Last Revised June 23, 2015
"Right now keeps happening." (Superimposed title, "Right Now" music video, Van Halen)
"Be here now." (Ram Dass, formerly Richard Alpert, PhD., collaborator in Timothy Leary's psychedelic experiments at Harvard, later a follower of the Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba. Profound or obvious? You decide.)
"Eighty percent of success is showing up." (Woody Allen)
"The past is a foreign country; they do things differently there." (L.P. Hartley)
“The past does not repeat itself, but it rhymes.” (Samuel Clemens)
"If things had been different, they wouldn't have been the same." (folk saying)
"Vas you dere, Charley?" (Jack Pearl as the radio character Baron Munchausen, circa 1932; sometimes used by my paternal grandfather. Baron Munchausen used the phrase to deflect challenges to his fantastic claims. My grandfather used it to challenge dubious descriptions of events.)
"When you believe in things you don't understand, you suffer." (Stevie Wonder)
"At eighteen our convictions are hills from which we look; at forty-five they are caves in which we hide." (F. Scott Fitzgerald)
"Hence the name movement. It moves a certain distance, then it stops. A revolution gets its name by always coming back around in your face." ("Bill Strannix," Under Siege, on having been told the movement of the sixties is dead.)
"A fanatic is one who can’t change his mind and won’t change the subject." (Winston Churchill)
"Terror is a method, not an ideology, but an ideology that swallows terror becomes terror." (Moss O'Maynohs)
"If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friends. You talk to your enemies." (Moshe Dayan)
"You who build these altars now to sacrifice these children, you must not do it anymore. A scheme is not a vision and you never have been tempted by a demon or a god." (Leonard Cohen)
"The Nazis entered this war under the rather childish delusion that they were going to bomb everybody else and nobody was going to bomb them. At Rotterdam, London, Warsaw, and half a hundred other places, they put that rather naive theory into operation. They sowed the wind and now they are going to reap the whirlwind." (Air Marshal Arthur "Bomber" Harris, commander, RAF Bomber Command, June 1942)
"We have maintained a silence closely resembling stupidity." (From the Revolutionary Proclamation of the Junta Tuitiva, La Paz, July 16, 1809; epigraph of Open Veins of Latin America by Eduardo Galeano. The Junta Tuitiva was put down, but may be said to have set off the liberation of South America from Spain.)
"If we don't change direction, we're going to wind up where we're heading." (attributed to George Reuben "Black Snake" Curry)
"The reason they call it the American Dream is because you have to be asleep to believe it." (George Carlin)
“No man’s life, liberty, or property is safe while the legislature is in session.” (Attributed to Gideon Tucker.)
"... There is a big difference between treating the text of the Constitution as a living document and turning the Bill of Rights into an Etch-a-Sketch in which some clauses can be simply erased by judicial or legislative fiat." (Saul Cornell, A Well-Regulated Militia, 2006, 213)
"It's probably better to have him inside the tent pissing out, than outside the tent pissing in." (Lyndon Baines Johnson about FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, New York Times, October 31, 1971.)
"... The great masses of the people in the very bottom of their hearts tend to be corrupted rather than consciously and purposely evil, and that, therefore, in view of the primitive simplicity of their minds they more easily fall a victim to a big lie than to a little one, since they themselves lie in little things, but would be ashamed of lies that were too big." (Adolf Hitler in Chapter 10 of James Murphy's translation of Mein Kampf describing not his own methods but rather those of "the Jews and their Marxist fighting organization.")
"Doublethink" is the telling of "deliberate lies while genuinely believing in them, to forget any fact that has become inconvenient, and then when it becomes necessary again, to draw it back from oblivion for just so long as it is needed." (Eric Blair, that is, "George Orwell," 1984)
"Certain persons persuade their audiences by keeping up a steady stream of small lies in such a way that no one has time to refute the last one before the next one arrives." (Moss O'Maynohs)
"Failure to plan ahead on your part does not necessarily constitute an emergency on my part." (folk saying)
"Knowing how something happened is not the same as knowing why something happened." (Littlefish)
"O Lord, Thou knowest how busy I must be this day. If I forget Thee, do not forget me." (Jacob Astley at the Battle of Edgehill during the English Civil War Astley was a Royalist.)
Message to televangelists: "And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward." (Matthew 6, verse 5, KJV)
"All created things must pass. Strive on, diligently." (Gautama Buddha)
"Why is it that time flies like an arrow but fruit flies like a banana?" (Groucho Marx)
"You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means." ("Inigo Montoya," The Princess Bride) (The word is "inconceivable," that is, beyond mental grasp, or beyond imagination, which should not be used to describe an event as it is taking place.)
"Have you ever noticed that their stuff is shit and your shit is stuff?" (George Carlin)
"I would not join any club that would have someone like me for a member." (Groucho Marx)
“Man is a marvelous curiosity. When he is at his very, very best he is a sort of low grade nickel-plated angel; at his worst he is unspeakable, unimaginable; and first and last and all the time he is a sarcasm.” (Samuel Clemens)
"Cocaine is God's way of telling you you are making too much money." (Robin Williams)
"Beware of an old man in a hurry." ("Francis Urquhart," House of Cards, BBC)
"I think this situation absolutely requires that a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody's part." ("Eric Stratton," Animal House)
"Just act normal, all right? Act normal. Not normal for us. Normal like for regular people." ("Sheriff Bud Boomer," Canadian Bacon)
"Don't do unto others as you would have them do unto you; their tastes may be different." (George Bernard Shaw)
"Lying, the telling of beautiful, untrue things, is the proper aim of Art." (Oscar Wilde)
“Start with one true thing.” (Ernest Hemingway)
“There are thirty-two ways to write a story, and I've used every one, but there is only one plot things are not as they seem.” (Jim Thompson)
"I've had a wonderful time, but this wasn't it." (Groucho Marx)
"May the forces of evil become confused on the way to your house." (George Carlin)
"Happy endings are only a pause. There are three kinds of big endings: Revenge. Tragedy. Forgiveness. Revenge and tragedy often happen together. Forgiveness redeems the past. Forgiveness unblocks the future." (Jeanette Winterson in Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal, quoted in The New York Review of Books.)
"I'm not afraid to die. I just don't want to be there when it happens." (Woody Allen)
"You gotta walk that lonesome valley. You gotta walk it by yourself. Nobody here can walk it for you. You gotta walk it by yourself." (Woody Guthrie)
“Death, the only immortal who treats us all alike, whose pity and whose peace and whose refuge are for all the soiled and the pure, the rich and the poor, the loved and the unloved.” (Samuel Clemens' last written statement)
Minnie was a graduate student at the University of Missouri journalism school at the same time I was working on a doctorate in history there. Together with just a few others, we started the Native American Students Association. She was one of those people I always thought I would someday run into again.
July 21, 2012
The American economy remains on edge through the summer and fall of 2012, as does the European economy.
In support of the election of their man, market manipulators push gasoline prices up in October. And depress the stock market. Consumer confidence tumbles. Republican efforts on the state level to depress voting by likely Obama supporters are largely successful. Thus Mitt Romney is elected President in November. The House remains Republican. The Senate remains hopelessly split.
Neither the outgoing administration nor the incoming administration is in a position to take any action until Romney takes office in February. Meanwhile, the Greek, Spanish, and Italian financial systems collapse, damaging a number of significant European and American financial institutions that hold their bonds.
The Romneyites, committed to avoiding any kind of government stimulus, let certain institutions collapse while finding inconspicuous ways to get help to friendly institutions. It's not enough. A wave of bank failures and mergers ensues. The American financial system cannot function adequately. Businesses that require financing begin to fail. Consumer confidence, which recovered briefly after Romney's inauguration, resumes its slide, as does consumer spending.
By summer, we are, roughly, where we were in economic terms in late 2008. Unemployment reaches 11 percent. The Dow slips below 10000.
So the Romneyites push through their much-desired tax cut for the very rich, arguing that the very rich will use the money to create jobs. They don't. The economy continues to slide, here and elsewhere.
November 18, 2012
Much of the scenario is obviously invalid because Romney was not elected president. We will never know whether his projected inadequate response to a European financial collapse would have renewed the threat of a serious depression.
If anyone tried to manipulate gasoline prices to undermine Obama's electoral prospects, they failed. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration: Short-Term Energy Outlook (accessed November 18, 2012): "U.S. regular gasoline retail prices began October 2012 at $3.80 per gallon and fell to $3.49 per gallon on November 5, 2012."
The stock market conformed (but inadequately) to the scenario. As the chart below reflects, the Dow industrial average slipped significantly in the weeks before election day, but without catching public attention.
(Adapted from Yahoo! Finance, accessed November 18, 2012)
Did Republican efforts to suppress likely pro-Obama voters succeed? We don't know, at least not yet. Nonetheless, leftish pundits have already argued that voter identification laws angered target groups and provoked more votes for Obama. For example, see Opinion: GOP voter suppression fueled black turnout by Roland Martin (CNN InAmerica, accessed November 18, 2012).
Nonetheless, the House remains Republican. The Senate remains hopelessly split. And we still face the possibility of a collapse of the Greek, Spanish, and Italian financial systems, among others, with dire results for the world economy.