Saturday, July 31, 2010

Palin: "Close the Churches"

Today is Saturday, 31 July 2010.

In a surprising turn of events, Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich today issued a joint statement demanding the closure of all churches and other Christian places of worship, located within a ten mile radius of Jewish homes, businesses, and places of worship.

“Anti-Semitism is the creation of Christianity, and led to two thousand years of murderous persecution, culminating in the extermination of more than 6,000,000 Jews. We find it intolerable, an attack, and a provocation that Christian churches shove themselves into the faces and lives of Jewish Americans”.

Perhaps when hell freezes over.

Certain Americans, who just happen to be Muslim, just as some Americans happen to be Christian, and some Americans happen to be Jewish, and … you get the idea.

These particular Americans, who just happen to be Muslims, and not, for example, Two-Seed-in-the-Spirit-Predestinarian Baptists (Kurt Vonnegut and I aren’t making that up; please google) want to build a multi-use cultural center a few blocks from the World Trade Center site, to include a restaurant, a pool, a performing arts space, educational facilities, and prayer space.

This is being called a “mosque”, since it includes prayer space. By the same criterion, every hospital owned by the Roman Catholic Church, containing a chapel, is Notre Dame.

The whole point of Palin, Gingrich, and other bigots who oppose the building of a Muslim cultural center in Lower Manhattan, is that they equate the fact that the 9-11 hijackers were Muslim, with the bigot fantasy that all Muslims who ever lived, live, or will live are blood-responsible for 9-11. Cf. the classic anti-Semitic blood libel that all Jews are responsible for killing God, in the person of Jesus.

The evil error here is the creation of the Monolithic Other: there are no Jews, but only The Jew. There are no Muslims, but only The Muslim. There are no Christians, only The Christian, There are no ….

As if every adherent of each religion were exactly the same and subsumed into one. Purpose?

As the Roman emperor Caligula said, “If only all humanity had but one head, that one cut of the sword might suffice.”

Just another way for the white right to scream: "N----r! N----r! N----r!"

All those coloreds do look alike, don't they?

Friday, July 30, 2010

"No Sense of Decency"

Today is Friday, 30 July 2010.

Remember when ... bloated adulterer Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House, and caused The Federal Government Shutdown of 1995, because he was in a snit at his seating assignment on Air Force One?

House Republicans are at it again.

In an effort to harass and embarrass Democrats, they demanded to offer unlimited, unrelated amendments to the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, a bill to aid first-responders to the September 11 events. Last night, their ambition denied, 155 House Republicans (all but 12 in the House) voted to stall the bill until at least September, and succeeded.

The House Republican tantrum puts their electoral greeds above the needs of nearly 60,000 people who put their lives on the line on 9/11.

First in this legislative session, they took a crap on the unemployed, then craped on small business, and now they've gone for the gold: craping on the heroines and heroes of 9/11: the meaning of patriotism for 86% of House Republicans.

For each of these "public-spirited", elected employees, it’s a country of one.

“Whose side are you on?”

Thursday, July 29, 2010

"Papers, Comrade"

Today is Thursday, 29 July 2010.

At least for the moment, the plot by the Republican Party to turn an American state into the Soviet Socialist Republic of Arizona has been derailed.

At least, that’s how conservatives would have assessed the situation, from 1917 to 1991. According to the American right, back in the day, one of the prime tactics of Commie oppression was the requirement that everyone should carry comprehensive identity papers all the time, and be prepared to present same to the authorities.

Precisely what the new Arizona law required.

This nefarious Republican Party conspiracy has been thwarted, at least for the moment, by a courageous Federal judge. It remains to be seen if the floodgates of Red Domination will be opened when the case reaches the U.S. Supreme Court, presided over by a miscast John Roberts, who should have been Chief Justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court in 1950.

The current race campaign focused on Mexican immigrants takes me back to the race campaign of the 1960s and 1970s in the Bundesrepublik Deutschland/Federal Republic of Germany/West Germany, which was focused on Turkish guest workers. Many Germans were originally all for Turks performing menial and backbreaking jobs the Germans suddenly felt were beneath them, but let a little Hard Times come along, and suddenly the Turks were life-sucking parasites. (Not that the Germans wished to resume roofing houses or building highways.)

The simple fact is, most Americans are illegal aliens, since no Native American authority ever authorized Europeans or anybody else to invade this place, kill as many inhabitants as possible, and take over. The simple fact is, the race haters of today were yesterday boasting how immigrants (i.e. Them) were the backbone who’d built this nation.

Immigrants, who are generally relatively poor and willing to work their butts off, contribute more to this country than they receive in social services. True when my English ancestors immigrated in 1850, true when my Austrian ancestors immigrated in 1888, and true now.

Racism always rises to a crescendo in economically bad times. White is the colour of goodness, dark is the colour of evil. Blame persons of colour, never the corrupt system.

On this date in 1901, the Socialist Party of America is founded.

This just in.

Senate Republicans have blocked a vote on a bill to help community banks with less than $10 billion dollars in assets increase loans to small business.

There’s a reason Republican states are called “red states”: Republicanism is Communism.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Great War

Today is Wednesday, 28 July 2010.

On this date in 1914, The Great War began.

By the conclusion, at least 9.7 million military had died, at least 6.8 million civilians had died, at least 7.7 military were missing and must be presumed dead, for a grand total of 24.2 million dead. Another 21.1 million military were wounded, many of whom later died from delayed effects.

Payoff: within a little more than 20 years, two more Great Wars would begin, one in Europe and one in the Pacific.

Footnote to White Right Racism

Today remains Tuesday, 27 July 2010.

Just for the record, and to “make one thing perfectly clear”: I don’t for a New York moment imagine that Andrew Breitbart was the innocent victim of a hoaxer, when he promoted the lying video of Shirley Sherrod.

It’s irrelevant whether he was the actual cook of this evil confection, or “merely” the knowing pimp in the candy store, because, if the latter, he knew he should have vetted it, and then refused it as a vile libel.

In any case, Andrew Breitbart is a mini-Goebbels. He deserves any and all misfortune which comes his way.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Capitalism Is Wonderful

Today is Tuesday, 27 July 2010.

Capitalism is wonderful.

Provided the subject is surgery, and provided one happens to be in the wealthiest 1/3 of the world’s population.

That group receives 75% of all surgery performed each year.

The middle 1/3, by wealth, receives 21% of all surgery performed each year.

The bottom 1/3, by wealth, of the world’s population, receives 4% of all surgery performed every year.

Triage is wonderful.

(“Global Distribution of Access to Surgical Services”, Paul S. Myles and Guy Haller, The Lancet, July 2010)

(Noted at: )

Monday, July 26, 2010

War Crimes in Fallujah

Today is Monday, 26 July 2010.

From April to December 2004, the US Marine Corps (with some British and Iraqi support) fought an ultimately successful battle to subjugate the city of Fallujah in Iraq, involving heavy fighting in a very congested urban setting.

A favourite weapon of the Marines at Fallujah (and of USA/USA forces throughout the country during the Conquest of Iraq) was depleted uranium (DU) projectiles, which were originally designed for primary use against armour and other think-skinned targets. While generating only approx. 60% of the level of radioactivity of natural uranium, DU has a half-life of approx. 4.468 billion years for its primary component, U-238. Obviously, use of DU projectiles creates permanent radioactive contamination, since areas of usage are never policed.

A recent article in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (2010, #7; see reference below) indicates that, in Fallujah from 2005-2009, cancer rates have increased, infant mortality has increased, and male births have declined. This is as one would expect when a mutagenic agent is present, such as DU contamination.

I must consider the manufacture and use of DU munitions to be a war crime and a crime against humanity.

(The article referenced may be found at:

On this date in 1945, the U.S.S. Indianapolis arrived at Tinian Island in the Pacific, bearing components of the warhead for the atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima.

On this date in 1947 President Harry Truman signed into law the National Security Act of 1947, creating the Central Intelligence Agency, the Department of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the National Security Council.

On this date in 1948, President Truman signed an executive order abolishing segregation in the USA/USE armed forces.

On this date in 1990, President G. H. W. Bush signed into law the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Happy Birthday, Hari!

Today is Sunday, 25 July 2010.

Happy Birthday to Hari, old friend and comrade, and architect of this site!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Another White Right Smear 2

Today is Saturday, 24 July 2010.

A failure of nerve? An asinine choice of flawed strategy? Both? Whatever: the reaction of the Obama regime to the racist attacks on Shirley Sherrod and the NAACP by Andy Breitbart, the myrmidons of Fox “News”, etc. was a fine example of FUBAR.

Fox is not a news network, nor was it ever meant to be one. Fox is a for-profit, hard-right propaganda business. Its raison d-etre is facilitating hard-right Republican Party domination of the USA/USE, white Protestant supremacy, and repression. (Think THRUSH without “foreign” accents.)

The only way to deal with such vile opponents as these is to “break their faces” early and often, at every opportunity.

The Obama administration was suckered into focusing on its internal handling of the situation, instead of maintaining focus on the white racists who created it.

There is no such thing as “reverse racism”, as white racists claim. While it’s regrettable that some Blacks may have suspicions about all whites, it’s not prejudice: it’s an understandable and reasonable reaction grounded in the facts of history. Whites enslaved Blacks; Blacks did not enslave whites. Whites used the demonically false ideology of “white racial supremacy” to enslave Blacks; Blacks did not use a demonically false ideology of “Black racial supremacy” to enslave whites.

To counterpose the ideological fantasy of (Black) “reverse racism” as being equal to (and equally as bad as) white supremacist racism, is itself inherently racist. Just another vile ploy by white racists to portray themselves as the real victims.

The Obama regime must get with the program. If I learned anything in community organizing, it is that the only way to respond to hard-right political gangsterism is Offense, Offense, and always more Offense.

Friday, July 23, 2010

In Memory: Daniel Schorr

Today is Friday, 23 July 2010.

It is with profound sorrow and shock that the Museum of the Bourgeois honours the life, work, and memory of Daniel Schorr, one of the finest journalists ever in any language or format, dead today in Washington.

Another White Right Smear

Today is Thursday, 22 July 2010.

Once upon a time, there was an Andrew Breitbart. Andy runs a for-profit hard-right propaganda business on the Internet, and thinks of himself as a journalistic publishing mogul. (After all, he has good genes: he calls himself “Matt Drudge’s bitch”.)

One hot summer day, Anonymous Source sent Andy the video of a speech, purporting to show Shirely Sherrod, a Black woman, at an NAACP fundraiser, speechifying bigotly against whites. So, like any self-respecting hard-right journalist, Andy didn’t bother with that liberal “check it out” crap, he just went viral.

Boo boo!

When the entire tape surfaced, it turns out that the Black woman fights the good fight for both white and Black farmers.

So Glenn de la Beckwith starts blubbering, and chalking “Set up!” all over his board. See, some conniving liberal knew Andy had no journalistic professionalism, and that Pride Goeth Before a Fall, and, like the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, lured poor little innocent Andy into stepping in “a special pile of human excrement”. (Which latter is what Andy called Ted Kennedy, after the latter was dead, since Andy doesn’t have the wherewithal “down there” to have said it to his face.)

Some claim that Breitbart made “an honest mistake” in not verifying the initial tape. Puh-leeze: he’s a smart male with an engorged ego who delights in telling you how smart he is. So he should go with a variation on the Enron Etc. Defense: “I know I said I should be paid big bucks cuz I’m a genius, but actually I’m dumb as a turd and didn’t know nothin’ ‘bout any illegalities”?

The truth is that a racist smear attempt imploded, and blew poo all over little Andy.

The recent NAACP convention passed a resolution calling on the Tea Party movement to repudiate white supremacist elements in its midst. Teabaggers responded by falsely claiming that this meant the NAACP was saying the Tea Party movement as a whole is racist. This is the context in which Breitbart tried to smear Sherrod and the NAACP by releasing the doctored tape.

When will the Teabagger poobahs explain why, if a large national debt is so bad, that many of them supported Reagan and the two Bushes, who promoted adding some 2/3 of the national debt, and only woke up to the badness when the president was Black?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Eternal Russia

Today is Wednesday, 21 July 2010.

Perhaps the only moment of the W. Bush presidency (or usurpationary, to be precise) that I enjoyed, unfortunately didn’t happen.

It was when Bush and Vladimir Putin met in 2001 for the first time, and Bush was initially quoted as saying afterwards: “I looked into his eyes, and I liked what I saw”. I thought: “WTF? Is W. having a metrosexual guy crush moment?”

Turned out what George said was, "I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straight forward and trustworthy and we had a very good dialogue. I was able to get a sense of his soul. He's a man deeply committed to his country and the best interests of his country and I appreciate very much the frank dialogue and that's the beginning of a very constructive relationship.”

In other words, boilerplate.

John McCain, while running for president in 2007, said that he looked into Putin’s eyes, and saw three letters: “A “K”, and a “G”, and a “B””.

Well, duh. More boilerplate.

Contrary to popular belief, when the U.S.S.R. died and Boorish Yeltsin succeeded Mikhail Gorbachev at the head of the Russian state, democracy wasn’t born, but rather the same old autocracy under new management. (Communism died in 1924, with Lenin. Stalin and his successors were merely czars under a different title.) Not surprising, since Yeltsin was never a democrat.

People tend to forget that, when Yeltsin was expelled from the Politburo in 1987, it wasn’t for advocating democracy: it was for failing in an attempt to depose Yegor Ligachev, and replace him as number two in the regime. People also tend to forget that, in 1993, Yeltsin illegally dissolved Parliament, after a failed attempt to impeach him. The Parliament then removed him for overthrowing the Constitution, and Yeltsin responded by attacking Parliament with troops and tanks, and ruling by decree. It was then no surprise when, in 1999, Yeltsin handed over the presidency to Putin, a former K.G.B. officer turned opportunistic politician.

Putin has proved a far more efficient and ruthless ruler than Yeltsin, consolidating power once more in the Kremlin, and conducting a criminal war in Chechnya. Putin has also shown no little tolerance for political opposition to his regime, ordering the police to attack even the smallest public protests. Putin continues in power as Prime Minister, with a figurehead without a political base as token president.

It’s then no wonder Putin has now legally revived, through the State Duma (parliament), an old K.G.B. tactic used against dissidents. The security organs are now officially authorized to have a “preventive conversation” with “someone who is beginning to move toward committing a crime”. (The words of Vladimir Vasiliev, chair of the Duma’s Committee on Security.)

Bank robbers, wife beaters, and child molesters need not, of course, fear such conversations. As in Soviet days, the law will be directed toward intimidating members of the opposition.

BTW. I once looked into McCain’s eyes. I saw his wife’s fortune.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Of a Fire on the Moon

Today is Tuesday, 20 July 2010.

On this date in 1969, humans first landed on the Moon.

I would love to visit the Moon, so part of me is annoyed that things haven’t turned out as in 2001. Unless things change drastically, I’ll never serve, on the Moon, martinis to friends. (Shaken, not stirred.)

We must scrape the barnacles of propaganda off the Space Race: it wasn’t about Science, it was about The Cold War. The motivation for missiles wasn’t DISCOVERY, it was the most swift and accurate delivery of nuclear weapons of genocide. The “prestige” of putting the First Male on the Moon was, appropriately, a "Mine is Bigger Than Yours" thing.

All that money, and human resources, wasted, while hundreds of millions suffered in poverty and disease, when that money could have helped them.

Plus: Tang tastes like crap. (Even in a screwdriver.)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

"That's Rich"

Today is Monday, 19 July 2010.

A commenter recently wrote: “Please define 'rich'(in $), HH.”

“rich adj. 1. Possessing great material wealth.” That’s the definition in The American Heritage Concise dic-tion-ar-y, Third Edition (Houghton Mifflin: Boston, 1994), the dictionary currently nearest my chair.

Not so helpful in formulating an answer.

Most folks would agree that anyone with a million US dollars is rich. But what does that million US dollars mean?

Assets (the dollar value (DV) of everything one owns)? Net worth (the DV of everything one owns, minus the DV of one’s debts)? Investable net worth (the DV of everything one owns, minus the DV of primary residence, minus lifestyle assets (vehicles, furniture, clothing, etc.), minus the DV of one’s debts)? Or is anyone who earns a million dollars a year a millionaire? Or is anyone who earns a million dollars a year a millionaire, regardless of expenses?

In Yemen, some 18% of the population lives on less than US$1.25 per day, or less than US$456.25 per year. To someone in this group, an income of US$10,000 per year would surely qualify as “rich”.

A realtor friend informs me that a household wishing to take out a 30-year loan at 4.75% interest on a house appraised at US$1,000,000, should expect a lending institution to require an annual household income of approx. US$300,000 (assuming a 10% down payment). Would this mean that any household with an annual income of US$300,000 or more is rich?

At least a billion persons on this planet live and die without sustained access to potable water. Surely they regard the rest of us as “rich”.

During the 2008 presidential election, many agreed that the tipping point of “richness” was an annual household income of US$250,000 or more. This would qualify approx. 2% of American households as “rich”.

However, many households in this number would not consider themselves “rich”, if their annual expenses leave them with an annual net income after debts of, say, US$20,000, and an investible net worth of, say, US$40,000.

According to “”, “The average world income is about $8,000 per year (per capita). However, less than 1/4 of countries enjoy this amount or more, because the median income is only about $2,000 per year. So although the total world GDP divided by the world population equals $8,000 per year, most people scrape by with a meager $2,000 per year income.”

Shall we then conclude that any annual income of, say, ten times greater than the world annual median income, or US$20,000 or more, qualifies as “rich”? This would include approx. 80% of all US households.

“The American consumer accounts for an estimated 60 percent of the country’s economic activity. But the Top 5 percent in income earners – those households earning $210,000 or more – account for about one-third of consumer outlays, including spending on goods and services, interest payments on consumer debts and cash gifts, according to an analysis of Federal Reserve data by Moody’s Analytics.” (“Wealthy Sector of Buying Public Is Cutting Back” by Motoko Rich, The New York Times, 17 July 2010.)

Certain commentators have recently taken me to task, yea, to the woodshed, for my definitions of words such as “terror” and “coup”. As the discussion above indicates, the definitions of many terms are hardly as hard-and-fast as certain commentators might imagine. (For another example: to a Klansman, the lynching of a Black wasn’t terrorism, but self-defense by the White Race.) This is the case, not because of infernal motives on the part of certain writers, but because of the nature of the world of language, economics, politics, etc. In reality, definitions do not behave in so docile a fashion as do objects in classical Newtonian physics.

So: “rich”.

Among Americans, that class would seem to include households with a net annual income of US$90,000 or more (which includes the top 20% of earners), and households with an investable net worth of US$200,000 or more (regardless of annual income)(again, approx. the top 20%).

Of course, compared with the majority of present humanity, or with 99.9999999…% of all humanity who ever existed, almost all present Americans are “rich”.

That's rich.

"For the Union Dead"

Today is Sunday, 18 July 2010.

On this date in 1863, fell in battle many members of the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first formally-organized African-American combat unit in the US Army.

A monument to the regiment was constructed on the Boston Common (1884-1898). Both figure in Robert Lowell’s great poem of 1964:

“For the Union Dead”

Relinquunt Ommia Servare Rem Publicam.

The old South Boston Aquarium stands
in a Sahara of snow now. Its broken windows are boarded.
The bronze weathervane cod has lost half its scales.
The airy tanks are dry.
Once my nose crawled like a snail on the glass;
my hand tingled to burst the bubbles
drifting from the noses of the crowded, compliant fish.

My hand draws back. I often sign still
for the dark downward and vegetating kingdom
of the fish and reptile. One morning last March,
I pressed against the new barbed and galvanized

fence on the Boston Common. Behind their cage,
yellow dinosaur steamshovels were grunting
as they cropped up tons of mush and grass
to gouge their underworld garage.

Parking spaces luxuriate like civic
sandpiles in the heart of Boston.
a girdle of orange, Puritan-pumpkin colored girders
braces the tingling Statehouse,

shaking over the excavations, as it faces Colonel Shaw
and his bell-cheeked Negro infantry
on St. Gaudens' shaking Civil War relief,
propped by a plank splint against the garage's earthquake.

Two months after marching through Boston,
half of the regiment was dead;
at the dedication,
William James could almost hear the bronze Negroes breathe.

Their monument sticks like a fishbone
in the city's throat.
Its Colonel is a lean
as a compass-needle.

He has an angry wrenlike vigilance,
a greyhound's gentle tautness;
he seems to wince at pleasure,
and suffocate for privacy.

He is out of bounds now. He rejoices in man's lovely,
peculiar power to choose life and die-
when he leads his black soldiers to death,
he cannot bend his back.

On a thousand small town New England greens
the old white churches hold their air
of sparse, sincere rebellion; frayed flags
quilt the graveyards of the Grand Army of the Republic

The stone statutes of the abstract Union Soldier
grow slimmer and younger each year-
wasp-waisted, they doze over muskets
and muse through their sideburns…

Shaw's father wanted no monument
except the ditch,
where his son's body was thrown
and lost with his "niggers."

The ditch is nearer.
There are no statutes for the last war here;
on Boylston Street, a commercial photograph
shows Hiroshima boiling

over a Mosler Safe, the "Rock of Ages"
that survived the blast. Space is nearer.
when I crouch to my television set,
the drained faces of Negro school-children rise like balloons.

Colonel Shaw
is riding on his bubble,
he waits
for the blessed break.

The Aquarium is gone. Everywhere,
giant finned cars nose forward like fish;
a savage servility
slides by on grease.

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Great War Begins

Today is Saturday, 17 July 2010.

As noted before, World War Two was actually two distinct, if somewhat interrelated, wars. The Great Pacific War featured a contest for hegemony in the Pacific Basin, between the Japanese Empire and the American Empire. The Second Great European War featured a contest for hegemony over the European continent, between the Third German Reich on the one hand, and the Russian Empire and the American Empire on the other.

(In each theatre, the British Empire tagged along for the ride, as its incompetent ruling elites destroyed the lives of hundreds of thousands and squandered billions of pounds in resources, in an asinine, doomed-to-failure crusade to regress to the 19th century.)

In retrospect, it’s clear that the Second Great European War began on this date in 1936, when elements of the Spanish Army, their leadership infused with fascist ideology, launched a rebellion against the Spanish Republic.

The Third Reich responded with significant political, economic, and military support for the rebels. This included deploying the Condor Legion, “volunteers” who were actually elements of the Luftwaffe, sent to experiment with new terror bombing techniques. (They would devastate the Basque market town on Guernica on 26 April 1937.)

On Stalin’s orders, the Russian Empire provided support to Moscow-friendly factions of Spanish “Communism”, and did its best to destroy the majority of Left forces. The “Western democracies” sat on the sidelines, even doing much to hinder the attempts of the lawful Republican government to acquire military supplies. Right-wing isolationists, usually so proud of their belief in andworship of violence, declined to take part in combat, at a moment in history when it might have made a difference.

After all, the thinking in many right-wing circles went, while the Nazis weren’t the best of all possible worlds, they were haters of “Communists”, Jews, and other inferior types.

Certain elements of the Teabaggery movement are accusing the NAACP of being the actual racists. Next, Teabaggists will accuse Jews of being the real anti-Semites. After all, they’ll argue, Who was the perfect Jew? Jesus, the first Christian, of course. So, when Jews refuse to become Christians, it’s because they reject Jesus, the perfect Jew, and are therefore the actual Jew-hating anti-Semites.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Day of Trinity

Today is Friday, 16 July 2010.

Day of Trinity.

On this date in 1945, at 5.29.45am Mountain War Time, the first atomic device was detonated at White Sands Proving Ground, New Mexico. “Trinity” was the code name.

In the pursuit of nuclear supremacy, the USA/USE has spent far in excess of $8 trillion. (That figure is verifiable.)

What is even more unforgivable than the waste of money, is that the ruling regimes of the USA/USE did the same as those of the USSR, building a nuclear weapons system meant for a First Strike. This was unnecessary if the actual motivation had been defense.

The “logic”, as it is laughably called, or rather, as it would be laughably called, were it not part and parcel of genocide, of First Strike, is for a nuclear nation to conduct a surprise attack on an enemy nuclear nation, targeting its nuclear launch assets with overwhelming power, so that the target nation can mount only a feeble response, which, in theory, the military assets of the aggressor nation can “absorb”, while the target nation is left stripped of nuclear capability.

Were such a nuclear exchange to have occurred between the USA/USE and USSR, or should such occur between the USA/USE and the Russian Empire, it is doubtful that either nation would have retained or would retain sufficient military resources to be declared, in any sane sense, “the winner”. The concomitant destruction in Europe and Asia would almost certainly mean that the most commanding military power in the world would be, perhaps Peru, perhaps Upper Volta.

The ostensible reason for the American First Strike capability was to counter that of the USSR. Putting aside the fact that any nuclear war is madness, in the sense that every combatant would be reduced to poverty and ashes, the fact is that the USSR, and now Russia, have always had a far inferior nuclear capability to that of the USA/USE.

This is a fact well-known to American regimes since Eisenhower, and a reality even those outside government could deduce by study of publicly-available information. For example, when Khrushchev boasted that “We’re producing missiles like sausages!”, it was easily discerned that the USSR couldn’t even produce enough sausages. Right-wing fear merchants always loved to trumpet the fact that Soviet missiles and warheads were larger than those of the USA/USE. The slightest study would reveal the reason: Soviet weapons were less accurate and precise, less efficient in destructive power. They needed more bucks and larger everything to produce the same bang that the USA/USE did with smaller missiles and warheads.

While the number of warheads held by the USA/USE and Russian Empire have been reduced, they remain sufficient for First Strikes.

Have a nice day.

On this date in 1951, The Catcher in the Rye, a novel by J. D. Salinger, was published.

Tony Kushner, playwright and author of Angels in America, was born on this date in 1956.

On this date in 1969, Apollo 11 is launched, carrying the first humans who will land on the Moon.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

As if...

Today is Thursday, 15 July 2010.

...there isn't enough about which to worry.

Without a steady supply of copious amounts of electricity, there can be no First World lifestyle. That steady supply is provided by the modern power grid. Until the 1950s, power generation was local or, at best, regional: little power was shared across, for example, the United States. Now, power generated in Maine can be, when needed, transferred almost instantaneously to Los Angeles. What if this grid were broken?

The transformers are a vital and particularly vulnerable segment of the grid. These elements receive power from high-voltage transmission lines, step it down from hundreds of thousands of volts to tens of thousands of volts, and pass the power on to the units which deliver electricity to individual homes, businesses, etc.

In 1859 and 1921, Earth was struck by geomagnetic storms, produced by the Sun, of extraordinary ferocity. Of course, in 1859 there was no electrical generation, and, in 1921, there was virtually no grid. An electromagnetic pulse (EMP) generated by the Sun, were it of sufficient magnitude (such as 1859 and 1921), would fry as many as a third of American transformers, which would take several years to replace. (The current timeframe for delivery of transformers is some three years.)

One can easily imagine the economic damage, human suffering, and degradation of life quality which would result.

The relevant transformers in this country, some 5,000, could be largely protected from such a catastrophe by the installation of surge suppressors, which would cost in the range of $250 to $500 million. Last month, the U.S. House unanimously passed a bill which would empower the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission to require such suppressors. The fate of the legislation is in doubt in the U.S. Senate.

I’ve been aware of this vulnerability in the grid for years, both from EMPs caused by solar storms and by nuclear bomb blasts sufficiently high in the atmosphere. Not until I read an article on The Huffington Post (citation below) was I aware that the current solar storm cycle could produce an 1859/1921 event in 2012.

I’m sure many Senate Republicans will consider requiring surge suppressors as unconstitutional micromanagement of free enterprise. While they scheme to extend $658 billion in tax forgiveness to the wealthiest among us, let’s hope they vote to require that the power business spend $500 million to protect us from Solaric terrorism.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Happy Bastille Day!

Today is Wednesday, 14 July 2010.

The Museum of the Bourgeois is pleased to welcome a guest columnist, Mr. Victor Laszlo:

The English Revolution of 1642-1649, the French Revolution of 1789, and the February Russian Revolution of 1917 can all be fairly understood as “bourgeois revolutions”. Until those events, in their respective nations, an essentially medieval and feudal ethos dominated political affairs. That is, political power largely resided in the hands of those deemed to possess royal, noble, or aristocratic “blood”, which is to say descent, from the adventurers and political gangsters who had originally established the various dynasties. Economically, the ancien regimes were fundamentally based on ownership of large tracts of land, and exploitation of the agriculturalists who actually worked them.

The “bourgeois revolutions” occurred because the previous managements had failed to understand that economic productivity had increasingly passed into the hands of merchants and artisans of many kinds, who, though some were significant landowners, derived their real fortunes from business. Thus, the previous managements had failed to accommodate the growing bourgeois classes by significantly sharing political power. As history worked out, it required the shed blood of many members of the previous managements, plus the deaths and sufferings of far more innocent victims, to gain the attention of the various “blood” aristocracies.

As the bumper stickers on the back bumpers of the carriages of Charles I, Louis XVI, and Nicholas II purportedly read: “I’ll give up my divine right to rule when they pry my cold, hard fingers from my sword”.

How did the “bourgeois revolutions” work out? Perhaps it’s best to go with Zhou Enlai’s reply, when asked about the impact of the French Revolution: “It’s too soon to tell”.

At any rate, “Happy Bastille Day!” to all.

Note to ‘weary of the crap”:

I don’t see why classifying the Event of ’76 as a coup within the ruling elites, rather than as a revolution, should be deemed “outrageous”. Certainly, the majority of residents of the American Colonies at the time wouldn’t have noticed any revolutionary change in the social order: Blacks remained slaves, Native Americans remained vermin (“merciless Savages”, in the Declaration) to be hunted down and exterminated, females remained bitches and property, most white males still lacked the net worth necessary to vote, etc.

And what’s with this dis France thing that’s so popular? Such ingratitude. Were it not for the French army and navy forces which the government of Louis XVI committed in the final years of the rebellion, and, perhaps even more important, the fact that the struggle between England and France over European primacy was far more important to England than the Colonies, the Brits might well have won.

I don’t deny that some good has issued from the American experiment. However, my studies in and reflections on philosophy, theology, history, etc. have led me to the conclusion that our attentions must be directed far more toward victims than victors.

And, I gave up saying things just to stir up shitstorms back during the Second Indochina War. When I say/write something, I do so because I believe it’s true, and that people should consider it. The state of humanity and the planet is far too perilous, there is far too much pointless and unnecessary suffering, to indulge in grandstanding. And that’s always been the case.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Of Revolutions and Coups

Today is Tuesday, 13 July 2010.

Here perhaps WDR (“weinerdogzrule”) and I reach another impasse.

A revolution does indeed intend to fundamentally transform an established social order. I submit that the Event of ’76 fails to meet that definition. The Founding Fathers were part of the ruling elite, in the same sense that non-royal and non-noble persons of wealth and/or influence were on the Mother Island. The FFs didn’t intend to upset the social applecart, and create, for example, direct democracy and/or socialism. The FFs meant to sever their connections with the layers of elite above them, on the Mother Island, and usurp their places, while, economically, for example, the social order carried on as usual. The American republic was intended to preserve the basic social order “Under New Management”, in a classic American phrase. (Blacks, Females, Native Americans: Need Not Apply.)

Thus, I call the Event of ’76 a coup. I think WDR defines the latter too narrowly, in the sense of the mechanics of the classic Latin American version. The FFs raised alternative military forces, which they directed to depose the representatives of the rightful (by the Law of the Land) king, and replace the latter and his minions with themselves. Substituting, by force, a new boss for an old boss, is a coup, not a revolution.

As to the FFs being creatures of their culture, their time and place, I would identify them, not as creatures of colonial America in the late 18th Century, but as creatures of the culture of the ruling elite mentality, which remains fundamentally constant over times and places. That is, the elites always and everywhere exploit the masses.

Creation myths abound, and it’s usually, and boringly, all about Exceptionalism.

“Daddy/Mommy/God/History likes ME better!”

The creation myth of an American “revolution” is no exception.

(Personally, were I to wish to savour a creation myth, I'd go with Coyote the Trickster. That whole stealing-fire-from-the-gods thing appeals to me. And Coyote isn't stuck with that nasty liver complication.)

In Memory: Pablo Neruda

Today is Monday, 12 July 2010.

The Museum of the Bourgeois honors the great Chilean poet, Neftalí Ricardo Reyes Basoalto, better known under his pen name (and later legal name), Pablo Neruda, born on this date in 1904.

Neruda always wrote in green ink, because he said it was the colour of esperanza – “hope”.

After the Chilean military coup of 11 September 1973, Neruda’s home was searched by the army, as he lay dying of prostate cancer. When the troops entered his bedroom, he said, “Look where you wish – the only danger to you here is poetry”.

Neruda died on 23 September 1973.

At the time, and into the 1980s, it was a fashion among American rightists who considered themselves to be intellectuals, to distinguish between “authoritarian” and “totalitarian” states. (Particularly popularized by Jeanne Kirkpatrick, Ambassador to the United Nations.)

In theory, authoritarian nations (military-ruled Chile) were less systematically repressive than totalitarian nations (such as Communist-controlled Bulgaria). In practice, the distinguishing feature was support for or opposition to the USA/USE in The Cold War.

In reality, it is reliably reported that electrical shocks applied to the genitals by secret police in authoritarian nations are essentially indistinguishable from electrical shocks delivered by secret police in totalitarian nations.

Monday, July 12, 2010

In Memory: Srebrenica

Today is Sunday, 11 July 2010.

On this day in 1995, began the genocide, by the Serbian military, of more than 8,000 Muslim Bosnian male adults and children at Srebrenica.

Blame enough to go around.

Old hatreds laid a fuse, it’s true. However, as in, say Somalia, Afghanistan, and Rwanda, it’s doubtful that the atrocities of the Yugoslav Wars would have been so extensive or long-lived, were it not for the meddling of and armaments provision by the USA/USE and USSR, using those unhappy societies as catspaws.

It’s instructive to note that, once the probability of massive suffering and atrocities became virtually certain, the American Right, previously so intervention-giddy, swiftly developed a virulent and “highly-principled” allergy to “nation-building”.

After all, the victims weren’t exactly “our kind of people”, now were they?

Friday, July 09, 2010

The Rich Are...

Today is Friday, 9 July 2010.

F. Scott Fitzgerald once remarked to Ernest Hemingway, “The rich are different”. Hemingway replied, “Yes, they have more money”.

And in the current America, they’re also more likely to default on residential mortgages.

“More than one in seven homeowners with loans in excess of a million dollars is seriously delinquent” (missing 3 or more successive payments). (According to data compiled by CoreLogic for The New York Times. Citation below.)

By contrast, among residential mortgages of less than a million dollars, about one in twelve is seriously delinquent.

14.2% versus 8.3%. (This pattern is repeated in mortgages for both second homes and investment homes at the same price point.)

One must presume that those who can afford more expensive housing are of the judgment that walking away from a mortgage ("strategic defaulting") is their best financial option, regardless of the harm it frequently does to their communities.

All this is hardly surprising: in all known societies, the rich assume they deserve the privileges they enjoy, and act accordingly.

Of more interest to me: why did many people with marginal resources to become homeowners, take on mortgages which now prove to be crushing burdens?

One of the central American dreams is to own one’s own home. And it’s not just a dream: it’s usually presented as a moral imperative – every good person should own a home for themselves and their family. The problem is, under our present economic system, many people will never be able to afford home ownership. During the days of easy mortgages, the combination of the social pressure of the moral imperative plus high-pressure, and frequently deceptive, sales techniques lured many people into financial responsibilities which they could meet only if everything continued to perpetually come up roses, an absurdity on its face. “This is the best of all possible worlds”.


Thursday, July 08, 2010

Defining Terror

Today is Wednesday, 7 July 2010.

A new comment on “On Terror and Intentions”, from “weinerdogzrule”: “Your blog for 6 July, contained my comments on "More Terror" and your rebuttal to the thoughts contained therein. You responsed that you're "not content with such a narrow definition of 'terror'". Obviously, you can define "terror" or "terrorism" any way you wish - it's your blog - but the fact remains that "terror" or "terrorism" is the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) to inculcate fear in order to achieve goals that are political or religious, or ideological. Terrorism is the systematic use of terror as a means of coercion and intimidation - of society or governments. The "broader" spectrum of activities that you describe (including the husband who beats or threatens to beat his wife, the thug who shoves a pistol in a shopkeeper's face, etc.) are crimes which occur daily and are routinely prosecuted by the local District Attorneys on behalf of the State. The husband who beats his wife is guilty of domestic violence, and the thug who shoves a pistol in the shopkeeper's face (presumably to obtain money) is guilty of attempted robbery (or, if he is rewarded with money, robbery). These common criminals are not "terrorists" in that their goals are not political or ideological - their goals are far more immediate and "self-serving"."

As I’ve noted before, I reject, philosophically, the wildly popular (and, to me, infinitely destructive) notion which arbitrarily divides behaviour into “ethics” and “politics”. That is, into behaviour owed to an “in group” (whether defined by family, “race”, religion, nationality, or whatever) and behaviour due to everyone else, with the former entitled to a more favorable treatment. Thus, my “irrefutable logic” leads me to understand violence and threat of violence (“terror”) as a continuum, extending from casual schoolyard bullying to mass murder. For me, the nature of the motivation/intention (such as greed for money, achievement of political or ideological goals, etc.) is not the determining factor in defining “terror”. The threat or use of violence is.

Development of the iPhone seems to have begun some five to six years ago. Until a few days ago, no one at Apple noticed that the formula they used for calculating signal strength, and…well, let Apple speak for itself: “Upon investigation, we were stunned to find that the formula we use to calculate how many bars of signal strength to display is totally wrong“.

Cue Claude Rains: “I’m shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!” And Steve Jobs is undoubtedly shocked that Apple screwed up on something so fundamental.

This is cutting-edge genius?

On this date in 1937, the Japanese Imperial Army attacked the army of the Republic of China near Beijing, beginning the Second Sino-Japanese War (1937-1945).

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

On Terror and Intentions

Today is Tuesday, 6 July 2010.

“weinerdogsrulz” made the following comment on “More Terror”: “And, although I obviously agree with your outrage at the Supreme Court decision which is the subject of our discussion, I must still disagree with your characterization of the Justices as "terror-loving." It seems to me that "terror" or "terrorism" is the calculated use of violence (or threat of violence) to inculcate fear in order to achieve goals that are political or religious, or ideological. (Much like "robbery" - obtaining money or other property by use of force, threat of force, or fear.) Terrorism is the systematic use of terror as a means of coercion and intimidation.”

I’m not content with such a narrow definition of “terror”. I choose a spectrum of activities, including that which you describe, but also the husband who beats or threatens to beat his wife, the thug who shoves a pistol in a shopkeeper’s face, etc.

“Further, it seems to me that one must "intend" the terror or terrorism - that is, one must be determined to perform a particular act or to act in a particular manner for a specific reason. One must have a particular aim or design; in the case of terror, that aim is to inculcate fear in order to coerce. Using these definitions, then, one cannot say that the Justices rendering the decision are "terror-loving" or "terrorists." Although their decision certainly renders nearly impossible reducing the number of handguns available to criminals and others of their ilk, or eliminating them altogether, it seems clear that the Justices have not "intended" terror. Nor can it be fairly said that they savor, enjoy or "love" the unintended results of having made handguns accessible to criminals and jugheads. Thus, they should not be labeled "terror-loving."

The Justices in question “intended”, in my moral universe, whatever would happen as a result of ratifying promiscuous ownership of handguns, because they are damn well aware of the history of same, and the consequences certain to ensue. They don’t need to foresee that Bill Rehnquist will engage in a public shootout in which a stray bullet splatters the brains of a specific three-year-old over a sidewalk (oops, emotional again!), they need only to know that such acts are certain to occur. They “intend” all the consequences which flow from their decision. And, under my definition, they thereby “intend” “terror”. And, if they don’t “love” such terror, why have they gone to such lengths to ensure so much of it will ensue?

“(Similarly, when a person having had too much to drink undertakes the drive home, and his driving results in an accident killing and/or maiming others, or resulting in mayhem and property damage, the impaired driver did not "intend" to kill and/or maim - he merely intended to drive while impaired. Although one oftentimes logically flows from the other, there is no specific intent present.)”

Again, I argue that the driver “intended” whatever he knew might result from his choice to drive drunk, from an uneventful drive home to mowing down a family of four crossing the street. (And splattering their brains… well, by now, you can complete the sentence. ) I’m a firm believer in the philosophical concept known as the Law of Unintended Consequences, particularly when they are, in fact, foreseeable and therefore intended.

“Because reasonable minds can apparently differ respecting the accessibility, registration and proper ownership/use of handguns (and ALL guns, for that matter), it is abundantly clear to me that there needs to be a significant shift in the Court.”

I would argue that putting handguns in the hands of tens of millions of Americans, some of them criminals, many of them predisposed to violence, and very few trained in combat use of firearms, is inherently unreasonable, and that those who advocate same proceed from fatally flawed premises and reasoning. Damn straight, SCOTUS needs housecleaning.

Full Disclosure: I was once involved in an incident at 14th Street and Fifth Avenue in New York City, when a person or persons unknown fired rounds, one of which struck a wall approximately a foot from me. However, I had made the arguments above many times before.

On Emotion and Opinion

Today is Monday, 5 July 2010.

“weinerdogzrule” made the following comment on “More Terror”: “I notice that your writing reflects opinions that are certainly sincere and heart-felt. I believe that it would be far more persuasive to others (who else?) were your style a bit less inflammatory and emotion-laden”, and was joined by “Reader: “I am a regular reader of this blog and completely agree with weinerdogzrule. Opinion, written in a calm tone, is more often received well by the reader. Opinion written in an inflammatory and emotion-laden tone clouds the reader's ability to fully appreciate and grasp the writer's meaning and intent.”

The distinction I would make is not between emotion-laden and inflammatory (yes, I’ve tried the Icy-Hot Patch) in themselves (an sich) and non-emotional. Rather, I would distinguish between emotion which originates in irrationalism, and emotion which is generated by reasoning which is carefully thought through.

Much of Tea Party emotion is of the first variety. They demand smaller government which delivers monster benefits, a patent contradiction (and a clear violation of the political laws of thermodynamics). This isn’t reasoning, but the tantrumic yowlings of a pre-rational child. (And still would be even if delivered in tones of absolute dispassion.) On the other hand, if one produces a clear course of reasoning as to why, say, capital punishment is immoral, then the resulting passion (it is a matter of life and death) has a reasonable origin.

In every case, the reader should not begin with the fact of an emotional component being present or absent, but with the rationality or irrationality of the thought process from which the emotion derives.

Monday, July 05, 2010

Thoreau Moves to Walden Pond

Today is Sunday, 4 July 2010.

Commenting on my column, “In Memory: Hesse and Marshall”, “weinerdogzrule” wrote:

“Yes, the Second Continental Congress did pass the resolution of independence on July 2, 1776. The Lee Resolution (Richard Henry Lee of Virginia) was first proposed on June 7 of that year, but voting was delayed whilst the representatives continued to consolidate support for independence throughout the colonies. Although the Lee Resolution was adopted on July 2, 1776, the text of the document formally announcing the colonies' separation from the British Crown (and setting forth the "reasons which impel the separation"), the Declaration of Independence, was not signed and approved until July 4. SO... although the Resolution had, indeed, passed, the document formalizing and announcing the Congress' passage of the Resolution was signed and adopted on the Fourth. Hence, the celebration on that date.”

However, until the Lee Resolution was adopted, the cat could have been walked back. Many times in history monarchs have found it expedient to welcome former dissidents back into the fold. But 2 July 1776 was a horse of a different colour entirely. By adopting the Lee Resolution, the Congress stated to George III: “You’re not the king of us. We are now the King of the Colonies.” Before that moment, the members of the Congress were not rebels; after that moment, they were in rebellion, and had by their own vote earned the penalty of hanging.

The Declaration was merely the spin of an event which had already happened. The vote in Congress was the deciding legal event: signing of the Declaration was simply for show. Substitution of the 4th for the 2nd, of the spin for the reality, was merely a propaganda choice, and one which worked.

And did it ever work! Jefferson wrote: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

But Blacks were slaves, Native Americans were targets for mass murder, and even white women were 10th-class subjects. The same elite which staged the Coup of ’76 would write the Constitution of 1789, with every intention of permanently concentrating power in the hands of white Protestant males of above-average net worth. (Read the debates of the Constitutional Convention. Read The Federalist Papers.) (Sorry, Teabaggers: the Founding Fathers regarded “your type” as the rabble whom they feared.)

Whatever elements of democracy have crept into the USA/USE, the coup makers didn’t intend.


On this date in 1845, Henry David Thoreau moves to Walden Pond.

On this date in 1855, Walt Whitman publishes Leaves of Grass.

On this date in 1934, the great physicist Leo Szilard patents the process of the nuclear chain reaction.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

More Terror

Today is Saturday, 3 July 2010.

I quote below a fine comment by “weinerdogzrule” on my column, “ACTIVIST JUDGES DUMP TERROR BAN!”

“Isn't any Supreme Court decision, whether you agree with it or not, Big Centralized Government, in the form of unelected justices? To what can you point to support your conclusion that these Justices in particular are "terror-loving"? Although they are undoubtedly "conservative" (in the sense of "conservative" vs. "liberal" politics - not in the judicial sense), I can find no evidence that they personally, each of them individually or collectively, are "terror-loving".

Your main thesis is absolutely spot on, that the plain language of the 2nd Amendment requires a "well-regulated Militia" as a pre-condition of "the right of the people to keep and bear Arms". It appears that a majority of the Court has rendered yet another decision which can well be described as "activist" and not in keeping with the original intent of the framers - a characterization with which I am certain they would vehemently disagree.

It is precisely because of opinions and decisions such as this that I believe a serious change in the composition of the Court is called for. Hopefully, Obama's nominees will be able to successfully neutralize the likes of Scalia, Alito and Thomas, in particular. In the meantime, it seems that name-calling and hyperbole do little to advance a reasoned argument respecting the real issues.”

Yes, every SCOTUS (that’s wirespeak for Supreme Court of the United States) decision is by unelected officials. My point, obviously not clearly made, is that right-wingers, such as the virulent Teabaggers, hate the unelected and bureaucratic, but conveniently forget that hate when unelected justices confirm their right to be gunslingers.

I called the Fatality Five justices “terror-loving” because their decision prolongs the terror that promiscuous handgun ownership brings to neighborhoods (particularly of lower economic status and of colour) all over this nation. Ask young people on the South Side of Chicago, or in South Central in LA, or in Bed-Stuy in Brooklyn, or on the North Side in Tulsa, where I reside. Gunfire is their lullaby. Objectively, these justices love terror, because they facilitate it.

For this reason, I don’t believe myself guilty of name-calling and hyperbole, but of pointing to objective reality.

(Incidentally: I’ve always been charmed by weinerdogz. In the several years that charming Sophie Tucker Dachshund has been a member of our household, I’ve come to understand that they do indeed rule. Their hearts are in reverse proportion to their size.)

On this date in 987, Hugh Capet was crowned King of France; his dynasty would rule until 1792.

Franz Kafka was born on this date in 1883.

On this date in 1962, President DeGaulle of France announces the independence of Algeria.

On this date in 1988, a USA/USE warship shoots down a civilian Iranian airliner, murdering all 290 aboard. While the shooting may not strictly have been intentional, the criminal rules of engagement under which it was conducted render the Reagan regime guilty of a criminal act.

Saturday, July 03, 2010

In Memory: Hesse and Marshall

Today is Friday, 2 July 2010.

On this date in 1877, the great novelist Hermann Hesse was born.

In 1943, Hesse published his masterwork, among the finest novels ever written: Das Glasperlenspiel (The Glass Bead Game), also sometimes published in English as Magister Ludi.

You owe it to yourself to read it, both as an enriching experience as a person and as a responsible member of human society.

On this date in 1908, was born the great Thurgood Marshall, who argued Brown v. Board and became the first Black U.S. Supreme Court justice. Republican senators (to whom all dishonour) have recently enjoyed parading their racism by slandering him in connection with the Kagan nomination.

As I never cease enjoying pointing out, today is the real July 4th. On this date in 1776, the Second Continental Congress finally ginned up the nerve to pass a ‘resolution of independence’ (though they’d made their intentions rather obvious on 14 June 1775, when they’d created a rebel army to battle the armed forces of their own country, the United Kingdom, to which they’d sworn allegiance).

“Resolved, That these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States, that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the State of Great Britain is, and ought to be, totally dissolved.

That it is expedient forthwith to take the most effectual measures for forming foreign Alliances.

That a plan of confederation be prepared and transmitted to the respective Colonies for their consideration and approbation.”

But more on that subject on the faux July 4th.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Everything is Commoditized

Today is Thursday, 1 July 2010.

In a capitalist society, everything is meant to be commoditized. That is, each and every thing is meant to have a tradable economic value, which is superior to whatever value (in itself) it may otherwise have to certain persons.

In certain forms of Christian theology, one hears of the grace of God, given by reason of Christ’s freely-chosen sacrifice on the cross, which saves from eternal damnation. But, it’s not free to those who need it: one is required to give one’s life to Jesus, who then gives salvation. This follows capitalist theory: the individual human life has a tradable value, which equals salvation. No giving of the life to Jesus, no salvation.

This is why such theologies hate universalist theologies with such a passion: in the latter, salvation is freely given by God to all, regardless of if they have previously given themselves to Jesus. (Sound like socialism to Sarah Palin!) Salvation has no cost: it’s free, and thus there is no stick with which to threaten those who desire the carrot. Which is bad news for the flavours of churches which have traditionally brokered the exchange of lives for salvation, and thereby piled up riches in this world.

On this date in 1863, the Battle of Gettysburg began.