Frank Serpico

Serpico allows us to consider the difference between justice and law, and a provides a background for the new study of Police law. Police are under a different kind of law as administers of the law, with the extra responsibilities of the badge. The story of Serpico shows the blue wall of silence that demonstrates why the executive branch has proven incapable of checking, balancing and overseeing itself. The call to de-fund the police- while not practically serious- makes clear that the executive branches are dependent upon the legislatures for appropriations, and we will not fund the shooting of black men holding cell phones.

When one overlooks the scene of drugs and organized crime in America, one sees that this could not occur without the corruption of the police with money to look the other way. Serpico reported systemic corruption, and the reporting of David Burnham brought the issue to public attention. Peter Mass then wrote the bestselling book Serpico,” and Al Pacino played the role in a hit movie production. It is difficult to overestimate the effects these had on my early education, in high school, where I studies science, but little literature. Mr. Donahue had the book on a shelf pillaged by a sister, and we saw the movie. The first teaching was that the appearance of justice is not the same as justice. Later in life, when we saw the police impounding cars broken down and not impeding traffic, in less than 24 hours, and hears of many such property seizures, we could discern the systemic corrup[tion because of Serpico. We have had some incomplete progress on this issue in Michigan, though to some extent the corruption merely shift. It does not occur to us that the corruption is what allows the Oxy-heroin epidemic to occur, and that this makes us weak in foreign policy. Police do not see things in a comprehensive light, but obey authority, and are presented offers difficult to refuse.

Policing is new in modern society, having apparently begun with bobbies in London and in Philadelphia with Ben Franklin’s Fire department. The domestic and foreign executive offices were not previously distinguished, so that soldiers of the king were those who threw people in prison, hopefully for oppressing their fellow citizens. I am reminded of the genetic presentation of the origins of justice by the pre-Socratic and modern thinkers, and the Socratic treatment of this contract theory of justice. What all cities have in common is the attempt to prevent the few strong from oppressing the many weaker sorts through the force of the community as a whole. It is a replacement for the original tyrannies of nature that are the practical alternative to government. That is, crime fighting is the common purpose of all legitimate government. Its corruption- the corruption of the badge- to serve the self interest of its ministers is the decline of every civilization. Meanwhile, the gangsters tell themselves that if they did not provide the illegal things, the people would get them from another, so that they may as well profit. The enthroning of the idea of the successful; entrepreneur is sometimes indistinct from the honoring of the natural courage of gangsters.

Prohibition swelled organized crime in America, leading to the growth of new criminal gangs, which once were no larger than bands of bank robbers. The gangs continued to sell drugs after the prohibition of alcohol, and from these funds seem to have grown tentacles into all commerce, so that for example no concrete could be poured in New York City while obeying the law, and the Italian mafia would gain a certain percentage. Again drawing on the comprehensive picture, we note the difference between genuine economy and the “caterpillars of the commonwealth,” who weaken the economy by draining rather than producing value, and attacking private property. The epidemic of opioids turned about one third of a generation into prostitutes and thieves collecting money for the heroin mobs. It is as though the people in general did not notice until it entered and began draining the suburbs.

Organized crime then in part corrupted the appearance of justice, by corrupting the badge, to some extent, and only in part. It is interesting to observe the relative strengths and influences of crime and government, both here and, for example in Mexico, to see what can occur and what has occurred. As excerpted by Wikipedia,

In October, and again in December 1971, Serpico testified before the Knapp Commission:[9]

Through my appearance here today … I hope that police officers in the future will not experience … the same frustration and anxiety that I was subjected to … for the past five years at the hands of my superiors … because of my attempt to report corruption. I was made to feel that I had burdened them with an unwanted task. The problem is that the atmosphere does not yet exist, in which an honest police officer can act … without fear of ridicule or reprisal from fellow officers. Police corruption cannot exist unless it is at least tolerated … at higher levels in the department. Therefore, the most important result that can come from these hearings … is a conviction by police officers that the department will change. In order to ensure this … an independent, permanent investigative body … dealing with police corruption, like this commission, is essential …— The New York Times, December 15, 1971.[13]

Serpico was the first police officer in the history of the New York City Police Department to step forward to report, and subsequently testify openly about widespread, systemic corruption payoffs amounting to millions of dollars.[14]

In doing this, Serpico risked his life and more. He demonstrates the courage of the World War II era carried into the sixties, a virtue that seems more and more to escape the later generations. There is a sense in which police and soldiers too “lay down their lives for their friends,” as Jesus teaches, “greater love has no man than this.” John 15:13. Famously, when asked by one who is not involved in political action, but an actor, why he would make such sacrifice, Paco (again from Wikipedia) answered:

“Well, Al, I don’t know. I guess I would have to say it would be because… if I didn’t, who would I be when I listened to a piece of music?”[16] 

Wikipedia continues:

“He has credited his grandfather (who had once been assaulted and robbed), and his uncle (a respected policeman in Italy), for his own sense of justice.[17][18]

But why, in the higher sense, did these examples so effect him as to awaken what sleeps at best in most humans? What is it that causes heroes? Throughout his life afterward too, he seems to apprehend some mysterious intelligibility that is akin to justice and music, and the cultivation our genuine, and not merely apparent, prosperity and happiness.

Lennon Imagine

Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us, only sky

Imagine all the people
Livin’ for today
Ah

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Livin’ life in peace
You

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world
You

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you’ll join us
And the world will live as one

This song works, if one does not take it literally.

It is about the imagination, and assumes that religion, nation and possessions as illusory are the cause of war. As such, it is VERY interesting.

Lennon is thought “communist” for this. Communism, of course, appears in the New Testament, among the missionaries, and in the very small city of Plato’s Republic, and then among about 10% of the city, the guardian class. It works among those who literally do not care about bodily goods, and need not even feed a family. Marxist communism, though is different. It begins in atheism, assumes materialism, then calls for violent revolution on the basis of the envy of the many for the rich, who are always few. The aim is tied up with an imaginary utopia that is not well thought though, and with universal dominion, or the aim at world government, as is the fascist on the right extreme. But the rich need laborers, and the poor need jobs.

But what if the problem is rather tyranny, and the defense of liberty? We keep our particular nation because liberty is rare and fragile and necessary to human life, as one would otherwise be governed essentially by another- rather than only accidentally, by such annoyance as the tax.

In Book II of Plato’s Republic, Socrates identifies the luxurious desires, as evident in Glaucon, with the cause of war. The desire for goods leads one city to chop off a piece of the property of its neighbor. Glaucon, and the human spiritedness in general- cannot be contented with the city called the city of pigs.

For practical purposes, we refer to Aristotle: What is held in common gets less care. Plus property is an instrument of action. When I go to get into my car, say, to save a suicidal friend, and my communistical buddies are out joy riding…. Hence, we recognize private property. There is no substitute for the prudence of each- it is the best we can do.

There is some connection of this in the Republic to the fall of man, and reason we do not remain in the innocence of childhood- for which we still struggle to give a reason! The soul of man is called to ascend. Hence, as Leo Strauss writes, humanism is not enough. Man is the creature that seeks to transcend his humanity, in the direction of the divine. But this possibility allows for the possibility of descent into the bestial- in the odd sense in which, in “this world, good and evil appear balanced. So it is, for example, that the sexual revolution also increased pedophilia, if it allowed the recognition and even the cure of its damages in some cases. Still, when the soul does find that in which it is content, the desires return to limits of the genuine animal nature, rather than the unlimited condition of human lusts- when eros that ought be above is trapped below.

But most interesting is the assumption about religion and the imagination of heaven and Hell. I will be updating this blog, too, as I am still the Newton blog a few pages back.

Lennon is of course thinking of how adherence to one’s own, or our love of our own in preference to what is foreign, and from this, our own doctrines, flags and interests. Famously wars are fought over religions, so much so that this is the first thing that might appear about the religious customs. Once one raises the question of the images of heaven and hell, even realizing that the Old Testament does not settle the question. Some thinkers too, as Newton, suggest a Christian mortalism, upon realizing that the visible images refer to true thing about the soul, such as the ascent in Plato’s Republic. But then it is suggested that the soul, in turn is the gateway of genuine metaphysics, and inductively, evidence of its higher analogue, baptism suggesting the truth of the immortality of the soul.

As we forgive, we are forgiven. The soul just works that way, for a brief time or forever. But there are things that are and things that are not our business. Socrates distinguishes divine from human wisdom, and famously denies he has either. Socrates and Jefferson fit well together. What men owe to the creator, we cannot give to human rule, and what are obligations to God can be rights regarding other men.

We like where Strauss says on the supposed impiety of Socrates, “One would think he would be excused by the difficulty of the subject matter!” It is indeed amusing that men once held one another obligated to act as if such things were simply known- the physics of transubstantiation and such. As it is amusing to hear what God plans and wants. The image of the immortality of the soul is so profound a mystery that to commit injustice over it was surely to miss the true sacrifice called for the prophets.

So, when I used to tweet John’s #9 dream, I’d swear I was channeling him, even for Yoko, on his birthday, like to let her know his love for her is eternal, and he doesn’t mind if he was wrong about the imagination of heaven. “Across the Universe,” too.

New Twitter Site at m.mcdonald77 Twitter

Having locked myself out of the old twitter account AND having had my old e-mail ruined in 2016 by Trump-Russian interference (no one cares), here is the new site.

My millions of adoring fans will now be again filled with wit and witticisms, having suffered in McDonaldless ignorance for well over a month, without sarcasm having to take this old world only seriously.

At least now, someone will re-tweet my WordPress!

Tweet: Nice Hack, Russia

A few months ago, I called the office of Senator Stabenow here in Michigan to ask that Congress do something about Microsoft and the compulsory downloads that were overloading the disk and ruining the computer. The fellow receiving the call may have even made fun of me, blowing a bicycle horn while I tried to tell him what we, the users, are seeing on the internet. Now it turns out that was an indication of the huge hack including the Pentagon. That may be the third or fourth time that has happened to me during Trump-Russia. I believe they again tried to influence the election, but could not counter the swelling wave of revulsion to our little tyrant.

Data collection and the monopoly tactics of the big internet companies have made us the vulnerable dupes of tyranny. Our knowing this has been the only thing that has had any effect throughout, but it does appear that if Putin wishes to further disable free government, he will have to resort to old fashioned methods. Our nation must be on high alert for the next while.

One suggested response is that we push the Russians out of Crimea according to the 1994 treaty they violated. Or sanctions could create enough suction to pull them out.

Hey Vlad! GET OUT OF THE UKRAINE!

Emma Willard: On the Education of Women

Socrates, in Plato’s Republic, is the first to seriously suggest something like equality and the same education for women. His criticism of Sparta includes leaving the women uneducated. Emma Willard is the first founder of a high school for ladies, and the teacher of Miss Clark, or Mary Clark, the first teacher of women in Ann Arbor, Michigan, just before the University of Michigan was getting started after 1837. She considered her work a demonstration that women ware capable of the same subjects, and the height and breadth of her mind is nearer to philosophy than any other example. The following essay is a marvel, and she will prove to be a great neglected American writer. Sarah Grimke, Mary Shelly and the first Suffragettes had not imagined the whole movement toward the full equality of women, but the hot topic then- as evidenced in the Inauguration speech of John Tyler- was whether there ought not be much the same education. Willard spoke to the New York legislature to persuade the allocation of 4000$ for the Troy Female Seminary.

Copied from College cengage.com

Improving Female Education by Emma Willard, 1819

From Emma Willard. An Address to the Public Particularly to the Members of the Legislature of New York Proposing a Plan for Improving Female Education. Middlebury: J.W. Copeland, 1819.

      If the improvement of the American female character, and that alone, could be effected by public liberality, employed in giving better means of instruction, such improvement of one half of society, and that half, which barbarous and despotic nations have ever degraded, would of itself be an object, worthy of the most liberal government on earth; but if the female character be raised, it must inevitably raise that of the other sex: and thus does the plan proposed, offer, as the object of legislative bounty, to elevate the whole character of the community.

      As evidence that this statement does not exaggerate the female influence in society, our sex need but be considered in the single relation of mothers. In this character, we have the charge of the whole mass of individuals, who are to compose the succeeding generation; during that period of youth, when the pliant mind takes any direction, to which it is steadily guided by a forming hand. How important a power is given by this charge! Yet, little do too many of my sex know how, either to appreciate it or improve it. Unprovided with the means of acquiring that knowledge, which flows liberally to the other sex-having our times of education devoted to frivolous acquirements, how should we understand the nature of the mind so as to be aware of the importance of those early impressions, which we make upon the minds of our children? –or how should we be able to form enlarged and correct views, either of the character, to which we ought to mold them, or of the means most proper to form them aright?

      Considered in this point of view, were the interests of male education alone to be consulted, that of females becomes of sufficient importance to engage the public attention. Would we rear the human plant to its perfection, we must fertilize the soil which produces it. If it acquire its first bent and texture upon a barren plain, it will avail comparatively little, should it be afterwards transplanted to a garden. . . .

      Not only has there been a want of system concerning female education, but much of what has been done, has proceeded upon mistaken principles.

      One of these is, that, without regard to the difference periods of life, proportionate to their importance, the education of females has been too exclusively directed, to fit them for displaying to advantage the charms of youth and beauty. Though it may be proper to adorn this period of life, yet, it is incomparably more important to prepare for the serious duties of maturer years. Though well to decorate the blossom, it is far better to prepare for the harvest. In the vegetable creation, nature seems but to sport, when she embellishes the flower; while all her serious cares are directed to perfect the fruit.

      Another error is that it has been made the first object in educating our sex, to prepare then to please the other. But reason and religion teach, that we too are primary existences; that it is for us to move, in the orbit of our duty, around the Holy Center of perfection, the companions, not the satellites of men; else, instead of shedding around us in their proper course, we must accompany them in their wildest deviations.

      I would not be understood to insinuate that we are not, in particular situations, to yield obedience to the other sex. Submission and obedience belong to every being in the universe, except the great Master of the whole. Nor is it a degrading peculiarity to our sex, to be under human authority. Whenever one class of human beings, derive from another the benefits of supports, protection, they must pay its equivalent, obedience. Thus, while we receive these benefits from our parents, we are all, without distinction of sex, under their authority; when we receive them from the government of our country, we must obey our rulers; and when our sex take the obligations of marriage, and receive protection and support from the other, it is reasonable, that we too should yield obedience. Yet is neither the child, not the subject nor the wife, under human authority, but in subservience to the divine. Our highest responsibility is to God, and our highest interest is to please him; therefore, to secure this interest, should our education be directed. . . .It is the duty of a government, to do all in its power to promote the present and future prosperity of the nation, over which it is placed. This prosperity will depend on the character of its citizens. The characters of these will be formed by their mothers; and it is through the mothers, that the government can control the characters of its future citizens to form them such as will ensure their country’s prosperity. If this is the case, then it is the duty of our present legislators to begin now, to form the characters of the next generation, by controlling that of the females, who are to be their mothers, while it is yet with them a season of improvement.

      But should the conclusion be almost admitted that our sex too are the legitimate children of the legislature; and that, it is their duty to afford us a share of their paternal bounty; the phantom of a college-learned lady, would be ready to rise up, and destroy every good resolution, which the admission of this truth would naturally produce in its favor. . . .

      That nature designed for our sex the care of children, she has made manifest, by mental, as well as physical indications. She has given us, in a greater degree than men, the gentle arts of insinuation, to soften their minds, and fit them to receive impressions; a greater quickness of invention to vary modes of teaching to different dispositions; and more patience to make repeated efforts. There are many females of ability to whom the business of instructing children is highly acceptable, and who would devote all their faculties to their occupation. They would have no higher pecuniary object to engage their attention, and their reputation as instructors they would consider as important; whereas, whenever able and enterprising men, engage in this business, they considerate as merely temporary employment, to further some other object, to the attainment of which, their best thoughts and calculations are directed. If then women were properly fitted by instruction, they would be likely to teach children better than the other sex; they could afford to do it cheaper; and those men who would otherwise be engaged in this employment, might be at liberty to add to the wealth of the nation, by any of those thousand occupations, from which women are necessarily debarred.

      But the females who taught children would have been themselves instructed either immediately or indirectly by the seminaries. Hence through these, the government might exercise an intimate, and most beneficial control over common schools. Any one, who has turned his attention to this subject, must be aware, that there is great room for improvement in these, both as to the modes of teaching and the things taught; and what method could be devised so likely to effect this improvement, as to prepare by instruction, a class of individuals, whose interest, leisure, and natural talents, would combine to make them pursue it with ardor. Such a class of individuals would be raised up, by female seminaries. And therefore they would be likely to have highly important and happy effects on common schools.

      It is believed that such institutions would tend to prolong to perpetuate our excellent government.

      An opinion too generally prevails, that our present form of government, though good, cannot be permanent. Other republics have failed, and the historian and philosopher have told us that nations are like individuals; that at their birth, they receive the seeds of their decline and dissolution. Here deceived by a false analog, we receive an apt illustration of particular facts, for a general truth. The existence of nations, cannot, in strictness, be compared with the duration of animate life; for by the operation of physical causes, this, after a certain length of time, must cease: but the existence of nations, is prolonged by the succession of one generation to another, and there is no physical cause, to prevent this succession’s going on, in a peaceable manner under a good government, till the end of time. We must look to other causes and seasonably prevent their operation, then might our latest prosperity enjoy the same happy government, with which we are blessed; or of but in part, then might the triumphs of tyranny, be delayed, and a few more generations free.

      Permits me then to ask the enlightened politician of my country whether amidst his researches for these causes he cannot discover one, in the neglect, which free governments, in common with others, have shown, to whatever regarded the formation of the female character. . . .

      But while, with an anguished heart, I thus depict the crimes of my sex, let not the other stand by and smile. Reason declares, that you are guiltier than we. You are our natural guardians,–our brothers,–our fathers, and our rulers. You know that our ductile minds, readily take the impressions of education. Why then have you neglected our education? Why have you looked with lethargic indifference, on circumstances ruinous to the formation of our characters, which you might have controlled? . . .

1. Females, by having their understandings cultivated, their reasoning powers developed and strengthened, may be expected to act more from the dictates of reason and less from those of fashion and caprice.

2. With minds thus strengthened they would be taught systems of morality, enforced by sanctions of religion; and they might be expected to acquire juster and more enlarged views of their duty and stronger and higher motives to its performance.

3. This plan of education, offers all that can be done to preserve female youth from a contempt of useful labor. The pupils would become accustomed to it, in conjunction with the high objects of literature, and the elegant pursuits of the fine arts; and it is to be hoped that both from habit and association, they might in future life, regard it as respectable.

To this it may be added that if housewifery could be raised to a regular art, and taught upon philosophical principles, it would become a higher and more interesting occupation; and ladies of fortune, like wealthy agriculturists, might find that to regulate their business was an agreeable employment.

      In calling on my patriotic countrymen to effect so noble an object, the consideration of national glory, should not be overlooked. Ages have rolled away;–barbarians have trodden the weaker sex beneath their feet;–tyrant have robbed us of the present light of heaven, and fain would take its future. Nations calling themselves polite have made us the fancies idols of a ridiculous worship, and we have repaid them with ruin for their folly. But where is that wise and heroic country, which has considered that our rights are sacred, though we cannot defend them? that tho’ a weaker, we are an essential part of the body politic, whose corruption or improvement must affect the whole? And which, having thus considered, has sought to give us by education, that rank in the scale of being, to which our importance entitles us? History shows not that country. It shows many , whose legislatures have sought to improve their various vegetable productions, and their breeds of useful brutes; but none whose public councils have made it an object of their deliberations, to improve the character of their women. Yet, though history lifts not her finger to such an one, anticipation does. She points to a nation, which having thrown off the shackles of authority and precedent, shrinks not from schemes of improvement, because other nations have never attempted them; but which, in its pride of independence, would rather lead than follow in the march of human improvement; a nation wise and magnanimous to plan, enterprising to undertake, and rich in resources to execute. Does not every American exult that this country is his own? And who knows how great and good a race of men may yet arise from the forming hand of mothers, enlightened by the bounty of that beloved country,–to defend her liberties,–to plan her future improvement,–and to raise her unparalleled glory?

Facebook Etc., Data Collection and “Consent”

Consent is necessary but not sufficient to secure rights in the internet age, for the obvious reason that we do not know the extent of that to which we consent. We agree to let our child get on the school bus, but not to be then bussed into a child trafficking ring. Nor may our consent to one be construed as consent to the following implications. The citizens never agreed to sell their voting rights, nor to allow their world to be conducted into tyranny only because we could not imagine the political power of targeted marketing- not to mention things not yet imagined nor forbidden.

The US Congress has the authority and responsibility to make tyhese decisions, but the billions of the 4 or 5 great internet companies are a bit persuasive on the surface. We choose now how the internet will impact our world, forevermore until tyranny destroys this age.

Just a little side note: Subliminal influencing is not yet forbidden by law, though it would be subject to civil suit for demonstrable (!) damages. This is our Congress, people. We elected them. Lets let them hear from us, and get us fogies ready for the internet age!

Any company that does not take advantage of data collection and targeted control now cannot compete. Hence the scrupulous are gone, and these 5 remain. The purpose of regulation is to limit companies to profiting from the real value they make, not from the power gained by their great wealth nor the advantage of their privileged position behind the curtain of the complexity of the internet. Duh!

Google is a SEARCH engine. By taking money for prominence, they become an advertising engine, then a data collection and sale engine. On WordPress: I agreed to allow moderate advertising in exchange for free writing, NOT to have the data of my visitors bought and sold. Hospitality remains a principle for us, even from Homeric Greece. Twitter sold fake followers, and half of Trump’s followers were fake. THEY, i.e., the unscrupulous Republican strategists, ran Trump up the flagpole with Russian internet assistance intended to fight terrorism, not to help Putin expand.

Bill Browder on NPR: EU Passes Magnitsky Act

Sergei Magnitsky was the lawyer of Bill Browder, once the largest foreign investor in Russia. Browder was scammed for 30 million tax dollars, and Magnitsky was imprisoned and tortured by Putin’s Russia for uncovering the deed. That is. Browder is THE guy who learned the hard way that Putin is not your grandfather’s old businessman. In honor of Magnitsky, Browder has gotten sanctions passed against Russian gangsters that may have turned the corner on the recent rise of tyranny through Russian election fraud. The US success at a basically free election (we still do not believe the Don achieved 48%, and 41 % still won’t say Biden won) despite Russian influence upon the opinion of the voters themselves through the internet. We still do not believe the Don gained 48%, and 41% still will not say that Joe Biden won. What appears is the influence of such things as “Q”, and Don himself deliberately directing false opinion with his patented “terrific” false advertising. But it is a bit revealing that Don and Giuliani explicitly address pre-pardons for dealing regarding Russia.

*The EU has difficulties with foreign policy, because, as with the articles uniting the 13 US colonies, 27 states must agree unanimously. 9/13 ths makes the EU a nation.

Hey Vlad: Get out of the Ukraine!