Saturday, July 22, 2017

Fats Waller With A Topical Message

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Platinum Listening from the Hear Now Radio Festival 2017

You only have till August 1st to listen to these radio dramas from this summer's Hear Now Radio Festival.   They're well worth trying, you'll be likely to find something you like, maybe all of them. 

And for desert, yet another BBC radio production of J. B. Priestley's 
An Inspector Calls. 

Stupid Trolls

I think that along with other phrases and terms that have obviously suffered a decline in denotative significance in common usage - especially as used among atheists - such terms as ad hominem, fallacy, Occams razor,  evidence, proof, ... etc, you can add "run on sentence".  I think for most people online that term means "long sentence" or, "longer than I'm used to reading because I don't read much".   I think short sentences tend to lead to superficial, simplistic and facile thinking, so I use whatever length of sentence I think in.  If the guys who troll me can't keep up, I'm not surprised.   I write the occasional run-on sentence, sometimes I even go back and fix that in editing.  But I'd rather be guilty of the occasional run-on sentence than the long ago ran-out  of ideas contents of the trolls who get sent to the Spam file. 

Update:  One of the two trolls trolling here today, "General Zod" for anyone who wants to get a general sense of the level of maturity I generally spare you from, obviously doesn't know what a "run-on sentence" is.  Here, from Warriner's English Grammar and Composition, the Freshman course: 

13b.  A run-on sentence consists of two or more sentences separated by a comma or by no mark of punctuation.  

The Senior Year version says this in a note on run-on sentences:

Professional writers (who have a strong sentence sense or they would not be professionals) do at times write fragments and use the comma between sentences, especially when the ideas in the sentences are very closely related.  

I don't see why non-professionals shouldn't get to do what the pros do, on occasion.  Though I suspect one of the most important differences between professional writers and non-professional ones is that the pros get editors.   

If you want me to take what you say seriously, find out what you're talking about, don't just pull it out of your asininity. 


So many of Duncan's regulars believe what Steve Simels says without fact checking, they are brainlessly trusting, not a brain trust. 

It's Almost Too Late For The Left To Wise Up And The First Thing We Need To Do Is Admit We Haven't Been Wise And To Dump The Stupidest Who Will Never Learn

One of the most obvious and frightening truths to come from the past six months of Trumps regime and the Nazi style spectacle of his campaign is that there is a dangerously large number of Americans, after 241 years, an abolition campaign, a civil war, the struggle to expand the franchise to women and even among white men, the labor struggles, the civil rights struggles, etc. after all of that and the institution of effective universal availability to basic education and mass media, that thirty to forty percent of Americans have a dangerous tendency to support a fascist strongman as phony, as vile and as repulsive as the troll-doll hair, lard bucket, ignorant sleazoid, predator and proven crook, Donald Trump.  Anyone who wonders how the Germans could go for a vile piece of crap as Hitler should take a really good look at what's living in the White House, with that history to inform our choice.

That IS something that should keep people up at night, that is something that should be not only in everybodys mind but in their discourse and in serious political and legal discussions of how to avoid them pitching us into fascism.   With Senator Chuck Grassley and the rest of the allegedly responsible conservatives in the Senate and those in the House not only doing nothing but actively carrying water for the Trump regimes reign of criminality and open treason, it is something that we really can't avoid addressing in an effective way so as to prevent the disaster we are likely not going to avoid.

The idea that people whose political inclinations and ideology were not only anti-democratic but overtly in support of fascism and its preceding movements of dictatorial rule should have ever had the opportunities that an indiscriminate and absolutist interpretation of the free-speech, free-press, freedom of association of violence advocating fascists and other assorted scum is quite insane.   The idea that they should have the opportunity to lie their way into power - and such an attempt would depend on lies and other assorted appeals to the worst in people, was one of the stupidest ideas of the Jeffersonians and their political if not intellectual heirs.  Such a pose is only rational when it is impossible for things to go bad and it is impossible for the fascists to win.  If there is anything that the history of the world in the past century proves, that is not impossible.  Now, with Donald Trump sitting in the White House his enablers and cohorts in control of  the House and Senate, we now know it can happen here.*

That Jeffersonian superstition that enabling lies with the same privileges as the truth, fascists with the same abilities to win as those who support egalitarian democracy, equal right, equal responsibility to respect rights, seems to have believed that things would just come out right in the end in some absurd idea that human societies operate under some "balance of nature" when everything about human cultures, societies and governments happen as a result of human choices and human blunders and human personality.  There is no natural force to keep democracy alive and to prevent fascism.  Our current fashion in the interpretation of the First Amendment, with its facile and media-promoted absolutism and the phobia of censorship of fascist propaganda is as near a guarantee of things going bad as there could possibly be.   Add in that permission to lie that the Supreme Court gave the mass media and that only makes things more likely to turn out as they are.

As recently as 2008 I believed that there was a real difference in intelligence between those on the left and those on the far and even the nearer right.  But that's self-aggrandizing conceit.  If you want to look at who has been smart about things, taking maximum advantage of opportunities, many of them handed to them by liberals in recent decades, it has been the far right, driving our politics ever rightward since 1968 when Nixon won over the flawed but infinitely better Hubert Humphrey.  The left sandbagged him and helped put Nixon in office, it has repeated that in 1980, 2000 and now 2016. If the left were smart it would learn something and it doesn't.  It cleaves to disproven and even absurd theories that were given the test of time and have failed, over and over and over again.

The presence on the alleged left of the Greens, Marxists, Anarchists, and others who have had a hand in that idiocy is even more proof that as much as we love to believe we're brilliant, taken as a whole, we are nothing of the sort.   The political regime that includes them has been a dead weight on the left my entire life and long before my parents were born.  If you want to read a good history of that, James Weinstein's The Long Detour is a good introduction, even if he repeats a few of the stupid assertions that have not only kept us out of power but have enabled the worst.  And if you want to go see how well the left learns, go over to the magazine he started, In These Times and read the massive stupidity in its archive over the past two years and continuing today.   They should try reading their founders last book.  They might learn something.  But I doubt it.

*  I am more convinced than ever that the pose of Free Speech absolutism that was promoted was asserted for what various Marxists and near-Marxists hoped would enable them to propagandize the People of the United States to support their own, red-fascist, political ideology.  It was one of the stupidest ideas ever because if there is one thing that Marxists provided, it was one of the strongest cautionary lessons of all time in Leninism-Stalinism, Maoism and other Communist dictatorships.  Almost as stupid is turning violent anarchists like Emma Goldman into some kind of heroine.  If there has been one thing that has been a definite political loser, it's things like setting bombs and terrorizing people. Especially when it's done for a political ideology as stupid as anarchism.  Just this week I had to point out to an idiot anarchist that if they wanted to find out what an absence of civil authority is really like, they should go to some of the neighborhoods here or the towns in Northern Mexico where there is no real civil authority.   They'd get their stupid asses shot within a week.


And This

Sean Spicer has resigned, stating he wants to spend more time lying to his family

Friday, July 21, 2017

William Bolcom - Tabby Cat Walk

California Porcupine Rag 

John Murphy, piano


Anthony Scaramucci is unfit for television. Yells, filibusters, lies.

40 Years Ago - Richard Pryor As The Model of Jay Sekulow

I just watched a clip of Jay Sekulow and his double talk and, for the life of me, knowing what that scam artist has done to get millions for himself, listening to his absolute shameless lies and self-contradiction, all I could do is remember forty years ago (believe it or not) and Richard Pryor's Reverend James L. White routine.   Translated in time and color and setting, Pryor was prophetic.   The campaign of The Rev. White is pretty much Republican Politics, right now.

I wonder how many of the Republican Senators who Trump was publicly shaking down the other day found it as funny as I do that Donald Trump, the man who spends less time in DC than any previous president since George Washington was telling them they should stay in session until they gave him a Kill The People bill to sign in front of the cameras.   

It must be a really unpleasant thing to have to pretend to have some respect or regard for such a stupid, ignorant, corrupt,hypocritical, infantile ass as Donald Trump.  The respectable thing would be to oppose him on principle but none of them seem to have the character to do that in an important way. 

The Limits of The Honor And Morality The Founders Imagined Were Violated A Long Time Ago and Is Anyone At FOX or Sinclair or The Nation in Putin's Pocket?

I have started writing this post two other ways but I think we are at a place in the United States where it is becoming obvious that our Constitution, our laws have serious flaws that have led to the possibility of fascism arising out of what was assumed to be American democracy.   Anything that relies on such things as a sense of honor, individually or collectively, civic morality, has gone out the window with the Trump regime, the tea-party - cabloid "news" environment that led us here, directly. The total absence of any sense of honor or morality on full display in the Trump regime was the creation of the mass media which was allowed to corrupt the American people, its Electoral College mechanism handed the loser of an election the power of the presidency, those and similar things are what gave us Donald Trump.

Now we have the spectacle of a president who, like the criminal, Richard Nixon, has lawyers who are floating the idea that he might pardon members of his family, members of his administration AND EVEN HIMSELF in order to prevent their prosecution and in the belief that he will be able to stop the investigation into their treason with the Putin regime and in other criminal matters.  Does anyone believe that Donald Trump's sense of honor or even shame will prevent him from trying to pardon him if he can't get his chosen Vice President, Mike Pence, to end his political career by pardoning them and him?

Our Constitution is extremely hard to amend, it was hard to start with, as thirteen states went to fifty and regional-political powers played the thing for the advantage of whatever class ran those states and regions made it almost impossible to make the needed changes in the sketchier parts of the thing. We are at a time in our history, in the development of our culture and politics when, among other things, it is obvious that presidential powers of pardon have to be limited to make it impossible for him to be pardoned for treasonous acts, treasonous in reality not by Constitutional definition, that he should have no power to pardon members of his administration and campaign who are guilty of corrupting the electoral process on behalf of enemies of democracy foreign or domestic.   Vice Presidents should not have the power to pardon their predecessors who chose them and to who they have ties and owe obligations.   If Donald Trump and the members of his campaign and administration knew that there was no way they were going to be pardoned for the crimes it becomes absolutely certain they committed, THE HIGHEST CRIMES AGAINST THE AMERICAN PEOPLE AND DEMOCRACY, they might not have done it.

If that isn't done, even if our damaged democracy survives, don't count on never seeing worse in your lifetime.  The timeline of American history runs through the Bush family putsch that gave George W. Bush the presidency by one of the most shameful acts by a Supreme Court and the state of Florida run by his brother, Jeb Bush to Trump.   In my lifetime we went from the criminality of the Nixon administration to the corruption of the massively criminal Reagan administration, to the two Bushes and, now, Trump.   The Republican Party is a party which is demonstrably in the hands of criminals, they have handed the Supreme Court to politically corrupt Justices who cannot be counted on to not rule in favor of their corruption.


I don't know about anyone else, but the revelations of ties with the Putin criminal class by Mike Flynn, Paul Manafort, Donald Trump, etc. lead me to wonder what kind of financial and business relation that Rupert Murdoch, Roger Ailes, other FOX figures, others owning and in charge of the right-wing media in the United States and their families have with Putin and his oligarchic crime buddies.   We now know that Putin pretty much bought himself a Presidency, how much less of a stretch of the imagination would it be to imagine him buying Rupert Murdoch or others in the right-wing and more overtly neo-fascist media.  I would love to see that investigated because I'm just about certain that there must be ties as disturbing as the ones Trump and his cronies and family have. And I wouldn't limit that to the officially right-wing media.   There were and are many alleged lefties and liberals who have soft-sold Putin advantaging lines, even in magazines you wouldn't expect it.  Even such former liberal heroes as Dennis Kucinich - now a FOX "liberal" - is peddling that line.  If the American media is in the pocket of Putin, we certainly have a right to know that, especially considering their power to create a Trump and put him into office on behalf of a foreign dictator.  If the Constitution doesn't hold that we do have that right, it's just another way in which it is a danger to a free people and their right to self-government on the basis of accurate and reliable knowledge and common morality and decency. 

Thursday, July 20, 2017

The Media Must Fight Back

Louie Gohmert’s Freestyle History Lesson

This is the funniest thing I've heard all year or longer.

I Checked, Simps Really Did Say That

Actually, there's a dishwater dull Eastern European guy who writes unlistenable academic bullshit for classical guitar [that would be Dusan Bodagnovic, probably the most respected living composer for the instrument, a guy who has played and jammed with people like Charlie Haden and Anthony Cox]  that he [that would be me] adores who's still with us.

Yeah, apparently this is the kind of thing Simps means when he says "unlistenable academic bullshit".

And this:

And this:

I would guess that a rational person might say Dusan Bodganovic was "an academic composer" because of the fact that just about any university music department in the world would probably kill to have him on its faculty. I suspect any of the same would kill to keep Simps off of theirs. 

Louis Chauvin and Scott Joplin - Heliotrope Bouquet

Joshua Rifkin, piano

"Why won't you post my comment when you answer it?"

It has always been my explicit, stated policy to not post comments that are abusive of other people who comment here and any that are abusive of me that I choose not to post.   I saw at Eschaton how doing that tended to lead things into the gutter.   I have also always said that I would use any material contained in comments I withhold or those I post as I choose to.  If you want me to post your comment don't include abuse against other people.  

I will also not post comments informing me of things said about me by other people if I choose not to, though I might use the information in them.  

There is one of those at the top of my "awaiting moderation" box which informs me of something a person I think has mental health issues said but which I won't address.   I think she is a rather sad case of someone who mistakes atheism as conveying a sort of instant erudition and intellectual status which it certainly doesn't.  I think that kind of mistaken notion accounts for easily a majority of the online atheist invective among the middle-brow and low brow.   The blanket anti-Christianity contained in her comment is considered by such to be some kind of fashion statement.  If I didn't think she had mental health issues, I'd have no problem doing what I do with Simps comments and those of such dolts as Freki and Skeptic Tank (I do think there is something interesting in how many of those among such atheists self-identify with shit).   

Though if I answered even just all of the ones Simps tries to post here it's all I'd have time to do.  My Spam file is a monument to obsessive compulsive venom spewing that would keep a Freudian fable spinner busy for a life time.   If Philip Roth were younger I might send it to him for research material. 

So, if you send me something and you don't want me to use it to my own ends instead of yours, either follow my rules or don't send it because I will use anything anyone provides, provided I choose to. 

Update:  There are more than 50 comments from Simps in my spam file, just since the beginning of this month.  And that's typical of what's been going on here for years.   Not to mention the many from people I've never posted one from.  Assuming they're not mostly his well known sock puppets. 

Update 2:  And there are two more from Simps alone since I posted that update. 

William Bolcom - Eubie's Lucky Day and Epitaph for Louis Chauvin

John Murphy, piano

Epitaph for Louis Chauvin

Spencer Myer, piano

A series of William Bolcom's many wonderful rags.  Why not?  Both of the recordings of these are excellent, you should get them.  Here are two, homages to two of his fellow composers, the great Eubie Blake and Louis Chauvin* who is known through only one rag,Heliotrope Bouquet  published by the great Scott Joplin (perhaps adding his own material to it) and two songs, The Moon is Shining in the Skies and Babe, It's Too Long.

As noted yesterday, the Complete Rags of William Bolcom are published by Edward B. Marks company.  Though I wouldn't be surprised if there were more composed after that was published.

* Now considered a "member" of the "27 Club" of prominent and not so prominent musicians who died at the age of 27, a modern invention which no one noticed when Louis Chauvin died, almost certainly of syphilis, at that age.  The promoters of the kind of twisted "Club" mystique consider him the second member of it, apparently.   Something for people to remember when they carry on like professional keeners when someone five or more decades older dies of natural causes related to getting really old.

Update:  Duncan Black's regulars are about 97% idiots.  I could name those who still go there who aren't on one hand, likely with a finger to spare for the rest of them.  Yeah, that one.

Another Short Play

Lefty Atheist:  If you don't stop pouring carbon into the atmosphere [destroying the ozone layer,  dumping brain damaging chemicals into the environment, etc.] it will cause a disaster, maybe the extinction of all life on Earth.

Billionaire Atheist Sociopath:  It will cost me millions to do that.

LA:  But it might lead to the end of all life on Earth [cause unimaginable damage, pain and suffering, etc.] if you don't do that.

BAS:  Might.  And even if it does, why should I care?

LA:  But it will end the human species, maybe all life on Earth. Everything will be dead. 

BAS:  I'll be dead by then.  Why should I care?

LA:  But... but.... but...

Donald Trump Treasonous Robber Baron As President

Wow, Trump is apparently on a path that will become a super Saturday Night Massacre in the entire Justice Department, going after everyone from his own Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General he appointed and also the Acting Director of the FBI and the special council investigating the treason Trumps campaign committed with the Putin crime regime.   Trumps excuse for implying he might fire any or all of the above is that the Robert Mueller investigation is looking into Trump crime family finances.  Obviously, there is something even someone as stupid and demented as Trump knows is illegal in the records Mueller is either in possession of or which he might soon be in possession of.  My suspicion on that isn't that Trump would have realized that, himself but that a lawyer or some advisor such as Steve Bannon or, who knows, some Russian attorney or official has told him that his fat ass might well be in a sling unless Trump gets rid of the line of his own appointees that stand between him and Robert Mueller.

This is literally the robber baron MO transplanted from the late 19th century to 2017, the kind of robber baron who would tell a lawyer that he didn't hire him to tell him how to follow the law but how to break the law and get away with it.   This is the robber baron, traitor as president doing that.

Donald Trump and his criminal son and son-in-law, arguably his daughter, perhaps other members of his family and inner circle, must be investigated, his statements that are coming out from his interview with the New York Times, overnight, are more outrageous than anything Richard Nixon ever said.   It is certain that there are things that are being discovered by Robert Mueller that Trump knows about which Trump doesn't want revealed.  It is certain that some of those are at least a total outrage and very likely felonious.

Donald Trump is going to go down, the only protection any of the members of his criminal family have is for him or Mike Pence or whoever might become president pardon them.   It's way past time for the Constitution to be amended to make the pardon of a president who commits treason with a foreign adversary impossible.  It should have been amended when Gerald Ford pardoned Nixon but with Trump that possibile way for him to ultimately win the cover up has to be removed.  Mike Pence is as much in danger as some of the members of the Trump family, he has certainly lied about what he knew about Russian collusion during the campaign.  There are a few classes of crimes possible by those at the very top of the government which are so dangerous that anyone who commits them should know there is no possibility of getting off as Nixon did.  That is a lesson we now know that those who drafted the provisions of the presidential power of pardon didn't know.  No president should have the power to pardon other presidents when they commit treason and the kinds of covering up of their crimes that Trump is openly talking about doing.  Future Trumps should know they have no way out, it might impede their tendencies to commit treason.   If  Trump gets away with it, don't be surprised if, within the next two decades, we get another one doing it.

I would put Jeff Sessions on that list of people who should go down and be imprisoned if it is found he committed the crimes I, at least, suspect him of.   In his case, with his abuse of power as a prosecutor, a politician and now Attorney General, he deserves whatever bad comes his way.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

William Bolcom - Epithalamium

John Murphy, piano

The Complete Rags (I hope not quite complete) and many of Mr. Bolcom's other works are published by the Edward B. Marx company.

Update:  Incineratorag - because it's hot as hell here today and something cool is called for. 

Johannes Brahms - Piano Concerto no 2

Gina Bachauer, piano
London Symphony Orchestra
Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, conductor
Kenneth Heath plays the violoncello solo (the 3rd Movement)

I don't think either Bachauer or Skorwaczewski are remembered and regarded as highly as they both deserve.  This is one of the really great recordings of the concerto literature.

Short Play

Lefty atheist asserting economic justice:   "Living wages" "economic justice" "workers rights" "moral obligation to do what's right."

Atheist who wants to exploit, lie, cheat, steal, swindle:   "Why should I?"

LAAEJ:   Because it's right.

AWWTELCSS:   Who says so?

LAAEJ:  after a long pause, looking puzzled  You just should!

AWWTELCSS:  Well,  Why should I?

LAAEJ:   Uh, ...... uh... Natural selection?



Update:  If I were to authorize a sequel it wouldn't be to an idiot who knows nothing about The Law, the Prophets, The Gospel, ...... Liberation Theology.   It certainly wouldn't be to someone whose knowledge is limited to the fashionable POV current in the lower-middle brow NYC, Madison Wisconsin, Chicago and LA area liberals of c. 1966.  The stupidity of those kind of atheists dominating the lefty media is one of the bigger factors in destroying liberalism.

The Breach In The Defense of The Foundations of Egalitarian Democracy

For anyone who wasn't reading my blog a couple of years back,  I made a year long challenge to atheist-materialists of the "brain only" type, the type who claim that all of our minds, our mental states, our ideas are the mere epiphenomena of physical structures made by and contained in our brains - either in the form of molecular codes, some kind of unspecified and specialized structure or some proposed analog to "neural circuitry" analogous to the voltage control in a computer -  to explain several things about how this was supposed to work in real real minds, in real time in the creation of new ideas.

My original challenge to their always vaguely defined physical structure models asked how BEFORE THE BRAIN HAD BUILT SUCH A STRUCTURE TO COMPRISE AN IDEA:

- The brain could know it needed to make a new idea.  Where did it get the idea that it needed to build a new idea before that idea was physically present in the brain. 

- How it would know what it needed to build TO BE that specific idea before the idea could exist in the brain.

- How it would know how to make what it needed to make before that idea was present in the brain. 

- How would it know that it had made the right "thing" to be that idea in the brain before that idea could be there to confirm it had done the right thing.

I pointed out that such a model would have to work in the real time that it is is known for such proposed solutions to that puzzle to work.  In the case where the phony proxy of an answer was "DNA" I said that it would have to work in the time it took for DNA to produce amino acid chains and for those to be folded into just the right shape in order to be biologically active and effective (just to let you know, it can't do that to match the real-time experience of thinking).  Where the proposed "DNA" answer was then modified to include some kind of trial and error method, that only makes it worse because the time it would take to work through even a miniscule number of possible molecular shapes to find the right one by random trial and error would outpace the entire age of the human species.  And it still wouldn't get you to the point where the materialist "brain only" brain would know it had done the right thing.  

There were lots of other problems that came up in the scanty attempts for atheist-materialists to back up their claims with even a slight defense against those questions.  When the pantomime substitute, non-answer was "natural selection" that didn't do anything to explain any of it.   It's like the abiogenesists who kick the problem of how living organisms arose on Earth down the road into the past by claiming that they came here from somewhere else - putting the problem of how life arose by spontaneous generation somewhere long ago and on a planet or asteroid or something, far, far away. . It's no answer at all.   The use of those, "DNA", "natural selection"  and some similarly used terms is nothing but the invocation of magical formulas that are supposed to stop the questioning because most people are flummoxed by what they mean.  So much of the atheist invocation of the pieties and shibboleths of scientism work that way, to throw up fog instead of elucidate.  

Anyway, I've got a really, really busy day today and instead of going into something new, I thought I'd point out that materialist-atheists have never begun to answer the problems of their dismissal of consciousness which really do invalidate democracy and equality and everything else real liberalism exists to assert.   And the atheist erosion of liberalism, which gained the upper hand in the last fifty years of liberal failure, is among the most serious foundational problems we face.  I think the future of liberalism depends on dumping materialism and this is a good place to start.  

I really do think for the traditional form of liberalism which generated the idea of egalitarian democracy, equal rights, the moral obligation to observe and respect those rights, universally, depends on dumping the materialist model of the mind and, especially, the denial of moral absolutes and moral obligations of that sort.  Nothing I've read in the past two decades of neo-atheism has done anything but make me more convinced of that. 

This Is What The Wreck Of American Culture By TV Looks Like

Image result for trump fire truck

I wish I could get a clip from the movie The Last Hurrah in which the James Curley style Mayor of Boston blackmails the Boston Brahmin WASP banker into supporting housing for the poor by getting his idiot yachtsman son all excited about being honorary fire chief, taking a blackmail photo of him looking ridiculous in a fire helmet.   We're a long way past that sense of dignity and decorum in our ruling class.  Now we've got sonny boy grown to senectitude as president, few members of the traditional Republican ruling class holding out for the dignity and seriousness of the office.  And it was TV that created him and talk-radio,  his idiot side-kick.   And there's Trump jr and Kushner as the next generation.

Update:  I did, finally track down this still from the movie,  O. Z. Whitehead playing the Trump role, from back when the rich kept their idiot sons as far from the public eye as possible instead of in the presidency.   Spencer Tracy as the wiley Mayor Skeffington.

Image result for o. z. whitehead the last hurrah

Tuesday, July 18, 2017

A Timeline of Treason

I Am Challenged To...

I am challenged to express my sorrow on the death of George Romero, the initiator of the first amusing, now annoying zombie apocalypse craze.  I saw two of his movies, the original Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead.  I thought Dawn was the more amusing, impressed that when I and two of my brothers entered the theater there was a distinct smell of vomit.  The opening scenes with their way, way, way over the top violence were so ridiculous, the cheezy tech effects so cheezy and gross that my brothers and I were laughing our heads off and people were staring at us.  It was a lot like the classic Charles Addams cartoon.

  Image result for charles addams

But that was before zombie apocalypse became a genre and became annoying.  Since then the only part of it I have any regard for is Shaun of the Dead which I thought was a lot better than either of Romeros movies I saw. 

It seems a bit weird that I'm supposed to be upset about the death of Romero who made his fame and fortune on the topic of death and reanimated corpses.  Has anyone written on him now being eligible as an extra in the next zombie movie?   I think Romero would have appreciated that joke, by the way.  I'm sure Charles Addams would have.   

For all I know he was a swell guy,  I hope he was.   He wasn't a young man, 77.   I'm almost in that same age cohort. We tend to sort of, you know, die.    Considering your age I'm surprised that's a surprise to you. 

Update:  Well, maybe I'm not as sensitive as I was before I saw Dawn of the Dead.

I have a feeling that George Romero, able to see both sides of this exchange from the beyond, would have to find your pose of outrage rather hilarious.  

Donald Trump Lawyer Jay Sekulow: Distancing President From Don Jr.?

I love the underappreciated Joy Reid, I loathe the pseudo-Christian servant of the Anti-Christ, Jay Sekulow, the current designated liar for the Trump crime family.   I liked this go-round on his Sunday morning lie-show five-fecta over the weekend.

Jay Sekulow is proof that the hands-off approach to organized crime in the guise of religious organizations really needs to stop.  He belongs on notice of a criminal investigation, not on the talk shows.

It is, though, a sure sign that he knows his client is in danger of going down for treason with the Russians that he's throwing Trump jr under the bus.  
I don't get what objection an atheist who has rejected Judaism entirely could possibly have that is relevant to the observation that Christianity was a. founded by Jews, b. based on a central figure and authority who was a Jew, c. that the earliest people now considered Christians were just about all Jews, d. that the earliest people who were both followers of Jesus and considered themselves Jews accepted the Jewish scripture as authentic and authoritative (not to mention they attended synagogues and went to the Temple daily), e. that they accepted gentile converts to their movement and eventually agreed that there were aspects of the Jewish Laws that they, as gentiles, were not bound to follow, etc.  

Atheism rejects all of Judaism,  Christianity accepts the authority of the Jewish scriptures and much of the Jewish Law, especially that emphasized by Jesus who said he didn't come to overturn The Law. 

Why an atheist would have anything important to say in a matter, insisting on distinctions among things they reject, completely, is something I need to have a convincing, rational argument to support. As far as I'm concerned, they've got no standing in the argument.  No more than I as someone totally indifferent to and ignorant of Major League Baseball would have to say about which team is better. Though I can make a rational argument as to why baseball is not nearly as depraved as American football.  

And, yes, part of the reason I'm posting this is to annoy the atheists who troll me. The reconciliation of Jews and Christians and Muslims is something they just hate with a passion, they would rather divide us and promote conflict. That reconciliation is the important reason for pointing these things out.  Eighteen hundred years of misunderstanding is something you should get around to settling.  The Vatican finally did in 1965.  

Monday, July 17, 2017

Have We Got Enough to Impeach Trump Already?

As to the objection to me saying that Christianity is Judaism for gentiles, I don't think it could be clearer that is the conclusion of the famous meeting in Jerusalem described in Acts 15, both Peter and James, the leaders of the first community of the followers of Jesus - who obviously both considered themselves to be Jews - pretty much said that Paul's gentile converts were exempted from some of the Law which they considered to be valid for Jews.  Make an argument to the contrary.  

Would that Christians in the past had realized that Jesus, his mother, just about all of his named followers in the Gospels were and considered themselves to be Jews, a lot of bad things might not have happened.  I say better late than never.   Your objection makes me remember what Miss Manners said to someone asking her advice,  "Ann Landers has to keep telling you not to sleep with anyone before marriage, doesn't she, and then what do you go and do? " 

Two Topics On An Afternoon Too Hot For Gardening

I have pointed out several times that the observation that the source of egalitarian democracy and the positive attributes of what is, in my opinion, badly named as "modernism" comes directly from the Hebrew scriptures as transmitted through and with the Christian Gospels has been made even by atheists such as Jurgen Habermas and he's hardly the only one who has said that.  It's hardly an accident that such ideas arose where they did, among the people they did.  It is a direct result of their imagining  especially the economic and social justice commandments of the Mosaic books, the Prophets and the Gospel of Jesus in new terms, them addressing their own times and their own experience in consultation with the Bible.  It certainly informed the great reform movements of the 19th century in the United States and other places, the quintessential example of that in the movement to abolish slavery was certainly motivated and fueled by that, in the beginning of it and all through it. That fact remains as relevant for the great 20th century civil rights struggle, the greatest impact of which came through the Christian activism of the Black Church, other participating churches, many individuals including Jews and Muslims.  As those were pushed to the side as archaic, unfashionable and old fashioned, the progress stopped and, in time, was rolled back, an ongoing effort.

I was reminded by that when I listened to this short interview with Walter Brueggemann.

Here is my quick and dirty transcript of the beginning of it.

Interviewer: Well Dr. Brueggemann, thanks for talking to us at Georgetown College, at the reimagining faith conference.  I was wondering if you could summarize the presentation you gave here.

WB: I'll be glad to.  I must say that I'm glad to be at the conference and I'm glad to be on campus.  I started out by talking about the dominant imagination which I think is largely contained in market ideology. And so I think the challenge for us is to see whether we can imagine outside of that ideology.  And what I tried to do is to try to identify the prerequisites that you have to have in order to do that kind of subversive imagination.  And that I considered the book of Isaiah as an act of imagination outside of the ideology of the time and that I suggested some probes that we have to conduct in our own situation if we're going to try to imagine outside of the kind of dominant structure of imagination that is operative in our society.  I think it's an open question about whether we're able to do that but  do think that's what a Biblical faith invites us to do and equips us to do.  

Interviewer:  In your presentation you talk about - for this task of reimagining one of the foundational characteristics that you said is -- you have to have a generative tradition to try to help with that. Could you unpack that a little bit more?

WB:  The reason I tried to make that point is that I think that a reimagining has to be funded by a particular tradition, it cannot just be a generic, abstract set of universals.  And I think that the Biblical tradition is among the most generative traditions we have.  So I assumed in this conference on this campus, what it was legitimate to do was to talk about the Biblical tradition and, clearly, the Biblical tradition keeps generating new social possibilities if you look at the long stretch of the Biblical tradition over the centuries,  it is the tap root source of all kinds of revolutionary thought and revolutionary action and I think we say it is so generative because it's inhabited by the power and the Spirit of God.  So I think we need to turn back to that tradition and see whether it will energize us to fresh imagination outside of the structures of the day.

What that reminded me of, most, is one of the discussions I had which disillusioned me with Buddhism - though not the socially engaged Buddhist movement which is quite admirable - in which several self-declared Buddhists told me that there was no such thing as justice, that it, like all else, is a delusion.  My response was that I was quite sure if they were deprived of justice they would quickly notice the difference.  As I recall it, that happened about the same time I began to grow increasingly disillusioned with the Marxist and other major brands of secular leftism.   I've mentioned the shocking realization I had that someone murdered under Stalin or Mao or any of the lesser figures in Marxism were as murdered as any murdered under Hitler and that the excuse that Marxists were on the right side of history didn't change their character as murderers.   I think that large numbers of clean-handed, respectable Marxist and other such secular leftists would still be prepared to see millions die for their imaginary perfect future - such as the one that the Hollywood 10 and other heroes of popular leftism imagined Stalin's police state to be.

I do think that it's far more likely that a religious tradition that claims a status for human beings above mere objects, as possessing a real mind, free will, the possibility of free thought, the endowment of rights and moral responsibilities by God is far more likely to be the kind of generative tradition that Brueggemann talks about than materialist monism that reduces all of those categories to banal nonsignificance if not non-existence.  I don't think any tradition that doesn't hold those truths to be really and truly real in every sense has any chance of generating the kind of change real liberalism must consist of and work for with everything it has.  Such is the pathetic, impotent, routinely self-defeating and counterproductive,  secularist, leftism of the magazines (with a few articles here and there excepted), the media,  the arts,  the majority of academia outside of departments of Theology.

As a gay activist once said about the gay rights movement, we need an MLK, and we haven't had one.  We need more people to be MLKs and Diana Nashes and others.  I think we've got all the secularists we could possibly ever need, right now.


I was recently confronted with the threadbare atheist assertion that "most of the people in prison are Christians" which I'm sure you've heard made before.  Well, other than prisoners of conscience or prisoners of economic desperation who must break the law in order to live and provide a living for themselves and others, hardly any one is in prison for following the Gospels, at least in the United States or, so far as I can discern, Western Europe.  Of course many prisoners of conscience are there exactly for following the Gospel.

Image result for dr martin luther king jr in jail

But the Gospels, the Law, the Prophets contain prohibitions on killing, on stealing, on cheating, on defaming, on refusing to do justice to the widow, the orphan, the destitute, the alien among us, etc. which atheism does not have, at all.   Any professed Christians who are in jail as a result of breaking commandments and moral prohibitions contained and taught by Christianity are in violation of the religion they profess. THEY ARE VIOLATING NO MORAL PROHIBITIONS CONTAINED ANYWHERE IN ATHEISM.  Atheists love to claim that science "proves you don't need God" but what it is proven you do need God for is as a foundation for moral absolutes that don't dissolve in the erosion of self-interest and indifference.

Atheism has nothing in it to defeat the often heard rejection of moral obligations when those are asserted.  "SO?"  There is nothing in atheism that can even assert that someone is obligated to refrain from murdering someone which can defeat that argument if it is made on solely atheist terms.  If you make that argument for moral restraint to a professed Christian, they might still use that same "So?" but they couldn't do it and remain consistent with their professed religion.

Hate Update - "ELITIST!!!"

I'd much rather be guilty of figuring people were smart enough to know things and to look things up if they don't than to figure they were stupid.  I couldn't stand writing things if I assumed people reading it were stupid and lazy. I'd have to write stupid and boring stuff.  I'll leave that to guys like you.  As I told them over at Eschaton once, I'm such an elitist that I won't be satisfied until everyone has a chance to become elite.  I reject the idea that people are biologically doomed to be stupid and base and other crap such as the soc-sciences in their several biological determinist phases under Darwinism have held.  We're in the decadent phase of the latest of those starting in the mid-1970s.  Soc-sci fads have a shelf-life of several decades but they always come back, it's a lot like the fashion industry.  

Update:  But, there is the exception of Stupy to prove the rule.  

Simps, I gave you enough attention yesterday, like the pesticide treatment for bean beetles, I'm not making another application for at least seven days. 

Hate Mail - "What do you offer as a replacement?"

I am challenged to come up with an alternative to psychology and psychiatry in the face of my criticism of it.  Well, to start with, coming up with a replacement for those is neither a required burden of their critics in order for their criticism to be valid nor is it any kind of defense as to their legitimacy as sciences.

The mere desirability of having something doesn't mean that you will ever have it nor that the materialist god which such attitudes turn science into can provide it.    It would be desirable for medicine to have a certain, absolutely reliable, completely effective and affordable cure for many conditions and illnesses but those aren't available for physical illnesses and medical science has had a spotty record on producing cures - though in their case far higher than the success rates of psychiatry or, heaven help us, psychotherapeutic industry.

That it might be a nice thing (or not) for scientists to have a neat and tidy methodology for coming up with universal truths about human minds using accurate observation, accurate measurement of relevant components and a clear and accurate analysis of the results which will be agreed to by the social-sci community on the basis of scientific rigor.   The desirability of that is what kept the thing going since it was allowed into universities under the pretense that it was a science.  But that doesn't change anything about the fact that such methods don't exist and that the nature of minds make them unavailable for direct or even indirect observation, any attempt to get to them dependent on the entirely untestable self-reporting of people who may or may not be accurate or truthful and countless other flaws in the claim to be practicing science being glaring and controlling of any such an effort.

The replacement of scientific rigor - or its possibility - with the erection of schools of thought based on competing and varying claims made by authorities - sometimes having more to do with their talent as a creative writer or which prestigious institution they work their fraud from, is a sure sign that the claimed methods of science are not present to produce that hall mark of the genuine product, results which are good enough to compel acceptance through rigorous review.   I think these days you can say the same thing about much of the subatomic theory such as Peter Woit critisizes and the cosmology which has become an exercise in ideological promotion instead of addressing observable nature.  I think the entire thing might be analogous to the long reign of ptolemaic cosmology only to be overturned as newer mathematical and observational methods, a better historical record, etc. overturned it.  If those hadn't been available that progress in knowledge wouldn't be possible.  Where such are not available, science can't really be done.  The character of the fully developed, widely accepted late ptolemaic cosmology is impressive in its ingenuity in the face of a lack of such evidence as gave a better picture of the actual position of the sun and planets.

I suspect that in the future the entire enterprise of the social sciences will be increasingly seen as a fraud due to the pseudo-scientific practices it inevitably relies on and our generations will be seen as quaintly gullible.  Though that's a suspicion which must take into account that it's entirely possible that generations into an imagined future will be as prone to the same arrogant assumption that they have made a clean break with such superstitions and mass delusions of the past.  Ours certainly has been sold that tripe, much of that sale being made by hucksters in the social sciences and using them in scribbling out academic theory.   Much of it overtly ideological, a promotion of atheist-materialism through the promotion of scientism.

One of the results of doing a deeper reading, informed by the observations of such scholars as Brueggemann and Heschel and others, is the surprising discovery that we are not really much if at all advanced on those of the Biblical past.  Our depravities take only a slightly different form in some cases, our sins are just about exactly the same ones addressed, individually and, especially on a societal and national level as confessed to and protested against by the Prophets.  Only ours has a scientific pretense at absolute knowledge based on a relatively few successes in treating non living, physical objects and applying that knowledge, just as the discoveries of early metal workers were applied then.  The absurd and unwarranted extension of those methods of the physical sciences to things they can't be applied to deceives instead of enlightens.  The so-called enlightenment was just a flickering of the shadows on the cave wall, it wasn't a blast of light leading us away from the dark and terrible past.  Look at the body counts from the science informed wars of the 20th century if you want hard proof of that.  Look at the global warming which might well kill us all.  It as well as atomic weapons, chemical pollution, etc. is a product of science and technology at the service of all too human greed and lies for the benefit of our Pharaonic class of power holders.  The Prophets were the real advance made against that depravity, the rest is just tech geekery.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Sunday Night Extra Radio Drama - James W. Nichol - Venus and the Magi (1970)

An interesting early play about an astronaut who goes nuts on a long mission to Venus.  James Nichol is the author of the Midnight Cab series that I've posted a number of episodes from.  He's written several very good novels, especially the very good one, Transgression.   He was experimenting with juxtaposing current time with flashbacks from that long back, he's good at it.