Friday, February 17, 2012

"Congressional Corruption," but I Repeat Myself...

Well, the practitioner of The Religion of Peace who roasted his chestnuts on a Christmas day flight bound for the US was sentenced to life in prison yesterday.

In other news...

Our corrupt congress, having again been caught with it's grimy mitts in the cookie jar, is now taking the brave, heroic step of attempting to pass a sham law to make it appear that elected officials will no longer profit from insider trading...
“The house of representatives…can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as the great mass of society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interest, and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny.”  -- James Madison
Do you feel the bonds that connect you to the imperial DC grandees?  Do you really believe they share with you a "communion of interest, and sympathy of sentiments?" 


John Carey said...

This is nothing more than smoke and mirrors in an election year. Unicorns and rainbows my friend...unicorns and rainbows.

Ducky's here said...

Do you feel the bonds that connect you to the imperial DC grandees?

No, my bonds are strictly municipal. Ihad a few Federal agency bonds but they were called.

Bunkerville said...

Yes, I feel the love.

Infidel de Manahatta said...

I feel a disturbance in the Congressional force.

Nausea, vomiting, anal leakage. I thought I only got those from eating certain brands of potato chips. But now I get the same from acts of congress.

Z said...

The news I just posted, and the post before it, are so troubling that even this information doesn't phase me...
when a country loses objectivity, fairness and respect in its media, there's no much more we can do or say.
"sham"...the American media today.

Ducky's here said...

Well, if a Republican were elected the logos won't have to be changed.

But it's going to be four more nothing years.

Finntann said...

Panem et circenses Ducky, panem et circenses.

Kid said...

Foxes watching the chicken coop. Same ole.

This kind of stuff is insulting. who is going to enforce this btw.

And Insider trading. Take a look at a chart of any stock that puts out blisteringly good news and notice its stock price rise a few days to a couple weeks before hand and then go up even more when the news comes out. Insider Trading? Ya Think? Could the SEC find out who made those trades? You Betcha.

Kid said...

Speaking of insider trading, I watched a few minutes of the Dog Show the other day and it just happened to be when Martha Stewart's dog was being evaluated. So, the camera pans her in the audience. Good Lord, she looked like she hadn't taken a bath or combed her hair for the last two weeks. Seriously...

dmarks said...

Stewart or the dog?

Anonymous said...

Just in case you didn't know or weren't sure:


"Bread and Circuses" (from Latin: panem et circenses) is a metaphor for a superficial means of appeasement.

It was the basic Roman formula for the well-being of the population, and hence a political strategy unto itself.

In the case of politics, the phrase is used to describe the creation of public approval, not through exemplary or excellent public service or public policy, but through diversion, distraction, or the mere satisfaction of the whims and immediate requirements of a populace.

The phrase also implies the erosion or ignorance of civic duty amongst the concerns of the common man.

In modern usage, the phrase has also become an adjective describing a citizenry that no longer values civic virtues and the public life.

To many across the political spectrum, left and right, it connotes a supposed triviality and frivolity that characterized the Roman Republic prior to its decline into decadence.

Good old WIKIPEDIA - a very present help in ignorance.

And doesn't it all sound eerily pertinent to our own abysmal situation?

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

While we're teaching:

What Z meant to say was " ... this information doesn't FAZE me ..."

PHASE is a noun meaning a period or stage of development. It can also be a verb usually in conjunction with the prepositions "out" or "in" -- i.e. We wouldn't want to see awareness of proper English usage phased out of the educational system anymore than we'd want to see the acceptance of sloppy syntax phased in.

FAZE is a verb that means to bother, disturb, disconcert, frighten, daunt, etc.

I made the same mistake myself once -- on a term paper -- and was duly corrected in red pencil, so naturally I've never forgotten.

It should be easy for Z to remember, because of the Z in the middle of f-a-Z-e.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Martha Kostyra Stewart is in her seventies. Give her a break. I can't stand her personality, but I certainly give her credit for building a multi-million-dollar empire that started at her kitchen stove.

If she were a man, we'd either applaud her, or take little notice of her.

The same is true of "Barbra" (Godzilla! How I wish her parents had known how to spell!) Streisand and the late Hotel Queen Leona Helmsley "The Only Palace in the World Where the QUEEN Stands Guard! -- Remember that?).

Funny how these ultra-successful power chicks were able to rise to such great heights by taking full advantage of the Capitalist System, and then devoted themselves to the party pledged to bring about its destruction.

But all the headlines above and the captions below their pictures such as "RHYMES WITH RICH," etc. are sexist in the extreme.

Oh! We are so full of hypocrisy in this society it's a wonder there's room left for anything else.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

As for the topic of Corruption in Government, isn't it time we trotted out the Declaration of Independence again:

... We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights ...

That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to ABOLISH it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles ... as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.

Prudence, indeed, will dictate that governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.

BUT when a long train of abuses and usurpations ... evinces a design to reduce them under absolute DESPOTISM, it is their right, it is their duty, to THROW OFF such government, and to provide new guards for their future security.

From The Declaration of Independence (edited, truncated, with emphasis added)

Take good long look at that third paragraph and then at the fifth.

"What signify a few lives lost in a century or two? The tree of liberty must be refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure."

~ Thomas Jefferson

Dat ol' Jeffuhsun! Hee da MAN.

~ FreeThinke

Always On Watch said...

Damned politicians.

Ever shilling for votes and not giving a tiddler's damn about fulfilling their role as elected public SERVANTS.

Anonymous said...

We need to remind ourselves that life is a lot bigger and more significant than politics.

What do we love and most easily remember when we look back at history?

It's the Art, the Architecture, the Music, the Literature, the Poetry, the Handicrafts, the Philosophy and the advance of Science, Engineering, Medicine and Technology.

We take note too of battles lost and won, territory gained and lost, etc. And so we may remember the great military leaders who changed the face of the globe and the course of history -- for good OR ill.

Latterly we focus too much attention on the atrocities, inequities and injustices, and that has caused us to downplay, ignore or even exclude the really important things that made Civilization flourish.

What we rarely remember are the POLITICIANS, who are, perhaps, a necessary evil, but an evil just the same.

~ FreeThinke

Jim at Conservatives on Fire said...

The political elite have been gaming the ignorant masses from day one.

Anonymous said...

By the way, if you'd like a change of pace from the ulcer-inducing subject of current events and national politics, AOW has posted a marvelous video that shows dozens of portraits of women made over a FIVE-HUNDRED YEAR period. They all appear in continuous motion accompanied by wonderful music.

The video only lasts about five-minutes, but if you're anything like me, you'll want to watch it again and again. It's beautiful and almost hypnotic.

It's fun too to try to identify the pictures and the artists as the images blend sinuously into and out of one another.

~ FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Here's the link to AOW's blog:

~ FT

Anonymous said...

Chew on this for a while:

"In general the art of government consists in taking as much money as possible from one class of citizens to give to the other."

~ Voltaire (1694-1778)

See? This stuff has been going on for a LONG time. And still the human race carries on from century to century traipsing through one set of disasters after another.

If you're discouraged about our present situation read about the hardship endured and the challenges met by the early settlers, read about the cost of the Revolution that established us as "a new nation conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal." Read about the the travails endured by the pioneers who settled the West. Read about the horror that was the Civil War. The revisit the events of WWI, the Great Depression and WWII.

If we survived all of THAT, and still managed to grow and prosper, I have feeling we can survive our current problems too.

It's NEVER been easy. Freedom is not free. It requires eternal vigilance to maintain it.

Don't let the naysayers, the backbiters, the cynics, the scoffers and the sneerers take over your mind and dampen your spirits.

They may not realize it, but they are the Servants of Satan.

Whatever you do, don't let the bastards get you down.

~ FreeThinke

Always On Watch said...

We need to remind ourselves that life is a lot bigger and more significant than politics.


I've found that if I don't take "breaks" from thinking about and talking about politics that I lose all enjoyment of life.

For a long time after 9/11, I lost all interest in playing the piano. Now, some of that lack of interest after the car accident I had in 2005 was directly caused by pain and, from 2007 on, that lack of enjoyment of music can be attributed to one of the side effects of gapapentin (medication for lower back pain). However, the pain and the medication are not the entire cause.

Life is short. We should fulfill our obligations good citizens, but that obligation must not take over our lives.

Anonymous said...


"A new study by the Heritage Foundation shows that dependence on federal benefits has reached an all-time high under President Obama. The study says that during Obama’s first two years in office, dependency on federal programs jumped 23% -- the biggest two-year increase since Jimmy Carter. Incredibly, sixty-seven million Americans now receive government benefits.

"The United States reached another milestone in 2010: for the first time in history, half the population pays no federal income taxes, according to the study."

Find the article at:

Submitted by FreeThinke

Anonymous said...

Sorry, AOW, I posted that link to those depressing statistics before I read your last post.

Well, we do need to keep informed, but even more not to let our concern about the state of the nation become a morbid preoccupation.

Serious music is not for everyone, I suppose, but for me it is one of few vital ingredients that make life worth living.

The truly great achievements of the very few have never made me envious -- they encourage the desire -- and strengthen the will -- to carry on.

I love the warmth and affection in many of the lyrics written by Oscar Hammerstein II. His work may be considered "light entertainment," but it has an endearing quality that's full wisdom and respect for the joys that may be found in ordinary, everyday life -- especially home and family.

"Happy talk! Keep talkin' happy talk.
Talk about things you like to do.
If you don't have a dream,
How you gonna make a dream come true?

"Talk about the moon floating in the sky
Lookin' like a lily on a lake
Talk about a bird singing way up high
Makin' all the music he can make.

"Happy talk! Keep talkin' happy talk.
Talk about things you like to do.
If you don't have a dream,
How you gonna make a dream come true?

"Talk about the boy sayin' to the girl,
'Golly baby I'm a lucky cuss'
Talk about the girl sayin' to the boy,
'You an' me is lucky to be us.'

"Happy talk! Keep talkin' happy talk.
Talk about things you like to do.
If you don't have a dream,
How you gonna make a dream come true?"

~ from South Pacific (1949)

Not a great melody. No significant elements of harmony and counterpoint. No prodigious development. No expansion of "form." Just a little ditty really, but as I grow older the words take on more and more significance.

I hope I quoted them accurately. Memory may fade as time goes by, but love grows stronger.

The affection and loyalty we hold in our hearts are all that matter, AOW, not our travails.

No matter what, never let go of your hopes and dreams.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

2freethinker -- Latterly we focus too much attention on the atrocities, inequities and injustices, and that has caused us to downplay, ignore or even exclude the really important things that made Civilization flourish.

'we'? You speak for the marginalized?

Children of Our Age

We are children of our age,
it's a political age.

All day long, all through the night,
all affairs--yours, ours, theirs--
are political affairs.

Whether you like it or not,
your genes have a political past,
your skin, a political cast,
your eyes, a political slant.

Whatever you say reverberates,
whatever you don't say speaks for itself.
So either way you're talking politics.

Even when you take to the woods,
you're taking political steps
on political grounds.

Apolitical poems are also political,
and above us shines a moon
no longer purely lunar.
To be or not to be, that is the question.
And though it troubles the digestion
it's a question, as always, of politics.

To acquire a political meaning
you don't even have to be human.
Raw material will do,
or protein feed, or crude oil,

or a conference table whose shape
was quarreled over for months;
Should we arbitrate life and death
at a round table or a square one?

Meanwhile, people perished,
animals died,
houses burned,
and the fields ran wild
just as in times immemorial
and less political.

--Wislawa Szymborska

Anonymous said...

Ah, dearest Ducky!

We can always depend on you to present us with something ineffably dreary calculated to drag our spirits down into the Slough of Despondency, or pull us up with cruel talons to the Aeries of Anger and Anxiety -- places in which you, apparently, prefer to dwell -- all the while reminding us of your fabled three-million dollar net worth, your hunting lodge in Maine, where you keep your guns, and your $900.00 camera lens, et al.

How ardently you've embraced the hoary old Marxist-Progressivist notion that the noblest calling a Man of Means could possibly pursue -- if by some remote chance he be possessed of a conscience and a heart -- would be to Afflict the Comfortable while Comforting the Afflicted!

The stench of bullshit is unmistakable to discerning olfactory nerves, dear fellow. Unmistakable!

Your Polish Empress is not only parading around stark naked, she has a pale, flaccid, pathetically undernourished body and sagging tits.

If you don't have it, you shouldn't flaunt it.

~ FreeThinke

Ducky's here said...

She died recently Freethinker. Nobel Prize winner. The Poles were sweeping the Nobel in poetry to such and extent that they didn't give it to Zbigniew Herbert even though he deserved it.

I don't have a home in Maine. I have only one home, in a very working class area bordering Boston.

I have an expensive lens because I know how to use it.

Ducky's here said...

Speaking of uplifting, Freethinker:

The Envoy of Mr Cogito

Go where those others went to the dark boundary
for the golden fleece of nothingness your last prize

go upright among those who are on their knees
among those with their backs turned and those toppled in the dust

you were saved not in order to live
you have little time you must give testimony

be courageous when the mind deceives you be courageous
in the final account only this is important

and let your helpless Anger be like the sea
whenever your hear the voice of the insulted and beaten

let you sister Scorn not leave you
for the informers executioners cowards - they will win
they will go to your funeral with relief will throw a lump of earth
the woodborer will write your smoothed-over biography

and do not forgive truly it is not in your power
to forgive in the name of those betrayed at dawn

beware however of unnecessary pride
keep looking at your clown's face in the mirror
repeat: I was called - weren't there better ones than I

beware of dryness of heart love the morning spring
the bird with an unknown name the winter oak
light on a wall the splendour of the sky
they don't need your warm breath
they are there to say: no one will console you

be vigilant - when the light on the mountains gives the sign- arise and go
as long as blood turns in the breast your dark star

repeat old incantations of humanity fables and legends
because this is how you will attain the good you will not attain
repeat great words repeat them stubbornly
like those crossing the desert who perished in the sand

and they will reward you with what they have at hand
with the whip of laughter with murder on a garbage heap

go because only in this way you will be admitted to the company of cold skulls
to the company of your ancestors: Gilgamesh Hector Roland
the defenders of the kingdom without limit and the city of ashes

Be faithful Go

Zbigniew Herbert

Anonymous said...

I must take one thing back, Ducky.

I took a quick look, and saw right away that Szymborska was very beautiful -- especially in old age.

The Nobel Prize, however, has been so obviously politicized for so long now I have little respect for it as measure of excellence in any field with the possible exceptions of Math, Science, Engineering and Medicine -- and even there the possibility of agenda-driven judgment is very great in this hideous, overly politicized world.

Szymborska was right about that -- but it's only because ideological operatives have MADE it so. It needn't be that way -- and was not always.

I do understand by the way, given the tragic history of perpetually beleaguered Poland how her representative "voices" would tend to be dark and dolorous.

I just don't want the dismal, tragic view of Europe's strife-torn legacy to invade and conquer my consciousness.

~ FT

Anonymous said...

How in the world could a POLE get a surname like HERBERT?

I wonder also why he chooses to omit capitalization and punctuation. Such "modern" practices lost their "shock effect" soon after we used to ee cummings, and frankly it is much more difficult to read and comprehend a piece sans punctuation than with -- not that I can't. But why put up barriers that daunt readers and obscure your message?

I suppose you might say the obfuscation is part OF the message? Maybe.

BTW, though I am attracted to either, the Herbert piece seems more successful as poetry than the Szymborska.

Where the Uplift might be in either, however, I can't discern.

Yes there are deep, dark Pits of Shit all over the world -- always have been -- always will be -- but why WALLOW in them?

~ FT

Anonymous said...

Grief and Tragedy in literature may be experienced most poignantly when illustrated at the personal level. Trying to elicit empathy for whole nations, ethnic groups, religious entities, or impersonal factions within society such as Labor, Women, Negroes, Indians, Cripples, Gays, Soldiers, etc. always seems more polemical than poetic.

If you really want to be reminded of how hideous life can sometimes be, try this:


The buzz-saw snarled and rattled in the yard
And made dust and dropped stove-length sticks of wood,
Sweet-scented stuff when the breeze drew across it.
And from there those that lifted eyes could count
Five mountain ranges one behind the other
Under the sunset far into Vermont.
And the saw snarled and rattled, snarled and rattled,
As it ran light, or had to bear a load.
And nothing happened: day was all but done.
Call it a day, I wish they might have said
To please the boy by giving him the half hour
That a boy counts so much when saved from work.
His sister stood beside them in her apron
To tell them "Supper." At the word, the saw,
As if to prove saws knew what supper meant,
Leaped out at the boy's hand, or seemed to leap—
He must have given the hand. However it was,
Neither refused the meeting. But the hand!
The boy's first outcry was a rueful laugh,
As he swung toward them holding up the hand
Half in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling. Then the boy saw all—
Since he was old enough to know, big boy
Doing a man's work, though a child at heart—
He saw all spoiled. "Don't let him cut my hand off—
The doctor, when he comes. Don't let him, sister!"
So. But the hand was gone already.
The doctor put him in the dark of ether.
He lay and puffed his lips out with his breath.
And then—the watcher at his pulse took fright.
No one believed. They listened at his heart.
Little—less—nothing!—and that ended it.
No more to build on there. And they, since they
Were not the one dead, turned to their affairs.

~ Robert Frost

Now that generates tears and rouses Compassion into life from its normal bed of complacency. It may be sad, but it ought never to be described as dismal or dreary. That's because it doesn't attempt to preach, or teach, or scold, or cause moral outrage.

~ FreeThinke

Always On Watch said...

That particular Frost poem offers the ugly reality. It is up to the reader to decide what to do with that knowledge.


Such accidents are the reality in a rural society. Tools are indeed dangerous!

Something my father spoke of, but in a matter-of-fact manner and only when somebody asked him about it....

One of my uncle's by marriage died in the 1920s when he fell from a truck or wagon; his head was completely crushed.

The family grieved, but didn't wallow in the grief. They accepted the reality and moved on, knowing that something similar could happen to any of them and with the full recognition of mortality for all. And the little town took care of the widow and her children.

In our so-called communities today, we are pretty much alone. That's progress?

Anonymous said...

"And the little town took care of the widow and her children."

Thank you for that, AOW. Instead of creating a public outcry, and demanding that congress pass restrictive legislation -- or suing to obtain punitive damages -- against the manufacturers of power tools or trucks or wagons -- or empolyers -- "the little town took care of the widow and her children."

There was a kind of beauty in that old-fashioned hands-on acceptance of responsibility -- a quiet demonstration of Love in action. There is no beauty -- and no Love whatsoever -- in the machinations of liberals to right all wrongs through political activism.

Political activism has supplanted Love and Compassion with generic, broadly focused anger, resentment, derision and a vicious determination to seek and get revenge.

Revenge against whom? Revenge against what?

Life? God? Society? Fate?

Much better when "the little town [simply] took care of the widow and her children" -- as well as they could.

~ FreeThinke

dmarks said...

That comment doesn't phase me either.

Anonymous said...


Are you either blind or incapable of learning?

The word you want is FAZE not PHASE.

The two homonyms have entirely different meanings -- as I took considerable pains to illustrate above.

Arrogant, prideful ignorance is one of the most annoying of all human failings.

~ FreeThinke