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November 17, 2006



The sectarian gangs, once known as paramilitaries, or militias, on both sides, both Protestant and Catholic, have turned to the running of contraband as their main endeavor (drugs, among other things). Several international cruise lines now feature Belfast as a tour stop, and I just saw a short segment of a north Irish tour bus driver being interviewed, telling the reporter that the Asians especially, want to see the places where the massacres occurred, and the explosions. The favorite attraction remaining that is easily recognized is/are the wall murals, maintained lovingly for the Japanese tourists.

My suggestion is a dress up re-enactment maybe 3 or 4 times a day, with actors playing Loyalists and Republicans "shooting" and "exploding" each other like the cowboys in Studio City, only to rise up from the ashes, and sign autographs for the little Japanese ladies. Could be real big!

I hear the original Titanic berth still exists, on the Belfast waterfront. Could be a tourist one-two punch along with the re-enactments!

Any world shattering accomplishments on Rep. J. Hall's part yet? We are all waiting, you know!

b tween

I had a friend who was in an anti-terrorist motorcycle unit of the RUC in Belfast during the 1980s. (He joined to pay for art school, much like Americans join the Guard today to pay for college.)
During the '90s, we'd sit around a fire drinking beer and talking. The bigger the fire, he said, the more it reminded him of Ireland, and that he'd be very grateful if we threw a few tires on to make it more realistic, ye know. "Drive yer feckin' car over it too, that's Belfast maun."
But his story was much the same as yours, Ren. When the power-hungry in the 3-letter brigades (on both sides) quit the patriot game for the political game, they left the plain old hungry to fend for themselves... and what better way to feed the fam than guns and drugs? I'd ask him, what better way to stifle dissent than drugs? He'd say it's all of them that are doin' it.

The struggle against oppression, about which thousands of songs were written, is over. Today, the Falls Road is dealer territory fought over by rival gangs - some evolved from the IRA.
All the heroes of the past fought and died for access to a cheap high.

My friend, last time I saw him was the evening he'd eluded the cops in a full press, helicopters-out chase where he did over 160mph up 23A in Greene Co.
Within a week, he'd moved suddenly, without a word of explanation to Australia.
I couldn't help but think about what he'd once said to me: brendan, ye taig fecker, there's not a hero in the lot in Ireland, but they never feckin' ferget.

b tween

Regarding the John Hall accomplishments question...

Was there a swearing in I missed? Damn, I really wanted to tape it!


So has John made our lives better yet?

b tween

I think a better question is has Sue Kelly?
She is still, at least for the time being, our congresswoman.
But feel free to ask that question again in say, June 2007 - after Congressman-elect Hall has actually joined Congress and had time to unpack.
Ren - I'm still intrigued by your Il-Humanist-ati post. I don't doubt a word of it, I'm only curious what your issue is with humanism versus say, evangelical Christianity.
Cause they don't believe in God? From what I know of secular humanism, it's not much different that the Deism of our forefathers, or even Christianity - without Jesus.


I love to interact with a person whose brain actually is alive. Thanks!

What you are struggling to resolve, are two rather unrelated belief systems both choosing to use the same moniker. The post-enlightenment view of mankind as man's most worthwhile study, is something I heartily endorse. With a few disastrous detours, (fascism, world communist millennialism), secular humanism has raised a few regions to a well-nigh-rational society (on the good days), and is loosening shackles everywhere, to some extent. All in all, it seems the best structural view of what humanity is, and what human society might become.

I feel that the biological animal at the center of all this study may lag his own higher possibilities, and, being an amalgam of the biological, the cultural, the ideational, and the delusional, may need a few dozen millennia to catch up with the notions of his most advanced avatars. (The avatars themselves have stated this, though not in just this way.)

The pragmatic amongst us, seeing short term need, corruption, self interest, (and just plain greed, jealousy, & lust) sabotaging the great ideals repeatedly, may opt for less hopeful structures, or more delusional structures (political repression, and passionate religion come to mind).

So--- I do not think secular humanism, by itself, encompasses enough real human territory to be viable worldwide. ( A lot of tribal regressive types want to drink, fight, molest, steal, smoke, cheat, hoard, grow wealthy, and advance their family unfairly, regardless, and they have human rights too).

So I accept Secular Humanism's contributions, and I see its shortfalls.

Now the other "Humanism".
The bogus cover story, concocted whole cloth by Corliss Lamont, to provide a safe haven from which to continue the discredited world millenialist communist movement.

Marx analyzed much, and prescribed little. What he did predict, or prescribe, never came to pass. He thought a worker class could own society, and administer wealth more fairly than aristocrats or oligarchs had done for centuries. He gave no basis for this root belief, however. He simply postulated it, and in point of fact, was dead wrong. Given a chance to be micro-aristocrats, or mini-oligarchs, the communist apparatchiki abandoned their ideals en masse, on a permanent basis, and simply robbed Peter to pay Paul,----"Paul" being their relatives, themselves, or their favorites & accomplices.

Senator McCarthy, a discredited thug, nevetheless did humanity a service, in putting the first nails into the delusional mock-religion that Stalinist Russian Soviet world communism had turned into by 1950. It was a simple Russian Hegemony, tricked out in Marxist kant, and essentially evil. It was not humanist in any way, although it recruited vulnerable western intellectuals using its deep shelves, filled with its own now-abandoned humanist hopes and thoughtful writings.

McCarthy sought to intimidate Lamont, and did. Lamont immediately lawyered up, thus beginning McCarthy's slide to ignominy, but Lamont also repainted his pro-Soviet world millennialism with a euphemism..... "Humanism".

This mock "humanism" was more a rebellionism, an anti-capitalism, an anti-establishmentarianism ( say that ten time fast), and an anti-Americanism , than it was a repository of great humanist ideas.

Under Lamont, the expansive true humanism was whittled down to a sharpened stick, very much resembling the by-now-rotting world communism, a stick to be jabbed in the eye of American government, American nationalist feeling, established lifeways & work regimes , and corporate America, as if awaiting the great second chance for world revolution that Lenin and Stalin had corrupted and misused the first time around.

THIS is the humanism to which I object.
It is a simple costume beard that Corliss Lamont donned, to continue to pontificate, after his red revolution had come a cropper.

I think the next revolution is coming, but will not be Marx-redux. I think it will be a vast lurch backwards, into World Islam. That thought makes me very sad, and angry. Mankind----shackled forever to his least attractive qualities, deified.

So.... it with very good reason, that Mr. Hall has not yet done anything.
I see..... I see.....

Me too.

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