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Sunday, October 15, 2017

No Accounting for Taste

       Estase is currently reading On Writing Well by William Zinsser.  It strikes me that even an English professor, writing about good writing, finds it impossible to disentangle content from quality of writing.  Zinsser actually says that Mario Cuomo was more eloquent than Ronald Reagan!  He actually thinks hippie burnout Gary Trudeau is funny!  It's really hard to take such a person seriously as an authority on good writing.  Estase just hopes to use the Twelve Step saying, "Take what you want and leave the rest."
       Looking at the stats page of my blog, it seems that Mother Russia is hanging on every word.  I'm not sure why topics like Killinois' sci-fi Bruce Rauner are interesting to Vlad Putin, or why our slavic friends would like Q.E.D., when its most popular post of all time is Kant's Dictum.  No accounting for taste.

Monday, October 09, 2017

Does H-> Remind Anyone Else of Norma Desmond?

      The 1950 film noir classic Sunset Boulevard told the story of a young, penniless writer who ends up trapped writing a script for meglomaniacal has-been Norma Desmond.  Desmond lives in a fantasy world where people long to see the silent star on the big screen again.  Her decaying mansion becomes the place where the young writer dies, murdered by the delusional Desmond.
       One starts to assume that Hillary Clinton actually thinks Peace & Love Inc. will make a comeback, and that her rapist husband and repellent self will one day occupy the White House again.  Hey H->, everybody is getting really sick of your pity party, your endless litany of people other than yourself who are supposedly responsible for Orange Blatherskite's victory.  We thought you were a pandering old fool, claiming to carry hot sauce in your purse, and speaking pidgin English on the campaign trail.  You're as popular as the plague.  Go away, while you still have some scintilla of dignity.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Hypocritical Ass Alert

      Sci-Fi Bruce Rauner, a few days after vetoing a bill that would have mandated the teaching of cursive writing, due to ostensible concerns about the cost to local school districts, chose to sign H.B. 40, the dreadful Democratic bill forcing Killinoisans to fund abortion.  This is yet another example of the confusion and hypocrisy of modern American politics.  Why didn't we elect Pat Quinn for another term, if what we wanted was sanctuary state status, and a whole new entitlement (albeit one involving death).  And the whole crazy contradiction of being worried about the cost of teaching cursive writing, and then not caring about spending millions on abortion when Killinois already can't pay its bills.

Sunday, October 01, 2017

Disclaimers in Journalism

      Don't you ever wish journalism came with disclaimers?  Especially broadcast journalism, which is pretty much a parasitic craft depending mainly on original research done by newspapers.  Warning:  CNN spends most of the workday getting story ideas from the newspapers and reading public figures' Twitter postings.  This sort of thing would clear up the misconception that the TV news game is anything other than the blind leading the blind.
      Sometimes even history is warped by bad journalism.  The false narrative of a one-sided slaughter fest in Bosnia is repeated as gospel truth, by people who should know better.  The reality is that most of the press pool got no further than the swankiest hotels in Sarajevo, and the information they received came from media-savvy Bosnian Muslims.  The fact that UN peacekeepers under General MacKenzie contradicted the narrative sold by the media and Peace &Love Inc. was swept under the rug.  Historians are as gullible as anyone else;  tell a historian something was said on The Most Trusted Name in Cable News, and they will dutifully report it as an historical fact twenty-five years later.  Of course historians would go out of business if they were forced to use disclaimers.  Warning:  Ken Burns tells only the liberal side of history--one in which Woodrow Wilson is a god among men, and Richard Nixon was a psychopath.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Three Odious Phrases

       Broken records are never fun to listen to.  The supporters of Orange Blatherskite sound like broken records all the time.  Here are some of their greatest hits.

1)  Snowflakes A term that is used indiscriminately against everyone who doesn't like O.B.  The implication is that snowflakes are lazy, spoiled, etc.  Of course, you are supposed to ignore all the times that O.B. supporters act lazy, spoiled, etc., or the way that O.B. himself seems to have an affinity for blaming everybody for his problems except himself.  It must suck to be Jeff Sessions.

2) Drain the Swamp Trump supporters sure have a short memory.  This dreamy little phrase was coined by Bela Pelosi when she became speaker during George W. Bush's second term.  The implication was that Hastert's reign as speaker was marked by an unusual amount of corruption.  It beggars the mind how Paul Ryan (a Republican) and Mitch McConnell (also a Republican) deserve to be abused for their supposed corruption by a man with no political experience who made his money off of strip clubs and casinos.  Orange Blatherskite is the swamp!

3) Would you like Hillary better?  Now this one is just stupid.  It's like saying that a sucking chest wound is better than liver cancer.  The primary season of 2016 had many alternatives to O.B.  The idea that because Hillary Clinton is a dishonest harridan, literally anything is better is an insult to our intelligence.  The Republican primary voter was either unspeakably stupid, or starstruck by a TV celebrity.  Estase wonders whether the fact that two alternatives to O.B. had Hispanic names, and a third was married to a Hispanic woman was the real reason people fell for O.B.

  Perhaps it's asking too much for the apologists for Trump to ask if they would come up with some new catch-phrases.  These three have really worn out their welcome.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Kasab Taburu (Butcher Brigade), Part Twenty

      

Akcam, Taner.  The Young Turks' Crime Against Humanity:  The Armenian Genocide and 
          Ethnic Cleansing in the Ottoman Empire Princeton:  Princeton University Press,
           2012.

         "The purpose of sending away certain people is to safeguard the welfare of our fatherland for the future, for wherever they may live they will never abandon their seditious ideas, so we must try to reduce their numbers as much as possible." Ottoman Interior Ministry, quoted in Aram Andonian, Memoirs of Naim Bey, (Akcam, p. 254)

       The typical Turkish historian will claim that World War I, and its struggle between the Ottoman Empire and Russia, made the mass killing of the Armenians an unfortunate exigency.  The Armenians were all Dashnaks and revolutionaries--too dangerous to merit anything but extermination.
       The real reality is that the Ottoman Empire entered World War I when it did not need to, specifically so that it had a pretext to enforce its racial homogeneity notions.  The Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), also known as the "Young Turks," were liberal young Ottoman Muslims, who were usually educated in France.  The Young Turks wished to create a modern European-style state.  While democratic, capitalist and secular, this new Turkish state would be Islamic in character.
       TemessÜl, or "assimilation," was the buzz-word for the Young Turks.  Even non-Turkish Muslims, such as the Arabs and Kurds, were seen as backwards.  As such, they needed to be molded into the form of westernized Turks (Akcam, p. 45-47).
       The background that led the CUP to crave entry into World War I is important to understand.  In the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913, the Ottoman Empire lost eighty percent of its European territory (Akcam, xiv).  Enver Pasha blamed Ottoman Christians for this calamity, which led to hundreds of thousands of Muslims from Albania and Bosnia needing resettlement in Anatolia.
       In addition, a constellation of pressures from France and Russia made the CUP fear the encroachment on Anatolian territory.  The Baghdad Treaty (March 1914) saw the Ottomans agree with Russia, France, Britain and Italy to create zones that were superintended by these powers;  France wished to create Syrian, Armenian and Arabian states (Akcam, p. 130).  The Yeniköy Accord with Russia in February 1914 endangered seven provinces (Erzurum, Van, ManÜretülaziz,Diyarbkir, Sivas, Bitlis and Trebizond) by creating inspectors from abroad with authority to enforce reform benefiting Armenians, or, again, even create an Armenian state!  This mirrors the way the Sick Man of Europe lost the Balkans (Akcam, p. 131).  The Armenian Reform Agreement explains why Cemal Pasha and the CUP were eager to join the Austrians and Germans in World War I (Akcam, p. xvii).  The war would be the means for ending the Armenian issue (Akcam, p. 132).  Enver, Cemal and the rest of the CUP Central Committee were anxious that the presence of Armenians in these seven provinces would enable the creation of an Armenian state (Akcam, p. 132).  The systematic use of claims of Armenian disloyalty and rebellion were how Enver, Cemal and the rest of the CUP Central Committe would avoid this (Akcam, p. 133).
       Lastly, the Young Turk desire was to replace the successful Armenian businessmen with Muslim businessmen.  Thus, when Armenians were deported (which was the legal phase of Ottoman action), all their possessions were accounted for.  The three characteristics that show the intention of Enver Pasha was plunder are that 1) Armenians had no legal right for recovery; 2) Armenians could not use, purchase, or sell their abandoned property, and; 3) Trusts were not accessible to Armenians (Akcam, p. 343).  Thus, reallocation to Muslims or the Army/government was the intention;  perversely, the value of Armenian property was often used to fund their destruction (Akcam, pgs. 344, 354-56).
       Official Turkish history suggests justice was meted out to the perpetrators of the Armenian genocide.  Most executions after the war were for stealing Armenian property, not acts of murder against Armenians (Akcam, p. 384).  Others were killed for anti-CUP politics, or to destroy potential witnesses (e.g. Cerkez Ahmed, Yakup Cemil) (Akcam, p. 396-97).
      The methods by which the CUP executed the Armenian Genocide were a mixture of official and unofficial acts.  The official acts were done by government bodies like the Interior Ministry or Army.  These consisted of population exchanges, deportation, and the reallocation of Armenian property.
       The unofficial acts relied on the Special Organization, also known as bashi-bazouks.  Created by Dr. Bahaeddin Sakir Bey, bashi-bazouks were Kurdish tribesmen of released prisoners.  The command structure for bashi-bazouks bypassed the Ottoman government;  many orders came from Talat Pasha's telegraph in his home, while others passed to regional CUP functionaries.  Secrecy and deniability were key characteristics of these unofficial acts.  Orders were either oral or came with instructions to burn after reading.  Necati Bey showed the order of annihilation to Cemet Bey, but would not give him a copy (Akcam, p. 195).  An emphasis was placed upon hiding Armenian corpses, especially from foreigners (Akcam, p. 200).  
       The mathematics of dilution mandated the number of Armenians who needed to die.  For example, the Aleppo area was home to two million Muslims.  To adhere to the CUP policy that Armenians could only constitute 5% of the population, out of 1.3 million Armenians deported from Anatolia, 1.1 million Armenians had to be exterminated.  This would be accomplished through violence, disease, or dehydration/hunger (Akcam, p. 258)  After military setbacks like Galipoli and the Battle of Sarikamis (Jan. 1915), the CUP accelerated its efforts to punish Armenians for the success of the Entente powers (Akcam, pgs. 157-58).  Armenians in the Ottoman Army were disarmed and murdered (Akcam, p. 96, p. 155).  The Turkish government still adheres to the story that Armenians were acting as chetes on behalf of Russia--a testament to the Ottoman government's official arm to its extermination efforts.  It is remarkable how the same government that preserves records of Armenian guerrillas cannot produce any evidence of compensation to transported Armenians for abandoned property (Akcam, pgs. 354-56).
       The earlier process of removing Ottoman Greeks used this same combination of official acts and unofficial violence.  The main difference was that expulsion rather than extermination was the aim, to be achieved by boycotts and punitive taxation as well as bashi-bazouk violence (Akcam, p. 83).  The Greeks had the advantage of a neighboring state that could punish CUP killing with war or similar abuse of Muslims living in Greece (Akcam, p. 86, p. 100).  In both the Greek expulsion and the Armenian Genocide, Bahaeddin Sakir was the common architect (Akcam, p. 183).
      The Armenian Genocide was the inspiration for the Shoah.  It also was the template for the Yugoslav Civil Wars of the 40s and 90s.  Why cooperate with other ethnic groups when you can just get rid of them?

Tuesday, September 05, 2017

Oh Blah Blah Retrospective

       Today one of my friends shared a story about how anyone who didn't think Oh Blah Blah was a great president only felt that way because he was black.  Oh brother.  Estase wishes to outline some reasons he thought Oh Blah Blah was a crappy president.  And none of them have anything to do with race.
                 I.  He was the most pro-abortion president ever.  Obama promoted abortion every way conceivable (no pun intended).  He created Obamacare with the sole aim of finding a way to sidestep the Hyde Amendment.  Before Oh Blah Blah, Clinton was the most pro-abortion president ever (partially to hide the ugly fact that he used women like Kleenex).  But even Peace &Love Inc. pretended to wish abortion was rare!  The crowning touch was forcing religious organizations to buy abortion drugs for their employees.

               II.  Coddling radical Muslims and Communists was second nature to Obama.  He turned NASA into a pro-Muslim propaganda organization.  He removed sanctions on the Castro brothers in Cuba.  His appointees went on record praising Hugo Chavez.  (And we all know what great things Communism has done for Venezuela!)

              III.  The IRS scandal.  Obama shamelessly used the IRS as an attack dog against right of center organizations.  People vilify Nixon's use of an Enemies List, but Obama did the same thing, and CNN never devoted a minute of airtime to the scandal.

               IV.  The officer purge within the U.S. military was an unprecedented attack on our military readiness.  The end result is an incompetent Navy, where boats inexplicably end up in Iranian custody, and warships collide with other vessels.

      Lots of politicians end up on Estase's dishonor roll.  Seeing this article made me feel the need to give an accounting of why I didn't like Obama.  Being accused of racism is not something Estase takes lightly.   At the same time, this was the evil genius of leftists:  to make their standard-bearer a person of color, so that anyone questioning their actions could be dismissed as a racist.  If only the right were so cognizant of appearances!  Instead, most conservatives were convinced of the wisdom of making someone who used racial and national scapegoating on a regular basis their standard-bearer.   But perhaps Estase is some kind of racist for not backing Orange Blatherskite?

Sunday, September 03, 2017

Historic Newspaper Extracts

     "So they did; but they {outrages} occurred because nerveless boobies denounced every attempt to suppress them by the strong arm;  because you and your followers sent up a howl of military usurpation every time a federal bayonet was interposed between a helpless victim and his persecutors;  because the bloody massacres in the South were sneered at as fictions of the 'bloody-shirt organs,' and because a constant appeal was made the relief of the poor, down-trodden {southern--ed.} natives, who were exasperated by Republican carpet-baggers."  Inter-Ocean 1878

      "Some Chicago man once said of Jo. Medill, 'that he was too much afraid of street-car talk and corner-grocery criticism.  He everlastingly runs away from the fight just before knocking-down begins;  and so, though he never gets whaled, he never whales anybody.'  Perhaps this is the reason the {Chicago-ed.} Tribune is so little to be relied upon, politically."  Macomb {IL} Journal, 4 APR 1878

      "To I.N. Beaver, Dr. Creel, and Postmaster Cordell, all as good Republicans as are to be found anywhere in the states, we are much indebted for the enjoyment of our visit. . . . We also met with John Downen, 'Pope John,' we once called him, not by way of derision, but because we were led to believe that he held the grangers of McDonough in the hollow of his hand."  Macomb Journal 11 JUL 1878


Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Unibrow Party Fun in Killinois

       The main disincentive to voting in the present circumstances is the inane similarity between the two parties.  When the Republican Speaker of the House says he is on the side of Communist Antifa, and the Republican Governor of Illinois signs a bill making the entire State of Killinois a sanctuary for illegal aliens, remind me again how these clowns are better than the Democrats?  The latter, Sci-Fi Bruce Rauner, is the exemplar of the Unibrow Party (h/t Shannon Joy).  Despite a history of having chums like Disturbin' Dick Durbin and Rahm "The Borg" Emmanuel, Mr. Rauner managed to wrest the nomination for governor from people with actual, conservative records.
     Just like the adorable little alien tykes in Village of the Damned, Rauner insinuated himself into a party that wasn't his own.  And now, when he did the same kind of crap the people of Killinois bounced Pat Quinn for doing, we're all surprised and stuff.  Note to Republican voters:  try nominating people who have been Republicans for longer than five minutes!   Or maybe it's expecting too much, wanting competent politicians who actually believe in something other than their own ego?  But enough about Donald Trump.   

Monday, August 14, 2017

What in Hell Do I Entitle This?

   
       Der Sturmer, the namesake of this website was the newspaper of the SS.  I literally don't know how to express the shame that Orange Blatherskite should feel right now.  Between this and O.B.'s bromance with Steve Bannon, it seems that the alt-Right has shown its true colors.  The terrorist attacks by Neo-Nazis and the Klan should have been immediately denounced.  Trump should have gone on TV to address the nation Saturday night.  This garbage needs to stop forthwith.  I don't know how stupid O.B. is that he didn't realize that Daily Stormer is pro-Nazi.  If he knows history this little, I tremble for the fate of our nation.  The alt-Right needs to be exorcised from both our nation, and from the Republican Party.  Charles Sumner is spinning in his grave right now.

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

America's Henry VIII

Folsom Jr., Burton.  New Deal Or Raw Deal? New York:  Threshold Editions, 2008.

Schlaes, Amity.  The Forgotten Man:  A New History of the Great Depression. New York:  
       Harper Collins, 2007.

       Just as how Henry VIII was the greatest revolutionary in British history, Franklin D. Roosevelt was the greatest revolutionary in American history.  Henry VIII dispossessed both the Catholic Church and individual Catholics.  He then used the ill-gotten gains to enrich a new British aristocracy.  In a similar way, FDR picked economic winners and losers.  Those who blocked or failed to cooperate with the NRA and other New Deal programs were targeted for destruction.  For example, Henry Ford refused to sign the NRA code.  The NRA was intended to keep prices artificially high, on the dubious economic theory that this would keep wages high (apparently unaware that even if this happened, it would increase unemployment).  The Roosevelt Administration refused to buy vehicles from Ford, even though it meant spending more (Folsom, 53).
       The Roosevelt Administration set out to manage public opinion in ways no previous president ever had.  In a move reminiscent of totalitarian regimes, FDR created the Federal Communications Commission, and required radio stations to renew their licenses every six months (Folsom, 234).  Radio stations carrying critics of FDR were unlikely to have their licenses renewed.  FDR was the first president to have a press secretary.  Journalist Lorena Hicks was hired to "cover" the FERA, and to promote the New Deal to other journalists (Folsom, 225).  Journalist Arthur Krock commented that FDR had unparalleled success in suppressing negative news stories (Folsom, 225).  Press never mentioned or showed FDR's disability.  Pictures of Eleanor Roosevelt were altered to make her more attractive (Folsom, 226).  The press also refrained from pointing out FDR's marriage was a sham (Folsom, 227).  Robert McCormick's Chicago Tribune, the most anti-Roosevelt newspaper in America, never dared broach the subject of FDR's well-known mistress Lucy Mercer (Folsom, 227).  Even when he started an affair with Norwegian Princess Martha they kept mum (Folsom, 228)!  Journalist Thomas Stokes ended up in the doghouse by pointing out that WPA employees were encouraged to campaign on the job during the 1936 election (Folsom, 230-31).
       Henry VIII took control over the Church (which actually violated the Magna Carta).  In a similar way, FDR did his best to alter American attitudes towards the role of the Federal government and the U.S. Constitution.  He did this by permanently altering the way agriculture functions, the enactment of the welfare state, and attacking traditional constitutional jurisprudence.
       The Roosevelt Administration thought that the forces of supply and demand should not determine commodity prices.  The concept of "parity" was created;  the agricultural commodity prices of 1910 were established as baseline prices, and it was arbitrarily decided that commodity prices in 1932 should be double what they were in 1910 (Folsom, 60).  Decreased production costs between 1910 and 1932 were never taken into account (Folsom, 64).  Supreme Court Justice Owen Roberts pointed out that by the logic of the AAA, the government should pay shoe manufacturers not to make shoes in order to raise shoe prices (Folsom, 64).  In addition, unlike PWA/WPA, farm programs were not contingencies to deal with the Depression, but were intended to be permanent (Folsom, 65).  Economist Henry Hazlitt pointed out that if the parity concept from the farm program were applied to the auto industry, instead of cars costing $907 (as they did) in 1942, they should have cost $3270 (Folsom, 63)!  Most people think items costing less as technology develops is a good thing--the New Deal did not.
       The welfare state emerged with public works relief, and later, Social Security.  The PWA/WPA became a system of Tammany Hall-style patronage.  As a condition of employment, New Jersey WPA workers were expected to contribute to the Democratic Party (Folsom, 87).  Democrats were more likely to receive WPA work (Folsom, 86).  This system of patronage combined with the farm programs to elect a monolithic Democratic government, where the only resistant branch was the Court of King's Bench.  After all, WPA patronage was the reason for a Democratic Congress (Folsom, 171).  And as far as farm programs were concerned, the 3% of counties that received no AAA benefits were carried by Alf Landon in 1936 (Folsom, 188).
       Woodrow Wilson considered the Constitution and Declaration of Independence out-dated and irrelevant (Folsom, 255).  And like Wilson, FDR was a proponent of a "living constitution (Folsom, 256)."  The New Deal considered good intentions as justifying court packing and other violations of separation of powers (Folsom, 257).
         FDR surrogates Robert Allen and Drew Pearson furthered the court packing scheme through their scurrilous book The Nine Old Men. Examples of the abuse heaped upon a coequal branch of government are the pair's description of Willis Van Devanter as "The Dummy Director" and their declaration that George Sutherland had no brains (Schlaes, 273).
       FDR's plan for economic recovery was based on the idea that the Depression was caused by factors not borne out by the statistical record.  The theory was that wealth was  concentrated in too few hands, and that the public was not consuming enough.  These mistaken economic theories were served by a demonization of businessmen.  Roosevelt pioneered class warfare as a political strategy, condemning "great malefactors of wealth" and "economic royalists."  The New Deal tampered with the value of bonds, precious metals, and the currency.  The economic uncertainty that resulted meant that investors were hesitant to invest money given that taxes would swallow any potential profits.  FDR then prevented the expansion of industry by instituting the world's only undistributed profits tax (Folsom, 250).
       The Obama-era IRS scandal was part of a long tradition that originated with FDR, who used the tax system to punish the recalcitrant.  Business adversaries Andrew Mellon and Samuel Insull were singled out by the IRS;  especially Mellon, as he was the poster boy for the less-taxed 20s.  Black Republican celebrities Joe Louis and Jesse Owens were targeted for their politics (Folsom, 210).  "Nucky" Johnson, a Republican city boss, was investigated by the IRS, but somehow the equally criminal Democratic city boss Frank Hague went unscathed (Folsom, 155).  Republican Congressman Hamilton Fish was harassed by the IRS;  so was William Randolph Hearst (Folsom, 152).  Incompletely fawning journalists were often investigated by the IRS (Folsom, 231).
       Perhaps the thing that has most cemented the reputation of the New Deal has been the army of historians who overlook facts such as that in 1931 unemployment was 16.3%, and in 1939 it was 17.2% (Folsom, 2).  Results (or the lack thereof) never mattered to David Kennedy, William Leuchtenburg, or Arthur Schlesinger.  If any in this academic cadre admitted FDR failed in some way, it would hurt their reputation (Folsom, 253).  George McJimsey ignores the corrupt patronage aspects of Harry Hopkins and his WPA (Folsom, 259).
      In conclusion, England was forever altered by Henry VIII.  America was just as permanently changed by the Roosevelt years.  American politics will always be contaminated by the public's expectation for a payout.

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Teachers Without Chests

       "Those who understand the spirit of the Tao and have been led by that spirit itself demands.  Only they can know what those directions are.  The outsider knows nothing about the matter.  His attempts at alteration, as we have seen, contradict themselves.  So far from being able to harmonize discrepancies in its letter by penetration to its spirit, he merely snatches at some one precept, on which the accidents of time and place happen to have riveted his attention, and then rides it to death--for no reason that he can give.  From within the Tao itself comes the only authority to modify the Tao.  This is what Confucius meant when he said, 'With those who follow a different Way it is useless to take counsel (Analects, XV, 39).'"  C.S. Lewis The Abolition of Man (p.59).

       Mankind has warped David Hume's fact/value distinction into the idea that only facts have value.  Those values that are retained from Christianity are done so for convenience.  Want to advocate gay rights?  Put a "Love Your Neighbor:  No Exceptions" bumper sticker on your car.  Hence, wishing others well is transformed into approving homosexual behavior.  Want the U.S. to accept thousands of potential terrorists?  Invoke (as Pope Karl did) the Beatitudes.  Thus, people who think Christianity is a pernicious myth can cling to disconnected teachings as facts turned values.
       Educators are now told to refrain from conveying a sense of morality to their students.  This is one form of moral relativism;  the student must be free to decide what modes of behavior are appropriate for him or her.
       Another form of moral relativism is multiculturalism;  the values of Western Europe are not necessarily to be preferred.  Sharia Law, including tolerance for spousal abuse, is now a feature of life in Britain and Germany.
       In the void existing within today's young person (which morality or religion might have filled one hundred years ago), the material the university supplies to fill it is politics.  A college freshman will be encouraged to argue political positions in Composition 100.  They will study ideologies, environmentalism and feminism.  Students might earn a bachelor's degree without having read Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics, but they may well be required to read this or the other twentieth century political manifesto.
       Today's college campus, with its "trigger warnings" and "safe spaces" is an island of political indoctrination where traditional philosophical ideas are never debated.  Undergraduates today have no time to question the meaning of the good life or the nature of friendship.  Campus is awash in contraceptives, yet you still hear of co-eds occasionally smothering the newborn they delivered in the bathroom of their dorm.
       If you think political corruption or financial crimes will become anything other than omnipresent, when educated people will have been taught from kindergarten through college that truth is relative and morality a matter of taste, you have a gift for groundless optimism that would put Pollyanna to shame.

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

L' Etat, c'est Moi

       The progressive era was the beginning of the United States having a nation that considered its people as so much cattle.  Progressives had little use for constitutional restraints upon government power.  They wished to give presidents godlike power;  the president should be an elected monarch.  
        The first president to treat himself as a god among men was the vile racist Woodrow Wilson.  The chronically dishonest Wilson pretended that the United States had no preference as to who won World War I.  Wilson censored the news, preventing Americans from knowing about the hundreds of deadly acts of sabotage conducted against factories by German agents.  In 1916, he had the temerity to run for reelection based on keeping the U.S. out of the war, only to enter the war on the pretense of outrage over German submarine attacks.  Wilson then indulged his grandiose delusions by creating fourteen platitudes, and reshaping Europe according to his own whims.
     Next came Franklin Delano Roosevelt, America's answer to Henry VIII.  A truly revolutionary president, Roosevelt seemed to think he had the right to occupy the White House forever.  His economic schemes were often ruled unconstitutional;  Roosevelt's answer was packing the Supreme Court with syncophants who would allow him to do anything he wished.  To this day, the decisions of New Deal era justices allow the Court of King's Bench to justify unlimited distortions of the Commerce Clause.
        Of course, Oh Blah Blah was the ultimate destination for the United States.  No American president ever embodied the spirit of Louis XIV better than our forty-fourth president.  Not only did Obama think he had the power to enforce only those federal laws he fully agreed with, his Justice Department was fully politicized.  And who could forget the way he ignored the War Powers Act of 1973 in order to engage us in Libya and Syria!  "I am the State," thundered Louis XIV, and Obama agreed entirely.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Goodbye, Weather Channel!

       Estase has been a longtime fan of the Weather Channel.  In the last three years, it has become clear that TWC has become a hotbed of carbon dioxide hysteria.  I gave up on the otherwise interesting Weather Underground program because its politics are too much like their namesakes'.  The tipping point has been reached today.  TWC actually broke into their weather coverage to propagandize (with Bill Nye, sodomy guy) about the decision by Orange Blatherskite to withdraw the U.S. from the Paris Accords.  Hey NBC, why don't you keep your politics on MSNBC?  Maybe those of us who want to make sure we don't get rained on could care less what former childrens' TV stars think about carbon dioxide.  They actually acted as though the fact that corporations which would never need to burn fossil fuels endorsing the Paris Accords was some sort of compelling argument for them.  No, I'm not surprised that the commies at Starbucks want us to stick with the Paris Accords.  Perhaps TWC needs to see a drop in viewership to get them to lay off the politics.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Turdogan's Aggression Against Americans

    Last week, Turkish President Erdogan visited Washington D.C.  Many Americans, including those of Armenian descent, came to protest our government's continued collusion with the Islamofascist Turkish state.  Erdogan has been a covert backer of the Daesh, yet continues to receive the support of the American government.  Turdogan unleashed a group of his thugs on American citizens exercising their First Amendment right to free speech.  Some of these Americans were left a bloodied shambles after their beatdown by Turkish thugs.
        Orange Blatherskite ran on a platform of putting the rights of Americans in the forefront.  If he is to maintain any credibility as a person who defends the American people, it is time to put Erdogan in the doghouse.  Cut off all military aid to Turkey.  Take steps to remove Turkey from NATO.  If Turkey will not respect the rights of Americans on American soil, let them be a pariah state.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

The Mao Zedong Hour

       Estase wrote a letter to Sci-Fi Bruce Rauner about House Bill 40.  One of the more execrable pieces of legislation created by Illinois Democrats, it would publicly fund abortions at a time when the state is already billions of Dollars behind in payments to employees and organizations.  I got a form letter back, thanking me for writing about "abortion access."  With a Republican like Sci-Fi Bruce Rauner, who needs any Democrats?
       Estase is old enough to recall Judy Baar Topinka bragging about how she was pro-abortion and fiscally conservative, which to her meant she was "moderate."  As milquetoast and unassuming as former Governor Jim Edgar was, he looks like a titan of a man compared to most Killinois Republicans.   I have personally never understood why the Illinois GOP has such a poor track record of picking actual conservatives to run for office.  Only the apparatchiks of said party would pick a homosexual Navy vet who exaggerated his service record repeatedly to run for the Senate--and, who, when interviewed by WTAD of Quincy, would opine that confirming judicial nominees was "a waste of time!"  Mind-boggling.  This is the caliber of man who the Illinois GOP puts forward.  I guess we were trying to make Minnesota feel better about their Senators (which include the never-funny either politically or professionally Al Franken).  The absolute leftist insanity of Illinois Democrats is the only impetus to give any of these pseudoconservatives one's vote.
     Makes one almost consider watching the Mao Zedong Hour. . . .

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Benefits of Culture

       People currently like to pretend that fields like literature, philosophy and other humanities are useless.  These people pretend that science and social sciences can exist without being grounded in the arts.  Matthew Arnold and Jose Ortega y Gasset argue in books from different centuries similar points--that culture is a necessary precondition for liberal democracy.
       Matthew Arnold, in his Culture and Anarchy, posits culture as the main remedy for the social problems of nineteenth century Britain.  He begins by subdividing moral thinking into Hebraism and Hellenism.  Hebraism is an emphasis upon proscribed behaviors.  (That is, do good things, and don't do bad things.)  Hellenism is the pursuit of truth and enlightenment.  Arnold felt that most of his contemporaries either embraced Hebraism to the exclusion of Hellenism, or vice versa.  Culture, for Arnold, meant embracing both Hebraism and Hellenism.  The groups rejecting culture Arnold called Barbarians and Philistines.  Barbarians extolled sports and the military;  they romanticized aristocracy and wished for absolute monarchy.  Philistines thought wealth was the greatest good;  they either thought free markets and trade were the answer or craved more social programs.  "The pursuit of perfection, then, is the pursuit of sweetness and light.  He who works for sweetness works in the end for light also;  he who works for light works in the end for sweetness also.  But he who works for sweetness and light united, works to make reason and the will of God prevail.  He who works for machinery, he who works for hatred, works only for confusion.  Culture looks beyond machinery, culture hates hatred;  culture has one great passion, the passion for sweetness and light.  It has one even yet greater!--the passion for making them prevail.  It is not satisfied till we all come to a perfect man;  it knows that the sweetness and light of the few must be imperfect until the raw and unkindled masses of humanity are touched with sweetness and light(p. 69)."  "Having, I say, at the bottom of our English hearts a very strong belief in freedom, and a very weak belief in right reason, we are soon silenced when a man plead the prime right to do as he likes, because this is the prime right for ourselves too;  and even if we attempt now and then to mumble something about reason, yet we have ourselves thought so little about this and so much about liberty, that we are in conscience forced, when our brother Philistine with whom we are meddling turns boldly round upon us and asks:  Have you any light?--to shake our heads ruefully, and to let him go his own way after all (p, 79)."  Arnold says that those who seek culture and perfection can look beyond social class.  "And this bent always tends to take them out of their class, and to make their distinguishing characteristic not their Barbarism or their Philistinism, but their humanity (p. 108)."  "Now, it is clear that the very absence of any powerful authority amongst us, and the prevalent doctrine of the duty and happiness of doing as one likes, and asserting our personal liberty, must tend to prevent the erection of any very strict standard of excellence, the belief in any very paramount authority of right reason, the recognition of our best self as anything very recondite and hard to come at (p. 109-110)."  Culture is seeking personal development.  "There is no unum necessarium,or one thing needful, which can free human nature from the obligation of trying to come to its best at all these points.  The real unum necessarium for us it to come to our best at all these points (p. 150)."  Arnold sees culture as a way of ending religious strife.  "The State is the religion of all its citizens without the fanaticism of any of them.  Those who deny this, either think so poorly of the State that they do not like to see religion condescend to touch the State, or they think so poorly of religion that they do not like to see the State condescend to touch religion.  But no good statesman will think thus unworthily either of the State or of religion (p. 156)."
       As stated above, Arnold saw culture as the uniting of moral excellence (Hebraism) and mental excellence (Hellenism).  Arnold saw it as the antidote for both overly clas-conscious British society and for lopsided personal development.
       Similarly, Jose Ortega y Gasset in his The Revolt of the Masses laments the fact that modern man has less pressure constraining his life;  that is, it has never been easier to live one's life due to advances in science and the triumph of popular government.  Excepting those who challenge themselves intentionally, the masses are like impatient, spoiled children.  They have forgotten the culture that made today's technological society possible.  Their political language devolves into violence.  "An idea is a putting truth in checkmate.  Whoever wishes to have ideas must first prepare himself to desire truth and to accept the rules of the game imposed by it.  It is no use speaking of ideas when there is no acceptance of a higher authority to regulate them, a series of standards to which it is possible to appeal in a discussion. . . .What I affirm is that there is no culture where there are no standards to which our fellow men can have recourse.  There is no culture where there are no principles of legality to which to appeal.  There is no culture where there is no acceptance of certain final intellectual positions to which a dispute may be referred (p. 72)."
       Due to the idea of equality, the masses actually see themselves as the ascetic's equal, and refuse to submit to his direction.  Not only does the average man celebrate vulgarity, he is "indocile," and refuses to accept authority.  The abandonment of mental standards and culture means totalitarian government becomes inevitable.  If men will become indifferent to what Arnold called Hellenism, Ortega y Gasset sees civilization itself at risk.
       Totalitarianism arises from rejection of the principles that undergird liberal democracy.  We have already discussed Arnold's treatment of culture as the solution for class-consciousness.  Now, Ortega y Gasset envisions the stifling of intelligent opinion by the tyranny of the mediocre.  "Can we be surprised that the world to-day seems empty of purposes, anticipations, ideals?  Nobody has concerned himself with supplying them.  Such has been the desertion of the directing minorities, which is always found on the reverse side of the rebellion of the masses (p. 46)."
       Arnold states:  "But in each class there are born a certain number of natures with a curiosity bout their best self, with a bent for seeing things as they are, for disentangling themselves from machinery, for simply concerning themselves with reason and the will of God, and doing their best to make these prevail;--for the pursuit, in a word, of perfection (p. 108)."  The ascetic man Ortega y Gasset envisions takes on mental challenges, pushing himself constantly.  "Contrary to what is usually thought, it is the man of excellence, and not the common man, who lives in essential servitude.  Life has no savour for him unless he makes it consist in service to something transcendental.  Hence he does not look upon the necessity of serving as an oppression.  When, by chance, such necessity is lacking, he grows restless and invents some new standard, more difficult, more exigent, with which to coerce himself.  This is life lived as a discipline--the noble life.  Nobility is defined by the demands it makes on us--by obligations, not by rights (p. 63)."  Where Arnold thought every man could potentially benefit from culture, Ortega y Gasset seems convinced many university graduates are uninterested in the subjects of philosophy and other humanities which constitute culture.  The fact that medical doctors were among the first to embrace National Socialism in Germany would seem to confirm Ortega y Gasset's theory that science unmoored from the humanities creates a technologically proficient barbarian.
       Although Ortega y Gasset does not discuss in as much detail what constitutes culture as does Arnold, both see political violence and an erosion in the possibility of democracy arising from the abandonment of culture.  How ironic is it that college campuses are becoming places where the free discussion of ideas has been replaced by trigger warnings and safe spaces!  How long will the liberal arts and sciences languish while people extoll business curriculum and STEM as the only fit fields of study?  Will fields such as political philosophy die of starvation when disconnected from the classics and literature?

Monday, April 24, 2017

Get Outta My Way Johnny, I'm Gonna Spit!

       This is a post apropos of everything, and nothing at all.  Its title is a quote from the 1931 movie Scarface.  Above is a gratuitous shot of Zooey Deschanel.
        How on earth did we get to this juncture?  Years of dumbed down schools, years of politicians promising the moon, and delivering steaming piles of crap.  A GOP establishment that is a solopicism:  fundraising on a set of values, while in actuality accomplishing next to nothing.  A set of people (often entrusted with platforms where they pretend to speak for conservatives as a whole) like Rush Limbaugh, jumped on board with a New York progressive with no political experience.
        And the result?  A presidency that seems even more like amateur hour than the Clinton White House.  (And that's saying something!)  A putatively conservative network where their lead broadcaster has been sacrificed to the Gods of Feminism!  (Don't get too emotional about O'Reilly--just regret that it wasn't Hannity.)  It all makes you want to say, as Cicero did, "What times!  What values!"
      Only, the current crop of conservatives remind me more of 30s gangster movies than they do of Marcus Tullius Cicero.  Indeed, Paul Ryan is making me feel like quoting Little Caesar, played by Edward G. Robinson:  "I guess that's what I get for liking a guy too much!"  Oh, for the pigshit Irish gunman Tom Powers, who was so pugnacious in The Public Enemy that he went on a suicide mission against Schemer Burns' gang even though his boss wanted him off the streets.  Tom Powers' fighting spirit is only seen in the Freedom Caucus;  unfortunately, O.B. wants them to end up the same way Tom Powers did--dead at Mother's front door.   Tommy gun heroes are so much more likeable than gutless politicians.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Conservatives Without Chests, Part Two

     It is astounding to Estase how many people act as though there is something conservative about Orange Blatherskite.  O.B. is the Republican Bill Clinton:  an oversexed demagogue with no coherent foreign policy.  During the campaign, O.B. acted as though he would avoid enmeshing us with the attempt to remove Bashar al-Assad from power.  The Syrian civil war is a quagmire that even Oh Blah Blah was smart enough to only talk about engaging us in.  But now, before his first one hundred days have even elapsed, O.B.'s dubiously qualified Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is talking regime change!  
       Despite promising a pro-life Supreme Court justice, O.B. named a milquetoast Anthony Kennedy clone to replace Justice Scalia.  Unfortunately, the Republican voter is a fool who was gulled into choosing a candidate for his image rather than for substance.  O.B. talked a big game, and that made up for his lack of fluency on actual policy.  The ignorant red state voter is himself a conservative without a chest;  this is why they fell for someone who was all talk and no emotion.  "Make America Great Again" means being eighty percent identical to Peace and Love Incorporated (AKA the Clinton mafia).  Wesley Clark may as well be our head of the JCS.  Merritt Garland may as well be our newest Supreme Court justice.

Tuesday, April 04, 2017

Selective Usage of Aristotle

       In its decision in Roe v. Wade, the Court of King's Bench cited Aristotle's approval of abortion in support of abortion on demand.  What the proper interpretation of Aristotle is has been cause for the spilling of oceans of ink.  (Averroes versus Avicenna being just a small part of that controversy.)  It is a sign of how little the black-letter Constitution counts for in the deliberations of King's Bench when the Praetors start invoking 3,000 year-old philosophy in their opinions.  Just to show how phony and selective the Court of King's Bench's interest in Aristotle is, will be demonstrated by this quote occurring a few paragraphs after the passage on abortion.

"The Directors of Education, as they are termed, should be careful what tales or stories the children hear, for the sports of children are designed to prepare the way for the business of later life, and should be for the most part imitations of the occupations which they will hereafter pursue in earnest.  Those are wrong who (like Plato) in the Laws attempt to check the loud crying and screaming of children, for these contribute towards their growth, and, in a manner, exercise their bodies. . . .For until they are seven years old they must live at home;  and therefore, even at this early age, all that is mean and low should be banished from their sight and hearing. . . .A freeman who is found saying or doing what is forbidden, if he be too young as yet to have the privilege of a place at the public table, should be disgraced and beaten, and an elder person degraded as his slavish conduct deserves.  And since we do not allow improper language, clearly we should also banish pictures or tales which are indecent. . . .And therefore youth should be kept strangers to all that is bad, and especially to things which suggest vice or hate."  Aristotle Politics Book VII 1336-1337.

So, obviously, if King's Bench legalized abortion because Aristotle thought it best, King's Bench should also censor speech, music, and pornography, because Aristotle favored that too!

Monday, April 03, 2017

Plato on Immigration

     "The intercourse of cities with one another is apt to create a confusion of manners;  strangers are always suggesting novelties to strangers.  When states are well governed by good laws the mixture causes the greatest possible injury;  but seeing that most cities are the reverse of well-ordered, the confusion which arises in them from the reception of strangers, and from the citizens themselves rushing off into other cities, when any one either young or old desires to travel anywhere abroad at whatever time, is of no consequence.  On the other hand, the refusal of states to receive others, and for their own citizens never to go to other places, is an utter impossibility, and to the rest of the world is likely to appear ruthless and uncivilized;  it is a practice adopted by people who use harsh words, such as xenelasia or banishment of strangers, and who have harsh and morose ways, as men think."  Plato Laws Book XII Paragraph 950.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Gorsuch Fail

       Few things challenge one's faith in humanity like a Supreme Court nomination process.  The Court of King's Bench, as Estase calls it, has become a timid rubber-stamp to the big government overreaches of the last 100 years.  Its members are political operatives more than legal scholars.  I had almost forgotten why I despise my state's senior Senator, Disturbin' Dick Durbin.  His attempt at Borking Neil Gorsuch was a reminder of what a sleazy, dishonest piece of human garbage he is.  First, Durbin accused Gorsuch of having John Finnis write his dissertation for him.  Then he took a quote from Finnis about the British demographic shifts of the last thirty years, which was very much like what Pope Benedict XVI said about European demographics in general.  Of course, piece of shit Durbin implied that Finnis (and by extension, Gorsuch) were racists.  Showing that Gorsuch is more like Justice Roberts than Edward Coke, Gorsuch hung his mentor out to dry, disavowing what Finnis said.  So Gorsuch basically agreed with Durbin that the unexceptional quote by Finnis was racist.  Both Durbin and Gorsuch failed a test;  Durbin by being himself, and Gorsuch by being such a milquetoast as not to challenge Durbin calling his mentor a racist.
         Neil Gorsuch is smart, likeable and polished.  Smart, likeable and polished is not what the high court needs.  Brave, principled and adversarial is what the high court needs.  Someone who won't defend his mentor will not fight for the Constitution either.  Nor will he resist Orange Blatherskite if he tries to overstep his actual authority.

Monday, February 27, 2017

Free to be Skewed

      Everyone who has right-of-center leanings knows that the media aren't their friends.  TV news, newspapers, and magazines typically advocate for bigger government, liberal social trends, and Democratic politicians.  These are just facts of life.  Orange Blatherskite, however has taken the step of banning five news organizations from White House press briefings.  One can easily tell reasonable people from Trump stooges by their response to this.  Reasonable people ( like those who remember any courses on civics or government) know that O.B. has gone too far;  that he is living down to the protofascist his enemies already believed him to be.  Trump stooges, in contrast, act as though this is somehow sticking it to the liberal media.  They forget that previous Republican presidents never assumed they had a right to exclude hostile journalists from the press pool.
       Fox News' Bret Baier has been right to defend CNN from this exclusion, pointing out that CNN cried foul when Oh Blah Blah tried to exclude Fox from the press pool.  The proper way to deal with liberal media bias is not to pretend they don't practice journalism.  Even dishonest journalists deserve to be treated as journalists.  The problem of liberal media bias is a problem that the consumer needs to deal with.  If you don't believe CNN or BuzzFeed is a reliable source, don't use them.  You don't deal with them by shutting them out from press conferences.  That is juvenile and counterproductive.  The last thing O.B. needs right now is to look like he doesn't respect a free press.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Why Conservative Media is Dead

       The incoming administration seems to be a collection of crony capitalists.  Why a former Exxon executive is qualified to be Secretary of State is the most alarming Cabinet pick so far.  Did something happen to prevent John Bolton from being a contender for Secretary of State?  Did a boulder smash the prescient Mitt Romney, whose 2008 observation that Russia was our geopolitical number-one threat loomed large as Oh Blah Blah found Vladimir Putin our toughest nut to crack?  The ignorant old canard that government needs to be run like a company seems to be the ruling philosophy of Orange Blatherskite.  
        Those who believe that canard are probably not likely to read political philosophy, so they should seek political theory in a more palatable form--the movie "RoboCop."  The point of the movie RoboCop was that governing and making money were two separate activities, and ones that in many ways conflict.  It is a sad commentary on the state of conservative media that it now sees no conflict between the skills of making money and the skills of good government.  Fox News is now utterly worthless as a barometer of conservative thought.  It now seeks to marginalize those voices who questioned the candidacy of Orange Blatherskite.  As business experts play statesmen, it is highly unlikely that any of the Fox talking heads will point out their defects.  Estase was watching Tucker Carlson's new show.  Tucker Carlson seems to be nothing more than a less-annoying avatar of Sean Hannity.  The same game of "you-people-are-hypocrites-because" and then inserting whatever issue is under discussion is Hannity's stock in trade;  it is also the game Carlson seems to want to play.  Conservative media is unlikely to challenge a winner.  If challenging popularity was within Fox's range of action, they would have done more to challenge the sleazy tabloid media push of Orange Blatherskite.  In other words, Fox was more interested in not offending their viewers than they were interested in vetting the candidates.  If Fox was too weak to point out that Trump wasn't a conservative when he was running, they are too weak to point out that he isn't a conservative as President.