Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Today is Wednesday, 30 June 2010.

In a ruling handed down Monday (McDonald v. Chicago), liberal activist judges voted to ignore the plain meaning and original intent of the Constitution, gutting the Founding Fathers, and employing Big Government to impose the tyranny of their own radical views on sovereign states and municipalities.

These radical extremist, unelected bureaucrats have …oh …

Samuel Alito. Anthony M. Kennedy. John G. Roberts, Jr. Antonin Scalia. Clarence Thomas.

REACTIONARY activist judges.

“Never mind,” as a certain young lady was wont to say.

Building on the lying sophistry of Heller (District of Columbia v. Heller), the Fatality Five ruled that local and state gun control laws are nullified by the Second Amendment, since the former infringe on a fancied Constitutional right of individuals to own firearms for self-defense.

What does the Second Amendment say?

“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”

In plain language, “the right of the people to keep and bear Arms” is obviously conditioned by, in the context of, and contingent on the existence of and individual membership in “a well regulated Militia”. There being no such Militia, there can be no members, and therefore the Second Amendment applies to a situation which does not exist. (If A, then B. If not A, then not B.) As Constitutional “originalists” would say: if the Founding Fathers had intended there to be a right for individuals to own weapons of terror for self-defense, they would have said so, and forthrightly.

And what about the supposed love of conservatives for local control, and distrust of the dictates of Big Centralized Government? In the instant case, the law in Chicago, which essentially banned handgun ownership, is overturned by … Big Centralized Government, in the person of five unelected males.

The National Rifle Association (pronounced “National Handgun Murder Association”) must be so pleased: another conspiracy of activist terror-loving conservative judges have affirmed that it’s permanent open season on human beings.

I feel so safe, knowing that more than 200 million handguns are at large in the USA/USE, the vast majority owned by persons technically unqualified to employ them.

Terror begins at home.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

In Memory: Robert Byrd

Today is Tuesday, 29 June 2010.

He found within himself the decency to change.

(Unlike, say, the career white supremacist Ronald Reagan.)

He started out a Klansman, filibustered the Civil Rights Act, and became a proponent of civil rights.

He supported the Vietnam War, bitterly regreted it, and opposed the Conquest of Iraq.

When once asked under how many presidents he had served, he replied: “I have served with presidents, not under them.”

Yes, Virginia, there are three co-equal branches of government.

The Museum of the Bourgeois mourns the passing of Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV).

Monday, June 28, 2010

War Is Manly

Today is Monday, 28 June 2010.

On this date in 1914, the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, was assassinated in Sarajevo. Because of the complex system of alliances among the European great powers and lesser nations, which constituted the balance of power, and supposedly rendered major conflicts so unprofitable as to be unthinkable, the continent swiftly descended into what would become known as The Great War.

Fittingly, it is now confirmed that a second USA/USE supercarrier battle group, centred on the U.S.S. Harry S. Truman, has taken station in the northern Indian Ocean, near the entrance to the Persian Gulf, well within bombing range of Iran. The Truman joins the U.S.S. Dwight D. Eisenhower battle group.

Yesterday, CIA director Leon Panetta claimed that Iran has produced sufficient enriched uranium to manufacture two nuclear weapons, deployable in approximately two years. Reports have been common for the past month that the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are preparing to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities. (Current estimates are that IDF possesses 100 to 300 nuclear weapons.)

Thus, a Tom Lehrer classic is called for:

"I'm a doughnut"

Today is Sunday, 27 June 2010.

Meant to include following yesterday.

On this date in 1948 (26 June), the ‘Western” allies began the famous airlift into West Berlin, after Stalin ordered blockade of Autobahn.

On this date in 1963, John F. Kennedy delivers his famous speech in West Berlin: “Ich bin ein Berliner”. Jay Lovestone, a former American Communist turned Cold War ideologue and CIA stooge, whose German was imperfect, claimed to have authored the phrase. Allegedly, JFK should have said, “Ich bin Berliner”, as “ein Berliner” is a type of pastry. Thus, Jack essentially orated, “I’m a doughnut”.

Many sources regard this as an urban legend, noting that the Berliner Pfannkuchen is known by the nickname, “ein Berliner”, only outside Berlin, and that, in any case, the article “ein” was required because Kennedy was speaking a figurative sense.

Whatever. I find the legend, if it is a legend, far preferable to the bombastic original.

In journalism schools, this is known as The Liberty Valance Rule. “This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.”

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The Way We Live Now

Today is Saturday, 26 June 2010.

For decades, a staple of American high school English classes has been “The Lottery”, a short story by Shirley Jackson, which was published in The New Yorker on this date in 1948.

In a 1960 lecture, Jackson recalled:

"Curiously, there are three main themes which dominate the letters [sent to her at The New Yorker] of that first summer—three themes which might be identified as bewilderment, speculation and plain old-fashioned abuse. In the years since then, during which the story has been anthologized, dramatized, televised, and even—in one completely mystifying transformation—made into a ballet, the tenor of letters I receive has changed. I am addressed more politely, as a rule, and the letters largely confine themselves to questions like what does this story mean? The general tone of the early letters, however, was a kind of wide-eyed, shocked innocence. People at first were not so much concerned with what the story meant; what they wanted to know was where these lotteries were held, and whether they could go there and watch." (Collected in Jackson’s Come Along with Me, 1968)

“…whether they could go there and watch”. Obviously, “reality” television is not an aberration, but a fitting response to a deep longing in the American psyche. A form of denial, or merely a diversion from enjoying actual wars and famines on the news?

Herewith, a link to the story:

"Once more unto the breach..."

Today is Friday, 25 June 2010.

Frankie say, “Relax”. After all, Gen. Stanley (Ol’ Motormouth) McChrystal has shoveled himself into ignominious retirement, and Gen. David Petraeus, the Lion of Baghdad, is heading to Kabul.

Truly, the patterns of history are nothing more than the biographies of Great Men, particularly Men on White Horses, swooping in to save the day from Greatly Evil Men on Black Horses. (Small people need not apply.)

There are two main schools of thought regarding Petraeus. One holds that he broke the back of the Iraqi insurgency by cunning deployment of the troop augmentation known as “The Surge”. The other, which seems to me to track the evidence far more closely, holds that Petraeus was lucky: that the insurgency was not so much aimed at the American military, as it was at Shiite ethnic cleansing of Sunnis, and that the reason the insurgency seemed to ebb was not The Surge, but the fact that the majority of Baghdad Shiite neighborhoods had been successfully denuded of Sunnis, who were penned into ghettoes.

Regardless, Petraeus faces a completely different situation in Afghanistan. Iraq was a Second World centralized dictatorship, while Afghanistan has been a failed state since at least the early 1990s (sort of Somalia with more journalistic facetime), much of which is ruled by warlords and tribal combinations which pay only lip service to Hamid Karzai, the “Mayor of Kabul”.

As I’ve noted tirelessly, and tiresomely, before, Afghanistan and Somalia are failed states because they were both employed by the USA/USE and USSR as proxy battlefields during the Cold War. It will require much more than military victory over the Taliban before Petraeus can intone: “Mission accomplished”.

Ironically, today is the 134th anniversary of Custer’s debacle at the Battle of the Greasy Grass, and the 60th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Break McChrystal's Balls

Today is Thursday, 24 June 2010.

Gen. Stanley Allen McChrystal wasn’t fired: he separated himself from the USA/USE military when he chose to be grossly insubordinate outside the chain of command.

Most of McChrystal’s remarks, and those of aides he encouraged to “over-share”, weren’t even militarily pertinent, but just personally-insulting trash talk stinking of an adolescent male locker room. I’m surprised Allen Arsehat didn’t whip it out, wave it around, and invite the reporter to measure it.

Irrespective of the job McChrystal had done in Afghanistan to this point, he demonstrated such poor judgment that it would have been criminal to leave him in command. He wasn’t a 16-year-old in his first day of Junior ROTC: he was a career officer who knew the rules and had a pattern of ignoring them. If one dissents from policy, one makes that known through the chain of command. If one believes that isn’t enough, one resigns and opposes as a civilian. This ego-freak obviously felt he was entitled to both have-and-eat-cake.

McChrystal should have been cashiered when he was involved in the cover-up of the friendly-fire killing of Pat Tillman. He should be stripped of his rank and pension and cast into the streets to fend for himself, where I’ve no doubt he could swiftly make a pretty penny by marketing himself as The Cracker Hero Who Stood Up to the Big Black Buck.

Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

In Memory: Anna Akhmatova

Today is Wednesday, 23 June 2010.

Tonight is Midsummer Night's Eve.

Today is the birthdate in 1889 of Anna Akhmatova, as great a Russian poet who ever was. She died on 5 March 1966: ironically, the 13th anniversary of the death of Stalin.

A useful summary of her career will be found on today's The Writer's Almanac ( Suffice it to say that she was yet another victim of the cruel forces unleashed by the defeat of Bolshevism and the victory of Stalin. Perhaps her greatest poem is "Requiem", concerning the millions murdered by Stalin and his faction in the process of wiping out most of the truly committed Bolsheviks and the consolidation of Stalin's hegemony.

"Requiem" may be found at:

I'll comment tomorrow on the grave insubordination and mindless egotism of Gen. Stanley McChrystal; today belongs to Akhmatova. Suffice it to say, the column will be titled, "Break McChrystal's Balls".

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tea Party Madness: Addendum

Today remains Tuesday, 22 June 2010.

A literary-historical note for those keeping score.

I borrowed the term “blood drunks” from Deuteronomy 32.42, where it is attributed to deity: “I will make mine arrows drunk with blood, and my sword shall devour flesh; and that with the blood of the slain and of the captives, from the beginning of revenges upon the enemy.”

Methinks this complies not with the Geneva Conventions.

Tea Party Madness

Today is Tuesday, 22 June 2010.

I’ve recently re-read sections of Pol Pot: Anatomy of a Nightmare, by Philip Short (New York: Henry Holt, 2004), and I’m struck by at least two similarities between the mentalities of the Khmer Rouge and of the TeaPartiers.

Both are the worst kind of addicts – blood drunks – giddy with violent language, and enamoured of the supposedly-redemptive character of actual violence applied. Both are also possessed by ideologies with no significant connection to reality.

Khmer Rouge ideology (which used, by the by, Marxist, Marxist-Leninist, and Maoist terminologies, while emptying them of their original meanings) aimed to reduce all non-peasant classes to peasant status again, and then to re-mold their consciousnesses so as to build a modern industrial state. “It was agreed [in 1975, a month after the KR conquest was completed] that the overall goal should be to attain 70 to 80 per cent farm mechanization in five to ten years, and to build on that foundation a modern industrial base in fifteen to twenty years”. (Short, p. 288)

All this in a society which had never before produced more than one ton of paddy-rice (rice before milling) per acre per year. The goal was to suddenly begin producing three tons per year: a disjuncture from reality which approaches madness.

Likewise, the Teapartiers fantasize that they can obtain Big Government benefits from a Small Government apparatus. They demand a government which provides a massive imperial military, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc., all produced by a government scarcely larger than that over which G. Washington presided. Again, madness.

Of course, this delusional mentality runs deep in European societies. Leaving aside the still-persistent widespread belief in demons by right-wing Christians, note that, from 1974 to 1994, the latter being the 20th anniversary of Richard Nixon’s resignation in disgrace, a consistent fifth (20%) of Americans polled opined that Nixon had done nothing wrong by overthrowing the Constitution.

As the immortal Bette Davis said, “Fasten your seatbelts; it’s going to be a bumpy night!”

On this date in 1941, Hitler sealed the fate of the Third Reich by launching the invasion of the USSR.

Monday, June 21, 2010

World Refugee Day

Today is Sunday, 20 June 2010.

As voted by the United Nations, today is World Refugee Day.

In addition to the tens of millions of human refugees, there are hundreds of millions of new refugees in the Gulf of Mexico: ocean-dwelling and ocean-dependent animals such as fish, waterfowl, sea turtles, porpoises, etc., being driven from their normal habitats by the Great Republican and BP Oil Spill. Many of them will die, and the ecology of the Gulf will be severely damaged for decades.

It’s worth noting that, during the past three years, under the criminally-relaxed deregulation fostered by the Republican Party, almost 800 citations have been issued for “egregious and willful violations” of safety standards by 55 oil refineries in the continental USA/USE. Of those citations, 97% were issued to 2 refineries, both owned by … BP.

In a capitalist society, the true product sought by every business is profits, not oil, soap, potatoes, cars, etc. In the absence of sufficient regulation, businesses are encouraged to damage, often fatally, ecology, social structure, human beings, and animals, in the pursuit of ever-increasing profits.

So, if you want to sacrifice humanity and the planet on the altar of Mammon, vote Republican. But remember: the throat you slit may be your own.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

In Memory: Ethel and Julius Rosenberg

Today is Saturday, 19 June 2010.

On this date in 1953, Ethel and Julius Rosenberg became the first American civilians to be judicially murdered for the crime of espionage.

Part of the reason the Rosenbergs were killed was the general Cold War hysteria being whipped up by the right-wing, and particularly by the Republican Party, which cynically exploited an American population largely ignorant of the fact that the USA/USE and its subjects and allies were far more powerful than the USSR bloc.

At least as equally significant, I believe, is that the Rosenbergs were Jewish.

As I discussed earlier this year in my column on the Oklahoma City Bombing, the false identification of Judaism and Communism is deeply embedded in European thinking, whether in Eastern, Central, Western, or Far Western Europe (the USA/USE). Anti-Semitism is also similarly deeply embedded in religious, economic, and cultural terms. To this day, a plurality of Americans, at least, adhere to various Christian factions (e.g., evangelical, pentecostal, charismatic) which claim that all Jews who don’t convert to Christianity will, after the “Second Coming” of Christ and the Last Judgment, be damned for all eternity to hell, the Ultimate Holocaust. The assassination of the Rosenbergs must have given a particularly pleasing frisson to adherents of that obscene viewpoint.

Incidentally, for those keeping score, the term “Second Coming” is to be found nowhere in the New Testament. The word popularly understood as “Second Coming” is, in the Greek, parousia, meaning “arrival”, “coming”, or “presence”. The use of the term “Second Coming” by self-proclaimed “Bible-believing Christians” is merely evidence of their infidelity to what they consider “The Book”, and of their hypocrisy.

Friday, June 18, 2010

In Memory: Jose Saramago

Today is Friday, 18 June 2010.

With great sadness, The Museum of the Bourgeois marks the death of Nobelist Jose Saramago at age 87.

Saramago wrote one of my favourite sentences: "All that dogs wish, is that no one shall ever leave".

Happy Watergate Break-In Day!

Today is Thursday, 17 June 2010.

Happy Watergate Break-In Day!

(Bears repeating!)

Yes, once again, it's the anniversary of that lovely day in 1972 when Richard Nixon finally overreached himself, and his creatures, for the second time, burglarized the Democratic National Committee, and were apprehended.

Why, when all the opinion polling and other signs and portents pointed to a November victory that would be, at the least, quite solid? No good evidence has ever emerged, but I believe that this is one instance in which the psychological must come to the fore: Nixon was ever paranoid, vindictive, and tremendously insecure, and couldn't help but frequently attempt to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Lucky us (as in, "humanity").

Nixon was, among other things, a quick, easy, and vicious drunk, who once, while drinking with his best friend (the incomparably-named Bebe Rebozo), and in a fit of mad pique, ordered the Sixth (Mediterranean) Fleet into position for a nuclear strike against Syria.

Thank you, Republican Party!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

"Us" and "Them", Continued

Today is Wednesday, 16 June 2010.

Throughout human history the “morality” of “Us/Them” has always proved seductive, since it seems to provide the most benefits for individuals and “blood”. Often this has been the case, at least in the short run. But then, cannibalism seems, under certain circumstances, equally cost-effective.

I suppose it comes down to what sort of life one wishes to work towards: societies which will always be nothing more than a zero-sum game of beggar-thy-neighbour, or the possibility of something better, which encompasses all humanity. (And, for the record, “Singing Along”, I’ve always found “We Are the World” to be one of the most obnoxious, superficial, cloying pieces of crap I’ve ever heard.)

In reality, blood morality as a global survival/benefit strategy was exposed as a naked emperor on 16 July 1945, with the detonation of the first atomic bomb. This truth is compounded by human overpopulation, global warming and its corollary, the loss of many of the planet’s most productive agricultural zones, the accelerating gap between rich and poor, etc.

When W. H. Auden wrote, in “1 September 1939”, that “We must love one another or die”, he wasn’t channeling Pollyanna: he was stating cold fact.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

"Us" and "Them"

Today is Tuesday, 15 June 2010.

An incident today reminded me of one of the longer-running problems in philosophy. Is the scope of just behaviour, that is, how one should rightly treat people, unitary or bifurcated?

There are those who posit two spheres: morality and ethics. In this construction, morality deals with how one acts toward those near at hand, and ethics with how one acts toward those outside the charmed circle.

Morality always begins with “blood”, which is to say, the family. Most contemporary Americans would consider “family” to mean parents and their children. However, throughout most recorded history the meaning has been more expansive. In any case, the defining element or core of the family is “blood”, either through physical inheritance or relation through co-optation (e.g., marriage or adoption).

Morality holds that one has unique obligations to this group which are both more extensive than the obligations to those outside, and which transcend in decisional importance those outside. This holds true even if “blood” is given a more extensive definition, such as clan, county, state, nation, “race”, or whatever.

For example, (and to take the narrowest membership definition, the nuclear family), parents have an absolute obligation never to murder their own children. Children outside the family … well, depending on factors such as their physical or social distance from one’s own family, the benefits one might derive for one’s own family, etc., there is a diminishing-to-no obligation not to murder the children of others.

Using this standard, if one’s family is not Jewish, for example, it would under certain circumstances be perfectly moral to attempt to murder all Jewish children, if one believed that same would bring benefit to one’s own family. While such an example might have once seemed extreme, we know it’s not. And when Americans who supported the Vietnam War watched, eagerly and approvingly, on their televisions, during meals, the murders of hundreds of thousands of Indochinese children, it was the result of precisely such a calculation and morality, in which “blood” was defined as “American”.

Any decent set of human values must absolutely reject such values. Just behaviour admits of no “Us and Them”.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Dinner and a ...

Today is Monday, 14 June 2010.

I doubt Joran Van der Sloot will be remembered ten years from today.

Obviously seriously mentally ill/defective, Van der Sloot murdered women in Aruba and Peru, and perhaps elsewhere. Last couple of days, allegations that he confessed that, after murdering the Peruvian woman in his hotel room, he ate breakfast in the presence of the corpse before packing and fleeing. Much righteous indignation on the airwaves.

Beginning with the Vietnam War, myriad Americans who supported the various American wars (with votes and taxes and mouths, though not with fighting) ate meals while watching, on TV, the carnage of those various wars.

Does it make any difference, ethically, politically, that the corpses for which those Americans share responsibility were, not in the room, nor in the next room, nor in the next county, nor in the same state or country, but far across the sea, while those corpse-responsible Americans bloated themselves on cornflakes and burgers?

Such Americans are worse than Van der Sloot, for they don’t kill retail, they kill wholesale, and have not the common decency to do the deed themselves. Always a contract job.

Such Americans can’t hold a candle to a person born this day in 1928: Ernesto “Che” Guevara.

Che fought for justice, with his own hands, hazarding his own life, which he gave in 1967.

El Che Vive!

Birthday greetings to my old comrade, Steel Hell, today halfway to a right angle.

Many great tunes released in 1965, but I choose this, from September 1965, when you were three months old. Many happy returns!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Preserve "Miranda"

Today is Sunday, 13 June 2010.

On this date in 1966, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its ruling in Miranda v. Arizona, resulting in the “Miranda Warnings”.

Last month, Attorney General Eric Holder stated that it is the policy of the Obama regime to facilitate narrowing the protection of Miranda by expanding the public-safety exception. Holder claims this is part of the War on Terror. However, no reasoning or evidence has been advanced by the regime in justification. It’s not unreasonable to suspect that this policy is, at best, a cynical sop to Teabaggers, anti-Arab/anti-Islamic racists, and other hysterics.

The Museum of the Bourgeois is completely opposed to this attempt to dismantle constitutional rights.


Many thanks to for reminding me of a 1992 Pat Robertson fundraising letter, wherein he claims that the feminist agenda isn’t about equal rights: "It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."

(And, presumably, always to "have a headache”.)

Pat Robertson: still reliably one of the biggest turds in the toilet bowl of Life.

William B. Yeats was born on this date in 1865.

Herewith, a favourite poem, “He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”, by Yeats:

Had I the heavens' embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.

On this date in 1971, The New York Times began publication of the “Pentagon Papers”.

Benny Goodman died on this date in 1986.

Iran: One Year Later

Today is Saturday, 12 June 2010.

Today is the first anniversary of the stealing of the Iranian presidential election by the pseudo-Islamic clerical dictatorship.

The regime seems to have re-consolidated its hold on power. However, its hard-line tactics of murders and imprisonments seem to have narrowed its base of popular support. One can only hope this will lead to renewed and deepened resistance.

We must always remember that the reactionary movement which resulted in the dictatorship might well never have existed had not the CIA of the USA/USE overthrown Iran’s democratically elected government in 1953. Thank you, Dwight Eisenhower and the Republican Party.

The Museum of the Bourgeois honours Medgar Evers, assassinated in Mississippi on this date in 1963 by a white supremacist.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Bloomberg Isn't Cute

Today is Friday, 11 June 2010.

Michael Bloomberg is, in one sense, the most corrupt mayor in the history of the City of New York.

Not because he took money, but because he bought the office three times.

In any case, Bloomberg is certainly, at the very least, tied for the title of The Most Callous Mayor in the History of the City of New York.

In order to close a budget gap of $800 million, the Metropolitan Transit Authority has proposed ending free or reduced-fare MetroCards, which enable more than 500,000 public school students to go to and from school.

Today, more than a thousand students rallied outside City Hall, then marched over the Brooklyn Bridge to MTA headquarters, protesting the proposed action, which would cost their parents some $1,000 per year per child to purchase monthly MetroCards.

Billionaire Bloomberg’s response: “If I were them, I'd just think long and hard someday. If I didn't pass a test, I'd always go back and wonder, 'Was it that afternoon when I was trying to be cute and be out there and picketing was better than being in class?''



Obviously, Bloomberg considers “the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” to be “cute”.

Puppies and kittens are “cute”.

“The right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances” is a right guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Had Bloomberg, at long last, any sense of decency, he would resign and devote himself to fondling his money and smirking.

(And learning to speak proper English.)

On this date in 2001, Timothy McVeigh was executed for murdering 168 persons in the Oklahoma City Bombing. Since that day, no murders have been committed, thus providing miraculous confirmation of the genius of lovers of judicial murder.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Never Trust an Angel Named "Moroni"

Today is Wednesday, 9 June 2010.

On this date in 1978, the pope (or whatever he’s called) of the largest Mormon cult announced that a new divine revelation had been received, directing that “all worthy men” [“men” meaning “males”, of course, not “humans”) could be admitted to the Mormon priesthood. This ended a ban against Blacks. How did that ban originate?

In 1848, Brigham Young first preached that those with black skin, flat noses, and kinky hair were the descendants of Cain, and therefore cursed forever.

Thus, it took 130 years for the Mormon deity to notice that the Mormons were getting it wrong, and send a correcting revelation.

Polygamy was practiced by the Mormon leadership beginning in the 1830s, and formalized by a divine revelation in 1843. Once the Federal government began exerting power in Utah in the 1850s, polygamy came under increasing pressure, culminating in a Federal law of 1887 which disincorporated the Mormon church and confiscated many properties, leading many leaders to become fugitives. As a result, a divine revelation in 1890 suddenly revoked the practice of polygamy, allowing the Mormon hierarchy to reassert economic and political dominance in Utah.

It’s instructive to note the alacrity with which the Mormon deity reacted when political and economic power were at stake, contrasted with the tardiness when the revocation of church-sanctioned white supremacy was the issue.

Much media yammering that yesterday's primary results mean that it's "The Political Year of the Woman Redux".


"The Political Year of Teabagger Women With the Dough-Re-Mi Redux".


Rep. Mark Kirk (Republican – Illinois), running for the U.S. Senate, has been claiming military service in the First Gulf War and Kosovo, which he now admits didn’t happen.

“I simply misremembered it wrong”. (Chicago Sun-Times, 4 June 2010)

As the great Yogi Berra said, “This is like déjà vu all over again”.

McDonald’s has announced that it will pay $3 for every Shrek-themed, cadmium paint-laced glass returned to its stores.

“We are making sure our customers are fairly compensated for the recall experience" [my italics]”, said McDonald’s spokesperson Ashlee Yingling. (The New York Times, 9 June 2010)

Would this be like unto the “being-poisoned-by-cadmium-as-a-child-by-a-major-corporation experience”?

NOTE: Column title may be sung to opening of "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?"

Happy World Oceans Day!

Today is Tuesday, 8 June 2010.

Today is World Oceans Day, this year sponsored by BP.


Relevant reading would include John Brunner’s great dystopian novel from 1972, The Sheep Look Up.

The title is from “Lycidas” by John Milton:

"The hungry sheep look up, and are not fed,
But swoln with wind and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread ... "

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Straightening Priorities

Today is Monday, 7 June 2010.

Last week, the military of the far-right government of Israel, enforcing that government’s illegal naval blockade of Gaza, committed piracy by attacking and stealing a civilian ship bound for Gaza, and assassinated nine civilians in the process.

Seems that’s all on the backburner, given the comments of The Greatest Threat to the Survival of Israel Since the Defeat of Nazi Germany: veteran White House correspondent Helen Thomas.

In due course, I’ll comment on the comments of Thomas. For the moment, let us recall that what Thomas said is unlikely to result in even one assassination, let alone nine.

Sympathy is due to the people of Gaza, besieged by two mortal enemies: the political gangsters of the Israeli far-right, and the political gangsters of far-right Hamas. Both the Israeli far-right and the Hamas far-right are types who, whenever they mouth the word “God”, pronounce it, in their hearts, “Me”.

Mea Culpa

Today is Sunday, 6 June 2010.

Today is the last day of Mrs. HH’s vacation, plus, my sister is in town from NOLA, and I’m still trying to catch up with all the extra demands on my time.

Which perhaps accounts for the fact I didn’t consult any “Today in History” last Sunday, and thus missed the 50th anniversary of the death of Boris Pasternak. I hope to complete my commemoration of that before week’s end, as well as complete “The Pill: Part Two”; my opus on capitalism and socialism will be longer.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

The Great Republican Oil Spill

Today is Saturday, 5 June 2010.

OMG: WTF did one think would happen?

Begin with a nation teeming with energy-wasting gluttons like maggots on yesterday’s corpse, that derives 30% of its petroleum production from off-shore wells, stir in the Republicrap lie that corporate persons are inherently good (none of that Original Sin nastiness to which human persons are heir, thanks to that bitch Eve) and can be trusted to regulate themselves, and the question regarding a catastrophic oil spill is not “IF”, but “WHEN”.

The Great Repugnican Oil Spill demonstrates that deep-drilling technology is insufficiently developed for actual use, particularly when Repugnican deregulate-and-the-public-be-damned! philosophy dictates that corporate malefactors may, with impunity, choose greed over the public good.

Legislation should be immediately passed and signed imposing a minimum ten-year ban on new drilling, requiring all companies operating off-shore drilling to place all pertinent assets into subsidiaries, and placing all such subsidiaries into temporary receivership under strict government control, until such time as the parent companies demonstrate that they are able to pump without hazard. The parent companies should also be made liable for any and all damages resulting from spills, and be required to carry liability insurance for same, in amounts derived from the current experience.

BP itself should be immediately put into temporary receivership for the duration.

Tea Party “logic”: Oil is black, Kenyans are black, therefore Hussein Obama caused the oil spill.

On this date in 1989, a lone male Chinese halted a column of tanks in Beijing for half an hour. His identity and fate remain unknown.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

In Memory: Tiananmen Square

Today is Friday, 4 June 2010.

For centuries, the central engine of the tragic history of China has been too many people, and too little of technologies and social organizations to ensure widespread and long-lasting prosperity and stability.

From 1949 to 1976, the "Communist" Party faction led by Mao forged an anti-socialist, state capitalist dictatorship. Beginning in 1976, the Deng faction used that repressive apparatus to transform China into a mixed state-private capitalist dictatorship, which provided greater prosperity and stability than China had ever previously known.

It was thus “inevitable” that the Democracy Movement of 1989 would end with the massacre in Tiananmen Square on this date in 1989. It remains, of course, to be seen if the mandarins of the [anti-]Communist Party can continue to produce the 9% average annual increase in economic productivity which enables China to barely run in place, in terms of keeping pace with population increases while still improving the overall standard of living.

In any case, it is unlikely, contrary to the bigoted fantasies of racists of the “Yellow Peril” ilk, that China will have, any time soon, or ever, the surpluses necessary to become a true global Great Power. More likely, the system will break down, slowly or swiftly, and the resultant shocks bear China back into the treacherous currents of its dismal past.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Crumbs of Good News

Today is Wednesday, 2 June 2010.

The Museum of the Bourgeois was very pleased to learn last week that Lori Berenson and her son have been conditionally released from the hellhole known as the Peruvian “corrections” system. Berenson had originally been sentenced to life by an extrajudicial military “court” during the reign of the military dictatorship fronted by convicted criminal and former president Alberto Fujimori. After the latter’s overthrow, she was re-tried and sentenced to 20 years, of which she served 15.

Berenson was charged with assisting the now-defunct Movimiento Revolucionario Túpac Amaru (Tupac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, or MRTA), a guerilla formation attempting to overthrow the corrupt and dictatorial regimes which have plagued Peru for decades.

While I am deeply skeptical of the utility and ethicality of armed political struggle, I entirely understand and sympathize with those who take up arms in response to decades of murder and exploitation, and in an attempt to gain a measure of justice for the masses.

The Museum of the Bourgeois demands that the Peruvian president, the venal and thuggish Alan Garcia, commute the remainder of Berenson’s sentence of house arrest and return Berenson and her son to the USA/USE, and immediately free all other political prisoners.

The Museum of the Bourgeois is also pleased by the release last week on bail of Jafar Panahi, an Iranian filmmaker kidnapped nearly three months ago by the reactionary and anti-Islamic Iranian dictatorship, and imprisoned in the former Shah’s notorious Evin Prison. Mr. Panahi is charged in the Revolutionary [sic!] Court with unspecified crimes, certainly related to his opposition to the corrupt dictatorship’s theft of last June’s presidential election.

The Museum of the Bourgeois demands that the squalid gangsters, Supreme Leader of Iran Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, drop all charges and allow Mr. Panahi to leave the country, and immediately free all other political prisoners.

More Memory

Today is Tuesday, 1 June 2010.

1 June 1921 was the second day of the Tulsa White Racist Riot.

Geographically, Oklahoma is part of the Great Plains. Culturally, economically, politically, it’s always been part of the Old South. Thus, when Blacks in the Tulsa ghetto prospered in the first two decades of the 20th century (one street was known nationally as “Little Black Wall Street”), there was much white resentment.

Are we then to believe that there was anything spontaneous about well-armed white mobs surrounding the ghetto, and, at the signal of a train whistle, swarming through the ghetto, killing without mercy and burning most of it down, a human and economic catastrophe from which The North Side has yet fully to recover?

Surely, it’s about as likely that, as some claim, Hitler didn’t order the Holocaust, since there is no extant historical document: “Kill all k---s. A. Hitler”.

NOTE AND APOLOGY: Mrs. HH has taken vacation this week, so I’m running slow on completing and posting columns. MoB shall soon return to its regularly-scheduled programming.