Monday, August 21, 2017

The Misrepresentation of What Holmes Said in The Abrams Dissent Is Obvious, Part 2

Considering the use by later Supreme Courts of Oliver Wendell Holmes jrs dissent in Abrams v The United States to protect the speech of terrorist groups with a history of violent attacks and murders, the KKK in the Brandenburg decision and Nazis, certainly among if not the most successful of murderous ideologies, dwarfed only by the inclusive group of ideologies that fall under white supremacy, it is remarkable how much of Holmes dissent he spends denying that the politically impotent anarchists and single socialist and vaguely lefty writers and publishers of two pamphlets were any real danger at all.  Or at least. that they were not in any way dangerous in the way that the majority opinion implied and stated.   That, alone, makes the use of his dissent to enable the propaganda and proselytization and encouragement to violence later courts made use of Holmes dissent for both illogical and a dangerously irresponsible lie.

The paragraphs of the dissent describing the supposed offenses and how the actual facts of what they said was harmless, the identities of the lefties changed to the KKK, Nazis, militant white supremacists WITH THOSE GROUPS HISTORY AND IDEOLOGICAL BASIS IN DENIAL OF RIGHTS TO MILLIONS, OF MURDER BASED ON RACE AND IDENTITY,* would turn to total and complete, lying, ahistorical nonsense in later uses of it.

The first of these leaflets says that the President's cowardly silence about the intervention in Russia reveals the hypocrisy of the plutocratic gang in Washington. It intimates that "German militarism combined with allied capitalism to crush the Russian revolution" — goes on that the tyrants of the world fight each other until they see a common enemy — working class enlightenment, when they combine to crush it; and that now militarism and capitalism combined, though not openly, to crush the Russian revolution. It says that there is only one enemy of the workers of the world and that is capitalism; that it is a crime for workers of America, &c., to fight the workers' republic of Russia, and ends "Awake! Awake, you Workers of the World! Revolutionists." A note adds "It is absurd to call us pro-German. We hate and despise German militarism more than do you hypocritical tyrants. We have more reasons for denouncing German militarism than has the coward of the White House."

The other leaflet, headed "Workers — Wake Up," with abusive language says that America together with the Allies will march for Russia to help the Czecko-Slovaks in their struggle against the Bolsheviki, and that this time the hypocrites shall not fool the Russian emigrants and friends of Russia in America. It tells the Russian emigrants that they now must spit in the face of the false military propaganda by which their sympathy and help to the prosecution of the war have been called forth and says that with the money they have lent or are going to lend "they will make bullets not only for the Germans but also for the Workers Soviets of Russia," and further, "Workers in the ammunition factories, you are producing bullets, bayonets, cannon, to murder not only the Germans, 626*626 but also your dearest, best, who are in Russia and are fighting for freedom." It then appeals to the same Russian emigrants at some length not to consent to the "inquisitionary expedition to Russia," and says that the destruction of the Russian revolution is "the politics of the march to Russia." The leaflet winds up by saying "Workers, our reply to this barbaric intervention has to be a general strike!," and after a few words on the spirit of revolution, exhortations not to be afraid, and some usual tall talk ends "Woe unto those who will be in the way of progress. Let solidarity live! The Rebels."

No argument seems to me necessary to show that these pronunciamentos in no way attack the form of government of the United States, or that they do not support either of the first two counts. What little I have to say about the third count may be postponed until I have considered the fourth. With regard to that it seems too plain to be denied that the suggestion to workers in the ammunition factories that they are producing bullets to murder their dearest, and the further advocacy of a general strike, both in the second leaflet, do urge curtailment of production of things necessary to the prosecution of the war within the meaning of the Act of May 16, 1918, c. 75, 40 Stat. 553, amending § 3 of the earlier Act of 1917. But to make the conduct criminal that statute requires that it should be "with intent by such curtailment to cripple or hinder the United States in the prosecution of the war." It seems to me that no such intent is proved.

You can contrast that to, not only the language of the past and current KKK, Nazis, what is euphemistically called "neo-Nazis" and white supremacists,  you can compare the violent, murderous results that came from that language.   And while doing that exercise, you can consider the speech and publishing and the agitation led to the Confederate treason against the United States government and see that not only is Holmes argument not applicable to them, the part of his argument that gives any of his dissent a character of rational realism in the particular case he wa addressing is clearly not applicable to the people the ACLU, the Rutherford Institute, the "civil liberties" industry and the Supreme Court have enabled through clipping out words from the rest of it.

The argument that permitts the advocacy of denial of rights to Black People - let's admit that they are the primary targets of all of those groups in the United States - Latinos,  LGBT people, Women, Muslims, Jews, etc.  AND THEIR MURDER is in any way safe or rational is only possible if you claim that there is no rational expectation of them or their listeners or readers carrying out those attacks.   And in 2017, that argument is obviously wrong and dishonestly made.   If making that argument is acceptable within the legal profession, law scholarship, in the judicial branch of government for groups which do advocate the denial of the most basic of natural rights to named racial, ethic and other groups and which do advocate violence and murder of them, then there is no reason for anyone to trust anything they do because they have all become dangerously and whimsically undependable.   Arguing that, after the carnage of WWII, it is in any way safe to bet that "it can't happen here" is ridiculous exceptionalism that there is no rational basis in believing BECAUSE IT DID HAPPEN HERE UNDER OTHER NAMES.   Slavery, the Confederacy, Jim Crow, the murderous theft and nearly successful genocide of Native Americans, the eugenics program made Constitutional by Holmes, which was studied by the Nazis in Germany as an inspiration to learn from, etc. are an obvious proof that it not only can happen here, it has and it does happen here.

Implied in the entire dissent of Holmes is the idea that even the Supreme Court is undependable in being able to make those distinctions.   If that is the case then Holmes should have called for the abolition of the Court, something no member of it ever did and which no member of the ACLU or other lawyer would ever do.   Also implied in the entire range of First Amendment babble on such matters is the even more unspeakable idea that the words of the First Amendment are too vague to really mean what they say.  That is true.   The First Amendment says:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

I will assert that the wording of that long, complex sentence is as ambiguous as the troublesome Second Amendment which was applied absurdly and dangerously in the Heller decision to turn what had been less insanely interpreted as a collective right to bear arms into an absolute individual right to own and publicly carry automatic weapons.  Something which anyone not trained to put on judicial blinders would see in the pictures of the "open carry" fanatics, especially the Nazis and KKK members at the rally the ACLU advocated for.   And Congress, from the start, even the Continental Congress members would make law abridging an absolute freedom of speech, even inserting a ban on consideration of petitions to abolish slavery from the early years of Constitutional government.

The desire for the drafters of  the original Constitution to play 18th century Augustan poet making universal and so vague pronouncements has made the Bill of Rights a land mine and opportunity for the enemies of equality in the hands of the Rehnquist and Roberts courts.  The idiotic advocacy of the ACLU for the "free speech" of billionaires and Nazis has presented them with those golden opportunities to deny rights to the very people the ACLU allegedly pretends to exist to protect.

What you make of the part of that sentence relating the second clause "or abridging the freedom of speech, of of the press, to the word "peaceable" found only in the clause of the right of people to assemble and petition the Government for a redress of grievances, is the difference between admitting a right to advocate for peace and for the exercise of rights and the permission to advocate for the abolition of rights with violence, even murder.

Pretending that the elite lawyers who are, in almost all cases, the product of elite law schools and many years experience as lawyers and judges and law scholars cannot discern the difference between The American Friends Service Committee or the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and the KKK and Nazis on the basis of the latters advocacy and history of violence and inspiring violence is an absurd exercise in willful blindness at the top rung of the legal profession.   Only people miseducated by a system which rewards such dishonesty could get away with that and, obviously, our legal profession does that because that pretense is the real basis of pretending they don't know, in 2017, that Nazis and the KKK are terror groups that can and have, in world history and the history of the United States, successfully organized to non-peacefully assemble and kill people, sway state legislatures and Congress to deny even more fundamental rights to entire groups of people, often with the blessing of the Supreme Court.

The left buying that line is as dishonest.   As I mentioned yesterday, anarchists had, in fact, still were in 1919 waging idiotic campaigns of senseless violence which only produced a backlash which damaged the political identity of the left.  Marxists, another group on behalf of whom lawyers of the left have asserted this line of legal bull shit, were never any real danger to the corporate state in the United States.  Asserting that "we must allow the Nazis and KKK to say what they want to or "they" will prevent us from speaking" often meant communists as the "us" asserted.   That is not only total nonsense, it is a ridiculous aspiration in a country in which fascists have always been a far greater danger of gaining power than any lefty group.   And once they did gain power, they would do away with any idea of equal rights, oppressing, enslaving and killing the real "us" including everyone that the idea of equal rights was developed to protect.

The early years of the ACLU, its early history was based in exactly that kind of idiocy that believed that enabling the KKK, Nazis, white supremacists, the publishing and movie industry to advocate the most depraved of things would, somehow, advantage the political aspirations of the left.  It was always blended with a dishonest ruse to benefit the red fascism of Marxism, who never had any chance of benefitting from it because their ideology was unacceptable to the rich and powerful and the major organs of the media while the equally anti-democratic ideologies of fascism, white supremacy and Nazism were acceptable and congenial to them, and so would be the obvious beneficiaries of such a ruse.*

That was a stupid idea then, it has become even stupider as they succeeded in putting their "free speech" language into the mouths of billionaire oligarchs, right-wing Supreme Court justices who are taking a wrecking ball to the voting rights and civil rights of Black People, Latinos, Democrats and in 2017, when Nazis rally under the slogan of "free speech".

* You should consider the history of Max Eastman brother of Crystal Eastman, sometimes considered the founder of the ACLU.   Max Eastman started out a lefty of the Marxist kind who eventually migrated, as so many Marxists have, to the far right.  You can also consider the history of that other founder of it,  Roger Baldwin who, as I mentioned a week or so ago, went from a shameless apologist of the Soviet Union in the early years of their murderous campaign of terror to, during the red scare of the late 40s and 50s, requiring an anti-communism oath for members of the ACLU.  Behind the successful PR coverup of that organization there is some pretty sordid stuff, especially if you've admitted the real character of Marxism as an anti-democratic ideology which is not really much different from fascism or Nazism in history of murder and violence and denial of rights.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

I am challenged to say a word about the death of Jerry Lewis.

Why? 


Dušan Bogdanović - 12 Note Samba etc from The Book of Unknown Standards


Matthew Greif, guitar

Esmerelda's Waltz


Monkanging


Dušan Bogdanović is a genius,  my trolls are not.

More:

Odds and Ends 



Steps To Hell And Halfway Back


William Kanengiser, guitar

I Won't Take A Syllable Of That Back And I'll Say It Again

The "free speech" absolutist meaning of "Never Again" means, "Well, we're willing to take a chance on it happening again".   Which is stunningly irresponsible after the history of the genocidal 20th century, a symptom of moral indifference. 

Hate Mail

For people who can discern the difference that Trump refused to make, the complete and qualitative difference, distinguishing between people, Nazis demonstrating for hatred and racism and violence and those other people who were protesting against them, and rightly slamming Trump for that, it's amazing to me that you now claim to not be able to make a similar qualitative judgement about the ideas of the two groups.

If the people who are Nazis are qualitatively different from anti-Nazis, as I hold they are, they are different ON THE BASIS OF THE IDEAS THEY HOLD AND ARTICULATE.   To hold that the ideas, somehow, have to be pretended to be equivalent in terms of their acceptability and their protection ignores that it is the ideas of the Nazis which make them dangerous.  That such ideas are responsible for the deaths of tens of millions of people within still living memory makes pretending that they are deserving of equal status under the law is insane.   

Your position gives hate speech an equal status to speech for equal justice for people under the law.  

In reality, due to the difference in intent,  it privileges the hate speech of Nazis who are trying to gain power to make their hate into a reality over the lives of their targets, so it empowers and values that speech above the lives of their current and intended victims.  

That is the real position of the lawyers and judges and justices who hold that position.  It enables and empowers the very real, and historically proven possibility of such hate speech gaining power and doing that.  It did in Nazi Germany, fascist Italy and under the Jim Crow era in the United States which the current Attorney General and members sitting on the Supreme Court clearly want to go back to. 

Anyone in a group targeted by Nazis is entirely justified in feeling that those professionals are ready to sacrifice them on their altar of Holmesian First Amendment Purity in ways they never would themselves. 

Update:  The difference in intent of speech is a basic and crucial difference in whether or not that speech can lead to results that damage the rights and lives of other people.  If I said that someone should give you a hundred dollars and there was a chance someone hearing that might do that it would be entirely different than if I said someone should kill you and there was a chance someone hearing that might do it, the first would, in no way, endanger your rights, the second one would.  

Pretending that all speech is somehow neutral and that, therefore all speech deserves equal status under the law is an absurdity that is asserted only when the results are likely to hurt someone else, to deprive them of their rights and lives.  It is only when that's the case that judges and justices play stupid and pretend that can't reliably be done.  If it were commercial speech, or even commercial "speech" under copyright or something, they'll tease out the most obscure and technical of points to make that judgement. 

Winne Clement - Fujara Improvisation


"It's such a thing," someone told a friend of mine when he got his first lute.  This is certainly such a thing, which I'd never heard of before Friday.  

Here's a video where Mr. Clement explains the instrument and demonstrates that, though it's built on the same principles as a bass recorder, it's being played through the overtone series and three sound holes gives it a totally different character.


I like how he uses these traditional instruments to make music that is all his own.

The Irresponsible Unreality Of Holmes' Abrams Dissent, 1. The Background In Real LIfe As Opposed To Pretend

I, like probably everyone reading this who is not a lawyer, never read the entire decision and dissent in the 1919 Supreme Court case, Abrams v United States.   It is the case which said that the motley combination of anarchists and other vaguely and inaccurately identified lefties who wrote and produced two pamphlets against the First World War or, more accurately, it would seem, any covert military or other opposition to the revolution in Russia had a right to issue inflammatory pamphlets advocating action against that.  The producers of the pamphlets were arrested and prosecuted for violating several laws passed to prevent propaganda for the purpose of attacking the government and to inhibit things like wartime production to hinder the course of the war.  Since the important thing about this is the dissent to the majority opinion that let those prosecutions stand by Oliver Wendell Holmes jr.  a dissent joined in by Louis Brandeis, all I'll point out is that Holmes had voted in several earlier cases to uphold those laws as Constitutional.

The dissent Holmes wrote in Abrams is widely considered to have, ultimately, won because it was so heavily relied on to allow all kinds of speech, much of it, clearly dangerous to people in ways that have become entirely familiar.  The permission of such "speech" as has been allowed through the use of and extension of Holmes words is exactly the kind of hate speech which is such a danger to the lives and rights and freedoms of Black People, Latinos, Women, LGBT people, Muslims, Jews, Native Americans etc.   By that list it is obvious that the majority of Americans are the target of such speech and of attacks promoted in such speech.   I will note that, by and large, the members of those groups most in danger are not such people who are wealthy, people of ordinary or modest means, people who are poor or destitute are more likely to be the targets of such violence and discrimination. That is easiest to see in whose rights are effectively denied them by that kind of hate speech made law and upheld by the Supreme Court, especially in the area of voting rights.   If such hate speech impacted on rich, straight, white men, those laws would never have been made and such hate speech would never have been permitted to stand.   

I am certain that courts comprised of the victims of such speech, if they really cared about the people who would be the targets of such speech would never have issued such words as Holmes did in that case or the ones extending those words.  Anyone who was or had their rights and lives, the rights and lives of their loved ones targeted though hate speech would never agree with that thinking.  Unless they'd been acculturated and trained in the conventions of thought that issue from such places as elite law schools at Ivy and may-as-well-be-Ivy universities.  The role that such acculturation and the privileges and benefits even members of severely discriminated against minorities expect to gain from their diplomas from such places plays in their upholding of speech and actions that damage their fellow minority members is something that really needs thinking about.  Needless to say, any lawyer whose thinking is seriously at odds with what Holmes said, if such deviation did not advantage the wealthy and powerful, wouldn't expect to be appointed to a judgeship or expect to rise in the judicial profession or in a major law school faculty.   

As I started, I'd never read the full dissent, never having read more than a closely clipped part of it that is often given as the core of Holmes thinking.   Reading it I was surprised to see how little the dissent has to do with the realities of the situations it is misapplied to in the subsequent history of its use.  Today it is used to allow hate speech and lies which promote Nazism, fascism, white supremacy and the party which made a conscious decision to benefit from overtly taking on white supremacists as a result of the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts, the Republican Party.   The thinking of Holmes in such "free speech" cases has also been used to benefit the pornography industry, mass media (which, being corporate entities which exist to profit the owners, share a great deal in common with the white supremacist enabling Republican Party and pornographers) and even the vestiges of the old print media who have an ever less important role in political and cultural life.  Such are he people who have so often been the beneficiaries of the branch of government least answerable to The People, the courts, especially the Supreme Court.   

Reading the decision I have to say Holmes thinking is quite flawed, even for the time it was issued in 1919 and subsequent history has shown that his thinking was even less attached to reality than its repute would have you believe.  Yet the beneficiaries and imagined beneficiaries of that line of thought pretend otherwise. 

This is going to take at least a couple of posts.  Before I get into the actual words of Holmes in this case I will repeat something I wrote a few years ago about the misplaced trust that liberals have put in the thinking of Holmes who was no liberal and whose basic personal and legal philosophy rejected the very basis of American liberalism.   It was, in fact, far more in line with the thinking of some of our more amoral libertarians and, as can be seen in his most infamous majority opinion, Buck v Bell issued seven years later, it shared some proto-fascistic characteristics.   So much so that his words were used by the Nazi defendants at the Nuremberg tribunals to defend their actions, something which must have stood out for the chief American judge there, Holmes' former secretary, friend and confidant, Francis Biddle.   As I said in those earlier pieces about what Biddle wrote about Holmes in 1960.

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His familiarity with Holmes gives Biddle's analysis of the effect that Holmes' thinking and reading a particular credibility that could stand alone as evidence of how he came to decide what he did.  In a series of lectures Biddle gave, which were published in 1960 he said.  

[In Holmes' thinking] All society rested on the death of men or on the prevention of the lives of a good many. So that when the Chief Justice assigned him the task of writing an opinion upholding the constitutionality of a Virginia law for sterilizing imbeciles he felt that he was getting near the first principle of real reform— although of course he didn't mean that the surgeon's knife was the ultimate symbol. 

... He was amused at some of the rhetorical changes in his opinion suggested by his associates, and purposely used "short and rather brutal words for an antithesis," that made them mad. In most cases the difficulty was rather with the writing than with the thinking. To put the case well and from time to time to hint at a vista was the job. . . . 

The vista of which Biddle spoke was provided by Holmes' reading of Charles Darwin.  Biddle continued:

This approach is characteristic of Holmes, and constantly reflected in his opinions— to keep the law fluid and the doors of the mind open. For pedestrian lawyers it was often unsatisfactory— they wanted everything defined and settled and turned into everlasting precedents. 

Darwin's influence was strong on Holmes, and his theory of the survival of those who were fit to survive must have been constantly and passionately discussed in Dr. Holmes's house when 
Wendell was a growing lad and young man. On the Origin of Species had appeared when he was eighteen, and The Descent of Man in 1871, when he was thirty. Darwin led to Herbert Spencer, 
whom Holmes thought dull, with the ideals of a lower middle-class British Philistine, but who, with Darwin, he believed had done more than any other English writer to affect our whole way of thinking about the universe. All his life Holmes held to the survival of the strong, and did not disguise his view that the Sherman Act was a humbug, based on economic ignorance and incompetence, and that the Interstate Commerce Commission was not a fit body to be entrusted with rate making. However, as he said to Pollock, he was so skeptical about our knowledge of the goodness or badness of laws that he had no practical criticism except what the crowd wants. Personally he would bet that the crowd if it knew more wouldn't want what it does. 

Compared to the "right" of private businesses to do things that could have enormously effects, good or bad, on countless people, including deaths,  Holmes saw the danger of individual people asserted to be "imbeciles"  having a child as more deserving of the most extreme state intervention, even into their bodies with surgery, on the mere prediction that any child they had was of an increased potential to be intellectually or physically deficient.  

Yet Holmes is seen as some kind of great progressive force in the law, primarily, I'd guess, due to his free speech dissents and his usefulness to Franklin Roosevelt at the very end of his life.  There also was the movie of the play "The Magnificent Yankee" which only adds weight to the case that historical fiction in the hands of the theater and Hollywood, is best considered to be fiction.  Liberals seem to be suckers for that kind of "history".

Since he lived until 1935, Holmes saw eugenics activity in the United States increase enormously after his decision, responsible for the forced and involuntary sterilization of scores of thousands of people.  He also lived to see the rise of fascists in Europe, the Nazis, he lived long enough and could have been quite aware of the Nazis eugenic laws, the first in Germany, in July of 1933, laws which were justified by the Nazis and their supporters by citing the eugenics laws in the United States, both at the beginning and, as mentioned before, after the fall of the Third Reich.  I don't know if he is recorded as ever having said anything about that,  other than his declaration that he felt he was getting at "the first principle of real reform" in his decision, I haven't yet found anything he said in its wake.  I would suspect there is something, I just haven't found it yet. [I still haven't found it.]

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Given his use by "civil libertarians" the "free speech - free press" industry and the subsequent PR campaign which turned a pretty nasty and vicious and cold blooded enthusiast for inequality, laissiez faire capitalism, eugenics and even was prepared to believe that the result of Darwinian struggle was beneficial for the survivors into a hero, it is no real surprise that his thinking would end up benefitting Nazis. Looking at the Abrams decision,  I noticed that the year it was issued is also the year that is generally considered as being the beginning of the Nazi party, though it wouldn't change its name till the next year.   It was two years into the Russian revolution which had already pretty much disposed of the democratic movement within the revolution and the ascendant Communists under Lenin had already started the campaign of murdering their opponents and were embarked on the terror that cemented their power in the lands under their control.   They were already exercising their influence and power in foreign countries, including in the United States,  1919 was the year that the Communists in Russia helped engineer the destruction of the old Socialist Party at the emergency convention that had been called in Chicago through such Hollywood mythologized celebrities as the idiot Jack Reed.   

More to the point of the danger of hate speech, there were 83 known lynchings in the United States in 1919, who knows how many other racially motivated murders where a rope wasn't used.  The KKK had reformed, inspired by the blockbuster movie of 1915,  Birth of a Nation which glamorized and mythologized the KKK and promoted some of the most vicious and still politically potent lies of racism which the incumbent president and Attorney General are using to attack voting rights on behalf of the Republican Party.   Lynching is a crime in which hate speech plays a crucial, motivating role, though rich, white, powerful men are almost never those who have to worry about it. 

Perhaps more to the point of why Holmes issued a dissent instead of writing the majority opinion, 1919 was also the year that anarchists inspired by the words of  Luigi Galleani had sent a series of package bombs to prominent people through the mail.  Bizarrely enough, considering his language in favor of the rights of anarchists to such "free speech" one of the people who were sent a bomb was Oliver "Wendell Holmes jr.  Or maybe that explains why he might have wanted to appease such anarchists?  I don't know.   I do know that one of the few actuall casualties was the maid of one of the intended targets and that Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt were narrowly missed by one of the packages exploding near them.   

The context of the very year that Holmes issued his dissent proved that his thinking was not closely related to reality, it would certainly become less so as the speech of Nazis matured and bore some of the worst fruit ever sown.  That lawyers and judges and justices, pretending their use of Holmes in the even less relevant context of the intent of 18th century slave owners was adequate to post war reality is even more insanely irresponsible.   Today, with Nazis, white supremacists and actual fascists in the White House, put their by cabloid and hate talk radio hate talk and preying on the paranoia of people who have imbibed that hate talk for decades, creating a reality show Fuhrer who, even as his treason to the country, his pathological racist excuse making for Nazis known has about a third of the country supporting him, continuing with that line of idiocy is a guarantee of disaster.   And I would bet my last dollar on that, expecting to win the bet soon. 

I will call your attention to this part of what Francis Biddle said about the man he knew better than anyone alive today and more qualified to talk about the basis of Holmes' thinking.

he was so skeptical about our knowledge of the goodness or badness of laws that he had no practical criticism except what the crowd wants. Personally he would bet that the crowd if it knew more wouldn't want what it does. 

That was, actually, something he said in the most quoted paragraph of his dissent:  

But when men have realized that time has upset many fighting faiths, they may come to believe even more than they believe the very foundations of their own conduct that the ultimate good desired is better reached by free trade in ideas — that the best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market, and that truth is the only ground upon which their wishes safely can be carried out. That at any rate is the theory of our Constitution. It is an experiment, as all life is an experiment.

He said that in a year, 1919, in which Jim Crow was as powerful as it ever would be, in which women had not narrowly been given the vote (the fate of that amendment rested on one vote in one state legislature) it was a country in which racism, bigotry, sexism, class hatred and other forms of thought were on top and did rule and blight the lives of a majority of the people in the United States.  Holmes, himself, supported some of that thinking as his infamous Buck v Bell decision proved.  And what Holmes no doubt thought of as a Darwinian struggle for existence among ideas would soon give ascendence to Leninism and Stalinism and Nazism and fascism in the same way that Jim Crow ruled a large part of the United States, imposing an apartheid-fascism on Black Americans, the terror campaign of Lynching and other violence a very real reality for them.   

Anyone who has a reasonable expectation of being the focus of violent hate speech , of an advocacy of violence in their real life instead of Supreme Court Justice theoretical pondering who doesn't think an assertion that such violence should not be given a chance to prevail is insane.   Such people who do accept, without objection, the "free speech" industry lines on that are suffering something like the Stockholm Syndrome, in which their own imprisonment and endangerment is accepted through some pathological identification with their oppressors.  Many of them with no more thought than the rote learned conventional slogans of such interest groups, created and spouted on behalf of those who benefit from the hate speech.   Women who accept the slogans that benefit the epic misogyny of the porn industry are especially out of touch with reality.  LGBT people who accept such "free speech" as has tortured us are as much victims of those automatically learned lines.  

There is no rational reason, in 2017 for any honest person to pretend that Nazis have a right to spew violent hate speech or that Nazism is based in anything but genocidal hate speech.   As people piously recite a far more noble and realistic slogan of "Never again", they should consider that the thinking of Holmes and the "free speech" industry includes the very real assertion that those who want it to happen again have a right to try to make it happen again.  Free speech absolutism is, in as real a way as possible, incompatible with the declaration of Never Again.  For its present day victims, "again" is already here.  

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Arch Oboler - The Truth


"The Truth". A thoughtful story about a scientist who puzzles after the ultimate source of cosmic rays and eventually discovers, "The Truth." The 12th of a series of 26 broadcasts. Edmund Gwenn, Roseanne Murray, Bruce Elliott, Antony Ellis, Gordon Jenkins, Jack Meighan, Arch Oboler.

This is a radio play that was done several times on at least two different series of Oboler's plays.  I listened to it on another transcription so I'm not certain if the cast is the same.  This was the clearest of several I sampled.

Apparently Arch Oboler had some knowledge of what, four decades later would be called a near death experience.

Second Feature:  Alf Silver - Clean Sweep - Suddenly This Summer 


Deborah Allen, Richard Donat, Michael Pellerin, Ryan Rogerson, Ashley Swain, Jeremy Ackerman,  Jocelyn Cunningham

Hate Mail - There's Absolutely No Question That American Nazism Is A Darwin Inspired Phenomenon I've Proved That With The Nazis Own Words

I wrote those pieces an earlier time Duncan's Mendacity Choir chimed in ignorantly and stupidly.  

Here's an index to some of them, I will update when I have time to look up more of my archive.

Here's a clue, friends, start indexing your posts at the start.  You wait till you get a few hundred or a thousand or so and you'll never get back to it. 

Update:  Simps, you should put the Zod sockpuppet away, you're wearing a hole in it and people can see your hand under it.  You haven't used "Lubyanka" for a while, did it get lost in the wash?  

I can assure you that anyone who reads my blog knows that Nazis are anti-Semites, my readers, apart from you-Zod aren't as ignorant as the non-readers you're accustomed to.  It's mentioned in those things I indexed, especially the ones which quote the most influential American Nazi of all, William L. Pierce who was a scientist and an atheist who had no problem with attributing his genocidal racism to Darwin and Darwinists like Arthur Keith, E. O. Wilson and Kevin MacDonald, you know, David Irving's scientific witness in his libel action against Deborah Lipstadt, which he lost so ignominiously and satisfyingly.   As I also noted the other day, Pierce's living ..... um.... "intellectual" heirs also make no secret as to the Darwinist origin of their Nazism.  

If there is anyone so stupid as to not know that Nazis are anti-Semites, I don't write down to their level.  You must know that, you don't read what I write either. 

Moldavian kaval solo - Flutemaker Winne Clement


Improvisation by flutemaker Winne Clement on a Moldavian Kaval 'branch flute' made out of locust wood with the bark still partially attached .Recorded at night during the winter of 2013 at the church of Eggewaartskapelle.

Listening to that Turkish ney music I posted a few weeks back led to me listening to the related music on other end-blown flutes from Eastern Europe and the surrounding area.  It's amazing how much worthwhile music there is that we never listen to.  I hope it helps me get Bobby Vinton's  1970s My Melody of Love that was played on the Polka Party out of my mind.  NEVER DO THAT TO ME AGAIN, Gary!

Update:  Improvisation


Hate Mail Defending Hate Speech

"Deny a right [ to spew violence inciting hate speech ] to one, then you deny that right to all."

Why is that argument not, essentially, the one that Trump made equating Nazis with the opponents of Nazis?   It refuses to note that there is as bright a line as could possibly be found between the advocacy of denying rights to people, of advocating the oppression, subjugation, exclusion and murder of entire groups of people and those who oppose all of those things contained in Nazism, white supremacy, the KKK.  What there is is no real difference between that assertion of equivalence and the one Trump relied on to support torch carrying Nazis rallying in an American city, organizing and proselytizing others to join them in destroying the rights and threatening the lives of people.  Yet, that is the lie that the "civil liberties" industry has used to justify ITS enabling of Nazis in even stronger ways, with the force of judicial orders, than Trump could. 

It is also not true.  If there is one thing that is obvious, Nazis could be denied the right to organize, to proselytize, to advocate attacks on and the murders of Black People, Jews, LGBT people, the subjugation of women, totally and effectively and not one of the people in those groups would suffer a thing except being safer from Nazis.   If the KKK had been effectively crushed in its infancy many people would certainly have stood a better chance of living and gaining safety and security.  If the propaganda that revived it after it had gone moribund, Birth of a Nation, had not been made, if the backers of the film had rejected it, it is very likely that the increased outbreak of lynching would not have happened.  

Hate speech is not, in any way, comparable to speech that advocates equal rights and equal justice under the law.

I will have more to say about that Holmes dissent later. 

More Hate Mail - We Have Been In A Crisis For Democracy We Were Brought Here By The Lawyers and Judges

I will never pretend that there is a right to advocate genocide and murder.  To do that is the negation of rights and a forfeiture of rights, not a right.  The genocides of the 20th century, those of our previous century should have proved that hardest of realities.

The simple, slogan based understanding of the role that speech plays in egalitarian democracy used by "civil liberties" advocates in the past century, including what has been consistently identified as a right to advocate the denial of life and equal rights to innocent people on the basis of their race, their ethnicity, their religion, their gender their gender identity, is inadequate and based on willful ignorance and stupidity.   Its simplicity is attractive and easy, its results have been catastrophic, especially for those who are not rich and members of non-targeted groups.  That is certainly no surprise to those who have been victimized through the advocacy of violence, discrimination (inevitably imposed through violence) and those who are the focus of media-wide lie campaigns.

After the 20th century when real genocidal campaigns killed tens of millions of people, after the American history with the not infrequently deadly violence of slavery, of Jim Crow, of other campaigns of racism and subjugation of women, etc.  CONDUCTED UNDER THE BILL OF RIGHTS AND, AS CAN BE SEEN THROUGH THE BILL OF RIGHTS AS INTERPRETED BY THE SUPREME COURT AT THE BEHEST OF GROUPS LIKE THE ACLU, THE RUTHERFORD INSTITUTE, ETC.  It's long, long past time to come up with something that protects people against the results of such speech.

That is especially true now that the decades long barrage of anti-liberal hate speech on cable TV and hate-talk radio has put Donald Trump in office and, after his treason is exposed, after his placement of a white supremacist in the office of Attorney General, after his hiring of actual Nazis to work in the White House, we still have the same idiots who brought the cases on behalf of well financed extreme right-wing groups that resulted in Buckley v. Valeo and Citizens United still spouting the same enabling lines that have brought us past the point of that fabled "Constitutional crisis" from the ongoing and never mentioned crisis of Democracy.

The theory of "free speech" such "civil libertarians" has been made the law of the land and the results are a crisis for democracy which could, well, finish off American democracy.   And the idiots have learned nothing, they are enabling Nazis, the KKK, and other enemies of the American People, Black People, Latinos, Women, LGBT People, Jews, liberals, and yesterday they announced after last week that they've finally, decades after a campaign of violence which includes the largest mass murder of Americans before 9-11 that, maybe, it's not a good idea to have people who bring guns to rallies as clients - though if it had not turned bad for publicity, I doubt they'd have noticed.   And they'll still, no doubt, take their side in court if they claim they won't bring their guns to another one. But it was a car that was used to kill and maim people this time.

The lawyers, judges and "justices" who have enabled this situation, both privileging the billionaires boys club, the right wing media moguls on the upper scale and the Nazis, KKK and white supremacists on the bottom have driven this country into this crisis through their favored interpretation of articles in the Bill of Rights, the First and Second Amendments and others.  They show no sign of taking any responsibility for what has resulted, not even the supposed liberals among them.  They don't even seem to notice the problem.

The only reason that free speech is politically important, its ultimate legal importance is to protect the rights and lives of people on an equal basis, to create a decent, peaceful life for all of us.  Its secondary importance is to produce effective and just self-governance by a population on the basis of accurate information and an expression of their good will, an expression of their intention to have, promote and maintain egalitarian democracy with just laws that apply equally.   The ACLU with its "free speech" fetish is only one part of the American legal establishment and judicial system which has actively worked against that.   The results are a product of the theorizing of law scholars, none of them poor, relatively few of them living lives where they have to worry about Nazis, the KKK or white supremacists, none of those who act to enable them believing that they are really the ones in danger from them.  Lots of people don't have that luxury.

I noted the other day that the ACLU spoke out of both sides of its mouth about how the police were strong handed in trying to keep the order in the KKK rally in Charlottesville in July and, then, that they didn't do enough to keep the peace when their Nazi clients turned as ugly as they had always intended to get, they complained they weren't strong handed enough.   They want it all ways, in every way, and they deny any responsibility for any of it, even as they enable the worst of the worst among us and create publicity for their organization and get Hollywood idiots to raise money for them on that basis.   There was talk of a big post-Oscar party for them to raise money for the ACLU to protest Trump's regime.  That they would raise money for an organization which, through their "money equals speech" advocacy had done so much to make it possible to put Trump in office only shows how successful the ACLU PR job has been.   The left won't defeat Trump with that kind of willful blindness as to the effect that group and others like it have in real life instead of pious PR.

If the First Amendment is what leads us ever farther to the right and right into fascism, as it has already produced the once unthinkable Trump "presidency" there is something very wrong with it, just as there is, clearly, something wrong with the Second Amendment.   The ACLU exists to promote everything wrong with it on the basis of pretending the law can't distinguish between the Civil Rights Movement and Nazis.  Anyone who can't do that is too stupid to be running a legal system and a judicial system.  And they claim they are that stupid.  We should believe them and act to protect ourselves from them.   You can't support the billionaire boys club's destruction of our elections, swamping the media, and the ability of Nazis, the KKK and other violent hate groups and honestly claim to promote democracy and the equal justice before the law.  Not honestly.

It was politicians, even Republican ones, along with Democrats, who tried to get big money out of our elections.  It took the lawyer and judges and justices to put it right back in   If you want to see how Nazis came to be working in the White House, they're the one who enabled that.  Including the big role in that by the sacred ACLU.   Remember that if the Boston and other "free speech" Nazi rallies turn ugly enough to get in the news.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Albert Roussel - L'Accueil des Muses - In Memoriam Debussy



Désiré N’Kaoua, piano

Noticed the first intimations of autumn today.   Reminded me of this.

Since I Can't Say It With Skunk Cabbage I'll Let Martha Davis And Her Spouse Say It

Have a couple of meetings and the next thing you know Steve Bannon is self-fired because Trump is too cowardly to fire anyone.


Life After Hate


Lord Fa-fa(rage) Drops A Penny

F is for "fascist" FOX, has on that Brit blight on the world, Lord Fa-fa (Neil Farage) to scold Americans on getting upset about those Nazis terrorizing people here when it should be picking a fight will 1.6 billion+ Muslims.

I'm all for getting him and the Brit-Hungarian Nazi, Sebastian Gorka deported back to Britain where they'll be their problems and to keep them both out of a de-Nazified United States.   Murdoch should go too, for his role in promoting fascism, white supremacy and Nazism.   FOX should lose any broadcasting license it holds on the same basis.    A broadcasting code that bans violent hate speech is going to turn out to be necessary to protect democracy.  The mass media changed everything except the old habits of thought that should have died with the world based on print on paper.  Electronic media, especially mass media, makes those old assumptions dangerously out of date and a tool for those who, like Putin, like Murdoch, like Sinclair want to destroy democracy.   

We will adapt to that new reality or democracy will die, replaced by racist, violent, murderous fascism. 

The Left Needs To Dump The ACLU For More Competent Representation - You really get people upset when you hold up those guys to a critique

The injunction is made, who cares where it comes down, 

“That's not my department,” says the ACLU
after Tom Lehrer

The habit of non-thought on the left that holds the ACLU is beyond any kind of criticism is really stupid in so far as they have been instrumental in a list of things which have made things worse. They, in their "free speech" absolutist purity have:

- Supported Supreme Court rulings which have led to the most effective means of propaganda, the mass media, to lie with impunity about liberal politicians.  The corporate networks who control what most people hear as something like news is certainly not in control of liberals and they have used their impune "free speech" to tell the most outrageous lies about such politicians as the Kennedys, the Clintons, and a steady stream of Democratic challengers to Republicans.  The ruling of 1964 allowing the media to lie has had the effect of steadily driving American politics to the right, putting ever more right-wing people on the Supreme Court, forcing even liberal politicians into governing ever farther to the right.

- Supported the rights of fascists, Nazis, white supremacists to rally and organize even as those groups and their propaganda corrupt people into opposing equality and democracy and target entire races and ethnicities, LGBT people, and, of course, Jews, with messages up to and including incitement to murder.

From the real life results of that, its impact in the lives of real people, in our politics, in the damage it has done to egalitarian democracy, I've concluded:

- Anyone who claims that a book, such as the Turner Diaries, which was written by the Nazi, William L. Pierce to foment the murders of those it targets, is not identified as such, beyond any rational doubt and which has, in fact, inspired fascists and Nazis and white supremacists to murder people and, so dangerous speech which any rationally governed democracy would rightly suppress, must not be because a bunch of white slave owners in the 1780s wrote the First Amendment in ridiculously vague and inspecific language have forfeited their right to be taken seriously or to have their opinions on such matters respected by reasoning people of good will.

-  Any group which made the various and shifting stands on the rallies in Charlottesville, both the one last weekend and the earlier one in July, talking out of both sides of its mouth to enable the KKK and Nazis, minimizing the potential for people to get killed in the way the ACLU of Virginia did, is a group which has forfeited all of the trust that people have put in it through the ACLU's successful propagandizing of the left which it has played such a role in harming.

The repute the ACLU is held in is based on some idiotic game of calling its refusal to responsibly admit that there are ideas which are dangerous to egalitarian democracy and that enabling those ideas, especially those which tell lies that end up in getting people killed is some kind of perverted idea of a virtue.  

You can only take that as a virtue if you are part of a group, mostly rich, white, mostly male mostly lawyers  who are generally not the kind of people targeted by Nazis, fascists, white supremacists, the KKK, etc.  and, what do you know, the members of the legal profession, the judicial class, comprise mostly those kinds of people.   The members of the Supreme Court have been, by an overwhelming majority, NOT the kinds of people targeted by violent hate groups.  The mostly straight, white, male, upper-middle class to affluent members of the Supreme Court, listening to lawyers who are mostly the same, reading past members of courts and law scholars, mostly the same, are the ones who strike the poses and make the rulings that constitute the legal tradition in this country.   I think we have reached the point where the Supreme Court poses the greatest threat to egalitarian democracy.   That was on display in the court decision allowing the Nazis to rally in accordance with their preference over the demonstrable threat to public safety that posed, on the basis of the similar event in July.

I am sure, based on that long tradition that such lawyers and such judges, feel some frisson of virtuousness  when they advocate that position and hand down such rulings, buoyed by the language of Holmes and others.  I even think they might feel some perverse satisfaction in having committed that action most bizarrely held as a virtue, permitted the most dangerous and potentially murderous speech by people who held the most murderously anti-democratic of insane ideas.   I can only imagine such a crazy idea being considered a virtue by people who didn't have any reason to suspect they would be the ones targeted by such people, no sane person who had that expectation would hold it to be any kind of good or necessary thing.   Anyone who is the target of such speech would have to rationally consider it a clear and present danger to their lives and rights and freedom..   And any rational person would consider a judge or Justice who permitted that, any lawyer who advocated them endangering them and their loved one evil and ready to sacrifice them on their altar of First Amendment purity.

The pose that judges can't determine those obvious things, that they can't judge the character of those things and their dangers is ridiculous, as that is something they do in far harder cases whenever large amounts of money are contested on highly technical issues.  The case of the Nazis, the KKK, fascists, white supremacists and others such as now have a place in the White House, and those they intend to deprive of their rights, even those enumerated in the Constitution, even of their right as full citizens of the United states, even their  lives is not a hard one.  It is only when the rights and lives of minority groups is targeted that the courts and lawyers play so dumb as to claim that it is dangerous for their judgement to be trusted.

What I think we need, if they are so stupid, so incapable of giving us and our rights safety is a new set of laws with lawyers and judges who aren't so stupid and incapable of putting today's egalitarian democracy, the equal rights of living people above their long standing pretenses and traditions and the words of 18th century rich, white, male, slave holders.   Obviously the ones ruling us into violence and fascism aren't up to that job.

The left needs alternative representation, the left needs to dump the ACLU.

Update:  Way, way too little, way, way too late.   In the wake of Charlottesville, the ACLU has decided it won't advocate for the Nazis and KKK if they  don't promise on their Hitler Junger honor to leave their guns home.   Gee, you wonder why it took them that long to take that ineffective baby step. 

Dump the ACLU, its basic ideology is never going to change and it will always damage egalitarian democracy because that's not what they really care about. 

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hate Mail - How Dare You Criticize the ACLU!!!!

I read the article in Newsweek about the criticism of the Charlottesville police not providing security for a Synagog which was named in Nazi propaganda encouraging Nazis to burn it down and if an investigation into it shows that the police were negligent, there should be consequences for that failure.  But the police had tried to prevent the rally from happening in the way it did and, I'm certain, that many, perhaps most of the police would have rather it didn't happen at all.  Just as I'm reading criticism of the police and the local and state politicians, I'm reading very little in the way of criticism for the judges, justices and lawyers who permitted it to happen as it did, in the way the Nazis wanted it to, where it happened and when it happened.

But police and local and even state resources aren't infinite, they aren't and can't be pretended to be 100% efficacious in protecting us, especially when they are hemmed in from doing so by lawyers and judges, even against the best will and experience of the police.   Even when the people they are supposed to protect us against are armed with automatic weapons that lawyers and judges have made it legal for them to have.

There has been some criticism of the criticism of the ACLU from the media jerks who have a knee jerk "can do nothing wrong" attitude toward the ACLU because of its past, successful PR.   It's really a bad idea to let that kind of PR turn into a habit that shields groups that go to court to enable Nazis the KKK and white supremacists, the gun industry, the gun nuts, the billionaires who, having with the ACLU's help had their billions of dollars declared protected "speech", etc.   Really, when do the lawyers who make up the ACLU have to answer for their history of enabling the worst of the worst WHICH DOESN'T MAKE UP IN ANY WAY FOR THE "OTHER SIDE" ADVOCACY THEY DO. Glenn Greenwald, with all of his baggage in enabling the election of Trump, etc. his cosy relationship with people associated with Putin, was one of the typical jerks who holds up the ACLU as beyond reproach and above criticism.   You can look up that jerk yourself if you need verification.

In looking at stuff to prepare for writing this post, I came across this headline, with at Charlottesville, VA byline,

ACLU criticizes ‘militaristic’ police response at KKK protest

which I had to rub my eyes at, though, reading the story, it was from the police response to a KKK rally in Charlottesville in July.  several weeks before they joined with the right-wing Rutherford Institute on behalf of the Nazis last week.   You might consider who they were criticizing for trying to keep the public order in Charlottesville last month with what's being said now.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and other groups are asking Gov. Terry McAuliffe to investigate police’s response when protesters gathered in Charlottesville to condemn a Ku Klux Klan rally.

The ACLU, Legal Aid Justice Center, Rutherford Institute and National Lawyers Guild Central Virginia Chapter sent a letter to McAuliffe this week criticizing what they called the “outsized and militaristic” police presence to the July 8 protest.

About 1,000 protesters showed up near the Charlottesville park where a small group of Klansman planned a rally.

In the letter, the groups questioned the appropriateness of police’s use of tear gas and riot gear, among other things. They say the “aggressive display” didn’t help deescalate tensions between protesters and Klansman.


The groups sent a similar letter to Charlottesville officials.

Contrast that with what happened after they got the court injunction permitting an even bigger, even more inflammatory rally last weekend.

The injunction was filed early Friday by civil rights organizations American Civil Liberties Union of Virginia and the Albemarle County-based Rutherford Institute.

“Based on the current record, the court concludes that Kessler has shown that he will likely prove that the decision to revoke his permit was based on the content of his speech,” Conrad wrote. “Kessler’s assertion in this regard is supported by the fact that the city solely revoked his permit but left in place the permits issued to counter-protestors.”

Conrad said information presented at the hearing indicated the city’s decision was “based on the content of his speech” rather than public safety factors.

Considering what happened, that was obviously not true, the ACLU and the other lawyers, as they so often do in this, minimized the danger of what they were advocating.

You should read the whole article in light of what happened, remembering the ACLU complaints about the police after the earlier rally.   Here is what the ACLU spokesman said after the injunction was issued but before what happened as a result of their advocacy.

“We are grateful that the court recognized that the First Amendment applies equally to everyone, regardless of their views,” said Claire Gastañaga, ACLU of Virginia executive director.

“We hope that the city will focus tomorrow on managing the expected crowds using de-escalation tactics and flexibility, and avoid the kind of over-militarized response that was mounted on July 8,” she said. “We encourage everyone participating to commit to nonviolence and peaceful protest. We will be there to observe and document police practices as we were on July 8 and at other rallies and protests across Virginia since January and before.”

And now it's the police, city officials and the Governor who are taking the heat and not the lawyers and judges who are most responsible for creating the conditions that led to violence.

The impunity that lawyers, those of the Rutherford Institute, of the ACLU, of other, lesser parts of the "free speech" industry who go to court to enable the opponents of equality and democracy and who would, as mentioned earlier this morning, sweep aside the First Amendment as soon as they took power, needs to end.  The ACLU is one of those groups which have been far too successful in turning themselves into a sacrosanct institution when they are just a bunch of lawyers with an ideological position which, when it clashes with reality, they will refuse to take responsibility for the results.

I said "no more after Skokie" and they've been doing worse, enabling worse, since then.  They are advocates for Nazis and white supremacists.  They need to own up to that.


Update:  Contrast what the same ACLU lawyers are saying now, trying to have it every which way, depending on what resulted from their advocacy.

ACLU Of Virginia Criticizes Law Enforcement In Charlottesville As ‘Not Effective

These people, this ACLU, have essentially the same sense of personal responsibility as Donald Trump, always trying to put the responsibility for what they did on other people.   They don't deserve support, they don't deserve donations, they don't deserve to be taken as responsible people.

It Is Stupid To Believe You Can Safely Allow Nazism To Propagate Because It Can Happen Here Just As It Can Happen Anywhere

Given what they are, what their history of terrorism and murder here as well as in their main place in history in Germany, Austria and the rest of Europe was, given that their definitional ideology is based on genocides that will leave one poorly defined ethnicity the master race......

Tell me why anyone who is willing to make a bet on allowing them to exist as a group and to propagate their ideas WHEN WE ARE SEEING THEM GAIN STRENGTH AS THEY DID IN GERMANY IN THE 1920s AND 30s is not insane.  We have a regime in the White House which not only covers for them, it hires them to work in the government.  How much more ascendent does a horrible idea have to be before such idiots realize we've got a mighty big problem here and now?

As I answered one of the Nazis useful idiots last night about their useful idiots in the ACLU and the "free speech absolutist" industry,  anyone who holds that it is necessary or safe to allow genocidal ideologies with a history of the kind of success the Nazis have had in producing murders, maimings and terror here and elsewhere even as that long bet on them never gaining the upper hand does, is insane.

It would be useful for such "free speech" absolutists to look more closely at what really motivated the man around who a myth, somewhat less gaudy but no less unreal and hypocritical was raised around, Oliver Wendell Holmes jr. and his "free speech" ideology.   His reasoning included one of his favorite ideas, the idea that Darwinian struggle, even that which endangered the further existence of democracy was invigorating because he really did believe in the survival of the fittest, on that we have his own words and the testimony of one of his closest confidants and his secretary,  Judge Francis Biddle*, the chief American judge at the Nuremberg trials.  The Nazis defense lawyers used the words of Oliver Wendell Holme jr. in making their defense before the court.   Just as, no doubt, the ACLU and the Rutherford Institute and others arguing before courts might make recourse to his ideas which are based in the same eugenics that the Nazis, certainly the American Nazis have claimed give their racism, their anti-Semitism, their claims of the socially salubrious effects that killing off those they deem inferior to them will have.  As I have pointed out this past week, there is no doubt about today's American Nazis basing their racism in Darwin and his inner circle and today's Sociobiology and Evolutionary Psychology, because they claim the scientific nature of their Nazism on that basis.

You can make the excuse for Holmes, who died in 1935, that he didn't live long enough to see where Nazism would take the ideas of the fittest surviving a violent struggle for existence.  Though he, no doubt, saw Nazism rising in Europe as he was in his last years.  He didn't see the possibility of such an ideology in its full horror and evil.   He certainly must have known about another anti-democratic ideology at work in the Soviet Union, he lived well into the reign of Stalin and, no doubt, kept abreast of developments under Lenin.

We don't have that excuse.   The idea that American democracy, egalitarian democracy will always prevail and so we must allow Nazism to have a chance to propagate and flourish and kill a few people here and there, and there and there.... and a lot of people in places like the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building... is safe and some kind of perverted virtue - a virtue which does, actually, get people killed - is insane and one of the most disgustingly irresponsible negligences of moral responsibility ever taken by legal professionals and an allegedly educated class.

That the men gathered to write the Constitution had no idea that such ideologies as Nazism and Marxism could be invented, gain power and murder tens of millions of people, overtaking nascent attempts at democracy, such as in the Weimar Republic and the post-Czarist, pre-Soviet period in Russia and brutally imposing dictatorial rule doesn't merely give them an excuse from moral short sightedness, it is a danger sign that their expression of rights doesn't fit our far different times.   They had no means of foreseeing a United States ruled by men who had no sense of honor and that the institutions they created could be so gamed and corrupted so as to leave a Donald Trump in office for even six months, put there by the efforts of a foreign despot who made George III look positively level headed and benevolent.  Their "First Amendment" is, like their Second Amendment dangerously inspecific because they had no idea how courts and lawyers would twist it in accordance to ideologies that hadn't been invented yet.  But we don't have that excuse of ignorance.   Nor do we seem to have the courage or stamina or moral responsibility to come up with language that will keep us safe from Nazis or fascists or white supremacists.  As I also pointed out last night, Marxists, on whose behalf so much of the recent "free speech absolutism" seems to have been invented were never any practical danger because there was never any way they would benefit as they hoped to from that ideology - which, like Nazis, they would have swept aside without blushing if they'd gained power.

Oh, yes, don't forget white supremacists, many of whom wrote the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, which Constitution led us directly, through slavery into a civil war and under which for 76 years Black people were held as chattels as slaves,  subjected to a denial of equal rights and lynched for many, many more years than that,  Native People were slaughtered and robbed of their lands, women denied the vote, and many other minority groups deprived of their rights.  That white supremacist ideology was and still is embedded in that Constitution which we also don't have the moral character to change to make a document truly and honestly one which produces egalitarian democracy.  White supremacy is and has been our domestic form of something like Nazism all through our history.  To believe that can't make a comeback in an even more oppressive and destructive form is sheer idiocy and or moral depravity, especially among those with university and advanced degrees.   To ignore that pre-Nazi form of domestic, American danger to equality and its history among us is even more evidence of the stupidity and dishonesty and moral irresponsibility of these Constitutional ideologies, today.

White Americans are just beginning to understand that the interpretations of our Constitution which enable Nazis can, actually, be used to deny our rights in the way that is no shock to Black Americans, Native Americans, Latinos, and others, including the largest group of the subjugated of all, women.   The last group to learn that will be the affluent White Men who are the majority in the legal profession, the law school faculties** who train them,  the courts, who control and staff the media and who impose the limits within which ideas are to be deemed acceptable.

* We also have the observations of one one of Holmes other friends though, in this case his ideological opponent, one of the greatest American philosophers in our history, William James, who tried to talk his friend out of his extreme faith in Darwinism and, especially the eugenic form of it which Holmes based his infamous Buck v. Bell decision on.   As I've pointed out before, Holmes believed that allowing the propagation of even the most anti-democratic ideas was healthy, he didn't, though, believe there was any reason for a woman - who was, actually of normal intelligence - to make the decision to have a baby.   That was because Holmes, as a disciple of Darwin, didn't believe in that level of equality.

** The training of even those lawyers and judges who are members of groups which have been the target of our domestic white, male supremacist ideology acculturates them into a set of ideological positions which effectively bans the idea that the current ideologies in the law are not sufficient to protect Americans from ideas such as Nazism.   The conservative nature of the law retains the effects of affluent, white, male supremacy as a matter of course.   I think one thing the case that allowed the Nazis to name the venue and time of their rally which led to the carnage of last weekend shows that people with practical experience in policing and administering a city or state government will often have more realistic ideas about the consequences that such judicial-legal theorizing leads to.  The Supreme Court, staffed by those trained and rising in the conservative culture of the law are probably, in most cases, the least equipped level of government to be realistic about this danger. And they set the ideological boundaries.  And many of them sitting on that court, now, have proven records of partisan manipulation of those boundaries.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

You tell me that that idiot is trolling my blog while he's on vacation again?   Which world city is he avoiding seeing while he looks at his screen?   Geesh, if I were on vacation I wouldn't be here*.  I guess it didn't occur to him that he might have saved money by doing that from home.  

*But, then, I don't take vacations.  
I'm asked what I'd do with the statue of Lee and others.  

Melt them down for sewer pipes. 

The Goddamned Lawyers and Judges and Justices Allowed Nazis to March With Guns On American Streets, Not the Police, Not the Politicians

The Nazi rally in Charlottesville and the violence of it were a product of the legal profession and members of the judiciary.  They permitted it to go on.  They are not, though, the ones who are taking heat for a situation they created.

When will the ACLU and other lawyers, the judges and justices who are the ones who created the nightmare scenario in which police have to try to keep NAZIS LEGALLY CARRYING AUTOMATIC WEAPONS and others contained.  What if a policeman had had to discharge his or her weapon on someone who was about to kill someone.  With all of those people in that state of frenzy, some of them reportedly carrying higher capacity weapons than the police,  there could have been a complete and total blood bath on the streets with who knows how many dead?

It's decades past the time that the ACLU, the Rutherford Institute and other law shops who go to court to let people own and carry automatic weapons and Nazi marches to have to pay a price for their part in this.  The impunity from investigation and criticism of them because they happen to have a license to practice law is one of the stupidest habits of non-thinking we have.

The ACLU has got blood on its hands, its clean fingernails and suits and ties doesn't change the fact that they and their legal brethren are the ones who have enabled this to happen.

I read the article at Slate which is being linked to all over which says Charlottesville showed that our First Amendment jurisprudence hasn’t reckoned with our Second Amendment reality, and kept asking myself why should they bother catching up when there is no price to pay for the part that the legal profession and the judiciary in creating this nightmare.

It was particularly galling to me to read Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern write:

Most civil libertarians (us included) believe the court got the Skokie case right. But it’s increasingly clear that Skokie can’t always help courts figure out how to deal with a post-Heller, post–“stand your ground” white nationalist protest. Whatever the courts were attempting to protect in the Skokie case wasn’t protected in Charlottesville. The marchers in Skokie didn’t promise to bring guns and armed militias to protect themselves.

as if it was a secret what the Nazis were all about in 1977, thirty-two years after the fall of the Third Reich.

Well, "most civil libertarians" weren't the targets of the Nazis, they weren't the ones who had the most to fear from them, neither were the members of state and federal Supreme Courts.   I think the habit o of privilege that come with having judiciaries, the faculties of law schools, largely composed of affluent white people of the kind who have had the luxury of expecting that they are not going to be the ones attacked and killed by Nazis has produced a delusional view of the danger of things like this, one that is established by them in law and which did, in fact, produce the disaster that, not the lawyers, not the judges, but the police and the city and state authorities would have to deal with.

I have pointed out before that the Skokie case, allowing Nazis to terrorize a town where a large number of Holocaust survivors lived was the last straw that broke my support for the ACLU, the beginning of the end of my blindness to what that kind of legal pose really meant.  It's way past time for that organization and the legal profession in general to be called on their part in enabling the Nazis, now that they are in the White House and marching on churches full of people with torches and generally terrorizing people.

Remember When They Declared Irony Was Dead?

My sister steered me to listen to the segment on Lawrence O'Donnells show with Eugene Robinson and Yamiche Alcindor.   O'Donnell began by noting that, contrary to the post outrage comments of Trump's staff, he clearly came prepared to say what he said supporting Nazis, white supremacists and the KKK.   

In the discussion with Robinson and Alcindor, the idea that this is some kind of watershed moment that will see Republicans and Trumps allegedly better supporters will not support him and his leading the country into the sewer,  it was the younger Yamiche Alcindor who pointed out that since his campaign started, we've had one after another of such incidents which were there was supposed to be some kind of turn around.   She noted that after the Access Hollywood tape came out a lot of the same Republicans who made a motion of disavowing Trump then, went right on to support him through even his appointments of Nazis and white supremacists - including Jeff Sessions - and on right up to last weekend.  She asked why this wouldn't turn into just one more of those kinds of incidents.   I think a lot of media people of my generation are finding it very hard to face the fact that in the country we've got, today, even this kind of thing can be normalized.  

It reminded me to the days after 9-11, when I was watching a bunch of journalists on Emily Rooney's show on WBGH, when they declared that that now long ago moment was a similar watershed that would usher in more civility and comity and unity into the public discourse.   I only remember one of them expressing any skepticism about that.   The very experienced journalist Carrie Crossley said she didn't believe it for a second and that things would go right back to where they were the day before.   History very, very soon proved her right.  

Get back to me next week, next month and remind me how this was supposed to be the outrage that is so outrageous that it changed everything.  I don't buy it. 

Trump's Brain Farted Out The Phony History We've Allowed To Stand Too Long

No one who is familiar with Donald Trump would believe he invented that argument making an equivalent between Robert E. Lee and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson.  It was the creation of the Nazis on his staff, Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka and one of the most bizarre figures in the history of the American government, Stephen Miller, the grandson of Byelorussian Jews who had to flee from that country to the United States but who is a protege of the Nazi, Richard Spencer.   I can imagine his grandparents joy at seeing the Statue of Liberty allowing them into the country under the terms of Emma Lazarus.   The people who Donald Trump supported with ideas developed and inserted into his empty head would have never wanted Stephen Miller's grandparent in the country, Stephen Miller wouldn't have let them in. 

Anyway. 

Robert E. Lee did have a relationship to George Washington through the family of Martha Custis Washington, he married into the Custis family, his wife was Mary Anna Randolph Custis Lee.  I have read that among the moral indictments against Lee is that he, against long standing family tradition which kept the families of those enslaved by them together, he broke up virtually every family which came into his imprisonment by marriage through selling out their members. Some of them spent the rest of their lives trying to reunite their broken families, many of them never did find their loved ones.  The Lee who that stinking statue purports to depict was said to have been hated by the slaves he held for that and for his particularly brutal treatment, including having slaves beaten for hours and then having brine poured into the wounds.   When he invaded free soil, in Pennsylvania he stole free Black peoples freedom and sent them into slavery, he permitted and tolerated war crimes against Black United States soldiers during the war. The myth of Robert E. Lee was a PR lie that has covered up the real character of the traitor.   It's one of the many myths held by people who should know how to research history, by writers who created and propagated those lies.   

I will stand second to none in my criticism of Washington and Jefferson and the rest of the "founding fathers" who made, among other things, compromises with the slave power who insisted on things like the notorious 3/5ths rule, the Electoral College, the undemocratic constitution of the Senate, and, yes, the Second Amendment which WAS put there to protect the slave patrols which terrorized slaves, kept them from rising up against their enslavement and which turned into, first, the Confederate military and then the terrorists of the KKK and others which persist till this day.   But to say that Washington was the moral equivalent to Robert E. Lee is a lie that is so grotesque it could only be invented by the Nazis who comprise Trump's brain. 


Update:  One person held in slavery at Mount Vernon we know much about is Oney Maria Judge Staines, (sometimes spelled "Ona), who escaped from slavery while the Washington's lived in Philadelphia and who went to New Hampshire where she resisted the entreaties of the President and his wife to return to slavery.   Out of curiosity, this morning, I have tried to figure out through the incestuous interconnections between the Custis and Lee and various other lines of inheritance whether or not Oney Judge Staines would have come under the control of Robert E. Lee or not.   I don't think it's unreasonable to suspect that she might have known it was possible he or someone like him would get his hands on her and her children who remained subject to enslavement their entire lives.

The reason much is known about her is because she gave two interviews to abolitionist newspapers in the 1840s.   This passage is crucial.

Being a waiting maid of Mrs. Washington, she was not exposed to any peculiar hardships. If asked why she did not remain in his service, she gives two reasons, first, that she wanted to be free; secondly that she understood that after the decease of her master and mistress, she was to become the property of a grand-daughter of theirs, by name of Custis, and that she was determined never to be her slave.

Being asked how she escaped, she replied substantially as follows, "Whilst they were packing up to go to Virginia, I was packing to go, I didn't know where; for I knew that if I went back to Virginia, I should never get my liberty. I had friends among the colored people of Philadelphia, had my things carried there beforehand, and left Washington's house while they were eating dinner."

She came on board a ship commanded by CAPT. JOHN BOLLES, and bound to Portsmouth, N.H. In relating it, she added, "I never told his name till after he died, a few years since, lest they should punish him for bringing me away."

Washington made two attempts to recover her. First, he sent a man by the name of Bassett to persuade her to return; but she resisted all the argument he employed for this end. He told her they would set her free when she arrived at Mount Vernon, to which she replied, "I am free now and choose to remain so."

Finding all attempts to seduce her to slavery again in this manner useless, Bassett was sent once more by Washington, with orders to bring her and her infant child by force. The messenger, being acquainted with Gov. [then Senator John] Langdon, then of Portsmouth, took up lodgings with him, and disclosed to him the object of his mission.

The good old Governor. (to his honor be it spoken), must have possessed something of the spirit of modern anti-slavery. He entertained Bassett very handsomely, and in the meantime sent word to Mrs. Staines, to leave town before twelve o'clock at night, which she did, retired to a place of concealment, and escaped the clutches of the oppressor.

Shortly after this, Washington died, and, said she, "they never troubled me any more after he was gone."


Archie Didn't Go Extinct As Predicted - For Crying Out Loud, The Media Created Donald Trump Is Aiding And Abetting Nazis, How Much More Serious Does It Get?

I didn't watch many episodes of All In he Family, I didn't think it was funny and I think I'd noticed, even back then, that as Norman Lear and the writers and actors involved in the program were yucking it up over ignorant, blue-collar, schlub, Archie Bunker, that such people didn't interpret the program the way its liberal producers intended.  Archie Bunker was considered heroic by a large part of the audience.

One of the ones I do remember had the high-lar-i-ous plot of  Archie deciding to do his "equal time" (remember the Equal Time provision?) on TV to unintentionally expose his ignorance.   When he first encountered the programming director of the station and started spouting to him, the director got on the phone and said something like, "I want you to come in here to hear something before it becomes extinct".   As I recall, the studio audience yucked it up over the joke.   Only, look at the 20-somethings who were marching with torches last weekend and the comment threads where their like abound.  Archie's generation is dead, they're not today's American Nazis.

That joke encompassed the bet I talked about yesterday.  The contemporary, quasi-official, real right way to be a liberal back then, including the deregulation of broadcasting (I think the plot was meant as satire of the Equal Time provision, too)  free speech, free press absolutism, the smarmily pious declaration that "we must allow the Nazis their free speech lest our free speech right be taken away from us".  But that bet, largely made by middle-class, aspiring to be upper class and rich white lawyers, TV and movie writers, journalists,.... was a bet that Nazis and fascists and white supremacists would never win.

The "free speech absolutist" bet only ever made any sense at all if the racists, petty and otherwise, became extinct, if the fascists and the Nazis would never win,  if the white supremacists, the opponents of equality and democracy never got the upper hand in American politics, THAT IS THE BET THAT I SAID THAT SUCH LIBERALS LOST AND HAVE BEEN LOSING EVER SINCE THAT BET WAS MADE BY THE WARREN COURT AND THOSE WHO FAVORED THAT GAME.   It wasn't a game of poker, it was more like a game of faro, notoriously prone to being rigged and gaffed by whoever was in control of the mechanisms of the game.   And if there was something that was obvious at the time, it was that the most powerful media, broadcast TV and radio were there to do the bidding of the wealthy owners and the advertisers.  It was a monumentally stupid bet for liberals of my young adulthood to have made, especially those who worked in the very media that they had every reason to know would gaff the game.

It didn't take long after 1964 when that bet was placed for it to become obvious what a terrible idea it was, as someone who worked hard to defeat Nixon in 1968, I saw the media obviously favoring him over Hubert Humphrey, I saw them even more obviously favoring Nixon over George McGovern in 1972, while All In The Family was just going into its second season.  Nixon lost under a regulated media and the old libel laws in 1960, he won as the courts scrapped the later and were on their way to loosening the former.   The joke was already out of date by the time it was made.  And the stupidity of the idea is still the ruling ideology of liberals and pseudo-liberals, today, after we've seen how bad an idea it was for a half a century and counting.

It was a bet to allow the media to lie with impunity, a bet which has gotten steadily worse results, producing a country propagandized and corrupted by the free media into a place that even a Democratic president doesn't dare to govern to the left of where President Eisenhower did.  And now it  has gotten us a Trump.

Now that we have a president who has put Nazis in the White House, a white supremacist in charge of the Justice Department, who has been doing his best to normalize and defend NAZIS TERRORIZING AND KILLING AND MARCHING WITH TORCHES IN AN AMERICAN CITY IN 2017!   it's time to admit that that bet was a stupid idea and that the bet that "they" would never win was wrong.   Egalitarian democracy can't exist in a population in which an effective electoral majority believes lies such as the ones being sold in the media about Hillary Clinton and the other lies told about Donald Trump, it can't survive if an effective margin of voters are sold those lies and the history of the last half century proves that, with modern methods of salesmanship and propaganda, those lies can be sold and they can prevail and put people like Donald Trump, George W. Bush, Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon in power.  They can put Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell in charge of the Congress, they can get the likes of Rehnquist and Roberts and their voter suppressing, gun nut favoring, neo-Jim Crow, federalist fascists in charge of the Supreme Court.

We got here through the power of the media to lie with impunity, through free speech absolutism and the deregulation of the mass media.   If that isn't changed, if we don't bet on a different idea, egalitarian democracy in the United States is doomed if not already finished.  That was an idea of mid-20th century, secular liberalism.   Liberals need to make even more basic changes to their thinking, one that admits that half-century of mounting disaster.

Update:  Well, I checked and, what do you know, there's a transcript of that episode online.

- Okay, so how do you propose to stop people killing people? That's easy.
- Bring back the death penalty.
- Excuse me.
- Go ahead.
- Susan, will you have Johnson step in here for a minute? There's something I want him to see before it's extinct.

Reading it, it's even more clueless about the subsequent history of the next forty-five years than I'd remembered when I wrote this post.