Monday, May 31, 2010

In Memory ...

Today is Monday, 31 May 2010.

“Memorial Day” in the USA/USE.

On this date in 1921, Klan-led white mobs attacked the Black ghetto in Tulsa, Oklahoma, murdering at least 300, and perhaps as many as 3,000, while burning down most of the ghetto.

It was the “greatest” single white supremacist pogrom in American history, in terms of loss of life.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

If'n You Don't Like It Here...

Today is Saturday, 29 May 2010.

How time flies when one’s having fun.

Seems like ages since Rand Paul’s made an appearance out of the sewer. A white sheet shortage in Kentucky?

Paul is missing the opportunity to throw his wavy hair in the scales against repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell”. Since Paul believes that Big Gummint shouldn’t dictate that public businesses must serve any and all Americans, surely he believes that heterosexuals shouldn’t be forced to share that most public of accommodations, military dormitories, with homosexuals.

Why won’t Rand come to the defense of the straight and narrow, threatened by those with abnormal appetites for same-sex rape? And why won’t he stand up for his fellow Aryans, threatened by The Colored Races, whose only ambition is to rape whites? Doesn’t Rand realize that re-segregation is the only hope?

But, seriously, folks. It’s long, long past time that cowards in Congress and the military high command stopped pandering to homophobic bigots. If the latter don’t want to serve with homosexuals, fine: let them enlist in North Korea's military.

In his new book, Rudy-esque chronic adulterer Newton Leroy Gingrich claims that Obama’s "secular-socialist machine represents as great a threat to America as Nazi Germany or the Soviet Union once did."

Obama is as great a threat to the USA/USE as a political party responsible for the extermination of more than 6,000,000 Jews? Only a totally-committed anti-Semite would so trivialize the Holocaust.

Deport Gingrich to North Korea.

Friday, May 28, 2010

"Old Hickory" and AH

Today is Friday, 28 May 2010.

On this date in 1830, President Andrew Jackson signed into law the Indian Removal Act of 1830. The Act authorized the President to steal Native American lands west of the Mississippi, and “give” them to Native American tribes living east of the Mississippi, thus “encouraging” the latter to move, thereby enabling white gangsters to steal their land.

In his Second Annual Message to Congress a few months later (6 December 1830), Jackson wrote that "[i]t gives me pleasure to announce to Congress that the benevolent policy of the Government, steadily pursued for nearly thirty years, in relation to the removal of the Indians beyond the white settlements is approaching to a happy consummation.”

The “happy consummation” of “the benevolent policy” was the Trail of Tears of 1831-1839, when members of the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Muscogee-Creek, and Seminole tribes (among others) were death-marched by white US Army terrorists from their homelands to concentration camps in Indian Territory (now eastern Oklahoma). The most well-known of these crimes against humanity is the Cherokee Death March of 1838-1839, when more than 4,000 out of 15,000 were assassinated.

Andrew Jackson and his criminal friends were thus predecessors in “ethnic cleansing” of A. Hitler and S. Milosevic. Jackson continues to be honoured by the USA/USE for his crimes, through his portrait on the $20 bill.

It’s as if Hitler were honoured on the euro.

(Some might object that Jackson, etc. never killed as many as the Nazis, but it was for lack of technology, not for lack of will or trying.)

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Feeling Their Pain

Today is Thursday, 27 May 2010.

Under rules proposed by the Financial Accounting Standards Board, banks and other lenders would be required to value the loans on their books at “mark-to-market”. That is, each day, they would be required to value the loans at the prices the loans would have commanded in the marketplace that day. (This is already required for stocks and bonds, including many mortgage-based bonds.) Sounds like a proper reflection of the normal operating of the much bally-hooed “free market” and its “imaginary hand”, oui?

Not according to many lenders, who’ve been allowed to value their loans based on their own private projections of prices the loans might command at some point in a sun-drenched future (rather than at the in-the-crapper prices some often bring). (Lenders call such prices "fair value".) In other words, the executives at the lenders orchestrate the guessing of prices, which just happen to make their balance sheets look the most impressive, and then demand commensurate pay. Pay for possible performance.

A modest example, by way of comparison. I’m currently editing a collection of my plays. I firmly and sincerely expect that, when published, it will rocket to the top of the bestseller lists, and sell at least a million copies at $29.95 each. (And I’m not including translation rights, movie rights, graphic novel versions, the McHH Big 900Gram Burger, T-shirts and coffee mugs, etc.) Therefore, my personal balance sheet shows a current net worth of $29 million, before taxes. Without quibble, any lender in their right mind would salivate at the opportunity to lend me $5 million tomorrow, knowing there’s zero chance I won’t repay. Oui?

So, I’ve developed a win-win solution. Each lender will be required to report two sets of figures. The rule for Set A: all loans will be valued at the price determined in the market at the end of each business day. The rule for Set B: all loans will be valued at any damn number the lender claims to have produced from any damn hat, implicitly presuming that everything were always to come up roses in this, the best of all possible worlds.

The latter will be styled, “The Subjunctive Rule”, and may be referred to in the industry as “The Sandy Rule”, after my most-esteemed high school English teacher. (The French are demanding the nickname be “The Sandy-Candide Rule”, to honour Voltaire also. I’ll ask Sandy if she can live with it.)

Perhaps the most fundamental objection that many lenders have is that, in the case of assets they intend (for now, so they say, and with no penalty if they change their minds) to hold long-term, mark-to-market results in recognition of immediate losses which may or may not actually occur in the future, and thus reduces short-term earnings (and thus, hopefully, executive compensation). Were this objection to be recognized as valid, it follows, as the night the day, that stocks and bonds should also be valued at the prices that financial institutions believe (or claim to believe) were to occur in the future, in this best of all possible worlds.

There’s a reason that I called going to work on Wall Street “Walking Through the Looking Glass”.

Keen readers may recall that I've previously addressed this subject on 31 March 2009.

Yoo and You

Today is Wednesday, 26 May 2010.

In one of history’s little ironies, John Yoo is a professor of “law” at the School of Law at the University of California at Berkeley, of all places. Yoo is best known for his tenure in the Office of Legal Counsel of the Department of Justice (2001-2003).

There Yoo wrote opinions justifying the president’s power to unilaterally go to war without a Congressional declaration, and to order unlimited torture of suspected “terrorists”. He went so far as to affirm the president’s right to order the crushing of the testicles of the child of a suspected “terrorist” in order to persuade the latter to talk. Yoo also believes the president has the Constitutional power to order the mass murder of civilians suspected of being “resistants”.

There are those who believe that Yoo is one of the most distinguished scholars of unfettered Fuhrer-power since the late Heinrich Himmler.

I’m on record (21 February 2010 column) calling for the trial and life imprisonment of Yoo for war crimes and crimes against humanity, given his boasting confessions that he wrote such opinions in furtherance of crimes. As a believer in free speech, I affirm that Yoo should be free to spew his filth anywhere.

However, I must condemn The New York Times for inviting Yoo to parade his porn on today’s Op-Ed page, in which he damns Elena Kagan for being soft on defending dictatorial presidential power. If Yoo wishes to spew his evil, let him buy a full-page ad.

Thugs such as Yoo always assume they will always be immune to the consequences of their actions. But, what if a future president were to suspect Yoo of being a terrorist under cunning "deep" cover, and prescribe electrical stimulation of his genitals as an incentive to "confess"?

And what if You were the suspect?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Today is Tuesday, 25 May 2010.

White right-wingers (WR-Ws) in general, and Teabaggers (Tb-ggers) in particular, pine for a past that never existed.

The 13 Colonies, and thus the USA/USE, were multi-ethnic and bureaucratic from the git-go. It’s just that such honkies ignore Native Americans as “sub-human prey”, and Blacks as “sub-human slave workers”. Just Muzak and furniture in the background.

It took a bureaucracy to kidnap Africans, ship them across the Atlantic, and sell them in the American market.

The WR-Ws and Tb-ggers put me in mind of Harry Lime’s great speech in The Third Man. "Look down there. Would you really feel any pity if one of those dots stopped moving forever? If I offered you £20,000 for every dot that stopped, would you really, old man, tell me to keep my money? Or would you calculate how many dots you could afford to spare?"

And how was the West Won? By bureaucracies which created the militias, the Continental Army, and finally the US Army, which latter, with overwhelming firepower (created by bureaucratized industries), Won the West. Not by rugged-individualist gunslingers with six-shooters. Sorry, National Handgun Murder Association (NRA).

Many Tb-ggers will give up their Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security only after you pry their cold, dead fingers from their checks. How would that be workin’ out for you, after you shrink government small enough that you can drown it in a bathtub?

Monday, May 24, 2010

USA/USE Out of Okinawa!

Today is Monday, 24 May 2010.

As I’ve pointed out so many times in my life that I’m inclined to barf: many politicians who are socially and economically liberal on domestic issues are reactionary imperialists when their minds cross the border.

A case in point is Obama and the continued USA/USE occupation of part of Okinawa, nearly 65 years after the conclusion of the Great USA/USE-Japanese Empire War of 1853 to 1945.

“There he goes again”, some will think.

Please recall that the USA/USE opened hostilities against Japan in 1853, when an aggressor colonialist fleet commanded by Commodore Matthew Perry bombarded Edo (Tokyo) Harbor. The Japanese government was forced to surrender, and sign a humiliating treaty, allowing American business to enter their markets. (By way of comparison, imagine if the Iranian navy lobbed missiles into New York Harbor, until the USA/USE government agreed to lift the ban on importing Iranian pistachios, etc.)

This led to a century of competition between the two empires, both of whom regarded the Pacific as “their lake”, and all its inhabitants their subjects. The eventual Japanese reply came on 7 December 1941 at Pearl Harbor.

As part of the spoils of war, the USA/USE has occupied part of Okinawa since 1945 for use as a military base.

So much for the racist right-wingers who portray Obama as a lily-livered, appeasing weakling.

On this date in 1626, Dutch imperialist Peter Minuit paid Native Americans 60 guilders in trade goods for rent for the land the Dutch had occupied on Manhattan Island. (Native American society rejected the concept of private ownership and sale of land.) Minuit, having greater firepower, reneged on the deal and pretended he’d bought the island for a pittance. Up yours, Pete!

On this date in 1798, Ireland rebelled against the genocidal British occupiers.

On this date in 1993, the Brooklyn Bridge opens to traffic. Hip hip!

On this date in 1921, the rigged show trial of Sacco and Vanzetti begins.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Crusade and Jihad

Today is Sunday, 23 May 2010.

Anwar al-Awlaki, American-born and an American citizen and a Muslim cleric hiding in Yemen, has called for killing American civilians as part of jihad.

I’m certain this will stir a great deal of outrage in the USA/USE, as it should, but consider: replace “Allah” with “Jesus” and “American civilians” with “Indochinese”, “Nicaraguan”, or “everybody in the world” (in the case of nuclear war), and such a statement would be characteristic of any number of American Christianist religious leaders. (Falwell, Robertson, Hargis, Cardinal Spellman, etc.)

Some cynical apologists would rationalize that such leaders never came right out and said, “Kill civilians”. However, they endorsed and justified, nay, demanded methods of warfare that they damn well knew would inevitably result in the murder of civilians as “collateral damage”. Ethically, the latter is the mealy-mouthed equivalent of calling for the extermination of civilians.

Don’t recall any great outrage on the Religious Right when their leaders called for murderous crusades.

Alas: the nature of contemporary society and warfare is such that all the world is a battlefield, and none of us are really civilians.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Incredible Shrinking Candidate

Today is Saturday, 22 May 2010.

Rand Paul isn’t a tough guy, but he plays one on the stump.

Having sought to be interviewed on Meet the Press, he’s now turned tail, ran, and cancelled. (Something to do with being beaten up by a girl, I believe. A lesbian girl.)

(Ran)d Paul
Has no balls.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Prince Rand of Paul

Today is Friday, 21 May 2010.

On Good Morning, America (ABC), Rand Paul said, "What I don't like from the President's administration is this sort of, 'I'll put my boot heel on the throat of BP.’ I think that sounds really un-American in his criticism of business. And I think it's part of this sort of blame-game society in the sense that it's always got to be somebody's fault instead of the fact that maybe sometimes accidents happen.”

Like Rumsfeld, like Rand: Shit happens.

Is Rand really a pea-brained buffoon, or is he just sucking the extreme looney white-right wing? The latter, of course. (And the clinically malignant narcissism doesn’t help.)

Like Ron, like Rand.

Yo, Rand! If you don’t like it here, move to England. You can kiss the arses of both the Queen and British Petroleum.

Just when one supposes one has seen everything, one receives the following e-mail.

“Dear Friend of Gentile Freedom,

The OBAMA II “birther” controversy is a HOAX!!!

In July 1961, Barack H. Obama II was born to black Ethiopian Jews who had migrated to Jerusalem in the late 1950s. He was smuggled to Hawaii on an Israeli submarine, where he was switched for the baby who had been born on August 4, 1961 to S. Ann "Dunham" and Barack Obama, Sr. The latter baby was returned to Israel, and “disappeared” without a trace.

While many sources claim that Dunham was of English and German ancestry, her family in fact came to the United States from Germany, where the family name was originally “Dunhamstein”. Obama, Sr. and Dunhamstein “met” in a Russian language course at the University of Hawaii at Mānoa. (Obama, Sr. had previously studied at Moscow University, where he had been recruited as a KGB agent. As is well known, the international Jewish banking cartel, The Learnd Elders of Zion, controlled Soviet Communism, and thus KGB.)

The “meeting” was not accidental, as Dunhamstein was an agent of the Israeli foreign intelligence service, Mossad. Obama, Sr. would divorce Dunhamstein in 1964, and die in a “mysterious” car crash in Kenya in 1984! (1984, people!)

Dunhamstein raised and trained BARACK OBAMA II as a loyal agent of Mossad, with the rank of General. When OBAMA II was firmly set on his path, Dunhamstein died of “ovarian cancer”, which no woman in her family had ever died of before!


BARACK OBAMA II is an agent of Mossad, and the key element in the global Jewish plot to enslave Gentiles!

Tell your neighbors! Time is running out!

Yours for preservation of the Gentile Race,


Thursday, May 20, 2010

Bigots and Barmies in The Big Tent

Today is Thursday, 20 May 2010.

I knew Rand Paul couldn’t keep it in his pants. Sooner or later, he’d just have to whip it out and wave it about.

I’m referring, of course, to the Confederate flag.

From Rand Paul’s recent interview with the editorial board of the Louisville Courier-Journal:

“Question: Would you have voted for the Civil Rights Act of 1964?

Rand Paul: I like the Civil Rights Act in the sense that it ended discrimination in all public domains and I'm all in favor of that.

Questioner: But...?

Rand Paul: (nervous laugh) You had to ask me the "but." um.. I don't like the idea of telling private business owners - I abhor racism - I think it's a bad business decision to ever exclude anybody from your restaurant. But at the same time I do believe in private ownership. But I think there should be absolutely no discrimination on anything that gets any public funding and that's most of what the Civil Rights Act was about to my mind.”

In Rand Paul’s “mind”, businesspersons who refuse to serve certain people because of their own personal race (or other) hate aren’t immoral or illegal, just short-sighted entrepreneurs. And it’s obviously hunky-dory with Rand, so long as no “public funding” is involved. To a Randite, property is always more important than people.

Hypothetical: a restaurant which proudly displays the Nazi/Klan-style sign: “We Reserve the Right to Refuse Service to Anyone”. How will customers arrive? By driving or walking on publicly-funded socialized roads or sidewalks. Who does the restaurateur expect to protect the business? Publicly-funded socialized police and fire.

Every business receives the benefit of public funding, directly or indirectly, and thus by law and ethics may not discriminate.

Like father, like son. Ron Paul uses an old wink-and-nudge code euphemism, “international bankers”, which fellow anti-Semites know means “FILTHY CHRIST KILLING JEWS!” Randy uses a similar subterfuge: “I don’t like the idea of telling private business owners … bad business decision …But … I believe in private ownership”. His fellow white self-worshippers know what he means.

Rand later expanded on his views on The Rachel Maddow Show:

Maddow: "Do you think that a private business has the right to say we don't serve black people?"

Paul: "Yes. [My bold italics.] I'm not in favor of any discrimination of any form. I would never belong to any club that excluded anybody for race. We still do have private clubs in America that can discriminate based on race. But I think what's important about this debate is not written into any specific "gotcha" on this, but asking the question: What about freedom of speech? Should we limit speech from people we find abhorrent? Should we limit racists from speaking? . . . I don't want to be associated with those people, but I also don't want to limit their speech in any way in the sense that we tolerate boorish and uncivilized behavior because that's one of the things freedom requires."

The boilerplate about freedom of speech is a red herring. The proof of the pudding is in “Yes”.


The Republican Party is indeed a Big Tent.

And that Big Tent includes the vaporous Jim DeMint, Republican Senator from South Carolina, who opposes the pending nuclear arms control agreement with Russia.
“Obviously, we’re agreeing to keep our missile defense to the point where it does not render their weapons useless”.

Senator Moonbeam has either not done his homework, or is a bald-faced liar. Were the Russian Federation to launch a nuclear strike, there would be so many incoming warheads and decoys that no humans could successfully operate a missile defense system. Only computers would be adequate to the challenge. Providing they were artificially intelligent, of course.

The only problem is that there are no extant artificially intelligent computers, and no logical reason to believe there ever will be.

But there are DeMented Senators.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Mixed Bag, Supplemental

Today remains Wednesday, 19 May 2010.

Reichsfuhrer Mark Williams, Chairman of the Tea Party Express, wrote recently of a proposed mosque and Islamic cultural center near Ground Zero that “the monument would consist of a Mosque for the worship of the terrorists’ monkey-god”.

Ignoramus! Everyone knows that the monkey god is Hindu: Hanuman, a devotee of Rama in the epic Ramayana.

Sheesh! To quote W. H. Auden: “Even hate should be precise”.

I’ll finally vent my spleen regarding the British election.

Brit Conservatives/Tories = American Republicans. That is, the same species of old elitist thugs that were responsible for deregulation, etc. here were similarly responsible in the UK, and the same disaster ensued. Still, many benighted voters there would rather vote for the Better Class of Politician, even though they were screwed by the BC of P. (And the Tories are definitely BC!)

My even greater contempt (if that’s possible) is reserved for the leadership of the Liberal Democrats, particularly little Nickie Clegg, their leader. He could have convinced his mates to form a coalition with Labour, whose values are far closer than those of the Tories, but he chose to bond with his fellow rich spoiled upper class brat, Tory David Cameron (rather than the middle class Gordon Brown). The Two Toffs.

So, we have Prime Minister Posh Cameron, and his rentboy, Deputy Prime Minister Posh Clegg. The Spice Boys.

Well, actually, The Whitest Bread Bland Boyz.

May Davy and Nicky swiftly descend to hell in a hand basket, and become overdone brisket.

Mixed Bag

Today is Wednesday, 19 May 2010.

Rand Paul yesterday won the Republican nomination for Senate in Kentucky. Rand is the son of Congressman Ron Paul (R-Texas), avowed white supremacist and anti-Semite. I can discover no instance in which Rand has repudiated his father’s neo-Nazi values.

Why won’t Rand Paul take a stand against white supremacy and anti-Semitism?

Perhaps because the overwhelmingly-white Republican electorate of Kentucky yesterday voted for a politician who refuses to reject white supremacy and anti-Semitism?

On occasion, Attorney General of Connecticut, Senatorial candidate, and spoiled brat Richard Blumenthal claims to have served as a Marine in Vietnam, and, on other occasions, he doesn’t. Fact: he didn’t. After avoiding the draft for years by means of student and occupational deferments, with no indication of doing so because he opposed the war, as opposed to wanting to protect his precious upper class arse, Blumenthal joined the Marine Reserves, where he re-built playgrounds and collected Toys for Tots in the deadly trenches of DC.

Yesterday, Blumenthal damned The New York Times for revealing the inconvenient truth that he sometimes lies about his combat non-experience. He characterized the lies as a “few misplaced words”. Hell, happens to me all the time. “Honey, where did I put those words? You know, the truthy ones”.

Blumenthal’s campaign manager should have suggested a statement beginning with a kernel of truth, and riffing from there.

“At Harvard, I was a protégé of Professor (later Senator) Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and then followed him to a post in the Nixon White House. Senator Moynihan taught me many valuable lessons about the life of a scholar and how to be a dedicated public servant. Unfortunately, he also taught me to drink heavily during working hours. As a result, I sometimes misplace my Toys for Tots career, and imagine I was a Rambo Marine in Vietnam. (Hoo rah!) I regret any inconvenience this may have caused the electorate”.

If Blumenthal loses to the Republican, I suggest we donate him to Toys for North Korean Tots.

The District of Columbia Council is considering a measure to impose a penny-per-ounce tax on nondiet sodas, energy drinks, and artificial juices. Coca Cola, Pepsi, etc. are spending money like … er … water ... in an effort to preserve every Washingtonian’s right to enjoy obesity and diabetes (and, entirely incidentally, mint profits by making America sick).

“The typical American consumes almost three times as many calories from sugary drinks as in the late 1970s. This increase accounts for about half the total per-capita rise in calorie consumption over the same period. Remember, many of these drinks have zero nutritional benefit — unlike meat, cheese or juice.” (“The Battle Over Taxing Soda”, by David Leonhardt, The New York Times, May 19, 2010)

Screw a tax! Ban the crap!

“Nanny state! Nanny state!” So bleat the right-wing sheep. No, not sheep: I don’t believe in insulting animals. “The right-wing anti-Americans”. Current law bans arsenic, DDT, etc. in beverages. Nanny state? Current law bans animal feces in the Teabaggers’ Earl Gray. Nanny state? Current law forbids male adults from initiating twelve-year olds into the beauties of sexual relations. Nanny state?

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

In Memory: Benson

Today is Tuesday, 18 May 2010.

This is not the column I meant for today.

However, Benson, the dog companion of a sweet friend, passed this morning, and this is part of what I wrote her:

"I’ve read this poem by Stephen Spender many times since I first read it more than thirty years ago, and particularly at moments such as this. It helps me remember: however great the loss, how much greater the gifts of love and friendship such friends as Benson bestow upon us as their eternal legacy."

“I think continually of those who were truly great”

“I think continually of those who were truly great.
Who, from the womb, remembered the soul’s history
Through corridors of light where the hours are suns
Endless and singing. Whose lovely ambition
Was that their lips, still touched with fire,
Should tell of the Spirit clothed from head to foot in song.
And who hoarded from the Spring branches
The desires falling across their bodies like blossoms.

What is precious is never to forget
The essential delight of the blood drawn from ageless springs
Breaking through rocks in worlds before our earth.
Never to deny its pleasure in the morning simple light
Nor its grave evening demand for love.
Never to allow gradually the traffic to smother
With noise and fog the flowering of the spirit.

Near the snow, near the sun, in the highest fields
See how these names are feted by the waving grass
And by the streamers of white cloud
And whispers of wind in the listening sky.
The names of those who in their lives fought for life
Who wore at their hearts the fire’s center.
Born of the sun they traveled a short while towards the sun,
And left the vivid air signed with their honor.”

Monday, May 17, 2010

Note on a Gay Homophobe

Today remains Monday, 17 May 2010.

A “writer” for Newsweek, Ramin Setoodeh, recently opined that gay male actors cannot convincingly portray straight males. But, of course, straight male actors can convincingly portray gay males. (Simply lisp, simper, dangle the hands from wrists, and swish!)

There was a time in this country, not in the distant past, when few opera companies would allow Black singers to perform leading roles in classic operas, on the grounds that composers such as Mozart and Wagner didn’t write any leading roles for Blacks. Well, I don’t seem to recall many leading white American characters in The Magic Flute or Der Ring des Nibelungen, and that didn’t bar white American singers from leading roles.

I understand this arsehat is openly gay himself, but he sure seems to be comfortable channeling homophobia to the bigoted masses for fun and profit.

This autumn, I’ll mark 50 years since first I trod the boards. (I starred in the all-school play, as the Native American lad who invented moccasins.) I can therefore confidently assert that shortfalls in “convincing” aren’t due to sexual orientation, but lack of acting skills. Certainly, some bigots will claim the opposite, but that’s only because they live at the business end of a mental outhouse.

According to his bio, Setoodeh “has worked at Newsweek since 2004, as an associate editor covering--among other things--"American Idol," Paris Hilton, amusement parks, DVDs, "High School Musical" and men's underwear”.

Setoodeh should restrict himself to topics within his narrow competence, such as the immortal question: “Boxers or briefs?”

Separate Is Unequal

Today is Monday, 17 May 2010.

On this date in 1954, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) unanimously ruled that “separate educational facilities are inherently unequal”, and that state laws establishing segregated schools were unconstitutional (Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, 347 U.S. 483).

The nine godless justices thus spat upon the Founding Fathers of the Constitution, whose obvious original intent was that neither amendment nor judicial ruling should elevate sub-humans (Blacks, women, etc.) to human status.

Or so are logically obligated to say the strict constructionists and original intentionists of the Teabagger Party and other far-right extremist cults. Not that many of even so woefully brainwashed as those would have the nerve to say what is obviously in their hearts.

What had Thomas Jefferson to say in regard to Original Intent?

"Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did beyond amendment. . . . Let us follow no such examples, nor weakly believe that one generation is not as capable of taking care of itself, and of ordering its own affairs . . . Each generation is as independent of the one preceding, as that was of all which had gone before." (Quoted in “Immaculate Conception and SCOTUS”, Joseph J. Ellis, Washington Post, 7 May 2010.)

On this date in 1838, died Charles de Talleyrand-Perigord (born 2 February 1754). Talleyrand was one of the great survivors of politics, serving Louis XVI, the French Revolution, Napoleon I, Louis XVIII, Charles X, and Louis-Phillipe.

Uttered one of my favourite quotations. “What is treason? Merely a matter of dates”.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sedition and Shame

Today is Sunday, 16 May 2010.

On this date in 1918, Congress passed and President W. Wilson signed one of the most shameful bills ever, the Sedition Amendments to the Espionage Act of 1917.

Certain speech was criminalized, and “…whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States or the Constitution...or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag... shall be punished by a fine of not more than $10,000 or the imprisonment for not more than twenty years, or both”.

Use of the infinitely elastic adjective “abusive” is quite artful.

Other constitutionally protected free speech was also criminalized.

“Whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully make or convey false reports...with intent to interfere with the operation...of the military or naval forces of the United States...
or say or do an investor...with intent to obstruct the sale by the United States of bonds or other securities...
and whoever when the United States is at war, shall willfully cause or attempt to cause...insubordination... in the military or naval forces of the United States,
or shall willfully obstruct or attempt to obstruct the recruiting or enlistment services of the United States
and whoever, when the United States is at war, shall willfully utter, print, write or publish any disloyal, profane, scurrilous, or abusive language about the form of government of the United States or the Constitution...or the military or naval forces of the United States, or the flag...
or shall willfully utter, print, write, or publish any language intended to incite, provoke, or encourage resistance to the United States...
or shall willfully display the flag of any foreign enemy
or shall willfully by utterance, writing, printing, publication, or language spoken, urge...any curtailment of production in this country of any the prosecution of the war...
and whoever shall willfully advocate...the doing of any of the acts or things in this section enumerated...or favor the cause of any country with which the United States is at war... "

The poet e. e. cummings, a volunteer ambulance driver in France, was arrested under the Espionage Act on 21 September 1917 for voicing the fact that he didn’t hate Germans, and spent three and a half months in a military detention camp. (See his novel, The Enormous Room.)

Eugene V. Debs, the Socialist Party leader and presidential candidate, was imprisoned under the Act for almost five years for a speech “obstructing recruiting”. He ran for president in 1920 from his jail cell. “Vote for Prisoner No. 9653”.

The Amendments were repealed on 13 December 1920.

Imagine a time when the Republican Party had left some scraps of decency: most of the Senators who opposed the Amendments were … Republicans!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Good Night, and Good Luck

Today is Saturday, 15 May 2010.

Imagine: if between 1970 and 2006, 1/3rd of all businesses on the planet had gone bankrupt. Imagine the panic that would have ensued as the catastrophe became apparent.

According to the third Global Biodiversity Outlook (GBO-3), between 1970 and 2006, the biodiversity of vertebrates on this planet decreased by about 1/3rd.

Will this catastrophe lead every news show any day soon? Dream on.

Imagine: if 1/3rd of all the organs in your body stopped working. This is what is happening to the world’s ecosystems.

Our way of life – call it industrialism, capitalism, whatever – is exterminating our planet.

Our legacy to the next generations.

(See article here:

Friday, May 14, 2010

Afghan Solution

Today is Friday, 14 May 2010.

One of the finest short stories I’ve ever read is “The Cold Equations”, by Tom Godwin, published in Astounding Science Fiction (August 1954).

A serious fever is afflicting human colonists on the planet Woden, and a small spacecraft is dispatched with a curing serum. En route, the pilot discovers a female stowaway, who intends to visit her brother on Woden, imagining the only penalty will be a fine. Unfortunately, the ship doesn’t carry enough fuel to accommodate a passenger: if she remains aboard, the ship will run out of fuel and the colonists will die. The pilot wracks his brain, but “The Cold Equations” of physics admit no succor. To save the colonists, to save her brother, the woman enters the airlock and is expelled into space.

The current situation in Afghanistan, and “wondering” asking for HH’s solution, brings this story to my mind. The current situation is the result of the criminal interventions in Afghanistan by the USSR and the USA/USE.

The precipitating idiocy was the Soviet invasion of December 1979, which liquidated the People’s Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) government of Hafizullah Amin (deemed insufficiently friendly) and installed the PDPA government of Babrak Karmal. The highest levels of the Soviet military warned of the folly of the intervention, but were overruled by the sclerotic, doddering, and clueless political leadership under Brezhnev.

The first compounding idiocy was the decision of the American Republican leadership, under the sclerotic, doddering, and clueless Reagan, to arm the Afghan jihadi factions as cat’s paws, in order to bleed the USSR military and economy. The second compounding idiocy was the decision of the American Republican leadership under the clueless H. W. Bush to walk away from Afghanistan and condemn it to civil war and social collapse, once the Soviet withdrawal was completed in 1989.

The Taliban won the civil war in 1996, and then were driven from power in 2001. Since 2002, power has been shared by the Karzai Crime Family machine and various regional warlords. Corruption, incompetence, and violence are endemic. It seems obvious that the attitude of many, and perhaps most, Afghans, is: a plague on all your houses.

The Obama regime currently plans to begin withdrawing American troops in July 2011, thirteen and a half months from now.

Does anyone in their right mind believe that significant progress in reversing 30 years of destruction and degradation of the Afghan government, economy, and social infrastructure can be accomplished in 13.5 months?

While there is no scientific framework for calculating the amount of time and treasure required to restore Afghanistan to a decent semblance of peace, justice, and modest prosperity, any estimate fewer than one or two decades and hundreds of billions of dollars is bereft of reason. In any such effort, to guard against Russian and American imperialism, the lead agency would have to be from the United Nations, and equipped with genuine independence and power. Given the way the victorious allies of World War Two created the U.N., stacking the deck in the Security Council with permanent memberships and vetoes, such a scenario is unlikely, to say the least.

The required time and treasure is owed to the Afghan people by Russia and the USA/USE. Alas, neither the Russian nor American empires nor their citizens give the least indication of harbouring the slightest sense of ethical responsibility, nor any inclination to commit themselves.

“The Cold Equations”.

Given the cold equations of the physics of Russian and American greed, self-interest, and ethical turpitude, any detailed solutions I might venture would be stillborn and irrelevant.

Russia and America will continue to thrust the Afghan people out the airlock.

I cannot forbear comment on a remark quoted yesterday in The New York Times by John Mason, a senior chief petty officer (USN, Ret.), regarding last month’s Navy decision to allow women to serve on submarines.

Mr. Mason said the presence of women on submarines would put an end to the kind of camaraderie “that involves close physical contact, like man hugs and bottom pats” that sailors use to cope with the pressure of extended deployments.”

Surely Mason is aware that hundreds of millions of women watch myriad forms of sports entertainment, including basketball, baseball, and British and American football, in which males regularly enjoy “man hugs and bottom pats” with no discernible sense of embarrassment or reluctance.

Is Mason’s attitude typical male chauvinist woman-hate, or are he and his ilk merely afraid of competent female competition?

(See article here:

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Let Them Wear Brown Stars

Today is Thursday, 13 May 2010.

The Dishonorable Jan Brewer, Governor and Grand Wizardette of Ku Klux Arizona, Tuesday donned her ceremonial white sheets and signed (“X: her mark”) into law a measure forbidding ethnic studies classes in public schools, K-12.

Specifically prohibited are classes “designed primarily for pupils of a particular ethnic group”, that advocate “the overthrow of the United States government”, or promote “resentment toward a race of class of people”.

And precisely how does the Cracker Inquisition determine the “designed primarily”? I assume Shakespeare courses are now banned, designed as they obviously are for students of Anglo-Saxon origin.

I don’t know about you, but my favourite class in a Tulsa, Oklahoma high school in 1968 was an elective in Social Studies and Literature: “Up Against the Wall, Motherf****r: Post-Modern Theory and Practical Tips for Overthrowing the Rats**t Honkie Dictatorship”. (Not to boast, but I received a National High School Literature Award for my term paper in that class, “The Fire THIS Time: Tropes of Rebellion in Look Out, Whitey!: Black Power’s Gon’ Get Your Mama! by Julius Lester, With Key to the Molotov Cocktail”. Thanks to Miss S- for the editing and advice!)

And no more courses about the misunderstood Nazis, since it would promote resentment toward the class of Holocaust perpetrators. Get over it, crybabies of the Hebrew persuasion!

“Arizona: The Lost 12th Confederate State”. (Replaces “The Grand Canyon State” on their license plates.)

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hamid Does DC

Today is Wednesday, 12 May 2010.

President Hamid Capone of Afghanistan is back in DC to take America for a ride. (Lunch at the White House today!) However, before anyone says “Obama’s Katrina”, let’s recall that it was the Republicans and Bush-Cheney who gave Karzai the car and put him in the driver’s seat.

Karzai, of course, got his political start when the American jihadi Republicans under Reagan used the Afghans as proxy fighters against the Soviet Union. Later he became a Taliban, then refused the post of Ambassador to the United Nations and deserted the Taliban, thinking he was owed a more powerful position. Karzai has been President of Afghanistan, in one guise or another, since 2002.

Karzai and his family are the Gambinos of Afghanistan. His younger brother is de facto ruler of the southern region, and responsible for the family’s opium/heroin business.

Perhaps the central problem of USA/USE involvement in Afghanistan is, as I’ve written before, that once a great power hitches its wagon to a crook such as Karzai, it loses most leverage over him. If worse comes to worse, Karzai simply picks up his marbles (read “Swiss bank account billions”) and deserts into luxurious exile, accompanied perhaps by hundreds of mad-wealthy warlord friends.

Thus, the Obama regime, shackled by the Republican jihadi choice of Karzai, tiptoes lightly: after a few months of brandishing The Big Stick, they’re back to beating him with carrots.

The situation seems increasingly intractable: a “nation” split along multiple fault lines, an infrastructure devastated by three decades of war and dictatorship, and hundreds of thousands making too much money off the misery to want anything to change.

Thank you, Republican jihadi Reagan and friends.

(Gratuitous dig: To the embarrassment of Georgetown University, Karzai was given an honorary Doctor of Laws by the University in 2006.)

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The Pill at 50: Part One

Today is Tuesday, 11 May 2010.

On 9 May 1960, Enovid became the first oral contraceptive pill to be approved by a national pharmaceutical regulatory agency (FDA).

Family size (and by this I mean the number of children surviving to labouring viability) in pre-modern agricultural societies was fundamentally geared to the amount of viable land a family had at their disposal. Given the primitive state of hygiene and medicine during this period, which lasted through most of human history, the challenge was to produce enough children who would live to an age at which they could contribute to agricultural labour, balanced against the amount of land available to the family. Too few surviving children, and the family’s life would be marginal; too many surviving children, ditto.

As agricultural production technology improved, the number of labourers required to produce the same amount of foodstuffs declined.

As societal complexity developed, the number of mouths not directly involved in agricultural production increased (traders, artisans, ruling elites and their minions, etc.). The layers of rulers and their minions, producing nothing but powers of coercion, could only be supported (fed, housed, clothed) by compelling the peasantry to give up a portion of their agricultural, etc. production (food, timber, stone, raw materials for clothing and weapons, etc.). Thus, a peasant family needed to be large enough not only to feed and reproduce itself, but also to provide the various means to feed, etc. and reproduce the non-agricultural members of society.

It was thus in the best interest of rulers to influence peasant families to be as large as the land could support, creating the largest possible “surpluses” for the rulers to expropriate. The nature of that influence changed drastically when the Christian Church became a significant component of the ruling elites during the Early Middle Ages (476 CE to approx. 1000 CE).

(Since it was beneath the "holy dignity" of the employees of the Church (priests, monks, etc.) to do manual labour, sustenance had to be extracted from the peasantry. As well, the ultimate source of the monies to build all those purty cathedrals, etc. was the toil of the peasantry.)

As noted, it was in the interest of both State and Church to influence the peasantry to “be fruitful and multiply” as close to the tipping point into famine as possible. The difference was that the influence the Church could bring to bear was the threat of eternal damnation.

It was this impulse toward creation of the largest possible production surpluses that I believe was one of the two main origins of the hostility of many modern churches and governments to the more efficient methods of birth control.

The problem, of course: at a certain point in the development of industrialization, when machine-aided productivity reaches a certain level (and hygiene and medicine become more sophisticated and effective), fewer workers (both agricultural and industrial) are required to produce the same relative amount of surpluses for confiscation, and thus fewer children are required to be born to sustain the work force. At a certain point during industrialization, larger families mean lower standards of living, and many parents chose/choose to have fewer children, even if it meant/means violating the demands of their religious leaders to shun modern birth control.


Monday, May 10, 2010

In Memory: Lena Horne

Today is Monday, 10 May 2010.

This is not the column I was writing for today. Instead, I have the sad duty to mark the death of Lena Horne.

Because of white racism, Horne never had the career her beautiful voice deserved. Most of her movie appearances, for example, were in scenes incidental to the plot, so they could be cut from prints shipped to those Southern theaters which pandered exclusively to whites.

Alas, sixty-seven years after Horne filmed Stormy Weather, the White Tea Party demonstrates the odious resilience of the Kluxer mentality in America.

With great sorrow The Museum of the Bourgeois memorializes Lena Horne, artist and activist.

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Sauce for the Goose

Today is Sunday, 9 May 2010.

All the usual defects …er, suspects … are mouth-frothing and demanding legislation to abrogate Miranda in the instance of alleged terrorist suspects, so that the latter may be questioned indefinitely without being reminded of their Constitutional rights to remain silent, retain counsel, etc.

Now, most of the public frothers are lawyers, and know damn well about the “public safety exception”, the so-called “ticking time bomb rule”. In brief: if detaining authorities sincerely have good reason to believe that a suspect is an imminent danger to society, Mirandizing may be delayed.

Are the frothers merely professional fear mongers, willing to mislead the public for a few minutes of exposing themselves on TV? Or do they have a larger agenda, that of twisting the law to diminish, or, if possible, exterminate the Constitutional rights of all accused, so that all are guilty until they prove themselves innocent?

I suspect the latter: the coulters of this world always secretly imagine themselves the next Kim Jong Il.

And ask yourself: would I be so quick to diminish Constitutional rights, were I the unconvicted accused?

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Perhaps it is in the watches of the night

Today remains Thursday, 6 May 2010.

(For Lyntl, dead these two weeks)

Perhaps it is in the watches of the night
That I miss you the most.

The calico cat sleeps on her chair.
The dachshund sleeps in her castle.
The cocker spaniel and your Weimaraner sister
Sleep next to my sleeping wife.

Long into the night,
I sit reading
In my wingback armchair
Beside your empty dog couch.

Witch Hunt in Arizona

Today is Thursday, 6 May 2010.

Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona certainly missed the boat, as it were.

Brewer (a far-right Republican) signed into law the nauseatingly-named Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act (SOLESNA) on 23 April last, when she could have waited until today, and signed it on the anniversary of Congressional approval of the equally racist Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882. (The latter essentially ended Chinese immigration to the USA/USE until it was repealed in 1943.)

SOLESNA essentially authorizes, nay, encourages, all Arizona law enforcement personnel to suspect anyone of a crime, and then demand proof of citizenship or legal alien status. Given the prevalence of white racism in Arizona, the law is obviously directed at anyone and everyone who “looks Hispanic”.

Fer sure: America is threatened by a tidal wave of brown-skinned hordes. Of course, historically, nativist racists also imagined America threatened by hordes of “sub-human” Irish, Italians, Jews, etc.

Of course, the original Illegal Aliens were the Anglo-Saxons who came to rape, murder, and steal the lands of Native Americans.

When will Arizona pass a similar law for us?

Births on this date:

Maximilien Robespierre - 1758
Sigmund Freud – 1856
Orson Welles – 1915
George Clooney – 1961

Deaths on this date:

Henry David Thoreau - 1862

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Today is Wednesday, 5 May 2010.

On this date in 1813 was born the philosopher Soren Kierkegaard.

On this date in 1818 was born Karl Marx.

Tuesday, May 04, 2010


Today is Tuesday, 4 May 2010.

Today is the 40th anniversary of the deliberate murder of four students at Kent State University.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Happy May Day!

Today is Saturday, 1 May 2010.

Happy International Worker's Day to all!