Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Suppressing Tommy

Leave it to the British, and their compulsive obsession for appropriateness, to take politische korrektheit to the next tyrannical level by suppressing free speech in the name of a fair trial.

 The Facts of the Matter

Tommy Robinson is a xenophobic white nationalist who opposes open immigration in the name of "multi-culturalism" and under the banner of the European Union's so-called Four Freedoms.   He had been a founder of the politically punk English Defense League, more or less dedicated to beating unwanted, brown immigrants out of the country.  After a spell in prison for these activities, Robinson forswore the E.D.L.'s tactics.  Nevertheless, by any fair measure, Robinson remains a scoundrel and a provocateur in the mold of John Wilkes of North Briton 45  fame.

Like Wilkes, one of Robinson's political tactics is to report on matters which the Government find inconvenient -- in this case the trial of several Muslim gang members accused of organized sexual offences, including the grooming of young girls for sexual purposes.  Because of the sensitive nature of the trial, the judge of the case, one Honourable Judge Marson QC, issued a "reporting restriction" prohibiting the publication of "any report" of the proceedings until the conclusion of the trial. 

The British press obeyed like cowed puppies. However, on 11 May before the gag order was imposed, papers did report on the trial, viz:

"Twenty nine people – mostly from Huddersfield – facing a total of more than 170 charges relating to the sexual exploitation of 18 children will go on trial next year in three separate groups, a judge has ruled.
Twenty-six men and two women appeared before a judge at Leeds Crown Court today charged with offences including rape, trafficking, sexual activity with a child, child neglect, child abduction, supplying drugs and making of indecent images of children. The 29th defendant, who is in custody, did not appear for the hearing on Thursday."
This report, from the Huddersfield Daily Examiner, included the names of each of the defendants together with a synopsis of the charges against them.  The report also included the defendants' pictures leaving no doubt as to their ethnicity.   The basic facts of the legal action in the Crown Court at Leeds was public knowledge well before 25 May, the date of "reporting restriction." 

On that date, Robinson stood outside the Leeds courthouse reporting on the absence of any reporting of the case. It was a rainy morning and virtually no one -- certainly no crowd -- was around.  A shaky cell phone video showed Robinson approaching a couple of the defendants as they entered the courthouse, seeking to elicit their reactions to the case.  Their not unpredictable reaction was to angrily flip him the bird. One of these defendants turned toward Robinson before being pulled inside by his cohort.

Robinson then turns to the camera and states that he is outside the Leeds courthouse "awaiting verdicts" in the trial.  Moments later, he is accosted by the police and taken into custody for "incitement" and "breach of peace."   Another officer states that he is being arrested for "contempt."  Robinson, who appeared to be taken by surprise, was then summarily whisked off to prison to serve a 13 month term.

Unsettling Questions

 There are a few things which are unsettling in this unfolding, the first of which is whether Robinson had any actual notice of the reporting restriction.  The court's gag order is not time stamped, so it is impossible to know whether it was issued before or after Robinson was apprehended.   Even if it was actually issued before his arrest, contempt  -- unlike violations of statutory law --  requires actual knowledge of the judicial order. While person is "presumed" to know the law, he is not "presumed" to know whatever orders a judge may issue from the bench.  The usual procedure in contempt case is as follows:

Judge:  counsel, if you keep this up I am going to find  you in contempt
Counsel: Yes your honour.
That certainly did not happen in this case and as near as can be ascertained the "NOTICE TO THE PRESS" does not even appear to have been posted on the courthouse door. 

The likelihood that the gag order issued after Robinson's arrest, by way of post hoc justification, is furthered by the fact that the police were not on the same page as to why he was being detained; "incitement" and "breach of the peace"  are not the same as "contempt."

According to one report, moments before he was arrested, the Honourable Judge Marson QC, was observing Robinson from the second storey window of the court building.  What appears likely, viewing all the circumstances, is that the two accosted defendants complained to the court, the judge took a look, told his clerk to "draw up" a reporting restriction, while, in the same breath, ordering the bailiffs to arrest Robinson.  It would certainly not be the first time English judges acted in such a High and Imperious manner.

The second unsettling thing was the dispatch of Robinson to prison without any hearing whatsoever.  The Contempt of Court Act of 1981 is surprisingly quiet about a right to a hearing.  Section 3(3) says "The burden of proof of any fact tending to establish a defence afforded by this section to any person lies upon that person."  Rather obliquely, that section implies a time and a place to present a defence and that, in turn, implies some type of hearing prior to imposition of penalty.

Luckily, the Crown Prosecution Service, elucidates that there are two types of criminal contempt procedures: a regular procedures and a summary procedure.

"Generally, resort to the summary procedure will be justified where there is a need for the court to act decisively, to show that its authority has not been undermined  ... A Crown Court judge's power to commit summarily for contempt should be exercised only where the contempt is clear and it is urgent and imperative to act immediately. In the absence of urgency, the matter should be referred to the Attorney General to consider bringing proceedings in the Queen's Bench Division

"[T]he minimum requirements for a fair hearing where the contempt is dealt with summarily. ... include that the contemnor is told what they are said to have done wrong, understand the defences available, has a reasonable opportunity to make representations and to seek legal advice."
Because  Judge Marson's order has, in effect, resulted in a secret trial, it is impossible to ascertain the details of Robinson's detention and sentence further than what has been stated.   Because the court chose to impose a gag order it assumed the risk and bears the onus of any inaccuracy in anyone's reporting.  But the sure indications are that Robinson was not afforded the minimum due process applicable to summary contempt.  While a person can be arrested without notice and detained pending hearing, to be hauled off to prison without notice and hearing is an action in league with the GESTAPO or CHEKA.

The U.K.  Independent reported that Robinson had done "this" before and, at the time of his present arrest and incarceration, was on probation for a previous contempt of court.  The only difficulty with this waffling excuse for official misconduct is that, whatever "this" is, a hearing is still required.  When a person is on probation and when that person commits a new violation of law, he subjects himself to two further consequences: (1) the previously suspended sentence is "automatically" triggered and imposed and (2) he is separately liable for the new offence.  In this situation, the offender is entitled to two summary hearings, although in practice they are often dealt with at the same time.  But there is no indication that Robinson got either summary hearing.  The Independent's "bad-boy-in-school-yard" approach far from making the state's case better made it worse.

The Political Issue

The Independent's conflating of the two contempt cases shows what is really at issue here.  According to the Independent, Judge Heather Norton handed him a three months imprisonment in May last year but suspended it for 18 months on the condition he would not commit further offences.  “This is not about free speech, not about the freedom of the press, nor about legitimate journalism, and not about political correctness,” the judge told Robinson at the time,  “It is about justice and ensuring that a trial can be carried out justly and fairly, it’s about being innocent until proven guilty. It is about preserving the integrity of the jury to continue without people being intimidated or being affected by irresponsible and inaccurate ‘reporting’, if that’s what it was."

One has to parse the peculiar language in which all tyrants speak.  No despot ever kicked down a door avowing an intent do something bad.  Every dictator at all times clothes his exercise of brute power in the fairest of tissues.  Indeed, tissues so fair, they can but bring a tear to any man whose heart is not made of stone.

This is about justice!  About preserving innocence!  About the integrity of the jury to be free from intimidation!   Who could possible quarrel?  Not I... except what was that bit about or "being affected by irresponsible and innacurate reporting" ?

This is not about free speech, Judge Heather Norton assures us.    We abide our fearless and noble tradition of free speech, freedom of the press, and "legitimate reporting"  Our heart swelleth with pride.... except, pardon me for asking, who decides what constitutes legitimate reporting?

 Enter John Wilkes waving the scurrilous, irresponsible North Briton No. 45.

During the reign of George III, Wilkes published an anti-government rag full of all the muck and scurrile he could dredge up and muster. "The most treacherous, base, selfish, mean, abject, low-lived and dirty fellow, that ever wriggled himself into a secretaryship....." was typical copy.  The chief pitiable object of Wilke's poisoned pen was George III's prime minister, the Earl of Bute.  Wilkes made Bute the most hated Minister the country had known.

In 1763, peace broke out with the Treaty of Paris ending the Seven Years' War.  Sentiment on the outcome was divided.  The King counted the treaty a triumph and authored a Crown Speech to Parliament to that effect. However, a substantial segment of the country, including Wilkes, felt that the gains had not been sufficient for the gamble.  Obtaining a draft of the speech, in what one supposes was a pre-wiki leak, Wilkes went to town against the treaty,

A despotic minister [i..e Bute ] will always endeavour to dazzle the prince with high flown ideas of the prerogative and honour of the crown. I wish as much any man in the kingdom to see the honour of the crown maintained in a manner truly becoming Royalty. I lament to see it sunk even to prostitution.
Wilkes no doubt felt he had come but toe to the line. George III was adamant that he had crossed it.  It was seditious libel to directly impugn the majesty of the Sovereign, which the last sentence rather less than obliquely did, despite the article's dubious disclaimer that the Crown's Speech to Parliament was always considered "the Speech of the Minister." 

By the standards of the day, Wilkes had committed seditious libel... he was undermining the state by inciting and arousing sentiments contrary to public peace and order.

There then ensued a series of events that became the historical cornerstones for freedom of the press and freedom from unwarranted searches and seizures -- in the U.S., for the First and Fourth Amendments.  

Because Wilkes was also member of Parliament, he at first claimed immunity from prosecution.  Under pressure from the Crown, the Commons revoked his immunity. Thereafter, under a "general warrant" Crown agents broke into the  printing shop of the Monitor, another anti-government paper published by John Entick, a friend of Wilkes. Wilkes had written anonymously for the Monitor and it appears that Entick's print shop was also used to print some editions of the North Briton.  They were certainly two peas in the same pod.  The agents seized what they could and smashed up the rest.    Wilkes fled to France.

The fiasco dragged on for a number of years.  Eventually Wilkes was exonerated and Entick won his suit for trespass against the Crown agents, it being held by the Court of Common Pleas that a general warrant was insufficient license to protect the agents from suit. Henceforth only a specific warrant backed by probable cause for a specific person or place would do.

On returning from France, Wilkes was elected an alderman for the City of London.  He used his official position to leak official documents to the press.

It might surprise people to learn that at this time, proceedings in Parliament were secret.  The predictable justifications were advanced: secrecy promoted free and unencumbered exchanges of opinion and protected ministers from the wrath of the mob and so forth and so on.  A group of "radical" MP's, including Wilkes, felt this was wrong and were determined to let the public know what went on behind closed doors.

The Establishment reacted predictably and sought to summon and hold the errant MPs in contempt.  Wilkes used his position to protect the ministers and to stir up demonstrations in favour of freedom of leaks.  The impasse lasted several years at the end of which the House of Lords realized that the ban on reporting had seen its day.

Events in the American Colonies followed a parallel path, at times, ahead of the game.  In 1733, Peter Zenger was brought to trial for directly criticizing the Crown Governor in his paper the New York Weekly Journal.  He was accused of "divers scandalous, virulent, false and seditious reflections."  But although the jury refused to convict, the Crown persisted in its efforts to control "seditious" press.    Thus when Marylanders heard of Wilkes' travails, they sent him 45 hogsheads of tobacco to assist in his defence.  As in England, journalism was raucous, muck-raking and partisan.  There was a purely informative aspect -- arrival of ships, goings on in Europe -- but most of it fell into what could by called a political tabloid.  Journalists -- often writing under pseudonyms, the era's equivalence of VPN -- were not interested in neutrality or genteel discourse.  They wanted to prove a point and to incite passions, the more scandalous the fare, the better.

The government's attitude was hostile. In 1671, Governor William Berkeley of Virginia wrote: "I thank God, there are no free schools nor printing and I hope we shall not have, these hundred years, for learning has brought disobedience, and heresy, and sects into the world, and printing has divulged them, and libels against the best government. God keep us from both." The British government once told the governors of Massachusetts, "Great inconvenience may arise by the liberty of printing."

Libel.  Technically, libel and defamation are statements that impugn and impute the character or motives of a person.  Unfortunately for the victim, truth is always a defence on a charge of libel. "You called me a thief!"  "But you are a thief, let me prove it..."  The "victim" could come out worse than before.

To work around this inconvenience, government came up with the concept of seditious libel -- any conduct or speech deemed by authorities as having a tendency to undermine the established order.  In England, speech was seditious if it brought the Crown or any branch of government into "hatred or contempt" or if it promoted discontent or hostility between citizens.  Truth was not a defence.

In the United States, once sedition and insurrection against the Crown had proved successful, government went back to its old habits. In 1798, President Adams pushed through what is known as the Alien and Sedition Acts, section (2) of the latter making it a criminal offence to,

"write, print, utter or publish, or ... knowingly and willingly assist or aid in writing, printing, uttering or publishing any false, scandalous and malicious writing ... against the government of the United States, or either house of the Congress of the United States, or the President of the United States,  ... or to excite against them, ... the hatred of the good people of the United States, or to stir up sedition within the United States, or to excite any unlawful combinations therein, for opposing or resisting any law of the United States, ...  or to resist, oppose, or defeat any such law or act, or to aid, encourage or abet any hostile designs of any foreign nation against United States, their people or government,"
The law was repealed in 1801, but revived again during the First World War.  Seditious Libel remained on the books in England until 2009.  In both countries the repressive artifice remains available under other guises.  Most currently, the campaign against "fake news,"  "foreign trolls," "unauthorized leaks," incitement and/or Holocaust Denial, are all forms of seditious libel, the aim of which is simply to repress opinions and polemics which the government deems "inconvenient."

The American legal historian, Leonard W. Levy states that seditious libel "has always been an accordion-like concept, expandable or contractible at the whim of judges." 

Personages like Senator Feinstein in the United States, former Justice Minister Heiko Maas in Germany and the Honourable Judges Marson and Norton always invoke the Highest Objectives in pursuit of repression.  Thus, Feinstein once questioned whether the First Amendment "covered" printing manuals "on how to make a bomb." One might as well wonder how much chemistry one is free  to teach.  In seeking to free the net of so-called hate speech, Maas brilliantly stated that "free speech ends where the criminal law begins."  And where exactly, one might wonder, is that?  What the state wishes to repress it first criminalizes.  Surely Goebbels understood that. Thus too, according to Judge Norton silencing Robinson "is about preserving the integrity of the jury to continue without people being intimidated or being affected by irresponsible and inaccurate ‘reporting’."

The statement is worth pondering for the way in which it mixes High Objective with insinuations of criminal conduct. 

No one has accused Robinson of jury tampering.  He has not suborned perjury, procured witnesses or bribed jurors.  Robinson did nothing to undermine the integrity of the jury to hold and continue deliberations.  No one has a "free speech" right to bribe jurors but that issue was simply not on the table.

Note how Norton switched pods in her verbal shuffle. She did not state, "without jurors being intimidated;" she switched to talking about people being intimidated.  Jurors are people but not all people are jurors.  Surely Norton, a trained jurist, understood that.  

The switch was crafty.  What Norton meant was that it was necessary for the jury to deliberate without the public being affected by "irresponsible" reporting.  She confused "jury" with "public" and "intimidated" with "affected" simply to muddy up what she was about. However, the whole point of a free press, of public comment on public matters is to affect people on the issue at hand.  

This right should not be evaded by labelling the effect an "intimidation."  Short of assaults or specific threats people in public have to put up with the rough and tumble of life.  No one should expect to turn the entire public space into his or her personal safe space.  To ask as much is to turn society into a prison in which everyone is required to keep to his small space.

The proposition Norton really advanced was that government has a right to conduct its business without the public being affected by "irresponsible" controversies.  Although Judge Marson has not enlightened us with his/her thoughts, one assumes that the gag order was motivated by the same High Objectives.   The concept of free speech held by the likes of Norton, Marson, Maas and Feinstein is that of an embalmed corpse. Speech which does not inconvenience, which does not provoke, which does not pinch toes, which does not hurt, is free speech that is not worth a damn.   James Madison, the chief architect of the American Bill of Rights, understood this perfectly.  In Federalist Paper No. 10 he wrote, 

"The latent causes of faction are ... sown in the nature of man; and we see them everywhere brought into different degrees of activity, according to the different circumstances of civil society. A zeal for different opinions concerning religion, concerning government, and many other points, as well of speculation as of practice; an attachment to different leaders ambitiously contending for pre-eminence and power; or to persons of other descriptions whose fortunes have been interesting to the human passions, have, in turn, divided mankind into parties, inflamed them with mutual animosity, and rendered them much more disposed to vex and oppress each other than to co-operate for their common good. "
"Liberty is to faction what air is to fire, an aliment without which it instantly expires. But it could not be less folly to abolish liberty, which is essential to political life, because it nourishes faction, than it would be to wish the annihilation of air, which is essential to animal life, because it imparts to fire its destructive agency."
The core, anti-democratic and despotic nature of seditious libel laws  is not they they seek to shield the majesty of government from insult.  It lies in the speciously advanced, high minded purpose of preventing hostility between citizens or exciting their passions -- to abolish air in order to prevent flames.

Guardians of public discourse have a notion of free speech that is decorous, restrained, sorta academic, like Spinoza, Luther, Ralph Waldo Emerson or David Brooks of the New York Times...  fit for print and fit for the Publice Broadcasting System's "two (acceptable) sides" of any issue.   But if these guardians actually read Spinoza or Luther -- if they even knew something about them over and above that they existed and were "great" -- they would realize that no decorous, restrained, academic discourse is worth a damn if it doesn't blow the roof off the house. That is what "great books" do.

Make no mistake, Robinson is no Luther and no Socrates.  He is not even a Mencken or an Assange. But he is a gadfly.  He is provoking and calling into question the British Establishment's "mulit-ethnic" and "multi-cultural" concept of society.  It is pointless to argue that his views are racist, that they offend some or even a majority of people, or that they "call into the question the fundamentals of our civil society."  So what? Who decreed what those fundamentals are and who decreed that they cannot be questioned?  The fundamental of liberal democracy is that anything can be questioned including its own fundamentals. Anything less is neither liberal nor free.

Robinson might be styled a political paparazzi.  His reporting is designed to bait, provoke and make a point. No doubt his "points" are likely -- if they are not designed -- to emotionally affect and hurt the feelings of the foreign born or Muslim segments of British society. He is clearly arguing against their civic interests. But again, one has to ask, so what?  People who think politics ought to be some sort of badminton game on manicured lawns think as much only because their position of privilege insulates them from being truly affected by the myriad of decisions made at Westminster.  Politics is warfare by other means.

There are of course limits. Actual, present incitement of an imminent harm  -- such as urging a mob to lynch a person or to burn down an asylum centre  -- is properly made criminal.   But, in the United States at least, words and conduct which merely have a tendency to adversely affect, or to "potentially affect," someone or some status quo are not considered "incitement." (Brandenburg v. Ohio,  (1969) 395 U.S. 444  Stringing connective "causalities" is the game of sophists and tyrants. 

Similarly, there is a point at which undue publicity can affect the impartiality of a trial.  But again, in the United States at least, the effect has to be continuous and overwhelming. (Sheppard v. Maxwell, (1966) 384 U.S. 333.) In addition, any prior restraint on publicity must take into account free speech interests.

And not only "free speech" but the right as well to a public trial. (U.S. Const. Sixth Amendment.)  For a public trial is one which the public is free to comment on.  The two rights are inseverable.  A court can impose a gag order on attorneys and even on witnesses.  It can, in extreme cases sequester the jury. It can take measures to protect the visible identity of a witness. But it can never, ever, prohibit the public from attending the proceedings, assembling outside the courthouse or commenting on or protesting the case.

The Contempt of Court Act of 1981, is the real scandal here -- a legal accordion to suppress whatever a judge decides to label as a "substantial risk of prejudice."  Judges Marson and Norton were not about justice but at suppressing "seditious" speech.  In this instance, Britain needs to take a lesson from her erstwhile colonies who, in this respect, stood for the better half of English traditions. 

© 2018 Woodchip Gazette

To whom it may concern: no member of the Gazette is a British subject and the Gazette's servers are not within any U.K. jurisdiction. 





Thursday, April 19, 2018

Maasoch in High Places

Heiko Maas is truly a dogmatic idiot. During an interview with Der Spiegel, Germany's former Justice Minister and now its Foreign Minister, says he got into politics because of Auschwitz. It was “so horrific that I simply couldn't understand it. From that grew a deep need to make a contribution myself so that something like that never happens again.”

Okay, fair enough. He goes on to say, that the events in Syria can't be compared to Auschwitz. I hadn't thought anyone had made the comparison but, again, fair enough. However, Maas then followed up with, “The barbarity of the Nazis' crimes makes it impossible to compare them with others. Auschwitz cannot be compared with anything.”

It is here that Maas' negative Anti-Religion is made clear in all its bottomless darkness.

To say that it Auschwitz “can't be compared to anything” is to put it beyond the reach of all reason because the foundation of rationalism is to compare things. In Heiko's pathetic little mind, Auschwitz is that than which nothing more greatly evil can be conceived. It thus takes the place of St.Anselm's god [1], except that Heiko's god is not incomprehensibly good, but rather inconceivably evil.

One has to understand what it means to talk about that which is beyond all measure. When we look up at the stars and attempt to grasp the vastness of the cosmos, there is nothing left for us to do but to stand mutely in awe. What else can one do with the concept of infinity? We can't grasp it, we can't measure it, we can't compare it. After a moment of all too baffling and disquieting awe, we turn our sights down and go about our business. It is the same with God, that which is beyond infinity itself. When we talk about “god” -- even when we talk to Him -- we are actually talking to a carved chess piece on the board of our mind. When we intuit God, we simply stand in awe and adore.

What Heiko is demanding is that we stand in awe, dumb, mute and trembling before “Auschwitz” -- that than which nothing more infinitely evil can be conceived. Of course, Maas used “Auschwitz” as a short hand reference to a series and cluster of specific historical events. But by moving those facts beyond all comparison the word “Auschwitz” ceases to be a reference and becomes an object totem. What Maas ends up demanding is that we stand dumb and mute before a New Incarnation of Satan, who is exalted to an equal but opposite status of God. This is heresy.

It is a heresy that flows from Nationalism Socialism itself, although Stupid Heiko can't possibly conceive how. It is left to us to recall the critique of Nazism by Pope Pius XI, in his 1937 encyclical Mit Brennende Sorge. No one, he writes, could fault Germans for “establishing a true ethnical community in a noble love of freedom and loyalty to their country.” But,

Whoever follows that so-called pre-Christian Germanic conception of substituting a dark and impersonal destiny for the personal God, .... Whoever exalts race, or the people, or the State, or a particular form of State, or the depositories of power, or any other fundamental value of the human community - however necessary and honorable be their function in worldly things - whoever raises these notions above their standard value and divinizes them to an idolatrous level, distorts and perverts an order of the world planned and created by God; he is far from the true faith in God and from the concept of life which that faith upholds.

Beware, Venerable Brethren, of that growing abuse, in speech as in writing, of the name of God as though it were a meaningless label, to be affixed to any creation, more or less arbitrary, of human speculation. Use your influence on the Faithful, that they refuse to yield to this aberration. Our God is the Personal God, supernatural, omnipotent, infinitely perfect, one in the Trinity of Persons, tri-personal in the unity of divine essence, the Creator of all existence. Lord, King and ultimate Consummator of the history of the world, who will not, and cannot, tolerate a rival God by His side.

Whatever one's conception of God might be, what was clear to Pius (and what was a fact) was that the Nazis had exalted the Racial Volk as a divinized antipode to the Christian notion of God and, indeed, to any notion of God except the divinity attributed to “Racial Destiny.” Nazism was, in short, idolatry.

Idolatry is not simply a question of images. The essence of idolatry is exaltation. Christianity, and in fact Islam and Judaism as well, reject the concept of eternal and equally balanced forces of good and evil. For, if good and evil are co-equal they are co-valid. One can choose sides as one wills but neither can achieve preeminence over the other. Evil is idolatrized when it is exalted to a co-equal status with Good. In such a case, it is not possible to behold Creation and say “it is good.” (Genesis 1:31.) Thus, the Koran states, “there is no deity but Allah. He is the Knower of the Seen and the Unseen. He is the All-Merciful, the Most Merciful. He is the Almighty, the All-Wise. (Surat al-Hashr, 22-24.) Everything in the heavens and Earth belongs to Him. (Surat al-Baqara, 255.) In short, Satan is a fallen angel not an evil twin. He may be devious and strong but he is all too comprehensible. One can say that Auschwitz was Satanic or that it was an exercise in Banality but to say that it cannot be compared to anything is to mint a Counter-God.

All Maas has done is to internalize this idolatry, in a spirit of masochism, so as to supplant the idolatry of the Volk Gemeinschaft with an idolizing of its evil works. It does not make any difference that Maas condemns the works. Whether the German Volk is exalted beyond measure or whether the crimes of the German Volk are removed beyond all analysis and reason, an idolatry has still occurred. One is the idolatry of the Golden Calf, the other the idolatry of the Charred Calf.

This is of course the dynamic of masochism -- that it exalts the thing feared and fetishizes the brutality under which it yearns to suffer. That is all Heiko Maas has done. That is his personal choice, but he has used his position as minister of Justice and now Foreign minister to impose his masochism on a nation and a world. It is a perversion.

Don't be fooled. “Bottoms are always in control.” Maas may be the High Priest of Masochism, but he uses that self-exalted position to control others. The high priests of Moloch no doubt sincerely believed their self-conceived necessities; but that did not mean they didn't terrorize believers and persecute those who questioned their mandated sacrifices.

It is here that Maas' life work betrays itself. At the outset we said “fair enough” to his auto-devotion to make sure “Auschwitz” never happens again. But one can no more build a negative than prove one. So how does one insure something does not happen? The way Grand Inquisitors always have: rooting out dissent, dangerous thought or anything that Maas and his minions decide is a blasphemy against the Incomparable.

It is a pity that Christians have become so befuddled by their need to do useful good works that they are deaf and dumb to the threat of a rival god alien to that concept of life which their faith ought to uphold.


[1] i.e. “God is that than which nothing greater can be conceived”

©2018 WCG

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Die Gift-Presse (The Poison-Press)

Imagine if you will the field of Agincourt. The French knights are defeated.  Mitch, the Duc of Bourbon, lies, fallen from his horse, in a pool of muck and blood, held in the  arms of his pages.  "Shame, shame; nothing but eternal shame..." he says.

And then the incredible.  King "Harry" -- his bifocals hanging on the tip of his nose, calls for a retreat and marches the English back to the Channel. 

Herald, played by the New York Slimes, stands spotless and shinning amid corpses and gore and trumpets,

Consensus Is Health Law Can Be Fixed. Now the Hard Part.


Stabilizing the market, lowering drug prices and expanding access to coverage would go a long way to easing millions of Americans’ concerns.

... ...


Responding to calls for a bi-partisan fix, McConnell said he doubted any Republicans would support “bailing out insurance companies with no thought of any kind of reform”.

Repugnant creepy-crawly mutant that he is, McConnell is right: Obambicare is an insurance company bailout. In other words, it is yet another corporate, capitalist scam in what passes for Murka's pathetic excuse for a veneer of social democracy.

It bears repeating.  Obambicare is nothing but an insurance company bailout.

This "trivia" from the L.A. Times:  "the federal government sends about $600 million a month to insurance companies to help cover the cost of insuring low income people"

600 million a month.

"Basically, the government tells insurers that they need to hold down the insurance deductibles and co-payments that they charge low-income people. That costs the insurers money. To make the insurers whole, the government is supposed to reimburse them."  (L.A. Times.)

To make the insurers whole?  Really?  Is that the point of the "health care" exercise?  Are Murkans congenitally stupid?   Are the Niebelungen of Forty Second Street drooling morons or evil, malign, peddlers of poisoned news?

Die Gift-Presse.

Chipsters have said it before; and will say it yet again:  insurance is not the right vehicle for providing health care.   It makes no business sense to insure against something you know will  happen; and everyone will get sick.  Older people will get sicker more often.  People with pre-existing conditions are like drivers with bad records.

I mean DUH.   When you buy insurance you are betting against your good luck.  If the risks are low, the  insurance company can charge low premiums and still make money.  If the risks are high, it can only make money by charging higher premiums or refusing to insure altogether.  Insurance companies are in the business of making money  NOT providing health care.  DUH.

(We pointed this out to the Slime's niebelungen, but they refused to print the comment.  Supposedly it was not sufficiently, informed, considered, sober, right-minded, poison.)

Insurance companies are very good at "shifting" and "defeasing" costs.  The entire  industry is one huge, multi-dimensional Ponzi Scheme.  But the bottom line is that they cannot make money if they only charge premiums people can afford and if they provide health coverage to people who need it (i.e. people who are sick or at risk of getting sick.)

So.... The Scam, that goes by the name of "U.S. Government," makes up for business losses, by directly paying "lost profits" to insurance companies from taxpayer paid funds.   From your pocket to theirs.  

Are you being suckered?  Big time.  Are you stupid?  If you put up with it, yes.  Stupid beyond belief.

But do continue reading the New York Slime.  Fool yourselves into thinking that "stabilizing the market" is somehow, something (you don't quite know how) different than "from your pocket to theirs." 

And so, the average "well informed" middle class jackass reads about "expanding access to coverage"  (i.e. expanding government bailouts to insurance companies) and thinks in his or her stupefied way, "Oh yeah.. that would be a good thing.  We must get the Repuglicans to work with Demorats to get that done....

How can anyone be so fucking dumb?   Well... the psychological term is "fetish" and in particular the Fetish of the Commodity.   Murkans are convinced that "the market" is the solution to everything.  It was even behind the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.   They are as much convinced of this as as a boot-licker is convinced that dragging his tongue over a dirty boot is both joyful and necessary.  Fetishes create their own appearance of demanding objective reality.   That's the whole point of having one.

Are the whores who run  Demorat Party really that deranged or have I just answered my question?  If Mitch McConnell understands that what's at issue is "bailing out" insurance companies, is it reasonable to think that Senawhore Wall Street does not?

Of course they do. In fact, they are more despicable than their Republican colleagues, because they peddle false hopes and false nostrums that convince people that corporate boot licking is good, natural and necessary.

The latest Demorat Manifesto -- A Better Squeal -- is silent on single payer.  Says Peelousy, “the comfort level with a broader base of the American people is not there yet,”   She encouraged state initiatives instead.

What a stinking douchebag.  Peelousy knows perfectly well that states lack the financial muscle power to enact "local" single payer systems.  Even California's recent bill (procedurally shit-canned by the state Demorats) was critically dependent on federal funding.

Of the 247 Demorats in the House, 110 (less than half) back the Conyers bill for single payer.  The silence in the Senate is damning.  Hillary Replacement Icon, Karamela Harris along with Elizabeth Warren and Kristin Gillibrand say they support the "concept" of single payer.  Weasles.  As for the male Senawhores .... zip.

As Conyers has stated, "We will never get universal care built on a foundation of private, for-profit insurers."  But the Demorats can only manage tepid endorsement of a "concept" when they ought to be on the barricades  pushing their advantage forward over the bloodied bodies of the Repugs.  But they won't.

The issue is not just health care.  Health care is simply the symbolic flag ship for "concepts" of social responsibility and civic cohesion -- you know, the outmoded idea that all citizens are entitled to a basic and secure standard of living which enables them to live in dignity as human beings and participate in political and economic life as contributing citizens.    

Instead of seizing the initiative, the corporate-trained monkeys in the Demorat party cede the field of glory, after helping the enemy to their feet.   What does one do with such contemptible bootlicks other than  sweep them into compost of history.


Friday, June 2, 2017

God's Death Rattle

Several days before the orange-utan announced that the United States would leave the Paris Accords, the Great Barrier Reef off Australia was pronounced officially and irreversibly dead.  Another article at the same time described the complete ecological devastation of Borneo whose once rich and vibrant tropical forest, habitat to thousands of species, was now a strip mined, factory farmed garbage dump.  As dismaying as the pictures was the note that the human denizens seemed oblivious to the squalid, fetid, hell they were living in.

The news of Borneo and the Barrier Reef are just the latest funereal tolls of what has been obvious (at least to chipsters) for the past 20 years: the human race is destroying its one and only home.  The Paris Accords do not and will not change anything.  They are but a cynically small palliative designed to keep the environment at something just under an unlivable oven.  To anyone who understands even the rudiments of what   "ecology" means, since the word was first coined in 1866 by Ernst Haeckel, that approach is fundamentally flawed.

But the death of the Great Barrier Reef raises an even more fundamental and theological question:  How can God negate Himself?

How is that possible?

God looked upon HIS Creation and saw that every unfolding part of it was "good".  He separated day from night and saw that it was good.  He parted the waters from the land and saw that they were good.  He created fruits and seeds according to their kinds and say that they were good. He created great creatures of the sea, teeming fish and flocks of birds vaulting across the skies, and blessed them all.  He then created insects and wild animals and saw that they too were good.  He then created mankind in his own image and gave them dominion over His Work.  He did not, however, say that  it was good. 

And so it came to pass that His image, acting with His authority is undoing all of His handiwork.  How is that possible?  Is God a cosmic, childish tantarum?

Now there are those, no doubt, who will contemptuously smile and say "There is no God" and "It is just a foolish tale for children."  But the foolishness, Oh rationalist one, lies in understanding Genesis in the manner of a child.  The account of a demiurge is clearly a metaphor for the more complex truth that what we call God inheres in and vivifies that which we call Creation.  God is not separate from Creation. He is its life-force or "breath" and the question becomes how can he also become its death-rattle.

In the Grundrisse, Marx points out that the "kernel" of capitalism lies in the "primitive hand that picks the fruit."  It is human labour that commodifies and kills; that turns a living tree into a dead plank of wood for use and sale.  But that hand is God's image. 

Does God cancel himself out?   It would seem so.

©WCG 2017

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

An Elephant and Integral Human Development

[Ed. Note - The following letters were sent to two prelates in the Catholic Church]

1 May 2017

Rev. Msgr. Giovanni Pietro Dal Toso
Secretary Delegate
Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development.
Piazza San Callisto 16, 00153 Roma, Italy

Dear Monsignor,

Enclosed is a copy of a letter I have sent to His Eminence, Luis Antonio Tagle Cardinal Archbishop of Manila, concerning an elephant. I think the letter speaks for itself but would like to add a few remarks.

Article 2415 of the Catechism states, “The seventh commandment enjoins respect for the integrity of creation. Animals, like plants and inanimate beings, are by nature destined for the common good of ... humanity. Use of the mineral, vegetable, and animal resources of the universe cannot be divorced from respect for moral imperatives. Man's dominion over inanimate and other living beings granted by the Creator is not absolute; it is limited by concern for the quality of life of his neighbor, including generations to come; it requires a religious respect for the integrity of creation.”

I believe this articulation is inadequate, as it focuses too much on use for the benefit of Man and fails to draw the necessary connection between love of creation and man's own integral human development.

As you know, the word dominion is a derivative of domus and primordially refers not simply to the power of the paterfamilias but to his love, solicitude and responsibility for the beings within his household and, indeed, for the oikos as a whole. It is in this sense, I believe, that Genesis 1:28, gives Man dominion (heb. radah) over Creation. By focusing on use, the Catechism obscures that the essence of dominion is neither power nor benefit but love.

I have in mind Hans Urs von Balthasar who reminds us that "when the whole of worldly being falls under the dominion of 'knowledge', then the springs and forces of love immanent in the world are overpowered and finally suffocated by science..." (Love Alone.)

When we treat other creatures as material objects, we close ourselves to the forces of love immanent in them and, to that extent, we progressively deaden ourselves; for it is the nature of death to be inanimate and insentient.  What this means is that “integral human development” necessitates that we ourselves refrain from descending to the material level and that we treat our fellow creatures not only with respect but with the affection of the fatherhood over them which was granted to us.

As I know you know, this becomes a matter of habitus and praxis. Studies have shown that materialism – that is, deadness of heart – begins in small things, often in childhood, and entrenches itself as man inures and accustoms himself to view the world “objectively.” More than a personal failing, the indifference of the soldiers on Calvary was the product of a culture.

Our present culture is the most materialistic of all; not just on account of the fact that it has “the appearance of a vast warehouse of commodities,” but because what we call knowledge is actually a lower faculty whose focus and practice is on things as such. We have become too used to executing tasks, so that the awesomeness of our technological progress stands in inverse proportion to our ability to stand in awe of the Creation we manipulate.

To quote von Balthasar again, “whoever sneers at Beauty... whether he admits it or not — can no longer pray and soon will no longer be able to love" (The Glory of the Lord.) We see symptoms of our technological alienation everywhere.

Of course, this gives rise to paradox. As a species, we could opt to live as simple savages without all the techno-material benefits we have discovered and created. (And Mother Nature might very well punish us with just that after we have killed her off. ) Or we could develop a scintilla conscientiae equal in strength to our knowledge and serving to remind us, as through an aperture, of our original, savage righteousness in paradise. I do not conceive of this as a question of morals (itself a mere form of mathesis) but of vivification.

This task of reanimation falls heavily upon the Church. In fact, is that not her primary task? And as with bringing anything back to life, back to mobility, the habit and progress begins with small things and small exercises, daily.

Some might say that an archbishop has more serious and more important things to do than to worry about an elephant. I say not. It was Jesus who reminded us that as unto the least so unto Him. In fact, I would submit that the more we focus on systems for delivering charities, on institutional projects and programs for development, the more we distance ourselves from immanence and fall back into the materialism of knowledge.

The Church has been remiss in this regard. Its bishops focus to much on management and too little on sparked response. When they do speak out it is all too often on a small menu of issues that have become, frankly, moral fetishes. To be fully alive to the world is to be alive to all of it. One does not smell a tree and not hear the bird or feel the sun or bask in the breeze.

Our Holy Father, has spoken out on environmental issues. It was long overdue. But he cannot – and should not – speak out on everything, daily. His authority would be diminished by over-use and eventually be ignored as just another voice in the increasingly competitive global cacophony. It is therefore up to cardinals, bishops and priests to lift the burden from the Pope's shoulder's and to assist in the work that must be done.

Mali's suffering is heart-wrenching to anyone who is alive to Creation. It is as pitiable as the suffering of any child because, for all her grandeur and size, she is, before us, as helpless as any child in the house over which we have dominion. For our sake – for the integral development of our humanity – she deserves a cry of mercy from the memory of paradise. And so, I have sent my letter.

I am sending this letter to you so that you may call attention to the fact that the Church's catechesis in this area is inadequate for the reasons I have discussed. That is my opinion at any rate; and I believe it is a good one. If I have addressed this issue to the wrong person, please be so kind as to forwarded it to the right one.

Sincerely yours,

18 April 2017
His Eminence Luis Antonio Tagle
Cardinal Archbishop of Manila
121 Arzobispo St., Intramuros,
1099 Manila, Philippines

Your Eminence,

I read with deep dismay about Mali, the captive elephant in the Manila zoo who has been kept confined for 40 years in complete isolation without the company and consolation of her own kind. This is barbarism. I quote to you Saint Aelred of Rievaulx,

What forest bears but a single tree? Even in inanimate nature a certain love of companionship, so to speak, is apparent and thrives in society with its own kind. And surely in animate life who cannot easily see how clearly the picture of friendship is, and the image of society and love? For, although in other respects animals are rated irrational, yet they imitate man in this regard to such an extent that we believe they act with reason. How they run after one another, play with one another and betray their love by sound and movement. So eagerly do they enjoy their mutual company, that they seem to prize nothing else so much as they do whatever pertains to friendship.” (De Spirituali Amicitia 1164-67.)

Our Church has many times spoke out against materialism. But is it not a materialism of the cruelest sort to debase living, sentient creatures, lovingly made by our Common to Creator, to the level of inanimate objects, which yet remain alive if only to feel anguish? Mali is reportedly so lonely she tries to hug and caress her own tail.

Animal rights groups are willing to take Mali to a sanctuary where she can live the remainder of her days among her own kind and taste, if only for a short while, the joys God intended for her. But zoo officials refuse to release her. In naked contravention of Art. VII, § 2415 of the Catechism, they want their "object" for people to gawk at for a fee.

We are commanded to revere the least among us and to rescue the helpless. I implore you to speak out on Mali's behalf. It would be such a small thing for you to do that could have a saving impact.