Sometimes off-center, many times overly gushy, but when it’s working, poetry still says it best. In his poem “In Place of a Curse” John Ciardi chooses a novel voice for delivering his sentiment. He’s campaigning as a candidate for the position of the Almighty. And the summation of his “speech” reaches into the heart of a most touchy subject these days, and certainly one pertaining to the Law Of Lazy:
At the next vacancy for God, if I am elected,
I shall forgive last the delicately wounded
who, having been slugged no harder than anyone else,
never got up again, neither to fight back,
nor to finger their jaw in painful admiration.
They who are wholly broken, and they in whom
mercy is understanding, I shall embrace at once
and lead to pillows in heaven. But they who are
the meek by trade, baiting the best of their betters
with extortions of a mock-helplessness,
I shall take last to love, and never wholly.
Let them all into Heaven— I abolish Hell—
but let it be read over them as they enter:
“Beware the calculations of the meek, who gambled nothing,
gave nothing, and could never receive enough.”
Though facetiously intended, the metaphor of playing God is at the heart of welfare. God, as the essence of forgiveness, takes all into his care. He’s also supposed to take into mercy those who have been bruised. Life is difficult, even in the best of times. At some time or other, who escapes being bruised? But that preciously worded image of fingering one’s jaws in “painful admiration” is a rare one for totaling the ups and downs of experience. The positive aspect of a personal knock down— to reverse the negatives in the poem— is to get up after being slugged, fight back, and all the while undergo a deep introspection of how the hit came. What made it happen? What might be a defense against further hits?
☞ It’s fully understood to those with even half a heart that care is required for the unfortunates “who are wholly broken.” They deserve unquestionably the grace of heaven: the halt and the lame, as mentioned in the text that preserves Christian— and therefore Western— culture. With it, the notion of charity, agape, God’s extended love to humanity. But you don’t even have to be a believer to accept the social responsibility of care for those “in whom mercy is understanding.” Spending nine months in a convalescent hospital with polio victims among the many other sorts of debilitations should fix a firm conviction that these should be “led to pillows in heaven”— cushions of unimaginable softness there, no doubt. Care for the unfortunate was most certainly the benevolent impetus for including a notion in the constitutional Preamble: “To provide for the general welfare.”
COMPASSION VERSUS THE PASSION CON
☞ Under the pretext of mercy, however, much chicanery has been plotted, theatrically as well as politically. They “who are meek by trade” are not so meek anymore. They are loud and legion. And their sponsored “calculations” are designed to bring the house down. We may view the game as the compassion versus passion con.
☞ This became most obvious after the calculated effects of strategies promoted by Richard Cloward and Frances Fox Piven, Columbia University agents disguised as scholars. These advocates of Saul Alinsky had, according to David Horowitz, “practically invented the strategy of exploiting black rage to advance the cause of ‘social justice.’ Their formula even bore their names: the Cloward-Piven strategy.” This insight, along with a compendium of further revelation, is found in Horowitz’ book, The Shadow Party.
☞ “Poor people can advance, Richard Cloward later explained to the New York Times, only when ‘the rest of society is afraid of them.’” [NY Times, 27 Sept 1970] Cloward was pointing directly into the racial division lived today. With the advent of the Black Lives matter movement, fear can definitely be seen as a political factor. BLM enlivens the game of the passion con by weeping over one unfortunate druggie caught in a police vice weighed against the burning of cities and rendering countless other black people subject to violent life without police protection.
☞ But another factor provides an all-purpose background for health and wealth worry. It’s known here in the Trying Times bunker as Millennium Overload. Burgeoning numbers, especially in the urban environment, always offer an additional flavoring to the Cloward-Piven strategy of overloading the system. The initial experiment pushed New York City into the pit of bankruptcy in 1975. This was during the administration of Mayor John Lindsay, a mayor almost as dippy as de Blasio. The “meek by trade” got the best of Lindsay’s “compassion.” One telling quotation relates how one of the lady meekers shouted out at the dandy mayor, strolling the street in photo-op fashion as he was wont to do. “My job is having babies, Mr. Mayor,” the woman declared. “Yours is paying for them!” Perhaps the mama was too meek to realize that it wasn’t the mayor who actually paid for those babies.
☞ It’s not hard to imagine that the usual suspects— Soros, Clinton, Biden et al— are the same players as Cloward and Piven, all of them playing the Mercy For All Theater while taking down the US government. In them, the quality of mercy is very definitely strained. The world is already burdened by millennium overload, but that strain can always use a helping hand from those who believe in deconstruction. So aliens stomp over a “caring” border, and violent criminals are forgiven to freedom in the deconstructed courts a la George Soros. He in particular, one who has loudly advocated “ending American supremacy,” has a likely interest in deconstructing society— and the dollar.
☞ After generations of families “on relief,” it hasn’t been difficult to detect the results, ending with the colossal failure of Lyndon Johnson’s “War On Poverty.” War is definitely the metaphor. Aldous Huxley used it in explaining the effects of over-population, how it was like humanity waging war against itself, and losing. Half a century and a trillion dollars later in Johnson’s war, it seems poverty has already won. And it won most handily by elevating scurrilous pols using care for the downtrodden… er, please excuse… passionate care for people of color… no, for the sexually misunderstood…or maybe the short of stature. Whatever the message, it’s played to the tune of tearful sympathy in campaign slogans, with the audio portion sounding like the voice of God. But not the biblical god; more of a tin god made of duplicitous authority and lacking all shame.
☞ Once upon a time, 1975 to be exact, same year as new York City went into bankruptcy, a cosmic stenographer on his way to becoming a post-modern prospector became gainfully employed as a director posted at a Salvation Army Social Services department. He was set in the trenches as first line of defense against an expanding homeless population drifting into California. This enabled the prospector to observe a life form as adaptable as a single-cell developing into a new multi-cell.
The Social Center was a madhouse one end-of-the-month Friday. That’s when people on Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC) ran out of their monthly stipend and required emergency supplies. In the midst of the chaos a skinny blonde pubescent girl probably older than she looked, tiny as a June bug and looking like a retro Grapes of Wrath character, entered. She’d even showed up in a carload of siblings. To complete the tableau, a mattress was strapped on top of the car. But she was the one they sent in. Let’s call her Jody.
Little Jody entered meekly, learned she had to wait, and settled in with the group in the dining hall. I immediately lost track of her, being absorbed amid the clamoring by a drunk who thought I should give him a free room because it was Friday, or the Sikh who could only accept Hindu food as a handout. A little later, in the middle of all the fracas, I noticed through the office window the mattress car pulling out. I assumed Jody got tired of waiting. Only after closing time and comparing notes with the volunteer in the supply room did I learn what truly happened. Then I would have applauded Jody as she left the lot for a brilliant performance.
Jody read the situation. She had it immediately wired. She scoped the supply room across the parking lot and learned the named of the volunteer working inside. She’d already learned my name which she gave to the worker, informing her that Joe (which is me) told her that I said I was too busy to write out a chit. So she could just say what she needed. She didn’t take much, as I recall, but then that made sense if you didn’t want to appear suspicious. Or maybe she was just choosy, like the Sikhs requiring Hindu takeout.
☞ Let’s hope Jody was able to rise above her circumstances. With her instincts, she could have finagled a scholarship into some law school. Probably this day working in government. If she isn’t, she should be. Not only for the payoffs, but benefits as well. More likely though, she wound up married severally to gentlemen in the lower social register who engenderd her with five or six more Jody joys.
Ability for Disability
☞ In the struggle for the dignity and comfort of the worker, retirement from lifting barges and toting bales was meant to ease the laborer in old age, or, God forbid, after a health impairment requiring an early out. But as the Law of Lazy dictates, there will be those who treat seniority retirement or impairment otherwise. Some use it to cut a fat hog.
☞ For LOL with frosting on top, we need only to refer to the case of Randy Johnson, a public servant who served not long. He did, in fact, serve a record-time short service as Chief of Police for the city of Bell, California. After participating in the scandalous sacking of that small municipality in the city of angels, the newly appointed chief of police immediately applied for permanent disability.
The city had been ransacked by its rapacious city manager, Anthony Rizzo. Inhabitants were fleeced so many ways from Sunday that he, along with fellow office brigands, raked in a hefty sack of booty. Rizzo alone racked up so much loot from outrageous fees and fund manipulations that he was able to stock his horse farm with thoroughbreds. Thus, as the plump city manager was weighing down the back of a favorite thoroughbred he named Depense l’Argent (Spend The Money), he was also riding the backs of the people of Bell, many of whom were illegal and afraid to squawk. The police meanwhile were ordered to ticket almost anyone who moved in that little town with an average income at that time of 35,000 per. But that’s not the example, just background.
The kicker comes when Randy Johnson, the newly appointed police chief of Bell, immediately filed for permanent disability. Furthermore, his disability claim was so packaged, according to his lawyer, that half his pension of an estimated $411,300 per would be “tax-free due to his disability.”
☞ To add bitter icing to the sour cake, a judge deemed that it was not lawfully improper for the brigands of Bell— Johnson in particular— to collect their personally awarded recompense. Therefore, the disability claim was valid, and retirement disability to boot. Superior Court Judge of Lulu Land, Ralph Dau, ruled that “legislators cannot be sued for awarding themselves high salaries.” Anyone who’s dealt with a court knows that logic is a weak friend. But to sanction those in charge of awarding themselves fat salaries and plump tax-free retirements, even in the face of embezzlement charges… To declare that OK? If brains could fart, that would be the sound.
☞ You don’t have to break the bank of New York City. Any overload of a system is a tribute to the Cloward-Piven strategy. Actually, owing much to their mentor Saul Alinsky, along with his most shining minion, Barak Obama, Community Organizer. Alinsky promoted the community organizer as essential in the establishment of People’s Organizations. “The organizer,” Alinsky wrote, “is in a true sense reaching for the highest level of which man can reach— to create, to be a ‘great creator,’ to play God.” [Rules For Radicals, p.61] See, John Ciardi was only kidding in his poem about being God, but Obama really is.
☞ So the Bell gang— Rizzo, Johnson, eight or more others— are just another set of local big shots firing an endless barrage of liabilities against a tax-paid governmental system trying to keep afloat. But it may already be sunk. Unfunded liabilities spread out in a gorgeous retirement trough have already put California under water. Not to mention what’s happening with all those silly trillions spent in Washington at this dark moment. They are as dangerously goofy as Lyndon Baines Johnson’s Poor War, only— in jargon of the day— goofy on steroids.
☞ We heard it first as “relief.” The poor of America relieved of their agonies by government. It had evolved through the corridors of history from a Widows and Orphans Fund into the great commotion opera of Aid to Families with Dependent Children. It progressed (if that’s the word) from Benjamin Franklin’s Fireman’s Fund to a vast socialized bureau crazycrat welfare operation out of which evolved a certain species with fluttering dependencies. But one other aspect about welfare should be included to put the eyebrows on the portrait of lazy. Tempting as it is to name practitioners of LOL as the birth of a new man, actually that man— and woman— has been around for a long time.
☞ It’s tempting to think of our girl Jody and Chief Johnson as a new kind of tribe, a slicker trickster learning to work the system. But sorry, the form is as old as homo sapiens, thinking man. Old Homer Sapeens has been working the system probably as long as there have been systems. He can be found anywhere any time, ol’ Homer, but surely as a denizen of cities. Which might be why one of the greatest satirists wrote about a city, Rome at the time of the Caesars, and that would be Juvenal.
☞ In Juvenal’s Satires we get a glimpse into an already familiar order of dependency. No formal welfare system then. Christ just born not long before. Besides armies, patricians needed people power as ever, hangers-on from every station. These dependents offered services in every capacity for a handout or an invitation to those horrendous banquets given by their plutocrat patrons.
But now Roman citizens are reduced to scrambling
For a little basket of scraps on their patron’s doorstep.
People attending the games were treated to bread loaves along with their circuses. Later there was the sportula, or little basket of food to carry away. Seeing Christians thrown to the lions in the Colosseum must have worked up an appetite. Sportula later evolved into an actual financial dole. In the early days of the empire, charity was simply charity. But as the empire succeeded and grew by running on favors, financial support was provided by patricians and other power wielders. Juvenal offers a momentary view of a gathering who seek handouts at the door of a sponsoring poobah. His agent hands out the loot:
He peers into each face first, scared stiff that some imposter
May give a false name and cheat him: you must be identified
Before you get your ration. The crier has his orders:
Each man to answer his name, nobility included —
Oh yes, our Upper-Ten are scrounging with the rest.
“The praetor first, then the tribune”— But a freedman blocks
Their way. “I got here first,” he says, “why shouldn’t I keep
My place? I don’t give that for you. Oh, I know I’m foreign:
Look here, at my pierced ears, no use denying it— born
Out East, on the Euphrates. But my five shops bring in
Four hundred thousand, see? So I qualify for the gentry.
What’s in a senator’s purple stripe, if true-blue nobles
Are reduced to herding sheep up-country, while I have more
Stashed away in the bank than any Imperial favourite?”
So let the Tribunes wait, and money reign supreme;
Let the Johnny-come-lately, whose feet only yesterday were white
With the chalk of the slave-market, flout this sacrosanct office!
The Tribune, possibly a general of a foreign war or leader of the guards, has to wait and compete with a lowly foreign merchant, or worse yet, with a slave! Interesting to note that the shop owner, who stands shoulder-to-shoulder with a Tribune for his fair share of swag, is from the Euphrates; in other words, a pre-Iraq Iraqi national.
But the sweetest is yet to come: the workings of a Jody trick.
…Out of this pittance
We must pay for decent clothes and shoes— not to mention our food
And the fuel for heating. But plenty who can afford
A litter still queue up for their bob-a-day; some husbands
Go the rounds with a sick or pregnant wife in tow,
Or better (a well-known dodge) pretend she’s there when she isn’t,
And claim for both, displaying a curtained, empty sedan.
“My Galla’s in there,” he says. “Come on, let us through! You doubt me?
Galla! Put out your head, girl! I’m sorry, she must be asleep—
No, don’t disturb her, please!”
[Note the phrase “bob-a-day”— an indication of both the author and his translator. Professor Peter Green spent the better part of his life on this work. Translation presented special difficulties because, although a noble himself, Juvenal wrote in a somewhat free style, even employing vulgar slang so that his lingo got as gritty as the whores and hustlers he wrote about. Thus, “bob”-a-day, not “dollar”-a-day, since the translator is British. We only bring this out to show how deep prospectors dig for gold.]
☞ Being a literary prospector can be rewarding work, so rewarding when you’re able to connect with a fellow curmudgeon two millennia past: from Juvenal’s shifty Galla to a waif off the 99 Highway, Jody. Examples from two empires illustrate how it’s only necessary for some folks just to show up. And Galla, the absent wife in the curtained sedan, doesn’t even have to do that. Supposedly tucked hidden inside and ported by servants or slaves for show, she might actually be out with girl friends at the baths while hubby goes scrounging. That’s his job, shouldering himself in between foreigners and former slaves, along with a consul once adviser to the emperor, pressed against less ranking judges and generals. Even among such distinguished company, the husband is of the mind that he should get a double portion by “a well-known dodge:” a portion for a wife who can’t even be bothered to show up.
☞ Oh no, Galla is asleep— as is a society decaying from within by the Law of Lazy. And here’s where LOL translates both ways: two curmudgeons two millennia apart look upon a society too lazy to fend for itself or even find out what’s really going on– and Laugh Out Loud.
JoCo, Prospector Emeritus