Friday, January 31, 2014
Not a surprise, though, is it?
She finds no differences worth mentioning between the flat out communism of Paul Robeson and the modest social democracy of Bernie Sanders, apparently.
Now, actual democratic socialists, back in the day, were perfectly clear of the critically important differences between them and all versions of Marxism in descent from Leninism.
Generally, even today, you will have no trouble getting an honest taxonomy of the left from them, one that does not hide but makes vividly clear these same differences.
It has always been the reds whose United Front propaganda hid and even denied them.
Of course, nothing has ever prevented communists, American or not, from joining with others in working for political goals well short of their "maximum agenda," such as happened during the era of the American civil rights struggle and as has happened very often, before then and since.
Pete Seeger's career was at least partly, though not entirely, made up of devoted participation in just such efforts, for which everyone equally devoted to those goals had to be grateful.
But that is no excuse for hiding crucial differences when they are relevant.
And going to the lengths of defending reds when they pursue today or yesterday pursued goals perfectly congruent with their outlook but blatantly opposed to those of the entire democratic left is and was a profound betrayal.
Such betrayals as saying Ho Chi Minh's war was fought for anything remotely like the principles of the American Revolution.
Or that Nelson Mandela, in his years as a communist terrorist, was a freedom fighter struggling for racial justice and equality.
Or that Pete Seeger was not, in his communist decades, a deadly enemy of the most profound and critical political values of the democratic left, from democratic socialists to the merest safety-net liberals.
Oh, by the way.
If those who mean to defend the democratic left can't see any important differences between Bernie Sanders and Pol Pot, why should those who attack it?
Liberals and conservatives are now furiously and volubly shouting at each other over the accusation that not plowing rich people's snow fast enough and taxing them at the top end above 30% are comparable to Nazi persecution of the Jews.
And whether it is or is not correct to equate blaming the American 1% for the economic ills of America, both over the last few decades and to this day, with Nazis blaming the Jews for the economic woes of Germany and Europe.
What is wrong not only with people who make these claims but people who think it necessary to get into a public shouting match about such fantastic whoppers?
And if you insist the liberals are innocent victims, this time, you are ignoring the many, many times when the fantastic whoppers are theirs, not the conservatives'.
Almost everything they have ever said about race, for example.
And most of what they have said about sex, communism, and general leftist radicalism.
OK, it's a dirty job, and yet somebody has to do it.
But nobody has to listen.
Thursday, January 30, 2014
The president, now a "compassionate conservative," advances the cause of "privatizing" Social Security
It was GW's idea and it was already a lie to even use the word, "privatization."
Those who supported his plan to partially defund, weaken, and replace the totally safe and mildly re-distributive Social Security program by letting people redirect part of their Social Security taxes toward personal IRAs, personal savings, rather than into the Social Security fund, called it "partial privatization."
Now, the devil is in the details, but what the president has done is direct the Treasury Department to create a plan allowing workers whose employers provide nothing for retirement to automatically save some of their own after-tax dollars.
The money would be guaranteed by the government, and so as safe as a savings account.
Not in the least clear how this is better than the private savings plans available right now through banks all over the country.
If that's really the long and short of it, what the president has done has been to advance the conservative cause of destroying Social Security by attempting to deal with the problem of retirement for the least well off among us by telling the poor, save up.
Expect Republicans to urge that the money to be saved should be exempt from Social Security taxes, thus ensuring the program also partially defunds Social Security, though it appears not to do that under the president's own plan.
All the same, FDR created Social Security to safely and effectively provide a small but secure pension for the poorest of Americans, with the worst retirement prospects, as well as aid for younger Americans in exceptionally desperate circumstances.
Want to do more along those lines for workers today who can expect nothing from their employers?
Beef up Social Security.
Strengthen its funding and increase its benefits.
Social Security is the right tool. It just needs to be made a better tool.
Of course, the president might reply that such changes are up to the congress and the congress will certainly not make them.
That is true.
Perhaps he has it in mind he can get approval for this idea from the congress.
But in that case he has refused to urge a properly Democratic plan (fixing Social Security) because a Republican congress won't pass it, and instead urged a plan for Republican acceptance whose only point, in their hands, will be to undermine, defund, and help ultimately wreck Social Security.
Not having been allowed to function as a Democratic president, he is now willingly accepting the role of Republican successor to GW, carrying on his destructive work as a "compassionate conservative."
The mind of Obama is certainly a tough nut to crack.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
The US Constitution is too difficult to change, particularly as regards the inexcusable excessive power of small state voters in the Senate and Electoral College.
But some constitutions are too easy to change, enabling too strong executive power.
As far as that goes, Ortega has not changed his stripes.
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Apparently, every liberal is now required to be OK with communism.
All over the web, liberals who helped get Pat Buchanan kicked off MSNBC and regularly seek punishment by job loss for people who say things they don't like are denouncing the anti-communist blacklists of the 1950s, not to mention HUAC and its efforts to out communists, leaving them open to the danger of losing their jobs.
Just pointing out the double standard, here.
Monday, January 27, 2014
Trust me, not the government, says Greenwald.
Trust us journos and traitors, not the government, to decide what government secrets should or should not be kept secret.
Trust us giant, rich corporations without a country, not the government.
Deny government the power and the right to keep tabs on us, our customers, or our business partners like China, Russia, or whoever offers us great bags of loot for our help in undermining American security.
The corporations, plutocracy, and cosmo-libs have been intentionally undermining the American economy and international American power for decades, all the while waving flags.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
That is Epicurus's definition of happiness.
But through what had happened in the past Jove had become aware of the true nature of men: that it is not enough for them, as it is for other animals, to live and be free of all physical pain and discomfort; rather, always and in every condition, they crave the impossible, and the less they are afflicted by other evils, the more they torment themselves with their desire.
Leopardi, History of the Human Race. Giovanni Cecchetti, trans.
This is a straight ahead collision between Epicureanism, ancient or modern, and not just Leopardi but any form of pessimism.
The characteristic view of pessimism is that happiness is impossible, even in the short term; suffering and wretchedness are the universal human lot; life is clearly and decisively not worth living for anyone, ever.
In a nutshell, life's a bitch and then you die - except that Schopenhauer and no doubt others follow Indian religion in supposing reincarnation in a whole succession of lives, all equally hideous.
But the pessimists, to my mind, are just so many drama queens, the whole lot of them.
Existentialists and absurdists included, come to that.
Their views differ among themselves and from the pessimists only as twists of the knife.
Dienstag quotes Unamuno from The Tragic Sense of Life, which I read some forty years ago and do not remember, writing "Consciousness is a disease."
Figuratively, of course, though not literally, for animals in general and particularly for humans, consciousness is life itself, is existence.
Death must then be the cure, or the most complete coma.
And yet, though several pessimists have drawn the lesson and actually counseled suicide, none have followed their own advice, that I know of.
Others have let themselves, at least, off with flabby excuses, pleas of cowardice in the face of death, or appeals to instinct.
Think of Schopenhauer or TV characters like Dr. House, Det. Cohle, and perhaps Sherlock Holmes.
The idea that pessimism and its contrary, optimism, exhaust the alternatives is silly.
To live and be free of significant anguish, physical pain, and discomfort, most of the time, with the usual amusements and occasions of special joy along with satisfactory personal relationships, is an achievable and sufficient happiness for most humans, most of the time.
I do not say all humans.
I do not say all of the time.
I do say that is enough.
More than enough, in fact, to make life eligible, at least, as everyone's life from time to time, for longer or briefer periods, falls short in one way or another.
For that matter, the happiness of many lives is permanently marred or limited in one way or another, while yet those lives continue eligible, it seems, to those who live them.
Certainly, it's a subjective question.
But equally certainly they do not always seem wrong.
Damned shame I don't have HBO.
The pilot is just great.
McConaughey's character Detective Rustin Cohle is tip top, perfect for psycho, serial killer noir.
Loved his quick explanation of philosophical pessimism.
Sounds more like Leopardi than Schopenhauer, but the guy sums it up in four or five sentences that completely freak Harrelson's character, Detective Martin Hart, a much more conventional and Christian fellow.
And I always like it when the detectives aren't just thugs, as they so often are in the usual police procedurals, and there really is an investigation for the thing to be about so that it's not all chases, shoot-outs, car crashes, and fist fights.
This is pretty far, say, from Hawaii Five-O, for example.
Why does Nic Pizzolatto, the show's creator and sole writer, have the least idea of philosophical pessimism?
Doesn't seem to have the right education for it.
On the other hand, Italian-American, background in literature, Leopardi - the dots maybe do connect.
Not much, of course.
But his denunciation of slavery in America as the greatest crime in history was pure bombast.
He spoke on July 5, 1852 in Rochester, New York.
He spoke well, though not without understandable absurdity.
Did American slavery really prove American Christianity a lie?
American republicanism a sham?
American humanity a base pretense?
Well, as to that last, . . . .
Saturday, January 25, 2014
In fact, when the rich talk like this they scare the shit out of me.
When a man points his finger at you and says he thinks you're trying to kill him, expect him to point a gun at you and shoot.
And plead self-defense.
Au contraire, one needn't so much as believe there was a historical Jesus to admire Gibson's film and understand it as an entirely traditional Christian meditation on the suffering of him who was and is to them "Our Lord."
Jews and their sympathizers, however, perfectly understandably, harbor only hatred for and mistrust of traditional Christianity, and no liberal would dare oppose those sentiments.
Hence the solid wall of liberal, led by Jewish, hatred directed at Gibson and his film.
On the other hand, it is hatred of whites that approves the ugly focus on the violence of slavery in this film, made and welcomed by people who, though outraged by the violence directed at Africans that made and kept them slaves, do not see and would not represent in the same light the violence directed at others that creates and maintains the property of the haves and makes those others have-nots, the poor, the homeless, the starving, and the wage-slaves of the haves.
They see and hate the violence directed at blacks by whites, abolished by whites at great sacrifice over one and a half centuries ago.
They are blind to or do not care where encouragement, legitimation, and inflammation of that hate goes.
Or rather, they approve, up to the point of political castration and the soft genocide of whites by demographic conquest.
But they refuse to see and would never so hate, nor dare to see others so hate, the violence at the heart of capitalism, even in little.
Though I would, up to but not beyond a certain point.
The horrific history of communism has already shown everyone where that hate goes, pushed too far.
Thursday, January 23, 2014
Better for anyone?
Were the Chinese better off under a supine traditional imperial state dominated by occupying foreign powers than under Mao?
Oh, my, yes.
Has an African dictatorship been better or worse for the Africans of the country than a white-run republic would have been?
I honestly don't know.
One of his non-partisan moments of praise for Obama's policies. He has actually had several such moments, over the years.
Very sensible, once in a while.
Now if he could talk Obama into quietly abandoning Japan and Korea to their own devices that would go a long way toward earning forgiveness for his support for America's totally unnecessary cold war against communism, back in the day.
They insisted on prosecuting when there was no case.
They turned him into an object of politically correct hatred for the entire left and spent months firing and legitimating black hatred of American whites whose mythic blood-guilt he was made to singularly personify.
They cannot back down, and have no idea of doing so.
Since he was acquitted they have rejoiced at every blow of fortune to befall him.
And they really, really don't like it that he has found a way to make a living on the wrong they did him.
He should be impeached for not doing his job.
The president's was the first bad example, and this guy is following it.
His job is to defend in court such laws as the state legislature has seen fit to make.
Not only such laws as he personally favors.
He will be applauded by the left, but this is just another liberal refusal to play ball with democracy when they don't like the results.
Not that the conservatives are any different, mind.
Wednesday, January 22, 2014
That prig, Woodrow Wilson, got deference and attention at Versailles exactly proportional to the importance of the US contribution to the Allied victory.
As compared to the French, say.
Perhaps something similar happened to Roosevelt, compared to Stalin, after WW2.
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Monday, January 20, 2014
The Master and Margarita.
Frankly, I don't see it.
Wrong Jesus, wrong Pilate for a Christian satire of a determinedly atheist society.
And the focus on the devil is tongue-in-cheek and wrong, as well.
But then, what?
Whatever sort of believer he may have been, he was far from orthodoxy - and Orthodoxy - and perhaps closer to atheism.
He would not be the only atheist more sympathetic to inoffensive believers than to unbelievers out to crush religion with violent repression.
Per the bio published in the Vintage edition, Bulgakov was a monarchist who fought with the Whites.
Like the later Spanish Civil War, it seems that in the Russian Civil War there was no center, but only extremes of left and right.
Bulgakov volunteered to serve with the Whites.
That says something.
In his literary career he defended Whites.
There are notes on each chapter.
They do not tell us what a "False Dmitri" is (chapter 10).
Sunday, January 19, 2014
The point of democracy, of course, is to afford some protection for the interests of the plebeians.
But that counts in democracy's favor chiefly in the eyes of the plebs.
Abolition of slavery is likewise an immediate and evident boon to the slaves.
Well, to most of them, and broadly speaking, anyway.
The arguments of the abolitionists - well, declamations, really, mixed with absurd appeals to pity based on willful blindness to the condition of the free, white working class of the age - were primarily religious or moral.
Just what you would expect from the sort of American bourgeois reformers who would later give us Prohibition.
Were there in America no socialists or radicals from the European Revolutions of 1848 to argue the necessity of proletarian solidarity?
To insist on the unity of interest of all those subject to remorseless exploitation, and their interest in unity?
Or was race too great a barrier for even their commitment to solidarity among the oppressed?
The only birthdays we celebrate nationally are those of presidents.
To make room for this un-president they took Washington and Lincoln off the calendar and made up "presidents day," that nobody gets off, giving everyone MLK Day off, instead.
October 12th is not Columbus's birthday and will eventually be stricken from the calendar by the same racist, cultural revolutionaries who forced in MLK.
Columbus Day celebrates the European discovery of America.
And that won't be allowed to go on much longer.
Saturday, January 18, 2014
They respect neither intelligence nor education, but they respect power and they envy wealth.
On the up side, they are rarely duped by talk of sacrifice for the greater good.
All the same, it is they who get sacrificed as surely as the veriest serf or slave, by and for others.
Being thus exploited willy-nilly all their days, they are astonished by the pride which others take in voluntary sacrifice.
On the other hand, people throw their lives away for nothing all the time.
Empedocles on Etna.
The world as we find it is a stage entirely empty, except for us.
And so we people it richly, if not with gods and demons then at least with ghosts, sprites, fairies, and wizards.
A world entirely shorn of the supernatural is too vast a wilderness.
Thinking of Shakespeare, secular history, and secular literature.
Like secular history, secular literature need not be anti-religious, nor is it generally, I suppose, written by atheists.
And as to literature I think there are at least two grades of secularity.
Shakespeare is secular in that God, Christ, devils, angels, gods and demons do not have roles as characters, though ghosts, magicians, fairies, and the like do.
On the other hand, it is normal for nothing supernatural to appear, at all, in euro-white literature written since the 18th Century, unless with tongue in cheek.
And that even when the characters, viewpoint, or author are frankly religious.
Like aliens in science fiction or the fantasies of utopian literature, supernatural beings, like Hercules or Zeus in some Hollywood epic, can appear as characters without prejudice to secularity if understood and presented as fantasy and without belief.
With its self-infatuated extremism and two world wars, Germany killed the global prestige and supremacy of Europe and European civilization.
Who doubts that without those wars the German, Austrian, and Russian Empires would have peacefully moderated to become constitutional monarchies?
That the European colonial empires would have peacefully evolved toward commonwealth or independence arrangements?
All with vastly less loss of blood and treasure.
One can overdo German war guilt.
But also one can underdo it.
Everybody in the region thinks so.
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014
O'Hara is an artist of prose as good as or better than Fitzgerald or Hemingway - and he makes Hemingway seem like a gimmick.
He is sexually franker than either, and once he gets his story going, it moves.
And he gets it going on page one.
As good as Appointment in Samarra.
The fingers just never stop wagging.
Nothing is too small for them to want to control it.
Sunday, January 12, 2014
Legal positivism explains that laws are commands backed by force.
Whose commands? Whose force?
But what is the state?
Force backed by humbug.
That being the sanctions of religion, morality, and political legitimacy.
Contracts without the sword are but words, he says.
In the state of nature, he says, that power is lacking and desperately missed.
But the compact that creates the Leviathan is different.
In being sworn it creates the sword by which it will be enforced.
The striking thing is their brilliant nullity.
They are so good you view them again and again, asking what they are saying, what do they mean.
They feel so much like they ought to mean something.
But every time you are forced to the same result.
These boys have not one damned thing to tell us.
On the other hand, what was Shakespeare trying to tell us with Hamlet?
Anything at all?
I read somewhere that someone once said a poem should not mean but be.
Friday, January 10, 2014
The remake grows on you.
The music is beautiful and a perfect fit, so it seems, for that part of the America of the period.
It's enough different from the John Wayne version to be an excellent film in its own right, in no way put in the shade by the other, or forced to be judged by comparison.
On one day I watched the thing 3 times through, and liked it better each time.
I did that with Miller's Crossing, too, years ago.
Maybe that was 4 times in one afternoon.
Thursday, January 9, 2014
Fox News, responding with 24 hr outrage to the idea that Obama didn't really believe in the mission in Afghanistan, or something.
Is Fox News the only reason we are still in Afghanistan?
Do they deserve thanks?
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
Sunday, January 5, 2014
Saturday, January 4, 2014
Black slavery in the Americas lasted a bit less than 400 years.
Slavery everywhere in the world featuring mostly non-black slaves is as old as humanity.
Slavery ties with prostitution as the world's oldest profession.
And then a certain idealism swept the Occident and white people ended it wherever they could - with some notorious backsliding.
Think Leopold, Belgium, Congo.
But none of that interests the Guardian's hero.
Or rather only a tiny bit of it does.
Why is that, do you suppose?
On the other hand, the Nazi genocide of the Jews was really historically exceptional, I think.
But black slavery in the Americas?
Not at all.
And all those war movies and films about the Holocaust were made by the generation that fought and endured them, and their children, for their own consumption.
Very naturally, those things were and still are very large in their minds.
The biggest things that ever happened to them.
They were not made, those movies, 150 years later to feed hate and resentment among blacks and culturally and politically intimidate, humiliate, and weaken whites.
It's a cultural hegemony thing.
Part of the left's continuing campaign of soft genocide against whites that includes mass immigration, politically fostered and protected differential birth rates, and exogamy.
Alan Dershowitz publicly worried the last two of these factors will make American Jews disappear.
And did you notice how the left reacted to that?
The left worldwide and The Guardian in particular are really pushing this movie and its maker.
Friday, January 3, 2014
In Europe, they can fine or even jail you.
In addition to getting you fired, expelled from your university, defrocked, or disbarred.
When the right did it, it was tyranny.
It's still tyranny whenever someone they don't like does it to someone they do.
But not when they do it.
Thursday, January 2, 2014
The point was to wreck the military's traditional constitutional role in Turkey as the last defender of the secular republic against come what may.
The Supreme Court does it in America.
Mustafa Kemal trusted the army.
Turkey, by the way, is not in Europe.
Wednesday, January 1, 2014
A recent upsurge in talk of reviving the draft naturally leads to the question whether there is any reason to want it to succeed (there is not) or anyway to regret or oppose either mass, lawful opposition to it, or civil disobedience, or draft-dodging.
I think not.
I think we should welcome them all.
There are no wars the US needs to fight, even with volunteers.
And when there is no good reason to get into a war there are plenty of reasons not to.
This is not a case of me selfishly wanting others to fight my wars for me, since there is no war I want others of my country to fight.
Though I see no problem with such selfishness, per se, anyway.
I am perfectly happy to let other people fight fires and crime for me, and would do my best to escape a draft into the fire department or the police.
Likewise, and like an Israeli, I would be perfectly delighted to have other countries fight my own country's wars for me, if there were any to fight.
Much as the NATO allies have been delighted to let the US take on responsibility for their defense for several decades.
And I suppose it is a good thing that other Americans volunteer for US military service, since I can't imagine anybody invading America with a program that would do ordinary folks like me anything but harm.
Though it is not a good thing that so many volunteer that foolish, costly, and dangerous wars become feasible for our idiot rulers, and an occasion for misplaced enthusiasm on the part of our stupid, sporting public.
Anyway, no draft, please.
The US military does not have to make the world safe for anything or anyone but America and Americans.
And that job is so easy it has not required a single war since the Revolution.
Without question, the social agenda of liberalism is repulsive and stupid, and their methods are contemptible in their dishonesty and defiance of democratic process and fair play.
I wouldn't expect much from Sotomayor, on this.
But the entire agenda of the conservatives is repulsive and stupid, and their methods are just as bad.
The joke is that the whole point of the power of constitutional review is to keep politics constitutionally honest.
But all it has done for America has been to create a central agency of spectacular and irremediable constitutional dishonesty, the US Supreme Court first of all and secondarily the whole federal court system.
OK, time to fire them, yet?
Is it too late for the British to save their country by deporting them?
Well, yes, I suppose it is.
The time to do that has come and gone.
He doesn't quite equate Christians and Muslims on this, but almost.
He could certainly make The L of B again in safety from Christians.
But wouldn't he and everyone else in Britain be ashamed?
And would he be safe from the Muslims?
The kind of meddling anyone with the tiniest drop of libertarian blood finds both revealing and annoying.
It isn't that fuss-budgets are harmful.
Often their meddling really is for someone's good.
But so what?
The hospital says she's not a person in a persistent vegetative state but a dead body.
So when does decomposition make it spectacularly undeniable?
This is a very expensive indulgence of denial.
Who gets the bill?