Harry C. Baney III

When we live through “times that try men’s souls,” and this is certainly such a time, often our literature gives us poignantly a deeper insight into the moral dilemmas and the depths of the human frailty, depravity, and the undoing of man and society. Few come closer to reaching that height than William Shakespeare, and I have to add Dante and Milton. Here in place of my usual analysis of our destructive and cruel Trump gang and the global challenges and butchery of our times, is from the 16th Century a voice that is indeed for our age:

Fall of Wolsey
By William Shakespeare (1564–1616), From Henry VIII, Act III, Scene 2.

Cromwell, I did not think to shed a tear
In all my miseries; but thou hast forced me,
Out of thy honest truth, to play the woman.
Let’s dry our eyes: and thus far hear me, Cromwell;
And, when I am forgotten, as I shall be,
And sleep in dull cold marble, where no mention
Of me more must be heard of, say, I taught thee,
Say, Wolsey, that once trod the ways of glory,
And sounded all the depths and shoals of honour,
Found thee a way, out of his wreck, to rise in;
A sure and safe one, though thy master miss’d it.
Mark but my fall, and that that ruin’d me.
Cromwell, I charge thee, fling away ambition:
By that sin fell the angels; how can man, then,
The image of his Maker, hope to win by it?
Love thyself last: cherish those hearts that hate thee;
Corruption wins not more than honesty.
Still in thy right hand carry gentle peace.
To silence envious tongues. Be just, and fear not:
Let all the ends thou aim’st at be thy country’s,
Thy God’s, and truth’s; then if thou fall’st, O Cromwell,
Thou fall’st a blessed martyr! Serve the king;
And,—prithee, lead me in:
There take an inventory of all I have,
To the last penny; ’tis the king’s: my robe,
And my integrity to heaven, is all
I dare now call mine own. O Cromwell, Cromwell!
Had I but served my God with half the zeal
I served my king, he would not in mine age
Have left me naked to mine enemies.

And from William Shakespeare: “Measure for Measure”
“But man, proud man,
Dress’d in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d—
His glassy essence—like an angry ape
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
As makes the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.”

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National Security and Crazy Economics: Our Downfall Without Firing a Shot

There are many dimensions to “national security” as well as military security.  Increasingly I am feeling that we are more and more threatened by what can only be described as “crazy economics” which seem to be motivated more by greed than by intellectual honesty or sound economics.  It is certainly not motivated by a concern for the unemployed or for the average citizen’s well being. Nor is it motivated by concern for America’s leadership abroad.

I don’t mean just the normal domestic-type absurdity as in “Tea Party” economics and not even what can be described as Milton Friedman-type “supply side” failed economics. What we are dealing with is not real “economics” but rather deliberate class warfare (a term often used by the wealthy, far right to describe any effort at fairer taxes) directed at further weakening America’s vast middle class that has fallen behind the very rich for decades.  It is the “economics” that has decimated the so-called “rust belt” and engineered high unemployment and low worker wages. It is the “economics” that has shifted America’s productivity and capital from building things to pushing financial paper around to generate wealth for a very few.  Now they also want to degrade our schools and educational institutions.

Even now, especially during this economic crisis that has been initiated by the very, very rich in our society, our average citizens are experiencing an extraordinary degradation of their dignity and their political and social voice.  And not least, it has deprived them of their effective participation in a meaningful right to the value of their labor.

Whether it is the taking away of the right to bargain by civil servants in Wisconsin and other states, or punitive anti-Union laws, or efforts at “redistricting” by states to take away the effective votes of minorities like blacks, Latinos, and the poor, it has made America a truly weaker nation.

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