Collected Poetry

VOLUME FIFTEEN  

 

Original materials - Copyright © 2019  by Gary Bachlund    All international rights reserved

 

"We know through painful experience that freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed." In "Letter From Birmingham City Jail," Martin Luther King Jr., 16 April 1963.

 

Who just says what?

Who just says what? And who just defines
Amorphous notions of hateful whines?
One man hates another man's speech,
And to silence one extends the reach
Of who can say what and who shall define
Uniformed speech, the tyrant's sign.
Uniform thought is thought controlled;
An incorrect thought receives a scold.
Who just says what? And who just defines
When a thuggish tyrant speech maligns?
The fists of power rise up to crush
Whomever they deem it right to shush.
Hate means what? In what legal sense?
What should it cost? What recompense
Must be paid by cash, limb, or life,
As each tyrant seeks to silence strife?
Who just says what? And who just defines
When tyranny freedom's speech maligns?

 

Envoi:   "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all." Noam Chomsky.

 

Addendum of an Inquisition:   "...the Inquisition, guided by its founding in 1233 by the steely intellects of the Dominican order, had developed the techniques that would torment Catholic Europe and Latin America for centuries to come and, in the process, provide the model for latter- day totalitarian control of the individual conscience." In "The Perfect Heresy," by Stephen O'Shea, Profile Books, 2001.

 

Addendum of a Modern Inquisition:   "Large groups of citizens, loyal to the party and serving as informers and enforcers at the grassroots level, can be seen almost everywhere in China today. They are easily recognizable by the red armband they wear prominently. The so-called “red armbands,” mobilized masses and cadres for patrolling and inspecting, have become the instrument that the CCP uses to monitor the community, especially dissenters and religious believers. The appearance of these zealous citizens enforcing a moral and disciplinary code on their fellow citizens reminds many of past Chinese social movements, like the Fengqiao Experience or the Boxer Rebellion." by Lin Yijiang, Bitter Winter, 30 December 2018.   [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Another Modern Inquisition:   "The Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice enforces traditional Islamic morality by arresting or helping to secure the arrest of people who engage in conduct that violates Islamic principles and values. They are tasked with enforcing Sharia as defined in Saudi Arabia. In addition to having the power to arrest anyone engaged in homosexual acts, prostitution or fornication, they can also arrest unrelated males and females caught socializing and enforce Islamic dress-codes, eating habits (such as the prohibition from eating pork) and store closures during the prayer time. They prohibit the consumption or sale of alcoholic beverages and seize banned consumer products and media regarded contrary to Islamic morals. They also actively prevent the religious practices of other religions within Saudi Arabia." In "Committee for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Saudi Arabia)," Wikipedia article, n. d.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of a Choking Inquisition:   "The Justice Department has committed to ending a controversial Obama-era program that discourages banks from doing business with a range of companies, from payday lenders to gun retailers." In "Justice Department to end Obama-era 'Operation Choke Point'," by Victoria Guida, Politico, 17 August 2017. [ 3 ]

 

Addendum of an Artistic Inquisition:   " 'Every artist whose work appears on Netflix should be outraged that the company has agreed to censor a comedy show because the thin-skinned royals in Saudi complained about it,' a spokesperson said. 'Netflix’s claim to support artistic freedom means nothing if it bows to demands of government officials who believe in no freedom for their citizens – not artistic, not political, not comedic'." In "Outrage after Netflix pulls comedy show criticising Saudi Arabia," by Mattha Busby, Guardian UK, 1 January 2019.   [ 4 ]

 

Addendum of an Inquisition by Regulation:  "In short, Patreon is choosing to monitor the speech of any creators funded by its site and will apply its own standards to regulate that speech even though the speech isn’t being published or hosted at Patreon. It should go without saying that Patreon, as a private company, is free to do so. But in the video below, Peterson suggests the move to oust libertarian and right-leaning speakers is being driven by a left-wing group called Change the Terms." In "Dave Rubin and Jordan Peterson leave Patreon over free speech concerns," by John Sexton, HotAir, 2 January 2019.   [ 5 ]

 

Addendum of Dulling Inquisitions:   "...without a vibrant commitment to free and open inquiry, a university ceases to be a university." In "Report of the Committee on
Freedom of Expression," University of Chicago, n. d.
   [ 6 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   From the article: "Another historical precedent was the turn-of-the-century Boxer Rebellion. The Boxers (literally the 'Fists of Harmony and Justice') were a Chinese secret society that led the rebellion against colonialism and Christianity. Political commentator Wen Zhao sees a common thread: 'What the Boxers and the Fengqiao Experience have in common is that both are forms of mass violence manipulated by those in power to commit outrageous acts in the name of truth and glory'."

          That violence and the threat of violence would be "manipulated by those in power" is that common thread which binds inquisition to inquisition throughout history and across all cultures.

          In this specific Chinese Communist example:  "The social credit system is based on the government’s phrase 'once untrustworthy, always restricted', and is set to be tested further on the country’s train system from May 1, it was announced last week." In "China's 'social credit' system bans millions from travelling," by Jamie Fullerton, Telegraph UK, 24 March 2018.

          One may survey modern trends in the West in this regard:  Veiled Threats - a commonality.

 

[ 2 ]   Similarly, as organized by such thought, one reads:   "In the book Taliban by Ahmed Rashid, the ministry is referred to as the Department of the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. Maulvi Qalamuddin, the head of the ministry during the Taliban era, preferred the English translation Department of Religious Observances. The Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice of Afghanistan was in charge of implementing Islamic rules (Hanafi principles) as defined by the Taliban. Its religious police raided the streets arresting women not fully covered and people listening to music." In "Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice (Afghanistan)." Wikipedia article, n. d.

          And With regard to music ....

 

[ 3 ]   More on this "choke point":  "For those unfamiliar, Choke Point consisted of bureaucrats in several independent federal agencies taking it upon themselves to shut legal businesses – such as payday lenders and firearms dealers – out of the banking system. Given the nature of the U.S. regulatory framework, this operation was easy to pull off." In "Newly Unsealed Documents Show Top FDIC Officials Running Operation Choke Point," by Norbert Michel, Forbes, 6 November 2018.

 

[ 4 ]    One could consider the accusation, a relatively recent term, of Islamophobia .  That the Saudi government may exercise its political influence in another nation to push back at being ridiculed is evidence of a government and its being very Thin-skinned .

 

[ 5 ]    From the Change the Terms website, one reads:   "While a free and open internet creates immense social value, it can also be used to engage in hateful activities and to do so at a large scale. For example, white supremacist and other organizations inciting hate are using online platforms to organize, fund, recruit supporters for, and normalize racism, sexism, xenophobia, religious bigotry, homophobia and transphobia, among others. This chills the online speech of the targeted groups, curbs democratic participation, and threatens people’s safety and freedom in real life." In "Adopt the Terms," Change the Terms, accessed January 2019.

          Thus one becomes enmeshed in the discussion, what constitutes hate. An opposing view politically can easily be defined as hate, and thus this tactic becomes thuggish in short order. Who shall "adopt" whose "terms?" Depending on the severity of the inquisition, it becomes simply a matter of exercising raw power.

 

Some People Don't Believe

 

          From the article above, a seemingly compliant official at the company stated:  "We understand some people don’t believe in the concept of hate speech and don’t agree with Patreon removing creators on the grounds of violating our Community Guidelines for using hate speech. We have a different view. Patreon does not and will not condone hate speech in any of its forms."  Yet it has not defined what hate speech is.

          The article notes that this is mere and sheer politics:  "...the bottom line is that very well-funded left-wing groups are pushing to 'no-platform' hate. In practice, that looks a lot like going after anyone on the right who has a different opinion. Put another way, if the Southern Poverty Law Center is now in charge of defining hate speech online, you can bet a lot of people who aren’t remotely white supremacists are going to be swept up in the dragnet as well. In June the SPLC made a $3.3 million settlement with Maajid Nawaz over his inclusion in its 'Field Guide to Anti-Muslim Extremists.' Other groups targeted by the SPLC have said they are considering lawsuits as well."

          Such circles back to the above mentioned capitulation by Netflix to the Saudi government, as one of many contemporary examples of the application of power, even national borders.

          As to Patreon and their censoring of users, one reads:  " Podcast host Sam Harris objected to Patreon's approach and announced that he would be leaving the platform because of it. Shortly thereafter Patreon deleted the account of It's Going Down, a hardline left-wing news website, for doxing. Patreon CEO Jack Conte subsequently announced that he would be expanding the company's appeal process, regretting the initial wording of the letter which said '[we] will not consider an appeal'." In "Patreon," Wikipedia article, n. d.

 

[ 6 ]    The similarities to the various topics above cluster. In the University of Chicago protocol, one pledges with this:  "...the University is committed to the principle that it may not restrict debate or deliberation because the ideas put forth are thought to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed. It is for the members of the University community to make those judgments for themselves. As a corollary to this commitment, members of the University community must also act in conformity with this principle. Although faculty, students and staff are free to criticize, contest and condemn the views expressed on campus, they may not obstruct, disrupt, or otherwise interfere with the freedom of others to express views they reject or even loathe." In "Statement on Principles of Free Expression," University of Chicago, July 2012.

         Consider the truths being revealed within the same old strife appearing in this time as the dissonance between Free speech, hate speech and the rage of the hopefully fading Totalitarian .

 

Addressing and Blunting Totalitarian Urges

 

         The observation as above of "totalitarian control of the individual conscience" functions well as a sketch of many entities across history, and in this modern era. Such Committees for the Promotion of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice" as one finds in Islamic lands are akin to "Fists of Harmony and Justice" and "social credit systems and choke points strategies and de-platforming attempts as "Change the Terms" cited above espouses, all similar attempts towards the "totalitarian control of the individual conscience."

         Not restricting "debate or deliberation because the ideas put forth are thought to be offensive, unwise, immoral, or wrong-headed" allows ideas, theories, narratives, debates, research and clarity to sort themselves out in a free society not dedicated to "totalitarian control." This is the new revolution.

         Thus, Chomsky's assertion is pointed and clear:  "If we don't believe in freedom of expression for people we despise, we don't believe in it at all."

         Who just says what? And who just defines / When tyranny freedom's speech maligns?


 

¯\_(?)_/¯

I'll make reply quite readily.
A shrug's part of my medley.
¯\_(?)_/¯
I don't know much, that's for sure,
So I prefer to oft demure.
¯\_(?)_/¯
I'll confess, huh? not just guess.
Some might not, but I profess...
¯\_(?)_/¯


 

Pronouns at play - so some people say

I'm
    Smarter than you.
    Game over. I've won.
    Thanks for the contest;
    Thanks for the fun.

You're
    Dumber than me.
    Game over. You've lost.
    I judge as jury
    You must be bossed.

He's
    Greater than you.
    You will believe
    By hook or by crook,
    Or must we deceive?

We're
    Sure to have peace
    As long as you heed
    The rules as we rule.
    You simply will heed.

You're
    Bound to submit
    To our perfect views
    And if you will not
    We'll tighten your screws.

They're
    Surely the best;
    And you will obey
    Or righteously they
    Will flay you this day.

Consider The Truth - no doubt about it


 

I'd like to fill the void that God once occupied - a reflection on secular modernity

"Nietzsche’s works express a fear that the decline of religion, the rise of atheism, and the abscense of a higher moral authority would plunge the world into chaos. The western world had depended on the rule of God for thousands of years -- it gave order to society and meaning to life. Without it, Nietzsche writes, society will move into an age of nihilism. Although Nietzsche may have been considered a nihilist by definition, he was critical of it and warned that accepting nihilism would be dangerous." In "God is Dead," Philosophy Index, n. d.

 

I'd like to fill the void that God once occupied,

            And so I seek for other gods and many have applied.
The god of genitalia is hard on opening wide,
            While the god of ego preens with all it finds inside.
The godly state salutes itself with flag and proper pomp,
            While the god of money counts its riches' ripened romp.
The god of ideology is well suited to its task,
            While the god of lordly pleasures oft must wear its mask.
I'd like to fill the void that is unsatisfied,
            And so many little gods line up, all to be glorified.

 

Addendum of Choosing the Accuser to Fill the Void:    "When tensions arise in a group (as they inevitably do), people commence to cast about for a scapegoat, for someone or some group to blame. Deeply attractive, even addictive, the scapegoating move rapidly attracts a crowd, which in short order becomes a mob. In their common hatred of the victim, the blamers feel an ersatz sense of togetherness. Filled with the excitement born of self-righteousness, the mob then endeavors to isolate and finally eliminate the scapegoat, convinced that this will restore order to their roiled society. At the risk of succumbing to the reductio ad Hitlerum fallacy, nowhere is the Girardian more evident than in the Germany of the 1930s. Hitler ingeniously exploited the scapegoating mechanism to bring his country together—obviously in a profoundly wicked way." In "The Internet and Satan’s Game," by Bishop Robert Barron, Words on Fire, 22 January 2019.

 

An alternative view to the Nihilist:  I prefer a vital God


 

Wonder Boy looks small and pale

"Elle relève d'une recherche quasi mystique, à l'image de la recherche du nombre d'or ou de la divine proportion dans la Grèce antique." In "Emmanuel Macron ou Jupiter 2.0 ?" by Harold Hauzy, 31 May 2017.

 

Wonder Boy looks small and pale
In the lashing light of day;
Great he was on the glistening screens;
That slogan-slick image fades away.
Reality is that glaring light
Which strips pretense's play.
After 'The End' life goes on;
Tomorrow still has its say.
Wonder Boy was a role with lines
But behind the script's scrawled fray
Hid the ordinary and average
Which spotlights don't display.
Reality's not a fine fan of tales
Which repeat, rerun, replay.
Wonder Boy looks small and frail
In the slashing light of day.

 

Envoi:   " 'C'est le roi. Il ne voit rien rien rien rien', enrage Philippe, 74 ans et chef de file d'un groupe de 'gilets jaunes' qui filtre régulièrement la circulation dans la région du Mans." In " 'Gilets jaunes': la 'haine' contre le 'roi' Macron, moteur de la colère," Agence France Presse/ Le Point, 5 December 2018.

 

Addendum of the Same Old Same Old:    "Research published last week by the Cevipof political institute at Sciences Po university found more than two thirds of the French people still had overwhelmingly negative views of politicians. When asked to sum up their feelings towards them, 37 percent said they felt 'distrust', 32 percent 'disgust', eight percent 'boredom' and four percent 'fear'." In "Same old elite? Macron's 'revolution' fails with fed up French," France 24/Agence France Presse, 18 January 2019.

 

Addendum with a Sting from the Left:   "Macron is a skinny little-trained seal in a circus where we cannot even see the ringmaster." In "Dear France: I Told You Le Pen Really Mattered," by Phil Butler, New Eastern Outlook, 31 January 2019.


 

Run around in circles

"There are stirrings of discussion these days in philosophical circles about the prospect of human extinction."   In "Would Human Extinction Be a Tragedy?" by Todd May, New York Times, 17 December 2018.   [ 1 ]

 

Run around in circles,
            And mull the end of days.
Man is sure to go extinct
            In oh so many ways.
Philosophic circles
            Circle round and round,
Prospecting for an ending
            On which one may propound.
Run around in circles,
            And mull the finish line,
Which extinguishes the circle
            And stirs discussion fine.
Philosophic circles
            Are circles without end
Until there comes some tragedy
            Which prospectors might defend.
If philosophy in the forest falls,
            And none will hear its fall,
Philosophic circles
            Will mean nothing much at all.
Run around in circles
            And word the tragedy
Before the end is truly nigh
            There's time for parody.

 

Addendum of So Many Options:    "In futures studies, human extinction is the hypothetical end of the human species. This may result from natural causes or it may be the result of human action. The likelihood of human extinction in future by wholly natural scenarios, such as a meteorite impact or large-scale volcanism, is generally considered to be extremely low. For anthropogenic extinction, many possible scenarios have been proposed: human global nuclear annihilation, biological warfare or the release of a pandemic-causing agent, dysgenics, overpopulation, ecological collapse, and climate change; in addition, emerging technologies could bring about new extinction scenarios, such as advanced artificial intelligence, biotechnology or self-replicating nanobots. The probability of anthropogenic human extinction within the next hundred years is the topic of an active debate." In "Human extinction," Wikipedia article, n. d.

 

Addendum of Choosing Nihilism:   "We’re the only species evolved enough to consciously go extinct for the good of all life, or which needs to. Success would be humanity’s crowning achievement. May we live long and die out." In "Success," The Voluntary Human Extinction Movement, n. d. From their website, "When every human chooses to stop breeding, Earth’s biosphere will be allowed to return to its former glory, and all remaining creatures will be free to live, die, evolve (if they believe in evolution), and will perhaps pass away, as so many of Nature’s 'experiments' have done throughout the eons. It’s going to take all of us going."    [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of 'It Could Be':   "Likening it to a dangerous weapon in the hands of a child, he [ Nick Bostrom ] says the advance of technology has overtaken our capacity to control the possible consequences. ...change is coming whether or not we're ready for it. 'There is a bottleneck in human history. The human condition is going to change. It could be that we end in a catastrophe or that we are transformed by taking much greater control over our biology. It's not science fiction, religious doctrine or a late-night conversation in the pub. There is no plausible moral case not to take it seriously'." In "How are humans going to become extinct?" by Sean Coughlan, BBC, 24 April 2013.   [ 3 ]

 

NOTES
 

[ 1 ]  One learns from the New York Times byline that "Todd May is a professor of philosophy at Clemson University and the author of, most recently, 'A Fragile Life: Accepting Our Vulnerability.' He is a philosophical adviser for the television show, 'The Good Place'." 

          As to the verbiage of "a fragile life" and "vulnerability," an anonymous student opines:  "Todd is a very bright philosopher but he thinks very highly of himself and doesn't really want to see you stretch your boundaries and contradict him." In the ULoop of Clemson University, n. d.

          May opines in the NYT article, "It is humanity that is committing a wrong, a wrong whose elimination would likely require the elimination of the species...."  It is an interesting notion to blame "humanity," but it is not an unusual notion, as one finds for those who see humanity as The Scourge of the Planet .

          And so continues the larger tale of predicting an Apocalypse sometime .

 

[ 2 ]     "We" is such a fine pronoun, as an individual purports to speak for a group, a movement, an entire nation or group of nations, race, or the greatest of all, mankind. One may take a lesson from those who so easily speak of "we," and to opine that "we" might well be demonstrably wrong. As an example:  Extremely Green  - wrong for more than forty years. Oddly, "we" seem not to be choosing nihilism as readily as some would like.

 

[ 3 ]   "It could be" is such a fine phrase for scientists, as is the longer sentence, "it could be we will get more funding."   One could and one may consider the use of such wiggle words as used so frequently in the public handwringing of various sorts on parade now as in the past:  Could and May - an up-to-date play.

          An editor's pick among the comments allowed by the BBC:   Scott0962 on 24 Apr 2013: "Whether humanity may go extinct or whether it even deserves to survive are questions for scientists, philosophers, theologians, and perhaps science fiction writers to debate--the rest of us are busy living."

          Before the end is truly nigh /  There's time for parody.  And there is time to be "busy living."

 


 

The Easy Button

"...they were men with well-defined and sound ideas on everything concerning exports, banking, the fruit or wine trade; men of proved ability in handling problems relating to insurance, the interpretation of ill-drawn contracts, and the like; of high qualifications and evident good intentions. That, in fact, was what struck one most, the excellence of their intentions. But as regards plague their competence was practically nil." "The Plague," Albert Camus, 1947 (Gallimard, French) trans. by Stuart Gilbert, 1948 (Hamish Hamilton, English).   [ 1 ]

 

Push the button;
That's the way.
Easy is but
One push away.
Flick that switch,
Come what may;
It's short and sweet,
But hell to pay.

 

Envoi:   "Sir, Hell is paved with good intentions." Samuel Johnson, 1775   [ 2 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]     Camus' novella ends, observing "...he knew that the tale he had to tell could not be one of a final victory. It could be only the record of what had had to be done, and what assuredly would have to be done again in the never ending fight against terror and its relentless onslaughts, despite their personal afflictions, by all who, while unable to be saints but refusing to bow down to pestilences, strive their utmost to be healers."

 

[ 2 ]    A generation of politicians passes, as one reads "...communities experienced massive upheaval, and just as here in the U.S., there were race riots and community tensions. One man predicted it all, but was widely panned by the media and the political class for doing so. Enoch Powell was sure to be a Conservative Party leader if he had just kept his mouth shut, but as he said on April 20, 1968, to a small room of supporters in Birmingham, UK, 'All I know is that to see, and not to speak, would be the great betrayal'." In " 'Enoch Was Right,' Raheem Kassam writes in his new book on a forgotten hero of our times," review by Ned Ryun, American Spectator, 27 April 2018.

 


 

 

Try to cite the sources,
    As 'experts say' speaks dumb.
        Name and clearly reference
            As the obvious rule of thumb.
                Assertions without sourcing,
                    Citations to be checked,
                        Is that old three card monte
Assuring disconnect.
Believe, an anonymous source says,
                        Because of -- well, you know --,
                    Is a shill game played by many
                Who dance their dazzling show.
            But 'they' tells nothing really,
        When 'they' have no named names,
    And without the names and faces
There's are cynical unsourced games.

 


 

 

"Three people have appeared in court in Zimbabwe, accused of stealing a suitcase containing $150,000 (£117,600) of cash from the country's ousted president, Robert Mugabe." In "Mugabe: Suitcase of cash stolen from ex-Zimbabwe leader," BBC, 10 January 2019.    [ 1 ]

 

Wouldn't you like a suitcase
Like the one a trio stole?
Politicians in most every place
Seem on quite a roll.

    Wouldn't you like a stash
    Like that which prime folk cache?
    Politicians in most every land
    Labor for their cash.

        Wouldn't you like a packet
        To lavishly lug about?
        Politicians in most every age
        Are rarely found without.

            Power seems to travel
            With pals that pay quite well,
            Even when their nation
            Fails in parallel.

 

Addendum of Suitcases Full of Cash:   "...'it was a huge surprise when we found the empty apartment and just the suitcases and boxes covered by a sheet,' Daniel Madruga, who coordinated the operation, told local television station Globo. Corruption has been an endemic problem in Brazil for centuries, but a massive investigation has unexplained piles of cash popping up around the country like never before. Believed to be the largest corruption case in modern history, the probe uncovered a complex scheme in which top business executives traded bribes for lucrative government contracts." In "Brazil’s top politicians are getting busted with literal suitcases full of cash," by Marina Lopes, Washington Post, 7 September 2017.

 

Addendum of a Money-Stuffed Suitcase:   "Guido Alejandro Antonini Wilson, the star witness of the money-stuffed suitcase scandal which involves Argentine and Venezuelan officials, declared in a federal court in Miami that the plane in which he flew August 2007 to Buenos Aires was carrying a second suitcase with 4.2 million US dollars besides the 800.000 which were seized by Buenos Aires Customs." In "Suitcase scandal: where's the rest of the money?" Merco Press, 24 September 2008.

 

Addendum of Money-Bag Politics:   "The history of Nigerian politics is replete with money-bag politics. Although, there is hardly any country in the world where instances of bribery or political corruption are not present in their national politics, researches on Africa’s postcolonial history, have however shown that, in Africa, corruption is an institutionalized and a systemic practice affecting not only the postcolonial state itself, but also the majority of the citizenry. Using Nigeria, as a case study, this paper argues that since the 1964/1965 Western Region elections to the 2007 general elections, there has hardly been any election conducted in Nigeria without associated cases of corrupt practices such as vote buying, ballot snatching, election rigging, election violence, political and legislative lobbying etc." In "Money-Bag Politics, Rent-Seeking  [ 2 ]  And Flawed Elections In Nigeria: A Theoretical Statement," Derin Ologbenla, Waziri Babatunde Adisa, Journal of Public Administration and Governance, Vol. 2, No. 1 (2012). 

 

Addendum of Mexican Millions:    "Until Monday, the most prominent Mexican official accused of taking bribes was Genaro García Luna, the country’s former public security director. When Jesus Zambada testified in November, he told jurors that he had met twice with Mr. García Luna in a restaurant and both times gave him a briefcase stuffed with at least $3 million in cash." In " El Chapo Trial: Former Mexican President Peña Nieto Took $100 Million Bribe, Witness Says," by Alan Feuer, New York Times, 15 January 2019.

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    Some details:  "Mr Mugabe, now 94, was forced out of office by Zimbabwe's military in 2017. Up to that point, he had been in power for 37 years, first as prime minister and later as president. Once famously claiming that a country could never go bankrupt, he was accused of enjoying a lavish lifestyle while presiding over Zimbabwe's economic collapse."

 

[ 2 ]   It should become obvious to all observers that the notion of rent-seeking by political avenues is endemic throughout government at every level around the world. By legal as well as illegal means, governors -- those who govern -- and legislators -- those who legislate -- feather their own nests first and foremost.

          One only need a cursory survey of Corruption in the United States, and, in the parlance of this little world of rhyme, Corruption has a middle name , to see that Politics itself is the mechanism which so easily corrupts, as the feeding frenzy on the part of "leaders" in the public arena has defrauded citizens in every land and every age.

 


 

Double down on failure

Double down on failure;
Why not fail twice?
Triple down! Why not?
Heed the worst advice.
Wager on a losing scheme;
Roll those pesky dice.
Dream that you cannot lose;
Then pay the loser's price.
Double down yet again,
For dreams smell oh so nice.
Fail and then fail again;
So goes it in a trice.

 

Addendum of Recent Support for a Failed State:    "...while many on the left are now keen to disavow any connection to the Venezuelan disaster, their earlier enthusiasm is on the record. Greg Grandin, writing in The Nation in 2013, offered a laudatory take on Chavez and suggested that Venezuela 'might be the most democratic country in the Western hemisphere.' (He also argued, oddly enough, that Chavez 'wasn’t authoritarian enough.') Jeremy Corbyn, leader of the U.K.’s Labour Party, has also been a big Chavez fan, while Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz praised Venezuela’s economic policies in 2007 and declared that the risks of higher inflation were overrated." In "Venezuela Isn’t Just a Failed State. It’s a Failure of the Left," by Tyler Cowen, Bloomberg Quint, 20 February 2019.

 

Addendum of Not Wanting to Look like Failure:   " 'He didn’t like the things we were asking him about the lack of democracy in Venezuela, about torture, political prisoners, the humanitarian crisis that they were living,' he said. But the breaking point came, Ramos said, after he showed Maduro a video of people eating from a garbage truck. 'Immediately after, one of his ministers, Jorge Rodríguez, came to tell us that the interview was not authorized,' Ramos said." In "Maduro detained journalists after they showed him video of people eating garbage, Univision says," by Reis Thebault, Michael Brice-Saddler and Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post, 26 February, 2019.

 

Consider when, in the New York Times parlance, what happens the the Left is  Left to their own devices

 


 

Martiniade - paraphrase of Joachim Ringelnatz

Who'd effervescent, festive evenings seek
Knows quite well, where off to sneak.
            Blow nose and dress up
            And ready pourboire.
            Mainz' thoroughfare's
            M a r t i n i   B a r.
There party the fine folk with drink all around;
Right and left toasts bright resound.
            With bubbly dress and drink,
            Oft rowdyish,
            Music the senses tease
            As one might wish.
The guests, oft well known, oft maybe not,
Are always an interesting lot.
            Who then at evening's end
            Cheers, waves his hat:
            'How fast does time fly by!
            How great was that!'

See:    Martiniade (2019) 

 


 


I used to read the New York Times
And do their crossword puzzles,
With Entemann's and Sundays' chimes
And coffee enough to guzzle.
            I used to read, front page to back,
            When windowed sunlight streamed,
            And lounge away some morning hours.
            I mused, and so daydreamed.

The corner vendor scratched a life
In that Amsterdam neighborhood;
Back then the Times was cheaper than
Today, and I understood...
            That time's a respecter of no man
            As tick tocks the ages by.
            I no longer read the New York Times
            And am quite another guy.

Subway tokens are keepsakes now,
And it's time for other folks.
Old memories are fleeting and
My errors age as jokes,
            My own, for I've learned to chuckle
            At how silly was I once,
            Though changed by time's meandering,
            I still can play the dunce.

 


 

No longer finding profits

"Their socialist governments have been in power since 1999, taking over the country at a time when Venezuela had huge inequality. But the socialist polices brought in which aimed to help the poor backfired. Take price controls, for example. They were introduced by President Chávez to make basic goods more affordable to the poor by capping the price of flour, cooking oil and toiletries. But this meant that the few Venezuelan businesses producing these items no longer found it profitable to make them." In "Venezuela crisis: How the political situation escalated," BBC, 24 January 2019.

No longer finding profits
                                    testifies to what's been found.
Socialist policies predictably
                                    ran the ship aground.
More goods for the poor
                                    means now the poor have less,
And that's the situation
                                    with socialism's economic guess.
No longer finding profits
                                    testifies that something's found.
Hyperinflation's inflating;
                                    again, socialism proves unsound.

 

Consider the historical demonstration of government control of economies when Left to their own devices

 


 

Heading down the same dark path

 

"While the world watches Venezuela's slow, cancerous death, Nicaragua is in full cardiac arrest. Since protests began on April 18, the government of President Daniel Ortega has been accused of using 'lethal force' and at least 146 people have died. Hundreds more are wounded or missing and the body of a U.S. citizen was found shot dead on June 2. Without international intervention, the collapse of my country could create a new cycle of war and destruction in this precarious region." In "Nicaragua Is Heading Down the Same Dark Path as Venezuela," by Margarita Herdocia, Time, 13 June 2018.    [ 1 ]

 

Heading down the same dark path,
Seeing near the coming wrath,
Those headstrong who lead that way
Are the same of whom advocates say
They're visionary seers of a coming world,
Of fealty's oaths and flags unfurled
Which lead again down that old dark path
Which leads to the same old aftermath.

 

Addendum of the Same Dark Path:   "In Nicaragua, armed supporters of President Daniel Ortega opened fire on a crowd of tens of thousands of anti-government protesters Wednesday, killing at least 11 people and wounding almost 80 others. Elsewhere in Nicaragua, another four were killed and scores more injured at demonstrations around the country—bringing the death toll in recent anti-Ortega protests to nearly 100." In "Nicaragua: 15 Killed as Tens of Thousands Demand President’s Ouster," Democracy Now, 1 June 2018.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of Socialist State Repression:   " 'Heavily armed pro-government groups remain at large, accompanied by police forces, committing joint attacks against the civilian population,' said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International. 'The message sent by the highest ranking Nicaraguan authorities is that they are willing to do anything to silence the voices of those who demonstrate against this violent repression. This situation is extremely serious and deserves strong condemnation from the international community'." In "Nicaragua: State repression has reached deplorable levels," Amnesty International, 9 July 2018.

 

Addendum of El Presidente on the Same Dark Path:   "...Ortega has demonstrated one skill, it is that of survival. He and his wife have dominated Nicaraguan political life for so long and amassed so much power that his departure is not a foregone conclusion. It is up to the United States and other regional democracies to hold Ortega to account and to support the Nicaraguan people in their effort to hasten a return to democratic order in Nicaragua. Given Ortega’s long history of authoritarianism and lust for power, we should make sure that he truly seeks a negotiated solution to the country’s current crisis and is not simply looking for a respite. We are seeing what the hemisphere’s failure to confront oppressors has brought in Venezuela." In "Daniel Ortega’s familiar path of repression in Nicaragua," by Otto J. Reich, Washington Post, 24 May 2018.

 

Addendum of an Opposing View:   "Once inside Congress, Bolsonaro and his vice president, retired Gen. Hamilton Mourao, took the oath of office. Bolsonaro then read a short speech that included many of the far-right positions he staked out during the campaign. He promised to combat the 'ideology of gender' teaching in schools, 'respect our Judeo-Christian tradition' and 'prepare children for the job market, not political militancy'. 'I call on all congressmen to help me rescue Brazil from corruption, criminality and ideological submission,' he said, earning a congratulatory message from Trump." In "Bolsonaro says Brazil 'liberated from Socialism' at inaugural ceremony," France 24, 1 January 2019. [ 3 ]

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]    Herdocia writes further:   "Nicaragua has been quietly heading down this path for over a decade. Relative economic stability masked the slow accumulation of power by President Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo. As democratic institutions were dismantled by El Comandante’s regime, their cronies grew in wealth and the stage was set for an enduring Ortega dictatorship."

 

The Democrat Socialists Demand Fealty

 

          The descriptive -- dictatorship -- tells much, as she reports:   "Nicaragua's Catholic bishops called the bloodshed an 'organized and systemic aggression'—but it has since worsened. The Mothers' Day massacre has been nationalized, and systematic kidnapping and torture has been added to the mix. Several employees and acquaintances have been brutally beaten by government thugs, while others have been abducted and tortured for refusing to pay fealty to the Sandinista party leadership."

          It should be clarified that the Sandinista Party is yet another socialist party, as have been the Cuban and Venezuelan "revolutions," with each adopting a different path to the same violence and economic collapse.

 

[ 2 ]     Verbiage is important, for from 1985 until now, Ortega has ruled Nicaragua as president, currently 34 years in power for a single individual. Democratic elections as run by the Sandinista Party notwithstanding, Democracy Now as an organization speaking to issues of democracy reports on the brutality of "armed supporters."  Thus "democracy" does not seem to accurately describe the behavior of the Ortega regime, while it is the term used to portray the hoped-for optics of the same.

 

Democratic Socialist Political Party

 

          One learns more of the verbiage:   "The Sandinista National Liberation Front (Spanish: Frente Sandinista de Liberación Nacional, FSLN) is a democratic socialist political party in Nicaragua. ... Following the resignation of centrist members from this Junta, the FSLN took exclusive power in March 1981. They instituted a policy of mass literacy, devoted significant resources to health care, and promoted gender equality but came under international criticism for human rights abuses, mass execution and oppression of indigenous peoples."In "Sandinista National Liberation Front," Wikipedia, n. d.
          The promise of mass literacy was similar to Fidel Castro's, and yet one sees the end of a "same dark path" in Socialism's Last Hurrah - not democracy in any town. Looking behind the public optics at the outset of these various socialist revolutions, one reads of grand promises, and yet at the end game in such revolutions the outcome is corruption, violence and death enforced by fealty to a single party.

          Of course the next incarnations of democratic socialists will disavow the proven outcomes of previous democratic socialist parties.  Yet one may look to the similarities between past democratic socialist parties, and especially how difficult to say I Shall Believe the Socialist .

 

[ 3 ]    A path may be followed in opposite directions. For those traveling in one, the traveler in the opposing direction is "opposing."

          Thus, as one reads news and opinion from around the world, one often sees the editorial bias in reporting. But when one would "rescue Brazil from corruption, criminality and ideological submission" is deemed to be far right, then one must make reference to the failed Left and Right model, and choose a direction on a path.

 

Quo vadis?

 

          The path of the far-Left may be seen in the above reporting about Nicaragua's "democratic socialist political party," and as such traveling in an opposing direction can be described as "far-right" in political positions, but when compared to the Old-fashioned "corruption, criminality and ideological submission" as reported by France 24 as "far-right" political stances, one must then ask is being for a Left being also for such corruption, criminality and ideological submission?" It is a question worth consideration, when the Nicaraguan Left is reported to be of "authoritarianism and lust for power."

          How old fashioned yet widespread is that today?  Should governments' growing authoritarianism and lust for power over defenseless citizens be Left to their own devices .

 

 


 

Gecko Squashing

A father of some cats
 Asked you to kill a gecko
  With one swift stroke, or more,
   Earning points to echo
    Far beyond the squashing of that gecko.

A father to some felines
 Taught you to squash a lizard
  With all dispatch, most speedily;
   Be a lizard-killing wizard
   Who'd crush a fiery little lizard.

One swift stoke is better
 Than two or more, go-getter.
  That's now ancient law
   According to lore and letter
    Of a kitty-cats' tough task setter.

 

Envoi:  "Abu Huraira: He who kills a gecko with the first stroke..." The Book of Salutations and Greetings. Book 026, Number 5564.  [ 1 ]

 

Addendum from a Beginning:   "...the salamander, a mischief-doer." In "Beginning of Creation," Sahih al-Bukhari.

 

Addendum after an Addendum:   "...the salamander should be killed and said, 'It (i. e. the salamander) blew (the fire) on Abraham'." In "Prophets," Sahih al-Bukhari.

 

NOTE

 

[ 1 ]    The pseudonym foe the "narrator" refers to this:  "He was known by the kunyah [ honorific] Abu Hurayrah 'Father of a Kitten', in reference to his documented attachment to cats." In "Abu Hurairah," Wikipedia, n. d.

 


 

One can know when one has learned

Bad choices breed bad outcomes,
    As engineering tells.
Fresh follies fail foolishly;
    While science plain excels.
Asserting there is nothing bad
    Is to make the fatal choice.
Avowing that there are no sins
    Is to mute each still, small voice.
Tales begun tell outcomes
    And trajectories foretell their ends;
One can know when one has learned,
    When in learning then one bends.

 

Addendum of Foreboding:   "The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity." From "The Second Coming" William Butler Yeats (1865-1939)

 

See:  Settings of William Butler Yeats' Three Magical Songs - (2005)  

 


 

Schisms  - they're about isms

"It's I am Right, and you're so Wrong,"
    Said Bishop Sheikh in a rant quite long.
"It's I've the Truth, while you've but Lies,"
    Said the Rabbi Lama in a Rightful guise.
"It's I know Best, while you know Worst,"
    Said each Politician who would be First
Above those Lesser who nothing know,
    Who are deemed Wrong, and Rightly so,
For Betters who know Worse, we see,
    Live each under some sworn Decree,
And even the Atheists' glowering glares
    Play joyously in the Game of Snares
Which sings with self-exalted Song,
    "It's I am Right, while you're so Wrong."
Rights declare other Rights as Wrong,
    Schismatically, and then erelong
The many Rights cannot agree
    As to which is Right in which Holy See,
While the Lesser, gentler, quiet Folks
    Chuckle at the jolly jokes - when
"It's I am Right," with aggressive Song,
    Proves other Rights must be truly Wrong.

This applies to both You and Me,

    For We're sure to disagree.

 

Consider:   I have a little -ism  - sung to the tune of "I Have a Little Dreidel," original lyrics by Samuel S. Grossman and music by S. E. Goldfarb.

 


 

State-inflicted maladies

"Six-year-old Antonella was diagnosed with throat cancer four years ago, and her mother brings her to Domingo Luciani Hospital in Caracas as often as she can for chemotherapy. Today, however, it´s Antonella´s mom who is being treated -- for malnutrition, a state-inflicted malady that is sweeping across oil-rich Venezuela. Struggling to feed herself and her child, she fainted when she walked into the hospital where Antonella is slowly dying." In "No gloves or dressings: Inside the last pediatric surgical ward in Venezuela´s capital," by Vasco Cotovio and Luis Graham-Yoolli, CNN, 13 February 2019.

Someone stated something,
                    Stated it in a phrase;
A state-inflicted malady
                    Is a fiery phrase, set ablaze.

Someone stated clearly -
                    A malady from the state,
Of the state and by the state -
                    And stated it quite straight.

Someone stated outright
                    The state-bred malady,
And that is without question
                    The age-old tragedy.

 

Addendum of Venezuelan State-inflicted Malady:   "In many countries, extreme malnutrition 'can be caused when there is war, a drought, some sort of catastrophe or an earthquake,' said Dr. Ingrid Soto de Sanabria, the chief of the hospital’s nutrition, growth and development department. 'But in our country it is directly related to the shortages and inflation.' The Venezuelan government has tried to cover up the extent of the crisis by enforcing a near-total blackout of health statistics, and by creating a culture in which doctors are often afraid to register cases and deaths that may be associated with the government’s failures." In "As Venezuela Collapses, Children Are Dying of Hunger," by Meridith Kohut and Isayen Herrera, New York Times, 17 December 2017.

 

Addendum of the USSR's State-inflicted Malady:   "In June of 1933, at the height of the Holodomor, 28,000 men, women and children in Ukraine were dying of starvation each day. The land that was known worldwide as the breadbasket of Europe was being ravaged by a man-made famine of unprecedented scale. Stalin and his followers were determined to teach Ukraine’s farmers “a lesson they would not forget” for resisting collectivization, which meant giving up their own land to work on government controlled farms. Moreover, the famine was meant to deal 'a crushing blow' to any aspirations for independence from the Soviet Union by the Ukrainians, 80 percent of whom worked the land." In "Holomodor: The famine-genocide of Ukraine, 1932-1933," holomodor.org.

 

Addendum of Communist China's State-inflicted Malady:   "In late 1959, Chinese officials in the provinces began to investigate wild rumors that people were eating one another. Most of the officials must have already known that Mao Zedong’s call for a 'Great Leap Forward,' a planned modernization meant to catapult the country into global economic leadership, had gone horribly wrong. In the vast countryside regions of China, and with an eye to pleasing their bureaucratic masters, Communist Party functionaries had been inflating estimates of the amounts of food that peasants were producing for transfer to the industrial zones or for export sales. They also concealed that these transfers left hungry—and often for dead—the very peasants who had done all the farming, from cultivation to harvest." In "Totalitarianism, Famine and Us, by Samuel Moyn, Nation, 7 November 2012.

 

Addendum of North Korea's State-inflicted Malady:   "The economic and political system itself was a major problem during the famine in North Korea. By relying too much on central power (Pyongyang) to make choices, the decision-making process was way too slow for the crisis. The soviet-style state farms too proved to be a huge obstacle as they weren't adapted to each local crisis and the tailored response that was needed. Allowing people to grow their own food in a reasonably sized back-garden would have been a lot more helpful. In reality, they did allow small scale agriculture in private gardens but tons of contradicting policies (expansion of state farms, intensive agriculture) were plenty enough to thwart this little but crucial change." In "Famine in North Korea: The Impact of Poor Decisions," Poverties, 2 December 2012.

 

Addendum of Bengal's State-inflicted Malady:   "The provincial government's policy failures began with denial that a famine existed. Humanitarian aid was ineffective through the worst months of the food crisis, and the government never formally declared a state of famine. It first attempted to influence the price of rice paddy (unmilled rice) through price controls. These measures created a black market and encouraged sellers to withhold stocks. Hyperinflation resulted from speculation and hoarding after controls were abandoned. Aid increased significantly when the Indian Army took control of aid in October 1943, but effective relief arrived only after a record rice harvest that December." In "Bengal famine of 1943," Wikipedia, n. d.

 

Addendum of Somalia's State-inflicted Malady:   "The crisis was caused by a severe drought, worsened by conflict between rival groups fighting for power. The number of deaths was higher than the estimated 220,000 people who died during the 1992 famine." In "Somalia famine 'killed 260,000 people'," BBC, 2 May 2013.

 

Addendum of South Sudan's State-inflicted Malady:   "The maxim is true that famine does not result from purely natural causes but is usually 'man-made.' Such a description, however, avoids any real accountability for those who have caused the crisis. South Sudan’s famine would be more accurately described as 'government-made'." In "South Sudan’s government-made famine," by George Clooney and John Prendergast, Washington Post, 9 March 2019.

 

Addendum of Governments Failing Their Own People:   "... political scientist Alex de Waal calls famine a political scandal, a 'catastrophic breakdown in government capacity or willingness to do what [is] known to be necessary to prevent famine.' When governments fail to prevent or end conflict, or help families prevent food shortages brought on by any reason, they fail their own people." In "What is famine, and how can we stop it?" by Chris Hufstader, Oxfam, 20 November 2018.

 


 

Manhattan dance party

Come on in, and go away.
We're all alike, but not today.
Welcome, friend, now get lost.
Progress backwards, while crisscrossed.
Try to tax in absentia;
Evidence a party's dementia.

Get the hell out, but wait, cry whoa!
You're a fine ally as enemies go.
Welcome, comrade, to the fight,
You against me, an unwelcoming sight.
Let's pry open a wallet which
Is somewhere else? Now that is rich!

Alienate friends, for that's the dance.
I'm just like you, except my stance.
Welcome, loser, mistaken fool,
For we've become the opposition's tool.
Try to balance unbalanced books
With dancing feet on tenterhooks.

 

 

Addendum of Progressive Mistakes:   "In an interview on 'The Brian Lehrer Show,' the mayor, in response to Ocasio-Cortez’s reaction to the Amazon pullout, called her gloating a mistake. 'I came up watching the mistakes of progressives of the past, unfortunately what happened in this city when it almost went to bankruptcy in the 1970s,' de Blasio said. 'I saw all the times progressives did not show people effective governance and all the times progressives made the kinds of mistakes that alienated working people'." In "Progressives de Blasio and Ocasio-Cortez at war of words over Amazon pullout," by Leonard Greene, NY Daily News, 15 February 2019.  [ 1 ]

 

Addendum of Showing Off for the Cameras:   "No one was as vocal in trying to make the corporate giant go away as socialist superstar Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y. She lambasted the company's 'creeping overreach.' And in a way, she was taking the same side we had. But we had been arguing on behalf of taxpayers all over New York state, who were being held hostage so that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio, both Democrats, could show off for the cameras. Ocasio-Cortez, on the other hand, was arguing against the economic development of a region of Queens that abuts her congressional district. Along with fellow naysayers such as state Sen. Mike Gianaris, D-Queens, she attacked Amazon for bringing in too many jobs, potentially creating higher standards of living in the area and perhaps also inflating housing costs. It is odd indeed for the direct beneficiaries of corporate welfare to complain." In "Amazon calls the socialists' bluff," Staff, Washington Examiner, 15 February 2019.   [ 2 ]

 

Addendum of NY Democrats Against NY Democrats:   "...after Amazon walked away in an anti-Valentine to the city on Feb. 14, AOC bragged on Twitter that 'everyday New Yorkers & their neighbors defeated Amazon’s corporate greed, its worker exploitation, and the power of the richest man in the world.' Huh? A Siena poll this week showed that New York City residents approved of the deal by 56 to 33 percent. Fellow Democrats Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Mayor Bill de Blasio were pushing hard for the deal. Oh, and it need hardly be stated that Amazon is a company staffed by Democrats. Some 87 percent of its employee donations went to the Dems in the latest elections. As for 'richest man in the world,' Bezos started Amazon in his garage. He got rich building one of the most beloved companies on earth." In "Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is destroying opportunity for fellow Democrats," by Kyle Smith, New York post, 16 February 2019.

 

Consider New York's Dancing Tine:   Hymn for Today

 

NOTES

 

[ 1 ]   The term, progressive, is a slippery one.  Of it and of himself, the mayor of New York writes:  "I am a lifelong progressive who sees the problem of growing income and wealth inequality." In "Bill de Blasio: The Path Amazon Rejected," Bill de Blasio, New York Times, 17 February 2019.

         Growing income, as a word phrase, may be seen in Di Blasio's salary. One reads:   "Mayor de Blasio will get a fat 15 percent raise when his second term begins Monday – bumping his salary from $225,000 to $258,750 a year. The $33,750 boost is more than the annual salary of a full-time worker making the city’s roughly $13 minimum wage." In "De Blasio will get a pay raise when second term begins," by Anna Sanders, NY Post, 30 December 2017.

         One may well consider issues of Income Inequality . in which many liberals and progressives preach concerns of "the problem of growing income and wealth inequality" while participating in it. While de Blasio's "modest" $258,750 a year income is tiny compared to Bezos as head of Amazon, the New York Post correctly notices that de Blasio's salary is "more than the annual salary of a full-time worker" at the bottom end of New York's working class. So which is it? One sees that a politician usually enjoys "growing income and wealth inequality" through the practice of Politics , and often in a most progressive, even "lifelong" way.

 

[ 2 ]  Ah, complaints. One reads:  "...Amazon appeared unprepared for the level of vocal opposition in Queens, where the company's plans were slated near the district that elected Amazon critic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Congress. The deal with Amazon was largely negotiated by Mayor de Blasio and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, who famously joked about changing his name to "Amazon Cuomo" to win the second headquarters." In "Amazon Drops Plans For New York Headquarters," by Alina Selyukh, NPR, 14 February 2019.

         As complaints about Amazon's decision fly in parallel with complaints from progressives about progressives, one voice observed:  " 'I think everybody miscalculated here,' said Erik Gordon, a professor at the University of Michigan's Ross School of Business. Amazon 'believed that they were doing New York such a big favor by bringing tech jobs and then all the ancillary jobs that they thought that the protests would not be as strong as they were,' Gordon said. And, instead of working out a deal, the opposition 'basically punched Amazon in the face in public,' he said."

         And everyone says "ouch."  "We're all alike, but not today."

         Because:  "Democrats are fighting mad -- at each other. For once, President Trump is not the prime target of their rage. Amazon’s decision to scrap plans for an HQ2 campus in New York sent the circular firing squad into action." In "Democrats are tearing themselves apart over Amazon," by Michael Goodwin, NY Post, 17 February 2019.

 


 

You'll tell me who you are

Tell me who it is you name
    to be your dearest friend;
Knowing this, you'll tell who you are.
    That's your tale. The end.

 


 

To create and animate - rhymed paraphrase of a text by Goethe

Hans Adam was but a lump of clay
God molded into a man,
As if dropped out of a mother's womb
To be finished by His plan.

So Elohim puffed into his nose
With a spiritual sort of blast,
But there remained more to do
Once the sneezing was fully past.

Bones and limbs and head and yet
Hans Adam was not done;
It took until Noah and a rain of drops
To fill a tankard for such fun.

Breathing clay turned drinking man
Is God's gift of alcohol,
The same as ferments with lively yeast
Man's daily bread and all.

So, Hafiz, sing a noble song
That a drunkard might make merry,
And lead us into temptation's shrine
With much of our Creator's sherry!

See:     Erschaffen und beleben  (2019) 

 


 

If one traffics in rumors

If one traffics in rumors,
                        One is likely to get run down.
If one peddles a slew of lies,
                        Truth still will come to town.
If one relies on gossiping wags,
                        In innuendos one will drown.
If one would be a king of fools,
                        We're sure to see that crown.

 


 

When words are overused

When words are overused, -used, -used,
        We come to see they're  abused, -bused, -bused.
Words which have accused, -cused, -cused,
        When overused become bruised, bruised, bruised.
Such words when so infused, -fusd, -fused,
        With overuse are defused, -fused, -fused,

Stagger as if boozed, boozed, boozed,
        And lose their punch, as refused, -fused, -fused.