Tuesday, July 29, 2008


Over on Salon, the always-worthwhile Gary Kamiya writes today about McCain’s inconsistencies (so shrewdly wrapped up in flag-waving): “Waving the Flag on Iraq”, http://www.salon.com/opinion/kamiya/2008/07/29/mccain/).

Coupla things come to me.

One, this ‘shrewd packaging’ has been around for a while. It’s reprehensible and it is precisely antithetical to a democratic politics. Democratic politics, We may recall, presumes that The People are informed accurately and promptly of all material relevant to matters of large and grave public import. But let’s not think that Mr. Obama’s election (and I do not seek Mr. McCain’s election at all) will make all of this dreck go away overnight. As I mentioned a couple of days ago, the Attorney-General of Massachusetts recently stashed a Patriot Act-type ‘administrative subpoena’ authority for any possible crime deep within the text of a child-sex-offense law; like any good bank-robber, she used ‘the children’ and ‘sex-offenses’ as a shield to give the Commonwealth its own Patriot Act. And the Legislature and the Governor went along with it, the former voting for it in Patriot-Act-level majorities. Lovely. One can only wonder what will be ‘the next logical step’.

Second, Kamiya quotes McCain from recent comments:

"Above all, America would have been humiliated and weakened. Our military, strained by years of sacrifice, would have suffered a demoralizing defeat. Our enemies around the globe would have been emboldened. Terrorists would have seen our defeat as evidence America lacked the resolve to defeat them. As Iraq descended into chaos, other countries in the Middle East would have come to the aid of their favored factions, and the entire region might have erupted in war. Every American diplomat, American military commander and American leader would have been forced to speak and act from a position of weakness."

Now, there’s a psychiatric term for this: projection. It’s when the (rather disturbed) patient feels that the badness inside of himself actually resides in some other person. So, in this case, everything patient McCain claims is a problem with Mr. Obama and the Democrats is actually a state of affairs rather directly attributable to himself and the Republicans (and wayyyyy too many Democrats). Because every single element of the nightmare vision he ticks off in his above quote has come to pass, as a result of Republican and his own action.

Yes, even the lasts point about American military commanders now forced to speak and act from a position of weakness. Over the weekend I came across a broadcast of ‘Tora, Tora, Tora’, the early ‘70s big-screen retelling of the attack on Pearl Harbor. You may recall that scene at the very end: Admiral Yamamoto explains ominously to his staff that their rather successful attack was through unfortunate circumstances made before the declaration of war was delivered to the Americans. He walks out onto the empty deck of his Imperial battleship, looking at the vast empty sea, with the text of his thought superimposed on the screen as the music swells to a satisfying (for an American audience) conclusion: “I fear we have only wakened a sleeping giant, and filled him with a terrible resolve”.

Yes, I know how ruthlessly Incorrect he was: it should have been ‘filled him/her with a terrible resolve’. Try to move beyond the shock, now. It came to me that the movie was hugely and queasily dated; ‘the Americans’ aren’t a ‘giant’ anymore, however much they may be asleep. And they aren’t going to be winning any World War 2’s again. It’s already a period-piece, not only of 1941 but of 1971. That America is gone, baby, gone. When I saw it on the big screen back in the day, the idea in the back of my head was that, Yup, this is us, and now on top of the battleships we have nukes and B-52s and we can do the World War Two thing again whenever we have to. Not. Not ever again. And we still have the same B-52s by the by, now over half-a-century old.

Kamiya also notes that “the war is still going on, which mutes criticism of it.” So far so true. But it comes to me: this means that for a lot of powerful folks, the war will have to keep going on, if for no other reason than to prevent ‘criticism’ (and examination, and -oy! - investigation of it and them and all their pomps and all their works). We see this in assorted domestic initiatives and madnesses of recent vintage: by this point so many important folks have done so much that they’d rather not talk about to keep the things going for so many reasons that they’d rather not talk about … such that they can’t even begin to try to implement saner and more rational policies for fear of exposing all they’ve done, bringing it into public awareness. And it’s all too big a frak-up to deploy the old Pentagon scam: We did nothing wrong and we’ve already fixed it so it’s old news and let’s move on.

And Kamiya very rightly notes that what has had any success at all has been not the macho, go-it-alone, suck-on-this, aggressive ‘war’, but rather “painstaking police work, diplomacy, with sometimes unpleasant actors, good intelligence, the skillful use of carrots and sticks, knowing the local terrain, avoiding self-defeating moral posturings”. I’d like to point out that this list of options requires maturity, patience, and lots of stuff once associated with grown-ups, and grown-ups who were kinda ‘civilized’ and could live in a society of other grown-ups.

We are hell-and-gone from that now, and even Our government shows it. We elected these unripe chimps and sleazy kewpie-dolls, and they went and brought in others even worse than themselves. Maybe the Fundamentalist whack-jobs are right: there’s some sort of demonic possession here. Of course, rather than take the advice of them old, conventional, kinda unmanly Kathliks, the average Fundoozie will try to solve the problem with a trusty fowling piece, which won’t work on the type of possession now bethumping Us (and the rest of the world, and all its women and all its children, to say nothing of all the animals – as Scripture saith). Or perhaps vegetable oil will work on vampires in lieu of the unmanly Kathlik holy water. Such is the state of theology among Us these days.

Anyhoo, even if one doesn’t quite feel comfortable with the theological aspects of all this, one might retain one’s union card simply by discussing the psychological aspects of it: maturationally, We have lost a lot of ground in the past few years and decades and Administrations. Currently, We are ‘not quite performing at the higher end of Our range’, as the social workers tastefully and sensitively put it. Preventive aggressive assaults, locking lots of folks up, torturing them … oh my, there is some work to be done here, dear … are you insured?

Lying on the national couch will no longer be for the liberations of free sex while high as a B-52. It will be court-ordered, in order to see if We can stand trial. How in the high Sixties have We come to this? We had such promise once. Ah well, there are a million stories in the naked country.

Kamiya also acutely notes that McCain is banking (Wheeeee! Sorry!) on the media and Us not having much “memory”. Memory, except for the dubious though telegenic ‘repressed’ kind, is also a grown-up thing, if it’s to be done right. After all, the same mind that is trying to remember also houses the fantasy and dream functions, and the firewalls aren’t all that solid. And when the patient has done some things so bad that s/he finds it too painful to remember – not because of ‘tromma’ but because of dadblasted inescapable guilt – well then, the patient would experience a certain palpable urge toward a very selective, perhaps creative, memory. Like how We imagine that the arch-secularist and old-school Saddaam had up-to-date WMD and the means to deliver them, and that he was throwing nightly brewfests for radically religious jihadis in his in-house bar at one or another of his palaces. I mean, We wouldn’t just up and go over and whack him, would We? Gee, doc, that’s not me … is it?

Is it?

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Slate’s always interesting ‘Jurisprudence’ columnist, Dahlia Lithwick, writes about Jack Bauer’s major role in the slide into torture (“The Bauer of Suggestion”, Sat., July 26, http://www.slate.com/id/2195864/).

Those modestly familiar with the major (and usual) suspects in the government might scratch their heads: where in the federal employment roster is this guy stashed? But of course, he isn’t. Jack Bauer is a figment of some writer’s imagination. But he’s on TV, so to far too many Americans that makes him real. Really real. More real than, say, any actual persons on either the one or the other end of the torture stick.

So far so familiar. But now We find out – again – that among those reality-challenged Americans, are pretty much the entire upper echelon of the Bushist administration, plus a couple-three of the Supreme Court Justices, and who knows how many congresspersons?

Well, it was bound to happen. Whom the gods wish to destroy, they first drive mad. And the ur-madness of this bunch – the point where they really left the rails – was when they decided that they made reality, and not so much the other way around. Reality, apparently, was not amused … and still isn’t, as best can be inferred.

It remains only to determine whether these holders of high office, elected or appointed, actually believe that Jack Bauer’s way is the high-road of reality, or if instead they simply figure that We – or enough of Us at the moment – are sufficiently whacked to think that Jack Bauer is about as real as one can get.

Poor reality. It’s been under attack since the beginning of recorded history, and probably before that. What is it? Is it the way things and people are at their worst? At their best? Is it what things can be made to appear to be? Is it something that is deeper than appearances? Is the opposite of reality ‘fiction’? Or is the opposite of reality ‘the ideal’? Or is there any difference in these latter two at all?

Philosophers have been on the case for quite a while; almost from the beginning. But most of what they managed to piece together – and it was not inconsiderable – was jettisoned in the period of A Million Flowers Blooming, that movement in American society that mirrored the Chinese original 40 years ago, with the Democrats in the role of Mao, and the Identities in the role of his cadres of Red Guards. Nothing old could remain; all must be smashed, creatively destroyed, so that the new and better can be built in its place.

Tearing apart the very structure of a culture, a society, and a civilization, seemed not such a big thing to Mao – he, after all, actually made history in China and everyone else simply watched and followed in awe (or at least silence). Of course millennia can be undone; it was the Will of the People as expressed by Mao, and who could stand against that? Who would dare?

So too over here. With his subordinates frantically trying to plug the leaks as the very hull of Chinese society (and its economy) began to lose structural integrity, Mao was beginning to learn that successfully and instantaneously rebuilding a ship in mid-ocean, reconfiguring the very hull itself, is not an ideal; it is a fiction. And fictions, famously, do not often survive their encounter with the real world.

Mao himself however, was of only modest interest to the Democrats; they were faced with the problem of votes: LBJ’s war in Vietnam was going south; the economic hyper-supremacy of the postwar US now starting to fray as other countries recovered or developed; their confidence in Johnson’s actions in The Glorious ’65 was badly shaken by the anticipated blowback from Southrons deprived of their ‘inferiors’; and then it was shattered by the almost incredible shock of the Watts riots (the Dems, like everyone else in the country, figured that those columns of nicely dressed young ‘negroes’ of Spring '65 would now come aboard the Party train and ride it to middle-class achievement and glory; the face of ‘negrohood’ presented by the Watts riots of July '65 was one they had not seen before and it utterly … ummm … ‘unmanned’ them, as the Victorians would have said).

The patient democratic method is always going to look pale next to the quick-burning fires of youthful idealism or revolutionary impatience or just plain primal macho chimpery. The evolved skills of an experienced adulthood, careful and deliberate, are an excellent substrate for a democratic politics. But such traits are gall and wormwood to youths and revolutionaries both, as well as to the chimpish who reside pretty much year-round in their inner jungle.

The Dems, hobbled by the inherent unglamorousness of a democratic politics, were mortified to find their creds even more sharply threatened by the war they had gotten into and were now losing in Vietnam. Their solution to avoiding the un-manly charge (could it only have been half-a-decade since the Dems were surfing the robust youthful manhood of JFK?) was to raise up ‘Women’ and ‘Youth’, and then hang on for dear life. And the rather clear asymmetry between what they were trying to escape and what they chose to embrace was – officially, anyway – not clear to any of them.

I don’t think We can even begin to imagine the surprise and then the sleaze of Beltway Democrats over the ensuing decades, seeking to look competent and in control, while finding themselves ever more subservient to the increasingly uncontrollable demands and dynamics of a revolutionary politics of Outrage and Identity. And then to have Reagan take Nixon’s rather stodgy and ‘bourgeois’ “silent majority” and re-mould it as a robust, earthy, in-your-face, suck-on-this, red-blooded, patriotic, loyal, manly, God-wielding and utterly engaged voter bloc … well, that frazzled the already-addled Dems so badly that they were happy for any chance to run with the macho dogs.

Very few of the citizenry imagined that the Party of FDR and JFK would really give up on the New Deal; but the Dems and the Republicans arrived at that fateful decision, although by opposite but weirdly compatible paths (the Nanny State for the Dems, the Security State for the Repubs). And in Clinton’s administration the Dems quietly yielded the New Deal and the core American industrial and productive capacity that grounded it.

And in Bush’s time – so weirdly similar to Germany of the Third Reich – a whole bunch of hairless, service-evading poseurs became the trumpeting champions of War Eternal and Preventive, raised to positions of great authority by an unripe President who had himself failed to fulfill his sworn service and a draft-evading Vice-President who at the critical time ‘had other agendas’.

No wonder Americans are having trouble distinguishing fiction from reality. It’s not just that ‘reality’ can have several different valences, but that fiction – the admittedly artificial and made-up – keeps seeping into reality, often injected intentionally, by a Beltway full of Dems and Repubs who have all arrived at the ominous conclusion that there is no solution to anything and that keeping-up-appearances is not simply lucrative but is the only way to go. No amount of deliberation and reason and commitment to the genuine public good and the common weal is going to fix what needs to be fixed, so get aboard the gravy train and just focus on keeping up appearances. The Beltway has become no place for a mature adult; and almost nobody there remains one for very long.

One must select one’s ideals – like an airliner’s course-keeping computer, the base coordinates have to be selected and entered in manually; only then will the computer itself order everything else around maintaining that course.

One must choose one’s ideals. Even if they are ‘handed down’ through a religious or cultural tradition, or both – one reinforcing the other, the ideals must be consciously chosen, embraced, and nurtured. Each individual must ‘imprint’ the ideals so that they become grafted into the very vitality and feedback-loop systems that constitute the human person: physical, mental, emotional, spiritual.

And – usually with help from tradition handed on from family or culture or religion or all three together – each individual must choose the ideals most suited to fulfill one’s general humanity and one’s individual gifts. Ideals don’t just ‘come’; they must be selected and cultivated with a sense of seriousness and sustained with a sense of purpose. The human self, after all, is much like an airliner: it doesn’t ‘just’ suddenly become airborne; it has to be flown off the ground through all the work of take-off; and it doesn’t just ‘get’ to where it’s going, it has to be flown there – and unlike comparatively simple machinery like a jet aircraft – it has to be constantly ‘flown’ by its pilot.

How anybody could imagine that this job of work could be managed without careful attention and supportive societal structures is a matter for historians yet to be born. But to revolutions, ‘thought’ is a form of ‘oppression’, or at least collusion – unwitting or quite possibly witting – with oppression; no true revolutionary embraces thought. To ‘act’ is the key. The history can be written at your leisure and as you see fit after you’ve disposed of all the rival interpreters.

Is it any wonder that folks now have trouble distinguishing fiction from reality? And after decades, not only the whole of congress but many of the voters, no longer know – or want to learn – how to deal with reality. The fiction of ‘reality TV’ is enough for them. Though it is not enough to keep this nation going, as a society or as a culture or as a political entity or as a member of the world community … or, most poignantly at the moment, as an economy.

The challenge facing Us at this point is to restore what many of Us have never actually had: a capacity for maturity, one that can nurture a realistic idealism that is itself configured in the service of genuine individual fulfillment and the common weal. (Perhaps under the good providence of God as well, but why scare folks with too much all at once?).

That’s a tall order. Whatever is happening in the poisoned precincts of the Beltway, We out here have a job to do if the Republic is once again to be grounded in a People. That’s going to take a lot of work.

And if forcing Ourselves back onto the high-road of genuine reality be torture, then let Us make the most of it.

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Truthout has a section dedicated to culling articles on assorted women’s issues. Good enough. I don’t spend much time on them since most of it is still that Second Wave soviet-ish stuff. But sometimes it’s hard – cruel hard, it is – to pass over some of this stuff. And you can learn a little more about how things operate in this 2nd-Wave-soviet universe, because these people are not going to stop until … well, they’re still not sure on when they’ll stop – perhaps at the Last Trumpet, but if the Bugler is a ‘man’, well, not even then. (Jennifer Hogg, "Military Women Get Ready to Rock the Boat", http://www.alternet.org/asoldierspeaks/92289/military_women_get_ready_to_rock_the_boat/)

I had mentioned back in the Spring of ’07 that – April being a ‘Month’ dedicated to women’s abuse issues – there seemed by purest coincidence to be articles ‘discovering’ that female troops were being sexually abused in astronomical numbers in the military, although there’s always the question of definition in these matters nowadays. I had noted that if so, then – presuming that ‘abuse’ meant serious assault and harm – it meant that either a whole lot of the ‘heroes’ over there were rampant sex-offenders or that there were a couple-three stupendously busy ‘bad apples’.

This past Spring the emphasis changed: women in the military were in general being abused in crisis numbers, but suddenly there was no focus on the combat zones.

The alert citizen might then have presumed that there would be a lull until the next Spring ‘awareness’ cycle, but – alas – this is an election year. And everybody knows what that means.

Ms. Hogg of the Women’s Media Awareness Center ‘reports’ that – the title says it all – “Military Women Ready to Rock the Boat”, an article dated July 18th. The military is failing in its promises to “the young, the poor, the single mothers” who joined up as a last resort to obtain “adequate housing, health care, and jobs”.

Well, here we go again. Another Israeli gambit, whereby a bad idea is introduced for political reasons, the consequences predictably are not at all good, and another 'crisis' is declared to solve the bad-consequences of the initial bad plan. And if you call attention to that, then you are a 'hater' and 'shrill' and fill-in-the-blank.

In this case, with the assistance of the Democratic Party and all the markers it could call in, those stalwart resolutes of the soviet Second Wave three decades ago deconstructed 'marriage' and 'family' on the basis of their hugely dubious assumption that those things were bad for 'women'. Whether such structures were of any value to society, and whether the deconstruction of said structures would have a bad effect on society ... these were not questions for the mothers of the revolution; after all, their revolution was a world-historical event, not to be sidetracked by the nitterings and natterings of any single 'country', especially one run by 'men'. Recall that at this time in US history there was still a Soviet Union out there and people were still laughing at Lenin and his whacked-out ideas of world revolution.

Now it appears that the drive to put women in the military was not at all to 'civilize' or 'sensitize' the military by de-machoizing it. It was simply a necessary revolutionary ploy to find employment for all of the young women - most of whom would not have read the mothers or heard them speak over the click of plastic chardonnay glasses on this or that bosky campus - who would, in a '70s version of the '60s, simply say I-shall-go-for-it, leave home, have kids without husband or marriage, and then start looking for a job. And all this at a time when US economic and industrial primacy was clearly starting to decline relative to the rest of the world and the country was obviously going to be hard-put just to provide jobs for the workers it already had.

Of course, maybe the reduction of the US labor force into a short-order peasantry was part of the foreseen consequences. If there were going to be far fewer jobs, then the revolution's solution might well have been: halve the salaries and benefits in order to accommodate the doubling of the workforce necessary to provide 'our' side with jobs. Neat. Shrewd. And who could lose? Lotsa young women trying to raise kids while holding down a job as a waitress or a barrista? Lotsa industrial blue-collars? The whole American enconomy? The whole American society?

Collateral damage. Because hey - the mothers were revolutionaries, not omniscient gods (.. goddesses?) and where would the Russian people be if Lenin had gotten out of bed that last morning before Red October and said Hang on, let's think this through one more time ... ? So scads of young women, under the gimlet-eyed tutelage of those-who-wear-sensible-combat-boots, headed for sea, field, and sky. It is a subject worthy of future historians; of that there can be no doubt.

Well, the military is failing in a lot of things these days, especially – not to put too fine a point on it – in winning the two current large-scale combat operations not-quite-accurately termed ‘war’ but hardly an 'occupation'. But it should come as a surprise to nobody who read the manifestos a few decades back that ‘the war’ can only be a mere historical accident compared to the long-term, supra-national objectives of ‘the revolution’.

In the eyes of the revolution, women – like the world’s ‘workers’ before them – are citizens of no nation, but rather constitute an international class whose loyalty must be to no merely national entity.

Nonetheless, the military having spent the past couple of decades twisting itself into a pretzel trying to make room for the demands of the 2nd-Wave, it is now being taken to task for having the effrontery to distract itself from their ‘concerns’ by losing a war on two fronts (and if the balloon goes up over Iran .. then three fronts).

This cannot stand, says the author. She shrewdly acknowledges that “for the military” a lot is riding on the election, “with two occupations taking place simultaneously … and a third waiting in the wings.” Clearly – and this is giving her the benefit of the doubt – she purposely understates the critical situation the military is currently in by referring to Iraq and Afghanistan as “occupations”; they are hot-war, surround-fire, 4th generation warfare frakfests. And for her to toss off that Iran might be a third such “occupation” undermines either her reportorial integrity or her competence in military affairs, or both: if the balloon goes up over Iran the US military on the ground in Iraq, virtually the entire field force of the Army and sizable chunks of the National Guard and the Marine Corps – will be in a position only marginally better than Custer’s on that last afternoon.

But women “risk being forced into silence lest the boat capsize”. Surely, a measly war should not be allowed to stand in the path of the revolution, comrade sisters!

And then she tries to trump any possible argument about the validity of her position with one of the old 2nd-Wave ploys: “But if [the boat] is that close to going under, isn’t it time for a better boat?” Tee-hee, zang, gotcha, trump – that sort of thing, delivered with a bright, perky, winsome, in-ya-face toss of the head. This is what passes for ‘logic’ among the cadres of the revolution. But it’s not rocket science to know that the time for pulling apart the hull and building a better boat is exactly not when you are in danger of capsizing; it’s when you get back to port, God grant that you do. For the moment, one is advised precisely not to start ripping out watertight bulkheads and other ‘obstructions’.

A horror story about a female soldier shot by a male soldier “who had a record of three previous assaults against her”. A random homicidal maniac? A ‘relationship’ gone bad? The author – shrewdly, again, I think – doesn’t say. Because that would open up the whole question of whether it was ever wise to place young males and females in the same units, and then putting those units in the front line (or in Iraq, where everywhere is the front line). And the mothers of the revolution don’t want that to get discussed. They went to great lengths precisely to manage things so that it wasn’t discussed.

Why do we have mixed-gender units? Without raising the whole women-in-the-military thing at the moment, why not simply have same gender units and deftly sidestep all of the problems associated with young people of both sexes together under the incredibly stressful and intimate conditions of hot war?

And it would be a hell of a lot easier on commanders who must not only lead but provide for the units. Is it true that once a year all women in the military have to be gotten to a medical facility advanced enough to perform mammograms? On top of ferrying pols and ‘contractors’ around, are what available transport resources the military has being tasked with moving all deployed females back and forth to mammography exams? And a single-gender unit would be easier to supply, with such special items as might be needed.

Because on top of everything else, We are now facing the prospect of the ‘Israeli Outcome’: embarked on a gambit that from the get-go was almost guaranteed to remain insoluble. But I’ll go further and say that the mothers of the revolution purposely deployed the ‘Israeli Gambit’: knowing that what you’ve started will not only be insoluble but will continue to generate increasingly bad outcomes as it goes on, you plan to capitalize on those bad outcomes to keep you in business for the rest of … Time, perhaps.

The only losers? Lotsa young women who - driven or even addled by anxiety or 'dreams' have signed up for the military jobs-and-education program, not really imagining they would wind up in a shooting war. Lotsa young guys who find themselves distracted by sexual tension when they need every ounce of attention they can muster to handle the losing end of 4th Generation Warfare. A military distracted by utterly preventable problems when it's fighting (and not-winning) wars on two and perhaps soon three fronts. But - to opine as the mothers of the revolution - a few eggs must be broken to make the revolution's omelette. Da! Ja! Yah.

This type of tactics has not worked well for those who have deployed them. The consequences of these tactics will burden a military already burdened with the modern problems of bureaucracy and the corrosive effects of the military-industrial complex, to say nothing of a national economy that is starting to give way. And the two un-won wars. And maybe the third on the way.

Nor can it be ignored that ‘women’ are well represented in the sad parade of senior military personnel who have helped things spiral downward: the Army Medical Corps general officer who oversaw the repugnant neglect of wounded vets at Walter Reed, the Army JAG – one Lt. Col. Beaver – who played the game and went along with her field commander’s urge to commence torture. And the female officer Jane Mayer refers to in "The Battle for a Country's Soul" on Truthout (July 15th) "who pushed to have Khaled el-Masri imprisoned after his mistaken rendition" and was then "promoted to a top post handling sensitive matters in the Middle East". And we'll leave Condoleeza Rice's fatuous but tenacious enabling out of it since she's not in the military, although a poster-person for the Second Wave's success.

Whatever reason there was for all the ‘change’, infusing the military with more relational integrity or sensitivity or whatever it was that women theoretically have and men don’t that would lead the military into broad sunlit uplands of mature war-fighting like they do it on Picard’s ‘Enterprise’… that hasn’t paid off at all. The tires should have been kicked before it all got started, but that was precisely what the mothers of the revolution fought successfully to prevent.

Amazingly, the author then goes on to note that “forty percent (39) of those [97 females dead in Iraq] are attributed to non-combat related injuries”, and from that spin a coy implication that those numbers do not reflect suicides caused back in the States from sexual assault by male troops, and that god-knows-how-many of those 39 deaths were “murders” perpetrated by male troops.

“One begins to understand”, she continues in the accents of grave maturity, “why some women in Iraq –marked as targets by both their uniform and their womanhood – carry weapons for protection against fellow service members.” OK. If that’s true, if in the middle of a losing war with no front and an almost unidentifiable but effective enemy … if on top of all that our forces are now also split in such a way that Our female troops are prepared to fire on Our male troops, well then, something is very wrong. And more Political Correctness, more sex-awareness classes, more unit ‘advocates’ and more 'appropriateness' lectures are not the solution.

And of course if all of this 'report' is not true, if this is just a tad of feminist hyperbole designed to spackle up the faithful, well ... a lot of those desperate faithful will take it as real and as an option, just as they did all the previous hyperbole (to use the most charitable description) of the past thirty-plus years.

And if Our legislators have been lying to Us and not reading the bills before voting on them and not really giving a crap whether the laws they're passing are good for Our common weal or not, well it appears that they got the idea from the mothers of the revolution, who - taking their cue from Lenin and Goebbels - realized that the people don't need to be told the truth; they just need to be herded in the correct direction. Yah.

Put the females into separate units where sex isn’t a danger or a distraction (well … ummm … presuming no threat to the women from the artistes-who-formerly-wore-sensible-shoes). Good lord, We are starting to run into the same problems the German Army did in the Ukraine: Party political doctrine refused to permit the clearly effective and very necessary action required to achieve operational success.

No wonder the Democrats are so edgy about being accused of being ‘soft on defense’. In the pursuit of votes, they raised up the 2nd-Wave feminists as an Identity with carte-blanche to demand its way to an agenda whose ‘success’ was clearly riddled with conceptual inconsistencies and potential consequences that any grade-school teacher could have pointed out.

The job of the military is not to be a ‘laboratory for social engineering’, one knowledgeable participant noted two decades ago. In those heady days with the USSR coming to the end of its far-too-extended run, he probably figured it would be considered purely rhetorical to add the next point: that the job of a military is to focus itself without distraction on the ability to win the wars it is ordered to fight.

Well, here We are. Troops uncertain of the reliability of their own colleagues, distracted not simply by the concern of getting slapped with a sex-charge, but actually distracted to the point of being ready to shoot or be shot by other service-members. And all of that before you start factoring in ... umm, the enemy. I don’t think that even Bin Laden, as shrewd as he might be, could ever have imagined a success like this.

The article is right though: things need to get better. Right now. And planning further initiatives to neutralize the perennial birds-and-bees elements of human relations, to cauterize the messier elements of sexual attraction, is not going to have any immediate traction. Uncle Sam looks foolish enough now without actually wading out into the surf and trying to command the tides like King Canute.

Separate the genders, and get on with the war. It is – is it not? – the primary concern. And it is not going well.

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Monday, July 28, 2008


In the June issue of Harper’s, in his ‘Notebook’ column, Mark Slouka perceptively raises the point that America is suffering from a superfluity of ‘deference’ and even ‘subservience’, and that this ominous tendency is threatening to undermine Our capacity to be a free People. We are, observes one letter-writer in the July-August issue, trapped in the toils of ‘an alarming slouch toward tyranny’. (http://www.harpers.org/archive/2008/06/0082039)

Why and how has this come to pass? We have to pose this to Ourselves, the media being no longer really interested in dealing with such ‘quaint’ questions.

Assorted possible answers are proposed. Myself, two images come to mind. First, the crowds yelling themselves hoarse as Hitler – in his gleaming open limo or just waddling along at the head of a gaggle of inferior, nattily uniformed demons – made his way through them. To be near him, to get his autograph (yup, even before Sinatra and the bobby-soxers), to hand him a bouquet of flowers (women only; Goebbels shrewdly saw that they made better worshipful admirers and they cried so impressively), and for the occasion – und only for ze occasion, versteh’? – it was even acceptable to press robustly against the restraining cordon of beaming, young SS troopers, their gleaming death’s head cap insignia smiling that inscrutable, patriotic smile.

Second, the former intelligence agent Ray McGovern being shushed by a toney assemblage of upscale Atlanta patriots (loyal now to the Stars and Stripes, not the Bars) as he arose to ask Donald Rumsfeld a question – if memory serves – about the validity of the intelligence (so-called) that was the excuse for the war in the East. ‘Dahlings, he’s positively making a spectacle of himself, and sooo disrespectful of nice Mr. Rumsfeld and – by extension – of the Leader himself. Lawd, lawd, how’d he evah git in heah?’ …

I must remember to have a prayer with General Sherman; We needn’t mourn the loss of Joe DiMaggio; wherever Joltin’ Joe has gone, what We really need is Sherman back. And all those steely-eyed, strong-souled boys in blue who, even if they never knew the blessings of the Ipod and text-messaging and child-sex-offense laws, accomplished more for the country than have all the newly-gated squires and dames from Atlanta to Houston. (Enron … why does that name ring a bell? Houston, we all have your problem now. )

There’s something in the human-animal, something primal and atavistic, that wants to be on the receiving end of power’s thrustful presence. This, I think, is what Ben Franklin knew when he said to the giddy crowd “You’ve got a democracy – if you can keep it”.

Because to be a citizen, and to be a People, each and all have to wage the long twilight struggle, in season and out of season, against the deep – not to say ‘natural’ – human urge to submit itself to something or someone more powerful, something or someone (ach!) that will take up the weight of all the responsibility for standing-to, each individual, and facing up to the project of being a mature adult, 24/7 and 365, until the Final Trumpet sounds.

And, equally primal, to do that receiving in a group - not only to do it, but to belong in a safe secure mass of others who are also doing it. This is a form of utter debasement not yet reached by the sex-offense laws. And probably never will be , because non-democratic governments thrive on this sort of mass gang-bang (no offense intended).

In fact, psychiatry might have something to say about this curious coincidence: that precisely as the citizenry is becoming more emotionally ‘patriotic’ it is also becoming more agitated and even enraged towards offenses-as-to-sex. If any single individual plopped himself down in a shrink’s office and displayed such a pattern of symptoms, he’d be in for a long series of sessions (if indeed, he were not immediately reported to the state for preventive confinement). Hell, you wouldn’t need much more than Psych 101 to notice the ‘syndrome’, if you remained mentally upright and could see with an unobstructed view.

But that’s the advantage of getting whacked-out in groups; it’s no longer a symptom, but a positive virtue. 'A toast to our Leader, dahlings – and with the good stuff, once the riff-raff are sent out to the parking lot to their kegs.' The Germans, at least, retained enough earthiness to toast their Fuhrer with beer. The hairless unter-demons of the Beltway require a classier brew. And their Leader, it appears, doesn’t do imported beer. But of course, it wouldn’t do for the Chief Patriot to be drinking somebody else’s stuff. Texans stand on their hind own legs, thank ya vurrry mutch.

Oy. And oy gevalt. Is this place beginning to resemble Babylon at its orgiest or what? Or Nero’s palace with BBQ sauce?

They knew, the Founders – for all the fact that they were thoroughly unenlightened and ‘men’ – that human nature being what it is, a democratic politics, a Republic, was going to have a hard time of it. They could only fondly hope and fervently pray and bust their chops to craft a Constitution that would support a People, a People that would support it … even against each individual’s deepest bad tendency to want to just say the hell with it, give it all over to Leadership, and occupy oneself with the thousand little dramas and soap-operas and quick yuks that dull any human life and hollow out any soul.

Wood must be hewed and water must be drawn in any human life. But that is only to support the fullness of human-ness, not to define it.

We are losing Our definition. Slipping out of focus. Slipping out of history. Into something far thinner and smaller and cheaper and unripe and un-mature.

Now them Kathliks knew, and the Protestant Reformers who sprang from them knew, and the Enlightenment generations who still lived in the glow of all that achievement knew, that the human being is a many-levelled thing. One could remain mired in one’s more primitive and atavistic sub-self, or one could recapitulate the ascending climb up the ladder of one’s being into more fully human forms of being one's individual self. It was that awareness – however dimly held – that fueled the early Republic’s sense that ‘America’ – in its form of government even more than in its citizenry – was truly a spiritual achievement. That form of government pretty much demanded of each citizen that s/he undertook that long climb, and sustained life at the higher levels of what a human being could be.

They could not imagine that God, that Beyond without which and without Whom no such achievement could be long sustained, would not ‘smile upon’ such a Project so well begun. With a classic Protestant reticence, they didn’t assert publicly that God’s grace – far more than His simple smile – would be required, 24/7 and 365, until the Final Trumpet sounded. And that God, having set this whole magnificent Project in motion, would be needed daily to wind the vital inner dynamic tension in each individual and in The People, to prevent the lessening of tension that would induce the long slide back into the mucky lowlands of primitive, merely organic functioning, bereft of vision and ideal and hope and courage and fortitude and faith. And, yes, an abiding, respectful Charity.

For long, their descendants didn’t fail to realize just how iffy a Project it was that called forth the greatest effort of their short, sharp lives. But facing ‘iffy’ without going all kablooey was a capacity that they could call upon; note those steely-eyed Civil War types, looking straight into the camera, not looking for sympathy or pity or for the shedding of a tastefully nostalgic tear, but rather asserting for whatever passersby among their descendants would come along at some long-future time their determination to stay with the Project come hell or high-water. It was God’s road or the low-road and they kinda didn’t intend to be crawling through no swamps of primality on all fours, dadblast it. Upon them all be great peace.

But now is – how to put it? – Now. What say We?

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Late last week the Governor of Massachusetts (a Democrat) signed into law a bill that had been passed with Patriot-Act type majorities by both houses of the state legislature (very heavily Democratic).

Entitled ‘An Act to Further Protect Children’ (poignantly sharpened, as per current national usage, to “Jessica’s Law”) it includes a little thingie inserted deeper down in the text at the urgent behest of the state’s Attorney-General (a Democrat) and all of the state’s eleven District Attorneys (heavily Democratic).

Said thingie authorized the said law enforcement officials to issue “administrative subpoenas” for telecommunications-type information if they have “reasonable” cause to believe that “a crime” is being committed. In an oblique version of the homage vice pays to virtue, the thingie also immunizes any service-providers who so provide information on their customers upon receipt of the said “letter”. No court review is mentioned as being necessary. So Massachusetts now allows its lawfolk to issue the state-level equivalent of ‘national security letters’.

As I mentioned in prior Posts (‘Now It Starts here’, ‘It’s Still Happening Here’) the law does not limit itself to ‘sex offense-type crime’ against children or otherwise. Nor did the Attorney-General and the District Attorneys see fit to introduce some bill such as ‘A Bill To Give Massachusetts Its Own Patriot Act’, so that the citizens would have some warning and a chance to deliberate. Instead, they quietly stashed this monstrosity in the sure-to-pass suitcase of a sex-offense type law, and against children at that. So much for legislators and law-enforcement being upfront with The People in matters of grave import.

Nor did either of the Boston papers report on this. One wonders whether there are any more reporters covering the State House ‘beat’, who might actually be expected to read these bills and report on what they might mean for the public and the common weal.

This exemplifies what I think We have to assume about legislatures at state as well as national levels now: they don’t want responsibility for major issues, and so they’ll happily pass laws with these exploding parts hidden deep within them, so long as they retain ‘plausible deniability’. And that desired ‘deniability’ is stashed within the pols’ plan – if consequences to themselves ever arise and hit the fan – to claim that they didn’t have time to read the whole Bill before voting for it. Hell, it worked for the Patriot Act itself. A dark trickle-down effect indeed.

A further line of defense – should the need arise – will be that ‘the courts can figure it out’. So much for pols any longer being Our elected representatives, elected (and expensively employed) to deliberate on Our behalf.

And perhaps the last line of defense – undertaken no doubt in a tone of outraged dignity and pained rejection – will be to apply for pardons to the Executive that no doubt will itself claim that although the offending passage was signed into law by ‘this office’, yet ‘this office’ had innocently assumed that the pols had read the thing and found it good. A shell game, in other words. Currently, it seems to be working inside the Beltway where the Iraq war is now an orphan, whose supposed fathers claim that they never intended to create it and/but also that they’re proud that their non-existent spawn is actually working.

No doubt the pols have put no little professional thought into the matter, and decided that – given the state and methods of domestic politics nowadays – it’s easier and safer to do whatever it takes to avoid a squad of ‘outraged victims’ deploying from column into line in front of TV ‘news’ cameras and claiming that you’re ‘for’ child-murder and child-rape because you’re not sure that an ever-increasing engorgement of the police powers of the state is altogether the best way to proceed in this, the land of the brave and the home of the free. The national anthem is clearly now merely an occasion for beery, self-satisfied tears before the opening ball is tossed out; an opportunity to be patriotically verklempt in the boozy presence of a whole lotta other patriots. Gaw bliss ‘murrica! Yah. The flag, as We know, has already been reduced to a filthy, tattered appendage hanging off cars and fire engines 24/7 and 365; a fluttering stuttering symbol of Our need to let every passerby know that it’s important to ‘feel’ good about this great nation.

And We take it all with a straight face.

And that, I would say, is Our problem. We really have learned to take wayyy too much with a straight face over the past 40 years. We have become too soviet in Our effort to be ‘tolerant’ and ‘sensitive’ and ‘open to stuff’ and ‘enlightened’ before even kicking the tires of whatever it is that is demanding such indulgence from Us; and in consequence, Our very government is starting to turn red and grow the tell-tale horns.

And for those of Us who have quietly chosen the Soviet or Reich’s citizen’s “internal exile” – quietly letting things be and keeping one’s head down and one’s mouth shut so as to avoid the attention of ‘the organs’ (and we ain’t talkin’ sex here) … well, that play now bids fair to undermine the whole shebang called the Great American Experiment In Constitutional Government. We are indeed a generation that is making history, just like the Founders. Only in reverse.

I offer as advice the only point upon which I can find common cause with the late, unlamented Fuhrer: Volk, erwache: People, wake up!

Look around your own state government and see if in your state , as perhaps all over the country, erstwhile dedicated and down-home law enforcement types aren’t looking to take this ‘next logical step’ in the comprehensive war upon crime (a significant element of which is continuously expanding the definition of ‘crime’). Certainly, as is evident in Massachusetts, the Nanny State and the Security State have indeed formed the beast with two backs.

And it is being presided over by Democrats. Democrats enjoying one of the largest majorities of any legislature in all the fifty States. And at the insistence of an Attorney-General who is not only a Democrat but a … an Other Than Male. So much for the broad sunlit uplands of an America fully freed to be itself once freed from male oppression. Not that I hold any brief for Chimpery.

Ach! What has become of Us?

And I find it the most curious of developments that as this country has gotten away from a concept of ‘sin’ it has become increasingly obsessed with ‘crime’. Are We really under the impression that there is no ‘sin’? Or that a ‘crimeless’ society will automatically be a ‘sinless’ society? As if crimelessness can be achieved any more than ‘sinlessness’.

But I think that as the various recent Revolutions sought to do away with ‘God’, Whom they saw as an obstruction and a competitor to their agendas, so too they drew Us away from the ancient sense of proportion and balance based upon the fact that anyone who made it off this mortal coil with guilt undiscovered would yet find him/herself facing an implacable and un-hoodwinkable Judge in a Court where Truth bears witness so palpably and clearly that no amount of spinning or whining can evade it.

So this rage for ‘justice’ is not merely a revolutionary tactic, as it has always been. It is the symptom of a lethal loss of a grasp on the Ultimate Truth of humanity’s place in the scheme of things . While the Founders did not see themselves as particularly church-goers, and certainly didn’t forego wine for some Biblically-demanded grape juice, they were damned smart enough to see that a society and a culture that arrogates to itself the Divine authority to ensure total Justice will wind up biting itself to death.

And, humans not being at the very top of the ontological ladder and fundamentally unequipped with the fullness of the Divine attributes, their societies – lusting to imitate heaven’s Justice – will destroy themselves on a fool’s errand, creating a dark and fiery wrack of pride and error.
The Founders thought We would be better advised to stay within Constitutional bounds and make Our pilgrim way in the world, being virtuous models of Democracy, a ‘light unto the nations’ and ‘a city upon the hill’ – as one surely imperfect Chief Executive recently exhorted Us.
We are consuming Ourselves. Not simply as all revolutions wind up consuming their own cultures, but as any humans who believe that they hold ultimate authority tear themselves apart. And each other apart. And others apart. It’s all connected.

We are horribly far along that descending path now, among Ourselves and against other nations. We are becoming salt that has lost its savor. It is a sad commentary upon the hugely and recently diminished state of Our common wisdom that only the collapse of the currency and the falling away from a position of world primacy will impress upon Us – terribly so – the true poverty of what We have become.

Worse, because at this point to wake-up and really ‘see’ what is happening will reveal far more darkness than many of Us are able to tolerate. Games and circuses will be the desired activities, and not only as always among the children, and among the young – so expansively infantilized in these past decades, but among those whose years on the planet should have provided them with a more capacious awareness and a stronger grounding in the deepest realities of existence, gleaned from their own experience ceaselessly reflected and deliberated upon and yet also from a grateful, well-informed grasp of the knowledge and wisdom so painfully gained by earlier generations of humans gone before.

Hey, hey, ho, ho! Wake the frak up!

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Friday, July 25, 2008


Over on Salon, the author James Carse is interviewed about his new book, “The Religious Case Against Belief”. (See, ‘Religion is poetry’, by Steve Paulson, (http://www.salon.com/books/atoms_eden/2008/07/21/james_carse/).

Carse’s thought is that the crucial element in any religion is it’s “longevity”; i.e., if it’s been around a long time then it sorta carries more weight and is more impressive, hence more attractive as a repository for your belief. This is an effort to locate the core of the value of religion within this dimension. The ‘value’ is that believers will feel better with a religion that has been around a long time, since it has somehow proved itself.

Nah. Won’t work. Can’t work. You wind up reducing belief to ‘feelings’, and belief is more than that. To assert, as Carse does, that religion is simply ‘a belief system’ – that’s like asserting that a human being is simply ‘a set of interlocking physical systems’ – but a human being is more than that by a long shot.

This is yet another effort to ‘keep’ religion without getting too mixed up with the actual existence of ‘God’ (in whom, by the by, Carse cheerily and cordially does not believe). More specifically, this is an effort to cage religion into the Flatness of this-world; it reflects and proposes a hugely constricted – and I say inaccurate – view of the life-space.

To adopt it is to enter the 1941-1945 war in the Pacific with a knowledge and vision of things naval not updated since the Age of Fighting Sail during the Napoleonic era. The naval Battle-Space since the mid-20th century is multidimensional (threats to your vessel can come from above and below as well as simply across the water) and much larger (shells can come from 25 or more miles away, and aircraft from hundreds of miles away), and is amplified by radio and radar and sonar (as the war progressed), such that time to identify and respond to threats is greatly compressed, even as ships themselves can travel against the wind and sustain higher speeds. The state of the art naval knowledge of the Napoleonic era assumed a much smaller, less complex, more leisurely space in which one conducted one’s operations.

So too with Carse and so many others. Their’s is a Flat view of the Life-space. There are no angels ascending and descending, no demons arising and prowling about, no ‘clouds of witnesses’ surrounding and supporting one, no communion of the saints (them Kathliks!) interlocked across the Void and through the Veil. None of that. Just ‘us’, trapped here in this small, flat dimension, hoping to make our way to nowhere across its surfaces, with religion enabling us to do it with a little more confidence and dignity. Although for what purpose one would need to preserve one’s dignity on such a flat surface surrounded by nothingness and heading toward more of the same … Carse doesn’t say. Perhaps simply to keep the illusion of propriety and to preserve the graces (small-g)). How soul-frakkingly banal. But then, have you been to a university faculty cocktail party recently?

Not that we need to embrace the emotional agitations of the Fundamentalistics, mind you. One can entertain a clear-eyed view of the Space (Life or Battle, as you prefer) without yelling and hopping loudly to relieve one’s fears. In fact, they sorta look for that (or did, anyway) in naval and military officers: the ability to possess oneself no matter how clearly disturbing the situation that confronted one. Get a clear picture of the situation, don’t distract yourself with emotions, figure out the best way to proceed, pass along the relevant orders, and be ready for the next round – and don’t scare your subordinates by crying or fainting. Of course, not distracting oneself with emotions in order to perform the mission – well, that’s sorta such a ‘man’ thing, and soooo ‘insensitive’. Which is probably why they don’t train them much for that any longer. But we digress.

Longevity is too Horizontal; it’s just another aspect of a Flat, single-dimension vision of Life, and it’s precisely that trapped sense of Flatness and of being Alone bigtime, especially when things go wrong for one, that prompted people for millennia to heed the inner prompting from Beyond. During those long ages, several persons, indeed, found Christianity to be of no small use in this regard, and even Catholicism.

The attraction of – let’s just say – Catholic Christianity was not simply the fact that it had been around a long time, nor that it had such great cathedrals and tapestries and stuff, nor that it enabled one to get into the better clubs (indeed, for so long being Catholic did precisely the opposite). The attraction was that one felt connected to, and supported by, and actually anchored in some level and quality of Being beyond the confines of this Flat and too mortal coil. And more than ‘feeling’ that one was thus fortified and Accompanied, one ‘knew’ it – faith being not so much a ‘feeling’ but a mode of knowing. A mode of knowing that penetrated the perennial cloud of un-knowing whose dense and senseless surface baffled, terrified, and drove mad so many human beings since human eyes first looked up at the stars (or at the dinosaurs, if our Fundamentalisic siblings be possessed of a firm grasp on reality – about which, however, let us say no more).

The channel that penetrated the Veil did not (except for a very few) include a video or audio cable, but it transmitted a palpable stream – not so much of ‘information’ as of a Sense (capital S intended) beyond mere ‘feeling’ that spoke, whispered, to the very core of oneself. God whispering in the awesome silence directly to your very deepest self.

There developed, after a while, “an abundance of Jesuses” – as Carse deftly limns a history of Christianity from Aquinas through the Reformers and up to Hegel, and then on to the mega-churches of the present day. But this ‘abundance’ does not prove that there is no actual Jesus nor that faith can only be a thing of this Flat-Space because there can’t be a dozen Jesuses in some other Beyond-Space. The fact that the several blind men famously formed images of several different ‘elephants’ doesn’t mean that there can be no actual ‘elephant’; it simply means that men are kinda blind and none gets the entire big picture right. But the elephant is still there, even though incompletely perceived by the men, but complete in him-(it, her) self. And very much alive.

The ability to perceive the Beyond, like the ability to see the stars at night, has diminished as societies became more immersed in the material world. As the noise of the factories increased to a roar, the whisper from Beyond became harder to hear; as the lights of streets and screens intensified, the tiny beam from Beyond became harder to see.

Worse, as the things of this world and its surfaces became more insistent in their demands, those marvelous and ancient receivers – soul and spirit – fell into neglect. So that now, in this postmodern age we humans have regressed to a strategic and tactical and professionally human competence suitable only to a far less ‘capable’ knowledge of the Space – within and without – where our lives – individually and communally – are playing out. As bad as bringing the proverbial knife to the gunfight, we now approach the modern Life-space without the knowledge-base we once possessed, purchased at so great a price by long generations before us. We bring a Sailing Age appreciation of naval operations to a Steel-and-Oil Age naval situation. We shall not last long without embracing a very steep learning curve.

Between the Fundamentalistic hysteria in the face of the Awesome, and the flat-souled Materialist/revolutionary denial that anything beyond the surfaces of this world exists – between these two hopelessly inadequate options a true appreciation of our Space must be formulated. Or … recovered.

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Wednesday, July 23, 2008


Matt Taibbi (“Economic Realities Are Killing Our Era of Fantasy Politics”, www.alternet.org/story/91927) quotes Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders that “the middle class is disappearing; in real ways we’re becoming more like a third-world country”. It’s too true. And the U.S. is becoming a 3rd-world country not only because the middle-class hasn’t got the financial substance to keep itself going anymore (all the money’s gone up the ladder to the megarich) but because – like a classic third world backwater – this country no longer has much left of the industrial and skills base to change this queasy slide to bananaless-banana-republic.

Taibbi quotes Sanders’ urgent solution: “Corporate America is going to have to reinvest in our society”. Well, yes, that would be good – and if corporate America hadn’t disinvested, then We wouldn’t be in this mess now. But who’s gonna make corporate America do it? Congress? A bunch of panderers who no longer even read the bills they pass?

I think there’s always been an unspoken ‘contract’ between the citizenry and Congress: they’d only pass laws they’d read and debated and concluded were good for the common weal, and we would follow the laws and respect the legislators and do our best to make things work. That contract has been broken, and it was first broken quite some years ago: Congress (starting with the Democrats 40 years ago) took advantage of our trust, passed all sorts of whackjob laws for its own political gain, and then cynically prostituted itself to the big-money interests while the little folks – bethumped by words and impossible and toxic laws – played the role of donkey, with no option but to accept yet another load in the basket, and clop along the hot, dusty, and increasingly pot-holed road.

And lest anybody want to console themselves with the thought that it’s only been the Republicans doing this and only for the past 8 years, William Greider’s opinion is that “the Democrats were in collusion virtually every step of the way, and sometimes they led the way”. And not only in collusion with the post-9/11 intelligence and war and eavesdropping and torture stuff, but for decades before that with allowing the country’s (and the middle-class’s) economic base to erode away, to the economic benefit of the uberbucks bunch .. and the Dems themselves, who got their cut packaged as ‘campaign contributions’ through PACs and other sewer-conduits. (‘Nightmare on Wall Street’, www.alternet.org/story/92286). What the Dems have done in abetting the civil-liberties and foreign policy messes of the past 8 years is only the second half in a game they’ve been playing for decades now.

And not only in economics: the symptoms and dynamics of “war psychosis” as described by Sir Michael Howard were introduced into Our domestic national politics by the Democrats in order to further the revolutions of their fancied Identities 40 years ago. To arouse within the citizenry “an immediate expectation and demand for spectacular military action against some easily identifiable adversary, preferably a hostile [but not too powerful] state …” Take out ‘military’ and substitute ‘legal’ or ‘criminal’ action; substitute ‘group’ for ‘state’ .. and you’ve pretty much got the gameplan that has been going in Our midst for the past 4 decades. And that means that it had been going on for 30 years before 9/11 came along.

And just as “the Bush regime decided to formulate and implement a foreign policy that placed a premium on unilateral military action … deliberation, debate, and diplomacy were jettisoned …”, so too for decades before that the Democrats indulged the Identities’ demand that public deliberation and wide-ranging debate on social changes be jettisoned in favor of unilateral government action in the service of the Identities’ assorted agendas. And as that happened time after time, for decades, The People’s ability to maturely become informed, deliberate individually and communally, and achieve such consensus as was possible went by the boards. The People’s maturity regressed to processing information without critical thought, or regard for proportion, context, or even consequences. And now, politically, societally, economically, as well as militarily … it’s all hit the fan at once, in this Year of Grace 2008. (‘A Kinder, Gentler Imperialism?’, http://www.counterpunch.com/).

So Our politics has indeed been a “fantasy” for a long time; and now so is Our money and Our military and – to a frightening extent – Our maturity. Let’s leave ‘moral and spiritual integrity’ out of it, just out of a decent respect to readers with heart problems.

And all this has contributed to the ‘militarization’ of civil culture. The military is one of the last bastions of American institutional culture where – to some extent at least – a decent respect for actual realities has to be maintained simply to get its job done. It has hardly escaped the past 40 years unharmed in that regard; and to observe things military for years here has been to be continuously reminded of Wehrmacht generals trying to fight the war in the Ukraine and telling Berlin that it would be far better to cooperate with the mostly anti-Soviet Ukrainian population than to shoot them and make enemies-in-the-rear out of an entire populace; No said Berlin, that is politically incorrect – shoot them all because they are only Untermenschen and – besides – we want their land and resources for ourselves. Ach. And the consequences of the Party’s political correctness blew back in their millions.

The military is also one of this country’s last bastions of at least a modestly coherent identity as American. So many in this country see themselves and are only invested in themselves as ‘victims’. And the feminists (of that so-soviet Second Wave, certainly) see themselves not as Americans first but as ‘women’, and with a primary allegiance not to other Americans (half of them the hated and sex-maniacal ‘men’) but to ‘women’ oppressed around the world (by even more ‘men’). No wonder that in a nation whose society is wracked by – for all practical purposes – a civil war (along gender lines rather than regional or class lines) then there is a strong undertow pulling many toward the military ethos if for no other reason than to keep a grasp on some sense of being ‘American’. Thanks, Dems.

Of course, it’s just icing on the cake that the culture of ‘manly’ Southern militarism, justly bashed into nostalgia by Mr. Lincoln’s Grant and Sherman and those eerily-strong-souled boys in blue, came seeping back, as the glow of a truly civil American cultural and social and political community receded under the fiery clouds of Identity-ism in all its forms. So now if anybody among Us wants to identify as 'an American' it’s the military way or the highway. We might as well look at American culture prior to ’68 the way we look at European culture prior to 1914: the lamps are going out all over, and we shall not see them lit again …

Thanks, Dems: you created Identities, de-created 'American' identity, and re-created the Confederacy. Nothing do-nothing about your congresses. No sirreee. The South wound up winning the thing after all. Meanwhile in foreign adventures the imperial Security State hides behind 'the troops' and in domestic adventures the policed-up Nanny State hides behind 'the victim'. I think the Nanny State is going to wind up killing as many folks - one way or another - as the Security State, and the Nanny State will have wreaked more damage on the Constitution to boot. And yet, like the Security State on the Eastern Front, it meant so well. The hot ironies!

Good sweet frakking Divinity! What has happened to Us? Where do We go from here? August is coming, and if it’s anything like August of ’14, or August of ’39 …

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Tuesday, July 22, 2008


Glenn Greenwald takes on an ancient foe in “Rendering Public Opinion Irrelevant” over on the Salon site. (http://www.salon.com/opinion/greenwald/).

I had forgotten how much can be hidden in plain sight, simply because the MSM refuse to notice it. Thus, that – prescinding from the tremendous preponderance of world opinion in the matter – a stupefying 71% of Americans believe that America should take an even-handed approach in the sempiternal Israeli-Palestinian mess.

I had forgotten. And to hear Congresspersons and pols and government apparatchiks tell it, you’d think that We were all for being the ‘bodyguard’ for the Israeli realm (for which, I think, the German word would be ‘Reich’).

Historians will have a field day with this. 22nd-century academic careers will be made writing about how for so long so many Americans wanted to take a balanced approach, and yet the American government – for votes and cash and an excuse to grab oil and keep at a seat at the Eurasian table – took a stupendously one-sided approach.

Greenwald recalls the stunningly bad experience of Howard Dean – whose ‘even-handed’ comment got him into irretrievable difficulties with AIPAC and the other usual suspects, including just about the entire roster of Democratic Party biggies including Reid and Pelosi.
America must support Israel’s right to exist and to be free from terror, bleats the chorus of pandering frogs whose only remaining virtue is that they are bipartisan.

A couple of things come to me:

This was a sorta preventable problem 60 years ago. The Jewish Zionist movement for almost a century had envisioned a ‘safe home’ for Jewish folk. It was a very understandable desire, given the uncertainty of the status of Jewish folk in Europe and European Russia. There would be a problem with finding a patch of real-estate, since most of it was taken up. Some shrewd negotiating with various governments might have yielded benefits. But the ‘solution’ that the Zionists latched onto almost immediately was to equate the ‘safe home’ with a ‘return’ to the real-estate once known as ancient Israel, until in the time of the early Roman Empire that particular property was taken from them after their unsuccessful revolt. But, of course, if the Bible is used as a Registry of Deeds sort of book, then the Jewish ownership of ‘biblical’ Israel is pretty much eternal (Jewish thought on the religious validity of this usage has not been unanimous.).

And once, at least in theory, the very real concern about the permanent safety of the Jewish folk was indissolubly linked to a piece of real estate no longer in their possession and indeed ‘possessed’ – to the extent any land is ever possessed – by others, and for a period of many centuries … well, even in theory and on paper the almost-total intractability of the problem was clear.

But then came the Third Reich and World War Two. Western revulsion at the monstrousness of Hitler’s demonic vision and the inconceivable efficiency of its execution was complete.

Surfing the complicated but not unfavorable wave patterns, the Zionist elements within surviving world Jewry began to make serious noises about ‘going home’, and that they were ‘owed’. That something had to be done to ensure no such massacre would ever happen again seemed clear to any reasonable adult. That the surviving members of world Jewry needed a place to go to call their own was not quite so clear, but certainly a matter for consideration. That world Jewry, represented by a Zionist vanguard, should be permitted to go and re-occupy its old biblical homestead, erect a sovereign state, and to hell with world opinion or the objections of anybody – such as the present inhabitants of the place – did not seem a clearly logical or wise course of action at all.

Harry Truman, as he noted at the time, had no Arab voters and a lot of Jewish ones – and being in charge simultaneously of the world’s new superpower and a Democratic Party that was not sure of its own voter-base – figured that numerous birds could be killed with the one stone. And he cast it. The Pope advised against it; and while he famously had no divisions, he did draw upon almost two millennia worth of highly professional Vatican insight and diplomacy; Harry ignored him. The United Nations and others expressed objections with varying degrees of circumspection – Harry was the new superkid on the block, after all – but to no avail. And by then Zionist-connected militant groups such as Irgun were already over there, setting off car bombs and killing troops (British, even) to let the world know that business was meant and that No as an answer was not on the table.

In a part of the world where memories go back centuries and are never repressed, and in which his nation had no abiding interest (in 1948 the US was pumping its own oil from domestic sources), Harry stretched forth his arm and the people returned ‘home’.

Straightaway, the foreseen intractables began to manifest themselves. The inhabitants resisted to the point where the newly-established Jewish State had to deploy methods not quite so different from the Wehrmacht’s a half-decade before.

And the perky Israeli solution to that inconvenient reality was to insist that a) there were no people there to be militarily eliminated, b) and anyway they were not resistance-fighters but terrorists, c) the horror of the Holocaust has created its own kind of emergency that justifies ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent its repetition, and d) to mention this whole inconvenient reality is to be anti-Semitic and perhaps even Nazi yourself. Behind this queasy cloud of unknowing the Israeli plan was to create itself as a Fact on the Ground that nobody could make ‘go away’; hewed to tenaciously, in season and out of season, this strategy would simply use the West’s famous distractibility as a tool: the West’s attention would be worn down until Israel would appear to be as natural a part of the regional furniture as the mountains and the sand.

And in that plan was the basis of an indenturing of vote-desperate and newly ‘sensitive’ Democrats, a thoroughgoing Political Correctness, a comprehensive media manipulation of public opinion, and a fundamental disconnection between accurate perceptions of reality and repeated official versions of reality that would eventually poison the American polity, ‘host’ and benefactor of the Israeli state, and then would be taken up by the Advocacies of the Identities in the late ‘60s and corrode the very foundations of American democratic politics and the ability of its citizens to People their government.

But to think about it all – except in the way that the Israeli state found useful and convenient – was Forbidden, by parties unknown - or at least who don't care to acknowledge their role in this treacherous mess.

For quite some time it was useful to de-emphasize ‘religion’ in American society. Hence for years there was an unstinting support of the ‘secularization’ of American society. After all, since the country was mostly ‘Christian’ (although not necessarily Fundamentalist, back then) it stood to reason that the less ‘Christianity’ was loose, the less danger of a repeat of the Holocaust happening. And – a happy two-fer – this dovetailed nicely with the feministic emphasis on de-emphasizing ‘religion’ in American society not only because the feminists of that Wave wanted to destabilize the white, male-dominated ‘rape culture’ of American society, but also because ‘religious’ arguments were the greatest conceptual obstruction to the ramming home of pro-abortion laws.

And yet then when it became clear that the Democrats were no longer as useful as they once had been, rapport was established with a Republican Party whose conceptual and emotional base was in the whackery of American Protestant Fundamentalism, an early-20th century phenomenon that believed in the literal truth of every single word of the Bible except wherever it said ‘wine’ (which, according to the most authoritative preacherly exegesis, really meant ‘grape juice’). Not historically averse to the virtues of the grape themselves, the Israelis tactfully overlooked the oenophobia and embraced those particular elements of Fundamentalism that would surreptitiously spackle up the notoriously flaccid American citizenry with a respect for authority and efficiency (ja!) and with a sense of how urgent it was to win the unavoidable battle for Armageddon that would establish the Israeli state in total peace and security by flattening all its enemies.

Ominously, the tidal wave generated by 9/11 provided the vehicle by which a now energy-and-economy-challenged US government could simultaneously make its bid for fresh supplies of energy, a place at the evolving Eurasian table, a refreshed stature for its dangerously ungrounded currency, and a securing of the Israeli state’s regional position (and thus of the American Jewish voters’ undying gratitude) … so many nice birds with just the one stone.

The current US government need to spackle up the American citizenry for 'resource wars' and national-interest preventive wars and other assorted overseas adventures dovetails nicely with the Israeli government's need to keep the US involved 'over there'. After all, it wasn't rocket science to see - even in 1948 - that if the Israelis for all practical purposes invaded Palestine, and then had to resort to Wehrmacht-tactics in order to establish their beach-head, then in that never-forget part of the world a lot of the locals would be mickle displeased with the Israeli state for the forseeable future. The Israeli governments of that era could be forgiven for thinking that such hostility - generated not by a conceptual anti-Semitism but rather by an abiding outrage over the invasion and 'pacification' of Palestine - would in itself be useful, creating an ongoing 'emergency' that would justify any further harsh measures of military repression and also sustaining an ongoing 'emergency' sure to snag American voters and politicians. And so it has.

And - also not rocket science - the Arab states accurately perceive - also not rocket science, given US pols' statements - that the US is the strength propping up this whole Israeli gambit. And do they hate 'us' for who we are? Or for what the US government has done and continues to do? Funny how Bush hit on that point, in exactly that odd way of putting it, immediately after 9/11. And answered his own question - what did We expect? - that it wasn't anything that We 'did', but rather that 'those' folks were simply hating-on Us for who We are. Which, also, in a marvelous but no doubt innocent coincidence, is precisely how the Israeli government likes to present itself, thus blotting out the original invasion, that ironic original-sin upon which the entire enterprise is built. My my my. Yah.

It also occurs to me: if Congressfolk are opposing so large a majority of the public, and – as we’ve seen in matters sex-offensive and Patriot-ic – aren’t even bothering to read the laws that they then vote for, just how legitimate are the laws? Issues of ‘legitimacy’ – profoundly ominous – arise, politically even if not (for the moment) legally. There is a 71% majority of Us who wish to see a more 'balanced' - face it, a more intelligent - approach to the Israel-Palestine problem, and Our pols ignore that?

Many of those 22nd-century careers will also be made tracing the debacle of the US government’s gradual self-indenture to the interests of the Israeli state – a state with which no official alliance exists or has ever existed, one of the very few states which had attacked US forces, killing and injuring many, in repeated attacks in the broad light of a terribly long day … an achievement in infamy not even effected by the USSR in all its long, dark tenure.

And then those 22nd-century scholars will start looking at Us: what the frak had gone wrong with Us that We could have let things – Our government included – get so far out of hand?

What indeed? Inquiring minds will want to know.

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Monday, July 21, 2008


I want to give some credit where credit – a modest but very real bit of it – is due. In Sunday’s ‘Boston Globe’ they’ve got a chewy article entitled “Abducted” (http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2008/07/20/abducted/) on how ‘amber alerts’ aren’t really very effective although they are great for getting the public worked up. Some of “the only outside scholars to examine the system in depth” have done a study. Which, by the by, says without saying it that most of the ‘science’ and ‘statistics’ given to Us previously were from ‘scholars’ who were benefiting from the system, or at least who were ‘advocating’ for it, it being such a good thing and all.

This ‘outside’ study finds “the statistics” that are usually given out to be “highly misleading”. What they do is to “create a climate of fear around a tragic but extremely rare event, pumping up public anxiety”. My my. Like creating – well – a stampede, maybe. This is treating the public, the citizenry, The People, like cattle. This ain’t American. Very un-American, actually. Kinda Reich-ish, if you get my drift. Ja?

In fact, the study calls it “crime control theatre” and says that “it fits into the wider complaint of some criminologists about crime-fighting measures – often passed in the wake of horrific, highly-politicized crimes that originate from strong emotions rather than from research into what really works.” Emotions such as fear and vengeance, I’d figure.

“Whether it’s child sex offender registries or ‘three-strikes’ criminal sentencing rules, these policies, critics warn, can prove ineffective, sometimes costly, and even counterproductive, since they heighten public fears and distract from threats that are at once more common and more tractable.” Such “politically expedient solutions … look good but do very little to solve the problem.” Kudos to the scholars and to the reporter, Drake Bennett. Although I’d add that the process of American justice (and it is a great Gift to the world) is still not a certain finder-of-truth on its best days, and during times of stampede the chances of its making mistakes are greatly increased.

And, I guess, if you’re really sure your pacemaker is up to it, imagine such stampedes taking place in the military system, where Outcome trumps Process as a matter of very very well-enforced institutional philosophy. Oy. That’s the same military justice system, by the by, that is creeping into actual Constitutional justice-process as We speak.

I’d also add that those “child sex offender registries” are actually registries for anybody convicted even of taking a wizz in the woods. It has always been a cagey stratagem of the thing that while ‘children’ were store-fronted, the actual machinery in the back was casting a much wider net.

The genuine academic criminology folks - as opposed to the make-a-buck, surf-the-wave, cottage-industry, 'expert' crowd - are quoted at length and substantively. When you read such documents as Amicus Briefs you find that they’ve been reporting their work all along, but the media have for the most part ignored them, very selectively, in favor of the faux-‘experts’ who help enable the stampede. This fake 'science', by half-trained 'professionals' with their own 'think tanks' has helped fuel wayyy too much of the revolutionary agenda, feminist and victimist.

A spokesman for the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (a mouthful, no?), clearly unused to actually having to defend any of these programs (it also oversees the sex-offense registry), bleats "If an Amber Alert saves any child, don't you think it was worth it?". This particularly classic wheedle of the victimist Advocacy has been around a long time and has a lot to answer for. An appeal to emotion, it is irrational in its essence; it is the if-even-one enticement. If only one child's life could be saved by outlawing private motor vehicles, shouldn't we do it? If only one Iraqi kid could be saved by regime-changing Saddaam, shouldn't we do it? But life is a series of hard choices (ask those eerily mature boy-soldiers who fought the Civil War) and the ur-fantasy of the feminist-victimist gameplan - that this world can be made as safe as a doll house for the little dollies - is worse than utopian.

And when the price to be paid for it is the erosion of Constitutional process and protection and - even worse - the corruption and the stampeding of The People, the calculated reduction of public opinion to emotion and then the stampeding of that emotion down a chosen path ... that price is too high. And to say that 'the price of even one child' is worth the integrity of the Constitutional grounds of Our very national genius and existence is to demonstrate in a single question the vast danger posed to America by the feminist-victimist Advocacy. And it is a question that up until now they have been very successful in shouting down.

Its defenders include not only government apparatchiks who get paid to administer it but radio stations that can combine ‘public service’ with a great ratings-booster. They note that “it doesn’t cost anything”. Ummm … Engorging public fear? Running the risk of vigilantism if some well-meaning citizen tries to ‘stop’ a vehicle that is being sought? The article goes on to note that and other concerns. (And an impressive piece of actual reporting it is, too – it would be ironic if the Globe were to get a Pulitzer for starting to draw Us back from a dangerous path just as it had helped pave that path for so long. Go figure. But We, brethren and sistern, are in a heepa trubble, and can’t be picky about the small stuff.)

A ray of sunlight. And I’m sure as heck thankful for it. We face very tough times, and We have to muster the chops for a heepa “blood, toil, tears, and sweat”.

And not just Us. In all the discussion about how Iraq was invaded at least partially to ‘save the children’, nobody has ventured to ask whether Saddaam ever managed to kill or maim or render-orphan even a fraction of the number of children being thus handled currently in Our name.

To paraphrase Victor McLaglen’s cavalry top-sergeant in “Fort Apache”: ‘Tis an adult’s work We’ve ahead of Us today.

So let’s get to it then.

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This is another follow-up on the Massachusetts legislation whereby the Attorney General of the Commonwealth seeks the power of ‘administrative subpoenas’ (equivalent to federal ‘national security letters’) under the guise of combating sex-offenses.

I’ll start off by doing a thumbnail review of what I’ve been working on throughout previous Posts. Fresh discussion will follow that.

I’ll list here several of the points that I made in the pieces:
- The sex-offense mania (SOM) is a disturbing and dangerous example of how due-process can be subverted in the service of an ‘emergency’
- The SOM is particularly slippery to grasp because it began from the Left, so to speak, rather than from the Right where so many Constitutional dangers of over-reaching government are nowadays considered (and not without cause) to originate. The National Security State (NSS) has always given cause for concern, seeking as it does to regiment the citizenry and expand government police power at the expense of civil liberties. But in the late ‘60s, the Democrats, desperate to replace voters lost through the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of ’64 and ’65, sought to raise up ‘Identities’, voting blocks, and each one of those Identities had its own ‘emergency’ that required immediate action to redress an outrageous wrong that needed to be righted immediately.
- By definition, each of those ‘emergencies’ (and we all know what a bad record government-by-emergency-decree has had in the past 75 or so years) could not wait for the ‘slow’ and the ‘unresponsive’ processes of democracy and democratic politics: citizen deliberation, thorough public discussion and examination, the building of consensus.
- Also, each of those Identities had an agenda and an underlying set of assumptions about American society and culture that was ‘given’, such that ‘discussion’ was claimed to be not necessary, and indeed was a definite interference with the urgent and direct government efforts reputedly required to solve the ‘crisis’. As Goebbels used to say, it’s not a matter of the people needing to think, it’s a matter of the people needing to become aroused and to obey. This is, if you think about it, a fundamental dynamic not of a democratic politics but of a revolutionary politics. (So I call these developments, that have been going on now since about 1968, the Revolution of the Identities. And so, you might say, the country’s democratic politics have been under assault by a revolutionary politics for 40 years).
- So in addition to the dangers of a National Security State that have been budding since World War 1 and that definitely got a huge boost after World War 2, American democratic politics and culture have also been under attack by a very undemocratic politics (although spun as a vigorous effort to expand democracy) embodied in a National Nanny State (NNS).
- One of those Identities was Feminism. I define it with a capital F: I do not mean a movement to encourage and expand the respect for and rights of women, but a strrategized, adversarial, zero-sum revolutionary-type programme to crowbar open a wider role for ‘women’ by reducing the social and cultural and political influence of ‘men’. This is not a wise or healthy path that would support a democratic politics, and as is now widely noted, it resulted in a ‘balkanization’ of the American people, such that one’s identity as an American was subordinated – or even denigrated – in favor of being a member of a particular Identity, in this case a member of a gender, and more specifically, a gender that was ‘victimized’.
- At some point in the later ‘80s, law enforcement began to see that this ‘woman-as-victim’ dynamic was more than just a soft, goo-goo femmy concern trying to intrude itself into the macho mano-a-mano of cop-vs.-perp. Rather, if properly orchestrated, it could become a powerful vehicle for expanding government police power ever more deeply into the lives of the American people.
- As the USSR went away and it looked like the USA was going to be Number One for a long long time, both political parties turned their attention to domestic politics and saw how they could deepen their appeal to ‘the women’s vote’ and look like they were ‘tough on crime’.
- The Feminists (I’m drawing with a broad brush here, I know) assessed the greatest weakness of ‘men’ to be a tendency toward physical violence and a deep-seated propensity for sex. They had been working along these lines since the early ‘70s, but in the mood of the early ‘90s, especially as the Clinton era dawned, they sensed that the government itself (legislative, executive, law enforcement) was receptive to actually enlisting and even bending criminal law to Feminist desires.
- There was something in it for everyone: pols got to look both ‘sensitive’ and ‘tough’, and in all cases busy and effective; prosecutors got to fatten their resumes and burnish their reputations on sensational cases; cops got federal grants; the media got made-for-tv dramas that increasingly required almost no investigative reporting and offered ‘great stories’ just about ready-made; advocates who once were simply concerned citizens trying to fix problems locally were replaced by professional advocacy groups that became indistinguishable from professional lobbyists; and – as you noted – all sorts of follow-on ‘industries’ developed, making money off the thing.
- Even more disturbingly, a highly dubious ‘science’ was created overnight, not often supported by mainline universities or medical/psychological organizations but rather represented by scads of ‘think tanks’ and ‘experts’ who assured us that this was a terrible and weird and horrible malady for which there was no known cure, although that didn’t stop them from supporting draconian laws and sentences.
- ‘Spectral evidence’, that stunning dark-ages practice of a court accepting as fact the unsupported – indeed invisible – assertions of a complaining party, was costumed in scientific garb and introduced as the cutting-edge discovery of ‘repressed memory’. According to its proponents, it is not only possible but probable, that a memory of a personally traumatizing experience can be buried beneath consciousness, for years or even decades, and can then emerge suddenly into consciousness, even more vivid and more clear and more pristine than any ‘normal’ memories.
- Worse, as it came out in the aftermath of the profoundly disturbing Duke University gang-rape case, one feminist academic asserted in genuine revolutionary form that “facts don’t matter”. You can’t conduct legitimate justicial process on an assumption like that. And to grant the government, any government, ‘freedom from facts’ is surely not a road any citizenry should want to take.
- Legally, even more ominous developments took place: the Violence Against Women Act of ’94 introduced into American justice the nasty European practice of ‘denouncement’, whereby police could deprive a citizen of liberty and property merely on the unsupported word of another (and hardly disinterested) citizen; the government police power was invited – in fact, its presence was demanded by advocates – into the bedrooms of the nation. ‘Date rape’ demanded that courts accept the word of one party (however, a party anointed as ‘the victim’) without any further evidence, to the great detriment of the accused.
- With the specifically ‘sex offense’ laws, beginning about ’96, evidentiary rules were eased (thus those ‘memories’ could be introduced), leading to the weakening of the ancient legal wisdom of ‘statutes of limitations’, established in response to the common-sense awareness that after a certain period of time has passed, witnesses die or their memories fade, corroborating evidence – for either party - would be lost, and consequently it would be almost impossible for any human court to reasonably assert the validity of any finding it might make or any sentence it might pass.
- Worse, the ‘sex offender’, a term which no professional mainstream medical or psychiatric organization authorizes as a legitimate diagnostic category, was subjected to another totalitarian or authoritarian government ploy, ‘civil commitment’. And not only civil commitment in lieu of criminal conviction and imprisonment, but civil commitment added on after the imprisonment. Since it is ‘therapeutic’, the Supreme Court has opined, then it’s not a ‘punishment’; the Court, however, did not care to figure how ‘therapeutic’ any such commitment could be since there is no known therapy for what – as the serious medical and psychiatric professionals have indicated – is not actually a medical or psychiatric diagnosis. It’s a ‘preventive’ detention, designed to prevent ‘pain’ and ‘outrage’. This begins to pervert the traditional Western concept that criminal justice can and must only be applied to an ‘act’ after it is committed; if the government wants to ‘prevent’ something today, what else will it decide to ‘prevent’ tomorrow? And what if it decides that sex-offenses contribute to the weakening of ‘national security’? That they constitute an American form of ‘Wehrkraftsversetzung’ (a ‘disintegration of defensive capability’ in the original Nazi)? After all, so much of the legal and publicity machinery of these stampedes of the 1990s seem to have come from the Third Reich or the USSR. To the victors belong the spoils, perhaps.
- Worse, the hue and cry was raised for ’special courts’. For the ostensible purpose of bringing more expertise and efficiency to certain types of cases, special courts were erected for Domestic Violence cases and are being demanded for Sex-Offense cases. One New Jersey judge was overheard declaiming that the purpose of the court was to bring swift relief and justice and closure to the wife, and that this was to be done at the expense of the husband. So much for determining the truth from the facts. The concept was not new; it was called ‘Volksgerichtshof’ in the original Nazi; it was very successful as a vessel for applying the Nazi concept of ‘blood justice’ (which, it appears, has raised its awful head here renamed ‘gender justice’).
- Worse, the old Communist/Fascist ploy of ‘registration’ was introduced, and not simply one’s information kept on a file card in some KGB or Gestapo office, but publicly available on the Internet. Additionally, a series of restrictions on where one could move, on travel, and on where one could live function as the equivalent of ‘internal passports’, restricting not only movement but employment possibilities. Again, the Supreme Court opined that this isn’t ‘punishment’ since one’s conviction is a matter of public record, and even if it is punishment for all practical purposes, the public safety – the old ‘emergency’ ploy – justifies it.
- And just to top it off, almost all of these laws include a provision that police may arrest without further ado anybody they have ‘reasonable’ suspicion is either a sex-offender or an unregistered sex-offender. And worse: a provision that no police officer can be held liable for false arrest or for any damages should his/her zeal be misapplied, no matter how much trouble caused for the individual arrested. It’s also vague whether the various post-9/11 databases meant to identify potential terrorists are also tied into State databases (rumor is some congressman from upstate New York now wants a separate federal database) for sex offenders: can you fly? Can you get a passport? Can you get your license renewed?
- Within the dismayingly short time of a couple of years in the later ‘90s, the whole web of laws, judicial practice, police and prosecutorial practice, media ‘reporting’ that simply played-up the ‘horror’ and didn’t investigate the validity of any incidents, were all working so smoothly that the jury-pool of almost any court in the country could reliably be assumed to be confident and determined in its mission to convict.
- This was the result of an almost Goebbelsian predictability to the ‘reporting’ designed to arouse the passions and distort the judgment of the citizenry: terrible thing done, ‘man’ is sex-offender, victims outraged, heroic cops nab him; ‘experts’ shocked; pols determined to pass even more laws.
- And an even more disturbing pattern of ‘reasoning’ designed to undermine public discourse and deliberation: if you don’t believe the (self-declared) victim, then you must support rape/child abuse/pedophilia/fill-in-the-blank; to ask questions is to ‘revictimize’ the ‘victim’; to take time for careful due process and deliberation is to be insensitive to the victim’s ‘pain’ and even to indicate that you yourself must be a victimizer/rapist/pedophile/ fill-in-the-blank. You can’t conduct justicial process like this.
- Worse, you can’t conduct the affairs of a democracy like this; there is no room for public discourse and deliberation. Granted, some of those Norman Rockwell paintings of town meetings were a little idealized, but he was on the right track.
- And so this whole sex-offense thing has contributed to a massive degradation of democratic discourse and politics in this country. As well as lethally – and possibly irretrievably – damaged Constitutionally grounded law. As well as poisoned many many citizens’ ability to grasp the real nature of the American ‘genius’ passed on to us from the Framers.
- And it is very hard to avoid the conclusion that the Revolution of the Identities, at least in its Feminist and Victimist variant, has created – with the assistance of Congress and the courts and the connivance of the media – a class of persons within the country who are guilty by their very existence. The Revolution has created here in the US a class of ‘kulaks’; they are called ‘men’. You can’t run a democratic politics like this, when half the citizenry sees and defines itself primarily as a victimized and outraged gender, and the other half sees itself as a hunted class of proscribed targets. And no government that tolerates such a divisive situation, let alone abets it, can long last.
- And all of this was in place before 9/11.
- And lastly, I think that what we’ve seen since 9/11 – especially in Iraq and maybe soon in Iran - is an application of the ‘sex offense’ play not on the domestic field, but on the field of foreign affairs. If we look again at the run-up to this monstrous wreck of a war we started in Iraq, weren’t all the old sex-offense ‘moves’ made: demonization of a targeted individual, false ‘science’ by fake ‘experts’, prosecutorial misconduct reaching even beyond dirty tricks and outright lies to the most reprehensible forms of illegal abuse, selective media reporting that refused to inform the citizens of all the facts but instead just parroted what the government wanted the spin to be. In a dark moment, you might wonder if the government didn’t look at how well the sex-offense gambit worked, and figured it could be used to start preventive wars overseas. And that it figured that the American people would approve.

I’m wondering if ‘feminist’ law and the ‘victimist’ focus are compatible with any actual Constitutional – American – legal praxis at all.

Now before I go any further, let me make something clear here: I am not ‘against’ ‘women’; I do not wish to ‘turn the clock back’ on ‘women’. But I do believe that the core thrust of ‘feminist’ law, especially as evidenced in Domestic Violence legislation and the sex-offense mania has essentially subverted and derailed not only American law but American politics – democratic politics – and that if We don’t get the ship of state back on course in this regard then We are heading for the iceberg, the rocks, and the edge of the abyss itself.

It was back there in the Patriot Act: that ominous phrase that the Act was intended to be used against ‘terrorism’ but also ‘other crimes’: this effectively meant that the whole panoply of dark powers legalized by the Act could without further ado be turned against any citizens for any reason whatsoever. And should that happen, then anyone protesting could be gently but forcefully advised that it’s all legal because it’s right there in the law. Ja – pervektly legal, Kamerade. Berleen inzists on alles being legal. Ja. Yah.

Individual congresspersons have already had occasion to express surprise – if not often open regret – that they voted for some ‘power’ in the Act; they had – now they tell us! – not really read the thing (and I wonder if anybody in Congress thinks that it’s their responsibility to read laws before voting for them any more). But, in spite of their ‘feelings’, the Act stands.

In a ballsy move, the Attorney-General and the District Attorneys of Massachusetts are trying to sneak some of the same Patriot Act powers into the Massachusetts statutes. Of course, they didn’t try to introduce a ‘Massachusetts Version of the Patriot Act’ for the public’s consideration. Noooooo. The heroic protectors of the citizenry tried to sneak it by the people of the Commonwealth quietly stashed aboard the ‘emergency’ vehicle of ‘protect the children’; isn’t this sorta like trying to sneak weapons over guarded frontiers in ambulances and stuff?. It’s a method of proceeding that’s disturbingly similar to the ‘terrorist’ tactics of … less developed parts of the world. That’s a coincidence. Golly.

How did we get to a police state? I think that if – theoretically – ‘women’ were indeed all this oppressed 24/7, then it stands to reason that they would be fearful and – who could deny their humanity? – a tad desirous of revenge after all these ages and ages of oppression. And (courtesy of the vote-addled Dems) having the entire police power of the US government at one’s disposal to – ummmm – bring some closure … well that would be quite the thing. So, conceptually speaking at least, one half the population once lived in fear of ‘rape’ and now lives on revenge and a fancied ‘payback’ while the other half lives in fear of being labeled a ‘batterer’ or a ‘sex offender’, and maybe for stuff suddenly just ‘remembered’ from decades ago.

This is not the recipe for a mature People able to focus on the monster challenges that have been facing this country for 40 years: industrial base slipping into obsolescence, new economic competitors arising, economy slipping and unable to provide decent employment, the dollar becoming ‘symbolic’, the military becoming the only ‘solution’ to every problem in foreign affairs; just as – by most curious coincidence – the police power is the ‘solution’ to every problem domestically. If you tried this in a soap opera you’d be laughed out of the office of every suit in Hollywood.

And I think it was conceptually within, even demanded by, ‘feminism’ – at least that ‘feminism’ of the period of the 1970s that formed the ‘justification’ for all the legal derangements that have followed. After all, if ‘men’ are defined primarily as rape-machines and sex-maniacs by nature, and if the goal is to eradicate a ‘rape culture’ by inserting the police power of the state and federal governments into every possible venue where men might try to perpetrate ‘sex’, then a police state was pretty much the only way to go in order to accomplish the vision. And if all law – according to the deconstructionist and feminist theory – is merely an expression of whoever can get power over making law, then Constitutional process and praxis is going to have to go too.

And, it would appear, so it has. Going, going … almost gone.

And do we think that a Democratic victory in November is going to solve this frakker of a problem? Not a Republican victory certainly – or rather, not a Rightist/Nationalist victory. But the days when Democratic = Liberal = for-the-Constitution are gone, baby, gone.

And how hard would it be to get folks to accept that ‘terrorists’ (however widely defined) are ‘evil’ when ‘sex offenders’ (verrrry widely defined) are ‘evil’ because – well – because ‘men’ are evil. And dangerous. 24/7 and 365. That’s half-the-world that formed an axis of evil 40 years ago (and I’m not talkin’ about the Commies here). Hell, you could almost say that everything since 2001 is just ‘Act 2’ … or, ‘just the next logical step’.

Democrats don’t want to talk about the ‘conceptual’ problems with their decades-long support of feminist-victimist law. After all, there’s no way of escaping the logical consequences: they embraced a philosophy – such as it was – that virtually guaranteed a police state and a conceptual and emotional civil war of one half the country’s population against the other.

And now what can they do? Admit that they didn’t think things through back then? Admit that they lost control of the whole thing decades ago and now can’t figure out how to stop it and are hoping that – like Mr. Micawber – ‘something will turn up’ to save their and the Republic’s future? Admit that they’ve decided to just keep stringing things along, getting re-elected and set for cushy jobs after ‘retirement from public service’ until … well, until. Most not-impressive. But such – as Gore Vidal put it, borrowing from the wry Soviet citizenry – is ‘our modern American reality’.

And what are We gonnna do about it?

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