Saturday, September 9, 2017

Saturday Night Radio Drama - Garry Disher, dramatised by D.J.Britton - Crime Down Under: The Dragon Man

It's hot, it's nearly Christmas, and Hal Challis has a serial killer to catch. On the Mornington Peninsula near Melbourne, young women are being targeted and murdered and the perpetrator leaves no clues. A series of recorded messages taunting the police, along with a spate of deliberate fire-setting, increase the pressure on the team to make an arrest before the holiday. But they can't find anything to connect the crimes with their only suspect.

Crime Down Under showcases the best crime fiction from contemporary Australia. The Dragon Man is the first in Garry Disher's series of novels featuring detective duo Challis & Destry. It won the Deutsche Krimi Preis (German Crime Fiction Prize) and Disher has also twice won the Ned Kelly Award for Crime Writing.

BBC Cymru Wales production

Richard Dillane's multiple credits include recent appearances in Peaky Blinders, Poldark and Wolf Hall. Penny Downie is a leading actress for the RSC, including paying Gertrude to David Tennant's Hamlet. As a child, she appeared in The Sullivans, which was the last time she worked with fellow-Australian Mark Little. Mark is known as Joe Mangel from Neighbours as well as appearing in Emmerdale and as a presenter for The Big Breakfast.

It's a play that won't be available after 29 days from now so listen soon. 

I Read That Their Slogan Now Is "The Miracle of Science"

Better living through chemistry, right?  I just came back from helping an even more elderly member of my family pack up some stuff that was left in the house they just moved into so they can take it to the hazardous waste clean-up day in their town.   One of the things was a bag of Chlordane, something our wonderful legal system and regulatory system used to allow to be sold to consumers but which I found as I looked it up just now, has been banned for use, even against termites,  since 1988.   I haven't told her, yet, that she should really see if she can find someone to tell her how much of it was used around the place.  

You might want to look at this, 30 years after the EPA Ban, Chlordane still Poisons Local Birds at the EPA blog, before they take it down.  From "better living through chemistry" to better dying through ignorance.   Here's a general fact sheet.  If you read it, consider this stuff was allowed to be sold for forty years, here.  I don't know if it's not still sold in other places. 

About my use of slogans. I am not sure if Dupont sold the Chlordane I packed up, I didn't look too closely at the label on the damp, mouldering bag as I got it into a box.  I didn't feel like going back to look.  But I'm sure Dupont has sold enough dangerous things to put in place of Chlordane in making my point.  The chemical industry in this country and elsewhere are as bad as any.  The regulation of them has been a deadly joke. 

The Stupid Left Isn't Much Smarter Than The Stupid Right, It Just Has Credentials To Make People Think It's Smarter - Hate Mail

By "The Stupid Left" I certainly didn't mean the real left which isn't stupid any more than I mean the entire right or center when I talk about the percentage of stupid people who are placed on the phony linear chart of political identity.   In fact, one of the things that makes The Stupid Left so very stupid is that, as in the examples of the ACLU's Nazi, Billionaire plutocrat and big Pharma enablement, the effects of its stupidity arrive in the same place as that of the stupid right or center.   I don't limit the people who comprise The Stupid Left to people who buy the idiotic ACLU line and support enabling Nazis and billionaires and the depravity of corporate "free speech" and, lest it be forgotten, their ability to use the mass media to lie to people, just off the top of my head I would give a list that includes:

- People who think the Green Party or other third-play-parties of the alleged left should be enabled to split the "left" vote, a losing strategy of play-lefties since the start of the existence of elected governments.

- Related to that, any allegedly lefty media figure, academic, alleged activist, magazine, radio show, podcast which presents the Greens or never-will-win third party or even the odd allegedly lefty independent as someone people should waste their votes on because the Democrat who could win the election isn't pure enough, risking if not guaranteeing that a far worse person will actually be sitting in the office after the election.  There is hardly a prominent figure on the fashionable left who doesn't qualify as that.   Among the magazines, I'm not sure that any of them don't. 

- The group I've called "process liberals" who on stands of what they call "principle" will do what the ACLU has done, over and over again, enable the most awful, anti-egalitarian entities around on some "principle" of "blind justice" that pretends there isn't every obvious difference in the world between Nazis, the KKK, billionaire plutocrats, polluters, drug pushers - legal and illegal - pimps, even child rapists and the advocates of equality, health, safety, a decent life in a sustainable environment, education, etc.  That so often such "process liberals" are wealthy, white graduates from elite universities with credentials and connections that protect them from all of that is certainly no accident, it's what makes their transparently dishonest pose of even-handed fairness transparently self-serving and dishonest.  They don't want their college chums to get too upset with them as they make a career out of the wreckage they've wrought on the real left that has to fight all of them, including the stupid process liberals who give away more than they have ever gained, given away by "making the process fair" as if poor people ever won a "fair fight" against billionaires who own the media. 

-  The people who accept the red-fascists of Marxism in all its myriad of splinter factions, anarchists, etc. as not only a part of the left but as some kind of special jewel of leftism that represents some kind of goal to achieve or some rare and valuable thing which the left must discredit itself to enable and nurture instead of an insupportable burden and counter-productive entity which taints even the real left through an absurd association with them.  It should be a hard and fast rule that no one who is opposed to egalitarian democracy and the absolute moral obligation to respect rights on an equal basis, including economic justice is any part of the left.  Marxism and all forms of materialism have no legitimate place on any real left, the absurd anarchism that would get rid of the state and civil authority - guaranteed to produce gangster rule - has no place on the real left because it is massively stupid. 

That's a partial list of what I meant by The Stupid Left. I think it covers the worst of it. 

Friday, September 8, 2017

Betty Carter - Open The Door

Betty Carter - vocals
John Hicks - piano
Curtis Lundy - double bass
Kenny Washington - drums

The Free Speech Industry Platitudes Of Personal Agency Run Right Into Real Life Producing Corpses

I have been wondering if I should write about the opioid drug epidemic, an epidemic brought to us by the pharmaceutical and medical industries, the advertising industry and the legal-judicial cartel who have aided them so recently after the overdose of one of my nephews, a child I took care of sometimes when he was young.   It was his second overdose, they hadn't told me about the first one. It happened in New Hampshire, the police where it happened have been given training in injecting overdose victims with Narcan, I'm not sure of the status of the police in Maine, where the degenerate governor was opposed to first responders having that ability to save lives.  It's quite possible, though I haven't been told the details, that if it had happened across the border, he'd be dead.  As it is I'm not expecting him to live much longer as the 28 day spin cycle he's currently in is probably not going to break his addiction.

I was paying attention to the regulatory agencies and the courts as they took the decision to allow big Pharma to advertise directly to consumers even as some doctors and their professional groups were warning that it would lead to terrible results.  I was sufficiently disillusioned with the free-speech industry by that time to notice they had a role in supporting the right of big Pharma to advertise dangerous drugs to people with no more knowledge of them than they would gain from the ads they saw on TV, no matter how theoretically available that information was to them.  Most people don't know how their cars or their kitchen appliances really work, to expect they were going to master a level of the science behind high power drugs in order to make "informed" consumer choices about whether or not to "ask their doctor" to give them a prescription was obviously a ruse of the kind that do so much to bring lawyers and the law into disrepute.

People who have read my blog will be unsurprised that the sacred cow of  what I've started to think of as The Stupid Left, the ACLU took the Pharma industry favoring line on that, with enough fig leafs to cover their asses.   Here, from the official ACLU line taken in the early years of what would lead to the drugged up nation we are, today.

The agency has solicited comments regarding whether it should regulate some types of products more extensively than others, i.e. drugs versus dietary supplements.  The FDA should not regulate certain products' advertising and labeling more comprehensively than others simply due to product type, because such an approach does not constitute the least restrictive means.  Nor is it the most narrowly tailored way to achieve the agency's objective of furthering public health. Regardless of what legal test is applied, at a minimum, regulation governing commercial speech must be no more extensive than necessary.  Thus, the government cannot just apply a blanket solution that is not targeted to further its substantial interest.  

The FDA could protect consumers from potentially harmful effects of dangerous drugs by requiring measures other than restrictions on speech in labels and advertisements. For example, it could require a doctor's prescription for both dietary supplements and drugs that are powerful or have dangerous side-effects. This would promote public health by providing additional guidance and monitoring to consumers without restricting speech.

Well, that's certainly not how things worked out.   The lawyers of the ACLU, clearly didn't include enough control on commercial speech so as to prevent the flood of patients browbeating their doctors into giving them drugs as advertised on TV and elsewhere, even when some of them carried warnings delivered in unintelligible speeded up talk that the toe-fungus meds might kill you.   I encourage you to read the whole document because it is clear that they knew where the stand they took could lead and it has, despite their reassurances, led there.  They were certainly aware of the doctors and medical professionals and scholars who warned against their position as were the regulators and, later, judges and justices who enabled the drug industry and the media in their part of producing the epidemic.

It's especially telling how enabling the ACLU has been in the creation of this crisis when you consider some of its other briefs and stands on, not only the direct marketing of drugs to consumers but the promotion of off-label uses of drugs directly to doctors, something which has played a huge role in the industry-advertisement-court created pandemic we are in, today.  Here from  Gabe Rottman, Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office, in 2012, Selling Drugs and the First Amendment, notice the fig leaves and weasel words.

 A few folks have asked me about the recent Second Circuit decision in United States v. Caronia, in which the court found that criminalizing the promotion of “off-label” pharmaceutical uses by a drug company sales representative violated the First Amendment. I cover a lot of commercial speech issues in the legislative context, so let me try to explain why I think the decision is probably right (“probably” being the operative term), and significant.

That was how Rottman began.  And from the end,

For most people, advertising is a bad word. But sometimes commercial speech can help inform the “marketplace of ideas” as well as just the marketplace. This case highlights how, again assuming the speech is not misleading, pharmaceutical sales can actually help inform physicians’ medical decisions. By hampering the free flow of ideas, even profit-seeking ones, the government’s theory in Caronia could directly impair the values the First Amendment exists to further.

Two things do continue to bother me, however. First, does the government have an interest in preventing pharmaceutical company representatives from making statements about off-label uses when physicians have not separately determined that such uses might be therapeutic? The dissent is very concerned that the majority decision opens the door to precisely that. This is a completely different question than the one presented by the government in Caronia, and may very well change the analysis.

Second, does the analysis also change when you’re talking about actual advertising campaigns for an off-label use, rather than in-person informational meetings with physicians? Hopefully these questions will be addressed in future litigation, or by others following the case.

Given what the regulators acting under political coercion due to the then and still fashionable market libertarian ideology,  big drug money in our politics and the Supreme Court which, with the ACLU's help, put that money directly into are politics have allowed by way of drug advertisement and the results of that, his "hopeful" hope that further litigation is going to address the catastrophic results of this legal regime are disingenuous and stupid.

You can contrast the legal bull shitese of the "free speech" advocates with this, from The National Institute of Drug Abuse.

How did this happen?

In the late 1990s, pharmaceutical companies reassured the medical community that patients would not become addicted to prescription opioid pain relievers, and healthcare providers began to prescribe them at greater rates. This subsequently led to widespread diversion and misuse of these medications before it became clear that these medications could indeed be highly addictive.3,4 Opioid overdose rates began to increase. In 2015, more than 33,000 Americans died as a result of an opioid overdose, including prescription opioids, heroin, and illicitly manufactured fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.1 That same year, an estimated 2 million people in the United States suffered from substance use disorders related to prescription opioid pain relievers, and 591,000 suffered from a heroin use disorder (not mutually exclusive).5 Here is what we know about the opioid crisis:

- Roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them.6

- Between 8 and 12 percent develop an opioid use disorder.7–9

- An estimated 4 to 6 percent who misuse prescription opioids transition to heroin.7–9

- About 80 percent of people who use heroin first misused prescription opioids.7

This issue has become a public health crisis with devastating consequences including increases in opioid misuse and related overdoses, as well as the rising incidence of neonatal abstinence syndrome due to opioid use and misuse during pregnancy. The increase in injection drug use has also contributed to the spread of infectious diseases including HIV and hepatitis C. As seen throughout the history of medicine, science can be an important part of the solution in resolving such a public health crisis.

You can also compare Pressure on the FDA to Loosen Restrictions on Advertising, a section of a paper A History of Drug Advertising * republished by The National Institute of Health.

Significant counterregulatory pressures during the mid-1990s moderated the efforts to restrict drug promotion (Epstein 1996; Hilts 2003). In 1994, with the Republican Party's takeover of Congress, the FDA encountered conservative opposition on many fronts. House Speaker Newt Gingrich called the FDA the “no. 1 job killer,” charging that it discouraged innovation and prevented profitable products from coming to market (Hilts 2003, 196). Conservatives also charged that the FDA's new drug approval process placed so much emphasis on keeping potentially bad drugs off the market that it unnecessarily delayed the introduction of important therapeutic advances. This criticism was echoed by a new and vocal breed of consumer advocacy organization that urged the FDA to reconsider its standards for approving drugs to combat HIV/AIDS (Epstein 1996). A parallel criticism was leveled against the FDA's approach to regulating drug advertising. Some argued that the FDA was so heavily focused on prohibiting misleading advertising that it prevented valuable information about prescription drugs from reaching consumers and physicians (Keith 1992).

In this environment of greater consumer involvement in health care, increased spending on consumer-directed promotion of prescription drugs, and scrutiny of the FDA's regulation of advertising, the agency held hearings on DTCA (FDA/DHHS 1995b). Officials heard testimony from pharmaceutical and advertising industry representatives, consumer organizations, medical societies, and academics. The pharmaceutical industry sought clarification of the provision in the 1969 advertising regulations that obviated the need for broadcast advertisements to contain the brief summary of the approved product label when “adequate provision” was made for dissemination of the product labeling in conjunction with the advertisement (FDA/DHHS 1969). In 1995, roughly 15 percent of DTCA spending was for television advertising (Kreling, Mott, and Wiederholt 2001). In order to circumvent the brief summary requirement, pharmaceutical companies ran reminder or help-seeking advertisements, which either included the name of the drug or discussed a particular condition, but not both. Reminder ads, which were originally designed for physicians and medical journals, led to some confusion among consumers who did not know what condition the drug was supposed to treat.

Some people who testified at the hearings noted that consumers' involvement in health care had expanded dramatically since the first DTC ads were aired in the early 1980s (FDA/DHHS 1995a). Participants in the hearings pointed to two divergent approaches to communicating risk information to consumers. Advocates of the first model proposed by critics of DTCA believed that the best method of educating consumers about prescription drugs was through something akin to patient package inserts. This model assumed that consumers needed to be educated after the prescribing decision had been made and that the package insert would help make the product safer. Consumer groups like the Health Research Group, which focused on product safety, adhered to this view.

The other model of information dissemination, supported by representatives of the advertising and pharmaceutical industries, proposed replacing the brief summary with a general risk statement like “prescription drugs could be harmful to your health and should not be taken without consulting a physician.” Advocates of this view considered advertising as a way to get the consumer—not the physician—to initiate the conversation about a prescription drug and so wanted to give consumers information about a drug well before the prescribing and purchasing decisions were made. The brief summary requirement was therefore seen as a barrier to direct communication between the pharmaceutical manufacturer and the consumer.

By 1997, those FDA officials who were reluctant to open the floodgates to prescription drug advertising on television felt increased pressure from a variety of sources to ease the regulations and permit broadcast advertising (Feather 1997). In August, a few months after David Kessler left the FDA, the agency released the Draft Guidance for Industry: Consumer-Directed Broadcast Advertisements. It outlined the ways in which pharmaceutical manufacturers could meet the brief summary requirement in broadcast ads by clarifying the ways in which the product labeling could be adequately provided (FDA/DHHS 1997, 1999). Instead of airing the entire brief summary, the ads could refer consumers to (1) a toll-free telephone number, (2) print ads, (3) a website, and/or (4) their pharmacists or physicians, from whom they could obtain complete information about the product's risks and benefits. Consumers' confusion over the reminder ads for prescription drugs on television was a major factor behind the policy change (Woodcock 2003). Although whether the guidance was intended to loosen restrictions or to clarify existing provisions of advertising regulation has been debated, it nonetheless made broadcast advertisements of prescription drugs more feasible.

I am sure, from experience of the true believers in "free speech" as defined by the ACLU and, now the far right of the Republicans on the Supreme Court, that those definitions of "free speech" and "rights" they pretend that the consumers of TV commercials will get sufficient information to "act as their own advocates," "exercising agency" or whatever slogans and buzz words will be used to lie about it, and so protect themselves against dangerous drugs.

But that's an obvious lie as even the scientists of the regulatory agencies either can't discern so many of the dangers of the drugs that will be recalled after a lot of people die carry.  That whole line of crap invented by lawyers trying to make a name and career from themselves out of "free speech" "First Amendment" and "civil liberties" advocacy is refuted as it runs straight into the reality of how people really are in the real world where even people who have been to medical school and have extensive post-doc training can't get it right.  Sometimes they run pill-mills such as have led to local and even state drug addiction epidemics, having an education in science and medicine is no guarantee of morality and telling the truth.

There will never be a real life possibility in the general population having sufficient knowledge to make drug advertising safe or anything but a guarantee of drug abuse and addiction epidemics.  When you tie the lying of drug promotion into the modern mass media that the people who wrote the Bill of Rights couldn't imagine,  you will get the national crisis that the libertarian interpretation of that has brought us.  I doubt it will be the last one caused by legalized lying in the mass media by corporate interests.

The next time you see a psycho-active drug advertised on TV, the next time you read of the opioid epidemic, the next time you read about an overdoes death or, as I sincerely hope you never experience, have someone in your family OD, consider the role that the advocates of "free speech" really and demonstrably have played in bringing it about.

*  The subtitle of the paper is, The Evolving Roles of Consumers and Consumer Protection.  It is an interesting paper to consider because it goes into the role that the mixed bag of "patients rights" as both something to protect people and as a propaganda opportunity that it was to the people who brought us the drug epidemic.  As with the advocacy of the ACLU, what was supposed to be something to protect people from commercial predators who would rob and kill them, was used by those very crooks who adopted the language, adapting it for their own ends.  It is no accident that the ACLU has used the language of the First Amendment to enable Nazis, the KKK, the billionaire boys club, .... and, as can be seen above, the pushers of addictive and dangerous drugs of big phrama and that the Nazis who would destroy much more than just free speech of their opponents have adopted it as their slogan, as well as such others as David Horowitz and Dinesh d' Souza.  

There is something very wrong with the current interpretation of the First Amendment as well as other amendments of the Bill of Rights.  But don't expect the lawyers coming from elite law schools to even acknowledge that.  They're too busy bilking you for feel-good donations so they can go to court for the Nazis and big Pharma.

The god That Fails Over And Over Again

I knew about the Turkey Point nuclear plant in Florida, I'm pretty sure I didn't know about the St. Lucie nuke.  Now that they're having to be shut down in preparation for hurricane Irma we should all pray that they don't become monuments to the stupidity of ignoring the propensity of scientists and engineers to lie optimistically on behalf of profit making enterprises.   Who knows how dangerous it is to have those plants where they are, on the flood plane that most of Florida is.  I remember when I was a child my Florida cousins telling us that the lowest hill in their town, more a slight incline than a hill, was called "thrill hill" out of sarcasm.  I'm going to be praying a lot for the next days for the people of Florida which, if one or the other of those nukes goes Fukushima or worse, will be a lot more sensible than relying on the judgement of the great and powerful "science" which is never any better than the extent to which scientists tell the hard truth.   Obviously the science that led to them putting nuclear power plants on Florida, waving aside any troubling questions about that, won over science that might have said it was dangerous.

On the other hand, unprofitable science, the most important science we have, environmental science, has been ignored because it is not the handmaiden of the real God of materialism, money.   Science is as vulnerable to corruption as any other human activity, what is profitable about it is probably more corruptible than much of religion because science is an intellectual activity, along with commerce, which we have been duped into removing from a consideration of the morality of what it does.  In the end, such science is "just business".   

One of the stupidest things about modernism is its worship of knowledge as the ultimate good as if knowledge divorced from morality were not even more dangerous and productive of enormous evil because it is efficacious.  I really, really, don't want to be proven right that this might turn into one of the most costly of all demonstrations of the stupidity of letting scientists and engineers and businessmen and billionaires off the hook for acting morally, of letting judges and politicians let them off the hook because our legal code and Constitution is written in a particularly stupid way that leaves that out.  The Founders had a ridiculous faith in the scientific view of such things, they seem to have struck a pose that such moral issues would just take care of themselves according to some law of nature, as if such "laws" wouldn't have produced the entire history of human depravity, violence, oppression and murder when things were. as it were,  just left to work themselves out. 

The pretense that human actions are not a product of human intention and that any good that people do comes about as the product of human choices, not due to some instinct inserted into us by what we imagine as nature, certainly not in any dependable way to have before now, or 1787, prevented depravity.   What seems to be more dependable is such assumptions producing depravity, when that depravity has the power of nuclear physics behind it, potentially gargantuan depravity. 

If you want another example of that kind of thinking, here's a seismic chart of North Korean nuclear weapons tests.   Remember, this is, also, a product of science divorced from moral considerations. 

I will bet you that if any of the North Korean scientists were freed up to take jobs in the West, in Western industry or the academic-industrial complex, their giving the ultra-Stalinist government in North Korea atom and hydrogen bombs wouldn't be held against them.  The scientific establishment has given Nobel and other prizes and honors to scientists who have made their career on weaponeering of the worst kind. 

Turning the very partial, very limited, very lopsided view of nature that science gives us into a god was always a benighted project, especially when that idol of nature is a very partial and very limited view of the natural universe.   Pretending that science produces a comprehensive knowledge of reality, something which many of the great scientists rejected and some still reject, strikes me as an act profoundly unscientific.  If there is one thing that science should depend on, it is a realistic view of what it does, what it doesn't do, what it can and what it can't do.   One of the things it can't do is save us from the products of science.  Depending on scientists to do that is as stupid as depending on businessmen or generals or Supreme Court justices to do it.  I think we're going to be finding out just how tragically wrong that choice was.   I fear that we will. 

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Trump Will Soon Be the Ex-POTUS

I can't be bothered.  That's just Simps being Stupy.  He's an idiot as are his tag team buddies.

I do find it funny that he's such good blog buddies with someone who has named himself after  one of the classical writers who wrote some of the more repulsively anti-Semitic stuff written before the end of the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Well, that is if you don't count such atheist heroes as Voltaire, so he's named after two vicious anti-Semites. Only, you'd only know that if you weren't a non-reader such as the rump of Duncan's once promising blog (c. 2004) pretty much uniformly are.   I've pointed it out to Stupy in the past and he still hasn't assimilated the information.   I guess if they didn't put it in the Village Voice or the celebrity mags that he learned everything he knows from, he'll never learn it.   He's an idiot.
Was off line for a while.  I'm back, now. 

Update:  I was back then I was off line, now I'm back, again.   The same stupid trolls were not off but they may as well have been because they're not getting on.   May write something later.  

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Why We Must Talk About Trump’s Mental Health

Hurricane Irma is going to have an enormous death count, it is terrible.  I have family members in the most likely path.   I wish I could get them to move out of the area.  It's going to be terrible. 

Pray.  Send aid.  

Little By Little Entertainment Has Greased The Skids Into Nazism - "Irony" Should Have Stayed Dead Sixteen Years Ago

In a comment yesterday from the volunteer specimen of The Stupid Left who frequently provides me with material,  I was faulted for not getting the "irony" behind the internet virality of Eduard Khil's one 1970s kitschy performance of a dumb cowboy song to nonsense syllables.

On her Labor Day day-off show, Rachel Maddow reminded us of who Trump is carrying water for through his racist Attorney General and how they really are Nazis, only she didn't go that far.   And good on her for taking that opportunity, it should be taken any chance available.

If you listen to the Nazi, Richard Spencer at the link, notice he quotes Hegel's racism in his intellectual emesis, remembering that Hegel was also to Marx kind of what Malthus was for Darwin.  So, more evidence of my theory that Marxism is more closely related to Nazism than conventional poli-sci holds.  Someday I'm going to find a transcript of that load of crap and do a comparison of quotes, but I haven't found it and, so far, I'm damned if I'm going to go through the exercise of transcribing the words of American Nazis, though I might change my mind.  And, believe me, when I heard it I could find exact parallels, many of them between Spencer 2017 and Darwin and Darwin's inner circle.  When you biologize hate, both to do science and to then use the science to promote hate, pointing out those parallels is not only possible but a moral imperative.

But back to the "irony" angle in that story.  When people were shocked and disturbed to have Americans, speaking American English with American accents, in 2017, yelling "Hail Trump," some trying to make a distinctions between that and the German original,  "Heil,"  PBS News Hour producer P.J. Tobia e-mailed Spencer as to the meaning of the spectacle and he reported that Spencer said "Hail Trump" was shouted with Nazi straight-arm Hitlerian salutes was:

“clearly done in a spirit of irony and exuberance.”

Irony.  Have you ever noticed how saying something is done in "irony" is supposed to excuse just about anything, no matter how hateful it is, no matter what it is in support of.  If you want to figure out how we've gotten here, it's by people using "irony" and "comedy" and "humor" and a list of other inverted and perverted concepts to enable stuff like the hate-comedy of the 1980s which has not stopped but it has gone on, hate-radio shock jocks and that went seamlessly into cabloid hate-talk (Lou Dobbs and so many others) and on to today with Nazis in the White House (Bannon and Gorka were the tip of that shit pile) the Justice Department and elsewhere throughout the American government.   There was, beginning in the 1980s, during the Reagan administration, what I think is an obvious campaign of renormalizing racism, sexism, other forms of hatred.  It began in the 1970s among gay men in New York City, in my memory, one of the first people I remember hearing it from was a gay man I knew who worked at NBC - babysitting one of the big executives.   It probably should be traced to the "ironic" cynicism even before that, which was not an exclusively urban male gay phenomenon but which I first noticed in the frat boys who ran The National Lampoon.

If irony can't go back to what it really meant, maybe it's time for us to stop using the word because it doesn't mean that anymore, it means what this is about, it has turned into a shield for an American Nazi leader to use to blunt the response to his followers giving Trump a Hitler salute.  I'll try to remember to not call what is really ironic, irony, from now on.  Simps has my permission to call me on any lapses on that resolution.  

How Bogus Is The Green Party How Stupid Is The Stupid Left? Including Many Of Its Media Stars

You can always count on people to whine about it when you point out that the Green Party is a Republican enabling, spoiler fraud.  Greens are whiners, posers and players, not doers.

To see how big a fraud it is, more than three decades into its existence, the Green Party currently has, "At least 136 Greens hold elected office in 18 states as of August 1 2017".   And when they say "elected office" they are stretching it, big time.  In my state, the state which has what should now be considered the infamous distinction of having the oldest Green Party in the United States*, the list of all of the Green Party office holders includes:

Joshua Plourde, City Council, Bangor (Penobscot County) term through Nov 2017
Peter Starostecki, Town Council, Area 2, Standish (Cumberland County) term through June 2020
Patricia Jackson, Select Board, Mount Vernon (Kennebec County) term through June 2020
John Eder, Board of Education, At-large, Portland (Cumberland County) term through Nov 2017
Holly Seellinger, Board of Education, District 2, Portland (Cumberland County) term through Nov 2018
Anna Trevorrow, Board of Education, At-large, Portland (Cumberland County) term through Nov 2017
Sam Pfeiffle, Maine School Administrative District (MSAD) 15, Gray/New Gloucester term through June 2018
Gil Harris, Budget Committee, Limerick (York County) term through March 2019
Justin Reinhardt, Budget Committee, Limerick (York County) term through March 2020

Now,directing your attention to the last two on that list,  I live in York County and know that to call a position on the Budget Committee an "elected office" is a wee bit of an exaggeration, as it is, in reality, an appointed board.  What that generally means is that they talked some warm body into serving on it.   I look at other offices listed in other states and suspect many of the others may have been "elected" if you mean that a local or county board which was, actually, elected, voted on appointments to them.  Look at the descriptions of some of those, actually many of those offices touted by the national Green Party as its "elected" might in 2017.

You may, if you follow the obscurity of Green Party affairs, notice that on that list is one of the major celebrities of Green politics on what I posted, John Eder, who, if I'm not mistaken, held the highest elected office a Green has achieved in its existence as one member of the Maine Legislature from Portland, obviously the "Greenest" locus in Maine.  That is before he lost the seat more than a decade ago, after two terms, as the Greens concentrated on their spoiler in the governors race who, if I recall correctly, came in fourth, something touted as a great achievement by the Green Party that year.  I used to kind of like John Eder but these days, after what Jill Stein and her dupes did to give us Trump, all Greens are enemies of democracy, now.

I don't know how many of the others of the mighty 136 have their offices similarly inflated to make up that list but guess that, as is often the case here, that people who run for school board or local office may as well be volunteers because a lot of years they have trouble finding someone to run for even as many vacant seats as exist.  I don't minimize the importance of those positions or the honorable service of those who fulfill them honorably, but I also know the realities of local politics and how these things work in real life.

The definition of a psychotic, someone who keeps doing the same thing and expecting a different result is the definition of not only the Green Party but, also the lefty magazines, radio shows and internet TV that promotes them as anything other than the Republican enabling fraud they are.  That list I gave this morning that pissed off at least one person is a partial list as that delusion is one more generally held than is good for democracy.   I can't believe anyone still holding it in 2017, after the elections of 2000, 2016 and other offices for other seats in which Greens have either successfully spoiled the results giving offices to Republican-fascists or nearly doing so, isn't doing so with a view of producing that end.  

The Green Party was a dumb idea in 1984, it's a pathological idea, today, with three decades of futile enablement of Republican fascism to prove that.  Democrats should flood Green Parties and end it before it can do more damage to the country and the world.

We're used to talking, endlessly, over the idiots on the right who vote against their own interests, who vote for the worst candidates but we never talk about The Stupid Left, who play and pose and posture and are often as plug ignorant as anyone imagined - often by them - to be the stupid, blue-collar voters who they blamed for electing Trump.  Actually, they have a lot more to do with the real Trump base which included a large number of White college-graduates, probably many of them went to college with the play-lefties, The Stupid Left.  I'm proposing that we start addressing the problem that this Stupid Left is because for the real left, the left that actually wants to get elected, make good law and make life better or even possibly sustained, The Stupid Left is a real and continuing and ongoing problem with a history of producing disaster.  And a lot of the most prominent media figures of the left are as stupid as the stupidest of them.

* The Green Party of the United States exists today as a political party fielding candidates for office in most states and at the national level. It was formed when the state-level Green Parties came together in the mid-1990s. Thirty-three years ago, however, there were no state-level Green Parties, except one formed in Maine in January 1984, although various groups and organizations were discussing Green politics in other states. The effort to form a national Green Party began in the summer of 1984 and extended over several years of start-up work, including dialogue, debate, and outreach to spread the concept of a comprehensive Green politics.

As I recall it, their choice to have all decision making done on the basis of consensus was an early sign that it was a play-party that would never produce anything of any use. I, too, was deluded by the hype, as read in all of the four or five lefty magazines I subscribed to at that time and thought the Greens were a good idea, though I never saw them as anything but as a possible coalition partner with the Democratic Party to get the back of the liberal wing of the party and to give it more clout.  Little did I suspect that the party the Greens were going to advantage were the Republicans by acting as spoilers in a number of elections, twice giving us the two worst presidents of my lifetime, perhaps in the history of the country.   I can't help but recall how as the real, true, right-thinking radicals left the 1919 emergency meeting of the old and far more successful Socialist Party to begin the devolution into various Communist factions, as the commies under the leadership of John Reed met to form their alternative party, after a while one of them, the radical lawyer Louis Boudin left that meeting in disgust saying he hadn't left a party of crooks (the Socialists who fought off the hostile takeover by the communists under orders from Moscow) to join a party of lunatics.   Such lunatics have been a repeated and fatally self-inflicted wound on the left.   After a century, I don't think they or their great grandchildren will ever be anything else.  

Hang The Racist Jeff Sessions Around The Neck Of Republicans Who Made Him Attorney General And The Play Lefty Media That Helped Install Him

This is what it's like to have an unreconstructed, Jim Crow, white supremacist as Attorney General, something which the Republican Senators, yes, including Susan Collins Republican of Maine, one of Jefferson Beauregard Sessions biggest backers.    Sessions career in public life has been to push a semi-covert white supremacist agenda, so much so that he had to lie up some kind of record of support for equality during his most recent confirmation hearings and, despite being caught in his lie, Republicans made him Attorney General where he has pursued a white supremacist agenda to the extent he is able to, pushing on the envelope to extend those opportunities.  

It's reached the stage where the racist, Sessions, on behalf of the racist Trump, throwing bones to the American Nazis in the form of almost a million Americans, brought here as young children, who have known no other home, many of whom are engaged in living thoroughly admirable and in many cases exemplary lives of service to others.  As Keith Olbermann noted yesterday, one of them was Alonso Guillen, a DACA recipient who drowned as he went out in a boat to try to rescue others.  Donald Trump, Jeff Sessions, the Nazis they harnessed to gain power have never done anything so meritorious in their lives.  

If the Republican House and Senate does not overturn this decision and even one of those young people is deported by the action of Trump through the racist Jeff Sessions, yesterday, it deserves to die just as racism deserves to die, just as inequality deserves to die.

While I was thinking about what to say here, NPR had on a piece about Latino reaction to Trump, managing to work in Latinos who had supported Trump.  NPR is another thing that deserves to die. So does the pseudo-lefty media, The Nation, In These Times, Democracy Now,  that enabled the installation of Trump, so does the load of crap that is the Green Party.   When you think of those post-DACA deportations and what they mean, remember they all had a hand in producing this travesty.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Trump’s DACA Decision is a Grim Turning Point

Dusan Bogdanovic - Unconscious in Brazil

I believe it is the composer who is playing, but I don't know that.

Even the unconsciousness of a real composer is better.

What Makes People Like Schlock Better Than Substance?

Really, Eduard Khil, Google is celebrating the singer, famous to most people in the west for one incredibly kitschy 70s Soviet TV appearance singing a really dumb cowboy song with the lyrics replaced by nonsense syllables because the Brezhnev era censors thought it was too pro-American?

I don't know.  I watched it once and it creeped me out.  I can't imagine anyone really found it edifying or spiritually elevating. What it is is brainless.  I don't get what people like about that.  

Update:  Simps, I don't generally let comments that slander other people through moderation so I won't post that.  Considering your own record of lying, it's a hoot for you to accuse someone else of being a liar.   If you want to say something about me, if it's a stupidly delivered straight line that will turn you into a joke, yet again, I might consider posting it. 

Hate Mail - "K. Vanden Heuvel Isn't Responsible For Her Husband"

Well, that's not true as she's published so much of his insane crap over the past years.  Though, in the end, I  don't care about personal responsibility in this, I care about her magazine giving aid and comfort to American fascists through its supporting that list of things that Katha Pollitt gave, "The Washington Times, Breitbart, Seth Rich truthers and Donald Trump Jr.?" essentially a short list to stand in for American fascism as promoted by Vladimir Putin through his support of Donald Trump and his campaign.

I don't care if vanden Heuvel is doing that through affection for or absurd faith in her husband, Stephen F. Cohen, or if she's that deranged or corrupted or blackmailed, herself.   It's the results that matter, not who is, personally to blame for them or their motives in producing them.   As it is, under her The Nation is doing the same kind of thing I've criticized the ACLU for doing, even as they strike a pose of progressive resistance to the world-wide billionaire oligarchy they enable it far more effectively than they oppose it, often on some stand of "principle" which I think is mostly to provide them with public relations deniability that they're doing just what they're doing.   It's one of the things they apparently teach them at places like Princeton (vanden Heuvel) and Columbia (Cohen), how to come up with what sounds like ethical reasons to do immoral things.

As for the possibility that Cohen's insane advocacy of Putin's fascist, neo-Nazi promoting regime is a result of blackmail, one thing we know is that the Soviet government kept record of Cohen on his many trips to the Soviet Union over his lifetime, enough so that he was barred from the country during the Brezhnev era.   Whatever dirt they might have collected on him is certainly available to the KGB guy who became crime boss Czar and his buddies.

Frankly, I think Cohen was always nuts, anyone who thought that the intellectual thugs, Bukharin or Trotsky or, you name your fantasy alternative to Stalin would not have turned to a similar level of brutality and ruthlessness to produce some kind of Communism that wouldn't have discredited itself is silly.  Communism, itself, has produced the uniform result of brutality because that is the nature of anti-democratic political systems.  They must use brutality, murder, torture, terror, to gain and maintain power because most people don't like what they want to do.  Communism is the kissing cousin of fascism and Nazism, not its polar opposite, the polar opposite of all of those is egalitarian democracy, the only system that can achieve a peaceful, decent life because it is egalitarian and it is chosen by the majority of The People.  That Western and other intellectuals seem to gravitate to anti-democratic ideologies in such large number is a symptom of a deeper problem with modern intellectualism.  Snobbery.   The Nation, whatever else it has been, has been a forum for such intellectualism which also explains how it has been able to think so hard and have so little to show for it in actual change in reality.  If that were going to work, it would have worked fifty years ago, or earlier. Instead, things have steadily gotten worse as they pose and play.

Monday, September 4, 2017

Atanas Ourkouzounov - Toccatchenitsa

Composer playing

Update:  Extension 

Katrina vanden Heuvel Should Not Continue As Publisher of The Nation Magazine

I am beginning to suspect there is more to that issue of The Nation and its publication of a badly sourced piece by Patrick Lawrence in the beginning of August, which the publisher and editor of the magazine, Katrina vanden Heuvel very obviously reluctantly and very inadequately attached an editors note to, even as they left it up.   She and others at The Nation chose to publish the article, even though the letter by some members of the Nation staff, some of their contributing writers and even by some of those in the sources Lawrence based his article on opposed it.  Even The Nations own expert who they consulted to review technical issues in the article disagreed with the decision to publish the piece which fed right-wing smoke screens protecting the Trump campaign, regime and family members from consequences of their involvement with Putin's interference with the election.

This is a big, big deal and it exposes probably the oldest and most esteemed journals of the left in the United States to suspicions about the motive of its publisher, its editors and whoever else was involved in the decision to publish the piece.

Last Friday I raised the fact that all during this scandal of Putin crime family interference in our election that vanden Heuvel's husband, Stephen Cohen, in The Nation and elsewhere was, unexpectedly, pushing a line that was gratifying to both the Putin regime and the Trump campaign and, later, regime.   I got some pushback for what I said about that last week, though I didn't state what I suspected, that the Putin regime might have something on him or that he might have more of a relationship with them than he'd want known.  Frankly, that's no more of a wild speculation than what The Nation has published on this issue and it is well within the realm of rational suspicion.  Given the general tone of The Nation's coverage of the election, what should have been an unmixed message of opposition to the election of Donald Trump was aggressively critical of his one and only real opponent.

There is a lot more here and, frankly, in the election reporting of other venues of allegedly lefty media than has been honestly addressed.  There is a lot about the behavior of the left, especially in the past several election cycles that doesn't add up, at all.  But this past election, especially as it was obvious that it was a choice between Trump and Hillary Clinton has made me suspect that there is a lot that has not been made transparent or clear.  I think, given her behavior in this regard that Katrina vanden Heuvel should stop being the publisher of The Nation, I certainly will never trust it as long as she is running it.

Early in the controversy, in an article by Erik Wemple in the Washington Post he got this explanation from vanden Heuvel:

“I’ve seen the danger for progressives when Cold War comes,” 

The biggest danger for progressives in the Cold War were self-inflicted by supporting and defending and lying for Stalinists,  some of whom, especially those in the Communist Party, were in the pay of the Soviet regime.  Communism was never a real danger for the United States, there was never any chance that the American People would tolerate a communist government, especially one associated and subject to the foreign dominance of a Stalin or even his successors as the Cold War went on.  Given the fact that Stalin and the Soviet System ran an epically murderous regime which, through terror of all levels of intensity, though the total suppression of all rights enumerated in the Bill of Rights and through the prevention of a real vote which would produce representative democracy, there was every reason for the American left to oppose it as there had been to oppose the Nazi regime and fascist regimes around the world.

Such high lefties as The Nation and other lefty media published and promoted were the danger to progressive politics in the United States, the greatest danger wasn't the jailing of the much lauded and celebrated assholes of the Hollywood 10 and others, it was the discrediting of the legitimate left who, unlike the Communists and communists and the ever splintering groups of infighting lefties, produced everything that constituted progress towards equalitarian democracy and equal justice.   Lyndon Johnson produced more of that than the entire population of writers for The Nation and the rosters of all of the impotent, futile, stupid leftist "parties" from their beginning.   That is the progressive legacy that has been endangered by lefty undermining of effective liberalism since the 1960s.  That is the legacy that, now, The Nation is damaging as its publisher gives that lame excuse for aiding and abetting American fascists.

Things are so bad now that even a red diaper baby like Katha Pollitt knows how bad it is.   Eric Wemple's piece quotes her dissent against the choices of vanden Heuvel et al.

The dissenters [among The Nation's writers] appealed for a change in position: “We believe The Nation occupies a unique position in the ecology of American journalism, and precisely because of this position, it’s all the more important that the magazine get on the right side of this story as it develops.” In late June, vanden Heuvel met with the letter’s signers; she notes that an editorial board meeting in March had already addressed disagreements on Russia coverage.

Katha Pollitt, a columnist who signed the letter, tells the Erik Wemple Blog that her worries about the issue go beyond alleged Russia collusion. “I just felt that for some reason, we are too heavily invested in the defense of Putin and all his works,” she said. And she can’t abide too much more applause for Nation content from certain quarters. “These are our friends now? The Washington Times, Breitbart, Seth Rich truthers and Donald Trump Jr.? Give me a break. It’s very upsetting to me. It’s embarrassing.”

"It's embarrassing" is a rather pathetic understatement of what it is, the kind of inner-circle concern of the scribbling, media class which risks little more than embarrassment and broken friendships, it's people with no money, with dark skin, with no power who are the ones this is a real danger to.  They'd love to merely have to worry about socially awkward consequences from this.

In so many ways this is a typical specimen that shows why the lefty magazines and the lefty elite have been so ineffective at producing the kind of change that was possible fifty years ago but which has died.

Maybe the best thing would be for The Nation to cease publication.  It and the similar lefty media sources, romanticizing the idiocy of the past, concerned mostly for its own, internal issues and welfare do more harm to real American liberalism than they've ever done it good.  If vanden Heuvel is still there by the end of fall, I don't know if I'll even bother looking at The Nation again.   I suspect it will take the fall of the Putin regime and someone doing a specific search of Putin era files to find out what's really behind this.

Update:  If you want to read how absurdly unhinged Stephen F. Cohen, vanden Heuvel's husband is, read this incredible interview with him at Slate Magazine.

If it's vanden Heuvel's money that's keeping The Nation afloat, maybe it should have gone into retirement before it discredited itself as it is now.  Mark my word, there is a lot more behind this than we're being told.   As someone who has been scathingly critical of the New York Times - having called it a Great Gray Whore - any scholar, such as the Ivy League emeritus Stephen F. Cohen who claims that the crap that comes out of the Putin controlled media is more credible than the NYT has burned the last shreds of their credibility.  And it's obvious that his line has become The Nation's line under the control of vanden Heuvel.

Sunday, September 3, 2017

How Quaintly Naive, You Really Believe Anything That Julian Assange Tweets?

I'm sent something meant to provoke me, apparently something Julian Assange, total asshole and about the only guy I can think of who I would not worry too much about being taken out by Western Intelligence tweeted

"Capitalism+atheism+feminism = sterility = migration. EU birthrate = 1.6. Replacement = 2.1. Merkel, May, Macron, Gentiloni all childless."

I don't follow Julian Assange's tweets because the guy is a scumball and a liar who has never been straight about anything except his sexual preference, and he's a scumball liar over that too. 

I wouldn't necessarily advocate that someone take him out, permanently but if it happened there are a lot of things before that on my list of what to worry about.  I'd rather they take him into custody and pressure him to talk.   He is obviously a lying creep scuball who will tell any lie, strike any pose so as to dupe the stupid and romantically naive.  You're an idiot to believe any of the things in that tweet or in anything else he says.  Including the commas and the plus signs.  

And, considering the substance of it, I wonder when the last time he saw any of the children he fathered was. 

How I Came To Hate Labor Day Weekend

The morons living on the other side of the woods, more than a mile away, were having a Labor Day weekend party with a rock band.  They really, really stank.  Three chords and no chromatic tones in the songs and they still can't find the notes. The singers sounded like they learned everything they know about singing from Florence Foster Jenkins recordings.  Rock can suck like few other genera of music can suck.  The amplification shares the crap, like it or not. 

On the other side some morons were setting off fire works last night, legal in my state now thanks to the goddamned Republicans.  It's raining no. I  hope its damp enough so they don't succeed in setting the woods on fire if they start up again.

For On The Scene Information About The Aftermath of Hurricane Harvey

I'm depending on people like 

RMJ of Adventus blog 

And it's not only not over, it looks to me as if it's getting worse.  It might already be worse than Katrina in New Orleans and the rest of the people and area harmed by it.  

The national media is making an ass of itself in so many ways. 

J.S. Bach - Wenn wir in höchsten Nöten sein - BWV 641

Wolfgang Zerer, organ