ELECTION: SUPREME COURT

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 objections 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 Conventionstranscripts 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 proselitize. 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 lost those arguments culturally, socially and politically in the Sixties.

      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) casual indifference. The analyses are macabre. There are no wrongful deaths 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.

     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 outer space. They are formatted analyses through logic, reason, intellect and education. They must be understood and accepted, politically and intellectually, by all Americans. They reply 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 society 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] come into the country based solely on skin color? This is the sort of street-level facts any state or federal court in the country might come across. One 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. 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 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.” 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. 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 and other Kavanaugh-loving states may not care about ignorance and 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! 

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FLAMETHROWER

Again Americans are presented with the world of East Coast culture: Issues arising from privileged upbringings, soft educations, white boys and a protective society hysterical when its secrets become public. 

Consider the 1975 death of Martha Moxley finally ending in a conviction for a privileged boy who had beaten a friend, a playmate, a 15 year old girl to death. Next came attorneys to file appeals presenting specious legal theories unsupported by facts, and argued to a corruptible, mediocre state Supreme Court. The privileged East Coast boy killer is out of jail. 

Note how the victim’s mother described the east coast boy killer the day after her daughter went missing: “…hangover, he was barefoot, in a pair of jeans and did not look good at all.” 

Now, here comes Christine Blasey Ford, who went to school with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh in the late Seventies. He was privileged; he got a soft eduction giving him no moral compass and devoid of principles; and he became member of a society and defends itself like a secret clique at Yale – handshakes, smirks, nods and jigs. There are no secrets, either, because no one can remember all of them, or they’re so drugged and inebriated that secrets can not be remembered. 

Male friends who knew Brett as a teenager and at Yale say, He never did it. Americans should qualify that statement of the male supporters: Brett never did to us (or to me) what he is accused of doing to Christine. And thank God for Thursday’s hearing! Americans can be rest assured that Brett Kavanaugh is not gay, and he is not bisexual!  

Don Trump says Brett Kavanaugh is the finest human being he has ever met. Who knows whom Don Trump has met. Trump likes Vlad Putin, a swell guy. By comparison and by Don Trump standards, Kavanaugh may be the best human being Trump has ever met. I guess Don Trump, and many Republicans have no relationship with Jesus Christ.

But what of East Coast standards and privilege? A commentator has complained about movies during the late Seventies and Eighties, supported and presented a rape culture that persists in America. That commentator needs to read more history and sociology and hear earlier music. The public rape culture arose during the Sixties and became accepted. 

That commentator refused to look at the major premise: East Coast Culture. Think Martha Moxley. Think Christine Blasey Ford. Think of other victims. East Coast Culture was best told in a movie with Al Pacino (he was raised in East Harlem). Scent of a Woman describes the money, politics, social pressure, favoritism and heavy handed influences which gave rise to a remarkable argument against the school and its disciplinary hearing. Pacino’s character, blind and a former Army officer, thought taking a flamethrower to the institution might be a cure for the problems and issues of the place (and presumably elsewhere in society).

Oddly enough, the Al Pacino character represents the sort of person that is part of Don Trump’s base. Those people should rethink Kavanaugh. He is not the best judge possible for nomination. Trump should nominate another.

Another point needs to be raised, thrice denied. During his Thursday testimony Brett Kavanaugh told of his Catholic school attendance. His friend, Mark Judge, and eye witness to the incident with Christine, writes of those years. Mark Judge was not called by the Republican-led Committee to testify. Words of a letter which are not properly set out as a declaration or an affidavit are insufficient. Perhaps the FBI can get a (more) complete recollection.

Relying on religious training hardly supports Kavanaugh’s veracity, given Judge’s biography. But being religious and later being faithful does not negate prior acts. Consider Peter. At the Last Supper Jesus turned to Peter and said, before the morn you will thrice deny me. Obviously, Peter left Jesus’s company and indeed, Peter thrice denied Jesus that night.

In the first translation of the Bible into English (second edition 1534) William Tyndall pondered how Peter could deny Jesus thrice. He provided an answer: Peter was a party person, and he was out with friends, acquaintances and strangers of both sexes. He wanted to be popular and liked. The Bible does not say whether he was successful, but when asked, Peter denied.

Nothing in Brett Kavanaugh’s life and record absolve him of teenage activities joined in with one or more of his friends. When there is a partnership or a joint venture (Mark Judge) or being part of a pack mentality, a boy loses all thought, all individuality and an inability of determine right from wrong. Anything is possible. Those are the sorts of parties Mark Judge described in his biography: Go with the flow, do you own thing. Who’s going to tell under these circumstances?   

Certainly the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ knows and will not forget. The support for and Kavanaught’s histrionics during his Thursday testimony, aided by a satanic Lindsey Graham whose moral compass has gone awry since August 25, 2018, will result in a destructive ending for the souls of those men. 

Peter admitted the truth and his flaws. It is part of Scripture. He redeemed himself. But Brett Kavanaugh? What has he done to redeem himself? He uses religion to hide. He joined and represents the secrets of East Coast Society, like the murderer of Martha Moxley. But he has the endorsement of Don Trump. 

They all have before them when the time comes the flamethrowers of Hell.

CAR CHASE LA

L.A. CAR CHASE: SEPTEMBER 5, 2018

TONIGHT for the local news is a car chase, a guy in a big pick-up who won’t stop, mile after mile, minute after minute, hour after hour.

Supposedly, he is wanted for two murders. In California I wonder if that matches the 2,000 Motor Vehicle Code violations I have witnessed on TV.

Of course local cops are after him, and they are joined by the CHP, a much nicer group of people than were portrayed in Vanishing Point(1971). The truck driver may be able to go 400 miles, get to Arizona or Nevada. 

Helicopters lost him in the beach clouds; he’s scraped a few cars. But coming over the Santa Monica mountains, he’s now in Santa Monica. He has no fans there. Commuters want to get home are are delayed; the homeless don’t want him driving on the sidewalks; no one wants cop and news helicopters buzzing the houses. The neighborhood is too rich for that! 

He looked to be in an industrial/commercial area. No one in the air can identify the street he is on. Now it appears residential. Someone’s a good citizen. There are rows of solar panels on one roof. Kudos to that environmentalist while the truck guy spews CO2.

He’s near a golf course going toward Brentwood. Perhaps he wants to visit OJ’s old house. Lots of roofs of multi-unit buildings have no solar panels. Don’t see many houses with solar panels. I’d like to see the truck drive take out garbage cans and mix the waste: Trash, garden and recycles. That was always funny around Halloween, and why not get a few more violations – mixing garbage and littering.

No more erratic driving. The pickup went into a parking lot and stopped by a commercial building. HE QUIT! LOSER. Get out, back toward the cops, hands up, get on knees, lie flat on the ground. The cops don’t move. There’s another person in the truck. Get up, hands up, back up, on the knees, lie flat. Two guys on the ground: Handcuffs.

The cops look. No one else is in the truck. Get the guys standing and moving to jail.

AT THE NEWS ROOM, they’re after real crime in the USA, not in Washington,D.C., though. The NEXT STORY: Naked Intruder Arrested…. 

ALL BUT MY LIFE

Gerda Weissmann Klein

I did not know of this author or her experiences. This was another book sold at a library book sale, and it was worth reading. 

This author did not just recount her story of working and surviving enslavement under the Nazis; she has also written a memoir. It is a memoir as opposed to an autobiography. The text tells of significant relationships within and among family members, with contemporaries, with admirers and with lifelong friends.

Unlike many autobiographies, the memoir is honest; it rings true. Descriptions of places are detailed; nothing has been told in excess. The reader moves along, by interest and curiosity; it is not entertainment. The questions become what happens next to this human being and her friends? She is alert to invasions to her dignity and person – the shock of receiving physical punishment of a Nazi guard, or men who want to take advantage. The teenager/young woman makes countless adjustments to new settings, situations, persons and cruelty.

She supposes her friends make the same shifts, mentally, to work through physical hardships. Yet, near the end of the war – they know the end is close – the author loses two friends, and a third, days after liberation. All But is not a how-to survive book. All the young women had the same message drummed into them by each other: survive. All But does not attempt to explain what happened to the others. Instead it tells how this twenty-one year old survived, not a straight line, no logic, reason, but some luck, and loads of hard work. If she had a mission or goal to survive, the reader senses that vanished, except the author had an unending sense of herself.

For a memoir to communicate that fully is a remarkable achievement of a human being writing, looking at the soul of life and relaying it.

WINTER’S BONE

This is an excellent movie.

Poor and female with younger siblings in Appalachia, this film show that life in spades. Jennifer Lawrence plays a 17 year old girl who assumes the responsibilities of her brother and sister and for the care of her family. They own the land and house where they live. However, the father isn’t around, and he has been arrested and is out on bail. He has secured his bail with the family land, which will be forfeited because the father will not make court appearances. 

Lawrence’s journey to bring her father to court takes her through the slime, grime and crime of that Appalachian community. There is no Christianity, or other modifying or mollifying religion or philosophy affecting survival.

The screenplay is excellent. There is not an adverb is sight, and few adjectives. It is the strength of the American language showing exactly what circumstances are. The only sense the movie does not convey is smell.

A SPY IN CANAAN

Marc Perrusquia

This regrettable book on an important subject is not worth reading. It is about Ernest Withers, photographer for some of the Civil Rights Movement and an admitted FBI informant, a spy the book calls him. The prolix prose of long breezy sentence conveying little belabor the reader. It is difficult to learn what Ernest Withers actually did, other than take photographs and befriend everyone. 

The goal of the FBI was to find links to communists, investigate Black Power persons and to uncover criminal activities. For 120 pages the author describes none of Wither’s activities to any FBI goal. Indeed, most of the front end of the book recounts tales since 1970, beyond the 1950-1960s years. This volume is not a history at all.

No description of the Civil Rights movement from the perspective of  journalists and photographers is told. The author is incapable of setting the book within the Fifties and Sixties. Indeed the author notes Wither’s passed on a lot of gossip, some of it true, little of it embarrassing and most of it nonsense. No attempt is made to describe a journalist’s job – trials and tribulations – covering and within the Civil Rights Movement. It seems odd that a journalist [the author] writing about another journalist would completely avoid this issue. 

One is surprised to find Martin Luther King was awarded the Nobel Prize for Peace, mentioned twice in the first 30 pages of the book. Fred Hampton’s death is also mentioned but it did not happen in an apartment but in a house. [Roy Wilkins, Ramsey Clarke, Search and Destroy.] Apparently Withers had nothing to with the map supplied by another FBI informant in Chicago. Most of Wither’s work and activities are around Memphis, his hometown, and along the Mississippi. Was there a difference between the Civil Rights Movement there and elsewhere? Did the FBI recognize the difference? Did Withers try to inform and correct the FBI? [Indeed, did any informant attempt to delineate and clarify theory and action for the FBI, or was the FBI so arrogant that it believed itself capable of doing so]. Finally, the “Northern” Civil Rights Movement had been affected by Black Power and city riots. Those occurred in late March 1968 during Doctor King’s first Memphis march in support of the Sanitation strike. The author of SPY neglects to give any history, background or casual references to Northern impulses invading or influencing Memphis where the Civil Rights Movement of the South had engaged.

Hope for a cogent story in SPY vanishes with each page, and each unnecessary sentence. It becomes unforgivable that within the writing, that the author uses I a first person pronoun. The author himself had nothing to do with the activities of the 1950-1960s Civil Rights Movement ,and he also fails to justify in the text why he feels privileged to use I.

MORON

Whom do you think about when the word, moron, is used? A moron is one or all of the following,

A fat bulk weighing 400 pounds who must have suits altered monthly to accommodate his bulging heft.

An enormity who lies and complains when the press reports the lies, calling those reports fake news.

A creature who negotiates by threatening, and next reveals preliminary negotiations as glorious successes.

A woman attacking roach, groping because nothing else on his body works.

An animal unable to read gets his knowledge through osmosis like a one-cell bacterium.

A dork whose knowledge of cliches, adjectives and adverbs constitutes his intelligence.

A business man who does not know how to finish a deal, and make a purchase profitable without heavy debt and many times has gone into bankruptcy.

A cretan who likes chaos revealing his inability to manage his own affairs, let alone the affairs of others.

A creep so braggadocio, so self-inflated, so narcissistic that perception and reality are distorted.

An extremist who posits hate and urges sleazes to act out their urges, quirks and inanities.

A slob seeking instantaneous adulation, is charmed by flattery, and craves praise when none of it is warranted.

A twerp thinking twiddly, twitterly and thumbly to finger, phalange and paw.

A duffer who spends most of his time in the rough.

A very, very huge whimper who whines, pouts and bitches like a cry baby.

A decision maker who is fickle and variable like a shuttlecock.

A big empty in power and with power who accomplishes nothing.

A wonk whose fancy steers personal and professional histories from provable facts leading to truth.

A blob who never mans-up, who does not know what it means to man-up, and is devoid of manly courage.

A con man so wondering and mindless that he is persuaded to say anything by the last person he has spoken with.

Somebody old enough to have lived during the Sixties and does not know that an FBI informant is a spy.

An entity who does not know that Russian political leaders are enemies of the United States of America.

A glob who displays more disorder and mess as each day passes.

A grame so rude, gross, offensive and abashed that is should never be communicated.

A grubber so desperate for money that he would sell his mother, his children and his wife for a ruble. 

A klunk who does not know he has made mistakes and therefore does not learn from his own mistakes.

A joker so vain that image blinds all faults.

A claptrap flapping lips like Donald Duck.

A putz whose morals and ethics are simian.

A goon covering his present and past deeds with child lies, little boy acts and Mickey Mouse loyalties.

A savage accurately described as hopeless, feckless, faithless, uncompassionate, unforgiving and censorious.

A tweety-bird who flies around the world insulating peoples and their leaders, and gets no frequent flier miles. 

A geezer who lived during the Watergate Scandal who does not know that attorneys have Rules of Professional Responsibility and Canons of Ethics to abide by. 

A glop with no dignity, integrity or class who is an empty suit wearing extravagant cloth. As MarkTwain observed, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence in society.” God be thanked.

A warm sensitive being who is easily frazzled  and discombobulated by cross-words, self doubts, no self-esteem and a complete lack of self efficacy, so he is inutile.

 

MARGOT AT THE WEDDING

Review

Nicole Kidman travels to her girlhood home along the seashore where her sister Jennifer Jason Leigh lives and is getting married to Jack Black. Black plays a former musician and a parlor nihilist who is emotional and has nothing smart to say though out the movie.

Nichol lives in New York City where she has a career as a writer. She has left home and made it.

Her life is set. Jennifer seems the younger and somewhat the bad girl who could never leave home.

The movie tells the growing experiences for Nicole and Jennifer, intensely during their reunion and handling issues arising before, apart and those now they are together. It seems Nicole is less settled than her status, prosperity and fame should make her; she seems to unravel, not from the setting but because she is around people she grew up with and have an intimacy with her. All the while Jennifer seems an adult, less than perfect, but stable in her surroundings, although marriage to Black will create problems.

Two better actresses could not have been found to fill these roles and tell this story.

AN AFFRONT TO ENGLISH

The “Russian” Civil Wars 1916-1926, Jonathan D. Smele, presents a fascinating subject. But it seems written in a language that has endings for specific congregations for its verbs and with many declensions for its nouns – languages like Russian, German or Latin.

The strength of English prose is verbs, actions directing nouns. Most well-written books and articles recognize this rule. Verbs are close to subjects; no one ever loses sight of that combination, or the purpose for which noun-verb was used. If a writer likes to discourse in a sentence, go on and on for 70 – 100 -120 words, an English sentence better have parallel structures. Logic dictates it. (It’s not the logic of the language, but logic – premise, minor premise, conclusion)

In Mein Kampf the translator observes,  

…mixed metaphors are just as mixed in one language as in the other

other. A lapse of grammatical logic can occur in any language. An

English language Title might be just a redundant as the German one;…

No non-German would write such labyrinthine sentences…I have

cut down the sentences only when the length made them unintelligible

in English…

The substantives are a different matter. Here it has been necessary

to make greater changes, because in many cases the use of verbal nouns

is singly incompatible with the English language…Hitler’s piling up of

substances is bad German, but the fact remains that numerous German

writers do the same thing, while this failing is almost non-existence in

English.

…much German prose, some not of thee worst quality, around in…

useless little words: wohl, ja, denn, schon, noch, eigentlich, etc. Hitler’s

sentences are …clogged with particles, not to mention such private

favorites as besonders and damals which he strews about…needlessly.

His particles have a certain political significance, for in the petit

bourgeois mind they are, like carved furniture, an embodiment of the

home-grown German virtues, while their avoidance is viewed with

suspicion as foreign and modernistic.

[Translator’s note, Mein Kampf, Boston, Mariner Books, 1999, p. xi-xii.]

Parenthetical words and terms at the beginning of an English sentence, or at the end, or sometimes the middle indicated by the use of parentheses indicate a lack of writing skills.

Let’s observe one demonstration: 

On the contrary, the events that took place in the period from

around  1989 to 1991 and their volcanic reverberations across

the former Soviet space have very greatly enriched, necessitated

and energized historical investigations, as they have made it

unchallengeably clear that any approach to the “Russian” Civil

War that places the Red and White struggle within the matrix too

starkly in its foreground is missing the point.

[Smele, The “Russian” Civil War 1916-1926, N.Y. Oxford, 2017, p. 6]

There’s a lot to chew on in that one sentence. The following sentences present a lot of gristle and fat, also. I noted this sentence was in the INTRODUCTION, and believed getting to Chapter One would break up and provide good sailing.

Alas, the first sentence of Chapter One reads, 

Despite what has already been noted above, the is also a very

strong case for the dating of outbreak of the “Russian” Civil War

on the extensive anti-Russian uprising in Central Asia during the

summer of 1916, as a large number of the tsar’s Muslim subjects,

in a rebellion that anticipated the Basmachi movement, resisted

the forced mobilization into labor battalions to serve the Russian

army and the armaments industry (although this was the most

overt assault on local sensibilities that had been repeatedly

affronted by the waves of non-Muslim settlers that had been moving

into the region for a half century.)

[IBID, p. 17.]

Note the hesitancy to tell anything in the text which is further emphasized by the third sentence of that same paragraph beginning with Moreover and goes on for 100 words or so; the last sentence begins with Thus. Blue pencil it all! Also note, the book defines the Busmachi movement as a term for Muslim bandits during Soviet times. This sentence attempts to expand and explain incidences in the nineteenth century as well as those occurring, perhaps at late as 1980.

The usual manner of writing history or even fiction is for a non-writer to write chronologically. This writer decides to put a flashback into parentheses while using Soviet terms indicating more recent events. The outcome is a whole series of unexplained events of one hundred fifty years.

I wanted to learn of the “Russian” Civil War, its battles, the philosophy, its politics, and how its effects might survive today. But reading such diversion makes the story overly complicated, suggests portions of that war arose from local circumstances, and demonstrates the historian does not have a the big picture in his head clearly. He could not communicate much. The writing reminded me of translator’s note from Mein Kampf.  

P.S. One way Hermann Boell was taught to write was editing Mein Kampf, editing to a third of its length. The text was readable. I believe The “Russian” Civil War could benefit from the same treatment and be vastly improved.

BOOMERANG

michael lewis

This gossipy book does not penetrate; it replies on and conveys surfacy impressions. It is told in a loose journalistic style to recount lives of various actors, none of whom have stayed as movers and shakers. As a book of the times (2008-2011 – setting, years, attitudes of people and countries), it keys the paint of subjects, but presents nothing unusual or memorable.

In one chapter Lewis visits Germany, and ends up on the Reeperbahn (Red Light District in Hamburg). Red lights affirm Lewis the luxury of citing Alan Dundes, venerable, cherished professor of folklore at Berkeley. Lewis talks about Dundes’ essay describing German impressions of s–t. 

Although writing a book about finances, apparently Lewis was unaware of the financial power house Hamburg was. After World War Two it was the largest city in West Germany. Frankfurt had the bourse, but Hamburg had the trade. Historically Hamburg was home to George Phillipp Telemann, who wrote music for five local churches and is a master beside Bach and Handel. Centuries before Telemann Hamburg was a city in the Hanseatic League. Boomerang would have been a much better book if Lewis had stuck to finance and history rather than whimsical escapees into s–t.

I found this book on a library-sales shelf, 25 cents, which is a lot better than the dust jacket price, $25.95. But no index, no footnotes, no bibliography, nothing to make it appear researched or authoritative, it’s a read to skip.