September 30, 2004

Battling a Generation of Dunces

THIS WAS ONE OF THOSE days when reading the news had all the appeal of drinking from a stagnant pond, water-skaters, tadpoles, dead toads and all. Typically, when I scan the sites I visit several times each 24 hours, I’m looking for reports that have been mistakenly downplayed (or deliberately minimized) by the mainstream media and upon which I can therefore build a presumably useful and revealing commentary – something that accurately portrays some facet of the human condition in the fourth year of the 21st Century. Yesterday’s UCMJ outrage, by the way, is a fine example of a news item that embodies all those qualities, and on what I consider a “good day,” there will be several such stories to choose from.

But as the election approaches, it seems to me we are drifting ever further into a poverty of real news. A large part of the problem is the mind-numbing extent to which the mainstream media these days focuses entirely too much on personalities even as it excludes exploration of the issues in the presidential campaign – one of which is surely the fact that neither candidate seems willing to go much beyond speaking in generalities. But maybe that is precisely because generalities – easy generalities at that – are the only information the journalists of today are able to convey, whether in print or via broadcast.

I suspect the generalities-only limitation is probably even more widespread than I recognize, partly because – again this is only a suspicion – the reporters and editors for whom it is an unacknowledged rule of craft (or anti-craft) are themselves too under-educated to compare their own work with other examples from other times. The notion that Herodotus or Caesar or Tacitus (or even Shakespeare or Hemingway) might be relevant to modern journalism is dismissed with arrogant jeers. Such is the legacy of “journalism school”: a generation of dunces who have no idea how to evaluate their work in the context of the qualitative dialogue that has gone on amongst all serious writers – journalists included – down through the ages. Most of today’s reporters and editors are so thoroughly brainwashed by “personal-is-political” deconstruction of intellectual standards now foolishly denounced as “patriarchal,” I fear they have become the equivalent of mute singers, blind photographers and deaf musicians, and their output is as accidently foretold by the Bard himself: tales “ told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

Hence – a development future generations will no doubt list among the proofs of divine benevolence – the advent of blogs. And one the very best of these is Belmont Club, which here undertakes precisely the sort of reality-check our newspapers formerly did so well, but our massively misguided media monopolies have now abandoned as insufficiently profitable: an overview of Islamic terrorism, with particular attention paid to its abnormal sociology and criminal ethos. If you read nothing else today, read this. Wretchard has outdone himself. The darkness imposed by a generation of dunces may yet be routed by the light.


Curiously, with all the mainstream media’s focus on personalities, there are nevertheless few stories that seem to capture the essence of the people they describe: another symptom of the frustrating shallowness of the present-day Fourth Estate. But here is a short, not-very-well- written item that I think nevertheless captures a truth about the President – especially about why he is so well liked. It is hard to imagine Kerry letting anyone come this close, much less responding as Bush did. And whatever the motive -- even if Bush was prompted by the most cynical sort of political calculation (which I frankly doubt) – there is no question he brightened a little girl’s day as nothing else on earth possibly could. I post this link here because I think this is a portrait of the real George W. Bush: what sort of man he is, and what sort of substance he’s made of.

Posted by Loren at 07:25 AM | Comments (0)

September 29, 2004

Miscellaneous Idiocies

I DIDN’T HAVE TIME to research it until today, but just about the most breathtakingly idiotic proposal I have ever heard of surfaced in the news yesterday: a plan by the Department of Defense to change the Uniform Code of Military Justice so that it is a court-martial offense – a serious crime – for U.S. military men to hire prostitutes. The defense department’s intention was reported in a United Press International story, which indicated that a considerable controversy has arisen over the measure and is being covered extensively by Stars and Stripes, the quasi-official U.S. Army newspaper, even as the mainstream American media ignores it.

Googling “ucmj changes” reveals the revision is another product of the same Christian Fundamentalist/radical feminist collaboration that has inflicted on the America public several “anti-pornography” ordinances so maliciously tyrannical that even sympathetic courts have rejected them as unconstitutional. Feminist involvement also probably explains why the homeland media has censored the story, since once it becomes widely known, it is likely to trigger a nearly universal outpouring of vehement protest from the medical community.

Here a bit of history is in order. Prior to World War II, American soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen infected with venereal diseases faced automatic court martial. But with the advent of more enlightened attitudes and better medicine, the military eventually realized that its policy was actually worsening the VD problem. Military men who caught the clap or some more dreadful form of VD went to great lengths to keep it secret, seeking treatment outside the armed services and frequently becoming the victims of quacks. Worse, many such men sought no treatment at all, preferring to endure their ever-worsening symptoms in silence. But with the change in regulations, the barriers to obtaining proper care were removed, and VD cases declined accordingly.

(I just realized that, typical of a man my age, I am using obsolete terminology. Today’s synonym for VD is “STD” – “sexually transmitted disease.")

The outrageous idiocy of the defense department’s proposal is that it will of course force history to repeat itself. Military men are not altar boys or monks and they should not be required to behave as if they are. Soldiers and their counterparts in the other services often patrol the border between life and death and thus frequently seek sexual pleasure wherever and whenever they can find it; typically this means going “down to the vil” to some place with a name like “the House of the Blue Door” and hiring one of the young women who dwell and work within. The better classes of such places try very hard to protect their customers from VD. But if a military man should be unlucky and catch an STD, enactment of this new regulation will fling him back into the pre-World-War-II era: facing court martial, he will once again seek treatment outside the service, or from some quack, or in fear opt to do nothing save literally “pissing and moaning” (the original source of the phrase). The STD count will again soar. Cases of gonorrhea, syphilis and AIDS will spiral. Deaths will increase accordingly.

All this because of the Christian Fundamentalists in the Bush Administration -- who like Christian Fundamentalists everywhere despise any expression of sexuality whatsoever and therefore have made common cause with radical feminists who would prohibit all expression of male sexuality. Together they have formed an unholy alliance that is already reaching into every American military barracks on the planet. The mainstream media, thoroughly feminized since the 1980s, is helping by its silence. Verily, I cannot doubt that – unless it is stopped – this dreadful coalition of Christofascists and matrifascists will be reaching into all our own bedrooms next.

The UPI story is here. Detailed minutes of a Congressional hearing on the UCMJ change are available here (scroll down to September 21), followed by a link to a Christian Fundamentalist report on the measure here. Were this not so deadly serious, I could almost dismiss it as an election-year dirty trick by some closeted defense department DemocRat, a ploy to erode the military’s overwhelming support for President Bush. (Thanks to for the UPI story.)


MORE ELECTION-YEAR STUPIDITY was reported by Steve Gilbert of American Thinker, who notes correctly it was Congressional Democrats, not Republicans, who introduced the legislation to resurrect the military draft, and the Kerry Campaign that proposed universal national service starting in high school. The American Thinker link is here. The Kerry proposal has been taken down from the official campaign website – obviously to hide the evidence even as Kerry attempts to revise recent history to pin a rapidly spreading draft-resurrection rumor on President Bush and the Bush Administration in general. But the Kerry material is cached in Google and is available both here or through the Thinker piece. You cannot but wonder if the new DNC tactical director is Mortimer Snurd.

On the same general topic, hats off to Michelle Malkin for noting a update from last night: Rather is at it again, once more doing his Jayson Blair act, this time in furtherance of the Kerry campaign’s spurious claims about the draft. Here’s the link to Malkin’s blog, through which you can access the latest RatherBiased. Or you can go there directly via this.

Incidentally, I agree with Kerry that we should restore national service, and I especially like his notion of starting the preparation for it in high school. I believe we all owe our nation some form of service, and I believe it would be very good for national morale and national morals if that principle were once again officially recognized. But that is a discussion for another time – I promise. And none of Kerry’s proposals (I support his anti-outsourcing measures too) are sufficient to win my vote: they are all outweighed by his oft-stated intention to shrink the war against terrorist Islam back to a matter of law enforcement and diplomacy -- a strategy that offers about as much potential for success as calling out the French national police to stop Hitler’s Wehrmacht.

Posted by Loren at 04:54 AM | Comments (1)

September 28, 2004

New Policy on Muslims?

IF YOU READ NOTHING else about the war today, read the Asia Times columnist who goes by the name of Spengler: he has apparently scooped the world on an unannounced Bush Administration decision to at long last abandon political “correctness” and get tough on Muslim communities for their sullen countenancing of terrorism. If Spengler is right, it means the administration – or at least part of it – has finally awakened to the post-9/11 reality that pandering to Islamic victim-identity cultism hinders the war effort. The administration’s pandering-policy, apparently the result of a combination of factors – among them the anti-Second Amendment bias of Tom Ridge and Norm Mineta plus Grover Norquist’s curious belief that kindness might convince Muslims to vote Republican – has become increasingly controversial. It was undoubtedly behind the airline outrages reported by Annie Jacobsen of Women’sWallStreet (in which Arab “musicians” deliberately terrified the passengers on a Northwest Airlines flight but were freed without penalty by the feds), and it is almost certainly why Bush has allowed Mineta and Ridge to sabotage the armed pilots program and let Mineta steadfastly obstruct the vital security measure of profiling. But Spengler thinks a new day has dawned. I’m not so sure; I think the armed pilots program and profiling (or lack thereof) are the most accurate measurements of the administration’s determination, and until the obstructionism stops, I will remain skeptical. Spengler, however, is convinced, and his analysis is available here. I surely hope he is right.

Posted by Loren at 03:10 AM | Comments (0)

September 27, 2004

By Way of Introduction

This site is a journal of political, philosophical and psychological evolution, a work-in-progress by an old, impoverished and therefore presumably cast-off man. I write with a unique perspective that combines the reactions of a Manhattanite (I am a New Yorker by birth) with the perceptions of one who has learned to be at home in deep country -- this plus the recognition that today I am as likely to be hatefully denounced for my rejection of ideological conformity as I was despised in childhood for my divorced parents (and thus damned as white trash) by the Southerners among whom I involuntarily spent most of my school years. Nevertheless I remain proudly defiant, recognizing that -- in this time and place no less than in the South to which I was taken during boyhood -- survival itself is a revolutionary act.


A once-productive journalist with a 28-year employment record that began in my teens and was interrupted only by a three-year Regular Army enlistment, I became temporarily disabled during the mid-1980s and eventually -- unable to work -- had no choice but to go on welfare, this to finance the continuation of treatment that was gradually but nevertheless steadily relieving my disability. But the welfare bureaucracy -- acting under gender quotas unofficially imposed by its radical-feminist policymakers -- not only terminated my treatment but denied me any other services that might have helped me return to the workforce. Recognizing what was being done to me and why, I protested, but my protests engendered nothing but malicious retaliation: my diagnosis was arbitrarily changed to proclaim me permanently unemployable and in 1989 I was thus ousted forever from the workforce -- forced onto Social Security 16 years before my anticipated retirement date. With the official verdict of permanent unemployability dooming any future quest for work and my pension thus prematurely closed to additional earnings and frozen in its shrunken state, I was condemned to live the rest of my years in inescapable and worsening poverty.

In short I was destroyed: not by any folly of my own, but by the institutionalized antagonism of the politically correct bureaucrats upon whom I had been forced to rely in a moment of dire need.

And in my anguish and bitterness I rejected the definitively left-leaning values that until then had governed my life: for were these not the selfsame values by which my destroyers -- had they cared enough to think about it at all -- would have smugly rationalized my destruction?

Thus from 1988 until 2004 I voted Republican in revenge, and for a time (2001-2004) I publicly defined myself variously as a libertarian conservative or a neo-conservative -- a former leftist who saw the impossibility of resolving the self-destructive contradictions of socialism -- especially since it was one of those contradictions that flung me forever into the cesspoool of hopeless poverty merely to punish me for being born male.

Eventually though I was forced to confront the self-destructive absurdity of vote-Republican vengefulness: people like myself who vote Republican are voting not only against our own economic interest but now -- in the age of euphemistic genocide (whether in post-Katrina New Orleans or via the DemoPublican Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Lord Benefit), we are casting ballots for our own extinction as well: truly, it is as simple as that.

But I still cannot not ever again bring myself to vote enthusiastically for Democrats, whose party has not only spat in the faces of all working Americans by its support for the job-thievery and paycheck-shrinkage of outsourcing, but has never abandoned its fanatical intent to impose forcible disarmament on civilian America -- first (and as adeptly as any Republican) stealing our jobs, next denying us our only means of self-defense, pivotal issues of survival whether one lives in country or city. Nevertheless in 2006 I voted straight Democratic, even casting my ballot for Sen. Maria Cantwell, an avowed and venomously hysterical anti-gunowner fanatic. Though in Cantwells case it was nothing more than a gamble -- she is as pro-outsourcing and anti-labor as any corporate GOPorker including her Republican opponent -- but the worsening economic despair I see all around me left me no choice but to hope for the best even as I anticipate the worst.

Which brings me to the ugly and perhaps terminal truth of the American political experiment: the fact that the two major parties have each become class-specific: the Republicans represent only the plutocracy -- the fat-cats growing ever more wealthy by misering out ever-dwindling wages -- even as the Democrats represent only the bourgeoisie -- a fancy name for yuppies who not only desperately want to be plutocrats (and therefore vote to support outsourcing) but lack the private armies that protect the rich and are thus so terrified of working folk with guns, they want to abolish the very right that brought our nation into being. Hence both parties represent only the suits and bosses -- the people Karl Marx long ago correctly identified as the ruling class -- just as neither party represents those of us who have to sell our labor to survive: the vast majority of the U.S. population. Thus too we working-class folk -- all of us dependent on wages or salaries or pensions or unemployment compensation and yes even welfare -- are flung into political homelessness: deliberately reduced to the very same powerlessness that, in its most genocidal form, abandons men, women and children to huddle under bridges and banishes them to solitary deaths in the garbage-littered doorways of derelict buildings.

It is to protest this reality -- and in the process perhaps find some genuine alternatives -- that I have resurrected this blog after the long hiatus that began on 25 June 2005.


Because I have other obligations, I cannot promise I will post to this space more than once each week, and occasionally I may not even be able to comply with that self-imposed schedule, though I will surely try. Occasionally too I will also write full-length e-columns, pieces akin to my long-ago editorial-page efforts, essays that will discuss various topics of the day, and perhaps (as with my 2002 disclosures of Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridges anti-Second Amendment bias and how it contradicted President Bushs claim to be protective of the right to keep and bear arms) add whatever new information I may have found the time to ferret out.

Though my interests are primarily political, they range far beyond politics and the related topics of sociology and history and include religion, spirituality, folklore, mythology, archaeology, geology, astronomy and science in general, and this site will reflect not only that same diversity of interest, but my underlying conviction that politics is ultimately the distillate of everything in life. Sometimes I will also occasionally venture into the realm of autobiography -- perhaps even to the point of sharing some of my poetry or what little remains of my photography, the bulk of which was destroyed in the same 1983 fire that wiped out a book project begun in my 19th year, a labor that spanned 24 years (mostly on research and analysis and related photography accomplished despite the competing demands of full-time editorial jobs) -- an endeavor that united all the diverse threads of my life (and was thus really the summation of my life itself) -- that is, until hostile fate turned it all to ash: a description that only hints at the fires huge material and psychological devastation.

These days -- as I did before the fire and indeed until the extended and wrenching shock of victimization by the welfare bureaucracy -- I again consider myself a leftist. But now I am also increasingly an eco-socialist, admittedly influenced by Marx and the historical truth of class-struggle: indeed its undeniable validity has opened my eyes as they have never been opened before. Hence I am unwavering in my determination to transcend the environmental, historical (and thus ultimately practical) dead-ends that, though unquestionably real, nevertheless represent problems to be solved rather than the allegedly impenetrable obstacles so used to belittle socialists and discredit socialism.

However in truth I still do not fit any universe of doctrinaire labels. My politics are like this journal: a work in progress. As much as I value theory and analysis, I distrust dogma (as too often born of ulterior motives), and I am profoundly skeptical of ideological exclusiveness (which all too often is but another opiate -- especially of yuppie pseudo-radicals). On many issues, I am a live-and-let-live libertarian: I do not believe government has any business reaching into bedroom or gun-safe. Probably the standard I most often apply is the practical one of does it work, modified by insistence that it must be ethical, in ecological compliance with the mandates of Earth Household, and above all else, faithful to the Bill of Rights -- especially the First, Second, Fourth and Fifth amendments.

Indeed the only oath I ever took in all my 66 years was to defend the United States Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic -- and I do not believe I am relieved of its obligation merely because I am too old and too physically enfeebled to serve in the armed forces: the fact of the matter is that my commitment to the Constitution and its principles is as much as an affair of the heart as of the mind. Thus just as I belong to the American Civil Liberties Union, I also belong to the National Rifle Association. Alas, such seeming paradoxes are not always understood -- not even when they are explained as equal manifestations of an overriding commitment to liberty.


Because ours is a time that demands a genuinely cultoid degree of conformity -- an expression of the same gnawing insecurity that makes the color of a food label so much more important than the flavor of the content it describes -- one of the consequences of my political independence is the almost-laughable paradox that some of my detractors denounce me as a fascist even as others belittle me as a flaming red.

These days the main reason I am labeled fascist is because -- in profound disagreement with the tyrannical majoritarian pacifism of our nations self-proclaimed Left -- I believe the war against terrorist Islam is a war for the very survival of our civilization and should be pursued exactly as Islam pursues it -- without any mercy whatsoever. New York City is my birthplace, was my home for the first three years of my life, and was my home again during the second half of the 1960s and the middle four years of the 1980s. Hence like other New Yorkers I take 9/11 very personally.

Also unlike much of the nations self-proclaimed Left, I know enough history to recognize that the penchant for terrorism is endemic to Islam itself, which has been at war with the civilizations of the Occident and the Orient for nearly 1400 years -- ever since Mohammad himself established conquest by jihad as a primary expression of his creed, raising an army that in 629AD sacked Mecca, the city of his birth: a desert crossroads-town where some accounts say Mohammad himself then ordered all the non-Moslem Meccan males slain and all the non-Moslem females raped and sold into slavery -- vengeance for the fact a few skeptical Meccans had previously jeered Mohammad as a fool and an imposter.

Contrast Mohammads blood-drenched return to Mecca with Jesus entrance into Jerusalem on what Christians now celebrate as Palm Sunday: If you in your turn had only understood on this day the message of peace (Luke 19:42). Christian or not, compare the two events and you will understand the ultimate difference between the two religions. While I am no fan of Christianity either -- as with Abrahamic religion in general, Christianitys notions of gods chosen people and gods revealed truths facilitated unspeakable atrocities -- its contradictory ethos of human kindness has since become its majority view: "I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of did it to me" (Matthew 25:40). Islam, meanwhile, has remained singularly violent -- never mind that its most recent epoch of violence was indirectly financed by the U.S. itself: the decision, in the early 1950s, to fund the revitalization of Islamic fundamentalism as an antidote to the then-growing popularity of Marxism in the Middle East.

But no matter how vicious our nations socioeconomic practices nor how profoundly disaffected I am by its present-day socioeconomic savagery -- I cannot passively accept (much less implicitly countenance) a notoriously murderous attack on the helplessly vulnerable civilian population of my own City: truly another date that, as Franklin Delano Roosevelt said of 7 December 194l and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, will live in infamy. If that makes me a fascist in some peoples eyes, so be it.

Nevertheless it was for this very reason -- my cold and unrelenting fury in the wake of 9/11 -- I was so readily susceptible to the Bush Regimes enormous lies about Iraq: a war I now recognize was not only a dreadful (and dreadfully murderous) mistake, but a wholly inexplicable strategic sleight-of-hand that has not only trapped the U.S. military in the gory abyss of another Vietnam-like meat-grinder but has allowed the alleged perpetrators of the 9/11 attack to escape unscathed and slaughtered uncounted Iraqi civilians in the process -- thereby ensuring the lingering hatred of an ancient people already noted for their long cultural memory. Whether that unprecedented debacle is simply the Bush Regimes atrocious incompetence or the fulfillment of some dread clandestine purpose -- indeed whether the attackers of 9/11 were granted undefended skies by accident or precisely to create the tyrannical potential of a modern Reichstag Fire -- I surely cannot say. Though suspicions once aroused -- and further supported by the regimes record of deadly ruthlessness, whether in post-Katrina New Orleans or via the Medicare Prescription Drug Lord Benefit -- cannot easily be laid to rest.

Which brings me to the reason I have been branded a flaming red, both in the long-ago past and now again today.

I believe very fervently that the ultimate measurement of our society is not executive pay or the Gross Domestic Product but how well we care for our own -- especially how well we care for those who for whatever reason cannot adequately care for themselves. My belief in this principle never diminished even during the years I vengefully labeled myself conservative, but it has since been far more heavily underscored by the fact the urban area in which I now live is literally awash with homeless people: not merely Skid Road derelicts, but folks who formerly lived middle-class lives, not a few of them people who (often thanks to the outsourcing begun by the Clinton Administration) work for wages now so low they live in their automobiles because they cannot afford even subsidized rents.

Witnessing the struggles of these victims of capitalism -- witnessing too the undeniable fact of their increasing number -- I could not even at the height of my conservative self-delusion escape recognizing that something had gone dreadfully wrong with our economy. Indeed I had never seen its like: I was a child during World War II, when our nation yet included the ragged peoples of countless Great-Depression Hoovervilles, and even in the early 1950s, it was an everyday matter to witness families so desperately impoverished they had to gather coal along the railroad tracks -- coal randomly spilled by coal trains, coal these folk collected lump by lump to cook their meager meals and heat the chronically drafty rental-shacks in which they dwelt. But this present-day epidemic of homelessness and beggary far exceeds anything I saw during the 1940s and 1950s in the Deep South and in West Virginia or East Tennessee. And finally, witnessing it daily during the past two years -- confronting also the overwhelming fear that in an ancient, stooped and filthy man who inhabits a nearby park I am but glimpsing my own inescapable fate -- I at last came home to the only positive legacy of a father whose hatred had not only scarred my childhood but, until his death, harried me through adulthood too. And though his was a wholly unintentional bequest, it was a priceless heirloom nonetheless -- the principles of Marxism, above all else the historical truth of class-struggle.

For it is class-struggle that explains -- as nothing else ever written -- not only the huge increase in homelessness I see daily, but all the outsourcing, pension-looting, downsizing and safety-net destruction; all the theft of jobs and all the methodical concentration of wealth; all the assaults on Constitutional rights and all the dumbing-down of the electorate inflicted by public education and corporate mass-media -- every bit of it explained by the historical truth of class-struggle as not only the tyrannosauric greed of capitalism now again tragically unleashed by the collapse of its former chief opponent, but capitalisms response to the impending double-apocalypse of petroleum exhaustion and environmental collapse: a New Dark Age in which -- if capitalism has its way -- there will be but two classes: the robber-barons safe behind their castle walls and everyone else condemned to slavery. Or as Marx put it 158 years ago, the ruling class and the working class -- with all of the latter enslaved. If such recognition makes me a red, I wear the armband proudly.


If we are to save ourselves from the post-apocalyptic world that is clearly taking shape -- corporate feudalism, quite probably supported, maintained and thought-policed by the implicitly fascist theocracies of Abrahamic religion (fundamentalist Christianity in the Americas; fundamentalist Islam in Africa, large parts of Asia and perhaps even Europe too; Israel finally betrayed and abandoned) -- I believe our salvation will come almost entirely from the reinvigoration of labor: a rejuvenation that may already be underway, as evidenced not only by the increasing workplace activism of U.S. unions, but by labors emerging leadership in the global peace and ecology movements.

Labors re-awakening could also at long last provide the U.S. electorate with its desperately needed alternative to the Republicans and the Democrats, who on matters of socioeconomic policy are now effectively merged into the board-room and personnel-office wings of the same Plutocratic Privilege Party, the Republican board-room behaving with its customary murderous greed and the Democratic personnel office -- ever mindful that human capital is an old ante-bellum synonym for slaves -- dutifully spouting Orwellian euphemisms to try to convince us we are being cared for when in fact we are being subjugated and even slain.

I am of course eternally suspicious of the Democratic Party, though never more so than because of its huge entanglement with the welfare establishment, of which Hillary Clinton herself is the chief personification. This is because the welfare establishment -- here clearly distinguished from rank-and-file social-service workers (who are every bit as exploited as the rest of us) -- has opportunistically transformed itself from one of capitalisms harshest critics to one of its most unyielding supporters. It demonstrates its support precisely by its refusal to acknowledge the truth of class struggle: as long as poverty can be blamed entirely on the individual and never acknowledged as the logical consequence of the health-stealing, soul-destroying savagery of the system in which the individual is entrapped, capitalism remains sacrosanct -- safe as the parasitic jobs of the welfare policy-makers who protect it. So there will be no succor here -- not as there was during the New Deal, not even as there was in Michael Harringtons day. The truth is the welfare apparatus has been co-opted into one of the corporate worlds most infinitely reliable sources of non-union labor -- labor trapped forever in the defacto slavery of minimum wage -- and that arrangement alone (though merely one of many such devils bargains) has compromised the Democratic Party beyond any possibility of recovery. Thus I would no more trust the Democrats to solve our economic crisis than I would entrust the solution to Enrons top management.

Nor do I think it is unfair to single out the welfare establishment. While it is true this is the bureaucracy that destroyed my life -- an atrocity for which I freely admit I bear it a lifelong grudge -- it is also true that the welfare establishment embodies the principle of class struggle more vividly than any other institution in the entire capitalist system. Thus too does class struggle explain what was done to me and precisely whose purposes it served: a higher-paid male was prematurely but permanently expelled from the workforce, which made room for a lower-paid female, thereby boosting profits by helping forcibly reduce wages in general -- a cause-and-effect relationship that, by the way, is conclusively proven by the federal governments own labor statistics. The forbidden truth of class-struggle brings these economic realities into sharp focus -- precisely the reason it is tabooed.

In any case the foregoing should suffice to give you a taste of what is to come. I hope -- particularly after the extensive update I posted here today (21 December 2006) -- this site will soon become important enough to you that you will visit it regularly. I encourage your comments, and I am interested not only in news tips but in any suggestions you might have for expanded coverage. I also encourage your contributions via the PayPal link below. Thank you for your response.


Please note that this site is again under construction and may therefore be subject to sudden outages, electro-glitches, gremlin eruptions, e-Puckishness, e-Trickster manifestations of Raven and his southwestern counterpart Coyote and all other such expressions of Murphys Law. But I have consulted with a web-Druid in the hope of avoiding as many of these problems as possible, and I therefore beg your patience as I update autobiographical material and make other vital changes.

Posted by Loren at 04:01 AM | Comments (0)

September 23, 2004

Loren Bliss and Wolfgang von Skeptik

MY NAME IS Loren Bliss. Wolfgang von Skeptik is the screen-name under which I began posting on the Internet in 2001. I am a journalist, retired first by disability and now by old age, veteran of an award-winning writing career that spans six decades, with 28 years at newspapers and trade journals. The jobs I have held include editor-in-chief, news editor, city editor, editorial-page columnist, investigative reporter, news analyst, public-affairs reporter and rewrite man.

I began my writing career as a sports stringer -- a part-timer -- in 1956 at age 16 on The Grand Rapids Herald, a fine lively Michigan daily that unfortunately died in 1959. I continued it on The Grand Rapids Press through the summer of 1957 as The Herald began to dwindle, and then -- after chronic familial dysfunction forced me back to my fathers residence in Knoxville, Tennessee -- on The Knoxville Journal, where I similarly served the sports department from September 1957 through November 1959. From January 1959 onward I was also a full-time student at the University of Tennessee.

Then poverty forced me to drop put of school -- I had been working a full-time job as a motel night-clerk at the same time I was a full-time student and writing part-time for The Journal too -- but the unexpected loss of the full-time job (I was fired for not defending the motel against a robber) left me unable to make the installment payments on my quarterly tuition. Having no other options, I enlisted in the Regular Army for a three-year hitch, 19 months of which (1961-1962) I would spend in the Republic of Korea. At this point in my life I seriously contemplated making a career of soldiering -- the unwanted child of the family, I got no help with college (and considerable antagonistic discouragement as well) -- but in late 62 The Journal resolved my occupational quandary by offering me a full-time job as a sportswriter, to begin immediately after my release from active duty. I joyfully accepted the offer, became a civilian again, spent three more years in the Army reserves and was honorably discharged in 1965.

I have also done various kinds of (mostly blue-collar) work that is far removed from journalism but is nevertheless relevant to the old-time reportorial mandate to understand the human condition: this includes a glorious year as a commercial fisherman -- engineer/deckhand aboard a Puget Sound salmon-seiner -- and a few years (especially while I was attending college during the 1970s) in which I worked variously as a commercial printer or a carpenter or a manual laborer. Once (to cure a sudden bout of undergraduate poverty inflicted by delayed veterans' benefits), I endured a week of the back-aching, mind-numbing torment that is agricultural stoop-labor, pruning post-harvest raspberry fields by hand -- an experience that gave me a lifelong respect for the men and women (often migrants) upon whom we depend for our bountiful supply of food.

During my newspaper years I mostly covered local stories but nevertheless managed to amass a few genuinely significant news credits. The one of which I am proudest is the 1970 Jersey Journal expose' of the heroin-addiction epidemic (and related federal cover-up) spawned by the Vietnam War. Another investigation, this in 1977, revealed via Federal Way News and United Press International how Washington state Governor Dixy Lee Ray, a Democrat, had scrapped the energy-conservation policies of her Republican predecessor and had bought her key department heads gas-guzzling limousines -- including a welfare Cadillac, complete with full-time chauffeur, for the head of the welfare department (though in fairness I should note the Cadillac was in reality a poshly appointed Ford LTD limousine). And a 1978 story -- an impulse telephone interview with the head of a controversial anti-pornography initiative campaign -- resulted in disclosures of tyrannical intent (including a scheme to use the measures fine print to close all the states gay and singles bars) that cost the initiative a 15-point opinion-poll lead and sent it down to defeat. Again, the story broke in FWN; it was then circulated statewide by UPI, for which I was the Tacoma-area stringer from 1976 through 1981, and for which I had begun stringing nearly 20 years earlier while I was a public affairs reporter at The Oak Ridger in East Tennessee.

Another journalistic coup of which I am especially proud , a post-retirement story, is the 1995 analysis of federal statistics that revealed via the Internet how welfare bureaucrats had methodically feathered their own nests at taxpayer expense, hiking administrative costs 5,390 percent (not a typo) even as they slashed stipends and services to the poor by nearly two-thirds. These bureaucrats had managed to conceal their outrageous gouging, which occurred between 1970 and 1990 (though mostly during the second decade), by maliciously blaming it on the victims of their cutbacks -- an unprecedented act of welfare fraud no doubt intensified by feminist efforts to use the Reagan Regimes notorious welfare cutbacks to conceal a huge restructuring of the welfare system in accordance with strict feminist dogma: the principle that until women are granted absolute economic parity, any social services provided to males, even in the form of veterans benefits, merely worsens sexist discrimination -- and that, to the greatest extent possible, social services for males should therefore be embargoed accordingly. This was apparently a guiding but publicly unacknowledged principle of state-level welfare policy throughout the 1980s, its concealment facilitated by the near-total compliance of mass media. But the basic facts are not conjectural: all the data on which this story was based bears the imprimatur of the U.S. Government and was taken entirely from Statistical Abstract of the United States, the federal governments official source book. Given the resumption of the debate over welfare reform, the full implications of this story may still be unfolding.

Summoned back to work by the need to supplement my pension, I am again available for writing and editing assignments (whether online or on paper) and may be contacted through this website. I live in urban Washington state within sight of Puget Sound. (Revised 21 December 2006)

Posted by Loren at 01:54 PM | Comments (5)