Saturday, May 27, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Norman Corwin - The Undecided Molecule

After yesterday's mention of the sad declining years of Groucho Marx and as I was thinking of posting Corwin's famous On A Note of Triumph for Memorial Day, I thought of another of Corwin's masterworks of radio drama.   You'll get to hear Groucho in a verse drama.  He plays a judge - though I'd bet he got a lot more from the time he played one on screen, this is an entirely better role.   He joins an all star cast from back in the days when the biggest stars wanted to do radio drama, especially when written by writers like Norman Corwin, Arch Obeler etc. 

They include Robert Benchley, Vincent Price, Norman Lloyd (who I found out is the only one still with us, at 102, if the computer is right, today) Sylvia Sidney, Keenan Wynn.  I suspect Corwin also wrote their self-plugging credits at the end. 

I think you'll like this one a lot. 

Update:  I can't believe I didn't give a credit for Radio Drama Revival, where I found this.   Please, check them out. 

Hate Mail

Oh, Simps said that did he.  Well, I'm glad to disappoint him but as far as I'm concerned him wearing a hoodie is a good idea, especially if it obscures his entire face.  It can cover a multitude of chins.  Unfortunately, if he starts talking it will still be whatever comes out of his head.  Maybe if he included a muzzle in his summer ensemble..... 


Update:  Zod, if you remove the personal attacks on other people you might get that comment posted, I will not carry attacks made on other people.  Feel free to attack me all you want.  I'm right here and I don't have any problem with fighting with anyone.  I can whip your ass. 

As to your contention that this blog is dedicated to attacking Simps, I seldom if ever say anything about the dope without him starting it.  You seem to have missed those little, tiny posts I do on other subjects.  Squint hard and you can see them. 

Update again:  Just out of curiosity I checked the word count and other than this post I have posted, so far today, 3,177 words, more or less, on non-Simps topics in just posts.  Not to mention comments.  That is in contrast with 75 words on Simps, and a few more on you. 

Atheists can't count, that's all there is to it. 

Another Footnote As An Afterthought

When I originally posted about the founder of German eugenics, as an organized entity. Wilhelm Schallmeyer,  in the absence of English translations of his work I depended on a very interesting book by Sheila Weiss, Race Hygiene and National Efficiency: The Eugenics of Wilhelm Schallmayer, which, fortunately, is available online.

In writing about him the other day I remembered this passage from the third chapter of that book, it contains part of the same passage from Haeckel I posted this morning.

During the 1860s and 1870s Social Democratic leaders such  as Friedrich Albert Lange, August Bebel, and Karl Kautsky—to name only the most important—embraced Darwinism and viewed it both as a legitimation of the inevitability and desirability of socialism, and as a justification for materialism and atheism.  Haeckel, however, considered socialism to have "the most dangerous and objectionable character which, at the present time, any political theory can have," and asserted during the 1877 debate that Darwinism 

is anything rather than socialist! If this English hypothesis is to be compared to any political tendency—as is, no doubt possible—that tendency can only be aristocratic, certainly not democratic, and least of all socialist. The theory of selection teaches that in human life, as in animal and plant life everywhere, and at all times, only a small chosen minority can exist and flourish, while the enormous majority strive and perish miserably and more or less prematurely. . . . The cruel and merciless struggle for existence which rages throughout all living nature, and in the course of nature must rage, this unceasing and inexorable competition of all living creatures, is an incontestable fact; only the picked minority of the qualified "fittest" is in a position to resist it successfully, while the great majority of the competitors must necessarily perish miserably. We may profoundly lament this tragical state of things, but we can neither controvert it nor alter it. "Many are called but few are chosen." The selection, the picking out of these "chosen ones" is inevitably connected with the arrest and destruction of the remaining majority.

I have mentioned here before that Karl Marx, writing to Engels, notwithstanding his disdain for what he called the typical British vulgarity of Darwin's approach,  originally saw natural selection as useful for their dialectical materialism.   That's not unusual in the least, just about all of the early adopters of natural selection I've read mention its usefulness for asserting materialism and atheism, including many Marxists, socialists and others who obviously didn't think too hard about the implications for the rest of their ideological program.   I've also mentioned that, thinking more about it,  Marx modified his attitude, noting that Darwin had, actually, imposed a twisted version of Malthus on the natural world.

I do think that the asserted usefulness of natural selection for materialism, atheism and, explicitly, anti-Christian advocacy that was immediately asserted for it by the most conventional of Darwinists, including Haeckel, Huxley, implied by Galton and many others, is its major attraction today.

It is possible that Sheila Weiss might be wrong about Lange in so far as materialism is concerned, though I am hardly anything like an expert in this, my understanding is that Lange rejected materialism. For example, from the article on Lange in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

Lange’s most famous book, The History of Materialism and Critique of its Contemporary Significance, is in essence a defense of such a return to Kant. It is also a detailed history of materialism (and was read well into the twentieth century for precisely this reason). However, more fundamentally, it was meant to drive home the above mentioned concerns about materialism. Lange accepted materialism as a sensible maxim for the construction of theories within natural science. However, as a comprehensive philosophical system, as both fundamental ontology and epistemology, materialism is self-undermining.

Anyway I've been able to figure it, I do also think that any rigorously logical thinking about the consequences of materialism, which is inescapably a monist, totalistic ideology, can't help but totally discredit everything about human thinking, including that which has produced materialism, which, in turn, discredits its basic credibility.   I think any rigorous thinker who, never the less, retains their materialism does so for the emotional hatred of religion that, in my experience, is the actual reason they adopted it in the first place.  That has certainly been my experience in decades of engaging in arguments with materialists.

Lange's rejection of Hegel discussed in the article is certainly of major consequences for his thinking about Marxism.  But that's for another post.

About August Bebel I don't know much of anything,  Kautsky was pretty much an orthodox Marxist, though an anti-Leninist, anti-Soviet figure.  So there's that to say for him.  In its horrific test of time Marxism, in its own rejection of democracy, doesn't produce the workers paradise Marx and his followers fantasized, it produces a massively corrupt oligarchy who, as it suits their purpose, will dispense with pretenses of egalitarian socialism to adopt a particularly vicious form of capitalism that the Victorians could only dream of.  In the case of the aftermath of the denouement of the Soviet state, it has become one of the foremost forces in promoting fascism and neo-Nazism.   However,  I've got no reason to think that Weiss was wrong in their case.

Someday I'll say something about Haeckel's cynical twisting of the words of Jesus to support the very opposite of the Gospel.

"that tendency can only be aristocratic, certainly not democratic"

You will remember the post from yesterday in which the author of the pseudo-scientific, pseudo-historical but massively influential book advocating eugenics, The Kallikak Family, twisted the definition of democracy into a definition of aristocracy in which the most intelligent, as measured on the tests he also brought to America, ruled benevolently over the unintelligent.   Henry Herbert Goddard included in those to be so lorded over, the average man, who his IQ testing led him to believe

can manage his affairs with only a moderate degree of prudence, can earn only a very modest living, and is vastly better off when following directions than when trying to plan for himself.

It's interesting to note that he included that such people could "earn only a very modest living" because I think that's, actually, the strongest motive behind all of it, recalling that the line of thinking Goddard followed has its intellectual origin in Malthus and his supposed mathematical, quasi-scientific support for the most depraved aspects of British class inequality. .

In the excerpt from his book,  The Psychology of the Normal and Subnormal,  which you can read in the second of my post yesterday,  you will see that what Goddard's regime of "intelligence testing" did was talk him into promoting what was being called in Italy and other places, "fascism" and in Germany, starting the very year he published the book, "Nazism",  both of which had a similar origin in a rejection of democracy and both with a founding motivation in the understanding of natural selection.   All of this was a development of the rapid adoption in the intellectual class, which was largely comprised of those in the upper economic classes who had access to education, higher education and the relevant professions.   In the United States, which had pioneered public education and with the Morril acts of 1862 and 1890, public, land-grant universities, perhaps the effects were, to some extent, mitigated by having a higher level of people from modest backgrounds represented in the educated class but that mitigation certainly didn't keep such thinking out of the country.   Natural selection its almost guaranteed by product eugenics, the allegedly scientific process of testing and grading people for intelligence and the assertion that democracy had been scientifically discredited filled the intellectual milieu of the late 19th and early 20th century.  I do think it's notable that the rejection of at least its political manifestation of fascism here, after 1933, had a lot to do with the presence of such unaristocratic people in the educated population of the United States.

I do, very strongly, believe if the Republicans and the aristocrats in the United States hadn't crashed the economy and proved, in the Hoover administration, how cold bloodedly willing they were to put their scientific, economic theories and principles and, not at all coincidentally, the profits of the wealthiest before the very lives of the American people, things might have turned far uglier.  The Republicans in the 1920s were on a path not that dissimilar from the one they're on today.  Who knows if we will be lucky in such a form a second time.

But the indication that that was a result of Darwinian thinking was in place much earlier.  In the immediate invention of eugenics, which was just one more step past the willing belief in natural selection, in its first manifestation of Galton's assertion that "Hereditary Genius" was a thing and, wouldn't you know it, it was especially manifested in his own aristocratic class, which accounted for most of those who had been provided with an education and a place at universities.

The most explicit evidence we have that Charles Darwin's thinking was along the same lines lies in his total and complete endorsement of his disciple and friend Ernst Haeckel's book Freie Wissenschaft und freie Lehre,  Freedom in Science And Teaching.  In his letter to Haeckel praising the book he said,

" ....  you must let me have the pleasure of saying how much I admire the whole of it. It is a most interesting essay, and I agree with all of it".  

Letter of Charles Darwin to Ernst Haeckel April 29, 1879

I will note that in the more than a decade I've been looking into this, I have yet to read anything by Charles Darwin in which he expresses any rejection of anything Ernst Haeckel ever said on these topics, he even endorses many of his most depraved ideas, such as the salubrious effects of murder, especially in the form of infanticide.

But for purposes of considering what led the, by then, very influential Henry Herbert Goddard to twist the meaning of democracy into an aristocratic fascism of the allegedly biologically superior this infamous passage of the book Darwin endorsed says it explicitly.

Besides, Darwinism, the theory of natural selection—which Virchow aimed at in his denunciation, much more especially than at transformation, the theory of descent—which is often confounded with it—Darwinism, I say, is anything rather than socialist! If this English hypothesis is to be compared to any definite political tendency—as is, no doubt, possible—that tendency can only be aristocratic, certainly not democratic, and least of all socialist. The theory of selection teaches that in human life, as in animal and plant life everywhere, and at all times, only a small and chosen minority can exist and flourish, while the enormous majority starve and perish miserably and more or less prematurely. The germs of every species of animal and plant and the young individuals which spring from them are innumerable, while the number of those fortunate individuals which develop to maturity and actually reach their hardly-won life's goal is out of all proportion trifling. The cruel and merciless struggle for existence which rages throughout all living nature, and in the course of nature must rage, this unceasing and inexorable competition of all living creatures, is an incontestable fact; only the picked minority of the qualified "fittest" is in a position to resist it successfully, while the great majority of the competitors must necessarily perish miserably. We may profoundly lament this tragical state of things, but we can neither controvert it nor alter it. "Many are called but few are chosen." The selection, the picking out of these "chosen ones," is inevitably connected with the arrest and destruction of the remaining majority. Another English naturalist, therefore, designates the kernel of Darwinism very frankly as the "survival of the fittest," as the "victory of the best." At any rate, this principle of selection is nothing less than democratic, on the contrary, it is aristocratic in the strictest sense of the word. If, therefore, Darwinism, logically carried out, has, according to Virchow, "an uncommonly suspicious aspect," this can only be found in the idea that it offers a helping hand to the efforts of the aristocrats. But how the socialism of the day can find any encouragement in these efforts, and how the horrors of the Paris Commune can be traced to them, is to me, I must frankly confess, absolutely incomprehensible.

I will note several things, such is that this English edition was published during Darwin's lifetime, with a preface by Darwin's closest English colleague and defender, Thomas Huxley.  I am certain Darwin read it, though I can't locate the citation I believe confirms that.  I doubt he could have been unaware of it.  His letter proves that he read the book, as he had read Haeckel's far harder to read books which Darwin cited to support his thinking.

That passage is as obvious, as explicit an expression of proto-fascist, proto-Nazi, explicitly biological-aristocratic thinking as is imaginable.  The book was published, in German, in 1877, 42 years before the founding of the Nazi party.   To give you an idea of how close in time that is, subtract 42 years from the year you're reading this.  And I will point out that Ernst Haeckel died in 1919, the very same year the Nazi party formed, the very same year that Henry Herbert Goddard, considered the greatest expert in the United States on inherited intelligence, whose regime of "intelligence testing" had already led him to redefine democracy as fascist rule by those his testing determined to be the most intelligent.   And I will remind you that Goddard's central idea as to why democracy must be deformed into facism was that we are in exactly that Darwinian " struggle for existence " that Haeckel describes in that paragraph of his elucidation of the political consequences of adopting a Darwinian view of life.

That any of what I've said above could be considered unspeakable, including the obvious relationship of natural selection to fascism and Nazism and the explicit rejection of democracy on allegedly scientific grounds only proves to show how thoroughly the big lie denying that has been inculcated in the English speaking educated class.  It is a lie based on a dismissal of the actual primary literature dealing with the question.  It can only lead to asking how much else that is "known" about this is also based in, not citation of, but in covering up or distorting or lying about that record.  And, as can be seen in the case of the application of natural selection in politics, in the law, in such things as American and, yes, Nazi eugenic laws, which are as real in their results as anything.  And, today, in the extension into the neo-eugenics which are rampant in current Republican policy.

I think ignoring that, ultimately, and in the beginning, it all began with Charles Darwin reading the work of Malthus - truly the Good News for his family and those of their economic class - is a similar distortion of what continues to be the official lens, the frame through which so much of our thinking is required to be expressed and skepticism of which is not to be permitted.

It's no accident that it always, always, ends up reinforcing those who have the money and the power. That's where it all started.


I said here the other day that the English Wikipedia was unreliable on these topics because it has obviously been "edited" by people with an ideological motive and those who, either through ignorance or a desire to cover up the record, post lies as facts.  I found such an instance just as I was checking the publication date of Haeckel's book, mentioned above.  The current article on Haeckel, in an obvious attempt to shield Darwin from the inevitable association of natural selection with Nazism says:

Haeckel's political beliefs were influenced by his affinity for the German Romantic movement coupled with his acceptance of a form of Lamarckism. Rather than being a strict Darwinian, Haeckel believed that the characteristics of an organism were acquired through interactions with the environment and that ontogeny reflected phylogeny.

If that is the case then Charles Darwin was not "a strict Darwinian" because he not only believed that characteristics of an organism were acquired through interactions with the environment, he explicitly developed his own theory of such inheritance, his version of the panspermia theory.

Pretty much everything that is included within that passage from the English Wikipedia is present in the writings of Haeckel, including, as seen above, the proto-Nazism, was present during Darwin's lifetime, published in books which Darwin not only praised and endorsed in letters but which he cited in some of his most important scientific works.  Certainly in the one most relevant to the political application of natural selection, The Descent of Man in the preface to which Darwin says that if Haeckel's Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte had been known to him before he started writing The Descent of Man, he might not have bothered finishing it because Haeckel's book - chuck full of his German romantic thinking, as well as many depraved assertions about the salubrious effects of infanticide suggestions of killing the disabled, the inevitable killing and replacement of "savage" races by those whose homicidal success renders them "civilised" etc much of which Darwin repeats in his book - because Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte is so in line with his thinking.

Charles Darwin never, in anything I've read, distanced himself from Ernst Haeckel or his thinking. Nor of other writers such as Heinrich Fick OR HIS OWN SON GEORGE who, during his lifetime, with his support, called for changing the laws to make them conform to their assertions of natural selection.

Friday, May 26, 2017

You First Amendment Absolutist Types

Explain to me why the slandered, libeled and sadistically tortured family of Seth Rich shouldn't be able to sue that lying, amoral, mouldy dog turd of a man, Roger Stone, into destitution?  

Hardly Seems Worth Pointing It Out - Hate Mail

Simels can't read what someone says, if he's able to keep his fading attention on the letters he turns it into what he wants it to say (see the Bertrand Russell quote on the left sidebar).   

I never said he looked like Groucho Marx, I said he looked ridiculous putting on a cheesy looking beret in an inadvisable attempt to look like the aged (some assert senile) Groucho as a very old man. I assert that the effect made Simels look as senile as his comments indicate.   The first time I saw one of the photos he posted I thought he'd gone totally round the bend and had put on a cheesy black toupee in an attempt to look chic.  He only succeeded in looking weak.  In the head. 

I'd wondered if the two much younger women on either side of him were social workers on an "adult in danger" call. 

Update:  Dr. Mary Schindler testified in court that she tested Groucho in 1975 when he said he wanted to adopt his much younger girlfriend but she said he was already advanced in senility by that time.  I wasn't there, she apparently was.  That's as much as I know about it. 

Update 2:  He said that?  Well, I've noted several times that he doesn't know how time works.  You know, past, present, future. I think he was watching TV instead of going to school the day they explained that.   Probably Queen For A Day. 

Neo-Neo-Nazism Is Flourishing Online

Looking for more examples of Nazi propaganda films, it is terrifying how many of them are posted on Youtube, obviously by neo-Nazis with many favorable comments.   This stuff is the stuff that is under the active promotion of the Putin regime and billionaires and other Nazis right now.  

I'd known it was there, but in the past two days the amount of it and the presentation of it online looks like something that is far worse than I'd thought last Tuesday.  The comments are as disturbing as the fact that it's getting posted.   It's clearly reaching a susceptible audience that isn't of negligible size. The free-speech industry needs to address this.  Now. 

Forgotten Footnote

Oh, and since the overall topic is the reality of natural selection in the real world of politics and social policy I should have made a comment on this part of Goddard's argument

To maintain that mediocre or average intelligence should decide what is best for a group of people in their struggle for existence is manifestly absurd.   We need the advice of the highest intelligence of the group, not the average any more than the lowest. 

"In their struggle for existence" is a red-letter marker, a dead giveaway of the shadow of natural selection in which Goddard is making his argument.   It provides the framing of exigency in which so much of the scientific advocacy of that kind, so much of its extension into politics and social policy in 1919 and after was and is being made.

This Is The Man Who Oliver Wendell Holmes jr. Believed To Be Producing Reliable Science On Which To Base Reliable Justice

It's raining here so I have had a free morning to go looking up stuff, so I looked up the source of that quotation that I used in my earlier post. The rain has also washed the pollen out of the air so, no allergy meds, yippee!

The quote comes from the 1919 book by Henry Herbert Goddard, Psychology of the Normal and Subnormal,  a book by a best-selling scientist-author (The Kallikak Family was a wildly influential best seller).  I will note, not coincidentally, that 1919 is the same year that the Nazi party was founded.  It is also the period in which fascism was rising in Italy and military-imperial rule in Japan and Leninism was driving out the democrats in what would become the Soviet Union.

I will give you a large chunk of the book, verbatim, with minimal commentary where I can't restrain myself from making observations.  It is truly a window into the direction that the kind of scientific thinking which asserts it can measure people and grade them like eggs, in terms of quality and utility I talked about in the earlier piece will tend toward.  I will ask you to consider the echos of such thinking that can be heard everywhere, today, on the left and on the right.  I will also ask you to consider that Goddard had gained his fame through his directorship of an institution allegedly caring for the "feeble-minded" and that the bulk of his book consists of an argument that a far higher number of people are "morons" "imbeciles" etc. and, so the "average man" is far stupider than those he took to be uninformed might believe.

If it is ultimately found that the intelligence of the average man is thirteen – instead of sixteen – it will only confirm what some are beginning to suspect;  viz., that the average man can manage his affairs with only a moderate degree of prudence, can earn only a very modest living, and is vastly better off when following directions than when trying to plan for himself.  In other words it will show that there is a fundamental reason for so many of the conditions that we find in human society and further that much of our effort to change conditions is unintelligent because we have not understood the nature of the average man.

These and many other assertions are identical to the arguments that fascists made against democracy.  But being an American, writing in English, Goddard couldn't dispose of democracy without risking alienating large numbers of people.  He solved that problem by defining democracy in an age of scientific enlightenment as being fascism.  While calling it "democracy".

It is not necessary here to point out the far-reaching effect of such a discovery – should it prove true.  We may, however, allow ourselves one observation.  Some may think that this doctrine of mental levels, especially if it leads to such facts as above indicated, is an argument against democracy.  It certainly is an argument against certain theories of democracy.  Democracy means the people rule (Demos, people; Kratos, ruler). [Goddard always seems to think if he can attach a Greek word to something that means he wins the argument. ]  To maintain that mediocre or average intelligence should decide what is best for a group of people in their struggle for existence is manifestly absurd.   We need the advice of the highest intelligence of the group, not the average any more than the lowest. 

Democracy is historically a rebellion against a so called aristocracy (Aristos, best) a rule by divine right, the divine right  of kings.   The trouble with the old aristocracy is in the answer to the question,  “Who decides who is the best?”  In the aristocracies of the past a small group of people have said,  “We are the best, we have the right to rule.”   Democracy says:  “The entire group must decide who is best, wisest, who can give us the best advice.”  But will average intelligence select highest intelligence and submit to its rule?   It depends on the character of the highest intelligence, and its attitude toward mediocre and low intelligence.  The moron in the community will not select and obey the man who tests hightest but who pursues his intelligence for his own aggrandizement and mistreats those of lower intelligence.  But the morons and imbeciles in an institution would select and do obey the superintendent and his helpers because they are working unselfishly [yeah, right] to make the morons and imbeciles happy. 

Democracy, the, means that the people rule by selecting the wisest, most intelligent and most human to tell them what to do to be happy. [Again, this is an argument for fascism, made by fascists at exactly the same time Goddard wrote this.] Thus Democracy is a method for arriving at a truly benevolent aristocracy.  Such a consummation will be reached when the most intelligent learn to apply their intelligence.  In other words instead of securing power by such political methods as are now too often resorted to,  or by the use of money and “influence” high intelligence must so work for the welfare of the masses as to command their respect and affection.

I am going to break in here, again, because it's clear that Goddard's view of reality, as a director of just such an institution, was entirely self-serving and self aggrandizing.  That is not a rare thing among those in psychology and other "inexact" sciences.   If you want to know just what a complete fool Goddard was, he's about to prove it in the very next sentence.

This is not difficult, once the problem is understood and the right attitude taken.  The reason the moron is a menace in society is that he is misunderstood and consequently mistreated.  The reason he is happy, contented, obedient, and useful member of an institution for the feeble-minded, is that he is understood and treated with consideration.  His mental level is recognized and every effort made to secure his happiness.  The truest democracy is found in an institution for the feeble-minded and it is an aristocracy – a rule by the best.

Fascism, in both its right wing form and in its red-fascist, Marxist form, is pretty much just what Goddard was advocating as science, turning societies into institutions ruled over by rulers convinced they are the best, the most intelligent, the wisest, etc.  How that differs from the "old aristocracy" not at all is to be found all through the assertions of the beneficiaries of the British class system in literature and, especially flowing from assertions of Malthusian economics, most of all natural selection, science.  

Remember, Goddard was a man whose scientific assertions wielded great influence in, especially, Republican politics in the United States in the 1920s.  His science was used to pass legislation into law and to make law in the Supreme Court.  That the party that did that would produce the Great Depression and be heaved out of power in 1933 might be a fortuitous coincidence or it might be the results of the reality that Goddard's romantic view of rule by "the most intelligent" was a fantasy, that those who favor aristocracy will always try to steal everything for themselves and their families. If he didn't know that he was an idiot, if he did know that he was a filthy liar.  Or more of one than his best seller proves himself to have been.   

We've got our own versions of him on best-sellers lists right now, he's not just a figure of a done and finished past so don't start feeling smug on that account.   Charles Murray is far from dead, neither are those who support his neo-eugenics.

Update:  Rereading this, it occurs to me that Goddard was making the exact same arguments that Plato and the anti-democratic party in Athens were making against popular rule way back then.   It has always been an argument against democracy from its earliest development.   The alternative was also known as Plato presented the anti-intellectual, military despotism of Sparta as superior.  And that boob didn't even take into account that he'd have been either excluded or killed as philosophy was banned in Sparta.  Not coincidentally, in their assertion of natural selection a line of writers, beginning with Charles Darwin, Ernst Haeckel and others, including American eugenicists, cited Spartan infanticide as part of their implications of ideas to improve the human stock.

Update 2: Hate Mail -  You know, if I provided links to everything I said most of the text would display as red.  Here's the link to a piece I wrote about Darwin and Haeckel asserting the eugenic effects of infanticide in Sparta.   I don't make a habit out of saying things I can't back up. 

The Scientist As A Liar And A Knowing Accomplice To Murder

"Democracy, then, means that the people rule by selecting the wisest, most intelligent and most human to tell them what to do to be happy."  Henry Herbert Goddard

I went around looking to see what had been written about "The Kallikak" family the alleged focus of that book by the American psychologist and eugenicist Henry Herbert Goddard and found an article that points out the extremely influential book, used in the United States to legalize eugenics and other discriminatory laws and, as seen in that repulsive propaganda film, to promote the ideas of both eliminating "useless eaters" disabled people and other aspects of Nazi ideology.   I found this article Who Was Deborah Kallikak? Goddard's starting point for creating a depraved geneology for her, full of dysgenic ancestors, the progeny of a Revolutionary lieutenant screwing around with a degenerate bar maid before he married a virtuous Quaker woman and had good children with her.  Not coincidentally,  Henry Herbert Goddard was raised a Quaker of the evangelical late 19th century type in Maine, though I'm not sure if he remained one in the years he was a psychologist and one of the main figures in promoting eugenics and some of the worst of America's use of such science to legally enforce discrimination and racism.   I doubt he'd fit into any meeting of Quakers I'm aware of, these days.

Anyway, the guy was a combination of an incompetent researcher of the kind who can flourish in the behavioral and social sciences and an outright liar.  Both in his description of the woman who he made into "Deborah Kallikak" Emma Wolverton who was far more a victim of unjustified institutionalization from her early life through its end than the figure Goddard presented.  As he had the major hand in her unjustified institutionalization, for his purposes she was more a convenient piece of raw material than a person.  I'll let you read the less opportunistic description of her in the article, it is a rather heartbreaking and infuriating story.  But Goddard's use of her, the same program of utility that he provided for both the American eugenics industry and to the Nazis, lay in her alleged ancestry which was mostly a lie.  Here's what the article says about that. 

In 1985, the lead author of this article published a book titled Minds Made Feeble: The Myth and the Legacy of the Kallikaks. Goddard’s thesis of the hereditary nature of feeblemindedness rested, in large measure, on the presumption that Emma’s Wolverton’s1 ancestors, or a large proportion of them, were feebleminded, although the only family member ever tested using an IQ test was Emma herself. The bulk of The Kallikak Family narrative itself involves descriptions of these ancestors: from Emma’s purported great-great-grandfather, Martin Kallikak Jr., the offspring of the ill-advised dalliance with the feeble-minded bar maid, on down to Emma herself. Of course, these family members were christened with stigmatizing names by Goddard and Kite; Martin Jr. was referred to, for example, as the “Old Horror.” The pictures in the text show Kallikak family members posed in front of what can best be described as hovels, thereby juxtaposing purportedly degenerate people with their degenerate homes

Minds Made Feeble debunked the assertion in Goddard’s narrative that these Wolverton ancestors were degenerate, more or less feebleminded. The present context does not allow for a detailed accounting, but a few examples will suffice to make this point.

It is, of course, Martin Kallikak, Jr., the great-great-grandfather of ‘Deborah,’ who is the fulcrum in The Kallikak Family narrative. Goddard’s description of Martin, Jr. is laden with those traits he felt characterized people he described as “morons”. In the text, Goddard narrates a conversation with an elderly woman who is, supposedly, part of the “good side of the Kallikak family” (p. 80), who was reported to remember Martin Jr. as:

… always unwashed and drunk. At election time, he never failed to appear in somebody’s cast-off clothing, ready to vote, for the price of a drink” (p. 80)

According to census data for Hunterdon County, Martin, Jr., whose real name was John Wolverton2, was born in 1776 and was married in 1804, a union that lasted 22 years, until his wife’s death. Unlike Goddard’s description of Martin, Jr., John Wolverton appears to have been fairly successful. He owned land throughout most of his adult life. County records indicated that he purchased two lots of land in 1809 for cash. Deed books for the county contain records of his transferring his property to his children and grandchildren later in his life. The 1850 census record shows that he was living with one of his daughters and several of his grandchildren at that time. That record also lists all of the adults in the household as being able to read. The 1860 census record lists his occupation as “laborer” and his property as valued at $100 (not a meager amount for the average person at that time). John Wolverton died in 1861 (Smith, 1985, p. 93).

Or, consider Martin Jr.’s fourth child, “Old Sal” whom Goddard described as feeble-minded and as marrying a feeble-minded man and as having two feeble-minded children, who, likewise married feeble-minded wives and had large families of defective children, some of whom are pictured in The Kallikak Family.

“Old Sal” was, in fact, Catherine Ann Wolverton, born in December, 1811. She was married in January, 1834 and died in 1897 at the age of 85 (Macdonald & McAdams, 2001, p. 218). Goddard’s nickname of ‘Old Sal’ probably came from Goddard and Kite mistaking Catherine for her sister-in-law, Sarah (Macdonald & McAdams, 2001, p. 811). There is not much known about Catherine herself from the records, but a family history relayed by some of Catherine’s descendants reveals many contradictions to Goddard’s portrayal of her offspring. Two of her grandchildren were still living in 1985 when Minds Made Feeble was published. A brother and sister, they were retired school teachers living in Trenton, New Jersey. One grandson moved from New Jersey to Iowa, became treasurer of a bank, owned a lumber yard, and operated a creamery. Another grandson moved to Wisconsin. His son served as a pilot in the Army Air Corps in World War II. A great, great grandson of Catherine was a teacher in Chicago. A great grandson was a policeman in another city in Illinois. A 1930 newspaper article reported that all of Catherine’s sons had been soldiers in the Civil War.

Others of the so-called bad Kallikak family members were land owners, farmers, and, while poor, were generally self-sufficient rural people. Though many of them had lived with limited resources and against considerable environmental odds, the records suggest that they were a cohesive family. With Emma’s grandfather’s generation, though, the tides turned for the family. Called Justin in Goddard’s narrative, Emma’s grandfather (also named John Wolverton) was born in 1834 and, like his ancestors, lived in Rural Hunterdon, New Jersey working primarily in agriculture. Like many of his generation, though, John and his family were swept up in the turmoil of the industrial age and by 1880, the family had moved to Trenton New Jersey and John worked as a laborer. Times were difficult, the cohesiveness of the family eroded, and Emma’s mother’s family scraped to get by in those tough economic times.

Malinda Woolverton was the actual name of Emma’s mother. She was born in April of 1868, when the family lived in Hunterdon, but by 1885, at the age of 17, she had already moved out of the family home, living with and serving as a domestic and child care helper in the home of a neighbor. Emma was born to Malinda in February of 1889. Though Goddard indicates that Emma’s mother had three illegitimate children who didn’t live past infancy before Emma was born in the almshouse, Mcdonald and McAdams’ (2001) genealogy of the Wolverton family noted that records suggest that Emma was Malinda’s only illegitimate child.

The real story of the disfavored Kallikaks, the ‘other Wolvertons,’ is not free of troubles and human frailties. The family had its share of skeletons in the closet, but so did many families of that era, particularly those who were faced with poverty, lack of education and scarce resources for dealing with tumultuous social change. But the family also had its strengths and successes. The tragedy of the disfavored Kallikaks is that their story was distorted so as to be interpreted according to a powerful myth, and then used to further bolster that myth. The myth was that of eugenics.

The pseudo-science of psychology and the other social sciences have a long history of making up stories like the one Goddard lied up.   And, as you could see from the Nazi propaganda movie, Das Erbe, the results can be devastating to hundreds of thousands and millions of people.    His book, The Kallikak Family" was entered (misspelled) into the Supreme Court argument that led to Oliver Wendell Holmes jr.'s infamous Buck vs. Bell decision legalizing forced sterilization, which was used in a number of places, including quaint 1920s and 30s Vermont, to try to exterminate racial groups through forced and coerced sterilization.  As has been noted here before, some contemporary scholars looking into that have found the records of it were best preserved in Germany because the Nazis diligently studied American eugenics programs to build on them.  

Goddard and his use of IQ testing is also infamous as he had a knack for finding, or inventing idiocy or, in the term he introduced into science, "morons" and, wouldn't you know it, their massive concentration in ethnic and racial groups.  His science was also supportive of the racist restrictions on immigration put into effect in the 1920s and which were used to exclude, among others, Jews trying to flee from the Nazis.  The same kinds of arguments are what fueled the cable-TV campaign to whip up racist activity against Latinos and others which has taken over the American government again.  I believe some touted the victory of the Republicans as their peak since the last time they had such control - wouldn't you know it - in the 1920s.  

This kind of science, which is taken and asserted to have the reliability of science but which is based, in reality, on lies and professional interest and opportunistic bigotry, is not something that was left behind in a past that is past and done.   Its still here, now, being published and being promoted to have exactly the same effects and for exactly the same reasons it was being done in in the early decades of the bloody 20th century.   And, as science has not done much of anything to prevent this kind of science, I'm not putting the word in scare quotes anymore.  Science that is done by those who get to be called scientists and which is published as science and is accepted by the colleagues of the scientists that make it up is their responsibility.  The media can be held responsible for its promotion of it, even as they heap ridicule on and rejection of real science such as done around climate change, which is unprofitable for the billionaires and millionaires that promote this kind of junk.  That's the real reality of science as it enters into politics.  

With natural selection and other theories in science, such as those which congealed into psychology - itself an offshoot of natural selection-  the idea of asserting science could reliably and accurately measure people on a scale of economic and social value and that such measurement should be used to manage the human population arose and gained currency.  Starting with Darwin, continuing through eugenicists, that was explicitly put in terms of managing people in terms of an animal breeding operation on a farm.  As country boys, both Charles Darwin and Henry Herbert Goddard knew such operations at first hand.   I'm a country boy, too, and one of the things I know about such an operation is that in addition to breeding the stock the farmer consider best, they select out those not chosen as breeding stock to be slaughtered for profit.  That anyone with that knowledge would make such a recommendation about the human population cannot be allowed to escape blame when the known outcome of that happens when their scheme is applied, that people, in large numbers are murdered or allowed to die of neglect, starvation, etc.   That those last methods are considered more "moderate" doesn't make them any less deadly.   They knew exactly what they were advocating.  They just used refined English to say it, instead of explicit German. 

That quote at the top, anyone who think's that's democracy is a stinking fascist. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

A Story That Wrote Itself

How stupid is Donald Trump?

Trump Reportedly Wants To Stop Germans From Selling So Many Cars Here,  Where They're Made

Simps, he of diminished capacity,
Who fills in the gaps with Simp-assity 
When faced with unwelcome,
Facts, he never let's em
Get into the way of mendacity. 
A second day of dealing with slime.  I'm going to go relax with some wholesome Black Jack Justice for the rest of the day.  

Are We At 1910, 1917 or Later? This Stuff Isn't In The Past It's Being Promoted Now

I was not certain about posting this because it is a piece of Nazi eugenic propaganda, a short film called Das Erbe - The Inheritance.   I'm not sure about the motives of whoever it is who posted it at Youtube but the introductory music doesn't encourage me to think it's innocuous.  I've posted it to start at the beginning credits of the movie.  It's in German but, really, you can probably guess at most of what's being said.  It's Nazi propaganda.

It's a really eye-opening example of how the Nazis based their biological-racial-eugenics on a classical Darwinian presentation of natural selection, I believe you could find exactly every example "from nature" presented in the film or its close approximation within On The Origin of Species and the arguments when it turns even more sinister in which they treat human beings in The Descent of Man or in the works that Darwin cited to support his own conclusions in that book, especially by his closest German colleague and friend, Ernst Haeckel.   I think the example of the breeding of hunting dogs and race horses is especially Darwinian, the thing that links "nature" to assertions about human selection and breeding and culling.

The beginning, showing the pretty female lab assistant calling the wise old professor in to see the "struggle for life" between two stag beetles carries some pretty overt claims that what is relevant for that struggle is also relevant to human society, which is classic Darwinism.  Not "social Darwinism" though as Darwin, himself said, when he said "natural selection" he meant "survival of the fittest". That is the conclusion of Miss Volkmann ( "Volk" "Mann" standing in for the average consumer of the propaganda film) as the wise professor indoctrinates her in natural selection.*

Of especial interest for Americans comes at about 7:55  in the film when they give the "case" by the American eugenicist Henry Herbert Goddard  of "The Kallikak Family" which was still cited in American textbooks when I was in school, though it had been pretty thoroughly discredited as science and genealogy before the Nazis used it to support what would turn into the T-4 program of murdering the disabled.   You will notice how seamlessly that morphs into a quote by Hitler about how much caring for the disabled costs and how it robs "normal" Germans and promotion of Nazism as the thing that will produce biologically superior people through things like "the struggle of sport" and military aggression.   You might want to watch the whole thing or notice that whenever you see stuff about the Nazis on Youtube you are likely to get more overt current promotion of Nazism in the side bar.

I wish I could find an English translation of the text because some of what it says sounds a lot like what you can hear in the current debates over proposed Republican legislation.   Going over the history of German eugenics, from its beginning in the late 19th century, as it became steadily more extreme.  As the loss in the First World War popularized eugenics, gradually building as more "moderate" eugenics was popularized, only to become Nazi eugenics as the Weimar period declined into the Nazi years and as it developed into mass murder by 1939, you read and hear familiar phrases from our current politics anticipated.

Again, much of the English online mention of this film is ideologically sanitized.  In context, as a milestone in the gradual transformation of Germany from the "moderate" eugenics of the Weimar period to killing people in the hundreds of thousands and millions, this is really disturbing.

* I'll remind you that in his second consideration of Darwinism, Karl Marx noted that Darwin had, actually, attributed the vicious struggle of the British Class system to nature and turned Malthus upside down.

Update:  I located the source of that quote, Goddard's book Psychology of the Normal and Subnormal.  I've looked at the sections from which that quote is taken and it is quite an eye-opener into his motives.  It would seem, to me, that Goddard was in the business of creating "morons" as a large percentage of the human population so as to make an argument against democracy as the consent of the governed into a rule by "a truly benevolent aristocracy" composed of those who were deemed the most intelligent by scientific means.  Of course, that would mean that his kind of scientist would have a huge hand in determining that,  scientific Koch brothers, as it were.

And it all sounds very logical and very rational until you consider that the central problem of democracy isn't a matter of who is the most intelligent, it's a matter of who is the most moral and there's no guarantee that the most intelligent will be the most moral, the most willing to put aside their ability to game things for their own advantage so as to promote the common good.  That Goddard, the prissy, social and academic climber that he was, wanted to conflate the two.  He seems to think that if he can find a Greek word to do it with that that seals the argument for his kind of fascism of the smartest.  I'll probably write more about that later.

Virus Warning

Looking through my notes from my eugenics files, I'll note this illustrative warning.  Some of the scientific texts I've mentioned below, for example, the book by Fischer, Baur, and Lenz, are available online because they are posted by neo-Nazis as part of their propaganda.   What is euphemized [fixed it, damned spell check] using their own cover term the "alt-right".    You are bound to come across those in a google search, be careful, some of them will infect your computer just as the stuff they carry will infect susceptible minds. 

Researching Darwinism would have been a real eye-opener on that account alone, if there hadn't been the primary texts, themselves. 

I'm thinking I might be writing more on this topic, soon.   A post contrasting current Republican rhetoric with that of the Nazis, especially in the Weimar period when they had to conceal their intentions so as to gain power might be rather shocking.  I hear more than just echos in stuff coming from the Congress and the Trump regime, I hear the same ideas translated into current English. 

Not The Friggin' Darwin Wars Again! - Someone's Been Reading My Eugenics Posts And Is Pissed

"Why do you lie about Charles Darwin.   You must be a creationist"

Nothing I've said about Charles Darwin has been a lie.  Every single thing I've said about Charles Darwin has been based on


b. On what his children and his professional associates WHO, UNLIKE YOU AND THE REST OF TODAY'S DARWIN CULT, KNEW HIM, PERSONALLY have said about what he said and thought.

c. About what his entirely conventional followers said about their understanding of what he said, especially in the pre-WWII period when they felt no inhibition to be honest about that.

I look at the entire paragraphs, sections of his books, and the entire book in judging the meaning of what he said.  Sometimes, as in On The Origin of Species, I judge it on the entire range of editions that were produced under his supervision, during his lifetime.  Especially the last two editions of his work, the fifth and sixth (which some consider his final words on the subject) often expose a fuller context of what he said than merely looking at the first edition - which I've noticed is favored by the Darwin industry in its distortions and propaganda.

I also look at the closest we are going to get to his candid thought, his letters which often show that the guy presented by BBC costume dramas and the rest of the Darwin industry was not the real man. He was a rather cold-blooded British landed aristocratic type, with a its disdain and callous indifference to the suffering of those who he considered "lesser" "weaker" in any way inferior.  I have, through my long review of him and the milieu within which he lived and operated, come to believe that informs the content of natural selection far more than a rigorous, scientific analysis of data and evidence.  I think it is maintained primarily for political, not scientific reasons.  I think it is probably a frame through which things are required to be viewed out of professional-academic-political enforcement and received habit, not a real thing.

I think it is telling that when people with even slightly different differences in today's far more scientific and data based view of evolution are warring, academically, the accusation of apostasy to, not the evidence at hand, but Darwin is frequently made.   I wonder, did anyone have to face an accusation of infidelity to Newton in the same way as physics developed?   Off hand, I can't think of a similar figure in chemistry to form a similar analog.  Of course, the pseudo-science of psychology has had many such figures but the intellectual effect has never been the same due to that diffusion.

As I've pointed out, I began this about twelve years ago a fully conventional believer in the St. Darwin cult figure.  I naively went looking for the primary evidence, from Charles Darwin's own words, to exonerate him in an argument that he is responsible for eugenics only to find, IMMEDIATELY AT LOOKING AT WHAT HE SAID that he was guilty as charged.  That was entirely confirmed by looking at what Francis Galton, the inventor of eugenics said inspired him, he unambiguously said that it was his reading of On the Origin of Species that inspired him to invent eugenics and he documented his cousin, Charles Darwin's enthusiasm for his first publications in that line, Charles Darwin noting that it was his own son, George Darwin, who had first encouraged him to read it and whose own early eugenics were supported by his father.  But you can read that, yourself because I documented it, exhaustively, in my posts on the subject.

There is no question about that, at all, it is a case absolutely proven in the words of Charles Darwin and every other relevant figure who provided the primary documentation of it.  Few other figures in history has ever had a more massive series of public relations lies told on their behalf, outside of some of the more notorious despots.  The existence of that propaganda effort as an academic trade is one of the major intellectual scandals of the post-war period.

I wrote what I did about that because it's the truth.   Evolutionary science is a pathetic botch if if can't stand up to a truth which will be there forever because that record I cite will always be there, online, it is fully available for free in easily studied form.  You should face that fact and dump the plaster puppet.

I fully believe in evolution, though I now am entirely skeptical of natural selection.  I believe in evolution based on the evidence of it.  But I also know, in a far more direct and complete way, what Darwin and the rest in my list above said.  History and a review of the literary record can often produce far more certain answers to questions, with a far higher degree of certainty on the far more complex matters that those studies deal with than science sometimes can.  There is no room for any rational or honest doubt about what Galton said was his inspiration and what all of them said on the topic, as well.   I looked and never found retractions by Galton or Darwin or any of the others that took back what they'd said.  My view of Darwin is practically the same as the one his own children and friends articulated, it is based on what they said about a man they knew, intimately, modified only by what the man, himself, said.

Update:  No, Actually I'm not interested in going over what has already been proven to an absolute certainty.  I've done that as have others, it's proven beyond any honest doubt.

I'm more interested in the legacy of natural selection.   I had started on the very difficult task, building off of what I learned of through Darwin's son, Leonard Darwin, the entirely, conventional Darwinian legacy of the German co-inventor of eugenics, Wilhelm Schallmeyer.  I found not a single contemporary denial of the Darwinian character of Schallmeyers' eugenics and through him, especially his book Vererbung und Auslese im Lebenslauf der Völker and his essays, the direct connection to Nazi eugenics.   His enormous influence on that is undeniable, you can find that through the citations of such infamous figures as Eugen Fischer and Fritz Lenz, both who joined the Nazi party and who were part of the scientific support structure for the Nazis genocide.  Their book, written with Erwin Baur, Menschliche Erblichkeitslehre und Rassenhygiene, explicitly built on Schallmeyer's writing and it is also an absolute certainty that Hitler was given and read the book while in prision.  If anything informed his thinking that led to the mass murders, it was that thinking.

But the citations are mostly in German and very hard going for someone who isn't fluent.  Also, too, there is the necessity of concentrating on history not repeating itself, translated into English with Las Vegas, Hollywood, TV "reality" sets right now.

Speaking of translation.  I will warn you, if you read the relevant topics as treated by Wikipedia, the English articles are sanitized and falsified, the German ones are far more explicit about that relationships of scientific eugenics and the Nazi murders.  I don't know the extent to which that's related to the English language pseudo-skeptical ideological twisting of Susan Gerbic style atheist distortion and, perhaps, its absence in the German language but I wouldn't trust anything in the English Wikipedia of relevance to not be touched by it.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

The Pleasures Of Aging

Of all the stuff I'm allergic to, an ever expanding list, I'm most allergic to pine pollen and the pines here have started producing pollen.  For a week or two I'm going to be pretty sick and in a foul mood.  Then things should get better.   I'll try to not be too grouchy. Though any requests for me to be grouchy will be entertained.  

I'm not sure if me looking at the allergy alerts online is such a good idea.  They do seem to be more accurate than the weather prophesy. 

40 Shady Things We Now Know About Trump and Russia

Radio Confidential

I will confess this too, I've been listening to those Black Jack Justice dramas and it's influencing my language and demeanor.  Though having so many people I loathe in one news day has something to do with that.  

Black Jack and Trixie Dixon run into a better class of people than the ones I've been writing about this morning. 

Maledetto: You'll Get A True Confession From Me Not From Him

There are remarkably few politicians who I can honestly say I truly despise.  Well, outside of official Republicans.  There are many I don't like but few I really, truly hate with a visceral loathing. Other than Susan Collins, who has shamed my state and who remains such an unexposed sleaze. Much of what I say below could apply to her, as well.  She and he were sort of talk circuit on camera dates for a time.  Two pillars of phony integrity.  Who is he?  Well, after that build up you don't expect me to not tell you who this is about, do you?

Sanctimonious Joe Lieberman, former Senator from the Insurance Industry, the man who did the most serious crippling of the Affordable Care Act, a man who never passed up a chance to be a stinking Quisling while nominally a Democrat, a man whose fury at not getting a presidential nomination he never came near deserving to run for or election to a Senate seat, the same, and who after he thankfully cashed in by leaving the Senate for his life goal, as a corrupt DC insider grifter, went even farther in showing what a piece of slime he's always been and will be till he finally stops breathing.

If Jerry Coyne comes in an 8 on my scale of loathing from 1-10, ten being the highest, Lieberman comes in at about 23.

The news is he's not being considered to be Trump's rent-boy FBI director, though Lieberman is fully qualified for that.  To be Trump's rent-boy hatchet man and cover up guy.

And all that time Lieberman has traded on the phoniest, DC insider, media reputation as a man of conscience and principle.  Shows you how much that's worth for about the past three decades.   That he didn't take himself out of consideration, even though he works for one of Trump's sleazy law firms, tells you he's as sleazy as ever, himself.

After a morning of dealing with this much sleaze,  I need to take a shower.  With steel wool.

Vatican Gothic

Who the hell advised the gals to dress like a negative of a black and white First Communion picture?  Or some Satanic blasphemy of one?   Someone said it was Melania's "I'll be a widow someday soon" look.

Trump looks like he'd like he's smug about having more gold on his walls.
Pope Francis?  I don't think I've seen such a glum look on a Pope's face since Pius IX who was reputed to be cursed with the evil eye.  Is it my imagination or does he look like he's trying to get as far away from Trump as he can while still being in the frame?

Some people are contrasting that with images like this.

Image result for president obama and pope francis

Oh, no.  I'm not the one who has decided that the sins of the spouse are visited on someone, IT IS THE REPUBLICAN-FASCISTS IN THE GOVERNMENT AND MEDIA WHO HAVE DECIDED THAT,  AND NONE SO HYPOCRITICALLY AS DONALD TRUMP

During the presidential campaign I was reading all kinds of people STILL SLAMMING HILLARY CLINTON, THE WRONGED PARTY, FOR HER HUSBAND'S ADULTERY.   

I'M NOT LETTING THEM GET AWAY WITH THAT KIND OF DOUBLE STANDARD FOR REPUBLICANS WHEN IT'S USED AGAINST DEMOCRATIC WOMEN, NOT ANYMORE.  Callista and Newt don't get a free pass under the rules their party and its media whores set up. 


Coming Out And Saying It In The End

I was asked what I thought of Callista Gingrich being nominated as ambassador to the Vatican.  My first reaction was, "Well, at least they don't have nukes on ICBMs."

My second reaction is that for a degenerate swine like Trump to send Callista and, especially Newt to represent the United States at the Vatican reminds me of what he's suspected of having done to mattresses in Moscow.  It's certainly an insult to the Vatican and to Catholics everywhere.

Whatever personal virtues Callista might have, whatever private penance she's done for her past, her husband's public vices more than cancel those out.  And I don't mean that he's a multiply divorced swine who served his first wife who supported his rise divorce papers on her sick bed so he could marry a mistress, only to commit adultery against her with the future Trump representative to the Vatican and, when he decided to go through the motion of conversion to Catholicism - the faith of the adulteress Callista (she admitted to it under oath, so I'm calling her what she admitted she was) - asked the church, at the height of its reactionary condemnation of sexual activity, to pretend he wasn't married.  And the hierarchy granted it.   Believe me, it doesn't always do that.  It helps if you're rich and powerful.

On second thought, something that takes that long to describe - how can you NOT mean it?

Newt Gingrich's continual violation of the commandment against bearing false witness, the entire substance of his post- speaker media career, should disqualify him from representing the United States to any country or state.  Though, considering it's the even more fecund liar and sex hound, Trump's sadly diminished America, maybe there is that.

If I were the Pope or whoever is in charge of accepting their credentials in that baroque government, I would refuse them on the basis of his most recent role in torturing the family of Seth Rich on FOX, one of the most disgusting acts of political sadism for the purpose of propping up a whole series of political lies for the most naked of corrupt motives.   The commandment against bearing false witness is certainly as serious as the one against committing adultery and, unlike that one, the damage can extend much farther and cover far more entirely innocent people.

I would like to show Pope Francis Keith Olbermann's recent video on the topic of the torture of Seth Rich's family, relentless and cruel and entirely pointless.  And I would hand him a file of Gingrich's past such bearing of false witness for the most corrupt of ends.  That would take a whole file cabinet.

In thinking about this for the time it's taken to write this,  I'm going to come right out and say it.  If Trump hired prostitutes to piss on the altar in the Sistine Chapel, that's about the moral equivalent of sending the Newt Gingriches to represent the country at the Vatican.   It's mostly about him but she's in thick as a thief with him in it.

Update:  Rereading this for editing, certainly an ambassador to the Vatican should be expected to have higher morals than a Speaker of the House.  Since their adultery being made public caused Newt Gingrich and several other Republican speakers and proposed speakers to lose that office, adultery should certainly disqualify someone from being named to represent the country at the Vatican.  I know it might be hard to find someone in elite DC and among the rich and famous who wouldn't be disqualified but, surely, there are some who haven't disqualified themselves that way.   I'd find a qualified nun or sister.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

It's so embarrassing to have a president who doesn't understand that you don't leave a presidential note in the guest book at Yad Vashem that sounds like some especially unintelligent Las Vegas celebrity writing an autograph out when they weren't pressed for time.  

It is a great honor to be here with all of my friends. So amazing + will Never Forget!

So amazing?  +?  will Never Forget!?  


Trump has done more to diminish the respect the United States is held in than anyone since Bush II illegally invaded Iraq to such disastrous effect. Maybe more. 

So, What About Those Oval Office Tapes?

"You've gone soft on Coyne"

It would probably be more easily satisfying to just hate on him and pretend he was totally evil and deserving of hate but it wouldn't be honest and there's a moral obligation to be honest.  Like us all, there is that but anyone who is against murdering elephants or stoning people can't be all bad.

And, while it's something I'll probably have to work on the rest of my life and probably won't do in whatever time I've got left, this passage from The Reverend Martin Luther King jr. is certainly worth meditating on.

The Greek language comes out with another word for love. It is the word agape. And agape is more than eros; agape is more than philia; agape is something of the understanding, creative, redemptive goodwill for all men. It is a love that seeks nothing in return. It is an overflowing love; it’s what theologians would call the love of God working in the lives of men. And when you rise to love on this level, you begin to love men, not because they are likeable, but because God loves them. You look at every man, and you love him because you know God loves him. And he might be the worst person you’ve ever seen.

And this is what Jesus means, I think, in this very passage when he says, "Love your enemy." And it’s significant that he does not say, "Like your enemy." Like is a sentimental something, an affectionate something. There are a lot of people that I find it difficult to like. I don’t like what they do to me. I don’t like what they say about me and other people. I don’t like their attitudes. I don’t like some of the things they’re doing. I don’t like them. But Jesus says love them. And love is greater than like. Love is understanding, redemptive goodwill for all men, so that you love everybody, because God loves them. You refuse to do anything that will defeat an individual, because you have agape in your soul. And here you come to the point that you love the individual who does the evil deed, while hating the deed that the person does. This is what Jesus means when he says, "Love your enemy." This is the way to do it. When the opportunity presents itself when you can defeat your enemy, you must not do it.

I can't say I love Jerry Coyne, though I've got a religious obligation to work on it.  I certainly don't like him and probably never will without one or the other of us radically changing.  But my choice to convert, as an adult, not as a result of my baptism as a two-week old, carries obligations that I take seriously.  The obligation is to try to live up to it, not to pretend I have.

I don't see that as in any way preventing me from mocking the trolls.  Or Trump.

Still Going Through My Head - Rogers and Hart - This Can't Be Love

Clifford David - Antipholus of Ephesus
Julienne Marie - Luciana

Despite what the LP cover says, it isn't the "original cast" it's the 1963 cast, which is pretty good. Especially as you get the seldom sung verse.

And here it is sung by the great Peggy Lee

I believe it's her singing with her husband, the guitarist Dave Barbour's trio though I spent all my time looking up who sang it above.

I'm not a huge fan of Richard Roger's songs but this is one of the rare ones I really like.

If Jesus Were A Republican

Oh, Simps cherry picking and quote clipping to distort what I said is nothing new.  Nothing he does is new.   He made a career in what gets called "journalism" out of those.  It's a rare critic who does much more than repeat the opinions of their fellow leeches, hoping the ones he chooses are the right ones and not the ones that are sufficiently, unstylishly original or sincere so as to diminish their status and saleability.   It's good training to become a blog troll.  

Actually, In Some Ways I Find Something Admirable About Jerry Coyne Though I Don't Like Him

Though I really do rather dislike the man, rather intensely, there are certainly things I agree with Jerry Coyne about very strongly.  Looking at the recent items at his blog, I certainly condemn the putrid Theresa May and her unspeakable Tory party for even thinking about allowing the sale of elephant ivory in Britain as part of their campaign to allow the 1% their traditional luxuries and ways of making money and depravities like fox hunting.

I certainly agree with him that Sharia Law should not replace civil law and that it contains unacceptable evils and barbarities, most of all that such barbarities as stoning and dismemberment are absolutely evil and should never be practiced by any government or society, anywhere.  I will point out that I believe many contemporary Muslims would certainly agree with that, probably far more than who would articulate that position.  Many, even some quite devout Muslims are as civilized as even many university professors, somehow, manage to be.

I think Jerry Coyne's dependence on opinion polling to come up with figures on that is rather blatantly superstitious.  That kind of opinion polling is roughly the modern equivalent of reading a horoscope.   I have no confidence that the actual percentage of a population who favors something like that, especially as an abstract instead idea instead of an actual fact can be discerned or that it would be a consistent number that you could depend on being the same day to day, never mind over the course of months or even years during which those phony numbers are cited.   The volatility of the American and French electorates are certainly indicative of the unreliability of that stuff.  

But when Jerry Coyne takes a moral stand like that he is not doing so out of his materialist-atheist-scientistic faith, he has to exit it temporarily to listen to his better angels and take a moral position. Materialism, scientism, atheism, none of those have anything in them that you could begin to make any moral stand out of, nor anything to base a call for other people to either adopt or constrain their own behavior on.   Materialism-atheism-scientism have everything in them that weakens a call for any position of morality because all of them either deny the possibility of durable, moral absolutes or to say that they are irrelevant to anyone who doesn't want to accept them. 

As an ultra-Darwinist even his entirely laudable calls for halting the extinction of elephants is inconsistent with both Darwin and the way of current evolutionary psychology, another massively held superstition among the sciency, educated class of the English speaking peoples.  Darwin certainly had no problem with human caused extinction, there is that infamous passage in The Descent of Man which I've cited a number of times, the one in which he, so far as I've been able to discover, he lied about what Hermann Schaaffhausen said so as to claim that there would be some great benefit to the extinction of the great apes and many racial groups of human beings at the hands of superior human groups.  

I will not get far into the relationship of scientific vivisection to these issues, right now, though I don't see how you cannot at least think about the morality of how animals are used, tortured and killed in the millions in the name of science - quite a bit of it of rather obvious bogosity, done so someone can get published or paid by industry.  Much of it is all about the scientist-sadist making money. 

The current alleged origin and character of morals  by Coyne and his fellow atheists under the Just-so story telling of evolutionary psychology and sociobiology, that it is some kind of trait that has survived in the human species because it confers some kind of advantage in human survival and reproduction is complete nonsense.  Again, it is nonsense that you can also find in The Descent of Man.  The extinction of the mega fauna and so many other species of the Americas and elsewhere was mostly at the hands of human beings.  Considering that natural selection not only allows for but, in its classical elucidation, consists of imaginary struggles for existence in which not only sub groups within species but entire species are wiped out by those who are able to kill them, it never did make any sense to attribute even the most unambiguous aspects of morality to it.  The emotional attachment of the atheists who came up with that nonsense to the requirements of maintaining their materialism blinded them to the absurdities of what they were arguing.   I've found that when pressed on these issues they will not appeal to any kind of evidence, they will insist that it has to be that way because, in the end, as in the beginning, it MUST be like that because.... materialism has to be the answer to everything.  

I am glad that on those things we can agree, Jerry Coyne is as passionately, emotionally, devoted to his moral positions.   I don't think there's anything wrong with that so long as the preservation of animals and the rights of human beings are the goal.  After my criticism of him over several days, I think it's only right to praise his moral passion for those things we agree on, entirely.   I wish so many of his fellow atheists weren't led by their slacker, lazy assed and more vulgar materialism into amoral libertarianism instead.   But, it's clear that their amorality is more in keeping with materialism, scientism and atheism.   

Not everyone who adopts those can be counted on to have a moral passion that overrides the typical positions of materialism. the personal hedonism attributed to Carvarka and some other Indian schools of atheist materialism, that is found in some European schools of materialism, as well.   I can't find the quote but in the recent enthusiasm over Lucretius it seemed to be the real motive behind the university prof who promoted it.  The appeal of pleasure is intrinsic to much of evil.  After all, that is a temptation which is very hard to resist even for those whose claims of Christianity should provide them with far stronger reasons to resist temptation but which they often give into.  They should have every reason in the world to do what Jesus taught.  I have come to believe that politically, in societies, it is exactly the percentage of people who do take those moral absolutes as binding obligations on everyone which provides the margin of difference in whether or not there is a decent, democratic government or not.   I think in the depravity of the British upper class which has obviously duped the majority of voters in England is demonstrating what happens to a quasi-democracy when that margin which takes Christian morality as serious and morally binding declines.  I think that we have seen in the alleged Christians who voted for Trump, largely at the urging of the Aussie-Brit Rupert Murdoch imported to do exactly that during the Reagan years and others like him, something similar.

Update:  I was referring to that meat-head Stephen Greenblatt's ridiculous and absurdly popular book, "The Swerve" which is a combination of long ago debunked "dark ages" mythology which was always motivated, not by historical accuracy but by anti-religious, much of it anti-Catholic polemics.

This review in not the NYT but in the LA one, by Jim Hinch is a critique of some of Greenblatt's blatant distortions and that of his fans, high placed and lower ones as well.  Personally, I think Greenblatt was just cashing in on the anti-religion, atheism fad.  You can always count on good reviews for bashing religion by idiots who never fact check or have the first idea of what they're talking about.  Especially the kind who are on book juries and who spend their time writing reviews and doing interviews.

Rereading this update, OK, I admit it, I originally didn't use the word "meat".  I changed three letters. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

This is How Low the Trump Apologists Will Stoop

If you haven't watched any of the other Keith Olbermann videos I've posted, please, watch this one.  The Trump lie campaign through FOX and crap like Gingrich is absolutely the lowest of the low.

Short Answer To A Whine

I used to always use CE (common era) and BCE (before the common era) to annoy fundamentalists. 

Now I use those when I want to annoy fundamentalists and BC and AD when I want to annoy atheists and their allies. 

That's how you can tell who I want to annoy when I use those. 

For more information, I try to remember to use First and Second Testament because there's no place I can see that the first one was withdrawn.  But it's my experience that the clueless are even more clueless when that's done. 

Dinah Washington - This Can't Be Love

This song has been going through my head ever since I listened to that Bob and Ray show posted here last night.

Clark Terry (trumpet)
Cecil Payne (baritone saxophone)
Jimmy Cleveland (trombone)
Wynton Kelly (piano)
Barry Galbraith (guitar)
Keter Betts (bass)
Jimmy Cobb (drums)

I met Clark Terry, a great musician and a really nice guy.

And He Arose Dame Donald

Image result for trump curtsey

Dame Donald 

Image result for being made a dame curtsy

Dame Penelope Keith

Image result for being made a dame curtsy

Dame Fergie

Update:  I was looking for a picture of Simp's favorite, Dame Barbara Cartland but couldn't find one back when she could still do the Dame Donald thing.

Update 2:  Oh, Simps is upset that I committed a lapse of quasi-royal protocol.  I'm sorry, Simps, I'm not as daddled for the Royals as you obviously are.   He's so sensitive about that kind of thing. 

Oh, The Sorrow And Pity - Donald Does Yad Vashem

The news is that Donald Trump insisted that his Israeli itinerary include no more than a quarter of an hour at Yad Vashem.   Which is, of course, offensive.  And it should be considered outrageous that a 70-year-old man obviously doesn't want to go there because, no doubt, he thinks:

"That's booooorrrrriiinnng!"

How insulting is it?

How will the president use these precious 15 minutes? Ynet reports that he will hear an explanation and sign the museum’s guest book.

The Jerusalem Post took an uncharacteristic snarky approach and produced a video demonstrating what Trump will be able to cover in 15 minutes at the 45-acre complex. The paper quoted Israeli officials saying that an hour and a half is the “bare minimum” needed for a visit to the museum.

guess there are some places you can't strategically plant Trump's name so you can keep his attention focused on it.

You have to wonder if it wasn't a choice by his staff because they were terrified about what Donald Trump might say during or about a visit to the Holocaust memorial.  He is entirely capable of saying something outrageously offensive and have not a glimmer of an inkling of why what he said is offensive.  I wonder if he ever heard of  Yad Vashem before, I wonder if he knows what the Holocaust was.

Donald Trump is such an embarrassment and shame for the United States.  He's the man who put Steve Bannon in the White House, who named Sean Spicer as his spokesman.   The man who appointed a neo-Nazi to his regime.

Hate Mail - All Or Nothing Works A Lot Better For The Bill of Rights Than It Does The Bible

I am asked why, if the 6-day creation fable isn't literally true why anyone should believe the 10 Commandments.  Well, do you want someone who really hates you to not believe that thou shalt not kill?  Thou shalt not covet thy neighbors goods?   Someone who sleeps around and has a very high probability of carrying an incurable STD and want to covet your spouse or partner or whatever figure there's no prohibition against it?   Well, I'll grant that some of these ideas are sufficiently involved so as to tax the attention span of, apparently, many.

The Bible is a very large number of texts by a very large number of people over a very large number of years, times, cultural milieus and, I'd say, of varying levels of inspiration.   It is an anthology and the cultural expectations under which those texts were written and the audiences and expectations of how the authors thought the texts would be taken varies, as well.  Some of it is to be taken quite literally, thou shalt not kill, for example.  Though, in the way of people, exceptions to that were sought and the texts contain those, even claiming that God ordered them to kill people.  I certainly don't believe that God ever told anyone to commit genocide as is contained in Exodus and other books of the collection.

People seem to be able to ignore it with no problem when quite specific commandments aren't in any way contradicted in the collection.  Especially the commandments to treat the poor, the dispossessed, THE ALIEN LIVING AMONG YOU, as you would want to be treated yourself.   Even people who believe themselves to be Biblical literalists don't seem to have any problem ignoring those far more frequently given justice commandments.

I wish, with all my heart, that I'd not become an agnostic by the time that Walter Brueggemann was writing his early works because if I'd read his way of reading the Bible, informed by his own intense scholarship and that of his predecessors, in which all of those contexts are considered and taken into account, I could have been learning from texts I'd pretty much put aside to read things like the literature that includes the materialism of Carvarka.  Though, who knows, maybe I was led that way so I could make the point I did yesterday.

Do you want to give up the items in the Bill of Rights because the same document, written by and adopted by the same people who wrote and adopted it embedded slavery, discrimination against women, the enhancement of the rights of the rich and the propertied, the idiotic anti-democratic Electoral College that produced both George W. Bush and Donald Trump as presidents?   They all did that in the same room, at the same time, not removed by centuries, cultures and literary forms.  That question makes a lot more sense than insisting that you have to accept every word of the Bible as literally true or you have to reject all of it. But sense doesn't seem to enter into your question.  Or much in the way of having read the thing.

Update:  No, I wouldn't kill you if it didn't say that in the 10 Commandments, I wouldn't even pull the plug on you just to get you off line.  Though if this were vaudeville, I might get the hook to get you off stage for the good of the show.  You're a schmuck but you're not on the list of those I'd contemplate killing.  You're not dangerous.

Update 2:  So the answer is yes, you think I should kill you and, yes, you should give up the Bill of Rights because of the ban on abolishing slavery, the slave holder enabling 3/5th rule, the unrepresentative Senate that gives the residents of some of our most benighted states 20 times the political strength of the residents of California, that disenfranchised women, the stinking Electoral College that gave us Bush II and Trump?

Somehow, I don't think you're being consistent.   If I were you I'd accuse you of having endorsed Al Haig for president right about now because you're a celebrity addled Mort Sahl fan boy.  Because that's how your twisted thinking works.   Me, I figure that, as Brueggemann and virtually all responsible Biblical scholarship holds now and an impressive amount of it has held for millennia that you can't understand the scriptures literally the way you would believe what ....... TigerBeat or its groovy NYC equivalent prints.

Wait!  Village Voice.  That's the rag I was trying to remember the name of.   Allergy meds.  They make me think like an Eschatot an hour after I have to take them.

Update 3:  A. The Bible was written by people of varying inspiration, which I'll go into later because I'm drug addled enough to mock you but some things take more clarity.  B. The Constitution and the founders are worshiped as divine writ, the ACLU as well as the Federalist Society,  some members of the Supreme Court and a myriad of those in the scribbling class treat it as such.   You got your knickers in a twist when I made fun of the current pop-kulcha idol among them, Hamilton.  Or, rather, Lin Manuel Miranda's phony rapping, boogying, what is it like seven-hundred a ticket fictionalized version of the jerk and his slave-holding wife and sister-in-law.  Geesh, put satin and a spot light on anything with a crappy book and score and it turns into a god for you guys.

Update 4:  Hey, you don't have to take my word for that.   Read this passage from Ishmael Reed's take on Hamilton.  Note, especially that last line.

Establishment historians write best sellers in which some of the cruel actions of the Founding Fathers are smudged over if not ignored altogether. They’re guilty of a cover-up.

This is the case with Alexander Hamilton whose life has been scrubbed with a kind of historical Ajax until it sparkles. His reputation has been shored up as an abolitionist and someone who was opposed to slavery. Not true.

Alexander Hamilton married into the Schuylers, a slaveholding family, and participated in the bartering of slaves. One of “Hamilton’s” actors, Renee Elise Goldsberry (“The Color Purple”), who visited the Schuyler home, said the Schuyler sisters, “were the Kardashians” of 1780 — superstars, but with dignity and grace.” Maybe they were able to maintain “dignity and grace” because they had 27 slaves serve them. Black women whose labor assignments left them little time to preen. Is this actor disregarding, callously, that the sisters thrived on the labor of enslaved women? No, she probably attended the same schools that I attended. A curriculum that endowed slave traders and Indian exterminators with the status of deities.