Saturday, May 28, 2016

Thelonious Monk - Ugly Beauty

Theolnious Monk, piano
Charlie Rouse, tenor sax
Larry Gales, bass
Ben Riley, drums

Green Chimneys 

Greens Want To Pick Up The Worst of Bernie or Busters

The animal mascot of the Green Party should be the vulture or some other carrion eating species, only I wouldn't insult any of those animals by supporting such symbolism.  Carrion eaters serve a purpose in nature, the Green Party is just an all too human con-game at this point. 

It would seem, from what I'm gathering from Greens in online babble and their official - well as official as it gets with Greens - statements, that they're intent on picking over the corpse of the Bernie Sanders campaign, once Sanders finally concedes that he lost the nomination.  That some of Sanders' more callow fans seem to believe the Greens will adopt him only shows how little they follow Green affairs - and considering how little there is to them, those aren't especially hard to follow.   I can't imagine Jill Stein giving it up for Bernie. Or Bernie Sanders being stupid enough to fall for that definitive suckering.  I at least give him that much credit, for now, at least. 

As far as I can recall, the Green Party began with the pretense that it was going to act as competition to the Democratic Party, pressuring it, the massively larger party, to move to the left.  As it didn't grow, as it didn't amass election wins and the power that could have had to such an effort, the Green Party came out with the tacitly stated strategy of wrecking the chances of the Democratic Party, of "punishing it" into moving left.  Some of the stupider and nuttier Greens would seem to believe they can supplant the Democratic Party as the Republicans did the Whigs - only I doubt any of them know enough about American history to know about that.  For most of them their world seems to extend no farther than the phony, trumped-up pseudo-scandals mounted by Republican-fascists and their media shills in the 1990s.  That's the kind of historical information that determines their thinking.

The Greens will probably get some support from Bernie Sanders supporters though little that they didn't have before.   I've pointed out how many of those who stood in line to change their affiliation to vote for him in our caucus openly said that they intended to vote for Jill Stein if Sanders didn't get the nomination.  I would guess a majority of those who stood up for Sanders in that caucus had never participated in the Democratic Party before, muttering darkly against the convener of our caucus, though he'd held back the beginning so all of those who hadn't managed to change their affiliation could do so in the hall way outside of the auditorium.  

I still like the idea of Democrats turning things around and swamping the Greens with a takeover, removing it from having the ability to spoil things in real politics.  This election shows that there are lots of people unwilling to learn from recent and very hard history.  Or too stupid to learn from it.  Stupid is the definition of anyone who, given its three decades of cheating people out of their money, their time, their support and, worst of all, their votes but who are ready to get conned out of those by the same gang of con artists who have done it to them before.  I am beginning to think someone has to step in and save them from their own folly.  And to save ourselves, as well. 

It is Tragic To See Bernie Sanders End Up As An Example of the Peter Principle

About the only good things that come out of the already old Trump-Sanders "debate" in-out-in-out routine is that it could generate a slogan, Bait and switch Trump.   The other good thing is it confirms the cynicism of the Sanders campaign, exposing the shocking news that Bernie Sanders is as egotistical and ready to go as low as he needs to in politics.

As I posted yesterday, it's an outrage that Sanders would even consider using the issue of women's health in a clear move to work with the massively sexist Donald Trump to attack the first woman to have won a major parties' presidential nomination.   It certainly goes way, way beyond the semi-infamous finger wagging at her and cutting into her talking during the debates between them.

It is never pleasant to find out someone you held up as a sort of hero turns out to have feet of clay. But I haven't seen a politician yet who doesn't at least have that as a potential, perhaps excepting a few like John Lewis, the late Robert Drinan and one of my all time political heroes, the late Shirley Chisholm.   You will note that all of them were in the House, not the Senate.

I don't know of Sanders plans on running for Senate again in two years or if he even intends to fill out his current term.   I do know that his career as a hero of leftist politics is damaged, probably beyond repair.  It is with me and I was a big fan of Bernie Sanders right up through February.  This latest stunt, as its clear he has lost the nomination, cooperating with Donald Trump to the extent he was clearly willing to in order to attack the clear and unambiguous winner of the Democratic nomination broke the last illusion about him I might have maintained.

I will be entirely surprised if he does more than go through the merest and most perfunctory of endorsements of Hillary Clinton.  After the past two days, I'll be surprised if he even does that much.   I don't expect he will work for her election or make any real effort to convince his supporters to vote for her.   In the cynical game he's playing he would weigh the loss of cred he has with the worst most immature and ignorant of his supporters as too high a price to pay to save the country from Trump. If he doesn't do everything in his power to support Hillary Clinton, the only person who stands between the world and a President Donald Trump, it's clear he never deserved the best of his supporters.

I don't think he will overlook the bitterness of the campaign and work for his rival's election as Hillary Clinton did in 2008 because if there's one thing this campaign has led me to believe,  he doesn't have what it takes to do that.   He might surprise us and if he does I will publish that I'm wrong in my suspicions, but I'm not waiting up to see it.

Bernie took Trump's bait and switch only to get switched and humiliated.  It might be another thing to take some comfort in, he and his team won't be going up against him for the presidency in November. That Jeff Weaver and Tad Devine didn't see that coming should certainly cut into their business.

Democrats should never give Tad Devine another dollars worth of business.  He has earned a boycott.


Sanders also continues to strike his absurd pose on the party platform, indeed going after Barney Frank and Dan Molloy, demanding they be kicked off the rules committee and the platform committee is where he 's spending his influence these days, settling scores over a document that is entirely meaningless.  I would hope that at least some of those who were put on it at his request would know better,  Keith Ellison certainly should.

If a friggin' party platform is so important to Bernie Sanders you wonder why he didn't join a party before last November so he could run on one.  I am stunned at how petty the pose he decided to strike on that platform is.  If he had acted up to his PR image instead of the way he did since the beginning of April, Sanders would be in a far stronger position to talk terms with Hillary Clinton ON SUBSTANTIAL ISSUES.  Every time he does something like this it only shows some rather amazing lack of political savvy for someone who's been a politician for four decades.

I think there are a lot of thing to learn from the rapid self-transformation of Bernie Sanders from heroic icon of the left to the angry, cranky, petty and, frankly embarrassingly spiteful figure he's become.  This last Trump debate thing is painfully pathetic.  I never would have wished this for the Sanders I so recently respected.

We should do whatever needs to be done to shake up the order of primaries.  There is no reason for Iowa and New Hampshire to maintain their role in determining who gets the most influence at the beginning.   New Hampshire has an especially mixed record.  It's ridiculous that the biggest state, a state which has a population far more diverse and so far more representative of the country than the virtually lily-white North of Boston states, comes dead last in the process and has the least influence on the decision.  It's absurd that one of the whitest states should have such a decisive influence on choosing the nominee for a party which wins only with the votes of members of minorities and women.  Or even who won't get weeded out of the process at the beginning.  If Sanders hadn't come from a neighboring state, I doubt he'd have won New Hampshire.   I would say the same for my own state,  Maine, especially as we retain the voter-suppressing caucus system.   States should be pressured to dump caucuses, that's something that should be done as soon as possible with whatever it takes to get it done.

The left has things to learn from this, as well.  Tragically,  I doubt it will.  The idiots who publish and write for and appear on the lefty media will see to that.  I include the "new media" Cenk Uygur might serve for the poster example of that.  Though I'm always ready to be pleasantly surprised, again, I'm not waiting up for it to happen.

Bernie Sanders, if he had never made this run, might end his days as a valuable Senator of the left, a gadfly afflicting the comfortable.  I think his decision to run for president, to take the main national stage has exposed his flaws/  His weaknesses, his shortcomings which might have never been noticed in the Senate but have the potential to move a tragic narrative to a terrible and destructive denouement this fall.  Whoever it was who decided it would be a good thing for him to make the run for the nomination set him up.   I suspect that person is Bernie Sanders.  He doesn't seem to be big on self-reflection and questioning his own motives.  They might have saved this election for the left.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Thelonious Monk - Eronel

Sahib Shihab, alto sax
Milt Jackson, vibes
Thelonious Monk,  piano
Al McKibbon,  bass
Art Blakey, drums


Thelonious Monk, piano
Kenny Dorham, trumpet
Lou Donaldson, alto sax
Lucky Thompson, tenor sax
Nelson Boyd, bass
Max Roach, drums

Men Telling Women What's Good For Them 2016

Donald Trump Says He'll Debate Bernie Sanders for "Women's Health Issues"

Two old men debating womens' health issues, IN FRIGGIN' 2016 AS A PUBLIC RELATIONS STUNT AGAINST HILLARY CLINTON,  ONE OF THOSE OLD MEN USING IT THAT WAY AS HE, THE ALLEGED CHAMPION OF THE LEFT WILL NEVER BE PRESIDENT, is a perfect example of why it is necessary to, FINALLY, have a woman who gets to make policy on that issue WITHOUT HAVING TO DEPEND ON SUCH MEN. 

Marilynne Robinson - The Inaugural Hope Hopkins Lecture at Hope University Liverpool

There is no one I've heard in the past decade who is more radical, advocating a radicalism that is more likely to be congenial to Americans, more likely to influence governments, the making of new laws and policies and real benefits to real lives than Marilynne Robinson.

This lecture is one I hope will be available in print because it is full of insights into both what led us away from a truly humanist future, equal, just, generous and liberal in the name of Enlightenment radicalism.  And it is a rare thing for an American radical, honestly generous about the promises that have and still exist in our own tradition.   She touches just about everything in it from how our universities have decayed under utilitarian and scientistic hegemony to presidential campaigns.  She defends the real humanism and its value, entirely more than the degraded atheist religion going by the same name, the only thing that so many of those with currently degraded educations know as "Humanism".

But the best thing is to listen to her.

The Responsible Left Has To Dump The Irresponsible Left: Random Thoughts At The End Of A Disastrous Week

That Bernie Sanders is showing how desperate he is, agreeing to Donald Trump's self-enabling one on one debate is just more evidence that he's going to be irresponsible to the end.  I'm disgusted with him.

Who knows if the "debate" will come off.  If it does I can guarantee you that the viewers, the Trump fans and the Bernie or Busters will both declare victory for their guy because they will never agree on anything except their hatred of Hillary Clinton, other than invective against her, they don't even speak the same language.

The Democratic Party has to face up to the fact that it is vulnerable to someone using the party the way Sanders has this year.   This is beyond the Nader 2000-2004 Republican-enabling spoiler act, this is someone who Democrats have pampered and befriended.   Sanders, an independent, has had super delegate status in the Democratic Party for years, now.   He's been befriended by and helped by some of the most senior Democrats in the Senate.

And the left has to face that its addiction to dreams of revolution, a revolution which would certainly not go to the left but would almost certainly end up with blatant, people getting shot in the head if not against the wall, fascism.   Most of those that the left has romanticized ended up with at least as bad if not entirely worse than what was overthrown.   I've come to conclude that among the first signs of a phony prophet of the left is the promise of a revolution.

I have also come to conclude that any progress we achieve will not flow from universities, neither the scholars nor the young folk.   In reading and hearing the political rhetoric of young'uns this year I'm embarrassed at how little they've learned from the idiotic, counterproductive grandstanding we were doing fifty years ago.  Children like excitement a lot more than they like disciplined consideration and reality, with some notable exceptions.  But the current crop of young activists aren't much like the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee, they're more like the moronic Yippies and the asshole Weathermen who did ever so much more for the corporate state than they did poor people, black people, women or members of other oppressed groups.   The academics who will become prominent under such a celebrity based regime like those two groups will mostly be idiots who will say anything to retain what we used to call "relevance" which consisted mostly of telling brats what they wanted to hear.  You get status in the celebrity left through ratcheting up the empty rhetoric, not through speaking hard truth.

If, and it's a huge if, Hillary Clinton manages to win election without the real and full support of Bernie Sanders and his dead-enders, it will have the advantage of showing she didn't need them to win.   She will, though, need those who voted for him and who are not irresponsible and childish.  They will have to be the ones who support her heavily FROM THE RESPONSIBLE LEFT, and they will have to work hard to get out the Democratic vote in 2018 to seal any deal they earned by their disciplined support.  Hillary Clinton is far more likely to be impressed with us if we can prove she needs us AND CAN DEPEND ON US.   The left has been far from dependable in the past, much as it likes to tell itself that it has.  One of the reasons we are weak and without influence is our own fault.

That is a hard truth that the left doesn't like to hear but it's the truth.   If Hillary Clinton loses without the support of the responsible left, it will establish that it is unreliable and useless for making any kind of progress, sealing our impotent exile from real politics for decades to come.

He toots his own horn in triumph,
The Donald, the boss man, the Trump,
I’m told that in Britain,
And it’s oh so fittain,
His name’s gas expelled from the rump.

Yesterday was my birthday.  I've decided now that I've reached what's supposed to be a venerable age,  though I feel anything but, venerable, that is, I'm writing more poetry.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Hate Mail - ZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

The number of people who still tough out the fighting, back stabbing and vicious babble at Duncan Black's blog I have any regard for could be counted on one hand with fingers to spare.  I could not possibly care less what they think about anything I write.  

I, with decreasing frequency, feel sorry for Duncan who I suspect is just going through the motions for the income it brings him these days.  But he's the one who allowed it to devolve into what it's become.  He needs to find a purpose in life because his old one ain't working out.  

As for this morning's speculations, those will be ongoing.  I haven't had anyone tell me how, if ideas are the mere epiphenomena of physical structures in brains, varying physical structures could produce the same idea - such as a coherent conception of physical laws - and how many, even millions of brains believed to contain the same idea could be confidently believed to have constructed exactly the same physical structure to BE the substrate that produces the same idea when the life histories, the physical brains of people are so individual and so varied.  

If the "brain-only" "brain-trusters" at Duncan's home for little wonderers who wonder little aren't interested in that, I couldn't care less. 

"This is about the country. It’s not about you."

This is the most important passage in the article by Molly Ball linked to below:

I asked Howard Dean, Sanders’s fellow Vermonter and onetime insurgent Democratic presidential candidate, whether he approved of the way Sanders is conducting himself these days. “No,” said Dean, who has endorsed Clinton. But he said he understood.

Near the end of Dean’s 2004 campaign, he told me, just before the Wisconsin primary, he had started to realize he was going to lose, and he was bitterly angry about it—the unfairness of the process, the way he’d been treated. Late that night, the phone rang in his hotel room in Milwaukee. It was Al Gore, the former vice president, who had endorsed him.

“I ranted and raved for 10 or 15 minutes,” Dean recalled. “And when finally I stop for breath, he says, ‘This is about the country. It’s not about you.’ That stopped me in my tracks.”

Dean quit the race the next day. Accepting defeat, he said, was a process. “Having been there, it’s a gradual landing you have to bring yourself into,” he said. The question, he suggested, is whether there is someone close to Sanders who can say to him what Gore said to Dean.

O Tempora O Morons

Still wiping the crap off of my glasses, it doesn't seem to want to come off it's so thick, I thought I would share with you some of the thoughts of another guy who sees no reason for academics to be tethered to that inconvenient thing called "real life", one Seth Abramson.   Abramson is listed at his home, Huffington Post this way,

Seth Abramson teaches at the University of New Hampshire. He is also an attorney, editor, and author.*

Reading what he wrote, On Bernie Sanders and Experimental Journalism, all I can say is I'm glad my mother isn't around to see what kind of writer can teach at her alma mater these days.  If you can spare enough time and risk enough of your faculty of reason, if you read the whole thing you'll find it hard to believe how bad it is, how, actually, insane it is.

It takes him a long, long, oh, so long time to get going so skipping to what comes no where near being the chase, here's what he has to say about the real reality of Bernie Sanders campaign and his characterization of his supporters - keep in mind Abramson is a huge Bernie Sanders fan, this isn't someone making fun of him and his supporters.

I’ve been a metamodernist creative writer for many years now, but had not seen an opportunity to bring this earnest, optimistic, and loving art practice into my professional writing activities until Bernie Sanders came along. Not only do I fully support and endorse Senator Sanders’ agenda, I see in his political methodology evidence of the metamodern, just as I know for certain when I hear Clinton’s cynical incrementalism that I am in the presence of a postmodern political ethos. The reason we think of Bernie Sanders as impractical or even naive is that he is; what most fail to see, however, is that his is the “informed naivete” of metamodernism. He sees that our economic and cultural markets are in a terminal state of deconstruction, and yes, this makes him angry and “negative” in a certain respect, but he sees too that the opportunity this deconstruction affords us all is a moment in which we can reconstruct everything we’ve known in a way that better reflects our values.

Draw up blueprints for the impossible and you find, in time, that individual pieces of an impossible plan become first improbable and then merely unlikely and then even odds and finally, at long last, possible. Repeat that procedure enough times and universal wavelength function tells us that the very fabric of reality can be altered. In simpler terms, when Bernie Sanders tells Hillary Clinton that universal healthcare, universal higher education, and a living minimum wage are human rights, she may not realize it but that’s the end of the consequential part of the conversation. The long-term details of how these things are achieved pale in significance to the far grander and more audacious act of naming the impossible as possible in the first instance. Clinton demanding that Sanders compare his policies with hers as to these topics is so beside the point as to make the Secretary seem foolish; if I tell you I have the power to fly and in time will find a way to manifest that power to you in real time, your first response isn’t to ask whether I agree that all proposed flight plans should be pre-cleared with the FAA.

Bernie Sanders’ “political revolution” is political only inasmuch as thought is political. What he is really asking us to do — or, rather, because he knows how many Americans grew up with postmodernism as their mother’s milk, what he is asking young people not so jaded to do — is participate in a metamodern Enlightenment that is, at base, a philosophical revolution. What he is saying is that, yes, a $15-an-hour minimum wage is absolutely impossible at the federal level right now, but if enough people adjust their perception at the local level to briefly imagine this impossibility as a possibility, suddenly Seattle can pass a $15-an-hour minimum wage. Then Los Angeles and San Francisco. Then New York City and D.C. Then smaller towns — perhaps a town like the one in Ohio that just passed, effective forthwith, six months’ paid maternity and paternity leave for all municipal employees. That’s an idea that has no place whatsoever here in America — that is totally foreign to the intellectual infrastructure we’ve developed — but when you find fertile soil for the impossible it really doesn’t matter how large a plot of land you’re working with. By the very nature of things — we might call it perceptual entropy — the impossible, once perceived, enters a chain of causation whose natural conclusion is realization.

It’s hard to believe that no one’s noticed yet that Sanders’ entire political agenda is a thought experiment — an instance of long-term ideation rather than immediate satisfaction. The idea that Sanders supporters will all, en masse, blindly vote for Hillary Clinton in the fall, or that Sanders attracting more than 40 percent of all Democratic hearts and minds means anything other than that the Democratic Party is about to fracture, is based on the fallacy that Sanders and Clinton represent political philosophies whose differences are in degree rather than in kind. In fact, when and as Sanders chooses not to lay out a policy in furtherance of an ambition; when and as he does offer a policy, but its implementation is murky; when and as he chooses to inspire emotion rather than a model UN-like legislative plan, it is because he sees that Washington is broken and knows that the only national politician worth a damn in that scenario is one who shows us each individually how we can act locally (not, or not yet, nationally) to reimagine the possible.

And it goes on and on and on with one shovel full after another after another....

I got to Abramson through a piece by Molly Ball at the Atlantic which sums up so much of what I'm reading all over the place, blogs, even the allegedly responsible magazines of the alleged left.  I'm exhausted from reading the nonsense so I'll let her sum it up.

Sanders and his people have their own sets of rules. All you have to do is unskew the delegate counts, they explain, take out the superdelegates, imagine they all vote for Sanders, imagine certain primaries had been conducted according to different rules. Angry memes [sic.] about missing votes and stolen precincts ricochet around social media. Did you see what happened in Nevada, when the party, Sanders’s supporters claim, changed the rules to keep them from getting more delegates at the state convention? The game is rigged!

The Sanders movement has become impervious to reality. Some have even called into question the nature of reality itself: “Bernie Sanders’ ‘political revolution’ is political only inasmuch as thought is political,” a self-described “metamodernist creative writer” named Seth Abramson wrote in the Huffington Post a few days ago. “By the very nature of things—we might call it perceptual entropy—the impossible, once perceived, enters a chain of causation whose natural conclusion is realization.” By this logic, Abramson reasons, Sanders is actually winning. It’s, like, the Matrix, man, or something.

I would recommend that reading Molly Ball's piece might save your sanity if you read the first link.

You might have thought before his campaign this year that Bernie Sanders was a far more serious man than his wackier supporters - something that you can hope for pretty much all candidates - I'd certainly have asserted that as late as February of this year.  But I don't think that anymore.  His campaign is encouraging the same self-indulgent fantasy and irrationality that informed some of his "youthful writing" only, like Henry Hyde excusing his affair, Sanders wrote them into his forties.

For a decade in which I've had to reassess so much of what I believed before, things informed by the relative paucity of information available through the U.S. Mail, in print.  It was through the magazines of the left, the Boston Globe and the New Hampshire and Maine media that I formed my image of the heroic Bernie Sanders.  That image was an illusion, something that his over-exposure this year has shown to have been the result of favorable PR and a very selective presentation of him by favorable media.  That Bernie Sanders is one I'll never believe in again.  It was a false front, he's really not that much different from other politicians and media figures.   And he's still got the most willfully deceived snowed with it.  It is a cynical and cruel campaign he's running.  And an irresponsible and dangerous one.

* His extended CV at HuffPo:  A graduate of Harvard Law School and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, Abramson is the author of six books, including An Insider's Guide to Graduate Creative Writing Degrees (Bloomsbury, forthcoming 2018); DATA (BlazeVOX, 2016); Metamericana (BlazeVOX, 2015); Thievery (University of Akron Press, 2013), winner of the 2012 Akron Poetry Prize; and Northerners (Western Michigan University Press, 2011), winner of the 2010 Green Rose Prize from New Issues Poetry & Prose. His poetry and prose have appeared in The Washington Post, Poetry, American Poetry Review, Boston Review, The Philadelphia Review of Books, Fence, Best New Poets (University of Virginia Press), and elsewhere. An essayist and film/TV reviewer for Indiewire, he is also Series Editor for Best American Experimental Writing, whose third edition will be published by Wesleyan University Press in the fall of 2016.

How decadent does someone have to be before they can't get a job teaching the young at an accredited university?   My guess, it's the friggin' Harvard Law thing, even more so than the Iowa Workshop.   I suspect if he didn't have Harvard in his CV, he'd be leading creative writing classes at a particularly hard up and unfortunate adult ed program.

Republican Only Toilets Now!

You know, one thing I've concluded after finding out how obsessed Republicans are with other people's junk is that it's not safe having them use the same rest rooms normal people do.  

I certainly don't want some Republican violating the privacy of my young relatives and other young of our species.

After this past year it's clear a shocking number of Republicans are peeping-tom perverts. 

Hate Mail - My Guess Is That Science Can't Be Valid Unless The Mind Is Immaterial

So, after a year of asking, atheists, materialists can't tell us how the brain could possibly know that it needed to make an idea about something, what the structure to make to be that idea in the brain would be and how to know it had made the right structure without that ideal already being present in the brain to tell it those things.  I'M NOT THE ONE COMING UP WITH A MATERIALIST MODEL OF THE MIND THAT CAN'T ANSWER THOSE QUESTIONS RENDERED INSOLUBLE DUE TO ITS IDEOLOGICAL CLAIMS OF WHAT THE MIND IS.

Dealing with Stephen Hawking's statement, really a demand that he and other like minded cosmologists be exempted from having their pet ideas being verified in the physical universe, that they get to be called "science" just because it was they who came up with them forces many other question.   Apparently their brains are, now, exempted from any form of testing, any need to collect information, even any eventual verification that their invented universes even cohere in order for what they want to publish and pontificate about to pass any level of intellectual verification.

That, to put it plainly, is crap that no one with a rational mind would consent to pretend or feel the slightest need to take seriously.

But the problem of insisting that minds, that the ideas that minds contain are the merely incidental product of physical structures in the physical brain are far more fundamental to any claim of universal validity of any academic thought and, mostly clearly, for the status of those "laws of nature" that materialists and atheists are always gassing on about.  If that is true for physical law as physical structure, they even have to impeach the nature of the mathematics that even Hawking wants to retain, just so he's got some medium through which to construct his sci-fi science.  Mathematical proof would, also, have to be a mere product of physical structures in the brain-only brain.

How much leeway could there be in the actual physical structure dealing which is the "real" substrate of an idea before that idea dissolves into an amorphous solution of perhaps related but distinctly different physical entities?

That is a very real problem with the most widespread faith in such matters whether the proposed physical idea-structures are molecules, proteins, tissues or even the vaguely claimed equivalent to circuits in computers.   My guess is that for something as supposedly specific as a physical law that the structure would have to be both very specific in its form and function, but that it would have to be very biologically potent in order for it to attain any kind of general application.

But, then, how can sufficient uniformity be maintained from one brain to another for the idea-structure to generate one specific idea shared among two, or millions of brains said to contain that physical law?   I am guessing that even before you got down to the matter of random mutation on a molecular level that the variation among even a small sample of such brain-constructs would render the idea that such a materialist conception had a uniform character is vanishingly improbable.   I wonder if, when pushed to its conclusions that the brain-only ideology doesn't impeach the very thing that it rests in, an assumption that there is any such thing as a uniform physical law that human minds have access to and can derive assumptions from, that within the very real social environment which science cannot exist without there could be no such thing as a uniform physical law or even a uniform proof of mathematics.

I am only beginning to think about this problem, I suspect that it's a far more difficult hurdle for materialist ideology to jump over without their entire ideological system collapsing.  It's certainly not good for the claims of reliability of science.  My guess is that if people took that problem very far the only hope for any kind of universal validity and applicability of math, science, etc. lies in a non-material mind.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Thelonious Monk - Who Knows

From what I can tell, this among is his earliest known compositions.   I can't find the other musicians but I think the recording is from 1947.   I'll post names if I can be sure.


Thelonious Monk, piano
Johnny Griffin, tenor saxophone
Ahmed Abdul-Malik, bass
Roy Haynes, drums

An Exchange On Who Is Taking The Royal Road This Year And Why The Accusation Is Blatant Sexism

Aquarian_Dreamer • 9 hours ago

and more poo-pooing a candidate who dared stand in the way of The Clinton Coronation.

Anthony_McCarthy  Aquarian_Dreamer • in a minute

Oh, yeah, I'd love to see Bernie Sanders stand up to eleven hours of grilling by his political opponents like Hillary Clinton did last year. Her road to "coronation" has been anything but royal, three decades of attacks using the FBI, House and Senate committees grilling everyone connected with her as well as her, billionaires funding private efforts, state governments, state police, etc.

It's so ironic that a man who has never had to stand up to any such vetting is presenting her as someone who got the royal treatment when it's he who has never really been vetted as she has for three decades. She's probably the most reliably vetted candidate in the history of the presidency.

Now, go lie about her some more, it's what you guys do, what make you not unlike Trey Gowdy and Rush Limbaugh, in the end.


Considering that Bernie Sanders has never even had to face a challenger for a nomination before this year, that he's had pretty much no real opposition in decades, considering that Hillary Clinton's other challenger has never had to run for political office before and neither of them have faced down their political opponents as she has had to over and over and over again for three decades, to assert she's expecting a "coronation" is an assertion of sheer sexism.   If there's one thing that Hillary Clinton has no reason to have any illusions about it is that she's not going to have to fight for everything she wins, everything she manages to get done.  A "coronation" is something for the Sanders and Trumps who have had the real royal road this elections cycle.  It's clearly how they both expect to become president, something they're entitled to.  

Hate Mail - It's Not My Fault If You Don't Understand What It Means When The Radio Says We're "Hard Wired"

Every time you hear someone on NPR say that we're "hard wired" to do this or that, when you read them use the word "meme" online, most of the time when you hear someone say that our "genes make us" this way or that way, what you're hearing is materialist ideology presented as science.  The same is true probably 99 out of 100 times when you hear someone say "neuroscience has discovered" something about "the human brain" or, in fact, probably a large majority of the time you hear about something to do with any of the social sciences in 2016.   Anything that insists, or asserts or implies that consciousness, behavior or "human nature" is the product of structures in our brains or "in our genes" - in just about every case something which hasn't actually been discovered but which is assumed to be there - is an assumption of materialism.  I won't, for now, go into my year long challenge that you both didn't begin to understand and which annoyed you so much.

It's not my fault if your vast knowledge of science gained from reading popular magazine articles or, more likely, watching NOVA on PBS or some piece of crap on cable TV doesn't let you in on the fact that the culture of science in the 19th and 20th century has often been overlaid with and motivated by materialist ideology, at times as much as if not more so than by the rigorous application of valid scientific methods.  And, unsurprisingly, scientists are, actually, on average, probably far more aware of that than non-scientists who report on science, who present science in the media and certainly more than the average blog bloviator on what they, often in their  sheer ignorance, assert to be science since they don't know more than what some non-scientist scribbler has written, or more likely said about it in the media.  If even that much.

Not that many, even very famous scientists. some of them actually rather eminent, come down as favoring rigorous application of valid scientific methods, many of the most famous names in science have made a career in asserting materialist ideology as science, quite often when their actual active career in science is waning.

It has been my experience of talking to those whose careers involve applying rigorous scientific method that they are often aware of that to one extent or other.   One of my relatives who has been quite well respected in her field can be rather bitter on the topic of who gets funded and who doesn't on that basis.  Her field is insufficiently glamorous, not providing enough ideological cachet to get much attention, though it is extremely important to that little detail so often ignored by celebrity science, the possibility we might survive.

There really is a quite remarkable disconnect between science which is strictly science and science which is mostly about materialist ideology.  I don't know enough about the history of individual sciences to be able to posit a guess as to the influence of the ideology of those involved in many cases, especially those who found a certain branch of study.  It is ironic that genetics, which began in the discoveries of the Augustinian priest, Fr. Gregor Mendel,  has become one of those areas of science most firmly asserted to be the tool of some of the most rigid materialists in science.  I would guess that has to do with such figures as James Watson and Francis Crick being fanatical materialists.

The alleged science of abiogenesis was begun explicitly in an assertion of materialism by Alexander Oparin, who asserted that it would prove that there was no non-material aspect of life. And scientists have been making up one "origin of life" after another after another, all asserting that their ideological speculations about that were science.  Though, since the actual origin of life on Earth is and will certainly remain unavailable for inspection and analysis, abiogenesis asserting to study the origin of life on Earth can never, really, be science.   And even in the, literally, miraculous event of THE FIRST AND ORIGINAL ORGANISM TO HAVE LIVED ON EARTH being  found and securely identified,  it is improbable by a stupendous factor that it would yield solid, secure information about how it was formed, how it made the jump from being a nonliving assembly  to being a living being.

Since I assume that orthodox science is correct and there was ONE original organism from which all subsequent life is descended,  when you're talking about the origin of life, especially, when you assert as materialist, inevitably atheist, biologists do, that life came about as a result of entirely random physical events, you're talking about a line of such events that, somehow, resulted in a viable, metabolizing, reproducing object which succeeded in performing some of the most incredibly improbable events without it or its first offspring dying in the process.  You can't discover how it happened without being able to observe how it, in fact, did happen and abiogenesis will never be able to do that.  The identification of the field as science, when it's actually applied materialist ideology hasn't gotten it excluded from the halls of science anymore than other equally if not more ideological schools of speculation, multi-verse cosmology, huge swaths of the social sciences, much of the assertion surrounding natural selection, all of which are not the product of rigorous observation of nature or even the material universe.

Several times I have pointed out something about much of contemporary physics and cosmology that I first read criticized by the atheist, I assume materialist, mathematician and critic of the current state of cosmology, Peter Woit, something best exemplified in this statement by Hawking and Leonard Molodinov in their best seller, The Grand Design

We seem to be at a critical point in the history of science, in which we must alter our conception of goals and of what makes a physical theory acceptable. It appears that the fundamental numbers, and even the form, of the apparent laws of nature are not demanded by logic or physical principle. The parameters are free to take on many values and the laws to take on any form that leads to a self-consistent mathematical theory, and they do take on different values and different forms in different universes.

The most famous of all current physicists and a through going materialist ideologue, in that statement, is demanding that he be allowed to ignore not only the requirement for, not only direct observation of nature, but also the requirement that at sometime in the future that would be even theoretically possible.   He went even further than that and demanded that such "science" is exempted from being coherent with physical principle and even logic.  And his fellow scientists in that field have not condemned it as insisting that he and his colleagues have the right to make stuff up that is not even logical and they get to call it, not only science, but a representation of the natural universe. Which is an amazing, real life phenomenon of the decadence that ideology has led science into.

When I was poking some rather mild fun at the assertion Mike Gimbel,  the Left Forum Marxist who was whining that Stephen Hawking is insufficiently ideological, that his ideological speculations didn't conform to the ideological theories of Marx, Engles and Hegel, I was merely pointing out the irony that materialism, imposing ideology on science, removing the defining methods of rigorous observation of nature, of rigorous measurement and analysis, which such scientists as Hawking have insisted they don't need* to achieve scientific validity, is producing decadent science, decadent by the very definition of what science is.  But they are then criticized as ideologically decadent by even more ideological atheists than themselves because they are TOO WEDDED TO THE METHODS OF SCIENCE even as they are demanding an exemption from them.   And as I was reading that description of his book, I realized I'd read something quite similar Joseph Weizenbaum's description Michael Polanyi's reaction to Nicolai Bukharin's assertion that science will be governed by the exigencies of the Five Year Plan in the glorious communist future.

Materialist - atheist ideology would seem to be eating science from inside.  I wish it were possible to measure how much of the quickly invalidated science that is massively funded, massively constructed and quickly shoved aside flows from ideological motivation instead of rigorous application of the classical methods of science, my guess is it accounts for almost as much as that which is motivated by sheer professional ambition - perhaps best considered materialism of a more vulgar variety.   I think it is safe to say that it accounts for most of the social science which is discarded into that huge resting place, the boneyard of discontinued science.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Thelonius Monk - Criss Cross

Thelonious Monk, piano
Charlie Rouse, tenor saxophone
John Ore, bass
Frankie Dunlop, drums

Four in One 

Sahib Shihab, alto sax
Milt Jackson, vibes
Thelonious Monk, piano 
Al McKibbon, bass
Art Blakey, drums 

I was looking at some of Thelonius Monk's lead sheets and wondered why some of his about 70 compositions are seldom played.   So I figured I'd post some of them.  

See Also: Samantha Bee

Anyone But Bernie : I'm Officially Through With Bernie Sanders

Last night I was relieved to read Kevin Drum's short article pointing out that Bernie Sanders has tacitly conceded that he has lost the nomination by agreeing to him getting to name fewer members of the platform committee than the winner, Hillary Clinton.  I thought, well, good, he's not going to be lying to his supporters that what he's running for, at this point is the nomination, he's ready to put his big-boy pants on and accept that she's the nominee, the choice of the majority of Democratic voters, the people he thought would have legitimized his nomination if he had won.

But today Sanders is whipping up junk because Hillary Clinton has refused to debate him before the California primary on the invitation of FOX "news".   He's made a speech in which he accuses her of "backing out" of having that debate.  In its "invitation" FOX noted "Democrats have not debated on Fox News for the last 12 years."

Anyone who has to ask why Hillary Clinton, of all possible Democratic candidates, of every other person in the entire world, anyone who has any question as to why SHE wouldn't choose to participate in a debate sponsored by FOX must be 12, if not 6.  They've been trying to destroy her, her husband and her daughter for as long as they've been on the national scene.   For Bernie Sanders to be kicking up crap over that invitation leads me to the conclusion that he is not going to do anything responsibly.  Last night's hope that Sanders had decided to act as an adult has given way to today's assholery.

And, despite having representation on the platform committee, Bernie Sanders is both anticipating and disavowing his responsibility for disruption within the convention in July.   Here's what the AP is saying today.

The Vermont senator, campaigning Monday ahead of California's primary against Hillary Clinton, said his supporters hope the party will adopt a platform at the summer convention that reflects the needs of working families, the poor and young people, not Wall Street and corporate America.

Sanders said he will "condemn any and all forms of violence" but his campaign was welcoming political newcomers and first-time attendees of party conventions. He said the Democratic Party faces a choice of becoming more inclusive or maintaining the status quo.

"I think if they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs, it's going to be messy," Sanders said.

"Democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle but that is where the Democratic Party should go."

So, apparently Sanders wants to bring everyone on a time machine, back to his salad days of '68, specifically to Chicago.   Which I will remind everyone may as well mark the beginning of the end of the left because that futile stunt brought us Richard Nixon, the man who began to destroy what Democrats had built up over the previous thirty-six years.

And if that isn't enough, also from the AP.

Sanders said he had a "shot" at winning the California primary against Clinton and said, given his delegate deficit, it was "imperative" that he perform well. He estimated his rallies around the state would allow him to speak directly to 200,000 voters before the primary.

"What happens if I win a major victory in California? Will people say, 'Oh, we're really enthusiastic about Hillary Clinton despite the fact that Bernie Sanders has now won whatever it may be, 25 states, half the states?'" he said.

If that happens, he added, superdelegates "may rethink that. That is why you want the process to play out."

I think it's well past time that people were told that Bernie Sanders, opponent of the super delegate system, is a total hypocrite, taking whatever position would benefit Bernie Sanders on the issue when it suits him, including them ignoring the clear will of a majority of Democratic voters, while still pretending to be opposed to super delegates.  He is apparently still willing to try to flip them even as it is clear he will not have the most votes for the nomination.

His excuse for launching this clear blackmail notice, of tacitly threatening violence from his supporters, in front of the camera on the convention floor, is truly jaw dropping.

"A serious debate about serious issues is good for democracy, is good for the Democratic Party. It will increase voter turnout and that always works in our effort to defeat Republicans," he said.

At this point I'm prepared to admit that Bernie Sanders had me entirely snowed since the 70s,  the man is a total asshole.

And for a bit of comedic relief, he also was asked about the possibility of being Hillary Clinton's running mate.

He declined to entertain the possibility of being considered as Clinton's running mate, saying he was focused on winning the nomination. "If I don't, we will see what happens later on." But he reiterated that he would do "everything that I can" to ensure that Trump is not elected president.

Yeah, right, everything except admit to his supporters the fact that he lost the nomination under the rules and that Hillary Clinton, not knight errant, Sir Bernie, is the only person between the world and President Donald Trump, as he blackmails her and the Democratic Party over the platform and other petty, symbolic and meaningless issues.

As for him being chosen as the VP candidate?  After reading his past writings, after seeing his conduct in the past three months?  I'm ready to have the Anyone But Bernie pins printed up now.

Was I that desperate to have someone who called himself a socialist be a prominent American politician that I'd overlooked this kind of stuff all these years?   Or maybe I just hadn't followed Vermont politics closely enough to have seen this coming.

Note:  My brother had a bad night.   I'll try to post something new later but here is something relevant to yesterday's post about the lunacy that passes muster at the Left Forum.

People Are Not Machines Machines Don't Have Rights or Moral Obligations

You will probably hear it today, you will almost certainly hear it this week,  "people are hard-wired to..."  In the last couple of decades as materialists presenting their ideological metaphors as neuro- or cognitive science people have been taught to believe that they are "hard-wired" to behave and think and even perceive in the way they do by their "genes", evo-psy has a large hand in it too.

The common view of  human minds expressed in the media is that "science proves" that we are the "moist robots" of Daniel Dennett, the "lumbering robots" of Richard Dawkins , "computers made of meat"  the phrase used by other materialists.   Even if other expressions are used,  that is the enforced point of view presented by a media, almost certainly as an article of "scientific" faith presented by people who probably couldn't tell you much of anything about genes and what they do or about how computers work.   That it is a belief that is entirely congenial to the corporations they work for as they sell our minds as product to advertisers who see us as units of potential profit might be seen as ironic, considering the passage I'm about to type into this piece, from Computer Power and Human Reason:  From Judgement to Calculation by the eminent and, I would say, prophetic, computer scientist, the late Joseph Weizenbaum


In 1935 Michael Polanyi,  then holder of the Chair of Physical Chemistry at Victoria University of Manchester,  England, was suddenly shocked into a confrontation with philosophical questions that have ever since dominated his life.  The shock was administered by Nicolai Bukharin,  one of the leading theoreticians of th Russian Communist party,  who told Polanyi that "under socialism the conception of science pursued for its own sake would disappear, for the interests of scientists would spontaneously turn to the problems of the current Five Year Plan."  Polanyi sensed then that "the scientific outlook appeared to have produced a mechanical conception of man and history in which there was no place for science itself."  And further that "this conception denied altogether any intrinsic power of thought and thus denied any grounds for claiming freedom of thought."  

I don't know how much time Polanyi thought he would devote to developing an argument for a contrary concept of man and history.  His very shock testifies to the fact that he was in profound disagreement with Bukharin,  therefore that he already conceived of man differently,  even if he could not then give explicit form to his concept.  It may be that he determined to write a counterargument in Bukharin's position,  drawing only on his own experience as a scientist, and to have done with it in short order.  As it turned out,  however, the confrontation with philosophy triggered by Bukharin's revelation was to demand Polanyi's entire attention from then to the present day [c1975]

I recite this bit of history for two reasons.  The first is to illustrate that ideas which seem at first glance to be obvious and simple, and which ought therefore to be universally credible once they have been articulated,  are sometimes buoys marking out stormy channels in deep intellectual seas.  That science is creative, that the creative act in science is equivalent to the creative act in art, that creation springs only from autonomous individuals, as such a simple and, one might think, obvious idea.  Yet Polyani has, as have many others, spent nearly a lifetime exploring, the ground in which it is anchored and the turbulent sea of implications which surrounds it. 

The second reason I recite this history is that I feel myself to be reliving part of it.  My own shock was administered not by any important political figures espousing his philosophy of science, but by some people who insisted on misinterpreting a piece of work I had done.  I write this without bitterness and certainly not in a defensive mood  Indeed, the interpretations I have in mind tended, if anything, to overrate what little I had accomplished and certainly its importance.  No, I recall that piece of work now only because it seems to me to provide the most parsimonious way of identifying the issues I mean to discuss.   

The work was done in the eriod 1964-1966, and was reported in the computer-science literature in January 1966 and August 1967.  To summarize it briefly,  I composed a computer program with which one could "converse" in English.  The human conversationalist partner would type his portion of the conversation on a typewriter connected to a computer, and the computer, under control of my program, would analyze the message that had so been transmitted to it,  compose a response to it in English, and cause the response to be typed on the computer's typewriter.

I chose the name ELIZA for the language analysis program because, like the Eliza of Pygmalion fame,  it could be taught to "speak" increasingly well.  Because the conversations must about something, that is, because they must take place within some context,  the program was constructed in a two-tiered arrangement, the first tier consisting of the language analyzer and the second of a script.  The script is a set of rules rather like those that might be given to an actor who is to use them to improvise around a certain theme.  Thus ELIZA could be given a script to enable it to maintain a conversation about cooking eggs or about managing a bank checking account,  and so on.  Each specific script thus enabled ELIZA to play a specific conversational role. 

For my first experiment, I gave ELIZA a script designed to permit it to play ( and I should realy say parody) the role of a Rogerian psychotherapist engaged in an initial interview with a patient.  The Rogerian psychotherapist is relatively easy to imitate because much of his technique consists of drawing his patient out by reflecting the patients statements back to him.  The following conversation between a young lady ELIZA playing doctor illustrates both the Rogerian technique of encouraging a patient to keep talking and the operation of a computer program ELIZA .  The first to "speak" is the young lady.  The computer's responses are printed entirely in capitals

Men are all like that
They're always bugging us about something or other.
Well, my boyfriend made me come here.
He says I'm depressed much of the time.

... DOCTOR, as ELIZA playing psychiatrist came to be known, soon becoming famous around the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,  where it first came into existence, mainly because it was an easy program to demonstrate.  Most other programs could not vividly demonstrate the information-processing power of a computer to visitors who did not already have some specialized knowledge, say of some branch of mathematics.  DOCTOR, on the other hand, could be appreciated on some level by anyone.  Its power as a demonstration vehicle was further enhanced by the fact that the visitor could actually participate in its operation.  Soon copies of DOCTOR, constructed on the basis of my published description of it,  began appearing at other institutions in the United States.  The program became nationally known and even, in certain circles, a national plaything.

The shocks I experience as DOCTOR became widely known and "played" were due principally to three distinct events.

1.  A number of practicing psychiatrists seriously believed the DOCTOR computer program could grow into a nearly completely automatic form of psychotherapy.  Colby et al.* write, for example, 

"Further work must be done before the program will be ready for clinical use.  If the method proves beneficial,  then it would provide a therapeutic took which can be made widely available to mental hospitals and psychiatric centers suffering a shortage of therapists.  Because of the time-sharing capabilities of modern and future computers, several hundred patients an hour could be handled by a computer system designed for this purpose.  The human therapist, involved in the design and operation of this system, would not be replaced, but would become a much more efficient man since his efforts would no longer be limited to the one-to-one patient-therapist ration as now exists."

I had thought it essential, as a prerequisite to the very possibility that one person might help another learn to cope with his emotional problems, that the helper himself participate in the other's experience of those problems and, in large part by way of his own sympathetic recognition of them, himself come to understand them.  There are undoubtedly many techniques to facilitate the therapist's imaginative projection into the patient's inner life.  But that it was possible for even one practicing psychiatrist to advocate that this crucial component of therapeutic process could be entirely supplanted by pure technique - that I had not imagined!  What must a psychiatrist who makes such a suggestion think he is doing while treating a patient,  that he can view the simplest mechanical parody of a single interviewing technique as having captured anything of the essence of a human encounter?  Perhaps Colby et al. give us the required clue when they write;

"A human therapist can be viewed as an information processor and decision maker with a set of decision rules which are closely linked to short-range and long-range goals, ... He is guided in these decisions by rough empiric rules telling him what is appropriate to say and not to say in certain contexts.  To incorporate these processes, to the degree possessed by a human therapist, in the program would be a considerable undertaking but we are attempting to move in this direction."

What can a psychiatrist's image of his patient be when he sees himself, as therapist, not as an engaged human being acting as a healer, but as an information processor following rules, etc." 

Such questions were my awakening to what Polany had earlier called a "scientific outlook that appeared to have produced a mechanical conception of man."  

* Nor is Dr. Colby alone in his enthusiasm for computer administered psychotherapy.   Dr. Carl Sagan, the astrophysicist, recently commented on ELIZA in Natural History, vol. LXXXIV,  "No such computer program is adequate for psychiatric use today, but the same can be remarked about some human psychotherapists.  In a period when more and more people in our society seem to be in need of psychiatric counseling, and when time sharing of computers is widespread,  I can imagine the development of a network of computer psychotherapeutic terminals, something like arrays of large telephone booths, in which, for a few dollars a session, we would be able to talk with an attentive, tested and largely non-directive psychotherapist." 

For anyone who wants to read ahead, the entire Introduction, it has been posted online.   There are a number of versions of ELIZA available online.   Those which I have tried would require a large amount of credulous acceptance on the part of the human, though I doubt people in 2013 have become any less credulous about the fact that they are interacting with a machine than those in the mid-60s were.  If anything, people are far more impressed with the far more powerful computers and sophisticated programs and far, far less impressed with people, even in their own minds.   The extent to which that is due to their casual experience with using computers and what influence that has had on the language people use to talk about our minds, I don't know.  I do know that what was commonly believed by people during that time, that people were really thinking, freely choosing, living beings seems to have given way to exactly the mechanical view that Weizenbaum warned about.    As he was surprised to find, it was among scientists who he, and earlier, Polanyi, believed should have known better that the mechanical view of humanity was already more common.   That it was, apparently, acceptable among psychotherapists and psychologists should tell us that there was something seriously wrong with the scientific identity of those academic fields.  I would say that the subsequent decades, as Behaviorism was succeeded by evolutionary psychology, the beliefs, assumptions and attitudes on display, have almost entirely dominated those and other "sciences" dealing with our minds.

I don't think the sci-fi nightmare of us being dictated to by enslaving machines is the problem, though, as scientists in "artificial intelligence" work to give predator drones the ability to "decide" to kill and to carry out those "decisions" that could change in the most drastic way possible.   The more immediate problem is that how people see themselves and, especially, "other people" has an controlling influence on their political choices and how they will react to the choices made by politicians and courts.   Which is why it is even more important to understand the folly of believing people are computers.  Which is why Weizenbaum's book is so important.  

Monday, May 23, 2016

Michel Camilo trio - On Fire

Michael Camilo, piano
Anthony Jackson,bass
Horacio Hernandez, drums

I don't think it gets hotter than this.

Wes Montgomery Airegin

Wes Montgomery, guitar
Tommy Flanagan, piano,
Percy heath, bass
Albert Heath, drums

Update:  Four on Six

Donald Trump's Campaign Song

From June Butler of Wounded Bird

(To the tune of How Great Thou Art)

O Donald Trump, when I in awesome wonder
Consider all the worlds my hands have made;
I see the tower, I hear the jangling quarters,
My power throughout this earth of ours displayed.


Then sings my soul, O Donald Trump, to me,
How great I am, how great I am.
Then sings my soul, O Donald Trump, to me,
How great I am, how great I am!

And when I think of me my time not sparing;
I choose to run, I scarce can take it in;
That on the stump, my burden gladly bearing,
I lie and shout my way to score a win.


When I shall come with shouts of acclamation
As nominee, what joy shall fill my heart!
The right will bow with humble resignation,
And there proclaim, "O Trump, how great Thou art!"


Alternative lyrics for the hymn by me, with apologies to Carl Gustav Boberg (1859–1940).

That just about says it all, doesn't it.  

Really, The Big Brains Of The Left Forum Are Promoting A Revivial of Leninism

Ah, that great annual event in the life of the American "left" the Left Forum was held last weekend.   I had planned on writing a piece about its program of workshops and presentations, as I've done several times before but it slipped my mind, what with trying to save the United States from Trumpphalistic fascism.

I don't have time to go over the total range of futility in its events so I'll present just one, on its own terms.   Here's the program description of the rousing "Call for Leninist Unity"

The overthrow of the USSR was the greatest defeat for the world's working class in history. The overthrow of the USSR has emboldened US imperialism, which directly led to the wars against Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan. Libya, Syria, the Ukraine and Yemen as well as the attacks on the living standards of workers all over the world using austerity and union busting methods. The overthrow of the USSR was a shattering blow to the Marxist-Leninist movement, which meant that the world-wide working class movement was temporarily left defenseless. This panel, hopefully, can play a role in the beginning of a rebirth of the Marxist-Leninist movement by calling for all Marxist-Leninists, be they Stalinist, Trotskyist or Maoist, to reach out to each other for a dialogue that can lead to a unified Communist leadership of the fightback against US imperialism. US imperialism is taking the world to the brink of WWIII and it is only the Marxist-Leninist movement than can defend our class in this crisis. Without Marxist-Leninist leadership, the working class and the oppressed are naked in front of the most dangerous and violent ruling class in human history. Let's begin the dialogue that can lead to unity! 

Panel/Workshop Topics: 


Marxism, Anarchism and Theory

Political And Social Movements 

Um, hum, that's what it really says, that's what it is really proposing as a program of championing the rights of workers, Leninists, Stalinists, Trotsyists, Maoists and I'd imagine all of the eternally warring splinter factions of each of those sub-sects of Marxist religionPersonally,  I think that getting old-line Stalinists and Trots together could generate a new genera of X-treme Fighting, geezers going after each other using ice axes.   

And as the whole world knows, things worked out so well for workers in the countries where those things were made as real as they have been anywhere.  The achievement of all of them were, unsurprisingly, when you try Marxism what you get is red-fascism. The people who have promoted those ideologies, when they got the chance, have probably produced some of the largest populations of actual slaves held in the 20th century.

You know my weakness for looking stuff up, so when I read that one of the guys who were listed as leading this little struggle. a Mike Gimbel,  had written a book with an off-the-wall title,  "Dialectical Materialism vs. The New Physics" I had to find out more.  Here's' the description at Amazon.

This book is a response to the myths created by an idealistic theory called "Relativity". Physics and cosmology has been in a disastrous crisis for almost a century. Mathematics is not physics, yet it is treated as such. The fourth dimension exists only in mathematical equations, not in reality. Black holes do not exist. Space is not curved. There is no fundamental "God particle" from which all matter is built. Objects do not carry their own time. Above all, consciousness does not determine reality. That is the old metaphysics masquerading as science. In addition, this book is a Marxist answer to Stephen Hawking and Michio Kaku's psuedo-scientific creationist theories. Here is the endorsement by Glenn Borchardt, Ph.D, author of "The Scientific Worldview" and Director of the Progressive Science Institute: "I want to congratulate you on the excellent piece of work! I definitely like your critique of Hawking and Kaku. It puts these jokers in their place. A great job! You have done so much that is needed to expose the BS that goes for physics and cosmology today."

You can go to the Amazon site and read the few five star reviews this thing got to see some of the rest of the jaw-dropping nonsense.  I say throw the pseudo-skeptics into the ring with the Marxists and things will get even more X-treme.
I add that because, though I've criticized Hawking when he goes outside his realm and goes several bubbles out of level, I don't think overlaying Marx, Engels and Hegel on top of that - nevermind Lenin, Stalin, Trotsky and Mao - is likely to make physics and cosmology more reliable science.   My critique is that such scientists and, especially, their cosmology are already excessively ideological and insufficiently the product of rigorous observation and analysis and review.  So, apparently, Gimbel's critique is that they aren't ideological enough.

Ideology as opposed to real reality, a love of ideas and ideology instead of the real lives of real people and the real world is the central idiocy of academic, theoretical, leftism.   Theorizing and abstraction are what academia values most, what will get you the most esteem and, maybe, the best jobs.  That attitude is just an alternative elitism, another caste system.  I have come to believe that even those real life underclass and working poor people who might not have thought of it in those terms yet can sense the condescension of those kinds of "leftists".   I think it's why, in every case, when communists have gained power, they have set up some of the most brutal of all elites lording it over workers, treating them as raw material for production.  

We really need to get the left out of the hands of these fools.

As a Gay Man I Just Had To Add This

The "Abstract" on a Left Forum section entitled, "Rethinking Privilege Politics:  Marxist Perspective

Is the "privilege politics" of the 21st century left positioned to enact meaningful, systemic change? Many would appear to have already conceded this question, as the recent thrust of left discourse in the Western world has been focused on issues pertaining to identity. Questions of representation for women, for minorities and for queer groups have certainly overtaken the mainstream liberal dialogue, but these issues have become focal points for those on the left, as well. Without abandoning these very real concerns — concerns rooted both in daily experience and institutional enactments of prejudice — it is time to reintroduce Marxism to these struggles. Too often the "privilege" framework relies on interpersonal instances of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, etc. which reduces the vast and interlocking systems of oppression to unpleasant anecdotes. While these lived accounts are important in understanding how these forces reveal themselves in day-to-day life, maintaining these critiques without coupling them to systemic analysis accomplishes little. This discussion will tackle this thorny issue head-on, determining why movements to combat oppressive forces in the real world must modify their critiques and methods if they wish to be successful. Charting a path forward against injustice in all its permutations must, ultimately, be a Marxist struggle, and movements which ignore this essential truth are doomed to failure,

Is there anything more hilarious than an assertion that a path forward against injustice must, ultimately be a Marxist struggle?   After the history of the real-life manifestation of Marxism, some of the most unjust regimes in modern history, not infrequently including the violent oppression of LGBT people, this is sheer lunacy of the kind that can only be learned by studying Marxism or some other blatantly anti-democratic ideology palmed off to a bunch of suckers as, somehow, "leftist".   

This kind of crap is a burden the real left has to heave off in order to make any kind of progress.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

I'd Still Vote For Sanders If He Were The Democratic Nominee But Now I'd Have To Hold My Nose To Do So - Hate Mail

The other day I pointed out that the Sanders campaign is playing chicken with the Democratic Party which it is trying to carjack, using reform of the nomination process as the pretext to keep on lying about the person who is beating him in the vote count and, importantly, to keep raising money.  The not at all tacit threat to blow up the convention in Philadelphia if they don't get their way could stand as the most irresponsible stand taken by a challenger from the alleged left in the history of those efforts.   Josh Marshall puts that threat into perspective and shows why it isn't only entirely irresponsible, it is hypocritical of the would be white-knight cum savior and his PR operation.

The Democratic party and its Chicago convention were torn apart in 1968 over a fundamental cleavage over the Vietnam War. The Sanders camp is going to blow up the convention to push debate schedule reform? That's amazing. Reform of the primary process is a much more substantive matter. But remember, as I've argued before, the parts of the process most in need of reform (Caucuses and post-election day shenanigans) are the ones helping Sanders the most! Now his whole campaign is based on getting the superdelegates - which for most of the campaign he has said constitute the core anti-democratic aspect of the process - to hand him the nomination. Consistency is an overrated commodity in much of life, especially in politics. But you can't make the logic of your arguments so structurally unsound that they collapse under the weight of their own ridiculousness.

To do what they're doing at this point, when the alternative is another nightmare Republican administration is obscenely cynical and corrupt.  Bernie Sanders is going to bring himself down in this process.  He's not going to be able to just go back to the Senate and everything is going to be as it was before.  I can't imagine anyone trusting him after this.  

One of the more obscure things that the Sanders campaign has done is try to rig the process to gain more delegates than Hillary Clinton in states like Nevada and Missouri in which they lost the popular vote.  I'm sure that effort figured, heavily in the car wreck in the Nevada convention.   In a discussion of Sanders' reform rhetoric, Josh Marshall pointed this out.

In any case, that leaves us with the big three reforms. But here's the problem: the biggest beneficiary of all three of these 'problems' is actually Bernie Sanders. Sanders' wins have been concentrated overwhelmingly in caucus states. Sanders has also done a better job in the dark delegate hunt. He seems to have picked up or is in the process of picking up more delegates in Nevada, even though he 'lost'. And he seems to be in the process of doing the same thing in Missouri.

But what about super delegates? It's with super delegates at least that Clinton is gaining an unfair advantage, right?

Well, not exactly. Clinton still does have overwhelming support among super delegates. But they don't even count as long as she secures a majority of pledged delegates. And she has a clear lead with pledged delegates. So even though super delegates support Clinton, her current lead does not depend on them at all.

The conduct of his campaign in this election has hardly made Bernie Sanders the anointed savior of process reform.   Not in the Democratic Party which he is attacking.  Not in any party that didn't center on a personality cult.   As I've pointed out and as I could prove, I was a huge fan of both Congressman and Senator Bernie Sanders,  I wrote about him in heroic terms during his eight and a half hour filibuster speech.  But his conduct in this campaign, apart from its high point when he said no one cared about Hillary Clinton's e-mail,  especially since the beginning of Spring has exposed many of his limits and less than heroic or even ethical features.

If he were the nominee of my party I would vote for him in November.  I could have said I'd have done that with no regrets before April.   I'd have to hold my nose to do it now.