Saturday, December 12, 2015

FOX Hunt - The Unspeakable In Control Of The Ineducable

I am being trolled over this post at Americablog about the unfit to be president Ted Cruz saying that atheists aren't fit to be president.  It's meaningless. It's him throwing meat to the tire biters who he needs to get elected into office and send him money.  It means nothing.  What?  Did anyone believe he wouldn't say something like that if he had the chance?

This is a ritual.  Here's the program, step by step.

1. Fascist says something outrageous on a religious topic insulting atheists, Muslims, etc. 

2. His or her intended audience cheer.

3a. "Secularists'" atheists', liberals'. etc. knees jerk in reflexive outrage, much of it as much for show as the fascist's provocation.  They insult the majority of voters who are Christian if not even more voters on the basis of their universal hatred of religion. 

3b.  In the exact mirror of what Cruz says, lots of "secularists" etc. say that it's Christians who are too stupid and superstitious to ever be president, thus showing that they, as well as Cruz and his bots, have a religious test on who should be allowed to hold office. 

4. The fascist gets what they want, campaign contributions, maybe votes, suffering no ill effects while being able to point to the idiots who insulted even more voters in step 3, thus making even more hay.

5. Repeat the dance of the dunces. 

Tell me that the suckers who fall for what Cruz et al do are the masters of this game so I'll know just how stupid you are.

As I've been pointing out on various blogs since 2006, no one has a right to be president, that being president is a responsibility which only the winner of an election has the PRIVILEGE of assuming. No president has the right to the office, it is a privilege granted by THE PEOPLE.  THE PEOPLE get to decide who ever they are going to vote for on whatever criteria they choose to base their vote on.  That atheists would seem to not have the confidence of enough voters to seriously have a chance at winning the presidency might be unfortunate in some cases.  I'd vote for Barney Frank for president and assumed Barry Commoner might be an atheist when I voted for him .

But, after looking intensively at the literature of atheism, as written by atheists and thinking about, especially, the consequences of materialism for equal rights and the moral obligation to respect those, I'd want to either have a long public record to go on or a real and rational articulation of where an atheist believes those come from and why they are mandatory instead of an optional vestige of Kroptkin's ridiculous attempt to tame natural selection.  Even the neo-Nazis believe that (see Kevin MacDonald)/  That it would be necessary for someone running as an atheist to prove he had a solid basis on which his understanding of those prerequisites are mandatory and absolute before he would get my vote is the doing of atheists.  It is the declarations of atheists, their assertions of science which is biological determinsim that makes those questions entirely responsible ones for anyone who values egalitarian democracy and equal rights.

The only reason I might have hesitations about voting for an atheist who could answer those questions and who could convince me that they would fight for a platform I would support  is that a considerable number of their supporters would probably throw the election so they could indulge themselves in their attention getting offensive Christian bashing.

Update:  Simps is saying that as I said he was unfit to be president that I"m on the same page as Ted Cruz.  If he got Bezos bucks for every time someone lied on his blog, Duncan could stop begging his tiny little commenting community to keep buying stuff so he can get his cut.

Foot Notes to Yesterdays posts

The cover and a page from a wartime Nazi Advent pamphlet of 1941. 
There is no mention of Christ but plenty of family-oriented propaganda and a celebration of the cycle of the year, complete with Swastika.

It looks not all that different from a lot of the supposed neo-pagan stuff you'll see in a similar attempt to de-Christianize Christmas and to be rather stupidly inclusive.

I have to thank the troll who led me to look more into how the Nazis stole Christmas because there are few things that more firmly demonstrate their determination to obliterate Christianity.   And, to the point I made about the apparent lack of Pagan opposition to Nazism, they were obviously wildly pro-Paganism as long as it was Germanic paganism.  I hadn't realized that the SS insignia was an overt use of runic symbolism, as, in fact, a large number of other Nazi insignias are.   In addition to being the rune for the sound "s" as in the name of the SS, it stands for "victory".

There really is no bottom to the creepiness of the Nazis taking over the holiday.

Grenade shaped christmas tree ornaments

These are ornaments made in the shape of hand grenades. 
as mentioned yesterday.                                                

And to go along with the "axial tilt" post this morning, the Nazis were determined to replace winter solstice as the point of the holiday, they also wanted people to think that the axial tilt was the reason for the season.  

"Celebrating the birth of a Jewish baby was unthinkable for the Nazis," said Juergen Mueller, the chief researcher behind the exhibit "Not Such a Holy Night" at the National Socialism Documentation Center in Cologne, which documents Christmas tradition during the Third Reich.
But Christmas was too popular even during the Nazi period to be banned, Mueller told Deutsche Welle. "They therefore decided to corrupt it."

Initially Nazi officials had tried to reject all Christian traditions. They renamed the festival Julfest and propagated the Germanic origins of the winter celebration of light on December 21, the winter solstice.

'And, as to the Nazis rewriting the words to Silent Night to take Jesus and God out of it - see the Deutsche Welle article linked to - Garrison Keillor noted that was also being done in what should be an annual  holiday tradition.

I've just come from Cambridge, that beehive of brilliance, where nerds don't feel self-conscious: There's always someone nerdier nearby. If you are the World's Leading Authority on the mating habits of the jabberwock beetle of the Lesser Jujube Archipelago, you can take comfort in knowing that the pinch-faced drone next to you at Starbucks may be the W.L.A. on 17th-century Huguenot hymnody or a niche of quantum physics that is understood by nobody but himself.

People in Cambridge learn to be wary of brilliance, having seen geniuses in the throes of deep thought step into potholes and disappear. Such as the brilliant economist Lawrence Summers, whose presidency brought Harvard to the verge of disaster. He, against the advice of his lessers, invested Harvard's operating funds in the stock market and lost the bet. In the cold light of day, this was dumber than dirt, like putting the kids' lunch money on Valiant's Fancy to win in the 5th. And now the genius is in the White House, two short flights of stairs above the Oval Office. This does not make Cantabrigians feel better about our nation's economic future.

You can blame Ralph Waldo Emerson for the brazen foolishness of the elite. He preached here at the First Church of Cambridge, a Unitarian outfit (where I discovered that "Silent Night" has been cleverly rewritten to make it more about silence and night and not so much about God), and Emerson tossed off little bon mots that have been leading people astray ever since. "To be great is to be misunderstood," for example. This tiny gem of self-pity has given license to a million arrogant and unlovable people to imagine that their unpopularity somehow was proof of their greatness.

And all his hoo-ha about listening to the voice within and don't follow the path, make your own path and leave a trail and so forth, encouraged people who might've been excellent janitors to become bold and innovative economists who run a wealthy university into the ditch.

Unitarians listen to the Inner Voice and so they have no creed that they all stand up and recite in unison, and that's their perfect right, but it is wrong, wrong, wrong to rewrite "Silent Night." If you don't believe Jesus was God, OK, go write your own damn "Silent Night" and leave ours alone. This is spiritual piracy and cultural elitism, and we Christians have stood for it long enough. And all those lousy holiday songs by Jewish guys that trash up the malls every year, Rudolph and the chestnuts and the rest of that dreck. Did one of our guys write "Grab your loafers, come along if you wanna, and we'll blow that shofar for Rosh Hashanah"? No, we didn't.

Christmas is a Christian holiday - if you're not in the club, then buzz off. Celebrate Yule instead or dance around in druid robes for the solstice. Go light a big log, go wassailing and falalaing until you fall down, eat figgy pudding until you puke, but don't mess with the Messiah.

I'd better stop or it will get me on the Christmas Revels and I'm in a bad enough mood seeing all that Nazi stuff, already.

Unfortunately It's Necessary To Post This Again Too

American Moloch: The Ignored Verse Right Before The One They Push

Do not give any of your children to be sacrificed to Moloch, for you must not profane the name of your God. I am the LORD. Leviticus 18:21 

Two now three years after the sacrifice of children at the Sandy Hook Elementary School, the actual patron gods of the United States, Moloch and Mammon, are fatter than ever, fed on the blood and flesh of children sacrificed to them as certainly as any thrown on the heated statue of one and ground up by the daily mechanism of the other.   The various mass feedings of those gods is supplemented by daily sacrifices, especially of children of color and poor children instead of those of the elite, sanctioned and enabled by the state, the high church of the Supreme Court, the media, the NRA, Koch bros. the press.... 

Olivier Messiaen - Twenty Visions of The Baby Jesus - XIII Christmas - Yvonne Loriod

As close to a definitive performance as we have, it brought tears to the eyes of the composer.

It's a Blunderful LIfe: Still Dealing With Family Problems So Another Christmas Classic Rerun

Original Title:  I So Don't Miss Carl Sagan (and his smirky self-satisfied mug).

I wonder how many of the sciency smart boys even understand what axial tilt means or how many of them realize that the planet is tilted all of the time.   I'll bet not one in a hundred of the atheist sci-rangers who parroted that line yesterday could even define what the term means.

Considering that it's more than just an arguable case that Johannes Kepler, a very devout Christian, and Galileo, another very devout Christian, can be pretty much credited with understanding that the system of Copernicus, an actual Christian cleric, led to the conclusion that axial tilt produced the seasons, I don't see that atheists have much of a claim to the concept.

Update:  Ah, no, no joy for the atheists in the Greek guy who first estimated it

It is related that Oenopides, seeing an uneducated youth who had amassed many books, observed, “Not in your coffer but in your breast.”24 Sextus Empiricus25 says that Oenopides laid special emphasis on fire and air as first principles. Aëtius26 says that Diogenes (of Apollonia), Cleanthes, and Oenopides made the soul of the world to be divine. Cleanthes left a hymn to Zeus in which the universe is considered a living being with God as its soul, and if Aëtius is correct then Oenopides must have anticipated these views by more than a century. Diogenes is known to have revived the doctrine of Anaximenes that the primary substance is air, and presumably Oenopides in part shared this view but gave equal primacy to fire as a first principle.

Update 2:  Yeah, Galileo got house arrest for tangling with Urban VIII who, in a fact little known to atheists of little brain, had actually been Galileo's patron and defender up till the time Galileo spoofed him as "Simplicus",  not a wise thing to do to a Pope in early 17th century Italy.  They tended to be touchy about being mocked.   His house arrest was so brutal that he managed to write and, as I recall, publish one of his major works, The Discourse on Two New Sciences, which I am sure you are aware, only not.  By the way, it was published in Leiden. During his house arrest Galileo was awarded a gold chain by the Dutch government, which he refused.  His main enemy and former friend, Urban VIII commended him on his refusal.   From that treatment we can see how the treatment of Galileo proves the evil nature of Christianity.

And we can confirm that by noting how those humane atheists have dealt with such enlightened ways with their scientists who opposed the officially approved science of their day such as Georgii Karpechenko, Georgii Nadson, Isaak Agol, Solomon Levit, Grigorii Levitskii,... Oh, um. But..... well, yeah..... they were actually all executed as enemies of Lysenkoism.   How about someone who they didn't execute, who had that in common with Galileo.  How about the great botanist Nikolai Vavilov.  Well, true he got sent to prison instead of house arrest in his own digs and, well, true he did die of starvation there but, hey, at least it wasn't those evil Xians who did him in.   It wasn't like what they did to Lavoisier, cutting his head off..... well, yeah, I guess it was atheists who did him in during that great event in the history of atheism, the Reign of Terror in France, But I'll bet they used that symbol of their materialist enlightenment, the guillotine.

Actually, considering the internal exile of Andrei Sakharov, that's a better comparison with Galileo.  Like you know, when they let Galileo move to another one of his houses, in Florence, to be closer to his eye doctor.  Hey, now there's a coincidence for you, Sakharov's wife Yelena Bonner went to Italy when she had eye trouble too.  Only they had to wait till a change of government before their internal exile was lifted for her to go.

Update 3:  Well, your great hero Lillian Hellman we tangled over last night was a devoted Stalinist during the entire time those scientists were being killed by the great hero of scientific atheism, Stalin, even as my distant cousin was having the falling out with her that makes such entertaining reading now.  As was the god(less)father and patron of Paul Kurtz and, so, sugar daddy of neo atheism, and "Humanist of the Year" Corliss Lamont.   I'd love to go through his papers to find out if he ever mentioned Lysenkoism or the trail of scientists who either got offed by his hero, Stalin, or died in prison or never worked in science again.  Compared to the high 17th century crime against science that is held to merit death to Catholicism and religion in general, the scads of bodies wracked up within living memory by atheist governments is held, by you guys and the people who control the media to be barely worth noticing.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Mikołaj Zieleński - Magnificat a 12

Last year this time I was posting dozens of settings of the Magnificat, most of which I'd never heard before, some from composers I'd never heard before.  This one by Mikołaj Zieleński was one of those, I don't know why I'd never encountered him before, he was clearly a master composer of the late 16th and early 17th centuries.  The piece is for three choruses of four parts distributed -SATT.ATTB.TTBB.  With only one of Sopranos and two Altos and three bases, that leaves half of the parts in the tenor range.  The effect is fascinating.   He also wrote a fascinating setting of Vox in Rama that I will try to remember to post on the appropriate day.   He is clearly well remembered in Poland, from the Youtubes of performances, he should be better known here.


More On The Nazi Yule As Evidence of Its Anti-Christianity

Housewives were encouraged to bake biscuits in similar shapes. One of the exhibits is a page from a Nazi women's magazine with a baking recipe: "Every boy will want to bake a sig (SS) rune," proclaims the accompanying text.

The Nazification of Christmas did not end there. The Christmas tree crib was replaced by a Christmas garden containing wooden toy deer and rabbits. Mary and Jesus became the Germanic mother and child, while dozens of Christmas carols, including the famous German hymn "Silent Night", were rewritten with all references to God, Christ and religion expunged. At the height of the anti-Christian campaign, an attempt was made to replace the coming of Christ the Saviour with the coming of Adolf Hitler – the "Saviour Führer."

"We cannot accept that a German Christmas tree has anything to do with a crib in a manger in Bethlehem," wrote the Nazi propagandist Friedrich Rehm in 1937. "It is inconceivable for us that Christmas and all its deep soulful content is the product of an oriental religion," he added.

Mrs Breuer's mother, Rita, began collecting antique Christmas decorations in the 1970s. Her husband had said he wanted the sort of old-fashioned German tree that his grandmother used to have. But Rita Breuer and her daughter soon started to unearth bizarre tree decorations that had little to do with the traditional Christmas. First World War items included a miniature glass soldier carrying a hand grenade and military tree baubles in the shape of shells and tanks.*

"The trend continued into the Nazi era," Mrs Breuer said. The church was too intimidated to protest, and the majority of Germans continued with the traditions they had become used to. "The Nazi Christmas ideology appears to have been adhered to most by the families of party activists who lived in towns," she added. The Nazi version of some German carols that were stripped of their Christian content survive and are still unwittingly sung by today's Germans.

The hijacking of Christmas did not end with the Nazis. There were also attempts to de-Christianise the event in the former communist East Germany. Prominent communist authors tried to substitute the birth of Jesus with that of the Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, who just happened to have been born in a humble Russian hut on December 21. "It may seem peculiar now, but in some cases the transition was almost seamless," Mrs Breuer said.

It's too bad that The Independent mares an otherwise interesting report by repeating  some of the parallel English mythology about Christians stealing Christmas I talked about this morning.  As I said, RMJ has done some good debunking of that nonsense.

*  I've done more research about Vernon Kellogg's book "Headquarters Nights" expressing his horror over the "neo-Darwinian" beliefs of the German military and intellectual class in what is clearly proto-Nazi beliefs about how nature has ordained survival of the fittest and the death of those who are less fit.  It will take some writing up but maybe I'll get to that in the new year.   That assumption would account for those pre-Nazi-proto-Nazi Christmas decorations associating war with Christmas.

Athe-Pagan Hate Mail - A Quick Response

I don't have time to write today due to work and a family emergency.   Here's a quote from an article about an exhibition about how the Nazis co-opted Christmas.

"Christmas was a provocation for the Nazis -- after all, the baby Jesus was a Jewish child," Judith Breuer, who helped prepare the exhibition and co-authored the accompanying book with her mother, told SPIEGEL ONLINE. "The most important celebration in the year didn't fit with their racist beliefs so they had to react, by trying to make it less Christian."

The exhibition, which includes such peculiar objects from the Breuers' massive collection as swastika-shaped cookie-cutters and Christmas tree baubles emblazoned with the Nazi symbol, shows the bizarre ways the Nazis came up with to try to take the Christ out of Christmas. They tried to persuade housewives to bake cookies in the shape of a sun wheel, a form similar to the swastika, and they attempted to replace the Christian figure of Saint Nicholas, who traditionally brings German children treats on Dec. 6, with the figure of Odin, the Norse god.

One symbol posed a particular problem for the Nazis, namely the star, which traditionally decorates Christmas trees. "Either it was a six-pointed star, which was a symbol of the Jews, or it was a five-pointed star, which represented the Soviets," Breuer says. Either way, the star had to go.

And to the points you object to in yesterday's post:

One particular sinister example of the Nazi Christmas tradition is the Julleuchter ("Yule lantern"), a kind of candlestick which can also be seen in the exhibition. Heinrich Himmler, head of the SS, had the supposedly "Germanic" lantern produced by inmates in the Dachau and Neuengamme concentration camps to give as a present to members of the SS. The same version of the Julleuchter that Himmler had made is still sold today in certain shops with a New Age bent as a traditional Christmas decoration.

And many of the myths that the Nazis invented are still circulating. "You can still read in places about how Christmas is really an ancient Germanic festival of the winter solstice," Breuer says, pointing out that there is little evidence of any such celebration.

That article refers to that myth in German popular culture, the English speaking world's source of it, as RMJ has pointed out, is likely the product of English Puritan anti-Catholic invective.  Which would account for the fact that in the United States many of the Christmas traditions such as Christmas cookys come from the Dutch influence.   I remember reading an essay from Thomas Boyleston Adams in which he talks about how the proper Boston Calvinists were scandalized when their fellow Calvinists, the Huguenots, celebrated Christmas which their ancestors had made illegal.  Not all Calvinists were opposed to some form of Christmas celebrations.   If I can find where I put the book I'll type out that passage.

Update:  I wonder what would happen if someone asked you to own Sheldon Adelson, Richard Perle, Midge Decter, William Kristol, .. the neo-cons in general.  So I just pose that as a topic for consideration alongside your asking me to account for pseudo-Christians on FOX.

Update 2:  I don't think I've ever refered to Sheldon Adelson in a way that would be used to carecterize other Jews as you are using some clearly phony Christians on FOX to characterize Christians.  Here's the only other reference to him I find in a word search of this blog.

That SOME Jews have too much power, Sheldon Adelson, for example, is not a matter for serious doubt, but that's due to the undue power of that what is probably, historically,  the least Jewish of all branches of our government, The Supreme Court.  It is the Supreme Court which has given the country to billionaires and millionaires.  As I recall, it was the Jewish members of the court in recent years who would probably have done the most to sustain the congressional limits on such as Adelson's political influence, enhancing the power of The People as a whole.   I would suspect if most of the Jews who have sat in the Senate had more power, they would have blocked the nominations of the corporate Republicans to the court and we would have gotten the government out of the hands of the billionaires.  If we had a Judiciary committee staffed by Howard Metzenbaums and Russ Feingolds the country wouldn't be in danger of becoming a fascist oligarchy.   I would love it if such Jews had a decisive voice in making the laws of the United States, though we might sometimes part company on support of the Israeli government.  That survey question is something I couldn't possibly answer and would never have any inclination to answer for all of those reasons stated above and below. 

Update 3:  You know Bunky, I could publish your comments to show that's exactly what you claimed the only reason I haven't is because they are rather stupid.

Update 4:  I have no problem allowing you to show what a fool you are, it's that I don't want to cheapen my blog by posting it.

Update 5: 2 comments  Setting Up the Simp So He Suckers Himself


steve simelsDecember 11, 2015 at 4:57 PM
"I don't want to cheapen my blog "

Well, that horse left the barn some years ago.

The Thought CriminalDecember 11, 2015 at 5:08 PM
Well, yeah, I have published your comments before.

Olivier Messiaen - Twenty Visions Of the Baby Jesus - XII - The All Mighty Word

Markus Bellheim, piano

The identity of Jesus as Christ as The Word is some of the most overt part of the mystic content of the accounts of his life and teachings.  As given in the various places it is said, especially in the John Gospel, it is more than a metaphor, it is actual identity, The Word is conceived of as being the actual being of Jesus Christ.    Whatever else there might be to understand about what that means, one thing is clear, The Word that is to be understood by that is absolute truth, absolute reality.   I used to not understand the first thing about that, it took me the better part of six decades to start to understand it, I'm still, slowly, beginning to see, not how it fits into reality but how it resolved so much about reality.  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Hate Mail

I make no apologies for being aggressive in arguments.  I rejected the losing, lame-brained, loony code of liberal niceness which I never signed onto and if I'd been asked to I'd have told them to go climb a tree.  I did that in my very first ever blog post. 

To start with, there are two things about the Code of Liberal Ethics that bother me. One, that we are supposed to be entirely fair to everyone and especially in instances when that would put us at a disadvantage, will be dealt with later. The one I will deal with first is the assumption that liberals must get it right every time, not only right but correct. That liberals and leftists, such as myself, must be purer than pure or relegated to the tip, is something I'd better address right now in this first post.

I have no intention of getting it right every time. I begin with no expectation of getting it entirely right a plurality of the time. No guarantee of such is given or offered. I will not allow considerations of the possibility of failure from keeping me from action. On occasion I'll plow straight ahead if conditions seem to warrant it. I, friends, am the thoroughly bad sort and claim as mine, as the sacred possession of every liberal and leftist, the absolute right enjoyed by the rest of humanity to get it wrong. And not only this but I claim as the birthright of leftists to present our side of things to the advantage of our side. I have absolutely no intention to be fair to fascists either, but that's for another day and I hope that Nat Hentoff doesn't die before I get to it.

The Code of Liberal Ethics is a standard operating setting required in every organ of the media. It is applied without consideration, without thought, as a matter of habit. It is a solid state component of the minds of far too many liberals. It is a weapon used exclusively against liberals and leftists and is applied to no other segment of the political spectrum. Everyone, from mushy moderate to rabid fascist is allowed their failings and their biases. But not liberals. Certainly not leftists.

No more. Here, today, I issue our own manumission, my fellow leftists. We have shaken off the chains of perfection, we are free of the lash of faultlessness. We claim our right to consider our own opinions superior and worthy of dominance. Never again will we present the arguments of conservatives as if they merit equal treatment. We will scorn their folly and expose their lies and their entertaining hypocrisies without apology. We will get off our knees and kick every fascist where it counts. In all seriousness, our lives, the lives of our loved ones, the life of the biosphere absolutely depend on it. We must crush out of ourselves and our kind the remains of these mind forged manacles and wipe their residue from every voice and their assumed existence from every ban. Friends, we have nothing to fear. We are free.

If I hadn't been much more innocent and naive, I'd have thrown in a few more things. Needless to say, I've included the pseudo-left as my intended target, I was only vaguely aware of its existence back then. I did learn a few things from otherwise wasted hours at Eschaton.

Here is that one about not being nice to Nazis.

Footnote To The Morning Post

Since he has said he was guilty, I will not pretend that there ever was any doubt but that Robert Dear murdered three people and injured more when he shot people in and around the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs.  I saw some, but not that much, Christian bashing over his declaration in court that he'd done it "for the babies".  That one of those murdered was a woman who, for all he knew, could have been pregnant, it's not especially credible that he was that concerned about embryos or fetuses as much as he was just angry and out of control.  But, as hard as it is to do, taking him at his words that was his motive, it was nothing to do with Christianity.  

I have pointed out that those using this as an occasion to blame Christians, en masse for this kind of violence are, actually, blaming the victims for their own deaths, very possibly blaming many of the injured for their being shot or harmed in some other way.

The first identified murder victim of Robert Dear, officer Garrett Swasey was not only a Christian but a part-time pastor at his church.   Unlike every blog rat I saw using his death as an occasion for Christian bashing, he was responding to a call to stop Dear and to protect people put at risk by his attack.  

We now know that the other murder victims were also Christians.

Jennifer Yurie Ah King Markovsky was an adult convert to Orthodox Christianity,

Father Anthony Karbo of the Holy Theophany Orthodox Church told the congregants that Markovsky had been baptized into the church a few years ago and had taken the name Anastasia, which means "resurrection."

Ke'Arre Stewart was, evidently,  a Baptist, he was buried from the Carver Park Baptist Church in Waco, Texas.

Since the names of the other victims who didn't die of their wounds haven't been named, it isn't possible to find out if they, too, were responsible for their being attacked by Robert Dear because they, as well,  professed a Christianity which they probably followed whereas he didn't.

You wonder why science never gets the blame for its part in producing the weapons a Robert Dear or the Syed Rizwan Farooks and Tashfeen Maliks of the world use to terrorize, injur and murder people. The weapons they used aren't designed and made for anything other than killing people and other living beings.

A Scot Is Born A Scot A Christian Decides To Be One There Are Untrue Christians

The other day, when I pointed out that the brutality of Christian medieval Europe lacked at least one feature that made the brutal pagan European cultures worse, human sacrifice, I got someone's pinafore in a twist.  I pointed out that any brutality done by those nominal Christians would have been in contradiction to the very teachings of the man they revered as divine, no less a figure than the only Son of God.  That isn't something you can say about the brutality of paganism, warfare and brutality, human sacrifice were part of pagan religion, just those things which made it so popular with some of the most brutal of the Nazis, Himmler, for example.   For those who go all romantic about the Yule, the SS under Himmler were real big on celebrating the "Jule"  there was a special ceramic, the Julleuchter, candle holders created as an award for members of the SS who participated in Nazi celebrations of the Yule, the candle symbolic of the "undying sun" which was apparently, to be associated with Nazism as well as the little yellow star we enjoy.

Image result for julleuchter

I have seen identical "Yule lights" sold as neo-pagan holiday items and as decorations on pagan websites, some of them also, neo-Nazi webites ("Heathern English" is one, though I will not post a url for a neo-Nazi website.) There is even an apparent pagan revisionist who  includes a cross and a star of David along with the SS lightning bolts and other Nazi symbols.  I'm not sure of his motives but I doubt they're honest.

It was all part of the promotion of paganism which the Nazi hierarchy were pushing to be an eventual replacement for Christianity, as was, in fact, the pseudo-Christian, "Postitive Christianity" in which everything would be redefined because the original contained such anti-Nazi facts that the man who was held to be the second person in the Godhead was a Jew, all of his earliest named followers were Jews, the morality taught by Jesus was the direct and absolute opposite of what was taught by Nazism, etc.   That a number of those pushing paganism were atheists, such as Alfred Rosenberg, who saw it as something the simple people needed as they were turned into atheists and Nazis rather demonstrates my point.

The Nazi substitute for Christianity, "Positive Christianity" is also useful to refute the line used in the hate mail this post is inspired by,  "No true Scotsman".   There is a problem when applying that pat phrase to what I said in that you can be a true Scotsman by simply being born a Scot, you can be a perfectly good Scot by that simple fact no matter what course of conduct you take.   It's a matter of biological heritage.  You can't say the same thing about Christianity, which is not biological but is based at its rock bottom foundation on belief in the teachings of Jesus. The extent to which you follow those is the extent to which you are being good at practicing Christianity, of "being a true Christian" if you will.  The extent to which you violate and contradict those teachings is the extent to which you are being an untrue Christian.   Someone who followed the Nazis' "Positive Christianity" was in no way a true Christian.

That many such have pretended to be successful at being Christians is something which is, as well, a part of the Gospel of Jesus.  Over and over again he noted there were and would be people who professed their belief in his teachings only to prove by their actions that they don't.  He said there would be false prophets who led people astray.   The Gospels show that Jesus wasn't under any illusions as to that, it would also be false to his teachings for anyone professing Christianity to not admit to it and to question, critically those who profess their Christianity especially when their actions are radically in opposition to the moral teachings that define Christianity.

You would never say that someone who insisted on doing their arithmetic wrong was a "true mathematician" you wouldn't say that someone who, despite their having a doctorate in Biology, denied the reality of evolution or the scientific method was being a "true scientist".   Like science, Christianity is something that you adopt as a conscious choice, it's not something you're born to.  You can't say that even a Scot who betrays Scotland isn't a true Scotsman, their parents determined that at conception.  You can easily say someone isn't being a true scientist or Christian because those choices are entirely in their own hands.  That phrase in that context should be put away because it is especially ill considered.  That it seems to have been the biology teacher, P.Z. Myers who has popularized it among atheists is especially revealing of his lapse in analytical rigor, he's had a number of those.

Olivier Messiaen - Twenty Meditations On The Baby Jesus - XI The First Communion of the Virgin

Joanna MacGregor, piano

The title of the collection that I've given as "Twenty Meditations on the Baby Jesus" could also be translated as "Twenty Visions" I don't know which would be closer to the composer's intentions.  I'm not enough of a Messiaen scholar to know which sense would be more accurate.  The title of some of them could also be translated in another way from the ones I've chosen.  Some of them are quite mysterious and open to a range of meaning.  Though the centrality of the Baby Jesus, the focus of the entire set and meditations derived from them is certain as is the motive from the very first one signifying God the Father which comes back over and over again.

To Come To A Fuller Understanding Of The Magnificat Through Its Context: From The Gospel At Solentiname


We came to the Song of Mary, the Magnificat, traditionally known by that name because it is the first word in the Latin.  It is said that this passage of the Gospel terrified the Russian Czars, and the Maurras was very right in talking about the "revolutionary germ" of the Magnificat.

The pregnant Mary had gone to visit her cousin Elizabeth, who also was pregnant.  Elizabeth congratulated her because she would be the mother of the Messiah, and Mary brok out singing that song.  It is a song of the poor.  The people of Nicaragua have been very fond of reciting it.  It is the favorite prayer of the poor and superstitious campesinos often carry it as an amulet.  In the time of the old Somoza when the campesinos were required always to carry with them proof that they had voted for him, the poeple jokingly called that document the Magnificat.

Now young ESPERANZA read this poem and the women began to comment on it.

My soul praises the Lord
my heart rejoices in God my Savior,
because he has noticed his slave.

"She praises God because the Messiah is going to be born, and that's a great event for the people."
" She calls God 'Savior' because she knows that the Son that he has given her is going to bring liberation." 
"She is full of joy.  Us women must also be that way, because in our communitiy the Messiah is born too, the liberator."
"She recognizes liberation ... We have to do the same thing.  Liberation is from sin, that is, from selfishness, from injustice, from misery, from ignorance -- eveything that's oppressive.  That liberation is in our wombs too, it seems to me. " 

The last speaker was ANDREA, a young married woman, and now OSCAR, her young husband breaks in:  "God is selfish because he wants us to be his slaves. He wants our submission. Just him.  I don't see why Mary has to call herself a slave. We should be free!  Why just him?  That's selfishness."

ALEJANDRO, who is a bachelor:  "We have to be slaves of God, not of men."
Another young man:  "God is love.  To be a slave of love is to be free because God doesn't make us slaves.  He's the only thing we should be slaves of, love.  And then we don't make slaves of others.'
ALEJANDRO'S MOTHER says:  "To be a slave of God is to serve others.  That slavery is liberation."

I said that it's true that this selfish God Oscar spoke about does exist.  And it's a God invented by people.  People have often invented a god in their own image and likeness - not the true God, but idols, and those religions are alienating, an opium of the people.  But the God of the Bible does not teach religion, but rather he urges Moses to take Israel out of Egypt, where the Jews were working as slaves, He led them from colonialism to liberty.  And later God ordered that among those people no one could hold another as a slave, because they had been freed by him and belonged only to him, which means they were free...

I have reposted this because the insight that these impoverished peasant women and men, in a country under a despot placed there by an imperial power, the United States, who supported him in power, who trained the National Guard that terrorized and murdered them and their children, with impunity, is as good a context as we can find to understand what the birth narrative in Luke must have meant to those who first heard it in an out of the way corner of the mighty Roman Empire.  There is no way for someone who grows up in an imperial state, in 20th century affluence,  certainly not a white man living in the United States in the post-war period, to have their direct knowledge of what the words in the Magnificat means.  For me even my experience as a lower middle-class gay American man who grew up in a relatively modest economic milieu by American standards, doesn't get me near to it.  To try to get there must be an act of imagination that can only be accurately informed by considering what they and others in similar situations have to say.

The words of the Magnificat must have been astonishingly audacious to those who first heard it in the first century Mediterranean basin.  Especially when they would probably have imagined them said, not by a mature woman of even her twenties but a girl in her early teens, the common age of marriage.  For someone that age to claim what Mary does in this text might be unprecedented in literature up to that time.  I'd like to know if that's the case.  Imagine if a poor 14 year old Latina or African American girl who was pregnant and unmarried said something like that today what the reaction would be today.  It would be the butt of jokes and if it was believed it would be fodder for late night stand-up and the clever boys and girls of the online comment community.  Any influence it had in the culture would be laughed out of existence.  Only, that's not what happened in this case, perhaps something of a miracle, as so much about the unlikely existence of Christianity can be seen to be.   Any religion that teaches self-sacrifice, moral obligations and the need to love your enemies even as they persecute you certainly doesn't have the more pleasurable aspects of human nature on its side.  The current test of Christianity isn't science, it is the seductive pleasures of consumer propaganda.

I wish there were more musical settings that would give that aspect of the text more emphasis, by women who have that experience to give them a more genuine comprehension of the words in their fuller context.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

OK, I Just Had To Post This

Gustav Holst - First Suite in Eb - 3. March (on ocarinas and euphoniums)

This piece was stuck in my head, so naturally I decided to make a video of it. I made this arrangement for 6 ocarinas and 4 euphoniums.

The ocarinas used in this video are:

- Casper Soprano C
- Focalink Soprano G
- Rotter Z-fans Alto C
- Focalink Triple Alto C
- Dinda Tenor F
- Noble Bass C

Jordan Moore

Hate Mail

It doesn't matter one bit that you would like to be able to find out such information as sociology pretends to discover, if the methods available to you can't do that, you can't use them to find out that information.  It also doesn't matter that the fraud of doing that is generally accepted, it doesn't change the fact that their methods can't yield reliable data or reliable information.

That "nones" are defined on the basis of saying "none of the above" only means that they are otherwise undefined as a group and to make any kind of an assertion about them is false about some of them, perhaps most of them and so it is a false statement.  Any group which is defined on such a loose criterion can't be characterized other than that.   Yet people are always making claims about the "nones" generally identifying them as anti-religious if not atheists.

I would say that the fact that Pew found that it was about the group least likely to retain people identified as such - by the researchers, not themselves -  is a good indication that it isn't a legitimate grouping for researchers to create.   That the sub groupings, atheists, agnostics, indifferent, vaguely believing in some "spiritual force" or "god" would be tiny in numbers doesn't mean anymore than that some of the other groups in such polls are tiny.  Buddhists, Jews, Muslims, are all small groups in such polls, but there is no ideological motivation to make assertions about them for the benefit of anti-religious ideology.

William Bolcom - Just As I Am - Gospel Preludes Book 1 #3

Nicholas Capozzoli, organ
Westminster Presbyterian Church (Upper St. Clair, PA)

I should mention that there is a really good recording of all of the Gospel Preludes played by Gregory Hand on the Naxos label.   Naxos also has what I still believe is the only recording available of William Bolcom's great and massive song cycle on William Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience,  certainly one of the great works of the 20th century and arguably among the greatest works ever composed by an American composer.  William Bolcom's choice to not stick to any one style of music produces an experience of incredible intensity and power and of intellectual engagement at its highest.  There should be a dozen recordings to choose from of these works, at least.

Olivier Messiaen - Twenty Meditations on The Baby Jesus - X - Meditation on the Spirit of Joy

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

There is a lot of jazz influence in this one, even hints of gospel music.  I don't know how much of that was intentional but it's there to be heard.  It is the most Ivesian of the set.

There Is Literally Nothing To The "Nones" But The Self Interest Of Those Who Invented And Use It

One point which was asserted in opposing one of my recent posts claimed that there was sociological fact that would refute what I'd said.  Since the person who made that pat claim produced no "sociological fact" it was an empty claim.   In atheist polemic, such vague citations of non-cited "science", counts as a debating point instead of an empty assertion.

The fans of such alleged scientific fact are rather credulous.  They never seem to wonder what the durability of such "fact" is, especially such of it which is the product of surveys.   I strongly suspect that a long term study of such "fact" would show that it is a transparent fiction, lasting only so long as the assumptions it is based in aren't questioned or analyzed for logical coherence, the sample selection is exempted from rules that are needed to come up with a representative sample and a number of other things that prevent their results from being reliable.

I have been having one of the perennial arguments over claims made about that artificial and ideological sociological invention, the "nones".   For anyone who hasn't read previous posts on that topic, the often discussed group allegedly representing those who have given up on God, was the invention of Barry Kosmin a founder of The Institute for the Study of Secularism.  He didn't like what his surveys showed, that in the United States, by a wide margin, religious affiliation was the norm, being unaffiliated or not identified with a religious group was not the norm.  He admitted in an interview that that was his motive in inventing a group so he wouldn't have to categorize them as what they were, "unaffiliated".

“Nonreligious” was a possibility. So was “non-faith” and “non-affiliated.”

But Kosmin rejected all of these. The “non” part bothered him. “Non-affiliated” would be like calling people “non-white,” he said. “We didn’t want to suggest that ‘affiliated’ was the norm, and every one else was an ‘other.’”

“Nomenclature,” he added, ” is quite important in these things.”

So Kosmin began calling this group the “nones,” a shortened version for “none of the above” — which is what people often said when asked to name their religion. He never thought the term would stick.

“It began as a joke,” he said, “but now, like many of these things, it has taken on its own life.”

Indeed. Today, “nones” are everywhere. Both in a literal sense and a literary one.

Since he said, "Nomenclature is quite important in these things," it is necessary to ask what was important in this for him.   That can be seen from the fact that Barry Kosmin is actively involved in anti-religious, pro-atheist promotions through his group Center for Inquiry.  He is on the board of Center for Inquiry and on its speakers board.  He is listed by them as

Dr. Kosmin is happy to speak to community and student groups about any of the areas mentioned below. His talks also include:

The Rise of the None Population
Secularism in a Global Context

So he has a clear motive other than as a purely scientific description of what his data actually say.  I don't know what fees Kosmin might charge for such speeches but that would be useful to know.   I would imagine, as the inventor of the "nones" he might be considered the foremost expert on that widely touted and promoted entity.

That his invention, "nones" is unlike the other groups in surveys which include it in their analysis can be seen from the fact that "nones" can be atheists, agnostics, people who are indifferent to the question of the existence of any god, people who don't identify with any particular denomination at the time of the survey but who believe in God (which would, I suppose, be the option I'd have to choose) or any number of other vague or specific beliefs.

There is also another big difference, as constituted in every survey I recall looking at, people were assigned to the group "nones" by the researchers, not themselves.  People counted as members of specific denominations or general traditions in the surveys put themselves there.  If I answered some of those surveys I've seen I would be put, against my will, into a category I don't think exists or is legitimate.   I flatly reject any assignment of my non-affiliation to the bogus category.

The group "nones" is a phony, clearly ideological invention which has created the illusion that religion, especially Christianity, is dying in the United States and elsewhere.   Which is clearly good news for Barry Kosmin and his ideological side of things.  I would say it is as clearly a red flag of warning that the entire enterprise of sociological surveying is an open invitation for the invention of such bogus entities created for the baldest of ideological purposes and sold to a willing press corps through which it is foisted on an unsuspecting public.   The whole enterprise is sold on the guarantee that what is called science carries a guarantee of reliability which the process of its creation, in this and many other cases, doesn't warrant.

Ironically, the sale of the "nones" reveals that sociological science and the behavioral sciences in general practice one of the vices traditional religion has so often fallen prey to, the temptation to peddle bogus lines on the basis of an assumption of reliability.  In the case of "religion" on one hand and such "science" on the other, both are sold on a habit of believing that the hierarchy of those invariably tell the truth and that they are kept in line by their peers.   When that isn't done in religion, you get frauds who  violate everything they are supposed to stand for, the same happens when scientific review fails or, in the cases of the social sciences, it is involved in the same fraud.

That the "nones" isn't a real group was revealed by one of the foremost promoters of the fraud, the Pew Research Center several years ago.  In a paper called Entering and Leaving The Ranks of the Unaffiliated, they revealed.

Paradoxically, the unaffiliated have gained the most members in the process of religious change despite having one of the lowest retention rates of all religious groups. Indeed, most people who were raised unaffiliated now belong to a religious group. Nearly four-in-ten of those raised unaffiliated have become Protestant (including 22% who now belong to evangelical denominations), 6% have become Catholic and 9% are now associated with other faiths. Overall, 4% of the total U.S. adult population now belongs to a religious group after having been raised unaffiliated.

Having such an investment in the category, "nones"  their reports on its increase having gotten them in the news and before the public, gaining standing and status for the Pew label, certainly the goal of any such a group. they won't admit that one of the reasons for that is because it's so much easier to pass into a group involuntarily by assignment and to leave such a non-existent group, likely unaware you were ever considered a member of it.

The issue of the rise of the "nones" as an intellectual entity is an excellent window into what is wrong with sociology and its typically bogus, self serving methods.  If I had unlimimted time I would go over the history of sociological claims and commonly held ideas to check them for durability.   I would guess that they are about as ephemeral as "scientific fact" as much of the stuff in psychology which rises, gains currency, becomes a dominant ideology and then falls through its own accumulated self-permissions to cut corners (some of them enormously large corners) in scientific methodology, logical rigor and even the absolute basis on which any scientific reliability really and ultimately rests, the moral position that you should tell the truth and not lie.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Will Scruggs Jazz Fellowship - Song of Mary - Magnificat

Brian Hogans, piano
Tommy Sauter, bass
Dan Baraszu, guitar
Will Scruggs, tenor sax
Marlon Patton, drums
Kinah Boto Ayah, percussion

Note:  This is the list I found online, I'm not sure it's right.

" the dangerous principle was promulgated that men are to be looked upon as means and not as ends "

The posts I did recently in response to atheists peddling their popular lie about the Nazis being a Christian phenomenon led to me reading more about the Nazi atheists' revival of Paganism as a more Germanic, more war encouraging religion for the simple Aryan masses than Christianity.  The posting of that fascist gun nut Christmas card with a Nazi Christmas card from 1944 had more guns as opposed to "Peace on Earth goodwill to humanity", neither of them had anything to do with Jesus.   They did have what a lot of folk believe is stolen by Christians from pagans.  As I've noted two Christmas seasons running that the pagans they were supposed to have stolen it from, along with their Yule holiday prominently featured what you do with guns, killing.   Not much like the late 19th-20th century myth about the Yule its religious aspect under paganism was an occasion for massive blood sacrifice, including human sacrifice.   For the class of people from whom those victims would be chosen, it must have been quite a horrific occasion as well as for the many animals so sacrificed.  As I also concluded as I thought about it, for such people a new and rival religion which banned human sacrifice and did not even sacrifice animals just have come as a blessed relief.   As brutal as Christian medieval Europe was, it lacked that feature of virtually all known European paganism.  Any brutality committed in the name of Christianity was at variance with the gospels and the rest of the New Testament, it is what is more likely held over from pagan times, not Christmas.

By the way, RMJ has done considerable research into the neo-pagan and atheist popular myth that the Xians stole the Yule from those poor beleaguered pagans.   Like so much of that neo-urban-webbian myth, that is rubbish.  

It was only reading about that parallel revival of paganism under the Nazis that I fully came to understand why for people like John Paul II and Bernard XVI a revival of paganism, by name or merely by common practice, would have been something to worry about.   They, growing up under the Nazis, learning more about it in the immediate post-war period and after, would have seen a connection between neo-paganism and Nazism.   That so many in the higher reaches of  the Nazi party saw so much in common between paganism and Nazism is certainly worth thinking about. Why shouldn't Pagans today have to answer for that?   I have, as of yet, found no pagan opposition to Nazism to match the Christian and, certainly, Jewish opposition to them at the time.


I recently mentioned one of the martyrs of the White Rose movement, Sophie Scholl who was beheaded by the Nazis for distributing pamphlets,  I also recently found a site with translations of  the White Rose pamphlets [for some reason the link to the fourth pamphlet didn't work].   Here's the first one.

Nothing is so unworthy of a civilized nation as allowing itself to be "governed" without opposition by an irresponsible clique that has yielded to base instinct. It is certain that today every honest German is ashamed of his government. Who among us has any conception of the dimensions of shame that will befall us and our children when one day the veil has fallen from our eyes and the most horrible of crimes - crimes that infinitely outdistance every human measure - reach the light of day?

If the German people are already so corrupted and spiritually crushed that they do not raise a hand, frivolously trusting in a questionable faith in lawful order in history; if they surrender man's highest principle, that which raises him above all other God's creatures, his free will; if they abandon the will to take decisive action and turn the wheel of history and thus subject it to their own rational decision; if they are so devoid of all individuality, have already gone so far along the road toward turning into a spiritless and cowardly mass - then, yes, they deserve their downfall.

Goethe speaks of the Germans as a tragic people, like the Jews and the Greeks, but today it would 
appear rather that they are a spineless, will-less herd of hangers-on, who now - the marrow sucked out of their bones, robbed of their center of stability - are waiting to be hounded to their destruction. So it seems - but it is not so. Rather, by means of a gradual, treacherous, systematic abuse, the system has put every man into a spiritual prison. Only now, finding himself lying in fetters, has he become aware of his fate.

Only a few recognized the threat of ruin, and the reward for their heroic warning was death. We will have more to say about the fate of these persons. If everyone waits until the other man makes a start, the messengers of avenging Nemesis will come steadily closer; then even the last victim will have been cast senselessly into the maw of the insatiable demon.

Therefore every individual, conscious of his responsibility as a member of Christian and Western 
civilization, must defend himself against the scourges of mankind, against fascism and any similar system of totalitarianism. Offer passive resistance - resistance - wherever you may be, forestall the spread of this atheistic war machine before it is too late, before the last cities, like Cologne, have been reduced to rubble, and before the nation's last young man has given his blood on some battlefield for the hubris of a sub-human. Do not forget that every people deserves the regime it is willing to endure.

From Friedrich Schiller's "The Lawgiving of Lycurgus and Solon":

Viewed in relation to its purposes, the law code of Lycurgus is a masterpiece of political science 
and knowledge of human nature. He desired a powerful, unassailable state, firmly established on its own principles. Political effectiveness and permanence were the goal towards which he strove, and he attained this goal to the full extent possible under the circumstances. But if one compares the purpose Lycurgus had in view with the purposes of mankind, then a deep abhorrence takes the 
place of the approbation which we felt at first glance. Anything may be sacrificed to the good of the state except that end for which the State serves as a means. The state is never an end in itself; it is important only as a condition under which the purpose of mankind can be attained, and this purpose is none other than the development of all of man's powers, his progress and improvement. 

If a state prevents the development of the capacities which reside in man, if it interferes with the progress of the human spirit, then it is reprehensible and injurious, no matter how excellently devised, how perfect in its own way. 

Its very permanence in that case amounts more to a reproach than to a basis for fame; it becomes a prolonged evil, and the longer it endures, the more harmful it is...

At the price of all moral feeling a political system was set up, and the resources of the state were 
mobilized to that end. In Sparta there was no conjugal love, no mother love, no filial devotion, no 
friendship; all men were citizens only, and all virtue was civic virtue.

A law of the state made it the duty of Spartans to be inhumane to their slaves; in these unhappy 
victims of war humanity itself was insulted and mistreated. In the Spartan code of law the dangerous principle was promulgated that men are to be looked upon as means and not as ends - and the foundations of natural law and of morality were destroyed by that law...

What an admirable sight is afforded, by contrast, by the rough soldier Gaius Marcius in his camp 
before Rome, when he renounced vengeance and victory because he could not endure to see a 
mother's tears!...

The state [of Lycurgus] could endure only under the one condition: that the spirit of the people 
remained quiescent. Hence it could be maintained only if it failed to achieve the highest, the sole 
purpose of a state.

From Goethe's "The Awakening of Epimenides, Act II, Scene 4:

SPIRITS: Though he who has boldly risen from the abyss Through an iron will and cunning May 
conquer half the world, Yet to the abyss he must return. Already a terrible fear has seized him; In vain he will resist! And all who still stand with him Must perish in his fall

HOPE: Now I find my good men Are gathered in the night, To wait in silence, not to sleep. And the glorious word of liberty They whisper and murmur, Till in unaccustomed strangeness, On the steps of  our temple Once again in delight they cry: Freedom! Freedom!

Please make as many copies of this leaflet as you can and distribute them.

Update:  Steve Simels believes he knows more about the nature of the Nazi regime than Sophie Scholl, her brother, Hans, and Christoph Probst, who were all murdered by the Nazis for their first hand witness in opposition to their criminal regime.  He's typical of an ignorant American who has a number of self-serving factoids they repeat as a rather stupid routine in place of any facts.  I am done answering anything he or his fellow idiots have to say on the topic.  I think I've spent enough fruitless hours responding to their lies which they will repeat in the face of any amount of evidence disproving their ancient fictions.

Smarter Trolls, Please

Anyone who thinks dogs don't have a sense of morality is either entirely unfamiliar with dogs or enormously lacking in perception.   That many such people are in the so-called sciences signifies only that such people can get degrees and jobs in such so-called science.   It is, yes, unsurprisingly a holding of ideological materialism, which doesn't support the existence of morality.  That so many non-scientists buy their nonsense is no more surprising.

Olivier Messiaen - Twenty Meditations On the Baby Jesus - IX The Meditation of Time

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Monday, December 7, 2015

William Bolcom - What A Friend We Have in Jesus - Gospel Prelude #1

David Harrison, organist
Master's Degree Recital
December 9, 2014

Listening to all of William Bolcom's Gospel Preludes the other day, they're such wonderful pieces that I'm going to post them, too.  They are some of the most significant religious music composed in the last two centuries.

William Bolcom is the only white composer I know of who has, with total conviction, total respect and such great mastery learned from the black gospel tradition to this extent.   That tradition, from the experience of people subjected to oppression and discrimination, disrespect and hatred, the same forces that informed just about the entire prophetic literature of the Bible, is so much of the life of Christianity today, That William Bolcom would seem to have known that going on thirty years ago might be show that heightened perception and thinking  as well as an ability to make audacious choices with no fear are important components in what makes the difference between a great and a merely talented composer.

Update:  I specified with total conviction, total respect and such great mastery, all of those you mention are disqualified on one of more of those criteria.

Update 2:   The likes of you telling me I'm an idiot will go to my head if you don't stop it.

Messiaen: Twenty Meditations on the Baby Jesus - VIII. Meditation From The Heights

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

I'm not sure about my translation of the title.  The original is, Regard des hauteurs, "hauteur" can have a number of meanings, the heights as in a high place or position, physically, high mindedness, spiritual elevation or its opposite, arrogance, conceit, etc.  I'm not sure what meaning Messiaen meant but I am guessing from the context of the titles that he meant physical position or spiritual elevation.

Still Recovering From The Rigors of the Dog Search

Yesterday's run away dog episode with all its many vicissitudes reminded me of the kerfuffle over the New York Times misquoting Pope Francis about all dogs going to heaven and the fuss it caused among traditionalists who hold that animals don't have souls.  Actually, Pope Francis didn't say that, it was Paul VI who more or less said that to comfort a child whose dog had died,

 “One day we will see our animals in the eternity of Christ.”

I don't know why the idea that animals had no souls came about, the word "animal" implies that they have soul anima.   I can't, offhand, think of any scripture which denies that animals have souls.  That passage from Isaiah I noted last week certainly implies that animals, not just pets, will be in the Kingdom of God.

Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors,
together their young shall rest;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD,
as water covers the sea.

Despite the joke Woody Allen made about "the lamb won't get much sleep" .Isaiah obviously wasn't talking about animals that needed to eat each other, though they apparently will all be vegetarians. So plants will also be a in heaven.  Or whatever Isaiah envisioned.   And elsewhere in the same book he said,

Then the glory of the LORD shall be revealed,
and all flesh shall see it together;

He didn't specify human beings.

Looking at the book of Isaiah I think it's quite a useful book for the political upheavals we are at risk of experiencing, considering the risings and falling of kings, invasions, etc. his prophesies concern. His religious criticism of the highest level of the religious establishment and The Temple as well as the political rulers is always worth thinking about.   There's a reason Isaiah was quoted by the most radical of all prophets, Jesus.

I don't think I've ever known a dog who wasn't the moral superior of many of the people I know, I've never known a dog as mean and base as, perhaps, most of the people I observe.   I remember that when I was a kid and found out what this word that got thrown around "bitch" meant that I couldn't understand why it was used in a derogatory way to refer to women, female dogs being in nothing like that.  It had more to do with people who devalued dogs as they did all animals, I'd guess.   If anyone deserved to be excluded on the basis of species, it would be ours.

My old dog is just fine today.  Wherever he went while he was missing, it doesn't seem to have caused any lasting damage.  I suppose I'll get over it, even the horrendous blisters I got from walking several miles with the wrong socks on.  If you ever have to go on a search like that, remember to take the two minutes it would take to put on the right foot gear.

Update:  I don't care what Steve and the Eschatots say.  They are the ever dwindling number of people who still go to Duncan's blog to hang out, as I was reminded again last week, the grownups who used to go there stopped going.  Some of them write better stuff than Duncan ever wrote and say things that are more important and interesting than anything that gets said there today.  It's a source of pocket change for Duncan, that's obvious from the amount of effort he doesn't put into it.  I'm surprised a few of them are willing to put up with the coercion to not say what they want to say by the enforcers of the house ideology.  It is it of no political importance.

Update 2:  It would be easier to come up with a list of the few adults who still go there on anything like a regular basis, Derbes, Grommit, Um..... I suppose Moe when he's talking about what he knows, what's going on around Halifax.  Maybe a few others are part time adults.    When I had occasion to look at some of the comment threads from a couple of years ago there were many names of regulars which have disappeared, not including the ones who Duncan has banned.

I haven't looked lately, how many times has Duncan begged his regulars to buy stuff from Jeff Bezos' sweat shop so he can get some pocket change?   He calls it "Bezos' money" well, it certainly isn't money he's paying to the peons who work in his awful warehouses instead of sending it to the rent boys who shill for him.

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Carla Bley - Away in a manger

Carla Bley, piano,
Steve Swallow, bass
The Partyka Brass Quintet

Some of the most delicate settings of Christmas carols and songs I ever heard are on the album she made.   Highly recommended.

Prayers Answered? It Sure Feels Like It

My dog is home, safe and is sleeping soundly on the couch.  He was my mother's dog, a terrier she was given as a present but who I took in when she couldn't handle him anymore.  He's 14 years old and had never, until this afternoon slipped out of the fenced in back yard.  He almost got a mile away, we were afraid he'd gone off in the woods to die but he was down the road a mile.  The man who lived down there brought him in and was going to take him to the police station when the dispatcher told him where he lived.  The four hours he was missing were worrisome, prayers asking for the intercession of my patron saint were said.  I don't know if that was a test of the kind discussed a few days ago but all I can report is he is back, looking a bit ashamed.   He hasn't been scolded, he got fed extra.  I nailed some chicken wire across the door we figured he slipped out of.  He doesn't go out unsupervised anymore.  

There are some striking coincidences involved but I'm afraid my detractors would blow a gasket if I noted them.  I'm feeling like I should make an effort to restrain my baser tendencies in light of the experience.    Instead, here's the Gregorian Liturgy of St. Anthony

This Is The Anti-Christ

This is the family Christmas card of Nevada Assemblywoman, Republican Michele Fiore.   This reminds me of nothing so much as this which I came across in my recent research into the Anti-Christianity of the Nazis, their program of replacing Christianity with "Positive Christianity" in which Jesus was an Aryan and to pretty much bury anything about doing unto others as you would have them do unto you, what you do for the least among you you do unto me, the good Samaritan (the stranger among you, etc.) and, last but not least in their intention of NOT following the teachings of Jesus, turning the other cheek.

And other, such expressions of Anti-Christianity which seems, inevitably, to replace guns and the worship of violence for the Gospel of Jesus.

It is one of the worst things that real Christians do that they don't call this what it is, the Anti-Christianity that is so often on the tongues of those who worship that very Anti-Christ.

Olivier Messiaen - Twenty Meditations On the Baby Jesus - VII - Meditation On The Cross

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Commentary is given below.

Why St. Ita Ford Isn't Talked About - An Anniversary Repost

Some of our mother's heroines and heroes were the Martyrs of El Salvador.   Still too early to write something myself.   From a Maryknoll website:

Born: April 23, 1940 
Entered: September 2, 1961 
Died: December 2, 1980

"I never said, ‘Help, or save me, or I’m drowning’," Ita told her mother on a tape she sent home describing her close call with death on August 23rd in a flash flood which took her friend, Sister Carol Piette, M.M. "Something was happening and I said, ‘Receive me, Lord, I’m coming."

The Lord made her wait for three more months before he accepted the offering of her life. Much of Ita’s life had been spent waiting. When she was a child, she, her brother Bill, and her sister, Irene often waited in hospital rooms to see their father who had tuberculosis. She missed his funeral in 1973 because she had to wait for a visa to leave Chile in the midst of a military coup.

Her life in Maryknoll, too, was full of disappointments and years of waiting. Born in Brooklyn, New York, on April 23, 1940, Ita joined Maryknoll in 1961 after finishing college at Marymount, but was forced to leave after three years for health reasons. For the next seven years she worked as an editor with Sadlier Publishers while she searched for what she should do with her life. Her search brought her back to Maryknoll in 1971.

Ita arrived in Chile in 1973 during the days of unrest just before the military coup, and stayed to minister to the people in years of great hardship and persecution. Chile had a profound impact on her. It was here that her commitment to the poor grew, and that she learned what this demands. As she reflected in 1977, "Am I willing to suffer with the people here, the suffering of the powerless, the feeling impotent? Can I say to my neighbors - I have no solutions to this situation; I don’t know the answers, but I will walk with you, search with you, be with you. Can I let myself be evangelized by this opportunity? Can I look at and accept my own poorness as I learn it from other poor ones?"

What she learned from the poor in Chile challenged her to respond to Archbishop Romero's call for help in El Salvador. She arrived there shortly after Archbishop Romero’s death. The new beginning was not easy. She missed the Sisters and her friends in Chile; the new work was not immediately clear, and it took time to gain acceptance and trust from the people who were being terrorized by the political situation. But in June as she and Sister Carol began their work with the Emergency Refugee Committee in Chalatenango, Ita wrote, "I don’t know if it is in spite of, or because of the horror, terror, evil, confusion, lawlessness - but I do know that it is right to be believe that we are gifted in and for Salvador now, that the answers to the questions will come when they are needed, to walk in faith one day at a time with the Salvadoreans along a road filled with obstacles, detours, and sometimes washouts...."

The obstacles grew increasingly numerous as Ita and Carol responded to the needs of "the hurting, homeless, and hungry." They were conscious of the political implications of feeding the hungry in this repressive society which was in a state of "undeclared civil war", and of the potential for ever greater conflict and growing U.S. involvement. As they wrote to Sister Melinda Roper, Community President on June 11th, "Since the death of Mons. Romero the news coverage on Salvador has declined to almost nothing. The Committee fears that decisive action will be taken by our (U.S.) government under the guise of ‘stopping subversives’ or ‘containing communism’ - and that all of Central America will be involved if this happens. It’s a heavy scene - but if we have a preferential option for the poor as well as a commitment for justice as a basis for the coming of the Kingdom, we’re going to have to take sides in Salvador - correction - we have."

In the midst of this already painful situation, Carol’s tragic death was a heavy blow to Ita. She questioned why she had been spared and grieved deeply for her friend and sister apostle. Ita still carried the burden of mourning with her when she went to the Regional Assembly in Nicaragua at Thanksgiving time. The Sisters there said that Ita seemed to undergo a profound healing during their five days together and at the closing liturgy Ita read a passage from one of Archbishop Romero’s final sermons which foretold what would befall Ita and Maura less than 24 hours after they had prayed. "Christ invites us not to fear persecution because, believe me, brothers and sisters, he who is committed to the poor must run the same fate as the poor, and in El Salvador we know what the fate of the poor signifies: to disappear, be tortured, to be captive - and to be found dead."

Her fate, like that of the poor, was to follow in the footsteps of Christ to the bitter end. "This is how we know what love is: Christ gave his life for us. We too, then, ought to give our lives for our brothers." (1 John 3:16). And so she did with three others on December 2nd, 1980.

Ita’s buoyant personality, her wit, and her sense of humor and fun were a striking contrast to the suffering and pain she experienced throughout her life. Her twinkling eyes and elfin grin would surface irrepressibly even in the midst of poverty and sorrow. Ita loved to sing and dance and was a welcome addition to any party. She had a gift with words which she probably inherited from her father whose letters were full of his own original words and phrases.

Though Ita and Maura spent less than a year in El Salvador and accomplished little in human terms — in their powerlessness, suffering, and death they will be remembered forever. As a telegram from the leaders of the Democratic Revolutionary Front of San Salvador so eloquently stated, "Their outstanding lives and their unjustified deaths will be part of the history of our people's struggle for total liberation." In our Maryknoll history, too, these martyrs for justice will have a special place.

Ita has touched all our lives with her many gifts and in death she leaves us the greatest gift of all - the witness of her life laid down in love. Ita found the purpose and meaning of life among God’s poor. Let us ask her to be with us as our guide and companion as we too search for that which she has found. We close with the words she wrote to her godchild and niece, Jennifer, on her 16th birthday this past August:

"I hope you come to find that which gives life a deep meaning for you. Some thing worth living for — may be even worth dying for - some thing that energizes you, enthuses you, enables you to keep moving ahead. I can’t tell you what it might be - that’s for you to find, to choose, to love. I can just encourage you to start looking and support you in the search."