I Was Censored

As the father of philosophical cynicism, it is not terribly surprising that some of the things I write aren’t greeted with enthusiasm. Recently, a number of them were discarded and didn’t get published. During my physical presence on earth millennia ago, I would have responded by urinating on the feet of my detractors. (Don’t believe me? Click here.) No longer having a corporeal presence, that is more difficult–that is to say, impossible.

In any case, I still find it difficult to accept that some of my writings have not been published. Apparently, it is because I speak the truth and your society no longer has an interest in the truth. To me, that is an amazing thing. How can you function?

If I walk through the forest and a tree is in my path, if I tell myself there is no tree, I would surely find myself on the ground, nursing a nasty bruise. Likewise, if I walk toward the sea and continue past the shore, I will eventually drown whether I admit the sea is there or not.

I am amazed by your disavowal of facts–absolutely amazed and it takes a lot to amaze me.

A Republic If You Can Keep It

After the Constitutional Convention in 1787, Mrs. Powel of Philadelphia asked Benjamin Franklin, “Well, Doctor, what have we got, a republic or a monarchy?” With no hesitation whatsoever, Franklin responded, “A republic, if you can keep it.”

A democratic republic is sometimes described as an experiment. It runs counter to humanity’s inability to restrain ambitious and unscrupulous people from accumulating power and wealth. Greed is powerful–certainly more attractive than putting the good of society ahead of one’s own best interest.

Your country is at the point at which it needs to decide whether it wants to keep a republic.

May I offer this advice. Power tends to dissipate with death. Even hereditary monarchies are prone to being disrupted, whether by conquest, arranged marriages, or revolution. Wealth is often dissipated after only a few generations. On the other hand, doing something for the betterment of others lives on.

Heroes and Villains*

FACT CHECK: Is This 'Back to the Future' Image Comparison ...

Bullies always do well when they’ve got their gang with them. Generally, no bully is up to a fair fight, but when it’s four, or five, or a hundred to one, they’re suddenly real brave. In fairness to Biff, in Back to the Future, he didn’t hide, which was probably his only positive quality (Thanks to Thomas F. Wilson for a great character).

Cowards, until their back is to the wall, spend their time bragging to everyone about their greatness. Their sycophants fall over one another to; a) praise their boss and; b) jockey for position and stab one another in the back.

Eventually, the bully falls.

Hitler hid in the bunker and committed suicide, leaving what was left of Germany to fend for itself. Osama bin Laden sent others to crash into the Twin Towers while he remained safe. Muammar Gaddafi, hid in drain pipe** until his people dragged him out and killed him. Saddam Hussein the great and powerful hid in a hole in the ground. Cowards, every one of them.

On the other hand, heroes stand up for what they believe, either taking the lead or standing alone. The mark of a hero is that they get as scared as anyone else, they push though their fear and act to do what they believe in. They may fall. They mall faster than cowards, but they fall as heroes.

* With apologies to the Beach Boys
** Nothing against sewer pipes–I live in one, but everybody knows it, so I’m not hiding.

Gaffe

I have seen many leaders over the millennia–David, Solomon, Alexander, all the Caesars, far too many Popes and anti-Popes, kings, dictators, Czars, and all the others. Most of them, not occasionally, but on a regular basis, said things that weren’t brilliant. Many times it was to offset their feelings of insecurity–especially in the masculinity areas.

Most of those stupid–yes stupid–statements were swept under the rug and are long lost to history.

In any case, you people love to see powerful people get caught by their own words, even if they’re just acting human.

Your presumptive (I love that word) presidential candidate Joe Biden’s every syllable is parsed and people gleefully jump on any awkward statement. That’s part and parcel of being a politician.
Biden touched his face despite ongoing warnings not to do that during the coronavirus pandemic.
– “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

However, in comparison, his rival, Donald Trump, gets a pass for saying such things as :
“Grab them by the pussy.”
“There’s nothing in the world like first-rate pussy”
“Is it wrong to be more sexually attracted to your own daughter than your wife?”

I’ve seen such things before and know where this will probably end. I don’t recommend it. You will not like it.

Those Who Can-Do

The Washington Post reported: President Trump on Monday berated the nation’s governors on a conference call, describing them as “weak” in the face of growing racial unrest and urging them to try to “dominate” unruly protests, according to three people on the call who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private conversation.

Heroes take action while others are content to sit in a place of safety and tell others what they should do. Heroes expose themselves to danger because they are focused on their goal. It is not their intent, but they become larger than life.

True leaders lead, which mean they are at the front with their people. Because of this, they inspire. At Fort Bragg, there is a memorial to “Iron Mike.” Iron Mike is not a particular person, but embodies the American Soldier–particularly Airborne Troops. Iron Mike’s challenge? “Follow Me!” I’ll lead the charge. I’ll go into danger first.

As far as the others? In the military, they have a term for those who sit in safety and bark orders–REMFs–Rear Echelon Mother Fuckers.

You take it from here.

Biblical Proportions?

In my day, in what you would call BC (Before Christ) or BCE (Before the Common Era–what ever the hell that means), when earthquakes, famine, pestilence, or other disasters struck, it was seen as a not-so-subtle hint from God to straighten up and fly right.

To repent for their bad behavior, the Israelis covered themselves with ashes and wore coarse garments (really). Denying themselves physical comfort and pleasure was a sign of penitence. They fasted. They rethought their direction. Eventually, things would return to normal. They would briefly be thankful, but soon–like every other group of humans–they would slide back into their old habits.

My favorite among them was Jonah. Not a very striking or significant man, as I recall–in fact, he was rather plain and unremarkable. God told him to go to Nineveh to tell the people there to repent or be destroyed. Jonah saw this as a fool’s errand at best, or a suicide mission, so he tried to hide from God. Naturally, he did not succeed. On board a ship during his futile attempt, a storm arose, he was blamed, tossed overboard, and swallowed by a fish. (Even I know that whales are not fish–so there.) By hook or by crook (or fish), he ended up closer to Nineveh and got the hint.

Grudgingly, he delivered God’s message to the people of Nineveh. Surprisingly, at least to him, everybody listened–including the king. They all repented, donned sackcloth, and sat in the ashes or dust as a sign of their acceptance of God’s judgement and to express regret for their actions.

God spared Nineveh.

The people of Nineveh were grateful–but not Jonah. He had expected to see great power come down from the heavens to destroy the city–fire, brimstone, lightning, avenging angels, and more. Because the people and their king had repented, there were no celestial fireworks.

Jonah was disappointed.

God was not. He was pleased.

Maybe today’s pandemic is a not-so-subtle hint to you.

It’s Not So Bad

As I watch the tug-of-war between your economy and your health, I thought I could offer some helpful advise. Many of you are worrying that the attempts to return to normal when things aren’t normal might not work out so well. Not to worry.

Having been an observer for several millennia, I can tell you how the story will unfold. Money always wins. People are born and people die, but money keeps on going.

In your case, what will be interesting will be after the resurgence, how will the demographics shift. Will it be the No Mask crowd? Will it be those who live in population centers where they have quality medical facilities? Will it be those in rural areas–more spread out, but less medical capability and capacity? Who lives? Who dies? Who knows!

I promised helpful advice, so here goes. Death isn’t so bad once you get used to it. It’s the getting used to it part that takes time. In my case, it took roughly 2400 years, but today I’m better than before.

A Chicken, a Chicken, My Kingdom for a Chicken

President Trump is planning on issuing an Executive Order under the Defense Production Act to force meat processing plants to remain open. He’s said that he will protect plant operators from liability should their employees contract COVID-19.

How do you open plants if the workers:

  1. Refuse to show up;
  2. Insist on getting sick; or
  3. Have the audacity to die.

If they don’t show up at work, they can be fired. Most people who work in meat processing plants work there because they do not have a myriad of career options.

At least the company owners, such as the Chinese owners of Smithfield Meats will be safe.*

So far there is no similar protection employees.

 

* Smithfield is a wholly owned subsidiary of WH Group, formerly known as the Shuanghui Group  (双汇集团). It’s totally coincidental that Donald Trump, as an individual and/or corporate entity, owes the Chinese owned national bank $112 million.

 

It’ll Never Happen

Here’s a scenario that will never happen.

President Trump calls Sean Hannity at home and they chat for a while.

Later that day Fox reports, “President Trump advises everyone to apply peanut butter to the bottom of your feet to prevent COVID-19.”

At President Trump’s daily coronavirus pep rally press briefing—

Reporter:  “Mr. President, do you support the peanut butter cure?”

President Trump: “All I can say is that it has received a lot of attention from the media. You can’t ignore that. Next question, please.”

Hours later, President Trump and Sean Hannity again talk on the phone with one another.

Hannity (trying to control himself)- “So how many people do you think are going to bed tonight with peanut butter on their feet?”

Trump (laughing) – “Just about every undereducated male goomba out there. You know which states have the most undereducated goombas, don’t you?”

Hannity — “Of course! That’s where I get my highest ratings!”

Trump — “Speaking of education, I forget. What college did you graduate from?”

Hannity  (laughing) – “Graduate? Hell! I was–and am still–too important to worry about graduating. Nevertheless, people still follow me like sheep to the slaughterhouse behind a Judas goat!”

Trump — “I’m going to have to go. My slippers are–never mind. Hey, Sean, just in case, in 2021 . . . ?”

Hannity — “Umm, let me get back to you on that. Gotta run, bye.”

[CLICK]

 

 

Coming to a Theater Near You

clapboard

 

An imaginary business meeting

CAMERA 1 FADES IN
Agent (excitedly): Listen, JB, This can’t lose! Sequels are in–look at them: Star Wars! Men in Black! Marvel Comics! Harry Potter! This is the ultimate! It’s got life and death, skullduggery, and intrigue! If we don’t make this movie, someone else will and they will be the ones to be rich and famous!

CUT TO CAMERA 2 ON JB
JB (skeptically): I know, but it’s incomplete. We don’t know how it’s going to end. It’s missing key plot points to make the story work.

CAMERA 2 PANS FROM JB TO AGENT
Agent (somewhat frustrated): Working in sex is no problem. Part of this will be set in DC and it’s crawling with gorgeous, young female staffers. Even better, we’ll be filming in the south–Southern Belles, no unions, tax breaks, sunshine–it’s perfect.

FADE TO CAMERA 1 WHICH INCLUDES BOTH AGENT AND JB IN THE FRAME
JB (thoughtfully): Why in the south?

Agent: That’s where the “remain in place” directives have been the weakest and will probably be the first to be eliminated. That’s essential to the plot.

Sharp focus on JB with soft focus on the agent
JB:
How are you going to guarantee the . . . .

CUT TO CAMERA TWO ON AGENT
Agent (Interrupting, then leaning forward toward JB): The states we’re looking at are lifting their restrictions early. There’s bound to be a second wave;  we’ve even hired people to protest self-isolation in several states.

CUT TO CAMERA ONE–BOTH JB AND AGENT IN FRAME–FOCUS CLEAR ON JB
JB (shaking his finger at agent): You’d better be right. If the second wave doesn’t have at least 100 thousand dead, I’m going to be pissed! If I’m going to pitch this to the investors, it needs a snappy working title.

CAMERA ONE–SAME FRAME–SHIFT FOCUS TO AGENT
Agent (smugly): Coronavirus–The Sequel