Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Question of Honesty As A Question of Honor And Democratic Morality

It occurred to me this morning that if I'd been at John Kelly's repulsive press conference the other day I'd have been qualified, by his rules, to have asked him questions.  I do know Gold Star families, I'm related rather closely to a couple of them.  I'm old enough to have known a number of families who lost members in WWII, Korea, Vietnam and the more recent wars.  I don't know but suspect that the probability of knowing families of those who died in the military service to the United States rises sharply in inverse proportion to the wealth of the family you grew up in.  I would like to know how many of the members of the Trump regime would have been qualified by John Kelly to have the honor of asking him a question at that press conference.   If he'd limited it to Gold Star families, his own boss wouldn't be qualified.  

If the repulsive Sarah Huckabee Sanders' rule for questioning someone of Kelly's military rank were to prevail,  practically no one in the Trump regime or the Republican caucus in the House and Senate would be qualified to question him.  I would like to know what Sarah Huckabee Sanders qualifications would have been both under Kelly's rules of who was good enough to ask him questions and under her own even more repulsive use of his status for political ends. 

My parents were both veterans of WWII, my father was permanently disabled from the wounds he got in battle, if the VA doctors are correct about what killed him, he died, almost fifty years later, as a result of his battlefield wounds.   He was a marine, though not an officer but he was a marine who believed, absolutely that marines were not some kind of special order of creation.  He liked to joke that the reason he was a marine was because the Army had turned him down after the attack on Pearl Harbor.  

While both of them had some military officers they respected, highly, both of my parents were quite skeptical of career officers in general and both of them were absolutely dedicated to civilian rule.  My father, in particular, had a deep loathing for the way that Oliver North dressed in his uniform to give his lying testimony to the Senate Committee and hid behind it.  He thought that any marine who lied while wearing the uniform was a disgrace to the uniform and to the Marine Corps.  John Kelly wasn't wearing the uniform while he lied about Congresswoman Frederica Wilson but he might as well have been.  If he has the sense of honor he presented himself as having he would apologize to her and to clarify that his behavior the other day was not some kind of assertion of superiority due to his rank in the Marines.  He was presenting himself as a military officer but he was acting as a representative of Donald Trump, a draft dodger who has never served anyone but himself.  A lot of people have bemoaned the diminution of John Kelly, in whom many in the elite media have placed some ridiculous hopes that he was going to turn the ultimate self-server into a public servant. But the man who diminished John Kelly was himself.  I might honor the sacrifice of his family in the loss of his son in battle but ultimately the American military only deserves any honor in so far as it serves The People, the democratic order of the United States and morality.   It's up to John Kelly to regain his status by setting what he did right.   If he doesn't publicly retract his lies, he is the author of his own diminution. 

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Alf Silver - Clean Sweep - Two related stories

I'm having a busy day so I don't have time to look up the credits.  Luckily they're given at the end of each episode.   

There's one more story that's related.  I'll post it later.  

he felt as if Darrow had been arguing all afternoon with his fundamentalist aunt,sparring with a dummy of his own mental making

You might want to consider this passage from an account of a debate Clarence Darrow had against G. K. Chesterton at New York City’s Mecca Temple on the topic, “Will the World Return to Religion?"  It's hardly likely to have been biased in favor of Chesterton over Darrow,  it was in The Nation magazine, hardly a Catholic friendly media venue.

In the ballot that followed, the audience voted more than two to one for the defender of the faith, Mr. Chesterton of course, and if the vote was on the relative merits of the two debaters, and not on the question itself, it was surely a very just one. Mr. Chesterton’s argument was like Mr. Chesterton, amiable, courteous, jolly; it was always clever, it was full of nice turns of expression, and altogether a very adroit exhibition by one of the world’s ablest intellectual fencing masters and one of its most charming gentlemen.

Mr. Darrow’s personality, by contrast, seemed rather colorless and certainly very dour. His attitude seemed almost surly; he slurred his words; the rise and fall of his voice was sometimes heavily melodramatic, and his argument was conducted on an amazingly low intellectual level.

Ostensibly the defender of science against Mr. Chesterton, he obviously knew much less about science than Mr. Chesterton did; when he essayed to answer his opponent on the views of Eddington and Jeans, it was patent that he did not have the remotest conception of what the new physics was all about. His victory over Mr. Byran at Dayton had been too cheap and easy; he remembered it not wisely but too well. His arguments are still the arguments of the village atheist of the Ingersoll period; at Mecca Temple he still seemed to be trying to shock and convince yokels.

Mr. Chesterton’s deportment was irreproachable, but I am sure that he was secretly unhappy. He had been on the platform many times against George Bernard Shaw. This opponent could not extend his powers. He was not getting his exercise.

Another account of the debate by Joseph J. Reilly 

It was a Sunday afternoon and the Temple was packed. At the conclusion of the debate everybody was asked to express his opinion as to the victor and slips of paper were passed around for that purpose. The award went directly to Chesterton. Darrow in comparison, seemed heavy, uninspired, slow of mind, while G.K.C. was joyous, sparkling and witty …. quite the Chesterton one had come to expect from his books. The affair was like a race between a lumbering sailing vessel and a modern steamer. Mrs. Frances Taylor Patterson also heard the Chesterton-Darrow debate, but went to the meeting with some misgivings because she was a trifle afraid that Chesterton’s “gifts might seem somewhat literary in comparison with the trained scientific mind and rapier tongue of the famous trial lawyer. Instead, the trained scientific mind, the clear thinking, the lightning quickness in getting a point and hurling back an answer, turned out to belong to Chesterton. I have never heard Mr. Darrow alone, but taken relatively, when that relativity is to Chesterton, he appears positively muddle-headed.”

Although the terms of the debate were determined at the outset, Darrow either could not or would not stick to the definitions, but kept going off at illogical tangents and becoming choleric over points that were not in dispute. He seemed to have an idea that all religion was a matter of accepting Jonah’s whale as a sort of luxury-liner. As Chesterton summed it up, he felt as if Darrow had been arguing all afternoon with his fundamentalist aunt,  sparring with a dummy of his own mental making. When something went wrong with the microphone, Darrow sat back until it could be fixed. Whereupon G.K.C. jumped up and carried on in his natural voice, “Science you see is not infallible!” Whatever brilliance Darrow had in his own right, it was completely eclipsed.

"... as if Darrow had been arguing all afternoon with his fundamentalist aunt, sparring with a dummy of his own mental making."  You can say the same thing about most of the popular atheists in debate against an able opponent, today.  They can't deal with anything but the most cartoonish of fundamentalists because the God they don't believe in is that God.   And that's the best of them, the typical online atheist is even more dependent on setting up dummies of their own mental making because they can't argue against anything but that. 

Hate Mail - Wind Is All It Is

Oh, geesh, not that stupid movie again.  It is one of the most pious and stupid of ideas of college educated atheists that the movie and play Inherit the Wind is an historically accurate or nearly accurate account of the Scopes trial of 1925.  It is not, it gets most of the basic facts of the background of the trial wrong.  The trial wasn't a product of fundamentalist persecution of science, it was a publicity stunt by the Chamber of Commerce to drum up business in the town of Dayton, Tennessee to take advantage of the relatively new American Civil Liberties Union's stunt to get someone to break the law against teaching evolution in public schools passed by fundamentalists in the Tennessee legislature.

No rocks were ever thrown at John T. Scopes, the local math and science teacher.  He had volunteered to be the one charges were brought against, he coached his "accusers" in what to accuse him of as his part in the charade - as I recall some of the students later said he'd not taught him the things he was supposedly accused of teaching them.   As the Biology text Scopes was accused of teaching evolution from,  A Civic Biology, taught, in addition to what passed as evolutionary theory of the time, a rather primitive Darwinism,  on the basis of that, scientific racism and eugenics.  Personally, Scopes benefitted from his part in the publicity stunt, the notoriety and support he got allowed him to go to the University of Chicago to gain a degree in geology and get well paid work as a oil and gas geologist.   He was later baptized into the Catholic Church - which was one of the strongest opponents of eugenics and scientific racism but which had no position against the theory of evolution.

Scopes didn't have a romance with the daughter of a fundamentalist preacher, he never had rocks thrown at him, he didn't spend a minute, nevermind an hour in jail, his life and safety and liberty were never in jeopardy.  He often went swimming with people involved with the prosecution during the hot afternoons of the circus that, as the Chamber of Commerce hoped for, developed around the trial. He wasn't even in danger of having to pay the fine for having supposedly broken the law, William Jennings Bryan (no doubt knowing the young man was playing a role in a farce) offered to pay the fine.  The matter of the fine not being set led to the case being thrown out by the Tennessee Supreme Court, though they upheld the constitutionality of the Butler Act, which was the law being tested.  I'm not a lawyer but I believe that kept the case from becoming the U.S. Supreme Court test case that, no doubt, the ACLU had wanted.

As I've noted before, the fact is that the real William Jennings Bryan that Jerome Lawrence and Robert E. Lee (yeah, that was the name of one of the playwrights) fictionalized into Matthew Harrison Brady showed considerably more insight into the real nature of Darwinism as both the U.S. Supreme Court and the Nazis would soon make obvious than Clarence Darrow, fictionalized into Henry Drummond.   Bryan's summation wasn't a fundamentalist rant, it was a well reasoned, well informed and far fuller consideration of what Darwinism had already produced by way of the negation of morality in the sixty six years since the publication of On the Origin of Species.  His predictions of catastrophic consequences coming from Darwinian biological determinism was already happening in the rise of fascism and Nazism, in that he showed considerably more foresight than Darrow or such figures as Oliver Wendell Holmes.

The play as history is sheer, show biz, button pushing Broadway, Hollywood fiction of an especially cheesy variety.  The legal patter is absurd, the interplay of the two "lawyers" especially so.   The cartoon presentations of all of the stand-ins for the real life figures are a product of rote bias and an attempt to arouse cheap emotions on that basis.  The real testimony of Bryan at the trial proved, among other things, that he was probably more familiar with the theory of Darwin and the intellectual results of it than Darrow or the other defense lawyers.  It also proved he was hardly a fundamentalist.  Darrow knew that in his summation Bryan could have used his own words defending Leopold and Loeb, especially his enormously long plea against them being given the death penalty.*  In that he not only made the argument that the murder had been motivated by Richard Loeb reading detective novels, but that it was also due to Leopold's reading Friedrich Nietzsche's philosophy, which was one long response to the moral consequences of Darwinism.  Darrow had made that argument less than a year before the Scopes trial and, no doubt,  he knew William Jennings Bryan knew about it.  That point is something that Darrow certainly knew could be raised in Bryan's summation so he strategically prevented Bryan giving it.  That part of Bryan's unpresented summation, as published, was quite well argued.  At the link it gives Darrow's brief response to Bryan's summation which shows he knew that Bryan had him on those points.  Darrow's response, dismissing Bryan's argument as "a Lawyer's argumentative statement" while talking about the many people who read Nietzsche without murdering people was what was lawyerly.  You can't dismiss the effectiveness of a motive you argued produced an effect in one case by citing the times it didn't have the effect you argued for.  I have to say that though I certainly agreed with Darrow on the death penalty** and even on the unconstitutionality of the Butler Act and I wouldn't make many of the arguments Bryan made - though some of his points were the best made in the case - but I think the record of the trial leaves me thinking Bryan was the more informed, the wiser and the more honest of the two.  That the two playwrights, no doubt, had read Bryan's unpresented summation, especially in light of the history of the next twenty years, reveals that their motives were far from honest.

The stupidity of people who believe that Inherit the Wind has anything to do with anything that happened is all too common, it's no less true of those with even the highest of academic credentials than it is to the most ignorant of movie and TV miseducated functional illiterates who never read anything about the Scopes Trial, nevermind actually looked at the actual records of it.  In that both William Jennings Bryan would certainly agree with his somewhat friend Clarence Darrow - at least the Darrow who argued that his murderous clients were the victims of their biological inheritance and the crime novels and Nietzschean philosophy that were really what made them murder - what informs people has an effect on what they think and what they do.  In the case of history, getting that from plays and movies is more likely to give you a Trumpian view of the past than anything real or likely to produce good results.

The pious line, pious in an especially cheap, Broadway-Hollywood way,  put into Drummond's mouth about it being more sacred for children to recite the multiplication table than to say amen and hosannah  is especially stupid, considering that there is nothing preventing any child from doing both or religion preventing people from being good at math.  The other day, I happened to hear a video of a lecture by one of today's most popular Christian apologists, the Oxford mathematician John Lennox, given at Cambridge, in which he said something about the best mathematics student Cambridge had ever had,  Issac Newton, who was not only a Christian but who was a very deep scholar of the scriptures.  Among the great mathematicians alive when that silly play was written was the Christian, Kurt Godel, of whom Einstein had said that the greatest benefit of being at the Princeton Institute for Advanced Study was that he got to walk home with him every afternoon.  That line and the idiotic atheist conceit it represents is one of the stupidest bigotries common to so many ignorant college degree holders today.  While I would never make a comparison between a selective private school and public schools open to all, the fact is that Catholic school students, as a group, are hardly harmed in their knowledge of mathematics by the religion also taught to them.  It's my experience of atheists that their atheism seems to be more likely positively  associated with such idiotic ideas.   There was a time I'd be surprised to have come to that conclusion, but that was before I read the unedited, unfiltered thinking of lots of atheists online.  I think the general trend of atheism is anti-intellectual.

*  I was a bit shocked to find that a significant part of the court record in Leopold and Loeb is missing because Darrow borrowed it from the court clerk and never returned it.  As it would seem to contain some rather important information, you have to wonder what Darrow's motives in disappearing it might have been.   I have come to think that Darrow was not above grooming his own PR to turn himself into more of an unmitigated hero than reality would have produced.  The dramatic, cinematic Clarence Darrow (as played by people like Henry Fonda) is no more real than the "history" in the fiction of Inherit the Wind.  Show biz is pretty well fatal to accurate history.  It's generally sound and fury signifying nothing.

**  It is more than interesting that many a Darwinist considered capital punishment to be somewhat eugenically beneficial, including Charles and Leonard Darwin and Heinrich Fick (mentioned here the other day), to my knowledge.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Patrick Cornelius - Echoes Of Summer

Patrick Cornelius, saxophone
Gerald Clayton, piano
Miles Okazaki, guitar
Peter Slavov, Bass
Kendrick Scott, drums

Brother Gabriel 

Gerald Clayton - Shadamanthem

Gerald Clayton . piano
Joe Sanders . bass,
Justin Brown . drums
Logan Richardson . saxophonist
Dayna Stephens . saxophonist
Ambrose Akinmusire . trumpet

Some Always 

Question: Are You Giving Up Blogging?

No,  I've just been sick the past week and a half.   I will be back on my regular schedule of trying to get a piece posted by 9:00 AM Eastern Daylight-Standard Time.   They tell me to expect a full recovery.  Which I was afraid of. 

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Why Did Paul Manafort Need to Get to Trump?

Charles Ives - Harvest Home Chorales

Robert Shaw Chorale,
Robert Shaw, director

Harvest Home

The harvest dawn is near,
the year delays not long,
and he who sows with many a tear
shall reap with many a song.

Sad to his toil he goes,
his seed with weeping leaves,
and he shall come at twilight close
and bring his golden sheaves.

Rev. George Burgess

Lord of the Harvest

Lord of the harvest,  Thee we hail.
Thine ancient promise doth not fail.
The varying seasons haste their round,
with goodness all our years are crown'd.
Our thanks we pray this Holy Day;
let our hearts in tune be found.

When They liberal hand
scatters plenty o'er the land,
when sounds of music fill the air,
as homeward all their treasures bear;
we too will raise our hymns of prise,
for we Thy common bounties share.

Lord of the harvest, all is Thine,
the rains that fall, the suns that shine,
the seed once hidden in the ground,
the skill that makes our fruit abound.
New praises from our lips shall sound.

Lord of the harvest, Thee we hail.

John Hampton Gurney

Harvest Home

Come ye thankful people, come, 
raise a song of harvest home. 
All is safely gathered in 
ere the winter storms begin.

God our Maker doth provide
for our wants to be supplied.
Come to God's own temple, come,
raise the song of harvest home.

Rev. Henry Alford 

Even one of Charles Ives' severest, even most unfair critics, Virgil Thomson,  called these pieces perfect.  I can't understand why they haven't been performed or recorded more often.  Robert Shaw, thankfully, worked during a time when record companies would allow an artist of his stature to record pieces that weren't going to be best sellers.  Shaw was one of the most significant conductors of the past century due to his desire to perform and record lots of repertoire that would have otherwise been unheard and unrecorded. 

I just got the last of my field corn in.  Thought of these as I was doing that. 

Thoughts on The Liar, Jeff Sessions Before The Senate Judiciary Committee

Like so many others, I was so enraged on listening to Jeff Sessions, the so-called Attorney General of the United States lie and perjure himself through several hours before the Senate Judiciary Committee that I couldn't address it, right away.    His performance, lying through his teeth by double-talk about Trump campaign surrogates, himself included, meeting with representatives of the Russian government, lying about his previous lies to the same committee that are known to be lies should be enough to ensure his removal from office and prosecution but the rule of law doesn't apply to Republicans who lie and collude and betray the United States.  It was clear from Chuck Grassley's actions as the chairman of the committee that he's got Sessions' back no matter what lies he tells to the committee and that he will do his best to enable the lies, the collusion and the betrayal of the United States. 

In 2017, it is clear that a fifth column exists in the United States and it is in control of the Congress, the Executive and the Supreme Court, it has, is and will sell the country down the rive to the billionaire oligarchs, domestic and foreign, it will betray and sell out and destroy the American People.  The media which has played the biggest role in getting Trump into office, FOX, Sinclair, etc. are a part of this betrayal, they are the enemies of the American People and democracy. 

I used the term "cold civil war" several weeks back to describe what's happening in the United States now, only it's a civil war against the large majority of the American people by concerted effort by billionaire oligarchs domestic, making common cause with foreign billionaire oligarchs who have successfully corrupted their own countries.   They and their hireling Federalist lawyers and scholars have found every weakness in the current Constitution of the United States in order to blow gaping holes in our defenses against such attacks at their weakest points.  The revelation under the excellent questioning by Senator Whitehouse that Jeff Session's Department of Justice has done nothing to address the de facto invasion of the United States by the Putin crime regime should carry a charge of treason against anyone in the government who is guilty of such nonfeasance.  Jefferson Beauregard Sessions should be imprisoned as a traitor to the American People, the United States and democracy but he won't be because our Constitution doesn't call that kind of attack by the servant of even foreign enemies treason.   I have not heard Jeff Sessions on the penalty for such crimes but since the crimes of Richard Nixon were revealed, I have held that any politician, especially in the highest reaches of the government who have campaigned on law and order but who breaks the law, should have written their own penalty.   I wouldn't put it past Sessions to have called for the death penalty for his crimes or to do so in the future, if that's the case what he proposed for others should be done to him.  I would make him liable to the same forms of forfeiture that he is bringing back for far lesser crimes than his.

If Democrats don't win the election next year, if they don't take control of the Congress back, what I have called a cold civil war will certainly turn into a hot one, if it hasn't already.   For members of the minority groups which Jeff Sessions hates and has sought to damage and destroy for his entire public life I think it's reaching that point now.   One thing I think a lot of white Americans are discovering is that what was a racial and ethnic targeting is ultimately and inevitably bound to expand to include them on the basis of economic class.  That is inevitable under this regime of billionaire attack on American democracy.   I think among other things that are inevitably concluded is that democracy is incompatible with severe inequality in wealth.  Despite the possibility of pointing to this or that billionaire who isn't a fascist oligarch, as a class such people will dominate and take an active part in destroying democracy for their own advantage and for ideological satisfaction.  I don't think American democracy can survive with the billionaire class remaining so rich and having so much power because of their enormous wealth. 

The United States Supreme Court has been the foremost organ of government exacerbating that power through its interpretation of the First and Fourteenth amendments as well as others.  It is not a shock that the most undemocratic and the branch most remote from The People will have done that, it is predictable.  With whatever benefits that come from having an appointed instead of an elected Supreme Court - and various states have shown that those can be as much of a problem - those come with this problem of remoteness and detachment from accountability.   There should be a term limit of ten years on Supreme Court positions.  But, ultimately, things such as corporate personhood, money = speech, corporate civil rights, and other corruptions of the United States through lawyers, law school scholars, judges and justices have to be abolished.   And some of the worst of that was a product of allegedly liberal court advocated by allegedly liberal lawyers, legal associations and legal scholars whose liberalism is either stupid or corrupt.   When you have such liberals who needs conservatives? 

Jeff Sessions is just the latest poisonous fungus that has grown to rot out American democracy.  That he is a lawyer who has played the role he has is not shocking, it is typical.   The change will have to be with the Constitution, including the Bill or Rights and other amendments which have been used to mount this attack on us.  The first step is to admit what has and is happening, the second one is to remove the traitors and their enablers from office and from power. 

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Dusan Bogdanovic: Tre Ricercari su La Compagna

Alberto Mesirca, guitar

Mesirca is the dedicatee.

Hate Mail - The Ploy of Mounting Richard Weikart As The Darwinists' Boogey Man

The accusation that I'm just parroting the historian, Richard Weikart has been made, and that is something I share in common with the late Daniel Gasman, against whom Robert Richards mounted the same dishonest tactic of argument by association*, a subset that falls within the classic definition of the ad hominem fallacy - a term so abused that it has lost much of its meaning largely at the hands of the fan boys of such pop-atheists as Carl Sagan in the last forty years.

Well, I've talked about Richard Weikart the last time that happened and noted that I had used exactly one thing from him, a letter that Darwin sent to Heinrich Fick and that was only because the online Darwin Correspondence site, part of the academic wing of the St. Darwin industry, had, for some reason, failed to post the text of it.**

I have read things by Richard Weikart and find that as long as he doesn't express his opinions about evolutionary science, proper, he's what you'd expect from a prominent academic historian writing for reviewed journals, careful to be able to document and back up what he says in the historical record and in the literature he deals with.   But I noted that even that doesn't necessarily mean I'm going to accept what he concludes nor that I'd trust what he says without looking at the documentation he relies on to say it.  In the places I've done that about history and the historical record, I haven't caught him in any misrepresentations, something which I have, by the way, found in Darwin twice on rather important issues.

Nothing I have written on the topic has been based on secondary scholarship without checking the primary documents, in so far as those are available.  Most of my initial conclusions came from reading a.  The Decent of Man and On the Origin of Species, especially the last two editions of it that Darwin, himself, prepared and those scientific and other works that Darwin had cited in his scientific writings b. the correspondence of Charles Darwin, c. the testimony of his closest scientific colleagues, Galton, Haeckel, Huxley, etc. and the testimony of those closest to him, especially his sons Leonard, Francis and George Darwin.  I have found that even respectable secondary sources, some of them with valuable clues of what to look at in that primary documentation, are seriously limited due to the ideological or academic side the author is trying to promote.  That is especially troubling when the lapses and, at times, blatant dishonesty, fall well within the area in which the credibility of the scholar is supposed to reside.

In endorsing Daniel Gasman's arguments about the relationship of Ernst Haeckel to Nazism, last week, I noted that I disagreed with his desire to distance Haeckel from Charles Darwin, which has the considerable problem of the many, repeated and glowing endorsements of Charles Darwin made to Haeckel, himself, that he was one of the few who really got Darwin's theories and the fact that Darwin repeatedly, till the end of his life, endorsed books and articles in which Haeckel made many of the most obvious proto-Nazi statements as reliable science, even fact, directly attributing those to Charles Darwin and his theories.  It is impossible for an honest scholar of Haeckel and his all important relationship with the thinking of Charles Darwin to avoid such things as the early attribution by Haeckel to Darwin of the the triumph of Haeckel's monism, one of the things which has earned him the reputation as a direct precursor of Nazism.

This final triumph of the monistic conception of nature constitutes the highest and most general merit of the Theory of Descent, as reformed by Darwin.

He made that statement early in the book Natürliche schöpfungsgeschichte, which Darwin endorsed, in the strongest possible terms, as reliable science in The Descent of Man, an endorsement that Darwin never mitigated nor retracted in anything I've looked for and I looked hard at the evidence.  I never found anywhere in which Darwin disavowed that attribution.

In that, the direct and inseparable relationship of Haeckel and Charles Darwin, oddly, it might seem, I agree with Robert Richards who, of the three, I've been the most critical.  I am most critical of Richards because his project is the most blatantly dishonest, the rehabilitation of Ernst Haeckel who was a scientific racist, a proponent of the theory that genocide was necessary and would lead to salubrious results for the surviving murderers, a man who advocated the genocide of entire races, American Indians, Australians, other named ethnicities who he had placed as practically having the same status as animals in his infamous ranking of human groups.  He also advocated the murder of those deemed unfit due to their disabilities and illnesses.  In virtually every way, Ernst Haeckel advocated what the Nazis did, starting about 14 years after Haeckel's death.

No one who read Ernst Haeckel could honestly come to the view of him advocated by Robert Richards because, as with Darwin, he advocated exactly what he did in books presented as having the reliability of science.  I think the post-war academic and journalistic effort to turn Charles Darwin into a figure at odds with his scientific writing is one of the most obviously tawdry frauds in modern intellectual life.

So, to sum up,  from what I've read and tested, I would trust Richard Weikart's academic presentation of the relationship of Darwinism to Nazism,  I would trust Daniel Gasman's presentation relating Haeckel to Nazism and I would trust Robert Richards' on the close relationship of Darwin and Haeckel.  I would not trust any of them on other issues, Weikart on the general facts of evolution having happened and common descent (which, notably, is not within his area of academic expertise).  I would not trust Gasman on the issue of Darwin's complete endorsement of Haeckel's interpretation of Darwin's theories, and I would not trust Robert Richards'  on the nature of Haeckel's proto-Nazi scientific racism, social Darwinism and homicidal eugenics.  I think of the three that Gasman's and Richards' lapses in their academic areas are the most serious.

*  Richards' article assumes a malevolent, intemperate style and he chooses his words with intentional malice.  There are instances where Ricahrds employs scarcely veiled mockery to get his questionable revisionist ideas across.  He juxtaposes my writings together with those of Richard Weikart, even though Weikart and I disagree on almost all basic interpretations of Haeckel, Darwin and evolution and Richards must be well aware of the fact that I certainly do not lump Haeckel and Darwin together, as does Weikart.  Richards' attempted synthesis of the two works is an apparent desire to introduce elements of confusion and even derision into the general academic discussion about Haeckel.

**  It is curious to me that there are a number of such letters from Darwin, presumably all written in English in that I am unaware of him ever writing in any other language, many of them to Ernst Haeckel, held by the Haeckel Haus at the University of Jena and not needing translation before they can be published in that easy to research and read form.  Weikart included the text of the letter in a short article he posted on Darwin promoting some pretty extreme positions of social Darwinism.  If the Darwin establishment has found fault with his transmission of that one letter, I'd like to see where.

No True Atheist - or When A Show Biz Atheist Does It That Makes It OK

Maybe the idiots at the company got the really disgusting and stupid idea from watching that really disgusting and stupid show. 

I don't do American Halloween just like I don't do American Christmas or American Thanksgiving or American anything these days because I don't like holidays that involve buying crap and corporate commercialism and all things excessive.  Especially holidays that are based on adding to the caloric load of simple carbohydrates and fat among America's children who are super-saturated with both. 

Anyway,  dopey is snarking about the repulsive Anne Frank halloween costume that was offered by Halloween until the complaints forced them to remove what I hope is the low point of disgusting depravity outside of the Republican-fascist government and its emanations in the American Nazi movement.   Apparently he's attributing the costume to Christians, how he knows this, I don't know.  I was unable to find that information online and I would match my research skills against his total lack of research skills any day.   How does he know it wasn't what it appears to be, the decision of devout, distasteful and not to bright Mammonists. 

I do, though, have to ask if the disgusting act of turning Anne Frank into a Halloween Costume is any worse than pop-atheist Seth MacFarlane's Family Guy Holocaust jokes.  One episode featured some really disgusting use of Anne Frank, her family and others who were hiding from the Nazis.  Maybe the idiots at the company got the really disgusting idea from watching that really disgusting show.   One thing we know, it didn't come from anything intelligent and respectful, thus the FOX series that my most obsessive troll loves put out by someone I've called a total piece of slime since I first heard him on the radio with Terry Gross and who has steadily reaffirmed my initial impression of him.   Simps hasn't broken with him. 

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Donald Trump is F*cking Crazy

I don't know how Youtubes are playing on the computer of anyone else but the past day commercials have been getting through my ad blocker, if you're getting commercials, I apologize but it's not my fault. 

I may have to rethink posting Youtubes if they are going to carry commercials.  Some of the ones I've gotten are really awful.

Question I Haven't Heard Anyone Answer Or Ask

Why isn't anyone slamming any of the conservatives in Hollywood and show biz for not outing Harvey Weinstein?   It doesn't seem to have been a secret among them. 

Citations of Natural Selection - A response

With savages, the weak in body or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a vigorous state of health. We civilised men, on the other hand, do our utmost to check the process of elimination; we build asylums for the imbecile, the maimed, and the sick; we institute poor-laws; and our medical men exert their utmost skill to save the life of every one to the last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved thousands, who from a weak constitution would formerly have succumbed to small-pox. Thus the weak members of civilised societies propagate their kind. No one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that this must be highly injurious to the race of man. It is surprising how soon a want of care, or care wrongly directed, leads to the degeneration of a domestic race; but excepting in the case of man himself, hardly any one is so ignorant as to allow his worst animals to breed.
Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man

NATURAL SELECTION. KILL all retards, people w/ brain fuck ups, drug adics, people cant figure out to use a fucking lighter. GEEEAWD! people spend millions of dollars on saving the lives of retards, and why. I don't buy that shit like "oh hes my son though!" so the fuck what, he aint normal, kill him, put him out his misery. he is only a waste of time and money, then people say "But he is worth the time, he is human too" no he isnt, if he was then he would swalow a bullet cause he would realize what a fucking waste and burden he was. --  Eric Harris's Journal 4/10/98

 Isnt america supposed to be the land of the free? how come, If im free, I cant deprive a stupid fucking dumbshit from his possessions If he leaves then sitting in the front seat of his fucking van out in plain sight and in the middle fucking nowhere on a Fri fucking day night. NATURAL SELECTION. Ibid. -- 4/12/98

Harris was wearing a white T-shirt with the words "Natural Selection'' on the front, black combat boots and a black glove on his right hand with the "fingers cut away.''   Denver Post on the release of the coroners report on Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold.

I chose that Darwin quote out of many others amounting to the same thing because it's possible it was as much as someone like Harris understands about natural selection.   It certainly would seem to be what even college credentialed comment tread commentators understand about it and its role in the human species.  People dying and getting killed.  That's what Darwin said it was about, confirmed by his most scientifically qualified successors, people such as Galton, Haeckel, Huxley, Karl Pearson....  Eric Harris just put the same thing in cruder language.  If anyone but the sacred Darwin had said it they would be considered a Nazi.

It wasn't reading that Eric Harris's psychopathological thinking was inspired by the idea of natural selection that led me to doubt it was anything but a British aristocrat's imposition of the homicidal British class system on nature, though it should have led me to wonder about it.  When you read the statements of Darwin, including the idea of huge numbers, the disabled, the poor, many races and ethnic groups being murdered through natural selection and that the results would be good for the survivors, it's really just what Harris said in academic and scientific language.   If you google "Eric Harris shirt," you can find shirts saying "Natural Selection" on sale to their fans, even today.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Donald Trump is the Harvey Weinstein of Washington

Hey, as far as I'm concerned Duncan Black is the man who has let Steve Simels peddle the lie that I'm an anti-Semite for more than five years, as far as I'm concerned, he's become the kind of thing Media Whores Online targeted only on a tiny scale.  

He's aging shit in a grey pullover. 

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Hate Mail

I don't care what Duncan's blog rats say about anything.   They spew old, worn out, predigested attitudes, they never challenge their prejudices or assertions they took on in conformity to the milieu they chose to be a part of, some as long as a half century ago.   They never test their ideas. They're just a different flavor of bigots,  they're the failed past that pissed away the progress made by real radicals like Diane Nash, the Reverend Martin Luther King jr. and so many others.  As people wedded to the millstone that sank the left, they're less than undeserving of attention. As persistent and insistent  agents of futility, they are best ignored.   

Insisting on doing the same things over and over again and expecting a different result.  Nothing will ever come out of that but more failure. 

Ralph Vaughan Williams - Symphony No.9

Royal Philharmonic Orchestra
Malcolm Sargent, conductor

Vaughan William's last symphony, completed shortly before his sudden death.   Not bad for an 85 year old man.   It's a work of someone in full control of musical materials, especially the very large orchestra he chose to write it for.

I was dared to post something by RVW.  Why the dare?  No idea.

When Darwinists Call Darwin A Liar

The claim is made that the infamously proto-Nazi assertion of Darwinism by Darwinism's foremost proponent in Germany, Ernst Haeckel, is a complete distortion of the theory of Charles Darwin and its consequences for the world and, most relevantly to my posts on it, human, their societies and their countries.   That claim is obviously a lie, it can be known to be a lie because Charles Darwin endorsed Ernst Haeckel's interpretation of his theory of Natural Selection and common ancestry* in letters written to him in the 1860s and, in fact, for the rest of Charles Darwin's life, his son Francis attests to the agreement of his father and Haeckel on these things from his first person witness accounts of Haeckel's visits with his father, and, most of all, Darwin's citations of Haeckel, especially his glowing, complete endorsement of one of his most extreme, racist and homicidal volume published during Darwin's life,  Haeckel's The History of Creation.

That he agreed with Haeckel' social Darwinism is also known by the letter Darwin wrote to Haeckel on reading what was Haeckel's most overt statement of that published during Darwin's life, His "Freedom in Teaching and Science," in which Haeckel said that Darwinism didn't support socialism or democracy but supported the inequality of an aristocratic system.   His idea of such a Darwinian aristocracy included those he regarded as superior murdering huge numbers of those he regarded as inferior, that's something he had asserted in his scientific books and would, in fact, continue to assert during the rest of his life, ending the very year Nazism was first organized 1919.  That is especially true of what was probably his best seller,  The Riddle of the Universe, which went through many editions in German during the formative years of the boys and girls who would become the Nazi leadership and the true believers in it.  Of that book, the scholar of the rise of Nazism, Daniel Gasman said:

The common understanding among historians about the connection between Haeckel and Hitler is this: Adolf Hitler (b. 1889) came of age during the decade and a half following the publication in 1899 of Ernst Haeckel’s Riddle of the Universe, a runaway best seller that over the next two or three decades sold more copies internationally than the Bible and profoundly shaped the consciousness of the modern world. Haeckel’s book imparted a rigid Social Darwinist message purportedly derived from science: politics is applied biology, the Jews were an inferior race compared with the Aryans, Christianity was a religion of weakness, and that eugenic action was necessary to protect the racial composition of society.

That reading of Haeckel will be confirmed by that rarest of events in the life of any true-believing Darwinist, honestly reading Darwin and those people he cites, especially Haeckel.  Though Darwin was reluctant to be specific about which races he believed were bound for extinction, though he named a number of smaller groups in the South Pacific and a few others, Haeckel, in books Darwin promoted as reliable science, was not so shy about starting an extermination list.

For anyone, especially today, who wants to deny that Haeckel's thinking was genuinely Darwinian, he could, if he were still around, point to numerous letters from Charles Darwin endorsing his excellence in articulating Darwin's theories,  praise for his boldness and appreciation for the promotion of Haeckel of Darwin's theories in Germany.   He could also cite Darwin's second in command, Thomas Huxley naming him the "chorus leader" of Darwinism on the Continent and, as mentioned, Francis Darwin's first hand testimony about his father's agreement with Haeckel.   No one today has the authority to deny that all of the evidence, up to and including Charles Darwin's own assertions, is that he accepted Haeckel's view of Darwinism and his assertion of its logical consequences for human, individually, in societies and between racial groupings, including that it was supportive of salubrious and progressive violent struggle, murder and genocides.

I, from time to time, look closer at the English language and German phenomenon of Darwinism and, over and over again, find confirmation of that characteristic of it, producing ideas and theories and ideological assertions that produced anti-democratic movements and, yes, Nazism.   When I started writing on this nine years ago, I was hesitant to make that connection but every year since then has only confirmed that connection and that it is obvious.

Note:  I think Robert J. Richards attempt to rehabilitate Haeckel so as to exonerate Darwin is one of the most blatantly dishonest things I've ever looked into.  It is blown up by doing what I've always advocated, reading the primary documentation and looking up the primary documents cited in those.  I think it is truly stunning that someone who has done what he has is accepted as a legitimate scholar, who can work at a major university.   While I think Gasman was too reluctant or unwilling to note that Darwin endorsed pretty much everything Haeckel said up to the time of his death - and, in fact, most of the worst things he said he'd already said in one form or another by that time - his take down of Richards is quite convincing.

* I believe in the latter, with the caveat that the ultimate nature of that is unknowable for the earliest life on Earth, I have become ever more skeptical of the former.

Update:  Unlike you, unlike Robert Richards, unlike all of Darwin's post-war hagiographers who want to disassociate them,  Ernst Haeckel knew Darwin, met him, conversed with him, first-hand as Darwin's honored guest at his home, he corresponded with Darwin and had letters from him endorsing his understanding and articulation of Darwin's theories and ideas.  He had the confirmation of his understanding of that from Darwin's closest British colleagues and, in fact, Darwin's children, as well.

Your claims in that matter, separating Haeckel and Darwin and, in fact, even Daniel Gasman's has to give way to the superior claims that Haeckel could make in that regard.  Richards is right in so far as he associates Haeckel and Darwin, he is not merely wrong but dishonest in asserting that both men didn't assert some of the most putrid of racist, elitist and violent assertions ever to be taken up as legitimate science and acted on politically and legally by politicians and jurists and military figures on the strength of those ideas identification as having the reliability of scientific knowledge.   That couldn't possibly be clearer from reading the primary documentary evidence.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Roger Hall - Book Ends

I know, I promised I'd get back to stand-alone plays this week but people liked the two series I posted the past two weeks so here's a short one.  It's a bunch of old farts of a literary sort who have solitary work and who meet to try to maintain a connection with the world.  It's pretty good, going past a scenario that could turn really quaint and cosy but which turned out to be better than that.   It's by New Zealand's most successful living playwright. 

Roger Hall (1939 –), New Zealand's most successful playwright, Roger Hall was born in Essex and moved to New Zealand in 1958. As well as stage plays, Roger has also written scripts for radio and television, and for children. His writing is known for its comedy, political and social purpose, and underlying pathos. His plays have toured widely and have been performed at international venues. His biggest success was with Middle Age Spread that ran for 18 months in London's West End and won the award for Comedy of the Year (1979). Hall has been the recipient of awards and fellowships in recognition of his work. Book Ends was first performed at Dunedin’s Fortune Theatre in 2014.

Hate Mail

I am aware of Robert Bannister's revisionist and seriously wrong idea that Darwinism and social Darwinism are not equivalent and claiming that Darwin and his closest associates were not racists.  I think one of the problems is that the old regime of pre-internet scholarship which could more easily assert an ideological agenda as scholarship is running into the problem of primary documentation that gives away their game being freely available and easily found.  The post-war revisionist Charles Darwin is a construct that depended on the unavailability and even obscurity of that documentation but that's over and done with. 

The first idea is, as I have had to point out over and over again, not only contradicted by no one less than Charles Darwin, himself, when he explicitly said, in HIS 5th edition of On the Origin of Species he said that Natural Selection was the same thing as Survival of the Fittest and that he repeatedly asserted that natural selection was at work in human societies and in human institutions in The Descent of Man and in his correspondence, going so far as to express opposition to such ideas as equal pay and organized labor as a hindrance of his struggle for existence.  That is enough to dispel anything claiming otherwise.   His racism is also on full display all through The Descent of Man and in his correspondence, any claims to the contrary by any scholar of the subject is, in my opinion, a discreditable distortion for clearly ideological purposes.   The example you sent me, of Bannister claiming that the infamously racist essay of Thomas Huxley was not racist is absurd and clearly obvious to anyone who read it. 

Not only that but it is also disconfirmed in the understanding of Darwin's closest colleagues, his children and in other people who knew the man as well as the next several generations of Darwinists who never knew him but certainly knew his work, it is also disconfirmed by many of his critics who, as well, perhaps even more so, did a close reading of his scientific writing and his other written legacy.  It is certainly disproved in the Darwinian character of eugenics, something whose origin in Galton's and Schallmeyer's reading of On the Origin of Species we know, beyond question, by their own assertions and that Darwin agreed with eugenics by his own written approval sent to Galton on the publication of Hereditary Genius and his citations in The Descent of Man praising that work, the two articles in Macmillan's Magazine which Galton marked as his first eugenics publication as reliable science in The Descent of Man.  From Francis Darwin, Charles' son and the first collector of his correspondence,  we have confirmation that he supported George Darwin's very early eugenics proposals published in a magazine article calling for the legal dissolution of marriages - even against the will of those so married - in the event of a mental illness in one of the partners, even if such a person were held to have recovered from it.   We also have Leonard Darwin's assertions that his eugenics activity was something his father would have approved of and that he was continuing his father's work in it. 

Bannister can claim many things, as any present day scholar can, he and they can't, however, claim to have superior knowledge of what Charles Darwin thought as compared to people who knew him intimately, even his own children.   Nothing he claims can reasonably be said to overturn what they said, nothing short of Charles Darwin, himself, contradicting their claims, in writing.   That record will stand as long as the book and articles and letters written by Charles Darwin, Galton, Haeckel, Huxley, Francis, George and Leonard Darwin, etc. exist.  And all of that evidence is fully available now, online, where it can be known through a fairly simple online search.  

The cover up of Darwinism's relation with eugenics, scientific racism and social Darwinism that was mounted by academics in the wake of the reaction against crimes of the Nazis and English speaking eugenicists is over, for good.   You don't have to "cherry pick" or "quote mine" or depend on secondary sources and tertiary and lower junk to make that case, it is best made by a full reading of the original source material which is almost all available online.  The pre-internet cover-up of that kind is over in so far as anyone wants to honestly know the truth about it.

Again, as I have said recently, I could fill this short piece with citations and links so that virtually every word of it would how up red on my blog.  Perhaps it's time for me to do another comprehensive index of the pieces I've written on this topic, each of them with citations and links to primary documentation of what I said, but there are so many of them.   I'm absolutely certain on this, you can be when you find the exact word confirming that in Darwin's own writing and that of those he cited as having the reliability of science. 

Friday, October 13, 2017

Robin Eubanks - X-Base

trombone: Robin Eubanks
bass: Kenny Davis
guitar: Kevin Eubanks
drums: Marvin "Smitty" Smith
horns: Randy Brecker, Antonio Hart

For N. - Thomas Tallis - Third Mode Melody - Sung to "Why F'umth in fight" a paraphrase, kind of, of Psalm 2

Theater of Voices
Paul Hillier, conductor

The "Theme of Thomas Tallis" which Ralph Vaughn Williams wrote his fantasia on, originally one of nine 4-voice pieces Tallis wrote to be sung to metrical paraphrases of the psalms in Archbishop Parker's Psalter.  The same setting could be used for any text that shared the same metrical structure.  This one is notable for being in the third, of Phrygian mode which, in my analysis, gives it the distinctive feel it has and which gives it both a definite feeling of  non-repose and harmonic motion, even though the actual melody dwells and lingers on the fifth degree,  a feeling of active not altogether easy meditation.  Though Tallis, like William Byrd, remained a faithful Catholic for the entire period of the Tudor persecution of Catholicism, he also wrote music used by the Protestant establishment.  Williams included it in the Anglican song book that he edited in 1906 set to a much later hymn by John Addison, as well as his Fantasia. 

The Anti-Gay KKK Is Emblematic of The Anti-Christ Here And Now In The Republican-Fascist-Putin-Nazi Axis

For even the most hardened atheist and anti-Christian and, perhaps most resistant of all, liberalish member of the First Church of the Brunch* one prophesy in the Bible is on full display, in real life, in the clearest of terms, manifesting in the world,  starting today.

For most of my life I've considered the last book of the Christian Bible, what we called The Apocalypse, what most Protestants call Revelations, to have been a big mistake.  The often misunderstood, easily and often sensationalized vision of some guy named John, is among the most abused books in the collection.  When I was young I thought it was just silly to believe in it, that is at the childish and historically and literarily ignorant hermeneutic of believing it was to be taken as literally true, a literal prophesy of things that were to come.  But those habits of reading, which modern atheism holds in common with modern Biblical fundamentalism aren't the terms under which it was brought into the cannon of Biblical scriptures, it was brought in because it was understood that the book was not literally describing future events but it was a poetic description of how disaster would come, a description, in figures, illusions, symbols, numerological implication, etc. of any enormous disaster, even ultimate, cataclysmic environmental destruction on top of  horrendous violence, oppression, moral decay and mass slaughter on a, well, these days the journalists like to say, "Biblical scale". 

But it was during the 2010 BP oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico that, hearing the description and seeing the aerial footage of the oil pollution that my thoughts went to the passage that says,

The second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it turned into blood like that of a dead person, and every living thing in the sea died. (16:3)

though that wasn't the first thing that led me to think maybe the author was on to something, it was witnessing the degenerate association of Christianity, of Jesus, with the corporate-Republican agenda that had co-opted the Biblical fundamentalists, integralist Catholics and others who, together with their other political allies made a pretty convincing anti-Christ. 

The "Values" Voters Summit, who turn hate and depravity and injustice and inequality into a perversion of "values" is a particularly evil hate group, well connected, well financed, and powerful, perverting the name and superficial trappings of Christianity to pretty much try to do the evil work of destroying any progress made to make The Gospel, the Law and the Prophets real in law and in life in the United States.   It is addressed by a whole host of people who could either stand in for or easily represent figures in the Book of Revelation as a manifestation of evil, using lies and deception and superficial appearance to sucker the gullible, the foolish and, most of all, those whose own moral failings make them easy prey for Satan or The God of the World or any of the other names given to evil and its emanations in the book.   In that reading of the Apocalypse or The Revelation, I believe completely because I see it unfolding before our eyes and have seen it unfolding my whole life and in recent history. 

It is unfortunate that, with our modern and simplistic expectations of literal truth that the poetic language of the author and the seemingly bizarre and easily and facilely ridiculed aspects in those do more to blind people to the truth behind them than to inform them.  The condemnation of wealth and its accumulation - often expressed in the contemporary equivalent of our billionaire class, kings, emperors and other rulers - and the moral degeneracy and disaster that they promote and practice couldn't possibly be clearer, once you get past the language of dragons with stars on their heads.  Though that can be useful, too.  If Putin is taken to equal "Babylon" Trump would certainly be a good candidate to be his whore, or, in contemporary terms, "his bitch".   I think once you take it on its own terms and see it as a general analysis of what happens when great fortunes rule the world instead of a one-off event in the extended future, there's an enormous amount to learn from it.  John could have written it as a political science or sociological treatise instead of giving it a poetic treatment but, really, who would read it now except for old farts writing papers in little read journals? 

For the record, I don't think a single person who is going to address that coven of anti-Christians really believes in anything they're going to say, they're either trying to rope in the dopes like a carny huckster or they're going through the motions for their patrons.  The whole thing is an exercise in lies on behalf the father of lies, as Jesus, recorded by another John said:

You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father's desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.

I've come to understand a lot more about that most troublesome of the Gospels, too, looking at the signs of the times and to appreciate much that is found in it. 

* The estimable Garrison Keillor's phrase is perfect.  That sort of nominal Christianity,  in its easy-going liberal wing, is not enough to fight against real evil.  It's to busy with keeping up buildings, salaries, etc.  It can, at its worst, be sort of like Trump during the campaign going back to the Presbyterian church where he made a pro-forma profession of faith in his youth but, it having since become a majority minority congregation, he had to ask the pastor if Presbyterians were Christians during the campaign. 

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Is Mueller Trying to Stop Trump From Pardoning People?

I For One Hope That Barack Obama Doesn't Attempt To Lead The Resistance To Trump

I can't agree with Charles Pierce that having Obama "joining the resistance full time" would be a good thing, if that were going to help then why didn't it during the eight years he held actual power?  In his piece, yesterday, Pierce noted that Barack Obama, instead of being engaged in full time efforts to resist the destruction of American democracy and the world has been engaged in socializing with the A+++ list of celebrities and giving $400,000 speeches to bankers and the such, which, given his presidency which never challenged the utra-rich and ultra-powerful at any basic level should surprise no one.  It's what a golden-boy preppy-Ivy leaguer who became and remained president for two term could be expected to do, that is the dominant culture of his class.  I was really disturbed earlier in the year reading that his idea of resistance was unleashing the Wall Street lap dog, Eric Holder.   To be fair, I was just as skeptical about the idea of Bill Clinton being any kind of effective opponent of George W. Bush.  While I wouldn't say that Barack Obama is someone I would like to never hear from again, something I have said about Bill, though not Hillary Clinton, I can't see him as being any more effective in opposing what, out of power, he did little to nothing to fight against while in power. 

No, I think any leadership in opposition to Trump has to come from someone who isn't a member of the elite which has never been an effective opponent of that kind of thing.  I suspect the set of all former elite law school grad and faculty such that they might be effective in leadership in opposition to Republican-fascism might be pretty much limited to one member, Elizabeth Warren.  And the null set, but that's just a formality of set theory.

Obama is a figure of the past, a great campaigner, while he was running for office but one who I heard many down ballot politicians complain about being unwilling to help them with resources or even lists.  In office he did a good job of setting low bars, achieving easy wins, being unwilling to play political hard ball for even his own signature agenda items, more interested in courting Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins and making nice with Republicans who regularly spat in his face than even trying to get the votes from stray members of his own party in the Congress.  By comparison with Trump, I certainly miss him, as the leader of the Democratic Party I see what he squandered and gave away.   If he and Holder had held the wall street crooks accountable, if he had pursued a full and extensive economic recovery instead of giving away huge chunks for the non-support of Snowe and Collins, if he had put the screws to conservative Democrats and passed a really great healthcare bill which would be more resistant to sabotage, we wouldn't be where we are right now.

So, please, Barack Obama, don't try to do now what you refused to do then.  Obama's big mistake wasn't what Charles Pierce noted, giving the country absolution without penance, though that is a good idea, too, it is that he decided to play statesman while he was holding a political office during a time when statesmanship was never going to work.  I always said I'd give him 2009 before I gave up hope.  That was a long, long time ago and hope deferred evaporates. 

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Wednesday Lecture - Walter Brueggemann - Truth-Filled Futures

So much said in less than 16 minutes.  

I have decided to get back to posting lectures, sermons, interviews on a more regular basis.  This is one given by Walter Brueggemann which I listened to recently while doing some otherwise boring chore.   I've listened to it several more times.  While listening  the first couple of times, I was impressed with the expansive interpretation that Brueggemann gave to what is implied in those troublesome, often exclusively interpreted texts where Jesus said no one came to God except through him, and which have been abused so often to say that no one but a small circle of believers were eternally damned.  His association of Jesus as conceived of as The Logos in John with Wisdom in Proverbs Chapter 8 and the association of Jesus with the justice and mercy and compassion that Wisdom created as fundamental attributes of the universe and that THAT is what we have to conform ourselves and our lives to or there will be disaster is the first time I've ever felt entirely comfortable with the idea.  NOT that Brueggemann's interpretation is more comfortable or easy or untroubling than the tradition that interprets that as being baptized and claiming that you're a Christian.   It's not easier, it's to throw yourself against the machine of the powerful, the rich, governments, societies that oppose those, "the world of power" which Brueggemann says, so well, "is dedicated to phoniness".   By the time he gets to the part about Jesus saying "it's all mine" and that he will give it all to us, Brueggemann associates that distribution with conformity to justice, compassion, generosity.

Particularly worth noticing is what he says about the folly of that American, modernist virtue "self sufficiency" and how destructive and stupid that ultimately is.

Here's the talk, I'll probably transcribe parts of it to discuss some ideas in it later, when I'm not feeling so exhausted.


It happened that just the other day I listened to another lecture session that was much longer, William Lane Craig on "God and the Platonic Host" which got into the concept of The Logos and much more, in which Craig talked at length about his years long philosophical study of the nature of abstract objects and the aseity of God, which is extremely interesting and pretty convincing on an intellectual level but, much as I appreciated what Craig was saying I didn't find nearly as useful.  

Both of these did leave me more convinced than ever that materialism, scientism and atheism are symptoms of intellectual vacuity and the dumbing down of intellectualism.  I have some profound disagreements with William Lane Craig about specific things but he is intellectually heads and shoulders above the atheist competition in the realm of ideas.  To a large extent that could be the result of most of his debate opponents being trained in some narrow aspect of the sciences and so-called sciences, relieved of any in depth knowledge of even the areas of philosophy that deal with logical argument.  As I pointed out not long ago, when he has an argument with another philosopher I've found the atheist was far less prone to arrogantly make an ass of himself, maybe unknown to his own audience but obvious to anyone who has read much philosophy or dealt in rigorous self-criticism of thier own thinking.  I specifically wouldn't include someone like Daniel Dennett or John Shook in that category, I think that Shook in particular is someone who should never have been given an undergraduate degree in philosophy, nevermind a PhD.   I have to confess that I've come to be skeptical of anyone who has a philosophy degree from the University of  Buffalo. 

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

What Mike Pence’s Cynical Anthem Stunt Cost

Dietrich Buxtehude - Suite in e minor

Wim Winters, clavichord

I played this on organ many, many years ago and once in a while on piano since then (not for performance) along with some of the other Buxtehude suites.  It's virtually certain that Buxtehude wrote the suites and associated variations, etc. in the collection this was found in for a small, fretted clavichord with a short octave in the bass (some of the fingering issues on a modern keyboard make that evident) which was the commonest domestic keyboard instrument in Germany at the time.  J. S. Bach, also wrote many of his pieces in the range that would fit that instruments, including many of his most well known works.  His earliest biographer documents that people who knew him said he favored the clavichord for practice.   His son, C.P.E. Bach as well favored the instrument, though I believe his music is generally for an unfretted instrument with the range of a harpsichord.


Score of the manuscript  in tablature.

This suite, unlike most of the others in the unique tablature containing them, is also known in a lute tablature in which the music is somewhat different. 
If you hadn't guessed, I'm not feeling very well the past couple of days.   Truth be told, I have a serious illness that is going to knock me down every once in a  while.   Nothing to get my enemies hopes up so far but I have to take it easy a bit.  

Monday, October 9, 2017

Fré Focke - Tombeau de Vincent van Gogh

The player isn't listed, the comments carry a speculation but I don't know so I won't pass it on.

Fré Focke was one of Anton Webern's students and while the pieces here are very short, as Webern's were, they are quite different from his style.   I think it's a sign of a great composition teacher that their students don't end up copying them.

I'd never heard of Focke until last weekend when I was reading about Webern's little known conducting career.  This is his only piece I managed to listen to.   The pictures represented are listed by the person who posted this as:

Barques aux Santes-Marie
La moisson
La café de nuit
Les blés verts
La berceuse
La cueillette des olives
Le pont-Levis
Les lavandières
Nuit étoilée
La route aux Cyprès
Champ d'oliviers
Tige d'amandier fleuri
L'homme à l'oreille coupée
Jeune fille assise
Les paveurs
Paysage à Auvers
Champ de blé aux corbeaux.
There are many evocative and distinct moments in the music, the composer was clearly talented.  

The Truth About Pence’s Despicable NFL Stunt

B B King and Stevie Ray Vaughan - Texas Flood

Stevie Ray Vaughan Live at Montreux 1985

That's my answer.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

23 Of These Die Every Month To Keep Donald Trump In Hair

Image result for troll doll blonde

Dave Holland Quintet - How's Never

Dave Holland - bass
Robin Eubanks - trombone
Chris Potter - saxophones
Steve Nelson - vibraphone
Nate Smith - drums

Prime Directive 

They Bite But I Won't

I am told that Duncan's Daycare for Dotty Duffers, aka "the braintrust," is snarking on my description of Neil Gorsuch as a pretty face the Federalist fascists chose to put on their sheer evil. 

Well, I'm not going to go to a lot of trouble to answer it, but I'm not the first person who noticed that  For example there is this from Ari Berman in The Nation on March 21:

Neil Gorsuch Is Not Another Scalia. He’s the Next John Roberts.

Gorsuch puts a handsome face on an ugly ideology.

Duncan's day care isn't so big on doing any reading, not even looking at the headlines of a word search online, they'd rather trash talk without any thought behind it.  I have huge problems with The Nation magazine and its direction under the trustafarian leadership of Katrina Vanden Huevel, just as I've come to look back and see it was hardly a great source of non-ideological  truth under Victor Navasky (another reputation that fades under a wider reading and consideration of his writing) but they make a few points, now and again.  I don't play the game of cooties that is the mainstay of Eschatonian discourse.   It's not only post literate, it's post truthiness.

Neil Gorsuch Is Such An A-Hole And Republican-Fascists Have Guaranteed That He Is The Future Of The Supreme Court

Jeffrey Toobin said it so well that I don't think I have much to add.

The argument had gone on for nearly an hour when Gorsuch began a question as follows: “Maybe we can just for a second talk about the arcane matter of the Constitution.” There was a rich subtext to this query. Originalists and textualists such as Gorsuch, and his predecessor on the Court, Antonin Scalia, often criticize their colleagues for inventing rights that are not found in the nation’s founding document. Gorsuch’s statement that the Court should spare “a second” for the “arcane” subject of the document was thus a slap at his ideological adversaries; of course, they, too, believe that they are interpreting the Constitution, but, in Gorsuch’s view, only he cares about the document itself.

Gorsuch went on to give his colleagues a civics lecture about the text of the Constitution. “And where exactly do we get authority to revise state legislative lines? When the Constitution authorizes the federal government to step in on state legislative matters, it’s pretty clear—if you look at the Fifteenth Amendment, you look at the Nineteenth Amendment, the Twenty-sixth Amendment, and even the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 2.” In other words, Gorsuch was saying, why should the Court involve itself in the subject of redistricting at all—didn’t the Constitution fail to give the Court the authority to do so?

Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who is bent with age, can sometimes look disengaged or even sleepy during arguments, and she had that droopy look today as well. But, in this moment, she heard Gorsuch very clearly, and she didn’t even raise her head before offering a brisk and convincing dismissal. In her still Brooklyn-flecked drawl, she grumbled, “Where did ‘one person, one vote’ come from?” There might have been an audible woo that echoed through the courtroom. (Ginsburg’s comment seemed to silence Gorsuch for the rest of the arguments.)

In one cutting remark, Ginsburg summed up how Gorsuch’s patronizing lecture omitted some of the Court’s most important precedents, and Smith gratefully followed up on it: “That’s what Reynolds v. Sims and Baker v. Carr did, and a number of other cases that have followed along since.” In these cases, from the early nineteen-sixties, the Court established that the Justices, via the First and Fourteenth Amendments, very much had the right to tell states how to run their elections.

In short, Ginsburg was saying to Gorsuch that he and his allies might control the future of the Supreme Court, but she wasn’t going to let them rewrite the history of it—at least not without a fight.

Ok, you know me better than to think I won't have something to say.  This is a good example of how the fascists will use the language of the Constitution to destroy democracy, installing de facto one party rule and a government that greatest desideratum of the rich, the powerful and the mainstream of the American media and much of legal academia, government of the rich, by the rich and for the rich.

About the only glimmer of light I see in this is that Gorsuch is such a callow. conceited and sanctimonious asshole that I think he's going to be unpopular with even some of his fellow fascists.  I recall reading that in his first session of oral arguments that even Alito lashed out at his idiotic and superficial dismissal of the complexity they were dealing with.  The boy is a pretty face put up by the Federalist Fascists because they knew they could run him and his looks would conceal the banality of evil to people trained to think by show-biz.

Update:  RMJ's comment shows how good it is for us non-lawyers to listen to people trained in the law.

I wanted to add to RBG's comment: "Or judicial review, for that matter?" Which is a product of Marbury v. Madison, and a doctrine hotly opposed by Jefferson, among others, as not being a part of the Constitution at all.'

"Originalists" are very proof-texting assholes. Nothing "originalist" in Scalia's Heller opinion. It's convenient bit of sophistry for saying "I'm right and you're wrong" no matter what the Constitutional issue is

I will confess that my respect for the kind of logical thought that can come with a good legal training wielded for honest purposes has risen even as my disgust at how a stupid scientism has become the "civic religion" of so many has grown, a direct result of being able to read more scientists and their lay faithful on the alleged left, online.

For the LORD hears the poor, and does not spurn those in bondage. Psalm 69

Save me, God,
for the waters have reached my neck.
I have sunk into the mire of the deep,
where there is no foothold.
I have gone down to the watery depths;
the flood overwhelms me.
I am weary with crying out;
my throat is parched.
My eyes fail,
from looking for my God.
More numerous than the hairs of my head
are those who hate me without cause.
Those who would destroy me are mighty,
my enemies without reason.
Must I now restore
what I did not steal?

God, you know my folly;
my faults are not hidden from you.
Let those who wait in hope for you, LORD of hosts,
not be shamed because of me.
Let those who seek you, God of Israel,
not be disgraced because of me.
For it is on your account I bear insult,
that disgrace covers my face.f
I have become an outcast to my kindred,
a stranger to my mother’s children.
Because zeal for your house has consumed me,
I am scorned by those who scorn you.
When I humbled my spirit with fasting,
this led only to scorn.
When I clothed myself in sackcloth;
I became a byword for them.
Those who sit in the gate gossip about me;
drunkards make me the butt of songs.

But I will pray to you, LORD,
at a favorable time.
God, in your abundant kindness, answer me
with your sure deliverance.
Rescue me from the mire,
and do not let me sink.
Rescue me from those who hate me
and from the watery depths.
Do not let the flood waters overwhelm me,
nor the deep swallow me,
nor the pit close its mouth over me.
Answer me, LORD, in your generous love;
in your great mercy turn to me.
Do not hide your face from your servant;
hasten to answer me, for I am in distress.
Come and redeem my life;
because of my enemies ransom me.
You know my reproach, my shame, my disgrace;
before you stand all my foes.
Insult has broken my heart, and I despair;
I looked for compassion, but there was none,
for comforters, but found none.
Instead they gave me poison for my food;
and for my thirst they gave me vinegar.
May their own table be a snare for them,
and their communion offerings a trap.
Make their eyes so dim they cannot see;
keep their backs ever feeble.
Pour out your wrath upon them;
let the fury of your anger overtake them.
Make their camp desolate,
with none to dwell in their tents.
For they pursued the one you struck,
added to the pain of the one you wounded.
Heap punishment upon their punishment;
let them gain from you no vindication.
May they be blotted from the book of life;
not registered among the just!

But here I am miserable and in pain;
let your saving help protect me, God,
That I may praise God’s name in song
and glorify it with thanksgiving.
That will please the LORD more than oxen,
more than bulls with horns and hooves:
“See, you lowly ones, and be glad;
you who seek God, take heart!
For the LORD hears the poor,
and does not spurn those in bondage.
Let the heaven and the earth praise him,
the seas and whatever moves in them!”

For God will rescue Zion,
and rebuild the cities of Judah.
They will dwell there and possess it;
the descendants of God’s servants will inherit it;
those who love God’s name will dwell in it.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Lauren Shippen - The Bright Sessions

People liked Limetown last week and I decided to post another series that are really popular.   These are in the form of recordings of therapy sessions.   All the ones I've listened to are what are called "two handers" more talking than action, though there's lots of internal action.   One big bonus is that the scripts are posted, too. 

I'll get back to posting longer stand-alone plays next week.

Alban Berg - Violin Concerto op 36

I was thrilled beyond any description when I found this Youtube of a cleaned up recording of the second performance of the famous Berg Violin Concerto, played by the man who commissioned it, Louis Krasner and conducted by Berg's fellow student of Schoenberg and most perhaps careful interpreter,  the great composer Anton Webern conducting the BBC orchestra.

It's certainly not modern digital quality but the recording from old acetate recordings owned by Louis Krasner reveal levels of detail in both Krasner's playing and Webern's conducting that make them an essential document for anyone intending to perform the work or to have a deeper knowledge of the music.  I think it also should inform people about how Webern may have seen his own music. It certainly isn't the cool to chilly kind of interpretation that people associated with Webern back when I was in college.   I remember listening to the great pianist Alfred Brendel saying that he believed the reason people didn't like Schoenberg's music wasn't because it was cold and "mathematical," pointing out the monodrama Erwartung and, if I recall, the Three Pieces op. 11, he pointed out that it is some of the most intensely emotional music ever written.

The Berg Concerto was written over a number of years, to be dedicated to the memory of Manon Gropius, the daughter of  Alma Mahler and her second husband Walter Gropius (see picture on the Youtube posted below).   It was finished after the start of the heart disease which would kill Berg not long after he completed the piece, it is full of the experience of facing the loss of loved ones and our own eventual death.  By the time in the second and last movement that he quotes the J. S. Bach chorale, Es Ist Genug it is almost unbearably sad and disturbing music. I don't know much about Berg's ideas about the afterlife but Webern, a Catholic mystic, certainly believed in it.  But there isn't any way to talk about this piece in words that comes near to the point of it, you have to listen to the piece to begin to understand that and this recording, for all its shortcomings is the best way I've ever heard into it.  I've listened to it scores, maybe hundreds of times but this is like hearing it for the first time.  There are many other recordings of the piece on Youtube if you want to hear a cleaner recording, it is one of the most often performed and recorded violin concertos of the 20th century.  Krasner performed recorded it with many other conductors.

Here is a more hi-fi recording of it, which is among the best I know of.

Henryk Szeryng, violin
Symphonie-Orchester des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Rafael Kubelik, conductor

These recordings all sound better on a disc than they do on Youtube.  I'm not sure if the first one has been made available in a good transfer but if it is I'm ordering it as soon as I get this posted.

The Berg Concerto is the one piece that I've heard people who declare they hate "12-tone" or "atonal music" or "academic serialism" (the stupidest of all musical labels, used almost exclusively by idiots) make an exception for  It is a work of transcendent greatness.