Post # 257         FLAGS AND FETUSES

We have reconsidered the phenomenon of the (so called) “Right to Life” movement and have ultimately come to realize that its existence and function has little to do with its publically avowed purpose, the protection of the fetus, by restriction of the mother’s right to an abortion.

The organization, vehemently, to use Shakespeare’s judgmental words,” protests too much,” in its display of militancy in the protection of the “life” of the fetus, from its mother, who may possess a legitimate need for an abortion. Such vehement militancy completely disappears from sight, and their army retires from the field of battle, upon the birth of the child. Remarkably, and revealingly, they resolutely and adamantly oppose all government support for needy children, including, food, health and educative relief. As far as they are concerned (or not concerned) following his birth, the child can live or die, depending upon his circumstances, without their interest or intercession. This is hardly consistent with a rationally professed reverence for life, in this instance, the life of young children.

Devotees of the right to life mantra, have actually committed premeditated and deliberate homicide of abortion providers; the professed rationalization being, that they were preventing the destruction of life (fetuses). These acts of intentional murder are, in no way, a rational affirmation of life’s sanctity.

It has been observed that most, if not all, of these self-anointed crusaders for life, are enthusiastic supporters of the death penalty, apparently in keeping with some atavistic sense of earthly justice. They (1) ignore studies that demonstrate, sociologically, that it is not a deterrent to crime,(2) approve of the State’s taking of human life,(3) ignore the several instances of botched executions, leading to results that could only be happily described by the Marquis de Sade and, (4) downplay the significant number of instances, where, with the aid of DNA tests, or other revelations, it is revealed that the convicted person was innocent of the crime for which he was charged and sentenced; at times such revelations have appeared only after the application of the mortal penalty. Total disregard of these facts and atavistic calls for the application of the death penalty, are far from appropriate for self-anointed crusaders for life.

The media has shown that a great many of these right to lifers are resolute opponents of legislation to regulate gun sales and gun ownership. We see no rational basis whatsoever, for the existence of a purported cause seeking the protection of life, being maintained simultaneously, with the support for unregulated ownership and sale of weapons. The numerous mass shootings at shopping malls, schools, movie theaters and other venues appear, in consistent fashion, to be the result of automatic weapons in the hands of deranged shooters. This is due, in large part, to the ready availability of weapons and their unregulated sale. Reasonable gun control laws would be most desirable to these counterfeit protectors of life, if the subject of that protection, life, were their actual raison d’etre.

We have spent some time pondering the rational disconnect between the name, “Right to Life” and the articulated life- affirming dedication of its adherents, and the empirical reality and significance of their starkly contrasting behavior. We have, accordingly, reached the conclusion that the organization and its members are not, truthfully, concerned to any degree with the sanctity of human life, nor, contrary to their constant public pretentions, have any especial concern, for the safety and protection of the human fetus. The facts of the manifest falsity of their misrepresentations is irrefutably evident, given the above enumerated  facts; of which, to us, the most telling, is their stunning disinterest in the life and welfare of the (needy) child, following birth.

Our resultant conclusion is that they are, instead, motivated by a neurotic need for personal contact and association with a publically recognized group, to buttress an inadequate sense of personal identity. Signing on to a point of view, unanimously shared by the group, furnishes such neurotically needy personality with an ersatz affirmation of commonality, belonging and identity; this may be especially so, regarding an issue which is public and emotionally charged.   Being part of an identified association, with an intimate group of non-critical, reductive minded colleagues, and sharing a mutually agreed pseudo-ideology, is their unhealthy, rationalized solution to the problem of meaningless existence.

The fetus, itself is no more than a strategically advertised symbol, such as a tribal totem or a national flag. It functionally signifies the public assertion of a shared identity, albeit, here, by people, desperately in want of an effective recipe to flavor a bland life of limitless, mundane existence.

-p.

 

 

Post # 256       AN ARBOREAL FANTASY

There are moments in life when a feeling of fatigued exasperation, often respecting ignorant or misguided tendencies of our fellow humans, becomes especially unbearable. It is at such extreme times that we may, defensively, and healthily, choose to reject the unacceptable reality, by way of a momentary escape into fantasy.

One such instance seems to present itself with the obdurate inclination of many to downplay or disregard the ever- present danger to the environment of human behaviors, which ominously increase the quantum of carbon pollution and other lethal emissions released into the air and the planetary atmosphere. We can imagine a horrifying nightmare where ultimately, our lush, green, life supporting, planet is degraded to a cold, lifeless and colorless rock, like the moon. This tragic existential possibility, which is ignored by so many thoughtless human beings, is an appropriate impetus to engage in fantasy.

In the interest of not being misjudged, we would declare that [based upon the objective facts of our life, including our perception of other’s experienced evaluations of us, and innumerable medical visits to physicians for check-ups and the usual maladies] we are healthy, reality oriented, and free from paranoia, delusions or  similar pathology. With such assurances we return to our subject conceit, or fantasy.

When in the presence of trees, whether we are in a state of motion, or are stationary,  we have the bizarre impression that we are being sized up and actively scrutinized by them; in the same manner as scientists observe an organism in a petre dish, or as the public is watched, under surveillance by an official closed camera channel. At such times, we divine the felt possibility that man may have overlooked some sentient potential possessed by the earthly arboretum.

It is an empirical fact that all trees grow upward (excepting a few varietals, and the phenomenon of branch growth.) It is also demonstrably true that height (as in control towers or ranger stations) affords the viewer, a much clearer and better contextual view. [For this reason, tourists visit the Empire State Building or the Eiffel Tower.] Since trees grow upward, it follows that the youngest growth is on the very top, which enables the tree’s extended visibility. Furthermore, by analogy to our knowledge of mammals, we know that youngest eyes see best and without impediments, such as cataracts or needed correction. It is not yet scientifically clear, however, whether the resultant findings of such arboreal observation are suitably recorded and accessibly stored by the investigative trees.

There are some naturalists, of note, who opine that the observed nodding, or visibly  sideways sway of the trees, indicate inarticulate displeasure or worried concern. One would question whether arboreal observational also suffers, as in the case of human observation, from the limitation in accuracy of subjective perception.

Supplementing the above, specifically, on the subject of record keeping, we have come across a nine- year study, published in the respected Norwegian “Daily Tree Hugger,” based upon the latest scientific research, undertaken by the world renowned, Scandinavian arborist, Professor Leif Rootundbark, aided by an associate doctoral staff. The findings of the subject study reveal that on careful analysis, discernible algorithmic symbols in the growing rings of various selected tree trunks. Further research upon this exciting breakthrough is proceeding apace.

We are persuaded, contrary to our former understanding, that trees are perceived, in error, by homo sapiens, to be indifferent to mankind. In truth, they are dutifully engaged in muted intelligence surveillance on a full-time (24-7) basis; observing the selfish and careless habits of man, which pose an existential danger to the planet, (including the trees, themselves). We suggest that in your next stroll in the park, look up and try to smile at the ambient trees, that appear to be the friendliest.

As if they were part of the scenario of a classic Greek tragedy, the trees knowingly sway back and forth (like the traditional Greek chorus) in their sad fore- knowledge of inevitable resultant tragedy, caused by man’s hubris and unreasonable perspective.

 

-p.

Post # 255        DEATH OF A DREAM (Lamentation 3)

We predict that for many decades after the present state  of the American nation, the root causes will be debated by political scientists, historians and sociologists. Depending upon one’s individual philosophy and established belief system, the attributing causes will be various and varied; inadequate education, the substitution of a reliance on electronics for human interaction and the exercise of reason, the great and inequitable disparity in wealth, bigotry and discrimination, the primacy of profits over the health of the nation and the planet, xenophobia and immigration neurosis, and so many others, all contending for first place. The one cause of failure, no doubt, agreed upon by all academics is the  nation’s lack of sufficient literacy and concerned awareness, as recommended by President Thomas Jefferson.

The admirable and innovative attempt by the Founders of the republic, to establish a classless democratic republic, was subsequently frustrated by the disappointing evolution of a citizenry of mere viewers and spectators, as opposed to readers and participants. Our Founders assumed that the literate and informed citizenry, with mutual love of country, and in brotherly fashion, would debate the issues of the day; the result of which would help guide the nation. The upshot would be, as intended, a government by, and for the people. Instead, hostile partisanships developed, which resulted in the formation of various insular groups, sharing mutually common opinions, at complete odds with each other; instead of the useful exchange of views, the result was hatred, and the death of civic amity.

Another factor was the (sociopathic) motivation of many large entrepreneurial corporations, in the  exaltation of profits above the health and welfare of human beings and the planet.

Bigotry and prejudice, no doubt the result of the desperate desire of the ignorant, low information reductionists, for a respectable place on the “pecking order,” in an attempt to acquire some needed semblance of self-worth and valued identity.

A cause for failure (incredibly, in a nation composed of all immigrants and their descendants) was a xenophobic hatred of immigrants. The Nazi- style treatment of vulnerable people, fleeing danger and poverty, is a clear and obscene refutation of the American way, oiur and American history. This neurosis, we feel, is  not entirely distinguishable from the religious zeal demonstrated by the pro-gun supporters, who continue to misread the truthful intention of the 2nd Amendment, especially in its historical background. Divisive national strife, and even worse, many tragic deaths of innocent people is the proximate result.

There is, as stated above, a primary cause of the decline of the republic to its present state, which should be agreed to by all contending academics: incompetence. Our sad descent to a nation of viewers and spectators, as opposed to readers, thinkers and doers, has been the enabling factor. The ultimate evidence of this assertion is the comic book elevation of an ignorant, egocentric and immoral, T.V. game show host to America’s Oval Office. As could be expected, and in a relatively brief time in office, he has profaned the institution of the American Presidency, the nation, and its traditional place in world history, and has also embarrassed the American people. He and his enablers, have profanely demoted the coveted American dream to the status of a disturbing and fearful nightmare.

-p.

Post # 254 A PLEA FOR RATIONAL PERSPECTIVE (An Editorial)

Our nation is exclusively peopled by immigrants (and their descendants) who emigrated to America, seeking a better life for their family and themselves. So many responded in earlier years, to Lady Liberty’s gracious invitation, as framed by the poetess, Emma Lazarus, “Give me your poor, your huddled masses, yearning to be free…” We have disappointingly observed, that many such Americans, after settling in, have been in favor of an unfair roadblock to the admission of others, situated similarly, from the achievement of their American dream. How soon these ungrateful forget.

We will state, preliminarily, that we, like all American law- abiding citizens, believe the law must be upheld in fact and in principle. We would, also, at the outset, firmly state that a national policy, separating children from their parents, is morally, far worse than the offense alleged against their parent, (being unregistered) for which that separation is decreed; it is a crime against Nature, itself inarguably a more fundamental evil than, c the failure to be registered.

Our laws (and most European laws) have always made the crucial distinction between offenses which were “malum in se” and those which were classified as “malum prohibitum.” Malum in se,” refers to acts which are, ipso facto, evil in themselves, ex: murder, larceny, robbery, burglary, rape and kidnapping, and are severely punished as such. Malum prohibitum defines acts which would otherwise,\ be legal but have become illegal because a statute or ordinance makes it so. There is no relevant venal, or evil intent necessary, merely the commission of the prohibited act, ex: passing a red light, failing to have a permit for street sales, or for an elevator inspection or littering. The commission of acts, no more serious than malum prohibitum are, appropriately, given light, sanctions, especially for a first offense.

Those who, critically and most self-righteously, relish the epithet “illegal immigrant” seem to have lost sight that the sole illegality  charged, is that of non-registration, viz., not having required paperwork (prohibitum). Those affected, like our forebears, have simply and admirably, sought to obtain a better life for their families. The Trump Administration, itself, guilty of so many (yet unpunished) serious offenses against our country and its citizens, delights in stirring up his responsive, low-information base, to the detriment of many worthwhile applicants for admission; many of whom could possibly add great value to our nation.

We declare, as we did at the outset of this writing, that there is no crime, however heinous, comparable to the offense against Nature and Humanity, as by the Trump decree, directing the destruction of young children’s lives by having them forcibly snatched, kidnap style, from their parents. [Reader, add, if at all felt necessary, merely because of their lack of paperwork.]

This is not the “America” we grew up to know; we are ashamed and greatly alarmed.

-p.

Post # 253     LAMENTATION 2: THE BOTTOM LINE

We recently experienced a chilling second thought, regarding the “surprise” result of the past Presidential election. The eerie thought was to the effect that it might not have been the outlier that most of us had agreed it was. Our optimistic assumption, that the election result was a “one-off” or aberration, unlikely to be replicated, seems now have the unfortunate possibility of being incorrect.

This blog has dedicated a major portion of its posts, doggedly, to the assertion that self-enhancement and orienting perspective is acquired by reading, and an interest in the arts and the humanities, that such involvement and participation is, at one and the same time, the route to a fulfilled life experience, and as well, the making of a valuable citizen; and by extension, a stronger nation. We have, perhaps too often, referred to the instruction of Thomas Jefferson, that the success of a democracy depends upon an informed and literate citizenry. Our nation’s events of late, seem to have morphed that wise instruction into a bitter explanation for its present failings.

It is our lamented observation that we have become in large part, a nation of spectators, or viewers, as opposed to participants, readers and independent thinkers. It would be (temporarily) comforting to believe that the elevation of a Donald Trump, to the Oval Office was an aberration, but it would likely turn out to be inaccurate. A nation of spectators is in obvious and stark contrast to a nation of independent thinkers and doers. It is not a coincidence that the ignorant, egotistical and completely unfit, successful, candidate for President, had previously been a popular game show host for an audience that, presumably. prefers cheap and ephemeral diversion to quality, thought-provoking entertainment. It is a reluctant and tragic conclusion, but it seems to us that the viewed image appears to have triumphed over the written page.

It has been our expressed opinion that the essential soul of the citizen, was initially and effectively stolen by the demon of electronic communication. It is an inadequate, ersatz trade-off for in- person interaction, among other things, because the parties to the electronic exchange are situationally isolated from each other and deprived of voice recognition, warmth and communicative spontaneity. The reading of e- mail communications is not distinguishable from viewing of impersonal data and the addition of  inane emogees is an adolescent, cold and inadequate substitute for the natural expression of emphasis or feeling. Could we simply put away our not-so-smart phones and talk spontaneously to each other, relationships would be more meaningful and satisfying. Constant reference to one’s electronic devices for human company (as opposed to physically socializing) or for answers to problems (as opposed to thinking) is an indication that we are mere dabblers, idle spectators in life, as opposed to doers and participants. Electronic conversation, efficiently serves to distance ourselves from each other. In addition, does anyone recall the practice of writing and receiving personal letters? Written correspondence is a form of communication permitting the writer’s thoughts to be selectively and accurately expressed. Such means of expressive personal communication has become obsolete, and useless to our mindless spectator population.

Recently, we recommended an enjoyable book to a neighbor. His spontaneous and remarkable response was, “How long is it? I never read a book that contains more than 200 pages.” My shock, and critical appraisal of the neighbor was later replaced by a feeling of compassion for him. The latter sentiment was founded upon his avowed limitation of life experience, and on the pleasure and personal benefit he was denying himself. He was also, depriving himself of the possible acquisition of useful and enlightened perspective, required for a balanced and acceptable life. He is clearly living within a set of self-imposed boundaries which, defensively, shields him from the responsibility of maintaining an identifiable  identity and is apparently satisfied with being a mere spectator of, as opposed to being a participant, in life

Another individual advised me that he is employed by a large bridge construction company and is the head clerk in the company’s accounts payable department. I could well imagine the responsibility for the supervision of the huge expenditures for labor, equipment and materials, of such an enterprise, and attempted to inquire about his undoubtedly busy job and personal responsibilities. His sole responses were limited to the bridge “we” were building. It was apparent that his personal identity was entirely submerged in the company (“we”). He was not responsive to my inquiries concerning his personal responsibilities and specific job. He was just another spectator.

Even an uninformed and uninvolved citizen may feel the social obligation to appear to maintain some sort of a political and economic opinion. By reason of an episodic exposure to an exciting speaker or demagogue, he may accept and adopt the speaker’s representations, and predictions; this is certainly predictable if his buddies do. Independent inquiry is entirely non-existent, as is the acquisition of an opinion, or “personal” point of view; merely social participation and agreement with his (equally ignorant) associates. There has been little meaningful discussion or debate, and absolutely no inquiry as to truth of the demagogue’s representations. Another  spectator event, and one that is entirely non-deliberative.

It may, conceivably, be possible to create some sort of a mandatory (perhaps part-time) program of education and general uplift, for our poorly educated fellow citizens, inclusive of reading good literature and other enriching studies. Otherwise, democratic elections and the very conduct of government, and our elections, may continue to earn the description of a societal spectator sport, (instead of a rational and essential civic responsibility) leaving thoughtful and dedicated citizens to continue to live in a state of serious disappointment and existential alarm.

-p.

Post # 252    THE RESTITUTION OF A FELLOW CITY DWELLER

Mankind, the signature accomplishment of the process of evolution has, as such, morally inherited the obligation to act, when necessary, to eliminate wrongdoing and bigotry practiced towards his fellow man, and arguably, any other planetary inhabitant. It might be felt that homo sapiens was implicitly invested, to the extent of his abilities, with the general oversight of the planet, inclusive of its fauna and flora. By way of illustration, a miscreant who destroys property and nature, by igniting a forest fire, or one who practices cruelty to animals in his conduct of the reprehensible “business” of dogfighting, would be appropriately sanctioned by man’s designated societal authorities. Regardless of the status of the injured on the planet’s perceived hierarchy, bias and overt acts of injustice, responsibly require appropriate comment and the just imposition of suitable sanctions.

At times, bias and injustice are practiced against victims who, by reason of the limited extent of their natural-born capabilities, may not be equipped to oppose it (or, indeed, may not be cognizant of its existence). In our zeal for rectitude, we, responsibly, feel the obligation to speak out in such instances.

For as long as our memory serves, the “Feral” or “City” pigeon, has been deprecated to the point where it is often referred to as a “city rat.” Serious efforts to exterminate this innocent, attractive and harmless bird, founded upon such hateful misperceptions, have been undertaken in the past, and we understand, presently continue to be under way. The spurious grounds, for such lethal programs are, (1) they multiply too fast, (2) they are “dirty,” (3) they spread disease and (4) they produce a large quantity of natural waste.

Before we proceed to fully and easily discredit such allegations, we would like to make some observations about these these populous and popular birds. They generally appear to be city dwellers, and have amused tourists in New York, England (Hyde Park and Trafalgar Square), Paris, (all the major parks and public gardens), Rome, Venice’s St. Marco Square and, in fact, all the Cities we have had  occasion to visit in Central Europe. Observing them and feeding morsels of crackers, bread or popcorn to these people-friendly birds, is a delight to all tourists, especially children. Additionally, wherever we travel, their frequent presence is a nostalgic reminder of home, regardless of the country visited, (since they all look and behave identically alike, everywhere) and are a welcome sight.,

They emit a soft “coo,” in contrast to the bizarre raucous sounds of certain other birds, such as jays, crows and magpies, they have varied, pretty feathers, they are not predatory (except to insects), they have an entertaining hop accompanied by humorous head movements similar to the “boppers” from the rock and roll era, and, they are very intelligent. As to the latter, studies reveal that they can learn a full 25 letters of the alphabet and, remarkably, also possess the capacity to conceptualize.

Since ancient times (year 2500), by reason of their homing instinct, they have been used very successfully, as messengers; crucially so in wartime. In more current history, they were of vital use during both world wars (this was long before the advent of digital communication) and have, reportedly, saved tens of thousands of lives. Pigeons have demonstrated, amazingly, that they can return home within the space of the same day, even when they deliver a message, 400 to 600 miles away. It was interesting to read that the Rothschilds used pigeons to impart private financial information to their offices, worldwide.

With reference to the fallacious charge that pigeons spread disease, authoritative studies show that the transmittal of a disease to a human being would, in fact, be a most rare event.  As to the other spurious critique, that it “produces a lot of waste,” it has not, to date, been definitively shown whether the pigeon’s manufacturing capability, in this respect, is to any extent, comparable to known human, canine or feline production capabilities of the subject material.

coo !!

-p.

 

 

 

Post # 251          EXECUTIVE PARDONS, A VESTIGIAL ANOMALY (An Editorial)

The extent of homage universally bestowed on our Founding Fathers is deservedly limitless. Their radical (for the 18th Century) motivation and idealistic goal, was to create an entirely new type of nation, one, where the prevailing principle was the equality of all men. Their declaration that all men are created equal, was the revolutionary death knell tolling the demise of the unjust practice of societal privilege, based upon birth, existing historically in Mother England and Continental Europe. The First Ten Amendments were drafted and permanently incorporated into the United States Constitution (“The Bill of Rights”). It assured the franchise to every American to freely act, provided no injury was caused to another.

The Legislative branch of government issued laws to preserve such declared equality, and to do away with previously unjust legal practices, which had prevailed in European jurisprudence; thus, it abolished. ex post facto laws and prosecutions, bills of attainder, double jeopardy and the like, in keeping with the desire to create a just and equitable system of jurisprudence for all. In time, Civil Rights legislation was enacted, to ensure equal rights between Americans of every color and ethnos, legislation recognizing the equal rights of women was enacted, and equal rights for all became the official watchword of the American way and the American jurisprudence.

In criminal cases, juries were mandated, and the decision of guilt required the unanimous assent of all jurors. The legal standard for the determination of guilt was “beyond a reasonable doubt.” Our  system of laws resolved to risk the possibility of the acquittal of a guilty party, to prevent the possible conviction of an innocent person. Judicial sentencing guidelines were legislated to assure equality of treatment and avoid arbitrary sentencing.

Respectful attention to case precedent, and an established procedure of judicial review, clearly  demonstrated the dedication to treat all citizens, defendants, property holders, taxpayers, contracting parties, petitioners, as well as the criminally accused, in an equal and consistent manner, in keeping with our national resolve.

American Presidents, elected by the people, are assigned by them, virtually unlimited powers to be properly used, as necessary, in the stewardship of the nation. This is in stark contrast to the age-old theory of the divine right of kings as the foundation for a monarch’s powers and authority. Under the system of government, wisely established by our farsighted founders, the authority and powers of the American President are ultimately held in check by the two branches of government, serving simultaneously with him; a Legislative branch, also elected by the people, and a Judicial branch appointed with the consent of Congress. (The Supreme Court). Any act of the President, deemed excessive or arbitrary, can be held in check by any of the two other branches of government [ “Checks and Balances.”]

Incredibly, there has existed, since its inception, a provision of the U.S. Constitution, shamefully inconsistent with the established national resolve, that all men are created equal; and, as a consequence, rights were not to be granted or denied arbitrarily at the whim and caprice of a Monarch. The carryover of to our Constitution, of the unfettered, undeniably, arbitrary power of the Chief Executive to pardon individuals, guilty of criminal conduct, for his own reasons or no reason, is an atavistic relic, a shameful vestige of the Middle Ages, historically applicable to the reign of European autocratic tyrants.

This power of  Presidential pardon is blatantly inconsistent with the established American system of laws, and our signature moral philosophy of government.  Inscribed in our law, in every facet of the relationship of government to citizen, there are mandatory and unassailable assurances to the effect that all men are equal, and therefore, to be treated equally. The age of unlimited privilege and arbitrary decrees by tyrants, prevalent during the dark ages, has absolutely, and logically, no proper place in our democratic republic. It is, in reality, an infected vestigial organ and should be excised from the body politic, by amending the Constitution, before it degrades to the stage of national peritonitis.

-p.