Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Play Left Invades Ferguson

This article on Mother Jones, yesterday, lists some of the outside groups who have shown up in Ferguson, Missouri, some helpful, some grotesquely irresponsible, idiotic "revolutionary" opportunists so incredibly stupid that they seem to believe that inciting violence in Ferguson will spark the glorious revolution that will bring their Communist party to power, the bulwark of the glorious millennium when that old dialectic points to them as the end point of material existence and declares "you rule, man".  If you think that sentence is overblown, all I can say is you can't read much of their material without sustaining at least temporary damage*.   The various groups, most of whom don't care at all about the residents of that town and the occupation by a homicidal and fascistic police force, will stay only as long as they can turn the protests by the people who live there into a media carnival.   For which they can go to hell as far as I'm concerned.

Some of them, such as the incredibly stupid political cult, Bob Avakian's Communist Revolutionary Party, are eager Maoists.  You don't have to imagine how Mao would have handled any such demonstrations in the country he dictated to,  he'd have killed all of them.  As bad as the police in Ferguson are, as fascistic as their tactics are,  they were under some constraints.  I've noted before how the drooling revolutionaries of Bob's army hope to ignite the world wide revolution they believe is just around the corner.  And they have decided to make Ferguson their beachhead, whether or not the people who live there agree.  In real life, I doubt they could conduct a special town meeting without it turning into a brawl brought on by competing personalities trying to grab the mic, turning the meeting into a war of competing and resenting factions.   I would guess that they really believe that they are always on the brink of calling their fearless leader back from his self-imposed exile in France to some place such as Ferguson to take charge of the revolution.  If he hasn't since stopped breathing since I began writing this, I would guess that the Larouchies imagine something similar.

A rule of thumb about these kinds of groups that come in and try to hijack high profile local protests is that any of them that advocate or encourage violence are not in it for the benefit of the people who live there.  Those people will leave, the people who live there will be the ones who have to live with the aftermath of their exciting and titillating violence.  This is especially true when there is some intellectual program thought up in some other place, like San Francisco or by a bunch of white intellectuals who never have to live with the results of the violence they call for, when that violence has to stop, as it always does, the Revolution it was supposed to incite delayed for future opportunities.

Especially stupid are the anarchists who would have all civil authority
end, leaving communities to be governed by those who always rise up whenever the police leave, gangsters and gangsters who war with each other as they terrorize, rob and exploit the people who have no choice but to live there.  And I will repeat that, we know what would happen under anarchism because it happens in any section of a city or country where there is a vacuum of civil authority and police presence, the gangs take over.   The problem in Ferguson was that the police were a white occupation army in a black community, the answer to that is to have an effective police force which is part of the community.  It is remarkable, considering their professed beliefs, now little faith anarchists have in the ability of The People to govern themselves when that has actually, if all too rarely, happened.

As distasteful as it is to put it this way, police are absolutely necessary to a democratic community and society because stopping criminals from doing the things they want to do is necessary.  The violence that criminals use to get what they want - and in a disturbing number of cases violence is what they want  BECAUSE THEY ARE GRATIFIED BY VIOLENCE** - will only be countered by the possibility of the use of violence to stop or control them.  Violence will be there and the threat of violence to counter it must be placed in the hands of police who are answerable to the community.  Since guns are going to be carried and violence used, I'd rather take a chance on it being the police who are authorized by government have them than a bunch of thugs answerable to the most ruthless crime boss who climbed his way to the top by being the most violent and ruthless.

That was the problem in Ferguson, the police were not answerable to the community and it obviously had developed a malignant and anti-democratic, anti-community culture.  The answer to that isn't to import idiots who like violence and whose intentions are so stupid that it would replace an out of control police force with the gangsters who would replace them.   There has to be a way found to make the police what they have to be in a decent society, the responsible and so respected servants of the community.  You've got to route out the occupier thinking in the community, which is especially hard to do if there is a high crime rate. The police have to have the resources and training and oversight to do what they must do.  I don't see much of anything in the play left that will do that.

One thing that needs to be done is to make both the support from the community higher and the level of training and fitness of police match a real, professional level.  I don't think it makes any sense for police who are responsible for law enforcement, carrying a gun and being those we demand deal with everything from applying measured violence to providing compassionate care for those left on the street by the irresponsibility of the psychiatric profession to have less training than you need to be a barber or hair dresser in some states.  There is nothing better than a good, honest policeman and nothing worse than one who isn't.  We need the good ones and we need to weed out and prevent the bad ones from being police.  But that takes money and, frankly, preventing police unions from enabling the bad ones.

*  Look at the "Preamble" to their draft Constitution For the New Socialist Republic of North America.  2693 words.  And that's just the preamble!   If they came to power one of the results would be that the continent would be denuded of trees to print out their literature.

** Considering the obvious gratification of so many of these groups that violence is, risking lots of people being injured or killed in their mash ups, they're not really any different from the out of control cops.   I would challenge any of them to put their presence in Ferguson up to a vote by secret ballot.  Ultimately, that's why the police are there.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

About The Murder of James Foley, Reporter

There is something terrible and strange about having even an indirect connection to someone who is the victim of such a brutal and public murder as that of the reporter, James Foley.   His parents were casual friends of my mother.  I met his mother once and knew her voice on the phone, though that was as close as they came to me.   My mother worried a lot about James Foley after he disappeared, following every news story, not a close enough friend to discuss it with his parents.  I can't claim that I thought nearly as much about him as my mother did, but often enough so that the horror of his murder is enraging and chilling.

War reporters have minds I don't claim to understand.  I can't imagine such bravery as to go into battles and dangerous situations unarmed with a warrant of objectivity.  I can't imagine how they think but they obviously are some of the most important of journalists, real journalists who put themselves in the gravest of danger, going to the bother of seeing and finding out what really happens so they can tell us.  Knowing that they could get killed and that many of their colleagues do get killed.

So often reporters are obscure, unknown,  as the idiots, flunkies and liars, the pundits, the opinion "journalists" become famous and wealthy and their every bit of affluent angst due to their onerous work schedule of one to three columns of spewage a week cuts into their leisure and social lives, the real basis of their careers as "journalists", becomes "news", itself.  They are celebrities famous for being famous for lying, not reporters, not real journalists.  It is rather obvious that a lot of the biggest names in "journalism" put more time into their dinner invitations than they do fact checking. I'm sure as I begin to see what those people say about the murder of James Foley, how they use his corpse for their political purposes and as a prop in their propaganda, those will get more coverage than his work ever did before he was abducted.

There needs to be a real distinction made between real journalists, reporters of fact, and the parasite, "opinion",  that has done so much to discredit the profession of journalism, such as what fills up the cabloids on a daily basis and the weeks greatest concentration of lies and spin during the Sunday morning talk shows.  If there is any fitting tribute to journalists who are murdered as they try to report fact, it would be to get rid of those liars and spinners.

I'm not holding my breath but I owe it to reporters who sacrifice everything to do the service to The People, informing their political choices and decisions to point out how their work and their very lives are stolen, distorted, suppressed and spun to subvert the entire reason for their sacrifice.   James Foley died in service to government of, by and for The People,  exactly the kind of thing that ISIS wants to prevent happening in the places they rule by terror.  The opinion "journalists" here who will spin his murder don't serve representative democracy, either.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

What Charlie Pierce Said

Intended Consequences
By Charles P. Pierce 8/19/2014 AT 5:25 PM
The Los Angeles Times followed some of the kids we deported back to Honduras. Things did not go well.

Like thousands of otsher undocumented Honduran children deported after having journeyed unaccompanied to the U.S., Sosa faces perilous conditions in the violent neighborhood from which he sought to escape. "There are many youngsters who only three days after they've been deported are killed, shot by a firearm," said Hector Hernandez, who runs the morgue in San Pedro Sula. 

"They return just to die." At least five, perhaps as many as 10, of the 42 children slain here since February had been recently deported from the U.S., Hernandez said.

It is now the stated position of most of the Republican party in this country, and of Republican politicians like Steve King and most of the prospective 2016 presidential field, that more children must be sent home to die this way. People should remember that.

As previously pointed out:  What The Bible Said:

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great God, mighty and awesome, who shows no partiality and accepts no bribes.He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing.  Deuteronomy 10:17-18

You shall neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for you were strangers in the land of Egypt.   Exodus 23:9

And if a stranger sojourn with you in your land, you shall not vex him  Leviticus 19:33

Cursed be he that perverts the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen.  Deuteronomy 27:19

Thus said the LORD; Execute you judgment and righteousness, and deliver the spoiled out of the hand of the oppressor: and do no wrong, do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, nor the widow, neither shed innocent blood in this place. Jeremiah 22:3

The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery, and have vexed the poor and needy: yes, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully. Ezekiel 22:29

And I will come near to you to judgment; and I will be a swift witness against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the widow, and the fatherless, and that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, said the LORD of hosts. Malachi 3:5

The Republican Party, and others in our government have the blood of those children on their hands and their blood is on ours too because we tolerate them in office.

Materialism Means Game Not Over Not Ever Progressing

In the quick and dirty new world of blogging with an undependable computer that I'm in, in the period since my morning break, I've decided I really like the metaphor of materialist atheism as a Chutes and Ladders Game with a chute on square two and a die that only has ones on it.   You can play the game as long as you want but since you undermine the intellectual basis for playing it with the rules and set up, you can't get anywhere.   

If you start out by discrediting the significance of thinking, you can't claim that your own thinking is, somehow, not covered by that.  Since I don't start out there, I suspect this idea will develop. 

Monday, August 18, 2014

A Summer Idyll Transcribed From Paper

I shouldn't bother reading celebrity atheists talking about their never to come-yet immanently arriving Theory of Everything, anymore.  The most fun that will be, I predict, is that they'll produce a Theory of Everything, then they'll produce another one, and another one.  I'll bet they'll run out of TOEs and still have stuff they'll have to stuff them into.

One of those things you can say to an atheist that will make them first entirely confused and, in the rare atheist who seems to be able to grasp the necessary concepts to understand the point, reduce them to sputtering rage, is to press the issues of God's infinitude, God's omniscience, God's omnipotence and the fact that people are, obviously, none of those.  The ultimate meaning of that difference is that there is no atheist talking point, no atheist argument to "prove that God doesn't exist" made on the basis of an incapacity of the omnipotent God or their frequent attempts to ensnare God in a net of paradox is irrelevant to the God of the Hebrew scriptures and the Greek canon of the Second Testament.

In futzing around with those concepts, what gets caught is not God, but the fact that the inability of human beings to understand things is broad enough to include that we just might not be able to comprehend The Mind of God*.  Which is also a concept that is contained in those scriptures mentioned in the previous paragraph.  We can't understand how an all powerful God could create a rock that was too big for God to pick up and also to pick it up but in the question, the two categories of rocks are based on limited human experience in the physical universe.  We can't pick up every rock because we, we created creatures of limited physical abilities, can't pick up every rock.  Rocks-that-we-can't-pick-up is a category describing a human inability, it has nothing to do with infinite ability.  A better question would be, can an atheist make a rock?  Can science create matter or energy, or, let's hear an atheist explain what it is that energy is.  If an atheist can't explain that, why should religious folk be required to explain things outside of any possible human experience or comprehension?  Which is an argument I can't wait to test out in the field.

And that is the real heart of those questions that atheists love to ask when the last thing they want is an answer that answers them.  They are really questions about the inability of humans to completely and universally close human understanding by means of logic.  As was mentioned here last week, and many other times before that, the simple fact is that we are constantly dealing with aspects of our most pedestrian experience we can't explain but which no one would question the existence of and be considered sane, energy, gravity, just what matter is, not to mention those other toys for considering the boundaries of conscious experience scientifically, colors.

If atheists can't do that as they make the most ridiculous claims of the completeness of human understanding of the physical universe,  demanding people who begin with an admission of the impossibility of understanding TheMind of God, explain it, is kind of absurd.   No, that's wrong, it is completely absurd.

* Yeah, I use upper case here just like I use BCE and CE, because it annoys people who are annoyed for all the wrong reasons.

Bela Bartok: Out of Doors Suite: Erzsébet Tusa: More Than Just A Musical Lesson

Part 1:  With Pipes and Drums, Barcarole, Musettes 

Part 2:  Night Music,  The Chase

I had never heard of Erzsébet Tusa before coming across these videos. Considering how many fine interpreters of Bela Bartok's music I've listened to and studied, how she could have escaped notice makes me wonder if her gender didn't have something to do with that.   The notes to the videos quotes Bartok's widow, Ditta Pásztory as saying:  "Erzsébet Tusa is a splendid pianist: she interprets the compositions of Béla Bartók, my husband, marvelously."  Considering that Ditta Pásztory was one of Bela Bartok's students, for whom he composed several of his greatest piano pieces, the Third Concerto, the Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion (as well as the concert version of that) and who recorded the chamber version of that in an amazing performance with her husband, she was probably the second most credible person to deliver that compliment.

Listening to these while going through the score, she doesn't seem to violate any of the written instructions while also finding things in it that I certainly never noticed in more than thirty years of familiarity with the music, I studied it while I was in college, though I never performed it.  Her playing in the Night Music, the heart of the suite, is the nearest imaginable musical evocation of being in the middle of the country, away from light pollution, with the random sounds and conversation of night creatures mixed with human feeling.  Or at least as near as I could imagine while I was hearing her play it the first time.

It makes you wonder how many other great interpreters of piano music there are as the world concentrates on the big name virtuosos, most of whom couldn't play at her level on the best day of their career.   The difference is in the submersion of ego into the intentions of the composer and the wider experience that is only possible when you don't put yourself first.

Summer Time Blues

I'm having computer trouble and only have the one computer and a serious, serious financial situation and other troubles so my blogging is 1. going to be dependent on this old beater I've got, 2. going to have to take a lower position in my priorities, for now. I can only promise to do what I can.

On the upside, I have to face it, I write a lot more than someone should and need to concentrate a bit more on quality.   But, as a thought criminal, I just can't stop having those forbidden thoughts.