Saturday, May 31, 2014

"The Gospel Is Radical" Noam Chomsky J.S. Bach Magnificat Deposuit Potentes

He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly.   Luke 1:52

Show me the radical revolution that has even aspired to that. 

Conductor:  Nikolaus Harnoncourt
Tenor: Ian Bostridge


he has filled the hungry with good things,  and sent the rich away empty.  Luke 1:53

Sorry, don't know the singer and her name isn't listed. 

"They Lie Like That" And Today in Post-Literacy An Answer to a self-contradicting claim

Your use of the late, great Maya Angelou for your assertions about the virtues of prostitution are refuted by your own link.   Here, I'll highlight the contradiction of your use of her, from her own mouth, in the very interview you link to.

Linda: You've done a lot of things in your life that most people would judge as wrong. You've smoked pot, taken drugs, you were a madam for lesbian prostitutes, a teenage mom, a table dancer - you didn't follow the straight and narrow. All these experiences gave you a rich life?

Dr. Angelou: Yes, but I wouldn't suggest it for anybody
I mean, if you happen to fall into that sort of experience, what you have to do is forgive yourself. If you’re in the very gutter, see where you are and admit it. As soon as you admit it, you can be like the prodigal son, the prodigal daughter. Get up and go home - wherever home is. 
Get up and go to a safe place, someplace where your spirit is not kicked and brutalized and your body not misused and abused
Get up. But you can’t get up unless you see where you are and admit it. I wrote about my experiences because I thought too many people tell young folks, “I never did anything wrong. Who, Moi? - never I. I have no skeletons in my closet. In fact, I have no closet.” 
They lie like that and then young people find themselves in situations and they think, “Damn I must be a pretty bad guy. My mom or dad never did anything wrong.” 

They can’t forgive themselves and go on with their lives. So I wrote the book Gather Together in My Name. Meaning that all those grown people, all those adults, all those parents and grandparents and teachers and preachers and rabbis and priests who lie to the children can gather together in my name and I will tell them the truth. Wherever you are, you have got to admit it and set about to make a change. That’s why I wrote that book. It’s the most painful book I've ever written.

I don't see any support for your "sex pos" position in that.  It's frankly calling it what it is, WRONG.  Part of this post-literate phenomenon is that people don't care about what someone is actually saying, they care about using it for their own purposes, perhaps that's why you don't see the words on the page and you don't see what those words mean.

A Question I Can't Find An Answer To

Considering her crowing about the possible exposure of Somaly Mam falsifying her personal history, there seems to be very little to no actual evidence that Melissa Gira Grant's narrative of her past is as she has said it is.   Both she and Somaly Mam are famous largely due to self-narrative.  I'd like to see the evidence that her past is what she's said it is.    Where is it?   How many of the "sex pos" hucksters who are crowing about that story would stand up to the same kind of scrutiny?      

Can anyone point me to independent support for Grant's personal narrative?

Friday, May 30, 2014

You can sell anything with sex in the United States except responsibility and life. A Specimen Of Ignorance of the Champions of Sciency Stuff

See major Update below

 As loathe as I am to pay attention to hecklers, I found this in comment moderation this morning.

This is great, Sparky.

Still using the generic "irresponsible and promiscuous sex leads to death" weasel words? Typical.

Here's a clue, numbnuts The AIDS epidemic of the 70s and 80s wasn't caused by generic promiscuity, however YOU personally define that -- and it seems to be be "PROMISCUITY: Any sexual fantasy or practice that I, Sparky, personally find icky" -- but rather the gay bathouse culture of the era, which was promiscuity on stilts, steroids, and shot into the center of the galaxy. Which I might add was not a surprise to anybody, i.e. it was obviously a gigantic Petri dish for all sorts of nasty bugs and a public health disaster waiting to happen.
There hadn't been a heterosexual equivalent of that milieu since the fall of Rome, and there isn't one currently. So the idea that the average normally sexually active 20 or 30 something today is just a one night stand away from death is, frankly, bullshit. As you well know.

Let me say again -- HIV is a really tough bug to acquire; you have to REALLY be working at it.

Who am I to pass up the chance to let one of these people demonstrate so many of my contentions about the failure of the play-left?    This is an example of so much that is wrong with the American media - the dolt is considered to be a sort of journalist - with the so-called left - the dolt is considered to be a sort of leftist - and the pretensions of the play-left, that it, unlike its opponents, respects science and rationality and such things as the scientific management of public health.   All of those and the idea that the play-left isn't thoroughly centered on and in affluent, white, straight men are so well shown by this heckling that I'm going to use it for a post or more.

That, 32 years after AIDS was first identified as a discrete syndrome, someone could be so entirely ignorant of the most basic nature of who contracts the virus leading to it, how they contract it, the fact that, in the United States, about 50,000 new infections happen every year - the large majority of those through either promiscuous sexual intercourse or intercourse with those who engage in promiscuous sex, is appalling.

The same people who write stuff like that comment would be the first to condemn someone who demonstrated ignorance of evolution on a level with this or with the anti-vaxxers whose denial isn't much different in effect.   But their ignorance is unremarkable on blog threads full of people who would slam creationists and anti-vaxx people at the drop of an implication.  Anyone who denies the relationship of the AIDS pandemic with promiscuous sex is too stupid to put one and two together.

I wrote my first blog posts on this topic in June of 2006.  I don't see that the eight years of internet use has done much to improve the state of ignorance among the self-congratulating intelligentsia, no more than it has among those who are more obviously seen to be in a benighted state of disinformation about it.   Here's what I said then.  I will note that I had a far more optimistic and innocent view of what I would come to consider the play-left within a few months.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006


You have heard the announcements, it was 25 years ago that they figured out that a new health disaster was beginning. With time they would name it AIDS and learn that it was caused by HIV but in the beginning they just knew that a uniformly fatal disease had emerged. Twenty-five years is long enough for the anniversary to seem downright nostalgic with old names and faces appearing on TV. Researchers and doctors who haven't been seen since Donahue was on day time. Progress is reported on many fronts though at best some of the worst symptoms can be kept down for a while. I won't go into the details of the side effects and expense of the drugs required. Even "Secrets of the Dead" had an interesting piece about genetic immunity to the virus. I won't watch cable anymore so am not sure if the maudlin parade of name victims has been a staple of the coverage.

Twenty-five years into a pandemic with effective uniform mortality and there are still 40,000 people contracting HIV infections in the United States every year. For the love of God, there are still babies being born here with HIV infection. Teenagers are often mentioned as a group at major risk of new infection.

Twenty-five years and there isn't real condom education on TV. The medium that uses a third of every hour to sell everything else in the world with sex with programs to reinforce the ads for the other two thirds. You can sell anything with sex in the United States except responsibility and life.

In the same years that health scientists were begging the United States to begin comprehensive promotion of effective condom use, there has been an effective veto on condom advertisements and education by the clergy, their allies in the conservative movement and the Republican Party. They have kept condom education out of TV in the United States. And while they were doing that they made Rupert Murdoch a citizen of the United States. The "dirty digger" of the infamous "Sun" tabloid, the Aussie T&A peddler was put on fast track for citizenship in the Reagan years so he could start buying media companies and plying his trade in low grade smut and right wing politics. I've got to eat breakfast or I'd go into his being installed as a Papal Knight of St. Gregory during the same period. So it's not the sex they won't let on TV. Mr. Page Three, yes. Condom education? You willing to bet your life on seeing it here?

It is twenty-five years past the time when the United States should have ditched the faith based tire biters and put real education about condoms in the mass media. And mass media is the only effective means of mass education we have. How many people can tell you who this fifteen minutes' American Idol is as compared to the number who can tell you where Athens has been for the past 2,500 years? Every week that clergymen or Concerned Bottle Blonds of America delay the airing of real, effective, science based AIDS education thousands will die. They are the angels of preventable death. Completely informed and totally unconcerned, they are worse than the ignorant Muslim clergy who are responsible for polio outbreaks in Nigeria. There is no question that their veto of condom education and the full index of lies and distortions they replace it with are responsible for many times more dead Americans than the attacks of Sept. 11th. And that's just here. The bodies they've left lie around the world.

Condoms are the most effective way to prevent new HIV infections. They are safe, inexpensive, simple to use and when used consistently, people live. But they will not be used without a massive education and public relations campaign. They have to be made acceptable, even fashionable. Their use has to be made as every day and habitual as brushing your teeth and using deodorant before you go out on a date. Our media could do that. They can sell anything. If they can get Americans to try sushi they can get them to save their lives. Think of the possibilities, think of what those geniuses behind the Geico ads could do on the subject.

Will it ever be done? Will it be done in time for your children or grand children to learn how to save their lives? Twenty-five years and they're still talking in generalities and nice words that Michael Powell would have approved. The TV discussion I've heard is worse than it was during the Reagan years. Clearly, the conservative establishment and their corporate media are going for gold.

Update:  Apparently, within thirty minutes of posting this piece, this morning, Duncan Black, at his blog posted a link to this New York Times op-ed by one of the current, up and coming promoters of the sex industry,  Melissa Gira Grant.  Her theme would seem to be that any attempt to rescue girls who are trafficked in prostitution is definitively discredited by the exposure of Somaly Mam as a fraud and the ham-handed, strong-arm tactics in a raid on a brothel.   Apparently those who have approved of Grant's piece agree with those standards of judgement.  But, even if the Newsweek story about Somaly Mam is accurate how does that discredit the fact that girls (and boys, for that matter) are trafficked by the sex industry and that they need protection any more than that girls need education and protection from those who would exploit  them by the similar exposure of Greg Mortenson, the author of Three Cups of Tea and former head of a charity for girl's education?    And if the police abusing their power or doing things badly is supposed to serve the purpose Grant makes of it, then any area of law enforcement is equally discredited.

As I said, when it comes to sex, the thinking apparatus of even someone as intelligent and well educated as Duncan Black and the editors of the New York Times ceases to operate.   The desire to try to be fashionable and up to date might account for some of it, but, if it were someone else, questions about their own arousal by young girls kept in brothels might be raised.   Similar issues of the "agency" of very young girls seems to be a cause for these middle agers, most of them men, as well.

Here's what the World Health Organization has to say about the conditions and consequences of brothels in Cambodia.

Since the first HIV infections were detected and diagnosed in 1991, and the first AIDS cases in 1993, Cambodia has faced the rapid spread of HIV. The major route of HIV transmission in the country is heterosexual contact, especially through the use of brothels or entertainment places by males away from their families, without the protection of always using a condom in every sexual act. Starting among high-risk groups, such as brothel based and entertainment-based sex workers, the virus has been passed to low-risk groups, such as housewives, with married clients of sex workers acting as the bridge group for HIV transmission.

There are many factors contributing to the rapid spread of HIV in Cambodia, but them major ones are poverty (around 36% of the Cambodian population lives below the poverty line), and low literacy rates, especially among girls. Only 30% of girls aged between 15-49 years attend school, which means there are few opportunities for them to look for professional, skilled jobs. The risks for young women of starting to work in entertainment places or brothels if their virginity is destroyed by their boyfriends, by sexual violence, or they are sold by their parents or relatives are increasing.

Sexual trafficking, exploitation, violence, high illiteracy rates, drug use (for the time being, yaba) and sexual tourism are all also contributing to the rapid spread of HIV in Cambodia. Recent changes in social norms regarding male behavior are growing up around party celebrations (including wedding parties, religious parties, national and international holidays, birthday parties etc.) in today’s Cambodia, increasing their vulnerability to HIV/STI transmission. At these parties young men meet their friends and then, as a group, go on either directly to a brothel or to entertainment places to have fun or sex before returning home.

I have to say that anyone who promotes the affluent and educated Melissa Gira Grant's promotion of prostitution for such girls as those described above, and especially that NYT op-ed, goes down in my opinion as, at the very least, a vicarious sex tourist with fantasies about having sex with young girls, and or boys, in third world countries.   Yes, even those at the august NYT.   I don't think anything less could account for their critical faculties shutting down so catastrophically.  I would expect it also accounts for why so many men in brothels are willing to bribe or force even very young children into sex without a condom when their fellow johns are so much more likely to have already infected them with deadly pathogens.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

To The Memory of Maya Angelou, A Poem by Gwendolyn Brooks

One wants a teller in a time like this

One's not a man, one's not a woman grown
To bear enormous business all alone.

One cannot walk this winding street with pride
Straight-shouldered, tranquil-eyed,
Knowing one knows for sure the way back home.
One wonders if one has a home.

One is not certain if or why or how.
One wants a Teller now:

Put on your rubbers and you won't catch a cold
Here's hell, there's heaven. Go to Sunday School
Be patient, time brings all good things-(and cool
Stong balm to calm the burning at the brain?)
Love's true, and triumphs; and God's actual.

Gwendolyn Brooks

Afterword on Yesterday's Post (Posted a Day Late)

Note:  This was intended to be posted yesterday but my internet was out.

A few weeks ago, when Monica Lewinsky's reemergence into the public consciousness was much under discussion, a number of feminist blog threads contained accusations that Ms. Lewinsky was a victim of sexual harassment and some went as far as to say she was a victim of child abuse, due to the age difference between her and Bill Clinton at the time of their sex affair.   But Monica Lewinsky hadn't made made a complaint that she was the victim of sexual harassment and she had been an adult for five years when the alleged abuse happened.  She was even longer past the age of consent for more years in every state I'm aware of, seven years past that in the District of Columbia.  

Whether or not she knew or felt herself to have been  the victim of sexual harassment was her right to say, not other women or men, based on their chosen basis for making the claim.   The state, in its responsibility for minor children, is the entity that makes decisions about whether or not sexual activity with and among them constitutes a crime even when there is nominal agreement.  Agreement isn't the same thing as informed consent when the one agreeing isn't mature enough, intelligent enough or rational enough to be making that decision.   None of which were at issue with Monica Lewinsky.   She may have, rightly, considered the latter claim by other people to be an insult to her.

Yet many people, many believing themselves to be feminists, seem to believe they are able to see abuse when Ms. Lewinsky doesn't, even given all of the years and all of the encouragement to define what happened as sexual harassment.   The law which was so obviously willing to haul a sitting president up on charges wouldn't have been reluctant to go after ex-president Bill Clinton.   The charge that he was guilty of child abuse was absurd and insulting to Monica Lewinsky who, if she was anything, was not intellectually impaired.  When I saw her taped deposition played by Clinton's Republican prosecutors, I thought she seemed unusually intelligent, perhaps more intelligent than her questioners whose clear intentions, she successfully frustrated.   What happened was a consenting sexual affair by two adults.  The only other people who had any right to comment on it were those wronged,  Hillary Clinton and Chelsea Clinton

I know that some of those who were so eager to impose their conclusions about her life on Monica Lewinsky or who were so eager to assign the status of a minor child to her would consider themselves to be "third wave feminists" among whom the "sex pos" stand is practically a requirement.   Some of those would consider themselves supporters of workers rights to safe working conditions and, very vociferously, object to any kind of sexual coercion in the work place.  Yet when it comes to commercial sex all of those earnest assertions of protection and dignity go out the window.   There is something definitely out of whack.

In that there is a mix of wishing to appear to be modern and up to date and, especially, to get the thrill of shocking conventional morality.  Though that conventional morality hasn't existed for several decades except in old movies and novels.   Which only proves that what is called a broad mind isn't necessarily a rational or even particularly intelligent mind.

Broad mindedness, as seen in this "sex pos" pose, is adopted to cover superficial or lazy thinking, or, as for so many of the fans of irresponsible sex, callous indifference.   So many of those pushing the latest non-thinking on prostitution-pornography belong to an economic class where they will likely never meet someone who is compelled into sex out of economic necessity or as a form of enslavement.  Heavens knows, it's not something they ever expect their own children with fall into.  It's other people and other peoples' children on whose behalf they are practicing their brand of broad mindedness that just happens to be supportive of an industry that ends up oppressing and destroying so many of them.   If porn-prostitution were the wonderful thing they pretend to believe, they'd encourage it as a career path for their own children and the children of their friends in their own class.  If Monica Lewinsky had been engaging in either, their attitude to her would be as a fallen member of their class, not the victim she has not claimed to be. 

When it is someone whose body is rented for sex, often people without any of the economic, educational, family and social advantages Monica Lewinsky enjoyed, it's as if all of the issues imagined to have made their patronizing expropriation of Monica Lewinsky's life disappear.  And a lot of the people who are coerced or forced into porn-prostitution are younger than Monica Lewinsky.  As I have said, when you look at porn-themed Tumblr blogs,  it is obvious that many of the "models assumed to be 18 or older" are far younger than that, many times it's quite obvious that they look well younger than the age of consent in any American state, their youth and inexperience is advertised as why the men who consume porn should look at that porn site instead of another one.

Any social or political movement that so basically turns on the very bases of it existence won't last in that unstable form.   Its only future is one in which it retains only the label and not the contents of what that movement is.  I think that the fact that gay rights has had its greatest and rather surprising success in demanding a right to marriage, a source of dignity associated with monogamous fidelity is significant.   As Barney Frank once pointed out, the most successful parts of the gay rights movement were asking for the right to be employed, to serve the country in the military and to form families with the stability and responsibilities that come with legal marriage.    While I would question the second one as an entirely positive thing, given the class that gets to fight wars called by the oligarchic elites who decide that,  the point is that what was considered to be quite conventional morality represents the most successful aspect of gay liberation.   The collective experience of gay men of my generation shows that the kind of sexual "liberation" being pushed by "sex pos" leads to anything but liberation.   Reality is real and reality proves that irresponsible and promiscuous sex leads to death, dependence on drug regimens with pretty drastic side-effects and other oppressive consequences.   Responsible adults don't encourage things that lead to that.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Charles Ives The Housatonic at Stockbridge Poem by Robert Underwood Johnson

The Housatonic at Stockbridge

Contented river in thy dreamy realm
The cloudy willow and the plumy elm:
Thou beautiful! from ev'ry dreamy hill
What eye but wanders with thee at thy will.

Contented river! And yet overshy
To mask thy beauty from the eager eye;
Hast thou a thought to hide from field and town?
In some deep current of the sunlit brown.

Ah! there's a restive ripple,
And kind the swift red leaves
September's firstlings faster drift;
Wouldst thou away, dear stream?

Come, whisper near!
I also of much resting have a fear;
Let me tomorrow thy companion be,
By fall and shallow to the adventurous sea!

Thomas Hampson Baritone
J e a n - Yve s T h i b a u d e t , piano
L o n d o n S ymp h o ny O rc h e s t ra
Michael Tilson Thomas Conductor

Porn Is the Most Pervasive Source of "Slut Shaming"

Porn Practices "Slut Shaming"  As Sexual Enhancement For The Men Who Buy their smut. 

There are several things seriously wrong with the so-called "sex-positive feminism",  I dealt with the one it shares with pseudo-liberal libertarianism, its denial of very well established science, endangering life, last week.  But someone sent me a link to this post from a "Belle Knox" yesterday and it shows several other serious problems with it.

The post deals with the very sad story of Alyssa Funke a young college student who appeared in an amateur porn video which was put online.  Shortly after it became available, it was found by students at her former high school and the predictable happened, she was harassed by some of them on social media.  The harassment may have contributed to her suicide, though that's not clear.

At just 19-years old and stunningly beautiful, straight-A chemistry student Alyssa Funke took her own life weeks after she dabbled in the seedy world of amateur porn and was mercilessly taunted for her decision. 
Miss Funke, who wanted to be an anesthesiologist, decided to take part in a sex video with a stranger in Las Vegas for website CastingCouch-X, using the name 'Stella Ann'. 

Days after the sex tape of the teenager, from Stillwater, Minnesota, was posted online in March, abusive messages flooded her social media accounts, many from her former schoolmates at Stillwater High.

The messages, ranged from gossipy and sarcastic to nasty slurs about the University of Wisconsin student. 

High school students had reportedly gathered around tables in the cafeteria to watch the teen's sex tape on their cellphones, according to KMSP-TV.
One called Miss Funke a 'thot', a slang word for prostitute, adding: 'Does her dad know?'

Another message sniped: 'Nothing brings a school together like a porn star who graduated last year.'

Belle Knox, a student at a different college had a similar experience after she appeared in a porn video on the same site.  She wrote the post in the form of an open letter to the dead Alyssa Funke which I was sent.   In it she said:

I am not sure why you chose to perform in a porn scene. Perhaps it was for economic necessity, or perhaps it was merely a fun adventure for you. The reasons are irrelevant. You made a choice, to do what you wished with your body, of your own free will, and for that I will never judge you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with what you did, and quite frankly, I admire your courage and your confidence.

I have read the criticism that because I have said I feel "empowered" by porn that I am somehow encouraging other young women to go down this same path. Absolutely not. Your story is proof of that. Until our society's first inclination is not to verbally stone and shame a woman to death for participating in pornography, it will always be a deadly business.

And I feel as if we are bonded forever by the deep scars we bore as the unwitting recipients of society's anger and shame.

She ended:

There is a reason many women are drawn to porn: Because we are not supposed to do it. It's a flirtation with the unknown, the edge, the dark side, everything society tells us we are not supposed to do.

I do not think pornography caused your death. But I think society's reaction to pornography did.

It's time that we end slut shaming and treat sex workers with respect and tolerance. How many more people need to die before we realize that the hatred needs to end?

This post is a good example of the kind of confused thinking promoted by "sex positive" propaganda.  She has the lines of "sex pos" down pat but she obviously doesn't know exactly what it is about.

In her "flirtation with the unknown", perhaps, what was unknown to her is part of the problem.  How can she come to the charaterization of pornography if she isn't familar with it?   The fact is, pornography is mostly about the degredation of sex objects by men who are sexually aroused by the degredation and subjugation and destruction of women, other men, children and animals, who gain a feeling of power by their ability to cause pain and damage with impunity, pretending that ability means they have a superior status to their victims.   A BIG PART OF THE THEME OF PORN IS THAT THE VICTIM IS A SLUT.

A google search using the terms "porn" "slut" returns About 29,900,000 results (0.23 seconds) 

Reviewing the titles and descriptive material on the first ten pages of the google search, every one but four of them were promoting porn or encouraging young women to become "porn sluts".   Two were about young women being harassed after appearing in porn videos that were posted online (one is Alyssa Funke) and two were dictionary definitions.  EVERY SINGLE OTHER MENTION OF "SLUTS" WERE IN PROMOTIONAL MATERIAL BY THE PORN INDUSTRY.  I have no doubt that the vast majority of the rest of those 92 million results would be brought to you by the very industry that "sex pos" "feminists" and the pseudo-liberals, such as the journalist whose comment was also sent to me, are defending.


No attempt to change such a pervasive meaning for the word "slut" is going to succeed in face of the tsunami of porn promotion that uses it that way and establishes that meaning in the minds of more people than who will ever even hear about the existence of "sex pos feminism".  "Sex positive feminists" are not feminists, they are frauds who are an asset to an industry that presents its victims as "sluts" for the enjoyment of men who want to feel all daring and transgressive in the very way Belle Knox says attracts women to porn.   That they behave badly, harassing young women like Funke and Knox is an entirely predictable result of the permission that the porn industry gives them.   THE PERMISSION TO "SLUT SHAME" IS AN INTRINSIC PART OF PORNOGRAPHY.

Belle Knox seems like a rather confused young woman at an age when all of us are prone to the same kind of confusion.  Older "sex positive feminists" don't have the same excuse, especially those who have made money as journalists for Penthouse and publications that get revenue from the sex industry.

A lot of this crap is pushed by journalists who make money from even mainstream publications that make money off of pornography and prostitution.   I blame them, NOT OBVIOUSLY CONFUSED YOUNG PEOPLE WHO ARE DUPED INTO BELIEVING THEY ARE DOING SOMETHING BRAVE AND ADVENTUROUS AS THEY ARE BEING USED BY AN INDUSTRY DEDICATED TO THEIR OPPRESSION AND DESTRUCTION.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Charles Ives : Orchestral Set N° 2. III. From Hanover Square north, at the end of a tragic day, the voices of the people again arose

Charles Ives Three Places In New England: The St. Gaudens In Boston Common

Perhaps The Best Blog Post I've Ever Read

My former co-blogger, Echidne, has written the best blog post I've seen about the mass murder in Santa Barbara .  

My Post Memorial Day Post From Last Year

"You got nothing out of the war except the "flu" and prohibition."Victor Berger 

I was at my mother's house Sunday night, her current favorite program about British midwives in the 1950s wasn't on.  Instead there was Gary Sinise's vulgar, Hollywood style spectacle of military worship and war promotion.   It was billed as a Memorial Day concert but there are different ways to memorialize war dead,  an enormous percentage of whom are civilians.  Whom it is obviously unpatriotic to notice as they constitute a collective mountain of bodies.  I'm old enough to remember when Memorial Day was a more general remembrance of all of the dead.  But, then, it was the 1950s and the idea that peace was unpatriotic hadn't completely filtered into the rural town I lived in. 

Gary Sinise is someone whose existence would be unknown to me except he decided to build his career on the worship of the military and war and Republican politics.  It's not an unknown career strategy in Hollywood.  John Wayne is, of course, famous as the embodiment of the American warrior who never got around to enlisting.  It seems he really, really wanted to join up to fight WWII but he always had just one more picture to finish and so the studios used their connections to dodge him being drafted.  That is the form of passive draft dodging that has always been available to the rich, the connected and those who are profitable for such.  I remember the reaction of my aunt when she heard someone making the excuse that Wayne had four children to support and was in his early 30s during the war.  "That didn't keep them from drafting my husband and we had to live on his pay."   Believe me, they weren't in the Wayne family income bracket.  Sinise is also the voice of the virtual tour of the Reagan Library, another Hollywood style super-patriot who, while officially enlisted, doesn't seem to have ever been in any danger of seeing combat, except maybe with the script girl.  His eyesight was given as the reason he spent the war in show biz, something that I heard several veterans scoff at. I wish I could have asked the veterans of that war I knew more of what they thought of that, though a lot of them had no use for Reagan. 

You can learn something from looking at the war record of that and other generations of razzle-dazzle super-patriots and comparing how the media talk about them and how it talks about people such as George McGovern and Kurt Vonnegut, both of whom had real instead of celluloid wars.   The men who I knew who were in hard combat, especially those who were conscripts or who didn't choose it as a career have generally been anything from skeptical about war to entirely cynical about the military and the governments who send people to fight wars. 

I've seen my country gradually adopting an official style of memorializing those who fought in wars called by our politicians that is more suited to a dictatorship.   A mix of dishonest sentimentality, hypocritical piety, falsified history and the most vulgar, cloying and putrid of Hollywood-Las Vegas styled patrieroticism for clearly bad motives.  It is a propaganda  forthe military industrial complex, it is PR for the ruling oligarchy whose need for cannon fodder is one of its few remaining uses it has for the people of the United States.  It's gotten far worse in the past thirty five years, especially since Ronald Reagan was promoted to the presidency by the media which then genuflected to him and the unofficial though very real illegal wars he engaged in in Central America and elsewhere.   It was another actual veteran of the Second World War who I heard lament that with Reagan's actions in Central America, the United States had devolved into a terror state. 

Memorial Day has been stolen by the war promoters, it's time we took it back.  Noticing the civilian dead in wars is a necessary step in doing that.  Cancel the next concert, it's an atrocity.

Victor Berger couldn't have known it when he said that in the early 1920s but The People got something else out of WWI.  We got the conditions that led to the Great Depression and then, beyond any doubt,  an even bigger war in WWII.   With war, you reap what you sow.   Corpses.  

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Injustice Done by Christians is the Anti-Christians' Biggest Help

It is murder to deprive someone of his living or to cheat an employee of his wages.  Sirach 34:22
Here is a news story detailing modern slavery under the guise of  "The Cathedral Bible College"  in South Carolina
Agents with Homeland Security Investigations filed a criminal complaint against Miller this week saying they have probable cause to charge him with forced labor, a felony that carries a maximum prison sentence of 20 years for each count. Investigators say Miller forced foreign students to work at the campus and his personal residence for as little as $25 per week. Miller threatened to cancel the students' visas if they complained or didn't comply with his demands, according to an affidavit filed this week.
In addition to the Marion campus, Cathedral Bible College has a site on the former Myrtle Beach Air Force Base for American and former military students.
Reginald Wayne Miller, the president and founder of Cathedral Bible College, is not allowed to set foot on the college campus in Marion or communicate with any of the school's current or former foreign students as an investigation continues into allegations that Miller threatened to cancel foreign students' visas if they did not work long hours for little pay.
Those terms are part of a $250,000 secured bond that Magistrate Judge Thomas Rogers set for Miller during a detention hearing Friday in federal court. In addition, Miller will be on home detention and will be required to wear an electronic monitoring device.
"I don't think we've identified all of the potential victims yet," said Carrie Fisher, the assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting the case. Fisher said some victims may have already left the country and some may be former students who have yet to come forward. "Our investigation just started this week."
...  An affidavit filed this week with a criminal complaint against Miller outlines interviews Homeland Security investigators conducted with eight Cathedral Bible College students. Those students told investigators that the classes offered at the college "were not real" and the main focus of the school is having students work full-time hours at the school and at Miller's home. Federal law limits those on student visas to a maximum of 20 hours of work per week and that work must be an integral part of the student's educational program.
The students also told investigators that their living conditions at the college were substandard, including long periods of time without any hot water, heat or air conditioning. They also stated that the food provided by the college "was expired or insufficient for consumption and nutrition," according to the affidavit.
The Sun News is not naming the alleged victims because of privacy concerns in an ongoing investigation.
One student told investigators he had been promised $100 per week as part of a work-study program with the college. That student said he only makes $50 per week and regularly works between 46 hour and 56 hours each week. The student also said he worked for two weeks without any pay.
Another student told investigators that he was paid $50 per week for about 32 hours of work.
"Dr. Miller told [the student] if he did not like this work, he could go home or he [Miller] would call the Immigration and Naturalization Service," the affidavit states.
Another student at the college said he earns $50 per week for 40 hours of work.
"At one point, Dr. Miller told [the student] he needed to work harder in order to receive the necessary paperwork to return back to the United States" after visiting his family in a foreign country, the affidavit states. "When Dr. Miller finally gave [the student] the paperwork, Dr. Miller told him that when he returned . . . he would then work 28 hours per week, but get paid $25 per week until his work improved."
I can only imagine the use this being put to by the anti-Christian blog blatherers but if there is one thing that is clear about it,  the president of even a self-styled "Bible college" should know that what he was doing is forbidden by the book.   Here are just a few verses the "Bible Expert" is apparently violating. 
Do not defraud or rob your neighbor. "'Do not hold back the wages of a hired worker overnight.  Leviticus 19:13
Thus says the Lord: Do justice and righteousness, and deliver from the hand of the oppressor him who has been robbed. And do no wrong or violence to the resident alien, the fatherless, and the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.  Jeremiah 22:3
Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness, and his upper rooms by injustice, who makes his neighbor serve him for nothing and does not give him his wages... Jeremiah 22:13
The people of the land have practiced extortion and committed robbery. They have oppressed the poor and needy, and have extorted from the sojourner without justice.  Ezekiel 22:29
Then I will draw near to you for judgment. I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, against the adulterers, against those who swear falsely, against those who oppress the hired worker in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, against those who thrust aside the sojourner, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts.  Malachi 3:5
“So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets.  Matthew 7:12
For Scripture says, "Do not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain," and "The worker deserves his wages."  Timothy  5:18

Look! The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you. The cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of the Lord Almighty.  James 5:4

If I had time, I believe I could find dozens of others.

Finding Memorial Day Difficult This Year

My parents were both veterans of World War Two, they met in the hospital where my mother worked and where my father was taken after he was wounded.   While neither of them were particularly attached to the military (my father was rather humorously cynical about it, my mother belonged to anti-war groups) they always made a special occasion of memorial day.  But they never turned it into a patriotic thing, it was always a more general day to remember all of our dead family and friends, the dead of all of us.  

I'm finding that this year, the first in my long life without either of my parents is especially difficult.   I hadn't thought it would be but it is.  So I'm not going to be writing anything special today or tomorrow.  I will repost a few things.