Mises’s words, 'the dictatorial oppression of all dissenters'." In "The New American Fascism," by Jeffrey Lord, American Spectator, 22 April 2014.

          Stepping away from the blinding viewpoint of a supposed Left and Right ,  the act of trying to silence dissent identifies the dictator, large or small, potential or active, whether in a family, an association, a nation or a world.

 

[ 7 ]    Given statements from the US government that potential terrorist might be in the US, the DailyKos worry as applicable to Americans is accurate. From the manual, under the section titled Psychological operations, one finds "2-46. Psychological operations (PSYOP) are not part of the I/R structure; however, the PSYOP officer in charge (OIC) of the EPWICI PSYOP team supporting I/R operations serves as the special staff officer responsible for PSYOP. The PSYOP officer advises the MP commander on the psychological impact of actions to prevent misunderstandings and disturbances by EPWs and CIS. The EPW/CI PSYOP team...." [in part] "Identifies malcontents, trained agitators, and political officers within the facility who may try to organize a resistance or create a disturbance." [and] "Recognizes political activists."

 

 Government Suspects You as a Threat

 

          One reads from a few years ago: "Are you on some government list as a possible 'domestic terrorist' suspect because you have exercised your First Amendment right to express opposition to a government program or a proposed piece of legislation? Have you, like millions of your fellow Americans, expressed outrage over the trillions of dollars being poured into the unending series of government bailouts? Are you concerned about the escalating violence in Mexico and upset over the refusal of our government to secure our border and stop the continuing deluge of illegal aliens entering our country? Do you support the Second Amendment and oppose the prohibition, restriction, and confiscation of privately owned firearms and ammunition? Do you criticize and/or oppose the United Nations? Does your automobile sport any politically incorrect bumper stickers? If you answer yes to any of these questions, you already may have been singled out as an "antigovernment" terrorist suspect. A report issued on February 20 by the Missouri Information and Analysis Center (MIAC), a branch of the state's Highway Patrol, tells law-enforcement personnel that these indicators are characteristic of 'right-wing extremists' and 'militia members' whose 'mindset' poses a 'threat to law enforcement.' The eight-page MIAC report entitled 'The Modern Militia Movement' is very dangerous; it erroneously conflates law-abiding citizens and their principled concerns with violent racists and terrorists. As a result, citizens may be harassed, have their rights violated, and even have their lives endangered because law-enforcement officers have been wrongly advised that these innocent actions and expressions are actually marks of dangerous and aggressive individuals." In " Do You Fit the Terrorist Profile?" by William F. Jasper, New American, 27 March 2009.

 

 Government Power Prone to Abuse and Error

 

          A more current expression of concern is found:  "Jeremy Scahill and Ryan Deveraux, over at The Intercept have a giant scoop: the full 166-page guidebook that US law enforcement uses to declare someone a terrorist who deserves to be on one of its various watchlists from the no-fly list to the 'terrorist screening database.' We've had plenty of stories about the no fly list and the TSDB, and the ridiculous lengths that the US government has gone to to keep anyone from knowing if or why they're in any of these databases -- leading to a series of lawsuits from individuals who were put on that list under very questionable circumstances. We were happy last month to see that the process for getting off of these watchlists was declared unconstitutional, but the lawsuits over these watchlists suggest that they are prone to abuse and error. We were particularly disturbed to find out in a recent lawsuit that the US government actually has a secret exception to reasonable suspicion for putting people on the list." In "The Intercept Reveals The US Government's Guidebook For Declaring You're A Terrorist Or Putting You On The No Fly List," by Mike Masnick, TechDirt, 24 July 2014.

          The article with links adds:  "The document released by The Intercept is quite revealing, and shows that President Obama has massively expanded the criteria for getting people onto the list. In fact, as the report notes, the President 'quietly approved' an expansion 'authorizing a secret process that requires neither 'concrete facts' nor 'irrefutable evidence' to designate an American or foreigner as a terrorist.' The new guidelines allow individuals to be designated as representatives of terror organizations without any evidence they are actually connected to such organizations, and it gives a single White House official the unilateral authority to place 'entire categories' of people the government is tracking onto the no fly and selectee lists. It broadens the authority of government officials to 'nominate' people to the watchlists based on what is vaguely described as 'fragmentary information.' It also allows for dead people to be watchlisted. As you might imagine, given all the stories about people being put on various watchlists even though they're clearly not terrorists, the guidelines are crazy expansive...."

          That an overzealous individual in government may act against political dissent is not a supposition, as history has proved. What is interesting to note is that people ostensibly identified as right politically and left politically are both concerned.

          In a manual titled "Civil Disturbances," April 2014, Army Techniques Publication No. 3-39.33, distinction is made between the "Continental United States Versus Outside the Continental United States" but the manual addresses actions of United States military forces operating inside the United States against its own citizenry. One reads, "2-4. For the U.S. Army, conducting civil disturbance missions within the United States. will vary greatly when compared to conducting civil disturbance missions within a foreign country where the U.S. Army is conducting operations."

 

[ 8 ]    In this case as in so many others, one sees abuse by party affiliation in the game of Politics . Leaks are allowed to target some political enemies, while the use of contacts outside government itself are used to silence dissent. Leaks to others are viewed as disloyalty and worthy of attack.  In this case, Democrats targeted critics, though all parties have done this. Such has become the nature of government. For this reason, I shall not join the party , while too many partisans are wholly selective in their dissent, as they speak truth to power, but only occasionally.

 

 Prosecuting Whistleblowers

 

          The ardent apologist for a particular party will complain. But one finds dissent stirring in some media:  "His administration has aggressively prosecuted whistleblowers under the 1917 Espionage Act, bringing six cases against employees for leaks compared with only three known previous cases. Among them, the government has been trying to force New York Times reporter James Risen to testify about his sources involving a failed CIA effort to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program." In "Obama administration targets reporters in crackdown on leaks," by Anita Kumar, McClatchy Washington Bureau, 23 May 2013.

           In a similar vein, a well-reputed journalist notes:  "American investigative journalism has historically ebbed and flowed. It evolved from revolutionary-era pamphleteers, who harassed both the British and the founding fathers, to early 20th-century muckrakers, whose newspaper, magazine and book exposés of exploitative business monopolies and government corruption helped spur Teddy Roosevelt’s trust-busting, the creation of the Food and Drug Administration and the popular election of the Senate. Investigative journalism went into hibernation during the two world wars, the Great Depression and the suppression of dissent in the McCarthy era. But beginning in the 1960s, it gradually revived amid the upheaval of the civil rights, counterculture and anti-Vietnam War movements." In "Forty years after Watergate, investigative journalism is at risk," by Leonard Downie, Jr., Washington Post, 7 June 2012.

 

 Prosecuting Media Leaks

 

          Of Downie, another writes: "Downie in recent months spoke with journalists, government transparency advocates and current and former government officials. In the report, Downie examined a range of Obama administration tactics that hinder government transparency. These include unprecedented use of the Espionage Act in prosecuting media leaks, classifying government documents as secret when no harm could come from their release, increased government surveillance that jeopardizes the safety of news sources, Freedom of Information Act violations, and White House-produced content that can't substitute for independent, accountability journalism. Committee to Protect Journalists chairman Sandra Mims Rowe and executive director Joel Simon sent the report to Obama, along with a letter expressing concerns over a pattern of administration actions 'that impedes the flow of information on issues of great public interest and thwarts the free and open discussion necessary to a democracy'." In "Obama Administration Has Gone To Unprecedented Lengths To Thwart Journalists, Report Finds," by Michael Calderone, Huffington Post, 10 October 2013.

 

 Praise for the Leaky Leviathan

 

          One reads the conclusion of a law journal article:   "The great secret about the U.S. government’s notorious leakiness is that it is a highly adaptive mechanism of information control, which has been refined through a nuanced system of social norms. The great secret about the laws against leaking is that they have never been used in a manner designed to stop leaking — and that their implementation threatens not just gauzy democratic ideals but practical bureaucratic imperatives, not just individual whistleblowers but the institution of the presidency. A delicate web of constraints has accommodated the competing objectives of many powerful actors with respect to leaks. If unauthorized disclosures were ever to be systematically suppressed, it would jeopardize so much more, and so much less, than First Amendment principles. And thus we may find that the 'war' against leaking yields once again to monotonous and ineffectual critique." In "The leaky leviathan: Why the government condemns and condones unauthorized disclosures of information," by David E. Pozen, Harvard Law Review, 127, 20 December 2013.

          Thus one sees that government is selective in its application of whatever it states justice is, as it "condemns and condones unauthorized disclosures...." Those who cheer this selective application on when their party is in power by dissent when an opposing party is in power show their allegiance to party and power trumps their allegiance to justice and freedom for all. Against such a political stance, dissent is correct. It is also dangerous.

 

[ 9 ]     The BBC writes of "eroding democracy" by such suppression of dissent: "Turkey already ranks 154th of 180 in the press freedom index compiled by Reporters without Borders. Human rights organisations raise concerns that freedom of expression is under attack in a country seeking EU membership. But the Turkish government says it's a conspiracy against a country that won't toe the West's line. It talks of the "enemy within" which must be eradicated. Today's move will fuel international concerns of an eroding democracy here."

 

 Suppressing Dissent to Erode Democracy

 

          This is echoed in the Turkish press:  "The Zaman daily and the Samanyolu television station are among the media outlets which have been critical of the government for alleged corruption since two major graft probes went public in December of last year. The police operation came just ahead of the first anniversary of graft probes on Dec. 17 and 25 of last year." In "Black Sunday: The day Turkey detained its prominent journalists," Today's Zaman, 14 December 2014.

          The trend continues:  "Turkish police on Friday detained three people accused of insulting President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and other top officials on Twitter, after raiding their homes." In "Turkey arrests 3 in raids over Erdogan Twitter insults," Agence France Press, 13 March 2015.

          And continues:  "More than 70 people in Turkey have been prosecuted for 'insulting' Erdoğan since he was elected president in August 2014. Cumhuriyet Editor-in-Chief Can Dündar testified in Istanbul on Feb. 26 over allegations that he insulted the head of state in an interview with a prosecutor who had been investigating corruption, describing the process as a 'kind of deterrence policy'." In "Turkish cartoonists sentenced to jail for insulting Erdoğan," by Ayşegül Usta, Hurriyet Daily News, 25 March 2015.

          One may well conclude that suppression of dissenting political opposition is a worldwide phenomenon, designed to protect the corrupt. Consider:   Corruption has a middle name .

          But it is more, as the elite in many nations show themselves truly thin-skinned.

 

[ 10 ]   At the beginning of the Washington Post's editorial, one reads:   " 'Censorship was revealed.' The incident should have been an embarrassment to Mr. Obama, who said that he decided to restore normal relations with Cuba in order to 'do more to support the Cuban people and promote our values.' But the administration shrugged off the crackdown. On Wednesday, the State Department issued a statement saying it was 'deeply concerned,' the same words it uses to describe human rights violations in China, Vietnam and other countries where the United States has no leverage and plans no action. Talks on the opening of embassies will go forward."

 

 Seeking Repressive Machinery

 

          Shrugging off jailing based solely on political dissent marks the administration as clearly not against such incarceration, and marks the current Democrat administration as less than democratic. One reads:  "As the United States relaxes its economic stranglehold of Cuba, Labrada said, groups like hers are likely to suffer. 'The repressive machinery will get stronger against the Ladies in White and against human rights activists,' she said. 'To the degree that President (Barack) Obama lifts the embargo, they (state agents) will have more resources to repress us'." In "Cuban dissidents fear thaw with U.S. 'beneficial to the tyranny'," by Tim Johnson, McClatchy, 22 December 2014.

          Moreover, it remains true of the Castros' state socialism:   "Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent. In 2012, the government of Raúl Castro continued to enforce political conformity using short-term detentions, beatings, public acts of repudiation, travel restrictions, and forced exile." In World Report 2013, Human Rights Watch.

 

 Cracking Down on Criticism of Government

 

          Human Rights Watch further states:  "The detentions are often used preemptively to prevent individuals from participating in events viewed as critical of the government, such as peaceful marches or meetings to discuss politics. Many dissidents are subjected to beatings and threats as they are detained, even though they do not try to resist."

          How easily a willing government in power moves from suppressing dissent to becoming Totalitarian . This is what political power seeks, has sought and will in the future. It is also the ultimate downfall of governments, as notions of individual freedom sweep the world and express themselves as basic political dissent.

 

[ 11 ]    The trend in Tunisia continues:  "An offence against the president is punishable by three years in prison, misrepresentation of identities by two years and fraud by five years. Human rights lawyer Ghazi Mrabet criticised the political class for not having done away with what he called repressive elements of the penal code, which he insisted should have been superceded by the revolution against Ben Ali." In "Tunisia arrests comedian, TV host for 'offending' president," Agence France Presse, 14 March 2015.

 

[ 12 ]  No discussion of diagnosing political dissent as an illness is complete without recalling the "science" of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, now politically and economically collapsed.

 

 Political Dissent as a Psychiatric Disorder

 

          One reads:  "In the Soviet Union, a systematic political abuse of psychiatry took place and was based on the interpretation of political dissent as a psychiatric problem. It was called 'psychopathological mechanisms' of dissent." In "Political abuse of psychiatry in the Soviet Union," Wikipedia article, n. d.

          The editors of that Wiki article aptly quoted Alexander Solzhenitsyn:  "The incarceration of free thinking healthy people in madhouses is spiritual murder, it is a variation of the gas chamber, even more cruel; the torture of the people being killed is more malicious and more prolonged. Like the gas chambers, these crimes will never be forgotten and those involved in them will be condemned for all time during their life and after their death."

          One notes that a metaphor serves to look back on the rationalizations of the operators of gas chambers as of psychiatric incarceration of political dissent. These governments were crushed in the pages of history. And yet the urge of diagnose political opposition and dissent as a disease continues, as does rudimentary imprisonment for similar purposes. Apologists enough in the political arena as in academia still exist to forgive such evil. Such is the nature of those who oppose freedom as they oppose dissent from their rule.

 

[ 13 ]     The fundamental truth: Cuban "revolutionary" socialism is Totalitarian .