A TRAVELLER IN ROMANCE

A TRAVELLER IN ROMANCE 

Somerset Maugham’s A Traveller in Romance discusses the nineteenth century novel: Style, subjects and topics, formats – all mostly apart from content. It makes for odd descriptions and overblown characters, and a lot of insignificant stuff that the twentieth century novelist dropped from manuscripts. 

Most nineteenth century connotations about the novel has lapsed or expired; there are adherents clinging to them today, wondering why the English language is moving from those expressions and disregarding their volumes. From what I inferred Ulysses and its structures based upon theology and doctrine from the Catholic Church is an expression of the Nineteenth Century. Reading Virginia Woofe, and many of her literary enthusiasts present lapses in truth, logic, reason, and anything to make her prolix novels comprehensible. 

From the other side of the literary world was a non-novelist who wrote the most splendid novels and terrific short stories: Youth and End of the Tether alone should make Joseph Conrad’s career. Every detail tells the story and builds without many literary artifacts derived from the Greeks, Romans, the Renaissance or from poetry. The stories define characters and actions. Hemingway does that in his more cryptic style. 

Maugham highly criticized Henry James – HORRORS! 

 The faults of English writing have always been diffuseness, verbosity, and in the novelists of my generation, anaemia. This anaemia..we owe largely to an American writer, Henry James. His influence on English fiction was enormous. Henry James never came to gripes with life. He was afraid of it, and knew it only as you might know what is going on in a busy street by looking out of an upstairs window. The problems that he examined with such scrupulous integrity were little social problems of no real significance. But such was his skill, such was his charm and such was the power of his personality that he led many of the better writers in England to turn their eyes away from the needs, passions and immortal longings of humanity to dwell on the trivial curiosities of sheltered gentlefolk.

  The verbosity of the English language…is due…to our love of words for their own sake, apart from the meaning they convey. (page 209)

Maugham’s comments about Herman Melville aroused my curiosity: “Good writing is a stylization of the common speech of the people. To my mind, the two great masters of prose the America has produced are Hawthorne and …Melville. Melville learned to write from his study of the great English stylists of the seventeenth century, and at his magnificent best he has a splendour, a majestic, resonant eloquence, that no modern writer has surpassed.” (page 209)

I remembered the antiquated style in Moby Dick. I reread. It is easy to recognize that book as an allegory, and once the reader keeps it in mind, neglect all else. Verbosity – why say in five words what can be said in twenty. Writers of English prose like to consider themselves as poets and sometimes playwrights. There are overblown passages. No one in English ever talks in the way that Melville has characters exchanging words. Thoughts of characters, the common person of the nineteenth century, did not consider Greek mythology or Biblical passages to consider, influence and control life, unless he was some egghead or bonehead living the simple life in the Massachusetts suburbs. But Thoreau did not think much of the Ancients – he was too busy counting tree rings.

Every early writer of English liked to consider themselves as poets. What is poetry, stylistically?

The best poetry is made up of nouns and their relationships with one another. Nouns are the medium. Nouns are the message. What is English prose, stylistically? The best prose depends on verbs. They make the language go; they take readers places. However, the longer the English sentence, the more likely readers will lose sight of the verb and lose their way, mired in words, prepositional phrases, wandering logic, roaming reason, dependent clauses with antecedents in independent clauses – before or after – four lines away, ample reliance on willing suspension of belief and exotic uses of grammar. Critics and others prize sentences, beautiful sentences – long and longer sentences. A modern English reader doesn’t give a hoot about sentences if they are unconnected to telling stories. Indeed, long and lengthy sentences lose most participants in conversation. 

While reading along the analogy in Moby Dick, a reader can avoid many nineteenth century pitfalls. Just know Moby Dick primarily tells about the United States, 1850. The whales are the North. The crew and Ahab (John C. Calhoun) are the South – the consummate power of hate. The ship is the nation.

   

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PAT BUCHANAN – RUSSIA LOVE

Yesterday old Pat has called for an American reevaluation and withdrawal from NATO. Russian ain’t a threat – totalitarian government, invasions of Georgia, Crimea and Ukraine, violations of the anti-ballistic missile treaties, poisoning of opponents living overseas, killing members of the opposition within Russia, interfering in elections in the West. It’s a goon country. 

All that is fine with Pat. Pat was big when he was Old Dick Nixon’s chief screw in the 1970s. Pat is that far out of date, equally manifested when Pat relies on George Kennan. George Kennan set FDR straight about the Soviet Union, didn’t he Pat?  Nixon himself was a communist. He embarked on policies which allowed the Soviet Union and Red China to succeed and expand, all the while weakening the United States. 

Now Pat wants to follow Don Trump and his BFF, Vlad Putin. Putin wants to do away with security arrangements which have kept Europe at peace for three-quarters of  a century and have delivered prosperity to most citizens. What does Don get out of dissolving the American-European security arrangements? Money plus he gets to build an ugly hotel in Moscow, his wet dream of this decade. Pat gets a government job where he can crawl, cower, slink and grovel before powerful men like he did with Old Dick. Vlad gets to be more aggressive and intimating with the Europeans each who has the backbone of a chocolate eclairs. 

Meanwhile if Don and Pat succeed in order to gain their silly goals, the Atlantic Ocean will not protect the United States. For a third time the United States will be forced to defend and cross it to bring peace to the world.

A TRAVELLER IN ROMANCE

John Whitehead, Editor

This collection of Somerset Maugham’s writings presents a mixed bag, in quality of writing and acuteness of observations. Short stories are included, the best being The Buried Talent: A woman with a promising career in the arts choses a quiet life of family and security in a tucked away backwater. Twenty years later she remeets the narrator who knew of her talents. Those urges return in a rush. The retired artist regrets.

That engaging story accompanies observations, not developed in a serious way: The lack of art – literature, painting and music – in Nazi Germany and in the Soviet Union. It is true for any totalitarian system, in the past and today which represses and prohibits artistic freedom, preferring authentic replications rather than new expressions. Also mentioned but left mostly undeveloped is the issue of style for an author. Maugham is correct that each story and every set of characters in a new novel should have their own style. No use writing about New England in the same style or manner as one might an Arizona story. Likewise, writing history and in other disciplines require the writer to create a style suitable to the research and story.

 Where Traveller falls down are pieces where Maugham is delivering criticism, is writing praise about a contemporary (Neal Coward) or is discussing people he has met or known. This tedious flabbiness is longer than half the volume. 

However, the portions about writing are fun to read and need to be remembered: 

One day Alfred de Musset went to see his friend George Sand, then a famous 

novelist, and as women will, she kept him waiting. To pass the time he took  

up one of her books and to amuse himself he crossed out all the superfluous 

adjectives he came across. History relates that, when the lady came in and 

saw how he was occupied, she did not receive him with her usual show of

affection. There are few English writers whose prose could not be bettered

by the same drastic process. (p. 209-210)

 

Also Maugham has a jaundiced view of Henry James:

His influence on English fiction was enormous. Henry James never came to

grips with life. He was afraid of it, and knew it only as you might know what 

is going on in a busy street by looking out of an upstairs window. The problems

that he examined with such scrupulous integrity were little social problems of 

no real significance. But such was his skill, such was his charm and such was 

the power of his personality that he led many of the better writers in England

to turn their eyes away from the needs, passions and immortal longings of

humanity to dwell on the trivial curiosities of sheltered gentlefolk.(p.209)   

HISTORY – RESEARCH, RECOUNTING, WRITING

Not recommended is Adam Hochschild’s, The Uuquiet Ghost, which lands on a significant subject. It supposedly tells of Stalin’s Gulag and survivors thereof. That is fine, but there is no I (me, Adam Hochschield) in the book. The author is not a survivor, the spouse of a survivor, a family member of a survivor, and he is not Russian. He is an American writing about Stalin’s Gulag. His text has the blunders of Edmund Morris, who decided to include himself in the Reagan biography, Dutch. About the stories from the survivors, the book reverses its purpose. I did this, I travelled there, the author tells. However notes giving brief backgrounds are in the text at the end of a section or at the end of a chapter. The reverse should be true – less author, more history.

Of interest in the Preface and the early chapters of The Unquiet Ghost, are statements:

iii: “And it’s important….that those things should be documented by someone who speaks with the authority of having been there.”

iii:  “How could the country that gave the world Tolstoy and Chekhov also give it the gulag?”

iv:  “Thomas Hardy…wrote that ‘if way to be Better there be, it exacts a full look at the Worst.’”

vii-viii: “…no one should have any illusions that the country’s path will be a smooth and easy one. …[A] secret police major…thought it would take two generations for the Russian Bureaucracy to completely outgrow it’s authoritarian habits.”

xix: “…a more hazardous facet of Utopianism: the faith that if only we make certain sweeping changes, then all problems will be solved….Marxism offered this: the belief that once people overthrew the social and economic system…human character itself would be transformed.”

20-21: “Memory made public is also a warning: You can’t get away with this again…’Retrospectively, the broadcasting of truth…upends the torturer’s boastful claim…is at once more subtle and perhaps more momentous…It is essential to the structure of torture that it takes place in secret, in the dark, beyond considerations of shame and account…Torture can never again feel so self-assured – not their victims so utterly forlorn.”

21. “Vaclav Havel speaks of the “fear of history” that leads people to avoid dealing with complicity and guilt. But, sometimes we blot out the past simply to spare ourselves unnecessary pain.”

The easy points to address are about art and about politics, pages iii and vii-viii above. Tolstoy and Cheknov were not authors promoting social change. They wrote about Russian society before them, and did that well. It is naive to believe everyone in Russia wanted to preserve what Tolstoy and Chekhov wrote about, the glory of Russia under the Czars. Likely the population wanted political change. Can art change society is en elementary question? That is the hope. But recurring in early Nazi Germany were the identical questions with scores of cultural giants that the population knew. A cultural heritage actually aided the Nazis in the racially and religiously charged exterminations and prejudices.

It is not bureaucracy that needs changing; it is the system of government. Democratic ways seeking truth and society’s advancement must override bureaucratic rules. But democracy is not an automatic avenue to rectify governmental ways. It must be worked at. Without a long history of democratic expectations, Russia, for instance, has demonstrated it is easy to lapse into previous totalitarism ways.

Thomas Hardy is correct, to make the human race better, we must force a complete understanding of the worst. And who better to describe the worst – the persons who suffered. One cannot rely on officials. Stalin said it best: The loss of one human being is a tragedy The loss of 62,000,000 is a statistic. 62,000,000 has been published as the number of Russians and other nationalities killed by the Communists from 1917 to 1991.

Communism does offer utopian promises and goals becoming reality after making “sweeping changes.” Human beings with any education, knowledge, and intelligence know the promises of dictators, authoritarians and tyrants are false and must be disbelieved. Some pandering with those aspirations are lying without caring that change cannot be made with sweeping changes. Human beings done’t change with alterations of the basic law. Witness the Civil War Amendments to the United States Constitution, directing to shift the status of former slaves and other African-Americans. As revered as is the Constitution to the American people, the actions and behavior of Americans needs more change.

The dictator, the tyrant, the authoritarian primary tool is torture to get people to comply and to follow. Shifting from that system to one of democracy is not perfect and absolute. Again human beings does not change immediately, over generations or longer. Yet the South Africans held its Truth Commissions for all the world and its own people to witness. I do not know the status of interpersonal relations, based upon race, wealth, faith in South Africa. I have not heard completely bad news, but I don’t know. Perhaps the South Africans led by Nelson Mandela did it right.

Is there a fear of history? Likely not. The persons who led and those who contributed to atrocities and exterminations were not concerned what will be written or thought about them. The numbers of deaths must be HUGE. Who remembers Pol Pot? If history means leaders and their disciples will be remembered, they have overachieved. And given the reverence some Russians have for Stalin, the Chinese for Mao and westerns for the drug-addled Hitler and the Nazis, the enormities attract fans, followers and devotees. It is hard to say what will end those influences – open the archives and expose all the facts?

Progression of Excellence

PART ONE

ALEXANDRIA-OCASIO-CORTEZ (AOC) 

To a post on Facebook about this newly elected member of the House of Representatives, I urged that that she do more than enter tweet-sized statements, offer more than a headline, or give words behind a sound bite. Write and explain. Put forth policies that reveal reasoning and present the mind, not the mouth, to the public. 

An admirer, a devotee or perhaps a disciple of AOC replied, “Why apply that to her before any of the other people stealing from us.”

AOC is a politician in the business of making views, not sentences, known. She is new to the political arena; she is will be in the House of Representatives. She is voluble and engaging. She is 28 years old, too young to challenge the establishment in New York state: Senators Schummer and Gillabrandt, plus Governor Cuomo. 

Should AOC go beyond offering easy to read popular quotes, provocative tweets, enlivening sound bites, attractive slogans or alluring headlines? She can distinguish herself by employing methods that her peers eschew. Write out and think through policies, not delights for the masses or the church choir, but something that Americans can understand, adopt and support. 

She does not want be on the fringe, agitating to the true believers who put her on a pedestal and bow as in a personality cult: The leader demands that nothing is questioned; nothing is discussed.  Edicts are issued and the Big Person carries all authority. It’s a rush but forfeits responsibility because the leader is not accountable. The followers end up counting angels on the head of a pin.

Americans have tried a person of this ilk, the OT (not an abbreviation for Overtime). He spouts off the latest dribbles from a drooling mouth, always trying to please homies from the ‘hood. 

PART TWO

LOST LIFE

How does an enthusiastic youth turn against aspirations and stop doubting and questioning?

   “There are wonderful, helpful people, and there are others who more concerned with how things affect them and/or the institution that they represent. This realization was a little disappointing because with my youthful, idealistic, student experience I had a higher expectation for how the University should be run and treat its children.  

   However, we have to realize that it is a government bureaucracy in which the people who work there are very human, and want to protect themselves and the institution.  After a lot of years in the private sector… I… worked [at the University] for a while, and I saw it firsthand.  It was both good and bad, just like business and life.

 

  For me, I had to take off my rose colored glasses and accept the reality that the University is not heaven and not everyone is an angel.

This quote from recent correspondence reveals the absolute decline of a human being and his facilities, a man who is easily complacent and self-satisfied. The subject being discussed was history, and this response reminds me of a proverb popular in the Soviet Union: “The future is certain. It is the past that is uncertain.” In other words the bureaucracy will determine what the past is, and thereby the future is assured.

This is not the only discussion I’ve had with Boomers on this point. After some talk, I asked a successful businesswoman whether there was in her life anything she would change. She looked ahead, out the window with some glow in her eyes and said, “No, I don’t think so.” She wouldn’t change a word; she would not change an act; she would not change a relationship; she would not change a thought, a reflection or a wish.

If presented with the argument of this writing, both persons would insist, I didn’t mean that. I’m being misquoted. Yet these persons are approaching a brain-dead status because they are accepted what-is and failed to rail against what-could-be. They are sell- outs.

Each relies on age, experience and wisdom. I have the judgment based upon experience. Right away, these persons are wrong. Is each satisfied with the world as it is, whether it depends upon what is happening is the South China Sea, Washington DC or across the street? Mark Twain had advice for listening to such people: “Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down the their level and then beat you with experience.”

It obvious each boomer lacks human qualities – inquisitiveness, curiosity, imagination, foresight and ideas. What sort of world do these individuals want their children and grandchildren to grow up into and struggle through: A bureaucracy that can’t be changed because a predecessor-in-interest was too lazy, incompetent or complacent to work to change the way the society or bureaucracy worked twenty-five or fifty years ago?

Wisdom is not fed only by experience. That’s a cop-out. It was Mark Twain who observed,

“We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it and stop there lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove lid again and that is well but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore.” What is true for cats (sitting on a cold stove lid on a hot summer day is soothing) is also true for human beings. Persons relying solely on experience frequently fall into cliches – events are inevitable, or history repeats itself. Again Mark Twain clarified, “History does not repeat itself but it rhymes.” Experience likes rhymes. That is why people cling and linger on experiences When old or old thinking, they rely on experience – today is like it was when I was young. How so? What did you think then? Be honest. Why did you change? Be honest. Was that change good? Be honest.

As the quote form the correspondence indicates, experience plus age lets a human being pass, let it go, let people do their own thing, accept any malarky a bureaucracy, a society, a group or an individual proposes. It is too difficult to change the way people think, do or feel. We know that. Tell every person in the Civil Rights Movement how difficult it is to change the attitudes and ways of their fellow Americans. It was easier to pass Constitutional Amendments, 13, 14 and 15.

Yet hiring or having a person with experience who is supposed to be motivated, have imagination and knowledge plus propose new ways to address problems is never assured. That experienced person may have given up. The work, the bureaucracy, is too difficult. That person expended energy and imagination when using drugs and unthinking enthusiasm earlier in life: Now that person is settled: I grew up. I’ve given up. I am a tired, useless, old human being who likes to watch life pass by. Hiring a person like that only adds another layer to the bureaucracy.

PART THREE  

RESOLUTIONS

What does AOC have to do with the boomers in Part Two? Nothing, and perhaps everything. It is easy to go along with the bureaucracy. It’s not just business and political entities

but also a social organization. AOC can lose everything and disappear into the Federal Government. She will part of the group, the power elite, a giddy promotion for a fresh face. She will become rich, successful and powerful. She will be popular, on TV and famous. Who does not want all that?

What’s happening in her mind? AOC is young and for the reminder of life she should read, ponder, write, and thereafter act and express herself about thoughts and beliefs. It is clear few of her peers, Left or Right, can or are doing that.

For the boomers? Can old people change their ways? It takes energy to be curious and inventive and stick to it. It takes energy to read and think about ideas and issues comprehended and how they might be applied today to better the future. It is not enough to travel. An acquaintance said in my presence: “I went to the Galapagos Islands.” Before I could ask about differences of species on each island (which Darwin noted), she said, “And then I saw Machu Picchu.” I did not ask about the recently discovered Inca city west of Machu. I figured she was happy seeing the highlights of South America. Some people are truly the living dead, so deep in a rut that they are buried.

I got into a tiff with a woman on Facebook. I made a joke about marijuana usage, and she told me if I weren’t using pot, I would never be part of the Twenty-First Century. Sorry I can’t join Elom Musk. I did not respond to that view – you’re lucky you got out of the Nineteenth Century. Pot and its derivatives are not the drugs to make the Twenty-First Century better. Going forward, all human beings, as hard as it may be, should keep as many of their wits within them. The tale of the Twenty-First Century will be, the person with the most wits wins.  

TOAST OR POPSICLE

After Vlad Putin’s once-a-year press conference of last week, the headline read: Don’t underestimate the threat of nuclear war. 

Does Vlad Putin believe he can intimate the United States by threatening nuclear war? He’s a moron. He should take lessons from the Supreme Leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un, whose connections with the United Staes are more likely to lead to a peaceful East Asia in the future.

Vlad Putin’s first misunderstanding is the history of Russia. His communist predecessors, in charge of the Soviet Union, wrote two constitutions, each which made the union of the 15 republics voluntary: Fifteen (15) republics made up the Soviet Union because the communists had a nationalities problem; the Soviet Union was not an imperialistic power. Each republic, more or less, represented a nationality. The constitution was in force until the Communist Party collapsed in 1991. HOWEVER, Vlad Putin assets the union of the 15 republics was compulsory, and under the Pan-Slavism ideas of Vlad Putin, picked up from the Czars and the Nineteenth Century, Russia is the only leader of all the Republics. 

Following the constitution of the Soviet Union, when the Soviet Union ended, those republics became independent nations. They have been independent since 1991. However, Vlad Putin believes Russian has the right to conquer the 14 independent nations which were once involuntarily joined to the Soviet Union. When other nations of the world object and react, Vlad Putin threatens nuclear war.

What’s the position of Don Trump? He has none except he wants to build a Hotel by Don in Moscow.

Nuclear war will end life on earth. Old Vlad Putin likely believes that Russia is so large they can burrow deep enough into the earth to save the Russian leadership. After the bombs go off, clouds will form from ash, debris, radiation and everything else. It would be a nuclear winter. The average temperature on earth will fall at least 15 degrees, perhaps 20 degrees or more. It make take ten years or longer to get a sun-shinny day somewhere on earth.

It was reported a while ago that a Russian said the best way to attack the United States with nuclear weapons would be hit the super volcano at Yellowstone. Bombing Yellowstone will cause more damage, certainly. Americans will not be around to see it. Along with nuclear winter there would be a volcanic winter. Temperatures on earth can drop 35-40 degrees for ten years or longer. Yellowstone is not the only super volcano on earth. If others are nuked, temperatures could drop 60 or more degrees for a longer period of time. Nobody would survive on the surface of the earth. 

Add another mishap like a meteor or a comet hitting the earth around 2030, and everyone on this orb would be toast or a popsicle. 

Would Old Vlad Putin be happy in his man-cave? Old Vlad is reputed to be an outdoor’s man who likes photo-ops of himself shirtless. He is in his late Sixties. By the time it’s safe to come to the surface, he will be long dead. But it will not be a happy old age. He’s likely to commit suicide, if he’s lucky.

The last huge eruption of a super volcano was about 75,000 years ago, in Indonesia – Toba. It was a slow night, watching TV when I heard about this event. I believe the narrator said at the end of the volcanic winter there were 30 human females on earth who were capable of reproducing. 

In the movie Doctor Strangelove Americans in the War Room learn of the Russian ultimate weapon which will poison the surface of the earth for 93 years. Doctor Strangelove (Peter Sellers) says man can live in caves and mines until life on the surface is safe. To insure there would be enough Americans, there should be at least ten women for each man. General Turgidson (George C. Scott) likes that ratio. President Merkin Muffley is dismayed.

Doctor Strangelove got the gender correct. Any long term fallout/bomb shelter would quickly become, setting aside issues of mental health, a nursery for screaming kids, bunches of high energy brats, morose, moody teenagers and know-all young adults. If the kids don’t kill the old male leadership, the women will.     

On Pitcairn Island (circa 1793) the Tahitian men killed most of the while men, and to avenge their husbands, the Tahitian women killed the Tahitian men. It became a matriarchic society. If the men killed a child of a woman in the shelter, it is likely that the women would band together and kill all the older adult men: No more deaths of children.

Perhaps after a nuclear war and nuclear, volcanic and meteoric winters, plus if the bombs and radiation don’t goof the chemistry of the atmosphere, the ozone layer and the earth’s magnetic field remains in place, women will rule the earth and there will be peace on earth. 

Start over – that might be a goal to shoot for.  

WALDEN POND FRAUD

Henry David Thoreau got famous because he journeyed 25 miles from Boston to Concord, and lived in a cabin near Waldon Pond, as a Woodsman. He wrote a book about living alone, which was his inclination. They put him on a postage stamp 120 years later. Establishment players of the early 1970s called it, the hippie stamp.

Before Thoreau and contemporaries of Henry David were true explorers and adventurers, telling about treks into the West, in hundreds of published volumes sold to Americans. The genesis of Waldon Pond, 1854, was not contemplation of nature and transcendental rumination. It was Thoreau writing whilst sitting on his butt in the environs of Boston reading poorly, wishing that he had the energy and motivation to get away and experience adventure and the unknown.  He wasn’t a strong reader; he lacked much imagination. But being at the forefront of modern writing, he would derive, crib and adopt passages – what should be put into a book of nature along with pouting about his sorry miserableness: I chopped a tree; I saw a bird; there was a footprint [also something also noticed by Robinson Crusoe]; a raccoon came abegging [in the West raccoons steal by stealth, if they can.] This was all 25 miles from Boston, next to one of the towns where the American Revolution seventy years before began in April 1775.

Thereupon, plus connections, Thoreau became known and his book, ever since, has beleaguered high school and some college students in the United States of America, The story and the author’s life are lies. A better book is What I Saw In California, Edwin Bryant, published in 1848, based upon the author’s on-edge 1846 travels by wagon and mules to California and around that territory. He returned east in 1847. His description of the Donner Party and the recovery efforts are disgusting and disturbing, more so than any horror film made today. He met all the significant people in the territory. Bryant Street in San Francisco is named after him.

So read the real thing, or read a book by a mentally ill crackpot wondering whether he should leave his pond-side pad and pondering whether he’ll have to evacuate because wildfires will burn the shack or whether there will be 50 feet of snow next winter and he’ll have to dig out for three weeks. 

WRITING: USE OF I

DEATH VALLEY-BORAX DESERTS

by JOHN R. SPEARS

Too many books, not enough time to read. Right?

These Sketches of the Western border of the Great Basin are encumbered by poor writing. Primarily the author wrote in the first person narrative, making the writing verbose, folksy and impossible to read. I stopped after 46 pages. 

EXAMPLE:  Chapter 2, page 43. 

“Looking toward the east I observed that the white haze thickened and thinned over the face of the sun, as if clouds or varying density were passing there, though no distinct clouds could be seen.”

SUBSTITUTE:

The white haze thicken and thinned shielding the sun.

ANALYSIS:

  1. When an author uses I, he does not need to say, “I think,” “I observe,” “I wonder,” “I smelled.” The reader infers who is sensing or thinking and is recounting.
  2. There is a regrettable sentence structure requiring an unnecessary use of a passive verb at the end of the sentence.
  3. The author tries to describe, completely the haze – thickening and thinning by comparing it to clouds. There are no clouds in Death Valley (as the author’s sentence reveals) for much of the year, especially when sandstorms arise (so tells this author).
  4. The author’s description is unsuccessful. He not only departs from the singular, haze, to the plural, clouds, but the author does not say what is happening: Does the haze block the sun, or not? Does it change the color of the sky, blue, gray, brown or which hue(s)? Supposedly, I is standing on the desert floor, not making meteorological observations, but describing what is happening around him. This text does not seem real.  

EXAMPLE: Chapter 2, page 46, begins,

“As was said in the last chapter, people have read, from time to time, that men and beasts, and even birds trying to cross Death Valley fall down and die. It is true.”

The next paragraph begins, “I did not see this, of course.”

There is no SUBSTITUTE, only ANALYSIS:

  1. The author, using I, is detached from the subject.
  2. The place is known as Death Valley.
  3. As far as my reading went, of course, I, the author of this book did not stroll across the Valley and describe the effects on the human body, the mind and illusions that may appear to the sensations, which he can write about. This book is wholly deficient. In Roosevelt, Theodore, Ranch Life and the Hunting Trail, the author describes being exposed and riding through the blizzard to shelter, all the while using I infrequently. Any reader of Roosevelt’s book is amazed by the details of being human in that environment and on that land. The reader is alarmed. Will the author survive? And as a piece of literature, the reader wonders how the author remembered everything to write into a passage.

MORAL

When using the first person narrative upon telling a tale, a sketch or an experience, use I sparingly or not at all. Use of I carelessly leads to poor writing, too many words, awkward attempts to be familiar with readers, confusing the story, and presenting misimpression’s (details, misconceptions, misinterpretations and using the wrong words).

SUPREME COURT CONFIRMATION

On October 11, 2018 I posted this blog. I reread it because I was going to pass it on, and I hoped errors I found were not posted earlier. I corrected, as much as possible, the errors and am now reposting. There are another 100 or so words.

The Monday headline on the Real Clear Politics site read, Heitkamp Tries to Explain her ‘No” Vote to Kavanaugh to Constituents.

She should get credit and cache for having consistent views with the following and recognizing disqualifying features to Kavanaugh. She’s on the side of James Madison. Kavanaugh is on the side of Mark Judge.

  1. Kavanaugh’s opinions about Executive Immunity have no Constitutional basis, neither in the present nor in the 1787 Philadelphia Convention where nothing like it was ever proposed. It was not brought up in the Reports (Transcripts) of the 1788-1790 State Conventions ratifying the Constitution.  

       NOTE: James Madison repeatedly stated the 1788-1790 State Ratifying Conventions transcripts were the legislative histories of the Constitution and its contents. They have that legal impact. 

      Kavanaugh’s article was written by a practicing, experienced lawyer of many years. He was old enough to know better, and to be informed. He did no research; there was no reflection. Yet the tenor of the arguments are of the quality of a term paper by a sophomore trying to pass a political science class at an Ivy League school. Indeed, Kavanaugh kept his calendars. Likely, Kavanauth kept kept this sophomoric paper to enlarge and publish when he had made the right connections. It wasn’t polished; it is not well written.

II.  The Constitution keeps sovereignty with the American people, not with the government and certainly not with the Court. The American people have rights despite what the Court says only belong to the people. Ask Madison.

      Right to Life; End of Pregnancy. This issue is one of religion. Some religions prohibit the end of pregnancy under all circumstances, and other leave it to the consciousness of the female. No woman wants to become pregnant in order to end a pregnancy. Ending a pregnancy is an extremely personal, riveting and agonizing decision.

      How does ending a pregnancy play out under the United States Constitution on religious grounds? Opponents of ending a pregnancy claim Religious Liberty to advance their cause. Religious Liberty is not at issue; those people have the liberty to say anything and believe what they want. They have the ability to proselytize. I wish them well, provided they use faith as the bases of their arguments, and no other force: They must convince Americans not to end pregnancies. They must act as Jesus Christ might. However, through their actions and inabilities to convince, they lost those arguments culturally, socially and politically in the Sixties. They can still make their arguments and convince today.

      The same social forces that allowed end of pregnancies to become lawful, also tolerated the sorts of actions that belabored the Kavanaugh hearings, after a partial FBI investigation. However, religious liberty does not extend to government action. The Establishment Clause forbids any government action in support of religion or faith. In the only liberty James Madison defined by constructing it (Remonstrance, Virginia, 1785), James Madison divorced government completely from religion.

    It is unconstitutional for the government – legislature, executive, courts – to prefer faith or tenets of a sect – over others. Madison called this Freedom of Conscious. Indeed, the sovereignty of all the American people is diminished if the government and its minions are allowed to interfere and interpose in favor of one sect or tenets of one over others. (See Madison’s Remonstrance.)

     Might rights of an unborn cild be protected somewhere else in the Constitution? Under the Ninth Amendment, The enumeration in the Constitution of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people., An American woman has a right to privacy, a right to be left alone, a right to chose medical treatment, a right like any other American to live her life as she wants, and other rights. 

     For a thousand years unborn children under English and American law have been identified as expectancies. It explains the Rule Against Perpetuities, enacted to prevent tax avoidance which is part of each state law of the United States.

     Tort and criminal law treat the unborn (fetuses) with casual indifference. The analyses are macabre. There are no wrongful deaths lawsuits for the death of a fetus; a fetus has no rights. Damages are to the mother, physical and emotional.

      Criminal law offers more excuses, depending upon the term of pregnancy, and whether the fetus might survive outside the womb. But if a fetus is a month old, is killed intentionally during a crime, there is no first degree murder for the death of the fetus; there is no second degree murder for the death of a fetus; no manslaughter, and usually no involuntary homicide is never prosecuted.

     If a woman miscarries after a crime or tort – assault and battery, a rape, auto accident, drug use, is the death of the fetus prosecuted as a murder or manslaughter? NO. 

     Is a woman who renders herself incapable of pregnancy committing a crime? NO.

     The answers to these questions are the same in all states. The reasons why these 

considerations are important: Constructing a liberty, a right, a freedom, rights does not appear from magic, or spontaneously,  from divine intervention or outer space. They are formatted analyses through logic, reason intellect experience and learning.  They first attempt to reflect what society is doing or will understand and accept, politically, intellectually, socially and emotionally – by all Americans. They rely on society as we know it – laws, rules, morals, ethics, customs, habits, norms and usage. To degrade a fetus throughout the society but create a special circumstance is contrary to centuries of interpretation and development of the law, of the Constitution, and of societal values. 

     Kavanaugh himself failed to indicate any of the considerations were necessary,  about the right to life, the end of pregnancy, or any other issue where parallel analyses will arise to construct or to interpret rights under the Constitution. He seemed ready by Supreme Court decisions to rule spontaneously, by impulse and by magic. He is another Roger Taney.  

III. Senator Kamela Harris asked Kavanaugh asked seemingly preposterous question. Can President Trump prevent the immigration of a person [not a citizen of the United States] from coming into the country based solely on skin color? This is the sort of street-level facts confronts any state or federal court in the country. The job of a judge or a justice is to phrase the question so it becomes a legal issue and determine whether there is an answer or how the court through is processes can find one. There is no answer because Congress has not provided one.

      Kavanaugh is thick and slow. He is intellectually feeble; he is a dolt and a dunce. The proper response to Harris’ question [because this is what she asked] is, “Are you asking if non-citizens of the United States enjoy all the liberties, rights and privileges under the Constitution that American citizens have?”

      As mentioned Congress has not acted; it is improbable Congress would exercise its broad authority. In his Report of 1800, an ultimate analysis about the Constitution, James Madison mentioned the rights of non-citizens under the United States Constitution. He did not amplify, but he began the discussion well. 

     The Fourteenth Amendment of the Constitution gives Congress authority to set the rules and circumstances regarding immigration and citizenship for the natural born, the naturalized and for persons who are under the subject matter jurisdiction of the United Sates, plus whether residency of any state is also required. 

     It is the job of Congress not the Courts. Congress has not acted. The most important part of the Fourteenth Amendment is Subsection 5: “The Congress shall have power to enforce by appropriate legislation, the provisions of this article.”(emphasis supplied) This provision gives Congress the authority to which the Supreme Court must defer and follow – unless Congress wants to return to the days of Dred Scott(1857). 

     Kavanaugh’s response to Harris indicates a shallow, unimaginative, defensive, narrow mind. He was incapable of recognizing the legal issue, raising Constitutional questions, and explaining or responding. In law school and taking any bar exam in the country, he would flunk.

Points I, II and III are salient, significant Constitutional points which Kavanaugh failed, and failure to identify and explain. Separately or collectively, Kavanaugh’s testimony required from each United States Senator a No vote. He should not have been confirmed. His behavior as a judge, a jurist and a justice, according to his own words, reveal more flaws. 

However, the people of North Dakota or other Kavanaugh-loving states may not care about ignorance, inability and the United States Constitution. They are of the Roman Hruska school of jurisprudence: There are a lot of mediocre people, attorneys and judges in this country. They deserve representation on the Supreme Court.(paraphrased) Who knows? The North Dakotans might next join Canada: Hey! everyone can light up a joint. Wow! Go blow. Have a toke.

CLICHE POLITICS

I don’t favor Trump. Why? There is no discussion, no reason, no analysis, no logic and no common sense to the man.

Trump shows up, talks and Americans get cliches, homilies and folksy reminders. Trump believes Americans don’t have to think. He believes he knows which cliches will motivate them to vote his way.

The Left, too, whoever they may be, has its cliches, shorthand utterances that fail to explain and never offer solutions beyond conclusions about issues facing Americans. Obama was filled with them. Did the ACA (Obamacare) solve healthcare for all Americans? Who on the Left says anything other than grunt a phrase that will be inserted into a headline? 

Of the two Trump is the better entertainer. He remembers many cliches, not perfectly to his disadvantage. The Left less so. Most of these words are stated in speech, with obvious flaws in presentation:

The speaker may be forgiven because he becomes entangled 

in a hopeless sentence structure, but not so the writer…The 

speaker can use intonation, facial expression and gesture to 

help where his language is lame, but written words lie quietly on

the page. – Theodore Bernstein

Alarmingly, written words in America are falling to the same weaknesses as the spoken. It is the bane of politicians, journalists and commentators. Watch them all on TV. Yet I have great faith in the American people, to consider, to ponder and to judge, and come to their own decisions. The problem in both speech and writing is the gross overuse of cliches – neglecting facts, evidence and relying on a modicum of research or nothing but feelings and outrage. Indeed, Americans can do better and should always keep George Orwell in mind when listening or reading:

Ready-made phrases are the prefabrication strips of…

words that come crowding in when you do not want 

to take the trouble to think through what you are saying.