Post # 531 SOCIAL, SOCIETY, SOCIALISM (Redux)

We continue to experience frustration and disbelief at the persistent and unremitting use (misuse) of the term, “socialist,” or “socialism,” as political epithets, for programs of governmental empathy and assistance, by the uninformed partisans who, by in large, are needful of, and regular beneficiaries of such social programs.

In a much earlier writing, “American Socialism,” we reviewed the earliest days of Capitalism, referred to the horrific hardships of the working poor, as existed at the early days of the Industrial Revolution (as related by Charles Dickens and many other reformers).  Adam Smith’s economic-scientific theories of the operation of, “ laissez-faire,” left manufacture, labor and economic matters, in the control of “Natural Law,” and free of any interference from the King (Government).

Unregulated Capitalism led to popular unremitting and unspeakable hardship, hunger and privation, for the lives of the working lower class. Many years of privation, sickness and early decease, passed before Parliament saw fit to eschew Natural Law and initiate legislation to regulate the cruelties necessitated by unregulated free enterprise (capitalism) and legislatively mitigate the harshness of the lives of the working poor.

In America, it was not until the 20th Century Presidency of Franklin Delano Roosevelt, that concern for the suffering of the working class was recognized, as an economic, practical and moral priority. FDR entered into a contract with America, providing programs of governmental empathy and assistance, with especial emphasis on the working poor. Such recognized and undertaken responsibility and provision of sorely needed programs, were not thought of as socialistic but were morally required adjustments, to the humanistic operation of capitalistic enterprise, contemporaneously and accurately, referred to as, “Compassionate Capitalism.”

Consequently, a plethora of wise and protective programs was passed by the Roosevelt Congress, and subsequent Legislatures, providing for the safety and well- being of the American citizen including, but not limited to: regulations of working conditions, including safety and working hours and minimum wage provisions, social security and survivor’s insurance, disability benefits, air, water safety, drug and food regulation, health insurance programs, anti-discrimination and equal pay statutes, graduated rates of taxation, safety regulations for air, highway and rail transportation, and a great many other governmental programs of assistance and protective regulation.

These programs have proven to be universally salubrious, and an assurance to the enlightened and appreciative American citizen, that he is not, forgotten and left out in the cold, by an uncaring and irresponsible government. It is our understanding and belief, that our citizens have universally, been appreciative beneficiaries of these expressions of governmental undertaking of responsibility. Until recently, even the most ignorant recipient of these acts compassionate capitalism has not been derisive of it, nor, reductively, attempted to impugn the hand that feeds him.

Despite their willing acceptance and enjoyment of governmental benefits, we continue to agonize over the tribally, thoughtless, and unappreciative, misuse of the terms “Socialism” and “Socialist,” as intended epithets, regarding certain political candidates, and their platforms, apparently, because they promise delivery of universally needed programs and economically called for adjustments, by government.  The factual unawareness and ingratitude of such ignorant and self-defeating inconsistency, is as incredible as the election, by these people, of Donald Trump.

Let us briefly, yet once more, ad nauseasm, define the meaning and concept of the term “Socialism.” Simply put, “Socialism” is merely a theory of economics and government, in which the government owns and controls all industry and business. People are paid in accordance with their “contribution.” [diametrically opposed to Communism, in which there is no government, but rule by the “proletariat.” The State owns everything and people are paid in accordance with their “need.” Communism seeks the violent overthrow of government, which is opposed by Socialism.] The respective adherents to the two disparate theories are hated enemies].

We can confidently and unreservedly state that there exists no known candidate for public office, who believes in government ownership and control of industry and business, viz., socialism; an irrefutable fact known to every American, of every stripe.

In our earlier mini-essay, entitled, “American Socialism,” we attempted to demonstrate that programs of compassionate capitalism are far from socialistic, and argued that the same preserve capitalism by their empathic public assistance.

It is our view that Sen. Bernie Sanders, the most compassionate and moral reformist, Presidential candidate, made the fatal mistake of labeling himself as, “Democratic-Socialist”; too many of our undereducated population were probably hesitant concerning the label. The designation “Democrat- Reformist,” would have publically meant the same as compassionate capitalist, and not afford to ignorant and tactical opponents, a paper tiger to attack.

-p.

.

 

Blogpost # 530   POTUS, SCOTUS AND CARDOZO

The 19th Century architects of our Constitutional government romantically referred to as “America’s Founding Fathers,” designed three separate and independent organs of our body politic, executive, legislative and judicial, legally described as, the “Separation of Powers.” The continuous status of a legitimate and authentic Constitutional Republic, was assured by making each component of this triumvirate, independent of the others but, nevertheless, affording to each such independent body, the jurisdiction to restrain another for actions in excess of, or inconsistent with, the Constitution (“Checks and Balances”).  Nevertheless, the Judicial Branch, headed by the Supreme Court (SCOTUS) was designated the final arbiter of legal issues permissibly brought before it, and hence, the ultimate guardian of the established system of governance and the acknowledged rights of American citizens.

For centuries, SCOTUS was looked upon with great pride and reverence as the executor and trustee of the democratic provisions, enshrined in the Constitution and bequeathed to the new Nation, by its idealistic creators. Its rulings, as designed, protected citizen rights against potential infringement by government, and in relevant cases, against the tyranny of the democratic vote. As our culture rationally evolved, the concept of equality, appropriately, became applicable to all, slavery was considered a shameful nightmare of American history and our Nation, became a comparative showcase to older, established Nations; empirically demonstrating that liberty and democracy for all, was possible. This was the case, at least, until the past two decades.

The popular general reverence for SCOTUS, (with a few exceptions) especially by students of jurisprudence and law was virtually religious. Especially memorable, and iconic scholars often populated the high bench, such as John Marshall, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Louis Brandeis and Felix Frankfurter. However, in our view, the most salient example of great wisdom, fairness and juristic acumen, was Benjamin N. Cardozo (term, 1932-1938). What truly established Justice Cardozo, as our incomparable favorite among all the fine justices who sat on SCOTUS, were two factors. In addition to his outstanding juristic acumen, was the literary brilliance, expressed in his wise legal opinions, in the exalted and aesthetic level of Emerson and Edmund Burke, and, importantly, his foresighted view that the interpretation of written law, specifically, the provisions of the U.S. Constitution, should evolve and adjust with the times (“Sociological theory of Jurisprudence”). The chosen language of the Constitution, is, observably, general, thus inviting contemporary interpretation. We have noted that, in matters of interpretation, those who worship “original intention,” predictably, have some personal ax to grind advocating anachronistic societal views, relevant to the times when rich gentry wore white powdered wigs.

Unhappily, our former reverence for the SCOTUS (analogous to our disenchantment with the Presidency of Donald J. Trump) has materially declined, as recounted in previous writings.

The “Separation of Powers” construct, as enshrined in our Constitution, mandates separate functions for each of the three branches of government. This legal design is no less than the underlying foundation supporting our constitutional architecture. The legislature passes laws, the President exercises executive authority, the judicial system adjudicates disputes. This design, together with the mutual right of “checks and balances,” ensures the proper administration of our Democratic Republic, as designed and practiced; at least, until recently.

To assure such fundamental separation, SCOTUS has historically required a procedure known as the “Motion for Certiorari,” as a mandatory and preliminary step to the acceptance of cases by SCOTUS, for consideration. In that procedure, desirous appellants must demonstrate, the appropriate significance of their case, and crucially, make a determinative showing, that their case is not political, to the very degree that there can be no indirect effect of any possible determination upon any political issue. It has been “black letter law,” that any perceived political effect of the case will absolutely, and without exception, result in a denial of acceptance for by SCOTUS.

That is, until twenty years ago.

The BUSH v. GORE case, (2000), dealt exclusively with a dispute as to the correct count of political ballots, and inarguably was a political case. It was in unprecedented and erroneous fashion, accepted, and a President determined (Bush) as winner, by SCOTUS. Can anyone rationally argue that said case was non-political? What happened to bypass centuries of consistent legal precedent?

The CITIZENS UNITED case, (2010), witnessed an even worse abdication of the statutory certiorari principle, purposed, as stated, in mandating an unmovable roadblock to cases which had a political resonance to any degree. In fact, the issue involved the limitation in amount of political (?) campaign contributions by corporations. The decision, in our opinion, ranked in disrepute only second, compared to the shameful, DRED SCOTT decision (in which Justice Taney, ruled that a black runaway slave, was agricultural property, rightfully restored to its owner; soon, thereafter, [mercifully] overturned.)

The CITIZENS case is particularly despicable, not only for its destruction of the basic architecture of Separation of Powers but for its ultimate destruction of representative democracy. Its determination was, that a corporation is a “person,” and as such, is not subject to limitation in monetary political contribution, under an individual’s First Amendment right of free speech. This was the shameless result of a (Republican) majority of the bench, effectively advantaging the wealthy, self-interested, mega- profit-making intentions of big corporations over individual voters, and thereby, destructive of the individuals’ right to an impactful vote and constitutes a democratic travesty.

In addition to existential damage to our Democratic Republic, for which, history demonstrates the great extent of paid sacrifice, the decision is inarguably motivated by political considerations, and the expressed reasoning (for a Court which once saw a Cardozo or a Holmes) is sophistic and less than sophomoric.

Every freshman in law school knows that a “corporation” is merely a fictional entity and not a real person, (originally created by Parliament, in the days of Elizabethan England, and debtor’s prisons) to avoid personal liability for business debts, and to encourage entry into commerce by entrepreneurs. Today, a business enterprise that complies with simple State filing and tax procedures, as a fictional person, may operate in its corporate name, like “Coca Cola Co.” or “Macy’s,” enter into contracts, sue and be sued in that corporate name; but the registered corporation, certainly, is not an extant “person,” living and breathing, with Constitutional rights. One can reasonably assume that, if law school freshmen and most businessmen know it, SCOTUS, certainly does.

These frustrating and disappointing outcomes, show an evident and unconstitutional decline of The United States Supreme Court, from an avatar of assured democracy to a disappointing entity, with the majority (Republican) of SCOTUS, governed by political influence. One hopes that the coming election will reverse the current (Trump) atmosphere, and return our Nation to its traditionally democratic existence, as the showcase of democracy. We at plinyblog.com have a constructive suggestion.

We, unanimously, enthusiastically, and in the spirit of Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo, wish to be the very first (unsolicited) to nominate Hon. Barack H. Obama, as the next available Justice of United States Supreme Court.

-p.

 

 

 

Blog # 529   MATTERS OF LIFE AND DEPTH

Experienced, able sailors responsibly appraise the presenting variables before raising anchor and setting out to sea. Usual considerations include forecasted weather, sea turbulence, scheduled tides, wind and, critically important, the depth of water along the elected route (the latter, often determined by the perusal of “depth charts”) in order to avert the hazards of unseen areas of shallow, potentially dangerous shoals.

By analogy, prudent pedestrians, of all ages, will mind the physical features of their peripatetic route, the distance to their desired destination, take especial note of the weather, surface conditions (wet, icy, bumpy) and are wary of hazards such as major pavement breaks, fallen trees and other visible impediments

Ordinary pedestrian cautions have universal application and are routinely observed with no need for any especial deliberation. It is the plethora of cautionary mandates relative to aging and less agile individuals, (viz., their subjective reaction to them, as impacting personally felt, self -image and esteem) which is the prime concern of this writing.

As we sail through our lifetimes, whatever advantages are garnered in the acquisition of understanding and maturity, in the confidence accrued in one’s accuracy in perception, and whatever level of reason is attained, are, nevertheless, counterbalanced by nature’s inevitable and natural lowering of age’s restraining anchor. This writing is concerned with universally occurring bodily aging and the noted response of previously capable people, to such disabling phenomenon.

We have empirically discerned a variable responsive difference, in degree and kind, in sync with the nuanced persona of individuals, with especial (but not exclusive) reference to the male gender. Men whose esteem and self-image are bound up closely with their physical and sporting prowess will observably mourn such decline in strength and stamina more profoundly, than those who are additionally capable of deriving pleasure from more sedentary pastimes, like reading and hobbies or such non-athletic challenges as painting, musical performance or writing.

Regardless of the etiology and disparate extent of angst, brought about by such natural life changes, the quality of life (not to mention, safety) can best be achieved by a mature and philosophical acceptance of this universal phenomenon, assisted, we submit, by the following life-navigational considerations, salutary for the avoidance of possible emotional descent into the undesirable human shoals of self- despair and frustration.

Since physical decline is inarguably, inevitable and universal, living an acceptably extended life would seem to require that such eternal phenomenon be seen and felt as a fair and worthwhile price, to be paid for its continuance. One might say that the price of admission to the voyage to longevity, is satisfied by an expensive medium of exchange, in the form of such decline in physical or sensory prowess. It is the ultimate realization and acceptance of this eternally perpetual trade-off that is the existential and spiritual balm for aching muscles, and joints, attributable to the process of aging. Such realization is not only therapeutic but functionally, in addition, an expression of gratitude for the fortuitous continuance of life’s singular voyage.

With such reasoning in mind, next in order, is the establishment of individually applicable and rational physical performance criteria, as an antidote to the possibility of reactions of disappointment or dismay, necessitated by such continuing loss of strength and agility. A personal, empirical range of performance measured by one’s changing physical capability, adjusted as he ages, is essential to the rational acceptance of aging’s gradually imposed physical decline. Comparisons made with one’s physical capability at an earlier period of his own life, or with others, should be perceived as irrelevant and counterproductive. It is the mature acceptance of one’s nuanced and empirically demonstrated physical capabilities, and their empirical adjustment as aging progresses, that lends the admirable virtue of dignified acceptance and rational understanding to a smooth and satisfying sail in life’s voyage.

Another unfortunate (and serious) concomitant to aging, is the disconcerting development or exacerbation, of health problems and/or physical disability. Such situations require significantly more effort in their philosophical acceptance and accommodation. The development of limitations or discomfort, in non-lethal occurrences, may, however, be somewhat assuaged by contrasting the same with comparative possibilities, accompanied by worse, or even, life-threatening conditions.

The optimum perspective of the wise and philosophical person, regarding limitations in physical function, however, caused, appears to be one of essential gratitude for those functions which he is, indeed, capable of performance; is a healthier alternative to an exclusive regret for those he cannot. It is the generous franchise of life, itself, that is to be eternally prized.

The maintenance of a sufficiently balanced and in-depth perspective, with such emphasis on gratitude for being a recipient of the singularly valuable franchise of life, above all other considerations will, predictably, be rewarded by a life voyage, featured by clear sailing and the prudent avoidance of many potential deep emotional shoals.

-p.

 

 

 

Blog # 528  CHOICES: THE COOLER SIDE OF THE PILLOW (2)

 

The dynamics of human life would appear to be an eternal procession of selected choices, widely ranging from the facile bedtime decision to turn the pillow to the cooler side for comfort, to the existential decision, to be or not to be. It is volitional decision making, as contrasted with autonomic functions (ex., breathing, digesting, eliminating) and Pavlovian (pre-programmed) responses to stimuli, that is the present object of concern.

Elie Wiesel, whom we, at plinyblog, have elected to call, the lyrical, “Greek chorus” of the horrific, non-fictional tragedy, known as “The Holocaust,” knowledgeably said: “Always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victims. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” We will return to the subject of this vital, empirical observation, following a general, less esoteric discussion on “choice.”

The exercise of the universal franchise of choice in most mundane matters, such as morning and evening routines, observably, are merely matters of acquired habitual behavior, evolved routine choices, depending upon the practical circumstances of family or house-mates, regarding bedtime, work schedules or merely, happenstance. Such schedules, which include, matters such as, brushing teeth, shaving or applying facial make-up, ordinarily morph into consistent, semi-mindless habits or routines, disturbed only by nuanced circumstances. By major contrast, the reasoned and conscious exercise of volitional choice is never as facile as, sleepily, turning the pillow to its cooler side or routine behavior.

The principled right to universal free choice is assured by specific delineation in our Constitution and system of laws. The declared equal entitlement of all citizens to the exercise of their personal rights of action, as described in the Bill of Rights, is limited only by societal considerations of health and safety, and non-infringement of the rights of others. The exercise of the individual’s specific choices, is more complex, residing in his personally nuanced motivation, underlying such assured rights.

It is to be borne in mind that, predictably, there are psychological and factual considerations affecting the exercise of volition. Factors which would affect or impinge upon that exercise may consist of, parental upbringing, race, economic status, education, cultural and religious teachings, societal factors, intelligence and capabilities, mental health, health or disability, bodily (brain) chemistry, and perhaps above all, past experience, actual or perceived. It is elemental to assume that man’s choices are affected by such modulating factors, and that free choice, (“free will”) in addition, encapsulates such freedom in the context of the similar rights and choices of similarly entitled others.

Individual liberty is affected, as well, by practical considerations of family and national duty, events (like Covid-19), personal relationships, nuanced perception and the influence of others.  Assertive or timid personalities may differ in (choice) reaction to stimuli, but, living in society requires uniform acceptance of its approved code of morality and of the identical rights of others. Any government, person or group, which discriminates against or limits the natural or granted rights of the individual, is never morally or legally acceptable since, among other considerations, it unjustly interferes with the exercise of universal free will and individual life choices; such restraint is un-American and morally and legally, forbidden.

In the case of unjust practices, such as bigotry, personal or institutional, it is legal and relevantly appropriate, for American citizens, pursuant to the written provisions of the U.S, Constitution, to peacefully and legally exercise their legal choice to protest, such as in the “Black lives Matter” movement. For decades, law-abiding and morally inspired, American citizens have anxiously witnessed a steady, fearful, militarization and arming of municipal police departments, and in the criminal and Nazi-style mode, police acts of homicide practiced, criminally and in a Nazi-style mode, against unarmed, peaceful American citizens, motivated by the sole neurotic basis of their skin color. The realization that the police, are perceived to represent the establishment and the will of society in such cases is disturbing.

It is inconceivable to realize that rational American citizens, will tolerate or celebrate a Nation in which fellow Americans who happen to be born with darker colored skin, are treated in an inhuman manner, similar to the Jews in Europe; as well as, earlier in our history, by our government, with respect to our continent’s peaceful Native Americans. Sad to say, the deadly pathology of racist bigotry (among a plenitude of miscreant behavior) appears to be a feature of the repulsive persona of the current President of the United States; a Nation fundamentally dedicated to the moral principle of liberty and the equality for all.

The responsible choice of Americans is to, at long last, rid the Nation of the immoral and repulsive phenomenon of bigotry. Thousands of responsible, law-abiding Americans, of every color ethnos and circumstance, have appropriately joined in the huge public and peaceful demonstrations, against institutional prejudice, including, particularly, immoral black homicide. They are acting appropriately and as good and responsibly moral citizens in availing themselves of their Constitutional right to peaceably, protest prejudice and unequal treatment.

Elie Wiesel, (if he were alive) would join us in the applause of and earnest support for, those true and dedicated citizens who love our country enough to come out and protest against the systemic prejudice, practiced against black and brown fellow Americans, (“Black Lives Matter”) and in favor of the enshrined principle of equality, on which our Nation was fundamentally established.

Our egotistic and un-American President, in keeping with his perverse totalitarian inclinations, has, in autocratic fashion, chosen to illegally and shamefully, send armed soldiers to confront those patriotic, and admirable protesting citizens. He must be voted out of office if we are to have a return to the eternal promise of a principled and traditional America.

-p.

Blog # 527 DISMAL  CAROUSEL poesie (“Wuka-Wuka”)* [Redux]

Suffer no fear of tropical storms,
They do relent, rebalance, reset.
Have no fear in the long, black night
It’s only day without the day.
But do dread, the awful sound of wuka-wuka!

Do not fear the mighty blow,
All wind dies down before too long.
There is no fear for heat and cold,
It all just moderates in time.
But beware the wuka- wuka sound!

You mustn’t fear black smoke too much,
Firemen are surely on the way.
Nor panic from excessive speed,
Reduce will follow shortly on.
But, so much fear in wuka-wuka! wuka wuka !

Never fear a try at love,
Yet another may do the trick.
Do not fear to fail at goals,
New starts will show before too long.
Only wuka-wuka sounds are dire!

Do not fear the surgeon’s knife,
The goal’s to free you from disease.
Never fear the longest road,
The end’s in sight before too long.
But you must escape the wuka sound!

You must avoid the dread carousel,
Grim wheel that turns, just gyres and turns
No music here, all wooden gears,
That speak in fearsome wuka sounds.
Do fear those clacking wuka sounds.

Foul beasts are seen to stand and glare
From on the platform of that wheel.
With vicious smile and carnal teeth,
I could stretch to see but few.
Of this wuka-wuka menagerie
.
Better hope it will pass by.
The wuka-wuka at your face.
All would be lost, all good be gone,
Your fate: to see the beasts up close.
Wuka-wuka, wuka!

The first beast is called the “Trail of Tears”
One,” Armenian Deadly March”
A white one bears the name, ”Jim Crow”
“Dresden” is the German beast
“Appomattox,” another horse
Next to a black one, called “Babi Yar”
A Yak who answers to “My Lai.”
Behind an ancient hound, “pogrom”
“Nagasaki” is the reddish beast, before
Twin ogres, “Isabella and Ferdinand”
“Hutu-Tutsi” both on the side
And to the right of one, “Nanking”
Wuka-wuka, and then wuka wuka, ever it clacks.

To the smiling skull atop the pole,
Above the center of the wheel
I screamed: ”Please, please answer me!”
“When will it stop?”
The faint reply was wuka- wuka, wuka-wuka

-p

Leonard N. Shapiro 11/16/16

*This is the second of two reprised poesies, to remind us that human tragedy inevitably follows whenever evil persona prevails. We need to consider the reality of National disaster unless we vote against the candidate ,inspired by autocrats and autocratic rule, Donald Trump 8/3/20

Blog # 526 NAMASTE [*Redux of 172]

 

Attend it close, excluding all
So as to sense and mindfully hear
The cardiac beat of planet Earth
Those pulses soft in depths profound
Life’s vital tattoo, its organic sound
In synchrony to man’s own heart
In star- set universal time.

If you would hear, go out of mind
Attend the Earth, embrace its sound
Enfin, -do you mark that base tattoo?
That all may hear and apprehend-
It ticks the steady tune of life
With the eternal measured strikes
That beat, indeed, from babe to crone
And then, from crone to dust, so soft.

My sight is only for your Self
And not your lovely eyes or limbs
It is perforce, your heart I seek
That beats along with that of mine
Both timed unto that earthly drum.

What I would see and do salute
My planetary heart and earthly self:
Is pure, ethereal love of you.

-p.

Leonard N. Shapiro, N.Y. 2018)

*This poesie is reposted to serve as a brief moment of healing, at this time of great stress.

Blog # 525  AMERICA’S EXISTENTIAL REFERENDUM: Editorial

Our Republican Democracy, created by our celebrated Forefathers, the new and radical dream of citizens living a principled and secure existence in individual equality, liberty, and the freedom to pursue their personal aspirations, has demonstrably been threatened, like never before. Excluding the period of the Civil War and the subsequent, shameful, era of Reconstruction, it has not been under such existential, threat.

The two elected terms of President, Barack H. Obama, a paragon of capability, rectitude and dedicated intelligence, gave us some temporary assurance that the American voter had matured in judgment and appreciation for what is universally understood to be “The American Way.” Under his administration, the Nation prospered and continued on its steady progress on the path to the rectification of its historical shortcomings, in civil rights, in reforms concerning economic and tax equity, educational opportunity, health care, empathic programs for the needy, and an enlightened appreciation of education and science, including the recognition of the dire scientific warnings of global warming.

The shocking elevation to the Oval Office of Donald J. Trump, an undereducated, ignorant and egotistical,  former second rate, T.V. game show host and real estate gonif, was the unfortunate result of an unholy confluence of, educated voters who did not like Hillary Clinton, and so,  did not vote, Trump’s demagogic, pie in the sky, false, promises to the undereducated, reductionist and discontented portion of the population, and the unlimited, enormous financial backing of anti-regulation, sociopathic, big industry,  (shamefully,  enabled by the undemocratic decision of SCOTUS, in  “Citizens United”). The unexpected election outcome turned out to be disastrous, not only to our Nation’s continuing success and its traditional status, as the powerful and just leader of the free world, but, as it came to be revealed, the existence of the Democratic Republic itself.

We will not yet again, breathlessly, detail the facts of his publicized, immoral, and embarrassing behavior of this miscreant President. His neurotic arrogance, his bigotry regarding minorities and women, his cruel and repressive immigration policy, on behalf of a Nation composed completely of immigrants and their descendants, featuring the breaking up of families and the caging of the separated, young children, his revealed bribes, to cover up his many wrongful assignations with prostitutes, his serial mendacity, his  attacks on the media and free press, his disparagement of science and learning, his resultant denial of scientifically established global warming, as well as the advent of the present pandemic, the latter, resulting in an enormous number of the infected and the consequent, substantial loss of life, his blatant violation of the Constitution’s emoluments prohibition,  illegally, enriching himself and family from his office, his complete ignorance of history, foreign affairs and treaty agreements, making our country the laughingstock of the world, his blind,  his egotistic friendship with our traditional enemies, contrasted with his enmity for NATO and our historical friends and allies, his anti-environmental stance, including his refusal to sign the International Accords, and denial of global warming, his recent pardoning and commuting sentences for criminals, with whose crimes he was, in fact, evidently implicit. The foregoing is not a complete list, but there is need to get to our salient theme.

The existence of a miscreant, like Trump, incapable of office but capable of the performance of such wrongful acts, would certainly provide more than ample justification, to vote against him, and for his opponent, Joseph Biden, (who, in contrast to Donald J. Trump, has the requisite attributes, moral responsibility, and respectability, intelligence, experience as Vice -President, (under that exemplar of good governance, Barack H.  Obama, and as a legislator), together with a sincere empathy for the needy citizen. But we digress; our titled theme, speaks, not in terms of a Presidential election, but an existential American referendum.

The defeat of the autocratic self-worshipping, Donald Trump, is no less than consequentially imperative, for reasons we deem, by comparison, yet more profound, than the preferable election, of his far superior, opponent, Joseph Biden. In our view, this is not simply, another quadrennial, popular selection of an American President; at stake, this time, frighteningly, is no less than the fundamental survival, of the now, singularly, precarious, democratic American way of life, itself.

Any cursory student of World History is familiar with the etiology, the presenting symptoms, and actualized presentment, of the grim pathology of autocratic fascism. We need to look no further back in history, for example, to the 1930’s Weimar Republic of Germany. After a demonstrated history of centuries of xenophobic warfare, Germany was able to morally evolve, at last, to a legitimate democratic government. The “Weimar Republic” featured, a publically elected head of State (the Chancellor) a Parliament (the Reichstag), and a Judiciary. Newspapers and radio were independent and free.

Germany, at the time of the Weimar Republic, found itself in severe financial straits, due to the worldwide (“The Great”) depression, and, relatedly, began to experience  severe unemployment. As shown by 20th Century history, a previously, unknown uneducated, psychoneurotic and despicable egomaniac, Adolph Schikkelgruber, a/k/a Adolph Hitler, employed his singularly, great talent as a demagogue, to, very successfully, delude great numbers of the discontented, disgruntled and unemployed German population, with promises of a better and more prosperous Germany. He set about attacking the newspapers, and radio media, burned books, rounded up and imprisoned all critics, divided and completely polarized the population, set group versus group, championed an exclusively, white, Christian Germany, imprisoning and murdering many millions of Jews, gypsies, homosexuals and the disabled. Hitler used the German military (martial law) to eliminate political opposition, organized the black shirts and the brown-shirted, militarized children, to spy on family and neighbors, destroyed free speech and right of assembly, despised all foreigners and eliminated immigration, denigrated all science and learning except for military purposes, glorified strength and deprecated weakness, and murdered many disabled people, prosecuted intellectuals, and appointed racist and ignorant people as officials and military officers.

If there were, in existence, a reference book entitled,” The Joy of  Autocracy,,”  (analogous to the culinary guide, entitled, “Joy of Cooking,”) Donald Trump has not violated any of its suggested recipes. He has polarized the Nation, attacked the free press and media, has, as a demagogue, made snake-oil promises about a “better America,” encouraged racism and the hatred of minorities, mocked the handicapped and disabled, encouraging prejudice against dissenters, homosexuals,  he has deprecated education and learning, including the findings of scientists on global warming, expressed utter disdain for “liberal intellectuals,” adamantly opposed all foreigners and immigration, has, in dictator-like, style, used martial law by sending private, armed soldiers to quell peaceful protests against racial homicide, by municipal police, has encouraged foreign countries to engage in interference with the vote, has, in an autocratic fashion, even expressed doubts as to stepping down, in the event of his loss at the coming election.

Trump has faithfully adhered to the historically successful, textbook recipe, for a Weimar style, replacement of our traditional liberal democracy, and must be halted in his despotic tracks. This November, more than a selection of a President is at stake; It is clear that the first Tuesday in November, will be a referendum, as to the public’s desire to maintain its cherished rights under our Constitutional democracy, or suffer the steep political decline to an autocratic form of government.  The American voter is mandatorily, obliged to recognize the fundamental, crucial, and determinative significance of the coming election; in reality and empirical effect, a public referendum on the continuance of the American way of life.

Because of its ultimate,  great existential significance, we are concerned but remain optimistic.

-p.

Blog # 524  A MIDSUMMER’S NIGHTMARE

The term, “nightmare,” has acceptable reference to disturbing dreams, occurring during a deep stage of sleep and inciting a strong emotional response, i.e., fear, despair, or anxiety, often causing us to awake, to an ephemeral state of anxiety. The daytime nightmare, as referred to in this writing, is immeasurably, more insidious, as referring to a disturbing and empirical, reality, one from which the affected individual may not free himself, as in the case of a sleeping such incident, by merely awakening.

Prior to the revelation of our essay’s daytime nightmare, we would contextually offer, three such illustrative, examples of comparably fearsome and highly disturbing nature:

  • The historic Teutonic tradition of xenophobic warfare, after many centuries, seemingly, had abated. In its stead, in the early 1930s, the world saw the development of a valid democratic republic, with an elected Chancellor and a Legislature (The Reichstag), as well as a Judiciary, known as “The Weimar Republic.” Recent history tells us that the established, Federal Government as well as the general public were politically polarized, which divisiveness was exacerbated by a world-wide depression (the “Great Depression”), leading to serious financial problems and an abnormally, high rate of unemployment. An inadequately educated (primary school), severely demented, but gifted demagogue, rose to power (Adolph Schikelgruber, a/k/a Adolph Hitler), founded on profuse promises, in snake oil salesman’s fashion, of a better Germany, and a better life for all of its discontented citizens. The resulting nightmare, consisting of the destruction of the Weimar Republic, tyranny, horrific racial and religious prosecutions, including, among other travesties, the heartless imprisonment, torture and mass homicide of six million Jews and untold numbers of gypsies, homosexuals, the handicapped and disabled, and other innocent souls. Destruction of the free press and the media was immediate and networks of informers, Black Shirts, brown shirted children, and even neighbors, deluded by Nazism or sufficiently terrorized, to report, other neighbors, and in certain instances, even family members, for overheard criticism of the harsh autocracy. This extreme travesty, required the Allied forces’ destruction of Germany, to bring the extreme nightmare to a close. It is truly incredible, that cadres of lunatic, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists, still exist, seemingly, with the same persistence, as do poison ivy and pandemic viruses.
  • The cogent possibility of such a traumatic nightmare, developing, at any time, in America, is frightening, answered in the positive, in Sinclair Lewis’ alarming (and instructive) novel, “It Can’t Happen Here.” In the thought-provoking and nightmarish novel, a discontented, populist supported candidate, for the American Presidency, (fictionally)defeats Franklin D. Roosevelt for the American Presidency, and creates an autocratic reign of terror, of official squads of watchful and militarized “Minutemen” and tyrannized civilians, to report citizens for sedition. The free press or media are nonexistent, learning and education are denigrated and women occupy the status of second class citizens. The demagogic ruler in the novel was modeled by Lewis, on a living, dangerous person, of that time, Huey Long, of Louisiana, whose nonfictional, life narrative, might well have been that of the tyrannical demagogue, described in the novel.
  • The dystopian, nightmarish, nation, portrayed in Margaret Atwood’s novel, “The Handmaiden’s Tale,” describes a tyrannically, repressive, country, “Gilead,” created, not by xenophobia, but by extreme devotion to religious doctrine. In this engrossing novel (and film) the Nation of the United States of America is replaced by a tyrannical conquering force of militantly, dedicated believers in Jesus Christ, in which civil rights are curtailed, and in which women, of the working class, exist only as servants and fertile, livestock animals; for the propagation of offspring for the male leaders of the ruling religious class. Speech is restricted to the exchange of monotonous religious platitudes, and rape of the handmaidens by the men of the ruling class, of the handmaidens, is an appropriate religious activity, presumably, for the goal of prized impregnation. Speaking or acting in a manner unacceptable to the upper class, even by upper class women is severely and cruelly punished, since, upper class, women, qua female, are, in Gilead, legally, second class.

We are grateful for Attwood’s fine novel, and have ourselves, objectively observed, that, historically and in the contemporary era, devout religion and other popular irrational and superstitious credos, (fundamentally, founded on fear of death, and controllable by the tactical creation of the imperial ideation of “sin”), over the ages, has been a universal cause of polarization, conflict, and inhumanity.

  • The unpredictably shameful, Mad-Hatter Presidency of Donald J. Trump is, knowledgeably, the source of our frightening, daytime nightmares. This completely unpredictable and unstable, psychoneurotic, is incapable of his office (or perhaps any other office requiring, rational thought); this ignorant, bigoted egotist, in merely a few short years in office, has besmirched the American Presidency and demoted the traditional status of our Nation, from the proud and moral leader of the entire free world, to the shameful image of an inept, international laughingstock. Trump has violated every rule of moral behavior, serially consorted with prostitutes, attempted to cover up his illicit behavior with bribes, acted treasonably with our enemies, committed crimes with other co-conspirators, then pardoned his partners in crime (for their silence), egotistically and in utter ignorance, publically denied the existence of the presently raging, mortal pandemic, thus rendering our nation unprepared and causing great and preventable, loss of life, all as part of his public denigration of science and learning, acting in the manner of a pronounced bigot regarding our fellow black Americans, been a boasting abuser of women, is possessed of a neurotic practice of consistent, predictable, mendacity, a winking supporter of white nationalism, an enemy to constitutionally protected, peaceful protest (alarmingly, in Hitler-like, and in totalitarian fashion, having sent in armed private army, to “enforce rule,” at peaceful protest marches), has gone so far beyond the pale of republican democracy, and normality, as to suggest that in the event of his defeat at the next election, he may refuse to accept the result and to leave the Oval Office. It could not, possibly, be imagined worse.

This ignorant, inept, egocentric and immoral, miscreant is our terrifying, traumatic midsummer nightmare, one which can only end with his resounding defeat at the polls.

-p.

Blog # 523  THE MEDIA LEGAL BEAGLES

We can no longer remain silent concerning the parading out, before the television audience of popularized, disappointing, and unimaginative, legal “experts.” While we are completely awed by their impressive credentials, we are less than awed by their inability to see and discuss many salient and basic issues confronting, America’s system of laws. For those readers who will respond to this statement with disbelief, or accusations of our presumption, we ask only that they thoughtfully and impartially read, the following typical examples of this unfortunately accurate, declaration. We have categorized and discussed, the most egregious.

(1) It is undisputed that the U.S. Constitution contains an absolute grant of power, to a sitting President, to grant a pardon, and as a corollary, to commute criminal sentences; such as the recent sentence commutation, of that despicable embodiment of evil arrogance, Stone. The crimes for which this wrongdoer had been convicted, were wrongful acts perpetrated, expressly, and unmistakably, for the protection of the President, and are acts, in which the President, knowledgeably participated.

Why haven’t these, legal “Oracles at Delphi” ever raised the question, as to whether the Presidential power of pardon, extends, or should properly extend, to a sitting President, who, himself, has been complicit in the underlying crime?

(2) There were many, apparently, “erudite” television discussions on the subject of the Non-Disclosure Agreements, executed by the various call girls, specifically, for Trump’s protection, Surely, these celebrity legal gurus must know, (as any C student in law school knows) that Contracts dealing with unlawful or societally unacceptable subject matter are entirely (void) and not enforceable. This failure is disappointingly revelatory, of the evident lack of legal acumen, as to the most basic legal principles.

There is no legal or rational reason, why the (witness), participants to the President’s illegal assignations, under American jurisprudence, are constrained from participating as witnesses; certainly not by reason of the explained, so-called “Non –Disclosure Agreements.” The latter, applicably, is a specialized commercial instrument, to protect business secrets or processes. We were disappointed with this lack of basic legal acumen on the part of all of the highly provenanced experts.

(3) The Bush v. Gore, and Citizens United cases, decided by the U.S. Supreme Court, inarguably, and obviously, are “political” cases. Yet, eternally, and since the very creation of the Supreme Court, it has been indisputable and inflexible, black letter law and consistent precedent, that cases with any discernable political aspect (even, possible tangential and indirect political effect), will absolutely not, be accepted for determination by the Court. Those knowledgeable in law or even basic civics, would, knowledgeably, explain that this universal roadblock exists to protect the status of the Constitutional, “Separation of Powers.”

Why was this very basic legal problem left essentially undiscussed by those who have been knighted as legal, royalty by the media? These experts could also have weighed in on SCOTUS’s bizarre and irrational reasoning in the Citizen’s Union case to the effect, that Corporations are “persons”; ergo, have the right to vote; when it is mere schoolboy knowledge, that a Corporation is merely a fictional business entity to avoid unlimited liberty, (and not an enfranchised person.)

The Citizen’s case, whose “considered” decision by SCOTUS, can appropriately, be compared to the insane pronouncements of the “Mad Hatter,” in Alice in Wonderland, essentially damaged our Republican Democracy by such inane reasoning, permitting, unlimited and commercially, self-interested large Corporate money to override the wishes of the people (voter) and decide government policy.

We, like “Sportin Life” in Gershwin’s “Porgy and Bess,” legally advise, thatwhen it comes to the value of television legal pronouncements, “it ain’t necessarily so.”

-p.

 

Blog # 522      TERRA FIRMA INCOGNITA

 

In response to readers’ requests, we have previously, published several mini-essays, on the exotic immigrant World in the 1940’s Brooklyn (East New York). So many of these nostalgic and colorful scenes, of many decades ago, still seem remain fresh in our bank of early memories; hopefully, their depictions have been of interest to readers.

We have previously, sampled snippets of our recollected memories on such subjects as the newly settled, Eastern European Ashkenazic residents,  themselves, their manifest poverty and efforts, personal sacrifice to support their families, their aspirations for the future of their American, children, their earnest,  and at times, somewhat risible, attempts at self-Americanizing, among other things, their impatient desire to quickly replace their Yiddish language, with American conversation (Yinglish), their recently transplanted folkways and cultural traditions, their tenement residence, their ambiance, the era’s, electrified trolley cars and street tracks, the still extant, albeit outmoded,  colorful horse and wagon entrepreneurs, the iceman, the milkman, the street food vendors, the children, and their street games, and many other, cherished, and long bygone, snapshots of the times.

It must be considered that, in those days, regarding the significant, developmental stage of young children’s need for diversion, there was no television, no electronic gadgets or games (beyond “wind –up” toys), only, roller skates, tricycles, rubber balls, marbles (this latter, Olympic sport, highlighted, in an earlier writing), the occasional movie or visit to the overcrowded, neighborhood pool, constituted a young boy’s total universe of diversion.

Fortuitously, in close proximity to many multiple occupancy, residential neighborhoods, there were vacant lots, affording to the local boys, a unique, and significantly, rare, uncrowded venue, in which they could discharge their youthful energy as well as their need for freedom, and engage with friends.

In order to better transmit a timely picture of the scene, we would briefly, touch on the typical neighborhood lot. The same was not a garden paradise, by any measure, but located, only one or two city blocks, from the young boy’s apartment building, it was to him, a terra incognita, an exciting, uncharted, and open territory. Very few of these children had ever been to the countryside, and so the weeded, overgrown, often littered (empty tin cans, paper, boxes and miscellaneous discarded items, scattered among the weeded, grassy) area was always, to their perception, the outer reaches, a precious, open experience, in stark contrast to the cramped space of their (either, cold, or overheated) family apartment. The boy could “kick up his heels,” and run freely over, perhaps, two acres or so of territory. To his inexperienced perception, it was a natural, (albeit, scruffy), oasis in a desert of concrete sidewalks and brick residential buildings.  The lot had many diverse iterations, depending upon season and weather. In a snowy winter, for example, it was ersatz Vermont, with snowballs and white ambiance.  For unsophisticated and inexperienced, poor children, it was an imagined rural countryside.

We would point out that most of these vacant, weeded, and littered areas, in New York City, had, decades later, sold to developers and builders for many millions of dollars, for business and residential development. But, at the times of which we are reminiscing, they provided the needed opportunity for a young, imaginative boy, for sports, high adventure, and the youthful release of energy.

The vacant City lot provided a useful arena for games of “cowboys and Indians,” mock warfare, or pretended gunfights between cops and the robbers. In our remembered lot, there was natural furniture, like a fallen tree trunk, which served as a hard couch, flat rocks, or a stiff bushes, for the placement of equipment or a sweater, removed, in breach of contrary assurances to one’s mother, and plentiful small mounds, available for sitting or hiding. Digging in the soil, where possible, would often be rewarded with, discarded, relics of past lives. [ see our early poetics: “Under the Blue Ageratum.”]

It was not unusual, sometimes, to bring to the lot, empty jars to be used for selected, short term incarceration of grasshoppers or exotic bugs; nice boys like we, would set free the insects, unharmed, at the end of play. This was wartime, and we vividly recall using those jars for the evening hunting and collection of fireflies, as requested by the Navy, for signal light experimentation. In aid of the war effort, we would also collect metal and rubber objects, much needed for recycling for military use, for deposit at designated depots.

One of our fondest memories of our activities on our lot was that of “baking mickeys.” We would each bring one or two foil-wrapped, baking potatoes, dig a small hole, place them in the hole, partly fill the hole, burying the potatoes, then cover it with dry trigs, light the twigs, as a cooking flame, and let the potatoes bake. Dugout, when “done,” the hot “mickeys,” were always pronounced, “delicious,” as we ate them, sitting on the fallen tree trunk, irrespective of their frequent lack of uniformity, in the final result.

We, obviously, could not possibly conceive, that some decades later, man would actually succeed, in landing on the moon. But in our time and at our childhood age and limited experience, the expeditions to our neighborhood vacant lot, were, exciting adventures into uncharted, exotic, territory (terra firma incognita).

-p.