Saturday, December 10, 2016

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Rex Stout's Nero Wolfe - Christmas Party

Stars: Mavor Moore, Don Francks, Cec Linder, Frank Perry, Alfie Scott

Special Guest Stars: Marty Meriden, Linda Sorenson, Patricia Hamilton

Olivier Messiaen - Twenty Visions of the Baby Jesus - The Son's Vision Of The Son

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Sans Amour On N'Est Rien De Tout - Edith Piaf - La Goualante du Pauvre Jean

The Individual Right To Not Be Lied About Transferred In A Privilege For The Ubiquitous Media To Lie With Impunity

The insight that I took from what Pope Francis said is an important point.  When the United States Supreme Court under Earl Warren gave permission to the media to lie about people, he and his colleagues were, in fact, giving them a privilege to lie that came at the expense of the right of those they lied about to not be lied about.   They were transforming what was a right under libel laws -  to force those who lied about someone to correct the lie and to compensate the person they lied about - they turned that into a privilege for the corporate media.  They were, actually, destroying a personal right in favor of a corporate privilege, in the actual case of Times vs. Sullivan.   Though it more generally transferred the right to not be lied about into a privilege for individuals who lied, as well.

That right is the right to not have your personal life, your personal conduct, your public conduct, misrepresented so that people who don't know it will think badly of you.   If you don't think that is a right I can guarantee you that it is something you would know was one if it happened to you and lies ruined your reputation.

Since Supreme Courts, both left and right, have been in the business of creating privileges and calling them "rights"  based in manipulating the language of various amendments and clauses in the Constitution,  you can pretty well guess their motives by what they did and who benefited from it.  Though in the case of the Warren Court, by 1964 I think its members were so enamored with their practice of setting up landmark cases that that was also a motive for what they did.   And it was certainly something that they knew would get them good press, it being the New York Times and, really, all of media and the scribbling class that they were privileging.   Would those dolts have done it if they realized that it would largely enable the corporate right, racists, liars, those who would profit from lying?  I don't know.  There was a time when I would have suspected the "liberal" Warren Court might have been a bit sobered by the history of the next fifty years but, really, I'm not all that convinced of the actual liberalism of many of the justices we were sold by the media.

The glory decisions of the Warren court in racial equality that they make movies about are certainly being obliterated by the results of their decision in Times v. Sullivan.

After fifty years of the media hammering at liberals, they lost elections to the very people who the Sullivan decision ruled against.  That result began almost as soon as the decision was handed down.   Republican presidents appointed the enemies of racial equality to the Court.  The first president elected after that ruling, the Republican Richard Nixon appointed the active, voter intimidating, racist, William Rehnquist who, with other Republicans subsequently appointed by other beneficiaries of lies told about liberal politicians.   That line of direct and indirect beneficiaries of the privilege to lie about liberal politicians has signed the death warrant for the Voting Rights Act, major portions of the Civil Rights Act, they have been gradually chipping away at other major rulings of the Warren period and, in the Trump regime, will certainly accelerate their wholesale destruction of past liberal accomplishment in favor of oligarchic privilege.  Anyone who thought, seriously, about what was at stake for the free press in that decision - the need to fact check before they published - would have realized how much was sacrificed so that a major newspaper could avoid a minimal cost of fact checking before they published.  That, I was once taught, was a basic responsibility for a 6th grader writing a history paper.  The Warren Court exempted the most august newspaper in the country from that responsibility.   The most tragically short-sighted and foolishly ill-considered results of that are what we are living through, today.   The media, left to right have certainly not shown themselves to be even responsible enough to honestly consider their role in it.

There was no move by the people who wrote the unfortunately truncated, minor 18th century poetry of our Constitution to abolish civil actions for libel, they obviously saw that there was a right to not be lied about.  It is, in fact, a right that is far more explicit in the Bible than its negation is implicit in the First Amendment.  "Thou shalt not bear false witness,"  joins other such commandments about respecting the rights of other people as those against depriving someone of their property or their marriage or even their due respect.  When someone libels someone, they are, in fact, robbing them of the reality of their life, their conduct, their own restraint from doing wrong.  That is especially true in the pile-on, amplified rumor mongering factories of 24-7 news and, even worse, social media.

The continuing education in what happens when a Supreme Court ruling transfers a personal right into a corporate privilege is about to take the most serious turn it has in fifty years.  We are about to have a government by an overt fascist-strongman who is appointing an executive branch filled with pirates, gangsters, thugs and right-wing fascist nutcases.  And there is little to no chance that the legislative branch is going to be a check on them, it being already filled with those by other court rulings gutting the Voting Rights Acts and permitting the Republican partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts.   The Supreme Court has been the source of the most serious dangers to democracy in the history of the country, their often dodgy history, Dred Scott, Plessy, etc.  has been topped by a series of decisions by courts right and left which could enslave us all.   This is dead serious stuff, the old bromides and slogans that the left had substituted for hard thinking,  the First Amendment as interpreted by lawyers in the pay of some media corporation and publicity addled justices won't work to protect us.  If you think I'm exaggerating, check in after a few years of Trumpian fascism and see what you think then.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Allelujah - Pope Francis Says It

“They can be used as means of defamation. No one has a right to do this. It is a sin and it is hurtful.”

This is a passage that is buried in what Pope Francis said the other day about the destructive evil that lying by the media is.  What most people in the media are focused on is his analogy to people who have an obsessive fascination with shit but they are missing his point, that lying in the media, media carrying lies has a real effect in the real world and that it is wrong AND NO ONE HAS A RIGHT TO DO IT.

That certainly means that the permission to lie that has been the law of the land in the United States for the past half century is not a right, it is a permission given by the Supreme Court justices who issued the rulings doing that.  The focus has been on the real evil that comes from lies that gain currency in social media but just about all of the media, from the top down, engage in lying or in carrying lies in the United States.   It was the New York Times that first got the permission to lie with impunity, not the National Enquirer.

There is no right to lie, to defame people, those lies enabled by the Supreme Court came at a cost to the real rights people have to not be lied about.  

I'm going to repeat that.  By permitting the media to lie with impunity, the Supreme Court gave a privilege to liars that came at the expense of those who are lied about who lost their right to not be lied about.  

That might seem a slight thing to lawyers, few of whom had any practical experience in politics or who belonged to the class of people or in a line of work who can be easily destroyed by the media carrying lies about them but the consequences in our politics and in the corruption of society and life in the United States has been devastating.

The faster people have these realities pointed out to them, the faster they will get over the brainwashing by slogans engaged in by the lawyers and judges and media beneficiaries of the permission to lie.   The truth should be what is privileged, not lies.  But it was the idiocy of the Warren and subsequent courts that they turned that around and privileged lies and the lying liars who tell them.   If the justices on the court couldn't understand that their reading of the absurdly and badly misphrased First Amendment would have a devastating impact as people were sold skillfully told lies that would effect their voting choices, that only proves that allowing judges to do that was unwise in the extreme.   The media should have an absolute permission to tell the truth, they should never have been given a privilege to lie with impunity.

Pope Francis proves that the view of reality he practices is more realistic than that which the American legal establishment, the judiciary, the Supreme Court and the large majority of those in the media practice.  I would say that it is directly related to those different frames of reality written about by Walter Brueggemann.   The difference is between the covenental- historical model of monotheism as opposed to the modern-scientific-industrial model which is derived from 18th century materialism.  It is certain that giving a permission to lie is entirely incompatible with the first and it is obvious that the second is the framing that led to the permission to lie which has had such a devastating effect on us.  It is entirely absurd that we have, again, twice since the turn of the century, permitted a person of such appalling character to assume the presidency he won through lies though he actually lost the vote.  Only our 18th century "enlightenment" Constitution prevents us from doing anything about it or anything to prevent it.

Psalm 130 - Out of The Depths I Cry To You O, Lord

1 Out of the depths I cry to you, O Lord.
2     Lord, hear my voice!
Let your ears be attentive
    to the voice of my supplications!
3 If you, O Lord, should mark iniquities,
    Lord, who could stand?
4 But there is forgiveness with you,
    so that you may be revered.
5 I wait for the Lord, my soul waits,
    and in his word I hope;
6 my soul waits for the Lord
    more than those who watch for the morning,
    more than those who watch for the morning.
7 O Israel, hope in the Lord!
    For with the Lord there is steadfast love,
    and with him is great power to redeem.
8 It is he who will redeem Israel
    from all its iniquities.

Du fond de l'abîme je t'invoque - Lili Boulanger 

Bernadette Greevy, contralto - Ian Partridge, tenor
BBC Chorus, BBC Symphony Orchestra

Nadia Boulanger, conductor

Du fond de l'abîme je t'invoque
Iahvé, Adonaï.
Ecoute ma prière!
Que tes oreilles soient attentives
aux accents de ma prière.
Du fond de l'abîme je cries vers toi,
Iahvé, Adonaï.
Ecoute ma voix!
Si tu prends garde aux péchés,
qui donc pourra tenir, Adonaï, Iahvé?
Mais la clémence est en toi
afin qu'on te révère.
Mon âme espère en Iahvé.
J'espère, je compte sur sa parole
plus que les guetteurs de la nuit
n'aspirent au matin.
Israël espère en Iahvé.
Car en Iahvé est la miséricorde
et l'abondance de la délivrance.
En Iahvé est la clémence.
C'est lui qui délivrera Israël
de toutes ces iniquités.

I tremble to think what's coming in this country and to the world when Donald Trump is inaugurated.

Family Crisis Emergency Reposting - Nazi Pagans And Deists

Note:  I decided to leave in the updates in answer to the objections of the atheists because it is inevitable that even if they'd read them the first time, they'd still make the same ignorant assertions.

I can say that when I began going online in the late 1990s, I had a far higher opinion of atheists than I have in the wake of going on two decades of both reading their unedited thinking directly from them and, finally, subjecting a lot of their claims to truth-testing.   I went from not being badly disposed toward them to thinking it is one of the most dishonest and superficial ideologies that depends on ignorance as much as Republican-fascist materialism does.  Virtually every major holding of American and British atheists, and lots of those advanced by French and German atheists I've looked into has not held up on that kind of testing.  None of that so much so as that around the phenomenon of fascism and, especially, Nazism.

Well, if there is one thing that I have a weakness for, it's following up leads when I get started on a topic.   It's a lot more interesting than reading who-done-its or watching them on TV.   Thus this unintended series which I'll put aside after this, barring someone in the opposition coming up with something other than their common received BS which is entirely unevidenced.

One of the things which I found puzzling in the online atheist blather of the past  dozen years is the rare but oddly regular invocation of "deism" as a more rational alternative to "theism", putting both in quotes because, as used by the blatherers, neither word had a fixed meaning and was often used contrary to any dictionary denotation of the term.

My immediate response was to ask where these "deists" were, if they had any kind of organization, etc.  I was assured they did and was given some URLs which looked about as substantial as the phony secular, Potemkin Village alternatives to Alcoholics Anonymous.   A few atheists declared themselves, eventually, to be "deists", when I doubted that there were any actual "deists" if that meant they believed in a creator god who, on the midnight of their "sixth day" said,  OK, I'm done, and left it to run itself down like a top set into motion.

The reason I bring that up is because, once in a while, in arguing about Christianity's culpability in Nazism some would bring up some Nazi or other declaring they were "God believing".   Though that, also, was rare, most of the atheists in the arguments having never even done that level of superficial reading on the topic, merely nodding and spouting unevidenced bigotry on the issue.

I was interested to read this passage from The Third Reich in Power by Richard J. Evans

The [Nazi] Interior Ministry ruled that people leaving their Church could declare themselves to be “Deists” (gottgläubig), and the Party decreed that office-holders could not simultaneously hold any office in the Catholic or Protestant Church.  In 1936, storm troopers were forbidden to wear uniforms at Church services, and early in 1939 the ban was extended to all Party members.  By 1939, over 10 per cent of the population of Berlin, 7.5 per cent in Hamburg, and between 5 and 6 per cent in some other major cities were registered as Deists,  a term which could encompass a variety of religious beliefs including paganism.   The great majority of these were likely to hae been Party members;  the proportion of Deists in the SS had reached over 25 per cent by 1938, for instance.  This process was accelerated by an escalating series of measures pushed by the energetic and strongly anti-Christian head of Rudolph Hess's office,  Martin Bormann, banning priests and pastors from playing a part in Party affairs or even,  after May 1939, from belonging to it altogether.   Still, there was a long way to go before the population as a whole took part in this movement.  “We won't let ourselves be turned into heathens,”  one woman in Hesse was heard to say by a Gestapo agent.  The German Faith Movement, which propagated a new, racial religion based on a mishamash of Nordic and Indian rites, symbols and texts, never won more than 40,000 adherents, and other neopagan groups, like Ludendorff's esoteric Tannenberg League, were even smaller.  Nevertheless, for all the general unpopularity of the movement it remained the case that the Nazi Party was on the way to severing all its ties with organized Christianity by the end of the 1930s.

While it is, indeed, terrible to think that any Christian pastor or priest would be involved with the Nazis, it is telling that the Nazis obviously didn't want them involved with their plans.  They didn't feel they could trust them to be sufficiently evil or fanatical, even if they'd managed to dupe them into participating in the earlier stages of their regime.  Remember, though there were lots of people who knew they were bad news in the early years of their LEGAL rule and their despotism which they instituted by due, if entirely insane, processes, who would certainly never have agreed to what they did from the late 1930s till the fall of Berlin.   That there were people with even more reason to distrust the Nazis who were, as well, taken in by them, is proved by the fact that there were even some Zionists stupid or desperate enough to think they could do business with the Nazis in the early years of their regime, for example in the The Haavara Agreement.  What people believed about the Nazis in their early years was seldom what came about in the last seven years of their regime, the Nazis, themselves, modified their policies as time went on, growing ever and unprecedentedly worse, as their ideological roots guaranteed.  What we know in hindsight isn't what could have been known with foresight.

Reading more about the "Deism" of the Nazis as well as the paganism of some of their worst members makes me wonder why the present day Pagans and deists aren't held responsible for them when the Nazis were certainly more pagan friendly than they were Christian friendly.   Hitler famously loved Wagner's insane operatic ring, one of the most absurdly scripted pieces of drama not denoted to be an example of surrealist, absurdist theater.

Reading on this also makes me understand why the past two popes and others who lived through the Nazi regime and invasion were skittish about the revival of "Paganism" which they'd seen revived under Nazism already.   To someone in the United States, born after the war and in ignorance of Nazi paganism that might look like some kind of harmless nature-loving buyers of newly created history and yearning for a 19th century, story-book style pseudo-historical view of those religions.  To someone who saw Nazi paganism, it would likely look a lot less harmless.

As I've noted several times, all of those pagan religions yearned after so romantically, sacrificed people to their gods.  That is something they have in common with the Nazis.  And I'm not going to not say it because they don't like it being said.   Not to mention bringing it up to those online "deists" who declare their "faith" opportunistically.

Update:  Ah, no.  You've been watching too many Buggs Bunny cartoons.  I am a classical musican and opera watcher who has always, always had a deep and abiding hatred of Wagner's music and a deep and intense disdain for his drama.    I believe it was the great stage director, not the actor, Peter Sellers who attributed the decadence of opera to Wagner and Puccini who sent opera out of the realm of relevance to reality and into insane and gooey fantasy.   I will say that Puccini's music is easier to take than Wagner's.

I have always held that Mahler wrote better Wagner than Wagner ever did and that Schoenberg wrote better Mahler than Mahler ever did.

Update:  The fact is four dull cents still doesn't add up to a nickle.  And that's about as much as they put into the discussion.   Funny kind of brain trust that never reads what they believe they discuss.   CD should stop making stuff up.

Update 3:  Let's see, I've presented Richard Evans, William Shirer, Christopher Krebs, Laurence Rees. who cite primary documentary evidence to support the argument that the Nazis intended to destroy Christianity, replacing it with a Nazi religion because they figured the Volk needed something like that to replace Christianity.  I also directly cited primary source material in making my case.  The Brain trust, in answering what I presented presented nothing but their own assertions.   And they figure they have the better argument.  Just to show how this new-intellectualism works.

Sometimes I think that the problem with neo-atheists is that they don't have the first clue about how you make an argument in the world of adults.

Olivier Messiaen - Twenty Visions Of The Baby Jesus - The Vision of the Virgin

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Hyman Bloom - Christmas Tree

Image result for hyman bloom christmas tree

Hyman Bloom was a mystic who found transcendence through color.   Always an outsider, even when the, then trendy, abstract expressionists tried to adopt him as one of their own he said things like:

“I tried Abstract Expressionism and came as close to it as I wanted to, but I thought that it was mostly emotional cartharsis with no intellectual basis.  It had no emotional control.  All that thrashing around seemed infantile and beside the point.” 

And, even more heretically:

“What I was trying to create was a complex picture in the classical sense; a work with depth and subject matter that was readable and over which I had exerted control.  I thought of art as elevating, and I didn’t think Jackson Pollock even had a foot on the ladder.”

I can imagine that pissing off the mid-brow culture vultures.  Then and now. 

That comment about his pictures of decaying corpses and legs,  I might go into that sometime.  Maybe after the holidays are over. 

Bela Bartok - The Miraculous Mandarin for Piano 4-Hands

Zoltan Kocsis - Adrienne Hauser, piano


I've heard one live performance of this version and several recordings, this is the only one that begins to match the effect of the orchestration.  I don't know who was playing which part, which hardly matters as their ensemble playing is some of the best 4-hand playing I've ever heard.

Bela Bartok - Romanian Christmas Carols - Zoltan Kocsis


Mikołaj Zieleński - Magnificat

Warsaw Philharmonic Choir
Henryk WOJNAROWSKI, conductor

Mikolaj Zieleński's setting of the Magnificat for 12 parts in three choirs and his other composition were one of the best things I learned about when I did my month long posting of settings of that most radical of texts a couple of years ago (word search my blog for "Magnificat" if you want to find the others where the links still work).   Zieleński was a composer I'd never come across before, I suspect that's because the musical establishment of my youth didn't particularly pay attention to Polish composers before Chopin.  It makes me wonder what other great music doesn't get a hearing because of where the composer lived. 

The Corruption Of Our Government Is A Result of Enabled Lies

Just a short post.   If you're interested in just how corrupt the Trump regime is going to be, Kevin Drum is keeping a chart of his appointments in terms of their being a part of the swamp Trump claimed he was going to drain and if they are Rich, Crazy and, or Scary.   Here's what he's got so far.

I said to someone earlier this morning that you had to go way back in the 19th century to find this level of blatant, corrupt, crony government in the United States but I'm not sure that this might outdo anything we've had in our history.

I think when the buzzards come home to roost and things fall apart that the sane but mildly corrupt margin of Republicans will be begging Democrats to join with them to get rid of Trump before he totally destroys their party.  Though I'm not sure even that would do it.  The corruption the Republicans and their media have built in this country over the past half-century is third only to the murderous theft of the continent and slavery in its moral depravity and I'm afraid it will take a shock which will have to drastically reform the Constitution before it is ended.  And I'm talking about something as terrible as the Civil War.

The Republican-fascist regime we are about to undergo is a product of allowing the media to lie with impunity.   Those legal theories that pushed their ability to lie like that are the polluted head waters of the sewer the country has become.

If you know the truth the truth will make you free but if you're so far gone you don't care if something is true or not, you are doomed.  Our country has been corrupted to the point where the media, the politicians, even a large percentage of the voters don't care what's true and what isn't, anymore.   It started with Justices on the Supreme Court deciding that wasn't something they should be bothered with and the elite, Ivy League class lawyers who pushed that line withe them.

Update:  Eschaton, proof that you can assemble a group of college educated alleged liberals whose conceit vastly outpaces their desire to know what they're talking about.   In some respects, it's getting to look more like an equivalent of a right-wing chat room every month.

Tell me, Simps, did Duncan ever actually, you know, endorse Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump?  Considering how much energy he spent in the early days of his public writing in defending Bill Clinton who was a far bigger jerk than she ever has been, you think he'd have been able to at least endorse her.

Olivier Messiaen - Twenty Visions of the Baby Jesus - The Exchange

Phillip-Laurent Aimard, piano

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Zoltan Kocsis - Recital 1971

Here's another recital Kocsis played when he was very young.  The Bartok Etudes are especially interesting to listen to as compared to his later recording of them.  They are quite different though both find different and entirely compelling things in the music.  The Beethoven is as good as in the one I posted yesterday, the pieces by Kadosa and Soproni are interesting, especially if, like me, you'd never heard their music before.

00:00 - Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 27, op. 90
13:13 - Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 13, op. 27 no. 1
29:38 - Pal Kadosa (Zoltan's teacher) - Piano Sonata no. 1, op. 7
41:11 - József Soproni - 7 piano pieces
48:44 - Bartok 3 Etudes, op. 18
57:31 - Beethoven Piano Sonata no. 5, op. 10 no. 1 - Prestissimo
01:01:18 - Chopin Etude op. 10 no. 3
01:06:28 - Brahms Intermezzo op. 116 no. 6

Crisis Seasonal Reposting - This Is What Christians Are Accused Of Stealing From Those Poor Innocent Pagans

The Oseberg ship burial tapestry (dating no later than 834 AD, when the ship was buried with its two ladies in Vestfold, Norway). The tapestry shows a scene of apparent human sacrifice – or initiation – where nine males are hanging from a large tree in a grove of serpents. Three ladies (the fates?) hover above. The tapestry may possibly give some archaeological support to the written sources about the Uppsala sacrificial grove where nine males are said to have been hung in a sacred grove.

Granted, neo-Pagans, Wiccans, etc. tend to be nice, nature loving, peaceful folk, but the idea that the Yule had much in common with Christmas is pretty silly.  The sparse documentary evidence is that Yule was marked with a pretty bloody sacrifice of animals, blood being splashed around on statues and the such.  And in some places, Uppsala for example, every nine years or so, those sacrifices would include human beings,  nine of them.  If the sins of the Christians during that period count, surely those of the Pagans aren't excused.  You can hardly say that there is some tenet of the Pagan morality that was being violated at the most basic and fundamental level by those sacrifices, by the priest class, often in the interest of the kings' success, especially in war.   Note that the burial where this tapestry was found included "two ladies".  I assume they were killed by some priestess or priest, as is documented by the rare eye-witness account of Ibn Fadlan, so they could be the concubines of some high up thug in the afterlife.  You can point out that all of the combined sins of priests, hierarchs, "Their Most Christian Highnesses" etc, were violations of the teachings of Jesus and his earliest followers, those who heard those teachings from him.

Reposted from last year

Update:  While the internet is disappointingly useful for white supremacists, other species of Nazis (quite a number of them fans of the Pagan tradition mentioned above) and fascists, bigots and haters to organize and recruit - and none so much as the commercial merchants in hatred, objectification and enslavement, pornographers - it is also useful to evaluate how truly horrifying the misinformation that all of that relies on is among the so-called educated class among us today.

One of the more innocuous manifestations of that is the widespread belief that Christmas was, as one atheist hate merchant I ran across online put it, stolen by the Xians from those poor put upon Pagans.  It always does my heart good to see the CSICOP set standing up for the witches, astrologers and necromancers, making common, though temporary cause with them before they denounce them as superstitious idiots, as well.

My friend RMJ has done some explanation of why that is hogwash that was pretty much the invention of, not Pagans, not atheists, but Christians in the form of anti-Christmas Puritans.   Apparently that atheist "meme" was stolen from Christian Calvinsts by the atheists and the online Pagans.   I have mentioned that the internet seems to generate quite a bit of irony.   Since that tripe is a seasonal dish served up this time every year by the history-challenged, research averse Brain Trust of anti-Christian mid-brows, its refutation is bound to become an evergreen, appropriate to the season.

Read RMJ on the topic, his work is quite good.

Olivier Messiaen - Twenty Visions of The Baby Jesus - The Vision of The Star

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano
I will be dealing with a family crisis for the rest of the week so I will not be posting regular pieces.  I hope to continue posting soon.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Olivier Messiaen: Twenty Visions Of The Infant Jesus - I The Vision of the Father

Pierre-Laurent Aimard, piano

Hate Mail - Why Are You Posting Those Christmas Trees?

Because his paintings of decaying corpses and amputated legs aren't as seasonal.  

Geesh, imagine, I'm not supposed to post some of the best paintings of Christmas trees, now. 

Hyman Bloom - Christmas Tree

Image result for hyman bloom christmas tree

Saint Nicholas Day

RMJ has a good post about St. Nicholas that's worth reading.   I just wanted to put up another image of the real saint instead of the cheap imitation.   Every time you put up a dark-skinned Saint Nicholas you make a FOX host cry. 

Here's another:
I can't resist putting up another.

Image result for st nicholas oldest icons

Michael Flynn is Floridly And Dangerously Insane

Back in August, after Ben Carson suggested that the Gold Star parents Donald Trump had insulted apologize to him, I said.

I think the term "floridly insane" is the opening entry for naming what's wrong with Dr. Carson.

It's clear that anyone in Ben Carson's family who might be lucid and might care about him should have made some move to have him checked out for dementia and either had him treated or ushered him into retirement from public life before someone else did it in a less kindly manner.  But he's being appointed to the Trump regime and the inevitable crack up will be public, will be damaging to him and others, many many others.

However, the florid insanity of Dr. Carson is peanuts compared to the even more floridly insane Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, who has been named to be Trumps National Security Adviser.  While the agency Carson is being put in charge of can cause damage, to have someone as totally and obviously insane as Michael Flynn in charge of the agency that is supposed to watch out for our national security is massively dangerous.  How insane is he? Well, we don't know how bad it gets because his every psychotic thought doesn't become public.  What has become public is extremely disturbing.

But Flynn himself has used social media to promote a series of outrageous conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, President Barack Obama and their inner circles in recent months — pushing dubious factoids at least 16 times since Aug. 9, according to a POLITICO review of his Twitter posts. Flynn, who has 106,000 Twitter followers, has used the platform to retweet accusations that Clinton is involved with child sex trafficking and has "secretly waged war” on the Catholic Church, as well as charges that Obama is a “jihadi” who “laundered” money for Muslim terrorists.

Now some say Flynn’s fondness for spreading fake news casts doubt on his fitness to serve as the White House’s national security adviser, suggesting that he either can’t spot a blatant falsehood or is just ideologically bent to believe the worst of his perceived enemies.

The flak began flying anew after Sunday’s shooting at a Washington pizza restaurant that had been targeted by false, internet-fed rumors accusing it of being the epicenter of a satanic child-trafficking conspiracy involving Clinton and her allies. Flynn had twice used Twitter to promote similar, only slightly less outrageous hoaxes in the past month, including a claim that Clinton’s campaign manager takes part in occult rituals in which bodily fluids are consumed.

Those were far from isolated tweets for Flynn, the former head of the Defense Intelligence Agency.

What is especially disturbing is the absolute fact that Donald Trump is not much more attune with reality than the guy who is supposed to advise him on dangers to our national security.  And it gets worse when you consider the second in command,   These are, seriously, people who could get many if not all of us killed.

Our Constitution, our history, our traditions, our thinking is clearly not able to keep up with the level of threat that the selection of Donald Trump by the electoral college presents us HE HAS ALREADY PROVED OVER AND OVER AGAIN THAT HE IS NOT ONLY UNFIT TO BE PRESIDENT, HIS IS DANGEROUSLY UNFIT TO BE PRESIDENT.

That our Constitution does not have provisions to protect us from this is even worse than the fact  that it didn't prevent him winning the election though he lost the vote.   And few if any in the media or in public life are addressing the catastrophe that we are on the cusp of.   Every public institution that should have prevented this has failed to, this election has ripped open a weakness in our Constitution that is not only dangerous, if it is not fixed, fast, it should prove fatal to it.

I think that we are in real danger of having to face a violent, fascist government and the violent reaction to that which will result.  I don't think it's impossible that a new and far more bloody civil war might result from the government being in the hands of the clearly insane and corrupt.

Surely, his colleagues in the military know that Michael Flynn is not only insane but dangerously insane.  National Security Adviser to a stupid and crazy president should not be in the hands of someone who is going to feed Donald Trump's own insanity.

Zoltan Kocsis plays Beethoven, Brahms, Debussy and Bartok

Here's a recording of a recital he gave when he was 18, just after he won the Beethoven Competition of Hungarian Radio.  If I'd heard it I'd probably have given up.  Entirely mature and youthful at the same time.  Listening to him playing Beethoven is like falling in love with him for the first time all over again.

No Lie Is Too Refuted To Not Be Repeated - 3 Comments


steve simelsDecember 6, 2016 at 11:09 AM
So somebody died at age 64 and you're broken up? Get over yourself, nobody lives forever.

Or so you told me when I had the temerity to be upset at the death of Prince.


The Thought CriminalDecember 6, 2016 at 11:10 AM
We went through that before, you lying vulgarian. I said nothing of the sort.


The Thought CriminalDecember 6, 2016 at 11:13 AM
Here's the link:

Update:  Stupy went into pop music because he wanted to attract groupies but he couldn't even get to twosies.   He's still trying to get onesies right.

Update 2:  An intellectual at Eschaton is anyone who has actually read what they're talking about. Well really, it's gotten to the point it's anyone who watched the movie instead of reading the book.   One of the smarter ones who still go there once told me that Inherit The Wind was practically a documentary.

Zoltan Kocsis Died Exactly A Month Ago

I was shocked to find out today that the great Hungarian pianist, composer and conductor,  Zoltan Kocsis died on November 6th.   He'd been having heart trouble for the past five years or so, it shouldn't have been a shock to read the old news of his death this morning, but it is.  You can't help but feel strange when someone you remember as being so young and vital and younger than you are has died while you didn't but that's what I'm thinking just now.   When I read he was 64  when he died the first thought that came to mind was that Bela Bartok was the same age when he died,  Kocsis was renowned for his brilliant and faithful interpretation of Bartok's music, clearly the result of fidelity to the score and his study of the recordings that Bartok left of his music.  He also was taught by and knew many of the musicians who had studied with Bartok.

Here is a live recording of him playing the Bartok Sonata, certainly one of the best performances of the piece in its history.  In the first movement the part where there are so many voices in different registers of the keyboard going at one time is jaw dropping in its relentless drive.  The second movement with its climaxes of blazing, overpowering light amid the glowing quiet passages and the powerful optimism of the last rondo movement ..... it would be better to hear it than to read about it.

But Kocsis was more than "just" a Bartok interpreter, he played a wide range of music with both great originality and great integrity.   I'll post more of those performances in the coming days.

I'm Through With The Secular Left And Its Insane Media I'm Through With Secularism That Serves Fascism

The "post-truth" world that Trump's supporters are gloating over, much to the professed horror of some in the media is something the media, itself brought about.  It asked to be able to lie without consequence, it was handed that right by the courts, the media lied and convinced large numbers of people that their lies - often told to be salacious and audience attracting - were true and made someone like Donald Trump not only electable but inevitable when an effective margin of voters are convinced of those lies.  NOW the media is complaining about the "post-truth" world that they made?

I wish I had the time to do the research into the legal thinkers behind the ideas that led to those lines of legal decisions and what their wider philosophy is.  I know a lot of its champions, especially those in the media,  have been atheists.  I can't help but suspect that it's a manifestation of the common, a-religious bent of the intellectual establishment which has become pervasive in the past centuries and nearly uniform in our own time.  You certainly can't maintain an indifference to the need for the truth and the reality that lies serve no good purpose*  if you have any moral sense at all.   It's clear that those who have given us "post-truth" are effectively amoral.  Egalitarian democracy can't survive in an amoralized country, made that way by being fed a diet of lies.

I wish I could talk to the woman who has been much in the news - no doubt now they've done her, she and her issue will fade into dim memory.   I mean the woman who voted for Trump and is now upset that he's appointed the foreclosure king Steven Mnuchin to be Secretary of the Treasury.  Mnuchin made a huge fortune by aggressively foreclosing on mortgages in the most heartless of manners, one very elderly lady lost her house due to a short payment of 27 cents.  The Trump voter had her property foreclosed on by being told she had to skip three payments to qualify for an adjustment in the terms of her mortgage when it was a ploy to allow them to foreclose on her.  In the interview I heard with her she rather disdainfully said there was no way she would have voted for Hillary Clinton.   I had to wonder what she listened to as news, what the source of her clear disdain for Hillary Clinton was.   How much and what of the quarter of a century of lies carried by the American media from alleged top, The New York Times, NPR, PBS, to the bottom feeders that so often even the most elite of media carried as "it's being said".   What made her vote for Trump, a man anyone with any sense of what is true and what isn't could see as a total phony and liar and fraud, a man whose misogyny and sleazy real estate practices were out there but certainly lost in the wall to wall coverage given on his terms?  She clearly depended on what the American media told her about Hillary Clinton over the past decades.  That media is what brought us Donald Trump and it was through their decades of "post-truth" practice.


Now, after a whole campaign season of its own Hillary Clinton slamming, sometimes lying,  and the promotion of "alternatives" the secularist lefty media are moaning over the harvest they also helped sow.   I'll forego lots of it, largely because there is so little of the lefty media I can stand looking at just now.  But I saw an article up at the lower end lefty market that Salon occupies, pointing out that it's just about certain that Jill Stein voters in swing states actually did get Trump the electoral college.   If that's behind Stein going through the motions of getting recounts, I don't know.  I do know that those same lefty magazines were still carrying the most idiotic articles about why it was principled to not vote for the only woman who had a chance of preventing Trump.   Some of those magazines and websites have lost any credibility I'd have once granted them,  some of them I've seen do this one election cycle after another for decades.  One of those which I've decided has no credibility at all, now is In These Times, though it's hardly alone.   There are some lefty magazines and websites I won't link to because they've been so irresponsible this year,  Salon and In These Times and Alternet are three of those.

After watching them aid the election of George W. Bush and now Donald Trump by promoting not voting for the only real alternatives to them,  after watching them do that for virtually the entire period of the Republican ascendancy, you would think they'd have figured out that's stupid by now.  Only they haven't.  Reading In These Times and its articles about what's needed is a revolutionary radical lefty party, Joel Bliefuss and his crew are just one tiny tub in a fleet of ships of fools.  I don't expect that we'll find any of them have really learned anything.  What we need is a real left, the secular one is a total and complete flop.

I've lost my faith in the media that thinks its colleagues should be able to lie with impunity.  That pretty much covers all of it, most of all the lefty-secular media which doesn't serve democracy or a real agenda of the left.   A real left-media would want those lies that enable fascism stopped in view of the triumph those lies have given the fascists, repeatedly, as they bleat out the old line First Amendment interpretation that allowed that.

I've given up the lefty-secularist religion of my young adulthood because it has failed through the contradictions it was always riddled with.   There is nothing more obvious from that failure that the real program of the real left depends on morality in the law, in the government in society and, yes, even in the media.  And the past half-century of experimenting with amorality in all of those proves it only enables fascist depravity.

Political ideologies are served by those things that promote what they are made of, amorality serves fascism, democracy can't be anything but damaged by it.  That is true, most of all, for egalitarian democracy, the only durable form of democracy.  Any alleged leftist ideology that is served by lies or which promotes the ability to lie is a fraud, they are fascism in a mask.  That is true even when they do so because "First Amendment."   That is the slogan that post-truth rode to victory this year.

*  Before anyone can raise the ruse about the necessity of lying to the Nazis about where the Jewish children are hiding, that lie is made necessary through the evil of the Nazis.  Of course in that kind of case a lie serves a moral purpose but that purpose is made necessary because of the lies that produce Nazism.  If the original lies hadn't been told the scenario requiring a lie wouldn't have existed and telling someone where children were hidden would not be wrong in that way.

Monday, December 5, 2016

Before There Was Face Book There Was Two-Faced Book - Hate Mail

Imagine that, the gall of a lefty socialist, guy from a family of union members would have trouble with the idea of supporting Jeff Bezos and his Amazon sweat shop that is notorious for grinding mistreatment of workers, making billions by squeezing his employees to death.   As far as I'm concerned you can tell the Brit-atheist mean girl of Eschaton she's as phony as Duncan is.  She figured she was insulting me but the only thing she's risking is making me feel smug.    

If you hadn't guessed Duncan Black apparently put up one of his whiny posts telling the phony-lefties who populate his rump chat room community to buy stuff from Amazon so he can get a cut of the profits.  If American democracy and life on the planet depended on them boycotting something the world would have to go so they could get their free shipping under Amazon-Plus.   

Hey, Dunc, when's the last time you struck a pose of supporting decent jobs and workers rights?  Well, "struck" might not be the right word.  When's the last time you did a pantomime of going through the motions?

Update:  I'm told it's called "Amazon-Prime" as if I'm supposed to feel ashamed that I forgot the name of something I wouldn't use because of the way it treats workers and for many other reasons.   Nope, try again.  

Hyman Bloom - Christmas Tree

Gary Burton The New Quintet - Brownout

Gary Burton (vibraphone)
Mick Goodrick (guitar)
Abraham Laboriel (bass)
Harry Blazer (drums)

The composition is one of Gary Burton's rare piece.  Abraham Laboriel on the bass solo is incredible.

Flora Purim - Open Your Eyes You Can Fly

GEORGE DUKE Keyboards, \
AIRTO Percussion,

Alphonso Johnson's bass line on this is also great, even legendary.   Chick Corea wrote the song.

More Stephen Colbert

Listening to that short exchange between Stephen Colbert and Fr. James Martin that appeared by magic in the Youtube sidebar led me to another thing that appeared in the sidebar for it, a longer interview with Stephen Colbert with Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB,   I've heard Colbert in interview before and knew he was not only really funny but extremely intelligent and, even rarer, well-informed but this a really impressive performance.  

For example, hearing him explain C.S. Lewis's four kinds things that provke laughter and what is behind them them, starting at about 24:30 is really something.  It covers not only the difference between intelligent comedy and the crap that most of what is called comedy and humor for about the past three decades has been. Colbert's understanding obviously informs his work and shows the difference between someone like him and most of the jerks who aren't really funny but who get laughs.  

In flippancy no joke is actually made the attitude of a joke is made, is copped by everybody there it does not increase affection.  It distances people it armors the soul against joy and it deadens the intellect

That description covers, easily, most of what is presented as humor and comedy, today.  It was the kind of stuff which was produced by the kind of people who held nothing as sacred, who used shock instead of intelligence and who not only had a fear of warm human relationships but who disdained them.  

He also talks about what he'd said was his favorite verse from the Bible 

Do Not Worry
25 ‘Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? 27 And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? 28 And why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they neither toil nor spin, 29 yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. 30 But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” 32 For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
34 ‘So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

Matthew 6:25-34

In the interview posted last night, Stephen Colbert pointed out that when Jesus said, "Do not worry" it was a commandment. He also said he wasn't that good about following it.  I have to admit that if he's bad at it, I'm ten times worse at doing it.  I worry about everything.  So much to work on.  

Both St. Nicholas and Jesus Would Likely Have Been Stopped For Walking While Black In Trump's America

That On Being interview with Fr. James Martin I linked to late last night had a passage in which Martin talked about how grim and grouchy so much of Christian iconography is.  That's something I complained about here a few years ago as I was looking for an old icon of St. Nicholas and all of them looked like they had a toothache or a bad back or were just seriously grouchy.   It's not very good advertising for the Gospel which is, literally, good news.   None of the saintly people I've known have every been so grumpy, like me.

But, reading at NTodd's, a post touching on the annual racist fight claiming that Santa Claus is white, I decided to go in a different direction, to see how North European Aryan, how much like Ann Coulter, the early Icons of St. Nicholas of Myra and can say that the oldest images of him and those closest to where he lived usually show someone who, in the United States, would be considered black or, certainly, not white.  Not by FOX - Coulter standards of racism.

Image result for st. nicholas oldest icon

Which, of course, made me curious about the oldest images of Jesus, especially those made close to where he lived, in time and place, to see how people imagined him.

Image result for st callisto catacomb icon jesus

This image from the St. Callisto catacomb is one of the oldest which clearly indicates how the artist imagined Jesus.

Image result for oldest christian icons turkey

This is the Christ Pantokrator  icon from the Monestary of St. Catherine in Sinai, considered the oldest such icon known.   He'd definitely get screened or stopped if not shot for walking while black.

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

This one is from a 4th century villa belonging to Constantine.

This detail from 4th century Syria, shows a darker Jesus between lighter but the still far from lily white Peter and Paul

Image result for Christ Between Peter and Paul, 4th century

It's interesting to look at the pictures that show how the earliest Christians thought of Jesus, of the saints, of the figures from the Bible and early church history and, generally, the older and the closer in geography to the actual locations of the events, the less likely those figures are to be depicted as white.  Certainly not white by contemporary American definitions of that.  Certainly not as white as the slave-holder favoring Clement Clark Moore*  thought of the bastardized, corruption of a great saint from present day Turkey.  Certainly not the peroxide-Aryan - racist cabloid version of them.   Here's a more modern image that is closer to those earliest ones.

Image result for jesus icon 21st century woman

And another that I really like, Janet Mackenzie's controversial Jesus of the People.

 Image result for Jesus depicted as a black woman for a new millennium

* That filthy rich-socially elite, pre-Ivy Leaguer jerk both held slaves and opposed the abolition of slavery in New York but it didn't keep him from being a complete hypocrite on the issue when it could be used politically.   There's no way he'd have gotten St. Nicholas right.  

A Government of Demented Media Stars And Easily Influenced Attention Deficient Children

Donald Trump's announcement of Ben Carson to head The Department of Health and Human Services shows how insane the Republican president-elect is.  Ben Carson proved during the campaign and after he dropped out that there is good reason to suspect he is suffering mental impairment that would lead anyone who really cared about him to worry about dementia.  He has nothing in his long past career as a surgeon to prepare him to run such a department, he has said nothing in his public career in Republican wacky politics that leads anyone who has listened to him think he is anything but entirely unfit to be confirmed for the position.

I just got done hearing what the political huckster Armstrong Williams said about him and his appointment on NPR and it was such a load of crap that the absence of anything better for his own shill could say in his behalf can only prove that there is nothing better to recommend him.   A good part of the interview with Armstrong had to deal with his own statements pointing out that Carson was unfit for such a job.  In TV-talk fashion, his backtracking was transparently dishonest and obviously insincere.  

We are being governed by what results from the Hollywood PR - tabloid-cabloids replacement for the reporting of fact.  That is what, in fact, dominates our entire media, high end to low.   That is what you get when you remove the discipline of them getting sued for lying and having sufficient standards they have to meet to keep broadcasting licenses are abolished because "free press".  The country was better informed when Walter Cronkite read them actual news for 20 minutes, between commercials, than it does with the cabloids and even such as the entirely degenerated, obviously Republican favoring NPR blaring lies and spin at us all day long.   Democracy reached its highest points of achievement when the effective media,  TV and radio, were under those requirements, liable to be sued if they lied and operated under broadcasting codes of conduct.  We are living with the results when they can just do whatever they want to.

As so many of those who the media lied into voting for Trump are already learning things such as he is appointing the people who cheated them out of their homes, I can't see any way for this snake oil operation to not fail spectacularly, though as NPR has proved before the election and after, the entire American media has been in on it and will continue to be in on the fraud.  The first order of business for them will be to assign blame for everything the Republican-fascists do to Democrats and other groups to protect the fascist government they are responsible for foisting on a misinformed, demoralized population.

I strongly suspect that there are large numbers of people who work in the government, in the military, who see what is coming and know better than just about anyone what a catastrophe is waiting for us in the hyper Burlusconiesque Trump regime.  Only the degenerate media titan Burlusconi was in charge of a country which had nothing like the power or role that the United States has in the world.  If, for example, a group of his aids with a financial interest in Taiwan had arranged the kind of call that Trump's did a few days back, the international implications of it wouldn't have had heads of state making frantic calls to get reassurances that it didn't mark a major change in policies that would destabilize an entire region.  One thing that I think has resulted from that is that the Chinese leadership now know how dangerous it is for there to be a puppet of Putin in the American White House.  What that could mean for our economy and for the lives of billions, who knows.

I hope the people who will leak information that will expose the real catastrophe and crimes of the Trump regime choose wisely who they leak to.  There aren't many venues of the American media I'd trust.  They've all been pretty much in on installing Trump or are too cowardly and corrupt to have effectively prevented it.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Know That You Are God's Beloved Child

I woke up this morning in a lot of pain, my back is still out and I exacerbated it by doing something to my bad shoulder.   So, I woke up this morning and I was intending to write something not about eugenics but I'm not up to it.  I listened to Krista Tippett's interiew with Fr. James Martin, the unedited version and there were so many worthwhile things to look at more closely that I looked at the transcript of the edited down show and several of the things I most liked in the full interview were edited out, they had to cut something because just about all of it was great.   If I were less achy and cranky I'd have listened to the passages I liked and typed them out but not when I feel like this.   So, it's getting late at night and I'm just going to post a link to the unedited version. I will call your attention to the story James Martin tells at about 1:13 when his spiritual director told him to meditate on what would happen if you turned the question of Jesus around and asked him,  "Who do you say that I am?"   I'll leave it to you to listen to the answer he got and how he got it.

I might go over some particular parts of the interview later this week.  I liked his jokes near the end of it.  Or you can hear him with Stephen Colbert:

In other news, I downloaded plans to make a cheap, home-made Japanese soaking tub.  I don't know which is more likely that I'll do, the tub or the transcript but I can tell you which one I wish I were sitting in right now.  I'll try to be less cranky or, if not, more silent.

Oh, yeah, and you should really catch what James Martin says about Advent at about 1:28.

Update:  Well, yeah, even assholes are children of God.  Even people who tell assholes that they're being assholes.