Saturday, July 5, 2014

Gerald Beckett On a Misty Night

I usually like it hot but I'm really tired from moving rocks all afternoon and this seems more fitting.   It's tempting to say the rocks are all moved but you've got to have rocks in your head to tempt fate like that.  

Insomnia Remedy Found By Random Accident

Been thinking of taking up a new hobby to keep myself out of trouble.  Looking at the enormous amount of paper I've got, people tended to give me their unused computer paper as the old fashioned stuff with those little holes on the edges went out of style, and the enormous number of pencils, mostly 2B but lots of carpenter's pencils and others and thought, drawing.   So I looked at books, none of which appealed to me,  then I looked to see what they had on You Tube. I saw this and I have to say that this guys voice with the drawing, hypnotizes me and then I fall asleep every time I watch it.  Semi-incompetent translations are mine.

  Drawing a Country Scene

 And this one is even more hypnotic, even with the music. I ususally can't fall asleep when there's music playing.

Drawing with Three Pencils In a Pictorial Manner

Maybe I don't need to draw if I can fall asleep to stay out of trouble.

Update:  What's that thing he's using in the third drawing [at the first link]?

It's a graphite stick,  the same thing they make a pencil lead out of only a thick piece of it without wood around it.  I suspect it's a 4B or maybe even a 9B, though I've only ever used a 2B.

Numbers Schmumbers Never Let Them Get In The Way of a Bad Argument

Have you noticed that whenever atheists* talk about issues of reproductive freedom, gender equality that they all seem to believe that it's a matter of Christians discriminating against non-Christians when it is a near mathematical certainty that it is a matter of bigots discriminating against groups, the majority of whom are almost certainly Christians?    In fact, it's more likely that a woman is going to belong to a religious group, than men are.

And that in most religions, women outnumber men.

You can see in the graph at the link that "unaffliated" (a group which Pews' definition places me in) had the strongest disparity favoring men over women of any group except Hindus.

Somehow, a line of argument that begins by ignoring that fact and insulting a majority of women or, even if not insulting them, ignoring their numbers and strength is rather self-defeating.  But, as I've been pointing out, that kind of thing is done regularly on the anti-religious leftish side of things.

*  Well, it's not just atheists,  "Pagans" and a number of others do the same thing.  But it seems to mostly be an atheist thing.

I'll Bet The Atheists Won't Be Too Eager To Publicize This

A group of clergy handed out condoms to customers in front of an Illinois Hobby Lobby store on Wednesday, staging a creative, faith-based protest against the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to grant the craft store giant religious exemptions from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate.

The action, which was reportedly initiated by a local United Church of Christ (UCC) minister in Aurora, Illinois, included representatives from the UCC, the Unitarian Universalist Association (UUA), and Planned Parenthood. Hobby Lobby’s health care plan covers male condoms and various other forms of contraception — and its case to the Supreme Court had to do with other kinds of measures to prevent pregnancy — but the religious leaders said the protest was ultimately about exposing the multiplicity of religious beliefs around contraception.

“I’m just hoping that (people who see the demonstration) realize that this opinion (of Hobby Lobby’s owners) is not the opinion of religious people as a broad spectrum, but that religious people have many different opinions,” Rev. Emmy Lou Belcher, a UUA minister who was at the protest, told the Daily Herald.

There are a lot of self-defeating and stupid things that the alleged leftish media, old and new, share in common with the corporate media, so frequently it is the disappearing of religious liberals, whose existence is inconvenient for both of those two allegedly opposed, actually conjoined, ideological positions.   You can look around at Alternet, Salon, the pseudo-left blogs to see that they're running towards the same goal, only the pseudo-left doesn't seem to understand where that is located.  Those things work against the real left, but the pseudo-left hardly notices that.  You'd think they'd have caught on in the past forty years, but, no.   

Friday, July 4, 2014

Aaron Copland The Promise of Living

Aaron Copland's second opera, The Tender Land, is mostly seen as a rather sentimental piece - there's a story that once during rehearsals of music from it, the orchestra players ridiculed it as "the tender gland".   But the story, itself is anything but sentimental and it certainly doesn't have a happy ending,  the two drifters keep on drifting and Laurie who was planning on leaving with the younger of them decides that she has to leave, even before her graduation from high school. I agree with Anthony Tomasini, about the opera, not the production that I didn't hear.

Rejected for broadcast by NBC, "The Tender Land," with a libretto by Erik Johns [Aaron Copland's partner, at the time], was given its premiere by the New York City Opera in 1954. The tepid reception to the work was a disappointment for the composer, who sounded almost apologetic in talking about the score. The music was "very plain, with a colloquial flavor," he wrote, "closer to musical theater than to grand opera."

Maybe so. But you can only hope that Copland finally understood what an affecting, honest and musically elegant work this modest opera can be in a sensitive production, like the one that opened here on Thursday night at Bard College, part of the school's SummerScape festival. The opera is being presented in the version prepared by the conductor Murry Sidlin for a 1987 revival, with the orchestra effectively reduced to an ensemble of 13 instruments. Bard College's Theater Two at the new Fisher Center for the Performing Arts proved an ideally intimate space for this wistful chamber opera.

... Set in the rural Midwest at harvest time in the 1930's, the story tells of Laurie Moss, who is about to graduate from high school, the first member of her farming family to do so. Her wizened mother, Ma Moss, and her fearsomely protective grandfather, who have raised her, are giving a party to celebrate Laurie's achievement that night. Two drifters come by looking for work, and despite his suspicions, Grandpa Moss hires them. Laurie, who cannot fathom what her future will be, who is both tied to her homeland and aching to leave it, is intrigued by tales of their travels. The dashing smooth-talking Top, full of bluster, immediately eyes Laurie. But it's the younger, bashful Martin for whom she falls, with disastrous consequences.

A production that kept the wistfulness to a minimum could do a lot to help the opera.  Having witnessed and, to a mild extent, experienced farms where everything needs repair and there's not enough money and more than enough hard times, wistfulness isn't generally what the people who live on them experience.  Not to mention the lives of destitute drifters who don't even have that much material security.

The most well known piece from the opera, the quintet The Promise of Living, has, rightly, become a classic, in itself.  This is the best performance of it I've heard, it makes me wish I could find a dvd of the entire production.

Berkeley Opera production, April 2010.
Sung by Paul Cheak, Lee Steward, Amy Foote, Malin Fritz, Paul Murray. Conducted by Philip Kuttner,

It is in the lives of The People that the real hope of life comes from, not from Constitutional theories or the kinds of politics that used to be scribbled about in small-circulation magazines or loud-mouthed bromides and platitudes that come from millionaires on the radio and TV.  If this brings a tear to your eye, it's because that simple fact is well worth getting choked up about, no matter how corny it might sound through the filter of cynical sophistication.   This isn't Disney, it's the real thing that Disney and a thousand other Hollywood capitalists stole and turned into a cliche.   But Copland owned it first and his intention is what should rule.

Independence and Dependence From the week of July 4, 2006

The Pursuit of Happiness first of two parts

Buy-electoral materialists, conservatives, like to say that Jefferson should have stuck with one of the out takes from the Declaration of Independence. "No, no," they say in high federalist tones, "Not 'happiness', 'property', the pursuit of property is the correct reading of the line,". It's not that they notice that something generally considered as frivolous as happiness is put on the same level as life and liberty, with them it's all about the property, their highest value.

Without the gall to second guess Jefferson, I doubt that he got the line wrong in the end. So the question is what the pursuit of happiness means and especially what one person's pursuit of it means in relation to that of other people. Thomas Jefferson's life shows that isn't a simple question, but it isn't the all-out invitation to piracy that today's conservatives intend.

Jefferson was a hypocrite, as anyone can see. The man who wrote the Declaration of Independence and kept slaves can't escape that judgment except by replacing him with a fiction. He, himself, said that his way of life couldn't be supported without slavery and there is the feel of shame in his words. Keeping slaves is not honorable. This is most true for someone who wrote the words of the Declaration and he knew it.

He didn't move to a small house he could support on his own work. History would call it unequalled greatness if he had and by doing that he had stopped keeping people as property. But he couldn't' do without his mansion, which was always being redone and always keeping him in debt. He designed a little house but his version of Walden was a garden ornament built by other hands, not a rocket to transcendence.

Freedom was inalienable and given to slaves by The Creator, he alienated those rights from his slaves out of selfishness and at the cost of his sacred honor. He knew that was true, he was a genius not an idiot. Jefferson was a prisoner of property and of luxury. It would be obscene to compare his life to the brutality of slavery but could he have really been entirely free himself?

Pursuing Happiness in All the Wrong Places second of two parts

You can find happiness in friendship, you find it in friendly encounters with strangers and in your family and friends. We need basic material security to be happy but it isn't happiness. Short of famine relief, happiness doesn't come by truck.

Useless buying and hoarding is a sign of fear, of families and communities failing. This covers everything from trying to buy respect to the exercise machine covered with clothes you can't wear. You aren't any better off than you started out but now you've got another payment to make. Enough turns to more than you want and that turns to more than you can ever use. You have to rent a storage unit to get it out of your house. If you didn't buy it to begin with you might be able to afford basic security and have time to enjoy life with other people.

The MacMansion craze that is killing off what's left of the middle class and destroying open land is an attempt to escape the isolated anxiety that life has turned into. Families don't talk to each other in towns full of strangers who are suspicious of each other. And once you're locked in the big house everyone goes off to watch TV in their own rooms. That is until your mortgage rate gets adjusted and you're looking for somewhere you can afford.

Work is even worse than that. It is competitive, cynical and insecure. You are being used and used up. You might not even have the hope that your children can get an education that will give them a better life. They're doomed to even worse than you have it and they resent everything.

You won't find happiness in the package labeled American Dream and the standard alternatives are worse. Forget the myth of the rugged individualist. That is just as phony as the thing they are supposedly escaping. No one is more conformist than those often violent, insecure, tough guys. Look at what happens to one of them who practices real individualism. Their pack turns on them.

The happiness found in decent relations with other people can't be bought or sold, it can't be won by winning. You have to make friends with your family and your neighbors. You can't do that watching a giant TV or DVD. You have to abandon the debt ridden, competitive culture that those continually pitch at us. It's hard to do, especially with children, but it's a lot easier than building a sixteen room house that you'll never own. Debt is a taste of slavery.

When you get your life back you can get past pride. That's a desperate fill-in for self-respect. Self respect comes from getting outside yourself and doing something for someone else. Self-respect gives you the confidence to say no to the sales pitch. Without self-respect no one else is going to respect you, no matter how much stuff you own.

Addendum:  This was written two years and several months before the MacMansion of cards came crashing down, the bank bail-out and the disastrous and uneven program of Paulson, Summers, Geithner and the politicians who appointed them in both parties, set us up for bigger banks that couldn't be allowed to live or die by the rules of capitalism that are about as alive as Soviet era socialism is.  We live in a cleptocracy, aided and abetted by the ACLU and the strict constructionists of the Supreme Court, the elite law schools and universities that train any more honest or idealistic ideas out of the young of the oligarchy or those who aspire to be oligarchs.   Barack Obama is not so stupid that he didn't understand, several years into his greatest mistakes of his first term, that he'd been lied to by the Ivy Leaguers.   Oh, and he's still talking in the stupid, futile bi-partisan way that he has all along, even as the media of the oligarchs is sandbagging him over and over again.

This country is in a crisis for a number of reasons, not lest of which is the mess that The Constitution is , set up by oligarchs of the late 18th century in the face of angry Revolutionary War veterans who took seriously the promises made to them and the ideals which the "founders" mouthed, only to be left behind once they were free of England's restraints on their financial ambitions.   As I've noted before, Jefferson became an ever more dedicated enslaver of his human prisoners and their children as his enlightened mind calculated the financial value of every slave born to those he kept in bondage, I would assume, he not being stupid, included those born to him through at least one of those slaves.   And other "founders" took other avenues of profit in obvious violation of the principles they pledged to defend with their "lives, fortunes and sacred honor", bilking and swindling the common people who had put those on the line for the promise of a democracy that the founders found incompatible with their making the maximum profit.   The anti-democratic structures in The Constitution, the Electoral College, the originally unelected and unequally apportioned Senate, the appalling 3/5 provision, allowing slave owners to gain a disproportionate representation through people they would hold were not persons under The Constitution up through the Civil War and beyond, all of the original sins of that Constitutions are the bases of our troubles today.

In last week's appalling rulings by the Roberts Court, the "strict constructionists" asserted things like corporate person hood which are not only not located in any part of the document but was first introduced by a clerk's little noticed note.  From that slight of hand is likely to come the complete collapse of either any aspirations for equality under the law, equality of all people and the rule of law, or The Constitution which allows unelected Supreme Court justices, appointed by a president elected under the appalling Electoral College and confirmed by the unrepresentative and unjustly stacked Senate, to baldly lie as it did in the rulings they issued last week.   Under our failure of a constitution it took a massive civil war to begin to redress the failures of the "founders" to honor their pledge, it took the enormous bloodshed of the labor movement, the enormous struggle of the suffrage movement and other huge efforts by The People, to try to pry justice out of the grasp of the oligarchs, only to see how two "justices" appointed by a president appointed by their predecessors on the Supreme Court can destroy that effort with lies and The Constitution has no mechanism to correct those lies or to punish the liars in black robes.   I am afraid that the next civil war will be far worse and the facists, being armed to the sky, will win, leaving a violent, fractured country that will make the Balkan tragedy of the 20th century look like a mere prelude.

I don't feel much like celebrating the Fourth of July anymore.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

William Bolcom Piano Concerto

Not sure but I think this might be the recording with Bolcom playing the piano, there are no notes.  It is one of two masterly pieces he wrote in 1976 as commentary on the Buycentennial, as I came to think of it.  It contains some of the best use of sarcasm in music that I'm aware of.  The other is his great Piano Quartet, which I can't find online. Got the feeling that we were thinking along similar lines on that one.   It's a lot like I'm feeling about the country right now.

Eugenics Is Alive And Threatening

Since Charles Murray is raising his neo-eugenicist, racist head again,  I'm going to repost a few of the things I wrote about this time last year.   Here's one that shows that eugenics was racist to the core and that it wasn't only used in Hitler's Reich and against black people and poor whites in the Jim Crow areas of the country. New England has its own record of shame, as do many other places.

Friday, July 5, 2013

I Am Not A Mayflower Descendant

It was rather odd for me to find Dr. Henry Farnham Perkins was involved in the eugenics decimation of the Abenakis of Vermont and the scientific destruction of their culture.  In my family, one of the few non-Irish ancestors is my great-great grandmother who was born a Perkins, only I don't think she was one of the Mayflower descendant Perkins as Henry Farnham was.  Family lore said she, and even more obviously her mother, were Penobscot, probably from around the Old Town Maine area, where the Penobscot Nation is today.  I've got two photographs of her, one taken in about 1940 with her daughter and granddaughter.  She was near 90 at the time, her daughter and granddaughter have snow-white hair, hers is decidedly dark brown or black (it's a black and white photo, of course) and she was definitely not the kind of woman who would have colored her hair.  The other picture is from far earlier, I'd guess in the 1870s, with her first, Irish, husband.  She looks decidedly not European in that photograph.  Some of my quite distant relations, who I gave copies of the pictures to, said that they have a family letter in which her mother is said to be "full-blood Indian".   Her father is known to have originally had the name Dana which is a Penobscot name.  We figure that they changed their name when they moved to New Hampshire in the early 19th century to try to blend in, though other family members who follow these things have been unable to trace the family in records from before my great-great-great grandfather in New Hampshire.  We know where they are buried but the stones are too eroded to supply any information.   My "Perkins" ancestors may have been trying to hide from discrimination and genocide of a different kind than the one, that, a hundred years later another Perkins would be committing against native people in the neighboring state in the last century.

It's chilling to find out people in quaint,  rural 1920s and early 30s New England, social workers, nurses, doctors.... practicing medical genocide against the native people.   Thinking of what they were doing as progressive and scientific.  And, as Edwin Black says, reporting what they were doing to the Nazis who kept the records that were obscured by small government bureaucratic inefficiency here.  It put a pall over the holiday, what with that lie from the Declaration I noted in my morning post.

Update:  Some of the documents around Dr. Perkins' eugenics activity are available online from the University of Vermont.  Of course the name C.B. Davenport shouts out, from what would become infamous, his support of and from Nazis, his extreme racism and eugenics, would stain anyone who had extensive associations with him.  Harry Laughlin is in the database, as well.   Unfortunate, but also there, are Perkins' letters from and to Margaret Sanger, from the period in which she was active in eugenics, unfortunately associating birth control during that period, with eugenics and implications of racism.  Birth control activism in the modern period certainly has left that association promoting personal choice on the basis of individual autonomy, especially that of women.  It would be a disaster to fall for the attempt to turn Margaret Sanger into a millstone for the right to birth control as Darwin has become for today's evolutionary science.  Both should be left to the dead past.

Update 2:   Here is a May 28, 1926 letter from Perkins to Davenport that is certainly relevant to the targeting of Abenakis and other racial minorities in the Vermont eugenics program.   I'm sure my great-great grandmother would have fallen under the eye of Perkins' staff on the basis of her "skin color valuation".

My dear Sir:

I am writing to inquire whether you have any references on negro‐white matings and skin color valuations in addition to your own paper on the subject. In case you happen to have a reprint of any of your own work on this matter, I should greatly appreciate your kindness in sending me copies, and I should like to get hold of any comments, criticisms, or amplifications upon or of your work.

The Eugenics Survey of Vermont which has been under way since last September is progressing satisfactorily, and we are now very eagerly searching for some possible source of additional funds. It has been impossible for the donor of the $7500 which is supporting the work this year to continue her generous help, although she assures us that it is not for lack of interest that she is obliged to decline. I have visited the Commonwealth Fund office and those of the National Committee of Mental Hygiene, the Russell Sage Foundation, Laura Spelman Foundation, and the Rockefeller Foundation. In all cases, while the officials visited expressed genuine interest, they could not give me much assurance of assistance. It may be that you will be able to suggest some further possibilities, for we desire to leave no stone unturned to accomplish the continuance of our work. I have just had the address of the Milbank Foundation, and am going to write to them.

In addition to the above, I had hoped that we might draw on the Federal Experiment Station Fund given to the states through the Purnell Measure for rural investigation. We had thought of conducting a study on rural subnormalcy with especial reference to its hearing upon agriculture. We find that the Vermont funds are so nearly all allotted for next year that even if the project should be approved there would be an entirely inadequate sum available. We are not giving up our effort to get even a thousand dollars from that source, and I hope that I am not too optimistic in my expectation that the Mental Hygiene people will let us have two field workers, a psychologist, and a psychiatrist for a short term of service which will follow up the preliminary work that a field worker can do.

A phase of our investigation which promises fruitful results from further work is the study of the better branches of the more deficient families that have constituted the bulk of our year's investigation. There are various other aspects of subnormalcy in Vermont that I am very hopeful of going into at some future date, and it may be possible later to interest one of the big foundations in a rather wholesale project in this state. I am working upon a plan for such a composite investigation at the recommendation of Dr. Embree of the Rockefeller Foundation.

Our present Survey has included the study of the twenty most typical deficient families that we could find in Vermont. One or two of these tribes number up to three hundred individuals. There is therefore a rather formidable array of data in our files and in pedigree chart form available for further study. Our Field Worker and Clerk are proving so highly efficient that I particularly dislike the notion of having to give up our study at the end of the present summer, at which time the $7500 will be used up.

Any help that you can give us in the way of suggestions of possible sources of additional financial help will be very highly appreciated.

With very kind personal regards, I am 
Faithfully yours,

[H. F. Perkins]

Thursday, July 4, 2013

"... It's Not Even Past" Excerpts On The 4th of July

He has excited domestic insurrections amongst us, and has endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages, whose known rule of warfare, is an undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes and conditions.

The Declaration of Independence

Because the German and American wings collaborated so closely, the German archives clearly traced the development of German race hygiene as it emulated the American program. More importantly, because the American and German movements functioned as a binary, their leaders bragged to one another and exchanged information constantly. Therefore I learned much about America’s record by examining Reich-era files. For instance, although the number of individuals sterilized in Vermont has eluded researchers in that state, the information is readily available in the files of Nazi organizations. Moreover, obscure Nazi medical literature reveals the Nazis’ understanding of their American partners. Probing the prodigious files of Nazi eugenics took my project to the Bundesarchiv in Berlin and Koblenz, the Max Planck Institute in Berlin, Heidelberg University and many other repositories in Germany.

When it was finished, the journey to discover America’s eugenic history had taken me from an austere highway warehouse in Vermont, where the state’s official files are stacked right next to automotive supplies and retrieved by forklift, to the architectonic British Library, to the massive Bundesarchiv in Berlin—and every type of research environment in between. Sometimes I sat on a chair in a reading room. Sometimes I poked through boxes in a basement.

Edwin Black:  War Against The Weak:  Eugenics And America's Campaign To Create A Master Race

Dr. Perkins drafted a new research plan for his advisory committee's approval. The Eugenics Survey would document demographic and economic trends and select representative towns in the state for a more detailed study. That the towns "in decline" selected for the study were ones inhabited by some of the "degenerate" families in the Eugenics Survey files comes as no surprise. From 1925-1928 Perkins "conducted extensive investigations on selected kinship groups in Vermont to develop ‘pedigrees of degeneracy’ among Vermont’s rural poor". Perkins released five reports during his studies of eugenics and Vermonters. Here, the term "survey" refers to a concentrated campaign of isolation, stereotyping, segregation, and sterilization. The committees of the VCCL completed their final reports in January 1931 and compiled their findings in Rural Vermont: A Program for the Future. Every chapter addressed the specific means by which the state could restore the land, culture and values to the kind of people who had colonized the state and who were most deserving of the title "Vermonter." Perkins focus fell on the 3 D's that were beginning to show up in higher numbers late in the 19th century- delinquency, dependency and mental defect. During the first three years of Perkins's project, evidence was gathered through town records, social workers, government officials, policemen, and other various informants. Significant information was gathered about families who were found to have these defects. It became clear that many were extended families and tribes.

Of all the people affected by the eugenics movement in Vermont, the people who suffered the most were the Abenaki. It was during this time period that the Abenaki were left with little choice but to go underground. The Abenaki were out in the open and the obvious targets. Many Abenaki were forced to assume other identities or hide their heritage. "It is my opinion that the "new racism" of Vermont's elite eventually permeated Abenaki society, leading to shame at being different or fear that we or our children would be "discovered" by the state of Vermont and have evil things done to them. " (The Voice of the Dawn: An Autohistory of the Abenaki Nation, pp. 147-49). The easiest route for the Abenaki to take was to fit in with the French-Canadians of Vermont. Many of the Abenaki families investigated by Perkins' social workers were institutionalized and sterilized. Eugenics measures in Vermont followed the lead of other states in providing institutions for segregation of socially or mentally handicapped persons, followed by laws permitting sexual sterilization and denial of marriage licenses to those deemed "mentally unfit" for parenthood. As progressive reformers routinely attributed social welfare problems to "feebleminded women of child bearing age," poor women, particularly unwed mothers, became the primary targets of such measures. This went on for years and was backed by the Vermont Sterilization Laws passed in 1931. There are still Abenaki women today who were sterilized by the midwives that delivered their babies. It is estimated that nearly 300 Abenaki people were sterilized.

The history of Eugenics is a sad and damaging one. What it left behind is a loss of culture and a trail of broken families. The Abenaki of Vermont were the hardest hit. Although they took personal pride in their heritage, Abenakis had been discriminated against during much of the previous two centuries and many wanted their children to grow up free from the pain of prejudice. They believed that the only way for their children to get ahead in the white man's world was to act white. They maintained traditional Indian family structures and value systems but many of the outward manifestations of Abenaki culture nearly disappeared from Vermont in the past century. To this day in Vermont, the Abenaki are suffering the effects of the Eugenics Program. When the Abenaki went into hiding, they broke their historical trail. Because the tribe has not been a continuous entity, and many show up with the ethnicity of French-Canadian, it is difficult to decipher who belongs to the tribe

From: Abenakis and Eugenics A Culture Torn Away

A young Indian woman entered Dr. Connie Pinkerton-Uri's Los Angeles office on a November day in 1972. The twenty-six-year-old woman asked Dr. Pinkerton-Uri for a "womb transplant" because she and her husband wished to start a family. An Indian Health Service (IHS) physician had given the woman a complete hysterectomy when she was having problems with alcoholism six years earlier. Dr. Pinkerton-Uri had to tell the young woman that there was no such thing as a "womb transplant" despite the IHS physician having told her that the surgery was reversible. The woman left Dr. Pinkerton-Uri's office in tears.

Two young women entered an IHS hospital in Montana to undergo appendectomies and received tubal ligations, a form of sterilization, as an added benefit. Bertha Medicine Bull, a member of the Northern Cheyenne tribe, related how the "two girls had been sterilized at age fifteen before they had any children. Both were having appendectomies when the doctors sterilized them without their knowledge or consent." Their parents were not informed either. Two fifteen-year-old girls would never be able to have children of their own.

What happened to these three females was a common occurrence during the 1960s and 1970s. Native Americans accused the Indian Health Service of sterilizing at least 25 percent of Native American women who were between the ages of fifteen and forty-four during the 1970s. The allegations included: failure to provide women with necessary information regarding sterilization; use of coercion to get signatures on the consent forms; improper consent forms; and lack of an appropriate waiting period (at least seventy-two hours) between the signing of a consent form and the surgical procedure. This paper investigates the historical relationship between the IHS and Indian tribes; the right of the United States government to sterilize women; the government regulations pertaining to sterilization; the efforts of the IHS to sterilize American Indian women; physicians' reasons for sterilizing American Indian women; and the consequences the sterilizations had on the lives of a few of those women and their families.

The Indian Health Service and the Sterilization of Native American Women
Jane Lawrence

On November 6, 1976, the Government Accounting Office (GAO) released the results of its investigation into similar events at four of twelve IHS areas (Albuquerque, Aberdeen, Oklahoma City, and Phoenix). Records verified that the IHS performed 3,406 sterilizations between 1973 and 1976.[iv] “Tip of the iceberg” is indeed an appropriate metaphor. Per capita, this figure would be equivalent to sterilizing 452,000 non-Native American women.[v]Albuquerque contracted out their sterilizations to local, non-IHS physicians; therefore their region inaccurately added zero procedures to the government count. Independent research estimated that as many as 25-50% of Native American women were sterilized between 1970 and 1976.[vi]Independent verifications were critical. The GAO did not interview a single women subjected to sterilization. The GAO also admitted that “contract” physicians were not required to comply with any federal regulations (including informed consent) in the context of these surgical procedures. Study of consent forms utilized revealed that three different forms were in use. It also appeared the “consent,” in many instances, was obtained through coercion.

What may be the most disturbing aspect of the investigations followed: it was physicians and healthcare professionals in the IHS who coerced these women. It was they who abandoned their professional responsibility to protect the vulnerable through appropriate, non-eugenic indications for surgery and informed consent prior to the procedures. On a Navaho reservation alone, from 1972-1978, there was a 130% increase in abortions (a ratio of abortions per 1000 deliveries increasing from 34 to 77).[vii] The same study demonstrated that between 1972 and 1978, sterilization procedures went from 15.1% to 30.7% of total female surgeries on that one reservation. Healthcare professionals’ coercive tactics included the threat of withdrawing future healthcare provisions or custody of Native American children already born—if consent for sterilization was withheld.[viii] The scandal of this replay of earlier twentieth century eugenic programs and genocidal tactics led to a congressional hearing (Senator James Abourzek, Democrat, South Dakota), but little else in terms of publicity, justice, or public outcry. It has also not been scrutinized from a careful bioethical perspective.

Forced Sterilization of Native Americans: Late Twentieth Century Physician Cooperation with National Eugenic Policies

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Curtis Curtis-Smith A Civil War Song Cycle

I - The Portent
II - The March into Virginia
III - Vigil Strange
IV - The Housetop
V - By the Bivouac's Fitful Flame
VI - Beat! Beat! Drums
VII - Shiloh (A Requiem)

Walt Whitman and Herman Melville

Mary Bonhag, Soprano
C. Curtis-Smith, Piano

How Many Times Have You Seen the Phrase "Federalist Society" In The Expressed Rage? To Sum Up

As noted yesterday, one of the predictable effects of his ruling is that more employees of Hobby Lobby will become pregnant,unintentionally and, at times, in risk to the health of the woman and so it will lead to more abortions. Alito's ruling will lead to more abortions. Even he isn't so dull that he can't figure that one out. So I doubt that religion had anything to do with the ruling.

I realized sometime yesterday that in the thousands and thousands of words I've read on this I haven't read the phrase "Federalist Society" once. It is a mistake to think that this doesn't have everything to do with the plan to establish corporate fascism in the United States, which has been the clear and obvious goal of the Republican right for decades. They will do it through corporate personhood, doing for corporations what they've done for billionaires, turning them into super-persons by virtue of their enormous wealth and the freedom that the courts give them to corrupt governments and pollute the public right to know.

The ruling is incoherent because it is based in an intentional lie, distorting the law and its legislative history to do what those who wrote and adopted the law never intended. Alito is lying, just as he lied all through his confirmation hearing, just as he and Roberts, Thomas and Scalia did whenever they said that they couldn't comment on cases that might come before the court because they would judge those on the facts presented. They were lying because they were placed on the court because they were ideologically reliable. The Senate Judiciary committee shares a lot in the blame as do the media BECAUSE EVERYONE KNEW THEY WERE LYING WHEN THEY CLAIMED THAT.

This is all about lies and the permission given by The Constitution to Supreme Court "justices" to lie with complete impunity and a real life exemption from impeachment for what should be considered the most massive and serious form of perjury. Only the Constitution relied, rather quaintly, on things like honor and honesty, which are entirely absent from Republican-fascism.


And on the leftish blogs I have seen it said, over and over again that the five fascists who issued this decision are Catholics and that that is determinative of this ruling, or that it's Christianity to blame or even monotheism.   I suppose it would be interesting to have a survey of the employees of Hobby Lobby to see what their religious orientation is but I would bet my last cent that a good percentage, if not the vast majority of the women who will be disadvantaged by this ruling are Christians, most of whom use birth control and that a lot of those women who will be most effected are Catholics, who also, mostly use birth control.   Demographics in the United States being what they are, the chances are very good that the majority of any roughly random group of 23,000 women in the country will mostly be comprised of Christians.

As to the Catholicism of the "justices", it doesn't seem to have any effect, whatsoever, on their activity concerning other issues.  On many issues of social justice they are in direct violation of even the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, these days quite a bit to the right of the Pope.   I don't think their Catholicism has kept them from staying a single execution, even those on which even the two last very conservative Popes have tried to intervene in, with pleas for a stay of execution.

If, as the diatribes online against them repeat, over and over again, the five-fascists on the court voted the way they did because of their Catholicism, then they are clearly atypical of American Catholics who support and practice birth control at somewhat higher rates than the general population.  Even world wide, the evidence is that most Catholics differ with the Vatican and with the Hobby Lobby Five on these issues.

I know in the non-Catholic imagination there is, frequently, the quaint old notion that was more frequently expressed in the past that Catholics were in lock step and brainwashed to follow orders from The Pope due to what they believe is the meaning of the unfortunately adopted and named dogma of papal infallibility.   A dogma which I would suspect most Catholics don't believe and which is far more limited than the ignorant and bigoted love to to believe.   That so many on the nominal left gas on like the most ignorant of fundamentalist bigots whenever the issue is Catholicism is quite funny and an invitation to look at other ways in which they are quite similar to people they love to believe they are so vastly superior to.

It would be genuinely funny if it wasn't stupid and a betrayal of ignorance and rather primitive bigotry of the kind usually associated with 19th century WASPs, in the only important aspect of it, potentially politically harmful to the left.   As indicated in the survey results I noted yesterday,  Catholics are quite often rather liberal if not very liberal, often very, very liberal by contemporary American standards.  As seen on the court, Justice Sotomayor is an example of a liberal Catholic, though I wouldn't discount her being a woman had something to do with her dissent from the ruling.

I would generally be hesitant to speculate on such a thing but I strongly suspect that if Sandra Day O'Connor were on the court, she would have voted with Sotomayor. If there was one area in which O'Connor often broke with the other conservatives on the court (for a long time I called her and Rehnquist "The Doublemint Twins") it was in areas impinging on the rights of women.   More women on the court is certainly a more salient issue to securing equality for women than Catholicism. That is what should be the focus of discussion.

But, then, I don't think that most of the futile fulmination on this issue on leftish blogs and mags has anything to do with the issues of the case but is just another excuse to stage click baiting hate sessions for the owners and the cliques of haters that they attract to their blogs and online magazines that way.   And there is nothing like anti-religious bigotry to do that.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Carla Bley The National Anthem

Carla Bley 

The National Anthem 

Carla Bley
Andy Sheppard 
Steve Swallow

It is the week of July 4th, after all.  Even with the awful Supreme Court we've got.   And the House. And my governor has been meeting with right-wing terrorists on an FBI watch list.  

I'm not making this up, you know. 

Carla Bley Ups and Downs

Carla Bley Piano
Andy Sheppard  Tenor Sax
Steve Swallow Bass

As long as I'm doing Tuesday reruns I'll rerun this video because I love it so much.

Lead Balloon Nation

I'm going to be doing summer reruns on Tuesdays, sometimes with re-editing. Here is something I wrote even as the same people who are snarking at Hillary Clinton over yesterdays ruling where slamming her as opposed to their, then, hero, Barack Obama.   A bit of it is still relevant.   Here, from Thursday, May 15, 2008

The last week, and my two years of blogging have had several themes, none of those more important than the fact that we live now, we act now, in the conditions we face now, like it or not. Reality is the bottom line, it has the potential to eat away at our most brilliant planning and thinking even as we try for perfection in those. While we fiddle, negotiate and sooth injured pride, our enemies are at work anticipating us and actively undermining us. As I have pleaded with you to understand, they are dishonest and cruel, they are crafty and deceptive, they aren't stupid. Like all successful con men, they will deceive those they are robbing and destroying quite successfully. They are far from stupid.

The present contains whatever tools and opportunities we really have to work with, nothing which isn't contained in our present is going to be available to us. Time taken up with the attempts to make basic tools from scratch is often time wasted, the left has wasted decade upon decade in just the planning for future tool making. What looks good on paper, is often worse than a flop. In the present conditions, here, now in 2008, we don’t have time to give to that speculation, we have got to use what we have at hand. If the tool isn’t available in time, it might as well have not worked.

We don’t have time to waste on the time wasters among us, we don’t have time to wait for their impractical theories to fall of their own, obvious weight. There are those among the worst of them who can prop up that lead balloon with the fine looking logo they are urging us to ride in, to sucker in generations that go nowhere. Some of them are half right, those can be some of the worst, Ralph Nader is the quintessential example.

Some of them are all wrong, those with a patina of what’s taken for liberalism or leftism while they offer only the promise of producing a small core of loud fanatics convinced of their superior intellects even as repeated failure demonstrates that their mastery of buzz words or even entire programs of intellectual theory is no substitute for practicality and good will.

Snobs, a dangerously proliferating invasive species on leftist blog threads, not only advertise themselves as those who will waste time and consume your energies with the damage they will do to the left, they advertise themselves as mock leftists, leftists who don’t possess the first requirements for being a leftist. Anyone who thinks the lowest among us are not worthy of our full respect, consideration and effort, is a conservative who hasn't fully developed yet.

Sexism and racism and other forms of stereotyping and stigmatization as political strategy and posture should be stamped on vigorously, first and foremost because they are evil and unjust, secondly because those practicing them offend us, divide us, take up our time and do the work of our enemies for them.

I fully believe that the core belief of the left, that people are endowed with inherent rights equally held by every last person. People own their bodies, they have a right to an environment that will sustain them, they have the right to food, water, clothing, shelter, rest, sleep, respect, love and mutual support. People do not exist apart from each other, people have the right to have their rights observed, they have an absolute obligation to observe the rights of other people. I fully believe that governments are established to procure those rights and to protect them, equally, for every person. Education, one of the most basic means of obtaining, protecting and providing those things needed by people, it is a fundamental right. I believe that the core values of the left are correct and should govern our work in making progress.

I fully believe that people do actually have a spark of the divine in them and it is by that which their inherent rights exist. I believe that our bodies are provided to us as individuals for our use, though I’m not going to go into that here and now. I believe that we the living are different from the inert, that humans with the ability to think and learn and sympathize with other suffering life, are not the slaves of physical law in our actions. I believe The People, individually and collectively can take effective beneficial action that supersedes any possible theoretical impediment that the individual and collective genius of self-interested or merely deluded people can devise. Even those with a mighty good line and some involved equations attached. I'd better not go into the folly of trying to study vastly complex systems with science and that history is generally a better tool for understanding some of those, you know where that could lead.

Truth and Dare: Probably Not Relevant To Anyone Who Regularly Reads This Blog


If you can't prove you could foresee what the Roberts Court did by lying about what the law said and what the clear legislative record proves was meant by it, at the time it was passed, to great approval by real and pseudo-liberals, then you should shut your pie holes now.  And that includes all of you bloggers who were probably still focused on acne and concealing your adolescent, involuntary erections back then. 

Update: I'm really disgusted to read commentators on blogs blaming Hillary Clinton for the Alito-et al's use the law in the Hobby Lobby ruling because her husband signed the law into effect.  This is especially aggravating because her title was "First Lady" at the time, a position without legislative or executive powers.  And, as noted below, it is a law which not a single liberal predicted would be used by lying "justices" in a corrupt future court in the way this one has and, as far as I can see, every single liberal in the congress, both houses, voted for with the widespread approval of liberals. 

A lot of the anti-HC snark comes from the same jerks who made sexist remarks about her in the run up to the 2008 election on blogs that were cesspools of sexism then and which turned on Obama as soon as he began to not be the miracle worker they sold him as being. 

A left comprised of ignorant crybabies will get nothing done and undo anything they can pout about.   And on so many blogs, the pout is what it's about. 

Posted With No Comment


Found this at Dean Radin's blog.

By comedian John Oliver:

The world's become so horrifying now. It's too easy to become cynical about things and that's not fair and it doesn't work. And in fact, there is hope for the world. And it is in the form of Wikipedia. Now Wikipedia will save us all.

I found this out when recently a friend of mine emailed me and he said that someone had created a Wikipedia entry about me. I didn't realize this was true, so I looked it up. And like most Wikipedia entries, it came with some flamboyant surprises, not least amongst them my name. Because in it it said my name was John Cornelius Oliver. Now my middle name is not Cornelius because I did not die in 1752. But obviously, I wanted to be. Cornelius is an incredible name.

And that's when it hit me --the way the world is now, fiction has become more attractive than fact. That is why Wikipedia is such a vital resource. It's a way of us completely rewriting our history to give our children and our children's children a much better history to grow up with. We seem to have no intention of providing them with a future. Let's at least give them a past. It is in a very real sense the least we can do.

Oh, It's Much Worse Than Hobby Lobby

Aside from the real issues of the ass of a law pretending the corporations are people with rights superior to those of mere real people, aside from the smoke-screen issue of religious liberty in the 1st amendment which could never have been done of those fat-headed founders had gone for plain spoken prose instead of vague second-rate Silver Age poetry,  aside from the ritual unintended suicide of the "left" because, you know, "Jesus" got brought into it, we've got a bigger problem.

Our culture, our political system, our media all accept that five members of the Supreme Court of the United States can base a legal ruling on a blatant lie about a law passed by The Congress, one that is obvious in the record, as Justice Ginsburg brilliantly documented AND THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT BECAUSE NO ONE CAN CALL THEM ON THAT LIE.   The media, the only effective counter to that won't because they're invested in the system that lets them get away with it. The media will carry The Five Lying Justices polluted water for them and so The People won't be roused to vote out the elected arm of their party.  If anyone proposed impeaching them for things such as blatant conflict of interest, the media would go berserk opposing it.  The media are the ones who sold the absurd notion that The Supremes are some kind of infallible oracle due an absurd deference and respect that is incompatible with limits on power*. The Congress won't do much to reign them, certainly not as long as the Republican have an effective veto on any measure that will punish their lying.

As any human creation, including corporations, our form of government, under that idol, The Constitution, has flaws which can become dangerous.   There is a story that when he was ready to take the test to become a citizen of the United States, the greatest logician of the age, Kurt Gödel,  got his friends worried in a big way because he said he had located a logical flaw in The Constitution that would lead to the country becoming a fascist state.   They are said to have enlisted his friend Albert Einstein to talk to him.   They figured that the rather innocently honest Gödel was quite capable of getting himself flunked out of the country by being too honest about that, if asked.  Apparently he wasn't as he became a citizen. When I first heard the story I wondered what it was he had found and wished I could find out.  With the experience of the unbridled power of the Rehnquist and Roberts courts I can easily imagine it was in the judiciary clauses that the fatal flaw was found, though I'm surprised he could only find one.

But, I'm forgetting, that was an age when there was some vestigial respect for the truth, that the society still had notions of honor and honesty, of morality and moral obligations, which everything, in the end relies on.   The reliance on those things would have been taken as givens at the time,  they can't be taken as givens now.

The Five Liars of the Hobby Lobby case will be allowed to get away with their lies because there is no mechanism in the structure of the government to punish Supreme Court lying.  They can't be voted out and they won't be impeached for lying on the bench.   Perhaps an amendment that makes lying in a Supreme Court ruling an impeachable offense might make some impression, though not as long as we've got the Republicans we've got in the Congress and the Senate.

The fault, though, lies in Us, The People, in those weaknesses of ours that are taken advantage of by anyone who wants to sell us anything, dishonestly.   And what is needed is probably exactly the opposite of what this ruling will lead to, a deeper and more widespread belief that lying is a serious sin, bearing false witness is a far more serious one and that leaders and judges who lie are an evil that must be expunged in order to avoid disaster.  And that is an idea that is at odds with modernism in the degraded form which has taken, largely through the mass media that is corrupted through the permission to sell itself to the biggest spender.

*  Here is what I said in the wake of the appointments of Roberts and Alito, the man who issued the lying document.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006


Molly Ivins' most enduring statement might turn out to be her observation that everyone in Washington DC ends up saying the same things. One of the same things today is that the Senate Judiciary hearings for Supreme Court Justices have become a Kabuki dance. What do you think the chances are that even three of the parrots of the DC press corps knows anything about the high art of Kabuki? Given that within the past year we have been witness to two of these shows and what those were like I'd like to suggest we pass up the obvious "theater of the absurd" designation and go straight to "charades".

But charades isn't the right word either. In charades while the player says nothing they make gestures that are designed to get the audience to say what the player is thinking. In these hearings there were a flood of words and few gestures, give or take a staged bout of tears, and the exercise was to make the audience NOT say what everyone in the room and beyond knew was the subject of the play.

Roberts and Alito lied every single time they verbally mimed the pose of not having made up their minds before hearing a case. These kobe cattle were bred and hand raised to provide the most predictable results. They were nominated into the entirely predictable and safe Republican hands to be put on the court to join Scalia and Thomas to gut the Bill of Rights and Civil Rights amendments and to continue the Republican handover of the country to the oligarches and their corporate properties.

Everyone in the room knew they were lying. Such press as had any knowledge of the Court and things judicial knew they were lying though I'm prepared to conceed that the cabloid clack might not have even known what the Court was. The large majority of us who listened to the entire farce knew they were lying. And now the lies will continue as they do exactly what everyone knew they would do. The very rare times that one of them has a bit of a woozy stomach and does something slightly unpredictable will be held onto like a life raft to prove the myth of judicial independence but that won't happen very often.

The lesson for the left is that Earl Warren is dead. He's been dead a good long while now. We can stop pretending that the Supreme Court is going to be anything but the hand maiden of the corporate oligarchy. If we are going to fight this its going to be through the ballot and if not there God save us.

Monday, June 30, 2014

Last Word: There's This Little Thing Called "Research" You Might Like To Try It

Who could have predicted that the right would have used the law like that? Everybody who wasn't a credulous fool. Like you, Sparkles. Like I said, you and your ilk own this abomination.   Steve Simels

Well, you know, Sims, that it is possible to check the vote in the congress and see who supported it.  Names like Ted Kennedy, Paul Wellstone,  Russ Feingold, Clairborne Pell, Harris Wafford, Bernie Sanders, Henry Waxman, Jerrold Nadler, Thomas Andrews,  geesh, I wouldn't be surprised if pretty much the entire progressive caucus were co-sponsors.  

Oh, and looky at that.  The three Senators who voted nay were Harlan Matthews and Robert Byrd, conservative Democrats and, you'll love this, JESSE HELMS THE PALEO-REPUBLICAN RACIST, FASCIST.  

But fact checking isn't something the Eschaton Brain Trust is big on, as I said. 

The Left We've Got Couldn't Tie Up Its Right Shoe Never Mind The Fascists

I was tempted to write a list of the stupidest things I've read on blog comment threads about the Hobby Lobby ruling but so many stupid things have been said that it would be several hours of work to determine which is the stupidest.  I wish people would read decisions AND THE DISSENTS TO IT before they figured they knew what was in it.  But that's a bit like work and, heavens knows, we're not supposed to ask that people actually figure out what they're talking about before they put it out in the internet and other people who haven't found out what they're talking about start embroidering on the misinformation available.  And that's from various "reality communities" "brain trusts" and the such.

But Tuesday is a really bad day for me to get any writing done and, frankly, dealing with the stupidity of the online clacks is getting to tell on me.  I will make a resolution that I will announce at the end of July, but only if I keep it.

We need a new left that isn't hampered by idiots and bigots and suckers for the set up jobs that the corporate right sets for it.   One that doesn't figure a lie is as good as the truth if it gets you attention, Lord knows the pseudo-left hasn't managed to get much more than a bit of attention for some of its more gaudy marginal figures.  It's been that way pretty much for almost the past half century.  I mark 1968 as a good one for the decline of the real left, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the idiocy of the left aiding and abetting the election of Nixon over the flawed but remarkably better Hubert Humphrey.   A lot can be learned from looking at the SDS in that period as well, it is a microcosmic model of leftist failure, not least of which is due to the struggle for attention seekers to grab the mic and declare themselves to be the most radical in the room.

I had thought the internet was going to produce the conditions for the revival of the left but that doesn't look nearly as promising as it did a decade ago, you know, the year that Sam Harris wrote his ignorant, bigoted screed, The End of Faith.   That's about when I noticed there were big problems with the online left.  And, unlike who those on the internet believed him to be back then, Harris is no leftist. Neither was Christopher Hitchens and the leftism of Dawkins et al is hardly the left we need.  It's all related and when you admit what you've seen it all makes sense, not the complete picture but the reasons that the left fails begins to cohere when you consider what the left would need to do to even be a left, and it's not what we've been doing.

Quick You Can Work To Change Things Or You Can Vent Hatefully, Choose Now

As could have been predicted, the atheist vent-o-sphere is making the appalling Hobby Lobby ruling an occasion to vent about "Christians" and "Catholics" and religion, in general.  Yeah, I know, sort of like reporting that four o'clock came this afternoon, again, isn't it.  You should see the comments I haven't posted and my hate mail.  Yeah, I'm so convinced they really care about the issue as opposed to yet a slight variation on their daily, hourly, ever-minute of their waking lives practice of hatin' in more than 85% of the population of the United States.  And as if the vast majority of those 85% don't practice birth control and that a majority of the religious people here don't support employers providing their employees with coverage for contraception.

Roughly 6-in-10 Americans say that publicly-held corporations (61%) and privately-owned corporations (57%) should be required to provide their employees with health insurance that includes contraception at no cost.
A smaller majority (51%) of the public say privately-owned small businesses should be required to provide health care coverage that includes contraception, while 46% disagree.

Majorities of Americans say that religiously-affiliated hospitals (56%) and religiously-affiliated colleges (52%) should be required to provide insurance that covers contraception for their employees.

Only 42% of the public believes that churches or other places of worship should be required to provide health insurance that includes contraception coverage to employees; a majority (53%) oppose requiring churches or other places of worship to provide health insurance that includes contraception coverage to employees.

A majority of Catholics believe that publicly-held corporations (56%), privately-owned corporations (54%), and privately-owned small businesses (53%) should be required to provide their employees with health insurance that includes contraception. However, Catholics are divided about whether religiously-affiliated hospitals (50% should, 47% should not) or religiously-affiliated colleges (49% should, 49% should not) should be required to provide contraception coverage for employees with their health insurance plans. A majority (56%) of Catholics say that churches and other places of worship should not be required to provide this type of coverage.

White evangelical Protestants are unique among religious groups in their opposition to the employer contraception coverage mandate. Four-in-ten (40%) white evangelical Protestants say privately-owned corporations should have to provide health insurance that includes contraception while 45% say the same of publicly-held corporations. Fewer than 4-in-10 white evangelical Protestants say religiously- affiliated colleges (35%), religiously-affiliated hospitals (39%), privately-owned businesses (34%) and churches (26%) should be required to provide this type of health insurance.

Religiously unaffiliated Americans express nearly uniform views in the opposite direction. A majority of unaffiliated Americans believe that any type of employer—including churches and places of worship (58%)—should provide their employees with health insurance that covers contraception.
There are strong partisan divisions over whether privately-owned corporations should be required to provide their employees with health care plans that include contraception. Nearly three-quarters of Democrats (74%) and a majority of independents (56%) agree that these corporations should be required to provide this type of coverage, compared to only one-third (33%) of Republicans. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Republicans say privately-owned corporations should not be required to do this.

There are also dramatic differences by generation, with younger Americans expressing greater support for employer-provided contraception coverage across categories of employer.

Ah, but that's too nuanced for the atheist vent-o-sphere, those guys who own math and science and data, too, man.  They don't care about reality, they care about getting their regular 2-minute-hates in.

I'm sure some of them care about justice for women, though if they're doing the athe-hate thing in that interminable daisy chain of futility, they're doing nothing to change things.   They don't ever do anything to change things, they just get their 2-minute-hates and then go on to the next thing.  That was the point of the ritual in Orwell's book, which people mistook for some kind of future dystopia instead of a description, exaggerated, of how things already happen in real life.

One of the predictable results of this ruling will be that more of Hobby Lobby's employees will have abortions.  To show you how much this was really about a religious objection.   And the five fascists on the court would have known that before they issued their decision.  

Update:   I'm reading a number of comments condemning Hillary Clinton because her husband signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act which the 5 Supremes pretend to base their ruling on.   Some are attacking Hillary Clinton for saying that the ruling is based in an obvious misinterpretation of the act.   I'd guess they would have to include Ruth Bader Ginsburg in their accusations that Hillary Clinton is lying since that was the basis of a good part of her dissent, pointing out in the legislative history of the act that it was never meant to be interpreted the way the 5 lying "justices" have used it.

More mature leftists might help a lot in this matter.

What Justice Ginsburg Said And What She Was Too Polite To Say

I'm reading the opinions and dissents in the infamous Hobby Lobby case.  Justice Ruth Gingsburg's  dissent eviscerates the series of poses and lame excuses the five far-right members of the court cite in Alito's ruling and Kennedy's concurring opinion.  

She points out that the law they base their ruling on,  the Religious Freedoms Restoration Act,  through it legislative history and the clearly stated intentions of the congress, was never intended to be used the way the ruling does.  I don't see how they could get past her reasoning on that or the long, long history and record she cites.   This ruling is an extreme and radical act of Supreme Court legislating what the five Republicans on it would have liked the law to say instead of what the legislative record indicates it was. 

The easiest to understand part of her dissent is her pointing out that since the beginnings of the Supreme Court corporations were not considered to be people, having the natural rights of human beings but as legal entities.  It is clearly the intent of the five corporate servants on the court to turn them into, not only entities enjoying any rights that they still allow to mere humans, but more rights than any human being has.  Her extensive argument as to why profit-making corporations are an entirely different kind of entity from non-profit, religious ones is decisive.  Her arguments pointing out the inability of those who brought the case to prove a substantial harm show that their intent is to establish the superiority of corporations to people.   I'm sure she wouldn't say it this way but that is an actual legal permission for the establishment of corporate fascism.  

I don't shop there but if I thought it would do the least bit of good, I'd work for a punitive boycott of Hobby Lobby and any other corporation that brought this case.  Only, I'm sure that despite their use of free-speech to attack everything up to and including an attack on self-government by an informed electorate, they'd find I'd violated Hobby Lobby's rights as a Super-person.  

The Roberts Court is driving this country to corporate fascism and it's driving it there fast. 

What Should This Very Real Thing With Very Real Effects Be Called?

There has been an objection to my calling the campaign of slander that has been waged against me for the past several years "playing the Jew card".  The thing, what I am calling "playing the Jew card" is a rote charge of antisemitism made against someone who is not an antisemite.   As an aside, it's my experience that many, perhaps most, people will behave as badly as they figure they can get away with being, which is what I think accounts for that particular form of slander.  It is something which the liar can say with little to no negative consequences for themselves.   In our lie infested media and political culture, it is one of the most potent of lies.

I don't know what else to call it but it is "a thing" and it is a thing that has been used against, not only me, but against many others, including many Jews who do not conform to particular and rigidly required ideas.   Its primary purpose is to protect the financial and military aid from the United States to Israel, to shut down and preclude even legitimate observations and criticisms about that.  Though, as will be seen, its usefulness is far more extensive than that.

Those ideas range from mere opinions which reasonable people can differ on to outright and outrageous lies that spew forth from the most racist and extremist sectors of the Israeli far right, the right that such Jews as Albert Einstein, Hannah Arendt,  Sidney Hook and many other Jews warned of and identified as being fascists*.  What would be called the American neo-conservatives were hardly noticable back then but they are the ones who always keep that particular card up their sleeve.

Mostly the card is played over the state of Israel which was founded on the backs of the ingenious Palestinian population, something denied by some of the more extreme of the Zionist apologists but which is mostly to be just pretend to not have happend.   Noam Chomsky has been one of the people against who the "Jew Card" is regularly played, I would suspect by people who take advantage of his principle that he won't sue those who slander him.  But he is hardly alone among Jews who are regularly told they are antisemitic  when they criticize the Israeli government and political, military and judicial figures for  acts which often rub right up against and at times cross over into crimes that if done by other people would get them accused of crimes against humanity.

In my case, what got the accusation issued at Eschaton blog was me saying I regretted that, instead of the eternal state of war it has existed under, getting large numbers of people killed, including probably the largest number of Jews who have died of unnatural causes since the end of the Nazi regime,  European and other Jews hadn't been given the option of setting up a state on land donated by the United States or offered citizenship in my own country, the country where the man who has been slandering me has lived his entire life, notably not in the same danger as those who have lived in Israel and the surrounding countries for the past six decades.

Just in case you didn't notice what I just said, what I'm accused of was the terrible crime of wishing there were more Jews living as citizens in my country or in a neighboring state to my country on land donated for that state by my country.  That can be called antisemitism without anyone pointing out there's a little bit of an inconsistency in the accusation.  If our culture is so degraded as that, there is going to be hell to pay because nothing means anything.   So far as I'm aware of, no one has pointed out that the charge is an obvious lie and its repetition is an obvious smear by a serial liar who is a member in good standing in any number of places despite his lying.  After putting up with it, I've decided anyone who figures I should put up with that kind of smear campaign isn't worth me bothering with.

Obviously the risk free practice of accusing someone of antisemitism has been granted a power that surpasses reason or a requirement of even coherence.  A charge of antisemitism can include wanting more Jews living in your country as full, voting citizens and wishing that an Israel that lives in a state of peace instead of in a state of perpetual war had been attempted.  It's not that much different from Clarence Thomas and Thomas Sowell when they claim the major civil rights laws passed in the 20th century are racist and supporting their continuation is racist, only what I'm talking about is, apparently, widely acceptable on the alleged left.

I am unaware of any code of morality or any reasonable case that would preclude me from pointing out that I'm being smeared.   Any such code isn't one I've affirmed.  Apparently I'm supposed to let that continue.   I won't.

*  I hadn't noticed until now that, in the signatories of that letter published in the New York Times is Stefan Wolpe, a composer whose music I love but who my accuser has implied,  agreeing with the Nazi Reichskulturkammer,  is a degenerate composer.   Not that I believe for a second that he's at all familiar with Wolpe's music, from any of the many different periods of his life.  Though I'm certain that he had probably never known that he signed that famous letter before reading this footnote.

Update:  As an example, I suspended my resolve to not post his comments and posted a comment from the liar in question.

steve simelsJune 30, 2014 at 9:28 AM
Fuck you, Father Coughlin.

Seriously, Sparky, I'd explain to you why everything in your screed above is 100 percent Grade A Bovine Fecal Matter, but you'd only quote me selectively so I won't bother.

But be assured, everyone who isn't a moron knows you already lost the argument.

Also, again: Fuck you, Father Coughlin.

If you want an example of what he has been saying about me, for years, at Eschaton,  here he is from a couple of days ago.

 • Reply•Share › 
Steve Simels • 2 days ago
And speaking of Laura Nyro, America's Stupidest Lurker© has this to say.

And, you know what, Sims, Laura Nyro was about ten times the composer
that the John Lennon was and an infinitely better performer than Mick 
"less sexy than a pissing toad" Jagger and it was only because she was a
woman that you professional adolescent boys never admitted it.

The dumb gay moron really thinks he'll get laid more often if he sucks up (heh) to women.
 • Reply•Share › 
Billy B  Steve Simels • 2 days ago
hmm. I think all three artists' work are pretty good. why the fuck pit them against each other. that's stupid.
 • Reply•Share › 
Steve Simels  Billy B • 2 days ago
Because Sparky's an anti-semitic shithead. For starters.
 • Reply•Share › 
Billy B  Steve Simels • 2 days ago
 • Reply•Share › 
Steve Simels  Steve Simels • 2 days ago
BTW, Laura Nyro was great. America's Stupidest Lurker© not so much.
 • Reply•Share › 
bo, Skull-fucked Wonder  Steve Simels • 2 days ago
hey, you be nice, too.
 • Reply•Share › 

Steve Simels  bo, Skull-fucked Wonder • 2 days ago
Not to that moronic anti-semitic asshole.
 • Reply•Share › 

I will point out that in the midst of this, I'm the one who Atrios banned at his blog, not Simels.  For which I say Atrios can bite me.

Update 2:  I will only post those two comments from Simels and not the one he just posted here because, while I'm willing to post his slanders against me, I won't post his slanders of other people.   He can post those elsewhere, where the blog owner doesn't mind carrying that kind of lie.

Update 3: I have a message that Simels is lying about what I said here at Duncan Black's blog, the man who hosted the lies about me for the past several years.  I'm going to consider he is the one who is ultimately responsible for this, as far as I can tell, it's where most of it has been posted.   Obviously Duncan is OK with it.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

David Weiss - Nellie Bly (Wayne Shorter)

A comment gives the players as:
Credit Geri Allen Piano
Dwayne Burno Bass
Ravi Coltrane  Sax (Tenor)
Steve Davis Trombone
Joe Fiedler Trombone
Tim Green Sax (Alto)
Jeremy Pelt Trumpet
Norbert Stachel Clarinet (Bass), Sax (Baritone)
E.J. Strickland Drums
Marcus Strickland Sax (Soprano), Sax (Tenor)
Diego Urcola Trumpet
David Weiss Conductor, Primary Artist, Trumpet

Geri Allen is one of my favorite piano players, just to mention.

A Difference In Focusing on Your Narrow Little Self And Not Being So Limited

I will have more to say about this program of On Being, a really interesting conversation Krista Tippett had with Michael Ruse and Jim Bradley about the productive interaction of science and religion.   But I wanted to call your attention to it in case you want to read it, as I've got to work today.

Jim Bradley is someone who I didn't know before and I'm enthusiastically looking forward to reading more of his ideas.  I did know quite a bit of Michael Ruse, not only from his criticism of Richard Dawkins and the new atheists, but having read some of his articles and more.   I do have to say he comes off as a bit of a jerk in this conversation, definitely a snob and far less appealing in person.  He has some worthwhile things to say but he is definitely way too fixated on himself, coming off as narcissistic.    Jim Bradley is rather more appealing and entirely more broad-minded, perhaps indicating how people find the paths they do based, in part, on their degree of self-involvement.

The Snobbery Of Pop-Kultah From The Trash File In My E-Mail

You can't claim not to be an elitist at the same time you claim not to watch television. Good lord, you're a schmuck. :-)

Did you know that?  Well, using the word "know" in a sense that is as loose as it is limited, as the one saying it is as well.  

In this idea, that it's elitist to reject corporate, commercial propaganda, which is what TV is, from bottom to sub-basement level, lies an incredible snobbery that is all so common in so many who concentrate on "pop-culture" and get paid to push it.   I use the term "pop-culture" but that's a false name for something a depressing majority of which comes directly from the planning sessions of corporations instead of non-professionals in the underclass nowadays.   The idea is that the non-elite aren't able to aspire to anything higher than what the idiot box, wall-screen puts in front of their eyes. And today, in the cabloid period, the crap that the wall-screen has on is even worse than when the often insightful Bruce Springsteen noted there were a mere 57 Channels (And Nothin' On).

Well, I'm such an elitist that I think everyone has, not only an ability to appreciate and aspire to think in ways not designed for them to think by the professional liars and manipulators working for corporations, but that everyone has a right to not have their lives eaten up and their minds filled with the crap that comprises what TV is.  I'd rather have poor people creating what catches on as pop-culture, as it used to begin,  than people trained in universities in how to appeal to the worst in people to manipulate them through their strongest weakness, to use one of  Olive Oyl's most brilliant locutions*.

There are no bigger snobs than those who insist that people are stupid and that the only rightful place for them is wallowing in the slops that are thrown onto the crap in the human piggery.   They never figure they're on the same level as those who they figure have no right to even the possibility to aspire for something more, they're in the know and so higher than the masses**

There is nothing more generous than the belief that anyone can aspire to something higher and that they have a right to be introduced to the possibility to aspire to something more than the shitty garbage that university educated elitist millionaires and billionaires peddle to them.  They won't hear from TV that they've got a right to more than the crap it sells to them.  There is nothing more elitist than insisting that they shouldn't even be presented with the possibility, that they don't have an inherent right to entirely more than that.

*  It's, perhaps, significant to consider how Max Fleischer, who was a creative genius, was crushed by the corporate fist that squeezed out so much of the best that cartooning could have been, to be replaced by the planned, commercial crap that came after and which academic study of pop-culture praises.

**  The use of that term for the underclass "the masses" should have been a real clue that the alleged leftist ideologies that used it had one of the most debased views of humanity in the history of culture, claiming that their understanding of people was sanctified by science.  We see that in those acculturated by the same academy that produces corporate psychologists and the people who run ad agencies and networks, who love to think that people are scum.  At bottom, they're all Rupert Murdoch.