Collected Poetry

 

Collected Poetry

VOLUME TEN  

 

Original materials - Copyright © 2014 by Gary Bachlund    All international rights reserved

 

"A great piece of music is beautiful regardless of how it is performed. Any prelude or fugue of Bach can be played at any tempo, with or without rhythmic nuances, and it will still be great music. That's how music should be written, so that no-one, no matter how philistine, can ruin it." Dmitri Shostakovich (1906-1975)

More Sticks and Stones

"...Joshua Dratel, Abu Hamza's attorney, told jurors that while Abu Hamza may have been guilty of using inflammatory rhetoric, he had never participated in criminal activity. 'These are views, not acts,' he said. 'This is expression, not crimes'." In "Radical cleric promoted jihad from London mosque, U.S. jury told," by Joseph Ax, Reuters, 17 April 2014.

 

Sticks and stones oft break man's bones,
And incitement leads to riot.
Murdering rage struts on its stage
When hard words dare disquiet.
Whence this game? Who's to blame?
The word pleads innocence.
In this each lies as pages ply
Hatred and  maleficence.
Sticks and stones oft break men's bones,
Urged by tongues just to riot.

 

Addendum of Conviction:   "Judge Katherine Forrest called Abu Hamza's actions 'barbaric' and 'misguided' and said she was sentencing him to life because she could not think of a time when it would be safe to release him." In "Radical cleric Abu Hamza jailed for life by US court," BBC, 9 January 2015. The article noted, "The former nightclub bouncer turned extremist cleric was then sentenced to spend the remainder of his life in obscurity."


 

Purple prose

Vile let the purple prose
Parade across its yellowing page.

Crimson is that read red rose
And all the words its stage.

Or right things ornate predispose
Critique by measured gauge.

What's write is right wrong, one knows,
As purple inks its swaggering swage.

The tatting tale comes then goes;
The end is near; we disengage.


 

Cassandra and Cassandras

"So scoffed a Trojan: others in like sort cried shame on her, and said she spake but lies, saying that ruin and Fate's heavy stroke were hard at hand. They knew not their own doom, and mocked, and thrust her back from that huge Horse for fain she was to smite its beams apart, or burn with ravening fire. She snatched a brand of blazing pine-wood from the hearth and ran in fury: in the other hand she bare a two-edged halberd: on that Horse of Doom she rushed, to cause the Trojans to behold with their own eyes the ambush hidden there. But straightway from her hands they plucked and flung afar the fire and steel, and careless turned to the feast; for darkened o'er them their last night. Within the horse the Argives joyed to hear the uproar of Troy's feasters setting at naught Cassandra, but they marvelled that she knew so well the Achaeans' purpose and device. As mid the hills a furious pantheress, which from the steading hounds and shepherd-folk drive with fierce rush, with savage heart turns back even in departing, galled albeit by darts: so from the great Horse fled she, anguish-racked for Troy, for all the ruin she foreknew." Quintus Smyrnaeus. "The Fall of Troy," as translated by A. S. Way. A. Loeb Classical Library, Volume 19. London: William Heinemann, 1913.
 

Cassandra was rarely welcomed when vision was required.
    Alarms went mute; mouths were dumbed. Warnings were not desired.
Cassandras are still resented; truths upset the willful blind.
    Clarity goes circumvented; dulled ignorance is refined.
Cassandras are rarely heard; prevailing winds loud roar.
    Predictions by dark dusts are blurred: true prophecy is meager lore.
Cassandra played her role, as doubting Thomas demanded proof.
    The skeptic as suspicious finds fools' views remain foolproof.
Cassandra then, Cassandras now, augur worn warnings' woes.
    Cassandra then, Cassandras now are dismissed with dismissive nos.
Onstage, silent, and ignored, Cassandra plays her part.
    With truths as lies abhorred, she acts fools' counterpart.
Each Clytemnestra terminates each Cassandra's vision's tale.
    Such is her dissonant lesson, as portents and prophecies fail.
Cassandra will again be unwelcome at the tables of the brightest and best.
    Time tells the tale when nations fall as their Cassandras have well guessed.

 

Addendum from our Quintus Smyrnaeus: "One heart was steadfast, and one soul clear-eyed, Cassandra. Never her words were unfulfilled; yet was their utter truth, by Fate's decree, ever as idle wind in the hearers' ears, that no bar to Troy's ruin might be set. She saw those evil portents all through Troy conspiring to one end; loud rang her cry, as roars a lioness that mid the brakes a hunter has stabbed or shot, whereat her heart maddens, and down the long hills rolls her roar, and her might waxes tenfold; so with heart aflame with prophecy came she forth her bower. Over her snowy shoulders tossed her hair streaming far down, and wildly blazed her eyes. Her neck writhed, like a sapling in the wind shaken, as moaned and shrieked that noble maid: "O wretches! into the Land of Darkness now we are passing; for all round us full of fire and blood and dismal moan the city is. Everywhere portents of calamity Gods show: destruction yawns before your feet. Fools! ye know not your doom: still ye rejoice with one consent in madness, who to Troy have brought the Argive Horse where ruin lurks! Oh, ye believe not me, though ne'er so loud I cry! The Erinyes and the ruthless Fates, for Helen's spousals madly wroth, through Troy dart on wild wings. And ye, ye are banqueting there in your last feast, on meats befouled with gore, when now your feet are on the Path of Ghosts!"

 

Addendum of a Cassandra Speaking to the United States Senate:   "U.S. postwar generational policy is accurately characterized as 'Take As You Go.' Over the decades Republican and Democratic Congresses and Administrations have taken ever-larger amounts of resources from young workers and transferred them to old retirees. The resources taken from the young to give to the old were called, in the main, 'taxes.' And the young were effectively told, 'Don’t worry. We are calling these resources taxes, but when you are old, you will receive massive transfer payments that more than make up for what you are paying now.' The impact of this policy was predictable. Older generations consumed more, younger generations had no or little reason to consume less, and the national saving rate fell." In "America’s Fiscal Insolvency and Its Generational Consequences, Testimony to the Senate Budget Committee," by Laurence J. Kotlikoff, Professor of Economics, Boston University, 25 February 2015.


 

Hogwash

Hogwash doesn't wash the hogs,
  But it's hogwash, just the same.
  Balderdash cannot dash,
But racing, passes blame.


Drivel dribbles Daily down
  To rags from riches, out the Times.
  Bunk is bunkum, not a bed,
Hip hokum bleaches top-drawer crimes.


Horse feathers never flew a horse;
  Off course, gruff guff must dawdle.
  Pap and piffled poppycock
Prove tommyrot is twaddle.


Bilge flows far beyond its pumps,
  That the flood of hooey rises.
  Rotting words rubbish rot;
Toshed trash sews its disguises.

 
Hot air blows, both hot and cold,
  The tripe flies freely, thickly bold.
  Hogwash is so boldly sold;
Blindfolds blind with every fold.


Hogwash never washes hogs,
  It's just hogwash; that's its name.
  It wets and agitates to rinse;
Its cycles spin the hogwash game.


How are you at hogwash?
  Whatever shall you spew?
  Speak you plain? Assert, askew,
That truths are lies and lies are true?


 

Invitation to the Dance

"By destiny compell'd, and in despair, / The Greeks grew weary of the tedious war, / And by Minerva's aid a fabric rear'd, / Which like a steed of monstrous height appear'd: / The sides were plank'd with pine; they feign'd it made / For their return, and this the vow they paid. / Thus they pretend, but in the hollow side / Selected numbers of their soldiers hide: / With inward arms the dire machine they load, / And iron bowels stuff the dark abode." In Book II of The Aeneid, by Virgil, John Dryden translation (1697).

 

Bring pigs into your parlor; find feces on you floor.
Bid bulls into your china shop for a crashing, smashing roar.
Let bears claw through your garbage; what comes then next's in store.
Invite those noble savages who'd savagely inward pour.
 
Summon stirred-up troubles to find you've stirred up more.
Invitations often fail, faulty thinking at their core.
Think and then just think again; many views start too cocksure.
Consequences happen, each an after after each before.
 
Bring plagues into communities, inviting blood and pain and gore.
Bid with your blank RSVP; said consequences then ignore.
Invitations infect in stubborn ways, with surprises to then abhor.
Invite the errors of the past for delusions' next encore.
 
Bring back the seventh century; revive the dinosaur.
Those pigs wallowing in you parlor in sniff time you'll deplore.
Give thought and thought to think of such, forever after trails before.
Some Trojan tragic horses waltzed through your open door.

 

Addendum of Bringing In Death and Destruction:  "I have travelled much, and have had much to do with heroes, but I have never seen such another man as Ulysses. What endurance too, and what courage he displayed within the wooden horse, wherein all the bravest of the Argives were lying in wait to bring death and destruction upon the Trojans." In Book IV, The Odyssey, Homer in the translation of Samuel Butler (1897).   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of a Deceit becoming an Ambush:   "He spake; but no man's wit might find a way / To escape their grievous travail, as they sought / To find a remedy, till Laertes' son / Discerned it of his wisdom, and he spake: / "Friend, in high honour held of the Heavenly Ones, / If doomed it be indeed that Priam's burg / By guile must fall before the war-worn Greeks, / A great Horse let us fashion, in the which / Our mightiest shall take ambush. Let the host / Burn all their tents, and sail from hence away / To Tenedos; so the Trojans, from their towers / Gazing, shall stream forth fearless to the plain. / Let some brave man, unknown of any in Troy, / With a stout heart abide without the Horse, / Crouching beneath its shadow, who shall say: / "`Achaea's lords of might, exceeding fain / Safe to win home, made this their offering / For safe return, an image to appease / The wrath of Pallas for her image stolen / From Troy.' And to this story shall he stand, / How long soe'er they question him, until, / Though never so relentless, they believe, / And drag it, their own doom, within the town. / Then shall war's signal unto us be given -- / To them at sea, by sudden flash of torch, / To the ambush, by the cry, `Come forth the Horse!' / When unsuspecting sleep the sons of Troy." In "Quintus Smyrnaeus: The Fall of Troy," translated by Arthur Sanders Way, Loeb Classical Library (1913).

 

Addendum of an Invitation to be Buried:   "The actual verbal context was: 'Whether you like it or not, history is on our side. We will dig you in' ('Нравится вам или нет, но история на нашей стороне. Мы вас закопаем'). In his subsequent public speech Khrushchev declared: '...We must take a shovel and dig a deep grave, and bury colonialism as deep as we can'. Later, on August 24, 1963, Khrushchev remarked in his speech in Yugoslavia, 'I once said, 'We will bury you,' and I got into trouble with it. Of course we will not bury you with a shovel. Your own working class will bury you,' a reference to the Marxist saying, 'The proletariat is the undertaker of capitalism', based on the concluding statement in Chapter 1 of the Communist Manifesto: 'What the bourgeoisie therefore produces, above all, are its own grave-diggers. Its fall and the victory of the proletariat are equally inevitable.' Khrushchev repeated this Marxist thesis at a meeting with journalists in the US in September 1959. Many Americans interpreted the quote as a nuclear threat." In "We will bury you," Wikipedia article, n. d.    [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of the Trojan Mole:   "But the revolution is thoroughgoing. It is still traveling through purgatory. It does its work methodically. ... And when it has accomplished this second half of its preliminary work, Europe will leap from its seat and exult: Well burrowed, old mole!" Karl Marx, in "Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte" (1852).   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of the Modern Trojan Horse as Malicious Viruses:  "A Trojan horse, or Trojan, in computing is a generally non-self-replicating type of malware program containing malicious code that, when executed, carries out actions determined by the nature of the Trojan, typically causing loss or theft of data, and possible system harm. The term is derived from the story of the wooden horse used to trick defenders of Troy into taking concealed warriors into their city in ancient Anatolia, because computer Trojans often employ a form of social engineering, presenting themselves as routine, useful, or interesting in order to persuade victims to install them on their computers." In Trojan horse (computing), Wikipedia article, n. d.    [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of Minarets to be Bayonets:   "...his pro-Islamist sympathies earned him a conviction in 1998 for inciting religious hatred. He had publicly read an Islamic poem including the lines: 'The mosques are our barracks, the domes our helmets, the minarets our bayonets and the faithful our soldiers...' He was sentenced to 10 months in jail, but was freed after four." In "Turkey's charismatic pro-Islamic leader," BBC, 4 November 2002.    [ 5 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]  Another translation favors "fate" over "destruction": "What a thing was this, too, which that mighty man wrought and endured in the carven horse, wherein all we chiefs of the Argives were sitting, bearing to the Trojans death and fate!" In Book IV, Odyssey, Homer in the translation of A.T. Murray (1919).

          This has some purchase, for things launched have somewhat predictable ends, as literary theory suggests. Each story has a recognized beginning and is associated with a predicted ending, such as Georges Polti's suggests.

          For an economic tale with a consistently predictable outcome, see Ponzi states  .

          The Butler translation of the Odyssey also tells of disguise:   "He covered himself with wounds and bruises, dressed himself all in rags, and entered the enemy's city looking like a menial or a beggar, and quite different from what he did when he was among his own people. In this disguise he entered the city of Troy, and no one said anything to him. I alone recognised him and began to question him, but he was too cunning for me."

          "Too cunning" is a tale of simple infectious disease. As one example tells:  "A study of screenings at Australia’s Sydney Airport during the Swine Flu pandemic found that fever was detected in 5,845 passengers during the roughly two-month period covered by the analysis. Only three of those individuals ended up having the virus, which is known in the scientific community as H1N1. Researchers determined that 45 patients who acquired the illness overseas would have 'probably passed through the airport' during the roughly two-month period covered in the study. That means the screeners likely missed the vast majority of individuals who arrived at the facility with Swine Flu, despite grabbing thousands of travelers who showed signs of fever." In "These scientific studies show that airport Ebola screenings are largely ineffective," by Josh Hicks, Washington Post, 31 October 2014.

          Such is the nature of "fate" and of destruction, in which an invitation -- global travel enhancing the invitation to a worldwide phenomenon -- is "accepted," simply because those "at the gates" cannot recognize a threat. Others will not.

          Ideas are viral, as well. One may become infected with enthusiasm for a thing, pursuit, activity or belief which changes an individual radically. Such is the modern discussion over "radicalization" of some members of a given society, which news media declare to be among the root caused of violence. As Murray says, "death and fate!" 

 

[ 2 ]   "In August 1991, communist hardliners tried a death-or-glory tactic to save the Soviet Union - seizing power by force. Their coup failed and the Soviet Union was dead within months. But the chain of events leading to the collapse was set in motion six years earlier, when Politburo member Mikhail Gorbachev became Soviet leader. He was only the sixth leader since the USSR's birth in 1922 - but his actions were to make him the last." In "Collapse of the USSR, 10 Years On, BBC, 2005.

          Khrushchev's boast stood on Marx' invitation to workers to unite, which they eventually did not. Rather the Trojan horse for the Soviet Union was competing unfavorably with a capitalist West.

          One learns:  "In July 1991, Gorbachev toured the West begging for economic support for his program of perestroika. In a letter to the leaders of the Group of Seven, Grigori Yavlinsky and Yevgeny Primakov, Gorbachev’s economic advisers declared: 'The Soviet Union has entered a stage of deep social crisis. Three developments are taking place simultaneously: transition from totalitarianism to a democratic society; transformation of the economic system; and worsening of the nationalities problem, the solution of which has been postponed for too long. The Soviet economy finds itself surrounded by the obvious collapse of its monetary sphere, its consumer market, and its capital market. Different structures of government management have been drawn into the crisis as well'. And if the Western leaders didn't get the point: 'The excessive social tensions expected to accompany transformation on such a scale inside a military superpower would present an unjustified risk for both the country and the entire world. Meanwhile the beginning of this year witnessed a sharp decline in Soviet production. The economy is on the verge of hyperinflation. The percentage of the population living below the poverty line is growing. Serious problems with the country’s paying capacity reflect its considerable dependence on imports. Social tensions have reached a dangerous level'." In "Stalinism: It's Origin and Future," by Andy Blunden, Marxists.org, 1993.

          The rules of a command economy invited themselves to rule, in direct antithesis to any notion of freedom. And yet the West's rulers were also "surprised."

          One reads:  "The failure of Western experts to anticipate the Soviet Union's collapse may in part be attributed to a sort of historical revisionism -- call it anti-anti-communism -- that tended to exaggerate the Soviet regime's stability and legitimacy. Yet others who could hardly be considered soft on communism were just as puzzled by its demise. One of the architects of the U.S. strategy in the Cold War, George Kennan, wrote that, in reviewing the entire 'history of international affairs in the modern era,' he found it 'hard to think of any event more strange and startling, and at first glance inexplicable, than the sudden and total disintegration and disappearance…of the great power known successively as the Russian Empire and then the Soviet Union.' Richard Pipes, perhaps the leading American historian of Russia as well as an advisor to U.S. President Ronald Reagan, called the revolution 'unexpected'." In "Everything You Think You Know About the Collapse of the Soviet Union Is Wrong," by Leon Aron, Foreign Policy, 20 June 2011.

 

[ 3 ]    Given a century and more of history, one may well argue that Marx' own views carried the "seeds of its own destruction." even though this now famous quote resounds for many.

          The original text: "It will be the workers, with their courage, resolution and self-sacrifice, who will be chiefly responsible for achieving victory. The petty bourgeoisie will hesitate as long as possible and remain fearful, irresolute and inactive; but when victory is certain it will claim it for itself and will call upon the workers to behave in an orderly fashion, and it will exclude the proletariat from the fruits of victory. ... the rule of the bourgeois democrats, from the very first, will carry within it the seeds of its own destruction, and its subsequent displacement by the proletariat will be made considerably easier." Karl Marx, in "Address of the Central Committee to the Communist League" (1850).

          The foolishness of this pettifogger becomes ever more apparent. From Khrushchev's quote about "burying" the West being followed by the collapse of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics to Marx' own inept handling of his personal finances, one finds "seeds of its own destruction" lay in another place than was predicted. In fact, such destruction was indeed invited.

          Additionally the one-party state of Communist China shows a decided love affair with capital throughout its elite leadership.

          See: Capital for Communists  - a story growing old.

          As to Marx' "well burrowed, old mole" -- see above -- one only need consider Socialism's Last Hurrah  - not democracy in any town. From 1852 through the sixty years of the Castro brothers' rule, one finds expectations of a socialist utopia have been just more Trojan horses, pulled through the gates of nations by romanticizing revolution, promising prosperity with justice and delivering violence and loss of life, and economic distress alongside suppression of political dissent.

          For more on Marx' own economic ineptitude and stiff-necked resentment of even his own grocer, see Welfare Queen  .  It is a portrait in words of a man who carried the seeds of his own economic destruction.

 

[ 4 ]  The use of the Greek tale to inform about modern life becomes wider.  One reads: "A destructive “Trojan Horse” malware program has penetrated the software that runs much of the nation’s critical infrastructure and is poised to cause an economic catastrophe, according to the Department of Homeland Security. National Security sources told ABC News there is evidence that the malware was inserted by hackers believed to be sponsored by the Russian government, and is a very serious threat." In " 'Trojan Horse' Bug Lurking in Vital US Computers Since 2011," by Jack Cloherty and Pierre Thomas, ABC News, 6 November 2014.

 

[ 5 ]   The tale of Erdoğan's recitation of an Islamic poem might seem a stretch, to link to these metaphors in speech of the Trojan horse. Minarets as bayonets is well parsed as a plan quite like the Greeks' to conquer Troy.

          One reads of such usage of the comparison:  "...a spokesman insisted Ofsted, which has introduced the new rules the wake of the Islamist Trojan Horse plot to radicalise pupils in Birmingham, was right to ensure schools were not breeding grounds for homophobia." In "Faith schools which 'indoctrinate' children against homosexuality face being closed down under new Government rules," by Tom McTague, Daily Mail UK, 2 November 2014.

          Even such opinion can be a possible Trojan horse. One could invert the issue: lobbying for entities which indoctrinate children for homosexuality might also a Trojan horse. It depends on whether one fights on one side in the "war" and who on another. The Greeks arrayed against Troy. Socialists arrayed against free markets. Homosexual advocacy in schools arrayed against those who would not support such advocacy. Religious domination arrayed against religious freedom. Wars for millennia will continue, and Trojan horses will continue to be found. The metaphor across centuries speaks and to today. It speaks in war.

          As to Erdoğan's Turkey, one reads interesting news which might shed light on the metaphor of the Trojan horse in terms of minarets into missiles:  "A reluctant former communications technician working for Islamic State, going by the pseudonym ‘Sherko Omer’, who managed to escape the group, told Newsweek that he travelled in a convoy of trucks as part of an ISIS unit from their stronghold in Raqqa, across Turkish border, through Turkey and then back across the border to attack Syrian Kurds in the city of Serekaniye in northern Syria in February, in order to bypass their defences. 'ISIS commanders told us to fear nothing at all because there was full cooperation with the Turks,” said Omer of crossing the border into Turkey...."In " 'ISIS Sees Turkey as Its Ally': Former Islamic State Member Reveals Turkish Army Cooperation," by Barney Guiton, Time, 7 November 2014.

          That is the state version of using the Islamic version of a Trojan horse, but one reads of the individual version as well.  "When he challenged the teenager's mother, she told him: 'I’m sorry, it’s my son. He’s young and he’s just discovered his faith.' The neighbour said the teenager recently grew a full beard and began wearing traditional Muslim dress." In "'Her Majesty will not shirk her duty': Queen to attend Remembrance ceremony at Cenotaph tomorrow despite police arresting four Islamic extremists over 'plot to kill her'," by Chris Greenwood and James Slack for the Daily Mail and Martin Robinson for MailOnline, Daily Mail UK, 7 November 2014.

          "...he's just discovered his faith?"  That minarets become bayonets, whether at the level of a nation or an individual, the poem read by Erdoğan  tells the modern application of the Trojan horse strategy -- camouflage one's intention to conquer in order to further the conquest.  "...the faithful are our soldiers."


 

Spot, the athlete

"A CNN investigation found public universities across the country where many students in the basketball and football programs could read only up to an eighth-grade level. The data obtained through open records requests also showed a staggering achievement gap between college athletes and their peers at the same institution. This is not an exhaustive survey of all universities with major sports programs; CNN chose a sampling of public universities where open records laws apply. We sought data from a total of 37 institutions, of which 21 schools responded. The others denied our request for entrance exam or aptitude test scores, some saying the information did not exist and others citing privacy rules. Some simply did not provide it in time." In "CNN analysis: Some college athletes play like adults, read like 5th-graders," Sara Ganim, CNN, 8 January 2014.

 

See Spot run;
See games won.
See puffed grades;
See fans' fun.

See Spot pass;
See sports' sass.
See jocks dodge;
See? No class.

See Spot catch;
See each match?
See Spot's games?
See fraud? Natch'.

See Spot throw;
See the show.
See Spot lose;
See lost dough.

See Spot's fraud?
See what's flawed?
See the con?
See? Applaud?

 

Addendum of Academic Fraud:   "What happens to the 3,100 students who enrolled in fake classes and now have a degree stamped with the seal of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill -- an institution consistently ranked among the nation's top public schools? Likely nothing." In "Academic fraud or not, UNC students likely will keep degrees," by Sara Ganim, CNN, 26 October 2014.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of the Permissive Environment:   "Crowder took advantage of the more permissive environment under Nyang’oro and started to implement a plan to offer classes that awarded high grades with little regard for the quality of a student’s work. Specifically, she designed and offered what are called 'paper classes.' These were classes that were taught on an independent study basis for students and student-athletes whom Crowder selected. Like traditional independent studies at Chapel Hill or any other campus, these classes entailed no class attendance and required only the submission of a single research paper. Unlike traditional independent studies, however, there was no faculty member involved in managing the course and overseeing the student’s research and writing process. In fact, the students never had a single interaction with a faculty member; their only interaction was with Crowder, the Student Services Manager who was not a member of the University faculty. Crowder provided the students with no actual instruction, but she managed the whole course from beginning to end." In "Investigation of Irregular Classes in the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill," by Kenneth L. Wainstein, A. Joseph Jay III and Colleen Depman Kukowski, Cadwalader, 16 October 2014.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Income Inequality in University Sports:   "The University of North Carolina will pay its football coaching staff $4.07 million during its first year on the job, according to figures the university released on Monday. That includes the $2.13 million North Carolina will pay to head coach Larry Fedora, whom the university introduced in December as the successor to interim head coach Everett Withers. Fedora’s salary includes a one- time payment of $400,000, which the university was to provide to him by March 15, according to his contract. Blake Anderson, Dan Disch and Vic Koenning are North Carolina’s three highest-paid assistants. They will each receive $250,000 annually." In "New UNC football coaching staff to receive $4.07 million," News Observer, 7 May 2012.

 

See:   Income Inequality 

 

Addendum of the First of the Coming Law Suits:   " 'From selection of a major to selection of courses, the UNC football program controlled football student-athletes' academic track, with the sole purpose of ensuring that football student-athletes were eligible to participate in athletics, rather than actually educating them,' says his lawsuit, filed Thursday by the law firms of Ferguson, Chambers & Sumter in Charlotte, North Carolina, and Mehri and Skalet in Washington, D.C. 'UNC has reaped substantial profits from football student-athletes' performance for the school, but it has not provided them a legitimate education in return. As such, UNC has breached its contract with Plaintiff and Class members, in violation of North Carolina common law,' wrote his attorney, Jeremi Duru, who is also a professor of law at the Washington College of Law." In "Former UNC athlete sues school over academic scandal," by Sara Ganim, CNN, 8 November 2014.

 

Addendum of Our Latin Lady Looking at Academic Fraud:   "Notre Dame has removed four likely starters from its football team in the midst of an investigation into academic fraud, the school confirmed at a Friday afternoon news conference." In "Notre Dame investigates academic fraud, holds out four players," by Dan Wolken, USA Today, 17 August 2014. 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   Months after a scandal erupts, one looks back to find this:  "Top administrators, one would assume, immediately called Willingham in, congratulated her, and got to work fixing remaining problems. Nope. In a written statement issued Wednesday, Jan. 8, UNC said of Willingham’s account of illiterate varsity athletes: 'We do not believe that claim.' In other words, her employer accused Willingham of making it up. Why on earth would she do that?" In "UNC Officials Lash Out at Academic Fraud Whistleblower," by Paul M. Barrett, Business Week, 10 January 2014.

          And yet in October the investigation proves that the whistleblower was correct, and the "top administrators" were incorrect, though angry that academic fraud was alleged, much less later proven.

          "The academic fraud/football scandal is the saddest, most maddening, most humbling event to stain Carolina's reputation in memory. Everyone in the UNC family must accept some responsibility for allowing our desire to win in the Smith Center and Kenan Stadium to exceed our desire to prevail in the classroom. We have lost sight of our primary mission: educating our young people." In "Evidence of Academic Fraud Found in African and Afro-American Studies," in "Letters from readers," by Darrell Smith, UNC General Alumni Association, n. d., circa 2014.

          The story continues:  "...a pattern of fake classes, which allowed 3,100 athletes and other students to earn artificially high grades from 1993 to 2011. While the sham courses were solely in the African studies department, multiple people around campus knew of them or suspected something but said nothing, the report said. Folt said she was naming Boxill 'in light of the extraordinary circumstances underlying the longstanding and intolerable academic irregularities described in the Wainstein Report, as well as her role as chair of the faculty council during a period of time covered by the report.' Campus lawyer David Parker also disclosed that Timothy McMillan resigned after 17 years at the school. He was a senior lecturer in the Department of African, African American and Diaspora Studies, the renamed department where a retired administrator orchestrated and a retired chairman allowed the pattern of no-show classes and generous grades." In "Professor Among 4 Fired in UNC Academic Fraud," Associated Press, 31 December 2014.

          The story continues: "University faculty and staff provided 'special arrangements to student athletes that were not generally available to the student body,' including offering classes as independent study courses with little if any attendance requirements and 'artificially high final grades'." In "University Of North Carolina Charged With 5 'Level 1' Violations By NCAA," by Sam Sanders, National Public Radio, 4 June 2015.

          From the perspective of June 2015, one then looks back to January 2014 to remind that UNC stated "We do not believe this claim" by the original whistleblower. Such seems quite like the nature of the child with a hand caught in the millions-of-dollars cookie jar.

 

[ 2 ]    Why would "academic fraud" in college sports be a hot topic? Money in the millions is the obvious answer. Collegiate football is one example among several collegiate sports.

          UNC's football coach is only number 58 among the wealthiest college football coaches. At the top and counting down:  Alabama's Nick Saban, $5,545,852; Texas' Mack Brown, $5,453,750; Arkansas's Bret Bielema, $5,158,863; Tennessee's Butch Jones, $4,860,000; Oklahoma's Bob Stoops, $4,773,167; Ohio State's Urban Meyer, $4,608,000; LSU's Les Miles, $4,459,363; Michigan's Brady Hoke, $4,154,000; Iowa's Kirk Ferentz, $3,985,000; Louisville's Charlie Strong, $3,738,500; Oklahoma State's Mike Gundy, $3,450,000; South Carolina's Steve Spurrier, $3,322,500; Georgia's Mark Richt, $3,314,000; Penn State's Bill O'Brien, $3,282,779; Cincinnati's Tommy Tuberville, $3,143,000; Texas Christian's Gary Patterson, $3,120,760; Texas A&M's Kevin Sumlin, $3,100,300; Nebraska 's Bo Pelini, $2,975,000; Kansas State's Bill Snyder, $2,803,000; Missouri's Gary Pinkel, $2,800,200; Florida State's Jimbo Fisher, $2,750,000; Florida's Will Muschamp, $2,734,500; Mississippi State's Dan Mullen, $2,700,000; West Virginia's Dana Holgorsen; $2,630,000; Southern California's Lane Kiffin, $2,594,091; Washington's Steve Sarkisian, $2,575,000; North Carolina State's Dave Doeren, $2,555,000; Clemson's Dabo Swinney, $2,550,024; Virginia Tech's Frank Beamer, $2,541,616; Georgia Tech's Paul Johnson, $2,515,500; Kansas; Charlie Weis, $2,503,727; Auburn's Gus Malzahn, $2,440,000; Utah's Kyle Whittingham, $2,427,100; Baylor's Art Briles, $2,426,360; Colorado's Mike MacIntyre, $2,403,500; California's Sonny Dykes, $2,394,000; Arizona State's Todd Graham, $2,303,020; UCLA's Jim Mora, $2,300,000; Wake Forest's Jim Grobe, $2,251,635; Washington State's Mike Leach, $2,250,000; Northwestern's Pat Fitzgerald, $2,221,153; Virginia's Mike London, $2,189,703; Purdue's Darrell Hazell, $2,160,833; Boise State's Chris Petersen, $2,151,500; Arizona's Rich Rodriguez, $2,150,000; Miami's Al Golden, $2,148,107; Wisconsin's Gary Andersen, $2,120,823; Maryland's Randy Edsall, $2,025,440; Mississippi's Hugh Freeze, $2,005,500; Kentucky's Mark Stoops, $2,001,250; Michigan State's Mark Dantonio, $1,959,744; Southern Methodist's June Jones, $1,911,51; Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury, $1,855,300; Vanderbilt's James Franklin, $1,842,771; South Florida's Willie Taggart, $1,807,745; Oregon's Mark Helfrich, $1,800,000; Duke's David Cutcliffe, $1,792,285; North Carolina's Larry Fedora, $1,730,000. The list continues with many more million dollar university salaries.

          UNC's football coach is paid a meager $1,730,000. But that is only taking into account college football. There's basketball to consider.

          UNC's basketball coach is only number 22 among the wealthiest college basketball coaches. At the top and counting down: Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, $9,682,032; Louisville's Rick Pitino, $5,758,338; Kentucky's John Calipari, $5,511,381; Kansas' Bill Self, $4,960,763; Florida's Billy Donovan, $3,905,964; Michigan State's Tom Izzo, $3,893,954; UCLA's Steve Alford, $3,473,973; Ohio State's Thad Matta, $3,282,000; Memphis' Josh Pastner, $2,650,000; Arizona's Sean Miller, $2,627,806; Texas' Rick Barnes, $2,550,000; Michgan's John Beilein, $2,498,242; Villanova's Jay Wright, $2,489,332; Oklahoma State's Travis Ford, $2,450,000; Pittsburgh's Jamie Dixon, $2,445,682; Wisconsin's Bo Ryan, $2,413,500; Virginia's Tony Bennett, $2,291,100; Oklahoma's Lon Kruger, $2,200,000; Baylor's Scott Drew, $2,133,120; North Carolina State's Mark Gottfried, $2,009,000; Oregon's Dana Altman, $2,000,000; and then North Carolina's Roy Williams, $1,827,945. The list continues with yet million-dollar salaries, placing these "academic" positions among the top one-percent of all Americans.  Source: USA Today.

          With such one-percent salaries being lavished on sports "faculty" in academia, perhaps the entire system is become a fraud, with student debt growing under the demands of every higher tuition and expenses.

          It only stands to reason that a "whistleblower" telling of "paper classes" and semi-illiterate university players would be an anathema to a system grown wealthy by such practices now being revealed. Rising tuitions and lobbying for government money supports these many millionaires. Such seems the nature of "academics" today.

          It is useful to have comparative numbers by which to make more clear such enormous "academic" salaries.

          One learns of that number which identifies the one percent at the top of all "workers According to the United States Social Security's "Wage Statistics for 2013," someone is in the top one percent at an income of about $235,000. And in the top half a percent? An income of about $350,000. By comparison, about 80 percent of all Americans earn $60,000 or less.

          Thus we easily sees that the football and basketball coaches, represented by the names above, earn more than 99.9 % of all Americans. It becomes obvious that which "rocks the boat" -- whistleblowers and independent proof of academic fraud -- and jeopardizes the university-sponsored money machine which is "academic" sports.

 

For other academic excesses and the fat cats atop the system, see:    Doctor Oppression comes to call  


 

Yeowl

"You wish to communicate an idea and its concomitant emotions, or an emotion and its concomitant ideas, or a sensation and its derivative emotions, or an impression that is emotive, etc. etc. etc. You begin with the yeowl and the bark, and you develop into the dance and into music, and into music with words, and finally into words with music, and finally into words with a vague adumbration of music, words suggestive of music, words measured, or words in a rhythm that preserves some accurate trait of the emotive impression, or of the sheer character of the fostering or parental emotion." In "The Serious Artist, III. Emotion und Poesy," Ezra Pound, The New Freewoman. Bd. 1, Nr. 10, 1. November 1913.

Yeowl and bark,
Then listen, hark!
Something comes this way.
    Just a lark,
    Perhaps a spark,
    It comes as comes it may.
You might mark
With sculpting arc
That word and song this day.
    Again embark
    From yeowl and bark
    To art as earnest play.


 

Sands of time

Sands of time they empty

out a glassy bulging bust

with a gravity they tumble

to a piling of dust  to dust

ponder this not clever thought

and sense time's path ahead

leading all from yesterday

as babes become the dead

reflect on the inverted glass
which begins again the fall

of sands of time which tumble

for generations one and all

mysteries are spelled by this
for all know nothing well

in spite of jargon's jesting

pretending to foretell

that which  hides well behind

receding from plain view

but requiring with come hither

to partake of what is true

yet proving nothing for the nonce

until the sands run out

there's time enough between this yet

to remove the stains of doubt.


 

connect the dots

connect the dots.
     things intertwine,
as this to that
    out a world's design.
one to another,
     clues lead on.
all made known
     by phenomenon.
connect the dots;
     reality calls.
there's much to learn,
     else much befalls.
see things such
     as they are,
with each bright sun,
     a dying star.

connect the dots;

     follow signs.

linkage reveals

     the larger design.

 

Addendum of Connecting the Dots Backwards:    "...you can't connect the dots looking forward; you can only connect them looking backwards. So you have to trust that the dots will somehow connect in your future. You have to trust in something — your gut, destiny, life, karma, whatever. This approach has never let me down, and it has made all the difference in my life." In "'You've got to find what you love,' Jobs says," Commencement Address, Stanford Report, 14 June 2005.

 

Addendum of Connecting Government Dots Embarrassingly:   "To connect the dots: SAIC was writing the regulations for one government agency, the N.R.C., which would set the permissible limits of radioactive contamination for recycling, even as it partnered with another company, under contract to a different federal agency, the D.O.E., to recycle the radioactive metal for which it was drafting the regulations. The synergy of this arrangement was discovered accidentally by a Washington lawyer, Daniel Guttman, whose longtime passion has been conflicts of interest that inevitably—purposefully—arise from government outsourcing. Guttman called attention in public hearings to what was happening, thoroughly embarrassing officials at the N.R.C. and the D.O.E. and stirring the ire of public-interest groups." In "Washington's $8 Billion Shadow," by Donald L. Barlett and James B. steele, Vanity Fair, March 2007.

 

 Addendum of Not Connecting Dots  Expensively:    "So, we're spending all of this money (our money) on top secret operations, including spying on pretty much every American... and so far it's been almost entirely useless against the actual threats we face. Well, that's comforting. Oh, and if you wondered about the failure to connect the dots on the Boston Marathon bombings? It's because the intelligence community and all that money have no idea how to figure out those kinds of attacks." In "Latest Snowden Leaks Detail The 'Black Budget' And How Much The Gov't Wastes On Useless Surveillance," by Mike Masnick, TechDirt, 29 August 2013.

 

 Addendum of Connecting Dots of Debt:   "One of the Grand Narratives of our era is the substitution of debt for income: as earned income and disposable income have stagnated for 40 years, the gap between the rising cost of living and stagnant household income has been filled by borrowed money. Money has been borrowed to replace income everywhere: consumers have borrowed money to buy things they otherwise couldn’t afford, students have borrowed over $1 trillion to attend college, governments have borrowed money to fund wars and social spending, corporations have borrowed money to buy back their own shares, pushing stock prices higher. There’s one little problem with debt: interest must be paid on debt." In "The Next Global Meltdown Is Baked In: Connecting the Dots Between Oil, Debt, Interest Rates and Risk," by Charles High Smith, Washington Post Blog, 1 July 2014.

 

Addendum of Connecting Electric Dots:   "Avoiding 3 tons of CO2 would cost less than $27 on Europe's emissions trading market. The annual benefit is about the cost of a cup of coffee. Yet U.S. taxpayers spend up to $7,500 in tax breaks for less than $27 of climate benefits. That's a bad deal." In "Electric car benefits? Just myths," by Bjørn Lomborg, USA Today, 19 February 2015.

 

$27  <   $7,500


 

Little Marcy Busy-Pants

       Little Marcy Busy-Pants
      Worries right and left,
     Worries here and worries there
    With worrying so deft
   There's not a moment to be lost --
  For this she must make haste
 To worry in her busied way,
Bold and brazen-faced.

       Worry moves Miss Marcy
      To nose and poke about,
     Finding fault in others
    With her busybody's snout.
   Little Marcy Busy-Pants
  Has time to lecture all,
 But broaches no one lecture her
Offending her piqued piped protocol.

       "Hurry now, do as I say,"
      Blurts Marcy Busy-Pants,
     But try tell her what to do
    And suffer her angry rants.
   "Rule for one's not rule for you!
  I hereby declare my reign!"
 For this we must heed Busy-Pants,
As she declares, "I'm sovereign!"

       Worry will we, worry won't we?
      But not about our cares,
     For it's all about Miss Marcy
    And what she loud declares.
   Nosy is as nosy does,
  And Little Miss Marcy is nosy.
 Walk away from Busy-Pants' rant?
Ah, life becomes most rosy.

 

Envoi:   "No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks." Under Article 12 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948.

 

Addendum from a Justice:   "The right to be let alone is indeed the beginning of all freedom." In William O. Douglas' Dissenting Opinion, "Public Utilities Commission v. Pollak," 343 U.S. 451, 467 (1952).

 

Addendum of the Urge to Rule:  "The urge to save humanity is almost always a false front for the urge to rule." H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) in "Bayard vs. Lionheart," Baltimore Evening Sun, 26 July 1920.

 

Addendum of Complaints about Illegal Detached Structures:   "Last summer in Kansas, a 9-year-old was loving his Little Free Library until at least two residents proved that some people will complain about anything no matter how harmless and city officials pushed the boundaries of literal-mindedness: The Leawood City Council said it had received a couple of complaints about Spencer Collins' Little Free Library. They dubbed it an 'illegal detached structure' and told the Collins' they would face a fine if they did not remove the Little Free Library from their yard by June 19. Scattered stories like these have appeared in various local news outlets. The L.A. Times followed up last week with a trend story that got things just about right. 'Crime, homelessness and crumbling infrastructure are still a problem in almost every part of America, but two cities have recently cracked down on one of the country's biggest problems: small-community libraries where residents can share books,' Michael Schaub wrote." In "The Danger of Being Neighborly Without a Permit," by Conor Freidersdorf, The Atlantic, 20 February 2015.

 

Addendum of Golden Clarity:   "People are just cannibals unless they leave each other alone." Doris Lessing, "The Golden Notebook," 1962.

 

Addendum of the Oft-Quoted and Ever-Apt Critique:   “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience." C. S . Lewis (1898-1963)


 

Dictionary - quite contrary

Dick! Shun airy, empty words.
    Shift your leanings! Little girds
    Argument, meanings changed
With definitions rearranged.
 
This is that, though once was not,
    But time ticks on, as change is wrought.
    Here is there, but never is
Exactly what might fail the quiz.

Dick! Shun nary an amorphous twist
    To win a debate as contortionist.
    What's defined gets redefined
To the clever cleaver's amending mind.

Say a thing; then deny it said,
    For what was meant was meant instead
    To mean some other -- you misspoke?
Ah well, such chatter becomes the joke.

 

Addendum of a Dictionary in the Political News:   " 'What does victory look like here?' asked a reporter. 'I mean, you've talked about destroying ISIL. I honestly don't know what that means. What does it mean" 'I didn't bring my Webster's dictionary with me up here,' Earnest said." In "WH Can't Define Victory: 'I Didn’t Bring My Webster’s Dictionary'," by Daniel Halper, Weekly Standard, 11 September 2014.

 

See:   Wrong is right 


 

Schizotypy

"Research confirms a link between schizotypy and creative achievement. In particular, 'positive' schizotypal traits such as unusual perceptual experiences and magical beliefs tend to be elevated in artists and 'negative' schizotypal traits such as physical and social anhedonia and introversion tend to be associated with mathematical and scientific creativity. But what about the connection between schizotypy and flow? Nelson and Rawlings make the intriguing suggestion that 'Positive schizotypy is associated with central features of ‘flow'-type experience, including distinct shift in phenomenological experience, deep absorption, focus on present experience, and sense of pleasure'." In "Schizotypy, Flow, and the Artist’s Experience," by Scott Barry Kaufman, Beautiful Minds, 11 June 2010.

 

I'm sure that there's a maybe
        midst such flowing streams I might,
                or perhaps as muse on off things
        perceive what's not in sight.
Slipping towards sum-sliding side,
        taken forward, as aback,
                with a certainty which quips, equips
        this illusory haversack.
Imagine that, will you, won't you?
        Take then a good deep look
                at the dimension of what all it seems --
        thought clawed out some private nook.
Rightly as write wrongly,
        and surely knot as not,
                I redeem me from my waking dreams
        to counterpoint the counterplot.
I'll hear aloud the silent,
        yea, see that once unseen,
                and savor choice unreal things
        which crystallize to crystalline.
For this there is a maybe.
        Stay sure that there's a might,
                Convinced that some where is that song
                    which soars beyond delight.

 

Envoi:  "One interpretation of these observations is that a high level of positive schizotypy is a psychometric proxy for openness to [anomalous] experiences which, in turn, are more likely to be reported by ‘suggestible’individuals evincing dissociative tendencies in the realm of day-dreaming and absorption." In "Suggestibility, Dissociation and Positive Schizotypy," by Emma Barkus, John Stirling and John Cavill, Clínica y Salud, Vol. 21, n. 1, Colegio Oficial de Psicólogos de Madrid, 2010.

 

Addendum:   "Claridge coined the term schizotypy to represent the unusual behaviors and experiences of individuals in the general population (see also Claridge, McCreery, Mason, Bentall, Boyle, Slade, & Popplewell, 1996). This research highlighted that schizotypy entails several distinct clusters of behavior or experience. In particular, some individuals might report unusual experiences or thoughts-hallucinations, magical beliefs, intense superstitions, or delusional interpretations. Second, other individuals might exhibit disordered cognition, such as tangential or extraneous thoughts. Third, individuals might report social anhedonia, which represents an ability to derive enjoyment from social or physical stimulation. Fourth, some individuals show impulsive and deviant behavior, violating social conventions and prescribed rules." In "Schizotypy," Psychlopedia, Austria, posted by Simon Moss, 18 October 2008.


 

This speaks

"Poetry as oral performance came into my consciousness very early. I realized that performance is the completion of the publication, of the making public of a poem." Quote of Stanley Lombardo, in "Michael Leddy interviews Stanley Lombardo," Jacket Magazine, 21, February 2003.

This speaks, if you but let it
Out into its sounds
Where sings a tuneful thought
Which soars, lives, dies, astounds.

This speaks aloud though read
If you but hear its voice;
All art means nothing without the you
Who touches it by choice.

Seeing, speaking, singing
Is verse which sets to soar,
Makes public what was private,
Turning less towards evermore.

 

Envoi:   "Speak, Immortal One, / And tell the tale once more in our time." In "The Odyssey," by Homer, translated by Stanley Lombardo, Hackett Publishing, 2000.

 

Addendum of Poetry as Performance:   "The complementarity of performance and composition, as observed by Lord, parallels that of parole and langue, as formulated by Ferdinand de Saussure in the field of linguistics. The present book places the emphasis on parole, parallel to the emphasis on performance. The English noun song, along with the verb sing, expresses admirably the coexistence of performance and composition as a continuum. Further, the idea of performance inherent in song, which is absent from the word poetry, makes it more useful to apply the word song rather than poetry to archaic Greek traditions, which do not explicitly distinguish song from poetry. The resonance of performance led Albert Lord to describe the medium of the South Slavic guslar - and of Homer - as song rather than poetry." In "Poetry as Performance: Homer and Beyond, Introduction," by Gregory Nagy, Cambridge University Press, 1996.

 

Addendum of the Perils of Performance:    "Too often we are mistaking the poetry reading for the reading of poetry. Sure, public poetry events bring people together, creating a community for the most intimidating of the verbal arts. They allow us to encounter poets we admire or have never heard of, connecting the printed poem with the voice and mien of its creator, and adding new dimensions of meaning to the experience the page provides. Poetry readings allow a poet to test how new work reverberates, or doesn’t. And of course, for the poetry business itself, poetry readings are a hopeful sign for an art that seems paradoxically both more marginalized and more popular—especially in a culture that gauges the worth of an art by the size of its box office, where few large publishers issue books by poets, where poetry-reviewing has mostly vanished from mainstream media, and where according to the NEA fewer and fewer people read books of any kind. In his keynote address at the 1996 PEN Literary Awards, Richard Howard offered 'a modest proposal that may yet restore an art that was once the glory and the consolation of our race to something like its ulterior status. My proposal is simply this: to make poetry, once again, a secret.' Howard continued, 'We have failed…to make poetry known; we have merely made it public. If we are to save poetry, which means if we are to savor it, we must restore poetry to that status of seclusion and even secrecy that characterizes our authentic pleasures and identifies only our intimately valued actions.' For Howard, a poem is an intimate act of communication, not an occasion for a group grope." In "The Peril of the Poetry Reading: The Page Versus the Performance," by David Groff, Poets.org, 2005.

 

SeePoetry 


 

Voted - not sugarcoated

 

"The city of Detroit, Michigan filed for Chapter 9 bankruptcy on July 18, 2013. It is the largest municipal bankruptcy filing in U.S. history by debt, estimated at $18–20 billion, exceeding Jefferson County, Alabama's $4 billion filing in 2011. Detroit is also the largest city by population in the U.S. history to file for Chapter 9 bankruptcy, more than twice as large as Stockton, California, which filed in 2012. Detroit’s population has declined from a peak of 1.8 million in 1950; recently, the New York Times called the city 'home to 700,000 people, as well as to tens of thousands of abandoned buildings, vacant lots and unlit streets'." In "Detroit Bankruptcy," Wikipedia, n. d.   [ 1 ]

We'd voted to fill our pockets from what you'd had in yours,
    Especially as ours was a vacuum that Mom Nature so abhors.
We'd vacuumed from your pockets, inflating ours thereby,
    And did it democratically with a vote that loud spoke aye!

Our party was a gala; receipts had flowed fast in.
    This was then law; no consequence; no need for discipline.
The transfer was completed when votes amassed to win;
    We'd voted as often as we could, no sense amid the din.

That vote was what the voters did, then well-filled pockets fled.
    And so the story's circle goes as democracy is bled.
Next fund by debt, thought debtors, that others would someday pay;
    'Twas not the brightest strategy, as debt grew up to stay.

The story's end was known by those who stories tell;
    All votes and best intentions can smooth the vote to hell.
Red blooded folk bled red ink as numbers failed to please;
    Corruption lined its pockets too, high-sounding yet still sleaze.

By voting to fill some pockets from what others had in theirs,
    The cycle of reddening numbers caught voters unawares.
Thereby is this tale oft told, for as was it before;
    The tale will yet be told again of what voting holds in store.

 

Envoi:   "Nearly half of the owners of Detroit's 305,000 properties failed to pay their tax bills last year, exacerbating a punishing cycle of declining revenues and diminished services for a city in a financial crisis, according to a Detroit News analysis of government records." In "Half of Detroit property owners don't pay taxes," by Christine MacDonald and Mike Wilkinson, Detroit New, 21 February 2014.

 

Addendum of Decay through Democracy's Votes:   "Detroit’s property values fell, tax revenue dropped, police couldn’t control a growing murder rate, and many middle-class blacks fled the city for safer suburbs with better schools. By 2009, the auto industry collapsed along with the economy as a whole, eventually pulling the city down with it. Government corruption under former Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick only made things worse. In the 2000 census, Detroit’s population fell under 1 million as the exodus continued. Today it’s barely above 700,000." In "Detroit’s bankruptcy follows decades of decay," by Dee-Ann Durbin and Tom Krishner, Associated via Seattle Times, 18 July 2014.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum Asking Who Pays:   "...in a city of abandoned properties, squatters and tremendous poverty — 38 percent of Detroit lives below the poverty line — the department has had a hard time distinguishing empty homes from occupied ones, and customers who legitimately can't afford to pay from those who've simply opted not to. As the Detroit Free Press editorialized, the utility has long tolerated unpaid bills, creating a 'culture of nonpayment'." In "The terrible choices Detroit confronts as it cuts off water to its own residents," Emily Badger, Washington Post, 19 July 2014.

 

Addendum of Racially Motivated Detroit:   "After a class action lawsuit filed against the city of Detroit, the NAACP Legal Defense Fund says that recent water shutoffs to Detroit residents were racially motivated. Veronica Joice with the NAACP Legal Defense Fund says, 'That (the shutoffs are) being done in a discriminatory fashion; and they should at least take a look at whether there’s a better way to do this that doesn’t affect the most vulnerable citizens — the majority of whom are African American here in Detroit'." In "NAACP Legal Defense Fund: Detroit Water Service Shutoffs Were Racially Motivated," CBS Detroit, 21 July 2014.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum Looking Back at the Corruption in Detroit Water:   "Documents subpoenaed from Detroit Water and Sewerage contractors with close ties to ex-Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, his parents and his friend Bobby Ferguson are expected to play a role in the next round of City Hall corruption indictments, The Detroit News has learned. The federal grand jury investigating corruption has issued subpoenas to Detroit-based Lakeshore Engineering Services and A&H Contractors Inc., related companies that until recently shared executives who contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the political campaigns of Kilpatrick and his mother, outgoing U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick. The revelations are further indications that the investigation is focusing on business dealings involving the Water and Sewerage Department, a cash-rich utility in which Kilpatrick once had broad powers to award multimillion-dollar contracts without Detroit City Council approval." In "Corruption probe looks at water deals," by Robert Snell, Detroit News, 14 December 2010.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of an Operating Payroll for Detroit Water:   "The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD) has a large debt, rising water prices and inefficient services — using almost twice the number of employees per gallon as other cities like Chicago. A recent independent report about the DWSD recommends that the city trim more than 80 percent of the department’s workforce. The consultant who wrote the report found 257 job descriptions, including a horseshoer. Capitol Confidential sent a Freedom of Information Act request to the department for the salary, benefits and job description of the horseshoer position. In response to the report, John Riehl, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Local 207, which represents many of the DWSD employees, told the Detroit Free Press that the department needs more workers. 'They don't have enough people as it is right now,' Riehl said. 'They are just dreaming to think they can operate that plant with less'. But critics say this is just another example of city departments operating as a jobs program for union employees." In "No Horses, But Detroit Water Department Employs 'Horseshoer'," by Jarrett Skorup. Michigan Confidential, 20 August 2014.    [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of Silly Symbolism:   "To protest thousands of residential service shutoffs by Detroit’s water department, a group from Windsor is planning to bring about 250 gallons of water across the border." In "Canada To The Rescue? Will Imported Water Embarrass City Of Detroit Into Stopping Shutoffs?" by CBS Detroit, 23 July 2014.    [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of a Twisted Detroit:   "...twisted logic behind one of the most confounding urban development projects of our time, a $137 million 3.3-mile light rail line that breaks ground in Detroit next week. How else could sane people think a bankrupt city should build a wildly expensive rail line on a partially deserted avenue in a neighborhood awash in cheap parking? In "Is Detroit's New Light Rail Line America's Greatest Boondoggle?" by Jim Epstein, Reason, 24 July 2014.

 

Addendum of Ignored Warnings over Decades:   "The slow response of the big-three manufacturers and their unions to the new competitive pressures surely hastened the decline of manufacturing employment in the area, as did a failure to retain industrial diversification. What looking at these studies, which range in age from 42 to 65 years old, tells us — and Detroit — is that the seeds of the city’s decline were known and were of great concern, at least to some, way back at the end of World War II. Manufacturers, other than the big-three, felt so poorly treated by state and local government in terms of high business taxes, oppressive worker’s compensation laws and hostility to business that many were ready to move elsewhere. It now appears that local and state leaders paid little attention to the expensive studies that they, themselves kept commissioning, and which kept coming up with the same results, reminding us of the famous definition of insanity attributed to Einstein. Hindsight, it is said, is 20/20, and much has been gratuitously offered to explain the tragedy of Detroit. However, in this case, the real sin was ignoring two-thirds of a century of foresight." In "How Detroit Leaders Ignored Causes of Bankruptcy for 65 Years," by Paul Solman, PBS Newshour, 13 December 2013.

 

Addendum of Armed Citizens:   "...downtown peacekeeping is supplemented by private security financed by downtown’s businesses – notably Rock Ventures and Quicken Loans, both owned by billionaire Dan Gilbert. Midtown peacekeeping is heavily supplemented by Wayne State University Police, whose response time is famously just 90 seconds. Residents of Midtown do not feel the same urgency to arm themselves as residents in other, less central parts of the city. Regarding economic consequences for the city, Roman’s words are unforgiving. 'I think it’s a disaster. How do you grow a city when you say to people who are thinking about moving there: 'When you move here, bring a weapon.' Who’s going to want to move there?' What residents are finding, in Detroit, is that the cost of owning a gun is far more than the money it takes to buy one." In "Police tell Detroiters to buy guns in city riven by race issues and crime," by Rose Hackman, Guardian, 17 August 2014.    [ 7 ]

 

Addendum of Moneyed People in Detroit:   "Graham Beal, director of the DIA, saw his total compensation increase from $455,453 in 2012 to $513,868 in 2013, a 12.8 percent increase. In two years, Beal’s total compensation has increased 20 percent from $426,699 in 2011 to the $513,868. Annmarie Erickson, executive vice president of the DIA, saw her total compensation jump 36.3 percent as it increased from $270,802 in 2012 to $369,366 in 2013. Erickson was recently given an additional title of Chief Operating Officer, according to the DIA website." In "Detroit Institute of Arts director sees compensation increase from $455K to $514K," by Tom Gantert, Michigan Capitol Confidential, 18 September 2014.   [ 8 ]

 

Addendum of the Settlement:   "Highlights of the 1,600-page plan include: Pension cuts: Despite dire pronouncements early in the process, city workers and retirees were spared some of the deepest cuts in retirement benefits. Police and fire department retirees will get smaller cost-of-living increases; general pensioners will see their checks cut by 4.5 percent, no cost- of-living increase and a 'clawback' of some annuity payments. Both will see big cuts in their health-care benefits. Creditors: Holders of so-called "general obligation" bonds will get between 34 to 74 cents on the dollar, depending on the type of issue. Two major bond insurers—among the longest holdouts—will get 14 cents on the dollar in cash, along with a series of property development rights and leases on other city property." In "Detroit debt fix won't end budget pain," by John W. Schoen, CNBC, 7 November 2014.   [ 9 ]

 

Addendum of the Settlement Likely not Settling Things:   "Even after the benefit cuts, the city’s 32,000 current and future retirees are entitled to pensions worth more than $500 million a year — more than twice the city’s annual municipal income-tax receipts in recent years. Contributions to the system will not be nearly enough to cover these payouts, so success depends on strong, consistent investment returns, averaging at least 6.75 percent a year for the next 10 years. Any shortfall will have to ultimately be covered by the taxpayers." In "Detroit Emerges From Bankruptcy, Yet Pension Risks Linger," by Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 11 November 2014.   [ 10 ]

 

Addendum of Federal Congratulations All Around:   "The federal judge who oversaw Detroit's historic bankruptcy case ruled on Thursday that the nearly $178 million charged to the city by law firms and consultants for fees and expenses was reasonable. U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Steven Rhodes said he based his decision mainly on the complexity of the bankruptcy case filed in July 2013 as well as substantial reductions that the firms agreed to make in their bills." In "Judge says $178 million Detroit bankruptcy fee tab 'reasonable'," by Karen Perog, Reuters, 13 February 2015.

 

Addendum of Hunting for After-Bankruptcy Revenue:   "Hunting for revenue after emerging from bankruptcy, Detroit is stepping up its fight to collect on unpaid electricity bills, filing a batch of lawsuits against churches, schools and other organizations the city says are in arrears for a combined $834,000." In "Detroit churches, schools sued over unpaid light bills," by Matt Helms, Detroit Free Press, 8 April 2015.

 

Addendum of Educational Bankruptcy:   "Only 4 percent of Detroit public school eighth graders are proficient or better in math and only 7 percent in reading. This is despite the fact that in the 2011-2012 school year—the latest for which the Department of Education has reported the financial data—the Detroit public schools had 'total expenditures' of $18,361 per student and 'current expenditures' of $13,330 per student. According to data published by the Detroit Public Schools, the school district’s operating expenses in the fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2014 amounted to approximately $14,743 per student." In "Detroit Public Schools: 93% Not Proficient in Reading; 96% Not Proficient in Math," by Terence P. Jeffrey, CNSNews, 28 October 2015.

 

Addendum of the Next Detroit Bankruptcy:   "The debt payments of Detroit Public Schools — already the highest of any school district in Michigan — are set to balloon in February to an amount nearly equal to the school district’s payroll and benefits as the city school system teeters on the edge of insolvency. Detroit Public Schools has to begin making monthly $26 million payments starting in less than a month to chip away at the $121 million borrowed this school year for cash flow purposes and $139.8 million for operating debts incurred in prior years. The city school system’s total debt payments are 74 percent higher from last school year." In "DPS debt payments mount to unsustainable levels," b Chad Livengood, Detroit News, 4 January 2016.

 

Addendum of Actuarial Obscurity:   "When Detroit went bankrupt in 2013, investors were shocked to learn that the city had promised pensions worth billions more than anyone knew — creating a financial pileup that ultimately meant big, unexpected losses for Detroit’s bondholders. ...It was actuarial numbers in Detroit, for instance, that obscured the value of that city’s pension promises before the bankruptcy." In "Study Finds Public Pension Promises Exceed Ability to Pay," by Mary Williams Walsh, New York Times, 17 March 2016.

  

 Addendum of Detroit School Corruption:  "... the federal government today dropped a legal bomb on 12 current and former principals, one administrator and a vendor — all of them charged with running a nearly $1-million bribery and kickback scheme involving school supplies that were rarely ever delivered. At the heart of the alleged scheme is businessman Norman Shy, 74, of Franklin, who is accused of paying $908,500 in kickbacks and bribes to at least 12 Detroit Public Schools principals who used him as a school supply vendor in exchange for money — some for as little as $4,000, another for $324,000. He secretly did this for 13 years, scamming school after school to the tune of $2.7 million with the help of principals who benefited along the way, prosecutors allege." In "Feds: 12 Detroit principals stole $1M in kickback scheme," by Tresa Baldas, Katrease Stafford, Kathleen Gray and Ann Zaniewski, Detroit Free Press, 29 March 2016.

 

See:   Democracy is stupid     and an amusing notion, The turkeys vote for Christmas 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    "Some of the named causes for the bankruptcy are the shrinking tax base caused by declining population, program costs for retiree health care and pension, borrowing to cover budget deficits (since 2008), poor record keeping and antiquated computer systems, that 47% of owners had not paid their 2011 property taxes, and government corruption."

          As to government corruption, recent news testifies to mayoral politics:   "A federal judge sentenced former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick Thursday to 28 years in prison for his role in a public corruption scandal that cost the city millions and ended a career for the once promising politician. ...Judge Edmunds sentenced Kilpatrick to the following: Extortion Counts 1-4 and 9 and Count 5, Interference with commerce: 240 months for each count to run concurrently and consecutively with all other counts. Count 17, Bribery related to Government entity: 120 months to run concurrently and consecutively with all other charges. Counts 18 - 30, Mail Fraud: 84 months to run concurrently and consecutively with all other charges. Counts 31-36, Tax Evasion, False Return: 12 months to run concurrently and consecutively with all other charges. In total: Kilpatrick was sentenced to federal prison for 28 years." In "Kwame Kilpatrick sentenced to 28 years in prison," WJBK Detroit, 10 October 2013.

          As to restitution for such crimes:  "A federal judge today ordered Kwame Kilpatrick to pay back the city of Detroit $4.6 million in restitution for all the crooked deals he pushed through when he was mayor so that he and his contractor friend, Bobby Ferguson, could get rich. Kilpatrick also has to pay the IRS back $195,000 for unpaid taxes." In "Kilpatrick to pay $4.6 million in restitution, federal judge rules," by Tresa Baldas, Detroit Free Press, 10 December 2014.

 

[ 2 ]   Voting chose decay? Indeed. One reads of a previous and incarcerated mayor:  "...if you were among the more substantial number of Detroiters who voted for Kilpatrick not once, but twice, and who at one point or another were charmed, stirred or simply conned by the charisma we now recognize as pathological narcissism, Kilpatrick’s sentencing was an occasion for self-reflection, a day to consider how easily a people starved for leadership or even the palest imitation of it may be led astray." In "Happiness is Kwame Kilpatrick in our rearview mirror," by Brian Dickerson, Detroit Free Press, 10 October 2013.

          Led astray?  One looks back at what media calls the "golden résumé:   "Kwame Kilpatrick entered the mayor's office with extraordinary gifts -- charisma, savvy, flair, pedigree, connections, ambition and chutzpah -- everything a 31-year-old needed to make a difference in one of the nation's most broken cities. His departure, after the prolonged, debilitating and often circus-like drama of the text message scandal, is a stunning downfall for someone with his golden résumé. At 26, he won election to the Michigan House of Representatives. At 30, the Democratic Leadership Council named him one of 10 Democrats younger than 40 in the nation to watch, and he addressed the Democratic National Convention. And at 31 he became the youngest mayor in Detroit's history." In "The rise and fall of Kwame Kilpatrick," by Bill McGraw, Detroit Free Press, 5 September 2008.

          Therefore in at least the instance of one politician among many in Detroit's history of decline, one finds the voters selecting at the ballot box their own fate. 

           That fate involved racial politics, as one reads:  "...'The mayor engaged in the most repulsive form of race baiting I've seen in 30 years of political consulting,' said veteran Detroit political operative Sam Riddle, who worked on Kilpatrick's 2005 re-election. "That was no ad-lib. That was a calculated move to pimp the emotions of Detroit so he can build a political base predicted on the politics of race. But it won't work. Detroit is fed up with this guy." In "Racial Politics in Detroit," by Keith Naughton, Newsweek, 12 March 2008. In that election, it was successful as voters responded.

          Moreover one learns of racial politics which continued to play out in Detroit:  "With Detroit facing a perilous fiscal future and him facing ethics complaints, Kirkpatrick highlighted race. He sparked controversy by using the 'n-word' while referencing an insult he received from some random person. Kirkpatrick vowed to stand strong against this attack, and asked citizens to stand by him against a 'lynch mob mentality.' He essentially used that slur to leverage racial tension, inciting and dividing the mostly-black city against mostly-white suburbs. After all, it was the people in the suburbs — many who either worked in Detroit or had economic ties to the city — who were frustrated with mounting city corruption and mismanagement. The citizens of Detroit rallied behind their mayor. It was racial politics — pure and simple." In "In Detroit, racial rhetoric concealed corruption," by Hughey Newsome, Daily Caller, 24 July 2013.

          This black journalist further noted:  "Playing on peoples’ sensitivities and fears distracts attention from holding elected leaders accountable. Detroit’s political class understands this, and regularly delivers racial division rather than doing the hard work of attracting investment in the city."

          Please consider one cynical but perhaps accurate view of  Politics  .

 

[ 3 ]    While the NAACP speaks of racism, a conservative black commentator raises a racially tinged issue:   "...here’s my question: Is it within the capacity of black Americans to make it in this society without the special favors variously called racial preferences, quotas, affirmative action and race-sensitive policies? What might a 'yes' answer to that question assume and imply about blacks? Likewise, what would a 'no' answer assume and imply?" In "Do Blacks Need Favors?" by Walter Williams, Capitalism Magazine, 22 July 2014.

          The question is profound, as Williams notes:  "Civil rights organizations and their progressive allies, who all but suggest that blacks cannot achieve unless they are given special privileges, grossly insult and demean black people." A comparison based on the social construct of race then is apt.

          One reads news from Africa which becomes counterpoint to the accusation of racism of Detroit:  "When Lagos's visionary governor Babatunda Fashola took power in 2010, he enforced local tax collection, an unusual idea in Africa. That has brought Lagos billions, giving it both autonomy from the country's corrupt government in in Abuja, the capital, and new projects, like a planned rapid-transit network, a $50 billion infrastructure program that includes West Africa's first suspension bridge, and two forthcoming power plants that will finally ease the electricity shortage and ever light Lagos's streets at night."  In "Africa's Big Apple," by Vivienne Walt, Fortune, 30 June 2014.

          One reads of tax collection, apparently not only "an unusual idea in Africa" but apparently Detroit and in the minds of its NAACP protestors. Is this then a protest by a "culture of nonpayment?" Does this, as Williams asks via related issues, "grossly insult and demean black people?"  For further reflection on this please see:  Everything's about my colored skin  - (or sadly, Why racism works)

          One is reminded of a quote from a century and more ago:   "There is another class of coloured people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs — partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs." In "My Larger Education, Being Chapters from My Experience," Booker T. Washington, 1911.

          It is instructive to recall that Washington was and remains in the eyes of many an "Uncle Tom." And yet, of his observation that some "having learned to make a living out of their troubles," and concerned about losing their jobs, one reads further.

          One might examine such jobs:  from Form 990 of the NAACP tax return for 2011 -- a century after Washington's statement -- one finds Benjamin Todd Jealous paid $295,207 as president and CEO of the NAACP, with $1,150,895 for six key employees placing some key employees in the top 5th percentile of all Americans, while "other salaries and wages" tally up to $10,459,522, with fund raising costs of $626,088 as against $18,611,533 in contributions and grants, the larger part of total receipts of $31,746,942. Thus one-third of the whole organization and well over half of donations goes to jobs in the NAACP, with its president part of the 1% class.

          While the NAACP's president is paid a handsome $295,207, one learns the head of Detroit Water and Sewage is paid about $195,00.  One learns: "Upon recommendation of Mayor Bing, the Board of Water Commissioners and the Detroit Water and Sewage Department authorize the Chair to execute a contract in an annual amount of $195,000.00 for the hiring of Susan McCormick as Director of the Detroit Water and Sewage Department..." In Special Meeting No. 4, Proceedings of the Board of Water Commissioners, 16 November 2011.

          Before McCormick was hired, the head of DWS was Victor Mercado. Of him, one reads:  "Victor Mercado, Detroit's former water and sewer boss under ex-Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick and a co-defendant in the trial, admitted Monday that he conspired with the mayor to help Bobby Ferguson secure Water Department contracts between 2002 and 2008. Mercado, 61, who lives in Florida could now spend up to 18 months in prison and be fined up to $100,000 per the plea deal he made with federal investigators Monday." In "Kilpatrick's water boss Victor Mercado pleads guilty to conspiring with ex-mayor to commit extortion," by Gus Burns, Michigan Live, 5 November 2012.

          How then does one make the whole scandal surrounding the Detroit Water and Sewage Department "racial?" It was about money, as about political corruption.

          For more on charitable entities as well as governments and other entities being home to fat cats, please see some interesting facts as relate to many charitable institutions which have become home to fat cats, all the while the political issue of Income Inequality  fans the flames of social revolution.

          It seems ever more a revolution run for fat cats allied to the "oppressed." After all, the City of Detroit has voted and voted and voted, when politics sugarcoated its growing debt and collapse while feeding the politicians rather nicely.

          Government fat cats? Of course, as one may read of this:  Fat cats richly rich of late  - a comparative and sourced criticism of the nouveau "fair share" folks. As to corruption in politics, enjoy the news:   Corruption  .

          This brings the discussion back to Detroit and what may be an issue of oppression or may well be an issue of a growing culture of non-payment. Maybe both.  Time will tell.  Bankruptcy will enforce.

          A electorate trained to enthusiastically demand Gimme is as sure a predictor of societal failure and economic collapse, as is elitist, easily corrupt government. This is why the pretense of populist rhetoric delivers the government-assisted poor to democratically support the government-made wealthy.

 

[ 4 ]  The end story of political corruption -- if the NAACP wishes to identify race in politics, their argument leads to black politicians -- shows criminal convictions. "The former director of the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department was sentenced to eight months in a halfway house after having pleaded guilty to conspiracy in the case of former Detroit Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick, announced U.S. Attorney Barbara L. McQuade. ...The plea documents stated that Mercado, acting at the direction of Kilpatrick, unlawfully steered contracts and payments to Kilpatrick co-conspirator Bobby Ferguson. Mercado influenced the procurement process to Ferguson’s advantage and directed a bidder to include Ferguson on a DWSD contract if the bidder wanted to receive favorable consideration on the bid. Mercado took these steps as a result of regular and consistent pressure from Kilpatrick and his staff to help Ferguson obtain DWSD business regardless of procurement policies, rules, and regulations." In "Former Detroit Water Director Sentenced in Kilpatrick Corruption Case," U. S. Attorney's Office, Eastern Division, 22 May 2014.

          It seems the Detroit Water and Sewage was a cesspool of corruption, under city political control at ease with using racial politics for its own ends, and now such politicians stand convicted of crimes against their own city and its fiscal future. Perhaps race should no longer be the vocabulary of  this crisis, but rather "content of character" as Martin Luther King Jr. advised?

          Sadly, because Kilpatrick and others were influential in the DWSD, the current crisis in water services is directly related to those who voted for these criminals who ended up oppressing them.

          The full scale of the political corruption exceeds a simple tale of Detroit's race-based politics and water, and is likely not yet complete. One learns more:  "According to the Detroit News (24 June 2010), Kwame Kilpatrick, his father Bernard and the Kilpatrick Civic Fund may have been important figures in the sludge hauling contract that saw city council president Monica Conyers (wife of Rep. John Conyers) and her chief of staff Sam Riddle convicted for conspiracy and bribery. 'Kilpatrick and his father also figured, but have not been charged, in evidence surrounding a bribery-tainted, $1.2 billion sewage sludge contract the Detroit City Council awarded to Synagro Technologies Inc. in 2007'." In Kwame Kilpatrick, Wikipedia n. d.

 

[ 5 ]    This has been known for some time, as an earlier op-ed piece tells.  "All you really need to know about Detroit, which is facing a $327 million budget gap, is that last year it was discovered to still be paying for a 'horseshoer' (or farrier) on the Detroit Water & Sewer Department (DWSD) payroll. This individual costs some $56,000 in pay and benefits, despite the city not having any horses to shoe in his department. Union bosses insisted the DWSD (average compensation: $86,000) needs more, not fewer, such unionized employees, a view associated with a broad spectrum of thinkers from Jimmy Hoffa to the Keynesians running the United States. The DWSD has more than twice as many employees per gallon of water pumped as that other paragon of Midwestern governance, Chicago. An independent report said four out of five employees in the bloated department were redundant and discovered a thicket of union regulations driving up costs. Plumbers complained that, due to union work rules, they had to wait to fix pipes until duly authorized 'operators' came along first to shut them off." In "Detroit Gave Unions Keys To The City, And Now Nothing Is Left," Forbes, 21 February 2013.

           The "average compensation" for Detroit Water employees standing at $86,000 and the bureaucrat in charge receiving a salary of $195,000 speaks volumes for a city which "boasts" 38 percent of Detroit lives below the poverty line" as mentioned above suggests a severe disconnect between government and its citizens and voters, under a corrupt administration like Kilpatrick's or today's, with an ongoing bankruptcy and Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr receiving $275,000.

           The median income of a Detroit voter? $25,193 according to several sources. This places a farrier at twice the average citizen's income, the average DWSD at about three and a half times the average citizen's income, the DWSD CEO at about seven and a half times that average citizen's yearly income, and the "emergency manager" almost eleven times the average citizen's earnings. This disparity goes far to explain the basic problem in Detroit. From illegal corruption to what may perhaps be characterized as legal corruption, one finds that Detroit voters voted again and again for Fat, fat government .

           It seems the voters of Detroit have too much "government," when it has become too expensive, too indebted, too inefficient and unsurprisingly bankrupt. Yet the tale is one of Detroit voters who voted, not sugarcoated.  A simple table of characters and monies suggests the decades' tale is one of voters who unwittingly voted for their own city's collapse.

 

Median Income

of a Detroit Voter

Average Compensation

DWSD employee

 DWSD head  

Emergency Manager

Detroit Institute of Arts

director

 Convicted Mayor's

Court-ordered Penalty

Bankruptcy's

Legal Fess and Expenses

$25,193

$86,000

$195,000

$275,000

 $513,868

$4,600,000

$178,000,000

 

           Given the median income for a Detroit voter, as above, the next news item details yet another triumph for Detroit's democratically elected  government and its "projections" for revenue.

           One reads: " 'It will be years before Detroit is stable enough for anyone to make realistic projections and so I am not at all surprised the projections are substantially off,' McTevia said. 'One of the worst things an insolvent company/city can do is base a restructuring plan on poor projections. They will soon be back to court unless someone has a tight hold on the checkbook'!" In "Detroit Expected $55 Million in Property Tax Revenue; It Brought in $6.7 Million," by Tom Gantert and Jarrett Skorup, Michigan Capitol Confidential, 27 August 2014.

 

[ 6 ]    The obvious question for the Canadian "group" -- Why not use the costs of their "symbolism" to pay off the bills of some poor residents of Detroit? Symbolism over real charity buys attention in the press. After all, 250 gallons of water is the equivalent of  between 50 to 150 flushes of a single toilet. When such a simple estimate is made, one realizes how little such "symbolism" is worth in water or money.

           One wonders of the next step in Detroit water:  "Without collecting on delinquent bill payers, the department would have to increase charges, its chief financial officer testified, adding it relies on monthly billing almost exclusively for revenue. At the same time, the department is currently confronting $42 million in other bad debt." In "U.S. bankruptcy judge allows Detroit water shutoffs to continue," by Lisa Lambert, Reuters, 29 September 2014.

           The next step:  "U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Steven Rhodes on Monday refused to block the city from shutting off water to delinquent customers for six months, saying there is no right to free water and Detroit can't afford to lose the revenue. Rhodes's order served as a stinging rejection of arguments made by thousands of protesters who staged rallies last summer fighting shutoffs and argued that there is a fundamental right to water service. 'There is no such right or law,' Rhodes said." In Judge won't stop shut-offs, says no right to free water," by Robert Snell and Steve Pardo, Detroit News, 29 September 2014.

           No right to water? But the Canadian activists sought to bring "free" water to Detroit. What of Windsor?  One reads that Canadians pay rates for water, and the rates are increasing.  "The increase is part of a multi-year plan to raise rates to pay for more infrastructure projects, including the replacement of 1,100 kilometres of aging water mains. A five-year financial plan submitted to the province includes four per cent annual rate increases in 2014 and 2015. After raising rates 88 per cent in 2007, Windsor had some of the highest water and sewer charges in the province. Now it’s below the provincial average after other municipalities followed Windsor’s lead and started hiking rates to deal with old, crumbling pipes." In "WUC boosts water rates to cover costs," by Monica Wolfson, Windsor Star, 8 March 2013.

           Perhaps the Canadian activists might want to consider importing "free" water into their own city? Such is the nature of so much silly symbolism, designed for maximum effect with little sense and no real content. There is no right to "free" water, neither in Detroit nor in Windsor.

           See Free bees   - nature's tale.

 

[ 7 ]     Interestingly the complaint about armed citizens falls on the deaf ears of the current chief of police.  From the same article:  "Besides having the worst homicide rate among large American cities, Detroit experienced 12,935 burglaries last year. With around 250,000 households, that means Detroiters have roughly a 1 in 20 chance of being burgled. To residents who have been victims of crime, being allowed to carry a weapon, whether openly or concealed, is not just reassuring, it’s part of the pragmatic reality of living in the Motor City. Wayne County, which encapsulates Detroit and its metro area, counted 83,950 active concealed-pistol permits as of 1 August 2014 – meaning one permit for every 21 households. The city, strapped for cash, has only 2,300 police officers – unchanged from a year ago, before the bankruptcy, but still not enough. Many Detroiters feel they have to rely on themselves first for their own security and survival."

           So one finds the image of a city moving forward with a light rail project while undergoing bankruptcy, with accusations of racist behavior by its own public utilities, all the while the corruption of politicians has stolen wealth from the citizenry. and with this all, the voters returned such leaders as these to power again and again.

           One may indeed argue that Democracy is stupid  .

 

[ 8 ]   Half a million for the head of the Detroit Institute of Arts and about $25,000 for the median Detroiter. Other salaries for employees of the DIA amount to over $11 million (Form 990, 2012), and Beal was given a loan from DIA for $155,832 as "housing advance." There is money in bankrupt Detroit. For the few.

 

[ 9 ]    For the cents on the dollar bankruptcy order, one only need consider what one's view to this is, if one were a lender to the municipality. Consider:  Now how does that seem to a lender like you?  - a run-around.

           What is assured is that future offerings of Detroit municipal bonds will bear the scars of "between 34 to 74 cents on the dollar."  With the diminished tax base and uncertain revenues, the story is not ended with a court-ordered bankruptcy settlement. More likely the story will continue. Time will tell.

 

[ 10 ]   "...current and future retirees are entitled to pensions worth more than $500 million a year — more than twice the city’s annual municipal income-tax receipts in recent years."  Doing the math suggests the obvious. The pension fund will be depleting rapidly, and if the city is not revitalized in terms of taxpaying residents -- the current median income of Detroit being $25,193 -- the next bankruptcy will address the same situation. This is what is called a settlement in political jargon, legal in terms of law, and a mathematic certainty that the next bankruptcy is likely just around the corner.

           Ah well, never mind.


 

Arrogance danced with Ignorance

Arrogance danced with Ignorance its pas de deux de dunce
                                        In a choreo-corrupted ballet sporadically crushed, as once
Arrogance pranced with Ignorance in fantasy-fluffed fandango
                                        Parading that courtship's coupled dance, a trouble-tangled tango.
Arrogance chanced with Ignorance crossed steps, coiled struts, snarled stunts;
                                        Stupidity saw it as great romance, wedding puffed-up mites to runts.
Arrogance advanced to Ignorance, and the two fused into one;
                                        With highest hopes and higher dreams they soared to their Icarus sun.
Arrogance enhanced Ignorance, masked in a masque of smarts,
                                        While never pondering questions of fallen and failing starts.
Arrogance danced with Ignorance, their marriage made in hell,
                                        As Arrogance lifted Ignorance to where both would then excel.
Arrogance lanced Ignorance as boil-bled cankers burst;
                                        This dancing, prancing pair of twins had done again their worst.

 

Envoi:   "It wasn't supposed to turn out like this. The Arab Spring was supposed to bring peace, democracy and stability to not only the nations where it took root, but also others around it in the Middle East and North Africa. It was supposed to usher in an end of violence and heavy-handed government tactics, just like it ushered out entrenched leaders. In short, it was supposed to mean a brighter future. Not more instability, not more violence, not fewer freedoms. But that's what happened, even if the level of unrest hasn't been even or universal." In "Arab Spring aftermath: Revolutions give way to violence, more unrest," by Greg Botelho, CNN, 27 March 2015.

 

Addendum of Many Worthless Zeros:   "Bank accounts with balances of up to 175 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars will be paid $5. Those with balances above 175 quadrillion dollars will be paid at an exchange rate of $1 to 35 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars. The highest - and last - bank note to be printed by the RBZ in 2008 was 100 trillion Zimbabwean dollars. It was not enough to ride a public bus to work for a week." In "As currency dies, Zimbabweans will get $5 for 175 quadrillion local dollars," by MacDonald Dzirutwe, Reuters, 11 June 2015.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of the Self-Inflicted Problem:   "Venezuela has responded to falling oil prices by reducing imports, which dropped 18 percent in January compared with the same month last year, BofA Merrill Lynch Global Research said in a report on April 7. 'The Maduro administration is in the midst of undertaking one of the largest import adjustments in Venezuelan history,' the bank said, adding that many of the country’s economic problems are 'to a large extent self-inflicted'." In "Venezuela Inflation Seen Pushing 200% as Rationing Deepens," by Andrew Rosati, Bloomberg, 10 April 2015.  [ 2 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     Such numbers as 175 quadrillion Zimbabwean dollars" evidence arrogance dancing with ignorance. What one may learn from this tale is clear. One reads:  "During the 1980s Mugabe's policies were largely socialist in orientation." in "Robert Mugabe," Wikipedia article accessed June 2015.  As Mugabe has continued to win elections, one may combine the two strains of political and economic policy and note that the many worthless zeros of a dying currency stem from socialist thinking and democratic support for it alongside simple corruption. This tale is repeated in many lands.

          More dark media amusement, as one writes about "Quite a lot of zeros. No less than 16, as the federal reserve attempts to end funny money by offering one new Zimbabwe dollar in exchange for 35 quadrillion old ones. However the real hyperinflation rate is in fact worse. The money being replaced was only issued in 2008, when the exchange rate was one for 10 billion. The real hyperinflation rate has 25 zeroes attached.' In "Zimbabwe slashes 16 zeros from currency but dollar still a joke," EuroNews, 6 June 2015.

          What of corruption?  One reads of Zimbabwe's socialist elite:  "The British Labour Party member of the European Parliament, Glenys Kinnock, said that the sanctions, 'will stop Grace Mugabe going on her shopping trips in the face of catastrophic poverty blighting the people of Zimbabwe'. The European Union (EU) imposed a travel ban and asset freeze on a number of the country's leaders before the Zimbabwean elections in March." In "Mugabe's wife on EU sanctions list," BBC, 22 July 2002.

          The gesture by the British government is, as of this addendum, 13 years in the past. It has resulted in little. The BBC further noted:   "Britain's Foreign Secretary Jack Straw said the new sanctions applied to 'the whole ruling elite'. 'Our quarrel has never been with the people of Zimbabwe but with those who have created the mounting food crisis and what is mainly a man-made disaster'."  A man-made crisis rooted in socialist stances, upheld by democratic procedures and one in which the currency of this "man-made" disaster now "dies," as Reuters states. The ruling elite remains arrogant and ignorant, a combination of great sadness to the average citizen of a nation, which like its currency withers dramatically.

 

[ 2 ]    A more plain-speaking editorial speaks of ignorance:   "...to understand why it is that the Venezuelan economy is in such a pickle. And no, it’s not because the oil price is falling. It’s also not because the government there is lefty, nor that they were trying to take a bit of the money off the rich and make sure the poor thus had better lives. It’s because the methods by which they tried to achieve these things were simply pig ignorant." In "Congratulations To Venezuela's Bolivarian Socialism; 200% Inflation Is An Achievement," by Tim Worstall, Forbes, 11 April 2015.


 

Under funding sharks

"Federal law requires private companies to plan for full pension funding over no more than seven years. A recent report by the Society of Actuaries recommends 15-20-year amortization terms for public entities. Adopting that latter schedule adds another 5-7 percent of revenue to the ARC for the worst funded systems. Their required payments increase by an additional 5 percent of revenue if a more cautious 6 percent rate of return is used to discount liabilities instead of the pension plans’ own projections. That chart is again topped by the perennial 'winner' Illinois, which would have to contribute a whopping 40 percent of its revenue in order to keep its retirement promises. It is followed closely by Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey and Kentucky, whose estimated required contributions are all comfortably over a third of state revenue. One need not know much about public finance to understand that these states are in deep." In "Debt servants: how sustainable are states’ legacy costs?" by Iliya Atanasov, Public Sector, 27 July 2014.

 

Under funding
                            sharks all swim,
Frenzy feeding,
                        scum to skim
Another fishy
                    day of chub,
Gobbled up
            by their predator club,
Which schools, which follows
    bait and switch,
Which itches, pitches,
        but hates to snitch.
The truth be told,
            truth growing old,
Is under funding's
                by this well rolled
Over funding
                    that slips and slides
Toward flooding debts
                        and rising tides.
Come and watch it
                            come to wash
Shifting sands with
                                    its sweeping slosh
Of squids' inks red
                                        to blind the eye,
Until sharks strand all,
                                            hooked, high and dry.

 

Envoi:   " 'Twenty-three trillion dollars is 32 percent of the present value, also measured over the infinite horizon, of Social Security’s future revenues. Hence, Social Security is 32 percent underfinanced, which means it is in significantly worse financial shape than Detroit’s two pension funds taken together.' Social Security’s debt also 'swamps the $13 trillion of official debt in the hands of the public,' Kotlikoff testified. And 'the system’s off-the-books debt is growing at leaps and bounds – by $1.6 trillion between 2012 and 2013 – thanks to the approaching retirement of vast numbers of baby boomers'." In "Economist: Social Security in Worse Shape than Detroit’s Pension Funds," by Barbara Hollingsworth, CNS News, 29 July 2014.

 

Addendum of One City among Many:   "Scranton could be bankrupt in three to five years because its pension funds are poised to run out of money, state Auditor General Eugene DePasquale warned Wednesday. That dire prediction could be optimistic, as the pension funds face paying out as much as $10.5 million owed to retired police and firefighters because of the $21 million back pay court award to active members. The auditor general’s office did not evaluate the impact of the award in its audit released Wednesday. With a funding ratio of just 16.7 percent, the city’s firefighters fund is in the worst condition of any plan in the state, Mr. DePasquale said, and will be unable to pay benefits in less than 2½ years. The non-uniform fund isn’t much better, projected to be insolvent in 2.6 years, while the police fund has less than five years." In "Scranton pension funds will be broke in 3 to 5 years," by Terrie Morgan-Besecker, Times-Tribune, 28 August 2014.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Many Cities:   "...states and cities have used their pension funds as a way of offering supersized payments to senior managers and favoured workers. More than 20,000 former state or local employees in California have retirement incomes of over $100,000; a few enjoy more than $250,000. Perhaps the best-known ruse is 'spiking'. Public employees inflate their final-year salary (by, for example, working overtime, or cashing in unused holiday time) to raise the base from which their pensions are calculated. When she stepped down as chief executive of Ventura County in 2011, Marty Robinson was earning $228,000. But by cashing in $69,000 of unused holiday time and other benefits, she was able to retire on an annual pension of $272,000. Back in 2007 the Pacific Research Institute, a conservative think-tank, estimated that spiking cost California $100m a year. Another ruse is 'double-dipping'—taking a public pension and then returning to the payroll. The Little Hoover Commission, a watchdog, cited the case of a fire chief who retired in 2009 on a pension of $241,000, compared with his final salary of $185,000; he was then hired back as a consultant on $176,000 a year. Some of the best-paid pensioners were once politicians. Illinois’s General Assembly Retirement System covers 286 ex-lawmakers, 9% of whom enjoy annual pensions of more than $100,000." In "Who pays the bill?" Economist, 27 July 2013.

 

Addendum of Appearance and Reality:   "...many agree that requiring governments to report their own liabilities is a common-sense move. Adjustment to it will take years. But ultimately, governments will have a truer picture of their fiscal health, and that will force many to take ownership of the issue. Whether the tide goes toward figuring out a way to steadily fund pensions, as some in Kentucky would like, or negotiating benefit reductions and a change in plan structure, as is proposed in New Jersey, remains to be seen. 'This liability has already existed,' says Ted Williamson, a partner in Rubin Brown’s Public Sector Services Group. “It’s just that up until now, this hasn’t been reflected. This change makes it top-of-mind for lawmakers. They need to think about a long-term strategy for their pension plans'." In "Why Some Public Pensions Could Soon Look Much Worse," by Liz Farmer and Mike Maciag, Governing, 17 March 2015.

 

Addendum of Pension Funds Paying Wall Street:   "...over the past 10 years, the five pension funds have paid more than $2 billion in fees to money managers and have received virtually nothing in return, Comptroller Scott M. Stringer said in an interview on Wednesday. 'We asked a simple question: Are we getting value for the fees we’re paying to Wall Street?' Mr. Stringer said. 'The answer, based on this 10-year analysis, is no.' Until now, Mr. Stringer said, the pension funds have reported the performance of many of their investments before taking the fees paid to money managers into account. After factoring in those fees, his staff found that they had dragged the overall returns $2.5 billion below expectations over the last 10 years. 'When you do the math on what we pay Wall Street to actively manage our funds, it’s shocking to realize that fees have not only wiped out any benefit to the funds, but have in fact cost taxpayers billions of dollars in lost returns,' Mr. Stringer said." In "Wall Street Fees Wipe Out $2.5 Billion in New York City Pension Gains," by Patrick McGeehan, New York Times, 8 April 2015.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Pension Trustees Fattening Wall Street:   "California’s report said $440 million. New Jersey’s said $600 million. In Pennsylvania, the tally is $700 million. Those figures are public worker pension fees being paid annually by taxpayers to Wall Street firms, and they have kicked off an intensifying debate over whether such expenses are necessary. Now, a report from an industry-friendly source says those huge levies represent only a fraction of the true amounts being raked in by Wall Street firms from state and local governments. In all, CEM Benchmarking concludes that America’s public pension funds are paying billions of dollars in undisclosed fees to private equity firms." In "Cities And States Paying Massive Secret Fees To Wall Street: Report," by David Sirota, International Business Times, 17 April 2015.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Illinois' Underfunded Public Pensions:    "...Illinois and its municipalities may soon have little choice but to raise taxes or restructure debts to pay for pensions. Chicago, whose credit rating is two notches above junk, faces a $20 billion unfunded liability for pensions and $1.1 billion balloon payment next year. Unions (and perhaps investors) were counting on a state bailout, but now they will probably beg Washington for a rescue." In "Illinois Pension Blowup," by Op-Ed, Wall Street Journal, 8 May 2015.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of Politicians Holding Each Household Is Responsible:   "Even according to their own optimistic estimates, state and local pension plans are underfunded by $1 trillion. However, many believe that the true number is substantially higher—over $4 trillion—placing it in the range of the much more well-known $6.5 trillion unfunded Social Security obligation. To fully fund these public pension shortfalls, every household in the U.S. would need to pay $1,400 per year for the next 30 years. The problem, however, is not evenly spread across all households in the U.S. For example, in one particularly profligate jurisdiction, each household is responsible for over $88,000 in unfunded pension liabilities, split between city and state underfunded pension plans. This is nearly double the median city household income of $47,400." In "Remarks at Municipal Securities Rulemaking Board’s 1st Annual Municipal Securities Regulator Summit," by Commissioner Daniel M. Gallagher, US Securities and Exchange Commission, Washington, DC, 29 May 2014.  [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of Handing Underfunding to Other Folks:   "Every school district is a cost-sharing member of the Michigan Public School Employee Retirement System, which is drastically underfunded. MPSERS costs are not calculated by determining each district’s individual share of retirement costs and accumulated liabilities, but for all districts as a whole. The total costs are then converted to a single percentage of payroll and assessed on districts statewide. Unfortunately, the assessments have been insufficient to cover the benefits earned by employees. Currently, MPSERS requires $26.5 billion more than it has in the pension fund to cover these benefits. The result of this underfunding is that Detroit has already off-loaded the bulk of its pension cost onto other districts. DPS employees earned more retirement benefits when the district was three times larger than it is today. According to MPSERS' annual report, close to 25,000 DPS employees paid into MPSERS in 2004, compared to just 9,118 in 2013. Now, as a smaller district, DPS is paying less to catch up on those underfunded benefits. In other words, DPS added to the state’s pension liabilities when it was large and is not paying as much for them now that it is smaller." In "It is Fine to Get Detroit Out of the School Pension System, Other districts already pay for Detroit's liabilities," by James M. Hohman, Michigan Capitol Confidential, 24 June 2015.

 

Addendum of Politicians Looking to Assign Blame Elsewhere:   " 'Actuaries make a juicy target,' said Mary Pat Campbell, an actuary who responded to the board’s call for comments. She expressed concern that elected officials were using actuaries to lend respectability to 'questionable behavior' like funding pensions with borrowed money, picking risky investments and “enacting benefit improvements based on lowballed costs.' Other commentators have focused on the opacity of actuaries’ calculations and reports to the boards of trustees that govern public pension plans." In "Bad Math and a Coming Public Pension Crisis," by Mary Williams Walsh, NYTimes, 8 July 2015.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of Yet More Media Taking Notice:    "States are short $968 billion for their pension systems, an increase of $54 billion over the year before.   [ 7 ]    When debts from local programs are taken into account, the total shortfall tops $1 trillion, according to the report. Three states -- Illinois, Kentucky and Connecticut -- have less than half of their pension programs funded. Illinois is in the hole by more than $100 billion." In "The U.S. is facing a $1 trillion pension shortfall," by Katie Lobosco, CNN, 14 July 2015.   [ 8 ]

 

Addendum of New Jersey's Unworkable Math:   "The simple fact is that we have a system where an NJEA member retiring in just a few years contributes just $126,000 to their pension and health benefit costs over 30 years and takes out $2.4 million in benefits. The math does not work at all." In "Sweeney wants federal loan program to rescue public worker pensions," by Samantha Marcus, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, 30 July 2015.   [ 9 ]

 

Addendum of Demanding More Taxes to Pay Chicago's Rich:    "...a proposal to fill most of next year’s budget gap through a $500 million property tax hike. 'You raise the taxes, you’ll see a mass exodus of people getting the hell out of this goddamn city,' one man shouted. Earlier in the day, the mayor defended his push for a major property tax hike, acknowledging it would be a tough pill to swallow for taxpayers, but saying it’s necessary to shore up police and firefighter pension funds, restore the city’s worst-in-the-nation bond rating, and solve the city’s long-standing financial crisis." In "Mayor Gets An Earful At Relatively Calm Final Budget Forum," CBC Chicago, 4 September 2015.   [ 10 ]

 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   "...the problem may be most acute at the municipal level as cities, boroughs and burg’s across Pennsylvania are struggling to pay retired police, firefighters and non-uniformed employees. A shocking chart released this week shows that nine of the top ten cities have more retirees collecting pensions than current employees contributing to the fund. It’s happening in Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Scranton, and Harrisburg. 'It’s a major problem,' said Representative Seth Grove (R-York). 'We have local governments that are on the verge of bankruptcy.' Auditor General Eugene DePasquale has been raising alarms across the state about the fiscal frailty of municipal pensions." In "Cities on the brink? Municipal pensions causing fiscal frailty," by Dennis Owens, ABC News, 27 March 2015.

          The key to the growing crisis is found in the highlighted passage above. No correct arithmetic will solve what is essentially a Ponzi scheme, for when more is drawn out of a fund than is put in, the fund can only be depleted. The fiction spewed forth for years was that taxpayers would make up the difference. when the difference collapses a community, there is no solution except bankruptcy, and in some cases dissolution of the civic entity itself.

          When such pressures mount and underfunding brings the predictable into clear-sighted view, one may correctly argue that such political entities de facto become Ponzi states .

          Who pays the bill? Shortly this question will be replaced by the better question: who pays the piper?

 

[ 2 ]   This complaint is most amusing, for the pension funds are in the charge of stewards who can manage the funds themselves, rather than assign management to Wall Street. Shifting the blame to Wall Street is deceptive, for in fact the fiduciary responsibility lay with the managers of the pension funds themselves, first and last.

          From the City Comptroller's own site, one reads:  "The City’s primary employee Pension Funds are the New York City Employees’ Retirement System (NYCERS); the Teachers’ Retirement System of the City of New York (TRS), the New York City Police Pension Fund Subchapter 2 (POLICE); New York City Fire Department Pension Fund Subchapter Two (FIRE); and the New York City Board of Education Retirement System (BERS). Each Pension Fund is financially independent and has its own board of trustees.
          "The Funds provide benefits to their members, which are financed by contributions from members, their participating employers and the Funds’ investment earnings.
          "Investment policies are adopted by each of the Funds’ boards of trustees. Each Board establishes an asset allocation policy and defines investment objectives.
          "The Comptroller is the custodian and investment advisor to the Boards of the five Pension Funds."  From "NYC Public Pension Funds," New York City Comptroller, 2015.

          Thus whatever monies have been paid to "Wall Street" have been paid under the direction of the various trustees themselves as well as the "custodian and investment advisor to the Boards."

          One finds from two years earlier an insight into the trustees' stance internally:  "New York City’s $140 billion retirement system pays Wall Street money managers about $360 million a year, the only one of the 11 biggest U.S. public-worker pensions that refuses to manage any assets internally. Larry Schloss, the city’s chief investment officer, says the practice must end." In "NYC Pension Chief Seeks Managers to Cut Out Wall Street," by Martin Z. Braun and Henry Goldman, Bloomberg, 31 May 2013.

          The complaint of the comptroller that "Wall Street" has charged too much "over the past ten years" becomes disingenuous, when one sees that the management of assets was in fact assigned to Wall Street by the City Comptroller and the various public pensions' trustees. It has been this public policy stance, and only through Wall Street managers, which has "cost taxpayers billions of dollars in lost returns."

          Yet another in the many examples of government Incompetence - from whence to thence.

          The State of New York's Comptroller's alarm, already seven years old as I make these comments, are current and should be the Hymn for Today .

 

[ 3 ]    Public pensions' trustees and other politicians with fiduciary responsibility to pension funds have often passed not only management but oversight to Wall Street types. Now as the underfunding in many pension plans becomes more severe, one must wonder how it is that these trustees did not do their own oversight without the payment of billions of dollars in fees.

          This has been the transfer of public pension fund principal into private hands amounting to billions which the pension funds lost in the bargain. Magnify this by city, county, school systems and state pension funds being underfunded by governments themselves, and one foresees the crisis can only grow in scope and breadth.

 

[ 4 ]    One notes the naive thinking behind a phrase such as "counting on a state bailout." The architecture of this naïveté is seen in the Detroit bankruptcy as in Greece's turmoil in 2015. Expecting a bail-out has become a political stance but an economic unreality. Somewhere and at some time fiscal responsibility falls on someone. That Chicago's politicians hope for Illinois' taxpayers to save them from their own mess, all the while Illinois perhaps hopes for the nation to save them from their own mess speaks volumes to such innumerate thinking. Consider:   Kick the can   - most governments' plan.

          Consider also the succinct facts of the WSJ article :  "The law isn’t that simple, and the practical damage will be great. State pensions are underfunded by $111 billion—a 500% increase from 1995 and up 75% in the past five years. About one in four state tax dollars already finances pensions, which is more than Illinois spends on education."

          And as to Chicago and education, one sees that now the Chicago Public Schools, also mired in debt, have been downgraded. "Moody's Investors Service downgraded the debt of both the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District on Wednesday, a day after it downgraded the city's bond rating to junk status." In "Moody's downgrades Chicago schools, park district ratings," Associated Press, 13 May 2015.

          Between the city government itself, the park district and the public schools, all have become significant risks for bond holders, as the "sustainability" of these municipal entities must all tap the same tax base to find a way out of fiscal collapse. Yet one knows by the simplest of observation that when faced with gargantuan problems, People walk away .

           What of Chicago's demographics, then?  In 1950, the population was 3,620,962, according to census sources. In 2010, the population was 2,695,598, a loss in population of 925,364.

           Rudimentary arithmetic tells a basic tale. Since 1950, the population has declined by about 25 percent, while in only the last twenty years public pensions obligations, according to news reports, have increased by five hundred percent. The problem, still spoken about in political terms, is a fiscal problem of basic math. One does not get blood from a turnip, so says the old adage.

           Throughout history, this has been the demographic and economic arc of government. While so many commentators write about civilizations' collapse all the while civilization's artifacts like literature and poetry and drama, music and plastic arts carry forward beyond such "collapse," it is more correct to speak of government collapse. Looking at the number of governments which have collapsed only since the end of World War Two, one finds poster child such as Greece, France and Italy with reconstitutions of government after political and politically-cause economic collapse. One could make a fine argument that it is government itself, which becomes irresponsible and corrupt, of being the phenomenon which breeds economic collapse.  Consider:   De fault in de plan .

           Then return to consider that phrase from the article about politicians "counting on a state bailout." Expecting someone else to pay for one's mistakes is not sound psychological or economic sense. But it does well serve political Corruption , which sees a population as always a source of money -- until it isn't. 

           It is the political class employing words while ignoring numbers which leads voters to their own economic detriment, and it is only a matter of time for Chicago now. Consider: Voted  - not sugarcoated.

           The local paper quoted the Illinois Supreme Court succinctly:   "Obliging the government to control itself is what we are called upon to do today. — Illinois Supreme Court, May 8, 2015." In "Editorial: Salvaging Illinois after the pension ruling," Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune, 8 May 2015.

           This follows basic reporting:  "For decades, Illinois's governors and state lawmakers have failed to put enough money into the pension funds for state workers, university employees, teachers, judges, and even themselves. From 2005 through 2009, as the state's pension hole grew especially deep, the SEC says the administration of then-Governor Rod Blagojevich misled investors who were buying the state's bonds about just how bad Illinois's unfunded pension liability really was." In "SEC Charges Illinois With Fraud Over Pensions," by David Schaper, NPR, 12 March 2013.

           One sees the simplicity of a problem made complex through the oily machinery of politics:  Fat, fat government .

           How fat? This question may be answered by a comparison to any individual's pension. One reads of the numbers:   "One of every four retired workers from the state of Illinois, the city of Chicago and the Chicago Public Schools is getting a pension of more than $60,000 a year. That’s 80,365 people in all. For 13,240 of them, those checks provide a yearly income of $100,000 or more, a Chicago Sun-Times/Better Government Association analysis of pension records has found. An additional 20,004 have pension incomes totaling between $80,000 and $100,000 a year." In "Generous pension benefits only one part of state, city financial crisis," by Chris Fusco, Dan Mihalopoulos and Patrick Rehkamp, Chicago Sun-Times, 17 May 2015.

           So any individual retired American can compare their pension with those above.

           But a report from almost a decade ago shows a gap. One reads:   "State and local governments have sweetened retirement benefits during the past decade at a time when corporations have soured on them because of their cost. Only 18% of private workers now have traditional defined benefit pension plans, compared with more than 80% of government employees. Contrary to a widely held notion, the extra government benefits aren't compensation for lower pay. Most government workers are paid more than private employees in similar jobs, and the wage gap is growing. A typical full-time state or local government worker made $78,853 in wages and benefits in the third quarter of 2006, $25,771 more than a typical private-sector worker, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports. The difference was $7,604 in 2000. The compensation advantage holds true for all types of public workers, from teachers to laborers and managers. Better benefits for government workers is the biggest reason for the growing compensation gap." In "Pension gap divides public and private workers," by Dennis Cauchon, USA Today, 21 February 2007.

           And now the heftiest "defined benefits" pensions for the public sector retirees balloons into a fiscal crisis of simple unsustainable force. Rather like a Ponzi scheme, with its inevitable coming collapse.

           After all, the consequences of underfunding grows rapidly now:   "The latest numbers from the state pension system, published last year, show that the Teachers' Retirement System had $62 billion in unfunded liabilities, up from $56 billion roughly a year ago, out of $111 billion in total unfunded state-pension liabilities." In "Illinois Policymakers Scramble After Pension Law Struck Down," by Andrew Ujifusa, Education Week, 19 May 2015.

           The city's own site shows the gravity of the economic situation as created by government itself.

           One reads:  "What Are Acceptable Funding Levels? When a Fund's assets are at a level that when invested they are sufficient to pay all the projected future benefits, the Fund is said to be '100%' or 'Fully Funded.' A fully funded pension plan means each generation pays the full cost of the services its public employees provide. Below 80% funding, a pension plan is vulnerable to swings in investment earnings and can rapidly burn through its assets in order to fund benefit payments. What is the City’s Current Unfunded Pension Liability? An unfunded pension liability is the difference between the value of the promises made to retirees and employees for services already rendered and the funds available to pay for those promises. Currently, the City’s six pension funds only have 50% of the funding needed to support the current pension system." In "Just the Facts: Answers to Frequent City Pension Questions," City of Chicago, accessed July 2015.

           But Chicago, the Chicago Public Schools and Cook County will find only so many taxpayers to dun, less today than in previous years. Why?

           One reads:  "A review of the data shows the top six counties to which residents of Cook County have fled. It also reveals how much money those residents took with them: 1. DuPage County won a net of 104,904 taxpayers who took more than $4.6 billion in taxable income with them. 2. Will County won a net of 84,170 taxpayers who took $4.4 billion in taxable income with them. 3. Lake County, Illinois, won a net of 67,906 taxpayers who took $4.1 billion in taxable income with them. 4. Kane County won a net of 41,364 taxpayers who took $2.2 billion in taxable income with them. 5. McHenry County won a net of 35,200 taxpayers who took $1.7 billion in taxable income with them. 6. Lake County, Indiana, won a net of 35,296 taxpayers who took $1.3 billion in taxable income with them." In "Growing tax burden will push people out of Cook County and Chicago," by Ted Dabrowski and John Klingner, Illinois Policy, 15 July 2015.

           Nothing in the very grave and deteriorating situation was caused by capitalism, nor by private sector actions. This is wholly a government-caused economic disease, and following the same trajectory as all other government-caused economic collapses.

           And so:  "Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle persuaded just enough commissioners to approve a 1-percentage-point sales tax increase Wednesday — the culmination of a major political about-face, but a move she said was needed to bail out the county worker pension system. Following weeks of one-on-one lobbying sessions by Preckwinkle, nine of the 17 commissioners voted to raise the county share of the sales tax to 1.75 percent. Add up the state, city and public transit portions, and the total sales tax rate in Chicago once again will hit 10.25 percent — one of the highest rates in the nation." In "Cook County Board votes to raise sales tax," by Hal Dardick, Chicago Tribune, 15 July 2015.

           So the raising of the tax rates is to benefit all taxpayers? Not at all. One learns in the same article:  "...the Democratic leader from Hyde Park told reporters the county faces a 'pension tsunami.' The retirement fund is $6.5 billion in the hole, an amount she said is growing by $360 million a year. Continuing that trend would have pushed even greater debt on future generations, she maintained. The sales tax hike will generate an estimated $474 million a year." This is only to fund the public pensions. Private citizens get nothing in the deal excepting higher taxes and more "public debt." The outcome to such a story is predictable.

           The estimate of this tax-and-debt burden for 2015 is yet to be clearly tabulated. But one looks back only a few years:  "Cook County taxpayers are on the hook for a staggering amount of local debt, according to figures presented by Cook County Treasurer Maria Pappas today. Cook County’s numerous local governments face mounting debts totaling more than $108 billion. And, for the first time, specific figures have been collected for municipal unfunded pensions obligations totaling in excess of $25 billion, almost a quarter of debt countywide. The total figures translate into an average debt-per-household in the city of Chicago of $63,525, and $32,901 in the suburbs." In "Stunning: Chicago Is $108 Billion In The Red – Approximately $66,000 Per Family," Investment Market Watch, 29 June 2011. Note that this debt-per-household is only the local debt-per-household, which does not include the "fair share" of the federal debt.

           But in spite of massive increases in the debt burdens on Cook County residents, and in spite of an increase in the sales tax presented as a way to address debt, one sees old-fashioned politics only days later.

           One reads:   "Just two weeks after raising the sales tax to pay for pensions, Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is moving to give tens of millions of dollars a year in pay hikes to county workers. Legislation introduced yesterday by the county chief would extend raises of up to 6.5 percent throughout county government. Only those who make more than $200,000 in annual salary would be excluded." In "After boosting the sales tax, Preckwinkle now wants $130 million in pay hikes." by Greg Hinz, Crain's Chicago Business, 30 July 2015.

           The pretense of government is that it has the best interest of its citizens at heart. This proves repeatedly untrue. Cook County, the City of Chicago and the Chicago Public Schools are all massively in debt, crying out for more funds via borrowing, but when funds arrive, it is the governance of these nested entities which then gives itself a raise.  See:   Fat, fat government .

           As with all such stories and all simple arithmetic calculations, what is simply is. Wishing and hoping it away is naive. Misleading past and potential next investors for government bonds is, according to the SEC in the citation above, fraud. Succeeding generations of politicians have presented themselves as stewards of the commonweal, with clear foresight as to what is best for all. This has been proven now a lie.

           The structure of every Ponzi-like governmental scheme will end in a similar way. with the inescapable truth that voters bought the fraudulent claims of vote-winning politicians and then voted  for eventual collapse, while bond buyers also bought the fraudulent claims and selected loss of their investments. Consider:  Voted  - not sugarcoated.

 

[ 5 ]     One could search all recent political rhetoric, especially leading up to elections, and never find a truthful politician who could say outright that they were piling ever more debt onto the backs of their citizens. This would be politically foolhardy, even though true, and tells much about corruption at the heart and soul of politics today.

 

[ 6 ]    Actuaries did not negotiate with public employees unions; politicians did. There have been numerous attempts to point the finger at any and all entities which were not the first line of defense of the tax payer. See the basic truth of arithmetic which politicians at all levels of government have ignored for decades: No correct arithmetic .

          As a perfect example of the fat cats in government, one may find numerous examples. One among the many illustrates nicely the point that a "bankrupt city" will for its public servant elite still pay out Bankrupt riches - the data snitches.

 

[ 7 ]     Some simple arithmetic tells the trajectory, though it can be validated with simple intuition.  In only one year the increase in shortfall was a 5.9 percent leap. This is not an obligation to all workers in the state, but mostly to public employees -- the "public servants" of the private sector taxpayers.  The public sector representatives argue that they too pay taxes, but the salaries out of which these taxes are paid come from either private sector taxpayers, and/or from government going deeper into debt. In 2015, Chicago is paying by borrowing, as inane a fiscal concept as one might imagine. In the private world, this is akin to what is known as "kiting."

          "A crime involving writing a check on an account, Account A, with insufficient funds and depositing it in another account, Account B, and then writing a check on Account B and depositing it in Account A to cover the first check written on Account A. Kiting takes advantage of the time it takes banks to clear checks. Before the bank in which Account B is held has time to clear the check written on Account A, the kiter has already written a second check on Account B and deposited it in Account A, making it appear as though the bank in which Account A is held has sufficient funds. The bank in which Account B is held then honors the check written on Account A. Through kiting, the kiter obtains an illegal, interest-free loan." In "Kiting," Legal Information Institute, Cornell University's Law School, n. d.

          In the case of many municipalities and some states, as legal authorities as well as legal entities, such and similar behaviors are deemed legal, though it is also known well as playing Kick the can   - most governments' plan. Using Chicago as a tragic example is apt, as the article cites Illinois as the worst instance of underfunded pensions, in 2015 standing at a meager 39 percent. This contrasts most unfavorably with a for more favorable 100 percent funded state, Wisconsin.

          There is an explanation for the disparity and mismanagement, and that explanation lies wholly in the domain of politics.

          See:  Politics  .

 

[ 8 ]     Media in Chicago are taking note. 

          "The cost to American cities for their cash-strapped pension funds is starting to look a lot worse, and it’s not because the stock-market rally may be losing steam. Houston was warned by Moody’s Investors Service this month that it may be downgraded because of mounting retirement bills, the latest municipality put on notice as the company ignores bookkeeping gimmicks that let cities mask the size of their debt for years. The approach foreshadows accounting rules for even top-rated issuers that are poised to cause pension shortfalls to swell as new financial reports are released." In "Pension Funds Burn Cities as $1 Trillion Shortfall Set to Grow," by Brian Chappatta, Bloomberg, 17 July 2015.

 

[ 9 ]    The very predictable "populist" solution for indebted governments is to try to pass the buck to another entity, or to pile on new debt through such euphemisms as "fresh funds," because the only thing incompetent governance has ever played is the old game of Kick the can   - most governments' plan.

          When every government entity saddled with unsustainable debt tries to kick the can to a larger entity -- city or school system to state, and state to a federal government -- then "taxation without representation" will become the reality, as a city or state, by passing the buck and kicking the can will essentially be piling their debt onto other taxpayers outside their jurisdiction and borders. The ultimate question then becomes why taxpayers should fund government so incompetent as to have led to this juncture in history.

 

[ 10 ]   Funding Chicago's rich? One finds local media aghast:   "The ABC7 I-Team has been looking into a mind-boggling statement made by the Gov. Bruce Rauner on Wednesday. 'One out of every four dollars taken from taxpayers by the state goes into a system that is giving more than 11,000 government retirees tax-free, six-figure pensions worth as much as, in one case, $450,000 per year,' Rauner said. Government pensions in Illinois are tax-free by Illinois, one of the few states that does not tax government pensions. Federal taxes are not exempt." In "Some Illinois retirees getting millions from taxpayers," by Chuck Goudie, ABC7 Chicago, 18 February 2015.

          Only months later, one reads:  "The Tribune's Joe Mahr last week outlined some of the most egregious abuses in an article that should enrage all of us who fund them (you'll find it at chicagotribune.com/spiking.) Mahr found that late-career pay hikes in IMRF alone cost taxpayers at least $66 million in additional pension costs, just since 2012. The kicker? Nobody really wanted to change the rules, even in the face of growing pension obligations, because officials with positions of power benefited from the system." In "Editorial: Sneaky pension padding, Illinois style," by Editorial Board, Chicago Tribune, 24 August 2015.

          Only days later, Chicago's current mayor proposes a hefty property tax hike to fund this system. The home-town newspaper correctly editorialized "...the ones getting "played" are taxpayers."

          This all seems quite like other Old-fashioned schemes courtesy of government itself, this one which "plays" the taxpayers if simply and repetitively called Raise those taxes! -- to fund the wealthy. What some "democratic" procedures played by politicians who call themselves Democrats end up being, as is now fully demonstrated by mainstream  hometown news sources is plainly Welfare for the few and rich - something akin to bait and switch.

          At first Politics pretends to care about the individual citizen, but in the end after citizens connect the dots , the real goal is revealed, again and again. This is the modern tale of government, and is A Tale of Lords, told by a Serf .

          The lords must keep this scheme operating until it collapses of its own arithmetic weight or the serfs begin more fully to learn that they have, in the words of the Chicago Tribune's editorial, been "played."


 

Sing a song of comments

"Kurdish pop singer Helly Luv says she will not be put off by death threats from Iraqi Islamist militants since release of her first music video but, drawing on its title, insists she will “Risk It All” to help a push for an independent Kurdistan. Iraqi-born Luv, 25, has seen her video rack up more than 2.5 million views on YouTube since its release in February; but she has faced criticism for what some see as provocative imagery in the clip accompanying the modern mix of dance, hip-hop and traditional Middle Eastern music." In "Brave Kurdish pop star unfazed by Muslim terrorists’ death threats," Reuters, 15 July 2014.

Sing a song of comments
To risk yet clarify,
Mocking many mockingbirds
Caught up in their lie.

 
When exposed and opened,
The lie its hands must wring;
Threatening through its gibberish
With death threats as its sting.

 
New caliphs in their pouting grouse
Such comments are unfunny,
And each of them, a snarler,
Snarls for power and money.

 
A maiden seeks no pardon
Though lyrics felt as blows
Enrage by tune-bright word
Thugs dressed in terror's clothes.

 
Simple words can sing
And cut a deepest wound
When simple truths speak out
And oh so sweetly crooned.

 
Risk it all but comment
On ugly brutish force
Which rages when it hears
Provocation's course.


Dare to sing and write and speak;
Independence terror fears;
Unfettered minds see clearly
Threatening fakirs worth the jeer.

 

Envoi:  "...as a member of the diaspora, Luv may be far more comfortable projecting sexuality than the largely rural, traditional and Muslim audience in Kurdistan. Honor killings–in which a woman is slain for 'staining the honor' of her family–are not a thing of the past in the region. Nor is Islamist militancy. Kurds from the area made up the rank and file of Ansar al-Islam, a group associated with al-Qaeda that held territory near Halabja until just before the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. The group condemned the avowedly secular government then led by the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, dispatching assassins and suicide bombers against its representatives—people who certainly did face death." In "These Dance Moves May Get You Death Threats in Kurdistan," by Karl Vick, Time, 21 February 2014.

 

See:   With regard to music 


 

Pass the foie gras

"The agency posted its intention to contract with the Renaissance Arlington Local Capital View Hotel for its upcoming public meeting, for which it will need to book 195 rooms for 24 days. 'The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), Office of Enforcement and Compliance, Office of Environmental Justice (OEJ) intends to award a fixed-price Purchase Order … to the Renaissance Arlington Local Capital View Hotel,' the solicitation said. 'The purpose of this acquisition is to cover the cost of 195 sleeping room nights from Sept. 9 [to] Oct 2, 2014, at government rate for the 50th public meeting of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (NEJAC), a federal advisory committee of the EPA.' Rooms at the Renaissance Arlington run for roughly $349 a night. At 24 nights, the cost of 195 rooms will reach $1,633,320, or $8,376 per room. The government per diem rate for lodging is $219 for September. If the EPA receives the per diem rate, the cost will come to $1,024,920 for the duration of their stay." In "EPA spends $1.6 million on hotel for 'Environmental Justice' conference," by Elizabeth Harrington, Washington Free Beacon, 29 June 2014.

 

Pass the foie gras, he said with a zest
As he belched quite soft along with the rest.
The conclave on policy was arrayed, yes blessed,
With tables all heaped with the best of the best.

We'll pass us a motion, one delegate pressed,
As another stood, and the conclave addressed.
Whatever we do, I make one clear request:
Let's do this again, as before I have stressed.

We're pressed to convene, she gorged and assessed;
I'll second that toast, another made jest.
In meetings galore there is much to digest,
Policies to be nuanced, carried on and finessed.

Massage detailed details, with some details suppressed,
Such as attendance and parties and each travel manifest.
Costs can be great, as the bidding confessed,
But luxurious chat keeps reporters impressed.

Blah-blah-blah'd blah, from the bureaucrats' nest
Is gavaged by buffets, and per diem'd with zest.
A renaissance of bureaucrats must be addressed,
Renewed through extravagance for the gaggled gabfest.

 

Envoi:  "The U.S. government could save tens of billions of dollars a year by streamlining a bloated federal bureaucracy, according to a report Tuesday from the Government Accountability Office. In its first annual report on the subject, the GAO reviewed a wide range of federal programs, agencies, offices and initiatives to identify where the government is duplicating its goals or activities. The report, requested by Congress last year, lists 34 areas where programs have overlapping objectives or provide similar services. It outlines 47 other areas where Congress could take steps to improve the efficiency of federal programs and agencies, according to the 345-page report." In "U.S. bureaucracy wastes billions, watchdog says," by Ben Rooney, CNN Money, 1 March 2011.

 

Addendum of Waste:   "The U.S. wastes more on health care bureaucracy than it would cost to provide health care to all of the uninsured. Administrative expenses will consume at least $399.4 billion out of total health expenditures of $1,660.5 billion in 2003. Streamlining administrative overhead to Canadian levels would save approximately $286.0 billion in 2003, $6,940 for each of the 41.2 million Americans who were uninsured as of 2001. This is substantially more than would be needed to provide full insurance coverage. These results are derived from detailed data on administrative costs in the U.S. and Canada in 1999 which appears in tomorrow's New England Journal of Medicine." In "USA wastes more on health care bureaucracy than it would cost to provide health care to all of the uninsured," Medical News Today, 28 May 2004.

 

Addendum of Administrative Bloat:   "U.S. universities employed more than 230,000 administrators in 2009, up 60 percent from 1993, or 10 times the rate of growth of the tenured faculty, those with permanent positions and job security, according to U.S. Education Department data. Spending on administration has been rising faster than funds for instruction and research at 198 leading U.S. research universities, concluded a 2010 study by Jay Greene, an education professor at the University of Arkansas. 'Administrative bloat is clearly contributing to the overall cost of higher education,' Greene said in a telephone interview. Purdue and other public universities, which rely on state taxpayers, have become a flashpoint for anger about bureaucratic spending." In "Bureaucrats Paid $250,000 Feed Outcry Over College Costs," by John Hechinger, Bloomberg News, 14 November 2012.

 

Addendum of Rising Bureaucratic Costs:   "...although the EU’s overall spending will fall, the cost of bureaucracy in Brussels will continue to grow. Spending on the EU’s 'civil service’ will rise by 1.5 per cent next year, with the burgeoning cost of final salary pensions for European officials to blame for much of the increase. That stands in stark contrast to the deep cuts announced for Britain’s civil service." In "Historic EU budget cut fails to stop rising cost of Brussels bureaucracy," by Bruno Waterfield and Tim Ross, Telegraph UK, 27 June 2013.

 

Addendum of Arguing Vested Bureaucratic Interests:   " 'There are six state agencies, nine statutory consultees, four Government departments and a seven-person appeals board, which currently take endless months and years arguing their own vested interests.' The report says the delays are costing millions in unfilled orders for fish and shellfish, as well as up to 2,000 skilled and semi-skilled jobs, with a huge impact on peripheral local services and infrastructure. It also cites the Dept of Agriculture, Food and the Marine’s 'piecemeal' approach to informing industry about policy changes. It blames 'Government inertia' and excessive bureaucracy for causing private investment and institutional credit to dry up." In "Bureaucracy costs fish-farming up to €60m investment and 2,000 jobs," by Joe Dermody, Irish Examiner, 19 March 2014.

 

Addendum of Spending Taxpayer Cash:   "As of March 2014, Obama has spent more time traveling internationally than any other president, taking 31 trips since assuming office in 2009. The 119 days spent overseas have cost taxpayers millions of dollars. At the same point in their respective presidencies, George W. Bush had spent 116 days on 28 trips, Bill Clinton had spent 113 days on 27 trips and Ronald Reagan had spent 73 days on just 14 trips. ...Frequently missing from the data are the costs of housing the first family and staff, costs of prepositioning the Secret Service and their equipment, and other travel expenses such as meals and beverages." In "The Obamas Have Spent Over $44,351,777.12 In Taxpayer Cash On Travel," by Ariel Cohen, Daily Caller, 5 July 2014.

 

Addendum of the New Class:   "...her lesson was this: 'I, like thousands of others trying to start businesses, learned that I would be at the mercy of public employees who interpreted the laws so they could profit themselves.' This phenomenon isn't limited to Greece, or even to capitalistic societies. Dissident Soviet-era thinker Milovan Djilas coined the term "the New Class" to describe the people who actually ran the Soviet Union: Not workers or capitalists or proletarians, but managers, bureaucrats, technocrats, and assorted hangers-on. This group, Djilas wrote, had assumed the power that mattered in the 'workers' paradise,' and transformed itself into a new kind of aristocracy, even while pretending, ever less convincingly, to do so in the name of the workers. Capitalists own capital, workers own their labor, but what the New Class owned was political control over other people's capital and labor. Those Greek bureaucrats' power didn't come from making things. It came from being able to make people -- like our pastry chef -- jump through hoops before they could make things." In "Bled dry by the New Class," by Glenn Harlan Reynolds, USA Today, 7 July 2014.    [ 1 ]

 

 Addendum of Standing for the Poor but Vacationing like the Rich:  "The Obamas and Clintons sure know how to summer! And you have to hand it to them, they aren’t letting their position as standard-bearers of the party committed to end income equality get in the way. While the president and his family enjoy a lavish getaway in tony Martha’s Vineyard, the woman who wants his job is also indulging in a glitzy summer vacay. Hillary and Bill Clinton spared no expense for their digs in the Hamptons — shelling out a cool $100G for a three-week stay in one of America’s most exclusive summer destinations. It is astonishing that someone who referred to themselves as 'dead broke' a few years ago can now put their feet up in an $18 million rented estate for a little R&R. Now that’s the American dream!" In "Dems stand for poor, vacation like the wealthy," by Jaclyn Cashman, Boston Herald, 12 August 2014.  [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Serving Los Angeles' Poor:   " 'To spend nearly half a million dollars on extravagances, those dollars should be going into providing services...." In "Health agency for the poor spends $476,000 on meals, entertainment," by Abby Sewell, Los Angeles Times, 17 March 2015.

 

See:    The Story of Innocent Bloat    and  Let's have some quail, by George 

 

NOTES

 

{ 1 ]    "The new class is also used as a polemic term by critics of countries that followed the Soviet type of communism to describe the privileged ruling class of bureaucrats and Communist Party functionaries which arose in these states. Generally, the group known in the Soviet Union as the Nomenklatura conforms to the theory of the new class. Earlier the term was applied to other emerging strata of the society." In "New class," Wikipedia, n.d.

          The argument was set forth that critics "...have taken note that The New Class, in structure and manner of argument, remained to a certain extent Marxist. And this was no coincidence. A Marxist approach appeared to be the most authentic and convincing way to tell how Communists create not a classless society but the reverse--their own class society." In "The Development of My Political Thinking," by Milvan Djilas, reprinted in a book review by the New York Times, 1998.

          This argument seems is fallacious, because simply by contemplating freedom and noticing how wealth is amassed by government functionaries without resort to a so-called Marxist approach, one may easily arrive at the same conclusion.  See:   Capital for Communists  - a story growing old.

          This clearly demonstrates that in fact not only Communists, but also National Socialists have relied on the theories of socialism to acquire power and wealth.  See:  Enemies of Capitalism  .

          One may also note that so-called advocates for issues about poverty make themselves quite wealthy:  See: Wealth defends the poor? Oh sure!  .

          The Wikipedia article fleshes out the process:  "As the new class suborns all other interests to its own security during this period, it freely executes and purges its own members in order to achieve its major goal of security as a ruling class. After security has been achieved, the new class pursues a policy of moderation towards its own members, effectively granting material rewards and freedom of thought and action within the new class – so long as this freedom is not used to undermine the rule of the new class."  This clearly explains the heated defense of one's party, as it knows clearly that it feeds best when in power. For this controlling political narratives and a cooperative press become all important.

          But as to narratives, Djilas notes, "All this could be told in a different way: as the history of contemporary revolution as the expression of a set of opinions, or finally as the confession of a revolutionary." In "Preface" to "The New Class, an Analysis of the Communist System," by Milovan Djilas, Thames and Hudson, London, 1957.

          Reynolds article states concisely, "...what the New Class owned was political control over other people's capital and labor." This suggests that politics is about capture of a people, in its final stages. But Djilas ends his book with:  "...the world will change and will go in the direction in which it has been moving and must go on -- toward greater unity, progress, and freedom. The power of reality and the power of life have always been stronger than any kind of brutal force and more real than any theory."

          This, one should observe, is a statement made by a Marxist and is the "confession of a revolutionary."

          Therefore one should also observe that "unity" is a societal concept, and not a concept of government, for unity in ever more powerful government becomes simple tyranny. Another 20th century socialist also noted the friction between society and the state. "State and society are opposing concepts; the one excludes the other." Erich Kurt Mühsam, in "The Liberation of Society from the State. What is Communist Anarchism?" (Berlin-Britz, November 1932, Translated by C. R. Edmonston, 13 Sept 2008) For more on this, see:  The  funniest thing  - a meditation on Emma Goldman.

          Thus one may see that when viewed through a number of narratives and lenses, the basic opposition is between freedom and government which grows in power to control, enjoy that control, become wealthy through control and finally oppose greater freedom for a citizenry and identify freedom itself and freedom's proponents then as the enemy of the state.  And it is in standing to some degree against the state, one learns that Freedom is freedom is freedom  .

 

[ 2 ]     The party -- in this case, Democrats, though in other cases around the world, one may think of other political parties -- defends its fat cats.  For this one may see a "new class" circling its political wagons to obscure the basic fiscal reality of wealth being acquired by politicians by a rhetoric designed to convince the opposite.

          One reads:   "In connection with this, argues MSNBC host and author Chris Hayes in a new book called 'Twilight Of The Elites,' America has become a self-perpetuating aristocracy, in which the small percentage of Americans who benefit from the power and wealth imbalance do what they need to do to ensure that they and their friends and families cling to power. Importantly, this new aristocracy crosses racial and gender lines--it's not the 'old white boy' network of prior generations. But it's just as insidious in terms of removing the meritocracy that is part and parcel of the now-rare 'American Dream' and replacing it with what amounts to an old-world aristocracy. Even President Barack Obama, Hayes argues, succumbed to this trend when he gained power. Although his own story represents the epitome of the old American dream, Obama's policies now seem designed to preserve the power of the elites, a class in which he is now firmly entrenched." In "America Has Now Become An Aristocracy Of Elites," by Henry Blodget, Daily Ticker via Yahoo Finance, 20 August 2012.

          A further survey of the many in politics, media and among the celebrities of today's America who say one thing while doing the opposite, please see a survey of sources which follows the little rhyme on Income Inequality  .

          After all, consider what George Washington, a president who rejected the chance to be a king, said when thinking about America's Two-Party Politics  .

          Note is being made that one party acts much like another party, which explains why controlling a narrative becomes so important to party loyalty. "The Democratic party, on the other hand, offers little in the way of distinction from or resistance to the GOP, and while the Dems may still be thought of in some circles as the 'Peoples Party' -- if only in fond memory -- they have more truthfully degenerated into merely the "lesser of two evils." Both parties have much work to do to regain the trust and respect of the American people." In "Are We Now a One-Party System?" by Pearl Korn, Huffington Post, 9 July 2012.

          The power of politics as an avenue to self-aggrandizement and then directly to proven corruption and crime led to the sad reality of 2014's poster child for municipal politics and bankruptcy, Detroit, a tale of citizens who Voted  - not sugarcoated.


 

Preserve us - prays the privileged circus

"There is no such thing as notoriety in the United States these days, let alone infamy. Celebrity is all." Christopher Hitchens, "For the Sake of Argument: Essays and Minority Reports," (1993)   [ 1 ]

 

Preserve us on the front page of the meager masses' minds,
For, gods forbid, the masses might just somehow drop their blinds
And gaze not on our lofty views, those each headline bold reminds,
But wander off disinterested; then our lofty world unwinds.

Preserve us in the largest type, our opinions sprayed about
As we ponder and pontificate to perpetuate our clout.
Keep us safe on the highest heights from which we floating flout
Our being ever visible that the little folk stay devout.

Preserve us through our media and mention us with praise,
That attention be ever focused on us and our displays
Of being masters of this world, greeted with hoorays.
Secure and shelter and sustain with celebrity's bright haze.

Preserve us, serve us, everyman, you who live below,
As upward flows the tribute you must neither count nor know
At least too clearly, for then ill winds would buffet, batter, blow;
Our house of cards would teeter, totter, then tumble into woe.

Preserve us, is our prayer, our demand, our policy on high,
For being less than upper crust must not to us apply.
First class with the best of all that money can ever buy
Is why we pray, preserve us, far above the little guy.

            Down from the heights of great delight,
            We think they're stupid; then we prove it right.
            After all, high beams our spotlight bright
            Because little folk gather to keep us well in sight.

 

Envoi:  "Celebrity is the chastisement of merit and the punishment of talent." Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

 

Addendum of the Spectacle:   "In The Republic, Plato imagines human beings chained for the duration of their lives in an underground cave, knowing nothing but darkness. Their gaze is confined to the cave wall, upon which shadows of the world are thrown. They believe these flickering shadows are reality. If, Plato writes, one of these prisoners is freed and brought into the sunlight, he sill suffer great pain. Blinded by the glare, he is unable to seeing anything and longs for the familiar darkness. But eventually his eyes adjust to the light. The illusion of the tiny shadows is obliterated. He confronts the immensity, chaos, and confusion of reality. The world is no longer drawn in simple silhouettes. But he is despised when he returns to the cave. He is unable to see in the dark as he used to. Those who never left the cave ridicule him and swear never to go into the light lest they be blinded as well." Chris Hedges, "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle" (2009)

 

Addendum:   "Advertising is to a genuine article what manure is to land, - it largely increases the product." P.T. Barnum, "The Humbugs of the World," 1865.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of the Privilege of being among the European Green:   "One of Greenpeace’s most senior executives commutes 250 miles to work by plane, despite the environmental group’s campaign to curb air travel, it has emerged. Pascal Husting, Greenpeace International’s international programme director, said he began 'commuting between Luxembourg and Amsterdam' when he took the job in 2012 and currently made the round trip about twice a month. The flights, at 250 euros for a round trip, are funded by Greenpeace, despite its campaign to curb 'the growth in aviation', which it says 'is ruining our chances of stopping dangerous climate change'." In "Greenpeace executive flies 250 miles to work," by Emily Gosden, Telegraph UK, 23 June 2014.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of the Party of the Rich:   "Republicans are the party of the rich, right? It's a label that has stuck for decades, and you're hearing it again as Democrats complain about GOP support for tax breaks that benefit corporations and wealthy individuals. But in Congress, the wealthiest among us are more likely to be represented by a Democrat than a Republican. Of the 10 richest House districts, only two have Republican congressmen. Democrats claim the top six, sprinkled along the East and West coasts. Most are in overwhelmingly Democratic states like New York and California." In "Party of the rich: In Congress, it's the Democrats," by Stephen Ohlemacher, Associated Press, 16 October 2014.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of a Celebrity Talk Show:   "The US president could have opted for the simpler – and cheaper – option of a live satellite link-up from the White House to appear on the late-night show. Instead he chose to fly to LA in Air Force One to appear on Jimmy Kimmel Live – even enlisting aerial support from a futuristic-looking military aircraft on the way." In "Four helicopters, out riders, marksmen... All so Barack Obama can joke around on Jimmy Kimmel's chatshow," by Tom Leonard, Daily Mail, 13 March 2015.   [ 5 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    Hitchens notes one among many famous untruths spoken by an American celebrity:   "Seeing the name Hillary in a headline last week—a headline about a life that had involved real achievement—I felt a mouse stirring in the attic of my memory. Eventually, I was able to recall how the two Hillarys had once been mentionable in the same breath. On a first-lady goodwill tour of Asia in April 1995—the kind of banal trip that she now claims as part of her foreign-policy 'experience'—Mrs. Clinton had been in Nepal and been briefly introduced to the late Sir Edmund Hillary, conqueror of Mount Everest. Ever ready to milk the moment, she announced that her mother had actually named her for this famous and intrepid explorer. The claim 'worked' well enough to be repeated at other stops and even showed up in Bill Clinton's memoirs almost a decade later, as one more instance of the gutsy tradition that undergirds the junior senator from New York. Sen. Clinton was born in 1947, and Sir Edmund Hillary and his partner Tenzing Norgay did not ascend Mount Everest until 1953, so the story was self-evidently untrue and eventually yielded to fact-checking. Indeed, a spokeswoman for Sen. Clinton named Jennifer Hanley phrased it like this in a statement in October 2006, conceding that the tale was untrue but nonetheless charming: 'It was a sweet family story her mother shared to inspire greatness in her daughter, to great results I might add.' Perfect. It worked, in other words, having been coined long after Sir Edmund became a bankable celebrity, but now its usefulness is exhausted and its untruth can safely be blamed on Mummy'." Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

          "...untrue but nonetheless charming."

          For more on one American celebrity skewered by Hitchens' pen prick, see:  Hillarious   - with two l's, because misspelling can be fun. A recent television interview was amusing, as a multi-millionaire celebrity in the millionaire-owned media interviewed a multi-millionaire celebrity in politics who complained about leaving the White House "dead broke." Plato's cave and its shadows so easily declare someone with a multi-million dollar contract for a book as "dead broke." And the little people are expected to believe it. Many do.

 

 

Ms. Millionaire interviews Ms. Millionaire for the Common Folk

 

          But a recent interview which generated the "dead broke" gaffe was conducted, millionaire to millionaire. Sources?

          "Diane Sawyer is an American television journalist who has a net worth of $60 million. How much does Diane Sawyer make per year as host of ABC news? $22 million." In "Diane Sawyer Net Worth," Celebrity Net Worth, n. d., accessed 2014.

          "Hillary Clinton is an American Democratic Politician, with a net worth of $21.5 million." In "Hillary Clinton Net Worth," Celebrity Net Worth, n. d., accessed 2014.

          That estimate has been refined as tax returns have been examined. One learns:  "Only Hillary Clinton could try to get away with slamming her Republican opponents for siding with the wealthy at the same time disclosing she’s filthy rich. Just $141 million for her and Bill Clinton since 2007, a figure that makes even the one-percenters envious." In "Hard-luck Hillary has pulled down $141M since ’07," by Joe Battenfeld, Boston Herald, 1 August 2015.

          Yet the media-as-apologist operates:  "Much has been made of Hillary Rodham Clinton's assertion to ABC's Diane Sawyer that when her husband, Bill, left the presidency, the couple was 'dead broke.' The assertion, as we noted Monday, is true. In 2000, the couple had no more than $2 million in assets, but perhaps as much as $10 million in debt, according to Clinton's financial disclosure documents she filed as a senator, available via the Center for Responsive Politics." In " 'Dead broke': A deep dive into the Clintons' finances," by Philip Bump, Washington Post, 21 June 2014.

          Interestingly, that "deep dive into the Clintons' finances" missed some financial data. One reads:  "Senator-elect Hillary Rodham Clinton agreed last night to sell Simon & Schuster a memoir of her years as first lady, for the near-record advance of about $8 million." In "Hillary Clinton Book Advance, $8 Million, Is Near Record," by David D. Kirkpatrick, New York Times, 16 December 2000.

          Celebrity gaffes can be amusing, and develop a life of their own. One reads further:   "Even Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel seemed a bit skeptical of Hillary Clinton’s comments about her and her husband’s post-White House financial situation. During an interview in Chicago this morning for her book 'Hard Choices,' Emanuel asked Clinton directly about her recent remarks to ABC News. 'Dead broke,' Emanuel said. 'Really?' To some audience laughter at the event for Chicago Ideas Week, Clinton admitted her word choice was not ideal." In "Rahm Emanuel Ribs Hillary Clinton on 'Dead Broke' Comment: ‘Really?", by Liz Kreuz, ABC News, 11 June 2014.

          As to additional incredulity, one reads:   "But with her huge personal wealth, how could Clinton possibly hope to be credible on this issue when people see her as part of the problem, not its solution? 'But they don't see me as part of the problem,' she protests, 'because we pay ordinary income tax, unlike a lot of people who are truly well off, not to name names; and we've done it through dint of hard work,' she says, letting off another burst of laughter." In "Hillary Clinton interview: will she or won't she run for president in 2016?" by Ed Pilkington, Guardian UK, 21 June 2014.

          The primary challenge in 2008 tells more:  "With animosity intensifying between the two leading Democratic contenders, the Obama campaign has been highlighting her work with Wal-Mart." In "Bill Clinton Defends Wife's Work on Wal-Mart Board," by Kate Snow, Sarah Ramos and Jennifer Parker, ABC News, 24 January 2008.

          And more:  "In six years as a member of the Wal-Mart board of directors, between 1986 and 1992, Hillary Clinton remained silent as the world's largest retailer waged a major campaign against labor unions seeking to represent store workers. Clinton has been endorsed for president by more than a dozen unions, according to her campaign Web site, which omits any reference to her role at Wal-Mart in its detailed biography of her." In "Clinton Remained Silent As Wal-Mart Fought Unions," filed by Will Thomas, Huffington Post, 28 March 2008.

          Six years later this was recalled:  "Sen. Clinton has recently sought to distance herself from Wal-Mart." In "Clinton Remained Silent As Wal-Mart Fought Unions," by Brian Ross, Maddy Sauer and Rhonda Schwartz, ABC News, 31 January 2014.

          And we learn that questioning politicians' wealth is now sexist:  "Strategist Donna Brazile, a Clinton supporter, said scrutiny of Clinton’s speaking fees smacks of sexism. 'I hope Hillary never apologizes for trying to earn a living,' Brazile said." In "Some Democrats fear Clinton’s wealth and ‘imperial image’ could be damaging in 2016," by Philip Rucker, Washington Post, 22 June 2014.

          One reads an example of Brazile's proposed "sexism" within weeks of the charge being made:   "...there’s another reason Democrats can’t talk about their wealth. It’s because they can’t say, 'I made it big. Follow me and you can, too.' Democrats earn their money in ways that aren’t available to most Americans. Yet even for Democrats, the Clintons got rich in an exotic way. They accumulated something like $100 million not by building a business or inventing something or even writing some hit songs. Their entire fortune came from political celebrity. (Their daughter has even accumulated $15 million by being the offspring of political celebrities. Or did you think NBC News paid her $600,000 a year because of her obvious broadcasting ability?)" In "Why Democrats insist on lying about how 'poor' they are," by Kyle Smith, New York Post, 28 June 2014.

          So it becomes sexist to say "their entire fortune came from political celebrity."

          What is ideal is that celebrity is celebrity, and no longer, as Hitchens observed, notoriety "let alone infamy."

          But of "dead broke," as the Washington Post's celebrity apologist is supposed to be measured by debts counted against assets, as a simple arithmetic procedure. That being the case, one may well observe that Mayor Emanuel's Chicago is "dead broke." Please see the footnotes below for the rhyme, Gram are is detailing Chicago's enormous debt  , estimated to be between $33 billion to over $86 billion.

          Moreover as to "dead broke," consider the reality of Uncle Sam's rapidly growing debt measured in the trillions, as documents in Sam?  - the Debtor Man.

          Hitchens' observation about celebrity grows more apt:  "There is a new Clinton paid to deliver speeches — Chelsea, the former first daughter — and she is commanding as much as $75,000 per appearance. Aides stressed that while Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton often address trade groups and Wall Street bankers...." In "Chelsea Clinton Follows Parents’ Lead as a Paid Speaker," by Amy Chozick, New York Times, 9 July 2014.

          One reads further:   "There’s something unseemly about it, making one wonder: Why on earth is she worth that much money? Why, given her dabbling in management consulting, hedge-funding and coattail-riding, is an hour of her time valued at an amount that most Americans her age don’t make in a year? (Median household income in the United States is $53,046.) If she really wants to be altruistic, let her contribute the money to some independent charity not designed to burnish the Clinton name as her mother ramps up to return to the White House and as she herself drops a handkerchief about getting into politics. Or let her speak for free. After all, she is in effect going to candidate school. No need to get paid for it, too." In "Isn’t It Rich?" by Maureen Dowd, New York Times, 13 July 2014.

          And so the New York Times comes to the apt question about all "rich" celebrities.

          Others do as well:  "Hillary Clinton has earned at least $12 million in 16 months since leaving the State Department, a windfall at odds with her party’s call to shrink the gap between the rich and the poor." In "Clinton Earns $12 Million Speaking, Writing After Service," by Lisa Lerer and Lauren Streib, Bloomberg News, 21 July 2014.

          Unlike Hillary Clinton's "near record" celebrity book advance, and unlike celebrity interviewer Diane Sawyer's $22 million yearly, most taxpayers have no book advance, no salary and their only real future is rising taxes. Preserve a celebrity or preserve a nation which supports the celebrities?

          Consider the average American, as against hefty speaking fees and the politics of Income Inequality  .

          Then consider:  "She insists on staying in the 'presidential suite' of luxury hotels that she chooses anywhere in the world, including Las Vegas. She usually requires those who pay her six-figure fees for speeches to also provide a private jet for transportation — only a $39 million, 16-passenger Gulfstream G450 or larger will do." In "High fashion, expense for Hillary travel," by Laura Myers, Las Vegas Review-Journal, 16 August 2014.

          As a delightful counterpoint to the enormous monies mentioned above, one reads:  "...customers usually leave a little something behind." In "Multimillionaire presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and top aide Huma Abedin did not leave a tip at Ohio Chipotle - and yes, there WAS a jar on the counter," by Francesco Chambers, Daily Mail, 16 April 2015.

          Another counterpoint between two behaviors tells its tale:   "A 2014 speech by Hillary Clinton to the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach shows the stark difference between the former secretary of state and the woman who preceded her, Condoleezza Rice. When Rice gave a speech at the annual luncheon for the charity in 2009, she collected a $60,000 speaking fee, and donated almost all of that fee back to the club. Hillary – naturally – was not as generous. She charged $200,000 and 'donated' the entire fee to the Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton foundation." In "Hillary outclassed again: How Condoleezza Rice could teach her a thing or two about charity," by Michael Schaus, BizPacReview, 18 June 2015.

          Those who blindly play the simplest of partisan politics will say, on the one hand, "look at the wealthy Republicans!" Others will say, "how about those wealthy Democrats!" Both assertions in fact are true. Politicians use politics as a road to wealth. This particular example shows a particularly effective avenue to garnering wealth into the 1 % status which is supposedly too wealthy, except for the approved exceptions based on relative party affiliation.

          Politics, too many examples prove, can so easily lead to Corruption .

 

[ 2 ]   The same ventured this advice:   "The great ambition should be to excel all others engaged in the same occupation." P.T. Barnum, "The Art of Money Getting, or, Golden Rules for Getting Money," 1880. 

          For this, one may examine multi-millionaires in American politics deeply involved in the rhetoric of income inequality as they climb into the glittering one-percent economic class of America. As Barnum taught, "they excel all others" in the acquisition of money. By this one may well understand, that one American celebrity trumped another in politics mostly on the basis of celebrity and public perception.

          As Hitchens says of modern America, "celebrity is all."

          After all, "...with nearly half of Americans believing advertising to 'fairly honest', it seems consumers will continue to be tricked into buying disappointing products." In "The art of deceptive advertising: From brown shoe polish on burgers to hairspray for brighter ingredients, how commercials trick us into buying their products," Daily Mail UK, 12 June 2014.

 

[ 3 ]     Speculation is now green, as is inept accounting:   "The handling of Greenpeace International’s £58m budget has been in disarray for years, with its financial team beset by personnel problems and a lack of rigorous processes, leading to errors, substandard work and a souring of relationships between its Amsterdam headquarters and offices around the world, documents leaked to the Guardian show. Coming after it emerged that a staffer had lost £3m on the foreign exchange market by betting mistakenly on a weak euro, the documents show that the group’s financial department has faced a series of problems, and that its board is troubled by the lack of controls and lapses that allowed one person to lose so much money." In "Greenpeace losses: leaked documents reveal extent of financial disarray," by Adam Vaughan, Guardian UK, 23 June 2014.

          May the privilege of the charitable and green movements be preserved, for so do they think as they gamble with millions and commute to work by air, all the while appealing for donations.

          As to appealing for donations, a quick look at Greenpeace in the United States is instructive.  One notes in Form 990 for Greenpeace, Inc. (USA) that against 2009's "Contributions and Grants" of $26,043,420, the non-profit corporation paid "Salaries, other compensation, employee benefits of $16,411,768, which coupled with "Other expenses" showed "Revenue less expenses" of a negative $998,734.00. Among "Independent Contractors" noted in the 2009 filing, "Provide donor leads" cost $342,526 and "Payment Processing Centers" cost $557,462.00. This suggests a charitable corporation which was losing money in 2009, paying out more than half its "donations" as salaries and expenses, all the while while spending $899,988 on finding donors to support it and "processing" their payments. How do these snapshots into Greenpeace, Inc. in the United States and Greenpeace in Europe square with their public charitable goals? Not well, at all. But it is assured they are managing to preserve themselves.

          Now lower paid Greenpeace employees are worrying about their jobs, as one learns:   "Husting’s commute to Amsterdam two times a month was his own choice, as a measure to keep his family happy as he did not want to move to Amsterdam due to the disruption to his young children’s lives. Being more environmentally friendly and taking the train to Amsterdam and back is also not an option for Husting, as that would take 12 hours. Husting’s salary has also come into the spotlight. At €6075 per month, the staff members argue that 'that amount is multiple times the average income and a lot of money for most of our supporters.' The staff explain that there is no chance Greenpeace could recover from this scandal unless Naidoo and Husting are dismissed, as keeping them on would undermine the credibility of the environmental organization. 'It will come back every time as soon as we criticize politicians or organizations. Like is actually happening now already. If Greenpeace can’t do it right, who can?', they tell the Volkskrant." In "Greenpeace staff want director dismissed," by Maxine Zech, NLTimes, 23 July 2014.

          For more humbuggery from the nicest sorts of folks, please see:   Modern Times and Charity  .

 

[ 4 ]   The politics of income inequality seems to come in waves, but the notion that one party represents the poor and middle class while the other represents the rich is ludicrous. 

          One reads of a multimillionaire speaking to multimillionaires who can afford on average $35,000 for a political donation:

          "Hillary Clinton tonight told a room full of Hollywood heavyweights that the midterm elections are very important to make sure the Democrats retain the Senate so they can move forward on 'important issues like immigration reform.' What she also told the 60 or so guests in attendance is, to use some of the introductory remarks by co-chair Jeffrey Katzenberg, is 'the amazing drawing power' of the former Secretary of State. A fact not lost on anyone as tonight’s event raised $2.1 million for Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, a fundraising record." In "Hillary Clinton Raises Record $2.1M At Jeffrey Katzenberg Co-Hosted Hollywood Fundraiser," by Dominic Patten, Deadline Hollywood, 20 October 2014.

          "60 or so guests" divided into $2.1 million equals $35,000 on average. For means of comparison, one might compare this to the average American: "... median household income fell slightly to $51,017 a year in 2012, down from $51,100 in 2011...." In "15% of Americans living in poverty," by Steve Hargreaves, CNN Money, 17 September 2013.

          When I remind devotees of the major political parties that they cheer on multimillionaires who gather in millions through a life in politics, it is those of the supposedly "liberal" side who become most angry. But as Chomsky and others have well observed,  "The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party." The citation for this quote may be found below:  Bring presents to the party  .

          As to some support for this simple observation, one reads:   "Among the top 100 individual donors to political groups, more than half gave primarily to Democrats or their allies. Among groups that funneled more than $100,000 to allies, the top of the list tilted overwhelmingly toward Democrats — a group favoring the GOP doesn't appear on the list until No. 14. The two biggest super PACs of 2014? Senate Majority PAC and House Majority PAC — both backing Democrats. In all, the top 10 individual donors to outside groups injected almost $128 million into this year's elections. Democratic-leaning groups collected $91 million of it." In "Wealthy donors sided with Democrats in midterms," by Philip Elliott, Associated Press, 24 December 2014.

          Wealthy donors sided with Democrats in midterm elections of 2014. If one finds this a surprise, then one has not been paying attention. Party of the rich? How about parties of the rich? This is how they party.

 

[ 5 ]    The rules of the failed Left-Right model come into play here. The celebrity appearance was covered with one minor public appearance which justified the presidential trip, so say the apologists on for Left while the Right critiques.

          One reads:  "President Obama and first lady Michelle Obama flew to Los Angeles on Thursday for TV appearances but took separate flights, collectively costing taxpayers at least $1 million. The president went to appear live on comedian Jimmy Kimmel’s late-night show on ABC, while the first lady went to Warner Bros.' studios in nearby Burbank to tape an appearance on Ellen Degeneres’ popular daytime show that is scheduled to air on Monday." In "Obama, first lady fly to Los Angeles on same day but take separate flights." FOX News, 14 March 2015.

          Examining this report that two celebrities took two flights to the same city on the same day from the perspective of global warming/climate change politics, one can estimate that more than 5 million pounds of CO2 from both flights was generated in one day alone, so that two celebrities could appear at celebrity events for the "bread and circuses" which is politics today. So were these trips green? Of course not, but they certainly were sell-ebrity.

          One learns that the talk shows host, also sell-ebrities, are millionaires. One reads:  Ellen DeGeneres, according to Forbes 2103, has a net worth of $70 million, and notes that she is a "Drop Out, University of New Orleans."  Jimmy Kimmel, according to Celebrity Net Worth, has a net worth of $35 million, and notes that his salary is $10 million per year. The site notes Kimmel "dropped out of Arizona State University after two years to focus on radio work full-time."
          One see then that two public celebrities spent perhaps a million in public money to attend celebrity events with celebrity millionaires, in the process disproving their commitment to reducing CO2 emissions on behalf of climate change -- as anything other than politics -- and ignoring the political issue of Income Inequality , by consorting with the economic elite of the nation.

          But as Barnum noted above: such political "[a]dvertising is to a genuine article what manure is to land, - it largely increases the product."

          One notes that, in the game of politics, the celebrity hosts were both college "dropouts." Yet a potential candidate for a national role who was a dropout was accused:  "The Republican governor of Wisconsin faced criticism this week for not having finished college, most notably by former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (Yale, Class of ’71), who argued he was 'unknowledgeable' on 'Morning Joe.' But this line of criticism can be a hard one for Democrats to press, in no small part because there are a lot of Americans who are just like Walker in this regard." In "Scott Walker Is a College Dropout, But So Are Many Americans," by Tessa Berenson, Time, 13 February 2015.

          So the Obamas appeared on talk shows hosted by "dropouts" who are supposedly "unknowledgeable."

          Walker, according to PoliticianNetWorth, is a millionaire also, albeit of far less worth at $2 million than the celebrities above. But were one to examine all these celebrities from the political rhetoric of the Left-Right model, one finds that political celebrities become wealthy through politics, Walker at $2 million, Obama currently at $13 million according to the same site. Millionaires all around, and in both parties.

          One looks further:  "...while Americans' median wealth is down 43% since 2007, Congress members' net worth has jumped 28%." In "Congress is getting richer," CNN Money, 12 January 2015.

          And further:  "Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) retains his claim as the wealthiest member of Congress, with an average net worth of $448.4 million." In "One Member of Congress = 18 American Households: Lawmakers’ Personal Finances Far From Average," by Russ Choma, 12 January 2015. But the article also informs: "The wealthiest member of the Senate — and second richest member of Congress — is Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), who comes in at $254.1 million. Like Issa, Warner is slightly less wealthy than he was in 2012. Of the other five members worth $100 million or more, two are Republicans and three are Democrats. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi broke into the nine figures in 2013, increasing her average net worth from $87.9 million in 2012 to $100.8 million in 2013."

          And then there is Obama's billionaire cabinet member:   "Penny Sue Pritzker (born May 2, 1959) is an American business executive, entrepreneur, civic leader, and philanthropist who is currently serving as the 38th United States Secretary of Commerce. ... In 2011, the Forbes 400 list of America's wealthiest showed her as the 263rd richest person in the U.S., estimated net worth of US $1.8511 billion, and the world's 651st richest person." Wikipedia article, n. d.

          Sell-ebrity abounds and trots onto the stage to appear with the sell-ebrity "unknowledgeable."

          Wealth abounds, and reaches into the federal government and its ultra-elite on the Left and the Right.

          Income inequality abounds, and is easily found in "dead broke" politics.

          CO2 pollution abounds, as sell-ebrity jets around the nation proclaiming green goals to the "drop-out" celebrities.

          And the Left or the Right applauds or criticizes based solely on which team someone cheers on.

          Yeah hypocrisy. Hurrah sell-ebrity. And for this, it is noted "...while Americans' median wealth is down 43% since 2007, Congress members' net worth has jumped 28%."

          One should not be surprised, for this is true across a world of political behaviors. In doubt? See:  Socialists love money and Capital for Communists - a story growing old. Ah, the Left is so right, and the Right is often so left.

          And the Obamas and Pritzker, Issa and Warner, Pelosi and Walker, DeGeneres and Kimmel, Hillary Clinton sitting together with Diane Sawyer above, and so many more, these are the elected elite. And they all love their pursuit of money, while praying their secular prayer -- "Preserve us on the front page of the meager masses' minds...."


 

Gram are is

 

"The average CPS teacher salary is $76,000. The last contract negotiations in 2012 gave CPS teachers 17 percent raises over three years. [ 1 ]  The median household income in Chicago is just $47,408." In "Chicago Public Schools prom slogan: 'This Is Are Story'," by Hilary Gowins, EAGNews, Illinois Policy Institute, 10 June 2014. 

 

Gram are is and gram are ain't.
Yup, gud grammar is growing quaint
As time is passing four a spell;
Won learns that spelling ain't to well.

Wurds is heards of lettered stuff
And printed well it ain't two tuff.
Teachers in an upper class?
Don't get graded! Get a pass!

This is are story, as ours go by
In honors of offers to exemplify
That gram are's whiz proves gram are's tain't,
As the city's system makes small complaint.

The old scholar's ship has sailed to sea.
Left sick on the peer? Ill literacy.
Ill in noisy campaign mode?
It ain't just the buffalo's buffaloed.

Well, above the median lives
Daft datives' ailing accusatives,
Grating on curvy union faults;
Let's dance to the lazy gram are waltz.

 

Addendum for 2011:   "Nearly 40 percent of Chicago Public School students drop out." In "High Dropout Rate for Chicago Schools," by Yasmin Rammohan, Chicago Tonight WTTW, 7 November 2011.

 

Addendum for 2013:   "Chicago Public Schools (CPS) today announced a record 65.4 percent graduation rate." In "CPS Students Set Record High Graduation Rate of 65.4 percent for School Year 2012-2013," Chicago Public Schools Press Release, 14 August 2013.     [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Comparative Numbers:   "The dropout rate in Chicago is about 40 percent. Any idea, any clue what the national average dropout rate is? Brace yourself for another shocking figure that isn’t seen much: About 30 percent. About a third, which is almost as bad as 40 percent. Something has gone very wrong in this country if we can’t get one out of three kids to finish high school. Public high school, that is. Private schools are an entirely different matter. The National Catholic Education Association reports a dropout rate of 0.9 percent, or a 99.1 percent graduation rate." In "The one school stat that nobody’s discussing," by Neil Steinberg, Chicago Sun-Times, 14 September 2012.

 

Addendum of It Spelled Right:   "In this chthonian world the only thing of importance is orthography and punctuation. It doesn't matter what the nature of the calamity is, only whether it is spelled right." Henry Miller (1891-1980), Tropic of Cancer (1934)     [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Word Ass Oh She Yeah Shuns:   " 'Now our school is going to be associated with homosexuality,' Woodger complained, according to Torkildson, who posted the exchange on his Facebook page. Torkildson says he was careful to write a straightforward explanation of homophones. He knew the 'homo' part of the word could be politically charged, but he thought the explanation of that quirky part of the English language would be educational." In " Blogger fired from language school over 'homophonia'," by Paul Rolly, Salt Lake Tribune, 29 June 2014.

 

 Addendum of Pseudo-Homophonia:   "In the United States, there have been several controversies concerning the word 'niggardly', an adjective meaning 'stingy' or 'miserly', because of its phonetic similarity to the racial slur 'nigger'. Etymologically the two words are unrelated. On January 15, 1999, David Howard, a white aide to Anthony A. Williams, the black mayor of Washington, D.C., used 'niggardly' in reference to a budget. This apparently upset one of his black colleagues (identified by Howard as Marshall Brown), who misinterpreted it as a racial slur and lodged a complaint. As a result, on January 25 Howard tendered his resignation, and Williams accepted it. However, after pressure from the gay community (of which Howard was a member) an internal review into the matter was brought about, and the mayor offered Howard the chance to return to his position as Office of the Public Advocate on February 4. Howard refused but accepted another position with the mayor instead, insisting that he did not feel victimized by the incident. On the contrary, Howard felt that he had learned from the situation. 'I used to think it would be great if we could all be colorblind. That's naïve, especially for a white person, because a white person can afford to be colorblind. They don't have to think about race every day. An African American does'." In "Controversies about the word 'niggardly'," Wikipedia, n .d.    [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of Racist Micro-aggression for Correcting Spelling:    "In a letter sent to colleagues in the department after the sit-in, Rust said students in the demonstration described grammar and spelling corrections he made on their dissertation proposals as a form of 'micro-aggression.' 'I have attempted to be rather thorough on the papers and am particularly concerned that they do a good job with their bibliographies and citations, and these students apparently don’t feel that is appropriate,' Rust said in the letter." In "Students defend professor after sit-in over racial climate," by Sam Hoff, Daily Bruin (UCLA), 20 November 2013.  [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of College Proficiency:   "The 40% of students tested who didn’t meet a standard deemed “proficient” were unable to distinguish the quality of evidence in building an argument or express the appropriate level of conviction in their conclusion. The results are 'consistent with our work,' said Richard Arum, co-author of 'Academically Adrift' and 'Aspiring Adults Adrift,' which chronicles the paucity of studying and intellectual development on college campuses and the consequences after graduation. 'Colleges are increasing their attention to the social aspects on campus to keep students happy; there is not enough rigorous academic instruction,' he said. A survey of business owners to be released next week by the American Association Colleges and Universities also found that nine out of 10 employers judge recent college graduates as poorly prepared for the work force in such areas as critical thinking, communication and problem solving." In "Test Finds College Graduates Lack Skills for White-Collar Jobs," by Douglas Belkin, Wall Street Journal, 16 January 2015.

 

Addendum of the New York City Schools:   "...New York City is rife with underperforming schools, at least according to the standardized tests used by the state. The situation is particularly tough in poor sections of Brooklyn and the Bronx, where stats show schools that turn out tens of thousands of unprepared students. How bad is the crisis? Nearly 284,000 kids attended public schools last year where less than one student in five could read at their own grade level." In "New York City is rife with underperforming schools, including nearly two-thirds of students missing state standards," by Ginger Adams Otis, Ben Chapman and Larry Mcshane, New York Daily News, 14 March 2015.

 

Addendum of the Accusation of Snobbery:   "The whole debate about English usage has been bedeviled ever since by this snobbery, whereas the real task of language instruction (for adults as for children) should be to help people learn how to address different types of audience at different sorts of occasions. A speech delivered at a public event marking a great tragedy, for instance, demands a highly formal register; commentary on the Super Bowl needs a conversational tone. If you mix them up, you have failed not just in standards of language but in proper behavior as well." In "There Is No 'Proper English'," by Olver Kamm, Wall Street Journal, 13 March 2015.   [ 6 ]

  

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     "Eventually the system cracks under the strain and reform is needed, as is happening now in Chicago. Either benefits must be cut or taxes must be raised or a combination of the two; in Chicago's case, worker contributions are going up (a pay cut, in effect) and inflation-linking is being capped. These are very difficult issues. On the one hand, private sector workers in the states and cities, many of whom are in DC schemes with no guarantees or inflation-linking, are being asked to fund more generous final salary pensions for public sector workers. The full costs of those promises has been effectively disguised." In "The big bill," by Buttonwood, Economist, 10 June 2014.

         The crisis -- a system cracking -- is more than about spelling. One reads:   "Chicago owes almost $14 billion in outstanding general obligation bond debt, and the city’s pension funds owe $19.5 billion in unfunded obligations to police, firefighters and municipal employees. Combined, the Chicago Tribune reports the Second City owes more than $33 billion. That’s more than four times the nearly $7 billion the city spends every year. And it doesn’t even count the unfunded pension liabilities Chicago Public Schools and other city-affiliated agencies owe." In "Chicago’s mind-blowing $33 billion debt and pension obligations," by Reid Wilson, Washington Post, 18 November 2013.

         That is one estimate.  One reads another:   "Chicago taxpayers face $86.9 billion in debt and unfunded liabilities under new Moody’s methodology. That’s $32,000 per Chicago resident and more than $84,000 for every Chicago household. Chicago also faces the risk that subsidies from the state of Illinois – which is nearing insolvency — may be reduced or eliminated. The units of government that operate within Chicago’s borders depend on billions of dollars in state funds. Chicago Public Schools, or CPS, receives more than $1.8 billion in state education support, and Chicago Transit Authority, or CTA, receives millions more. Any cuts in those funds will only increase the pressure on Chicago’s finances. Chicago’s fiscal squeeze is already threatening the city’s ability to provide core services. CPS has laid off thousands of staff and closed nearly 50 schools, while the city’s crime rate is among the highest in the nation. When taxpayers stop receiving the services they are paying for, they’ll leave. Chicago has already lost nearly 200,000 people since the 2000 census — meaning there are fewer taxpayers left to pick up the city’s growing debt. Taxpayers should be worried." In "The hidden bill: Chicago taxpayers and the looming crisis," by Ted Dabrowski, Illinois Policy Institute, 17 September 2013.

         But when one does not spell well, one likely does not do basic arithmetic well either.

 

[ 2 ]  "About 400 Chicago Public Schools — a vast majority of the district — laid off teachers in July in the wake of budget cuts, even some schools projected to gain students from shuttered schools or neighborhood growth, a Chicago Sun-Times analysis has found." In "335 schools lost teachers in CTU layoffs," by Lauren Fitzpatrick, Chicago Sun-Times, 19 August 2013.

         A similar report by another Chicago newspaper tells:  "The fallout from the Chicago Public Schools' decision to lay off almost 3,000 teachers and school-based staff will be felt citywide when classes resume next month. Schools will be forced to increase class sizes, eliminate field trips, slash art and music programs and cancel intervention initiatives for struggling students, said principals and parents group leaders on a day when more than 1,000 teachers were let go." In "City schools poised to feel impact of deep job cuts," by Noreen S. Ahmed-Ullah, Chicago Tribune, 20 July 2013.

         The Chicago teachers' union reacted:   "Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has targeted Chicago teachers again. This time with an announcement last week that Chicago Public Schools (CPS) will layoff more than 3,000 teachers and school staff. This comes on the heels of the city’s closing of nearly 50 schools and layoffs of some 850 educators. Along with the layoffs, steep budget cuts are in the works." In "Chicago Teacher Layoffs 'Unnecessary, Shameful'," by Mike Hall, AFL-CIO Now, 31 July 2013.

         A less sympathetic voice was heard:   "Chicago Teachers Union President Karen Lewis is full of excuses for why the city's schools are hemorrhaging money, failing to educate students, and laying off teachers by the hundreds. During her tenure as union head, Lewis has blamed Chicago Public Schools' problems on Mayor Rahm Emanuel, charter schools, standardized tests, bankers, venture capitalists, a lack of funding and 'a culture of fear.' During a recent speech to the City Club of Chicago, Lewis focused on her two most inflammatory excuses for CPS' failures: 'racism' and 'rich white people'." In "Union boss Karen Lewis blames ‘rich white people’ for Chicago school district woes," by Trevor Tenbrink, EAGNews, 19 June 2013.

         The mayor's excuse blames another cause:   "Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Sunday pointed a finger at the state's pension crisis in two recent doses of bad financial news: 2,000 Chicago Public Schools layoffs and a decline in the city's bond rating. 'This is avoidable in a sense,' Emanuel said during an unrelated news conference in response to a question about last week's CPS layoffs, more than 1,000 of which involved teachers. 'We need Springfield to step up.' Emanuel, urging state lawmakers to act on Illinois' glut of pension debt, said the rising cost related to school district retirees contributed to the need for the cuts." In "CPS layoffs, drop in city's bond rating tied to state pension crisis, Emanuel says," by Mitch Smith, Chicago Tribune, 21 July 2013.

         From the perspective of grammar, the news of 2011 said that "nearly forty percent of Chicago Public School students drop out" while the news of 2013 offers a number -- 65.4 percent -- which is also related arithmetically to "nearly forty percent," off by 5.4 percent. It depends on the meaning of "near." What is clear is that either statistic is nowhere "near" to the National Catholic Education Association's statistics which tell such a different tale.

         As to Mayor Emanuel's blaming the "state pension crisis," one reads from an earlier Chicago Tribune editorial that this "crisis" has been foreseen, yet nothing was done to address it excepting asking for more money.

         "...public retirement benefits have created a fiscal time bomb in Illinois that lawmakers irresponsibly allow to keep ticking away. For now, teachers continue accruing benefits that put their private-sector peers to shame. It's often said no one gets rich as a teacher. Yes, no one gets chief-executive rich, or pro-athlete rich or movie-star rich. But you can do very well as a teacher, compared to the broader work force. There's nothing wrong with that. And there's nothing wrong with expecting teachers to demonstrate through performance measures year in and year out that they deserve what they make." In "Public vs. private pay," Chicago Tribune, 22 July 2010.

         The remaining question, then, comparing CPS and Catholic school performance is simple. How does one "demonstrate through performance measures year in and year out that they deserve what they make?"

         "Near" 60-70 percent versus "near" 100 percent suggests that demonstration awaits for the curious, and will be avoided by the incurious. This is are story.

 

[ 3 ]  On the other and "amusing" hand: "Now comes this new spelling epidemic, and this time we are stricken. So I suppose we needed the affliction. I don't say we needed it, for I don't see any use in spelling a word right -- and never did. I mean I don't see any use in having a uniform and arbitrary way of spelling words. We might as well make all clothes alike and cook all dishes alike. Sameness is tiresome; variety is pleasing." Mark Twain, in "Interesting Contest as the Asylum Hill Congregational Church Last Night -- An Amusing Speech by 'Mark Twain," in Mark Twain's Letters, Volume six: 1874-1875.

 

[ 4 ]    For a detailed perspective on the statement, "...a white person can afford to be colorblind. They don't have to think about race every day. An African American does," consider:  Everything's about my colored skin  - (or sadly, Why racism works).

 

[ 5 ]     Now that correct spelling and observation of grammar's rules has been deemed 'micro-aggression" and expressing racism, the redefinition game of the "activist" comes rather full circle. If words mean other than they mean and if rules are no longer rules, then there is no point in even offering classes in any sort of literacy, and the uninformed and illiterate rule.

         How different a mentality than this:   "...all we have, finally, the words, and they had better be the right ones, with the punctuation in the right places so that they can best say what they are meant to say. If the words are heavy with the writer's own unbridled emotions, or if they are imprecise and inaccurate for some other reason - if the words are in any way blurred -the reader's eyes will slide right over them and nothing will be achieved. The reader's own artistic sense will simply not be engaged. Henry James called this sort of hapless writing 'weak specification'.'' In "A Storyteller's Shoptalk," by Raymond Carver, New York Times, 15 February 1981.

         An accusation of "micro-aggression" is become the new game of children, like toddlers screaming "no!" When being inarticulate is sought after, society no longer has a conversation worth having. For such, it is easy to predict the response:  People walk away .

         As Carver noted and prophesied, " nothing will have been achieved." Gram are is.

 

[ 6 ]    Snobbery, says an essay writer, is what props up "proper English." So...

         "Da hole tea bait bout Anguish you sage has-been bedebiled ever sins by dis snow berry, where ass de reel task of link edge in struck shun (four adultery is four childery) should be two hep peep hole earn how do add dress one kind or an other of odd D ants at different swords of OK shuns. Us peach deal liver dead at a pubic event mark king a grade tragedy, for in Stan's, demands a high Lee form Al resister; comment tarry on de Souper Bowl kneads a con verse a shun L tune. If you max them up or down, you half failed nod jez in Stan's darts of anguish but in propped her behavior as swell." An S say kamm what may down.

         So....

         "The entire dispute concerning English rules and routines has been irksome ever since by this condescension whereas the actual work of language schooling (for the mature as for those immature) rightly ought be to assist people in learning how to communicate with various types of people at different kinds of events. A talk given at a public meeting concerning a significant calamity, as one example, requires a ceremonious tone; chatter about the Super Bowl requires a chatty banter. If you confuse these, you have erred not only in norms of language but also in socially approved comportment."

         Snobbery? There is no proper anguish. There are language skills which help in employment as in clearly understood instructions. No proper English? In fact there are many proper forms of English, but there are also linguistic markers indentifying those who communicate less well than their counterparts. One also notes that one essayist and snob says there are rules, after all. "A speech delivered at a public event marking a great tragedy, for instance, demands a highly formal register; commentary on the Super Bowl needs a conversational tone."

         Let's all be irked. Sometimes it helps sell a book or two.


 

Food Chain - inhumane?

Everything smells like dinner,
         like sausages linked on a chain.
Some grow fat, some thinner,
         but none will long abstain.
Hunger teaches each beginner,
         though munching might cause pain,
To become each a fruitful winner
         and gobble what tastes germane.
Think not that man's some sinner
         to ingest and life sustain;
What are we -- our outer, inner --
         but flesh and meaty brain.
Feast, feed well on dinner,
         for life's a smorgasbord that's slain.
It's livelier to be a breadwinner
         and not the bread, we ascertain.


 

She made me do it

"You can't blame gravity for falling in love." Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

 

She made me do it,

        said Old Adam to his Boss.
She made me do it,

        said the hand-less re his loss.
Blame a broad, abroad or near,

        but blame her cross crisscross.
The war of the sexes, wages paid,

        wages on, in riches and in dross.

                Holy moly, me o my,

                        man's hand, deep in some till,

                Was cause enough, then as now,

                        to have hooked him with the bill.

                Gosh and golly, proper, prim,

                        she's made a fool of him;

                Man confessed no manly fault,

                         that being too hard a somersault.

Hook, line and stinker,

        would point away blame,

But the Boss is a thinker,

         knowing well man's old game.

 

Addendum of that original Sin:   "The man replied, 'The woman you gave to be with me — she gave me fruit from the tree, and I ate'." Genesis: 3:12.
 

Addendum with that Sin Again:   "Handless hate preacher Abu Hamza al-Masri was living 'on the wrong side of morality' — working as a bouncer for a London strip club — until his first wife led him on a path to jihad. Testifying at his terror trial in Manhattan federal court Wednesday, the one- eyed, Egyptian-born cleric said he married a non-Muslim Brit in the early ’80s who hated his 'not very respectful lifestyle.' So she sought advice from his Islamic friends. 'They told her, ‘If you ask him to teach you Islam, he will spend more time with you,' testified al-Masri, 56. The extra time the couple spent studying Islam didn’t salvage the marriage — but did lead al-Masri on the path to become a well-known imam, he said. The thrice-married al-Masri didn’t say why they divorced, but ex-wife Valerie Olga Macias has blamed their 1984 split on the cleric's alleged affair with a hooker." In "My ex led me from strip club to jihad, says hate imam," by Rich Calder, New York Post, 7 May 2014.

 

Addendum in the Form of a Joke:   "Take my wife. Please." Henny Youngman (1906-1998)

 

Addendum in Poetic Words:   "If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches; for the Creator, there is no poverty and no poor and unimportant place." Rainer Maria Rilke (1875-1926)  Original German:  "Wenn Ihr Alltag Ihnen arm scheint, klagen Sie ihn nicht an; klagen Sie sich an, sagen Sie sich, daß Sie nicht Dichter genug sind, seine Reichtümer zu rufen; denn für den Schaffenden gibt es keine Armut und keinen armen, gleichgültigen Ort."  (17 February 1903).

 

Addendum Popularized:  "You made me love you / I didn't want to do it / I didn't want to do it / You made me want you / And all the time you knew it. / I guess you always knew it." Opening lyrics from "You Made Me Love You," by Joseph McCarthy and James Monaco, 1913.


 

The promise was sweet

" 'Some place where there isn't any trouble.' Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It's not a place you can get to by a boat, or a train. It's far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain..." Dorothy to Toto, in "The Wizard of Oz," by Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson and Edgar Allan Woolf, 1939.

The promise was bright; the vision was sweet.
Somewhere beyond there would be no deceit.
The story was colored with twists as with turns,
Seeming oft lost, with tear-moist concerns.
 
Many adventures and violent threats
Along on that road till the end all begets.
Do you suppose there is such a place?
No troubles nor cares where all win their race?
 
Beyond, behind, such distance is traced
By fanciful tales, unreality based.
The lesson of some place returns us back home,
For after it all, there's no time more to roam.

 

The tales we make and the tales we sell

Speak to our visions of heaven and hell.

Tales are but few, yet variations abound,

All told bright when earnest or clowned.

 

Or both, for comedy's tragedies sing,

While tragedies, laughter accompanying,

Tell much and all when all must be told,

Of innocence, evil, the coward, the bold.

 

All of it takes us to where we'd begun;

The journey is ever the race that we've run.

No trouble there is, in a somewhere beyond,

For this is a dream of which all are so fond.

 

Each promise is sweet; each vision is bright.
Somewhere beyond all things will be right.
In such stories lurk all twists and all turns.
Tell all often; pray in time mankind learns.

 

Envoi:  "The Scarecrow listened carefully, and said, 'I cannot understand why you should wish to leave this beautiful country and go back to the dry, gray place you call Kansas.' 'That is because you have no brains' answered the girl. 'No matter how dreary and gray our homes are, we people of flesh and blood would rather live there than in any other country, be it ever so beautiful. There is no place like home'." In "The Road Through the Forest." chapter 4 of "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz," by L. Frank Baum, 1900.


 

Cast the first stone

 

"The phrase Stasi 2.0 is the catchphrase of a civil rights campaign in Germany. The term originated in the blogosphere, combining the name of East Germany's former Ministry of State Security, commonly known as the 'Stasi', with the concept of software versioning as used in the popular phrase 'Web 2.0'. The implication is that Stasi 2.0 is the modernized, updated and contemporary successor (or 'version' in the software usage) of Stasi. The campaign focuses on the proposals of Wolfgang Schäuble, at that time Secretary of the Interior of Germany. Schäuble then proposed a preemptive security strategy, which critics contend bears similarities to the practices of the Stasi, but using current technology. His most disputed ideas involve his proposals for telecommunications data retention, his proposal to legalize military action of the Bundeswehr inside German borders, and his support for covert 'online searches' of suspects' computer equipment. His latest proposal in particular has met stiff opposition from many prominent German netizens, as well as the Chaos Computer Club. Though Schäuble claims his proposals serve to protect a Right to Security', no such right is recognized under the German constitution. The phrase Stasi 2.0 has been used by protestors criticising Barack Obama by likening him to a Stasi figure in 'The Lives of Others' during the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures about the involvement of the National Security Agency in monitoring German communications, including those of chancellor Angela Merkel." In "Stasi 2.0," Wikipedia, n. d.

 

Cast that first stone from within your glass-paned house;
What is then sure to break will be broken, and you'll grouse.
Toss your fiery torch into all the fields around,
Then feel the flames licking at your burning, blackening ground.

Call your harsh and brittle names, using neither reason nor wit,
But be not shocked to learn such debate's not deemed legit.
Turn aside your incurious gaze and hold fast to faux disguise,
But make no fuming feinting fuss when life pries open eyes.

Powers and principalities flexing muscular might,
All have passed, one by one, into history's gathering night.
After each collapse, renewal builds what had been,
But what had then so easily just withered from within.

 

Envoi:   "At what point then is the approach of danger to be expected? I answer, if it ever reach us, it must spring up amongst us. It cannot come from abroad. If destruction be our lot, we must ourselves be its author and finisher. As a nation of freemen, we must live through all time, or die by suicide." In "The Perpetuation of Our Political Institutions," by Abraham Lincoln, Address to the Young Men's Lyceum of Springfield, Illinois. 27 January 1838.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum:   "...the US government has refused to allow Merkel access to her NSA file or answer formal questions about its surveillance activities, a recent query to the German Bundestag has shown. According to a report in German magazine Der Spiegel, the NSA kept more than 300 reports on Merkel in a special heads of state databank." In "Merkel urged to press Obama on NSA scandal ahead of Washington talks," Philip Ottermann, Guardian UK, 27 April 2014.

 

Addendum:   "Among other efforts, NSA agents reportedly spied on Merkel’s cellphone, a disclosure that drew a harsh rebuke from the German leader. 'Spying among friends is never acceptable,; she said at the time. ... the spying issue has been a source of conflict between the two nations for months, even while the White House has taken steps to scale back its tracking of friendly foreigners." In "Merkel says Germans still have 'difficulties' over spying," by Julian Hattem, The Hill, 2 May 2014.   [ 2 ]

 

See:   Suspected of no crime 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   In this address, Lincoln also observed:  "But new reapers will arise, and they, too, will seek a field. It is to deny, what the history of the world tells us is true, to suppose that men of ambition and talents will not continue to spring up amongst us. And, when they do, they will as naturally seek the gratification of their ruling passion, as others have so done before them."

 

[ 2 ]    "If President Obama really does welcome a debate about the scope of the U.S. surveillance program, a good first step would be to fire Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Back at an open congressional hearing on March 12, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) asked Clapper, 'Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?” Clapper replied, 'No sir … not wittingly.' As we all now know, he was lying." In "Fire James Clapper," by Fred Kaplan, Slate, 11 June 2013.  

          Perhaps spying done unwittingly is acceptable by this reasoning? 

          But then one reads, "Director of National Intelligence James Clapper sought to clarify his claim that the National Security Agency does not collect information on millions of Americans, telling NBC News' Andrea Mitchell that he gave the 'least untruthful' answer possible on the agency's surveillance program." In "James Clapper: I Gave 'Least Untruthful' Answer Possible On NSA Surveillance (VIDEO)," by Molly Reilly, Huffington Post, 11 June 2013.

          Chancellor Merkel says Germans have "difficulties over spying," so one might wonder if a "least untruthful" answer in fact means Clapper representing the Obama administration has difficulty with the word "lie."

          One wonders if Clapper and indeed the political leadership in the United States have any problems with being spied on, unwittingly or otherwise. Or being lied to in the "least untruthful" answer possible?

          Lincoln, in the quote above, foresaw "danger" would "spring up amongst us." In the collapsed DDR and now historical lesson on Stasi spying, the State Police spied on the country's own citizens, and now one learns by the "least untruthful" answers that the United States is doing the same. Stasi 2.0.


 

Which is it?

"...the care for external goods should only lie on the shoulders of the 'saint like a light cloak, which can be thrown aside at any moment'. But fate decreed that the cloak should become an iron cage." From "The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism," Max Weber, Translated by Talcott Parsons, Routledge, 1992.

 

Is your cloak of gossamer, to be tossed aside at will?
                    Is your cloak an iron cage, and leaving it beyond your skill?
Is your cloth a shelter against the icy blast?
                    Is your cloth a sail that's taut driven from its mast?
Is your work that work of art which life will form and praise?
                    Is your work but drudgery from which man averts his gaze?
Is you life an instrument to build and thence to share?
                    Is your life a sickness, part ill will, part despair?
Is your hand held open, your heart a well read book?
                    Is your hand a fist that's clenched, threatening by its look?
Is your labor honed in skill and intellect?
                    Is your labor lazy, used but to small effect?
Which is it? Does spirit shows its ethic bright and broad?
                    Which is it? Does living show some life is but a fraud?
Will your cloak be gossamer, light with cheerful mien?
                    Will your cloak be iron, its chains so well foreseen?

 

Envoi:   "The real opposition is that between the ego-bound man, whose existence is structured by the principle of having, and the free man, who has overcome his egocentricity." Erich Fromm (1900-1980)


 

Xenoglossia

 

 

"An ability claimed by some mediums, clairvoyants, etc., to speak a language with which they are unfamiliar." (Collins English Dictionary, 1995)

Blither, blather, bluster on
In a glossy-sounding tongue
To evidence you have the touch,
Not a con who's come unstrung.
    Jabber, yabber, blabber on
    In what one cannot Czech,
    Russian here the race to there
    Into Uzbek's French Quebec.
Lots of words, lovely large,
Translate blah-blah to you;
If you cannot make it out,
Old cell doors lock anew.
    Eau de Clairvoyant stinks,
    Perfumes the nattering air
    With a medium messaged sharp
    In wordy piles to snare.

See no glossy up front pitch?

They're clever, all such words,

Soaring in an unknown sky

To swarm like Hitchcock's birds.
    In the end it comes to this,
    That a show without entrance fee
    Has an exit price to be paid
    By the suckers. Golly gee.

 

Envoi:   Above everything else, guard your heart; for it is the source of life’s consequences. Keep crooked speech out of your mouth, banish deceit from your lips. Proverbs 4:23-24 (Complete Jewish Bible)

 

See:  All the news is screaming


 

Recurring theme

Losing money, right and left?
It's not just politics, but just theft.
Prop up all those noble bets?
History's lessons, one forgets.

 

Addendum asking Which One is the Crook:   "The federal government has sued New York City, saying it ripped off Medicaid for millions of dollars by submitting tens of thousands of false claims. A civil lawsuit seeking unspecified damages was filed Monday in Manhattan federal court. The lawsuit says the city and a computer company used computer programs to dodge a requirement that Medicaid be billed only after private insurance coverage is exhausted. The lawsuit says false diagnosis codes were submitted to Medicaid. U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara (bahr-AHR'-ah) says the city's aim was to get paid by Medicaid as quickly and as much as possible." In "US sues NYC over Medicaid claims worth millions," Associated Press, 27 October 2014.

 

Addendum of Being not Hard to Discern:    "The low reimbursement rates provide a disincentive for physicians to accept new patients. Health care experts acknowledge that an increasingly lower percentage of the state's primary care physicians are accepting Medi-Cal patients, making it exceedingly challenging for new enrollees to gain appointments on a timely basis. The result is a spike in Medi-Cal patients having to use hospital emergency rooms to deal with their medical issues, which is the most expensive way possible of treating Californians. It's not hard to discern why so many California doctors are loath to treat Medi-Cal patients. The paltry $16 reimbursement rate for a primary care visit makes it difficult for physicians to justify the appointment." In "Mercury News editorial: California must raise Medi-Cal reimbursement rates," Mercury News, 13 May 2015.


 

Willie Sutton didn't say

"Sutton's law states that when diagnosing, one should first consider the obvious. It suggests that one should first conduct those tests which could confirm (or rule out) the most likely diagnosis. It is taught in medical schools to suggest to medical students that they might best order tests in that sequence which is most likely to result in a quick diagnosis, hence treatment, while minimizing unnecessary costs. It is also applied in pharmacology, when choosing a drug to treat a specific disease you want the drug to reach the disease. It is applicable to any process of diagnosis, e.g. debugging computer programs. The law is named after the bank robber Willie Sutton, who reputedly replied to a reporter's inquiry as to why he robbed banks by saying 'because that's where the money is.' (In Sutton's 1976 book Where the Money Was. Sutton denies having said this)." In "Sutton's Law," Wikipedia, n.d.

Willie Sutton didn't say
What some had said he'd said.
Something like it? Maybe so.
Or something else instead.

All the same, it says it all,
'Cause that's where it all is.
So Sutton's Law is what it says
When someone takes that quiz.

Why'd you do it? Tell us please,
We'd really like to know.
Because that's where the "it all" is,
And where and why I'd go.

Think the obvious, likely true,
Though lies will swirl around.
Minimize your twisting thought;
Sometime's simple's sound.

What is is sometimes just what is,
And likely not what's not.
Thinking clearly, plainly seen,
Sees answers quickly got.


 

Let's replace your tyranny

 "Like other tyrannies, the tyranny of the majority was at first, and is still vulgarly, held in dread, chiefly as operating through the acts of the public authorities. But reflecting persons perceived that when society is itself the tyrant -- society collectively over the separate individuals who compose it -- its means of tyrannising are not restricted to the acts which it may do by the hands of its political functionaries. Society can and does execute its own mandates; and if it issues wrong mandates instead of right, or any mandates at all in things with which it ought not to meddle, it practices a social tyranny more formidable than many kinds of political oppression, since, though not usually upheld by such extreme penalties, it leaves fewer means of escape, penetrating much more deeply into the details of life, and enslaving the soul itself. Protection, therefore, against the tyranny of the magistrate is not enough; there needs protection also against the tyranny of the prevailing opinion and feeling, against the tendency of society to impose, by other means than civil penalties, its own ideas and practices as rules of conduct on those who dissent from them; to fetter the development and, if possible, prevent the formation of any individuality not in harmony with its ways, and compel all characters to fashion themselves upon the model of its own. There is a limit to the legitimate interference of collective opinion with individual independence; and to find that limit, and maintain it against encroachment, is as indispensable to a good condition of human affairs as protection against political despotism." John Stuart Mill, "On Liberty" (1859)

 

Let's replace your tyranny
With a tyranny we like;
This seems just so sensible.
Now is our time to strike.

Let's replace your tyranny
With a tyranny we choose;
It's certain that we'll win
If it's certain that you'll lose.

Let's replace your tyranny
With our fists swung at your face;
There's fairness in the argument
As we both then just switch place.

Let's replace your tyranny
With the one where we rule you;
It's all a matter of thumbscrews
And whose thumbs are in each screw.

Let's replace your tyranny
With a tyranny of our own;
It's still to be a tyranny
With new rules as yet unknown.

Let's replace a tyranny
For revenge is had, so sweet.
Thus do man's cycles turn and twist
And man's histories repeat.

Let's not replace a tyranny
With another, but with none.
What a novel notion,
All tyrannies to shun.

 

Envoi:   "When one with honeyed words but evil mind persuades the mob, great woes befall the state." Euripides (c. 480 BC–406 BC) , in "Orestes" 

 

Addendum of the Tyranny of Relativism:   "Pope Benedict spoke frequently of the 'tyranny of relativism.' What this means, essentially, is that when a culture decides that there is no fundamental basis of truth, (whether of Scripture or Natural Law), the result is that there is no real basis for discussion or resolution of issues. Thus who 'wins the day' is not based on reason, but on who shouts the loudest, and/or who has the most power, money or political influence. The way forward in a relativistic world is not to appeal to reason by reference to Natural Law (in philosophy), or to constitutional principles (in political discourse) or to Scripture and Tradition (in Theology). Rather the 'way forward' is to gain power and to implement an agenda that binds. Farewell to reason rooted in agreed upon principles, hello to tyranny rooted simply in opinion and power. Revolutions which ride in on the train of 'freedom' more frequently usher in a reign of terror, as those who claimed to be oppressed and repressed take up their new power and then, themselves, turn to oppress, suppress, and repress any whom they thought, or think, to be on the wrong side of the issue. Expect more 'tolerance' from social radicals. The tyranny of relativism has ushered in a very poisonous and dangerous climate which has little basis for any discussion or true tolerance. And remember, what a social radical means by tolerance has nothing to do with tolerating you, if you do not belong to a class or group favored by them." In "Another decision that illustrates what social radicals really mean by “tolerance." by Msgr. Charles Pope, Archdiocese of Washington, 21 July 2014.

 

Addendum of the Tyranny of Weakness:   "The worst form of tyranny the world has ever known the tyranny of the weak over the strong. It is the only tyranny that lasts." Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)

 

Addendum of Tyrannical State Socialism:   "...State Socialism, which may be described as the doctrine that all the affairs of men should be managed by the government, regardless of individual choice. Marx, its founder, concluded that the only way to abolish the class monopolies was to centralize and consolidate all industrial and commercial interests, all productive and distributive agencies, in one vast monopoly in the hands of the State. The government must become banker, manufacturer, farmer, carrier, and merchant, and in these capacities must suffer no competition." In "State Socialism and Anarchism," by Benjamin Tucker, in "Liberty," 10 March 10 1888.

 

See:  I don't care 


 

Wealth defends the poor? Oh sure!

"The Luxembourg Income Study Center at the Graduate Center (LIS Center) is a research, development, and administrative satellite of LIS. The LIS Center serves as the link between the Graduate Center community and the parent institute, LIS, located in Luxembourg. LIS and the LIS Center are both directed by Janet Gornick, professor of political science and sociology at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. LIS, formerly known as the Luxembourg Income Study, is a non-profit microdata archive and research institute. LIS, located in Luxembourg since 1983, serves a global community of researchers, educators and policy makers. LIS acquires datasets with income, wealth, employment, and demographic data from a large number of countries, harmonises them to enable cross-national comparisons, and makes them available for public use by providing registered users with remote access. The LIS archive includes two primary databases, the Luxembourg Income Study Database, which focuses on income data, and the newer, smaller Luxembourg Wealth Study Database, which focuses on wealth data." From the Luxembourg Income Study Center web page, The Graduate Center, City University of New York.   [ 1 ]

 

The wealthiest defenders of the poor get richer day by day.
            They travel high in a first class sky and toss great sums away.
The wealthiest have a jolly urge to be expert on the poor,
            But as by way of contrast they savor their sinecure.


Give away their well-built wealth? That's not the path they choose,
            For by that path, we easily see, the wealth that they could lose.
They'd lose their living high and dry far from the troubled poor,
            And too they'd lose their lofty voice, ignored, in a mass obscure.

 
They'd lose their privilege and their rank and lose their adoring fans,
            And lose their fattened living large to control their moneyed plans.
They'd lose their seat at the table too where the wealthy all convene
            To speak in respectful rhetoric of the poorest and the mean.

 
They'd lose the voice they amplify to advise and regulate
            And lose the power money brings to nudge and manipulate.
The wealthiest defenders of the poor invest in plans and schemes
            To cull the fecund spreading poor with shrink-the-population dreams.


But lift the poor out of poverty? Such work costs far too much,
            And places far too many near the wealthy those poor might touch.
Wealth will speak with empathy of a poor, down-trodden mass,
            But never will they ever wipe a poor man's soiled ass.


When the poor think to rise up by rebellion as by work,
            The wealthy then must congregate to preserve each wealthy perk.
For this one learns a glaring truth about wealth that's oh so nice,
            That for all its words and postures, of the poor wealth takes its slice.


One's told one needs one's leaders, one's icons and one's myths,
            For so the wealthy preach to all while taxing the Jones and Smiths,
To make alliances out of funds from which to lard and baste
            The wealthy in their wealthy nests and add to their wealth's estates.


The rich get richer and poor stay poor, old songs and tales agree;
            The question lingers on and on while wealth shops in a spree.
Hear a wealthy man to say, "I will give my wealth away?"
            Small portions, sure, but not the most, or how shall the wealthy wealthy stay.


Atop the heap while heaping more, then more and more and more?
            Well, that's the end of this small tale and what history has in store.
Think you have an answer? There's is but one to tell.
            It's not the political shell game for that favors wealth quite well.


As to the manner and conduct of governance and of news,
            It behaves one way in public while in private stays and brews
Those best laid plans of power and wealth to prosper mid empathetic words,
            For wealth looks at muddled masses as but mooing sheep in herds


To be herded here and led to feed what wealth will serve to them,
            While serving first its interests and pondering each stratagem
To say atop its heaping heap, as scraps from its tables fall
            And be for its loyal little folk in command of their wherewithal.


Were this not the fate of man, the centuries would have shown
            There is another way, a plan the wisest would have grown
To point mankind to utopian heights where all might prosper well,
            But all the fine philosophies have a boring tale to tell


Of wealth and power by all means which aggregates itself
            By methods which do testify to the wealthy ways of pelf.
Religions, parties, politics, and thinkers on the heights
            Have all proved their wealthy ways and wealthier appetites.


The highest on the wealthiest peaks speak of the lowly low,

            That words may function as a salve and soften every blow.

But words are words are words are words, to lie as un-living things

            While the wealthy celebrate their more which wealth to them more brings.

 

The wealthiest defenders of the poor get richer day by day.
            Peer behind their political veil and number all their pay,
As the rich with a jolly urge to be expert on the poor
            Are found to amass yet more and more of wealth's great sinecure.

 

Addendum of one Wealthy Man:   "Actually, there’s been class warfare going on for the last 20 years, and my class has won. We’re the ones that have gotten our tax rates reduced dramatically. If you look at the 400 highest taxpayers in the United States in 1992, the first year for figures, they averaged about $40 million of [income] per person. In the most recent year, they were $227 million per person — five for one. During that period, their taxes went down from 29 percent to 21 percent of income. So, if there’s class warfare, the rich class has won." In " 'There’s been class warfare for the last 20 years, and my class has won'," by Greg Sargent, Washington Post, 30 September 2011.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Taxing New Yorkers to Pay a Wealthy Man:  "...he’ll be named a distinguished professor, CUNY’s highest academic honor, bestowed on just 150 of its 7,500 faculty members. That will make him a member of CUNY’s top 2 percent. But his pay is nearly double that of tenured full professors, who presumably teach a full course load. Any way you slice it, Krugman’s compensation puts him in a class far above most CUNY profs. And what better place to decry the market’s inequality than from a cushy gig at a taxpayer-funded university?" In "Taxing Peter to pay Paul," Post Editorial Board, New York Post, 18 April 2014.  [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Senator Rich:   "While U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren sleeps in her $5 million mansion in Cambridge, and got paid $350,000 to teach just one class at Harvard, she had the audacity to say in an interview with Jon Stewart this week that 'the system is rigged to benefit the rich.' Yes, Sen. Warren, that would be you. Under a free-market, capitalist system, you became a U.S. senator and multimillionaire whose own net worth hovers around $14.5 million, according to personal financial disclosure reports filed in 2011. Newsflash for Warren: With that kind of cash, you are a one-percenter! That very demographic you vilified and campaigned against. Yet liberal hypocrites, like Warren and countless fellow phonies in Hollywood, want to denigrate a capitalist system — and make America a socialist country after they personally benefited from a free-market system. Now once Warren and Hollywood hypocrites are living lavishly in their ivory towers, they preach about 'income inequality' and the 'little guys'." In "One-percenter Liz Warren milks system then slams it in phony soundbites," by Adriana Cohen, Boston Herald, 26 April 2014.

 

Addendum without Surprise:  "No surprise, average family income, adjusted for inflation has fallen from about $55,600 in 2007 to $51,000 even as the gap between families at the bottom and top widens." In "Real unemployment rate is at least 18 percent," by Peter Morici, The Hill, 31 July 2014.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of Building Wealth through the Chicago Public Schools:    "Companies that Chicago Board of Education member Deborah Quazzo has an interest in have seen the business they get from the city’s schools system triple since Mayor Rahm Emanuel appointed her to the board last year, records obtained by the Chicago Sun-Times show. From 2010 until her June 2013 appointment, the total payout to companies that Quazzo invested in has come to about $930,000, the records show. Quazzo’s companies have gotten an additional $2.9 million in Chicago Public Schools business in the year and a half since the millionaire venture capitalist joined the board to fill a vacancy left by Penny Pritzker when President Barack Obama named Pritzker commerce secretary." In "The Watchdogs: CPS a profitable investment for Chicago Board of Ed member," by Lauren Fitzpatrick, Chicago Sun-Times, 22 December 2014.      [ 5 ]
 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]  "How ironic that Dr. Krugman will provide a first hand as a member of this 'elite minority' benefiting from income inequality. The City University of New York appointed him as a Distinguished Professor at its Graduate Center and its Luxembourg Income Study Center, paying him $25,000 per month. The LIS Center will collect and use, “Microdata to research income, wealth or employment.” And not a moment too soon, given that income inequality is worse under President Obama than it was under President George W Bush, according to the Huffington Post. Dr Krugman will receive a total of $225,000 from CUNY for his first year of service, without having 'to teach or supervise students' but instead only 'contribute to our build-up of LIS and the inequality initiative and to play a modest role in our public events.' Nice work if you can get it. Such a salary places Dr Krugman well on his way toward the evil 1 percent club of $394,000 annual income, which he will likely easily reach through his columns and book royalties. Not to mention his $10,000 moving allowance, another $10,000 annually for research and travel, and a 15-hour per week graduate assistant." In "Income Inequality for Thee, But Not for Me," by Brian C Joondeph, MD, American Thinker, 17 April 2014.

          One reads that such "rich" academics granted lefty sinecure by such as the LISC are not advocates of freedom for all. Rather, they are fans of socialist theory, which pretends loudly to espouse equality but evidences ever inequality in all socialist systems and under all styles of socialist-advised governance. 

          "In his latest book, French economist Thomas Piketty warns that modern-day capitalism leads to unsustainable levels of inequality. While he is often linked to France's Socialist Party, his writings have made him unusually popular in the US. Thomas Piketty’s 'Capital in the Twenty-First Century' has only just been translated into English – several weeks ahead of schedule, due to popular demand – and the New York Times’s star columnist Paul Krugman has already described it as 'the most important economics book of the year — and maybe of the decade'. The French economist’s current US book tour is turning into something of a red carpet event. So far this week, he has met the White House’s Council of Economic Advisors as well as Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew." In "US rolls out red carpet for French critic of capitalism," by Thomas Hubert, France 24, 17 April 2014.

          How odd that those who obtain "$25,000 per month" from a capitalism study group (placing such at the pinnacle of the 1% so often mentioned in economic and political news) are spokesmen for "income inequality." One notes that throughout history, rent seeking has been mostly a control of people to obtain capital, and not a control over capital itself. From the feudal systems to ever-increasing levels of taxation to government confiscation by various forms of dictatorship and control, "unsustainable levels of inequality" have been the watchword of government, far more than of "freedom for all" -- a phrase which easily may be understood as a freedom from too heavy-handed government.

          One does not advocate for income equality by participating heavily in income inequality, a hallmark of the LISC's contractual relationship with an economist of the rarefied one percent category. See Moolah , and read through the list of the wealthiest according to capital, and think on the influence they exert on politics around the world.

          Then think on Capital for Communists - a story growing old, and the historical fact that Socialists love money . One may conclude in disagreement with the academic stupidity of economist and apologists for socialism that ever-greater control over capital -- human capital, as well as financial capital -- has been the history of government. For the newest in this 21st century to suggest the "same old same old" is important, for it means the data and facts are driven by government ideology and not by their own rudimentary meaning. If one has capital and assets, a government says "gimme." This was so in feudal Europe, in pre-revolutionary America and is true throughout the world today.

          That a socialist argues in the face of centuries of capital controls -- human as well as financial -- that capital controls are the answer to the problem of capital controls suggests the real explanation for income inequality. It is that a city university can create a "center" which pays first class, one percent remuneration to someone who baldy may critique "income inequality" while being an example of How it happens .

          As Krugman's longtime employer, The New York Times, cuts its news staff by buyouts and firings, one notes that the top dogs of the "grey lady" are among the wealthy.  "They’re paying [current CEO] Mark Thompson $4.5 mil and Michael $2 mil and they’re both doing a lot less than the positions used to require." In "New York Times Insider: Multi-Million Dollar Shortfall Causing Drastic Cuts," by Ken Kurson, New York Observer, 23 December 2014.

          It would be instructive for all swayed by the political use of the term "income inequality" to examine the net worth of those doing the talking, as so many wealthy attack wealth -- until theirs is attacked. Such is the way of politics in which the other guy is held to be accountable, while the "man" is not. This is the first rule among many designed to "palm the ace" of wealth, and a strategy of many who attack capitalism while grubbing after capital to place themselves atop the economic heap.

 

[ 2 ]  One notes Buffet's statement of tax percentage change for the wealthy as "down from 29 to 21 percent of income." One reads of  the top one percent of Americans -- the 'rich' -- as having income above $394,000. And so by these numerical measures one may re-read some news of another among 'rich.'  "President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama reported an adjusted gross income of $608,611 for 2012 and paid an 18.4 percent income tax rate, the White House said on Friday." In "Obama reports $600k in income, paid 18.4 percent tax rate," by Brian Hughes, Washington Examiner, 12 April 2013.

        Among the most amusing rhetoric in news covering politicians, one reads:  "No one goes into politics to get rich, but politicians happen to be some of the wealthiest figures around the globe." In "These Are the Richest Politicians in the World," by Natalia Angulo, Luxpresso, 10 March 2012.

        It is therefore meet and right to consider that politics -- in pledging to assist the poor -- is for a select few the pathway to wealth for said politicians? What are the arguments against this seemingly cynical question, in light of the plethora of testimony which argues for the conclusion?

        And as to billionaire Buffet's supporting Obama in the last election, he said: "Oh, a hundred percent. Yah." Fox Business News video interview, 3 May 2012.  So, "There’s been class warfare for the last 20 years, and my class has won." Apparently Buffett supports winners -- his class and Obama's. Given a billionaire in Obama's cabinet, this obvious seems more than true. The one percent have indeed won and are winning more, and "politicians happen to be some of the wealthiest figures around the globe."

        What is assured when one steps away from the supposed opposition of parties and their politics is that the upper crust of society, from government to media to academia to all too many charities and more, are among the so-called one percent, all the while they speak as if they are not a central part of the income inequality issues one which they pontificate. These may be seen as the newest crop of aristocrats, across a history filled with aristocrats.

         One might wish to consider Welfare for the few and rich   - something akin to bait and switch.

 

[ 3 ]  The Post notes:  "Krugman - well, it’s not clear what he’s doing for his $225,000 a year plus expenses." To better understand market inequality, social justice issues and rich academics, please note the sourced and detailed salary footnotes to Doctor Oppression comes to call 

         As mathematical contrast to the tax-funded sinecure of Paul Krugman by CUNY and not taking into account other sources of income as columnist for the New York Times and royalties from publishing, one sees:  "Per capita money income in past 12 months (2012 dollars), 2008-2012 $32,104." In "New York," State & County QuickFacts, United States Census Bureau, n.d. Thus, a "distinguished professor" is seven times more valuable than the average Joe -- or a Peter taxed to pay a Paul, in the metaphor of the New York Post's editorial board.

         In such a comparison, one will learn relatively "poor" Paul Krugman will earn less from New York taxpayers that some state university systems lavish on their "social justice" scholars, professors and administrators, courtesy of taxes collected.  By such economic behaviors as one sees throughout modern "caring" economists and their private behavior, we come to understand how they consistently Serve the poor   - observing the Poverty Barons.

         Now to place the "poverty barons" and those like the economically elite Paul Krugman in a comparison with the poor whose needs they pretend to champion, one reads:   "There’s the 99% and the 1%, and then there’s the 16%. The latter number is the proportion of Americans who don’t have enough food to eat, according to the most recent figures on food insecurity. In absolute numbers, nearly 50 million people in this country—including 16 million children—currently lack sufficient food to live a healthy life. The numbers are striking on their own, but what’s even more striking is how little attention the problem has received in Washington. When the food stamp program received an automatic $5 billion cut, reducing benefit levels across the board, there was little response from either the White House or Congress. And when Congress did turn to address the food stamp program, it was a only to pass a bipartisan piece of legislation which cut benefit levels further. President Obama praised that bill and signed it at a public event in February. This is the same President Obama who recently described economic inequality as 'the defining challenge of our time'." In "America’s hunger crisis, and why Washington ignores it," by Ned Resnikoff, MSNBC, 23 April 2014.

         The defining issue of this time seems to be the enormous disconnect between fat cats who natter on about income inequality while living high off the public and the truly needy. History seems to be repeating the same old lessons, as a new aristocracy rises.

 

[ 4 ]   While the political rhetoric twists and twirls, the numerical reality tells a clear tale. "A family right in the middle of the income spectrum had an income of $50,054, which is actually lower than the 1989 median level of $50,624 expressed in 2011 dollars. The implication: For much of America the economy has produced not just one lost decade but two. Stagnation has even hit wealthier and more educated households (the 95th percentile in the Census data) for the past decade." In "US incomes fall to 1989 levels. How did that happen?" by Mark Trumbull, Christian Science Monitor, 12 September 2012.

         For such basic information, one finds the talking heads -- from celebrities to experts to academics to politicians to financial leaders -- who make all sorts of public statements about income inequality are themselves the "new class" atop society, earning and amassing wealth far above the average citizen and expecting it, all because they speak so eloquently and ardently about income inequality. Alongside their speaking to the issue of income inequality, today's "new class" quickly jump to defend their own upper class ranking which helps to widen the gap between the poor and the rich.

           It is instructive to renew the notion of America's "new class" as cited above from the article, Bled dry by the New Class  .

           As to notion of middle class decline in income over these last years, one reads of one metric explaining the decline:  "11.4 million Americans age 16 and over have left the workforce since President Obama took office in January 2009, according to data released today from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). In July 2014, there were 92,001,000 Americans, 16 and over, who were classified as 'not in the labor force,' meaning they not only did not have a job, but they didn’t actively seek one in the last four weeks. This number has increased by 11,472,000 since January 2009, when the number of Americans not in the labor force was 80,529,000. The number of Americans not in the labor force dropped slightly in July, down 119,000 from the 92,120,000 Americans not in the labor force in June." In "11,472,000 Americans Have Left Workforce Since Obama Took Office," by Ali Meyer, Cybercast News, 1 August 2014.

           And yet while the number of Americans who left the workforce has dropped, the politics which contradict such numerical data continues. One reads:  "President Barack Obama made a statement on the economy from the White House on Friday afternoon where he argued the latest jobs number shows the economy is continuing to recover from the financial crisis. 'The good news is the economy clearly is getting stronger, things are getting better,' said Obama. Obama did not address the fact the latest employment report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics released Friday showed the unemployment rate rose to 6.2% and instead highlighted the fact the country has seen a 'six month streak with at least 200,000 new jobs each month'." In "OBAMA: 'The Economy Is Clearly Getting Stronger'," by Hunter Walker, Business Insider, 1 August 2014.

           Stronger?  One reads:  "The average annual salary in sectors where jobs were lost - particularly manufacturing and construction - during the 2008-9 financial crisis was $61,637, according to the report by the United States Conference of Mayors (USCM), which represents cities with populations of more than 30,000. Job gains through the second quarter of 2014 in comparative sectors showed average wages of $47,171, implying $93 billion in lower wage income, the report said. The report also showed that the majority of metro areas - 73 percent - had households earning salaries of less than $35,000 a year." In "U.S. jobs rose since '08 crisis, but pay is 23 pct less: report," Reuters, 11 August 2014.

           One of Obama's "economy clearly getting stronger" yet more:  "Jobs gained during the economic recovery from the Great Recession pay an average 23% less than the jobs lost during the recession according to a new report released today by The U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) under the leadership of President Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson. The annual wage in sectors where jobs were lost during the downturn was $61,637, but new jobs gained through the second quarter of 2014 showed average wages of only $47,171. This wage gap represents $93 billion in lost wages. Under a similar analysis conducted by the Conference of Mayors during the 2001-2002 recession, the wage gap was only 12% compared to the current 23% -- meaning the wage gap has nearly doubled from one recession to the next." In "Wage Gap Widens from Recession as Income Inequality grows, ongoing trend gives top 5% nearly half-trillion dollars in added annual income in 2012," United States Conference of Mayors," 11 August 2014.

           By the report of the US mayors, the "economy clearly getting stronger" in Obama's remark favors the "top 5%."  One reads also, "In 2012, the latest year for which figures are available, 261 (73%) out of 357 metros had a larger share of poorer households (those making less than $35,000 per year), than upper income households of above $75,000."  Thus, for the large portion of the populace, the "economy clearly getting stronger" does not include them. As the mayors note, "Adjusted for inflation, average household income fell 3.0%, while median income fell 5.5% from 2005-2012, according to the report."

           For the 11.4 million mentioned above no longer in the workforce, "things are getting better" does not apply on an individual basis. But "the wealthiest defenders of the poor get richer day by day."

 

[ 5 ]   The mention of Pritzker links to money, in the parlance of English dialects -- Moolah  .  Moolah as an addition to the language comes from the 1930s according to several sources. 

           In a footnote to the rhyme about Moolah, one learns that Obama's Secretary of Commerce is a billionaire in a time of administration politics speaking to the issue of Income Inequality  .  Obama's ex-chief of staff becomes mayor of Chicago and replaces a billionaire with a multi-millionaire. Quazzo is sadly only a multi-millionaire.

           Such political appointments are sometimes referred to as the Chicago way, that a "millionaire venture capitalist" becomes embedded in the system which coincidentally makes her investments greater. It is mere happenstance, unless of course an opposing political party does becomes involved in such "happenstance." Then it becomes....


  

A Tale of Lords, told by a Serf

"A ruling intelligentsia, whether in Europe, Asia or Africa, treats the masses as raw material to be experimented on, processed, and wasted at will." Eric Hoffer (1902-1983)

 

They had a lot and needed more,
 And looked to get from me
  The meager worth I had in store
   To spend for their grand spree.
    They said it spoke to justice
     That they should take from me
      Though they had more than had I then,
       Theirs was an urgent plea.
        They said I would be happier
         With less though they had more,
          So heated was their argument
           To beggar me therefore.
            The lofty on their stinking pile
             Seemed smug, perched thereupon
              Until their arguments for more
               Were learned to be a con.
This explains the cycles
 Through generations of man,
  Where the loftiest of the lofty
   Confront that same old plan.
    Sit atop, then topple,
     So churns each cycle slow,
      Each cycle overturning
       Some older status quo.
        New lords arise to argue
         The same old same old spiel,
          Deserving far, far more than
           The little folk in the deal.
            Contributions from small work
             Are sought by everyday's elite
              Whose clever words and forceful acts
               The same old games repeat.
Divine the right of masters
 To learn nothing is divine
  When masters come to confiscate
   In their same old grand design.
    Great works done by the great
     Make wars and bankruptcies
      When one looks carefully on
       Man's bloodied histories.
        The newest of them pledge:
         These errors won't repeat,
          But when they do their answer is
           To lie with deep deceit,
            Until the losses' rising tides
             Sweep power from their grasp,
              And history yet once again
               Unlocks the masters' hasp.
Breaking free has been the tale
 O'er centuries, powers, lands,
  Rebellions and revolutions
   Are what each serf understands.
    There are lofty lords, and serfs
     When lords declare men so,
      But time erodes the masters,
       Who come and then who go.
        Might there come a time
         When serfs are not declared?
          Perhaps, when lords cannot arise,
           Their aims stark naked, bared?
            But there are men aplenty
             Who'd serve some master's plan,
              And happily these would subjugate
               Some lesser class of man.
And so the lessons fresh and new
 Must all be taught again,
   For lessons which are well forgot
    Must be relearned by men.
     Regimes and master plans
      Like seasons come and go,
       Manors built then shift on sands
        To scatter, as dark winds blow.

         Today the masters politick

          In words of common wit,

           But a corrupting, dark reality

            Lies hidden in wit and writ.

             The same old same old plan

              Is worked as was before,

               The newest masters clawing

                At small serfdom's fragile door.

 

Envoi:   "Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed." Étienne de la Boétie (1530-1563)   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of  the Grievances of Serfs:   "...the peasants and serfs had a troublesome life as they had to work hard and all day long to earn a living and pay the taxes and rents for their lords." In "Feudalism in the Middle Ages," by Simon Newman, Finer Times, n. d.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Demanding Obedience:   “It is true that the virtues which are less esteemed and practiced now--independence, self-reliance, and the willingness to bear risks, the readiness to back one's own conviction against a majority, and the willingness to voluntary cooperation with one's  neighbors--are essentially those on which the of an individualist society rests. Collectivism has nothing to put in their place, and in  so far as it already has destroyed then it has left a void filled by nothing but the demand for obedience and the compulsion of the individual to what is collectively decided to be good.” In "The Road to Serfdom,"  by Friedrich Hayek, circa 1940-43.     [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of an Uncertain Climate Good seeking New Serfs to Pay:  "Despite the increasing certainty about global warming and the man-made contribution to it, the two central premises of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), uncertainty continues about many of the physical consequences of climate change and even more so about the social consequences. This uncertainty is compounded by confusion about the definition of 'climate', an issue to which I return below. The IPCC is not charged with the task of doing research; rather it reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic information produced worldwide'." In "Whither the weather? Climate change and conflict," by Nils Petter Gleditsch, Journal of Peace Research, 49(1): 3–9, 2012.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum on Rent-seeking:   "In public choice theory, rent-seeking is spending wealth on political lobbying to increase one's share of existing wealth without creating wealth. The effects of rent-seeking are reduced economic efficiency through poor allocation of resources, reduced wealth creation, lost government revenue, national decline, and income inequality. Current studies of rent-seeking focus on the manipulation of regulatory agencies to gain monopolistic advantages in the market while imposing disadvantages on competitors. The term itself derives, however, from the far older practice of gaining a portion of production through ownership or control of land." In "Rent-seeking," Wikipedia, n. d.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of the Social-Service Providers:   "As it turns out, most of the money goes not to poor or near-poor households but to providers of services. The late Daniel Patrick Moynihan once tartly described this as 'feeding the horses to feed the sparrows.' This country pays exorbitant fees to middle-class and upper-middle-class providers to deliver services to the poor. Why have matters devolved in this way? The American welfare state was built to deliver services rather than incomes in part because the American people have long viewed poverty as a condition to be overcome rather than one to be subsidized with cash. Many also believe that the poor would squander or misspend cash payments and so are better off receiving services and in-kind benefits such as food stamps, health care, and tuition assistance. With regard to aid to the poor, Americans have built a social-service state, not a redistribution state." In "The Redistribution Fallacy," by James Pierson, Commentary, 1 September 2015.   [ 6 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   Written over four hundred and fifty years ago yet remarkably modern, one reads the longer text from which the above is excepted: 

          "Poor, wretched, and stupid peoples, nations determined on your own misfortune and blind to your own good! You let yourselves be deprived before your own eyes of the best part of your revenues; your fields are plundered, your homes robbed, your family heirlooms taken away. You live in such a way that you cannot claim a single thing as your own; and it would seem that you consider yourselves lucky to be loaned your property, your families, and your very lives. All this havoc, this misfortune, this ruin, descends upon you not from alien foes, but from the one enemy whom you yourselves render as powerful as he is, for whom you go bravely to war, for whose greatness you do not refuse to offer your own bodies unto death. He who thus domineers over you has only two eyes, only two hands, only one body, no more than is possessed by the least man among the infinite numbers dwelling in your cities; he has indeed nothing more than the power that you confer upon him to destroy you. Where has he acquired enough eyes to spy upon you, if you do not provide them yourselves? How can he have so many arms to beat you with, if he does not borrow them from you? The feet that trample down your cities, where does he get them if they are not your own? How does he have any power over you except through you? How would he dare assail you if he had no cooperation from you? What could he do to you if you yourselves did not connive with the thief who plunders you, if you were not accomplices of the murderer who kills you, if you, if you were not traitors to yourselves? You sow your crops in order that he may ravage them, you install and furnish your homes to give him goods to pillage; you rear your daughters that he may gratify his lust; you bring up your children in order that he may confer upon them the greatest privilege he knows— to be led into his battles, to be delivered to butchery, to be made the servants of his greed and the instruments of his vengeance; you yield your bodies unto hard labor in order that he may indulge in his delights and wallow in his filthy pleasures; you weaken yourselves in order to make him the stronger and the mightier to hold you in check. From all these indignities, such as the very beasts of the field would not endure, you can deliver yourselves if you try, not by taking action, but merely by willing to be free. Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces?"  In "The Politics of Obedience: The Discourse of Voluntary Servitude," by Estienne de La Boétie, circa 1552.

          See People walk away    and  Fled from empty market shelves   - a history lesson.

 

[ 2 ]   One reads much throughout history of the grievances held by serfs against their masters:   "...the grievances of a poll tax on all males and females over the age of 15 caused the Peasants' Revolt in 1381. Taxation has long been the instrument of persecution. In England, for example, Jews were forbidden from joining any of the artisan guilds and could not own land. Thus, confined to money lending and finance, they were taxed on their goods, chattel, debts, gifts, and through licenses, fines and ransoms. The penalties for non-compliance with the tax laws were severe: imprisonment, property confiscation, seizing of women and children, gouging out eyes, extracting teeth and other cruelties. Indeed, Jews were considered such a valuable economic resource that they were forbidden from emigrating for fear of undermining the tax base of the country. France introduced an income tax in 1355 to finance the Hundred Years' War. The rate was set at 4% on the rich, 5% on the middle class, and 10% on the poor. By 1789, taxation was one of the leading causes of the French Revolution. The British, equally creative and shortsighted in their colonies, imposed a tax on salt [ Salt Act ] in India claiming a monopoly on all of its production and distribution. On March 12, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi began his now famous 241-mile march to Dandi [ on the west coast of India ] to protest the tax on an essential ingredient of food. Thousands of his followers on the march were beaten, arrested and thrown in jail." In "Why we hate the tax collector," by Vern Krishna, Financial Post, 1 August 2012.

          Similar tales are too easily found:  "Taxation in medieval England was the system of raising money for royal and governmental expenses. During the Anglo-Saxon period, the main forms of taxation were land taxes, although custom duties and fees to mint coins were also imposed. The most important tax of the late Anglo-Saxon period was the geld, a land tax first regularly collected in 1012 to pay for mercenaries. After the Norman Conquest of England in 1066, the geld continued to be collected until 1162, but it was eventually replaced with taxes on personal property and income. ...The revenues from the traditional sources of taxation declined in later medieval England, and a series of experiments in poll taxes began: in 1377 a flat rate tax, in 1379 a graduated tax. By 1381, the unpopularity of these taxes had contributed to the Peasants' Revolt. Later experiments in income taxes during the 15th century did not manage to raise the sums needed by the government, and other taxes, such as taxes on parishes, were attempted" In "Taxation in medieval England," Wikipedia, n. d.

          Thus one sees, as a parallel to issues of war, government historically spending to celebrate its own mastery over a people.  "The national treasury had been exhausted by the wars of Louis XIV and by his extravagance and that of his successors. The 250 million dollars that it cost France to aid the Americans in their fight for independence was the last straw. Jacques Turgot and Jacques Necker, ministers of finance, had tried to ward off bankruptcy by cutting court expenses. The reckless court, led by the sprightly, frivolous, extravagant queen, Marie Antoinette, would not listen to the word 'economy'. Turgot and Necker were dismissed and other ministers took their place. Finally foreign bankers refused to lend more money. Public opinion was deeply stirred by the Parlement of Paris, a judicial body which defied the king and refused to enforce new taxes." In "French Revolution: An Overview," History World International, n. d.

          One notes additionally that things have not changed, but rather reverted to previous historical examples of masters over their serfs, as in France:  French Lesson en anglais - mêmes choses, mais en pire.

          The question of identifying "lords" in the modern day seems thrown into question, until one considers fundamental structural problems involving the welfare state, and its "lords" -- a political amalgamation of the poor on benefits allied with a ruling elite.  See: Free bees ,  and the enlightening observations courtesy of Coase which speak to Incompetence  - from whence to thence.

 

[ 3 ]   "A really efficient totalitarian state would be one in which the all-powerful executive of political bosses and their army of  managers control a population of slaves who do not have to be coerced, because they love their servitude. To make them love it  is the task assigned, in present-day totalitarian states, to ministries of propaganda, newspaper editors and schoolteachers.... The  greatest triumphs of propaganda have been accomplished, not by doing something, but by refraining from doing. Great is truth,  but still greater, from a practical point of view, is silence about truth." Aldous Huxley (1894-1963)

         See  If it's serious, you lie  ,  and Lying continues   -  government flexing its sinews.

 

[ 4 ]     From the abstract for the same article, one reads: "The IPCC assessment reports to date offer little if any guidance on this issue and occasionally pay excessive attention to questionable sources. The articles published in this special issue form the largest collection of peer-reviewed writings on the topic to date. The number of such studies remains small compared to those that make up the natural science base of the climate issue, and there is some confusion whether it is the effect of 'climate' or 'weather' that is being tested. The results of the studies vary, and firm conclusions cannot always be drawn."  See: Globaloney - sung to the children's tune, "Baa, baa black sheep", below and the "source" telling of The Hockey-Stick Man  .

         While "firm conclusions cannot always be drawn" about the IPCC and calls for more taxation, firm conclusions can be drawn from centuries of stories like A Tale of Lords, told by a Serf. "...there are men aplenty / Who'd serve some master's plan, / And happily these would subjugate / Some lesser class of man." Of course, among the lesser classes are deniers, skeptics, scientists with other conclusions unacceptable to the masters, and one should not forget "bitter clingers." Thus, one may understand to urge to convince serfs -- as per the observation of Huxley above -- to "love their servitude."

 

[ 5 ]   It is noted:  "Rent seeking is distinguished from corruption in that rent seeking is legal and corruption is not. Both are searches for privilege and personal gain through the political process." In "Rent-seeking," Mies Institute, 2013.

         This reinforces Huxley's observation that -- in the parlance of this rhyme and footnotes -- serfs should be made to "love their servitude."  In this way, they become a cadre in the defense of the masters, keeping others in the lower classes in compliance. One has seen this in academic economists prior to the inclusion of the term, rent-seeking, into discourse.

         One reads:  "Once the concept of rent seeking was discovered - and defined as the outlay of resources by individuals and organizations in the pursuit of rents created by government - there followed a flourishing of research as relevant ideas began to disseminate throughout economics. It is now rare to find an issue of an economics journal that does not refer at least implicitly to the concept of rent seeking. All this came from an ill-received article that dared to suggest that the social cost of monopoly was as high as first year undergraduates believed it to be despite exhortations to the contrary by almost all mainstream professional economists." In "The Fundamentals of Rent-Seeking," by Gordon Tullock, Locke Institute, Locke Luminary Vol. I, No. 2 (Winter 1998) Part 2.

         For this, one sees government and its politicians, continuing deficit spending and amassing unsustainable debt -- another historical behavior with a predictable result -- arguing against its own behavior of rent-seeking as an incorrect view. Wikipedia's article ends:  "The economist Joseph Stiglitz has argued that rent-seeking is a large contributor to income inequality in the United States through lobbying for government policies that let the wealthy and powerful get income, not as a reward for creating wealth, but by grabbing a larger share of the wealth that would otherwise have been produced without their effort. Piketty, Saez, and Stantcheva have analyzed international economies and their changes in tax rates to conclude that much of income inequality is a result of rent-seeking among wealthy tax payers." In "Rent-seeking," Wikipedia, n.d.  For this one may examine the populist political rhetoric of "income inequality" alongside the proven economic behaviors of many of those who employ this populist sentiment to mask their own massive inequality and rent-seeking.  See: Income Inequality , its many addenda and footnotes for sourced details and information, certain to annoy the masters but enlighten the serfs.

         One example of modern rent-seeking may be seen, one among many:   "Begich’s office did not return a request for comment, but observers say such exchanges between lawmakers and subsidized industries are common. 'Alas, such quid pro quo dealings are a necessary element of the green energy business plan,' William Yeatman, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, said in an email. 'When your industry’s supply and demand curves are functions of government decisions, as is the case for the entire ‘green’ energy sector, you’ve no choice but curry favor with powerful politicians,' Yeatman said. 'Bluntly put, obtaining political favoritism requires much less investment than honest competition on the energy market'." In "Begich Earmarked Millions for Bankrupt Green Energy Company," by Lachlan Markay, Free Beacon, 15 April 2014. 

         For more on bankrupt "green" energy companies, see:  Bankrupt green  .

         One notes in the above excerpt from a longer story that rent-seeking is a two-way street between power -- a government -- and a lower master -- the business owner, now bankrupt -- both of which take funds obtained from taxation in the currying of favor and quid pro quo, and as Stiglitz above notes, grab "a larger share of wealth that would otherwise have been produced without their effort." Thus rent-seeking in the modern world is much akin to the burdensome taxation of the feudal world, deemed history. That this story so often ends in economic failure for society is not unknown; rather, one suspects those involved in the quid pro quo of rent-seeking simply do not care, as long as they personally might profit even in the midst of failure.

          Thus one may see much of modern politics and a supportive media as an attempt through a variety of narratives created by masters to convince serfs to "love their servitude." Given the amassing of public debt, one may also conclude that a next generation's serfs have already been identified by today's masters. Of course, such captured in language as is this conclusion will be greeted by masters and their apologists and allies as absurd. For the modern serf it is not, unless said serf has learned to love his servitude.

          For these examples and information, it remains advisable to revisit Étienne de la Boétie's words from centuries past:  "Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed."

 

[ 6 ]  As the data shows, the bureaucratic "providers" feed well.  The article notes:  "... a basic principle that has so far eluded progressives: The federal government is an effective engine for dispensing patronage, encouraging rent-seeking, and circulating money to important voting blocs and well-connected constituencies. It is not an effective engine for the redistribution of income." The Coase Theorem, mentioned above, is easy explanation of Moynihan's poetic observation that the "horses" get fed better than those "sparrows."

          That "principle" which the article wishes to say that progressives have not learned is in fact rather "progressive," and the center-right and center-left happily seem to share in the spoils from time to time and place to place. Consider the now demonstrable fact that leaders of various political parties enjoy privileges far beyond the "serfs." This has been true throughout the feudal and aristocratic eras, but is proving equally true under various modern governments' love of being in and feeding from the upper classes.

          Consider the odd truth that Socialists love money , and that so often even in the "progressive" political world, the Old-fashioned pursuit is easily found in the modern world, and that pursuit is for money and power, and power and money. A cadre of loyalists, as ever, form in every age to reap the spoils, as these "horses" in all locales around the world pretend to feed the "sparrows." The horses prosper thereby from patronage, rent-seeking and the circulation of money to acquire more loyalty. It is indeed a tale of lords, told by a serf.

          For more insight as to the "horses" who feed themselves before and better than the "sparrows," see Serve the poor - observing the Poverty Barons.


 

Globaloney - sung to the children's tune, "Baa, baa black sheep"

"...warming over the past century is due to natural long-term variations in temperature. 'This study will be a blow to any remaining climate-change deniers,' Lovejoy says. 'Their two most convincing arguments – that the warming is natural in origin, and that the computer models are wrong – are either directly contradicted by this analysis, or simply do not apply to it.' Lovejoy’s study applies statistical methodology to determine the probability that global warming since 1880 is due to natural variability. His conclusion: the natural-warming hypothesis may be ruled out 'with confidence levels great than 99 per cent, and most likely greater than 99.9 per cent'." In "Odds that global warming is due to natural factors: slim to none," McGill Reporter, McGill University, 12 April 2014.   [ 1 ]

 

Redhouse, greenhouse,
Gases and their bull?
Yes and also no, sir, but
Make their wallets full!
            Filled with simulations,
            Filled with guesstimates.
            Filled with dire images,
            Filled with darkest threats.


Redhouse, greenhouse,
Gas expanding now,
Caused by all our industry and
Caused by every cow.
            Fill with public funding!
            Filled, but not enough.
            Filled not to repletion,
            And so they huff and puff.

Redhouse, greenhouse
Gases call for cash.
Send it all so quickly or
All might burn to ash.
            Fill their budgets gladly,
            Penance can be bought.
            Fill their wallets badly?
            That's not what you ought!

Redhouse, greenhouse
Gases are the sin,
And we all are the sinners for
That's the state we're in!

 

 Envoi:   "What authorities claim as 'scientific knowledge' are really just means of social control. Foucault shows how, for instance, in the eighteenth century 'madness' was used to categorise and stigmatise not just the mentally ill but the poor, the sick, the homeless and, indeed, anyone whose expressions of individuality were unwelcome." Philip Stokes, "Philosophy: 100 Essential Thinkers," Kettering: Index, 2004, p. 187.

 

Addendum of S:   "It has been often said that the 'science is settled' on the issue of CO2 and climate. Let me put this claim to rest with a simple one-letter proof that it is false. The letter is s, the one that changes model into models. If the science were settled, there would be precisely one model, and it would be in agreement with measurements. Alternatively, one may ask which one of the twenty-some models settled the science so that all the rest could be discarded along with the research funds that have kept those models alive. We can take this further. Not a single climate model predicted the current cooling phase. If the science were settled, the model (singular) would have predicted it." In a letter to EPA administrator Lisa Jackson by Howard C. Hayden, Professor Emeritus of Physics, University of Connecticut, 27 October 2009.

 

Addendum of Red-Green:   "Clearly the watermelon theory has its antecedents in anti-communism – and yes, some socialists and Marxists have written on environmental issues. And yet despite the collapse of the Soviet Union and the Berlin Wall it seems many sceptics are still fighting the Cold War. Not all environmentalists are Marxists, and scientists aren’t socialists simply because they’ve pointed out the globe is warming: is it that some conservatives simply can’t let go of the Cold War paradigm? ...I would also add the above the persistent right-wing fear of socialism or Marxism as a resurgent force. The Berlin Wall may have fallen, but the cultural and Cold War warriors have sworn to remain every vigilant to the danger. This is why the conflict between 'freedom' and 'tyranny' can never end; it is a holy war, apocalyptic in nature and an existential threat that can never fade." In "Genesis of the watermelon myth: how right-wing popularism shaped climate scepticism for the past two decades," Andrew Bolt, Watching the Deniers, 9 October 2009.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of a Children's Song:   " 'Baa, Baa, Black Sheep' is an English nursery rhyme, the earliest surviving version of which dates from 1731. The words have changed little in two and a half centuries. It is sung to a variant of the 1761 French melody Ah! Vous dirai-je, Maman. Uncorroborated theories have been advanced to explain the meaning of the rhyme. These include that it is a complaint against Medieval English taxes on wool and that it is about the slave trade. In the twentieth century it was a subject of controversies in debates about political correctness. It has been used in literature and popular culture as a metaphor and allusion." From Wikipdeia, nd.    [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of the Super-Sophisticated Billionaire:   "Billionaire climate activist Tom Steyer once again reminded us just how elitist and out-of-touch he really is at a conference hosted by the American Renewable Energy Institute in Aspen, CO today. Espousing the need to reach everyday people with his climate message, he noted that “super-sophisticated people” already recognize and have taken action to address the issue and implied that the “99.5 percent of the people whose lives are very busy and complicated and pressing” apparently lack the sophistication to understand climate change at all. 'Since when do we live in a country where only the self-professed 'super-sophisticated people' get to make decisions for everyone else? Tom Steyer has spent millions bankrolling candidates and organizations whose efforts are leaving hard-working Americans without work, without economic security and without hope for the future. And, today, he demonstrated once again how totally out-of-touch he is with the priorities of the ‘broad audience’ of Americans he so offensively characterized in Aspen today,” said Laura Sheehan, senior vice president for communications at the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE). “Perhaps people aren’t as simple-minded as Mr. Steyer thinks, because they certainly aren’t buying what he and his elitist friends are selling. What Mr. Steyer fails to understand is that the American people are, in fact, thinking about what immediately impacts their lives and families because ‘super-sophisticated people’ like himself and President Obama are not." In "Tom Steyer Preaches to the Masses from his High Horse," America' Power, American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE), 13 August 2014.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of CO2 Growth by the anti-CO2 Crowd:    "The current U.N. climate talks will be the first to neutralize all the greenhouse gas pollution they generate, offset by host country Peru's protection of forest at three different reserves, organizers say. Now the bad news: The Lima conference is expected to have the biggest carbon footprint of any U.N. climate meeting measured to date." In "Lima Climate Talks Set for Record Carbon Footprint," by Frank Bajak, Associated Press, 9 December 2014.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of Climate Footprints at a Peruvian World Heritage Site:   "The message was timed to coincide with climate change talks taking place in the Peruvian capital Lima. Mr Castillo said: 'Peru has nothing against the message of Greenpeace. We are all concerned about climate change. But the means doesn’t justify the ends.' Greenpeace later said it apologised 'without reservation' for the offence it has caused and said it was 'deeply sorry'. A spokesman said: 'We fully understand that this looks bad. Rather than relay an urgent message of hope and possibility to the leaders gathering at the Lima UN climate talks, we came across as careless and crass'." In "Peru to press charges over Greenpeace Nazca lines stunt," by Emily Godsen, Telegraph UK, 10 December 2014.

 

Addendum of Being All About the Money:   "Regardless, the thing to keep in mind as we head towards next December's key UN meeting in Paris is that this debate has never been about 'saving the planet' or even about reducing emissions. It's always been about the money." In ""Harper got it right, The UN’s so-called plan to fight climate change is a socialist, money-sucking scheme," by Lorrie Goldstein, Toronto Sun, 13 December 2014.    [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of Propaganda and Fear:   " 'Climate change is a natural phenomenon while pollution is caused by man. We are definitely accelerating the process of climate change, but we cannot predict the rate or extent of climate change that can be attributed to man,' Singh said. According to him, fears of climate change amount to propaganda and 'unnecessarily cause panic'. 'The Cretaceous period 65 million years ago was the hottest in the history of the earth. Man was not around at the time,' he added." In " 'Fears of man-made global warming exaggerated'," by Anahita Mukherji, Economic Times (India), 7 January 2015.

 

Addendum of Global Warming and Global Cooling before Mankind:    "Ever since the Pre-Cambrian (600 million years ago), ice ages have occurred at widely spaced intervals of geologic time—approximately 200 million years—lasting for millions, or even tens of millions of years. For the Cenozoic period, which began about 70 million years ago and continues today, evidence derived from marine sediments provide a detailed, and fairly continuous, record for climate change. This record indicates decreasing deep-water temperature, along with the build-up of continental ice sheets. Much of this deep-water cooling occurred in three major steps about 36, 15 and 3 million years ago—the most recent of which continues today. During the present ice age, glaciers have advanced and retreated over 20 times, often blanketing North America with ice. Our climate today is actually a warm interval between these many periods of glaciation. The most recent period of glaciation, which many people think of as the 'Ice Age,' was at its height approximately 20,000 years ago." In "What Triggers Ice Ages?" by Kirk A. Maasch, Nova (PBS), 1 January 1997.

 

Addendum of another Prophet:   "President Obama – who graduated Columbia University with a degree in political science – became an environmental and ecological expert Monday night in time to decry America’s contributions to global warming and the alleged melting of Arctic ice caps at this year’s GLACIER Conference, predicting a dire future for humanity." In "Fumes and Fighting," by Brittany M. Hughes, MRCtv, 1 September 2015.    [ 7 ]

 

Addendum of Flawed Models Failing:   "...the new work said sky-high temperatures in the 20th century did not directly translate into record extremes between wet and dry weather, as many had expected. This meant that "'much of the change is not only driven by temperature, but some internal, more random variability,' explained Ljungqvist. 'It's therefore very, very hard also to predict (precipitation extremes) with models.' Over the study period, drought was most severe during the 12th century, which was a warm one, and the 15th which was cold, said the scientist." In "Climate forecasts may be flawed, says study," by Mariëtte Le Roux, Agence France Presse, 6 April 2016.

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     The article is titled: "Odds that global warming is due to natural factors: slim to none." It is an interesting choice of word, "odds." It suggests the many forms of gambling and the necessary calculations of casino operators, as well as high-minded statistics. But rather than rely on words and presumptive authority, one might rely on data. For this, in an article filled with words one finds an informative graph ("Earth's Climate History: Implications for Tomorrow," by James E. Hansen and Makiko Sato, NASA, July 2011):

 

 

          What are the "odds" that one will find a fluctuation between warming and cooling in this historical picture of "temperature" over the "last 800 thousand years?" Statistically, both global warming and global cooling have occurred over hundreds of thousands of years, per this one NASA graph. By Lovejoy's parlance, shall one then conclude that "warming" is not "natural in origin?" Or, for that matter, cooling? Given man's brief time with his "industrial" society, what is unnatural about previous cycles? A statistical analysis by a physics professor and his declarations based on said analysis do not overturn many cycles of warming and cooling over hundreds of thousand of years. Odds?

          One might even suspect that Professor Lovejoy participates in The Privileges of Intellectuals  .

 

[ 2 ] The delightful dissonance of someone complaining of "rightwing" fueled "climate skepticism" alongside naming such as "deniers" in the blog's own title suggests an author propping up of the right-left model.  For a personal musing in rhyme on this failing political model, please see:  Left and Right  .

          That the watermelon imagery is called a "myth" is amusing.  One reads further:  "Eco-socialism, green socialism or socialist ecology is an ideology merging aspects of Marxism, socialism, and/or libertarian socialism with that of green politics, ecology and alter-globalization. Eco-socialists generally believe that the expansion of the capitalist system is the cause of social exclusion, poverty, war and environmental degradation through globalization and imperialism, under the supervision of repressive states and transnational structures." In "Eco-socialism," Wikipedia, n.d.  Apparently said "myth" is become mainstream in its parlance.

          One reads from Australia:  "After spending yesterday morning running the brush-cutter over his daughter's property near Hobart, he told me that the Greens were trying to counter the greater scrutiny they had received as a result of their alliance with Labor - mainly in the Federal Parliament, but also in Tasmania and the ACT - which has caused a series of electoral setbacks at state, territory and local government level. 'The public has come to see that the Greens aren't a group of benign environmentalists, but a hard left party intent on Marxist social engineering,' he said. While they were attempting to airbrush policies like freezing funding for private schools, liberalising drug laws, abolishing the private health insurance rebate and imposing death duties, the same extreme impulses would always dictate Greens' policies. 'When we have made a blunder, we admit it and dump the policy,' he said. 'The Greens aren't repudiating their duds, they're just trying to sweep them under the carpet where they hope they will be ignored. Their policies derive from Leftist ideological positions, with adverse consequences for jobs and society. This year the public has seen the result of the Greens' carbon tax policy which has cost jobs and driven up electricity prices'." In "Green turning red in watermelon politics," by Piers Akerman, Telegraph (Australia), 26 December 2012.

           For more on rising energy prices, see:   green screws red  - lights or bread.

          Apparently Ackerman agrees with the earlier blog opinion that a political left and right are in opposition over whatever it means to be "green."

          But as to economics and costs associated with green per the above, one reads of an American prospect:  "In order to meet the excessive ethanol mandates in the RFS, more and more land has been converted to grow corn for fuel — not food. In the 16 years prior to RFS implementation, corn acreage in the U.S. rose by just 6 percent. By contrast, in the seven years since the mandate was enacted, corn acreage has spiked by 22 percent — quadruple the growth in half the time. The Environmental Working Group estimates that more than 23 million acres of America's wetlands and grasslands — an area the size of Indiana — have been converted to industrial cropland since 2008, encroaching on our wildlife habitats and gobbling up enough conservation land to cover Yellowstone, Everglades and Yosemite National Parks — combined. But it's not just our land that's under attack. By 2030, nearly one of every 10 gallons of water consumed in the U.S. will be used for biofuels production. That's more than is cumulatively used by every household in the country. Let that sink in. ...And what about our air? Studies have found that corn ethanol nearly doubles emissions over a 30-year period. According to the EPA, the lifecycle emissions of corn ethanol are higher than that of gasoline. So much for being a cleaner fuel. The environment is not the only victim. Food producers and anti-hunger activist groups, including Oxfam and ActionAid, have been warning us for years of the policy's impact on food prices and security." In "The Renewable Fuel Standard: Not as "Green" As You Think," SmarterFuelFutureOrg, at The Hill, 4 April 2014.

          Convincing arguments? Consensus? Deniers? And of what? Higher prices? Lifecycle emissions of corn ethanol? Rising food prices affecting the poor worldwide, as warn Oxfam and ActionAid? Left versus right? Odds are -- recalling the McGill physicist's choice of words -- that the "debate" is not over, won by dismissing "deniers" by calling them a name. That is a child's game, at best.

          As to Lovejoy's "odds" that no "computer models are wrong," one might review another politically-tainted fable for today and its population of "deniers," all the while noting that some computer models have indeed been wrong, and are beginning to be legally indefensible:  The Hockey-Stick Man  .

          But more conclusions as regards the political taint which colors issues of climate science -- which has changed in my lifetime from global cooling to global warming to climate change to now climate disruption -- may be found by authoritative voices.

          One reads:   "Roger Pielke Sr. of the University of Colorado says, 'Unfortunately, climate science has become very politicized and views that differ at all from those in control of the climate assessment process are either ignored or ridiculed. From my experience, I agree 100 percent with the allegations made by the very distinguished Lennart Bengtsson.' But who is doing the politicizing? Knutti says that it is pretty easy to tell. 'If you are on the left politically, you believe in global warming,' he says. 'If you are on the right, that is much less likely.' He adds that the line between opinion and fact is often blurred, even among scientists." In "A Heated Debate: Are Climate Scientists Being Forced to Toe the Line?" by Axel Bojanowski, Spiegel, 23 May 2014.

          As one watches the climate change rulers trying to enforce consensus politics passed off as consensus science, it would be important to review some thoughts about consensus from a so-called radical:   One reads: "...apart from the specific criticism, this general fear of conflict and emphasis on consensus and accommodation is typical academic drivel. How do you ever arrive at consensus before you have conflict? In fact, of course, conflict is the vital core of an open society; if you were going to express democracy in a musical score, your major theme would be the harmony of dissonance. All change means movement, movement means friction and friction means heat. You'll find consensus only in a totalitarian state, Communist or fascist. My opposition to consensus politics, however, doesn't mean I'm opposed to compromise; just the opposite. In the world as it is, no victory is ever absolute; but in the world as it is, the right things also invariably get done for the wrong reasons." In "Playboy Interview: Saul Alinsky". Playboy Magazine. March 1972.

          As one sees governments' application of consensus politics as regards consensus science, one finds enormous sums of money changing hands, being skimmed off by the fat cats atop many governmental and quasi-governmental organizations, all the while lower economic classes are getting squeezed economically. As Alinksy says, "You'll find consensus only in a totalitarian state, Communist or fascist." In this way the privileged become wealthy, such as has Albert Gore -- a study in the massive acquisition of capital.

 

[ 3 ]   That a children's song lyric might function as a political statement is neither unusual nor surprising.  As an example, see my song setting of the societal tale of   Chicken Little - (2007), the text by Margaret Free and Harriette Taylor Treadwell.

          After all, "the sky is falling!"

 

[ 4 ]     The opinion speaks of "what he and his elitist friends are selling." The answer is rather simple. They are or will be selling paper, which has twice shown in practice to become valued for a short while and then essentially worthless. This is paper sometimes called carbon credits, with the resultant cash flow which the green elite use for their purposes. 

          For the collapse of the Chicago Climate Exchange, which lasted only about seven years and lost its "investors" money, and then the collapse of the European version of this carbon credit racket,  see especially the sourced footnotes to:  Green Job  .

          Additionally, a review of the addenda and footnotes to Green drivel  - love locks, dead will prove instructive.

          The other commodity which those advocates of "green" are selling is the notion that government should be investing yet more public monies to what has become the ongoing phenomenon of Bankrupt green  .

          The explanation is ever easier to make: the elite use influence and access to the larger population of elite to keep and enlarge their positions relative to the average citizen. This was true of kings and princes, sultans and caliphs, mandarins and emperors, and it remains true as a "new class" replaces the older aristocracy. See:  Pass the foie gras ,  its addenda and footnotes to become more aware of the "new class" -- which is rather like the old class of elite, delivered to men by the divine right of kings, as by the dictatorship of the proletariat and other similar concepts, and now through the application of wealth and power to democratic institutions for the sake of Welfare for the few and rich   - something akin to bait and switch..

 

[ 5 ]    One might ask, in this day of video conferencing and telecommunications, why do so many "attendees" need to fly worldwide to a conference? And why was a site selected which had to build facilities to have the meeting to begin with? And why could not a teleconference done the same thing, with speeches being made from one's local neighborhood. The answers cluster under the headings of a) boondoggle and b) bureaucrats celebrating themselves in high and expensive fashion.

          As to one statement from a participant, one reads:  "Javadekar said that the poorest members of society have the right to have access to energy, and no one should dispute this right. 'Our growth cannot be compromised,' Javadekar said. "Poverty needs to be eradicated immediately. Poor people have aspirations. We must fulfill them. We must give them energy access. We cannot and nobody can question on this.' India's pollution is less than a quarter of the level produced by China, the number one carbon emitter, but experts worry that as India's population exponentially grows and more people become richer, its share of global carbon emission will also significantly increase." In "India at UN Climate Summit: Don't Bully Us. Higher Pollution Levels Necessary for Growth," by Rhodi Lee, Tech Times, 6 December 2014.

          As one finds the dissonance between energy needs and the need to raise standards of living, one finds the basic conflict. The "green" movement is in direct opposition to the hopes and aspirations of the poor worldwide. One also notes that no population of any country is growing "exponentially," as the news report states. This is a fundamental error in which political rhetoric makes a remark which sounds reasonable, until one considers the definition in terms of mathematics. This error has a consistent history from Malthus forward, as various alarmists have declared unsustainable growth across centuries of sustained growth. 

          But thankfully about nine thousands climate-related bureaucrats were able to meet for two weeks, traveling around the world to a newly constructed facility in which they would celebrate their reason to meet this year, as in past years and as they will again next year. Worldwide air travel each year to talk about lowering such things as world wide air travel....

 

[ 6 ]   The colorful phrase, "a socialist, money-sucking scheme," can be proven historically as one reads Karl Marx' own words in letters to Engels, as well as his fine "social" view of his own father. See:  Welfare Queen  .

          Those unfamiliar with Marx' views might also read the footnotes to People before profits , in which Marx writes of his view to those shopkeepers who had extended him credit and then sought to be paid for products supplied to him but for which he resented paying. Marx' own life is testimony of "a socialist, money-sucking scheme." Prime Minister Harper simply expanded this truth of Marx' personal and well-documented behavior to the world.

          As the years pass and the prediction that by the time the "next" Paris conference was scheduled "it would be too late," one finds the Paris conference yet to meet as of the article's date yielding predictable results. All talk. One reads:   "...a proposal from Bolivia's socialist government for an International Climate Justice Tribunal with powers to penalize countries that break commitments. Diego Pacheco, Bolivia's chief negotiator, said anything less would be 'dangerous to Mother Earth.' But the idea is a non-starter with almost every other country going to the Paris talks, from Nov. 30-Dec. 11." In "Paris climate talks starting to look like all carrots, no sticks," by Alister Doyle, Christian Science Monitor, 13 October 2015.

          While the proposed International Climate Justice Tribunal seems rhetorically powerful, it is de facto the proposal that all governments cede their national authority to a worldwide entity. This "new" is already old, as one may see by becoming informed about The Privileges of Intellectuals .

 

[ 7 ]   The glacier is retreating only recently?   The passionate media narrative is given:  "President Barack Obama walked down a winding wooded path, past a small brown post marked '1926' and a glacial stream trickling over gravel that eons of ice have scraped off mountain peaks. He reached another post reading "1951", a marker for the edge of Alaska's Exit Glacier that year, and gazed up toward where the rock-rutted ice mass has since receded, a quarter mile away." In "Obama: Shrinking Exit Glacier a powerful sign of warming climate," by Roberta Rampton, Reuters, 1 September 2015.

          Yet one reads a less 'romantic' narrative suggesting that the "1926" citation is one of many on a data spread over a longer period :  "In the last 200 years, the glacier retreated exposing the valley below. The exposed valley is a natural laboratory where we can see the processes of life reclaiming a barren landscape: moss, lichen and fireweed colonize the bare rock; followed by grasses, shrubs, alders, and cottonwood; and finally, a spruce-hemlock forest grows where 200 years ago only ice and rock existed." In "The Retreat of Exit Glacier," by Susan Huse, Alaska Support Office, National Park Service, n. d.

          From a very cold moment in history around the UK, "retreat" of ice seems a rather good thing to some. One reads:  "Between 1600 and 1814, it was not uncommon for the River Thames to freeze over for up to two months at time. There were two main reasons for this; the first was that Britain (and the entire of the Northern Hemisphere) was locked in what is now known as the 'Little Ice Age'. " In "The Thames Frost Fairs," by Ben Johnson, Historic UK, 2015.

          The "little ice age" retreated long before an age of industrialization. That article notes:  "During the Great Winter of 1683 / 84, where even the seas of southern Britain were frozen solid for up to two miles from shore, the most famous frost fair was held: The Blanket Fair." Thankfully for some Britons, sea ice around the UK retreated.

          Glaciers form and retreat, for such is the cyclic nature of temperature, as the graphic above from NASA shows.

          As to "Since the Greenland summit's decadal warmth of the first ten years of the 21st century was exceeded fully six dozen times over the prior four millennia, it is clear that it was in no way unusual, unnatural or unprecedented; and, therefore, it is clear that none of Greenland's recent warming need have been caused by increasing greenhouse gases. Indeed, it is far more likely that its recent warmth is nothing more than the next expected phase of the natural oscillation of climate that has produced several-hundred-year periods of alternating warmth and cold over the past four thousand years." In "a 4000-Year History of Greenland Surface Temperature, NIPC Report, n. d.

          When someone offers an opinion, much less a passionately narrative prophecy about a future time, it is helpful to recall what that individual has said and done in previous years.

          One looks back to find:  "CCX was launched in 2003 as a 'voluntary pilot agency' that aspired to become the New York Stock Exchange for Carbon-emission trading. Its planning was initiated thanks to a $345,000 grant from the Chicago-based Joyce Foundation to Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management to study and test the viability of a future carbon-credit market. This transaction occurred when a young community organizer, Barack Obama, served on the Joyce Foundation’s board of directors, along with his mentor, present White House advisor Valerie Jarrett. Eventually Joyce Foundation startup contributions for CCX totaled about $1.1 million, and its president, Paula DiPerna, later left the organization to become executive vice president of CCX. CCX was cofounded by Richard Sandor, a former research professor at Kellogg when the school received the Joyce grant, along with former Goldman Sachs CEO Hank Paulson. The group got off to a blazing start, with hundreds of companies, including DuPont, Ford and Motorola, rushing in with agreements to buy and sell rights to emit CO2 above a legally binding quota. At its peak in May 2008, CCX was trading 10 million tons of carbon permits per month, causing the price of carbon offsets to rise from $1 per ton to a high of $7.40 in mid-2008. Time magazine called Sandor a 'hero of the planet'." In "The Chicago Climate Club Gets Capped," by Larry Bell, Forbes, 22 December 2010.

          The Chicago Climate Exchange's "carbon credits" prices collapsed, as may be documented in the rhyme, addenda and footnotes to Green Job , a phrase appearing in speeches by Obama for years. The end of trading for "green" credits on the Chicago Climate Exchange saw massive losses for investors in those credits.

          The Forbes article notes:  "Gore’s co-founding partners in the venture are former chief of Goldman Sachs Asset Management (GSAM) David Blood, along with Mark Ferguson and Peter Harris, also of Goldman Sachs. Bloomberg reported in March 2008 that the investment fund had hit a hard cap of $5 billion, and had been turning away investors. GSAM also became the largest CCX shareholder, with about an 18% ownership position. (Al Gore’s GIM–with three former Goldman Sachs cofounders–was the fifth largest.) According to figures released by the Federal Election Commission, Goldman Sachs is also heavily invested in the Obama presidency. Goldman’s PAC and individual contributors made up the campaign’s second-largest donation, nearly $1 million."

          As to Hank Paulson, one learns:  "Speaking of Goldman Sachs and income inequality, back in April, Hank Paulson and Robert Rubin sat down with Sheryl Sandberg and Tim Geithner at an event hosted by Michael Milken (no less), to discuss a variety of topics. Around a half hour into the discussion, Sandberg asks Paulson about income inequality. Here’s what happens next: Sandberg: 'Yeah, so let’s follow up on a bunch of the things we were [talking about]. Let’s start with income inequality.' Paulson: 'Ok, well.. income inequality. I think this is something we’ve all thought about. You know I was working on that topic when I was still at Goldman Sachs.' Rubin: 'In which direction? You were working on increasing it.' Paulson then bursts out laughing: 'Yeah! We were making it wider'!" In "'We Made It Wider!' Hank Paulson Bursts Out Laughing When Asked About Wealth Inequality," by Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, 6 September 2015. (At the Milken Institute Global Conference, Lunch Program, 27 April 2015.)

          For the fans of a populist Obama, there is proof that Wall Street was invested heavily in politics. The Occupy movement which decried big money investment banks failed to see the connection, of course.

          Following the collapsed Chicago Climate Exchange story, one learns"  "IntercontinentalExchange (NYSE: ICE), a leading operator of regulated global futures exchanges, clearing houses and over-the-counter (OTC) markets, announced in April 2010 that it had agreed on terms to acquire Climate Exchange plc. That acquisition was completed in July 2010 and was followed by an announcement that half of the company's Chicago-based workforce would be laid off due to inactivity in the U.S. carbon markets. In November 2010, the Climate Exchange stated that it would cease trading carbon credits at the end of 2010, although carbon exchanges will still be facilitated." In "Chicago Climate Exchange," Wikipedia, n. d.

          Thus the trail of CCX flows into ICE, but what of the "new" exchange?  One learns:  "In May 2000, ICE was founded by Sprecher and backed by Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, BP, Total, Shell, Deutsche Bank and Societe Generale who represent some of the world's largest energy traders." In "Intercontinental Exchange," Wikipedia, n .d.

          Wall Street? Goldman Sachs is mentioned at the outset of this tale of carbon trading and political links.

          From ICE itself, one reads:  Of ICE's chairman, one reads: "Jeff Sprecher is Founder, Chairman and CEO of Intercontinental Exchange, Inc. (NYSE: ICE) and Chairman of the New York Stock Exchange. Sprecher acquired the predecessor company to ICE for $1, building a company with a market capitalization over $25 billion in 15 years. Under Sprecher’s leadership, ICE grew from operating an energy swaps market into a network of 11 global exchanges, including the New York Stock Exchange, through organic growth and acquisitions. ICE’s exchanges include equity and equity options exchanges, as well as futures exchanges that establish benchmark prices for interest rates, equity indexes, energy, metals and agricultural commodities. In addition, ICE operates 7 central clearing houses that provide risk management services and support capital flows for global markets."

          So the CCX, begun with the participation of 2015's climate catastrophe prophet, folds into ICE, and "...in 2010 the company was named as the fastest growing company in the Financial Services category by Fortune magazine.".  And then one learns of Wall Street itself:  "The New York Stock Exchange is being sold to a little-known rival in Atlanta for about $8 billion, ending more than two centuries of independence for the iconic Big Board. The buyer, IntercontinentalExchange, a 12-year-old exchange that deals in investing contracts known as futures, said Thursday that little would change for the trading floor in Manhattan’s financial district." In "IntercontinentalExchange to buy NYSE for $8.2B," by Steve Rohwell, Associated Press, 20 December 2012.

          "ICE also operates five clearing houses for various derivatives products, and is a major clearer of credit default swaps. ICE Clear Credit, a U.S.-based CDS clearing house launched in March 2009, and ICE Clear Europe, ICE's London-based clearing house which launched CDS clearing in July 2009, cleared a combined $36 trillion in gross notional value of credit default swaps off 1.1 million trades by the end of 2012, since inception."

          Obama is linked by this simple trail from involvement in CCX alongside individuals with links to Goldman Sachs, and from 2003 to 2015, the "carbon trading" scheme linked to political players became among the largest "financial services" entities and now owner of the New York Stock Exchange.  A next step in the evolution::  "The New York Stock Exchange - a unit of Intercontinental Exchange - launched NYSE Bitcoin Index or NYXBT during the quarter. With this, the customers will be able to buy and sell cryptocurrencies and other digital assets." In "Will Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Q2 Earnings Surprise? - Analyst Blog," Zachs.com, 3 August 2015.

          One finds admission of the sales pitch:  "The administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, responsible for the Clean Power Plan, has testified before Congress that the Clean Power Plan isn’t about reducing global temperatures but 'an investment opportunity' and 'the tone and tenor' of international climate discussions." In "Obama Is Ignoring the Science on Climate Change," by Katie Tubb, Daily Signal, 1 September 2015.

          But the "investment opportunity" is not alluring to other nations, it seems. One reads:   "The U.N.-brokered plan encouraged countries to submit their proposals, known as 'intended nationally determined contributions,' or INDCs, by the end of March. A few did so, and others followed suit over the next few months. Submitted proposals now include countries responsible for an estimated three-fifths of global greenhouse emissions, but more than two-thirds of the countries haven’t offered plans." In "Countries Slow to Pledge Emissions Cuts Ahead of Paris Climate Talks,' by William Mauldin, Wall Street Journal, 23 August 2015.

          The "investment opportunity" coined in terms of "dire prophecy" isn't drawing the world's big players in. One reads:  "Beijing’s decision to abstain from the joint statement on climate change in the Arctic suggests that it viewed the statement as being in conflict with its Arctic interests, potentially setting the stage for later arguments in the Arctic Council itself about how to balance environmental protection with resource extraction and other development activities. China’s reaction to the GLACIER conference also sends a worrisome signal about U.S.-China cooperation on climate change. In addition to refusing to sign the statement, China sent a relatively low-level representative." In "Why Did China Opt Out of the Arctic Climate Change Statement?" by Shannon Tiezzi, Diplomat, 1 September 2015. 

          Further:  "Russia (the world’s leading oil and gas producer), China (the world largest producer of goods), and India with its huge emerging economy opted not to sign the document, however nonbinding it might appear. For China and India reducing emissions entails huge expenditure and loss of economic effectiveness, and for Russia the upcoming environmental deal brings additional costs to the oil and gas extraction industries. Moscow is boosting Russia’s presence in the Arctic, including militarily, for at least two reasons: future hydrocarbons extraction and the Northern Sea Route, a much shorter way from Asia to Europe, which could soon be operable year-around because of less ice in the Arctic Ocean." In "Saving the Arctic? Kerry's roadmap not melting hearts in Russia, China & India," Russia Today, 1 September 2015.

          An obvious question is this? How does climate change and the trading of carbon credits, in which this modern day president and prophet of an environmental doomsday -- so easily become financial services, equity and energy options exchanges, not to mention the owner of the New York Stock Exchange -- Wall Street itself?  And what does "predicting a dire future for humanity" have to do with such enormous, worldwide financial traders? Nothing, you say? Certainly it cannot be market manipulation in the guise of "dire" prophetic predictions at the highest levels of Politics .  The CCX failed, and was wrapped into ICE, which then gobbled up the New York Stock Exchange. Follow the money? Traders make money while carbon credits gain value and traders make money when carbon credits lose value. Win-win for the privileged few, yet again. A dire prophecy might be just another sales pitch or attempt at legal market manipulation.

          Globaloney^, which occurs in cycles per the above graph, is available at your favorite newsstand, media channel or campaign stop....

          Now as to the "dire prediction," one may consider ancient trees. Not the few old tree rings of the Michael Mann study, but ancient trees appearing in Alaska as glaciers retreat. 

          "An ancient forest has thawed from under a melting glacier in Alaska and is now exposed to the world for the first time in more than 1,000 years. Stumps and logs have been popping out from under southern Alaska's Mendenhall Glacier — a 36.8-square-mile (95.3 square kilometers) river of ice flowing into a lake near Juneau — for nearly the past 50 years. However, just within the past year or so, researchers based at the University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau have noticed considerably more trees popping up, many in their original upright position and some still bearing roots and even a bit of bark, the Juneau Empire first reported last week. In "Ancient Forest Thaws From Melting Glacial Tomb," by Laura Poppick, Live Science, 20 September 2013.

          How about glaciers retreating during the last 1,000 years? 10,000 years? The time frame for data changes the perception of the data, and "climate change" fluctuations in global temperatures are normal.

 

 

 

          One reads: "Hubbard Glacier is defying the global paradigm of valley or mountain glacier shrinkage and retreat in response to global climate warming. Hubbard Glacier is the largest of eight calving glaciers in Alaska that are currently increasing in total mass and advancing. All of these glaciers calve into the sea, are at the heads of long fiords, have undergone retreats during the last 1,000 years, calve over relatively shallow submarine moraines, and have unusually small ablation areas compared to their accumulation areas." In "Hubbard Glacier, Alaska: Growing and Advancing in Spite of Global Climate Change and the 1986 and 2002 Russell Lake Outburst Floods," by D.C. Trabant, R.S. March, and D.S. Thomas, U.S. Geological Survey Fact Sheet 001-03, January 2003.

          After "retreating" one finds of the Hubbard glacier:  "Unlike so many thinning and retreating glaciers across Alaska, the Hubbard Glacier has been growing for more than 100 years, the NASA Observatory reports. One researcher says the trend could 'strongly impact' the ecosystem in the Yakutat area." In "NASA documents Alaska's growing glacier; researcher warns of risks," by Kyle Hopkins, KTUU, 20 May 2015.

          "Part of Hubbard Glacier has been advancing into Disenchantment Bay for more than 100 years, according to NASA's Earth Observatory. In addition to its movement, the glacier has been thickening as well, bucking the worldwide trend of thinning, shrinking glaciers." In "Alaska's Hubbard Glacier Is Doing the Unthinkable," by Sean Breslin, Weather.com, 22 May 2015.

          Where a glacier retreats, solid evidence is showing that before that thawing there was green, but not the "green" of the current policy makers -- who as one sees above have quickly become Wall Street itself and a "clearing house" for investment paper, alongside predictors of "a dire future."

          But weather changes, as it did in 2008.  "Never before in the history of a research project dating back to 1946 had the Juneau Icefield witnessed the kind of snow buildup that came this year. It was similar on a lot of other glaciers too." In "Alaska glaciers grew this year, thanks to colder weather," Craig Medred, Anchorage Daily News, 14 October 2008.

          For this, the Exit Glacier was chosen as pulpit from which a president trained in political science preached "a dire future for humanity."  Delivering the same message standing nearby the Hubbard glacier would not have worked well. Delivering the same message by the Mendenhall glacier which is revealing ancient trees long hidden beneath it which had to have grown in a warmer time would not have sufficed. The Exit glacier was chosen as pulpit for someone who has been involved in the trading of carbon credits since the inception of the Chicago Climate Exchange, funded in part by the Joyce Foundation and linked to influential people from Goldman Sachs. CCX became ICE which now is owner of the New York Stock Exchange and trades, in part, on paper and derivatives based on dire predictions.

          Occupy Wall Street! By buying it, lock, stock and barrel....

          It seems "We will condemn our children to a planet beyond their repair" is well connected to the selling of modern day indulgences to "investors" as well as to consumers, tax and rate payers through higher prices. Perhaps the whole, taken together as a single tale with consistent players throughout, is just Old-fashioned . Snake oil salesmen have long been a storied part of many American tales, "dire predictions" and outlandish promises aplenty.

          As to this particular prophet and his "dire predictions," consider the optimistic predictions by the same prophet which did not come to pass, in Bankrupt green .

          Where dire predictions might have been worth heeding was in the collapse of "green" carbon credits under varying schemes and traded by a variety of "legal" mechanisms. For details on investment losses, please see the rhyme, addenda and sourced, footnoted details in: Green Job .


 

And there again it is - the same old foam and fizz

"Marx's essentially political strategy, which does not follow from his analysis of capitalism, yields a paradox which has dogged Marxism: how can workers attain emancipation from state power by exercising state power? To stay true to Marx's critique of capitalist exploitation, given intervening history, we dissent from his political strategy. Without excluding political action, cooperativization aimed at socialism is a first, direct step toward realizing the autonomy which for him was the goal of the worker's movement. The heart of Marxism is kept. To complete both modernist and postmodernist projects, capital's dominance must be broken in favor of an inclusive socialism. There has to be something better than capitalism for free peoples. And there is." In "Why Marxism Isn't Dead (Because Capitalism Isn't Dead): The Case for Cooperative Socialism," Bob Stone, Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy, 10-15 August 1998.

 

It's not working! Oh, my gosh! Whatever shall we do?
          What's that lurking? Let's not josh, but try again! Woo hoo!

It's not working! Still it's not! Whatever shall we say?
          Stop that smirking! We're not yet caught. Let's try again! Hurray!

Nope, it's failing! Things went wrong! What answers shall we give?
          Stop the wailing. Stay headstrong. This time 'twill surely live.

Look, it's crumbling! You were wrong! Whatever can come next?
          The same old bumbling as erelong? True believers stay unvexed!

It won't work! It hasn't yet! The proofs mount up too high!
          Plain truths irk. They pose a threat. Deny! Deny! Deny!

Lifetimes pass. Results? The same. Heed those lessons, then?
          No! Harass! Accept no blame. Let's start it all again.

Free people, see? They must be made to heed the vision's quest.
          Now bend that knee! Be not afraid! Cooperatize at my behest.

Capital controlled? Capital repressed. Ignore realities' quiz.
          The same old same old trots out refreshed. And there again it is.

 

Inclusive socialism includes just what? What was not done before?

          There is no schism? The same old same old? But it's become a bore.

 

And there again it is - the same old foam and fizz.

          Break, yes break what's dominant, and stamp out just what is.

 

Envoi:   "There is also a famous scene in which Reg gives a revolutionary speech asking, 'What have the Romans ever done for us?' at which point the listeners outline all forms of positive aspects of the Roman occupation such as sanitation, medicine, education, wine, public order, irrigation, roads, a fresh water system, public health and peace, followed by 'what have the Romans ever done for us except sanitation, medicine, education...'." In "Monty Python's Life of Brian," Wikipedia article, n.d.

 

The Case for the National Socialists Club:   "I had spent an extremely interesting evening. I had dined with some very 'advanced' friends of mine at the 'National Socialist Club'. We had had an excellent dinner: the pheasant, stuffed with truffles, was a poem; and when I say that the ’49 Chateau Lafitte was worth the price we had to pay for it, I do not see what more I can add in its favour. After dinner, and over the cigars (I must say they do know how to stock good cigars at the National Socialist Club), we had a very instructive discussion about the coming equality of man and the nationalisation of capital. I was not able to take much part in the argument myself, because, having been left when a boy in a position which rendered it necessary for me to earn my own living, I have never enjoyed the time and opportunity to study these questions. But I listened very attentively while my friends explained how, for the thousands of centuries during which it had existed before they came, the world had been going on all wrong, and how, in the course of the next few years or so, they meant to put it right. Equality of all mankind was their watchword - perfect equality in all things — equality in possessions, and equality in position and influence, and equality in duties, resulting in equality in happiness and contentment. The world belonged to all alike, and must be equally divided. Each man’s labour was the property, not of himself, but of the State which fed and clothed him, and must be applied, not to his own aggrandisement, but to the enrichment of the race. Individual wealth — the social chain with which the few had bound the many, the bandit’s pistol by which a small gang of robbers had thieved — must be taken from the hands that too long had held it. Social distinctions — the barriers by which the rising tide of humanity had hitherto been fretted and restrained — must be for ever swept aside. The human race must press onward to its destiny (whatever that might be), not as at present, a scattered horde, scrambling, each man for himself, over the broken ground of unequal birth and fortune — the soft sward reserved for the feet of but an ordered army, marching side by side over the level plain of equity and equality. The great bosom of our Mother Earth should nourish all her children, like and like; none should be hungry, none should have too much The strong man should not grasp more than the weak; the clever should not scheme to seize more than the simple. The earth was man’s, and the fulness thereof; and among all mankind it should be portioned out in even shares. All men were equal by the laws of man." In "The New Utopia," by Jerome K. Jerome (1859- 1927).

 

Reviewing the Case for Breaking "for free peoples":  "To complete both modernist and postmodernist projects, capital's dominance must be broken in favor of an inclusive socialism. There has to be something better than capitalism for free peoples."  Bob Stone, as above.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Plain Capitalist neo-Marxist Critical Theory Truth:  "Could you imagine if some of the biggest names in today’s neo-Marxist Critical Theory actually took it upon themselves to pool wages with the adjuncts in their own department? Ha! I’ll bet $100 right now that will never happen. I’m serious: Send me proof of professorial wage-sharing, even in something as minor as an “adjunct emergency fund,” and I’ll add a contribution from Prof. Franklin. It’s entirely possible that the Duke Collective’s micro-utopianism will come to an abrupt end as soon as one of them graduates and starts making either real money or no money." In "The Great Grad-School Experiment in Utopian Socialism," by Rebecca Schuman, Slate, 8 April 2014.   [ 2 ]     

 

Addendum of Yet Another Failure for Socialism:   "In a free-market system, a provider whose wait times were too long would lose business, and even if the employees faked up the wait-time numbers, that loss of business would show up on the bottom line. That would lead top managers to act, or lose their jobs. In the VA system, however, the losses didn't show up on the bottom line because, well, there isn't one. Instead, the losses were diffused among the many patients who went without care -- visible to them, but not to the people who ran the agency, who relied on the cooked-books numbers from their bonus-seeking underlings. And, contrary to what Klein suggests, that's the problem with socialism. The absence of a bottom line doesn't reduce greed and self-dealing — it removes a constraint on greed and self-dealing. And when that happens, ordinary people pay the price. Keep that in mind, when people suggest that free-market systems are somehow morally inferior to socialism." In "VA scandal exposes greedy socialism," by Glenn Harlan Reynolds, USA Today, 2 June 2014.

 

See:   Socialism's Last Hurrah  - not democracy in any town  and the clear and awkward admission,  Enemies of Capitalism 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    Robert V. "Bob" Stone was Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, C W. Post College, Long Island University. In calling for "something better than capitalism," one finds this socialist voice found its home in a university wherein the professors' salary ranges are estimated by one source:  Professor, Long Island University Salary in US, range from $ 115,000 -- $ 124,000 in "Long Island University," Glassdoor, n.d.  One may find that so many "liberal" voices calling for "inclusive socialism" earn three times the median income of their fellow citizens.

          Moreover, the president of that university takes a healthy chunk of capital as his pay. One learns:  President David J. Steinberg, $ 628,917 total compensation in 2010, "Executive Pay at Long Island Non-Profits," Long Island Newsday, n.d. One compares the median per capita income in New York with the above salaries to find a system which espouses an "inclusive socialism" take not just three, but up to twenty times more in "non-profit" tax-exempt entities' salaries than the average "worker."

          One notes that the Twentieth World Congress of Philosophy was held at Boston University. One reads: "Boston University President Robert Brown is the highest paid president of a private college in Massachusetts. Brown earned $1,141,330 in 2010, according to an analysis of the most recent tax year available conducted by The Chronicle of Higher Education." In "BU President’s Pay Tops Chart At Over $1M," by Curt Nickisch, WBUR News, 9 December 2012. Thus, the president of the host college for this "congress" takes over 32 times the median per capita income of citizens of Massachusetts.

          For a professor of philosophy to write "capital's dominance must be broken in favor of an inclusive socialism" while participating in such hefty sums of capital from non-profit organizations seems a tad ironic, one could easily conclude. It seems "capital's dominance" is exemplified by many academics who point the finger at those with yet more capital, without considering how much capital they amass compared to the average "worker." Such inclusive socialism as to astound!

 

[ 2 ]     Among the professors referred to by Schuman in questioning high academic salaries is Judith Butler. One learns Judith Butler "is Maxine Elliot Professor in the Departments of Rhetoric and Comparative Literature and the Co-director of the Program of Critical Theory at the University of California, Berkeley, where she has taught since 1993." Her gross pay is $134,555.60, according to University of California Data Analysis, 2012. This does not include royalties, speaking fees and financial awards. 

          By way of comparison, one learns the US Census records "Per capita money income in past 12 months (2012 dollars), 2008-2012 $29,551," for a resident of California. Simple math tells that this one example of social justice takes away 4.5 times more than the median, a small amount compared to the University of California president, Janet Napolitano who receives "a base salary of $570,000" or over 19 times the median. Let us then think on capital, "inclusive socialism" and the ardent academic proponents of socialism who pocket 4 to 20 times the median income of their fellow citizens.

          See Doctor Oppression comes to call    for more delightful examples of "social justice" and its academic fat cat advocates, whose "do as I say" attitude simply does not fit with the examples of "do what I do." It is so amusing to find modern philosophers and economists who all talk a good game, until one peeks behind the curtain. Schuman's perceptive words are cited there as well, so well sharpened and true.


 

Fem inanity

 

"23th March, in Madrid a big demonstration against the right for abortion was interrupted by the march of death. FEMEN sextremists confronted these anti-women's walk with white bengals warning that women will not allow more deaths for illegal abortions. No more victims because anti-choice fascism! Screaming 'Pro-vida Genocida!' (Pro-life genocide) dead Sextremists personifyed the revenge of all women raped by Gallardon's law. Fascists groups like HazteOir, or catholic groups from Europe and Spain, youth organizations neo-nazis. Our bodies belong to us! Pro-life is pro-death!" Femen.org website, 24 March 2014.

 

Pro-life is death, -- pro-death is life;
     These words turn somersaults.
Now meanings twist, upend, jackknife,
     Gymnastic in their vaults.
Pro-life is death, -- pro-death is life;
     Words speak their defining faults.
Much now is with illogic rife.

     Let's dance a killing waltz.

 

Envoi:    "The five Femen members shouted out 'Pro-life is genocide' as they interrupted the anti-abortion march in Madrid's emblematic Puerta del Sol square on Sunday morning. As usual, the feminist activists appeared topless as part of their protest modus operandi, but this time they also painted their faces and upper bodies in black and white to replicate a skeleton. Bystanders vented their anger towards the women as police officers arrested the repeating offenders for public indecency." In "Femen attack pro-life demo disguised as death," by Alex Dunham, TheLocal.es, 24 March 2014.

 

Addendum of Some Deaths:   "A Philadelphia doctor accused of performing illegal late-term abortions in a filthy clinic has been found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of three babies born alive but acquitted in the death of a fourth baby. In a case that became a grisly flashpoint in the abortion debate in the US, Dr Kermit Gosnell, 72, was also found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in the overdose death of an abortion patient. ...Gosnell, who portrayed himself as an advocate for poor and desperate women, appeared hopeful before the verdict was read and calm afterward." In "Abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell found guilty of murder," Associated Press, 13 May 2013.  [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Many Deaths:   "According to the World Health Organization, there are an estimated 46 million pregnancies each year that end in abortion worldwide. If performed by trained health care providers, abortion is safer than carrying a pregnancy to term. The chance of developing a major complication following a safe abortion is one in 200.20 Each year, nearly 20 million of the 46 million abortions that occur are considered unsafe, and result in about 13% (67,000) of the pregnancy-related deaths annually. ...In 1973, the risk of maternal death resulting from an abortion was 3.4 deaths per 100,000." In "Abortion," Reproductive Health Module, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, n.d.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Thousands of Black Deaths:   "In 2012, there were more black babies killed by abortion (31,328) in New York City than were born there (24,758), and the black children killed comprised 42.4% of the total number of abortions in the Big Apple, according to a report by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The report is entitled, 'Summary of Vital Statistics 2012 The City of New York, Pregnancy Outcomes,' and was prepared by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, Office of Vital Statistics." In "NYC: More Black Babies Killed by Abortion Than Born," by Michael W. Chapman, Cybercast News, 20 February 2014.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Other Madrid Demonstrations:   "The labor demonstrators, now an almost-daily occurrence in Madrid and other economically-devastated southern European cities, lambast austerity and budget cuts as the primary cause for their current national crisis. But longer-term, the biggest threat to the European Union has less to do with government policy than what is–or is not–happening in the bedroom. In particular, southern Europe’s economic disaster is both reflected — and is largely caused by — a demographic decline that, if not soon reversed, all but guarantees the continent’s continued slide. For decades, the wealthier countries of the northern countries — notably Germany — have offset very low fertility rates and declining domestic demand by attracting migrants from other countries, notably from eastern and southern Europe, and building highly productive export oriented economies. In contrast, the so-called Club Med Countries– Greece, Italy, Portugal and Spain–have not developed strong economies to compensate for their fading demographics outside pockets of relative prosperity such as Milan." In "Declining Birthrates Key to Europe's Decline," by Joel Kotkin, New Geography, 30 May 2012.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of Looking Forward for Spain:   "Spain 1.48 children born/woman (2014 est.)" In "Field Listing :: Total fertility rate," CIA World Fact Book, n. d.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of the Pathological:   "To many, 'lowest low' is hard evidence of imminent disaster of unprecedented proportions. 'The ability to plan the decision to have a child is of course a big success for society, and for women in particular,' Letizia Mencarini, a professor of demography at the University of Turin, told me. 'But if you would read the documents of demographers 20 years ago, you would see that nobody foresaw that the fertility rate would go so low. In the 1960s, the overall fertility rate in Italy was around two children per couple. Now it is about 1.3, and for some towns in Italy it is less than 1. This is considered pathological.' There is no shortage of popular explanations to account for the drop in fertility." In "No Babies?" by Russell Shorto, New York Times, 29 June 2008.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of the Missing Women:   "A cultural preference for male children has cost Asia dearly. Count up all the girls who were never born because of selective abortion, victims of infanticide and females who died from neglect and there are upwards of 100 million women missing on the continent today by some estimates. Not just a human-rights catastrophe, it is also a looming demographic disaster. With Asian birthrates already plummeting, that is tens of millions of women who will never be mothers. The economic and social impact on some of the world’s largest countries is incalculable." In "Asia Struggles for a Solution to Its ‘Missing Women’ Problem," by Geeta Anand And Jaeyeon Woo, Wall Street Journal, 27 November 2015.     [ 7 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]      Illegal abortion has been viewed as unsafe, while legal abortion is "safe." This is of course fallacious.

          One reads of more than one instance of legal abortion: "The father of a young child whose mother died after a July 2012 abortion filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday against Planned Parenthood of Illinois and Northwestern Memorial Hospital. Tonya Reaves, 24, died July 20, 2012, at Northwestern Hospital after she began hemorrhaging at a Planned Parenthood clinic at 18 S. Michigan Ave., according to the Cook County Medical Examiner’s office. An autopsy found she died of a hemorrhage following a cervical dilation and evacuation performed during an intrauterine pregnancy, according to the medical examiner’s office. Her death was ruled an accident." In "Second lawsuit filed against Planned Parenthood after woman dies during abortion," Sun-Times Media Wire, 4 January 2013.

          One reads of another instance of legal abortion:  "Four days after having the abortion at Germantown Reproductive Health Services clinic, the young woman reportedly complained of chest pain and other discomfort. At around 5am last Thursday, she was rushed to Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, where she passed away a few hours later from massive bleeding into her abdominal cavity." In "Teacher dies after 'having abortion 33 weeks into pregnancy' as protesters lay siege to clinic of doctor blamed for her death," Daily Mail UK, 13 February 2013.

          One reads of instances of illegal abortions, as well:  "She said women also seemed ignorant of the fact that state hospitals offered free abortions up to a certain stage of pregnancy. 'People are not coming to state hospitals,' said Wagner. Instead they opt for posters on walls across town blatantly advertising safe abortions by bogus nurses or doctors asking a certain fee for the procedure which usually puts the lives of women at risk. Wagner stressed there were safer options for women, and government had a new freely available contraceptive by means of an implant that could help young women with family planning and stave off unwanted pregnancies." In "Woman dies after illegal abortion," by Vuvu Vena, Dispatch Online (New Zealand), 20 January 2014.

          It seems that abortion, legal and illegal, can be deadly. It also seems that many abortions over decades, legal and illegal alike, have not been. Therefore the notion of "legal" versus "illegal" is oddly less part of the social equation than it seems.

          One reads of equivalence from a source:  "These numbers have been collected only twice before, in 2003 and 1995. The update is not encouraging. The Guttmacher Institute, a population research group that supports abortion, and the World Health Organisation found that the global abortion rate has stalled. It fell precipitously in the 1990s, but recently the rate has not budged, barely dipping from 29 abortions per 1,000 women (aged 15 to 44) in 2003 to 28 abortions per 1,000 women in 2008. Eastern Europe has the highest abortion rate in the world, at 43 per 1,000. The geography of abortions has also shifted. In 2008, 86% of abortions were in the developing world, up from 78% in 1995. The share of unsafe abortions rose as well, from 44% in 1995 to 49% in 2008. Laws that restrict abortion did not seem to lower the number of procedures. On the contrary, restrictive laws were associated with higher rates." In "Global abortion rates," Economist, 19 January 2012.

          What may then be concluded is that abortion, legal and illegal, can be at times deadly. The argument for and against public-funded abortion then seems less about mortality than about population issues.

          One reads further: "Estimates of the number of illegal abortions in the 1950s and 1960s ranged from 200,000 to 1.2 million per year. ...By 1965, the number of deaths due to illegal abortion had fallen to just under 200, but illegal abortion still accounted for 17% of all deaths attributed to pregnancy and childbirth that year. " In "Lessons from Before Roe: Will Past be Prologue?" by Rachel Benson Gold, Guttmacher Report on Public Policy, March 2003, Volume 6, Number 1. One notes that number. To stress by repetition: "...the number of deaths due to illegal abortion had fallen to just under 200."

 

[ 2 ]     While passionate, breast-baring demonstrators worry about women dying from abortion, they seem oblivious to fetuses dying from abortion in numbers orders of magnitude higher than women's deaths from abortions, legal as illegal. One compares the the Guttmacher Institute's estimate "200" deaths in 1965 with the "an estimated 46 million pregnancies each year that end in abortion worldwide." It would be interesting to have the invisible statistics -- as yet not collected -- on the number of deaths to women from abortion in Spain to compare with the number of fetuses aborted, to place Femen's "death" face make-up in some societal perspective.

         One reads more on aggregate abortions performed:  "In a new document, 'Abortion Statistics: United States Data and Trends,' NRLC education director Dr. Randall K. O’Bannon estimates that there have been 54,559,615 abortions since 1973 based on data from both the Centers for Disease Control and the pro-abortion Guttmacher Institute, a former Planned Parenthood research arm. Guttmacher receives numbers directly from abortion centers themselves and is the prime source for more current figures because the Centers for Disease Control has never tabulated accurate numbers of abortions." In "54,559,615 Abortions Since Roe vs. Wade Decision in 1973," by Steven Ertelt, Life News, 23 January 2012.

         Wikipedia offers similar numbers from the same resource:  "Various anti-abortion statutes began to appear from the 1820s. ...In the 1930s, licensed physicians performed an estimate 800,000 abortions a year. ...According to the Guttmacher Institute, since 1973, roughly 50 million legal induced abortions have been performed in the United States." In "Abortion in the United States," Wikipedia, n.d.

         As to abortion statistics and statements, one reads:  "Dr. Bernard Nathanson, a former abortionist who performed tens of thousands of abortions and one of the founders of the National Abortion Rights Action League: Pro-Choice America (NARAL), admitted that he and other NARAL members used to claim that 5,000 to 10,000 women died each year from illegal abortions. He has since admitted that he knew the statistic to be “totally false…. But in the 'morality' of our revolution, it was a useful figure, widely accepted, so why go out of our way to correct it with honest statistics?” In 1972, the last year before Roe v. Wade was handed down, approximately 90 women died from abortions gone wrong, according to Lisa M. Koonin." Source: Koonin, et.al. 'Abortion Surveillance; United States, 1996,' Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, July 30, 1999, cited in "Does Legal Abortion Save Lives?" Human Life International, n.d.

         While passions pro and con seem to be high, the dispassionate numbers suggest that concern over deaths to women from abortion are swamped by the number of fetuses aborted, decades ago as now. Given that "legal" abortions are also proving deadly, it is assured that a final societal view of this subject is not near. It is also assured that the words from activists now mean nothing, when a "genocide" is numbered in the hundreds, yet the answer to such a "genocide" is the legal disposal of millions.

         "Pro-vida Genocida!" seems now not only illogical, innumerate but insensitive to actual genocides, as those of the preceding century show in numbers of millions dead. The odd confluence of "our bodies belong to us" in an era of supposed "safe sex" awareness and the availability of contraceptives of all varieties seems spurious and inane. If their bodies "belong" to them, why not keep them away from bodies which could impregnate them? Such an individual stance and responsibility seems old-fashioned, one supposes. One notes that such advocates supposedly also advocate safe sex practices including contraception. If their cause were effective, there would be far less a "need" for the "right" to "choose" abortion.

 

[ 3 ]     From a black-oriented media site, one reads: "The news about the declining abortion rate could have a major impact in the African-American community. Black women account for 30 percent of abortions performed in the nation, compared to 36 percent of Whites and 25 percent of Hispanics, Guttmacher reports. While no one group made up the majority of abortion patients, Black and Hispanic women were overrepresented, the group said." In "Study: U.S. Abortion Rate Declining; Blacks, Hispanics Overrepresented," by Lynette Holloway, NewsOne, 3 February 2014.

         For a sad musing on this singular subject, see:  How to kill a negro -- or would you just say no?

 

[ 4 ]     Femen screams -- the verb from their own website -- "Pro-vida Genocida!"  And yet as the article above suggests, another economic genocide is in the making, in part because of the passionate advocacy of abortion. Disturbing as this conclusion may be to some, the issue looms.

         One reads:  "Demographic expert Nicholas Eberstadt, writing in Foreign Affairs, argues that the current century will be marked by a fertility implosion. 'A dramatic, far-reaching, and, as yet, unremitting global reduction in childbearing and birthrates is now under way,' he says. That's good news for anybody who fears a critically overcrowded planet, but as the countries of the former East Bloc are only too aware of, depopulation brings a host of problems of its own." In "Nobody Home: The Countries Where Population Is on the Decline," by Joe Jackson, Time Magazine, 26 October 2011.

         Another view echoes this:  "Today’s babies are tomorrow’s taxpayers and workers and entrepreneurs, and relatively youthful populations speed economic growth and keep spending commitments affordable. Thanks to our relative demographic dynamism, the America of 50 years hence may not only have more workers per retiree than countries like Japan and Germany, but also have more than emerging powers like China and Brazil. If, that is, our dynamism persists. But that’s no longer a sure thing. American fertility plunged with the stock market in 2008, and it hasn’t recovered. Last week, the Pew Research Center reported that U.S. birthrates hit the lowest rate ever recorded in 2011, with just 63 births per 1,000 women of childbearing age. (The rate was 71 per 1,000 in 1990.) For the first time in recent memory, Americans are having fewer babies than the French or British." In "More Babies, Please," by Ross Douthat, New York Times, 1 December 2012.

         Language tells much, as one alters a sentence with but a few words: "Today’s aborted babies are not tomorrow’s taxpayers and workers and entrepreneurs, and relatively aging  populations without enough children cannot speed economic growth and keep spending commitments affordable." The range of social behavior from Madrid's death-painted Femen protestors to tomorrow predicts societal woes aplenty. One might imagine that these Femen protestors will expect a government-paid retirement of some sort, to be paid by a future generation which today they seek to suppress along the model of a civil-rights movement. See footnote 6 below as to the demographic reality.

 

[ 5 ]   The CIA data is preceded by this statement:  "Rates below two children indicate populations decreasing in size and growing older. Global fertility rates are in general decline and this trend is most pronounced in industrialized countries, especially Western Europe, where populations are projected to decline dramatically over the next 50 years."

 

[ 6 ]  The article notes further: "Policy makers fear that, taken together, these trends forecast a perfect demographic storm. According to a paper by Jonathan Grant and Stijn Hoorens of the Rand Europe research group: 'Demographers and economists foresee that 30 million Europeans of working age will ‘disappear’ by 2050. At the same time, retirement will be lasting decades as the number of people in their 80s and 90s increases dramatically.' The crisis, they argue, will come from a 'triple whammy of increasing demand on the welfare state and health-care systems, with a decline in tax contributions from an ever-smaller work force.' That is to say, there won’t be enough workers to pay for the pensions of all those long-living retirees." In "No Babies?" by Russell Shorto, New York Times, 29 June 2008.

 

[ 7 ]     The deep and wide irony of the rabid "modern" feminists' position as represented in this rhyme and footnotes is that being "pro-abortion" ends up being in parallel against "all the girls who were never born because of selective abortion."  As one follows various news reports, one finds that state-funded abortion -- promoted as an answer to the abuse of women -- ends up targeting women "who were never born." The seemingly passionate women painting themselves in death masks above ironically are the faces of the dead which they themselves have participated in killing. This is not a political observation, but merely a demographic observation. The politics is about politics, and no heap of words and policies and positions and protests has turned back the demographic wave as it rushes into the near-term future, uncaring about " protestors disrupting some event or the other. The perfect demographic storm paints its "face" like a skull as well. That storm is not about "sextremist" feminism nor misanthropic males, but merely and unavoidably demographic. The rest is noisy theater, at best.


 

A cat may look at the haughtiest king

"The German poet Schiller wrote: 'Deeper meaning resides in the fairy tales told to me in my childhood than in the truth that is taught by life.' (The Piccolomini, III, 4.) Through the centuries (if not millennia) during which, in their retelling, fairy tales became ever more refined, they came to convey at the same time overt and covert meanings -- come to speak simultaneously to all levels of the human personality, communicating in a manner which reaches the uneducated mind of the child as well as that of the sophisticated adult."  In "The Uses of Enchantment," Bruno Bettleheim, 1975.  

 

A cat may look at the haughtiest king;
There is great truth in that.
A champ may dodge a dope in a ring
While roping him to the mat.

A fool may speak truths thought absurd,
While seen as a laughingstock.
When no one heeds his truest word,
Reality speaks with surprising knock.

The best laid schemes of mice and men
Go often awry in the end.
We find all stories play out again;
To harsh realities we all must bend.

 

Fairy tales can indeed come true,

Sang some lyric of the young at heart.

What's true is that they teach not preach

For that is their greatest art.

 

A cat may look at the highest of kings,

Each king does well to learn.

Imagining the end of a scene like this

Is a tale one should not spurn.

 

Envoi:   The dominant culture wishes to pretend, particularly where children are concerned, that the dark side of man does not exist, and professes a belief in an optimistic meliorism. [ 1 ]  Psychoanalysis itself is viewed as having the purpose of making life easy -- but this is not what its founder intended. Psychoanalysis was created to enable man to accept the problematic nature of life without being defeated by it, or giving in to escapism. Freud's prescription is that only by struggling courageously against what seems like overwhelming odds can man succeed in wringing meaning out of his existence. This is exactly the message that fairy tales get across to the child in manifold form: that a struggle against severe difficulties in life is unavoidable, is an intrinsic part of human existence -- but that if one does not shy away, but steadfastly meets unexpected and often unjust hardships, one masters all obstacles and at the end emerges victorious."  In "The Uses of Enchantment," Bruno Bettleheim, 1975.

 

Addendum of Equivocal Evil:  "While good and evil are always categorical, absolute, and irreconcilable in children’s literature — the four friends versus the stouts and weasels in The Wind of the Willows, the Princess and Curdie versus the goblins in The Princess and the Goblin – evil is equivocal and ambivalent in the modern world, a matter of choice, lifestyle, and opinion. While truth, beauty, and goodness are consistently associated with the splendor and glory of light — realities which are divine or holy in origin and nature — truth, beauty, and goodness in the late twentieth century are determined by surveys of opinion, by the shifting tides of politics, by the erratic judgments of the Supreme Court, and by the fashionable views of Hollywood, the media, and the intellectual elite. Thus, the loss of mystery in the late twentieth century coincides with the death of the child and the attack on the sacredness of life — the primal mystery." In "The Loss of Mystery and the Loss of Childhood," by Mitchell Kalpakgian, Zenit, 17 April 2014.

 

Addendum of Differences:   "...in such non-discriminate openness to alterity we find ourselves unable to discriminate between good and evil, which is a fine lesson in tolerance but not necessarily moral judgment. If there is a difference between Jesus and Jim Jones [ 2 ] , between Saint Francis and Stalin  [ 3 ] , between Melena and Mengele  [ 4 ], between Siddhartha and the Marquis de Sade  [ 5 ] -- and I think most of us would want to say there is -- then some further philosophical reflections are needed to supplement the deconstructive gesture of hospitality. Deconstructive non-judgmentalism needs to be supplemented, I suggest, with a hermeneutics of practical wisdom." In "Others and Aliens: Between Good and Evil," by Richard Kearney, from "Evil After Postmodernism" Histories, Narratives, and Ethics," ed. Jennifer Geddes, Routledge, 2001.

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    For a musing on "an optimistic meliorism," please see You Topia  , for some thoughts on a place where "the dark side of man does not exist."  For a musing in rhyme and accompanying quotes on being "unable to discriminate between good and evil," see Tolerance  .

 

[ 2 ]    See:  I'm gonna guide you to the promised land  - a story quite like others.

 

[ 3 ]    See:  Totalitarian  .

 

[ 4 ]    "Experiments on twin children in concentration camps were created to show the similarities and differences in the genetics of twins, as well as to see if the human body can be unnaturally manipulated. The central leader of the experiments was Josef Mengele, who from 1943 to 1944 performed experiments on nearly 1,500 sets of imprisoned twins at Auschwitz. About 200 individuals survived these studies. The twins were arranged by age and sex and kept in barracks between experiments, which ranged from injection of different dyes into the eyes of twins to see whether it would change their color to literally sewing twins together in attempts to create conjoined twins." In a horrific bit of history one reads of "Nazi human experimentation," Wikipedia article, n.d. See:  Conjugating Hitler 

 

[ 5 ]   De Sade was and still remains "...best known for his erotic works, which combined philosophical discourse with pornography, depicting sexual fantasies with an emphasis on violence, criminality and blasphemy against the Catholic Church. He was a proponent of extreme freedom, unrestrained by morality, religion or law. The words "sadism" and "sadist" are derived from his name." In "Marquis de Sade," Wikipedia article, n.d.  For thoughts on feminism in the modern world and freedom "unrestrained by morality," consider this Sexy acrostic just to turn a trick, its addenda and footnotes.


 

Breaking of the Hands - so politics commands

 

Detail of Tilman Riemenschneider's Evangelists

 

"After the city surrendered, the full city council, including Riemenschneider, was incarcerated and tortured in the Marienberg citadel. According to legend, both of his hands were broken during the torturing, which ended his artistic career." In "Tilman Riemenschneider: Altar of Maria & Holy Blood Altar," Of Delicious Recoil, 1 October 2013.

 

The tradition is, 'tis said,
To crush and mangle men.
Destroying what is good in them
Is done and done again.

Some hands of men may carve
While others hack away,
Terror in the hands of men
Holds creativity at bay.

Or when a thing of beauty
Is birthed into this world,
It is the hands of ugliness
Which into fists are curled.

A master's art is born alone,
But many would break its life.
For this is the discrepancy
Between art and political strife.

Masterworks deemed throwaway
Are broken and destroyed.
By this mere beauty is erased
While ugly men are overjoyed.

 

Men who break the hands of art

Are broken too in time.

Great art withstands that test of years

Where its work lives on, sublime.

 

Envoi:   "In 1503, it is said that he [ Veit Stoss ]violated some law and was by some accounts sentenced to death, but his sentence was commuted at the last moment because of his amazing skill, and instead he was branded on both cheeks with a red-hot poker. Among other pursuits, he painted works by Tilman Riemenschneider. In 1506, he was apparently arrested again but pardoned by the Emperor. Riemenschneider was, in contrast, a pillar of the community and he became Mayor and Alderman of Würzburg, but during the unsuccessful peasant revolt of 1525, as one of the councilmen who refused to support the use of force against the rebels, he was seen as siding with the peasants against the Prince- Bishop and he was imprisoned and tortured. When eventually released, his hands were said to have been hopelessly injured and his spirit broken." In "Tilman Riemenschneider and Veit Stoss," holocaustianity.com, n.d.

 

Addendum:  "French political caricatures of the 19th century chronicle the gradual, often-violent end of the Monarchy and the emergence of a democratic state. French rulers strictly regulated the popular press, especially satirical images. In a time when a large percentage of the population couldn't read, these images were seen as a greater threat to the established order than the printed word. French caricaturists worked under government-imposed censorship throughout most of the 19th century. Artists and editors were imprisoned, fines were levied and newspapers were seized. Offenders were rigorously prosecuted for 'press crimes,' which authorities interpreted as alleged defamatory and subversive attacks on the government." In "Caricatures & Censorship, Censorship in 19th Century France," Great Caricatures, 21 March 2014.

 

Addendum:   "In 1937, Nazi officials purged German museums of works the Party considered to be degenerate. Fortunately, many prominent artists were able to escape German-controlled Europe thanks to Varian Fry. Fry was an American who went to France on behalf of the Emergency Rescue Committee with the mission of rescuing artists, writers, academics, and others at risk. Fry and his co-workers were able to rescue 4,000 at-risk persons including artists Max Ernst and Marc Chagall. The Emergency Rescue Committee (now known as the International Rescue Committee) still provides relief, protection, and resettlement services for refugees and victims of oppression or violent conflict." In "Degenerate Art (Entartete Kunst)," A Teacher's Guide to the Holocaust, Florida Center for Instructional Technology, n.d.   [ 1 ]

 

 Addendum:   "Many writers were imprisoned and killed or died of starvation, examples being Osip Mandelstam, Isaac Babel and Boris Pilnyak. Andrei Platonov worked as a caretaker and wasn't allowed to publish. The work of Anna Akhmatova was also condemned by the regime, although she notably refused the opportunity to escape to the West. After a short period of the renaissance of the Ukrainian literature more than 250 Soviet Ukrainian writers died during the Great Purge (e.g. Valeran Pidmohyl'nyi (1901–1937)) (so called The Executed Renaissance). Texts of imprisoned authors were confiscated by the NKVD and some of them were published later. Books were removed from libraries and destroyed. In addition to literature, musical expression was also repressed during the Stalin era, and at times the music of many Soviet composers was banned altogether. Dmitri Shostakovich experienced a particularly long and complex relationship with Stalin, during which his music was denounced and prohibited twice, in 1936 and 1948 (see Zhdanov decree). Sergei Prokofiev and Aram Khachaturian had similar cases. Although Igor Stravinsky did not live in the Union, his music was officially considered formalist and anti-Soviet." In "Culture of the Soviet Union," Wikipedia, accessed March 2014.

 

 Addendum:   "For a year and a half the artist Ai Weiwei and a sculptor friend oversaw a team of 20 to 30 people toiling away here in secret on one of his most political and personal projects. Their task was to reconstruct scenes from Mr. Ai’s illegal detention in 2011, when he was held for 81 days in a secret prison guarded by a paramilitary unit. What took shape this spring at an industrial space in the Chinese capital were six fiberglass dioramas that depict, at half-scale, his often banal daily existence as a captive of the vast government security apparatus." In "An Artist Depicts His Demons," by Edward Wong, New York Times, 26 May 2014.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum:   "Ayat Al-Gormezi is a 20 year old poet and student at the Faculty of Teachers in Bahrain. She was arrested in 2011 because she recited a poem that criticized government policy in Pearl Square. While in jail she suffered harassment, abuse, intimidation, and threats of violence and rape. She was released on bail two months in to serving her year long sentence. Ayat Al-Gormezi was the first female prisoner of conscience in Bahrain. She has become a symbol of resistance to men and women alike in Bahrain." In "Censored: 10 Artists Who Have Been Persecuted For Their Work," by Hallie Sekoff, Huffington Post, 27 June 2012.    [ 3 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    Other detail of this time telling of musicians threatened:  "The rise to power of Hitler’s Nazi party in 1933 unleashed an almost unprecedented departure of composers from Germany. Many had enjoyed flourishing careers in the Weimar Republic, but they were now hounded out as result of a powerfully organised propaganda campaign that sought to purify German music from what was deemed to be pernicious cosmopolitan (ie Jewish) influences. Among the first victims of Nazi persecution were such figures as Kurt Weill, highly successful composer of the Dreigroschenoper (Threepenny Opera) and collaborator with the poet Bertolt Brecht, and Arnold Schoenberg, both of whom eventually found sanctuary in the United States. Many other composers who left Germany and later German-occupied Austria during the 1930s as a result of Nazi persecution faced similar situations to Weill and Schoenberg. Some such as Erich Wolfgang Korngold changed direction, finding work with varying degrees of artistic fulfilment in Hollywood. Others such as Ernst Krenek and Ernst Toch, were not offered such financially lucrative opportunities and found it much more difficult to adapt to the different cultural environments of the country to which they had emigrated. But whatever the success or frustrations endured by these composers, they at least had their freedom and felt themselves not to be in imminent mortal danger. Just before the outbreak of the Second World War several other prominent composers including Stravinsky and Hindemith, both of whom had been denounced by the Nazis at the notorious Entartete (Degenerate) Musik exhibition in Düsseldorf in 1938, felt compelled to leave Europe for the United States. They were followed in 1940 by the staunchly anti-fascist Bartók, who had opposed Hungary’s continued alliance with Nazi Germany and in the following year by Bohuslav Martinů, the latter escaping from the clutches of the Gestapo in German-occupied France after they sought his arrest on account of his support for the Czech resistance." In "Art of Fear Imprisoned Music," by Erik Levi, Sinfini Music, 26 April 2013.

          One also learns:  "The paintings and drawings represent different reasons prisoners made art when inspiration was as elusive as hope. Each work is categorized according to themes introduced by art historian Ziva Amishai-Maisels including official art, art as spiritual resistance, art for the affirmation of life, art as witness, and art as catharsis. We remember these artists as victims as well as witnesses. They produced much of their work in secret, knowing that if caught, they would likely lose their lives. Most of them were murdered, and only a few survived to personally bear witness to their experiences. Artists remembered include Dinah Gottliebova/Babbit, Bedrich Fritta, Karel Fleischmann, Malvina Schalkova, Felix Nussbaum, Leo Haas, and Henri Pieck." In "Holocaust, Memory, and the Visual Arts," by Julie Sharkey, Syracuse University, 22 April 2013.

          For a German poet who did not escape the Nazi horrors, see:   Dichter und Kämpfer - (2010)  -  and other song settings by Erich Kurt Mühsam.

 

[ 2 ]   Under Chinese Communist repression, artists' experiences parallel those who suffered under other governments and in other eras. One reads firther: "The optimism of the days just before the turn of the millennium has given way to fear. No one seems to know in what direction the market, or the country as a whole, will develop. Zhao relates that after his art shipment was confiscated, he was informed he had to pay a fine of 300,000 yuan, the equivalent of €38,000 ($48,000). It was penalty imposed for no crime, when in fact the authorities had simply refused to export his works. It could well be that Zhao will eventually be accused of tax fraud as well -- supposed tax evasion is a favorite with Chinese authorities, and Ai Weiwei has been accused of the same. Zhao says that he was further informed that even after paying the fine, he would not get his work back -- but he would be allowed to view it one last time before it is destroyed." In "Risky Business: China Cracks Down on Ai Wei Wei Protege Zhao Zhao," by Ulrike Knöfel, Spiegel Online, 28 August 2012.

 

[ 3 ]   The article mentions a small number of other artists. "From comedians (Zarganar) to artists (Ai Weiwei), these are artists who refuse to be silenced creatively in the face of oppression, injustice, and despotism. Their creative acts often come at a heavy price -- harassment; threats to family and friends; imprisonment as well as torture; or the inability to leave their native country. But they continue to create, in the shadows, in underground theaters and in prison cells." In "Censored: 10 Artists Who Have Been Persecuted For Their Work," by Hallie Sekoff, Huffington Post, 27 June 2012.


 

Welfare for the few and rich - something akin to bait and switch

"CAP subsidies have been blamed for perpetuating inequalities in global food distribution - like the subsidies which protect farmers in other industrialised countries, such as the US and Japan. Combined with import tariffs on food, the subsidies make it harder for developing countries to compete. Large agri-businesses and big landowners receive more from the CAP than Europe's small farmers who rely on traditional methods and local markets. About 80% of farm aid goes to about a quarter of EU farmers - those with the largest holdings. Major beneficiaries include rich landowners such as the British royal family and European aristocrats with big inherited estates, according to farmsubsidy.org, a group campaigning for EU transparency." In "Q&A: Reform of EU farm policy," BBC, 1 July 2013.   [ 1 ]

 

Welfare for the few and rich
Is a welfare policy,
And, if you'd care consider,
It's ripe with polity.

The big and mighty 'poor' folk
Extend their wanting hands
With quid pro quo ladled
The politician understands.

Tax to subsidize
The gorillas in the room,
For they kick back donations
On which such caps bright bloom.

Corporate means bodied
And at the top, they're fat.
That's how the system works
And that's just where it's at.

Welfare for the few and rich
Like welfare for the poor
Carries off the taxes.
Of that one may be sure.

 

Addendum from an American Justice:   "At the foundation of our civil liberty lies the principle which denies to government officials an exceptional position before the law and which subjects them to the same rules of conduct that are commands to the citizen." Justice Louis D. Brandeis (1856-1941) in Dissent, Burdeau v. McDowell, 256 U.S. 465, 477 (1921).

 

Addendum as the BBC echoes: ""One of the biggest criticisms, especially from campaigners against poverty in developing countries, is that the CAP encourages European agri-businesses to export huge quantities of food worldwide that poor farmers cannot compete with on price. The CAP is seen as part of an unfair trade system rigged in favour of the richer countries. Another widely held view is that Europe is spending far too much on the CAP - when agriculture generates just 1.6% of EU GDP and employs only 5% of EU citizens." In In "Q&A: Reform of EU farm policy," BBC, 1 July 2013.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum for a "free" America:    "While Congress was gridlocked it was easy to forget how ugly the smooth functioning of government can be. After a delay of two years, a reminder came on February 4th when the Senate passed the farm bill, a strange piece of legislation which costs nearly a trillion dollars. It mixes benefits that mostly go to the poor (food stamps) with agricultural subsidies that mostly go to the rich (crop subsidies for large farms). Given a blank slate, nobody with an interest in either alleviating poverty or improving farming would construct such a law. Yet here it is again." In "A trillion in the trough," Economist, 8 February 2014.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of a Richly Green Hue:   "One study has found that the natural-gas boom has saved low-income families more than $4 billion a year in utility and heating costs. For the financially pinched middle class and poor Americans, these savings are a godsend — and they want more. We wonder if wealthy liberals even understand that the green dictates they favor are making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Do they care? For a while the environmentalists could fantasize that their policy mandates would lead to "green jobs" for working men and women, but that craze went bust awfully fast. Just ask the Germans who are ditching expensive green wind and solar projects as fast as they can to save their flagging economy." In "Going Green A Luxury Good For Rich At Expense Of Poor," IBD Editorial, Investors, 27 March 2014.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of Leaving Taxpayers on the Hook:   "Every time Congress debates the Ex-Im Bank's future, which last happened in 2012, defenders claim that it exists primarily to serve small businesses. The bank itself proudly proclaims this near the top of its annual reports. Yet research published in April by the Mercatus Center at George Mason University shows that the bank doles out the vast majority of its funds to America's biggest corporations. Last year, 10 companies - including giants like Boeing, General Electric and Dow Chemical - received roughly three-quarters of the bank's financial assistance for exports. A similar number of companies accounted for 97% of its loan guarantees by value, along with 97% of the bank's direct loans by value. The Ex-Im Bank's benevolence toward major publicly traded companies and their shareholders leaves taxpayers on the hook." In "End Corporate Welfare? Start With the Ex-Im Bank," by Tim Phillips, Wall Street Journal, 15 June 2014.

 

Addendum of Grants for the Private Landowners:   "A new grant program in Michigan takes extra money from hunting and fishing fees and distributes it to private landowners. The state Department of Natural Resources recently announced 12 wildlife habitat grant winners for the 'Deer PLAN' (Private Land Assistance Network). This grant is available to private landowners in six counties in northern Michigan ostensibly to improve deer habitat." In "Hunting Fees Going To Private Landowners," by Zachary Dawes and Jarrett Skorup, Michican Capitol Confidential, 18 July 2014.

 

Addendum of the One Percent:   "...the U.S. economy has staged its weakest recovery since World War II, with output up a total of just 10 percentage points over the past five years. Meanwhile, the stock market has never been so high at this point in a recovery. This is the most powerful post-recession bull market in postwar history, with the stock market up by a record 135% over the past five years. The Fed can print as much money as it wants, but it can't control where it goes, and much of it is finding its way into financial assets. On many long-term metrics, the stock market is now at levels that fall within the top 10% of valuations recorded over the past 100 years. The rally in the fixed-income market too is reaching giddy proportions, particularly for high-yield junk bonds, which are up 150% since 2009. It's no secret who owns most of these assets. The wealthiest 1% of households, according to a study by Edward Wolff (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012), now owns 50% of all financial wealth in the U.S., and the top 10% owns 91% of the wealth in stocks and mutual funds." In "Liberals Love the 'One Percent'," by Ruchir Sharma, Wall Street Journal, 29 July 2014.    [ 5 ]

 

 Addendum of the Wealthy Seeking Taxpayer Guaranteed Loans:   "After already receiving a controversial $1.6 billion construction loan from U.S. taxpayers, the wealthy investors of a California solar power plant now want a $539 million federal grant to pay off their federal loan. 'This is an attempt by very large cash generating companies that have billions on their balance sheet to get a federal bailout, i.e. a bailout from us - the taxpayer for their pet project,' said Reason Foundation VP of Research Julian Morris. 'It's actually rather obscene.' The Ivanpah solar electric generating plant is owned by Google and renewable energy giant NRG, which are responsible for paying off their federal loan. If approved by the U.S. Treasury, the two corporations will not use their own money, but taxpayer cash to pay off 30 percent of the cost of their plant, but taxpayers will receive none of the millions in revenues the plant will generate over the next 30 years." In "World's largest solar plant applying for federal grant to pay off federal loan," by William La Jeunesse, FOX, 8 November 2014.

 

Addendum of the Fed:    "The Fed bought more than $3 trillion of U.S. Treasury securities and mortgage bonds to prop up financial markets. The idea was that investors who sold to the Fed would reinvest their cash, raising stock and bond prices. Enriched investors would then spend more and revive the economy. With stock and bond ownership concentrated -- 90 percent of stocks belong to 10 percent of households -- the program looks like welfare for the wealthy." In "The Fed: Welfare for the Wealthy?" by Robert Samuelson, Washington Post, 4 June 2015.

 

Addendum of the Green Grant:   "...credits up to nearly half a billion dollars in value from the 11 states that use the Zero Emission Vehicle barter as part of a green auto industry mandate. California created the program and leads the pack, doling out $173 million in credits to the Silicon Valley-based Tesla. Tesla claimed the credits between 2012 and mid-2014 — part of a program designed to encourage the carmaker to promote its new battery-swap technology. The program did not require evidence the company actually provided the service." "Tesla gets $295M in cap & trade-type credits for technology not offered to customers," by Tori Richards, Watchdog, 23 July 2015.   [ 6 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     It becomes necessary to obscure the rich getting richer courtesy of tax subsidies.

          One reads further:  "The group estimates that fewer than one in ten beneficiaries of EU farm subsidies has been published this year. The total value of payments published is €22 billion, or 45 per cent of the annual CAP budget of €54 billion. The backsliding on transparency has come in the wake of a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union which states that EU rules on transparency were 'invalid' because of concerns that publication of data on payments to private individuals ('natural persons') would violate their right to privacy. It seems some member states are using a very broad definition of 'natural person' to keep as much data as possible from entering the public domain." In "New privacy rules keep 92% of Common Agricultural Policy beneficiaries secret," FarmSubsidy.org, 9 May 2012.

          The urge to keep "beneficiaries secret" despite taxes from the public to fund such beneficiaries makes logical sense for the elite beneficiaries.

          One reads:  "Farmers represent 5.4 percent of the EU’s population. They generate a mere 1.6 percent of the Union’s GDP. Yet they receive 47 percent of the EU’s total budget through CAP handouts. Europe’s taxpayers hand over €58 billion in subsidies to this tiny, unproductive minority. In times of economic hardship that just doesn’t make sense. The idea that the CAP protects small farmers and the rural way of life is a myth. Eighty percent of CAP aid goes to just 25 percent of farms. The biggest slice of the subsidy pie is handed to the landed gentry, environment- destroying mega-farm and vast agro-industrial conglomerates. Figures from the UK show Queen Elizabeth II gets around half-a-million euro a year. Food industry giants like Campina or Nestle have been handed hundreds of millions. Small-scale European farmers get little and poor farmers in developing nations are shut out of European markets." In "Arguments for and against the Common Agricultural Policy," DebatingEurope.eu, n. d.

          It is lovely to learn that taxes are used to subsidize profitable food industry giants and the "poor," like Queen Elizabeth. There should then be no question why the CAP administrators work to keep "beneficiaries secret."

 

[ 2 ]    The BBC writes about "reform," but as seen above reform means "new privacy rules" to keep "beneficiaries secret."

          Thankfully this is all spoken of in the public-targeted vocabulary of "free trade." But one reads further:  "In negotiations on the creation of a Common Market, France insisted on a system of agricultural subsidies as its price for agreeing to free trade in industrial goods. The CAP began operating in 1962, with the Community intervening to buy farm output when the market price fell below an agreed target level. This helped reduce Europe's reliance on imported food but led before long to over-production, and the creation of 'mountains' and 'lakes' of surplus food and drink. The Community also taxed imports and, from the 1970s onward, subsidised agricultural exports. These policies have been damaging for foreign farmers, and made Europe's food prices some of the highest in the world. European leaders were alarmed at the high cost of the CAP as early as 1967, but radical reform began only in the 1990s." In "Q&A: Reform of EU farm policy," BBC, 1 July 2013.

 

[ 3 ]     A trillion in the trough?  Yes, indeed. The Economist article continues with details, "...these subsidies distort behaviour and trade in unhelpful ways. They have created products that make no economic sense in the rest of the world, such as making sugar from corn. As a penalty for keeping cotton subsidies in place, the World Trade Organisation's rules require the American government to pay $147m a year to compensate farmers in Brazil. The new bill is unlikely to resolve that, either. How could Congress write such a law? One answer can be found in the register of political donations. The ten members of the House, nine Republicans and one Democrat, who accepted most money from agriculture lobbyists took in an average of $225,000 in political contributions during 2013, according to Open Secrets, which tracks donations—almost as much as some farmers received in return."

          More corporate welfare like the above "trillion in the trough" is being reported:  "This week an Illinois-based watchdog group, Open the Books, issued a new report that scrupulously tallies up all federal grants, loans, direct payments, and insurance subsidies flowing to individuals and companies. It examined all accounts from the Department of Commerce to the Department of Transportation and found that corporate-welfare payments from the federal government to the Fortune 100 companies, from 2000 to 2012, amounted to $1.2 trillion. I recommend a visit to the website openthebooks.com, if you can stomach it. That $1.2 trillion number does not include the hundreds of billions of dollars in housing, bank, and auto-company bailouts in 2008 and 2009, because those payments are kept mostly invisible in the federal-agency books. It also doesn’t include the asset purchases of the Federal Reserve, indirect subsidies such as the ethanol mandate that enriches large agribusinesses like Archer Daniels Midland, or special tax breaks for wind and solar manufacturers." In "Corporate-Welfare Queens," by Stephen Moore, National Review, 27 March 2014.

          Specifically as regards US farm policy in comparison to Europe's CAP, the article details, "Double- and triple-dipper Archer Daniels Midland got just under $1 billion for USDA farm-program loans, and this doesn’t include ethanol subsidies."

          For more on this company in particular from many more 'corporate welfare' recipients, one reads"  "Based in Decatur, IL, the 111-year-old food processing company produces ingredients like oils, syrup, and sweeteners, and wheat flour intended for consumption. Even as ADM saw its top line surge 10% to $89 billion, it moved to reduce costs -- $150 million as of March of this year -- by reducing its workforce and streamlining its manufacturing processes. Moving forward, the company continues to experiment with ways to create higher-value, higher-margin products derived from corn, oilseeds, and cocoa." In "Archer Daniels Midland," Fortune 500, CNN, for 2012. One reads their revenues were $89,038 billion with profits of $1.223 billion or 1.4 percent of revenue. CEO for that year was Patricia Ann Woertz, of whom one reads" "In 2012 her compensation included a base salary of $5,975,000, a cash bonus of $6,500,000, stock options totaling $8,000,000, and other compensations totaling $209,500: her total salary being $20,684,000." Wikipedia, n.d.

          One wonders how this company and its wealthy executives are classed as "farmers" in a so-called "farm bill."

          It is assured that in terms of political rhetoric and assertions against such information that there in never a quid pro quo from those politicians who make laws to define away political contributions as quid pro quo.

          Consider definitions and legalese:  "In the US, political donors are legally entitled to support candidates that hold positions with which the donors agree, or which will benefit the donors. Such conduct becomes bribery only when there is an identifiable exchange between the contribution and official acts, previous or subsequent, and the term quid pro quo denotes such an exchange." Wikipedia article on "Quid pro quo," n. d.

          The obvious key then is to make unidentifiable an exchange between the contribution and official acts. Then comes the question -- is the unidentifiable exchange not then simply the unidentifiable quid pro quo?

          By such a definition, it becomes obvious that there is indeed quid pro quo which does not rise to the crime of bribery, as defined by the lawmakers who politick saying they never act on the basis of quid pro quo. Of course, "lawmaker" is sometimes an ironic turn of phrase rhyming with "law breaker." 

          See:   Corruption    and  Corruption has a middle name    for examples of why trust in "lawmakers" might well be trust in "law breakers."

 

[ 4 ]    For a list and litany in rhyme for the modern world -- detailing with footnotes that "craze [ which ] "went bust awfully fast" -- please see:  Bankrupt green  .

          For a visual summary of a failed "green" investor scheme, please see:  Green Job  , and especially its footnote number 3, to learn that individual "green" investors too lost money, not to mention the public debt incurred to prop up such failed schemes.

          What remains certain throughout this craze which "went bust awfully fast," is that some wealthy people became even more wealthy. A dictionary-precise definition assists:  "Correlation is positive or direct when two variables move in the same direction and negative or inverse when they move in opposite directions." What might the positive correlation be, as an elite gathers more wealth while the middle and lower classes lose? As the editorial above states in its title, "Going Green [ is ]A Luxury Good For Rich At Expense Of Poor."

         More proof via press sources from around the world? See:  green screws red  - lights or bread.

 

[ 5 ]   One reads of income inequality and the so-called one percent:   "...the U.S. economy has staged its weakest recovery since World War II, with output up a total of just 10 percentage points over the past five years. Meanwhile, the stock market has never been so high at this point in a recovery. This is the most powerful post-recession bull market in postwar history, with the stock market up by a record 135% over the past five years. The Fed can print as much money as it wants, but it can't control where it goes, and much of it is finding its way into financial assets. On many long-term metrics, the stock market is now at levels that fall within the top 10% of valuations recorded over the past 100 years. The rally in the fixed-income market too is reaching giddy proportions, particularly for high-yield junk bonds, which are up 150% since 2009. It's no secret who owns most of these assets. The wealthiest 1% of households, according to a study by Edward Wolff (National Bureau of Economic Research, 2012), now owns 50% of all financial wealth in the U.S., and the top 10% owns 91% of the wealth in stocks and mutual funds." In "Liberals Love the 'One Percent'," by Ruchir Sharma, Wall Street Journal, 29 July 2014.

         The WSJ article pins the growth in wealth to "liberals." In the sixth year of Obama's presidency and with his appointment of Yellen as Fed chairperson, the term "liberal" becomes an ever more accurate statement. Opinions and awareness are forming.

         "No president has done more to help rich Wall Street executives than President Barack Obama. Whether it is through appointing conflicted Wall Street lawyers to lead the Justice Department or Wall Street’s chosen man to lead the Treasury Department, Obama has done everything he could to make sure the rich got richer. And it has worked, fantastically, the top 1% are even richer than they were before the crisis and the stock market has hit new highs. Wall Street made major investments in Candidate Obama and was repaid, with interest, from President Obama. It’s boom times for the already rich. But now it seems, as his second and final term is coming to an end, Barack Obama has some regrets. Yesterday he gave a speech lamenting the historic increases in inequality he has presided over along with the lack of opportunities to those not born to wealth and privilege." In "After Helping Wall Street For Years President Obama Talks Inequality," by D. S. Wright, FireDogLake, 5 December 2013.

         The reality of the numbers -- in Obama's sixth year in office -- are unavoidable. The rich continue to grow richer, while the middle class and poor find purchasing power of inflationary pressures eating into their fiscal realities.

         "The proportion of Americans who identify with the middle class has never been lower, dropping to 44% from 53% in 2008 during the first months of the Great Recession, according to a survey conducted Jan. 15-19. The share of the public who says they are in the lower or lower-middle classes rose by 15 percentage points, from 25% in 2008 to 40% today." In "The Middle Class: Key Data Points from Pew Research," 27 January 2014.

         Pew terms this period on of "America's shrinking middle class." The Wall Street Journal identifies increasing wealth for the one-percent over the last decade, and the last six have been under the Obama administration. Government policies and the Fed's so-called "easy money" policies have made the rich richer, and income inequality widen. A political party cannot blame another political party for what both have led, as government policies enact a special kind of "welfare for the few and rich." 

 

[ 6 ]     Welfare in the form of credits "not offered to customers" for a billionaire's company? Sure.

         "Elon Musk's fortune continues along a sky-high trajectory thanks to the soaring stock of Tesla Motors, the luxury electric carmaker he founded and runs, and the rising value of spacecraft maker SpaceX. In January 2015 SpaceX, which has a $1.6 billion contract with NASA to resupply the International Space Station, raised $1 billion from new investors including Google and Fidelity, valuing the company at slightly more than $10 billion." In "#100 Elon Musk - Real Time Net Worth As of 7/23/15," Forbes.

         One notes that "soaring stock of Tesla Motors" is the normal method for raising investment capital from investors. That a "luxury electric carmaker" warrants hundreds of millions in credits from various governments suggests anything but classic capitalism, because these credits buy no asset value or investment return for the governments granting such sums to a billionaire and his company. Such luxury for the few, unattainable by the many.


 

Skeptic

Won't you wonder, just a bit,
About the state of things
Such as what is offered free
But comes with debt-taut strings?

Would you eat at a restaurant
Where the chefs refuse to dine?
Would you trust some vintage
When the vintner rejects his wine?

Would you cross that bridge
That its builder will not cross,
Why think that you've won
When the numbers prove your loss?

Never brag of perfect health
When reality shows decay.
Never say you're always right
While your errors give you away.

Never answer when you're asked
But haven't got a clue.
Never think you know it all
Midst your snarled-sad snafu.

Why not wonder? Think all through,
With a skeptical view to things.
Ponder all with measured thought
And skeptical reckonings.

Would you buy that pig in a poke
Or swig the snake oil's dose?
Never puff up with false pride,
A deadly overdose.

Do you vote with blinded eye
For mirages in the heat,
And do you cry out for advance
When it's better to retreat?

Never? Hardly ever?
Too often, many do.
The last remaining question:
Which of this speaks to you?

 

Envoi:   "...science is more than a body of knowledge, it's a way of thinking. A way of skeptically interrogating the universe with a fine understanding of human fallibility. If we are not able to ask skeptical questions, to interrogate those that tell us that something is true, to be skeptical of those in authority, then we're up for grabs for the next charlatan, political or religious who comes ambling along. It's a thing that Jefferson laid great stress on. It wasn't enough, he said, to enshrine some rights in a Constitution or a Bill of Rights. The people had to be educated and they had to practice their skepticism and their education. Otherwise we don't run the government; the government runs us." Carl Sagan in an interview with Charlie Rose, in "Conversations with Carl Sagan," edited by Tom Head, University Press of Mississippi, 2006.

 

See Skepticism    and the rhyme which follows as an example of why skepticism is warranted.


 

god is dead

 

"According to the book 'Heresy: Ten Lies They Spread About Christianity' by Michael Coren, a program listing the main dogmas of the National Reich Church -- a Nazi institution intended to eliminate Christianity from Germany and establishing a new pagan religion -- published in 1942 by The New York Times, ended with: On the day of the foundation of the National Reich Church the Christian cross shall be removed from all churches, cathedrals, and chapels inside the frontiers of the Reich and its colonies and will be replaced by the symbol of invincible Germany -- the swastika." In "Nazism Paved the Way," by Enza Ferreri, American Thinker, 23 February 2014.    [ 1 ]

 

The question is one of capitals, capitalizing on this;
Some have said that god is dead, but something seems amiss.
God as concept and belief does not die a death,
But those who'd say it's so in their time run out of breath.
          There is some god that's dying, dawning day by day,
          And that is the statist god as stately histories betray
          That men all die and nations too, proving that gods do die,
          For when a state rises up, it's easy then to prophecy
The fall which follows such a rise as nations like leaders die.
The question is one of capitols where corrupt men putrefy.
God as concept and belief cannot die a death,

While a slogan or ideology is a mortal shibboleth.

          Plant the flag and symbols over men's God belief?
          Such proves ever futile for men will seek relief.
          Believing he, the stately man, can declare man's God as dead,
          In the passing stream of years, it's he that dies instead.
The fall which follows stately rise is a tale now often told,
Testifying to bold truth that return men to God's fold.
There are small gods dying now, as day follows dying day;
Many are states acting a god which in time then wither away.

          Put your trust in nations, in slogan-little men,
          But if that sums up your belief, you need but wait till when
          The next of gods will pass, commanding until it dies.
          This is the truth and fact of it which cleanses stated lies.
God is dead begins anew, as capitals start each line,
But each small god that's birthed has never proved divine.

The question is one of capitals, capitalizing on this.
Some now dead said god is dead; then death brought them its kiss.

          Perhaps it is that death then lives, lives snuffed out by the state,

          As death scrawls in its narratives, old tales and those of late.

          What is most true and certain is the puffery of the state

          Which is unworthy of man's belief as it demands men supplicate

For states and stately leaders all pass into time's mist

Along with the stated sloganeer and wordy ideologist.

These gods are dead or dying, as the clock ticks off the hours,

And crumbling are foundations of their stately god-like towers.  [ 2 ]

 

Envoi:   "God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. Yet his shadow still looms. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?" Friedrich Nietzsche, "The Gay Science," Section 125, (1882) tr. Walter Kaufmann.  [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of an Atheist Country:   "Officially, the People's Republic of China is an atheist country but that is changing fast as many of its 1.3 billion citizens seek meaning and spiritual comfort that neither communism nor capitalism seem to have supplied. Christian congregations in particular have skyrocketed since churches began reopening when Chairman Mao's death in 1976 signalled the end of the Cultural Revolution. Less than four decades later, some believe China is now poised to become not just the world's number one economy but also its most numerous Christian nation. 'By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon,' said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule." In "China on course to become 'world's most Christian nation' within 15 years," by Tom Phillips (Zhejiang province), Telegraph UK, 19 April 2014.

 

 Addendum of the new god who is dead:   "A member of Venezuela's Socialist Party has rolled out a variation of the classic Christian 'Lord's Prayer' to implore beloved late leader Hugo Chavez for protection from the evils of capitalism. 'Our Chavez who art in heaven, the earth, the sea and we delegates,' red-shirted delegate Maria Estrella Uribe recited on Monday at the PSUV party Congress. 'Hallowed be your name, may your legacy come to us so we can spread it to people here and elsewhere. Give us your light to guide us every day,' she said in front of an image of Chavez." In "Venezuelan Socialist Party swaps God for Chavez in new prayer," Reuters, 2 September 2014.

 

Addendum of an Funeral for a Burned-Out Church:    "Timothy Leary, the late father of LSD, was memorialized at Burning Man after a fantastic procession and burning of his ashes in the Black Rock Desert. It was a spectacle that not even he probably could have imagined, as actress Susan Sarandon led a march with his ashes into a temporary church built as an art installation in the desert for the week-long festival. The church was scheduled to burn as part of the event on Saturday after the "man", a giant wooden structure, burned." In "Susan Sarandon carried LSD guru Timothy Leary's ashes in a Burning Man ceremony," Jenny Kane, Reno Gazette-Journal, 6 September 6, 2015.   [ 4 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   The photo above comes from a German publication, "Ideological Usurpation. The National Socialist Reworking of the Collegiate Churches of Braunschweig and Quedlinburg as Symbolic Act;" the original German is:  "Ideologische Usurpation. Die nationalsozialistische Umgestaltung der Stiftskirchen zu Braunschweig und Quedlinburg als Zeichenhandlung," by Tim Lorentzen, (2005).

          At the city museum in Braunschweig, I saw a similar photograph of the National Socialist flag and symbols which replaced the church symbols in the cathedral. The "symbolic act" was in fact ideological usurpation, as correctly noted by Lorentzen.

          One reads:  "Nazism wanted to transform the subjective consciousness of the German people - their attitudes, values and mentalities - into a single-minded, obedient 'national community'. According to Ian Kershaw, in order to achieve this, the Nazis believed they would have to replace class, religious and regional allegiances by a 'massively enhanced national self-awareness to mobilize the German people psychologically for the coming struggle and to boost their morale during the inevitable war'. The Nazis disliked universities, intellectuals and the Catholic and Protestant churches. According to Gill, their long term plan was to 'de-Christianise Germany after the final victory'. The Nazis co-opted the term Gleichschaltung to mean conformity and subservience to the National Socialist German Workers' Party line: 'there was to be no law but Hitler, and ultimately no god but Hitler'." In "Kirchenkampf," Wikipedia, n.d.

          One also reads:  "In Hitler's eyes, Christianity was a religion fit only for slaves; he detested its ethics in particular. Its teaching, he declared, was a rebellion against the natural law of selection by struggle and the survival of the fittest." Extract from Hitler: a Study in Tyranny, by Alan Bullock (1952).

          Perhaps as authentic a sentiment in parallel is this: "National Socialism is a religion. All we lack is a religious genius capable of uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place. We lack traditions and ritual. One day soon National Socialism will be the religion of all Germans. My Party is my church, and I believe I serve the Lord best if I do his will, and liberate my oppressed people from the fetters of slavery. That is my gospel." Paul Joseph Goebbels (1897-1945), diary entry for 16 October 1928.

          Only a decade or so later, did National Socialism begin "uprooting outmoded religious practices and putting new ones in their place." The photo above and others like it testify to the veracity of Goebbels' words as a plan which became state policy.

          The worship of the state, as with the official atheist stances of a number of other Communist and Socialist governments in the twentieth century testify to some men's urge to replace God with their god, the political state and the totalitarian leader. One has seen this same human urge in small venues as well, in which God as belief and concept is supplanted with what one murderous man called "apostolic socialism."  See:   I'm gonna guide you to the promised land   - a story quite like others.

 

[ 2 ]    The now collapsed USSR was an instance of an official government stance, replacing religion.  One reads:  "Marxist–Leninist atheism (Russian: Марксистско-ленинский атеизм) is a part of the wider Marxist–Leninist philosophy (the type of Marxist philosophy found in the Soviet Union), which rejects religion and advocates a materialist understanding of nature. Marxism-Leninism holds that religion is the opium of the people, in the sense of promoting passive acceptance of suffering on Earth in the hope of eternal reward. Therefore, Marxism-Leninism advocates the abolition of religion and the acceptance of atheism." From "Marxist‒Leninist atheism," Wikipedia, n.d.

          Just as the National Socialists sought to supplant Christian symbols with Nazi symbols as pictured above, the Soviet Socialists sought "the acceptance of atheism" as official state policy. One notes the resurgence of the Orthodox in Russian society after the fall of the USSR.

          Interestingly, Marx wrote, "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." How many have noted that religion Marx' observation that religion, even if a metaphorical opiate, offers a "heart" in "a heartless world?" Given the twentieth century's murderous European history generated out of National Socialism and Soviet Socialism, the "heartless world" must be among socialism's signature achievements.

          Returning to the Wikipedia article, one reads further: "State atheism is the official promotion of atheism by a government, sometimes combined with active suppression of religious freedom and practice. In contrast, a secular state purports to be officially neutral in matters of religion, supporting neither religion nor irreligion. State atheism may refer to a government's anti-clericalism, (such as during the French Revolution) which opposes religious institutional power and influence in all aspects of public and political life, including the involvement of religion in the everyday life of the citizen. The 20th century saw the political advancement of atheism, spurred on by interpretation of the works of Marx and Engels and the patronage of one-party Communist states."

          There can be no common agreement about definitions of religion -- including or excluding atheism -- as regards individuals, but the twentieth century showed that state religions, as one saw in previous centuries, now includes "the political advancement of atheism." It also shows as above that the state itself -- swastikas replacing Christian symbols -- has attempted to declare itself the substitute.

          Dostoevsky plays a role in the famous words of his characters. Among them:   " 'But what will become of men then?' I asked him, 'without God and immortal life? All things are lawful then, they can do what they like?' 'Didn't you know?' he said laughing, 'a clever man can do what he likes,' he said. 'A clever man knows his way about, but you've put your foot in it, committing a murder, and now you are rotting in prison.' He says that to my face! A regular pig! I used to kick such people out, but now I listen to them. He talks a lot of sense, too." In "The Brothers Karamazov," by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, trans. by by Constance Garnett, originally published in 1880.

          One reads an expansion of the theme:  "Dostoevsky clearly knew the anguish of doubt and the moral paralysis that doubt in God's existence would lead to. His own experience of this religious doubt was such that he had compassion on those who shared this experience. In the last years of his life, when he had achieved a certain level of fame, Dostoevsky became something of a spiritual guide to many people who wrote to him and shared with him their innermost feelings and ideas. The protagonists of his novels are those who are wrestling with doubt, such as Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment and Ivan in The Brothers Karamazov. They are not treated as evil, but as tragic. They prefigure the anti‑hero of twentieth-century literature rather than reflecting the melodramatic villain of nineteenth-century novels. (Such villains certainly abound in Dostoevsky's world, such as Svidrigailov of Crime and Punishment. He is a striking example of a person irredeemably lost in a kind of amoral vacuum that leaves him devoid of human passion, yet capable of inflicting harm upon others.) Dostoevesky’s anti-heroes demonstrate that without God (and belief in immortality); life is one of isolation, inner loneliness, and brokenness. The soul is restless, caught up in a vortex of passions and sinfulness. This is the tragedy of life without God, keenly perceived by Dostoevsky. In fact, he once wrote that he "felt" ideas, thereby perhaps revealing something of his uncanny ability to embody or incarnate these ideas in flesh-and-blood literary creations. On the other hand, Dostoevsky's positive types, some of whom are even saintly (Sonya in Crime and Punishment, Prince Myshkin in The Idiot, and Alyosha in The Brothers Karamazov) are freed from the hell of disbelief by a deep and abiding faith in God. They love their neighbors - including great sinners - and are selfless in their sacrifice for others, because they experience God as compassionate and long‑suffering." In "If There Is No God -Then Everything Is Permitted," by Fr. Steven Kostoff, Pravmir (Russian Orthodox), 22 July 2009.

          One sees the progress of a Goebbels into the party as god in which, history tells unequivocally, everything was horribly permitted. Other examples of such progress away from God and into the god of socialism are easily found, as mentioned above in the saga of Jim Jones' Jonestown massacre and his demonstrably murderous "apostolic socialism."

          The conundrum of human belief and belief-in-what is summarized in an amusing manner:  "If God is dead, somebody is going to have to take his place. It will be megalomania or erotomania, the drive for power or the drive for pleasure, the clenched fist or the phallus, Hitler or Hugh Hefner." Malcolm Muggeridge (1903-1990).

          One sees the truth of Muggeridge's observation, as the West is currently navel gazing on issues such as same-sex marriage and transgender stances along with the legalization of smoking marijuana in the same moment as it rages against smoking tobacco, while in other parts of the world megalomania is evidenced in governments' actions against their own people and the annexation of Tibet by China and Crimea by Russia. Erotomania and megalomania as replacements, and even as substitutes morality systems.          

          One reads further:  "For nationalism is modernism writ large. As people who do not retreat back into religion lose their literal faith in God and thus their belief in individual immortality, they take refuge in what the late Nobel laureate Czeslaw Milosz called a 'collective immortality.' Europe is, after a fashion, a more severe example of this phenomenon because in Europe, we have a cosmopolitan global elite that actually runs an empire-of-sorts: the European Union. And so the rise of anti-EU, right-wing tendencies demonstrates not only a cultural, but also a direct political hostility to such elite rule. The EU leaders and bureaucracy long ago made the calculation that nationalism was dead and that the European masses, after two world wars, wanted nothing so much as a respite from divisive forces. But the masses may increasingly require an anchor in history, nationalism and religious identity that protects them against the bland universalism and increasing (albeit exaggerated) Islamization of the continent that the EU has thus far delivered." In "The Lure of Nationalism," by Robert Kaplan, Stratfor, 6 March 2014.

          Erotomania and megalomania are the replacements, after declaring god -- their god -- is dead. What remains is the sovereign state and the sovereign focus on genitalia and gender identity. And as above and as to have been expected, "everything is permitted."

 

[ 3 ]    One reads:  "We must recognize that the death of God is a historical event: God has died in our time, in our history, in our existence. The words would seem shocking enough coming from someone like Jean-Paul Sartre. As it happens, they were written not by a moody French existentialist but by Thomas J. J. Altizer, 38, associate professor of religion at Atlanta's Emory University, a Methodist school. Moreover, Altizer is not alone in proclaiming his 'atheism'." In "Theology: The God Is Dead Movement," Time Magazine, 22 October 1965.

          The so-called "60s radicals" included this "God is Dead" movement, mostly found in university settings. Other forms of quasi-theology erupted at this time as well, complete with apocalyptic visions of a near future -- The Scourge of the Planet  -- as well as the chic "Western Civ has got to go" folks -- Everything's about my colored skin   - (or sadly, Why racism works) -- and radical new forms of theology -- God ain't white -- all in a river of political and theological currents operative to today. Such as these are all tangible answers to Nietzsche's question:  "What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent?"

          It is my conclusion that many of these new "festivals of atonement" and "sacred games" return society to the same and much older themes as the photograph above represents. That is, who will control who, and how and with what justification? As it was then, it seems now as "conformity and subservience" may be seen with clarity and regularity in all the new usurpations of symbols. They are much like the old.

          But the National Socialists are now a murderous testimony to their usurpation. The Soviet Socialists are testimony to theirs, as are many other state gods, political gods, and -- employing the observation of Muggeridge above -- the megalomaniac and erotomaniac small gods of our time are proving themselves equally transitory. It is only a matter of time.

 

[ 4 ]  In the mouth of the mad man, Nietzsche clearly asked:  "What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent?" A celebrant dressed as an ersatz bride, acting the priestess in carrying a portion of Leary's ashes into a "church" which was then destroyed by fire provides an example among many, as the "new" religion is just what once was and is now again, god being dead.  Sic transit gloria mundi.


 

Bring presents to the party

                              Bring presents to the party
Of the single-party state;
It will happily accept such gifts
And the best accommodate.
                         Bring tribute to the party
Of the single-party state,
And it's sure its greatest givers
It will great appreciate.
                    Bring ransom to the party
Of the single-party state,
And  all might well turn out well
When you best capitulate.
               Bring problems to the party
Of the single-party state;
It's ever more than likely
It's you they will subjugate.
          Bring nothing to the party
Of the single-party state?
Options wither down to two -
You or it must suffocate.

 

Envoi:   "To the extent that one class, party, or leader stifles criticism completely, or holds absolute power, it or he inevitably falls into an unrealistic, egotistical, and pretentious judgment of reality. This is happening today to the Communist leaders. They do not control their deeds, but are forced into them by reality. There are advantages in this; they are now more practical men than they used to be. However, there are also disadvantages, because these leaders basically lack realistic, or even approximately realistic, views. They spend more time defending themselves from world reality and attacking it than they do in getting accustomed to it. Their adherence to obsolete dogma incites them to senseless actions, from which, on more mature thoughts, they constantly retreat, but with bloody heads. Let us hope that the latter will prevail with them. Certainly , if the Communists interpreted the world realistically, they might lose, but they would gain as human beings, as part of the human race. In any case, the world will change and will go on in the direction in which it has been moving and must go on -- toward greater unity, progress, and freedom. The power of reality and the power of life have always been stronger than any kind of brutal force and more real than any theory." In "The New Class, an Analysis of the Communist System," by Milovan Djilas, Thames and Hudson, 1957.

 

Addendum of Soviet Africa:  "The rise of the one party state was also influenced by the Soviet model, which declared the people and the party as one. In the 1970's, the first self proclaimed Marxist Leninist leaders took charge in Africa, setting up one-party systems. In 1974, the Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia was deposed in a revolution. He was eventually replaced by Mengistu Haile Mariam who initiated a purge of all opponents. In response Somalia under Siad Barre switched from being pro-Soviet to pro-western. It was the only country in Africa to do this under the same government. The collapse of Communism in the Eastern bloc in 1989 signalled a revival of multiparty democracy. Rulers found themselves under pressure: firstly from the people, disenchanted with the track record of single party rule, and secondly, from the IMF and the World Bank, which made it a precondition of further loans and aid." In "The Story of Africa: Independence," BBC World Service, n. d.

 

Addendum of Cuba's Pyramid:  "The structure of the Communist Party of Cuba resembles a pyramid, with the Central Committee, Political Bureau and the Secretariat on top. Each province has a provincial committee, and in each municipality is a municipal committee. Each exerts its control and its demands so that the governments at those levels meet their obligations. Moreover, in every workplace there is a rank-and-file party organization that monitors the work of administrators and management." In "The Reality of the Single-Party System in Cuba," by Elio delgado Legon, Havana Times, 25 February 2012.

 

Addendum of Failed One-Party Rule:  "While it is true that political parties as such did not exist in so-called traditional African societies, it also follows logically that the concept of political party cannot be used in analyzing politics in such societies. Those who justify the one-party system on the basis of our cultural heritage have, therefore, been doing so by means of false analogies and the use of anachronism." In "Africa: The Failure of One-Party Rule," by Peter Anyang' Nyong'o, Journal of Democracy, Volume 3, Number 1, January 1992.

 

Addendum of Counterrevolutionaries Not Allowed:   "Venezuela's oil workers will be suspected of conspiring against President Hugo Chavez's socialist revolution if they do not join socialist workplace groups in the OPEC nation, the oil minister said on Tuesday. Ramirez, who told oil workers to support Chavez ahead of his 2006 reelection, has long headed the president's drive to bring politics into Venezuela's main industry. 'By now, there should not be a single counter-revolutionary in the heart of our company, our industry,' Ramirez said at a rally with workers taken on by state-oil company PDVSA after it nationalized dozens of oil service companies earlier this year. 'There cannot be a single PDVSA installation where socialist committees do not exist,' he said. 'Whoever is not in a committee will be suspected of conspiring against the revolution'." In "Venezuela tells oil workers: join socialist groups," Reuters Caracas, 14 June 2009.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Mass Murder:   "Mr Yanukovych was deposed by parliament on Saturday after months of bloody unrest - with 82 people killed in clashes between protesters and riot police. He has been refused permission to fly out of Ukraine and has said he will not resign. Financial documents found in his abandoned presidential compound detailed Mr Yanukovych's lavish spending, often on unusual items. Among the documents was a receipt for $12m (£7.2m) in cash, and $110,000 (£66,000) spent on curtains in a room called the 'Knight's Hall'. Some $1.5m (£900,000) was spent on plants, $115,000 (£69,000) for a statue of a "running boar", and there was a receipt for a $4,000 (£2,400) 'bribe'." In "Ukraine President Wanted For 'Mass Murder'," Sky News, 24 February 2014.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Single Party Elections:  "North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has been elected to the country's rubber-stamp parliament with a unanimous vote from his district, state media say. Mr Kim's 100% approval from his Mount Paektu constituency reflects the 'absolute support' of people in the country, KCNA news agency says. The elections for the Supreme People's Assembly on Sunday had just one name on the ballot for each district." In "North Korea's Kim Jong-un in 'unanimous poll win'," 10 March 2014.

 

Addendum of the Crony Party:  "Nobody should have any illusions. The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party." In "Interview with Noam Chomsky: 'The United States Has Essentially a One-Party System'," Interview conducted by Gabor Steingart, Der Spiegel, 10 October 2008.   [ 3 ]

 

Diplomatic Donors Addendum:   "Barack Obama has rewarded some of his most active campaign donors with plum jobs in foreign embassies, with the average amount raised by recent or imminent appointees soaring to $1.8m per post, according to a Guardian analysis. The practice is hardly a new feature of US politics, but career diplomats in Washington are increasingly alarmed at how it has grown. One former ambassador described it as the selling of public office." In "US diplomats cry foul as Obama donors take over top embassy jobs," by Dan Roberts, Guardian UK, 10 July 2013.

 

Addendum of Republicans Supporting Democrats:   "Democratic challenger Paul Davis sought Tuesday to give his campaign for Kansas governor a bipartisan boost by announcing endorsements from more than 100 moderate Republicans who've split with conservative GOP Gov. Sam Brownback over education and tax policy. The disaffected Republicans include outgoing Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, three former Kansas Senate presidents and three former Kansas House speakers. More than half are former legislators, and the list includes former U.S. Rep. Jan Meyers, who represented the Kansas City-area 3rd District from 1985 to 1997. They announced that they formed Republicans for Kansas Values because of their concerns about the aggressive personal income tax cuts enacted at Brownback's urging." In "100 Kansas GOP endorse Democrat for governor," by John Hanna, Associated Press, 15 July 2014.

 

Addendum of Democrats Supporting Republicans:   "...she said it was about time the GOP establishment got a 'wake-up call from the big business wing' that wants to continue the bipartisan big government policies that have made Washington, D.C.'s suburbs the country's wealthiest 'boomtown.' 'Finally, the Republican establishment and their business supporters have woken up,' Clinton said, noting that she tells audiences, 'Don't vote for anyone who refuses to compromise.' Rose said that the Tea Party conservatives are more powerful now than when her husband was president, but Clinton said when big business interests pour millions into races, conservatives can be defeated, as the Cochran race showed. With the help of big checks from establishment interests and liberal high-tech moguls like Napster co-founder Sean Parker, who donated $350,000, Cochran allies courted black Democrats and liberal union to get more votes than McDaniel." In "Hillary Clinton Praises GOP Establishment, Big Business for Taking on Tea Party," by Tony Lee, Breitbart, 18 July 2014.

 

Addendum Waiving:    "A private-equity company owned by a campaign donor to U.S. President Barack Obama won a waiver from the Federal Communications Commission that may help it bid in airwaves auctions. Grain Management LLC may not have qualified for benefits reserved for small businesses because airwaves leases to AT&T Inc. and Verizon Communications Inc. caused it to exceed the program’s income limits, the company had said in an FCC filing. The agency has adopted a waiver, an FCC spokesman, Neil Grace, said yesterday in an e-mail without providing details." In "Obama Campaign Donor Wins FCC Waiver From Auction Rules," by Todd Shields and Jonathan D. Salant, Bloomberg News, 23 July 2014.    [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of the Majority That Does Not Rule:   "What do our findings say about democracy in America? They certainly constitute troubling news for advocates of 'populistic' democracy, who want governments to respond primarily or exclusively to the policy preferences of their citizens. In the United States, our findings indicate, the majority does not rule -- at least not in the causal sense of actually determining policy outcomes. When a majority of citizens disagrees with economic elites and/orwith organized interests, they generally lose. Moreover, because of the strong status quo bias built into the U.S. political system, even when fairly large majorities of Americans favor policy change, they generally do not get it." In "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens," by Martin Gilens (Princeton University) and Benjamin I. Page (Northwestern University), Perspectives on Politics, Fall 2014 (published by Cambridge University Press on behalf of the American Political Science Association).

 

Addendum of Market-Leninism:   "Pioneered in the 1960's and 1970's by South Korea and Taiwan, this East Asian model combines harsh single-party rule with competition in the marketplace. ... After Deng Xiaoping, China's current paramount leader, was purged in 1976, the People's Daily quoted Mao Zedong as saying that Mr. Deng 'knows nothing of Marxism-Leninism.' Mao may have been half-right, for the 89-year-old Mr. Deng has even advised visitors from developing countries not to bother with Marxism. At the same time, Mr. Deng and other Chinese leaders retain a fondness for Leninism, in the sense of highly disciplined one-party rule with centralized decision-making. Their aim, in other words, is Market-Leninism." In "China Sees 'Market-Leninism' as Way to Future," Nicholas D. Kristof, New York Times, 6 September 1993.

 

Addendum of the Chinese Communists:  "Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to use a purge of senior officials suspected of corruption to put his own men and reform-minded bureaucrats into key positions across the Communist Party, the government and the military, sources said. Xi hopes that removing corrupt officials and those resisting change will allow him to consolidate his grip on power and implement difficult economic, judicial and military reforms that he believes are vital to perpetuate one-party rule, said the sources, who have ties to the leadership." In "China's Xi purging corrupt officials to put own men in place: sources," by Benjamin Kang Lim and Megha Rajagopalan, 16 April 2014.    [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of the Biggest, Fattest Checks:   "Mrs. Obama then urged fellow Democrats to add even more money to the political system. 'There is something you can do right now today to make a difference, and that is to write a big, fat check. I kid you not,' she said. 'I’m going to be honest with you. That’s what we need you to do right now. We need you to write the biggest, fattest check that you can possibly write'." In "Michelle Obama says money in politics is bad, asks donors for 'big, fat check'," by Ben Wolfgang, Washington Times, 24 July 2014.   [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of a "Potential" Way to Gain Favor:   "The Washington Post reported last week that foreign sources, including governments, made up a third of those who have given the foundation more than $1 million over time. The Post found that the foundation, begun by former president Bill Clinton, has raised nearly $2 billion since its creation in 2001. Foreign governments and individuals are prohibited from giving money to U.S. political candidates, to prevent outside influence over national leaders. But the foundation has given donors a way to potentially gain favor with the Clintons outside the traditional political limits." In "Foreign governments gave millions to foundation while Clinton was at State Dept.," by Rosalind S. Helderman and Tom Hamburger, Washington Post, 25 February 2015.

 

Addendum of Bringing Presents in Japan's Government:   "Political funding scandals are a chronic problem in Japan and key factor behind the revolving-door politics of recent decades. 'These rules are in place precisely because vote-buying using gifts used to be very common in Japan and still is according to some accounts in the rural areas,' said Koichi Nakano, a politics professor at Tokyo's Sophia University." In "Japan trade, justice ministers quit amid scandals," by Mari Yamaguchi and Elaine Kurtenbach, Associated Press, 20 October 2014.

 

Addendum of Haitian Gifts to Friends:   "Clinton's brother, Tony Rodham, was a board member of a North Carolina mining company that enjoyed prime access to Haitian gold deposits in the wake of post-earthquake relief work organized in part by former president Bill Clinton through the Clinton Foundation. Another board member of the firm, VCS Mining, was former Haitian Prime Minister Jean-Max Bellerive, who co-chaired the charitable Interim Haiti Recovery Commission with Mr. Clinton. The revelation, smacking of cronyism and back-room government dealing, is part of a forthcoming book by Government Accountability Institute founder Peter Schweizer, whose work exposing the investment 'insider trading' habits of members of Congress caused national outrage in 2011 even though the practice was legal." In "Hillary Clinton's brother landed lucrative gold-mining permit in Haiti after Bill Clinton helped country recover from earthquake devastation," by David Martosko, Daily Mail UK, 6 March 2015.    [ 7 ]

 

Addendum of the Quid Pro Quo:    "After examining 14 million records, including data on campaign contributions, lobbying expenditures, federal budget allocations and spending, we found that, on average, for every dollar spent on influencing politics, the nation’s most politically active corporations received $760 from the government. The $4.4 trillion total represents two-thirds of the $6.5 trillion that individual taxpayers paid into the federal treasury. Welcome to the world of 'Fixed Fortunes,' a seemingly closed universe where the most persistent and savvy political players not so mysteriously have the ability to attract federal dollars regardless of who is running Washington." In "Fixed Fortunes: Biggest corporate political interests spend billions, get trillions," by Bill Allison and Sarah Harkins, Sunlight Foundation, 17 November 2014.  [ 8 ]

 

Addendum of Seven Million Gifts:   "When Andy Slavitt reported for work as deputy administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services last June 10, he pocketed at least $4.8 million in tax-free income from major health-care companies. That’s according to financial disclosure forms obtained by The Daily Caller, now published for the first time. On June 27, he sold additional stock he personally held, raising his total windfall from the health industry to $7.2 million." In "Exclusive: Health Industry Paid Acting CMS Chief Millions When He Joined Gov’t," by Richard Pollock, Daily Caller, 29 March 2015.

 

Addendum of the Emerging Political Party of CEOs:   "Big business has been at the forefront of the backlash against the Indiana law, and similar legislation pending in states around the U.S. Apple (AAPL, Tech30), Yelp (YELP), the NCAA, Eli Lilly (LLY), NASCAR, General Electric (GE), Angie's List and PayPal are among the companies that have raised concerns. Leaders from some 39 tech companies and organizations have also condemned the legislation. 'This is a really important point that, you know, CEOs have a lot of power and control on investment in states and we want to invest in states where there is equality,' Benioff said. 'One thing that you're seeing is that there is a third [political] party emerging in this country, which is the party of CEOs,' he said." In "Salesforce CEO: We're helping employees move out of Indiana," by Charles Riley, CNN, 2 April 2015.    [ 9 ]

 

Addendum of Swaying Homeland Security:   "The newly released documents buttress a report issued late last month detailing how an immigration director was swayed with respect to hundreds of millions of dollars in film and TV investments under the EB-5 visa program. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general has released hundreds of pages of emails plus other documents in support of its investigation of improper influence on the EB-5 immigration program. Many of the documents discuss hundreds of millions of dollars in financing for film and television productions from Sony Pictures and Time Warner with prominent politicians including former Pennsylvania governor Ed Rendall and the office of former Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaraigosa interjecting in an effort to get approvals." In "Homeland Security Releases Emails Showing Political Influence for Sony, Time Warner Projects," by Eriq Gardner, Hollywood Reporter, 10 April 2015.   [ 10 ]

 

Addendum of a Democrat Senator and Vice Presidential Candidate:    "...the American Republic is massively corrupt. From Plato and Aristotle forward, corruption was meant to describe actions and decisions that put a narrow, special, or personal interest ahead of the interest of the public or commonwealth. Corruption did not have to stoop to money under the table, vote buying, or even renting out the Lincoln bedroom. In the governing of a republic, corruption was self-interest placed above the interest of all—the public interest." In "America’s Founding Principles Are in Danger of Corruption," by Gary Hart, 26 June 2015.   [ 11 ]

 

Addendum of a Presidential Confession:    "Transcript: HARTMANN: Our Supreme Court has now said, 'unlimited money in politics.' It seems like a violation of principles of democracy. … Your thoughts on that? / CARTER: It violates the essence of what made America a great country in its political system. Now it’s just an oligarchy, with unlimited political bribery being the essence of getting the nominations for president or to elect the president. And the same thing applies to governors and U.S. senators and congress members. So now we’ve just seen a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors, who want and expect and sometimes get favors for themselves after the election’s over. … The incumbents, Democrats and Republicans, look upon this unlimited money as a great benefit to themselves. Somebody’s who’s already in Congress has a lot more to sell to an avid contributor than somebody who’s just a challenger." Quote from Thom Hartmann Program (27 July), in "Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery'," by Jon Schwarz, First Look, 31 July 2015.

 

Addendum of of the Professional Classes and of the Very Rich:   "The structural forces changing the character of the Democratic Party appear in voting patterns and in the altered partisan allegiance of the professional classes and of the very rich. Nowhere is this trend more apparent than in the changing pattern of campaign contributions. In September, Bonica and Rosenthal completed an additional study, 'The Wealth Elasticity of Political Contributions by the Forbes 400,' that demonstrates a substantial increase in campaign donations from the very wealthy to Democrats." In "How Did the Democrats Become Favorites of the Rich?" by Thomas B. Edsall, New York Times, 7 October 2015.  

 

Addendum of Big Best Friends:   "Despite all this anti-corporate rhetoric, the fact is that Sanders and Clinton will be the best friends big business could ever hope for, since their regulatory agenda will invariably help big, established businesses at the expense of small, entrepreneurial competitors. That, after all, is their legacy in the banking and health care industries." In "Hillary Clinton's Hidden Big Business Agenda Exposed," Editorial Staff, Investors, 12 October 2015.    [ 12 ]

 

Addendum of Vietnam's One-Party Rule:   "Vietnam's re-elected leader, a 71-year-old Communist Party ideologue, made it clear Wednesday that one-party rule was here to stay, insisting that the collective leadership he heads is a far better alternative to what he called authoritarianism disguised as democracy." In "Re-elected Vietnam communist boss defends one-party rule," by Vijay Joshi, Associated News, 27 January 2016.  [ 13 ]

 

Addendum of Undemocratic Democrats:   "Superdelegates consist of Democratic officeholders, as well as 21 'distinguished members,' a group made up of former presidents, vice presidents, DNC chairs, etc. In non-political speak, 'distinguished members' are really Democrat political insiders and D.C. powerbrokers, not the everyday voters Democrats claim to represent. ABC News recently reported that, 'dozens of the 437 delegates in the DNC member category are registered federal and state lobbyists, according to an ABC News analysis. In fact, when you remove elected officials from the superdelegate pool, at least one in seven of the remainder are former or current lobbyists'." In "The UnDemocratic Democratic Primary," by Matt Rhoades, Medium, 8 March 2016.

 

 Addendum of Seats at the Head Table:   "For two seats at the head table with Clinton and the Clooneys at the April 15 fundraiser, a couple must contribute $353,400. Another fundraiser held a day later at the Clooney mansion in Los Angeles will cost guests $33,400 a ticket." In "Sanders calls Clooney-hosted Clinton fundraiser 'obscene'," by Jessie Hellmann, The Hill, 27 March 2016.   [ 14 ]

 

 Addendum of the Solicitation Scheme:   "...solicitation scheme. 'The company that chips in with $100,000 will have one-on-one access with the presidential candidate and congressional lawmakers as well, and they are buying influence in our government,' said Craig Holman, of the DC-based Public Citizen. 'Every lobbyist and interest group sees it as a means of throwing money at the feet of elected officials. It’s one of the most offensive elements of our campaign process, an embarrassment that doesn’t pass the smell test and has never passed the smell test'." In "NY Democrats selling national convention access to big donors," by Bob Fredericks, New York Post, 7 May 2016.

 

See:   Totalitarian  ,  as well as Corruption    and  Corruption has a middle name    to understand the party at work

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     "The population of Venezuela is revolting because the socialist State of Venezuela is out of money, rather out of dollars, and since most consumptions is imported (80%) and not locally produced, out of food and everything else. The Bolivarian Revolution of Hugo Chavez spent more money than its economy produced and the shortfall could only temporarily be bridged by international loans, mostly from China, and the money press. The latter caused dramatic inflation ( 58%), and China is calling in its loans by barter of oil deliveries." In "Global consequences of the Venezuelan Revolt," by Jacob Gelt Dekker, Curaçao Chronicle, 24 February 2014.

          While Chavez' successor, Maduro, says protests are fascist and right-wing, one reads of economic turmoil in the Spanish language press, saying shopping for staples -- just the basics -- is being limited to one day per week per government regulations: "Consumidores podrán comprar una vez a la semana los productos de la cesta básica." In "Regulan las compras en Pdval," by Gabriela Iribarren, Ultimas Noticias, 24 February 2014.

          When market shelves empty, the peculiar accusations of right-left politics are meaningless except to prop up the corrupt of a government elite. See as a parallel:   Fled from empty market shelves - a history lesson.

          Given Chavez' twelve years in power and Maduro's first term which follows, one ponders why the new Bolivarian revolution has failed economically, something blamed on those not in political power. One reads:  "... food inflation in 2013 soared by 74%, the highest since 1996, when the then president, Rafael Caldera, made serious adjustments leading to an 88.1% rise in food prices. The price increase takes place amid food shortage. Official data shows that the lack of basic staples in Caracas worsened throughout 2013 and hit 22% ending October, the highest level in 46 months." In "Food prices in Venezuela the highest in 18 years," El Universal, 27 January 2014.

          And under the pretense of democratic procedures and law, the single-party dominance emerges out into the open.

          One reads: "Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has used the military, legislative and judicial power consolidated during 15 years of socialist rule in a sudden series of blows against opponents who have spent more than a month protesting in the streets, knocking down their barricades and throwing dissident leaders in jail." In "Venezuela moves swiftly against opposition," by Fabiola Sanchez and Andrea Rodriguez, MyWayNews, 20 March 2014.

          Swiftly against an opposition? Indeed, as one reads more:   "Protests broke out in Caracas after Venezuela's attorney general charged jailed opposition leader Leopoldo Lopez with responsibility for anti-government demonstrations that have shaken the country for two months. The Harvard-educated economist has been held in a military prison since his February 18 arrest in the midst of an opposition protest rally against leftist President Nicolas Maduro, who has faced near-daily demonstrations since early February. Thirty-nine people have died in clashes between security forces and protesters angered by soaring crime, high inflation and shortages of essential goods. Another 608 were wounded and 192 are going through the court process." In "Venezuela charges opposition leader, sparking protests," Agence France Presse, 5 April 2014.

          Given that more protests come from a government acting against an opposition -- the cornerstone of democratic societies -- one may well argue that the government is the cause of the protests against it.

          One might think on Dizzy Dent, a fictional dissident whose tale tells a factual truth:  Dizzy Dent  .

 

[ 2 ]   The nature of politics seduces to think of politically polar opposites. From 2008, one reads:  "Ukraine`s Communist Party accused the government on Monday of burdening the nation with debt and filling the pockets of oligarchs by obtaining a $16.5 billion IMF loan, and announced plans for mass protests, RIA Novosti reported. On Friday, Ukraine`s parliament passed a set of laws needed to receive the loan from the International Monetary Fund, as the country struggles to cope amid the global credit crisis. Communist Party leader Pyotr Simonenko told a news conference that the loan was 'for the benefit of oligarch circles, the leadership of the International Monetary Fund, and multinational corporations'. He warned that the debt would harm the economy, particularly ordinary citizens." In "Ukraine's communists condemn IMF loan," Unian/RIA Novosti, 3 November 2008.

           Oddly, one reads from another source:  "In September 2010, the party was planning to sign a memorandum on cooperation with China's Communist Party. In 14 October 2010, the Party of Regions formed a co-operative arrangement a with the Socialists and Democrats European parliamentary group. President Yanukovych and the Party of Regions have been accused of trying to create a 'controlled democracy' in Ukraine and as a means to this are trying to 'destroy' main opposition party BYuT, but both have denied this charges. ...On 22 February 2014, during the 'Maidan revolution', the Verkhovna Rada voted ti impeach the honorary chairman of the party Viktor Yanukovych as President of Ukraine. Out of the 38 PoR deputies present, 36 voted in favour of ousting Yanukovich while 2 did not take part in the vote. In a written statement the next day, the party denounced Yanukovych, stating they 'strongly condemn the criminal orders that led to human victims, an empty state treasury, huge debts, shame before the eyes of the Ukrainian people and the entire world'." In "Party of Regions," Wikipedia, n.d.

           And so Communists and Socialists and Democrats seem to have made alliances. But recalling the Communist Party warning from 2008 about "burdening the nation with debt," one reads only six years later:  "Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov says Ukraine should seek a loan from the International Monetary Fund to avoid an imminent default, but would have to meet demands for structural reforms. Russia in December offered Ukraine a $15 billion bailout, but so far has provided only $3 billion, freezing further disbursements pending the outcome of the ongoing political crisis. The loan was promised to Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych in exchange for his ditching of an agreement with the European Union that Moscow opposed." In "Russian finance minister says Ukraine should seek bailout loan from IMF," Associated Press, 23 February 2014.

           The Ukraine's Party of Regions like its supposed opposition avoid names like socialist or Democrat, and yet one finds alliances which form and flux and break and re-form, all the while the ineptitude of government puts the nation deeper into debt. It is a likely conclusion that government itself -- not a specific party -- breeds burdens for its own people, because government is synonymous with power and wealth which politicians of all flavors seek. Oligarchs? Of course, and from the supposed Left and the supposed Right. See: Left is Right, as Right is Left   for some clarity about silly models and meaningless terms always in flux.

           A more accurate model seems to be that government grows to become against its own people, in the long run, wherein people who seek to be rulers rule over other people, and people who seek power and wealth obtain it by government from other people under force of law. Politics devolves so often to rent seekers seeking their rent, rather than by producing products for or offering services within a competitive market. Such rent seekers historically were various classifications of aristocracies and now are "oligarchs." One, elected and then corrupted, has been toppled in the Maidan revolution. One wonders when the oligarchs of the IMF and other such institutions will be toppled, for so many instances of empty state treasuries, huge debts and "shame."

           And where does the money stolen from state coffers go?  One reads:   "Last month Russia’s Novaya Gazeta newspaper identified other LLPs behind corrupt Ukrainian public contracts. One, Darton Management LLP, set up a company that cornered the substantial Ukrainian wheat market with the help of an agriculture minister close to Yanukovych. This LLP is owned by two Seychelles companies, Intrahold AG and Monohold AG – first identified by Eye 1326 last year – that are also behind further LLPs, Fineroad LLP and Roadfield Capital LLP, that control companies owning properties in the Crimea for members of the Yanukovych family (see Eye 1354). This web of corruption stretches well beyond Ukraine’s borders. The same, originally Irish firm behind the shells in the first place, International Overseas Services, created the vehicles (including half a dozen LLPs) that laundered the proceeds of the Russian tax fraud behind the murder of whistleblowing lawyer Sergei Magnitsky in 2009 (Eyes passim)." In "How the UK helped Viktor loot Ukraine," Private Eye, Limited Liability Partnerships, Issue 1361.

  

[ 3 ]   "America's ruling class has been experiencing more pushback than usual lately. It just might be a harbinger of things to come." In "Americans rising up against government: Column," by Glenn Harlan Reynolds, USA Today, 23 February 2014.

           One notes that Reynolds has cited the terminology, "the new class," as the envoi above mentions from an earlier publication. This "new class" ultimately is quite like the "old class." One might recall the lyric, "Yeah / Meet the new boss / Same as the old boss," in "Won't Get Fooled Again" by Pete Townshend (The Who-1971).

           Chomsky says unequivocally, "The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party."  This might seem to some far-fetched and yet one reads a small tidbit from recent news:  "Another long-discussed opportunity seemed lost this week when Republican Congressman Dave Camp unveiled his long awaited tax reform bill. Camp's plan was courageous and dangerous in the degree of specificity he offered. But while inevitably contentious, the plan was non-crazy and closed loopholes even as it proposed to lower rates. At least it should have provided a start to policy talks. Instead, party leadership on both sides of the aisle pronounced it dead on arrival, largely out of fear and fealty to the Wall Street donor class that provides a huge chunk of campaign cash." In "Obama has given up seeking a solution to America's financial woes," by John Avlon, Telegraph UK, 1 March 2014.

           While one reads of supposed divisiveness between parties in Congress, here is an example of absolute unity by the "leadership: which seems intent on protecting loopholes for the wealthy, individuals as well as major corporations. The business party, with Obama and the Congressional leadership heading the ticket.  See:   Donkey Skins and Elephant Hides  .

           This same observation is being made by so-called progressives of the current party controlling the Senate, the White House and federal administration and many large-population states.

           One reads:   "But there is no question that the Democratic Party in general remains far too dependent on big-money interests, that it is not fighting vigorously for working-class families, and that there are some members of the Democratic Party whose views are not terribly different from some of the Republicans. That’s absolutely the case. But the dilemma is that, if you run outside of the Democratic Party, then what you’re doing—and you have to think hard about this—you’re not just running a race for president, you’re really running to build an entire political movement. ...So the same old same old [Clinton administration Secretary of the Treasury] Robert Rubin type of economics, or centrist politics, or continued dependence on big money, or unfettered free-trade, that is not what this country needs ideologically. That is not the type of policy that we need. And it is certainly not going to be the politics that galvanizes the tens of millions of people today who are thoroughly alienated and disgusted with the status quo. People are hurting, and it is important for leadership now to explain to them why they are hurting and how we can grow the middle class and reverse the economic decline of so many people. And I don’t think that is the politics of Senator Clinton or the Democratic establishment…." In "Bernie Sanders: 'I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States'," an interview with Bernie Sanders, by John Nichols, The Nation, 6 March 2014.

           A Democrat Party is dependent on "big-money interests" according to a liberal?

           The same is being seen on the supposedly opposite side of American politics. One reads:  "...it is still business as usual in Austin. Last year, we showed numerous examples of cronyism, specifically the Texas Enterprise Fund (TEF), where hundreds of millions of Texans' tax dollars were being given to multi-billion companies and in turn were giving millions in campaign contributions to Gov. Perry, Lt. Gov. Dewhurst, and House Speaker Straus (the three controls the TEF). Despite a law being passed in 2013 to audit the fund, our report on the issue, and numerous media outlets covering the controversy, the fund still remains in full swing. ...all label themselves as conservatives, yet conservatism embraces limited government and free markets. The TEF is the epitome of increased government influence and distorted markets. Just because they say they want Texas to be 'business-friendly' does not necessarily mean they are market-friendly." In "Perry, Dewhurst, Straus, and Now George P. Bush Double Down on Cronyism in Texas," by Hal Hawkins, HardHatters, 18 March 2014.

           A related story explains how one brings "presents to the party."  One reads:  "Hotel Magnate Sant Singh Chatwal, who has lavished campaign cash on everyone from Hillary Clinton to Mayor Bill de Blasio, pleaded guilty today in Brooklyn federal court to campaign finance fraud and witness tampering, U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch announced. Investigator allegedly caught Mr. Chatwal on tape in October 2010, stating that, without campaign contributions, 'nobody will even talk to you. . . . That’s the only way to buy them, get into the system. . . . What, what else is there? That’s the only thing.' He also allegedly attempted to interfere with a grand jury investigation into his dealings by tampering with a witness, telling someone involved in the scheme that he and his family should not talk to FBI or IRS agents, and should 'Never, never,' admit to reimbursements. Later, he allegedly told the person, 'cash has no proof'." In "Hotel Magnate Pleads Guilty to Campaign Finance Fraud," by Jill Colvin, New York Observer, 17 April 2014.

           In a similar vein and oddly again involving a seeming political dynasty, one reads:  "The blue-chip political investment for big business is Clinton Inc. Twenty-nine of the 30 Dow Jones (INDU) Industrial Average index companies have given money or in-kind support to projects branded by Bill, Hillary and Chelsea Clinton, according to a review of Clinton Foundation and U.S. State Department reports." In "Dow Companies Invest in Clinton -- With One Holdout," by Jonathan Allen and Annie Linskey, Bloomberg, 6 May 2014.  Might one think there is no quid pro quo expected? The Chomsky quote above states what becomes more obvious with the passage of time, that  "the ruling party is the business party." And herein is proof positive that Dow Jones Industrial Average index companies line up to "bring presents to the party."

           Further one reads:  " ' This Supreme Court is unquestionably responsive to the views of corporate America. Here, in both the healthcare and marriage cases, those views aligned with a progressive outcome,' said Doug Kendall, president of the Constitutional Accountability Center, a left-leaning legal activist group." In "Big business on winning side in U.S. top court's major rulings," by Lawrence Hurley, Reuters, 27 June 2015.

           The obvious answer echoes from centuries, when George Washington observed with foresight that parties' loyalties are more normally first for party, and second for principles.

           With clarity, Washington stated:  "I have already intimated to you the danger of parties in the State, with particular reference to the founding of them on geographical discriminations. Let me now take a more comprehensive view, and warn you in the most solemn manner against the baneful effects of the spirit of party generally. This spirit, unfortunately, is inseparable from our nature, having its root in the strongest passions of the human mind. It exists under different shapes in all governments, more or less stifled, controlled, or repressed; but, in those of the popular form, it is seen in its greatest rankness, and is truly their worst enemy. The alternate domination of one faction over another, sharpened by the spirit of revenge, natural to party dissension, which in different ages and countries has perpetrated the most horrid enormities, is itself a frightful despotism. But this leads at length to a more formal and permanent despotism. The disorders and miseries which result gradually incline the minds of men to seek security and repose in the absolute power of an individual; and sooner or later the chief of some prevailing faction, more able or more fortunate than his competitors, turns this disposition to the purposes of his own elevation, on the ruins of public liberty. Without looking forward to an extremity of this kind (which nevertheless ought not to be entirely out of sight), the common and continual mischiefs of the spirit of party are sufficient to make it the interest and duty of a wise people to discourage and restrain it. It serves always to distract the public councils and enfeeble the public administration. It agitates the community with ill-founded jealousies and false alarms, kindles the animosity of one part against another, foments occasionally riot and insurrection. It opens the door to foreign influence and corruption, which finds a facilitated access to the government itself through the channels of party passions. Thus the policy and the will of one country are subjected to the policy and will of another." In George Washington's "Farewell Address," 1796.

           Returning to an earlier portion of Washington's address, one re-reads:   "All obstructions to the execution of the laws, all combinations and associations, under whatever plausible character, with the real design to direct, control, counteract, or awe the regular deliberation and action of the constituted authorities, are destructive of this fundamental principle, and of fatal tendency. They serve to organize faction, to give it an artificial and extraordinary force; to put, in the place of the delegated will of the nation the will of a party, often a small but artful and enterprising minority of the community; and, according to the alternate triumphs of different parties, to make the public administration the mirror of the ill-concerted and incongruous projects of faction, rather than the organ of consistent and wholesome plans digested by common counsels and modified by mutual interests. However combinations or associations of the above description may now and then answer popular ends, they are likely, in the course of time and things, to become potent engines, by which cunning, ambitious, and unprincipled men will be enabled to subvert the power of the people and to usurp for themselves the reins of government, destroying afterwards the very engines which have lifted them to unjust dominion."

           Therefore, from Washington premonitions to Chomsky's clear declaration, one sees a consistent warning which has gone unheeded. This is the likely outcome of such "party" politics as one has seen for decades.  See De fault in de plan  .

           It is equally instructive to revisit Sanders' remarks, per the above reference, with a mind to "cunning, ambitious and unprincipled men" and notions of an "unjust dominion."  One reads further from Sanders:  "...this country faces more serious problems than at any time since the Great Depression, and there is a horrendous lack of serious political discourse or ideas out there that can address these crises, and that somebody has got to represent the working-class and the middle-class of this country in standing up to the big-money interests who have so much power over the economic and political life of this country." In "Bernie Sanders: 'I Am Prepared to Run for President of the United States'," an interview with Bernie Sanders, by John Nichols, The Nation, 6 March 2014.

           After almost six years of Democrat control of the White House and twelve years' dominance of the Senate, let one ponder how "big-money interests who have so much power" continue to dominate -- as Chomsky reminds -- the parties, including the current one in power, though the Democrats do their rhetorical best to pretend it is only "the other guy."

           To play party politics is act a dog chasing after a stick thrown for its entertainment. The current party in power has millionaires aplenty in key positions and even boasts one billionaire in the Cabinet, not to mention the token Republican meant to assure the imagery of bipartisanship. Currently as party fund-raising pursues the millionaires, billionaires and deep pockets of public employee unions, one hears calls for Income Inequality  .  Chomsky said, "Nobody should have any illusions." It seems illusions are what politics sells, while chasing "big-money interests." This is built, as Washington foresaw, "on the ruins of public liberty."

           Lastly, one notes that advisors for the losing side in the last presidential elections become richer while losing.

           One reads:  "Ten of the consulting firms that formed the core of the push to elect Mitt Romney — reaping a combined $1 billion in the process — have survived a tea party assault and are again among the highest-grossing and best-positioned players in Republican politics. The firms and their consultants have been paid more than $19.6 million for 2014 campaign work through January, according to a POLITICO analysis. They’ve also cemented relationships with some of the GOP’s rising stars, setting up the firms for even bigger paydays headed into the fall, when costly advertising and mail campaigns begin, and for a 2016 presidential campaign expected to be the most expensive in history. It’s both vindication for top Republican operatives — who were ridiculed by tea partiers for squandering hundreds of millions of dollars and blamed for blowing the party’s chances at capturing the White House and the Senate — and an illustration of the irreversible privatization of politics. ...Few in the consulting world on either side of the aisle dispute that a certain amount of cronyism — or, at least, inertia — plays some role in determining who gets which contracts. The National Republican Senatorial Committee in November went so far as cut off a firm that was dong business with a tea party group challenging GOP incumbents. And both parties’ congressional campaign arms have close relationships with certain firms, which tend to have an advantage in winning work with individual campaigns. Likewise, consultants affiliated with their party’s most recent presidential nominee tend to have an inside track for work from their respective national parties and supportive super PACs and nonprofits. Consultants who worked on President Barack Obama’s campaigns are pre-eminent in Democratic politics, just as those with links to Romney enjoy strong ties with the RNC." In "Revenge of the Republican consultants," by Kenneth P. Vogel, 17 March 2014.

           So much for "opposition." The acquisition of wealth through politics seems more like cooperation than opposition. As Chomsky notes, "The United States has essentially a one-party system and the ruling party is the business party."

 

[ 4 ]   Commissioner, party member and son of a Senator and party member allows a waiver for party member and donor, and the rationalization is trotted out:   "Among numerous U.S. lawmakers to receive donations from David Grain was Representative James Clyburn, a South Carolina Democrat who received $8,400 from 2009 to 2012, according to the FEC. He is the father of Mignon Clyburn, a Democratic FCC commissioner who voted to approve the waiver." Quid pro quo is always denied, as of course "donations" alongside party membership would never result in bringing "presents to the party." This is how "it" works.

 

[ 5 ]    Translation assistance: to understand what "reform" of "corruption" means as written in the Reuter articles means as regards a "one-party" state, please see:  Capital for Communists  - a story growing old.

           But the interest of the one party in staying the one party is evident in China.  One reads: "China has passed a regulation ensuring government organizations and private companies have Communist Party units so that party policy can be implemented across society, the People's Daily, the official party mouthpiece, said on Saturday. The regulation was passed on Friday at a meeting of the Politburo, one of the Communist Party's elite ruling bodies, with President Xi Jinping in attendance." In "China tells workplaces they must have Communist Party units," Reuters, 30 May 2015.

           "Policy can be implemented across society" in a society in which a growing number of billionaire party members are documented, all the while the median household income is a meager $10K per year. Income inequality under Communism? Of course. Income inequality under one party rule? Without fail. And this is "ensured" by "the Politburo, one of the Communist Party's elite ruling bodies, with President Xi Jinping in attendance." Bring presents to the party in the single-party state and its beloved "dictatorship of the proletariat."

           And yet, the single-party state cannot ensure stability. One learns:  "The Chinese stock market is heavily dominated by majority state-owned firms. The Shanghai index reached an all-time peak of 5,903 in October 2007, before surrendering 70 per cent of its value over the next 12 months." In "Bear market grips Chinese stocks as investor panic grows, Shanghai and Shenzhen indices lose £1.6trn in paper value in just 17 days," 29 June 2015.

           Even the state as investor -- read, gambler -- can win or lose. In the moment of the report above, the operative verb is lose.

 

[ 6 ]   One finds additional and growing awareness of the "biggest, fattest checks."  "For years, President Barack Obama railed against the surge of unlimited spending flowing into American political campaigns, arguing that average voters were being shut out of a secretive system that lets special interests bankroll elections. Now, as Obama enthusiastically raises money for Democratic super PACs, he's embracing some of the same secretive elements of that system, drawing charges of hypocrisy from good-governance advocates who say the public deserves to know what Obama's saying and to whom he's saying it when donors pay for a few minutes with the president." In "Little Sunlight as Obama Raises Super PAC Dollars," by Josh Lederman, Associated Press, 25 July 2014.

           The accusation of hypocrisy is leveled at politicians over decades, and with reason. Consider one attack on a party politician by an opposing party politician, accusing him of Leadership Failure  - spoke a failed leader.

           The pretense of open and honest government weakens, as one reads:  "The Obama administration overturned a ban preventing a wealthy, politically connected Ecuadorean woman from entering the United States after her family gave tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic campaigns, according to finance records and government officials. The woman, Estefanía Isaías, had been barred from coming to the United States after being caught fraudulently obtaining visas for her maids. But the ban was lifted at the request of the State Department under former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton so that Ms. Isaías could work for an Obama fund-raiser with close ties to the administration." In "Ecuador Family Wins Favors After Donations to Democrats," by Frances Robles, New York Times, 16 December 2014.

 

[ 7 ]    A simple question. Why would Haiti be offering "lucrative" contracts to a Clinton-connected American firm, when in fact Haiti could find Haitians to mine the gold, using investment money from many thousands of other alternative sources. Answer? Bring presents to the party....

 

[ 8 ]    My ardent conservative friends tell me this happens under Democrats, and my passionate liberal friends tell me this happens under Republicans. Apparently and yet unnoticed by them they are both correct, though they intend to tell only half of the truth that favors their party while denigrating the other. Good guys versus bad guys is the model they follow.

           The research was tallied, and the foundation noted this to be true "... regardless of who is running Washington." 

           "We focused on the records of 200 for-profit corporations, all of which had active political action committees and lobbyists in the 2008, 2010 and 2012 election cycles — and were among the top donors to campaign committees registered with the Federal Election Commission. Their investment in politics was enormous. There were 20,500 paying lobbying clients over the six years we examined; the 200 companies we tracked accounted for a whopping 26 percent of the total spent. On average, their PACs, employees and their family members made campaign contributions to 144 sitting members of Congress each cycle." 

           One brings presents to the party "... regardless of who is running Washington."

           For each dollar spent on a present, the gift giver will get an on-average return of $760. But of course the politicians of both parties tell us this is simple not quid pro quo.

 

[ 9 ]    In the media hyperboles over issues of "religious freedom" tidbits of truth emerge. Benioff states he seeks "states where there is equality...." One should not forget the current political game of Income Inequality  .

           One observes that in terms of income inequality, Benioff is most unequal compared the the median household income in Indiana at present, which is $48,248 per the US Census.

           Of "equality" speaking Benioff, one finds:  "Salesforce.com Inc. CEO Marc Benioff’s bonus rose 67% from a year ago, to $2.82 million, during a year when the software company’s stock price fell 7%." In "Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff Sees Bonus Rise," by Shira Ovide, Wall Street Journal, 1 April 2015. Thus equality-minded Benioff is currently more than fifty-eight times more equal than an entire household in Indiana.

           Others speaking out in the "religious freedom" law in Indiana are also far more "equal."  One reads of other CEOs:  "Zaslav’s stock-inflated pay packet is big, but it’s still not as big as the $384 million stock grant that Apple CEO Tim Cook received in 2011 when the company was eager to keep him in place following the death of Steve Jobs." In "Mega Payday: Discovery CEO David Zaslav Earns $156.1 Million for 2014," by Cynthia Littleton, Variety, 3 April 2015.

           Benioff reminds through the reporting of CNN that there is indeed a "party of CEOs," loudly trumpeting so-called equality issues to a media also dominated by another economic elite. which is so bold as to admit that there continues to develop a "party of CEOs," flexing its messaging muscle in the media over perceptions of "inequality" while practicing massive inequality by bringing presents -- campaign donations and media postures -- to the delight of the single party state.

           For this the "party of CEOs" is happy to crush the small business operator accused of "inequality," all the while hoping the electorate does not take not of true inequality as --  in Benioff's own words -- practiced by the "party of CEOs."

           As Variety's headline touts, there is indeed a "mega payday" for the few, the elite, and the party of CEOs.

           How darkly amusing it is to watch the demonstrably unjust -- measured in their own political jargon of income inequality -- cry aloud for social justice of one form or another. Were one to be skeptical, one might think such public noise is the equivalent of "bread and circuses" for the anesthetized masses....

 

[ 10 ]  Presents to the party? A number of people actually noticed:   "The number and variety of witnesses is highly unusual. It is also quite unusual that a significant percentage of the witnesses we interviewed would talk to us only after being assured that their identities would remain confidential. Being a whistleblower is seen to be hazardous in the Federal Government, and a typical investigation would have one or perhaps two. That so many individuals were willing to step forward and tell us what happened is evidence of deep resentment about Mr. Mayorkas’ actions related to the EB-5 program. These employees worked in both USCIS headquarters and the California Service Center. Headquarters staff worked in Service Center Operations (the unit that supervised the California Service Center), the Administrative Appeals Office (AAO), the EB-5 program office, in USCIS leadership offices, and in OCC. The employees include current and retired career and non-career members of the Senior Executive Service, attorneys, all levels of supervisors, immigration officers, and those involved in fraud detection and national security. Their allegations were unequivocal: Mr. Mayorkas gave special access and treatment to certain individuals and parties." In "Investigation into Employee Complaints about Management of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services' EB -5 Program," Memo of John Roth, Inspector General, department of Homeland Security, 24 March 2015.

           "Special access and treatment to certain individuals and parties." Such is equal access and equal justice in the current democracy practiced by the United States federal government.

           As a one-time member of the Screen Actors Guild and with friends and acquaintances still working in Hollywood, I know personally that too many Americans in the entertainment industry seek employment which is so difficult to find. Thankfully the politicians are willing to pull strings for non-Americans to be able to work in this rarified field in which more than 80 percent of many union members are unemployed. Apparently the locals did not bring sufficient gifts to the party....

 

[ 11 ]   Some interesting things to observe in the editorial:  The article notes of the author: "Gary Hart is a former United States senator and presidential candidate and the author of 21 books." What it omits is the political affiliation of the author, as Hart was a U.S. Senator representing Colorado, and sought the Democratic nomination for President in 1984.

           Thus one finds that after about seven years of the current Obama administration and with the preparations for the upcoming elections in 2016 in which Mrs. Clinton is presenting herself as a front-runner among Democrats after having served as a senator from New York and Secretary of State in the Obama administration, nevertheless Hart states that "the American Republic is massively corrupt." That somehow this corruption might have happened only because of Republicans or only because of Democrats is ludicrous, though that argument is made by various loyalists. Rather Hart states the republic itself is "corrupt."

           Consider the truth of his conclusion as found in the Time Magazine article:  Corruption  .  The small snapshots drawn from a variety of news sources proves his allegation, and paints the major political parties with the same brush -- a stench of corruption, much of it criminal and much of it protected under law.

 

[ 12 ]  The notion of being a champion of the "people" has been populist rhetoric par excellence, but one reads of a growing awareness that champions of the "people" are champions of some people.

           "Democrats in Washington have turned hostile even to revenue-increasing tax reform that broadens the base and lowers rates, not least because they tend to hail from states with ever-higher income taxes that are dominated by public unions. The deduction props up this blue-state model, so the threat of taking it away is good policy and shrewd politics." In "The Tax Break for Rich Liberals," Wall Street Journal, 7 October 2015.

           If all individuals nationwide and all businesses nationwide were placed under the same principles and rules of taxation, the necessity that one "bring presents to the party" would disappear. This would be effectively a revolutionary act against the game of playing favorites by any and all political parties. It would also be "fair."

           But given "presents" in the form of massive speaking fees as well as lucrative publishing deals, the revolution for the little people seems a long way off. Of income inequality through presents brought to the party, one reads:  "The average CEO, using Bureau of Labor Statistics figures, makes $216,100. Clinton's speaking agent, the Harry Walker Agency Inc., charged about $275,000 a speech and packaged three for Wall Street's Goldman Sachs at $675,000. Perry used the BLS average salary for all CEOs, not just the top ones Clinton likes to cite." In "Wage gap: One Hillary Clinton speech more than average CEO salary," by Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, 21 February 2016.

           A small phrase testifies to what politicians say never happens. One reads:  "The Wang representative said that all of his political and philanthropic donations in the U.S. were done at the recommendation of Mark Fung, his legal counsel. In 2012, Fung appeared with Hodges in a video news report for Chinese television from the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., discussing the strategies for winning political influence in the United States. 'If you really want to influence, let’s say, U.S.-China policy it is almost worth it to have emphasis and influence on the state level,' he said in the report. Wang’s representative also said that Wang met twice with former President Bill Clinton to discuss the Clinton foundation, once in the United States and once when Clinton was visiting China. The Clinton campaign did not respond to requests for comment." In "Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe Invited Chinese Donor to Hillary Clinton’s Home," by Michael Scherer, Time, 25 May 2016.

           Political donations to as among "the strategies for winning political influence" is of course never quid pro quo, it is said again and again. But "if you really want to influence... it is almost worth it to have emphasis and influence on the state level." How is "worth" measured? In currency. And how is "influence" measured? It is not, because politicians are always honest and above reproach as the many examples of Corruption prove.

           The show for the public touts a few, very wealthy CEOs such as those who head companies which pay such "more than average" fees. Setting the whole into a fair measure, this one American politician is representative of a political class which speaks about addressing  Income Inequality all the while the hand is deep in the pockets of those bringing presents, whether called donations or speaking fees.

 

[ 13 ]   The statement is ludicrous, yet says something of value. That authoritarian government which holds elections, as have many socialist nations, with only "approved" candidates on the ballot is not democratic nor is it free. Rather like the "re-elected Vietnam communist boss" mentioned in the title of the Associated Press article cited. Thus in order to answer a "debate" without free questions does yet another one-party "boss" Posit the straw man .

 

[ 14 ]  Two seats at the Clinton head table for only $353,400?  "Obscene," as Democrat challenger Sanders calls it? Of course, but such is the politics of this era in which apologies for all such behaviors flood the media, as one hears wealth and power declare openly,  Preserve us  - prays the privileged circus.

           Perhaps such enormous sums of money flowing to Democrats explains annoying campaign rhetoric in 2016. One reads:  "I don't think that you are qualified if you get $15 million from Wall Street through your super PAC'." In "Bernie Sanders: Hillary Clinton is not 'qualified' to be president," by Theodore Schleifer, CNN, 7 April 2016.


 

The two great religions

"Returning violence for violence multiplies violence, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars... Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." Martin Luther King Jr. (1929-1968)

 

"It's you shall bow and scrape and kneel
Before one great true god;"
Man's "I am right and you are wrong"
Speaks its scripture loud to prod
Those who would not upon their knees
Supplicate to one great true god,
Such that believers seethe with rage
Acting out with word and rod.

A quiet, still small voice then speaks,
Praying "Live, let live thereby."
The first religion howls aloud
The second to disqualify,
For if the Meek and Gentle
Oppose god's man-made fist,
Then it topples into the dust
In agonies to turn and twist.

"It's you should bow and scrape and kneel"
Becomes seen for what it is,
And what it is across many sects
Is Man speaking for god with his
Loud and hard and grating voice
Of what man requires another do,
For that is the creed of the little god
Who demands such submission true.

Yet, quiet, still small voices pray,
Saying "Live, let live thereby."
Simplicity, Love with Faith
Will feed to exemplify
That peace comes on the wings of doves
As one "Lives, lets live thereby"
Speaks a prayer-filed religion, Love,
As its creed can testify.

The two great religions lie at odds
For one demands its due,
While the other with sweet temperament
Says, "Live, let live" to you.
Which call is the better, ponder well
For you by your acts must show
Which of these creeds is yours this day
And by which to death you go.

Shall lion lie down with the lamb?
Shall slaughter follow in your wake?
Shall still small voices sing sweet praise?
Shall blood be spilled throughout your days?
Two world religions clash because
They cannot both abide
In the sanctuary of the One True God
Where simplest love is plied.

 

Think not of language, culture, creeds

When these two religions spar.

They partake of the many facets of man,

Some love lit, some night without a star.

All sects and creeds in this world of men

Are broken into but two,

One demands all must submit, the other not;

So, friend, of which are you?

 

Envoi:  “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.” Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955).

 

 Addendum from millennia-old Histories:   “No one is so foolish as to prefer war to peace, in which, instead of sons burying their fathers, fathers bury their sons.” Herodotus (c. 484–425 BC).

 

Addendum of the millennia-old Challenge:   “Those who attempt to conquer hatred by hatred are like warriors who take weapons to overcome others who bear arms. This does not end hatred, but gives it room to grow. But, ancient wisdom has advocated a different timeless strategy to overcome hatred. This eternal wisdom is to meet hatred with non-hatred. The method of trying to conquer hatred through hatred never succeeds in overcoming hatred. But, the method of overcoming hatred through non-hatred is eternally effective. That is why that method is described as eternal wisdom. ” Gautama Buddha.

 

NOTES

On historical wars within one religion and between religions:  

 

Catholic against Protestant, both Christian:   "The European wars of religion were a series of religious wars waged in Europe from ca. 1524 to 1648, following the onset of the Protestant Reformation in Western and Northern Europe. Although sometimes unconnected, all of these wars were strongly influenced by the religious change of the period, and the conflict and rivalry that it produced. This is not to say that the combatants were neatly or only divided by religion, as they were often not." In "European wars of religion," Wikipedia article.

          The next European wars were brought by the state religion of national power and "unification," from Napoleon, through the Kaiser and Hitler' National Socialism, through the annexation of East European nations thereafter until the collapse of the state religion of Soviet Socialism. Because totalitarian governance mirrors enforced "I am right and you are wrong," while "Live, let live thereby" will not, the assertion that of state religion as a religion of the state is not unfounded.

          As Mussolini observed, "Tutto nello Stato, niente al di fuori dello Stato, nulla contro lo Stato." ("All within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.")  See: Ratio  .

          Thinking on Mussolini Socialist/Fascist "inclusive" statement, one recalls:   "The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prays to any god or human being during the next thirty days, except to you, Your Majesty, shall be thrown into the lions’ den. Now, Your Majesty, issue the decree and put it in writing so that it cannot be altered—in accordance with the law of the Medes and Persians, which cannot be repealed.” So Darius put the decree in writing." In "Daniel 6: 7-9.

          State fascism, National Socialism, Soviet Socialism, Sino-Socialism and various programs espousing international socialism have been the modern, 20th century version of Darius, advised by his cadre of "administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors." Administrators of state religion have done no less than find new versions of the "lion's den."

 

Muslim against Muslim, and Muslim against Jew:    "In more recent times, since the mid 20th century, violent conflicts along religious lines have frequently been conflated with ethnic issues; examples would include the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Insurgency in the North Caucasus, the Nagorno-Karabakh War, the Yugoslav Wars, the Second Sudanese Civil War, the Syrian civil war or the Nigerian Sharia conflict, among others. Other ongoing conflicts are predominantly motivated by religious extremism, i.e. involving a faction representing radical Islamic Jihadism, among others those in Afghanistan and North-West Pakistan, Iraq, the Maghreb, Yemen, Somalia, and the Philippines." In "Religious War," Wikipedia article.  See:  Islamophobia revisited - a thumbnail sketch of tolerance and inter-religious dialogues.

 

Muslim against Christian, and Muslim against Muslim:   "There is no consensus among scholars on what triggered the Lebanese Civil War. However, the militarization of the Palestinian refugee population, with the arrival of the PLO guerrilla forces did spark an arms race amongst the different Lebanese political factions. However the conflict played out along three religious lines, Sunni Muslim, Christian Lebanese and Shiite Muslim." In "Religious War," Wikipedia article. 

          For the analysis to be fully accurate, one must conclude that Sunni Muslims and Shiite Muslims hold different faiths, as they declare each other infidel, something Muslim scholars seem unwilling to admit. One may thereby suggest that like 16th century Christianity in Europe, a violent reformation within Islam is underway today, colored by the changes in the world from notions of "universal human rights" as exemplified by UN and EU documentation, as well as feminism, scientific and technological advance coupled to speedy communication with easy access to much information, true as well as false.

          As to Muslim against Christian, one reads:   "The violence has mostly pitted Christian and Muslim militias against each other. The UN said children were being directly targeted in revenge attacks. The CAR [ Central African Republic ] is ruled by Muslim ex-rebel leader Michel Djotodia, who seized power in March forcing then-President Francois Bozize, who came from the majority Christian population, to flee into exile." In "CAR conflict: Unicef says children 'beheaded' in Bangui," BBC News Africa, 31 December 2013.

          But as source for such sentiment, one reads:  "It has been narrated by 'Umar b. al-Khattib that he heard the Messenger of Allah (may peace be upon him) say: I will expel the Jews and Christians from the Arabian Peninsula and will not leave any but Muslim." In "Sahih Muslim Book 19, Hadith Number 4366." Jihad and Expedition : Chapter : Evacuation of the Jews from the Hijiz. (Sahih Muslim 4366).

          Centuries later, jihad continues: "A senior cleric has spoken of how suspected Islamist militants 'slaughtered' some 30 churchgoers in north-eastern Nigeria on Sunday. The Bishop of Yola told the BBC the insurgents had locked the church and 'cut people's throats' in Waga Chakawa village, Adamawa state. On the same day, militants also attacked Kawuri village in neighbouring Borno state, killing 52 people. Both assaults were blamed on the Islamist Boko Haram group. The organisation - whose name means 'Western education is forbidden' - is especially active in the north-east of the country. Boko Haram wants to impose a severe form of Islamic law, and has been blamed for thousands of deaths." In "Nigerian bishop tells of church 'slaughter' in Adamawa," BBC, 28 January 2014.

          As to Muslim against Muslim, one reads:   "The U.N.’s human rights office says it has stopped updating the death toll from Syria’s civil war since its last count of at least 100,000 in late July." In "UN won’t update death toll of Syria’s civil war due to lack of access," by staff, Associated Press, 7 January 2014. One notes that, compared to the hundreds of Christians killed in Nigeria, the "at least 100,000" Muslims dead at the hands of Muslims is a greater number, while the more ardent Islamophobia advocates are silent on such.

          Some Muslims reject other Muslims as, unsurprisingly, not Muslim:  "About 300 people torched a mosque and destroyed an Islamic school building inside the Ahmadiyah compound in Sukabumi, a town in West Java province, just after midnight Monday. Many sect members have since fled the area, seeking refuge with friends and relatives nearby. 'We heard the attackers chanting 'burn, burn' and 'kill, kill',' said Zaki Firdaus, one of the sect's members. 'It was horrifying.' Indonesia is a secular country with a long history of religious tolerance. But in recent years a hard-line fringe has grown louder and the government - which relies on the support of Islamic parties in Parliament - has been accused of caving to it. Ahmadiyah, believed to have 200,000 followers in Indonesia, has also faced persecution in other Muslim countries. Its followers insist it should be considered part of Islam." In "Indonesia protesters torch mosque of 'heretical' Muslim sect," Jakarta Post, 28 April 2008.

          More as to Muslim against Muslim, one reads further:  "Syria's war has killed more than 140,000 people, driven millions from their homes and left many more dependent on aid. Diplomatic efforts, focused on the political rather than religious factors driving the conflict, have made no headway. 'If you think all these mujahideen came from across the world to fight Assad, you're mistaken,' said a Sunni Muslim jihadi who uses the name Abu Omar and fights in one of the many anti-Assad Islamist brigades in Aleppo. 'They are all here as promised by the Prophet. This is the war he promised - it is the Grand Battle,' he told Reuters, using a word which can also be translated as slaughter. On the other side, many Shi'ites from Lebanon, Iraq and Iran are drawn to the war because they believe it paves the way for the return of Imam Mahdi - a descendent of the Prophet who vanished 1,000 years ago and who will re-emerge at a time of war to establish global Islamic rule before the end of the world. According to Shi'ite tradition, an early sign of his return came with the 1979 Iranian revolution, which set up an Islamic state to provide fighters for an army led by the Mahdi to wage war in Syria after sweeping through the Middle East. 'This Islamic Revolution, based on the narratives that we have received from the prophet and imams, is the prelude to the appearance of the Mahdi,' Iranian cleric and parliamentarian Ruhollah Hosseinian said last year. He cited comments by an eighth century Shi'ite imam who said another sign of the Mahdi's return would be a battle involving warriors fighting under a yellow banner - the color associated with Lebanon's pro-Assad Hezbollah militia. 'As Imam Sadeq has stated, when the (forces) with yellow flags fight anti-Shi'ites in Damascus and Iranian forces join them, this is a prelude and a sign of the coming of his holiness,' Hosseinian was quoted as saying by Fars news agency." In "Apocalyptic prophecies drive both sides to Syrian battle for end of time," by Mariam Karouny, Reuters, 1 April 2014.

          Ironically and sadly, one reads of Muslim against Muslim in small numbers of dead:   "Denis Mamadou Cuspert, who rapped under the name Deso Dogg but took on the name Abu Talha Al Almani in Syria, was reported to have been killed in a suicide attack on Sunday in an eastern province. He was a member of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and was reportedly killed in a double suicide bombing carried out by Al Nusra Front, a rival Islamist militant group that is Al Qaeda’s Syria affiliate." In "German rapper turned Islamist militant killed in Syria suicide attack," Agence Presse France, 22 April 2014.
          If one Muslim is the "true" Muslim and the other the "kafir," the remaining question is -- which is which? What can be the resolution to this, if centuries have yet to answer? Such conundrums explain well the modern "civil rights" political stance of Western Muslims, complaining more of perceived prejudice among non-Muslims than of solving the murderous phenomenon of Muslim killing Muslim.

 

Socialist state against socialist state, the secular substitute for a religion:   "The Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, named after the Soviet foreign minister Vyacheslav Molotov and the Nazi German foreign minister Joachim von Ribbentrop, officially the Treaty of Non-aggression between Germany and the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, and also known as the Ribbentrop–Molotov Pact or Nazi–Soviet Pact, was a non-aggression pact signed in Moscow in the late hours of 23 August 1939. The pact's publicly stated intentions were a guarantee of non-belligerence by either party towards the other, and a commitment that neither party would ally with or aid an enemy of the other party. This latter provision ensured that Germany would not support Japan in its undeclared war against the Soviet Union along the Manchurian-Mongolian border, ensuring that the Soviets won the Battles of Khalkhin Gol. In addition to stipulations of non-aggression, the treaty included a secret protocol that divided territories of Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Finland into Nazi and Soviet "spheres of influence", anticipating potential "territorial and political rearrangements" of these countries. Thereafter, Germany invaded Poland on 1 September 1939. After the Soviet-Japanese ceasefire agreement took effect on 16 September, Stalin ordered his own invasion of Poland on 17 September. Part of southeastern (Karelia) and Salla region in Finland were annexed by the Soviet Union after the Winter War. This was followed by Soviet annexations of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bessarabia, Northern Bukovina and the Hertza region. The pact remained in force until the German government broke it by invading the Soviet Union on 22 June 1941." In "Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact,:" Wikipedia, accessed January 2014. 

          See:  So shall ism  .


 

I've lifted your wallet

"That's a wonderful moment for thinking about Odyssean strength and weakness: having made his tricky escape from the Cyclops' cave, which involved the anonymity of being 'Noman,' Odysseus can't resist the desire to tie his name and line to his deeds. His desire to be known blinds him to the practical necessity to get away; he's like a pickpocket who stops to announce that he's lifted your wallet." In "Homeric blindness in 'colledge'," by Michael Leddy, Orange Crate Art, 20 October 2006.   [ 1 ]

 

I've lifted your wallet, and your pocket is picked.
          I want you to know it was you that I tricked.
I've piled up debt and say what's your share,
          And proudly declaim this is all very fair.
I've written the laws, and judged all the facts;
          It all comes to this, and then falls the ax.
I've rifled your drawers; I've conscripted some things
          And some of your savings for that's what life brings.
I've lifted your wallet, and proudly exclaim:
          "Whatever I've done, it is you that I blame."  
[ 2 ]

 

   Envoi:   "The blinding and mocking of Polyphemos called down the nemesis of Poseidon upon Odysseus; Poseidon already bore Odysseus a grudge for not giving him a sacrifice when Poseidon prevented the Greeks from being discovered inside the Trojan Horse. Specifically, Odysseus' telling Polyphemos his true name after having already escaped was an act of hubris." In "Hubris," Princeton University, n. d.

 

Addendum:   "Most importantly, the current debate also overlooks the question of whose interests are served by the public debt. What if questions of power are not only central to the issue of public debt repayment, but also to the very existence of the public debt in the first place? What if the public debt is not simply an outcome of inequality but also part of its cause? What if the top 1% is the major 'winner' of the recent public debt explosion, dominating the ownership of federal bonds and the interest paid on them? How would our understanding of the 'debt dilemma' change if we started to ask these questions?" In "America’s Real ‘Debt Dilemma," by Sandy Brian Hager, Review of Capital as Power, Vol. 1, No. 1, 2013.    [ 3 ]

 

 Addendum of Lifting an Entire Nation's Wallet:   "Ukraine's new prime minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk on Thursday accused the government of ousted President Viktor Yanukovich of stripping state coffers bare and said US$37 billion (S$47 billion) of credit it had received had disappeared. Speaking in parliament before he was appointed head of a national unity government, Mr Yatsenyuk said that in the past three years 'the sum of 70 billion dollars was paid out of Ukraine's financial system into off-shore accounts'. 'I want to report to you - the state treasury has been robbed and is empty,' he said. '37 billion dollars of credit received have disappeared in an unknown direction,' he added." In "Billions received by Yanukovich govt have disappeared, says new PM," Reuters Kiev, 27 February 2014.    [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of an Orchestra's Wallet Being Lifted:  Stephen Jay Carlton, the former executive director of the Los Altos-based Peninsula Symphony, is facing felony charges for embezzling hundreds of thousands of dollars from the nonprofit organization, prosecutors said Wednesday. Carlton surrendered to police on Feb. 27 after learning that a warrant had been issued for his arrest. The 45-year-old Novato resident could face up to 18 years in prison if convicted of grand theft, embezzlement, forgery, identity theft and tax evasion, according to the Santa Clara County District Attorney's Office. 'Thanks to the joint efforts by the Los Altos police and state Franchise Tax Board the crime was solved very quickly given the complexity of the crime,' Deputy District Attorney Judy Lee said in a news release. Half-a-million dollars was discovered missing from the coffers of the 65-year-old symphony last September when a bank alerted a board member that its balance was unusually low." In "Ex-Peninsula Symphony director faces charges over missing funds," by Jason Green, Mercury News, 6 March 2014.

 

Addendum of the Racket of Political Patronage:   "A federal jury today found the state’s former Probation Department commissioner and his top lieutenants guilty of racketeering conspiracy for running a years-long rigged hiring system in a verdict that had family members erupting in court. Former Probation Commissioner John J. O’Brien and his deputies — William H. Burke III and Elizabeth V. Tavares — were accused of a patronage-based scheme in which they would hand out jobs to the politically connected." In "Jury finds ex-Probation boss, pals guilty of racketeering conspiracy," by Bob McGovern and Peter Gelzinis, Boston Herald, 24 July 2014.

 

See:   Corruption    and  Corruption has a middle name 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   "But I, of mind elate, and scorning fear, / Thus with new taunts insult the monster's ear: / 'Cyclop! if any, pitying thy disgrace. / Ask, who disfigured thus that eyeless face? / Say 'twas Ulysses: 'twas his deed declare, / Laertes' son, of Ithaca the fair; / Ulysses, far in fighting fields renown'd, / Before whose arm Troy tumbled to the ground." In "The Odyssey of Homer," translated by Alexander Pope 1725–1726.

          Leddy has coined a word, "colledge." He defined it in two blog entries:  "Professors who don’t require students to do a reasonable amount of work conspire with their students in the creation of the vast simulacrum that I call 'colledge.' Such professors make life more difficult for the rest of us." In "Three for one," Michael Leddy, Orange Crate Art, 2014.

          And from the earlier entry, as above: "Wouldn't a week of sustained drinking create some sort of difficulty with the responsibilities of being a college student? I suspect though that the members of this group aren't in college. They are, rather, in what I call colledge, the vast simulacrum of education that amounts to little more than buying a degree on the installment plan. If I sound cranky, it's because the so-called War on Sobriety (front-page news in a college newspaper) serves to cheapen the degree of any student who's really in college."  

          See:  Doctor Oppression comes to call , for a detailed, numerate look at such a "vast simulacrum" -- complete with its income inequalities, public embarrassments and general academic social injustice masquerading as social justice.

 

[ 2 ]    The rhetoric of public debt is often couched in terms of individual citizens owing some "fair share," as if this were a fiscal reality. It is not, for many citizens do not have financial resources enough to bear such a non-collateralized debt. As example, one reads:   "As of December 30, 2013, the official debt of the United States government is $17.2 trillion ($17,226,768,075,403). This amounts to: $54,346 for every person living in the U.S.; $140,674 for every household in the U.S.; 102% of the U.S. gross domestic product; 575% of annual federal revenues." As "Quantifying the National Debt," in "National Debt Facts," by James D. Agresti, Just Facts, last updated 1 January 2014.

          Given the fact in the United States, one among many countries in massive debt, is approximately $50,000 before taxes of various kinds and mandates from government as well, the notion that individuals owe one hundred percent of their gross income to underpin "public debt" when they have not a contract to do so suggests that Hager's argument above is all the more accurate and essentially an income transfer from the lower classes to the upper classes, all brilliantly couched in populist rhetoric to keep the lowest classes voting for those of all political parties who have continually increased the debt.

          One reads:  "The White House's image as the pragmatic, even-handed steward in the debt debate is little more than a clever rhetorical sleight-of-hand that is as disingenuous as it is illusory. Obama made raising taxes on the rich (the top 2%) a signature campaign item, but no one with knowledge of the federal budget expects the revenues generated to cover near-trillion dollar deficits. In fact, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office expects deficits to accumulate by more than $1.7 billion over the next four years under the current fiscal cliff deal while the annual deficit is expected to rise from $568 billion in 2015 to $818 billion by 2022. With its Democratic allies in Congress, the White House has repeatedly argued that the solution to the budget deficit -- and by implication the nation's ballooning debt -- must include a combination of tax increases and spending cuts. Despite the political compromise during the fiscal cliff debate that raised taxes, the White House has bristled at anything that limits its ability to raise taxes further and, in effect, sustain a federal government that now gobbles up 24 percent of the national economy. If anything, the administration has done just the opposite: propping up and encouraging state and local government spending through stimulus programs and signing new entitlements into law." In "The Unavoidable Federal Debt Debate Impasse," by Samuel Staley, RealClearMarkets, 24 January 2013.

          For more on "gobbling," see Fat, fat government  .  One might also consider the reality of government deep in debt: Sam?  - the Debtor Man,  and  Debt  - you bet!

 

[ 3 ]    Hager answers his own questions: "The public debt is not, as the current debate would have us believe, simply an outcome of inequality. Rather the public debt, through the power dynamics of ownership distribution, directly contributes to income and wealth inequality in America. Much like its share of total wealth and income, the top 1% has greatly increased its share of federal bonds and federal interest over the past three decades or so. Over this period, and especially in the context of the current crisis, the public debt has served more and more to augment and reinforce the power of the top 1%."

          One notes that some of the wealthy, like Ulysses, brag about that public debt has "served" to "augment and reinforce the power of the top 1%." 

          A quote serves to illustrate:  " 'The stock market is up a ton since Obama took office, tax rates have not gone up, and, by and large, the hedge-fund industry was treated very, very lightly under Dodd-Frank and I think correctly so,' Chanos added. 'I don’t get a good answer. It’s, 'Well, he’s promoting class warfare.' I happen to agree with Warren Buffett, Class warfare is over. Our class won'!" In "Hedge funds against Obama," by Jennifer Ablan and Matthew Goldstein, Reuters, 19 December 2011.

          The same Reuters article notes:  "The top 25 hedge fund managers for 2010 raked in a some $22 billion in compensation in 2010, according to AR Magazine."  

          What is crucial to note is that the false imagery of the Left-Right political dichotomy obscures something that fiscal conservatives and many social democrats in Europe are discovering. Central banks service governments and the rich deeply connected with government, at the expense of all other economic classes.

          One reads:  "The central bank does not create anything real; neither resources nor goods and services. When it creates money it causes the price of transactions to increase. The original quantity theory of money clearly related money to the price of anything money can buy, including assets. When the central bank creates money, traders, hedge funds and banks — being first in line — benefit from the increased variability and upward trend in asset prices. Also, future contracts and other derivative products on exchange rates or interest rates were unnecessary prior to 1971, since hedging activity was mostly unnecessary. The central bank is responsible for this added risk, variability, and surge in asset prices unjustified by fundamentals. The banking sector has been able to significantly increase its profits or claims on goods and services. However, more claims held by one sector, which essentially does not create anything of real value, means less claims on real goods and services for everyone else. This is why counterfeiting is illegal. Hence, the central bank has been playing a central role as a 'reverse Robin Hood' by increasing the economic pie going to the rich and by slowly sinking the middle class toward poverty." In "How Central Banks Cause Income Inequality," by Frank Hollenbeck, Mises Daily, 1 February 2014.

          If this were not so, those who staunchly adhere to one side or the other of the false Left-Right model could explain how the richest continue to become even richer under governments of both sides of the model. But of course they will not, or perhaps cannot, and so continue the word games between the Left and the Right, in modern parlance, while a different agent acts, one rather "like a pickpocket who stops to announce that he's lifted your wallet."

          See: Income Inequality  for details and footnotes, as well as some large-number facts and figures in Moolah  .

 

[ 4 ]     And so one sees an awareness dawning, in which government corruption -- lifting a nation's wallet -- is a global issue.

          As to this view, one reads:   "The protests in Ukraine and Venezuela have laid bare a new fault line in the 21st century. Along this fault line sit an increasingly globalized middle class, eager to link themselves with the West and modernity, and a corrupt ruling class that seeks to maintain ill-gotten privileges that are vestiges of a discredited past." In "Ukraine,Venezuela and the Lessons of History & U.S. Power," by David Abshire and Maxmillian Angerholzer III, RealClearPolitics, 8 March 2014.

          One sees the pretense of democracies by tyrants, such as the DDR or the Baath Party of Iraq under Saddam Hussein, in which elections mimicked democracy -- but without legally protected political opposition. Such entities plunder a people and practice murder against them. Professor emeritus Rummel identified such a "corrupt ruling class" as practitioners of "democide," a word he coined.

          One learns:  "For these reasons I believe that both genocide in its common meaning and democide as I have defined it have an important role in understanding government murder. The legal view of genocide, however, is too complex and subsumes behavior too different in kind, such as government murder, government induced psychological damage, government attempting to eliminate a group in whole or in part (what empirical meaning can we give to 'in part '?), or government removing children from a group (removing what percentage constitutes genocide?), and so on. In the case of democide, the vast majority of government killing is manifestly murder--the intent to commit murder is inherent in the act itself. For example, soldiers lining up civilians against a wall and shooting them to death without a fair trial is manifestly government murder. And in its common meaning, most cases of genocide can be equally discriminated, as in the Holocaust or of the Armenian genocide in Turkey during 1915-1916. The conclusion is that genocide should ordinarily be understood as the government murder of people because of their indelible group membership (let the international lawyers struggle with the legal meaning) and democide as any murder by government, including this form of genocide." In "Democide versus Genocide" Which is What?" by R. J. Rummel, from a larger web discussion, http://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills.

          The "fault line" as an image courtesy of Abshire and Angerholzer offers great clarity, and Rummel's coined word, "democide" captures the great crime of history, followed closely by a "corrupt ruling class" lifting the wallet of "an increasingly globalized middle class."

          One sees a common picture in which only the details change from nation to nation. It is a fault line, and awareness of it grows. This leaves a nation's "corrupt ruling class" two alternatives -- enslavement of a people or collapse.  Examples are rife, as ruling classes hold power over decades, as the Castro brothers have done in Cuba, or through generations as in North Korea, or through other forms of corruption such a single party dominance as seen in other nations. Democracy coupled with true transparency threatens the world's corrupt ruling classes.


 

Reap, publican

"...a rich, if ignominious, history in Illinois of ex-governors arriving in and departing from prison. Of Illinois' last seven governors, four have ended up going to prison. They are: Rod Blagojevich – Governor from 2002 through 2009, when he became the first Illinois governor in history to be impeached. Convicted of numerous corruption charges in 2011, including allegations that he tried to sell or trade President Barack Obama's old Senate seat. George Ryan – Governor from 1999 through 2003. After leaving office, was convicted of racketeering for actions as governor and secretary of state. In November 2007, began serving a 6 1/2 year sentence in federal prison. Dan Walker – Governor from 1973-1977. Pleaded guilty to bank fraud and other charges in 1987 related to his business activities after leaving office. Spent about a year and a half in federal prison. Otto Kerner – Governor from 1961-1968. Resigned to become judge, then was convicted of bribery related to his tenure as governor. Sentenced to three years in prison." In "Illinois Governors In Prison: 4 Of State's Last 7 Governors Were Convicted, Imprisoned," by Associated Press via Huffington Post, 30 January 2013

 

Reap, publican, your just reward.
You loyal party boys who serve
Are of one party, another too,
But all of you showed nerve
To profit from an office high
While pledging loudly loud
That unlike others, so corrupt,
You were of an honest crowd.

Reap, publican, pledged democrat,
Who've governed for a spell.
You've earned your time behind the bars,
Exchanging offices for a cell.
You've plied your golden, twisted trade
Of corruption that ensnares.
But slow did evidence leak out
To catch you unawares.

Reap, publican, false democrat,
The wages of lawful wrath,
For far too high as a party thing
Led your sociopathic path.
The history of your parties' planks
Is of rhetoric unbowed,
But also of your jailed elite,
Part of your corrupted crowd.

    

Your parties hold convictions,

For loud they say they do.

Ah yes, there are convictions;

Party histories prove this true.

Pray tell, are you some party's fan

Who lobbies for a win?

You are then, party member,

Convicted by your political sin.

 

Envoi:   Question - (Massimo Calabresi) - "Your book reminds us that the major players in Watergate were either incompetent sociopaths or malevolent egomaniacs. Is that the point?"  Answer - (John Dean)  - " I was trying to figure out how someone as savvy as Nixon could have screwed up as badly as he did. It shows how a combination of his character and his decision making were just a disaster."  In "10 Questions, by Massimo Calabresi, Time, 4 August 2014.

 

For parallels, see:   Leadership Failure  - spoke a failed leader

 

Addendum of Change and Political Conviction:   "Buddy Cianci has served two stints as mayor of Rhode Island's capital city, and both ended in felony convictions. Now he may try for a third. Cianci's charisma and shenanigans put him and Providence in the national spotlight - for good and ill - during his 21 years at the city's helm. He says he's leaning toward running again, 12 years after his conviction and prison sentence for overseeing widespread corruption in his administration." In "Ex-Providence mayor considers post-prison comeback," by Michelle R. Smith, Associated Press, 8 June 2014.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Change and the End of the Story:    "...many well-known politicians have switched parties while serving in the public arena. And there are some famous public servants, like Hillary Clinton and CIA Director Leon Panetta, who changed their affiliations early in life. (Both Clinton and Panetta were Republicans. Clinton even worked for conservative Barry Goldwater during his 1964 presidential campaign.)" In "Party Switches Made By Famous Political Figures," by Katherine Zaleski, Huffington Post, 29 May 2009.    [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of  Changing Vehicles of Self-Interest:   "Indeed, more often than not, parties are vehicles of self-interest — which was one reason the country’s framers were suspicious of them to begin with...." In "He Flipped!," by Mark Leibovich, New York Times, 2 May 2009.   [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Bipartisanship:    "...the state signed a long-term deal for offshore wind power, which will raise its already-high electricity costs, in part because it has agreed to pay rates four times higher than what its neighbors, Massachusetts and Connecticut, will expend in similar renewable-energy deals. According to Rhode Island Taxpayers, the deal amounts to an overpayment of approximately $535 million—far more than the state lost on 38 Studios. Former governor Don Carcieri, a Republican, steered both projects: in Rhode Island, bad ideas are bipartisan." In "The Bluest State," by Aaron M. Renn, City Journal, Spring 2014.

 

Addendum of Lying Down with Dogs and Getting Up with Fleas:   "Pressler, who is running for Senate in South Dakota as an independent was on the board of Sky Capital from 2004 until he resigned in 2006, according to court documents and numerous news reports. Pressler served as non-executive director of the board. Sky Capital was founded by Ross Mandell, who served as chief executive and was sentenced to 12 years in prison in 2012 for conspiracy, securities fraud, wire fraud, and mail fraud. Pressler was never accused of wrongdoing, but repeatedly vouched for the character of the Mandell, who was at the center of the fraud operation." In "SD Senate Candidate Sat On Board Of Company While It Defrauded Investors Of Millions," by Andrew Kaczynski, BuzzFeed, 13 October 2014.

 

Addendum of Just Another Governor Going to Prison:   "A jury in September convicted the McDonnells of corruption for taking more than $165,000 in gifts and loans from wealthy vitamin entrepreneur Jonnie Williams in exchange for promoting his products." In "Experts: 2-year sentence for ex-Va gov good news for wife," by Larry O'Dell and Alan Suderman, Associated Press, 7 January 2015.

 

Addendum of Resigning for Political Mileage:   "Schock billed the federal government and his campaign for logging roughly 170,000 miles on his personal car between January 2010 and July 2014. But when he sold that Chevrolet Tahoe in July 2014, it had only roughly 80,000 miles on the odometer, according to public records obtained by POLITICO under Illinois open records laws. The documents, in other words, indicate he was reimbursed for 90,000 miles more than his car was ever driven. The discrepancy added to a growing wave of ethical and legal problems the 33-year-old politician faces." In "Rep. Aaron Schock resigns," by Jake Sherman, Anna Palmer and John Bresnahan, Politico, 17 March 2015.

 

Addendum to Two Sentences:   "Former Connecticut Gov. John Rowland was sentenced to 30 months in prison for his role in a political consulting scheme on Wednesday, exactly one decade after he was ordered behind bars in an earlier scandal that forced him from office. Rowland, once a rising star in the Republican Party, committed the latest crimes as he maneuvered to insert himself in two separate congressional political campaigns. He was convicted in September on charges that he conspired to conceal payment for the work, which he knew would bring unwelcome publicity to the candidates because of his criminal history." In "Ex-Connecticut Gov. Rowland sentenced to prison a 2nd time," by Dave Collins, Associated Press, 18 March 2015.

 

See:   Corruption     and   Left and Right 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]  Of Cianci's demonstrable fluid political affiliation, one reads, "Cianci first won the office as a Republican in the heavily Democratic city in 1974 and later became an independent." And later, one reads, "Cianci doesn't know whether he would run as an independent or a Democrat. The filing deadline is June 25 for the race to succeed Mayor Angel Taveras, who's running for governor."  For an interesting notion about parties and party names, see:  We might have called ourselves the Liberal Party  .

 

[ 2 ]   Hillary Clinton wrote: "I liked Senator Goldwater because he was a rugged individualist who swam against the political tide." (Living History, Scribner, 2004)   To inform on the notion of politicians -- Clinton in particular -- seeming to work for the common good, it is instructive to revisit her own words.   See:  For Your Common Good   - in the fat cat neighborhood.

 

[ 3 ]    Google's cached page showed a sentence which since has apparently been edited away from the NYTimes article. It reads bluntly: "Self-preservation is the ultimate motivator for switching parties." 

          Given the proven and sometimes openly admitted truth that "self-preservation is the ultimate motivator for switching parties" (and indeed even choosing them), one may correctly be skeptical when Government Speaks  .


 

Disarm the arms - on the Machiavellian farms

"...when you disarm them, you at once offend them by showing that you distrust them, either for cowardice or for want of loyalty, and either of these opinions breeds hatred against you. And because you cannot remain unarmed, it follows that you turn to mercenaries, which are of the character already shown; even if they should be good they would not be sufficient to defend you against powerful enemies and distrusted subjects. Therefore, as I have said, a new prince in a new principality has always distributed arms. Histories are full of examples. But when a prince acquires a new state, which he adds as a province to his old one, then it is necessary to disarm the men of that state, except those who have been his adherents in acquiring it; and these again, with time and opportunity, should be rendered soft and effeminate; and matters should be managed in such a way that all the armed men in the state shall be your own soldiers who in your old state were living near you." In "The Prince, by Nicolo Machiavelli (1469-1527), translated by W. K. Marriott (1908), Chapter 20.

 

Disarm the arms
Of those you distrust,
Rendering as you farm
Soft, effeminate dust.

 

Disarm the arms
That men may be weak,
As a prince harms
The small and the meek.

 
Disarm the arms
Of those you distrust.
History proves tyrants
Found this a must.

 

Disarm the arms

Is for centuries known

To be a fine method

That despots be grown.

 

Envoi:   "[W]hen the resolution of enslaving America was formed in Great Britain, the British Parliament was advised by an artful man, who was governor of Pennsylvania, to disarm the people; that it was the best and most effectual way to enslave them; but that they should not do it openly, but weaken them, and let them sink gradually, by totally disusing and neglecting the militia." George Mason (1725-1792)

 

Addendum of a Change in Thinking in Detroit:   "Craig on Thursday was candid about how he’s changed his mind. 'When we look at the good community members who have concealed weapons permits, the likelihood they’ll shoot is based on a lack of confidence in this Police Department,' Craig said at a press conference at police headquarters, adding that he thinks more Detroit citizens feel safer, thanks in part to a 7 percent drop in violent crime in 2013." In "Detroit police chief: Legal gun owners can deter crime," by George Hunter, Detroit News, 3 January 2014.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of a Socialist Government:   "Seeking to quell the unrest, Maduro unveiled a 10-point plan to crack down on crime that includes disarming the population, increased police patrols and unspecified 'clear rules for television.' The protesters have demanded that Maduro step down, although opposition leaders have not endorsed the request. Despite having the world's largest proven reserves of crude oil, Venezuela has severe economic problems and a deep divide between rich and poor. And with an institutionally socialist government dependent on oil revenues in a state-led system, the nation has been hurt by a shortage of hard currency, while dwindling supplies of consumer goods have frustrated even some government supporters." In "Venezuela split by pro- and anti-Maduro protests," Yahoo News, 15 February 2014.

 

Addendum of Disarming the Dhimmis:   "A jihadist group in Syria has demanded that Christians in the northern city of Raqqa pay a levy in gold and accept curbs on their faith, or face death. The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) said it would give Christian residents 'protection' if they agreed to the list of conditions. The announcement came in a statement posted online. The directive from ISIS, citing the Islamic concept of 'dhimma', requires Christians in the city to pay tax of around half an ounce (14g) of pure gold in exchange for their safety. It says Christians must not make renovations to churches, display crosses or other religious symbols outside churches, ring church bells or pray in public. Christians must not carry arms, and must follow other rules imposed by ISIS (also known as ISIL) on their daily lives." In "Syria crisis: ISIS imposes rules on Christians in Raqqa," BBC, 27 February 2014.

 

Addendum of Americans Embracing Guns:  "...with the decisions in District of Columbia v. Heller and McDonald v. Chicago, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed. The Heller decision struck down the District of Columbia's draconian gun-control law, while McDonald made clear that the Second Amendment protected not only against federal incursions into gun rights (the District of Columbia is a federal enclave) but also to infringements involving states and municipalities. Subsequent lower court cases, like Moore v. Madigan and Peruta v. San Diego, have held that the Second Amendment supports not only a right to keep a gun in one's home for self-protection, but also a right to carry a gun in public for self-defense. The details are still being hammered out, but the right is no longer in question." In "Americans embrace guns," a column by Glenn Harlan Reynolds, USAToday, 2 March 2014.

 

Addendum from a Ukraine Seeing Itself Threatened by Russia:   " 'This is our main square, where it all happened,' Uchaykin says, referring to Kiev’s Independence Square, where riot police snipers shot and killed protesters in February. 'We couldn’t imagine this in the 21st century. We weren’t ready for this.' Most Ukrainians were caught completely off guard by the state-sponsored brutality. The new interior minister has issued an arrest warrant for ousted President Viktor Yanukovych and his colleagues for mass murder. But in a darker side effect, civilians are now stocking up on firepower. In the past month, sales of firearms—both legal and illegal—have skyrocketed in the country." In "Ukrainians Want to Arm Themselves to the Teeth," by Versha Sharma and Vladi Vovchuk, Vocativ, 7 March 2014.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of the US Aiming to Arm a People:   "The U.S. government is finalizing a plan to increase training and small-arms shipments for Syrian rebels, two U.S. security sources said on Friday, as Syrian government troops gain momentum following the collapse of U.S.-backed peace talks. The United States would increase assistance and send the shipments to moderate rebel factions mostly based in Jordan, along Syria's southern border, the officials familiar with the plan told Reuters." In "U.S. finalizing plan to boost support for Syrian rebels: sources," by Mark Hosenball and Missy Ryan, Reuters, 4 April 2014.  [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of the US Aiming to Disarm a People:   "When President Barack Obama delivered his 2013 State of the Union address, his impassioned plea for lawmakers to vote on anti-gun violence legislation was deemed one of the most memorable moments of his presidency. That speech came just two months after the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting in Newtown, Conn., and at the onset of an ambitious push by Obama's administration to advance the most sweeping reforms to gun policy in a generation. One year later, with his gun control agenda considered dead on Capitol Hill, the president used the same venue to pledge that he will advance measures to reduce gun violence 'with or without Congress'." In "Obama Pledges Gun Control 'With Or Without Congress' In 2014 State of the Union Address," by Sabrina Siddiqui, 28 January 2014.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of Mexico Trying to Arm a People:   "Mexican authorities have begun handing out blue uniforms and assault rifles to vigilantes in the country's western region, legalising a movement that formed last year to combat a vicious drug cartel." In "Mexico legalises vigilantes to fight cartels," Agence France Presse, 10 May 2014.

 

Addendum of an Iraqi Cleric's Call to Arms:   "In his sermon in Karbala, Sheikh Abdul Mahdi al-Karbalai urged citizens to resist the forces of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), an al-Qaeda splinter group that overran Mosul, the country's second-largest city, as well as other towns in the past week after encountering little resistance from Iraqi troops. 'Citizens who are able to bear arms and fight terrorists, defend their country and their people and their holy places, should volunteer and join the security forces to achieve this holy purpose,' al-Karbalai said. 'He who sacrifices for the cause of defending his country and his family and his honor will be a martyr'." In "Cleric issues call to arms as Iraq edges closer to war," by Ammar Al Shamary and Gilgamesh Nabeel, USA Today, 13 June 2014.

 

Addendum of 40 Caliber Submachine Guns for the United States Department of Agriculture:   "The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Office of Inspector General, located in Washington, DC, pursuant to the authority of FAR Part 13, has a requirement for the commerical [ sic ] acquisition of submachine guns, .40 Cal. S&W, ambidextrous safety, semi-automatic or 2 shot burts [ sic ] trigger group, Tritium night sights for front and rear, rails for attachment of flashlight (front under fore grip) and scope (top rear), stock-collapsilbe [ sic ] or folding, magazine - 30 rd. capacity, sling, light weight, and oversized trigger guard for gloved operation." In "Firearms Solicitation Number: USDAOIGWEA-5-7-14," Department of Agriculture, Office of the Inspector General, 7 May 2014.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum from the National Socialists' Reichskristallnacht:   "Reichskristallnacht ended, but not before countless other incidents like these had unfolded in the dark hours. At the end of that pogrom, Germany's Jews were largely disarmed. The Nazis saw that an apparent majority of the 'Aryan ' population was too cowed and intimidated by the dictatorship to protest. With what would become the largest, most persecuted group of victims now virtually weaponless, Hitler's plans could move forward. No foundation would exist for any effective resistance movement or individual acts of resistance. The way was paved for total repression."   In "Gun Control in the Third Reich," by Stephen P. Halbrook, Independent Institute, 2013.    [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of Detroit's Armed Citizens Deterring Crime:   "Detroit— Fed up with crime, some armed Detroiters have developed itchy trigger-fingers — and Police Chief James Craig said lawbreakers are getting the message. ...Detroit has experienced 37 percent fewer robberies in 2014 than during the same period last year, 22 percent fewer break-ins of businesses and homes, and 30 percent fewer carjackings. Craig attributed the drop to better police work and criminals being reluctant to prey on citizens who may be carrying guns. 'Criminals are getting the message that good Detroiters are armed and will use that weapon,' said Craig, who has repeatedly said he believes armed citizens deter crime. 'I don’t want to take away from the good work our investigators are doing, but I think part of the drop in crime, and robberies in particular, is because criminals are thinking twice that citizens could be armed'." In "Detroit police chief gives credit to armed citizens for drop in crime," by George Hunter, Detroit News, 16 July 2014.

 

Addendum of a Visiting Hometown Milwaukee:   "...contemplating his close brush with death in the city where he grew up and wondering how things had come to this. Police informed him that a 15-year-old suspect in his shooting was in custody at a hospital recovering from his own gunshot wounds. Ironically, police confirmed the youth had been involved in another attempted armed robbery just days after shooting Motley. In what some might call an act of karma, this time the intended victim in that attempted crime pulled a gun and shot the 15-year-old suspect." In "Claude Motley's story of coming home to a city he doesn't recognize," by Eugene Kane, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 18 July 2014.

 

Addendum of a Change of Thinking in Brussels:   "De Brusselse rabbijn Menachem Margolin, voorzitter van de European Jewish Association (EJA), vraagt in een brief aan de regeringen van alle EU-lidstaten om hun wapenwetgeving zo aan te passen dat de joodse gemeenschappen op hun grondgebied zichzelf kunnen verdedigen tegen potentiële terroristische aanvallen." In "Voorzitter Joodse federatie: 'Laat Joodse gemeenschap zich bewapenen'," Nieuwsblad (Belgium), 16 January 2015.   [ 7 ]

 

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   One might compare the new Detroit police chief's statement to the long-stated stance of the city of Chicago and is vaunted gun control laws. For more on this, please see  If Chicago were a war zone  .

 

[ 2 ]   The Ukrainian controversy as Crimea acceded to Russia by withdrawal from the Ukraine is not an isolated incident of foreign policy. One reads:  "Putin mobilizes thousands of troops, artillery and attack helicopters on Ukraine’s borders and Washington counters with baguettes, American-style. One thing we can say for sure in these uncertain times: The invasion of Ukraine will be catered by the United States. Why did we deny Ukraine weapons? Because in the Barack Obama-John Kerry worldview, arming the victim might be taken as a provocation." In "Obama’s pathetic response to Putin’s invasion of Crimea," by Charles Krauthammer, Washington Post, 21 March 2014.

          For more on provocative "gun" speech, see:   Chant for a change  .

 

[ 3 ]   One notes that the US administration is sending small arms to a war zone, thereby adding an additional element to the gun violence there.

          As to the toll one reads:   "The death toll in Syria's civil war has risen to at least 130,433, more than a third of them civilians on both sides of the conflict, but the real figure is probably much higher, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Tuesday. The conflict in Syria began in March 2011 as peaceful protests against four decades of rule by President Bashar al-Assad's family, but turned into an armed insurgency whose sectarian dimensions have reverberated across the Middle East." In "Anti-Assad monitoring group says Syrian death toll passes 130,000," Reuters, 31 December 2013.

          The civilian toll is staggering, but the toll in children's deaths is noted:  "The civil war in Syria presents so many staggering figures — millions of refugees, billions of dollars in destruction — looking back to its beginning in the spring of 2011. But there is one number that seems to encapsulate the tragedy like no other: 11,420. That's the number of children killed in the conflict, according to the independent Oxford Research Group in London." In "11,420 Children Dead In Syria's Civil War, So Far," by Deborah Amos, National Public Radio, 19 December 2013.

          So the United States administration is arming people with guns, in the knowledge that over one hundred thousand are dying, and among the dead over ten thousand children.

 

[ 4 ]   One notes the US administration expresses a different tone for the US:  "As many have argued, Americans are becoming numb to gun violence. If it's the scale of a tragedy that might inspire Congress, the murder of, say, three or more, then he should have hammered at them about once every two and half hours, the entire year. Over 12,000 people, adults and children, died from gun violence in 2013 – about 30 a day." In "In 2013, the US lost 30 people a day to gun violence. Obama shouldn't let us forget," by Ana Marie Cox, Guardian UK, 31 January 2014.

          Over one hundred thousand dead? Arm the people. Over ten thousand dead? Disarm the people.

          And yet one reads that the "scale of the tragedy" in the US is diminishing.  "The number of homicides in the United States’ biggest cities hit record lows again in 2013 as the murder rate nationally continued to drop to levels not seen since the 1960s. According to year-end data released by police departments around the country, Chicago still leads the country in homicides with 415, but that number declined 18% from 2012 and is the fewest since 1965. Crime has been a problem in pockets of the city’s South Side and West Side neighborhoods for years. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel hired a new superintendent of police soon after he was elected to shift the department’s strategy in an attempt to prevent future crimes. But while the murder rate declined to roughly 43 homicides per 100,000 residents (down from 50 in 2012), the number of murders in Chicago still outpaced every other major metropolis in the U.S." In "Murders in U.S. Cities Reach Record Lows Again," by Josh Sanburn, Time, 2 January 2014.

          12,000 deaths to murder? Reason to disarm a people. Ten times that number of deaths? Reason to arm a people.

          Inconsistent? Without a doubt. But if statistics are to be believed, the reduction of gun violence in the US is already underway -- much of it without government, and per the remarks of the new Detroit police chief, a cause is explained. Meanwhile the increase in gun violence in Syria is also underway, sponsored by the very same United States government.

          If as above arming some is a "provocation" in some places around the world, why not in others? If disarming people is the correct policy in some places around the world, why not is all places? The Prince might offer the answer, should one consider words from centuries past. It has everything to do with princes and principalities.

 

[ 5 ]     The USDA has found "need" of 40 caliber submachine guns with night sights and 30 round clips. What use can bureaucrats specializing in agriculture have for assault weapons? The USDA deals with American farmers and American farm products. Given a nation with a standing army, federal, state, county and municipal police forces, what "need" has the USDA for assault weapons, and against whom would such assault weapons be used? Nicolo Machiavelli has answered this question from long before the creation of the United States, when he observed of a "prince" that "matters should be managed in such a way that all the armed men in the state shall be your own soldiers...." When an agricultural department requires assault weapons, they are de facto "soldiers" of a "prince."

          What the USDA could use is a procurement writer who makes less that three misspellings on one short procurement document, and of course no 40 caliber submachine guns with night sights and 30 round clips unless it plans warfare against farmers. For such action, Machiavelli notes a government needs "mercenaries."

 

[ 6 ]      Halbrook writes earlier in his book of the 1928 Law on Firearms, which predates the Nazis' terror: "The Law on Firearms and Ammunition (Gesetz über Schußwaffen und Munition) of 1928, however, would focus not on repression of armed violence, but on regulation of the predominately peaceful citizenry. The millions who died in the Great War were killed by armies raised by nation-states. The violence of the 1920s did not compare with and indeed was in part a result of the war. The Versailles Treaty, with its harsh reparations, was in part to blame for the unemployment, depression, and chaos in Germany. Instead of blaming private firearm owners for the disorder, one can more justifiably blame war and the nation-state. But the Weimar leaders acted on the illusion that power would be exercised for the common good. They did not anticipate losing power and a new regime's seizing power and using the Weimar laws to repress the citizenry at large. The 1928 Firearms Law would be one of many such laws."  Ibid.

 

[ 7 ]     Translation:  "The Brussels Rabbi Menachem Margolin, president of the European Jewish Association (EJA), asks in a letter to the governments of all EU Member States to their gun laws be amended to assure that the Jewish communities in their territory to defend themselves against potential terrorist attacks."   For the background on this change of heart among European Jews, see:   Do not just hold a vigil  .


 

Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha

"In a blind tasting, 54 students in the wine program at the University of Bordeaux were tricked into perceiving a white wine as a red simply by adding food coloring to it." In "Is there a scientifically detectable difference between high-price liquor and regular stuff?" by Cecil Adams, The Straight Dope, 3 January 2014.

Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha agin,
For such iz da natuh of fancy gin.
A whine appropriate, redly white,
Iz a gotcha trick, o great delight.

Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha folk,
For dat's da natuh of de joke.
Wid yo noses held high aloft,
You kin be fooled most often oft.

Gotcha, gotcha, gotcha, yup,
Lah di dah is the plate you sup.
Blind when sight could show and tell,
You perceived not much so awfully well.
 

Envoi:   "Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it." Samuel Johnson (1709-1784)

 

Addendum of Oenological Fraud:   "An international wine dealer has been jailed for 10 years for fraud after selling fake vintages and cheating fellow connoisseurs out of tens of millions of dollars. Rudy Kurniawan, 37, an Indonesian-born businessman, had been considered one of the top wine collectors in the world, becoming famed for his palate and ability to identify fine wines. But it emerged he had been blending the contents of cheap bottles in the kitchen of the home he shared with his mother. He then placed the blends in old bottles, stuck fake labels on them and claimed they were rare vintages, selling them for vast sums." In "California wine collector jailed for 10 years for fraud," by Nick Allen, Telegraph UK, 7 August 2014.

 

Addendum of a Counterfeiter's Confession: " It was a remarkably simple operation for a man who supposedly fooled famous critics like Robert M. Parker, Jr., and experts like Michael Broadbent of the wine department of Christie’s London auction house. Rodenstock held numerous parties and large-scale affairs, serving wines many attendees (including the critics) had probably never tasted before. While Rodenstock is said to be a talented taster (with a conveniently large cache of empty old Bordeaux bottles), I found it amazing that he might be able to fake wines like the 1811 Château d’Yquem. On the other hand, maybe faking very old wine is easy; after all, how many people really know what a 200-year-old Sauternes should taste like? It seemed to me that it would be a lot harder to counterfeit something modern and well-known, like a first-growth 1982 Bordeaux." In " Wine Scams: A Counterfeiter Confesses," by Lettie Teague, Food and Wine, October 2008.

 

Addendum of a Horrible Gotcha of Whiskey Drinkers:   "Nicholas Stewart, 35, tricked holidaymakers in Blackpool into buying bottles of what appeared to be sealed, 1.5 litre bottles of Jack Daniel’s whiskey and Smirnoff vodka. Security staff seized the bottles – which were being sold at £10 each – after they noticed Stewart approaching tourists at the Coral Island slot machine complex. However, scientific analysis revealed that while some bottles contained flat cola, others contained urine and additional human waste." In "Conman guilty of selling urine as whisky," The Spirits Business, 12 January 2015.

 

Addendum of the Gotcha Behind a Hate Crime:   "A group of artists have claimed responsibility for hanging three effigies of lynching victims around the University of California-Berkeley campus this weekend. The artists, who say they are a 'collective of queer black and (people of color) artists, posted a message on a campus bulletin board today saying that the images - which many students and faculty found deeply offices - were part of an art project. The statement said the perpetrators are from the San Francisco Bay area - but does not state whether the people behind it are students." In "Group calling themselves 'queer, black and people of color' claim they hung effigies of lynching victims on Berkeley campus for an ART PROJECT," by Kieran Corcoran and Michael Zennie, Daily Mail UK, 15 December 2014.

 

Addendum of a Oily Gotcha:   "We had a dozen oils, and a panel consisting of an importer, an Italian deli owner and a couple of eminent foodies: the results were so embarrassing and confusing the piece was never published. The importer went into a fugue after he was informed that he'd pronounced his own premium product 'disgusting'; the deli owner chose a bottle of highly dubious 'Italian extra virgin' as his favourite (it had cost £1.99 at the discount store TK Maxx); and both the foodies gave a thumbs-up to Unilever's much-derided Bertolli brand." In "Extra Virginity: The Sublime and Scandalous World of Olive Oil by Tom Mueller – review," by Alex Renton, Guardian UK, 13 January 2012.

 

Addendum of the Composer that Never Lived:    "It is strange to reflect that, had he lived, the avant-garde Polish composer Piotr Zak would still be only 55. But then he never did - except for half an hour in the BBC's Third Programme on 5 June 1961. The announcer sounded sober enough: we were about to hear a new piece for electronic tape and two percussionists, exploiting 'velocity graphs and decibel indexes', and entitled Mobile. Zak's bings and bongs were duly broadcast twice, and reviewed, if for the most part pretty unfavourably, in the heavies over the next few days. When it subsequently emerged that the thing was actually a hoax, knocked up at random by one of the BBC's newest music producers and an assistant in a studio full of percussion, there was quite a fuss. While the philistine press concluded it just proved modern music was junk, those critics who had been earnestly attempting to keep up with William Glock's open- door policy to the latest Continental trends felt stabbed in the back. And it was no use the perpetrator, Hans Keller, claiming that he had been trying to raise serious questions about the nature of musicality in an age of compositional breakdown and unmusical noise." In "Classical Music: Making a real nuisance of himself: Musical hoaxer, critical gadfly, football tactician - Bayan Northcott reassesses the paradox that was Hans Keller," a book review, Independent UK, 8 October 1994.

 

Consider:   anythingis   - that new old refrain

 

Addendum of a Gotcha during the Democrat Party Primary of 2008:   "Sen. Hillary Clinton said she 'misspoke' last week when she gave a dramatic description of her arrival in Bosnia 12 years ago, recounting a landing under sniper fire. Clinton was responding to a question Monday from the Philadelphia Daily News' editorial board about video footage of the event that contradicted her assertion that her group "ran with our heads down" from the plane to avoid sniper fire at the Tuzla Air Base. Tommy Vietor, a spokesman for rival Sen. Barack Obama's campaign, said the Bosnia claim was part of 'a growing list of instances in which Sen. Clinton has exaggerated her role in foreign and domestic policymaking.' Clinton told the paper's editorial board it was a 'minor blip.' 'I say a lot of things -- millions of words a day -- so if I misspoke, that was just a misstatement,' she said. In a radio interview that aired Tuesday, Clinton said she wasn't worried about the incident hurting her credibility." In "Clinton says she 'misspoke' about sniper fire," CNN, 25 March 2008.   [ 1 ]
 

Addendum of Gotchas for a News Story:   "It’s been a tough month for fact checking. After the Rolling Stone campus rape story unraveled, readers of all publications can be forgiven for questioning the process by which Americans get our news. And now it turns out that another blockbuster story is —to quote its subject in an exclusive Observer interview—'not true.' Monday’s edition of New York magazine includes an irresistible story about a Stuyvesant High senior named Mohammed Islam who had made a fortune investing in the stock market." In "New York Mag’s Boy Genius Investor Made It All Up, In an exclusive Observer interview, Mohammed Islam, said to have investment returns of $72 million as a hs senior, admits he invented the whole story," by Ken Kurson, New York Observer, 15 December 2014.     [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Gotchas for a News Anchor:   "Mr. Williams has some sort of pathological need to embiggen himself. It wasn’t enough that 9 million people watched him nightly, or that he made $10 million a year, he needed to be more — a war hero, it turns out. So he made up stories — lied — about what he had done as a 'journalist.' While a slew of liberal mouthpieces sought to help him out (what he did really wasn’t that bad, they argued), he was ridden out of town on a rail." In "Lying liberals and the lies they tell," by Joseph Curl, Washington Times, 15 February 2015.     [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of Gotchas for Many Journalists:   "...even a cursory online search for @DPRK_News will yield a large number of articles that reveal that the account is fake and that mock the news outlets that take it seriously. 'This North Korean Twitter account is fake, but journalists keep falling for it' is how Vox put it in December." In "No, North Korea did not offer support for ‘noted scholar’ Donald Trump," by Adam Taylor, 10 August 2015.

 

Addendum of the Racist Social Justice Warrior:   “...I knew I could just bait all of y'all into being as stupid as you are. Just allowing the issue to be framed in the most simple way: 'oh, he said an offensive term. Let’s not worry about the actual condition of the way things are. Let’s worry about an offensive term. And that’s how they got it! They got it sewed up.' He continued, 'And they got this poor girl coming out here talkin' ’bout, 'it hurt my feelings!' Man, who cares about your feelings, man? Seriously? I don’t give a fuck,” he added." In "Person Putting “Whites Only” Stickers Around Austin Turns Out to be Liberal Social Justice Warrior," by Aurelius, Pundit Press, 21 March 2015.

 

Addendum of Those Peer Reviews:    " 'The problem of fake peer reviewers is affecting the whole of academic journal publishing and we are among the ranks of publishers hit by this type of fraud,' Patel of BioMed’s ethics group wrote in November. 'The spectrum of 'fakery' has ranged from authors suggesting their friends who agree in advance to provide a positive review, to elaborate peer review circles where a group of authors agree to peer review each others’ manuscripts, to impersonating real people, and to generating completely fictitious characters. From what we have discovered amongst our journals, it appears to have reached a higher level of sophistication. The pattern we have found, where there is no apparent connection between the authors but similarities between the suggested reviewers, suggests that a third party could be behind this sophisticated fraud'." In "Major publisher retracts 43 scientific papers amid wider fake peer-review scandal," by Fred Barbash, Washington Post, 27 March 2015.

 

Addendum of Science's Retraction:   "Science, with the concurrence of author Donald P. Green, is retracting the 12 December 2014 Report “When contact changes minds: An experiment on transmission of support for gay equality” by LaCour and Green." In "Editorial retraction," by Marcia McNutt, Science, 28 May 2015.    [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of the Fake Peer Reviews:    "A leading scientific publisher has retracted 64 articles in 10 journals, after an internal investigation discovered fabricated peer-review reports linked to the articles' publication. Berlin-based Springer announced the retractions in an 18 August statement. In May, Springer merged with parts of Macmillan Science and Education — which publishes Nature — to form the new company Springer Nature. The cull comes after similar discoveries of 'fake peer review' by several other major publishers, including London-based BioMed Central, an arm of Springer, which began retracting 43 articles in March citing 'reviews from fabricated reviewers'. " In "Faked peer reviews prompt 64 retractions," by Ewen Callaway, Nature, 18 August 2015.

 

Addendum of the Fake Gay Bull:   "Benjy, the bull in Ireland who had an international campaign launched in his name after his original owner threatened to send him to the slaughterhouse due to his lack of interest in mating, appears to be exploring new options in his sanctuary home. His new owner, Wendy Valentine of the Hillside Animal Sanctuary in Frettenham, Northfolk, told the BBC 'Judging by what he was trying to do the other day with one of the cows... he isn’t gay'." In "Benjy the gay Irish bull may like cows after all," by Casey Egan, Irish Central, 2 June 2015.

 

Addendum of Faking Arson:   "An insurance company caught on to the ruse months after the blaze and accused Carol Ann and Laura Stutte of perpetuating a hoax and blaming the fire on their neighbor, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported. A federal jury ruled in favor of the insurance company’s belief that the couple spray-painted an anti-gay slur on their own garage to spin the fire as a hate crime based on their sexual orientation. The homeowners intended to bank on an insurance claim of more than $276,000, American National and Casulty Company alleged in court documents obtained by the News Sentinel." In "Tennessee lesbian couple faked hate crime and destroyed own home with arson for insurance claim, jury rules," by Nicole Hensley, New York Daily News, 5 August 2015.

 

Addendum of the Faked Attack:    "A Utah man who reported someone beat him and carved a homophobic slur into his arm staged the attacks, authorities said Tuesday. Millard County Sheriff Robert Dekker said Rick Jones, 21, could face charges after officers investigating the series of reported attacks found inconsistencies in the evidence. The Delta man eventually acknowledged faking the harassment, Dekker said." In "Utah man who claimed ‘Die fag’ was carved into his arm during hate crime, staged attacks," by Lindsay Whitehurst, Associated Press, 30 June 2015.

 

Addendum of a Racism Fake:   " A Colorado Springs man was arrested after police believe he left racist messages outside a church. Vincent Broughton, 44, who is black, is facing charges for committed a bias-motivated crime and disorderly conduct." In "Black Suspect Arrested After Racist Message Discovered Outside Predominately Black Church," CBS Colorado, 30 June 2015.

 

 Addendum of Another Racism Fake:   "Campus police at the University at Buffalo removed signs saying 'White Only' and 'Black Only' Wednesday afternoon from Clemens Hall on the North Campus in Amherst. A university spokesperson said a police investigation found that the signs 'were part of a student art project.' The campus newspaper, The Spectrum, reported on its website that Ashley Powell, a graduate fine arts student who is black, told a meeting of the Black Student Union Wednesday evening that she posted the signs. The Spectrum noted that many students at the meeting were outraged and walked out. Other students, the newspaper said, denounced the signs on social media as 'racist' and 'an act of terrorism'." In " 'White Only,' 'Black Only' signs at UB linked to student art project, Buffalo News, 16 September 2015.

 

Addendum of Yet Another Racism Fake:   "Police reports obtained by The Saginaw News say Emmanuel Bowden made threats on the social media site Yik Yak last week but subsequently said it was just a joke. The 21-year-old, who is black, attends Delta Community College but lives at Saginaw Valley. He's charged with making a false threat of terrorism." In "Black student accused of making false threat against blacks," Saginaw News, 18 November 2015.

 

Addendum of -- Alas -- Yet Another:   "A recent Kean graduate has been charged with being responsible for a series of tweets threatening black students at the school two weeks ago, acting Union County Prosecutor Grace H. Park announced Tuesday. Kayla-Simone McKelvey, 24, of Union – a black alum who graduated in May – was charged by summons with third-degree creating a false public alarm." In "Twitter threats to black Kean students made by black alum, police say," by Jessica Remo, NJ Advance Media for NJ.com, 1 December 2015.

 

Addendum of -- Alas and Alack -- Yet Another:   "An ex-police officer who reported finding a letter insulting black officers has been accused of planting the note himself. ...Higgins, who is black, said the note written on police department stationary made him fear for his life and proved that there was discrimination inside the department." In "Ex-police officer who 'found' racist letter at work threatening him and other African-American cops is charged with planting it," by Imogen Calderwood, MailOnline, 2 December 2015.

 

 Addendum of a Racism Fake Being Prosecuted:   "The charges were issued after evidence was gathered during a three-week investigation that included interviewing 35 passengers on the bus, reviewing videotape from 12 security camera videos on the bus, reviewing four videos taken by passengers on their mobile phones, reviewing videotape police from the university’s surveillance system, examining UAlbany building access records, and reviewing audio recordings. According to police, video and audio evidence as well as statements from every witness demonstrate that no male ever struck the three women. Evidence indicates they were the aggressors in the physical altercation, and that they continued to assault the victim despite the efforts of several passengers to stop them, police said." In "All three women in alleged UAlbany racial attack to be charged in incident," by Trishna Begam and Rachel Yonkunas, News10 ABC, 25 February 2016.

 

Addendum of  Charge Debunked by Video:   "A Texas journalism professor's explosive charge that police hassled her for 'walking while black,' a claim lodged in a guest column in the state's biggest newspaper, doesn't square with the videotape, according to the police chief." In "Dashcam video undermines Texas prof’s claim of racial profiling, says chief," by Perry Chiramonte, FOX News, 2 November 2015.

 

Addendum of a Fake Indian: " 'If she had gotten this position in her own right, I could swallow this news,' said University of Wyoming professor (and federally-recognized Delaware) Nicky Michael in a comment. 'To advertise and legitimize her is stealing from my people, family and children. Our Elders didn’t suffer for others to finally gain these positions.' Bear Christensen, a Cherokee and Dartmouth alum, savaged the school for its two-faced approach to Taffe Reed's ethnic heritage. '[This] is a case where someone has actively embraced and promoted a false cultural connection to give themselves an air of 'cultural authority' as a 'selling point' for her academic career,' said Christensen." In "Yet Another Academic Is In Trouble For Being A Fake Indian," by Blake Neff, Daily Caller, 17 September 2015.

 

Gotcha of a Science Fake:  "A former Iowa State University scientist who altered blood samples to make it appear he had achieved a breakthrough toward a potential vaccine against HIV was sentenced Wednesday to more than 4 ½ years in prison for making false statements in research reports. Dong-Pyou Han, 58, also must pay $7.2 million to a federal government agency that funded the research." In "Scientist Sentenced To Prison For AIDS Research Fraud By Spiking Vaccine With Rabbit Blood," CBS Cleveland, 2 July 2015.

 

Addendum of a Fake Education:   "According to the report, Ahmed obtained false university transcripts through an online service. He claimed to have obtained a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin–Oshkosh and a master's degree from the University of Central Florida, and submitted fake transcripts to his government file. ...Ahmed told investigators that he knew his actions were wrong, and said he did not know why he did what he did. 'I just … wanted to be something I'm not, I guess,' the report quoted him." In "How a Federal Employee with Fake Diplomas Worked at the Department of the Interior for Five Years," by Kaveh Waddell, National Journal, 15 July 2015.

 

Addendum of the Beauty of Faking Cancer:   "Online court records show the 23-year-old, of State College, was arraigned Tuesday on charges of theft by deception and receiving stolen property. Investigators in Centre County said events were set up to raise money for her medical bills. Police said Weaver-Gates took the money even though she didn’t have cancer." In "Pennsylvania Beauty Queen Accused of Faking Cancer," by Steve Beck, NBC News, 12 August 2015.

 

 Addendum of Another Faking Cancer:   "An Arizona woman accused of faking a cancer diagnosis to get the state to pay for her late-term abortion was convicted of fraud and other charges Monday." In "Woman found guilty of faking cancer to get late-term abortion," by Associated Press, 26 April 2016.

 

Addendum of a Study's Bleak Verdict on Studies:    "...a whopping 75% of the social psychology experiments were not replicated, meaning that the originally reported findings vanished when other scientists repeated the experiments. Half of the cognitive psychology studies failed the same test. Details are published in the journal Science. Even when scientists could replicate original findings, the sizes of the effects they found were on average half as big as reported first time around." In "Study delivers bleak verdict on validity of psychology experiment results," by Ian Sample, Guardian UK, 27 August 2015.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of the Greatest Internet Scam Ever:   "...Ashley Madison might have been the greatest internet scam, ever. They suckered a couple million guys into paying a boatload of money to have affairs with women who were nothing more than sockpuppets of Ashley Madison employees." In "Ashley Madison Was the Greatest Scam Ever," by Jonathan V. Last, weekly Standard, 2 September 2015.    [ 6 ]

 

Addendum of a Green Fake:    "The federal government paid out as much as $51 million in green car subsidies for Volkswagen diesel vehicles based on falsified pollution test results, according to a Times analysis of the federal incentives. On Friday, federal and state regulators said the German automaker used software in 482,000 of its diesel vehicles since the 2009 model year to cheat on U.S. emissions tests." In "U.S. taxpayers duped into shelling out $51 million in green subsidies for 'clean' VW vehicles," by Jerry Hirsch, Los Angeles Times, 21 September 2015.

 

 Addendum of Fake Charitable Donations:    "Thrift Land, a for-profit company, made about $10m by reselling the clothing and gave the charities $100-$200 for the use of their names, plus a small monthly fee. 'Duping members of the public into thinking that they are making a charitable donation, when in fact they are enriching a for-profit corporation, is both deceptive and illegal,' attorney general Eric Schneiderman said in a statement." In "New York company fined over fake clothing donation bins that netted $10m," by Mahita Gajanan, Guardian UK, 2 November 2015.

 

Addendum of Fake Virginity:   " 'The damage caused by this deceit is enormous, not just for consumers but also for the entire country and for the image of products that are made in Italy,' said Rosario Trefiletti, the president of Federconsumatori, a consumer association." In "Italian companies investigated for passing off ordinary olive oil as extra-virgin," by Nick Squires, Telegraph UK, 11 November 2015.

 

 Addendum of Faking Rape:   "Police were initially suspicious when they discovered that the man she accused was already in jail during the times of the alleged attacks." In "College Student Claimed She Had Been Raped in a Park- But She Forgot About One Key Fact," by Jed Smith, Independent Journal, 26 December 2015.

 

Addendum of Arsonists' Gotcha:   "Four firemen have been convicted of arson in northern Germany after it emerged that they were regularly setting fires so they could heroically extinguish them." In "German firefighters 'set fires to look like heroes'," DPA/The Local, 22 December 2015.

 

 Addendum of a Fake Alleged Attack:   "After publicly sharing the details of an alleged attack motivated by her sexual orientation in August, a Central Michigan University instructor was sentenced last month for filing a false police report regarding the assault." In "Mt. Pleasant woman admits fabricating attack story," by Lisa Yanick-Jonaitis, The Morning Sun, 7 March 2016.

 

Addendum of a False Report:   "Saida Chatti was arraigned Thursday in Dearborn’s 18th District Court on charges of false report or threat of a bomb/harmful device, a felony punishable by more than five years in prison." In "Woman arraigned in false report of attack on Fordson," by George Hunter, Detroit News, 19 February 2016.

 

 Addendum of Fake Islamophobia and Faked Assault:   "A woman who told cops she was called a terrorist and slashed on her cheek in lower Manhattan on Thursday later admitted she made up the story, police said early Friday." In "Woman admits she lied about being slashed in face, called 'terrorist' in lower Manhattan," by Reuven Blau, Rocco Parascandola, Thomas Tracy, John Annese, New York Daily News, 1 April 2016.

 

 Addendum of Another Islamophobia Hoax:   "The many media outlet’s initial reporting of the fake hate crime did not include qualifiers like 'alleged' and 'claimed.' Instead they reported the hoax crime as a fact like with Buzzfeed’s story, 'Drunk Men Yelling 'Donald Trump' Attempt To Remove Woman’s Hijab On NYC Subway'. While it’s not completely clear why Seweid invented this story it is clear that this hoax will harm the credibility of actual victims of hate crimes and assaults." In "SHE MADE IT UP: NYPD Arrests Muslim Girl Who Claimed Attack by Trump Supporters," by William Hicks, Heat Street, 14 December 2016.

 

Addendum of the Fake Teenager:   "A Pennsylvania high school honors student set to graduate this summer was arrested and charged on Tuesday after authorities discovered he was actually a 23-year-old Ukranian national using a false identity. Harrisburg police arrested and charged Artur Samarin, 23, with theft, identity theft, and tampering with public records after it was discovered he has been posing as a high school student for at least four years." In "Pennsylvania National Honor Society high schooler actually a 23-year-old Ukranian," by Tribune Media Wire, 25 February 2016.

  

 Addendum of Another Fake Teenager:   "...Jonathan Nicola was a 6’9, 202-pound basketball talent (you can see the video above), but turned out the Catholic Central Comets player is in fact 30 years old. He was arrested Wednesday for violating the Immigration Refugee Protection Act after Canadian Border Services Agency found evidence that he was a full 18 years older than his oldest competitors. He was even living with his coach, Pete Cusumano." In "Turns Out This Windsor High School Basketball Player Is Really 30 Years Old," by Daily Detroit Staff, Daily Detroit, 21 April 2016.

 

 Addendum of a Fake Homophobic Slur:   "An openly gay pastor who claimed that a grocery store bakery wrote a homophobic message on his cake has dropped his lawsuit against Whole Foods, claiming he made up the story, according to news reports." In "Gay pastor admits he faked homophobic slur on Whole Foods cake," by Julie Zauzmer, Washington Post, 16 May 2016.

 

 Addendum of A Beggar Flush with Cash:   "A man in Fresno, California, was arrested by police after panhandling on a median without a permit. Police found quite a bit of money on him -- $1,800 to be exact." In "'Aggressive' panhandler arrested with $1,800," KSBW News (ABC), 19 January 2016.

 

 Addendum of Another Reporter Who Fakes:   "The Guardian has admitted that a rogue reporter fabricated interviews in articles for the newspaper and falsely claimed to have been present at events he wrote about. Joseph Mayton, a freelance who has been writing for the Guardian since 2009, has been accused of making up quotes in some of his stories, even filing interviews with people who later said they had never spoken to him." In "Guardian admits rogue reporter fabricated interviews," by Gordon Rayner, Telegraph UK, 26 May 2016.

 

 Addendum of the African American's Racist Drawing:   " 'I can confirm two students have been identified, and are both African American,' King said, according to the Flyer. The image found April 10 on a whiteboard showed a stick figure being hanged. It was labeled with a racial slur and accompanied by the hashtag 'whitepower'." In "Racist drawing of lynching drawn on a Maryland University library whiteboard 'by two black students'," Associated Press, 28 April 2016.

 

 Addendum of Another Faked Racial Incident:  "From the parental statement: 'Upon learning more details of the case, and while racial slurs served to fuel the violence, Marcus now knows that his account of events was inconsistent with police findings, in part due to alcohol being involved, his embarrassment at his behavior, as well as the injuries he sustained.' He now knows this? No, he knew it all along, particularly after he sobered up. He now admits it. And 'inconsistent with police findings' is an awfully convoluted way of saying 'a lie'." In "Lessons gleaned from a web of lies in Iowa," by Eric Zorn, Chicago Tribune, 20 May 2016.

 

 Addendum of Fake Chinese Posts:   "...their aim is to 'regularly distract the public and change the subject,' the researchers say. 'Most of these posts involve cheerleading for China, the revolutionary history of the Communist Party, or other symbols of the regime'." In "Fake in China: 488 million social media posts a year," by Sophia Yan, CNN, 20 May 2016.

 

 Addendum of a Fake "Trump-Inspired" Attack:    "A Muslim woman in Louisiana who told police she was attacked with a metal object and robbed of her headscarf and wallet by two men wearing Donald Trump clothing just hours after Trump was elected president admitted to police today that she made it up, Lafayette police told ABC News. 'She made up the entire story about being attacked, about her hijab being taken. There was no truth to any of it,' Lafayette Police Department spokesman Cpl. Karol Ratcliff said." In "Muslim Student Who Reported Trump-Inspired Attack Admits She Made It Up, Police Say," by Marian Khan, ABC News, 10 November 2016.

 

 Addendum of Another Fake Hate Crime:   "Leftist students Anthony Morales, 19 (at left), and Matthew Kafker (at right), 18, vandalized the campus church with Swastikas. They wanted it to look like Trump supporters were behind the hate crime." In "FAKE HATE: Leftist Students Painted Swastika and 'Trump' on Campus Church," by Jim Hoft, Gatewya Pundit, 15 November 2016.    [ 7 ]

 

 Addendum of a Politically Driven Attack Hoax:   "The police reports are laced with racist remarks against Trump supporters that she sent to her boyfriend and mother. According to reports, she used words like, 'this is why you should take an IQ test to vote,' 'I hope they all get AIDS,' 'I haven't met a decent Trump supporter yet.' A BG [ Bowling Green ] student said regardless of who you wanted to win the election, 'we all have to move forward together and make peace.' Karl Hinshaw, the Pres. of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. said 'I feel like as a country we need to try to get away from that whole race issue, but unfortunately things happen everyday.' Long was charged with falsification and obstructing official business." In "BG police say student lied about politically driven attack," by Brigette Burnett, ABC News, 17 November 2016.

 

 Addendum of Another "Raising Awareness" Hoax:   "The men used a racial slur, made a reference to lynching and warned him this is Donald 'Trump country now,' according to the report he gave police. He was able to get away from the men and hid before calling police, officials said. Investigators prioritized resources for the suspected 'hate crime' incident and re-interviewed the alleged victim. 'As a result, it has been determined that the story was completely fabricated,' Malden police Chief Kevin Molis said in a statement. 'The alleged victim admitted that he had made up the entire story,' saying he wanted to 'raise awareness about things that are going on around the country'." In "Man admits to faking hate crime in Malden," by Brian Dowling, Boston Herald, 18 November 2016.

 

Addendum of Hate Fabrication:   "Hateful notes and emails allegedly sent to a North Park University student were 'fabricated,' the school’s president said Tuesday in a statement, and the woman who claimed they were aimed toward her is no longer enrolled at the school. 'We are confident there is no further threat of repeated intolerance to any member of our campus community stemming from this recent incident,' the university’s President David Parkyn said in a statement." In "Hateful 'Trump' Notes Allegedly Aimed at Student Were Fabricated, University Says," by Richard Ray, NBC Chicago, 22 November 2016.

 

 Addendum of Another Fake Hate Crime:   "Police say a Volusia County man faked a hate crime, set his ex-girlfriend's car on fire and then staged his own abduction to throw off detectives. Vincent Palmer, 27, told detectives he taped a note with racial slurs and the words 'KKK' and 'Trump' written on it to his ex-girlfriend's mailbox early Saturday before throwing a brick through her car window and dousing the back seat in gasoline because they were having problems over the custody of their children, according to an arrest report." In "Cops: Man faked 'KKK' hate crime, own kidnapping after lighting car on fire," by Stpahnie Allen, Orlando Sentinel, 12 December 2016.

 

 Addendum of Living Off a Fake Story:    "Brandon Blackstone went home after about a month, his military records show. His medic said he got appendicitis and did not return. The Arlington man ended up in a Dallas federal courtroom last month, where he pleaded guilty to two felonies for claiming he was “blown up” in a Humvee in Iraq in order to profit personally. Owens’ Marine buddies say they believe Blackstone took key details of Owens’ combat injury and made them his own so he could bilk the government and charities out of hundreds of thousands of dollars. 'He’s living off a fake story. It’s disgusting,' said Nick Sowers, 38, Owens’ best friend in Iraq who also was wounded in action." In "Former Marine from North Texas admits lying about combat injury in Iraq to get free house, VA benefits," by Kevin Krause, Dallas News, 22 November 2016.

 

 Addendum of a Fake Story Promoted by News Media:   "...the Tennessee newspaper that ran it first now says it can no longer stand by the account. The Knoxville News Sentinel story quickly went viral after it was published Sunday. USA Today republished the column, which was written by News Sentinel columnist Sam Venable. A host of national news outlets gave it additional coverage, including CNN, who spoke to Santa actor Eric Schmitt-Matzen about his interaction with the boy in his final moments." In "Viral Story Of Boy Who Died In Santa’s Arms Begins To Unravel," by Emanuella Grinberg and Tom Kludt, CBS News, 14 December 2016.

  

 Addendum of Having to Retract More Fake News:    "The Washington Post has retracted its story about Russian hackers penetrating the nation’s electricity grid with a virus found in a Burlington, Vt., electric company laptop. 'Authorities say there is no indication of that so far [that Russians had penetrated the US electric grid],' according to an editor’s note attached to a corrected version of the story on the paper’s Web site." In "Washington Post retracts story about Russian hack at Vermont utility," by Aaron Short, New York Post, 1 January 2016.

 

 Addendum of Fake Syrian War Footage:   "The Egyptian Interior Ministry issued a statement saying the video, which falsely claimed to show the Syrian city in fallen ruin, was the product of a videographer and a small crew. The filmmaker his assistants and the parents of two children who appeared in the footage were tracked to a demolition site in Port Said that resembled Aleppo's crumbling infrastructure. The ministry said the group confessed to making the video – which appears to show injured civilians and wide-spread destruction - with the intention of distributing it on social media. The ministry released raw videos created by the group showing an eight-year-old girl wearing a white dress, covered in bandages and holding a teddy bear." In "Egyptian film crew arrested for 'fake' Aleppo video," 9 News Australia, 21 December 2016.

 

 Addendum of First-Degree Arson as False Flag:   "Mississippi authorities have made an arrest in the burning of an African-American church spray-painted with the words, 'Vote Trump.' Mississippi Department of Public Safety spokesman Warren Strain says Andrew McClinton of Leland, Mississippi, who is African-American, is charged with first-degree arson of a place of worship." In "Arrest made in ‘Vote Trump’ burning of Mississippi black church," WREG News 3, 21 December 2016.

 

 Addendum of the Kick Boxer Who Couldn't Work:    "Eugene Reems, 49, of Midland Beach, pleaded guilty Monday to stealing the workers' compensation while teaching classes at CKO Kickboxing in Westerleigh, Staten Island, state Inspector General Cathrine Leahy Scott and Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon announced. Among evidence gathered was video showing him using his martial arts skills on a punching bag. 'This defendant’s repeated assertions that he was physically unable to work as a telephone company lineman, while at the same time demonstrating kicks and power punches as a martial arts instructor, was a brazen fraud perpetrated on a critical safety net meant for honest hard-working New Yorkers,' Leahy Scott said in a statement." In "'Injured' Worker Taught Kickboxing While Claiming $37K in Workers' Comp," by Nicholas Rizzi, DNInfo, New York, 21 December 2016.

 

  Addendum of Repeated Hoaxes:   "In 2014, Saleh was forced to admit that a video that purported to show racial profiling by the NYPD was faked. The fraudster apologized to the Muslim community and claimed the video was a 'dramatization.' The prankster’s story continued to unravel when Delta released a statement, backed up by fellow passengers, that Saleh and his partner were removed 'after a disturbance in the cabin.' After collecting more information, Delta followed up with another statement saying the duo engaged in 'provocative behavior, including shouting.' The overwhelming evidence did not stop the determined con artist from spreading the hoax. The video was retweetd 827,000 times on Twitter as of Thursday night." In "YouTube star’s bias claims disputed by passengers, Delta," by Joe Tacopino, New York Post, 23 December 2016.

 

 Addendum of Staging the Appearance of Hate:   "David and Jenny Williams from Denton, Texas, woke up to find their truck and motorcycle ablaze and the vile slur 'n***** lovers' scrawled across their garage door in spray paint on December 12. Police deemed the incident a hate crime and launched an arson investigation while well-wishers donated money to the family to help repair the damage. On Tuesday, Mrs Williams however revealed it was her husband who had started the fire." In "White husband confesses to wife to setting their cars on fire and painting racial slur on their garage door in staged 'hate crime'," by Jennfier Smith, Daily Mail UK, 24 December 2016.

 

 Addendum of Staging a Documentary:   "Originally scheduled to air Jan. 10, 'Escaping the KKK: A Documentary Series Exposing Hate in America' was produced by Venice, Calif.-based production company This Is Just a Test. The KKK leaders who were interviewed by Variety detailed how they were wooed with promises the program would capture the truth about life in the organization; encouraged not to file taxes on cash payments for agreeing to participate in the filming; presented with pre-scripted fictional story scenarios; instructed what to say on camera; asked to misrepresent their actual identities, motivations and relationships with others, and re-enacted camera shoots repeatedly until the production team was satisfied. The production team even paid for material and equipment to construct and burn wooden crosses and Nazi swastikas, according to multiple sources including Richard Nichols, who is one of the featured subjects of the documentary series as the Grand Dragon of a KKK cell known as the Tennessee White Knights of the Invisible Empire. He also said he was encouraged by a producer to use the epithet 'nigger' in interviews." In "KKK Leaders Allege Producers Paid Them to Fake Scenes in Canceled A&E Documentary (EXCLUSIVE)," by Nate Thayer, Variety, 30 December 2016.

 

 Addendum of Fake News and Cheap, Lazy Journalists:   "It’s bulls**t." In "The only hookers in this story are the cheap, lazy journalists who ran with fake Trump sleaze to urinate on his presidency," by Piers Morgan, Mail Online, 11 January 2017.

 

 Addendum of Fake Threats Against Blacks:   The account, named @KoolkidsKlanKkk, reportedly sent out a tweet that read, 'We’re planning to attack tomorrow'. This account used similar language to a racial petition that had been passed around Anne Arundel High School by the 'Kool Kids Klan'. Police worked with Twitter, and were able to identify the person who created the account and sent out the threatening tweet. That person has been identified as a 14-year-old African American female who attends Arundel High School." In "Police Charge Student For Threat Made At Arundel High School," by Ava-Joyce BHurnett, CBS Baltimore, 11 January 2017.

 

 Addendum of a Deadly Lie Finally Admitted:    "A white woman who accused Emmett Till of verbally and physically accosting her in Mississippi in 1955 – inflaming tensions around the murder that helped spark the civil-rights movement — has admitted she lied, according to a new book. Till, who was 14 at the time of his brutal death, had allegedly whistled at Carolyn Bryant, a 21-year-old white woman, while at a country store in Money, Mississippi. Bryant’s husband and a second white man later tracked Till down and shot and bludgeoned him to death — and were acquitted by an all-white, all-male jury after an hour’s deliberation." In "Emmett Till’s accuser admits: It was all a lie," by Yaron Steinbuch, New York Post, 27 January 2017.

 

 Addendum of Fake Diagnoses:   "Dr. Gary Marder in Port St. Lucie has agreed to pay up to $18 million to reimburse the government for Medicare payments on patients who were not ill. Prosecutors allege that Dr. Marder falsely diagnosed patients with skin cancer and put them through medically unnecessary radiation treatments, pocketing millions from the insurance companies." In "Port St. Lucie dermatologist wrongly diagnosed patients with cancer for profit," by Wanda Moore, WPTV, 10 February 2017.

 

 Addendum of Exposing the Machine for the Narrowing of Our Own Minds:   "Hyperpartisan news feeds are exploding. A New York Times story about them was headlined: 'Inside Facebook’s Totally Insane, Unintentionally Gigantic, Hyperpartisan Political-Media Machine.' There’s nothing wrong with being hyperpartisan, but an analysis of them by BuzzFeed found they publish false information at high rates, and that the more false the story, the more it gets passed around on social networks. So 'only the parts we want to hear' is what we, the people, really crave. It’s sad, since we built the internet with lofty, communal-sounding goals like 'data sharing' and 'networking.' Tech evangelists said it would open up and democratize the world. Instead now we’ve carved it up into thousands of belief-confirming information ruts. It’s like we’ve built a machine for the narrowing of our own minds." In "Seattle’s own ‘click-bait’ news site serves up red meat for liberals," by Danny Westneat, Seattle Times, 19 November 2016.

 

 Addendum of Faked Racially Charged Graffiti:   "Authorities say charges have been filed in connection to a graffiti incident on the garage door of an Arab family in Lucas County. Sylvania Township police say Osama Nazzal, 28, of Toledo, was charged with criminal damaging in connection to the incident. On Jan. 10, the Sylvania Twp. home of Souheir Eltatawi had been spray-painted with a swastika and derogatory phrase that read, 'Expletive Arabs'." In "Charges filed in connection to racially charged graffiti on Sylvania Twp. home," by Christopher Burns, NBC 24, 15 February 2017.