Post # 518 DULCETVILLE

Beautifully verdant and peaceful, the Village of Dulcetville, which boasts eight-hundred plus permanent residents, according to its recent census, of diverse ages and ethnicities, can be referred to as a “bedroom suburb,” for the reason that most of its residents of working age, commute to and from the village, to their place of employment.

Residence in the Village of Dulcetville, (a cooperatively owned, Land Trust), is open to any adult person(s), or family, desiring to live there, willing to execute, and mandatorily, abide by, a certain, “Residence Agreement,” with the Village Trust; the latter, being the governing and proprietary entity, from which all residential property, pursuant to such contract, is agreed, and understood to be, “conditionally purchased.”

The salient provisions of the Agreement, in summary, state that, (1) any adult person(s), desiring to reside in the Village, subject to the Village system of conditional ownership, and compliance with its Contract, is eligible to do so (2) the universal status  of equality, in all matters, societal, civil and criminal, is to be enjoyed by all residents, (3)  residents shall be literate, and have received at least a high school diploma (4) residents shall have, and maintain, a record of no criminal convictions, including misdemeanors, for alcohol or substance abuse and convictions for spousal, or other family abuse, (5)  at no time shall a resident shall be the owner or possessor, of a firearm of any kind (6) residents shall be self-supporting, or, in the case of disability or old age, by means of governmental or private assistance, (7) residents are required to properly upkeep their respective property and regularly maintain its attractive appearance,  (8) all residents shall vote in all elections, local, State and Federal and (9)  residents shall mandatorily, practice civility and neighborly good will, toward each other.

The demonstration of credible proof, presented fairly and objectively, at an open meeting before the Board, of violation of any one, or more, contractual obligations, shall, oblige the resident to retransfer his conditional ownership, to his residential property to the Board, at the then prevailing market price; such transaction to close, within 30 days, of the determination of the breach.

The Village Board is comprised of an elected, rotating, membership of five residential Trustees, each, respectively, serving a term of two years.  The Village has three school districts, a well- stocked, public library, a large, free hospital center, village water, fire and sanitation departments, however, by reason of the lack of necessity, no police department. Village repairs to infrastructure, when needed, are to be paid for by the Village residents, as per the Village Contract.

In the exact center of Dulcetville Village, there is a two-story, red brick, Village Hall, which, in addition to providing for village administrative offices, and rooms for the meetings and hearings, of the Village Board of Trustees, has ample, attractive facilities for Village weddings, town hall meetings, dances and other events. Residents wishing to attend at religious services, do so at neighboring towns, their being no houses of worship in the Village, due to, among other reasons, the contractual provision of conditional ownership. There are no statues, religious or secular, and no flags or signs of any kind, permitted in the Village, with the sole exception of modest and dignified signage, installed at the main entrance, bearing the name of the Village, and the date of its establishment. There is a newspaper, published by interested and capable, volunteer residents, at Village expense, appearing no less than twice, monthly. No commercial or political advertisements are permitted in the Village Monthly, which accepts, only articles of general interest as well as personal or Official village notifications.

Upon a bona fide demonstration of financial need, (due to illness, disability and the like) temporary relief may, at the discretion of the Board, be granted, in supplementation of a resident’s entitlements from federal, state or other sources, governmental or private.  Hearings of the Board, as to such grants are to be conducted in confidence, and decisions require a unanimous vote, of an attending quota of the Board.

The Village encourages regular debates on issues, local, State and Federal. On Wednesday evenings, as needed, it hosts scheduled debate events, at which opposing points of view are aired, in a friendly and civically, appropriate fashion. In common with all formal debates, Robert’s Rules of Order is subscribed to. The topics, selected by the interested and qualified participants, are unlimited, but strictly secular.  Debate rules provide, that in the event of the failure by a participator or member of the audience, at the debate event, to observe a proper standard of neighborly behavior, the debater may not thereafter, participate in a debate, for a period of not less than one year, from the date of the transgression, nor may an offending audience member be admitted to the debates for such period. Debate participants, may publish their views, if desired, in the Village Monthly Newsletter, in advance of the debate event, as well as their concluding arguments, in the issue, one month thereafter.

Despite energetic, avid and painstaking, researches, for a route to the Village of Dulcetville, electronically, as well as in printed maps and travel brochures, and efforts in consulting travel experts and cartographers, we have met with only utter frustration and dismal failure.  If any of our readers, can inform us as to a route, by which one can get to that (idyllic) venue, he is kindly requested to do so, the receipt of which, would make us eternally grateful.

-p.

Post # 517 EVOLVING CREDO

Since its creation, approximately three hundred years ago, the foundational and definitional, “trademark” of our Nation, has been one, whose principal philosophy has been consistent with Thomas Jefferson’s declaration, that …all men are equal, and endowed… with liberty, equality, and the pursuit of happiness.”

Our choice of the noun, “trademark,” a word ordinarily asserting a claim of legal proprietorship to an identifiably existing product or entity, is here, somewhat optimistic. Due to the nuanced complexity of the human persona, to date, the stated philosophy has insufficiently evolved, at best, into an assertion of a consensus moral goal, and dedicated good purpose, rather than to an accomplished reality. After three Centuries, there yet appears, to be contention as to its specific intentions, and, shamefully, for too many, reluctance in its compliance.

In accordance with our acquired historical perspective, given the transient and fluid character of history, the proper understanding of most declarations, of ultimate principle and philosophy, are obliged to be read, and understood, with knowledgeable reference to the historic times and relevant context, of their utterance.

We have stated our belief, in past mini-essays, that the understanding of the intended meaning and historical context of the Founders’ declarations of “equality” of all “men,” has to be seen in a historical and sociological reference to their own times. While we unquestionably agree, that all individuals are equal and possess inalienable rights, such statement is contemporarily worded, and not, possibly, anachronistically, the intended meaning and applicability of the chosen words, of our great, 18th Century Founders.

We have always had the understanding that the Founders’ intentions, as declared by their important and memorable words, “all men are created equal,” was, in reality, the declared demise of the long-established European system of privileged birth, and its consequent differentiated class system.  Ownership of slaves, (not then contemplated as “men”), lack of women’s rights, child labor and other societal features, which are currently, seen as improper infringements on life and liberty, were not, in their day, we feel, conceivably, within the understood contemplation of the Founders.

In essence, what we would specifically premise, in this mini-essay, is that the quoted declarations of our Founding Fathers, eternally possess unassailable merit, as they are applicably and relevantly applied, to the ever evolving, and changing context of the times. By illustration, in our view, the famous declaration “all men are created equal” might now be worded, “every person is entitled to equal rights;” which reading is, in our estimation, incontrovertibly (and timelessly) correct.

Those who believe that one must defer, regarding presenting issues to the “original intent,” of our Founders ignore the intentionally employed, general language, which wisely, and prophetically, suggest that its provisions, were meant to be interpreted in accordance with the relevant, sociological context of its time. We, without reservation, fully ascribe to the original, proclamations of our Founders, but, necessarily, as they are eternally, read and made relevant and applicable, to the respective times as they evolve. [read the brilliantly written essays, of U.S. Supreme Court Justice, and noted intellectual, Benjamin N. Cardozo].

A very useful illustration of this guiding Constitutional principle, and by corollary reasoning, compliance with the Constitution, relates to its Second Amendment.  Hot and divisive contention exists, regarding the phrase, “..the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” The gun lobby and the NRA, adamantly insist, that the plain reading of this partial phrase, constitutes an unassailable, unlimited franchise to own and use guns [ inclusive of military, rapid firing, semi-automatic weapons of war]. This cynically, reductive misinterpretation, albeit profitable for the gun industry, is an insidiously, false tactic and has tragically resulted in a horrifically uncountable, number of tragic homicides. A proper understanding of the Constitutional intent behind this dangerously asserted right, requires more than an adamant and ignorant insistence, solely, on the universality of a partial phrase, and perhaps, a nuanced personal inclination to disobey societal mandate.

In order to knowledgeably and rationally, resolve this continuing hot and divisive, debate one must appropriately, familiarize himself with the facts and the contextual history of the times; most especially, the specific motivation behind the Second Amendment. At the time of the formation and negotiated consolidation of our Federal (Central) Government, contested issues existed, between “Federalists” (proponents of a Central Government) and those who were adamant supporters of State governance. The relevant terms of the Second Amendment were, finally agreed to, as a demanded provision of the final settlement and resolution: The States (“the People”) were, [in order to close the deal] granted the right to individually, maintain an independent and armed militia, notwithstanding the maintenance by the Central Government, of a standing Federal army. The final, negotiated, language, therefore reads: “A well -regulated militia being necessary to the security of a State, the right of the People (please contextually read, people’s Militia) to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” There never was intended, nor, reportedly debated subject of a social franchise for every citizen to arm himself, for any purpose, including, paranoia. This existentially impactful language, properly read, in its historical, situational context, would not then, conceivably, authorize the false, reductive, purportedly Constitutional right to own, and use, at will, instruments of death.

The Constitution, when properly and contemporaneously, read, mandates, in its undeniable essence, that all people are equal, in rights and worth, irrespective of skin color, sex or gender, ethnos or origin. Unlike the reductive ignorance, unfortunately, prevailing in the gun issue, those who offend against these fundamental, keystone supports of our modern democracy, by contrast, presumably aware of the contemporary meaning of these basic principles; here, it is a problem of compliance.

Unhappily, the practice of bigotry appears to have irrational, psychological and emotional roots, and is communicated and taught; in some cases, even subtly and unwittingly by reactive, often nuanced but objectively, discernable behavior. For the latter reasons, such pathology may be difficult to prevent and cure. Its pernicious existence seems to be an enduring one, not directly relevant, to the proper contextual reading and understanding of the provisions of the Constitution, discussed above.

In past writings, we have expressed our personal views on the etiology of the pathology of bigotry. Our view is, that it is often an unintended, and later exacerbation of the very young child’s, instruction as to his societally, secure and personal identity, by (ultimately dangerous) lessons in “we” and “they.” Even taught in a fair and respectful manner, such differences will usually remain with the child, and possibly, later, lead to a dangerous transmogrification and demonization, of the “they.”  We must construe our early teachings, and purpose our behavior, in the context of a one world family.

In a past writing, we have created a fictional (but, realistic), anecdote, to illustrate the difficulty of unlearning those early childhood lessons: a young, attractive, white, well-educated woman is walking her five- year -old daughter to school. A supporter of liberal causes, this white mother is also an outspoken supporter of Civil Rights, donating regularly to the local chapter of the NAACP, and at times, vocally participating, in peaceful protest demonstrations regarding police brutality against innocent black Americans. Approaching them is another young, attractive, well- educated mother and her young school daughter, both black. The parents are familiar friends and the daughters are close buddies in the same class, at school. The mothers, as usual, exchange warm smiles and greetings; yet at the first notice of the black mother and her child, the white young child feels a subtle, (probably, involuntary, and reflexive) cautionary squeeze of her hand. Life’s early inoculation of “them,” is difficult to eradicate, even by later ardent resolve.

All Americans must endeavor to respect the universal rights, contained in the U.S. Constitution, usefully and relevantly, in their evolving, contemporaneous context. To eliminate prejudice, our early teachings of identity to our children must also be contextual, and eternally within the communal construct, of a One World of all of mankind.

-p.

 

 

Post # 516 THE CAULDRON

Our Nation appears to be entering a unique but long -overdue moment; one, in our estimation, that is suitably describable, in the words of author, Malcolm Gladwell, as a “tipping point.” We seem to be at the initial stages of an unprecedented push for a reconciliation, between its avowed democratic aspirations, as fundamentally enshrined in its Constitution and system of laws, and the contrasting, empirical reality of its disappointing history. A public demonstration of the desire and need for a necessary rectification and reconciliation seems to be underway.

That spontaneous citizen response, with energy akin to a massive iron cauldron brought to a full boil, has been accumulating, and is, at present, actively and audibly roiling, demanding the need for the recognition and needed rectification, of that free and democratically equal Nation, intended and philosophically designed, by our Founding Fathers, and, the candid disappointing reality, of three- hundred- years, of empirical inequality and cruelty, with especial reference to its black population.

America’s historic conception and its institutional, pretensions to equality and inalienable freedom, as taught to successive centuries of schoolchildren, consistent with the Nation’s programmatic self- assertion as an avatar of human dignity, and universal equality may, euphemistically, be described, as somewhat “ spotty”, or, put more painfully, but candidly, as historically, inaccurate and pretentious.

In the interest of a balanced and rational perspective and in fairness, one might indicate, that our Nation has compared favorably with most other Nation States, relative to the extent of liberty and freedom, enjoyed by its citizens. This is particularly evident, in its contrast with autocratic entities, such as North Korea, China, Russia, Myanmar, the Banana Republics, and the stereotypical African Nation.

Nevertheless, our Democratic Republic, was specifically and philosophically created, as a unique moral exemplar of citizen equality and personal freedom, and not as a foil to corrupt or despotic regimes; and should, appropriately, be evaluated, in comparison with the singular, foundational principles of its own conception, in conjunction with its later ascribed, image.

To be included in today’s boiling National cauldron, as required recipe ingredients, are our Nation’s history of overt failures of its own democratically, declared, moral standards, including: the wrongful eviction of  peaceful, Native Americans from their historically owned, arable homesteads in Southeastern America, by our federal government and the tragic events  of their cruel displacement and removal to, “lands more suitable to savages,” viz.,  the dry, windy and barely arable, lands of Mid-West, Oklahoma, [ Read: “Trail of Tears”]; pursuant to xenophobic propaganda, tactically, presented and taught to our young schoolchildren as “Our Manifest Destiny,” but leading to the effective destruction of the valuable and irreplaceable, Native American culture; the inhuman, commercial importation and heartlessly immoral, forced use of Black people as slaves, [legally appraised, as “chattels” or, agricultural equipment] to be exhaustedly worked, unpaid and savagely mistreated; the tragic and unforgivable entry into an ill-conceived, Southeast Asian War, meaninglessly killing hundreds of thousands of human beings, and angrily dividing our Nation, upon some spurious, purported and blatantly false, government specter, of a future, “united communist bloc” in Asia; the  Federal Government’s lobbied  assistance to, and development of, an undemocratic and overly influential,  multi-millionaire industrial class, self-servingly, insuring its continuance of industrial air pollution and resultant global damage, in pursuit of their  mega-profits; the societly costly, suicidal, contemporary denigration of education, learning, and self-advancement, resulting in a vast population of semi-literate, reductionist, flat earth citizens and voters;  the latter, credited with the unprecedented elevation to America’s Oval office, of an inept, egocentric, ignorant and bigoted neurotic, an embarrassing practitioner of everything, shameful and immoral, conceived and included within the human-miscreant playbook.

Added to the unsavory, non-miscible, odoriferous, content, of the hot cauldron, and skillfully blended with the plight of existentially fearful, quarantined citizens, protecting themselves from the potentially, lethal Covid-19 pandemic, is the plethora of gut-wrenching pictures and reports, of all-too-frequent, homicides, and acts of prejudicial abuse, hatefully and brazenly perpetrated, by municipally enabled, police, against fellow Americans, for the sole and insane reason, that they have elected to be been born in a black or brown color.

It is a rational assumption, that such, frequent instances of un-American (and inhuman) behavior, are currently being revealed and popularly circulated, due fortuitously, to the contemporary availability of smart-phone photography. There is no rational basis, whatsoever, for the denial of the assumption, that such atrocious, bigoted, un-American police behavior, has been institutionally and regularly practiced, long prior to the current, universal availability of such revelatory (photographic) facility.

We also see in the mix, swimming in the repugnant, blazingly hot, roiling cauldron of American bigotry, the rank atavism manifested in the adamant denial of man-made global damage, the ignorant and incapable, mishandling by the Trump administration of all matters, national and international, scientific and sociological (to include his revealed bigotry), most recently,  dangerously demonstrated in the President’s exacerbation of the Covid-19 epidemic, by virtue of his ignorance, egotism, and ineptitude, as a catalytic, advancing the cauldron’s boiling point and its physically irresistible need for an available outlet for its, overwhelmingly, unbearable pressure.

This writing is intended as a hopeful report of our sighting of such a necessary outlet, in the gigantic overflow of dedicated, right-thinking Americans, in the multiple thousands, marching and peacefully, protesting, throughout America; black and white citizens, together as equal participants, the vocal young and the sign totting elderly, inclusive of some from the disabled community, across the entire Nation, all peacefully petitioning for reform; some, even foolhardily, risking infection from the extant epidemic, to have their presence noted and their voices heard, against the Nazi-style, military behavior; of so many of our white police, (“Black Lives Matter”) and, shamefully included, in the fiery and obnoxious mix, the casual disregard of the imminent, existential threat of global pollution.

We are greatly relieved and optimistically heartened, to see that the evil, hot cauldron of National bigotry and past wrongful behavior has finally, boiled over and that vast multitudes of right thinking, dedicated Americans, of every stripe, have now chosen, to make themselves heard, en mass, as peaceful and zealous aspirants for a just, equal and exemplary, Democratic Republic; one philosophically and empirically, consistent with the philosophical and idealistic intentions of its Founders.

-p.

 

 

 

 

Post # 515  MEDIA MEDICINE (redux)

In previous writing, we have expressed our disapproval concerning the non-regulated and irresponsible (albeit profitable), wide-scale televised hawking of medicines and other purported curatives, to the general public. The advertised medicines are often presented, alongside attractive actors or models, and/or lovable, babies, possibly, a cuddly cat or loving puppy, to ensnare the attention and positive reaction of the targeted and vulnerable consumer.

We have, in the past, for reason of emphasis, analogized the advertising big pharma, as, “snake oil salesmen,” by reason of their apparent lust for big profits, as a sole priority, irrespective the possibility of personal dismay and disappointment, arising out of its tactical creation of unrealistic expectations, and, more significantly, the real danger, of possible harm, incident to the irresponsible and blind prescription of medication, to the persuasive and nuanced challenged viewer.

During the period of the 18th Century, Gold Rush, many Chinese immigrants who came to California, seeking their fortune, and later, Chinese indentured laborers, who worked on the transcontinental railroad system, brought with them an ethnic “curative”, consisting of oil from certain snakes, purportedly curative of muscular aches, pains, and maladies like arthritis. It was used, with rather questionable results, as a liniment.

In the late 1800’s, American entrepreneurial tradition gave birth to a business enterprise, often conducted from a horse-drawn, wooden wagon, consisting of the sale of bottled snake oil. It was usually composed of a mildly venomous Chinese snake oil, a small quantity of beef fat, and red pepper. And was touted as a “sure-fire” remedy and cure, for blood diseases, dyspepsia, liver complaints, piles, kidney disease, muscular weakness, and numerous other maladies, reportedly, including impotence. By the 20TH Century, pursuant to the “Pure Food and Drug Act,” the sale of such “patent” medicine was, mercifully, outlawed.

The medical practitioner brings his years of medical education and practical experience, to the care of individualized patients. It is often said that the “patient history,” is the most valuable guide to his physical health, and when applicable, diagnosis and treatment. The responsible physician or nurse practitioner, whether in primary care, in the diagnosis of pathology, or its treatment, in addition to the responsibility to provide the patient with the “gold standard” level of diagnosis and treatment, is also charged with the relevant responsibility of individual knowledge of the patient’s nuanced condition, and the possible existence of personal sensitivities. Proper and professional medical treatment, whether, prescription of medicine or other intervention, must take into consideration the known, or revealed, specifics of each patient’s personal condition and past history. The failure to do so would amount to the undeniable commission of malpractice, and could possibly result in the harm, or even the mortality of the patient. The physician can also, in this regard, compare the details and measure of the patient’s response, to other patients in his experience, or that of reported, medically, researched patients.

America is uniquely successful in the lucrative area of advertising and sales. It may be admitted, that much of its vaunted GNP is a beneficiary of that enterprising practice. However, aside from banning media advertisements for such matters as cigarettes, guns, gambling and, (for some foolhardy reason,) birth control, it has seen fit to ignore its responsibility regarding the health and well -being of its citizens. It is only when the advertised pharmaceutical, or other mass used, personal product, has been found to be poisonous, or empirically determined to be carcinogenic, that any interest in protecting the consuming public is expressed.

The public, indiscriminate prescription of medication, especially those regarding conditions, such as cancer, hepatitis, arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, eczema, depression and emotional illness, herpes and the like, to an unknown, possibly gullible, persuasive and indiscriminate public, appears to us, to be bordering on criminal irresponsibility. It is a reckless and dangerous activity, practiced for material gain, is essentially, intentional, premeditative, and irresponsible to the point of blatant, indiscriminate, sociopathy; it should be regularly investigated and if so determined, legally banned.

-p.

Post #514 AMERICAN “SNAKE-OIL” JURISPRUDENCE

We have, at last, decided to no longer silently, contain our disappointment and outrage, at the continual misleading and distorted treatment of our statutory and precedential law, as related by the popularly celebrated “legal experts,” regularly appearing in the mass media.

Fundamentally, there is no more vital and useful function of an attorney, than to professionally and accurately, render his best advice, on the vast compendium of the (sometimes, enigmatic) law, as decreed in our Statutes and decided by judicial precedent.

Regarding two legal subjects, selected for this writing, we would challenge any lawyer, notably including television’s, pedantically smiling, renowned and authoritative experts, borrowed from the oaken and hallowed halls of Harvard, Stamford or Columbia Law Schools, to discern any degree of error, in our following legal critique.

Non- Disclosure Agreements regarding Trump Illegal Assignations:

The public media, has, on numerous occasions, presented to the public, its fallacious view, that a great many of the paid escorts (prostitutes) with whom Donald J. Trump had illegally, paid sexual relations, were legally prohibited from the revelation of the facts and circumstances of their respective assignations, because of their previous execution of a “Nondisclosure Agreement,” executed by them. This perverse understanding of Contract Law, remarkably, has not been criticized by anyone, inclusive of the celebrated legal icons.

It has universally and eternally, been a precedential and fixed part of Anglo-American Jurisprudence, that contracts, involving criminality or immorality, are and have never been, enforceable. A written Agreement concerning prostitution, or any other, illegal or societally disapproved activity, such as, gambling, usury, and the like, is not worth the paper, on which it has been, unprofessionally and unethically, construed.

Non-disclosure Agreements, in fact, were devised and, properly have their context, in the world of trade and commerce, and purposed to prevent the unauthorized revelation, of proprietary business information, such as design, formula, process, and private customer lists.

Advance Written Waiver of Liability, for Trump’s June rally:

Every freshman law student is taught, and knows, that Releases from liability, executed in advance, are voidable (“unenforceable”). As illustration, A, intending to take B, as a passenger in his automobile, in A’s trip from NYC to Albany, requests of B a General Release from liability, should they be involved in an auto accident. Should there actually be an accident, the executed and notarized, Release, is of absolutely no legal consequence. The same legal impediment applies, for reasons of sane public policy, to advance Releases of liability for any tort or negligent liability.

Why is the public being knowingly, misled?  Is it an unrelated circumstance, that the above two misadvised, matters concern Trump? Why no critical comment from the (non-partisan) media established, legal gurus?

Additionally, does it seem at all appropriate, to mislead the (already misguided) Trump partisans, into the risk of danger, of a potentially lethal illness (without legal remedy), at his ill-timed rally?

We welcome and would sincerely appreciate, explanatory or critical comment.

-p.

Post # 513 AMERICAN ICON

Writers, in the print media, have all but, uniformly, conferred upon President Donald J, Trump, the following descriptions, sexual predator, self-identified sexual assaulter, draft dodger, non-taxpayer, illiterate reductionist, ignorant, snake-oil demagogue, misogynist, bigot, compulsive liar, sociopath, bully, mocker of the disabled and needy, briber, cheat, anti-science and denier of climate change, insecure, childish, neurotic and delusional egomaniac, self-glorifier,  cruel and completely lacking in empathy, inept and incapable, grossly negligent and other like attributions.

Such references to this, loathsome, orangutan despot, are unfortunately, all too accurate, and empirically, confirmed by his noxious acts and statements; which, to our chagrin, have caused inestimable damage to the historic, universal perception of American strength, and standing among nations, founded in its moral rectitude.

Among the infinite plethora of reprehensible acts, there are two, particularly, shocking and unmistakably revealing, that, in our view, are the most descriptive of his complete lack of moral compass, sense of human morality and basic decency.

The first, and to us, the most unforgettable and defining act, was Trump’s cruel public burlesque, performed by him, on prime time television, in which he physically mimicked, in a shameless and tawdry, mocking performance, at a press conference, a questioning, newspaper reporter, who sadly, displayed the unattractive and extreme, symptoms of cerebral palsy. Trump’s ugly, and insensitive, caricatured, performance, of the disabled reporter, resembles the repulsive and primitively, cruel act, of an obnoxious, neighborhood  bullying, street urchin. In addition to all the representative and repulsive, adjectival disgrace, set forth, above, to continue to speak, grammatically, this American icon, lacks even a modicum of the most basic civilized, noun, decency.

The second most revealing and reprehensible act, was his recent command, issued to the capitol police, to forcibly clear the path to a Washington D.C. Church, in order that he might shamefully, pose, brandishing a copy of the Christian Bible (upside down) like an admonishing prophet from the “Book of Lamentations” to a penitent and remorseful assemblage or congregation.

We will not expend time in reference to the Constitutional inappropriateness of the ignorant and indecent act, as chief executive of a Nation where the absolute separation of Church and State, is Constitutionally and philosophically, sacrosanct. We would prefer, at present, to refer to the ignorant act as, yet one more of his, attempted, deceitful, snake-oil salesman, misrepresentations.

The Bible, even considering all of its flaws, does not, to any degree, condone womanizing and adultery, bribery, cheating, mendacity, lack of empathy, cruelty, selfishness, dishonesty, lack of respect for the elderly and handicapped, disrespect for learning, ignorance, egotism, sociopathy, rejection of strangers, family separations, mistreatment of the planet and its natural resources, disloyalty, arbitrary rule and the many Trump malevolent qualities.

If it were not so monstrously, misrepresentative and supremely, fraudulent, it would be farcical. The Dean of miscreants, and cheats, holding in the manner, like a Prophet of Old, the elevated (purported) Guide, or Field Book for moral, or Christian living, and personally, showing the way to the ultimate Providence.

So many deluded Americans, in the past, reportedly, voted for him, based on their personal disappointment with their life (as subjectively, projected, “with the establishment”). We are hopeful that these unhappy folk, will seek their betterment, hereafter, in an alternative fashion, then their support of the demonstrated, Nation damaging, experience of that egotistic, icon of pretentious worthlessness, Mr. Donald J. Trump.

-p.

 

Blogpost # 512   THE OLDE CURIOSITY SHOPPE

With the most abject apologies to the great Victorian novelist, Charles Dickens, we cannot conjure up a more apt, or cogent, simile for our American Nation, past and present, than by the present use, of this title of one of his great novels.

As known, a curiosity shop, or antique mart, is a business establishment, in which a wide variety of commodities, antique and contemporary, valuable, as well as those whose desirability resides solely in nuanced sentimentality, are offered for sale. The predictably salient feature of such shops is the unpredictable, mixed, variety of sale merchandise, commonly unsorted, occasionally, chaotic, among which some cunningly, optimistic patron, may keenly, and covertly, search for a previously, undiscovered, “find.’

The establishment of our Country, the end product of the founders’ creative idea of a radically new, Nation, free of the European style, class system, and populated by responsible citizens of equal status and entitlement, was certainly an admirable undertaking, even, if a bit optimistic. History seems to show that, the evil despot with whom those idealistic prophets, in reality, needed to contend, was not, at all, the evil presumption of a King, but, rather, the perverse nature of man, himself. Stated otherwise, as we see it, the optimistic, Founders of our Democratic Republic, were, commendably, on the right track, insofar as their zealous elimination of royalty and privilege, but were completely incognizant as to the varied persona of man, by virtue of their own, self-projected merit.

The ultimate result was a potpourri of mixed, and unpredictable, “curiosity shop,” performance, by the newly created Nation, which, at various times, evinced either a good, bad, admirable or inconsistent, history. Had the new Nation been composed of a well-educated, informed (Jeffersonian) right-thinking citizenry, the mélange of reprehensible events, which punctuate our brief history of approximately 300 years, conceivably, would have been mitigated; in favor of a consistent record of rectitude and equality, as originally prophesized, and as enshrined in our foundational Constitution.

Despite our Nation’s historically, and proudly, professed identification, with the admirable mantras of equality for all, justice, freedom of speech and thought, we have, in sad reality, incurred a mixed history, inclusive of slavery, perennial race, as well as religious, ethnic and sexual prejudice, vast economic disparities (akin, by analogy to historic “privilege”) and a governmental infrastructure, at various times, consisting of ignorant and corrupt officials, perpetuating such despicable features. Since our Constitution and the original intent was otherwise, how could this be, except for the innate nature of man (our citizenry).

Every man, presumably, is born, with similar needs for continued life, security, love, respect, and acceptance from his society. Essentially, it is the empirical means chosen by him, in pursuit of the acquisition of such ends, that calibrates the morality of the citizen.

While parents admittedly differ, they all appear to teach their young offspring, well-intentioned lessons in personal identification with their born ethnos and religion, employing the words, “we” and “they,” for the positive purposes of the child’s self- identification and his secure feeling of belonging. We have remonstrated, in a number of past essays, on how that very, “we” and “they” teaching, all too often eventuates to a fantasized demonization of the “they,” and subsequent conflict; that it is far better to, simultaneously, teach parallel respect for divergent beliefs and variant physical characteristics. The traditional, biblically confirmed, teachings of parents, of value and worth as relevant to divergent racial and religious differences, are responsible for a long American, institutional history of despicable racial prejudice, from the period of American colonial slavery, to the present, continuing devaluation of black personhood, leading up to today’s appropriate demonstrations for justice and equity.

The identical, sad and eventually, dangerous agenda, applies to the etiology of religious, gender and ethnic bigotry. It is not a stretch to universally declare, that the concept of prejudice (like everything else) is taught and instilled (like a pathogen) and then, fatally, metastasizes. So many of the German population, in the 1930’s, enthusiastically, signed on to Hitler’s program to exterminate the Jewish population from the face of the earth. It is also, a part of our curiosity shop history, that Franklin D. Roosevelt, revered, among America’s greatest Presidents, responsive, to the perceived, anti-Semitic sentiment of the time, rejected a ship, loaded with European Jews, desperately, escaping Hitler’s gas chambers, and sent them back to their fate.

America, generally, touted as the “land of the free,” can, in comparison to most other nations, boast a progressive record (albeit inconsistent) of recognized and protected, democratic ideals. In its favor, it has properly, and as necessary, promulgated statutes of every kind, providing for equal opportunity and universally applicable, civil rights. Its known constitutional mandate, without question, is freedom and universal equality.

The Founding Fathers of our Democratic Republic, it seems, did not construe a facility for the elimination of ignorance and bias, the omitted impediment to the intended and foreseen, avatar of citizen, of the new Republic.  Their antidote to tyranny, prejudice, and threat of inappropriate sovereign action, appears to be the theory, that if the citizen were free from control by the government, he would thereby, be enabled to strive toward his goals; such freedom of opportunity, together with his other assured freedoms, would result in a successful and fulfilled, citizen and, ultimately, by extension, a successful Nation.

We, at plinyblog, have exclusively, dedicated ourselves, to the promotion of human advancement and learning, through life-affirming activities, such as, reading good literature, engagement in elective subjects of personal interest, music, art, theater, and other self-enriching activities. These ineluctably, lead to the advancement and growth of understanding of oneself and his environment, and the development of a mature perspective. The latter comprehends an awareness of the existence of other people of diverse culture, beliefs, and physical appearance, and an appreciation that all of whom, constitute equal members, of the family of man. Respect, empathy, and the potential for friendship would seem to be predictable outcomes of such acquired awareness.

Our Nation’s population, at present, however, resembles, in many respects, the miscellany of merchandise of a curiosity shop. In addition to a mainstream of literate, reasonably (and well) educated, reliably informed, people of goodwill, there are others, possibly not sufficiently contemplated, by the saintly, Founding Fathers, who are otherwise. Right thinking American citizens are frustrated by a large, ignorant, unschooled, flat earth portion of the population, which denigrates learning and education, scientific research (regarding climate change, vaccines, genetics, etc.) governmental social responsibility, and the existential importance of continued human advancement.

The latter are a corrosive blight on liberal democracy, and a veritable roadblock to the realization of the Nation, envisioned by its founders. It was, in fact, a coalition of such people, with the financial assistance of many sociopathic, industrial polluters, valuing profits over regulations which protect mankind’s health, that put in office, our current, inept, disgraceful and impeached,  but unfortunately, not removed, Chief of State.

Certainly, the most equitable and foresighted legislation is, as a practical matter, inadequate, without a morally, and willingly compliant, citizenry.

-p.

Post # 511 ANCHOVIE NIGHTS

 

The reader is clearly due a brief explanation of the title of this mini-essay and we will discharge that responsibility, prior to addressing its content. We are cat lovers and were desirous of obtaining a sibling for our cat, Cicero. We prefer the breed of felis domesticus, called, “Devon Rex,” for the reason that they lack the common sub-layer of dander, and so, are hypoallergenic. We decided on a name for the second cat prior to its acquisition (from a Devon Rex cat farm) and desired to give it one, not usually given to cats, one which we felt assured, was not replicated previously. The name selected, in anticipation of the newborn kitty, was “Anchovy,” which, for further assurance of novelty, spelled “Anchovie.”

Anchovie is cute, tiny, an all-white oddball in appearance. She is quite small, having only grown to one-half the size of her (normal size) older brother but, eerily, even as a full grown cat, still retains the petite face of a kitten, (as well as a “mew,” as opposed to a, more mature, “meow”).  Cicero, tragically, passed away last year, from a combination of old age and cancer, after demonstrating himself to be an affectionate, calm, intelligent, and child-like addition to our household. We are still adjusting to his loss, and still truthfully, in mourning. When they were together, the two cats, anthropomorphically, resembled a guiding elder, and a loving younger, pair of siblings. They would often be seen, sleeping together, Ying and Yang style. To complete the household roster, we have another, normal size, Devon Rex, named, “Koodoo,” after a beautiful antelope-type animal, seen on Safari. Koodoo is by some feline-nuanced persona, a loner.

In contrast to Koodoo, Anchovie’s avid thirst for being petted and fondled is literally, unquenchable. Unless she is eating or sleeping, her self-legislated, legal demand to be cuddled is ever presented. Going to bed in the evening is always accompanied by this mewing, kitten-like feline, purring and impatiently waiting, on the pillow, for the night’s somnambulant snuggle.  But more on this subject, in relation our more serious theme, later, in this writing.

We, as stated in the previous writing, are in quarantine, in Kingston, New York, yet, remain up to date on the horrific epidemic, it’s the dislocation of society, frightening numbers of infected, and concerning those, who have succumbed to the virulent pathogen, “Covid-19.” Together with a great many Americans, we are horrified and angered by the shocking extent of gross malpractice and verbal deception, practiced by our incapable and dishonest President; which exacerbated the impact of the viral outbreak, causing greater morbidity, in terms of infection, and a tragically immense number of preventable deaths

Neither are we, disturbingly unaware of the contagion of the virulent police epidemic, whose etiology resides in the unspeakable bigoted criminality of the great number of police unjustified, killings, of black unarmed, citizens, which, similar to the epidemic, has grown to pandemic size, [please also refer to blogpost # 511]. This holocaust- like experience was, also exacerbated, if not caused, by our ignorant and bigoted President, whose indirect statements and, all-too-subtle cues are seen as encouraging signals, to white nationalists (a loyal portion of his base).  We are aware of no responsible, statements of Presidential disapproval, of the behavior of the many police, who seemingly, feel protected and enfranchised by their Municipal badges, to commit random, racial murder against our fellow black citizens. On the contrary, we see only his devious propaganda, falsely seeking to avoid blame, by his attempts to deceitfully and pathologically misrepresent the issue as a conflict, between law and order and criminal behavior, and to cynically portray, the hateful bigoted, police murder of black Americans, as leftist inspired violence; perceived by this master of mendacity, as salutary for his errant political agenda.

It is difficult to contain our outrage at a miscreant President, who exacerbates the tragic experience of a potentially lethal epidemic, by his ignorant, gross negligence, compounded by his additional, refusal to responsibly and morally, condemn homicidal behavior towards black Americans (for which he is indirectly to blame); and instead, attempts to divert the true causes, pursuant to his fascistic agenda, to a false, attributive scapegoat.  Like a modern day Mussolini, he has encouraged the military use of metropolitan police and the National Guard, to engage the peacefully protesting crowds, with the autocratic tactics of clubs, rubber bullets, pepper spray, clubs, and beatings. This is illegal, un-American, and extremely dangerous to the recipients of such autocratic behavior, and, on an existential basis, to the very existence of our American Democracy. [In case the reader has not already done so, we recommend the disturbing and thought-provoking, novel “It Can’t Happen Here” by Sinclair Lewis.

We now, as previously, promised, return to an explanation of the title of this writing and to the overly cute, cuddly, and curious subject of amorous, little Anchovie. As previously stated, each evening, at bedtime, she mews and impatiently sits on the pillow, awaiting her nighty cuddled sleep, softly, steadily, and audibly, purring, like a tiny motor, in her advance, amorous, contemplation of our regular nighttime interaction

We then retire to bed, heavily bearing in mind, the daily, accumulated and profound, feelings of alarm and dismay at two epidemics, coronavirus and the ongoing, (justified), demonstrations against the evils of empowerment of armed and homicidal, bigoted police.

Anchovie, by contrast, with a full belly, and available warm human company, against which she nestles, purrs, completely care-free and comfortably, in her mini-pussy cat sleep. It’s a cat’s life, and just another one of our “Anchovie Nights.”

-p.

Post # 510 APPALLING REFLECTIONS (Editorial)

The foundational American testament, that all men are created equal, was a radical expression of the Founders’ intent in the elimination of the age-old institution of privileged classes. It has been eternally understood by most Americans, however, to amount to a   Constitutional assurance of equity to all citizens; any and all relevant doubts resolved by recent U.S. Supreme Court cases and by Statutes, including, the Civil Rights Act.

There has been considerable difference, unfortunately, between societally imposed law and human behavior. Three, very recent, illustrative, shocking and shameful incidents, of illegal, bigoted, police brutality involving black citizens, were those concerning, unarmed and peaceful black Americans, George Floyd, Armand Aubrey, and Breonna Taylor (the latter was shot dead, merely sitting indoors on her couch).  These are the most recent demonstrations of illegal and hateful, known, police brutality against black citizens. Many examples of the same have come to public notice, only by virtue of new regulations concerning, digital cameras, brought about by the pandemic of innumerable, unreported, murders of innocent and unarmed black people by the police.

The most egregious expression of hatred and despicable bigotry, are those of the police, whose immoral acts are seen by many as indicative of a nation, which, if not composed of bigots, tolerates, perhaps, even encourages, such felonious inhumanity. Police, as such, for better and for worse, are functionally seen as representative of municipal governmental policy. We are truly ashamed, on behalf of our Nation and its municipalities for this consistent and regrettable history, and will have a few policy recommendations, to suggest, at the conclusion of this mini-essay.

There is no effective detergent, to wash this Nation’s hands clean (like Lady Macbeth’s) from its past, shameful, and immoral institution of black slavery. The larceny of human life, breaking up of families for convenience of sale, the hangings, beatings, and mistreatment, of black people, by self -designated, religious, Bible loving people can never be erased from the American blackboard of history. The shame and inhumanity of the Nation are emblematically demonstrated by the famous decision of its highest and most revered, Court, The Supreme Court of the United States, when its panel of the Nation’s most prominent Justices, in the 19th Century case, (Dred Scott) decided, that a runaway black slave should be returned to “its owner,” because he (a Negro) was merely, proprietary agricultural equipment. (J. Taney)

For Centuries, black people, (and many decent white people, in their behalf) have sacrificed and striven, in the aspiration for racial equality, and have made good progress in obtaining laws, at long last, protecting the right of equality of black citizens. Much progress has been made since the era of theatrical, public hangings of men, whose apparent guilt consisted in their having, with premeditation and deliberation, been born black; however, there is a long way for our Nation to go, in the equalization of opportunity and social status, before it can assert itself as a Nation of equality of rights and opportunity.

We will always need effective and energetically enforced laws, to protect minorities,  for as long as there are people, who believe that the percentage of melanin in the human outer tissue determines worth and character. But even Statutes cannot alter private thoughts and opinions. We need to examine the root of the problem. In earlier posts, we have determined that the seeds of discord are planted very early in life, and, accordingly (shamefully) are part of our individual perception.

We are followers of John Locke and accordingly, believe that all of man’s knowledge is acquired by learned experience (rather than inspired). We are thus, of the opinion (and have so written) that the errant perception of others (prejudice) is taught to children at a young age, by a parent, or guardian who, for possibly, well-intended, reasons of encouragement of security and identity, invests the child with the concept of “we” and “they.” We believe that this (eventually, dangerous) lesson, eventuates in the mind of the child, to a demonizing of the “other.” We urgently need to construe an alternate lesson, consisting in the encouragement of identity, as one, among other identities; instead of a “we” as distinguished from a “they.” Until that time, we must, patiently and sincerely, pursue our challenging work, towards the goal of universal equity in educational opportunities, employment, housing, and social acceptance.

The public image of the policeman has demonstrably changed since we were young. The stereotype, then, in reality, and therefore in movies, was a usually middle aged, paternal personality, who knew the people, especially their children, on his beat. He was dutiful, familiar and certainly, trusted. He represented the idealized qualities of our free country and the significance of family. We saw him as a positive symbol of rectitude and prideful duty. This symbol of just and loving paternity was available to help old ladies with their heavy shopping bags, and young mothers, in an emergency, to deliver a baby.

We saw the character and stereotype of the policeman markedly change, in the era when the very profitable, sale, and distribution of drugs become a significant wholesale and retail enterprise. There appeared to be an unlimited amount of money, now floating around, and the title of “dirty cop” became a media and cinema regular. The image of the friendly neighborhood policeman seemed to completely, disappear, and after a while, people felt only a little less safe, talking to a policeman, than taking to a criminal. If we were fortunate enough to have police who emulate the stereotype of the neighborhood patrolman of old, the justice system, undoubtedly, would be less busy, and more admirable.

The image and stereotype of the policeman, having altered for the worse, it follows that the applicants for the job would also have a different anticipation regarding their duties and loyalties. The altered image of the cop accounts for much of the negative change. But this note is on a somewhat different subject, the unjustified violence practiced by police against unarmed black Americans.

The problem is four-fold, the change in the image of the police, the unpredictable inclination of the individual policeman, toward objectivity or bias, his mental health, and above all, the issuance of guns. The State must not condone the delivery of death-dealing weapons to individuals who are not certified as mentally healthy, and objective. As known, there has been, among the photographed events, far too many instances of unarmed black people, murdered by these State empowered criminals, under the false shield of police authority. There are accounts of white supremacists who have, for their own, un-American and immoral designs, infiltrated the police department.

The only solution we can offer is the professional administration of mental tests by competent, non-police, non -civil service or political agencies, on a regular basis to all police department hires, who will be authorized to carry a weapon, prior to initially entering into constabulary employment, as well, on a regular basis to all gun-toting police thereafter. [It would be societally appropriate, and prudent, additionally, to undertake such programs for all citizens, licensed to bear arms.]

It would also be of great utility and academically appropriate, to eliminate the word,  “race” from the lexicon, since it is scientifically, undefinable, and only used to create mischief. (see our early plinyblog: “The Dirtiest Word.”)

-p.

Post # 509   CONUNDRA (A Quarantine Whimsy)

A period of solitude necessarily, implicit in the present prophylactic practice of quarantine, affords ample undistracted time for free-floating and undisciplined thought. In such a context, the other day, we seemed to perseverate on our early childhood thoughts and experiences. In that antediluvian era, as recalled, “telling a joke,” for some childish reason, meant, to pose a riddle, the intended humor apparently, consisting of the revelation of the solution. The inventory of such “jokes,” however, was necessarily limited, as a result of their familiarized, local repetition; so their utility was usually employed, in the unkind challenge to outsiders, such as newcomers to the neighborhood and strangers.

Many of these problematic riddles, (read, “jokes”) still linger in our long-ago memories: Examples: “Why did the chicken cross the road? (To get to the other side); why do firemen wear red suspenders? (To hold their trousers up); What can you catch, but not throw? (a cold); What month has 28 days? (All of them); What comes but never arrives? (Tomorrow).

One riddle which, seems to persist, universally, for some unknown reason, was actually answered by us in our high school years. The so-called conundrum was: “What came first, the chicken or the egg?” This problem, strange to relate, is still utilized, today to signify unanswerable questions. Truthfully, and with the greatest modesty, we (viz., pliny) easily solved the age-old issue, when a High School sophomore, to earn the offered prize, of two chunky bars (the then contemporary, medium of exchange). We saw that the solution of the traditionally, unsolvable dilemma, was elementary if you are a believer in Darwinian evolution. (The egg came first, which was laid by a creature [bird], one step before the chicken in the evolutionary process). These facts have been set forth in an earlier, pliny blogpost). Understandably, we have been, for many decades, surprised and greatly disappointed, by the felt lack of due recognition and absence of well deserved, tribute, given to our singular break-through.

We presently are beset by an irritatingly, unanswerable question, which we ourselves have posed, regarding the well-known baked item, called the “bagel.” We will attempt to justify the use of the adjective, “irritatingly,” as well as setting forth the difficult question, following a very brief note on the iconic bagel, itself.

The Yiddish word, and item, “bagel,” had their modest origins within the Jewish community of Poland. Wheaten dough is shaped by hand, into the form of a small circle (approximately, medium hand size) boiled and thereafter baked. Bagels, in all their many present iterations, plain, sesame seed, pumpernickel, onion, garlic, and the like, have, universally, become extremely popular and profitable items. Our unsolved issue “revolves” (sorry!) about that delicious product.

Prior to the actual recitation of our bagel conundrum, we would earnestly request the reader to reserve his predictable, reaction, outrage, or immediately, proffered response, to the same. If the solution to this problem, were as simplistic as its statement would, on its face, appear to be, we (who are discerning enough to have finally solved the age-old, chicken-egg, conundrum) would not feel so distressed and frustrated at its elusive answer.

As set forth above, the quintessential bagel is hand-formed into a circle, boiled and then baked. The excruciatingly difficult- perhaps unanswerable, the question relates to its circular configuration, and is an empirical, or factual, one: CAN A BAGEL HAVE A HOLE IN IT? Please, as earnestly requested above, withhold your response, derisive or factual, until we have the opportunity to elucidate.

It is a simple matter to determine whether one’s sock, shirt, shoe, or watering can, has a hole in it. This ultra-simple question can be readily answered by reference to its appearance or performance.

Getting down to the basics, we would describe the simple concept of “hole,” as an opening, tear, space gap, or perhaps, a cavity. In view of the fact that a bagel is circular shaped, i.e., a 360 -degree arc, like all circles is especially identified by the void, occupying the interior of the baked circle. This means that for a bagel to satisfy its mandatory and existential essence, and qualify under applicable definition and established standard, it must be baked in a circle (viz., a baked item, whose essentially, identifying feature is its shape, which, in its intrinsic, circular form, surrounds an interior empty space).

Since it is the fact, that, both empirically, and by universally, established definition, a bagel is circular and contains an empty space, within its wheaten baked circle, can it be correctly said that a bagel has a “hole” in it? Stated otherwise, if membership, as a bagel, in the class of baked goods, requires an empty center, how, in the name of reason, can a legitimately, qualified bagel, be said to contain a hole?

Before we hazard our, personally considered view, on this erudite, philosophical and definitional conundrum, we are duty-bound to refer to the historically, divisive and bitter feelings as between the divergent points of view on the subject. Since the relatively recent creative, and universally, life-enhancing, phenomenon, the bagel, was creatively, inspired and miraculously, effectuated, the contentious “hole” issue, has been compared, in intensity, and time to the 30 Year’s War in Europe, in philosophical and World significance, to the Protestant Reformation, and in its extent of great excitement, to the year the Boston Red Socks, at long last, triumphed over the New York Yankees, in Finley Park. Unfortunately, there have been some street riots and a few general strikes, ignited by the differing and contentious feelings on the issue, but fortunately to date, no deaths.

Based upon our intensive researches, both academic and social, on all sides of the contested issue, the disputants line up as follows. The adherents to the theory that a bagel, defined by its circular shape, has no opportunity, or space for a hole, that the empty center, classically, and by definition “is” what defines it as a bagel; others, beg the question, by arguing that a bagel is a bakery item with a hole already in it; still others, also say, that the open space is a definitional part of the bagel and, sneeringly, that you cannot have a second hole in an empty space.

After much consultation on the issue, with recognized experts in Geometry (Euclidian and Spherical), Trigonometry, Metaphysical Philosophers, Designers and Food experts, and after due consideration and deliberation, we have come to the answer to this obtuse and heavily contested question, and can confidently conclude that the reader will be entirely correct if he chooses to select, any one, of the following answers, to the thorny question: Does a bagel have a hole in it?

  • A Bagel is a “Bagel”, because of the signature hole,
  • You cannot poke a hole in empty space,
  • But you can make one on its baked portion or,
  • Who cares? We have conundrums enough, in dealing with Trump and COVID-19.

Well, we hope that you at least smiled!

-p.