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Monday, December 26, 2016

Til the Black Maria's Roll

We'll deal with it my friend...
...til the Black Marias roll
We'll be together til the end
Til they take us where we go.
 
The mob shouted! The mob clamored!
Like wolves shouting for a leader!
To lead them into the promised land
They wanted blood to spill
For their Trumpenführer's enemies they wanted ill
and heads to roll!
 
Now he struts and gesticulates like a bantam cock
With hair that dances like an orange sock.
And tiny hands
The wolves can agree only one thing
That he is their fearless leader.
It saves him from becoming chicken stock.
 
My friends say to each other "we'll petition and fight!"
We'll fight this evil and set things right!
Yes we'll march and demonstrate til the Black Marias Roll
We'll march and demonstrate til the Black Marias roll
 
refrain:
Til the Black Maria's roll my friend
Til the black Maria's roll.
We'll fight together until the end
Til the Black Maria's Roll
 
They made him their leader, this bantam Rooster!
His chin thrust out, the crowd gives a shout!
And he is our new fearless leader!
The soldiers march and the cheerleaders cheer
And the crowds are so happy,
their new leader is here!
"We'll make America Great Again!
 
The crowds shout out Jail her!
They shout for blood!
They'll make our country great again!
But the corrupt status quo must go!
We'll make our country hate again!
And all who oppose us must go!
 
refrain
 
And only his mob are allowed to cast a ballot!
He shouts; "the election is rigged"
and he makes sure it is!
The ballots are stuffed!
Her voters are cuffed.
Her voters are not allowed to vote!
 
refrain
 
The votes are in, he won the election!
Though more votes were cast for her!
If her voters hadn't been allowed to cast a vote!
then he'd have won by a landslide!
The votes are in, he won the election!
Though the reality was his win was a selection!
And his wolves have won by stealing the election!
"We'll Make America Great Again!"
 
refrain
 
He appoints Generals to his staff
He warns all who criticize him not to laugh
He blusters and threatens and warns and tells the world
America should be afraid!
"And I'm the only one who can save it.
And they swear him in.
 
refrain
 
He will build a wall, he says, he does.
What he doesn't tell us
is the wall is to keep us in.
He says he'll do something about Muslims, terrorism and fear.
What he doesn't tell us that he needs that terrorism and fear
to keep fearful people following him.
Fear makes people afraid.
And so the black Maria's roll
 
refrain:
 
Now the Black Marias are rolling my friend!
They are rolling across the country!
Picking up Immigrants, Muslims, Women and Children
Filling the black Maria's in the night.
and taking them to black sites
never again to be seen.
 
refrain
 
They follow that registry down to the last name.
They pick them up based on suspicion and secret evidence.
And once they have them they are never the same
Because of where the black Marias Go.
 
refrain
 
Wearing a hood, til the questioning begins.
Every kind of torture, no recourse, no trial
And we are so efficient, no mass graves.
Just never to be found.
It started with Muslims and Latino immigrants.
But soon lefties, dissidents and reporters too
They'd pay a bounty for each crew
Based on how many people they'd take.
So this became a business
Driving the Black Maria Crews.
 
refrain
 
So we march and demonstrate
We call for a new vote and file protests in court
And the officials laugh at us and take our names.
And dismiss our efforts as silly games
At least in public, but our name hits their list
 
refrain
 
When the black Maria's roll
we'll make our stand
behind barricades hand in hand
We'll endure bullets and bombs
And we'll be together til the end
til they take us where they go.

Christopher H. Holte, 12/26/2016

I pray this is not prophetic.

 

When Humans Act like Dogs (1/19/2017)

 

It's going to be a dark night
I dread the setting sun.
A winter coming of dread & fear
A Hot summer of sirens & doors knocked down
 
I can't understand humans
When we people act like dogs
When we gather in packs
tear victims to shreds.
& fight over scraps.
 
But I'd rather be a human
Then act like a pig.
I won't wallow in the muddy swamp
Or let fear keep me down.
 
I'll soldier on
Til the dawn of morning light
And I'll sigh in relief
When people are humans again

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Rogue One: The Real New Hope

The new movie "Rogue one", is a "prequil" to the first Star Wars Movie ever made. And a fitting follow up to the third movie in the series. I can see why the Right Wing proto totalitarians hate the movie Rogue one. It talks about things not in fashion anymore. It is worth seeing folks!

If you haven't seen it yet, then stop here and go see it.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Solstice

The good news
Is today's our darkest day
& tomorrow will be easier
& light a little more.
Without the dark
There'd be no definition
Of good.

Christopher H. Holte, 12/21/2016

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Fan

I met a fan
I did not know I had.
 
She came to me
while I was sleeping
She told me she loved my poems
and works
And that they were very much worth keeping
 
She was all light and smiles
And told me how
My darkest poems had inspired her!
And she sent her baby
To where i lay
It walked over to me!
What a smile!
All lights and shines!
it lit up my soul!
 
The future is in such hands.
I held her for a moment
She smiled back up to me
Then I sent her back to her mother!
And they were gone.
 
I heard her in my heart.
We can do it if we try
We can transform this land
 
Indeed there are angels within, among us! Us!
We have to shine hope
We have to shine love.
We can learn to understand
Hope can spread through out this land
We have to be angels
To those we love.
 
That vision of that baby's smile
Is warmth that won't fade
I think it will warm us for a while
 
And that baby I saw
Will grow to a woman
Who, like her mother,
Will do wonderful things
With her smile.
Life won't be defeated
If we choose life!

Christopher Hartly Holte

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Implementing Democratic Subsidiarity

To make our system more successful we need to apply principles of Democratic Subsidiarity. I add the adjective "democratic" because without democratic features subsidiarity risks becoming a means for affirming updated forms of feudalism. The European Union is running into this problem because they can't agree and are afraid to enforce democratic or even representative principles when applying the principle of subsidiarity.

The notion of Democratic Subsidiarity hails from conservative arguments logically applied to good government:

"Subsidiarity is an organizing principle that matters ought to be handled by the smallest, lowest or least centralized competent authority. Political decisions should be taken at a local level if possible, rather than by a central authority."

Subsidiarity also is a term that hearkens back to Europe's Dark Ages and Feudal System. So beware of simplistic arguments!

In the context of Federations and confederations, this principle has to guide function for the members of a loose Federated government to be willing to join the confederation. However, not all political decisions logically are the jurisdiction of local authority. General decision making has to be a collective function of centralized authority mediated by leadership and some amount of coercive authority or Federations tend to be temporary and fly apart at the first sign of strain. General functions require that both local and central decisions be taken deliberately and with republican and democratic principles respected. Moreover, local functions usually require some sort of General support. For example the European Union created a monetary condominium with central banking managed chaotically under influence of centralized bankers. The result was that local governments weren't subject to rational accounting controls while at the same time the bankers were able to prey on local people and businesses without even the ability to fiscally assist local government. On the contrary local and national governments have been under the rule of compound interest and debt for money that rightfully should have belonged to the people as a whole. Creating the Euro was a good idea. Letting private banks govern it, not so good. Talking about subsidiarity without ordinary controls (regulations and rules) over local spending coupled with government that provides sufficient money to float an economy, is creating government without the tools to even survive.

Thus, Ironically, subsidiarity only works if it also encompasses republican and democratic principles.

  1. Republican principles include representation, separation of powers, and majority rule as a threshold for decision making. Democratic
  2. Democratic principles = governments that involve as many as possible of the ordinary people affected by them (within their jurisdiction).

Without representation consent of Governed of the governed becomes impossible. Countries without strong representative and rule of law principles tend to fly apart when people have minor disagreements and break out into warfare when they have major ones. Subsidiarity is a valid principle for some kinds of decisions and areas of government. Likewise governments without an informed and involved citizenry tend to be governed corruptly and poorly. "Competent authority" requires democratic controls (oversight). Subsidiarity requires both tools, privileges, checks and duties. Subsidiarity is a valid principle, but not by itself and not without that attribute "Democratic" added.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Machine Jeremiah

When the robots replace the Troopers
and Sentinels stand
at every city corner
and throughout all the lands.
 
Then people will fear no robber,
but will come to fear the machines.
For they will have nothing to eat for dinner
But dust and dirt and bile.
 
When floods come to the coastal cities
And droughts to all the plains
And the waters are all polluted
with poisons, oil and toxic fumes.
 
Then people will find no end to hunger
But disease, rot and stench
And the wealthy will retire to their bunkers
til it is their turn to die.
 
When the Machines replace the Troopers
Then the Cylons will go on the march
And mankind may disappear in fumes of Sulfur
Clothed skeletons unburied in the dust.
 
Then the skeletons of misers
will mingle with those of paupers
And the machines will bury themselves
and no life remain anywhere.
 
But Cold Sentinels will stand
dangling purple threads.
At the corners throughout the land
With Rusting computer voices
Gravelly and forgotten yet still remain.
To tell the winds our lives were in vain.
 

Christopher H. Holte 12/8/2016

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Promises to keep

All I had to do
Was keep a promise to you
And that is what I did
For your kid.
 
Time went on by
He learned how to fly
And then off he flew
In the sky
 
Now all I have to do
Is to keep a promise to you
To think of you each day
In the time that remains.
 
Time like sand
Sometimes more like a razor
To cut off a strand
Of something we love
 
Are we kidding ourselves
Do our loves really wait for us
At the end of our time
When our light grows dim?
 
Or is there some reality
Certainly not this one.
Where angels await us
Swimming in the light?
 
Or is it true
That the only thing waiting for us
Is a quiet shadow
That turns out the night.
 
It's all I can do
To soldier on through
Put one foot in front of the other
Til I can walk no more.
 
And when my labors are over
And the aches are too much
I lay myself down
And pray myself to sleep.

Christopher H. Holte

The poem contains an homage to Robert Frost and one of my favorite poems:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poems-and-poets/poems/detail/42891

Saturday, December 3, 2016

The Trumpster dumps Lee Atwater's Advice

Back in June (16, 2016) I was listening to a GOP TV spin doctor explaining how Donald Trump's racist, xenophobic and inflammatory language is actually a Good Thing!. I can't recall which Channel it was or which Spin Doctor (there were a lot of them) but as I expected this lead trial balloon actually flew among the Righties and the GOP manipulators who go along with this sort of thing. Trump's leadership fit the EMAD profile! Altemeyer was writing about this years ago. All that was missing from the list of features of a Fascist movement was the fearless leader and Brownshirts. Trump provided the fearless leader our many fascists were looking for!

Trump's call to Taiwan is an example of him behaving like Fascist leaders in the past.

Thursday, December 1, 2016

Democratic Capitalism and it's Discontents -- Review of Brian C. Anderson's book

Attack of the Pseudo Intellectual

Been reading "Capitalism and it's Discontents". I literally disagree with 90% of the author's opinions. But his facts are fascinating even if I find myself drawing opposite conclusions from many of them. The book is worth a critical read.

Critique of Empires

I found myself agreeing with his critique of the book "Empire" by Hardt and Negri, while failing to be convinced by his defense of globalization. The fact is that Negri and Hardt are right when they talk about globalization causing misery. The misery of globalization is blowback from how it occurs. Not the fact that it occurs. At the same time he is right that we don't need to eradicate "private property", celebrate revolutionary violence, whitewash any form of totalitarianism, nor pour contempt on our more democratic republican societies. By not doing a real analysis of what Negri and Hardt says, and dismissing it with a similar kind of contempt to that he sees in their writings -- he sets up the rest of his book as an attack on the same societies that Negri and Hardt attack -- but from the other direction.

An Uncivil attack on States Serving their people

But then after critiquing Negri's attack on the modern world from the left, his next chapter "From State to Civil Society" he tries to level a similar attack on social welfare. He celebrates economic dysfunction, "pour[s] contempt" on "the state" (using the term "statist") to describe social services and ignores the impact of the things that Negri and Hardt rightly described thus whitewashing the impact of laissez faire capitalism.

Misrepresenting Subsidiarity

He also deliberately misrepresents the concept of subsidiarity, using it as a classic strawman. He quotes John Paul II's Centessimus Annus and then claims that:

"These problems flow from the welfare state's violation of the classic Catholic principle of subsidiarity."

He goes on to define the problem:

"a community of a higher order should not interfere in the internal life of a community of a lower order, depriving the later of its functions, but rather should support it in case of need and help it coordinate its activity with the rest of society, always with a view to the common good."

He then goes on to claim that with subsidiarity "responsibility should rest first with the individual and then in ascending order with those nearest..." "and finally-only as a last resort-the state."

Subsidiarity as Dogma versus prescription for improvements

Thus he states dogma when he could offer suggestions for delivering services more efficiently. He rightly criticizes bureaucratic government and the centralization that makes welfare pernicious. But he fails to recognize that the real problem with social welfare is that modern states, like the Catholic Church itself, by centralizing and hoarding resources deprive local authorities of the resources they needy in order to meet their needs. The modern state deprives local communities of the sorts of decision making authorities and structures -- local government -- that they need in order to meet their own needs. It is precisely because poor neighborhoods are poor that drug addiction, illegitimacy, unemployment and blight ravage neighborhoods. It is precisely because our system robs workers of income, robs wannabe workers of work, and makes it impossible for renters to own their homes or be safe and secure in their persons, that welfare became necessary as a kludge to replace functions that once were done by local parishes and community associations. He blames the victims.

He attacks welfare with all the thoughtless tropes of Right Wing intellectuals. In the process he confuses cause with effect, and deliberately ignores the role of racism, classicism and wealth in setting up the poor to fail. He gives lip service to "self governing adults" -- but that has to be part of the setup of local government. It can't be a tool to bash those living in cities or denied the protection of legislative, judicial and executive representation. Public welfare, should indeed be a responsibility of individuals and local government using the principles of financial and political subsidiarity. But they should be supported and supervised by people representing general government.

Using Jouvenal to attack Democracy

Rather than state his own ideas, Anderson quotes Bertrand de Jouvenal, to blame the enlightenment and democracy itself as the cause of totalitarianism and authoritarianism. Jouvenal was a fascist in the 30's. And that regressive attitude informs Anderson's book and his review of his writings. He identifies "Power" with the "Minotour" of Minoan myth. He claims that western democracies embrasure of dominance, which he dismissed earlier when he criticized "Empire", leads to totalitarianism. He identifies this with the doctrine of the "people" claiming that the problem is the denial of divine lawmaking in favor of human lawmaking. Rule of law with popular sovereignty. And then claims that a loss of "objective standards" leads to a moral relativism, selfishness and an erosion of civil society. In his mind the threat comes from secularization. His book in general discounts the role that authoritarianism exerts in fueling totalitarianism. Jouvenal himself was an authoritarian. His vision of a restored order to society was fascist.

But Anderson soft pedals that side of the story. He is right that demagogues take advantage of the people and stir up mobs in the name of restoring some vision of a utopian past civil order, that usually never existed. But usually the demagogues use religion as a tool and themselves are expert practitioners of the tools of sophism. Persons who are Exploitive, Manipulative have an Amoral orientation and are Manipulative, tend to be perfectly willing to use notions of rule of law and civil behavior to dominate and control mobs from among the masses of people. Both direct democracy, other forms of order and "thick community" may be impossible in our modern world at the level of general government, but they are possible and plausible if governments are organized as federated hierarchies. He is right to identify that "noxious activities" should be prohibited. But Jouvenal, and therefore Anderson, offers a dour analysis, with no prescriptive power. He argues against redistribution without even trying to refute the evils of monopoly and massive inequality he dismissed so readily earlier but admits in his discussion of Jouvenal.

He finishes his book with an effort to resurrect a zombie version of Sartre and concludes his book "we need no ideologies, no programs...but by connecting with our preliberal past..." Oh God, spare me a return to the middle ages! Read this book critically folks.

Sources and Further Readings

Brian C. Anderson: http://www.manhattan-institute.org/expert/brian-c-anderson
https://www.amazon.com/Democratic-Capitalism-Discontents-Brian-Anderson/dp/1933859245