Post # 273     AGAINST THE WIND (Memorial to John McCain)

John McCain, Senor Senator from Arizona, died approximately one year after being diagnosed with  brain cancer. His passing was the death of an exceptionally worthy citizen; one modeled after the optimistic conceptions of our Founding Fathers, in their formulations of our democratic republic. He was an intelligent and independent thinker who, irrespective of party affiliation, put his own perception of the country’s welfare above considerations of party politics; inarguably, a singular trait in the contemporary political arena. In a television interview, which took place subsequent to the bleak diagnosis, he stated that he “wished to be remembered as a person who served his country.” This, he emphatically did, both in his military and civilian life, and indeed, will be so remembered.

In earlier posts, we have sadly lamented the disappointing demise of what we have termed “civic amity” between citizens who hold divergent political views. Rather than respecting the right of others to differ in opinion, and cordially engage in constructive debate, as intended and foreseen by our founders, many have banded together in separate, insular groups, socially professing identical opinions and mutually sharing a  “loyal” antipathy toward other like groups, holding disparate views.

John McCain, by bright and admirable contrast, was an avatar of friendly and respectful recognition of   points of view which differed from his own. Rather than attempting to disparage those whose view of policies or solutions to problems varied from his, he would, in good fellowship, attempt to win over the divergent party by appropriate debate in the halls of the Senate. Whether one agreed with him or not concerning specific issues he was sure that McCain’s mature and professional stand was always based upon his personal principles and his perception of rectitude;  one not necessarily governed by the direction  of his  party’s leaders.

McCain’s independent analysis and spontaneous positions regarding issues coming to the Senate, in contrast with the customary, party line, group-think of his party, earned him the somewhat radical title of “maverick.” That reference to McCain was, in our view, an unintended, but accurate, admission of irresponsible “tribal” criteria, motivating the decision-making of other Senators of his party. In the context of contemporaneous politics, the title amounted to another deserved medal (among the many) awarded to the Senator; this Medal of Honor would be awarded  for conspicuous exercise of individual judgment, in the face of general and self-serving irresponsibility on the part of others of his political party.  He opposed the tactical and false “birther movement” and, typically, other matters he saw as unjust.  Senator McCain demonstrated consistently exemplary performance  as an elected  legislator. It has been reported that, unlike most other elected politicians, he did not consult the polls before taking a position on a question. His motto was “straight talk,” the latter being more emblematic of whom he was, than the self- incriminating and politically revelatory, “maverick.”

The wisdom of the ancient Greek statement,” Character is destiny,” has  been  amply confirmed in the life of John McCain. The nation will miss you. Rest in peace.



Post # 272      DARKNESS AT NOON

A long-overdue investigatory light switch has finally been flipped on in the dark, murky, Washington offices, causing its currently resident insects to panic and scurry in all directions for cover. These have, indeed, been unprecedented and dark days for the nation, surely unforeseen by our founders.

Shocking and unpredicted election returns resulted in the elevation of an incompetent, egotistical and totally unfit candidate to the Oval Office; an ignorant autocrat who has chosen to surround himself with malevolent advisors; who has appointed a cabinet of self-interested “Secretaries” who are ignorant of, or even opposed to, the historically designated responsibilities of their appointed departments. As a logically expected consequence, citizen feelings of security and confidence are seriously lacking, in our government’s stewardship of both domestic and foreign affairs.

How did we get here? How, and why did the traditional and dedicated bright light of dutiful and dedicated service and the assumed propriety of governmental operations get switched off?

We suggest that the answers to these poignant questions are as follows. The empirical existence of a large population of poorly educated, unaware and disaffected citizens, plus the recent availability of unlimited campaign funds. The latter financed Trump’s tactical program of mendacious promises, targeted to such discontented, low information and impressionable voters. Moreover, considering the reported low vote of the opposition, (apparently disinterested in Trump’s opponent) the outcome, in retrospect, might seem somewhat less shocking. But, where did such unlimited funds for the support of the Trump campaign come from?

Based upon the fundamental, Constitutional architecture of governance of our democratic republic, designed and built by our founding fathers, the most essential concept was denominated “The Separation of Powers.” The Executive, Legislative and Judicial branches were to be independent of each other, and respectively, exercise “checks and balances” when required upon the other. Unexplainably, the Supreme Court of The United States (“SCOTUS”), has recently unprecedently and unexpectedly, thrown a wooden shoe (“sabot”) into the well- conceived and well- functioning governmental mechanism, damaging (sabotaging) our successfully operating democracy.

The black letter precedential requirement of SCOTUS, [since its establishment] eternally was, that no case may be accepted for consideration which contains a legal issue. The meritorious reason for the forbearance, is the preservation and protection of the fundamental Constitutional requirement of the Separation of Powers. Indeed, SCOTUS has, over the years, refused to accept a great many cases, where it was felt that the impact of its decision might (even remotely) affect an extant political issue. The timeless procedural prerequisite for the acceptance of any case by SCOTUS, is and has always been, the initial filing of a proceeding called an “application for certiorari” to judicially assure the complete absence of any political issue, directly, or by indirect impact, in the case for which acceptance is sought.

At any rate, such was the unshakeable precedent until, GORE v. BUSH, wherein, shockingly, the Court chose to politically affect the outcome of a contested Presidential election. We, as serious observers of the law, were confused and disappointed by the acceptance and the ruling of, said case.  Even more confusing and by precedent egregious, was the manifestly political case, known as “Citizen’s United,” which was also wrongfully accepted and decided by SCOTUS. The high Court seemed to go bizarrely out of its way, in once more, bypassing its own historical accepted precedent, and as well, astonishingly, frustrating the body of the substantive law in its disappointing  and irrational holding. SCOTUS, in its wisdom, ruled that a “corporation” is a “person” and as such, has the First Amendment right (Freedom of Speech) to contribute as much money as it desires to an election. [ Henny Penny, this time the sky is now undoubtedly falling!]

Every law school freshman (and no doubt, every informed entrepreneur) knows, that a corporation is but a fictional legal entity (the concept, existing since its creation by England’s Victorian Parliament Corporation Act), privately formed, specifically, to afford “limited liability” to entrepreneurs. The corporate entity permits one to do business in the name of a fictional “person,” the corporation, itself; which entity can be sued, or sue in its (registered) corporate name. The corporation has legally been a purely fictional “person” solely existing and recognized for this specific and limited, commercial purpose. It most assuredly, does not have existence in any other respect or for any other purpose; certainly not let as a living and breathing citizen with Constitutional rights. Since every law school freshman knows this, one can safely assume that it is known by our highest Court. This conundrum was observed in a very early post (“WHERE YOU AT, SCOTUS?” Vol.1, “Reflections” p.5) where the reasoning of the Court was earlier questioned.

Inarguably, the influence of big money in politics, persists as a critical pathology to democracy and the body politic; the, irresponsibly granted, legal franchise to donate unlimited funds to an election, is the advanced, infiltrating metastasis of that pathology, predictably fatal to the existence of any Republican Democracy.



As stated in the preceding post, we have taken upon ourselves the exercise of a felt responsibility to closely analyze and evaluate, frequently used, but possibly misapprehended, words. In post 270, we sought to resurrect the downplayed and unappreciated noun “repetition” and its adjectival cousin, “repetitive”; the latter customarily summoning up the image of an unprepared, or boring speaker, but in contrast, representing a universal, vital, even existential, phenomenon. As stated, the inspiration for the previous post, having been the experience of being at the seaside and again observing the reiterative movement of the ocean.

In the present note, in keeping with our chosen responsibility, we seek to explore and closely analyze the popularly used, and much lauded, word “tolerance.” The innocent and well -intended perception  the word, ordinarily signifies the commendable quality of understanding and even- handed attitude towards  “others”. For this reason, prior to the expression of our unorthodox remarks regarding such popularly laudable term, we would ask the reader to kindly withhold his reaction to what may be perceived as an injudicious or unorthodox evaluation of the word.

To get immediately to the point, we feel that the only word in the American-English lexicon worse than the word, “tolerant,” is the word, “intolerant.”

A summary consensus of consulted sources, describes the meaning of “tolerant,” as amounting to the fair, objective and permissive attitude toward those whose opinions, beliefs, practices, race*and ethnos are different from one’s own. Sounds acceptable, but it is not nearly acceptable enough.

We most strenuously object to the use of the language which signifies forbearance, and the unabashed presumption expressed the basic concept. A necessary corollary to the definition (and use) of the word, is the implied assumption, that such a “tolerant” person has the (social or political) standing, or implicit  authority, to discretionarily grant or withhold, such permission or forbearance, but, in fact, refrains from denial of such grace because he is virtuous. At the very best, it can have a modicum of value if seen as a preliminary step toward the goal, which is acceptance, albeit clumsy and presumptuous.

The word encompasses unjustified and undeserved self-praise, earned by such forbearance; it is inarguably arrogant, unattractively self-satisfying and clearly bigoted. Put in simple terms. The word is understood to denote right thinking but does not. We may well need another vocabulary word.

There are no set standards for being or thinking, and no existing authority for their creation; therefore, there is no “other way.” Such a conception is at best, ignorant and ethnocentric, at worst, prejudiced. The term “tolerant” which necessarily encompasses the award or personal impression of self-praise for the withholding of action or criticism is arrogant and hubris, and amounts to implicit prejudice; in fact, it is worse than the despicable word “bigot,” which, at least, carries no undeserved illusion of self-praise.

The rational and hopefully attainable goal, is universal sincere and unhesitating mutual acceptance, if not firm friendship. Until the arrival of that remarkable day in the march towards mankind’s moral evolution, it would seem appropriate to extol those who practice right thinking, above those who exult in repressed bigotry.

*We have excised the word “race” from the plinyblog vocabulary; it is scientifically flawed, and is consistently used for unacceptable purposes.



Post # 270      THE SEASHORE AT GWADA*

Despite the commonly understood function of language as the symbolic representation of actions or ideas, we find from time to time, that such functional intention is not sufficiently, or satisfactorily, accomplished. As noted in past posts, we have taken upon ourselves the responsibility, to attempt to redeem, as felt, the true intrinsic value of selected words, or to the contrary, their insidious connotation.

An illustrative example of one such undervalued word is the noun “repetitive” and its adjectival nephew, “repetitive.” In common parlance, the word ordinarily carries a negative suggestion; at lectures, it may invite a perception of the speaker’s lack of adequate preparation, or worse, his disrespect for the assembled audience. The annoying observation of repetitiveness, may also have potential for extreme annoyance (at the perceived speaker’s notion that the audience lacks sufficient understanding, or, the sense of abuse of the bored and captive listener).

The intended theme of this post is the demonstration that the common use of our subject word, “repetitive,” is not fully representative of the extent of its wide application and potential dimension and its vital role in the dynamics of our lives and, perforce, the continued existence of our residential planet.

While at the shore in Guadeloupe, observing the” Texas two Step” style, ebb and flow of the Atlantic Ocean, an epiphany of sorts, was realized; a sudden sense of renewed appreciation of the immense scope and, in fact, the existential importance, of the dynamic of repetition. Aside from the sea’s great beauty, the predictable regular and repetitive motion of the waters, furnishes profoundly comforting evidence and assurance, of a properly functioning planet.

Simultaneously, there was an appearance of a gaggle of conceptual thoughts, associated with the sea’s repetitive action, among which was the realization that the witnessed body of water has been performing its repetitious dance, since a time long prior to the advent of mankind. There was the renewed realization that the ocean has been credited with being the nursery for all earthly life; which latter consideration has the potential for summoning up unconscious, innate feelings of origin, and is arguably, responsible for the presence, in general, of so many vacationers at the seashore.

The sea visibly performing its untiring, repetitive terpsichory, on an eternal basis, symbolizes the reality that “repetition,” singularly, constitutes an assurance of existence and continuing life; the regular and repetitive performance of our heart, internal organs and senses, akin to the ocean tides, is such an objective assurance and the criterion for health professionals. Repetitive outcomes are sought in the entire universe of scientific research and investigative studies. The processes of new learning, of reason and of human interaction ( business and social), mandate predictable and repetitive behavior; but do we repeat ourselves excessively? Alors! Vive, la mot “repetition”!

The moving seaside at Gwada*, reminded us that our lives, physically and sociologically, are truly beholden to the dynamic of “repetition;” a crucially vital phenomenon and as well, a truly impressive word.

*(French Creole for “Guadeloupe”)


Post # 269 RUMINATIONS AT 40,000 FEET

Our occasional airplane travel, unfailingly, produces in us a remarkable manifestation. The mere act of  entry into the cavernous flying container, seems to reliably, presage in us, an altered sense of reality. On settling in and fastening (belting) ourselves to our assigned seat, we at once realize, that we are a hapless number in a veritable ark of fellow adventurers; and that we are now completely dependent upon persons and events over, whom and which, we have absolutely no participation or control. Yet, this identical experience having always proved successful in the past, we confidently, submit our lives and packages to the capably skillful pilots and the eternally smiling crew. Thereafter, one has nothing to do but think; and may be one of the factors underlying the phenomenon on which we base our present theme.

An intensively separate, introspective focus seems to evolve, despite the presence of other people in one’s traveling party and the fellow passengers of the cavernous winged leviathan. We entertain the perception that we are now resuming our personal, private conversation, at the point where it was left off, at the prior flight experience. We pick up the familiar enhanced focus employed on recent such adventures, and seem to continue the audit, or taking stock, of the current progress of our lives, bringing such internal observations up to date, hopefully, with a more experienced perspective.

This re-visited sense of separateness and such enhanced  focus, is readily distinguishable from the sense of being alone. We are among several others, who similarly, may be in concentrated and undisturbed contact with their inner selves. Our judgments and observations in this state, are distinguishably not based upon empirical events as they may occur in contemporary time, but rather reside in an aeronautical style meditation, concerning our recollected past experiences and past responses to stimuli.

We have pondered on the etiology of this (aeronautical)  state of deliberation and cognition  and attribute it to one, or more of the following: (1)  as stated above, the complete surrender of independent action, as an airline passenger or, (2) the hypnotic and monotonous drone of the engines, or, (3) the realization that, incredibly, we are comfortably sipping our beverage at 40,000 feet from the surface of the earth or, (4) the magical experience of motionless sitting, and later emerging, “twilight zone fashion,” from the vessel, at a distant point on the globe, or (5) even the (repressed) realization that any serious mishap, mechanical or meteorological, can have mortal consequence.

Upon the plane’s arrival and landing, we resume our customary patterns of thought, but some instinctive message seems to insinuate itself: “See you next time.”



As observed in a recent post, with all media attention focused upon our adolescent, publicity craving President, effectively providing a total diversion, the spotlight appears not to be shone upon the unnoticed and reprehensible elimination of many of our citizen rights and entitlements. We however felt compelled, as a matter of crucial priority, to emphasize the most compelling subject among those previously detailed, as being overshadowed by such distraction.

It is inarguable that this summer season has, consistently, been abnormally hot and humid. This unusual summer season, as we are aware, was preceded by ominously strange and unprecedented seasons; the climate having presented unseasonably cold or hot days which were truly irregular and completely unpredictable. Our great fear is that, at present, we are no longer enabled to prevent catastrophic climate change, but are now experiencing its actual, dreaded and predicted onset.

Last night we, (who usually have meaningless or forgotten dreams), dreamt that planet Earth, by reason of the extensive and steady pollution of its air, water and atmosphere, was in an irreversible and uncontrollable process of decay, and on a gradual march toward morphing from a verdant, life sustaining planet, to a cold, lifeless, dry rock, like the moon. The general sense, as remembered, was that the moon itself once had been, in its far distant past, a living and fertile, planet.

This chilling nightmare provided the impetus to again write about the thoughtless ignorance of citizens who have chosen to be “climate deniers” and the criminal negligence of the many short-sighted industrialists, who value profits at a higher priority than life. It seems either suicidal or completely irrational, to deny the presenting symptoms of irreparable damage to our planet and to the life and health of its inhabitants. Practically every climate scientist, nationally and internationally, is in full accord on this dangerous subject. Citizens without expertise on the subject, arbitrarily and adamantly choose to deny the consistent findings of so many reputable scientists. A frustrating explanation may perhaps be found in the neurotic practice of “tribal” voting, as dealt with in an earlier post; a practice in which insecure people perceive that they have attained acceptance and identity by means of communally sharing mutually identical positions regarding controversial issues. However, global warming is no longer controversial.

Would any such climate denier to go to a physician, receive a serious diagnosis, and then stubbornly,  deny, or ignore the medical opinion, despite the potential threat to his own life? The doctor is only one expert opinion; a confirming second opinion, would still make it only two experts. The etiology of the serious and consequential pathology affecting our planet, and fatal to earthly life, has been diagnosed by, no less than, the entire world population of expert and concerned concerned scientists.

The intentional or ignorant denial, of danger of unspeakable proportions from carbon pollution is incomparably more immoral and serious than the criminal act of negligent homicide; it is an horrendous transgression against all life; and amounts, unimaginably, to no less than the intentional and premeditated murder of an entire living planet, together with the lives of its inhabitants.





We anticipate the imminently predictable charge, that we are “contrarians” by reason of our present universal declaration: that a properly framed question, in the context of the pursuit of knowledge, exceeds in vital importance, the significance of the successfully determined answer. This is our confident conclusion, albeit the observation and our ready concession, that it is the successful resolution of the issue itself, that moves the ball forward in the specific field of endeavor, and understandably receives the applause and accolades of the interested public.

A precise derivation and a lucid statement of the relevant issue, requires sufficient knowledge of and authoritative familiarity with the area of inquiry, inclusive of its context and its background. Its most valuable and useful function relates to the direction and definition of the proper focus of the inquiry to the specifically intended area of investigation. During the process of research or experimentation, continued reference to the expressly stated issue or problem might be made, as necessary, to avoid distraction, wasted effort, and to assure the continued maintenance of disciplined and properly directed focus; the investigator must “keep his eyes on the prize.” Should a review of similar or analogous studies be useful, diligent care should be exercised in distinguishing the presenting problem from the reviewed ones. We again emphasize, that while the actual determination of the issue itself is celebrated as the apex of analytical insight, the same is necessarily and eternally, dependent upon the effective guidance and orientation provided by a lucid and precisely worded statement of inquiry.

It should, importantly, be observed, that the preceding comments are solely applicable to objective problems, such as are entailed in matters of intellectual or scientific inquiry. In the case of (subjective) human interactive problems, by stark comparison, the vital discernment or accurate selection of the operative issue is extremely difficult, often, virtually impossible.

In subjective problems, unlike empirical ones, the complication of individually nuanced perceptions rears its neurotic head and thereafter, attempts at rational diagnosis of the underlying problem very soon becomes “a bridge too far.” Additionally, the actual “facts” in issue are customarily tainted by divergent, self-serving, recollections of past experiences, as well as by the usual counterproductive, considerations of self-image and assertions of ego, by jealousy or loyalty issues and, too often, by irrelevant and misleading events.

In fact, were it (miraculously) possible for the disputants, in the context of the preceding paragraph, to identify and isolate the operative and relevant issue in dispute, (analogous to the precise articulation of the pertinent question, in objective matters) the problem, might well, ipso facto, be solved.

When problems present themselves, satisfactory solutions can only be attained by a mutual recognition of the pertinent question or issue, which provides the vital and only recipe, for a satisfactory resolution.


Post # 267     AMERICAN NERO [An Editorial]

It would exceed even the intense pathos of Greek tragedy, if the shocking elevation to the Oval Office of Donald Trump, an incapable, egotistical, ignorant, former television game show host, were merely endured, as a one-off aberration of current history, and simply thereafter, conveniently forgotten. Rational sense and a feeling of duty seem to encourage us to examine and perhaps, understand its etiology and basis, so that we can best avoid its repetition.

The reign of a sitting national chief executive, possessing an adolescent need for immediate approval and an egotistical persona, both attached to an empty vessel of incompetence and ignorance, a person lacking perspective and the ability to make consistent and mature judgments, a false demagogue (in the old tradition of the snake oil salesmen), an abuser of women and a bigot, qualifies him for the category of a Nero, or any other historical protagonist, fortunate enough to embody all of these specified traits.

It is the declared intention of this writing to attempt to identify (as understood) our reasons for the successful election of this shameful travesty, to the highest office in the land and the leader of the entire free world; but most importantly, to avoid its replication. In the ominous words of George Santana, “They who cannot remember the past, are doomed to repeat it.”

For some perspective, we can cite other sorts of  serious mistakes in history: the sale by Russia of Alaska to the United States for .40 cents per acre, the observable incompetence in the architecture and erection of the Leaning Tower of Pisa, the abandonment of the Continent of Australia  by  the Dutch, after its discovery, on their assessment that it was  barren and therefore worthless, arid territory, the initial rejections of J.K. Rowling’s book, Harry Potter ( 22 times), the fiery Hindenburg disaster, caused by filling the giant dirigible with helium, instead of nitrogen, the planetary scale Chernobyl disaster, caused by insufficient carbon rods, and many more historical account of such events. Our [election] disaster, the subject of this note, however occurred intentionally and voluntarily, by a different set of human causes, a lethal combination of unprecedentedly high vote by citizens of inadequate education, and, by contrast, the low numbers of more aware and literate citizens, apparently disaffected with the person of Trump’s opponent.

It is because Mark Twain said,” History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme,” we felt it necessary to respectfully offer the following preventative, and if necessary, ameliorative suggestions:

  • Draw upon your patience and resilience; stay politically informed,
  • If necessary, vote for the good, if not the perfect, candidate for President, or lower office,
  • As possible, try to be active in (local) politics,
  • Stand up, fully, for your (and your neighbor’s) rights as American citizens,
  • Make your political opinions heard; engage, when possible, in peaceful debate.
  • Continue to respect legitimate journalism, ex. N.Y. Times, Wash. Post,
  • Remain eternally hopeful and confidently optimistic.