On the Ethics of Mourning Swine

News of the Dead…December 17 – 23

The most obvious but least interesting direction to take News of the Dead for the week of December 17 to 23 would be to meditate upon the failure of the world to come to a screeching new-age halt with the advent of the Mayan Apocalypse.  so let me just say this before moving on: for what its worth, the planet along with its abundance of roaches and ferns are destined to out last us mammals by a long shot. if you happen to be a homo sapien concerned with the extinction of the species, you might be better off paying attention to more tangible problems…the ones we can actually do something about; like, say, the stockpiling of weapons-of-mass-destruction or this nasty habit of burning fossil fuels. it might be time better spent than deciphering obscure Mayan hieroglyphs for clues about the timing of our demise…the same goes for the book of revelations by the way.

bork b_w
 

Robert Bork, March 1, 1927 – December 19, 2012

Judge Bork’s Pearl’s of Wisdom:

“The very fact that we have gone from Elvis to Snoop Doggy Dogg is the heart of the case for censorship.”

“The music of today, a lot of the stuff we’re talking about, rap, seems to be nothing but noise and a beat without any complexity or without any, I don’t understand why anybody listens to it…A lot of people comfort themselves with the thought that this is confined to the black community, but that’s not true — some of the worst rappers are white, like Nine Inch Nails.”

“alt.sex is on the Internet. That’s a category. They have a variety of things under alt.sex, which is alternative sex. Particularly horrifying was this alt.sex.stories. I don’t know how to work the Internet yet, but I did that research. I found it written up.”

“Though many Hispanics are white, the law in its impartiality treats them as though they were not. Hispanics, who will outnumber blacks in the United States by the end of the century, often do not regard this country as their own.”

“As one might suspect from their hostility to men, marriage, and family, radical feminists are very much in favor of lesbianism. They want not only lawful lesbian marriages but “reproductive rights” for lesbians.  That means the right to bear children through artificial insemination and the right to adopt one’s lesbian partner’s child.  Since sperm is sold freely in the United States, much more freely than in other nations, there are lesbian couples raising children.  It takes little imagination to know how the children will be indoctrinated.” —  citations courtesy of Waggish.org

THE GREATEST GENERATION…

My great uncle Lew still likes to tell the story about how my grandfather, Marshal Carson Brown (December 14, 1918 – November, 1995), or ‘Daydee’ as they used to call him, received a dishonorable discharge from the military during the second world war for slapping a white woman across the face. after graduating from the Virginia State College for Negroes, now known simply as Virginia State University, he had enlisted in the service with his roommate.  while he was still in boot camp, for one reason or another my grandfather ended up in the infirmary. at the time, of course, the armed forces were rigidly segregated. the white soldiers were housed inside the barracks; the sick and wounded black soldiers were given makeshift cots outside on the porch exposed to the elements.  unable to sleep due to the cold, Daydee went inside the building to ask for an extra blanket.  as he approached the white nurse on duty, she allegedly wheeled around and said, “get out of my face Nigger.”  and that, according to Lew, is when the infamous slap took place.

Daydee was court-marshaled, ordered to pack his bags and shipped back home to richmond. he was never able to take advantage of the home loan guarantees or the education and training programs that came with the gi bill, but he did eventually clear his name after an extended appeals process that stretched into the fifties. given the possible outcomes, he might have considered himself lucky.  at the end of the day, the incident was just one of many such conflicts that eventually led to president truman’s executive order 9981 ending the formal segregation of the armed forces in 1948. more importantly, it was precisely such acts of open defiance at a time when horrific sanctions were imposed on voices of dissent that helped spark the modern Civil Rights Revolution. we can also place the incident in context by noting the low level of black casualties during a war fought with virtually all white forces: as uncle Lew tells it, “Blacks hated segregation…except in the military.”

Many years later, however, an even deeper, much more personal angle to my grandfather’s act of defiance was revealed.  emptying out his dresser after he passed away in the mid nineties, my brother and i came across an item stuffed into the back of one of the lower drawers.  it was a gift his college roommate had smuggled back with him from Berlin after the war: a perfectly preserved, carefully folded, red and white velvet flag with gold tassels bearing a large black swastika, the insignia of the third reich, in the center.

Soldiers Display a Captured Nazi Flag

Soldiers Display a Captured Nazi Flag

American infantrymen line up in front of a wrecked German tank and display a captured swastika in Chambois, France, the last stronghold of the Nazis in the Falaise Gap area during the liberation of France in World War II. | Location: Falaise Gap area, Chambois, France.  August 20, 1944 © CORBIS

Picketing Against Gerald L.K. Smith

Los Angeles, CA- As Gerald L.K. Smith speaks inside, pickets parade back and forth before this Los Angeles auditorium, carrying placards reading: “America First is U.S. Facism,” “The War Isn’t Over! This is Sabotage,” © Bettmann/CORBIS

Born in 1918, my grandfather was a member of that class of americans tom brokow famously coined, the “greatest generation.” as is so typical of the dexterous myth making machine of the media establishment that brokow represents, his idea of greatness was mostly referring to a supposed moral turn in the white conscience. a generation molded by the hardships of the great depression, fighting against fascism and ethnic cleansing in europe, standing up to the mccarthy witch-hunts and laying the ethical high-road for the modern civil rights revolution, the greatest are said to have risen to the occasion of every challenge they faced.  in truth, they are probably the last to escape history’s grasp with anything even remotely resembling an untarnished or noble reputation.

Now, i’m no fan of obama…or even electoral politics for that matter, especially at the federal level…but as the dust begins to settle on last november it is becoming pretty obvious that some kind of sea-shift in the amerikan political landscape is taking place….whether or not we actually dodged a bullet still remains to be seen.  in the midst of the static that accompanied all the corporate pollution that was a gift of citizen’s united, i don’t remember hearing much about the fact that little lord fauntleroy from massachusetts had designated one of the all time great jerk-offs of twentieth century amerikan history as his principal fucking judicial adviser on the constitution and supreme court.  they can whine all they want about the photo op with governor christie and “that guy” standing next to springsteen’s summer home on the jersey shore, or how axelrod’s early carpet bombing of negative advertisements somehow emasculated his contender past the point of no return. the bottom line is that what really destroyed the republican party — and what condemns them to the gallows in the foreseeable future — is the extinction of its own aging constituency, a cabal of greatest generation stalwarts who are beginning to die off in droves.  if i were a right wing operative i’d be fighting for any kind of health care program that would keep the old geezer’s on life support for at least another four years until the facelift they are about to undergo can heal and nobody notices the change.

Michael moore pretty much hit the nail on the head when he told current tv:

Adelson and all those people will be gone, just like the people who voted for Reagan, the older generation that really was behind Reagan. You know, if you were 55 or 60 years old in 1980, when Reagan ran, you’re dead now. They’re not alive, they left. And when they left, you know, things got better. Nothing against — my dad is 91. I love old people, don’t get me wrong. But I’m just saying, that the previous generations, which were willing to live under segregation, they were willing to live with woman making a third less than men, they were willing to live with all of this stuff. They wanted gays in the closet. Their way is over.

The “greatest” generation indeed. the glory of fighting nazi’s in europe will only take you so far when you act like one at home.

On the technical definition of Swine.

It’s rather funny, isn’t it, how activists and academics, people who have built entire careers praising the militancy of the black power, brown power, queer power, yellow power, women’s power, prisoner’s power and people’s power movements buckle when it comes to calling today’s swine what they are: swine?

Here’s what Assata Shakur had to say in her autobiography about how radicals talked about the forces of oppression dominating our communities:

Panthers didn’t try to sound all intellectual, talking about the national bourgeoisie, the military-industrial complex, the reactionary ruling class.  They simply called a pig a pig.  They didn’t refer to the repressive domestic army or the state repressive apparatus.  They called the racist police pigs and racist dogs.

Let’s make no mistake about it folks.  robert bork was a pig.  in the 1980s, we used to call him just that:  robert pork.  porky was on the wrong side of every issue that has mattered to those who love freedom since world war two. more than just a reactionary or an idealogue, both of which he was, he was an activist, one of the most vulgar architects of the new conservatism that has not only flourished but been the hallmark ideology of the greatest generation who have dominated amerikan politics ever since the fall of joseph mccarthy and the legal apparatus of jim crowism. this swine was on the front lines of the war on minorities, the subjection of women, the persecution of queers, the feudalization of the working class and the demonization of the political left. is it any wonder that raygun chose him as the person to sit on the throne of the highest judicial court in the nation?  perhaps we should take a moment to review the life of this illustrious mud dweller who was so respected by the republican establishment.

Born (a year before andy warhol) in pittsburgh to a steel industry whore, pork was trained at the elitist connecticut prep school hotchkiss before going on to study law at, cough, cough, the university of chicago, a virtual snake pit of neo-liberal economics and conservative legal and social policy. he first made his name as a legal scholar, providing the framework for what is called, “originalism,” “original intent,” or “Strict Constructionism.”  according to this brilliant theory the law is a stone tablet, an inflexible, non-subjective document handed down from the white male founding fathers; apparently deities with nary a blemish…never mind that they also claimed black people were three-fifths of human beings (for taxation purposes) and that women were the intellectual, biological, economic and political extensions of their husband-masters. in practice, original intent has led to the tyranny of the majority and the denial of minority rights.  we’ll see how this script is flipped in a few decades when the ethnic tables are turned…

Three of today’s strongest advocates of “original intent” are the hard-core right-wing triumvirate of the supreme court’s dominant click: justices clarence thomas, samuel alito and most famously, antonin scalia.  among other things, each of them joined sweaty palms in ruling that a strict interpretation of the unbending constitution would logically imply that corporations are to be accorded the same rights as individuals: being that they are comprised of human boards of trustees and stockholders.  for this genius idea they drew their inspiration from pork who became a social conservative in the 1970s – a move that the new york times described as a shift from the libertarian ideal of “Freedom” as a first principle to one that placed an emphasis on “tradition, order and hierarchy.”  the new posture came from a desire to preserve certain enduring values of the amerikan character and were spelled out in his odious yet widely praised and debated 1978 book called, coyly, “The Antitrust Paradox.” as if, somehow, protecting people from mega-monopolies and corporate trusts posed a “paradox” in a free society.  in the book, mr. pork spelled out his neoliberal economic philosophy which was, no doubt, derived from those intellectually nurturing years at the university of chicago.  along with some convoluted explanations for how and why mega-corporations would not feed on “the people” but stimulate market creativity he essentially:

a)      encouraged corporate mergers and,

b)     called for the deregulation of industry and finance.

In other words, he spelled out and advocated the very economic policies that have led us to the highest income disparities since the 1960s.  porky pig economics have brought the middle class to its knees and decimated those from the lower echelon who were already in that prone position to begin with.

What an asshole, right?  oh, but it gets even better.

Not only was porky a capitalist pig, he was, in the words of PE, a straight up racist, simple and plain.  in 1963 he joined his fellow great generation colleagues in fleeing the democratic party in a move that most fair minded observers admit was a response to the kennedy and johnson administrations reluctant capitulation to the civil rights revolution.  pork began to campaign for that hero of the great generation’s working class: white jingoist, nazi arizona senator barry goldwater.  like so many libertarians and so-called “free thinkers” from the time, such as ronald reagan and the current hero of the libertarian right, ron paul, he rationalized this move as a need to defend the country against the erosion of its moral values but porky, never one accused of being shy about his views, took it another step, writing an article in the New Republic against the proposed public accommodation clauses of the hotly debated 1964 Civil Rights Act.  later he would come down publicly against federal mandated busing and every single issue having anything to do with racial justice. in each case he did so, like all racists who opposed civil rights legislation going back to the rise of the first kkk and the plessy v ferguson cru, on the grounds that government had no right to intervene in the private sphere.  this also extended, by the way, to social security and medicare, programs which he denounced as “ugly” and unconstitutional.

Ronny’s Speech at Goldwater’s Nomination Convention

This judicial swine wrote articles arguing that the first amendment was only meant to protect explicitly “anti-government” speech but that it was not applicable to anti-war protests.  he wrote against the right of women to access birth control and safe abortions.  in siding with the us navy when they expelled a veteran officer for “consensual homosexual acts” he exposed himself as a fundamentalist homophobe willing to impose sharia law on its citizens and deny citizens the right of individual privacy behind closed doors.  all of this is odious enough and worthy of every epithet i or anyone else can hurl at him.  but the crème de la crème, the apotheosis of his lack of shame was when this punk stepped forward, like a scab sneaking around the picket lines behind the protection of the company militia, to carry out tricky dick’s infamous “saturday night massacre.”  pork was the snotty, stuck up, teacher’s pet you hated in middle school. apple in hand this brown-nosed ass-kisser bent down over the washtub and scrubbed dick’s dirty laundry in the middle of the night: it was then solicitor general porky who fired independent special prosecutor archibald cox after nixon’s own attorney general, elliot richardson AND dick’s deputy attorney general, william ruckelshaus had both resigned in quick succession for refusing to do the deed themselves.  this, more than anything else, was the act that sealed nixon’s destiny with infamy in the watergate scandal.  what goes around comes around i guess.  it was an act of treason which alone should have disqualified pork from any further public or private office of merit and sent him to jail: instead, raygun, the hero of the greatest generation, rewarded him with a nomination to one of the most powerful positions in the world…the supreme court.

After he passed away, many a commentator suggested that pork’s 1987 confirmation hearings to join the ranks of the nine blind justices marked both a high point and an unfulfilled promise for amerika’s political left.  they take it as a model for how radical alliances might have leveraged their political power to stand up to the burgeoning right-wing fanatics, goldwater’s children, who have since the raygun administration managed to hijack the nation. their ransom note has kept this country tottering on the edge for almost forty years now. the greatest generation failed. miserably. history will document that after the “leftist” crusaders blocked pork’s nomination the brilliant coalition of forces who opposed the neoconservative agenda of raygun and britain’s old hag, timidly withered away and acceded quietly to the reconfiguration of white supremacy.  have we not already witnessed the swearing in of kennedy, thomas, roberts and alito with barely a voice of protest? bush one, clinton and baby bush, all rode the wave of bonzo’s canonization as the jack dempsey of amerikan exceptionalism.  the great generation’s “left wing” if there indeed ever was one to begin with, has remained largely silent in the face of the nation’s perverted imperial wars abroad and the evisceration of civil liberties at home.  as the greatest generation segues into the boomer generation, amerika remains tethered to the stake planted by those who fought tooth and bloody nail against labor unions, humane economic policies, racial justice and sexual, intellectual and cultural freedom.  yes indeed, the noble warriors of the greatest generation have taken the reigns and refuse to let go till death do them part: they have pressed forward on each and every one of the fronts that porky advocated.

This man, as much of a buffoon as he appeared to be, was, without a doubt, one of the most powerful and enduring voices of his generation. even as i write this, we are on the verge of another capitulation…and this time from a great black hope whose very legitimacy sprung from a race speech in which he declared his loyalty to that ignominious generation we are about to wave good bye to as they drift mournfully across the river styx….

 
HowardMalcolmBaldridgeWithImeldaMarcos
 
Malcolm Baldrige, Jr. , Secretary of Commerce (b 1922 – d 1987) 
 
william casey
William J. Casey, Director of Central Intelligence (b 1913 – d 1987)
 
 
William French Smith, Attorney General (b 1917 – d 1990)
 
 
enrique bermudez
Enrique Bermúdez Varela, Founder of Nicaraguan Contras (b 1932 – d 1991)
 
 
Terrel Bell, Secretary of Education (b 1921 – d 1996)
 
Thomas O. Enders, Assistant Secretary of State for Inter-American Affairs (1932 – 1996)
 
Samuel Pierce, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (1922 – 2000)
 
eisenhower-vernon-walters-franco 
Vernon A. Walters, United States Representative to the United Nations (1917 – 2002)
 
Richard Lyng
Richard Lyng, Secretary of Agriculture (b 1918 – d 2003)
 
donald regan supply-side_eco_2
Donald Regan, Secretary of Treasury (1918 – 2003)
 
 Albert Hakim Being Sworn in at Iran Contra Hearings

Albert Hakim, Iranian Business Person, founder Stanford Technology Trading Group International (1936 – 2003)

reagan-goldwater

Ronald Wilson Reagan, President of the United States (b 1911 – d 2004)

Anne Burford portrait

Anne Gorsuch Burford, Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (1942 – 2004)

Caspar Weinberger, Secretary of Defense (b 1917 – d 2006)

 Jeane Kirkpatrick 1984 res1

Jeane Duane Jordan Kirkpatrick, United States Representative to the United Nations (b 1926 – d 2006)

 
lyn nofziger
Franklyn Curran “Lyn” Nofziger, Press Secretary (b 1924 – d 2006)
 
 
reagan-deaver
Michael Deaver, White House Deputy Chief of Staff (b 1938 – d 2007)
 

C. William Verity, Secretary of Commerce (b 1917 – d 2007)

a haig

Alexander Haig, Jr., Secretary of State (1924 – 2010)

claire

Clair Elroy George, Chief of CIA’s Division of Covert Operations (1930 – 2011)

calero_2241966b

Adolfo Calero Portocarrero, Nicaraguan Democratic Force (1931 – 2012)

The Cloak

On the floor of my childhood
I’ll find everything I’ve lost:
the blue cloak, the picture book,
the photograph of the dead brother
and that cold mouth of yours, your cold mouth.
 
The blue cloak on the floor of my childhood
covers objects and hallucinations.
A blue cloak, the deepest of blues
found nevermore, for
such a blue exists no longer.
 
And to all of you, pure or fallen
virgins in winter, so abhorrent in summer,
1 ask of you this deep blue:
cover me with this cloak on my dying day.
When 1 am dying, you can all be sure
a blue cloak, the deepest of blues,
will envelop the whole of me, from head to toe.

                             Lêdo Ivo, brazilian poet, (1924 – December 23, 2012)

 
 

To Whom It May Concern

 
All themes are equal
and weigh the same when put in balance.
The child´s cry and the extinguished light, my love and the clamour of committees,
the savings and the waste,
the whiteness of the weeding sheets
and the red wine stain on linens
— all becomes equal on the battlefield.*        

Lêdo Ivo, brazilian poet, (1924 – December 23, 2012)

Jerusalino Araos

Jerusalino Araos, filipino sculpter (1944 – December 23, 2012)

Evil men never look back…
Evil men never look back.”

Lee Dorman, bass player for Iron Butterfly (September 15, 1942 – December 21, 2012)

*Poems translated by KCS Tolentino.

Musical References:

Marva Whitney, 68, american funk singer, stroke (born Marva Ann Manning, May 1, 1944 – December 22, 2012)

Mike Scaccia 47, american heavy metal guitarist, Ministry, Rigor Mortis, Revolting Cocks, , heart attack (June 14, 1965 – December 22, 2012)

Jimmy McCracklin, 91, american blues musician, diabetes and hypertension, (August 13, 1921 – December 20, 2012)

Meredith Israel Thomas, 39, American music publicist, Kings of Leon, Dave Mathews Band, breast cancer, (June 25, 1973 – December 20, 2012) You can read Meredith’s very moving blog in which she documents her struggle with cancer at:

http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/meredithisrael/journal/1/createdAt/asc

Lee Dorman, 70, American bass guitarist, Iron Butterfly, Captain Beyond, natural causes (September 15, 1942 – December 21, 2012)

Dr. K Gyasi, 90, Ghanaian Sikyi Highlife musician, prostate cancer (1922 – December 21, 2012)

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~ by dAlton Anthony on December 31, 2012.

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