Original materials - Copyright © 2018 by Gary Bachlund All international rights reserved
"If I decide to be an idiot, then I’ll be an idiot on my own accord." Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750)
Music chose me
Music chose me long before
I knew I had to know;
Looking back through several score,
With staff in hand I go,
Undreamt lands to explore,
Towards horizons' distant glow.
Music chose me, furthermore,
And for this much I owe,
Until in time I am no more.
The Kaiser of China - paraphrase of Heinrich Heine
Our father was a sober chap,
That common sort of conqueror,
We but swill our Prussian gin
And thus are the greater emperor.
This is a magic draught! We have
Decanted to our delight:
As soon as we have drunk it down
Blooms China, bloody, bright.
Our government is shot white hot
With fruiting-ripe prosperity,
Yet we, almost a manly man,
Find our pregnant wife's a scarcity.
There is plenteousness everywhere
And even our sick are healthy;
K'ung-zu, court councilor to us,
Speaks clearly for the wealthy.
Our military's pumpernickel
Shall be almond cake - hurray!
And all the tattered promenade
In velvet and silk display.
Our Clementine-skinned upper class,
And those dullards in this realm,
Will youthful vigor regain again
And praises then will overwhelm.
The great pagoda, spire inspired,
For believers is now complete;
Baptized Jews are rewarded
With medallions as a new elite.
A revolutionary spirit withers now
As did noble Manchu compute:
A constitution is not our wish,
We choose walking stick and stylish boot!
Asclepius, god's son, advised
We resist the evils of drink,
But we enjoy our Prussian gin
And our peoples are quite in the pink.
Another schnapps, and another schnapps!
It tastes like heaven's manna!
With the dregs our people shall be content
And cheer us loud: Hosanna!
See: Der Kaiser von China - (2018)
The goose that laid the golden egg
Was fowl -- and judged unfair.
The others gandered -- to renege
They gathered not just to stare.
The golden goose, knocked down a peg,
Would now be plucked to share.
For golden eggs, they'd come to beg,
For the gaggle's geese welfare.
The gold-egged goose no goslings had,
Hatched nothing live, as nature taught.
Gold is base metal, one might add,
And over it wars are fought.
The golden goose, in the end, was sad,
For little geese, as afterthought,
Were not hatched to make her glad.
Her skein decreased, to come to naught.
I swim along in music's streams
I swim along in music's streams,
and splash about a bit
with singing sounds and swirling lines,
where so it sings and as it's writ.
I toy a spell with silly words,
and spatter this with that
for such are they as they sound,
natural, when sharp or flat.
I navigate the circling world,
and sternly watch the wake,
as cuts the wind to touch the clouds;
all this for heaven's sake.
I like the tangling lines of fate
which twist, and tie and bind,
taut holding sails, billowing,
tomorrows yet to find.
Civilized - rhymed paraphrase of Christian Morgenstern
A fish wrote recently in the gazette:
›I'm done with not being wet.
I want (as you, too, might yet)
Piano-playing hands, a set.
In the South Sea deep there lives a newt
Who wear glasses and will to commit
To sharing his methods with all of us.
Bad Westerland, Sylt. E. P. Schmidt.‹
The gazette was hardly published,
Before the herring and the shark,
All schooled, including the whale,
Were scandalized by the remark,
Yes, and more than that, as one,
Judged it a decadent vulgarity.
(The octopus alone saw in this
A worldly, fishy hilarity.
It swam seeking, senselessly,
A piano, that maritime rarity.)
The four-eyed newt with the pointed ears,
Not to lose potential clientele,
Posted this brochure to Schmidt:
›Fish hands (manicured as well)
Through exercises in three years.‹
Everything can happen, so it appears.
You see, like there in Westerland,
In man as in fish such flames are fanned:
What was once in Mother Nature's hand
Now must come under civilized command.
See: Zivilisatorisches - (2018)
Bad advice - so seeming nice
Pick the fruit of the poisoned tree
and bring it towards one's lips.
Ladle a cup from the poisoned well,
and ponder as one sips.
Visit thought from the poisoned mind
as at one's mind it rips.
Prayer the prayer of the poisoned heart
as at weak faith it snips.
Pick poisoned fruit, sip the poisoned cup,
poisons which the wise one skips.
The Horde of Rats - paraphrase of Heinrich Heine
There are two types of rat:
The hungry and the well-fed fat.
The fat stay happily at home,
The hungry hunger to widely roam.
They trudge a thousand miles,
Without rest these exiles,
Onward in their grim pursuit,
Not wind nor weather bar their route.
They clamber over lofty height,
They scuttle on through watery fright;
Some drown or succumb to a broken neck,
The dead just abandoned in their trek.
Like screech owls' howls
Are their muzzle-mad growls;
Their shaven heads so uniform
Seem radical, rat-bald is this swarm.
The militant horde so is clawed,
Acknowledging not a single god.
They do not baptize their brood,
Their females being communally viewed.
The rats in a frenzied cluster
Devour whatever they muster,
And ponder not while all's consumed,
An immortal soul can be so doomed.
Such is the fury of hysterical rats,
They fear not hell, not even cats;
They know no good, and have no cash,
But at the world would gnaw and gnash.
The horde of rats, alack, alas!
They are gathering up, en masse.
They move, hear in this region
The whistling - their number is Legion.
Oh, woe! we are lost, too late!
They are already at the outer gate!
The mayor and senators too
Shake their heads, not electing what to do.
Citizens rally, weapons in hand,
The clerics' bells ring as planned.
Endangered is society's health,
The lofty state, the peoples' wealth.
Not clanging bells, nor the priestly pleas,
Nor approving senatorial decrees,
Nor cannons, muzzle loaded, aimed when swung,
Can help this day the defenseless young!
Today the words spin out like thread;
The practiced art of speech is dead.
With syllogisms, rats are not caught,
And clever sophisms come to naught.
In the hungry stomach, one observes,
Only soup-with-dumpling logic serves,
Only roast-beef, arguments are enough,
Entertained by Göttinger-sausage stuff.
A wordless cod, parboiled in butter,
Silences the radicals' hungry mutter,
Better than some political zero
And, after Cicero, each prattling Nero.
See: Die Wanderratten - (2018)
The music has stopped
without chairs enough
for all to take their seat.
For what must one opt
in times turned tough
when someone's missed a beat?
Conduct as a bluff
when trapped in the rough,
but surely beat discrete,
For hand waving's pride
gets powder puff-puffed
by the musically lost aesthete.
Sticks and stones redux
Sticks and stones may break men's bones,
Yet words are most effective
In passing on that raging fire
Of word absurd invective.
Cudgels and the sharpened blade
When wielded with worded rage
Can splatter blood upon the streets
As on the printed page.
Warfare weapons of all kinds
Are bolstered by what's said,
And, for this is bright hatred
On harshest words well fed.
Prepare a piano
Prepare a piano;
prepare the way.
Be bright amazed
or bored this day.
One clowns around
some sound that's found,
And goes into a park
to seek its spark.
Bird songs resound,
and barks the hound.
your musical mark.
Artists talk a lot about freedom
And artists talk a lot.
Art went into a park
just for a lark.
Prepare a score;
perhaps there's more.
If the facts don't fit the theory
If the facts don't fit the theory,
Then you must change the facts;
When hard data is too dreary,
It's the data one attacks.
Conclusions being what must be,
All that's not, one extracts.
And as that game grows weary,
Such theories become failed artifacts.
Addendum of a Failed Artifact: "A senior U.N. environmental official says entire nations could be wiped off the face of the Earth by rising sea levels if the global warming trend is not reversed by the year 2000. Coastal flooding and crop failures would create an exodus of 'eco- refugees,' threatening political chaos, said Noel Brown, director of the New York office of the U.N. Environment Program, or UNEP. He said governments have a 10-year window of opportunity to solve the greenhouse effect before it goes beyond human control. As the warming melts polar icecaps, ocean levels will rise by up to three feet, enough to cover the Maldives and other flat island nations, Brown told The Associated Press in an interview on Wednesday. Coastal regions will be inundated; one-sixth of Bangladesh could be flooded...." In "U.N. Predicts Disaster if Global Warming Not Checked," by Peter James Spielmann, Associated Press,30 June 1989.
Consider The Privileges of Intellectuals and their Green drivel - love locks, dead, in order to connect the dots
I found a toy in dry caked dirt
I found a toy in dry caked dirt
while gardening that day,
a soldier from so long ago
and a time now far away.
Encased in crusty earth
I almost did not see,
yet something inner beamed
out a far-flung memory.
Time had done its leveled best
and earth too did its part
until this resurrection tore
blinding time apart.
Encrusted dirt full fell away
as digger hands had worked
to reacquaint the digger
with that which therein lurked.
The toy is real in memory,
its finding lifts the spell,
as did its resurrection,
as these small words do tell.
David slew Goliath
David slew Goliath, for so that story went,
But now the twists of fate demand it must be bent.
Goliath was oppressed by David's cheating sling,
And David was oppressor who a deadly stone did fling.
Parsifal, the foolish fool, triumphed in that tale;
Now imbeciles demand there be no holy grail.
Parsifal remains the fool, and nothing may be learned
Excepting what is postmodernist-ly so churned.
God is dead, the madman cried, in Nietzsche's famous text,
Which asked some ignored questions, such as: what comes next?
Man is a cancer on the earth, the Club of Rome proclaimed,
While working hard to rule that little men be tamed.
Post modern wymyn spelled their words anew,
To prove they were imbecilic, alphabetically skewed,
And now their papers pile in unread stacks of pulp,
And gobbledygook is swallowed in a bibliographic gulp.
'This is that,' that 'none may judge' is what is judged today,
As words and tales and logic are eroded well away.
And what remains is knotted, more Gordian than ever,
As postmodern idiocy worships at seeming clever.
Old victims become oppressors, to play the same old game,
For cycle all the stories, the cudgels and the blame.
What comes after, then, this postmodern time?
Shall post-postmodern modern wither its paradigm?
Some things are just what they were, or so one argues when
The cycling revolves revolution and starts all over again.
A David will kill a Goliath, for the story is ever new,
And consequences once deferred will burden more than few.
Evil lies hidden - until the time it's bidden
Evil lies hidden,
oft wrapped in a cloak of good,
like wolves lie in sheep's clothing,
as what is evil really should.
Evil lies hidden,
thereby camouflaged some way,
for if it were too easily seen
it might scare off its prey.
Evil lies hidden,
for exposure burns severe,
while hiding in contrivances
allows it to draw near.
Evil lies hidden,
fathering its lies,
and when 'tis said it doesn't,
it's nearer to its prize.
Evil lie hidden,
with snares wide-jawed for man,
to catch the unawares
as was and remains its plan.
Evil lies hidden,
until the veil is ripped away,
whereon it rages
in the bracing light of day.
I can't, I simply can't - a postmodern student rant
"A movement is arising, undirected and driven largely by students, to scrub campuses clean of words, ideas, and subjects that might cause discomfort or give offense. ...it presumes an extraordinary fragility of the collegiate psyche, and therefore elevates the goal of protecting students from psychological harm. The ultimate aim, it seems, is to turn campuses into 'safe spaces' where young adults are shielded from words and ideas that make some uncomfortable. And more than the last, this movement seeks to punish anyone who interferes with that aim, even accidentally. You might call this impulse vindictive protectiveness. It is creating a culture in which everyone must think twice before speaking up, lest they face charges of insensitivity, aggression, or worse." In "The Coddling of the American Mind," by Greg Lukianoff and Jonathan Haidt, Atlantic, September 2015.
I can't, I simply can't.
I won't, so goes the rant.
The chant goes that you shan't,
Or if you shall, recant!
I rage o'er every page.
I gauge all by outrage.
So postures this as sage.
I roil from words and boil,
From others' thoughts recoil.
Protect me from all toil!
Save me from thoughts' turmoil.
Critical theory me must coddle,
Social justice, make me waddle,
Teach me only protective twaddle,
Such is the latest model.
Envoi: "Outrage has become the signature emotion of American public life." In "America Is Addicted to Outrage. Is There a Cure?" by Lance Morrow, Wall Street Journal, 1 December 2018.
Reality is what reality is,
and rarely accepts your change;
what one might and what one can
lie in its narrow range.
Evidence to the contrary
is a mean and nasty thing;
those who won't believe it
will share its nasty sting.
Reality is what reality is.
With my all-encompassing epithets,
You're all that I say you are;
And, as my words are weapons,
You'll have earned each well-planned scar.
With my sharpened accusations,
You're judged by the jury of me;
So long as I remain unquestioned,
You'll not hear the last from me.
With my dour denunciations,
I condemn you before you speak;
And, as I am the sole decider,
You shall never me critique.
With my critical stance emboldened,
You're grist for my grinding mill;
And, as you must not ever criticize me,
I will win, and I always will.
Addendum of Practical Aims: "While Critical Theory is often thought of narrowly as referring to the Frankfurt School that begins with Horkheimer and Adorno and stretches to Marcuse and Habermas, any philosophical approach with similar practical aims could be called a 'critical theory,' including feminism, critical race theory, and some forms of post-colonial criticism. In the following, Critical Theory when capitalized refers only to the Frankfurt School. All other uses of the term are meant in the broader sense and thus not capitalized." In "Critical Theory," by James Bohman, The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Fall 2016 Edition). [ 1 ]
Addendum of Seeing the Game in the Democrat Party Primary: "Last week, Williamson said in an interview she didn’t think that 'the left was so mean' until she ran for president. In August, she claimed that 'very powerful forces' within the Democratic Party were trying to prevent her from appearing on the debate stage. She also slammed Democrats for being 'condescending' to people of faith after making a tweet suggesting that prayer intervened in Hurricane Dorian's impact on the U.S." In "Marianne Williamson caught on a hot mic saying 'conservatives are nicer' to her than the left," by Joseph A. Wulfsohn, Fox News, 12 September 2019.
[ 1 ] "...critical theories are not democratic theories, but their practical consequences are assessed and verified in democratic practice and solved by inquiry into better democratic practice. Perhaps one of the more pernicious forms of ideology now is embodied in the appeal of the claim that there are no alternatives to present institutions. In this age of diminishing expectations, one important role that remains for the social scientifically informed, and normatively oriented democratic critic is to offer novel alternatives and creative possibilities in place of the defeatist claim that we are at the end of history. That would not only mean the end of inquiry, but also the end of democracy."
The Critical In Crisis
The appearance and dissemination of Critical Theory has been a historical attempt to revitalize Marxist thought culturally, but it has been a short cut to being a battering ram, bringing the whole realm of intellectual pursuits surrounding Critical Theory into crisis. Bohman ends his summary with the awareness that "critical theories are not democratic theories," and it is wise to observe that democratic theories easily trip over into simple majoritatianism, such that individual rights are violated by the "collective."
To this end, the call to "politicize" Critical Theory is made, as one reads: "...if critical theory seeks to contribute to finding the way out of the contemporary crisis of social theory, it must itself develop new perspectives. In opposition to the previous model of 'one-dimensional society,' critical theorists today should focus on the contradictions, conflicts, and crisis tendencies within contemporary capitalist societies. To the neglect of political economy and empirical research found in much critical theory, we should respond with theoretical analyses of developments within the capitalist economy and of changes in class stratification, the labor process, new technologies, the media, and politics. In opposition to the apolitical and even depoliticized versions of critical theory that continue to circulate, those who wish to revitalize critical theory should attempt to politicize it, to connect it with new social movements and existing political struggles. As we move into the 1990s and toward the end of the century, many theoretical and political tasks stand before us. If critical theory wishes to participate in the Left Turn needed to eliminate the current hegemony of the Right and to help to build a better society, it needs to develop both its analysis of the present situation and a new politics in order to become once again the cutting edge of radical social theory." In "Critical Theory and the Crisis of Social Theory," by Douglas Kellner, UCLA Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, n. d.
Politicizing the Political?
The model of Left-Right polarity lives, as each side vows to be the "correct" side. Kellner above calls for "new politics," which seems amusing, given a century and more of varying forms of new politics and many failed political and social experiments, as the call for the "new man," from the Bolshevik revolution forward, has proposed to know what is "new" and to know what is "right." One watches the socio-political strife on campuses throughout the West, in testimony to some "game" in which radical power politics is "revitalized."
Such an active and revitalized politics may be seen by keeping an eye out for Hector Bullhorn .
In the quote above, Professor Kellner assumes a "current hegemony of the Right." Oddly even the New York Times notes that a Left regime comes to "one-man rule under the leftist" as one considers some Left to their own devices . The argument is easily made that the Left-Right model is failing, if not failed.
It becomes clear that the Left is Right, as Right is Left .
And it becomes necessary to be critical of the model itself: How it's pictured, how it's seen - images and what we mean.
"Democratic state lawmakers are worried because California relies so heavily on the income taxes it collects from high earners to fund government services. The state’s wealthiest 1 percent, for instance, pay 48 percent of its income tax, and the departure of just a few families could lead to a noticeable hit to state general fund revenue." In "Wealthy exodus to escape new tax rules worries California Democrats," by Adam Ashton, Sacramento Bee, 18 January 2018.
|You can rob a Peter to pay poor Paul,|
Until rich Peter moves away;
Then robbing Paul is what comes next,
As the strategy twists that day.
|The tale of rich Peter and poor Paul |
Is not a simple tale of two;
Though the Tax Man isn't mentioned,
He's that actor that's not in view.
|When the cast list of the tale is seen,|
There's a third standing in between;
Without this clarity, Peter and Paul
Are not a complete cast nor scene.
|But when Peter, Paul and the Tax Man|
Grapple in their dance,
One is sure how the story ends,
One foretells it in advance.
New Year's - one, two, three
Last night I tied one on,
It felt like I'd tied two,
Three sheets to the year's end
Is what it was. And you?
Last night did you tipple,
In celebratory toast?
Did you double or triple
What is more normally dosed?
Last night rang out the old year,
This morning brings the new,
And oh my goodness gracious
It's awakened in a stew.
"What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done; and there is nothing new under the sun." Ecclesiastes 1:9.
No such thing as original sin,
'Cause it's all been done before.
No such thing, since all has been
Ever since those days of yore.
No such thing and nothing new
Under the blazing sun,
'Cause lots of stuff is called a sin,
The truly worst and the jolliest fun.
Theologians all can tilt at this,
But let's consider the score:
No such thing as original sin,
'Cause it's all been done before.
Tonality died, so was it declared
"...we shall examine tonality in its last throes. I want to prove to you that it's really dead. Once that's proved, there's no point in going on dealing with something dead." In "The Path to Twelve-note Composition," Anton Webern (1933), trans. Leo Black, Theodore Presser, 1963. [ 1 ]
Tonality died, so was it declared,
In nineteen hundred and thirty three.
Time has passed; the statement's fared
Quite poorly, according to history.
Tin Pan Alley razzmatazz'd,
And Rock and Roll took off,
And jazz was clubbed, but not to death,
At tonality few would scoff.
Musical theater popped with tunes,
And dance fever stayed as craze.
If there's no point in what is dead,
These are tonality's healthiest days.
Addendum of Seeking: "...the artistic response to a world in which there is so much confusion, division and threat to people on a global scale, and where we can see that unfolding in real time – and with a sense that this will be how it is for the next century – is very different from the heroic task of rebuilding Europe after the war and the broad cultural certainties that made that possible. What form music and its creators take is proliferating, diversifying and morphing in a beautiful way that cannot be categorised by an 'ism'. I do not recognise the existential crisis that Philip Clark describes. Music that opens up our hearts and minds, that haunts us and leaves us with questions, seems to be the kind of greatness we need nowadays...." In "Composers seek a new definition of greatness in a digital age," by Susanna Eastburn, Guardian UK, 22 July 2016.
Addendum of Rediscovery ad Reacceptance: "Commenting on musical poetics and the 'rediscovery and reacceptance of tonality' in the Harvard Lectures given in 1973, he stated: 'I believe that no matter how serial, or stochastic, or otherwise intellectualized music may be, it can always qualify as poetry as long as it is rooted in earth…and that the expressive distinctions among [new] idioms depend ultimately on the dignity and passion of the individual creative voice'." In "Leonard Bernstein," New World Encyclopedia, n. d.
Addendum of Being Trammeled by Stultifying Convention: " 'Well, what can you do with the wretched and antiquated instruments of our orchestra? A diatonic scale, bah! Thirteen miserable, bourgeois semi-tones, pooh! To express the infinite complexity of modern emotion, you need a scale of thirty-two notes to the octave.' 'But why cling to the octave?' said the fat man. 'Till you can cast away the octave and its sentimental associations, you walk in fetters of convention.' 'That's the spirit!' said Wimsey. 'I would dispense with all definite notes. After all, the cat does not need them for his midnight melodies, powerful and expressive as they are. The love-hunger of the stallion takes no account of octave or interval in giving forth the cry of passion. It is only man, trammeled by a stultifying convention...." In "Strong Poison," Dorothy Sayers, 1930.
Addendum of Looking Right Back: "If your neighbor looks at you like they don't enjoy the key you're singing in, look right back, bless them, and keep on singing." Odetta Holmes (1930-2008)
[ 1 ] Willi Reich wrote in the preface to the 1963 edition, "It is very characteristic that Webern should have called both cycles 'paths.' He, who was always 'under way,' wanted to show others the way too. First he wanted to show what had at various times over the centuries been 'new' in music, meaning that it had never been said before. From the laws that resulted in the course of this, he would then reveal the law governing the onward course of what was at present new."
The notion of "new" music is no longer new, in the sense that every age and every composer composes something "new." The qualifier then means various and varying things, depending on who employs it. On New Music addresses "new" as well.
As one watches generations pass, "new" remains new, while such closely-defined modifiers as "modern" become dated when not tethered to general-use language. One watches this in the development in arts of all kinds as "new" becomes "old" and what is declared "subversive" becomes "orthodoxy." Consider that anythingis - that new old refrain.
This little rhyme is meant to caution all against that sort of assertion which declares what "new" will be decades after anything "new" anchored in a certain time becomes de facto old. What is certain is that many composers found their own "paths" to a "new" which, when viewed across the passage of time, become "old."
There was a time I would have
There was a time I would have,
but that time is now well gone.
There was a place I might have,
yet now there's just a yawn.
There was a work I could have,
but from the well was never drawn.
There was a thought I should have,
yet said light will never dawn.
There was a time which now is gone
as sure as midnight follows dawn.
"A very few—as heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the great sense, and men—serve the state with their consciences also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part; and they are commonly treated as enemies by it." Henry David Thoreau (1817-1862)
The enemy is any me who would resist the state,
In whole or part, by word and art, and full accept his fate.
The enemy is any me.
The enemy is any you, if you your conscience hear,
Each state's corrupt in some way and oft will rule with fear.
The enemy is any you.
The enemy is many when evil topples good,
And yet demands that it must rule as have men for evils stood.
The enemy is many.
Returning the favor
"The line is spoken by Clytemnestra, the wife of Agamemnon and queen of Mycenae in ancient Greek legend. Agamemnon was part of the Oresteia, a trilogy of tragic dramas by the ancient Greek dramatist Aeschylus and was first performed in 458 BCE. The play remains popular to this day and is regularly performed and widely read. 'By the sword you did your work, and by the sword you die.' Aeschylus's Agamemnon (Translation by Robert Fagles)," In "Live by the sword, die by the sword," Wikipedia article, n. d.
You'd tear down my favored god?
Why, I'll return the favor.
As you rage, I'll tear yours down
And, yes, your outrage savor.
The idols of idle ideologies
Shard shatter as they pass,
Cutting through their raging cries
With newly sharpened glass.
What abides, abides, you see,
While all that passes fades.
Renewal comes and comes again,
To breech all barricades.
Tear away, as one will,
For such is mankind's tale.
In due time you'll be torn down,
With sword and claw and flail.
Addendum of Repetition: "A follower of Jesus draws his sword and cuts off the ear of a servant of the high priest (though the follower's identity is left unspecified in Matthew, the follower is identified in John as Peter). Jesus then says to him: Converte gladium tuum in locum suum. Omnes enim, qui acceperint gladium, gladio peribunt. ('Return your sword to its place, for all who will take up the sword, will die by the sword.')" Also in "Live by the sword, die by the sword," Wikipedia article, n. d.
Addendum from the Beginning: "Whoso sheds man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man." Genesis 9:6.
You're what you do
You're what you do,
Not what you say.
You're what you do
In every way.
What is done
Is done with that?
You're what you make,
Not what you plan.
All's what results,
Not other than....
Deeds tell all,
While words do not.
You're what you do;
That's all you've got.
Addendum as Testimony: "There are no great men, only great challenges that ordinary men are forced by circumstances to meet." Quote of William F. 'Bull' Halsey Jr., in "Flags of Our Fathers," by James Brady, 2000.
Bernie got it wrong
"Bernie Sanders has charted his own, highly unbeaten path in politics. A self-described Socialist, Sander hasn’t just eschewed the familiar trappings of capitalism – high-paid speaking gigs, investment partnerships, a spouse on Wall Street, the corporate ladder. He runs in direct opposition and hostility to them. 'The business model of Wall Street is fraud,' he famously proclaimed in a debate. And yet, by dint of his success as an anti-capitalist politician, Sanders has managed to make a quite comfortable living. While Sanders wouldn’t describe himself as rich, the scourge of the 1% has income that puts him in the top 3.8% of American households, according to CNBC." In "How Bernie Sanders, the Socialist, Quietly Entered the Top 4% of Earners," by Daniel Gross, 28 February 2016.
Some form of socialism
is socialism in some form,
And a market economy
is never socialism's norm.
Those who clutter up their terms
just like a defense attorney
Get the whole thing clearly wrong,
as did dear three-house Bernie.
Addendum of Correcting Words: "Speaking at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government, Danish PM Lars Løkke Rasmussen told students that he had 'absolutely no wish to interfere the presidential debate in the US' but nonetheless attempted to set the record straight about his country. 'I know that some people in the US associate the Nordic model with some sort of socialism. Therefore I would like to make one thing clear. Denmark is far from a socialist planned economy. Denmark is a market economy,' Rasmussen said. 'The Nordic model is an expanded welfare state which provides a high level of security for its citizens, but it is also a successful market economy with much freedom to pursue your dreams and live your life as you wish,' he added." In "Danish PM in US: Denmark is not socialist," TheLocal.dk, 1 November 2015.
Addendum of a Self-Described Socialist in 2017: "A recent financial disclosure report shows the junior Vermont senator made nearly $1.06 million in 2017. Most of his income — $885,767 — came from advances and royalties, according to the report filed in May." In "For second year, Sanders earns more than $1M," by Elizabeth Hewitt and Anne Galloway, VT Digger, 22 June 2018.
Addendum of Bashing the Rich While Campaigning for the Rich: "If one thing is clear about multi-millionaire Sanders, it is his professed disdain for the rich. He has money and his friends have money, yet all the other rich are evil. Sanders came to Colorado to stump all day for Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jared Polis, who is among the wealthiest men in the country." In "Bernie Sanders bashes the rich, while stumping for multi-millionaire Jared Polis," by Gazette editorial board (Colorado Springs), 25 October 2018. [ 1 ]
Addendum of a Revolutionary Safe Set of Hands: "...in trying to accomplish a turn in his public character as he nears eighty: to extricate the person from the ideology, and to suggest that he is not just a revolutionary but also a safe pair of hands." In "Bernie Sanders Imagines a Progressive New Approach to Foreign Policy," by Benjamin Wallace-Wells, New Yorker, 13 April 2019. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Not Now: "When pressed by CNBC’s John Harwood on how a Sanders administration would come up with enough revenue for the program, Sanders dismissed the concern. You're asking me to come up with an exact detailed plan of how every American – how much you’re going to pay more in taxes, how much I’m going to pay. I don’t think I have to do that right now,” Sanders asserted." In " Bernie: ‘I Don’t Think I Have To’ Explain How To Pay For Socialized Medicine," by Tristan Justice, Federalist, 29 October 2019. [ 3 ]
Consider a Time when Bernie got it right
[ 1 ] How "multi" is "multi?" One reads of Polis, "Jared Schutz Polis (/ˈpɔːlɪs/; born May 12, 1975) is an American politician, entrepreneur and philanthropist serving as the U.S. Representative for Colorado's 2nd congressional district since 2009. A member of the Democratic Party, he is a former member of the Colorado State Board of Education. He is among the wealthiest members of Congress, with a personal net worth estimated at nearly $400 million." In "Jared Polis," Wikipedia, n. d.
One may now set the benchmark that to be "rich" by Senator Sander's Democratic Socialist dictionary, one should have a personal worth of MORE that $400 million. This political phenomenon underpins the reason for a small bit of doggerel titled I Shall Believe the Socialist .
[ 2 ] The journalistic curlicue of a "revolutionary" with a "safe pair of hands" amused. And yet the supposed "independent" who ran for president in 2016 in the Democrat Party is not independent, per se. His bias is as are all biases.
A millionaire with three homes, Sanders has attracted the attention of the press. One reads: "Sanders, meanwhile, was so enthused by the trip that he soon began planning his next foreign venture: a visit to Cuba the following year, during his last month as mayor. 'Under Castro, enormous progress has been made in improving the lives of poor people,' Sanders said before leaving, while noting 'enormous deficiencies' in democratic rights. While he failed in his goal to meet Fidel Castro, he returned home with even greater praise than he had for the Soviet Union. 'I did not see a hungry child. I did not see any homeless people,' Sanders told the Burlington Free Press. While Cuba was 'not a perfect society,' he said the country 'not only has free health care but very high-quality health care. . . . The revolution there is far deeper and more profound than I understood it to be. It really is a revolution in terms of values'." In "Inside Bernie Sanders’s 1988 10-day ‘honeymoon’ in the Soviet Union," by Washington Post, 11 September 2019.
One may consider millionaire Sanders' values based on his evaluation of Socialist Cuba's values, by reviewing the rhyme, addenda and footnotes to Socialism's Last Hurrah - not democracy in any town.
[ 3 ] The editorial on this "news" continued: "White House rival Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who co-sponsored the Sanders 'Medicare for All' bill in the Senate and is pushing a nearly identical health plan on the campaign trail, has also dodged questions on how she would fund the program. Numerous budget experts agree that it would be impossible to fund 'Medicare for All' without drastically hiking middle-class taxes. While Warren notably evaded questions on whether she would spike taxes on the middle class in this month’s Democratic debate in Ohio, a new report from the independent public policy think tank the Committee for A Responsible Federal Budget shows that it would be mathematically impossible to pay for the program without doing so."
In other news in 2019, mathematics itself has been asserted to be "racist." Probably capitalist, as well. But it is most interesting to watch politicians advocate for something, while declaring of giving a clarification of how a campaign promise might be funded, to reply "I don’t think I have to do that right now."
Advice for Not-so-evil Us
The lesser of two evils remains evil, don't you see?
Choose one or choose the other; but choose so woefully.
The lesser of two evils focuses on only two,
So think of other options for not-so-evil you.
The lesser of two goods is good; the inverse does imply.
Why not broaden options, including good by and by?
Choose because you must; such is the nature of this life.
Choose wisely, or choose foolishly continuing the strife.
This advice is offered with hindsight clear to see,
And is offered in a rhyme for you and too for me.
Politicians steal, so why shouldn't I?
"...'socialized' or 'mass' crimes are spreading in Mexico as entire communities empty freight trains of merchandise or steal hundreds of thousands of gallons of fuel from pipelines. 'The logic of the people is that they see politicians and officials stealing big time ... and they see themselves as having the same right to steal as the big-time politicians,' said Edgardo Buscaglia, an international crime expert and research fellow at Columbia University. 'You begin to create an ethical code in which, 'If the upper-class people can steal and get away with it, we can steal, too, with complete justification'." In "In Mexico, rising 'mass crime' defies security forces," by Associated Press, 26 June 2018.
Politicians steal, so why shouldn't I?
Thus rationalizes some little guy.
Each new boss is quite like the old,
And as they steal, they grow more bold.
Politicians serve up corruption and lies,
And learning too well are some little guys.
Examples teach as role models too,
As little folks learn from what bosses do.
Politicians steal, so why shouldn't you?
The questions do so well argue.
Each new boss seems quite like the old;
Until honesty breaks that stranglehold.
Addendum of the Kleptocracies: "...the majority of people on our planet lost their ability to think logically. They have been brainwashed by the propagandist mass media, by mass produced movies and pop music, by bizarre 'trends' in fashion and by aggressive consumerism. Education and media outlets have lost all their independence and become subservient to the interests of the regime. Western 'democracy' (not much of a project to begin with), has kicked the bucket quietly and discretely, and its advocates again began taking direct dictates from big business, multi-billionaires and their multi-national corporations. The system has evolved from turbo-capitalism into turbo-kleptocracy." In "Does Our Civilization has at Least Some Chance to Survive?" by Andre Vitchek, New Eastern Outlook," 19 January 2019.
Consider how to Use a kid for politics - political optics' tricks, and too many examples of political Corruption
"Three men were believed to have been eaten alive by the predators sometime between Sunday night and Monday morning after they entered the Sibuya Game Reserve in Kenton-on-Sea to hunt rhinos, Nick Fox, the park’s owner, told Newsweek. After the incident, authorities recovered the remains of their parts, three pairs of shoes, wire cutters, high-powered hunting rifles fitted with silencers and a type of ax that is commonly used by poachers to remove rhino horns. 'The only body part we found was one skull and one bit of pelvis, everything else was completely gone,' he said. 'There is so little left that they don’t know exactly how many people were killed, we suspect three because we found three sets of shoes and three sets of gloves.' Fox also revealed that rhino poaching groups usually consist of three people." In "Three Poachers Eaten By Lions After Breaking Into Game Reserve To Hunt Rhinos," by Christina Zhao, 5 July 2018.
Gobble up hors d'oeuvres.
Nature freshly serves.
Tables can be turned.
Court is now adjourned.
Consider the plans of mere mortals: Happy Ending - Happy Feet's a tasty treat
Hymn for Modernity's Latest Religion
O worship your parts, all glorious below,
O follow their lead, they'll tell you where to go;
They'll be there, they are you, unless they're exchanged.
With surgical skill, all is then rearranged.
O tell of their might and sing of their grace,
Their politics' lies in their intimate embrace.
Their chariots are suits which charge to the beat
Of radical movements which they then excrete.
These parts, with their storehouse of stories so bold,
Demand an allegiance that's oft oversold,
As nature and nurture are fit to be tied
In knots' intersections, postmodernly applied.
No offspring forth comes, infertile their plight
As unions' communion turns barren acolyte.
Their worshipful pose in religious tableaux
Distills of that essence they barely expose.
Frail children of dust abandon restraints,
As mixed genitalia become heroes and saints.
Tranced gender's pranced splendor grows old as time's trend,
As parts, once adored, still wither in the end.
Conform to this world, conform to its parts,
Bending the knees while hardening the hearts.
God made you this way and God made some mistakes,
For both are asserted; and both for heaven's sakes.
Addendum from Female to Feminism to Gay to Male: "...Partridge looked for a university that would support him in his pursuit of chaplaincy. Bryn Mawr College, an all-women’s college in Pennsylvania, answered his calling. It was there that he discovered that his feminism and his faith weren’t at odds. During Partridge’s sophomore year at Bryn Mawr, he came out as gay, and in 2002, post-graduation, he made the transition from a female to a male." In "Openly Transgender Priest Speaks on Identity, Faith," by Zoe Chester-Thompson, Boston College Heights, 5 October 2016. [ 1 ]
Addendum of a Gay Jesus: "Roman Catholic moral teaching of course can and does evolve. With regard to transgender people it needs to listen to their experience, allow this experience to dialogue with the best of the tradition, and let this bring forth teaching that is both life-giving and Gospel centered for transgender people. As a gay man who has had to struggle with the positions taken by my church, I have always had a passionate desire to build the kind of Church Pope Francis speaks of: “May we become a church that knows how to open her arms and welcome everybody… I have come to believe in a God who not only crosses the boundaries of sexual orientation, but also those of gender." In "Jesuit Priest Says God is Transgender," by Joseph Sciambra Blog, n. .d
Addendum of Jesus as Feminine: "The point, she [ Katharine Jefferts Schori ] says, is 'that in orthodox Christianity you don't assign gender to God. 'Father' is simply a metaphor for a figure of authority' - which doesn't make God a man, but makes it more important that His feminine qualities - gentleness and nurturing - be emphasised. The same goes for Jesus: regardless of his actual sex, 'son of God' is a metaphor for an all-encompassing filial relationship. Although it was men who first explored the feminine qualities of the godhead - in the second century, Clement of Alexandria was already speaking of 'the Father's loving breasts' and 'the milk of the Father' - the best-known proponent of the idea in the western church is the 14th- century female mystic Julian of Norwich, whose formulation Dr Schori was using (a cliche so beloved by theology students that Rowan Williams once sighed he wished she'd never written it): 'And so Jesus is our true Mother in nature by our first creation, and he is our true Mother in grace by his taking our created nature'." In "Was Jesus a woman?" by Aida Edemariam, Guardian UK, 23 June 2006.
Addendum - God made you like this: "It is not the first time it has been suggested Francis has an open and tolerant attitude toward homosexuality, despite the Catholic church’s teaching that gay sex – and all sex outside of heterosexual marriage – is a sin. In July 2013, in response to a reporter’s question about the existence of an alleged 'gay lobby' within the Vatican, Francis said: 'Who am I to judge?' The new remarks appear to go much further in embracing homosexuality as a sexual orientation that is designed and bestowed by God." In "Pope Francis tells gay man: 'God made you like this'," by Stephanie Kirschgaessner, Guardian UK, 20 May 2018. [ 2 ]
Addendum - God made a mistake: He said, 'Mom, I'm so mad at God, because God made a mistake. He made me a boy, and I'm not a boy, I'm a girl, Mom. Every night I pray that God gives me a girl body but when I wake up I'm still a boy. God won't take back his mistake, he won't make it right,' Stephanie recalled." In "Born With the Wrong Body," by Alan B. Goldberg, ABC News, 27 July 2008.
Addendum - God made you like this, again: "...'We are excited for him to preach at the Cathedral,' said The Very Rev. Gary Hall, the dean of Washington National Cathedral. In a statement sent to The Huffington Post, he said: 'As an advocate both within the Church and wider community, Cameron’s presence in the pulpit, I hope, will also send a symbolic message in support of greater equality for the transgender community, which suffers from acts of violence, discrimination, unemployment, homelessness, and financial inequality. We at Washington National Cathedral are striving to send a message of love and affirmation, especially to LGBT youth who suffer daily because of their gender identity or sexual orientation. We want to proclaim to them as proudly and unequivocally as we can: Your gender identity is good and your sexual orientation is good because that’s the way that God made you'." In "Rev. Cameron Partridge Will Be First Openly Transgender Priest To Preach at Washington National Cathedral," by Yasmine Hafiz, Huffington Post, 23 June 2014.
Addendum - God made a mistake again: "...Devina knew. She tried speaking to his parents and told them, 'I think God made a mistake.' To which Anil recalls responding, “We would do what every parent did and said, 'No, God doesn’t make mistakes'." In "The Moment Our Child Revealed She's Transgender: Devina Keswani's Parents Say She Told Us, 'I Think God Made a Mistake'," by Jennifer Heyde, People Magazine, 21 October 2015. [ 3 ]
Addendum - God Not Make Mistakes: "Trans Christians believe that just because something exists, does not make it good. Creation is good, but God has not yet perfected it. 'Creation itself will be liberated from its bondage and decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God. We know that the whole earth has been groaning as in the pangs of childbirth right up to the present time.' (Romans 8:21-22) Christians are split over this matter into Calvinism (e.g., Lutherans, Baptists, and Presbyterians) and everyone else (e.g., Orthodox, Methodists, Anabaptists, Anglicans, Catholics). Calvinists believe that everything that is, is brought by God. However, God does not want us to be passive but to follow God's command which involves fighting sin, natural disasters, and our fallen bodies. Arminians and Christians prior to Calvin believe God is not the sole actor but that sin interrupts God's will. These Christians believe God calls on us to manifest God's will into the world. All Christians agree that God desires good works in the face of imperfection, not resignation to it or acceptance of it." In "Objection: God Does Not Make Mistakes," TransChristians.org, n. d. [ 4 ]
Addendum of the Imperial, Autonomous Self: "...we see how the imperial, autonomous self gradually becomes the imperious, authoritarian self. Tolerance becomes tyranny. Our current Pope warns of ideological colonization. Pope John Paul II, and Pope Benedict XVI warned of the 'tyranny of relativism' and subjectivism. When we shift the locus of truth from the object (reality) to the subject (the individual), 'truth' becomes about power and who has more of it." In "What Ails Us? The Rise of the Imperial, Autonomous Self," by Msgr. Charles Pope, Community in Mission, 12 June 2018. [ 5 ]
Addendum of Growing Up After All: "Despite the differences in country, culture, decade, and follow-up length and method, all the studies have come to a remarkably similar conclusion: Only very few trans- kids still want to transition by the time they are adults. Instead, they generally turn out to be regular gay or lesbian folks. The exact number varies by study, but roughly 60–90% of trans- kids turn out no longer to be trans by adulthood." In "Do trans- kids stay trans- when they grow up?" by James M. Cantor, Sexology Today, 11 January 2016. [ 6 ]
Addendum of Parts Not Mattering Too Much: "While the most simple answer is that girls have vulvas and boys have penises/testicles, that answer isn’t true for every boy and girl. Boy, girl, man, and woman are words that describe gender identity, and some people with the gender identities 'boy' or 'man' have vulvas, and some with the gender identity 'girl' or 'woman' have penises/testicles. Your genitals don’t make you a boy or a girl. You can say that most girls have vulvas and most boys have penises/testicles. You may want to emphasize that it doesn’t matter too much what parts someone has — that doesn’t tell you much about them. But you can make that decision based on your values and how you plan to talk with your kid about gender as they grow up." In "How do I talk with my preschooler about their body?" Planned Parenthood, 2018. [ 7 ]
Addendum of Changing Gender While Not: "...a doctor's note to show the government he identifies as a woman, even though he doesn't. 'It was pretty simple,' he said. 'I just basically asked for it and told them that I identify as a woman, or I'd like to identify as a woman, and he wrote me the letter I wanted.' Under the rules in place at the time, Albertans needed to produce a doctor's note to switch the gender marker on their personal documents. In June, the government scrapped the doctor's note requirement for adults, allowing them to declare their marker as M, F or X, for those who don't fit into a strictly male or female binary." In "Alberta man changes gender on government IDs for cheaper car insurance," by Reid Southwick, Canadian Broadcasting, 20 July 2018.
Addendum of the Faddish Notion: "Equality need not mean sameness. We just have to abandon the faddish notion that sex is socially constructed or entirely in the brain, that sex and gender are unconnected, that biology is irrelevant, and that there is something called an LGBTQ identity, when, in fact, the acronym contains extreme internal tensions and even outright contradictions. And we can allow this conversation to unfold civilly, with nuance and care, in order to maximize human dignity without erasing human difference." In "The Nature of Sex," by Andrew Sullivan, Intelligencer, 1 February 2019. [ 8 ]
Addendum of an Evangelical Lutheran Vulva: "Sterling silver rings were melted down into the vulva sculpture, whereas rings made from other materials were used to make wings that feature at the bottom of the piece. The finished piece shows the sculpture of the vulva emerging from a throne of red flames." In "Feminist pastor, 49, proudly unveils a sculpture of a VULVA that she had made from old purity rings - before giving it to a delighted Gloria Steinem as a token of respect and gratitude," by Shirley Donlon, Daily Mail, 15 February 2019. [ 9 ]
Addendum of Parts for the Glorious Below: "At the store, the pastor bought a $200 bunny-shaped blue vibrator called a Beaded Rabbit for one minister — a single mom of two who was celebrating her 40th birthday — as well as more pleasure gadgets for the congregant and herself, sources said. The female minister didn’t want the sex toy, but accepted it because she was scared not to, sources said. Butler also offered to buy a toy for the second minister — a gay man in a committed relationship — but he declined, sources said." In "Pastor out at famed Riverside Church after sex toy shopping spree," by Kevin Fasick, Ebony Bowden and Bruce Golding, New York Post, 11 July 2019. [ 10 ]
[ 1 ] It is written: "In expressing his experience as self-identifying as genderqueer and being a member of the Christian faith, Partridge talked particularly about the complexity of gender, and how it relates to the Christian pillars of giving thanks for creation. Partridge emphasized that to him, God’s creation is not static. He believes gender is about embracing the process of coming into God’s creation. Through coming into one’s identity, Partridge emphasized that we should embrace our bodies as evolving creations that can be changed or altered as we wish."
Altered as we wish.
What is Exceptional
In the case of being "altered as we wished," one reads: "A whopping 41% of people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming have attempted suicide sometime in their lives, nearly nine times the national average, according to a sweeping survey released three years ago." In "Transgender study looks at 'exceptionally high' suicide-attempt rate," by Emily Alpert Reyes, Los Angeles Times, 28 January 2014.
The same statistic is repeated: "Suicide attempts are alarmingly common among transgender individuals such as Lampe; 41% try to kill themselves at some point in their lives, compared with 4.6% of the general public. The numbers come from a study by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute, which analyzed results from the National Transgender Discrimination Survey. Researchers are preparing to launch another version of the online survey on Wednesday." In "Transgender people face alarmingly high risk of suicide," by Laura Ungar, USA Today, 16 August 2015.
A general explanation and remedy is that bullying and other forms of societal prejudice contribute to "exceptionally high" suicide rates, such that acceptance is the prescribed antidote. Yet "gender differences" explain poorly.
The Gender Paradox
One considers, "Gender differences in suicide rates have been shown to be significant. There are different rates of completed suicides and suicidal behavior between males and females. While women more often have suicidal thoughts, men die by suicide more frequently. This is also known as the gender paradox in suicide. Globally, death by suicide occurred about 1.8 times more often among males than among females in 2008, and 1.7 times in 2015. In the western world, males die by suicide three to four times more often than do females." In "Gender differences in suicide," Wikipedia article, n. d.
Thus transgendered individuals are not alone in suicide statistics disparities. Wikipedia continues: "Within the United States, there are variances in gendered rates of suicide by ethnic group. According to the CDC, as of 2013 the suicide rates of Whites and American Indians are more than twice the rates of African Americans and Hispanics. Explanations for why rates of attempted and completed suicide vary by ethnicity are often based on cultural differences."
While lack of societal acceptance of transgender claims might contribute to "exceptionally high" suicide rates, issues of simple heterosexual identity -- male versus female -- and race and culture all seem to play a part. Shall "society" made up of individuals think only one way? Shall differences not spark "stigma?" After all, as one watches political disagreements alone, one side often stigmatizes and bullies another. Ridding "society" of such is not an achievable goal.
When men commit suicide at a higher rate than females, as one example, then the "gender paradox" is observed and yet unanswered. Has society made a mistake? Has God made a mistake? Has religion made a mistake? Has politics made a mistake?
Modernity's newest religion offers many assertions with no acceptable answers. Perhaps transgenderism has made a mistake? That will not be considered as long as one can blame God, society, and more.
[ 2 ] It is interesting to note that an assertion that God mistakenly assigned the wrong body to an individual is not balanced with another possibility, that God assigned the wrong thoughts to an individual. If a human is both mind and body, then complaints about the body can be balanced with complaints about the mind. The new religion of modernity does not consider this, because then there would be the possibility that "altered as we wished" set the human before that human's understanding of God.
If "a sexual orientation that is designed and bestowed by God" is from God, then all sexual orientations can be asserted to be so. In the same way, an odd assertion is made: "Science doesn’t change in order to support political opinions. Scientific beliefs change as we gain new information, and sometimes science tells us things that we would rather not hear. Get used to it." In "Homosexuality & Choice: Are Gay People 'Born This Way'?" by Marcia Malory, Huffington Post, 23 October 2012.
Basically, "new information" suggests in terms of both religious, scientific and philosophic thought that we may be "altered as we wished." And so "We" comes first, before that science that "doesn't change" and that creation which either evidences God's mistakes. Or doesn't.
[ 3 ] Many such assertions may be found in the media. Another example: "From the age of 3, Andrea Lynn Schultz told her mother she felt like a boy. 'God made a mistake,' she would say -- when she could articulate the words. God made a mistake: she was supposed to be a boy. It was a constant refrain." In "Actually Andy, Part 1: A major announcement in teenager’s gender journey / Gallery," by Karen Lee Ziner, Providence Journal, 30 May 2018.
Reversal After Change
Assertions. There is a God. God makes mistakes. God doesn't make mistakes. And again, God makes mistakes.
As it turns out, some transgender individuals make mistake too. One reads: "A transgender person who had a £10,000 sex change to become a woman, but now wants to become a man again, has criticised the NHS for not doing enough to make sure he wanted the initial surgery. Matthew Attonley, 30, was born a boy and seven years ago started surgery to become a woman called Chelsea, but in the last six months he has taken steps to return to being a man called Matthew. He now wants the British health service to fund the £14,000 reversal process because he claims they didn't complete a rigorous enough mental evaluation before allowing him to go through the initial process." In " 'There isn't enough NHS psychiatric evaluation': Says the man who had £10,000 sex change to become a woman and now wants it reversed," by Caroline McGuire and Amanda Williams, Mail Online, 7 October 2014.
No Objective Test Because Subjectivity Rules
Another article tells: "Research has found that powerful psychological issues, such as anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder or alcohol or drug dependence often accompany gender dysphoria. A study published in JAMA Pediatrics in March 2016 shows a high prevalence of psychiatric diagnoses in a sample of 298 young transgender women aged 16 through 29. More than 40 percent had coexisting mental health or substance dependence diagnoses. One in five had two or more psychiatric diagnoses. The most commonly occurring disorders were major depressive episodes and non-alcohol psychoactive substance use dependence. Yet transgender individuals are never required to undergo any objective test to prove their gender dysphoria—because no diagnostic objective test exists." In "What I Wish I’d Known Before Undergoing Sex Reassignment Surgery," by Walt Heyer, Newsweek, 18 June 2016.
Gender repair after transgender surgery is seen: "Around five years ago, Professor Miroslav Djordjevic, the world-leading genital reconstructive surgeon, received a visit at his Belgrade clinic: a transgender person who had undergone surgery at different clinic to remove male genitalia - and since changed their mind. That was the first time Prof Djordjevic had ever been contacted to perform a so-called gender reassignment 'reversal' surgery. Over the next six months, another six people also approached him, similarly wanting to reverse their procedures. They came from countries all over the western world, Britain included, united by an acute sense of regret." In "Sex change regret: Gender reversal surgery is on the rise, so why aren't we talking about it?" by Joe Shute, Telegraph UK, 1 October 2017.
So Focused that I Never Stopped to Think
A similar article states clearly: "I was so focused on trying to change my gender, I never stopped to think about what gender meant. Ultimately, I feel hopeful for the future. I’ve seen that I have an immense capacity to change and grow, even in very difficult circumstances. That is who I am." In "Experience: I regret transitioning," Anonymous as told to Moya Sarner, Guardian UK, 3 February 2017.
A severe lack of understanding accompanied by political cowardice is observed: "Whilst awareness of non-binary issues has increased in recent years, gender reassignment remains a severely under researched topic, so much so that the NHS has produced an online e-learning guide to GPs who might be unfamiliar with gender dysphoria. The severe lack of understanding surrounding the topic - and its reversal counterpart - became particularly prevalent last week, when a proposed study to explore why transsexual people may want to 'detransition' was reportedly shut down by Bath Spa University so as 'not to offend people'. 'The fundamental reason given was that it might cause criticism of the research on social media and criticism of the research would be criticism of the university and they also added it was better not to offend people,' James Caspian, the psychotherapist behind the proposed research, told BBC Radio 4." In "Gender reversal surgery is more in-demand than ever before," by Olivia Petter, Independent UK, 3 October 2017.
So did God make a mistake, and if so what was that mistake? But did man make a mistake, and if so what mistake is that?
Unable to Control Urges and Actions Despite the Difficulties
It is more likely that people make mistakes, as one reads of a parallel theme. "...some people are unable to control these urges and actions, despite the difficulties they may cause in their relationships, finances and professional lives. Some people may also have a dependency on sex and sexual activity to numb any negative emotions and difficult experiences. This can have a negative effect on the person's quality of life and on those around them." In "Can you become addicted to sex?" National Health Services, UK, Choices, 5 April 2018.
When issues surrounding sex and "gender identification" arise, in part the idea that one may be "changed or altered as we wish" becomes one of physiological as well as psychological manifestations. To assert the physical is wrong and the mind is correct is being alleged, while not enough research has been done to do more than leave these issues in the realm of disagreement and political as well as financial demands on "society." Unable to control "urges and actions" is said to be a marker of an addiction. Did God create addiction? Does the individual as an "imperial, autonomous self" create addiction? What of the above-mentioned difficulties, dependencies, numbness to emotions and difficult experiences? What of ultimate negative effects on a "person's quality of life and those around them?" All answered by surgical procedures and drugs? What of regret?
Did God create regret when man has done something which he then regrets? What we know from testimony above is that some "never stopped to think" and "regret transitioning."
[ 4 ] The amusement of "Trans Christians" is not that they cite Christian scripture, but rather that they cite it in small part. As to the quote from Romans, the larger quote in context reads: "For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope; because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now. Not only that, but we also who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body."
So is being "delivered" from the "bondage of corruption" and into "liberty" a matter of genital surgery? Or does the text refer to "creation" as reality as perceived by humans? The Trans Christian per the above cited text openly states :... just because something exists, does not make it good." The argument from Christian scripture is odd, and especially the citation from Romans.
Approving of Those Who Practice Them
That book also states: "...God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural sexual relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed shameful acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their error. Furthermore, just as they did not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, so God gave them over to a depraved mind, so that they do what ought not to be done. They have become filled with every kind of wickedness, evil, greed and depravity. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit and malice. They are gossips, slanderers, God-haters, insolent, arrogant and boastful; they invent ways of doing evil; they disobey their parents; they have no understanding, no fidelity, no love, no mercy. Although they know God’s righteous decree that those who do such things deserve death, they not only continue to do these very things but also approve of those who practice them."
Thus by the measure of a Christian text, one might critique the Trans Christian's argument from text which is cited. Their conclusion seeks being "altered as we wish." Body is highlighted as God has made a mistake or does not make mistakes, and mind is dissociated into that which wishes for a "creation" other than the "creation" which God began as "corrupt" in order that the god of "as we wished" may repair the corruption, because God makes or does not make mistakes, and bodies can be mistakes without considering that minds can be mistakes, or conclude that new mistakes might be made. For the Trans Christians state "creation is good, but God has not yet perfected it." Mistake? Planned? Body in error? Mind in error?
The Brain and the Body Paradox
Fleshing out this, one reads: "In transgender individuals, experts said, the brain appears to say they are one sex while their body is the opposite. 'We are talking about a subset of kids who are saying, 'I am born in the wrong body. My body doesn't match my brain. God made a mistake,' Edwards-Leeper said." In " 'I am a girl': Transgender children face a society slow to accept them," by Eric Adler, Kansas City Star, 8 February 2014. But the "brain" is body, is it not? Can a brain and its thoughts be the mistake?
A case in point about the narrative of separating mind from body involves a criminal case in Australia. One reads of an attacker using an axe and caught on video: "She is facing trial in the NSW District Court, where she has pleaded not guilty to six charges including two counts of wounding with intent to murder. The court previously heard Ms Amati cannot remember the incident. She does not deny her body was there, but says her mind was not." In "Alleged axe attacker heard voice telling her to 'start the rise of hell on earth', court hears," by Georgia Mitchell, Sydney Morning Herald, 19 July 2018.
Significant Effect of a State of Mind
An earlier report by the same writer tells of "a defence attorney in a brutal assault case who states of a transwoman "...Ms Amati had a 'brilliant' mind but was 'out of her mind' on the morning of the attack. 'This is a woman of super intelligence. Not an axe murderer, you might think,' Mr Waterstreet said. He said Ms Amati, who was born a man, began taking hormones in 2012 to transition to a woman but the drugs had a significant effect on her state of mind. He said Ms Amati's mental state deteriorated in 2015, when she had surgery in Thailand to complete her transition to a woman, and she began to experience visions, hallucinations and suicidal and homicidal ideation." In " 'I'm going to kill a lot of people' wrote woman accused of axe attack; court hears," by Georgia Mitchell, Sydney Morning Herald, 9 July 2018.
A mental state has "deteriorated." So did God make that mistake? Did the transition treatments -- drugs and surgery -- make a mistake? Were "visions" God created? Mistakes? Was the urge to "transition" a mistake, as the attorney defending a violent attacker in court suggests? The argument that the brain and the body are different entities seems unscientific, at the minimum.
[ 5 ] Truth becomes subjective as the objective is withdrawn, discarded or banished, and in reduced therefore to the exercise of power. Yet reference is made to legal and political perspectives.
Under Compulsion of the State
It has been argued that state coercion over beliefs stands against liberty. One reads: "...matters, involving the most intimate and personal choices a person may make in a lifetime, choices central to personal dignity and autonomy, are central to the liberty protected by the Fourteenth Amendment. At the heart of liberty is the right to define one's own concept of existence, of meaning, of the universe, and of the mystery of human life. Beliefs about these matters could not define the attributes of personhood were they formed under compulsion of the State. [505 U.S. 833, 852]" In PLANNED PARENTHOOD OF SOUTHEASTERN PA. v. CASEY, (1992) No. 91-744, United States Supreme Court, June 1992.
And yet in the worship of genitalia and individual perceptions -- accurate or inaccurate -- about gender and sex, one finds coercion appearing. As one example: "In future data collection – including the 2021 census – respondents will find a new question on gender identity. Instead of just male or female, respondents will be provided with a third option, which they are asked to indicate how they identify. 'This is really delightful news,' Susan Gapka, a longtime trans advocate in Toronto, told the Guardian. Gapka and others participated in consultations held by Statistics Canada last year, in which they provided feedback to the country’s statistical agency. 'I was pleased with the discussions we had and it’s great to see they’re following up on this strategy'." In "Canada to add third gender option in government surveys," by Leyland Cecco, Guardian UK, 14 May 2018.
Tolerance Mandated by Law Creates Intolerance
Thus acceptance of "a third option" is mandated by law. Other nations mandate more than three options, and various gender activists argue for many more than three options. Thus the "locus of truth" shifts, as the Monsignor above notes. Individuality is mandated by law, including intolerance for the individuals who will not believe in the shifted "locus of truth" to that stance in which "tolerance becomes tyranny."
Yet other media report Catholic thinking as if Christian theology such as the Trans Christians above is united. It is not, of course. One reads: "Speaking to Spanish newspaper El País, Cruz said: 'He [the Pope] told me, 'Juan Carlos, that you are gay does not matter. 'God made you like this and loves you like this and I don’t care'." In "Pope Francis tells gay man 'God made you like this and loves you like this'," by Sodfia Petkar, Sun UK, 21 May 2018. Thus one "God" made humans and another "God" made humans to opt for being 'altered as we wish."
As a result of these competing strains of thought focusing on physical genitalia, wanted and unwanted alike, more than on mental concepts of physical genitalia, one finds overt statements of "rights" in which some human rights are more right than other human rights.
Closing Down Sources of Division, Rancor and Bitterness?
One reads from the UK: "Bercow said: 'In terms of trying to heal the wounds of the nation fractured on other fronts, surely we want to close down sources of division, of rancour and of bitterness, and find bases on which to unite. Gay rights, lesbian rights, bi rights and trans rights are not gay rights, lesbian rights, bi rights or trans rights, they are human rights, and that seems to me to be the inescapable conclusion of any serious consideration of these matters.' He added: 'I respect people’s rights to adhere to and profess their faith, but for me, where there is a clash between somebody’s adherence to faith on the one hand and the acknowledgement of and demonstration of respect for human rights, the latter has to trump the former'." In "Speaker John Bercow: LGBT rights 'must trump' religious freedom," by Nick Duffy, Pink News, 5 July 2018.
Thus, rights for some become also "altered as we wished." Some rights "trump" other rights, creating a hierarchy of rights, according to some. If some human rights are more right than others, one requires the state to mandate intolerance for some and tolerance for others. Or, for some, expressions of freedom of religion become subjugated to the greater rights as asserted. All for the purpose, as above, of closing down "sources of division, of rancour and bitterness." Division, rancor and bitterness will be the predicable result as utopian ideals require that those who will rule subjugate those who refuse to be ruled..
One finds a parallel quite like unto Orwell's now-famous "All Animals are equal. But some animals are more equal than others."
The confusions -- or at least of a creation which is not as yet "perfected" -- accelerate. One reads: "TransDykes are an offshoot of Antifa whose focus is on suppressing the speech of women, mainly lesbians. They participate in regular Antifa flashmobs, sometimes in pastel uniform (“Pastel Bloc”) but also target Women’s Rights events, and Lesbian spaces. TransDykes are heterosexual men who identify as transwomen. They consider Lesbianism a form of fascism because female homosexuality excludes male-bodied persons. But any woman who publicly acknowledges the existence of biologically female human beings is their enemy, especially Feminists, who want to abolish, not celebrate, the sex stereotypes that transwomen identify with." In "TransDykes: The Anti-Lesbian Antifa," Gender Trender, 27 June 2018.
A Helpful Manifesto?
In the public celebration of such diversity in gender, one reads additionally: "The San Francisco Public Library unveiled an exhibit this week featuring blood stained t-shirts encouraging patrons to 'punch' feminists, along with several installations of deadly weapons painted pink: baseball bats covered in barbed wire, axes, among others, all designed by men to kill feminist women. The male creators of the exhibit also included a helpful manifesto, blaming lesbians, feminists and other uppity women for causing more deaths (by 'harassing' men with their dastardly opinions!) than all the actual real murders committed by violent men." In "San Francisco Public Library hosts transgender “art exhibit” featuring weapons intended to kill feminists" Gender Trender, 27 April 2018.
From census forms created and required by law to violent threat and actions by "individuals" and even movements, issues of gender are not answered in any constructive and unified manner, as the "trance" gender enthusiasts claim to speak for God, themselves and others, all the while complaining about God and those who reject their assertions.
Some theology then tries for a next step "...to utilize expansive language for God from the rich sources of feminine, masculine, and non-binary imagery for God found in Scripture and tradition and, when possible, to avoid the use of gendered pronouns for God." In "Resolution #3 – On the Gendered Language for God," Episcopal Diocese of Washington, 27 January 2018.
In the spirit of such sanctimony, a parody on Robert Grant's (1779-1838) hymn text was suggested: "O worship your parts, all glorious below, /O follow their lead, they'll tell you where to go; / They'll be there, they are you, unless they're exchanged. / With surgical skill, all is then rearranged."
Repairing God's Mistake or Making a Godly Mistake
So God made a "mistake" with a minister: "...Last fall Dr. Anderson shared with the Governing Board that she is transgender and in the process of transitioning. This sabbatical will afford Dr. Anderson the opportunity to do that free of the day to day operations of the council. During the sabbatical Dr. Anderson will be changing her name from Donald to Donnie. The council is appreciative of Dr. Anderson’s ministry and totally supportive of her transition." In "Important Message from RISCC President Chontell Washington," by Chontell Washington, Rhode Island State Council of Churches, 11 May 2018.
God made mistakes. Or God makes no mistakes. You choose. It's all about truth. Or not. Did Anderson's God make a mistake to be corrected by "transitioning?" Will the transition be regretted at some future time?
There is a singular certainty in all this. People make mistakes. Repeatedly. Regretfully. Angrily.
Such has been the tower of Babel which through the political and highly secular state has followed modernity into Wedding Shredding -- bedding, treading, sledding.
[ 6 ] That the "worship" of genitalia is seemingly pervasive in modern culture is a matter of media, not statistical fact. Activist politics seems to trump factual research, to the point of quashing some. One reads: "The National Post recently covered the CBC’s cancellation of a BBC documentary about transgender children (Why CBC cancelled a BBC documentary that activists claimed was 'transphobic'). In that coverage, the Post shared claims made by some activists criticizing some scientific studies, but did not apparently fact-check those claims, so I thought I would outline the studies here. For reference, in a previous post, I listed the results of every study that ever followed up transgender kids to see how they felt in adulthood (Do trans- kids stay trans- when they grow up?). There are 12 such studies in all, and they all came to the very same conclusion: The majority of kids cease to feel transgender when they get older." In "How many transgender kids grow up to stay trans?" by James M. Cantor, PsyPost, 30 December 2017.
Competition Between Confusions ?
As the above sampling of various views on this postmodern conundrum filled with political activism, one finds confusion layered on confusion , as some "feminists" -- condemned by other feminists -- act to exclude transwomen, a word rather newly minted in the continuing explosion of nouns and pronouns and adjectives designed to muddy discussion about sex, and of course God's role as a maker of mistakes. The clucking is loud as one watches the Hen Party - a eunuch's cluck.
But what is certain physiologically is that transgender treatments through to surgery results in infertility. Thus the barren end to all the activism, as simple demographics defines the result. A eunuch's cluck, and, as above, sometimes significant later regret are known outcomes from this postmodern enthusiasm for multiplying "gender" beyond the concept of sex.
One may also observe that males who become surgically transwomen face intimacy issues as they seek some sort of potential sexual liaison, whether temporary ot more permanent. Those males who would reject such are being referred to by some with a new pejorative -- transphobic.
The New Accusation Against Heteronormative Men -- Transphobia
As an example, one reads: " 'If you have a trans woman who transitions very early on, she may be physically identical to a cis woman at a surface level.' A 'cis woman' or 'cisgendered' person is someone whose gender identity matches the one they were born with. 'There are hormonal sweet spots where trans women can transition and be effectively indistinguishable at a certain level from cisgender women,' Dr Timmins says. 'So being unwilling to date on the basis of someone being trans, rather than on the basis of individual stimuli is something I would personally call transphobic. This is a philosophical rather than empirical discussion because their is not a lot of nuanced research into this area yet. Grouping all transgender women as the same and all cis gender women as the same is effectively prejudice,' Dr Timmins says." In "India Willoughby: Is it discriminatory to refuse to date a trans woman?" by Jonathan Griffin, BBC, 12 January 2018.
So one finds demands to answer the "mistake" of "being born in the wrong body" now being joined by accusations when those who would reject the outcome of chemical and surgical "transition" to be transgendered in terms of rejecting becoming intimately involved are now also "mistaken?" Transphobic? Perhaps the mistakes by God or nature or human beings are all to be alleged, while there can be no "mistake" in the desire for and completion of transgendered wishes? And yet some transgendered then request a reversal?
In the bargain, God, a useful concept to those who ascribe to it, becomes "mistaken." Oddly, the proven regret -- a reaction to a mistake from the perspective of hindsight for some -- is not assigned to transgender activists. How odd.
Rejecting the Concepts of Gender Identity and Transgenderism
As to "god" as various will use the word, one reads: "The Pussy Church of Modern Witchcraft (PCMW) explicitly states on its site that trans people are not welcome in its organisation. It appears to have taken advantage of the Trump administration's emphasis on religious liberty over minority rights, as shown by the establishment of a 'religious freedom task force'. ...On its site, the church is described as “'a congregation of adherents to our female born, lesbian-feminist-based religions beliefs and traditions.' The explanation adds that 'males are not permitted to participate, regardless of how they identify. We expressly reject the concepts of gender identity, transgenderism, and gender as being meaningful to defining what a Woman or Girl is'." In "A church of anti-transgender witches has been recognised by the US Government," by Josh Jackman, Pink News, 9 August 2018.
The "rejection" of "concepts of gender identity" is widespread, as one's preferred definition is not another's. Asking law and government to step in an define a word becomes yet another political mess, as may be seen in the fascinating travails of Wedding Shredding -- bedding, treading, sledding. That political mess widens further as one considers that is this seemingly modern world, it's Queer, don't you think? .
[ 7 ] Under the heading of "odd," one revisits the above cited Planned Parenthood assertion that "it doesn’t matter too much what parts someone has — that doesn’t tell you much about them."
Were this a sensible statement, then assertions made in other addenda above that either "God made a mistake" or God doesn't make mistakes as some seek chemical and surgical pathways to a different set of genitalia, the assertions that "gender" being a nomenclature for other than body parts' identification should not "tell you much about" those seeking such transgender avenues.
What then to make of the first part of the Planned Parenthood assertion, that "it doesn't matter too much what parts someone has?" Given that those seeking chemical and surgical change from one set of genitalia to another, it is also odd that this "matters" when we are told in parallel that "it doesn't matter too much."
Odd, Yet Very Binary
Moreover, the utter and binary assertion swings between two "parts" identifications, male and female genitalia. Nowhere in this postmodern rush for chemical and surgical alteration does one find a "trans" wishing to transition to a third option, beyond the mimicking of male or female genitalia fashioned from their binary opposite.
Moreover, some reports tell of those who have undergone transgender procedures seeking reversals of those procedures at a later time, suggesting that some "mistake" in the transgender zeal or target are mistakes. Odd couples with odd, so where in then God in all this? Did God make a mistake in creating transgender urges? Did natural selection make a mistake in creating transgender urges? Either way, something seems odd. Perhaps it can be termed "hormonal regret."
The Odd Case of Hormonal Regret
One reads: "Charles Kane, who identified as Sam Hashimi after male-to-female reassignment surgery, opted to become a man again after experiencing 'hormonal regret.' In the BBC documentary One Life: Make Me a Man Again, Kane explained he originally wanted to become a woman after a nervous breakdown. 'When I was in the psychiatric hospital, there was a man on one side of me who thought he was King George and another guy on the other side who thought he was Jesus Christ. I decided I was Sam,' Kane said. Postsurgery, Kane believed his female identity would never be liked or accepted as a real woman. He also blamed the influence of female hormones as responsible for making him seek the surgery. 'I don’t think there’s anyone born transsexual. Areas of their human brain get altered by female hormones,' Kane told Nightline." In "Transgender Surgery: Regret Rates Highest in Male-to-Female Reassignment Operations," by Lizette Borreli, Newsweek, 10 March 2017.
Kane was judged guilty and convicted.
The Transgender Coming to Believe Being Transgender Is Oddly Unacceptable
In a similar vein: "It's not simply a case of people regretting their decision, explains James Morton, manager at the Scottish Trans Alliance, who told The Independent that a range of factors could catalyse the desire for a gender reversal including unusual surgical complications, being worn down by transphobic harassment, family rejection, or developing religious or political beliefs that being transgender is unacceptable. 'If a person has regret about undergoing gender reassignment, it is especially important that they receive counselling and in-depth assessment before undergoing any surgery to attempt partial reversal as their chance of regretting further surgery could be even higher,' he said." In "Gender reversal surgery is more in-demand than ever before," by Olivia Petter, Independent UK, 3 October 2017.
It is odd to comingle the assertion that some "hormonal regret" and some "range of factors" drives the transgendered through chemical and surgical procedures and then through them again, when, as above, Planned Parenthood has asserted "it doesn’t matter too much what parts someone has — that doesn’t tell you much about them."
Oddly, Parts Don't Matter Too Much and Parts Matter Critically
The assertion that "what parts someone has" is both not very important and so important as to demand complicated, expensive procedures to change "what parts someone has" is a conundrum for this age. This seems all the more a valid observation, given that urges to reject one's body parts in favor of some mimicked opposite binary parts is the narrative, while what is lacking is that historical character from many cultures of the eunuch -- the odd individual who has had parts removed and none replaced with other, opposite parts. Transitioning between genitalia has been the tale, not the removal of offending parts.
One may take comfort that Planned Parenthood and others assure the world "it doesn't matter too much" because genitalia "doesn't tell you much about" us. And yet, the rhyme above suggests this constellation of individual stories and contradictory assertions may be reduced down to the worship of those parts, so important and so unimportant at the same time.
Death Matters Critically
What is critical is what is deadly. One reads: "Transgender adolescents are far more likely to attempt suicide than teens whose identity matches their sex assigned at birth, and trans male youth are especially at risk, a U.S. study suggests. Roughly half of transgender teens who identify as male but were assigned a female gender at birth have attempted suicide at least once, the study found. And 42 percent of adolescents who don’t identify exclusively as male or female have at least one prior suicide attempt. About 30 percent of trans female teens — who identify as female but have birth certificates that label them as male — have tried suicide at least once, as have 28 percent of adolescents who are questioning their gender identity, the study also found." In "Half of transgender male teens have attempted suicide, study finds," Reuters, 13 September 2018.
Revisiting the quote from the first footnote, one re-reads: "Through coming into one’s identity, Partridge emphasized that we should embrace our bodies as evolving creations that can be changed or altered as we wish."
Apparently not for the above teens who have attempted suicide. God makes mistakes? Arguably not, or God is not God. Man make mistakes? Without a doubt, and demonstrable across history and the whole range of human life. Including transgenderism.
[ 8 ] The assertion that gender is a social construct is made as a truth claim. But the logic falls in upon itself, for if any social construct is a truth claim, then truth is as multivalent as to be a meaningless word in terms of perceiving reality. An argument that biology is "irrelevant" or worse "prejudicial" based on a truth claim rooted in the concept of a social construct is to render the claim that a social construct is agreed to by all false.
The current game exposing the The Privileges of Intellectuals reveals the very same intellectuals to be merely making claim after claim and raging against those who would disagree with them, showing that the "social construct" itself is a fallacious claim. After all, as Sullivan notes above, a claim may be filled with "extreme internal tensions and even outright contradictions."
After all, as below, Any claim can be made - a truth of a lie's charade.
[ 9 ] The article observes: "...Despite being raised in a fundamentalist Christian family, Nadia has become increasingly involved in progressive Christianity. The mother-of-two founded a queer-inclusive Lutheran congregation in Denver, House for All Sinners and Saints."
Making a sculpture of a vulva in metal - rather like the story of the Golden Calf or the Yemeni corner of the Meccan Kaaba, which is a fetish of a vulva like the referenced :feminist" progressive -- is evidence of progressive Christianity? Then one asks what is progressive Christianity, and learns "Progressive Christianity draws on the insights of multiple theological streams including evangelicalism, liberalism, neo-orthodoxy, pragmatism, postmodernism, Progressive Reconstructionism, and liberation theology. Though the terms Progressive Christianity and Liberal Christianity are often used synonymously, the two movements are distinct, despite much overlap." In "Progressive Christianity," Wikipedia, n. d.
Why Bother With Any Form of Christianity?
What seems diluted then is the notion of Christian in progressive Christianity. Of it one reads: "In the recently published, The Australian Book of Atheism, Alex McCullie briefly surveys the writings of Borg, Crossan, and Spong, as well as those of the Australians Val Webb and Francis MacNab. He explores PC’s key ideas about God, Jesus, the Bible and ethics. Whilst sympathetic to some of the movement’s ethical aims he observes that it has 'effectively denuded Christianity', and he suggests that in denying the Christ of faith (his term), it has 'jettisoned the raison d’être of Christianity'. So, this atheist critic asks: 'Why bother with any form of Christianity? ... It seems that Progressive Christianity would appeal to the committed but disaffected Christians only, leaving aside the vast majority of us – the religiously indifferent'." In "Progressive Christianity: Testing Its Arguments," by Geoff Thompson, Uniting Theology and the Church, Issue 5, February 2011.
Aside from the seemingly new phenomena observed, such a focus on "parts" suggests that progressive Christianity as represented by a "feminist pastor" and her sculpture of a vulva is nothing particularly new, after all.
[ 10 ] What a friend we have in Jesus, sings an old gospel lyric. This "reverend" was thoughtless enough -- or perhaps empowered enough -- to pull a stunt like this. What was at risk?
One reads from the Post: "Butler was hired in 2014 as the seventh senior minister of Riverside Church — a massive Gothic cathedral in Morningside Heights known as a bastion of inter-denominational liberalism that was led during the late 1970s and ’80s by the late anti-war activist the Rev. William Sloane Coffin Jr. Butler’s cushy five-year contract, which expired June 30, paid her a $250,000 annual salary, an $8,000-a-month housing allowance and more than $55,000 in yearly pension contributions, according to documents obtained by The Post."
That's a lot of donations in the "pass the plate" free will tithing game of today's "inter-denominational" liberal churches. Looking through Christian scripture to find support for such a tale seems wasted effort.
But at least the choir and congregation may sing, "O worship your parts, all glorious below...."
If we cannot discuss - What's all the fuss?
If we cannot discuss,
then discussion's out;
If we cannot agree,
we can only shout.
Without discussion comes ideas' drought.
If we cannot debate,
the debate is closed;
If we cannot learn,
Without debate, society's bulldozed.
If we refuse correction,
mistakes will rule;
If mistakes rule,
each who leads is a fool.
Without correction, man grows more cruel.
A slur is not an argument
"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will also gaze into thee." Friedrich Nietzsche, in Beyond Good and Evil, 1886.
A slur is not an argument.
A pejorative is not a truth.
Distortion is not reality,
Nor clarity too uncouth.
A charge is not conviction.
A statistic sometimes lies.
Raging is not discussion,
And learning is not a prize.
A slur is not an argument,
But its purpose is well served
To silence what's unwanted,
As many have observed.
A charge is no conviction,
Yet when yelled quite loud
Serves well to gather all
Its partisans to a crowd.
Beat the hell out of another side,
For evil resides in them.
If you've found you've made an error,
Just shrug and grunt, ahem.
If you've found your monster,
A question should be posed.
What if you're your monster?
That truth might be exposed.
Make arguments, eschewing slurs;
Use names to kind effect.
Distort not what is really real,
What's closed let openness correct.
If I were a ewe,
I'd be a sheep
of an oh so ladylike sort.
If I were me,
I'd be a ram
and with some ewe consort.
If I were not
Like these two,
I'd argue for another port.
If I did that,
The flock falls flat
and tomorrow's tally's short.
If I'd distort
This tale's' import,
the herd is culled in the final court.
Addendum of Less Is Less: "When researchers looked at fertility rates for women of all age groups and races, they found that the nationwide rate was 16 percent lower than what is considered the level for a population to replace itself. Experts say this is likely due to the fact that the large proportion of native-born women are having fewer children than before, while the much smaller proportion of immigrant-born women are having more children." In "Fertility rate for white women plummets BELOW the limit needed to maintain the population in every single US state," by Mary Kekatos, Daily Mail, 10 Janary 2019.
One didn't because he couldn't;
One did because he could.
Such explains disparity
In equality's neighborhood.
One acted irresponsibly;
One lived responsibly bright.
So obvious is disparity seen
In equality's unequal light.
One labored in quiet dignity;
One labored hardly at all.
Such is a clear distinction
Which births equality's fall.
One chose all too falsely;
One chose with better aims.
So breeds mankind's disparity
Which blind equality blames.
Monroe the Bear
Photo by Dale Baum
|Monroe, via Sawpit,|
Sauntered in the yard
And climbed up in an oak
The vista to regard.
|Monroe the bear sought|
To weigh bear options' choice,
And then without much fuss
Sauntered off as folks rejoice.
|Would one play with Monroe|
Or feed with tidbits rare?
Better far to stay away;
Avoid a bloody scare.
|Monroe the bear smiles,|
If you would see it so;
For a bear's a bear, you know.
|Monroe, via Sawpit,|
Stayed and then did leave,
But one may see the photos
If one does not believe.
|I believe in Monroe|
Via Sawpit's rising trail,
And think a bear is never
A playmate one might hail.
"Tony McGinn, known as 'Tony Bark' to his friends, says he has been into animal role-play his entire life, and refers to himself as a 'human pup'. The 30-year-old, who was born female and is transgender, is supported by his husband and 'handler' Andrew who accompanies him to regular play dates with other role-players in their hometown of Los Angeles." In "Transgender man identifies as a DOG and says chasing sticks and playing on all fours has brought him closer to his husband," by Charlie Moore, Mail Online, 15 October 2018.
He, born she, K-9's for fun,
Not barking mad, for that's a pun.
Lie down with dogs to rise with fleas?
A human pup's a bitch to please?
She, as he, wags a dildo's tail,
For that assertion speaks so male.
Lie down with handlers, doggy do?
It's all a role play, an actor's brew.
Take this seriously as you play?
What's false is true as night is day.
Assert most anything; K-9 for fun.
But if one laughs, play an offended one.
Hubby as handler commands: Go. Fetch.
And she-he-it plays obedient wretch?
Arf, arf, arf, but not barking mad?
Dogs go naked; these folks go clad.
Costumes and those roles of theirs
Testify to plain human errors,
Asserting a role is reality,
And humanity turns bestiality?
Puppy for President? Pope? Or Peer?
Then politics too can sniff its rear.
Tony bark, and fetch, and chase,
On a leash, with a doggy face.
Critter ponies up to trace
Another lap in the human race.
Addendum from the Horse's Mouth: "The mission of our group is to promote and maintain pony and critter play in Los Angeles that is recognized positively within pony play, critter play and BDSM communities [ 1 ] worldwide. Our goal is to provide a safe environment for pony and critter play enthusiasts to meet and play in Los Angeles and to have fun. We embrace pony and critter play. We host a Los Angeles Pony and Critter play date regularly, a Fox Hunt twice a year, a Derby and other Pony & Critter events." In "Mission Statement," Los Angeles Pony and Critter Club, n. d.
Addendum of Certain Puppies: "Almost all dogs can cause unimaginable damage and danger, but certain breeds are more prone to showing dangerous reactions and cause
fatalities! These breeds should be the most attentive to, socialized and trained obedience so that they can live happily in various households and situations!" In "Top 10 Most Dangerous Dog Breeds in the World," Inside Dog's World, n. d. [ 2 ]
Addendum of a Literary Example of Gender Thinking: " Come, you spirits / That tend on mortal thoughts, unsex me here, / And fill me from the crown to the toe top-full / Of direst cruelty!" Lady Macbeth, SCENE V. Inverness, Macbeth of William Shakespeare. [ 3 ]
[ 1 ] "The term 'BDSM' is first recorded in a Usenet posting from 1991, and is interpreted as a combination of the abbreviations B/D (Bondage and Discipline), D/s (Dominance and submission), and S/M (Sadism and Masochism). BDSM is now used as a catch-all phrase covering a wide range of activities, forms of interpersonal relationships, and distinct subcultures. BDSM communities generally welcome anyone with a non-normative streak who identifies with the community; this may include cross-dressers, body modification enthusiasts, animal role players, rubber fetishists, and others." In "BDSM," Wikipedia, n. d.
One wonders how this binary of dominance and submission squares with the latest waves of feminism as regards patriarchal social constructs. After all, Tony Bark asserts gender fluidity, identifying according to a gender binary, all the while ascribing to a submissive "play" with her "handler."
[ 2 ] Oddly, such puppy play cannot be particularly real, given that such enactments do not participate in other aspects of canine behavior which are identified as dangerous. One reads as an example: "What is the Dangerous Dogs Act? The act specifically made four breeds of dog illegal to own, breed from, abandon or sell: the Pit Bull terrier, Japanese Tosas, Dogo Argentino and the Fila Braziliero. But according to the RSPCA over a third of the people killed by dogs since the act was brought in were attacked by legal breeds." In "HAZARDOUS HOUNDS What are dangerous dogs, which breeds are banned in the UK and what’s the Dangerous Dogs Act?" by Guy Birchall and Hannah Shaw, Sun UK, 10 May 2018.
[ 3 ] Then again, one reads: "Gates admitted she was a pervert, but only in the fantasy realm. 'Little Red Riding Hood,' for example: 'I think that’s incredibly sexy, and when I was a kid I used to masturbate to the fantasy of being eaten by a pack of wolves. And I still find that sort of an exciting image. I can call that into my head when necessary.' She likes furry stuff, too. 'Take my word for it, I’ve got a really dirty mind, and my dirty mind has gone to places that are beyond the pale. I think amputee stuff is hot, I think furry stuff is hot, I think slash fiction’s hot, but as far as acting stuff out … I mean, I've ridden pony boys and pony girls'—people dressed up with bridles and saddles, etc.—'and I found that very exciting, but I’m uninclined to ask my husband to put on a saddle. And we find the ordinary, old vanilla stuff completely satisfying and very, very perfect'." In "Pleasures of the Fur," by George Gurley, Vanity Fair, 3 October 2017.
I learned the answer, yes
I learned the answer, yes, and it was simply twelve. And after that, there was no reason to much further delve.
I learned the answer, yes, and it was hugely blue. And after this, I could not justify listening to you.
I learned the answer, yes, and it was mine to hold. And after that, the simplest challenges seemed far too bold.
I learned the answer, yes, and strode along its path. And after that, its utter nonsense birthed the aftermath.
I learned the answer, yes, but it was wrong, it seems. And after that, reality eroded its simple dreams.
So many answers are proposed with convincing tones of voice,
But choose a false one and be assured you'd make a fatal choice.
He saw some money and couldn't resist;
No one would notice, and it wouldn't be missed.
She spied some funds to take by stealth,
With her greater goal of societal health.
They hungered for cash with reasons galore,
And after the haul they hungered for more.
We all can do much with what we steal;
So says the logic and its broad appeal.
He saw, she spied and they hungered too;
We all can play in a thieving milieu.
Make of this tale whatever you will;
It could be both a cure and a poisonous pill.
Any claim can be made - a truth of a lie's charade
"The movement that has popularized the term 'toxic masculinity' shares tools and conclusions with those who see signs of 'white supremacy' everywhere they look. Intersectionalists have in common with one another a particular rhetorical trick: Any claim made by a member of an historically oppressed group is unquestionably true. Questioning claims is, itself, an act of oppression. This opens the door for anyone who is willing to lie to obtain power. If you cannot question claims, any claim can be made." In "On Toxic Femininity," by Heather E. Heying, Quilette, 9 July 2018. [ 1 ]
Any claim can be made,
Made is every claim.
Many claims fail the grade,
That was not their aim.
Any claim hurls its words
Often to defame.
Many claims then prove false,
Falsehood without shame.
Open a door to anyone?
You might share the blame.
Any claim can be made.
Not all win acclaim.
Addendum of Declining to Clarify a Claim: "...the club will sell birding patches to benefit another nonprofit, and is currently looking for illustrators to create a new design. PJ Media reached out to Adams to ask why an explicitly feminist approach is necessary for birding, but she declined to respond." In "Woman Launches ‘Feminist Bird Club’ to Promote ‘Intersectionality’ in Bird-Watching," by Toni Airaksinen, PJ Media, 7 November 2018.
Addendum of the Eviction of Some Academics and Their Ideas: "Communal inquiry and debate are at the heart of the academy. As researchers, we put our ideas into the crucible of open inquiry and rely on debate and discussion to refine understanding and advance solutions to complex problems. The practice of issuing open letters attacking scholars for their contributions undermines this important goal by evicting academics and their ideas from the arena — often on flimsy evidentiary grounds. More constructive responses can and should be employed." In "The Problem With Open Letters — Noah Carl and Beyond," HXA Executive Team, 7 December 2018. [ 2 ]
Addendum of Postmodernist, Intersectional Authoritarianism: "The authoritarian power of the postmodern academics and activists seems to be invisible to them whilst being apparent to everyone else. As Andrew Sullivan says of intersectionality: 'It posits a classic orthodoxy through which all of human experience is explained — and through which all speech must be filtered. … Like the Puritanism once familiar in New England, intersectionality controls language and the very terms of discourse.' Postmodernism has become a Lyotardian metanarrative, a Foucauldian system of discursive power, and a Derridean oppressive hierarchy." In "How French “Intellectuals” Ruined the West: Postmodernism and Its Impact, Explained," by Helen Pluckrose, Aero Magazine, 27 March 2017. [ 3 ]
Addendum of Pushing Back Against the Claims of Committee Whims: " 'As many of you know, the crowdfunding site Patreon has banned several prominent content creators from its platform,' Harris said. 'While the company insists that each was in violation of its terms of service, these recent expulsions seem more readily explained by political bias. Although I don't share the politics of the banned members, I consider it no longer tenable to expose any part of my podcast funding to the whims of Patreon's 'Trust and Safety' committee'." In "A top Patreon creator deleted his account, accusing the crowdfunding membership platform of 'political bias' after it purged conservative accounts it said were associated with hate groups," by Benjamin Goggin, Business Insider, 17 December 2018. [ 4 ]
Addendum of Making Claims: "Right now, in Mission, Tex., we don’t worry about immigrants who crossed the border illegally or drug smugglers." In "I voted for Trump. Now his wall may destroy my butterfly paradise," by Luciano Guerra, Washington Post, 17 December 2018. [ 5 ]
Addendum of Claiming Holocaust Victims are Muslims: "The Palestinian Authority presented photographs of Holocaust victims as Arab victims of an Israeli massacre on official PA TV, Palestinian Media Watch (PMW) reported. The official PA TV news presented a photograph of hundreds of bodies of Jews which was taken at the Nordhausen concentration camp in Thuringia, Germany, as a picture of Arabs massacred at Deir Yassin in 1948. The picture was taken soon after American forces liberated the camp in 1945." In "PA tries to pass off Holocaust victims as Arab victims," Arutz Sheva, 3 May 2019.
Addendum of Claiming to be a Physician While Running for Office: "McCarthy said she received her medical degree from the University of Central Florida, class of 2014, allowing her to transition from registered nurse to a doctor. Nevertheless, UCF officials say they can’t find any record of any degree for her. She said she has a bachelor’s degree from Florida State, but that school could not find a degree in her name either. 'I have no idea,' McCarthy said when asked Friday why her stories did not check out in official records." In "HD 28 Democratic candidate Elizabeth McCarthy’s credentials don’t check out," by Scott Powers, Florida Politics, 15 June 2019.
[ 1 ] Professor Heying wrote a response to that "intersectionality" of postmodernism, running rampant in truly fascistic fashion on university campuses, which has allowed so many claims with little to no proof and absent rigorous and open methodology.
Heying observed: "Given that we know this to be true in non-human animals, why would we imagine that humans are less, rather than even more, flexible? There are many ways to be female, and many ways to be male, and some of each are bad news for everyone but the individual employing them. As a social species that has become the dominant ecological force on our planet, we can and should aspire to behave in ways that are not merely selfish, not merely competitive, but also collaborative. Toxic masculinity, and toxic femininity, are inherently selfish modes, and those not employing them should be interested in seeing them eradicated."
Willing to Lie to Obtain Power
The cogent argument is that the postmodern gambit of intersectionality "opens the door for anyone who is willing to lie to obtain power." Such a power struggle was seen at her previous place of employment, Evergreen State in Washington. She, her husband and one of the main instigators of that power struggle were all separated from the university with six-figure legal/financial settlements, which one could easily characterize as the spending of public money to make errors of judgment on the part of an academic elite which fully bought into the "truth" of unfounded claims and the raw application of power.
What is easily demonstrable is that Lying continues - government flexing its sinews.
[ 2 ] As to the issue of claims without substantiation and the article cited above, a comment was posted by an individual who chose this quote: "Fear of serious injury cannot alone justify suppression of free speech and assembly. Men feared witches and burnt women. It is the function of speech to free men from the bondage of irrational fears." U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis (1856-1941).
The comment then added "Everyone is in favor of their own free speech. The test of your commitment to free speech as a general principle is whether you are willing to tolerate the speech of others, especially those with whom you most disagree. If you are using your speech to try to silence speech, you are not in favor of free speech. You are only in favor of yourself."
"Another day, another mobbing"
A number of critiques of the "open letter" critique are seen. One reads the above and: "The fact that a group of more than 200 academics have branded a young scholar a racist and accused him of academic malpractice, without offering any evidence to back up these allegations, is a scandal. It is typical of the underhand tactics used by the Left to discredit those who don’t subscribe to progressive orthodoxy – particularly the ‘blank slate’ orthodoxy – and helps explain why there are so few conservatives in the social sciences and the humanities. St Edmund’s College should treat this smear campaign with the contempt it deserves." In "The scandalous shaming of Noah Carl," by Toby Young, Spectator UK, 7 December 2018.
Academic McCarthyism? Academic Marxism? Academic Fascism?
Additionally: "...for a group of over 300 academics to sign their names to this charge sheet without appearing to have conducted even the most cursory examination of Dr Carl’s work is an absolute scandal. These are trumped up charges, brought against Dr Carl because he dissents from the prevailing orthodoxy about a controversial field of academic research. He hasn’t even waded into these dangerous waters himself—he has just defended the right of academics to do so. But that alone is enough for a group of his colleagues to attempt to ruin him. So much for the principles of academic freedom and open inquiry, not to mention diversity, tolerance and inclusion. This is academic McCarthyism." In "Academics' Mobbing of a Young Scholar Must be Denounced," Quillette Magazine, 7 December 2018.
The Original Sin?
Evidence of the "sin" claimed by an open letter without citations: "It is often asserted that, when it comes to taboo topics like race, genes and IQ, scholars should be held to higher evidentiary standards or even censored entirely because of the harm that might result if their findings became widely known. There is held to be an asymmetry whereby the societal costs of discussing certain topics inevitably outweigh any benefits from doing so. This paper argues that no such asymmetry has been empirically demonstrated, and that stifling debate around taboo topics can itself do active harm. To the extent that the paper's argument has force, it cannot simply be taken for granted that, when in doubt, stifling debate around taboo topics is the ethical thing to do." In "How Stifling Debate Around Race, Genes and IQ Can Do Harm," by Noah Carl, Evolutionary Psychological Science (2018) 4:399–407.
This is Carl's claim, against the open letter demanding censure while citing no evidence. "It cannot simply be taken for granted..." Apparently hundreds of academics in several social science disciplines take for granted that "stifling debate" is fully and ideologically acceptable.
Name-calling and allegations without proof are sure signs of desperation in any debate. Consider the truth as one reads -- or loudly shouts -- Fa Queue - there's no debating you.
[ 3 ] As to notions of the will to power, one revisits: "In a debate that aired on Dutch television in the early Seventies, for example, the famous American radical and linguist Noam Chomsky appears as a voice of sanity and moderation in comparison to Foucault. As Miller reports it, while Chomsky insisted 'we must act as sensitive and responsible human beings,' Foucault replied that such ideas as responsibility, sensitivity, justice, and law were merely 'tokens of ideology' that completely lacked legitimacy. 'The proletariat doesn’t wage war against the ruling class because it considers such a war to be just,' he argued. 'The proletariat makes war with the ruling class because … it wants to take power'." In "The perversions of M. Foucault," by Roger Kimball, New Criterion, March 1993.
Thus the flood of claims, unfounded, unexplained and simple mobbing per the above find in their postmodern progenitor the admission. All ends up being the pursuit of power. To that end, any claim may be made.
For this, one finds many "refusing the list" -- which is an addendum to the larger topic of Free speech, hate speech .
[ 4 ] The notion a "Trust and Safety Committee" should be in charge of determining political bias is a claim made factual by its existence and actions, per the above, and that bias is being shown is a claim which the committee itself validates. This set of perhaps undisclosed measures has driven away some participants in the entity. By what general measure might this committee operate? One could claim that political correctness is an explanation.
Tilting Towards the Totalitarian
Of this strange "correctness" by which a committee would ban participation, one reads some clarification: "Since reality contradicts that [enforced correctness], reality must be forbidden. It must become forbidden to acknowledge the reality of our history. People must be forced to live a lie, and since people are naturally reluctant to live a lie, they naturally use their ears and eyes to look out and say, 'Wait a minute. This isn’t true. I can see it isn’t true,' the power of the state must be put behind the demand to live a lie. That is why ideology invariably creates a totalitarian state." In "The Origins of Political Correctness," by Bill Lind, Accuracy in Academia, 5 February 2000.
While Patreon is not a "state," it is an entity with governance which purports to deal in "trust and safety," One must adhere to its biases, as it claims others are biased in some antithetical direction. Harris notes "these recent expulsions seem more readily explained by political bias."
One claims to restrict another on the claim of bias, while that simply and logically validates its own bias. One is a claim, and the other demonstrates a factual value to the opposing claim.
[ 5 ] Multiple claims are nested tightly together. An individual 1) writes in the name of "we," 2) claims believably to have "voted for Trump" in the Washington Post though likely he did not submit a pro-Trump opinion piece during the campaign itself that the same media published, 3) claims in the WaPo article that butterflies are of more significance to the citizens of "we" than other issues, and 4) claims a border wall "may destroy my butterfly paradise."
As to that paradise, one reads from months earlier a claim of butterflies: "It's not a real migration," said Luciano Guerra, outreach coordinator for the National Butterfly Center (NBC) in Mission, Texas. The snouts are opportunists, following their host plant and looking for mates wherever Mother Nature makes them available." In "Snout-nosed butterfly population surges in South Texas following recent rains," by Monika Maeckle, Texas Butterfly Ranch, 3 August 2018.
Trump's Wall During the Obama Administration?
As to the wall and Trump -- the linked claims of the Washington Post op-ed -- one reads: "The construction of a wall between the Rio Grande Valley and Mexico started in 2009—way before the election of President Trump...." In "The Texans Who Are Mad as Hell About Trump's Border Wall," by Verónica G. Cárdenas, Splinter News, 1 June 2018.
From the same article and on the subject of the area, it is claimed that already more "...than 95 percent of the habitat has been destroyed for urbanization and agriculture in the Rio Grande Valley."
Further, of the construction begun under the Obama administration, another claim is found: "The border wall is going to hurt tourism in our area, which is one of the main sources of income for the Valley."
But as to the Trump wall, one reads: "In December, then President-elect Barack Obama said he wanted to evaluate border security operations before he considers whether to finish building the fence under his administration. Easterling said the Obama White House has not told Homeland Security to stop building the fence." In "U.S.-Mexico border fence almost complete," Associated Press, 27 January 2009.
The article makes a statement, not a claim: "Congress authorized the fence in 2005 to help secure the border and slow illegal immigration. Lawmakers also gave the Homeland Security secretary the power to waive federal laws, such as environmental protections, when erecting the fence. Obama, as a senator, voted for the project."
Her 'Anti-Immigrant Wall'
And from the same article, Guerra is quoted: "When I voted, I voted for Trump because it was either him or Hillary and there was no way I would vote for her."
As to Clinton, one reads: "In Hillary Clinton’s case, the vote has a deeper significance. As the reputed frontrunner in the contest for the Democratic Party’s 2008 presidential nomination, she is making a direct appeal to the same anti-immigrant sentiments that are being stoked by the right wing of the Republican Party." In "Why Hillary Clinton voted for the anti-immigrant wall," by Bill Van Auken, World Socialist, 4 October 2006.
That article further observes: "...in a 2003 interview with WABC radio in New York, she declared: 'I am, you know, adamantly against illegal immigrants.' Continuing with what amounted to a backward rant against the foreign-born, she said, 'People have to stop employing illegal immigrants. I mean, come up to Westchester, go to Suffolk and Nassau counties, stand on the street corners in Brooklyn or the Bronx. You’re going to see loads of people waiting to get picked up to go do yard work and construction work and domestic work'."
Auken claims: "Clinton’s political calculations on the immigration question, as on the war in Iraq, democratic rights and social issues, are predicated on the political monopoly exercised by the Democratic and Republican parties, both organized for and by the corporations and wealthy elite."
Other Choices Than Corporations and a Wealthy Elite
In the 2016 election, Guerra had other choices, including the openly anti-war Green Party candidate Jill Stein. One is reminded: "On Election Day, Stein finished in 4th with over 1,457,216 votes (more than the previous three Green tickets combined) and 1.07% of the popular vote. However, she finished three million votes under Gary Johnson as the Greens once again finished behind the Libertarian Party, though they did gain more votes than Independent candidate Evan McMullin and Constitution Party candidate Darrell Castle." In "Jill Stein 2016 presidential campaign," Wikipedia article, n. d.
As a naturalist, Guerra could have voted for the Green Party. He may have chosen not to do so. But from information above, Trump's wall could be seen as Obama's wall and Clinton's wall and Bush's wall before that. It is a matter of claims and public awareness of such claims.
Some claims can be proven. Others can be disproven per the above citations.
As to the notion that "any claim can be made," one can ponder on the functionality of Could and May - an up-to-date play.
But maybe oh just maybe
Backwards seems quite very fine when forward lies the cliff,
While forward make the best of sense to get there in a jiff.
Down seems well advised when one has clambered up too high,
And up is oh so very wise for the bottom rung ladder guy.
Right seems most advisable when traffic must so bear,
And left should also seem quite right to turn to get to there.
Yes and no and no and yes will answer many things,
But maybe oh just maybe the darndest answer swings?
A Modern Observation on The Anti-War Movement, Trading Places - "It just depends on who does it"
|That was then.|
This is now.
Have a cow.
|One says no,|
Does the deed;
Hear the screed.
|One was then;|
One is now.
That's the game
Addendum I from 2015: "U.S. forces have now surpassed 2,800 strikes against targets in Iraq and Syria under President Obama’s war against the Islamic State, all as part of a conflict Congress has yet to specifically authorize — and amid worries lawmakers won’t ever act. Under intense pressure from Capitol Hill, Mr. Obama finally submitted a draft authorization for the use of military force against the Islamic State in February, but it’s since languished, caught in the stalemate between those who want tighter restrictions and those who want the president to have as free a hand as possible." In "FLASHBACK: Obama launches 2,800 strikes on Iraq, Syria without congressional approval, Nearly 3,000 strikes in Iraq and Syria to date," by Jacqueline Klimas, Washington Times, 27April 2015.
Addendum II from 2015: "Since 2013, President Obama has repeatedly vowed that there would be no 'boots on the ground' in Syria. But White House press secretary Josh Earnest said the president's decision Friday to send up to 50 special forces troops to Syria doesn't change the fundamental strategy: 'This is an important thing for the American people to understand. These forces do not have a combat mission'." In "16 times Obama said there would be no boots on the ground in Syria," by Gregory Korte, USA Today, 30 October 2015. [ 1 ]
Addendum from 2018: "Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., derided Trump’s decision to withdraw, likening it to those made by former President Barack Obama to announce ahead of time plans to reduce forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. 'Withdrawal of this small American force in Syria would be a huge Obama-like mistake,' Graham tweeted." In "Trump orders US troops out of Syria, declares victory over ISIS; senators slam action as mistake," by Tom Vanden Brook and David Jackson, USA Today, 19 December 2018. [ 2 ]
Addendum of the Outrage: "The Washington foreign-policy swamp is outraged by Trump's 'mission accomplished,' calling it 'precipitous' and 'reckless.' What they are not telling you is that, for them, the 'mission' was never primarily about ISIS; it was about eliminating the Assad regime. The Islamic State was simply a convenient cover to deploy troops into Syria. And now, having taken control of everything east of the Euphrates River with the help of the indigenous Kurdish population, they want to attack Assad. Overthrowing the Syrian dictator has been their goal since the beginning of that country’s civil war in 2011. Two different aid programs, one run by the Pentagon and the other run by the CIA, were set up to fund and empower the Syrian rebels. Both failed to dislodge the Assad regime, and both were ended by Trump by mid-2017." In "The terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad reason the military wants to stay in Syria," by Steven W. Mosher, New York Post, 29 December 2018. [ 3 ]
Addendum of Political Leaders and Harm's Way: "The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 43% of likely U.S. voters say political leaders send American soldiers into harm’s way too often, while seven percent (7%) feel U.S. troops are sent into harm’s way not often enough. Thirty-seven percent (37%) believe the balance is about right. Twelve percent (12%) are not sure." In "Fewer Voters Believe U.S. Troops Sent Into Harm’s Way Too Often," Rasmussen Reports, 3 January 2019. [ 4 ]
Addendum on Withdrawing from the Wars: "The beneficiaries of NATO’s actions are few. Taxpayers across NATO member states have contributed trillions of dollars to the Afghan occupation alone – $5.9 trillion according to a Brown University study. This money has not simply disappeared into a fiscal blackhole. It ended up in the hands of arms manufacturers and military contractors. This is money that regardless of political persuasions – the public of NATO member states would likely want either spent elsewhere – especially domestic social programs, or not drawn from the public through taxes in the first place." In "US Withdrawal from NATO Would Benefit Americans Most of All," by Tony Cartalucci, New Eastern Outlook, 19 January 2019.
Addendum Looking Back on the Obama War Years: "By 2011 and the US interventions in Libya and Syria – it was abundantly clear that not only was the 'War on Terror' a false pretext, but it was one artificially created and deliberately perpetuated by Washington itself. This included revelations that the US had been arming and directing the very Al Qaeda terror network and its affiliates allegedly responsible for the 9/11 attacks – using them as a virtual mercenary force to target nations the US sought regime change within. The so-called 'rebels' in Libya were little more than Al Qaeda affiliates – poorly dressed as freedom fighters seeking 'democracy.' These same literal terrorists the US armed and aided in overthrowing the Libyan government in 2011 would be shipped to Syria where the US sought to replicate its 'success' in Libya against Damascus. The war in Syria however failed to produce Washington’s desired results – and as the conflict dragged on – through the growth and influence of alternative media – the true nature of America’s 'War on Terror' emerged. It is now common knowledge that the United States and its Saudi, Turkish, and Qatari allies deliberately armed Al Qaeda militants and their affiliates in a bid to destabilize and overthrow the Syrian government. It is now also common knowledge that when this bid failed – the US and its allies created ISIS to serve as both an additional pressure point against Damascus as well as a pretext for direct US military intervention." In "The Syrian War: America’s 'War on Terror' Exposed," by Tony Cartalucci, New Eastern Outlook, 30 December 2019. [ 5 ]
Addendum of a Democrat Warmonger: " 'I think everybody knows and understands that she is a warmonger,' Ms. Gabbard, Hawaii Democrat and a 2020 presidential candidate, said on Fox News. 'Look to her influence on going to launch regime change … in Syria, Libya,' she said. 'Obviously, her support for the war in Iraq, throughout her history. Her track record is well-known'." In "Tulsi Gabbard: 'Everybody knows and understands' that Hillary Clinton is a 'warmonger'," by David Sherfinski, Washington Times, 9 January 2020.
[ 1 ] The "50 special forces" in October of 2015, according to USA Today, became much more quickly. One reads: "In September 2014, U.S. warplanes that had been shelling the Islamic State in Iraq started bombing targets in Syria." In "How many U.S. troops are in Syria? And what are they doing there?" Editors, USA Today, 4 April 2018.
But before 2015: "President Barack Obama has signed a secret order authorizing U.S. support for rebels seeking to depose Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government, U.S. sources familiar with the matter said. Obama’s order, approved earlier this year and known as an intelligence 'finding,' broadly permits the CIA and other U.S. agencies to provide support that could help the rebels oust Assad." In "Obama Secret Syria Order Authorizes Support For Rebels," by Mark Hosenball, Huffington Post, 1 October 2012.
America's Hidden Wars
Only days before Trump's announcement of 2018 that troops would be withdrawn from Syria, one read: "The Pentagon does not say how many troops are there. Officially, they number 503, but earlier this year an official let slip that the true number may be closer to 4,000. Most are Special Operations forces, and their footprint is light. Their vehicles and convoys rumble by from time to time along the empty desert roads, but it is rare to see U.S. soldiers in towns and cities." In "America’s hidden war in Syria," by Liz Sly, Washington Post, 14 December 2018.
A hidden war? During the "Peace Prize" administration of Obama, one learns: "A lot of Americans don’t believe that we should be fighting and sending young Americans over to die in another country." In "Audio Reveals What John Kerry Told Syrians Behind Closed Doors," by Anne Barnard, New York Times, 30 September 2016.
In that audio, one finds John Kerry stating: ""And so it’s complicated, it’s not easy. And we’ve been fighting. How many wars have we been fighting? We’ve been fighting in Afghanistan, we’ve been fighting in Iraq, we’ve fighting -you know- in the region for fourteen years. And a lot of Americans don’t believe that we should be fighting and sending young Americans over to die in another country. That’s the problem. The congress won’t vote to do it." Apparently, the Obama administration, after "no boots on the ground," thought they "had to do it." From "50 special forces" in 2015 to "closer to 4,000" in 2018, according to the Washington Post.
In that time, one learns: "Much could be gleaned by Samantha Power’s flippant tantrum after walking out of a crucial UN Security Council emergency session after the US had attacked and massacred over 80 Syrian military soldiers after a ‘Coalition’ airstrike on Dier Azor – a US attack which allowed ISIS to strategically advance past Syrian Army defensive positions. Undoubtedly, this act by the US is what ruined any chance of a viable ceasefire agreement. Power then went on the blame Russia for the crisis." In "Diplomatic Frauds: Kerry, Power, Kirby Lying and Shilling for ‘Body Bags’ and War in Syria," by Patrick Henningsen, 21st Century Wire, 1 October 2016.
Selling Dirty Wars in Syria and Yemen
Henningsen goes on to state: "American 'diplomats' like John Kerry, Samantha Power, and John Kirby have a lot to answer for, because even though they may not be aware of it, everyone else now knows that their public outbursts are nothing more than smokescreens to cover the numerous lies and covert operations that the US government continues to sell regarding two dirty wars in Syria and Yemen."
As to a smokescreen, one reads: "Rice, who worked under former President Obama, pointed specifically to Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, a move she called 'reckless'." In "Susan Rice: Trump doing more to undermine national security than any foreign adversary," by Avery Anapol, The Hill, 23 December 2018.
Alas, Rice has not highlighted that Obama, her boss, had spoken openly of his Failing to plan -- flailing's in view.
War, When He Saw Fit
The Peace Prize president continued old wars and started new ones: "He's the war-ending President who, as of Tuesday, has ordered airstrikes in seven different countries (that we know of). President Barack Obama has always acknowledged there are times when military force is necessary. Even when he accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in 2009, he said there could be instances when war is 'morally justified.' But though he campaigned for the presidency on ending U.S.-led wars, Obama's administration has certainly been willing to use force when it sees fit." In "Countries bombed by the U.S. under the Obama administration," by Kevin Liptak, CNN, 23 September 2014.
CNN's list: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iraq, and Syria. This is what a "war-ending" president looks like.
That was then.
[ 2 ] An Obama-like mistake?
A comment among more than a thousand to the NY Times article observed: "I voted for Trump, despite his character, because he said he was going to order our withdrawal from Syria. Clinton did not make any such promise."
The American War Candidate of 2016
One finds the 2016 Democrat candidate reviewed: "Unlike Donald Trump, who has wildly shifting positions and alleged 'secret' plans to defeat the Islamic State, Clinton has an extensive track record upon which one can evaluate her likely positions. By any reasonable measure, Clinton qualifies as a hawk, if a nuanced one. Though she has opposed uses of force that she believed were a bad idea, she has consistently endorsed starting new wars and expanding others." In "Hillary the Hawk: A History," by Micah Zenko, Foreign Policy, 27 July 2016.
Additionally, one finds: " 'A no-fly zone can save lives and hasten the end of the conflict,' she said. With proper planning, Clinton argued, the restriction could accomplish those goals without sparking a larger war." In "Hillary Clinton Goes All-In On Syria No-Fly Zone," by Daniel Marans, Huffington Post, 20 October 2016.
This hawkish stance is open, as one recalls: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton shared a laugh with a television news reporter moments after hearing deposed Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi had been killed. 'We came, we saw, he died,' she joked when told of news reports of Qaddafi's death by an aide in between formal interviews." In "Clinton on Qaddafi: 'We came, we saw, he died'," by Corbett Daly, CBS News, 20 October 2011.
Let's Be Mindful
Jill Stein, Green Party candidate for President stated: "Let's be mindful here of Secretary Clinton's track record. Was the invasion of Libya an example of how we lead with strength consistent with our values? It would be hard to imagine a more catastrophic war than what took place in Libya, that helped strengthen ISIS, that helped release an incredible stockpile of weapons, further inflaming the crisis and the violence in the Middle East. Clinton has said she would like to impose a no-fly zone over Syria, which basically means we are going to war with Russia, [who fly in that airspace]." DemocracyNow interview on First 2016 Presidential Debate Sep 27, 2016. Cited in " First Presidential Debate at Hofstra University, Sept. 26, 2016, moderated by Lester Holt of NBC News," On the Issues.
Trillions for War? Somebody Wins
The costs are considered: " 'Even if the wars are ended by 2023, the US would still be on track to spend an additional $808 billion to total at least $6.7 trillion, not including future interest costs,' the report adds. 'Moreover, the costs of war will likely be greater than this because, unless the US immediately ends its deployments, the number of veterans associated with the post-9/11 wars will also grow'." In "America's 'war on terror' has cost the US nearly $6 trillion and killed roughly half a million people, and there's no end in sight," by John Haltiwanger, Business Insider, 14 November 2018.
Divided Between the War Party and Everyone Else
Being mindful is what one editorial from the American political Left has done. One reads: "Trump’s decisions on Syria and Afghanistan will lay bare the real distinctions in American politics. Political power in this country is not divided between right and left, and not even between rich and poor. The real line is between a war party, and everyone else." In "We Know How Trump’s War Game Ends," by Matt Taibbi, Rolling Stone, 21 December 2018.
Identifying the "war party" is not a matter of party membership, per se, but of observing words and deeds, as so many Democrats and Republicans have urged war on the American people. This is among the reasons to conclude that too often Left is Right, as Right is Left .
On the subject of urging was on America, The Rolling Stone article notes: "The Afghan conflict became the longest military engagement in American history eight years ago. Despite myths to the contrary, Barack Obama did not enter office gung-ho to leave Afghanistan. He felt he needed to win there first, which, as anyone who’s read The Great Game knows, proved impossible. So we ended up staying throughout his presidency." And advanced in Syria too.
Anther reporter editorializes, speculating rather than reporting: "A withdrawal could have major geopolitical ramifications, and plunges into uncertainty the fate of US-backed Kurdish fighters who have been tackling Islamic State jihadists, thousands of whom are thought to remain in Syria." In "Trump stuns allies by ordering US troops home from Syria," by Thomas Watkins, Agence France Presse, 20 December 2018.
So who advocates for continuing was around the world? It depends on who one asks. Sometimes it is a matter of being for a "pro-some-war," pretend anti-war candidate.
Against, But For, Before
Then there is this observed journalistic behavior: " 'It could also risk getting American soldiers killed or wounded for objectives their commanders had already abandoned,' writes The Times. Yet almost a year ago, on Jan. 19, 2018, that same editorial board raked the president over the coals for even daring to continue America’s policy of military adventurism." In "The New York Times Was Against War In Syria Before It Was For It," by Joe Simonson, Daily Caller, 21 December 2018.
Then, one reads of France and Germany, speaking for Europe. "America's Western allies have voiced dismay at US leader Donald Trump's sudden idea to pull out of Syria." In "US allies in dismay at Trump's Syria pull-out," by Andrew Rettman, EU Observer, 21 December 2018.
Obama's Mistake? Bush's Mistake?
This is all the more ironic as the Washington Post editors allow an interesting headline to be published: "Trump repeating Obama’s mistake in the Middle East," Marc Thiessen, Washington Post, 23 December 2018.
The EU Observer article quotes Trump: " 'Does the USA want to be the policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others?', he said."
In addition to withdrawal from Syria, Trump has ordered less involvement in another war. One reads: "Overruling the Pentagon, the White House abruptly announced the full departure of U.S. ground forces in Syria on Wednesday. Senior defense officials told CBS News on Thursday that the White House also ordered the Pentagon to start planning a major drawdown of roughly 7,000 troops in Afghanistan fighting the Taliban insurgency." In "Rand Paul defends troop withdrawal in Syria, Afghanistan: 'Can the people who live there not do anything?' " by Camilo Montoya-Galvez, CBS News, 23 December 2018.
Such interesting questions, are those above, made by those in the "wrong" political party, it seems.
Obama's Mistake Not a Mistake?
Aside from the "precious lives and trillions" lost to the US, one finds a hint about the Obama "mistake," as one reads: "The origins of Al Qaeda in Iraq and Syria and later of ISIS , the murderous wars and chaos sweeping across the Arab Middle East and into Western Europe since 2010, could all be directly traced back to those Washington Obama policies, their so-called Arab Spring, coming from that August 2010 PSD-11 Presidential Task Force directive. This is what threatens to come out with declassification of US Justice Department files in the coming months. Some in Washington speak of treason, a strong word." In "Obama, ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood," F. William Engdahl, New Eastern Outlook, 25 December 2018.
This article observes of the Obama era "ally": "The Muslim Brotherhood or Ikhwan–Arabic for The Brotherhood–is a secret masonic-like organization with a covert or underground terrorist arm and a public facade of 'peaceful doing of charity.' It was founded in Egypt in 1928 by Hassan al-Banna who developed the cult’s guiding motto. The credo of his Society of Muslim Brothers was incorporated into a chant of six short phrases: Allah is our goal; The Prophet is our Leader; The Qur’an is our Constitution; Jihad is our Way; Death in the service of Allah is the loftiest of our wishes; Allah is Great, Allah is Great."
This idea of Obama and Clinton using such a "society" to accomplish American foreign policy seems foolish at best.
Obama and Clinton Backed Islamists?
One reads: "The Obama administration conducted an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2010 and 2011, beginning even before the events known as the 'Arab Spring' erupted in Tunisia and in Egypt. The President personally issued Presidential Study Directive 11 (PSD-11) in 2010, ordering an assessment of the Muslim Brotherhood and other 'political Islamist' movements, including the ruling AKP in Turkey, ultimately concluding that the United States should shift from its longstanding policy of supporting 'stability' in the Middle East and North Africa (that is, support for 'stable regimes' even if they were authoritarian), to a policy of backing 'moderate' Islamic political movements. To this day, PSD-11 remains classified, in part because it reveals an embarrassingly naïve and uninformed view of trends in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) region." In "US document reveals cooperation between Washington and Brotherhood," Gulf News Report, 18 June 2014.
A Bizarre Conclusion and a Lie Well Known
Engdahl in the article cited above notes: "The Top Secret PSD-11 report that the Task Force drew up was partially revealed in a series of legal Freedom of Information Act requests to the State Department. Released official documents revealed that the NSC Task Force had concluded that the Muslim Brotherhood was a 'viable movement' for the US Government to support throughout North Africa and the Middle East. A resulting Presidential directive ordered American diplomats to make contacts with top Muslim Brotherhood leaders and gave active support to the organization’s drive for power in key nations like Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Syria, at the 2011 outset of the 'Arab Spring.' The PDS-11 secret paper came to the bizarre conclusion that the Muslim Brotherhood’s brand of political Islam, combined with its fervent nationalism, could lead to 'reform and stability.' It was a lie, a lie well known to the Obama PSD-11 Task Force members."
Anti-War by Encouraging War?
During the halcyon anti-war days of the US involvement in the Vietnam war, it was the political Left in the US asking that question, protesting American involvement in a foreign war which had not been officially declared nor authorized by Congress. Where were the "liberal" anti-war demonstrations against military action in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Syria and more for the last sixteen years? A bit noisy during the Bush administration, but almost silent during the Obama administration and the war party's Clinton voting for it all through these years..
Trading places? "It just depends on who does it." This is now.
[ 3 ] The foreign policy goal, as presented by the Post as from 2011, was the aim of the Obama administration. This becomes clear as one notes that the "war" in Syria was longer than World War II, though shorter than the other "wars" which the United States has been waging in the aggregated "war on terror."
Outing the Warmongers in Politics and the Pro-war American Media
One reads in support of this: "The remaking of the Democratic Party was most evident last week with the reaction to Trump’s decision to withdraw troops from Syria. There was a time when a sizable number of Democrats opposed undeclared wars and unending military campaigns. Now, however, Democrats are appalled that Trump would not continue a war in one of the myriad countries with U.S. troops engaged in combat operations." In "Donald Trump is completely transforming the Democrats," Jonathan Turley, The Hill, 29 December 2018.
Seeking to Overthrow a Government
Another take on this is found: "Trump’s announcement was greeted with dismay by the various sectors of the US military industrial complex for whom perpetual war is a major raison d’etre. Although Trump’s announcement is to be welcomed, it was accompanied by the absurd claim that the United States had defeated ISIS and therefore there was the longer any reason to stay. It is presumably politically impossible for Trump, in the present hysterical American political climate, to acknowledge that it was Syria, aided by Russia, Iran and Hezbollah, who played by far the greater role in defeating ISIS. The reality is that the American presence has been a hindrance rather than help in defeating ISIS. That hindrance was not by chance. The American goal, and that of their Saudi and Israeli allies, was the overthrow of the Assad government." In "Trump’s Syrian Gambit Again Exposes Australian Foreign Policy Bankruptcy," by James O'Neill, New Eastern Outlook, 29 December 2018.
Thus the assertion is valid, that "overthrowing the Syrian dictator has been their goal since the beginning of that country’s civil war in 2011." It had been Obama's goal and Clinton's goal. This also is consistent with Jill Stein's observations above, and paints the current "talking heads" in the media as well as the leaders of the Democrat Party today to be for war, plain and simple.
Unfounded Fear? An Exit Was Bound to Happen?
An additional interesting observation: "...the US departure would help matters from reaching a political formula to creating political stability and wipe the remnants of ISIS. In other words, the fear being expressed in the Western media that the US exit from Syria would turn Syria into some ‘geo-political power play’ between major powers looks completely unfounded. The Geneva agreement, notwithstanding the work that is still to be done, on pan-Syrian constitutional committee, a logical progression out of the Astana process, has already shown that these powers are highly unlikely to engage in some fierce competition against each other and that the emphasis continues to firmly remain on accommodating varying interests through political means." In "US Exit from Syria was Bound to Happen," by Salman Rafi Sheikh, New Eastern Outlook, 30 December 2018.
And only days later, one reads: "The decision by President Trump to withdraw 7,000 of the roughly 14,000 American troops left in Afghanistan, possibly by summer, has raised new concerns about his impulsive behavior, especially given his nearly simultaneous decision to pull out all American forces from Syria against the advice of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis. But the downsizing of the Afghan mission was probably inevitable. Indeed, it may soon be time for the United States to get out of the country altogether." In "Time to Get Out of Afghanistan," by Robert D. Kaplan, New York Times, 1 January 2019.
It May Be Time? Could Be?
The article's rhetoric tries to have it both ways. To leave raises "concerns" about Trump, and yet it "may soon be time for the United States [led by the Trump administration] to get our of the country altogether." Thus one watches the political parsing of yes-and-no-and-maybe, for one recalls the title of another op-ed piece, "The New York Times Was Against War In Syria Before It Was For It."
Such is the manner of today's political wiggling: Could and May - an up-to-date play.
[ 4 ] Who lobbies for continuing war? It depends on the vocabulary, as was the case with "kinetic military action" used during the last administrations.
A Euphemism for War
As an example of this euphemism, one reads: "December 2, 2015 Secretary of State John Kerry spoke after attending a series of NATO meetings in Brussels, 'There are various ways in which countries can contribute; they don’t necessarily have to be troops, engaged in kinetic action. There are medical facilities, there are other assets that can be deployed, there is intelligence gathering'." In "Kinetic military action," Wikipedia article, n. d. Sounds harmless?
Verbal Gymnastics Meant to Avoid
Nonetheless, a euphemism. One reads: " 'I think what we are doing is enforcing a resolution that has a very clear set of goals, which is protecting the Libyan people, averting a humanitarian crisis, and setting up a no-fly zone,' Rhodes said. 'Obviously that involves kinetic military action, particularly on the front end. But again, the nature of our commitment is that we are not getting into an open-ended war, a land invasion in Libya.' Those kind of verbal gymnastics to avoid calling a sustained bombing of a foreign country a 'war' aren’t flying with members of Congress." In " 'Kinetic military action' or 'war'?" by Jonathan Allen, Politico, 24 March 2011.
For more about this "front end" and "kinetic military action," one might consult Failing to plan -- flailing's in view.
Who's for Continuing War By Another Name?
As to lobbying for continuing "action," one reads: "Stripping the Islamic State of territory and even fighters is not the same as achieving the group’s defeat. Forced from one redoubt, it will reappear in other territories, potentially even in less detectable — but more lethal — forms. It’s not the time to end the mission, lest we soon find ourselves facing a resurgent adversary. " In "The Dangers of Calling ‘Mission Accomplished’ in Syria," by Joshua A. Geltzer and Christopher P. Costa, New York Times, 19 December 2018.
One finds of one author above, "Joshua A. Geltzer, the executive director and visiting professor of law at Georgetown University Law Center’s Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection and a fellow at New America, was the senior director for counterterrorism at the National Security Council from 2015 to 2017."
Who's Against Continuing War By Any Name?
One learns additionally that other "scaling back" is causing concern for some Democrats. One reads: "After a visit to Somalia earlier this year, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Jack Reed of Rhode Island, expressed concern that Somalia was still 'a long way off' from being a stable country with forces that could secure its territory. 'I think Somalia and West Africa are seen as more on the periphery of terrorism challenges by this (White House) leadership,' said Joshua Geltzer, a former senior director for counterterrorism on the White House National Security Council and now a professor of law at Georgetown University." In "Pentagon plans to scale back in Somalia, latest sign Trump wants to cut troops abroad," by Dan De Luce and Courtney Kube, NBC News, 4 January 2019.
So here's a thought on the US military leaving Syria: "Syria being turned back over to Syrians, now there’s a novel idea! It’s true, the Kurds and free Syrians will have to slink back into their sandy holes and let Damascus be the capital again. No, Genel Energy and other oil foxes will not be able to secure a New Kurdistan and snatch up all that Syrian energy wealth in the east, but Syrian oil revenue should pay for Syrian schools and rebuilding Syria, no?" In "Trump Pulls Out of Syria, and the Deep State Goes Mad," by Phil Butler, New Eastern Outlook, 6 January 2019.
Precious Lives and Trillions of Dollars for What?
This is an interesting observation. That a nation's politicians expecting respect for its and their sovereignty might respect another nation's politicians and their sovereignty -- whether any in the United States, the European Union, and beyond -- is become an offence to those who would make war around the world, and shows the import of the question: "Does the USA want to be the policeman of the Middle East, getting NOTHING but spending precious lives and trillions of dollars protecting others?"
One finds: "It's ridiculous that the United States has 26,000 military personnel in South Korea 65 years after the Korean War, 54,000 in Japan 73 years after World War II and 64,000 in a dozen European countries 27 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. These countries are perfectly capable of defending themselves. South Korea's economy is about 50 times as big as North Korea's, while Japan and Germany have the world's third- and fourth-highest gross domestic products, respectively." In "Trump's Right About 'Ridiculous' Misuse of US Forces," by Jacob Sullum, Townhall, 2 January 2019.
Some weeks later, the sentiment is restated: " 'Endless Wars, especially those which are fought out of judgement [ sic ] mistakes that were made many years ago, & those where we are getting little financial or military help from the rich countries that so greatly benefit from what we are doing, will eventually come to a glorious end!' he [Trump] tweeted." In "Endless wars will eventually come to ‘glorious’ end, tweets Trump," by Edmund de Marche, Fox News, 7 January 2019.
In 2014, during the administration of the Peace Prize President....
As to the assertion, one reads: "Despite recently closing hundreds of bases in Iraq and Afghanistan, the United States still maintains nearly 800 military bases in more than 70 countries and territories abroad—from giant 'Little Americas' to small radar facilities. Britain, France and Russia, by contrast, have about 30 foreign bases combined. By my calculation, maintaining bases and troops overseas cost $85 to $100 billion in fiscal year 2014; the total with bases and troops in warzones is $160 to $200 billion." In "Where in the World Is the U.S. Military?" by David Vine, Politico, July/August 2015.
Under both parties in the United States, continuation of the role of "superpower policeman to the world" has been applauded, one party at a time. The party in power. And the party out of power temporarily complains about war -- until they return to power, and the rhetoric swaps places. So does it seem.
[ 5 ] The Western media, so often idolizing Obama and Clinton while simultaneously lambasting Republicans, generally seemed to have missed what is obvious to many, including the editorial writer above, that war was the standard under which the "Peace Prize" president and his administration conducted the affairs of the American government across eight years. It would be more correct to observe that many American administrations of late have pursued war, and the Nobel Peace Prize winner is obviously among them. See the difference?
Consider the optics of that Nobel for Today .
Consider an earlier musing on: A Modern Observation on The Anti-War Movement - "Where have all the critics gone, long time passing?"
I do not give a damn
"...control of thought is more important for governments that are free and popular than for despotic and military states. The logic is straightforward. A despotic state can control its domestic enemy by force, but as the state loses this weapon, other devices are required to prevent the ignorant masses from interfering with public affairs, which are none of their business." In "Force and Opinion," Noam Chomsky, Z Magazine, July-August 1991. [ 1 ]
I do not give a damn;
A damn I do not give,
When much is just a sham,
Much proves deceptive.
I do not care a whit.
A whit I do not care.
Veneer, shining bright,
Shows thin, then thinner fare.
I do not worry, burdened
By others' crushing weight.
I cannot solve all problems,
As I've learned of late.
I do not seek to suffer
When others say I must;
How is it I am able?
A hard-baked calloused crust?
Must one care for everything,
Like Atlas, shouldering all?
Such a worldly broad appeal
Predicts a worldly fall.
I do not worry, not too much,
About all sorts of things.
Disquiet drives out quiet,
And tales of woe, it sings.
I will not give a damn;
A damn I will not give,
For much is simply wondrous
In that life that we all should live.
Addendum of Inoculation: "To get free of narcissistic thought control it is essential to spot the distortions narcissists deliberately and instinctively practice. Applying critical thinking skills can inoculate you against their campaigns." In "Narcissism Decoded, blog, with Dan Neuharth, PsychCentral, 21 October 2018. [ 2 ]
[ 1 ] The notion that so many "powers-that-be" work to control thought is the stuff of centuries of political and philosophical study as well as the fodder for fiction of various genres.
Control of thought can come in the form of suppression of information, and as well by the absenting of information from the words of public figures, on the one hand, and nudging a populace on the other by media figures.
Some Have Sought to Dull the Instinct
Chomsky noted: "Whether the instinct for freedom is real or not, we do not know. If it is, history teaches that it can be dulled, but has yet to be killed. The courage and dedication of people struggling for freedom, their willingness to confront extreme state terror and violence, is often remarkable. There has been a slow growth of consciousness over many years and goals have been achieved that were considered utopian or scarcely contemplated in earlier eras. An inveterate optimist can point to this record and express the hope that with a new decade, and soon a new century, humanity may be able to overcome some of its social maladies; others might draw a different lesson from recent history. It is hard to see rational grounds for affirming one or the other perspective. As in the case of many of the natural beliefs that guide our lives, we can do no better than to choose according to our intuition and hopes."
We Can Make It Easier for Them to Choose
The notion that influencing a populace as targeted audience in a generally free society is the province of the wise and elite among us is endemic. One reads of Nudge Theory, as a contemporary example.
"The concept is a relatively subtle policy shift that encourages people to make decisions that are in their broad self-interest. It’s not about penalising people financially if they don’t act in certain way. It’s about making it easier for them to make a certain decision. 'By knowing how people think, we can make it easier for them to choose what is best for them, their families and society,' wrote Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their book Nudge, which was published in 2008." In "What is ‘nudge theory’ and why should we care? Explaining Richard Thaler's Nobel economics prize-winning concept," by Ben Chu, Independent UK, 9 October 2017.
The article notes: "It is proving increasingly popular. The previous US president Barack Obama recruited Cass Sunstein as an adviser and exhorted US government departments to adopt behavioural economic concepts such as nudge. In 2010 the UK Government set up a Behavioural Insights Team, commonly dubbed a 'nudge unit', to develop policies. Administrations in Denmark, Australia, Canada and the Netherlands have also shown an interest."
Thus it becomes clear that governments are applying themselves to "control of thought" "even when "governments that are free and popular." What is the difference then between propaganda, agitprop and nudging? A matter of degree?
Saying No to Deception
A skeptical take on "Nudge" is found: "But for many of us here is also a sense of disquiet. Doesn’t putting these psychological insights, however well-meaning, into government policy amount to state manipulation of the people? Yet once we understand the nature of manipulation, the remedy is clear. Avoiding it means avoiding deception: a good, honest, nudge is one that works even when we know we are being nudged, and why. But the spell cast by a bad, manipulative, nudge is broken as soon as its secret is revealed." In "The nudge theory and beyond: how people can play with your mind," by Nick Chater, Guardian UK, 12 September 2015.
Chater concludes his short article: "So the upshot is: let’s say no to manipulation – that is, to influence by stealth or deception. This should apply to how governments treat us, and to how we treat each other."
No to Manipulation, As Best We Are Able
It is a matter of choosing "according to our intuition and hopes," in Chomsky's turn of phrase. In the rhyme's turn of phrase it is "I will not give a damn; / A damn I will not give, / For much is simply wondrous / In that life that we all should live."
It is a matter of choosing by acknowledging that Freedom is freedom is freedom .
[ 2 ] Is there a .link between narcissism and, in Chomsky's phrase as cited above, "control of thought" on the part of politicians and the state, even in supposedly free societies? That is a likely conclusion.
Neuharth details strategies employed by narcissists, as the application of 1) emotional appeals, 2) encouraging people to get on the bandwagon, 3) the misuse of black-and-white / either-or alternatives, 4) assigning the burden of proof to others rather than demonstrating it, 5) the use of false flattery, 6) incredulity, 7) labeling, 8) offering false compromise, and 9) empty promises, 10) quoting out of context, 11) ridicule, 12) starting a target out on a true slippery slope, 13) dehumanizing, and 14) of course the widespread use of slogans. So many of these are obviously in use in politics and political campaigns on all sides. APA Reference - Neuharth, D. (2018). 14 Thought-Control Tactics Narcissists Use to Confuse and Dominate You. Psych Central.
Learning then to "not give a damn" as a response to such tactics wielded by narcissists is a response. Learning to not be too easily swayed and nudged by our self-anointed "betters" allows on to readily observe The Privileges of Intellectuals .