Wednesday, October 29, 2008
I don't see Obama himself as Nero. He is not Nero. He's a good man. He didn't know about Reverend Wright. He didn't know about Bill Ayers. He didn't know what Rezko was up to. He didn't know what Acorn was doing behind his back. Nero on the other hand knew exactly what he was doing when Rome burned and he blamed it on the Christians and he ordered them to be martyred.
Obama doesn't realize that his judges will mandate the end of home schooling, and that schools are trying to destroy every last vestige of Christianity. He doesn't know that abortion is wrong. He doesn't realize how his tax policies will reward the indigent, and damage the work ethic of the country. Nero on the other hand really knew how evil he was, and never repented. Nero raped young men at their weddings, and had young men castrated, and married them against their will, and he raped the Vestal Virgin, and had sex with his own sister. Nero literally had no regard for marriage, or for the notion that it was meant to provide children with a loving family. Obama on the other hand seems to regard his own marriage with some sense of sanctity, but I fear that his judges will allow men to marry horses, and tables, and swans and make a mockery of marriage by allowing someone to marry their own mother, as long as they're "in love."
It may be that the far right is too unyielding, and has its descriptions of how society should work out of an unyielding Christian text that doesn't allow for wiggle-room. That can make tradition perhaps too tight. But it seems to me that the choice is between that and a kind of permissive chaos that runs from every difficult decision: Obama has said next to nothing about the border issues with Mexico, he wants to cut and run in Iraq undoing five years of hard work and sweat and blood, he wants to undo two millenia of marriage law, and he will allow all kinds of loons to become judges.
McCain's judgment isn't much better, but his party will force him to make harder decisions, and to clarify and tighten existing laws.
Obama is the last gasp of the 60s liberals, and has never known anything else. He's in a sense not responsible because he doesn't know that he is part of an irresponsible rabble that in many cases is trying to undo what's left of western civilization. Obama just doesn't know. He is like an artist that has inherited a vocabulary and working definitions, and he can put a good face on these tools, but doesn't know anything about where this vocabulary has been. He is not responsible for the fact that his substitute father figure Frank Marshall Davis was a communist poet under investigation by the FBI, and whose FBI file reveals that he was seen photographing the beaches of Hawaii to benefit the communist invasion forces. Obama doesn't understand where words like "redistribution" have been, and how such terms are code words for deeds that have undone whole societies. He doesn't know that Pol Pot used that word as he murdered half of his fellow citizens in order to provide for the other half. Obama doesn't know anything about the history of the left. He's been told it's good, and that's good enough.
The Culture Wars go back to Nero and Christian Rome. The Democrats are for Nero, whether they know it or not. The Republicans are for St. Paul...
If Obama wins, all we can do is pray that he will, like St. Paul, come to see the Light on his way to Washington.
Sunday, October 26, 2008
The #1 new YouTube video is Joe Biden being asked his first serious questions of the campaign by a newscaster in Florida.
Biden can't believe it. The woman newscaster even asks if Biden is a socialist along Swedish lines.
Many people don't understand that they are socialists, or that there is a coherent alternative called capitalism, that actually works better.
If you have a bagel place, and a poor man comes up and says "I'm starving, can I have a bagel?" If you're a Swedish type socialist, you give it to him.
The next day he shows up again, but this time with two friends.
Two days later, he brings a small crowd of bums. You give them all a bagel.
Soon the whole town is going to descend on your bagel place for free bagels.
And then of course you are out of business.
The idea is that business is business, and you can't mix business with compassion. If you do, the business goes out of business, and you starve.
If government takes over your bagel place and redistributes your bagels, and throws your cash out of the register to the poor, you are out of business.
The truly intelligent person has to mind the store, and make sure there is enough profit to feed their family. If everyone does this, you have a functioning economy and each person benefits.
Communists and socialists don't understand this. They think that if everybody would just share their stuff, there would be enough for everybody.
When you hand things to people, they don't understand that hard work went into making the things. Obama has had a free ride his whole life and has never met hardship. He doesn't understand where things come from.
When Biden got the nod for Democratic VP he showed up at his house with free bagels for all the news media. This was socialism at work.
Biden's redistribution of the bagels was his own doing, but it represented at a larger level Biden's sense that the Democratic party represents free bagels.
Free education, free coffee, free bagels.
The Republicans on the other hand simply want a good fair business climate so that the bagel producers are relatively free from the redistributionists, where law works to punish those who steal bagels, or who attempt to liberate and redistribute the contents of the cash register, and where workers who aren't doing their job can still be fired.
The Republican idea is -- "Give a man a bagel, and he has enough food for one day. Teach a man how to make a bagel and sell them, and he has bread for his family, and will care about the community he's in."
The Democratic idea is "Give a man a bagel every day, and if the bagel company is so selfish that they won't redistribute their bagels, we will nationalize their bagel company, and do it for them."
Saturday, October 25, 2008
Richie's book purports to condense 60 years of research on Japanese aesthetics.
I got the book because I'm planning to teach an Honors Course this spring on SPORTS & AESTHETICS.
I wanted to spend a week on Sumo wrestling, which I find fantastically funny: grotesquely obese men with ponytails try to bounce one another out of a circle. Does it have a beauty to it?
Sure, doesn't everything?
The book doesn't touch on Sumo, but instead details ten centuries of aesthetic thought within Japan.
One thing that's so interesting is that Luther said that only that which is eternal is beautiful. In traditional Japanese thought nothing is eternal. Everything has a fleeting impermanence, and haiku, for instance, is meant to register that impermanence. What's beautiful is a cherry tree that's just past its prime, and is starting to shed its flowers.
Or a bridge that's beginning to decay.
A man who finds his first white hair.
One of the shoguns got interested in tea service, because it's something that was big among the poor. He found it beautiful, the way that Marie Antoinette found the ways of the French countryside beautiful and had a little peasant cottage erected on her property so she could play at it. Shogun Yoshimasa bought a very modest teapot and it became the center of a new aesthetic.
Yoshimasa wanted to "cultivate the peaceful qualities of the unostentatious, the subdued, the meditative" found in "rice-planting songs," and in "the inelegant countryside" (34-35).
Many Japanese aesthetic traditions were first found in China. I assume that these traditions have spread throughout the Far East, and can be found in Vietnam, and Korea, as well as in Tibet, but Richie argues that they are at their most articulate within Japan.
Throughout the book, Richie contrasts western aesthetics with Japanese aesthetics. He brings in Veblen, Kant, Hume, among others. (The only error I can find is that he argues that it is "Kant's view that the worth and beauty lay in the art work itself and not in any evaluation of it" (27). But Kant would have seen aesthetics as part of the regulative aspects of the mind, because we cannot ever deal with the thing in itself, and therefore the mind's own structures would lead men and women of taste to universal judgment concerning any work of art -- so it IS the mind, rather than the thing, that matters, for Kant. The human mind is a bridge between thingness and the universals -- the human mind is a kind of imaginary between the real and the symbolic, in Lacanian terms, which Lacan seems to have borrowed from Kant.)
While the Japanese did not have a technical term for aesthetics until the Meiji period (after William Perry's gunboat arrives to open up Japan for commercial trade in the middle of the 19th century) -- there is a nevertheless a long and distinguished tradition of thinking about beauty. They do not get an overall word for this until they translate "Aesthetics" as "Bigaku" in 1883 (20).
A glossary at the end details the notions involved. We are somewhat familiar with these notions via Haiku, and Beatnik writing (Gary Snyder and Joanne Kyger among others developed them), but here is a nifty and swift introduction.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
I was in the left for the longest time. I never liked Marxists though because I felt that in praxis, it legitimated mass murder, as it did in Cambodia, the Soviet Union, Red China, North Korea, and everywhere else that it succeeded in gaining control of the machinery of state. I was always a liberal, along the lines of Locke. But that viewpoint is anathema now to many in the left. They don't want more than one faction. They only want one, and anyone who isn't part of their horde of rats is EVIL, BAD TO THE BONE.
I am against the intellectual laziness of it. Many Marxists want to share in the earnings of America, while laying around and theorizing. Few Marxists have ever worked at honest labor. The weirdest of all, I felt, were the trust fund Marxists. There were a lot of these in Seattle. They had huge trust funds which paid giant dividents, but they sat around in cafes and smoked and talked about Marx. There were many others who were against the very idea of work, but who nevertheless thought of themselves as Marxists. I always thought to myself of the story of the Little Red Hen, which is summarized here from the Wikipedia page:
"In the tale, the little red hen finds a grain of wheat, and asks for help from the other farmyard animals to plant it. No animal is willing to help. When the wheat matures, she asks for help to harvest it, then thresh it, then mill it, and finally bake the flour into bread. At each stage she gets no volunteers. Finally she asks who will help her eat the bread. All the previous non-participants eagerly volunteer, but she declines their help and eats it with her chicks, leaving none for others."
The moral of the story is that those who show no will to help contribute to an end product, do not deserve the end product.
Another story with a similar moral is that of the grasshopper and the ant.
The colleges and universities are filled with personnel who want to redistribute the Little Red Hen's bread. I see Obama as part and parcel of that crowd: a Harvard-educated lawyer, who will stand up for all the other animals against the Little Red Hen. Because there are more of them, he will win their votes, and win the election.
For the most part I still feel that the people on the left are basically good people in most cases. But I myself feel betrayed by the left. First, I got into the left after reading Ginsberg. I thought: what a genius! He's right. I never quite felt at ease with this. I always thought: but there's something the matter with Ginsberg. In his last book, Death and Fame, he came out as a child molester. Then I found that he was a child molester even in Howl, bragging about sexually molesting children in Tangiers. I decided to rethink not only my attachment to Ginsberg, but my attachment to the entire left.
I am for liberty, but not license.
I am for beauty, but not unbridled voluptuousness at the expense of others, especially children.
I am for compassion, but not for enabling sinfulness.
I am for law, I am for law, I am for law. Without it, we have only lawyers.
I am for judgment, but believe that there is such a thing as bad judgment.
I am for poetry, but life has to make sense, too.
Once upon a time, there were still poets who made sense, and who had intellectual reach. James Brown, Jack Kerouac, and Marianne Moore were the mod squad of sixties poetry to me. Of them, Moore was almost certainly the most intellectual. James Brown's life, and Jack Kerouac's life, made no sense to me. They were both involved with artificial substances. That's just plain wrong. No one should ever drink too much, or take illegal drugs. Moore never did. She was never drinking too much, and on Sundays she found herself in church. I think the distinctions I make, are distinctions that she would make. All three were Republicans, but she was the soundest of the three. The very idea of William Burroughs -- the archetypal angry leftist -- and his syringes, makes me cringes. I prefer teetotalers, like the Republican Marianne Moore.
Since Ginsberg, it has been anathema for any poet to be a Republican. As recently as the year 2000, I would not have thought of voting for a Republican. I was scandalized when the Bush baby got in due to the Supreme Court ruling on the dimpled chads. Then, after 9/11, he made a pretty good speech, and I thought: he's going to be ok! Then, I thought, in fact, HE IS OK. He kept the country safe from any further bombings for the last seven years. Way to go, George! Slap five, dude! You're my hero.
It's just that academia won't allow Republicans to be heroes, and so I am surrounded by a monopoly of leftists who hate Bush and continually describe him as "worse than Hitler," which to me just means they are trapped in an intellectual paradigm that doesn't allow them to think clearly. Since 9/11, I started to rethink everything, using a Lockean paradigm, and then slowly thinking about how Lutheranism could be used to leaven the heavy Satanism of surrealist romanticism. I started to go back to church, and I thought: these people are not only ok, but I prefer them in many ways to the Bohemian left. For one thing, they smell better! Secondly, their children make safe babysitters!
It's true that there aren't many people who think as I do in intellectual milieux. But there are a few. Kurt Godel the mathematician voted Republican. James Brown. Jack Kerouac. Marianne Moore. They've all been dead for more than twenty years. But in my mind, they are all very much alive, and to me they form a bulwark against the Nambla-loving, redistribution-loving, chaos of the lawless left that prize the likes of Ward Churchill, Bill Ayers, Tony Negri, Reverend Wright, and so many others in a vast rogues' gallery of America-haters. I love America.
I'm proud of America.
I would never stand on a flag or desecrate it in any way, and I would reject anyone who did, or who had friends that did.
Monday, October 20, 2008
The following poem has been published in the Guardian. It's by Barack Obama. I liked it quite well, and felt that it has a certain lyrical urgency. He was 19 when it was written. It was published in a student journal at Occidental College in 1981. The poet to whom he is writing in the poem is pretty clearly Frank Marshall Davis, whom he addresses as "Pop," and who is one of Obama's mentors in Dreams of My Father. Davis was a communist poet who was under heavy FBI scrutiny for decades due to his adherence to the CPUSA. If you want to find his FBI file, it exists online. It's not clear to me to what extent Obama's mentor and he himself share a political line. But they shared poetry. I think Obama is quite lyrical in this piece. Some think he didn't write his books, but I say he did. He clearly has an ear, and an eye, and a soul for poetry. See what you think. (The word shink three fourths of the way down may be a typo. It has a dictionary meaning of to shrink away.)
Sitting in his seat, a seat broad and broken
In, sprinkled with ashes,
Pop switches channels, takes another
Shot of Seagrams, neat, and asks
What to do with me, a green young man
Who fails to consider the
Flim and flam of the world, since
Things have been easy for me;
I stare hard at his face, a stare
That deflects off his brow;
I'm sure he's unaware of his
Dark, watery eyes, that
Glance in different directions,
And his slow, unwelcome twitches,
Fail to pass.
I listen, nod,
Listen, open, till I cling to his pale,
Beige T-shirt, yelling,
Yelling in his ears, that hang
With heavy lobes, but he's still telling
His joke, so I ask why
He's so unhappy, to which he replies . . .
But I don't care anymore, cause
He took too damn long, and from
Under my seat, I pull out the
Mirror I've been saving; I'm laughing,
Laughing loud, the blood rushing from
To mine, as he grows small,
A spot in my brain, something
That may be squeezed out, like a
Watermelon seed between
Pop takes another shot, neat,
Points out the same amber
Stain on his shorts that I've got on mine,
Makes me smell his smell, coming
From me; he switches channels, recites
an old poem
He wrote before his mother died,
Stands, shouts, and asks
For a hug, as I shink*, my
Arms barely reaching around
His thick, oily neck, and his broad back;
I see my face, framed within
Pop's black-framed glassesAnd know he's laughing too. *
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Meanwhile, John McCain finished almost dead last in his class at West Point. He seems to have largely been a party animal in his middle age, and perhaps he was coasting on the coattails of his more illustrious forefathers. He was caught and tortured in a Vietnamese prison. Does this make him worthy of the presidency? He didn't put himself above his fellow soldiers. That's something. It's a lot, really. How many of us would have done that? I wouldn't. I would have caught the first express jet home, coward that I am. Is McCain also somehow less of a liar than Barack because Barack took public financing, while Barack said he would, and didn't, and now Barack has 20 times more money than McCain? Barack can seemingly stand there and say something that he knows isn't true, but isn't that something that we should actually VALUE in a lawyer or in a politician?
In the election of 2000 the voters were already cheated out of a fair vote by the sloppy voting system in place in Florida, and what with the dimpled chads, and the seizure of the vote by the US Supreme Court, which put party above principle. Since they did that, why shouldn't ACORN follow suit?
Meanwhile, Joe the Plumber steps up to the plate and we find out he's not a "real" plumber, and he owes back taxes, and although he seems to be against the Marxist notions of Obama, who said to Joe that he wanted to spread Joe's wealth around, why should he have money when those who can't even find jobs or whose parents were too busy shooting drugs to help them get oriented toward a career? Perhaps Obama is right that the government should be a big nanny, that helps the whole country get on its economic feet.
Many news stations and outlets have covered both tickets, and it seems that the idea is to push down McCain's value and push up Obama's. Fox News, Wall St. Journal, and the New York Post, are some of the few that are on McCain's side. New York Post had an article about how Michelle Obama ordered lobsters, and Iranian caviar and champagne for a snack the other day at the Waldorf-Astoria hotel. I don't know what McCain has for snacks, but his wife wore a $300,000 dollar dress to the Republican convention.
Is there any way to get a sound sense of what anything and what anyone is worth? Christianity makes sense to me in that it argues that each individual's soul is exactly worth each other individual's soul. The enormous wealth of the Roman plutocrats was undermined by this good news. Therefore, I stick to it. I think it's a sound idea. Beyond that, I feel that there ought to be an income cap. At present, only the bizarrely wealthy who have been through our top institutions can become president or senator, and most of these people have lost sight of the average Joe as the nexus of value. The media has spun Joe the Plumber until I feel as if my head is about to come off.
The two major parties have increasingly weird candidates with weird ideas about what counts. Can it be that there is a minor party with a better idea? Lutheran Surrealism proposes an income cap, but would have no idea how to implement it. What if everybody agreed to be dirt poor, like the Franciscans, so that we could all have nothing? Would that work?
Free market sounds best right now. With a modest income cap, of perhaps ten to one.
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
Sunday, October 12, 2008
It seems the entire media is piling on and declaring the contest is over. Didn't they do this with the Kerry-Bush election, too?
Obama is up about six points right now, and there's only one more debate: Wednesday night.
This gives McCain relatively little unfettered access to mainstream media outlets since he's got only a small fraction of Obama's budget, and the media outside of Fox News, seems to hate McCain.
Does this mean that it's over?
That's what it seems to mean.
But somehow I have a sneaking feeling that this is not yet over. It's odd.
On the other hand, I think I've only voted once or twice for candidates who've actually won.
I generally vote for third parties.
If you're in a losing state, that is, a state in which your party cannot win, I encourage you to write in my own name, Kirby Olson, as head of the Lutheran Surrealist party.
Among other things, it will make the election boards scratch their heads.
Four years ago we received three votes. It is our greatest hope to double that sum this coming election year.
It's not that I actually want to be president.
I would hate it. I would be the most shy president since Benjamin Harrison. I would never make public appearances ever! And I would do nothing at all. In fact, that's my only campaign promise.
I would do nothing at all. However, I would continue the blog, but would have a more prestigious address. I promise to appoint all loyal fans of LS as ministers and ambassadors to prominent countries. Jacques could be the ambassador to the Vatican. Brett could be ambassador to France. Max could be ambassador to South Korea, since he's already there. WW could be minister of cats. Thomas Basbol could be minister to Denmark. Tom could be minister to North Korea. (Do we even have an ambassador to North Korea? If not, Tom could go, and bring his collection of James Bond DVDs to share with the charming guy there.)
Helen could be minister to Rwanda or Zimbabwe or Belize (her choice!).
Carl Sachs could be minister to Israel.
John Hanson can be minister to France (oh wait, France is already promised, so we will send Hanson to Liechtenstein).
GM can be ambassador to Barbados, since he's already close by.
Nicole Nicholson can be minister of public works, or Secretary of the Treasury, her choice.
Emmy Bee could be ambassador to Finland, since she wants to do possible graduate work in that country.
Or just name your price. You never know: LS could win in a landslide, and you might get a new address. We don't believe in advertising ourselves, but we think that word of mouth is the way to go.
I will do nothing at all. It's a promise.
I will continue to write entertaining blog entries, and you will get close-up photos of the White House Easter Egg rolling contest.
The only issue I have is Lyme's Disease. I will put at least fifty more trillion dollars into research on this terrible malady.
Remember: it ain't over til it's over!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Last week, when McCain trotted out 300 billion to sop up bad mortgages, I thought, he's just another Democrat.
So, if we're voting between two Democrats, I'll take the prettier one, Obama.
Obama is personally beautiful. His wife is beautiful, too.
This will help America.
America the Beautiful.
Call it silly. Call it crazy, but I don't want to look at McCain if after all this he's not going to stick up for the hard clear structure of looking out for yourself that the Republicans are for.
It's quite disgusting of me, perhaps, but I'm flip-flopping a bit. McCain used to look good to me because I thought he was a man of principle. Now I can't stand to think about him.
It's because McCain is flip-flopping!
Here's what I like about Obama and why I might vote for him. He's pretty. He talks well. He would be a good frontman for America. His vice-president seems to be fairly experienced.
What I don't like: I often think he has a hidden agenda and will attempt to create economic socialism, which will in turn further the erosion caused by crummy airheads like ACORN, who should be imprisoned if they are caught trying to fake votes. I also don't like the notion of reparations, which Obama talks about, but usually only in black publications, like EBONY, and even then, in measured and veiled and ambiguous tones. I think it would be impossible to administrate reparations, and it would all just be more lost money that pleases no one, ultimately, and creates even more rancor.
I liked something about McCain. I thought he was going to be tough on spending. Now it looks like he'll just try to buy our way out of recession. That's business as usual, and anyway, it didn't work. Someone needs to go to prison for this. I think the electric chair isn't used often enough for CEOs with hundreds of millions in hidden golden parachutes. I don't think the president of anything should make more than 15 times what the lowest worker makes. Otherwise, I think they should get the electric chair. Call me a socialist, but it's only fair. Maybe the electricity shouldn't actually kill them. Maybe it should just fry them a little bit, but since they're frying the rest of us with their bailouts and so on, it seems only fair to fry them right back.
I didn't like finding out how many houses McCain has, or how he can't even keep track of them. Isn't there any shame left in the world?
I wanted to vote communist when I read that. I may still vote for the CPUSA.
When I looked at McCain this week, I thought: he has enormous jowls for some reason. What the heck is that? And he seemed slow. He'll have to convince me he has enough on the ball to run the country and to stand up to the whiners. Does he want to be president at any price? Does he want my vote out of sympathy?
Palin hasn't got a lot of experience, and I don't want a beginner in the White House.
I'm still on the fence. I may not even vote I'm so furious.
That "debate" last week was so lame, no one should vote for either one of them. What a couple of sleepy cats playing pattycakes with the presidency.
I may not vote for either one.
I'm so disappointed but the more I look at this mess, the more I don't care.
McCain turns out to be a big fat flake who voted for the bailout, and it didn't work, and now we're in deeper debt.
I had thought that McCain was a tough general of sorts who would bite the bullet and do what's right. He's a flake. He's a dancing ballerina snowflake from Arizona, not the kind of gritty guts Gus that I have always wanted for president.
I thought Obama was a big fat flake and would only care about minorities and women. But he may actually care about principles. He once talked for fifteen minutes about Reinhold Niebuhr. Although I have no idea what he said about Niebuhr, he at least knew his name.
I'm also fatigued by this whole stupid mess. I just can't stand it. Why the heck isn't it over yet?
I'm going to go back to writing some poems and posting them, and ignoring this thing. I'll probably watch the debate, but I'm fatigued. I should take a nap right now, but my teeth are on edge when I think about the goofy Guses of mainstream politics. The only thing worse are all the marginals in the wings wanting to get in. They deserve to get in. If we want change, let the CPUSA win.
Screw them all.
I'm going to go home, mow the lawn, and watch the Phillies with my kids.
I can do my job. Why can't the clodhoppers in Washington do theirs?
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Satan rarely makes an appearance at our church. It has been years since our pastor mentioned him. I miss Satan. Satan is the crucial antagonist, the proponent of matriarchal pleasures, the odd one out.
The great battle between the patriarchy and its hierarchical notions of transcendent law and judgment appears to have been lost. The matriarchy has won. Satan is no longer mentioned as the antagonist, because he's now just someone else that we have to try to understand, instead of being the embodiment of absolute evil.
Instead of government as a scourge and a tyrant that demands you remain within its laws, and forsake Satan, government has become a vast nipple for the puer eternal to suck from at will, while dancing upon the social benefits and bailouts that he knows that mommy will always provide. Satan is the rock music that accompanies the new order.
I want longer jail sentences. I want the death penalty. I want hell itself. (Not for myself, of course.)
Without the notion of punishment, we no longer have any discipline. Murderers walk free and become celebrities, like OJ. Molesters go on talk shows, and laugh, and become famous poets. Michel Foucault has replaced the Holy Bible. Michel Foucault was Satan himself, but instead of being scourged and sent into outer darkness, he has found a new temple for himself in academia.
Michel Foucault is one of the new gods of the matriarchy that has replaced patriarchy.
Obama, likewise, is the plaything of the matriarchy. He doesn't set rules. He is endlessly permissive. He speaks in poetry, and is elusive, and ambiguous on every point: just like Satan!
McCain, too, has joined the game. Now he wants to let all the bad guys off, so that they can have their mortgages paid by the government. Thanks, Maverick!
On the old TV show the Maverick, the Maverick brought law and order, not bailouts!
BRING BACK HELL AND LET THE EVIL ONES BURN IN THE FIRES OF THE PATRIARCHAL WESTERNS!
Government should be a scourge, like Clint Eastwood, not an enabler, like McCain!
Government should be a stern father, with transcendent principles, not an overwhelming mother, with no sense except the eternal care of her irresponsible babies.
Let people grow up, and face the disasters they have made.
Let freedom ring, but please, a little responsibility.
Bring back the scarlet A, and stamp it firmly on foreheads.
Bring back the letter M, and stamp it on foreheads.
Bring back God, bring back Satan, bring back clear moral choices, and law and order.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
Title VII specifically demands that there be no discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. There's been a lot of legal flack over race, and sex, but few have argued against religious discrimination. Isn't that peculiar? And yet it is clearly happening, and it is peculiar that it hasn't been legally addressed.
Why is it that the one aspect of title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 that is rarely used in argumentation and debate against the strictures of the neo-radicals at universities is the aspect of creed? In English departments and in most humanities departments there is a very strong bias against Christians. Christians make up at least 80% of the country and yet in English departments they are less than one percent, perhaps even non-existent, across the board, in almost all humanities departments. If this isn't a clear indication of bias, I don't know what it is. English departments are clearly out of compliance with the law. If this one single thing could be addressed in terms of a lack of diversity, and a clear bias, I think most of the problems of political correctness would disappear. If you checked at Duke University, or at the University of Pennsylvania, or indeed at almost any elite college, you would find that the religious orientation of almost all professors is either absent, or there is a devotion to Marxism. They claim to want academia to look like America, but it resembles it very little indeed, and this is a clear violation of title VII.
Here is the portion of title VII that I think is relevant:
"The Civil Rights of 1964 prohibits employers from discriminating against individuals because of their religion in hiring, firing, and other terms and conditions of employment. Title VII covers employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.
Under Title VII:
- Employers may not treat employees or applicants more or less favorably because of their religious beliefs or practices - except to the extent a religious accommodation is warranted. For example, an employer may not refuse to hire individuals of a certain religion, may not impose stricter promotion requirements for persons of a certain religion, and may not impose more or different work requirements on an employee because of that employee's religious beliefs or practices.
- Employees cannot be forced to participate -- or not participate -- in a religious activity as a condition of employment.
- Employers must reasonably accommodate employees' sincerely held religious practices unless doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employer. A reasonable religious accommodation is any adjustment to the work environment that will allow the employee to practice his religion. An employer might accommodate an employee's religious beliefs or practices by allowing: flexible scheduling, voluntary substitutions or swaps, job reassignments and lateral transfers, modification of grooming requirements and other workplace practices, policies and/or procedures.
- An employer is not required to accommodate an employee's religious beliefs and practices if doing so would impose an undue hardship on the employers' legitimate business interests. An employer can show undue hardship if accommodating an employee's religious practices requires more than ordinary administrative costs, diminishes efficiency in other jobs, infringes on other employees' job rights or benefits, impairs workplace safety, causes co-workers to carry the accommodated employee's share of potentially hazardous or burdensome work, or if the proposed accommodation conflicts with another law or regulation.
- Employers must permit employees to engage in religious expression, unless the religious expression would impose an undue hardship on the employer. Generally, an employer may not place more restrictions on religious expression than on other forms of expression that have a comparable effect on workplace efficiency.
- Employers must take steps to prevent religious harassment of their employees. An employer can reduce the chance that employees will engage unlawful religious harassment by implementing an anti-harassment policy and having an effective procedure for reporting, investigating and correcting harassing conduct.
It is also unlawful to retaliate against an individual for opposing employment practices that discriminate based on religion or for filing a discrimination charge, testifying, or participating in any way in an investigation, proceeding, or litigation under Title VII.
In Fiscal Year 2006, EEOC received 2,541 charges of religious discrimination. EEOC resolved 2,387 religious discrimination charges and recovered $5.7 million in monetary benefits for charging parties and other aggrieved individuals (not including monetary benefits obtained through litigation)."
It seems to me that this is an area of the law that conservatives should focus more attention upon. Not so much political bias (which is obvious, but which isn't protected under title VII), but religious bias (upon which the political bias is largely based) and for which a law already exists.
The very Equal Opportunity Laws that conservatives often rail against as setting up a bias in favor of political correctness could also be used to correct a bias that is every bit as great, if not greater.
Saturday, October 04, 2008
We welcome this development. We are pretty even in terms of conservative and liberal discussants, and we welcome more.
Recently, there has been a complaint that I myself have been uneven in terms of my lumping communism and the Democratic party into the same set, and arguing that they are identical.
However, the complaint has also been made that I have not been willing to perform the same mental feat with the Republican party, in terms of saying that they are identical with Nazism.
Let me attempt to be clear! Let me attempt to separate these four parties, of which three of them share specific positions, and are different in other respects. One party, the Republican, shares many aspects of thought with the Democratic party, but nothing at all with either Communist or National Socialist thought.
There is a very small Communist Party of the United States of America. It's membership is about 15,000. The Democratic party is the largest party in the United States, and its membership is in the millions.
There is a very very small Nazi party in the United States. Its precise membership is unknown, but I douibt if tops that of the Communist party. Moreover, much of its membership is in prisons for violent crimes.
The Republican party is the second largest party in the United States, with its membership in the millions.
Our most liberal commenter -- Brett Swanson -- has read the WIKIPEDIA page for the Communist party of the United States of America and has agreed that in many ways the party platform concurs with the Democratic Party. I invite all readers to compare the two. However, rather than read the Wikipedia page for the CPUSA go directly to the CPUSA homepage, and open their platform. The link is on the top right. Then google Democratic Party platform, and read. Compare them. There is an amazing degree of overlap. Special concern for minorities and women, health care reform, and no quotes about America as a Christian nation, nor any mention of God whatsoever. There are some substantial differences. CPUSA looks to North Korea and Communist China as avatars of the coming society, which the Democratic party does not.
The Democratic Party platform opens by arguing that America has beaten both communism and fascism world-wide. Otherwise, there is no specific mention of the problems of Tibet, or the problems posed by a communist country like China to its neighbors. There is no mention of Burma, or Cuba or other countries as being problems still posed by communist thought.
If we were to make a Venn diagram, we would argue that there is at least some overlap between the CPUSA and the Democratic Party. Moreover, Barack Obama has said in his book Dreams of My Father that in college he sought out "Marxist professors." He had a Liberation Theology pastor, whose ideology banks on Marxism. He has many close friends who are Marxists. It may be that he himself is not a Marxist, but he does not find Marxism incompatible to the degree that he will have nothing do with them.
Compare the Republican platform, which again is easily "googlable," if we might coin a term. Compare it, that is, with the Nazi platform.
The Nazi platform (also googlable) argues for a country in which "only white persons, and unmixed, non-Semitic, people of European descent" can hold citizenship. All others will be deported, especially Jews.
The Nazis have a "left-wing economic socialist" system, and a "right-wing social fascism" with "strong totalitarian elements" according to the Wikipedia page. They explicitly condemn the "Judeo-capitalist" system of America.
Can we truly find any commonality between the Republican platform and the Nazi platform?
First of all, nothing in the Republican party platform argues for ANY degree of "economic socialist" thought.
Further, the Republican party openly courts minorities from many countries -- an entire page or two of the platform is in favor of the capitalist economic refugees from Castro's Cuba. Moreover, a great number of Jewish people support the Republican party, and the protection of Israel as a "unique democracy" in the Middle East is an explicit part of the Republican platform.
Many of the leading theorists of the Republican party are called neo-cons, and the great majority of these theorists are openly and devoutly Jewish. Google "neo-cons" and read the Wikipedia page. "Neo-cons" are predominantly Jewish and predominantly Republican.
John McCain has never "sought out" Nazi professors or intellectuals in any period of his life, as Barack Obama admits that he openly sought out Marxist professors. John McCain has never read Mein Kampf or kept Nazi periodicals, or spoken with Nazis as part of his search for inspiration.
Nazism and the Republican party are completely and entirely incompatible. If we were to make a Venn diagram of the two parties, we would find absolutely NO overlap except in the minds of hysterical Marxists, who insist that both parties are inherently racist. Nazis are racist in many areas but their predominant hatred is for Jews, which they see as a race of people who must be destroyed. Within the Republican party, on the other hand, a great number of Jewish people are predominant.
However, there are prominent Republicans of EVERY RACE. Thomas Sowell, a prominent African American theorist, is a mainstay of the Republican theory bank. He's been at Stanford University for over 30 years. Clarence Thomas is a Republican-appointed Supreme Court Justice. Condoleeza Rice is probably number two in the current administrative flow chart.
Moreover, the Republican Party explicitly CARES ABOUT African nations such as Zimbabwe, Asian nations such as Tibet (specifically mentioned as a country sorely in need of a free press and free speech -- while the Democrats make no mention whatsoever of Tibet), as well as specific statements against the communist regimes of Burma, and North Korea, all of which are decried as the "buffoonish imitators" of Cuba. (Democrats make no special mention of these countries as communist countries in need of our support and aid.)
But let's further differentiate between Nazis and Republicans for the especially thick. The Nazi party platform does not recognize God or Christianity in any aspect or to any degree.
The Republican party platform specifically mentions God in its preamble, and there are numberous quotations from the Bible, including from the book of Isaiah.
In at least this one respect, the Democratic party platform more closely resembles the Nazi party platform in that there is no mention of God or Christianity within the entire Democratic Party platform.
The Republican party specifically mentions MERITOCRACY as the foundation of our society.
Again, the Democratic party does not mention this term, nor any other that would indicate the necessity that citizens ought to succeed according to their work ethic, rather than according to their race, or gender.
The Nazi party and the Democratic party both want instead a kind of entitlement, in which every citizen becomes equal to every other through government-mandated programs.
The Nazi party wants whites to succeed at the expense of all others.
The Democratic party specifically mentions women and minorities for which the achievement gap MUST BE CLOSED, until absolute equality is achieved.
The Republican party preamble argues that it is a party of ideas in which vigorous debate and freedom of thought for all is a guaranteed right and in which MERITOCRACY will be rule of the game.
The Democratic party argues instead that the government itself should stand up against any kind of sexism and intolerance and should always be on the side of minorities and women independent of work ethic, or other mitigating factors.
The Nazi party will presumably be more like the Democratic party in this respect except that they will use the military wing to enforce equality. Anyone who differs from the party will be forcibly removed under the totalitarian Nazi leadership.
The Democratic party does not indicate very precisely what they will do to those who use the first amendment in ways they find incompatible with their ideals of absolute equality in every sphere.
The Republican party envisions American society as a struggle among ideological factions, with no one faction demonized or silenced by the government.
The communist party and the Nazi party both want "economic socialism."
The Republican party stands alone in its support for vigorous debate, in a multi-party system, in which the rights of a "free speech and free press" are directly supported in their platform not only in our own country but around the world.
The Democratic party, the Nazi party, and the communist party are all secularist, and do not derive any of their ideals from God or from the Judeo-Christian religion. None of the three specifically mention freedom of speech or freedom of the press as foundational to their political vision.
The Republican party stands alone in citing the Christian Bible, and in arguing that the Ten Commandments are ten pillars of strength behind our American ideals.
The Republican party specifically stands behind Israel as a "unique" Democracy in the Middle East.
The Nazi party and the communist platform offer no mention of Israel. The Democrats mention Israel, but not in any privileged way over the other countries of the Middle East.
The Jewish people are not specifically mentioned in the Democratic party platform as deserving of our support as having direct continuity with American Christians through the Holy Bible.
The Nazi party specifically mentions that they will end "Judeo-capitalism," once and for all.
The notion that Democrats are crypto-communists is not completely ludicrous, in that they share many of the same sources of inspiration in equality, in not explicitly standing up for freedom of speech, and in that their current nominee, Barack Obama, has explicitly said that he sought out "Marxist professors," when he was in college. If Obama has found inspiration in Marxism and in Karl Marx, the opposite cannot be said, and has never been said, and it would be profoundly denied even by his ideological enemies such as Joe Biden that John McCain has ever found inspiration in Adolf Hitler, or in Mein Kampf.
The Democrats do not explicitly say where their source of inspiration lies. Their platform is mum on this. They do not mention the Bible or Christianity even once. Neither do they mention Marx. But their leader has seen inspiration in Marxism not only in college but before he went to college in his high school days. He has known Marxists for most of his life and has worked alongside them in various capacities as a friend and a fellow-traveller. Much of their platform seems to derive from Marxism and from Marxist-feminism, and even has phrases that resemble those trotted out by explicit Marxist-feminists such as Andrea Dworkin, who wrote that "in dreams begin responsibilities," whereas the Democrats in talking about the dream of equality use the phrase, "Responsibility lies with us all" in combatting sexism.
The Republicans specifically mention God, and quote from the Bible. Their platform is founded on the Bible, and specifically supports the Ten Commandments (shared by Jews and Christians alike) as the basic source of their inspiration and message. John McCain's close friends in the Senate including the profoundly Jewish senator Joseph Lieberman (presently a pariah within the Democratic party). How could he in any way be considered a Nazi?
Answer: he can't. He has zero continuity with the Nazi party.
On the other hand, Obama and the Democrats share many parts of their platforms, and have been known to intermix and to see one another as fellow-travellers. While they are not identical, there is continuity.
Democrats and communists both support abortion as a choice, and as a demand.
Republicans believe that it should remain a legal right, but should not be advanced as the best solution by government.
I have been unable to discover the Nazi position on abortion. Mandatory sterility for all but whites would no doubt be part of their program as it was in Nazi Germany.
That certainly is not part of the Republican platform.
Wednesday, October 01, 2008
Today all MLB baseballs are manufactured in the city of Turrialba, Costa Rica. About 2.4 million baseballs are made there each year. The average MLB baseball lasts seven pitches. 600 workers in Turrialba make an average of $1.15 an hour making baseballs. They have to sew on the covers, each stitch (as seen to the left) being hand-made. It takes the average worker about fifteen minutes to produce one ball.
Most of the workers have carpal tunnel syndrome, and they are fired summarily if they cannot produce the quota of about 200 baseballs a week. Sometimes they have to work on Saturdays, and if they can't come, they are fired for that, too. More information is here:
Ralph Nader is angry about the situation and thinks that Major League Baseball should have licensing agreements with all of its affiliates that require workers' rights agreements that match those rights enjoyed by American workers.
MLB says they do not oversee local working conditions, and have no way to enforce laws in funny little comic opera countries like Costa Rica.
Nader says they should.
Last year, according to the article, MLB had a gross revenue of 5.2 billion. Profits vary according to team.
What, if anything, should Lutheran Surrealism think about this situation? Naturally, as Lutherans, we ought to care about workers rights. As surrealists, we also naturally care about the marvelous aspects of American baseball. Should we boycott baseball? Should we picket?
Should we at least think about this?
At this point I do not have a prescription for what should be done about the situation. Major League players make millions of dollars. The outsourcing of the manufacture of the balls themselves may keep ticket prices somewhat lower for fans. However, this also undercuts American workers, who may go out of work because of the 600 workers in Costa Rica who have these jobs that ought to go to Americans, since the sport is being played in America.
Should Lutheran Surrealists only buy products (such as baseballs, hats, pants) that have been made by American union workers who have minimum workers' rights?