Original materials - Copyright © 2011 by Gary Bachlund All international rights reserved
"Has there ever been a society which has died of dissent? Several have died of conformity in our lifetime." Jacob Bronowski (1908-1974)
Fools and an ass - paraphrase of a Wilhelm Busch poem
Standing before a house's door
Was a donkey, donkey-eared, what's more,
Which chewed over a bundle of hay,
Pensive, thoughtful on that day.
Then came along Neanderthals,
Two snotty little know-it-alls,
Who ridiculed the donkey there
With detestable words, all quite unfair.
And why they did this was quite clear,
To aggravate it did they jeer. -
But the old gray beast with experience keen
Turned its back upon that scene,
Remaining mute but with some class
It turned to show those fools its ass.
See: Ein Esel-lied (2010)
Get up with fleas
"With each passing day, the Occupy Wall Street movement is picking up steam. The growing roster of A-list supporters at home and from around the globe is impressive, if that’s the right word. Iran’s chief mad mullah, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, loves the protests, the government of China applauds them, and Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez is positively gung-ho. Naturally, the American Nazi Party favors the lusty attacks on the 'Judeo-capitalist banksters' while the Socialist Party USA and the Communist Party USA are happy passengers on the anti-Wall Street bandwagon. Oh, and Barack Obama hearts the movement, too." In "The job destroyers," by Michael Goodwin, New York Post, 19 October 2011
When Nazis and Commies and presidents too
Lie down with dogs, the old saw rings true:
They'll rise up itching with fleas biting you.
When mullahs afire see things as you do,
Perhaps it is time to think such things through.
What does such agreement portend and construe?
Lie down with dogs and get up with fleas.
It's so true, one can prove it with ease,
Hearts all a flower over obvious sleaze.
When Nazis and Commies and presidents all
Lie down with dogs, the old saw stands tall
For truth that the dogs all itch for a brawl.
Envoi: "Talk sense to a fool and he calls you foolish." Euripides (484 BC - 406 BC)
Addendum: "Now, it is clear that the decline of a language must ultimately have political and economic causes: it is not due simply to the bad influence of this or that individual writer. But an effect can become a cause, reinforcing the original cause and producing the same effect in an intensified form, and so on indefinitely. A man may take to drink because he feels himself to be a failure, and then fail all the more completely because he drinks. It is rather the same thing that is happening to the English language. It becomes ugly and inaccurate because our thoughts are foolish, but the slovenliness of our language makes it easier for us to have foolish thoughts." George Orwell, Politics and the English Language (1946)
Addendum: "The object in life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane." Marcus Aurelius (AD 121-180)
See: Anti-capitalism struggles
Knee cheese - sum non sense
Knee cheese' antique rice
Was one long loud device.
The willful hour's itchy home
Fuss spoke sorrows thirsting spice.
Go did dead, dead went he did
Touring's no-bid kid.
Odd was Fred, sum folk declared,
Years sped past: pro came to quid.
Knee cheese went bananas, say,
And has no bananas, not to day.
Soup or man, he had no plan;
Death took not his holiday.
Odd was Fred, some flags have waved,
As years went fast, he wasn't saved.
Knee cheese reaches peaches;
In pommes in pros he teaches.
But then he's wilted, sour,
A plucked dead flower bleaches.
Odd was Fred, the times declared,
But times went fast, tired, bared.
Fried, rich knee cheese,
On his idle's lawn,
Over, done, the yawning
Pretend to pawn and fawn.
Knee cheese, nachos, nuts to you,
The soup's ermine is justice stew.
Wouldn't you like to have some cash?
"African leaders gave former French president Jacques Chirac and his prime minister Dominique de Villepin briefcases full of cash, notably to finance election campaigns, a former aide alleged on Sunday. Villepin, a potential candidate in next year's presidential election, denied the allegations, which claim to shed new light on the French political establishment's often shady relationship with former colonies in Africa. Robert Bourgi, a lawyer with a network of African contacts who advised Chirac and Villepin before changing camps in 2005 to aid now President Nicolas Sarkozy, made the allegations in France's Journal du Dimanche newspaper. Bourgi said he 'took part in handing over several briefcases to Jacques Chirac in person, at Paris city hall' when the future president was mayor in the 1980s and 1990s. 'There was never less than five million francs (more than 750,000 euros). It could go up to 15 million,' Bourgi said, giving a detailed account of how Chirac would offer him beer while allegedly putting away the bundles of cash. 'I remember the first handing over of funds in Villepin's presence. The money came from Marshal Mobutu (Sese Seko), president of Zaire (now Democratic Republic of Congo)." In "African leaders gave Chirac 'briefcases of cash' ," France 24, 11 September 2011
Wouldn't you like to have some cash?'
Briefcases full could fill your stash?
Handle it all with the usual panache --
Add a little élan, and political dash.
That's how you'd get your bit of cash.
Shouldn't funds be flowing your way?
Some satchels full could have their say,
Through public halls into pay-to-play
Not often seen nor on display.
That's how funds could flow your way.
At highest levels, in loftiest spheres,
That is where funding frankly appears.
Gallic, European or African peers?
Asian or American seers?
The same behavior oft adheres.
If you'd gather up a lot of dough,
The public trust's the place to go,
As long as no one will ever know
The channels through which your funds did flow.
That's how one lifts a pile of dough.
The Classic Scheme
"Getting inside the White House was easy for billionaire investor George Kaiser, who made multiple visits to the White House and appeared at White House events next to administration officials. One of the prime investors in the green energy company Solyndra, Kaiser put quite a few tokens in the White House turnstile. As the Daily Caller reports, Kaiser himself donated $53,000 to Barack Obama's 2008 election campaign, divided between Obama for America and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. A world-class bundler, Kaiser also raised $50,000 to $100,000 from others for the senator's campaign. Despite a warning from Solyndra's own accountants at PricewaterhouseCoopers that the company's business model was suspect and raised "substantial doubt about its ability to continue as a going concern," President Obama visited the company and gave it a glowing endorsement as a government-picked winner alongside electric cars and high-speed rail." In "SolarGate," Investors Business Daily, 6 September 2011
The classic scheme,
The kick back scheme,
Kicks cash back,
And always upstream.
The classic dream
In such a regime
Funnels cash out,
To flow back cream.
They skim that cream,
And repeat the theme,
As this defines
Their Jurassic scheme.
One side plays it;
The other does too.
If you pony up the cash,
They'll play with you.
See: Bankrupt green and Cash flow - a parody on Cole Porter's classic song, "True Love"
De fault in de plan
"Habsburg Spain defaulted on all or part of its debt 14 times between 1557 and 1696 and also succumbed to inflation due to a surfeit of New World silver. Prerevolutionary France was spending 62 percent of royal revenue on debt service by 1788. The Ottoman Empire went the same way: interest payments and amortization rose from 15 percent of the budget in 1860 to 50 percent in 1875. And don't forget the last great English-speaking empire. By the interwar years, interest payments were consuming 44 percent of the British budget, making it intensely difficult to rearm in the face of a new German threat. Call it the fatal arithmetic of imperial decline. Without radical fiscal reform, it could apply to America next." In "An Empire at Risk," Niall Ferguson, in The Daily Beast, Nov 27, 2009
De fault in de plan be simple.
Fake radicals juz be crooks,
Worried dat real radicals
Figur' dez been cookin' books.
De fault is juz a madder o when
Fatal 'rithmetic exposes de decline
An once agin juz like befo'
The same ol faults combine.
De fault in de plan be people
Dat siphon off juz for ideals
Like me and mine an more fer me
In the same ole backroom deals.
De fault is interest payments,
Dey buy nothin' at all.
Dey pay for yesterday binges
After Peter has done robbed Paul.
De fault in de plan be fatal,
Each pyramid's made from debt.
Given the lessons o history
It seems dat de brightest forget.
Envoi: "Debt, n. An ingenious substitute for the chain and whip of the slavedriver." Ambrose Bierce (1842-1914)
Addendum of Default via Municipal Bankruptcy: "Detroit's bankruptcy is so catastrophic, and its causes so local, that it is tempting to say that the Motor City’s downfall has few lessons for state and other local governments. It’s hard to imagine a combination of deindustrialization and population loss more powerful than what afflicted Detroit. Still, mismanagement made matters worse. Anyone who doubts that should peruse the bankruptcy plan filed by the city’s emergency manager, Kevyn D. Orr, on Feb. 21. It prescribes pension cuts for city retirees and an 80 percent haircut on bondholders, and it documents the terrible governance that helped make these unavoidable." In "Paying the price for Detroit’s fiscal irresponsibility," by Editorial Board, Washington Post, 28 February 2014.
Addendum of an early American Default: "The notes progressively depreciated as the public began to realize that neither the states nor their Congress had the will or capacity to redeem them. In November of 1779, Congress announced a devaluation of 38.5 to 1 on the Continentals, which amounted to an admission of default. In this year refusal to accept the notes became widespread, and trade was reduced to barter, causing sporadic famines and other privations. Eventually, Congress agreed to redeem the notes at 1,000 to 1. At a rate of 0.82 troy ounces to the Spanish milled dollar and $36 (2011) dollars to the troy ounce of silver, this first default resulted in a cumulative loss of approximately $7 billion dollars to the American public. Benjamin Franklin characterized the loss as a tax." In "A Short History of US Credit Defaults," by John S. Chamberlain, Mises.org, 15 July 2011. [ 1 ]
Addendum of Defaults throughout Centuries: "While normally the change of government does not change the responsibility of the state to handle treasury obligations created by earlier governments, nevertheless it can be observed that in revolutionary situations and after a regime change the new government may question the legitimacy of the earlier one, and thus default on those treasury obligations considered odious debt. Important examples are: 1) default of debts of the Bourbon France after the French Revolution; 2) default of bonds through Denmark in 1850, which were issued by the government of Holstein instated by the German Confederation; 3) default of debts of the Russian Empire after the Soviet government came to power in 1917; and 4) repudiation of debts of the Confederate States of America by the United States after the Civil War through the ratification of Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment." In "Sovereign default," Wikipedia, n.d. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Chinese Communist Default of the Crony Capitalist Sort: "Solar panel maker Shanghai Chaori Solar Energy Science & Technology has defaulted on interest payments owed on its bond, say media reports quoting the firm. It is the first Chinese firm ever to default on its onshore corporate bonds. On Tuesday, the firm warned it would be unable to make a 89.8 million yuan ($14.6m; £8.7m) interest payment on a one billion yuan bond issued in 2012. The default is seen as a test case for the Chinese government. Investors have assumed in the past that the Chinese government would bail out any Chinese corporation in danger of defaulting." In "Chaori Solar in landmark Chinese bond default," by Kim Gittleson, BBC, 7 March 2014. [ 3 ]
Addendum of Unsustainable Puerto Rico: "The government of Puerto Rico has failed to make $37.3 million in debt repayments, a selective default dictated by lack of liquidity, Public Affairs Secretary Jesus Manuel Ortiz told EFE Tuesday." In "Puerto Rico defaults on $37 mn in debt," La Prensa, 5 January 2016. [ 4 ]
See: Economics 101
[ 1 ] The loss in dollars then is something akin to a loss of one hundred times that today, by reason of inflation. A more recent American default was also mentioned in the article: "The result was that by 1933 the total debt was $22 billion and the amount of gold needed to pay even the interest on it was soon going to be insufficient. In this exigency Roosevelt decided to default on the whole of the domestically-held debt by refusing to redeem in gold to Americans and devaluing the dollar by 40 percent against foreign exchange. By taking these steps the Treasury was able to make a partial payment and maintain foreign exchange with the critical trade partners of the United States."
[ 2 ] One notes the collapse of the USSR was also default, i. e. a repudiation of debt caused by the Soviet Communists .
The Wikipedia article notes a long "List of sovereign debt defaults or debt restructuring," proving that government default is far more normal than not. Thus one learns that a combination of government going into ever increasing debt ends with the same default as has always been. In the case of Detroit mentioned above, it is cuts in city retirees' pensions and a "haircut" for bond holders. This is not unusual. Please see: A clip job - the way to legally rob.
[ 3 ] Do investors plan for a default? One reads, "China is braced for a wave of industrial bankruptcies as its slowing economy forces companies with sky-high debts to the wall, the country's premier has said. Premier Li Keqiang told lenders to China's private sector factories they should expect debt defaults as the world's second largest economy encounters "serious challenges" in the year ahead. Speaking after the annual session of the national people's congress, Li Keqiang said: 'We are going to confront serious challenges this year and some challenges may be even more complex.' He told lenders to China's private sector factories they should expect debt defaults." In "China's Li Keqiang warns investors to prepare for wave of bankruptcies," by Phillip Inman, Guardian UK, 13 March 2014. Now how does that seem to a lender like you? - a run-around,
[ 4 ] A Reuters report has written succinctly that for "...years, the territory’s government piled on the benefits without paying for them. Now, it faces the prospect of stiffing retirees, or foreign creditors ... or both." In "Puerto Rico’s other crisis: impoverished pensions," by Nick Brown, Reuters, 7 April 2016.
A year later and courtesy of the same reporter, Puerto Rico defaults. The fiscal reality "...forecasts Puerto Rico having only $800 million a year to pay debt, less than a quarter of what it owes. The low figure alienated creditors, and negotiations toward a restructuring deal have foundered. In addition to its debt, Puerto Rico is facing a 45 percent poverty rate, a shrinking population and unemployment more than twice the U.S. average. Puerto Rico and its general obligation bondholders, whose $18 billion of debt is backed by the island's constitution, were negotiating until the last minute." In "Puerto Rico Requests Bankruptcy Protection for Public Debt," by Nick Brown, Reuters, 3 May 2017.
The realization about the very nature of government is being revealed, yet again. One reads: "Puerto Rico's governor turned to the courts Wednesday to protect the U.S. territory from a crushing $73 billion debt in the largest effort ever made by a U.S. government to shield itself from creditors. Gov. Ricardo Rossello made the announcement after negotiations with Puerto Rico's bondholders failed. Rossello said a federal control board overseeing the island's finances agreed with his request to put certain debts before a federal bankruptcy court. The outcome of the case could have implications for financially troubled U.S. cities or states." In "Puerto Rico turns to courts for debt protection," by Danica Coto, Associated Press, 3 May 2017.
The Puerto Rican collapse continues with more bankruptcies in 2017: "The pension system’s bankruptcy has implications for hundreds of thousands of government retirees and pensioners who are up against bondholders in the renegotiation of Puerto Rico’s debts. So far, the oversight board has signaled it wanted more of the restructuring burden to fall on financial creditors compared with retirees, proposing a 10% cut in pension benefits while allocating less than a quarter of the debt service owed for the next 10 years. Estimates vary as to the size of the gap between what the pension fund’s assets and its promises to its beneficiaries, but Puerto Rico projects the unfunded liability at roughly $45 billion, the product of years of deficient funding by government employers. ERS also owes $3 billion to bondholders. The highway agency owes roughly $6.3 billion in debt, including $1.8 billion to Puerto Rico’s insolvent industrial development bank, according to the oversight board. Puerto Rico and its agencies owe roughly $73 billion in bond debt, dwarfing the roughly $9 billion owed by the city of Detroit when it entered what was previously the largest municipal bankruptcy in 2013." In "More Puerto Rico Agencies Enter Bankruptcy," by Andrew Scurria, Wall Street Journal, 22 May 2017.
It is therefore correct to say openly that the government is at fault, as have been so many governments across the ages. This is why the beginning illustration of Habsburg Spain relates directly to a government such a Puerto Rico's -- demonstrating that default was always the plan of last resort. Stiffing creditors or stiffing citizens is always preferable to government actually showing restraint, forethought and fiscal sense. In this way Habsburg Spain from centuries ago relates to today's governments, including Sam? - the Debtor Man.
Bernie got it right
"The first top-to-bottom audit of the Federal Reserve uncovered eye-popping new details about how the U.S. provided a whopping $16 trillion in secret loans to bail out American and foreign banks and businesses during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression. An amendment by Sen. Bernie Sanders to the Wall Street reform law passed one year ago this week directed the Government Accountability Office to conduct the study. 'As a result of this audit, we now know that the Federal Reserve provided more than $16 trillion in total financial assistance to some of the largest financial institutions and corporations in the United States and throughout the world,' said Sanders. 'This is a clear case of socialism for the rich and rugged, you're-on-your-own individualism for everyone else.'" In "The Fed Audit," Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator for Vermont web site, 21 July 2011. [ 1 ]
Bernie got it right,
Or maybe it was left
To others who would hide
A case of hefty theft.
Socially the fat cats
Are socialistically okay
While unimportant little chumps
Have little they can say.
The upper crusts' crust
Is hardened through and through
And privileges amasses
But not to little you.
You gotta be a cat so fat
You can't be said to fail,
And so the fattest cats around
Get bucketing by the bail.
Bernie sees you're on your own,
Because that is the game
That's the kind of hardball played
By the fattest in the fat cat game.
Bernie got it right,
And sadly it was left
To single voices braying
About this scheme so deft.
Envoi: "It is an ancient and antiquated hostility. 'The love of money,' the Bible declares, 'is the root of all evil.' Not just evil-all evil. What about Sanders? Is he greedy? Not by his standards. For him, greed is the exclusive province of capitalists. That he garnered more than $200,000 in income last year is immaterial, since he was toiling for the benefit of non-billionaires. But Sanders is greedy in another, more pernicious way. He is greedy for power. After all, that is why he is running for president. 'This is not an education campaign,' he said. 'I am in this election to win.' He seeks not wealth but the power to redistribute it. Sanders is a greedy socialist, which is not an oxymoron. Like the billionaire class he so loathes, Sanders craves money-other people's." In "Bernie Sanders Exhibits the Traits of the Billionaires He Loathes," by Windsor Mann, RealClear Markets, 14 July 2015. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Another Celebrated Jewish Socialist: "A Sanders supporter in Keene underscored this point, gently chastising a reporter for asking whether an avowed socialist could win over voters nationwide. 'He's a democratic socialist, like another celebrated Jewish socialist—Jesus,' he said. Mr. Sanders’ campaign platform is manna from heaven for the American left. His 12-point platform includes growing the trade union movement, creating worker-owned cooperatives and opposing free-trade agreements. " In "Berniemania! Why Is Socialist Senator Bernie Sanders So Popular?" by Ross Barkan, Observer, 16 June 2015. [ 3 ]
Addendum from the 2016 Campaign: "U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ campaign manager, Jeff Weaver, on Monday criticized a Hillary Clinton campaign fundraising scheme that state party leaders told Politico has been used as a self-serving 'money-laundering' conduit. Despite Clinton’s pledges to rebuild state parties, Politico found that less than 1 percent of the $61 million raised by the Victory Fund has stayed in the state parties’ coffers. 'Secretary Clinton is looting funds meant for the state parties to skirt fundraising limits on her presidential campaign,' Weaver said. 'We think the Clinton campaign should let the state parties keep their fair share of the cash'." In "Politico Exposes Clinton Campaign ‘Money-Laundering’ Scheme," Press Release, Bernie Sanders, 2 May 2016.
Addendum of Bernie Got It Good and Hard -- From the DNC: "The DNC chair also said that the emails released by WikiLeaks were not to be trusted, as they were likely altered by the Russian government at some point. 'We are in the process of verifying the authenticity of these documents because it is common for Russia to spread misinformation and forge documents,' she said. Brazile’s explanation was contradicted by a report the next day from Politico that included the text of an email apparently sent by Roland Martin to CNN producers. Martin’s email contained the exact words that were apparently passed along to the Clinton camp by Brazile." In "DNC chair Donna Brazile passed a debate question to Hillary Clinton’s campaign in March, evidence suggests," by Matthew Sheffield, Salon.com, 28 October 2016. [ 4 ]
One should consider when Bernie got it wrong
[ 1 ] "Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), the Senate Budget Committee ranking member, today issued the following statement on new data showing the extent to which some American companies are avoiding taxes: 'I applaud Citizens for Tax Justice for releasing new data today revealing the unfairness of our tax system and the fact that a number of the biggest and most-well known corporations in America continue to pay little or nothing in taxes. At a time when we have massive wealth and income inequality, and when corporate profits are soaring, it is an outrage that many large, profitable corporations not only paid nothing in federal income taxes last year, but actually received a rebate from the IRS last year'." In "Loopholes allow companies to avoid taxes," Senate site, 9 April 2015.
The amusing stance of the "independent" from Vermont is that his statement continues by lambasting Republicans, currently in the majority, for standing in the way of tax reform. This of course ignores the fact that for a period of two years at the beginning of the Obama administration, the Democrats held a majority. During these two years, nothing was done to alleviate the injustices of which Sanders now complains. The observation to be made from this is simpler than politicians would have mere voters understand, as corporations Bring presents to the party .
Among the major donors -- bringing presents to the party -- which Sanders lists as paying "little or nothing in taxes" are supporters of his caucus. Indeed there is "socialism for the rich and the rugged."
Among the modern rich are Sanders and his wife, who has headed two different colleges in the recent past; between them these champions of the poor are in the top five percent of all Americans -- as is the majority of Democrats and Republicans alike. Ah, Politics .
One might conclude that so many in the top five percent of Americans by income all wish to Serve the poor - observing the Poverty Barons, until one looks a little more closely at the game afoot.
[ 2 ] By relative income standards, Senator Sanders and his wife -- who has worked as a highly-paid college president -- are in the top five percent of all Americans in income. Compared to the average American, might one not argue they are rich?
This socialist who campaigns as an Independent in a state campaign and also a Democrat in a national campaign (2015) is relatively rich, though of course not a billionaire. The odd thing about American politics is that billionaires who are Republicans are disparaged by Democrats as "the rich," while billionaires who support Democrats are not publicly shamed for their wealth, even when one sits in the Obama administration's cabinet. The opposite can also be observed, the opponents of Democrats and socialists are disparaged for similar wealth.
This is because the political phrase, income inequality, is meant to remain generally unexamined. For further documentation of this odd political phrase and how its realities are found in society, see: Income Inequality .
What is interesting but lacking in the political discussion is the proven fact that billionaires are made in Communist China -- see: Capital for Communists - a story growing old -- and that worldwide one may observe that Socialists love money .
And yet, for the last century, socialism has been implemented in various ways and collapsed economically. In 2015, one sees a number of examples of openly socialist governments allowing their own citizens to suffer under shortages, high inflation and all the while the policies in play are defended based on ideological principles, not facts on the ground. Moreover, one finds so often socialist leadership in the political quest for wealth. This is because, just like the dreaded capitalists, the elite among socialists seek and find Moolah and use politics to obtain "donations" for their party agendas, in behaviors rather like their political opponents.
One is tempted to draw the conclusion that socialists, when they climb to an elite position among socialists, are themselves avid capitalists, amassing wealth through the force of law rather than the competition of the market.
[ 3 ] Consider the statement as a question: Jesus was a socialist? .
It is a revealing study to look at socialist political leaders across this last century and more to find how many amassed capital far beyond the average citizen. One might conclude that politics itself was an avenue to relative wealth as well as power, whether called socialism, fascism, communism or any other "ism."
We could all sing along in harmony: I have a little -ism - sung to the tune of "I Have a Little Dreidel," original lyrics by Samuel S. Grossman and music by S. E. Goldfarb.
[ 4 ] The Clinton primary campaign against is proved to have been heavily tipped by the Democrat National Committee, not to mention of course the DNC "super delegates" which overturn "one man, one vote" politics. As to Brazile's "apparently" passing along questions from CNN to Clinton so as to leverage against Sanders, Sheffield notes: "Further evidence that undermines Brazile’s denial has emerged by way of a standard email verification method known as DomainKeys Identified Mail, or DKIM, which indicates that the WikiLeaks-provided message sent by Jennifer Palmieri on March 12 from her hillaryclinton.com account is not forged."
Is this a consistent game at the DNC to advantage one candidate over an opposing candidate? Sheffield also addresses this by writing "Brazile is the second DNC chair to be accused of favoring Clinton over Sanders based on hacked emails released by WikiLeaks. Her predecessor, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, was forced to resign in July after she and several senior staff members were revealed as having discussed strategies to undermine the Vermont senator’s presidential campaign."
Yup, the DNC seems to have selected Clinton over Sanders well before the vote was taken, and then with the assistance of super delegates -- not a democratic principle -- Sanders was shunted aside.
Perhaps Sanders call to "audit the Fed" played a part in his getting it "good and hard" from the DNC?
See: Anti-capitalism struggles , also Socialism's Last Hurrah - not democracy in any town
Dead soon enough
"Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure - these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart." Steve Jobs, CEO of Apple Computer and of Pixar Animation Studios, in his Commencement address delivered at Stanford University and published in the Stanford Report, 12 June 12, 2005.
I'll be dead soon enough;
There's time to time away.
Until that time, time is
To keep life underway.
There are no reasons
To follow not one's heart,
For it was there, is there,
Will be, where all dreams start.
We are dead soon enough;
Ours are lives to live away.
Until those days, times are
To toil, to love and play.
See: A song setting of Paul Laurence Dunbar's text, Death - (2012)
What does it all mean?
Dumb cluck chickens
come home to roost,
while all sorts of pigs
learn to fly.
The horses of varying
make asses of themselves,
eye to eye.
It's raining cats
as it's raining dogs,
and both tigers and zebras
Birds of a hawking
as cows jump the moon
Lions lay down
with their legs of lamb
has gotten your goat.
The whole shebang
seems a green-eyed croc,
yet minks are vermin,
and ermine are stoat.
while dumb as an ox
One finds one's self
fallen off of one's shelf,
in a wondering daze.
What does it all mean,
all this and all that,
when all in between
plays rat-a-tat tat?
Why should each critter
be bitter and skitter
as skitters away
the pitter-pat rat?
Poor as a church mouse
while rich as a king,
building glass houses
as hurled stones sing,
You're up, then you're down,
yet you bitterly cling.
What does it all mean,
your ring-a-ding ding?
It means that you're mean
as often as you're nice.
It means that you're nice
at double the price.
It means that most things
are best flavored with spice,
and means imprecisely
that all must suffice.
Cash flow - a parody on Cole Porter's classic song, "True Love"
"A solar energy company that intends to file bankruptcy received $535 million in backing from the federal government and has a cozy history with Democrats and the Obama administration, campaign finance records show. Shareholders and executives of Solyndra, a green energy company producing solar panels, fundraised for and donated to the Obama administration to the tune of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tulsa billionaire George Kaiser, a key Obama backer who raised between $50,000 and $100,000 for the president’s election campaign, is one of Solyndra’s primary investors." In "Bankrupt solar company with fed backing has cozy ties to Obama admin," by C. J. Ciaramella, The Daily Caller, 1 September 2011
Moneyed fellows swapping funding --
Living far above par...
Oh, how clever we are.
You take from me as I take from you,
Cash flow, cash flow.
The cash, it comes from the treasury,
That funds us with its dough.
For you and I have a game idyllic,
A game quite simple, not imbecilic,
As you to give to me as I give to you
Cash from others. Who?
Yes, you and I play a game sagacious,
With rules quite canny, yet audacious,
That you give to me as I give to you,
Cash. Don't misconstrue.
I give to you as you give to me
Cash flow, cash flow.
And on and on it should always be,
Cash as quid pro quo.
Addendum of Coming Insolvencies: "Looking ahead requires exploring characteristics other than the funded status of plans. The most important for underfunded plans appears to be the relative size of the population of active workers and its impact on cash flow. This perspective helps explainwhy the most talked about large plans – Central States Teamsters and United Mine Workers – are deemed to be facing insolvency." In "The Financial Status of Private Sector Multiemployer Pension Plans," by Alicia H. Munnell and Jean-Pierre Aubry, Center for Retirement Research at Boston College, September 2014, Number 14-14. [ 1 ]
Addendum of Criminally Planned Insolvencies: "...in the six-year span from 2008 to 2013, Madoff’s scheme was only one of over 500 Ponzi schemes that collectively involved over $50 billion. That’s billion with a 'B.' On average, a Ponzi scheme was uncovered or busted every four days in that six-year period." In "A Ponzi Pandemic: 500+ Ponzi Schemes Totaling $50+ Billion in 'Madoff Era'," by Jordan Maglich, Forbes, 12 February 2014.
Addendum of the Classic Scheme's Architecture: "In April, for example, the S.E.C. charged Neal V. Goyal, a Chicago investment adviser, in a $11.4 million scheme in which Mr. Goyal lost money in initial trades, but hid the losses by paying original investors with proceeds from newer recruits." In "Despite Exposure of Madoff Fraud, New Ponzi Schemes Emerge," by Elizabeth Olson, New York Times, 10 July 2014. [ 2 ]
See: The Classic Scheme
[ 1 ] The article says in other words that these plans are more like Ponzi or snowball schemes than like annuity management.
One reads: "When the financing base disappears, contributions fall short of benefit payments, which produces negative cash flow. The magnitude of the negative flow relative to assets is a key determinant of the future of multiemployer plans. The easiest way to think about the power of this dynamic is to consider a situation where the negative cash flow rate exceeds the rate of return. That is, cash flow is equal to, say, minus 8.5 percent and the assumed rate of return is plus 7.5 percent. In this case, the trustees each year will have to dig into assets to cover promised benefits. As assets decline, the negative cash flow will increase as a percent of assets, and the plan is in a death spiral. Thus, analysts looking for trouble down the road need to go no further than cash flow as a percent of assets."
Define By Ignoring Reality
The analysis is then simple, which is why words such as "defined benefit" are used instead of basic arithmetic to sell participants in programs, and to sell politicians in further funding soon-to-be insolvent plans with public monies, which becomes then just a larger insolvency over time.
The article notes with simplicity of soon-to-be insolvent funds: "That means they are digging into assets to pay benefits and are projected to exhaust their assets within the next 12-16 years."
This is the arithmetic definition of an annuity, which projects to be consumed over time. When one takes more than growth from interest from a fund, the fund depletes. In an era with very low interest rate offerings aside from speculating in stocks and bonds, this means that tomorrow's fund participant is being assigned the role of paying yesterday's defined benefit recipient, and thus is a kind of income transfer backwards in time. As new participants in such funds see their role and the depletion of the funds, the expected reaction will be drive to disassociate from such fund participation, rather like a bank run. One notes the research from Boston College does not mince words to suppress the basic arithmetic.
[ 2 ] One may now compare the sentences and their contents, by juxtaposing reports. 1) A Ponzi scheme "hid the losses by paying original investors with proceeds from newer recruits." 2) A foreseen pension plan insolvency involves " the trustees each year will have to dig into assets to cover promised benefits. As assets decline, the negative cash flow will increase as a percent of assets, and the plan is in a death spiral." The way out of the death spiral? New recruits, either via adding pension participants by fiat, or gaining public funds as a "hidden" substitute for "newer recruits."
What Your Mother Told You
The New York Times article tells of such a Ponzi scheme operator: " 'Individuals who promote Ponzi schemes can be very adept and convincing,' Ms. Foley said. 'They live in a nice house and drive nice cars and appear to be very successful. I can’t think of a case where there weren’t some trappings of success.' No matter how great the returns sound, make sure the investment adviser is legitimately registered, Mr. Chilton advised. 'The rates of return promised are dazzling, but we need to step back and do our due diligence,' he said. 'And if you can’t recall the red flags for swindlers, just remember what your mother told you not to do — like don’t take candy from strangers'."
Given that many "public" pension plans and "Private Sector Multiemployer Pension Plans,": which in fact are public in their political participation, are being forecast to become insolvent, the remaining question becomes simply one of words and finessed and even controlled definitions which are at odds with, or lie about, the basic arithmetic. Words seem to cover a multitude of sins, leading to various forms of the same thing -- insolvency.
Whether one pays "original investors with proceeds from newer recruits" or diminished "assets to cover promised benefits, the death spiral is the same. If one is in fact defined as a fraud, should not the other also be defined as fraudulent?
All in all, the operation of schemes leading towards insolvency can be seen as involving "cozy ties" with people who are "adept and convincing."
Like taking candy from babies....
Justice - depending on the meaning of the word
"'The terrorism of the Red Army Faction (or Baader-Meinhof gang, which bombed political targets in the 1970s) started with quote-unquote 'just' arson,' he told broadcaster N24. 'For this reason there is a danger that the violence could one day target people.'" In "Car Burnings are a 'Precursor to Terrorism'", by Florian Gathmann, Der Speigel, 18 August 2011
Just arson is just desserts;
Just crime justice perverts.
Just is such a mealy word;
Just is so often just absurd.
Just burn bright, just delight;
Justice comes to burn. Ignite!
Just is justice when it's not;
Justice just had just forgot.
Just mine, just yours,
Just his, just wars.
Just ours, not theirs,
Just wordy snares.
Addendum of the Old Robbers: "In their struggle against capitalism they murdered high profile businessmen and politicians. Now three ex-terrorists have taken to robbing supermarkets - and rather successfully, too. Police in Lower Saxony are hunting three ex-terrorists, whom they accuse of having stolen hundreds of thousands of Euros from supermarkets in northern Germany, Spiegel reports. The fugitives, Daniela Klette, Ernst-Volker Staub, and Burkhard Garweg were part of the third and last generation of the Red Army Faction (RAF), a terrorist group founded in 1970 which was blamed for over 30 murders, numerous bombings and part-responsibility for the hijacking of a plane in its almost three-decade existence. The group dissolved itself in 1998 and many of its members have never been identified." In "Fugitive ex-terrorists 'on huge crime spree' in north Germany," TheLocal.de, 27 May 2016.
See: Left is Right, as Right is Left , and a song setting by Paul Laurence Dunbar's text, for a far better definition, Justice - (2010)
Pigs don't fly
Pigs don't fly.
Flies don't grunt.
Words oft lie,
Back to front.
Words can fly
Back and forth,
South, as north.
In that mist,
Milled as grist.
If pigs flew,
Worlds would change.
All things could
Pigs just rut.
Such is life,
Snout to butt.
"Let me order my thoughts to make this as brief as I can.... And so language, the ability not only to master the ability to put your ideas into words succinctly on a platform to communicate ideas to your own people, it is even more impressive when you have the capacity to do that and communicate your ideas, especially as future business and political and moral leaders of the world in the language of the people to whom you are speaking." Vice-President Joe Biden (D), at Sichuan University, China, as reported by CNS News, August 24, 2011 at 5:08 pm.
Suck sinked long;
He belly upped,
Brief blabbed on,
Lost its way;
Words piled high
Had their say.
Make the joke.
Not quite so.
Just ain't Joe.
Envoi: "Wherever we can make twenty-five words do the work of fifty, we halve the area in which looseness and disorganization can flourish, and by reducing the span of attention required we increase the force of the thought. To make our words count for as much as possible is surely the simplest as well as the hardest secret of style. Its difficulty consists in the ceaseless pursuit of the thousand ways of rectifying our mistakes, eliminating our inaccuracies, and replacing our falsities -- in a word, editing our prose." In "Modern American Usage," Wilson Follett (1966).
See: Circle you are
Left is Right, as Right is Left
"Horst Mahler was a leader of the German radical left in the 1960s and '70s. Now he's a member of the radical right, sitting in jail for denying the Holocaust. But he's reportedly verified reports that he informed for Communist spies in the '60s." In "Leftist Terrorist Turned Neo-Nazi Says Was Stasi Informant Too," in Der Spiegel, August 2, 2011.
Left is Right, as Right is Left;
The whole then is of sense bereft
As Right is Left and Left is Right,
When both allege one truth quite bright.
Left is Right, as Right is Left;
Vocabulary seems oh so deft
When Right is Left and Left is Right,
But I prefer a different fight.
Left is Right; vice versa too;
The whole is just a wordy stew
To make the vicious radical
Seem not so very typical.
And yet it is, and Left is Right
Flows into Right is Left -- a sleight
Of hand and word, rhetorical craft
To make one half seem oh so daft.
Which is your game? Your choice? Your pick?
Be you among the Left so thick?
Be you among the Right so wrong?
Which is your favorite Right-Left song?
Left is Right, as Right is Left;
The whole was ever of sense bereft,
But dear to the hearts the many folk
Who think such words are not a joke.
Radical Left and radical Right
Join their hands in one fine fight
To clutter faux images of opposites
And camouflage their fist-high blitz.
Choose the one? The other? Which?
Either choice is bait-and-switch
For both are brothers, sisters too.
Each one demands, "Which one are you?"
Neither? Such offends their scheme;
Left and Right require you dream
In polar opposites that never were,
In words intended just to blur.
Left is Right, as Right is Left;
The whole then is of sense bereft
As Right is Left and Left is Right,
And both strike out in rage and spite.
Envoi: "Conservative, n: A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal who wishes to replace them with others." Ambrose Bierce, "The Devil's Dictionary and Other Works," 1911.
Addendum of the Far-Right Bogeyman: "It is important to note that this study concentrates on those individuals and groups who have actually perpetuated violence and is not a comprehensive analysis of the political causes with which some far-right extremists identify. While the ability to hold and appropriately articulate diverse political views is an American strength, extremists committing acts of violence in the name of those causes undermine the freedoms that they purport to espouse." In "Challengers from the Sidelines: Understanding America’s Violent Far-Right," by Arie Perliger, Combating Terrorism Center at West Point, 15 January 2013. [ 1 ]
Addendum of Leftists Reminded that Left Is Right: "One of my constituents once complained to the Beeb about a report on the repression of Mexico's indigenous peoples, in which the government was labelled Right-wing. The governing party, he pointed out, was a member of the Socialist International and, again, the give-away was in its name: Institutional Revolutionary Party. The BBC’s response was priceless. Yes, it accepted that the party was socialist, 'but what our correspondent was trying to get across was that it is authoritarian'. In fact, authoritarianism was the common feature of socialists of both National and Leninist varieties, who rushed to stick each other in prison camps or before firing squads. Each faction loathed the other as heretical, but both scorned free-market individualists as beyond redemption. Their battle was all the fiercer, as Hayek pointed out in 1944, because it was a battle between brothers. 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 Common Struggle: "Communists have always viewed the national question through the prism of the class struggle, believing that its solution has to be subordinated to the interests of the Revolution, to the interests of socialism. That is why Communists and all fighters for socialism believe that the main aspect of the national question is unification of the working people, regardless of their national origin, in the common struggle against every type of oppression, and for a new social system which rules out exploitation of the working people." A quote of Leonid Brezhnev, in his Wikiquote article, n.d. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Switching Parties and Rhetoric: "The voice in the recording? Charlie Crist. 'Hi, this is Charlie Crist calling to set the record straight. I’m pro-life. I oppose amnesty for illegal immigrants, I support traditional marriage, and I have never supported a new tax or big spending program. It's sad that in his fourth try for governor my opponent has resorted to distortions and untruths. … Floridians need a consistent, conservative governor that they can trust. I would appreciate your vote on Election Day.' Not exactly your standard Democratic primary platform. But the voice in the robocall really is Crist’s and so were the positions he stressed. But it was Charlie Crist circa 2006 — not 2014." In "Who is that on anti-Charlie Crist robocall? Charlie Crist," by Adam C. Smith, Miami Herlad, 11 August 2014. [ 3 ]
Another Addendum on Switching Parties: "Former Republican two term state Sen. Tim Johnson announced his candidacy for lieutenant governor Wednesday at the State Capitol. He also officially switch over to the Democratic Party to run against incumbent Republican Lt. Gov. Tate Reeves. Johnson says he has been contemplating the party switch for over a year now." In "Former State Sen. Tim Johnson Switches to Democratic Party, Announces Candidacy for Lt. Governor," by Chip Ward, News MS (Mississippi), 4 February 2015.
Addendum of Being on Guard Against Liberalism: "China's military ordered its forces on Thursday to be on guard against 'liberalism' and ensure their loyalty to the ruling Communist Party, the latest battle in President Xi Jinping's war against corruption in the services. The People's Liberation Army, the world's largest armed forces, 'must put the orders of the party into action, must maintain and uphold the correct political beliefs, must guard against and rectify political liberalism', the military said in a statement carried by the official Xinhua news agency." In 'China tells military to be on guard against "liberalism'," by Ben Blanchard, Reuters, 16 April 2015. [ 4 ]
Addendum of a Democrat Right-Wing Candidate: "Nancy Pelosi is the most right-wing candidate in her reelection race this year. The House Democratic leader faces not one, but three, Democratic challengers in 2018, as well as a Green Party candidate. And while national Republicans love to target Pelosi as the face of the far left in their campaigns, her opponents complain she’s actually not liberal enough for her San Francisco district, particularly on issues like health care and campaign finance." In "Nancy Pelosi is the most conservative candidate in her 2018 race," by Emily Cadei, Sacramento Bee, 26 February 2018.
Addendum of American Left and Right: "For decades, the left sought to dethrone the idea of truth. Truth was not an absolute. It was a matter of power. Of perspective. Of narrative. 'Truth is a thing of this world,' wrote Michel Foucault. 'Each society has its regime of truth, its 'general politics' of truth: that is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true.' Then Kellyanne Conway gave us 'alternative facts' and Rudy Giuliani said, 'Truth isn’t truth' -- and progressives rushed to defend the inviolability of facts and truth." In "Elizabeth Warren, Trumpian of the Left," by Bret Stephens, New York Times, 20 December 2018.
Addendum of the Australian Liberal-led Center Right: "...on course to re-elect the Liberal-led center-right coalition...." In "In coal we trust: Australia's voters back PM Morrison's faith in fossil fuel," by Sonali Paul, Reuters, 19 May 2019. [ 5 ]
Addendum of the Right Edges of the Left: " 'For so long, when I first got in, people were like, 'Oh, are you going to be basically a tea party of the left?' And what people don’t realize is that there is a tea party of the left, but it's on the right edges, the most conservative parts of the Democratic Party,' she said." In "AOC distances herself from Democratic candidate Joe Biden," by Mark Moore, New York Post, 5 January 2020.
Another Addendum of Something or the Other: "Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said the Democratic Party leans to the right of the political center. The New York Democrat spoke at a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event held in Harlem’s Riverside Church on Monday. While there, the 30-year-old lawmaker claimed that the United States lacks a 'left party' politically. 'We don’t have a left party in the United States. The Democratic Party is not a left party,' Ocasio-Cortez said. 'The Democratic Party is a center or center-conservative party'." In " 'Not a left party': AOC calls the Democratic Party a 'center-conservative party'," by Tim Pearce, Washington Examiner, 20 January 2020.
See: Justice and also We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party
[ 1 ] One reads disagreement with vague political terms: "The essential issue in politics is not the size but the function of government; it’s not whether government is big or small but whether it protects or violates rights. The proper purpose of government is to protect individual rights by banning the use of physical force from social relationships and by using force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use. A properly conceived political spectrum must reflect this fact. Whatever terms are used to identify the positions of political ideologies or systems must be defined with regard to the fundamental political alternative: force vs. freedom—or, more specifically, rights-protecting vs. rights-violating institutions." In "Political 'Left' and 'Right' Properly Defined," by Craig Biddle, Objective Standard, 26 June 2012.
Replace the Model
If such a matrix, force versus freedom, were to replace terms currently bandied about and defended staunchly by users and abusers of such terms, then sometimes unwelcome clarity follows. The various violent revolutions of the twentieth century may be properly defined as "force" when especially a one party state is the result, as was the case with National Socialism, Soviet Socialism and Sino-Socialism. One may argue the American Revolution was also "force," but its resultant government was a free republic, to a degree. What followed were successive steps to make that republic more free, such as the abolition of slavery and women's suffrage as examples.
But the Ukrainian revolution of 2014 was one of minimal force, against the corruption of government. That the Combating Terrorism Center at West Point wishes to identify a violent far-right is instructive, for there is also a violent far-left in such parlance, both demonstrating what the Center calls "acts of violence." What is the point then of the terminology? When the Fort Hood shooting is termed "workplace violence" rather than by a political or religious moniker, is obfuscation at work? Or perhaps the Boston Marathon bombing should be considered far-right from the perspective of political monikers? So is Islam far-right, while the founding documents of the Baath Party of Baathist Iraq and Syria cite "socialism" as a model for centralized power?
Rather one sees political terms cluttering what a matrix like "force versus freedom" un-clutters.
Another news article using the expression "far right" identifies the faction as favoring "adopt unconventional economic policies, centralize power and grow the state's influence at the expense of the private sector." If left and right both favor centralized power, where is there an opposing view favoring minimizing centralized power?
One reads: "Hungary's governing party is tipped to win parliamentary elections Sunday, while a far-right party is expected to make further gains, according to polls. Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party and its small ally, the Christian Democrats, are expected to win easily and they may even retain the two-thirds majority in the legislature gained in 2010 which allowed them to pass a new constitution, adopt unconventional economic policies, centralize power and grow the state's influence at the expense of the private sector." In "Hungary's Fidesz tipped to win big in Sunday vote," by Pablo Gorondi, Associated Press, 5 April 2014.
In a similar use of ambiguous terms, one reads: "Hundreds of members of the NMR had planned to march through the city of Gothenberg but trouble broke out between the police and the far-right group when they tried to deviate from the agreed route. The leader of the NMR, Simon Lindberg, was among those arrested. Some anti-fascists were also detained. The NMR describes itself as a 'national socialist' group and is not banned. It aims to stop mass migration and fight what it calls a 'global Zionist elite'." In "Swedish neo-Nazis clash with anti-fascists," Euro News, 30 September 2017.
The pretense between national socialists and international socialists is seen. Both would use "force" and restrict "freedom," thereby placing them as opponents on the same side of an argument -- for government power over citizens.
There is the inane logic of the argument: the Left wants to centralize while the Right wants to centralize. What then does the terminology mean? The logical conclusion? It means nothing.
To Be or Not To Be Controlled
The criticism of political terminology is often found in our time. One reads Robert Heinlein's quote, "Political tags - such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth - are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire." In "The Notebooks of Lazarus Long," 1973. In a similar manner, I write about this in my article, On Government and Art .
For this the quote from Der Spiegel above shows political tags as most cluttered and confusing. A member of the "German radical left" -- Horst Mahler - turns "Neo-Nazi" and this is termed "radical right" cannot be true from the perspective of the "force versus freedom" matrix. He was for force throughout his "radical" career, left or right, neither or both.
The Combating Terrorism Center at West Point's perspective that violence undermining freedoms also can be reduced into the matrix by showing the illogic of the Center's own political tags use. By the "force versus freedom" model which dispenses with left and right monikers, force cannot consistently espouse freedom. This is what has happened in most revolutions, for few make it past force to freedom. This explains my rhyme, Revolution revolves but once - lèse majesté remains among its stunts.
Abandon Loyalty at Failed Models and Their Parties
And so in answer to the West Point Center's use of what Heinlein calls political tags which are "never basic criteria," one may better say that all political violence is worthy of condemnation, from the Center's focus on the far-right extremist to the far-left extremist, as Horst Mahler's "supposed" transformation also made opaque. But to make this clear, one need abandon the loyalty -- party loyalty -- to political tags which confuse. Unless, that is, it is one's intention to confuse in the course of politics.
"Left is Right, as Right is Left; / The whole then is of sense bereft / As Right is Left and Left is Right, / When both allege one truth quite bright." Consider then "force versus freedom" as a better model, after abandoning the Right and the Left. Or "those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire."
[ 2 ] The "working people" were not oppressed under Communism but were under capitalist societies?"
Lacking the Carrot and the Stick
One reads: "During Joseph Stalin's crash-industrialisation drive, workers lost their right in participating in the functioning of the enterprise, and their working conditions deteriorated. In 1940, for instance, a decree was promulgated and became law, it stated that a worker could be arrested if he had three accumulated absences, latenesses or changing work without the official authorisation. Shock work, which meant that workers had to work past regular hours, was introduced alongside central planning. During World War II, the pressure on workers increased, and it was expected of them of taking Herculean efforts in their work. In the post-war years conditions did not improve, but in fact worsened in some cases. For instance, small theft became illegal, this had been allowed for several years to compensate for workers low salaries. The situation for the common worker improved during the post-Stalin years, and some of the worst measures approved by the Stalinist regime to improve worker productivity were repealed. Because of the lack of a stick and carrot policy under the Brezhnev administration, worker productivity and discipline decreased during the 1970s." In "Soviet working class," Wikipedia article, n.d., referencing Michael Rywkin's "Soviet society Today," 1989.
The BBC created a documentary titled "Gulag." From its opening one read: "We will never know how many people were victims of communism between the October Revolution of 1917 and Stalin's death in March 1953. Some historians say 20 million died, others 50 million. Millions more worked as slaves in the Gulag, the system of mines, factories and building sites which lay at the heart of the great Soviet drive for industrialisation." From "Gulag," a BBC production by Angus Macqueen, 2000.
The Oppression of Unification
More as to what Brezhnev termed the "unification of the working people," one learns of the construction of the Moscow Canal: "It was constructed from the year 1932 to the year 1937 by Gulag prisoners during the early to mid Stalin era, under the direction of Matvei Berman. During the process about 22,000 prisoners died." In Wikipedia article on Moscow Canal, n.d.
From the system of the Gulag, one notes that Brezhnev's "common struggle against every type of oppression" apparently factored out the oppression of slave-like working conditions of "the working people."
From the perspective of force-versus-freedom, there is no question that the Soviet gulag was force, as were the concentration camps of National Socialism, the killing fields of the Khmer Rouge, and the political detentions in so many nations even now.
Those who would use force cluster nicely into a clear-minded political grouping, but this spells the end of the false dichotomy of the left-right model, in which a German radical leftists can become a member German radical right, a word game of preposterous proportions, which I see with one goal -- the perpetuation of political myths supporting some politics of force while pretending to be different than another. Freedom, on the other hand, is easily identified, and opposes governmental force and forces. Thus, freedom has proved ever a threat to governments and political masters.
To argue otherwise becomes Sheer Ignorance .
[ 3 ] The quotes by a politician which contradict other quotes of the same politician are, at the minimum, irritants to said politician. The allegation that this particular candidate was duplicitous has been made -- by his own statement.
Playing Both Sides
One reads an amusing report: "Crist said the strong showing is a sign that Democrats believe in him. 'Frankly, I think I was on their side when I was in the other party,' he said as he prepared a victory speech." In "Crist: I Was On The Democrats’ Side When I Was A Republican," Associated Press via CBS Tampa Bay, 27 August 2014.
One finds many such instances at the elite levels of national politics, such as: Leadership Failure - spoke a failed leader.
[ 4 ] This, as well as the identification on a one-time radical leftist turning into a radical rightist by Spiegel above, shows that the words, Left and Right, as political terms are essentially both pejorative and meaningless.
The Confusion of Intentionally Confusing Words
Consider that National Socialism under Hitler is now deemed akin to a "radical right," while under Chinese Communism of today "liberalism" is considered a threat to the single party state.
Then, is "liberalism" right wing, if Chinese Communism is left wing? If "liberalism" is right wing, are US Democrats and Britain's Labour Party and Germany's Die Linke right wing? If National Socialism is right wing, is socialism right wing? If so, are Social Democrats and France's current socialist government right wing?
Therein lies the point of the empty monikers of left and right, which one is forced to use in the context of social criticism by the many who think, speak and write with such poorly defined terms.
The Right and Left Wings of Socialism
If indeed, socialism was right wing under Germany's National Socialists while socialism was left wing under the international socialists of the now collapsed Soviet Union and a still functioning Communist China, then what is socialism? Both right wing and left wing? Are all dictatorships and single party states left wing or right wing?
Hitler thought We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party . This is the same as Reuters' report that China's People's Liberation Army considers liberalism a threat, if one accepts the illogical premise that some forms of socialism and fascism are right wing, and if one rejects the premise, then right and left have no specific political meaning, both being claims about some opposition to entrenched political power.
A citizen of a land wishing to be more free than less by that wish opposes both the right wing and left wing as so often defined in media and polemic. "Force versus freedom" wherein force so easily shows itself, as greater freedom rises to oppose.
[ 5 ] In one visit to media articles, one reads "right," "conservative," "center," "liberal" and "left." The failed Left-Right model is constructed by words with meanings which the fabric of society is supposed to accept as a range of opposites. For one ostensible faction the opposing faction's moniker is supposed to be synonymous with "evil." After all, the "conservative" is worse than the "liberal?"
Detail from an amusing WaPo political assertion, November 2019.
Following that "visual" definition of the word "conservative" by matching it to a face, the amusingly-named Smerconish posted to ask" "Lately President Obama has not been sounding anything like the radical socialist he'd been cast as by so many of his opponents. Is he actually a conservative?" In "Is President Obama actually a conservative?" CNN, 30 November 2019.
A Leftist's a Closet Conservative
Then again, of a 2020 contestant for the Democrat Party's nomination, one reads: "Yes, he’s a leftist. But he also respects liberty, traditions, institutions, and resistance to change. In many ways, he’s conservative." In "Bernie Sanders, Closet Conservative," by William Saletan, Slate, 27 February 2020.
See how that works?
Words Intended Just to Blur
Perhaps more vocabulary and more clarity are required, to better learn that the monikers to do not function for clarity, but rather to obfuscate the reality of certain political stances. Those which lead towards greater freedom and those which lead away from freedom into bondage are the true opposites.
After all, as a line from the rhyme asserts: much as "words intended just to blur."
Who's gonna pull the welfare wagon - a Western poem [ 1 ]
Who's gonna pull the welfare wagon
when everybody wants to ride?
Who's gonna heft the weight and tug
when so many sit inside?
Who's gonna labor when labor can't?
Who's gonna toil when others shan't?
Who's gonna pull the welfare wagon?
It's time now. You decide.
Who's gonna pay for welfare funding
when everybody wants their check?
Who's gonna fill the coffers up
when too many folks just shrug? Oh, heck.
Who's gonna stoke the gravy train's boilers
Who's everybody looks to other toilers?
Who's gonna shovel the coal from the tender
when the gravy train is a wreck?
Who's gonna? Who's gonna? Who's gonna? You?
Who's gonna swim in raging waters
when whirlpools pull them down?
Who's gonna save someone from drowning
when insolvency floods the town?
Who's gonna show the way to repair things?
Who's gonna cheer when the fat lady sings?
Who's gonna float the ark in the flooding?
Where is a Noah when so many play the clown?
Who's gonna pull the welfare wagon
when everybody wants to ride?
Who's gonna wear the bridle and harness
and feel the whip on his hide?
Who's gonna lead when leaders can't?
Who's gonna huff and puff and pant?
Who's gonna pull the welfare wagon?
It's time now. You decide.
Who's gonna? Who's gonna? Who's gonna? You?
The Forgotten Envoi: " 'Why not come and chat with me,' said the Grasshopper, 'instead of toiling and moiling in that way?' 'I am helping to lay up food for the winter,' said the Ant, 'and recommend you to do the same.' 'Why bother about winter?' said the Grasshopper; 'we have got plenty of food at present.' But the Ant went on its way and continued its toil. When the winter came the Grasshopper found itself dying of hunger, while it saw the ants distributing, every day, corn and grain from the stores they had collected in the summer. Then the Grasshopper knew... It is best to prepare for the days of necessity." Aesop (sixth century BC)
A Centuries Old Envoi: "The more opportunities there are in a Society for some persons to live upon the toil of others, and the less those others may enjoy the fruits of their work themselves, the more is diligence killed, the former become insolent, the latter despairing, and both negligent." Anders Chydenius (1729-1803) in "The National Gain," §20, 1765.
The Silly Symphony Envoi: "Oh the world owes me a living / Deedle dardle doodle deedle dum," in "The World Owes Me a Living" by Leigh Harline and Larry Morey, in Disney's The Grasshopper and the Ants, 1934.
Couplet: They saved; I didn't. Now I require their share. / If I cannot take it, the system is proved unfair. (gb)
Addendum of Pulling the US Welfare Wagon in 2014: "This year, 70% of all the money the federal government spends will be in the form of direct payments to individuals, an all-time high. In effect, the government has become primarily a massive money-transfer machine, taking $2.6 trillion from some and handing it back out to others. These government transfers now account for 15% of GDP, another all-time high. In 1991, direct payments accounted for less than half the budget and 10% of GDP. What's more, the cost of these direct payments is exploding. Even after adjusting for inflation, they've shot up 29% under Obama. ...a surprisingly large amount of federal money is handed out to wealthy Americans through Social Security, Medicare, farm subsidies, unemployment benefits, conservation programs, disaster payments and other programs. An IBD analysis found that the richest 1% of Americans, in fact, receive roughly $10 billion each year in federal checks." In "70% Of U.S. Spending Is Writing Checks To Individuals," by John Merline, Investors Business Daily, 10 March 2014.
Addendum of Soon-to-be Bankrupt Puerto Rico in 2015: " 'It’s hard to quit and start over but I have no choice,' said Puente, who was born in Bayamón. 'My kids are worried and ask many questions but they understand. We don’t even have money to go to the movies. The cost of living is too high. The government gives money to the people who don’t work, to those doing drugs, living on welfare,' she said. 'I'm not willing to do that anymore.' The new sales tax — now surpassing that of any U.S. state — is just one of many measures underway to help resolve a financial crisis that has been brewing for nearly a decade." In "Economic hardships in Puerto Rico spur a mass exodus to the U.S. mainland," by Nancy San Martin, Miami Herald, 6 July 2015.
Addendum for the UK: "Britain cannot possibly afford its welfare state for much longer. Most people do not realise that state handouts (£207 billion a year) mop up every penny we pay in income tax (£155 billion a year). As we are more or less bankrupt as a country, such generosity is not noble but plain idiotic. Yet we will not stop doing it. Change is politically impossible. The new political elite, who hope to buy votes and power through handing out other people’s money, will not stop doing so until that money runs out." In "Britain can no long afford to pay the extortionate cost of the welfare state," by Peter Hitchens, Daily Mail UK, 13 January 2013.
Addendum for France: "'Our social system in France alone has accumulated more than 100 billion euros in debt, and it just isn't viable anymore,' he says. 'Today it survives thanks to one thing: France's AAA credit rating and our ability to keep borrowing to pay for the social programs.'" In "Can The European Welfare State Survive?" by Eleanor Beardsley, NPR, 14 July 2010
Addendum for Detroit: "Close to six in 10 children in Detroit live in poverty, a 65 percent increase in just over a decade, findings released by Data Driven Detroit found. An exodus of families with children that led to the city's 25 percent population loss between 2000 and 2010 resulted in Detroit's most vulnerable being left behind, the 2012 State of Detroit's Child report published this week said." In "Study: 60 percent of Detroit kids live in poverty" by Serena Maria Daniels, The Detroit News, 25 January 2013 [ 2 ]
Addendum for Illinois: "The debt crisis has been exacerbated by chronic legislative borrowing of pension assets to cover daily expenses. It’s like a family borrowing from its home equity every month to buy food." In "Illinois has a debt crisis, not a pension crisis," St. Louis Post-Dispatch, 31 December 2012 [ 3 ]
Addendum for Puerto Rico: "Ratings company Moody's on Tuesday slashed Puerto Rico's debt rating by three notches into even deeper junk status after the US territory passed a debt-restructuring law. Moody's Investors Service cut the rating to 'B2' from 'Ba2' and said the outlook was negative, indicating further downgrades were possible. Now dubbed the 'Greece of the Caribbean,' the archipelago is, like Greece, reeling under massive debt. Over the past decade, the commonwealth's debt has doubled to nearly $70 billion and investors are growing increasingly worried the government is running out of cash." In "Moody's pushes Puerto Rico debt deep into junk status," Agence France Presse, 1 July 2014.
Adden-dumbest: "Gov. Jerry Brown's new budget presented a plan to pay back nearly $28 billion owed, but various sources estimate the state's debt at hundreds of billions." In "California's debt still a heavy cloud over state's future," by Evan Halper and Chris Megerian, Los Angeles Times, 13 January 2013
Revolutionary Thinking of a German Sort: "German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned on Tuesday that failure to win the battle against youth unemployment could tear Europe apart, and dropping the continent's welfare model in favour of tougher U.S. standards would spark a revolution. Germany, along with France, Spain and Italy, backed urgent action to rescue a generation of young Europeans who fear they will not find jobs, with youth unemployment in the EU standing at nearly one in four, more than twice the adult rate." In "Germany fears revolution if Europe scraps welfare model," Reuters, 28 May 2013. [ 4 ]
Addendum by the Numbers: "Nationwide, our study found that the wage-equivalent value of benefits for a mother and two children ranged from a high of $60,590 in Hawaii to a low of $11,150 in Idaho. In 33 states and the District of Columbia, welfare pays more than an $8-an-hour job. In 12 states and DC, the welfare package is more generous than a $15-an-hour job. Of course, not everyone on welfare gets all seven of the benefits in our study. But, for many recipients — particularly the 'long-term' dependents — welfare clearly pays substantially more than an entry-level job. To be clear: There is no evidence that people on welfare are lazy. Indeed, surveys of them consistently show their desire for a job. But they’re also not stupid. If you pay them more not to work than they can earn by working, many will choose not to work. " In "When welfare pays better than work," by Michael Tanner, NYPost, 18 August 2013.
Addendum of Welfare Fraud from Maine: "They may be on welfare, but that doesn’t stop them from vacationing. According to an analysis of the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program, Maine welfare cash has been spent in every other state in the Union, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands." In "Maine Welfare Cash Spent in All 50 States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands," by Steve Robinson, Maine Wire, 14 June 2014.
Addendum of Welfare Fraud from Massachusetts: "Massachusetts recipients used welfare benefits in all 50 states and Puerto Rico in the past year, according to the letter. EBT card users spent more than $3.3 million in food stamps and EBT cash in Florida and more than $25,000 in the Virgin Islands, said Monahan in the letter, citing new policies put in place last year to crack down on welfare fraud. Almost $6,000 was spent in Alaska, $357,000 in California and $25,000 in Hawaii, the letter states." In "Mass. EBT cardholders spent $50M out of state," by Erin Smith, Boston Herald, 14 June 2014.
Addendum of Welfare Fraud from New York: "...when recipients of aid meant to be spent on necessities such as food, clothing and shelter reward the taxpayers’ generosity by abusing these benefits on booze and porn, they not only waste money. Not only do they bring discredit on these programs, they put those who really do need the help in jeopardy." In "The erotic EBT card," by Post Editorial Board, New York Post, 1 February 2014.
Addendum of Welfare Fraud from Louisiana: "In Mansfield and Springhill at two Walmarts, shelves were cleared during the outage as some shoppers spent beyond their EBT limits. Scenes of shopping carts piled high with items were captured on video and spread on the Internet and newscasts around the country. The carts, full of items, were later abandoned in some stores once balances were restored." In "State says it will try to sanction those who abused EBT cards during outage," WWL Television, Louisiana. 30 October 2013.
Addendum of Welfare Fraud from Georgia: "Strip clubs, liquor stores, and casinos -- these are just some of the places where we found money meant for needy kids was being spent. Electronic Benefits cards, which work in ATMs or can be used like a debit card, were being cashed out in these places. The cards are loaded up with your tax dollars and are meant to being used to feed and clothe needy kids." In "Lawmakers crack down on EBT card abuse after 11Alive investigation," by 11Alive Staff, WXIA Television, Atlanta, 4 March 2014.
Addendum by More Numbers: "All told, including both the welfare recipients and the non-welfare beneficiaries, there were 151,014,000 who 'received benefits from one or more programs' in the fourth quarter of 2011. Subtract the 3,212,000 veterans, who served their country in the most profound way possible, and that leaves 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers. The 147,802,000 non-veteran benefit takers outnumbered the 86,429,000 full-time private sector workers 1.7 to 1. How much more can the 86,429,000 endure?" In "86M Full-Time Private-Sector Workers Sustain 148M Benefit Takers," by Terence P. Jeffrey, Cybercast News, 16 April 2014. [ 5 ]
Addendum of 35.4 Percent and Counting: "109,631,000 Americans lived in households that received benefits from one or more federally funded "means-tested programs" — also known as welfare — as of the fourth quarter of 2012, according to data released Tuesday by the Census Bureau. The Census Bureau has not yet reported how many were on welfare in 2013 or the first two quarters of 2014. But the 109,631,000 living in households taking federal welfare benefits as of the end of 2012, according to the Census Bureau, equaled 35.4 percent of all 309,467,000 people living in the United States at that time." In "The 35.4 Percent: 109,631,000 on Welfare," by Terrence P. Jeffrey, Cybercast News, 20 August 2014.
Addendum from Poor New Mexico: "According to New Mexico Human Services Department Secretary Sidonie Squier, the state’s Medicaid rolls will swell to 720,000, or a third of the state’s population, in the next couple of years. That would put 1.1 million New Mexicans on the two government programs. That there are so many low-income New Mexicans who qualify for Medicaid is troubling to some. 'It’s shocking, and when you add that to the outmigration of people and the lack of economic growth, it’s almost an incentive to stay poor,' said retired University of New Mexico economics professor Allen Parkman." In "Half of all New Mexicans now on Medicaid and Medicare," by Dennis Domrzalski, Albuquerque Business Journal, 22 August 2014.
Another Addendum from Illinois: "Illinois’ sluggish jobs recovery is coming at a tremendous cost. For every post-recession job created in Illinois, nearly two people have enrolled in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps. In the recession era, the number of Illinoisans dependent on food stamps has risen by 745,000. Without adequate job creation in the state, Illinois families have had no choice but to depend upon food stamps to put bread on the table. The Prairie State has had the worst recovery from the Great Recession of any state in the U.S. There are nearly 300,000 fewer Illinoisans working today than in January 2008, and 170,000 fewer payroll jobs." In "Food-stamp enrollment in Illinois outpaces job creation by nearly 2-to-1," by Michael Lucci, Illinois Policy, 16 Sep 2014.
Addendum of Rhetoric versus Reality: "Welfare programs transfer wealth from taxpayers to recipients without any thought that the recipients deserve the transfers because they are being exploited by taxpayer. Instead, coercive wealth transfers are the “compassionate” thing to do. But the rich as well as the poor see Progressive government as a source of economic support. Giant corporations receive subsidies, tax breaks, and regulatory protection even though when Progressivism was born, its core idea was to transfer from them rather than toward them. Progressivism leads to cronyism. While the idea of Progressivism was to expand the role of government to both protecting people’s rights and looking out for their economic well-being, the actual result of Progressivism has been that because it provides economic benefits to some by imposing costs on others, it violates people’s rights rather than protecting them." In "Progressivism: Rhetoric versus Reality," by Randall Holcombe, Independent Institute, 20 May 2015.
Addendum of the Coming Reality: "The Greek combination of welfarism-plus-cronyism, with a large helping of outright corruption, has long relied on other people’s money from abroad to make ends meet. But if the terms imposed by fellow Europeans for fresh loans-cum-aid have lately seemed intolerable to Greek voters, they still took the availability of fresh loans for granted. This week they are learning their right to their neighbors' money is not automatic after all—and yet, for reasons we’ll get to, don’t be surprised if there's an 11th-hour bailout. Let us not kid ourselves, the way many Europeans are kidding themselves, that Greece is entirely unique. Portugal, Italy and Spain—'core' European welfare states—already have made the same transition to dependence on external 'other people's money' to uphold their welfare systems." In "Twilight of the Euro Welfare State?" by Holman W. Jenkins, Jr., Wall Street Journal, 9 July 2015. [ 6 ]
Addendum of If We're Not Careful: " 'We have a demographic bubble that is moving into the system and we have interest rates going up and we owe a lot of debt. And if we’re not careful, we’re going to get so far under that we could be Greece'." In "Democratic Sen. McCaskill: 'We Can’t Just Start Having the Government Pay for Everything'," by Craig Millward, Cybercast News, 17 April 2017.
See: When the cash cow cashes out and a song setting of this text, Who's gonna pull the welfare wagon - (2013)
[ 1 ] One sees from the variety of quotes above that governments administering social welfare models around the world flirt with unsustainable debt. As debt crises stem in part from funding yesterday's social welfare model from tomorrow's hoped-for revenues, one sees a pervasive lack of planning for eventualities which might simply be beyond the ability of government to solve in a reasonable and peaceful manner.
To Make Matters Worse
Demographic realities begin to come into play: "The problem is however that the funding is slowly being exhausted, and not just in Germany; the fewer the young people paying into the pension funds there are, the less money there will be for the old people of tomorrow. To make matters worse, people are living much longer than they used to, meaning that they draw their pensions over a much longer period of time.
Furthermore old people need much more medical care, causing the cost of treatment to rise and putting more strain on the health insurance companies. A vicious circle?" In "One for All, All For One? The Challenges Facing Europe’s Social Welfare Systems," Volker Thomas as translated by Paul McCarthy, Goethe-Institut e. V., March 2009.
In addition to demographic eventualities which funding by borrowing simply did not address, one finds a growing public awareness that problems might be unmanageable. "We are living through the death throes of an ideal, a dream which has turned into a nightmare – it is the end of the social democratic welfare model. Reversing this process will be painful because the expansion of state responsibility over so many aspects of our lives in recent decades has gone hand-in-hand with a diminution in personal responsibility – after all, responsibility is a zero-sum game.
Why Is The West Bankrupt?
When people have got used to the idea that they are no longer held responsible for their health, their financial solvency, their housing, their own or their children’s education, they start to disown responsibility for everything – they look for someone else to carry the can even when the state is either unwilling or unable." In "Why is the West bankrupt?" by Laurence Copeland, Reuters, 8 August 2011.
Academics now reconfirm that something is unsustainable. "The future of the welfare state is one of massive, structural reform. It will be brought about by two realizations: that government spending has reached unsustainable levels, and that current welfare models are crumbling relics of a bygone era." In "Reform: The Future of the Welfare State," by Yacine Fares, Harvard International Review, 25 February 2013. This sentiment is echoed elsewhere: "Even in the welfare safe havens of the Nordic countries, the welfare state is in decline." In "Whittling away at welfare?" by Jockum Hildén, Helsinki University Bulletin, February 2011.
The now-infamous Bernie Madoff said: "...it's all just one big lie." Some begin to tally the interlocking public debt and public debt instruments and find what is basic check kiting, a scheme which must collapse. "But there remains no clear consensus, at least outside Germany, that the European way of welfare itself is bankrupt, that it never worked as well as its defenders pretended, and what we're witnessing is the coming due of all the checks kited over decades to keep it afloat." In "Europe's Bankrupt Welfare State," Wall Street Journal, 12 January 2013.
[ 2 ] "...since his [Obama] inauguration, the US has generated just 841,000 jobs through November 2012, a number is more than dwarfed by the 17.3 million new food stamps and disability recipients added to the rolls in the past 4 years. And since the start of the depression in December 2007, America has seen those on food stamps and disability increase by 21.8 million, while losing 3.6 million jobs. End result: total number of food stamp recipients as of November: 47.7 million, an increase of 141,000 from the prior month, and reversing the brief downturn in October, while total US households on food stamps just hit an all time record of 23,017,768, an increase of 73,952 from the prior month. The cost to the government to keep these 23 million households content and not rising up? $281.21 per month per household." In "Households On Food stamps Rise To New Record," by Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge, 11 February 2013.
Rising Dependency and Rising Poverty
Another report notes rising poverty in America. "A record number of Americans are using food stamps, known today as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Despite official proclamations that the recession has ended and an economic recovery is underway, families are turning to SNAP benefits in huge numbers. The working poor comprise a growing number of food stamp recipients, and about half of those receiving benefits are children. Enrollment in the food stamp program has increased by 70 percent since 2008, to 47.8 million people as of December 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported Thursday. The biggest factor driving the increase is the stagnating job market and a rising poverty rate. This means that a staggering 15 percent of the US population receives food stamp benefits, nearly double the rate of 1975." In "US food stamp use swells to a record 47.8 million," by Kate Randall, World Socialist Web Site, 29 March 2013.
This report is echoed by many while the political classes, left and right, increase their wealth: "But another aspect has changed even more dramatically: The number of Americans tapping into the social-welfare program is soaring. Enrollment in SNAP has surged 70% since 2008, reaching a record 47.8 million Americans in December. Even more shocking, that means 15% of the country receives the benefits, nearly double the rate as in 1975, when the U.S. suffered from soaring inflation, a recession and an oil crisis." In "More Americans than ever using food stamps," by Aimee Picchi, 28 March 2013.
For a contrast to the "soaring" poverty in America under progressive leadership, see: Fat cats richly rich of late - a comparative and sourced criticism of the nouveau "fair share" folks.
[ 3 ] "The early findings of an ongoing review of the Illinois Medicaid program revealed that half the people enrolled weren’t even eligible. The state insisted it’s not that bad but Medicaid is on the federal government’s own list of programs at high risk of waste and abuse. Now, a review of the Illinois Medicaid program confirms massive waste and fraud. A review was ordered more than a year ago-- because of concerns about waste and abuse. So far, the state says reviewers have examined roughly 712-thousand people enrolled in Medicaid, and found that 357-thousand, or about half of them shouldn't have received benefits. After further review, the state decided that the percentage of people who didn't qualify was actually about one out of four. 'It says that we've had a system that is dysfunctional. Once people got on the rolls, there wasn't the will or the means to get them off,' said Senator Bill Haines of Alton." In "Audit reveals half of people enrolled in Ill. Medicaid program not eligible," by Craig Cheatham, KMOV News-4, 4 November 2013.
[ 4 ] The now publicly-stated concern over "revolution" is sadly amusing, given that the adherents of borrowing from tomorrow to pay for today have in part fanned such flames.
One reads, "The enormous budget deficits of those European nations that have been most damaged by the crisis have forced their political leaders to go beyond merely debating the issue. They have taken action in order to convince global markets that these countries' economies are sustainable and solvent, given the danger that they may no longer be able to finance their needs.
To settle governmental accounts, nations such as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece have decided to cut public spending in areas considered basic to the welfare state: health care, education and social security, such as unemployment subsidies and pensions." In "Reforming the European Welfare State," Wharton Public Policy and Management, 6 March 2013.
One notes that among the many being funded by the political state are all -- all, without exception -- the political leadership, irrespective of party and political stance. Therefore, by definition these often very highly paid "leaders" are in fact inside the social welfare costs and add to the costs by the measure of their remuneration in salary and expenses, which begs the question of whether than can constrain themselves. History suggests that answer is no. For this one may reasonably argue that politicians of today are merely the new aristocracy of rent seekers, also riding high on public funds.
While those of a particular and brand name political bent will argue for their "ism" or party's view, the overall question being put forward by a combination of the debt crisis coupled to growing economic lethargy in various social welfare states to questions of sustainability all converge in the question: "Who's gonna pull the welfare wagon when everybody wants to ride?"
[ 5 ] Thankfully, the politics of opposing cutting welfare fraud is simple. A tailor-made argument is created: the other guy wants to take away your money.
Voting Yourself Largesse is Fraud and Failure
There is an amusing hubbub about the misattributed quote: " 'A democracy cannot exist as a permanent form of government. It can only exist until the majority discovers it can vote itself largess out of the public treasury. After that, the majority always votes for the candidate promising the most benefits with the result the democracy collapses because of the loose fiscal policy ensuing, always to be followed by a dictatorship, then a monarchy.' The earliest known attribution of this quote was December 9, 1951, in what appears to be an op-ed piece in The Daily Oklahoman under the byline Elmer T. Peterson, Elmer T. Peterson (9 December 1951). 'This is the Hard Core of Freedom'. Daily Oklahoman: p. 12A.. The quote has not been found in Tytler's work." In "Alexander Fraser Tytler," Wikipedia article, n. d.
As to some of hubbub, one reads from an article lampooning the misattribution: "We hate to rain on anyone's pity party, and don't mean to rub conservatives' faces in the results. But as journalists, we're always game for a good round of fact-checking. This doesn't mean conservatives have to stop spreading fear about democracy's impending doom—just that they should maybe do some quick Googling before attaching fancy dead guy names to their feelings of post-election rage." In "Sorry, Conservatives, De Tocqueville Did Not Call the 2012 Election," by David Wagner, The Wire, 8 November 2012.
One notes the wordy political opinions often do not deal with actual numbers, such as the above cited "...70% of all the money the federal government spends will be in the form of direct payments to individuals, an all-time high." While one may play the wordy game of lampooning a misattribution, it becomes quickly a case of shooting the messenger. How so?
Self-Interest Versus Rule by a Single Will
One finds a similar assertion which is no misattribution: "It is not, perhaps, unreasonable to conclude, that a pure and perfect democracy is a thing not attainable by man, constituted as he is of contending elements of vice and virtue, and ever mainly influenced by the predominant principle of self-interest. It may, indeed, be confidently asserted, that there never was that government called a republic, which was not ultimately ruled by a single will, and, therefore, (however bold may seem the paradox,) virtually and substantially a monarchy." Tytler, Lord Woodhouselee, Alexander Fraser (1854). Universal History: From the Creation of the World to the Beginning of the Eighteenth Century, Vol. I. Petridge and Company. p. 216. Sourced via Wikipedia.
The "predominant principle of self-interest" for anyone receiving public funds includes "elements of vice and virtue." Moreover, such critics as David Wagner above obfuscate on the nature of conservatives, when one notes that from Massachusetts to New York, one finds liberal politicians proposing the same anti-fraud measures to correct problems as have conservatives. Pity party? Those who have misused public funds and therefore public trust, if and when they lose "benefits," will constitute such a party. And it will probably be a political party, because basic arithmetic realities do not adjust well to the words of politics. To further survey numbers versus the empty air of words, please see No correct arithmetic .
[ 6 ] In a confluence of narratives, one finds the "combination of welfarism-plus-cronyism, with a large helping of outright corruption" -- a common description of many governments in this moment of history -- linked to German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble's concern that today's and future potential recipients of welfare might spark a "revolution," which is an image of the grasshoppers uniting in revolt against the ants of Aesop's millennia old fable.
The image is not far-fetched, given the many revolutions which one finds throughout the 20th century. But many of these revolutions have only ended in "new" governments' collapse, or in poor nations governed by inept and often corrupt political leadership.
Promise Never Fully Met
The promise of the welfare state is much like the promise of socialism, which has regularly resulted in murderous and then collapsed governments, or governments defeated in wars. The interesting feature to the politics of all these various strains of inept social welfare states rushing into economic crisis is that they all are ultimately missing a key ingredient for their citizenry -- greater freedom. The early 20th century anarchists foresaw this, like Goldman and Mühsam, both cited elsewhere in these footnotes to rhymes.
Prosperity has never been broadly shared through government, in the long arch of history. This is why the socialists rarely wish to examine the issue of societal debt. Today whole societies have been burdened with debt, as the Greek crisis of 2015 shows well. Abrogating the debt assures that future lending will be far more cautious and more costly, if from private funds, or dangerous if from other's governments going farther into their own debt to fund debt relief by borrowing. The illogic and innumerate behavior herein also demonstrates that the world's political leaders are indeed foolish.
Pretty darn fucked
"Pretty darn fucked. I've been hanging around Tim Geithner too long." A response to late night television humorist Bill Maher, asking in a television show segment, "How fucked are we?" in "Former Obama Economic Adviser on Downgrade," Christina Romer, former Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers in the Obama administration, August 2011.
Pretty darn fucked,
Chunk chicken clucked
As a cocky rooster preened.
Such clever words
Are much like turds
In a barnyard never cleaned.
Pretty darn fucked,
This hen's product
Which she'd laid, and then weaned.
Her clever chat
Weighed what she'd shat,
And yet then rude demeaned.
Pretty darn fucked
Was always bucked
Up as cackles careened.
Her clever stance
Was proven askance,
And plain sense was contravened.
Envoi: "It’s a recession when your neighbor loses his job; it’s a depression when you lose your own." Harry S. Truman (1884-1972)
Addendum of Christina's Expertise: "Christina Romer, the chair of the Council of Economic Advisers appointed by US President Barack Obama, doesn't like to hear the comparison with the past. The Great Depression was Romer's field of expertise as an economic historian at the University of California, Berkeley, before she came to the White House under the new administration. Now Romer has the feeling that history moved to Washington with her, that the past is alive once again and, on some days, is already beginning to look like the present. 'In the last few months, I have found myself uttering the words 'worst since the Great Depression" far too often',' she said in a recent speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington. She went on to repeat all of the depressing references to the past: 'The worst 12 month job loss since the Great Depression; the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression; the worst rise in home foreclosures since the Great Depression'." In "Current Crisis Shows Uncanny Parallels to Great Depression," Spiegel Online, 29 April 2009.
Addendum of Worse and Worse in 2021: "Former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers warned that the U.S. is suffering from the 'least responsible' macroeconomic policy in four decades, pointing the finger at both Democrats and Republicans for creating 'enormous' risks." In "Summers Sees Worst US Macroeconomic Policy in 40 Years," Bloomberg News, 21 March 2021.
See: Debt , and Too much debt , and also below: Kick the can
Kick the can - most governments' plan
"We have learnt from the financial crisis that one should not place too much faith in financial vehicles with three-letter acronyms. But that is what we are doing with this European equivalent of a late-period subprime mortgage CDO. We are not just 'kicking' any old 'can down the road' any more. This is a can of explosives.'" Wolfgang Münchau, Associate Editor of the Financial Times. July 2011
Let's kick the can down the road;
It's always seemed to work before.
That's what such tidy words are for.
If that kicked can takes another hit,
It can roll along some further bit.
You'll have bought yourself another day;
Before it blows up, walk away.
Or kick that can, as you've before,
And take a chance; the risks ignore.
Explosives are as explosives go;
As things stand now, something's sure to blow.
All those bright little boys and girls
Are spinning round in tightening swirls.
Envoi: "Debt defaults seem to cause banking crises, and not vice versa, but we found weak evidence to suggest the presence of default-driven credit crunches in domestic markets. Finally, defaults seem to shorten the life expectancy of governments and officials in charge of the economy in a significant way." In "The Costs of Sovereign Default" by Eduardo Borensztein and Ugo Panizza, IMF Working Paper, WP/08/238
Addendum of The Chicago Way: "The committee recommended giving the administration authority to put together two major bond deals and double the city’s the line of credit to $1 billion, even as the city carries an outsized debt burden in comparison to most other major cities. Chicago carries a high debt level for bonds previously issued, and it also owes more than nearly all other major U. S cities to its pension plans to cover current obligations The Tribune’s 'Broken Bonds' highlighted the city’s habit — both under former Mayor Richard M. Daley and Emanuel — of kicking its debt obligations down the road, at a higher cost to future generations. The city took out loans, some of which won't come due for three decades, to cover short-term costs." In "Emanuel seeks to borrow $900 million," by Hal Dardick and Jason Grotto, Chicago Tribune, 3 February 2014. [ 1 ]
Addendum of the European Experience: "Sovereign debt in many advanced economies is approaching historical highs. The median debt-to-GDP ratio in advanced economies rose from about 45 percent at the start of the crisis to about 74 percent by the end of 2012—a level not seen since the years just after World War II. The debt-to-GDP ratio at mid-2013 is about 90 percent or higher for many Group of Seven economies and a number of euro area economies. Debt ratios in these countries are forecast to peak in 2013–14 at levels some 40 percent of GDP higher than their precrisis levels." In "Reducing Public Debt When Growth Is Slow," by S. Ali Abbas, Bernardin Akitoby, Jochen Andritzky, Helge Berger, Takuji Komatsuzaki, and Justin Tyson, International Monetary Fund, 2014. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Pointing to a Crisis: "The total burden of world debt, private and public, has risen from 160 per cent of national income in 2001 to almost 200 per cent after the crisis struck in 2009 and 215 per cent in 2013. 'Contrary to widely held beliefs, the world has not yet begun to delever and the global debt to GDP ratio is still growing, breaking new highs,' the report said. Luigi Buttiglione, one of the report’s authors and head of global strategy at hedge fund Brevan Howard, said: 'Over my career I have seen many so-called miracle economies – Italy in the 1960s, Japan, the Asian tigers, Ireland, Spain and now perhaps China – and they all ended after a build-up of debt'." In "Geneva Report warns record debt and slow growth point to crisis," by Chris Giles, Financial Times, 28 September 2014.
Addendum of the Plain Truth: "The global economy could be stuck in a weak growth rut for a long time as countries struggle to pull free from a past of high debt and unemployment, the head of the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday." In "IMF's Lagarde says global recovery 'not good enough'," by Anna Yukhananov, Reuters, 2 October 2014. [ 3 ]
Addendum of Seeing the Illusions: "Finnish Prime Minister Alexander Stubb told Le Monde, 'We need to put an end to illusions: it’s not the public sector that creates jobs. To believe that injecting billions of euros [into the economy] is the key to growth is an idea of the past.' Le Monde: Stubb." In "Daily Press Summary," 3 October 2014.
Addendum of Almost Junk Bonds and Huge Public Debt: "Standard & Poors on Friday cut Italy's sovereign credit rating from BBB to BBB-, just one notch above junk, citing the country's weak growth and poor competitiveness which undermine the sustainability of its huge public debt. The downgrade is a blow for Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who came to office in February pledging an ambitious reform agenda to lift Italy out of recession, but has seen the economy continue to shrink." In "S&P cuts Italy sovereign rating to BBB-, just above junk," Reuters, 5 December 2014. [ 4 ]
Addendum of Being Detrimental to Growth: "Many studies have shown that there is a negative relationship between government size and economic growth after a certain point of government participation in the economy is reached. The government has as its core functions the protection of person and property, establishing the rule of law, the sanctity of contract, and perhaps the creation of a limited set of public goods. However, growing above these functions, the government is likely to be detrimental to economic growth." In "What is the Optimum Size of Government," by Dimitar Chobanov and Adriana Mladenova, Institute for Market Economics, August 2009. [ 5 ]
Addendum of Getting Bigger and Bigger: " 'This is getting bigger and bigger,' said Marc Ostwald from Monument. 'They kept kicking the can down the road but it is finally catching up with them, and Heta won’t be the last. There is a whiff of the Irish situation in this story. Carinthia stood as guarantor for debts that it could not possibly cover,' he said. There are many regions that could slide into difficulties, including Belgium's Wallonia, or the Italian region of Sicily." In "Eurozone faces first regional bankruptcy as debt debacle stalks Austria's Carinthia," by Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, Telegraph UK, 3 March 2015. [ 6 ]
Addendum of Admitting to Playing Kick the Can: "Sen. Ben Hueso, D-San Diego, said the Senate should have sent the Assembly a more thought-out proposal. 'We are not debating single payer today because we are not debating a funding source,' Hueso said. 'We are not debating delivery of service. We are not debating where the health savings will come from. None of that is in the bill. This is the Senate kicking the can down the road to the Assembly and asking the Assembly to fill in all the rest of the blanks'." In "Government-run universal health care wins vote in California Senate," by Taryn Luna, Sacramento Bee, 1 June 2017.
See above: Pretty darn fucked
[ 1 ] The state mirrors the city, as Illinois is become the state with the most under-funded public pension scheme in the nation. One reads: "...liabilities tripled in the eight years through 2012, according to the report. 'Despite the robust investment returns since 2004, annual growth in unfunded pension liabilities has outstripped these returns,' Moody’s said. 'This growth is due to inadequate pension contributions, stemming from a variety of actuarial and funding practices, as well as the sheer growth of pension liabilities as benefit accruals accelerate with the passage of time, salary increases and additional years of service.' U.S. states and cities are contending with underfunded worker retirement systems. The 18-month recession that ended in June 2009 wiped out asset values and forced cuts to contributions. Now, liabilities are crowding out spending for services, roads and schools." In "Largest Public Pensions Face $2 Trillion Hole, Moody’s Says," by Brian Chappatta, Bloomberg, 25 September 2014.
Shortfall as the Fall Is Short
The situation is explicable to all except politicians expert at "kick the can." One cannot ignore underfunding without experiencing the resultant outcome.
The arithmetic reality is becoming ever more visible as the political rhetoric designed to hide it weakens. One reads: "States and cities have also used accounting gimmicks to mask the widening shortfall, including 'asset-smoothing' that lets them spread out the impact of the market downturn. They've also used rosy scenarios to inflate their estimated investment returns. Unlike corporate accounting rules, the rules for government accounting let pension fund managers just pick a return number that makes their future liabilities look smaller." In "Public pensions face $2 trillion hole: Moody's," by John W. Schoen, CNBC, 26 September 2014.
The outcome for the worst and best performing state pension funds places Illinois atop the heap as the worst of all. Moreover one finds the regression -- for one cannot call this "progress" -- changing rapidly over recent years. An except from one report evidences the downward cycle over some years, which of course makes the resulting problem ever greater and its solution ever more painful.
One reads a plain truth: "Illinois has a chronic, structural fiscal problem so huge that it cannot be eliminated by increases in economic growth alone, increases in taxes alone, or—alas— aggressive pension changes alone." In "Fiscal Projections: Illinois Still Has Serious Fiscal Problems After December 2013 Pension Law Changes," by Richard Dye, Nancy Hudspeth and David Merriman, The Fiscal Futures Project, Institute of Government and Public Affairs, University of Illinois, 2014.
What Has Been Known For Quite Some Time
Awareness grows with politics in last place: "A new study from Moody’s Investors Service, the bond credit rating business, reports that the level of unfunded liabilities for the 25 largest state and local U.S. public pensions is now more than $2 trillion. The gap is more than three times higher than it was just a decade ago. The rapidly rising pension gap is not caused by the weak economic recovery. Average investment returns for the 25 biggest public pensions systems over the past decade were only two-tenths of a percentage point below expectations. Instead, Moody’s identified inadequate pension contributions and the inevitable demographic shift towards an aging population are the main factors behind the growing pension gap. The report acknowledges what has been known for quite some time — pension forecasts use actuarial tricks to hide the dire storms that are about to hit pension systems." In "A wake-up call for public pension systems," by Jason Russell, Washington Examiner, 3 October 2014.
A column in Chicago's own Chicago Tribune reports this fiscal mess: "Based on the size of its unfunded pension liabilities, Chicago is in the worst shape, with more than $62 billion worth of unfunded pension promises. Chicago has less than 33 cents set aside for every dollar promised. The Chicago Municipal Employees plan is estimated to run out of assets in seven years, since it is only 20.3 percent funded. The police fund (funded at 25.4 percent) and the firefighter's fund (funded at 21.7 percent) will not be far behind. The Public School Teachers' Pension and Retirement Fund is in slightly better shape with 51.6 percent funding." In "COLUMN: Don't count on that government pension," by Terry Savage, Chicago Tribune, 17 April 2017.
Consider all that Ill annoy - punning ploy.
By comparison the Illinois's dire straits, Wisconsin's public pension plan rates best, funded at over 99 percent of its future needs. While the politicians will tell us this is an intractable political issue, it can only be said to be so specifically because political choices were made every year to underfund, in order that these same politicians could spend money elsewhere.
Given the actuarial certainty that underfunding at this level threatens future pension recipients as it does a tax-paying public, one wonders -- what it will take for the average Joe to awaken to the basic truth that their elected officials have sold them out by degree each year?
One might compare and contrast: Dazzling - not economically frazzling.
On the Overburdened Hook
One fiscal reason for the funding problems in Illinois is blatant political favoritism for the few. One reads, "Thanks to a loophole created by the Illinois legislature, retired teacher union leaders are getting pension credit for the years they did union work after leaving the classroom. The arrangement has put taxpayers on the hook for millions of dollars in retirement benefits unrelated to teaching, and further drained an already overburdened state pension fund. Collectively, 40 retired union leaders draw $408,136 per month in Illinois teachers’ retirement pension, or $4.9 million per year, according to data generated at the request of The Washington Times by OpenTheBooks.com, an online portal aggregating 1.3 billion lines of federal, state and local spending records." In "Loophole lets teacher union bosses collect state pensions at taxpayer expense," by Kelly Riddell, Washington Times, 9 October 2014.
The simple math: 40 "retired teacher union leaders" divided into over $400,000 per month means these pensions are on average $100,000 pensions. The private sector loses significantly by comparison, but also do most retired teachers.
How the Trick Works
For more details to evidence that this problem has lingered over years, one reads: "Preckwinkle's one day of subbing qualified him to become a participant in the state teachers pension fund, allowing him to pick up 16 years of previous union work and nearly five more years since he joined. He's 59, and at age 60 he'll be eligible for a state pension based on the four-highest consecutive years of his last 10 years of work. His paycheck fluctuates as a union lobbyist, but pension records show his earnings in the last school year were at least $245,000. Based on his salary history so far, he could earn a pension of about $108,000 a year, more than double what the average teacher receives. His pay for one day as a substitute was $93, according to records of the Illinois Teachers Retirement System. Over the course of their lifetimes, both men stand to receive more than a million dollars each from a state pension fund that has less than half of the assets it needs to cover promises made to tens of thousands of public school teachers." In "2 teachers union lobbyists teach for a day to qualify for hefty pensions," by Ray Long and Jason Grotto, Chicago Tribune, 22 October 2011.
Kick the can one more time? Bloomberg reported in February 2014 the underfunding for Illinois for 2013 was down to 39.3 percent.
Kick the Can
Expert opinion? "Jeffrey Brown is a professor of finance at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and says the current crisis is the realization of many years of mismanaged retirement programs. 'For decades, the state government has under-invested in the future and allowed the pension programs to accrue debt without a real way to make up the difference,' Brown said. 'They’ve kicked the can for quite some time and now they’re realizing that’s not a sustainable way of handling things.' According to Moody’s, the total net pension liability for the state’s public retirement systems is just short of $200 billion. The pension system is under-funded and over-paying, Brown added, and something has to give." In "Moody’s reveals deep trouble with Illinois pension system," by Brady Cremeens, Illinois Watchdog, 9 September 2014.
Consider: Kick the can - most governments' plan.
The Biggest Joke
But being unsustainable seems without cost to the politicians on the way to insolvency. One reads: "The biggest joke of the costing and funding process is the so-called annual required contribution (ARC) that the actuarial valuation is supposed to determine. In reality, there is nothing 'required' about the ARC – most jurisdictions can contribute absolutely nothing and face no legal repercussions, at least in the short run. And when state and local governments don’t make the ARC, they rarely look at, let alone disclose, the long-term cost of postponing the payment and how much more expensive the benefits become as a result. Just look at Illinois, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, which owe some $300 billion in unfunded liabilities between them, or at the sad condition of once glorious cities like Philadelphia, Chicago and Detroit, teetering towards or already in bankruptcy." In "Why public pension plans are left unfunded," by Iliya Atansov, Public Sector, 23 October 2014.
The process of moving towards bankruptcy seems to move slowly, but in the end rushes on. One notes the acceleration now at hand for Illinois: "The fiscally delinquent state has accrued a $111 billion unfunded pension liability—a 75% increase from five years ago—in addition to $56 billion in debt for retiree health benefits. Incredibly, the state is spending more of its general fund on pensions than on K-12 education. One in four tax dollars pays for retirement benefits. Last year the state had to defer $7 billion in bills to contractors. This is after Democrats in 2011 raised income and corporate taxes by 67% and 30%, respectively. Little wonder that Illinois has the nation’s worst credit rating." In "Illinois’s Pension Absurdity," Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal, 28 November 2014.
The Free Fall Absurdity
The next step in the "absurdity" has been revealed: "Chicago's finances are already sagging under an unfunded pension liability Moody's has pegged at $32 billion and that is equal to eight times the city's operating revenue. The city has a $300 million structural deficit in its $3.53 billion operating budget and is required by an Illinois law to boost the 2016 contribution to its police and fire pension funds by $550 million. Cost-saving reforms for the city's other two pension funds, which face insolvency in a matter of years, are being challenged in court by labor unions and retirees." In "Chicago nears fiscal free fall with latest downgrade,' by Karen Pierog, Reuters, 28 February 2015.
Three years later, the city, county and state governments have failed to make any impact on the accelerating problem. One reads the many questions which Chicago's major newspaper states plainly: "Our question is, at what point will taxpayers conclude the debts are insurmountable? That taxing and borrowing won’t save the city’s pension funds? That sticking hardworking taxpayers with the bill, due to irresponsible politicians, won’t fly anymore? That despite all the additional money taxpayers are contributing, the unfunded liability of many funds continues to grow? That urgent change is needed? Those are the questions. We’re still waiting for politicians in Springfield, in Chicago’s City Hall and in other governments statewide to supply the answers. We don’t know whether those will involve further reductions in public services to pay pension costs, or amending the Illinois Constitution to change its pension benefits guarantee, or maybe electing new politicians to replace those whose generosity with other people’s money created these enormous pension debts." In "Chicago's pension precipice: It's worse than you thought." by Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune, 3 April 2018.
Something has to give. In the case of Detroit, it has, resulting in bankruptcy proceedings. See: Voted - not sugarcoated for more on that case. In the case of other government entities, it will.
[ 2 ] The gathering of data and calculations based on said date begins to show correlations between economic theories and models, annoying to the politicians.
One reads: "This analysis finds evidence for a non-linear impact of public debt on per-capita GDP growth rate across twelve euro area countries over a long period of time starting in 1970. It unveils a concave (inverted U-shape) relationship between the public debt and the economic growth rate with the debt turning point at about 90-100% of GDP. This means that a higher public debt-to-GDP ratio is associated, on average, with lower long-term growth rates at debt levels above the range of 90-100% of GDP. The long-term perspective is reinforced by the evidence of a similar impact of the public debt on the potential/trend GDP growth rate." In "The impact of high and growing government debt on economic growth," by Cristina Checherita and Philipp Rother, European Central Bank, Working Paper, No. 1237, August 2010.
Thus the data suggests a visualization, three of the six calculated by the ECB economists evidencing the form are shown below. All the forms agree in shape and relative end game:
The ECB notes: "Government debt rose considerably over the past decades and this trend was generally accompanied by an expansion in the size of governments. For many industrial countries, the growth of general government expenditure was enormous in the 20 th century. As shown in Tanzi and Schuknecht (1997), the average size of government for a group of thirteen industrial countries increased from 12% of GDP in 1913 to 43% of GDP in 1990. At the end of the period, average public debt-to-GDP ratio was 79% for the big governments, 60% for medium-seized governments and 53% for small governments."
This data gathering and calculations echo ominously the so-called Laffer Curve. One is reminded: "In economics, the Laffer curve is a representation of the relationship between possible rates of taxation and the resulting levels of government revenue. It illustrates the concept of taxable income elasticity—i.e., taxable income will change in response to changes in the rate of taxation. It postulates that no tax revenue will be raised at the extreme tax rates of 0% and 100% and that there must be at least one rate where tax revenue would be a non-zero maximum." In "Laffer curve," Wikipedia, n. d.
Those extolling massive taxation of a populace declare the Laffer Curve to be right-wing politics, and yet as one sees the mathematics of this cannot ne said to be of any political stance, per se, but rather an apolitical stance in a world in which economic reality is not malleable by words.
One reads: "When Reagan left the White House in 1989, the highest tax rate had been slashed from 70 percent in 1981 to 28 percent. (Even liberal senators such as Ted Kennedy and Howard Metzenbaum voted for those low rates.) And contrary to the claims of voodoo, the government’s budget numbers show that tax receipts expanded from $517 billion in 1980 to $909 billion in 1988 — close to a 75 percent change (25 percent after inflation). Economist Larry Lindsey has documented from IRS data that tax collections from the rich surged much faster than that. Reagan’s tax policy, and the slaying of double-digit inflation rates, helped launch one of the longest and strongest periods of prosperity in American history." In "The Laffer Curve turns 40: the legacy of a controversial idea," by Stephen Moore, Washington Post, 26 December 2014.
That the supposed right and left of American politics agreed in 1989 is being conspicuously ignored, as is the fact that in the first two years of both the Clinton and Obama administrations the tax rates could have been easily raised due to the makeup of Congress. The rates were not raised.
The Washington Post article continued: "Perhaps the most powerful vindication of the Laffer Curve comes from the many nations around the world that have successfully integrated supply-side economics into their fiscal policies. World Bank statistics reveal that almost every nation — from China to Ireland to Chile — has much lower tax rates today than in the 1970s. The average income tax rate among industrialized nations has fallen from 68 percent to less than 45 percent. The average corporate tax rate has fallen from nearly 50 percent to closer to 25 percent today. Political leaders learned from Reagan that in a globally competitive world, jobs, capital and wealth tend to migrate from high- to low-tax locations."
France's current government under Hollande passed the now withering 75 percent tax on the "rich" only to see it drive capital away and face the prospect of cancelling that tax. The Laffer Curve or some similar economic mechanism simply acted within society as had been expected by all excepting the French socialists, who made a political "calculation" without resorting to mathematics. Such is the nature of political words unsupported by real numbers.
Assert That Facts Lie
One may notice the similarity of plotted outcomes between theories and gathered data. What remains to politicians who want to further kick the growing debt can down the road to the future is to attack the data collection itself, in essence asserting that facts lie. One knows this is an ancient and yet most modern and verifiable political ploy.
See: If it's serious, you lie and the true assertion that Lying continues - government flexing its sinews.
It is obvious that a government often attempts funds itself at the highest possible percentage, and obvious that government is willing to lie about this. France is proving that the fattened state is essentially attacking its own citizenry in order to live "above" them.
Not Enough Money In The Long Run
One reads: " 'We haven’t succeeded also in downsizing the state, which is an issue because we have a social model that I approve of – I’m very much in favour of this social model – but it won’t be sustainable if the state is too big,' he added. Tirole remarked that northern European countries, as well as Canada and Australia, had proven you could keep a welfare social model with smaller government. In contrast, he said France’s 'big state' threatened its social policies because there will not be 'enough money to pay for it in the long run'." In "Economics Nobel laureate tells France to 'downsize the state'," France 24, 13 October 2014.
"Downsize the state." Early social-leaning thinkers made the distinction between society and state, noting that the two are not synonymous. Some have said the "state" actually works against society when it becomes unsustainably expensive. The collected statistic and graphs of the curves as shown above all suggest that a tipping point comes when too many demand from too few. The question is simple. "When everybody wants to ride, Who's gonna pull the welfare wagon - a Western poem.
[ 3 ] Herein one sees the very plain-as-day connection between "high debt and unemployment." As public debt to finance public services crowds out a private sector, the socialists' theory that public employment will suffice is given as the central lie. A secondary lie is that of the overwhelming bourgeois tendencies of socialist government leaders. They love money, perks and power as much as any capitalist, and use government as their means to appropriate it. See: Socialists love money .
Putting Devouring Government On a Diet
Putting aside pseudo-economic theory, the facts aggregate into the curves above. Past a certain point, government becomes too large and devours a private sector's energies. Debt grows while investment falls, regulation increases costs which are passed on to consumers who struggle to pay rising prices. Public debt, advanced as a means to fund the social welfare state, has become what the IMF rightly notes is "not good enough" for economic recovery.
The cause? Fat, fat government . The simple solution is a diet. Alas diets are difficult, are they not?
As one notes in the United States, the labor participation rate rose from 1978 to 2000, and subsequently has dropped to below the level of 1978, all the while the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates lowering unemployment rates. As less workers in an increasing population hold jobs, the only way to arrive at the PR of an estimated unemployment rate is to discount those workers no longer seeking employment actively. This is a political calculation, but one notes the shape of this curve parallels those above, as the IMF links "high debt and unemployment."
One reads: "...for those curious why the US unemployment rate just slid once more to a meager 5.9%, the lowest print since the summer of 2008, the answer is the same one we have shown every month since 2010: the collapse in the labor force participation rate, which in September slid from an already three decade low 62.8% to 62.7% - the lowest in over 36 years, matching the February 1978 lows. And while according to the Household Survey, 232,000 people found jobs, what is more disturbing is that the people not in the labor force, rose to a new record high, increasing by 315,000 to 92.6 million!" In "Labor Participation Rate Drops To 36 Year Low; Record 92.6 Million Americans Not In Labor Force," Tyler Durden, ZeroHedge, 3 October 2014.
Taking these years as markers, one notes that US debt in 1978 was $771 million. It rose in 2000 to $ 5.674 trillion, and in 2014 it is above $16.7 trillion. Fat, fat government has become ever more overweight and voracious. The numbers are not in question.
The same curve can be seen in the economic activity index for Puerto Rico in the period from 2001 to 2013, with the now clear default on its government bonds, its debt becoming unmanageable. (Source: Government Development Bank of Puerto Rico)
By summer of 2015, the government of Puerto Rico found itself Freshly out of options .
What becomes foreseeable is that clear mathematical models for government limits are being researched, refined and well documented. This suggests that the long-lived Left-Right political model fails significantly. No correct arithmetic can justify the massive failure of "progressive" politics to finance its way out of debt.
Debt + Debt = More Debt
Adding more debt to debt creates greater debt.
Making deficits "smaller" but still using deficit spending creates greater debt.
The only available method to stop growth of debt is to, at the minimum, stop spending more than actual revenue allows. The next step is to pay down public debt. Or to abrogate the debt outright. This is likely as is proven by the certain regression of the so-called "progressive" plan, to Default on Debt - the game of centuries.
In the interim? Kick the can until it explodes.
[ 4 ] One notes the odd construction of the news article, in which the conundrum of the chicken and the egg fails to note which comes first, government debt or a shrinking economy. The two constructions are opposites. Either massive government debt causes loss, or economic loss causes massive government debt. The reality is that both are true. But which begins the cycle?
Jargon Meant to Obscure the Obvious
This answer is obvious, for with small or even non-existent public debt, there would be no question of sustainability of debt. That the logic is so plain has long been obscured by political jargon, promises to a public which are becoming ever more expensive a burden on society itself, and the self-serving nature of government itself, which has always alleged that within the realm of government, Naturally no one steals anything .
[ 5 ] One might inquire then, why do governments grow is size beyond what is optimal? The answer lies in rent-seeking as a prime function of governments' members themselves.
One reads: "In many market-oriented economies, government restrictions upon economic activity are pervasive facts of life. These restrictions give rise to rents of a variety of forms, and people often compete for the rents. Sometimes, such competition is perfectly legal. In other instances, rent seeking takes other forms, such as bribery, corruption, smuggling, and black markets." In "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," by Anne O. Krueger, The American Economic Review, June 1974.
Defined pension benefits unrelated to the real economic health of a government entity are one such an example, such that the rent-seeker has first claim on tax receipts, as seen in recent court cases, while public services then are expected to be cut so as to fund the rent-seeking, itself. eventually collapse ensues, because the process is dictated at first by word of law but lastly by the numerical reality of cash available. This irritates the rent-seeker promised by government a defined benefit, when said defined benefit beggars the whole.
While this seems a issue for contemporary society, it is a phenomenon millennia old, the outcome the same in each retelling of the tale.
[ 6 ] The article referred to various vocabulary in the world of "modern" economics, which I conclude multiplies words in order to clutter up plain issues. Such vocabulary as "non-performing loans" might be more easily said as "deadbeats." A loan which is not "performing" is failing to repay. Short step to bankruptcy, is it not? But "non-performing loan" is so much more pleasant than "bad loan."
Another bit of jargon is "write-offs" which of course is obviously translated "somebody loses money." Maybe many lose money. "Risk costs" is a nice way of saying "insurance" against loss. But if one speaks plainly about such things, the financial world -- and especially its relationships to politics -- becomes too simplified. It reduces down to "how can I get some money from someone else and then not repay?"
In the political world it is redistribution of wealth, meaning confiscating from someone and giving -- minus administrative costs to the government in question, of course -- to someone else, basically less than was originally confiscated. For this, economic parlance prefers non-performing to deadbeat, write-off to loss and risk costs to paying tribute so as not to get screwed. With all the lovely vocabulary, the numbers remain non-compliant throughout. One has a euro or one does not. One has a dollar or one does not. If one borrows and does not repay, one is a deadbeat and has taken from another in an act more related to theft than to bad luck. Such is the nature of it.
Government numbers - just words
"The numbers the government is using have nothing to do with reality," insisted Amal Albaghdadi, a Rabat native and organiser with the February 20th movement. "I have come out to say enough with poverty, discrimination, and lack of freedoms. We want real democracy." In "Morocco: 'We want real democracy'," by Sarah Lazare, Al Jazeera, 04 Jul 2011
Government numbers are cheerily good,
Massaged and peddled in your neighborhood.
Government numbers tell their tall tale,
But now tall telling is getting stale.
Government numbers are oft unreal
Because they're intended to seal a deal.
Government numbers smile at you,
Their hands picking pockets' for revenue.
Government numbers are sometimes bad,
Which, to tell the truth, is rather sad.
Government numbers cherry pick,
Which is that same old political trick.
Government numbers are much like words,
To move a people as one moves herds.
All is good in government,
As proven by each pilfered cent.
Envoi: "The inaccuracy of the CPI began in 1983, during a time of rampant inflation, when the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics began to cook the books on its calculation in order to curb the increase in Social Security and federal pension payments. But the change affected more than entitlements. Because increases in corporate salaries and retirement benefits have traditionally been tied to the CPI, the change affected everything. And now, 30 years later, everyone knows the long-term results. Ask anyone who relies on a salary or Social Security or a pension and he’ll tell you his annual increase in income doesn’t come close to his increase in expenses. What comes in is less than what goes out — a situation that spells disaster for average Americans. 'The data solidly supports what many Americans have suspected for years,' says the Chapwood Index’s founder, Ed Butowsky." In "The Real Cost Of Living Increase Index," Chapwood Index, 2015.
Addendum of Zimbabwe: "There are cash-strapped governments and there are broke governments. And then there's Zimbabwe, which, after paying last week's government salaries, has just $217 left in the bank. No, we didn't forget any zeroes to the end of that figure. Zimbabwe, the country that's home to some of the world's largest platinum and diamond reserves, literally has the same financial standing as a 14-year-old girl after a really good birthday party." In "Zimbabwe Is Down to Its Last $217," by Adam Clark Estes, The Atlantic Wire, 29 January 2013.
Addendum of the United States: "The economy isn’t really doing what the statistics say it is doing. Our nation’s economic statistics are nipped and tucked, massaged, managed, fabricated and dolled up. In short, our statistics are wrong and Main Street folks know it." In "US economic growth is all an illusion," by John Crudele, New York Post, 6 November 2014.
Addendum of Public Trust from 2014: "Public trust in the government remains near historic lows, although somewhat higher than during the October 2013 government shutdown. In a survey conducted in February 2014, 24% said they trust the government in Washington always or most of the time." In "Public Trust in Government: 1958-2014," Pew Research Center, 13 November 2014.
Addendum of Government as the Top Problem: "For the second consecutive year, dissatisfaction with government edged out the economy as the problem more Americans identified as the nation's top problem in 2015. According to Gallup's monthly measure of the most important problem facing the U.S., an average of 16% of Americans in 2015 mentioned some aspect of government, including President Barack Obama, Congress or political conflict, as the country's chief problem." In "Government Named Top U.S. Problem for Second Straight Year," by Lydia Saad, Gallup, 4 January 2016.
Addendum of an All-time Low: " 'The number who trust the government all or most of the time has sunk so low that it is hard to remember that there was ever a time when Americans routinely trusted the government,' CNN Polling Director Keating Holland said." In "CNN Poll: Trust in government at all-time low," by Paul Steinhauser, CNN, 8 August 2014.
Addendum of the State of a State: "More than half of Illinois voters believe state government corruption is very common. When the poll accounts for the people who say that corruption is somewhat common in the state, a whopping 89 percent feel corruption is a way of life in the Land Of Lincoln. The federal government didn’t fare much better, with 45 percent saying corruption is very common." In "Nearly 90 Percent Say Illinois, Chicago Government Is Corrupt," by John Dodge, CBS News, 31 March 2014.
Addendum of a Corrupt Europe: "...the true cost of corruption was "probably much higher" than 120bn. Three-quarters of Europeans surveyed for the Commission study said that corruption was widespread, and more than half said the level had increased." In "Corruption across EU 'breathtaking' - EU Commission," BBC, 3 February 2014.
Addendum of India's Princelings and Industrialists: "In a recent poll 96% of Indians said corruption was holding their country back, and 92% thought it has got worse in the past five years. One senior figure in the ruling Congress party worries about the feeling that “the law for the common people doesn’t apply to the political princelings and industrialists'." In "A Bad Boom," The Economist, 15 May 2014.
Addendum of Israel's Very and Rather: "A full 16.9% of respondents said Israel is a very corrupt country, while 55.7% classified it as rather corrupt, in a poll conducted for Channel 2 on Thursday and published the following day. The poll, which was directed by Mano Geva and Mina Tzemah of the Midgam Institute together with iPanel, found that the disappointment in elected officials also extended to judges in the court system." In "Poll: 72% of Israelis feel state is corrupt," by Ari Yashar, Arutz Sheva, 8 January 2016.
Addendum of Arab Nations' Corrupt Officials: "Corruption has worsened in most Arab countries since their 2011 revolutions, even though anger with corrupt officials was a major reason for the uprisings, according to a public opinion poll released on Tuesday." In "Poll: Corruption worsened in Arab countries since uprisings," by Reuters via Jerusalem Post, 7 September 2013.
Addendum of Africa's Corruption: "The majority (58 per cent) of Africans in the surveyed countries, say corruption has increased over the past 12 months. In 18 out of 28 countries surveyed a large majority of people said their government is doing badly at fighting corruption." In "Corruption on the rise in Africa poll as governments seen failing to stop it," Dewji Blog, 2 December 2015.
Addendum of the Fake Bolivarian Revolution: "When it comes to corruption, Venezuela has long languished near the bottom of the international league table." In "The billion-dollar fraud," The Economist, 8 August 2013.
See: Ratio , and the utter truth of both Corruption and Corruption has a middle name
Let's all gorge
"Operation Board Games has exposed what I've been calling the bipartisan Illinois Combine, in which powerful Democrats work with powerful Republicans to gorge from the public trough and call it legal." In "Imagine the thoughts in Blagojevich's veins," by John Kass, Chicago Tribune, June 28, 2011
Politicians, let's us all gorge?
Rod said the game was legal.
Perhaps we clever all can forge
Ways to soar like an eagle
Over the debt racked up by us
Which someone else should pay.
What a finessed stratagem
To pocket more cash away;
Combine the parties' power balls
In a reeling, rolling game
And watch the suckers, what befalls
As you say they bear the blame.
Politicians, let's us all gorge?
George thought the game was legal.
Gorgeous was each legal scam
As long as each did last,
Then? Sacrifice one goat and scram
With stealth to vanish fast.
Politicians, let's us all gorge?
Governors played the game as legal.
Now prisoners, their own chains forge
A cell not high nor regal.
The biggest crime was getting caught,
For so have politicians often thought.
Ill in noise, sick and shocked,
As verdicts are read aloud,
Once-soaring politicians squawked
To join the convicts' crowd.
Their saddest crime was getting caught,
Which is what their game has wrought.
Envoi: "These days I see America identified more and more with material things, less and less with spiritual standards. These days I see America acting abroad as an arrogant, selfish, greedy nation interested only in guns and dollars, not in people and their hopes and aspirations. We need a faith that dedicates us to something bigger and more important than ourselves or our possessions. Only if we have that faith will we be able to guide the destiny of nations in this the most critical period of world history." William O. Douglas, in "Essay" for "This I Believe" (1952).
Addendum of Chicago's Bill Coming Due: "It’s not just the teachers' pensions that are in trouble in Chicago; pensions for all municipal workers are woefully underfunded. (Separately, Cook County plans to raise its sales tax by one percentage point to start dealing with its own yawning pension gap.) Emanuel is willing to raise taxes by instituting a $175 million annual pension levy for the schools, but even his best-case scenario for pensions leaves a structural deficit in the CPS operating budget. And an Illinois Supreme Court ruling puts the previously negotiated city reforms in jeopardy. The court struck down state-level pension reform, saying that even future pension accruals for public employees can’t be reduced—a ruling that triggered the Moody’s downgrade. Emanuel denounced the Moody’s decision while strongly defending the legality of his reform. He makes good arguments, but he’s up against an extremely pro-union court. Perhaps recognizing this, he isn’t even trying to reform the police and fire pension funds. Instead, he proposes simply to defer and extend payments. If adopted, it would mean that the city wouldn't be on track to funding its pensions until 2021—a decade after Emanuel was first elected. Even so, Crain’s projects that this would raise the city’s slice of property taxes next year by 31 percent—and by more than 50 percent if the deferrals aren't approved." In "Chicago’s Financial Fire," by Aaron M. Renn, City Journal, 12 July 2015.
See: Donkey Skins and Elephant Hides
Yes, No and Maybe
"Hegelian dialectic, usually presented in a threefold manner, was stated by Heinrich Moritz Chalybäus as comprising three dialectical stages of development: a thesis, giving rise to its reaction, an antithesis, which contradicts or negates the thesis, and the tension between the two being resolved by means of a synthesis. Although this model is often named after Hegel, he himself never used that specific formulation. Hegel ascribed that terminology to Kant. Carrying on Kant's work, Fichte greatly elaborated on the synthesis model, and popularized it." from Wikipedia on Hegelian dialectic.
Oh yes, oh no, and synthesize.
Something lives between truths and lies.
Thesis rubs against antithesis
As the path to every synthesis?
Oh yes! Oh no! Or maybe so?
Between north and south, come on, let's go.
Between right and wrong lies maybe's kiss,
Between evil and good lies logic's hiss.
Forging thesis and its antithesis
Into some middle way is oft amiss.
Hegel, Kant and Fichte fished
In faulty thinking they published.
Synthesize whatever you like,
You'll never synthesize a look-alike
To simple truths without opposite,
For dialectic is its own hypocrite.
Running of the bulls
"But these so-called flash mobs have taken a more aggressive and raucous turn here as hundreds of teenagers have been converging downtown for a ritual that is part bullying, part running of the bulls: sprinting down the block, the teenagers sometimes pause to brawl with one another, assault pedestrians or vandalize property. " In "Mobs Are Born as Word Grows by Text Message" by Ian Urbina, New York Times, March 24, 2010
"Running of the bulls" is bullshit rare
And trivializes violence in the public square.
Gosh, "running of the bulls" is ritual now?
Like assault and vandalism are the cat's meow?
Downtown rituals, it must be understood,
Are cultural expressions of some neighborhood?
"Running of the bulls" is zoologically dumb,
For these are all jackasses, as a rule of thumb.
Ah, journalism paints such pictures as this
Which proves such words are snakes that hiss.
"Running of the bulls" is with bullshit replete
As a metaphor for violence on a public street.
Mister Big Top Green
"The most visible leader of the world’s green movement cannot live a life of conspicuous consumption, spewing far more carbon into the atmosphere than almost all of those he castigates for their wasteful ways. Mr. Top Green can’t also be a carbon pig." In "The Failure of Al Gore," by Walter Russell Mead, 24 June 2011
Mister Big Top Green is a carbon belching pig,
Another princely chuck in a everyman wig.
Conspicuous consumption in life lived large
As this sinner blasts sinners for sin as his charge.
Castigate, rebuke, and read the riot act;
Then rake in honoraria per each green contract.
Red remains a bloody, worldwide stain;
Now green comes along to sing the same refrain.
Mister Big Top Green brings his circus to your town,
If you do not sing his tune, he'll say you are a clown.
The past is prologue but the future is bleak
When green is the only approved color of the week.
See: Albert Gore
"Shovel-ready was not as... uh... shovel-ready as we expected." Barak Hussein Obama, Jr., 14 June 2011.
Shoveling coal or shoveling shit,
The miner and farmer work hard with it.
The others who shovel shit your way
Are most politicians in any day.
Coal burns bright; and the harvest grows.
This the miner, like the farmer, knows.
Political shit burns to no good end,
And is not the farmers' nor the miners' friend.
Shovel-ready not shovel-ready?
There's a logic not quite steady.
Three years after shoveling out the door,
The cries go up, "Let's shovel more!"
Let's shovel coal mines closed, full stop.
Let's shovel regulations onto the farmer's crop.
Let's shovel and dig and dig some more,
Until the hole's a reservoir
For shoveling more onto piles of shit
Makes the whole just a cesspooled pit.
Collect the miners and farmer folk,
And tell them it was all just a little joke.
Envoi: "Have you heard much about President Obama’s $787,000,000,000 economic 'stimulus' (now estimated to cost $831,000,000,000) lately? In its last report, published in 2011, the president’s own Council of Economic Advisors released an estimate showing that, for every $317,000 in “stimulus” spending that had by then gone out the door, only one job had been created or saved. Even in Washington, that’s not considered good bang for the buck." In "Obama Continues to Violate His Own ‘Stimulus’ Law by Not Releasing Quarterly Reports," by Jeffrey H. Anderson, The Weekly Standard, 26 January 2013
See below: Thick as thieves - an ode to goad, and recover some sense by Doing the math
"Through this sleight-of-hand accounting, the White House can conveniently ignore Bush’s loan, but even the Treasury Department admits that U.S. taxpayers will not recoup about $1.3 billion of the entire $12.5 billion investment when all is said and done. The White House justifies not counting the Bush money because, it says, that money was completely spent when Obama was making a tough political decision on whether to extend another loan. In other words, a decision to do nothing at the time would have resulted in the immediate loss of the $4 billion that Bush had extended. This is chicanery. Under the president’s math, Chrysler paid back 100 percent of Obama’s loan and less than 70 percent of Bush’s loan." In "President Obama’s phony accounting on the auto industry bailout," by Glen Kessler, Washington Post, 7 June 2011.
This is chicanery, posts Washington now,
Saying phony accounting is now somehow
A truth that is lying by fits as by starts,
Because the factual truth is quite off the charts.
This is chicanery, through and through,
Because political truth is not very true;
When all is all said and all is all done,
A president will say, 'twas all jest in fun.
Chicanery doesn't quite square with the facts,
Yet media matters to launch their attacks.
Washington Post's chicanery smacks
Those truth-tellers, truth-sellers and amnesiacs.
Phony accounting accounts for phonies,
Who celebrate in party ceremonies
Which trot out the tricks like circus ponies
All ridden by the parties' political cronies.
When the post out of Washington notes this aloud,
The cries rise up from the political crowd,
In hopes that such cries will confuse and becloud
That chicanery's chicanery, and chicanery's allowed.
This is chicanery, posts Washington chat,
Because the truth is other than what has been shat.
Sleight-of-hand tricks are to fool those who drool
For something quite like the cess in their pool.
Thick as thieves - an ode to goad
"What was Timothy Geithner thinking back in 2008 when, as president of the New York Fed, he decided to give Goldman Sachs a $30 billion interest-free loan as part of an $80 billion secret float to favored banks? The sordid details of that program were finally made public this week in response to a court order for a Freedom of Information Act release, thanks to a Bloomberg News lawsuit. Sorry, my bad: It wasn’t an interest-free loan; make that .01 percent that Goldman paid to borrow taxpayer money when ordinary folks who missed a few credit card payments in order to finance their mortgages were being slapped with interest rates of more than 25 percent." In "Geithner and Goldman, Thick as Thieves," by Robert Scheer, The Nation, 1 June 2011
Thick as thieves, the saying goes,
Through thick and thin, the record shows,
Flimmed a Peter and then flammed a Paul,
As records suppressed now recall.
Little us folks in little us towns
Pay high rates with little frowns,
While fat cats slice the pie themselves,
As into hidden records a court now delves.
Think yourself special, Mister Average Joe?
Think yourself loyal, Missus Bedfellow?
It seems the special folks are just not you,
Because enormous privileges to them accrue.
Your mortgage rates, your credit card rate?
Are they higher that one-hundredth percent? Wait!
There must be some reason, one should grasp,
Why the upper crust rates so, if we'd but grasp
That thieves are thick in the highest ranks,
And so the little folks must give them thanks
That the golden elite play their little golden pranks
And pass the bucks to the golden men's banks.
The Open Left raged, "an unholy alliance,"
Big business plus big government reliance
On each other to feather their nest,
Which is nothing more than financial incest.
See: The Classic Scheme , also Bankrupt green
What the hell - depletion concretion
"The Obama administration said Wednesday that the government will lose about $14 billion in taxpayer funds from the bailout of the U.S. auto industry." In "Govt to lose $14B of auto bailout funds," Associated Press, 1 June 2011
They only lost billions so, what the hell?
It's only your money, as time will tell.
The they who lost it have lost your cash,
But, what the hell, it's just a crash.
Losing can be a profitable game,
But not for the public, which gets the blame.
Up shit creek? Well at least it's dry.
So, what the hell, it's just stimuli
That's losing billions, as the losers admit,
Which proves they've been shoveling shit.
You, a double-you, triple-you plans
Are seeing that shit's now hitting their fans.
“If you aren’t getting something for nothing,"
Huey quipped, "you’re not getting your fair share.”
So stick to rhetorical frothing
Because numbers are so very unfair.
Chant for a change
"Q. Did President Obama once say of Republicans: 'If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun.' / A: Yes. Obama made those remarks at a fundraiser in Philadelphia during the 2008 presidential campaign. He was paraphrasing a quote from the 1987 mob movie 'The Untouchables.'" FactCheck.org, 14 January 2011
Envoi: "Never have Americans heard a president tell his constituents, just four days before a national presidential election, tell Americans: 'Voting is the best revenge!' It’s true. It happened at the Springfield High School in Springfield, Ohio. The notion that the president of the United States would even think – let alone verbalize – that the nation should go to the polls and vote to get revenge is incredibly outlandish." In "Opinion: President Obama Says Vote For Revenge," by Scott Paulson, CBS News, Chicago, 5 November 2012 [ 1 ]
'If they bring a knife to the fight, we bring a gun': "The three-day demonstrations led to the arrest of more than 1700 people in 67 cities including metros like Istanbul, Ankara, Izmir and echoed far beyond its borders in big western metropolises like London, Barcelona, Amsterdam and even across the Atlantic in Boston. The slogan of 'Occupy Gezi' quickly turned to calls for Erdogan to resign. But Erdogan was defiant as he appeared on TV to say that, 'Taksim Square cannot be an area where extremists are running wild. If this is about staging a protest, about a social movement, I would … gather 200,000 where they gather 20, and where they gather 100,000, I would gather 1 million party supporters. Let's not go down that road'." In "Turkish ‘Arab Spring’?" by Alsir Sidahmed. 5 June 2013.
Addendum about Guns: "President Barack Obama says he has not only fired a gun, but has done it regularly. 'In fact, up at Camp David, we do skeet shooting all the time,' the president told The New Republic." In "Obama goes skeet shooting 'all the time'" by Donovan Slack, Politico, 27 January 2013
Addendum: "In our time, political speech and writing are largely the defense of the indefensible." George Orwell, Politics and the English Language (1946)
Addendum: "The bastard form of mass culture is humiliated repetition... always new books, new programs, new films, news items, but always the same meaning." Roland Barthes (1915-1980) [ 2 ]
Addendum of Operatives and Political Agitators: "A key operative in a Democratic scheme to send agitators to cause unrest at Donald Trump’s rallies has visited the White House 342 times since 2009, White House records show. Robert Creamer, who acted as a middle man between the Clinton campaign, the Democratic National Committee and 'protesters' who tried — and succeeded — to provoke violence at Trump rallies met with President Obama 47 times, according to White House records. Creamer’s last visit was in June 2016." In "Dem Operative Who Oversaw Trump Rally Agitators Visited White House 342 Times," by Peter Hasson, Daily Caller, 18 October 2016. [ 3 ]
Addendum of Violent Rhetoric: " 'Screw they go low, we go high bullsh*t. When @NCGOP extremists go low, we stomp their scrawny pasty necks with our heels and once you hear the sound of a crisp snap you grind your heel hard and twist it slowly side to side for good measure. He needs to know who whupped his ass,' Davis tweeted just a few months before he filed to run for the NC-11 seat vacated by Mark Meadows when he became White House Chief of Staff." In "NC-11’s Democratic candidate has a number of disturbing tweets," by A. P. Dillon, North State Journal, 8 September 2020.
Addendum of Degeneration: "Lifelong dissent has more than acclimated me cheerfully to defeat. It has made me suspicious of victory. I feel uneasy at the very idea of a Movement. I see every insight degenerating into a dogma, and fresh thoughts freezing into lifeless party line." In "I. F. Stone's Bi-Weekly," (19 September1969).
Addendum: "...plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose." Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr in "Les Guêpes," January 1849.
[ 1 ] "I always thought it was the Archie Bunkers of the world, the right-wingers of world, who were more resistant and more closed-minded about hearing the other side,” he said. “In fact, what I have learned is, in a very painful way — and I can open this shirt and show you the scars and the knife wounds — is that it is big media institutions who are identifiably more liberal to left-leaning who will shut you down, stab you and kill you, fire you, if they perceive that you are not telling the story in the way that they want it told." In "Juan Williams: Liberal media will ‘shut you down, stab you, kill you, fire you’ if you disagree," an interview with Ginni Thomas, The Daily Caller, 23 February 2013.
Yes and No and Yes and No
But as to change, one may observe change:
Nope -- "And if someone wants to know why their own government has decided to go on a fishing expedition through every personal record or private document - through library books they've read and phone calls they've made - this legislation gives people no rights to appeal the need for such a search in a court of law. No judge will hear their plea, no jury will hear their case. This is just plain wrong." In "Senate Floor Statement of Senator Barack Obama - The PATRIOT Act, 15 December 2005.
Yup -- "And I think it's interesting that there are some folks on the left but also some folks on the right who are now worried about it, who weren't very worried about it when it was a Republican president. I think that's good that we're having this discussion but I think it's important for everybody to understand, and I think the American people understand that there are some tradeoffs involved. You know?" In "Obama: Surveillance Debate A "Sign of Maturity" That Wouldn't Have Happened 5-6 Years Ago," Quoted in RealClearPolitics, 7 June 2013.
From Senator Obama stating in 2005 "this is just plain wrong" to President Obama in 2013 saying "I think the American people understand that there are some tradeoffs involved" is most assuredly "change." For this once-upon-a-time "just plain wrong," see: Sir Veiled Lance .
[ 2 ] As repetition and "always the same meaning," one finds this written by Marx directed at Germany in the mid-1800s but with a change of name, rather applicable to today. "Criticism dealing with this content is criticism in a hand-to-hand fight, and in such a fight the point is not whether the opponent is a noble, equal, interesting opponent, the point is to strike him.
"The point is not to let the Germans have a minute for self-deception and resignation. The actual pressure must be made more pressing by adding to it consciousness of pressure, the shame must be made more shameful by publicizing it. Every sphere of German society must be shown as the partie honteuse of German society: these petrified relations must be forced to dance by singing their own tune to them! The people must be taught to be terrified at itself in order to give it courage." Quote of Karl Marx, published in Deutsch-Französische Jahrbücher, 7 & 10 February 1844 in Paris.
As an additional reflection on this and the constant chant of seemingly apocalyptic forecasts and noisy news, see: All the news is screaming .
[ 3 ] The revelation of Obama's many meetings with such a Democrat party "operative" testifies to his statement above, even if paraphrasing a "mob movie." The article notes the "chain of command": " 'The [Clinton] campaign pays DNC, DNC pays Democracy Partners, Democracy Partners pays the Foval Group, The Foval Group goes and executes the shit,' Foval told an undercover journalist."
The arbitrary justification that somehow "everybody does it" should be replaced with a far better question, "should it be done at all? And to this level, ending at the Oval office?" If the answer is yes, then democracy itself means little to those so willing to execute "the shit," without regard to which party is in power. The insult to democracy itself is great, if predictable.
As the story unravels, one reads: "One operative, Scott Foval, said they had even paid mentally-ill and homeless people to be disruptive during the demonstrations. The Democratic National Committee has since tried to distance themselves from the footage, while Trump claims the media have ignored it. In a statement released on Monday, Creamer confirmed he was stepping down." In "Senior Democratic strategist resigns after video surfaces showing his staff planning to incite violence at Trump rallies and discussing paying mentally-ill people to disrupt GOP events," Staff, Daily Mail, 19 October 2016.
Of Creamer who visited the White House 342 times, one learns from the article cited: "Creamer in 2005 pleaded guilty to defrauding nine different banks and other financial institutions to the tune of $2.3 million. Barely a year after he was released from prison, Creamer went to work for President Barack Obama's 2008 presidential campaign, training volunteers."
From another source, one learns: "Robert Creamer, husband of Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., and Scott Foval -- two little-known but influential Democratic political operatives -- have left their jobs after video investigations by James O'Keefe's Project Veritas Action found them entertaining dark notions about how to win elections." In "Two local Democratic operatives lose jobs after video sting on voter fraud," by Dave Wiegel , Chicago Tribune, 19 October 2016.
Thus one sees documented the comingling of felonies and a felon with a political party and with a sitting president, making the Chant for a Change all the more like a "mob movie." And, everybody does it? If so, then many should lose their jobs too. It seems Corruption should be quite expected in the dishonest careers of Politics .
Pogrom - after Klabund
On Sunday in the cathedral one whispers to some,
On Monday's streets are set in motion events to come,
On Tuesday people chatter and splatter race hatred noisome,
On Wednesday it rushes and rustles aloud: Pogrom!
On Thursday one is convinced, renewed, and so it grows:
The guilty Jews are the cause of all of Russia's woes!
Up to now we've been patient, they say, goodness knows.
(And for this more vodka into our people flows....)
On Friday is found that first corpse, resurrected,
One stabs in the ribs the Jewish curse suspected,
With sturdiest knives the vermin are best corrected.
One throws their women into ponds, as directed.
On Saturday one reads something of this in our "good" press:
The little dust up is already past, they do but confess,
And for this both our God and our state one must bless...
(Otherwise, just keep your trap shut about this mess.)
See: Pogrom -- text of Klabund (2011)
Mulligan Stew - a recipe inverse
"Now, 50 years after taking over Cuba and thrashing all the golf courses in an excess of anti-capitalistic, communist/Marxist doctrinaire purity, Fidel Castro is bringing them back. The New York Times, must reading back then for all Red-blooded revolutionaries, reported the other day that the Castro government has given preliminary approval for the $1.5 billion construction of four large luxury golf resorts on the island to entice free-spending capitalists to tee off in a country hungry for money." In "Castro takes a mulligan on Cuba's view of golf," by Peter Lucas, Sentinel & Enterprise, 31 May 2011
Take unequal parts,
someone proposed one day,
Of a decaying Fidel
and a long decayed Che.
Let simmer a while --
like fifty plus years --
Then invert the whole thing,
as it now appears.
Stir frequently the mess,
add rhetorical sauce,
And when it's well cooked,
serve only the dross.
In The Joy of Cooking,
this recipe's not found
Because it's marinated
on revolutionary ground.
Sprinkle liberally with failure,
revolve it but once,
And when it's well done,
serve with befuddlements.
The back burner's charred,
as the recipe was soiled.
The kitchen's a mess,
and the service is spoiled.
No Michelin stars
nor Zagat reviews
Will ever repair
this Cuban cuisine news.
with a swing and a miss,
to a curdled stew like this.
A Government of Shame - a composer's view
"On Sunday, similar protests were due to be held in other European countries, including Spain, France and Italy. Famed Greek composer Mikis Theodorakis gave his public backing to the protesters and called for 'the government of shame' to go along with 'the politicians for destroying, plundering and subjugating Greece.'" In "Record turnout for 'Indignant' protesters in Athens," in Ekathimerini.com News, Monday May 30, 2011
Socialism fails mathematically,
A composer said about his reality.
It has two options: force "do as I say"
Or simply implode and slink away.
Its history has sometimes been weaponized
With arms to enforce, for this has been prized.
When markets refused to play in its game,
It's marched in and then taken its aim.
Socialism has won politically,
By lying about fiscal reality.
It's used two options: one) "do as I say"
While two) hoping folks might look away.
For destroying, plundering and subjugating men,
Socialism has shown itself yet again.
When markets refuse to play in its game,
It lurches, besmirches -- a government of shame.
Socialism fails in its nomenclature,
For failing to heed frail human nature.
It has few options: force "do as I say"
Or simply implode and then fade away.
For this its history is again capsized
With lies to enforce, for this is still prized.
When markets refuse to play at its game,
It grumbles about, seeking someone to blame.
Envoi: "Poverty is bolstered considerably by the rising level of unemployment, which in September amounted to 26 percent in Greece, according to European Commission figures, second only to Spain’s 26.6 percent rate in the eurozone." In "The rapid rise of Greece’s nouveaux pauvres," by Sotiris Nikas, ekathimerini.com , 9 January 2013.
Addendum of Socialist Over-Spending: "PASOK added about 110 million euros to its debt in the last decade, Socialist leader Evangelos Venizelos said on Thursday as he pledged to restore the party’s finances to good health. Venizelos presented to his party’s political council the result of an audit carried out by six accounting firms on the Socialists’ finances from 2003 to the present day. Venizelos said that the party had consistently spent 30 percent more than it earned and had added an average of 10 million euros to its debt." In "PASOK admits party's debt grew by 110 mln euros over last decade," Παρασκευή (New Post), Greece, 12 May 2013. [ 1 ]
Addendum of the Newly Elected Socialist's Accusation: "In 2010, the Greek state ceased to be able to service its debt. Unfortunately, European officials decided to pretend that this problem could be overcome by means of the largest loan in history on condition of fiscal austerity that would, with mathematical precision, shrink the national income from which both new and old loans must be paid. An insolvency problem was thus dealt with as if it were a case of illiquidity. In other words, Europe adopted the tactics of the least reputable bankers who refuse to acknowledge bad loans, preferring to grant new ones to the insolvent entity so as to pretend that the original loan is performing while extending the bankruptcy into the future. Nothing more than common sense was required to see that the application of the 'extend and pretend' tactic would lead my country to a tragic state. That instead of Greece's stabilization, Europe was creating the circumstances for a self-reinforcing crisis that undermines the foundations of Europe itself. My party, and I personally, disagreed fiercely with the May 2010 loan agreement not because you, the citizens of Germany, did not give us enough money but because you gave us much, much more than you should have and our government accepted far, far more than it had a right to." In "Open letter to the German readers: That which you were never told about Greece," by Alexis Tsipras, and published also in "Alexis Tsipras' "open letter" to German citizens," Handelsblatt, 13 January 2015. [ 2 ]
Addendum of the Obvious Conclusion: "... for now, Greece has no choice but to figure out how pay its own way, Dimitris Mardas, Greece’s deputy finance minister, said in an interview. 'We ourselves will pay our obligations,' Mr. Mardas said." In "Greece Proposes Using Tourists as Tax Spies to Fill Shortfall," by Liz Aldreman, New York Times, 7 March 2015. [ 3 ]
Addendum of Blatant Intention to Default: "Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis has described his country as the most bankrupt in the world and said European leaders knew all along that Athens would never repay its debts, in blunt comments that sparked a backlash in the German media on Tuesday. A documentary about the Greek debt crisis on German public broadcaster ARD was aired on the same day euro zone finance ministers met in Brussels to discuss whether to provide Athens with further funding in exchange for delivering reforms. 'Clever people in Brussels, in Frankfurt and in Berlin knew back in May 2010 that Greece would never pay back its debts. But they acted as if Greece wasn't bankrupt, as if it just didn't have enough liquid funds,' Varoufakis told the documentary." In "Varoufakis unsettles Germans with admission Greece won't repay debts," Reuters, 10 March 2015.
Addendum of Greek Medicine in 2015: "Huge cuts to the healthcare budget, amid the economic turmoil which made millions unemployed, have left than 2.5m Greeks uninsured, up from 500,000 in 2008, the Times reported. On coming to power the Syriza government scrapped the €5 fee for attending state hospitals and pledged to hire 4,500 more health workers, despite the need for austerity and criticism from creditors. Notwithstanding the government’s promises, healthcare spending has fallen by 25 per cent since 2009, creating shortages of the most basic surgical equipment and leaving too little money to pay nurses' salaries." In "Greek hospitals cannot afford painkillers, scissors or sheets as budget cuts bite," by Ben Tuft, Independent UK, 23 May 2015. [ 4 ]
Addendum of Recent Greek Government Numbers: "Since joining the euro zone in 2001, Greece has borrowed a sum 1.7 times its 2013 GDP. Its 25 percent unemployment (50 percent among young workers) results from a 25 percent shrinkage of GDP. It is a mendicant reduced to hoping to 'extend and pretend' forever." In "So what if Greece leaves the European Union?" by George Will, Washington Post, 19 June 2015.
Addendum of Insulated Greek Riches: "Crisis-stricken Greece still has the world’s largest merchant fleet and shipping has long been the prime source of its super-rich. What makes them especially controversial is that, under rules incorporated in the constitution, they pay no tax on international earnings brought into Greece. ...'Between 2010 and 2012, we lost deposits to the tune of €80bn,” said the banker. “We estimate that, of that, €20bn was high net worth individuals sending their money abroad. The smart money was the first to leave the country'." In "Greece's rich: insulated against an EU exit," by John Hooper, Guardian, 25 June 2015. [ 5 ]
Addendum of a Resounding Democratic No Ignored: "...despite the closed banks and the scaremongering of the corrupt Greek media, the people of Greece delivered a resounding no in the referendum. On the following day the Euro Summit responded by imposing on our prime minister an agreement that can only be described as our government’s terms of surrender. And the weapon of choice? The illegal threat of severing Greece from the eurozone. Whatever one thinks of our government, this episode will go down in European history as the moment when official Europe, using institutions and methods that no treaty legitimised (the Eurogroup, the Euro Summit, the threat of eviction from the eurozone), dealt a major blow to the ideal of an ever-closer democratic union. Greece capitulated, but it is Europe that was defeated." In "The defeat of Europe," by Yanis Varoufakis, Le Monde diplomatique, August 2015 edition. [ 6 ]
See below: Down the drain , and through the eyes of both Greece and the Cyprus banking scandal -- A clip job
[ 1 ] One notes the cluster of "socialist" parties involved in this overall economic conundrum occurring worldwide. The PASOK party of Greece [ Panhellenic Socialist Movement ] led to the enormous rise in public debt now in question, while the current "socialist leader" proposes to put the house in order. Meanwhile the newest names in ongoing political battle -- the Drachma Five Star Movement and SYRIZA -- both feature the next generation of socialists seeking essentially to abrogate the debt accrued by the previous generation of socialist leaders.
Successful Politics Does Not Equal Economic Success
But the Greek bonds scandal which has subsequently hit Cyrus involves yet another socialist government: "Cypriot domestic politics is a strange brew, dominated by the indigenous question of unification and by the presence of AKEL, by far the most consistently successful communist party in Europe. The party has retained around a third of the Cypriot vote ever since independence in 1960 (despite the fall of the Soviet Union), and the country had a communist president from 2008 until earlier this year." In "Cyprus, the communists and anti-European populism," by William Brett, Left Foot Forward, 5 April 2013.
This becomes rather amusing as one sees the current crop of Greek socialists attempting to repair the damage done by the previous generation of socialists by -- in the words of "Socialist leader" Evangelos Venizelos -- attempts to sell new government bonds to international investors. And around in a circle one runs, expecting to make progress.
Growing Slowly Insolvent
But this is wholly understandable when one concludes -- I think correctly, alongside humorists like Will Rogers and political theorists like Bastiat -- that government is a way to obtain money without honest work. This builds the image that the social welfare state of these last decades, going slowly insolvent, is a coalition of the well-connected, the successful in politics and the poor -- all receiving sustenance and subsidies from the state at the expense of the productive.
This was the example of the collapsed Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, as on example among many. One is watching this in 2016 as the Venezuela's 21st century socialists hope the world's eyes Don't look now .
Such a conclusion will annoy the politicians, to be seen as on "government assistance" in the parlance of the social welfare state, but that is the reality. One either works to support a government from the outside by paying from a productive private sector, or works to support the government from the inside by politicking to continue being paid by that private sector. Inside and outside. That's it.
[ 2 ] What Alexis Tsipras failed to mention in his "open" letter was that the government of Greece had a hand in this series of loans, and that in 2010, Greece could have done what it must do in 2015. He, an avowed socialist, also failed to note that in 2010, Greece's national government was socialist under another socialist party. One reads: "George Papandreou was reelected as the head of the socialist party in Greece. In the 2009 elections however, PASOK became the majority party in the Parliament and George Papandreou became Prime Minister of Greece. After PASOK lost its majority in the Parliament, ND and PASOK joined the smaller Popular Orthodox Rally in a grand coalition, pledging their parliamentary support for a government of national unity headed by former European Central Bank vice-president Lucas Papademos." In "History of modern Greece," Wikipedia, n. d.
It's Someone Else's Fault
One may therefore conclude that socialists agreed to the loans Tsipras now blames on "European officials" with no mention of the PASOK (Panhellenic Socialist Movement) party.
The current game in the media is the old Left-Right game, in which each "side" claims the other to be responsible. That model is simply broken, and tells nothing in real numbers. For clarification, please see both Left and Right and Left is Right, as Right is Left .
The simple and profound answer to the continuing question of national debt is to stop creating such debt. Spend what one has is an old and sage piece of advice, thrown out by all the smartest men of the political Left and Right who think they can "finance" their way out of debt. This is of course the classic definition of a Ponzi scheme played out on the international arena.
In unsupported comments to blogs and news items which allow comments, one sees accusations from the political Left pointed at the political Right and accusations of the Right pointed at the Left. One notes that PASOK also stood in the election which has chosen Alexis Tsipras, PASOK was defeated and also will not take part in the new coalition government being formed for, unsurprisingly, not being invited.
As Theodorakis correctly blamed "the politicians for destroying, plundering and subjugating Greece" in 2011, it seems the Greek electorate is not in a mood to be destroyed, plundered or subjugated. How annoying for the "go along to get along" politicians, found everywhere in the world, who so easily "serve" that moneyed interests continue to Bring presents to the party .
It seems one official socialist party, PASOK, was deeply involved in running up government debt to their own ends. That Greece's electorate has no thrown they aside generally and elected a different socialist party remains an untested proposition, but hopefully this next government will not continue to run up government debt, else they will simply be repeating the errors of PASOK and other oligarchic entities in Greece.
How It's Done - an Example
But how does a small group plunder and subjugate, all the while offering the public some semblance of democratic process?
One finds assistance in answering this, as one reads: "Employees of state-run enterprises have secured a parallel set of privileges, in large part due to their loyal support for the center-left Panhellenic Socialist Movement (PASOK). In return, the party helped abolish the use of competitive hiring exams in the 1980s and create thousands of new government jobs. PASOK also ensured that those who worked for state-run enterprises received more generous pensions than any other public-sector employees -- something that is still largely the case, despite recent cuts to government spending. In 1999, for instance, the Greek government made an open-ended promise to prevent cuts to the Public Power Corporation’s pension fund. In 2012, at the height of the financial crisis, this commitment amounted to over $800 million." In "Misrule of the Few, How the Oligarchs Ruined Greece ," by Pavlos Eleftheriadis, Foreign Affairs, November/December 2014.
That misrule continued. Recently the national government sought control over the social security funds: "Yet several large state agencies asked to contribute are reluctant to take the plunge, claiming they would be exposed to higher sovereign risk if the central bank managed their money. Theodoros Ambatzoglou, chairman of OAED, which handles payments of unemployment benefits, said his board last week voted down a request to transfer €130m immediately to the Common Fund. 'We thought it too risky a step to take given the government’s economic predicament. Supposing Greece defaults again and holders of central bank investment instruments suffer a haircut? Our board could face criminal charges,' Mr Ambatzoglou said, referring to the country’s partial default in 2012." In "Greek government presses social security funds to hand over cash," by Kerin Hope and Peter Spiegel, Financial Times, 10 March 2015.
So Greece's own OAED does not trust the national government. One step further: "Greece is dangerously close to running out of money and has issued an emergency decree ordering reserves from state agencies and municipal coffers. Municipal leaders held a meeting today to discuss how to block the move with Athens Mayor Giorgos Kaminis said his municipality belies the decree is unconstitutional. The mayors debated taking legal action to hang onto their cash." In "Greece calls in cash from state agencies to help it stay afloat," CBC News, 21 April 2015.
So after misrule, as was characterized by Foreign Affairs, over many years, the socialists are trying to confiscate money throughout Greece to solve government funding problems created by another group of socialists. And in the midst of this, it becomes easy to understand why much capital -- owned by both capitalists and many rich socialists as well -- has fled the country. Confiscation is not the way forward, for the latest and newest socialist party leadership, now ruling the nation. In 2015, Tsipras has promised far more than he can deliver, for such is the nature of this kind of politics.
[ 3 ] That Mikis Theodorakis could see this years ago, while the fancy talkers of governments -- plural -- and world-class economists could not is a lesson. The lesson is not overtly "political" in the sense that it is no longer about party affiliation. It is simply about debt, staggering debt.
The Unthinkable Came True
One learns of the composer of film music for "Zorba," that in "...explaining his public position ahead of the critical January 25 general elections, the award-winning composer explained that 'this is because I find it unthinkable to accept that a Leftist party can govern under conditions of surrendering national independence and autonomy to strangers.' It should be noted that in early December 2010, Theodorakis founded 'Spitha: People’s Independent Movement,' a non-political movement that called Greek people to gather and express their political ideas. Spitha’s main goal was to help Greece stay clear of its economic crisis, while he repeatedly heavily criticized the country’s governments for their choices in dealing with it and called people to revolt." In "Mikis Theodorakis: I Will Support SYRIZA Under One Condition," by Aggelos Skordas, Greel Reporter, 7 January 2015.
George A. Papandreou (PASOK) was Prime Minister of Greece in 2011, when Theodorakis made his "government of shame" statement. Papandreou, a socialist was replaced for a few years with Antonis Samaras, of the New Democracy party, who was then replaced by Alexis Tsipras, Coalition of the Radical Left (SYRIZA). Amusingly, Wikipedia terms New Democracy a "liberal-conservative political party in Greece." See: Left and Right .
No Choice Left
The fact which political speech and party labels can no longer hides is that Greece had funded itself through borrowing and borrowing and borrowing, to try to win political support for PASOK as for New Democracy as now for SYRIZA. Meanwhile, the government and those it funded sought "more" through ever increasing debt, which is neither recommended by ardent free market capitalists than by old-fashioned socialists. The New York Times article cited above ended with the really only salient point in its prose, "Greece has no choice but to figure out how pay its own way."
Ideally, the government -- as has happened to many governments across the centuries -- should simply collapse, the Euro involvement be terminated and the debt abrogated, at least in large part. This, of course, would upend all those who have sought to live off of the process of government, which through socialists, liberal-conservatives and radicals have learned to live by borrowing. The government of Greece, as with all government, is a fiction. This small tale has shown that when people try to live for free off of other people, the pathway leads to overwhelming indebtedness and serfdom, if not slavery.
Parties Will Not Be Amused
The way forward seems to be neither socialism nor capitalism nor political parties and their constituents, but rather a government which will not live any longer by borrowing. This is the "revolution" for which Theodorakis calls. It is a call for freedom in the face of both economic foolhardiness and debt slavery. Political parties planning to continue their "plunder" and "subjugation," as Theodorakis correctly noted, will not be amused.
Plunder, too often, is simple Corruption and government is its venal servant, as parties seek to become rulers over men.
[ 4 ] One notes the structural reality of the medical side of society under PASOK and now SYRIZA rule is comparable to Cuba's socialist medical system as well as Venezuela's massive shortages in basic goods under the Chavez and Maduro socialist governments.
The common thread is not a medical marketplace, insurance or capitalist practices in medical manufacturing and distribution, but in the governance which expects successful supply of medicines and services to be generated without the motivation of profit and under the yoke of both political interference and political corruption. See the supporting footnotes to Socialism's Last Hurrah - not democracy in any town, and an informative Between rhetoric and reality - on the reality of socialist Cuba's healthcare system.
What is clear is that political promises of socialist rhetoric have not borne exemplary fruit in these nations, unlike in more prosperous nations wherein doctors are significantly better paid, medical supplies are more easily available and such stories are less often found. Theodorakis spoke about "one condition" for which he supported the currently elected Greek government. Yet, this current SYRIZA government can do no more than demand others in the EU and internationally support them with infusions of cash via debt instruments, which of course comes with the expectation of repayment. The circle becomes a vortex, spinning and consuming towards its center, and that center is government itself.
[ 5 ] Might one find it odd that successive governments led by socialists -- the Panhellenic Socialist Movement, and now Syriza, the next openly Greek socialist party -- have not moved to alter the constitution which shelters the so-called super-rich? Then one does not understand socialism as practiced in throughout the world and over a century and more of documented cases.
Consider: Socialists love money and the demonstrable truths of Capital for Communists - a story growing old.
Others note that the Greek socialists are in fact, through the constitution not being amended as through looking only to borrow to repay borrowing, protecting a class of the "rich." This is not unnoticed. One reads: "Greece has experienced deep cuts to its social safety net. The result has been an unacceptable humanitarian crisis. Every morning, many people in Athens or Thessaloniki are actually faced with the question as to how they are going to feed themselves that day. The problem, though, is that the crisis would only become worse in the case of a Grexit. On the other hand, there are people in Greece who are filthy rich. I have called upon Mr. Tsipras to raise taxes on wealth in his country. Shockingly, his response to my request was not as enthusiastic as I had expected." Quote of "EU Commission President Juncker: 'I Don't Understand Tsipras'," interview conducted by Peter Müller, Michael Sauga and Christoph Schult, Spiegel Online, 19 June 2015.
The politicians who irritate the truly wealthy find the pockets out of which they feed disappear. This is the simple explanation why socialists of all sorts end up themselves quite well fed via capital. The phenomenon is decades old at this point. Socialist elites talk a fine game for the little people, but love the well-supplied good life for themselves.
[ 6 ] The short-term finance minister for the new Syriza-led government resigned, after failing in negotiations about reducing Greece's massive government debt. The idea that a referendum by an electorate can pry loose funds from beyond that electorate's borders is laughable. This is the point of such a simple concept as 'living within one's needs.' This is the future for a politics which expects to live off of other people. Consider the basic conundrum: Who's gonna pull the welfare wagon - a Western poem.
A Fair Question
A very silly socialist intellectual sees repaying debt by seeking more debt sensible, and that expecting repayment is "a major blow to the ideal of an ever-closer democratic union...." An obvious question emerges. Which nation or people wants "an ever-closer democratic union" with a nation or people who want to vote themselves someone else's money?
One may revisit Theodorakis' clear conclusion which credits "the politicians for destroying, plundering and subjugating Greece." Varoufakis is among these politicians, though now resigned from being finance minister. Having failed in his demands and reigned his "game," he declares himself among the winners. This demonstrates The Privileges of Intellectuals .
"If you set up a system where someone gets rewarded for doing the wrong things, you can bet your bottom dollar that they will." Cenk Uygur, in "We Must Fix Geithner's Gaffes," Daily Kos, 10 February 2009.
One plus one is two.
Oh no! That cannot be!
Add them up again!
Perhaps this time it's three!
One plus one is two.
Oh no! It is not true!
Do the math again,
Perhaps more will accrue!
Two plus two is four.
Figure things again!
Say what? It must be more!
Perhaps it's more than ten?
Two plus two is four.
This game becomes a bore!
The hour's getting late!
Four plus four is eight.
Such error is a waste!
What's that you dare to state?
Redo it with all haste!
Four plus four is eight.
Something's gone awry!
My gosh, now cogitate!
I'm carving up the fiscal pie!
Eight plus eight you owe.
I've the way to solve it all!
Perhaps I'll print more dough!
Change the rules, and spike the ball.
All plus more defaults.
Who promised I'd lock the box?
There nothing in the vaults!
Aren't chickens guarded by the fox?
All defaults lose trust.
I'm the one who suffers here!
What? You've a lot of crust!
Do not smirk and do not sneer!
Arithmetic's no joke.
Economics is my field!
I'm a nuanced sort of folk!
Arithmetic should be repealed!
Numbers are what's real.
Arrest him! Make him kneel!
What I say must be the law!
What he says sticks in my craw!
One plus one is two.
Oh stop! That cannot be!
Add them up again!
Perhaps this time it's three
Envoi: "The Treasury, which initially held 60.8 percent of GM as part of the U.S. $49.5 billion bailout, now owns just 16.4 percent, or 241.7 million shares. In December, the Treasury sold GM 200 million shares of its stake for $5.5 billion to reduce its stake to 300 million shares. In total, Treasury has recouped $30.6 billion. At current trading prices, Treasury would lose around $10 billion on its GM bailout." In "Treasury, UAW health care trust will sell 50 million shares of GM stock," David Shepardson, Detroit News, 5 June 2013.
On a related subject to being :rewarded for doing the wrong things," see: Bankrupt green
A catchy tune abhorred a deaf dove - paraphrase of Joachim Ringelnatz
A catchy tune abhorred a deaf dove;
The dove hated the tune foursquare.
One day they met, as push by shove,
Traveling in a tram somewhere.
They shook hands as if friendship bloomed;
Smiles brightened thoughts of battery.
They praised each other in volumes perfumed,
Spewing such inflated flattery.
They each wanted to silence the other,
That the other should god speed to hell.
Accordingly it happened, one way or another,
The devil saw them again in their sulfured cell.
See: Ohrwurm und Taube - (2011)
Down the drain
"Greece has missed all fiscal targets agreed under its bailout plan, a mission from an international inspection team found, putting further funding for Athens at risk, according to a German magazine." In "Inspectors say Greece missed all fiscal targets: magazine," Reuters, Berlin, 28 May 2011
Circling the ceramic,
The latest titanic
Is spinning its way down the drain.
Round around faster,
The latest disaster
Is spiraling out of control.
Too big to fail,
Then too big to bail?
Round she goes, and then? Who knows?
As talking heads bore,
Concocting a tale that's already stale.
The vortex is a spiral
As ills become viral
And analysts limp back to their lairs.
The newest, each fad,
The schemes with the bad
Are spinning their way down the drain.
Addendum: "A new political party called Drachma Five Star Movement, modeled on an Italian anti-austerity party which made unexpected gains in general elections in February, has been established by Theodoros Katsanevas, the son-in-law of late Prime Minister and socialist PASOK founder Andreas Papandreou. The party, which was approved by the Supreme Court on May 2 and lists as its key aim the return to Greece’s old national currency, also wants to revoke the country’s loan agreement with international creditors. Its formation came a month after the former leader of leftist SYRIZA, Alekos Alavanos, launched a movement called Plan B that will also campaign for Greece to leave the euro." In "New movement emerges, banking on the drachma," ekathimerini.com, 9 May 2013.
Addendum: "After five straight years of recession, the eurozone's weakest link moves into 2013 with an economy set to further contract, unemployment at a record 26%, one in three living on or below the poverty line, and the worst of austerity yet to come. In the runup to Christmas, even the Greek finance minister, Yannis Stournaras, felt fit to admit that despite being the recipient of €240bn in EU and IMF rescue funds – the biggest bailout in global history – Greece could still default on its massive pile of debt, a move that would result automatically in exit from the 17-nation bloc." In "Greek debt crisis 'far from over'," by Helena Smith, The Guardian, 2 January 2013.
See above: A Government of Shame - a composer's view
Human thug rights
"A thug who carried out horrific acts of torture for Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe has been allowed to live in Britain – to protect his human rights. An immigration tribunal found Phillip Machemedze inflicted terrible injuries on political opponents of the vile Mugabe regime.But despite ruling he was involved in ‘savage acts of extreme violence’ – including smashing a man’s jaw with a pair of pliers – immigration judges said he could not be deported. They said the 46-year-old, who is HIV positive, could himself face torture if he was returned home, having turned his back on Mugabe’s Zanu PF regime. Both he and his wife – who was granted asylum – can stay in Britain indefinitely." In "Mugabe torturer is given asylum in Britain... and yes it's in case he's tortured back in Zimbabwe," by Jack Doyle and Christian Gysin, Daily Mail, UK, 27 May 2011
The press tells war crimes are done, and done, and done,
With genocide as the Zimbabwe Marxists' little fun;
But when a judge so nice and rightfully naive
Does something like this, why, it's hard then to believe.
When a torturer's asylum is based on fear of what he's done,
The humanity seems twisted, to defend this sort of scum;
Forgive this torturer his torture for the sake of a human right?
The argument trumps his many victims, their misery, their plight.
A civilization so civil as to defend a thug like this
Is a civilization so uncivil as such evil to dismiss;
Britain once was great, yet now defends the torturer,
Which makes one wonder what they'd of done to Der Führer.
Probably try to understand, to sympathize, to feel
That such a twisted mind is a psychological big deal.
Let's all forgive the brutal, the vicious and the thug
And let's all line up to give them a loving liberal hug.
This is where such justice leads, down a cul-de-sac's dark end,
As the judge respects the human rights of a torturer to defend
The torturer his torture, the murderer his crime;
The vicious irony in all of this is simply so sublime.
Human thug rights is the end game of this thought,
As one wonders if this was the goal they'd dreamed, then bought,
The day would come when defending the genocidal folk
Becomes in the hands of some justice, a huge and bitter joke.
See: Hotel Stupidity and also Incidents of Idiocy
How is it - questions not in the news
"Dominique Strauss-Kahn will earn a tax-free salary of $420,930 and expense allowances of $75,350 per year. This is more than the earnings of the World Bank president ($493,940 tax-free), the US president ($450,000 taxed) and the UN secretary general ($403,958 tax-free). Only the general manager of the BIS makes more (about $750,000 plus unspecified allowances). Strauss-Kahn will also participate in the staff retirement plan, a defined-benefit pension scheme, which are strictly taboo for developing countries according to IMF advice. Strauss-Kahn will get an extra top-up to the pension for being the managing director, with the size variable by the length of his employment. For example if he stays for his full term, he will draw 180 per cent of the pension of a regular Fund staffer in any year he does not work. The Fund does not publish details of its pension plan." In "Strauss-Kahn to make $500,000 as IMF head," Bretton Woods Project, Update 58, 4 December 2007.
How is it a socialist who heads his party's slate
Is so well fed and stuffed, gorging at capital's plate?
Perhaps like Rumpelstiltskin I slept through something here.
Are socialists so rich that the meaning's now unclear?
Socialism, I've been told, advocates collective stuff,
Where there're no more fat cats, especially ones so rough.
Socialism's about share-and-share-alike, or maybe not?
Where is the common man in this? A harder life's his lot.
How is it a socialist who heads his party's slate
Is so well paid and fluffed, as such numbers indicate?
Perhaps like Rumpelstiltskin I slept through something here.
Are socialists so wealthy? It just seems rather queer.
Like all the other socialists who've held their parties' rule,
It seems one can extrapolate the game is rather cruel.
The little people well below scrape, and may get by,
While all the better socialists gobble up the largest pie.
Socialism, I've been told, advocates equality,
Where there are no more fat cats. Est-ce que c'est vrai? Oui?
Socialism's about share-and-share-alike, but mostly not.
Where is the socialists' hero now? And what is it he's got?
He's got money raining down on him, from sources ill-defined,
Who pretend that they are socialists, but the numbers that I find
Tell a story which is not pretense, but about the fat cats cashing in
On the hopes of many little men, whose little lives are thin.
How is it a socialist who heads his party's slate
Has chosen for him such a perverse and twisted fate?
Perhaps like Rumpelstiltskin I slept through something here.
Are socialist bosses capitalists? The whole thing is most queer.
Addendum of a One-Time Hero of the French Left: "France has been shaken this week by harrowing testimony from a trial in Lille that not only put in the dock Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former International Monetary Fund chief and one-time French presidential hopeful, but also examined a much wider, depressing picture of poverty, women submitted to sex acts against their will and alleged pimps who referred to them as 'livestock'. In court, Strauss-Kahn, 65, the one-time hero of the French left, flatly denied the accusation he aided and abetted the prostitution of seven women – a charge of 'aggravated pimping' that carries a 10-year prison sentence. He said he never knew or suspected there were any prostitutes among the many women brought to him by regional French businessmen friends for group sex, at what he termed 'festive afternoons' in Europe and the US while he was head of the IMF. But after three days of distressing testimony at a court in Lille – during which two prostitutes said Strauss-Kahn had subjected them to a sex act they did not want, and he self-assuredly explained his appetite for group sex and how his sexual style was 'rougher than the average man' – France began considering the wider implications of the vast trial known as the 'Carlton Affair', after the luxury hotel in Lille in which Strauss-Kahn has never set foot, but which was at the centre of the first investigation." In "Dominique Strauss-Kahn's 'swinging lifestyle' shocks France," by Angelique Chrisafis, Guardian UK, 13 February 2015.
See: Hippogrizzly - a zoological fantasy, for the next chapter in the IMF leadership saga and the truism, Socialists love money
Unsteadiness - paraphrase of a Wilhelm Busch poem
What an old rascal I do appear,
Unsteadiness being the culprit.
An empty glass brings me no cheer
Till good things splash wet within it.
I make a fuss, pure and well distilled;
"Hey, barmaid, hurry back!
Let my empty draught be filled,
Moistened more with wine than lack!"
Let my wait fly quickly past,
Suffered without much yearning;
"Down the hatch," I'll cheer, "at last,"
Swirling in dark depths, churning.
Incessantly teetering o'er a crevasse
Between one round and the next --
The brimming glass, the empty glass?
I tolerate neither, being vexed.
I measure myself by a fine example,
Bavaria's archbishop, so well known,
Who empties -- hurrah! -- a draught so ample,
Most men could not drink it alone.
See: Wankelmut - (2011)
Ice Cream - a modern litany ad hominem
"I scream, you scream, we all scream for ice cream. " Short story title by John L. Farris, after a song lyric by Billy Moll, Howard Johnson, and Robert King.
Ice cream "racist" in no time flat,
Ice cream "racist" for this and that,
Ice cream "racist" when it's not race,
Ice cream "racist" in every place.
Ice cream "sexist" here and there,
Ice cream "sexist" with a flair,
Ice cream "sexist" for some, not all,
Ice cream "sexist" as my knuckleball.
Ice cream "phobe" for the queerest things,
Ice cream "phobe" about Muslim kings,
Ice cream "phobe" as a gambit sharp,
Ice cream "phobe" as my regular carp.
Ice cream "hate" to disagree,
Ice cream "hate" at you, not me,
Ice cream "hate" when real or not,
Ice cream "hate" as my hangman's knot.
Ice cream "justice" when it's not done,
Ice cream "justice" like I shoot a gun,
Ice cream "justice" as a clever ploy,
Ice cream "justice" as a corrupting toy.
Ice cream "fair" when things aren't right,
Ice cream "fair" to pick a fight.
Ice cream "fair" to get more cash,
Ice cream "fair" but I hide my stash.
Ice cream "civil" when I'm not,
Ice cream "civil" to stir the pot,
Ice cream "civil" when I mean war,
Ice cream "civil" while I grab for more.
Ice cream "green" to save the world,
Ice cream "green" like a bomb that's hurled,
Ice cream "green" that comes out red,
Ice cream "green" like a knucklehead.
Ice cream "share" meaning you, not me,
Ice cream "share" for bankruptcy,
Ice cream "share" all over the place,
Ice cream "share" while I palm the ace.
Ice cream "unity" to hammer some folks,
Ice cream "unity" ignoring the jokes,
Ice cream "unity" while I divide,
Ice cream "unity" meaning "on my side."
Ice cream "ice cream" tastes quite raw,
Ice cream "ice cream" is a man of straw,
Ice cream "ice cream" is my rule of thumb,
Ice cream "ice cream" 'cause I think you're dumb.
See: Criminal Truth
He allows us? - boxing in cages
"Cage's achievement in his work with recorded sound is that he allows us to respond to a sound's spirit directly, without having the sound act only as an intermediary for his own designs." In "Something like a hidden glimmering": John Cage and recorded sound," by James Pritchett, Princeton 14 April 1994
Gaga? Maybe, Yo-Yo?
Beatles so blue?
Ha ha! Like the dodo
he's gamed you.
Not quite true.
Bach and Brahms, why
they're recorded too.
Designs? He designs,
directing each clue.
Hawks? How Thoreau.
But right on cue.
Luigi Nono? Yes?
Insect noise too?
Street noise, calling birds,
how about you?
He allows us?
If we only knew.
His designs are his designs,
on which to chew.
This makes it a zen game
and clever coup;
We listen to something else
but pay him his due.
He allows us to hear
hawks when they flew?
But violate his copyright
and receive your due.
He allows us. Yes.
Repeat that view.
He allows us. Guess?
Oh yes, it's true.
His design is glimmering,
showing right through,
No longer hidden is it
from inquisitive view.
Clever words so thorough,
with not one note for you.
Sound off for some fixed time,
Think outside the box?
Think outside the cage?
Think outside the wordy words
on his each copyright page?
That I wager we're not allowed....
Pleasant words for ugly things
"After a year of stubborn denial, European governments are going to have to admit that the Greek nightmare can end only if some of Athens’ debt, which amounts to 150 percent of its GDP, is forgiven” – and that by the summer of 2013, notes Die Presse. A simple expropriation of investors being virtually impossible, Europe is likely to adopt the model used to handle the South American crisis of the 1990s: exchanging Greek securities for European Financial Stability Facility securities." In "Get ready to wipe Athens’ slate clean," Presseurop, 10 May 2011
"Forgiven" is among the pleasant words,
Like "wiping the slate clean."
Pleasant words for ugly things
Is what euphemisms mean.
Default on debt means someone pays,
The remaining question is, "who?"
It could be the lenders, the tax payers too,
Who'll end up in that stew.
Would you forgive a loan so fast?
Would you accept new debt at last?
Passing around such truths as these
Is done with pleasant words, please.
"Hair cut" is such a pleasant phrase,
Which clips, and styles and cuts,
But when applied to your savings,
It's a pleasant phrase that guts.
Wipe one slate clean, yet dirtying another,
Is a trade-off so pleasantly sold,
But in truth it's just screws someone else
With an ugly fraud so cold.
"Forgiven" is among the pleasant words,
Like "wiping the slate clean."
Pleasant words for ugly things
Is what empty words mean.
See: Now how does that seem to a lender like you? - a run-around
Understand this then! - paraphrase from Goethe's Faust
Understand this, then!
From one make ten,
Two go just when
Three finds its niche,
And so you're rich.
The four you nix!
From five and six --
So says the witch --
To make the switch:
And nine is one,
And ten in none,
Now the hex is spun.
See: Du musst verstehn! - (2011)
Incidents of Idiocy
"These are not isolated incidents of idiocy. All were reported on a single day in yesterday’s newspapers. This is a result of the pernicious cult of political correctness which now infects every sinew of our body politic, especially the police. It has institutionalised knee-jerk stupidity in the name of ‘diversity’." In "The death of common sense and how our police are losing the plot," by Richard Littlejohn, Daily Mail, 28 April 2011.
Incidents of idiocy
Are liberally wise,
Akin to what we see
That's hidden by disguise.
Is an institution diverse
With visionless lucidity
In both chapter and verse.
Incidents of idiocy
Spread wide with a zeal,
And a raging immediacy,
Until its repeal.
Isolated or pernicious?
You be the judge.
Be not injudicious;
Dig down in the sludge.
Incidents of idiocy
Come circling full round,
Proving rooted, won't you see,
In stupidity profound?
More come to see
The errors in such ways,
Incidents of idiocy
Being idiotic displays.
Envoi: "Herein lies the tragedy of the age: / Not that men are poor, - all men know something of poverty. / Not that men are wicked, - who is good? / Not that men are ignorant, - what is truth? / Nay, but that men know so little of men." W. E. B. Du Bois (1868-1963)
See: Hook, line and sinker
Comfortable and convenient
"Environmentalism is the religion of the comfortable, and the theology of the convenient. It injects a false spirituality into the materialism of the faithless. There is nothing to it but greed. From the false prophets spinning tales of the end, to scientists doing a more elevated version of the same for grant money to scribes envisioning the end for a lucrative book or movie deal. It's not the end of the world they're waiting for, but a commercial break. "In "End of the World," by Daniel Greenfield, sultanknish.blogspot.
The apocalypse preacher is Camping out [ 1 ]
With many folks' very last buck,
While an apocalypse preacher will Gore the world,
In the manner of a prince called Chuck.
The world is literally ending soon,
A message which precedes, "send cash."
How comfortable and convenient
Is this said, and with what panache.
The apocalypse preachers are out in force
From sea to poisoned sea,
And indulgences must be bought from them
To save one's self, you see.
The apocalypse preacher is Camping out
With many folks' very last buck,
While an apocalypse preacher will Gore the world,
In the manner of a prince called Chuck.
How well above average do they live,
How large are their footprints stamped
With carbon spewing forth like smoke
With their preaching revealingly vamped.
The world is literally ending soon,
A message which precedes, "pay up."
How comfortable and convenient
As they paint this woe and pass their cup.
Alms for some rich, alms for some fat, [ 2 ]
Alms for the comfortable. What's up with that? [ 3 ]
Addendum: "The models are convenient fictions that provide something very useful." Dr. David Frame, climate modeler, Oxford University.
Cited in "Dark Clouds Await Anthropogenic Global Warmers," by Kevin Roeten, 6 February 2013
Addendum of Much, Much Less Than One Second: "...the relative distribution of water mass will shift away from the equator and closer to the poles. Enough water will move that Earth will actually spin slightly faster, like a figure skater who brings her arms closer to her body. 'Earth's rotation rate changes if its moment of inertia is altered via redistribution of mass in the oceans,' geophysicist Felix Landerer and his colleagues report in Geophysical Research Letters. The result: a day that is 0.12 millisecond—slightly more than one ten-thousandth of a second—shorter two centuries from now." In "Had a Long Day? Global Warming Could Be the Answer," by David Biello, Scientific American, 4 June 2007.
Addendum from 1989: "A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of ″eco- refugees,′ ′ threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP. He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control." In "U.N. Predicts Disaster if Global Warming Not Checked," by Peter James Spielman, Associated Press 30 June 1989.
See: So - stupid, also Bankrupt green
[ 1 ] "...Camping became an international laughingstock when he warned 'Judgment Day' would occur May 21, 2011 with the second coming of Jesus Christ. He went on to say the world would end October 21, 2011. Camping admitted to reporters he was "flabbergasted" when his prediction proved false." In "Controversial preacher Harold Camping dies at 92," KAKE News, 16 December 2013.
[ 2 ] "Alms for some rich, alms for some fat...." See: Albert Gore -- a study in the massive acquisition of capital.
[ 3 ] "How long will this continue in the hearts of these lying prophets, who prophesy the delusions of their own minds?" Jeremiah 23:26, in the New International Version.
"'It is surely the most dramatic of the possible carbon dioxide-induced effects and its initiation cannot be ruled out as a possibility before the end of this century,' Schneider said in a report to a meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.... A 25-foot rise in sea level would submerge Savannah, Ga., Charleston, S.C., four of eight Virginia cities with populations over 100,000, one-fourth of Delaware and portions of Washington, D.C." In "Picture Grim if Polar Ice Melts," United Press International, Houston, 8 January 1979
The Gores are Camping out these days, the message as before,
The world is coming to an end, for end days are in store.
Climate research models all fume and fuss out loud
To those who'd listen to the "fund my work now" crowd.
Possibilities of all sorts lie out there, proven not,
For possibilities are always what everyone has got.
Attach a date to such a thing makes rapture for some time,
And after the expiration date has passed, we're into overtime.
The game continues, dates are changed, and possibilities all bloom,
As more and more and louder still, the image is of doom.
Doomsday nigh and doomsday high in the minds of doom-filled men
Is a litany that they all pray, over and over and over again.
Orwell's Nineteen-eighty-four and Clarke's Two-Thousand-and-One
Are stories with expirations expired, for the dates are past and done.
The Gores are Camping out these days, the message as before,
The world is coming to an end, as they fiddle with dates some more.
See: The end of the world , also Apocalypse sometime and Earth Hour Follies
A Commencement Address Without a Bill Attached
“'In the currency world, money goes to where it is treated the best,' Thomas Goggins, a manager of the $3 billion John Hancock Strategic Income Fund, said in a telephone interview from Toronto." In "Key Bond Managers: Future Looks 'Terrible' for US Dollar," moneynews.com, Wednesday, 25 May 2011
You've some money. Where'll you put it?
Where it's sunny? Where'll you root it?
You've some money. Want to make it grow?
Risk's a funny, sinking undertow.
Will you treat it like it's money?
Non-receipt it? That's not funny.
Want to keep it? Treat it the best.
Don't dust-heap it. That's your quest.
See: Now how does that seem to a lender like you? - a run-around
Profitable Irony - a Commencement Address with a Bill Attached
"Ever since then we’ve been teaching our young people that your primarily obligation is only to the shareholder. The problem is that if you do that you ignore the other stakeholders. That could be why wages have been virtually stagnant for the past 30 years, because the workers are stakeholders. It could be why communities have been unable to undertake economic transformations in many places, because communities are stakeholders. It could be why customers don’t care so much what the source of their purchases are, they’re stakeholders." William Jefferson Clinton , New York University's 179th Commencement, May 18, 2011
Without profits to be taxed,
There're no taxes to be paid.
Without taxes to be paid,
There're no revenues, I'm afraid.
Whine about shareholders
And the stake holders might cheer,
But nibble away their profits?
The prognosis becomes quite clear.
Those who have some savings
Look to profit by some return.
Who, having such sum savings,
Would their profits easily spurn?
Folks invest in many things
Because profit is promised there,
But nibble away at the profit
And investment concludes, beware!
Rich Billy's profited plenty
While he chatted the populist line,
Yet stashed away his millions
To earn more profits, I opine.
Hefty speaking fees are pocketed
As he commences each affair,
As he natters on about profit
While gathering it everywhere.
The lesson here for graduates
Is as ironic as is it sad.
How many of these mortarboards
Will grow rich as Chelsea's dad?
Empty lingo from the boy from Hope,
As he's pocketed profits with both hands
While peddling his soft soap.
Life is so much simpler
When simple arithmetic's employed;
Tax everyone at equal rates,
And more will be employed.
But natter on about profit
While profiting wildly, fully, well,
And hope that all your words
Will conjure sum-blinding spell.
Without profits to be taxed,
There're no taxes to be paid.
Without taxes to be paid,
There're no revenues, I'm afraid.
If Bill disagrees with this,
Then he'd share his profit with me;
I expect he won't, in confidence,
Because that's his profits' irony.
Envoi: "Profit is the ignition system of our economic engine." Charles Sawyer quotes (American photographer 1868-1954)
"Democrats and Republicans alike are adept at making decisions without letting the facts get in the way, a new study shows. And they get quite a rush from ignoring information that's contrary to their point of view." In "Democrats and Republicans Both Adept at Ignoring Facts, Study Finds," LiveScience Staff, LiveScience, 24 January 2006
Just two political parties there are
Which come in many flavors;
But it all boils down, this repertoire,
To obligations versus waivers.
The one vows I will pay my way,
Asking, might you do the same?
The other says you'll pay me today
As their opposing counterclaim.
One says leave me, let me be,
I'll live my life quite free;
The other laughs uproariously,
And acts aggressively.
One says all this party stuff
Is not the important thing;
The other says, we've heard enough,
You'll learn the song we sing.
Just two separate a divide quite great,
With too little to thereby unite;
But one will fume and agitate
And call for one great fight.
One sees its obligations,
And works to fill its needs;
The other builds waiver nations,
Each bruising as it bleeds.
In the end, the first when forced to pay
Will wither under the fists;
But the second which demands much this day
Will suffer when the first desists.
Just two political parties there are
And have always been the same;
Obligations against waivers ever spar
As continuing millennia proclaim.
Democrats and Republicans are one, and the other is....
Additional reading for extra credit: The Austerity Game, American Style and Donkey Skins and Elephant Hides
"We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive. And if that is so, we must go back, going back is the quickest way on." In "The Abolition of Man" (1943) by C. S. Lewis (1898-1963)
We are absolutely opposed to absolutes,
As they tend to bind too much.
Absolutely everything must be relative
For one to truly be in touch
With the subtleties of life's variety,
Perversities in myriad and such.
When one walks upright and with a jaunt,
It's best to hobble one with some crutch.
When speaking open and honestly,
It's best to silence one insomuch
As anyone dare utter an absolute,
For chains and weapons we'll clutch
To absolutely oppose someone's absolutes
For they tend to bind too much.
Envoi: "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).
To such a reward I still say goodbye - paraphrase of a Joachim Ringelnatz poem
Yesterday afternoon I found
While going to the loo
A little piece of chocolate
In the pissing trough, askew.
It's true I live hand to mouth
And no baronial rank have I,
But still I left it lying there;
To such a reward I still say goodbye.
See: So fand ich gestern Nachmittag - (2011)
If it's serious, you lie
"On the tape, Mr. Juncker says he has 'had to lie' and, speaking about touchy economic topics, 'When it becomes serious, you have to lie.'" In "Luxembourg Lies on Secret Meeting," by Charles Forelle, Wall Street Journal blogs, 9 May 2011. [ 1 ] [ 2 ]
If it's serious, you lie,
So said some top dog guy.
That's how it goes
When when folks disclose
That some know-it-all
Could be a blow-it-all
In gambling with funds not his.
If it's serious, you lie,
As you aim to certify
The truth you tell
Is the fib you sell,
As the top dogs' whiz
Might fail his quiz
While gambling with funds not his.
If it's serious, you lie,
Alleging some pie-in-the-sky;
That's how one fails
To give honest details,
As a high-and-mighty chap
Hides all the little crap,
Yet gambles with funds not his.
Gee whiz, gee golly, gosh,
Elites can be so posh.
A cat may look at a king,
But this is second-string,
That some bright-and-best
Has almost confessed
To gambling with funds not his.
Envoi: "Incestuous, homogeneous fiefdoms of self-proclaimed expertise are always rank-closing and mutually self-defending, above all else.' Glenn Greenwald (b. 1967)
Historical Envoi: "The broad mass of a nation... will more easily fall victim to a big lie than to a small one." Adolf Hitler, Mein Kampf, 1925. [ 3 ]
Addendum: "When there is a lack of honor in government, the morals of the whole people are poisoned." Herbert Hoover, quoted in The New York Times, 9 August 1964.
Addendum of a Stunning View: "Today, Americans of all political stripes are coming to a similar, sad realization about our president. A recent Fox News poll asked Americans 'How often does Barack Obama lie to the country on important matters?' Thirty-seven percent said 'most of the time,' 24 percent said 'some of the time,' and 20 percent said 'only now and then.' Just 15% said 'never.' Think about that: 81 percent of Americans believe that Obama lies to them at least 'now and then' on 'important matters.' That is simply stunning." In "Obama's 'blizzard of lies'," by Mark A. Thiessen, Washington Post, 13 October 2014.
Addendum of an Socialist's Admission of Socialist Party Lies: "The Őszöd speech (Hungarian: őszödi beszéd) was delivered by Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány in Balatonőszöd in May 2006 to Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) members of the National Assembly of Hungary. This meeting was supposed to be confidential but the Prime Minister's speech was taped and Magyar Rádió (Hungarian Radio) began broadcasting it late afternoon on Sunday September 17, 2006. The speech explicitly admitted the Socialist Party had lied to the electorate and that its coalition government had enacted no significant measures over its tenure. ' ...We lied morning, night and evening.' 'There aren't many choices. That is because we have fucked it up. Not just a bit, but much. ' 'We must change this fucking country. ' It ignited mass protests around Hungary and rioting in Budapest and severely damaged public opinion of the Socialist Party, leading to the re-election of Viktor Orbán in the subsequent 2010 Hungarian parliamentary elections." In "Őszöd speech, Wikipedia article, n. d.
Addendum of the All-prevailing Schizophrenia: When one looks at the all-prevailing schizophrenia of democratic societies, the lies that have to be told for vote-catching purposes, the silence about major issues, the distortions of the press, it is tempting to believe that in totalitarian countries there is less humbug, more facing of the facts. There, at least, the ruling groups are not dependent on popular favour and can utter the truth crudely and brutally. Goering could say ‘Guns before butter’, while his democratic opposite numbers had to wrap the same sentiment up in hundreds of hypocritical words." In "In Front of Your Nose," George Orwell, 1946.
Addendum of a News Faker Lying: " 'I made it very clear to the European Council that some of the prime ministers sitting around there, they are at the origin of fake news,' he added, referring to the formal name of the combined EU leaders. 'So let's not put all responsibility on others, let's check in our round who is the news faker,' he added." In "Orban and other PMs spread fake news, says Juncker," by Peter Teffer, EU Observer, 14 December 2018.
See: Lying continues , also see below: A steady diet - it's news to me
[ 1 ] "The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity." Andre Gide (1869-1951). Such was the case with Juncker's overt assertion that mirrors Arnedt's observation below. But, fast forward...
Implicated and Resigned
...one reads: "The Luxembourg government today resigned, brought down by a spying and corruption scandal that shook the tiny country better known for wealthy bankers than political intrigue. Jean-Claude Juncker, prime minister since 1995 and the European Union's longest serving government chief, tendered his resignation to Grand Duke Henri, the royal head of state who himself has been implicated in media reports of espionage." In "Entire government of Luxembourg resigns after spying and corruption scandal forces its prime minister to quit." Associated Press, 11 July 2013.
[ 2 ] "Truthfulness has never been counted among the political virtues, and lies have always been regarded as justifiable tools in political dealings." Hannah Arendt (1906-1975).
The notion of dishonest speech -- sometimes termed "mis-speaking" now but also being synonymous with plain lying, as Juncker's remark reveals -- is sometimes colored with the camouflage of being "mistaken." But the more obvious is often that lying is simply intentional. Might this suggest such behavior on a societal level is evidence of sociopaths and their urge to lie?
Observed Likelihood as Explanation
One reads: " 'Politicians are more likely than people in the general population to be sociopaths,' clinical psychologist and author Dr. Martha Stout, who's not associated with the Emory study, told The Huffington Post for an earlier story. The terms sociopath and psychopath can be interchangeable in the mental health profession, she said. 'I think you would find no expert in the field of sociopathy/psychopathy/antisocial personality disorder who would dispute this," Stout continued. "That a small minority of human beings literally have no conscience was and is a bitter pill for our society to swallow -- but it does explain a great many things, shamelessly deceitful political behavior being one'." In "Psychopathic Personality Traits Linked With U.S. Presidential Success, Psychologists Suggest," by Jacqueline Howard, Huffington Post, 13 September 2012.
One references summaries of the research: " 'The way many people think about mental illness is too cut-and-dried,' Lilienfeld says. 'Certainly, full-blown psychopathy is maladaptive and undesirable. But what makes the psychopathic personality so interesting is that it’s not defined by a single trait, but a constellation of traits.' A clinical psychopath encompasses myriad characteristics, such as fearless social dominance, self-centered impulsivity, superficial charm, guiltlessness, callousness, dishonesty and immunity to anxiety. Each of these traits lies along a continuum, and all individuals may exhibit one of more of these traits to some degree." In "Psychopathic boldness tied to U.S. presidential success," by Carol Clark, Emory University eScience Commons, 6 September 2012.
How many of the above characteristics define in some way celebrities, politicians and more?
Self-Deception and Politics
But as to politicians lying, one reads: "...politicians not only lie convincingly, but are still convinced they are telling the truth even after they have proved to have lied, the report added. And it may be more common in politics that many realised. Dr Galeotti said: 'Self-deception is a type of motivated irrationality - the art of believing something simply because it is desired to be true when evidence points to the very opposite. The more convinced is a political leader, the more convincing he or she appears. A charismatic leader is persuasive in proportion to his convictions and faith; a cynical, self-interested liar is more easily detected and can hardly become a charismatic leader.' However, it may be that those who go on to become the most successful politicians are those who have most developed the ability to deceive themselves and to believe their own lies." In "Politicians are good liars 'because they convince themselves they are telling the truth', study reveals," by Emma Innes, Daily Mail UK, 17 March 2014.
Truth, Lies and Self-Deception
It is interesting to consider that much of the world is in fact governed by sociopaths. One reads: "Shared Psychotic Disorder refers to the onset of such a delusional state of mind in someone as a consequence of close relationship with another person already suffering from psychosis. Yes, in this sense, psychosis can be communicable. This relatively rare mental disorder illustrates two vital truths: Psychosis--contrary to the conventional mainstream view--is most often not merely the manifestation of biochemical aberration or a 'broken brain,' but a fundamentally psychological phenomenon. And, as such, it demonstrates the dangerous degree to which the human mind is capable of massive self-deception." In "Essential Secrets of Psychotherapy: Truth, Lies and Self-Deception," by Stephen Diamond, Psychology Today, 30 November 2008.
For a musical survey of such things, see: Seven Presidential Pardons , and an addendum to them, Well, we are out of money now , for a set of spoofs on the sometimes preposterous things even American presidents have managed to say.
[ 3 ] In the original German: "Die breite Masse eines Volkes... einer grossen Lüge leichter zum Opfer fällt als einer kleinen." The clarity of this remark is all the greater for noting that citizens are seen as "victims" by the liars. The utter cynicism and perhaps even evil therein is obscured by those who would support a political lie.
The Great Lie -- the New Order
While Hitler's text speaks about "the Jewish peril" and lies of the Jews, one notes that his great lie of National Socialism and the Reich which would last a thousand years are the proof of the assertion about the "great lie."
This quote in conjunction with the quote above from Juncker is ironic, given that the unification of Europe under a "new order" has been the failed dream of Napoleon, followed by the last Kaiser and then of course Hitler and the National Socialists. Now the unification of Europe is under new management, and yet lying to the citizens is still declared necessary, and in Juncker's own words, "serious" issues of government. Supranational, lying government.
While I don't believe Juncker's words, for being a self-confessed liar, one might consider that I believe in Europe - but not the shifting lines.
A Steady Diet - it's news to me
I want to eat more lies;
The truth is just too sour.
Such savoring is the prize
I seek in every hour.
Lies are tasty, sweet or tart,
Covering eyes that will not see.
I would learn them all by heart,
And hear no truth, but flee.
Facts are nimble; facts are quick,
But I think lies be greater.
With lies, one can take one's pick
Served by any waiter.
A la carte, or many-coursed,
Lies' nourishment feeds me.
When truth erupts, as sometimes forced,
Through lies I flee reality.
I'll serve up some lies;
For truth is such a boor.
Such savoring is the prize
For any lie's connoisseur.
See above: If it's serious, you lie
Reading the Words Right
"A boy Tuesday stood accused in the fatal shooting of his neo-Nazi father in their Riverside home early Sunday morning. The father, Jeff Hall, was a neo-Nazi leader, who headed the California chapter of the National Socialist Movement." In "Boy Accused Of Killing His Neo-Nazi Father In Riverside," Greg Mills, CBS News, 3 May 2011.
Reading the words correctly,
One reads right as Left,
Because Nazis all were socialists,
Which also translates "theft."
That a reporter writes such words
Is cheering, clear and bright;
The National Socialist Movement
Is socialist, not assuredly right.
The Nazis grabbed for power,
For money, mayhem, loss,
And each of them aspired
To be a bigger boss.
For one who loves his freedom
Which is freedom to walk away,
The only threat to liberty
Is the strong-arm Left's foray
Into do as we say this moment,
And do not question us,
For if you do, understand
Stuff comes to those who fuss.
That a reporter writes the words he does
Is cheering, clear and bright;
The National Socialist Movement
Is socialist, not assuredly right.
The wheels come off the argument
That socialists all make,
When one sees clearly this plain truth,
That their right-wing is a fake.
There's only greater government
To limit freedom's reach,
And limiting great government
Is what freedoms always preach.
See: We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party
Addendum of Another Instance of Correct Terminology Committed in the Press: "The National Socialist Movement has scheduled an April 18 return to Toledo, nearly a decade after a planned rally ignited rioting in the city. The neo-Nazi group’s Oct. 15, 2005, demonstration preceded a riot and the arrest of more than 100 people." In "Neo-Nazis plan return to Toledo for demonstration," by Ryan Dunn, Toledo Blade, 4 March 015.
Addendum of a Jordanian-American neo-Nazi Named Yousef: "A man of Jordanian descent has been charged in Wisconsin with vandalizing a synagogue as part of his activity with a white supremacist group called The Base. Yousef O. Barasneh, 22, was charged Friday with violating citizens’ rights to property. The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper reported Barasneh spray-painted swastikas and other anti-Semitic symbols and slogans on Beth Israel Sinai Congregation in the city of Racine sometime between September 15 and 23 of last year." In "Neo-Nazi with Jordanian roots charged with vandalizing U.S. synagogue, Wisconsin authorities say 22-year-old Yousef O. Barasneh, whose father immigrated from Amman, spray-painted swastikas on Beth Israel Sinai Congregation in Racine," by Yulia Karra, Ynet News, 19 January 2020. [ 1 ]
[ 1 ] The article states: "The Base, a collective of hardcore neo-Nazis that operate as a paramilitary organization, has proclaimed war against minority communities within the United States and abroad, the FBI has said, who found the group active in Wisconsin. Three additional men linked to the violent white supremacist group were arrested on Friday in the state of Georgia. A day prior, three other members, aged 33, 27 and 19, were arrested on federal charges in Maryland and Delaware."
Thus one finds a connection between this neo-Nazi of "Jordanian descent" and other "white supremacists." Are those of Jordanian descent now characterized racially as white? Or are neo-Nazis Islamic? Or at the minimum, as in this instance, inclusive of someone of Jordanian descent?
An interesting phrase, "the Base," is read, more interesting when connecting Jordanian with an Arabic meaning for the phrase, which is Al-Qaeda. The political argument about words such as conservative and liberal shatters, when on considers the model fails to explain such an odd connectivity. Coupling the anti-Semitic vandalizing of a synagogue with swastikas to Islamic contentions against Jews, individually as well as a group, one wonders about restructuring the two-pole model of right and left into, at the minimum, three -- right, left and militant authoritarian.
This is the same problem of modeling neo-Nazis as right-wing but Socialists as left-wing. With socialism, as a word, used to describe two poles of a two-pole model, the model fails.
Consider also the truth of that sleight-of-hand in politics, of the Left and Right that the Left is Right, as Right is Left
"Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter arrived in Seoul on Thursday accompanied by the former leaders of Ireland, Finland and Norway after a trip to Pyongyang. The group, who call themselves the 'Elders,' signally failed to meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-il. It was Carter's third trip to the North and the second during which Kim could not be bothered to meet him. Nonetheless, after telling reporters prior to the trip that South Korea is responsible for the North’s food shortage and saying he wanted to meet the reclusive leader, he came back with the message that Kim is 'always ready' to hold a summit with President Lee Myung-bak, as if that was a great revelation." In "Jimmy Carter's Role on the Korean Peninsula Has Ended," The Chosunilbo, Korea, 29 April 2011 [ 1 ]
The south's responsible for the north,
When the north won't lift a finger.
It's always someone else's fault
When poverty and famine linger.
Here's a novel approach to the tale
Which will jimmy the window a bit --
The north's responsible for its own travail,
And the ex-president's words are just shit.
Envoi: "I’ve reported from Ceausescu’s Romania, Saddam’s Iraq, Gaddafi’s Libya, Mugabe’s Zimbabwe and the Ayatollahs’ Iran – but after eight days undercover in North Korea, I believe this regime is the most frightening tyranny of all. Kim The First’s grandson, Kim Jong Un, has the power to make the biggest of bangs. The new boy-God holds his people in near-total mental enslavement." In "Inside North Korea," by John Sweeney, Daily Mail UK, 13 April 2013. [ 2 ]
Addendum to Inform an Ex-President in Desperate Need of Information: "The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (North Korea) systematically violates the rights of its population. The government has ratified four key international human rights treaties and includes rights protections in its constitution, but does not allow organized political opposition, free media, functioning civil society, or religious freedom. Arbitrary arrest, detention, lack of due process, and torture and ill-treatment of detainees remain serious and pervasive problems. North Korea also practices collective punishment for various anti-state offenses, for which it enslaves hundreds of thousands of citizens in prison camps, including children. The government periodically publicly executes citizens for stealing state property, hoarding food, and other 'anti-socialist' crimes, and maintains policies that have continually subjected North Koreans to food shortages and famine." In "WORLD REPORT, Events of 2012," Human Rights Watch, 2013.
Addendum for 'Responsibility Jimmy': "A stunning catalog of torture and the widespread abuse of even the weakest of North Koreans reveal a portrait of a brutal state 'that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,' a United Nations panel reported Monday. North Korean leaders employ murder, torture, slavery, sexual violence, mass starvation and other abuses as tools to prop up the state and terrorize "the population into submission," the United Nations Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights (COI) in North Korea said in its report." In "'Abundant evidence' of crimes against humanity in North Korea, panel says," by Michael Pearson, Jason Hanna and Madison Park, CNN, 18 February 2014. [ 3 ]
Addendum of the North Korean View: "North Korea has 'the world's most advantageous human rights system,' the country declared in a lengthy report released on Saturday. Its political system 'bestows upon (its citizens) priceless political integrity.' Its economic system 'ensures people an independent and creative working life, as well as affluent and civilized living standard,' according to a report by the DPRK Association for Human Rights Studies. The 53,000-word report -- which repeats the phrase 'human rights' over 700 times -- paints a rosy picture of the country. North Korea issued a vehement defense of its human rights record, in response to a damning U.N. Commission of Inquiry report, released in February. That report criticized North Korea's authoritarian rule and said the state 'terrorizes' its own citizens." In "North Korea: We have the 'most advantageous human rights system'," by Madison Park, CNN, 15 September 2014.
See below: Can you keep a secret? below, and Starvation
[ 1 ] Food shortages? One learns this is a matter of redistribution: "The Changchon district of Pyongyang is called 'North Korea's Manhattan' or 'little Dubai.' The area has seen a string of restaurants and shops open up recently which accept North Korean won, Chinese yuan and U.S. dollars. Patrons can pay $8 for a dish of bibimbap (rice with assorted vegetables), which according to the absurd official exchange rate is 8,000 North Korean won. The black market rate is 7,320 won for a dollar. Most North Koreans can only dream about spending that kind of money. The average North Korean laborer makes only 3,000 won a month. Residents of Pyongyang, who are considered the elite, can get by on that amount since the state sells rice, noodles, cooking oil, eggs, meat and other food products at very cheap prices. They go to the black market only to buy goods they cannot find in state-run stores." In "Chinese Correspondent Baffled by Pyonyang High Life," Chosunilbo, 29 August 2013.
Rarely Seen Yet Really There
A high life for the elite? "Outside the capital, the poverty of the nation becomes palpable, says a tour operator who regularly leads groups into North Korea. 'The further you go from Pyongyang, people's clothes get more simple. The people themselves are smaller,' said Simon Cockerell of Beijing-based Koryo Tours." In "The North Korea we rarely see," by Ramy Inocencio, CNN, 12 April 2013.
While Carter made his assertion assigning responsibility to South Korean's government, others see that it is plainly North Korea's responsibility: "The dark secret behind all of this new capital glitz and glamour has been a raging famine in the two Hwanghae provinces, where by some estimates 20,000 people have died of starvation in South Hwanghae alone in the year since Kim Jong-il died in December 2011 and was succeeded by his son and heir, the 29-year-old Kim Jong-un." In "North Korea's New, Man-Made Famine," by Todd Crowell, RealClearWorld, 24 January 2013.
"...nukes are expensive to develop. North Korea was able to produce them only with assistance from other countries, and on the backs of its own people, who starved." In "How North Korea Starved Its People for a Nuke," by David Francis, Fiscal Times, 9 April 2013.
And yet, as with so many other historical examples of a political elite favoring themselves lavishly in times of need, one reads: "North Korea imported $666 million worth of luxury items last year, which takes up 17.9 percent of the year’s total imports, a lawmaker here said Thursday. According to data from the Chinese Customs revealed by Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun of the Liberty Korea Party, the communist state’s imports of luxury goods increased by $59 million, or 9.8 percent, from 2015." In "North Korea’s luxury goods imports amount to $666m in 2016: lawmaker," by Jo He-rim, Korean Herald, 12 October 2017.
For the people....
[ 2 ] One wonders if former U.S. President Jimmy Carter thinks that "South Korea is responsible for the North’s" people being "in near-total enslavement." After all, if South Korea is "responsible" for North Korea, the logic should hold for this as well. Carter's "diplomacy" seems to view the wrong governments as responsible for the wrong things.
In a Better Light
The former president has often presented North Korea in a "better light." One reads Carter's own words: "Pyongyang has sent a consistent message that during direct talks with the United States, it is ready to conclude an agreement to end its nuclear programs, put them all under IAEA inspection and conclude a permanent peace treaty to replace the 'temporary' cease-fire of 1953. We should consider responding to this offer. The unfortunate alternative is for North Koreans to take whatever actions they consider necessary to defend themselves from what they claim to fear most: a military attack supported by the United States, along with efforts to change the political regime." In "North Korea's consistent message to the U.S." by Jimmy Carter, Washington Post, 24 November 2010.
It seems Carter has been consistently incorrect in his assessment of the consistent "offer."
"Pyongyang routinely portrays the annual military drills in the South as a prelude to an invasion of the North, and declares that it will retaliate for any violation of its territory. But this latest round of threats is higher pitched, reflecting Pyongyang's anger over United Nations sanctions in response to the Feb. 12 nuclear test. Following a week of aggressive rhetoric from North Korea, the government's main newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, reported Monday that the armistice suspending the Korean War had been 'declared invalid'." In "North Korea Declares War Truce 'Invalid'" by Alastair Gale and Keith Johnson, Wall Street Journal, 12 March 2013.
[ 3 ] That Carter blamed the South Koreans while failing to meet with North Korean leadership shows an astounding a priori and perhaps politically biased opinion for all the world to see. While Carter made his judgment of blame against the South Korean government, the United Nations Human Rights Council found the complete opposite. One reads:
First, "The State is carrying out a systematic and widespread attack against anyone who is considered to pose a threat to the political system and leadership of the PDRK. Crimes against humanity targeting inmates of political prison camps and the ordinary prison system, persons who try to flee the DPRK, religious believers and others considered to introduce subversive influences all form part of this attack."
Second, "The State has led a systematic and widespread attack against the general population by knowingly aggravating its starvation and sacrificing the lives of large numbers of innocent, ordinary citizens in order to preserve the political system and its leadership.
Third, "The State abducted and forcibly disappeared a large number of persons from other countries in a systematic and widespread manner in order to gain labour and skills to enhance the DPRK and strengthen it in the struggle for supremacy on the Korean peninsula." In "Report of the detailed findings of the commission of inquiry on human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea," Human Rights Council, 25th Session, 7 February 2014, (p. 320).
Against such clear and now detailed accounts of North Korea's depravity, Carter's public statements seem empty, and filled with the same kinds of bromides as a news report says North Korea employs: "...he and the other three, including Martti Ahtsarri of Finland, Mary Robinson of Ireland, and Gro Brundtland of Norway, had to settle for a written message, said Mr. Carter, of willingness to negotiate 'at any time and without any preconditions.' That statement, similar to many released by North Korean officials in recent months, 'is a perfect example of the law of diminishing returns,' says L. Gordon Flake, executive director of the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Foundation in Washington. It’s 'bromides that we’ve all heard before'." In "Will Jimmy Carter's latest North Korea visit change anything?" by Donald Kirk, Christian Science Monitor, 28 April 2011.
The Christian Science Monitor's article concludes: "North Korea, however, clearly hopes for an infusion of food aid, provided by South Korea for a decade under the South’s Sunshine policy of reconciliation before the conservative Lee Myung-bak took over as president in February 2008. South Korea and the US cut off such aid while waiting for the North to live up to agreements for ending its nuclear program. In Seoul Carter said 'one of the most important human rights is to have food to eat.' He also decried the cut-off of food aid by the US as 'a human rights violation'."
One notes this charge was made in South Korea, not during his visit to the North.
Carter's own words inflate the goals and results of his trip. One reads:
"The purposes of this visit by the Elders to China, North Korea (NK), and South Korea (SK) were to:
a. Learn about the humanitarian food crisis in NK and help to alleviate it;
b. Understand more thoroughly the diplomatic and military differences between NK and SK;
c. Induce NK to work more closely with the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights and accept the services of a raporteur;
d. Learn what might be done in the longer term to promote a de-nuclearized and unified Korean Peninsula, with a permanent peace treaty to replace the fragile and non-binding ceasefire;
e. Confirm willingness of NK to change its long-standing policy and negotiate directly with SK on nuclear and other issues;
f. Encourage NK to permit necessary monitoring of the delivery of U.S. and SK food aid to needy citizens;
g. Attempt to obtain the release of Eddie Jun (Yong-su), who is a prisoner in NK. He is known as a Christian missionary who has traded tractors and similar equipment for several years between SK and NK;
h. Share our information and opinions with the public and with other leaders in an effort to encourage resumption of dialogue on all important issues; and
i. Determine what future role, if any, might be appropriate for the Elders in the region." In "Trip Report by Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter to the Korean Peninsula, April 22-29, 2011," Carter Center, 2 May 2011.
Carter's self-assessment of the purposes above reads: "I returned home on Friday, leaving the other Elders to conduct more meetings in Seoul. We felt that we had accomplished all our original listed goals except c) Inducing NK to cooperate re U.N. human rights agencies and g) The release of Eddie Jun."
And the humanitarian food crisis, for which Carter assigned blame to the South Korean government? The crisis continues, alongside the vast scale of human rights abuses as the UN Human Rights Council has documented. But at least he and his elders helped "alleviate" the "humanitarian food crisis," for so he wrote, as well as work "more closely with the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights," and resume "dialogue on all important issues" This is what Carter claims he accomplished, while the UN Human Rights Council finds horrific conditions Carter somehow could not bring himself to mention, much less for which to condemn North Korea. What was his responsibility? Self-congratulation in a trip report, all the while North Koreans are abused by the North Korean government? So it appears.
At the Magic Show
His report states: "After a long supper discussion (where he indicated Kim Jong Il would not be available to meet with us), we attended a magic show in their enormous stadium, where buses loaded with people disappeared, elephants, bears, and horses appeared, and a helicopter materialized and flew around with the magician seeming to enter and leave it through the air."
The United Nations Human Rights Council managed to notice "people disappeared" too, but that is not magic.
Carter's failure to condemn a barbarous regime while blaming South Korea and the West for a humanitarian crisis seems much like "a human rights violation" against the North Koreans living under such barbarous rule. But at least these "elders" went to see a magic show.
Additionally Carter's empathy with a dictatorial regime, proven out, now also proves he and his "elders" were empathetic to a regime as criminal enterprise. One learns of basic theft: "Amid all the attention on Pyongyang’s progress in developing a nuclear weapon capable of striking the continental United States, the North Koreans have also quietly developed a cyberprogram that is stealing hundreds of millions of dollars and proving capable of unleashing global havoc." In "The World Once Laughed at North Korean Cyberpower. No More," by David E. Sanger, David D. Kirkpatrick and Nicole Perlroth, New York Times, 15 October
But as Carter has groomed for himself the position of "elder" as a statesman for the West, one finds his views becoming incoherent. One reads of a recent address to American Muslims: "I hope all of you will use the principals [ sic ] of Allah to bring peace and justice to all." In "Ex-President Jimmy Carter says he still prays for peace in Middle East," by Lauren Abdel-Razzaq, Detroit News, 30 August 2014.
Perhaps these "principles of Allah" might apply to solving South Korea's "responsibility for the North's food shortage?"
But as to whatever Carter might have meant about the "principles of Allah" and "peace and justice," one might consider what such principles have demonstrated in recent years. See: Islamophobia and the fascinating notion that There's God and then there's Allah .
No mention is made of the principles of freedom from the state and the right to keep the largest portion of what one earns, which seem less important to these Elders than the principles of Allah and the principles of Marxist-Leninist economic theory.
For more on North Korea not seen through the lens of an "elder" who seems unable to admit the gulag, see below
Can You keep a secret?
"Satellite imagery has revealed new details of the extraordinary size of North Korea's secret gulags, which are now believed to contain more than 200,000 political prisoners. 'North Korea can no longer deny the undeniable,' Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific director Sam Zarifi said yesterday. 'For decades the authorities have refused to admit to the existence of mass political prison camps. These are places out of sight of the rest of the world' whose inmates were treated essentially as slaves, he added." In "N Korean secret gulags thought to hold 200,000 political prisoners," by Rowan Callick, Asia-Pacific Editor, The Australian, 4 May 2011
Can one keep a secret?
Apparently not so well.
At least not so easily
When one operates a hell.
A hell on earth
Is a hell indeed,
If only half the stories
North Korea's government
Is Communist quite red;
In socialism's grounding
It was nourished, it was bred.
Its people starve in secret
For red is not transparent,
And yet such news is learned
For truth is heir apparent.
Can one keep a secret?
Apparently not so well.
At least not so easily
When one operates a hell.
Envoi: "Han Sung-joo, South Korea's foreign minister during Carter's 1994 trip, said in an interview that "both South Korea and the US government are a little bit wary of Mr Carter trying to represent North Korea in a better light than it actually is." In "Jimmy Carter leaves North Korea after peace mission," Associated Press, as published in The Guardian, 28 April 2011. [ 1 ]
Addendum: "During his high-profile visit to South Hwanghae province, Kim Jong-un talked of 'all-out war', according to the country’s KSNA news agency. He warned troops that there may be an order for ‘a great advance’ and they should be ready to 'make the first gunfire' in response to any attack. The emotional displays revived memories of the response of millions of North Koreans when his father Kim Jong-il died in December 2011. It later emerged that sentences of six months or more in labour camps were handed down to those who did not go to organised mourning events or 'cry enough' at their loss." In "'Prepare for all-out war': Kim Jong Un vows to attack South Korea as he cancels peace pact in revenge for tough UN sanctions," by Mail Foreign Service, Daily Mail UK, 8 March 2013. [ 2 ]
Addendum: "Inmates - who can be imprisoned for life, along with three generations of their families, for anything deemed to be critical of the regime - are forced to survive by eating frogs, rats and picking corn kernels our of animal waste. Activists say that as many as 40 percent of inmates die of malnutrition, while others succumb to disease, sexual violence, torture, abuse by the guards or are worked to death. Men, women and children are required to work for up to 16 hours a day in dangerous conditions, often in mines or logging camps. Anyone sent to a North Korean labour camp is unlikely to ever leave again, analysts say, while a failed attempt to escape brings execution. A recent report by South Korea's National Human Rights Commission suggests that the majority of inmates were caught attempting to flee the country in search of food or work, instead of being incarcerated for their political beliefs. Others were detained after being overheard praising South Korea." In "Up to 20,000 North Korean prison camp inmates have 'disappeared' says human rights group," by Julian Ryall, Telegraph UK, 5 September 2013.
[ 1 ] "Lee Hyeonseo... said the communist regime forced people to live in a 'virtual prison' with no concept of human rights. Anyone caught trying to defect is routinely sentenced to death as Kim Jong Un attempts to hide the reality of food shortages, labour camps and indoctrination from the outside world. And because punishment is handed down for three generations, even the husband or wife, children and grandchildren of those who escape are imprisoned." In "Chilling images from inside the mass indoctrination ceremonies where communist 'cult' leaders brainwash North Korea's children," by Simon Tomlinson, Daily Mail, UK, 12 April 2013.
In a Better Light Than It Is
As to Mr. Carter's "better light than it is" peace pabulum, one reads of North Korea in the headlines: "Hyon Yong Chol, 66, who headed the isolated country's military, was charged with treason, including disobeying Kim and falling asleep during an event at which North Korea's young leader was present, according to South Korean lawmakers briefed in a closed-door meeting with the spy agency on Wednesday. His execution was watched by hundreds of people, they said." In "North Korea executes defense chief with an anti-aircraft gun: South Korea agency," by Ju-min Park and James Pearson, Reuters, 13 May 2015.
Mr. Carter fails at making peace with a government capable of executing someone with an anti-aircraft gun. Mr. Carter had blamed South Korea for North Korea's famines. Mr. Carter wished to paint North Korea "in a better light than it actually is. Why?
[ 2 ] There is a war on writers, in the moment: "Writers in South Korea who defected from North Korea said they secured a list of some 10 North Korean writers who have been purged and imprisoned in the North since the 1980s. The list includes a number of famed writers who were beloved by the late North Korean leader Kim Jong Il." In "N. Korean writers beloved by Kim Jong Il are imprisoned," Dong-A Ilbo, 2 September 2013.
Punishing Hideous Crimes Against the Supreme Leadership
As to an "all-out war," one learns Kim Jong Un's government can show its strength against old girlfriends: " 'They were executed with machine guns while the key members of the Unhasu Orchestra, Wangjaesan Light Band and Moranbong Band as well as the families of the victims looked on,' the source said. The source added that all of the families of the executed appear to have been sent to prison camps under North Korea's barbaric principle of guilt by association. Hyon was a singer with the Pochonbo Electronic Ensemble, which is famous for revolutionary and propaganda songs and one of North Korea's most popular bands." In "Kim Jong-un's Ex-Girlfriend 'Shot by Firing Squad'," Chosunilbo, 29 August 2013.
"Reports in South Korean media say that a dozen well-known musicians were executed in the North on August 20, supposedly for possessing pornography. Among them was an ex-girlfriend of the country’s leader, Kim Jong-un, and two concertmasters of the Unhasu Orchestra.They were named as Moon, Gyeong-Jin, Jung, Sun-Young. Moon took part last year in a peace performance at the Salle Pleyel in Paris conducted by Myung Whun Chung. He was the country’s foremost violinist." In "Dreadful news: Concertmasters executed in North Korea," by Norman Lebrecht, Arts Journal, 29 August 2013.
One sees that "leaders" do not like exposure to criticism, and by extension one notes that "supreme leaders" supremely dislike criticism, especially that which comes from reptilian media, psychopaths and confrontation maniacs: "The denunciations in state media said 'reptile media' were making allegations designed to 'hurt the dignity' of Mr Kim, his wife, Ri Sol-ju, and the regime. The state-run KCNA news agency claimed the reports were the work of 'psychopaths' and 'confrontation maniacs' in South Korea's government and the media. 'This is an unpardonable, hideous provocation hurting the dignity of the supreme leadership,' KCNA stated. 'Those who commit such a hideous crime ... will have to pay a very high price'." In "North Korea denies Kim Jong-un executed mistress to protect wife," by Julian Ryall, Telegraph UK, 23 September 2013.
One might wait a long while for comment from former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, to learn whether executing violinists is also South Korea's responsibility. Or perhaps the United States? All the while North Korea starves while its elite feasts.
Gold and Famine
One South Korean news reports: "According to data from Statistics Korea in January, North Korean mines contain an estimated 2,000 tons of gold worth W61.3 trillion (US$1=W1,133) and 5,000 tons of silver worth W1.9 trillion. North Korean leader Kim Jong-il has apparently stashed away more than US$4 billion in secret bank accounts overseas. Yet there are no accounts that the North sold any of the gold or silver to buy food or that Kim tapped into his funds. 'Most of the income from gold mines in North Korea goes into the coffers of either the Worker's Party or Kim Jong-il's own pockets. I heard Kim Jong-il ordered officials to hold on to the gold until the end,' said a defector." In "Why N.Koreans Are Starving," ChosunIlbo, n.d.
How might this relate to Capital for Communists - a story growing old?
See above and below
"We start to see people starving to death when food output falls below 3.5 million tons," said Nam Sung-wook of the Institute for National Security Strategy. The late Hwang Jang-yop, the highest-ranking North Korean ever to defect to South Korea, said food output totaled just 2.5 million tons in 1997, when over 1 million North Koreans starved to death." In "Why N.Koreans Are Starving," ChosunIlbo, n. d.
Starvation, so it is often said,
Is Mother Nature fed.
When looking closely at the news,
It's usually manmade instead.
See above: Responsibility to make this circle complete
"A 13-year-old lesbian girl in South Africa has become the latest victim of 'corrective rape' - so called, when men rape a woman to try to 'fix' her homosexual orientation." By ANI, in "13-yr-old girl is latest victim of 'corrective rape' in South Africa," Yahoo News India, 9 May 2011 [ 1 ]
Whoopi said, "not a rape-rape."
Harvey mouthed, "so-called crime."
Celebrities blab on videotape,
Which records such stupid slime.
"Corrective rape" is the newest phrase
In the Idiots' Book of Prayer,
And it never ceases to amaze --
Their viciously stupid flair.
Coining words and phrases
To throw dust into prying eyes,
They fix their blinded gazes
On their game of jargonize.
Whoopi! Now I've got it!
It's nuanced, subtle, keen.
Such phrases are not shit;
Just justification's shitty sheen.
Rape isn't rape, not exactly,
When standards are thus applied
To victims' traumas abstractly
Like a tourniquet deadly tied.
Stop the bleeding and the fuss
With a turn of phrase to bind
And silence would-be critics
By such notions redefined.
The latest fashion corrects with rape,
As a therapeutic poke,
As words stretch and then reshape
Into man's evil little joke.
Envoi: "Speaking on television show The View, Goldberg said 'I know it wasn't rape-rape. I think it was something else, but I don't believe it was rape-rape.' 'Rape-rape?' As opposed to just 'rape'? Goldberg was trying to pin down the exact crime Polanski was charged with but she still seems to be suggesting that there are different levels of forcing someone to have sexual intercourse without their consent, that some rapes are better than others. What a dangerous and foolish thing to say. Goldberg also said: 'We’re a different kind of society. We see things differently.'" In "Whoopi Goldberg defends Roman Polanski: 'It wasn't rape-rape' " by Lucy Jones, The Telegraph UK, 30 September 2009 [ 2 ]
Addendum of an Accusation: "In 2011, Feldman told 'Nightline' that a 'Hollywood mogul' who abused Haim is to blame for the late actor's death. He said pedophilia was and still is Hollywood's biggest problem and darkest secret." In "Corey Feldman's 'Coreyography' Details Sexual Abuse He, Corey Haim Faced ," by Cavan Sieczkowski, Huffington Post, 21 October 2013. [ 3 ]
Addendum to say Rape is Rape is Rape: "According to Susan D. Carbon, director of the Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women, the previous definition 'excluded an untold number of victims.' For the first time, men will be included in national rape statistics, as well as those raped while unable to give consent due to intoxication or other mental and physical incapacity. 'Rape is rape is rape,' said Carbon in a conference call this morning. 'It’s rape if you’re a man; it’s rape if it was with another object; it’s rape if you were too drunk to consent'." In "Rape Is Rape," by Jamie Fuller, American Prospect, 6 January 2012.
Addendum of a Convicted Rapist: "Reynolds, once a close confidante of Rev. Jesse Jackson, resigned in disgrace after two years in Congress when he was convicted of 12 counts of statutory rape, solicitation of child pornography and obstruction of justice. He was found guilty in 1995 of having sex with a 16-year-old campaign worker. Police ran a sting against the congressman when his mistress, who was too young to vote, told her next-door neighbor about the sexual relationship." In "Disgraced Democratic congressman arrested in Zimbabwe after allegedly making 100 porno films and taking 2,000 naked pictures in hotels," by David Mortosko, Daily Mail UK, 18 February 2014.
Addendum of Not Rape-Rape sometimes being Rape: "In his Monday Wall Street Journal column, James Taranto stated that in sexual assault cases where both the victim and rapist are drunk -- both parties are equally to blame for the attack. Taranto even went as far as to compare rape to a car crash involving two drunk drivers saying, 'one doesn't determine fault on the basis of demographic details such as each driver's sex.' Surely this ugly kind of victim-blaming is beneath the dignity of The Wall Street Journal. Approximately one in four young women will be sexually assaulted during their college career - an alarming statistic that should spur all of us to seek effective policies to provide services to rape survivors and hold perpetrators accountable for their crimes. But Taranto seems determined to maintain or even deepen the rape culture that pervades campuses and indeed much of U.S. society. What does that say about The Wall Street Journal?" In "NOW Calls on The Wall Street Journal to Fire James Taranto: Taranto Believes Drunk Sexual Assault Victims are Equally to Blame," Statement of NOW President Terry O'Neill, National Organization of Women, 11 February 2014. [ 4 ]
Addendum of Drugged Victims not Remembering: "Cee Lo Green, who on Friday pleaded no contest to one felony count of furnishing ecstasy to a woman before returning to her hotel room, doesn’t seem to know what constitutes rape. Last year, prosecutors declined to charge the former 'Voice' coach with the rape of an intoxicated person due to insufficient evidence, in addition to the charge he pleaded to. In a series of since-deleted tweets, many of which were captured by Buzzfeed, the 'F—k You' singer debated the definition of rape with followers Sunday night. At one point, he reportedly tweeted out: 'people who have really been raped REMEMBER!!!' " In "Cee Lo Green: 'People who have really been raped remember'," by Bryan Hood, New York Post, 2 September 2014.
A Straight Addendum on Rape Being a Gay Thing Too: "According to the Department of Defense’s Military Sexual Assault Report for 2012, an estimated 26,000 members of the United States military, both men and women, were sexually assaulted in that year. The Pentagon survey almost certainly underreports the scale of the issue. Of those sexual assaults, 53 percent (approximately 14,000 in 2012) were attacks on men. A vast majority of perpetrators are men who identify themselves as heterosexual. These facts are horrifying enough, but when institutions like the military, closed systems that lack oversight, do not validate the experience of the rape survivor, the perpetrators get to continue their criminal behavior without consequence." In "The Untold Story of Military Sexual Assault," by Michael F. Matthews, New York Times, 24 November 2013.
Addendum on Cultural Differences in the Rape of Children: "The State Department in its 2013 human rights report on Afghanistan said the sexual abuse of boys, or bacha baazi, is on the rise in the region, with the practice becoming common in Kabul. 'The practice of ‘bacha baazi’ (dancing boys) – which involved powerful or wealthy local figures and businessmen sexually abusing young boys who were trained to dance in female clothes – was on the rise,' the State Department said in its human rights report. The report noted an increase in rapes during the year, with most victims being children. In fact, sexual abuse of children reached an all-time high, according to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC)." In "State Department: Sexual Abuse of Boys on the Rise in Afghanistan," by Melanie Hunter, Cybercast News, 19 March 2014. [ 5 ]
Addendum of Rape as Religious Conversion: "Noor (not her real name) was sold into slavery after ISIS overran her village in the Iraqi province of Sinjar. The 22-year-old says the militant who picked her out raped her -- but not before trying to justify himself. 'He showed me a letter and said, 'This shows any captured women will become Muslim if 10 ISIS fighters rape her.' There was a flag of ISIS and a picture of Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi.' After abusing her, he passed her on to 11 of his friends, who also raped her." In "ISIS soldiers told to rape women 'to make them Muslim'," by Atika Shubert and Bharati Naik, CNN, 8 October 2015. [ 6 ]
Addendum of the Rape Victims' Fault: "Speaking to major Russian channel REN TV, Imam Sami Abu-Yusuf’s remarks came during a 12 minute segment bringing Russians up to date with the latest developments in the migrant invasion of Europe. Sandwiched between eyewitness-footage of migrant rampages in Cologne, women being sexually assaulted by apparently Arab gangs, and a segment on a surge of interest in self defence courses in Germany the Imam told the interviewer: 'we need to react properly, and not to add fuel to the fire'." In "Cologne Imam: Girls Were Raped Because They Were Half Naked And Wore Perfume," by Oliver Lane, Breitbart, 19 January 2016. [ 7 ]
Addendum of the Fault of Not Resisting: "A 14-year-old girl in Maharashtra, India, was whipped 10 times in public for the crime of 'not resisting' when her own father raped her repeatedly, Tamil dailies reported. The man had reportedly been raping the victim repeatedly over four months but the crime only came to light when the girl became pregnant." In "Girl punished for 'allowing' rapes," by R. Aravinthan, Teoh Xiu Jong and Ng Si Hoon, Star Media Group Berhad, 8 March 2016.
Addendum of Reporting Rape in the United Arab Emirates: "Zara-Jayne Moisey, 25, told police in the United Arab Emirates she was violently raped by two British men in the city last month. But instead of being treated as a victim, Zara, from Widnes, who is single after splitting from her husband, was reportedly locked up on suspicion of extra-marital sex and later charged with the offence. Her passport has been confiscated and she now faces a trial, claim her family and friends." In "British woman 'gang raped' in Dubai says "I'm petrified out here alone" after she's arrested for extra-marital sex," by Anthony Bond, Mirror UK, 18 November 2016.
Addendum of Normal Rape and Few Regrets: "Islamic State militant Amar Hussein says he reads the Koran all day in his tiny jail cell to become a better person. He also says he raped more than 200 women from Iraqi minorities, and shows few regrets. Kurdish intelligence authorities gave Reuters rare access to Hussein and another Islamic State militant who were both captured during an assault on the city of Kirkuk in October that killed 99 civilians and members of the security forces. Sixty-three Islamic State militants died. Hussein said his emirs, or local Islamic State commanders, gave him and others a green light to rape as many Yazidi and other women as they wanted." In "Captive Islamic State militant says mass rapes were 'normal'," by Michael Georgy, Reuters, 17 February 2017.
Addendum of an American Politician and Child Rapist: "The Trumbull County Prosecutor’s Office said in a legal filing Monday that Richard Keenan, a former Hubbard mayor, admitted on several occasions raping and molesting a child over a three-year period – beginning when she was 4. Keenan, who served as Hubbard mayor in 2010 and 2011, was indicted last month on eight counts of rape and 12 counts of attempted rape and gross sexual imposition. A rape conviction carries a sentence of life in prison." In "Prosecutor: Ex-Hubbard mayor admitted child rape guilt," by Jordan Cohen, Vindicator, 13 September 2016.
Addendum of a Malaysian MP: "Tasek Gelugor MP Datuk Shabudin Yahaya, in trying to refute Dr Siti Mariah Mahmud (Amanah-Kota Raja), said that some 12- and 15-year-old girls looked older than their actual ages. 'When we discuss 12- and 15-year-olds, we don't see their physical bodies because some children aged 12 or 15, their bodies are like 18-year-old women,' Shabudin told the Dewan Rakyat on Tuesday. The former Syariah court judge added that some girls who reached puberty when they were as young as nine years old were 'physically and spiritually' ready for marriage." In "Malaysian MP: OK for rapists to marry victims, even 9-year-olds can marry," by Rahmah Ghazali, Asia One, 4 April 2017. [ 8 ]
Addendum of Systematic Male Rape: "The Gaddafi regime was accused of using rape as an instrument of war during the 2011 revolution that unseated the dictator. Until now there has been no conclusive proof. 'Gaddafi loyalists raped during the revolution,' said one of the Tunis-based exiled Libyans, who wishes to be known only as Ramadan for security reasons. 'Once they were defeated, they suffered the same violence.' The hub of the investigation is a small office in Tunis, where Ramadan and his chief collaborator, a large man called Imed, have spent three years collating evidence." In "Revealed: male rape used systematically in Libya as instrument of war,' by Cécile Allegra, Guardian UK, 3 November 2017.
Addendum of a United States Senator from Minnesota: "The Playboy article was titled 'Porn-O-Rama!' and in it Franken discusses creating an Institute for Pornographic Studies where he performed sex acts with humans and robots. 'I found myself extremely attracted to the vulnerable side of this sexy scientist, and when I offered to comfort her, she accepted, kissing me full on the lips and inserting her tongue into my mouth and moving it around suggestively,' Franken wrote. 'Then she reached down and started rubbing my crotch and within just five or ten minutes, my cock was again hard and ready for action'." In "Al Franken Has Long History of Sexual Misconduct Jokes Before Accusation of Groping Woman’s Breasts," by Greg Price, Newsweek, 16 November 2017. [ 9 ]
Addendum of a Goldberg Recommendation Corrected: " 'I was wrong, before you start texting and emailing,' she said, grinning at the audience." In 'Whoopi Goldberg mistakenly touts Dr. Jill Biden for surgeon general: 'She's a hell of a doctor'," by Sam Dorman, Fox News, 4 March 2020. [ 10 ]
See: Empowering feminism - a parody on "I Am Woman" (first released 1971) by Helen Reddy and singer-songwriter Ray Burton and see also, Sexy acrostic - just to turn a trick
[ 1 ] "One would also imagine that South Africa, being the only African country to recognize same sex marriage practice would make it safer for all, including lesbians. The reality unfortunately is not so. Despite this progressive legislation, corrective' rape - otherwise known as 'curative rape' - is a growing problem in many townships across South Africa." In "South Africa: Classifying 'Corrective' Rape As a Hate Crime," by Tiffani Wesley, AllAfrica.com, 26 November 2012.
Cures and Corrections
Enlarging the picture: "South Africa has one of the world’s highest rates of sexual assault. According to a 2009 government survey, one in four men admit to having sex with a woman who did not consent to intercourse, and nearly half of these men admitted to raping more than once. An earlier government study found that a majority of rapes were committed by friends and acquaintances of the victim. Just as disturbing is a practice called 'corrective rape' — the rape of gay men and lesbians to 'cure' them of their sexual orientation." In "The Brutality of 'Corrective Rape'," by Clare Carter, New York Times, 27 July 2013.
[ 2 ] "Polanski, a French citizen, was arrested in 1977 for sexually assaulting then 13-year-old Geimer during a magazine photo shoot at the home of actor Jack Nicholson. He was indicted on six felony counts, including rape by use of drugs, child molesting and sodomy, and pled guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse. The judge dismissed the remaining five counts and sentenced Polanski to 90 days in prison to undergo psychiatric evaluation. Polanski was released after only 42 days and, in 1978, upon learning that the judge planned to bring further charges against him, fled to France, which remains his primary home." In "Roman Polanski rape victim pens tell-all," by Jenny Che, NY Daily News, 10 October 2012.
Blurs and Witty Banter
One wonders if Whoopi would shout "whoopee " about the following: "Asked by a reporter how his views of women had changed over time, the filmmaker said he thought feminism and advances in contraception had blurred the distinctions between the sexes." In "Polanski blames the Pill for 'masculinising' women," Agence France Presse, 25 May 2013.
But as to Goldberg and her co-hosts, one reads: "The ladies at The View coffee table then continued to parade down the sensitivity freeway with about 20 seconds of witty banter about child molestation." In "Whoopi Goldberg defends Polanski 'rape-rape' comment," Examiner, 30 September 2009.
Moreover, Hollywood celebrities line up in solidarity with a man who "pled guilty to one count of unlawful sexual intercourse" before fleeing further charges.
Rape - the so-called Crime
One reads: " 'Whatever you think about the so-called crime, [Roman] Polanski has served his time,' says film producer Harvey Weinstein in The Independent. His piece is notable not only for its moral obtuseness but also for its sickeningly unctuous tone. 'I was with him the day he won the Legion of Honour in France,' writes Weinstein, 'which was a spectacular day. I remember the incredible love and affection that people have for him.' Mr. Weinstein overlooks the fact that the history of mankind is liberally dotted with despicable men who could draw an adoring throng. Even so, there is another, more compelling (at least to Weinstein) reason Polanski should be freed: His peers in show business demand it. 'I hope the US government acts swiftly,' he writes, 'because film makers are looking for justice to be properly served. I will be organizing the effort myself by emailing everybody I know to sign the petition.' By justice being properly served, Weinstein means that Polanski should be freed from Swiss custody and the original rape charge against him should be dismissed. This opinion is evidently shared by a growing number of people affiliated with the movie business, including Martin Scorsese, David Lynch, and that paragon of virtue Woody Allen, all of whom have added their names to a petition in which they 'demand the immediate release of Roman Polanski'." In "The National Review: Rushing To Defend Polanski," by Jack Dunphy, National Public Radio, 1 October 2009.
But now more "not rape-rape" rape victims of Polanski are emerging from the shadows. One reads: "Roman Polanski’s sexual assault allegations are back in the spotlight after former German actress Renate Langer reported to Swiss police Tuesday that the 'Chinatown' director raped her when she was 15. According to The New York Times, the 61-year-old Langer claims the assault occurred at a house in Gstaad in February 1972. She is the fourth woman to accuse Polanski of assault. Polanski’s lawyer, Harland Braun, has declined comment." In "German actress accuses Roman Polanski of rape," by Jeremy Fuster, San Francisco Chronicle, 3 October 2017.
Actors Once Silent and Not Having Known
As to one-time Harvey Weinstein who excused Polanski in 2009, in 2017 he is outed for his own harassment of women. One reads: "In a statement sent to HuffPost exclusively by Streep’s longtime publicist Leslee Dart, Streep says she did not know that Weinstein― with whom she has collaborated for years on films like 'August: Osage County' and 'The Iron Lady' and once jokingly referred to as a 'God'― was engaging in 'inappropriate, coercive acts' and that he had paid financial settlements to at least eight women after they accused him of harassment and assault." In "EXCLUSIVE: Meryl Streep Speaks Out Against Harvey Weinstein," by Yashar Ali, HuffPost, 9 October 2017.
The tale addresses "...the details of Weinstein’s alleged behavior as evidence that the entertainment industry has a double standard when it comes to sexual harassment. 'Hollywood stood by and did nothing and continued to award this person, work with him and glorify him,' Alex Marlow, editor in chief of Breitbart News, said in an interview. The scandal could further erode Hollywood’s credibility with middle America, Marlow said. 'While he was allegedly preying on vulnerable people, the whole town that virtue-signals about women’s rights and female empowerment stood silent'." In "Weinstein sexual harassment controversy exposes Hollywood's double standard," by By Meg James, David Ng and Meredith Blake, Los Angeles Times, 6 October 2017.
As to what Weinstein called a "so-called crime," one reads of him: "In the course of a ten-month investigation, I was told by thirteen women that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, allegations that corroborate and overlap with the Times’s revelations, and also include far more serious claims. Three women––among them Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans—told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex." In "From Aggressive Overtures to Sexual Assault: Harvey Weinstein’s Accusers Tell Their Stories," by Ronan Farrow, New Yorker, 10 October 2017.
Tangled Tales and Millions
Such a tangled set of tales is illustrated by Weinstein's one-time attorney and public feminist, who confesses: "When the story comes out, attack the accuser, deny, deny, deny, and fight like hell. Having represented a lot of those accusers, I know how damaging that is to them, how hurtful, how scary. It’s emotionally devastating. Because I had had that experience so many times with so many women I thought changing the response from the accused to immediately apologizing, expressing remorse, vowing to do better and never disrespecting the accusers would be a good thing for the victims. It turns out I was wrong." In "Lisa Bloom Reveals Why She Took On Harvey Weinstein as a Client," by Ashley Cullins, Hollywood Reporter, 13 October 2017.
But days later one reads: " 'You know what is truth, Lisa? I feel like people should know that you've been calling my literary agent and saying there'd be money for me if I got on the 'Harvey's Changed' bandwagon?' the actor wrote. 'You told her that I should care about HIS reputation. How HE has a family now and how HE has changed. Well, guess what? I've always had a family and that didn't stop him from assaulting me'." In " 'The scarlet letter is yours and it's S for SHAME': Rose McGowan tears into Lisa Bloom claiming the celebrity attorney is a 'snake' who tried to pay her $6 million to say 'Harvey's changed'," by Mollie Cahillane, Daily Mail, 15 October 2017.
Amusingly, the Daily Mail continues its reporting about Weinstein attorney, Lisa Bloom. One connects other dots: "Susie Tompkins Buell, a long-time Clinton donor, paid celebrity lawyer Lisa Bloom $500,000 to fund security, relocation and possibly a 'safe house,' for women who might 'find the courage to speak out' against Trump, the New York Times reported. Clinton operative David Brock also gave $200,000, through his nonprofit group, to Bloom." In "Hillary Clinton backer paid $500,000 to fund women accusing Trump of sexual misconduct before Election Day," by Hannah Parry, Daily Mail, 1 January 2018.
$700,000 to fund opposition to Trump alongside paid defense of Weinstein suggests Ms. Bloom is quite the capitalist....
Damaging an Entire Industry?
A report looks back at Goldberg's other celebrity on "The View" which served as a forum for the now infamous "not rape-rape" remark: "Barbara Walters was more concerned with Hollywood's reputation than Corey Feldman's allegations of sexual abuse against him as a child. In a recently resurfaced 'The View' interview from 2013, Walters shoots back at Feldman's story of pedophilia in the business, declaring, 'You're damaging an entire industry.' 'There are people that were the people that did this to both me and Corey (Haim) that are still working. They're still out there, and that are some of the richest most powerful people in this business,' Feldman said." In "Barbara Walters wasn't sympathetic when Corey Feldman admitted abuse by Hollywood pedophiles," by Nicole Bitette, New York Daily News, 17 October 2017.
But the entertainment writers tell why such a lack of sympathy occurred. One reads: "...like I said: everybody-fucking-knew. And to me, if Harvey’s behavior is the most reprehensible thing one can imagine, a not-so-distant second is the current flood of sanctimonious denial and condemnation that now crashes upon these shores of rectitude in gloppy tides of bullshit righteousness. Because everybody-fucking-knew." In " 'Beautiful Girls' Scribe Scott Rosenberg On A Complicated Legacy With Harvey Weinstein," by Mike Fleming Jr., Deadline, 16 October 2017.
And then a sexual abuse task force is announced: "Show business has been rocked over the past month by multiple accusations of sexual abuse against high-profile figures including Harvey Weinstein, Brett Ratner, Kevin Spacey, James Toback, and more. The first accusations emerged on Oct. 5 against Weinstein." In "L.A. District Attorney Launches Sexual Abuse Task Force for Entertainment Industry," by Dave McNary, Variety, 10 November 2017.
A Blend of Self-Righteousness and Upper-Class Entitlement
A condemnation is heard: "That this strain of liberalism also attracts hypocrites like Harvey Weinstein, with his superlative fundraising powers and his reverence for 'great artists', should probably not surprise us. Remember, too, that Weinstein is the man who once wrote an essay demanding leniency for Roman Polanski, partially on the grounds that he too was a 'great artist'. Harvey Weinstein seemed to fit right in. This is a form of liberalism that routinely blends self-righteousness with upper-class entitlement. That makes its great pronouncements from Martha’s Vineyard and the Hamptons. That routinely understands the relationship between the common people and showbiz celebrities to be one of trust and intimacy. Countless people who should have known better are proclaiming their surprise at Harvey Weinstein’s alleged abuses. But in truth, their blindness is even more sweeping than that. They are lost these days in a hall of moral mirrors, weeping tears of admiration for their own virtue and good taste." In "What Harvey Weinstein tells us about the liberal world," by Thomas Frank, Guardian UK, 21 October 2017.
The exposes cut a wide swath. One reads further: "That's why there's a concurrent wave of harassment allegations hitting Hollywood, too, he says. 'It’s happening in Los Angeles because in the entertainment industry that is where the power is and if you look at sex scandals in politics, Washington is going to be the capital (place) because that is where political power is based,' Feldstein said. 'I suspect if you looked at impropriety in the fashion industry or finance industries, New York would also be tops.' Harassment has permeated the media industry for decades, we've learned as the accusations have been made public. Many victims have remained quiet over fear of reprisal." In "New York's TV industry riddled by harassment accusations," by Mike Snider, USA Today, 3 December 2017.
The article note media is represented in this sordid tale. "...recent events emphasize that harassment within the media does not have geographic boundaries. The New York Times' White House reporter Glenn Thrush was suspended two weeks ago amid accusations of sexually inappropriate behavior. Also in Washington, NPR new chief Michael Oreskes resigned earlier this month after sexual harassment allegations, first reported by The Washington Post that took place when he was a Washington bureau chief for The New York Times in the '90s. Subsequently, NPR said another more recent allegation of impropriety had been reported at the network. And Leon Wieseltier, contributing editor at The Atlantic, had his new magazine project dropped after numerous women said they had been sexually harassed by him during his three-decades at The New Republic."
Wrong is wrong and many more accusers are speaking out, though so many celebrities have seemed willing to parse the notion of what should be obviously seen as wrong. Therefore a Goldberg can call rape not really "rape-rape" and Weinstein dared to call it a "so-called crime." How different is this "View" than asserting "corrective rape" is some sort of therapeutic and therefore justifiable act?
[ 3 ] Some veils on Hollywood are dropping. One reads: "News that a registered sex offender worked under another name raises questions for studios and police. ...Jason James Murphy has spent much of the last decade working his way up in the world of Hollywood movie casting. He's helped place actors, including children, on a variety of movies, from small independent films to last summer's science fiction hit 'Super 8'." In "Molester helped cast child actors," by Dawn C. Chmielewski and Harriet Ryan, Los Angeles Times, 17 November 2011.
There's No Business Like Show Business
The scope of whatever it is that Ms. Goldberg thinks not "rape-rape" is seen as broader than Hollywood's hoped-for image might allow: "Another child star from an earlier era agrees that Hollywood has long had a problem with pedophilia. 'When I watched that interview, a whole series of names and faces from my history went zooming through my head,' Paul Peterson, 66, star of The Donna Reed Show, a sitcom popular in the 1950s and 60s, and president of A Minor Consideration, tells FOXNews.com. 'Some of these people, who I know very well, are still in the game.' 'This has been going on for a very long time,' concurs former 'Little House on the Prairie' star Alison Arngrim. 'It was the gossip back in the '80s. People said, 'Oh yeah, the Coreys, everyone’s had them.' People talked about it like it was not a big deal'." In "Recent Charges of Sexual Abuse of Children in Hollywood Just Tip of Iceberg, Experts Say," by Meagan Murphy, FoxNews, 5 December 2011.
Given notions of not "rape-rape" and it being a "so-called crime," when set alongside the record of South African society's excuse of "corrective" or "curative rape" and such, one finds a consistent thread of excuse for the rapist and lack of empathy for the victims of a "so-called crime."
[ 4 ] "What does that say about The Wall Street Journal?" Sometimes a question is best answered with a question. What does the current NOW concern say about the silence of NOW as regards Goldberg's "not rape-rape?" What does it say about Nadia Cho's article in "The Daily Californian," College sex: Berkeley edition, Sex on Tuesday, in 2012? Sexy acrostic - just to turn a trick.
It All Depends, Doesn't It?
The ironic humor of all such selective outrage is that the National Association of Women had little to say about Goldberg's "not rape-rape" comment and many more instances of accused rape. In Wikipedia's article on National Organization of Women, one reads: "NOW has been criticized by various pro-life, conservative, and fathers' rights groups. During the 1990s, NOW was criticized for having a double standard when it refused to support women who made accusations of sexual misconduct (sexual harassment charged by Paula Jones and Kathleen Willey and rape charged by Juanita Broaddrick) against former Democratic President Bill Clinton while calling for the resignation of Republican politician (Bob Packwood) who was accused of similar offenses."
Why Not a Wide Net?
As to the "rape culture" identified in American society by the National Association of Women, the definition of rape is generally interpreted to mean "non-consensual." That being the case, "consenting" adults on college campuses, if society is to treat them as adults, must be understood to consent at some point in any social encounter, even if by becoming blind drunk. The confusion is heightened by such as Cho's college journal article writing about fantasies and "the best place to fuck." The Justice Department's statement above is a wide net - "It’s rape if you’re a man; it’s rape if it was with another object; it’s rape if you were too drunk to consent." Ergo the WSJ opinion writer is somewhat in sync with the Justice Department by suggesting that "'one doesn't determine fault on the basis of demographic details." This will be a Gordian knot long after the Wall Street Journal and the National Organization of Women no longer have reason to exist.
Or maybe a Narrower Net?
The parsing of words piles into a jumble. One reads of another twist: " 'Nonconsensual' sounds more like the language that is used in the criminal statutes. … If you don't consent, it's a forced sex act,' Smith said. 'That is extreme and can cause unbelievable harm and certainly would cause him embarrassment. That's one possible reason.' Debra Katz, a long-time employment lawyer in Washington, D.C., said there's another possible explanation. She interpreted Wiehl's allegation of 'nonconsensual sex' to refer to a type of sexual harassment known as an 'unwelcome' sexual relationship, not rape. 'The woman may go along with it, because they are coerced to do it, so it's not consensual. It's not rape, it’s a coerced sexual relationship.' She called the $32 million payment 'jaw-dropping'." In "Why Did Bill O’Reilly Pay $32 Million? One Accusation May Be Key," by Susan Seager, The Wrap, 23 October 2017.
[ 5 ] Detail from the U.S. State Department on Afghanistan: "There were some reports that security officials and persons connected to the ANP raped children with impunity. NGOs reported incidents of sexual abuse and exploitation of children by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF); however, cultural taboos against reporting such crimes made it difficult to determine the extent of the problem." In "Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2013, Afghanistan," Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. State Department.
The report goes on: "Sexual abuse of children remained pervasive. On June 1, the AIHRC reported that sexual abuse of children had reached an all-time high. NGOs noted that girls were abused by extended family members, while boys were more frequently abused by men outside their families. NGOs noted that families often were complicit, allowing local strongmen to abuse their children in exchange for status or money. While the Ministry of Interior tracked cases of rape, most NGOs and observers estimated that the official numbers significantly underreported the phenomenon. The AIHRC reported an increase in rapes during the year, with most victims being children. Many child sexual abusers were not arrested, and there were reports that security officials and those connected to the ANP raped children with impunity. The practice of “bacha baazi” (dancing boys) – which involved powerful or wealthy local figures and businessmen sexually abusing young boys who were trained to dance in female clothes – was on the rise. Although the practice was believed to be more widespread in conservative rural areas, at least one media report alleged that it had become common in Kabul. Media reports also alleged that local authorities, including the police, were involved in the practice, but the government took few steps to discourage the abuse of boys or to prosecute or punish those involved."
Consider a Commander-in-Chief's order that American troops are Instructed not to intervene .
[ 6 ] Quoted by a number of reports is an excerpt from a NYTimes article: "Cole Bunzel, a scholar of Islamic theology at Princeton University, disagrees, pointing to the numerous references to the phrase 'Those your right hand possesses' in the Quran, which for centuries has been interpreted to mean female slaves. He also points to the corpus of Islamic jurisprudence, which continues into the modern era and which he says includes detailed rules for the treatment of slaves. 'There is a great deal of scripture that sanctions slavery,' said Mr. Bunzel, the author of a research paper published by the Brookings Institution on the ideology of the Islamic State. 'You can argue that it is no longer relevant and has fallen into abeyance. ISIS would argue that these institutions need to be revived, because that is what the Prophet and his companions did'." In "ISIS Enshrines a Theology of Rape," by Rukimini Calliachi, 13 August 2015.
Nuances and Justifications
While opposing sides argue about the theology, as so many sources above try to parse "rape" from "rape-rape" or call rape "corrective," what is glaringly obvious is that the world has all too many in it who will excuse rape on a variety of bases and with varying justifications, from the theological to the political to the cultural. Such nuance should sicken many more than it seems to.
[ 7 ] While the Salafist imam in Cologne blames the women and not the attackers, the mayor of Cologne seemed to step into the same rhetorical mine field. One reads: "Reker’s comments triggered outrage on social media. Reaction was trending under #einarmlaenge (an arm’s length).
Christopher Lauer, a politician, tweeted: 'Man: 'I had intended to mug this woman and molest her, but shit! She’s an arm’s length away from me!' Alexander Nabert, a journalist, wrote: 'This thing about an arm’s length – is it a rule of thumb?' Another Twitter user, Marie von den Benken, wrote: 'Frau Reker, the thing about the one arm’s length sounds more like one brain cell'." In "Cologne attacks: mayor lambasted for telling women to keep men at arm's length," by Kate Connolly, Guardian UK, 6 January 2016.
Perhaps the nuance of Whoopi Goldberg is apt. Rape isn't rape-rape, and so sexual assault must not be exactly sexual assault, and so on. Such is a post-modern, avidly multicultural world in which words are shredded to justify any and all sides to a discussion. Consider, as example, a topic in which rape plays a part: Wedding Shredding -- bedding, treading, sledding.
[ 8 ] Conflating stories and socio-political notions from around the world, one sees that by the standards of a Malaysian Muslim, Roman Polanski' is not unduly guilty of "rape-rape" nor "rape" had he married under Islamic law in the view of some Muslims. Thus one may conclude that the 'modernity' represented in such thinking by some Hollywood celebrities as apologists for Polanski rather parallels 7th century theology as advocated for today.
Over centuries it has been about power and wealth, employed to victimize others. Today is remains mired in power and wealth to insure that such victimization can be continued in one manner or another..
[ 9 ] Allegations of "sexual misconduct" by politicians of both parties is following multiple allegations of "misconduct" by man and some women in national media and large corporations. The pretence that this should be explained away based on what is now called the "Weinstein defense" -- that great artists (and others high in some social scale) -- is amusing, as the hypocritical game of finger pointing continues. Sexual assault being parsed into rape versus not rape-rape versus corrective rape versus different cultures' expectations of what is rape are competing memes, as if different. When is sexual assault excusable? In this now post-modern world awash with idiocy, it seems to just depend.... on an incoherent postmodern ideology.
A Political Media Elite Engulfed by Their Own Actions
The overall modern perspective delivered by many in media and politics is being ripped apart, as revelations erupt. One reads further: "The list of men in political media accused of sexual misconduct is long and growing by the day. Glenn Thrush of The New York Times, Charlie Rose of CBS, author Mark Halperin, NBC’s Matthew Zimmerman, NPR’s Michael Oreskes, Vox’s Lockhart Steele, the New Republic’s Hamilton Fish and the Atlantic’s Leon Wieseltier have all been suspended or fired in the last month over varying degrees of alleged harassment or assault. New allegations are coming out at a furious pace, in part because of the newfound willingness of news organizations to pursue and publish allegations from women who now feel emboldened to tell their stories, many of them on the record." In "Political media engulfed by sexual harassment crisis," by Jonathan Easley, The Hill, 22 November 2017.
[ 10 ] The doctor is a PhD, not an MD. "Grinning at the audience...." Ms. Goldberg is seemingly self-made, successful and wealthy. Neither a doctor nor with a doctorate, "She studied until her teen years and later dropped out of school." In "Whoopi Goldberg Biography," TheFamousPeople.com, n. d.
"We’re a different kind of society. We see things differently." So it seems.
"Fifty million climate refugees by 2010. Today we find a world of asymmetric development, unsustainable natural resource use, and continued rural and urban poverty. There is general agreement about the current global environmental and development crisis. It is also known that the consequences of these global changes have the most devastating impacts on the poorest, who historically have had limited entitlements and opportunities for growth." United Nations Environment Programme, 2005.
Do not look at what we said;
We've just goofed about the date.
So say preachers, spokesmen too,
So faux Cassandras say of late.
Apocalypse Now, shrieked a noisy film,
Apocalypse soon, saw a little church.
Apocalypse is immediate,
Said the UN in their big research.
Some Cassandras search for funds,
While others search for power.
So many preachers searching now
Have homes in some ivory tower.
Apocalypse sometime -- that's for sure --
Predicts gathering gloom and doom,
As they all unite in a common thread:
Gain control, but over whom?
"In ten years" Ehrlich
Envoi: "In ten years [ 1980 ] all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish." Paul Ehrlich, speech during Earth Day, 1970. [ 1 ]
Addendum of the Year 2000: " 'The Climate Crisis: The Greenhouse Effect,' at 9 tonight on Channel 13. The conclusion, conveyed with great authority by several big-league climatologists from government and private research organizations, is terrible: by the year 2000, the atmosphere and weather will grow warmer by several degrees and life - animal, plant, human - will be threatened. The experts say that melting ice caps, flooded cities, droughts in the corn belt and famine in the third world could result if the earth's mean temperature rises by a mere two or three degrees." In "Earth's climatic crisis examined by 'Nova'," by Herbert Mitgang, New York Times, 24 June 1986.
Addendum to Reset the Date of the Apocalypse: " 'The world can decide in a fit of madness to kill itself,' announced Bob Geldof at the launch of the One Young World summit in Johannesburg. 'Sometimes progress may not be possible. We're in a very fraught time,' he added. 'There will be a mass extinction event. That could happen on your watch. The signs are that it will happen and soon'." In " 'We’re facing a mass extinction event,' claims Bob Geldof," by Rebecca Burn-Callander, Telegraph UK, 3 October 2013.
Addendum of the Royal Prediction: "It is traditional for me, at this season, to remind readers of the Prince of Wales’s prophecy, spoken in Brazil in March 2009. His Royal Highness warned that the world had ‘only 100 months to avert irretrievable climate and ecosystem collapse’. So only four years now remain. But as I write, the Met Office is meeting in Exeter for an unprecedented summit to work out why it has predicted for the past 13 years that the British climate will get warmer only to find, in 12 out of the 13, that it has got colder. No one is admitting, of course, that the end of the world is not nigh, but one does notice much self-exculpatory talk of how weather is affected by ‘a host of other factors’." In "So where is the 'ecosystem collapse' that Prince Charles warned us about?" by Charles Moore, The Spectator, 21 June 2013. [ 2 ]
Addendum by Way of the Science of Predictions I: " 'A combination of slow and rapid environmental changes will result in the extinction of all species on Earth, with the last inhabitants disappearing within 2.8 billion years from now,' O’Malley-James predicts." In "Real Doomsday: Earth Dead in 2.8 Billion Years," by Ray Villard, Discovery, 2 July 2013.
Addendum by Way of the Science of Predictions II: "Earth will be able to host life for just another 1.75 billion years or so, according to a study published on 18 September in Astrobiology." In "Earth's days are numbered," Emma Marris, Nature, 19 September 2013.
Addendum of the "Recurrent" Irreversible Collapse: "A new study sponsored by Nasa's Goddard Space Flight Center has highlighted the prospect that global industrial civilisation could collapse in coming decades due to unsustainable resource exploitation and increasingly unequal wealth distribution. Noting that warnings of 'collapse' are often seen to be fringe or controversial, the study attempts to make sense of compelling historical data showing that "the process of rise-and-collapse is actually a recurrent cycle found throughout history." Cases of severe civilisational disruption due to 'precipitous collapse - often lasting centuries - have been quite common'." In "Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?" by Nafeez Ahmed, Guardian UK, 14 March 2014. [ 3 ]
Addendum of an Amusing Observation: "The bloodcurdling National Climate Assessment is here, and it portends catastrophe; floods, clouds and other assorted weather events are imminent! But, says the report, 'there is still time to act to limit the amount of climate change and the extent of damaging impacts.' Have you noticed that we're always at the cusp of a cataclysm yet the deadline to act always moves to a politically convenient not-too-distant future?" In "Environmentalists Have Lost the Climate Change Debate," by David Harsanyi, The Federalist, 9 May 2014. [ 4 ]
Addendum of Apocalypse Misspoken: "An aide to Jerry Brown confirmed Wednesday that the governor was wrong when he said global warming would eventually cause rising seawater to inundate Los Angeles International Airport. Citing new studies, Brown called attention to the global warming issue on Tuesday, saying a predicted 4-foot rise in sea level within the next 200 years could force the relocation of LAX at a cost of billions of dollars. But various sources say that the nation’s third-busiest airport -- bordered by the Pacific Ocean -- has elevations ranging from 108 feet to 126 feet and is protected by higher coastal bluffs on the west side." In "Governor Brown corrects statement about LAX and sea level rise," by Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times, 13 May 2014.
Addendum of Doomsday's Date Changed: " 'The belief is that Planet Earth will be ending soon and we would have to defend our people and safeguard our food and supplies,' recalled Miller, now a 58-year-old West Village writer. 'They changed the doomsday date at least twice,' he said. 'We were told it was imminent, weeks or months. People in the cult wouldn’t have dental work done because they thought, 'Why bother'?' " In "Inside Manhattan's secret 'cult'," by Kate Briquelet, New York Post, 2 November 2014.
Addendum Recalling Some Predictions: "Demographers agree almost unanimously on the following grim timetable: by 1975 widespread famines will begin in India; these will spread by 1990 to include all of India, Pakistan, China and the Near East, Africa. By the year 2000, or conceivably sooner, South and Central America will exist under famine conditions…. By the year 2000, thirty years from now, the entire world, with the exception of Western Europe, North America, and Australia, will be in famine." Peter Gunter, "The Living Wilderness," circa 1970.
Addendum of Hawking the Apocalypse Part I: " 'We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet,' Hawking said. 'I imagine they might exist in massive ships ... having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach'." In "Aliens may pose risks to Earth," MSNBC, 25 April 2010.
Addendum of Hawking the Apocalypse Part II: "Stephen Hawking bet Gordon Kane $100 that physicists would not discover the Higgs boson. After losing that bet when physicists detected the particle in 2012, Hawking lamented the discovery, saying it made physics less interesting. Now, in the preface to a new collection of essays and lectures called 'Starmus,' the famous theoretical physicist is warning that the particle could one day be responsible for the destruction of the known universe." In "Stephen Hawking Says 'God Particle' Could Wipe Out the Universe," by Kelly Dickerson, Live Science, 8 September 2014.
Addendum of the Apocalypse through Artificial Intelligence: "Dr Stuart Armstrong, of the Future of Humanity Institute at Oxford University, has predicted a future where machines run by artificial intelligence become so indispensable in human lives they eventually make us redundant and take over." In "Threat from Artificial Intelligence not just Hollywood fantasy," by Patrick Sawer, Telegraph UK, 27 June 2015.
Addendum of Describing the Daily Apocalypse and Exit Route: "This year's Berlin International Film Festival will reflect the dark chaos of the modern world and deliver a timely commentary on events in the United States, but viewers will also be able to enjoy plenty of lighter moments, its director said on Tuesday. 'Despite all of the resentment in the world, it is a conciliatory and life-affirming program in the sense that the artists describe the daily apocalypse in which we have found ourselves, also in a visual way, but not without humor and ... they don't describe it without an exit route,' Dieter Kosslick told reporters." In "Berlin film festival to reflect 'daily apocalypse'," Reuters, 31 January 2017.
Addendum of the Difficult-to-Predict Apocalypse Taking Some Time: "Professor Rothman, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says it would take some time - about 10,000 years - for such ecological disasters to play out. He said: 'This is not saying disaster occurs the next day. It's saying - if left unchecked - the carbon cycle would move into a realm which would be no longer stable and would behave in a way that would be difficult to predict. In the past this type of behaviour is associated with mass extinction'." In "Mass global extinction that wipes out human civilization will begin in 2100, mathematician predicts," by Jasper Hamill, The Sun, 23 September 2017. [ 5 ]
Addendum of the Past and Future Almost Apocalypse: "On Thursday, a team of scientists offered a detailed accounting of how marine life was wiped out during the Permian-Triassic mass extinction. Global warming robbed the oceans of oxygen, they say, putting many species under so much stress that they died off. And we may be repeating the process, the scientists warn." In "The Planet Has Seen Sudden Warming Before. It Wiped Out Almost Everything," by Carl Zimmer, New York Times, 7 December 2018.
Addendum of 'Like the World Is Going To End': “And I think the part of it that is generational is that millennials and people, in Gen Z, and all these folks that come after us are looking up and we’re like, the world is gonna end in 12 years if we don’t address climate change. You’re biggest issue, your biggest issue is how are going to pay for it? — and like this is the war, this is our World War II." Quote of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' in "Ocasio-Cortez on Millennials: 'We're Like the World Is Going to End in 12 Years if We Don't Address Climate Change'," by Tom Elliott, Grabien News, 21 January 2019.
Addendum of Seeing the Collapse of Nature First-hand: "Prof Paul Ehrlich, at Stanford University in the US, has seen insects vanish first-hand, through his work on checkerspot butterflies on Stanford’s Jasper Ridge reserve. He first studied them in 1960 but they had all gone by 2000, largely due to climate change. Ehrlich praised the review, saying: 'It is extraordinary to have gone through all those studies and analysed them as well as they have.' He said the particularly large declines in aquatic insects were striking. 'But they don’t mention that it is human overpopulation and overconsumption that is driving all the things [eradicating insects], including climate change,' he said." In "Plummeting insect numbers 'threaten collapse of nature'," by Damian Carrington, Guardian UK, 10 February 2019.
Addendum of a Yahoo: " 'People are suffering,' the 16-year-old continued through tears. 'People are dying. Entire ecosystems are collapsing. We are at the beginning of a mass extinction and all you can talk about is money and fairy tales of eternal economic growth. How dare you'." In " 'How dare you': Greta Thunberg tears into world leaders over inaction at U.N. climate summit," by Dylan Stableford, Yahoo News, 23 September 2019.
Addendum of How to Build New Myths: "I'm sitting in a circle of plastic chairs in a small studio space on a Battersea estate in south London, intoning a chant to protect our group, and by extension the world, from the ravages of the climate crisis. We’re each clutching a 'smudge stick' – a bundle of herbs selected for their magical and healing properties created under the supervision of Ayesha Tan Jones, the creator of the cheekily named 'Apocalypse Survival Skool.' I've chosen thyme for its powers to strengthen memory and rosemary for its ability to heal discord. We've also included a bay leaf in our sticks, on which we've written a simple intention, prompted by the question of how to build new myths to help us survive ecological collapse." In "Why does Ritual Matter for Social Change?" by Niki Seth-Smith, Resilience (originally published by Open Democracy), 13 June 2019.
Addendum of a Few Months Back: "Typing 'Rapture: June 9, 2019' and 'Rapture Pentecost 2019' into Youtube brings up tens of thousands of results results, with videos explaining the impending apocalypse. Some have been viewed millions of times. Responding to one video online, a Youtube user wrote: 'Every date you've set has been false so now we supposed to take u seriously. How bout just stop setting dates bro (sic)'." In "End of the World: Biblical prophecy claims Rapture is coming on Pentecost," by Lucy Domachowski, Daily Star, 9 June 2019.
Addendum of Doom, Doom, Doom, 2020 Version: "On Thursday, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, which takes stock of the threats posed by nuclear war and climate change each year, moved the Doomsday Clock to 100 seconds before midnight. We are now measuring how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds -- not hours, or even minutes." In "Why the world is closer than ever to Doomsday," by Ban Ki-Moon, Mary Robinson, Jerry Brown and William J. Perry, CNN, 24 January 2020. [ 6 ]
Addendum as Reflection on Man and Belief: "We find that whole communities suddenly fix their minds upon one object, and go mad in its pursuit; that millions of people become simultaneously impressed with one delusion, and run after it, till their attention is caught by some new folly more captivating than the first. We see one nation suddenly seized, from its highest to its lowest members, with a fierce desire of military glory; another as suddenly becoming crazed upon a religious scruple; and neither of them recovering its senses until it has shed rivers of blood and sowed a harvest of groans and tears, to be reaped by its posterity. At an early age in the annals of Europe its population lost their wits about the sepulchre of Jesus, and crowded in frenzied multitudes to the Holy Land; another age went mad for fear of the devil, and offered up hundreds of thousands of victims to the delusion of witchcraft. At another time, the many became crazed on the subject of the philosopher’s stone, and committed follies till then unheard of in the pursuit. It was once thought a venial offence, in very many countries of Europe, to destroy an enemy by slow poison. Persons who would have revolted at the idea of stabbing a man to the heart, drugged his pottage without scruple. Ladies of gentle birth and manners caught the contagion of murder, until poisoning, under their auspices, became quite fashionable. Some delusions, though notorious to all the world, have subsisted for ages, flourishing as widely among civilised and polished nations as among the early barbarians with whom they originated,—that of duelling, for instance, and the belief in omens and divination of the future, which seem to defy the progress of knowledge to eradicate them entirely from the popular mind. Money, again, has often been a cause of the delusion of multitudes. Sober nations have all at once become desperate gamblers, and risked almost their existence upon the turn of a piece of paper. To trace the history of the most prominent of these delusions is the object of the present pages. Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one." In the Preface to "Memoirs of Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds," by Charles Mackay, Office of the National Illustrated Library, 1852.
See: The end of the world , also Post-rapture Possibilities and also a song setting of Chicken Little by Margaret Free and Harriette Taylor Treadwell - (2007)
[ 1 ] One looks in vain for news from 1980 and in the many decades which have followed that "all important animal life in the sea" has become "extinct." One also looks in vain for Ehrlich's admission that his prophecy made in 1970 was incorrect. This is among The Privileges of Intellectuals .
[ 2 ] From March 2009, 100 months (eight years and four months) brings us to the royal apocalyptic date of mid-2018. Like the ironic tone set by the Telegraph writer in 2013, one has ever fewer months to wait to prove -- scientific proof being the key -- whether the royal prophecy was accurate or inaccurate. Doing the math - blindly on politics' path -- whether in politics or in proving the economic policies of government -- tends to expose that which is accurate and that which is more than hyperbole, but outright falsehood. Would someone lie? And, if so, why would someone lie? For a clear explanation, see: If it's serious, you lie .
One finds the "public" debt of which many globalists speak so encouragingly is insanity, dressed in political speech, as one reads: "Now let me quickly deflate this new world globalism our Dubai experts are evangelizing. Tim Wallace’s report at The Telegraph is the perfect litmus test for globalism versus nationalist of populist ideals. 'Have the globalists succeeded in making our world better?' Well, Wallace’s numbers say the globalists have succeeded in running us bankrupt. 'Total global debts have hit a new record high, driven by government borrowing'. This, per the Institute of International Finance (IIF), is the reality of the current systems. Christine Lagarde and the others proclaim all this lending is for our Utopian happiness, when in reality the elites are the only ones in Shangri-La. Governments in mature markets are the biggest borrowers now, with $50 trillion of debts at a time when banks and other financial institutions are cutting debt. So governments, or the people, are being forced to borrow from banks and other investors. Utopia form the insane globalist asylum." In "Welcome to Dubai and Globalist Insanity 2017," by Phil Butler, New Eastern Outlook, 2 March 2017.
Well being is not founded on debt, much less massive debt. It stands on prosperity and freedom.
[ 3 ] As to the "irreversible collapse" as predicted in a NASA-funded study, one reads: "...George Mason University’s Mark Sagoff, noted the model’s Limits to Growth echo. Sagoff was bluntly dismissive: 'I skimmed the article yesterday and saw that it was the Club of Rome all over again — the computer that cried wolf. I have no doubt that many empires fell as others rose. Now the average man lives better than the ancient emperor. We have seen creative destruction before and we will see it again. But what destroys improves. There is nothing here [in the paper] that was not presented in the 1960s and 1970s by Paul Ehrlich and other 'Cassandras' as they called themselves. Their views, repeated in this [Guardian] article and study, have been completely discredited'." In "Judging the Merits of a Media-Hyped 'Collapse' Study," by Keith Kloor, Discover Magazine, 21 March 2014.
Space and Distance
Of NASA and this report one reads: "NASA is distancing itself from a new study that investigates how unsustainable resource exploitation and rising income inequality could potentially lead to the collapse of human civilization as we know it. NASA officials released this statement on the study today (March 20): 'A soon-to-be published research paper, 'Human and Nature Dynamics (HANDY): Modeling Inequality and Use of Resources in the Collapse or Sustainability of Societies' by University of Maryland researchers Safa Motesharrei and Eugenia Kalnay, and University of Minnesota's Jorge Rivas, was not solicited, directed or reviewed by NASA. It is an independent study by the university researchers utilizing research tools developed for a separate NASA activity. As is the case with all independent research, the views and conclusions in the paper are those of the authors alone. NASA does not endorse the paper or its conclusions'." In "NASA Clarifies Its Role in Civilization-Collapse Study," by Mike Wall, Space, 20 March 2014.
The question is not whether civilizations rise and fall, but what do people propose in answer. How often the modern answer proposed is international socialism as a "logical central agency," which of course was proposed by the Soviets, by the Khmer Rouge, the Baath Parties of Syria and Iraq, modern day Cuba, North Korea and a Communist China which has turned ever more away from its own ideological roots in favor of good old corruption. See: Capital for Communists - a story growing old.
We Determine, You Obey or Apocalypse Now
What is without question thanks to available documentation is that worldwide government is some people's goal. As cited elsewhere yet worth repeating here, one reads: "Such a comprehensive Planetary Regime could control 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. 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." Paul R. Ehrlich, Anne H. Ehrlich, and John Holdren, co-authors of the textbook "Ecoscience: Population, Resources, Environment," 1978.
If one can more accurately prophecy an apocalypse sometime, it is assured that proponents of such a "regime" would be the central characters in this age-old drama of a civilization headed for collapse. Why? Where in the above rhetoric from those who so incorrectly prophesied "all important animal life in the sea will be extinct" by 1908 and "ecosystem collapse" by mid-2018 and approaching "precipitous collapse" is there place for the basic concept of human freedom? See Freedom is freedom is freedom .
Eco-fascism and Global Rule
As a corollary to this, one wonders how it is that something called "ecoscience" posits a "regime" to rule over an entire world. It seems such an ecoscience, proposed by a one professor (and co-authors) who was convincingly incorrect in an apocalyptic statement as above, is itself as incorrect as have been its prophecies. One may be certain that prophets such as these see themselves as the proper rules of any such "planetary regime." One may be equally certain that these men would balk at the thought that skeptics such as me would play any role in their "regime" other than to be disposed of In a kindly manner .
[ 4 ] And as to the not-to-distant future, one returns to Paul Ehrlich's past prediction of that not-too-distant future of 1980. As above and worth the repetition, in 1970 he stated, "In ten years all important animal life in the sea will be extinct. Large areas of coastline will have to be evacuated because of the stench of dead fish." And then he revised, and then revised again his predictions, rather like a televangelist. Once revised, one can only conclude the previous prediction was incorrect. Why then continue to believe -- belief being a religious sort of cognition -- continuing predictions as they prove false?
The Moving Finger Writes and Having Writ Moves On
How false? Consider this prediction from Ehrlich's Population Explosion: "India couldn't possibly feed two hundred million more people by 1980." In 2014, the population of India is approximately 1,237 billion, or six times greater than Ehrlich's statement.
False? Ehrlich opined, "By the year 2000 the United Kingdom will be simply a small group of impoverished islands, inhabited by some 70 million hungry people ... If I were a gambler, I would take even money that England will not exist in the year 2000." (Ronald Bailey (30 December 2010). "Cracked Crystal Ball: Environmental Catastrophe Edition". reason.com – Free minds and free markets. Reason Foundation. Retrieved 4 March 2013, by Wikipedia) The British Census of 2011 tallies 63,181,775 citizens, and my British friends tell me that are not "hungry" and do not think of themselves as "impoverished." Apparently they have not heeded Ehrlich's "accurate" forecasts any more than has the nation of India.
One then need ask of so many outlandish and demonstrably incorrect predictions, are these people lying or significantly misinformed?
Consistently, all the apocalypse predictions are accompanied by calls for redistribution of wealth according to a single theme which unites them all: greater government power and control over humanity. In other and plainer words, that dreamed-of dictatorship of the proletariat - of course, for their own good as decried by those who envisioned themselves the new masters.
[ 5 ] An amusing perspective is found in an opinion piece. One reads: "The world must be ending. It must fall to us to prevent the apocalypse. Because, if it isn’t, if life is just going on more or less the way life does, then what’s the point of all this huffery and puffery, all the public weeping and dressing up in silly costumes and cutting ourselves off from family and what friends we have? The angry partisan cannot believe that life is good, because he must then ask himself: If life is good, then why am I not enjoying it? Why do I feel so alone, so frustrated, and so meaningless?" In "The World Keeps Not Ending," by Kevin D. Williamson, National Review, 14 October 2018.
The World Keeps Not Ending?
Given the citation for which this footnote is placed, the idea of predicting 'scientifically' an environmental apocalypse in a future time ignores the most basic tenets of science itself, for foretelling such a distant future effect is not demonstrable, but rather partakes of the human phenomenon of belief. Whether it was Rothman or Hamill, as a journalist reporting on Rothman, facts remain demonstrable. To surmise about a future time as distant as a next millennium is not fact, though reporting on someone making such a claim can be factual. The two do not mix.
A Life Outside of Politics? How Extraordinary
Then, what is this? The Williamson opinion piece suggests an answer: "In a healthy society, politics is a small part of life. There is a life outside politics, and there are places and situations that are outside politics. We have, for the moment, abandoned that distinction, especially for those on the left who insist on a totalitarian model of political life in which everything is subject to political scrutiny, in which the personal is truly and categorically — and horrifyingly — the political. They insist that this is necessary because of the extraordinary times in which we live, the extraordinary threats that we currently face, the emergency under which we are living. But there is no emergency."
Or, there is an emergency. And perhaps not the one which Rothman through Hamill identifies. But what is assured is that Williamson's observation is accurate. It is often about Politics , and certainly to assert a coming apocalypse AND its solution which requires political action demonstrates an adage. A total solution to an apocalypse requires a total approach, which by definition must turn totalitarian.
Consider the political stance of Everything within -- an original sin.
Then what world ends? For each individual, that personal apocalypse of death is far closer in time than some future prognostication's imagined apocalypse. Perhaps the modern focus on that age-old human phenomenon of foretelling the world's end is an avoidance of considering the far nearer apocalypse - the personal and very private end which each life faces. That apocalypse is closer than we think.
[ 6 ] As of 2020, when this footnote is added, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, begun circa 1945, is about 75 years old, and has been predicting doomsday via its Doomsday Clock and regular public pronouncements. One learns: "The organization has been publishing continuously since 1945, when it was founded by former Manhattan Project scientists as the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists of Chicago immediately following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The organization is also the keeper of the internationally recognized Doomsday Clock, the time of which is announced each January." In "Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists," Wikipedia article, n. d.
Informing the Public of Threats for Seventy-five Years
"Atomic scientists" are now a bit of an anachronism as the organization states many added concerns: "The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists informs the public about threats to the survival and development of humanity from nuclear weapons, climate change, and emerging technologies in the life sciences."
The current leadership of the Bulletin included its chief, Rachel Bronson, who "earned a BA in history at the University of Pennsylvania and a MA and PhD in political science from Columbia University in 1997." John Mecklin is the editor-in-chief of the Bulletin and "holds a master in public administration degree from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government." Kennette Benedict is a senior advisor who "received her BA from Oberlin College and her PhD in political science from Stanford University." Dan Drollette, Jr. is its deputy editor who "holds a BJ (Bachelor of Journalism) from the University of Missouri, and a master’s in science writing from New York University’s Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program.'
Doomsday Each and Every January
Doomsday is announced "each January," and the current leadership is from mostly political science backgrounds, to include the Executive Chair of the Board, former California governor, Jerry Brown. For more on the current state of the State of California which Brown led for four terms and whose former lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom now leads as governor, one may consider the state's Two teared society .
Jerry Brown writes, "Tragically, it seems too many people in high places are rather comfortable living on the brink of catastrophe. They are like travelers on the Titanic. They don’t see the iceberg ahead because they are so enjoying the elegant dining and music." In "From the Executive Chair," in the Annual Report 2018.
As to elegant dining, the latest edition of the Bulletin published photos from their Annual Dinner for donors, pages 23-24, in a beautifully paneled library setting at the campus of the University of Chicago.
Doomsday For the Next Generation and Beyond through Estate Planning
Of the 2018 bulletin's appeal to their Legacy Society, one notes the wording: "The Society was established to recognize and honor Bulletin friends who have thoughtfully provided for the Bulletin through their estate plans. Society members can make a significant impact that costs nothing in their lifetime-- including a charitable bequest under a will or by designating the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists as a beneficiary of a life insurance policy, retirement plan, or other instrument. These meaningful gifts inspire confidence while ensuring that the Bulletin will be here for the next generation and beyond."
And in "...its Voices of Tomorrow feature, the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists invites rising experts to submit essays, opinion pieces, and multimedia presentations addressing at least one of the Bulletin's core issues: nuclear risk, climate change, and threats from disruptive technologies. Voices of Tomorrow authors and multimedia artists are eligible for the Leonard M. Rieser Award. To submit an entry...." In "Next Generation Program," n. d. circa 2020.
Tomorrow versus "seconds" away....
World, prepare to my thy doom! For seventy-five years, prepare! Soon comes The End .
Catastrophe in Seconds, and also Next Year's Planned Donor Dinner
"We are now measuring how close the world is to catastrophe in seconds...." When shall we measure it in nanoseconds? But before that, milliseconds? Apparently there is still time to publish the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists. The next annual meeting and donor dinner are announced.
A clever pile of molecules
"So, do I hate God, when I don't even believe in him? Yes, absolutely - I despise the idea of God as described by religion." An atheist, unnamed herein, complains in a news opinion, 27 August 2010.
What a clever pile of molecules;
It'd ascended without aid
From little bits into human fools
Without great accolade.
It learned to think itself a part
Of all that it surveyed,
But folded into its angry heart
Whenever it was afraid.
It raged against some other piles
Of the quite similarly moleculed,
For hatred is among the wiles
Of the stupidity it fueled.
What a ego'd pile of molecules
To think it wiser atop
The larger pile it ridicules,
Whose views it seeks to stop.
Despising an idea held by molecules
Needs some chemical catalyst,
For being merely flesh nodules
It seems so easily pissed.
What's the point, dear molecules,
In holding forth in your rage?
You despise with glee I Am that rules,
And rattle in your cage.
If there be no God, okay then, pal,
Why rage and hate and fuss?
Can it be, mere molecules shall
Evolve more resentfulness?
Addendum of Learned Meaninglessness and Immunization Against It: "...George A. Sargent was right when he promulgated the concept of 'learned meaninglessness.' He himself remembered a therapist who said, 'George, you must realize that the world is a joke. There is no justice, everything is random. Only when you realize this will you understand how silly it is to take yourself seriously. There is no grand purpose in the universe. It just is. There's no particular meaning in what decision you make today about how to act.' One must not generalize such a criticism. In principle, training is indispensable, but if so, therapists should see their task in immunizing the trainee against nihilism rather than inoculating him with the cynicism that is a defense mechanism against their own nihilism." In "Man's Search for Meaning," Viktor E. Frankl, trans. by Ilse Lasch, Beacon Press, 1959.
See: No God is the god for me
Uncle Casper's Red Nose - paraphrase of a Wilhelm Busch poem
Children, let us loudly sing,
But without envious voice,
Of Uncle Casper's red, red nose;
For its brilliance, we rejoice!
It was born a dainty shoot;
Nature's gift began so small.
He bathed it with diligent care
In wine and brandy's alcohol.
In time he was -- yea! -- overjoyed
As his bud bloomed into a rose.
Impressive in rosy stature was his
Dark red, wondrous nose.
All roses have prickly thorns
But Casper's has none at all.
Rather just some strands of hair,
And not that much, after all.
Its cup effuses sweetly --
Perfumes, one could almost say:
From his well-known box of snuff
Snuffs he pollens throughout his day.
Often on a morning fresh
With skies of fragrant blue,
One spies upon that heart-shaped rose
A running drop of pearly dew.
When all the other flowers wither,
In the cold, harsh winter's wind,
This miraculous rose of a nose
Is hearty, fit, and always ginned.
Therefore to its prize and glory
We sing this beauteous song.
"Vivat!" to Uncle Casper's nose,
May it bloom both bright and long!
See: Onkel Kaspers rote Nase - (2011)
"Study the past if you would define the future." Confucius (551–479 BCE)
Lessons are, as lessons were,
And lessons will someday be;
As lessons are and lessons were.
No if, and, but or maybe.
The fads, the trends, each vogue,
And such as these all pass;
It is they which play the rogue,
Yet the old lessons ne'er surpass.
Lessons are, as lessons were,
And lessons will tomorrow be;
Old truths simply do not err,
And await for who would be free.
Smoke and Mirrors
Smoke and mirrors have cooked the books.
How it seems is how it looks?
Read some news to say all's well?
Not if your own life's a shell
Of payments rising like the tides,
Of prices climbing on all sides,
Of worries for your pension woes,
But understand -- that how it goes.
Smoke and mirrors have cooked the books.
This is a legal version of the crooks
Who'd pick a pocket here and there,
Then pick a pocket everywhere.
Not to see the way things are
Is to believe the repertoire
Of rationalizations of all sorts
By which the upper crust cavorts
To lift their loot from average Joes,
But understand -- that how it goes.
Smoke and mirrors have cooked the books,
And offered bread and circuses as hooks
To lure the many into schemes
Which all amount to emptied dreams.
Listen to the voices loud
From the upper crusted crowd
Who set up folks like dominos,
But understand -- that how it goes.
Envoi: "All political power is primarily an illusion…. Illusion. Mirrors and blue smoke, beautiful blue smoke rolling over the surface of highly polished mirrors, first a thin veil of blue smoke, then a thick cloud that suddenly dissolves into wisps of blue smoke, the mirrors catching it all, bouncing it back and forth." Jimmy Breslin (1929– ) In "How the Good Guys Finally Won, Notes from an Impeachment Summer," (1975).
See: Let's All Sacrifice
Can and can't
"We can't ignore future deficits, but just as ignoring deficits would mortgage our future, failing to invest in our kids and our infrastructure and our basic research and clean energy, that would be mortgaging our future, as well." In "Obama: Deficit reduction must keep alive the American dream," by CNN Wire Staff, 21 April 2011
We can and can't ignore,
Because both are heretofore,
To whit and furthermore,
Not to mention theretofore
That can and can't are more
Or less perhaps than nevermore
As oratorical tricks all explore
That can and can't can soar,
And both and none implore
All that we so deplore;
We can't and can ignore
When words hereinbefore
Rain down in a wordy roar,
As can-and-can't is a surly boor.
"Let me finish my answers the next time we do an interview, all right?"
See: Well, we are out of money now - (2009)
Doses of Delusion
"You don’t end up in the predicament we find ourselves in today due to a couple minor mistakes over a short time frame. It took thousands of horrible choices, colossal doses of delusion, a heaping of stupidity, and a mountain of denial over decades to put us on the brink of economic collapse. An unholy amalgamation of demographics, fiat currency, debt, taxes, power and greed have led us to this point. Next we experience collapse, revolution and ultimately, retribution." In "U.S. National Debt, For A Few Dollars More," by James Quinn, Market Oracle, UK, 26 April 2011
Delusion comes in doses, don't you see,
And is sold at your political pharmacy.
"It can be ideal if only we believe"
Are slick, needled words which prick to deceive.
Man will be bettered, beyond every dream,
If only his delusions were all as they seem.
But numbers partake of no dosage, no swill,
And numbers become the bitterest pill.
Delusions come in doses, don't you know,
And after each dose comes an unexpected low.
Taking one's medicine does not always cure,
But doses of delusion are ever the lure.
Injections of funds borrowed, bought and had,
At first seem to make things jubilant, glad.
But then the delirium tremens sets in,
And one sees the narcotic and its dim grin.
Delusion comes in doses to take,
And once they are swallowed, one learns they were fake.
Envoi: "The central agency of true wealth is that it distributes economic success without the need for nudging or control. Debt, on the contrary, is the very embodiment of economic slavery - the overconsumption of current needs at the expense of encumbrance on future prosperity." In "What Happened To All Of That Money?" by Jeffrey Snider, RealClearMarkets, 11 January 2013.
Addendum of an Economic Collapse, Puerto Rican style: "Puerto Rico’s governor, Alejandro García Padilla, told the US Senate on Tuesday that the troubled Caribbean island has “no cash left” and can no longer repay its $72bn debts. The territory announced it would honor a $354m debt payment due on 1 December as Padilla was testifying, but Padilla said austerity measures had not only eaten into essential services but caused tax revenues to crater." In "Puerto Rico's governor tells US Senate the island cannot repay debts," by Sam Thielman, Guardian UK, 1 December 2015.
See: Hotel Stupidity
"There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit [or monetary] expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of the further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." In "Human Action," by Ludwig von Mises (1881-1973),Yale University Press, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1949, 1998.
Stretchy film for their stretching skin;
Hot air to fill all that's within.
Bubbles grow and bubbles fly,
And always comes their time to die.
Children smile at bubbles' flight
To watch them drifting out of sight.
Adults who would blow a bubble full
Yet expect no end are spreading bull.
Spaghetti - paraphrase of a Joachim Ringelnatz poem
Just one of these little angels' horde
Is by me this moment ready.
Ah, spaghetti strands waving toward
One's mouth smack thickly steady.
And it seems rather a piggery
As one scorches raw one's tongue,
But here I be, in my priggery
Shoveling, as are the guests I'm among.
Across the hours a spaghetti serving
Is nothing less than I'm deserving.
See: Spaghetti - (2011)
Embarrassed - a political maneuver by we Democrats
“I shouldn’t have done that. I’m kinda embarrassed I did. It was a political maneuver by we Democrats. The Republicans were in power – there were more of them,” Reid said. “The president voted when he was in the Senate the same way. I heard him apologize for it. We all should take a look at how we handle these issues, but that doesn’t take into consideration the numerous times, the numerous times I voted to raise the debt ceiling. The one time I tried to make a political issue of it, I wish I hadn’t." In "Harry Reid 'Embarrassed' About 2006 Opposition to Raising Debt Limit," Matthew Jaffe, ABC News, April 14, 2011
I am for and then against, against and then for,
It's all just a matter of who's keeping score.
I'm against, then I'm for, for and then against,
Think not this shows me a political whore.
I'm embarrassed you remembered; I'd hoped you'd forget.
Every word that I utter is a calculated bet.
The way the winds blow, whether for or against,
I flow with these tides, in my political roulette.
I am for and then against, against and then for,
But either way, says every oath that I swore
I'll be against, and then for, for and then against,
Which proves me to be just a political whore.
Envoi: "People think that a liar gains a victory over his victim. What I’ve learned is that a lie is an act of self-abdication, because one surrenders one’s reality to the person to whom one lies, making that person one’s master, condemning oneself from then on to faking the sort of reality that person’s view requires to be faked…The man who lies to the world, is the world’s slave from then on…There are no white lies, there is only the blackest of destruction, and a white lie is the blackest of all." Ayn Rand, Atlas Shrugged (1957)
Addendum: "The political arena leaves one no alternative, one must either be a dunce or a rogue." Emma Goldman (1869-1940)
See: Lying continues ,, and also Eye on the news
The Highway of History
“History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce.” Karl Marx (1818-1883)
Road kill coats the winding road;
Makeshift memorials incommode.
So many accidents collided there;
So many traveled it unaware.
Carcasses litter and rot and stink,
Hairpin turns ahead. Wise not to blink.
Pot holes, barriers and detours loom
As history lessons all presume
To show the map of all ahead
That is not shown by a past misread.
The highway to the future calls?
Its twists are ever the same pitfalls
It has always consistently had.
Shall men learn? Or men go mad?
See: Lessons Are
"No one wants to be associated with a failure, and leaders are no exception. When something goes awry, it can be tempting to point the finger—especially if you feel certain of the cause and justified in making someone accountable. Yet blame never results in a solution. Instead, it tends to snowball, wasting much time and energy that is better suited for problem-solving." In "Instead of Assigning Blame, Fix What Went Wrong," Business Week, 3 July 2009
My faults are your fault,
If you'd believe my spiel;
And if I say this loud enough
Your guilt should spin and reel.
My faults devolve to you,
Because I want them to.
Should you refuse them,
Whatever should I do?
My faults are your fault,
My assertion must be true;
And if I say this long enough
My guilt should stick to you.
In a moment of candor - a Democrat spoke
"The gross debt of the United States as you know is going to reach 100 percent of the gross domestic product of the United States this year. And the best economic analysis that's been done by two professors who looked at 200 years of economic crisis studied 44 countries found that when you get to a gross debt of more than 90 percent of your gross domestic product you're in the danger zone and you compromise future economic growth in a substantial way. So that's what this is all about: future opportunity, future jobs for the American people. Too much debt acts as a lodestone around the American economy. It's critically important we deal with this." Senator Kent Conrad (Democrat-North Dakota, 2011) [ 1 ]
In a moment of candor
The truth slipped out,
But was quickly, routinely caged.
Something much blander
Politicians must shout,
That our dozing might be assuaged.
Budgets should be in balance?
And a treasury refilled?
Public debt should be reduced?
Who believes such romance?
It's arrogance distilled.
Debt gives the nation a boost!
A senator cited sources,
And the history is clear;
The lodestone is grinding away.
And what reinforces
This history's veneer
Is as Cicero tried to convey.
Now in today's moment
As in Rome of ancient days,
The council remains quite the same.
This is not foment;
Public debt's ablaze
For ignoring old wisdom's claim.
In a moment of candor
The truth slipped out,
But was quickly, routinely caged.
Something much blander
Politicians must shout,
That our dozing might be assuaged.
Addendum: "Dozens of city and state public employee pension plans are on the verge of bankruptcy – or are actually bankrupt – from Rhode Island to California; in 2010, a survey of 126 state and local plans showed assets of $2.7 trillion and liabilities of $3.5 trillion, an $800 billion shortfall. The national debt exceeds $16 trillion." In "Now What, Liberalism?", The New York Times, by Thomas B. Edsall, 16 January 2013
Addendumber: "Over the past four years, our country has added nearly $6 trillion to the national debt. At $16.4 trillion, our nation’s total debt is now larger than our entire economy." In "GOP's Thune: We've added $6 Trillion in debt during just one Obama term," by Andrew Malcolm, Investors Business Daily, 26 January 2013. [ 2 ]
Proof of the Pudding: "Japan has a 220% debt to GDP ratio. This debt to GDP ratio is one of the reasons the country is incapable of competing anymore. It is all the debt your parents rang up when times were good. Well, the payment is due and it is your responsibility." In a comment by Saverio posted 28 January 2013, to "Welfare payments to be slashed ¥74 billion to root out the comfortably poor," The Japan Times.
See: Broke - someone spoke, and also Talk is cheap
[ 1 ] "We did find that episodes of high debt (90 percent or more) were rare, long and costly. There were just 26 cases where the ratio of debt to G. D. P. exceeded 90 percent for five years or more; the average high-debt spell was 23 years. In 23 of the 26 cases, average growth was slower during the high-debt period than in periods of lower debt levels. Indeed, economies grew at an average annual rate of roughly 3.5 percent, when the ratio was under 90 percent, but at only a 2.3 percent rate, on average, at higher relative debt levels. (In 2012, the ratio of debt to gross domestic product was 106 percent in the United States, 82 percent in Germany and 90 percent in Britain — in Japan, the figure is 238 percent, but Japan is somewhat exceptional because its debt is held almost entirely by domestic residents and it is a creditor to the rest of the world.) The fact that high-debt episodes last so long suggests that they are not, as some liberal economists contend, simply a matter of downturns in the business cycle." In "Debt, Growth and the Austerity Debate," by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneh S. Rogoff, New York Times, 25 April 2013.
[ 2 ] "Now that we have the first estimate of Q1 GDP growth in both rate of change and absolute current dollar terms ($16,010 billion), we can finally assign the appropriate debt number, which we know on a daily basis and which was $16,771.4 billion as of March 31, to the growth number. The end result: as of March 31, 2013, the US debt/GDP was 104.8%, up from 103% as of December 31, 2012 or a debt growth rate that would make the most insolvent Eurozone nation blush." In "Total US Debt To GDP: 105%," by Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 26 April 2013.
Success or Failure?
The ardent supporter of government will attempt to dismiss these numbers for the sake of the political stance, but the IMF working paper of 2013 suggests ignoring this is foolish: "The third group consists of 10 countries where the debt ratio is high (above 90 percent of GDP) and rising, reflecting still-large deficits (on average about 5½ percent of GDP). It is within this group that most fiscal vulnerabilities are concentrated, and these are therefore the countries where the focus of fiscal adjustment will be in the coming years. Although these countries are few in number, they account for more than 40 percent of global output, meaning the success or failure of their efforts will have profound implications for the world economy." In "Fiscal Adjustment in an Uncertain World," IMF, April 2013.
Some Evidence of Adverse Effects
In another IMF study, one reads: "The results, based on a range of econometric techniques, suggest an inverse relationship between initial debt and subsequent growth, controlling for other determinants of growth: on average, a 10 percentage point increase in the initial debt-to-GDP ratio is associated with a slowdown in annual real per capita GDP growth of around 0.2 percentage points per year,with the impact being smaller (around 0.15) in advanced economies. There is some evidence of nonlinearity, with only high (above 90 percent of GDP) levels of debt having a significant negative effect on growth. This adverse effect largely reflects a slowdown in labor productivity growth, mainly due to reduced investment and slower growth of the capital stock per worker. On average, a 10 percentage point increase in initial debt is associated with a decline of investment by about 0.4 percentage points of GDP, with a larger impact in emerging economies. Various robustness checks yield largely similar results. They underline the need to take measures to not just stabilize public debts but to place them on a downward trajectory in the medium and long term." In "Public Debt and Growth." an IMF Working Paper by Manmohan S. Kumar and Jaejoon Woo, 2010.
The simple economic truth is in Senator Conrad's own words from 2011, a growing "lodestone around the American economy." Two years and another election cycle later, what the Democrat senator said was "critically important" has gone unaddressed. An unpleasant future is ever more assured, courtesy of cleverly worded politics trumping the basics of simple economics. See: De fault in de plan .
Default on Debt - the game of centuries
"Refusing to pay your debts has an impeccable pedigree: Edward III sowed chaos in Florence in the mid 14th century by defaulting on a series of loans. Every country in Latin America, apart from Brazil, followed suit in the early 19th century. Most recently, Russia shocked world markets by defaulting in 1998, as did Argentina in 2001." In "Furious Greeks press for country to default on debt," by Helena Smith in Athens, The Observer, 17 April 2011. [ 1 ]
Let's all borrow what we will not repay,
And then just expect it to all go away.
Sounds dishonest? Tricky? Hey,
If nations so do, why shan't we play?
All the complaints by some ruling elite
Argue the opposite until their defeat.
There comes that thunderous drumming beat
Which says such such history will again repeat.
Why then start down the ruinous road
When people will not carry this load?
Such borrowing only serves to corrode
Until the whole scheme will simply explode.
Debt is not public, but faithless with guile;
Countries so often swallow the bile,
And then they teeter with sallow denial
Until they collapse in their national pile.
Collateral? Don't even think it is true.
There's nothing behind all the debt they accrue.
Politics talks, and talks itself blue,
Then walks away with a shrug left for you.
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander,
Yet politicians continue to pander.
Speaking plainly and in all candor,
Each tries to play the innocent bystander.
They all borrow with intention to pay,
But they often default it all away.
Sounds dishonest? Tricky? Hey,
If default is the game, let's everyone play.
Envoi: "Debt defaults seem to cause banking crises, and not vice versa, but we found weak evidence to suggest the presence of default-driven credit crunches in domestic markets." In "The Costs of Sovereign Default," by Eduardo Borensztein and Ugo Panizza, IMF, Working Paper WP/08/238, October 2008. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Deep and Lasting Effects: "An examination of the aftermath of severe financial crises shows deep and lasting effects on asset prices, output and employment. Unemployment rises and housing price declines extend out for five and six years, respectively. On the encouraging side, output declines last only two years on average. Even recessions sparked by financial crises do eventually end, albeit almost invariably accompanied by massive increases in government debt." In "The Aftermath of Financial Crises," by Carmen M. Reinhart and Kenneth S. Rogoff, Paper prepared for presentation at the American Economic Association, 3 January 2009.
Addendum of Barriers: "Brushing aside the contention that austerity is counterproductive, the BIS said countries must redouble their efforts to make their debt manageable because growth alone will not do the job. 'Over indebtedness is one of the major barriers on the path to growth after a financial crisis. Borrowing more year after year is not the cure,' the report said. The fiscal adjustments required in rich countries are especially sizeable when projected increases in age-related spending are taken into account. Indeed, the adjustments are so large that governments are likely instead to water down entitlements such as pensions, the report said." In "Bond Losses of $1 Trillion if Yields Spike, BIS Says," Reuters, 23 June 2013.
Addendum of Trends in Bankruptcy: "The missed payments illustrate the trend among cities in bankruptcy to favor payments to pension funds over bondholder obligations, which has increased the hostility between creditors and municipalities. San Bernardino declared last year that it intends under its bankruptcy exit plan to fully pay Calpers, its biggest creditor and America's largest public pension fund with assets of $300 billion. The city continues to pay its monthly dues to Calpers in full, but has paid nothing to its bondholders for nearly three years, according to the interest payment schedule on roughly $50 million of pension obligation bonds issued by San Bernardino in 2005." In "San Bernardino has defaulted on $10 million in bond payments," by Tim Reid, 17 March 2015. [ 3 ]
Addendum of the Party: "One by one, all the major central banks have joined the money printing party. First it was the US Federal Reserve. Then came the Bank of England and later the Bank of Japan. Just lately, it’s the European Central Bank. Now even the People’s Bank of China is considering the 'unconventional' monetary support of bond buying. Anything to keep the show on the road. It’s what Chris Watling of the consultancy Longview Economics has termed the 'philosophy of demand at any cost'. A crisis caused by too much debt has been fought with even more of the stuff." In "Negative interest rates put world on course for biggest mass default in history," by Jeremy Warner, Telegraph UK, 28 April 2015.
Addendum of a Ukrainian Default: "Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said on Friday that his country won't repay a $3 billion debt owed to Russia by this weekend after Moscow's refusal to accept repayment terms already offered to other international creditors. The 'moratorium' on outstanding debt repayments to Russia effectively means that Ukraine is defaulting on a $3 billion debt due Sunday...." In "Ukraine Says It Won't Repay Russian Debt Due by Weekend," by Associeted Press, 18 December 2015.
See: The Dishwashers' Song
[ 1 ] "On 16 September 1985, when the Commerce Department announced that the United States had become a debtor nation, the American Empire died.” Gore Vidal (1925-2012)
While Vidal's meaning was something political, the economic truth of the matter is that far too many municipalities, school systems, counties, states and nations are mired in debt, all unified in their delusion that tomorrow will pay for yesterday's excesses. Millennia of sensible advice have taught otherwise, as centuries of governmental collapse have proven the folly of trying to pay for yesterday's government with tomorrow's always greater burdens on the productive in any society.
As was well noted in rhyme: "A promise made is a debt unpaid." Robert W. Service, in "The Cremation of Sam McGee."
[ 2 ] The following assorted news excerpts prove the point made by the IMF Working Paper.
Sacrificing the Future to Pay for the Past
"California's pension-related costs rose 20-fold in the decade since 1999. This frightening trend is true almost everywhere in America. And it’s simply not sustainable. A recent Pew research survey found that the gap between state assets and their obligations for public sector retirement benefits is $1.38 trillion. It rose by 9 percent in 2010 alone – and it will likely keep rising until these obligations are renegotiated. The truth is America is sacrificing its future to pay for its past." In "Why U.S. cities are going bankrupt," by Fareed Zakaria, CNN, 20 July 2012.
"Stephen Reed, Harrisburg’s mayor for 28 years, pushed Pennsylvania’s capital into insolvency as the more than $500 million in bond deals he oversaw to finance community development drained city coffers. An incinerator overhaul, with related debt now topping $300 million, capped the Democrat’s mayoral career. While not the largest, it was the riskiest of his credit-fueled projects, which may lead the city of 49,500 to enter bankruptcy as early as July, after a law barring that step expires. 'He leveraged things and wasn’t concerned about paying any debt off, just getting more and more money,' Dan Miller, the city controller, said of Reed." In "Harrisburg Ex-Mayor Left Pennsylvania City Near Bankrupt," by Romy Varghese, Bloomberg News, 14 May 2012.
"The genesis of the Stockton case dates back over the past decade as the city dug a huge financial hole by providing salaries and benefits more generous than what most California cities offer, and recklessly borrowing to fund new public facilities and downtown improvements. The financial commitments anticipated steadily increasing property values that would continually boost tax revenues. But when the city became a center of the foreclosure crisis, the municipal budget imploded." In "Stockton bankruptcy explores whether pension promises can be broken," by Daniel Borenstein, Contra Costa Times, 5 April 2013.
"Philadelphia is hoping to attract investors for the city, which is rated three steps above junk by Standard & Poor’s. The city and its authorities have $8.75 billion in outstanding debt as of September, according to bond documents. Philadelphia’s pension system is 47.6 percent funded this year, the documents say." In "Philadelphia Bars Public From Mayor’s Investor Meeting," by Romy Varghese, Bloomberg News, 16 April 2013.
Toxic and Unhealthy
"The inability to create effective public policy is also a result of the toxic and unhealthy relationship elected officials have with the public safety unions that have consistently spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy elections, castrate elected officials to vote their way and threaten those who vote against their selfish interests. The inability to create sound public policy also results from a lack of clear authority and lines of responsibility and accountability to the voters of San Bernardino. Many will suggest that the diverse group of elected officials provided by the charter creates a system of checks and balances and ensures someone is looking after the 'people' of San Bernardino. This is the biggest lie that has ever been placed before residents and business owners of San Bernardino." In "San Bernardino bankruptcy could spell the end of the city," by James M. Smith, The Sun, 26 April 2013.
Default On Debt
"Last but not least, Detroit can try to renegotiate payment terms with its lenders, and cut its "debt principal" -- which both sound like reasonable options ... until you realize that they're really just a polite way of saying: 'Default on the debt'." In "America's First Big-City Bankruptcy of 2013," by Rich Smith, Daily Finance, 15 May 2013.
And the statement of fact: "The city is insolvent." In "City of Detroit Proposal for Creditors," Kevin Orr, p. 7, 14 June 2013.
Consider the Detroit tale: Voted - not sugarcoated.
One only need search out the "deficit" spending of any government, large or small, and learn of debts which must either be repaid or abrogated. One must realize that deficit spending -- even that during so-called "deficit reduction" -- is correctly "adding to debt." The history of government testifies that more often than not, government debt is eventually abrogated in whole or in part. In plain words, those who invest in government eventually must lose.
Any who claim that a yearly deficit has been reduced is using words to hide the simple truth that any and all deficits add -- not reduce -- aggregate debt. Therefore those who speak of reducing the deficit to anything more than zero are advocating more debt with the word, "reduce." This is the word game which the simplest of arithmetic shatters.
[ 3 ] When an entity pays a pension fund a planned "deposit" while pleading bankruptcy to a creditor, one obvious conclusion will be made by current creditors as well as potential future creditors. This is summed up in a single word: beware!
The End Game
As governments stiff their creditors, those lenders will not come to the next rescue and governments following this path can only rush towards collapse. In the case of San Bernardino, the municipality faces a court suit demanding that creditors and the CalPERS fund be treated at least in equal fashion. Neither possible outcome is satisfactory. One predicts the earlier bankruptcy of CalPERS and the other the earlier legal dis-corporation of a municipality which then will not pay either creditor or pension fund. Both roads lead to the same default and end game.
Consider Now how does that seem to a lender like you? - a run-around.
Cousin Francis' Donkey Ride - paraphrase of a Wilhelm Busch poem
His comely cousin's pleas increased:
"Come, cousin Francis, ride that beast!"
Brave Francis decided without duress
To win over an ass with friendliness.
Quickly he mounted, his aim to ride;
To his cousin's cheers, he sat astride.
He thought: "But a giddyap won't make him go;
Perhaps twisting his tail? Yup! Tallyho!"
For the sting to that donkey's derriere,
The ass tossed a clinging Francis into the air.
Its stubbornness melted fast away,
As it bucked and brayed its ass' neigh!
Against a shed, garden tools were hung;
Both rider and ridden together sprung.
Directly the hothouse loomed ahead,
And towards - then through - it they sped.
Broken window glass and thorny plants
Sliced through Francis' shredding pants.
All happened with such frightful speed
There was little chance to intercede.
Rider and ridden bucked, then broke
Towards the comely cousin, as a donkey's joke.
And - crash, boom, bang - Francis was dropped;
Midst the picnic spread the chap was plopped.
That short, mad ride ended in such a mess,
As the bloodied cousins had to confess.
See: Vetter Franz auf dem Esel - (2011)
A Losing Proposition - eye on a lousy investor
"To break even, the U.S. Treasury would need to sell its remaining stake—about 500 million shares—at $53 apiece. GM closed off 27 cents a share at $29.97 in 4 p.m. trading Monday on the New York Stock Exchange, hitting a new low since its $33-a-share November initial public offering. 'Planning for the sale of our remaining GM stock is still at an early stage, and the IPO lock-up does not expire until late May,' a Treasury spokesperson said. 'At that point, we will consider all of our options, based on our twin goals of protecting taxpayers' interests and exiting as soon as practicable.'" In "U.S. Hurries to Sell GM Stake," Wall Street Journal, 19 April 2011
Give me a twenty, I'll return you a ten;
If you don't object, we can play this again.
Give me a twenty, I'll give you a ten;
This silly game runs, but -- ah -- until when?
Let's buy high and then sell low;
And as we sink in the undertow,
I'll stand on your shoulders with you below.
Because that is how my schemes all go.
Give me a hundred, I'll return you less;
If you don't object to this playful mess,
Then give me more, and I'll return... guess?
It's all about fairness -- and your redress.
Give me a thousand, I'll return you a ten;
If you don't object, we can play this again.
Give me a million, I'll give you a ten;
This silly game runs, but -- ah -- until when?
Update: "At GM's Friday share price of $24.14, the U.S. would lose about $15 billion on the GM bailout if it sold its entire stake, the paper said. In "Treasury resists GM plan for selling U.S. stake, Reuters via Chicago Tribune, September 2012
Update: "The government needs to get $72 per share for its remaining shares to break even on its $49.5 billion GM bailout. It initially held a 61 percent stake before selling about half of its shares in GM's November 2010 IPO at $33 a share. GM shares fell on Friday in afternoon trading to $29.21, down $0.28, or 1 percent. At current prices, the Treasury would lose more than $12 billion on its GM bailout." In "Treasury can start selling remaining GM shares," by David Shepardson, Detroit News Washington Bureau, 18 January 2013
See: Sticker shock
The Dumb-Dumb Tree
It's just not right that you should see
Me stand beneath my Dumb-Dumb Tree.
It's shed its leaves for shallow roots;
The planters? Vainglorious tenderfoots
Who sold these arbors, all too many
Yielding fruit not worth a penny.
I bought into my field of dreams
Unaware of their investment schemes,
And now I've my own Dumb-Dumb Tree
Where once I thought with naive glee
That I'd reap rewards bushels wide,
But like the Tree my dreams have died.
The Dumb-Dumb Tree is barren wood;
Would that I had the pitch withstood.
"Only the mediocre are always at their best." Hippolyte Jean Giraudoux (1882-1944), a French novelist, essayist, diplomat and playwright.
Failure sneers at every success.
What else can it do?
After it has made its fumbling mess,
It shoves the blame on you.
Failure is someone's dumbest game.
It never stood a chance.
It looks for anyone else to blame,
In every circumstance.
See: Anti-capitalism struggles - a curriculum of sorts
"In the telephone poll of 815 registered voters nationwide, conducted June 4 to 8, Mr. Perot was supported by 39 percent, Mr. Bush by 31 percent, and Mr. Clinton by 25 percent. The poll had a margin of sampling error of plus or minus four percentage points." In "The 1992 Campaign: On the Trail; Poll Givers Perot a Clear Lead," New York Times, 11 June 1992
Conduct your poll to center stage, then have it take a bow.
Trot it out all gussied up, putting lipstick on your sow.
The next day it will line the cage or maybe wrap the trash,
For what is news of polling but prophetic balderdash.
Sampling errors, so they say, have some margin of error;
In hindsight prophetic fibs need only their pallbearer.
Leadership Failure - spoke a failed leader
"I rise today to talk about America's debt problem. The fact that we are here today to debate raising America's debt limit is a sign of leadership failure. It is a sign that the U.S. Government can't pay its own bills. It is a sign that we now depend on ongoing financial assistance from foreign countries to finance our Government's reckless fiscal policies. .... Increasing America’s debt weakens us domestically and internationally. Leadership means that ‘the buck stops here. Instead, Washington is shifting the burden of bad choices today onto the backs of our children and grandchildren. America has a debt problem and a failure of leadership. Americans deserve better" Senator Barak Obama, Congressional Transcript, March 16, 2006.
Really I didn't mean the things I once said,
You should trust me now, not my other words long dead.
I am other than I was, for now I see the light,
And the truth I spoke was formerly not quite right.
The truth I say is for today, believe me now, not then,
For I see I was wrong, but that was sometime when
I told you to believe in me, and in the things I said.
But, hey, that's the game of politics which is my daily bread.
If I am wrong now by some future view, I beg you not to look
Because then as is true today, I think you're just a schnook
To believe that I meant my words, so wise, so spoken large,
When the real truth is all I wanted was to ever be in charge.
Envoi: "The mob and its maudlin causes attract only sentimentalists and scoundrels, chiefly the latter. Politics, under a democracy, reduces itself to a mere struggle for office by flatterers of the proletariat; even when a superior man prevails at that disgusting game he must prevail at the cost of his self-respect. Not many superior men make the attempt. The average great captain of the rabble, when he is not simply a weeper over irremediable wrongs, is a hypocrite so far gone that he is unconscious of his own hypocrisy—a slimy fellow, offensive to the nose." In "Introduction," to the English translation by H. L. Mencken of "The Antichrist," by F. W. Nietzsche, 1918 edition.
Addendum of the Political Vote: "I think that it's important to understand the vantage point of a senator versus the vantage point of a president," Obama said. "When you're a senator, traditionally what's happened is, this is always a lousy vote. Nobody likes to be tagged as having increased the debt limit -- for the United States by a trillion dollars. As president, you start realizing, you know what, we, we can't play around with this stuff. This is the full faith and credit of the United States. And so that was just an example of a new senator making what is a political vote as opposed to doing what was important for the country. And I'm the first one to acknowledge it." Quote of Obama in an interview with George Stephanopoulos, ABC News, 15 April 2011. [ 1 ] [ 2 ]
Addendum of No Immediate crisis: "There has been no shortage of dire warnings about the mounting US national debt, but President Obama is now offering a different assessment: no big deal. 'We don’t have an immediate crisis in terms of debt,' President Obama said in an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos for 'Good Morning America.' 'In fact, for the next 10 years, it’s gonna be in a sustainable place.' In "President Obama: There Is No Debt Crisis," on an interview by George Stephanopoulos, by Jonathan Karl, ABC News, 13 March 2013.
Addendum to Repeat: "We'll still have to make some modifications when it comes to our long-term entitlement programs so that they're here for young people here when they're ready for retirement, but we don't have an urgent deficit crisis. The only crisis we have is one that's manufactured in Washington, and it's ideological." Barack Obama, Speech at Birmingham University, 23 August 2013.
See: Sam? - the Debtor Man, and Growth in debt - a non-sequitur
Addendum: "No matter how corrupt, greedy, and heartless our government, our corporations, our media, and our religious & charitable institutions may become, the music will still be wonderful." Kurt Vonnegut, A Man Without a Country (2005)
Addendum of the Borrower: "According to the treasury department’s count, the debt has grown $5.3 trillion since Obama took office in 2009, compared to $4.9 trillion in Bush’s eight years." In "Did Barack Obama accrue more debt in half the time as George Bush?" PolitiFact.com, August 2012. [ 3 ]
Update from the US Treasury for April of 2016: A Massively Growing Debt, shown below from the US Treasury Department Statistics
[ 4 ]
Addendum of the Counterfeit: "...the thing is he posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency, a national security presidency. The torturers go free. The Wall Street executives go free. The war crimes in the Middle East, especially now in Gaza, the war criminals go free. And yet, you know, he acted as if he was both a progressive and as if he was concerned about the issues of serious injustice and inequality and it turned out that he’s just another neoliberal centrist with a smile and with a nice rhetorical flair. And that’s a very sad moment in the history of the nation because we are—we’re an empire in decline. Our culture is in increasing decay. Our school systems are in deep trouble. Our political system is dysfunctional. Our leaders are more and more bought off with legalized bribery and normalized corruption in Congress and too much of our civil life." In "Cornel West: 'He posed as a progressive and turned out to be counterfeit. We ended up with a Wall Street presidency, a drone presidency'," interview with Thomas Frank, Salon, 24 August 2014.
Update from the US Treasury for September of 2017: Still a Massively Growing Debt, shown below from the US Treasury Department Statistics
See: I Need Another Credit Card and Can and can't
and also Embarrassed - a political maneuver by we Democrats, and also Well, we are out of money now - (2009)
[ 1 ] "Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." Daniel Webster (1982-1852)
[ 2 ] "There has been no shortage of dire warnings about the mounting US national debt, but President Obama is now offering a different assessment: no big deal. 'We don't have an immediate crisis in terms of debt,' President Obama said in an exclusive interview with George Stephanopoulos for 'Good Morning America. 'In fact, for the next 10 years, it's gonna be in a sustainable place.'" In "President Obama: There Is No Debt Crisis," by Jonathan Karl, ABC OTUS News, 13 March 2013.
What You See Is Not What You See
Given the absolutely opposite statements from 2006 and 2013, it is assured that Obama was lying or is lying, and possibly both. That he was or is now telling the truth is no longer possible. For a politician to be caught in a lie is embarrassing, but for a politician to continue lying with seeming impunity is a scandal of the greatest proportion, abetted by a media unwilling to compare simple statements by the same person. And then of course, implied in Obama's blather about no "immediate debt crisis: is the question "when and at what level of government debt will there be a debt crisis? Journalism has failed to pose the question or make the analysis. See: Lying continues .
[ 3 ] For those who wait for the final announcement of the numbers: "2012 marked the fourth straight year—and the only four years in the history of the nation--when the federal government’s deficit topped $1 trillion. Last year’s $1.087 trillion deficit was even greater in inflation-adjusted dollars than the peak World War II deficit of fiscal 1943—which was $54.554 billion in 1943 dollars and $723.8714 billion in 2012 dollars, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics online inflation calculator." In "It’s Official: 2012 Deficit Was $1.087T; $1T+ All 4 Yrs of Obama’s 1st Term," by Terence P. Jeffrey, CNSNews, 18 August 2013.
Reckless, Failed Leadership
Placing this final tabulation into relief against the previous administration against which candidate Obama spoke critically of "our Government's reckless fiscal policies," one observes that if $4.9 trillion across 8 eights is "reckless," then how might one evaluate $5.3 trillion across 4 years? Reckless? Twice as reckless? Or, given that a second term is not complete until 2016, more than twice as reckless? Based on Obama's economic rhetoric of six years ago, what exactly is today's definition of a "failed leadership?" See: In a moment of candor - a Democrat spoke and Embarrassed - a political maneuver by we Democrats.
[ 4 ] It becomes predictable that American politicians of both parties and an American electorate in its many choices will show themselves on the national level as they have on the municipal level to have Voted - not sugarcoated.
My High School History Class
Missus What's-Her-Name in History at ten
Would lecture her class with her party-bred yen
To teach of polarities in political thought,
And we were to learn whatever we ought.
Nazis were right and Commies were left,
A model which showed a logic bereft
Of sense, as of truth, as of clear-spoken word
Which reduces down to a stew that's absurd.
Duck and cover was the strategy then
To teach us of horror, as we dropped down when
Duck and cover was What's-Her-Name's drill
To have us a-feared to her words shrewish shrill.
Missus What's-Her-Name in History at ten
Was a part of my youth, like my drafting board pen.
The models she conjured I spit back on her test
Because to argue against them would not have been best.
Her right and left models linger today
As if there was ever something to say
About right and left, and left and right,
Meaning references back to a world war's fight.
But Nazis were socialists, Commies were too,
Just different flavors in that political stew
Which showed enemies were allied once in the past,
And allies became enemies ever so fast.
So right and left are enemies, and one must choose,
Though I come to see --- whichever, you lose.
Such a right and a left are like twins in a crib,
To tell them apart one colors each bib.
Missus What's-Her-Name was ever so good
At righteous indignation, we all understood,
But looking back at that ten o'clock class
I think, silly lady, today's test I shan't pass.
Today I use history's proper writ name
Which tells me these opposites were rather the same;
Now the model's decrepit, a fraud layered with dust
Which ought be abandoned, for really it must
Be shown to have been what it ever once was,
Just another way of politicking with good old "because."
My history class at ten in those high school years
Was nothing but politics dressed up as fears.
Choose one from the list, in a list made of two,
For really, you see, it's all up to you!
Such clever models were deception quite fine
Until one connects the dots with a simple line.
Socialism National and socialism Soviet
And socialism Sino and others albeit
Remain all of a same frayed fabric in time,
Stained mightily with blood as with crime.
Left and right, the boots tramped down
Step by step o'er each terrified town.
No duck and cover, the history tells,
Would save the victims from shells,
From canisters, clubs, bullets and bombs,
From bayonets, pistols and such maelstroms.
For right and for left in the history at ten
Are proven to have been the same, yet again.
Teach differences as best designed to obscure
And pray that such models will long, long endure
To muddy the waters and foul all the nests,
To rationalize a model that simple logic arrests.
Left, or is it right? Right, or is it left?
Well, someone's at fault with a model so deft
As to play that one thing opposes itself,
And fill up the textbooks to line every shelf.
Missus What's-Her-Name in History at ten
Would hector her class with real bogeymen,
To teach fake polarities in political thought,
And we were to learn whatever we ought.
Left-and-right served as a model back then
When left and right politics shrieked its amen.
Against left, against right simple freedom towers tall,
And against it Missus What's-Her-Name's model's AWOL.
Missus What's-Her-Name spawned many, I know,
And her model creaks on in Missus What's-Her-Name's glow.
But now that the words are crystal and clear,
Missus What's-Her-Name's model is no longer dear.
Say Left and say Right, and say whatever you will,
My answer is freedom, and freedom is still
Neither Left nor is it Right, no party games there,
For freedom flies above politics' voice so shrill.
Missus What's-Her-Name in History at ten
Would lecture her class with her party-bred yen
To teach of polarities in political thought;
I've refused to accept that model she taught.
Envoi: "Liberating tolerance, then, would mean intolerance against movements from the Right, and toleration of movements from the Left." In "An Essay on Liberation" by Herbert Marcuse, Beacon Press, 1969, p. 109.
Addendum: “War is peace. Freedom is slavery. Ignorance is strength.” George Orwell, 1984 (1949)
Addendum: "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." George Santayana (1863-1952)
See: Left is Right, as Right is Left
Privatization - publicized
"Cuba says it will allow people to buy and sell their homes for the first time since the communist revolution in 1959. For the past 50 years, Cubans have only been allowed to pass on their homes to their children, or to swap them through a complicated and often corrupt system." In "Cuba's party congress agrees to allow private property," BBC, 19 April 2011 [ 1 ]
The BBC called it a hard-edged thing
When Thatcher played the same;
After fifty years quite moribund,
Socialism opts for a privatization game.
How odd that it was horrid once,
But now is balm and salve
To counter corruption's fifty years,
That have-nots might actually have.
The Cuban revolution
Was promised, hoped for change,
But after fifty dour, dozing years
It creaks old and puzzling strange.
When communism comes to see
Its goals were the stuff of dreams
That woke to nightmares on the streets,
Then socialism itself blasphemes.
The first old tenet of this faith
Was private property was not allowed.
But there is, the heresy spoke
By the poor old Cuban crowd.
Following a story such as this
Across five decades' swath,
One comes to see that socialism's been
A losing, rhetorical froth.
Fifty years of corruption is
A history lesson to heed,
That fancy talk cannot walk the walk
As such words are empty screed.
See: Socialism's Last Hurrah and also Between rhetoric and reality - on the reality of socialist Cuba's healthcare system
[ 1 ] "In this sense, the theory of the Communists may be summed up in the single sentence: Abolition of private property." In "Proletarians and Communists," Chapter Two of The Manifesto of the Communist Party, 1848.
Errors - a socialist's confession
"A new generation of leaders must act decisively and without hesitation to correct the errors of the past and lead the island once those who fought in the 1959 revolution are gone, Fidel Castro said in a column published Monday." In "Fidel Castro: New leaders must fix Cuban economy," by Peter Orsi, Associated Press, Havana , Apr 18 2011.
Errors of the past for fifty years
Can be laid to just one man.
Each now-past error now appears
Because of his socialist plan.
Fifty years of fancy talk
Are fifty years running red;
At fifty years one stands to gawk
At his poverty's daily bread.
His revolution was once proposed
To answer great social woes,
But it seems he ignorantly posed
In false revolutionary clothes.
Was fifty years not time enough
To decisively act for good?
Was fifty years all just a bluff,
And not the fix for which he stood?
New leaders must fix what this fool broke?
Well, isn't that socialism's tragic joke?
Envoi: "Without Revolutionary theory, there can be no Revolutionary Movement." Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1879-1924)
Addendum of Cuban Socialism: "All organised opposition is banned in Cuba and all candidates for elections have been selected by the ruling Communist Party or its affiliated associations." In "Fidel Castro votes in Cuba election," BBC, 4 February 2013.
Addendum of the Analysis of Socialism: "The well-known Soviet mathematician Shafarevich, a member of the Soviet Academy of Science, has written a brilliant book under the title Socialism; it is a profound analysis showing that socialism of any type and shade leads to a total destruction of the human spirit and to a leveling of mankind into death. Shafarevich's book was published in France almost two years ago and so far no one has been found to refute it." In "A World Split Apart," an address given at Harvard Class Day Afternoon Exercises by Alexander Solzhenitsyn, 8 June 1978.
Addendum of Correcting the Errors of the Past: "Cash-strapped Cuba plans fresh austerity measures and will pressure the sluggish bureaucracy to tighten its belt and cut red tape to address weak growth, falling export earnings and rising debt." In "'Reality' bites: Cuba plans more austerity as finances worsen," by Marc Frank, Reuters, 28 December 2018.
Addendum of Child Abuse as an Error: "If he does not profess a truly Marxist life, he will be denied many career possibilities. From his elementary school days on, he will hear that God does not exist, and that religion is 'the opium of the masses.' If any student speaks about God, his parents will be called to the school, warned that they are 'confusing' the child and threatened. The Code for Children, Youth and Family provides for a three-year prison sentence for any parent who teaches a child ideas contrary to communism. The code is very clear: No Cuban parent has the right to 'deform' the ideology of his children, and the state is the true 'Father'." In "A Firsthand Account Of Child Abuse, Castro Style," by Armando Valladares, Capitalism Magazine, 16 May 2000.
See: Mulligan Stew - a recipe inverse, Democracy is stupid and especially Between rhetoric and reality
Socialism's Last Hurrah - not democracy in any town
"The parade and Congress come exactly half a century after Fidel Castro proclaimed that his was a socialist revolution, rather than a democratic one. His speech on 16 April 1961 paved the way for a centralised Soviet-style economy and one-party rule." In "A last hurrah for Cuba's communist rulers," by Michael Voss, BBC News, Havana, 16 April 2011. [ 1 ]
And there we have it, written down;
Socialism's not democracy in any town.
Revolution means turning around and around,
While fifty years of stasis is what poor Cuba found.
Centralized, and oh so very soviet they are;
One party rules, and one man is the tsar.
Revolution once was clearly defined
As throwing off government's yoke and grind.
Having less government claws at one's throat;
Suffering less of the bureaucrats' bloat.
And so it is, says a venerable BBC:
Socialism is just not a democracy.
The last hurrah will come one day,
When this plain truth comes more into play.
For here we have it, plainly spoke;
Socialism is not democracy; but a bitter joke. [ 2 ]
Envoi: "Defense of the socialist motherland is every Cuban's greatest honor and highest duty." Article 64, Cuban Constitution. [ 3 ]
Addendum of Proposing the Idiocy of a First Strike in a Nuclear War: "In your cable of October 27 you proposed that we be the first to carry out a nuclear strike against the enemy's territory. Naturally you understand where that would lead us. It would not be a simple strike, but the start of a thermonuclear world war. Dear Comrade Fidel Castro, I find your proposal to be wrong, even though I understand your reasons. We have lived through a very grave moment, a global thermonuclear war could have broken out. Of course the United States would have suffered enormous losses, but the Soviet Union and the whole socialist bloc would have also suffered greatly. It is even difficult to say how things would have ended for the Cuban people. First of all, Cuba would have burned in the fires of war. Without a doubt the Cuban people would have fought courageously but, also without a doubt, the Cuban people would have perished heroically. We struggle against imperialism, not in order to die, but to draw on all of our potential, to lose as little as possible, and later to win more, so as to be a victor and make communism triumph." Letter from Nikita Khrushchev to Fidel Castro," (Primary Resources: Letter from Khrushchev to Castro, 10/30/62), American Experience, PBS, n. d.
Addendum of Subjugation's Victims: "In an unusual gesture for a member high in the Catholic Church’s hierarchy in Cuba, the Apostolic nuncio Bruno Musaro spoke openly about Cuba’s 'extreme poverty and human and civil degradation.' Musaro made his controversial remarks while on vacation in Italy after holding a Mass in the San Pio de Pietrelcina park, in the Italian municipality of Vignacastrisi. The Cuban people are 'victims of a socialist dictatorship that has kept them subjugated for the past 56 years,' Musaro said, according to the Italian newspaper, Lecce News24." In "Catholic archbishop in Cuba criticizes government," by Nora Gamez Torres, Miami Herald, 29 August 2014.
Addendum: SOCIALISM. The theory that John Smith is better than his superiors. H. L. Mencken, in "A Book of Burlesques." (1916)
Addendum of the Rich Joke of Socialism: "To Cubans, Fidel Castro presents himself as a man of the people, claiming to make only 900 pesos a month (about $38) and owning no property other than a modest 'fisherman's hut' somewhere on the coast. In truth, El Jefe is worth hundreds of millions and owns 20 properties, including a chalet where he goes duck hunting every year and a private marina in the Bay of Pigs." In "Inside Fidel Castro’s luxurious life on his secret island getaway," by Juan Reinaldo Sanchez, New York Post, 10 May 2015.
Addendum in order to Change the Words: "The reality is that if the government lacked resources to compensate its workers (material incentives), it offered to pay them for working harder for less with moral satisfaction. Not surprisingly, when Cuba stumbled into its severe crisis in the early 1990s, the government resorted to a campaign that resurrected the image of Guevara—and of course the virtues of moral incentives and voluntary labor. Some uncritical defenders of Cuba’s regime argue that since the country is socialist—based on the fact that industry and commerce are nationalized—any attempts at extracting more labor from the workers simply results in more benefits for all workers. As we have seen, workers have no mechanism of control over their working conditions or the economy. Everything lies in the good hands of the “well-intentioned leaders”—whose economic priorities subordinate consumption needs to increasing output and making Cuban products more competitive on the world market. The Cuban ruling class has always attempted to participate in the international market as a means of developing the country. This has come only by extracting higher and higher productivity from its workers and holding down consumption—capitalist exploitation by any other name. In straight terms, it means that, notwithstanding Fortress Cuba’s claims of “socialism on one island,” its economy is in reality state capitalist." In "Cuba: The Crisis of State Capitalism," by Hector Reyes, International Socialist Review Issue 11, Spring 2000. [ 4 ]
Addendum of Connecting to Cocaine: "Federal prosecutors in Miami were prepared to indict Raul Castro as the head of a major cocaine smuggling conspiracy in 1993, but the Clinton Administration Justice Department overruled them, current and former Justice Department officials tell ABC News. The officials say Castro, as Cuban Defense Minister, permitted Colombian drug lords to pay for the use of Cuban waters and airstrips as staging grounds for smuggling runs into the United States in the 1980s and early 1990s. 'It was a major investigation involving numerous witnesses that was killed at the highest levels in Washington,' said a former Justice Department official with direct knowledge of the case. 'There were numerous national security and intelligence issues that would have made the case difficult,' said Tom Cash, the former head of the Drug Enforcement Administration office in Miami." In "Raul Castro: Cocaine Connection?" by Brian Ross and Vic Walter, ABC News, 13 August 2006.
Addendum of Human Rights Violations: "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, Events of 2012," Human Rights Watch, 2013.
Addendum of Continuing Human Rights Violations: "A prominent Cuban opposition activist has been arrested ahead of a United Nations-related human rights conference he was expected to attend in Geneva, his supporters said Wednesday. Jorge Luis García Pérez, known as 'Antúnez,' was reportedly arrested with several other activists after Cuban state security forces raided his home around 9:30 a.m. on Wednesday, according to the Cuban Democratic Directorate. ...UN Watch condemned the arrests and called on UN officials to address the Castro regime’s repression of opposition activists. 'We call on UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay to strongly condemn Cuba’s repression of a human rights activist who is planning to participate in a UN-related event,' said UN Watch executive director Hillel Neuer." In "Cuban Activist Arrested Ahead of Human Rights Summit," by Alana Goodman, Free Beacon, 5 February 2014.
Addendum for Venezuela: "Since late socialist leader Hugo Chavez died of cancer in February, the economy has joined crime as Venezuelans' top concerns. Prices are soaring at an annualized 45 percent, a black market for dollars is booming, and basic goods from flour to toilet-paper are often scarce." In "President Maduro has 'bankrupted' Venezuela: opposition," by Andrew Cawthorne, Reuters, 6 October 2013. [ 5 ]
Addendum of Not Competing with the Socialists: "President Raul Castro issued a stern warning to entrepreneurs pushing the boundaries of Cuba's economic reform, telling parliament on Saturday that 'those pressuring us to move faster are moving us toward failure.' Castro has legalized small-scale, private businesses in nearly 200 fields since 2010, but has issued tighter regulations on businesses seen as going too far or competing excessively with state enterprises. In recent months, the government has banned the resale of imported hardware and clothing and cracked down on unlicensed private videogame and movie salons." In "Raul Castro issues stern warning to entrepreneurs," by Michael Weissenstein and Andrea Rodriguez, Associated Press, 21 December 2013.
Addendum of Defections from Cuba via Venezuela: "Over the last 12 months some 3,000 Cubans, mostly doctors, have arrived in the United States after deserting one of the Venezuelan government's social programs they staff. This accounts for a 60% increase as compared with 2012. In 2012 there were about 5,000 refugee Cuban doctors and nurses in the United States coming from all over the world. Through December 1, 2013 this figure had surged to 8,000, 98% of them came from Venezuela. These are estimates by Dr. Julio Cesar Alfonso, head of the South Florida group Solidarity Without Borders Inc. (SWB), which helps Cuban medical professionals who try to desert the medical programs Havana sells worldwide as 'exports of services.' Venezuela hosts the largest contingent of Cuban medical professionals under the cooperation agreement signed by Caracas and Havana in 2003." In "Over 3,000 Cuban doctors defected from Venezuela in 2013," by Frank López Ballesteros, El Universal, 28 December 2013. [ 6 ]
Addendum of those Cuban Doctors: "The average monthly salary in Cuba rose 17 percent between 2006 and 2011 to the equivalent of $19, the state statistics office said Monday. That meant the average monthly wage of workers in Cuba, where the Communist-ruled state controls more than 90 percent of the economy, climbed from the equivalent of $16 a month in 2006 to $19 last year, the office said on its website. Low salaries are a key complaint in the Americas' only one-party Communist regime. There is a very small salary range from unskilled to highly skilled labor, so a street sweeper might make $17 and a brain surgeon $22 a month." In "Average Cuban monthly salary rises to $19," Agence France Presse, 5 June 2012. [ 7 ]
Addendum of More Cuts to Cuba's Crumbling Pillar: "Cuban authorities say they have eliminated more than 100,000 jobs in health care, considered one of the pillars of the 1959 revolution. The cuts come as President Raul Castro tries to streamline government as part of a broader economic reform package. The weekly labor newspaper Trabajadores said Monday that 109,000 health care positions have been cut. Two years ago, Cuba said more than 50,000 jobs in that sector had been slashed. Most of the cuts came in less-skilled positions such as ambulance drivers and hospital support staff. Cuba's health care sector is entirely run by the state. Authorities have said that like other areas of the economy it is plagued by inefficiency, redundancies and bloated payrolls." In "Cuba slashes more than 100,000 health care jobs," Associated Press, 8 April 2014.
Addendum of Milking the System: "President Raul Castro has repeatedly said that Cuba needs to become a country that is 'less egalitarian but more just' and that the island can no longer be the only country in the world where people do not need to work in order to live. The government argues it can no long afford the role of the paternalistic state that cares for everyone equally including those who can well take care of themselves. Asked what low-income Cubans are supposed to do to survive, Jose Barreiro, advisor to the Minister of Labor and Social Security said some sectors will be hit harder than others. 'Under the policy that has been set, the country will continue eliminating a number of subsidies on products that are distributed in an egalitarian manner to everyone regardless of their income, including those with very high earnings,' Barreiro sais. 'Instead, in the future, the government will subsidize people and not products.' In other words, Cuba is moving away from being a welfare state for all and earmarking aid to those it judges need it the most. The problem is that even with the opening of a private sector and with people going into business for themselves, the vast majority of Cuban workers are still employed by the state and there is a huge gap between their wages and the cost of food they are forced to buy." In "Cuba economic reforms felt at the dinner table," by Portia Siegelbaum, CBS News, 31 December 2013.
Addendum of Inflation -- Socialists' Man-made Disasters: "For 2012, Venezuela's inflation surged to 56.1%, its central bank said. In Argentina, the rate was 28%, according to a watchdog. These man-made disasters are due to governments spending more than they have to buy votes. In Argentina, spending rose 50% in the past decade, and in Venezuela it surged 60% in just the past year. The numbers are so hard, and crisp and predictable, it's astonishing anyone could be surprised by them." In "Argentina And Venezuela: Chronicles Of Devalutions Foretold," Investors Business Daily Editorial, 24 January 2014. [ 8 ]
Addendum of Seeking Assistance: "Academia has been and remains a key target of foreign intelligence services, including the CuIS. The CuIS actively target academia to recruit agents and to support Cuban influence operations. Unfortunately, part of what makes academic environments ideal for enhancing and sharing knowledge also can assist the efforts of foreign intelligence services to accomplish their objectives. This situation is unlikely to change, but awareness of the methods used to target academia can greatly assist in neutralizing the efforts of these foreign intelligence services." In "Cuban Intelligence Targeting of Academia," Private Sector Advisory, Federal Bureau of Investigation, 2 September 2014.
Addendum of Socialism's Trajectory: " 'Things that were bad in Cuba are now worse,' Mr. Heredia said. 'If there was more money in Cuba to pay for the trips, everyone would go'." In "In Rickety Boats, Cuban Migrants Again Flee to U.S.," by Francis Robles, New York Times, 9 October 2014.
Addendum of Socialist Prosperity Fifty Plus Years after La Revolución: "The median wage for employees of state-run enterprises in Cuba increased 24 percent in 2014 to 584 pesos ($24) a month, the steepest hike in years, according to figures released Thursday by the National Bureau of Statistics and Information, or ONEI." In "Median Wage in Cuba Rises 24% to $24 a Month," Latin American Herald Tribune, 29 May 2015.
Addendum of Socialist Senility: "Fidel Castro marked his 89th birthday Thursday by insisting the United States owes Cuba "many millions of dollars" because of the half-century-old American trade embargo." In "Fidel Castro to US: you owe us millions," Agence France Presse, 13 August 2015. [ 9 ]
Addendum of Socialized Poverty: "Cuba remains a society of unusual social and economic parity in Latin America, a region beset by deep class divisions and the world’s worst homicide rates. A fraying system of cradle-to-grave benefits keeps Cubans living in a kind of state-administered, socialized poverty, earning high scores on U.N. human development surveys but little for Cuban wallets." In "A socialist vision fades in Cuba’s biggest housing project," by Nick Miroff, Washington Post, 29 December 2015.
Addendum of High Oppression: " 'I’ve been detained and beaten countless times,' said Eralidis Frómeta Polanco, an activist who turned up in the all-white clothes of the demonstrators, who march silently along 5th Avenue each week in protest at the lack of freedom of expression. 'I have no hope at all of progress as a result of Obama’s visit. He doesn’t know what it is like to live in a dictatorship'." In "'The oppression is high': Cuban police break up protest ahead of Obama's visit," by Jonathan Watts, Guardian UK, 20 March 2016. [ 10 ]
Addendum of Struggling to Feed Their Families: "Struggling to feed their families with state salaries around $25 a month, many ordinary Cubans see their government as infuriatingly inefficient and unresponsive to the needs of average people. The open anger among prominent party members in the middle of sweeping socio-economic reforms and normalization with the United States hints at a deeper crisis of credibility for the party that has controlled virtually every aspect of public life in Cuba for more than a half century." In "Unusual dissent erupts inside Cuban Communist Party," by Andrea Rodriguez and Michael Weissenstein, Associated Press, 30 March 2016.
Addendum of the State as Monopolist State Suppliers: "...the alarm spread over the past few days among private restaurants, and soon afterwards their owners were called to meet with government officials. There they were told that no new licenses will be issued for private restaurants in the capital, after which a series of strict inspections began to see which of those in business were obeying the rules: seating for no more than 50 diners, staying open only during the established hours, and the use of only those products purchased and billed by state suppliers." In "Private restaurants prove successful, so Cuban government cracks down on them," Agencia EFE, 18 October 2016.
Addendum of Death and Remembrance: "...deceit was one of Fidel Castro’s greatest talents, and gullibility is one of the world’s greatest frailties. A genius at myth-making, Castro relied on the human thirst for myths and heroes. His lies were beautiful, and so appealing. According to Castro and to his propagandists, the so-called revolution was not about creating a repressive totalitarian state and securing his rule as an absolute monarch, but rather about eliminating illiteracy, poverty, racism, class differences and every other ill known to humankind. This bold lie became believable, thanks largely to Castro’s incessant boasting about free schools and medical care, which made his myth of the benevolent utopian revolution irresistible to many of the world’s poor. Many intellectuals, journalists and educated people in the First World fell for this myth, too...." In "Farewell to Cuba’s brutal Big Brother," by Carlos Eire, Washington Post, 26 November 2016. [ 11 ]
Addendum of Promise Betrayed: "A few years ago, when I returned to Cuba after a long absence, I kept hearing the phrase Cerraron la bolsa, meaning, roughly, that the government was bankrupt -- not just financially but morally and spiritually. The beacon that the Cuban Revolution once represented to the world had become nothing more than a grimy night light, with the Cuban people openly detesting Fidel himself -- once a sacred cow -- and his interminable gerontocracy. Los viejos no nos dejan vivir. The old men don't let us live. This is the refrain to a still-popular song on the island. I can only hope that with the passing of El Comandante, the Cuban people on both sides of the Straits of Florida -- and beyond -- can finally live fully and freely in pursuit of their dreams, and begin to heal from this failed, costly experiment." In "Fidel, the promise and the betrayal," by Cristina Garcia, CNN, 26 November 2016.
Addendum of Post-Fidel Socialism Cracking Down on Dissent: "Authorities across Cuba have cracked down on dissidents, arresting dozens, keeping others from marching in Havana, and detaining an American human rights lawyer, activists said Sunday. In the first such anti-dissident operation since Fidel Castro's death last month, President Raul Castro seemed to indicate the Americas' only one-party communist state was in no mood for dissent." In "Cuba cracks down on dissidents after Castro death," by Carlos Batista, Agence France Presse, 19 December 2016.
Addendum After a Hurricane: "In a country where the state controls almost all resources (and people), many are beginning to ask themselves, where is the government? ...Cubans also complained that as Hurricane Irma approached, the Cuban state telecommunication monopoly ETECSA charged for receiving storm update notifications. In the aftermath, food rations that are supposed to be free now cost five pesos to the very victims of the storm. 'They should give it for free, they want to make money out of everything,' said a man sitting at the entrance of his house in Central Havana that was flooded up to the roof. 'To me, this is wrong. No one has come here,' he told CiberCuba on Tuesday. Another neighbor said she was 'very upset' because the government had not provided help." In "In Cuba, many Hurricane Irma victims are asking themselves, where is the government?" by Nora Gámez Torres, Miami Herlad, 13 September 2017.
Addendum of Being a Slave: "In a rare act of collective defiance, scores of Cuban doctors working overseas to make money for their families and their country are suing to break ranks with the Cuban government, demanding to be released from what one judge called a 'form of slave labor.' Thousands of Cuban doctors work abroad under contracts with the Cuban authorities. Countries like Brazil pay the island’s Communist government millions of dollars every month to provide the medical services, effectively making the doctors Cuba’s most valuable export. But the doctors get a small cut of that money, and a growing number of them in Brazil have begun to rebel." In "Cuban Doctors Revolt: 'You Get Tired of Being a Slave'," by Ernesto Londoño, New York Times, 29 September 2017.
Addendum of Collapse: "Fidel Castro promised to demolish 'hellish tenements' and build safe, modern housing when he took power in 1959. Today, Magaly Marrero, 65, said her apartment is so bad that she showers in the kitchen and relieves herself in a bucket. 'Sometimes I say, ‘God, how long will I live in these conditions?’ This is no life,' she said. 'What can I aspire to? To die buried because one day the roof comes down and crushes me?' Cuban officials don’t release figures on those killed or injured in building collapses." In "How Havana is collapsing, building by building," by Tracey Eaton and Katherine Lewin, USA Today, 2 December 2018.
Addendum of Trying to Provide Basic Necessities: "Six decades into its socialist experiment, his government is still trying to figure out how to satisfy the basic necessities of its population. With minimal economic growth in 2018 and continuing shortages of basic staples like flour at year’s end, experts say the government is failing under his leadership." In "After 60 years of revolution in Cuba, cracks in leadership emerge," by Nora Gámez Torres, Miami Herald, 27 December 2018.
Addendum of the Illusion: "...Luis, a 68-year-old native of Havana, says dreams of thriving in a socialist utopia were dashed a long time ago once the reality sunk in that Castro’s Communist vision was just an illusion." In "Cuba at a crossroads: 60 years after Castro seized control, the island still faces the same old problems as a progressive new president looks to the future," by Robert Dominguez, New York Daily News, 2 January 2019.
[ 1 ] The BBC notes that Castro's revolution was Communist in the article's title, while quoting Castro as defining the revolution as socialist, not democratic.
El Commandante's Regime Which Doesn't Work
As Castro's 90th birthday comes along, one reads that Castro's rule was essentially dictatorial: "The birthday celebrations hark back to an era when 'El Comandante' nationalized the economy and ruled almost single-handedly, but Cuba has changed since Fidel's brother, President Raul Castro, officially took the reins of power in 2008." In "Changing Cuba pays homage to Fidel Castro ahead of 90th birthday," Reuters, 12 August 2016. That article quotes a young Cuban: " 'His time is past and it's now the moment to give way to the young,' said Yaniel Pupo, a 23-year-old accountant. 'If you've created a regime ... which doesn't work, then it's time to change it'."
As to sentiment about the regime which Castro "ruled almost single-handedly," one reads: "Fifty years after Fidel Castro took power in Cuba, the big question about the Cuban revolution is not whether it was justified, but whether it was worth it. From all available evidence, it wasn't. A dispassionate look into Cuba today shows that, while the country has reduced the pockets of extreme misery that existed during the Fulgencio Batista dictatorship, a majority of Cubans are poorer and have fewer opportunities to improve their lives than they did five decades ago. Cubans today have a pretty low per capita income compared with other Latin American nations." In "After 50 years, Cuba has little to show," Andes Oppenheimer, Miami Herald, 12 December 2008.
How Little Is Little?
As to whatever it is that socialism, Communism or ruling "single-handedly" is supposed to mean, one learns of a two-tiered society: "What Cuba’s mean monthly salary of 466 CUP probably conceals is that fact that there are a handful of people earning huge amounts of money while the immense majority is being paid miserable wages. This is something that Raul Castro himself had to acknowledge some years ago, when he stated that such salaries aren’t even enough to guarantee daily subsistence." In "The Mean Salary of Cubans," by Isbel Díaz Torres, Havana Times, 6 August 2013.
The median income as of 2014: "The average state salary in Cuba rose 1 percent in 2013 to 471 pesos ($20) a month, which maintains the trend toward slight increases seen in recent years, according to an official report published Tuesday." In "Average salary in Cuba rose 1 pct last year to $20 a month," FX News Latino, 17 June 2014.
Shall one then conclude that Cuban socialism -- admittedly not democratic, according to Castro himself -- is Cuban Communism and one-man rule, such that there is no distinction between the various terminology? And that said socialism produces "prosperity" for the Cuban people of about $20 a month?
Corruption Under El Commandante
But of reality rather than political jargon alone, one reads: "Corruption is common, though allegedly lower than in most other countries in Latin America. However, in their book, Corruption in Cuba, Sergio Diaz-Briquets and Jorge F. Pérez-López Servando state that Cuba has "institutionalized" corruption and that state-run monopolies, cronyism, and lack of accountability have made Cuba one of the world's most corrupt states." In Wikipedia on "Economy of Cuba." As to this revolution of almost six decades without 'revolving' one reads: "It is the only country in the Americas that locks citizens up for their beliefs. In a place that before 1959 boasted as many cattle as people, meat is such a scarce luxury that it is a crime to kill and eat a cow." In " Time for a (long overdue) change," The Economist, 30 December 2008.
And additionally, one learns from a charity, that: "'The elderly are among those most affected by poverty,' said Migdalia Dopico, coordinator of the Elderly Support Programme for Caritas Cuba. With one in five Cubans now over 60, the problem is getting worse. Caritas Cuba’s 800 volunteers and 190 canteens are responding by providing thousands of meals to 28000 elderly people." In "Caritas Cuba helps elderly as poverty grows," 21 March 2012.
[ 2 ] The bitter joke? Given the corruption and poverty noted above, one also reads, "Cuban President Fidel Castro was furious when Forbes magazine estimated his fortune at $550 million last year. This year, the magazine upped its estimate of the communist leader's wealth to a cool $900 million. Castro, who says his net worth is nil, is likely the beneficiary of up to $900 million, based on his control of state-owned companies, the U.S. financial magazine said in its annual tally of "Kings, Queens & Dictators" fortunes Thursday." In "Fidel Castro net worth rises, according to 'Forbes'," USA Today, 4 May 2006.
El comandante es muy rica
For this we gain some understanding of the cynicism of Norman Mailer (1923-2007), who often and correctly spoke against fascism, also observed: "The function of socialism is to raise suffering to a higher level."
One notes the following, as regards reports of corruption and poverty alongside wealth and privilege in the Cuban socialist government now six decades old: "The modern bourgeois society that has sprouted from the ruins of feudal society has not done away with class antagonisms. It has but established new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones." In "Bourgeois and Proletarians," Chapter One of the Manifesto of the Communist Party, February 1848.
To advance the irony of the sclerotic political and economic realities of Castro's Cuba, one looks back and reads from almost sixty years ago, written by a man now 86 years old: "I despise the kind of existence that clings to the miserly trifles of comfort and self-interest. I think that a man should not live beyond the age when he begins to deteriorate, when the flame that lighted the brightest moment of his life has weakened." Fidel Castro, in a letter from prison dated 19 December 1953. As one may well conclude, power always clings to power.
El comandante suprime el disenso
One may compare the following quotes: 1) "To those who cling to power through corruption and deceit and the silencing of dissent, know that you are on the wrong side of history; but that we will extend a hand if you are willing to unclench your fist." In "Transcript: Barack Obama’s Inaugural Address," New York Times, 20 January 2009, and 2) "Cuba remains the only country in Latin America that represses virtually all forms of political dissent. In 2011 Raúl Castro’s government continued to enforce political conformity using short-term detentions, beatings, public acts of repudiation, forced exile, and travel restrictions." In "World Report 2012: Cuba," Human Rights Watch, January 2012.
The Castro form of socialism is less than benign as some human rights observers all too often note: "...Sonia Garro, born and raised in Cuba. She is currently residing in a Castro prison for the crime of demanding respect for human rights and the freedom to express her views. After being violently arrested, she and her husband (who is also black) have been held for more than a year by the Castro dictatorship without charges and without a trial. The world for the most part does not know who she is and there has been little to no outcry for the injustice she is suffering." In "Beyonce and Sonia: A tale of two black women in Cuba," by Alberto de la Cruz, Babalú Blog, 5 April 2013.
[ 3 ] "The members of the political group headed by Fidel and Raoul Castro, the high officials of the army and the security forces, don't live like the people. They live in real capitalism. They don't lack anything that you can have in a democratic society. And they want to live that way and they want the people of Cuba to live under socialism--I mean, in a very poor way." In "The Last Communist," by William Cran, Frontline, PBS, 11 February 1992.
This carries forward into a next generation, as socialism requires truths be censored: "According to the Miami Herald, Pedro Pérez used a quote from George Orwell's Animal Farm when he wrote on Facebook: 'All the animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.' Animal Farm, a satire of Stalinism which condemned totalitarian practices and presented Stalin as a traitor of the Russian Revolution, is banned in Cuba." In "Rich kid of Communism: Fidel Castro's model grandson flashes his wealth and love of the high life on Instagram as he travels the world," by Adry Torres, Daily Mail, 5 January 2019.
A Bleak Future
One looks forward from the beginning of the Castro government over decades to learn that poverty remains intransigent under one-party rule, or as Marx wrote "new classes, new conditions of oppression, new forms of struggle in place of the old ones." And after decades of "new conditions of oppression," one learns that Cuba's next generation sees leaving as the alternative. "An elderly Communist Party member said the difference from the past is that the desire to leave is so widespread among the young. 'Unfortunately, if you talk to 10 young people today, nine of them will tell you they want to leave Cuba. They don't see a future,' she said, not wanting to be identified. Ulisses Guilarte, head of the party in Artemisa province and a member of the Central Committee, told Reuters the reason for youthful disillusionment was obvious. 'It is clear the economic situation is difficult, undoubtedly. The young people view their aspirations as still distant,' he said." In "Cuba's young see bleak future, many want to leave," by Jeff Franks, Reuters, 28 April 2013.
And so, the irony is that socialism is experiencing it's last hurrah. One reads as an admission, ""Without their knowing it, I hold that the supporters of the strengthening of capitalism as a means of reaching socialism are effectively in agreement with the liberal Cuban author Carlos Alberto Montaner when he said, 'Socialism is the transitional stage between capitalism and…capitalism.' Of course he was referring to “state socialism,” though what we have was never really even that." In "The Long Road to Socialism in Cuba," by Pedro Campos, Havana Times, 16 March 2012.
Moreover, this claim is bolstered by other voices: "The country has started on the road towards capitalism; and that will have big implications for the United States and the rest of Latin America." In "On the road towards capitalism," The Economist, 24 May 2012. For this Campos concluded in the Havana Times opinion: "The supporters of a more participatory and democratic socialism understand that if the “updating” doesn’t engage itself, as quickly as possible, the main engines of socialization — which are broad cooperativism and the direct participation of workers in management, administration and the distribution the profits of state enterprises — Cuba will not be heading toward more socialism, but toward the predominance of private capitalism."
Revolving from Oppression to Oppression
Sixty years of Castro's admitted socialist revolution has been an experiment, with enough time to prove postulates in the cauldron of economic realities and history. And for it one can look back to the corrupt Batista dictatorship which Castro overthrew, and find sixty years later that the same "poverty and suffering" of which the iconic Ernesto Guevara wrote has continued. Per the quote by Marx above, this sixty years has merely shown the "new conditions of oppression" are quite like the old ones.
See: Murderous murderer murdered - "M " as in the myth of Che Guevara.
[ 4 ] Terminology is very important to the modern socialist, as the excerpt illustrates. Socialism becomes "state capitalist," in the editorial hands of the International Socialist Review, for so it must be in order for that "socialist" review to not be sullied by the economic failings of the Castro-led revolution, as seen by the various news and editorials above.
Words Wiggle and Definitions Dull
So also the term "socialism" must be redefined, in order to enthuse new socialists who otherwise might have to look at the history of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics and its economic collapse alongside its now well-known totalitarian nature. See: Sheer Ignorance and Totalitarian .
So also the term must be redefined, in order to parse away the term from German National Socialism's own embrace of the word. See: True socialism, oh yes, he said . and We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party .
So also the term must be redefined in order to ignore migration to a capitalist West even under threat of death from the East Germany's DDR border guards, this client of the USSR being another collapsed socialist state. See: Fled from empty market shelves - a history lesson.
Last Chance, Amigo?
A former citizen of East Germany writes: "This is Cuban socialism, I think: waiting and pieces of paper, standstill and bureaucracy. It sucks the energy out of your bones, and I sense the return of a forgotten East German sense of powerlessness, the feeling you get when you have to wait for everything: a car, a seat in a restaurant, meat from the butcher, a spot in a Communist government-sponsored vacation home. The sense of waiting for a glorious future in which everything will be better than it is today." In "Last Chance, Amigo? You Can Never Be Too Late in Havana," by Jochen-Martin Gutsch In Havana, Spiegel Online, 21 March 2016.
So also the term -- socialism -- must be redefined to ignore Chinese Communism's rampant corruption. See: Capital for Communists - a story growing old. And of course as regards Sino-Socialism one must absolutely Put the past to rest .
A Broader View
So also the term must be redefined to ignore the tragedies of Cambodia's Khmer Rouge, a Stalinist North Korea, Zimbabwe's economic withering, and the factual truth of the Baath Party of Iraq's murderous Saddam Hussein and Syria's Assad family presiding over a bloody civil war involving chemical weapons: "Ba'athism calls for unification of the Arab world into a single state. Its motto, "Unity, Liberty, Socialism", refers to Arab unity, and freedom from non-Arab control and interference." (Wiki).
So also the term must be redefined to wipe away such small horrors as "apostolic socialism." See: I'm gonna guide you to the promised land - a story quite like others.
Fortunately, today's modern socialist will be able to explain away all these many aberrations from an imagined "correct" and future socialism, which can continue to justify the existence of such as the International Socialist Review. When socialism fails as it often has, we may then re-label it as state capitalism. And that leads to such fascinating movements as those which stand against capitalism while hoping to be called progressive but certainly not socialist, completing the wordy circle of circles of socialist words. See: Enemies of Capitalism .
[ 5 ] "For years Chavez’s foreign minister, Mr Maduro was the more moderate, pragmatic face of the Venezuelan Revolution. Now, seeking to emulate the man still known affectionately to many as 'El Comandante' (the Commander), his aggressive leadership style has not only come as a surprise, but a poor imitation. 'He dresses in military fatigues to look like Chavez, but when he opens his mouth all you see is a bad copy', said Miguel Arnas, an insurance salesman waiting in a three-hour bank queue in Caracas. While Chavez’s revolution diverted the country’s vast oil wealth to fund social programmes - with considerable initial success - after almost 15 years many Venezuelans feel the country has not got nearly enough to show for oil and gas reserves that were in 2011 certified by OPEC as the world’s largest. By the time of Chavez’s death, economic mismanagement and corruption - Venezuela is the most corrupt country in the Americas, according to Transparency International - had already crippled the socialist project he dreamed of. Under Mr Maduro, it has entered an advanced state of decay." In "As socialist dream crumbles, Venezuelans find Nicolas Maduro 'a bad copy' of Chavez," by Alasdair Baverstock and Hannah Strange, Telegraph UK, 6 October 2013.
It's Not My Fault, Again
One reads further of the President who followed Chavez and the continuing decay of Venezuelan socialism, "...his excuses - he has in six months alleged 13 conspiracies against his government and four assassination plots against himself - are starting to ring hollow. 'Maduro uses the idea of economic war to blame others for his own shortcomings,' said Jesus Perez, the head of the Caracas School of Economics. 'Actually, the war on Venezuela is being waged by our own government. The government expropriates Venezuelan businesses which then don’t produce because the socialist state doesn’t run them effectively,' he added." In "As socialist dream crumbles, Venezuelans find Nicolas Maduro 'a bad copy' of Chavez," by Alasdair Baverstock and Hannah Strange, Telegraph UK, 6 October 2013.
One follows the "success" story of Venezuela, so seduced by socialism. "Venezuela’s populist government is well-known for its disastrous economic management, but I would have never imagined that it would lead Venezuela — which has the world’s largest oil reserves — to start importing oil. As weird as it seems, President Nicolás Maduro’s government plans to start importing crude oil for the first time in order to blend it with Venezuela’s own crude and keep the country’s overall production from falling further, the Reuters news agency reported last week, citing an internal document from Venezuela’s state-owned PDVSA oil company. It turns out that Venezuela’s own production of light crudes has plummeted since the late President Hugo Chávez took office in 1999, and the country desperately needs light crudes to blend with its Orinoco Basin extra heavy crude oils. Without such a blend, the Orinoco Basin’s extra heavy crude is too dense to be transported through pipelines to Venezuelan ports and exported abroad." In " Venezuela: From oil power to oil importer," by Andres Oppenheimer, Miami Herald, 30 August 2014.
So Shall Ism
As to Cuba and those nations modeling themselves after this "revolution," it is assured that with the decay of that nation over decades requiring "reform" for what Castro publically has said were a "past mistake" and the ongoing decay of Venezuela in a similar manner and in spite of vast petroleum reserves, the same explanations will be offered. One already has been offered by Maduro, that the "imperialist" United States -- under the Obama administration in the moment -- is sabotaging the revolution, and the next -- yet to be offered by socialists elsewhere in the world -- that "socialism" has not been properly applied as was the explanation for the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics' economic implosion. One should therefore ponder on the political phenomenon which is So shall ism .
[ 6 ] The assignment for today's avid socialist is to show any free nation out of which thousands of doctors are "export of services" -- which one might define as a form of indentured servitude -- "defect." In other various foreign aid and assistance programs such as the US Peace Corps or Doctors Without Borders, no such exodus is seen.
Fleeing El Commandante
Alas for today's avid socialist, socialism -- sometimes described by today's socialists per the above above as "state capitalism" in direct antithesis to the Cuban Constitution itself and Castro's own declarations -- seems the central characteristic and moving force for such defections. This is similar to other phenomena regarding Cuba and its enlightened, prosperous form of socialism. One reads:
"On this day in 1980, Cuban President Fidel Castro proclaimed in Havana that any Cuban who wished to immigrate to the United States could board a boat at the nearby port of Mariel. During the ensuing months, some 125,000 Cubans fled to Florida in about 1,700 packed boats, at times overwhelming the U.S. Coast Guard and immigration authorities." In "Castro launches Mariel boatlift, April 20, 1980," by Andrew Glass, Politico, 20 April 2009.
For an interesting historical perspective in parallel with the Cuban doctors' defections, see: Fled from empty market shelves - a history lesson.
[ 7 ] Thankfully this reporting gives comfort to the wealthy Western ideologues who rage against Income Inequality.
After all, we learned from an American that the Cuban system is better than others: "So if they've come up with a better way to treat the sick, to teach their kids, to take care of their babies, to simply be good to each other, then what's our problem? Why can't we do that? They live in a world of 'we', not 'me'." Michael Moore, in "Sicko," 2007. (IMDB)
Indeed. Why can't the United States pay its surgeons $22 a month? Or the nations of Europe?
Fat and Happy and Sicko
After all, Celebrity Net Worth estimates Moore's wealth is about $50 million, so one may conclude that while he speaks of "a world of 'we'," his wealth shows him to live in a world of 'me'." As he himself asks, "then what's our problem?" Income inequality?
For more on the admirable Cuban health care system, Moore's "better way," please see: Between rhetoric and reality - on the reality of socialist Cuba's healthcare system.
But Castro stated with clarity that his was "a socialist revolution, rather than a democratic one" , as one starts the discussion anew. In Castro's letter in his last years wrote, " 'I’ll add that we are capable of producing our own food and the material wealth we need from the labor and intelligence of our own people,' Castro concluded." In "Fidel Castro says Obama’s ‘syrupy words’ were enough to cause a heart attack," by Karen DeYoung, Washington Post, 28 March 2016.
A Better Way to Earn $22 a Month
If the "material wealth" in this aged socialist's verbiage is sufficient, then complaints about an embargo by the United States which did not include embargos with over 190 other nations on the planet as being "ruthless" fail all excepting socialist ideological claptrap. One may put simple words together, combining "free healthcare" with doctors paid about $22 a month to "material wealth" to conclude that the "material wealth we need from the labor and intelligence of our own people" is either 1) sufficient, or insufficient by anyone's personal standards.
For Western politicians and academics to conclude that $22 a month for surgeons might be "sufficient" in Castro's own words explains adequately the glaring double standard of their thought. And so, I Shall Believe the Socialist , when such apologists for Cuban socialism reduce their remuneration in salaries, perks and pensions to parity with Cuban physicians.
[ 8 ] The Investors Business Daily editorial exhibits naïveté thinking that people may be "surprised" by the economic mess in Venezuela as in Argentina. There is a simple explanation, and that is that socialism -- in all its 19th and 20th century forms, from National Socialism to Italian Fascism to Soviet and Sino Socialism, to the Khmer Rouge and more -- is a belief system built on ongoing populist misinformation coupled to a small coterie of rent-seekers lusting after power and wealth for themselves. In every socialist system in recent history, the top political dogs live far above the ordinary citizens, but rally citizenry to themselves by seeming to oppose wealth and power, as they amass it by coercion from an ever-shrinking middle class. It has been a most clever game, and often repeated, each time to deprivation and economic collapse. See: So shall ism .
As one watches the inflation rate spike, one sees decades of "revolutionary" rhetoric, promising a utopia.
Failure Should Be No Surprise
One reads: "Eleven years ago, on February 11, 2003, then President Hugo Chávez issued a decree implementing stringent price controls. The move was viewed as reasonable amid a lockout. Later on, however, he conceded that his decision was 'a State strategy of intervention in the economy -one of the elements of the transition to socialism.' In order to put an end to 'speculation by the business sector,' the government entrusted two ministries with the task of setting the selling price of food, medicines, diapers, soaps and other essentials. However, the plan has attained but negative results. Despite regulations, at the end of 2013 Venezuela recorded the highest inflation rate in Latin America, one of the highest in the world and the highest since 1996. In fact, the inflation rate of 56.2 % at the end of 2013 is the fourth highest since 1950. It is surpassed only by the rate recorded during the 1994-1996 presidential term, when the financial crisis hit the government of Rafael Caldera and that of 1989, when Carlos Andrés Pérez implemented stringent economic measures following massive decline of international reserves. Failure should be no surprise." In "Inflation in Venezuela hits highest level since 1996 despite controls," by Víctor Salmerón, El Universal, 14 February 2014.
Is He Right?
But the "revolutionary" rhetoric which has been a staple of Venezuelan governments over a decade and more is not confronted with protests. One reads: "At least five people were reportedly shot in Merida during today's protests, El Universal reported. Protestors carried posters emblazoned with the words 'No More Poverty.' Maduro is facing increased criticism for his handling of the country's economy and soaring violence. Venezuela is facing growing shortages of food, medicine and spare parts as a result of foreign exchange controls. The country's economy may slip into recession this year, and inflation is expected to close the year at about 60%. Maduro says that the country's economic woes are due to an economic war being waged against his socialist revolution by the country's right." In "Two killed as Venezuela protests turn violent," Peter Wilson, USA TODAY, 12 February 2014.
Therefore one must assume -- if the socialists of Venezuela make such 'admissions' -- that though they control government over decades, manage price and currency controls, nationalize businesses and handle almost 90% of the foreign currency exchanges as well as the nationalized petroleum industry, somehow they haven't enough power to defeat the "country's right" which is apparently able to cause all the failures as one notes above. But a truncated statement from El Universal says correctly, "the transition to socialism" breeds "failure [which] should be no surprise."
[ 9 ] This statement by an 89-year old "revolutionary" that a trade embargo -- the unwillingness to support trade with another country -- should be paid for by those unwilling to trade is most amusing. The logic is wholly absent, because with almost 200 nations in the world, Cuba traded with many, and was supported with "aid" to its floundering socialist economy for decades. Still prosperity at the end of this "revolution" is absent, proving the socialist leadership of Castro is now reduced to complaining.
One should not ignore history.
In the history of Castro's Cuba, this socialist revolution had to be economically supported in order for it to fumble along. One reads: "For nearly three decades the Soviet Union, which generally accounts for 80 percent of Cuba's international trade, has been Cuba's principal supplier of oil, food, machinery, spare parts, chemicals and other vital materials. Until last year Soviet trade with Cuba was increasing by about 10 percent a year. But the documents made public today, in the form of a Cuban National Bank quarterly economic report, showed that imports from the Soviet Union in the first nine months of 1987 declined for the first time in nearly three decades." In "Soviet Said to Reduce Support for Cuban Economy," by Clyde H. Farnsworth, New York Times, 16 March 1988.
If the now collapsed USSR was "80 percent of Cuba's international trade" for so many years, then Cuba's trade with many other countries did little to enhance the socialist revolution of Castro's Cuba. Most of the world's nations traded little with this tiny command economy, which had confiscated property during its revolution.
That NYTimes article notes: "Soviet subsidies of Cuba, mainly through Moscow's supply of low-cost oil and its purchase of Cuban sugar at inflated prices, have been estimated at $4 billion to $5 billion a year. The Cuban National Bank document showed that imports from the Soviet Union in the first nine months of last year declined to $3.98 billion from $4.00 billion over the same period of 1986. The papers also provide a stark picture of a deteriorating Cuban economy. Last year was ''one of the worst years the country has had to face,'' said one document, showing that economic activity had contracted by 3.5 percent while investment decreased by more than 20 percent."
From this article written in 1988, one learns of this "stark picture" of Castro's socialist leadership and its "deteriorating Cuban economy." Even with subsidies estimated at billions per year, Castro's economy has been failing.
Thus one sees that socialism 1) fails, and 2) its leadership then blames something other than socialism for this failure. This must be so, because the young, militant Fidel Castro boasted of accomplishing so much.
Overwhelming and Irresistible, So It Was Said
This is ironic, when one revisits earlier verbal imagery from the first days. One reads, as example: "The greatest threat presented by Castro’s Cuba is as an example to other Latin American states which are beset by poverty, corruption, feudalism, and plutocratic exploitation ... his influence in Latin America might be overwhelming and irresistible if, with Soviet help, he could establish in Cuba a Communist utopia." Walter Lippmann, Newsweek, 27 April 1964, as cited in Wikipedia, "Cuban Revolution," n. d.
From 1964's dreams of a "Communist utopia," one moves to the end of the tale, as an elderly Castro complains that the United States owes Cuba "millions" for not engaging in trade, even actively opposing trade with that "Communist utopia." As to that "greatest threat presented by Castro's Cuba, it is the threat to prove after many decades that Communism fails, as it failed in the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, the nation which provided most of the economic productivity to its little socialist client state.
So what is failing? The United States embargo, which a current American administration is trying to weaken against support in Congress? No. What is failing is Cuba's "deteriorating" economy, in which corruption is found, and well documented.
What might describe Cuba today, according to the many sources cited above? Let's use Lippmann's hopeful words from 1964 in saying that a calcified Cuban socialist government is well described by its "poverty, corruption, feudalism, and plutocratic exploitation," all features of Castro's single-party state in its dotage.
The young, vibrant and boastful Castro stated: "If we had paused to tell the people that we were Marxist-Leninists while we were on Pico Turquino and not yet strong, it is possible that we would never have been able to descend to the plains." Speech on the anniversary of the Granma landing, 2 December 1961.
It is Marxist-Leninism and the alluring myth of socialism in the clothes of Communism which is failing. Socialism's last hurrah is indeed not democracy, any more than it has become "utopia."
Moreover one is reminded of the history of recent Cuban-American relations. "The communist government seized property from the wealthy including hundreds of Americans. The Schechter's had been on the island for 60 years and lived in a 17 room home. It is now in a guarded diplomatic enclave, and occupied by Chinese officials." In "Those who fled Cuba want back what was left behind," by Margaret Brennan, CBS News, 13 August 2015.
Castro "...cited the long-standing embargo, as if oodles of U.S. businessmen would have eagerly traded with him, despite his long history of expropriating businesses and defaulting on his debts. Fact is, the U.S. launched its trade embargo on Cuba in 1960 and completed it in 1962 as a response to Castro's expropriations of more than $1.8 billion in U.S. properties in the 'largest uncompensated taking of U.S. property by any foreign government in history,' according to a 2009 article in the Inter-American Law Review. Those claims are certified by the Foreign Claims Settlement Commission, a U.S. government agency. Taken with a simple 6% annual compound interest, the stolen factories, farms, schools and homes have a value of about $7 billion, according to a 2014 calculation by Leon Neyfakh of the Boston Globe." In "Fidel Castro Wants Your Money," IBD Editorial, Investors, 13 August 2015.
Overwhelmingly and Irresistibly Indebted
And as to Castro's and Cuba's defaults on debt, one learns: "Hard data about Cuba's debt, or indeed any other economic aspect of the 11-million-strong nation, are hard to come by. Cuba last reported its 'active' foreign debt, accumulated after it declared a default in the late 1980s, as $13.9 billion in 2011. It no longer reports its 'passive' debt from before the default, which economists estimate at $8 billion. Ex-Cuban central bank official Pavel Vidal, who now lives in Colombia but follows the country's finances closely, estimates foreign debt 'somewhere between $25 billion and $30 billion'." In "Cuba debt holder hangs on as demand builds for defaulted loans," by Karin Strohecker, Reuters, 18 May 2015.
So there is the revolutionary promise of a socialist "utopia" as proven by history. Confiscation of "factories, farms, schools and homes" followed by demands for reparations for not trading with those who confiscate, alongside defaulting on paying back debt loaned in good faith to Castro's "socialist motherland."
Castro's logic is at least consistent; "capitalists" take from us and we simply take back. Therefore, Castro and socialists like him, declare they should take even more back by claims for reparations. Yet after more than fifty years of enlightened socialist leadership, "the economy is in a shambles."
For the citations above of millions and billions confiscated by nationalization, by default on loans as by demands for reparations," Ordinary Cubans are poor.
"The 'Mean Salary in Figures' report for 2012, published by Cuba’s National Statistics and Information Bureau (ONEI) this past June, reveals that the current average salary of Cubans is 466 pesos (CUP) a month. This is roughly the equivalent of 20 CUC (US $22)...." In "The Mean Salary of Cubans," by Isbel Díaz Torres, Havana Times, 6 August 2013.
This poverty after more than fifty years of Castro's leadership must, by the same socialist logic, be someone else's fault. Always. Ever.
Else, the fault must be assigned to the confiscatory greed of So shall ism coupled to that Sheer Ignorance which is blamed on others but never on the comfortably cosseted elite of socialist governments which modern, progressive schemes have always proved to be so Old-fashioned .
[ 10 ] The notion of Castro's admitted socialist revolution being for the people and ostensibly egalitarian according to the rhetoric of the Cuban socialists is given lie: " 'There is the possibility of reform in April, but we must understand that the group in power for 57 years want to remain in power and keep their privileges,' said democracy campaigner Rosa María Payá, who has launched a petition calling for Obama to support the idea of a referendum during his visit to the island."
When one considers a family ruling for 57 years as of 2016, this proves to be fully a matter of "power and privilege." Such is the nature of the leadership in government with all the trappings of such power and privilege. Thus, socialism as a political strategy has repeatedly installed its own elite, a true aristocracy of the socialists as bourgeois as any in history.
[ 11 ] The "many intellectuals, journalists and educated people in the First World fell for this myth" are quite the same intellectuals, journalists and educated peoples who participate in the The Privileges of Intellectuals . Repression was to be excused and explained as a necessary step towards arriving at the utopian visions -- which imprisons and kills.
The tale is told: "Castro kept 20 luxurious properties throughout the Caribbean nation, including his own island, accessed via a yacht decorated entirely in exotic wood imported from Angola, Sanchez wrote. Taking control of Cuba on New Year’s Day 1959, after his guerrilla army routed the quarter-century-long dictatorship of Fulgencio Batista, Castro vowed that unlike his hated predecessor, he’d share the nation’s wealth with its poorest citizens. But while he made good on some of his promises to educate and care for his people — building free schools and hospitals with the help of his Soviet sponsors — Castro’s legacy was also one of repression and hypocrisy. Deep poverty persisted — teen prostitution, crumbling houses, food rations. Political opponents were executed by the thousands by firing squad, or sentenced to decades of hard labor." In "Inside Fidel Castro’s life of luxury and ladies while country starved," by Laura Italiano, NY Post, 27 November 2016.
The Real Traitor to the Revolution
The current Canadian prime minister managed to speak to the myth rather than the reality. One reads: "For all the parochial Canadian susceptibility to the propaganda myth that pits a shabby-bearded rebel in olive fatigues against the imperialist American hegemon, by the time he died on Friday night Castro was one of the richest men in Latin America. Ten years ago, when he was handing the presidency to Raúl, Forbes magazine calculated that Fidel’s personal wealth was already nearly a billion dollars. In his twilight years, Castro was enjoying himself at his gaudy 30-hectare Punto Cero estate in Havana’s suburban Jaimanitas district, or occasionally retreating to his private yacht, or to his beachside house in Cayo Piedra, or to his house at La Caleta del Rosario with its private marina, or to his duck-hunting chalet at La Deseada. Fidel Castro was not merely the 'controversial figure' of Justin Trudeau’s encomium. He was first and foremost a traitor to the Cuban revolution. On that count alone, Castro’s death should not be mourned. It should be celebrated, loudly and happily." In "Trudeau’s turn from cool to laughing stock," by Terry Glavin, Maclean's, 27 November 2016.
The same media noted the Canadian prime minister was dealing with his "encomium." One reads: "When asked directly whether he thought Castro was a dictator, Trudeau said: 'Yes.' The Liberal prime minister is facing criticism at home and abroad for a statement he issued shortly after learning that Castro had died at the age of 90. The statement expressed his 'deep sorrow' about the death of Castro, without mentioning the human rights violations of his regime beyond referring vaguely to him as a 'a controversial figure.' Trudeau also referred to him as a 'legendary revolutionary and orator,' who made significant improvements to the education and health-care systems of Cuba." In "Trudeau defends himself after Castro controversy," by Joanna Smith, Maclean's, 27 November 2016.
Other intellectuals, journalists and educated people did not fall for the myth.
Other intellectuals, journalists and educated remember Castro's urging of a "first strike" in a nuclear war.
Repression is and remains repression for these. Should the world's "liberal" leaders find "sorrow" for a "dictator?"
Many have done so, proof positive that myths and slogans can overwhelm evidence and logic.
Trust us - by the comedy routine, Bait and Switch
"They have said, 'Give us your money in Social Security and Medicare taxes, and we promise to give you a specified set of retirement benefits and medical care for the remainder of your lives.' The money they took in for Social Security and Medicare was supposed to have been put in a trust fund - remember Al Gore’s famous 'lock box' - but the money in the trust fund was spent way back in the Johnson administration. All the money that has come in since for the 'trust fund' has been spent by succeeding generations of politicians on their pet projects." In "World’s biggest financial fraudsters," by Richard Rahn, The Washington Times, 9 May 2011
Al Gore's famous lock box
Was a box without a lock;
What's more there was no box
To lock, that one might mock.
Indeed the phrase was empty,
Devoid of basic facts,
For this is what government does
Whenever it stirs and acts.
We will surely take care of you,
As soon as you give in,
And fork over what you've got
Without complaint; begin.
Trust us, for full faith in us
Is the more that you can give;
Trust us, though the past has shown
Such trust leaks like a sieve.
Addendum: "...a court ruled in December that practice by the state was unconstitutional. Now, the Franchise Tax Board wants its money. And it’s killing small businesses, says Ken DeVore, with the National Federation of Independent Businesses. 'It sends a message that you can’t trust government. If you comply in good faith with the rules, they can go back and penalize you'." In "California Wants Small-Business Owners To Pay Back $120 Million In Tax Breaks," CBS News, 19 August 2013.
See: Fat, fat government
To Party Members
"Americans will need to pay much heavier taxes and accept less from public healthcare to put state finances on a sustainable track, according to an IMF study published Monday. 'The United States is facing an untenable fiscal situation due to the combination of high fiscal deficits, an aging population and rapid growth in government-provided healthcare benefits,' three International Monetary Fund economists said in a report." in "IMF economists see dire future for US taxpayers," Agence France-Presse, 4 April 2011
Government is waddling, wiggling fat;
Perhaps it's even worse than that.
My political chums love to chatter on.
I say, "it's numbers;" the rest is a con.
Government has gorged on what it can take,
And now comes payback, as not enough make
Enough that all might have the spoils of war
For the gambit ends, which was known as "more."
Now "more" comes against limits which it never sees,
These limits are hard, hardened to most miseries.
"More" shrieks aloud, "more is what I believe."
When reality hits, "more" will just wail and grieve.
To all Party Members who cry aloud, "more,"
I look to their future, to austerity in store
For all true believers, the nice, kind and sweet
Who never dreamt their cupboards might hold little to eat.
My political chums hoped that I might join
One party or another, to thereby purloin
Something from the government's fat,
But I didn't believe their political chat.
To Party Members, so avid, so proud,
I see mostly a dumfounded crowd,
For all the true believers, the nice, sweet and kind
Will have shown their parties deaf, dumb and blind.
Envoi: "CONSERVATIVE, n. A statesman who is enamored of existing evils, as distinguished from the Liberal, who wishes to replace them with others." From Ambrose Bierce's "The Devil's Dictionary" (1911)
See: I shall not join the party and I need no boots
Bad Little Boys
Bad Little Boys, who stamp their feet
When things don't go their way,
When adult, campaign down Stupidity Street
Where it's Stupid Folks they'll sway.
Cast a vote for the Bad Little Boys
And watch the screw-ups mount.
It seems that tantrums' piggy squeals
Simply cannot even count.
One and one was two, at best,
And never were they three
Until Bad Little Boys made all their noise
And then made bankruptcy.
Bad Little Boys, like Corrupt Girls too,
Throw tantrums when they lose,
And if you dare to cross them, then,
They send Bully Boys to bruise.
Bad Little Boys, in the end,
Teeter like a house of cards,
And that's the history of Bad Little Boys;
History dashes them into broken shards.
Democracy is stupid
“We are entering the Reichstag, the arsenal of democracy, to arm ourselves with their own weapons. We are becoming Reichstag representatives in order to paralyze their basic convictions, and with their own support. If democracy is so stupid as to give us traveling passes and per diem allowances to do them this disservice, that is their affair.” Joseph Goebbels, in the late 1920s. [ 1 ]
Democracy is stupid,
and very often blind,
In forgetting that among us
there're those who're most unkind,
Who'd trample others easily
without a thought or care
To seize such power over them
when they are least aware.
Democracy is stupid,
and often deaf and dumb,
When democrats stand idly by
to watch themselves overcome
By those who'd use the weapons
of democratic means
To rape and pillage others in
Nightmares are the stuff of this
as nice folks never learn
That evils comes dressed up as good
in stealth, before they turn
Devouring as they will
as democracy awakes
To find it's suffocating,
before tyranny it shakes.
Democracy is stupid,
and sells itself quite short
To see the blessings of liberty
tyranny would abort,
As tyranny creeps in to sit
where democrats once led,
And see that democracy will pay
till paralyzed and dead.
Democracy is stupid,
for that's what Goebbels said,
And for a time now passed and gone,
it seems the lesson's led
To some awareness of the fault
which democracy can't learn,
That liberty is the dearest price
and freedom is what men yearn.
It is the few among us
who hold to Joseph's view,
But they keeping coming at us
by every turn of screw
To wither from within, decay
the freedoms of each day
As tyrants in each age still gnaw
man's liberty away.
The goal is never democracy,
when free men throw off chains,
But rather sweet dear liberty
which tyranny disdains.
Democracy is imperfect,
and often blind and dumb,
But other systems fail first,
so says the rule of thumb.
Thumbscrews are small torture
at first when pressure's light,
But comes a time of agony
when screws are turned so tight,
When democracy fails to see
the tyrants' closing fist
And then it's late concluding
it cannot coexist
With tyrants whose pretense is great
to be democrats themselves,
Where hidden behind the curtain
is planned evil on their shelves,
Ready as they implement
their plan upon a land,
And liberty's watchful eye
Must always understand.
Democracy is stupid,
and very often blind,
In forgetting that among us
there're those who're most unkind,
Who'd trample others easily
without a thought or care
To seize such power over them
when they are least aware.
Envoi: "If the ideals Alinsky espouses were actualized, the result would be social revolution. Ironically, this is not a disjunctive projection if considered in the tradition of Western democratic theory. In the first chapter it was pointed out that Alinsky is regarded by many as the proponent of a dangerous socio/political philosophy. As such, he has been feared -- just as Eugene debs or Walt Whitman or Martin Luther King has [sic] been feared, because each embraced the most radical of political faiths -- democracy. " In "'There is only the fight...' An Analysis of the Alinsky Model" by Hilary Rodham, Bachelor of Arts thesis, p. 74. Wellesley College. [ 2 ]
See: Democracy is radical and Almost democracy
Addendum of a Democratic Landslide: "I cannot tell you that Hitler took Austria by tanks and guns; it would distort history. We elected him by a landslide – 98% of the vote. I’ve never read that in any American publications. Everyone thinks that Hitler just rolled in with his tanks and took Austria by force. In 1938, Austria was in deep Depression. Nearly one-third of our workforce was unemployed. We had 25% inflation and 25% bank loan interest rates." In "They Voted for Hitler in Austria (and He Put In Gun Controls)" by Kitty Werthmann, Economic Policy Journal, 28 January 2013.
See: Conjugating Hitler and We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party
Another Addendum of a Democratic Landslide: "Ballot papers only present one candidate to choose from, which has been overseen by Mr Kim's Workers' Party, and any dissenting votes are considered acts of treason." In "North Korea Elections Achieve 99.97% Turnout," Sky News, 20 July 2015.
For such a voter turnout, see: Responsibility
Addendum of a False Notion of Democracy: "Anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that 'my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." Isaac Asimov (1920-1992)
Addendum of Democratic Tyranny: "The one pervading evil of democracy is the tyranny of the majority, or rather of that party, not always the majority, that succeeds, by force or fraud, in carrying elections." In "The History of Freedom in Antiquity" (1877) Lord Acton (1832-1902).
Addendum of a Downright Moron: "As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) [ 3 ] [ 4 ]
Addendum reminding a Child Shall Lead Them: " Jeremy Minnier may not be old enough to drink, but he can now dictate municipal policy. The 18-year-old was elected mayor in his small Iowa hometown of Aredale earlier this week." In "Iowa teenager, Jeremey Minnier, elected mayor in Aredale, beats incumbent Virgil Homer," by Aliyah Shahid, New York Daily News, 12 November 2011.
Addendum of Democratic Solemnity: "Elections are supposed to be solemn affairs, the occasions when citizens in democracies exercise their right to choose those persons who will represent them in their government. It's sometimes hard to take elections as seriously as we should, though, when we witness such spectacles as dead people running for office, voters mounting write-in campaigns for fictional characters (or other ineligible candidates), or even offices that remain unfilled because no candidates venture to run for them. Still, in the 'unusual elections' category, it's hard to top a contest won not by a human being — not even a fictional one — but by an inanimate object. Yet that's what took place in a 1967 mayoral election in the small Ecuadorian town of Picoazà — an election won by ... a foot powder." In "Political Podiatry," Snopes, 9 December 2009. [ 5 ]
Addendum of Candidate Mae Poulet: "The next chicken to enter the White House may not be headed for the presidential plate. Mae Poulet, a San Fernando Valley hen, just clucked her vice-presidential plans to take the White House. Atop the ticket will be a bull terrier from Tennessee. 'She's official,' said Poulet spokesman Charlotte Laws, an animal rights advocate in Woodland Hills. 'We need a new pecking order in America. It's time to elect a chick to the White House'." In "A hen in the White House? Just the ticket," by Dana Bartholomew, Los Angeles Daily News, 22 October 2012.
Addendum of Woof: "Duke, the dog is Cormorant's newest mayor. The 12 people who live there elected the 7-year-old dog as its leader." In "Dog elected mayor in Minnesota," FOX, 13 August 2014.
Addendum of Horning In on a Political Office: "Cacareco, a rhinoceros at the São Paulo zoo, was a candidate for the 1958 city council elections with the intention of protesting against political corruption." ("Cacareco agora é Excelência," O Cruzeiro, 24 October 1959.
Addendum of Unity Seen as Uniformity: " 'It is no secret that a conception of unity seen as uniformity strikes at the vitality of the democratic system, weakening the rich, fruitful and constructive interplay of organisations and political parties,' he said. 'This leads to the risk of living in a world of ideas, of mere words, of images, of sophistry and to end up confusing the reality of democracy with a new political nominalism.' Using words that could equally be addressed to multinational corporations or powerful EU institutions such as the European Central Bank, Pope Francis described democracy as being at risk from 'unseen empires'. 'The true strength of our democracies – understood as expressions of the political will of the people – must not be allowed to collapse under the pressure of multinational interests which are not universal, which weaken them and turn them into uniform systems of economic power at the service of unseen empires,' he said." In "Pope Francis warns 'bureaucracy is crushing Europe'," by Bruno Waterfield, Telegraph UK, 25 November 2014.
Addendum of the Art and Science: "Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage." H. L. Mencken
See: Revolution revolves but once - lèse majesté remains among its stunts
[ 1 ] "'There is at least one official voice in Europe that expresses understanding of the methods and motives of President Roosevelt—the voice of Germany, as represented by Chancellor Adolf Hitler.' That incredible statement was the opening line of a flattering feature story about the Nazi leader that appeared on the front page of the New York Times in 1933, and was typical of some early press coverage of Hitler, who rose to power 80 years ago on Jan. 30.
"Hitler’s ascent caught much of the world by surprise. As late as May 1928, the Nazis had won less than 3 percent of the vote in elections to the Reichstag, Germany’s parliament, and the Nazi party’s candidate for president received barely 1 percent of the votes in March 1929. But as Germany’s economic and social crises worsened, the Nazis rose to 18.3 percent of the vote in the parliamentary election of July 1930. They doubled that total two years later, becoming the largest party in the Reichstag." In "How the press soft-pedaled Hitler," by Rafael Medoff, jns.org, undated web page accessed 1 February 2013. See: Not as bad as he is depicted .
Fits the Pattern
One notes a current trend quite akin to the quote above by Joseph Goebbels as regards the use of democracy to overturn democracy: "The Turkish prime minister's dismissal of anti-government protests as the work of opposition thugs fits a pattern of how many Islamist political leaders are responding to legitimate criticism of their regimes.
Islamist leaders in Egypt, Tunisia and Turkey have shown an arrogance toward opposition views, breeding frustration that exacerbates civil unrest and instability and is likely to spread as democratic reforms continue to sweep the region, analysts say." In "Turkey's reaction to protests follows Islamist playbook," by Oren Dorell, USAToday, 4 June 2013.
Further one sees the same contempt for democracy when it threatens a movement seeking command and control in the history of the last century: "As Marxists, we have never been worshippers of formal democracy. In a society split into classes, the democratic institutions, far from abolishing the class struggle, only lend the class interests a highly imperfect form of expression." In "Trotsky on democracy in the Russian Revolution (1918)," Workers' Liberty, 7 April 2007.
The pattern is well emerged; "legitimate criticism" of government is often attacked for the obvious reason of retaining command and control. Simply stated, might makes right.
[ 2 ] "The most radical of political faiths?" For a long view of this well-known problem, "Look at the orators in our republics; as long as they are poor, both state and people can only praise their uprightness; but once they are fattened on the public funds, they conceive a hatred for justice, plan intrigues against the people and attack the democracy." Aristophanes, in "Plutus," circa 380 B.C.E.
Fattened on Public Funds
This reminder from centuries ago shows that "the most radical of political faiths" has included fat cat politicians, ingrained injustice amidst the pretense of true justice, and ongoing intrigues "against the people."
Were one to consider Clinton's lengthy career of political celebrity as possibly "radical," then one must conclude that "radical" includes becoming wealthy from that career. See: Preserve us - prays the privileged circus.
From then until the twentieth century, one sees that same deserved skepticism: "I do not believe in democracy, but I am perfectly willing to admit that it provides the only really amusing form of government ever endured by mankind." H. L. Mencken (1880-1956)
The amusing yet sad truth seems obvious, and this is that Aristophanes' observation remains as true today as it was millennia ago. As to "fattened on public funds," one may reflect on For Your Common Good .
[ 3 ] "Ballot Box. The altar of democracy. The cult served upon it is the worship of jackals by jackasses." In "The Jazz Webster," a section in "A Book of Burlesques," H. L. Mencken, 1916. He also noted: "Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage."
The wags are correct, that democracy is as has been said. While the United States is a republic which limits the "art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage," it is imperfect for democracy often seeks to slip the restraints of various republican forms of government.
The Disillusioned Seeking that Catchy New Phrase
One reads an embarrassing observation in the American press: "Thirty Democrats disillusioned with their party’s struggles in Middle America have unveiled a new group aimed at expanding its base beyond just the two coasts. The initiative, which comprises current and former mayors, governors, cabinet members and lawmakers, comes complete with a catchy new title, 'New Democracy.' If that name sounds familiar, it’s because it was the same as that given by Mao Zedong to his theory of democracy in Communist China. 'In a word, new-democratic culture is the proletarian-led, anti-imperialist and anti-feudal culture of the broad masses,' Mao wrote on New Democracy in 1940, nine years before coming to power in China." In "Democrats Launch New Slogan That Mirrors Communist China’s," by Jason Le Miere, Newsweek, 9 August 2017.
[ 4 ] "Experience has shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)
More than a century later one finds quite similar observations, such as, "Very few people really care about freedom, about liberty, about the truth, very few. Very few people have guts, the kind of guts on which a real democracy has to depend. Without people with that sort of guts a free society dies or cannot be born." Doris Lessing, The Golden Notebook (1962).
Jefferson says democracy can be "perverted into tyranny." Joseph Goebbels' comment which began this musing in rhyme testifies to the truth of that. Here is a modern day thinker noting something rather akin to this phenomenon.
The Disenfranchised and the Plutocracy
"The study of attitudes is reasonably easy in the United States: heavily-polled society, pretty serious and accurate polls, and policy you can see, and you can compare them. And the results are interesting. In the work that’s essentially the gold standard in the field, it’s concluded that for roughly 70% of the population – the lower 70% on the wealth/income scale – they have no influence on policy whatsoever. They’re effectively disenfranchised. As you move up the wealth/income ladder, you get a little bit more influence on policy. When you get to the top, which is maybe a tenth of one percent, people essentially get what they want, i.e. they determine the policy. So the proper term for that is not democracy; it’s plutocracy." In "Chomsky: The U.S. behaves nothing like a democracy," by Noam Chomsky, Salon, 17 August 2013.
Selective Meddling and Manipulation
And yet the current American Obama-led plutocracy pretends to support elections -- except when it doesn't. One reads: "...'democracy' from an American or European point of view, is more about special interests in the West selecting a foreign nation’s future government, not its people, unless of course, the people can be convinced to back those candidates Washington and Brussels supports as well. Not only does the recent election in Syria confirm the West’s worst fears of a failed campaign to divide and destroy the nation, casting doubts on the viability of installing a Western-friendly regime into power during the proposed 'transition,' but rather than exposing the alleged illegitimacy of Syrian democracy, it is the West’s brand of selective meddling and manipulation of polls that has been laid out for all the world to see." In "Syrian Elections Confirm West’s Worst Fears," by Tony Cartalucci, New Eastern Outlook, 23 April 2016.
The West? Decidedly not. Two governments, both of which have been opined by informed scholars to be plutocracies, and indeed this is being "laid out for all the world to see." That involves seeing politics for what it was and remains -- a Self-serviced Automat to enhance the wealth and power of these plutocrats and their loyal sycophants. If such a conclusion seems harsh or far-fetched, one only need check sources and read between many lines in the media.
[ 5 ] "Non-human electoral candidates have been found in a number of countries. Often, the candidacies are a means of casting a protest vote or satirizing the political system. Other times, it is simply done for the entertainment value. Electoral regulations may explicitly require candidates to be human (or equivalent wording), or may require candidates to do things which animals cannot reasonably do (such as sign their name legibly on a legal form). On some occasions, however, animals have been accepted as candidates, and have even won office." In "Non-human electoral candidates," Wikipedia, n. d.
Crush the bourgeoisie
"The way to crush the bourgeoisie is to grind them between the millstones of taxation and inflation." Vladimir Ilyich Lenin (1870-1924)
Just who is the taxed and inflated bourgeoisie?
These days it is probably both you and me.
If you're quite average, and just middle class,
To crush you there'll come some total jackass.
Millstones of taxes and inflation's crunch
Sounds exactly like Lenin, and it isn't a hunch.
So who calls for taxes and more taxes galore?
And who borrows heavily, inflating the score?
Why it's one party and then it's another as well,
Which is just maybe why Lenin's words foretell
The way to crush the middle class bourgeoisie?
Taxation and inflation come for you as for me.
Why quote Lenin, and say this the way I do?
A lot of the middle class find themselves in this stew.
Never would they connect the dots to see the sketch,
And figure out each one is just a bourgeois wretch.
Envoi: "Our concern cannot simply be to modify private property, but to abolish it, not to hush up class antagonisms but to abolish classes, not to improve the existing society but to found a new one." In "Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League, Marx-Engels, London, March 1850.
Addendum of Modern Applications of the Principle: "...for the middle class the scars of the recession still run deep. Federal Reserve survey data show families in the middle fifth of the income scale now earn less and their net worth is lower than when Obama took office. In the six years through 2013, over the recession and recovery that have spanned Obama's tenure, jobs have been added at the top and bottom of the wage scale, a Reuters analysis of labor statistics shows. In the middle, the economy has shed positions - whether in traditional trades like machining or electrical work, white-collar jobs in human resources, or technical ones like computer operators." In "Middle class decline looms over final years of Obama presidency," by Howard Schneider, Reuters, 18 January 2015.
See: Anti-capitalism struggles - a curriculum of sorts, and Socialists love money
Burn, Baby, Burn
"In the series attack upon the Hindu Temples in Bangladesh in recent months, aiming to frighten the minority Hindus there and to grab the Hindu temple properties within a so called secular regime of Awami League Govt. headed by Sheikh Hasina, latest feed back came to us about a total resentment of the retaliating Hindus in the nefarious design of burning of “Srimad Bhagabad Gita” in the temple complex of Sribas Angan in the vicinity of Beyani Bazar of Sylhet district. Before this culpable act the Islamist perpetrators destroyed the ancestral deities of this “Sree Sree Lakshmi Narayan”, “Lord Shiva” and “Radha Madhav Jiu” of Achray Sribas Swami, a great Sanskrit scholar ever and the champion companion of Sree Sree Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1486–1534), a great spiritual leader in India for his Bhakti Movement. The ancestral complex Sribas Acharya is considered as a heritage monument and famous Tirtha Khestra (pilgrimage resort) for Hindus comprising with very old “Sree Sree Lakshmi Narayan Mandir”, “Pancha Tattva Mandir”, and “Siva Mandir” was destroyed by the local Mohammedan land grabbers and perpetrators." In "Mohammedan fanatics burned sacred Hindu scripture “Srimad Bhagabad Gita” after destroying 555 yrs old Hindu temple complex in Islamic Republic of Bangladesh.," The Struggle for Hindu Existence, 13 April 2011
Muslims whined about Florida
Because Afghan mullahs stoked
The fires of indignation
And one burnt Koran invoked.
Islam shines in other ways,
As seen in the burning shrines
Of Bangladesh, not Florida,
And arson is among its crimes.
Seen in news across the world
Are Islam's wringing hands
About unfair disrespect for it,
While it wars in many lands.
The victim game is failing,
Which Muslims try to play,
As they even burn some mosques
When their fires of indignation stray.
"Burn, baby, burn" burns
Five hundred year old shrines,
And blows up Bamiyan Buddhas;
Islam's fiery madness shines.
But in the world's travails
Such burning turns to shame,
As it invites retaliation,
While diminishing Islam's name.
If might makes right
Is of the arena's rules,
Then this is merely war
By some other tools.
War defines the winner,
For this is that story's end;
But it also defines the loser,
When the final chapter's penned.
"Burn, baby, burn" burns,
Pretending a protest's game;
But if it's war, not protest,
Then one side's winning is the aim.
The old adage comes to mind,
The gander gets the goose's sauce;
In the long march of history,
I wager this all is Islam's loss.
Addendum of Tolerance and Respect for Other Religions: ""Islamist insurgents retreating from Timbuktu set fire to a library containing thousands of priceless historic manuscripts, according to the Saharan town's mayor, in an incident he described as a "devastating blow" to world heritage. Hallé Ousmani Cissé told the Guardian that al-Qaida-allied fighters on Saturday torched two buildings that held the manuscripts, some of which dated back to the 13th century." In "Timbuktu mayor: Mali rebels torched library of historic manuscripts," by Luke Harding, The Guardian, 28 January 2013
Addendum of Muslims Destroying Muslim Shrines: "The jihadists who overran Mosul last month have demolished ancient shrines and mosques in and around the historic northern Iraqi city, residents and social media posts said on Saturday. At least four shrines to Sunni Arab or sufi figures have been demolished, while six Shia mosques, or husseiniyahs, have also been destroyed, across militant-held parts of northern Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital. Pictures posted on the internet by the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group showed the Sunni and sufi shrines were demolished by bulldozers, while the Shia mosques and shrines were all destroyed by explosives. The photographs were part of an online statement titled "'Demolishing shrines and idols in the state of Nineveh'." In "In Iraq, Islamic State jihadists destroy ancient mosques, shrines," Times of India, 5 July 2014.
Addendum of Muslim-made Rubble: "The ancient building, built by Assyrian king Senchareb 1,600 years ago, stood in the Christian-dominated town of Bakhdida, just 20 miles south east of oil rich ISIS stronghold Mosul. Locals took to social media to share images of the massive blast, which reduced the ancient monastery to little more than vast piles of rubble." In "Another blow to Christianity and civilisation: ISIS destroy 4th Century Mar Benham monastery in Iraq," by John Hall, Daily Mail, 19 March 2015.
Addendum of More Muslim-made Rubble: "The twelfth-century mosque, along with its minaret, was one of Iraq's most famous buildings. And it was where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the Isil leader, declared the creation of the so-called caliphate in a speech in summer 2014 after his fighters swept through large parts of Syria and Iraq." In "Islamic State blows up landmark Great Mosque of al-Nuri and famous leaning minaret in Mosul," by Barney Henderson, Telegraph UK, 21 June 2017.
--In March, Muslim herdsmen from the Fulani and Hausa ethnic groups launched attacks against five Christian Berom Vilages near Jos, killing more than 500 people, state officials say.." In "Christians killed in Nigeria attack," Aljazeera, 17 July 2010
--"Christians in Egypt staged protests in three cities yesterday to protest against the government's failure to protect them after a bombing blamed on Islamic militants that killed 21 people as worshippers left a church service 30 minutes into the new year." In "Egyptian Christians protest after bomb attack at church kills 21," by Sarah A. Topol, The Independent, 3 January 2011
--"Minority Rights Group International (MRG) warns of rising religious tension in Africa and condemns the recent attacks against Coptic Christians in Alexandria, Egypt, and Christians and Muslims in Jos, Nigeria." In "MRG strongly condemns attacks on Christians in Egypt and Nigeria and urges African governments to address rising religious tensions," in Refworld, the UN Refugee Agency, 4 January 2011
--"Hundreds of Christians have begun fleeing northern Nigeria after dozens were killed in a series of attacks by Islamist militants who issued an ultimatum to Christians to leave the mainly Muslim region or be killed, witnesses said on Saturday. A Nigerian newspaper on Tuesday published a warning from Boko Haram, a movement styled on the Taliban, that Christians had three days to get out of northern Nigeria. Since the expiry of that ultimatum, attacks in towns in four states in northeastern Nigeria have left at least 44 people dead and hundreds of Christians are fleeing to the south, according to residents and a Red Cross official." In "'Persistent killings': Christians flee deadly attacks in Nigeria," msnbc.com news services, 8 January 2102
--"A suicide bomber set off a car full of explosives at a church in northern Nigeria on Sunday, killing at least 12 people in the latest attack on Christian worshipers, witnesses said." By Reuters, in The New York Times, 3 June 2012
--"Hundreds of people in eastern Pakistan rampaged through a Christian neighborhood Saturday, torching dozens of homes after hearing reports that a Christian man had committed blasphemy against Islam's prophet." In "Mob torches dozens of Pakistani Christian homes," by Zaheer Babar and Rebecca Santana, Associated Press, 9 March 2013.
-- "Hundreds of angry Pakistanis attacked a Hindu temple and set it on fire in southern Pakistan overnight following a rumor that a member of the Hindu community had desecrated the Koran, police and community leaders said on Sunday. The incident took place just before midnight on Saturday after locals in Larkana district alleged that Sangeet Kumar, 42, had torn out pages of Islam's holy book and tossed them down on the street from the roof of his home. 'Our Dharamshala (community centre) has been gutted and the temple has been partially damaged. All the statues have been destroyed by the attackers,' Kalpana Devi, chairperson of the local Hindu committee, told Reuters." In "Hindu temple set on fire in Pakistan over blasphemy," by Syed Raza Hassan, Reuters, 16 March 2014.
See: Stirred Up , also below: The Dust Settles
Burn, Baby, Burn II
"Angry and desperate asylum-seekers have torched an immigration detention centre in Sydney, burning nine buildings to the ground after Australian authorities denied some of their requests for refugee status." In "Asylum seekers torch Australian detention centre in night of riots," by Bonnie Malkin in Sydney, Telegraph, UK, 21 Apr 2011
Sydney's Detention Centre
Was torched into a blaze;
Asylum seekers lit the fires,
Displeased with their delays.
Was scorched by asylum's flames
As asylum's brutish little men
Enhanced asylum's claims.
Such acts of warming charity
Show gratitude in short supply,
As arsonist asylum seekers
Demand goodies as their cry.
Seekers seeking a better life
Free from want and fear?
Today's asylum seekers
Seek freebies, far and near.
This is migration economic
In asylum's sweet disguise;
When "no" might answer asylum's claims,
Asylum fires rise to the skies.
The Dust Settles
"More Qurans were inadvertently burned during recent Afghan protests than by the US pastor Terry Jones. Spiritual leaders in Kandahar called a meeting to teach Afghans how to channel their passions peacefully." In "Afghan mullahs push peaceful protest in wake of Quran-burning violence," Christian Science Monitor, Tom A. Peter, 14 April 2011.
Who burns Korans and kills most Muslim folks?
Finally we're in on some gruesome sorts of jokes.
For all the talk, the blather and spin,
Reality comes along, and the dust settles in.
Take offence? That's easy. It's seen every day.
Measure real truth? So many look away.
Some drive passions into violence and rage,
To gin up the biggest, bloodiest stage.
It's not a question of truth, for that is not in doubt.
Smoke and mirrors and death; that's what it's all about.
Some mullahs enflamed Muslims viciously to kill;
Other mullahs see the truth, and it's a bitter pill.
More Korans are burned, albeit just by chance,
As Muslims kill their brethren. Unhappy happenstance.
Envoi: "In Zarzour, a village in the state of Idlib, a Shiite mausoleum was torched in December. According to witnesses who spoke to Human Rights Watch, the rebels apparently set the mausoleum alight on purpose." In "Churches and mausoleums destroyed as religious tensions mount in Syria," France 24, 28 January 2013.
Addendum of Muslim against Muslim: "Already, protesters across much of Egypt are battling police, cutting off roads and railway lines, and besieging government offices and police stations as part of a growing revolt against Morsi and his Islamist group, the Muslim Brotherhood group. At least 60 people have been killed since Friday." In "Egypt Army chief warns state could collapse," by Maggie Michael and Hamza Hendawi, Associated Press, 29 January 2013.
Addendum of Mosques and Arsenals: "A cache containing arms, ammunition and dual-purpose items was discovered on Tuesday during a special operation in the village of Gimry, Interfax was told at the Interior Ministry press service for Dagestan. A press officer said that village law enforcement removed an assault rifle, a pistol, an air gun, a grenade, machinegun magazines, large quantities of cartridges, 27 walkie-talkies of various models, several dozen car alarms, instructions for making home-made bombs, maps of the locality, and over 200,000 rubles in cash from the cache in the central mosque of the village." In "Arsenal discovered in central mosque of Dagestani village," Interfax News Agency, 18 April 2013.
Addendum of Desecration in Damascus: "In recent days, near Damascus a number of Shia shrines have been attacked and desecrated in rebel-held territory, including the tombs of Ammar ibn Yasir in Raqqa and of Hujr bin Uday al-Kindi." In "Muslim Brotherhood cleric calls for Sunni jihad in Syria," by Richard Spencer. Telegraph UK, 2 June 2013.
Addendum of Another Quran Burning: "On Wednesday June 25, police arrested an Iraqi American who was trying to burn the Qur'an in front of the Karbalaa Islamic Educational Center on Warren Avenue. Hassan Al-Asaidi, 50, of Detroit, also admitted to burning three Qur'ans at the Karbalaa Center on June 10, according to Lt. Doug Topolski of the Dearborn Police Department." In "Iraqi American man arrested while burning Qur'an in Dearborn," by Ali Harb, Arab American News, 4 July 2014. [ 1 ]
Addendum of Destroying Islam's Treasures: "...the minaret was hit by tank shells fired as part of a regime assault on the mosque, which was originally built in 715 by the Umayyad dynasty and which fell into rebel hands last week. The minaret itself dated to 1090 AD." In "Syria: 11th-century minaret of Great Umayyad Mosque of Aleppo destroyed," by Richard Spencer, Telegraph UK, 24 April 2013.
Addendum of Qurans in a Saudi Sewer: "Police authorities, in collaboration with the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice in Taif have uncovered over fifty copies of the Holy Quran discarded in the street drainage system in Al-Salama district of Taif. The service of a company that specializes in opening grated drainage inlets was availed, and dozens of copies of the Holy Scripture were retrieved from the drain water." In "Copies of Holy Quran found in street drains in Saudi city," Riyadh Connect, 14 December 2013.
Addendum of Disregard for Islam's History: "The disregard for Islam’s early history is partly explained by the regime’s adoption of Wahabism, an austere and uncompromising interpretation of Islam that is vehemently opposed to anything which might encourage Muslims towards idol worship. In most of the Muslim world, shrines have been built. Visits to graves are also commonplace. But Wahabism views such practices with disdain. The religious police go to enormous lengths to discourage people from praying at or visiting places closely connected to the time of the Prophet while powerful clerics work behind the scenes to promote the destruction of historic sites." In "Medina: Saudis take a bulldozer to Islam's history," by Jerome Taylor, Independent UK, 26 October 2012. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Quran Burning in Turkey: "Members of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) attacked a Shiite mosque in Istanbul last week, a human rights association has claimed in report, refuting official statements about the incident. On July 8, a fire caused significant material damage at the Muhammediye Mosque in the Esenyurt neighborhood of the city. Three Qurans and a 300-volume hadith collection were destroyed in the fire at the mosque, which belongs to the local community from the Ja’farite school of Shia Islam." In "ISIL ‘attacks Shiite mosque’ in Istanbul," Hurriyet Daily News, Istanbul, 16 July 2014.
Addendum of Blowing Up Mosques in Nigeria: "At least 120 people were killed and 270 others wounded on Friday when two suicide bombers blew themselves up and gunmen opened fire during weekly prayers at the mosque of one of Nigeria's top Islamic leaders. The attack at the Grand Mosque in Kano, the biggest city in the mainly Muslim north of the country, came just as Friday prayers had started. The mosque is attached to the palace of the Emir of Kano Muhammad Sanusi II, Nigeria's second most senior Muslim cleric, who last week urged civilians to take up arms against Boko Haram." In "At least 120 dead in Nigeria mosque suicide attack," Agence France Presse, 29 November 2014.
Addendum of Book Burning and Whole Libraries Gone: "Since routing government forces and seizing Mosul last summer, the Islamic State group has destroyed dozens of historic sites, including the centuries-old Islamic mosque shrines of the prophets Seth, Jirjis and Jonah. An Iraqi lawmaker, Hakim al-Zamili, said the Islamic State group 'considers culture, civilization and science as their fierce enemies.' Al-Zamili, who leads the parliament's Security and Defense Committee, compared the Islamic State group to raiding medieval Mongols, who in 1258 ransacked Baghdad. Libraries' ancient collections of works on history, medicine and astronomy were dumped into the Tigris River, purportedly turning the waters black from running ink. 'The only difference is that the Mongols threw the books in the Tigris River, while now Daesh is burning them,' he said, using an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State group. 'Different method, but same mentality'." In "Iraqi libraries ransacked by Islamic State group in Mosul," by Sinan Salaheddin and Sameer N. Yacoub, Associated Press, 31 January 2015.
Addendum of Muslims Attacking Mosques in Saudi Arabia: "The Islamic State (IS) group says it was behind a suicide bombing on a Shia mosque in Saudi Arabia that killed at least 10 people." In "Saudi Arabia attack: Islamic State claims Shia mosque bombing," BBC, 22May 2015.
Addendum for Kuwait: "... worshippers were standing shoulder to shoulder in group prayer when the explosion struck near the door of the mosque, behind some of the worshippers. Al-Shawaf said the explosion took place near the end of a second prayer that is traditional to Shiites and that follows the main midday Friday prayer." In "IS claims deadly blast at Shiite mosque in Kuwait's capital," by Hussain al-Qatari, Associated Press, 26 June 2015.
Addendum of Destroying World Heritage Sites: "Shocking destruction in the Syrian city of Palmyra is part of the militant group's ongoing campaign against archaeology - Palmyra, Mar Elian Monastery, Apamea, Dura-Europos, Mari, Hatra, Nineveh, Mosul Museum and Libraries, Nimrud, Khorsabad, Mar Behnam Monastery, Mosque of the Prophet Yunus, Imam Dur Mausoleum...." In "Here Are the Ancient Sites ISIS Has Damaged and Destroyed," by Andrew Curry, National Geographic, 1 September 2015.
Addendum of Destroying the Kaaba: "The message said if Daesh manages to conquer Makkah, it would raze the Kaaba to the ground on the order of the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, al-Bawaba news reported. This is not the first time the Takfiri group talks of demolishing the holy place in Makkah. Last year, Torab al Moqaddasi, a senior member of ISIS, wrote on his twitter account that, 'With the help of Allah and the Leadership of our sheikh al-Baghdadi We will attack Makkah and kill those pilgrims who worship a stone and we will demolish Kaaba'. He added that 'People go to Kaaba for touching a stone not for Allah. We will attack Kaaba and demolish it because people are worshiping a stone'." In "ISIS threatens again to destroy Holy Kaaba," Al Bawaba English, 27 August 2015. [ 3 ]
Addendum of Ignoring Islamist Ideological Motives: "Al Mahdi admitted committing the war crime of 'destruction of historic and religious monuments' in June and July 2012, when the proceedings began on 22 August. At that time of the cultural devastation, Al Mahdi was head of the so-called 'hisbah' or morals militia established in the African city by Ansar Dine (Volunteers of Faith), a violent extremist group aligned with Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM)." In "ICC Ignores Ideological Motive in Timbuktu Crimes," by Irfan Al-Alawi, Lapidomedia, 31 August 2016. [ 4 ]
Addendum of Bangladesh 2016: "...the attacks on Hindus and other religious minorities are rampant in the South Asian country. In the aftermath of the demolition of the Babri Mosque in India in 1992, Islamic fundamentalists destroyed over 200 Hindu temples across the country. Many Hindu families were also attacked by extremists at that time. Violence against the Hindu community is also a common occurrence during the election time as political parties tend to use anti-minority rhetoric in an attempt to appease conservative voters." In "Islamists vandalize Hindu temples in Bangladesh over Facebook post," by Arafatul Islam , Deutsche Welle, 31 October 2016.
Addendum of Nigeria 2017: "Witness Abubakar Sule told AFP news agency that it appeared the bomber was part of the congregation. No-one has said they were behind the bombing but the Islamist militants Boko Haram typically target crowded places in northern Nigeria. Some 20,000 people have been killed in Boko Haram's eight-year insurgency." In "Nigeria suicide bombing kills 50 in Adamawa state," BBC, 21 November 2017.
Addendum of Egypt 2017: "At least 235 people were killed and another 109 injured in an attack Friday on a Sufi mosque in Egypt's North Sinai region, Egyptian state-run media reported, in what appears to be the deadliest terror attack on Egyptian soil. After at least two explosions, gunmen who were waiting outside the mosque opened fire at worshippers as they fled Friday prayers, state-owned Ahram Online said. The attack targeted al Rawdah mosque between Bir al-Abed and the city of al-Arish. Sufism is a mystical branch of Islam that some ultra-orthodox Muslims consider heretical." In "Egypt: Hundreds dead as mosque attackers gun down worshippers," by Ian Lee, Laura Smith-Spark and Hamdi Alkhshali, CNN, 24 November 2017.
See: Stirred Up
[ 1 ] The news report adds: "Al-Husainy said Al-Asaidi, whose name suggests he was born to a Muslim family, is not known in the local Iraqi community. 'He cannot be a Muslim,' said Al-Husainy. 'No Muslim would ever do something like this'." Apparently the local representative of the Deaborn community is unaware of the Christian Science Monitor article's statement: "More Qurans were inadvertently burned during recent Afghan protests than by the US pastor Terry Jones." Given the destruction of mosques and Qurans in them destroyed by one Muslim sect targeting another, one must conclude that some Muslims "cannot be" Muslims by definition of some Muslims. A tangled web, as one follows the sectarian violence going on in Syria and Iraq in 2014.
Islam's War Against Islam
As one learns: "At least four tombs to Sunni Arab or Sufi figures have been demolished by ISIS militants, while six Shiite mosques (Husseiniyahs) have also been destroyed across militant-held parts of northern Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital." In "ISIS Militants Destroy Many Tombs and Mosques in Iraq," Daily Sabah, 8 July 2014.
[ 2 ] The article adds: " 'Muslim silence over the destruction of Mecca and Medina is both disastrous and hypocritical,' says Dr Alawi. 'The recent movie about the Prophet Mohamed caused worldwide protests... and yet the destruction of the Prophet’s birthplace, where he prayed and founded Islam has been allowed to continue without any criticism'."
Take No Notice
But as to official Muslim concerns over "criticism," one may review the published worries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation in counterpoint with news reports from around the world. One notes the OIC has not taken note of the Saudi disregard for Islam's history as well as Islam's current internecine wars, all the while lamenting Western bloggers and graffiti.
See Islamophobia revisited - a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious dialogues.
[ 3 ] So there it is, plain as day, for all who would simply notice. The fundamental schisms within Islam are not only Sunni-versus-Shia as shown in the many addenda and footnotes to Islamophobia and Islamophobia revisited - a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious dialogues, but between "pilgrims who worship a stone" and the potential destroyers of that stone and killers of those pilgrims.
Seeds of Destruction
In a world of swift and documentable communications and the modern, destructive technology of warfare, the seeds of Islam's own destruction are contained within itself and now can be seen as distinct possibilities, all this according to the testimony of Muslims themselves. When a Muslim accuses another of perverting the religion while asserting the right to murder to correct that schism, destructive schism is assured.
As with many other forms of government and governance, the only question is -- who will rule? Time will tell. It will be an even more expensive lesson that ever before the dust settles.
But in the present, the lingering effects of politics echo, emasculating a worldwide response other than the "the war we need to win" as was one Nobel Peace Prize winner called it. See: A Modern Observation on The Anti-War Movement - "Where have all the critics gone, long time passing?"
[ 4 ] It is instructive to realize that Islam is riven with schisms of many sorts, all the while the modern stance is to often look aside for fear of being accused of Islamophobia .
A Growing Suspicion
Irfan Al-Alawi details the ideological side: "The official Wahhabi clergy in the Saudi state has sanctioned damage to numerous Islamic holy structures within that country’s borders, including cemeteries in the holy cities of Mecca and Medina. Wahhabi doctrine holds that preservation of cultural heritage, whether Islamic or non-Islamic, is a form of idol worship or polytheism prohibited in Islam. The Saudi kingdom now faces the need to choose between its continued patronage of the Wahhabi clerics and the danger they pose, inside the Saudi state and abroad, to Muslims, non-Muslims, and global culture, in the form of death and mutilation, cultural desolation, and growing suspicion toward all of Islam."
One may therefore posit the question: are not some streams of thought within Islam actually Islamophobic towards other streams of thought. The answer is: undeniably yes., though such a conclusion may chafe and worry in an era trying to look away, all the while there exists that "growing suspicion toward all of Islam."
What Is Idolatrous?
The BBC reports: "Islamists regard the shrines and the city's ancient manuscripts, covering everything from history to astronomy, as idolatrous. Court documents describe Mahdi as a religious scholar who directed fighters to wreck several sites with pickaxes and chisels after failing to deter locals from praying at them. He was charged with war crimes over the destruction of nine mausoleums and a mosque." In "Islamist rebel apologises for destroying Timbuktu shrines at ICC trial," BBC, 22 August 2016.
While this particular Islamist -- is he then Muslim or not? -- comes to a court-related apology for this, wherein is the ideological foundation by which some Muslims war against other Muslims as against other religions and peoples, and even against historical and cultural wealth, which should be held in common for posterity?
While idols may be tangible, they can also be ideas and therefore ideological entities. It is a fair conclusion to see that idolatry blinds the eyes of Islam in various ways, as does idolatry of various sorts inflict damage on the world.
Of the many adherents to a book, one reads another view: "The Qur’an contains sentences which are incomplete and not fully intelligible without the aid of commentaries; foreign words, unfamiliar Arabic words, and words used with other than the normal meaning; adjectives and verbs inflected without observance of the concords of gender and number; illogically and ungrammatically applied pronouns which sometimes have no referent; and predicates which in rhymed passages are oftenremote from the subjects. These and other such aberrations in the language have given scope to critics who deny the Qur’an's eloquence. The problem also occupied the minds of devout Moslems. It forced the commentators to search for explanations and was probably one of the causes of disagreement over readings." In "Twenty Three Years: A Study of the Prophetic Career of Mohammad," by Ali Dashti, trans. by F. R. C. Bagley, Mazda Publishers, 1994.
What is historically true is that Islam is not one ideology, but a complex of many which disagree, one with another. This alone, though much else testifies as well, suggests "a growing suspicion" which the coming years will clarify, most probably through that same bloodshed which has characterized the last 1400 years..
A Ticklish Spot
Who slits throats, and who does not?
Just asking places radicals in a ticklish spot.
Who beheads and who says no?
Just asking is argued no place to go.
Plain questions find the ticklish spot,
When answers make them overwrought.
Behead those who insult Islam?
Should one take this with aplomb?
Stirring violent folks to hate
Seems quite the game, once as of late.
A ticklish spot which makes one weep
Shows a angry soul with wounds quite deep.
A ticklish spot which makes one rage
Shows an violent thug in any age.
Questions pry open cans of worms,
Responses rage? Well this affirms
That ticklish spots are well rubbed raw
Which does explain the knife and claw
Erupting from wee tickled spots
Which helps us all connect the dots.
Who slits throats and who does not?
Just asking places radicals in a ticklish spot.
Addendum: "In Pakistan, suicide bombers in Peshawar killed 60 Christians in their local church. In Nairobi, gunmen shot 69 (and counting) shoppers at a mall — but freed the ones who could name the Prophet's mother. What these two tragedies have in common is that the killers were Muslim and the victims, Christian. The other similarity will be the response of the West: gentle reproaches followed by… nothing. Being a Christian, in some parts of the world, carries a death sentence. It carries little weight — and attracts a lot of opprobrium — in this part of the world. Having done their best to erase God from public life, secular authorities have stealthily loosened our identity as Christians. As I have written in my ebook, "No God Zone", traditional ceremonies, rituals and even pledges have been suppressed because of their "religiosity". Thus, when we witness the sufferings of our "brothers and sisters in Christ", we feel only a twinge, where once we would have felt a shock. In "Being a Christian carries a death sentence now," by Christina Odone, Telegraph UK, 24 September 2013.
See: The same old story - a tale grown hoary
"Bangladesh is considered a democratic [ 1 ] and moderate Muslim country, and national law forbids the practice of sharia. But activist and journalist Shoaib Choudhury, who documents such cases, said sharia is still very much in use in villages and towns aided by the lack of education and strong judicial systems.," in "Only 14, Bangladeshi girl charged with adultery was lashed to death," by Farid Ahmed and Moni Basu, CNN, March 29, 2011.
She was raped, she was beaten,
She was lashed to death.
That's sharia's toll
Spoken in one single breath.
She was raped, she was beaten,
She was lashed to death.
Envoi of Abusing Words: "...the question of whether America is "Islamophobic" - now bandied about so casually, as though opposition to the mosque has revealed a nasty strain in the American psyche, akin to the terrible racism or anti-Semitism that once ran wild - is so deeply offensive. This loathsome term is nothing more than a thought-terminating cliche conceived in the bowels of Muslim think tanks for the purpose of beating down critics." In "Whether or not Ground Zero mosque is built, U.S. Muslims have access to the American Dream," by Abdur-rahman Muhammad, New York Daily News, 5 September 2010.
Envoi of Abusing a Child: Another instance: "She was sold as a wife when she was an illiterate 12-year-old and her in-laws wasted little time embarking on a campaign of almost unimaginable torture. They starved her, chained her in a basement bathroom, beat her, burned her with red-hot metal pipes and pulled her fingernails out. By the end of her ordeal she could no longer walk, and was rescued from her makeshift prison in a wheelbarrow. But last week, according to her lawyer and women's activists, a court ordered the release of Gul's mother-in-law, father-in-law, and sister-in-law saying there was no proof of abuse." In "Afghan judges free three jailed for torture of child bride Sahar Gul," by Emma Graham-Harrison, Guardian UK, 11 July 2013.
Addendum of the Stirring Up: "...we have stirred up enmity and hatred among them till the Day of Resurrection, when Allah will inform them of their handiwork." Koran, 5:14.
Addendum of Cane and Able: "Hundreds of people gathered outside a mosque in Indonesia to see a woman scream out in agony after being caned as a punishment for being in 'close proximity' to a man she wasn't married to. Nur Elita was marched to the yard of Baiturrahumim Mosque in Banda Aceh for violating the region's strict Sharia laws, after she allegedly showed affectionate behaviour to a fellow university student. Under the law men and women, who are not spouses, are not allowed to get too close due to the the 'khalwat' offence and punishment is by public caning." In "The whipping girl: Screaming in agony, a woman collapses as she and a man are caned under Sharia law in Indonesia merely for being 'seen in close proximity' to each other without being married," by Jennifer Newton, Mail Online, 29 December 2015.
Addendum of a French Refusing to Use the Word: "The prime minister of France, Manuel Valls, has emerged over the past tumultuous week as one of the West’s most vocal foes of Islamism, though he’s actually been talking about the threat it poses for a long while. During the course of an interview conducted before the Charlie Hebdo attacks, he told me—he went out of his way to tell me, in fact—that he refuses to use the term “Islamophobia” to describe the phenomenon of anti-Muslim prejudice, because, he says, the accusation of Islamophobia is often used as a weapon by Islamism's apologists to silence their critics." In "French Prime Minister: 'I Refuse to Use This Term Islamophobia'," by Jeffrey Goldberg, Atlantic, 16 January 2015.
Addendum of the Muslim Victimhood Myth: "A detailed analysis of FBI statistics covering ten full calendar years since the 9/11 terrorist attacks reveals that, on a per capita basis, American Muslims, contrary to spin, have been subjected to hate crimes less often than other prominent minorities. From 2002 to 2011, Muslims are estimated to have suffered hate crimes at a frequency of 6.0 incidents per 100,000 per year – 10 percent lower than blacks (6.7), 48 percent lower than homosexuals and bisexuals (11.5), and 59 percent lower than Jews (14.8). Americans should keep these numbers in mind whenever Islamists attempt to silence critics by invoking Muslim victimhood." In "Hate-Crime Stats Deflate ‘Islamophobia’ Myth," by David J. Rush, NRO, 11 January 2013. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Stifling Criticism: "I think 'broadly comparable' in this context must mean 'not comparable at all.' The number of Muslims killed by 'violent extremist nationalists' in Britain is nil, or very close to it. The number of people killed by al-Qaeda is 52.... The reason Islamists need to claim a rising tide of 'anti-Muslim hatred,' however slender the evidence, is three-fold. First, it furthers their agenda of promoting distance between Muslims and non-Muslims. Second, it is aimed at frightening Muslims into their camp. Third, it enables them to stifle criticism; any attacks on Islamists can be dismissed as “Islamophobic' attacks against all Muslims." In "Islamophobia: is this the year's most embarrassing academic report?" by Andrew Gilligan. The Telegraph UK, 2 December 2010.
Addendum of Terror Attacks: "The death toll from a wave of terror attacks by homegrown Sunni groups and a Baloch separatist outfit in Pakistan's restive northwest rose to 140 on Friday, reports Indian newspaper Times of India." In "Pakistan bombing death toll rises to 140," The Daily Star, Bangladesh, 12 January 2013.
Addendum of Muslim Killing Muslim: "So it was with horror that I learned about the bombing in Quetta on January 10 that killed nearly a hundred Shias as they were at a religious gathering. On the same day, bombs went off in Swat and Karachi, killing yet more innocent people. We lost a wonderful human rights activist, Irfan Ali, who had attended last year’s Social Media Mela in Karachi and left a huge impression on everyone who heard him speak there. We lost scores of other young people for no reason but that they were Shia. Militant groups Laskhar-e-Jhangvi and Sipah Sahaba have vowed to undertake more attacks, probably until every last Shia in Pakistan is either dead or driven away." In "How do you live in a country that’s killing you?" Bina Shah, Express Tribune, Pakistan, 12 January 2013. [ 3 ] [ 4 ] [ 5 ]
Addendum of Poison Attacks: And as to "a country that's killing, one reads: "The Taliban banned education for women and girls but since they were ousted in 2001, females have returned to schools, especially in the capital city Kabul. Afghan women have won back basic rights in education, voting and employment since 2001." In "Dozens of Afghan schoolgirls taken to hospital after 'poison attack by Taliban'," by Becky Evans, Daily Mail UK, 22 April 2013.
Addendum of a Thousand Lashes: Akin to the CNN report above: "A Saudi court sentenced two Asian housemaids to 10 years in jail and ordered their lashed 1,000 times each after they were found guilty of indulging in sorcery at their employers’ houses in the Gulf Kingdom, a newspaper reported on Monday." In "Two maids get 10 years, 1,000 lashes for sorcery," Emirates 24/7, 20 May 2013.
Addendum of the Heavily-Armed: "A group of 100 heavily-armed Muslim rebels opposed to peace talks launched a major attack that shut down a bustling southern Philippine city Monday, authorities said. Followers of Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) leader Nur Misuari entered the coastal area of Zamboaga city by boat at dawn, triggering clashes that had left one soldier dead and six wounded, the military said. Fighting later spread to the city proper, with the rebels taking 20 civilian hostages to thwart government forces." In "Muslim rebel attack shuts down Philippine city," Agence France Presse, 8 September 2013.
Addendum of the Offence of Conversion: "Converts from Islam to Christianity should be killed according to Islamic law (shari’a), in a bid to stop the growth of Christianity among Afghans inside and outside the country, according to one leading member of parliament cited by the Afghan Voice Agency news service. Mohabat News, an independent Iranian Christian news agency, reported on Sunday that Nazir Ahmad Hanafi said several weeks ago that 'Afghani citizens continue to convert to Christianity in India. Numerous Afghanis have become Christians in India. This is an offense to Islamic laws and according to the Qur’an they need to be executed'." In "Afghan Christian Converts Should Be Executed, Afghan Lawmakers Say," by Patrick Goodenough, CNS News, 8 September 2013.
A British comedian's view: "What is wrong with inciting intense dislike of a religion if the activities or teachings of that religion are so outrageous, irrational or abusive of human rights that they deserve to be intensely disliked?" Rowan Atkinson (b. 1955) [ 6 ] [ 7 ] [ 8 ]
A British Author's Clarity: "A word I dislike greatly, 'Islamophobia', has been coined to discredit those who point at these excesses, by labelling them as bigots. But in the first place, if I don't like your ideas, it must be acceptable for me to say so, just as it is acceptable for you to say that you don't like mine. Ideas cannot be ring-fenced just because they claim to have this or that fictional sky god on their side. And in the second place, it's important to remember that most of those who suffer under the yoke of the new Islamic fanaticism are other Muslims... It is right to feel phobia towards such matters." In "Salman Rushdie condemns 'hate-filled rhetoric' of Islamic fanaticism," by Anita Singh, Telegraph UK, 9 October 2014.
An American comedian's view: "I mean, there's only one faith, for example, that kills you or wants to kill you if you draw a bad cartoon of the prophet. There’s only one faith that kills you or wants to kill you if you renounce the faith. An ex-Muslim is a very dangerous thing. Talk to Salman Rushdie after the show about Christian versus Islam. So, you know, I’m just saying, let's keep it real." Bill Maher, Real Time, 19 April 2013.
An Egyptian comedian's reality: "Youssef, a Muslim, told CNN in late 2012 that his goal is not to attack religion but the blasphemy of those who use religion for political gain. 'We present ourselves as the voice of reason, and we have our differences with people on political grounds,' he said. Following a string of lawsuits and threats, an Egyptian court issued an arrest warrant against Youssef on March 29 this year for allegedly insulting religion and the president." In "Egypt's "Most Wanted": the comedian who made fun of Mursi," by Katherine Jane O'Neill, Al Arabiya, 2 April 2013.
One Muslim's Truth Telling: "While ordinary Britons and non-Muslims around the world are bewildered by these never-ending acts of terrorism, the response of the leaders of the Islamic community is the tired old cliche -- Islam is a religion of peace, and jihad is simply an 'inner struggle.' The fact these terrorists are motivated by one powerful belief -- the doctrine of armed jihad against the 'kuffar' (non-Muslims) -- is disingenuously denied by Islamic clerics and leaders. Yesterday, instead of calling on Muslims to shelve the doctrine of armed jihad, predictably, the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) issued a quick press release claiming the 'barbaric' attack has 'no basis in Islam.' Not true, MCB. As a Muslim, I can say without fear, the latest terror attack has a basis in Islam and it's time for us Muslims to dig our heads out of the sand." In "U.K. Beheading Shows It's Time To Fight the Doctrine of Jihad," by Tarek Fatah, Huffington Post, 24 May 2013.
Another Muslim's Truth Telling: "When they are not exacting pitiless punishment, Islamists are busy with the sixth tenet: their concept of purity and authenticity. Any challenge to Islamism is, to them, de facto evidence of an un-Islamic behaviour. As Professor Tibi puts it, this is what makes Islamism 'a totalitarian ideology poised to create a totalitarian state' on a par with Nazism and Leninism. 'Given that Muslims constitute more than a quarter of humanity,' he concludes, the tension ‘between civil Islam and Islamist totalitarianism matters to everyone'." In "How to save Islam from the Islamists," by Qanta Ahmed, Spectator UK, 17 January 2015.
A Coptic Christian's perspective: "An Egyptian court has convicted a Coptic Christian lawyer in the southern province of Assiut on charges of blasphemy and sentenced him to one year in prison with hard labor. The verdict against Roman Murad Saad was handed down on Saturday. It’s the latest in a surge of blasphemy cases following Egypt’s 2011 uprising." In "Christian convicted for insulting Islam in Egypt, receives 1 year of hard labor," Associated Press, 1 June 2013. [ 9 ]
The Swedish Musician's Islamophobic view: " 'Look at all the misery in the Middle East for example. All these countries have Islam in common, and far too few dare to criticize Islam as an ideology, and what it's doing to these countries,' the 68-year-old told the paper." Quote of Björn Ulvaeus, in " 'Far too few dare criticize Islam': Abba star," TheLocal.se, 11 September 2013.
Addendum from Africa: "Thousands of Christian civilians sought refuge at an airport guarded by French soldiers Friday, fleeing from the mostly Muslim ex-rebels with machetes and guns who rule the country a day after the worst violence to hit the chaotic capital in nine months. When several French helicopters landed at the airport, people sang with joy as they banged on plastic buckets and waved rags into the air in celebration. Outside the barbed wire fences of the airport, bodies lay decomposing along the roads in a capital too dangerous for many to collect the corpses. Thursday's clashes left at least 280 dead, according to national radio, and have raised fears that waves of retaliatory attacks could soon follow. 'They are slaughtering us like chickens,' said Appolinaire Donoboy, a Christian whose family remained in hiding." In "Thousands seek refuge at Central African airport," by Krista Larson and Lori Hinnant, Associated Press, 6 December 2013.
Addendum for Musicians: Please review With regard to music
Addendum for Painters: Please review Chagall is toast
Addendum for Photographers: "India's leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom Deoband has issued a fatwa branding photography 'unlawful and a sin.' Mufti Abdul Qasim Nomani, Mohtamim (Vice-Chancellor) of the institution, has said Islam does not permit videotaping of marriages or taking of pictures to save as mementos. Photography is un-Islamic. Muslims are not allowed to get their photos clicked unless it is for an identity card or for making a passport, he was quoted as telling the Press Trust of India over phone." In "Now Fatwa against photography," bdnews24, Bangladesh, 11 September 2013.
Addendum II for Photographers: "On a televised broadcast, Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fazwan, a member of the Saudi Council of Senior Scholars, was told about 'a new trend of taking pictures with cats has been spreading among people who want to be like Westerners.' He replied: 'What?! What do you mean pictures with cats? Taking pictures is prohibited. The cats don’t matter here.' The sheikh continued: 'Taking pictures is prohibited if not for a necessity. Not with cats, not with dogs, not with wolves, not with anything'." In "Saudi Cleric Says Posing for Photos With Cats Is Forbidden," by Jack Moore, Newsweek, 25 May 2016.
Addendum for Poets: "Two Iranian poets jailed for their work and sentenced to 99 lashes apiece for shaking hands with members of the opposite sex are the latest targets in a crackdown that analysts say pits hard-liners against those offering new glimpses of life in the Islamic Republic. The sentences follow a pattern of arrests and convictions targeting activists, journalists and artists that has served as a grim backdrop to President Hassan Rouhani's efforts to soften the country's image...." In "Poets latest to be snared in Iranian hard-liners' crackdown," by Jon Gambrell, MyWay, 27 October 2015.
Addendum for a Sufi Singer: "He was the son of the most famous Qawwal, Ghulam Farid Sabri who, with his brother Maqbool Sabri, revived the sacred Qawwali genre, performing at Britain’s WOMAD Festival and New Yorks’ Carnegie Hall in the 1970s. Qawwali is an intensely spiritual and loving form of devotion to Allah and the prophets, in verse with musical accompaniment. It is a centuries-old form of devotion based on the meditative and metaphysical Sufi tradition within Islam. The Hakimullah Mehsud faction of the Taliban took responsibility for the crime. The fundamentalist terror group denounced Amjad Sabri as a 'blasphemer', supposedly because the singer praised Muhammad, which the Taliban and other adherents of the Deobandi sect label idol-worship." In "South Asians everywhere mourn slaying of religious singer," by Irfan Al-Alawi, Lapido Media, 29 June 2016.
Addendum of New Muslim Fashion 'Choices' for non-Muslims: "A radical hate preacher linked to the 'brainwashing' of three Welsh young jihadis fighting in Iraq and Syria has outlined his chilling vision of a Nazi-style, Islamic state in Britain on video, describing how non-Muslims will be forced to shave their heads and wear a red sash, in a land where the ringing of church bells is banned. Abu Waleed, 35, a leading preacher for a group banned last week for incitement to terrorism, was seen earlier this month at a barbecue in the Welsh capital where the banner of the Isis terror group – the Al Qaeda splinter group which the trio are fighting for – was flying. According to friends, former students Reyaad Khan, Nasser Muthana, both 20, and Muthana’s 17-year-old brother Aseel were seen handing out leaflets for a group closely linked to Waleed outside a Cardiff mosque seven months ago. Khan and Nasser appeared on an Isis recruitment video this month." In " 'Infidels must wear red collars and shave heads': 'Nazi' vision of Muslim Britain from Imam who ran 'Isis' barbecue in Cardiff park," by Abul Taher and Nic North, Daily Mail UK, 28 June 2014.
Addendum of Chinese Islamophobia: "A city in China´s mainly Muslim Xinjiang region has banned people with large beards or Islamic clothing from travelling on public buses, state media says. Authorities in Karamay banned people wearing hijabs, niqabs, burkas, or clothing with the Islamic star and crescent symbol from taking local buses, the Karamay Daily reported. The ban also covers 'large beards', the paper said, adding: 'Those who do not co-operate with inspection teams will be handled by police.' Xinjiang, a resource rich region which abuts central Asia, is the homeland of China´s mostly Muslim Uighur minority...." In "China city bans big beards from buses," Australian AP, 6 August 2014.
Addendum of Islamophobia in Islam: "Islam, or at least modern reinterpretations of it, is at the core of some of the Arabs’ deep troubles. The faith’s claim, promoted by many of its leading lights, to combine spiritual and earthly authority, with no separation of mosque and state, has stunted the development of independent political institutions. A militant minority of Muslims are caught up in a search for legitimacy through ever more fanatical interpretations of the Koran. Other Muslims, threatened by militia violence and civil war, have sought refuge in their sect. In Iraq and Syria plenty of Shias and Sunnis used to marry each other; too often today they resort to maiming each other. And this violent perversion of Islam has spread to places as distant as northern Nigeria and northern England." In "The tragedy of the Arabs," Economist, 5 July 2014.
Addendum of Islamophobic Muslim Nations: "Saudi Arabia and Iran, he said, each employ a sectarian foreign policy to pursue classically secular objectives. 'They play the game of great power politics and the chess pieces they choose inflame the sectarianism'...." In "Power Struggles in Middle East Exploit Islam’s Ancient Sectarian Rift," by David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, 5 July 2014. [ 10 ]
Addendum of the Muslim good guys and the Muslim bad guys: "In a war, there are only the good guys and the bad guys: the ones shouting “Allah is great” at your side are your allies. The ones on the other side — even if they too shout 'Allah is great' — are your foes and spilling their blood is permitted, they might be told. This is in stark comparison to the realities back home. In Malaysia, there are the Muslims, the good guys. But there are also Muslims who they think and act like the bad guys: the “liberal” ones, the ones fighting for the gays, the ones who are into pluralism, the ones who do not want to see hudud implemented." In "Why are young Malay men enamored by 'Jihad': No need to achieve in life, fight & you'll die a martyr?" Malaysia Chronicle, 29 June 2014.
Addendum Calling on Muslims to Obey One Man: "Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, emerged from the shadows to lead Friday prayers at Mosul’s Great Mosque, calling on the world’s Muslims to 'obey' him as the head of the caliphate declared by the Sunni jihadist group." In "Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi addresses Muslims in Mosul," by Hannah Strange, Telegraph UK, 5 July 2014. [ 11 ]
Addendum of the Myth of Islamophobia: "...'Islam, or at least modern reinterpretations of it, is at the core of some of the Arabs’ deep troubles. The faith’s claim, promoted by many of its leading lights, to combine spiritual and earthly authority, with no separation of mosque and state, has stunted development of independent political institutions.' The Economist correctly assesses the problem by finding that economic stagnation is an inevitable product of these problems and that 'only the Arabs can reverse their civilizational decline and right now there is little hope of that happening.' For a respected liberal media outlet to write these things is literally a revolution in media thinking. Gone is the consistent narrative that every cause of terrorism is the fault of the United States. It is now permissible to ask the questions that the politically correct media has refused to ask for almost 13 years." In "Breaking through the myth of 'Islamophobia'," by Jed Babbin, Washington Examiner, 9 July 2014.
Addendum of Muslim Islamophobia in Afghanistan: "...the Islamic militants identified 14, including three women, as Hazara Shiites. The insurgents then bound the passengers' hands, led them away and shot them, Rahmati said, adding that the other passengers were released. The dead included a couple who were engaged and two relatives travelling with them, he said. The Taliban, like other Sunni extremist groups, view the country's minority Shiite community as apostates, and have targeted Hazaras in the past with suicide bombings and other attacks." In "Taliban kill 14 Shiites in Afghanistan road attack," Associated Press, 25 July 2014.
Addendum on No Legal Sanctity: "In a landmark judgment pertaining to India's more than 160 million Muslims, the Supreme Court on Monday ruled that Sharia courts run by clerics have no legal sanctity and that their fatwas are not binding on anyone. The top court said Islamic judges, who interpret religious law, can only rule when individuals submit voluntarily to them and their decisions, or fatwas, are not legally enforceable." In "Supreme Court says Sharia courts are NOT legal," by Harish V Nair, Mail Online India, 7 July 2014. [ 12 ]
Addendum of Self-Appointed Sharia Police: "Charges of unlawful assembly and use of uniform in public were brought against 11 members of a group trying to enforce aspects of strict Islamic Sharia law in the North Rhine-Westphalia city, a spokeswoman for the Wuppertal police told The Local. Officers stopped the 11-man group on the street on Wednesday. Some were wearing orange vests bearing the words 'Shariah Police', in violation of federal German law, the spokeswoman said." In "Police throw book at Shariah vigilantes," TheLocal, 5 September 2014.
Addendum of the Greatest Insult: "Muslims often are criticized for not speaking out strongly enough against the retrograde radicalism of violent jihadists. But Marcouch does not mince his words: 'The greatest insult of ISIS may even be toward the Muslims and Islam itself,' he tells us. 'I call on the Muslim community: Stand up and don’t allow your religion to be hijacked by these idiots. Don’t make light of them, but make yourself strong against them, these barbaric criminals. Muslims have to speak out: ‘Not in my name! Stay away from my faith!' Marcouch has been arguing inside the parliament and out for more fieldworkers from within the community to prevent what he calls “religious derailments”: 'You can only prevent this from happening by offering an alternative theological concept,' he says. 'The parents play a part in this, too, in how they educate their kids. What’s the matter with you, allowing your kids to run with this lot? The community is much too silent. ‘We’ stand for civilization and modernity and everyone who wants to be a part of that. ‘They’ are those who reject democracy and even use violence. You have to define your opponent sharply'." In "ISIS’s Black Flags Are Flying in Europe," by Nadette De Visser, Daily Beast, 28 July 2014. [ 13 ]
Addendum of an Islamic State: "The Islamic State wants to force all humanity to believe in its vision of a religious and social utopia existing in the first days of Islam. Women are to be treated as chattels, forbidden to leave the house unless they are accompanied by a male relative. People deemed to be pagans, like the Yazidis, can be bought and sold as slaves. Punishments such as beheadings, amputations and flogging become the norm. All those not pledging allegiance to the caliphate declared by its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, on 29 June last year are considered enemies." In "Life under Isis: The everyday reality of living in the Islamic 'Caliphate' with its 7th Century laws, very modern methods and merciless violence," by Patrick Cockburn, Independent UK, 15 March 2015.
Addendum of a Twelve-year-old: "A young girl on Saturday carried out a suicide attack at a bus station in Damaturu in northeastern Nigeria, killing seven people and injuring 31, witnesses and the local hospital said. 'A girl aged about 12 detonated an explosive under her clothes as she approached the station’s perimeter fence,' said witness Danbaba Nguru." In "Nigerian child suicide bomber kills several at crowded bus station," Guardian UK, 16 May 2015.
Addendum of Wealthy Muslim Nations' Disgrace: "...as debate rages between politicians in Europe over how many they should take, nearby super-wealthy Gulf nations of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain have refused to offer sanctuary to a single Syrian refugee. Amnesty International's Head of Refugee and Migrants' Rights, Sherif Elsayid-Ali, described their inaction as 'shameful'. He said: 'The records of Gulf countries is absolutely appalling, in terms of actually showing compassion and sharing the responsibility of this crisis... It is a disgrace'." In "Revealed: How the five wealthiest Gulf Nations have so far refused to take a single Syrian refugee," by Jay Akbar, Daily Mail UK, 4 September 2015.
Addendum of a Muslim Mayor: "Rotterdam mayor Ahmed Aboutaleb has said in a reaction to the Paris attacks that it is time to 'wipe out' ISIS. 'I am no military strategist, but as a manager I say it is time to wipe out the 40,000 to 50,000 people who have joined ISIS,' he told broadcaster Nos." In "Time is right to ‘wipe out’ ISIS, says Rotterdam’s Muslim mayor," Dutch News, 15 November 2015. [ 14 ]
Addendum Asking "What Is Going On?": "To the Muslims world at large, the message of Islamophilia is that Muslims need no criticism although their faith is being transformed into a number of conflicting ideologies dedicated to violence and terror. Never mind if Islamic theology is all but dead. To say so would be a sign of Islamophobia. Never mind that God makes only a cameo appearance in mosque sermons almost entirely obsessed with political issues. All that Western intellectuals or leaders need to do is stop flattering Islam, as President Obama has been doing for the past seven years, claiming that virtually anything worthwhile under the sun has its origin in Islam. Many Muslims resent that kind of flattery, which takes them for idiots at a time that Islam and Muslims badly need to be criticized. The world needs to wake from its slumber and ask: What is going on?" In "Liberals need to stop flattering Islam and ask tough questions instead," by Amir Taheri, New York Post, 13 December 2015.
Addendum of the Refusal: "Tharwat al-Kharbawy, a Muslim Brotherhood defector, attributed Al-Azhar’s refusal to declare IS apostates to its 'faith in IS’ actions,' during an interview with Ibrahim Issa on satellite TV. One press report noted a degree of similarity between IS thought and Al-Azhar University's curriculum, which 'allows for killing a Muslim who does not pray, one who leaves Islam, prisoners and infidels within Islam [those who do not have a clearly specified creed or sect]. [It also allows] gouging their eyes and chopping off their hands and feet, as well as banning the construction of churches and discriminating between Muslims and Ahl al-Kitab [Christians and Jews], and insulting them at times.' Ahmad Ban, a researcher of Islamic Affairs, told Al-Monitor that IS' and Al-Azhar's philosophies overlap, even if their practices on the ground differ." In "Al-Azhar refuses to consider the Islamic State an apostate," by Ahmed Fouad, Al-Monitor, 12 February 2015.
Addendum of Muslim Barbarism: "The young Muslim woman, Farkhunda Malikzada, was viciously beaten, stoned, deliberately run over by a car, thrown into a dry river bed, crushed with larger stones, and then set on fire. It was later determined by the Afghanistan Ministry of Hajj and Religious Affairs that Farkhunda Malikzada had not burned a Quran." In "VIDEO: Afghan Woman Barbarically Lynched After Being Falsely Accused of Burning Quran," by Michael W. Chapman, Cybercast News, 7 January 2016. [ 15 ]
Addendum of Sunni Islamophobia against Shia Muslims: "Dabiq, as the English-language publication is called, devotes a majority of the 56 pages in the latest issue to justifying the killing of Shia Muslims. In numerous articles, the magazine goes to great lengths to give a theological basis for killing members of the minority Muslim sect that controls Iran and Iraq and has been at odds with Sunni Muslims for over a millennia. 'The magazine spends so much time justifying the killing of innocent Shiites that it suggests that ISIL is frustrated that too few Sunnis favor sectarian massacres,' Ryan Mauro, a national security analyst for the Clarion Project, said." In "New issue of ISIS magazine Dabiq calls for war on . . . Muslims," by Perry Chiaramonte, Fox News, 21 January 2016.
Addendum of the Tendency: "In bold new comments Justin Welby has said that it is 'outrageous' that people who raise concerns about mass immigration are described as racist. Speaking to House Magazine, Archbishop Welby said: 'Fear is a valid emotion at a time of such colossal crisis. This is one of the greatest movements of people in human history. Just enormous. And to be anxious about that is very reasonable.' In an angry swipe at liberals who try to belittle those who raise problems about immigration, he went on: 'There is a tendency to say 'those people are racist', which is just outrageous, absolutely outrageous'." In "Archbishop of Canterbury: British citizens have a right to 'fear' migrant crisis," by David Madox, Express UK, 11 March 2016. [ 16 ]
Addendum of Islamophobia in Iraq: "At least 125 people have been killed and about 150 injured in an explosion claimed by the so-called Islamic State group in Baghdad, Iraqi police say. A car bomb exploded on a busy street in the Karrada district late on Saturday. The mainly Shia area was busy with shoppers late at night because it is the holy month of Ramadan." In "Iraq violence: IS bombing kills 125 Ramadan shoppers in Baghdad," BBC, 3 July 2016.
Addendum of German Islamophobia: " 'Islamic terror has reached Germany,' Bavaria's state interior minister Winfried Bausback wrote on Facebook following that attack." In "Germany Debates Putting Troops on Streets to Protect Against ISIS," by Andy Eckardt, Anja Gerloff and Carlo Angerer, NBC News, 24 August 2016. [ 17 ]
Addendum of Swedish Islamophobia: " 'In some of Gothenburg’s segregated neighbourhoods radical Islamists are poisoning the kids to believe that the Isis genocide against Christians and Yezidis was right and that terrorism is a good thing. You can hear religious slang in almost every school in these neighbourhoods nowadays. For example the word 'kaffir', which is a derogatory term Isis and others use, and people who have left the neighbourhoods to join Isis are considered heroes by some,' he added. The survey took in responses from 1200 school students aged 12-18 in socially and economically challenged areas in Gothenburg, of which 11 percent said they felt sympathy for religious extremists, and 13 percent said they know someone with those kind of sympathies." In "Gothenburg 'one of Europe's most segregated cities'," theLocal.se, 28 October 2016.
Addendum of French Islamophobia: "Most French people want Muslims suspected of harbouring extremist views detained if they appear on spy agency watchlists and would back a ban on ultra-conservative Salafist Islam, two polls showed after the latest deadly attack in France." In "Most French want Macron crackdown on radical Islamists - polls," by Brian Love, Reuters, 30 March 2018.
Addendum of a Muslim Father: "A Muslim man in Norway has been detained for raping his daughter as a punishment after she became 'too Western'. The man, in his 40s has been charged with rape and incest after he attacked his daughter in their family home in the city of Fredrikstad. Police prosecutors have said the daughter told officers she was raped by her father as a punishment for living a Western lifestyle." In "Muslim father rapes his daughter as punishment because she had become 'too Westernised' living in Norway," by Hannah Al-othman , Mailonline, 11 October 2016.
Addendum of the Offence of Standing Too Close: "She was one of 13 people - aged between 21-30 - to be flogged on Monday at a mosque. The woman was allegedly caught standing too close to her boyfriend. The six couples were found guilty of breaking Islamic law that bans intimacy - no touching, hugging and kissing - between unmarried people." "In "Muslim woman screams out in pain as she is caned 23 times in Indonesia for 'standing too close to her boyfriend'," by Agence France Presse and Riley Morgan For Daily Mail Australia, 17 October 2016.
Addendum of a Muslim Free Thinker and Accused Islamophobe: " 'I don’t have the right to renounce my struggle, or to give up my freedom,' says the reporter and sociologist of religion in an interview with Women in the World, during a recent trip to New York, as part of French president Francois Hollande’s delegation when he received the Appeal of Conscience Foundation’s World Statesman Award for 2016. 'If the French state protects me it is not little individual me: What is being protected is my freedom to be irreverent, and freedom of expression, so I should exercise this even more because I enjoy this protection. It’s totally crazy. I have done nothing against the law and have nothing to hide, yet I live with security while those who threaten us are free,' El Rhazoui declares with an air of shock and anger that underscores the arbitrariness and brutality visited on a 34-year-old woman condemned to living on the run and mostly in the shadows. 'And if you call them by their names you are Islamophobic and racist. I am racist? I can teach them a few things about Arab culture. I can show them how to discover its richness and the diversity of their culture. I believe this culture deserves universality because you can be Arab, Muslim and a free thinker'." In "Zineb el Rhazoui, Charlie Hebdo survivor, discusses why the world needs to 'Destroy Islamic Fascism'." by Emma-Kate Symons, New York Times, 18 October 2016. [ 18 ]
Addendum of a Favored Quran Reciter and Accused Rapist: "In a statement issued two days ago, Tossi denied all the charges against him, which resulted in a massive circulation of court documents such as the audio testimonies of the victims, and children talking about how he raped them when he was overseeing their participation in international Quaranic competitions. Reformist sources say that Tossi threatened to leak the names of 100 of Iran’s high profile officials also implicated in raping and molesting children, if he was prosecuted. Said Tossi who is 46 year old, is the representative of Iran at the International Quranic competitions and winner of the first prize both locally and internationally. He is extremely closed to the supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and currently accused of raping 19 of his students over the past years, when they were 12 and 14." In "Iran’s top Quran reciter to face court over child rapes," staff, Al Arabiya News, 24 October 2016.
Addendum of Continuing Official French Islamophobia: "France's interior minister has ordered the closure of four mosques that allegedly espoused a 'radical ideology,' the latest such shutdowns among dozens since the Nov. 13 Paris attacks nearly a year ago. A state of emergency in France allows for the closing of places of worship where the preaching risks provoking hate, violence or acts of terrorism." In "France closes 4 mosques for promoting 'radical ideology'," Associated Press, 2 November 2016.
Addendum of Non-Muslims Identifying Islamophobes: "A coalition of four research and civil rights groups — the Southern Poverty Law Center, Media Matters for America, the Center for New Community and ReThink Media — banded together to prepare this manual. Our hope is that journalists and others will use it as a guide to effectively counter these extremists and their damaging misinformation. These propagandists are far outside of the political mainstream, and their rhetoric has toxic consequences — from poisoning democratic debate to inspiring hate-based violence." In "Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists," The Southern Poverty Law Center, 25 October 2016. [ 19 ]
Addendum of Continuing German Islamophobia: " 'The translations of the Quran are being distributed along with messages of hatred and unconstitutional ideologies,' de Maiziere told reporters in Berlin. 'Teenagers are being radicalized with conspiracy theories.' Young men in long robes and bushy beards handing out German copies of the Quran has been a common sight in downtown and shopping areas across Germany for several years. Security officials said that the group had about 500 members. In a warehouse near the western city of Cologne, authorities seized about 21,000 German-language copies of the Quran." In "Germany bans Islamic organization, police search 190 sites," by Kirsten Grieshaber, Associated Press, 15 November 2016.
Addendum of More Official German Rejection of Islamic Requirements: " '...there are limits to the way I adapt to the country,' she later told the German Bild magazine. 'I do not put on a headscarf and I wear trousers,' said von der Leyen, who added, 'No woman in my delegation has to wear the abaya. Being able to choose your own clothes is a right for both men and women alike. ' She stressed, 'It annoys me, when women travelling with women are pressured into wearing the abaya'.'' In "German minister refuses to cover her head in Saudi Arabia," by Ben Ariel, Arutz Sheva, 15 December 2016.
Addendum of Lashing in Iran: "Three Christians arrested weeks ago in Iran have been sentenced to be lashed in public for drinking communion wine. The Christians were subject to and sentenced by a sharia court, as their conversions from Islam to Christianity are not recognized by the Iranian regime. Although it is legal for Christians to drink alcohol in Iran, it is illegal for Muslims." In "80 Lashes for Drinking Communion Wine," Clarion Project, 17 November 2016.
Addendum of Afghan Muslims Killing Afghan Muslims: "Isis's Afghan wing has claimed responsibility, according to a report by the Isis-affiliated Amaq news agency. A November suicide attack on a crowded mosque, claimed by the same group, killed more than 30 people and wounded dozens. Isis was also accused by local officials of killing six Red Cross employees in an ambush on a convoy in northern Afghanistan last month. It has claimed at least two other attacks on minority Shias in Kabul since last July. Afghanistan’s president, Ashraf Ghani, said the latest attack 'trampled on all human values'." In "Isis militants disguised as doctors kill 38 in Kabul hospital attack," by Michael Safi, Guardian UK, 8 March 2017.
Addendum of a Muslim Slaughtering His Wife: "The three children were taken to the Royal Children's Hospital and told police they had witnessed their father 'slaughtering' their mother with a knife in the lounge room, according to the prosecution summary. Another of the children told detectives his mother's 'body was nothing but blood'." In "Melbourne man 'slaughtered' wife in front of children over desire to join Islamic State, prosecution says," by Emma Younger, ABC News Australia, 23 March 2017.
Addendum of Wild Pigs' Islamophobia: "According to IraqiNews.com, the incident took place near farmland in the mountainous al-Rashad region on Sunday (23 April) 53 km (32 miles) south of Kirkuk. The Times spoke to a local sheikh who confirmed the incident took place. 'It is likely their movement disturbed a herd of wild pigs, which inhabit the area as well as the nearby cornfields,' said Sheikh Anwar al-Assi of the Ubaid tribe." In "Rampaging wild boars 'kill three members of Isis' near Iraqi city of Kirkuk," by Mark Piggott, International Business Times, 25 April 2017.
Addendum of an Outspoken Atheist: "Dawkins, who was promoting his new book Science In The Soul, also warned that Islam was the ‘most evil’ religion in the world, and said that moderate Muslims were the biggest victims of fanatical ideology. 'It’s tempting to say all religions are bad, and I do say all religions are bad, but it’s a worse temptation to say all religions are equally bad because they’re not,' he added. 'If you look at the actual impact that different religions have on the world it’s quite apparent that at present the most evil religion in the world has to be Islam. It’s terribly important to modify that because of course that doesn’t mean all Muslims are evil, very far from it. Individual Muslims suffer more from Islam than anyone else. They suffer from the homophobia, the misogyny, the joylessness which is preached by extreme Islam, Isis and the Iranian regime. So it is a major evil in the world, we do have to combat it, but we don’t do what Trump did and say all Muslims should be shut out of the country. That’s draconian, that’s illiberal, inhumane and wicked. I am against Islam not least because of the unpleasant effects it has on the lives of Muslims'." In "Richard Dawkins: religious education is crucial for British schoolchildren," by Sarah Knapton, Telegraph UK, 11 June 2017.
Addendum of Ophophobia as Related to Islamophobia: "Ophobophobia is the irrational fear of being perceived a bigot (by self or others) by being deemed insufficiently sensitive to the experience of some identifiable group of others. Ophobophobia is the strongest motivating animus in what we might call the Religion of Identity Politics, which, in its extreme forms, is now rightly being called Regressive Leftism. The most obvious example of an ophobophobic position is a rationally unjustifiable and rabid defense of obfuscation between Muslims, Islam, Islamism, and Jihadist Islamism, and it is the irrational fear of being branded an Islamophobe by being insufficiently sensitive in the discussions surrounding those terms. Such people exhibit Islamophobophobia." In "Ophobophobia and the Religion of the Regressive Left," by James A. Lindsay, God Doesn't; We Do, 24 January 2016. [ 20 ]
Addendum of a Misogynistic Culture: "I know there will be some in my community who talk of being scapegoated by the Newcastle case. There will be talk of Islamophobia and an anti-Muslim conspiracy. Some will even try to play down the crimes committed. It happens every time. I've spent a lifetime specialising in dealing with uncomfortable cases and I know we can't flinch from difficult conversations. The Asian community cannot go back to victimhood. We need to challenge a misogynistic culture that's getting out of control and we need to talk about the predators in our community. Then we can finally put a stop to young girls' lives being needlessly ruined." In "Will my Asian community NOW end the vile misogyny behind the latest child sex gang scandal? No, too many think they still have to licence abuse writes NAZIR AFZAL," by Nazir Afzal, Mail On Sunday, 13 August 2017. [ 21 ]
Addendum of Misogyny by Muslim Women: "A female ISIS deserter has spoken of how she would revel in torturing other women in front of their family members during her time in an all-girl jihadist brigade in Raqqa, Syria. The woman, only known as Hajer, also reveals that the British female jihadists would be the most sadistic torturers, and would use a tool known as a 'biter', reportedly able to inflict pain 'worse than childbirth'. ...Hajer says she did not have an issue administering brutal thrashings. 'I enjoyed it, I enjoyed torturing Syrian women – especially when their fathers or husbands were there,' she told RBSS." In "'I enjoyed torturing women. Especially when their fathers or husbands were there': Female ISIS torturer describes horrors she inflicted and says British female jihadists were the most brutal," by Sara Malim, Mail Online, 8 September 2017.
Addendum of a Potential Muslim Islamophobe: "Western politicians should stop pretending that extremism and terrorism have nothing to do with Islam. There is a clear relationship between fundamentalism, terrorism, and the basic assumptions of Islamic orthodoxy. So long as we lack consensus regarding this matter, we cannot gain victory over fundamentalist violence within Islam. Radical Islamic movements are nothing new. They’ve appeared again and again throughout our own history in Indonesia. The West must stop ascribing any and all discussion of these issues to 'Islamophobia.' Or do people want to accuse me — an Islamic scholar — of being an Islamophobe too?" In "In Interview, Top Indonesian Muslim Scholar Says Stop Pretending That Orthodox Islam and Violence Aren't Linked," by Marco Stahlhut, Time, 8 September 2017.
Addendum of Belgian Islamophobia: "Immigration Minister Theo Francken revoked the residency permit of the imam of the Saudi-financed Grand Mosque, near the EU headquarters in Brussels. Belgium has been hit by several attacks since 2016, including suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State group that killed 32 people at Brussels airport and a metro station. 'Everybody knows there is a problem with the Grand Mosque in Brussels. I decided to withdraw the residency permit of the imam of this mosque,' Francken told Bel-RTL. 'We have had very clear signals he is a man who is very radicalised, salafist, very conservative and dangerous for our society and national security,' Francken added." In "Belgium moves to expel mosque imam over security fears," Agence France Presse, 3 October 2017. [ 22 ]
Addendum of Selective Austrian Islamophobia: " 'Political Islam's parallel societies and radicalising tendencies have no place in our country,' Kurz told a news conference outlining the government's decisions, which were based on that law. One society that runs a mosque in Vienna and is influenced by the 'Grey Wolves', a Turkish nationalist youth group, would be shut down for operating illegally, the government said in a statement." In "Austria's right-wing government plans to shut down seven mosques and expel up to 40 foreign-funded imams in crackdown against Islamist ideology," by Khaleda Rahman, Mailonline and Reuters, 8 June 2018. [ 23 ]
Addendum of Denmark's Advancing Islamophobia by Requiring Integration: "Denmark's government is introducing a new set of laws to regulate life in 25 low-income and heavily Muslim enclaves, saying that if families there do not willingly merge into the country's mainstream, they should be compelled. For decades, integrating immigrants has posed a thorny challenge to the Danish model, intended to serve a small, homogeneous population. Leaders are focusing their ire on urban neighborhoods where immigrants, some of them placed there by the government, live in dense concentrations with high rates of unemployment and gang violence." In "In Denmark, Harsh New Laws for Immigrant 'Ghettos'," by Ellen Barry and Martin Selsoe Sorensen, New York Times, 1 July 2018.
Addendum of Denmark's Continuing Islamophobia: "Imam Mundhir Abdallah, who preaches in the Copenhagen neighbourhood of Norrebro at the Masjid Al-Faruq mosque, which media have linked to radical Islam, is accused of citing a hadith or koranic narrative calling for Muslims to rise up against Jews. 'Judgement Day will not come until the Muslims fight the Jews and kill them,' Abdallah said in a Facebook and YouTube video post in March." In "Danish imam charged over call to kill Jews," France 24, 24 July 2018.
Addendum of Calling for a Ban: "The International Union for Muslim Scholars (IUMS) has called on non-Muslim countries to ban Islamophobia, following the killing of dozens of people on a deadly attack on two mosques in New Zealand. 'IUMS calls on non-Muslim countries to ban the spread of hatred against Islam and Muslims,' IUMS President Ahmed al-Raisouni said in a statement at the conclusion of a 2-day session held in Istanbul on Friday." In "Muslim scholars union urges ban on Islamophobia," by Suhib Qalaluh, Anadolu Agency, 16 March 2019. [ 24 ]
Addendum of More Cane and Able: "A group of unmarried couples were whipped in Indonesia's Aceh province on Thursday after they were caught behaving amorously -- a crime under the conservative region's Islamic law. Flogging is common for a range of offences in the region at the tip of Sumatra island, including gambling, drinking alcohol and having gay sex. It is the only province in the world's biggest Muslim-majority country that imposes Islamic law." In "Indonesia's Aceh whips amorous couples," Agence France Presse, 20 March 2019.
Addendum of Causes of Islamophobia Within Islam: "With Islamophobia still prevalent, Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad has called on Muslims to not only look at the attitudes of their critics but to ask themselves if they could be contributing to such perception. 'Have we done anything to deserve that kind of name? If we want to make Islam less hated, we need to find out what wrong we have done, although we would like to say we have done no wrong,' he said in an interview with PTV World in Pakistan." In "Dr M calls on Muslims to look within themselves for causes of Islamophobia," by Minderjeet Kaur, FMT News, 24 March 2019.
Addendum of Sharia Law as Appalling and Immoral: " 'Stoning people to death for homosexuality or adultery is appalling and immoral,' Biden tweeted Friday. 'Every single person on earth is entitled to be treated with dignity and to live without fear. There is no excuse—not culture, not tradition—for this kind of hate and inhumanity.' This new law will be rolled out Wednesday and the penalty would be 'witnessed by a group of Muslims,' according to CNN. The controversial punishment is a part of a series of more strict regulations that Brunei has been enforcing since 2014. At the time, Brunei was the first country to embrace Sharia. The Sharia, also known as Islamic law, stems from words from Muhammad and the Quran, Islam’s religious text utilized by Muslims." In "Joe Biden Slams Brunei Sultan's 'Appalling and Immoral' Stoning Law Against LGBTQ Commuity," by Dory Jackson, Newsweek, 29 March 2019.
Addendum of Pakistani Islamic Islamophobia: "Soldiers and security checkpoints greet visitors to Hazara Town, one of two large guarded neighborhoods in the capital of Baluchistan, a province where religious and sectarian groups often target the mostly Shia Hazaras with bombs and guns. Despite improved security in recent years, partly because most Hazaras have moved into the guarded enclaves, hardline Sunni militants keep up attacks, such as a blast in April that killed 24 people, among them eight Hazaras. 'We are living under siege for more than 1-1/2 decades due to sectarian attacks,' said Sardar Sahil, a Hazara lawyer and rights activist." In " ‘Under siege’: Fear and defiance mark life for Pakistan’s minority Hazaras," by Gul Yousufzai, Reuters, 4 July 2019.
Addendum of Fake Islamophobia in Germany: "A grocer is to be jailed for three years. The district court of Hagen regards it as proven that the 35-year-old set fire to his shop in Wetter in 2018 to collect insurance money and donations. The apparent fate of Mohammad Moussa A. shook people in Wetter in 2018. An arson attack upon a Syrian greengrocer. Before that, he had received threatening letters, the grocer said at the time." In "Wetter: Drei Jahre Haft für Brandstiftung im eigenen Laden," by Jürgen Kleinschnitger, Westdeutscher Rundfunk Köln, 2 September 2020.
Addendum of Real, Murderous Muslim Islamophobia in Afghanistan: "The attack, which was condemned by NATO and the Afghan government, took place in an area of west Kabul that is home to many from the country’s Shia community, a religious minority in Afghanistan targeted in the past by groups such as Islamic State. Dozens of students died in the same area of Kabul in an attack on another education centre in 2018." In "Suicide bombing at Kabul education centre kills 24, students among the victims," by Abdul Qadir Sediqi, Orooj Hakimi, Reuters, 24 October 2020.
See: Ice Cream - a modern litany ad hominem, and also The religion of peace
[ 1 ] "A well-known Saudi Islamic scholar has issued a new fatwa (edict) saying holding elections for a president or another form of leadership is prohibited in Islam. Sheikh Abdul Rahman bin Nassir Al Barrak, reputed for his radical views, described western-style elections as an alien phenomenon to Islamic countries. 'Electing a president or another form of leadership or council members is prohibited in Islam as it has been introduced by the enemies of Moslems,' he wrote on his Twitter page, according to Saudi newspapers." In "Election is banned in Islam: Saudi scholar," Staff article, Emirates 24/7, 17 January 2013.
Interesting as is the fatwa above and humorously in agreement with it, the stance against democratic elections is seeing its "equal and opposite" reaction" as in this news: "'Salafism, as represented