Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Hillary's Money Speech - Bob Reich Comments


This is right on the money, as it were.


Robert B. REICH

Hillary's Money Speech

One big, eloquent speech in a presidential campaign can sometimes do the job. Nixon did it, with his typical sanctimony, as VP nominee with his Checkers speech in September of 1952. Obama did it in disavowing Jeremiah Wright in March of 2008. And most notably, because it was not just personal but an understanding that then lived forever after in America, JFK did it before Protestant ministers in Houston in September of 1960, affirming the separation of church and state for a Catholic President. Big speeches can put a matter to rest.

Now Hillary Clinton faces a problem that she needs to put to rest. Everyone sees the problem of plutocracy clearly now, especially since no one from Wall Street went to jail. Everyone sees the problem with high rollers funding campaigns, and buying influence with both the executive and legislative branches. Trump sees it, Bernie Sanders sees it, and Hillary sees it. But Trump is rich enough not to need other people's money, and Bernie's raison d'etre is this very issue, and since it has always been his issue, he has rejected Super PAC money and has surprisingly been able to fund himself from small donor contributions.

Hillary, however, is a different story. She needs big contributions, and has gotten them not only this year, but in many years in the past, as did Bill. She knows the big donors well. And in addition, she has shown herself vulnerable to the allures of big money with Goldman Sachs, most notably. And Chelsea's indulgence makes her even more vulnerable, Chelsea who made $650 grand a year with NBC, I think it was, and who lives in an $11 million Central Park apartment. Disgusting, really.

So it's only natural for voters to think, how can you trust someone who likes money so much so that she became rich by giving talks, and who needs money for campaigns? Won't she be beholden to the sources of that income and campaign funds? Or as Donald puts it so floridly, do you think they just like throwing the money around because they can, or are they expecting something for it, the way I did when I gave it?

Well, she's not viewed as trustworthy, that's her major electoral flaw, and she's got to answer that accusation. And as I say, it didn't help that no one went to jail, so cleaving to Obama is no help there.

So what she's got to do is to do a Houston, give a big speech. And she's got to give it well, put herself into it, lower her voice to the intimate, and make herself vulnerable. It's a tall order and I don't know whether or not she's up to it. I think if she were convinced of its necessity, she could do it, but she's always so defensive, I'm not sure she will allow herself to be convinced.

Here's what she's got to say in The Money Speech. She has to say, first, I agree with Donald Trump! And I agree with Bernie. This system of funding elections sucks and needs to be changed. I've thought that for a long time (she raised it in 2008 but no one took it up and she dropped it, I remember.) It goes back to the 1980's or even beyond. Senators and Congresspeople need to spend huge hunks of time dialing for dollars, begging for money. National campaigns are even worse – we travel all over for fundraisers, and while we meet good people at them, we are only meeting one part of the electorate, and that's not good enough. And it's true, the dollars spent by lobbyists and corporations, and labor unions and others, pay dividends. It's a terrible system.

Now let me get more personal. Just like everyone else in electoral politics, as a political person without overwhelming personal wealth (or a very small state to compete in), I have played the game by the rules, even if I hate the rules. All of us in public elected life, we have no choice. It's either that or walk away, and I haven't been willing to walk away because I have wanted to be a public official doing good for the country. I have some deep beliefs in where we should go as a country, and walking away because the system is tainted would do nobody any good. That's been my belief.

So how have I handled it, being part of a system that begs for corruption? What I have tried to do, like many other good people in public electoral life, has been to try to make it clear that my vote is not for sale. I will listen to contributors, and I will listen to non-contributors. In fact, I will listen to contributors to other campaigns that opposed me. That's my job, to listen and to represent everyone. As a contributor, of course you get “access,” and that in itself can be a source not of corruption, but a source of skewing of my views, shall we say. But, I will also strive to get the views of others who may not have been contributors, but who have other viewpoints, and I will try to weigh them as equally as I can. That's my pledge. I will take the money because the system makes me do that – a system that needs to be changed! – but I will not be bought.

So, to answer Donald Trump – and don't forget, we agree on the problem, the system sucks – if the contributors expect favors, that's not what I promise or deliver. What I expect is for donors to understand what my views are, and if they like them, contribute. I'm also asking the donors to think not of their own welfare, but the welfare of the country, and to trust that if the welfare of the country is served, they will be able to feel good about their contribution to it.

This may be hard for people to believe about me. It sounds pretty goody two-shoes, I understand. It does. But what else can one do in this system? That's why I agree with Donald, and with Bernie. We need to change the system. Buying a government should not be possible. We need to have public financing of campaigns so that private interests cannot buy governmental decisions. If it takes a constitutional amendment, that's what we have to do.

Now this is me, Budd, talking. She probably also needs to confess to her money complex. When she said “we were dead broke” when they left the White House (sign of a complex), and when it's obvious that Bill cavorts with billionaires all the time and when their friends are all so rich, it's not surprising that they want to be rich, too. When they have risen to the top of society as they have, should they forego the usual financial rewards in a capitalist country? It's a big problem, and it's symptomatic of the problem of money in the modern world, and not just capitalism, but everyone. How she weaves a confessional tone into The Money Speech, I don't know. But if she could, it would be a big plus.

Maybe say something like this: they say that money is the root of all evil. I don't know about that, but I do know that the fears of not having money, and the desire to have a lot of it are front and center for our modern life, and I, Hillary, have not been exempt. But as I work on this problem in my private life, I want everyone to know, I see the problem. And I know that others with less money than I have often handle it much better than I do. But, I want you to know, I will work very hard to make sure that everyone in this country gets a fair break. It's OK for people to make lots of money if they work hard and contribute, but it can't be at the expense of others. People in the lower 90% need a better deal than they are getting. And it will be my mission as President, if I should be elected, to make sure that we improve everyone's chance to get an education, to be properly rewarded for achievement, to rise in life and give their kids even better than they have had it, and to un-fix the game. Things are not fair now, and I will not be bought off, I will not relent until everyone, everyone, everyone gets a fair deal in this country. That was our source of greatness in the past, and that greatness, that fairness, needs to be reclaimed.

Maybe that would work. It would be worth a try. 

 Go to Houston, Hillary!

Budd Shenkin

Thursday, February 11, 2016

Deep Doodoo in Syria and on the Campaign Trail

Obama's presidency is probably under-appreciated, and I have been one of those under-appreciating. He's done a lot of good, he just doesn't crow about it much, thinks it's not fitting, probably, thinks that people should notice without being prompted. Good luck with that.

But I'm thinking now of two legacies that won't go down so well in history, I'm afraid. One is in foreign policy and one in domestic. First, foreign.

It's been hard to intervene or not intervene, especially so after interventions were so poorly planned and executed under hapless W. Kind of like the Vietnam Syndrome. I keep harkening back to Ike. The 50's were a difficult time of duck and cover. Ike was always harried by the Left to declare no first use with nukes, and he wouldn't do it. No one thought he would launch, but on the other hand, could you be sure? After all, there was Dulles and the other harbingers of grief and destruction all around him.

Well, it turns out there was a method to his threateningness. The histories I read say that Ike knew what he was doing. A military man, he was no militarist. He knew, for instance, from his training with Fox Conner to only fight when you have to, never fight alone, and never fight for long. (If only W had known that!) As a military non-militarist President, and probably as a Republican, he knew that money that went to the military didn't go to domestic use (which is Trump's point, of course.) So if he brandished nuclear weapons as a warning, others cringed, and he didn't have to spend money on the costly stuff, which is soldiers. So in the 50's we might have had to duck and cover, but we got constant economic improvement and the interstate highway system. It makes sense to threaten, not to use, and to listen to Fox Conner.

Iraq and Afghanistan made it hard for Obama to threaten, because the country's wad had been shot. Hard – but not impossible. A new hand was on deck, and he could have threatened and not used. Where, you are wondering? (Maybe you are, who knows?) Well, Syria. Syria is a major humanitarian disaster, not dissimilar to Bill Clinton's Rwanda, the latter's biggest regret for non-intervention. But also, unlike Rwanda, a geopolitical disaster. What are the Russians doing in there? Why are they there, I ask you? The Russians have never done anyone any good, sorry to say, at least since they resisted the Nazis when they were attacked, but if you look back in history, probably just never ever. They tend to just be a marauding force. And the reason that they are actively there in Syria, bombing opposition forces, is that Obama doesn't want to fight them. This weekend when Kerry was accosted by Syrian oppositionists in London, he said, “Do you want us to fight the Russians?” Jesus, just give away the store, why don't you? Preemptive surrender is not a great strategy.

The crucial time for the US in Syria was the Red Line incident with chemical warfare. All we had to do was to bomb the Damascus airfield. Few casualties. Debilitating the Assad war effort. Threat of more to come. But instead, we got a promise, admittedly fulfilled in the main, but not entirely, for no more chemical warfare. The Russians were surprised, but they saw what we were made of. They are now bombing all the opposition forces around Aleppo and Syria will continue to be a strong ally of both Russia and Iran, just what we need. Obama really screwed this up, I think, even given a high degree of difficulty. Too cautious. Let the other guy be cautious, why don't you?

The other thing that Obama really screwed up is now showing up in enthusiasm for Trump and Sanders, and difficulty for my chosen candidate, the very flawed Hillary Clinton. (Anytime that Madeleine Albright becomes a major spokesperson, you are in the deepest doo-doo, believe me. See Theo Le Sieg's Olivetta Oppenbeam, in the classic book Hooper Humberdink, Not You – for any parents or grandparents out there, this was the favorite book of Peter and Budd Shenkin for years:

What Obama screwed up was Eric Holder, and associated issues. Not only were they deporters in chief, not only were they firm opponents of transparency in government in many ways including prosecuting investigative reporters doing their job, but they really screwed up with prosecuting Wall Street after the Great Recession. Why is no one significant in jail, or under great clouds of disgrace? As is said, the government assiduously sought the perpetrators of the Wall Street meltdown so they could hand them additional billions. Maybe Dodd-Frank is better than they say it is, maybe it is. I still think that reinstituting Glass-Steagall should have been done, but maybe not, maybe Hillary is actually right that another approach is needed. But what people see now, the straw that broke the camel's back in inequality and plutocratic government, what makes people think it's so obvious that Bernie and Trump are right, that the government is bought and paid for, is that nobody went to jail.

Nobody went to jail. How obvious can it be? Reagan's administration sent people to jail for the savings and loan scandal. The biggest winners so far in the campaigns are the two candidates who say that government is bought and paid for, and that someone should have gone to jail. And that's where Obama screwed up domestically. Yes, it was hard. Yes, the SEC is underfunded and undermanned and in its own way bought and paid for. But behind it all is caution. Why was he so cautious? We can all have our theories, and I'm sure we'll find out in time. But this was no time for caution.

Government rests on the consent of the governed, one way or another. They might be coerced into consent, or they might be deluded into consent, or they may see their best interests in the government and thus consent. It can come a lot of different ways. But in this country, if you see inequality of opportunity and of station increasingly pervasive, and then you see gross malfeasance unpunished because they are plutocrats while some kid smoking crack goes to jail for years, you are going to be led to conclusions that some would rather you not have – like, for instance, Hillary. For all her faults which are many, for all her seduction by money – on the $650,000 for a few talks to Goldman Sachs, her explanation was “That's what they offered,” like Bill was offered something by someone named Monica – for all her lack of hopey-changey, she could still be the best we can muster at this time. But people look, and they see her taking the money, and they hear all the things they hear, and they think – this game is rigged, and the two people who are saying it are Trump and Sanders.

And this is the geopolitical and domestic political legacy of Obama, so sorry to say, because I like and admire the guy.

But maybe things will get better! Here's hoping.

Budd Shenkin

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Mr. Basketball

In 1955 I made an excellent decision.  I was in ninth grade at Ardmore Junior High School.  I was new to the school, since we had just moved to the suburbs, probably choosing to put the money into a house rather than into private school for four kids, although I think the house cost a grand total of $35,000.  In ninth grade, typing was a required class, but lots of the boys just hacked around in it.  The girls tended to take it more seriously, because it would probably be more useful for their prospective jobs.  But I took it seriously.  Not only did I take everything seriously about school, but I had seen my mother typing away at her class papers at Penn, where she had broken the mold for a 50's wife and mother and gone back to school to become a social worker.  I was amazed at how she could type.

So I learned to type by taking the class seriously.  I never could beat Sue Hoffman or Betsy Tingle, but I was the fastest boy typist in the class, and I flattered myself to think in the whole ninth grade as well, although I didn't have evidence of that.  As everyone can appreciate now but maybe couldn't then, it was a great decision.  I still wonder at the vacuity of the job of the bald-headed guy who taught the class; the job seemed to be pure supervision, watching the kids looking down at the blank keys, helping them discipline themselves and following the written lessons day after day.

So when it came time to leave for college four years later, I gave up the Royal portable we had at home and took to college the new gift from my mother, a portable Olivetti.  It lacked the stately power of the Royal, but I came to love its lightness and the more intimate, more responsive touch of the keys.  I still had to use my fingers like little hammers, as my piano teacher (talk about a frustrating job!) taught in those pre-electric days, and sometimes the “T's” got only the horizontal bar at top and just a hint of vertical stalk, and sometimes the “p” looked more like an “n,” but the elite font was appealing, and late at night as I sat in my dorm room and typed, I could really go.  I found early on I could compose at the typewriter and wasn't wedded to the written page.  It was a lifesaver of time.

In freshman year at Harvard we had a basic English composition course called General Education Ahf.  What the “Ahf” stood for I probably knew once, but not now.  But even though it was a throw-in class, a few extra credits that didn't do justice to the amount of work expended, I took it seriously from the start.  Actually that was probably why I got into Harvard, even before I applied – things were different then – because our guidance teacher, Mr. Robinson, knew I was serious about becoming and educated person.  My parents and I visited him one day to figure out how I could take French and not give up Latin too early, partially because I knew colleges wanted at least three years of a language.  To do that, I would have to take five majors junior year instead of the usual four, and take United States history in summer school.  That I didn't bat an eye but wanted to do it, while my parents and Mr. Robinson looked at me for the decision, must have made an impression.  Anyway, that's how I put it together later.

Gen Ed Ahf was taught by a graduate student in English named Mr. Burlbach.  He was a nice young man with a blond crew cut as I remember, and he once shared with us that while he was a graduate student at Michigan and wrote an assignment, he was asked where he got a certain idea he put forward.  “That's my own idea,” he said.  His professor looked at him and said that he had better stick to the ideas of others when he was writing.  “That's when I decided to transfer, if I could,” he said.

I guess I was a kindred soul, although not the type to be an English major.  We had essays assigned probably about twice a month on various set topics, reacting to essays we read.  I remember this is where I first met the word “assertion,” and understood some basic types of essays, I suppose.  But later in the course, in March of my freshman year, we finally had a free assignment.  “Write on what you want,” he said.  I chose basketball.

Basketball was king of my heart.  It was a beautiful thing.  I was a pretty good player, always a good shot, and I could pass behind my back and backwards over my head in a fast break, to startling effect.  I had a driving left hand hook shot.  I watched basketball and I loved basketball, and I also wasn't very much at home in Boston.  As the eldest son of a tight family all of whom had always
lived in Philadelphia, I was very much on alien turf.  So I chose basketball to write about, and Bob Cousy, the acclaimed point guard (the term didn't actually exist then) of the Celtics, was my foil.

Now is 2016.  It's almost March which would make it the 56th anniversary of this seminal essay.  Technology has changed.  I'm writing this on my laptop.  I have saved the Cousy paper all these years, along with my other Gen Ed Ahf papers, and my great essay on Alexis de Tocqueville that got A's at several universities under various author names.  I'm have it as a pdf file, but technologically challenged, I can't just reproduce it here as a jpg or tiff image for some reason.  What I can do, though, is scan it as a Word file and copy it on here, which is what I'm doing.  I'll lose some of the written in comments by Mr. Burlbach, but I'll type the in at the end.  He was the kind of guy who understood what people were trying to do, I think, as his comments showed.  As I look at the paper, and as I reproduce it here, I remember that Olivetti, and I remember how freeing it was to write about something that took me out of myself, or deeper into myself, maybe.  I remember how much I cared.

I was eighteen when I wrote it.  The awkwardness of many sentence constructions leaps out at me.  I don't think I was ever a natural writer; I think I had to work hard to become a passable one.  My friend Bob, though, comes to my rescue, and tells me he's impressed with it for an 18 year old.  Thank God for supportive friends.

So, without further ado, here is my paper: “Mr. Basketball; Or Why I Hate Bob Cousy.”

Budd N. Shenkin 
 Mr. Burelbach
March 9, 1960

I love basketball. I hate Bob Cousy. These statements might appear antithetical to the average basketball fan, inflicted with the image of Bob Cousy as the essence of all good basketball, This image is not based on the fan's own observations of the facts, but rather on his reading of the newspapers and his absorption of the common press stereo­types. The newspapers, never known to be the ultimate source of unbiased truth, have built up Cousy as the great superstar, and the public, never examining the facts objectively, has accepted this image of a Ruthiam figure. Perhaps this is the reason for my hate. The press is trying to nut something over on the public, and is succeeding.
The newspapers have built up Cousy as "the man who makes the Celtics go,"the greatest ballhandler and passer of all time,” "the master strategist and tactician," and even, in pure defiance of the statistics, "the great shotmaker." Why have the sports writers done this? Why is he loudly praised as the man the Celtics can't do without after a wretched game in which he scored only eight for 32 from  the floor? Why,after making a routine pass 35 feet out to a teammate who makes a wonderful shot, is Cousy's name boomed out by the announcer as if he had just made the greatest play of the game - "...from COUSY!"? Obviously this vaunting, infecting the entire league, is more than chauvinism, although admit­tedly it occurs not so much anywhere as in Boston. More than chauvinism, it is a response to basketball's need for a superstar, the element which no sport could do without. Baseball would not be baseball without Willy Mays, Ernie

Banks, Ted Williams, et. al. Nor would football be football without Johnnie Unitas and Jimmy Brown. Without superstars, who would follow the games, save a few total enthusiasts?
Who would buy newspapers? More Freudian than this last, how else could sports writers think that they were so terribly important in their pontificating unless the subject were that in which everyone was interested? Now my point is not that superstars are spurious images, for I do not think this is true, but I am saying that if a sport lacks a genuine super- star, it must invent one to subsist, to satisfy both the circulation of the newspapers and the ego of its sports- writers. Further, the fact that the owners, and anyone con­nected with the financial end of the game, are not averse to seeing money booming in lends currency to any interest-provoking image the sportswriters happen to put forth. These motives may often be subconscious, but this possibility only heightens their danger.  They (the writers) have made a superstar, not found one.
I would like here to add a note about superstars. A superstar is someone who can perform the actions required of him by his particular sport in a manner far more skillful than his nearest competitor, or, in the case of multiple superstars, far more skillfully than the next plane of athletes. In most sports there exists a “division of labor,” one man is not expected to do more than one thing. A hitter in baseball is expected to do hardly anything at all in the field, and, in fact, this situation has led many to condemn the game as played by the moderns as too easy. The need, however, for a superstar is great, as I have pointed out, and baseball

and baseball has come much further with him than it went without him, prior to the live bull and the emphasis on hitting. Actually, we might see now a regression to the earlier values, since the modern players, being selected from a greater group than formerly, can do more things better than the old ones - a purely mathematical situation. But thin is extraneous. The point is that where other sports have reduced the number of actions to be performed by a player - observe the specialists in football -- basketball has not done this. A basketball player must dribble, pass, shoot, rebound, guard, etc. To find a superstar, then, and not devalue any of these qualities, it is necessary to find     someone who can do it all. This is not an easy     task. None was to be found in the 1950’s, and so some were trumped-up – case in   point, Cousy. Now, in my opinion, one has at last been found. Elgin Baylor can do everything, and if I am correct in my judgment, as soon as the trumped-up heroes move off the scene, Baylor will replace them as the true superstar. The main point is that if a sport must have a superstar, and if there are to be high standards, at certain periods a star will not exist, and one must be fabricated. 
There are three reasons that fans have been susceptible to this spurious superstar image of      Cousy, and have accepted
it as a pure fact, with no room for opinion. First, Cousy is
only 6’1", a David among Goliaths. Naturally, normal sized people will identify themselves with him, and will want him to be victorious against great odds.  He becomes

an image of themselves, triumphing on grounds where they dare not even tread. Consequently, the average person is ready to accept Cousy as "the greatest ever" on the slightest push. Secondly, the push is supplied by the newspapers' incessant repetition of Cousy's magnificence, s repetition reminiscent of Brave New World. If one says something loud enough and often enough, it is soon accepted as a fact. Lastly, our society's fear of not knowing extends even to basketball. Although basketball seems on the surface to be a relatively simple game, it is in reality extremely complex, and difficult to understand. This combination engenders a subconscious fear in people that they are ignorant, and because of societal pressures they must find a way to prove to themselves and others that they are not ignorant. The godsend to them is the news­paper, which says who is good and who is bad, and, in par­ticular, that Cousy is "the greatest." They then accept these judgments and think they have found it out by themselves, and refuse to listen to anyone who should have the temerity to try to upset one of their values. Near that they should he found out rules them. They really do not know anything about basketball, as is obvious from their use of the meaningless cliches "playmaking" and “spark." They don't even know what they are saying, for they are merely defending their place in society. With these conceptions in mind, it is not difficult to see why Cousy has become a modern myth.
But how good really is Cousy? His supporters say that he is the man who nakes the Celtics go, and the Celtics are basketball's most successful team. Therefore, he must he

a great "spark.” The fact is often overlooked, however, that the Celtics for years were a losing team with Cousy. It took Bill Russell to lift them out of mediocrity; only after he joined the team did they begin to win. It is hardly logical then, to say that Cousy is the man who makes the Celtics go. His supporters further insist that the statistics bear out his greatness, pointing to the assists column. This column, however, is the most attacked statistic in all basketball.
It is a "fairy tale" statistic, for it determines not the individual’s passing ability, but rather the team's scoring ability. If, for instance, Cousy brings the ball down the court and passes to Ramsey 35 feet out, and Ramsey scores, Cousy gets an assist. This pass is hardly significant. The fact that Cousy always leads the league in assists, then, can be accounted for by the fact (1) that he is a guard, and there­fore runs into many situations similar to the one just des­cribed, as, in fact, do all guards, and (2) that the Celtics are the highest scoring team in history. With so many won­derful shots on the team, Cousy could hardly help leading the league in assists, the fact that Cousy is a mediocre shot is borne out by statistics, as is the fact that he is a "gunner," always accounting for a great percentage of his
|                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       .   to*
team’s shots. Even the fact that his substitutes consistently outshine him, and have consequently been playing recently even more than he has, fails to faze his supporters, even though they are forced back to the argument, "Well, there's just some­thing about the team when he's in there." As the last point, it is amazing how far the principle of "remember the good

plays” goes with Cousy's proponents, They fail to see that
for every spectacular play he makes, he throws the ball away
at least three times.  This virtual blindness has been borne out in practice,
for when I point Cousy’s mistakes out play by play to his rooters during a game, they
are constantly amazed at the facts. And the flashy
plays that people do remember inevitably occur on three-on-
one situations, where the less flashy play would have been
at least as good. When someone says that no one but Cousy
could have made a certain play, what they are really saying
is that no one but Cousy would have tried it, for Cousy is
the showboat supreme, always trying the flashy play, making
about 20% of them. In other sports a player of this type is fined
for hurting the team effort.
This last brings up another point, Cousy’s amazing conceit. Often, in trying to appear modest, he says, ‘'It's easy, if you're a freak like me.”  He refers to the fact that he has extremely long arms and large hands. What he is saying, in effect,is, ‘'Sure I'm great, but I'm built for the game."
This is hardly modesty. As a further example, in picking "his" All America team for I960 in Dell's Basketball Yearbook, he has this to say about Johnny Egan of Providence College: "Pardon my pride, but Egan is my boy. Since I coached him a bit, he's patterned his style after mine. Johnny's a brilliant dribbler, driver, set-shot, and playmaker."
Modest Bob is forever to be found analyzing a game for reporters, and otherwise getting his name in print. He is amazingly adept at appreciatively receiving gift checks. His arro­gance, I must apmit, is understandable. The man has a good

Appreciatively receiving gift checks.  His arrogance, I admit, is understandable.  The man has a goodbrain, and in pro basketball, this in a rare thing. Put arrogance is hardly justified by explanations.
Why do I hate Bob Cousy?  My hate started from a general dislike of his personality, but soon branched out to a richer, deeper hate. He has been built up to the image of all good basketball by sportswriters who can't tell a layup from a dunk themselves. All they see is his dribble behind the back and his utterly useless behind the back layup. These writers have been so convincing, however, that Cousy himself believes them, and even some of the other players believe them.  It is this state of affairs which makes me hate Bob Cousy.

Actually, “hate” is probably too strong a word, don’t you think?  With that sole exception (and my quibbling emendations throughout, all in the direction of greater accuracy), I consider both the reasoning and the style of this paper to be superlative.  If only academic matters would excite you that much!