Sunday, August 26, 2012


What with the hoopla about Romney's choice for VP, it is worth looking at Mr. Ryan to discern the reality behind the hype. A superficial examination of his credentials makes clear he is less qualified than the last, sterling VP candidate, you know who. She ran a city and she ran her state whereas Mr. Ryan, remaining in his safe district sat and did nothing much more than vote. Yes, to be fair he proposed bills related to thinning the budget and eliminating abortion, but not finding sufficient support for such. Oh yes, two of his bills, no more, did find support, one renamed a post office and one reduced the excise tax on arrows. Now, some might consider that an excellent legislative record, but some others might perhaps, possibly   disagree. Honorable men and woman can have differing opinions, but we can wonder what he brings to the campaign table.

Mr. Romney has not opted for his budget bill. Once made public, it produced instant hostility because it adds to the Medicare burden of the elderly and reduces taxes on the wealthy. You figure it out, the proposed medical voucher system would increase the cost to individuals, nicely balancing the reduction for the rich. So, in spite of the talk, Mr. Ryan's budget is not an asset.

Does he find bipartisan support for his budgetary and pregnancy values? Clearly not. He does not provide a way to bridge the gap between his ideas and the Democratic ideas. There is no compromise in his universe, he knows the truth and it shall prevail. Except, of course, it has not. No, he cannot claim credibility for getting things passed.

What about foreign policy experience? Well, Governor Palin could see Russia from her window; he lives too far inland for that enlightening experience. This is another zero for strengthening the Republican claim on the oval office.

Still, he is a beacon of conservative philosophy standing firmly for fiscal responsibility and smaller government. Apparently, he learned these ideas from Ayn Rand, a woman who once relied on welfare, and had little use for perhaps 90% of all humanity. She dreamed of government by the wealthy; apparently voting could not be tolerated. And, those of lesser fiscal ability could reasonably expect to be crushed under the new morality. We note that during the last decade middle class income dropped by thousands of dollars. Ryan would never raise taxes on the wealthy, the burden of running the government would fall on the middle class, I mean you and me. What an honor.

But, I digress. About Ryan, what can we say about a man who railed against and voted against the stimulus package and yet asked for stimulus money for some Wisconsin conservative groups? “They would create jobs,” was the justification. After publicly denying the truth, Mr. Ryan now phumphers about how it really was his staff even though he signed the letters. It is always convenient to have an incompetent staff on to which one can shift responsibility. Mr. Ryan, if you sign it, you did it. But, wait. Before Mr. Obama’s election, he very much favored a stimulus bill, but after that signal event, he vociferously opposed it. What a guy.

Mr. Ryan voted in support of the Bush spending bills, bills that left the country with considerable red ink. Of course, it is impolite to bring that up in mixed company, better to play hush hush with the truth. Keep in mind, the beacon of fiscal responsibility votes with the political wind, a spender under Bush and a miser under Obama.

So, what other asset does he bring? His absolute rejection of any justification for abortion. As he put it, paraphrased, it how the pregnancy occurred, abortion is never acceptable. Uh, that is not Mr. Romney’s position, so obligingly Mr. Ryan became willing to accept rape or incest pregnancies.  Clearly, consistent high values is an asset unless it weakens the campaign. 
In the world of politics, we expect candidates and their supporters to accentuate the positive and totally ignore anything else. If some lies sneak in, lying in order to perpetuate the truth is no sin. As some religionists believe, lying to support the faith is every true believer’s moral obligation. They all justify their ugly behavior with declarations that the world would be a better place if they are given control so anything goes. Think of Nixon's break-in and his statement that if the president does it, it is legal.

Our system sometimes results in junk in the legislature and in the oval office. We ought not to take any of them seriously or have hurt feelings, as many felt about Bush, when they act true to form in office. The latest wisdom comes from a senatorial candidate who said there is a difference between legitimate and illegitimate rape; women's bodies can tell the difference and suppress pregnancy. Oh yes, he and Mister Ryan collaborated upon a bill that would redefine rape. It must be forced and a judge must give permission.

There once was a fellow name Ryan
Who, to Ayn Rand's philosophy did buy in.
With Republican kitsch
He won't tax the rich
Leaving the middle class behind, just acryin.

Sunday, August 12, 2012


We tend to think of infants as little human lumps to be loved, coddled and made much of yet, they are really tiny observing and learning machines. At six months, or so, they can distinguish between the races though they do not yet have the language to think about them. Also, they catch on to sex differences pretty quickly, I mean the differences between mom and pop are physically and behaviorally quite apparent. As part of that understanding, they also start to pick up sex related behaviors. Our parents, after all treat them according to their gender; boys get blue and girls pink, girls get frilly stuff and boys not. They are described differently, boy babies are reputedly more boisterous than girl babies, etc. Shirley, as a joke describes herself as “delicate,” and often did so with her grandson. An unintended consequence was that he began to call himself delicate; but his parents put an end to that pretty quickly. Delicate boys are outside the pale.

Some few years later, boys hang with boys and girls with girls. They play different games and even when the game is the same, they never play on the same team. Every now and then there is a hoorah when a girl wants to play football or wrestle. Tradition and god are invoked, usually two unbeatable arguments in the face of rationality. I mean, if a girl can make the team, why not? But, boys almost never try out for a girls team, I have never heard of it, it seems unfair. I mean, what boy says I am too weak to compete against boys, competing against girls is what I can do. Rational, yes, but too horrible to contemplate.

In the process of reaching puberty, boys and girls face increasing pressure about involvements with each other. AT some point, early on, brothers and sisters may not share a bedroom, much less a bed. Even though neither group has much enthusiasm, they know they will have to confront each other in the no so distant future; I don't know about others, but that scared the hell out of me. But, yes, hormones and social pressure guarantee intermingling (except for a few oddballs such as me) and lust becomes part of the equation. Well, the process continues and sexual activity becomes more intense, often culminating in “doing it.”

Doing it” almost always satisfies the boy but somewhat less so the girl. Still, what society and hormones have pressed upon them has been satisfied; there is some sense of pleasure in doing it, after all it's a marker for maturity and independence.
Everything settles down. The rate of such activity varies as the participants grow older. Boys catch on there is more to girls than their breasts and vaginas and girls discover that boys can be nice. Without noticing it, they become, more or less, sexually mature.

Well, some don't. I think I mentioned a patient who had sex four times a day, his wife in the morning, once with a girl friendat noon and again with his wife at night. All participants were pleased with this arrangement. Another, a married man, had his sister as his noon-time bed partner but whether his wife knew or not I have no idea. Others, much more common, give up sex early on partially accounting for affairs and prostitutes.

And, then there is Mick Jagger, Wilt Chamberlain and others of that ilk. Jagger has boasted that he has done it with four thousand women. I don't have the figures to calculate how many per year (I guess about 100) and how often with each one. Still, to me it seems a heroic number as if he has competed with other men for some sort of prize. Will the man with the most get to heaven, or enjoy the benefits of hell? Does he ward off fear of his own sexual incompetence? Is it that women, tearing their clothes off simply leap at him in such manner that no hetero could resist? Inquiring minds … etc.

It's pretty clear that he doesn't get emotionally involved with them and I imagine he pays many of them. As far as I can tell, he does it for penis pleasure and if that's the case, he simply masturbates with woman’s bodies.
So, keep it up, Mick. You, I hope, are happy and surely most of that four thousand are at least pleased with themselves. My daughter knows a woman whose claim to fame was that she did it once with Paul McCartney. That act, I assume it is true, makes her a minor celebrity at the annual Beatles-fest. I guess pride is where you find it.

If in excess you find it worth doing
I mean random uninvolved screwing
It is a good bet
That you'll never forget
Well, if too many there's really no knowing.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, August 05, 2012 3:30 PM
Subject: for the blog


When I was a lad, Marshall Dillon was one of my sort-of heroes. His show always had him, on the streets of Dodge outdrawing a bad guy, all very satisfactory. In the body of the story, he usually killed someone and in my younger years that always seemed right. Well, the show has returned on the western channel and while nicely written the killing continues. What is most noteworthy: the shot is fired, the man drops and the dialogue continues as nothing momentous has occurred. Cold? Brrrr!

In this morning's paper was an article about drone pilots, the pilots, all men (are there any women?) spoke their feelings about what they do. Some are former combat pilots, others trained specifically for the task of killing designated people, bad guys we hope. They often watch a specific area for days looking for a chance to do their mayhem and in that process become familiar with families living there. They get to see them in their daily, mundane activities, parents interacting with their children, husbands and wives dealing with this and that so there is a sort of intimacy that develops.
Lest they kill promisculously, they try to do the job when the target's family is away. But, alas, unintended targets are often killed. Many justify thjeir behavior by correctly identifying that they are just doing their job. Others have bad feelings, at least if the army's concern to beef up mental health capacity for their pilots is evidence.

Lest you think this is a Marshall Dillon syndrome, the battle of Cannae produced the slaughter of about 45K defeated Roman soldiers. Reasonably, there was no way for Hannibal take that many prisoners so it was kill 'em all; in the event, it took asbout 8 hours to complete the deed. No doubt, after the fact, the Carthegenian troops felt exhausted and there is no mention of emotional distress.

All this tells us there is a flaw in the human animal which is exemplified by Stalin: “One death is a tragedy, a million deaths a statistic.” Our capacity for empathy is limited and fragile; it is so easy to toss aside that it must have become separated from its evolutionary purpose. In less populated times, proto-humans and what finally became us lived in small groups probably led by a male who had the capacity to forstall challenges to his authority. With rather few people in his band each one would be precious to their somewhat precarious economy. For the good of all, incapacitated members had to be cared for, the prompt being the vicarious experience of their misery. Clearly, if you idenrtify with another's humanity you are unlikely to harm her/him, instead, would want to do some sort of repair. In mental health, this is somewhat disparagingly called a rescue fantasy.

With the agricultural revolution, the human population increased significantly and the more people (remember we evolved in small groups), the more strain on on the empathic impulse. Instead of resolving differences, warfair was invented and to go to war to kill the enemy required that impulse be rejected. Early Judeans said, “Thou shalt not murder,” but through mistranslation it became not kill. And, that was a problem because Christians took the commandments seriously and refused to join the army, and hat produced a hardship because of the multitude of religious wars. Finally, Augustine I think, had to define “just war” in which it was copacetic for Christians to join the slaughter.

It is curious, in our society with all its high tech communication that we seem to be losing our capacity to communicate. Our working vocabularies have diminished from 6,500 words to about 3,000 perhaps ultimately to be replaced by a sophisticated form of grunting. Social networking produces a multitude a “friends” as if that word is appropriate to the long-distance truncated sorts of relationships that are as empty as a used candy wrapper.

The less empathy, the easier it is to slaughter. Do we follow Cain's defense: “Am I my brother's keeper?” or do we heed John Donne: “Send not seek for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

If you want to be a good soldier
Toward others you must become colder
Do not let yourself feel
What to them is quite real
And get on with your job, which is slaughter.