Dec 11, 2015

December 11, 2015: Have You Forgotten Yet?


 
Sassoon, Too Soon

Have you forgotten yet?...
The roly-poly laughter to Looney Tunes delight
The arms outstretched in warm familiar
The welcome greeting with joy to spare

Have you forgotten yet?...
The torn and tattered stitched so carefully
Into a quilted tapestry, a thing of beauty
While she wrestled tortured demons

Have you forgotten yet?...
The simple faith, the trusted certainty
That goodness lies at every hand
And even faceless face has soul

 Have you forgotten yet?...
The simple Facebook postings
From the ‘Happy Wives Club’
And all the thoughtful gifts of love

Have you forgotten yet?...
Holding hands, her firm response
As she lay with half her skull removed
And the Chaplain enters the sterile room

Have you forgotten yet?...
The joy and sorrow, the sweet and sour
Have you forgotten yet...you fool?
Look down, and swear by all you’ve known

 
That you will never forget

 -----------------

Today is Katie’s Birthday, she would have been 56 years old.

I am indebted for the inspiration to the Poet Lauriat of the Great War Siegfried Sassoon and his poem “Aftermath”. 

 

 

 

Dec 10, 2015

December 9, 2015: Old Fashioned Oligarchy, Athens and Democracy, Cancer on the Republic



“We are now in a free fall toward old fashioned oligarchy—that noxious, thieving, tyrannical, oppressive species of government that America’s original settlers fled Europe to escape.”

          ----Robert F. Kennedy Jr. “Billionaires and Ballot Bandits”

 Kennedy isn’t alone in his assessment.  A widely reported study conducted at Princeton and Northwestern universities (1) released last April, and dubbed by some the “DUH Report”, concluded:

 "The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.” (2)

Oligarchy, defined here as “a form of government in which power is vested in a dominant class and a small group exercises control over the general population,” (3) has now become documented fact.  Reviewing over 18,000 policies enacted between 1981 and 2002, the study found that the “resulting data empirically verifies that U.S. policies are determined by the economic elite.” (4)

This, of course, comes as no surprise either to those of us who have stood witness to the usurpations of economic and political power; nor to those millions who have suffered diminution of circumstance and future prospects through the foreclosure of the American Dream.

It also goes a long way to explain the utter unresponsiveness of this government as it does the bidding of the corporate and economic elites but consistently fails to address the underlying causes of our current economic malaise; as well as the complete ‘tone deafness’ of the corporate heads and political elites to the pain inflicted by inspiringly myopic and self-serving economic policies.  From a CEO of a fast-food chain blaming his workers for their poverty—accusing them of bad judgement, it seems, for accepting employment at his wretched business in the first place—to one JEB Bush, in a singular act of contempt and callousness, admonishing the poor not to organize for higher wages but to instead work longer hours. (5)

But the threat goes much further than the devastation of the American middle class.  As noted in previous posts, a thriving middle class is a perquisite to a healthy republican order.  Without a strong and a commanding middle class, the rich will plunder society and first attempt to buy power they will, failing that, call out the military and usurp it.

 The above quote by Robert Kennedy was posted on Facebook in a meme by a friend of mine.  I commented on the post as follows:

 “And it is also the reason that the Athenians originally created Democracy. The oligarchy that misruled Athens produced a revolution that produced the world's first Democratic government. Declaring the oligarchy, a 'tyranny' the Athenians not only introduced a new term in the political lexicon but went about the business of reigning in on the abuses of the economic elite through direct political participation. Yes, at its origin, Democracy was about controlling wealth.

Yes, Democracy, at its origin, was about controlling wealth, and about the equitable distribution of it.  To be a true democrat one must be about economic justice.  This is why those who support the interests of the emergent oligarchy are about the business of limiting the franchise, gerrymandering the political landscape, erecting obstacles and limiting access to voting, and changing the way we finance elections so that they can be outright and legally purchased. 

At base the modern conservative movement, and the oligarchs they serve, is fundamentally anti- democratic and anti-republican.  The conservative movement betrays the promise of the democratic experiment and is a cancer upon the republic.

_______

(1).  The report was picked up by both the BBC and UPI wire service. See http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2014/04/16/The-US-is-not-a-democracy-but-an-oligarchy-study-concludes/2761397680051/ as well as: http://www.bbc.com/news/blogs-echochambers-27074746

(2). See the UPI report.

(3). Ibid

(4). Ibid

(5). http://news.yahoo.com/jeb-bush-people-longer-hours-235206730.html#

Nov 30, 2015

November 30, 2015: Slave Trade Agreements, Instruments of Exploitation, Controlling the Debate


"The British and Americans, as all nations, have always been adept at covering the basest crimes with a coat of righteousness"
                                 ---from "The Quotations of Chairman Joe"
 
There were two postings on my Facebook page this morning on different but highly relevant and connected issues.  Both by Senator Bernie Sanders. The first questioned why, under the pending trade deals, we are moving to further the importation of all kinds of cheap goods into this country but we cannot bring ourselves to do the same thing when it comes to importing cheaper pharmaceuticals from abroad.  I commented that I agree with the Senator, but that we should remind ourselves that the entire ‘principle’ of “Free Trade” was largely the invention of the British and to a lesser extent the other western European powers, later followed by the United States, to enforce first the British Mercantile System and slave trade, and later to impose and maintain the drug trade, principally the production of opium in India for sale in China. This, by degrees led to the use of military force to suppress insurrections as, famously, in the case of the Boxer Rebellion and the Opium wars, conflicts in which the United States, not yet a world power, played a secondary, albeit supporting role. 

I raised this point to demonstrate that the lofty ‘principle’ of “Free” trade was, at its origin, nothing less than a ruse for exploitation leading speedily to the oppression and colonization of the rest of the world.  A “noble” principle assuaging the consciences of expanding wealth; a veneer of righteous ‘principle’ covering, however transparently, the base instincts of human avarice, gluttony and greed.
The British and Americans, as all nations, have always been adept at covering the basest crimes with a coat of righteousness. 


 
 The proclamation of “Free Trade” is, perhaps for us, the most mendacious of the use of Orwellian language.  More accurately, one would presume, what we are truly witnessing is the emergence, or rather re-emergence, of a modern form of the ‘slave’ trade; and, accordingly we might better refer to the pending group of agreements as slave trade agreements inasmuch as the effect, if not the outright intent, of these instruments is to drive down the standard of living around the globe and make more universal the misery of the human race. 

The second posting by the Senator asked why the media is not covering the issue.  As seen in a previous column the White House had promised a full-fledged public discussion and debate. (1)

Given the secrecy surrounding the negotiations and the reluctance—indeed the refusal—of this administration to be forthcoming concerning the contents of these trade agreements, I had my doubts.  Granting the president ‘fast-track’ authority in which the treaties would not be subject to committee hearings, or any hearing, and their would be no amendments allowed to these agreements, but rather a simple up and down vote, it was clear that we—the people—were about to be railroaded.

 Accordingly, I submitted this comment to the Senator’s post:

“The conspiracy of silence. The last thing the national and multinational corporations want is a full-fledged discussion of this travesty against the peoples of the world. It follows, then, that the media will do the bidding of their corporate paymasters and remain silent. MSNBC's dismissal of Ed Schultz was the shot across the bow and the rest of the so-called 'journalists' wet themselves to their socks.”
 
And so it goes.  He that has the gold makes the rules; he that controls the forum and the language controls the debate. 
___________


(1).  See blog posting:

May 22, 2015: Response from the White House, Shroud of Secrecy, Deep Suspicions

Nov 29, 2015

November 28, 2015: The Hammer Speaks


Without the valley there can be no mountain
Without darkness there can be no light
Without an end there can be no beginning
Without injustice there can be no virtue
Without evil there can be no good.
Without death, life is meaningless.

And so it is, this temporal existence
This union of opposites, joined at the hip.
Two sides of the same coin
The rhythm, the yin and yang
Each justifying; each compelling, the other. 

Some are born posthumously
Some speak epigrammatically
Some philosophize with a hammer.

The hammer speaks.

Nov 10, 2015

November 10, 2015: Weeper of the House, True Believers, The Price of Power.


There is something dangerous about orthodoxy in the hands of a true believer”

                        ----From “The Quotations of Chairman Joe”

John Boehner has resigned from the House of Representatives and in so doing relinquishing his post as ‘Weeper of the House”.  In his place the scum have elevated Congressman Paul Ryan, otherwise known as little Eddie Munster, to the position of presiding officer of the United States House of Representatives and 3rd in line to the Presidency. 

Boehner (pronounced boner) by all accounts had a miserable time of it, trying as he did to weave a line between the forces of responsible governance and the newly-minted base of the Rescumlican party for which political responsibility and good governance are anathema.  It proved a treacherous path indeed, a Faustian bargain, reducing a once promising leader to a mere weeping caricature. 

The crazies, it would appear, are emerging from the woodwork. This is not, however, a recent phenomenon, nor should we understand it as a product of purely Republican malignancy.  The movement that has masticated into what we now refer to as the ‘teabagger’ movement began a long time ago, traceable originally to the disciples of Ayn Rand and the followers of Barry Goldwater.  But they, alas, were few and full of labor.  What gave the movement real impetus was the Supreme Court Decision in Roe v Wade

In which the court for the first time declared a zone of personal privacy extending to reproductive rights.  This mobilized the religious fundamentalists who, seeing abortion as an abomination, mobilized in large enough numbers to become the foot soldiers of an emerging political movement.

The principle culprit, the man who led them unto the national stage, was none other than Jimmy Carter.  It was Carter who, through the albeit temporary alliance of the Black and White southern Baptist conventions, found in these ‘foot soldiers’ a ready army of campaign workers ready to do the tedious and mundane tasks necessary to launch and win a national political campaign.  Winning the presidential election of 1976 with their support, Carter gave legitimacy to what was heretofore a largely marginalized and silent segment of the electorate. 

But, alas, what was to become known as the ‘Religious Right’ could find no home in the party of Ted Kennedy, Bela Abzug, and Eleanor Smeal. (1)  By 1980 American religious ‘fundamentalism’ had transformed itself from a mere adjunct in support of a single issue, and of a particular presidential candidate, into a ‘movement’.  In the hands of Jerry Falwell, and dubbing itself the ‘Moral Majority’, Christian Fundamentalism emerged as a national political ‘movement’, moving as it did beyond not only single-issue politics but to the conservative political ‘right’, embracing Ronald Reagan and the politics of unfettered capitalist exploitation.  In the hands of these practitioners it was held, with a straight face, that it was the will of the Lord that not only should the social safety net be shredded but that personal and capital gains taxes be cut in half.

Over the ensuing decades it only got worse.  As the Republican party of our forefathers transformed itself into the Rescumlican party of today it opened its doors and embraced with wholesale enthusiasm the likes of the heretofore banned John Birch Society, crypto-fascists, not a few remnants of the Ku Klux Klan and Southern racists, but more recently the corporate-sponsored Teabaggers, libertarians, and other eternal malcontents.  It has become, by degrees, a reincarnation of the old 19th century ‘Know-Nothing’ Party, denying science and climate change, evolution, and universally observable fact.  

The problem is that, given the religious veneer over which this caldron of intolerance and ignorance is presently covered, the “Political Right” or, as I prefer, the “
Idiot Wrong” has not only gone over to the ‘dark side’, but in so doing has exhibited such a marked degree of belligerence and intolerance as to threaten the very concept of republican governance.

There is something about conducting oneself in the public square with the firm conviction that one has god on one’s side.  If one is convinced that through political action one is working god’s will then compromise becomes damn near impossible.  If one assumes that good, however ill-defined must rest in one’s own hands and must, in the end, prevail then all other centers of political power are either suspect, evil, or illegitimate.  A certain self-righteousness emerged on the political wrong manifesting itself as a continuous stream of righteous proclamations, political obstructions and, when the electorate had the temerity to turn them out of office, temper tantrums.  Consider the record in recent years of conservative behavior:


* April 2011: House Republicans threaten a government shutdown unless Democrats accept GOP demands on spending cuts.

* July 2011: Republicans create the first-ever debt-ceiling crisis, threatening to default on the nation’s debts unless Democrats accept GOP demands on spending cuts.

* September 2011: Republicans threaten another shutdown.

* April 2012: Republicans threaten another shutdown.

* December 2012: Republicans spend months refusing to negotiate in the lead up to the so-called “fiscal cliff.”

* January 2013: Republicans raise the specter of another debt-ceiling crisis.

* September 2013: Republicans threaten another shutdown.

* October 2013: Republicans actually shut down the government.

* February 2014: Republicans raise the specter of another debt-ceiling crisis.

* December 2014: Republicans threaten another shutdown.

* February 2015: Republicans threaten a Department of Homeland Security shutdown.

* September 2015: Republicans threaten another shutdown [over Planned Parenthood]. (2)

 There is something dangerous about orthodoxy, be it religious, political or economic, in the hands of a “True Believer” (3).  When they are not wreaking havoc upon the national political consensus, undoing the work of centuries, and shredding the social safety net, they are, when voted out of power, about the business of obstruction and nullification. 

Make no mistake about it.  When one is guided by the ‘light’; when one sees ones actions in the political arena to be a manifestation of the ‘will of god’, then there is small room for political debate and no tolerance for political opposition.  Accordingly, one sets about the business of restricting the franchise (voter ID, Gerrymandering, restricting access to polling places), overturning elections (Bush v. Gore, the mess in Ohio in 2004), and vilifying the political opposition (Faux News, Glenn Beck, Ann Coulter et. al.)  By these means the ‘light of the world’ has been, by degrees, transformed into a political abyss, a cauldron of darkness.  Christ, it is now earnestly held, was a confirmed Capitalist, nearly two millennium before the advent of Capitalism.  Facts?  What are mere facts in the hands of a ‘true believer’?

The Faustian bargain that Boehner forged with the forces of darkness has, at last come undone.  It remains to be seen, now that he is free of the constraints of power, what his commentaries will be on the state of our union but others, former Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke among them, have vented their frustration at the intolerance and ignorance boiling on the political surface of the political cauldron.  A veritable witch’s brew, balking at the elevation of little Eddie Munster, protesting that even he was not ‘conservative enough’ to lead this rabble.  Ideological purity has its limitations, and its price.

____

1.  Ted Kennedy is well known.  Bella Abzug was a renowned liberal congresswoman from New York City and avid supporter of reproductive rights.  Eleanor Smeal was chair of the National Organization of Women, also a strong supporter of Roe V. Wade.


3. See Hoffer, Eric. “The True Believer” Perennial Library, Harper and Row Publishers, New York. 1951. 160 pages.



Oct 8, 2015

Katie



With no safe harbor we fight the storm
The tempest’s rage, the wind and sea
Eye fixed on the bow and wave
I turn and she is gone

I reach for her she slips my grasp
I call for her and hear my echo
I look for her and see my shadow
Beneath the sea, she’s gone

Storm has passed, sea is calm
A hole torn in my soul
Unspeakable emptiness, with no redress
Now that she is gone

 
I will heal, of course, in time
As all things do, as life goes on
But the void will still remain

 And I will grow to embrace it,
And, in time, to treasure it
And wear it like a crown.

 
Godspeed my Katie, godspeed.

Sep 30, 2015

September 29, 2015: Across the Alternate Universe, Hubris of the ‘Idiot-Wrong’, No-Nothing to Know-Nothing.


 
“Thoughts meander
Like a restless wind inside a letter-box
They tumble blindly
As they make their way
Across the universe”

                                    ----John Lennon “Across the Universe”

The vitriol of the idiot-wrong arcs across the alternate closed conservative universe, revealing the edifice to be nothing but a hollow echo-chamber amplifying as it does the cries of the damned.  As Michael Savage can declare with a straight face that the planet is cooling, or that the Pope is a Marxist, or Glenn Beck can lecture on what subjects the Pope is currently an authority and propose with equal earnestness that he [Beck] would be happy to get a group of people together and send them to the Vatican to ‘instruct’ the Pope on questions economic, the hubris of the ‘idiot-wrong’ is constantly demonstrating that it acknowledges no bounds. 

But there is a price to pay for this unseemly display of intolerant ignorance.  Increasingly the radical-wrong are seen drifting ever further off the political landscape to a place where fewer and fewer are willing to follow.  A place that is increasingly Caucasian, increasingly masculine, and increasingly older. 

The war waged by the conservatives upon the poor and the minorities is well documented, here and elsewhere and bears no repeating.  As we speak the Cons are about the business of attempting to once again shut down the Federal Government, this time over funding Planned Parenthood.  It’s another of those false crises designed to wring yet another series of spending cuts and further savage the safety net.  Once again the Cons are raising the bloody shirt of abortion and abortion funding, even though it has been illegal for the Federal Government to fund abortions (except in cases of rape, incest, or the health of the mother) since the passage of the Hyde Amendment way in the 70’s.  No matter, another false claim (like the planet is cooling) duly shouted from the rooftops of the giant media complexes sufficient to raise the blood pressure and testosterone levels of the vast throngs of ‘ditto-heads’.  This latest effort, combined with plans to cut spending on social services, opposing equal pay for equal work and concurrent efforts to keep ‘the woman in her place’, the misogyny of the modern Republican Party has become manifest.

It isn’t simply that the party is sexist, by declaring war upon science it has become the party of ignorance; by confusing Corporate America with the genuine article, it has become the vehicle for the most rapacious environmental policies, and most vociferous anti-labor policies; by embracing America’s racists it has become the staunch advocate of the most xenophobic anti-immigration policies, seeking wherever possible to limit the franchise and erect obstacles to voting.  Whatever face one tries to put on it, the facts are that it has become the party of rich, old, white, conservative men.  With the latest diatribes and screeds directed at the Pontiff, we can now add anti-Catholicism to the ever growing list of abuses.

The modern American Conservative movement has long been about rolling back progress.  It has long been about the business of not only obstructing progress (minimum wage, social security, child labor, environmental protection, education…etc.) but, when possible, of actually reversing the progress the larger society has labored to achieve by way of gaining a more equitable distribution of the fruits of our labors and a more just society.  To that end it has steadfastly endeavored to drag this country, kicking and screaming, back into the 19th and 18th centuries.

Accordingly the Republican Party is transforming itself from the “No-Nothing” party of obstruction and nullification to a modern reincarnation of the “Know-Nothing” Party of the 19th century.  All we need is a little more anti-Semitism and anti-Masonry for the metamorphosis to be complete.  What does it say about a group of increasingly rich, fat, old, white men that they would readily create a modern “Know-Nothing” movement?  Ask Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, George Will, and Patrick Buchanan about the clown-car presently in the Presidential race and who they represent. 

 

 

Sep 29, 2015

September 28, 2015: Boycotting the Pope, Savaging the Pontiff, A Hopeless Apologist


 
Representative Paul Gosar (R-Ariz) announced, ahead of the visit by Pope Francis to Washington, that he intended to ‘boycott’ the Pope’s scheduled address to a joint session of Congress.  The ideologically driven Congressman said he would welcome an address about conventional moral issues, but when the Pope chooses to “act like a leftist politician” by addressing climate change and human exploitation “then he can expect to be treated like one”; with all the scorn and contempt usually visited upon the heads of those who dare deviate from the duly approved ideological imperative. 

 
Gosar is not alone.  “Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) – who, like Gosar, is Roman Catholic – sat down with Politico this week to flesh out his expectations for the papal address.

 

‘I’m hopeful that Pope Francis will speak to these two issues: One is the church’s unfailing and steadfast opposition to abortion, the position that life begins at the moment of conception and it ends at natural death, and the dignity of every human person. That’s a position of the Roman Catholic Church that’s really unassailable and I’m hopeful that that position will be reiterated from the floor of Congress next week. I’m looking forward to that.

 

Second component that is so strong among the Catholic Church is the position of marriage, and it being between a man and a woman.’

 
Or put another way, Steve King is “looking forward” to his church leader telling Steve King how correct Steve King is. The pope, the argument goes, should stay in the GOP’s lane: there are moral crises, as defined by Republicans that warrant Pope Francis’ concern. Nothing else need be mentioned.” (1)

 
Declaring threats to the natural world merely, in a word, ‘political’, the GOP has taken the position that morality, a commodity wholly owned by the Republican National Committee, is a limited set of values revolving around the nuclear family and sexual behaviors.  All else, in their view, is ‘mere politics’.  And, since they have been about the business for at least two generations of doing their level best to reduce political life to the lowest intellectual and cultural denominator, the term has taken a pejorative meaning.  To contend, by these lights, that an issue is ‘merely political’ is a way of dismissing it out of hand. 

 

“In the culture-war debates”, writes Steve Benen for MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow’s blog, “the right routinely argues that policymakers should heed the appeals from religious leaders.  More generally, conservatives express alarm about the left trying to push voices from the faith community ‘out of the public square’.  It’s the religious leaders, the GOP argues, that should help guide public debate”.  Unless, of course, one expands the discussion of morality and virtue beyond the narrow confines of Republican understanding.  Then one risks being ignored.  Representatives Gosar and King were hardly alone.  Three members of the United States Supreme Court, all Roman Catholics, Scalia, Thomas, and Alito likewise skipped the event.  It’s always best, when one has singular possession of truth, not risk such certainties by exposing them to alternative points of view. Justice is indeed not only blind, so it seems, but ignorant.

 
But the Pope, in coming to Washington, risked not only being ignored but being vilified.   The wrong-wing echo chamber that is Faux News and Talk radio went ape-shit crazy.  Wrong-Wing talk show host and beacon of malignant ignorance Michael Savage had this lead-in to the Pope’s visit.

 

“He [Pope Francis] has been selected - hand-selected - by the New World Order. He is the first non-European pope in twelve hundred years. The same people who gave us Obama gave us this pope. The same people who gave us Obama and the pope are giving the world a good beating. He is from an area where Marxist theory was used to rule over the people. The pope is a danger to the world. Yes, I'll be very clear on that. He knows about as much about weather as my -- well, let's put it to you this way. The only thing the pope knows about meteorology is that when it rains his highly-paid aides in the Vatican take out umbrellas and open them for him. The man knows nothing about climate. And for a religious man to do this is incomprehensible. How the Catholic people can put up with this, I don't know. And by the way, if he hates capitalism so much and wealthy people so much, I think the pope ought to begin with an example by selling off some of the great art in the Vatican.

And I think this pope, this deceiver -- what do you think because someone wears a holy robe, they're holy? Are you people nuts? How many imams are terrorists? Oh, you're willing to go along with that, aren't you?

 

Well, the pope is a Marxist. I stand by those words. He is a wolf in pope's clothing, he is an eco-wolf in pope's clothing. He is a stealth Marxist in religious garb.

[...]

The man sounds like the false prophet in Revelation. He sounds just like the false prophet in Revelation -- an ecumenical spiritual figure directing mankind to worship the Antichrist. The man is a false prophet. How could you buy this garbage? How in the world can you buy this? The world is cooling off, and the man is pushing this to attack capitalism?

 

This is unbelievable to me. We are living in global tyranny right now. We are living in global tyranny where the Big Lie is told over and over again. [Cumulus Media Networks, The Savage Nation6/16/15, via Rightwing Watch]” (2)

 
Such savage treatment was hardly confined to “The Savage Nation”.  Rush Limbaugh, demonstrating in one breath that he knows as little about Marxism and Catholicism as he does about birth control said “that if it weren’t for capitalism, I don’t know where the Catholic Church would be” , concluding “this is pure Marxism coming out of the mouth of the Pope.”.  In one foul breath the Icon of Ignorance conflates Catholicism with Marxism by simply overlooking the mere historical fact that Catholicism predates by nearly two millennium the advent of both Adam Smith and Karl Marx. 

 
From Limbaugh down the corridors of the conservative echo-chamber the voices of greed, gluttony and avarice pontificate.  Faux News’ Brian Kilmeade dutifully weighed in with the observation that the Pope “doesn’t like Capitalism” and “should stay home”.  Faux News’ “Senior Judicial Analyst” Andrew Napolitano “called Pope Francis a "communist" and a "Marxist" for linking the European refugee crisis to global poverty.”  Similarly, the often erudite and always wrong mainstream conservative columnist George F. Will observed:

 

“Pope Francis embodies sanctity but comes trailing clouds of sanctimony. With a convert's indiscriminate zeal, he embraces ideas impeccably fashionable, demonstrably false and deeply reactionary. They would devastate the poor on whose behalf he purports to speak -- if his policy prescriptions were not as implausible as his social diagnoses are shrill.” (3)

 
Never mind, George, that given that half the world’s population lives on less than two dollars a day, how the poor are so currently well off as to be ‘devastated’ by the Pope’s remedies.  Calling the Pope’s ideas demonstrably false and deeply reactionary is yet another vacuous characterization lacking even a feeble attempt at documenting falsehood or reaction.  In any case it’s rich coming from an established oracle of the status quo to disparage anyone for being ‘reactionary’.   George Will is the quintessential reactionary.

 
But George Will, whatever his shortcomings, and they are many, is a gentleman sitting at the bar in this den of thieves.  Will, with an air of pompous condescension, simply choses to dismiss the Pope saying:

 

“He stands against modernity, rationality, science and, ultimately, the spontaneous creativity of open societies in which people and their desires are not problems but precious resources. Americans cannot simultaneously honor him and celebrate their nation's premises.” (4)

 
It is not only comfortable but profitable to pander to the desires of the masses, regardless of the global consequences.  Conversely it is unprofitable and unpopular to make your audience uncomfortable, best stick to the “tried and true”, the platitudes and bromides of spent dreams.  Such are the scribbling of an old political hack, a hopeless apologist for a fast-fading order. 

_______

 

(1)  Benen, Steve.  “GOP to Pope: Stick to Religious Issues (as defined by the GOP). http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/gop-pope-stick-religious-issues-defined-the-gop  9/22/15

 

(2)  http://mediamatters.org/research/2015/09/21/a-marxist-who-should-stay-home-the-worst-of-con

 

(3)  Ibid.

 

(4)  Ibid.

Sep 28, 2015

September 27, 2015: The Adversary, Origin of Origin Handicraft of Beelzebub




“I personally believe that this theory that Darwin came up with was something that was encouraged by the adversary, and it has become what is scientifically, politically correct.”
           ----Political Neophyte and Republican Presidential Candidate Ben Carson (1)


“For anyone who’s confused,” writes Joe Clark for liberalamerica.org, “adversary’ is another name used to describe “Satan” or “The devil.”’  Carson, a retired Detroit neurosurgeon who should know better, is now standing before America and declaring in his best Flip Wilson voice that poor Darwin’s problem was the same as the one that dogged good old Geraldine: the devil made him do it
. 
Nobody would be taking much notice except that Carson is presently one of the top three leading contenders for the Republican presidential nomination, polling just behind “The Donald” himself. It’s bad enough that none of the three, the real estate magnate, the neurosurgeon nor the former CEO of Hewlett-Packard have ever been elected dog catcher much less an office of some importance, it’s that their public utterances have become a crescendo of ignorance; some of it due to intellectual slovenliness, much of it a studied and determined strain.  Here the good doctor is not only demonstrating the total rejection of everything he learned in his biology classes, but a complete ignorance of the origin of the “Origin of Species”.  

Every public figure, at some point in time, must learn that problems will emerge by painting with too big a brush.  Making broad categorical statements, especially concerning ‘origins’, can quickly lead to embarrassing moments; moments conclusively demonstrating that one is “not ready for prime time”.  As a case in point, let’s take the dear doctor’s statement at face value and subject it to the scrutiny and logic of the historical record.

If what Darwin came up with was encouraged by “The Adversary”, then the ‘adversary’ was none other than Adam Smith, the founder of modern capitalism.  Darwin said later in life that his inspiration for the mechanism operating behind evolutionary change was inspired by Adam Smith’s descriptions of the operations of the marketplace and how competition forced an enterprise, and indeed a society, to change and adapt. 

Following the logic of Dr. Carson we can therefore reasonably conclude that the works of Smith and all that he inspired were the handicraft of none other than Beelzebub himself.  Capitalism is the work of the ‘devil’. 

Out of the mouth of babes and fools, perhaps the good doctor is on to something.  Perhaps he has revealed more than he could know.

 ________

Joe Clark, 9/27/15