Saturday, August 26, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Three Plays from the 1988 Write For Radio Competition In Alberta

Rose Scollard - The Man Who Collected Women 

Brad Fraser and Jeffrey Hirschfield - King of Another Place 

Cecelia Frey - The Dinosaur Connection 

One of the things I like the most about listening to radio and audio drama is that there are a lot of plays by a lot of playwrights who I have never heard of before  and whose work I'll never see on stage or in a movie but who I can hear in an audio production.  Sometimes I like their work and look for printed work or other pieces of their work, sometimes I don't.  But at least it's not the same old, same old, even when it's old.  These pieces are winners from a 1988 competition.  I always figure if they were chosen among 30 or so other works it's worth listening to them at least once. 

The Case Is Proven Beyond Any Rational Or Honest Doubt Even If "The Reality Community" Can't Accept That Truth - Hate Mail

Simels and the Eschatots are ineducable, no matter how many times I prove that the American Nazis, themselves, claim their racist theories are based in the writing of Charles Darwin and that all of Nazism is absolutely founded in his theory of natural selection, their eugenics inspired by his claim that race wars and genocides were inevitable and that the slaughters of entire races and groups of people would be beneficial to the survivors - he says it explicitly and unambiguously in The Descent of Man, over and over again - no matter how many times I've put the facts before them, they cannot learn the fact that the post-war plaster St. Charles Darwin of BBC and PBS costume drama, the propaganda which evolutionary scientists insultingly gave us instead of the truth, is a total and complete fabrication.  And that the way to know that is to do what Simels and just about no other keeper of that foetid flame does, read their man-god's books and follow up by reading his citations to support his advocacy for the eugenic effects of genocide. Though, in proving that American Nazis, such as the most influential of them, William L. Pierce, base their Nazism on Darwin, all you have to do is prove that they, themselves say that, and they do and have for going on at least a half century.   

I'll post the indexes to my posts doing that, though the "Reality Community" won't read them. 

Here's the one presenting the evidence up to and including WWII.

Here is a shorter index proving that American Nazis claim the scientific validity of their domestic Nazism in Charles Darwin and contemporary Darwinism.  That case is made simpler because you don't have to read German to see what American Nazis of the kind under discussion claim, lots of their claims are online and they aren't coy about making the connection and claiming, like the "reality community" does that since it's called science, that means it has to be true. 

Update:  I should have mentioned there are a number of posts on the subject which aren't on either of those indices.  I should really go back and make a new index.   Till then, you can always do a search of the site.  

Deport the Nazi, Gorka.

Impeach the criminal who appointed him. 
I'm having eye problems again, so the editing is going to be even worse than usual.  Too much reading.   And I'm supposed to start teaching harmony next week.  Yeesh, thank heaven for computer music printing programs. 

"it makes a little narrative that makes you the hero in an imagined drama" - “the broadest possible exercise of imagination is the thing most conducive to human health, individual and global."

Trying to think over the past two weeks over how we could have gone from my parents generation which, after suffering in the millionaire caused depression fought and defeated Nazis, fascism and the Japanese imperial military fascists in two simultaneous wars to a country ruled by an ignorant, insane fascist who has allowed him to stay in the office of president after he defended Nazis terrorizing an American city,  I recalled the interview Bill Moyers did with the great American novelist and perhaps even greater essayist, Marilynne Robinson.  This part of the transcript showed that her mind had such insight into how things went so wrong, touching lightly on points that could make an essay in themselves, if not a book*

BILL MOYERS: And you make the case in, “When I Was a Child I Read Books,” you make the case that after generations of attention to public education, public health, public safety, access to suffrage and equality under the law, those values are now under siege.

MARILYNNE ROBINSON: They are. These voter identification things, you know, the whole public education, these attempts at reforming public education that seem to me to be designed to model people into a kind of productivity again, making them useful for other people's purposes rather than making their education an end in itself. You know, I went, I'm a proud product of public education until college.

It was probably a very eccentric little establishment by most standards. But I was taught very optimistically in the sense that people always conveyed the idea that they were giving me something really of value, something that would make me richer no matter what I did, you know, in life.

That, you know, giving me my mind, you know? And I think that this is a spectacularly efficient model of education. I think that these assumptions that, you know, making everybody teach to a test, and so on, is valuable in some way. We're just destroying what’s the best impulse, the most successful impulse in our educational system.

BILL MOYERS: So what's happened to that old impulse you once described, that lay behind, and I'm quoting you, "the dissemination of information and learning, the will to ensure that the public will be competent to make the weightiest decisions and to conform society to its best sense of the possible..." What's happened to that impulse?

MARILYNNE ROBINSON: I don't know. I think that people, you know, it was, it's always been a human temptation. But it has been an ethics and an ideology among us lately to say all that matters is money, basically, you know? I don't think people believe that instinctively, or that they live their lives in those terms.

But I think a lot of people who find their way into prominent places in the culture are happy to proceed on that assumption. I mean, if you have a cable program that scares every little old lady in America by the standard of public support, maybe, you know, you can say you've accomplished something. They send you their social security checks, you know? It's terrible to suggest that people proceed on such vulgar motives, but I frankly have to assume it's true.

BILL MOYERS: You write a lot about fear lately.


BILL MOYERS: About not your fear, but fear abroad in the land.


BILL MOYERS: What's the source of it?

MARILYNNE ROBINSON: I think that, I mean, it's exciting to people.


MARILYNNE ROBINSON: Fear. Yes. I mean, look at the ways in which fear manifests itself. You know, this sort of anti-immigration feelings, you know, that people with these crazy weapons, people, you know, buying apocalyptic money, or freeze-dried apocalypse dinners and things like that. You know, I think that it makes a little narrative that makes you the hero in an imagined drama. It makes anybody else a potential threat. It's like late-night TV or something, you know? And I think that it has been pushed on people, it's used as a stimulus to make people watch cable network A rather than B and so on. And it's become a kind of addiction, I think. There's been this amazing reversal that the NRA is probably disproportionately responsible for.

BILL MOYERS: National Rifle Association?

MARILYNNE ROBINSON: Yes, exactly, that makes fear look like courage to so many people. You can't drive your car if you don't have a gun in the glove compartment? Well, what nonsense is that? You know, it's not bold and brave to go around acting like you think everybody's going to be some kind of threat to you. It's psychotic really.

Looking at the pasty, slacker Nazis, listening to them, it's clear they were playing out just such a drama, based in some pathological heroic response to an imaginary and inverted reality moral peril based in the kind of instilled paranoia that is the constant fare of cabloid TV and cheap, hack written TV shows and movies.  Point for point, I don't think I've ever read something more insightful in such a small space that grasps the cause of the rise of American fascism.   It is, as every other thing in human life, a product of human imaginations manipulated and moulded by messaging that discourages imagining something more and better and which produces the scary story it is based in.

Modernism, of which the twin, supposed ideological opposites of Nazism and Marxism in real life, as opposed to supposedly scientific fantasy are a product of modernism.  The evils of the Nazis, the mass murders the machines and industries of death are matched, at least as characteristically, with the same under their alleged opposites in Marxism.  The particular circumstances of the on the ground setting of the Second World War made the Nazis and their fascist allies the common enemy of the Allies in the West and the Stalinist dictatorship in Russia - though it should never be forgotten that Stalin had tried to change that by allying himself with Hitler for a very short period - America's Stalinists did a complete U-turn for a number of months, no doubt ordered to suddenly turn from the anti-Nazis of the Spanish Civil War into asserting that you could do business with Hitler like Republican businessmen.

Both Nazism and Marxism were and are part of modernism, both of them claiming the authority of science for their intellectual validation, as does, in fact, that other alleged good and inevitable system, capitalism.   All of them find their roots in that most oversold of all intellectual fashions, the so-called enlightenment, in which the great but limited success of the hard sciences was asserted to have changed everything, including dispelling illusion, decisively, through applying the methods of study that work to describe objects in motion, physics, and in combination, chemistry, to phenomena which were so obviously not simple enough to apply them to.   The irony of the extension of the methods of 18th and 19th century physics to other, far more complex phenomena which were not reducible into the same kind of characteristic and so accurate description is that it, itself is an illusion based in a misapplication of the same kind of imagination, so despised in the scientism that is the basis of the effort.**

The decisive role that demotion of imagination, part of the wider demotion of the mind and so lives of human beings plays in the kind of mass, social and political disasters of Nazism and Stalinism and, frankly, capitalism, which so blithly and with an inverted sense of moral purpose kills millions of people and which, today, carries the potential to kill us all, quickly or slowly,  is also touched on in the interview:

BILL MOYERS: I was particularly struck with one from “The New York Times” praising you for frankness about a “truly shocking subject: the damage to the human personality done by poverty, neglect and abandonment.” And I wondered, why should anyone be shocked to discover today what can happen to a young girl like Lila?

MARILYNNE ROBINSON: I was also struck by that. It seems, you know, when you, you know, read Dickens or something, I mean, the great subject really of the democratization of Western culture has been the abuse and entrapment of people on the basis of economics or class or whatever, who are capable of wonderful things, you know, and the fact that they are mistreated ought not to be shocking. They're mistreated against the standard of what they're capable of and what they are.

BILL MOYERS: Are we suffering some kind of loss of imagination that we cannot perceive the lived experience of other people?

MARILYNNE ROBINSON: I think it is true. And I think that it's having effects all across the culture. Education, for example, which has very subtly turned toward making a good working class, however well-paid, rather than humanizing people's experience, making them feel what it is to be a human being in the stream of history on this strange planet, you know?

BILL MOYERS: So what's happened to imagination?

MARILYNNE ROBINSON: I think in a way, we've been talked out of it. But I think that there's kind of a influence of crude scientism that--

BILL MOYERS: Crude scientism?

MARILYNNE ROBINSON: Crude scientism that has no way of articulating the fact of mind, the fact of imagination, the complexity of consciousness. And what they can't articulate, they exclude as being not real, being illusory in some way. If you think that a human mind is a wonderful thing, there's an infinite interest in cultivating it.

And if you think it's simply someone who works more expensively than a worker in the third world, you know, you have no interest in people except to make them, you know, a part of the utilitarian system that produces for the sake of producing.

BILL MOYERS: That would explain, I think, why you wrote that “the broadest possible exercise of imagination is the thing most conducive to human health, individual and global.”

MARILYNNE ROBINSON: Yes. It's impossible to achieve things like justice if you don't have enough compassionate imagination for any other human being to understand that they deserve justice. That shorthand justice is not the thing at all. You know, what can I say, I mean, my deepest, I think, religious belief is that we are amongst souls and we have souls.

BILL MOYERS: We are among souls.

MARILYNNE ROBINSON: And that it is a kind, it's a blasphemy. It's not simply an ordinary offense to insult or to deprive another human being. I think that at our best, that has been the assumption we've proceeded from. And at our worst, it's an assumption we don't want to be bothered by.

The slacker-Nazis, and let's be grateful that they are slackers because slacking could be the only thing that stands between us and their eventual success,  have learned through the mass media, mostly entertainment but also the pseudo-journalism of TV propaganda, to consider indifference to other people as a manly virtue.   That didn't start with TV or even with modernism, that is as old as human militarism and has had few opposing cultural or intellectual impulses.  The pacifism taught by religion is the most significant of those.  Though in their actual histories as cultural and social entities, always tempted to reversion to violence, in a few cases repented of later, some religions have been the strongest of the weak forces against that.  And, in every case I'm aware of, they oppose violence and murder on the basis of the elevation of human lives through an identification with the divine.  The removal of that belief in a divine and a human aspiration to be valued by identification with God, by the crude scientisim that is endemic to modernism can account for why modernism is so productive of violent ideologies.   That habit of thought, of unadmitted to imagination, which reduces the enormously complex phenomena of human beings to being considered in terms of atoms and molecules, their motions and combinations, what I touched on the other day, is about as dependable a result of that reduction as can be found.  Though such a determined and consciously chosen, though unadmitted act of willful imagination is the basis of the social sciences and the modernist conception of human beings.  It is a sickness that ails us and our societies and our government.  Perhaps one of many such sicknesses but one which has killed millions in the past century.

But the individual, be they billionaires or mere millionaires, middle-class, poor or even destitute, even if they buy into the total objectification of others, will not imagine itself in those terms.   The difference between continual and even ultimate murder and destruction and despoliation and a decent life depends on the act of extending that feeling for oneself universally, the whole difference between Nazism or Stalinism or genocidal capitalism and a decent life, an egalitarian democracy is summed up in doing to other people what you would like them to do to you.  There is nothing more effective in the effort against our worse impulses than the belief that that is a commandment which we are bound by, to live our lives, individually and in society in accordance with that than the thin reed of choosing to accept it.  And that is something which all of those things have tried to talk us out of.  It is certainly not a TV or Hollywood value in any essential sense, the things that have done more than anything to direct Americans imaginations in the past century, far more so in the post-war period, more so since the 1960s.

You certainly can't get yourself out of that if you deny that getting yourself out of it requires an act of imagination, not least of which will be imagining other people as having the same rights we do and our moral obligation to respect them, even at personal cost to ourselves.  I can't think of anything more foreign to modernist scientism or the inverted values of it due to the devaluation of people through the denial of God, moral commandments and metaphysical realities, including our minds.

*  Reading and rereading her essays and books, closely and well can change your life for the better.  She is one of the most important American writers, I will assert that Lila is certainly more worthy of the title " THE great American novel" than those generally given that position.  It's miles ahead of Huckleberry Finn, though Twain's novel gains its claim from being exactly the kind of extension of identification outside of the individual mentioned above.  The, so far, three Gilead novels of Marilynne Robinson do that even more so, perhaps why three books from different points of view were needed to express that.  Unlike Twain, she has both genders in the books.

** See her four essays and introductory essays collected in the book, Absence of Mind, for more insights.   You can hear her deliver the last of the essays, written to be delivered  as Terry Lectures at Yale in 2009.

Note:  Listening to the expansive, generous imaginations of Marilynne Robinson and, lest it be forgotten, the great journalist Bill Moyers can be contrasted dramatically with the narrow self-interest of the slave owners as expressed by two of their foremost thinkers, James Madison and Thomas Jefferson, the authors of so much that turned so bad in American History.  I would recommend both that book by Wendell Phillips and the papers and articles by Paul Finkelman I linked to the last few days.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Hate Mail - Federalist Fools As Federalist Fascist Tools

The complete difference that changes in technology play in political and legal reality, changing even the most basic assumptions from before new technology was invented and made a part of political and legal activity has to be taken into account if you want to understand what's happening.   With the use of sociological tracking or populations, even of individual voters as became possible with computers, modern propaganda methods of deception and suasion through appeal to weaknesses, as developed by the advertising and PR and other obvious tools of political success, many of the old assumptions about political activity lead you dangerously away from understanding and leave us vulnerable to those who make use of mass media and manipulation of the law. 

That those 18th century mechanisms that Madison and other slavers embedded into the very heart of the Constitution, where they still are and still are working for them makes understanding the role they play in our present day politics and government and legal system more important than ever because the use of modern technology and propaganda by the successors of the slave-owning class have the greatest access to them.  Pretending, as the "free speech" industry does that those billionaires who hate egalitarian democracy can't swamp the feeble voices of their opponents through the deregulated media and, so, put a Trump in office does even more to enable that use of the First Amendment to destroy the rights and lives of those who have the least on behalf of those who have stolen the most.  

The romantic lies of the founders fetishists, the Constitutional originalists, of the Federalist fascists, and, when they are not the same people, the billionaire boys club, when they are supported by alleged lefties in the "free speech" industry are what have led us into the disaster we are in, the modernization of the de facto system of oppression and slavery which led to the First Civil War and which I am afraid is going to lead to an even worse one in the near future.   Though the actual imposition of overt fascism might intervene with the violence that its imposition always requires.  That would be overturned only through that second civil war which would be even deadlier than the last because it would be waged with modern weapons and with the fascists having access to the kinds of modern technology that the Putin regime and such other modern dictatorships such as China protects itself from The People with.  

You can add to that list of things I once would never have thought was ever going to happen, finding that what William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips wrote about the Constitution in the antebellum period would be essential reading to understand what's happening now.   More relevant than the propaganda of the "free speech" industry which has enabled the equivalent of the pre-emancipation slave power. 

Jefferson Beauregard Sessions - The Racist Confederate In Charge Of Enforcing Law

I am told that after I posted what I did yesterday about the effort of the racist, Republicans to reinstitute an updated version of the slave-favoring provisions of the Constitution, that even the conservative PBS News Hour did a segment about Jeff Sessions, as Attorney General trying to suppress the votes of the same people I mentioned, though they didn't specify who.   They noted that he's promoting voter suppression even as he tries to nullify the various equality provisions of the law through ending action by the Department of Justice against discrimination.   He's doing that as both a part of the neo-Confederate strategy to reimpose as much of Jim Crow as they can, to both use racism as a means of gaining power through appealing to white racists and those who have been taught paranoia through the media.  And it's hardly confined to the South, as I mentioned many states which were once proud of their part in the Union side of the Civil War are now some of the worst in the effort to nullify the rights of Black People and others, foremost, voting rights.

The falsification of our history, turning it into false slogans and fiction does have real life consequences.  You will know the truth and the truth will make you free has an unstated corollary that if you buy the lie, it will enslave you, it will turn you into a tool to use against yourself by whoever sold you the lie.  Virtually everything said about the American Constitution and the men who wrote it is such a lie, including the real life reality of the Bill of Rights which has enabled the telling of those lies more than it has worked to defeat them.   The recent Broadway induced mania of founders fetishism has not helped anything.   It lied Hamilton into an anti-slavery hero when he was one of the worst of the Northerners who were such chumps for those slavery enhancing provisions of the Constitution - one of which gave us Trump as it gave us Bush II and issued in Jim Crow and, all along, gave superior representation to slave owners, counting those slaves to increase the power of the pro-slavery vote.  He along with the sleazy James Madison and John Jay wrote most of the propaganda that got the corrupt Constitution adopted.  We are still living with what they wrought today, if the slave power enhancement of the Electoral College were not still here Bush II wouldn't have happened, the Trump regime wouldn't have happened and Alito, Roberts and Gorsuch would not be on the Supreme Court. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions would not be reviving Jim Crow from the Department of "Justice".  Trump would likely have been the one to bring his reality show into cancellation.  

Paul Finkleman's short editorial,  The Monster of Monticello is well worth reading as are his other writings.  Taking down the lying statues of Confederate generals and politicians is a worthless exercise if the lies told about the founders of the slave power are still believed.  Those are more dangerous, by far.   Equality will never be gained and secured while their governmental structure enhancing inequality and exploitation are in place.  Those are the instruments that are being used to dismantle the progress that was made even as they were the ones that hampered that progress to start with.  Depending on the Supreme Court and the Bill of Rights as a corrective is hardly dependable or a good idea. 

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Past Isn't Even Past: Republicans Still Trying To Reimpose the 3/5ths Rule And Succeeding

I think it was the essential Charles Pierce at Esquire who mentioned the great, great radical abolitionist William Lloyd Garrison the other day which reminded me of the two-part paper at the National Archives site about Garrison's critique of the Constitution and the corrupt process which deeply embedded the power of slavery into the very structure of the American government, before the war.  It is undeniable that with the persistence of some of those slave empowering features in the Constitution, today that their successors, not only in the South but wherever discrimination is pursued and empowered, many places in the United States, today.  And, today, many of those states are as Northern as could be, bulwarks of the Union side in the war.  Oddly, you never hear people from Union States defending the current cultural and political and social character of their non-Confederate culture as if it is supposed to be decisively dispositive, today.  Clearly, as those states support the neo-Confederacy of the Republican Party, today, they've retreated on their heritage.  But, then, again, how can they ever understand that unless they take into account the previous Northern acquiescence to slavery and the de-facto slave power that is still with us, today. 

One paragraph in the second part of the article by Paul Finkelman lays the facts out, succinctly.

Indeed, the slave states had obtained significant concessions. Through the three-fifths clause they gained extra representation in Congress. Through the electoral college their votes for President were far more potent than the votes of northerners. The prohibition on export taxes favored the products of slave labor. The slave trade clause guaranteed their right to import new slaves for at least twenty years. The domestic violence clause guaranteed them federal aid if they should need it to suppress a slave rebellion. The limited nature of federal power and the cumbersome amendment process guaranteed that, as long as they remained in the Union, their system of labor and race relations would remain free from national interference. On every issue at the convention, slaveowners had won major concessions from the rest of the nation, and with the exception of the commerce clause, they had given up very little to win these concessions. The northern delegates had been eager for a stronger Union with a national court system and a unified commercial system. Although some had expressed concern over the justice or safety of slavery, in the end they were able to justify their compromises and ignore their qualms.

The habit of thought among civil libertarians, moderates, etc. figure that the Confederacy lost the war and slavery ended, Garrison, himself, immediately after the war declared victory and was ready to move on to other things, even as his closest allies, such as Wendell Phillips, in the abolition struggle realized that until equality was established the struggle would never be over.  And they were right, that struggle continues, in much the same terms, today. 

Twelve years after the end of the war, with the Corrupt Bargain of 1876, which Rutherford Hayes traded ending reconstruction to Southern powers, the beginning of the construction of Jim Crow, what was lost with the end of legal slavery, things like the infamous 3/5th rule, were imposed through preventing freed slaves and their descendants from exercising the vote, reinstituting that provision in reality, though, through legalistic fiction, not in name.   

And the 3/5th provision was only part of a larger strategy by slave owners, particularly those in the South to enhance their power and their ability to keep Black people disempowered so their labor could be stolen by, first slave owners, after legal emancipation, through other strategies including keeping them from voting, what Jeff Sessions and other Republicans, in such states which were bulwarks of the Union as Ohio, Wisconsin, Michigan, today.   This, from the first part of the article shows how the deified James Madison was explicit in laying out his motives in the crooked deal.

Madison believed the "the people at large" were "the fittest" to choose the President. But "one difficulty . . . of a serious nature" made election by the people impossible. Madison noted that the "right of suffrage was much more diffusive in the Northern than the Southern States; and the latter could have no influence in the election on the score of the Negroes." In order to guarantee that the nonvoting slaves could nevertheless influence the presidential election, Madison favored the creation of the electoral college. Under this system, each state was given a number of electors equal to its total congressional and senatorial representation. This meant that the three-fifths clause would help determine the outcome of presidential elections. Thus, the fundamentally antidemocratic electoral college developed, at least in part, to protect the interests of slavery.

That the electoral college has, several times in our history decided elections, in every case to the detriment of Black Americans*, members of other ethnic and racial minorities and has thwarted the interests of all but the wealthy, proves it, along with the other anti-egalitarian,  anti-democratic corruptions embedded in the Constitution are a living and evil legacy of the slave holding "founders" and those Northern "founders" who were so eager to protect their interests in commerce through the constitution.   

I don't think any assertions made about the Bill of Rights which doesn't take into account that the people pushing the interests of racists, those who want to exploit people who are kept from full, voting citizenship, those who want to play a kind of updated Southern Strategy are as able to exploit an ability to lie, to monopolize the modern mass media, is, also enabling that stranglehold of de facto slavery.   Yet the modern proxies for the Northerners who made those corrupt deals do that, all the time.   Black people are the target of the effort, Latinos, members of other minority groups and those who Republicans believe are more prone to vote for Democrats.   White people, liberals join others as the targets of the new-voter suppression of by and for the racists and the wealthy. 

The Constitution, as it stands today, as it is defined by the Supreme Court, as it is propagandized by everything from the ACLU and "free speech" industry, pseudo-historical movie and TV and Broadway costume dramas and musicals, to used by Republican-fascists, the NRA, Murdoch and Sinclair, is every much the slave document it was when William Lloyd Garrison and Wendell Phillips made their critiques of it based on its text, the history of its first decades of implementation and the written record left by Madison, Hamilton, John Jay, etc.  The brief period after the Second World War when, in reaction to the racism and other horrors of the Nazis, there was some liberalization is long gone.  It is one of the few comforts of having lost my parents that they are not here, today, to witness a United States ruled by Trump, Ryan, McConnell and where, even as Trump's treason with the Putin crime regime, his support for marching, torch carrying and murdering Nazis, roughly a third of the country still supports him and a dangerous percentage would even if he suspended the 2020 election. 

The evils embedded in the Constitution permitting racism, discrimination, economic exploitation, the propagandizing in support of all of those with the full power of the economic interests who benefitted from those,  brought us to the first Civil War, it brought us to Jim Crow, it is bringing us Jim Crow 2, it imposed Bush II and, a mere eight years later after we should have learned what a bad idea the electoral college can be, again, it brought us Trump.   

The rich Northerners who made those corrupt agreements with the slave power, James Madison, permanently disadvantaged states which didn't prevent Black People and members of other groups from exercising the right to vote.  It still does.  States which try to practice equality will always be at a disadvantage with those in which a racist white majority can reinstitute 3/5ths.  Democrats who gave up those then, Southern states through Johnson's great act of courage, the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights acts are at a disadvantage by the Constitutional corruption that is dismantling both the Civil Rights ACT but, especially the Voting Rights Act.  Traditional American liberals who favor equality, the provision of an education, of access to affordable healthcare, and the other rights of Americans which has been effectively suppressed by the inordinate power it gives to the wealthy and to those who hate equality, are also chumps for that ancient corruption.  Groups like those I have been criticizing, the magazines of the alleged left I have been criticizing,  can well stand in for the Northerners who made those corrupt deals and the Northern dough-faces who supported the continuation of slavery and the Hayesian corruption that began the long nullification of Emancipation in the Jim Crow era. 

Note:  "The Constitution a pro-slavery compact; or, Extracts from the Madison papers, etc. selected by Wendell Phillips" is a real eye opening read, especially if you think of what he pointed out in the ante-bellum period in terms of today, as in this post. 

*  I would argue that was even the case in the first Corrupt Bargain, that John Quincy Adams had to make to become president, though he won the popular vote.  From the article:

  The Garrisonians believed that if they worked within the political system they were merely spinning their wheels, spending their money and time on a cause that was doomed. The Constitution was proslavery, the national government was controlled by slaveowners, and politics was a waste of time. A quick look at the presidency underscored their view. From 1788 until 1860, only two opponents of slavery, John Adams and John Quincy Adams, held the nation's highest office, and for only a total of eight years. On the other hand, slaveowners held the office for fifty of these seventy-two years, and doughfaces-northern men with southern principles—like James Buchanan and Franklin Pierce—held it the rest of the time.

This did not surprise the Garrisonians, who understood that the Constitution was heavily influenced by slaveowners. The Garrisonians did not necessarily see the Constitution as the result of a deliberate conspiracy of evil men; rather, they understood it to be the consequence of political give-and-take at the Convention of 1787.

And also:

Ironically, this antidemocratic system that Madison ultimately supported subsequently had a major impact on his career. Thomas Jefferson's victory in the election of 1800, and Madison's elevation to the position of secretary of state and heir apparent, would be possible only because of the electoral votes the southern states gained on account of their slaves. This point is made by Lynd in "The Abolitionist Critique," in Class Conflict, Slavery, and the United States Constitution, 178; and Donald L. Robinson, Slavery in the Structure of American Politics, 1765–1820 (1971), p. 405. Many northerners believed the outcome of the 1812 election would have been different had it not been for the three-fifths clause, although this is probably not the case. However, without the three-fifths clause John Quincy Adams might have had more electoral votes than Andrew Jackson and might have been elected outright in 1824.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Robert Lowell Reads "For the Union Dead"

Hate Mail - Self-Associative Superlative Disorder

No matter what the idiot of Eschaton (I know, there are more than one) ... no matter what Simps says, there is no such thing as "the greatest orchestra in the world"   There never has been since the beginning of orchestras.  I would imagine that if I went through his scribblage I'd find he'd declared various orchestras, conductors, bands, etc. were "the greatest in the world" depending on which recording he'd purchased last.  I think he believes his purchasing something gives it that distinction, he being the narcissistic he is.  He's got some kind of Trumpian self-associative superlative disorder.  In fact, I want dibs on having come up with that, unless someone else did. 

Yes, Self-Associative Superlative Disorder, definitely a Trumpian characteristic and a grimy little passage into his ..... um.... personality as well as that of other such pathological narcissists. 

I don't think the Philadelphia orchestra was superior to the Boston Symphony in the early 1940s, the Serge Koussevitzky era.  I don't think the BSO was "the greatest in the world" in that period, either because there isn't any such thing.   It was a long time ago that I heard some of those Toscanini recordings with the Philadelphia, as I recall they weren't really very clear.  Maybe I'd think they were better on CD but I'm really not that interested.  As I recall, the NBC Orchestra recordings are far better, as were those he made with more modern recording media.  Toscanini was a great but quite conservative musician, his contribution to expanding the repertoire can't match that of other conductors of his time.  He certainly can't match Koussevitzky in that area*.  His anti-fascist, anti-Nazi stand will always earn him a place of honor.   

* Just off the top of my head, the Symphony of Psalms, the Ravel Concerto, Bartok's Concerto for Orchestra, Copland's Third Symphony (probably his greatest work), numerous other pieces that came into the repertoire and many which, while being fine music, haven't fared as well.   Koussevitzsky's foundation was and is one of his greatest contributions to music.  

Who’s Backing Away From Trump? Everyone

Hate Mail - It Can Never Happen Here Because ACLU

Well, that's a summary.    You ever want to get a rise out of alleged lefties, point out that the ACLU are enabling Nazis, the KKK, white supremacists and the billionaire boys club.... I'd go on but I've already descended into a tautological loop.   

There are lots of things that I never believed could happen.  In 1970 I would never have believed that less than a decade later, the ACLU would have convinced me it was a big part of the problem.   I never would have believed I'd consider the Warren court and even some of the great names, even of Justice Thurgood Marshall, to have made some of the most serious mistakes of judgement in the modern history of the court, enabling that list in the first paragraph above over egalitarian democracy. There was a time not very long ago when I would never believe in 2017 you could get better and more important information from Esquire and GQ than you do from The Nation or In These Times, that I'd have largely stopped reading those lefty magazines because, with their enablement of the election of Trump, they are run by idiots.   I did, though, always know the Green Party was a bunch of play-lefty posing idiots who, after 1996 were likely to do nothing but enable Republicans   That was the same year I realized what a total a-hole Ralph Nader was, though I realized that he was a jerk the first time I looked at his name in the authors section of Books in Print.   About the only person who had their name posted on as many things they clearly never wrote was that renowned "scientist" Elena Ceaușescu, wife of the dictator of Rumania.   

But I digress.  

What did I say about the ACLU that isn't true?  

Man On A Horse - Statues Are Better For Lying About History Than Educating You About History

The niece I am closest to, perhaps of anyone in my large family, is a sculptor.  I don't have anything in particular against sculpture as an art form, though, as she was in school I tried to nudge her in the direction of painting.   I thought it would give her a better chance of being able to do one of the hardest things that has to be done by anyone who goes into the arts, having a livable income.   But I also thought she had more to communicate than sculpture lends itself to communicating.  Statues as a form of communication leave a lot to be desired in all but a few cases.   That is something I touched on in that piece I wrote about the oldest currently known depiction of a human form from 35,000 years ago and the stories that so-called scientists and scholar made up about it and the intentions of its creator or creators.  We don't even know if the object, as we have it, was the product of one hand and, so, mind or if more than one person had a hand in producing what we've got today.   We don't even know if a second, third or more people who shaped it had one idea of it or many, perhaps conflicting intentions. When you look at a photograph of the Mona Lisa that some 12-year-old, expressing his inner Trump has drawn on, that's an example of the kind of thing I'm talking about.

Anyway, the babble and chatter about the removal of statues honoring and lying about racists like Robert E. Lee as "changing history" or "lying about history" is complete bull shit.  No one learns anything about the real man or his role in history from looking at a an equestrian statue of him.  Without knowing who the man on the horse was supposed to be from words, you don't even know it was supposed to be him.

I put up the photo of the St. Gaudens' relief, the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial, showing Shaw on a horse with the Black 54th Regiment because it is the only statue I can remember seeing that informed me of something important about American history and what it informed me of was that there were regiments of Black soldiers in the Civil War at a time when they were entirely erased from grade school history books and the depictions of the Civil War in entertainment media.   I was 7 when our grandfather took us to Boston to see the historical sights, all the others I remember having to do with the much falsified and romanticized Revolutionary War history found there.  I remember being disappointed to find that Benjamin Franklin was not buried there with his family members.

But as important as seeing the Black soldiers in St Gaudens' bas relief* was, it told me little about the history of the 54th Massachusetts, even the defeat and murder of them by the Confederates had to be related to me, there was nothing said about the infamy of the unequal pay of the Black Soldiers,** or they being disappeared from history, the information I got from it was hardly enough history to justify calling it that.  What I got out of it I got from what my grandfather and mother told us about it. If it had been just Col. Shaw sitting on horse, it would have taught me nothing at all.

History as found in objects, especially objects created for ideological and political purposes, is more likely to mislead, in the case of so much statuary of historical figures, it lies either through intention or ignorance.   That statue of Lee in Charlottesville is a lie.  Here's a short and incomplete list of what it covers up, including atrocities like what befell the 54th.

During his invasion of Pennsylvania, Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia enslaved free blacks and brought them back to the South as property. Pryor writes that “evidence links virtually every infantry and cavalry unit in Lee’s army” with the abduction of free black Americans, “with the activity under the supervision of senior officers.”

Soldiers under Lee’s command at the Battle of the Crater in 1864 massacred black Union soldiers who tried to surrender. Then, in a spectacle hatched by Lee’s senior corps commander A.P. Hill, the Confederates paraded the Union survivors through the streets of Petersburg to the slurs and jeers of the southern crowd. Lee never discouraged such behavior. As the historian Richard Slotkin wrote in No Quarter: The Battle of the Crater, “his silence was permissive.”

The presence of black soldiers on the field of battle shattered every myth the South’s slave empire was built on: the happy docility of slaves, their intellectual inferiority, their cowardice, their inability to compete with whites. As Pryor writes, “fighting against brave and competent African Americans challenged every underlying tenet of southern society.” The Confederate response to this challenge was to visit every possible atrocity and cruelty upon black soldiers whenever possible, from enslavement to execution.

As the historian James McPherson recounts in Battle Cry of Freedom, in October of that same year, Lee proposed an exchange of prisoners with the Union general Ulysses S. Grant. “Grant agreed, on condition that blacks be exchanged ‘the same as white soldiers.’” Lee’s response was that “negroes belonging to our citizens are not considered subjects of exchange and were not included in my proposition.” Because slavery was the cause for which Lee fought, he could hardly be expected to easily concede, even at the cost of the freedom of his own men, that blacks could be treated as soldiers and not things. Grant refused the offer, telling Lee that “Government is bound to secure to all persons received into her armies the rights due to soldiers.” Despite its desperate need for soldiers, the Confederacy did not relent from this position until a few months before Lee’s surrender.

I would say that the majority of statues ever raised to generals and many of them allegedly depicting heroic politicians tell similar lies that it takes real history to demolish.  The other day I proposed melting down statues like the one of Lee to make sewer pipes.   The lies they have inserted into the national consciousness are already serving that purpose, only in reverse.   Maybe that's why Trump wants to champion them, it's imbibed sewage that has enabled his regime.

*  A bas relief can contain more information of the type that produces history than a stand-alone equine statue does.  It doesn't have to but it can, like a painting or photograph can.

**  The story of the struggle for Black soldiers to equal pay and equal treatment is worth recounting.  The boycott of the pay table by Black soldiers to protest the outrageous discrimination against them, culminating in the outrage of the Congress granting equal pay but only to those who had not escaped slavery to fight for emancipation is a story in itself.  As is he story of Shaw's successor,  an odd duck of a Quaker officer in the Army who, having to get the soldiers to swear they had been free and not slaves, devised an oath that is a masterpiece of turn-about,   "You do solemnly swear that you owed no man unrequited labor on or before the 19th day of April 1861. So help you God" to which no slave would have ever, honestly had to say they did as slave labor is never owed to anyone.

Update:  Editing this again, I can't help resisting pointing out, again, that historical fiction is an even worse way to learn history as it is, sorry to break this to you, trolls, FICTION.   One of the worst pieces of sentimental crap about Lee, falsifying and covering up his evil was the goddawful piece of cloying, pseudo-sentimental  crap, "Traveller," by Richard Adams.  It tells the "history" of the Civil War and pseudo-biography of the "heroic" Lee from the point of view of his famous horse, perhaps appropriate because the image it builds of Lee and the Confederacy is horse shit.  It is not the only thing that made me allergic to historical fiction but it is one of the strongest allergens in that genre I was exposed to   If I recall correctly, it was in a period I couldn't escape someone else listening to the Radio Reader at lunchtime.  Someone I had to bite my tongue around.  It hurt.

Update 2:  Editing again, it occurs to me that as "Traveller", narrating the novel after the war, believes that Lee won and is now the President of the country, it might, actually, have unintentionally said something about how the Confederates, manipulating the in-built slave power enhancing aspects of the U. S. Constitution, are still exercising a controlling hand on the American government, preventing egalitarian democracy from happening.   That Constitution put the loser, Trump in the presidency and he put Jefferson Beauregard Sessions in the Attorney General's office, from where he's still waging the same war against equality.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Charles Ives - Impression of the “St. Gaudens” in Boston Common

Donald Berman, piano

The Trump Resignation End-Game?

Conventions of Thinking That Are Dangerous

Sometimes when you go back and read something you've quoted to make a point, as I did this morning when I re-read the post on the eminent American biologist Vernon Kellogg regarding Darwinism as he found it among the Kaiser's troops in WWI, you notice something that needs to be remarked on.  This morning it was this passage of what Kellogg wrote and why pretending to use science as a method of administering or making law is so bad an idea.

Altruism — or mutual aid, as the biologists prefer to call it, to escape the implication of assuming too much consciousness in it — is just as truly a fundamental biologic factor of evolution as is the cruel, strictly self-regarding, exterminating kind of struggle for existence with which the Neo-Darwinists try to fill our eyes and ears, to the exclusion of the recognition of all other factors.

What struck me about that is the habit of scientists in  addressing the motions and results of combinations of inanimate objects, their habits of thought, their modes of expressing things in terms of unconscious objects doing things in a predictable way described by physicists and chemists becomes entirely irrational when you are dealing with human behaviors and, likely, those of other animals.  The idea that you would not, rightly, consider "altruistic" behavior in terms of one of the most obvious things about it, that it is a result of conscious choice by those who do it and that an eminent biologist could refer to that as a preference among biologists, scientists, is to identify a choice to refuse to acknowledge the crucial and defining place that consciousness plays in producing the behavior.   It is a pretense that such conscious decisions happen in the way that objects set in motion continue in that motion or that chemicals brought together react.

What Kellogg was describing is a formalized choice, a conscious choice of scientists to deny the obvious reality of the phenomenon.   And that conventional choice to be unrealistic pervades biology and the pseudo-social sciences.   We are in a period when that choice to pretend that isn't true has reached up into the realms of ultimate dishonesty and decadence in which consciousness, itself, is dismissed out of hand as a choice by materialists of the scientistic kind.

To do that in the crucial question of behavior which produces equal treatment instead of mass murder, which is what Kellogg was talking about, should never become a habit of lawyers, judges, justices and law scholars, it should be kept out of any democratic governance because it has the proven potential to produce disaster, as Kellogg had already noticed in the years before America joined in the First World War.  His discovery was disturbing enough to him that it turned him from being a pacifistic opponent of American involvement to his conclusion that such thinking was too dangerous to allow it to stand unchallenged.  And such thinking has become far too common among us, today.

The "mutual-aid" ploy to remove some of the most dangerous and appalling aspects of Darwinism, to the extent that it denies the origin of good behavior in the good choices of those who are good to other people, gave up the effort in order to pretend what they were doing was scientific.  Even someone as well-intentioned a Vernon Kellogg, clearly sensed the problem.

This Is What Your Unregulated Media Has Produced Yet Again

OK, I took some anti-emetics and listened to Trump.   Sometimes Trump acts like the most spoiled 2-year-old you've ever seen, his conception of war and spoils is essentially that of a 10-12 year old boy raised in the unreality of Hollywood conceptions of that mixed with his inner 2-year-old sense of narcissistic entitlement to the spoils of winning.  Trump, the creation of "reality" TV and the most vulgar of the celebrity media, unsurprisingly, is entirely informed by such expression.

In listening to the recitation of presidents not ending unendable wars the United States have been drawn into, Johnson in Vietnam, Nixon not only in Vietnam but extending the war his "secret plan" obviously didn't end, George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq and the arguably justifiable invasion of Afghanistan, something which many older people who knew a bit about former wars in Afghanistan warned would be a lot harder to get out of, I think we need to consider the popularity of war in the United States and the uses of war in our politics due to the pro-war propaganda in our media.  Lyndon Johnson was reportedly afraid of being called the first American president to lose a law* and being called a president who lost a war has been far more feared than even starting or continuing an illegitimate war that killed tens, hundreds of thousands, maimed and harmed more and which left things worse than before it was entered into - often with the enthusiastic support and incitement of the free press.

* History, more than merely arguably could point out that James Madison was that president in 1815.  The plans of him and his friend, Thomas Jefferson, to invade and annex Canada failed.  Thomas Jefferson set the pattern of extremely stupid imperial aspiration based on ignorance that has become one of the worst habits of American politicians and presidents,  "The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us the experience for the attack on Halifax, the next and final expulsion of England from the American continent."   Sounds exactly like the neo-cons in the Bush II regime.  I would encourage Canadians to remember that, today.

Update:  I had originally mentioned comic books with Hollywood but took it out because I doubt Trump ever did that much reading of text on paper.  Though I'm prepared to believe he'd have looked at the pictures.


The Further And Dangerous Irrationality Of The Extension of The Abrams Dissent. Last Part

In trying to figure out what Oliver Wendell Holmes jr. really meant in the several decisions of his I looked into over the years, I had to take into account that he wrote in favor of his interpretation of the theory of legal realism, a reaction to the ancient natural law theory of the law and other law theory that had to some extent been interposed between it and Holmes theory.   I can't say my reading of the philosophy of law inspired me to have any confidence in any of the various isms that lawyers come up with.   My guess would be that they do some of that to wile away the hours they would otherwise be reading some pretty dry stuff in the legal record, though I get the feeling Holmes did much of his theorizing out of an envy of the more exciting life of scientists.   I think his widely shared faith in the applicability of scientific method to the sometimes extremely complex evidence and facts involved in the law was profoundly naive and, though he would violently deny it, a sentimentalized view of what science is good at doing and the limits of that.   There was and is a lot of that going around.

I don't know if various lawyers and judges and justices and law professors (Holmes was all of those at various times) attachment and assertions of isms is for the better or for the worse, though I suspect any that pretends that what they're doing is science, including coming up with predictive strategies to prejudge what the outcome of a judges conduct will be, is going to generate some bad things along the way.   I think Holmes' faith in science and the abilities of those in the biological sciences to discern hard truth did, in fact, lead to one of his worst actions in the Buck v Bell legalization of state forced eugenic sterilization.   As mentioned, that led to American eugenics and eugenics propaganda being an inspiration for the Nazis and made it possible for them to cite the words of Holmes in defending what they had done when they went to trial.   I think his faith in the efficacy of late 19th and early 20th century psychology and, perhaps more so, sociology, as well as Darwinism had a largely negative impact through its confirmation of his propensity to think attempts at regulation of business wrongheaded and, in the ultimate Holmesian invective "sentimental" and his skepticism about the government playing a role in righting injustice.

All isms will generate negative effects, people are not capable of generating a perfect ideology without negative consequences.  The extent to which a judge or a "Justice" (I just hate that so often dishonest title) cleaves to an ideology will, I predict, generate the characteristic evils that are bound to come with making an ideology the controlling feature of your thought.   One which pretends to have the reputed reliability of anything that gets called "science" in an academic setting will likely produce bad in ways that law governed by the asserted reliability of theological theory will.  Only it won't admit that what it's doing is a matter of faith as religion admits.


Holmes is famous for declaring that the life of the law was not logic but experience.   That makes it even more amazing to me that his dissent in Abrams v. the United States has produced a string of some of the most experientially uninformed decisions applying a rote line about "free speech" to exactly those groups in question, the KKK (in the famous Brandenburg decision) and Nazis in the recent permission given to them to rally with guns and torches in Charlottesville Virginia and elsewhere.  The experience of both groups is of violence, murder, the denial of rights the denial of equal rights and the denial of due process and everything else American lawyers and courts are supposed to deliver on.  Holmes writing the very year that the Nazi party was forming, the very year that the first horrific returns from Marxists taking control of Russia were known, may not have had any idea of where such thinking would very soon lead.  Though he very well may have already seen murderous results from legal and political applications of Darwinian thinking, especially if he'd read the writing of the eminent American biologist, Vernon Kellogg.

One thing we do know is he was very much aware of what America's proto-Nazism could produce through speech, through writing, through advocacy of racism, including sciency sounding arguments about the inferiority of Black People and other groups.   The KKK was known to Holmes as well as the full flourishing of lynching, a crime which is intimately tied to speech, the speech advocating murder and the speech of racism.  Holmes was a lawyer and a Justice at the height of lynching as a national epidemic.   He had written one of the most important decisions allowing the Supreme Court to hear the only criminal trial conducted by the Court, the contempt case United States v Sheriff Joseph Shipp et al, in which the sheriff and some others were held guilty of permitting the lynching of Ed Johnson who had been granted a stay of execution by the court after, as so often happened, he was almost certainly wrongly accused of raping a white woman in Tennessee.   The case declared powers for the Supreme Court which had never before been written, on the basis of its position at the top of the legal system in the United States,  the "justices" acting as jurors.   It established the principle that the Supreme Court could always intervene in the actions of lower courts, including state courts.  Often, though not always, for the better.

It doesn't make any sense and is, in fact, irrational to pretend that the speech that encouraged the murderers of Ed Johnson to lynch him, or anyone else, is unrelated to the act of murdering him.  If there had been any trial of the murderers the evidence of their speech, of speech encouraging the murder would have been part of the evidence in the case.  In instances when it is members of racial, ethnic, gender or religious minorities and women are attacked or killed on the basis of their identity or on stereotypes imposed on them,  that speech is the direct cause of the crime.  That is why it can be evidence of the crime.  In some of the most terrible of crimes of the 20th century, the Nazis genocidal murders, the scientific and legal theories of the Nazis were the cause of the crime.  There is every reason to believe that if Nazism had been effectively suppressed by suppressing that speech, those publications of propaganda, speech which was articulated to lead to the discrimination against Jews, Poles, Slavs, members of other racial and ethnic groups and which, from the beginning justified violence and murder for the benefit of their murderers, that those crimes would never have happened. The law catching up with the Nazis, in some, hardly all cases and hanging many, though hardly most of those who killed millions is hardly some kind of evening of things.   Preventing the Nazis from talking people into doing what they stated they wanted to would have been better.  It may have even been better if the always imperfect law and its imperfect application had gone a bit overboard in the opposite direction, taking a chance on the equal rights of Jews, Poles, Roma, etc. to a peaceful life unblighted by the hate talk of those who hated them instead of the chance that was taken with their lives.  The kind of chance that that bet by the ACLU placed and lost on the Nazis in Charlottesville, only it was betting with the lives and rights of their victims.

The law can't be 100% efficacious in producing truth or justice.  One of the things I read about the ideology of legal realism cited  a study that used linguistic analysis in relation to the International Court of Law that claims something like a 76% success in predicting the decisions of the court - it didn't claim that it could tell if the decisions in that percentage were judged rightly.   There is no way to know what the results of hate speech will be, if the effect will be immediate enough to satisfy Holmes rules of declaring it could be restrained or held responsible, or if that speech will produce its poisonous results hours, days or even years later.   The well trained lawyers of the ACLU and the Supreme Court can't seem to even understand that with their history of violence in the world and the United States, that the Nazis really mean it when they say they want to abolish equal rights, egalitarian democracy and impose oppression and violence and murder even as those murders are happening and the haters are winning elections through lying and propaganda.  Pretending that Holmes misguided attempt to come up with a scientifically more justifiable method in that area before the Nazis showed what the murderous, genocidal effects of their ideology would be if they had the power to enact it was applied in an even more unrealistic and ahistorical assertion of it in the 1960s and up till today is entirely irresponsible and rightly discredits the lawyers and judges and law scholars who assert that.

Nazis have an absolute right to assert equality under the law, the rights of people enumerated in the opening of the Declaration of Independence and all else.  But if they did that, they wouldn't be Nazis. Nazism is one of a number of ideologies that, by their defining ideas, cannot be made compatible with egalitarian democracy.    As I stated before, I will never admit that anyone has a right to advocate the legal inequality of people, a right to advocate the denial of their rights, to advocate violence against innocent people, to advocate the discrimination against them, certainly no right to advocate their murder, individually or on a genocidal scale.  Anyone who would call that a right privileges those crimes over the lives of their intended and often named victims.  White, rich, people holding advanced degrees often from the most elite schools have often been willing to  grant those privileges, when they were not the ones whose rights and lives were being demoted.

Egalitarian democracy has the right, if any government has rights, to protect itself, to protect egalitarianism and democracy,  as vital any other aspect of national government.   Those aspects of American democracy are as vitally important to the lives and right of The People as national defense. Those rights are often asserted for even the most horrible of governments.* Since egalitarian democracy exists to serve all of the people living under it, since it is really the only form of government which has the legitimacy that only the just consent of its citizens can grant a government, it has a right to protect its citizens against those who would take away that right to be governed by those exercising the power of government.  But it is government which cannot be held to impossibly achieved perfection.  Certainly no other form of government in history has been held to that ridiculous standard which is another of the inanely unrealistic assertion of many in the "civil liberties" industry and egalitarian democracy can't be declared illegitimate on that basis, certainly not when Nazism, white supremacy, neo-Confederacy (of the kind which holds sway, now) and anti-democratic ideologies are the very real possibility as an alternative.  American history includes the proto-Nazism of slavery, of the Confederacy, of Jim Crow, of lynch law which coexisted with the Bill of Rights and by Supreme Court rulings.  Even up to and including the lives of many reading this, it was found impossible for the federal government to pass anti-lynching laws.

There will not be any time soon that those anti-democratic, anti-egalitarian habits of thought will not present a very real danger to the lives and rights of millions of Americans on the basis of their race, their ethnicity, their gender and gender identification and their religion.  The kind of bet that the ACLU, the Supreme Court have placed on a theory of free speech and free press, enabling those advocating those habits of thought, using those bad habits to destroy egalitarian democracy for the benefit of the haters and their would-be drivers is one of the most dangerous that could be made. At the time of Trumpian governance, brought to us through the media's creation of his public persona and through the lies told about Hillary Clinton for a quarter of a century.  It is probably too late to avoid that price which will be paid with the lives of Black people, Latinos, Women, LGBT people, Muslims, Jews.   For us, we're paying the price of that bet.  It's just a question of how much the choices of those lawyers will cost us, not them.

*  I've mentioned before the idiocy of John Kennedy citing Robert Taft's opposition to the Nuremberg trials on the basis of what the Nazis having done having been made legal in Germany and Austria at the time they committed atrocities as a "Profile in Courage".   It is one of the daffiest appeals to principle that I've ever encountered.  There was a real legal problem in asserting the legitimacy of the Nuremberg courts under just such ideas as a government, even the Nazi government, itself, having rights.  That a neat, pseudo-scientific elucidation of the matter can't be invented doesn't, though, mean holding the engineers of mass murder accountable wan't an obviously legitimate and necessary, even essential act.  Our "free speech - free press" permission to Nazis to make another try at doing what they will never stop trying to do is even daffier.

Monday, August 21, 2017

What Happened to Trump’s Beef With North Korea?

Dušan Bogdanović - Diferencias Diferentes

I believe it's the composer playing

This set of variations shows how well Dušan Bogdanović has studied the style of the vihuela and lute composers of the 16th and 17th centuries.  I've listened to it many times and have the music, it is a masterpiece.

Hate Mail - How Dare You Diss The Constitution

I've got to get into the garden or I'm going to lose my onion crop.   I would go into detail but the best way I can think of to show how dangerous the vague, "B" grade, 18th century poetry of the Constitution is, is to point out how a clever and malign reading of it by someone like Robert Bork can make excuses for all kinds of inequality, discrimination and denial of rights. 

The testimony of William T. Coleman at the Senate Judiciary hearings on the nomination of Bork to the Supreme Court [starting on page 867 of the document] gives a good list of things he wrote and got accepted in allegedly respectable law journals, the things that got him appointments to government posts and the District of Columbia Court of Appeals.  If you consider what would have happened if his learned arguments became Supreme Court made law, it shows how dangerous that document's vague language can be.  

Evil, especially in the form of paid-off lawyers and bought off judges for billionaires and millionaires, is always looking for opportunities and loopholes.  There is an entire fleet of well paid lawyers and law professors at places like Harvard and other elite universities looking for enabling interpretations of the vague language of the Bill of Rights.   If you want a practical reminder of what that leads to, look at the open-carry automatic weapons the Nazis had with them in Charlottesville, put in their hands by such lawyers and judges on the basis of the Second Amendment.  

More Hate:   Uh,  this place is called The Thought Criminal for a reason, I say things that are not allowed to be said, including about the defects of the Constitution, including the deified Bill of Rights, the authors of it and those who have twisted and turned and formed its vague non-specificity and its often disreputable history to do bad things.   When it's used to allow armed Nazis to terrorize an American city, marching on Black churches with torches, allowing Nazis armed with automatic weapons to menace people worshiping in a synagogue, with the help of what is alleged to be a civil liberties legal outfit, I'm not holding back. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, August 20, 2017

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


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

Matthew Greif, guitar

Esmerelda's Waltz


Dušan Bogdanović is a genius,  my trolls are not.


Odds and Ends 

Steps To Hell And Halfway Back

William Kanengiser, guitar

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

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

Hate Mail

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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