To The Czar Of Cellists
With arching Wings, the sea-mew o'er my headPosts on, as bent on speed, now passagingEdges the stiffer Breeze, now, yielding, drifts,Now floats upon the air, and sends from farA wildly-wailing Note.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Look in my eyes, what do you see?
How is one to know what one doesn’t know?
Gorby, a dude whose enlightened rule coincided with the last two Party Congresses, which coincided with my two jaunts to the former Soviet Union:
The 20th congress of the Communist party holds a unique place in Soviet history, due to Nikita Khrushchev's report On the Cult of the Individual. The speech was prepared in strict secrecy, and Khrushchev kept working on it during the congress. He gave the speech on February 25 1956 at a closed meeting, after the new party leadership was elected. The speech shocked delegates, all committed communists, and then wider Soviet society. It accused Joseph Stalin of creating a personality cult. It debunked the myth of Stalin as "the disciple of Lenin": in fact, under the guise of fighting the "enemies of the people" Stalin had eliminated Lenin's closest associates.
Khrushchev cited facts about Joseph Stalin's criminal deeds, of which the people knew little or nothing. For the first time, he spoke not only about the murder of Sergei Kirov and the execution of delegates to the 17th party congress, but also about the abuse of prisoners. Stalin, who had been venerated as next to God, was revealed as the instigator of mass repression. Despite the damning revelations, the speech's overall assessment of Stalin was relatively mild. In this, Khrushchev yielded to the pressure of conservatives like Molotov. He said, for example, that "in the past Stalin undoubtedly performed great services to the party, to the working class and to the international workers' movement".
By contrast, in preliminary discussion, Khrushchev had said: "Stalin destroyed the party. He was not a Marxist. He wiped out all that is sacred in a human being." Later, fearing that the truth about Stalin could lead to criticism of the political system, Khrushchev reverted to saying that Stalin had been a staunch revolutionary. Such contradictions are evidence of a hard-fought battle - a struggle that should not be seen as mere palace intrigue.
Steve Bannon will be giving this speech one day, I'm sure of it.
The Poem I Forgot To Post
In speaking of ‘aspiration,’From the recesses of a pen more dolorous than blacknessitself,Were you presenting us with one more form of imperturbableFrench drollery,Or was it self directed banter?Habitual ennuiTook from you, your invisible, hot helmet of anaemia—While you were filling your “little glass” from thedecanterOf a transparent-murky, would-be-truthful “hobohemia”—And then facetiouslyWent off with it? Your soul’s supplanter,The spirit of good narrative, flatters you, convinced thatin reporting brieflyOne choice incident, you have known beauty other than thatof stys, onWhich to fix your admiration.
Isn't It Good?
In München steht ein Hofbräuhaus, oans, zwoa, g'suffa!
Some guy with a funny mustachio:
[T]he date of February 24, 1920 was set for the holding of this first great mass meeting of the still unknown movement.
I personally conducted the preparations. They were very brief. Altogether the whole apparatus was adjusted to make lightning decisions. Its aim was to enable us to take a position on current questions in the form of mass meetings within twenty-four hours. They were to be announced by posters and leaflets whose content was determined according to those guiding principles which in rough outlines I have set down in my treatise on propaganda. Effect on the broad masses, concentration on a few points, constant repetition of the same, self-assured and self-reliant framing of the text in the forms of an apodictic statement, greatest perseverance in distribution and patience in awaiting the effect.
On principle, the color red was chosen; it is the most exciting; we knew it would infuriate and provoke our adversaries the most and thus bring us to their attention and memory whether they liked it or not.
I understand Steve Bannon learned drinking songs there as a wee lad...
The Judiciary: How Does It Fucking Work?
[T]he federal judiciary is supreme in the exposition of the law of the Constitution.
True, Judicial Review was not, actually, born with Marbury, but the ruling sure did cement the weakest branch's role in American constitutional law. Somebody alert the unpopular fascist pretenders in our Executive branch.
We Are Not Afraid Of The word 'Tension'
My company's CEO and President signed an open letter to Lord Dampnuts about his immoral, unconstitutional, and counterproductive Muslim ban:
We believe that immigrants and visitors from these nations should be allowed into the US to help increase the efficacy of the work we do to build peace and prosperity both at home and around the world. Collectively, we employ tens of thousands of people, and we have always found that the most powerful solutions for societal ills only emerge with the intimate involvement of those whom we work to serve. Diversity is the lifeblood of social, economic, and political progress, and policies that impede this value weaken our ability to innovate and implement social change.
We fear that such policies limit opportunity, inclusion, and our nation’s opportunity to engage with the world. We stand with the millions of people around the globe who have joined hands in resistance to efforts to sow fear and create false divisions along the lines of religion, ethnicity, country of origin, gender, or any other degree of difference.
I'm just an infosec guy, but I'm very glad to be working with people who have great courage and vision, especially in these unsettled times.
He Moves In Mysterious Ways
Scarce can endure delay of execution,Wait, with impatient readiness, to seize mySoul in a moment.
Mine Has Flown
My candle burns at both ends;It will not last the night;But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends—It gives a lovely light!
Edna St. Vincent Millay.
a father like trump
a sky like lead
Out of the air a voice without a face
Proved by statistics that some cause was just
In tones as dry and level as the place:
No one was cheered and nothing was discussed;
Column by column in a cloud of dust
They marched away enduring a belief
Whose logic brought them, somewhere else, to grief.
Deine Papiere, Jude!
Why not a little repeat of British history:
Identity card schemes have been introduced into this country twice before, only to be scrapped soon after amidst widespread public rejoicing and relief. They were initially brought in during World War I, as a way of increasing domestic security at a time of unprecedented national emergency; but they were generally regarded as a threat to civil liberties rather than a safeguard, and abandoned when the war ended.
They were introduced again in 1939, for essentially the same reason, and were met with an equally unenthusiastic public response. But despite these familiar objections, the Labour government of Clement Attlee decided to continue the scheme, in the face of the Cold War and the perceived Soviet threat, so it was not until 1952 that identity cards were abolished a second time. This was partly because the Conservative government of Winston Churchill was determined to "set the people free". But then, as now, it was also on account of the cost.
On 7 December 1950, Clarence Willcock, a dry cleaner from north London, was driving his car before being stopped by a policeman, Harold Muckle, who ordered him to show his identity card. He refused. The case Willcock v Muckle ended up in the High Court the following year, with Lord Chief Justice Goddard saying that the continuation of ID cards was an annoyance to the public "and tended to turn law-abiding subjects into law-breakers". Mr Willcock was sent on his way...
At the bottom of the column for Monday 21 February [a House of Commons diary] says: "Identity cards abolished in Britain, 1952". The Tories, under Churchill, had been elected to replace the Attlee government just four months earlier on a programme to "set the people free". Mr Willcock became a national hero and the final inspiration for the Tory view that ID cards had no place in their philosophy.
Churchill's government recognised that their abolition, along with that of rationing, was part of the symbolic transition from the command and control of the people necessitated by the exigencies of war. Their demise signalled the release of the people from the strictures of the state.
Trump is scribbling notes, I'm sure.
efficient, authoritative, and prosperous
The line is long, processional, glacial,and the attendant a giant stone, cobalt bluewith flecks of white, I’m not so muchlooking at a rock but a slab of night.The stone asks if anything inside the packageis perishable. When I say no the stonelaughs, muted thunderclap, meaningeverything decays, not just fruitor cut flowers, but paper, ink, the CDI burned with music, and my friendwaiting to hear the songs, some little joyafter chemo eroded the tumor. I know fleshis temporary, and memory a tilting barnthe elements dismantle nail by nail.I know the stone knows a millennia of rainand wind will even grind awayhis ragged face, and all of this slow erasingis just a prelude to when the swellinguniverse burns out, goes dark, holdsnothing but black holes, the bones of starsand planets, a vast silence. The stoneis stone-faced. The stone asks how soonI want the package delivered. As fastas possible, I say, then start counting the days.
What Tyranny Of The Minority?
Madison in Federalist 10:
The influence of factious leaders may kindle a flame within their particular States, but will be unable to spread a general conflagration through the other States. A religious sect may degenerate into a political faction in a part of the Confederacy; but the variety of sects dispersed over the entire face of it must secure the national councils against any danger from that source. A rage for paper money, for an abolition of debts, for an equal division of property, or for any other improper or wicked project, will be less apt to pervade the whole body of the Union than a particular member of it; in the same proportion as such a malady is more likely to taint a particular county or district, than an entire State.
I Don't Like Haircuts
Check's In The Mail
[The Post Office] is perhaps the only mercantile project which has been successfully managed by, I believe, every sort of government.
- Adam Smith, Wealth of Nations (Book V, Ch 2)
The Post Office has been around since before we had even declared independence--with Ben Franklin made the first Postmaster General--showing just how important communication in general and the postal service in particular is. The Articles Congress passed An Ordinance for Regulating the Post-Office of the United States of America in 1782.
Once the US Congress ramped up under our Constitution in 1789, the House wanted to continue the existing regime:
[U]ntil further provision be made by law, the General Post Office of the United States shall be conducted according to the rules and regulations prescribed: by the ordinances and resolutions of the late Congress, and that contracts be made for the conveyance of the mail in conformity thereto...
But the Senate had other ideas, and on September 11:
Mr. Butler, in behalf of the committee appointed on the tenth of September, on the resolve of the House of Representatives, providing for the regulation of the post of flee, reported, not to concur in the resolve, and a bill upon the subject matter thereof;
And, on the question of concurrence in the resolve of the House of Representatives:
It passed in the negative.
Ordered, That the bill, entitled "An act for the temporary establishment of the post office," have the first reading at this time.
It's not apparent from the record how much, if any, debate there was on the bill. It zipped through the Senate, and was passed even more rapidly by the House. The act was extremely brief and its operation was limited through the next session, though it had to be renewed the following August, and again in March after that (when service was also extended to Bennington in the new state of Vermont!). It appears the Legislative branch has always had difficulty addressing some issues and needed to extend "temporary" solutions time and again.
Anyway, Congress put the Post Office under the Executive branch, which makes sense. What they didn't do was provide the department much power except basically making contracts for transport of the mail. The further expansion of the system, and delegation of authority to do so, was an unresolved constitutional question. Because, you know, it is the Legislative branch who was granted this power in Article I, Section 8: To establish Post Offices and Post Roads.
Which brings us to the Second Congress. President Washington lit a fire under legislators on October 25, 1791:
I shall content myself with a general reference to former communications for several objects, upon which the urgency of other affairs has hitherto postponed any definitive resolution. Their importance will recal them to your attention; and, I trust, that the progress already made in the most arduous arrangements of the government will afford you leisure to resume them with advantage.
There are, however, some of them of which I cannot forbear a more particular mention. These are: the militia; the post-office and post roads; the mint; weights and measures; a provision for the sale of the vacant lands of the United States.
The importance of the post-office and post reads, on a plan sufficiently liberal and comprehensive, as they respect the expedition, safety, and facility of communication, is increased by their instrumentality in diffusing a knowledge of the laws and proceedings of the government; which, while it contributes to the security of the people, serves also to guard them against the effects of misrepresentation and misconception. The establishment of additional cross posts, especially to some of the important points in the western and northern parts of the Union, cannot fail to be of material utility.
So the House finally got to work in earnest on December 6. Mr Sedgwick started things off with a motion to have the president establish postal routes, as opposed to Congress' specifying each road in legislation. There was objection:
Mr Livermore observed that the Legislative body being empowered by the Constitution "to establish post offices and post roads," it is as clearly their duty to designate the roads as to establish the offices; and he did not think they could with propriety delegate that power, which they were themselves appointed to exercise. Some gentlemen, he knew, were of opinion that the business of the United States could be better transacted by a single person than by many; but this was not the intention of the Constitution.
It was provided that the Government should be administered by Representatives, of the people's choice; so that every man, who has the right of voting, shall be in some measure concerned in making every law for the United States. The establishment of post roads he considered as a very important object; but he did not wish to see them so diffused as to become a heavy charge where the advantage resulting from them would be but small; nor, on the other hand, for the sake of bringing a revenue into the Treasury, consent to straiten them so as to check the progress of information.
If the post office were to be regulated by the will of a single person, the dissemination of intelligence might be impeded, and the people kept entirely in the dark with respect to the transactions of Government; or the Postmaster, if vested with the whole power, might branch out the offices to such a degree as to make them prove a heavy burden to the United States.
Mr Sedgwick felt himself by no means disposed to resign all the business of the House to the President, or to any one else; but he thought that the Executive part of the business ought to be left to Executive officers. He did not, for his part, know the particular circumstances of population, geography, &c., which had been taken into the calculation by the select committee, when they pointed out the roads delineated in the bill; but he would ask, whether they understood the subject so thoroughly as the Executive officer would, who being responsible to the people for the proper discharge of the trust reposed in him, must use his utmost diligence in order to a satisfactory execution of the delegated power?
As to the constitutionality of this delegation, it was admitted by the committee themselves who brought in the bill; for if the power was altogether indelegable, no part of it could be delegated; and if a part of it could, he saw no reason why the whole could not. The second section was as unconstitutional as the first, for it is there said, that "it shall be lawful for the Postmaster General to establish such other roads as post roads, as to him may seem necessary."
Congress, he observed, are authorized not only to establish post offices and post roads, but also to borrow money; but is it understood that Congress are to go in a body to borrow every sum that may be requisite? Is it not rather their office to determine the principle on which the business is to be conducted, and then delegate the power of carrying their resolves into execution? They are also empowered to coin money, and if no part of their power be delegable, he did not know but they might be obliged to turn coiners, and work in the Mint themselves.
At the heart of discussion wasn't just whether Congress could delegate such power, but was it even a good idea? Was the USPS a business, in essence, that should be run super efficiently with substantial executive discretion and maybe even generate some revenue for the national government? Or was it really an essential public service that needed to be more responsive to the needs of the People and thus required very particular oversight by their representatives in the legislature?
Finally, a bill with about 50 lines of designated postal routes was delivered to the Senate on January 10, 1792. Senators nitpicked, then the chambers came to agreement and Washington signed the rather expansive bill into law on this date.
Now, let's take bets on how quickly Trump will try to destroy my beloved Postal Service. How much money did FedEx and UPS execs donate to his campagin?
Only child know
It's A Fair Cop
The fellow talking to himself is me,Though I don't know it. That's to say, I seeHim every morning shave and comb his hairAnd then lose track of him until he starts to care,Inflating sex dolls out of thin airIn front of his computer, in a battered leather chairThat needs to be thrown out . . . then I lose trackUntil he strides along the sidewalk on the attackWith racist, sexist outbursts. What a treatThis guy is, glaring at strangers in the street!Completely crazy but not at all insane.He's hot but there's frostbite in his brain.He's hot but freezing cold, and oh so cool.He's been called a marvelously elegant ghoul.
Trump's conspiracy has been one of the most flagitous of which history will ever furnish an example
Show And Tell
I’m so over defending my own humanity. I’m so over providing a power-point presentation about the fact that I exist. And I’m completely done with engaging with anyone who has a clever theory explaining why they actually understand my soul better than I do.
To be blunt: if your crazy-ass theory of the world doesn’t ease the suffering of people whom you do not understand, maybe what you actually need is a new theory.
Look, I’m going to continue all of the work I’ve been doing these last 15 years talking about identity and story and love. I’m going to try to support other people in the community whose work I admire, or find challenging or engaging.
But in creative writing circles we have a saying: Show, Don’t Tell. [ed. note: she drilled that into us in class] In writing, that means that a scene — with dialogue and texture and character — is much more convincing than narration — explaining and lecturing. And it strikes me that this is true of our movement now as well.
To exist is to resist.