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Above: Lake Geneva, Switzerland. At Montreux.

Fodderize v.t. 1. To break down individual components; to make fungible; to disregard difference; to render one easily substituted for another 2. To impose sub-quality goods or services upon, with little recourse 3. To cap role choices, hinder access to resources regardless of merit, and so avoid competition 4. To manage perception by propaganda-spin techniques, while concealing dispositive facts 5. To manipulate, lure, exploit, deceive


Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Obama and Belling the Rus-Cat. Piers Plowman Revisited. Raiders of the New Rus. Wise Ones Track Piers Plowman. International Aggression Response.

 Obama and Belling the Rus-Cat.
Piers Plowman.
Viking Raiders, Rus, and What History Teaches about Response to Aggression.

Ukraine triggers many interests. Today we are thinking of Rus traditions, and how history may speak: when forces to overcome are, as a practical matter, unstoppable in the immediate future. Old Rus, new Rus, all dealing with or engaging in invasions, settling, as we in the West also did.  And, to address how to cope with an unstoppable force, read the West's Piers Plowman, Belling the Cat. What resolution was proposed in the earliest versions of that too-simplified story.

1.  Rus.  Putin. Like Vikings. They will run their course.

Vikings came and went in their territories for a long time; eventually settling in where they had raided, or just going home. 

Is there a connection with historical repeats of this raider behavior and this drive to reincorporate a "new Russia".  If Big Russia is asserting rights to the Old Rus as the new Rus, see old Rus at, examine what that means.  Rus is not "different." It includes early Swedish Viking raiding and trading roots, down the Volga, among other sources of Rus as a concept. The history of Viking trading-invasion, as the West well knows, is not one of negotiation; they chose to raid and/or settle or not. Many did settle in the areas previously raided.

So what next for the people already there in Ukraine when the new force of Rus comes? We has recourse, we meaning here, those of us who may see ourselves on a receiving end of  a broader Rus influence, if Putin's Rus are not "stopped." But stopping is not possible easily. What recourse?  Sanity. We still have that. And perspective, if we choose to look.
  • Our own history echoes what is happening in Ukraine now. The "new Rus," as in old roots of Ukraine driving and "justifying" new invasions of it, is also us. We also have invaded those here before us. 
  • So, we also are the Cat, as in the medieval story that European Piers Plowman wrote-recorded about Belling the Cat.  
    • Is that story on Obama's nightstand? Piers Plowman's early tale of outside power threatening a community, Who Will Bell the Cat? 
    • It suggests a resolution that Obama and our leadership routes so far are following: 
    • Here I suggest that Obama, as Piers, has a strong idea of what may well work best.  
    • Put away the battle drums.
2..  History of The Rus*.  Is it there on Obama's nightstand?

Why ask:
  • Ask because President Obama's approach to the Rus-Cat today suggests he has learned wise lessons from sources such as these:  As Piers Plowman moralizes, in a practical way in approaching an encroaching deadly Cat, this indeed is a world of Cats.
  • This particular Cat of our day is better dealt with by containment than for the community to die trying to eliminate it.  This is much as the Vikings had to be avoided and contained, if possible, until they wore out, or settled in peaceably.  Waiting while minimizing damage is one way to arrive at a stable world, even with a Cat loose; and successor Cats.  Waiting recognizes that this is a Cat-filled world.  
  • No era has been free of a Cat. Yet, people survive.
3.  Background on Viking-Rus History.  Keep in mind our own parallels as settlers with guns, colonial powers, raiders against Native Americans, or exploiters of those we made slaves.: 
4. Viking mentality.

This did not spring from nothing.  It was fertilized by an aggressive Christian militance, where early benign missionaries were replaced by institutional conformity-religious empire drivers. Cultural adjuncts that killed if people did not convert.

Is this invasion of cultural institutions that demean what was already there, a root of perceived humiliation by those beaten? Is a sense of disregard driving, in part, the new Rus.

5. What, then, can we assess about President Obama's current slow-go, containment approach to the Today's Viking Rus-Cat. Putin putting himself at the helm of new longboats.

We learn that patience and containment may well work. And, indeed, there is not other choice. Containment may result in a militant containment, rather than defeat and decimation; can we live with that as a macho culture?  I think we must and should.

6.  Examine the old Piers Plowman,  How to Bell the Cat.  Is it on Obama's nightstand? If not send him an early version.  It reinforces his approach.

  • Our current international aggressions, by this new Rus-Cat, are just like the looming Cat of old; the medieval Cat new in the mouse neighborhood, a cat who loves to eat them mousies: reminiscent of Kliban at  
  • Recall the words:  Bite heads off, nibble feet, etc.Get over the idea that we are seen as the mice here, and assess: Put Putin's visage on the old posters. Do a search.
The original medieval Piers Plowman tale, as generally known is pap.  The early original ends with a twist not usually recalled from truncated childhood versions.  See the Who Will Bell the Cat cite above. Review:
  • The Mice in the original story do not just skulk away in defeat, unable to defend, doomed to accept the community victimhood that the uninterrupted presence that the Cat imposes.
  • The mice instead listen to a Wise One among them, who puts the Cat in perspective. Quoth the Wise One:
    • The Cat, it is true, will get some of us. But if we get rid of this Cat, another will arrive to take its place, because this is a world of cats. Get rid of one, and another arises. Unintended consequences.
    • The Cat, if left to its own devices, is really a limited threat. 
      • It can only eat so many of us, before depriving itself of its own food source. 
      • So if we can survive the initial onslaught, the entire community is probably not threatened with devastation for the long term.  
      • The Cat itself will have to limit its own hunting.
      • Meanwhile, some deft Mice will escape, and themselves multiply up again, and wise up each time in how to defend from, hide from, or tease to exhaustion, etc., Cat
  • This Cat, if successful, will attract more Cats. The competing multiple cats will be faced with wiser mice, however, and the Cats probably will start to fight among themselves, thus relieving some pressure on us mice.

So let us wise up as to how to avoid the claws.  We, as the mouse community, the world, will have to accept some losses as the successor Cats do their dance.

But in return, we (voting is a concept with power that can overcome Cats, if we can overcome the powers trying to defeat voting) will survive, and survive well enough.  Life proposed: a a limited Cat invasion from time to time, until we can whack it like whack-a-mole;  and stability between what this Cat can eat, and who is left. Can we in the West contain the Koch-Cat?  Maybe not in the short run. But there is the vote, and the natural intelligence of the Mice.
And with no cat at all, does our own community grow so complacent and large that we cannot sustain ourselves?
  • So, the wise course is to protect those around you, each household looking after its own, looking after others as may be feasible, but admitting cat-hood as an unchanging part of this community's life and death.
7. Upshot. Go, Obama.

The Wise Course sounds like containment. It has none of the glamor of McCain's cannons; but give Obama, the counsel of the Wise One, this opportunity.  Oh, the opposition to letting life happen while protecting quietly our own, helping others sensibly, under the radar. Can that idea survive when faced with the political malignancies of candidates posing as hosts, as in Morning Joe the Candidate of the Flapping Flags Behind His Chosen Head; (is this becoming a rant?); and his beloved Wall Street Journal (the Wall Screed Journal?) editorials that get prime business-interest time even when other views are equally eloquent. Mika, speak up!.

Obamas has the approach. Where you cannot stop the grab and go of countries or businesses, at least you can limit the opportunities, live smarter, more informed on your own, less like cattle answering a call.

Read the initial view, at , and perhaps find it applies to many adversities encountered while breathing.

*  The Rus.

Who? The Rus as in Russia. More specifically perhaps

Rus as Viking descendants from the Sweden side of the Norse, invading, trading, raiding centuries ago, but sidling deep into eastern Europe down the Volga toward the Slavs.  This was a different Viking cultural route, rather than those other Norse headed for the British Isles and the monks whose initially benign Christian message betrayed the Norse by becoming an unstoppable cultural invasion.  The trigger for those earliest Viking raids including Christian atrocity against the Saxons, Charlemagne was no nice guy. See ; and

 Does the Viking tradition speak to today's Rus in some way. Raid and run. Have your way, double down, and duck. The trigger for earliest Viking raids including Christian atrocity against the Saxons, Charlemagne was no nice guy. See ; and And kindly missionaries gave way to inquisitorial dogmatarian institutionalists.

These Germanic Saxons, and later missionary fields in the Scandinavian areas, were literally next door to their cultural brethren, the Norse. But here, we focus on the eastern Rus.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Voting as Protected Speech. The Roberts Penumbra. McCutcheon. Loose the Memes.

Election spending and Election voting.

With Citizens United and McCutcheon ( site re perhaps reversal in works?), money actions to promote a message are speech.  Why are voting actions not speech? Old reasoning that looked at voting narrowly needs a revamp.   Targeted voter suppression indeed is to punish the voter for the message.  See Dorf at

Both means of communicating a message are to be equally protected under the First Amendment.  If voting is not so protected, then neither should money speech.

Loose the memes.  Take the issue of voting and its to Chief Justice Roberts. It is his penumbra..
The Penumbra of First Amendment Protected Speech.

Chief Justice Roberts' right to participate in electing is his rationale for protecting speech. Protecting participation necessarily includes both the funding, the donating, and the voting.  If citizenship proof remains unreasonably high, as many voter ID laws are in light of deprivations of many unfunded potential voters, then this follows:  Only voters, autonomous qualifying humans, can contribute to the politics; and that bars corporate and non-human entities from contributing, and that defeats Citizens United. Is that so?  Individual, not aggregations.

Chief Justice Roberts in McCutcheon * writes for the Majority Four that prior significant spending caps in political donating by individuals are unconstitutional. Money is speech, triggering First Amendment strict scrutiny on any restriction. Speech is vital to participation in politics, so that individuals are as protected as corporations in their financial speech. Writes C.J. Roberts, "There is no right in our democracy more basic than the right to participate in electing our political leaders."

First, right to participate
 Second, electing our political leaders. 
Now, Play>:
All forms of participation in electing is therefore to be protected under the First Amendment.  There is a penumbra there, with a reach over voting as speech as well as money as speech.

This McCutcheon case relates directly to the participation in the electing process as criteria for protection:  if speech is vital to elections, and speech is protected under the First Amendment, then not only participation by donating money is covered as such speech; but also the actual act of voting.  What is more politically participative than the vote?

Yet McCutcheon goes so far as to only put icing on the existing donor class cake, elevating election donors to a  Most Favored status -- no hurdles, compared to other forms of participating in our democracy.
  • First, corporations are freed to give almost unlimited money, to a high degree. 
  • Donate by mail any time, online, by check. Some transparency may apply, that the donor is free to sort out. 
  • Are there any barriers to donating? Not many. A political donor need not be human.  The political donation is sacrosanct.  The political donor
    • need not be a citizen, or over 18, or  hatched in this country or its territories, or "naturalized," and as a corporate donor, 
    • needs no brain or conscience except the adopted consensus of enough board members or shareholders, who by their by-laws are bound in a fiduciary and legal way to put their profit first, not the State of the Union. 

Now look election voters, those seeking to participate in the electing of their leaders, with participation as the most basic right in our democracy. The lowly voter cannot just use the mail any time, go online any time, vote at will within the administrative timeline from conclusion of primaries and setting of ballots, to last day of electing.  The voter must also a) be human (that can be presumed, probably); b) age 18 or more; and c) a citizen, born here, or of two parents each of whom is a citizen, or someone who was naturalized.
  • Citizenship has become an unreasonable hurdle where states require only certain documentation, under an ill-disguised purpose to avoid the fraud that somehow does not materialize under reasonable scrutiny, see 
  • If there is no solution to strident claims of voter speaker fraud that a court can figure out, except voter speech exclusion, then do this:  Require donor speakers as well to be citizens, that is, register as incorporated here; and their donations to be used only in the district where they do business (which can be very broad).  No donor individual or corporation can be a non-citizen. Rev up the proofs.
  • Voting is already a right, not a privilege, see
  • Time to make it a protected free speech right.
So:  Specify, in the next Supreme Court case, that voting rights are protected speech under the First Amendment.  In the alternative, add restrictions to donors so that they, too, must be incorporated here, and disclosed with every donation.
Watch this green shoot spring from the penumbra of Chief Justice Roberts.  Voting as protected speech, vital to participating in our democracy. Is the issue of what is already protected speech, and not protected, a new one to the electorate? There are education opportunities out there. See

There is no reason to exclude voting from protection.  Excluded from first amendment protection are the usual porn, obscenity and shouting and fire in crowded theater things, perjury and blackmail, bona fide threats, soliciting for a crime, defamation and fighting words, and the like. 

Voter speech could not be on an exclusion list.  Ergo. Voting speech is presumptively protected speech, to be restricted only after strict scrutiny. Make proofs of citizenship flexible and favoring the voter.


Talk speech, money speech, voter speech.  All aspects of voting speech should be protected. Increase the time, place and manner of the vote, just as donors have almost unlimited time and manner of donating. After all, ask, what is the "our" in the election of our political leaders.
  • Why should non-citizens, corporations, who cannot vote on their own at all, so far, be able to influence elections of the voter-citizens' in choosing the voters' political leaders.  Discuss.

Thank you, Chief Justice Roberts, for your penumbra concept of the sacrosanct activity of participating through speech. Through your most gracious penumbra, voters can look forward to the firm establishment of their rights of participation in electing our leaders, just as the brain-free corporate money talkers and the moneyed individuals now can. The individuals get a double whammy: first the donation, then the vote.  The lowly voter gets only one shot.


Update:  The Daily Kos also supports voting as speech, just as money is speech.  See  This appeared the day before our blog, but had not been seen by us.

McCutcheon:  See

Constitution on voting.  Amendments:

No abridging voting rights of citizens
15th -- based on race, color, prior servitude; or
19th -- based on sex; or
24th -- based on failure to pay a poll or other tax; or
26th -- based on age, so long as voter is 18.

  • Further amendments for no abridging based on limited voting opportunity in terms of time, machinery, location, would be covered by the strict scrutiny required in specifically including voting as a protected free speech right.

Citizen: born in a US state or territory; or of parents who are each a citizen; or by naturalization, see