Post # 641 HOME BASE (poesie)

In muted hours of reflective solitude
The two-pronged streams, fact, and fantasy
As twin tributaries to a woodland pond,
Meet up to flow in free mélange.

The outer self dutifully performs
The licensed day, just as man approves,
In dress, act, and verbal exchange, which
May vary from his inner bent.

To go along, to get along,
He dances to the common tune.
But, when at home base, alone
He dreams of golden immortality.

Leonard N. Shapiro 6/21

-p.

Post # 640 A TAXING DEDUCTION [editorial]

There are some occasions where the solution to a presenting problem, or, alternatively, the wisest choice in an empirical dilemma, would appear to be discernably apparent, despite one’s lack of the normally required expertise in the relevant subject. We would candidly disclaim any expertise or experience regarding the arcane subject of taxes and governmental revenue-raising, but by simple deduction [pardon the pun], do envision a useful solution to the Nation’s existing conundrum in which, inequitably, billionaires pay less taxes than do bakers or shoemakers. Yet, indisputably, however, it would seem just, that everyone pays his fair share of government support.

This problem, as we see it, as it happens, is a readily apparent one. By the clear terms and legislative intent of our Tax Code, the amount of taxes payable varies with the citizen’s net [taxable] income. The higher the salary or the net profit, the higher the rate and the resultant tax.  The U.S. Tax Code thus expresses the legislative intention to achieve equity and fairness by virtue of a graduated rate, viz., you earn more, you pay more, to support the operations of government. How then can it be empirically and inequitably possible, that, reportedly, America’s millionaires and billionaires pay less income tax than bus drivers and letter carriers? The answer is deceptively simple and uncomplicated; but first, in aid of its understanding, we would first offer a contextually necessary comment on the nuanced financial life of the very richest citizens in America.

The very rich, by definition, own immense asset portfolios and, factually, do not live on earned income. They borrow money for their needs and nuanced lifestyles, by way of loans taken against their impressive assets, and permissibly take the interest paid on such loans as tax deductions. The maintained assets, not being sold, [for profit or loss] are, accordingly, not relevant to the present tax code; which exclusively deals with earned income or gains and losses on capital asset sale or transfer.

In the furtherance of equity and moral fairness, we would suggest that the identified problem can properly and effectively be resolved by a categoric addition to the present sole criteria or basis [viz., income or loss] upon which taxes are calculated and payable. We would suggest that the presently defined taxable incident be enlarged and adjusted, to include taxes payable, calculated and based upon the determination of value of stagnant i.e., longtime held assets,[ or their[ tactical] replacements] held for a specified period of years, by the super-wealthy. We are confident that such a change can easily be construed, by amendment to the relevant provisions of the Tax Code.

In the interim, there continues to be manifest inequity and injustice in the persistence of Congress in the continued imposition of a substantial tax burden on the more modest earnings of the middle and working classes for the support of governmental operations, while simultaneously, permitting the mega-wealthy category of Americans [who obtained their unbounded success, as citizens of the Nation] to eternally be exempt from their moral and patriotic obligation to pay its equitable tax share.  

-p.

Post # 639 A PEEK INTO THE NATIONAL CUCKOO NEST

Political analysts and celebrated media gurus have professionally surveyed the unprecedented actions and pronouncements of the current Republican Party and have concluded that the party is not a traditional oppositional party, in contention with the policies of the ruling Democrats. Their “incisive” and analytic insight leads them to the conclusion that the worship of Trump’s aberrational pronouncements and actions, is in fact, effectively anti-democratic. We do not disagree but would stress that the problem may be more existentially profound, fundamental, and dangerous.

That the actions of the Republican Party are “antidemocratic,” is irrefutably demonstrated, among other illustrative examples, by their failure to peaceably recognize the traditional peaceful turnover of the Presidency, that they tactically support the autocratic “Big Lie,”  that [without proof, and despite several official audits to the contrary] the election was “fraudulently stolen” as neurotically protested by Trump, that, in States where they control the legislature, Republicans promote bills, limiting, or denying the right to vote [ socially tailored to especially affect American voters of color], that they falsely slant the vote, by their congressional district gerrymandering, that they resist all legislation purposed to protect the universality of the citizen voting franchise, by their draconian approach to the  established, right of immigration and asylum, that they adhere to the historically disproven theory that the Second Amendment was intended to provide citizens with a means of action against intrusions by the the federal government, by their repressive, religiously based, limitations on women’s natural right to own her own body, that positive and compassionate, legislation, granting relief and protection to our needy citizens is un-American [viz., “socialism”], that America [falsely] was created as  “Christian Nation,”  [despite the stated laborious efforts of the Founders to avoid any reference to  “God,” in the language of the Constitution], and many more.

It is rationally elementary, that the matters cited above, are not merely “partisan,” but indeed, pose an existential threat to the very existence of democracy. Yet, taking the contemporary political and social scene in mind, we perceive that the daily demonstrated, irrational behavior of many individuals on the contemporary American scene is so “off the charts” and bizarre, as to make frighteningly applicable, a more serious, and evident, presumptive diagnosis of mental pathology. Initially, we will define some relevant terms, furnish examples, and then present our nuanced theory as to origin, or etiology.

Insanity, as referred to in this writing, may permissibly be described as mental delusions of such nature, that the relevant person cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, and, additionally, may reflect such delusion in compulsive, irrational behavior. The individual, or group’s exhibition of its delusional mental beliefs in actions, in expression of such delusional thinking, is, inarguably, clear defections from reason, often in complete violation of societal norms.

Just as we chose to list various acts as ultimately threatening the institution of democracy, we would set forth several, empirically voiced, irrational delusions to in support of our theme, that, an additional, and further presumption of insanity [ fantasy as fact] is likely, if not empirically assured.

These delusional acts and fantasies include: the firm belief that Donald Trump still remains the legitimate President, his assertion and their unhesitatingly loyal support of his neurotic claim of fraud in the past election,[ despite known certifications by several independent audits, as proper and accurate, the  public recommended by Trump of his medical prescription consisting of drinking caustic bathroom cleansers to eliminate Covid, the paranoid fear that America is being invaded by “hordes” of “foreign criminals and rapists” crashing through the Mexican border, the  overall fear of the foreigner, especially of color, who will “mongrelize” our [fictional] white America, the antipathy to vaccination on the ground that it contains items usable for future government surveillance, that Jews have been engaged in an evil conspiracy, funded by George Soros, to dominate the world, that liberals are child abusers and operate a profitable child sex trade, that homosexuals and transgender people have an evil cabal to recruit young people to homosexuality, that the attack on the World Trade Center was part of an American sub- rosa conspiracy, that the Second Amendment to the Constitution was intended, by the Founders, to arm the citizen against an over-zealous federal government, that there is a sub rosa coastal liberal conspiracy, that climate warming is liberal propaganda, that Chinese Americans are responsible for Covid, since Wuhan, where  it was initially detected is in China, that the World and its fauna and flora, were created in a mere six days, in time for the Sunday Sabbath, and, similar “Mad Hatter,” delusional memes.

It requires merely a cursory reflection on any one of the above instances of irrationality, to predictably result in the reader’s accord with our themed, observation, that the cited behaviors extend significantly, and inarguably, beyond limits of  partisanship and indeed, beyond the pale of “normal”, or “healthy.” Individuals who persist in the maintenance that such irrational and delusional cognition and behavior is inspired by elemental political zeal, need to think again. This is the contemporary, National Cuckoo nest whose perch is shared, by deluded politicians and irrational private citizens. It is indeed, frighteningly conceivable, that  American society may have, by degrees, witnessed the further descent of our cohort of previously described, ignorant, “underbelly” citizens to the advanced realm of the pathological.  How did such a retrograde descent happen, and what, conceivably, can be done about it? First its origin.

We recently viewed on Netflix, a reprise of the movie, “The Manchurian Candidate.” In the fictional movie, certain designated individuals had been unknowingly implanted, subcutaneously, with devices that would irresistibly cause the implanted person, upon receipt of an externally pre-programmed cue, to mandatorily, perform a preconceived act.  We certainly do not maintain that any of the described, aberrant individuals, literally had such implants. However, it is our proposition that the individuals qualifying for permanent residence in the select American cuckoo nest, always had the innate and undisclosed potential to think and act in a pathological fashion; which, it appears, eternally required an adequate stimulus for its activation. It is our theory that the catalyst of Trump’s serially delusional and neurotic public behavior, served as such an encouraging signal that it dynamically released an underground reserve of repressed irrationality; stated in an unaesthetic, populist analogy, the hidden “cockroaches came out of the woodwork” to activate their repressed incoherence. We would imagine that only such a singularly irreverent, model of confident, egotistical lunacy, like Trump, could have empirically triggered the robotic compliance evinced by the violent and pathological response, manifested by the Capitol Building insurrection, January 6, 2021.

Based upon the optimistic view that the observed phenomenon can be ameliorated or at least, kept to a minimum, avoiding it’s metabolizing into a fatal impediment to the existence and operation of our democratic republic, we have a few conjectural, [predictably, non-exclusive] but possibly alleviating suggestions:

  1. The accepted resignation that our Nation, eternally, contains portions of the population that are inadequately educated, poorly informed and vulnerable to the reductive influence of tactically manipulative and self-interested demagogues.
  2. The objective, professional, non-partisan, psychological and educational vetting of all candidates for significant public office; additionally, for the police, and prospective gun owners.
  3. The inclusion in core university programs,  sociological and psychological study of the Nation’s under-educated, poorly informed, discontented, citizenry, inclusive of methods and techniques for useful consciousness-raising, aimed at enrichment of their lifestyle.
  4. Increasing the length of mandatory primary education and offering advanced study at no tuition.
  5. Granting needed benefits such as tuition assistance, college credits for university students, or tax benefits to post or non-college attendant citizens, for their service in the instruction and education, of willing citizens, of America’s “underbelly” population.
  6. Governmental free educational programs on television, and in after-school, church or town hall venues, on subjects such as civics, political science and American history.
  7. Programmed, free classes, and library service, delivered by bus to remote areas.
  8. Available, easily accessible clinical health and psychological services.

The reader may have additional, perhaps better, ameliorative recommendations. The salient point, however, is that our Nation has eternally, been in the clear and present danger of an ignorant, amorphous mob, capable, upon the receipt of an appropriate stimulus [as in the fiction, “The Manchurian Candidate”], or by way of a demagogic autocrat, to unify and arouse it, in the name of a false, convincing, and delusional mantra, to threaten our unique and remarkable American Democracy.

-p.   

Post # 638 *THE PROGENY MATRICULATES

By literary sleight of hand, we now fast forward from our previously portrayed, childhood days of the 1940s, in East New York, Brooklyn: of the apartment house windows emitting redolent, identifiable intelligence as to the next dinner, of the high-pitched screech and blue electric sparks of the public trolleys, the Yiddish-Slavic accented shouts of mothers from kitchen windows to neighbors and children, the grey rope clotheslines with tan, wooden clothespins, spanning the back alleys of residential buildings, the gothic basement coal chutes, Ebbitt’s Field and the Brooklyn Dodgers, the few remaining horse-drawn carts, to the era of the late ’50s-’60s, evincing our late teens, the era of the Army-McCarthy Hearings, and timorously, the time for College Application.

Throughout young childhood and adolescence, we, in common with most contemporary firstborn, Jewish children, most especially, male children, were, on a regular basis, made aware that we not only had a personal responsibility to succeed at college, [and hopefully, beyond college, in some profession preferably, medical] but a sacred moral obligation to our suffering foreign-born parents to complete the mission underlying their immigrational sacrifice. The sanctity and the importance of such compelling mission to academically succeed and attain professional status was, of cardinal importance.

Unfortunately, for many submissively compliant and able students, such as we, the potential joys of learning and the exciting acquisition of previously unrealized enlightenment, were sadly overridden by the imposed, and compliantly integrated [neurotic] impetus to do well. During homework and study hours, our parents observed radio [and, later when we could afford it, T.V.] silence. Conversations were between our parents, during such periods, were abbreviated and virtually subliminal in volume. The unnatural and enforced silence was virtually palpably noticeable and did little to alleviate our anxiety nor materially improve our concentration. Nevertheless, we excelled at our high school studies, earning an excellent grade average which made College a practical reality.

We will eternally remain grateful to the institution of The City University of New York, regarding which, provided the applicant met the strictures of a determined high school grade average, [or who passed a required entrance examination] could enter one of its tuitionless schools. Our grade average more than satisfied the required standard and entitled us to four, financially existential, tuition-free years, at the excellent Brooklyn College; from which we graduated with a B.A., Magna Cum Laude and as a selected member of Phi Beta Kappa. The thematic balance of this essay is concerned with the personally nuanced, albeit, ultimately successful, college experience.

Such experience is not empirically comparable to the stereotypical contemporary students who emerged from different economic and cultural experiences, or the college students of today. Our own children and especially, our grandchildren are fortunately included among the latter categories. They have undergone the healthy and maturing experience of comfortably leaving home for college, providing for their own needs, and learning to develop healthy personal independence. Such more fortunate students interactively benefited from the growth experience of meeting others of different faiths, cultural ethnos, and folkways as well as diverse economic backgrounds and levels of sophistication. They were enabled to freely interactively socialize with others of the opposite sex and generally, evolve friendships with fellow students, some of which would prove to be enduring. Perhaps the salient feature is that they were self-motivated, as opposed to our acquisitional parent-derived, excessive, and neurotic drive for academic and professional excellence.

We have referred to the context of our early portrayals of our first-generation, emigrant upbringing, most relevant of which was the stress placed upon the child to succeed, not only for his benefit but as a moral and existential parental  Commandment. We can see no benefit from a revisit to the fearful, unsophisticated,  pogrom damaged personas of the described immigrants, and for the referential context of this writing, we merely request the reader to recall the past, poignant essays on the subject.

Since we, and others similarly situated and described, gained admission to a local, non-tuition college, we became routine and tedious commuters between home and College, both literally and emotionally. Eerily disorienting was the Kafka-like reality that, at the conclusion of each enlightening instructional day, we thereafter, regressed to the familiar, dark ambiance and redolence of our previously unsophisticated, immigrant style of life. These continuous and contrasting experiences were, at times, productive of an uncomforting sense of disorientation and productive of [then] unexplained stress. Such exotic experiences, continuing throughout college and then four years of [merit-based, paid scholarship]  law school had the unhealthy and unnatural effect of unnaturally, and stressfully, deferring confident and mature self-dependence, until successfully, and happily acquired, later in life.  

* [This is the final essay of the “Growing Up in 1940’s Brooklyn” series]

-p.

Post # 637 LANGUID FAITH OR GENERATIVE REASON

We have consistently and with felt responsibility, promoted the recognition of well-deserved gratitude to Evolution, for its generous gift to homo sapiens of an advanced brain, with the admirable potential for learning and attainment of wisdom. As professed in earlier writings, we are loyal devotees of the epistemology espoused by the 19th Century philosopher, John Locke. Locke famously declared that man was born with a clean slate [“tabula rasa”], and that all knowledge is acquired by experience. We see his theory (“empirical school”) as more sustainable than those [rationalist school] who hold that man is born with certain innate knowledge. It is our fundamental credo, that belief systems, skills and perception are all learned and not inherited, or inspired, by some pre-birth agency. Based upon our best observation of history and contemporary life, factual reality is universally discoverable, tactual, physical, and discernable to the human eye; the latter, if necessary, with the aid of a telescope or microscope.

We do not denigrate the utility nor the propriety of traditional religious faith. The latter, an historical and sociological facet of every society and ethnos, can offer supportive assistance in times of crises, notably, familial mortality. In addition, to support in times of need, religious belief affords a desirable sense of personal identity and ethnic belonging. We might persuasively cite the traditionally existential role of the Black Church, in historically providing hope and needed spiritual sustenance to the African- American citizen, throughout so many generations of horrific race prejudice.

In stark contrast to its positive role, religion, generally and indisputably, has received an inauspicious report card in mankind’s history and, as well, in contemporary times. Religious and ethnocentric missionary zeal has comprehended inquisitions,  pogroms, warfare, prejudice,  Jim Crow, and injustice. Historically, uncountable numbers of scholars and philosophers were tortured and put to death on the grounds of “heresy”, in ignorant retribution for their espousal of enlightened ideas or findings. One revelatory instance of the numerous determinations of fatal heresy was the Middle Ages punishment for the belief that the Earth travels around the Sun [heliocentric theory] rather than the obverse, the latter as authoritatively declared in the Holy Bible.  It seems obvious, and empirically understandable, that traditional religion, grounded merely and exclusively in faith, is undeniably useless or worse, misleading, in the search for the comprehension of factual reality.

To avoid being misconstrued, we have admittedly observed that for individuals who possess the need for an abiding and supportive faith, one’s culturally acquired religious belief is a positive and personally enriching phenomenon;  but with two mandatory provisos: (1) that the religious adherent does not seek to impose his own reverenced faith upon others and, (2), he does not look to his spiritual proclivities as a reliable source of empirical knowledge. Subject to such two mandatory admonitions, religious faith can properly be perceived as an available and positive supplement to mankind’s temporal life.

By bright contrast, the use of faith as overriding, or as an alternative to, empirical fact, is necessarily fallacious and potentially harmful. It was the empirical practice of scientific research, that led to the recent development of vaccines to prevent Covid, as well as for diseases such as Polio and Diphtheria, that landed man on the moon and created digital science. Conversely, a sincere, faith-based use of devotional prayer as an alternative to penicillin will predictably, be of no discernable benefit in the case of a strep throat.  Religiously based consolation is positive, in that it is empathic and ameliorative, but cannot render any credible impact on the understanding or effect of human morbidity or mortality.

American citizens have recently been witness to a shocking, unprecedented, and dangerous insurrectional mob, assaulting the Capitol Building, wreaking havoc, and causing fatalities, severe personal injuries and damage to the Capitol building itself and its artifacts. Many violent insurgents wore red Trump MAGA caps, brought lethal weapons, banners and posters in protest of the determination of elective defeat of their leader and instigator, Donald Trump. Their loudly expressed assertion of purpose was to overthrow the results of the election. The riot was based upon their devotional faith in the unfounded, neurotic, and delusional assertion, of Donald Trump, that the election votes were tactically and fraudulently tabulated, and the election victory was “stolen” from him; such outcome to be made Constitutionally effective that day, January 6, 2021, by act of the U.S. Electoral College. In objective fact, three previously conducted, independent audits, had, previously, determined the undoubtable accuracy and the Bona Fidus of the election, in general, and, as well, its tabulation.

In previous writings, we expressed frustration due to our inability, after several ruminative attempts, to arrive at some credibly acceptable motivation for the 6/ 6 insurgency. In a very recent post, admittedly written in a frustrated mindset, we exasperatedly expressed in an imaginative context, the sci-fi theory that Trump and his sycophants occupied and functioned in an alternative physical dimension, one which was blind to factual accuracy and to Trump’s delusional assertion, as well as his demonstrated incapacity and outrageously immoral behavior. After this morning’s two enlightening and inspirational cups of strong coffee, we were catalytically enabled to arrive at a considerably more incisive and rational explanation, the fundamental basis underlying this mini-essay.

Our caffeine-inspired, but confident, conclusion is that the responsive and uniformly loyal action of Trump’s underbelly sycophants, was founded upon their devotional, cultish/religious article of faith, in the Orange Demagogue. We have categorically stated, that while we are sympathetic and respectful as to the observed emotional and socio- cultural utility of “Faith,” we emphatically decry it as an overriding explanation of empirical fact. The faith-based, reactive outrage acted upon by the insurrectionists was not founded upon supportive factual or objective knowledge. It was, based upon an unwavering faith in the entirely unsupported, unresearched and egotistical false declaration of a stolen election by their faux “deity,” Donald Trump,[ historically termed, “The Big Lie.”] Their faithful acceptance of the accuracy of Trump’s false and egotistic response to his neurotically unacceptable loss, presumably derived some credible support from the numerous past instances of such worshippers’ willing acceptance of Trump’s arbitrary declarations, such as the salubrious ingestion of bathroom cleansers to cure Covid-19, his rant against the [liberal] intellectual coastal elite, and his charges of felonious criminality of Hilary Clinton.

We have expressed our opinion that man’s engagement in his inherited cultural folkways, and religion, randomly acquired by the accident of his birth, can be comforting, and socially meaningful with the stated provisos that they are not forcibly imposed on others and do not serve as a substitute for truth. The Sun is warming and life-giving, but there is no sun god, lightning is natural, dramatic static electricity, not a symbol of the wrath of a deity, the World and its complement of flora and fauna were not completed in six business days, conveniently, before the Sunday Sabbath. On the other hand, the existence of communal holiday celebrations, comforting personal sentiment expressed at funerals  and societally shared celebratory events, promote fellowship and acceptability,

By contrast, the facile acceptance of an arbitrary and irrational thought system, eternally based upon thoughtless and unquestionable faith in an infallible agency, mortal or otherwise, as the source of factual knowledge is entirely without redeeming merit. In the context of this writing,  cultish or religious homage to the sanctity and skewed personal image of an individual, such as the amoral, ignorant, and anti-societal, Donald Trump, evinces predictable social or psychological pathology. Perhaps the participants’ respective etiologies arise from, personal insecurity, lack of acceptable self-image, knowing incapacity or ignorance, need for group approval, deprived childhood, brutal upbringing, generalized feelings of depression or unhappiness, reductionist thought, mental disability, lack of independence, fear of mortality, cowardice, impotence, weakness, need for compensation for lack of skills or intelligence, jealousy, despair, or paranoid, or schizoid thought process. Who can speculate?

Thus, in our deliberative estimation, despite their loudly trumpeted, public articulation of a specific and unified cause, each participating protester, predictably, had his own distinct and separate, personally nuanced motivation. Our telling, and confident perception, was confirmed in that the needy and idolizing rioters appeared to be every bit as earnestly driven, as their worshipped, delusional Deity.

As indicated in the preceding essay, we are hopeful that all participants, organizers, and promoters of this vile, indecent, and existential threat to democracy, will receive adequate and deserved punitive retribution which will, additionally, perform the service of an enduring future deterrent.

-p.       

Post# 636 A BRIEF TREK INTO THE TRUMP DIMENSION

We have long agonized in vain, concerning the following bizarre conundrum: How is it rationally [or even, reasonably] possible that an ignorant, incapable, and neurotic troglodyte, like Donald J. Trump, can garner enough voter support to be elected to the American Presidency and thereafter, retain millions of ardent followers. In his execrable four-year term, he, inarguably, has met the required definitional criteria for such descriptive adjectives as incapable, ignorant, neurotically egocentric,  immoral, and bigoted. From a societal perspective, far more societally damaging, than this list of repulsive traits, congealed in his semi-amorphous conglomerate of errant persona, was Trump’s denigration of the foundational existence of “Truth,” notably exemplified by his own serial mendacity.

Donald J. Trump, together with his cultish followers occupy and mindlessly function inside the parameters of a new, uncharted, and undiscovered, dystopic dimension. As inhabitants of such singular dimension, they share identical predilections to subjective perception of [un]reality and [alternative] facts. This perverse Trump Dimension is inhabited anthropologically and culturally, by an ignorant, populist specious of atavistic or post- Neolithic man, collectively known by mainstream America, as “the underbelly.” Loyally, and fraternally eschewed in said dimensional zone are: expressions of intellectual thought, curiosity or progress, creativity, societal responsibility, empathy and sensitivity, established mores and reasonable behavior, factual reality, scientific endeavor and the search for knowledge, aesthetic appreciation of literature, art and serious music, acceptable taste in language and behavior, respect for truth, love of mankind and belief in universal equality and legal justice, the quest for international brotherhood, appropriate respect for reason or the development of mature perception.

The above cited traits are universally deemed to be societally objectionable, except for the inhabitants of the singular venue of the Trump Dimension; accordingly, the Nation’s shameful adherents to such execrable characteristics and values, [“the underbelly”] are long term or permanent residents of that dimension, faithfully rendering due homage to its orange-haired miscreant namesake.

When necessary to buttress any non-factual [“alternative truth”] assertions or declarations, all bonafide underbelly occupants of the Trump dimension, are enfranchised, if not, duty-bound, to freely assert any, casually conceived alternative facts or to conjure up some unsupported conspiracy which will have an assured and reflexive, universal acceptance by other Underbelly Members. Two of such illustrations are evinced by the myth that “liberals” are worshippers of Satan and, and child sex traffickers, or, that there is a Zionist conspiracy to take over the World, funded by George Soros. However,  in our view, the most serious and damaging of such schizoid delusions to date, was the mythically concocted, charge of fraud, allegedly  perpetrated by the supporters of Biden, who were falsely accused of a  purported rigging of the voter totals, thus stealing the victory from Trump, [irrespective of its accurate tabulation in three professional certifications]. 

On January 6, 2021, hundreds of angry militant and riotous denizens of the Donald Trump alternative dimension, violently [upon invitation by the miscreant Trump], embarked on an unprecedented  [but failed] attempt to “stop the victory of Donald J. Trump from being stolen” by  storming the Washington, D.C. Capitol Building. They were successful in loudly and violently, shouting their deluded message, in also the perpetration  of four homicides, many serious  personal injuries and damage to government property, but were denied their delusional victory. Joseph Biden, purported protagonist of their false accusations of fraud, was properly and constitutionally declared, President of the United States.

We are mindful of the dreaded possibility that the faux- “patriotic” members of the Trump Underbelly might launch a second attempt to revisit their previous failure, by a reprised attempted coup and may be, conceivably, expectantly awaiting another martial invitation from the neurotic and multi-delusional Trump. Nevertheless, we maintain the expectation that, in the existential interest of the preservation of our democracy, sufficient punitive and deservedly retributive justice will be meted out to all riot participants and their inciters, inclusive of the Orange-haired Nero, which will serve as an effective and enduring deterrent.

-p.

Post # 635 LEGISLATIVE CHICKEN SOUP

If any earthly substance were to contend for the prized ideal of a curative “panacea,” we have no doubt that chicken soup would rank first among the odds-on favorites. This traditionally super “comfort” food is recognized as the undisputed, evidence-based,  most salubrious response to any version of upper respiratory pathology, such as runny noses, sore throats, flu, coughs, and colds, as well as nervous disorders and advanced cases of chronic nostalgia. In some sub-cultures it performs other existential functions, such as, “keeping away the evil eye.” Aside from its apocryphal capabilities as a ubiquitous cure-all, it is generally conceded that, in all  its nuanced iterations, a tasty bowl of chicken soup, reigns as the king (or queen) of comfort foods. While candidly, the scientific jury remains in deliberation as to its curative properties, its value in calming, often improving, man’s perceptive, is universally conceded. 

We would, at this point of the present writing, request advance forgiveness for the forthcoming, contextual sea-change; from a savory, calming and tasteful subject, to a most unsavory, disturbing, and extremely distasteful one, mandated by our intended theme. In common with all right-thinking and moral American citizens, we are saddened and outraged at the daily reports of bigotry and painfully shocked by the unspeakably evil and felonious acts of racial homicide, perpetrated by bigoted white police officers against unarmed black citizens. The present subject, admittedly, is galaxies distant from the wholesome subject of chicken soup; however, we will make relevant both contextual references.

In addition to the shocking tragedy of the widely disseminated, George Floyd murder and the numerous other pernicious, prejudice-based, acts of police homicide, the un-American right wingnuts, have seen fit to promote a tactically undemocratic program to limit, or deprive, black American citizens from their Constitutionally based franchise to vote. The chronic pathology of ignorant and hateful prejudice, as catalyzed by four shameful years of the Donald Trump Presidency seems, ominously and unabashedly,  to have metastasized; and the extant “cockroaches have come out of the walls,” spreading their egregious offal on State Legislatures and to many members of the U.S. Congress.

Congress has recently drafted two relevant bills, purposed to ameliorate the evils of both described categories of tragic and undemocratic, practices. H.R 1 is aimed at protecting the universality of the  American franchise to vote, and H.R. 4, “The George Floyd” bill,  is focused on urgently needed, police reform. We are unreservedly in favor of both [in fact, of every Bill and Legislative Act, enforcing the exercise of universal liberty and freedom]. In addition to their positive intention, they publicly articulate the standard morality and uniform expectations of mainstream society. For these and other reasons, we support these two legislative measures. However, based upon the sad history of the Nation’s less than successful experience, by such legislation, we are concerned with the extent of their empirical impact.

It is, sadly, almost a tautological truth that prejudice persists in the contemporary United States. This unfortunate observation seems to prevail throughout American history, observably irrespective of Statutory prohibition by Statute. A partial, but illustrative, list of some of the relevant Statutes, [not to forget the Constitution itself] clearly prohibiting racial prejudice, enacted in the approximately 150 years since the era of  Reconstruction Laws, includes: The Civil Rights Act, The Equal Pay Act, The Voting Rights Act, the Fair Housing Act, The Education Acts, The Equal Credit Opportunity Act, Various Federal Non-Discrimination acts, and several more. The impact of these illustrative Federal Acts [and a plethora of State Statutes prohibiting discrimination, e.g., in health, housing, wages, employment, licensing and so many others]  sadly and, empirically have not proved sufficient to erase bigotry.

Considering the historical fact that the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, together with the enactment of a myriad of relevant Statutes and decades of legal progressive precedent, have not significantly curtailed race and religious prejudice, we then would wonder, what reasonably, can be the empirical impact of H.R. 1 and H.R. 4? Are we, as optimistic, well-intentioned good citizens, haplessly continuing to commit the hobgoblin act of “foolish” consistency, as wryly observed by Ralph Waldo Emerson? It would appear notable that America’s underbelly of bigots, neither read nor respond to the strictures of Statute; but only to their own overriding, inbred and ignorant perceptions. Are such moral, legislative enactments merely momentarily soothing, like ingesting a savory bowl of chicken soup?

The proposed statutes should, of course, be resoundingly passed; but other, perhaps more promising, and effective solutions can also be devised, possibly: longer mandatory periods of schooling, regular, periodic psychological vetting of police and owners of firearms, and mandatorily harsh penalties for assaults committed by reason of color, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. Additionally, people who espouse hatred ought determinably, be ineligible for judiciary, legislative or political office, uniformly denied licensure or engagement in civil service and municipal employment and prohibited to broadcast on the media. There is an existential need for meaningful, creative, and empirically effective measures to protect our American democracy and every one of its upstanding citizens, without exception.

-p.

Post # 634 OF THEE I SING [2]

Readers, old enough to remember the decade of the 40’s, may concur with our recollection, that the prevailing atmosphere of the Nation (or at least, what we saw of it from Brooklyn, New York) was distinguishably different from that of today; good events and not-so-good ones were far simpler and at least, easier to understand. Families living together in the neighborhood knew and cared for each other. Meeting a neighbor, in the street, guaranteed a friendly salutation, if not an extensive conversation on family, friends, employment, or the price of coffee. The neighborhood policeman was an amiable and positive assurance of extant normality and community security. Movies stereotypically portrayed the neighborhood cop, often Irish, as a familiar and reassuring, blue uniformed, fixture  in the resident neighborhood, who in the obvious pretense  of gruffness, shoo ’ed youngsters to school, lest they be marked, “late.” He was known for pleasantly responding to requested directions, for heroic acts of saving lives, delivering babies in extreme emergencies, and protecting the law-abiding citizen.

The significant extent of the intractable,  change in society since the 40’s, may notably be exemplified by a sea-change in the traditional image of the policeman. Today’s cop is no longer the familiar, friendly neighborhood guardian, but an impersonal monitor of citizens’ presumed inclination  (especially, people of color, or divergent nationality) to commit acts of criminality. The media has sadly and shockingly disseminated the many horrendous acts of prejudicial homicide, against people of color, at routine police stops by prejudiced members of the police. Such shocking events are an inarguable demonstration of a new and unsavory breed of Municipal police. Long gone and forgotten is the wholesome image and behavior of the cheery, paternal Irish policeman; today, the honest citizen (especially, the citizen of color) fears the police, every bit as much as he fears the felonious criminal. The constabulary sadly and ominously has evolved in atavistic fashion, backward from responsibly caring guardian to armed and occupying military overseer.

Such perverse morphing of the community police, tragically, seems to be directly parallel and in sync with an observable sea-change in societal interactive relationships in American society. Citizens were envisioned, by the philosophical and optimistic Founding Fathers as responsibly and socially, debating their divergent political opinions; the results thereof, useful, in the decision-making by a Nation, “by and for the people.” The unforeseen result, however, was the development of a rancorous and antagonistic divisiveness into hostile, insular tribal camps of common opinion (“groupthink”). This unfortunate divisiveness, significantly catalyzed by the four-year term of the bigoted and ignorant, Donald Trump not only seems to endure but for some has fully metastasized to the stage of unhealthy and ominous paranoid conspiracy theories. It was this pathological development that led to the unprecedented violent, anti- democratic January 6 insurrection. If those participating, self-styled “patriots” know nothing about the definition of “socialism,” they know astoundingly less about the definition of the word “patriot;” which,  by the way, is not contextually related  to the word, “paranoid”.

The temper of the times has empirically changed, in the order of countless sociological eons since our selected comparative decade of the 1940s, when all America in fraternal fashion, pulled together in the common existential need to win the Second World War. We have written, previously, of our dutiful childhood after-school activity patriotically, collecting rubber and metal from the community for the war effort, in lieu of playing ball. In the Nation, at such time, everyone was conjoined in a common patriotism and fear of the Axis powers.

The current American atmosphere, uncomfortably, reeks with existential danger to the continued existence of our Democracy. This time, it is not the annihilative threat of Hitler and the Axis, as it was in the 1940s. The present arch- enemies of our Democracy are exemplified by the horde of discontented and reductively ignorant members of America’s underbelly, incredibly, spurred on by a former American President himself, its celebrity inspiration and managing functionary. Donald Trump and his many sycophantic followers’ delusional conspiracies and their foundational denigration of truth, human enlightenment, and universal equality must be soundly and unconditionally repulsed, as was the enemy Axis of the 40’s. It may empirically be said, “ We have met the new enemy and it is us”.

In this precarious era, it is not possible to render assistance by simple acts such as collecting empty tin cans and old rubber, as done in the 40’s, in support of our Nation’s military effort. Confronting the contemporary challenge of domestic terrorism does not require materiel, but rather, the pro-active engagement of enlightened American citizens in the prevention of police and civilian acts of un-American bigotry, and by publicly articulating and demonstrating our ardent support for the current definitional aspirations of our Constitution and the State and Federal Statutes, designed to be morally protective of universal American equality.

-p.

Post # 633 MID-MAY LETTER, ELVIRA SWINE TO PAMEDEMIC

Wistful Vista, Ohio

Dear Pam:

Haven’t heard from you for quite a while. so thought I would drop you a note to make sure that you and your family are well and happy (I never worry about the smelly goat). All of us Swines, back here in Wistful Vista, are fine and dandy, things here are just same old, same old. But I have some other news. Your previous house was just re-sold by your purchasers to a very nice, Greek American couple with three children. The new owners are Nick and Anna Filaxis, and have three young children two girls, Arista (10) and Cassandra (7) and a boy, Nicholas Jr (4).

We understand that they relocated to Wistful Vista for employment reasons.  he wife, Anna Filaxis is a licensed dietician and was hired to fill the open vacancy at the High School. Nick is a licensed dentist and bought the local practice from the retiring dentist, Philip D. Molar, DDS. Molar’s practice has been successful for 31 years and I hope that Nick will also do well there. I understand that he is a skilled and experienced dentist, plus also does orthodonture, despite his unfortunate challenge. On first meeting them, I was a little shocked (Pam, you can be sure I kept it to myself!). He is the very first dentist I have ever met whose mouth is entirely toothless.  He also told me and Abel that, because of a very rare pathology of the gums, he was medically forbidden from ever wearing dentures. As a solution to the professional image problem, he said he always wears a white surgical mask when in the office and mostly tries not to smile when not wearing it. Anna offered to teach me to make souvlaki, if I like it, I’ll send you the recipe.

Any new information about your across the road neighbors, the  Salpeters? They sure are mystery to me–  what with not going to church on Sundays and all and keeping that old smelly goat. I tried a few times to discuss them with Abel, but he just snores louder when I go near to him on his rocking chair.

I heard the weather is too hot in El Paso, here it is comfortably cool but much too rainy.

Regards to all from both the girls.

Sincerely,

Elvira S.                                                 

Post # 632 OF THEE I SING

As we read history, it appears that the U.S.A  became a major power after the Second World War. After bailing out  England and France by dint of its defeat of Nazi Germany and Hirohito’s Japan, it saddled a knight’s charger and took on the role of the defender of freedom and a staunch enemy of autocracy.

The temper of the times has eternally been discernable in its contemporary literature and arts. We will refer to the morphing of the context of literature and the arts, in this essay, merely to better convey the nuanced general sentiment of the respective times.

In America, the literature and art following the two World Wars reflected an upbeat in tempo. The Nation having just recently attained the apex of its domestic and international strength, was broadly optimistic in its expectations of continued superiority, militarily, commercially, and in perceived moral image. As expressed in contemporaneous literature and art, the National self-generated hope made for novelistic happy endings, right regularly triumphing over evil, the cute, the shy, good guy ultimately getting the pretty starlet, and dear grandpa miraculously recovering from his dire pathology. This somewhat Pollyannaish National mood, as thus reflected in the context of the literature and arts in the 40’s and early 60’s arts, has been academically catalogued as the “Modern” period.”    

In this same period, despite the admittedly slow progress in the empirical attainment of full and meaningful equality for people of color, women, and mixed gender citizens, the Nation, nevertheless, continued to express its avowed principled aspirations by promulgation of Statutes, [such as the 1965 “Voting Rights Act”]. Such efforts of government, together with the sincere actions toward the accomplishment of such goals, by the greater number of right-thinking citizens, continued to entitle America to its signature role as a Nation, ascribing to the principles of liberty and universal equality.

Yet, unsightly blemishes on our history, like the McCarthy inquisition, Nixon and his “plumbers,”, the divisive and unpopular Viet Nam War, an eternally wide disparity in economic status, disparate views on immigration, disputes over the environment, and other contested issues, cultivated a growing disillusionment with politics and politicians, and gave rise to a new, more realistic mindset. This development can also be seen as reflected in its contemporaneous literature, termed “Post-Modern,” in which the America’s reflexive mom and pop, apple pie state of mind, was superseded by a grimmer, pragmatic perception of reality. The implicit trust in government and elected officials, became somewhat tenuous, in many cases, with good reason. The realistic and down-to-earth context was useful and was positively productive of many upright and empathic citizens involving themselves in activities dedicated to ameliorating society’s traditional injustices.

Two successive four-year Presidential terms of Barack Obama gave right-thinking citizens a much desired feeling of confirmation of the historic promise of America, and of unwavering trust in the vital conceptions of truth, competency, and justice in government. By contrast, however, there has eternally co-existed a perennial cohort of the “underbelly”  of our Nation [viz., the inadequately educated, poorly informed, “flat earth,” discontented portion of the population]. This traditionally useless, category of citizens historically, and mercifully, had existed in an amorphous conglomeration, seldom voted but consistently, and emphatically, gave voice to their shared feelings of hateful, atavistic bigotry.

The unexpected elevation to America’s Oval Office of  Donald Trump, an unscrupulous real estate grifter and former host of a second- rate television game show, was a disastrous inflection point for the Nation and a precursor of dark days of existential peril. The ignorant and egocentric Trump was elected by the combined efforts of the denizens of the underbelly of America with the financial support of many large industrial polluters who, sociopathically, value profits over human health and life, and, like Trump, opposed government regulation. The unprecedentedly large “flat earth” vote, by individuals who normally do not vote, was ensnared by Trump’s tactically demagogic “snake oil” promises of Valhalla and his natural, innate ease to mutually identify, in common, with the reductively ignorant voter.

We have written extensively, on the sordid period of the Trump Presidency; on his incapacity for office, his egotistic ignorance, his degradation of education and science, his patent bigotry, his immorality, and his trampling on Law and the Constitution. We have suggested in earlier writings, that more enduring and irreparable damage was his societally existential damage, to the fundamental nature of “truth.” This insecure, ignorant, and tactically defensive neurotic easily won the highly coveted gold cup for serial mendacity, while disparaging the existential nature of factual truth in general, including, more specifically, the responsible media.

We have stated, above, that the election and Presidential term of office of Donald J. Trump was the inflection point for a truly existential and unique challenge to the existence of [our] Republican Democracy. The initial crack in the democratic seal, was initiated by the amalgamation of the previous disparate and amorphous conglomerate of the unruly, reductively ignorant “underbelly” of America, supporting his election, and, in their continuing, unwavering support. His destructive and dysfunctional, four years of “disservice,” was rewarded with their joyful approval of his unorthodoxy and, in addition, the tactical praise of numerous sycophants who sought his favor for self-interested reasons. They bought his red MAGA hats, attended his lavish functions, cultishly defended his tasteless statements and behavior, and worshipped at the temple of his truly disgraceful, but, perceived by them, personally relatable, persona. Even the prudish, Christian white evangelical groups, unanimously granted him a permanent pass, or renewable, Religious Indulgence, applicable to his multiple acts of adultery, sexual abuse, and mendacious behavior. America had, at no time ever witnessed a similar moral inconsistency and immoral franchise, for anyone, [especially from the inquisitional, White Evangelical Christians] most especially, a President of the United States. In some venues, the disreputable, Donald J. Trump, irrationally and alarmingly and effectively, became an ”untouchable.”

After four long, nightmarish, years of his term, the latter-day orange follicled Nero, was mercifully, defeated in his desire to win a second term. The winner, Joseph Biden, by bright contrast, is possessed of a capable, empathic, and morally directed persona. Predictably, the element of truth, and the acceptance of the Constitutional virtue of the peaceful passage of power from an outgoing President to his successor, weighed less on Trump’s neurotic, Nero-like scale of  importance, than the delusion that he is not a “loser.” This mass of miscreant protoplasm, thereupon, on the sole basis of his neurotic conception of himself as an eternal winner, declared to the American public, and most tactically, to his populistic, ignorant, and cultish base, that the election was “fraudulently stolen” from him.  This delusional act constituted the first such existential crises in our Nation’s democratic history.

 To continue our penchant for literary reference, it was Mark Twain who said,” A lie can travel half-way around the World, while the truth is still putting on his shoes.” But Aldous Huxley is noted, to have  declared, “Facts do not cease to exist simply because they are denied.” Since we have elected to use literary references to portray the tenor of the times, we might, permissibly, say that what transpired after Trump’s outrageous and democratically unprecedented public, declaration, unquestionably, certifies the wisdom of both authors’ observations. Frighting and irrational, Trump’s request to his underbelly base to “Stop the Steal,” was actually adopted by such witless malcontents and, immediately was widely disseminated as truthful [Twain] although Trump’s assertion [made without any factual support] was discredited by three, professional audits which uniformly found that the procedure and count were accurate. [Huxley].

Trump, in the despotic mode of an autocratic leader of a Banana Republic, and in emulation of the Fascist tactic of the “Big Lie,” declared the false and tactical claim of “stolen election,” and sought retaliative action by his loyal base. Responsive to his illegal and immoral “call to arms” Trump’s deluded supporters, on January 6, 2021, chose to enact a violent and deadly insurrection against the Capitol Building and its occupants, loyally spewing the delusional Trump mantra, “ Stop the Steal.”

 We earnestly hope that the despicable orange inciter of this venal insurrection himself, the organizers, and all participants [including the various Christian White Supremacy groups, and the other affiliated and non-affiliated, self-styled “patriots,” (read)  “criminals,” espousing the causes of bigotry and hatred]  will be severely and appropriately punished.

However, a far greater threat was posed by the massive horde of underbelly puppets, who acted in cultish deference to the delusion of a would-be autocrat. Impugning the foundational basis of the vote is no less than an existential threat to the basic and underlying foundation of democracy, itself.

To quote author, Elie Wiesel, the opposite of “love” [in this case, love of our democracy] is not “hate”, it is indifference. A call to action in the protection of democracy should be the signature mantra, of every self-respecting and freedom- loving American citizen; tragic and irreversible damage is predictably inherent in the irresponsible of choice of more comfortable, or passive complacency.

-p.